Release Day for The Matchmaking Game


On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Review & Excerpt Book Tour Grand Finale for
The Matchmaking Game
By Donna Hatch

Happy Release  Day!

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the reviews
or reading the first chapter of the book, go back and do so now…

Launch – Excerpt, Chapter One, Part 1

England 1814

Rowena Emerson studied her longtime friend, Evan Barnes, and tried to judge by his expression if he’d be game for a new scheme. It was hard to tell; he had come home from the war a mysterious stranger, with only glimpses of his former playful self who had always been ready for a new lark.

Rockin’ Book Reviews – Review

“I loved reading this book. I have read several Donna Hatch’s books and loved everyone of them. . . . I would definitely recommend this book to other readers, especially those who enjoy a good clean romantic novel.”

Hearts & Scribbles – Excerpt, Chapter One, Part 2

“Semantics. Come.” She stood. “Let’s go out for some air, and I’ll tell you all about it. There is a terrace outside,” she added in case he didn’t remember the layout of their host’s home.

He rose, his posture straight as a tin soldier. The lamplight shone on his dark hair, regulation-short rather than stylish, but it suited his new military bearing. “I have a feeling I’m going to regret even listening to your idea.”

Bookworm Nation – Review

“… I was quickly sucked into the story and didn’t want to leave. I loved the slow buildup of the romance between these two, and how everything works out. Like I said, its a charming regency that will warm your heart. Very enjoyable.”

Zerina Blossom’s Books – Interview

Q: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

A: Wow, that’s a tough question. The first chapter was effortless; it practically wrote itself. I loved the chapter where they really see each other as attractive adults, and not as the childhood friends they used to be. The big kissing scene was also super fun, and, ahem, very much put me in the mood when my husband came home.

Wishful Endings – Excerpt, Chapter One, Part 3

She laughed at his indignation, then put a hand over her mouth to muffle the sound. “I’m only quizzing you, Evan. I haven’t done that sort of thing for at least a month.”

He raised his brows and she chuckled. His departure for the war had put an end to most of her pranks. Losing her friend and cohort, not to mention her heartbreak at his absence, had taken the joy out of many of her favorite pastimes. She’d settled for more mundane activities in his absence. Now that he was back, she could finally breathe easy.

Hardcover Feedback – Review

“The ending was great and I enjoyed every minute of reading this book. I think anyone who enjoys reading stories set in this period will love The Matchmaking Game too.”

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium – Excerpt, Chapter One, Part 4

Rowena pointed her chin at the couple. “Look at her. Look at my papa. I think they have always been fond of one another—they are often near each other. It probably wouldn’t take much on our part to help them realize they would make a perfect match.”

Evan lifted a dark brow. “You want my mother to marry your papa?”

Christy’s Cozy Corners – Review

“You will love Rowena and Evan. They are very fun characters! I really enjoy when a novella can make a romance believable in such a short few pages. The Matchmaking Game is another one to add to your lists!”

Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Review

“The progression of the storyline is sweet and natural, causing the reader (me included) to feel swept up in the events and to feel a part of the story, as it’s very believable.”

Reading Is My SuperPower – Review

“The Matchmaking Game by Donna Hatch is a delightful treat for the heart! With sizzling kisses, charming humor, and a tender friendship, it’s the perfect choice for a quick weekend read. You will fall in love with the characters and be sad to bid them farewell. And did I mention the kisses?!?!”

Heidi Reads… – Review

“Such a great story! The characters are vivid, the setting is awesome, the conflict is angsty, and the romance is… so romantic! . . . I loved this Regency romance and could not put it down until I was finished!”

Rainy Day Reviews – Review

“I would call this a Regency read for sure, but I appreciate the love story, the story line itself and the loving romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and I am sure most every other reader will too.”

deal sharing aunt – Interview & Excerpt, Chapter One, Part 5

Q: What do you think makes a good story?

A: Good stories stem from unforgettable, complex characters who overcome obstacles, find new strength they didn’t know they had, and learn to place others’ happiness above their own. I love it when the hero is strong and yet has a vulnerable side to him—I find that very endearing. And of course, the happily-ever-after!

Excerpt, Chapter One, Part 5

Rowena gave his arm a little shake. “I adore your mother, and I think she’d make my papa very happy. He needs the influence of a wife and companion, as I’m sure your mother would welcome a man to love and care for her.”

“Ro, this isn’t our place.”

Mel’s Shelves – Review

“It’s a great story of childhood friends whose feelings evolve as they get older. They are perfect for each other, but there’s an obstacle to overcome to get to a happy ending. I enjoyed how it all played out. This is a great pick if you’re looking for a quick, clean Regency romance to keep you entertained for an afternoon!”

Getting Your Read On – Review

“Donna Hatch does such a good job of creating characters that feel real and sincere. I love that. . . . This book was just fun. It made me smile and left me feeling happy.”

Bookworm Lisa – Review

This book has some cute twists and turns. All is not as it seems. There are counter plots in the making. The book is a short and fun book to read for the pleasure of reading. I enjoyed my time engaged in the story.

Celticlady’s Reviews – Excerpt, Chapter One, Part 6

She heaved a sigh. “Very well, then. What else can we do?”

“Stay out of their business?”

She smacked his arm with her fan. “Don’t be a wet blanket. This is just what they both need. Think of how devious and clever we’ll have to be to make them each realize that the other is interested.”

Booklove – Spotlight

Nicole’s Book Musings – Excerpt, Chapter One, Part 7

Perhaps Evan’s reluctance sprang from a new source. Rowena softened her voice. “She can still love and honor your father’s memory even if she remarries.”

He murmured, “I know.”

Beck Valley Books – Excerpt, Chapter One, Part 8

Rowena opened her mouth and then closed it with a snap. The last thing Evan needed was a husband-hunter like Cynthia Pritchard dogging him. Evan had only been home from war a short time and had much more pressing issues—like helping match her papa with his mother.

Singing Librarian Books – Review

“From page one readers will be pulled into the story and not want to put it down until the end. It is a sweet romance that will fill the heart with happiness and warmth.”

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below, if you haven’t already…

The Matchmaking Game
(Timeless Romance Single)
Donna Hatch
Adult Historical Romance
ebook, 126 pages
April 18th 2017 by Mirror Press

From the publisher of the USA TODAY bestselling & #1 Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology series in Clean & Wholesome Romance, comes the Timeless Romance Singles line.

THE MATCHMAKING GAME: A brand new historical romance novella from bestselling author Donna Hatch.

Rowena’s childhood friend, Evan, has returned home from war a handsome, but mysterious stranger. In an effort to bring happiness to her father, not to mention uncover the Evan she remembers from their youth, Rowena seeks to unite their parents. Who better to match a lonely widow and widower together than their adoring children? Her matchmaking game could help their parents find happiness and draw out her childhood friend buried beneath Evan’s new reserve … or it could break more than one heart.

GoodreadsAmazon

Tour Schedule

April 6th: Rockin’ Book Reviews Hearts & Scribbles
April 7th: Bookworm Nation & Zerina Blossom’s Books
April 9th: Hardcover Feedback & The Silver Dagger Scriptorium
April 10th: Christy’s Cozy Corners & Katie’s Clean Book Collection
April 11th: Reading Is My SuperPower & Heidi Reads…
April 12th: Rainy Day Reviews & deal sharing aunt
April 13th: Mel’s Shelves & Getting Your Read On
April 14th: Bookworm Lisa & Singing Librarian Books
April 16th: Celticlady’s Reviews & Booklove
April 17th: Falling Leaves & Nicole’s Book Musings
April 18th: Grand Finale

About the Author

Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty five years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

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Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a print copy of Heart Strings by Donna Hatch (US only)
 1 winner will receive an ebook of Heart Strings by Donna Hatch (open internationally)
– Ends April 22nd

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Love and Courtship in Regency England

I admit I’ve been out of the dating scene for (ahem) a few years now. However, from what my single friends tell me, not much has changed since I was dated. In today’s world a man asks out a woman, (or if she’s braver than I ever was, she asks him out). They might meet online, or be introduced by a friend, but eventually they end up on that first date. It might be dinner or drinks or just coffee (in my case, hot cocoa). It might involve a movie or miniature golf or a museum. It might even occasionally include another couple but it never involves parents or chaperones, and no one thinks anything of an adult man and a woman being alone together in a car or a house.

Dating in Regency England was very different. For one thing, it was called courting or wooing. But most importantly, a young lady of good breeding who wished to keep her reputation pristine so she would be a candidate for marriage never, ever put herself alone with a man. (The double standard is, of course, that the man was expected to have “sown his wild oats” and could have a very sullied reputation and still be considered a good match if he were wealthy and well-connected enough.) Therefore, courting was a very public affair.

First, they needed an introduction by a mutual friend before conversing. They often met at balls which were THE places to meet those of similar social backgrounds, but they might also meet at a dinner party, soiree, musicale, or even the opera or the theater.

If the man wished to get better acquainted with the lady he’d met, he might send her flowers the next day (but never gifts or letters), and later pay a visit upon the family during their “at home” hours where her mother or aunt or other chaperone would be present. He might take her for a stroll in one of the walking parks, with a chaperone close at hand. He might even take her riding on horseback or in an open carriage—open being the operative word since riding in a closed carriage could ruin her reputation as quickly as being alone in a house with a man.

Courting could be short or take place over a long period of time. At a ball, if she refused to dance with any other man but him, she basically announced to the world that they were engaged. If she danced with him more than twice in one night, everyone assumed she was either engaged to him or was “fast,” a terrible label for a proper young lady. If he spent a lot of time with her to the point where people began to notice how much they were together, public opinion placed them as engaged. If he failed to make an offer of marriage for her, people said he had failed to come up to scratch and shook their heads and wondered if she were unsuitable or if he were. Either way, the couple’s reputations suffered. At that point, their only option would be to marry or live with tainted reputations. Depending on his status, his reputation would probably recover but hers would likely remain tainted.

Such courting practices may sound rigid and even sterile to the modern-day woman, but I think it leaves so much open. For one thing, they relied on witty conversation rather than getting physical to get to know each other. And since the courting practices were pretty predictable, a man had to use creativity to impress a lady.

Once he felt secure she returned his affections, the gentleman would make an appointment with the girl’s father and formally ask for her hand in marriage. His income would be scrutinized and they would draw up a prenuptial agreement called a marriage settlement which included her pin money, dress allowance, jointure, and other ways he’d provide for her, as well as what dowry would go to the man. With all that settled, the father would break the news to the girl and the wedding preparations would commence.

My goal as Regency romance author is to keep in mind these social customs known as ‘manners and mores’ and yet find unique ways for my hero and heroine to meet and fall in love. I enjoy creating a unique twist on acceptable courting, throwing lots of obstacles in the way of their happily ever after, and revealing the final, happy, triumphant ending.  That doesn’t make me a hopeless romantic, it makes me a hopeful romantic.

My tagline is ‘Believe in happily ever after’ because I do believe in it. Do you believe in happily ever after?

Harps and Music

harp3

Harp belonging to Adrienne Bridgewater

If you’re like me, the very thought of a harp creates a magical wistfulness inside. When I was twelve years old, I had an opportunity to take harp lessons, and something came alive inside me. Instantly, more than anything. I wanted–no, had–to learn to play. It’s been an ongoing love affair ever since.

Playing the harp takes years to master, and a great deal of time must be devoted to technique, not just learning to read music. It has been said that harp is the second most difficult instrument to learn to play. (Apparently bagpipes is the hardest.)

Back when I used to perform, many people come up to me after my performance and tell me that they’d never seen a harp up close before. I assume that’s a fairly common situation. So, I thought I’d give you a few basics of a classical pedal harp’s anatomy.

The “base” is the bottom part of the harp where it stands on the ground. The little claw looking things all around the base are called “feet.” When the harp is in use, it balances on the feet and rests against the inside of a harpist’s knees as well as lightly against the right shoulder. The long, thin part at the left of this picture is called the “column.” You probably could have guessed that, couldn’t you? The column is filled with long mechanical gears that help change the strings. The column exterior is usually intricately carved. Some of the more expensive harps, like Adrienne’s harp in the picture, are also gilded with gold leaf.

harp base

Adrienne’s harp

The photo on the right is a close up of the harp’s base where you can see the feet. You can also see the pedals (the black things that stick out). There are seven different pedals, one for every note in all the octaves. For example, one pedal controls all the harp’s C strings. Another pedal controls all of the D strings, and so forth. Moving the pedals into different positions can make each string either sharp, natural, or flat, as desired. When the moving the harp, the harpist can flip the feet up using a hinge so they rest closely against the harp’s body, cutting down on the likelihood of damage.

Until about a hundred years ago, harps had an eighth pedal which opened a panel in the back to allow access to changing out strings. Today’s modern harps have oblong holes that provides the same access. Strings must be fed through these access holes, through the holes in the soundboard, and wound around the little pegs in the picture below.

DSCF8208

Harp belonging to Donna Hatch

This photo of my harp to the left is a close up of the top, curving part of the harp, called the “neck,” which also shows the harp string pegs and all those little lever thingies which are called the “action.” These levers move when the harp pedals move, which shortens or lengthens the strings to change key depending on the position of the pedal. To tune, one tightens or loosens the strings, similar to tuning a guitar or violin, but a special tool is required–one cannot turn them with fingers.

You’ll also notice that some of the strings are red, some are black, and the rest are white. The red strings are C, the black are F. This allows the harpist to easily find the correct strings, although an advanced harpist pretty much knows where the strings are by the position of their arms and hands, but everyone needs an occasional guide, especially for performance. The strings are laid out like a piano (minus the black keys)–A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Then it repeats. My harp had six and a half octaves. The full-sized concert harps have seven. Smaller harps have fewer octaves.louisxviharp

The wide part of the harp that has all the scrollwork and painting is called the “soundboard.” Large soundboards usually have the biggest, richest tone. Tone can also be affected by the kind of wood used and age–the older ones have a gloriously rich tone.

A folk harp or lever harp is similar to a pedal harp–just smaller and has levers instead of pedals to change key. Folk harpist use their hands to change keys by flipping up a lever; classical harpists use their foot pedals.

Unlike some images, the harp is played with the body of the harp resting against the harpist’s right shoulder, opposite the column. Reportedly, Harpo Marx, who was a self-taught harpist, started playing the harp backwards–with the column, instead of the body of the harp, resting against his shoulder. When he realized his error, he changed his technique which, I am sure, helped him develop his skill. Many pictures show the harpist resting the body of the harp against her left shoulder which is not considered proper technique and indeed I would find very confusing because one would have to play the treble clef with the left hand instead of the right.

Harpists spend years perfecting the art of harp playing, and if done correctly, make it look easy by the graceful motion of their hands. Because of my great love for the harp, I mention a harp or harpist in all of my novels, and in most of my short stories and novellas.

Since music is such a part of my life, I decided to write a series of  novels about musicians. The first one in the series is called Heart Strings which features a harpist and a violinist. In fact, one of my most beloved teachers was the great Phyllis Schlomovitz. I give a nod to her in my newest short novel when my heroine identifies her teacher Phillip Schlomovitz.

heartstrings2_fullHere is the backcover blurb for Heart Strings, book 1 in the Songs of the Heart Series, coming September 7, 2016, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Gently bred young ladies don’t run away from home to find employment, but when forced to choose between marrying a brutish oaf or becoming another man’s mistress, Susanna makes an unconventional decision. Following her passion for music, she flees to London with dreams of securing a position as a harpist. Becoming entangled with a handsome violinist who calls himself Kit, but who seems too aristocratic for a working-class musician, may be more problematic than sleeping in the streets.

Kit’s attention is captured by Susanna’s breath-taking talent, admirable grace, and winsome smiles…until a lawman exposes the new harpist as a runaway bride and a thief. With peril lurking in the shadows, Susanna’s imminent danger not only forces Kit to choose between his better judgment and his heart, but he must also embrace the life to which he swore he would never return.

Heart Strings, book 1 in the Songs of the Heart Series, coming September 7, 2016, now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Intertwining Fantasy and History

evening gown 1819A little while ago, some authors were basically bashing “ballroom Regencies” where there are so many young, handsome, single dukes, and lords–all of whom fall in love with a captivating heroine–that England could not possibly have contained all of them. I don’t see the problem. Each author’s world is her (or his) own existing in different planes independent from one another. The idea that we should all write about “real” people facing real problems, is just as ridiculous that we should all write mysteries, or contemporary novels, or non-fiction.

I celebrate the diverse genres and I adore “ballroom Regencies” that take place amid the glittering lives of English nobility because I like the fantasy element–it’s pure escapism from my ordinary life.

However historical accuracy’s importance, (and something for which I strive while writing every story) the main reason why readers love to read is to relax and escape the stresses of their lives. Many Regency readers cite wanting to enjoy a glamorous life vicariously through the eyes of the characters of a book. Historical romances are a magical way to wear beautiful gowns, get help with clothes and hair from a maid, attract the notice of a gorgeous gentleman (or even a titled lord), explore the beauties of historical settings, and fall in love–all without leaving the real world. Reading about the result of people’s poor bathing habits (something more and more people changed during the Regency, thank goodness) bad teeth, bills piling up, not having enough money, and the drudgery of everyday life too closely mirrors real life to be a complete escape. True, the falling in love aspect is fun and something one can achieve with any romance novel, but “ballroom Regencies” offer a beautiful combination of historical truth, mingled liberally with a fantasy element few other genres offer.

Longleat House

Longleat House

Ordinary people in real life are often unsung heroes who quietly uplift and improve their own corner of the universe, and I don’t mean in any way to demean their contribution. But the adventurer and romantic in me seeks something larger than life. How else, but through literature, can I explore an English manor house or castle? How can I don a tailored riding habit and ride side-saddle over the English countryside in a fox hunt or steeple chase? How can I sail on a schooner or frigate and battle pirates while exchanging smiles with a gorgeous sea captain? How else can I flirt and dance and exchange witty banter with a handsome duke? Historical romance, and in particular,”ballroom Regencies,” offer these adventures all set in the backdrop of the elegant, glamorous, fantastic world of the English beau monde.

galleonBy combining these settings with the human elements of good people trying to do the right things for the right reasons, I feel that I have found the best of both worlds. I hope you enjoy those journeys with me.

 

 

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 discovered 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 being 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 Medieval or Georgian or Regency or Victorian as my historical era 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 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.
Enjoy!
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.

Deleted Scenes: Unmasking the Duke

Since I’m the kind of writer who writes by the seat of my pants, I have to do a lot of editing, revising, rewriting. Sometimes that means I need to cut a scene, either because it takes the story off course, or it isn’t meaty enough, or it paints the character in a less than ideal light. Sometimes, I need to delete a scene to stay under a certain word count. For all of those reasons, but mostly to keep under the word count limit, I cut a scene from Unmasking the Duke. I love seeing cut scenes from favorite movies, so I thought it would be fun to share this cut scene with my fans.

In the original draft of the story before I started cutting scenes, Hannah is trying to determine if she is truly in love the the duke, or if she is merely reacting to his kiss. Since she has never been kissed before, she has nothing upon which to base a comparison. So she calls in a servant, someone who saved her life in a previous story and who is young and handsome. She asks him to kiss her. It’s a dangerously scandalous request but she’s desperate to prove that being kissed by anyone is amazing and earth shaking so she can discount her reaction to the duke’s kiss.

So, for your pleasure, a deleted scene from Unmasking the Duke:

Was it possible that every man’s kiss was as heavenly as Bennett’s? Perhaps all men’s kisses were as beautiful and moving. She might be confusing love with desire. But how to learn the difference? She certainly couldn’t ask Cole to kiss her, nor the Buchanan twins, and certainly to not Mr. Hill. As she thought of men of her acquaintance, a terrible, naughty, delicious thought struck her.

In an uncharacteristic act of daring—not to mention impropriety—she summoned Cole’s valet, Stephens.

He arrived, his handsome dark looks as striking as she’d remembered. “You wanted me, Miss?”

“Yes. Please close the door.”

He obeyed and waited for her to approach.

She pushed past the butterflies having a war in her midsection. “If I asked you to do something, would you do it?”

“Of course, Miss.”

She gathered her courage. “I need you to kiss me.”

He gave a start. “Miss?”

“I have only been kissed by one man, and I need to know if I’m so shaken by the man, or by the kiss. I need to know if all kisses are that…nice. So I need you to kiss me. If what Cole has implied is true, you are something of a ladies’ man, so you ought to be experienced enough to know how to do a proper job of it. And you’re certainly handsome. Did you know I actually had a crush on you for over a year?”

He glanced sideways as if afraid someone might be listening and took a step back. “Ahhh…”

“If your kiss makes me feel the way his does, then I can more easily put him from my mind.”

His mouth opened, but nothing came out. Finally, he shook his head as a slow grin curved his mouth. “I’m sorry but I can’t do that, Miss.”

She self-consciously touched her hair. “I’m not pretty enough.”

“Oh, Miss, you’re more than pretty enough. You’re one of the fairest girls I’ve ever seen.”

“Then it should be no hardship for you to kiss me.”

He choked. “No, Miss. I admit, I’ve wanted to kiss you a fair long time. Pretty girls have that effect on me. But if Lord Tarrington found out I’d touched you, he’d skin me with his bare hands.”

“He won’t find out. All the men are out for the afternoon hunt, and my sister thinks I’m lying down with a headache.”

He grinned but eyed her uncertainly. “Are you sure? Kissing is no trifling matter.”

“I’m afraid I won’t know the answer to my problem unless I kiss a man, and I daren’t kiss one of the guests, lest they get the wrong idea. Please? Will you help me?”

Stephens chuckled. “Putting like that, how can I refuse?”

He stepped in. All the butterflies in her stomach doubled their efforts. Not only was she behaving in a scandalous manner, this moment might reveal more than she wanted to know.

He put a finger under her chin, lifted it, leaned in, and kissed her. His lips were soft and warm and gentle, and he was clearly a skilled kisser. But none of the awareness raced over her body, none of the thrill tingled in her nerve endings, none of the joyful completeness settled in her heart as it had when Bennett kissed her.

Stephens kissed her thoroughly and then stepped back, eyeing her. “Well?”

“It was pleasant, and you obviously know what you are doing.”

“But?”

“It wasn’t the same as his.”

Grinning, he shook his head “Well, I’m a little offended that I can’t make every girl swoon at my kiss, but it sounds to me like you have your answer. Is it what you’d hoped?”

“No. It means I have a problem.”

He nodded, his dark eyes solemn for a moment before they twinkled. “Well, any time you need a second go, I’m at your beck and call, Miss Palmer. I think I’d risk Tarrington’s temper for another taste of your sweet mouth.”

Autumn Masquerade ebookIf you haven’t read Unmasking the Duke, you can find it on Amazon here.

Today is Release Day!

My new Regency romance short story, A Christmas Reunion, the Gift of a Second Chance is available right now!!!

A Christmas Reunion new coverA Christmas Reunion, the Gift of a Second Chance

Heartbroken that her betrothed has wed another woman, Emily is determined to pick up the pieces of her life and enjoy Christmas with her family. ​

Newly returned from war, Bennett holds a secret and will do anything to ensure Emily, his only true love, never discovers it…even if it means losing her.

Fate reunites the star-crossed lovers and reveals the truth that will either unite them or drive them apart forever.

 The Gift of a Second Chance,  published by The Wild Rose Press, is available in digital format everywhere ebooks are sold.

Remember, books make great gifts! 🙂

Welcome

Dance with a duke, outwit pirates, save a kingdom, and fall in love. Believe in happily ever after.

“Written with heart and depth, Donna Hatch’s books are absolute must-reads for any fan of swoon-worthy historical romance.” ~ Sarah M. Eden, USA Today best-selling historical romance author

Coming Soon:

Courting the Country Miss

Cynical and broken-hearted, Leticia banishes dreams of marriage. When her childhood friend, Tristan, wagers he can find her the perfect husband, she hopes the challenge will coax him to forgo his devil-may-care lifestyle. Meanwhile, Leticia throws herself into forming her charity school but meets opposition—even from the people she’s helping.

Guilt-ridden that his past mistakes robbed Leticia of true love, Tristan vows to set it right, but match-making has its pitfalls for a repentant scoundrel. When he finds two ‘perfect’ gentlemen to court her, he discovers his own deep feelings for the lady.

Though Tristan seems to reform, Leticia doesn’t dare risk heartbreak with a notorious rake. When opposition for the school takes a deadly turn, can Tristan protect her from a madman bent on destroying their dreams and their lives?

Courting the Country Miss, a follow up to Courting the Countess, is Coming Soon from the Wild Rose Press.

New Release:

The Matchmaking Game  

Purchase on Amazon today!

Rowena’s childhood friend, Evan, has returned home from war a handsome, but mysterious stranger. In an effort to bring happiness to her father, not to mention uncover the Evan she remembers from their youth, Rowena seeks to unite their parents. Who better to match a lonely widow and widower together than their adoring children? Her matchmaking game could help their parents find happiness and draw out her childhood friend buried beneath Evan’s new reserve … or it could break more than one heart.

Buy now from Amazon

Reviews:

“The Matchmaking Game by Donna Hatch is a delightful treat for the heart! With sizzling kisses, charming humor, and a tender friendship, it’s the perfect choice for a quick weekend read. You will fall in love with the characters and be sad to bid them farewell. And did I mention the kisses?!?!” ~ Reading is My Super Power 

 I thoroughly enjoyed this read and I am sure most every other reader will too.” ~ Rainy Day Reviews

“I was quickly sucked into the story and didn’t want to leave. I loved the slow buildup of the romance between these two, and how everything works out…a charming Regency that will warm your heart. Very enjoyable.” ~ Bookworm Nation

 

“Such a great story! The characters are vivid, the setting is awesome, the conflict is angsty, and the romance is… so romantic! . . . I loved this Regency romance and could not put it down until I was finished!”~ Heidi Reads

 

 This is a great pick if you’re looking for a quick, clean Regency romance to keep you entertained for an afternoon!” ~ Mel’s Shelves

 

“Donna Hatch does such a good job of creating characters that feel real and sincere. I love that. . . . This book was just fun. It made me smile and left me feeling happy.” ~ Getting Your Read On 

 

And talk about kisses! WOW! There’s one in particular that’s stick-your-head-in-the-freezer swoonilicious! Keep a fan and fainting couch close at hand for this read.”~ Reading is My Super Power

Reviews for Courting the Countess:



“Donna Hatch weaves together a compelling love story with emotionally damaged characters and skillfully moves them along with attention-keeping happenings that lead to healing and redemption and, of course, a heart-satisfying happy-even-after.” ~ The Long and Short Reviews

“Another hit from Ms. Hatch. I really enjoyed this one and look forward to reading it again!” ~ Bookworm Nation

“I had plenty of flutterings in my belly with this book!  Oh, the build up and the misunderstanding.  This book has all the things I look for as a reader.  Every time I pick up a book by Donna Hatch, I know I’m in for a treat.”   Getting Your Read On 

“The ending is absolutely perfect. If you like reading stories of/with Regency Romance, trust issues, a little mystery, marriage not made by love, learning to love, [overcoming] abuse, clean read (Lots of kissing), and finding where you are meant to be, then this might be for you!” ~ Kindle and Me

“Donna Hatch does not disappoint…I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it.”~  Zina Abbott Books

Buy now from Amazon

Buy now from The Wild Rose Press
Donna Hatch’s Historical Romance Novels sweeps readers away into the magical Regency Romance Era. These meticulously-researched and beautifully-written tales transport readers to the glittering and sometimes dangerous realm of Regency England, a unique time in British history immortalized by Jane Austen and Lord Byron. Ms. Hatch’s unusual style weaves virtue and values in her stories while including plenty of chemistry and swoon-worthy moments. Every “sweet” or PG-rated historical romance penned by Donna Hatch brings feisty heroines and strong heroes together for a glorious happily ever after.
“No one creates chemistry between Regency Historical characters better than Donna Hatch.  If you want a “sweet” read, but with lots of sizzle, you have to read her books.”  ~ Author Carol A. Spradling

English Afternoon Tea, Jane Austen Style

English tea with clotted cream

Tea is a time-honored tradition, and to me (an American), nothing says British Custom like afternoon tea. While most of us may think of High Tea as an upper class  tradition dating back hundreds of years, I discovered something else entirely.

Tea in the afternoon didn’t actually become common until the 1700’s. By the Regency Era, the custom had long-since caught on and the upper class had afternoon tea about four o’clock, which was before the fashionable time to promenade in Hyde Park if one was in London. Afternoon tea included, of course, tea served hot. Also served with tea, one would find small finger sandwiches (thin and crust-less, thank you), biscuits (which the Americans call cookies), seedcake, and small cakes—not petite fours, at least, not during Regency but small cakes sometimes called fairly cakes with butter icing, which, from what I’ve been able to tell, were probably not much bigger than mini cupcakes. There has been much discussion among Regency enthusiasts as to whether scones with jam and clotted cream (also known as Devonshire cream) were served during the Regency or if that become more common during the Victorian era, when High Tea became such a grand affaire.

Food with tea probably evolved because the upper classes ate dinner at the fashionable time of about eight o’clock at night, and since many had not yet adopted the custom of luncheon or nuncheon, they probably needed that small meal in the middle of the day. Personally, I like a small meal in the afternoon even though I do eat lunch. I would have made a great hobbit with with custom of eating “elevensies” and lunch and afternoon tea, etc. But I digress.

 “High Tea” developed during the Victorian era. Some accounts say that high tea, served later in the day at about five or six o’clock, originated with the lower classes but I don’t understand how they could come home from work for high tea and then return to work for a few hours and then go home again for dinner. *shrug* Plus, tea was expensive.

At any rate, High Tea is a more filling meal than afternoon tea. High tea usually comes with white and brown bread, meats such as roast pork, fish like salmon, scones, an assortment of sweets such as cake pie, trifle, lemon-cheese tarts, sponge cake, walnut cake, chocolate roll, pound cake, currant teacake, curd tart, macaroons, a variety of cheeses, jellies, as well as butter or clotted cream.

According to Laura Boyl in her article “Tea Time” on the Jane Austen website, the different names are derived from the height of the tables where the meals were served. Low tea is served on a table, which in the United States would be called “coffee tables.” High tea is served on the dinner table.

Because the characters in my Regency romance novels all hail from the upper class, or end up there eventually, I will focus on afternoon tea because that’s what they do every day, unless they are fighting pirates or running for their lives or battling villains, of course.

 Most sandwiches in the UK are traditionally made with a very thin white bread, generously buttered with potted paste. The potted paste could similar to deviled ham, but also could be a fish paste–salmon, for instance, very thinly spread. I guess they liked their pleasures small, thin, and bite-sized. 

Tea was (and still is, sometimes) served in a china or silver pot accompanied by slices of lemon or milk. They never put cream in their tea or it would ruin the flavor. According to Regency researcher and author, Kathryn Kane, tea leaves used during the Regency were chopped much more coarsely than those used today. The large size required that the tea be steeped for a longer period, but it also made it easier to strain the used leaves from the tea after it had been steeped. There was a special implement included in many tea services used to clear the strainer at the base of the spout of the tea pot, or to strain the used leaves out of each cup before it was served. You can find more detail at: http://regencyredingote.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/the-mote-skimmer-a-specialty-tea-accessory/

tea 2However, Regency author Grace Kone, who is British, told me that if it’s done correctly, the tea leaves stay on the bottom, with just enough pouring out to make a scattering of leaves for fortune-telling. (It sounds very Harry Potter, doesn’t it?) Grace said she has never in her life strained leaf tea. Other British friends such as author Janis Susan May Patterson use something called a tea ball, which is small metal case into which she places the tea leaves. These are also known as ‘tea eggs.’ Other friends pour their tea into their cups through a silver tea strainer, like the one in this picture:

Here is a recipe, courtesy Regency author, Miranda Neville, for cucumber sandwiches:

Very thinly sliced white bread (or whole wheat if you insist on being healthy but really, why bother?). I use Pepperidge Farm Very Thin

Good quality unsalted butter

English cucumbers (about† one and a half per loaf of bread)

Salt

1. Slice the cucumbers very thin. Put them in a colander mixed up with some† salt, weigh them down with a plate, and leave them in the sink to drain for an hour or two.

2. Wash the salt off and pat dryish with a dish towel.

3. Butter the bread.

4. Put two layers of cucumber slices in each sandwich and press flat with your hand so it all sticks together, preferably without becoming totally squashed.

5. Cut off the crusts (very important). With a big sharp knife cut each sandwich into four – triangles, squares, or strips, your preference.

And from “The Royal Pavilion at Brighton a booklet A Choice Selection of Regency Recipes you can  now make at Home” here is a recipe for macaroons.

Macaroons.
1 large egg white
2 oz ( 55 g) ground almonds
2 oz (55) g caster sugar
a few drops rose water
1-2 drops almond essence
about 12 slivered almonds =-optional.

Heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas3 

Line as baking sheet with baking parchment paper. Whisk egg white until stiff. Using a large  metal spoon, fold in  the ground almonds, sugar, rosewater, and almond essence.  Mix until blended  into a smooth thick paste.

Using a teaspoon, put blobs of  the mixture on the lined baking sheet, leaving space between them to allow for expansion during cooking. Flatten with the back of a spoon. If you like you can top each with a sliver of almond.  Bake for about 20 minutes until light golden brown. Transfer to wire rack and leave to cool. Makes about 12.

Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

Jane Austen TeaI think for my next book launch I will have afternoon tea.  In fact, I may not wait that long. I may just have a tea party just because it’s a fun and sort of a girly thing to do. I’m not a traditional tea drinker because I don’t use a lot of caffeine, so I may deviate from tradition and have herbal tea in my cup. But having tea is great fun. I attend an annual Jane Austen tea in Salt Lake City, UT with some of my Jane Austen geeky friends such as Sarah M. Eden. We have high tea, so we had lots of food (including non-traditional fruit and veggies) and we eat at small dinner tables with chairs. We all dress up and did our fair fancy.

tea 3We even have some period entertainment such as a poetry reading, a soloist, and a flutist. It was so fun! 

Have you ever had afternoon tea?