As many of you may know, our beloved sister hostess SHARON DONOVAN, tragically passed away on 11th April 2012. We who knew her, loved her, and were inspired by her courage and determination to face head on whatever life threw at her. When she could no longer see to paint she turned to writing and showed her amazing talent in the Inspirational Romance and Romantic Suspense genres, and her story 'Charade Of Hearts' was awarded the coveted Predators and Editors Award in January 2011.

This Blog was a source of great delight to her, she was one of the founder hostesses and she contributed to the fun and silliness in her own original way, and was kind enough to let her unique creation, the hunky butler 'Oliver' join us for our Friday romp and prepare 'virtual breakfast' for the guests on the following morning. It's beyond hard to have to go on without her, but we know that she would have been the first to insist that 'the show must go on.' She is, and will always be with us in spirit.
Sharon, dear friend, we will never forget you.
The Author Roast and Toast is part of the legacy you left us. Let's raise a Toast to you as well as all our guests.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Bluestocking Belles - Celebrate 'Mistletoe, Madness & Mayhem with a Regency Christmas Party

The hostesses emerge from a sleek black carriage  parked outside of Mrs. Marlowe's Book Emporium
and Tearoom dressed in the height of Regency fashion. Mary adjusts the plunging decolletage of her pale blue evening gown and sighs.

Laverne snorts. "That empire waistline and your bust size don't go well with a scoop neck, Mary. The 'girls' are about to come out of that thing."

Mary holds her head high. "Well, at least I'm wearing the appropriate fashions for the appropriate times. Lilly's bustle is so big, she could have stepped right out of a Harper's Bazar magazine from the 1870s."

"That shows how much you know." Lilly pouts. "This is a Regency gown, and I'm not wearing a bustle."

Lyn pats her on the shoulder. "It's okay, Lilly. You just have a big bum, and that dress is really quite lovely, but perhaps you should have forgone the petticoats."

"Perhaps." Lilly says, still pouting.

"Hey, at least your shoes aren't as big as Lyn's," Mary says. "Her slippers look like small boats under that dress."

   "As long as I don't  have to wear heels," Lyn says with an emphatic nod.

Debby pats her poofed up hair. "Aren't the hairstyles of this era just grand?"

"If you're going for the Marie Antoinette look, then you nailed it," Mac mumbles under her breath. Then she scans the streets, her eyes crinkling up at the corners as she stares up at the large, Greek Revival style architecture of Mrs. Marlowe's Book Emporium. "Tell me again why we're going to a
bookstore dressed to the nines in Regency attire."

"So forgetful," LaVerne says with an indulgent smile. "The Bluestocking Belles are seven Regency authors who've written an anthology about seven runaway brides and their holiday heroes."

"These ladies have put out a Christmas box set,  Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem just in time for the holidays. Since they run the Bluestocking Bookshop, we're here at Mrs. Marlowe's Book Emporium to help them celebrate with their heroes and heroines," Lyn says.

"Oh, I do love a good soiree," Lilly says.

"Come on," LaVerne says, leading the way inside. "The party is in one of the entertainment rooms."

Mary whistles. "This place is huge."

The hostesses enter the book emporium and are met by the seven lovely Bluestocking Belles: Jude Knight, Amy Rose Bennett, Susan Ellis, Sherry Ewing, Mariana Gabrielle, Caroline Warfield, and Nicole Zoltack. 

Jude smiles. "Welcome to our little book shop, ladies. We are so thrilled with what Oliver and your decorators have done with the place, and we can't wait to celebrate our release with you."

"Decorators? We hired decorators?" Mac gawks as the seven authors lead the hostesses
to a large room in back of the emporium. "When did we get decorators?"

"Mac," Lyn says, "you, Lilly, Mary, and Debby live in the states. Lavern lives in New Zealand, and I live in Wales. We can't always get together to decorate, so we get Oliver to contact his people, and the magic happens."

"Is there nothing that man can't do?" Mac asks before falling silent.

The hostesses are amazed at the beauty of the Regency style Christmas decorations and the array of scrumptious foods laid out before them: turkey, Christmas goose, Christmas pudding and tables filled with tempting deserts. The Bluestocking Belles sigh in unison.

"It's so much more than we ever expected," one says.

"I feel as if I'm actually in a 19th century salon," says another.

"You might well be in a different century," Lilly says. "When Lyn says Oliver and his people perform magic, she's not whistling Dixie. When Oliver creates magic, he creates magic"

"Even I am amazed," Mary says, "And I've known Oliver longer than you have."

"It's truly perfect," Lyn adds.

Debby beams and pats her coiffed hair. "Don't you just love it! Everything is so Christmasy."

Mac looks at Lilly. "I could use a drink."

"Oliver!" Lilly shouts, and as usual, Oliver is more than up to the task, offering a selection of eggnog, champagne, rum punch, and negus. Lilly goes for the rum punch, made with rum, brandy,lemon, hot water, and sugar, wanting a little more kick in her punch.

Mac reaches for negus,* a type of mulled wine made with wine, hot water, lemon juice, sugar, and nutmeg, created by colonel Francis Negus in the early 18th century.

Once all the hostess and the Bluestocking Belles have a drink, Oliver proposes a toast. Afterward, a string quartet begins to play softly in the corner as the authors of Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem  introduce the heroes and heroines of their novellas, and the party begins.

Today's skit written by Lilly Gayle

Regency romance, historical romance

Heat rating:
From G to PG-13

Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem: A Bluestocking Belles Collection
In this collection of novellas, the Bluestocking Belles bring you seven runaway Regency brides resisting and romancing their holiday heroes under the mistletoe. Whether scampering away or dashing toward their destinies, avoiding a rogue or chasing after a scoundrel, these ladies and their gentlemen leave miles of mayhem behind them on the slippery road to a happy-ever-after.

***All proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.***

Cover design by the eighth Belle, Vanessa Riley.

All She Wants for Christmas, by Amy Rose Bennett
A frosty bluestocking and a hot-blooded rake. A stolen kiss and a Yuletide wedding. Sparks fly, but will hearts melt this Christmas?

The Ultimate Escape, by Susana Ellis
Abandoned on his wedding day, Oliver must choose between losing his bride forever or crossing over two hundred years to find her and win her back.

Under the Mistletoe, by Sherry Ewing
Margaret Templeton will settle for Captain Morledge’s hand in marriage, until she sees the man she once loved. Who will win her heart at the Christmas party of her would-be betrothed?

’Tis Her Season, by Mariana Gabrielle
Charlotte Amberly returns a Christmas gift from her intended—the ring—then hares off to London to take husband-hunting into her own hands. Will she let herself be caught?

Gingerbread Bride, by Jude Knight
Traveling with her father's fleet has not prepared Mary Pritchard for London. When she strikes out on her own, she finds adventure, trouble, and her girlhood hero, riding once more to her rescue.

A Dangerous Nativity, by Caroline Warfield
With Christmas coming, can the Earl of Chadbourn repair his widowed sister’s damaged estate, and far more damaged family? Dare he hope for love in the bargain?

Joy to the World, by Nicole Zoltack
Eliza Berkeley discovers she is marrying the wrong man—on her wedding day. When the real duke turns up instead, will her chance at marital bliss be spoiled?


The Bluestocking Belles' books carry you into the past for your happy-ever-after. When you have turned the last page of our novels and novellas, keep up with us (and other historical romance authors) in the Teatime Tattler, a Regency scandal sheet, and join in with the characters you love for impromptu storytelling in the Bluestocking Bookshop on Facebook. Also, look for online games and contests and monthly book chats, and find us at BellesInBlue on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Come visit at www.BluestockingBelles.com and kick up your bluestockinged heels!


Amazon UK: http://ow.ly/RJ4Fx
Amazon Australia: http://ow.ly/RJ4Kd
Amazon Germanyhttp://ow.ly/RJ4OQ
Amazon Francehttp://ow.ly/RJ4SY
Amazon Japanhttp://ow.ly/RJ4Wg
Amazon Spainhttp://ow.ly/RJ4ZJ
Amazon Italyhttp://ow.ly/RJ51s
Amazon Netherlandshttp://ow.ly/RJ53G
Amazon Canada: http://ow.ly/RJ55t
Amazon Brusselshttp://ow.ly/RJ57U
Amazon Mexicohttp://ow.ly/RJ596
Amazon India: http://ow.ly/RJ5aJ

Barnes & Noble: http://ow.ly/RPqwp

Goodreads Reviews: http://ow.ly/RPqBl

Smashwords: http://ow.ly/RPqE9
CreateSpace: http://ow.ly/RPqFD


Website and home of the Teatime Tattler: www.BluestockingBelles.com
Bluestocking Bookshop online storytelling: www.Facebook.com/groups/BluestockingBookshop

Bluestocking Belles’ Guide to a Good Time
The Bluestocking Belles are known for having a good time! Along with short excerpts from all of our books, we wanted to share the fun with you, offering up puzzles to solve and games to play. All royalty proceeds are donated to the Malala Fund.

*Recipe for negus:

“It is made with rum, brandy, lemon, hot water, and sugar.  . . .  Put in as much sugar as the water will dissolve. If you brew, say, a quart of punch, let it contain the juice and the rind of one lemon. The juice, I say; not the pulp. The rind also; not all the peel; none of the white pith: only the yellow outside pared off thin . . .  Mix your hot water, sugar, and lemon. Let the water be boiling hot—fresh from the kettle on the fire.  . . .  put a wrapper consisting of a folded napkin over the mouth of your jug, and lay a thick octavo or some other equivalent body, over the mouth of that vessel, and let it stand for five minutes. Then add the liqors"
Digital Christmas Card by EKDuncan using digital Christmas ornaments of Regency ladies


To win a copy of 'Mistletoe, Marriage and Mayhem', all you have to do is just leave a comment and your e-mail address.
Contest ends on Sunday and everyone who comments is eligible.
(We reserve the right to waive the prize in any week when there are not enough contestants for a draw to be deemed fair and unbiased.)


  1. Hello Bluestocking Belles - welcome to your Roast. Thank you for inviting us to experience a Regency Christmas - what fun, and what a fantastic set of stories! I'm off to enjoy some negus!

    1. Hi Hywela! So glad you could be here. What do you think of the negus?

    2. Thank you for having us for a grand party, Hywela!

    3. Thank you so much for this! When I first saw this, I didn't quite get it, but then it clicked, "This is their Bookshop!" I think we must be sisters under the skin. :-)

    4. Hi Hywela and thank you for party. We're so glad to be here!

  2. Lady Pendleton toddles over to the new arrivals. "Welcome, ladies—and gentleman," she added with a nod in Mac's direction. "May I recommend the negus? Oliver's recipe is delightful, although a bit more pungent, I think, than what is usual, I think."

    The abnormal color on her cheeks and the brightness of her smile alerted Lady Philippa of a potential problem.

    "Have you sampled the lemonade as yet, Mama? I believe you'll find it quite pleasing." She plucked a glass from a waiter's tray and held it out to her mother.

    Lady Pendleton waved it away. "Pish posh. Lemonade is lemonade. Quite insipid a beverage, really. While this negus is… quite stimulating. I believe I shall have another."

    "What are you doing?" Lady Julia hissed into her sister's ear. "If you are suggesting that Mother is three sheets to the wind, you are the one who is muddle-headed. Remember when she lost that drinking contest with the Prince of Wales? She let him win because—well—royalty and all, but he was falling over his feet and she departed Carlton House as gracefully as a queen."

    "And promptly cast up her accounts in Papa's new carriage," reminded Philippa dryly. "But she's been hovering at the refreshment table all evening. I've personally counted five, and who knows how many she had while I was in the ladies' withdrawing room."

    Lady Julia rolled her eyes. "Mama doesn't need a guardian, Philippa. You'd be better employed looking after your husband. I see that Lady Caldecot has latched onto him, and you know HER reputation."

    Philippa whirled around to see her husband's and the demimondaine's heads bent in conversation. "What is SHE doing here? I would be astonished if she's ever read a book in her entire life."

    Julia smirked.

    Philippa drew a breath as she narrowed her eyes at her sister. "No matter. George is simply being polite. He would never be attracted to a woman like that." She gave Julia a look that radiated superiority. "Oh look who's just arrived! Oliver Stanton and his dear wife Kate. Don't they look well this evening? Deliriously happy, I would say. Come and greet them with me, Julia. I'm sure they will be ecstatic to see us after so long. You know they have a daughter now, do you not? Although I cannot recall her name."

    "Violet," said Julia unenthusiastically. "Yes, of course, I shall be pleased to see them again. But first… perhaps I'll have a taste of that negus after all."

    Philippa bit her lip as she watched her sister head slowly toward the refreshment room. That remark was beyond unkind. It was cruel, and she wished she could take it back.

    Because Oliver Stanton, the man she loved, had married her best friend instead.

  3. I love this book! Regency England is one of my favorite time periods to read about. Hats off to The Bluestocking Belles'!

  4. Charlotte Amberly mutters under her breath at her betrothed. "I am not sure the appeal of a party in a Bookshop. It is not as though we will be bored and need pick up a tome."

    The Marquess of Firthley's eyes twinkled as he chided, "Perhaps they will have a book about how you can always get your way with your husband, and keep from having to do the bidding of your parents."

    "Don't be silly. I already know how to do that."

    His right eyebrow rose. "Do you?"

  5. This rum punch is delicious and I just adore the eye candy...I mean the decorations. Welcome to your roast ladies!

    1. Take care, Lily. The punch packs a hell of a punch.

    2. Charlotte's escort has already cut her off.

    3. Debby's giving me the eye. I think she wants to cut me off.

  6. Miss Margaret Templeton was reaching for a glass of eggnog when she espies the latest arrival to the party. She inhales deeply to catch her breath before taking the hand of her friend, Lady Constance Whittles.

    “Margaret, whatever is the matter?” Lady Constance asks. “You look a fright, dear, and your hand is trembling.”

    Margaret nods to the door, not trusting herself to speak. Her eyes all but devour the man who had held her heart for years. Her own foolishness by trying to do the right thing had cost her the man she loved. He was nobility. She was not. If she had not rejected his offer of marriage, they might even now be married to celebrate the holiday season together.

    She shook her head, coming to her senses since Lady Constance was waiting for her reply. “Frederick Maddock, Viscount Beacham,” Margaret answered simply.

    She watched Frederick’s reaction when he finally saw her in the room. The brief flicker of joy was quickly masked with a frown of what, resentment? He quickly turned away to resume his stance of bored indifference.

    Margaret returned her attention to her friend and reached for a drink. With another deep breath, she put a smile on her face wondering how she would make it through the party while Frederick is in attendance.

  7. Ladies you had better watch Lilly Gayle with the punch. She might get a little mischievous if she has too much.

    1. Should we warn her that the corner where the Redepennings are hanging out is full of handsome young naval officers?

    2. Maybe just a little mischievous, Debby. ;-)

  8. Lieutenant and Mrs Redepenning have established themselves in a corner where they are the centre of a laughing group of naval officers.

    "Mrs Redepenning is a brave woman to take on Rick the Rogue," one man says. "I wonder if she knows what he'll be up to once he's back on her feet and out of her sight?"

    "Idiot," says his friend. "Don't you know who Mrs Redepenning is? Old man Pritchard's daughter!"

    "She's Mary Pritchard?" The first speaker gapes at the couple in the corner. Rick is now feeding Mary bites of gingerbread between sips of negus, to the amusement of the rest of the onlookers.

    "Not as good as my Mary's," he tells them, proudly, and finishes the treat himself.

    "That's different, then," the first seeker confides to his friend. "Rick's been in love with the admiral's daughter since he was a midshipman, whether he knew it or not."

  9. So sorry to be away so long *hic* I think I might possibly have imbibed in a little too much of that delicious negus - even more enjoyable than my Welsh mead - *hic*! I got quite carried away when one of the young gentlemen kindly invited me to peruse some of the wonderful books in this amazing Book Emporium, and I declare the time just got away from me!

    1. 'Peruse the books', snorts the Marquis of Aldridge. Is that what they're calling it these days?

  10. It's wonderful too to see, besides the talented authors, several of their delightful characters. I really must get to know them better - methinks a book purchase might be in order! :)

  11. Oh, Rick the Rogue sounds fascinating. Is he also dashing and handsome?

    1. He is, Lilly. And spent my novella Gingerbread Bride pursuing his Mary at least in part because she could not believe that such a dashing officer was interested in her!

  12. Lol isn't that just the way, Jude, we never can quite believe we're good enough for those hunks can we! :)

  13. Gorgeous gowns, fun games and delicious food. I'm in the right place.


  14. Hi Mary, so glad you could join the Bluestocking Belles at their party!

  15. So sorry to be late. The rabbit took my internet service down the hole. I chased him all day and finally caught him. So here to wish you the best of luck with sales!! Any dashing officers left for this Mary? Hi everyone, I love the dress. Who picked it out for me? I look great in that color don't I?

    1. I am sure we can dig up someone... ;-) I do hope you ladies will come join us at the Bookshop one day. :-)

  16. Oliver looks stunning in a cravat.

  17. Hey everyone! Oh, this is too much fun! I'm loving getting to know such fun characters :) And who made the punch? It is DIVINE! Oh dear. Did I shout? I might have to be cut off soon too - but perhaps not just yet....

  18. Mari, we'd love to join you at the Bookshop - what's the address. It looks like an amazing place!

  19. Hi LaVerne, Oh Jude, Oliver is rather dashing dressed like that, isn't he! Sharon certainly left us a treasure with that one! His heart still belongs to her though!

  20. Mary - yes, that colour really does suit you - but stop telling fibs, we all know where you've been, you've had a secret assignation with one of these gorgeous young gentlemen, haven't you - ooh what about your reputation? Oh, I forgot, that IS your reputation! LOL