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Beverley Oakley: The Mysterious Governess (Daughters of Sin, Book 3)

Catostconspirators

The Cato Street Conspiracy and Queen Caroline’s Return to England—Two Important Events of 1820

 Historical Romance Author, Beverley Oakley, recently brought one of her characters, Miss Araminta Partington, to tea. Miss Partington, who has an extremely high opinion of her attractions, and of her knowledge of most matters, elucidated on the background to the new book in which she features called The Mysterious Governess, part of the Daughters of Sin series, which touches on the events before and after the Cato Street Conspiracy of 1820.

Miss Partington: Hello Susana, and thank you so much for inviting me to take a dish of tea in your parlor. I must say, it’s very comforting to know I can sleep at night in the knowledge that those dreadful men—Arthur Thistlewood, Edward Spence and the others – who call themselves “The Society of Spencean Philanthropists”, have been either hanged or transported for life for their parts in the Cato Street Conspiracy.

Susana: A delight to have you here, too, Araminta. Yes, what a shock to the public! What do you suppose they were hoping to achieve?

Miss Partington: Why, utter madness, in my opinion! Mr. Thistlewood talked of desiring a “Government of the People of Great Britain,” which would take power out of the hands of Parliament and the landed elite and place it into the hands of the people.” In my opinion, that’s tantamount to stealing Papa’s estate and giving it to Jane, my useless maid, who only last week lost one of my silver hairpins.

Susana: Goodness, that does sound dire! I’m referring to the plot, of course. Was there violence?

Miss Partington: Fortunately, the only violence was after the Coldstream Guards and Bow Street runners ran into the loft where these miscreants were plotting that night’s intended rampage through the home of the Lord President of His Majesty’s Privy Council, Lord Harrowby. Indeed, they were intending to murder the entire King’s Cabinet before taking to the streets of London to storm the Bank of England and the Tower of London. They hoped to stir up revolution in our country, like in America and France only a few decades ago.

Susana: Good Lord! How was it possible that law enforcement was able to apprehend the plotters?

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00064]Miss Partington: Well, apparently, the Government knew what they were about and had planted spies in their organization. My Cousin, Stephen Cranbourne, works for the Foreign Office. I’m sure he’d have confided in me had I not been on rather… er… friendly terms with Lord Debenham who is rumored to be associated with the Spenceans. He’s not, of course. I made sure to burn the incriminating letter his cousin wrote before she drank poison. Aren’t the daffodils beautiful at this time of year? I’ve trimmed my bonnet with several bunches. Sir Aubrey does think them fetching. Yes, I’ve transferred my affections to Sir Aubrey as I think he’d be far easier to manage than dangerous Lord Debenham.

Susana: Yes, the daffodils are, indeed, beautiful. And I was so sorry to hear about Lord Debenham’s cousin. I believe she was Sir Aubrey’s late wife. But, back to politics, do tell me, when was the Spenceans’ plot brought to nought? My apologies for my ignorance, I’ve been in France for some time.

Miss Partington: On February 23, 1820, but of course, it’s not really news any more since the gossip sheets—and indeed, the newspapers—are having much more fun giving us all the thrilling details of George IV’s estranged wife Queen Caroline arriving from continental Europe, a few months afterwards, and attempting to take her place as Queen consort. Personally, I think someone with such atrocious dress sense doesn’t deserve to be queen, but, not everyone agrees with me—which I always find rather odd, really. Of course, the Prince Regent only agreed to marry Princess Caroline of Brunswick back at the end of the last century so his father would clear his debts. £630,000 pounds is rather a lot of money, though I imagine that if I owed such a sum, I might be induced to marry Lord Debenham above Sir Aubrey, despite his wicked reputation and the fact Lord Debenham would be so much more difficult to manage.

Susana: Yes, your half-sister, Miss Larissa Hazlett, has inferred the same.

Miss Partington: My half-sister? [Miss Partington rises.]Let me assure you, I do not have a half-sister. Any resemblance between that dreary governess and myself is entirely coincidental. Now, if you’ll excuse me… while it has been most pleasant, I must leave now for an appointment I’ve just remembered. Yes, it’s all part of a little plan I’m implementing to put that dreary governess right back in her box!

About The Mysterious Governess

Two beautiful sisters—one illegitimate, the other nobly born—compete for love amidst the scandal and intrigue of a Regency London Season.

Lissa Hazlett lives life in the shadows. The beautiful, illegitimate daughter of Viscount Partington earns her living as an overworked governess while her vain and spoiled half sister, Araminta, enjoys London’s social whirl as its most feted debutante.

When Lissa’s rare talent as a portraitist brings her unexpectedly into the bosom of society—and into the midst of a scandal involving Araminta and suspected English traitor Lord Debenham—she finds an unlikely ally: charming and besotted Ralph Tunley, Lord Debenham’s underpaid, enterprising secretary. Ralph can’t afford to leave the employ of the villainous viscount much less keep a wife but he can help Lissa cleverly navigate a perilous web of lies that will ensure everyone gets what they deserve.

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Excerpt

Although The Mysterious Governess is about Lissa, who is Araminta’s half-sister, the plot involves them equally. Lissa is hard-working and honourable, the antithesis of Araminta, as you will see below, in this short extract:

“Is everything all right, Miss? Were the fireworks grand? You’re back earlier than I’d ‘spected.” Jane, who was polishing the silver bottles on her mistress’s dressing table, looked up nervously as Araminta entered the room.

Without a word, Araminta brought one arm across the entire surface and sent powder bottles, perfume vials, hairbrushes and jewelry boxes crashing to the floor.

Then she threw herself onto her bed and burst into noisy tears.

“Oh, Miss, I take it things didn’t go to plan,” said Jane, going down on her knees to start to clean up the mess before changing her mind and putting a tentatively soothing hand upon Araminta’s back.

“No, they did not!” Araminta shrieked, beating her fists upon the counterpane.

“So, His Lordship didn’t ask you to marry him, then?”

“Yes he did!” Araminta rolled onto her back and glared at Jane. “He asked me to marry him and then said he had to go away on important business for two months! Two months! Where does that leave me? In an impossible situation, I don’t need to tell you. I might as well throw myself in the river, except the water’s far too cold and I’m hardly about to copy bacon-brained Edgar. There must be another way.”

“Poison?”

“I mean to get out of this mess, you stupid girl!” Araminta screamed. Feverishly, she began to bite her fingernails before realizing the damage she was doing to an important asset. “Oh, Jane, don’t look like you’re related to a mule. Come up with a plan, for dear Lord’s sake!”

About the Author

Beverley Eikli author picBeverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. However, drowning her heroine on the last page was not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.

In 2009, Beverley published her first novel. Since then she has written more than thirteen sizzling historical romances, filled with mystery and intrigue, mostly set in England during the Georgian, Regency and Victoria eras.

Beverley lives near Melbourne opposite a picturesque nineteenth century insane asylum with the handsome Norwegian bush pilot she met in Botswana, their two beautiful daughters and a rambunctious Rhodesian Ridgeback the size of a pony.

Beverley also writes more psychological historicals, and Colonial-Africa- set romantic adventures, as Beverley Eikli.

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Who’s Tagging Whom? Authors Discuss the Writing Process

Beverley Eikli

Beverley Eikli and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, HomerI was tagged by Beverley Eikli to participate in this meme. I met Beverley at the Romantic Times Convention last year in Kansas City. A fellow Ellora’s Cave author, she writes historical romance, although hers are spicier than mine! I invited her to join History Lovers, a Facebook group started by a few of us who participated in NANO in 2012.And so we’ve kept in touch by exchanging blog posts and helping each other get the word out about our books.

Beverley Eikli is the author of eight historical romances.

She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, a safari lodge manager in the Okavango, and an airborne geophysical survey operator on contracts around the world.

Beverley wrote her first romance at seventeen, but drowning her heroine on the last page was symptomatic of the problems she grappled with during her 23-year journey towards publication.

Recently she received her third nomination from Australian Romance Readers for Favourite Historical Romance with her suspenseful Napoleonic espionage Romance The Reluctant Bride.

Beverley teaches in the Department of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University, Melbourne. She also teaches Short Courses for the Centre of Adult Education and Macedon Ranges Further Education.

Beverley writes under the name Beverley Oakley for more sensual stories.

You can visit her website at: www.beverleyeikli.com and her blog at: http:www.beverleyeikli.blogspot.com.au.

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Click above to read a recent post featuring Beverley on Susana’s Morning Room.

Susana’s Writing Process

What am I working on?

My current WIP in a time travel romance that includes my time-traveling Regency lady, Lady Pendleton. It’s about 50K so far and I’m currently working on Chapter 13, with about six more to go. I’m hoping to finish it by the end of the month so I can work on the story I’m planning for this year’s Cotillion Christmas anthology. For more information, check out my March 10th post, “Lady P in Florida and a Sneak Preview of “A Home For Helena.”

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

This particular story is unique (I think) because I’m using my blog character, Lady P, as a secondary character. Readers of my blog are familiar with her antics through interviews and discussions about Regency England. Lady P, who bears an uncanny resemblance to my mother (LOL), is an eccentric widow, an empty-nester, who somehow discovered time travel and amuses herself by popping into the future every now and then. Hmm…just got an idea. Someday I’ll have to write about how Lady P got into time travel in the first place. (Hint: it has something to do with a gypsy lady who seems to possess the gift of immortality.)

My traditional Regencies thus far tend to focus on rural England and the financial and marriage difficulties faced by the gentility. No dukes so far, but the hero and heroine of Treasuring Theresa are both titled. While balls and social events do show up occasionally, my protagonists aren’t social butterflies. Whether titled and wealthy or not, they have responsibilities in life beyond shopping and gossip.

Why do I write what I write?

From the time I discovered Georgette Heyer and Jean Plaidy, I’ve been fascinated with history. Not the sort of thing we had to study in high school with battles and dates, but the way people lived.

What was it like to be the oldest daughter in a household of daughters and feel like you have to sacrifice yourself in marriage in order to secure the future of your sisters? Marriage was pretty much the only future for a woman in the Regency; Jane Austen and her sister were able to remain single through the kindness of family members, but many women were not so fortunate.

Financial hardship is another common problem. In A Twelfth Night Tale, Lucy’s grandfather gambled away nearly everything, and her father has had to work hard to build up the family’s small estate. In Treasuring Theresa, Lady Theresa’s father was victimized by an embezzler, and he had to use her dowry to run the estate. He thought he’d have time to build it back up, but then he became ill and realized that when he died, the entailed estate would go to a distant cousin and his daughter would be homeless.

I’m fascinated by these situations. And yes, I love the gowns and the balls and the scenery and just about everything else associated with this period, but to me, it’s the characters and their dilemmas that really make a story.

How does my writing process work?

A good question. After two years of calling myself a full-time writer, I think I am finally beginning to understand what that means. It doesn’t mean I write all day long, although I tried that. The problem is that I need time to let ideas and scenes percolate in my mind. I might get 3,000 words done if I write for six hours straight, but they are not pleasant hours. I feel too much pressure, and then there’s the guilt when something interrupts and I only get 1000 words done and I feel like I have to do 4000 the next day. After awhile, I realize I am miserable, and hey, I didn’t choose this career because I wanted to be miserable.

And then there’s promotion. Once I had Treasuring Theresa to promote, I had blogs to write, ads and swag to create, and social media to tend to. I enjoy these things—almost too much—and it’s easy to spend hours doing them rather than moving forward on my current WIP. Just about every author I know has the same dilemma, even though we know for a fact that the WIP is far more important!

They tell me it takes three weeks (21 days) to form a habit. I’ve made it a priority to write at least two hours every morning. At first I had to push myself. There were many other things I’d rather be doing, but I just keep telling myself to keep writing and do the other stuff later. If I have a meeting or doctor appointment to go to, I don’t beat myself up about it. That’s life. And believe it or not, it’s worked! These days I just sit down in front of the computer and start working. I don’t whine about it. And when I’m done, whether I’ve written 800 or 2000 words—usually it’s around 1000—that’s it for the day. I can write blog posts or play Candy Crush all I want, and I don’t have to feel guilty. I can LOVE writing again!

But, you say, how can you call yourself a full-time writer if you’re only doing it two hours a day? Because I can, that’s why. 🙂 And because a good chunk of the rest of the day is spent doing writing-related work.

Have you ever tried to make or break a habit using the 21-day method? How has it worked for you?

Now…I’m Tagging…ta da

Nancy Levine

Nancy Goldberg Levine sold her first romance novel, Tempting Noah, in 1999. She is the author of more than sixty short stories, and published her first e-book, Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny in 2012. She writes humorous sweet contemporary romantic comedies. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with a spoiled cat who is named Jay after the hero of Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny.

Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny

Mr. Tall, Tan…& Tasteless

Sweeter Than W(h)ine

Three Strikes You’re In Love

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Vivien Jackson

When I was eight, I wrote a story about Han Solo. The next year I read Tolkien and Barbara Cartland. Romance and science fiction and corsets and blasters and Balrogs have been muddled in my brain ever since. Once upon a time, I married a charming scoundrel who may also be a nerf herder. Still like him a whole lot.

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Guest Author Beverley Oakley and “Her Gilded Prison” + GIVEAWAY

Hi Susana,

Thank you so much for having me here to talk about my debut erotic historical romance with Ellora’s Cave, Her Gilded Prison.

Beverley Eikli and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, HomerHer Gilded Prison is classified ‘erotic’ because the theme is sexual, and yet the story itself is more that of a good and faithful woman in the Regency era inadvertently discovering fulfilment in her limited sphere. I say ‘inadvertent’ because Lady Sybil’s motivations are purely altruistic to begin with, though the story has aroused contention amongst readers.

Some see it as a story about infidelity. The official blurb would suggest that’s the case, however, I wrote the story based around the question: ‘How far would a good and virtuous woman go to ensure the security of her daughters and the viability of the estate to which her husband has devoted his life?’

My heroine, Lady Sybil, and her husband have had four children in their twenty years of marriage. Two sons have died in their early teens and two daughters remain. Lady Sybil is still able to have children but her husband, who is utterly devoted to his mistress, cannot bring himself to sire an heir with his wife.

So Lady Sybil, desperate to ensure the estate doesn’t go to an unworthy distant relative who would then have the right to cast out her daughters once he inherits, decides upon bold action to provide the heir her husband cannot, or will not.

Her Gilded Prison is not about infidelity but about courage and determination to do what is right by an unloving husband and dependant daughters. Love becomes the complication—but only later.

Below is a letter my heroine, the lovely, unloved Lady Sybil might have written to her distant cousin, Persephone, hinting at her confused feelings. Although the letter doesn’t appear in Her Gilded Prison, it lays out Lady Sybil’s sentiments and motivations in courting the attentions of my gorgeous hero, Stephen, who is transformed from a “laddish” young man to a sensitive and caring and ultimately very heroic hero through his deepening affection for Lady Sybil, a woman forced into marriage with a man who has never loved her.

My dearest Persephone,

You will no doubt be expecting the usual weekly, prosaic account of my life: that Hetty remains terrified of the prospect of her London come-out as she is convinced no one will ask her to stand up with them; that Araminta is as defiant as ever and determined to ignore the shadow cast by her London season’s dramatic finale last year.

Nothing changes when it comes to my daughters, and my fears are as great as ever for them: that Araminta will singe more than just her wings in the flame she’s fanned to her own magnificence; and that Hetty will moulder in the country, never blooming as she might were she to experience the true regard of a kind and caring gentleman.

A regard I have never known from Humphry who nevertheless continues to provide us with everything we need, other than his affection and attention. He reserves that for—

Ah, but Persephone, you know the pain is too great to mention her name, even to you, my dearest cousin. It is not jealousy that prevents me. Simply the pain of believing I will never in my lifetime know the love or consideration of a good man.

But now I must confess to you a foolish woman’s fancy. The daydream of an old woman who ought to know better for I will be one-and-forty my next birthday and my concentration should be focused only on my daughters’ successes—not on my daydreams.

Dearest cousin, you have always been the voice of reason when I heard none from my chivvying, unsentimental mother and my disinterested father who would still have me wed Humphry when they knew his heart belonged to another.

The fact is, I believe I have garnered the special interest of a kind and very handsome young man. For a week I have tried to convince myself that I must be quite queer in the attic. Indeed I must, for this young man, Stephen, was—until yesterday—Humphry’s heir and has been staying with us to learn the running of the estate.

And now for the most shocking part of this letter which occurred at close to midnight last night and turned our lives upside down. Humphry’s nephew, the late Edgar, whom we were all so relieved to learn had been killed at Corunna, made his miraculous reappearance upon our doorstep. I thought Humphry would die from the shock. It certainly was not pleasure for now Stephen—capable, intelligent Stephen, Humphry’s distant cousin whom he’d been grooming as his heir—has been usurped by a dullard.

I wept bitter tears afterwards as I prostrated myself upon my lonely bed —not because Edgar will become the next viscount but because it is I who have failed. I have not provided Humphry with a male heir who will inherit all that for which my husband has worked; my failure imperils my daughters’ security if they do not marry, for it is quite possible Edgar will deny them tenure in the family home. He is contrary like that.

And now I must end for there is much to organise with Edgar’s return. Sadness weighs heavy upon my heart at the thought of farewelling Stephen whose charm and good nature have brightened the moods of everyone here.

Ah, Persephone, I would provide Humphry with an heir if he would only come to me but he will never betray that woman. Not even to try for the son who would change all our fortunes for the better.

Tomorrow I will solicit Stephen’s counsel. When he first arrived I thought him young and, being so handsome, surely overly fond of the young ladies.  I was wrong. He is wise beyond his years, and he is kind. And, to my astonishment, he seems to hold me in high regard. The way he looks at me…

Foolish, I know. I will not pursue that line of thought. Suffice to say I feel sure he will listen well. I’m sure he will help me with the terrible conundrum that places all of us in such peril…”

About Her Gilded Prison

HerGildedPrisonLady Sybil’s perfect life is a perfect lie. Her husband spends more time with his beloved mistress and illegitimate children than he does with her. Worse, since he no longer beds her, they’re left with only a distant cousin as heir. While her husband lives, Sybil knows no erotic touches, no passion. No love. If her husband dies, her home will be entailed to Stephen, a stranger.

When Stephen visits the property that will one day be his, he’s instantly ensnared in a web of lust, longing and lies. For how can he resist Lady Sybil, a woman so full of beauty and life? A woman who deserves to be loved and worshipped and set free from the gilded prison in which she’s trapped? Stephen is determined to show Lady Sybil every pleasure she’s been deprived of, even if it means being forever condemned in society’s eyes.

Inside Scoop: This erotic Regency romance features an intense, taboo relationship between an older woman and a younger man.

A Romantica® historical erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

“Think “Downton Abbey with sex….”

 Update and Giveaway

Thank you so much for having me here today. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s helped take my mind off losing my lovely Homer, the handsome Rhodesian Ridgeback you’ll see in my profile picture and who has been with the family for eleven years.

On a happier note, the sequel to Her Gilded Prison has just been acquired, I’m very pleased to announce. It’s called Dangerous Gentlemen and is as different in tone as possible from Her Gilded Prison as it follows the unexpected path of Lady Sybil’s quiet daughter Hetty through London revels.

I’d also love to offer a giveaway of my English Civil War novella The Cavalier to one random commenter.

 Available

Ellora’s Cave • Amazon

Contacts

www.beverleyoakley.com

www.facebook/AuthorBeverleyOakley

http://beverleyeikli.blogspot.com

@BeverleyOakley