A Regency Gentleman: His Upbringing

Privileged children were born at home, typically with the aid of a midwife, and immediately handed over to a wet nurse, since upper class ladies did not nurse their own children. Brought up by servants or dependent relatives, children saw their parents rarely, always accompanied by servants.

Later, a young gentleman might be tutored by a local clergyman or by a hired tutor or governess. When he could read and write, he would be sent off to public school, such as Eton, Rugby, Harrow, Westminster, Winchester and Charterhouse. The course of study centered on the classics, the French language (used often in polite society when servants were present), drawing and fencing. However, life at public schools could be traumatic.

Eton

Eton

In spite of the outlandish fees charged by these exclusive schools, the accommodations were abominable. Sleeping chambers were cold and damp, food barely edible and scant, and the older boys bullied the younger ones unmercifully. The older—and bigger—boys forced the younger ones as servants—a system known as fagging—and often such treatment resulted in revenge against a headmaster who allowed such brutal bullying to occur. Headmasters, too, were known to cane a boy’s bare buttocks until it bled.

The idea was that a boy who could survive public school and learned the meaning of obedience could be trusted to command—servants or regiments— or succeed in whatever place in Regency society he was fated to take.

Following public school, our young man could go on to Oxford or Cambridge, although he could devote himself to other pleasures—eating, drinking and wenching—as well. Most university students did a fair amount of both.

On the Town

Prior to the Napoleonic Wars, a young man would go on a tour of Europe with a tutor (“bear-leader”) to sample the pleasures of Europe. During the Regency, a young man was more likely to take up a commission in the army (particularly if he was a younger son) or simply learn his way around London, therefore earning his “town bronze.”

A young gentleman was expected to be skilled in fighting with fists, swords, and firearms, as well as gaming. Coolness, courage, and a “stiff, upper lip” were essential for a young man about town. He was also expected to be stylish enough to be accepted into gentlemen’s clubs and ballrooms, including Almack’s Assembly Rooms. Gentlemen, too, were scrutinized by the patronesses before being issued the coveted vouchers.

Other frequent amusements by young bucks might be parading up and down Bond Street and “accidentally” tripping people with their canes, catching the edge of a lace gown with their spurs, or quizzing people with their quizzing glasses. These young men “raising Cain” were the scourge of the night watchmen with their tricks on unwary passers-by.

And then there were their “bits of muslin” or wenches. A young man was expected to marry for money or connections, make sure his heir was his, and then proceed to find passion with a series of mistresses. While discretion was expected, most of society turned a blind eye to these foibles, at least on the part of gentlemen. Ladies’ behavior was much more closely scrutinized.

Next Installment: The Fashionable Gentleman

Laudermilk, Sharon H. and Hamlin, Theresa L., The Regency Companion, Garland Publishing, 1989.

Cassandra Dean and “Silk & Scorn”

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Cassandra will be awarding at each stop a signed Silk & Scorn postcard and a Silk & Scorn magnet to a randomly drawn commenter, and a Grand Prize of a $15 Amazon Gift Card, a hard copy* and ebook copy of Silk & Scandal, the Silk Series Book 1, a Silk & Scorn mug, a signed Silk & Scorn postcard and a Silk & Scorn magnet will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (international giveaway). Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click on the banner to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.
*hard copy will be printed and bound, not an official bound paperback

 

Hi peeps!

First off, thank you to Susana  for having me. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Cassandra Dean and I write historical romance ranging from sweet to steamy. I also play about in the eras, roaming from Ancient Rome to Victorian to the Old West and beyond. My books take readers on an emotional rollercoaster, from the lowest of lows to the joyous of highs. And, of course, my characters fall into the forever kind of love.

Today I’m chatting about an interesting historical tidbit I encountered while researching Silk and Scorn, my latest release and second in The Silk Series. I’d actually like to talk about the title a bit and why the series is called The Silk Series. I decided to centre the series around people who work in various employment within the Law during the Early Victorian period. As such, the first book features a barrister, the second (Silk and Scorn) a solicitor, the third will feature a scribe, the fourth a law professor and the fifth a police detective. The ‘silk’ portion of the title refers to this person employed by the law – Silk is a nickname given to those barristers (a type of lawyer) who obtain the position of Queen’s Counsel (or King’s Counsel when a man sits on the English throne).

I looked a bit into the history of Queens Counsels while researching the series and found the following interesting bits and pieces:

  • The first official Queens Counsel (or Kings Counsel as it was then) was Sir Francis Bacon, a bit of a notable figure himself. He was appointed 1597 and formally styled a Kings Counsel in 1603.
  • Up until the 1830s, Queens Counsels were thin on the ground but around that time it became the standard means of recognising barristers as a senior member of the profession and numbers multiplied accordingly.
  • The first woman appointed to the rank was in Canada in 1943. The first women appointed in England was in 1949.
  • Queens Counsels wear formal robes of silk while in court, as opposed to junior barristers who wear robes made of cotton or a similar fabric. This is where the nickname ‘Silk’ comes into play.

As you can see, there is a lot of interesting information regarding this. I had such fun discovering it all and I hope you have too!

Cassandra

About Silk and Scorn

No matter how much their mothers wanted Sarah and Arthur to wed, Sarah had loathed him. However, circumstance and her late husband’s father conspire against her, and she is forced to turn to Arthur for help. Perhaps she needs his legal expertise, but she refuses to acknowledge how handsome her oldest foe has become…or her reaction to him.

His childhood nemesis is the last person Arthur Davenport expected to require his services. When a spurious claim against her late husband’s estate brings Sarah Wetherall to his door, he can’t refuse the pretty widow.

Thrown together by fate, will they discover there is a fine line between scorn and passion?

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Excerpt

Cover_SilkAndScornArthur turned his regard to the woman. Currently she studied his qualifications, hung on the wall along with the framed pictures his mother had given him for his birthday every year since he’d become a solicitor. “Mrs. Wetherall, good afternoon. Please, seat yourself.”

Her shoulders straightened infinitesimally but she didn’t respond, instead continuing to regard the wall.

Irritation tugged, but he suppressed it. Emotion would get him nowhere. “Mrs. Wetherall?”

With a sweep of her skirts, the lady and her hat settled into the chair before his desk.

Frowning, he sank to his own seat. That enormous hat was absurd, still disguising her face. Why did women think such things were attractive? In addition to being ludicrous, it no doubt put undue pressure upon her neck.

Lacing her hands in her lap, the lady finally spoke. “I find I require the services of a solicitor in regards to my late husband’s will.”

The hair at the back of his neck stood up. No. Oh, Christ, no.

The hat tilted, exposing her face. Every muscle in Arthur’s body seized.

Mrs. Wetherall, formerly Miss Sarah Stanhope and the bane of his childhood, glared at him from beneath her ridiculous hat.

About the Author

Cassandra grew up daydreaming, inventing fantastical worlds and marvelous adventures. Once she learned to read (First phrase – To the Beach. True story), she was never without a book, reading of other people’s fantastical worlds and marvelous adventures.

Fairy tales, Famous Fives, fantasies and fancies; horror stories, gumshoe detectives, science fiction; Cassandra read it all. Then she discovered Romance and a true passion was born.

So, once upon a time, after making a slight detour into the world of finance, Cassandra tried her hand at writing. After a brief foray into horror, she couldn’t discount her true passion. She started to write Romance and fell head over heels.

The love affair exists to this very day.

Cassandra lives in Adelaide, South Australia.

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Authors in Bloom Blog Hop

Books - it is our memory concept

 

Baked Meatball Parmigiana

meatball-parm1Meatballs (if you choose to make your own)

  • 1-1/2 pounds meatloaf mix (beef, pork, veal combo)
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped, not minced
  • chopped fresh parsley (handful)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese (not grated)
  • 2 eggs
  • salt to taste

Mix the above ingredients and form your meatballs (not too large). Pour 1-2 tablespoons oil on a baking pan with sides and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Lower oven to 375.

Topper ingredients

  • spaghetti sauce of your choice (two 24-ounce jars)
  • mozzarella cheese (lots)

In a 9 x 13 pan (or ceramic dish), pour some sauce to cover the bottom. Add your meatballs. Cover with remainder of sauce and top with lots and lots of mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 20 minutes or until cheese has begun to brown.You might raise the temperature to 400 for the last four minutes to assist with browning.

Susana’s Giveaway*

A Lovely Treasure Box of Goodies, including

A Twelfth Knight Tale silver-plated Christmas bracelet

A Twelfth Night Tale silver-plated Christmas bracelet

  • A Twelfth Night Tale silver-plated Christmas bracelet
  • a Celtic pen from Scotland
  • a deck of Ellora’s Cave playing cards
  • a sterling silver circle necklace
  • a keychain from London
  • jeweled soap
  • two Susana Ellis pens

and whatever else she decides to put in it, such as collector cards, bookmarks, and chocolates!

*A winner from outside the U.S. will receive a $25 Amazon gift card instead of the Treasure Box.

Click here for the Rafflecopter

Before you go—

Leave a blog post comment about your favorite spring activities, and don’t forget to include your email address so that you can be contacted if you are chosen as the winner.

Authors in Bloom Prizes

Grand Prize: A Kindle or Nook e-reader ($200 value) +$25 gift card (US only)

Second Prize: $25 e-reader gift card (international)

Author Prizes will vary. Note that only visitors who leave comments at each and every stop on the tour will be eligible for the Grand Prizes and Second Prize. Winners will be posted on the first (Dianne Venetta) and last (A Cozy Reader’s Corner) stops on the tour.

Good luck to all of you! I hope you discover some fantastic new authors along the way!

1. Dianne Venetta ~ Cozy Mystery/Romance (US) 41. Stacey Joy Netzel
2. Rose Anderson 42. Deb Sanders
3. Alexa Grace 43. Janette Harjo
4. Katharina Gerlach, YA Fantasy author 44. Donna Marie Rogers
5. Jennifer Lowery 45. J.L. Campbell
6. Catheirne Chant (US) 46. Lorraine Paton (INTL)
7. S.D. Bancroft 47. Amy Saunders, Chick-Lit Mysteries (US)
8. J.D. Faver ~ Bad Girls Need Love Too…(Intl) 48. Jencey Gortney
9. Tara Manderino (Intl) 49. Sandra Cox
10. Judy Baker, Cowboys and Indian Romances 50. Alisia Compton
11. Sharon Kleve 51. Cate Dean
12. Sara Walter Ellwood (US) 52. Lisa Lickel
13. Anna Patterson 53. Iyana Jenna
14. Karl Fields (Intl) 54. Jesse Kimmel-Freeman (INT)
15. LENA HART 55. Sheila Seabrook
16. Janice Seagraves, author 56. Rose Cooper
17. Lakisha Spletzer 57. Halimah bint David
18. Gemma Juliana 58. Grace Peterson
19. Victoria Adams 59. Nancy Pi-Sunyer
20. Daryl Devore 60. Elena Williams
21. Jeana E. Mann, New Adult Romance 61. Scandalous Stories
22. Not Neccesarily In That Order 62. Lisa Orgler
23. Brenda Maxfield\’s Smart and Sassy Teen Reads (INT) 63. L.A. Sartor
24. Elizabeth McKenna 64. BloominThyme
25. H. A. Somerled 65. Margarita Matos (UF & Romance)
26. Susana Ellis 66. Lisa Chalmers
27. Aileen Fish 67. Diane Burton
28. Cheryl Bolen 68. Rebecca J. Clark
29. Elizabeth Rose 69. Victoria Pinder
30. L. Alison Heller 70. Zelda Benjamin
31. Eleanor Moran 71. Liz Allen (US)
32. K C Maguire 72. Stacy Juba\’s Characters at a Crossroads
33. Patricia W. Fischer 73. Jennifer Conner Romance Author
34. Mindy Hardwick, Author 74. I Am A Reader
35. Melanie Macek 75. Darcy Flynn (US)
36. Karen McCullough 76. Joanne Jaytanie
37. Michelle Abbott 77. Cassandra L Shaw
38. Mary Laudien 78. Janette Harjo
39. Aubrey Wynne 79. Louisa Mack
40. Kimberly K. Comeau 80. Tiffany Schlarman

treasuringtheresa_1.75

Treasuring Theresa

a sweet Regency short story

She’s a country lady. He’s a London swell. They have nothing in common. Or have they?

Lady Theresa despises London society. What’s worse is that she has to attend the betrothal ball of the young man she expected to marry. To deflect all the pitiful glances from the other guests, she makes a play for the most striking gentleman there—who happens to be her Cousin Damian, who is everything she despises.

Damian, Lord Clinton sees a desperate young lady with no social graces, and it solidifies his opinion that country folk are beneath him. But it so happens that he is the heir to that young lady’s father’s title and estate, and the time comes when he finds himself obliged to spend some time there.

Thrown together, both Damian and Theresa discover each other’s hidden depths. But are their differences too much to overcome to make a successful match?

Ellora’s Cave • Amazon • Barnes & Noble

AllRomance eBooks • Kobo

Release Day for A Kiss of Promise by Elaine Violette—Giveaway!

Release Day for A Kiss of Promise

Thank you, Susana, for hosting me. My newest novel, A Kiss of Promise, a Blush Historical Romance, is being released by Ellora’s Cave Publishers as an ebook today, April 3rd!

Researching  A Kiss of Promise

It is a pleasure to tell your readers about the research behind my newest release and a bit more about the story.   First, I’d like to mention that A Kiss of Promise has set me on a new road or, perhaps, I should call it a voyage. My first two books are traditional Regencies.  A Kiss of Promise is released as a Historical Romance. The change occurred because I wanted my heroine to travel to America. This was a real departure from writing strictly about the rules, customs and traditions of the English Regency.

And so the voyage begins.

I became thoroughly absorbed in my research into ocean travel in the early eighteen hundreds. I learned about the first ship lines, length of travel, crew’s responsibilities and inherent dangers involved in sea travel. I learned about the animals that were kept on ships for food and drink, sea shanties sung by the sailors, and other fascinating details that I was able to include in A Kiss of Promise.

akissofpromise_msrSince Martin and Alaina, my hero and heroine both travel to America, one freely, the other under duress, I needed to research life in New England in the early nineteenth century. I studied the time period as if I were traveling down a road in New York or Boston at that time, I learned about landmarks, shops, banks, social events, business dealings, and gambling halls.

I imagined what it must be like for travelers who were reaching the American shores for the first time, their fears and their hopes for the future.

Where my voyage is taking me…

I became so interested in my research that my newest manuscript takes place in New England. I’ve already spent much time researching church life, farming communities, household chores, politics and racial undertones of the time period. It’s especially interesting to read local newspapers when freed slaves and servants were often treated like chattel.

More than sweet and sensual

While romance is the ultimate hope for my heroes and heroines, all my novels present the darker side of human nature.In each of my published novels, readers meet villains without conscience. This changes in my newest manuscript but I’ll save that for a future post.

A Kiss of Promise continues the story of the Blackstone brothers, introduced in my debut novel, Regal Reward. While Regal Reward tells of York Blackstone’s struggle to regain the title lost to him when their father is falsely accused of treason, A Kiss of Promise tells of Martin Blackstone’s desire to free himself from his family scandal, escape the stuffy rituals of England and seek adventure in America. He leaves the beautiful and desirous Alaina Craymore broken hearted in order to realize his dream, rather than seek deeper reasons for his need to escape. It’s only when he discovers that she is in danger that he is forced to face his personal truth and fight to save her.

To summarize

In A Kiss of Promise, characters experience not only the aristocratic life in British society with all its rules and expectations, but also the hazards of sea travel and the unruly world of gamblers and prostitutes.

I hope readers will voyage along with Martin and Alaina in A Kiss of Promise and enjoy it enough that they’ll want to read Martin’s brother, York’s story in Regal Reward.

giveaway

Giveaway for two readers who order Regal Reward and read York Blackstone’s journey to love.

I am offering two free ebook copies of A Kiss of Promise. All readers of Regal Reward need to do is message me on Facebook and  answer the following two questions correctly:

1) Where and under what circumstance does York meet Marielle?

2) Where does Richard Craymore go and what does he attempt to do when he learns of his father’s crimes?

About A Kiss of Promise

Adventurer Martin Blackstone escapes the stuffy rituals of England to seek his destiny in America. He leaves Alaina Craymore behind, believing she is better off without him. Suffering under the scandalous circumstances surrounding her father’s death, only Alaina’s love for Martin and the memory of their one stolen kiss have kept Alaina steady. But she hasn’t heard from Martin in far too long and cannot wait forever in the hopes that he will return from America. Just as Alaina begins to recover, one of her father’s associates emerges from the shadows with a choice—she must pose as his fiancée in America or he’ll send her brother to prison on charges of forgery. Willing to endure ruin and an uncertain future, Alaina agrees—she can do no less for the brother who’s spent his entire life protecting her. Only the man who spurned her can save her from the black mailing scoundrel and a ruined reputation.

Martin hasn’t forgotten Alaina or the kiss they shared. When word of her sacrifice reaches him, he’ll move heaven and earth to find her and make her his, no matter the cost.

A Blush® historical romance from Ellora’s Cave

Ellora’s Cave • Amazon • Barnes & Noble

About the Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAElaine holds a BS in English Education from the University of CT and an MS in Educational Leadership from Central CT State University. When she’s not writing, she teaches public speaking part time at a local community college. She enjoys drawing, kayaking, traveling, and most of all, being with her husband Drew, her children and grandchildren. While her newest release, A Kiss of Promise, leads her characters from England to American shores, her present work, still in the manuscript stage, takes place in New England and deals with prejudice and its power over love. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, CT Romance Writers (CTRWA) and Charter Oak Romance writers (CORW). Elaine is available as a speech coach and presenter to help authors hone their public speaking skills.

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Elaine’s other books mentioned above:

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Regal Reward (print and ebook)

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A Convenient Pretense (ebook)

Ella Quinn and “The Marriage Game”

The Marriage Game

Ella Quinn’s bachelors in The Marriage Game series are charming and cunning when it comes to the ways of love–until the right woman captures their unsuspecting hearts…

“A marvelous find for Regency romance readers.” –Grace Burrowes, New York Times bestselling author

“Let yourself be seduced by this sexy mix of spies, smugglers, and happily ever afters.” —Sally MacKenzie

“Quinn writes classic Regency romance at its best!” –Shana Galen

 The Seduction of Lady Phoebe

The-Seduction-of-LadC46729

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Susana Says (Review)

Phoebe Stanhope is not a typical Lady. As feisty as she is quick witted, no one can catch her, especially when she is driving her dashing phaeton with its perfectly matched horses. And unlike her peers, experience has guarded her against a growing list of would-be suitors. But when she encounters Marcus Finley, what she fears most burns deep within his blue-eyed gaze…

For Lord Marcus, the spark of recognition is but a moment in the love he has held these many years. Now that he’s returned to England, all the happiness he desires rests on Lady Phoebe never finding out that he was the one who turned her heart so cold and distant. He must work fast to gain the advantage—to convince her what she wants is exactly what she denies—but in order to seduce her into his arms, he must be willing to give up more than he can control…

“A passionate tale full of humor, romance, and poignancy. Quinn writes classic Regency romance at its best!” —Shana Galen, author of If You Give a Rake a Ruby

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh

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Susana Says (Review)

Since she was a young girl, Anna Marsh has dreamed of Sebastian, Baron Rutherford asking for her hand in marriage. But that was in another life when her brother Harry was alive, before she vowed to secretly continue the work he valiantly died for. Now as Sebastian finally courts Anna, she must thwart his advances. Were he to discover her secret, he would never deem her a suitable wife…

Sebastian has always known Anna would become his wife someday. He expects few obstacles, but when she dissuades him at every turn he soon realizes there is much more to this intriguing woman. Somehow he must prove to her that they are meant to be together. But first he must unravel the seductive mystery that is Miss Anna Marsh…

“Lady Phoebe is a heroine Georgette Heyer would adore—plucky, pretty, and well worth the devotion of the dashing Lord Marcus. A marvelous find for Regency romance readers.” —Grace Burrowes, New York Times bestselling author

The Temptation of Lady Serena

serena

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Custom-made gowns. . .nights at the theater. . .and a host of eligible bachelors. Accustomed to living a quiet life in the Scottish Borderlands, Lady Serena Weir has never had any of these luxuries. But when Serena’s brother demands she finally have a Season in London, she’s thrust into a glamorous world she’s only dreamed of…

Robert, Viscount Beaumont, remembers all too well what it feels like to be in love. That is why he must keep his distance from Serena. He’s only felt his pulse stir the way it does now when he made the mistake of loving the wrong woman once before. Yet the more he strives to resist his feelings, the nearer he is to falling under Serena’s seductive spell. . .

“A marvelous find for Regency romance readers.” –Grace Burrowes, New York Times bestselling author

Desiring Lady Caro

caro

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Haunted by her past, Lady Caroline Martindale fled England for the solace of her godmother’s palazzo in Venice. But if Caro was hoping to escape the charms of marriage-minded men, she’s come to the wrong place. And she’ll resort to extreme measures to spurn the advances of a dangerously determined Venetian marquis. . .

Though most of his friends have married off, Gervais, Earl of Huntley, remains bent on eluding the parson’s mousetrap. But his convictions begin to falter when he arrives in Venice and meets his match in the alluring Lady Caro. What began as a hastily concocted lie to save her from the marquis may become a chance for them both to relinquish their fear–and embrace what they can no longer deny…

“Spicy and a thrilling…A perfectly sensual romance to prepare readers for their own hero.” – Library Journal

Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret

enticing-miss-eugenie-villaret

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William, Viscount Wivenly, plans to remain the most eligible of bachelors. He refuses to surrender to the schemes of husband-hunting ladies and matchmaking mamas. Fleeing the pressure of the ton, he’s bent on finding refuge in the West Indies. What he finds instead is a fascinating stranger, a woman so unlike those of his society that he can’t resist such a beguiling distraction…

Determined to let nothing complicate her mission to protect her family’s livelihood while covertly rescuing orphaned slave children, Miss Eugénie Villaret does her best to evade suitors. But when dashing William lures her down a path of forbidden adventure and delicious danger, she may be convinced that business can indeed be mixed with pleasure—and persuaded to add passion to her priorities…

“This charming, sweet love story is the perfect addition to the Marriage Game series.” –RT Book Reviews

And the Series Continues

Three more novels will be along later, and then the series will end with a novella, Madeleine’s Christmas Wish.

About the Author

Ella QuinnBestselling Regency author Ella Quinn lived all over the United States, the Pacific, Canada, England and Europe before finally discovering the Caribbean. She lives in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands with her wonderful husband, three bossy cats and a lovable great Dane.

Ella loves when friends connect with her.

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Another Sneak Peak of “A Home For Helena”

Lady P

Lady P

Lady Pendleton: Dear me! Susana has a special treat for you today, dear readers. She’s been working long and hard to tell the story of a young girl called Helena who came to me from the 21st century seeking my help in finding the family from whose arms she was snatched when only a babe.

In this scene, Helena is recalling her consultation with the gypsy lady who offers to help her travel back to the past to discover the truth about her origins.

**********

The sign painted on the window read “Genuine Gipsy Fortune Telling” in large red letters with “Palm Reading • Tarot Cards” in smaller print underneath with the bottom line proclaiming “Séances Scheduled at Your Convenience”. A mannequin dressed flamboyantly in a red peasant blouse and gold skirt stood in the window with outstretched arms, no doubt meant to lure the bystander inside. Although an attempt had been made to give her a gypsy appearance—black wig tied back under a bright red headscarf, and glittery gold dripping from every possible place—her expression was the typical bland stare associated with mannequins.

It was cheesy. The sort of place an educated person would never deign to enter. Certainly not Helena, who didn’t believe in psychics or fortune telling, let alone time travel. Was her coincidental meeting with Mrs. Herne simply a scheme to drum up business?

If so, she had been very, very good at it. Her dark eyes seemed to probe into Helena’s very soul, seeing things she could not possibly have known otherwise. A lost soul, she had proclaimed. Wrenched out of her time. Isolated and alone because her soul was out of sync.

“I have a friend who might be able to help you,” she had said cautiously. When asked what she meant, the woman had turned cagey.

“Come to my shop”—she pushed a card toward Helena—“and we can discuss it.”

Helena’s eyes narrowed. “Why not now? Here?” she asked, indicating the lively sandwich shop. “Why must I go to your shop?” She wanted to believe. Mrs. Herne’s words struck a nerve. She’d never fit in, no matter how much she’d tried. Perhaps…there was a reason for it. Something she could do about it. But…travel through time? That sort of thing happened only in science fiction. As Dr. McCoy explained in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: “Sure, you slingshot around the Sun, pick up enough speed—you’re in time warp. If you don’t, you’re fried.

Helena and James

Helena and James

But here she was, standing outside Mrs. Herne’s fortune-telling shop, gathering up the courage to go inside. Well, she’d come this far. Might as well go for broke. She stepped forward.

The foyer was papered in red damask sprinkled with gold medallions. On a table between two gold satin wingback chairs was an antique ouiji board. On the adjacent wall was a showcase with a magnificent crystal ball in the center and zodiac plates on the side.

But what really drew Helena’s attention was the familiar-looking Zoltar fortune-telling machine in the corner. The gold-turbaned gypsy male had a narrow black beard and a thick mustache that turned up at the ends like a villain’s. He wore a black leather vest over a gold shirt, hoop earrings, and his eyes seemed to be laughing at her. The case of the machine was of elaborately-carved wood painted in black and gold, and the front of the glass box said “Zoltar” in gold-outlined red at the top, and “speaks” on the bottom. His right hand hovered over a crystal ball, and the left seemed to beckon her to come closer. Now where had she seen that before?

“It was the movie Big,

Mrs. Herne pushed aside some of the strands of colorful beads that obscured the interior of her shop as she approached Helena.

“They had one exactly like this, but mine is the original. I purchased it from Patty Astley herself when her husband refused to have it anywhere near his amphitheatre. She was a good friend of mine, was Patty. Quite the horsewoman, too. But then, Philip was an excellent teacher.”

Astley? Of Astley’s Amphitheatre? From upwards of two hundred years ago?

“How old are you, Mrs. Herne?”

She was tall and had a generous, but not zaftig, figure in her flowing crimson caftan. Her black hair was liberally streaked with gray, and her dusky face showed the beginnings of wrinkles. She certainly did not have the look of an aged woman.

Mrs. Herne threw back her head and laughed loudly.

“How old do you think I am?” she asked finally.

“Oh…well…forty-five?” Helena hedged, trying to be diplomatic. She actually figured the woman for about a decade older.

“Right you are, Miss Helena. I stopped aging on my fifty-fifth birthday.” She smiled at Helena’s startled reaction. “You were trying to be kind, of course. To a young person, fifty years seems a long time. In reality, fifty is the best age. You know yourself well by then, and aren’t always trying to become someone else. And you don’t take things so seriously. Life is meant to be enjoyed, after all.” She looked Helena directly in the eye. “After all, fifty is the new forty, or so they say.”

“Come inside, and sit for awhile, and I’ll fetch some tea.”

She was personable and kind, and her words carried the semblance of truth. The tea had long grown cold by the time Helena left the shop, carrying a round gray stone flecked with gold and a list of instructions—mostly preparations for the trip and suggestions for what to do when she arrived. Mrs. Herne’s clairvoyant power pointed to the year 1792 as her birth year, and it was decided that 1817 would be the most opportune time for her return.

“And my good friend Lady Pendleton will be there to assist you!” she had exclaimed. “How very fortunate that she is in Town for the Season this year!”

Helena wasn’t entirely certain who or what Lady Pendleton was, but then, she hadn’t quite figured out Mrs. Herne either. Was she a fool to trust either one of them? Perhaps, but it wasn’t like she had to jump off a cliff or anything. She only had to clasp the rock tightly in her hands and concentrate on thinking about where she wanted to travel to.

“But you must truly wish it,” Mrs. Herne cautioned. “Reflect on your desire to be reunited with your true family and live the life you were meant to live.”

And how to return if things didn’t work out in the 19th century?

“Oh, Agatha will help you. Lady Pendleton, that is. Or you can drop by my shop on Gracechurch Street. Only thing is, I was traveling quite a bit myself that year, so you may or may not find me there. You have a better chance with Lady Pendleton.”

And what if she couldn’t find Lady Pendleton?

“Oh well, you’re a bright girl. Not like the silly chits typical of the period. Keep your wits about you and learn from your surroundings. You’ll be fine.”

Would she? Helena recalled Claire Fraser being branded a witch in Outlander and wondered if they burned witches at the stake in that era. Oh no, they were dunking her, weren’t they, before Jamie came to the rescue.

Mrs. Herne was frowning. “That was nothing more than a book.”

It was eerie how easily the gypsy lady read her thoughts.

“If this is where you belong, you’ll adapt. In time.”

Helena didn’t like the sound of “if.”

But in the end, she couldn’t resist. The past was pulling at her, drawing her, and she finally let it take her into its mysterious lair.

**********

Lady Pendleton: Yes, well, time travel does have that effect on people. I find it rather addictive, actually.

Oh, I wanted to tell you that Susana and I are having a wonderful time in Florida. It’s a bit cold today, but sunny and beautiful, and I was simply over the moon to catch my first glimpse of the baby sand hill cranes. Here are some photos of them. I almost got close enough to touch them! Aren’t they adorable?

babycranes

Baby sand hill cranes

Mama Crane

Mama Crane

Crane Family Having Luncheon

Crane Family Having Luncheon

Susana’s Parlour Got Nominated For a Lighthouse Award…by some Scottish hamsters!

lighthouse award

Shehanne Moore is a hoot. A Scots hoot to boot. (Oh look, I’m a poet!) Her Lady Fury hosted me on Furious Unravelingsand I’ve never had so much fun in my life hobnobbing with pirates in the Caribbean. This writer gig is really the best. I never got to meet pirates when I was a teacher! To find out more about Lady Fury and her own special pirate, Flint, check out The Unraveling of Lady Fury.

lady fury

Anyway, Shehanne’s pet hamsters have nominated me for a Lighthouse Award. Isn’t that fabulous! They’re so cute too! Check ‘em out here.

The rules:

  • Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
  • Write a post and link back to the blogger that nominated you.
  • Inform your nominees of their award nominations.
  • Share three ways that you like to help others.
  • Nominate as many bloggers as you like.

Three ways I like to help others:

I love to host other authors on my blogs. Susana’s Parlour is for historical romance (mostly Regency) and Susana’s Morning Room is for all sub-genres of romance. I’ve met so many fascinating people, and I hope featuring them and their books helps them find new readers. Information about guest blogging is available in the top menu under Susana Seeks Guest Authors. I also host for Goddess Fish Promotions.

Another thing I enjoy doing is organizing blog tours and hops. After participating in a few very large hops featuring a diverse group of authors, it occurred to me that smaller hops focusing on a single sub-genre—historical—might be more effective.While you still get some folks who are mostly interested in the prize, there seem to be more who are truly interested in discovering new books to read.It’s fun to experiment with new things and discover more about what works and what doesn’t. And I LOVE putting together treasure boxes full of cool stuff for the winner!

Lady P

Lady P

Most of all, I enjoy posting about historical information for the benefit of my readers.That’s why I created Lady P, an eccentric Regency, time-traveling lady who comes to Toledo (and now Florida) to help Susana learn about the “real” Regency. Lady P bears a strong resemblance to my mother, Mrs. Ellis, and I am featuring her in my current WIP, a time travel. Much of what I learn in my own research gets shared here on Susana’s Parlour.

My Nominees

I’m nominating the following bloggers for the Lighthouse Award:

  • Suzi Love
  • Regan’s Romance Reviews (Regan Walker)
  • The Things That Catch My Eye (David William Wilkin)
  • Blue Rose Romance (Collette Cameron)
  • Stories From History (Jane Lark)
  • Regina Jeffers’s Blog
  • Ella Quinn
  • Piper Huguley

Congrats to all the nominees! You deserve it!