When I first ventured into the blogosphere lo these three long years ago, I was suspicious. That is to say, when a friend enthusiastically recommended her favorite blog and told me I would “love it beyond anything imaginable”
and I immediately imagined a plate of double chocolate cake followed by a romantic comedy movie marathon and a massage performed by Hugh Jackman, I was not inclined to believe her.
I was not only suspicious of all the hoopla over blogs, I was insensibly naive. But I respected my friend, so venture into Bloglandia I did.
My first visit to a blog went something like this: I opened my browser, typed the url, and up popped a post about a topic having to do with an interest of mine, and I . . . Well, perhaps this will help explain my response:
I felt as though I had stepped onto a dance floor into the middle of a set for which I did not know the patterns, was not properly begowned, and had no dance partner.
So, because at The Ballroom Blog we want everyone who enters to be comfortable enough to waltz on their very first day here, I have gathered my sister authoresses to present a little primer for newcomers today. Also, it’s the beginning of the year, and sometimes beginnings require a wee bit o backstory.
First, please allow me to introduce to everybody Lady Heliotrope Beaufetheringstone (pronounced “Batman”), our hostess in whose London house we happily dance and gossip and get up to larks every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Lady B, please meet our new guests.
Lady B: (peering through her quizzing glass) I don’t see anyone, Miss Ashe.
Oh, certainly you see all our wonderful regular guests! But our new visitors may still be a bit shy. Hiding behind potted plants, no doubt. Hopefully they’ll make their presence known in the comments section.
Lady B: I daresay.
She is, I believe, unconvinced. But I am not deterred.
Lady B: And I have regretted it since.
Miranda: We don’t believe you.
Sarah: She actually adores us.
Lady B: I adore your heroes.
Sabrina: Especially their legs.
Lady B: You authoresses and the disaster you regularly bring to my ballroom, however, I could do without.
Miranda: We still don’t believe you.
<squawk!> SOB! <squawk!>
That’s Albert, Lady B’s parrot. He likes lobster patties and laments Gaelen’s departure, as we all do. But really I think this excessive show of emotion is an excuse to make us feel sorry for him because he now shares the house with another bird: Harold, Lord Montague’s toucan. But if I’m going to explain the birds I must first explain the people better, and I fear I’m making a hash of of things already. Ladies, please assist me!
Sarah: Of course, dear. Lord Montague is Monty, Lady B’s nephew and also–
Sarah: Lord B’s heir.
Kate: We’re still not certain how.
Lauren: Some of us are.
Tessa: Don’t look at me. I just spike the ratafia around here.
Sarah: In any case, one day Monty showed up–
Sarah: And threw Lady B into a tizzy.
Lady B: What on earth is a tizzy, Miss MacLean?
Miranda: Your usual state? Just a guess.
Lady B: Miss Neville, you can be replaced.
My father used to say that when we did something bad. I never believed him.
Miranda: Thus we come full circle.
Like in a dance pattern! Heh. And speaking of patterns, our regular balls are on Mondays and Thursdays. On those days we . . . um . . . er . . . well . . . What do we do on Mondays and Thursdays, ladies?
We all look around at each other.
Sarah: We post pictures of nearly naked men.
And sometimes entirely naked men. (chewing on my lip)
Miranda: Handsome men in general.
Sabrina: We also like to throw parties and give away books.
Tessa: And invite guest authors to party with us.
Sabrina: Our characters like to visit, too.
Sarah: (muttering) And sometimes our characters won’t let us in.
In fact, many of our characters were first seen in public in this ballroom. Some showed up long before expected. Some were lured here under false pretenses. Others climbed out of broom closets or crashed through the wall in sailing ships.
Lady B: I have always been fashionably influential.
Not only that, my lady, you and your ballroom appear in many of our books.
Sarah: Like A Rogue By Any Other Name, and Miranda’s The Importance of Being Wicked, Katharine’s When a Scot Loves a Lady and How a Lady Weds a Rogue, Tessa’s Once Upon a Winter’s Eve, and Sabrina’s The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe.
As well as some books that have yet to appear on the shelves: Sarah’s One Good Earl Deserves a Lover and No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, Tessa’s Any Duchess Will Do, and my How To Marry a Highlander.
Lady B: Good heavens, you are a prolific lot. I believe I chose my authoresses well.
Smiles all around.
Anything else we should share with our new guests, ladies?
Lauren: We should probably mention that we’re interested in history.
Indeedy. On the weekends in our Saturday Salons we share historical tidbits as well as other nifty things that inspire our books.
Miranda: Though, admittedly, the space-time continuum is somewhat fluid here.
At times we are even known to engage in a few, um, charming cultural anachronisms.
Tessa: Court, Consummate, Cut Direct!
Miranda: Regency Project Runway!
We are nothing if not au courant.
Sarah: (grinning) Anachronisms schmachronisms.
Lauren: Apparently we invent words too.
Kate: Of course we do. We’re writers.
We do it all for the sake of our guests — the balls, the books, the characters, the parties, the games, the history, the nearly naked men — all of it! And for our dear Lady B, too.
To our wonderful new guests, please say hello by introducing yourselves in the comments. We’re so happy you’re here! We hope you’ll stay and wander about the ballroom for a bit, have a cup of ratafia, and ogle some handsome legs.
And to celebrate you being here, one randomly chosen new commenter will win signed copies of books from all seven of us! If you mention in your comment the name of the friend that recommended The Ballroom Blog to you (and she visits today), we’ll give her a $10 gift card to B&N or Amazon.
To our beloved longtime guests, which posts of the past year and a half do you think our newcomers simply must not miss? Share your favorites in the comments!