Summoned to Lady B’s boudoir, I find it empty. However, a large table has been set up in the middle of room upon which rest paper, an inkpot, several quill pens, and a foot-high stack of blank cards. But wait, I am wrong. Albert swoops down from his perch on the window valance, flaps his wings and spills ink all over the cards.
Lady B enters: Miss Neville. You have made a mess.
It wasn’t me, Lady B. It was Albert.
<squawk> pants on fire <squawk>
Lady B. I understand that you are trying to avoid writing. I haven’t spent all this time in the company of Authoresses without learning how much you all hate to put pen to paper. But there’s no need to blame an innocent parrot.
Albert’s squawk of “innocence” is, IMHO, quite unconvincing but there’s no point arguing with Lady B. Something we Authoresses have learned from our time in her company. Lady B rings for a footman and demands a new supply of ink and stationery.
Lady B: Now we must write the invitations for the New Year’s Ball.
(aside) I hate writing with a quill, but email doesn’t work in Beaufetheringstone House.
Lady B: Start with all the heroes and heroines written by all my Authoresses, including Lady Gaelen Foley. Just because she doesn’t attend my balls anymore doesn’t mean she isn’t in my thoughts. She may be my very favorite authoress since she isn’t here to annoy me.
That’s almost seventy titles, not counting novellas and secondary romances. I guess we do all manage to get some writing done.
Lady B: No need for impertinence. Then add the heroes and heroines we have had as guests in the past.
This will take a long time.
Lady B: You’d better get started then. I expect all those cards to be written by the time I return from shopping.
So when you said “we must write invitations” you meant the unroyal “you.” I don’t think we should invite all of them. A ballroom full of blissfully happy couples lacks piquancy and scandal.
Lady B: Quite right, Miranda. I leave it up to you to decide whom else to invite. I have to buy new luggage for Lord B.
Will Lord B. come to the ball….? And, she’s gone. I wonder if she’s telling the truth about the luggage. Judging by the number of trunks I’ve seen brought down from the attic, Lord B. is not short of ye olde Louis Vuitton. I have theories about what she may be up to.
Meanwhile she has left me to suffer writer’s cramp. Also in charge of the guest list. She may live to regret this, cackle, cackle.
You didn’t hear that, Albert. First I’ll invite some of our future heroes and heroines. Given how much trouble they always have getting together, we may as well give them a head start. Sabrina’s got a short story coming out next week called CAROLINE AND THE DUKE – sounds perfect for The Ballroom where we do love our dukes. Let’s hope Caroline and Sutbridge can come. Then, there’s Tessa’s ROMANCING THE DUKE featuring Ransom, Duke of Rothbury (wounded recluse) and Miss Izzy Goodnight (who has inherited the castle he’s recluse-ing in). We’ll see if we can lure them out of the castle before their publication date in February. Miss Kate Noble’s THE GAME AND THE GOVERNESS is coming in the summer. I can’t wait to meet Miss Phoebe Baker, an unassuming governess with hidden depths, and Ned Granville, the Early of Ashby, who Phoebe thinks has no depth whatsoever. I love a hero with hidden shallows. And I’m addressing cards right now to Miss Ravenna Caulfield and Lord Vitor Courtenay from Katharine’s I ADORED A LORD.
Nonsense, Albert. It’s all in the cover copy. The next in Lauren’s Pink Carnation series is THE MARK OF THE MIDNIGHT MANZANILLA (August 2014) with Sally and Lucien. And I must invite Cynthia and her husband Damian, Earl of Windermere, from my next release, LADY WINDERMERE’S LOVER (July 2014). They are living on different continents at present so things may be awkward. If I want to make things more difficult, I should invite the Duke of Denford, too.
Finally there’s Sarah. Chase’s book NEVER JUDGE A LADY BY HER COVER is due late next year but she refuses to give me the name of the heroine so I can send her an invitation. I only hope Lady B. will have mercy and forgive the pregnant lady.
<squawk> hormones <squawk>
Uh oh. Someone left a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting in the cloakroom.
To round things out, I shall invite some of my favorite Regency era personalities, beginning with Sally, Lady Jersey. Lady B hates her. Cackle cackle.
<squawk> <squawk> <squawk>
Then we must have The Duke, Miss Austen, and someone to play the piano. Lastly, I shall take advantage of the time/space continuum to invite the man without whom no party is complete, Mr. Oscar Wilde.
Whom would you like to invite to Lady B’s New Year’s Ball? It can be anyone, real or fictional, from the Regency, the present, or any other time period. Lady B has left me in charge and I am feeling the power. (Cackle cackle).