Books, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites: Fall Back In Time Event

This week’s Favorite comes to you courtesy of the Historical Romance Network. It’s their Fall Back In Time event to celebrate historical romance. All you need to do to participate is take a picture of yourself/your pet/your kids’ toys/your favorite coffee mug with a historical romance novel and tag it with #FallBackInTime. Say why you love that particular book/series/author/time period (if there’s room on your post) and share the posts of your fellow historical romance junkies 🙂



Books, Writing Life

Meet My Character Blog Hop & Cover Reveal

It’s finally happening! In just under two weeks, my debut novella hits the digital stands. And Paula Lofting tagged me in the Meet My Character Blog Hop, giving me the perfect opportunity to introduce you all to my hero and heroine.

What are the names of your characters? Benedict Grey is our hero, and Lady Honoria Maitland is our heroine. If their names sound familiar, it may be because you helped choose them way back in in February of last year. The story I’d originally intended for them didn’t work out, but they started whispering in my ear again earlier this year.

cover 2Are they fictional or historical people? They are both fictional.

When and where is the story set? The bulk of the story is set in London during the social season of 1813.

What should we know about your main characters? Benedict is a Regency-era archaeologist (known then by the broader term antiquarian) who has a small circle of relatives and friends he’s close to. Honoria is the daughter of a duke and Benedict’s childhood friend. They were very close until he sailed away to Greece to work on Lord Elgin’s expedition.

What is the main conflict? What messes up their lives? Honoria and Benedict both find themselves in need of a spouse, though they each react differently. Benedict is the last heir to an old title and needs to secure the succession, but he’s the male equivalent of a wallflower and is more than a little uncomfortable in social situations. He makes up his mind to do his best, however unpleasant it might be.

Honoria, on the other hand, loves Society. But her father is dying, and she’ll have no male relative to look after her when he’s gone. He makes her promise to find a husband before he dies, but instead she tries to find a way to keep her independence without hurting her father. That’s where Benedict and a sham courtship come in.

SSK coverWhat is the personal goal of the characters? Benedict and Honoria both want to do right by their families, but they also want to ensure their own happiness in the process. Benedict intends to look for a bride he likes, not just a girl who fits the profile. And Honoria decides that she’s better off on her own than with some aristocrat who wants a duke’s daughter to shore up the lineage of his future children or a large dowry to straighten out his finances.

Is there a working title for this novel? Can we read more about it? The novella itself is titled Save The Last Dance For Me, and can be found in the Sweet Summer Kisses e-book bundle. I’ll post links as soon as I have them 🙂 In the meantime, you can check out some “behind the scenes” stuff on my Pinterest board.

ETA: I have links now!
Amazon UK:
Google Play:
arnes & Noble:

When can we expect the book to be published? Tuesday June 23 is our scheduled release date.

Books, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorite: Regency Turns 80

Our Favorite this week is a celebration! Eighty years ago Georgette Heyer published her first Regency romance novel, and The Beau Monde is commemorating the anniversary with a series of articles. Pieces for Regency Buck (written by Alina K. Field) and An Infamous Army (by Shannon Donnelly) are already posted, with more to come throughout the year for each of Heyer’s Regency romances and some of her non-Regency historicals. Check them out and sigh over your favorites, find new-to-you gems to read…or remind yourself which titles are already on your TBR list 😉


Books, TBR Challenge

Cora’s TBR Challenge 2015


In the immortal words of John Lennon, “another year over and a new one just begun”. It’s time (if you haven’t already) to make those resolutions for 2015–including one for your TBR pile.

My TBR Challenge was such a personal success last year that I’m doing it again! 2015 is very uncertain for me–my teaching career is up in the air right now (Will I ever teach again? When? Where? How? If not, what else will I do?), and thus so is my writing time (How much energy will I have to devote to a day job? How will my health hold up? The bills have to be paid, but will I be too tired to do anything else?). So this year’s TBR Challenge is a way for me to take a measure of control in addition to finally reading some of the books languishing on my shelves and Kindle.

I’ve tweaked the rules slightly for this year:

1. How many books from your TBR pile will you read? I’m upping my goal to 18 books this year over the 12 I chose for last year. I have so many books floating around the house that 12 felt like just a drop in the bucket, and I’m hoping to make more headway this time around.

2. How long have your books been waiting? For the purposes of this challenge, the books I read must have been acquired by me or placed on my library TBR list (which is also getting out of hand) before August 1, 2014. This means I can’t buy new books in January and count them toward my TBR Challenge come September–which I found myself doing at least once last year, and kind of defeats the purpose of the challenge.

3. How will you hold yourself accountable? Like last year, I’ll post here once a month to share my progress and see how you all are doing. I found the Goodreads shelf and the dedicated page on this blog were enormously helpful, too. I’m a very visual person and being able to see the collection of books that I’d read gave me a nice sense of accomplishment, which made me want to read more TBR books 🙂

Who will take up this challenge with me? Who will commit to wading through the mountains of books you’ve spent your hard-earned money on, but never read? Leave a comment here or on the 2015 TBR Challenge page with your goal: how many books will you tackle this year?

Books, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorite: Best of 2014

In a year of Friday Favorites, which one was the most popular? None other than Richard Armitage reading Georgette Heyer! This post received more views than any other post on And Then He Kissed Her in 2014. I joked at the time that, if I became famous, it would be because of Richard Armitage…and I may not have been far off 😉

Check out the original post here, which includes an excerpt of Richard reading Venitia, interviews conducted during his work on The Convenient Marriage, and links to other audio samples and projects.

John Thornton

Writing Life

My Writing Process Blog Hop

I was invited by Courtney Hall to participate in this continuous blog hop. You can check out her post (and other fun articles) here. The idea is for each author on the hop to answer the same four questions about his/her work in progress and they way in which s/he writes. Readers can then get insight into their favorite authors’ minds, and even compare the thoughts of different authors.

Pretty cool, right? Here’s my contribution:

Photo Credit: Antonio Litterio
Photo Credit: Antonio Litterio

1. What am I working on? I have several stories going, but at the moment two are getting the most attention: the Christmas novella you lovely readers helped me out with earlier this year, and the second chance romance I’ve been slowly writing for the past two years now. They’re both Regency romances, tangentially related to each other, but not in the same series.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? There are all kinds of Regencies out there, and both of mine seem to take a little from a couple of categories. They’re a little bit sweet (lighter on the sex content) and a little bit traditional (no spies or kidnappings or mysteries here, but lots of good character development). But romances tend to stick to two points of view (the hero’s and the heroine’s), which gives you a certain feel that’s common to them all. My two stories are still told from two points of view, but I grew up reading so many third-person novels that some of that style creeps in. That’s what makes me unique–you get a solid, lovely Regency atmosphere but it doesn’t feel like every other Regency you’ve read 🙂

3. Why do I write what I do? I write because I have to. Literally. I’ve tried to stop several times, because my life would be so much less complicated if I could just stick to teaching. But every time I put writing aside, I find myself going a little crazy–the characters and stories start piling up in my head, and I write to get them out. I started writing romance because I read quite a few bad ones and thought I could do better. Luckily I also found a multitude of great ones, so I have lots of wonderful role models as I work!

Title_page_of_OUR_HOME_CYCLOPEDIA,_printed_18894. How does my writing process work? It’s strange because my writing process is a lot like my lesson planning process when I’m teaching. Once I get an idea in my head (for a story, a chapter, a scene, a character), I throw myself headfirst into research. No matter how much I know about the Regency period (or any other era in history), there is always a bucket of details I need to figure out. When I can start imagining the story/chapter/scene in my mind, I write notes down in my trusty 3-ring binder (yes, I like plain notebook paper for notes and scribbles–I can draw arrows, use different colors, underline/circle/box certain words or phrases much faster than on a computer). When the outline feels solid, the words usually start to flow and I park myself in front of the computer. When I get stuck, I have found that housework actually helps me work out issues in the manuscript. Keeping my hands occupied while I talk out a problem has helped me untangle many a fictional knot over the years!

There you go–that’s my writer’s life in a nutshell. Minus all the complications, of course…those are a different story for a different post 😉


So You Think You Know St. George’s

I’m having some migraine issues and my computer time is pretty limited for a while, so I thought I’d share an article I wrote a while back when I was blogging for Teatime Romance. It’s one of my favorites!

Many a Regency romance ends with a great society wedding at St. George’s in Hanover Square…but how much do you know about the famed church?

St. George's

1. The Parish Church of St. George was completed in what year?

    1. 1711
    2. 1716
    3. 1725
    4. 1731

Answer: C  St. George’s was part of the Fifty New Churches Act passed in 1711, but wasn’t until 1720 that a location was approved and a design was chosen.  The first stone was laid in 1721 and the building was certified complete on March 20, 1725. Three days later it was consecrated by the Bishop of London.

2. What denomination is St. George’s?

    1. Catholic
    2. Anglican
    3. Lutheran
    4. Presbyterian

Answer: B  St. George’s is an Anglican (Church of England) church, part of the Diocese of London. It is the parish church of Mayfair.

3. Which American president was married at St. George’s?

    1. Teddy Roosevelt
    2. Franklin Roosevelt
    3. Woodrow Wilson
    4. Andrew Jackson

Answer: A  Teddy Roosevelt married his childhood sweetheart Edith Kermit Carow in 1886. He took a room at Brown’s Hotel in Dover Street to meet the residency requirement, and remains the only American president to be married at St. George’s. His wedding also inspired many other Americans to marry at the church.

St. George's organ4. According to tradition, St. George was a native of Asia Minor.  When did he become the patron saint of England?

    1. The sixth century
    2. The ninth century
    3. The eleventh century
    4. The thirteenth century

Answer: C  A vision of St. George (along with St. Demetrius) spurred on the Norman troops at the battle of Antioch during the First Crusade in 1098. The Normans won the battle, and adopted St. George as their patron.

5. Which famous composer was a regular worshiper at St. George’s?

    1. Handel
    2. Brahms
    3. Bach
    4. Purcell

Answer: A  George Friderick Handel emigrated to London from his native Germany in 1724, purchasing a house in Brook Street just as the church was nearing completion. His opinion was sought on the suitability of the organ when it was being installed, and he provided the music for the testing of candidates to play it. In 1726 he became a naturalized British citizen, attending services at St. George’s until he died in 1759.

So how did you do? What fact surprised you most?

Want to learn more about St. George’s? Visit their website at


Books, Writing Life

Book Covers: The Good, The Bad, The Imaginary

Every unpublished author dreams about what his or her book cover will look like (maybe the published ones do too!). Something that sums up the story, of course. Perhaps the model(s) should resemble the main character(s) a little. If it’s a historical novel, any people pictured should be dressed in clothing appropriate for that period (though I’ve seen that thought ignored enough times).

But what else?

Bright colors or muted ones? Lots of skin or something more demure? Detailed or simple?

When I imagine my future book cover, I see something like this:


There are a lot of covers out there with sweeping scenery and heroines in vibrant flowing gowns, and they’re beautiful. But the uncluttered simplicity of this one appeals to me. I like the softness of the lavender, and the fact that it looks easy yet professional. The models are even wearing clothing that invokes a Regency frame of mind.

But my favorite part about this cover is the way the models are interacting with each other. I’ve always been more fond of beta heroes than alphas, so I like that he’s holding her gently instead of bending her over or pinning her against a tree. I also adore the expression on his face, eyes nearly closed as if he’s drinking her in with his other senses. That she is wearing a similar expression–and caressing him sweetly–seals the deal for me. In fact, it was part of the reason I bought the book 🙂

What are your favorite covers? Have you ever bought a book because of the cover? Have you ever not bought a book because of the cover? Is there anything special you look for in a book cover?

Books, Writing Life

Reading/Writing Fun: Quick 5

I saw the reading version of this on Carol Cork’s blog and thought, since I am both a reader and a writer, that I’d adapt it a bit and do both activities. Here’s what I’m working on. What are you reading and/or writing?

Photo Credit: Johannes Jansson
Photo Credit: Johannes Jansson

Reading Fun

1. Which novel are you currently reading and the author? Undeniable Rogue by Annette Blair

2. What is the opening line of the book? By this time tomorrow, he would be wed.

3. What are the hero and heroine’s names? (on the remote chance you’re not reading a romance, give the name of the main character). The hero is Gideon St. Goddard, Duke of Stanthorpe. The heroine is Mrs. Sabrina Whitcomb.

4. What is the first sentence of the second paragraph of Chapter 9? Then he placed her hand on his arm and covered it, possessively, with his own.

5. What’s next on your TBR pile? Any one of about 400 books!


Writing Fun

1. Which novel are you currently writing? A second-chance Regency romance titled The Only Exception.

2. What is the opening line of the book? Kate Sedgley stood in the center of her uncle’s study, waiting for him to finish writing in the leather-bound ledger on his desk.

3. What are the hero and heroine’s names? (on the remote chance you’re not writing a romance, give the name of the main character). The hero is John Kendall, Earl of Wrexham. The heroine is Miss Katherine Sedgley, otherwise known as Kate.

4. What is the first sentence of the second paragraph of Chapter 9? I haven’t gotten to Chapter 9 yet 😀

5. What’s next on your TBW (To Be Written) pile? The untitled Christmas novella I started working on a few weeks ago (I’m working on it simultaneously with this one, actually).


Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

It’s March fellow readers! Has your TBR pile gotten any smaller?

IMG-20140218-00029I have to say, doing this challenge here on the blog where everyone can watch my progress has been motivating. I’m actively searching for more time to read to ensure I make my goal…sometimes to the detriment of my to-do lists!

One thing that’s helped me this month is finding books in different formats. I snap up little mass market paperbacks at my local library used book sales, but when I get home I have such a hard time reading that tiny print! The book goes in the TBR bin and ends up staying there. But I live in an area with a IMG-20140218-00030wonderful library system–what they don’t have, they can get. So I looked up my mass market paperbacks and found larger version that are much easier to read.

Presto! Two more books climbing out of the TBR bin!

Are you making progress with your commitment? If you missed the beginning of the challenge, it’s not too late to join in the fun! Check out my TBR Challenge Page for more details.