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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Regency: Christmas traditions--Wassail

Christmas is just around the corner! (Ducking now--anyone else not remotely ready?) At least my Christmas release is. Improper Christmas is Lillian Norwood's story. Lillian is a minor character from Improper Match who's had a very hard life and is definitely not appreciated.

One Christmas tradition is wassail (pronounced like fossil so I now hear wossal in Chekhov's voice: Nuclear Wossal...and now you do, too. You can listen here at about the 1:18 mark).

Wassail is hot mulled cider. See random picture from the internet I pasted in here. Maybe I'll try it this Christmas and see how the family likes it!

I've see a couple similar explanations for where wassail came from, all form the Anglo-Saxons and involving a toast “Waes Hael” or “Be Whole” at the start of their new year.

Holiday Wassail
1 gallon apple cider
1 large can pineapple juice (unsweetened)
3/4 cup tea (can use herb tea)
Place in a cheesecloth sack:
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1 Tablespoon whole allspice
2 sticks cinnamon
This is great cooked in a crock pot. Let it simmer very slowly for 4 to 6 hours. You can add water if it evaporates too much. Your home will smell wonderful! Serve warm, garnish with orange slices.
Serves 20.

Improper Christmas

“Miss Norwood, I presume,” the woman said before Lillian hit upon a polite conversational opening.

“Yes,” Lillian answered, only slightly surprised. “How — ”

“Oh” — she waved a hand — “you’ve been the chatter all around the village. Lord Granville’s ward, come to live in Chesham.”

She turned slightly and guided Lillian away from the fire and the Lansdowne sisters. She didn’t slip her hand through Lillian’s arm in an overly friendly manner, but did project an air of intimacy nonetheless.

“Most of the chatter is simply speculation,” she continued. “Though I am acquainted with Lord Granville. And while you and I have never met, I have heard your name.”

Lillian nodded stiffly. What had this woman heard? Did she know all of Lillian’s past? Did she know Lillian should not be here, at this ball? That her father’s death was not as long ago as she may have implied?

She refrained from muttering about gossips and rumors and remained silent. It was her only defense against such things anymore.

“You have me at a disadvantage,” Lillian said nonchalantly. And with a possible hint of ice. Just a hint. “I do not know your name.”

The woman’s eyes, alive with humor and secrets, watched her for several long moments. Then she smiled with a wide, charming curve of her lips that made Lillian want to trust her. At the very least, she wanted to know this woman who interacted so casually with Chesham society.

“My name is Camilla Primsby,” she said with confidence, as if Lillian ought to know who she was. “And do forgive the intrusion, but no young woman should be subjected to the incessant chatter of the Lansdowne sisters.”

Lillian’s lips twitched, but she didn’t give into the temptation of a smile. Mrs. Primsby acted kind enough, but Lillian knew the sort. Most likely, she wanted to be the first with all the gossip about the new woman in the village.

“Mrs. Miller believes I should make an appropriate companion to the Lansdowne sisters,” Lillian said in that same unflappable voice.

She began to wonder if it was possible for her to speak in any other manner. She missed the days of laughter and teasing with people she believed to be friends. Lillian bit back an angry sigh. That was in the past, dead and buried.

“Oh dear heavens,” Mrs. Primsby said, and she sounded truly horrified.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

#NewRelease: Timeless Passion by @KaydenClaremont

Kayden loves sexy, well-crafted stories of lust and love.  Her sensuous style drives the characters in lustful romps. When she is not crafting erotic romantic stories, she can be found crocheting or making jewelry.

Kayden is a member of Romance Writers of America, Toronto Romance Writers, and Writing Community of Durham Region.

She hopes you enjoy her other books, Hell’s Bounty, Timeless Passion, and her soon to be released Red Hot all published by The Wild Rose Press.

Kayden loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her on Facebook or at her website:


Buy Links:
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Museum director Tasha Banner needs a miracle. Without a great deal of luck and even more money, the pioneer museum will close. But when they demonstrate a Scottish New Year’s tradition, a tall, dark, and yummy stranger walks through the door. Have the faeries sent her a miracle wrapped around the man of her dreams or will altering time bring disaster to them all?
Blacksmith Dougal MacBride walks into his home after a long day and finds strangers celebrating Hogmanay when it’s just days before Christmas. Confused beyond belief and incredibly aroused by the curvaceous bundle in front of his hearth, he is torn between the need to return to his time or remain in the present with the woman who may be his soul mate.

Excerpt Two:
She motioned for him to stand by the table like the others. Defiantly he remained by the door. “Welcome to my home on New Year’s Eve.” “Are ye daft woman? We’ve not even had Christmas yet.” Dougal didn’t know what they were doing pretending today was New Year’s Eve, but he’d have none of it. All he wanted was his sup and his bed. He turned and opened the door. “Be gone with ye. And take yer friends with ye.”

When she took a step closer to him, he saw the storm brewing in her eyes. “I’m Mrs. MacBride, a Scottish woman in the village and we are celebrating Hogmanay, a Scottish New Year’s tradition.”

“I know what Hogmanay is.” Dougal leaned into her. Her scent was one of sweet baking and spicy woman. He’d never been so instantly attracted to a woman before, but he had to keep his wits about him. “I also know yer not Mrs. MacBride and, with that accent, ye’re not Scottish either. Now be gone with ye.”

The brazen woman raised her hand to stop the others from leaving. Anger flared in her eyes, turning them a thunderous gray. She clutched his elbow, and her heat rushed up his arm and through his chest, causing his breath to catch. The pot of stew in his hand swayed and its lid crashed to the floor.

“How dare you order me out of here!”

Dougal brushed her hand from his arm. “How dare ye be here!”

Kayden will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

#NewRelease Relapse in Paradise by @thissmithrox

A Florida native, Roxanne Smith has called everywhere from Houston to Cheyenne home. Currently residing in Asheville, NC, she's an avid reader of every genre, a cat lover, pit bull advocate, and semi-geek. She loves video games, Doctor Who, and her dashing husband. Her two kids are the light of her life.

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Still stinging from her recent divorce, Emily Buzzly heads to majestic Hawaii to soothe her wounds. But once she arrives on Oahu, Emily discovers that a man she assumes is a beach bum is in fact her personal tour guide, hired by her sister. With his long hair and tattoos, Boston Rondibett is everything Emily detests—despite his sun-kissed surfer body. And with her straight-laced, executive persona, Emily is everything Boston rebels against. But both have a lot to learn about making snap judgments…
 As it turns out, Boston’s real job, the one he truly cares about, is running his soup kitchen and homeless shelter. Embarrassed by her assumptions, rather than lazy beach days, Emily soon finds herself feeding the hungry, and even involved in the search for an AWOL soldier. And to Boston’s surprise, she’s loving every minute of it—and he’s loving seeing her loosen her chignon and be the admirable, beautiful woman she is. As each works through the challenges of the past, these two very different people just might find their hearts are on the very same page…


She’d been small there for a minute. He’d acted like an insane person, and Emily had shrunk beneath it. Now, her back straightened, and she came to herself as if suddenly recalling she wasn’t the type to shrink. “Forget it. But at least we’ve discovered one thing we have in common.”

“What’s that?”

“I don’t care, either.”

Boston gritted his teeth. He wished she had the stones to yell it and scream it in his face like a mad woman, like Jordan would have. But not Emily, Miss Poised and Proper. Oh, no. She merely said it, flat and without a trace of inflection or emotion.

She stopped when she reached the door and pulled it open to let herself out. “By the way, your deduction is correct. I was with Ryder last night.” He gaped at her. Everything inside seemed to collapse until the air wasn’t filling his lungs completely. With her next words, she both saved and condemned him. “I paid Kale’s debt. You’ll never see Ryder again, and The Canopy is safe.” She searched his face while hers remained passive. “Until you find someone else to rescue, anyway.”
Roxanne will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour! 

Monday, November 9, 2015

#NewRelease A Prince of a Guy by @EileenDreyer

New York Times bestselling, RWA Hall of Fame author Eileen Dreyer has published 31 romance novels in most genres, 8 medical­forensic suspenses, and 10 short stories.

2015 sees Eileen enjoying critical acclaim for her foray into historical romance, the Drake’s Rakes series, which Eileen labels as Regency Romantic Adventure that follows a group of Regency aristocrats who are willing to sacrifice everything to keep their country safe. She is also working on her first non­fiction book, TRAVELS WITH DAVE, about a journey she's been taking with a friend's ashes.

A retired trauma nurse, Eileen lives in her native St. Louis with her husband, children, and
large and noisy Irish family, of which she is the reluctant matriarch. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.

Purchase Link


When New Yorker Casey Phillips visits the tiny country of Moritania, she simply wants to see where her ancestors came from. Instead, she's mistaken for a princess.
The real princess has been kidnapped, and Crown Prince Eric von Lieberhaven insists Casey—a dead ringer for the missing royal—step into the princess's shoes until she can be freed.

As Casey upends royal tradition, Eric finds himself hoping the cheeky American never returns home. But can a secretary from Brooklyn really find happiness with a prince?

The Royal Palace of Moritania, the Alps, 1987

Eric handed her up the steps before him as a silent groom appeared from somewhere and took the Bronco away. Casey half expected him to sweep the cobblestones behind them. When they reached the door, it magically opened, another liveried servant bowing and smiling as he passed them on.

"Rolph," Eric said, easing Casey along when she slowed, "is Her Majesty the queen available for visitors?"

"I shall check for you, Your Highness. Refreshments?"

He stole a look at Casey, who was rubbernecking the paintings on the walls with undisguised astonishment. After a moment he nodded. "Yes, I believe they will be needed. In the Great Hall, if you please."

Rolph dispatched a discreetly questioning look, but bowed and moved away. Casey was still trying to take in the extent of the entryway.

Train stations were smaller. The walls extended up some thirty feet, decorated with what looked suspiciously like old masters and terminating in a high, vaulted ceiling that some brave painter had gotten his hands on. It was all light and froth, cherubs and swirling gold banners swimming around a vault of milky white. The floors were of gleaming dark wood covered in what had to be priceless Oriental rugs. The effect was one of immense space, the inside of the building mirroring the image given by the outside. Quiet, understated grace and wealth.

No need for ostentation here. It only made her want to see more.

"Like your decorator," she finally managed, casting a sidelong glance over to where Eric was enjoying her reaction.

"Moritania might not be big—" he bowed a little in acknowledgment, "—but it is a country rife with good taste. I'd like to show you something, if you don't mind."

"The only thing you could show me to beat this would be the Sistine chapel."

Walking to the right side of the hall, Eric opened a great oak door. Casey walked past him into an even more impressive room. It was long, with six matched sets of crystal chandeliers and floor-to ceiling windows that reflected in the mirrors along the opposite wall.

"Been to Versailles, had they?" she breathed, coming to a stop.

Eric wouldn't let her. Instead, he took her by the elbow and gently propelled her down the parquet flooring. "I'm sure you don't know," he was saying, "but my brother just died recently."

Casey immediately turned to him. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't."

He nodded with a sad little smile. "He was much older than I, and his heart was bad. The upshot of it is that next week his daughter, my niece, will become the new queen of Moritania. She is his only child, and his wife is also dead."

Casey had no idea where the conversation was leading. He seemed so reluctant to tell her that she knew it was something important to him. She couldn't think of anything more to do than nod.

Then he stopped walking. Turning to her, he took hold of both of her arms, his eyes trying to communicate something of import. They had softened. Casey felt even more confused.


"The portrait here at the end of the Great Hall has just gone up. It is a painting of the next queen of Moritania, Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess Cassandra."

He turned Casey to face the painting. Casey's jaw dropped. Looking back at her from the canvas was a young woman with delicate features, a gently molded face with deep, wide-set hazel eyes and a small, straight nose. A small mouth curved just at the ends as if she was amusing herself immensely with a private joke. Diamonds and rubies glittered at her throat, and a mane of tawny hair swept back, thick and styled sleekly away from tiny ears where teardrop diamonds hung.

Casey turned to Eric and then back to the picture and then back to Eric again, unable to speak. Then she turned once again to the portrait and finally admitted what he'd been trying to prepare her for. She was staring at a portrait of herself.

"And here I thought losing the car was going to be the high point of my day."

Copyright Eileen Dreyer

Eileen will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour