Of Valentine’s Day and Love and Fans

choclate covered strawberries***DRAWING IS CLOSED–CONGRATULATIONS TO TIFFANY WEBB!!***

I love Valentine’s Day. And I love chocolate. And I love fans. So I decided to mix them all up together to get…a chocolate giveaway for my fans in time for Valentine’s Day!

So this week, I’m doing a giveaway to my fans. One lucky winner will receive chocolate-covered strawberries from Shari’s Berries.

Don’t love chocolate-covered strawberries? First of all, what’s wrong with  you? Just kidding. If you are chosen as the winner and you’d rather have something else, that’s okay, you can pick anything of similar price from Shari’s Berries and I’ll have them ship it directly to you.

Want to get entered a second time? Refer a friend and tell me her name.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. In the comments section comment below, tell me something you love about Valentine’s day, or about chocolate, or about friends, or about love. You can even share a fun quote, if you aren’t feeling creative. Or you can pay me a complement if you really want 😉
  2. Leave  your email address so I can contact you to arrange shipping. If I don’t have a way of contacting you, I cannot award your prize.
  3. Refer a friend, then in a separate comment, tell me her name. She does not have to be a fan of historical romance, but that’s a definite plus!(for me) When she enters the contest, I’ll put your name in a second time. You can refer as many friends as you want for more chances to win.

Entry closes Friday, February 5th at midnight. I will do the drawing on February 6th.


That’s it. Simple as that.


Valid in continental US only.

NO purchase necessary.

Must be at least 18.

Void where prohibited.



English Titles and Forms of Address During the Regency

Cover art for The Guise of a Gentleman--small

Original cover art used for The Guise of a Gentleman

As an American, I once found English titles as puzzling as they were intriguing. Even after ten years of research, and thirteen published titles, I still double check my uses before I introduce or address a Regency nobleman. Here is a quick and easy guide to help you understand them, too.


The titles of duke and marquess are usually territorial, such as Earl of Tarrington.  Though the titles of earl, viscount, and baron are most often associated with a territory, they can also be based on a family name, i.e. Viscount Amesbury. Some very old titles do not use “of” in the title, so they could be simply Earl Tarrington. A baron’s wife is not typically called baroness, though she is addressed as Lady Titlename–only a woman who is a baroness in her own right uses that title.

The British peerage, in order of precedence is:

Duke whose wife is a duchess (the Duke/Duchess of Placename, addressed as Your Grace). It is also correct so say simply, “duke” or “duchess” but probably only by a peer or friend.

Marquis, later the spelling changed to Marquess to sound more English and less French, (marquis is pronounced mar-kwiss) whose wife is a marchioness (the Marquess/Marchioness of Placename, addressed as Lord/Lady Placename)

Earl whose wife is a countess (the Earl/Countess of Titlename, addressed as Lord/Lady Titlename

Lower ranking titles:

Viscount whose wife is a viscountess (the Viscount/Viscountess [of] Titlename, addressed as Lord/Lady Titlename.

Baron whose wife is a baroness (Baron/Baroness Titlename, addressed as Lord/Lady Titlename.

The next two ranks are not peers, meaning they do not sit in the House of Lords:

Baronet (addressed as Sir Firstname, his wife as Lady Surname)

Knight (addressed as Sir Firstname, his wife as Lady Surname; a knighted female is addressed as Dame Firstname, her husband as Mr. Surname, because he does not share the disctinction of his wife)

Baronet title is hereditary but a knighthood is not inherited.

Does that help? When in doubt, resorting to “my lord” or “my lady” will not usually get you in trouble.

For more details on each rank as well as correct forms of address, I recommend these sites:


People in Regency England depended heavily upon horseback and carriage to get around. Many of them traveled extensively from their country homes to London for the Season, which was both a social and political time of year while the House of Lords was in session. Many roads were terrible, and weather and highwaymen made travel uncomfortable as well as dangerous. To accommodate the Regency gentry or nobility, the styles, paint design and features of carriages were as varied as today’s automobiles, and many were also custom-made. Nobility had their family coat of arms painted on the side of their family coach. Image, status, and money, as well as personal taste, were all factors in choosing a carriage. A reader may come across a number of different names for conveyances. Unless one is willing to do research, these names may mean nothing. So, to help you visualize types of vehicles in historical novels, here are some more commonly used types:


Barouche (pictured): a very expensive and large four-passenger carriage pulled by four horses. Its folding hood could be raised but it only covered two of the passengers. This was viewed as a status symbol to own and provided a stylish way to be seen showing off wealth and clothing. It also allowed for unimpeded views, so they were ideal for sight-seeing.


Curricle: (pictured) a vehicle meant for two horses, it was small and only had two wheels. Its hood folded down, like a convertible. Lightweight and very fast, it was a favorite of young men who wished to show off driving skills and a perfectly matched team. Thrill-seekers often used it in racing, but it tipped over easily, so it was dangerous, hence the challenge and allure.

Dog cart: named so because owners often used it for taking fox hounds to a hunt. It had a seat in front for one driver, and a seat facing the rear of the carriage that could fold down for two passengers. Originally named a dog cart due to the ventilated box under the seat to keep hunting dogs when they drove to the fox hunt, this box also created an ideal place to stow cargo. There were both two- and four-wheeled versions. Another vehicle called a dog cart was a small four-wheeled cart pulled by dogs, generally to transport containers of milk or other cargo.

Family coach: a closed carriage that comfortably seated four passengers. The driver sat up front, way up high. It had windows, curtains, lanterns and usually storage compartments for refreshments and supplies. They also normally featured small desks for writing the many extensive letters Regency people were so mad about sending and receiving.

Gig: much like the dog cart, often popular with country doctors, is a two-wheeled vehicle with a seat wide enough for one or two people.

Governess cart: also called a “jaunting cart,” sometimes driven by ladies but most often by children. It was small and light, and pulled by one pony or donkey.

Hackney Coach 1800 @wikimedia commons

Hackney (pictured): like the modern day taxi cab, these could be carriages of any kind, but typically those that were closed, and driven by the cab driver, called a jarvey. They were most often used in London. One could hail them from the street, or go to a hackney stand where the jarveys hung out until they found a paying passenger.

Hansom: a two-wheeled carriage used as a cab. Most sources date its usage beginning with the Victorian Era. If this is true, it would not have been around during the Regency.


Landau (pictured): an open carriage with folding hoods that could be raised to protect the passengers. Like the Barouche, it was ideal when one wanted to see and be seen. It, too, had a driver up front and was pulled by four horses. Cinderella’s carriage reminds me of a Landau.



Phaeton(pictured): a smaller two-seater used by owners who drove themselves. Many had a footman seat in the back. The Phaeton is most often shown as open with a folding hood; sometimes it is shown as having a roof but with open front and sides. The front two wheels were smaller than the back wheels. Often the seat was very high, so much so that one required a ladder to reach it. It was also often referred to as the high-perch phaeton. It was considered stylish and rakish.

Post Chaise: technically any carriage that could be hired out  by someone who wished to travel privately and not with a group of strangers such as a stage coach or mail coach. By the Regency it was usually  small, chariot-style carriage which could be pulled by two or four horses, (but usually four) often painted yellow, and had one seat, which seated two. It also had an outside, rear facing seat for servants and a platform in front for luggage. The driver, called a postilion, rode on the backs of the left lead horse instead of on a bench on the carriage.


There were also stage coaches and mail coaches, which were public transportation for the person who didn’t mind (or were forced by the size of their purse) to travel with other passengers. They followed select routes and stopped at inns for food and for changing out the team of horses. The mail coach was the cheapest way to travel, and the most uncomfortable because its primary function was to carry mail rather than passengers. Sometimes, passengers were obliged to ride on top, and there are stories of that proving a fatal way to travel.

Traveling in Regency England was so difficult and dangerous, I’m honestly surprised people did it at all. But I suppose our ancestors will look back at us and how many car accidents and traffic jams occur in our era, and will wonder the same about us. It all boils down to a need to get somewhere, and the means at one’s disposal for getting there.

Origin of Amesbury

In my Regency romance series, “The Rogue Hearts,” I created a family with the surname Amesbury. I first heard the name when a neighbor got engaged to a young man whose last name was Amesbury. The moment I heard Amesbury, something perked up inside me.

My neighbor said dreamily, “Doesn’t that sound like the name of an English lord?”

thestrangershemarried 2013 tiny

Book 1 of the Rogue Hearts Series, The Stranger She Married

I wholeheartedly agreed. Years later, when I wrote my first Regency romance novel, The Stranger She Married, there was no question that Amesbury would be Cole’s surname. And since Cole has three living brothers, there would be a total of four heroes with that same wonderfully romantic and noble surname.

I did some research on the origin of the surname Amesbury.  I found that it is, indeed, British with a long and distinguished history. Here is a great website with info about the family name here: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Amesbury.

This name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a locational surname deriving from the place in Wiltshire called “Amesbury”. The place name is first recorded circa 880 in the “Saxon Charters” as “Ambresbyrig”, and means “Ambr’s fortress”, derived from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name “Ambr”, after the Old Germanic name “Ambricus”, thought to mean “immortal”, from the Greek “Ambrosios”, with Old English “burg” or “burh” meaning a fort or fortified place and often referring to a Roman or other pre-English fort.”

New Cover

Book 3 of the Rogue Hearts Series, A Perfect Secret

This describes my family of heroes well because the family has a fortress–the castle that has been in the family for generations–but better yet, the heroes themselves are each “fortresses”–standing against evil and protecting the innocent and those whom they love. Plus, they are all gorgeous men of Greek god proportions. The castle belonging to the family has a series of gardens, each created after a different Greek myth.

And even better, my heart nearly stopped when I read this:

“The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Christian Amsburie…dated 7th August 1578, Bitton, Gloucestershire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 – 1603”

Christian! An amazing coincidence, since Christian is the name of one of my Amesbury brothers, the youngest, and the hero of my third book in the series, A Perfect Secret (pictured right). Don’t you just love serendipity?

So the name Amesbury is a perfectly appropriate surname for an earl of a Regency romance novel with ancient lineage, not to mention a castle, to have. Besides, it just sounds lovely, doesn’t it?


Book 2 of the Rogue Hearts Series, The Guise of a Gentleman

The Suspect's Daughter, book 4 of the Rogue Hearts Series

Book 4 of the Rogue Hearts Series, The Suspect’s Daughter

BTW, also in my Rogue Hearts series are The Guise of a Gentleman, a swashbuckling pirate romance and my newest, a romantic suspense, The Suspect’s Daughter. 







Read more:  http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Amesbury#ixzz1Ukjz5tPG

Why I Read and Write Regency Romance Novels

As a child, my most beloved books were historicals. My favorites were the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. I read those books over and over. Later, I discovers other historicals like Little Women, Jane Eyre, and Anne of Green Gables.

When I was a teen, I read almost everything, especially sci fi and fantasy, but was always more interested in the interpersonal relationships and romances than the plot itself. I started reading romances when I was about 14, and was immediately attracted to historicals of all kinds which sorta felt like full circle to me.  Yes, I still read and love fantasy, I even wrote a few, one of which got published, but historical has it’s own kind of magic.

a lady and two gentlemenYou’re going to laugh when I confess how clueless I was, but I didn’t really know what a Regency was until I started seriously researching it. Until then, I couldn’t have told the difference between a Regency, a Victorian or a Georgian. But I always loved historicals overall.

Regency Lady in whiteHistoricals are like a whole new world, totally different from the modern world in which I live. Regency in particular is fun because the manners and mores of society are so formal and lavish (unlike my reality). Besides what’s not to love about men who can dance? Not to mention that there are few things as manly riding horseback or fencing or willing to engage in a dual to protect his honor. Or that of his lady love. I have a thing for medieval romances, too. Love those knights who are all about duty and honor!

Honestly, I didn’t know if I wanted to choose Georgian, Regency or Victorian as my historical era in which to have my books take place until I plunged into my research. I discarded Georgian because I detested the white wigs and the wide panniers women wore then. I chose Regency over Victorian for a number of reasons: took place during and right after the Napoleonic war, which provides the perfect backdrop for the tortured hero still haunted by the horrors of war (my favorite kind of fictional character); it was a unique period, people were more free thinking than other eras, and also their days were filled with huge, lavish parties which adds an element of fantasy or magic (yeah, still soooo not like my real life); I like the clothing styles and part of the fun of a historical is getting immersed in the ‘world’ which includes describing clothing; and a large part of my decision to go with Regency is because it is a solid market niche which helps with marketing. But now it’s a true passion and I get all geeked out about fun new Regency trivia.

I love Regency because of all this and more. Mostly, I love it because of the men. Or at least, my perception of the men–they were gentlemen. They were committed to duty and were so wrapped up in honor that they were willing to die for it. And that is a character trait I find immensely attractive.

The Suspect's Daughter, book 4 of the Rogue Hearts Series

The Suspect’s Daughter, book 4 of the Rogue Hearts Series

To date, I have written 13 titles, (my newest, The Suspect’s Daughter is pictured to the right), one fantasy, and 12 Regency romances (see my Amazon author page). I have two that are written awaiting publication and three others in various stages of writing or editing, so I expect to write Regency for a very long time.

After all, isn’t a long-term commitment what true love is all about?

So there you have it, the reason why I write Regency Historical Romance novels.  Do you have a passion that  you geek out about? What is it?

Christmas carols origins, Good King Wenceslas


Did you know that the term “carol” originally meant a dance performed to music? Often people danced carols done spontaneously, with the lady (usually) of the house making up the steps as she went along. Later, the term carol meant either a song or a dance done in celebration. Today, of course, the term means a song sung during or about Christmas.

The Christmas carol, “Good King Wenceslas” is not as commonly sung as others, but the lyrics embody the spirit of giving which we should all embrace daily, and especially during the Christmas Season.

English hymnwriter John Mason Neale penned the lyrics in 1853 to the tune of “The Time Is Near For Flowering,” a 14th century carol. The story told in “Good King Wenceslas” is a tale of a kind king and his servant who braves bitter weather on Saint Stephen’s Day, or the Feast of Stephen, which takes place on December 26th, to bring food and comfort to the poor.

What you may not know is that Wenceslaus (original spelling) who inspired the carol was a real man. He wasn’t a king but he was the much-beloved Duke of Bohemia who lived in the 10th century. During his reign, he developed a reputation of his kindness and charity, even earning the nick name “the father of all the wretched.” After dying a martyr’s death, Wenceslaus was eventually sainted, declared a king posthumously by Holy Roman Emperor Otto I (not the same person who actually held the title King Wenceslas I of Bohemia who reigned 3 centuries later), and made patron saint to the Czech Republic.

One of the parts of the song I find particularly sweet is near the end when the young boy serving as the king’s page says he doesn’t think he can go on and the king advises him to walk in his footsteps where he had already stamped down the snow. I think the symbolism of following in the footsteps of personal heroes is touching.

Here is a beautiful telling of the story and song, narrated by Jane Seymore and sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.



Christmas Fudge, a Hatch family favorite recipe

My oldest daughter had an awesome 4th grade teacher named Mrs. Zimmerman, a.k.a “Mrs. Z.” She often sent home some of her favorite recipes for the children to try. Hers was the best fudge recipe I’ve ever had! Normally, when I make fudge, it comes out grainy, but this never does. It’s rich and decadent and yummy. And it’s fast!

No, this fudge has nothing to do with anything of historical significance. I don’t even know when or where fudge was invented and right now I have too much holiday shopping and the promoting of my new book, The Suspect’s Daughter, to research it. But my family and I love this fudge recipe, and I love my fans who faithfully bought my books and made it possible for me to quit my job so I could write full-time. So I’m sharing it with you. Without further ado, here is Mrs. Z’s Famous Fudge:

In large saucepan mix:

4 1/2 C sugar
1 12oz can evaporated milk
Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Cook 6 minutes stirring constantly.
In large mixing bowl place:
2 cubes butter (not margarine)
1  12 oz pkg MILK chocolate chips
1  12 oz pkg SEMI SWEET chocolate chips
2 tsp vanilla
Pour hot mixture over ingredients in bowl and mix with mixer 3 minutes on high. Add chopped nuts if desired and stir in by hand.
Pour into well-buttered 9 x 13 pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until fudge is cooled. Cut into squares and share only with those who deserve some :)
Hint: If you want to add a little holiday dazzle, you can top with crushed peppermint sticks, or broken Andes mints.
The Suspect's Daughter, book 4 of the Rogue Hearts Series

The Suspect’s Daughter, book 4 of the Rogue Hearts Series

BTW, in case you haven’t heard, The Suspect’s Daughter will be released on December 15th, and is available for pre-order now. So go and order several copies. They make great gifts for romance readers. You’re welcome :-)

Here is the short, official blurb:

Determined to help her father with his political career, Jocelyn sets aside dreams of love…until she meets a mysterious gentleman with dangerous secrets.

Working undercover, Grant’s only suspect for a murder conspiracy is the father of a lady who is getting increasingly hard to ignore. They must work together to find the assassins. England’s future hangs in the balance…and so does their love.

Kissing Under the Mistletoe



The fun holiday tradition of kissing under the mistletoe evolved over time, and like most holiday customs, has pagan origins. Ancient Celtic druids saw the mistletoe blooming even in the middle of winter and thought it contained magical properties of vitality. Some sources claim they thought the mistletoe was the spirit of the tree showing signs of life while the rest of the tree remained dormant and dead-looking. They completely missed that it is a parasite living off of trees. Since they thought it had such amazing powers, they often conduct fertility and healing rituals underneath a bow of mistletoe, and later gathered underneath it to negotiate peace between hostile parties. Husbands and wives made up under the mistletoe as a way of sealing their renewed love and commitment to peace within the marriage.

Eventually, people moved sprigs of the plant inside. In some locales of Europe and Great Britain, guests kissed the hand of their host under a sprig of mistletoe as they arrived. Later, the working classes and poor classes developed a custom of a maiden standing under the mistletoe, waiting for a kiss from a young man–they were expected to marry within a year. English maidservants willing to accept a kiss from a gentleman in exchange for money stood underneath the mistletoe indicating her willingness. The practice of kissing under the mistletoe worked its way up to the upper classes, becoming more of a parlor game or an excuse for behavior not normally condoned among unmarried ladies and gentleman.

Today the custom of kissing under the mistletoe during the Christmas Season exists in most of  Europe, Canada and America.



Mistletoe sometimes gets confused with holly but they are very different plants. Mistletoe (pictured above) has soft, pale green smooth leaves and white berries; holly (pictured to the right) has bright green ragged-edged leaves and red berries.

The Suspect's Daughter, book 4 of the Rogue Hearts Series

The Suspect’s Daughter, book 4 of the Rogue Hearts Series


My bold and determined heroine in my newest book, The Suspect’s Daughter, does not need the help of mistletoe to kiss the man of her dreams, Grant Amesbury, to show him just how much he needs her.

The Suspect’s Daughter, book 4 of the award-winning Rogue Hearts Series is available now on Amazon. Order your copy today. It would make a great last-minute gift for any romance readers on your shopping list.










New Release: Announcing THE SUSPECT’S DAUGHTER

Readers asked for it, so they got it–the story of the dark and mysterious Grant Amesbury who, in the course of his brothers’ books, gives glimpses into a tender heart buried far below layers of protective sarcasm. His story, at long last, is told in book 4 of the Rogue Hearts Series,  The Suspect’s Daughter coming December 15, 2015.  

As a present to my readers, I hurried up production to get this published before Christmas.  You’re welcome.

The Suspect’s Daughter is available for pre-order now exclusively through Amazon. Pre-orders are crucial to a book’s success–it allows the highest possible number of sales to happen simultaneously–the best way a book achieves the coveted “best seller” label. So please follow the link now to pre-order a copy for yourself and for your favorite historical romance readers–friend, sister, mom, teacher, aunt, etc.

     Come join my book blog tour and win lots of great prizes and free stuff all week long at Prism Book Tours.

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour for
The Suspect’s Daughter
By Donna Hatch

Tour Schedule
12/9: Bookworm LisaGetting Your Read On, & I Am A Reader
12/10: Katie’s Clean Book CollectionTeatime and Books, & Reading Is My SuperPower
12/11: Christy’s Cozy Cornersunderneath the covers, & Colorimetry
12/13: deal sharing auntRockin’ Book Reviews, & Wishful Endings
12/14: Bookworm NationSinging Librarian Books
12/15: Release-Day Grand Finale

Introduction to The Suspect’s Daughter

Though Grant Amesbury is a cynic and a loner, his brothers always turned to him when they needed help. He’d be the last one to classify himself as a dark knight, but he thrives on chasing down villains and dragging them to justice–dead or alive. Intriguing and enigmatic, Grant has captivated readers since the first book in the series, The Stranger She Married, hit bookstores. And each time he appeared in subsequent books, The Guise of a Gentleman, and A Perfect Secret, his fan base grew as did requests for his very own story.

Now, at long last, his story is told in The Suspect’s Daughter. The Suspect’s Daughter is book 4 of The Rogue Hearts Series, but it is written as a stand-alone novel. There are a few references to previous incidents and people in other books, but readers will easily follow the overall series story line.

In this new novel, Grant has met his match. Not only is Jocelyn his perfect opposite–light to his darkness–but she matches him in wit and courage. But Jocelyn has her own problems, and a troublesome man does not fit into her plans.

— Donna

The Suspect’s Daughter
(Rogue Hearts, #4)
by Donna Hatch
Adult Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 298 pages
December 15th 2015

Pre-order now exclusively through Amazon

Determined to help her father with his political career, Jocelyn sets aside dreams of love. When she meets the handsome and mysterious Grant Amesbury, her dreams of true love reawaken. But his secrets put her family in peril.

Grant goes undercover to capture conspirators avowed to murder the prime minister, but his only suspect is the father of a courageous lady who is growing increasingly hard to ignore. He can’t allow Jocelyn to distract him from the case, nor will he taint her with his war-darkened soul. She seems to see past the barriers surrounding his heart, which makes her all the more dangerous to his vow of remaining forever alone.

Jocelyn will do anything to clear her father’s name, even if that means working with Grant. Time is running out. The future of England hangs in the balance…and so does their love.

Tour Giveaway

$10 Amazon eGift Card
2 ebooks of A Winter’s Knight
2 ebooks of Mistletoe Magic
Open internationally
Ends December 19th

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