Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Frances Fowlkes | Stepping Outside the Norm—The Unexpected Heroines of the Regency Era
Author Guest / February 11, 2015

I have a weakness for writing bold, independent heroines with unusual hobbies. My ladies are often drawn to the extraordinary and the forbidden—at least for their time. From an educated number-crunching business partner in my first book, THE DUKE’S OBSESSION, to an independent dog-breeder in my latest release, MISS WINTERS PROPOSES, my heroines broach the unexpected and the near impossible with their interests. So, what constitutes a deviation from the norm, especially in the late Georgian through the Regency era? Pretty much everything. A typical lady was meant to be educated—but only just enough to secure a husband and claim the role of his wife. Anything beyond the expected basic arithmetic needed to balance household budgets was considered superfluous. A woman’s job, her sole purpose in life, was to perpetuate her husband’s line through the delivery of an heir. Anything else, was, well…scandalous. To have an opinion was frowned upon, especially when it was in contradiction to your spouse. To possess wit, discouraged. To breed dogs, and therefore comprehend anatomy, vulgar. But despite the numerous social mores, a few bold, brave, women went against the grain, and gave the phrase faux pas, a run for its money. Mary Wollstonecraft did…

Frances Fowlkes | Perfume Ads: They’re Not Just for Sniffing
Author Guest / May 17, 2014

You know those scented perfume ads that fill the pages of fashion magazines and spill out of beauty store fliers? The ones with the sticky flap, that once lifted, fill the reader’s nostrils with an olfactory overload? Yeah, I hoard them. Just to be clear, I am not a hoarder. In fact, I consider myself the very opposite. A clutter purger, if you will, who often times has to go out and buy the odd knick knack or doodad because I threw it out in my last decluttering frenzy. But perfume flyers are different. Those, I take and carefully stack in my office drawer, pulling them out whenever I need inspiration. Why? Because those little fragrance ads are far more than just a piece of paper with a bit of scent sprayed on their glossy surface. They are scene setters, writer’s block breakers, and character creators. Whenever I peel back that sealed flap, images appear, of a tropical paradise in St. Tropez, of an English rose garden in full bloom, of a silk tent in an exotic Oriental hideaway. Refreshing clean top notes, light floral layers, and musky overtones whisk me to foreign places and help settle me into a…