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1814 Vauxhall and Drury Lane: The Belles’ Time Travel Machine

I hope you enjoyed your stay in WWI France via Caroline Warfield’s Blog. You are now once again in Regency England! A Malicious Rumor in the Bluestocking Belles’ Never Too Late anthology—takes place this year (as well as The Umbrella Chronicles: George and Dorothea’s Story, but you have already been there, right?), but we hope this is not your last stop via The Bluestocking Belles’ Time Machine.

Miss Alice Crocker and Mr. Peter de Luca from A Malicious Rumor are both employees of Vauxhall Gardens. Alice is a gardener and Peter is a violinist. Peter was unfairly dismissed from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and Alice and her grandfather help him seek justice.

Events at Vauxhall Gardens in 1814

The season began on 15 June and ended on 26 August. The finale was highlighted by a double display of fireworks by Mons. Bologna and Signor D. Mortram.

Fireworks temple

Mme. Sarah Hengler (wife of Michael Hengler who died in 1802) performed fireworks and illuminations that year.

Mme. Sarah Hengler

Sig. Vincento de Mortram, Mme. Hengler’s rival, also performed fireworks at Vauxhall that year.

Mrs. Maria Theresa Bland was a featured performer that summer. Mrs. Bland was married to the brother of Mrs. Jordan of Covent Garden. Her mezzo-soprano voice was ideal for the singing of English ballads. Her sons Charles and James were also singers.

Maria Theresa Bland, née Romanzini

Charles Dignum first appeared in 1794, but became notable at Vauxhall during the first two decades of the 19th century. He was well-known for his duets with Mrs Bland, especially Long Time I’ve Courted You, Miss,  a dialogue between a shy sailor and a flirtatious lady.

Charles Dignum

Charles Burney, father of novelists Frances (Fanny) Burney and Sarah Burney, who played the violin and viola at Vauxhall, died that year.

Charles Burney

Natale Corri, brother of Domenico Corri who was the manager of Vauxhall in 1812, composed for the Pandean band from 1810-1815.

Pandean Band

James Hook was keyboard player and composer at Vauxhall from 1772–1821. Hook wrote over two thousand songs for Vauxhall, and played organ concertos on many thousands of occasions.

James Hook by Lemuel Francis Abbott

Mr. F. Ware was music leader that year.

Mr. Burgess was punch maker for Vauxhall that year, and for a total of 40 years.

Mrs. Margarit Ross was housekeeper from 1811-1834. A permanent employee who was also in charge of the bars, Mrs. Ross kept one female assistant throughout the year. In 1822 she was paid £100 per annum.

Mr. C.H. Simpson was Master of Ceremonies from 1797-1835. In 1823, he was making £34 per season.  “…the wondrous master of the ceremonies, the ‘gentle Simpson, that kind smiling idiot,’ whose personality is preserved in the wonderful etching by Robert Cruikshank…” (Amusements of Old London, William Boulton, 1901).

Robert Cruikshank, C.H. Simpson Esq.

Mr. Charles Taylor was Director of Music that year. He was one of the longest-serving and most popular Vauxhall singers, especially noted for his comic songs. He made the speech on the last night of the season several times.

Mr. Jonathan Tyers Barrett and Rev. George Rogers Barrett, both grandchildren of Vauxhall founder Jonathan Tyers, co-owned Vauxhall after the death of Jonathan Tyers Jr. in 1792 until it was sold in 1821.

Events at Drury Lane

Edmund Kean played Shylock in The Merchant of Venice for the first time on 26 January. On 12 February, he played Richard III.

On 2 March, Jane Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra: “Places are secured at Drury Lane for Saturday, but so great is the rage for seeing Kean that only a third and fourth row could be got.” On 5 March: “We were quite satisfied with Kean. I cannot imagine better acting, but the part was too short; and, excepting him and Miss Smith, and she did not quite answer my expectation, the parts were ill filled and the play heavy.”

Sarah Smith Bartley

Edmund Kean played Hamlet for the first time on 12 March. On 5 May: first performance as Othello. On 7 May: first performance as Iago. On 25 May: a benefit and first performance of Luke in Riches. On 5 November: first performance as Macbeth.

Farewell—and a Giveaway

Thank you for dropping in. Your next stop will be on Sherry Ewing’s blog, but you might want to go back to The Bluestocking Belles Time Machine and hop around at will. I wish you safe travels.

Don’t forget, each comment on every stop of the Time Machine will be counted as an entry to win a grand prize of a $25 gift voucher from Amazon and a print copy of Never Too Late.

In addition, one random commenter here will win all three of these prizes at the end of December.

William Shakespeare Ornament

 

Vauxhall Charm Bracelet

 

Supper-boxes Necklace

Adieu, Time Traveler. Try not to land in the midst of the Black Plague, the Great Fire of London or the sack of Rome!

About Never Too Late

Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.

Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday Anthology.

US: http://amzn.to/2y6oBg7

iBooks: http://apple.co/2yY4gXC

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2fK7vJR

Nook: http://bit.ly/2y63988

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2xDMQkb

AU: http://amzn.to/2fycyAx

BR: http://amzn.to/2wjyWkm

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Print: http://amzn.to/2zQ36Ny

About A Malicious Rumor

Excerpt from A Malicious Rumor

Alice found her feet tapping in time to the music of the orchestra rehearsal while she inspected the site for the new illumination, which would honor the new Duke of Wellington after his victory over Bonaparte at the Battle of Paris. If only the designer had included the measurements! It was difficult to decide how to arrange the plantings without some inkling of the space requirements. With luck, the fellow himself would arrive soon, since the spectacle was planned to open the next day.

Miss Stephens must be singing tonight, she thought as she found herself humming the tune of the popular Northumberland ballad about a brave lass who rowed out in a storm to save her shipwrecked sailor beau.

O! merry row, O! merry row the bonnie, bonnie bark,

Bring back my love to calm my woe,

Before the night grows dark.

She liked the idea of a woman rescuing her man instead of the other way around. It might seem romantic to be rescued by a handsome prince, but one could not always be a damsel in distress, could one? Alice knew from her mother’s marriage that there was no happiness or romance in a marriage where one partner held all the power. She herself had no intention of placing herself in the power of any man. She would be responsible to no one but herself—and perhaps her employer, as long as she was permitted to work for a living. She narrowed her eyes. She could work as well as any man, better than some, in fact. Why did so many men feel threatened by that?

Sherry Ewing: To Follow My Heart (The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time) + Giveaway

To_Follow_My_Heart 400x copyI’d like to thank Susana for allowing me the opportunity to showcase my latest medieval/time travel release: To Follow My Heart: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (Book Three). If you’ve never read one of my novels, I’m Sherry Ewing and write historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of any book that throws a knight and a modern day woman together. I never had any intention of writing time travels. Somehow they just came about and I now have a whole series going on with secondary characters from my free medieval romance If My Heart Could See You. Who knew?

To Follow My Heart follows the story of Jenna Sinclair, a modern day woman living in San Francisco who is heartbroken over the breakup with her fiancé. Fletcher Monroe, a 12th century knight and captain of the guard of Berwyck’s garrison knights, has his own issues of attempting to get over a woman who would never be his. Image how surprised both my characters are when Jenna mysteriously slips through time and falls at his feet on an ocean beach.

The second Cliff House, circa 1900

This book, in particular, is near and dear to my heart because I have showcased some of my favorite places around the city by the bay. The Cliff House, along Ocean Beach, has a long history in San Francisco and is managed by the National Park Service; specifically, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, one of the largest urban parks in the NPS system.

CliffHouseStorm PD image

I’ve spent a lot of years walking this beach contemplating my own life, much like Jenna, and felt the need to have her falling through time beneath the rock face under the Cliff House. I was wonderfully surprised when one day, right before the release of To Follow My Heart, my daughter and I took advantage of a beautiful summer day and I was actually able to walk all the way around the cliff from Ocean Beach to the Sutro Baths side. In all the years I’ve walked there, the tides were never right since the water is usually right up against the cliff. It gave me a whole new perspective of how my characters felt doing the very same thing. If you’d like to learn more about the Cliff House, check out this NPS website at https://www.nps.gov/goga/learn/historyculture/cliff-house.htm. The NPS is celebrating their 100-year centennial so it’s a great time to Find Your Park and enjoy what these special places can offer you and your family!

In case you’re wondering, all my books can be read as stand-alones but if you read them in order, you’ll see characters as they’re introduced. I just love when I read a series and see returning characters that I’ve come to love, don’t you?

My Books

Haven’t read my books? Then start with a free download of the start of my series with If My Heart Could See You. It’s up on all major online retailers. Here’s the Amazon link: http://amzn.to/1LV1qnk. Need the next two books in the series? I’ve got a special deal on a box set called Hearts Across Time for $0.99. It includes For All of Ever and Only For You. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1BV0DM4

box set pic from FB copy

Giveaway!

I’ll give one random comment an e-copy of my medieval romance A Knight To Call My Own so just answer me this:

Do you visit a national park where you live? If not, then tell me one of your favorite places you like to visit.

Thanks again to Susana for allowing me to spend some time with her readers. Keep reading to learn more about To Follow My Heart, along with finding the buy links!

About To Follow My Heart: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (Book Three)

Love is a leap. Sometimes you need to jump…

After a gut wrenching break up with her fiancé, Jenna Sinclair heads to the coast to do a little soul searching. To say everything is subject to change is putting it mildly. Her world is not only turned upside down, but pretty much torn asunder when she is pulled through a time gate on the beach beneath the Cliff House and transported more than eight hundred years into the past.

Fletcher Monroe, captain of the garrison knights at Berwyck Castle, has wasted too much time pining for a woman who will never be his. When he finally decides to move on with his life and focus on his duties, he is suddenly confronted with a woman who magically appears at his feet. This could either be the best thing that has ever happened to him or another cursed event in a string of many. He soon finds he is wildly attracted to her, but she’s scared to death of him – not a very encouraging beginning.

From the shores of California to twelfth century England and back again, Jenna and Fletcher must find a way to reconcile their two different worlds before Time forever tears them apart.

Excerpt

Jenna came back from her musing, only to blink in shock at the distortion directly in front of her. The disturbance in the air was almost akin to the ripples one found in a lake or pond after a stone had been cast into its smooth waters. She reached out to touch it, but before she knew what was happening, some unseen force pushed her forward, even while at the same time she became surrounded by an icy fog. The wind in her face screeched at a high pitch in her ears in the same tone as a ghoulish banshee on Halloween. Her body seemed as if it were being pulled, stretched, and sucked through a tight tube, much like a dust mote stuck within a vacuum cleaner. She was tossed and turned around and around as her own screams echoed all about her.

Unsure what was happening, she cried out, hoping for someone to come and help her. No one answered her call, yet she continued to yell, all the same. Had she somehow fallen into the ocean, and was she being pulled out with the tide? No…that couldn’t be right, since she didn’t have the feeling of water filling her lungs. Time seemed to have no meaning, and she had no idea how long she had been in this state of…falling into nothingness and unbeing.

And then, everything stopped its frantic pace, abruptly, as though she were in a car that had come to a sudden halt at a red light causing her to lurch forward in her seat. Jenna was thrust headfirst to face-plant into the beach while her purse flew through the air when she hit the ground. She coughed, spitting out copious granules of sand. Wiping her mouth, she tasted a bit of blood from her cut lip and raised her hand to shield her face from the glaring brightness around her. Sunlight? She closed her eyes and reopened them, not believing what she was seeing, for the sun was as bright as in the height of a new day. But how could that be, she wondered? It was almost evening, with darkness about to settle down to caress the earth.

As if she hadn’t been mistreated enough, nature decided to continue its torment of her when a rogue wave came up from behind, knocking her into the frigid water. She came up sputtering, completely drenched, and began crawling her way up the beach to catch her breath.

When she was at last able to manage it, Jenna stood, but she did so on wavering legs. She attempted to get her bearings. Her hands shook uncontrollably. Some things hadn’t changed. Her heels were still held by the straps in her fingers. She was still on the beach…the ocean was on her left. Her purse was lying on the ground, and she bent to pick it up to place it on her shoulder. She began to wonder if she had somehow passed out when she lifted her head in the direction of the Cliff House.

What the hell? Where is it, and why is a friggin’ castle sitting in its place? Dammit! This isn’t even San Francisco. She felt herself begin to panic, because the terrain was nowhere close to what she was used to. Her pulse quickened, and she swore her heart was about to burst from her chest.

“My lady, keep calm.”

The sudden vibration of sound caused her to let out a shriek. Her lips quivered in fright. She brought her hand to her mouth to stifle yet another scream that automatically burst from her mouth. She was so disoriented it took several moments of trying to adjust her vision before the deep baritone of a man’s voice actually began to register in her head.

Then, she saw him, leaning casually up against a bolder of considerable size with his arms folded against his chest. A horse stood behind him with no tether of any kind to keep him from returning to a barn. The steed just waited for the stranger to come and fetch it, that is, if that was what you did with a horse besides go for a ride. The beast shook its black mane, nostrils flaring as though it were angry.

Jenna’s hand moved down to her throat, her eyes wide, as she gaped at the man. Everything about his appearance screamed dark, mysterious, and even a little dangerous. She should be wary of him. Thick black hair hung in soft waves down to broad shoulders. A muscular chest narrowed down to lean hips, and his dark shirt only accented the ruggedness of his body as it clung to him in the blowing wind. She swore she saw a sword hanging from the belt at his waist and could only imagine what kind of a man would keep a weapon of that kind on his person. He was clothed completely in black with the exception of the dark red cloak billowing out behind him, whipped by the ocean breeze. Was it her imagination, or did its color remind her of the same shade as blood?

Good God Almighty! How far could she run before he would catch her? Surely, from the look of him, he had something sinister in mind. Panic set in, and she dug inside her purse to pull out a container of mace. Trying her best to appear in control of the situation, she extended her arm. “Stay away from me,” she yelled. “I’m not afraid to use this and call the cops.”

He pushed off the rock with a smirk upon his face, as if he knew some inside joke of which she wouldn’t be allowed to know the punch line. The closer he came, the farther she backed up until the waves of the ocean splashed up to her thighs. The coldness of the water gave her another shock, as if she hadn’t already had enough in the last few minutes to last her a life time.

“Come out of the water, mademoiselle, for surely one dunking is enough for one day.” He held out his hand. “You shall catch a chill, and we are not in need of another ghostly apparition giving us advice, no matter how he may feel ’tis needed to guide us.”

“Sweet Jesus, I’m dead,” Jenna whispered in fright. Trying to determine which direction she should run so she could get away from this lunatic, her gaze darted back and forth.

“You are most certainly not dead, my lady. And, I assure you, I mean you no harm.”

Again, he extended his hand for her to take, but she had no plans to go anywhere with this handsome stranger towering over her. Handsome? Where did that thought come from?

About the Author

sherrySherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical & time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, The Beau Monde & The Bluestocking Belles. Sherry is currently working on her next novel and when not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist.

Sherry enjoys interacting with her readers. You can email her on her website or find her on these social media outlets:

Website/BlogBluestocking BellesFacebookTwitter

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Sherry Ewing: Hearts Across Time Box Set (Giveaway)

I’d like to thank Susana for allowing me the opportunity to showcase my first box set. I’m Sherry Ewing and I write historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time.

Today I’d like to tell you about this special edition box set entitled Hearts Across Time: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (Books One & Two) that released April 17, 2016. It contains my full-length novels For All of Ever and Only For You. Katherine and Riorden just happen to be my favorite characters I’ve created so far.

Attachment-1Originally, I had no plans to write a time travel. In fact, after I had finished my debut medieval romance, If My Heart Could See You (which is a free eBook by the way), I had every intention of writing about the youngest sister Lynet (A Knight To Call My Own). If you’re a writer, then you know how our characters have a mind of their own and will tell you the direction their lives will go. If you’re a reader, well…let me tell you its true…authors really do have voices inside their heads!

So Katherine and Riorden were “born,” so to speak, along with Katherine’s thee other friends who slipped through time in a turret at Bamburgh castle. I had so much fun writing these books that it spun a whole series and the next book, To Follow My Heart, will release this summer. I continue to be amazed at the amount of research that is available to authors these days and if you haven’t visited Bamburgh’s site, and love castles, don’t miss out! It’s very interactive with a video fly by, rooms to see, and lots of historical information on its origins dating back to its first recorded history in 547AD. And if that’s not enough, be sure to open some of the books in the “library”.

I’d like to show of a painting that a friend of my daughter, Kimberly King, did for me. Originally it was going to be my cover but timing being what it was for the both of us, it just didn’t work out. But I still wanted to have this beautiful piece a part of my book so I put it on the back cover of the print version. Kim took everything I wanted to depict a scene where Katherine see’s Riorden in a painting for the very first time when she at last learns his name. It’s still one of my favorite scenes in the book.

Since Susana and I are part of the Bluestocking Belles, I’d like to do a giveaway of my upcoming release Under the Mistletoe, that was originally part of the Belles’ box set Mistletoe, Marriage, & Mayhem. It will be available for just $0.99 on May 8th.

For a chance to win an eCopy of Under the Mistletoe, tell me the first historical romance you ever read and why it’s stuck with you all these years. I’ll choose a random comment as the winner.

About Hearts Across Time: The Knights of Berwick, A Quest Through Time Novel (Books One & Two)

Sometimes all you need is to just believe…

For All of Ever: Katherine Wakefield has dreamed and written of her knight in shining armor all her life. Yet, how could she have known that when she and her three closest friends take a dream vacation to England that they’d find themselves thrown back more than eight hundred years into the past? Riorden de Deveraux travels to Bamburgh answering the summons of King Henry II. But nothing prepares him for the beautiful vision of a strangely clad ghost who first appears in his chamber. Centuries are keeping them apart until Time gives them a chance at finding love. Will the past of one consume what their future may hold, or will Time take the decision from them and hurdle Katherine forward to where she truly belongs?

Only For You: Katherine de Deveraux has it all but settling into her duties at Warkworth Castle is not easy and downright dangerous to her well-being. Consumed with memories of his father, Riorden must deal with his sire’s widow. Yet how could he know how far Marguerite will go to have the life she feels they were meant to live? Torn apart, Time becomes their true enemy while Marguerite continues her ploy to keep Riorden at her side. With all hope lost, will Katherine & Riorden find a way to save their marriage?

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Excerpt

She needed fresh air…that’s what she needed. Turning into the Great Hall to catch up with her friends, she found herself riveted to the floor. Even if she’d wanted to move, she couldn’t have. Hardly believing what she was seeing, she became mesmerized when the tourists milling around the chamber slowly vanished before her eyes.

box set pic from FBOnly one man was left standing at the far end of the room, or rather, one knight. He had been reaching for something on a table when Katherine saw his shoulders flinch. His red cape swirled around his legs when he turned to face her. Their eyes locked and Katherine’s breath left her at the intensity reflected in his face. Shock, intermingled with excitement, rushed through her. Her whole body began to tingle. Good God, it’s him! Her mind screamed. He stood there with such a commanding presence about him that she had no recourse but to move in his direction.

Inch by inch, the distance between them lessened as he, too, moved swiftly across the floor. Her arm extended, she reached for him, and yet their meeting was not to be. He quickly vanished, passing right through her. Her body lurched from the contact when the wispy vapor that had been him disintegrated upon their meeting. A soft cry of distress escaped her lips. How could fate be so cruel as to take him from her before they could speak even one word together?

Modern surroundings returned, and Katherine became disorientated when she was rudely bumped by some jerk, who didn’t even mutter an apology. She swiveled around, trying to see if her knight was maybe still lurking in the hall, but there was no trace of him.

She had taken no more than a few short steps, when a voice whispered inside her head. Katherine…come back to me, my love.

sherryAbout the Author

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical & time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, The Beau Monde & The Bluestocking Belles. Sherry is currently working on her next novel and when not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist.

Sherry enjoys interacting with her readers.

WebsiteBluestocking BellesFacebookTwitter

GoodreadsPinterest • Newsletter

 

A Home for Helena: Release Day is Here!

Home for Helena Cover 5-inches-2-20-16 copy

The Story Behind the Story

I wrote A Home for Helena and sent it out to my critique partners and beta readers around two years ago, but as with other projects, I put it aside in favor of working on new projects. Frankly, the initial first draft writing is much more exciting for me than making revisions. If I don’t have a deadline looming, I tend to leave past projects in limbo indefinitely. Fortunately, last year I got involved in three group projects with deadlines which forced me to actually finish things. Those were Lost and Found Lady (from Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles), The Third MacPherson Sister (Sweet Summer Kisses), and  The Ultimate Escape (Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem).

The Ultimate Escape, the story of Lady Pendleton’s eldest daughter escaping to the future, revived my determination to get A Home for Helena out to readers. Because The Ultimate Escape takes place five years before A Home for Helena—even though the latter was written first—it became Book 1 in The Lady P Chronicles, with Helena becoming Book 2. As for Book 3, I’ve got a few ideas mulling about, but I’d like to get some of my other unfinished projects out there too.

Want to know how Lady Pendleton evolved? Check out my post on Caroline Warfield’s blog:  http://ow.ly/ZTiNP

I really, really hate deadlines

I know I have to get started right away, but I don’t feel like it. I’ll just have another cup of coffee first. Let me finish this one episode of Dateline first, and then I’ll work on my project. OMG, I forgot to get my blog post up today! I really should take care of the credit card bill first,  then I’ll get started on the project. Is it time for lunch already? I’ll just take a little break for Facebook games and then I know for sure I’ll be ready to write. The phone rings and I realize I haven’t talked to this friend for several weeks. People are more important than things, right? Suze Orman always says so. OMG, is it 5:00 already? I’m too tired to write. I’ll just get up early tomorrow and write twice as much…

But I can’t get things finished without them!

As you can see, deadlines are a necessary evil. Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. Well, I probably could live without ’em, but I’d be a certified couch potato and a has-been writer. And no, that’s not the way I want to live.

So I am learning to set deadlines for myself. And even though I don’t always meet them exactly on the nose, I do get things done, which wouldn’t be the case otherwise. I’ve also learned that having the cover done is a great motivator. Mari Christie, who created the cover for Helena has also done several others for me, including my two stories with Ellora’s Cave that revert back to me in a couple of weeks. Treasuring Theresa will be Book 1 of the  Hertfordshire Hoydens series and Book 2 will be Cherishing Charlotte, which is another unfinished project I hope to have completed by the end of the summer. And I still have several others after that, which will keep both Mari and me busy for the foreseeable future.

About A Home for Helena

After a wise woman suggests that she has been misplaced in time, Helena Lloyd travels back two hundred years in an attempt to find out where she belongs.

Widowed father James Walker has no intention of remarrying until he makes the acquaintance of his daughter’s lovely new governess.

Lady Pendleton, a time-traveling Regency lady herself, suspects that these two belong together. First, however, she must help Helena discover her true origins—and hopefully, a home where she belongs.

A Home for Helena is Book 2 of The Lady P Chronicles.

Book 1, The Ultimate Escape, originally published in the Bluestocking Belles’ anthology, Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem, will soon be available individually.

Amazon

$0.99 until April 5, then $2.99

Free on Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt

Newsome Grange

Kingswood, Kent

Later that morning

“Miss Dray is dead?”

James stared incredulously at Sir Henry, who, for once, was not wearing his normal easy-going expression. Instead, he leaned against the mantel of the fireplace of his study, studying the grate as though there were a fire blazing in it.

“Good God, what happened? Is Annabelle all right?”

“She’s fine, James.

Lady Sarah strolled through the doorway and into her husband’s arms. In spite of her words, she looked worn out. Strands of her blonde hair were falling out of her chignon, and he thought he saw the remains of tears on her cheeks.

“The girls are quite distressed, of course. They were fond of Miss Dray. As were we all,” she said with a glance at her husband, whose arm remained tightly clasped around her shoulders. “She was a dear thing, but very strict. The perfect governess. I don’t know how we shall go on without her.” Her voice broke and she buried her face on her husband’s chest.

“They found her in Abbey Wood,” Sir Henry explained. “Wednesday was her half-day, and when she didn’t return, we sent out a search party. No signs of foul play. The doctor says it was natural causes—her heart just gave out.”

His wife erupted in sobs again, and James decided he should find his daughter and leave the Newsomes to their grief, giving voice to that decision.

Lady Sarah turned to face him, accepting her husband’s handkerchief to dab her eyes with.

“Oh no, James, you needn’t do that. The nanny will manage until Mother can send us a replacement. Emily and Theodosia simply love having Annabelle around, and it will only distress them further if she leaves as well. And as for Colin, I’ve no doubt he thinks Annabelle’s his mother by now. She has a way with babies, it seems.”

James was not convinced. “Still, it takes time to find a governess.” He should know—the agency he’d consulted in London had yet to send him information on any potential candidates.

Sir Henry chuckled. “Have you met my mother-in-law?”

Lady Sarah smiled in spite of herself. “We sent an express requesting her aid. If I know her, she’ll come herself if she can’t find someone suitable to fill in until we find a permanent replacement.”

Sir Henry winked at him. “Perhaps she’ll bring along that pretty Miss Lloyd she has residing with her. I think she liked you well enough.” He chuckled. “Not looking for a husband, though. Or so she says.”

James frowned. He’d nearly succeeded in forcing the image of the forthright Miss Lloyd out of his mind, and now she had installed herself right back in again. If he were truthful with himself, he’d admit he wouldn’t be sorry to see her again. She was quite an eyeful.

It was really too bad he hadn’t been able to visit Violet while in London. It seemed her new protector demanded exclusivity, and he’d not been able to get past her burly butler. He hadn’t been near an attractive woman in ages, and this Miss Lloyd was proving strangely difficult to dismiss from his thoughts.

Lady Sarah looked thoughtful. “What do you know about this Miss Lloyd, Henry? Where did she come from? I don’t believe Mother has ever mentioned her before.”

Sir Henry grinned as he looked down at her. “She’s your mother, my dear. Surely you know by now how unpredictable she can be.”

Lady Sarah drew a deep breath. “I do know that. That’s precisely why I’m—concerned.”

James cleared his throat. “I appreciate your kindness in offering to keep my daughter, but you obviously have more than enough to deal with at present. If you would be so kind as to call her down… I can send for her things later.”

But the Newsomes wouldn’t hear of it. Lady Sarah was so vehement that he could see she was almost ready to burst into tears again, and after Sir Henry shook his head in warning, James visited his daughter briefly and left without her.

As he rode home, no matter how he fought it, his mind’s eye kept reverting to a pair of bright green eyes and the lovely face that went with them. Would he be seeing them again?

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About Lady Pendleton

REAL LADY PLady Pendleton is a frequent guest of Susana’s in the 21st century, both in Toledo and Florida, where Susana splits her time. She began appearing in Susana’s blog, Susana’s Parlour, in 2013.

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Strange happenings in Hyde Park: a Bluestocking Belles cross-post

Today on Susana’s Parlour, Jude Knight and I have something special: a stand-alone short story with two characters from the Bluestocking Belles’ holiday box set, Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem. Mary, the heroine of Jude’s story, Gingerbread Bride, meets Agatha Tate, Lady Pendleton, the mother of Julia Tate, the heroine of my story, The Ultimate Escape. In this episode, Lady Pendleton is just returning from a two-week journey into the twentieth century. Yes, she is a time-traveling Regency lady (who has appeared on this blog on several occasions in the past).

Pissarro_Hyde_Park

Agatha Tate staggered backwards as her feet touched the ground until, unable to reclaim her balance, she toppled over onto the soft grass at Hyde Park.

“Wh-at?” She put a hand to her aching temple and tried to regain her bearings. “Where am I?”

Agatha Tate, Lady Pendleton

Agatha Tate, Lady Pendleton

She opened her eyes and could see a vague image of a young girl in front of her. A girl who had likely seen her materialize out of nowhere, she realized as her wits were restored to her. Good heavens! How was she going to explain something was… well… unexplainable?

The girl—a young woman really, Agatha could see as her vision cleared—stepped forward, blinking rapidly. “May I help you?”

“Uh… who are you?” Agatha asked, her head still throbbing. “How long have you been there?”

Agatha pulled herself up into a sitting position and cast about for her shopping bag, which had landed in a nearby bush. “Oh my, can you get that for me, my dear? I need to change my attire before anyone sees me.”

She was still wearing her animal print leather jeans and denim jacket, which was certain to startle an inhabitant of London in 1799. Of course, she should have changed to her original clothing prior to leaving the twentieth century, but she’d been so stricken by the need to see her family again that she’d collected her bag, pulled out the stone, and uttered the gypsy’s spell before the thought could occur to her.

“Well, before anyone ELSE sees me. I shouldn’t want to cause a scandal.”

Mary Pritchard

Mary Pritchard

The bemused young lady fetched the bag and handed it to her. Agatha could see that her bright red hair was tousled and she seemed to be short of breath.

“Mary Pritchard, ma’am, at your service.” The young lady curtseyed politely.

“A pleasure to meet you, Miss Pritchard. Please allow me to introduce myself. I am not usually so rag-mannered, but since we have met in such unconventional circumstances…. Oh dear, there I go again! I am Lady Pendleton. My husband is Lord Pendleton, of Wittersham.”

“I am pleased to make your acquaintance, my lady.” She glanced at their surroundings, and returned her gaze toward Agatha with a reassuring smile. “We are hidden here, I think. I will keep a lookout un case Viscount B… in case anyone comes this way while you are changing.”

Agatha smiled, feeling a bit sheepish. “How very kind of you, Miss Pritchard. I was just about to ask if you would do me that small favor.”

She took the bag behind a bush and began to tug at the tight leather jeans. “Oh, I know I shouldn’t have had that last Big Mac,” she groaned.

Upon seeing the look of bewilderment on Miss Pritchard’s face, Agatha rolled her eyes. She already had a great deal to explain to the kind young woman. She’d better watch her tongue from her on in.

She coughed. “I’m afraid I’ve been over-indulging during the past fortnight. I hope my old clothes will still fit.”

“Have you traveled far?” Miss Pritchard asked politely.

Agatha grinned. “You could say that, I suppose.”

A crashing further back in the woods startled them, particularly Miss Pritchard, whose hand went to her chest as she turned toward the origin of the sound. She appeared frightened out of her skin.

Lady Pendleton pulled her yellow morning gown over her head. “Are you well, my child?”

I’m the one who has traveled 200 years and she’s the one who looks white enough to be a ghost.

“I… ah… you must wondering, ma’am, at my being here without an escort. That sound is, I think, my escort. If he finds me, would you be kind enough to say I am with you?”

The poor girl was trembling! Agatha stepped out from behind the bush and folded the girl into her embrace. Why she looked to be only a year or two older than her own daughter Julia!

“Your escort… attacked you? How did that happen?”

After a brief moment, Mary returned her embrace. She was a brave one—or perhaps foolish—to trust a complete stranger, particularly under these circumstances.

“I refused his proposal, and he thought to force me. I… ah… punched him in… ah… I distracted him and ran.”

What are Miss Pritchard’s parents thinking to allow her to be escorted by such a villain?

Miss Pritchard bit her lip. “I do not know what to do. If I tell my aunt, she will say that we must marry, and I would rather throw myself into the Thames than marry a man who only wants my money.” She sighed. “Actually, I would rather throw him into the Thames.”

Agatha straightened up. “This… this… Boswell won’t harm you as long as I’m here, my child.” She grinned. “The Serpentine is a great deal closer. Will that do instead, do you think?”

No. 42, Grosvenor Square, the Pendletons' London home

No. 42, Grosvenor Square, the Pendletons’ London home

She turned her back. “Hurry, do me up and we’ll away from here. I live in Grosvenor Square; it’s not too far.”

The girl chuckled and hastened to oblige. Agatha gathered her discarded clothing and stuffed them into the bag, realizing she would have to keep on her twentieth century boots since she had left the old ones behind.

“Ma’am, I could not help but notice the manner of your arrival and your attire. Would you think me impertinent if I asked where you came from?”

Agatha swallowed. What to say? Perhaps she could avoid the question… a little while longer.

“It’s a long story. What concerns me most at the moment is what your parents could have been thinking to leave you alone with such a rogue.”

Miss Pritchard sighed. “I came to live with my aunt when my papa died. The rogue is her son, I am afraid. She is as keen to have the inheritance my papa left me as her son is.”

Agatha’s nostrils flared. “How disgraceful! Clearly, she is not a fit guardian. Is there no one else who can offer you protection, my dear?” She pressed her lips together. “My husband and I don’t hold with arranged marriages. Not for our three daughters, or for anyone else, if it can possibly be helped.”

800px-Hyde_Park_London_from_1833_Schmollinger_map

She set a fast pace toward the Grosvenor Gate. She wasn’t about to allow this scoundrel to make off with Miss Pritchard under any circumstances, but it would be best if they avoid a direct confrontation.

“He doesn’t even want me,” her young charge burst out. “I heard him tell his friends that he would park me in the country while spent my lovely money!”

As they approached the gate, Agatha paused and looked cautiously behind her for any sign of a pursuer and sighed with relief at not seeing one. Followed by a moment of uncertainty. The more she thought about her own family and how they must have worried about her disappearance, the more eager she was to hurry home and beg their forgiveness. On the other hand, she wasn’t sure she was quite ready to confront them—particularly not her husband George. In any case, she couldn’t abandon this poor little dove to her mercenary aunt and odious cousin. What to do? What to do?

“I’ve got it,” she said. “Tea!”

“Tea would be very welcome,” said Mary. “I have no wish to go home until I decide what to do about beastly Bosville.”

Agatha knew of a delightful little bookshop on Mount Street that served tea, which frankly she had not enjoyed half so well during her travels into the future.

“Let us have a brief respite at my friend Mrs. Marlowe’s bookshop,” she suggested. “She is very cordial and serves the best tea and biscuits in Town.”

Mary’s face brightened. “I know it!” Mary said. “She has an excellent range of books.”

Suddenly she moved to one side, putting Agatha between her and the carriageway, where a dark-haired dandy was driving a phaeton at a furious pace out of the gate and into the street beyond.

1948-TROTTING-HACKNEY-CARRIAGE-HORSE-PRINT_700_600_QVBO

“Forgive me,” she said, “I am not usually so nervous, but that was my cousin, and I would rather he did not see me at present. Although,” she added, “I suppose it is silly of me, for what could he do in all this crowd? And I will take care not to be alone with him again, you may be sure.”

Agatha shook her head. “He looked very angry. It’s best to avoid a confrontation. Let’s away to Mount Street and refresh ourselves while we plan our strategy.” She was thinking “strategies”, because she had to come up with one for her own situation as well.

The bookshop was as busy as ever, with several customers waiting their turn at the counter. Mary led them up the stairs to the tearoom, where little tables invited friendly conversation.

tea table

“Lady Pendleton, I hope you do not think me rude, but I could not help but notice your attire when you—er—arrived. And—it cannot be true, can it? You seemed to appear out of nowhere!”

Agatha blanched. A more prudent woman would not have considered confiding her situation—as strange as it was—to a young girl such as Mary, but then, Agatha had never been known for her prudence.

“I’ll have a cup of Bohea,” she told the waiter. “And some strawberry tarts if you have them. What would you like, my dear?”

“Souchong, please,” Mary said. “And strawberry tarts sound wonderful.”

After the waiter had departed, Agatha turned to Mary. She might as well get it over with. “When you saw me earlier today, I was wearing clothing from the twentieth century. I-uh- was visiting there for the past two weeks. I suppose you might call me—a sort of time traveler.”

Agatha’s hands were clammy. It sounded so ridiculous to say such a thing, and she wouldn’t have believed it herself if she hadn’t experienced it firsthand. But she was going to have to say it again—soon—to her husband, so she’d best get over her fears now rather than later

Mary opened her mouth and closed it again. “How marvelous,” she said at last. “I have traveled much of the world, but to travel in time? How wonderful!” She sat up straight in her chair, her eyes widened.

“Marvelous, yes, it is at that,” Agatha agreed. “Quite fascinating. An amusing and rather unconventional manner of escaping one’s problems. But now… I find myself having to face them after all.”

Mary nodded. “Running away does not solve things. Though it can win you time to find a solution.”

Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of the tea. Agatha poured for both of them.

teapot

“You are wise for your age,” she commented as she passed her the plate of tarts.

Mary smiled. “Thank you, ma’am. I am on my own, you see, and must think for myself. And I am of age, though I know I look younger. My youth is a great disadvantage. Were I older, I could move to my own residence, and no one would be in the least scandalized.” She sighed.

Agatha leaned in and lightly stroked Mary’s arm. “I have three daughters at home. Julia, my eldest, is fourteen. I have missed them all so much, and my husband most of all. But I needed time to reflect on my situation, and knew my mother and aunts would only tell me to go back to my husband.”

Lady Julia Tate (at age 27)

Lady Julia Tate (at age 27)

She shook her head. “Marriage is not something to be rushed into. My George and I married for affection and fell in love later. And for the most part, we have rubbed along very well. I never thought he would turn into a—despot.” She winced, knowing in her heart that George was not a despot. Someone had wounded his pride. That holier-than-thou William Wilberforce, who despised some of her political friends because he disapproved of their morals.

Mary grimaced. “But are you going home now?”

Agatha’s mouth went dry and she took another sip of her tea.

“I am,” she said. “I must. I cannot abandon my daughters. Or my husband.”

“Of course not,” Mary agreed.

“But George must know that I won’t have a despot for a husband. While women do not have the sort of freedoms in this century that they will have in the future,”—she saw Mary’s eyes widen in surprised—“we do have options, and he must surely know I would not hesitate to take some of them, undesirable though they would be.”

She licked her lips with cautious hope. “If I know my George, though, he has long ago forgotten his anger amidst his concern for my absence.” She smiled as she imagined a tender reconciliation between them. She felt a sense of calm.

Taking the last sip of tea, she set her cup down. “It appears that my path is quite clear. I must return home and have a serious discussion with my husband. As for you, my dear, I wonder if you haven’t any other relatives you could appeal to, since clearly these Bosvilles are not suitable.”

Mary’s face brightened. “I wonder that I did not think of that! Yes, indeed! I have three more aunts, though I have not met them. Papa said I was to come to London. He thought Aunt Bosville might help me to find a husband.” Her color deepened, her fair skin showing her embarrassment. “I find I am not in the fashionable mode, however. Being raised on a naval ship does not prepare one to talk nonsense, and faint, and be ridiculously frilly and the like. And then…” she gestured at her bright red hair and freckles, “there is how I look.”

Agatha raised an eyebrow. “I see nothing amiss with your appearance. Your coloring may not be the fashion this year, but it does not prevent you from having an appeal of your own. Indeed, my eldest daughter is flame-haired and freckled, and I am quite certain she will grow into her own beauty when she past the tomboy phase.” She grinned. “Red hair is quite popular in the twentieth century. I observed that many of the younger ladies had deliberately colored their hair red, or at least a portion of it.” She frowned. “Of course, there were also shades of blue and green that I could not like at all, but that was the way of things—or will be, I should say. Society is so much more liberated in the future.”

Mary leaned forward. “Lady Pendleton, do you think… Could you tell me how you came to travel through time? Could I do it?”

Agatha wrinkled her brow. “Oh no, my dear! I think it would be quite ill-advised for someone so young to venture off into a completely different world. You may be certain I will not breathe a word of it to any of my daughters, at least not until they are old enough to have learned to resolve their problems rather than try to avoid them. No indeed, dear Mary, we must find a rather more conventional solution to your dilemma.”

“I am familiar with adventures, Lady Pendleton. I have been in a number of tight spots in many parts of the world. Though I have needed rescue from time to time, and I suppose I cannot expect Rick—Lieutenant Redepenning—to follow me two hundred years into the future.”

Now this was a promising development. “This Rick-er-Lieutenant Redepenning… you say he has come to your rescue in the past? Sounds like a delightful young man. The two of you appear to have a great deal in common. Is he eligible, do you think?” She winked. “I must confess that I would like to see my daughter Julia make a match with Oliver, who lives next door to us in Wittersham. They have been close friends forever.” She sighed. “Although it remains to be seen how well they deal with each other as adults.”

“Things can certainly change when one grows up, Mary sighed. “We were good friends when we were younger, but now… Lady Pendleton, a friend would visit a friend, would he not? If he were in London, and she were in London? A lady cannot call upon a gentleman, after all. Aunt would not even allow me to send a note! At first he was recovering from his injury, but he has been seen about Town these past six weeks and has not been to see me.” She sighed again, more deeply this time. “No, eligible or not, Rick the Rogue is not interested in plain Mary Pritchard.”

Then she brightened. “I will go to my aunts in Haslemere, Lady Pendleton. I will make the arrangements today.”

“Do you need a place to stay before you leave, Miss Pritchard?” Agatha patted her hand. “You would be welcome, if you think your return to Lady Bosville’s house would put you at risk.”

Mary shook her head. “I am quite sure that is not necessary, my lady. My cousin is unlikely to dare anything further. If he should return home, that is. He often stays away for days at a time.”

“I do hope that is the case, dear. However,” she added in a maternal tone, “Do not neglect to hire a post chaise, and your own outriders. You have a maid who can accompany you, I take it?”

“The public coach goes straight through to Haslemere, where my aunts live. Yes, I do believe it is the perfect solution. Thank you for your counsel, Lady Pendleton. And best of luck with your own reunion. I am certain your family will be over-the-top excited to have you back again!”

I hope so too, Agatha thought. In any case, it was time she found out. She rose from her seat and reached for Mary’s hand.

“It was a great pleasure to meet you, Miss Pritchard. My sincere thanks for your assistance in the park earlier. I can trust on your discretion, I suppose?”

At Mary’s nod, she clasped Mary’s shoulder. “I wish you well on your journey. And if you need any further assistance, please send for me at Grosvenor Square. Number forty-two.”

And the two of them departed the bookshop to face their own separate destinies.

Click here to read the story from Mary Pritchard’s point of view.

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Lady P in Florida and a Sneak Preview of “A Home For Helena”

Susana: Lady P has been having a wonderful time with me this winter in central Florida. She gets along well with my parents, especially my mother.

Susana's mother, Mrs. Ellis

Susana’s mother, Mrs. Ellis

Lady P: In many ways, Mrs. Ellis and I are kindred spirits. Why, she even looks like me when she puts on that navy bonnet with the crimson trim. She dotes on her grandchildren, as I do, of course, and I even helped her make the most darling little dresses and skirts for them, as well as a vest and trousers for the boy. Did you know that Susana’s sister has eleven children, nine of them girls? Goodness, I don’t know how she manages without any servants. My own daughter Sarah cannot manage her three even with a houseful of servants.

Susana: I don’t think that’s fair, your ladyship. Having your mother there to nitpick over everything you do can be nerve-wracking for anyone. Especially when your mother—or your houseguest—thinks everything should be done her way

Lady P: Well really, Susana, your housekeeping skills are sadly lacking, and you don’t even have the sense to feel remorseful about it. If you refuse to clean your house yourself, the very least you could do is hire someone else to do it.

Susana [shrugging]: Cleaning is a waste of time. It’ll only get dirty again, after all. Besides, I don’t care to have some stranger in my house while I’m busy writing and need to concentrate. Your banging around is about as much as I can stand. In any case, Romeo Roomba does a fabulous job cleaning the floors. All I have to do is push the “on” button and when he’s finished he returns to his charging station and turns himself off. What could be better?

Lady P

Lady P

Lady P [clucking her tongue]: What is the world coming to when you have to get a machine to do such a simple task for you? Why, in my day, the maids had to take up the rugs and beat the dust out of them.

Susana: Oh yes, I’m sure everything was done much better in the 19th century. No doubt you had to walk three miles to school every day, and you and your siblings used to fight over the gizzard when roast chicken was served.

Lady P: Well! I can see you’re not in a proper mood for a conversation. Perhaps I shall indulge myself with a dip in the bathing pool.

Susana: A wonderful idea, Lady P! The other residents always enjoy chatting with you. Why, when you left the other day, it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop, and several people got up and left out of sheer boredom.

Following Lady P’s Departure

Susana [chuckling]: And they do get a kick out of seeing her in her outlandish bathing costume too. She couldn’t find a proper one here, of course, so she made one out my mother’s old capri pants and a belted T-shirt. She insists she can’t possibly be seen in a modern bathing suit, not even one with a skirt.

Anyway, in spite of all our bickering, Lady P has been assisting me with my current work-in-progress, A Home For Helena. The story is loosely based on a true story in which Lady P played a pivotal role. Of course, the names and details have been changed to protect the innocent—and the guilty, I suppose.

A Home For Helena

Helena and James

Helena and James

Helena Lloyd grew up in foster homes until she was finally adopted by a kind old lady who loved her and taught her how to live by example. When she died, she left Helena enough money to attend college and get her MBA. But Helena discovered the business world was not for her, so she tried a few other things. When the story starts, she has just quit her job as a nanny for a wealthy couple in London, but is being stalked by her former employer. She runs into a gypsy lady who tells her that she is a soul lost in the wrong era. Sounds crazy, but when she thinks about it, there seems to be a ring of truth in it. So she agrees to travel to the era she supposedly “belongs” in, which is Regency-era England.

Helena doesn’t know the first thing about the Regency era, but fortunately, the gypsy lady gives her the address of a prominent London lady who has done a bit of time traveling herself. You guessed it—my own Lady Pendleton!

While staying with Lady P, an urgent message arrives from Lady P’s daughter in Kent. The Newsomes are in desperate need of a governess, and at Lady P’s urging, Helena agrees to travel there and fill in until a permanent governess can be found.

That’s when she meets James Walker, a neighboring widower whose daughter Annabelle is temporarily lodging with the Newsomes. His first marriage was a disaster, and he’s not keen on remarrying, but since he can’t seem to manage his young daughter on his own, everyone is telling him to find a wife.

The Newsomes’ new governess is about as un-governess-like as you can get. She’s young and beautiful, wears stylish clothing, and her teaching methods are decidedly odd. Not to mention her manner of speech, which is nothing like any American he has ever met. She is also quite free with her opinions, and James could never bear to have a wife like that. Not that he’s interested in marrying her. His next wife will be quiet and biddable and content with what he can offer her.

But is that what he really wants?

Helena finds James Walker devastatingly handsome, but she’s not there to find a husband. She doubts that a modern woman could bear to live in a period where women lived completely under their husband’s control. And even if she could, surely the knowledge of her journey through time would send him running in the opposite direction.

Wouldn’t it?

Who were Helena’s parents and how did she end up two hundred years in the future? Will Helena and James be able to resolve their differences and live happily ever after?

And most of all, what role will Lady P play in the final showdown?

Tune in later this year when A Home For Helena hits the digital shelves

If you could travel through time, where would you go and why? Do you think you could make the decision to remain there permanently?

Janice Bennett and “Catherine’s Star”

Long before becoming an author herself, Susana used to read just about every Signet and Zebra Regency that came out, not to mention older Fawcetts and Dells she found scouring eBay. How excited she was to discover Janice Bennett—an author whose books she’d read for years—in the group of Ellora’s Cave Blush Cotillion authors she herself joined a year ago! She finally screwed up the courage to ask Janice to write about what it was like to be an author in the days when print was supreme and New York ruled the publishing world. And how thrilled she was when Janice said yes!

Another surprise: Janice’s recently re-released book, Catherine’s Star, is a time travel, which is what I’m working on at present. I picked it up immediately and devoured it, hoping to pick up some tips. Excellent story—a very different approach from my A Home For Helena—but wonderfully engrossing and with a mystery to be solved as well!

If you’re a Janice Bennett fan, please stop and say hi. What did you think when publishers suddenly dropped traditional Regencies and went to the longer format? We’d love to hear from you!

So, what was it like to write during the heyday of Regencies? Very, very different from now. And in other ways, very much the same.

When I started writing, all romances were still considered “trashy little books” by everyone except those who wrote them—and the vast number of people who read and loved them. Regencies were a very minor sub-genre—we had the smallest print run of any type of romance—but we had incredibly loyal readers.

Very few of the houses even published Regencies, and each only released two or three of them each month. And since there were always more authors with well-written books than there were available slots, it was much harder to get published. But that also meant the reader had fewer choices, so each book that came out sold far more copies.

Many of the houses wouldn’t even look at a book unless it was presented by an agent. It made sense, as the agents weeded out the poorly written ones and only handled the ones they were sure were good enough. Agents were also good for the writer. Mine would call me up about once a month, just to pass on the latest gossip in the publishing world—which house was introducing which new lines, which editors were looking for what kind of book, that sort of thing.

As for promoting, a writer might hold a book signing at her local store, and some took out ads in the review magazines. Mostly, we relied on potential readers to walk into a store, browse the shelves, glance through the pages and find a book they thought they’d like. And if they did like it, they’d usually buy other books by that author. There was no such thing as the internet. No chats, no blogs, no contests, no websites—in short, none of the means writers must employ today just to be noticed.

The lack of the internet also made research much harder. We didn’t have access to hundreds of historical research sites. We couldn’t hop onto a chat group and ask other writers and history buffs a question—which might receive dozens of answers in a matter of hours, some of them even correct. We had to do the research ourselves. I have a shelf of books and novels written about—and during—the Regency era. Some are vague, some are less than accurate, very few actually answer the questions that came up while I was writing. And sometimes I’d have to wait months to receive a book I’d requested from a university library, which would arrive after my deadline.

Ah, yes. Deadlines. My agent told me never, ever, to write the whole book until after it was sold. But once it was, the publishing house expected it to be written. And by a particular date. I admit, I’m strange. I love deadlines. I can’t write without them. I need the terror of that rapidly approaching date to make me sit down and focus.

And to focus, I have to be deeply involved in my current WIP. I’ve tried to keep my ideas fresh, different, a delight to write. I’ve pushed the boundaries of traditional Regencies about as far as they can go—with adventure stories, murder mysteries, ghost stories, vampires, time travels, even a fairy godmother. I can hardly wait to see what new idea grabs me and demands to be written next.

About Catherine’s Star

Every Regency reader’s dream—going back in time for a London Season. But hidden dangers lurk as she searches for a lost fortune—and love.

Blush sensuality level: This is a suggestive romance (love scenes are not graphic).

catherine's starWhile searching London to find all the places mentioned in the Regency novels she adores, Andrea Wells spots an intriguing gentleman in historic costume who mysteriously appears and disappears. She becomes obsessed with him after finding his portrait in a scandal rag, accompanied by the story of his death in 1810 and the tale of a cursed Russian icon known as Catherine’s Star, and visits his home, Greythorne Court, to learn more about him.

The current occupant of Greythorne is convinced Andrea can travel back through time, and she says Andrea must go back and find the missing Catherine’s Star to save the Court.

However, when Andrea dreamed of living in Regency England, she didn’t count on murderous spies or falling in love with a man whose imminent death is tied to the fate of a priceless icon.

A Blush® paranormal romance from Ellora’s Cave

Publisher’s Note: This book was published elsewhere in 1990 under the title A Timely Affair. It has been edited for EC publication.

Available

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About the Author

Janice Bennett never intended to be a writer, but with B.A degrees in anthropology and classical civilizations and an M.A. in folklore and mythology, all from various campuses of the University of California, what choice did she have? Her first jobs included the usual abc’s—archaeology, bookkeeping and college craft instructor. Then in desperation she submitted her first novel, a Regency, and life took on a new and rather fascinating twist. Shortly thereafter, she began presenting workshops on a variety of writing topics, teaching novel writing at a community college, serving as a writing panel member at WorldCons…and then became an editor, as well. So far, she has written twenty-six novels and more than twenty novellas and received a number of awards, including two Lifetime Achievement awards from Romantic Times. She lives in a tiny, rural town with her husband, far too many cats, a huge dog, a large organic garden—and a computer she swears runs on chocolate chips, not silicon ones, which explains a lot about her.

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