One of my favorite things in the whole world has always been Before & Afters. I love a good makeover, on me or anyone else. I love to see drastic weight loss or haircuts or Plain Janes transform into Glamor Girls.
When I entered into the retail market many, many years ago as a means to support myself as an actress, I sought out cosmetic stores so I could get paid to do makeovers and make people look their best. I loved it…well, the makeover part at least. The selling, restocking, cleaning, etc…I could have done without.
I also ventured into wedding makeup, turning my husband’s future step-mother, in addition to a good friend of ours, into blushing brides with flawless makeup.
But mostly, I just like to make myself over. I love to play with makeup, different colors, different looks. I don’t have as much time to do that these days, but it’s always fun when I do. And when I go to get my hair cut, I always take before and after photos, sometimes stopping off at Sephora to make the transformation even more dramatic…
See? The uglier the before, the better, right??
But the biggest transformations I’ve undergone in my life have always been in the field of weight loss. I’ve yo-yo’d since I was a young girl, the fat girl in me always fighting the healthy, fit girl in me. Then I got pregnant and gained 35lbs, lost the 35, gained 15 back, and now I’ve lost 12 of that. So I’m *almost* back to where I started. Though I still have another 10-15 I’d like to lose, I’m really happy where I am, but most of all, I’m happy with the major overhaul my diet has undergone. No more processed foods in this house! We eat gluten free most of the time, mostly organic and local (when we can), and we strive to fill our bodies with good, wholesome foods. That’s probably been the biggest challenge this time around. In the past, I’ve lost weight by switching to diet soda, splenda, eating 100 Calorie Snack Packs, and other “diet” foods. But learning to eat REAL foods has been eye opening! Not to mention, I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life! No headaches, no blood sugar crashes, no anxiety or depression (yes, diet plays a HUGE role in those things!)
And I have to give a big shout out to the makers of MyFitnessPal, without which, I wouldn’t know how much of the real foods I could eat! Ha! So, without further ado, here I am…in my swimsuits…before (February) and after (April)…
And yes, I’ve had to cut out those giant, fruity island drinks to achieve the look on the right. But I still enjoy wine and beer here and there (clearly, I didn’t cut out ALL booze! lol), and I almost always leave room for something sweet, like dark chocolate or a few bites of cheesecake.
How about you? Do you love makeovers like I do? Have you undergone any major transformations in your own life? I’d love to hear about it!
Okay, everybody! It’s quiz time again! Test your knowledge of Regency propriety with this awesome quiz my superstar assistant came up with. Answer all the questions — right or wrong — and you’ll be entered to win one of my amazing Wetherby Brides Tote Bags PLUS a signed copy of The Robber Bride!
Please be sure to leave your email address in case you win!
All the questions below have to do with propriety during the Regency era. Why? Because my most recent heroines in the Daring Debutantes series are anything BUT proper. They go against everything they’ve been taught in order to seek out a better life for themselves and for others….
1) During the Regency Era, what was the most important thing in determining a lady’s social status?
a) Her family’s background/worth
b) What part of town she was from
c) Her reputation
d) Her education history
2) What was the proper way believed for women to sit or stand during the Regency Era?
c) Straight; Upright with Poise and Dignity
d) With your skirt or pants showing your bloomers
3) In what conditions could a young, unwed lady walk alone?
a) In a dark garden during a ball
b) In the early morning for a walk in the park
c) Walk to church
d) Both B & C
e) None of the Above
4) What were acceptable dining manners at the dinner table during the Regency Era?
a) Reaching across the table for dishes out of reach
b) Allow a manservant to fetch a dish
c) Eating very quickly
d) Asking a neighbor to pass a dish
5) During the Regency Era, what was considered to be proper conversation topics?
a) Town Gossip
b) Complimenting of one’s attire
c) Bodily Function or Sexual related subjects
d) The weather or new hairstyles
6) As we know, all touching between members of the opposite sex were to be kept to a minimum EXCEPT when a woman:
a) Was at formal event
b) Shook the hand of the gentleman she desired
c) Was with her Father
d) None of these
7) At a public ball, who was the one who introduced the gentlemen and ladies?
a) Master of Ceremonies
b) Leader of Courts
c) Jester of Ceremonial Duty
d) King of Courtship
8) How many dances was a lady allowed to dance uninterrupted with one man without any speculation of improper conduct?
a) As many as she wanted
b) Whatever her parents thought was best
c) No more than 2 pairs of dances
d) 4 dances
Remember: Leave your answers in the comments along with your email address! Thanks for playing!
The Wetherby Brides, Book 2, is now available in audiobook!
Becky Thorn has been keeping a secret for more than seven years. A secret that, if found out, could destroy her. So before she gets too ensconced in London society, she accepts a position as a governess for a reclusive Viscount and his wife, far away from the town.
Stephen Hastings, the third Viscount Hastings, is nothing short of perturbed when the tart Miss Thorn shows up on his doorstep. He is a man with little time and even less patience, who feels his pushover housekeeper is doing a fine job keeping his wards out of his hair. But Miss Thorn thinks differently and needles her way into becoming his governess, and eventually, the object of his affection.
In light of a recent unfavorable review, I’m adding Heat Ratings to my book descriptions, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. These ratings will be based on All About Romance‘s scale from Kisses to Burning. I’m also putting a number in there to give a little more preciseness, as my Wetherby Brides tend to fall somewhere between Warm and Hot, and my Daring Debutantes between Kisses and Subtle.
In that vein, while the Wetherby Brides novels are firmly planted in the adult category, the Daring Debutantes is a great series for younger readers! Low sensuality ratings paired with gutsy heroines will make a clean but enticing read for high schoolers, especially if you want to spark their interest in history while cultivating a love for reading.
I hope this new knowledge will help my fans/future fans navigate my novels a little easier
As always, Happy Reading!
I was so excited to visit Raleigh, NC this past week to join my writing sisters in a reading at Lady Jane’s Salon RDU! Catherine Gayle, Ava Stone and myself all read excerpts from our stories that are in the anthology, A Season to Remember. It was great fun and I’m so glad I had the chance to spend a couple days with my writing besties
Follow the link to the YouTube video…I haven’t figured out how to embed in WordPress yet!
I’m so excited to announce my latest project with the lovely ladies of Timeless Quills!
Presenting 6 full-length novels in one collection for only $0.99!
Her Reluctant Groom by Rose Gordon
To Walk in the Sun by Jane Charles
A Scandalous Pursuit by Ava Stone
More than a Governess by Jerrica Knight-Catania
The Devil’s Daughter by Suzie Grant
The Healing Tree by Amy De Trempe
HER RELUCTANT GROOM ~ Marcus Sinclair, sixteenth Earl of Sinclair, has lived the last thirteen years as a recluse following an accident that left him heavily scarred. Though a recluse, Marcus has still managed to fall in love. The problem? The woman he’s taken with is none other than the sister of the lady he was once betrothed to!
TO WALK IN THE SUN ~ Hiding from a dangerous man, Tess Crawford thought The Wiggons’ School for Elegant Young Ladies would be the perfect place to disappear. Vincent Latimer, Viscount Atwood, is not a vampire and He wishes the book, Wake Not the Dead, had never been written. When a storm thrusts Tess into Vincent’s path and destroys the school, both of their pasts collide.
A SCANDALOUS PURSUIT ~ A very proper English lady has all her plans for the future disrupted when she innocently stumbles headfirst into a compromising situation with a very improper English duke.
MORE THAN A GOVERNESS ~ Becky Thorn has been keeping a secret for more than seven years. A secret that could destroy her. So before she gets too ensconced in London society, she accepts a position as a governess for a reclusive Viscount, far away from the ton.
THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER ~ A bounty hunter facing his past, Gade Ryder returns to Eden, Texas, after twelve years to investigate a gang of rustlers on the family ranch. Had he accepted the job out of misplaced family loyalty or was it the compelling mystery of the devil’s daughter keeping him in the one place he didn’t want to be? Confronted by the memory of his mother’s suicide and the father he blames for her death, Gade finds himself seeking comfort from the one woman he couldn’t trust.
THE HEALING TREE – Lady Lilian Bliant is determined to thwart her manipulative father’s plan to shackle her to a weak-willed man of the ton. Lord Maxwell Warrick is anything but weak-willed, yet Lily wreaks havoc on his heart. Will their differences be put aside and will Lily one day accept his faith as her own and Max as her husband.
Caroline re-folds a letter from her sister-in-law and smiles to herself. Everything has turned out exactly as she’d planned.
“Are you going to voluntarily tell me the reason for that sly expression, or am I going to have to pry it out of you?” Katherine asks from the threshold.
Caroline grins in response. “An expression you’ve been known to sport quite often, Kat.”
Katherine shrugs and steps into the Staveley’s white parlor. “Indeed. But what has you smirking like that today?”
Caroline’s grin grows even wider as she makes room for the duchess to sit beside her on the settee. “Vindication. No matter how much my brothers complain about my ability to manage them, they both have me to thank for their current states of happiness.”
“I could say the same thing.” Katherine settles in beside Caroline, an equally sly expression now etched across her lovely face. “I’ve got a story or two about brothers of my own.”
“Of course you do. What feat, in regards to your brothers are you the most proud?” Caroline asks.
“Oh, that’s an easy one. Benjamin and Phoebe, of course. It was easy enough getting them to the altar, but they nearly sabotaged their marriage! If I had not stepped in, Lord only knows where they’d be by now.” Katherine turns to Caroline. “Your turn. Which couple was your greatest success?”
Caroline taps her chin and scrunches up her nose. “That’s so difficult to say, Kat. On one hand, Luke with his foolish male-ness would have lost Juliet forever, if not for me; but I think bringing Robert and Lydia together was my greatest accomplishment. Robert is so stubborn and set in his ways. Domineering, really. His mind had been firmly made up about his wife, and it still would be if I hadn’t intervened. Now several children later, he hardly resembles his former self. It’s so rewarding to know how happy he’s become.” Her hazel eyes twinkle mischievously. “I think we have to do what we do, Kat. Manage others, I mean. No matter how dangerous a situation gets. Where would our friends and family be without us?”
Katherine sits forward in her seat, clearly getting excited about the topic. “Oh, I couldn’t agree more! Why, to think of the hoops I had to jump through for cousin Victoria. Goodness, it gives me the vapors just to think of that situation. Foolish girl! Now if we could only bring her brother, Thomas up to snuff! Of course, the way I’ve seen him carousing about Town tells me he’s not thinking of settling down anytime soon. Perhaps Victoria and I can team up to change that. But tell me, Caroline, what–or rather who– will your next project be?”
“Oh, darling!” Caroline clutches Kat’s hand. “There are just so many people in Town who need a happy ever after, don’t you agree?”
Katherine nods whole-heartedly. “Indeed.”
“Hmm.” Caroline continues. “Lord Carraway would be high on my list of those to help next, as would that poor, brooding Lord Avery. Although, I think his sister, Cordelia Clayworth, might have something up her sleeve for that particular fellow.” Her hazel eyes suddenly start flashing with indignation. “But I can tell you who won’t be getting any help from me. The Marquess of Haversham can go hang, for all I care. That man makes your average rake look like a well-behaved saint!” She heaves a sigh and shakes her head as though to shake an unpleasant thought from her head. “Enough about him. What about you, Kat? Who will you focus your efforts on next?”
Jerrica pipes up, Ava by her side. “Ladies, I’m afraid we must ask you to stop right there.”
Both Katherine and a Caroline turn to them, confused looks upon their faces.
“But why?” Caroline asks.
“We can’t have you giving away any secrets now, can we?” Ava explains. “You’ll ruin things for our readers.”
Katherine shrugs. “She does have a point, Caro. But that doesn’t mean we can’t wait until they leave to continue planning our machinations.”
“Oh!” Caroline leaps from her seat and rushes to where Jerrica and Ava are standing. “Well, thank you for stopping by, ladies,” she says as she ushers them out the door.
They try to protest, but it’s no use. They are no match for Caroline’s desire to plan her next matchmaking adventure.