Monday, December 23, 2019

Need a new E-reader? WIN WIN WIN! Another contest from Santa and me!

Thirty authors of swoon-worthy historical romance have joined together to offer prizes this Christmas when you follow them on Bookbub!
YES! Simply FOLLOW EACH ONE to increase your chances to win a new e-reader and books!
What could be more simple?
Nothing except kissing Santa Claus!
Contest runs December 23 to January 1!
START here:

And be sure to Follow me here: 

Friday, December 20, 2019

Historical Holiday Scavenger Hunt with $300 Gift Card and 2 $50 cards!

ANNOUNCING the winner of my special promotion that goes with this Scavenger Hunt!
BILLIE MARSHALL you are the winner of my print book, DARING WIDOW and all other goodies!
The winners of this grand contest for the GIFT CARDS
will be announced SUNDAY!

´`´* Historical Holiday Scavenger Hunt .¸¸,.
Thank you so much for visiting my stop in the scavenger hunt! 
My book for the hunt is The Marquess's Final Fling! And my question is: What does Lady Goddard assume is behind the screen?
Visit my books Amazon preview here: PREVIEW and read through it to find the answer. Once you have the answers to all 25 questions from all of the authors, record them on the entry form here: 
PLEASE DO NOT post your answers publicly.

In addition to the main scavenger hunt, to one lucky person, I am giving away a print copy of DARING WIDOW, sticky notes and a keychain of Eiffel Tower, direct from Paris! 
To enter: Join my newsletter on my home page or Follow Me on Bookbub here: BookBub.
Already do both? Then write to tell me so at and tell me one book you read of mine that you loved! 
I will select one winner from among all on December 20 by 5 EST and announce it on Facebook here.
The next stop in the scavenger hunt is: Anna St. Claire at
  1. Must be 18 or older to enter.
  2. Giveaway’s are in no way endorsed or sponsored by any business or entity beyond the authors.
  3. To qualify for the Scavenger Hunt giveaway you MUST answer all 25 questions correctly.
  4. All answers must be recorded on the Google entry form and nowhere else. If someone posts an answer publicly, their comment will be deleted by the authors and will not count.
  5. Amanda Mariel will notify the Scavenger Hunt winners via email within one week of the giveaway ending. Amanda Mariel will also deliver the grand prize $300 Amazon gift card as well as the two runners up $50 Amazon gift cards.
  6. Individual authors are responsible for announcing the winners of their giveaways as well as delivering their prizes.
  7. See the full set of rules, terms, and conditions on the Google entry form.
For a full list of the scavenger hunt stops go here  

Thank you so much for stopping by my Blog and good luck!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Collette Cameron's new Earl of Scarborough! A treat!

When a woman desperate for a job saves the life of an earl…
… both of their plans for the future are thwarted.

He’s eccentric and society-shy…

There’s no polite way to describe Ansley, Earl of Scarborough’s obsession with schedules and inflexible routines. Unfortunately, he’s also in need of a wife, which forces him squarely in the midst of the society he can scarcely function in. If only he dared to ignore the haut ton’s censure and claim the lovely, wholly unsuitable Willow as his own.

She seeks a governess post…

Up from the country, Willow Harwood must quickly secure a governess position and save enough money to return to America. Only, her plans are foiled when she rushes to the rescue of a devastatingly handsome earl in the process of being robbed. Though he’s far above her station, she can’t fight the irrepressible attraction she feels toward him.

Neither is prepared for the upheaval to their lives when she reluctantly accepts his offer of employment…as his housekeeper. Nor can either predict the mayhem that follows when a lord who disdains society and a country miss with no experience plan a haut ton Christmastide gathering.

This charming Regency holiday historical by a USA Today bestselling author will make you smile, laugh, and sigh with contentment as you witness the sweet and tender love growing between Ansley and Willow.

If you enjoy reading entertaining Christmas, class difference, strong heroine, and lovable rogue stories with a dash of romantic humor and heart-warming emotion, then you’ll adore Collette Cameron’s enthralling WICKED EARLS’ CLUB SERIES. Buy EARL OF SCARBOROUGH and settle into your favorite reading nook for a page-turning escape into a Regency world adventure you can’t put down.

Though part of a series, this book can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.

Castle Brides
Heart of a Scot ~ Coming soon!
Highland Heather Romancing a Scot
Seductive Scoundrels
The Blue Rose Regency Romances: The Culpepper Misses
The Honorable Rogues

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Men! Their clothes, their beards and the ladies who love them...or not!


In the Regency period, male attire went from that!

Simplicity was the greater rule, all folderol of lace and hair powder and male peacock colors swept away by the ideals of the French Revolution and equality, fraternity and lack of funds to pay for it all!

While the extravagant attire boiled down to slimmer silhouette and darker colors, so to did men hairstyles change.

Here we see a chronological illustration of that progress, some of which we still honor today. Certainly, shorter hair brings with it cleanliness, order and ease of fashion sense.
 These illustrations/paintings seem more in line with our current sensibilities as they certainly were with the ladies' fashions of the day. Here the simplicity of line in female attire corresponds to that of the men!

Too often when we authors write historical fiction fight with ourselves about what to include to give us the verisimilitude necessary. Fashion is definitely one I struggle with! Shall I talk about the fabric, its feel or cost, its hue, its suitability or NOT for the style. Certainly a dressmaker had to have knowledge of what she/ he created.

I remember that from when I was younger and often sewed my own clothes! Choosing the wrong flexibility of fabric or a thickness of warp could destroy the intent of the design. One should have swayed, perhaps, when one really only stalked!

You get me!

One young man who is currently the Rage in men's costume is Zack Pinsent! Who is he??? 

A tailor who lives in Brighton in UK who makes all his own clothes and sews period clothing for men who wish to dress correctly for historical representation! I hope to visit with him when next I go to Brighton!

Fashion sources are a wonderful rabbit hole for research !
Here is one for many time periods but this is 1810-1819 (Regency definitely!)

Here is another, most intriguing! 1810-1830 :

Lately, we see men wearing “runway scruff”. But beards became popular in the mid-19th century, approximately after Victoria came to the throne.

Here is an intriguing discussion of them:

Beards implied masculinity! Here is a quote from a historian of beards: Echoing later claims for the innate masculinity of beards, whiskers were said to be ‘grave and manly’. Whiskers had been venerated by ‘the ancients’, lending them an air of authority and wisdom. It was, as one commentator noted, ‘silly to oppose so ancient a custom in an age so attached to antiquity’.”

A fellow making 2 points of things!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Come party with me tomorrow night on FB with a Rogue who is, yes, SNOWED IN!

🍒🎄Come party with me tomorrow night at Annabelle Anders' Group on FB when we all get SNOWED IN WITH A ROGUE! BOOKS, fun and swag!
7 EST/ 6 PM Central/5 MTN/ 4 PACIFIC🎄🍒
I am joined by my co-authors: Jacki Delecki, Tracy Edingfield Dunn, Gina Danna,Victoria Oliveri, Sandra Masters, Angelique Armae, and me, Cerise DeLand!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Branding your work? Cerise DeLand offers a partial list of graphic designers!

My logo for Book covers, promo
Branding your work is no easy task. It requires a lot of thought on your part beginning with deciding what you write, how you write it, what characteristics define your market segment and finally, your look.
All this you should do before you ever talk to an artist. In fact, it requires you think about it in depth before you decide on one artist over another.

And in this marketplace, with new authors trying their wings daily, the market is filled with marvelous designers.
In fact, the list I am about to produce for you here shows the variety of their thoughts and tools, the marvelous talent and the dramatic differences among those designers.

First of all, let me tell you, I am an author. A communicator. I am not an artist. But I have worked with professional designers of everything from giant highway billboards to tiny, intriguing business cards for more than 42 years.

My logo for FB and Twitter!
Secondly, why do I have this list?

Ah, my guilty secret is that I LOVE looking at the offerings of so many delightful artists and often after I sit down each morning to work (and yes, write!) I take myself on a magic carpet ride on the internet to gaze at the beauties they have offered up for our enjoyment. (I could go to amazon and surf, but trust me, that way, I am reading plot lines, not imbibing the skills of the artistry.)

Furthermore, if you look at these artists' works like I do, you become inspired by their imagination. I play a game with myself called, What Title Goes With This Cover?

Try it. You'll be smiling.  \And like me, you may find yourself refreshed and ready to hit the keyboard. If you have problems tearing yourself away, then do hit the stop watch. You could spend the day doing this! (Yes. I have.)

My publishing logo
Know too that not every artist is right for you and your work or even all of your work. Many are better at one particular kind of rendering, much like Rodin was better at sculptures of nudes and men in action or torment. But he probably would not have achieved fame for, say, painting like Delacroix. Nor could Chopin compose works that had the fell or drama of Beethoven. If you write Regency romance, an artist who does superb sci-fi romance covers might not be your best choice. But if you wrote about Mr. Darcy on Mars? Well, then! Give that artist a good go!

Each artist has different requirements of clients, different ways of working. Each tells you that, usually up front. If you have questions, ask. Note how each works and see if that set of principles works for you, your temperament and your ideas of professional relationships.

I have collected these sites for a long time because it suits my own artistic temperament. Looking at art (painting, sculpture, installations) opens up my own mind, makes me ask questions of myself that are vital to my existence and my growth as a writer. I hope you enjoy this list and use it to your prosperity and in the best of health. And if you know of an artist who is not on this list, please send it to me! I will make another list for all to use and enjoy!

A few things you must know about this list:

It is in no order.
It has no qualifiers, including pricing.
It represents, I am certain, only a smattering of those who offer up delicious work.
I do not say this list is complete, or the definitive list of those who can and should aid you.
Many designers go in and out of business, and change their names. So many here may have changed their status.
I do not advocate for one more than the other.
I do not receive any compensation from any of them for this listing.
But I have employed some of them.
I would employ a lot more if I wrote faster and had more books!
In fact, I have in my computer, far more book covers by artists whom I have employed than works I have yet written! (Yes, I am that enamored of great art that I salivate to possess it. Kind of like a woman who must have a certain man she adores! But I digress.)

And so here is my list:!book-covers/c192n


And for my commercial, here I've added a few of my own covers (designed by two different artists) that I adore and you can readily see the difference in tone, treatment and, I do hope, genre!


Happy viewing!
Cerise DeLand

Monday, October 7, 2019

What precisely is a bourdaloue? And why would we need one? Hmm! Secrets of the bedchamber!

Before indoor plumbing, the private matters of personal toilette were carried out in very different ways from today.

In country homes and chateaux, water was primed from a pump and carried into the house in buckets. Heated, if necessary and then carted about inside in same buckets or perhaps pitchers.

Some houses were fitted with cisterns on the roofs to catch rainwater. Make-shift showers could be had by pulling the lever to allow the water to cascade down. But yes, that water was cold.

What then of disposal of bodily wastes?

While a few who were rich, including monarchs and their families, had privy chairs, beneath those open seats were, quite frankly, pots. In country houses and chateaux disposal of waste was much the same as in the growing cities. Waste was carried to the back of the house and dumped in bins for the night soil collector to dispose of. As we see below in one cartoon, urine was often simply thrown into the streets. Open sewers were a source of disease and contamination until the later part of the 19th century.
Until then, removal of waste was done by hand. By the hands of servants or the persons themselves, bodily eliminations were carried out in chamber pots or bourdaloues.

A pot is easy enough to imagine. Here is one with a fellow inside, who presumably, is there to guide one's aim!

But what, pray tell, is a bourdaloue?

A small receptacle usually made of porcelain, these boats, if you will, were specifically made for women to urinate in. Above, at the opening of this articles one and here is another rather lovely example!
But how were they used?

While one can imagine, I thought I spice up your day and show you a few illustrations from the period! Some are paintings, other cartoons! Do enlarge to read the captions. Useful to note that these folks could and did laugh at their inconveniences. One not so hilarious cartoon is the one in which one gentleman, I use the term loosely, is relieving himself in the same room with his dinner partners!

Why do I mention any of this? Because I am finishing up THE BUTLER'S FORBIDDEN FANCY, a short Christmas story in my CHRISTMAS BELLES series, and the hero who is a butler is discussing his duties. They would include ensuring that the guests at his employer's home have sufficient pots and bourdaloues for their conveniences!

Friday, October 4, 2019

Silver Foxes do it better! A nibble of my new Christmas cherry with older hgeor and older heroine!

AUNT GERTRUDE'S RED HOT CHRISTMAS BEAU stars and older hero (A silver fox!) and his older heroine (a silver lady!).  He appears first October 7 in SNOWED IN WITH A ROGUE! That is a wonderful box set with stories by seven terrific authors!
I hope you will enjoy them all...and especially my guy, the Duke of Harlow! He is the father of the Marquess of Tain, who is the hero in THE MARQUESS'S FINAL FLING, out the same day, October 7!
Here is a nibble of my newest cherry!

Copyright 2019. Cerise Deland. All rights reserved.
“You may go, Nan,” she told her lady’s maid. “I’ve no need of my wrapper. I go straight to bed. You should, too.”
The servant bobbed and turned for Gertrude’s sitting room door.
But when she opened it, Simms stood there. His hand in the air, ready to scratch the wood to ask for entry, he quickly recovered his aplomb. The butler was new to Gertrude’s employ, efficient, worldly and no more than thirty years of age. Intriguing for a butler of his extensive experience to be so less than fifty, but Gertrude had not debated his background. She’d hired the man. Handsome as sin with ink black hair and flashing silver eyes, he had an air of no nonsense, a bevy of friends at Prinny’s Royal Pavilion and an odd penchant for quoting Shakespeare. Gertrude valued him. A wise and interesting choice to head her household. Even if, at the moment, he appeared to be rather disheveled. Odd that.
“Yes, Simms.” She swished her long unbound silver hair over her shoulder and pulled her green velvet robe close to her throat. “What is it?”
“My lady, we have a new arrival. I knew you’d wish to greet him.”
Him? Her heart did a girlish pitter-patter. “I wish to welcome any guest, Simms. Who—?”
“The duke of Harlow, Madam.”
She shivered in delight. “I will be right down, Simms.”
“No need, my dear Gertrude!” The bass voice was one of command, a man who knew his authority and seized it. Yes, it was Harlow! Expertly attired in a winter clawhammer and woolen breeches that hugged his sturdy frame, he glowed from the brisk winter air. His hair, black as sin with those devilish streaks of white at his temples, proclaimed his age more than the ruddiness of his cheeks. Most of all, what declared his youthful intentions were his turquoise eyes that twinkled in mischief. 
Simms stepped aside.
And Harlow filled her doorway.
 She grinned and extended both hands. “Your Grace. How wonderful to see you here.”
He walked right in, nodding in dismissal to Simms and her maid. Then he reached out to grasp the door and shut it upon them both. “How wonderful to be greeted. By a lady in her nightgown, too. Love the dishabille, my dear.”
“You rake!” She chuckled. And blushed. What a man to so commandeer the room! In front of her butler and her maid, too. My, my. “Harlow, I’m thrilled!”
“Are you, my darling?” He strode close, sent one hand up to capture the wealth of her hair and curled an arm around her waist. Crushing her against his rock-like form, he brushed his firm lips across hers and seized her mouth in a ravenous kiss. When he broke away, she was breathless . “I’m here to claim the joys of the Season—and you. Will you have me?”

Thursday, August 22, 2019

NEW VIDEO! Like vids to learn about new books, new authors? Try this one for my series THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS!

   THIS MARVELOUS VIDEO has been in the works for a long time! Promoting all the novels in my family saga of the Gilded Age, this video is a wonderful composition of concept, covers, stills and video clips.
   Where did they come from?

  • I wrote the script.
  • I purchased the video clips from wonderful PERIOD IMAGES!
  • I bought the stills from a stock art company.
  • And sent them all to my producer!
   I hope you will now want to read all the books in this series! Available on Amazon, KOBO, NOOK and iTunes, this series begins with the first generation of robber baron Killian Hanniford's family.
   Each story is different, each incorporates historical detail pertinent to the romances. The theme—money can buy anything—works in all the plots but in different ways.
   WILD LILY stars Killian's oldest daughter who sails to Europe with him for the fun of it, definitely not for a husband.
   DARING WIDOW features Killian's niece. A widow who wishes never to tie herself to any man, Marianne is a talented artist. When she meets a famous sculptor (think Rodin!), she is tempted to love him and leave him. But can she?
   SWEET SIREN features Killian himself. Older than your average romance hero, he is nonetheless a charming character. Too bad he cannot seem to charm one woman who enchants him anyway!
   SCANDALOUS HEIRESS stars Killian's youngest daughter. Ada finds herself in love with a widower who needs no wife and no complications in his life. When he falls in love with her anyway, he must choose to save her...or himself. Can he find happiness? And can she love a man whom she ruins?
   RAVISHING CAMILLE, to come out this winter, is the last of the first generation to find happiness. She's a wild child, forever in love with one man who tells himself he needs no entanglements to any woman, least of all to the one who has enchanted him for years.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

What to wear for mourning a king? George III dies in Jan. 1820!

When George III died January 29, 1820 in Windsor Castle, the Court sent out official orders two days later for members of the Court (his family, relatives, attendants et al.) and parts of the official government. This was "to begin upon Thursday, the 3rd day of February instant." 

Initially, everyone in the United Kingdom was to wear black. The mourning period, usually a full year after anyone's death, was extended in many finite ways after the death of a monarch.

In these two excerpts from a newspaper published days after his death, we see that clothing was specifically addressed. (Do enlarge the photos here so you can them.)

But I excerpt this for you:

"Ladies were to wear black bombazine, plain muslin or long lawn linens, crape hoods, shammy shoes and gloves and crape fans.

"Undress—Dark Norwich crape.

"The Gentlemen to wear back cloth, without buttons on the sleeves and pockets, plain muslin or long lawn cravats and weeps. shammy shoes, and gloves, crape headbands, and black swords and buckles.

"Undress—Dark grey frocks."

Specific instructions were issued by the Lord Chamberlain for:

Horse Guards: " crape over the ornamental part of the cap, the sword knot, and on the left arm. Officers on duty are to wear black gloves, black crape over the ornamental part of the cap...the sash covered in black crape, black gorget ribbon, and black crape scarf over the right shoulder.

The drums are to be covered with black...

Admiralty Office: " crape on their left arms, hats, and scrod-knots...except at Court, when they are also to wear black waistcoats, breeches, stockings and buckles...

In addition, theaters were closed. Many shops closed too.

For three months, the Court held no public affairs. Balls and many social events were cancelled. The new King George IV, though not yet crowned, did not attend social functions. 

Gradations of mourning in terms of events one might hold or attend were normal. Three months, six months and then one year were the usual periods of mourning. Changes in the color and types of clothing changed with the periods.

Mourning for old King George III was particularly difficult for the Court and for all in the country because six days before one of his sons, the Duke of Kent who was Princess Victoria's father, had died of pneumonia.  He was buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, February 12, 1820. For days later, February 16, 1820 was the day that George III was buried in the same chapel. 

Not until one year and half later is George III's son, the Prince Regent, crowned King George  IV.

In HIS NAUGHTY MAID, my heroine goes to the public celebrations for Coronation of George IV July 21, 1821. That official day-long event, long after mourning was ended for the previous monarch, was a lavish affair with week-long celebrations. It also cost the equivalent of MILLIONS of  British pounds!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

This Countess worries her daughter may be enchanted with (gasp!) the stable boy! Your chuckle for today!

Number 6, Dudley Crescent

July 15, 1821

Dearest Lucinda,
I write to you today to share my outrage at occurrences in Dudley Crescent. I simply cannot abide the recent changes and must have your advice.

Two years ago, a murder occurred at Number 10. The horrid matter was quickly resolved when the culprit was identified and put away from fine society.  But the greater scandal was that the widowed lady of the house had intimate relations with her butler! Then last year, a noted member of society hired a young woman as ward to his child…and later, did marry the woman! She was far below his station, though, I do understand, an heiress of considerable worth. I must tell you the man is one of our finest gentlemen with a spotless reputation and high military honors.
Yet, I worry. Another event occurring last week causes me to question my presence here!

I understand that another noble gentleman has paid attentions to one of his servants! This time, said woman is not a governess. No, indeed, she is his maid-of-all-work! Can you imagine? I’ve been inconsolable, riddled with a nervous stomach and headaches. My usual little dose of laudanum is simply not enough to calm me.

This causes me to ask you if you think I should move to a better part of town. Is there a curse on the Crescent? Must I expect more servants who will climb above their station to enthrall their masters or mistresses? Worse, will such an affliction affect my own house? I must tell you, quite confidentially, that my only daughter, Lady Mary, seems far too taken with one of our own servants. The new…dear me, I can barely write this…stable boy. Yes! He is most definitely nota boy. Not by any means. He is thirty years of age or more. Tall, taller than my dear departed husband. In strapping good health and devilishly handsome with hair the color of coal and eyes like lavender. He is quite ethereal. 
I do rattle on!
Advise me, please!
Most sincerely,
Countess of Trelawny
Cerise's Amazon series!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

HIS TEMPTING GOVERNESS! A nibble of my new cherry? YESSS! And it hit 3 bestseller lists and took BUTLER and MAID up with it! Tickled!

Thanks to all my readers who love a Regency, a good laugh, a series, and a whisper of mystery!

All of you have taken DELIGHTFUL DOINGS IN DUDLEY CRESCENT books 1, 2 and 3 and made me a very happy author!

So, on that, how about an excerpt from HIS TEMPTING GOVERNESS?
Dancing at midnight? It's what we do!

HIS TEMPTING GOVERNESS Dancing at Midnight excerpt, Copyright 2019, Cerise DeLand.

Win, the Earl of Cartwell, cannot sleep and as he emerges from his bedroom suite he sees a stirring sight! 

The mantel clock in his bedroom struck midnight as Win gave up the quest to fall asleep. He threw back his covers and reached for his banyan flung over his wing chair.
Tying his sash, he sighed ruefully and slid on his slippers. Ever since his interview of Miss Swanson this afternoon, he’d thought of nothing but the woman. She shouldn’t occupy his mind…but his satisfaction to have found her challenged his curiosity that she needed employment.
Clearly, she’d been well educated. Once, she’d been well dressed. Both indicated a background of some status. Yet she had none now and needed money. Moreover, she had the courage to ask for more than the going wage. Which begged the question: Why?
She certainly owed him no explanation. Yet his preoccupation with her led him to hope that in time, she’d tell him.
He paused at the connecting door from his suite to the library. Tonight he did not wish brandy. Hot chocolate was what he really craved.
So instead, he turned toward his sitting room and the door to the hall.
He’d taken two paces and halted at the vision swaying in the silver moonlight. In a dark robe, her feet bare upon the hall runner, Miss Isabelle Swanson executed steps from a formal country dance. Her eyes closed, her ebony hair swishing about her shoulders, her arms out, her elegant fingers brushing the air, she made her steps in silence. And to accompany her movements, she hummed.
He stepped backward, never wishing to frighten her. Nor did he wish to stop her.
How often did anyone express their happiness by dancing in the dark? Alone?
Never had he known anyone to do it. But her delight in it ignited a flaming desire in his soul to join her. 
“Oh! Oh!” She froze in mid-move. “Sir!”
“I’m so sorry, Miss Swanson.” He had one hand up. “I did not want to frighten you. Nor stop you, either.”
“Oh, sir.” She swallowed hard and crossed her arms over her bosom. She was attired in a black velvet robe, her bare toes peeking from the gold-trimmed hem. “I apologize. You must think me mad.”
“No, indeed.”
“I—I was happy. Hadn’t been happy in a— And I couldn’t sleep.”
“Happiness is a reason to dance. Here. Anywhere. At any time of night. Or day, for that matter.” He stepped toward her, overjoyed with her. “Spontaneity is a condition to be nurtured. I value it and hope you will encourage it in Daphne.”
She tipped up her lovely heart-shaped face in question. “That, sir, is most unusual.”
Laughter stole across her features. “But do you believe Daphne needs encouragement to be more spontaneous than she already is?”
“Ah, well.” He chuckled. “Good point. But yes, we all need it.”
“Even you, sir?” Immediately with a hand to her chest, she looked startled, as if she repented the question. “Oh, I didn’t mean to insult you.”
“You haven’t.” He moved closer. She was an angel in the rays of the moon, her skin so pure, her eyes so luminous, her embarrassment so endearing. “Even I, Miss Swanson, need to be more spontaneous. Children—I do remember from my own years—can be impulsive. Education often drains it. Like many, I took what was given, made the most of it. Forgot to take inspiration and run with it. In the army, one works with the possible and banks on the probable. I acquired fine horses for battles, good equipment from winnings at gambling. If I learned on my own to like French poetry, if I enjoyed Italian cantatas, I gained those pleasures from allowing myself the rapture that came from instant, illogical desires to learn of them.”
“How noble of you, sir,” she breathed.
And as her gaze absorbed each feature of his visage with careful consideration, he felt the hot flush of her admiration.
He reveled in it. Moreover, he knew not what to say that might show him as humble at her praise. But he did not wish to dismiss her approval of him. He welcomed it.
Lured by her, he nonetheless stepped backward. “I am awake and walking the house in search of hot chocolate, Miss Swanson. May I ask you to join me?”
She stared at him a long moment which told him she did consider it. “Thank you. No, sir.”
“Very well. Another night then.” He let his hope shine in his eyes that soon she might agree. “I’m going to the kitchen. And you should continue your dance.”
He took the stairs down, feeling the welcome regard of emerald eyes upon his back.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Servants run the house...and fall in love with their employers? GASP!

I’ve often delighted in touring English houses. In every nook and cranny, I’ve found little joys that I’ve tried to add in my novels.
Regency Town House
Brighton, England
In my fictitious Dudley Crescent that I invented for this series, Delightful Doings in Dudley Crescent, I take bits and pieces from a few houses I’ve visited in England. Most often, I reference floor plans for a house in Brighton that I recommend everyone visit. This house, officially dubbed Regency Town House, is currently being restored by volunteers who are specialists in home construction and Regency period lifestyles. They have formed a non-profit organization and promote their work in Brighton, offering tours, dinners and other entertainments to educate everyone. 
When I last visited, this group was involved in discovering the original paint colors on the walls, ceilings and fittings. Here I show you the intricate design on drawing room shutters. Each house in Brunswick Square originally sold in the 1820s for approximately three thousand pounds. This did not include cost of such items as chandeliers, elaborate moldings, draperies or furnishings. A buyer could expect to purchase his or her own embellishments, according to his means, to make the house a home.
Butler's Wine Cellar,
Brighton England
When completed, a townhouse would be home not only to the owners’ family but also a team of servants. In this Brighton home, for example, servants could enter the house from the front street with steps down to the basement. There the housekeeper had her spacious room, the butler his wine cellar, the servants their dining room, an exit to the center kitchen garden and the servants’ privy! From the center hall in the basement, servants waited upon their masters upstairs accessing their own staircase. This rough-hewn wooden set of steps was narrow and lit only by one window. Near this staircase is the kitchen, a wide expanse with cupboards, a glass ceiling and a huge fireplace. Maids slept in an alcove in the kitchen and footman slept on the cold stone floor. From the kitchen, one could exit to the mews.
Shutter decor
Regency Town House,
Brighton, England
While my Dudley Crescent townhouses most nearly resemble the Brunswick Square Brighton townhouses, they haves similarities to the Royal Crescent in Bath and to those in Earl’s Court in London. A few similarities also exist with architect Sir John Soanes’ house in London. Do visit this house when you are there next. Wonders abound, especially his device for hanging and displaying his precious collection of paintings. 
Door Decor
Syon House,
London, England
Townhouses showed the owners’ wealth and status. These homes often rivaled the nobles’ main country homes and their London residences in quality and appointments. Owners brought in sculptures, paintings and furnishings and even built little libraries. Whether in London or in smaller cities and towns, the different layouts and styles offer a treasure trove for a happy tourist!
Noting how Belle, my heroine in HIS TEMPTING GOVERNESS, hid her documents in secret drawers, I will tell you that the cabinetmaker acclaimed for this was George Hepplewhite. An Englishman, he crafted desks and other types of cabinetry with hidden compartments. His work, often imitated by other lesser known craftsmen, was popular. Belle’s family could have owned quite a few pieces that resembled his style.
Kentish Chronicle, August 4, 1820
I will say as an aside that the auction of Belle’s house was a usual phenomenon. Numerous advertisements appeared daily in newspapers, detailing the auction of houses and contents. Some were estates owned by titled men and women, others had been those of tradesmen or those who had gone bankrupt. Contents up to bid could include everything in the house! Auctions were a means for many families to survive financial ruin.
Be sure to pre-order HIS TEMPTING GOVERNESS now for half price! After release, it will be $3.99!  BUY HERE!