Pink II: Ask the Author

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Happy Halloween to all!  To wrap up our lovely month of reading The Masque of the Black Tulip, Lauren Willig has agreed to return for Ask the Author!  What questions do you have about Miles and Henrietta?  Is there something you’ve always wondered about Lord Vaughn or the Marquise de Montval?  Now is your chance to ask!

Leave your questions below in the comments section.  Lauren will be stopping by periodically throughout the day to answer.  As an added incentive, I have some Pink Swag to give away to two of today’s commenters.  Are you intrigued?  Consider it your Halloween treat.

Thanks for agreeing to hang out with us today, Lauren!  I’ll get the ball rolling – did you have any particular inspiration for Lord Vaughn?

Giveaways Galore

Hi everyone – I’m just popping in quickly to say that you should check out Lauren’s website today to see her latest announcements. She’s currently running two giveaways – one for a copy of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla and one for a Pink Carnation mug. Both contests have different rules and closing dates, so head over there and get the details.

Erin will be back tomorrow to discuss Pink II. I won’t say too much, but there will be cookies involved. On Thursday, we’ll have our last Pink II recap, and then Lauren has graciously agreed to return on Friday for Ask the Author Part II! Start thinking about any questions you may have for Lauren about Hen, Miles, and all things Masque of the Black Tulip.

Have a wonderful day!

Dream Casting: The Masque of the Black Tulip

Today’s post is contributed by Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstance.

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The Masque of the Black Tulip is truly when “The Pink Carnation Series” becomes a series. So while the background and supporting characters of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation were important, this is where they start to get more precedence. Any person in the background might end up the star of a future book, like that unassuming Miss Grey requesting tea and accompanying Henrietta’s singing… could that be a future heroine in say six books? The Masque of the Black Tulip sees the expansion of Lauren’s universe to include Ponsonbys and Turnips and a full ton. Therefore this becomes the time when the casting gets even more in depth. Though this is also the time when errors can occur, the wrong actor can lodge in your brain and that’s that. And yes, this has happened to me many a time.

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Re-reading the second book I was struck by how humorous Henrietta is. I have always really liked her, but she has a biting sense of humor that I’m not quite sure my original casting can capture.  I originally instantly saw Henrietta as being played by Perdita Weeks, younger sister to Honeysuckle, who any Anglophile would recognize as Sam from Foyle’s War. While Perdita has been in the spotlight less, she has the right je ne sais quoi that Henrietta has. The animated facial expressions that I think are necessary. But there’s someone else I could see as Hen, and that’s the 11th Doctor Who companion Karen Gillan. If we could get her to temporarily eschew her red locks and her Scottish brogue, I think she has the comedic timing that is right on.

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Ah Miles. Or as I might say, Miles, oh darn it Miles. I have for years been in love with the work of the comedic character actor Richard Cant. And for some reason while reading The Secret History of the Pink Carnation there he was, forever in my brain as Miles. I know he doesn’t work. He’s a fop; he’s just not THE thing. So I have reluctantly decided to recast him. For a long time now I have had inner debates with myself as to who would work. Perhaps Tom Hopper from Merlin and Black Sails… he’s worked with my casting for Richard, so why not… but then I found James Norton. And well… look at that lock of hair! It’s so floppy. He IS Miles.

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As for the supporting characters… so many end up as stars of their own books it feels silly to talk about casting them at this stage with another ten months to go! But there is someone I think should be mentioned, and that’s a certain Tulip, the Marquise de Montval, “little Theresa Ballinger.”  Originally she was Frances Barber in my mind, but as time has gone on, well, Frances Barber has gotten older, so while she was the femme fatale in everything from Manchild to The IT Crowd, her role has been taken over by a certain “woman” Lara Pulver, just watch season two of Sherlock and tell me she isn’t perfect. Though I also think Maimie McCoy, who recently played Milady on The Musketeers reboot would be a stellar choice as well.  As we ready ourselves to plunge into the third installment, who would be in your dream cast?

Henrietta Selwick played by Perdita Weeks
Miles Dorrington played by Richard Cant
Miles Dorrington played by James Norton

Giveaway Winner and Pink II Week 3 Recap

Happy Friday! Before I hand this post over to Erin, I’d like to announce the winner of the Night of a Thousand Stars giveaway from Deanna Raybourn – it’s Betty Strohecker! Betty, if you will email your address to ashley.pinkforallseasons@gmail.com, I will make sure Deanna knows where to send your prize. Big thanks again to Deanna for such a fun interview, and thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway (there were over 40 of you!). Again, I wish I had a prize to give everyone, but keep coming back! More giveaways are in our future. And now, I will pass the mic to Erin for our Friday Pink recap.

All right everybody, it’s that time again, time for the Pink II week 3 recap! When we left our dynamic duo, Miles was well and truly kissing Hen. Then he proceeded to ignore her for a week. Probably the best way to piss Henrietta off. So Hen decides to fly off to the country and consult with Amy, that and attend their Spy School disguised as a weekend at the country. Of course Miles is there since he is Richard’s best friend, and Hen storms off into the garden and wrecks the place by knocking over the statues. Since she is in the garden anyway what does she see but the Monk of Donwell Abbey slinking into the house. But ghosts don’t have feet so it can be none other than the French spy, The Black Tulip. It all comes to naught because the Tulip gets away. The party continues with some heightened security and Hen is convinced to sing. And sing she does – straight to Miles. He is already having a hard time keeping Henrietta in the “Best Friend’s Sister Box” and the aria busts the box wide open.

Commence the walk in the park and Hen following Miles out to confront him about why he has been acting like a dunce. It quickly deteriorates and the pair are soon in a passionate embrace where Henrietta’s bodice somehow comes undone. Of course enter Richard and soon after the parson (actually it’s the Bishop of London but semantics really – the end is the same). Henrietta and Miles are MARRIED!!! Maybe not in the dream wedding that Hen had pictured, and she’s not really sure what her parents are going to say, but married just the same and to her person. Since Miles is not allowed at Selwick Hall anymore they leave straight after the wedding and head back to London. They stop for a bite and who do they run into but Turnip, and he will not leave them alone. The entire ride Hen is thinking that she can sacrifice her possible happiness and get an annulment with Miles if he doesn’t really want to be married to her. At their pit stop Henrietta also finds out that their friend Lord Vaughn is also partaking of the coach stop. Fast forward to the chase scene….Miles and Hen galloping down the road being shot at by a mysterious coach who is a very good shot. Miles does some excellent driving and manages to evade the coach and it goes careening into cabbage, yes I said cabbage. Loved it. We come to the end of the chapter with Miles and Hen pulling up to Loring House. Well he couldn’t take her to his bachelor lodgings, that would be havey cavey, or to Uppington House, so he takes her to their new home. They decide that they are not getting an annulment, but Miles’ declaration of lukewarm affections leaves something to be desired. “Give me more love or more disdain, the torrid or the frozen zone,” Henrietta thinks as Miles is imparting his words of wisdom, something she had never quite understood till now and I have to agree. It does end well though with Miles sweeping Hen into his arms and over the threshold.

And I bet you thought I had forgot Eloise – I didn’t. We left her getting ready for the drinks at Donwell Abbey with Joan. We join them in the drawing room and Eloise stuck with the vicar like Joan had threatened, but he is a young hip vicar who drinks gin. Not the worst thing to be stuck with. We also meet Sally, Joan’s sister, who is very un-Joan like. She and Collin decide to show Eloise more of Donwell Abbey. Colin and Eloise are left in the cloisters by themselves and “every nerve in my body was on man-alert screaming ‘Incoming!’” And her phone rings and ruins the moment and then Sally returns. Colin departs and Eloise is left with her tour guide and “Just here for the archives?” So are Eloise and Collin really going to happen? Will Miles and Hen be happy and make it work? Is Lord Vaughn the Black Tulip? So many questions, I guess we will have to keep reading to find out. But fear not, we are almost to the end of our journey and the questions will be answered. Till next time…

If You Like Pink II…

Welcome to all the new faces who found their way to The Bubblebath Reader thanks to the interview with Deanna Raybourn. I hope you’ll keep coming back after the giveaway winner is announced – I’m hoping to do an author interview for each month of Pink for All Seasons, and many of these authors will be those whose books I found thanks to Lauren Willig.

Speaking of Lauren, did you see her exciting Teaser Tuesday announcement yesterday? Joy of joys, a Pink novella will be preceding the release of The Lure of the Moonflower next August. The novella, titled The Pink Carnation in Love, will be released in June. According to Lauren’s post, it will take place in Venice and feature Jane and the Chevalier de la Tour d’Argent. I noticed in the comments section of her announcement that she says the novella will probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 pages – just enough to tide us over until August.

In the meantime, if you’re ahead of the game and finished with The Masque of the Black Tulip, you may be looking for similar books to read. Lauren has a list of “If You Like” books that may appeal to you if you loved Miles and Hen – check it out.

On Friday, Erin will return with the penultimate recap post for Pink II. Happy reading!

Pink II Week 2 in Review

This post was written by Erin, Moderator Extraordinaire for the month of October.

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Hello Everyone and Happy Friday! I don’t know about all of you but I am really glad it is Friday and not just for the Pink II Week 2 recap.

As we left our intrepid duo, Henrietta was just realizing that the person for her was Miles. And Miles, well… he wasn’t quite there yet. But he still pounds poor Martin Frobisher into the bush because he propositioned Henrietta and gives us a glimpse of an “oops” where he saw Hen in a bloody indecent nightdress. So the idea is brewing in Miles that Henrietta is more to him than just his best friend’s little sister. We do get to see Miles try his hand at breaking and entering. Not bad, but his dismount does leave something to be desired.

Back in the modern age, Colin has somewhat thawed to human being level, even if he is being warm and friendly. Of course Eloise sums it up with, “I’m being a Dimwit.” It is a horrible idea to get involved with someone whose archives she is using. So not only is Henrietta imagining Miles, but Eloise is imaging Colin. What is going on? Maybe we will see more of what is to come in the following chapters or at the drinks at Joan’s, where Eloise is to be used as a human shield.

Getting back to Hen and Miles, Henrietta is determined to make sure Miles is not interested in the Marquise.   So she decides to spy on them in the park. If she had played it cool by pretending to nonchalantly walking through the park, I think it might have gone a little bit better. Instead, Miles spots her as “a shape that could not possibly belong to shrubbery. In fact it looked remarkably like a well-rounded derriere.” But something good does come out of this. Miles has to be squished against Hen on the ride home and can feel her pressed against him. Good news for Hen. We see bit more action at Mile’s lodging – unfortunately it isn’t that kind of Action, but it has been ransacked and Downey has been stabbed. Poor Downey. He tries so hard to keep Miles presentable.

And finally… the Kiss. “It took Henrietta a moment to realize she was being well and truly kissed by Miles.” YEAH!!! I cheered for them, since it is about damn time!

We do see a brief cameo of Jane in chapter 20. When the chapter first started, it actually took me a moment to realize it was Jane. She is so good at being the Pink Carnation. So who are we thinking is the Black Tulip? Is it really Lord Vaughn? We do see some fairly damning evidence against him and haven’t really seen much for anybody else. If you have read ahead or read before, you know who the Black Tulip is. Are you picking up more clues this time around?

What’s in a Name? Bunny and Biscuits

Today’s post is contributed by Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstance.

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For someone who reads and writes a lot I have actually never aspired to be an author. But growing up in the book world I did have other aspirations that were book related. My main aspiration was to appear either in the dedication of a book or in the thanks. One does love to see one’s name in print and this, I figured, was the closest way to achieving that goal without actually writing a book. Sadly this goal has yet to happen, though I have achieved the goal of being mentioned in an author’s bio… of course that author was my Dad and I wasn’t referred to by name, but still, it is heading in the right direction. And then I met Lauren. If you’ve been following her books and blog as long as I have you will remember back in the days of yore when she would occasionally be stymied on the next book’s title. The person or persons who helped with the title would be mentioned in the thanks.

Ah ha I thought! This shall be how I shall achieve said odd literary goal! The first naming competition was actually for the novella that became Ivy and Intrigue: A Very Selwick Christmas. I remember pouring over the printouts I did of the Christmas story and writing copious notes in the margins, just hoping that mine would be picked. While I wasn’t the winner I did get an honorable mention and a signed book plate and a lovely letter from Lauren for “Bother the Snow.” Being so close yet so far created a new goal of wanting to name a piece of writing, which would happen sooner than I thought. The next naming competition was for Pink VI, later to be known as The Betrayal of the Blood Lily. Again I poured over the first chapter of the book, I even went so far as to contact my friend Matt who knows all about plants and grilled him on plants that would be in India, but alas, it wasn’t to be. But my time was coming.

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In 2012, the most favorite of Lauren’s couples, voted on by the readers, was to get a Valentine’s Day novella. The much loved Miles and Henrietta Dorrington, stars of The Masque of the Black Tulip and this month’s book, trounced the competition. One day I was trolling Lauren’s site, as I do, and I noticed that the time had come to name the story. Everyone was throwing out flower names, but I literally had an instant of pure clarity, and Bunny and Biscuits just came into my head. The title roles off the tongue in an alliteration that I hope Miss Gwen would approve of, and if not it can be Miles and Hen’s crime fighting aliases for when they get a 60s style Avengers TV show. Much like Henrietta I had a cute yet redundantly named duo of stuffed animals when I was little. Hen had Bunny the Bunny, I had Big Bear Bear and Little Bear Bear, the little one was obviously smaller, and the Big was added to Bear Bear so that they would both have unique names, once the little one appeared.  Therefore, despite perhaps being an easily forgettable fact of Hen’s childhood to most readers, to me it made us simpatico.  And that’s where the “Bunny” came from. As for “Biscuits” well, all Dorrington men past and present have a love of ginger cookies… so the title made itself really, as all good titles do, it was there in the work waiting to be said. Though in an ironic twist, “Biscuits” is one of my most misspelt words of all time, after “Sincerely” and “Business.”

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So I submitted my entry and the long and short of it is I won! I was overjoyed! There was Numfar’s Dance of Joy (seriously if you don’t know this Whedonverse allusion, get on it) much whopping and hollering, it was a riotous time, Big Bear Bear, Little Bear Bear and I had some wild adventures in exaltation of this honor, that’s to be sure. And by wild adventures I mean sitting in a comfy chair and reading. Yet my greatest joy to come was reading the story, because Ginger Biscuits played a part. So it felt like the story was written for me, yeah, I know it wasn’t. I have always had a deep connection to Lauren’s characters, but here… here I felt like every word was for me. For a reader, there is no greater joy and it happens every time I pick up one of Lauren’s books. And I’m sure for a writer there is no greater joy than having a ravenous fan base which demands more work and has year-long re-reads in anticipation of their next book. So, in the end, it might not have gotten me my goal, but this was far better! And you know what? Goals change… and I have a new goal… to get a pull quote of a review I’ve written on the dust jacket of a book… or in those first few pages you always skip over praising the author’s previous works, I’d settle for that.

Thanks Miss Eliza!  If you haven’t read Bunny and Biscuits, it’s available on Lauren’s website to read for free!  But if you haven’t read the whole, series, watch out!  It does contain spoilers for Temptation of the Night Jasmine and Betrayal of the Blood Lily.

Pink II Week 1 in Review and a Winner

Happy Friday!  I will be handing this post off to Erin momentarily, but I’m jumping in to announce the winner of The Masque of the Black Tulip giveaway.  Congratulations to mkc28!  If you will email me at ashley.pinkforallseasons@gmail.com, I will get your book in the mail as soon as possible.  Thanks to all of you who entered the giveaway and shared it with others.  I wish I had a book to give each of you, but keep following along!  There are plenty more giveaways coming up in the next ten months as we work our way through the Pinks.

And now, I will leave you in Erin’s capable hands to chat about Pink II, chapters 1-11.  Enjoy!

Welcome to the first recap of The Masque of the Black Tulip. So how is everybody doing so far? Are we enjoying getting to know Henrietta and Miles again or for the first time? I know I am. I missed how funny and droll Henrietta is. It was mentioned in the first recaps from Pink I about the sense of humor in the books and I often find myself laughing out loud and snorting – yes, I snort and will admit it. What are some of your snorting moments? The first that really got me good was Eloise, on her way to Selwick Hall, contemplating to herself about her dissertation and what the department does to attenuated graduate students who don’t produce a pile of paper. “From what I understand, they’re quietly shuffled out of the Harvard history department by dead of night and fed to a relentless horde of academic-eating crocodiles.”

As we start chapter 2, we find Henrietta in her parlor with a letter from Jane. But it isn’t just any letter. It’s a letter from the Pink Carnation to her correspondent. After 7 long years, Hen finally gets to be part of a spy league. I thought the way that Jane came up with her Lexicon and coded her dispatches was genius. Because really, who wants to read about who attended what and what they wore?

I have really enjoyed the observations from both Hen and Miles, especially the points that cross over with previous opinions from Pink I from different characters. For example, Miles’ view on Almacks is very similar to Richards, which I can see since they are best friends. Also, Miles was to Richard what Henrietta is to Jane as their correspondents. Particular Genius, I think anyway.

Continuing on, so far the only one to start noticing the other in that particular way is Henrietta. It starts as jealousy over the Hussy: Theresa Ballinger, Marquise de Montval. It continues when Miles doesn’t show up on time the next day at Hen’s, and she comes to the conclusion that he was out late with the Marquise, since they both disappeared from Almacks at the same time. It gets even better when Hen finds out that he took the Marquise driving in the park. Hen’s quip in response to the Marquise’s suggestion that her opinions change because she is young but will settle when older is priceless. “Yes, I imagine that’s what happens when on can’t get about as much. Do you suffer from stiffness of the joints? My mother has an excellent remedy for it if you do.” Of course, Miles is understandably perplexed about why Hen is being so mean. Boys. They never get it.

As in the first Pink, Lauren has mentioned many more characters that we get to know so well in later books. We meet Penelope and Charlotte, along with Lord Vaughn and Mary and Letty Alsworthy. I can’t wait to continue the story and see who else we meet and see how the pull between Miles and Hen gets stronger. What were your observations this time around?

Pink II: Cover Madness

I know we’re just dipping our toes into the world of Pink II, but it’s interesting to me how many of you have already mentioned in your comments that The Masque of the Black Tulip is your favorite cover from the series. I also had a few requests last month when we talked about covers for Pink I that I continue the tradition of posting the covers for all the various editions together.

Et voilà, the Pink II covers:

Black Tulip Hardcover Russian
 US original edition  US hardback edition  Russian edition
Portuguese British Paperback Dutch
 Portuguese edition  British edition  Dutch edition
Spanish German Japanese
 Spanish edition  German edition  Japanese edition

 

Which one is your favorite? I’m going to go out a limb and guess that nobody picks the Spanish one.  I don’t think it would be possible to find a girl who looks less like my mental picture of Henrietta…

Pink II Giveaway

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 Happy Monday, one and all.

This week, I’m hosting a giveaway for a signed copy of The Masque of the Black Tulip. I’m sure the vast majority of you already own a copy, but wouldn’t it be nice to have one signed by Lauren? Or wouldn’t it be nice to give a signed copy to a friend, perhaps someone who is new to the Pink world?

In the interest of full disclosure, I will share that I bought this copy of Pink II from Amazon, and while it is brand new and in excellent condition, it must have been a “Bargain Book” at some point.  The bookseller drew a short black line across the bottom edge of the pages.  Amazon should really tell you these things in the product description, I feel. Anyway, I thought you might like to know before you enter the giveaway, but rest assured that this minor act of book vandalism will not negatively impact your reading experience.  Plus, there is a nice note from Lauren inside, which covers a lot of sins.

To enter yourself for this giveaway, just leave a comment below by midnight EST on October 9. I will announce the winner on Friday, October 10.

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 be on the lookout for other giveaways coming soon.