Books for my Stocking

‘Tis the season for romance!  It’s time for another of my unscientific and completely subjective lists of upcoming and new books that pique my interest.  I’d be happy to find any of the books below in my stocking.

His Christmas Pleasure, by Cathy Maxwell: Abigail Montrose takes her future into her own hands and rejects the husband (and thirteen stepchildren) her father has selected for her.  Instead, she elopes with a mysterious (and sexy) baron. Both Abigail and Andres believe they will have a satisfactory marriage of convenience, only to find that they develop deeper feelings for one another.  I look forward to seeing what Maxwell does with this story. November 2010

How to Woo a Reluctant Lady, by Sabrina Jeffries: The most recent of the Sharpe family series, this book centers on Lady Minerva Sharpe’s reluctance to acquiesce to her grandmother’s demands that she marry.  This historical sounds like it mixes romance with a good mystery, as the hero selected by Minerva to parade as her betrothed has a double life.  The pairing of a proactive heroine and a wily hero sounds like a great way to while away a winter’s night. January 2011

A Most Scandalous Engagement, by Gayle Callen: The heroine, now a respected member of the ton, loses her reputation when a single outrageous episode in her past is brought to light. She turns to a trusted childhood friend to help her, but he has wanted her for years and won’t rest until he gains her heart.  ‘Hero-worshiping-heroine-for-ages’ is one of my favorite tropes, so I am really excited about this one. November 2011

The Perfect Mistress, by Victoria Alexander: Julia Winterset has inherited a decidedly racy book that has aroused the seductive instincts of not one, but three men. Publication would ruin the Earl of Mountdale’s family name.  Take one overbearing nobleman and match him with a stubborn widow in a story told with Alexander’s humor and historic accuracy. I’ll have to wait till January for this one, but I bet it’s worth it. January 2011

A Taste of Desire, by Beverley Kendall: In the second volume dealing with siblings Missy and Thomas Armstrong, outspoken beauty Amelia Bertram inadvertently wounds Thomas’ pride in a very, shall we say, personal area.  The outraged nobleman takes Amelia off to his country estate with the intention of teaching her a lesson in manners, which become lessons in mutual desire.  I have high hopes for Thomas’ story. January 2011

What books are you looking forward to in the next couple of months? I’d love to get more ideas for my TBR pile.

And check it out! I’m celebrating St. Andrew’s Day today at SOS Aloha!

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Thanksgiving Traditions!

Writing about family traditions and giving away a B&N gift card at Authors by Moonlight today. Stop by and tell us about your favorite things to do on Thanksgiving. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanksgiving at Authors by Moonlight!

My first post of this week’s Thanksgiving Blog Blitz is up at Authors by Moonlight! You know how we all have old family recipes? What happens when no one likes them?  Hop on over to ABM & leave a comment, and your name will be placed in a drawing for a Barnes & Noble gift card!

Playing with my Blog Thingie

That’s BLOG thingie, not…um, never mind.

I just realized that Ann Stephens Romance is nearly a year old! I’m kind of excited by this, as I’ve been a lot better about posting entries here than with my first attempt at a blog.  In the spirit of reviewing & revising, I’m looking at some changes down the road that I hope will make things easier for me and more interesting for readers.

Posting here about once a week works well for me and I don’t plan to change that. I’ve got to be  the most boring person I know, so it’s hard to believe that anyone would  want to follow my non-fictional opinions or adventures. (To those of you who stop by regularly, all I can say is bless you and thank you!!!) And for now the blog’s appearance still works for me.  It’s clean and restful, which I like, and I can change the header photo to my heart’s content. Widgets may be appearing or moving around my sidebar as well.  If there’s something that is more interesting or appealing to you readers, let me know!

Starting in December, I’ll categorize each week’s post ahead of time, in part to keep me on track.  Selfishly, I’ll use areas I enjoy discussing, like the craft of writing, upcoming romance releases, historical hobbies or lifestyle or even a bit of background on my own books or WIPs. I might even consider a few snippets of what I’m working on if any of you are interested.

Also, I thought it would be fun to answer questions from readers periodically, so check back here to see when you can ask that burning question you’ve always had about my writing or hobbies or whatnot.  Just bear in mind, you can ask…but I may decide something is too personal to answer. 😉  I don’t lay awake at night worrying about stalkers or anything, but my children are concerned that what I write might infringe on their privacy. (In other words, they’re just plain mortified that their mother writes smut and they don’t want their friends to find out about it.)

Some of the pages accessible above my header photo may change as well, depending on what readers enjoy and show interest in.  I wasn’t sure about this whole ‘blog thingie’ when I began, but as it’s become part of my routine, I find it gives me a lift.  What do you readers enjoy seeing when you check an author’s blog?

Tomorrow is Veterans Day!

I posted a bit info about the day’s origins and some of my thoughts about the men and women who have served at Authors by Moonlight — stop by and tell us about your military service or that of someone you know!

By the People…Eventually

Tuesday night, I watched reports of record low voter turnout in numerous places during the U.S. midterm elections.  Despite its flaws — government is a human construct, after all, and therefore imperfect — a democratic political system offers its citizens the opportunity to take charge of their own governance.  It is also the responsibility of those citizens to go to the polls and use their best judgment to select representatives to serve in their local, state and national governments.

If the numbers are correct, a lot of Americans are not stepping up the plate.

This is ironic, considering how few of us would be permitted to vote if the constitution remained in its original state.  When it took effect in 1789, not even being white, male, and 21 automatically entitled a person the right to vote.  As the constitution was written and interpreted originally, only those adult white men owning a certain amount of property  were allowed to participate in elections.  The amount required in order to cast a ballot varied, though in some states the minimum was as high as 50 acres. Other states allowed income to replace part of the real estate requirements, but the guiding principle was to restrict the vote only to the wealthiest members of society. Depending on how local authorities interpreted the law, even non-citizens who met the property requirements might be allowed to vote while working Americans were denied a voice in their government.  And don’t forget the Americans who, being neither male nor white, had no legal standing as individuals, much less the power to decide how they should be governed.

Before the end of the eighteenth century, lawmakers recognized the injustice of reserving voting rights only for rich men.  Vermont, admitted to the Union in 1791, required only a minimum age, residence in a district and “quiet and peaceable behavior” for a man to vote.  Very likely surrounding states regarded Vermonters as the Far Left of that era, for no other state came close to such universal male suffrage. Property requirements did start to erode, although they were replaced by tax requirements.  This allowed far more Americans to vote than originally planned for by James Madison and the rest of the Constitutional Convention.  Fortunately, Madison and Co. also understood that they could not possibly fortell the future needs of their new country, and included a mechanism so that later generations of Americans could amend their governing document.

It took three amendments to the U.S. Constitution to extend the right to vote to all adult Americans, the most recent one enacted in 1964.  People died for the democratic principles set forth in the Fifteenth and Twenty-Fourth Amendments.  The Nineteenth Amendment took eighty years of steady agitation and painful defeats by our foremothers so that my daughters and I are able to participate in our own government.

One more amendment affecting suffrage in the U.S. was enacted in 1971, when the voting age was lowered to 18, in recognition of the sacrifices made by young Americans serving in our military.

So next time an election comes up in your area, remember that somebody, somewhere, had to fight so that you could fill out a ballot and participate in your own governance.  Learn about the issues you care about.  Then step up and vote!