Category: A Perfect Duet


If you have a Kindle or read Kindle books on other devices, hop on over to Amazon now through Monday to get a free copy of my Regency romance novella A Perfect Duet. Here’s the blurb:

Meek Miranda Granville only comes alive at the pianoforte, but even there, Andrew Owen intimidates her. His playing moves her like nothing else, but his critiques of her spoil the effect.

Andrew only wants to share the advantage of his training with Miranda, but his words always come out wrong. The trouble is he’d rather run his fingers over her than the keyboard, but she’s been promised to his rogue of a cousin Julian since childhood.

When Julian stands Miranda up at a bonfire celebration, Andrew gets a chance to strike a chord with her –- but if he wants to make her his, he’ll have to outplay both his cousin and her father.

Have a great three-day weekend!
Jen

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Update: Note that the New Year giveaway has ended — thanks to all 1,040 readers in the US, UK and Germany who downloaded A Perfect Duet! — but if you missed it, check back around Valentine’s Day. If this one seems to spur sales in the coming weeks, I’ll do another. : )

Heads up to anyone who owns a Kindle or reads Kindle books on other devices: On January 1st and 2nd, you can download my Regency romance (think Jane Austen) novella, A Perfect Duet for free.

Description:

Meek Miranda Granville only comes alive at the pianoforte, but even there, Andrew Owen intimidates her. His playing moves her like nothing else, but his critiques of her spoil the effect.

Andrew just wants to share the advantage of his professional training with Miranda, but his words always seem to come out wrong. The trouble is he’d rather be running his fingers over her than the keyboard, but she’s been promised to his rogue of a cousin Julian since childhood.

When Julian stands Miranda up at the village bonfire celebration, Andrew gets a chance to strike a chord with her — but if he wants to make her his, he’ll have to outplay both his cousin and her father.

Set yourself a reminder now, or get one from me by following me on Twitter here or “liking” me on Facebook (see the widget on the right side of the home page on my blog).

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A Perfect Duet came about in response to an invitation from the original publisher Zebra to contribute to a “June Brides” Regency romance anthology. It’s the only time since school that I’ve written a story around someone else’s idea. (I suspect most writers have far more ideas than time to write them.) The setting, the era, and time of year were all predetermined, plus the story had to be novella-length and include a wedding. Funny how many details were laid out before I even started writing!

Since the story couldn’t be very long, I figured the hero and heroine should probably already know each other, just not realize that they had potential to become a couple. I decided to make music the thing that connected them, because music is so evocative emotionally and spiritually. (Only once in my life have I heard someone say they “don’t get” music — most of us are touched by one form or another.) The plot then grew around all those pieces.

Maybe because of the way A Perfect Duet came about, it doesn’t seem to have many autobiographical details injected in it. I do wish I had more background in classical music, so I could have enriched the piano-playing imagery with more technical detail, but I suppose the romance is the real focus, and in a novella, there’s only so much room for description anyway.

As for the origin of the “June Bride” tradition, you might think it’s just about good weather (in the northern hemisphere) — but May is nice here, too, and apparently, May is traditionally considered an inauspicious time to marry (though fine for handfasting). The consensus seems to be that the popularity of marrying in June goes back to the Romans, because Juno was the goddess of marriage, and the month of June was dedicated to her.

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In 1753, a law passed in England that banned people under 21 from marrying without the consent of their parents. Meanwhile, in Scotland, males only had to be 14 to marry, and females could wed at 12(!). As a result, Scotland became the go-to place for getting married without your parents’ blessing, as attested in books like Pride and Prejudice and my novella A Perfect Duet.

Locally, we used to have a comparable situation, where Pennsylvania required a blood test for marriage licenses, but Maryland didn’t. My parents considered getting married in Maryland to avoid red tape, and my grandparents actually did wed in Elkton, MD — a town once known as “the Gretna Green of the West.”

I’ll have to ask my grandmother what the big deal was about having to get a license — the money, the hassle, taking time off from work? What I suspect is that the main appeal of the quickie wedding has nothing to with consent. It’s about not having to do all the negotiating — and I don’t mean with vendors; I mean with your family about who will be invited and how it will all be done. Instead, you walk into a place, pay them and get married. Eloping also has a romantic lure about it. It’s intimate — only about the bride and groom, not about making a splash.

An average 120,000 weddings couples get married in Las Vegas each year. And Elkton, MD, a town with a population of only about 12,000, also still has thousands of weddings a year. Thinking about it? Read more in this article.

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A bonfire celebration on the eve of May Day is the backdrop for some of the most pivotal (and fun) moments in A Perfect Duet. Do (or did) English villages really have such celebrations? Kind of.

A few years ago, I was curious about how the Mummers parade in Philadelphia originated. Googling around led me to (among other fascinating celebrations), a May Day tradition from Padstow, Cornwall, in the UK. The festivities center on a strange costumed creature called the Obby Oss (a variation of “hobby horse”). Two of them wander around the village, strutting and attracting followers and spectators. The osses have been known to pull women under their costumes, and if you go under, it’s said to grant you fertility.

How does this tie in with bonfires? Well, I read somewhere that the village’s private celebration actually starts the night before with drinking, singing, and the usual types of general misrule. I can’t confirm there’s a bonfire, but May Day bonfires in England are mentioned on this web page.

Hubby and I happened to be in Cornwall one May Day and checked out the Padstow celebration. It was fun and had a good, traditional pagan air about it that made me feel connected to my British/Welsh ancestors. Find out more here. Then go next year! Wear white.

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Bear