There's only one Difficult Dukes book so far

I've heard from a couple of readers who are wondering whether they missed a book in the new series. It took a little while to figure out what led to this conclusion. Eventually I realized: References are made in A Duke in Shining Armor to the Duke of Blackwood's having married Ripley's sister a year earlier. Since I often refer to past events that are in my head, and will eventually (I hope) be worked out in ensuing books in the series, as part of the series story arc, it did not occur to me that this particular one might lead to a Missing Book question.

To answer the question: No, there was no previous book. A Duke in Shining Armor is Book One of the series. Ashmont's story—as yet untitled—comes next. Blackwood's, which is quite complicated, due to his already being married (what was I thinking?), will be the third book.

If you ever find yourself wondering if you missed one of my books, please wander over to the Books page, where series descriptions appear, along with individual book information, and the most up-to-date listing of what's been published. There's even a printable book list.

And of course, subscribing to this blog will, with the occasional crazed exception, keep you up to date with whatever strikes me as vaguely related to my books and the process of getting them out into the world. OK. Not sure about how the loos fit into this. But it was London! Where so many of my stories are set! So that settles that.

Image: Thomas Rowlandson, A Book Auction, made between 1800-1815, courtesy Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection. When mention is made, in A Duke in Shining Armor, of Olympia's memorizing auction catalogs, this is the type of event she would have been fantasizing about attending. All of the antiquarian books she refers to in the story were either in auction catalogs or listings of a particular private library that I found online...because I am about as nerdy as she is.






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.


All About Dukes

At long last, the manuscript for A Duke in Shining Armor is in the hands of the copy editor. It will wend its way back to me before too long, for a double check of technical matters, like inconsistencies; punctuation disputes; correct naming of people, places, and things; and goofy spellings.

I kind of like that phase of production because it allows me to let loose the insane grammarian in me. I kind of hate that phase of production because I change my mind about usages and nerdy points of grammar and such—though I will never give up my Oxford comma, which I grew up calling a serial comma, as in serial killer. Made it easy to remember.

The book is scheduled for release on 29 November. Descriptions are up at the various booksellers, e.g.—HarperCollins

Barnes & Noble,


—and will appear here on the website after I get home from my travels and wade through the chaos.

A Duke in Shining Armor is the first of a three-book series dealing with a trio of disreputable dukes. You’ll meet the other two dukes in this book, and get a clue about their stories (and some others in the story arc) as well.

In other news:

While visiting the Atlanta Botanical Gardens (that's where the flowers came from) a short time ago, I received word that my 2016 historical romance, Dukes Prefer Blondes, is a Romance Writers of America®  RITA® Finalist in the Long Historical category. The Rita is the RWA version of an Oscar, and being a finalist is like being an Oscar nominee. In other words, it’s a very big deal, and I feel deeply honored. You can find the other finalists here.

Winners will be announced at the Annual Conference in July.



New Year, New Book

Happy New Year!

That’s a bit late, and so, by way of explanation, let me begin with P.G. Wodehouse’s Cocktail Time.
Told he must write another book, to build on the phenomenal success of his first, Sir Raymond (aka “Beefy”) Bastable responds,

“But I can’t, I tell you! It nearly killed me, writing Cocktail Time. You haven’t any conception what it means to sweat your way through one of these damned books. I daresay it’s all right for fellows who are used to it, but for somebody like myself…I’d much rather be torn to pieces with red-hot pincers.”

I’m here to tell you that even some of us who are used to it fully understand Beefy’s sentiments, although we may not be quite ready to be torn to pieces with red-hot pincers.

In short, as Wodehouse points out earlier in the book, “there is a lot more to this writing business than the casual observer would suppose.” I was comforted to learn that even he, who not only wrote hundreds of books but also screenplays, songs, magazine articles, short stories, and so on, at the rate of what seems to be 200 a day, did not write as effortlessly as his works would make it appear.

All of this is an overlong prelude to the question: When is the next book coming out?

Not being nearly as prolific as he was despite the difficulties he speaks of so poignantly, I am in the last stages of the Work-In-(snail-like) Progress. If I finish it within the next few weeks, it will be out in November of this year. I seem to have a prayer of accomplishing this. Please send as much positive thinking my way as you can. I am not ashamed to ask.

Images, from top: The Important Response, Florent Joseph Marie Willems, courtesy the Walters Art Museum; cover of Cocktail Time (scanned from my copy); telegram from Dorothy Parker to her editor, courtesy Letters of Note (with thanks to Susan Holloway Scott/Isabella Bradford, who first forwarded the telegram image to me).

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.


Lady Clara's book, Dukes Prefer Blondes—update

I've just finished reviewing the copy edits and making corrections to the manuscript of Dukes Prefer Blondes. This is my next-to-last chance to go over the work and try to catch as many errors and stupidities as possible. The copy editor has gone over the manuscript in detail, correcting punctuation, spelling, and typos; providing formatting instructions for the printer; correcting or querying inconsistencies; and pointing out content that looks wrong or sentences that don't make sense. 

It is always a wonder to me how anybody can do this for 400 pages (probably two or three times, I'll bet) and not set the manuscript on fire. Of course, these days, we are copy editing electronically, using Track Changes, so the fire would only be virtual.

Track Changes definitely makes things easier and faster, and I'm happy to have it. But my brain doesn't always read the computer screen correctly. I know some authors can work without ever printing out anything, but they are not me. I went through the whole manuscript electronically. Then, because I had time and  OCD, I printed it out and went over it again. And guess what?  I found 20 or more problems I'd missed on the first run-through. And you know what? Next go-round will be the page proofs, and you can be sure I will still find several crazy mistakes that none of us caught the first or second times.

And when the book goes to print, we may be sure there will be at least one mistake.

But that's some time away. The publication date is January 2016, with a release date of 29 December 2015.

Trafalgar Square, illustrated above, plays an important part in the story. This image is from the mid 1830s (Wikipedia has it for 1837-43, but the dresses look 1834-35 to me). The area was a work-in-progress for many years. Nelson's Column wasn't completely completed until the 1860s.

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