Scandal Wears Satin eBook on sale for $1.99

Popping into your inbox quickly to deliver some good news: Scandal Wears Satin, the second book of the Dressmakers Series, is a Kindle monthly deal. You can get it for $1.99 for the entire month of June. Since some of the other eBook retailers sometimes match the Kindle price, there might be a deal for Nook, Kobo, etc.—though I can’t promise.

Please note: This deal applies only to the U.S. We do have deals on my books in the U.K. at times, but this is a completely separate thing, because of licensing arrangements.

What's Blonde Lace?

The following is an expanded version of a blog post that appeared at Two Nerdy History Girls.

1833 Bridal Ensemble that appeared in several ladies' magazines. This is what Olympia wore.

There was a time when blonde lace was ubiquitous, as we learn if we look at ladies’ attire for court events. Certain magazines listed not only the attendees but also what they wore. For example, if you type “blonde” into the search box for this 1831 Royal Lady’s Magazine, you will notice that nearly every single lady wore blonde or blonde lace to the Queen’s Drawing Rooms.

This is why blonde lace features in so many of my 1830s-set books. However, the term “blonde” can be a little puzzling when we’re confronted with a description referring to “black blonde,” as happens in A Duke in Shining Armor.

Blonde lace is a silk bobbin lace. A search on YouTube will show it being made, and give you an idea why the handmade version was so very expensive and highly prized. The “blonde” part refers to the silk’s natural color, which was ecru. Once a way was found to make the silk stronger, it could be lightened, for a white blonde, and dyed, for black blonde.

Still, terminology can be confusing. “Next to Chantilly the blondes are the most important among the silk laces.” Yet elsewhere we’re told that Chantilly is a blonde lace. My impression is, the blonde made in Chantilly was considered superior. Any textile experts reading this are invited to provide further enlightenment.

These fine details, however, don’t seem to be crucial to the magazines, and definitely aren’t crucial for my books. For the purposes of A Duke in Shining Armor in particular, what you’d probably rather see are examples.

The bridal ensemble (at top) I gave my heroine Olympia includes “a pelerine of blond extending over the sleeves” and “a deep veil of blond surmounting the coiffure, and descending below the waist.”

The “French” dress she donned at the inn was based on several images, but this pink carriage dress from the Magazine of the Beau Monde, though listed for August 1833 (my story is set in June of that year), about covers what I had in mind. She wears “a black blond pelerine with square falling collar, the points descending low down the skirt and fastened in front with light green ribbon noeuds.”

However, I do think portraits capture the look of the lace much better than the stiff, stylized fashion prints. The gallery below shows some examples of each.

Images: Queen Adelaide (consort of King William IV) by Sir William Beechey, courtesy National Portrait Gallery NPG 1533; Court Dress for May 1831; Countess Julie von Woyna by Friedrich von Amerling 1832; Court Dress for April 1832; Giovannia Pacini (eldest daughter of the Italian composer Giovanni Pacini) 1831.

The two examples of court dress give you an idea of just how much blonde lace was involved. The feathers and the lace lappets were a particular feature of court dress. You can see a sample of Belgian Bobbin Lace in this lappet.  And here is a sample of French Pillow-made Silk Blonde. And this is an image of a lady in what seems to be black lace.

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.

International Editions: Brazil, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania

It's always a lovely surprise to find international editions in my mailbox. These turned up most recently.

Top row left to right: Not Quite a Lady (Romania), Not Quite a Lady (Czech Republic), Silk is for Seduction (Poland)

Bottom row left to right: Scandal Wears Satin (Poland), Dukes Prefer Blondes (Brazil)

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.

 

News from here and abroad, including Brazil & Portugal

It's been a while, and I have a lot of catching up to do. For instance, what have I been doing all this time since May? For one thing, I was in Europe: a month living in London, a week in Albania, a week in Italy, then back to London and home again, home again. Where the page proofs for A Duke in Shining Armor awaited me.

Page proofs are my last chance to correct errors and crazy, twitchy stuff I can't believe I did, which nobody else caught for some reason. Things like using a certain phrase over and over. This happens in every book, and it's always a different phrase, and every single time, I don't pick up on it until the page proofs come. This may have to do with seeing pages that actually look like book pages, rather than typed manuscript pages. Or it could be my brain. Because. You know.

But the page proofs have gone their merry way, and everything seems on time for the December 2017 release of my first Difficult Dukes book. There will be some public appearances connected with this, which I will tell you about when details are confirmed. Suffice to say that they will involve some of my favorite author friends, and I am very excited.

Also, before long I'll be reporting on my travels abroad. I would have reported while abroad, but the technology issues became daunting. It was all I could do to get a few Two Nerdy History Girl posts in here and there. And yes, I was very busy trying not to waste one fabulous minute, which left not much time or brain power for social media.

Until then, for your visual enjoyment, here are some lovely new editions to look at, from Brazil and Portugal, of Vixen in Velvet.