All About Romance Annual Reader Poll

I’ve just received word that Dukes Prefer Blondes has been nominated in the Favorite Funny Romance and Best Romance Heroine categories in all About Romance’s 2016 Annual Reader Poll. They had so many entries, they had to have a runoff.

This is a good chance, not only to vote for your favorites, but to discover books you might have missed. 

Best Romance, Favorite Funny Romance, Favorite Tear-Jerker Romance, Most Luscious Love Story, Best Erotica/Romantica Romance, Most Tortured Romance Hero, Best Kick-Ass Heroine, Best Romance Hero, Best Romance Heroine, Best Romance Couple, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Fantasy Romance, Best Science Fiction Romance, Best Historical Romance set in the U.K., Best Historical Romance set outside the U.K., Best contemporary Romance, Best Category Romance Book, Best Romantic Suspense, Best LGBT+ Romance, Best Debuting Romance Author, Best Young Adult Romance, Best New Adult Romance, Best Romance Novella or Short Story, and Best Novel (non-romance) with strong romantic elements.

Information about the runoff is here.  Ballot is here


The Grecian Style Bed & the Cupid Clock

Part 4 of my guide to Dukes Prefer Blondes*—

“The bed was a modern one in the Grecian style, with bare-breasted females supporting the bedposts. Apt enough. Lady Clara ought to have a pair of caryatids at the foot of the bed, guarding the goddess’s temple. Other Grecian-style articles looked on from the mantelpiece. An elaborate urn clock dominated the center. Cupid stood on its pedestal, pointing to the time on the revolving band encircling the urn.”

This bed in Ackermann’s Repository for October 1828 was my inspiration.

As to the clock: I was looking through Eric Bruton’s fascinating History of Clocks & Watches** when I came upon the lovely time-keeper below right, made in the later 1700s. According to the book, it’s in the Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague—unfortunately, closed, from what I could ascertain during my online search for a better image.

I found some other annular urn clocks online, most from a later period.

c.1900 French Miniature Figured Green Marble and Gilt-Bronze Annular Urn Clock with Cherub.

French 19th Century Louis Xvi St. Marble And Ormolu Annular Clock.

Leroy & Cie Louis XVI-Style Annular Clock.

Gubelin Alabaster & Bronze Annular Clock.

*A version of this post has appeared at the Two Nerdy History Girls blog.

**The book has provided inspiration for other watches and clocks in my stories, most notably the naughty pocket watch in Lord of Scoundrels.

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.


The Old Bailey

The Old Bailey, from Ackermann's Microcosm of London.

Part 3 of my guide to Dukes Prefer Blondes (originally posted at Two Nerdy History Girls).

Several scenes in Dukes Prefer Blondes occur in or around the Old Bailey. Since this area is rather different now from what it was in the early 1800s, I highly recommend the Proceedings of the Old Bailey online, where I researched not only the building and environs, but my criminals and court cases.

“The Old Bailey, also known as Justice Hall, the Sessions House, and the Central Criminal Court, was named after the street in which it was located, just off Newgate Street and next to Newgate Prison, in the western part of the City of London. Over the centuries the building has been periodically remodelled and rebuilt in ways which both reflected and influenced the changing ways trials were carried out and reported.”

You can read more about its evolution here, as well as pinpoint the Sessions House (where trials were held) and Newgate Prison, conveniently located next door.

The color image of an Old Bailey trial is a couple of decades before the time of the story, but according to the website, the “basic design of the courtroom remained the same.”

Here’s an interesting historical detail from the Old Bailey site:

“Before the introduction of gas lighting in the early nineteenth century a mirrored reflector was placed above the bar, in order to reflect light from the windows onto the faces of the accused. This allowed the court to examine their facial expressions assess the validity of their testimony. In addition, a sounding board was placed over their heads in order to amplify their voices.”

By the time of the George Cruikshank illustration in 1848, the gas lights were in and the reflector was gone—although I’d think they could still use the sounding board.

Images: Thomas Rowlandson, “The Old Bailey,” from Ackermann’s Microcosm of London, Vol 2, courtesy Internet Archive.

George Cruikshank, “From the bar of the gin shop to the bar of the Old Bailey it is but one step,” from The Bottle in Eight Plates (1848), Courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.


Not Quite a Lady and Last Night's Scandal audiobooks news

Two more Carsington Brothers audiobooks are coming soon.

Books Four and Five of the series go on sale 26 January.

They’re available now for pre-order:


Not Quite a Lady (Book 4)

Last Night's Scandal (Book 5)

We expect to release the two Fallen Women books, Your Scandalous Ways and Don’t Tempt Me, in March.

In all cases, the marvelous Kate Reading narrates.