29 March 2010

Reading Romance: Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter

I picked up Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter from my TBR pile yesterday, and I'm already about half-way done. It's a really engaging read. Plus, I've enjoyed Madeline Hunter's books from the very beginning, when she wrote a set of three fine medieval romances, By Design, By Arrangement, and By Possession nearly ten years ago. Ms. Hunter was also kind enough to reply to an e-mail I sent her about balancing the two worlds of romance writing and university academics (she's a professor of art history). She really is as nice as she looks in that author photo at the back of her books. Here's a link to her website.

Anyway, Ravishing in Red is the story of how a young woman is compromised and how she and the gentleman involved deal with it. What I enjoy is the way that Hunter treats being compromised as a real disaster. There is genuine mortification involved when the heroine, Ms. Kelmsleigh, sees herself portrayed in lewd engravings sold on London street corners. The hero is an MP and the brother of a peer, and his career is totally run off the rails when gossip paints him as a ravisher of innocent young ladies. He's actually concerned about his honor as a gentleman and about the ton's perception of him as violent blackguard. I found this believable and much more period-accurate than the more typical scenarios that we see in romance novels: "Whoops! We've been caught kissing! Guess we ought to get married!"

Ravishing also has a secondary plot involving the heroine's father and a war-profiteering scandal. This, too, rings true, despite the somewhat silly and mysterious "domino" character.

I'm already looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Provocative in Pearls.

Release Date

I just heard from my editor that the release date for Not Quite a Lady will be April 14th. That means the project went from submission to publication in 3 months, which is almost unheard of. I'm a bit stunned. I figured I'd have more time to work on getting this blog up and running and, I suppose, more time to rest on my laurels. Instead, it's on to another project!

So, this is what I'm working on right now--draft title is Love and Deception. Setting: Regency London during the Napoleonic wars when French emigrĂ©s crowded the capital. Our heroine, Lady Elizabeth Christie, is a witty society darling, widowed, and a bit on the plump side. She's been working with our hero, Sir Andrew Talbot, to monitor gossip and news from France through her network of ton connections. So far, her involvement has been limited, but the murder of a London agent raises the stakes, and Sir Andrew must ask her to get close to one of the "persons of interest" to the Home Office.

Sir Andrew knows that he's putting Lady Christie into a risky position, but she's more than willing to do her part for king and country. Plus, she's fallen in love with the cool, diffident Sir Andrew.

More on the plot later!

26 March 2010

Not Quite a Lady

I've started this blog because I'm publishing my first erotic romance, Not Quite a Lady, with Ellora's Cave, one of the leading e-publishers in the genre. Visit the website here: http://www.ellorascave.com/

I've been writing fiction for several years now, but most of my manuscripts have ended up in the bottom desk drawer. I finished my first Regency romance just as the market for traditional Regencies was going under (both Signet and Zebra stopped publishing the genre in 2006). And I finished my first medieval romance just as the market for paranormals was exploding.

Happily, writing erotica lets me set my stories in the Regency period which, thanks to the books of Georgette Heyer, Mary Balogh, and Carla Kelly, I think of as an incredibly romantic part of English history.

I'll be blogging here about works-in-progress, as well as about historical and erotic romance more generally. Come by often. Comments are always welcome!