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Archive for November, 2012

Got the first review for my new Civil War romance, The Christmas Ball.

Rating: 4 at My Book Addiction Reviews

In part: “The Christmas Ball” is filled with secrets, deception, war, love and a Christmas Ball. Fast paced and emotional, packed with grit, holiday spirit, sensual tension and love. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys the Civil War era, and Victorian romance. I enjoyed “The Christmas Ball”.

Read full review here:

http://mybookaddictionreviews.com/2012/11/11/the-christmas-ball-by-susan-macatee-review/

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Sara’s heart beat frantically as the conveyance approached the grand mansion where the ball was being held. Gas lamps illuminated the city streets they traveled. The mansion was set back from the road. She stared at the windows of the large house, where the yellow glow of gaslight flickered. Her gloved hands trembled in her lap. Doc Ellison, who sat on her right side, while his mother sat on her left, reached out and covered her hands with his, sending delicious warmth through her.

“You’ll do fine, Miss Brewster,” he whispered. “Just stay with me.”

His mother patted her arm. “My son will take good care of you, my dear.”

Sara swallowed hard, sure she’d make a complete fool of herself at such a grand party. The fanciest to-do’s she’d ever attended were barn dances and get togethers at the homes of family and friends. Her heart fluttered as she tried to figure a way to not embarrass herself, as well as the Ellison family, tonight.

After their carriage pulled up in front of the mansion, Kirk escorted her on one arm, his mother on the other, up to the door, with Mary and her husband following.

The door opened to reveal a gaily decorated entry hall. Poinsettias and holly branches graced the way as a servant took their wraps. Her head swiveled toward the sound of music and laughter. Two, large ornately patterned doors stood open to her eager gaze. She caught skirts of all colors swirling as dancers spun around the large polished floor beyond the doorway.

Kirk’s hand on her arm settled her a bit as he led her toward the room. A white haired gentleman dressed in a black suit moved forward to greet them. He took Mrs. Ellison’s hand and led her inside. Kirk motioned Sara to follow.

Her gaze was riveted on the dancers waltzing grandly around the cavernous room. Tables stood to one side, steeped with punch bowls and food. Her mouth watered at the delicious smells.

Mrs. Ellison was led away to a group of older ladies, who swiftly surrounded her. “Mother is obviously well in hand. Shall we try out the dance floor, or would you rather sit the first one out?”

“I, uh…” Sara stumbled over her words, not sure what she wanted to do. “This is so…” She waved her gloved hand. “…so grand. I’ve never seen the like.”

Mary slipped around to her other side and took her hand. “We don’t have to dance right away. Why don’t we sit and watch the first few sets?”

Before they could move toward the chairs, Mary was presented with a small card with a pencil dangling from it. When the servant handed one to Sara, she held it up. “What’s this for?”

Mary grinned. “It’s your dance card. All the ladies get one and the gentlemen who dance with you have to sign it.”

Sara swallowed. “How many men do I have to dance with?” Her pulse raced as she glanced around the room. She didn’t want to look like a fool in front of all these people.

Doc Ellison took her other hand. “Don’t worry, Miss Brewster, I’ll take it upon myself to claim all your dances.”

“Be sure to save one for me,” Ted said.

“Of course.” Doc Ellison took the small card and penciled in all the dances, with one reserved for Ted.

“And when Miss Brewster dances with Ted, I’ll dance with Mary.” He filled in Mary’s card.

Mary raised her brows. “You are absolutely outrageous, dear brother.”

Kirk shrugged. “Anything to keep my lady comfortable.” He crooked his arm as an offering.

The Christmas Ball available from The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=5026

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Christmas-Ball-ebook/dp/B00A5CF3SM/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1352744944&sr=1-3&keywords=the+christmas+ball

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-christmas-ball-susan-macatee/1113749511?ean=2940015922417

and All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thechristmasball-995347-158.html

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Since the ending of my newly released Civil War romance, The Christmas Ball, takes place at a grand ball in Washington, D.C., I had to do research on the type of dances the Victorians performed.

At a site called, Victorian Pride, the dances that would normally be performed at a ball are listed.

Cakewalk

A dance in 2/4 time characterized by high stepping and leaning back of the upper body. It became very popular on the stage and as a social dance in the 1890’s to early 1900’s.

Cotillion

A social dance popular in the 18th and 19th centuries related to contredanse and quadrille. They were often performed at the end of a ball. The actual music and danse steps varied.

Fox Trot

American social dance introduced in 1913. The dance steps themselves were highly varied and borrowed from other dances. Popular variants included the quickstep (originally a fast military march) and slow blues.

Galop

A fast line dance in 2/4 time often used as the last dance in the Quadrille. The name is derived by the galloping motion used to move up and down the line.

Gavotte

A Baroque dance in 2/4 time, generally has a moderate tempo, and uses simple rhythms.

Mazurka

Originally a Polish folk dance, this is usually a lively dance in 3/4 time with strong rhythms. Mazurkas were usually danced by 4, 8 or 12 couples.

Polka

The polka, originating in Bohemia in the early 19th century, was an extremely popular fast dance characterized by strong rhythms in 2/4 time.

Polonaise

A processional dance of Polish origin but developed primarily outside of Poland.

Quadrille

A dance for four or more couples, often in 2/4 or 6/8 time.

Schottische

A slow round dance in 3/4 time, sometimes called the German polka.

Tango

A dramatic dance that originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the late 19th century. It is characterized by exaggerated movements by the dancers and abrupt rhythmic and dynamic contrasts in the music.

Tarantella

An rapid folk dance in 6/8 time from southern Italy with shifts between major and minor keys.

Waltz

The waltz remains one of the most popular ballroom dances for couples today. It originated in southern Germany and Austria but has evolved from slower, rustic German dances to the elegant, sophisticated and graceful version made popular in the late nineteenth century.

The site also lists ballroom etiquette rules. Click on link above.

And here’s another etiquette rules site: http://www.burrows.com/other/manners.html

And another site with info on Civil War balls and dances:

http://www.civilwardance.org/

On this site you can see some of the couple dances demonstrated. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OiMPdbJEHo

The Christmas Ball available from The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=5026

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Christmas-Ball-ebook/dp/B00A5CF3SM/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1352744944&sr=1-3&keywords=the+christmas+ball

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-christmas-ball-susan-macatee/1113749511?ean=2940015922417

and All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thechristmasball-995347-158.html 

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I’m posting over at Slip Into Something Victorian today about what led up to the major Civil War battle at Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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Instead of my normal ‘Wednesday Excerpt’ post, I’ve been tagged by author Bess McBride http://willtravelforromance.blogspot.com/ to participate in ‘The Next Big Thing’ blog hop. Thanks for the opportunity, Bess!

And in turn, I’m tagging 4 of my Scandalous Victorian friends, Isabel Roman, Denise Eagan, Nicole McCaffrey and Caroline Clemmons. And author friend, Juli D. Revezzo.

So, next week, on November 28th, they’ll all be posting about their “next best thing”.

See links at the end of my post.

So, what’s my next best thing? Here are my answers.

What is the working title of your book?

Thoroughly Modern Amanda

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea came from my 2009 Civil War time travel romance, Erin’s Rebel. I wanted to do another time travel romance and my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, was looking for shorter stories to fit the e-reader market. I thought I’d do a novella based on Erin’s Rebel, but set the story after the war. Amanda Montgomery was a small child in Erin’s Rebel, the daughter of the hero, Will Montgomery. I decided I’d give Amanda her own story as an adult. While she stays in her own time, the hero is from our time and travels into the past.

What genre does your book fall under?

American-Victorian time travel romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I never choose real people to play the part of my characters. They’re all full-formed in my imagination, so I really don’t like to say who I’d want to play them.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Modern-day construction worker travels back in time to find love in 1880 America.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Thoroughly Modern Amanda will be released by The Wild Rose Press on December 19, 2012.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About three months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your
genre?
These are all similar picks from The Wild Rose Press
This Moment in Time by Nicole McCaffrey
A Love of His Own by Linda LaRoque
Season of Love by Leanne Tyler
And Victoriana Adventure by Heather Hiestand
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My time travel romance, Erin’s Rebel. I always hate to leave my characters when a book is complete, so it’s fun to revisit them at a later stage in their lives.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Anyone who loves time travel romances, American-Victorian, paranormal stories and the idea of past lives and lovers reuniting in a new reincarnation.
Here’s the blurb and a sample of my time travel novella, Thoroughly Modern Amanda.
Blurb: Believing anything is possible, magazine reporter Amanda Montgomery dreams about being a modern woman in a nineteenth century world, much like her exceptional step-mother.  But society expects well-off young ladies to focus on finding a suitable husband and raising a family.  And then Jack appears—with no past and unconventional ideas. Does he hold the key to another century as well as her heart, or is she destined to stay in her own time?
Construction worker Jack Lawton wants to preserve an old home that’s scheduled for demolition.  But when he sneaks inside for a final look, a loose beam falls on his head, and upon waking, he finds himself in the arms of a beautiful woman.  His only problem—he’s no longer in the twenty-first century.  Can he find his way back home? Does he really want to?
Excerpt:
Her footsteps sounded hollow on the unfinished wood floor as she paced. He lifted his gaze to study her. Her skirts nearly touched the freshly sanded floor as she braced her hands on either side of her hips. Her brow furrowed, lips twisted into an expression of anxiety.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

She turned and faced him. “Sorry?”

“For putting you to all this trouble.” He realized he didn’t even know his rescuer’s name. “I’m Jack Lawton, by the way and you are…?”

She pursed her full lips. “Miss Montgomery.”

“You don’t have a first name?” he asked.

“Sir, we are strangers to one another.” Her face reddened.

“But I gave you my first name.” He spread his hands.

She propped her hands on her hips. “My father would have a conniption fit if I gave my Christian name to a strange man. On the other hand, my step-mother…” Her lips curved into the hint of a smile. “…always introduces herself by her first name to the consternation of my father.” She lifted her chin as if appraising Jack. “I’m Amanda.”

Jack smiled but winced as a shot of pain sliced through his skull. “Amanda Montgomery. I’ll be sure to remember that name.” He lifted his hand. “Now, if you could assist me to the front door.”

She stretched her arm down toward him, and he used the wall to hoist himself so he wouldn’t put all his weight on her.

A brief wave of dizziness halted his progress, but he steadied himself. “Lead on.”

By the time they reached the door, he realized how eerily familiar this house looked. Almost as if the house he’d been in had traveled back in time. Could the new owner have changed his mind and decided to rebuild the place?

Amanda threw open the door.

Jack’s mouth gaped. Not only was his car gone, but the entire block was transformed. What had been a paved walk and blacktop street was now packed dirt.

Heat rose to his cheeks. “Where’s my car? Did they tow it away to tear up the street?” He couldn’t have been unconscious long enough.

“I don’t know what you mean.” Amanda’s gaze scanned the road.

Jack froze in the doorway, not sure what to do. This was insane. He had no car, no cell phone or ID. If he made it to his house, would it even be there? For one chilling moment, he wasn’t sure.

Amanda glanced at him, then back at the road, not saying anything for a long moment. “Mr. Lawton, if you’re able to walk a short distance, I’ll take you to my home. My step-mother may know how to help you.”

Thoroughly Modern Amanda ,time travel romance, coming December 19, 2012 to The Wild Rose Press

Links to other ‘Next Best Thing Participants’.

Posting next week, 11/28/12. Be sure to check next week for their ‘next best thing.’

Caroline Clemmons

http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/

Isabel Roman

http://www.authorisabelroman.blogspot.com/

Nicole McCaffrey

http://www.nicolemccaffrey.blogspot.com/

Denise Eagan

http://slipintosomethingvictorian.wordpress.com

Juli D. Revezzo

http://julidrevezzo.com/

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My new release, The Christmas Ball, is set during the American Civil War. The story begins in a Civil War camp, but ends at a lavish Christmas Eve ball in Washington D.C.

Some would ask, how could people celebrate at a ball when the nation was at war? But balls did go on, many used as fundraisers to aid both sides of the conflict.

As a Civil War reenactor, I attended a few balls, but fortunately a ball gown wasn’t required. I would have loved to have one, but I’m not a seamstress and buying a gown or even having one made for me was beyond my budget. I just wore my best day dress and a frilly cap to cover my hair.

The ball gown during this period differed from the day dress. During the 1860s, dresses for grown women buttoned at the throat and had long sleeves. A few dresses did have three-quarter length sleeves, but undersleeves were worn beneath to cover the arm to the wrist.

But at the ball, or any other formal event, a woman would wear a short sleeved gown, with a low décolletage. They actually didn’t plunge low enough to reveal cleavage, though. But I’m sure a gentleman could get a hint of what lay beneath. Women even wore powder down to their necklines.

Evening wear was constructed of finer fabrics than day dresses and were more elaborately trimmed. Since photographic techniques of the period required natural sunlight, few photos of women in evening wear exist.

Source: Who Wore What? Women’s Wear 1861-1865 by Juanita Leisch

To view photos of reproduction ball gowns, visit these sites:

http://www.lavendersgreen.com/Mid19th.htm

http://www.civilwarlady.com/photogallery.php

And for photos taken at reenactment balls

http://www.civilwardance.org/

The Christmas Ball, available from The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=5026

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Christmas-Ball-ebook/dp/B00A5CF3SM/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1352744944&sr=1-3&keywords=the+christmas+ball

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-christmas-ball-susan-macatee/1113749511?ean=2940015922417

and All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thechristmasball-995347-158.html

And be sure to stop by The Romance Reviews tomorrow, November 20, for my Q&A, part of the ‘Year End Splash Party’. Games and loads of prizes are being awarded.

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I’m participating on the ‘Year End Splash Party’ over at The Romance Reviews and you’re all invited.

I’ll be chatting all day today in the forum http://www.theromancereviews.com/forum/index.php?board=44.0

 

 

You do have to be registered to participate, but there’ll be games, contests, author Q&A’s and more than 400 prizes. Grand prize: $100 gift certificate!

The party is now underway, ending on December 15.

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