A Note on the Pink for All Seasons Reading Order

I’ve had a few questions and comments from Pink Enthusiasts wanting to know what order we’re reading the next few books in. Thanks for asking!

I dithered for a bit over whether or not to read the Pinks in their order of publication or their chronological order for the year the books are set in. Then I realized that Lauren has a recommended reading order posted on her website. Don’t you love it when other people solve your problems for you?

Et voilà:

Pink Order

I love that Lauren includes where the novellas fall in the time line as well. Very helpful!

Following along with Lauren’s recommended order, here are the books for the next few months:

  • December: The Deception of the Crimson Rose
  • January: The Mischief of the Mistletoe
  • February: The Temptation of the Night Jasmine
  • March: The Betrayal of the Blood Lily

Of course, if it will make you feel twitchy or queasy read the books in a different order from their publication order, do your thing! We’ll all catch up to each other eventually.

Beth will be back tomorrow to discuss more Pink III – see you then!

An Interview and a Giveaway with Anna Lee Huber

Happy Monday, one and all. I hope you’ve had a lovely, restful and WARM weekend. Today, I’m excited to announce that we have another guest visiting with us – Anna Lee Huber, author of the Lady Darby mystery series.

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I found out about this series in 2012 when notices about it started popping up on GoodReads.  I bought the first book, The Anatomist’s Wife, for my mother for Christmas, and once she read it, she passed it along to me.  I really enjoyed it – you know I adore a good historical mystery, and this one has a really unique premise.  This is a great series for fellow Pink fans!  Two months ago, Anna participated in a panel with Lauren (along with Tasha Alexander and Susan Elia MacNeal) at the Kerrytown Bookfest in Ann Arbor discussing the Art of Historical Romantic Suspense.  I wish I could have been there!  But as sad as I am to have missed out, I’m thrilled to have Anna here with us today to answer a few questions about herself and her writing.  Let’s get to it!

Anna, do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

How about cataloguing historical information and interesting tidbits (including ghost stories) about castles and manor houses in the UK? My husband thinks it’s bizarre that I would want to do that in my spare time, but I find it fascinating. I keep thinking someday there might be a nonfiction book to be created from all this detritus. We’ll see. I’m also slightly crazed about maps and atlases, which includes plotting the coordinates of those castles and manor houses. This all sounds so horribly nerdy, but that’s me. I chalk it up to the analytical bent of my mind.

What are five of your favorite things?

Snickerdoodles, Inception, Les Miserables (the book or the musical), Winnie the Pooh, the sound of the ocean crashing against a rocky shore

If you stopped writing books (please don’t), what would you do for a living?

Well, my bachelor’s degree is in Music, so probably something to do with that. I almost landed a job at a record company in Nashville straight out of college. I went through three rounds of interviews and wound up being the runner-up. Every once in a while I wonder how different my life would be if I had gotten that position. I also toyed with the idea of going to law school, and later graduate school to study Speech and Language Pathology. I even took the LSAT and GRE. But, honestly, now I can’t imagine doing anything else but writing.

If I took a sneak peek into your writing space, what would I find?

Lately, I write wherever I can with my 8-month-old daughter. But my office is a small bedroom painted a pale shade of jade green. One wall is covered in two large maps—one of Scotland and the other of England-Wales. I have 6 bookshelves covered in books and assorted picture frames, awards, and knick-knacks that mean something to me, as well as Precious Moments figurines because I still haven’t bought a curio cabinet to store them in. My cork board above my desk is tacked with reminder post-its (such as “affect is a verb, effect is a noun”) and more random knick-knacks. I have an abstract painting of a sunset I created hanging behind my desk. I say “abstract” because I’m not very skilled. I also have two large black-and-white photographs of trees in winter. I love pictures like that.

What was your inspiration for Kiera Darby?

This question is always difficult for me to answer because she started out as a completely conscious creation. I knew I wanted to try my hand at writing a historical mystery series with a female protagonist set sometime during the 19th century. I wanted her to have genuine skills to bring to a murder investigation, and I decided one of those would be knowledge of anatomy, which was almost completely unheard of for a woman at that time. As I delved into creating her backstory in order to provide her that education in a believable way, she began to come to life. And when I allowed her to open her mouth and start talking as I began to write, her words just seemed to pour out of me. It was almost as if she’d been there hiding in my subconscious all along.

How important are the names of the characters in your books?

Names are extremely important to me. I cannot write a character if I don’t have their name right. I will fiddle and tweak until I’m satisfied. Otherwise, they simply don’t feel real enough to me. Sometimes I choose the name because of the way it sounds or the meaning, but above all it has to feel true to the character, as odd as that might sound. I have charts and a notebook filled with names that I’ve stumbled across in all sorts of places. I always refer to this first when attempting to name a character. Sometimes it’s easy. I wrote the name Gage in my notebook years ago, knowing someday I would use it for a hero. And when Kiera’s love interest walked onto the page in The Anatomist’s Wife I instantly knew that this was Mr. Gage. But coming up with his first name was definitely harder. I can’t tell you how many different names I tried before settling on Sebastian.

What is an interesting fact or subject you’ve come across in your research that you haven’t yet included in your books?

There are a number of secret tunnels running between different castles, buildings and landmarks in Scotland, whether for escape, smuggling, or conducting midnight trysts. I would love to craft a story around one of these hidden passages sometime.

What are you working on now?

I recently finished A Study in Death, Lady Darby Book 4, which releases July 7th, 2015. Phew! It’s the first book I’ve written since my daughter was born, and it was a struggle. Now I’m finishing up a stand-alone book I’ve been working on in bits and pieces for a couple of years now. It’s more of a traditional Gothic along the lines of Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart.

If readers would like to learn more about you and your work, how would they do that?

My website: www.annaleehuber.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnaLeeHuber

Twitter: @AnnaLeeHuber

I don’t know about you, but I would LOVE to read a book about those Scottish tunnels between castles that Anna describes. I also think that a book in the style of Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart is right up my alley. Because she is a lovely person, Anna has offered to give away a signed copy of the first book in her Lady Darby series, The Anatomist’s Wife, to a lucky reader of today’s interview. To enter yourself for this giveaway, just leave a comment below. You have until midnight EST on November 20 to enter. I will announce the winner on Friday.

Want to earn extra entries for this giveaway? You can enter up to three times. Here’s how:

  1. Leave a comment below.
  2. Follow the blog! If you are already a follower, just mention that in your comment. There are links in the top right corner of this page to become a follower.
  3. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter. Again, you can just let me know in your comment that you’ve done this. I trust you.

On Friday, I will use the Random Number Generator to pick a winner. Good luck! And thanks again, Anna, for spending some time with us today.

Pink III Week 2 in Review

Happy Friday! Beth is ready to go with her Pink recap, but first, I’d like to announce the winner of the signed copy of The Deception of the Emerald Ring: Susan Gorman! Susan, if you’ll email your address to ashley.pinkforallseasons@gmail.com, I’ll happily pop your book into the mail for you. Thanks so much to all of you for entering the giveaway, sharing the link, and following along with the blog. Another giveaway is coming on Monday, so be sure to come back. I just love to give you all things. And now, take it away, Beth.

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Hi again, everyone!  We’re sashaying right along through The Deception of the Emerald Ring, and it’s time to recap the next ten chapters.  I don’t know about you – but it’s getting to the time of the month where I have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the book, even though I want to read fast and gobble it up!  (gobble – not so subtle Thanksgiving reference)

So, let’s catch up to where all of our characters are now….

Geoff:  He’s been busy – exploring Irish churches and pulpits, following suspicious characters down alleyways, and playing the ‘man about town’ role to the letter by flirting shamelessly with one Miss Gilly Fairley.  His escape from his unwanted wedding was quick and dramatic, rushing to Ireland to investigate a potential uprising.  While learning about the munitions and rockets being collected by the rebels, though, something strange is occurring – he’s actually starting to believe the sneaky Letty isn’t all that sneaky after all.  Maybe, just maybe, she isn’t a terrible person.

Letty:  She’s handled herself amazingly well, in my opinion, after surviving a boat ride with Emily Gilcrist and being befriended by the flippant Gilly Fairley with her formidable Aunt Ernie.  She even restrained herself from physical violence when she witnessed her surprising husband flirting shamelessly with another woman.  Then, she kept her wits about her when Gilly Fairley turned into Miss Jane Wooliston, who then turned into the Pink Carnation (I’m not sure when in this process that I would have lost it if I were Letty, but it would have been at least once by now) – not to mention the fact that her husband is also a spy who works with the Pink Carnation.  To top it all off, she’s getting thrown into increasingly dangerous verbal sparring sessions with the entirely slippery Lord Vaughn.  She’s also agreed to a truce with Geoff, who has become less… difficult.  To say she’s got a lot on her plate is a gross understatement.

Jasper:  He’s turning up everywhere, leering at Letty whenever he gets a chance.  Ew.

Jane:  AKA Gilly Fairley, she is doing a phenomenal job (as she always does) in playing the part, meeting Vaughn verbal punch for verbal punch, and being covered in flounces.  In a stroke of clear genius, Jane decides to trust Letty and let her in (at least in part ) on their goal in Ireland.

Miss Gwen:  AKA Auntie Ernie, she is harrumphing and accusing carriage drivers of hitting potholes on purpose.  Because obviously, they do that.  Also, glowering in true Miss Gwen style.

Lord Vaughn:  He’s being terribly sneaky, and everywhere.  Every time he’s alone with Letty or Jane, I’m very concerned for their safety!  I think they need to start carrying parasols as a defensive precaution.

Eloise:  Poor thing, she has yet to hear from Colin, but has secured a date with the somewhat pitiable Jay who, though I’m sure he’s a lovely person, could never hold a candle to the brilliance of Colin Selwick.  In a stroke of dating fate (which, let’s be honest, we’ve all wanted to happen to us at some point), Colin stumbles into Eloise and Jay’s date to see Eloise out with another man.  This could produce some jealousy, if Eloise plays her cards right!

The exciting adventures keep coming in Pink III!  As I’m reading through this time, I’ve been struck with how quickly both Geoff and Letty seem to forgive each other from what’s gone on – Letty, especially.  Geoff seems to hold a strong grudge, but Letty (once filled in on the whole spy business) comes around to the truce really quickly.  I’m not sure I would have had the same flexibility with someone who abandoned me on my wedding day.

What do you all think – did Geoff warrant a quick forgiveness?  Would you have believed the Pink Carnation story, faced with the evidence provided by Jane?  Do Lord Vaughn’s witty conversational skills lead you in confused circles, or leave you worried for Letty’s safety?

Jewelry in Pink III and Beyond

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Today’s post was written by Beth.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

You know, even though The Deception of the Emerald Ring is the only Pink book without a flower in the front, several of the characters have special jewelry.  Letty has her “greasy” emerald ring, Jane has her pink carnation locket, and the Black Tulip has her silver chess piece.

There are other examples of jewelry that take center stage in a story.  For example, the pearl earring in The Girl with the Pearl Earring.  Or, in the category of “jewelry with superpowers,” Slytherin’s locket and Ravenclaw’s diadem in Harry Potter, or the One Ring in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Regardless, I really enjoy how each of these characters has a talisman that becomes a part of who they are.  So, a question to ponder as you explore The Deception of the Emerald Ring – if you had a talisman that represented you, what would it be and why?  Do you know of other examples of jewelry in literature?

Thanks for the post today, Beth.  I do feel sorry for Letty for having a ring that is so consistently described as “greasy.”  Yuck.  The only other example I came up with off the top of my head about characters who have a piece of jewelry that defines them was Katniss’ mockingjay pin from The Hunger Games.  I’ll be interested to hear what others have to say!

Happy Release Day, Charles Finch!

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I read A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch last summer, and I really enjoyed it! It’s the first in his Charles Lenox mystery series. The books are set in Victorian London, and Charles is a “gentleman sleuth.” Even though I’ve only read the first two books in the series, I really want to catch up. Today’s release, The Laws of Murder is the eighth book to come out, so clearly I have some work to do.

Here is what Minotaur has to say about The Laws of Murder:

It’s 1876, and Charles Lenox, once London’s leading private investigator, has just given up his seat in Parliament after six years, primed to return to his first love, detection. With high hopes, he and three colleagues start a new detective agency, the first of its kind. But as the months pass, and he is the only detective who cannot find work, Lenox begins to question whether he can still play the game as he once did.

Then comes a chance to redeem himself, though at a terrible price: a friend, a member of Scotland Yard, is shot near Regent’s Park. As Lenox begins to parse the peculiar details of the death – an unlaced boot, a days-old wound, an untraceable luggage ticket – he realizes that the incident may lead him into grave personal danger, beyond which lies a terrible truth.

With all the humanity, glamor, and mystery that readers have come to love, the latest Lenox novel is a shining new confirmation of the enduring popularity of Charles Finch’s Victorian series.

What do you think?

Pink III Giveaway

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Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope you all had a great weekend, and that you are enjoying The Deception of the Emerald Ring.  I found myself trapped in an airport last night for about six hours, waiting for a plane that stubbornly refused to demonstrate its existence, and reading Pink III probably saved my sanity.  I’m feeling so grateful that I thought today would be the perfect day to kick off a giveaway for a signed copy.

Unlike the copy of Pink II from October, there are no defects to report with the copy of Pink III – Amazon promised me a book in brand new condition, and they delivered.  Lauren has added a nice note and her lovely signature.  If you already own a signed copy of this book (you lucky duck), holiday shopping is looming ahead, and wouldn’t this make a great gift?

To enter yourself for this giveaway, just leave a comment below by midnight EST on November 13. I will announce the winner on Friday, November 14.

Want to earn extra entries for this giveaway? You can enter up to three times. Here’s how:

  1. Leave a comment below.
  2. Follow the blog! If you are already a follower, just mention that in your comment. There are links in the top right corner of this page to become a follower.
  3. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter. Again, you can just let me know in your comment that you’ve done this. I trust you.

On Friday, I will use the Random Number Generator to pick a winner. Good luck! And next Monday, I’ll be posting the third in our series of author interviews and giveaways.  Stay tuned!

Pink III Week 1 in Review

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Today’s post was written by Beth, and the graphic above was designed by Sharlene.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed the first 8 chapters of The Deception of the Emerald Ring!  It’s been so much fun to get back into Geoff and Letty’s story.  Full confession first – every time I read this book, I call him ‘Gee-off’ for the first few chapters.  Whew, I feel better now that I’ve got that out in the open.

So, let’s do a quick re-cap of what we’ve learned so far in Pink III:

First, Eloise – Eloise is deep in the libraries, trying to dig up information on the elusive, king of the swashbuckling spies, the Pink Carnation… with dissertation chapters looming ahead in the distance.

Our hero, Geoff – the strong silent type, saddled with one of the longest last names in the history of last names, he’s been very content to let Richard take care of all of the daring escapades and Miles to handle all of the communication while he remains in the shadows of the Purple Gentian’s operations.  BUT, now that the Purple Gentian has been unmasked and Miles is busy with amorous exploits, Geoff is having to take more of an active role in this whole spying business.  This leads him to traipse, in the not-to-distant future, off to Ireland and meddle in the Bonapart-supported revolution that is brewing there.  This would be just fine, if it weren’t for the impending clandestine nuptials that he’s planned with his love, Mary Alsworthy, with whom he is madly, deeply, poetry-writing in love with at this very moment.  That is, until he finds her little sister in his carriage, accidentally compromises her (enjoys it, if he’s being honest), and has to marry her for it.  He’s not having such a good day, come to think of it, and maybe running off to Ireland won’t be such a bad thing after all.

Our heroine, Letty – bless her heart, she’s holding her family together as best she can with a completely annoying mother (totally Mrs. Bennett), a kind but slightly spacey father (totally Mr. Bennett) and a sister who is hell-bent on securing the best marriage proposal of the season, even if it means sneaking off with a viscount in the dead of night for a spontaneous elopment.  In trying to prevent this terrible scandal, she accidentally gets compromised (also enjoys it, if she’s being honest) and has to marry her sister’s now-scorned lover, Geoff.  So, her sister is mad at her, her parents are overjoyed, the gossip papers are full of the tale, Ms. Posonby’s the rudest lady ever to her, and she’s saddled to a man that couldn’t even be bothered to look her in the eye while swooning over his long lost love.  It’s not exactly a fairy tale situation!  Finding out that her husband as fled to Ireland on some mission during the wedding celebration – which really, she knows, is to avoid the fact that he’s married to the wrong sister – she decides to go after him.

Our soon to be heroine, Mary – hard to say at this point if Mary is a highly accomplished actress who is, in fact, a terrible human being winning the worst sister in the world award, or actually incredibly smart, manipulative, and cunning.  Your guess is as good as mine….but I don’t like her.  At all.  We know, at least, that she’s beautiful…and powerful.   How she’s going to decide to use that power, well, stay tuned.

Good grief, it was a busy first ¼ of the book!  Lauren has got this story off to a rip-roaring adventure from the very first page.  As I was reading, I thought of two questions for us to discuss:

1. What if (suspend reality…) Mary had actually married Geoff?  We have the foresight to know that this really might turn out okay for Geoff in the end, but what would their life have been like together if he had actually gotten what he wanted in the beginning?  Would they have worked well together?  Would Mary have worn the ‘pants’ and ruled the show?  Would Geoff have been happy?

2. Speaking of Mary…what was your first impression of these two sisters?  How did you first feel for each of them, when meeting Letty and Mary?

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!