Tag Archives: Proof of Love

Skipping Midnight with Laura Kenyon

Good morning, all! I’m chatting with Laura Kenyon over on her Skipping Midnight blog today. Why don’t you pop over and see what we’re up to!
(And you might win a free book!!!)

http://laurakenyon.com/2014/02/19/arabella-stokes-lawyer-by-day-romance-writer-by-night/#more-1592

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O.M.G. It’s Real.

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If you know anything at all about your old friend RomanceMama, you know that she is one incurable bibliophile. (You also know that she loves to refer to herself in the 3d person, but let’s focus, shall we?)

I grew up reading. Books, magazines, whatever came to hand. If my daddy made me put away my book at the table, I would read the ketchup bottle. All I need is words in a row, and I am set.

But books – ah, books! Simply my favoritest thing in the whole wide world. Ask me to choose between books and chocolate, books and Ruffles chips, books and boiled peanuts (caviar of the South) and I will, without a second thought, go with books.

So it was an exceptionally emotional moment this week when the UPS man stopped here at Malfunction Junction to deliver a box with my most precious possession in it – a real, hard copy bound volume of my first published book, PROOF OF LOVE !

I am still prone to getting all misty eyed, just thinking about it. I actually wrote down my story about the dear Duke and Duchess, got it published, and CAN HOLD MY BOOK IN MY OWN TWO PAWS!!!

Do you realize what that means to me? I’m getting all verklempt, just thinking about it.

So, if you have been thinking “Gee, I’d really love to read Romancemama’s book, but I don’t have an ereader, you are now officially out of excuses. You must head on over (do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars) to Amazon and buy my book.

You’ll love it!

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Fan Mail? Me?

Stupified. Absolutely gobsmacked. Astounded, dumbfounded and flabbergasted, even. These are the only words that come anywhere close to describing my feelings over the past week or so. You see, after living in the Valley of Writerly Despair for so long, I have suddenly chanced upon a mountaintop, and I’m not completely sure how to react.

Y’all may recall, if you’ve dropped in on my little bloglet before, how often I’ve bemoaned the fate of a writer. I’ve toiled long and hard over my little stories, and I’ve sent them out into the great harsh world with no one to protect them from the big mean haters who would criticize them and judge them unfairly. I’ve told you about the rejections, the times I’ve decided to quit with the whole silly business. But I couldn’t, you know? I had to keep writing. Those people in my head are very insistent.

And over the past week or two, I’ve finally gotten to see the other side of the deep dark valley. This week has made it all worth the effort. Sunday, one of the members of an eloop I’m in mentioned that she was in the top whatever of romances on Fictionwise. Hmm. I’d never thought of checking to see how my book might be doing. After all, it’s my first book, no one knows who I am, etc. But I surfed on over to Fictionwise and –!!!! O.M.G. Dear little PROOF OF LOVE, my first novel, so dear to my heart, seems to have made its way into other hearts as well! It was sitting right there, pretty as you please, at #9 in romance and #11 for all fiction. Shee-yut, y’all! I’m a best-selling author!

But better than that, absolutely the greatest reward for all the lonely hours at the keyboard, was the email I got today. I’m gonna quote it, because, basically, it is the greatest thing anyone (other than DH and my daughters) has ever said to me. I took out some of the identifying details, but basically, here’s what it said:

Dear Arabella,

My name is Patti and I am a friend of your sister-in-law Jane.

Anyway…. I just wanted to tell you that I read your book, Kindle edition, and thought that it was great. My only criticism was that it ended too soon, but I see that you are going to write another. Jane said that you are in the process of writing something else right now but you should get back to your “other” novel sometime.

I just wanted to kinda of give you, not that you need it, an atta boy. There are those of us that happen to read this genre when we aren’t in the mood for heavy reading and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thanks again!

Oh, wow. Yes, I am deep into writing my second historical. After all, my public is waiting!!!

A Most Gratifying Reception – by Guest Blogger, Her Grace the Duchess of Danesleigh

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My dears, I once again turn to this odd laptop device to communicate my thoughts. Please pardon me for any breaches of “Internet ettiquette,” though I must say such a phrase seems contradictio in terminis, do you not agree?

But I digress. (As my husband points out, I seem to do so quite frequently. Silly man.) As I was saying, or typing, I have commandeered dear Miss Stokes’ computer apparatus to “blog” my thoughts to you. (Again, I must say that is a most unfortunate word. It sounds like “blunder” and “frog” smashed together. A disturbing mental image, no?)

I want to thank each of you for so graciously welcoming the Duke and myself into your homes. Miss Stokes is quite excited this evening – it seems that her book about my husband and myself has hit the bestseller list upon something called Fictionwise. As best I can tell, this is some sort of electronic book shoppe, and Miss Stokes work is being sold there at quite an amazing clip.

While I know that in general, the success of her book is the result of the genteel yet interesting life led by the Duke and myself, I must admit that I am pleased with the way in which Miss Stokes told our story. Except, of course, for what I call the “naughty bits.” I am quite sure that these more intimate details should have been omitted. Still, the Duke assures me that such things are commonly discussed openly in today’s society, and, as they say, “When in Rome…”

(I am beginning to question my husband’s judgment regarding modern morals, however. Last night I caught him listening to Miss Stoke’s “iPod” whilst some person called Nelly Furtado sang about being a promiscuous girl. My dears, I nearly swooned! Merely research about this bizarre era, His Grace assured me. Hmph. We shall see.)

Alas! Miss Stokes is returning to the sitting room to “log off” for the evening. I must fly, mon chers! A bientot, and thank you so much for reading Proof of Love!!!

A Perfect Christmas Gift!

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Good morning, all! Can you believe it is December??? As my daughters like to point out, this month is Christmas!

Now, I have a rule about Christmas shopping – I get in there and get er done before December 1. Don’t hate me – I have a very specific reason for this, and it is NOT just to annoy my friends.

See, I consider myself to be a Shopper. With a Capital “S.” I love shopping more than I love my luggage. (paraphrasing one of tne of the great quotes from my most quotable movie, Steel Magnolias.) But in December, like clockwork, every year swarms of non-shoppers flock to my favorite stores. They don’t know shopping protocol, have no manners, and generally irritate me.

For example, yesterday I was finishing up and got in line at a dress shop I just adore. Unfortunately, some mouth-breathing moron was in front of me, doing all the time-sucking things a real shopper wouldn’t do. Changing her mind after items been rung up, and making us all wait while she goes back to get another color. Acting like she wasn’t expecting to have to pay or something, and not having her payment ready – actually waiting til the transaction is totalled up before digging in her purse for her checkbook and starting to fill it out out! Then, standing there holding her bag and chatting up the very harried and disinterested clerk before moving so the next person could put her items on the counter. If you’re a Capital “S” Shopper, you understand what I’m talking about. If you’re not, you’re probably saying, So, what’s wrong with that. GGRRrrr!

Now what, you may ask (probably not, but you could) does all that have to do with my new book, PROOF OF LOVE? Well, sweeties, if you are one of those millions who hasn’t finished your gift shopping yet, have I got an idea for you! An ebook is a perfect gift – always the right size, no wasteful, expensive and time consuming wrapping to worry about, and everyone knows that ebooks and readers are the Tickle-Me-Elmo of 2011!

And particularly if it is a charming tale of Georgian-era romance, with lovely people doing interesting things on their way to a gratifying happy-ever-after, you can be sure the recipient will enjoy it! And what a coincidence – that just happens to describe PROOF OF LOVE to a tee!

So y’all take a cue from me and avoid the madding crowd at the mall or Walmart and hop on over to http://champagnebooks.com/shop/index.php?route=product/manufacturer&manufacturer_id=118 and get PROOF OF LOVE for the romance fans on your list!

And since everyone deserves a gift for themselves during the holidays, I’m gonna give one lucky commenter o this post her (or his – I’m all about equality!) copy of PROOF OF LOVE. Post a comment by Noon Saturday, December 3 and you may get an early visit from Santa – or at least, from the Romance Fairy!

Is This Real Life?

O.
M.
G.

I am, for once in my extraordinarily verbose life, completely speechless. If all goes as planned, tomorrow I will be a published author. My Georgian era historical romance, PROOF OF LOVE, will be released by Champagne Books tomorrow, the “buy” link over there will go live, and my lifelong dream will have come true.

It’s been a long, incredible path. I want to thank all the ladies of the Gulf Coast RWA for their love and encouragement. I couldn’t be here without the support and kicks-in-the-butt I got from my sisters at Southern Sizzle Romance. I also owe a lot to Edress, who introduced me to Harlequin Presents all those years ago.

I have to thank my brother for letting me read his copies of Frank Yerby’s historical novels — which had, of course, its consequences. (LOL!)

Most of all, my love and appreciation to my personal Mr. Darcy, Bill, and our girls, for believing in me and putting up with all my hours at the keyboard.

I’ll stop typing now. I’m all verklempt.

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The Duchess Returns

​Once again, my dear ones, it is clear that I must take a hand and lend my assistance to dear Miss Stokes. Dear girl that she is, her time management skills – well, I shall not find fault. As my husband the Duke says, I cannot judge a lady of the 21st Century by the standards of our day.

​Although, as I observe the world in which Miss Stokes lives, I believe that there is something to be said for those standards. During the reign of George III, we lived a more genteel, polite life in many ways. I cannot believe that Miss Stokes emptied the dust bins yesterday! And that after a full day of attending meetings, writing legal documents and so forth. Why, I took to my chambers with a dreadful headache after watching her! (Which was most disappointing to His Grace, I must tell you!)

​But enough of my observations. I believe that Miss Stokes’ practice is to share a photograph with you each Friday. (I refuse to use the phrase “Friday Foto.” A disgrace to the King’s English!) I do not care too much for photography; I prefer the more graceful depictions of reality produced by painters. Therefore, today I share with you one of my favorite works, Mr. Reynolds’ portrait of my friend, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. I feel that the artist captured dear Georgiana’s personality quite well, although my husband says she looks like she has a poker up her … posterior. Upon reflection, I believe we are both correct!

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And now, mon tres cher amies, I must take my leave. Dear Miss Stokes has a great deal of work to do, poor child, and I must surrender the computer to her. (Such a clever device, do you not agree? The Duke is absolutely fascinated by the operation of the thing. Sometimes to the point that his “surfing” quite annoys me. Ah, well. At least he is amused.)

A bientot, my loves!

The Big Question

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It’s the question every writer gets asked, all the way from the first grader who hands in a three-sentence story about her pet cat’s adventures right on up to the folks on the NYT list. “Where did you get the idea for that?”

There are a couple of options available to an author at this point. My favorite is the dumb look, coupled with a heartfelt “Idunno.” You can also make up something about how the ghost of Jane Austen and Ernest Hemingway visit you in your dreams to dictate stories they never got around to writing. This last is best accompanied by vague mutterings to the surrounding air, telling Jane and Ernest to remember they shouldn’t interrupt you when you’re talking. The questioner may not believe you, but they will learn not to bother you, especially if you throw in a few references to your weapon collection.

But it is a real puzzler, you know, the source of the weird situations we put our characters through. Although I joke with my writing buddies about “the voices in my head,” sometimes I really do feel like someone or something else is coming up with the stories, and I just write them down.

But if you look back at your writing, especially after a little time has gone by since you finished a piece, you start to see little themes and concepts that picked up on situations in your own life. It’s kind of like dreams – your subconscious takes things that really happened, twists them, confuses them, and turns them into something completely different. Only by dissecting and analyzing each component can you figure out “where they came from.”

For example, you rarely find a heroine having a good time at a party in my stories. Now, seriously, who doesn’t like a good soiree? Music, food, and fun – what’s not to like? But my ladies have a serious habit of getting their hearts broken at parties. My upcoming release, Proof of Love, begins with Lady Susan Lanier arriving at a party prepared to have the time of her life. Unfortunately, the evening ends with her in tears, her future dreams shattered, and London’s gossips enjoying a most scandalous story at her expense.

Likewise, in the contemporary chick-lit I just finished, my heroine, Cassie, returns to her hometown in triumph for gala, and she expects to flaunt her big-city successes in front of all the people who looked down on her in the past. Unfortunately, the guy who made it all possible turns out to have some pretty serious secrets, and they all come tumbling out right in the middle of the party.

When I look at these scenes, I can’t help but compare them to a particularly rotten evening of my life — high school graduation night, to be exact. A night that went from the time of my life to utter humiliation in 42.3 seconds.

Now, I will tell you that, these many years later, I am ecstatic about the way it all worked out. Had the no-ambition, yet really gorgeous boyfriend stuck around, I would never have gotten my law degree, married The Lord of the Far Junior College, or had my precious babies. God knew what I needed.

But when I try to up the angst ante for one of my ladies, my mind goes right back to a midnight party at one of the Tallahassee sinkholes, where my heart got ripped apart to the crowd’s delight. If you read my stories, expect bad things from parties.

I can’t say that a story as a complete unit comes from any particular experience in my life – after all, I’ve never been a duchess in Georgian England (discounting reincarnation, at least.) But when I pick out each little component that goes into the story, most of the time, I can figure out where that idea came from, even if, as it usually is, it is contorted far beyond anything resembling the actual reality.

And that, boys and girls, is “how I come up with those ideas.”

SQUEEEEE!!!

Oh, Lord, y’all! I hope I can quit hyperventilating long enough to post this!

Here it is, at last – the cover of PROOF OF LOVE coming 11/7/11 from Champagne Books! Many thanks to the uber-talented Trisha FitzGerald for the design!!!

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Happy Hop – and Meet Henry!!!

Welcome to my little blog, mes amis! It’s such a treat to have you join me on my first attempt at blog-hoppery!

First an introduction. My name is Arabella Stokes, and I write about love. Mostly historical, with lots of lords, ladies, rakes and scoundrels, and maybe even a scallywag or two thrown in. I love and adore the English Georgian/Regency era, and hope that you will join me there this coming Fall when my first published novel, Proof of Love, will be released by Champagne Books.

Proof of Love is about the Duke of Danesleigh, who only believes in things he can weigh, measure and investigate scientifically. But even a rational, logical Duke needs a wife, so he sets out to find a mother for his heirs in a most scientific manner. Just as he runs his stables and his kennels.

When Lady Susan Lanier’s fiancé made her the scandalous laughing-stock of the Haute Ton, she lost all faith in love. Still, she’s a healthy young lady from a fine family, and she fits the Duke’s bridal specifications to a tee.

Together, these two come to learn that love may just be the greatest experiment of them all. 

So, you may be asking (probably not, but you might be) – why a scientist, Arabella? People always ask writers where we get our ideas. Most of the time I give them a dumb look and say, “Umm, I dunno.”

 But I know exactly where I got the inspiration for the terribly logical Duke of Danesleigh. After I saw Keira Knightly in The Duchess, I read several books about the Devonshire family. One of the odder sprouts I discovered on Georgiana’s family tree was her husband’s cousin, the scientist Henry Cavendish.

Henry was quite brilliant. He was the discoverer of hydrogen, which he named “flammable air,” he was the originator of the “Cavendish Experiment” (the first laboratory exploration of gravity between masses), and was one of the earliest scientists to study electricity.

Brilliant, yes. A typical Georgian/Regency rake, not so much. Poor Henry had some issues, to say the least. He was viewed as an eccentric, even by the somewhat generous standards of the Cavendish family. He communicated with female servants only through notes, built a new back staircase in his home so he could avoid contact with his housekeeper, and had no known friends outside of his family. He was so painfully shy that he did not publish accounts of his work, which nearly resulted in his discoveries being credited to other, more vocal colleagues. In fact, modern researchers believe he may have suffered from autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

Now, my scientist/Duke is far from shy and retiring, and definitely not afraid of the ladies. But if you trace him back to his roots, he was indeed inspired by poor Henry.

Have you a favorite odd duck from history to tell us about? A strange yet interesting personality who might make a good story? Leave a name and a brief blurb about him/her in the comments, if you would be so kind. One lucky commenter will get a gift certificate to my e-publisher, Champagne Books! (Which would let you buy my book this Fall, though there are lots of other yummy books in our bookstore!)

I hope you’ll check out my blog again soon. I write about anything that seizes my crazed imagination, from book reviews to the proper care of your muse, from classically erroneous rejection letters to the music I listen to as I write.Every so often the Duchess of Danesleigh even pops in to criticize modern manners.

Yall come back now, ya hear???