Thursday, 17 April 2014

Giselle Marks...The Marquis's Mistake!

Today's post is an exciting one for me. The lovely Giselle Marks has arrived to talk about one of my fave topics...Regency men...and their hair. I find this fascinating and know you all will too.

Thanks for joining me, Giselle!

Regency Heroes’ Hair
By Giselle Marks

Regular readers of Regency romances may wonder why the male fashion for wearing wigs or powdered long hair was discarded so suddenly for much shorter crops.  In England the main reason for the change was not merely fashion or practicality, but a refusal to be forced to pay a heavy hair powder tax which had been imposed. So all the handsome Regency gentlemen pictured by the leading portrait painters of the period, Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Lawrence, were by no longer wearing powdered wigs actually rebelling against the Government for trying to increase revenue by the tax.

The Georgian fashion of powdered hair was largely jettisoned following a shortage of flour which was the main constituent ingredient in hair powder. To increase the availability of flour and increase revenue, William Pitt brought in a tax on hair powder and the haute monde resisted the iniquitous tax. Lord Bedford led the rebellion by having his own hair cropped short in the eponymous and brutal Bedford cut. Because of the boycott of powdered hair, the tax failed to earn the sums Pitt had anticipated.

Although Bedford started the trend for shorter hair, younger men were not inclined to adopt such an unflattering style. Instead they followed the classical influences which had already changed women’s clothing from the Georgian wide panniered skirts to the simpler Grecian influenced Empire-line dresses which typify the period. Wanting to have modish new crops, the fashion conscious ton emulated the classical statues from Rome and Greece which portrayed important figures from history, with carefully cut hair.
There were five main styles worn by fashionable men of the period, the Brutus which George Brummell popularised, had the hair brushed forwards to give greater height to the hair. A slightly more tousled effect is usually arranged for the actors who play Jane Austen’s hero Fitzwilliam Darcy.

The Caesar which tended to be worn by older men had the hair cropped close but left a little longer towards the front and brushed forward to allow it to disguise a receding hairline. Napoleon Bonaparte is probably the most well-known example of this particular style. The Titus was cut shorter all over than the Brutus and was preferred by many military men. The Duke of Wellington who was less follically challenged than his opponent Bonaparte chose this neat and simple cut. I assumed my first hero Edward Chalcombe in “The Fencing Master’s Daughter,” who was a military man wore his hair in this manner.

The Cherubim was less popular in England, but involved a head of tightly curled hair which framed the face.  It is an attractive style which was popular on the continent. The final style was called coup au vent, my hero Sebastian from “The Marquis’s Mistake,” was blessed with curly pale blond hair, which I assume he washed regularly unlike most men of the period opted for this romantic wind swept look.

Thick curly hair was most easily persuaded into these new cuts. The hair was pomaded into place with concoctions made from perfumed bear fat, or the hair was waxed into place. The leaders of fashion were determined to create an impression with their appearance and spent hours over achieving exactly the right effect.  As a result of their revolting hair products, most men wore night-caps to prevent soiling the pillow cases while they slept. Regency heroines should perhaps be more reluctant to run their fingers through their hero’s hair. I am guilty of allowing Alicia to entangle Sebastian’s hair in “The Marquis’s Mistake,” but I plead my assumption that he followed Brummell by bathing daily, a reasonable premise as they shared the same tailor Weston’s. Sebastian however was more inclined to pay his bills than George Brummell, who had to eventually flee the country to escape his debts.

Sideburns were worn by almost all fashionable Regency men but in England most men from the higher echelons followed Brummell’s lead in being clean-shaven. Facial hair, particularly moustaches were uncommon, although some were worn by military officers, but full beards were mostly worn by commoners, foreigners and naval men. Some of the older men still wore wigs but their popularity continued to decline. Longer hair was sometimes continued to be worn by poets like Percy Bysshe Shelley and men with artistic pretensions, although the classically romantic and scandalous poet Lord George Byron actually wore his dark hair fairly short.

The Marquis's Mistake
by Giselle Marks

Devastatingly handsome Sebastian, Marquis of Farndon awaits a lady, a present from his best friend Stephen for his thirtieth birthday. Alicia Lambert fleeing from a forced marriage is shown into his room by mistake. Inebriated from celebrating his return to England, Sebastian disbelieves her protests and is reluctant to let her escape. Meeting him later in London, Alicia is relieved he does not recognise her.  But when he pursues her and proposes marriage, she doubts his feelings for her are real. Sebastian wants to protect Alicia from the machinations of the blackguard Major Mallinder as he fears for her life and that of her aunt Maud. But will Sebastian’s natural intelligence be enough to deal with the ruthlessness of Alexander Mallinder?

Giselle Marks has been writing for many years.  She has written two Regency Romances and a Fantasy/ Sci-fi series with erotic content.  “The Fencing Master’s Daughter” was published in September 2013.  Her second Regency Romance “The Marquis’s Mistake” was released in December 2013.  She also has a story in the Charity Anthology “Tales by the Tree.”  A short story will appear in a fantasy anthology in April and her Fantasy series “The Zeninan Saga” is currently being prepared for publication. Giselle is currently working on a number of projects including a third Regency Romance entitled “A Compromised Rake, the 12th book in the Zeninan Saga with the provisional title of  “Prince of Zenina” and a short story anthology of mythic and fae tales which she is writing and illustrating with her friend Sarah J Waldock.




Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Houston Havens...Sinful Surrender!

I am very happy to welcome Houston Havens today, with her sexy menage romance Sinful Surrender (Psychic Menage #1). Houston has a character interview with heroine Fay, and I know after reading it you'll want to add it to your TBR list!

Houston Havens – Sinful Surrender (Psychic Menage #1)

A multi-genre story: Paranormal Romance, Sci-Fi Romance, Fantasy Romance, Futuristic Menage (MFMM), Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Light BDSM, and Psychics.

Tag Line: Why be tempted by one man's seduction when you can be loved by three?

Top psychic spy Fay Avalon saw too much on her latest mind traveling mission and is now on the run from her post-catastrophic dystopian government, searching for the truth and proof. She escapes but is shot down, landing in the arms of the enemy.

In Drakker and Arlo’s world, women are so rare the men have accepted a polyandrous lifestyle. When the brothers stumble upon Fay unconscious in the wreckage of an aircraft, they are immediately attracted to her. Arlo wants to keep her, but Drakker knows they can’t. They must take her to their brother Logan Ab├ín, leader of their people.

Logan struggles with trusting anyone, even himself. When a beautiful, intelligent, and intriguing woman falls into their laps, his denied desires for intimacy challenge his need to trust the spy. He’s frustrated by romantic Arlo’s claims of her innocence. Even when pragmatic and dominating Drakker defends her as well, Logan refuses to trust his gut.

Can one woman satisfy the diverse desires of three men? Will Logan’s fears be realized by betrayal? Is Fay to be sentenced to death as a spy, suffer a fate worse than death by being returned to her government as a traitor, or will she find a new life and love as the wife of three sexy brothers?

Interview with Fay:

Tell us a little something about yourself?
I have no past. I’m an orphan. I’m a mind traveler spy for the Underworld of the Dirt Dwellers. There is only one clue to my history; it’s a tattoo on the sole of my foot. I’ve no clue to its meaning. I have a recurring dream that haunts me. It’s of a woman with sad sage-violet eyes.

What do you love most about men?
There’s nothing at all that I like about Dirt Dweller men, but if you’re talking Airborne men. I love their muscled bodies, tanned skin, and the way they treat women…the way Arlo so gallantly protected me from Logan, who insisted on Drakker interrogating me last night … Oh my God … I wanted to escape just so Drakker could catch me and interrogate me again, the man is hot. I find all three of the Aban brothers to be very sexy, but Logan distrust me and I’m finding him to be rather arrogant and stubborn.
What did you think of the Airbornes lifestyle when you first arrived?
It lacks all modern technology, but there is a beauty in its simplicity. Honestly, I loved it at first sight. I felt like I finally belonged.

How does it compare to living underground with the Dirt Dwellers?
The Underworld is architecturally beautiful, but the dictatorship and Big Brother tactics are out of control. It makes life unbearable, so the beauty of the Underworld is lost in the negativity of its environment. I love being above ground, it’s so much freer. The fresh air is wonderful and all the smells and sounds of real LIFE … it’s just awesome! 

What are some things you'd never leave home without?
I always carry a weapon of some kind. (Taps a watch-like device on the left wrist) This mind-traveler detector that Andonis made for me and Chandra, a friend of mine. And … my pet coyote.

How difficult do you think it would be to share 3 men?
Although I was raised as a Dirt Dweller in a monogamous society … personally, I don’t think I’d have any troubles living in a polyandry relationship at all. Maybe because I understand why the Airbornes are polyandrous … they accepted that lifestyle because they’re trying to survive. Women are rare and the men seek to protect those few healthy women they do have. I hear there are mutant woman, but the Airborne men won’t web them because they’re trying to produce a health race of Airbornes, so there are future survivors.
My problem is, will Logan grant me that chance, or condemn me as a spy?

Describe a perfect date night?
‘Date night’ … is that an Airborne thing? In my world of the Dirt Dwellers, by law, we are not allowed to have a sexual relationship with anyone unless we win the government sex lotto. One male and female winner is chosen. Legally, they then get to have a quick sexual encounter with each other that might produce a legal child or might not. The lotto is the Underworlds way of controlling our over-population crisis. So, there is no ‘date night’ that would encourage people to get together.
Marriage is possible between a man and woman, but only when the male has been castrated and the woman has had a hysterectomy.
There is no privacy, not even in our homes. We are watched 24/7 .
Don’t get me wrong, illegal sex does happen, and often, but done at a high cost if you’re caught. It’s death for a woman who has illegal sex and ends up getting pregnant … that’s why we have so many runners. Most are woman who got pregnant and hide in the tunnel systems to survive and raise their child. It’s a horrible life. Like rats in a sewer.
Recently, the government opened a few sex clinics where a person can go to for masturbation, but it’s rumored those who go are being secretly exposed to a HAARP wave that sterilize them.

Quickie Time

Best feature on a man?
Oh. My. God. Since seeing what an Airborne man looks like … oooh, I have to say besides their handsome faces it’s their tanned, muscled stomachs.

Sweet and slow or hard and fast?
I like both (giggles) depends on who and where.

Handcuffs or ties?
Since Drakker’s interrogation, BOTH.

What are you hiding in your bedside table?
A dried flower Arlo gave me. (blushes) A ‘toy’ Drakker gave me, and a hope that one day Logan will trust me.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Sex. I love all kinds of sex.

What’s your secret talent?
I’m a mind traveler and I can take you into worlds you’ve never seen.

Boxers, Briefs or Commando?
I prefer a man like Drakker who wear none.

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Erotic romance author Houston Havens, a former successful model enjoying an adventurous jet-set lifestyle, intrigues her readers with a mix of the past, present, and future, and sexy blends of futuristic science fiction, paranormal fantasy, and western romance, always with love everlasting. A tenacious Irish lass filled with passion and mystery hopes her sultry stories will entertain and fascinate those who dare to take the journey. She’s also a social media junkie with an award winning blog.

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Thank you Rosanna for having me on your blog today. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Christy Gissendaner...In Too Deep!

Well, I am always happy to welcome my pub sister and friend Christy Gissendaner to the blog. However, when she brings such a dishy specimen of man, she kicks it up a notch. Please help me welcome Christy as she tells us about In Too Deep!

            Take one bridesmaid. Mix in one sexy alpha wolf. Toss is in a pinch of danger. And voila! You have my latest release, In Too Deep. For this one, I got to combine several of my favorite things. Shifters, weddings, beaches, and mermaids. I know, I know. It seems like an odd mixture, but I had a lot of fun writing it.
            I haven’t publicized the “secret” behind Emma’s (the heroine) background on purpose. It’s even mentioned she’s “human” in the blurb. That isn’t entirely true. As I wrote this book, I noticed I mentioned the ocean and the current quite a bit during Emma’s scenes. So when I came up with the idea to expand on the paranormal nature of the book and explained it to my husband, he gave me the crazy eye. Mermaids? Really? I knew I wanted her ancestry to be a bit of a twist, but even I didn’t expect it to come together like it did.
            Wolves and mermaids do seem an awkward pairing, but trust me. It’s not as simple as it seems. Emma isn’t quite a mermaid, although she does have an affinity for water that is quite awesome, in my humble opinion.
            And check out that cover? Isn’t Drake one sexy hunk of an alpha male? But perhaps even better than the man on the cover, is the little hint of what’s to come that can be found on the left side. See that little fin flipping there? I loved having it included. And no, it’s not a whale. ; )
            Before I go, I would like to thank Rosanna for having me! I’ve been a fan of hers since book one and it’s always a joy being here.
            Happy reading, ya’ll!

In Too Deep
Christy Gissendaner

Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Etopia Press

Number of pages: 274
Word Count: 54,654

Book Description:

He’ll risk everything for the love of one human.
Agreeing to be her good friend’s bridesmaid, Emma Anderson jets off to Tybee Island for the wedding. Her dress is perfect and her shoes are adorable, but her friend’s elegant beachside home hides an ancient secret…one that threatens to expose a secret society of werewolves.
 Drake Randolph has watched his sister’s friend grow into a ravishing woman, but he’s always kept his distance. As the heir to the Randolph fortune and the alpha of the Secret Society of Savannah Lycanthropes, Drake cannot afford to draw the innocent little brunette into the dangerous lycan world.
 Passion between them soon blazes hotter than the Georgia summer. But when the wrong woman is kidnapped to prevent the wedding of a lycan to a mortal, Drake must risk everything to save Emma from the ones who will see the downfall of all he holds dear.
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Short Excerpt
Kicking off her white sandals, she descended a set of wooden stairs and stepped onto the sand. It squished between her toes, damp and still warm from the heat of the afternoon. The moon shone over the water, gleaming in the waves pulling toward the shore.
She stood at the water’s edge. The current sucked at her toes, burying them in sand, and she absorbed the soothing sounds of nature. She tipped her head back and closed her eyes. Perfect.
For a moment, she flashed back to her childhood. Not the endless summers she’d spent with the Randolphs. Earlier than that, long before her father’s death. A memory floated out of her grasp, on the edges of her subconscious but always moving away from her.
The water surrounded her ankles, the tendrils of the tide resembling a caress. As if someone touched her.
She opened her eyes, startled by the sensation.
A particularly large wave crashed around her legs. Thrown off-balance by the unexpected surge, she stumbled a bit until she regained her footing. Whatever memory she’d been chasing fled, replaced by the shock of the water splashing against her knees.
She returned her attention to the water. It eddied around her, the glow of the moonlight reflected in the tiny swirls of liquid. Bending down, she touched the surface and a jolt of energy poured through her. She lurched backward just as another wave crashed against her.
Weird. She moved closer to the shore, not afraid of the ocean but concerned by her reaction to it. Something wasn’t right.
The cry of a seagull jerked her back to the present. She glanced down and grimaced at the soaked bottom half of her dress. She didn’t mind as much as she should. At least the delightfully cool water eased some of the oppressive heat of the day.
The breeze, which had been strong all day, caressed her bare shoulders and ruffled her hair. She lifted her arms and twirled, letting out a tiny sound of pleasure.
At the end of her twirl, she caught sight of a figure standing alone on the patio. The moonlight wasn’t needed for her to recognize Drake. No one else had such a commanding presence. He tugged at her heart like the ocean’s current tugged at her ankles.

About the Author:
Christy Gissendaner is a romantic comedy author and believes that laughter and love should go hand in hand.

Christy lives in Alabama with her husband and three sons. She’s always hard at work on her next novel, but in her spare time she loves blackjack, karaoke, and anything resembling a vacation!

To find out more, please visit