Writer Wednesday (er, Thursday): Meet Donna Dalton!

Sometimes life gets in the way, and yesterday was one of those days. My apologies to all my #WriterWednesday fans and especially to Donna Dalton, our featured author today and a fellow Virginia Romance Writers friend.

But we can celebrate a wonderful author like Donna any day of the week, right?

Donna writes novels that romance America’s past. Her newest, Magic In Her Eyes, is a historical romance with paranormal elements – right up my alley. And it debuts TOMORROW. Woot!

So settle in to learn more about Donna and her work. You’ll be glad you did – and I hope you leave greetings in the comments.

 


What inspires you to write?

I love the art of storytelling…the weaving of words into fascinating tales that keep readers coming back for more.

Which type of romance do you love most, and why?

I have always enjoyed historical romances. I love reading about the past and how the people of yesteryear lived and loved. It’s almost like reading a fantasy, except it’s real. Very fascinating.

 

Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book:

While researching extra-ordinary abilities for my Gifted Series, I discovered a resource on seeing auras that surround people, plants, and buildings. It said you could teach yourself to see those auras. So, I gave it a try. Not happening. My brain was too busy to slow down and focus. Guess I’ll just leave the aura seeing to my characters.

Name two things people don’t know about you:

First thing people may not know about me is that I love animals. All types. I have had countless pets over the years, dogs, cats, a horse, birds, hamsters, gerbils, and even a black and white rat named Fred. He knew lots of tricks and loved riding on my shoulder. Another thing I love is horseback riding. I enjoy long rides through the woods. The peacefulness and fresh air is quite relaxing.

What fellow romance author do you recommend reading, and why?

I would recommend Joanna Bourne. She writes historicals that are packed with action and adventure and always include a strong bold heroine. Her style of writing engages the reader from the start, using simple words that deliver powerful hits.

What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

I wish I had known that the rough draft is just that…rough. Each sentence does not have to be polished to perfection before moving on. I spent far too much effort on scenes that eventually ended up getting cut. A waste of time. So now, my first draft is just me telling myself the story, no polish, no editing.

What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?

My favorite novel of all time is Flowers From The Storm by Laura Kinsale. I love stories where the heroine heals a tortured hero. Laura’s writing is exceptional. She paints such vivid pictures with her words. This book is definitely a keeper.

 


A Bit About Magic In Her Eyes:

Meredith Talbot has a secret. In fact, she has nine secrets – her own and those of the eight orphans at Seaton House, a home for children. Each of them has a special talent that if exposed would get them labeled as witches. It is her responsibility to protect the children and their secrets and keep them safe from persecution. Marauding Indians force them into a nearby fort where their safety is threatened by fanatical townspeople and a captivating army officer who try to unmask the children’s extraordinary abilities.

Lieutenant Preston Booth has one goal – to serve and protect his country. The military is the only life he has ever known. It’s the only life he wants. When a child is abducted and Preston goes after the culprit, Meredith has a vision of what will happen to him.

Does she risk everything by exposing her gift? Or keep her secret and risk losing him forever?

Find Magic In Her Eyes here:

The Wild Rose Press – http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5081-magic-in-her-eyes.html

Amazon Kindle: http://a.co/gTC5ehR

 


A Bit About Donna:

Donna lives in central Virginia with her husband, two sons, and a grandson. An avid reader of historical romances, Donna uses the rich history of the “Old Dominion” State for many of her story settings. She enjoys reading stories where characters overcome life’s challenges, where family is everything, and the power of love helps them to succeed.

Want to connect further with Donna? Find her here:

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Website  |  GoodReads


Thanks so much for joining us, Donna! It was a pleasure to have you here. 

Books At The Beach #Giveaway & Book Fair! June 19-30

A Romance Reader’s Dream Summer Giveaway

 How many books do you read over the average summer? Could you read 80? Because that’s how many ebooks one lucky winner will walk away with in the Books at the Beach Giveaway, including the latest titles from Nora Roberts, Catherine Bybee, Debbie Macomber, and Gena Showalter, plus dozens more. You could also win one of two runner-up $25 Amazon gift cards.

Books at the Beach Giveaway & Book Fair – June 19-30

(Sponsored by the 54 authors listed below)

Alina K. Field • Allyson Lindt • Amy L Gale • Anna Durand • Astrid Arditi • Barbara Lohe • Beverley Oakley • Bianca D’Arc • C. A. King • C.E. Wilson • Carmen Fox • Casi McLean • Catherine Kean • Chloe Flowers • Christa Paige • Constance Phillips • Cynthia Clement • Danica Favorite • Debbie White • Denise Jaden • Dianne Venetta • Elizabeth Rose • Gayle Parness • Helen Scott • Jacqueline Diamond • Jina Bacarr • Josie Riviera • Judith Keim • Karen • Michelle Nutt • Katherine Lowry Logan • Kris Michaels • Kristina Knight • Kristy Tate • Margaret Locke • Mari Carr • Naomi Bellina • PG Forte • Quinn • Raine English • Regan Walker • Sheila Seabrook • Shelique Lize • Soraya Naomi • Stacy Gold • Stella Marie Alden • Stephanie Julian • Stephanie Queen • Sydney Aaliyah Michelle • Sylvia Hubbard • Tamara Ferguson • Tena Stetler • Traci Douglass • Vicki Crum

Enter the Giveaway Here

http://booksatthebeachfair.blogspot.com

And while you’re at it, shop our awesome summer book fair
with over 50 fantastic romance titles for you to choose from:

http://booksatthebeachfair.blogspot.com/p/find-your-favorite-summer-read-at-our.html

Top Ten Things That Make A Regency A Regency

The Regency historical romance. What could be grander? But would it be a Regency if it didn’t contain at least one of the following?

1818 Guide to Cravat Styles

10. Cravats

Can anyone think of the Regency period without imagining all those handsome men in cravats? Perhaps I’ve watched one too many Jane Austen movies (not that such a thing is possible), but for me, those crisp, white folds signal early 19th century like nothing else. Or, in the case of The Demon Duke, a carefully crafted black masterpiece, complete with skull pin. Ah, a fine Regency gentleman, clothed in boots, breeches, waistcoat, and cravat. Sign me up, please!

9. Titles, titles, everywhere…

Speaking of gentlemen, when we crack open a Regency romance, we find dukes and earls and viscounts and marquesses. We find dowager duchesses and countesses and baronesses and more. And we love it. Sure, there are misters and misses mixed in, and those of no title at all. But for many of us, the title somehow gives that magical, fairytale essence we love. Who cares if there were really fewer than two dozen dukes in all of England? I, for one, can never get enough. Hence my new Put Up Your Dukes series.

By Unknown 1823 artist [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
1823 Ballgown
8. Those empire gowns

Who doesn’t dream of strolling through gardens while clad in a muslin gown, complete with a jaunty spencer? Or of twirling around the ballroom in the finest silk, with a high waist but low neckline, capturing the attention of every rogue in the room with delicately gloved hands, ringlets surrounding one’s face, and an admirable figure? Yeah, okay, so larger ladies like me might have struggled in such styles, but we can fancy ourselves a Regency-era Cinderella, can’t we?

7. A grand ball

Speaking of ballrooms, if you’re dancing in one, it must be at a ball, right? Is there anything more romantic than waltzing about in the arms of the object of your affections? Of spying him or her across the room and exchanging a quick but meaningful glance? Of perhaps escaping to the gardens or the library for a not-so-innocent interlude? There isn’t for me. In my mind, in my reading, I can dance like I’m on one of those dancing competitions – and winning. We won’t talk about real life skills.

Hyde Park and west Mayfair

6. Mayfair

Ah, Mayfair. That most delightful (read: rich) West End of London. Grosvenor Square, Berkeley Square, Hanover Square… Squares-O-Rama, all featuring the finest townhouses and perhaps the opportunity to bump into a beaux at Gunther’s Ices, Bullock’s Egyptian hall, or even Hatchard’s bookshop.

5. Hyde Park

Right next to Mayfair, of course, is Hyde Park – the place to see and be seen in the late afternoon, at least for London’s elite, especially along Rotten Row. Can’t you just picture handsome lords riding along on fine horses, horses perhaps procured from Tattersall’s, tipping their hats to ladies strolling or riding by? Could there be anything sexier? (Don’t answer that; I’m lost in my Regency fantasy here.)

1816 Phaeton

4. Phaetons or barouches

And speaking of riding, one simply must have the finest carriage to show off one’s wealth and status – much like owning an expensive luxury car today. The most luxurious barouche was a good, solid, Mercedes-level vehicle, while the elegantly outfitted phaeton more a hot sports car – perhaps a Lamborghini (or Lambo, as my son calls them). Not all would have been at those levels, of course – but let’s just go with it. It’s all about the fantasy.

3. The ton

Even fantasies have to face reality sometimes, though, right? And for many a couple wanting a moment alone, that reality would have come in the form of the ton, the top echelon of society eager to judge the behaviors and actions of others, to determine who should move in the finest circles, and who should not. Were you unlucky enough to be caught in a compromising position, you might find yourself in need of #2.

 By T. Malton (British Library [1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Many a Regency couple married at St. James’ in Hanover Square
2. A special wedding license

Ah, nothing sounds more Regency that a gentleman procuring a special license in order to wed. Special licenses were rare, hard to come by, and expensive, so what better way to emphasize the hero’s status than by his ability to acquire such a license? Normal people had to wait for the banns to be called, a process which took weeks and during which people could raise objections to the union. And who’s got time for that if #1 is involved?

1. A scandal

Ah, yes. A scandal! What could make a Regency romance juicier than an event of scandalizing proportions? Not much, which is why they’re so common, I’m betting. There are few things that truly cause romantic scandals in our 21st century day and age, so how mesmerizing is it to ponder an era in which being caught alone with a gentleman could lose you your reputation, in which slights of honor could mean being called out to a duel, in which breaking any of the many social rules and regulations could have effects nearly unfathomable now? It’s what makes such tales exciting – the scandal itself, and then the ways our hero, heroine, or both, work to overcome them.

A Regency wedding proposal – or perhaps a tete-a-tete in a garden?

What would the Regency be without the Regent himself? Prince George, soon to be George IV.

Now of course many a fine Regency romance deviates from this list, either in part or in whole. It’s become much more common to feature locales other than London, heroes other than titled gentlemen, and heroines more likely to serve as spies than sip tea. We’ve got Regencies in Scotland, Ireland, and India. We’ve got thieves and vicars and merchants as heroes; governesses and actresses and seamstresses as heroines.

The expansion of the Regency romance is exciting and inspiring.

Still, for those of us who love the Regency era romance, these Top Ten are those little symbols, those specific ideas, that make us both smile and sigh and feel right at home among those dukes and debutantes, and make me want to always #ReadARegency.

At least me.

How about you? What would you add or delete from this list?  


Writer Wednesday: Meet Laurie Benson, Historical Romance Author!

Welcome back to Writer Wednesday! We were on hiatus last week while I launched my own Regency, The Demon Duke, but I’m thrilled to be back, especially since I get to present historical romance author Laurie Benson to you!

Laurie and I met on social media (she posts wonderful information on her blog), and we share a love of the Regency period, so I’m excited to have her here today to tell us a bit about herself and her newest release, The Unexpected Countess.

Take it away, Laurie!


What inspires you to write?

I write romances set in the early 19th century and draw most of my writing inspiration from history. I read a lot of non-fiction books and sometimes when I discover a particularly intriguing snippet of history, my mind will play the “what if” game with the facts I uncover. While I was thinking up story ideas for my latest book, An Unexpected Countess, I had read about the theft of the French crown jewels during the French Revolution and learned that there was no trace of most of them during the Regency era. I kept thinking about where they were and who had them. The plot for An Unexpected Countess was built around those musings and it became a treasure hunt romance where my hero and heroine are both after the same piece of the missing French crown jewels.

Name one interesting thing you learned researching/writing your last book.

Aside from the theft of the jewels, one fun thing I discovered while doing research for An Unexpected Countess was that in the late eighteenth century, people were fascinated by electricity. Friction machines were developed to generate mild electric shock and used to amuse spectators at public exhibitions. During the Regency era, these Electrifying Machines became hugely popular and eventually cheap enough to find their way into the homes of the gentry. Using an Electrifying Machine became an unusual way to entertain both the male and female guests during an evening at home. Just imagine going to your friend’s house for dinner and then receiving a mild shock of electricity afterwards.

Name two things people don’t know about you.

The first is that my favorite trope to write and read is enemies-to-lovers. I love the verbal sparring that happens in those books. And the second thing people don’t know about me is that my all-time favorite snack is trail mix with some kind of chocolate in it. I’m an avid hiker, and can work through problems and find my calm place while I walk for miles through the woods. I always have trail mix with me on hikes and I think I associate eating it with feeling calm. Just writing this has made me want to grab some.

What are you currently writing?

I’m in the process of writing my next three-book series for my publisher which is set in Regency era England and revolves around the life and loves of three sisters. So far, the first two books are marriages of convenience. I’ve still have yet to determine the romantic fate of the youngest sister.


A Bit About An Unexpected Countess

The Earl of Hartwick delights in scandalizing Society with his behavior. But it’s his turn to be scandalized when, leaving a liaison, he bumps into Miss Sarah Forrester—in the rain, at night, on a rooftop!

Sarah is hunting for a diamond, and the last thing she needs is the infuriating Hart distracting her. But he’s looking for the jewel, too! They may be rivals, but the sparks between them are uncontrollable. And soon Sarah finds herself longing for another treasure—becoming Hart’s American countess!

Scoop Up An Unexpected Countess here:

Amazon: getBook.at/UnexpectedAmzUni
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2kjGkIM
iBooks: http://apple.co/2jUPGHq
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2jUOFiK


A Bit About Laurie:

Laurie Benson is an award-winning historical romance author who writes books about men in boots and the women who fall for them. She began her writing career as an advertising copywriter, where she learned more than you could ever want to know about hot dogs and credit score reports. When she isn’t at her laptop avoiding laundry, Laurie can be found browsing antique shops, going on ridiculously long hikes, or sitting in her car on the school pickup line. She lives with her husband and two sons in a house filled with testosterone—even her bunny is a boy. Laurie is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

Want to connect further with Laurie? Find her here:

Website: http://lauriebenson.net/
Historical Blog (The Cozy Drawing Room): https://thecozydrawingroom.com/
Twitter: @lauriebwrites
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurieBensonAuthor


Thank you so much for joining us today, Laurie! It was fabulous to have you here. 

Congrats to Ann S, winner of my VIP Email Club $10 Amazon GC giveaway!

 

Congratulations to Ann S., who won a $10 Amazon gift card in The Demon Duke Release Day giveaway, just for being a VIP Email Club Member!

Want access to giveaways like this, as well as exclusive excerpts, info on fellow authors, on new releases, and more? Join my VIP Email Club today!

And don’t miss The Demon Duke, out now! Here’s what one Amazon reviewer had to say about it:

“This book is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Margaret has a way with words that just draws a body in and won’t let go. Damon the Demon Duke had me crying for him with what he went through. And I think that Grace was the perfect heroine for him… Their romance was so adorable… This book had a few shocking twists and was very fast paced. I will be reading it over many more times.”

– Belinda, Amazon Reviewer