Auction for Romance Readers

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The Bacon Free Library is having an auction, and what an auction!

It’s going on right now, until 29 October

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This is my stuff here. Also at right.

But I’m not the only one. At least a kazillion other romance authors have put together some splendid swag.

Here is a fine opportunity to get books and other lovely things, and support a library at the same time. Libraries are our friends. That’s where vast numbers of us got hooked on reading, and numerous others became inspired to write our own books. Do you remember the first library book you ever read? Or the first librarian you ever talked to? Or maybe simply a time when you made a wonderful discovery, thanks to a librarian. A librarian introduced me to The Wind in the Willows, which remains one of my very favorite books.

Please stop by the site and see what’s on offer. I hope you’ll be tempted.

 

That Watch in Lord of Scoundrels

 

At a recent authors event, readers asked about the naughty watch a character buys in my book Lord of Scoundrels: Was this based on research or imagination?

If you Google “erotic watches,” you’ll know I wasn’t making this stuff up. So yes, the idea came from research—done in the days before Google existed, I ought to point out. These days, it would have been easier.

While I was aware of snuff boxes with erotic scenes inside the lid, the pornographic watch was news to me. I was especially intrigued to learn that watchmakers had been creating these devices as early as the late 1700s. This includes Abraham-Louis Breguet, a famous, highly-regarded watchmaker mentioned in Lord of Scoundrels.

Eric Bruton’s The History of Clocks & Watches offers a black and white illustration of a carriage watch, from which I developed the one in my book:

“It shows the time, day, date, and sidereal time, strikes the hours and quarters, and plays tunes on six bells. On the back a human figure in three parts keeps changing and below it some ‘curtains’ can be drawn aside to reveal an animated pornographic scene.” 

The watch was made in London in 1790.

Though it’s not like the watch shown in The History of Clocks and Watches, this one works more or less the same way: an innocent front, with an animated scene on the other side. Googling the subject will bring you quite a few examples, including one on YouTube.

Image (not erotic to my knowledge): Chevalier et cachet watch between 1790-1799 (gift of Liz and Peter Moser, 2006), courtesy Walters Art Museum.

A version of this post originally appeared at Two Nerdy History Girls.

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.

U.K. eBook Bargain and eBook News for Germany

Most of the time, I find myself apologizing to my readers outside the U.S. because an eBook isn’t available or a special deal isn’t offered in their part of the world.

This time, though, I’ve got good news for readers in the U.K and Germany.

In the U.K.
Silk Is for Seduction
£ 0.99
Kindle Summer Sale
8 July – 31 August


Meanwhile in Germany, eBook editions of my stories have been scarce. Only the last  two Dressmaker books so far.

But that’s going to change, and soon.

My agents have let me know that the following eBooks will become available in Germany sometime between now and the spring of 2017:

Scandal Wears Satin
Silk Is for Seduction
Your Scandalous Ways
Not Quite a Lady
Last Night’s Scandal
Lord Perfect
Miss Wonderful
Mr. Impossible
Lord of Scoundrels

Lord of Scoundrels & Bertie's Overworked Porter

This year, Avon Books celebrate their Diamond Anniversary. Among other events and activities, each month they highlight a  "classic" Avon title. It started in January with Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower. February was Johanna Lindsey's Gentle Rogue. March was Julia Quinn's Dancing at Midnight. April highlighted Rachel Gibson's Simply Irresistible. May starred my hero Susan Elizabeth Phillips's It Had To Be You. (She made me care about football!!!)

June is—as you may have deduced, what with this blog post and all—my Lord of Scoundrels. Avon will be doing a read/reread-along, as well as offering the eBook for $1.99 for the entire month of June (with apologies to readers outside North America, the offer applies to the U.S. and Canada only).

As I try to do from time to time, I'll offer a few background notes on the book. With Lord of Scoundrels, it's quite an experience, since I wrote the book before I had access to the Internet, and well before Google and others started scanning and posting online the ancient tomes I had to go into the bowels of libraries to find. And they were not searchable! You turned crusty, dusty pages, looking for what you wanted in magazine collections, for instance, that were not indexed.

So, when I installed a porter in the apartment building in Paris in which Bertie Trent lives at the story's start, I depended mainly on Frances Trollope’s Paris and the Parisians in 1835.** As is normally the case in travel writings, the author’s attitudes and prejudices color her observations. I try to give my English characters similar viewpoints, though I may tone them down a bit, so as not to jar my readers too much. It's always a balancing act, finding a happy medium between 19th and 21st century outlooks. I want to use a little of  the "foreigners are not as cool as we are" attitude, both for comic effect and because that outlook is hardly unheard of today. But a little goes a long way.

I do think Ms. Trollope is fairly balanced in this particular context. From what I've read elsewhere, the position of the apartment building porter entailed a great deal more than that of the porter in a large English establishment, where many other servants, especially footmen, were available to perform various tasks. But read for yourself—and you may want to go on reading, by clicking on the link below to this section of Paris and the Parisians, now online.

~~~

Another accommodation which habit has made it extremely difficult for French families to dispense with, and which can be enjoyed at an easy price only by sharing it with many, is a porter and a porter's lodge. Active as is the race of domestic servants in Paris, their number must, I think, be doubled in many families, were the arrangement of the porter's lodge to be changed for our system of having a servant summoned etime a parcel, a message, a letter, or a visit arrives at the house.

Nor does the taking charge of these by any means comprise the whole duty of this servant of many masters; neither am I at all competent to say exactly what does: but it seems to me that the answer I generally receive upon desiring that anything may be done is, " Oui, madame, le portier ou la portiere fera cela;" and were we suddenly deprived of these factotums, I suspect that we should be immediately obliged to leave our apartments and take refuge in an hôtel, for I should be quite at a loss to know what or how many additional "helps" would be necessary to enable us to exist without them.—Frances Trollope, Paris and the Parisians in 1835, Letter XXXVI.

Images: Parisian Porter from James Jackson Jarves’ Parisian Sights and French Principles: Seen Through American Spectacles (1853). Street scene: Eduard Gaertner, Rue Neuve Notre Dame à Paris, 1826.