Thursday, November 22, 2012

Winner Winner Turkey Dinner!

Marianne Theresa, you're the lucky winner of the Jane Austen quote necklace!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop. It was great to meet so many lovely new people. I hope to see you around again soon!

Happy Thanksgiving, USAers! See you at pie o'clock.

I'm rooting for the bird.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop -- An Old New World

Welcome to the first Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop, Bluestocking Ball edition. If this is your first visit to my blog, hi! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll find something here to entice you to come back again soon.

When I think about the Regency world I try to create for my readers, I'm drawn back to the idea of why I read romance novels to begin with. From the perspective of a reader, what escape am I looking for?

Setting is the first thing that comes to mind. I think you all know I'm a bit partial to historical settings. I love visiting times gone by, particularly my beloved Regency. The trappings of it are beautiful -- the clothes, the grand houses, the balls, the carriages, the pastoral countryside. Life moved a little slower then. A shopping jaunt into the village involved a walk or a ride in a carriage, not a high speed car race [As an aside, do you ever think about how fast we really travel these days? Travel by carriage achieved about 20 miles per day. PER DAY. Even speeds we grumble about now, like 25 mph through a small town, would have seemed screaming fast to our Regency counterparts.] Manners and etiquette were matters of common knowledge. Of course, this system gives ample opportunity for historical romance authors to create comedy of manners, a trope employed by Shakespeare and Jane Austen, among other literary luminaries.

For me, setting is the icing on the cake. It's the decoration that catches your eye when you're browsing a selection of delicacies and makes you say, "I want that one. It looks delicious!"

And by "that one" I mean ALL THE NOMS.

But what are we really looking for in a romance? I submit that readers take two journeys in a novel. One is the setting that transports us to another place or time. The second, which I would say is even more important than the first, is an emotional trip. Romance is about escaping into the lives of characters who are facing challenges and falling in love. It's about meeting new people without the awkwardness of making small talk with them. A romance novel takes us on a journey of the heart.

After we finish a fantastic novel, what do we remember? The sweeping vistas or thrilling action might be part of it, but mostly we remember the characters we've grown to care for. We remember the heartache and suffering. We remember the sizzling chemistry between the main characters. We remember the triumph and joy of a well-deserved Happily Ever After. A romance novel is an emotional wonderland you can carry in your heart and mind, long after you've put down the book.

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And now the moment you've all been waiting for... giveaway time! My contribution to the blog hop fun is this beautiful 16" necklace adorned with a quote from Jane Austen's Emma:

It says: "You must be the best judge of your own happiness." This quote is inspiring to me because it serves as a reminder to listen to your own heart when faced with life's hurdles. It's also a precept that must be learned by heroes and heroines in romance novels. Inevitably, they must judge for themselves in which direction their happiness lies. It's part of the emotional journey.

If you'd like to enter my giveaway, just leave a comment on this post! *EDIT: Please also leave your email address with your comment, so you can be contacted if you are one of the grand prize winners.* One commenter will be selected via My giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on Wednesday, November 21. No comment left after this time will be eligible to win. 


By entering my giveaway, you will also be entered for the chance to win one of three fabulous grand prizes. Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop is giving away one $100 gift card, and two $50 gift cards, each to your choice of either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. 

Visit all the participating authors (listed below) for more romantic wonderlands and the chance to win more fabulous prizes! Good luck and happy hopping!