Another especially glittering night in the Ballroom, everyone wearing their finest. In autumn jewel tones, natch. Lady B is discreetly eyeing a young gentleman’s legs in very snug pantaloons when I drift over, waving my fan. I notice our Patroness has a particular gleam of pride in her eyes tonight. And I suspect I know why.
Gaelen: I trust you are pleased with my offering this evening, my dear.
Lady B: Indeed. Lady Halifax will be positively green with envy that our new guest came to my Ballroom instead of elsewhere today–ha! Another coup. But I suppose I have you to thank for it, Ms. Foley.
Gaelen: You certainly do! Ah, I jest. Anything for you, Lady B. It was rather clever of me. Why, she here comes now!
<Squawk! Who, then?>
Gaelen: Quiet, Albert! Only one of the most exciting new stars rising in the Regency firmament these days–our special guest of the day–Maya Rodale!
Welcome, Maya! ((air kisses, dahlings)) And congratulations on your wonderful new book, Seducing Mr. Knightly. (A November Top Pick from RT! from HarperCollins/Avon) We’re so happy to have you here. I understand both stars of the story will be dropping by tonight, as well?
Maya nods, and I do the formal intro’s betwixt the author and Her Ladyship.
Psst – Readers - While Her Ladyship is grilling Maya on the diverse topics on which she grills every new visitor, I wanted to tell you in an aside that Maya Rodale has also written a non-fiction book championing romance novels, which is another reason why we love aside from smashing talent and general adorable-ness. Check out the vid:
Gaelen: (I told you you’d like her! Well, it looks like I’d better save the poor girls from Lady B’s interrogation. Come with!) Grabbing your arm and dragging you about as I am wont to do.
We can hear the question Lady B is asking as we join the pair engrossed in conversation. I can see Maya has found favor in Her Ladyship’s eyes and that is something. Not that I’m the least bit surprised.
Lady B: And what is your favorite part of writing one of these books of yours, my dear?
Maya: Though perhaps I shouldn’t make such confessions on short acquaintance, I must admit that my favorite part of writing is turning in a manuscript and going to have my hair done by a handsome man at a fancy salon. Though lolling about at home, reigning as Queen over fictional worlds of my own creation is a close second.
Gaelen: Hear, hear. I’m all for lolling about and salon/spa days! Maya, you’ve written some nonfiction, as noted, and some shorter works, including a novella in an anthology with our own Katharine Ashe and
Miranda Neville, as well as another great favorite around here, Caroline Lindon, entitled ONCE UPON A BALLROOM. And obviously we love that title. But what you’re best known for is your marvelous Writing Girls Series. What’s it all about?
Maya: The Writing Girls series is an ode to some of my favorite things: scandal, tabloids, humorous heroines and seductive heroes. The novels feature four daring Regency-era ladies who write for the most popular newspaper in town—I do trust that Lady B is an avid reader of The London Weekly. Of course, the stories would not be complete without the dashing rogues who are in turns outraged and delighted (wink!) by the heroines.
Gaelen: Gasp! Don’t look now, but here comes Annabelle, heroine of Seducing Mr. Knightly! I’m so excited to meet her. Shh, act natural.
Welcome, Annabelle! Well, I thought I had the coolest job in the world. But you get to tell people what to do all day! You’re an advice columnist! Is that the best gig on the planet or what?
Annabelle is beaming modestly.
Lady B: I’ll ask the questions here, Miss Foley. Now, then, let me have a look at you, gel. Hmm. Unrequited love. Very painful.
Annabelle: What? You know about that?
Gaelen: Annabelle, Lady B. knows all.
Lady B: Now then, Miss Swift, how in the world did you come to find yourself writing for The London Weekly, and what has you so fixated on your handsome employer?
Annabelle: Hello…What? I’m sorry but Mr. Knightly is just over there, leaning oh so seductively [Sighs]. There are two instances when I have displayed something like daring in my life. The first when I entered a contest and to my surprise, won the position of advice columnist for The London Weekly. The second instance occurred when I asked my readers on advice for how I might finally, oh finally, capture Mr. Knightly’s attentions. He’s always so intensely fixated upon the newspaper. Can you just imagine if he loved a woman with that intensity? [Sigh. Again.] I do…
Gaelen: Now that I see him, I can’t blame you one bit. Hubba…
Later that night: We find Lady B deep in conversation with Derek Knightly, the swoon-worthy hero of Maya’s book.
Lady B: And what what was the moment you finally opened your eyes and realized that Miss Swift was no ordinary girl?
Derek Knightly: Does Miss Swift seem different to you? [Gaze drops to Miss Swift’s rather low cut bodice]. I vow, she’s changing every day. I used to think of her as “the quiet one who doesn’t cause trouble” and now everywhere I turn…she’s TROUBLE. Tempting, maddening, taunting TROUBLE. But the day she fainted into my arms truly opened my eyes to her. I knew she feigned that faint, and I knew it was part of her ruse to seduce that “Nodock” as she referred to him in her column. But once I held her in my arms there was no turning back.
Annabelle comes over near Derek, smiling a little too much. He in turn gazes charmingly at her.
Gaelen: Ahem! I say, maybe we should test Annabelle’s Advice Columnist skills! That would be fun! Annabelle, what say you? Anyone have a question, problem??
Lady B: Ugh.
Gaelen: You have in one mind?
Lady B: No doubt you are all too familiar with my Problem. Everyone knows about…
Lady B: Right, then. Here’s my question for you column, gel. ‘Dear Annabelle, a young, ahem, gentleman of my acquaintance has a habit of rather wild behavior–
<Squawk! Bad nephew! He’s trouble! Rakehell!>
Lady B: Gaelen, who taught Albert how to say Rakehell?
Gaelen, guiltily: Ummm…..
Lady B: Never mind. Quiet, bird! As I was saying, how do I convince him that it is high time he settled down and took a wife?
Annabelle: How does one convince the sun not to rise or the seasons not to turn?! Trying to convince a wild rogue to settle down and marry is a daunting and may be an impossible task. However, if the gentleman becomes convinced the matter is his idea…well, just try to dissuade him of it then!
Gaelen, applauding: Nicely done, Miss Swift! And congratulations on the fake swoon, by the way. Brilliant! Quick thinking, too.
Maya: Dear readers! Any swooning occur in this ballroom? Tell me, would you ever dare to fake a faint?
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