Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A release from the squeaky clean side

Today Janet Mullany's Regency chicklit, The Rules of Gentility, has been released, and it's almost squeaky clean. Other than the bit about the china breakage, the Fanny Hill parody, and some other scenes, but you'll have to read those to discover them yourself.

She's celebrating with a ridiculously easy contest on her site janetmullany.com where you can enter to win a $25 Amazon gift certificate, and various blog appearances throughout the month (check out the schedule here).

You can also enter the contest at Pam Rosenthal's site, where two lucky winners will receive a signed copy of The Rules.

Even better, Janet will be on World Talk Radio on Thursday August 2, 4pm PST/6pm EST as Cynthia Brian's guest on Be The Star You Are--you can listen live via your computer here and call in toll-free at STUDIO A: 1-866-613-1612 in the US/Canada and 001-858-268-3068 around the world.

And buy the book!

Monday, July 30, 2007

You Got Bottom?

I am doing research for the book I am working on and came across this wonderful book called The Age Of Scandal. It is about the late 18th Century characters of the day. Grin.

There is an interesting chapter on MEN and their test of Bottom.

What is Bottom you may ask??

No I’m not talking about testing the luscious curve or a man’s glorious bum. Though that does bring interesting images to mind. Evil Grin.

Bottom… is courage… guts…keeping your cool in stressful situations…having money to pay your way or solidity. The metaphor came from Ships.

There are some very interesting stories about things men did to prove their bottom. I laughed out loud several times reading this chapter.

Interesting enough, all that know me will not be surprised, I grinned when I read that being Flogged or Birched was also considered to show a mans Bottom(giggle… both his inner Bottom and his real one!) There is one story in it that talk about Nathaniel Eaton in 1674 A drunken Master of Harvard College in America awarded his pupils thirty stripes at a time and had beaten his usher for two hours with a walnut-tree plant big enough to have killed a horse.

Eyes widen, OUCH!

The Governor-General of India , who went to school in 1811 said bitterly: “ I was flogged once every day of my life at school except one, and then I was flogged twice.” All of this was consider appropriate to instill and prove Bottom so that they could be a MAN.

Betting was huge in proving you had bottom…such as you put your money on your word… or now days we would say where you mouth is. If you believed one thing and someone else believed the opposite putting money on your belief showed Bottom. “A bet is the most authoritative solution of any argument” said G.O. Trevelyan. They would not even spend so much as 20 minutes confronting a man who would not put money on his own faith. Betting became a mania Men would bet on anything… not only to back their opinions but also to prove bravado. They betted on things from the life expectancy of their fathers to jumping out windows into carriages passing by.

Gaming such as Hazard and loo were games of chance. It was considered Spartan to take ones fortune in ones hands and to risk it on the turn of pitch and toss. When Men lost they played like men of honor… no one ever said a word about there loss.

Fox hunting was also a way to prove Bottom in the way of Courage. If you have ever done this or attended a fox hunt/steeple chase you know why!!!! They are dangerous. Galloping hooves and high fences where you can not see the other side are a recipe for trampling.

And this is one of the silliest I think, and I like my Drink! Drinking in the form of endurance proved bottom. Two friends of locked themselves in a room with a hogshead of claret and contrived to finish it together with unspecified amounts of cherry and brandy in a week! Another said. “Drinking Claret is the liquor for boys; Port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.” I laughed… I of course love my Vodka Martini a little dirty with extra olives… but I have three at most! I can’t even imagine the hang over. Lol. Eek I think you would feel sick for days.

So All this got me to thinking… in today’s society Men do things to prove themselves some in very similar ways. Remember college and all the drinking! Woman too do things to show they have Bottom.

So my question is in what ways have you in your life shown you have Bottom??

Hugs and Kisses,

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Less than perfection

A long while ago, when I was on holiday in Brighton, England, I was burrowing through a box of old books and prints and found a dirty crumpled up sheet wedged in the bottom of the stack. When I unfolded the thick piece of paper, I realized I held an Ackermann's fashion plate in my hands. I was still at college and didn't have much spare cash, but when I asked the lady who was working at the bookstore how much the print would cost, she gave it a cursory glance, wrinkled up her nose, and said 5p.I was totally happy to pay her that for my less than perfect prize!

I felt that despite her crumpled appearance, I still held a piece of history in my hands. If you look carefully at this print, you can see a myriad of flaws beyond the grime. Her neck is incredibly long, her shoulders narrow and her arms too big for her delicate frame, but I still love it. Her tiny feet aren't even on the floor so she appears to be leaping off the page. She kind of resembles my family gene pool.

I tried to wipe most of the dirt off her, (trying very hard not to think too much about what it was) but some of it must have been there for a long time. I wondered whether some young lady with fat arms and heavy thighs had held onto the print because it made her realize that not everyone had to be thin to be beautiful, or, even worse, had she been ripped out and discarded because she wasn't perfect enough? Or even worser, (remember I'm a writer I have a very vivid imagination) maybe her lover was shot in a duel while he held this very piece of paper close to his heart? (that might explain the reddish brown gunk on the left)

Why do I keep this less than perfect piece of the past? Because she was the first Ackermann's print I'd ever been able to touch and afford And because now she reminds me of my writing process. I thought up a thousand stories just staring at her. My first drafts are often ungainly, badly sketched and definitely out of proportion-but beneath the flaws, and with a lot of work, something usable and magical can emerge.

I'm wondering is anyone else has pictures or quotes that inspire them to keep writing or simply living their lives?

It was a pleasure to meet all the Crumpets in Dallas. Pam and Jane's workshop was delightful, although, as the moderator, I felt a bit mean having to tell everyone to hurry up. Personally I could've sat there and listened to them all morning.

New website and contest


Come visit, read an excerpt from Forbidden Shores, and join my mailing list to enter the contest (prize is a signed copy of the book!).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Look at me

Pam Rosenthal and I gave our presentation at National, Writing the Hot Historical (aka Pam & Janet Evening), and as is the way with such things, we started making exciting discoveries hours before we were to speak. It started with a bit of cross-pollination from my workshop on servants that I gave to the Beau Monde a couple of days before and one of the illustrations I had of a lady's maid, painted by James Morland.

Seems this portrait, and this particular subgenre, of female servants at work, was very popular in the long eighteenth century, reproduced in the form of engravings; and this particular picture proved so popular that Morland did another version, this time of the servant ironing. There's also another one that I couldn't hunt down online of a woman wringing out wet laundry, straight out of the window.

I used it in my servant presentation, of course, to show how very well-dressed lady's maids typically were--they were given their mistress's cast-off clothes in addition to wages. But what struck me also about these paintings were their voyeuristic aspect (and also the fact that the subject's bosom is smack-dab in the center of the painting, which I'm sure added to their popularity). Lady's maids washed their mistress's linen--stockings and shifts that were next to their skin, so Ms. Washing is caught in an intimate situation; not only that, but she's looking into your eyes, as though daring you to guess which intimate garment she's handling. Ms. Ironing, however, has her eyes modestly lowered as she irons (stockings? help me out here!)--but she's inviting the viewer to watch as blatantly as Ms. Washing.

One of the puzzling and difficult things about writing sexy historicals is trying to reconcile what we find sexy now with what we think--or guess--people found sexy then. Why the allure of women doing things with their hands?--it's not just handling stockings; there's another subgenre, or sub subgenre, of erotic art featuring kitchen maids (bosoms exposed) plucking game (babes with large dead birds).

My explanation is that these were private moments when a viewer was not expected. When the woman, engaged in her fairly monotonous work, would let her mind drift off, and then feel that prickle at the back of the neck you get when someone is watching. And because what she's doing is completely innocent (isn't it?) she might pretend not to notice. She'd continue her pleasant reverie, the slow, careful movements of her hands, with the additional pleasure of performing unaware. She might even let the watcher know, somehow, that she's aware of his presence; or, she might choose, brazenly, to look into his eyes, and dare him to think that anything out of the ordinary is happening at all.

Your thoughts?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Better late than never.

Sorry for the delay in drawing the winner of an early copy of Unmasqued...got a bit caught up in the Harry Potter thing this weekend, but now that I've finished it and caught up on sleep, things are back to normal.

So, I drew the winner from my newsletter subscribers, and I'm happy to announce that
Lynda Coker
has won an early copy of the book!

I'll be in touch with you for mailing instructions, or you can email me at colette at colettegale dot com.

In the mean time, who read Harry Potter this weekend? And what did you think? (No spoilers, please.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Floating down from Dallas

I clapped long, hard, and literally until my hands stung when I saw Pam's picture and gorgeous book cover up on the big screen at the RITAs last Saturday night. (The RITAs are the Romance Writers of America awards for excellence in romance fiction--think the Oscars of romance). Unfortunately someone else took home the statue but it was so thrilling to see a fellow crumpet up there!

I do have an exciting announcement of my own to make. SIN, my Regency set erotic romance about the daughters of an erotica artist, won the National Readers' Choice Award for erotic romance!

I was stunned. I believe I made a brief acceptance speech in Klingon. Then I tried to order a glass of wine only to discover I'd left my wallet upstairs. It was also all rather poignant as I'd just turned in the last book in that trilogy, Hot Silk, on July 3. Writing the short epilogue for Hot Silk, in which all members of the family gather for a wedding, left me teary eyed.

Another surprise for me at the RWA conference--I had copies of Blood Rose to sign! Blood Rose isn't officially "out" until July 25 (though I've heard of store sightings already). It was great to reel in passing readers with the promise they'd get a book NO ONE else could.

Plus, I really enjoyed meeting my fellow crumpet strumpets for Elevenses. Thanks so much, Celia, for bringing the Tim Tams. I've never tried the before, but on the first bite, I completely understood how addictive they are!

Since Blood Rose is popping up on the shelves, I'm posting an except!
And if you haven't checked out Colette Gale's contest--read the email below this one!

Excerpt from Blood Rose by Sharon Page

Her mouth dried as she saw his abdomen—the solid planes of muscle, more soft golden hair, the enticing indent of his navel. Her gaze dropped to his small clothes, riding on his lean hips…

It was as though she had stepped into one of her scandalous dreams.

"Do you know what happens to housebreakers, Miss Lark? Sometimes they get transported." His voice was silky. "And, like me, sometimes they serve a sentence in prison—and learn about all the perversions of mankind." His eyes narrowed, hard and cold in the soft light. "You should be thankful that I found you. I don’t know what Sommersby would have done if he had."

Serena knew she couldn’t show fear. "And what will you do?" she asked.

He reached down and picked up the journal she’d been reading. She caught her breath—waiting to see his reaction. He threw it back to the table and grinned. Astonished, she felt her jaw drop. How could he smile at such monstrous thoughts?

"Meaningless scribble to me," he said.

"You—you mean you can’t read?"

"I was born in a whorehouse, love, where women serviced rough men for pennies."

"But Lord Sommersby—the previous Lord Sommersby did not teach you? I thought he had taken you in as an apprentice."

He shrugged. "From your look of shock, I take it that to a governess a lack of education is sinful indeed." Mr. Swift’s deep voice lingered on sinful and her quim dampened in response.
"I could teach you to read," she offered. Perhaps it was a way to convince Mr. Swift not to have her arrested, to convince him to help her, but mostly she wanted to help him.

He had desired her in that brothel. He desired her now. She could read the heat, the male promise, in his beautiful green eyes, and it set her heart racing even faster.

"Why would you want to do that, love?" He paced to the table and leaned on it. Beneath his shirtsleeves, his muscles bunched, and she licked her lip nervously. Mr. Swift looked utterly unconcerned about being half-naked. But why should it startle her so? Vampires were often naked.

"You don’t know much about me, do you?" he asked, his voice husky, with a gentleness that wrapped around her heart.

"No, Mr. Swift," she answered with equal softness. "I do not." She read vulnerability, poignancy in his emerald eyes.

"I would like to know about you, Miss Lark. You fascinate me. Why does your past matter so much to you? You can’t bring your parents back, sweetheart."

"I know." She blinked away tears—tears at having to lie. "But my past has made me who I am—and I don’t know anything about it."

"What do you really want, Miss Lark? Vengeance on the vampire who took your parents? Perhaps that vampire is already dead. Is that the most satisfying thing you can imagine, Miss Lark?"

(Excerpt from Blood Rose, © Sharon Page)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Phantom is in the House.

At last! I have a copy of Unmasqued: An Erotic Novel of the Phantom of the Opera sitting here on my desk, just dying to be read...before its official release date!

(Let me just say that the cover....is breathtaking. Really breathtaking.)

So, I'm going to be pulling a name from my newsletter list....if you'd like a chance to win (and believe me, there aren't too many people on the list now), head on over to ColetteGale.com and sign up for my newsletter....and you'll be entered to win.

That's it! I'll draw a name on Friday night.

Friday, July 13, 2007

We're having a party at Dallas

A spiced tea party!

You're invited...

Friday, July 13 at 11:00 am
Coffee's Post, Hyatt Regency Hotel

Friday, July 6, 2007

My Phantom's Sexier Than Your Phantom

Some time ago, someone asked me if I'd read the original Phantom of the Opera by Leroux. I did. I have. And said person asked if I followed the book when I wrote my--ahem--dirty version of it, and what I thought about it.

And, well, my answer is: sorta. I didn't love the book as much as I loved the Webber musical (that's the romantic in me)...and here's sort of a comparison for the curious-minded.

Before I go any further, I just want to state this disclaimer: my first experience with The Phantom of the Opera was Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, which I saw in Toronto eighteen years ago. I had never watched a movie version or read the book or knew anything about it other than what the title told me before I saw the Webber musical.

I immediately fell in love with it.

The music. The costumes. The set. The story! Which is why it's probably impossible for me to write any objective review of Leroux's book, which I read twice: once for research for my own version of Phantom, and second, as I finished up the book, I reread parts of it as I did my final run-through of the book.

Really, what I'm going to do more than review the book is to compare the two versions: the original, and what is arguably the most well-known version of the story of Christine Daae, Raoul, and Erik (the Phantom).

Before I do that, let me give a very brief synopsis of the story for those who haven't read the book or seen the movie or play.

The story is about Christine Daae, an orphan who performs spectacularly at the Opera House in Paris, upstaging the reigning prima donna La Carlotta, and becomes the obsession of not one, but two men. Erik, also known as the Phantom of the Opera, and Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, one of the gentry.

Raoul is a childhood friend who comes back into her life at the beginning of the story, and Erik is a man with a deformed face who hides beneath the Opera House in his lair, and "haunts" the theater. Erik becomes Christine's singing tutor, under the guise of pretending he is an angel sent to her by her father, who died several years earlier. That's the crux of the story. As to how it ends, well, I'm trying not to give away spoilers.

So, on to the comparison.

First, let me say that Webber was quite faithful to Leroux's original story in many ways, some of which surprised me. For example, Christine does call the Phantom her "Angel of Music," which I had wondered about.

And the Opera Ghost (Erik) does send letters to the managers of the theater, asking for his salary.

There is a masquerade ball in both versions. There is a graveyard scene in both versions where Christine visits her father's grave and the Phantom is there, trying to lure her to him. Erik does write an opera called "Don Juan Triumphant." Lots of basic similarities.

In the film version of the Webber musical, there's an additional scene: of Raoul in the circular room with mirrors, trying to fight the Phantom. That, too, is taken from the book.

There are some things that Webber left out, understandably so, due to the constraints of his choice of medium.

In the book, the Vicomte de Chagny (Raoul) has an older brother, the Comte. The Comte actually is the so-called villain in the original book, along with the Phantom, in that he does not want Raoul to marry beneath him--he tries to obstruct any possibility of marriage between Christine and Raoul.

Also, in the book, there is this mysterious character known only as The Persian. He comes in about halfway through the book and is a device used, through his conversations with Raoul, to fill us in on Erik's (the Phantom's) backstory--where he was before he was in Paris, how he comes to know so much about torture chambers and engineering, and how to navigate from under the theater to the Phantom's underground lair.

After being immersed in the Webber version (I've owned the soundtrack since I first saw the musical, have seen the musical a dozen times, and also own the movie), I must admit I found the book to be a disappointment to my romantic's heart.

The main reason is that the book is not the love story that Webber turned it into; it's more of a mystery, told in what I would call a dry precursor to our popular police procedural novels. I didn't find it particularly suspenseful or creepy. It's not really a thriller. It has a gothic feel to it, but in a removed sort of fashion.

It is a love story between Raoul and Christine. And the story of Erik's obsessive love for Christine, although in the book, there's very little sympathy built in for Erik.

Webber romanticized Erik and his passion for Christine, and I'm not ashamed to say that I prefer his version.

And, I am sorry to say, there is no scene in the book that even slightly relates to the famous Point of No Return scene from the film/musical.

I think Leroux must be given his due, however. He wrote a novel with a storyline that has fascinated us for over a century now, inspiring the creation of many different movie versions, and the most lucrative entertainment enterprise of all time (src: Wikipedia).

He wrote a type of novel with a unique (at that time) structure in which the story is told mainly through a series of interviews with the characters, as in a police procedural. I expected more suspense, and more of a ghostly feel to the book.

But, as I said right off, I know my expectations have been colored by my first exposure to the book. It would be impossible for me to judge the book based on its own merit, unfortunately.

So. For those of you who have read the book, what do you think? What did you like about it? Dislike? The phone lines are open.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


(Sorry, sorry for the delay. (It took me five goes to type "sorry" correctly.) I cannot type tonight. There has been Stuffage going on, you see. But at least it's still Thursday.)

Yesterday was the Fourth of July, Independence Day here in America. You might have noticed that our emblem here at The Spiced Tea Party, the flag-waving, bared-bosom heroine is no doubt celebrating her independence -- although I cannot remember the entire painting (Jane can chime in with the source), but definitely has to do with the French Revolution and maybe even Bastille Day.

It’s an odd thing, independence: bare-breasted women waving French flags, women burning bras and the like... is writing erotic romance antithetical to that?

I mean, surely to write a romance, erotic or not, is abandoning all our feminist idealism and settling for co-dependence with a MAN for God’s sake!

OK, you know I don’t believe that, right??? For there is undoubtedly independence in writing and reading romance, especially erotic romance. In exploring fantasies, a woman can, through reading, safely discover her likes and dislikes when it comes to sex. She can take a bit of the boldness from her favorite heroine and share those fantasies with her partner. This is women writing for women, making it okay for women to want what they want (and how they want it).

One of my favorite fan emails came from a woman who thanked me for writing SHOW ME, adding that it added spice to her sex life with her husband. She thanked the Lord for my gift, which thrilled me to pieces.

One of the reasons I’m asking is that I’ve always been a dyed-in-the-wool feminist. Ever since I was a wee thing and nearly killed myself and two friends by demanding that we girls were just as capable as the boys of carrying the TV set back to the store room. That TV was *heavy*, but I finally got our English teacher to cave and let us do it.

Anyway, as a feminist, I don’t have trouble writing romances, just as I don’t have trouble with women choosing to stay home with the kids as a career. The whole point of feminism (as a writer friend of mine, Elizabeth Bear recently made much better than I ever will) is that it’s given us choices. And that, as erotic romance writers is what we provide our readers. Choices.

So, an the “happily ever after, loads of sex with men with bulging man-tittys” fantasy be a pathway to independence and happiness, or slavery to social and sexual norms we can never live up to?

(OK, so some of us don’t care if we never get the mantitty aspect of the fantasy.)


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The True Hallmark of a Hero

...in erotic Romance.
As I wrapped up my WIP (and sent it off to my editor a week early--nothing like an upcoming conference to make you speed up), I've been thinking about heroes.
A book needs a strong, compelling heroine who the reader can identify with. But is it mainly the hero that sells the book--first to an editor or agent and then to the reader. I think that is what makes crafting the alpha male so complex--how can a dominant man who may or may not express himself be sympathetic and appealing? (Check out Pam's post yesterday).
But I've discovered the one essential quality my hero must possess (and most do in erotic and sensual romances.) He must like oral sex. Giving, of course, as well as receiving.
Would readers accept a man as a hero if he refuses to pleasure his lady orally? Would they still desire him if he's "just not into that"? Personally, I can't see it. When I create my heroes they also tend to enjoy giving oral sex. My men aren't reluctantly doing it just because they know they have to pleasure the heroine, or are trying to prove (to heroine and reader) that they will be a dutiful, conscientious lover. I want my hero to find every inch of my heroine appealing, tempting, and desireable.
I don't believe I've read a romance (one that includes explicit scenes) where the hero does not perform oral sex on the heroine. Readers, have you found any? Have you noticed the lack if you have?
So here's to fireworks for our heroines, and Happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

True Confessions: Pam Reveals Her Inner Pussycat

Michael pried me away from my computer last weekend to go hiking along the coast in Point Reyes, California. It's one of the most beautiful spots I know. When I die, I want my ashes scattered there and in Paris, but in in the meantime, I’m planning to plug the the landscape into my imagination to serve as a rocky Mediterranean shore for my book-in-progress, unless I can get to Greece or Turkey myself this year.

Anyway, we did a nice, exhausting up-and-down-hill hike, and as sometimes happens when you get a good walking rhythm, I kept hearing a certain song running through my head.

Except I wasn't just singing to keep up a rhythm. Because I know myself well enough to recognize that when I have a tune running insistently through my head, it's because my head's trying to tell me something.

The song was a corny old show tune, "Getting to Know You," from the Broadway musical, "The King and I." I've included a link to a funky YouTube Video -- I told myself I did this because people younger than I am wouldn't know the song. But in truth it's because I was raised on Rogers and Hammerstein, Guys and Dolls, and West Side Story; I love old show music and I wanted to share it.

So what was I trying to tell myself? Well, that's a sort of corny thing, too. My head was belting out this old chestnut to celebrate the fact that I was beginning to know the hero and heroine of my latest book well enough to get them into bed together. And had thought of ways (it's a romance, can you spell B-A-N-T-E-R?) in which they were coming to know each other, or at least to fantasize or ask questions about who each other were.

Because the corny truth is that of this getting-to-know-you stuff seems to matter to me. A lot.

In this case I know it from experience, because in a previous draft of my first seven chapters I plopped these characters into bed together, didn't believe it, and had to rethink and rewrite it. They didn't know each other well enough, they weren't intellectually aroused enough by each other, to make them (well, me) feel the erotic connection.

I'd gotten the characters wrong -- or I just hadn't gotten them yet. I made the conversation-to-coupling of scenes wary, silent, dark and dangerous, though now I know they should have started out brittle, intellectual and chatty, to turn dark and dangerous and then -- well then, as the text will say,

and then, oddly, it became terribly and wonderfully simple and straightforward. Marina was surprised, and she could see in a certain amused light in Jasper's eye that he was surprised too...
Not because it has to be that way with all couples, but because now I know this couple well enough now that that's how it has to be... well, is... with them.

I find myself a little embarrassed by this. I mean, who do I think I am, Miss Manners? Why do they need to be so formally and elaborately introduced to each other?

I like to think of myself as a fearless voyager in the ways of written erotica. Personally, I do sometimes have fantasies of dangerous sex with unknown partners. And Carrie, the heroine who in some ways I think of as my erotic fantasy soul, has sex with people she'd never even speak to in real life -- my favorite being the unsavory French guy in the unspeakable green jacket in Safe Word.

But the truth is that when I'm writing a romance I like my lovers to like each other, to feel intellectual curiosity about each other and share affective sympathy -- maybe not all at once or completely, but eventually, yes. I think what makes me fall in love with them (and I do, and I get downright mournful when they have to go and leave me) is the ways in which they not only love but like each other. Which means how they're onto each other. Corny as it might seem. Which is the purpose, if it's not clear, of the shot from "His Girl Friday," though you could probably substitute any movie Cary Grant ever was in.

Confession done -- now you tell me.

Readers, is rapport between a hero and heroine as important in erotic romance as it is in the sweeter stuff? And writers, what part mutual understanding, knowledge, sympathy, and rapport play when you're trying to write the progress of an erotic relationship?

Monday, July 2, 2007

Cyprian Balls

This weekend I finally had a chance to simply sit and relax. No kids, No work, No deadline.

So what did I do… well lots of things like clean my car!... but what I was trying to get at here was that I read.

I had forgotten home much I love to sit down and simply read all day. I read Suzanne Enoch’s Something Sinful. A wonderful book that I really enjoyed.

I also started researching for my next book due in December of this year. I am writing two interweaving straight Historical Erotic Romance novella’s revolving around a Cyprian ball. I have been reading the History of Whites, and I am rereading a book on courtesans that I read when I proposed this story.

It is amazing to me how the Cyprian balls were organized. Here were all these mistresses to the wealthy that were not permitted to attend balls thrown by society so they organized their own. Sometimes the ball appeared to be a simple house party… but the activities, purely on speculation from the times, were vigorous and filled with scandalous behavior all day and night.

The first ball reportedly was held in the Argyle Rooms. The picture is a depiction of this ball. It was said that the woman wore the thinnest of gauzes and silks and that the men used the ball to reconnect with old loves as well as to scope out the pickings for new ones.

There is NOT a lot of material around on this subject… and I have only begun my research into the topic, but my mind has run wild with images of lightly veiled orgies in room upon room, mixed with waltzing, drinking and a grand old time. I am truly looking forward to writing a straight historical erotic romance again. Sigh.

When you hear the phrase “Cyprian Ball” what do you picture in your mind?

Hugs and Kisses,
PS. I will keep you posted on what additional information I find on this event.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Pleasurable Bargains

This is the new cover for the print edition of PLEASURABLE BARGAINS, which has just come out from Ellora's Cave. It's actually a compilation of my two shorter erotic Regency e-book stories, 'Eden's Pleasure' and 'Antonia's Bargain'. It's available at all the usual places, including the EC eBay store. Luckily for me, EC decided to put this out just in time for the RWA conference in Dallas, which means I get to sign it at the literacy signing "Readers for Life" on July 11th from 5:30-7:30, which is open to the public and features all the big names of romance, including some of the more illustrious crumpets here!(oh,and me)

We've talked a lot about man titty on this blog and very little about woman titty-mainly, I suppose, because you just can't show even the hint of a nipple on a romance novel cover. (although Celia's cover on the right comes pretty close!) I must admit that when I first saw this cover from EC, the luscious lady had a few little rolls of fat at her waist. Now, I'm all for natural-looking women on covers and I love her curves but I sheepishly asked the darling art dept at EC if they could remove those tiny love handles-mainly because they reminded me how I might look if posed just so...and romance is all about fantasy, yes? So forgive me if she seems too perfect-the fault is all mine...

I'm currently looking at potential covers for another book I have coming out at the end of the year. It's always interesting to see how a cover evolves. It always takes me a while to get my head around someone elses idea of what my hero or heroine looks like. Apparently books with blond heroes on the cover don't sell as well as books with dark heroes, which is a pity because both the hero and heroine of the book in question happen to be blond. (memo to self: never do that again)

Does it annoy you when the cover of a romance novel doesn't reflect the author's description of the hero/heroine? Or are there any particular covers you think have been done to death? (personally I'm fed up with the woman running from deathly peril in high heels thing (who would keep their shoes on?) and the classic clinch)