Mini-Contest #1

A long, long time ago, in a Pink Carnation novel far, far away, Lord Richard Selwick challenged our heroine’s iron-steeled chaperone, Miss Gwendolyn Meadows, to write a horrid novel, a la The Castle of Otranto or The Mysteries of Udolpho. Never one to pass up a challenge, Miss Gwen took up the gauntlet– for the purpose of edifying young females, of course.

Someone recently asked me how Miss Gwen was getting on with her horrid novel… so I’ve decided to pass that question along to you. Here’s this week’s contest challenge:

What do you think Miss Gwen’s novel is about? Ridiculous titles encouraged….

One winner will be chosen at random to receive an ARC of The Mischief of the Mistletoe. The contest closes Sunday night and winners will be announced on Monday.


  1. Rachel Adrianna on September 7, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    The Horrors in the Bedchamber

    Miss Gwen has taken it upon herself to scare the young ladies of the ton silly by writing a fantastic novel about what happens… at night… in a bedchamber… with a (gasp!) man. Turning the consummate experience into a frightening narrative complete with ghosts, murderers lurking in the armoire, and an eager husband on his wedding night, Miss Gwen’s novel will be read by dying candlelight by women everywhere!

  2. Jessica S. on September 7, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I think she’s abandoned novel-writing and is writing a textbook on the proper employment of incendiary devices, along with diagrams and suggested targets. Included are proposed arrangements of gunpowder (as she demonstrated in Emerald Ring). It’s titled _The Young Ladies’ Guide to Optimal Employ of Incendiary Devices in Defense of One’s Country_.

  3. Jamie on September 7, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    The Pink Seduction

    She’s going to write about Amy and Richard, of course, but only when it’s safe!

  4. Georgia on September 7, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    The Midnight Monk, a Tale!! It shall have giant body parts, bigamy, betrayal, murder, a spooky castle, and espionage–of course.

  5. Rachel on September 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    It must have all the proper elements of any good horrid novel – betrayal, seduction, murder, villany, death, cliffs, thunderstorms, ghosts, ramparts, mountains, horsemen, dukes… what else goes in these things? – but to make it Miss Gwen-ian, shall it center around… a parasol? Perhaps an unexpectedly resilient heroine who fights her way free and into the arms of her waiting savior with nothing more than an sharp ended umbrella – a lesson in self-reliance to young ladies everywhere πŸ™‚

  6. Renee on September 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    She’ll pass on Richard’s recommendation and instead write her memoirs: Tales of a Shrewd, Shrewish Chaperone.

    Obviously, publication will have to wait until the days of the Pink Carnation are over to protect all pertinent identities.

  7. Tessa on September 7, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Miss Gwen is going to write her memoir, in the guise of a salacious novel, of course. It will be titled: The Chaperone Seductress and the Fall of Napoleon.

    Because we all know that Miss Gwen is not simply twiddling her thumbs while Jane gets to have all the fun! Although some of the names will be changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

  8. Michelle on September 7, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    A Lady’s Guide to Spying and Decorum…or how to keep your fella interested and your reputation intact.

  9. Gina on September 7, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    A Shadow in the Night

    A rich lord was murdered in the night, and his jealous wife is the prime suspect. But with a son hoping to speed up inheritance in the background, some literal skeletons in the closet, and the doors and windows being locked from the inside (gasp!), it takes the best in the business to figure it out – a woman by the name of Miss Pen and her trusted parasol.

  10. Stephanie Ball on September 7, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Stampeding Sheep and Mummies, A novel of incendiary devices, mummies, and espionage. AND A guide to being a spy for young ladies,

    She will write the text books for the Spy training school as well as some horrid novels about young ladies and scary stories involving mummies. She shows specific interest in them for her books πŸ™‚

  11. Ivy on September 7, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    The Mayhem of the Mischievous Mummy. It involves an unsuspecting heroine who unleashes the curse of an ancient Egyptian mummy while tutoring an Emperor’s daughter in the palace. The dashing young archeologist tries to save the heroine- who, as chaperone and heroine, has a few Miss Gwen-like attributes!

  12. Cho on September 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    The Perilous Passages of Priscilla Pennyroyal: Being the Utterly True and Absolutely Unadulterated Accounts of an Innocent Young Maiden at Sea. Twice.

    This tale tells the story of the innocent Miss Pennyroyal, who, after her mother, three sisters, brother, visiting cousin, governess, and beloved corgi are all taken from her by the plague, sets forth on a ship to find her long lost relatives, the D’Italianos, in Italy. While on her voyage she is tossed overboard during a violent storm and washes up in a placid fishing village with no recollection of her past. A kind monk and his brother discover her faint body and nurse her back to health, but shortly after doing so both succumb to madness and throw themselves into the sea. Miss Pennyroyal, still with no knowledge of her past, decides to seek work at the manor nearby. She is attacked on the way by brigands, but sings to them and soothes their bloodthirsty souls, inspiring them to build a school for orphaned children. She is then hired as a teacher, but as there are no orphans in the village, she is soon out of a job. Leaving the village in disgrace and pursued by a pack of wild boars, she stumbles wearily upon an abandoned crypt, where a mysterious cloaked man saves her from a ghost and spirits her away to his castle. The man is soon revealed to be none other than the infamous Dastardly Duke. He falls for the innocent heroine, and vows to reform for her. At their wedding ceremony, a beam drops on Miss Pennyroyal’s head, and she recalls everything. She flees to Italy, where her relatives force her to work as their slave. A wicked Italian attempts to kidnap and mummify our heroine for his antiquities room, but she is eventually rescued by the very duke she left. The two are married and sail back to England. On the way, the ship hits rocks and sinks, but the lovers make it to shore and build a charming island community with some non-English speaking natives, with whom they eventually form a lasting bond.

  13. Cho on September 7, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    ^ I do apologize for the length πŸ™‚

  14. Amy on September 7, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    It will be a psychological thriller of a novel about a chaperone gone horribly bad who tortures young cads of the ton with her parasol.

  15. lizzy on September 7, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    The Pulchritude of the Pernicious Parasol
    by Miss Gwen

    A novel of love loss and one chaperones pursuit of the perfectly perilous parasol.

  16. AngelB on September 7, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    See, I believe it will be a horrid novel, but with all the proper cliches and none of the silly ones. But it will still have a very proper title as she will never fall to such low depths as exploitation of a cheap novel. She has too much character…

    The Proper Young Ladies’ Guide to Improper Behavior.

  17. Ashlee on September 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Miss Gwen’s novel is actually an autobiography but with fictional liberties πŸ™‚ The heroine is a parasol-wielding, tough-as-nails, but unimaginably-beautiful chaperone who conquers England’s enemies by performing (pg rated) seduction. Look out Napoleon! Entitled: The Parasol-ed Plights of One Miss Gwendolyn. Maybe I should’ve changed the name….

  18. Katie on September 7, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Sun Shades and Suduceres

    An edifying novel on the low natures of men and the benefits of far-reaching, multi-purpose, complexion perserving parasols. Many a brilliant heroine has been removed from the espionage market by a rather inconvient marrige, so while a light dalliance may be acceptable, a sharp parasol should always be kept at hand for when the man in question becomes too serious.

  19. Sennin on September 7, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    The Black Masked Highwayman

    Miss Gwen’s novel shall be satire about incompitent spys. The general plot will be about a spy posing as a highwayman who holds up the carriges of important heads of state. She shall make scathing comentary on everything he does from his disguise as a blatant criminal, to his use of a black mask instead of a propper peasent’s costume as well as his decidedly poor romantic timing. At the climax he bungles his attempts at espionage so badly that both he and his lady love will need rescuing from her clever and competant chaperone.

  20. amy on September 8, 2010 at 12:01 am

    I have no idea but I bet someone loses an eye to a poke from the umbrella.

  21. anna on September 8, 2010 at 2:18 am

    Cho = win!

  22. Meg on September 8, 2010 at 4:07 am

    The edifying adventures of Anemone Georgette Normina Winchester. Volume one of three.

    Our tale begins on a chilly winters day, with a carriage hurtling down the snow blown road. In it- Anemone Georgette Normina Winchester- Nelly to her friends, a young lady of quality with a pedigree as long as the North Road. Traveling with her is her dearest friend, Paulina Silverdale, the Visount Ogden Montgomery Norwood and
    Nelly’s Grandmother, The Duchess of Winchester. Lord Norwood announces his intention of introducing Nelly as the latest to his secret harem. When Nelly and her grandmother object to his forwardness, Lord Norwood casually pulls a pistol on them, and for some strange reason begins talking in a ridiculous French accent.
    At this moment the carriage crashes due to ice. Nelly tumbles into a ravine, where she lies, unconscious.
    She wakes in…. a crypt (complete with rattling bones). Vagabonds have found her and are planning whisk her off to India, for there is a Savage Unrefined Native Ruler of some sort whom wants a bride of English beauty! Just as they are about to board the packet which will seal Nelly’s fate For Good, a deckhand realizes something underhand is afoot. He wasn’t sure if the multi-appendage phrase really worked but had no time to quibble, for he set upon the vagabonds, throwing all over the side. As the ship slowly slid away from the dock, the deckhand, A tall and strong jawed man with shining blonde hair grabbed a rope, (conveniently hanging down next to him) whisked Nelly into his arms and in the nick of time rescues Nelly by swinging back to good and green English soil. He introduces himself as Myron Cornthwaite, a deckhand of Northwestern descent. What follows is a series of adventures as the pair desperately try to reunite Nelly with her society and family, dispelling infernal devices, swordplay with highwaymen, and an interlude with a very silly couple on their way to Gretna Green. When Nelly finally returns it is high summer and she learns today is the day The Lord Norwood marries her Dearest Friend Paulina. She and Mr. Cornthwaite arrive just as the service begins, and manage to stop the service, but not before Lord Norwood reveals himself to be an English spy pretending to be a French spy pretending to be English. Hence the facade of evil. Mr. Cornthwaite reveals himself to be the estranged son of a lord with a small but healthy baronet, and proposes marriage to Nelly on the spot. Just before Nelly can give her answer, she is whisked away by a ghost!
    there is a reminder from the author that Volume two of three- will explain all….

  23. Alexandra J on September 8, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Miss Gwen will write a tell-all about her romantic exploits in her younger days, and will explain just how she acquired her prized umbrella!

  24. Pam on September 8, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Our lovely but naive heroine makes a fatal mistake when she ventures out without a chaperone. Whisked away in the dead of night (by the requisite shady characters) to the harem of a wicked and mysterious sultan–a rapacious libertine. Terror awaits her in his palace, full of secret passages and locked rooms and dungeons, and a crypt full of elegant, slender bones (think Bluebeard). Will she discover his secret before she goes completely mad?

    A cautionary tale if ever there was one.

    Dwarves, witches, ghosts, and mutes (you know, standard gothic fare) should be included. And since it’s Miss Gwen, perhaps some explosives and a parasol.

    Not sure about the title, though. Secrets of the Seraglio sounds kind of silly.

    Do you think she enjoys Samuel Richardson? I could see her getting a kick out of Mr. B and the wicked Mrs. Jewkes.

  25. Katrina on September 8, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Miss Gwen will tell the story of an adventurer under the guise of being a chaperon named, of course, Miss Quinn. She will meet older men and wine and dine them til her heart cannot take it anymore and she must retire back to England. But one of the men, the one she liked best of all follows her in hopes of winning Miss Qinn’s love and affection.

  26. Liz on September 8, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Parasols and Pulchritude… what happens when a young lady of the ton is cast out of society after she is embroiled in a scandal. She must face bandits, an overland journey and the amorous overtures of a dashing highwayman as she tries to clear her good name with only her trusty umbrella as a weapon!

  27. Chartreuse on September 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    1. “The Adventure of the Cantankerous Old Lady” (with deepest apology to Grant Allen).
    2. “Slightly Pernicious” or “Simply Pernicious” (hat tip to lizzy, and apology to Mary Balogh.
    3. “The Parasol on the Sandbank” Is Miss Gwen an ancestress of Amelia Peabody? Is Miss Gwen is going to have descendants, Lauren?

  28. Kristen S on September 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Miss Gwen is going to write part horrid novel, part historical fiction. Her setting is the Ministry of Police, the villian: Delaroache; the sidekicks: Slingshot and Co.; the harem: his iron maidens; the heroine: the orphaned servant who was brought in after the Richard rescue debacle and treated most abysmally. Called, “The Dungeon Harem”

  29. Lauren on September 8, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Title: The Sepulchral Abbey: a tale of castles, ghosts and lost loves.

    Plot: A quintessential gothic novel starring the virtuous heroine Violet St. Claire as she unravels the mysteries surrounding her newly inherited old abbey estate house all while meeting a hero, villians and uncovering long buried family scandals. Told slightly tongue-in-cheek by: A Lady (Miss Gwen of course).

  30. Lauren G. on September 8, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Title: The Sepulchral Abbey: a tale of castles, ghosts and lost loves.

    Plot: A quintessential gothic novel starring the virtuous heroine Violet St. Claire as she unravels the mysteries surrounding her newly inherited old abbey estate house all while meeting a hero, villains and uncovering long buried family scandals. Told slightly tongue-in-cheek by: A Lady (Miss Gwen of course).

  31. Lauren G. on September 8, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Sorry for posting twice…my computer crashed and did something weird!

  32. Gina on September 8, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    @ Meg: I really want to use the phrase “something underhand is afoot” in conversation now. XD

  33. Katelyn Anne on September 9, 2010 at 10:17 am

    And so it was that Miss Gwen became the Michael Bay of nineteenth century literature. In her novel “Vanquishing the Frenchies” she tells a tale of daring espionage, loaded with action and fight scenes, and of course, many many large, fiery explosions.

  34. Lois M. on September 9, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Oh pooh, mine never saved. Well, here’s a second try — I still think she is writing a oh so very horrid novel, I mean, really horrid. More horrid than normal horrid. But the book she could write that I’m mighty interested in is “101 Uses of a Parasol in the Spy Business”. I want her parasol!!! πŸ™‚

  35. Bekah on September 9, 2010 at 11:06 am

    101 Uses for a Parasol in the Art of Espionage: The Ladies Guidebook to Thwarting International Schemes

    This book conveys all the ways a parasol may come in handy when engaging in covert operations, such as:

    Use #43 – When planning to foil the enemy’s best laid plans, the use of certain incendiary devices can prove most effective. A ladies parasol, when closed, provides a very clever method for concealing such devices. Most people, especially men, would not think about examining such accessories. However, caution must be exercised, parasols are quite flammable!

    Use #87 – When taking part in an espionage scheme, a young lady may find herself in the company of a certain gentleman for lengthy periods of time. For this reason, it is absolutely imperative that a parasol be carried at all times (preferably one that is very pointy!), just in case the gentleman tries any unwanted advances. And if those advances are not so β€œunwanted”, then an open parasol can also be an excellent hiding place! πŸ™‚

  36. Stacy on September 9, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    “The Azure Azalea”

    A swash buckeling tale of espionage, not during the Napoleonic Wars, as would be expected, but instead set during the Glorius Revolution. The Azure Azalea has her work cut out for her as she works to defeat the Jacobite plot to reclaim the throne.

  37. Dayana on September 9, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Well I was thinking of a story that had something to do with romance, drama,espionage,definitly some blood and gore along with dead bodies that frighten dandies till they swoon or wet their pantaloons! Just saying.

    Of course it has to be instructional for ladies, so my guess is this girl suspects one of her suitors is up to no good and it turns out she falls for his brother and one of them is behnd a conspiracy aganist the King. Girl has to save the throne, defeat the bad guy while trying to struggle whether the guy she likes is good or bad. Dead bodies included.

    As for a title, lets try “Underestimated Women are Bad Luck”
    or something of the like. That’s all I got.

  38. Katie S. on September 9, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    For some reason I just can not avoid imagining that Miss Gwen’s book would be a gothic romance version of Miss Bartlett writing a Elinor Lavish novel (E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View) with some sort of parisol thrown in.

  39. Anna Kozlowski on September 10, 2010 at 2:51 am

    Oh she’d definitely incorporate absolutely every dramatic, romantic, ridiculous moment she saw while on duty watching Jane and Amy so it’s most likely completely over the top!

    I’m thinking it’s called “Of Love and Lordships” or something to that effect.

  40. Brenda on September 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Little did anyone suspect that below Miss Gwen’s prim exterior, beat the heart of a truly scadolous romance novelist. Like Henry Fielding’s “Tom Jones”, Miss Gwen’s “Espionage and Elopement” will be gasped over and eventually blamed for several natural disasters.

  41. Susan on September 10, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    A Proper Impalement

    A proper lady must find a balance between keeping the proprieties and not getting her ball gown too bloody. And then, of course, finding places to conceal deadly weapons under a ball gown provides yet another dilemma. Yet it’s all in a day’s work for the crown’s most efficient (and beautiful) assassin.

  42. Yvette on September 11, 2010 at 12:22 am

    Way to go Cho & Meg!!!

    Lois & Bekah got in ahead of me on the “101” thing, but here goes … (I’ll let the title say it all…)

    101 Really and Truely, Excessivly Horrid, Things That One Can Do With A Parasol, That One Has Always Wanted To Know, But That One Has Always Been Dreadfully Afraid To Ask (Being Volume One of a Five Volume Set, Collectively Entitled “Creative Parasoling”)

    (… or would it be Parasolling? One “L” or two? … hmmm …)

  43. Christine on September 11, 2010 at 11:53 am

    The Secret History of the Secret Authoress – we discover that Lauren is really Miss Gwen!

  44. J on September 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Miss Gwen thought she would write about a typical heroine, but soon got frustrated with her and is actually writing the hero as the young girl’s companion and chaperone who keeps having to pull the girl out of the trouble she gets herself into on the visit to Northview Hollow

    The title is Northview Hollow: The Misfortunes of Young Rose and How Miss Wynne had to Put Things Right.

  45. Julie on September 12, 2010 at 10:58 am

    The Horrors of Love – a horrorifying tale of young ladies and the ridiculous things they do to win a man.

  46. Jenn on September 12, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Miss Gwen has decided to write Richard and Amy’s story but with her own twist. Rather than Richard being the dashing handsome, slightly rougeish but charming spy, she makes him a smug cad who cares nothing for poor Amy. and to further antigonize him, She takes some fictional liberties with the story adding some darker undertones and in the end Richard winds up sad and alone after he falls for Amy’s innocent and loving nature(learned by one miss gwen) but is rejected by the heart broken yet much wiser Amy.

  47. Brianna on September 12, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    The Wilds of Iceland

    a tale of ship reck on a far away island where two very different people, a gentle english rose and a mighty viking fall in love! Will their love last or will their many differences tare them apart?
    Miss Gwen would definitely enjoy the fierceness of the Viking culture

    love Bri

  48. Erin L on September 12, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Jezebel, a young miss-Gwennish maid (with ancient blue-bloodlines of course) goes into employment in the home of a dashingly rougish whig lord and soon discovers a plot by her employer to infect the members of parliament with a terrible toxin, found in the extract of a far east turnip,that will turn sensible men into utter fops. Fortunately, however, she meets a powerful eastern shaman that gives her the means with which to smite the evil zombie-brummels, a magical, razor edged, purple parasol…

  49. Diya on September 12, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    wait you mean the Secret History isnt Miss Gwens novel? and you arent really miss gwen yourself?!!!

    in the off chance that this is really true id have to name miss gwen novel as: The Pulchritudinous Pansy πŸ˜‰

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