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.
$0.99 until April 5, then $2.99
Free on Kindle Unlimited
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?
Susana’s March Events & Giveaways
A Home for Helena Rafflecopter: through March 31st
Susana’s March Quiz: through March 31st
Susana’s Newsletter Subscriber Drive: through March 31st
A Home for Helena Release Party: March 29, 2016, 4:00-11:00 p.m. EDT
Guest authors • Prizes • Fabulous gowns • Swoonworthy heroes • Fun for everyone
About Lady Pendleton
Lady 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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