Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor - 3 Gems

What's Jack up to? Well, as I write this Jack is curled up on the couch sleeping ever so sweetly. One would never know that he got in the trash today and made quite a little mess. Nah. He's an innocent little sweetie. Oh, yes he is.

It's been way too long since I've had an author interview on the blog and today we’ve got a special treat. Not 1, not 2, but 3 fab writers on KwanaWrites. Yay!

Today in honor of the release of The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor, an exciting new Regency anthology, we have Diane Gaston, Amanda McCabe and Deb Marlowe the authors. I’d like to welcome them to the blog for a little Q and A.

First off please tell us how the idea of the anthology came about and a little about the process?

DEB: Well, the anthology was actually Harlequin’s idea! Maddie Rowe took us out to a fabulous dinner at RWA and offered us a chance at it, and amazingly, the chance to develop the theme/idea all on our own. Since we don’t live close enough to each other, we met in Williamsburg, VA to plot and plan and shop and tour—and the scandalous Fitzmannings were born! We had a great time and then we went home and about a million emails ensued!

DIANE: As I remember it, after being immersed in history at Colonial Williamsburg, we came back to Deb’s hotel room and started thinking about scandalous Dukes. When we decided to have a family consisting of the Duke’s illegitimate children, I knew immediately who I wanted my hero to be. I think we all had the same experience of knowing instantly who our characters would be.

AMANDA: Williamsburg was definitely a good setting for brainstorming! I’ve never, ever worked on a collaborative project before! Since I’m such a pantser (my stories have a tendency to switch gears halfway through as I follow new pathways!) I wasn’t sure how it would all work. But this went so very smoothly—maybe because we knew each other already…

Now please tell a bit about each of your individual stories.

DIANE: Justine and the Noble Viscount was planned as the first story in the anthology, the one that sets up the others. The whole anthology begins with my hero, Gerald Brenner, showing up on the doorstep of Welbourne Manor. He has been given the role of guardian to his mother’s other children, the Duke’s illegitimate children, half-siblings he has never met and has resented his whole life. Nothing goes as he plans, especially when the Duke’s other illegitimate daughter, Justine, calls powerfully to something deep within him.

DEB: In Annalise and the Scandalous Rake, we meet the most retiring Fitzmanning. Annalise would rather hide in her studio than face society’s censure. She is satisfied pouring her emotions into her paintings until Mr. Ned Milford is invited to a Welbourne house party. Unfortunately, she has no idea he is actually Prattle, a famous caricaturist bent on exposing her family’s secrets. There are many obstacles in their path to love, including a pompous suitor, a slightly scandalous scavenger hunt, exposure to society’s scorn and a devastating artistic duel! I hope readers enjoy it as much as I did!

AMANDA: Charlotte from Charlotte and the Wicked Lord is the youngest Fitzmanning sister, sort of the “wild child” of the family (which is saying a lot!). She’s a writer, a free spirit, who loves being out in nature. But she’s always loved Lord Andrew Bassington. Drew has left behind his own wild past to take care of his widowed sister-in-law and nephew, and he needs a very proper bride. Proper is one thing Charlotte has never been, but she’s determined to make him see how perfect they are for each other—no matter what it takes.

You are all lovers of the Regency. What is it about that time period that has you so captured?

DIANE: First of all, I think the Regency is a time period that is accessible to the modern reader. We can imagine ourselves living in it. At the same time, it is distant enough to give us that feeling of being swept away. Secondly, the era is one of great beauty: elegant fashion, houses, gardens, carriages. Mostly, though, I think the era is one of great drama. The war with Napoleon. The transition from the decadent Georgian era to the repressive Victorian one. Social change in the rise of the middle classes and the decline of the super rich aristocracy. The dawn of technology. The drama of the era gave rise to literary masterpieces from Byron, Shelley, Keats, Austen, Wordsworth, Blake. The era produced beautiful music from Beethoven Rossini, Schubert, and Liszt. Artists included Lawrence, Turner, David, and Constable. Because of this I believe there are endless stories to tell from the Regency era. I can’t wait to write some of them!

DEB: So many larger than life characters walk through the pages of history in this period. So many forces of nature are at work. Think about it—these are the people who span the gap between the wild and wonderful Georgians and the stiff Victorians. They are dealing with war and economical unease and rapid technological advances, just like we are. Fascinating stuff!

AMANDA: I admit, when I first started Regencies as a kid I was first drawn to the clothes! They’re gorgeous and comparatively comfortable, and go with all the beautiful aesthetics of the Neoclassical style. But then I read more non-fiction of the period, and was pulled into the arts and politics and personalities (especially the strong women!) of the era. For such a short period of time, it’s so rich in interest and upheaval. What’s not to love?!

As a final question, I know you are all good friends, tell me something fun about the other 2 women that I might not know. I know I’m bad!

Deb, Diane and Amanda

DIANE: Amanda was my mentor! Shortly after she sold to Signet, she signed up to be a Beau Monde mentor and I was her first mentee. It turned out to be a great way for us to become friends and led to us rooming together on the 2003 Novel Explorations Regency Tour where we became friends with Deb.
Deb has the most wonderful laugh. It is infectious and I love to hear it. When she sold to Harlequin Historical and joined the author loop, I welcomed “Deb Marlowe,” not realizing I was welcoming my 2003 travel buddy!

DEB: Hmm, well, Diane has more research books than my local library! If you ever want to know anything at all, she has a book for it! And Amanda has the most amazing collection of adorable, hand-made costumes. I’m always breathless at the Beau Monde Soiree, waiting to see who she will transform into next!

AMANDA: LOL! Last year it was Cherubino; this year, maybe Marie Antoinette.
Well, Diane loves cats as much as I do! And she has a mega-cool talking Leonidas action figure from 300. Deb has a kick-ass sense of humor—try and sit by her in the bar at RWA, you will have a blast!
It’s been too much fun, and a great privilege, to work on this project with them!

Thanks so much for being here today. I can’t wait to read it for myself being a big time Regency fan.

Amanda and Diane can be found over at the always fun Risky Regencies Blog here or
Amanda here
Diane here
Deb here

Please leave a comment by Friday at midnight and one lucky commenter will win a copy of the new anthology.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First 100 Days- Wordless Wednesday

I'm Still Hopeful and Optimistic

If you have time please view the full slide show of Pete Souza's photos from White It's beautiful Here.


images thanks to and

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mary Mary Quite Contrary...

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Well, I'm not sure how hers does, but I know mine does on a wing a a prayer. Shrug.

I did a little planting over the DIY weekend along the little patch of dirt in front of my stone wall out back.

I planted 3 tomato plants, some peppers then went crazy with seed packets.

Now I've never planted seeds before so who knows what will happen. I've got squash, 2 kinds, cucumber, more peppers and more lettuce, 2 kinds. Yikes. That darn groundhog will have a field day!

Now I just have to tackle above the wall. Hmm...

What are you planting this season? Anything?


Monday, April 27, 2009

Art and Fear- Two to Tango

What's Jack up to? Jack is doing his Monday chill (not that he didn't chill the entire weekend). He's all spruced up after getting a quick grooming on Sunday afternoon so he's nice and clean and has a fresh new haircut. What more could a dog want?

Lately, I've been in a strange head space that I don't like at all. Cluttered, crowded and filled with all sorts of things and none of it what I really want. Lots if it putting little and sometimes big roadblocks in the path on the way to my dreams. Quite a bit of it all just necessary parts of life.

But I have to wonder if some of it is just plain old fear. Fear, the ultimate life blocker. Freaking fear and his sister worry, they both suck and hang over at my place like annoying relatives that don't know when they've overstayed their welcome.

I saw this video of Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat, Pray, Love, which I loved, a while back and shared it with friends. I recently watched it again over at the blog Make Under My Life and was once again moved so wanted to share to here.

Happy Monday! I've got some work to do and some folks to send packing. How about you?


Sunday, April 26, 2009

DIY- Weekend

Happy Sunday! What's Jack up to? Jack was up bright and early although no one else was. He was ready to go and enjoy the crazy warm weather in NY.

The DH and I were wiped out from our little DIY project yesterday of weather proofing our deck. Honestly, he did most of the work. As you can see from the above pic Jack did none. Brushing weatherproof on all those slats take a lot of time.

Now I know why people pay the big buck to get it done by someone and yes, it did take extra trips back to Home Depot because we didn't buy nearly enough. Ugh.

Oh well, in the end, it was a job well done and money well saved.

Today it's onto garden work. Spring is here even though the thermometer says summer. Whew, slow it down Mother Nature.

Have a great day!


Friday, April 24, 2009

Oh to be Young Again-80’s Babies

What Jack up to? Jack is looking forward to a sunny and warm weekend in NY. Yes! Long walks, rolling in the grass and barking at the neighbors. Happy Jack!

And Happy Friday! Congrats on making it through the week. Whew, made it. With this nutty week it was feeling a little touch and go there for a while.

I’m leaving you all this week with one of my favorite 80’s songs. Who Do You Love by Bernard Wright.

For the longest time I had forgotten about this old classic and then it suddenly one day jumped back into my head along with the video image of Bernard and the pretty girl spinning round and round. I remember this was in the opening scene of the groundbreaking Video Music Box. Does anybody else out there remember that show with DJ Ralph McDaniels? I'm talking to you N and C, R and M!

Well, I couldn’t remember the actual song title or artist and I was obsessed to find out so I got on the phone and called Tower records in The Village and actually sang the song to a couple of workers until I got another 80’s baby on the phone that knew in the first three badly sung words that it was Bernard Wright and I could happily get some sleep. True story.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Funny Filler

This is just total filler because it's 12:45 AM and I have no words left and can't promise you any for tomorrow morning. But I really like this Heinekin ad and didn't even notice it until the DH pointed it out to me. Very funny.

For all my writers out there so I'm not leaving you completely wordless I'll borrow a few from Julia Cameron since I'm currently re-reading The Right to Write. This is from the Chapter on Mood.

"Being in the mood to write, like being in the mood to make love,
is a luxury that isn't necessary for a long term relationship."


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Plot Light

Howdy Peeps! Good day to you all.
Check out this chandelier that I spied on my trip to the MoMA with PVE. Isn’t it wild and don’t you love it? I sure do and can't get it out of my wacky head.

It’s by German designer Ingo Maurer done in 1997. The “Zettel'z is a grand chandelier where the Bohemian crystal drops are substituted by scribbled paper notes from some incurable romantic's desk. The light shines through the paper mobile. In this work Maurer plays with traditional approaches to chandelier manufacture, using precious and semi-precious materials.”

"The truth is found between the lies"

I like to think of it as a great plotting tool. Wouldn’t it be a fun way to plot out a story? You can arrange and rearrange the scenes while letting the light shine through to show you the way. Just be careful to not get burned!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Two Sock Moment

What's Jack up to? As I write this he's asleep on his blanket atop the couch as I listen to the rain continue to fall. It's been some day.

Those of you that have been with me for a long long time will remember my One Sock Moment post. I got lots of really nice comments and I liked that post (if I may say so myself) about not giving up and perseverance or maybe chucking it all. You can check it out here. Since that post life and the Gemini in me took over and the second sock seemed to take forever to get knitted with stress, family, dishes, writing and lets face it, The Not So Real Housewives getting in the way of finishing the other sock. Not to mention my Christmas knitting. But finally the One Sock Moment is over and just in time for Spring too. I now have a nice pair of 100% wool socks to wear for the upcoming warm days. Aren't they pretty?

But really there is only one thing that can beat the feeling of getting over the hurdle of the One Sock Moment and that is the accomplishment of the Two Sock Moment.

I have to remember this feeling and bring more of it into my sometimes (excuse the word but it fits) half @ssed life.
How about you? What projects are just waiting for you to get back to them and polish them off. Bringing a sense of finality and accomplishment to your heart. I can quickly tick a few more off in my own life.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stepping Pretty or Charles in Charge

What’s Jack up to? Jack had a fun weekend. The weather was beautiful in New York so he got to spend lots of time outside yapping at the neighbors and being a general pain in the butt. Jack also got to enjoy our new porch.

Which I’m now calling The Veranda.
Sure it’s not quite large enough to be called a veranda but I feel like a proper lady when I step out on that freshly laid blue stone.
This was such a necessary home improvement. Our front stairs were literally crumbling under our feet. It was so sad.

Check out my porch top. Just chipped painted concrete.
Side Wall was falling apart. That second step was a doozy.

If you refer to my unfortunate event post here you’ll read how I was shocked early in the morning by our Stone Man Charles showing up early Monday morning with a full team and 2 trucks while I was still in my nightgown and hair a hot mess.

But it was no matter, Charles and his team were ready to work. Shout out to my neighbor over at LoveMomWorkLife for finding him. It’s great to have friends. He came in at the last minute of bids and stole the show.

Speaking of stealing the show, let’s talks about the team. Charles guys are all sweethearts, most with these Irish Brogues that will steal your heart right on down to his young sons who were out of school last week and stopped by for a visit.

I had my driveway full of romance heroes for a week. Just bliss. The DD could not wait to get home from school every day.

And in less than a week. Voila! Beauty meets function.

His stone cutters are artisans that are passionate about their work (I’m talking you Elvis!) Yes, we got into it over ¼ of an inch and one or two stones but I can appreciate that being an artist myself. In the end it was all love and the details were beautiful.Can you believe how they cut the stone to fit around my railing?

Not to mention as they were power washing the stone Charles did my deck and house too. Love him!

If you’re in the New York Area C & P Paving are the go to guys. Here are The DH and Charles happy that the job is done. So what the kid's college tuition is gone. Who am I fooling? It was never really there in the first place.

And Jack's already loving it!

I hope you had a good weekend. What's on for the week?



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