Regency Romance Turns 80

Regency Romance Turns 80

A Quiet Read by William Kay Blacklock, possibly circa 1900

A Quiet Read by William Kay Blacklock, possibly circa 1900

This week bids farewell to 2015, and the year-long commemoration of the Regency romances of Georgette Heyer by The Beau Monde chapter of Romance Writers of America.

We hope it’s been a year of meeting new book friends, revisiting old favorites, and celebrating all things Regency! From her first book, Regency Buck, to the last, Lady of Quality, Heyer introduced the world to the exciting, intriguing, and multi-faceted Regency era.

Take a peek at the offerings below to see if you missed any book profiles this year. Each author would love for you to visit their sites as well, to learn more about what and why they write.

Thanks for tottling along with these Beau Monde authors and indulging our admiration for Georgette Heyer!

The Beau Monde Celebrates the 80th Anniversary of Regency Romance

 

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The Georgian Celebrity Map

The Georgian Celebrity Map

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, has created a Georgian Celebrity Map.

I know!

You simply cursor over each Georgian celebrity, and lines pop up showing you their connections to other celebrities on the map. There’s even a key at the top so you can search by relationships, such as marriage, rivalries, politics, and friendships.

This pitiful screen shot doesn’t do it justice, so click HERE to investigate the map for yourself.

The Georgian Celebrity Map by Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford

The Georgian Celebrity Map by Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford

 

 

Adaptations and Accuracy: Literary Favorites from Page to Screen

During my 9th grade year, I was assigned to read and report on Pride and Prejudice over Christmas break. I procrastinated until the final weekend of the holiday, and frantically ran to the city library. While checking out the book, the kindly librarian asked if I’d ever seen the 1940 Laurence Olivier/Greer Garson adaptation of the novel. Thinking I had just scored an easy way out of my assignment, I grabbed the movie as well. One trip home, a bowl of popcorn, and ninety minutes later, I was writing my report.

The next morning, I felt guilty for not following the assignment (yes, I was one of *those* students). I determined I could at least start reading the book so I wouldn’t feel like such a cheater. A mere five chapters in and I knew I’d made a bigger error than not reading the book: I’d picked a movie that was basically nothing like the novel upon which it was supposedly based, save for its title and character names.

I read hurriedly and not altogether carefully, but soaked up enough information to write a bare-bones essay. Two lessons were learned that Christmas break: don’t procrastinate, and don’t trust a movie.

Ironically, I’ve kept a date with Jane every Christmas since. It’s my annual holiday treat to myself to read through Pride and Prejudice, then watch the 1995 adaptation. I chase this with the 2005 adaptation because I could listen to Matthew Macfadyen recite the ingredients on a cereal box.

Oh – there’s one more thing I learned to do. It’s pretty unconventional and probably considered blasphemous: I sometimes read books *after* I see their movie. For some reason, I can appreciate the well-made movies that aren’t not completely faithful to canon as long as I don’t know the canon going in. This plan has allowed me to enjoy North and South, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Hobbit. If, however, I read the book first and then try to sit through a less-than-accurate adaptation…well…it’s nothing but a big bowl of disappointment. I’m talking to you, The Scarlet Letter (1995), The Great Gatsby (2013), and Water for Elephants.

Read on and weigh in with your opinion on Mimi Matthews terrific post about accuracy and adaptations…

Mimi Matthews

“If, however, your feelings have changed, I will have to tell you, you have bewitched me body and soul, and I love…I love….I love you.”

(Pride and Prejudice, 2005.)

 Photograph: Focus Features.Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, 2005.
Photograph: Focus Features.

If you are a serious, literary-minded Jane Austen fan, it may raise your blood pressure a bit to learn that there are many people who believe the above quote was actually said by Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.  Similarly, there are those who are convinced that the famous scene where Darcy leaps into the lake at Pemberley is an accurate depiction of something that Austen wrote on the page.  In fact, as most of you reading this will know, the above lines are said by actor Matthew Macfadyen in the 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice and the scene with Darcy…

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An Open Letter to White, Straight, Able-bodied Romance Authors

An Open Letter to White, Straight, Able-bodied Romance Authors

awesome words wordle

My esteemed colleagues,

We have a very long way to go.

Most of us say “Diversity in literature is really important,” and/or “I am not racist/ ableist/homophobic,” and/or “Of course, I would buy a romance novel by or about a person of color/gay or lesbian/disabled person.” But when was the last time you did?

When was the last time you bought a romance by an author, or about a character, with a different cultural, historical, or physical experience than your own? About a person with a different skin color, nationality, religion? About a gay man or lesbian or transgender person? When was the last time you bought a romance with a physically or mentally disadvantaged hero or heroine? A novel about people who live in the margins?

When was the last time you wrote one?

Women are overlooked in myriad areas of publishing—book contracts, sales, awards, reviews—but we are also the much greater portion of romance writers. Are we, as female authors who are often marginalized and maligned ourselves, really so callous as to assume people of color don’t have Happy Ever Afters? That LGBT romance is only about sex? That people with disabilities never fall in love? Or do we just not think about it?

This letter is not meant to encourage you to shoehorn a diverse character into a book that doesn’t need one, or write a book about diverse characters because it is a hot topic or because it feels like the right thing to do. One of the most wonderful things I have heard on this subject recently was: “I write characters who happen to be people of color. I don’t make a big deal about it.”

What I am proposing is that we don’t overlook characters with diverse experiences as we are writing. That we don’t miss them lurking in the shadows of our books. That we don’t push them aside because we don’t understand them. That we don’t dismiss a great idea because it is scary to be outside of our comfort zone, or because we are afraid to get something wrong.

But MOST IMPORTANT, I am proposing that we don’t overlook authors who are already doing it.

I am not saying a black person can’t write a book or have it published. I am not saying same-sex romance novels don’t exist. I am not saying a romance novel with an Indian heroine can’t become a bestseller (knock on wood). But these novels are shunted aside into the “African-American” or “Multicultural” or “LGBT” categories, which do not get as much attention as “Historical Romance” or “Regency Romance” or “Contemporary Romance,” overwhelmingly written by and about white people. And the more marginalized a book is on Amazon (and elsewhere), the less likely it is to be shown in the “People Also Buy” and “Recommended for You” sections. Front page of Amazon? Forget it.

I am not blaming or attacking, though to be sure, this topic almost always makes comfortable people suddenly uncomfortable. Yet, I think it worth the discomfort to have the conversation. This is a terribly important topic with enormous ramifications for groups that are already sidelined in so many ways. Are we okay with knowing that Vanessa Riley, Piper Huguley, Kianna Alexander, and Lena Hart have a harder time selling books than we do?

Do we, as romance writers, want to create one more place where it is harder to get ahead for a person of color than a white person?

  • I am guilty of overlooking diverse books, not out of malice, but simple inattention. I haven’t gone looking for them, because they are often hard to find.
  • I am guilty of assuming only white people read (and write) romance novels.
  • I am guilty of mentally labeling every historical with African-American characters “mainstream,” as though “romance” can’t be just as much a part of their experience as the historic hardships they faced.
  • I am guilty of using the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseRomance to promote my book before I knew the people who are doing the hard work to promote the subject matter.
  • I am guilty of asking my author friends who are people of color to educate me, rather than educating myself.
  • I will surely be guilty of causing unintentional offense, having now written a book with an Indian heroine.

So, to amend my own appalling oversights, I went looking for romance authors who are people of color or LGBT-identified or disabled and/or write romance novels about characters who are. In about an hour, I found more than sixty, and I am absolutely certain this is only a start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also found:

We Need Diverse Romance

https://www.facebook.com/DiverseBooks

@DiverseRomance

#WeNeedDiverseRomance

Buy a “WeNeedDiverseRomance” tee-shirt in black or white.

 

Women of Color in Romance

http://wocinromance.tumblr.com/%20

https://www.facebook.com/WOCInRomance

@WOCinRomance

#WOCinRomance

http://multiculturalromancewriters.com (Sortable author/book listings)

http://RomanceNovelsInColor.com (Book information and reviews)

http://www.RomanceSlamJam.org (African-American romance convention; home of the Emma Awards)

http://www.RainbowRomanceWriters.com (RWA Chapter for LGBT authors)

Romances with heroes or heroines with physical, mental, or emotional maladies

 

If you click on any of the links above, you may find a new romance author you will love or a way to support the cause of diverse romance. I did.

So, in closing, I ask every white, straight, able-bodied author who is reading this to:

  • Buy a book written by someone with a different historical, cultural, or physical experience than you.
  • Review a book written by someone with a different historical, cultural, or physical experience than you.
  • Recommend a book written by someone with a different historical, cultural, or physical experience than you.
  • Write a character with a different historical, cultural, or physical experience than you.

Saying and/or doing nothing on this topic is a vote against diverse authors and characters, when most of us believe that diversity in romance novels is important and there isn’t enough of it.

Where do you truly fall on this issue? What message do you want to send to other writers—and readers—who are different from you? How important is diversity to you? And what will you do about it today?

 

Sincerely,

Mariana Gabrielle/Mari ChristieMarianaGabrielle

[White] Author of Regency romance

www.MarianaGabrielle.com

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Full permission is granted, without limitation, to repost, reblog, share, and otherwise distribute this material in its entirety.

Keep Calm and Read This! E. Ayers ~ A Rancher’s Dream

Keep Calm and Read This! E. Ayers ~ A Rancher’s Dream

E. Ayers has a new novel in her Creed’s Crossing Historical series, A Rancher’s Dream, coming out on June 16 – but she wants to give a free copy  away to her fans!  So what do you need to do?

Just tell me in the comment section below that you want a copy.

Seriously. That’s it.

I’ll randomly draw a winner on Wednesday, June 10.

But let’s find out more about A Rancher’s Dream.

 

Widowed and raising a young daughter by himself,
Tiago has only one goal – to work a ranch of his own and build a
future for his small family. When fate deposits a young woman in
his path, he believes he has found the help he needs to care for his child
as they journey to their new home in Creed’s Crossing.

On the run for her life, Ingrid needs to get as far
away from Texas as she can. Her brother and father have
been murdered, and those responsible would see her dead, too.
Desperate, she accepts an offer to help Tiago with his daughter,
but Ingrid’s past can destroy everything Tiago is working for.
Worse – her very presence places him and his daughter in peril.

Amid secrets and danger, a single father
and an orphaned woman on the run must fight all odds to fulfill A Rancher’s Dream.

 

A Rancher’s Dream is a Victorian Western set in 1898, and it’s clean enough for you to read with your kiddo looking over your shoulder (and why exactly do kids do that, by the way?!).

promo1

 

Now, if you don’t win a free copy – don’t fret! A Rancher’s Dream is available for pre-order right now at:

Amazon

Authl.it

 

 

But don’t forget the  GIVEAWAY!   One free ARC (Advance Reading Copy) in PDF, Mobi, or ePub format, will be awarded to one randomly-drawn winner who comments below.  Just tell me you want a copy.  You can even be so bold as to tell me what format you prefer.  Include your email so I can share the good news with your inbox next Wednesday!

I’m a happy, healthy mutt. Which book species are you?

Web designer Laura E. Kelly has created a whimsical chart called the Classification of Book Lovers & Other Readers.

Are you a purebred reader, never polluting your gene pool with works from another genre?  Are you like me, a purebred mutt, free-ranging across all styles of books in pursuit of nothing save the pleasure of reading?  I fancy myself a rule-breaker, crossing the lines to be a compulsive reader when the situation demands, cherishing and rescuing novels from the wastelands of neglect at Amazon or my local book seller.

Take a look at this chart and see where you fall in the Linnaean Hierarchy of Readers.

By the by, this chart is just a fantastical way of celebrating all the ways, shapes, and forms we readers take.  Find yourself!

Reader Species Infographic

I’m a happy, healthy mutt. Which book species are you?