Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I'm going to a #Regency ball and my choices of gowns are unlimited! Yellow is The Color I've chosen!

1817 Yellow Silk Gown,
Leeds Costume Collection
 We're going to ball, you and I, and it's the Regency period. Our Papa has unlimited money to spend on our wardrobes and that's a good thing because our seamstress is frightfully expensive. Delightfully, our complexions and figures can stand a dashing yellow frothy something or other! And to make everything simply scrumptious, we're arriving in Papa's marvelous new town coach. (Do see a marvelous black lacquered older version of it here.)

What color shall we ask for when we see our seamstress?

The colors available to us (in, say 1820) are numerous. And we see in the fashion plates a few we'd like.

I'm blonde with warm brown eyes. And my sister, Beatrice, is a honey blonde with green eyes. Let's see. Choice of fabric and drape has much to do with how complementary the gown will be. Silk, silk damask, silk gauze would be good choices. But what of the color? What do you think is best, hmmm???

(Colors listed are those used commercially with the approximate date in use and the modern color name by the British Color Council.)

Apollo, 1823. Bright Gold
Isabella, 1821. Cream
Bird of Paradise, 1830. Straw
Orleans, 1832. Rose Beige.
Cameloparde, 1828. French Beige
Congo, 1883. Coppery Gold
Dust of Paris, 1851. Ecru
Florentine, 1867. Yellow with Bronze tint
Oiseau, 1837. Chartreuse Yellow
Terre de Pologne, 1831. Yellow, bordering on Brown
Cerise's picture from her trip to Chateau Vaux le Vicomte:
Berliner de Ville, circa 1840,
by W. King and Company, London
1810-1812 Pale Yellow Evening Gown;
Metropolitan Museum

1811 Ballgown, Regency era

1800-1805 Dress
(no attribution, Pinterest)

Friday, August 4, 2017

LADY STARLING'S STOCKINGS hits bestseller list! Free on KU, 99 cents for this spicy Regency! In Print too!

On Kindle Unlimited FREE, 99 cents to buy!
Amazon
This Regency starring a lady spy and her spymaster is once again on the bestseller list! So tickled!
Hope you will give her a go with her new cover, new text, too.

When she debuted in 2011, she was in an erotic romance. Now? She's still in love with Monsieur Noir, but now she's in a spicy romance.

I transitioned to mainstream with a bit of hotness a few years ago. One can do erotic for so long and then, it's time to become more mainstream!

So here she is, still finding spies in her cousin's garden in Naples, ferreting out the person who attempts to keep Napoleon's brother-in-law in power in Italy!

Enjoy!
Amazon Kindle Unlimited in digital and also in print!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS! Money can buy anything! Anything but love!


Money can buy anything. Can't it?  

When American robber baron Killian Hanniford decides to expand his business empire, he sails to Europe in 1877 and takes his family with him. 

His two daughters—Lily and Ada—are beauties, accomplished and educated. They want for nothing, except a chance to find husbands who love them for themselves, not their dowries. 

His niece, Marianne, is also lovely, shy and a widow who wants for nothing…except perhaps an entertaining and impermanent lover. 

Killian’s son, Pierce, is young, impetuous and too ruthless, it seems, for any young woman to take on as a husband. 

Even Killian himself—without a wife for many years but increasingly bored by his mistress—is shocked to learn he can fall in love. 

Tragic, isn’t it, to learn that money can buy anything but love?

WILD LILY, Book 1, on pre-order August 30!


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Brave women who enlisted in WWI! 22,000+ went to France! Pic you haven't seen before

Many of you know I am the curator for the U.S. National World War One Commission for ARMY NURSE COPRS.

Recently, I went to Fort Sam Houston here in San Antonio and took more pictures (most of them obscure and never before published) to show you just how marvelous these 22,000+ women were who traveled far from their homes to nurse wounded Doughboys and comfort the dying.

Please note the descriptions, many of them the originals on the photos. All are black and white and some have been reproduced over the century. But they show how courageous these women were to leave their homes, their towns and travel more than 3500 miles to serve their fellow Americans in need.

I hope you will read my novel, researched for decades, about them, HEROIC MEASURES. Find it here: http://amzn.to/1dWojVz



Monday, July 3, 2017

Do you see RED? Color in fashion in Regency romances! What great-great-grandma wore!

This charming number is dated approximately 1810
 and sits in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London
Creating fashion in our novels, we authors like to give stunning visuals. Sometimes, those require more research than we’d hope!

Recently on the Beau Monde RWA writers loop, we discussed the color red, the dyes and fabrics that could have existed at the time.

Here from one of my large references on fashion (let that read TOME), I thought it fun to list for you the very limited number of shades of red for that period! Note, too, that many come from the latter part of the period which is not officially the Regency, but indeed the late reign of George IV, once that notorious man, the Prince of Wales.

So this table reads as: the title of the color, the year the term was first used, the modern color description/name as per the British Color Council! (In alpha order!)

Aurora, 1809. Chilli.
Aurora, 1829.  Shell-Pink.
Eminence, 1829.  Crushed Strawberry.
Japanese Rose, 1826.  Crushed Strawberry.
Marsh Mallow, 1829. Crocus or Old Rose.
Morone, 1811. Peony Red.
Naccarat, 1800. Tangerine.
Terre D’Egypt, 1824. Brick Red.

What does this imply? That blood red, ruby red, cherry red and many more were not possible in this period. So when you read that your heroine wears a bright red gown to the ball, beware, she may not have been at all!

Friday, June 30, 2017

What to eat? How? When in Rome, Paris or London, partaking of dinner parties was a ritual fit to burst your buttons! European dining rooms that inspire!

Formal Dining Room at Malmaison where Josephine entertained
before and after Napoleon divorced her.
 If you were invited to a dinner party in the nineteenth century, you would have to be on your manners and either starving or terribly polite!

Why?

The meal was hours-long. The service slow and measured. The servants ready to deliver your every need. And the portions to the numerous courses were hearty.

Here are a few of my pictures of houses and dining rooms I adore. In them, kings and queens, emperors and generals ate, laughed and decided the fate of millions of others.
Shall we talk about an average evening and the menu?

Oh, let's!

First, do let out your corset an inch. You're going to need the room to breathe.
Second, roll back your long gloves, darling. No getting those dirty. Just put them in your lap after you've been assisted in your chair by a footman.
Third, remember to sit ramrod straight as your third governess taught you and please do not crush your bustle!
Fourth, you should know which fork or spoon to begin with. Your fourth governess taught you that, remember? Yes, that's right, the soup spoon is the big bowled one.
Remember your nanny's instructions about soup? "Like a ship upon the sea, I scoop my soup away from me!" Good.
That other one above your serving plate? It's for the cream, or shall we say, the ice, later. Hmm. Right.
Fish fork? Tiny, ugly thing. Unmistakeable.
Dinner fork, you'll know right off. Knife too.
Butter knife, ditto.

Now as we begin remember we speak only to the one gentleman on our right. He gets to chat you up for half the meal. If he has not cultivated the art of conversation at teatime with his granny, you must pick up his slack. He needs his bit of talk and you are his to enchant or vice versa, if he is lacking. This means you may well need to be well versed in botany, architecture or archeology, bugs, worms or coal mining. While it is best not to display an understanding of stocks and bonds, it is useful (in your future life as a duchess, etc etc.) to understand farming, goats and sheep, sale thereof, grassland availability on your property, weather patterns. All of this helps immensely when in need of sound dinner conversation.

On to the menu.
First Service:
   Potages (Soup) 
      For example: Consomme or  Puree
   Poisson (Fish)
      Any type: roasted, grilled, sauteed, fried or souped
   Entrees:
      Chicken, Beef or Lamb in any cut or form
   Larger Service:
       Venison
        Beef roast, etc
Second Service:
     Roti:
         Vegetable with meat, fish, protein
     Entremets:
          Salad
           Fruit
           Gateau of fruit (baked, custard, etc with fruit)
      Cheese        
Now you can see that you have eaten your way through your corset and volunteer to walk home! The meal was truly heavy. Furthermore, we have now learned that many of the well-to-do in this era suffered from obesity, too few vegetables in their diet and too much protein. The added sugar in desserts did not help make them any healthier. To be so, one had to be selective in portions and in the types of foods consumed.
       As for me, I am happy to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, fresher meals and fish, all of which is deemed safe before it is stocked in our groceries!

(And yes, all of these photographs are mine!)
Napoleon and Josephine's gold plate, minted for him at Sevres China Factory and given to Josephine's son,
Eugene after her death. Thereafter it was owned by a family in Russia until recently when the French Government
bought it back to display here.
Dining room in Palais Imperial at Compiegne, France set for Emperor Napoleon III and his wife.

A bit different, oui? The servants' dining hall in Vaux le Vicomte south of Paris!

Vive la difference! This is the owners' dining room (set with only half a table) in Vaux le Vicomte!
The Pump Room in Bath, England!
Do go for a full cream tea, music, atmosphere and warm mineral water from the spring!


Monday, June 26, 2017

Say Yes to the Scot! Anthology starring Sabrina York and 3 more authors!

You are formally invited to the Highland wedding event of the year. These four lasses are about to meet their matches in an original digital anthology featuring stories from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sabrina York, Lecia Cornwall, Anna Harrington, and May McGoldrick.
Available June 20th. Preorder Now!
HOW A LASS WED A HIGHLANDER by Lecia Cornwall
In this retelling of The Princess and The Pea, Laird Alex Munro of Culmore has just five weeks to find a bride and marry her...or else the clan will be cursed with ill luck. Cait MacLeod finds herself caught in a clan feud, and when she tries to stop a deadly raid, she ends up as Alex Munro’s prisoner. With timing running out, is this couple meant to be?
A MATCH MADE IN HEATHER by Anna Harrington
She was the laird's daughter. He was nothing more than a penniless, nameless Scot with nothing to offer but his heart. Fate tore them apart, but now he's back in her life with status, money and a title. Can they let go of past hurts and find love?
A MIDSUMMER WEDDING by May McGoldrick
Their marriage was two decades in the making. The young, educated woman and her highland, pirate husband, betrothed when they were still children. But on the day of their wedding, Elizabeth Hay and Alexander Macpherson are in for a surprise.
THE SCOT SAYS I DO by Sabrina York
Catherine Ross's world is turned upside down when her brother gambles away every penny they own. But to make matters worse? He’s lost everything to none other than Duncan Mackay, the rugged Scot who Catherine loved for years—but he never noticed her, and now she positively loathes him. But her brother’s in danger of going to Newgate, and the despicable Duncan has a plan– she can claim back the money and save her brother. If she marries him…
READ AN EXCERPT OF THE SCOT SAYS I DO
Duncan glanced at Peter who had dropped back down on the divan and covered his face with one arm. He was no use to either of them at this point. Besides, this business was between himself…and Catherine. He gently pressed her into the king’s chair, took one next to hers and scooted it around until he faced her. “You and Peter have no home now.”
“Not even the Wilds?”
“Not even the stables.” He tried to be as sympathetic as he could. This was difficult for her. Shattering. And it would only get worse. “For you, things are not so bad. You’re a lovely girl. You can marry well.” He ignored her snort. “But for Peter…” He let it hang there like a razor sharp icicle clinging to a roofline as a melt approached.
“But Peter?”
“He has other debts.”
“Oh no.”
“Small ones, but substantial enough for his creditors to ask for retribution.”
They both knew what that meant. Debtors’ prison. A truly nasty end for a feckless lad. But Duncan had the inclination to allow Peter to languish there—at least for a while—to teach the boy a lesson.
“Newgate would kill him,” Catherine whispered.
“It’s not all that bad.”
Her gaze snapped to him. “And how do you know?”
He lifted a brow. He had no intention of telling her that he’d visited and reprieved more than one foolish friend.
“Poor Peter.”
“He did bring this on himself. He gambles like a fiend.” A fiend who thinks he can never lose.
“Can’t you help him?”
Duncan swallowed an outraged laugh. “I believe I already have.”
“I mean, help him more?”
“Buy out all his debts? Return his wealth and property to him? Pat him on his head and charge him to go forth and risk it all again? What kind of fool do you think I am?”
“A heartless one.” She stood and whirled away, which gave him cause to follow.
But honestly, he was not the heartless one here.
When she spun back, he was right behind her and they were far too close. The tips of her breasts brushed against his chest and he nearly swallowed his tongue. She flinched as well, as though the touch had been like a bolt of lightning. She gazed up into his eyes, hers wide and damp. Her lips parted and her pink tongue dabbed out to wet them and his knees nearly failed him.
Damn she was so beautiful. So glorious. He wanted to kiss her now, ravish her. Claim her. He wanted—
“I cannot bear the thought of marrying one of my suitors,” she said, and he was brought back to the moment, his intent, with a powerful lurch.
“There may be a solution.”
She tipped up her delicate chin bravely. “And what might that be?”
So simple. So perfect.
“Marry me.”
Her jaw dropped and he fixated on the sight of her open mouth. If that was not a demand for a kiss, he did not know what was.
He pulled her into his arms, reveling in the warmth, the curves of her slight form, and lowered his head.
She tasted like heaven. Sweet bliss. Just like he remembered from that day when he’d pulled her from the loch and forced her to breathe again. Her scent infused him, enamored him, enraged a long-banked fire within him.
She would be his.
He would have her.
Finally.
Catherine Ross would be his bride, just as he’d dreamed of for so many years. Just as he’d fought and scrabbled and worked for. His life ambition had come to him and the moment was so sublime…
Until she pulled away and stared at him with an odd mixture of shock and fear limning her eyes.
And she hauled back her delicate fist.
And punched him in the jaw.
By the time he’d recovered from the shock of what he could only interpret as her refusal of his suit, she’d whirled away and flounced off to her chambers—God only knew where—in the bowels of the enormous mansion.
But this was only the first salvo in his campaign to win her.
And win her, he would.
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/say-yes-to-the-scot?utm_source=linkshare_us&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_campaign=linkshare_us&siteID=tT8CexMeqzg-YEr1P78pnBhYHVy4XihEEg

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Cerise went to #Paris! It's #research #champagne #chocolate #France #romance and my Pictures!

Yes, dahlinks, I went off to Paris!
USA's 100th Anniversary of WWI
http://www.worldwar1centennial.org
Drop me a comment here about what you'd bring back!
Champagne?
Chocolate?
A French comte or marquis?
All of the above???
Sigh.
Me, too.
Here are a few of my pictures from trips past!
And here's a hint: Sign up for my newsletter for more info here:  http://eepurl.com/bZ6xkj
Mr. DeLand and I at a chateau along the River Marne
when we spent two and a half weeks trailing the American Expeditionary Forces battle lines of 1917-1918.
Did you realize that the 100th anniversary of American involvement in WWI occurs now?
Center Hall in Opera Garnier, Paris!
Josephine's Malmaison in Parisian countryside, her dining room!
This charming church is in Varennes, France (near Verdun) where the French king, Louis XVI and his wife
Marie Antoinette and their two children took refuge in 1791. Sadly, they were caught by the villagers
and returned to Paris where they died at the guillotine.
Once the House of Worth stood in this #7 Rue de la Paix near the Opera Garner in Paris!
Cathedral of St. Peter on fashionable Rue di Rivoli in Paris




Thursday, April 27, 2017

A night at the opera/ A chance for seduction! #Paris

Grand Hall, Opera Garnier, Paris
I went to Paris for research and had to take in the Opera Garnier!
I start a new series, THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS, October 17 with a novel starring a family of brash, bold American beauties and eligible robber barons.
Every American heiress had to have a wardrobe fit for a princess or duchess or whatever ancient title she could grab. So she went to Paris. Her papa spent tens of thousands on a complete wardrobe for her from lingerie to tea gowns to evening gowns and many many chapeaus! He also hired French or English ladies, impoverished as they were, to educate their young misses in everything from how to curtsy to how to use a fish fork.
These impressionable young ladies went to cafes, the races and soirees galore.
Detail, Grand Hall, Opera Garnier, Paris
While there, they also had their nights at the opera. The Opera Garnier, to be precise. In my first novel in the series, WILD LILY, our heroine and her entire family go to an evening at this ornate example of Belle Epoch architecture. They sit in a box. (I did.) They sip champagne in the refreshment room. (I went but did not sip.) They escaped to the balcony for an assignation or more. (I went with Mr. DeLand out onto the balcony but we were quite modest at 3 in the afternoon!)

There were explicit rules about how to arrive, when and why and what a lady might and might not do at the opera. I've incorporated all my research for you...and added a bit of risqué elements to entertain you!

Draperies at entrance to Grand Hall,
Opera Garnier
And not only in the first book do we go to the opera. But in the second book in the series as well. There I treat you to a Frenchman you won't be able to resist. Neither can my American widow who wanted only one night of pleasure...and gets much more than she bargained for!
This second in the series is not yet titled, but you can look for it early in January!

Enjoy the rest of my pictures! I adored this lavish theatre and I hope you will too!

Interior of the theatre.


Grand Circle, entrance to private boxes,
Opera Garnier, Paris

Grand staircase, Opera Garnier, Paris

Detail, Grand Staircase, Opera Garnier,
Paris

Red velvet chair, private box, Opera Garnier 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Those "Dollar Princesses" bought their hubbies! How much did Churchill's mama pay? What's it worth today?

Jenny Jerome Churchill
1854-1921
The courtship was whirlwind. Days, they knew each other before he proposed. Weeks only before they were married. Yes, Jenny Jerome and Lord Randolph Churchill met at a yachting party on Cowes and within days the man had proposed to the American girl whose papa, Leonard, was very, very rich.

Prior to the passage of the British Married Women's Property Act of 1882, women had no rights to their husband's property. Therefore, the Duke of Marlborough assumed that whatever dowry Jenny had would be given to her future husband. Leonard Jerome demanded any money he offer be controlled by his daughter.

Once he proposed, Randolph was met with a skeptical father. And his sire wanted a solid financial arrangement to complement the marriage. They haggled for months over the money.

After much debate, Jenny father agreed to 50,000 pounds (approximately 3 million pounds in present day value) producing 2,000 pounds income each user with half of both capital and income going to the husband and half to the wife. This equalled approximately 150,000 pounds per year for them to live on. The fact that Jenny had control of her own money was an extraordinary concept in that day and age, one to which the Duke objected heartily. His argument was that by marrying his son, she would give up her American citizenship and become a British subject. Therefore, she should live as one. Fortunately for her, her father did not agree.

As soon as the families agreed to this amount, Jenny and Randolph were married. However, this was not done at the Marlborough estate, nor any where in England but in Paris at the Hotel Charost, the British Embassy in Paris. (Those of you who read this blog regularly will recall that the Hotel Charost was once Pauline Bonaparte's house bought by the British Government for the Duke of Wellington after the defeat of Napoleon in 1814.)

So read more about these ladies, I hope you will read my own American Heiresses series!

References:
McCall, Gail, and Wallace, Carol McD., To Marry an English Lord, 1989.
Jenkins, Roy, Churchill, A Biography. 2001.
Lady Churchill, Her sons Jack (l) and Winston (rt.)


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

How much will you pay to marry a duke? House of Worth, Rue de la Paix #Paris

This picture of of Worth house in the Rue de la Pzix in the 1870s. 
To be able to debut in European society in the 1870s up until 1910s, it was oh so important to dress the part. What better way to do it than to go to House of Worth where a girl could be measured and outfitted for a mere...oh...$50,000 for the Season!

Yes, it was vital to appear fabulous when shopping for a duke or a baron...or anyone else in between.  Jennie Jerome went to Worth. So did the Vanderbilts and the Astors. Anyone who was anyone went and acquired one of Worth's vendeuses (personal sales girls).

Frederick Worth was considered the first fashion designer but many, like Madame Pacquin, very close by in the Rue de la Paix were just as good and just as expensive.
The underpinnings of a bustle!

The drama of dressing was long and drawn out. To wear a bustle was truly a challenge, not only to walk in one but to sit and yes, shall we discuss how to manage the necessities of life in one of these contraptions? Add to that the discomfort of one of the era's corsets, and a girl could get rather tired of carrying around such extra weight.
Madame Pacquin, French designer
and competitor to Worth

Frederick Worth, Englishman and designer,
#7 Rue de la Paix

Evening gown, House of Worth

Walking costume, House of Worth
corset, late 19th century

corset, late 19th century

All this so that one might sweep up this staircase in the Opera Garner in Paris
and appear stately, rich and desirable!


My photo of #7 Rue de la Paix from a research trip last October!
Still as impressive looking as in its heyday. Not far from Opera Garnier, Tiffany's and more!