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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guest Post with Author Manda Collins and Giveaway

Today I would like to welcome debut author Manda Collins. Manda's book How To Dance With a Duke is set to be released next Tuesday and let me tell you it's great. You can see my review for it here. Manda is here to today to talk about her release. So everyone please give Manda a very warm welcome.

When I was still in the planning stages of How to Dance with a Duke, I knew that presenting yet another Regency Romance to the reading masses was going to be met with a groan from some quarters.

Over the last ten years or so, it does seem as if the number of Regencies has increased as quickly as the number of any other historical setting has decreased. And I’ve seen more than one reader complain on various online forums about the glut of Regencies on the romance market. But simply because something is popular, that doesn’t mean it should be avoided all together. And, darn it, I’ve loved the Regency period since long before it became the hottest game in town. I have earned my Regency cred and I intend to use it!

So, with apologies to Julia Quinn, I give you: FIVE THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE REGENCY PERIOD.

1. The Quizzing Glass: How many times in my own life have I longed to whip out a quizzing glass an put someone in his or her place? Many times, dear reader. Many times. Even though it’s an accessory that has been used in novel after novel, by gentleman after gentleman, I never grow tired of reading an excellently written scene involving a quizzing glass. One of my favorites is the opening scene of Mary Balogh’s Slightly Dangerous.

2. Almack’s: I can hear your groan now, gentle readers, about how Almack’s, with its weak lemonade and stale biscuits, is clearly past its literary prime. And yet, I will hear none of it! Yes, perhaps it’s become a sort of romance shorthand to set a scene in that most august of assembly rooms, but darn it, I like the place. I enjoy hearing about how annoying Lady Jersey is, or how some poor sod is denied admittance for being a few minutes too late. Or worse, about the gentleman who dares to attempt to go inside while wearing anything but the required knee breeches! Scorn me if you must, but I am fond of the place. So there.

3. Prinny: Back about a hundred or so years ago when I first began reading regencies, the appearance of Prinny and his good buddy Brummell at a ball made my heart beat faster. Not because he was at all heroic or attractive, but because the concept of a royal personage and his oh so fashionable friend suddenly showing up at one’s party was so utterly delicious. And yes, sometimes they ended up just being caricatures but that’s what happens when you write about people who actually existed. I also liked never knowing whether the portrayal would be of sympathetic Prinny or disgusting Prinny. I suppose it depended upon whether the author was a Tory or a Whig, or which historians they believed about him. But in the end, I like him no matter which one of his many personalities appears.

4. Feisty Heroines: Okay, so maybe this one isn’t strictly limited to books set in the Regency period, but the subgenre certainly has boasted its share of feisty heroines. And what’s so bad about feisty? Without some serious determination on the part of the heroine, most romance novels would never even get going properly. What if Lizzie Bennett had never lost her temper with Darcy? What if Marianne hadn’t exchanged all those improper letters with Willoughby? It seems to me that the folk who complain about feisty heroines are really complaining about silliness. Which is not the same thing at all. And one must remember that a book in which the heroine and the heroine do not change at all in the course of the novel is not a very well written one. Perhaps the heroine might begin the book as quick tempered and feisty, but by the end she will usually have matured and grown as a person. So don’t hate me because I’m feisty! Without some sass our novels would be very dull indeed.

5. Dukes: Sigh. I get it. I really do understand. There were so few dukes of marriageable age during the Regency period. And it’s foolish to imagine there was even one drop dead gorgeous duke roaming the streets of London, let alone the umpteen thousand who must by now have been created by romance writers. But, here’s the thing. We are not writing about the actual Regency. Well, let me rephrase that: I am not writing about the actual Regency. What I am writing about is a sort of faux Regency that bears some resemblance to the actual time and place, but is in some ways much pleasanter and in other ways much darker. And in my version of Regency England, more than one young, attractive, duke exists and is just waiting to find the right heroine so he can settle down and secure the succession. I like it that way!

So, there you have it. Five reasons why this author has chosen to set her novels in the Regency era. Are there any things that you particularly like, or even dislike, about the Regency Romance? Tell me all about it! One commenter will win a copy of How to Dance with a Duke.

What’s a wallflower to do when she’s suddenly in need of a husband? Use all the pluck and moxie she can muster to get what she wants…


Miss Cecily Hurston would much rather explore the antiquities of Egypt than the uncharted territory of marriage. But the rules of her father’s exclusive academic society forbid her entrance unless she weds one of its members. To clear her ailing father’s name of a scandalous rumor, Cecily needs to gain admission into the Egyptian Club—and is willing to marry any old dullard to do it.


Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson, is anything but dull. He’s a dashing and decorated war hero determined to help Cecily—even if that means looking the other way when she claims the dance card of Amelia Snow, this season’s most sought-after beauty. But Lucas has a reason for wanting Cecily to join the Egyptian Club: His brother went missing during one of Lord Hurston’s expeditions to Egypt. An alliance with the explorer’s bluestocking daughter could bring Lucas closer to the truth about what happened…or it could lead him to a more dangerous love than either he or Cecily could have imagined….

Places to Purchase:

Manda Collins spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. An affinity for books led to a graduate degree in English, followed by another in Librarianship. By day, she works as an academic librarian at a small liberal arts college, where she teaches college students how to navigate the tangled world of academic research. A native of coastal Alabama, Manda lives in the house her mother grew up in with three cats, sometimes a dog, sometimes her sister, and more books than strictly necessary.

Places to find Manda:

Manda will be giving away a copy of How To Dance With a Duke to 1 lucky person. So make sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love the Regency era. I agree too about Prinny, there are so many conflicting opinions about him.

    Loved Mary Balogh's Slightly Dangerous too, Wulfric can scrutinize me with his quizzing glass any time.

    Yvonne D.

  2. i love reading HR genre, regency or victorian. i love it ;)

    i like all the five thing about the regency era

    congrats on the release Manda ;)

  3. Regency is my favorite time period for my romances to be set in. I love how they are all proper on the outside and full of passion on the inside.

  4. I'll never get tired of the Regency period, so please keep writing those romances!

  5. Oops forgot to answer the question! I love all the balls and the descriptions of the gowns and jewelery, the drives in the park, eating ices at Gunthers. And of course all those titled Lords and Ladies. I don't care one little thing that all those romance characters are invented by the authors (lol that is why I read romance instead of drama or historybooks), give me a Duke and a Baron and a Viscount please!

  6. Thanks for the great post and giveaway! I've actually just started getting back into Regency the past couple of months. I had avoided them for awhile b/c they were reading about the same, but there have been some fantastic new ones that have come out that I'm loving. I guess I like this period b/c it was so elegant and I love the classy environment.

  7. I love the regency era. I love any sort of historical. I love the clothing. The dresses are beautiful. I love the dances and the late night partying. I am a night owl and would love to be at any of the parties.
    Thanks for the chance to win. would love to win and read this book. This is a new author for me and always looking for new books and atuhors to check out.

  8. Hey ladies! Glad to know that there are still plenty of people who love the Regency too!

    Yvonne, wasn't Wulf's quizzing glass the sexiest thing ever? I love him!

    Thank you, Eli! I enjoy the Victorian period too! In fact, my first book (which didn't sell) was a Victorian!

    Shelly, I really like the contrast between what happens behind closed doors and what happens in public too!

    Gunters! I love them too, Aurian! I wish they were still around so we could at least know what their ices tasted like!

  9. Hey Erin! I'm glad you came back to the Regency era. I know what you mean about getting burned out though. Sometimes you have to take a little break so you can enjoy something again. And I'm with you on the elegance!

  10. I really like historical and regency era books but then I like a lot of different genres too.

  11. I am so excited this book will finally, FINALLY be available for my hot little hands. I've heard so many great things about it; and I know your writing will be wonderful. Congratulations, Manda! I promise to press this book into as many eager hands as I possible can. If it's available at Walmart, I'll subtly toss copies in non-secured full carts so the owners can get the pleasant surprise of wonderful new reading material... I am ON IT!

    You know I don't like dukes, but for you, I will set aside my prejudice and go on. It goes in cycles.

    But I love it when characters go to libraries (and have subscriptions) and go to Gunther's. I so want to try the ice cream!

  12. Oh, I LOVE dukes!:) ..that's enough reason! But I also LOVE the dresses!*sigh* I know they were a little uncomfortable but sooo beautiful!:) LOL
    Congrats Manda! I've heard great things about this book!; ) ..Love that cover!:)

    Dani, thanks for this post!
    Didn't see the rofflecopter.. but, please count me in? :)


  13. I like reading about the regency era, too. I enjoy reading about the dukes, how many times the aristocracy changes clothes, the balls, the lending libraries and the broadsheets.

  14. I love the Regency period - The encounters during the carriage rides thru the park can be a lot of fun with encounters between the characters.

  15. Variety is the spice of life, Mary!

    Hellion, you know I love you so it means a lot that you'll overlook your anti-duke stance for me;) Thanks for the pimpage! There is a lending library in the next book. And so far I haven't used Gunter's, but I want to. I wonder if there's a recipe for ices anywhere...

    MonikaRW, I love the gowns too. In fact I had them on the list, too, but took them off at the last minute.

    Another vote for lending libraries, eh, Kim? Can't say I blame you. I love libraries in any century! And broadhseets! They are fun, aren't they?

    Naughtiness in a carriage is a great one, Di! There just might be a little of that in this book;)

  16. Congrats to Manda on her debut release. I love knowing about the fashion during the regency period.

  17. This book looks amazing. I love historicals. Congrats on your release!

  18. I love the Regency period for historical books. The peerage, the balls, the gowns, and the house parties and such. I also love that so many things were just being invented during this time (running water, specific bathing rooms, etc.)
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  19. I love the Regency - some wonderful buildings were erected during that time, lots of parties, great clothes, and there were lots of interesting people.

  20. I love Regency Novels! All of it! The dresses, the hair, the balls, the romance! I would love to live in that time!

  21. I like everything about the Regency period and agree with the author's list. The book sounds very good.

  22. Good point about the inventions, June! Lots of important things came about in the Regency!

    Barbara, some of the most fascinating people lived during the Regency! Jane Austen to name a particular favorite of mine:)

    I don't know, Giselle. I might like to visit the regency but I enjoy my air conditioning way too much to last very long;)

  23. I always love the etiquette of courting. I also love the characters that break these rules.


  24. I love all things Regency Romance related. I would love to have experienced myself:)

  25. The courtship rules are fun, Marybelle. But what's especially fun is when the hero and heroine find ways around them;)

    You could experience "some" of it, Yadkny. I actually tasted the waters in Bath several years ago. Not very yummy, though;) Thanks for coming by!

  26. I like all the balls and gowns and using horse-drawn carriages. All these seem so magical and romantic. Somehow using cars are just plain unromantic. :P Haha.

    Thanks for this giveaway!

  27. Love the Regency era! all the gowns and the handsome men in their Hessians! awesome

  28. Well, I love regency era. I love the romance, I love the dress (ok, especially the dress^^) and couldn't more agree with you, Dukes. I always imagined the duke in Regency's would be exactly like Hugh Jackman in Kate and Leopold or Richard Armitage in North and South. Totally hot dukes :D

    Thank u for this awesome giveaway

  29. I admit I don't know much about period at Historical era, much like Regency, lol! For me, what the important is the setting. I like historical romance which take place at unusual and exotic place.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  30. I adore the Regency area and I love historical romance.
    I love how the woman can be feisty yet so proper in the HR. I also really like that they are mostly virgins. I like how they can still be smart, witty and attractive yet not needing to have been so experienced as a contemp romance heroine is in bed.
    I love the gowns, the balls and to read about the clothing and servants. It is all so entertaining to me.

  31. I love so many things about the Regency period I don't know where to begin...

    In addition to the things you mentioned, I also adore horses and carriages, walks (or runs) in Hyde Park, beautiful period gowns, pelisses, chemises, and silk stockings. I love ballroom dancing and moonlit gardens as well as romantic follies beside little ponds. I love war heroes, highwaymen and smugglers, rakes, scoundrels and blackguards. I could go on, but you get the point...

    Please enter my name in the drawing. The book sounds great but it would be even more special to win a copy from the author. Here's to a successful launch!

    Laura T

  32. My favorite things about the Regency period are the gowns and jewels and balls.

  33. Like you, sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era. I know I most likely romanticize what it was like back then, but I truly can't help the feeling, so I read Regency romances to help quell the ache.

    Thanks so much for writing! I can't wait to read How to Dance with a Duke!

    Doll Kitt from Paperback