Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark Launch Party!!

Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark is now available! I'm so pleased with the reviews this book, the first in a series, is getting. Publisher's Weekly says: Simpson (Awaiting the Moon) launches her Lady Anne historical mystery series with flair.

Read through this blog and then comment to win yourself a copy!

A couple of years ago I was happily writing paranormal romances, werewolves mostly, with a fallen angel thrown in for contrast. Paranormal is great stuff; you can make anything happen as long as you offer a good explanation and stay consistent. Who can tell you that your werewolves can’t transform any old time they want, not just at the full moon?

But I'm a natural born skeptic. If someone told me there was a werewolf in the next room, I’d say, “Get me a leash and a pupperoni, ‘cause I’ll bet my argyle socks that werewolf is a husky or a malamute!” So… that’s where Lady Anne began, to be honest, with me, and my natural skeptical sarcasm.

However… the Lady Anne series is about much more than a few paranormal (seeming) mysteries. The ultimate question of the Lady Anne Addison books is one that Anne must answer for herself: What is love worth? For an Englishwoman of her time, (late Georgian era, 1786) marriage meant giving up every bit of her independence—or as much as she was allowed within her family, which in Anne’s case is quite a bit, since she has an easy-going father—and submitting herself wholly to her husband’s command.

How frightening is that? If you married a gambler, a lecher, a wife-beater, there was little to no remedy in English law. No divorce, no legal separation, unless you were willing to be an outcast. A man could confine his wife to the house if he wanted, he could isolate her from her family and friends, he could beat her and take all of the money she brought into the marriage and use it for whatever he pleased. Is it any wonder that parents took finding a husband seriously, and considered it too important a matter for an 18-year-old girl to undertake?

Just think about it: how much would you have to love and trust a man to commit your whole life to him? The 18th century fostered the birth of the women’s suffrage movement, and Lady Anne is exactly the kind of woman who thought deeply on the subject. She wants freedom! But if a woman like that fell in love… what should she do? Give up everything and marry, or give up the man and stay independent?


Here’s a little about the heroine and hero of the Lady Anne Series :

Lady Anne Addison: 24 and a spinster, Lady Anne is the affluent daughter of an earl, accustomed to doing what she wants when she wants to. She has resisted marriage, after a close call some years before, because she now understands what she will be giving up if she agrees to marry. She has her papa wrapped around her little finger, and he lets her do whatever she wants, so what is her incentive to marry?

Other than love, of course, which brings us to...

Lord Anthony, Marquess of Darkefell: Darkefell is one of those broody, moody, handsome alpha heroes, the kind who has never met anyone he can’t command, control or, as a last resort, charm into doing what he wants. But he’s never met a young woman like Lady Anne. Sparks fly when they meet; at first he writes her off as a plain, nosy spinster, but soon he is noticing things like her lovely gray eyes, her elegant demeanor and movement, her composure, and most intriguing to a man who is used to being smarter than everyone else, her intelligence. Watch out when a man like that falls in love!


Now, a little about the first book in the Lady Anne series:

Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark: Who—or rather what—is shredding sheep and frightening the maidens of the Marquess of Darkefell’s Yorkshire estate and the nearby village? Some say they have seen a werewolf, and that it rose up on its back legs and spoke! Lady Anne Addison is beckoned north to Darkefell Castle by her younger friend, Lady John Bestwick, married just four months before to the younger brother of the Marquess of Darkefell. When Anne arrives she literally trips over a murdered maidservant, and horrified as she is, she’s angry, too. No one is going to impose on her in such a fashion.

But as she investigates, trying to figure out what is going on and why, she is constantly blocked by the enigmatic marquess, who taunts her with kisses and fogs her brain with his skillful lovemaking.

Readers should know, this is the first book of a series, so expect a few lovely loose ends that will be woven in to the next books!


So, now that you know a little about the book, I have a couple of copies of Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark to give away.

To be eligible, answer me this: In a time when a woman gave up every scrap of personal power to her husband the moment she married, a time when a woman was, by law, part of her husband once she married, what is love worth? What would a man have to do to convince you his love was worth it? Or, what would you give up for love? (Never ever give up chocolate!)

I’m going to choose the best answer, in my opinion, (it doesn’t have to be long; short is better) and then I’ll randomly choose one more winner from the rest of the comments!

Find me in these places: Check out my home page for excerpts, upcoming guest blog dates, and lots more!!

Book Blogs:



I look forward to hearing from you all!!


  1. Wow, that is a thought-provoking question! What would a man have to do...? I think, for me, he would have to allow me some form of independence so that I could retain my own identity. Rather than have my life totally absorbed into his, I would want the freedom to pursue my own interests, have my own friends, make my own money. He would have to treat me as an equal, not as property, speak TO ME, not DOWN AT me, show interest in my life and not expect everything to revolve around him. Hhmm, is that too much to ask?


  2. YES! What Margay said!! Best of luck with the book, Donna.

  3. Honestly, I don't think there is anything a guy could have done to talk me into marriage, especially if I already controlled my own life and money. The only way I would have even considered it would have been if I were in a terrible spot with a father who was abusive and not likely to die soon.

    To me, marriage would have meant total and complete loss of independence whether a man took advantage of it or not. Just the idea would be enough to turn me off to the whole institution.

    Heck, it took a whole lot to change my mind about marrying twenty years ago. As great as love is, I'd sooner be a happily ruined woman in control of my own life.

  4. Hmm, can't think of anything but trust. Without that, there's no point to any of it.
    Great post, Donna, and Happy Launch Day!

  5. In that case, love is pretty worthless. Nothing is worth giving up your freedom and self-empowerment. Ditto, nothing is worth giving up freedom for love.

    e-mail me here

  6. Love is blind but not stupid.Every woman should have independence.Women are not chatel property.

  7. Happy Launch Day, Donna!
    Don't enter me in the drawing, I've already got the book :)

  8. I'd give up corsets for love.

    Big sacrifice, I know. :)

    Congras, Donna!

  9. Congratulations on the book. It sounds like a "smart" Regency--which I just adore. Can't wait to read it.

    As for your question, I don't know. I'm not sure that even great love would have been sufficient. From my twenty-first century perspective, a marriage so unequal doesn't sound like marriage at all.

  10. Your book sounds wonderful Donna, and all the reviews I have seen so far are glowing. Congratulations on your launch day!!!

    Your question is intriguing to be sure. Of course, we ARE looking at it from a 21st century perspective! Very few women in Lady Anne's day would have been as lucky as her. Most would have been facing complete destitution if they did not marry. As you said, that is why marriage was approached with a business-like attitude. Love, if it happened at all, must be tempered with logic. Plain respect was usually good enough. I'm not sure I am answering your question as I am a huge romantic and want to believe that love conquers all, etc. But I am also very practical and suppose if I were in Anne's situation I would take the time to make the fellow prove his devotion.

    Good luck with the novel. I am sure it will be a hit!

  11. A lot of this commentary is exactly why I knew Lady Anne had to have money; I didn't want her to seem foolish, making a man who is wealthy, like Darkefell, prove his intentions.

    Darkefell is a real 'catch', but Anne knows she has much to lose and little to gain, if the marquess should turn out to be the kind of man who would not allow her some independence.

  12. The eternal question, but it's not actually what love is worth. Rather, it is what you are worth. Whether what you will gain from marriage to this man is greater than what you will lose. Whether you yourself as a single woman is of more importance than the self you will be with this man when, 'the two become one'. Of course this new married entity of man and woman would have to be one of true partnership, of complimenting each other in faults as well as virtues. Love should be the greatest part of this, maybe the transcendent part.


  13. Hm, if that's the case, he'd just have to be my boy toy. :}


  14. I'm a hard sell right now on marriage honestly. The odds are not in my favor in my family for a long lasting happy one so I'm just as content to be married.

    Back then? I suppose like everyone else a form of response from the man to show that he trusts me and would allow me to be myself. Wouldn't dictate to me about my wardrobe or who my friends are or that I'm reading instead of planning a short a man who trusts me to have common sense enough not to associate with people who are obviously suspicious or wear a scandalous (or ridiculous) outfit or someone who ignores the social necessaries inherent in our social position.

  15. Donna,
    SUPER CONGRATS on your launch! I'm really looking forward to reading "Lady Anne!"

    I agree with Sharon, marriage in the 18th century looks very different from our 21st century perspective! Plus, I will confess that I had some pretty unrealistic expectations and dreams at 18, 19, and even into my early 20s that I do not have NOW! You know what they say about hindsight being 20/20! LOL!


  16. Congrats on the launch, Donna! I'd give an answer of my own, but I really like Margay's answer best. In that time, to have a man who encouraged and respected your intelligence, independence and individuality would have been absolutely necessary if I wasn't going to wind up miserable. But then, those are still my requirements (which my hubby meets, lucky for him, LOL). I just have the freedom to stay or go. Thank God for the suffragettes!

  17. I'm afraid love is stupid. People have forsaken everything for that thing called love. Today I would say I would want it to be a complete partnership in all ways. All decisions would be made together. Both should want the other person's happiness. I and me would have to change to us and we :)

  18. Congrats on the release!.

    He'd have to respect, and welcome, my opinions and abilities, admire me for my intelligence, encourage and allow my independence, even if he doesn't quite agree all the time. And he'd not shut me out from his own troubles and woes, because of that deep respect, trust, understanding and love between his.

  19. Trust and respect in love is tantamount. A woman should be able to trust the man she loves to do what's right by her no matter what, including her property she brings to the marriage. She's giving him everything, that deserves his respect along with that trust. Then in that love would come the freedom to be who she is and he would encourage her to be herself.

  20. said man would have given me his word that I could keep in contact with my family and hopefully we would with his. Family is IT and I couldn't not see mine or hear from them.

  21. Things were a lot different back then. The whole thought process was a universe away from what it is now. But me, being the woman I am today, would answer with a resounding NO! To me, love is definitely not worth the loss of one's self or anything else for that matter. My husband understood from the day we met that I was not one to bully around. I've wondered often how I would have survived in the time of Lady Anne. Perish the thought!

  22. I'm going to participate even though I already have a lovely copy of Lady Anne's first book.

    Love is worth the sacrifice of previously supposed assumptions of who you are, who they are, what you want, and the future you had planned out for yourself, etc. for a life with this other person no matter how hard or different than your original plan it might be.

    Is blogger telling me something with the word verification?

    "Psyco" is not quite "Psycho" but it's close.

  23. Hi all,

    Thank you so much for all your thoughtful comments... Sandy M. and Margay are the winners of a copy of Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark!

    If you can both e-mail me your snail address, I'll send the books off right away!

    Have a great weekend, all!

  24. Best of luck with the book Donna!

  25. Thank you so much! I sent my address to you via the email I found on your contact page. I really look forward to reading this book.

  26. If he was as much of a hunk as that, I don't feel I'd be losing any freedoms at all. I'd be just where I wanted to be. :)

  27. I think I'd have to go the scandalous route and keep the man on the side but place my independence first. At least until I knew I could trust the man. And that could take years--the sort of trust I'd have to have a in a man to basically hand my life over to him couldn't be achieved with just a few month's acquaintance, no matter how intimate.

  28. Gosh, more I read about these books the more excited I am!!

    That we are both one together now. That all I do is for you, that I'll spend my life making you happy. That you can always trust me. We are now ONE.

  29. Assuming I was independently wealthy or otherwise free to choose for myself... I would be willing to give up closet space and the left side of the bed. Not my freedome or my sense of self. And DEFINITELY not chocolate.

    Good luck with the book! I look forward to reading it.


  30. Tough question. From research I've done for a short story I had to write, women had to get married or risk ending up in a poor house, as father controlled everything, and then passes it on to oldest son when he dies, or the woman's inheritance goes straight to her husband when married, and he has control. So love didn't really come into it, it was a means to keep her social standing.
    Saying that, if I was in that position, knowing I had to marry regardless, I would hope to marry a man who is kind and gentle and treated me with the respect I deserved, rather than just a baby-making machine for his "heir and a spare". It wouldn't hurt if he was good looking, either. If I have to get married, I'd like to be attracted to him in some way.

    Great contest!