Throwback Thursday: Napoleon’s Engagement Ring with K. C. Bateman @katebateman

Today, I’m thrilled to have K. C. Bateman here on the blog, sharing a fabulous historical tidbit with us!

author photoNapoleon’s Engagement Ring

The importance of story (and history!)

Before I began writing Historical romances, I spent fifteen years as an antiques and fine art appraiser in the UK, and in both professions the idea of story is extremely important. In the antiques trade the history behind an object is the ‘provenance,’ and as an auctioneer I’d encourage vendors to tell me as much as possible about a piece. An interesting history can drastically affect the price. Stories are powerful things.

This was perfectly illustrated in an auction result I came across while researching my latest Napoleonic Regency, ‘A Raven’s Heart.’ An auction house in France was asked to sell a pretty two-stone diamond and sapphire ring. It wasn’t fancy. Each of the teardrop-shaped gems weighed just under a carat each, which gave it an estimated auction sale value of around $2,000, based on current market values for similar pieces of jewelry. So far, so ordinary.

But here’s where the story comes in. The vendors had evidence that this particular ring was none other than the engagement ring Napoleon Bonaparte gave to his Empress, Josephine de Beauharnais! Aware that this background would make it more appealing to collectors, the auctioneers set the pre-sale auction estimate at ten times the original valuation—$20,000—and crossed their fingers . . .

Can you guess how much it sold for? How much did the romance of that particular story add to two colored bits of rock and a thin sliver of shiny metal? It sold for $949,000, plus 25% buyer’s commission! That’s over a million dollars!

So I’m firmly convinced of the power and importance of story. As an auctioneer, I hope an interesting provenance will help an item sell for more than the composite sum of its parts. And as an author, I hope that readers will find value in the stories and characters I create. Stories can transport us to new worlds, introduce us to new people, teach us things we didn’t know, and even make us fall in love. And what could be more powerful than that?

book image

Tell us something fun about the relationship conflict.

A Raven’s Heart includes the classic ‘best friend’s little sister’ trope between the hero and the heroine. Watching Raven and Heloise’s love-hate relationship as they (unsuccessfully) try to fight their simmering attraction to one another is great fun!
One of the themes I play with in the book concerns internal and external scars. Heloise has a scar on her face which she believes makes her unattractive, whereas Raven’s scars are all on the inside. He thinks he’s too emotionally damaged to love. In this respect they’re opposites—and perfect for one another; they both see past the damage and find something to love underneath.

Where do you get your ideas?

Lots of my ideas come from real historical people, events, or things. For example, in one of my favorite scenes Raven lets slip how much he cares for Heloise by referring to the ancient Japanese art of Kinstukuroi. It’s the use of molten gold to repair damaged pottery, with the understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken and lovingly repaired. I thought that was such a romantic idea that I had to include it in a book! Ostensibly Raven’s discussing his mother’s favorite piece of porcelain, but we all know he’s really talking about Heloise.

Do you have favorite historical romance comfort reads?

Absolutely! My keeper shelf includes anything by Laura Kinsale, some Old Skool classics like Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels, Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades and Devil’s Cub, As You Desire by Connie Brockway, Pride & Prejudice (of course!), Joanna Bourne, Anne Stuart . . . the list goes on!

book coverA Raven’s Heart

When a bookish codebreaker and a dashing spy are reunited in this steamy historical romance, their lives depend on their ability to resist temptation. In the war against France, Heloise Hampden is a high-value asset to the Crown. Someone is trying to kill her for cracking the enemy’s codes, but it’s the agent assigned to protect Heloise who poses the greatest threat to her heart. . .William de l’Isle, Viscount Ravenwood.

Series Name: Secrets & Spies
Genre: Regency / Napoleonic Romance
Heat level: One or two love scenes
ISBN: 9780804181518

Grab your copy at:
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Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK
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$3.99 USD – $4.99 CAN – £3.99 GBP

Find K. C. Bateman at: Facebook | Twitter | Website

We want to hear from you!

In A Raven’s Heart I play with the idea that Raven and Heloise are like the Greek gods Hades and Persephone. It’s one of my favorite stories; darkness drawn to light. A shadowed Hades kidnaps an unwilling Persephone and takes her down to the Underworld, but the two end up falling in love and learning to compromise. If you could host a dinner party and include any mythological couple, who would you choose?

Leave a comment below!

New Release – Romancing the Rogue

It’s release day for Romancing the Rogue!

When the new earl inherits, poor relation Miss Rebecca Bond must wed immediately or be out on her ear. The only man she’s ever loved is summoned to hear the will—but he already rejected her so soundly that they haven’t spoken in years. Yet who better than a rakish Viscount to teach her how to snare a gentleman who appreciates her charms?

Daniel Goodenham, Lord North Barrows, regrets nothing more than the lost friendship with the one woman who treated him like a man, not a title. Fate has given him the perfect pretext to win her forgiveness—even if it means having to matchmake her to someone else. But now that she’s back in his life, he’ll do anything to convince her to choose him instead…

Amazon Kindle | Apple iBooks | Barnes & Noble Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Romancing the Rogue was first featured as part of the Vexed anthology.

Anniversary Giveaway: The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress!

Two years ago this month, The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress released!

Want to win a paperback??

Leave a comment below with one of your favorite stories about a mistress heroine or a military hero. I can’t wait to hear your choices!!

Grab the paperback or ebook here:
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NEW RELEASE: The Secret of my Seduction by Caroline Linden @CaroLinden

Today, I’m thrilled to have Caroline Linden here on the blog, sharing a brand new historical romance release with us!

book coverThe Secret of my Seduction

No one suspects plain, sensible Bathsheba Crawford of being the anonymous author of a wickedly scandalous series of naughty novels. But she is.

When she approaches her publisher, rakish Liam MacGregor, with an indecent proposal, he’s shocked. But he accepts.

The rules for their affair are simple: complete secrecy, and no romantic attachment. But the more they see each other…the more pleasure they find in each other’s arms… the harder it is to follow the rules.

Series Name: Scandals
Genre: Historical Regency
Heat level: One or two love scenes
ISBN: 9781542469340

Grab your copy at:
Apple iBooks (iTunes/iPhone/iPad)
Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble Nook
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$0.99 USD – $0.99 CAN – £0.99 GBP

author photoWhat was your inspiration for this story?

Readers requested it! My previous book (Six Degrees of Scandal) ended with a woman sitting down to try writing a sexy romance novel, more or less. I thought that was the end of the whole series, but several readers wrote to me asking what happened to her. And on a long layover in the airport, a story idea sprouted and grew.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, not at all! I studied math in college, which I personally found very romantic since I met my husband in the math department…when he swept me off my feet by asking if I’d like to work the problem set together. I fell like a ton of bricks. It’s all thanks to him that I know what happily-ever-after looks like, which only proves that math is vitally romantic, when done right.

What are your favorite historical romance tropes?

I really love a good frenemies/enemies to lovers story. That and marriage of convenience stories. Both situations force the hero and heroine to confront their own (often wrong) ideas about themselves and about each other. If they have to work together to solve a mystery of some sort, I am 100% hooked. I’m sure it’s all because of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

Find Caroline Linden at: Facebook | Twitter | Website

Grab your copy of The Secret of my Seduction at:
Apple iBooks (iTunes/iPhone/iPad)
Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble Nook
Kobo
Google Play (Android)

We want to hear from you!

Who’s a better hero: the duke who inherited land and power, or a self-made man who earned everything he’s got?

Leave a comment below!

NEW RELEASE: The Cursed Countess by Christie Kelley @christiekelley

Today, I’m thrilled to have Christie Kelley here on the blog, sharing a brand new historical romance release with us!

book coverThe Cursed Countess

How many husbands must die before the gossips say it’s a curse? In Lady Tessa Stanhope’s case, three husbands in five years has set tongues wagging. So when she attracts the attention of the handsome and mysterious Jack Raynerson, she is torn between desire for him and the yearning to keep him safe. But Jack is making it clear that he’s more interested in her than the curse.
Can he believe in her innocence and her love? Or will he be her next victim?

Series Name: The Daring Drake Sisters
Genre: Regency Romance
Heat level: One or two love scenes

Grab your copy at:
Apple iBooks (iTunes/iPhone/iPad)
Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble Nook
Kobo

$3.99 USD – $5.22 CAN – £3.99 GBP

author photoDid you do any special research for this story?

I had to find a good poison that would work. In my dedication I had to thank my sons who are never concerned finding a book of poisons on the kitchen table.

Do you write every day?

I try to write every day but with a full time day job, there are days I don’t want to look at a computer screen. I tend to get the majority of my writing done on weekends. So I tried to take care of the other stuff (cleaning, yard work, etc) on week nights.

Who was your first auto-buy historical romance author?

Can I have more than one? If not, I would have to say Johanna Lindsay. I loved that fact that she wrote different locations and time periods. You don’t see that much any more from authors.

Find Christie Kelley at: Facebook | Twitter | Website

Grab your copy of The Cursed Countess at:
Apple iBooks (iTunes/iPhone/iPad)
Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble Nook
Kobo

We want to hear from you!

Who is your favorite fictional couple?

Leave a comment below!