Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Announcing The Honorables!

So, after a long while of people asking me WHEN is my next book coming out, I finally have an answer for you: this fall!

I've just signed on with Crimson Romance again to release my new Regency Romance series, called The Honorables. The series will consist of five titles, three full-length novels and two novellas. Book one launches in October, with a new title coming out every three months. It's an ambitious schedule and I'm a little daunted, but I know I can do it! I've been thinking about this series for years, and I'm so happy to have the chance to bring it to you.

Who Are The Honorables?

Back in the day, groups of friends often named themselves and held club meetings. JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis both belonged to a small literary discussion group called The Inklings, for example. In current historical romance, you'll find The Survivors' Club, Mary Balogh's group of Napoleonic War veteran heroes, and Celeste Bradeley's Liar's Club, a group of Regency-era spies.

In a similar vein, I have formed The Honorables, a group of five friends who belong to noble families, but who will never inherit the title. The men meet at Oxford University, where they form their little society and bond over pints at the local pub. The friendship carries over to their adulthoods in London, and plays an integral part in each man's story.

The first member of the group you will meet is Brandon Dewhurst, the youngest of Viscount Marcel's five sons. He's an anatomist-surgeon, working on the frontier of medical knowledge in Regency London. He has a passion for his work, but knows the macabre nature of his calling and younger son status make him all-too-resistible to the young ladies of the haut ton's infamous Marriage Mart. Everything changes when he meets Lorna Robbins, a lady who doesn't mind his work, and who seems to be carrying a dark secret of her own.

Don't lie. I know you wish you were that brain in a jar. HOT!!!

What does 'The Honorables' mean?

History lesson time! During the Regency (and beyond, but I speak only about the time period in which I write), men who carried titles were referred to as Peers of the Realm. These are your dukes and marquesses and earls, etc. The Lords. The heirs of these titled noblemen might carry what is called a Courtesy Title. For example, the son of Joe Johnson, Earl of Chicago might be known as Viscount Indianapolis. It all had to do with how many titles the family patriarch possessed. In this example, the father owns both the earldom and viscountcy, but since he is only called by his highest title (Earl), his eldest son gets use of the next-highest title he owns (Viscount) until he dies. The heir's title, Lord Indianapolis, is a courtesy only, carrying no real legal weight. In the eyes of the law, he is a commoner. He does not become a peer in his own right until his father dies, making him the new earl.

The younger son(s) of the Earl of Chicago does not receive a courtesy title, no matter how many additional viscountcies or baronies might be attached to his father's name. He is simply referred to as Mr. Johnson, although his full legal title, in recognition of his family's status, is The Honorable Mister Johnson. Your boyfriend Mr. Darcy, the untitled grandson of an earl (his father was a younger son) carries the moniker The Honorable Mister Fitzwilliam Darcy.

The Honorable Misters Bingley and Darcy. When's the last time you read a Regency romance novel featuring a Mister?
That's what I thought.

And thus the name of both the group of friends, and the series. The Honorables is about men who aren't your typical Regency heroes. None of them are peers. There are no dukes, no earls, no viscounts. Each man belongs to a noble family led by a titled peer, but these are the younger sons or grandsons, the guys typically overlooked in contemporary Regency romance. Some of them, such as The Honorable Mr. Brandon Dewhurst in book one, have a profession, rendering them bad matches on the great Marriage Mart of the haut ton. Others, like book three's Lord Sheridan Zouche (courtesy title only; his legal name is The Honorable Mister Sheridan Zouche), are happy dwelling on the edges of the ballrooms and parlors, enjoying their allowances and lack of responsibility.

There are no grand estates to be inherited, no massive fortunes at stake, no titles to pass along. For this series, I have dug deeper into the Regency's rich, fascinating history to bring you stories you won't find elsewhere. Together, we'll explore the criminal underworld of body snatching, the East India Company's massive trade empire, a political campaign gone haywire, and so much more. Along the way, you'll meet the heroines who tame the hearts of these fiercely independent gentlemen. They are women like you, struggling with financial difficulties, family problems, and feelings of not fitting in. When they find their men, though... watch out. The sparks are going to fly, and the temperature is going to rise as wits and passion collide on the way to true love.

I hope you'll join me for this exciting journey.