Tag Archives: novel

3rd novel Fool Me Twice – a Georgian romance – to be published!

I’m so pleased to announce that my 3rd novel Fool Me Twice is now under contract with Madison Street Publishing and should be emerging into the public light by the end of 2016!

 Fool Me Twice | Historical Georgian Romance | Philippa Jane Keyworth

I signed the contract last week and am really looking forward to the publishing journey again. Now the fun begins, the cover designs, the polishing, the preparing and the final exposure – it’s enough to make me shiver in anticipation. My characters are excited too. Tobias Felton is feeling particularly mischievous as he thinks about the worldwide public observing his antics, whilst Caro Worth hides her face behind her fan, embarrassed to be so scrutinised, a factor which her good friend Lady Rebecca Fairing is looking forward to. It’s all go, and soon the world of Fool Me Twice will be laid before readers’ hungry eyes to be devoured and enjoyed.

The blurb…

I’m sure I will have more to share with you about the book over the coming weeks and months, including being properly introduced to my characters; Lady Etheridge is particularly pleasing to those of us who enjoy cutting humour and people who do not suffer fools lightly. In the mean time, if you cannot bear the agony of waiting for the next morsel of news, why not read the blurb of Fool Me Twice here.

A Georgian romance…

I feel hugely blessed and chuffed to be in this position, and excited by the departure of period from my previous novels (you really will have to read my blurb to find out what I’m talking about…unless you’re an historical fiction buff).

Here’s to the next book!

Marie Antoinette: Queen of French Fashion

I am delighted to welcome Ginger Myrick onto my blog for a guest post and excerpt from her latest historical fiction novel exploring the life of the enigmatic Maria Antoinette – enjoy:

 

Marie Antoinette was perhaps most iconically known for her sense of style. Although many of the ideas of French fashion we associate with her—the elaborate gowns, towering wigs, and fanciful headpieces—were already in place at Versailles by the time she arrived on the scene, she did take some of the concepts to new heights and bent the rules to make her own way. But she wasn’t always as chic as we have come to regard her.

When fourteen-year-old Archduchess Maria Antonia first crossed the River Rhine and arrived at the border of France, she was dressed in the Austrian fashion. The fabrics and cut of her gown were luxurious and very expensive, but Austrians had the reputation for being much more staid and businesslike than their French counterparts. Although the young archduchess was the offspring of the Holy Roman Empress and considered a Daughter of the Caesars—the most high-born of European royalty—she was still looked upon as provincial by the sophisticated French. The first thing they did, before even allowing her to cross into their land, was to strip her of all things Austrian—undergarments, jewelry, hairpins, etc.—and dress her à la française. This meant that nothing from her homeland was to cross into France with her, even her little pug Mops. All of her former belongings were left on the Austrian side of the border, and Maria Antonia, clothed, made-up, and with her hair dressed according to the customs of Versailles, emerged on the French side of the line of demarcation as Dauphine Marie Antoinette. Although this process was meant as more symbolism than fashion statement, she now looked the part of first lady of the most stylish court in Europe.

Anyone who has dealt with a finicky daughter knows what it’s like to go through several changes of clothing in one day. For the new Dauphine, though, it was not persnicketiness but a necessary evil of her position. There was a huge difference between the stylish new gowns she desired to wear and being dressed appropriately for her state duties. When Marie Antoinette woke in the mornings, she went through the steps of her lever–the everyday toilette routine of her rising–during which she was dressed somewhat informally for the pre-noon activities she could not accomplish in her dressing gown. At noon, she went through the process of Chambre–her formal toilette–during which she applied her make up and donned her official court gown in front of whomever had been admitted to Versailles for the day.

These court dresses were very different than the regular gowns in fashion at the time. They were made with heavy traditional fabrics—brocades, satins, and laces—and trimmed with excessively ornate accessories—tulle, bows, tassels, and trains. You name it, it was thrown on there. The panniers required to hold these confections out to their best advantage were nearly twice the size of the ones worn under everyday dresses. There are accounts of women having to enter rooms sideways to accommodate their gowns. The necklines were low-cut and revealing, and the tightly fitted bodices—which lent even more contrast to the bell-shaped skirts—required a corset to be worn underneath.

This seemed to be one of the things that Marie Antoinette objected to the most. There are letters still in existence today in which her mother chastised her over and over again for refusing to wear her corset. When Marie Antoinette became Queen of France, along with her subservience to her elders, her corset was one of the things she cast aside in the name of her newfound independence.

This was also when her relationship with Rose Bertin began in earnest. As Dauphine, Marie Antoinette frequented the dressmaker’s fashionable boutique and occasionally sent for her to come to Versailles. Now they began a more regular association. The couteurière packed up her tools of the trade twice a week and trundled them to the new Queen’s apartments to plan their creations for whatever the upcoming schedule of events had in store. Marie Antoinette also designed many of her own fabrics, usually a light background embroidered with light and airy floral patterns. This custom needlework found its way into Rose Bertin’s designs and many accessories of the Queen’s personal habitations. There were chairs, draperies, even silk wall panels and tables made to her specifications.

Working with the Queen’s hairdresser, Léonard, Mademoiselle Bertin also designed custom poufs—the inner pads and cushions—that supported the towering hairstyles of the time, some of which measured over three feet tall. Although wigs had been a required part of the costume of Versailles since its inception they literally reached new heights during the reign of Louis XVI and were cunningly sculpted to celebrate current events, one of the most famous commemorating the King’s inoculation against smallpox.

Shortly after Louis XVI’s coronation, he gifted his Queen with le Petit Trianon, which became her personal escape from the rigors of her position. Along with discarding the strictures of etiquette, she also put away the detestable corset and opted for simpler gowns that did not require one. Of course there were still state occasions when she had to revert to the overdone court dresses, but left to her own devices, she resorted to the comfort and easiness of poplin, muslin, tulle, or cotton lawn topped with a straw hat to complete the look. She even had a portrait painted dressed in this same simple manner. It sparked an unforeseen controversy, drawing nasty remarks ranging from outrage from courtiers at the Queen being depicted in her nightgown and diminishing the standing of the royals, to the common folk clamoring against her ‘playing at’ being a peasant. Although innocently done, many such unwitting blunders contributed to the disparaging of her character and the vilification of her public image, in part, leading to the downfall of the monarchy and the rise of the French Revolution.

* * *

EXCERPT:

As the Austrian party looked on, the teenager was summarily stripped and every last vestige of her homeland discarded. Even her little dog Mops was removed from her possession, and she cried out in surprise in her upset. Finally she stood there, naked and trembling without even her shift to shield her. She brought her hands up to cover the most feminine parts of her anatomy as a sour-faced woman, in charge of her transformation from Austrian to French form of dress, began an impersonal and meticulous inch by inch inspection of her flesh.

Antoine tried to keep her disdain from showing. Was this painstaking process really necessary with so many people in attendance? Surely this part of the ceremony could have been accomplished more quickly and privately. The thought occurred to her that she had probably not been so closely examined in the moments following her birth. It was said that her mother had only paused her paperwork long enough to push Antoine into the world then resumed her signing of documents immediately after. The picture was a silly one and produced a reflexive giggle from the fourteen-year-old, already discomfited over standing so exposed before a roomful of onlookers.

The woman interrupted her prodding to shoot the Austrian girl a reproving glare, mistaking Antoine’s amusement for contempt. She cleared her throat audibly and went on to explain in a haughty tone.

“These strict traditions have their origins in times long past. I assure you that they are completely necessary. They allow us to determine that you are exactly the pure and wholesome bride we are expecting and welcome you to France with great ceremony, leaving your former life behind. Essentially, you are entering on one side as Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria, and you shall exit on French soil as Marie Antoinette, Dauphine and future Queen of France. Oh,” she said with a frown, “what is this here?”

Antoine turned and glanced over her shoulder to see what the woman had discovered to provoke the comment. The view of the woman’s dark eyes peering out over the curve of her bottom was almost more than she could bear. Her lips quirked to one side as she stifled her rising giddiness, reluctant to incur another reprimand.

“That’s just a scar left from small pox,” she managed in a normal sounding voice. “I had a mild case when I was a baby. Of course I don’t remember, but now I am immune, which is all to the good, because it means I can’t get infected.”

“Yes, it would be terrible for you to get infected,” the woman said enigmatically, looking up at her charge out of the corner of her eye. But she was still not convinced. “Are you certain? It is shaped somewhat like a bite mark,” she insisted, manipulating the flesh of the surrounding area, making sure it showed no signs of recent infection, no discoloration or seepage.

“My brothers may have been rough with me on occasion, but I don’t recall them ever biting me,” Antoine remarked wryly. Especially on my behind! she added to herself.

She shivered in her state of undress, wishing the woman to be done with the inspection and get on with the job of dressing her. When she had imagined herself as the Queen of France, this had not been a part of the vision. It was decidedly unlike the fairytale she had conjured.

Eventually the woman seemed to have satisfied her misgivings and called for the fine French linen chemise, which she settled down over the girl’s head with her own two hands. Her part accomplished, she signaled for the other ladies to bring forth the remainder of the garments necessary for the transformation. Then she sat back to make sure they performed the task to her exacting standards. Finally, the Austrian girl was dressed à la française to the satisfaction of the woman in charge and stood waiting for her next cue.

“It is now time to bid goodbye to Austria and be welcomed into France.”

Antoine began the process almost gaily, testing out her new persona with alacrity, buoyed by the beautiful French gown and elaborate new coiffure with its glittering adornments. But as the realization set in that this was probably the last time in her life she would see these staid, upright Austrian nobles, so representative of her native soil, she began to sniffle in sadness, dreading the final separation. By the time she reached the end of the line and her carriage companions stood before her, equally as miserable, the tears were flowing in an unstoppable stream. She clung fast to the princesses, knowing that as soon as they released each other, their connection would be severed in fact as well as principle.

As the last of her Austrian entourage vacated the room, Antoine was immediately set upon by the French attendants, who dried her tears and attempted to repair the damage to her meticulously applied maquillage. They wiped away the black smudges under her eyes and the streaks on her cheeks left by her tearful farewells. They dabbed white face paint over the bare patches followed by powder and rouge and relined her eyes with kohl. When Antoine was once again presentable, one of the friendlier girls drew close and made a show of neatening her hair.

“Courage, Madame Dauphine,” the girl whispered under her breath. “You must now be presented to your French family, but first, la Comtesse de Noailles. If you will suffer a bit of advice, even la Dauphine would be wise to obey. The Comtesse prides herself on her strictness and adherence to the rules and regulations of etiquette. She attended the previous Queen of France and will not suffer the merest hint of insolence.”

“Thank you,” Antoine whispered back with a meaningful look.

The girl gave her a mischievous wink then turned and declared, “Madame la Dauphine is ready.”

* * *

Although my latest release, INSATIABLE: A MACABRE HISTORY OF FRANCE ~ L’AMOUR: MARIE ANTOINETTE, is a work of alternate history and borderline horror, I have stayed true to Marie Antoinette’s reputation and include ample mention of the Queen’s panache and her concerns with the world of fashion. The eBook editions of INSATIABLE (Kindle and Nook) are currently on sale for an introductory price of $2.99 and are available at:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes&Noble

Connect with Ginger at:

GingerMyrick.com

Amazon’s Ginger Myrick page Facebook

Goodreads Twitter

The Unexpected Earl Cover & Blurb Reveal!!!

It’s just so exciting when your novel gets its cover. It’s like something immaterial is finally given a face and you can point to it and say, ‘that’s mine’ rather than just imagine the title and picture in your head. The Unexpected Earl, the story of a tempestuous heroine named Julia and all the scrapes her temper manages to get her into, not to mention the man who jilted her six years ago showing up unexpectedly, has finally been given a cover 🙂 

Image

Now, of course I am biased, but I do just love this cover! It really captures the story well with the glowing ball-scene and as you can see from my first novel, The Widow’s Redeemer, I’m a fan of silhouettes, especially because they allow you, the reader, to imagine your own face for the heroine.

Anyway, enough of my tittle-tattling, have a gander at the blurb:

Six years after being jilted without a word of explanation, Julia Rotherham finds Lucius Wolversley standing before her once again–unexpected, unannounced, unwelcome. With her heart still hurting and, more importantly, her pride, Julia must chaperone her younger sister, fend off fortune hunters, orchestrate a fake engagement,and halt an elopement–all whilst keeping the man who jilted her at arm’s length. But what Julia doesn’t know is that this time, the Earl has no intention of disappearing, and this time, he has more than an explanation to offer….

Oh, it’s all very thrilling. Lot’s going on and finally, we have a release date, The Unexpected Earl will be released in September 2014 🙂

But just while you’re waiting, why not have a look at the first chapter?

 

US & UK Kindle GIVEAWAY of The Widow’s Redeemer! 1st June – 14th June

Hallooo all!

Now, I have been somewhat buried – that’s right, literally buried – in edits of my new manuscript, and as you have seen, I’ve come up for air to share excerpts of Miss Rotherham that I’ve edited and to host brilliantly written guest posts like Rosanne E. Lortz’s one 🙂

Enter the Giveaway below!

Enter the Giveaway below!

To apologise for my unforgivable sporadic socialness online I have decided the only right and proper thing to do would be to have a Kindle Giveaway of The Widow’s Redeemer from 1st June – 14th June. So, here it is!!! There will be one Kindle copy for US readers and one Kindle copy for UK readers so don’t let that short trip across the internet pond stop you from entering!!!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post – making sure you include your name, email address (the one you want the Kindle book gifted to) and location – such as US or UK (not your house number, that would just be tremendously weird), and you will be entered for the random prize draw and could be sat out in the sunshine or snuggled away from the rain depending on your location (weather not all guaranteed) reading about the penniless Letty Burton who is taken from the West Country and thrown into the glittering Society of London in 1815, and a wealthy but bitter Viscount whose dark eyes can’t help but be captivated by the fiery young widow….

Emerging from Editing for an Excerpt – Miss Rotherham

As the title says, I’m emerging from editing to put up an excerpt. I’ve been spending some time editing Miss Rotherham, and I’m enjoying getting to know all the characters again. The thing I’d forgotten is that editing is actually bally hard work!

I have also been remembering recently that I promised a series on ‘How To Use Reviews’, where I would be using readers and reviewers thoughts on The Widow’s Redeemer to inform my second novel, so here is the next post. This excerpt of Miss Rotherham addresses the idea of a heroine being too perfect….Julia Rotherham most certainly is not. I’ve pasted in an excerpt of MR which reflects this below and would like to see what readers think. This scene takes place the morning after the ball which you can read about here. It shows Julia suffering from the ill-affects of a little too much punch, here you go:

            The morning brought with it the harsh realities of Julia’s punch consumption the previous evening.

“Well, it serves you right for enjoying yourself a little too much. I hear the punch was a favourite of yours?” The middle age maid wore a face of condemnation as she placed the jug of hot water upon the table and went to open the curtains.

“Lucy, wherever did you hear such a pack of lies!” Julia was lying in bed rubbing her temples rhythmically. She had her eyes tight shut to the severe morning light and the mess of bedclothes rested like a mountain atop her.

“Mr. Rotherham told it me, miss.” Lucy did not try to hide her smugness, nor did she try and speak quietly for her mistress’ benefit. “So’s I know why it is you feel ill and like I says, you brought it upon your own head, miss. You spare no thought to the future.”

Julia was sure that at any moment, the high nagging pitch of Lucy’s voice would crack her skull. She groaned and rolled over before realizing her stomach had a preference for staying in the same position this morning. She rolled back. “Well,” she said sighing and cracking on eye open, when her skull remained in tact she continued. “Well, yes fine! Perhaps I did enjoy some of cook’s punch but I do not see that I should be rebuked for it.” Both her eyes opened into two thin slits and she grinned weakly at the curt mother hen.

“It is no good you looking at me like that miss, for you must get out of bed and dress and eat breakfast.”

“Oh!” Julia cried, draping an arm across her forehead. “Do not say the word, breakfast, I beg of you.”

Lucy’s hard face fell into a reluctant smile at Julia’s melodrama, before finding its way back to a look of reproof.

“It’s of no use, Lucy, I saw you smile.” Julia miracously recovered from her fit of despair and now grinned mischievously once again at her maid.

“You saw nothing! Now, you need to be up for your mama is insistent you be with her for the morning calls.”

“I wonder why.” Julia mumbled, knowing full well that her mother wanted her eldest daughter available whenever a single gentleman had the potential of setting foot over the Rotherham threshold. Julia’s mind suddenly recalled the events of last night and she thought with a measure of anxiety about Wolversley’s sudden reappearance in her life. It was most vexing.

She moaned again, giving up her thoughts to the ill feeling creeping over her body. “Sleep would be a far better use of my time.”

What d’ya think?

A Regency Heroine: Letty Burton

 ‘Determined, strong, good; a woman of indomitable spirit.’

Yep.

That’s me.

Regency Heroine - Letty Burton - Philippa Jane Keyworth - Regency Romance AuthorWhat a great description.

Wait, wait, wait; woah, woah woah! I think…I THINK I may have gotten that wrong. Yes, in fact, I’m sure. You see, when I write (which is whenever I get the chance), I tend to write my heroines as the women I want to be rather than the woman I am 😉

Lettice Burton, or as most people know her in The Widow’s Redeemer, Letty Burton, is no exception to my usual writing of heroines. Today, I’d like you to meet my heroine in another extract from my debut novel. Here she is in a party visiting a cathedral and at this point in the story, she finds herself alone and in conversation with the sullen Viscount Beauford:

‘ “And what do you see, O widow?” His words tried her calm.

“A building.” She wandered on. He walked behind her slowly, now examining her rather than the battered vegetation.

“Yes, a building it is, made grand by its architecture.”

“Not just that surely?” She halted and turned her large brown eyes upon him. “Does the fact it has housed worshippers for the past five hundred and fifty years hold no weight?”

“For that long? I had not read the history. I am surprised you have—you must have had a very thorough governess.”

“No, my lord.” She tensed for a moment at the allusion to her childhood and her own admittance. Then quite suddenly she smiled with confidence. “But the age of the cathedral is quite clear to any fool.”

“Yes, of course.” His face broke into what almost constituted a smile; the firm mouth took on a crooked angle and his eyes lighted with amusement.

She had diverted his attention from her personal life once again, but something in those dark eyes disquieted her. She decided to go along with whatever game he was playing.

“You’re laughing at me? Perhaps you think me a bluestocking, and yet, I think you miss the point of such a building.” She turned and walked away again, leaving him to follow.

“It is only a church.” He was once again level with her.

“No, it isn’t.” This time the smile was to lace her lips.

His brows furrowed and he stopped their gradual walk to look upon her properly. She seemed to speak the truth, or at least what she believed to be true.

“It is a church.” His voice was quite firm, the sort of tone that suggested it had been obeyed hundreds of times before.

“The people make up the church, my lord, not the bricks and mortar.” Her father had said that often, and it sprang unbidden to her lips. “Do you not find that even more interesting than the building itself—the thought of all the people throughout the centuries who sat here, prayed here, suffered here, hoped here?”

“I can well imagine how they would have suffered kneeling on such hard stone. And as for their hopes, I doubt that many of them were ever fulfilled.” His voice was as bitter as a mouthful of seawater. “Hope makes beggars of us all. And that—to use your words—is quite clear to any fool.”

“But, my lord!” Her eyes locked firmly on his. “There is always hope.” She said it because she could not help herself. She said it because it was true.’

Oh! What a woman, eh? I hope you enjoyed this extract and be sure to read my blog next week for the next extract!

Less than a month to go until the launch! And remember to enter my books giveaway either on this link http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/33748-the-widow-s-redeemer or by clicking the image:

The Widow's Redeemer Giveaway - Regency Romance - Philippa Jane Keyworth

The Widow’s Redeemer Giveaway !!!!!

6048 Hours

Thanks to the idea in my last post, in 6048 Hours = 252 Days = 36 weeks = 9 months…
Writing Book Deadlines - Philippa Keyworth - Author

Well actually, seeing as it’s February already I’m giving myself 8 months = 32 weeks = 224 days = 5376 hours to write a minimum of 3 books but hopefully more….

Impressive? Well, only if I actually do it….

‘I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.’ Stephen Wright

HILARIOUS, and so totally how I feel right now. My husband said to me, “No, don’t put that pressure on yourself. Why don’t you just try to enjoy it?”

So very true. Then he added, “You know you won’t do it.”

RED RAG TO A BULL I TELL YA!

When I was discussing one of my stories (it was October 2010 I think) and said, “I want to get the rest of the revisions done by the end of the year.”

He replied, “You won’t be able to do that.”

I replied by doing it over the following seven days.

However, that could well NOT happen with regards to my above challenge. But you know what? I think I can do it (and I am counting half finished books which I will go back to and finish as it’s even harder to go back and finish them then start a new one and also revising ones I’ve completed….yeeeees), but rather than putting pressure on myself by having to account for my writing here I’m going to ‘keep you posted‘ (so ironic as this is a blog) if and when I do actually do it.

See what I did there? I win both ways because if I don’t do it I don’t have to admit to it. If I do do it, I can lord it over everyone in blog land and become nationally acclaimed — Well……maybe not…..the likelihood is I shall write absolute tosh………………..

p.s. Does anyone want me to continue posting up that story in a series like a started here and here before Christmas? If I receive no positive answers I shall not do it…I live to serve….