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Interview with Historical Romance Author Margaret Locke

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Jun 082017

Cover image for The Demon Duke by Margaret LockeToday, we’re celebrating Margaret Locke‘s newest release, THE DEMON DUKE, the first in her new Put Up Your Dukes series.

I first met Margaret through Facebook and her first series of books which were more paranormal with time travel to and from the Regency and fell in love with her sense of humor and her heroes. She’s since joined The Beau Monde chapter of RWA® and I finally get to meet her in person this summer at Nationals in Orlando! And honestly, I’m not in the least bit surprised to find we share a love of Lynn Kurland’s time travel romances!

The Demon Duke
by Margaret Locke

ASIN: B06XTXGJMKAmazon pixel
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Dec 202015

Cover image for 3 YULETIDE WISHES, an anthology by Deneane Clark, Alanna Lucas and Charlotte RussellThere’s less than a week until Christmas Day and if you’re like me, you’re not done shopping yet! If you’ve got a reader of Regency Romance on your list, we’ve got something that might just be a perfect fit. Join us in celebrating the holiday release from Boroughs Publishing, 3 YULETIDE WISHES, an anthology by Deneane Clark, Alanna Lucas and Charlotte Russell. I know Charlotte and Alanna through The Beau Monde chapter of RWA® and I hope to get to know Deneane Clark better in the future. I’m looking forward to some holiday reading after downloading this to my e-reader and I hope you will too!

3 Yuletide Wishes
an anthology by Deneane Clark, Alanna Lucas and Charlotte Russell

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May 152013

Cover for HIGHLANDER'S HOPE by Collette CameronPlease welcome Collette Cameron to the blog today to celebrate her imminent debut release, HIGHLANDER’S HOPE. I met Collette online through The Beau Monde chapter and chat with her regularly on twitter and Facebook.

I got a chance to read an ARC of this novel and I know you’re in for a special treat! This isn’t your typical Regency fare waltzing through the ballrooms of London, but it’s also not your usual Scottish Highlander novel filled with raids across the border and kidnapped London misses either. No, this plot takes your expectations and sets them on end through a mix of common Regency and Highland elements but with twists that pleasantly surprise. The author’s sense of humor shines through in descriptions, especially regarding the secondary characters, and in the dialogue. Yvette and Ewan’s HEA is satisfying and the tension of suspense is kept taut throughout as the heroine is chased from America, to London, to Scotland while the hero must unravel a spy ring.

If you enjoy Regency Romance romps or Historical Romance with light suspense, give this one a try! I’ll be sure to add buy links as soon as it’s available!

Highlander’s Hope
by Collette Cameron

ISBN 9781619351974


She was the heiress determined to never marry.

Shipping heiress Yvette Stapleton is wary of fortune hunting men and their false declarations of love. She’d rather become a spinster than imprisoned in the bonds of marriage. At first, she doesn’t recognize the dangerously handsome man who rescues her from assailants on London’s docks, but her reaction to Lord Sethwick’s passionate kisses soon have her reconsidering her cynical views on matrimony.

He was the nobleman who vowed to make her his own.

Not a day has gone by that Ewan McTavish, Lord Sethwick and Laird of Craiglocky, hasn’t dreamed of the sensual beauty he danced with two years ago; he’s determined to win her heart. On a mission to stop a War Office traitor, he unwittingly draws Yvette into deadly international intrigue. To protect her, he exploits Scottish Canon law to declare her his lawful wife—without benefit of a ceremony. Yvette is furious upon discovering the irregular marriage is legally binding, though she never said, “I do.”

Amidst murder and betrayal, Ewan attempts to win Yvette’s forgiveness. But is it too late? Has his manipulation cost him her love?

Excerpt: London Inn Scene

Ewan jolted awake. “Merde.”

He had fallen asleep with Yvette in his arms. Shooting a worried glance at the window, he recognized the first golden blush of daybreak sweeping across the hazy sky.

Sucking in a strangled breath, he grasped the inexperienced hand fondling him. Blast it. The towel had come loose while he slept, of course.

“Yvette,” he whispered as she showered kisses across his bare chest and neck. Grasping her roaming hands, he ensnared her in his embrace, and raised his voice. “Yvette, wake up.”

He gave her a gentle shake. Dark lashes trembled, rising to reveal drowsy eyes. A smile lit her face when her gaze met his. She lifted her hand, caressing his face, her fingers lingering on his scar before she raised herself up and kissed the mark. Caught up in the powerful spell, he almost forgot himself. He fought the urge to throw reason to the wind and kiss her with all the desire he was holding in check. “Yvette. . .”

Ewan knew the moment she awoke. He felt her stiffen in his arms and heard her small cry of shocked dismay. She pressed at his chest with both hands. He released her and watched her scramble across the bed. She stopped in the middle, facing him. Her hair swirled around her, settling in shimmering waves about her hips.

Dawn’s glow lit the room. He could see her expressions. Shock—followed by confusion, then complete horror as she realized the full scope of her situation.

I hope you enjoyed that excerpt, but let’s find out a little bit more about Collette herself and her writing in the Regency Era.

1. What drew you to writing Historical Romances in general and specifically to setting stories during the Regency Era where English propriety clashes with Scottish brashness?

When I was 13, a friend gave me a Barbara Cartland Historical Romance to read. I fell in love with historicals, right then and there. I do enjoy other romance genres, but historicals appeal to the romantic and the historian in me. I’m a history buff and digging into the research for a historical is something I really enjoy.

Georgian, Regency, and Victorian are my favorite eras, (all those lords and ladies, you know) so when I decided to write a historical romance, I choose the Regency era. It was such a time of transition; strict propriety strove—ineffectively, I might add— to conceal an undercurrent of immorality and entitlement.

Highlanders are the epic heroes. A bit too unrefined for the Haute Ton, but, oh, do they add a delicious element in a romance.

2. What’s the strangest bit of historical trivia you’ve picked up in your research?

I found a Scot’s Canon Law that “covered” irregular marriages—those not performed by the church. In essence, you could declare you were married, or exchange vows, in front of anyone, and you were legally married.

That law came in quite handy when I was writing HIGHLANDER’S HOPE.

These next few questions assume that time travel is possible.

3. What modern conveniences would you miss most? What would you miss least?

Bathrooms! My hubby teases me because I don’t even like to go camping unless there is hot running water and electricity so I can style my hair.

I do not know how the elite could stand not bathing. I see paintings of the most extraordinary fashions, and I’m appalled that such an exquisite outfit was donned by a stink-meister.

Telephones too, though not so much for communication, but for emergencies. You know when the coach breaks down or your horse goes lame? Just dial the 1800s version of AAA.

What else?

Refrigerators and clean water.

Water wasn’t safe to drink (which is why so many cooks had a drinking problem) and food was hard to keep from spoiling. During my research I discovered that many of the thick, rich sauces favored during those eras was actually a means used to cover the taste of half-spoiled meat and fish.

4. What would be the hardest for you to adapt to in the Regency Era?

Lack of good hygiene and availability of fresh fruits and vegetables.

5. Where would you fit into the society? Where would you like to visit most?

I’m a teacher so most likely, I’d be a governess or an instructor at a school for young girls. Though perfectly respectable, neither position was enviable. Most women who filled those roles did so because they had no other recourse. There were very few jobs available for decent women, which is why the prostitution rate was so ghastly high.

I’ve been to London and Paris, but I’d love to go back. Right now, I’m trying to figure out a way to finagle a visit to Scotland. I have a six-book saga about highlanders in the planning stages, so a trip for research is a must, don’t you think?

6. How long have you been writing? What advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning novelist if you could? Would this advice differ from what you’d say to an aspiring author now?

In February 2011, I plopped myself in front of my computer, on a whim really, and decided to write a romance novel. It took me six months—I taught the whole while—and when it was done, I realized I had only really begun. Two major rewrites, including cutting 73,000 words, and two title changes occurred before it was ready to submit.

I didn’t have critique partners for my first novel. I do now, and they make a huge difference in the revising and polishing of my work. I also hadn’t read any books on the craft or attended any workshops. I wasted a lot of time learning stuff after my manuscript was finished.

I think it is extremely important that a writer stay true to their own voice and creativity. Learn from others, but make sure your writing reflects you as the artist.

7. Your blog prominently features blue roses and you have a wonderful explanation with some gorgeous pictures there, but how did your series become the Blue Rose Series? Did you consciously set out to include them and build around that idea, or did your character(s) make the suggestion?

When I first dove into the whole publishing thing, everyone kept saying you need an author platform. A what?

You need to create your branding? My what?

I came up with the blue rose for my branding because my favorite color is cobalt blue, and anyone that knows me, knows I’m nuts about flowers. There are only two rooms in my house that don’t have floral wallpaper. I’ve pictures of flowers on my walls, and yes, I do have scads of flowers in my yard.

My dishes actually have a blue rose pattern so it was a natural transference to my author branding.

Now, as far as the Blue Rose Trilogy, I named the trilogy before I started writing it. My reasoning was as a new author, I needed a way for readers to identify me. Each of the books has multiple references to blue roses in them.

I’m actually thinking about having a blue rose contest after Highlander’s Hope releases and asking readers where blue roses are mentioned in the book.

Oh, I also have a really fun Blue Rose Romance page on Pinterest, in case anyone would like to take a peek.

8. Between writing and teaching, you manage to find time for a number of hobbies: amateur photography, bird watching, gardening, interior decorating, rock-hunting, and salmon fishing on the Columbia River. Not to mention three adult children, and five miniature dachshunds. How do you balance it all?

You know that thing called sleep? I don’t get much of it.

It’s all about prioritizing. What’s most important right at this moment?

Because I’m a substitute teacher, my teaching is more flexible. I also utilize my time really well. It helps that I’m a very organized and disciplined person. I don’ t spend as much time gardening, bird watching or fishing as I used to. My focus at present is launching my writing career.

9. Are you reader? What are some of your favorites?

I am a reader. I don’t know any authors that aren’t.

I don’t really have any favorites though. If a story appeals to me, I read it. I did name my daughter after Brianna in THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER by Kathleen Woodiwiss.

10. What is the most challenging part of being a writer?

I think the promo and marketing are what I find the most challenging. I’m not a natural at either, and both make me uncomfortable.

Also, developing a thick skin is a must. That comes with time, I think.

Not everyone is going to like my writing; I don’t like some books that I’ve read—yes, even some romances. I’ve not had any reviews yet, but I hope to respond with dignity and grace when poor reviews come in because, it’s inevitable, they will.

Photo of Collette Cameron, Author

About the Author

A life-long Oregonian, Collette Cameron was born and raised in a small town along the northern Oregon coast. Today she makes her home in a rural community, 30 minutes west of Portland. Her Victorian farmhouse sits on a one-acre certified wildlife habit, interspersed with a plethora of gardens: English, rose, butterfly, rock, water, and of course, vegetable.

A voracious reader of romance since her teens, she even named her daughter after a heroine in her favorite romance novel. An enthusiast of times gone by, and anything related to romance, she writes Historical Romance, with a dash of inspiration, a pinch of humor, and a liberal portion of suspense.

Having dabbled in interior decorating in her youth, Collette returned to school, graduating summa cum laude from Oregon State University, and went on to obtain her Master’s Degree in Teaching. She is member of Romance Writers of America, Rose City Romance Writers, The Beau Monde, and Love Faith and Hope, Inc., and a whole slew of other author/writer groups.

Some of Collette’s favorite things include unique blends of coffees and teas, trivia, Cadbury Milk Chocolate, inspirational quotes, and scented candles. Her Christian faith, husband, three adult children, and five miniature dachshunds round out her life quite nicely! When she’s not teaching or writing, she is a content and copy/line editor for an Ebook publisher, enjoys amateur photography, bird watching, gardening, interior decorating, rock-hunting, boating or fishing on the Columbia River, and reading of course.

To connect with Collette, please visit http://collettecameron.com/ or http://www.blueroseromance.com/. She can also be found on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Linkedin, Goodreads, Twitter, and the Soul Mate Publishing Author’s Blog.


Jun 082012

Last week we talked about our Summer Writing Plans and it pains me to say that I haven’t yet managed to get started. Today was the closest I’ve come to feeling like I was on track. Our son promoted from middle school to high school yesterday, our daughter had finals, my car got clipped by another parent waiting to pick up the kids on Monday, and my husband had his wisdom teeth removed last Friday. It’s been a busy week! This week for our How I Write series, my accountability group is talking about Fictional Foodie Favorites. We were asked, “What would your main characters (hero and heroine) say are there favorite dish and why? Bonus if you share a recipe for the dish or if you have made it share a picture.”

My characters LOVE to go to Gunter’s for ices. It’s like heading over to Dairy Queen, Coldstone or a Ben & Jerry’s shop today. Something to cool you off and a social place to hang out while the weather’s warm. Marcia and Barrington end up there in Revealed. Hubert and Camilla meet there in Sweet Temptation. I’m sure others will probably drop in at some point since the ton had decided it was a place where a gentleman could take a lady unchaperoned and not risk censure.

Fictional Foodie Favorites: Drawing of people eating ices at a confectionery.

Over at Historic Food, British food historian Ivan Day has a comprehensive article on Georgian Ices that includes lots of pictures, drawings and several receipts (an old fashioned way to say recipes). Definitely worth a look!

We’ve become very bland in what we think of as acceptable ice cream and sorbet flavors these days. In the Georgian and Regency Eras, ices could be sweet or savory. Parmesan Ice? You betcha! Elderflower, muscadine, currant were just a few of the other varieties that sound so exotic to our modern ears.

It’s funny that my heroine’s are much less food conscious than the men in my stories. Although, I have it on good authority that Tabitha (Beneath His Touch) prefers her toast with a hearty dollop of jam. Marcia’s favorite has to be the muscadine ice, a sweeter white currant ice scented with elderflowers. She might not be very experienced with men, but she’s no stranger to sensuality.

The scent of spring rose from the bowl. She dipped into the ice and scraped off a dainty portion. Raising the spoon to her lips, she reminded herself to savor the first spoonful as long as possible. Subsequent ones never satisfied the same way. Cool, tangy crystals burst in her mouth releasing the delicate, subtle taste of summer. Marcia closed her eyes and leaned against the squabs while the world around her melted away like the ice on her tongue.

On the other hand, the men like Barrington and Hubert and even Ambrose in Beneath His Touch are something of foodies. Barrington doesn’t always know the proper terms, but he knows what he likes. Ambrose, well, lets just say no one would ever accuse him of skipping a meal and he appreciates the finer fare. But Hubert, he has a definite sweet tooth and very strong memories tied to food.

Hubert Langham, Lord Dendridge, strolled along Berkeley Square, his nose lifting to catch the tantalizing scents wafting on the easterly breeze. Gunter’s iconic golden pineapple beckoned him closer to the teashop. Soon individual aromas emanating from the confectionery were distinguishable: vanilla, caramelized sugar, fresh fruit. But the floodgates of his memories erupted with the rich, luxurious scent of chocolate. His mother had brought him here prior to his being sent away to school at a tender age.

YOUR TURN: What are some of your best food associated memories? What foods set your mouth to watering just thinking about them?

And if you’d like to read about how the rest of my accountability group answered, you can find their blogs here:

* Alexia Reed * Kimberly Farris *
* Angeleque Ford * Danie Ford * Emma G. Delaney

Mar 062012
A painting entitled, "Kick-up at the Hazard Table" by Thomas Rowlandson.

If you’ve ever come across the phrase “She was at sixes and sevens” in a historical novel and wondered what it meant, you may be surprised to learn it originated from the game of Hazard and generally is used to mean in a state of chaos or agitation. This popular dicing game has been around since the 14th century and the phrase “Set upon six and seven” first appeared in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and referred to betting one’s entire fortune on a single throw of the dice. We also get the modern meanings of “risk” and “danger” associated with the word “hazard” from this notion as well.

History of The Game of Hazard

A painting entitled, "Kick-up at the Hazard Table" by Thomas Rowlandson.

“Kick-up at the Hazard Table” by Thomas Rowlandson

Hazard is an old English game played with two dice. One of the more popular places to play Hazard in the late 18th and early 19th century was Crockford’s Club in London. The name is commonly thought to be Old French, but likely derived from the Spanish “azar”, which is “an unfortunate card or dice roll”. There’s some speculation the game was allegedly first played by the crusaders laying siege to a castle, called Hazart or Asart, in the 12th century or that the name came from the Arabic word “az-zahr”, meaning “dice” but little evidence can be found in classic Arabic dictionaries. The modern game of Craps evolved from Hazard, which is basically a variation, where throws of 7 or 11 always win.

Despite its complicated rules, Hazard was very popular during the 17th and 18th centuries and well into the 19th where gambling of the nobility was a favorite past time to chase away the boredom and make some extra money.

The Basic Rules of Hazard

In each of the many rounds the caster picks out a number between 5 and 9, inclusive. This is called the “main”, then the caster throws two dice.

If the caster rolls the main numbers, you win, which is called “throws in” or “nicks”. If you roll a 2 or 3 you will lose, or “throws out”.

If the caster rolls a 11 or 12, the result of that throw depends on the “main”:

  • a main of 5 or 9, the caster “throws out” with both an 11 and 12.
  • a main of 6 or 8, the caster “throws out” with an 11 but “nicks” with a 12.
  • a main of 7, the caster “nicks” an 11 but “throws out” with a 12.
  • if the caster doesn’t “nick” or “throw out”, that number is called the “chance”, then you throw the dice again.
  • if the caster rolls “the main” on a “chance” you will lose, unlike when you first threw.
  • if the caster rolls neither of them, they keep throwing the dice until one or other is rolled, either winning with “chance” or losing with the “main”.
19th Century ivory or bone dice and wooden cup.

Ivory or bone dice and wooden cup, 19th c.

As long as the caster keeps winning, he keeps on playing. If the caster loses three times in a row, the dice pass to the player on his left.

Bets on this game are usually between the caster and the bank, or “setter”. The remaining players may act in this role as well.

A nick on the first throw wins the caster an amount equal to his stake or wager. The setter or bank gives odds if the setter throws a “chance”.

You can even hone your skills for free by playing Hazard in a flash game at DeviantArt by Drakonlady.

More information regarding a variety of other Regency-themed topics including how to play Whist can be found on my Regency Resource page. If you’d like more information on a specific place or topic, please let me know in the comments section below.

Feb 282012

Many historical romance novels feature card rooms at balls, clubs or dinner parties and gaming hells where rakes wager over the turn of a card or toss of a dice. Many games that are no longer familiar to us are rattled off: hazard, piquet, faro, and whist. Often, the games chosen have meaning for the characters playing. A man who plays hazard is a great risk taker, where a whist player is a serious strategist and has a good memory for counting cards.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the game of whist. One of my projects involves a decisive game of whist, so last summer I decided I needed to learn how to play. Luckily, there’s lots of documentation available on the basic rules and strategies for play as well as some online game venues which allow for free play (link at the end!). So now you can experience the game for yourself and know what they’re talking about the next time you read about it in the context of a Regency romance novel.

How to Play Whist: Image of a playing card from Hall & Sons, early 19th century.

The Jack of Hearts. Early 19th c. playing card from Hall & Sons. Notice the face card has a single head and centered eyes compared to modern cards. The backs also would have been plain white.

History of Whist

“That’s not according to Hoyle!” and “According to Hoyle,…” were popular phrases in my grandparents’ house. Edmond Hoyle was considered quite the expert on cards and other games in the 18th century. He wrote many pamphlets or treatises on various games such as Whist, Quadrille, Piquet, Backgammon as well as a books on probability theory and chess. In 1748, his pamphlets were collected and sold under the title of Mr. Hoyle’s Treatises of Whist, Quadrille, Piquet, Chess and Back-Gammon.

The rules of whist as published in A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist in 1742 were considered authoritative until 1864, when they were supplanted by John Loraine Baldwin’s new rules which were adopted by the Arlington and Portland clubs.

Whist remained popular through the late 19th century and acquired a rigid set of rules, etiquette and techniques that required a large amount of study to become a successful player. In the early 20th century, Bridge replaced Whist in popularity, especially in the United States, although Whist is still played in Britain at local tournaments called “Whist Drives”.

How to Play Whist


What we think of now as a standard 52-card deck or during the Regency what was known as a French deck, is used. Cards are ranked in order from highest to lowest: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, down to the deuce (or two).

Four players form two pairs and the partners sit opposite each other at the table. Pairs may be chosen by drawing cards: two highest against the two lowest. Players may not comment on the cards they are dealt in any way or signal their partners.

Shuffling & Dealing

Typically, two decks of cards are used to allow the dealer’s partner to shuffle one deck to have it ready for the dealer of the next hand while the dealer deals. Cards are shuffled by the player to the left of the dealer and cut by the player on his right.

All cards are dealt out face down until each player has 13 cards in their hand. The last card to be dealt, belonging to the dealer, is placed face up to indicate the trump suit. This card remains face up until the dealer plays the first “trick”. After all thirteen tricks are played, the dealer advances clockwise.

Taking Tricks

The first trick is lead by the player on the dealer’s left. He may play any card in his hand. Play continues clockwise with players following the leading suit if they if have any in their hand. If a player doesn’t possess cards in the suit lead in the trick, they may either discard any card or trump by playing a card of the trump suit. A trick is won by the highest card in the lead suit, unless a trump card was played. If multiple trumps were played the highest takes the trick.

The winner of the trick collects the 4 cards played and places them face down in a stack near him. He then leads the next trick. Only cards from the previous trick may be reviewed before the lead card of the next is played, otherwise players are expected to remember what has been played. Play continues until all 13 tricks are played and then the score is recorded.

How to Play Whist: A whist counter dating from 1820.

A whist counter dating from around 1820.

Scoring Hands & Determining the Winners

Once all 13 tricks have been played, the pair collecting the most tricks scores 1 point for each trick taken in excess of six (called ‘making book’). A game is over when a team reaches 5 points. Variations include playing to 7 or 9 points.

It was often popular to play a “rubber of whist” which meant that the winners were determined by the best of three games.

Whist Counters or Markers

How to Play Whist: Whist Tokens - with a storage tin.

Whist tokens and storage tin. Four tokens could be used to score 9 point games.

Tokens or chips were originally used to record the score, but later in the 19th century dial counters and hinged pegs (or turnups) that snapped up to keep track of the score. Cheaper versions included cardboard and leather dial types and the more elaborate more expensive varieties might include exotic woods, ivory, mother of pearl. Two of the well-known producers of whist counters or whist markerswere Goodall & Sons and De La Rue.

Basic Whist Glossary

The suit of the last card dealt in a hand that beats all others regardless of rank, cards within the trump suit rank normally against each other.
The first card played in a trick.
The 4 cards played by each participant
13 tricks, once through the deck.
Small Slam
When 12 of thirteen tricks are taken by one team.
Grand Slam
When all 13 tricks are taken by one team.
The first 6 tricks taken by a pair. Points for additional tricks taken are scored only after they ‘make book’.
Played to an agreed upon point total, usually 5, 7 or 9.
The winning pair is the best of three games.

You can even hone your skills for free by playing Whist Online at Games.com. If you’re just learning, I recommend choosing single player mode, which partners you with a computer player against two other computer controlled players. To view a wide variety of different styles of whist markers, visit Laurent Gimet’s collection at The Whist Markers Museum.

More information regarding a variety of other Regency-themed topics including how to play Hazard can be found on my Regency Resource page. If you’d like more information on a specific place or topic, please let me know in the comments section below.