Giving Old Books A Makeover

Cyprian USNicola here and today I’m talking about reprints of my old books that come out all around the world. Although I now write timeslip books – and some of those are being published in different countries – my Regency historical romances are still regularly reprinted and reissued. It makes me very happy that books, some of which were originally written 20 years ago, are still in print somewhere in the world and hopefully reaching new Regency readers!

When I first started writing, back in 1998, I was published only in the UK. The books were shorter, sweet romances, sometimes with no sex and if there was a hint of it, the bedroom door closed quite quickly! After a few years, by great good luck, my books were selected (along with a certain brilliant author called Anne Gracie!) to be published in the US. I vividly remember the day the first one came out; not only did it feature a cover model called Mike Dale, which seemed to cause some interest, it was published in the week that I gave up my office job to become a full-time author. It also gained some pretty scathing reviews that almost sent me scuttling back to the day job, convinced my writing was no good, so the timing wasn’t great but I stuck with it.

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From Paris with Love!

FestivalNicola here, fresh back from Paris and the amazing Festival du Roman Feminin, Festival of Women’s Fiction. The festival is an annual event for readers and authors, and when I was invited I was thrilled; the combination of books and Paris was, of course, irresistible! I’m so glad I went. It was an opportunity to meet new-to-me authors as well as old friends, and also to have time to chat properly with readers in a relaxed way (chatting in Franglais and with the help of some awesome interpreters!)

Thursday morning found me at St Pancras Station in London all ready to board the Eurostar to Paris. It was a fast, smooth and 1024px-Seine_by_Eiffel
comfortable trip, delivering me to the Gard Du Nord whilst I was still wondering at how quick and easy it all was! The taxi ride through Paris to the hotel reminded me of how mad French traffic can be but also gave the opportunity for a whistle-stop sight-seeing tour of the city from Sacré Coeur to the Louvre, with the river Seine shining in the sun. (The photo is from the same bridge of the river at night and it's from Wikipedia.)

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National Days!

by Mary FireworksatWashingtonMonumentJo

Most countries of the world have national days that celebrate their identity. That usually usually means the day that independence was proclaimed, as in the US, or negotiated, as was the case in many countries that had been colonized like much of Africa. But there can be lots of variations.

Hungary, for example, celebrates St. Stephen's Day. The United Kingdom doesn't exactly have a national day, though sometimes the Queen's Official Birthday the second weekend in June is treated as such. (Her birthday is actually April 21st, but the weather is better for speeches and parades in June.) 

However, the UK is composed of four separate countries and they all have celebrations on the day of their patron saints: St. George for England, St. Andrew for Scotland, St. David for Wales, and St. Patrick for Northern Ireland.

A lot of countries have a Constitution Day since creating and affirming a constitution creates a nation in a real sense. (There are Americans who believe crafting and confirming the US Constitution was more vital than declaring independence, and they have a good case for that.)

There are other interesting national days. Albania celebrates Albanian DuckinCanada2Day on November 28th, for example, and it's a celebration of its independence. Alderney, one of Britain's Channel Isles, celebrates Homecoming Day on December 15, which was the day in 1945 when the German occupation ended and islanders who had fled were able to return home.

Our neighbor Canada has a neighboring national day as well: July 1st is Canada Day, which commemorates the 1867 joining of several British colonies into one, the AnniversaryFlagDominion of Canada. Happy 151st birthday, Canada!  Here's a picture of the giant rubber ducky that visited for last year's sesquicentennial celebration. (I love that duck. <G>)

France's national day is Bastille Day, July 14th, and it commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789, which is considered the beginning of the French Revolution.  France and the US have a lot of history in common Australia_Day 2004 by Philip Whitehouse  Wikipedia Commons

Australia Day is January 26th and commemorates the 1788 landing of the First Fleet of British ships when they arrived in New South Wales and raised the British flag in Sydney Cove, which became the site of the great city of Sydney.

Celebrations are similar around the world. Parades are always popular. In my Maryland county there are three Independence Day parades in different areas of the county, and the timing is staggered so that local politicians can attend all three, riding in convertibles and waving at their constituents, which is about as close as we usually get to them.  Fireworks are definitely popular world wide because–noisy and pretty, something for everyone.  <G>

There are floats and bands and social clubs marching together, but my very favorite local parade entry was the tattooed and bearded biker slowly cruising along on his hog, with his two very well behaved basset hounds draped over the big  fenders. Great fun!

The Fourth of July is also a time for family gatherings and barbecues with hot dogs, hamburgers, and watermelon. From what I've heard from friends in other EiffelTowerFireworks.Pierre.Caradoc.WikipediaCommonscountries, this kind of celebration is global, though the food and drink might vary. 

But mostly, national days are for honoring our countries and the best that is in them. What are your national days, and what do you do on them? Because all nations are special, and we are part of our nations.

Wherever you live, what are your special days and how do you celebrate them?  With pride and gusto, I hope!

Mary Jo


Erotic Books of the Regency

Joanna here, taking about dirty books available in the Regency because some of you have gray weather outside and you may need cheering up.

What it is … I’m going to argue that our rakish heroes would have read erotic books. It’s human. It’s manly. It would help make them good lovers.


A hero reading


I think some of my favorite Regency heroines did the reading, too.

Perhaps not my own characters, who seem to have tough childhoods for some reason,
ut those dashing, brave and wise women who live on my Keeper Shelf. I think they read erotic books.

I see a heroine at ten or twelve, creeping into the library and sneaking a peek at the Song of Songs. They’ve heard about it . . . Maybe it’s the heroine and a few choice friends. Maybe they’re giggling. Maybe just puzzled.

I picture them reading,

“I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.
Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field;
let us lodge in the villages.
Let us get up early to the vineyards;
let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth:
there will I give thee my love.”

The heroine looks over at Sukey the maid and Jenny who lives in the house next door and says plaintively, “But what does that mean?”

“It’s symbolic,” Jenny says.


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ClosMalvernePinotageReserveBy Mary Jo

Terroir has nothing to do with terror, horror movies, or upcoming Halloween.   Instead, terroir is a French word derived from Latin "terra" and French "terre" meaning the earth. 

Most often it's used to refer to the natural conditions of soil, sun, weather, climate, et al, that produce specific flavors in food and drink.   In other words, it's the agricultural version of "we are what we eat."   We all more or less know this even if we don't think about it much, but in wine cultivation, terroir is an important concept.  I might add that I am no wine specialist and my house wine is box pinot grigio, which is a perfectly good table wine.  

But the concept of terroir is interesting.  I started thinking about it when I was writing my most recent book, Once a Soldier.  My fictional San Gabriel is a small kingdom between Portugal and Spain and wine is its most significant product. and the only one that has the potential to bring in revenue through exports.  

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