Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

Well... almost anyway, The kiddos and I are counting down the hours until the ball drop. The fiance and I are counting down hours until it's socially acceptable to start drinking!
Along with spending time with my family this New Years Eve, I've also got the girls from the Club Aries series screaming at me.

So I've spent the last week or so listening to them, and I've decided to let them come out and speak -- break the fourth wall as it were.

I've got Jamie Monroe (All The Difference), Natasha Franklin (Chivalry Isn't Dead), Katie Jacobs (Now or Never), Mallory Benson (Once in a Lifetime), Tiera Dupont (No More Games), Jenna Stark (upcoming Ready and Willing), and MaKenna Benson.

JA: Ladies, thanks for taking time away from your men to chat with me... hopefully not over each other this time.

Jenna: When in God's name are you getting around to my book?! You've stranded us in that church room for a year!

JA: Whoa! Jenna, calm down, I have been plotting your book, and fleshing out scenes!

Jamie: But you still haven't written my wedding!

Tiera: Last anyone got to see we were walking down the aisle before Jamie, That's cruel, you know.

JA: I am aware, ladies, and I'm doing my best with the five different hats I wear in a day. I was going to ask y'all what you had planned with your men tonight, or if you were having a family deal?

Jamie: *laughs* Of course it's going to be a huge family deal.

Katie: Travis is already on the four wheeler heading down the mountain.

Mallory: And he is not getting me on one of those this time.

JA: Still nervous?

Mallory: You try having a near death experience over the edge of a cliff!

JA: How is your arm healing, by the way?

Mallory: Well. I'm enjoying my time at Red Zone though.

MaKenna: Yeah getting up my ass!

Jamie: What're sister's for?

MaKenna: Being annoying pains in the ass?

JA: Mallory, do you think you'll be staying on with Jason, then?

Mallory: I think I'll be working there at night, yes. Actually, I'm about to be a certified doula...

Jamie: Right, so she can help me through my pregnancy and labor.

JA: Natasha, are you and Adrian going to have a little one soon too?

Natasha: *blush* We're more trying to focus on Feel the Beat. Diego's fitting in well there when he's not on the road.

JA: How often is he out on the road, Jamie?

Jamie: Not that often anymore. He won high placements in quite a few competitions, and the boys are looking into this new business venture that's starting to take off.

JA: What's that?

Jamie: *shakes her head and zips her lips shut* Can't tell.

JA: You will eventually. Tiera, how's Joey doing?

Tiera: Really well. He came out of rehab, and Jason's brought him on into the bar.

MaKenna: And I swear if he drops one more damned glass, I'll kill him.

JA: Are y'all gonna be able to see the fireworks from the city?

Jamie: Vaguely. We set our own off, Make a whole bunch of noise out in the country. Last year a bunch of us went to the Jack Daniels bash. it was just far too insane to want to go again.

JA: What do you mean?

Jamie: Too many people...

Natasha: Mallory got separated from Vincent...

Mallory: We had to stop him from pummeling a dude because he thought the woman the poor guy was kissing was me.

JA: So Vincent is protective, hmm?

Mallory: Ridiculously so. It's one of the main things we're fighting about. It's been the subject of far too many arguments.

Jamie: Not that Mal is really all that upset about it. She likes the make up sex.

MaKenna: Ugh, don't make me hear about my sister doing that!

JA: MaKenna, is there anyone catching your eye?

MaKenna: *raises an eyebrow* Hell no!

JA: *Laughs* Please, I know better. I'm the author.

Jamie: So when are you writing Jenna's book so I can finally get married?

JA: I'll be attempting focus after I finish my current work in progress ladies.

Jenna: You'd better, Ms Ashley! I want my story told!

Focus for Club Aries 6 will be the center of my focus around March 2016. It sucks that it's taken me so long to find the ability to write it, but it's coming.
My current WIP will be part of a BDSM anthology which shows a Dom teaching his new Sub to trust again by taking away her senses, and introducing her to pleasures she never knew existed.
While you're waiting for the Anthology, check out the Club Aries series, available on Bookstrand.com, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble now!

Have a great New Years Eve, drink some drinks and be naughty! I'll raise my glass in a toast to all of you, readers and the other Sweet N Sexy Divas!
See you in 2016!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A #WolfWednesday Tease from WOLVES WITH BENEFITS #WolvesofWillowBend #NewRelease

Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo
After graduating college and spending a summer breaking the law, Shiloh Sullivan needs to make amends and accomplish something for Willow Bend. When she returns home, her best friend—the wolfish and playful Matt Montgomery—distracts her. In an effort to make his mother feel better, Matt cons Shiloh into telling his mother that she came home for him. The little fib, he promises, is all his mother needs to feel better about his sister’s recent mating and exodus across the ocean. Pretending a relationship with a wolf is impossible and, while Shiloh might be human, she knows the rules…

The friendly-with-benefits arrangement suits Matt fine. It makes his mother happy, helps the pack forgive his best friend, and gives him a reason to pry into the secrets Shiloh’s been keeping. Still, the closer they get and the more rules they break, the more Matt’s wolf wants to change their con game into a mating game. Two problems stand in his way—Shiloh’s very human parents never wanted their children to take the bite, and a wolf from across the line has his eye on her, too. Can Matt keep his best friend and mate her too?

Released previously in the Romancing the Wolf set.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hello, Hello, Hello!

Hello, everyone!

Happy almost 2016!

This is usually a time to reflect on the past year and imagine new beginnings for the year to come. But since it's my first time posting at Sweet N Sexy Divas, I thought I'd introduce myself.

I write short hot (but also heart-warming with a little sweet and more than a little snark) ebooks,  mainly for Decadent Publishing now, with a couple for Fated Desires Publishing. I've also published with Carina Publishing (my one and only Regency!) and the Wild Rose Press.

Love writing short.  Love writing hot.

Used to be able to find me wedged firmly in paranormal romance, because of the world-building, the broad, endless horizons, the ability to do what you please and go where you like. Also, paranormals are so divorced from your regular life (well, my regular life, anyway)! Pure escapism. One of the reasons why Regencies and other historicals were my first romance novel loves. But I now find I can have a lot of fun with contemporaries, too!

You can find me all over social media, particularly Facebook, where I live, when I am not living in the northern suburbs of New York City. Also Pinterest. Used to be a Twitter maven, too, but it got a little too unwieldy to follow and I don't pop up there much anymore to engage in actual conversations.

But since I'm a little leery of starting every single sentence of my first post here with the word "I," that's enough about me!

My latest release is HER CAPTAIN, a Tempting Signs contemporary romance for Fated Desires Publishing. I think it's my best yet! The hero, Slate Claybourne, is a Capricorn like me. Unlike me, he's also a former Navy SEAL. The heroine, Holly Harper, is his polar opposite, an impulsive, spontaneous Aries. Love is definitely in the signs for this combustible pair.

12 Authors. 12 Zodiac Signs. 1 Explosive Series. What seductive, contemporary

 romance will you find today? 

Is love in the signs for a Capricorn ex-Navy SEAL and the Aries out to capture his heart?

Capricorn Slate Claybourne, a former SEAL and sniper who has seen and done things in country no man should endure, returns to his bucolic hometown on Pieberry Island, desperate for the mundane, everyday routines he once wanted to escape.

A broken, soul-dead man unable to be around people,  his body still a lethal weapon when his night terrors wake him from sleep, Slate's failed to keep the promise he made to the commander who died in his arms: to look after the older man's baby girl.

But animated Aries Holly Harper is not the pigtailed tot Slate expected her to be when she lands on the island to take over the decrepit Pieberry House, determined to turn it into an inn for summer tourists…and even more determined to yank Slate back into the land of the living.

First she crashes into him at the island's Winter Festival, dumping a towering stack of pies at his feet, then she drags him off to a fortune teller against his better judgment.

Except for the sizzling attraction smoldering between them, they're incompatible in every way.

But when a furious December nor'easter traps them together at Pieberry House, will Slate and Holly overcome their pasts and discover they are two halves of a whole?



“I like the tousled look on you,” she confided.
“Jesus. You really have no boundaries, do you?” He raked her with a glare and rested the cartons on the hood of a nearby car, then brushed a hand through his disheveled hair. His attempt to restore some semblance of order failed miserably when a wayward lock flopped over his forehead. Growling, he flipped the stray curl away with an irritated gesture.
“I think not,” she responded. “I’m never going to have them where you’re concerned.” “We’ve just met, Holly.”
“But I don’t feel like we’re strangers, really. Didn’t my dad ever mention me? He talked about you. Besides, I’m an Aries. Get used to it.”
With his now-straggled hair and a puzzled air reorganizing his features, he appeared almost boyish, or might have, if it hadn’t been for the wave of pure, unadulterated lust smacking her like a two-by-four every time she gazed at him.
“You have no idea what Aries is, do you?” “It’s a constellation. I’m a sailor.”
“It’s also a zodiac sign. You know, like in horoscopes? And it’s not actually aligned with the constellation anymore because of the way the equinoxes have caused a shift.”
His eyes glazed over a little.
“Aries are impulsive, impetuous, impatient, and daring,” she nattered on, surprised at her breathlessness, but not her need to babble. “I’m guessing that’s everything you’re not.”
He frowned. “I can be impatient,” he said, as if that was a good thing. The look he shot her indicated his nerves might, in fact, be wearing a little thin at the present moment.
“And I suspect, given your last employment, daring, too.”
“Maybe that,” he conceded. “Not by inclination or choice.” He shrugged. “Anyway, I’m a lobsterman now. And I run the ferry when needed.”
“But still mainly serious, driven, hard-working, and wise, fiercely loyal, tough, and unapproachable on the outside but with a soft, warm, and squishy nougat center. I have you pegged for a total Capricorn. I bet you’re a secret romantic at heart, although you never show the world that side. When’s your birthday?”
“Do we have to play this idiotic game?”
“We do. And it’s not idiotic. You’d be surprised how telling astrology can be. Was I wrong about you?”
“Well…” He paused, and the silence between them lengthened.
“I’ll take that as a no.” She grinned at him.
“All right.” Again he said nothing more, and she wanted to shake him until a confession fell out of his mouth.
“Chatty, too.” She tapped her foot and crossed her arms over her chest, drawing his gaze to her breasts. But he still didn’t take the hint. She groaned. Such a man. “Eyes up, sailor.” She flicked a finger in the vicinity of his chin until he raised his focus. “Birthday?” she demanded again.
“In a couple of weeks,” he said at last, the admission apparently so difficult it might have been wrung from him on pain of torture.
She snapped her fingers. “Knew it. Do I have you sussed or not?” “Do you?”
“I mean, we’re completely incompatible. Like oil and water. The tortoise and the hare.”
He shot her another incendiary look, and then glanced at the exit as if contemplating how fast he could make his getaway.
“Oh, wait. So I ruffled your feathers a little, and you’re not going to help me now?”
Instead of replying, he seized her fiercely by the arm and spun her around, dragging her into him until he’d caught her up against his rock-hard chest. Then his mouth came down on hers, hard, harsh, and demanding. Giving absolutely no quarter. Shocking her into utter and complete silence.
Whoa! I thought this man lacked spontaneity? Holy simmering cinnamon buns!

Visit Taryn at her website http://tarynkincaid.com, or her blog http://dreamvoyagers.blogspot.com, as well as Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Author Page, Pinterest, Amazon and Goodreads.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Susana and the Scot, Untamed Highlanders Series #Excerpt #Giveaway

susana_andthe_scot (1)Bestselling author Sabrina York carries readers back to the wild Scottish Highlands, where the bravest of men surrender to no one-except the boldest of women...

Read on for an exclusive excerpt of Susana and the Scot and a chance to win a sparkly tiara!

Susana and the Scot, Book 2 in the Stand Alone Untamed Highlanders Series

Scotland, 1813.

Andrew Lochlannach is famous for his conquests, on and off the battlefield. When a fellow warrior challenges him to a kissing contest, he wastes no time in planting his lips on ninety-nine lovely lasses-an impressive feat of seduction that gets him banished to the hinterlands. Still, Andrew has no regrets about his exploits-especially his embrace with the most beguiling woman he's ever met...

With flaming red hair and a temper to match, Susana is not some innocent farmgirl who gives herself over easily to a man, even one as ruggedly handsome as Andrew. The wicked Scot may have won a kiss from the headstrong beauty in a moment of mutual desire, but Susana refuses to be just another one of his conquests. Andrew must convince the fiery lass that even though he is not playing a game, losing her is not an option...

"You can't go wrong with a Sabrina York story."-Desiree Holt


Susana was annoyed. There was no doubt about it. The swish of her hips as she led him across the bustling bailey was a dead giveaway, that and the dark glowers she shot over her shoulder. But Andrew couldn’t help but be amused. For one thing, she was damn alluring with she was annoyed.

Hell, she was damn alluring altogether. The curve of her waist alone could drive a man insane, much less that silky tumble of hair. He wanted to wrap it is his fist, wind it around his body. A certain part of his body.

At the thought, his cock rose.

It was difficult to remind himself that he’d vowed to eschew seduction, but try as he might, he couldn’t banish the fantasy of stripping those breeks from her lovely body and laying her down in the heather. Visions of that twitching backside—bare before him—danced in his head.

But he’d made a vow. A sacred vow. And as tempting as she was, he would control his baser urges. He could. Probably.

These thoughts whirled in his head as she led him into the stables, past his men—who were unpacking and seeing to their horses—and through the kennels. Though he was perplexed, Andrew followed. He would probably follow anywhere she led. It was a fact that should have scared him to death or at the very least, concerned him. But it didn’t. However, when she started up a staircase at the very end of the long hall, he had to stop her.

She glared at the hand he set on her arm. He tried to ignore the sizzle that raged through him at their first touch. It was ridiculous how much that touch affected him. And how much he enjoyed her glare.

He edged closer. “Where are we going?” he asked in a purr.

Judging from her frown, his tone irritated her. He rather enjoyed irritating her, he found.

She ripped her arm away and continued up the stairs. He followed and found himself in a narrow loft that ran the length of the kennels. It was dim and a little dusty. Motes danced on the air. The roof was so low he had to duck his head to miss the rafters.

“Your men will stay here,” she said.

Andrew gaped at her. The room was swept clean and empty. A thin shaft of light from the far window illuminated it with a murky light. But the yipping from the kennel and the stench of excrement wafted up from below. For some reason, all thoughts of alluring backsides dissipated. Disbelief gushed through him. “Here?”

She crossed her arms and offered what could only be described as a smirk. “Here.”

He tipped his head to the side. “This is a kennel.”

“I am aware of that.”

“I have twenty-five men.”

“The room is quite large.”

“There are no beds.”

She blew out a breath. “We’ll bring in pallets.”

Andrew blinked. He set his teeth and tried to remain calm. His men were warriors. They did not sleep on pallets. In a kennel. “This will not do.” Surely she saw that. Surely she understood… He caught a glimpse of her smug expression and it dawned on him.

She did. She did understand. She knew damn well what she was doing. Her response only verified his suspicions.

“I’m sorry, but you have descended upon us with no warning whatsoever with a large group of men. I’m afraid this is all we can offer you at this time.” Her smile was deferential, but hardly sincere. The light dancing in her eyes lit a flame in his belly. “Of course, if our accommodations are unacceptable, you can always return to Dunnet…”

Oh, she’d like that, wouldn’t she?

The minx.

Rather than the exasperation her self-satisfied look should have sparked, Andrew found himself filled with another emotion entirely. Anticipation. Exhilaration. The thrill of a challenge.

For that was what she was, Susana Dounreay. A challenge.

And it appeared she reveled in provoking him.

A pity she didn’t understand he was a dangerous man to provoke.

The tumult her presence sparked within him flared again, burning the edges of his resolution; his inconvenient lust blossomed, and with it, an unruly resolve.

He wanted, very badly, to kiss her.  He wanted to wrench her into his arms and cover her sweet mouth with his. He wanted to taste her, consume her, possess her.

And he would.

Clearly he wasn’t the kind of man who could swear off women. Clearly he wasn’t the kind of man who could keep a vow.

So be it.

Damn to hell his ridiculous vow.

Damn to hell the fact that she was his sister-in-law.

He was going to seduce this vixen, and he would start right now.

Desire, like a snarling, snapping beast, rose within him, and he stepped closer.

Susana’s eyes flared as Andrew advanced on her, like a skulking fox that had spotted a plump rabbit. She didn’t mean to retreat, but she had to. She’d seen that expression in his eyes before and she knew what it meant. Something within her howled: Run.

Perhaps it was the expression in his eyes, or the knowledge that she was playing with fire, or the sudden realization that she’d foolishly come here, to this deserted loft with the most dangerous man she’d ever met, but she couldn’t still the urge to whirl and pace to the far end of the room to peer out of the smudged window. She was aware he followed. She felt his presence like a fire in a forge.

Desperation prompted her to continue their conversation, to put some space between them, to raise a shield. “The room is perfectly habitable,” she proclaimed. “And once we have pallets brought in, it will serve you well.”

“Will it?”

His voice was low in her ear, a whisper almost. And far too close. She wanted to turn, to confront him, but she knew, if she did, they would be face to face, perhaps lip to lip and she could not allow that. She could never allow that.

The last time he’d kissed her, it had been her undoing.

A pity he didn’t remember.

“My men willna like being housed with the dogs.” Holy God. Was that his hand on her hip? His thumb tracing her waist? “Nae doubt they will all want to find…other beds to welcome them.”

Susana stilled as his words sank in. The threat was clear. And it was rather horrifying. A horde of randy warriors set loose on the innocent maidens of Dounreay? That his hand had slid over to toy with the small of her back, to tangle in the skeins of her hair, didn’t help.

Her pulse thudded and her knees went weak. She couldn’t have it. She couldn’t have this man touching her. She sucked in a breath and slipped to the side, out of his grasp. When she was far enough away for some measure of safety, she turned to face him, a reproachful look fixed on her face. “Are your men so lacking in discipline?” She hoped her frown, her reproving tone, would bring him to heel. She should have known better.

He grinned and stepped closer. His eyes glinted, as though needling her was an amusing sport. “They are verra disciplined…when their needs are met.”

She crossed her arms, as though that could protect her, and pretended to study the room. Pretended she wasn’t aware of his thrumming presence, his heat, his intent. “Well, I shall hold you responsible for any…improprieties.” She took a step toward the staircase, only a tiny one—surely not an attempt to escape.

He chuckled—chuckled, the bastard—making it clear he recognized her cowardice for what it was. And he paced her.

“They’re all good men. They all volunteered to come with me. Each and every one of them is dedicated to the cause of protecting Reay from the villains who have been plaguing you. However…”

The way he trailed off derailed her retreat. She stilled. Glared at him. “However, what?”

“However, they do have…needs. Surely you can find better lodgings.”

She blew out a breath. “In time.” In time.

In time, he would be gone, God willing.

He stepped toward her again, although nonchalantly, as though he were not chasing her across the room. It occurred to her they were engaged in something of a macabre dance. It set her nerves on edge. She hadn’t realized what a long room this was, or how far it was to the stairs.

“Doona leave it too long.” His smile was heinous. It made all kinds of shivers dance over her skin. “My men are…restless.” She had the chilling sense he was talking about himself.

“I shall…do my best.” Like hell. “And now, if you will excuse me, I have things to do.”

His brow quirked. She tried not to notice what a perfect brow it was. “Ah, but I thought you and I could…talk.”

“Talk?” She didn’t intend to squawk, but she could tell from his predatory stance, a conversation was not the primary urge on his mind. At least, not one with words.

He nodded. Though his features were patently earnest, the sincerity was patently affected. “About the defenses you have in place…so I can decide what needs improvement.”

Aggravation rippled. It displaced her concerns about being here, with him, all alone. Fury did that, she’d often found. Overrode common sense and led one into dangerous waters. Her hands curled into fists. She strode toward him until they were nearly nose to nose. “Nothing needs improvement,” she snapped. They didn’t need him. Or his men. Or his stupid ideas.

“Nonsense. Now that we’re here, we intend to make a statement to Stafford, or whatever miscreants are lurking out there thinking Dounreay is an easy target. But before I set my plans in motion—”

“Your plans?” He already had plans? Och! He was so exasperating.

She barely noticed that he stepped closer…until their chests brushed. He was hard and hot; the touch made her tingle. His voice, low and luring made her tingle as well. His gaze skated over her face, then stalled on her lips. “Let’s meet and discuss—”

Her pulse skittered. “I doona have time to meet with you. Not today.” She took a step back. He followed.

“Nae?” A whisper. And his caress over her shoulder, that was a whisper as well. Like a panicked fawn, Susana eased back again. And again. He matched her, step for step.

She swallowed heavily. “I… You have descended upon us with no warning—”

“My brother sent a letter.”

He was too close. Far too close. She swallowed heavily. “Twenty-five men that now need to be housed and fed. On top of that, I have many other duties that need attending.”

He cocked his head to the side. “Which duties?”

“Many duties.” She frowned and glanced toward the staircase. Ah, lord. It was so far… He was too warm. Too broad. Too alluring. Though she didn’t intend to, she took another step back and—

Oh hell. He’d backed her against the wall. That he couldn’t stand straight in the low-ceilinged room was a small consolation.

“Susana,” he said as he leaned closer. His breath was a tantalizing trail over her face.

An unholy thrill snaked through her. Surely that wasn’t anticipation? Hunger? Need?

She could not allow him to kiss her. She could not—

Her knees nearly melted at the touch of his lips. His warmth, his taste, his scent made her mind whirl. Thank God he had his hands on her waist and was holding her steady, or she might well have collapsed.

It occurred to her that she should push him away, fight him, but she couldn’t. Something, something deep within her resisted. Something deep within her needed him. Needed this.

And ah, it was glorious. As glorious as she remembered.

His lips were soft, gentle, questing as they tested hers and then, with a groan, he pulled her closer, melding their bodies together. He deepened the kiss, sealing his mouth over hers and dancing his tongue over the seam.

She opened to him. She couldn’t resist. He filled her senses with his presence, his heat. With tiny nibbles, sucks and laps, he consumed her, enflamed her. All sanity fled. All logic and resolution and anger flitted away as Andrew tasted her, tempted her.

His hands were not still. They roved over her body from her shoulders, down her arms to her waist. They tangled in her hair and stroked her cheek and chin.

Heat blossomed, skittered through her veins. Her body softened, melted, prepared for him.

She should not have responded the way she did. She should not have pressed against him, rubbed against the hard bulge on his belly. She should not have explored the hard flesh of his back, cupped his nape, raked his silken scalp. She should not have moaned.

Surely all these things would only encourage him.

He lifted his head and stared at her, an odd mixture of befuddlement and awe in his eyes. His tongue peeped out and dabbed at his lips, snagging her attention. Surely she didn’t lean toward him in a mute plea for more.

Was she truly so weak?

Aye. She was.

PREORDER NOW: http://www.amazon.com/Susana-Scot-Untamed-Highlanders-Sabrina/dp/125006970X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8


Bold and steamy—Publisher’s Weekly

A stunning tale from beginning to end—Love, Life and Booklust

Top Pick—Night Owl Reviews

York turns her talent for sizzle to men in kilts—and the women who love them—in her newest sexy romp—RT Magazine

ADC Ad Hannah and susana2

Untamed Highlanders Series
Susana and the Scot—Coming December 29th
Lana and the Laird—Coming in May 2016

Want More Highlanders by Sabrina York?

About Sabrina York

Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy to scorching romance.  Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Get updates and alerts from Sabrina here: HotSheet Sign Up.

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

To be in #fashion in the #Regency period, how much would that cost our gal Jane Austen? Cerise adds it up!

None of my heroes are broke!
Look for this rich Marquess to debut
in January!
#3 in Regency Romps series
 Readers of Regencies love their fashions. In an age marked by the simplicity of line, the simplicity of the look of the cloth, plus the growth of types of cloth available to dressmakers in Great Britain, women regarded their fashion as the key to their success socially.
     Fashion has always signaled status. The decrees of kings (think Louis XIV) and queens (think of Elizabeth I) and various injunctions of parliaments (think sumptuary laws during war times) have limited supply of types of fabrics and inspired protection of home-grown markets.
     But in Britain during the Regency, despite the harassment of a few French frigates and the Barbary pirates, those in Britain enjoyed the variety of fabrics shipped to their shores. Ladies adorned themselves in muslins and silks, satins and laces of all types from many ports of call.
     Here, for your enjoyment, I list a few types of garments and their accompanying costs. My aim is to show you what it might have cost a family to dress their darling girl or cost a lady to dress herself.

(Note well: I take these prices from Cunnington, C. Willett, English Women's Clothing in the Ninetheenth Century. 1990, pp. 34-73. These pages describe women's clothing during 1800-1821. In other words, this is the period of the Napoleonic Wars ending in 1821, the crowning of the Prince Regent in summer of 1821 as George the Fourth, and therefore by strict accounts, the end of the Regency. Also note as Cunnington says, that the costs he found here were ones he could find in advertisements and therefore, they may be the norm, not the most expensive nor least.)

Nightgown: cambric muslin, 1+ pounds per yard (2-3 yards necessary)
Morning dress: 15-21 pounds each (ready made)
My baron also has money to burn!
This is #4 in Regency Romps
debuting early February!

Corset: 18+ pounds each
Drawers: cotton, at 3+ pounds each
Pantaloons: worsted, from 14+ pounds each
Petticoat: muslin, 3 pounds
Silk stockings with cotton feet: 7+ pounds a pair

Day gowns, at home:
A gown, muslin, 20+ pounds ready made
shoes: satin or kid, 4+ pounds a pair

Dinner attire, at home:
A gown, merino crepe at 5 pounds per yard
               sarcenet at 7/6 per yard
Dinner attire, party, full dress:
Gown:  5-7 pounds per yard  x 3 yards    
Hat/headdress: 4-7+ pounds each
Gloves: long over the elbow, 1+ pound per pair
Shoes: satin, silk, embroidered, 4+ pounds a pair
Cape/redingote: velvet at 7 pounds per yard

And to dress well, other accoutrements are necessary. They would include reticules, fans, parasols, handkerchiefs, and that final bit of embellishment, jewelry.

This baroness must matchmake
to earn money to pay her
late husband's debts.
Fashion is not as high on her to do list
as this man is!
#1 Regency Romp

Now, at minimum of one each of these, we see that our lady's wardrobe costs 123+ pound sterling.
Note my summary here does not address the needs of a young gel making her first Season. Nor does it talk about levels of dress for different types of affairs each of which requires a degree of refinement, all translating to higher costs.
In today's money, how much does that translate to?
If the pound sterling in 1811 is now equal to 70+, then 123 is now equal to:
GBP = 8,622
And that amount in current USD = $13,081.00
This Cinderella meets her duke
in a piano shop. And yes, he can
afford anything.
#2 Regency Romp
With this kind of outlay, one can readily see why conserving fabric was not only a very good practice in all households, but protecting dresses with scarfs and collars and removable cuffs was sound financially. Then too, cutting down dresses to fit not only young girls in the household but also servants was a very practical matter.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Today is Boxing Day!

Is Boxing Day about boxes? Since it falls the day after Christmas (usually), some people (Americans, for example, since we don't really celebrate Boxing Day) assume it's about disposing of boxes from the Christmas gifts. While the trash collectors may call it Boxing Day for that reason, that's really not the case.

Boxing Day

The origin of the term “Boxing Day” is uncertain, but the European tradition may have come from as far back as Roman times, when owners would present slaves and people of lesser status with gifts on Saturnalia. Or the term may have come later when it was the custom to place metal boxes outside churches to collect alms for the poor and needy on the Feast of St. Stephen, which falls on the same day.

Today, shopping (in stores or online) is a popular Boxing Day tradition in many Commonwealth countries. Presumably, some people are returning unwanted gifts at the same time, as we do in the U.S.

In the English tradition, Boxing Day was a time to reward servants, tenants and tradesmen with gifts of money and/or food. Because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, it was tradition to give them the next day off to spend with their families.

Fox hunting was a popular sport on Boxing Day as well. The weather was usually not too much of a problem; contrary to popular thought, the winter weather in much of England tends to be quite mild. The winter of 1813, when A Twelfth Night Tale takes place, was a particularly cold one. But that didn’t stop Lucy and Andrew from braving the cold to collect greenery to embellish Livingston Hall with Christmas cheer on Christmas Day. Nor did it prevent them from taking the children and distributing boxes to the community on Boxing Day.

These activities had the effect of pulling Andrew out of his melancholy and opening his eyes to the desirability of the grown-up Lucy. Lucy dared to hope that Andrew’s attentiveness might be a sign that he was seeing her with new eyes. But he was still nursing a broken heart, and with an offer of marriage from a wealthy viscount expected at any moment, could she afford to gamble that Andrew would come up to scratch before it was too late?

Boxing Day Today (from Wikipedia)

Boxing Day is a secular holiday that is traditionally celebrated on 26 December, the day after Christmas. 26 December is also St. Stephen's Day, a religious holiday. When 26 December falls on a Sunday, Boxing Day in many Commonwealth countries and former British dominions is moved to 27 December. In the UK, Boxing Day is a bank holiday. If Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the following Monday is given as a substitute bank holiday. On the occasion when Christmas Day is on a Saturday and 26 December on a Sunday, the following Monday, 27 December, is the substitute bank holiday for Boxing Day and Tuesday, 28 December, the substitute bank holiday for Christmas Day.

In Scotland, Boxing Day has been specified as an additional bank holiday since 1974 by Royal Proclamation under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971.

In Ireland – when the island as a whole was part of the United Kingdom – the Bank Holidays Act 1871 established the feast day of St. Stephen as a non-movable public holiday on 26 December. Since the creation of the Republic of Ireland following partition in 1920, Northern Ireland – being part of the United Kingdom – officially reverted to use of the British name 'Boxing Day'.

In Australia, Boxing Day is a federal public holiday. In the Australian state of South Australia, 28 December is a public holiday known as Proclamation Day and Boxing Day is not normally a public holiday. The holiday for Proclamation Day is observed on the first weekday after Christmas Day or the Christmas Day holiday. Nowadays Boxing Day is popular in Australia as the first day of a Test cricket match held at the MCG and the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race. A Test match is also often held in South Africa starting on Boxing Day.

In New Zealand, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday; penalty rates and lieu time are provided to employees who work on Boxing Day.

In Canada, Boxing Day is a federal statutory holiday. Government offices, banks and post offices/delivery are closed. In some Canadian provinces, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday that is always celebrated on 26 December. In Canadian provinces where Boxing Day was a statutory holiday, and it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, compensation days are given in the following week.

In the United States, 26 December is given as a holiday to state employees in some, mainly southern, states: Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas but it is not known as Boxing Day.

My Own Personal Philosophy

is that Boxing Day is about giving. Rewarding service of loyal employees, helping those in need, giving to worthy charities. I'm not a wealthy landowner like Andrew Livingston in my story, but I am fortunate to have more than what is needed to support myself. For me, Boxing Day is a chance to look around and see the needs of people around me and make a plan for giving for the year to come.

About the Author

Susana has always had stories in her head waiting to come out, especially when she learned to read and her imagination began to soar.

A former teacher, Susana lives in Toledo, Ohio in the summer and Florida in the winter. She is a member of the Central Florida Romance Writers and the Beau Monde chapters of RWA and Maumee Valley Romance Inc.

Website • Facebook • Twitter

Thursday, December 24, 2015

What's Your Favorite Christmas Song? @kayelleallen #HolidayReads #tistheseason

What's that one song, when you first hear it on the radio or in the stores, that lets you know it's almost Christmas? You know, that one that just hearing it makes you stop and go "Ah... Christmas." For me, there are two. 

Carol of the Bells

First up is Carol of the Bells. I love the sound of it, and the way the voices all harmonize and complement one another. They way they mimic the bells themselves as the voices sing the pure notes. If you haven't heard it, here's a short video that will give you the lyrics. It's such a fast song that without seeing the words, it's hard to catch what they are singing. This song is beautiful whether you hear it as a song with lyrics or just with the notes, as with a handbell choir.

O Holy Night (Johnny Hall)

My other favorite song -- the one which always makes me cry when I hear it, is O Holy Night. My favorite performer for this song is Johnny Hall. I first heard him many years ago at a local church service in the small town of Woodstock GA. He's a music evangelist -- meaning he travels to churches for performances, often sharing his testimony as a believer. This man has one of the clearest, purest tenor voices you will ever hear. He is backed in this video by that same church orchestra, which itself is the size of some churches. It's a very large facility.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, however you celebrate it.

What is your favorite Christmas song or carol? Share it in the comments. 
Kayelle Allen, author of A Romance for Christmas
Sweet contemporary feel-good holiday romance
Amazon http://amzn.to/1wpW8qE ~ Smashwords http://bit.ly/christmas-smw

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dickens Christmas 2015 by Maeve Alpin

HG Wells Time Machine in Steampunk Square

It's that time of the year for my favorite Christmas event in the Houston area, 
Dickens on the Strand. A place where the ghost of Christmas present  and the 
ghost of Christmas past get together. And the Strand on Galveston Texas 
transforms into the sights and sounds of a Victorian Christmas. Steampunk 
plays a big part and Steampunk square is always bustling with shoppers as it 
was this year.

There was a special event at Dickens this year, a couple 
renewed their wedding vows. 

And Here are more photos from Dickens on the Strand
with lines from A Christmas Carol.

on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath -“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!”
on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath -“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!”
It wore a tunic of the purest white;- “I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
It wore a tunic of the purest white;- “I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
the fiddler (an artful dog, mind! The sort who knew his business better than you or I!) struck up “Sir Roger de Coverley
the fiddler (an artful dog, mind! The sort who knew his business better than you or I!) struck up “Sir Roger de Coverley
No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle
No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle

Merry Christmas All Historical Romance Readers, all Steampunk Readers, and all Romance Readers... one and all.