Tag Archive | Waterloo

Alina K. Field: The Marquess and the Midwife

Thank you, Susana, for hosting me today!

My Regency Christmas novella, The Marquess and the Midwife, tells the story of a Waterloo hero pursuing the woman he can’t forget, a woman who, by all the standards of polite society, has fallen out of his reach. After losing her position as a genteel companion in the home of a marquess, Ameline Dawes, the heroine of The Marquess and the Midwife, has taken up the practice of midwifery.

Prior to the late Georgian era, childbirth was generally the realm of women, though there were some men involved in the profession. The Chamberlen family of surgeons developed the use of obstetrical forceps and kept their family secret for 150 years. Another earlier male practitioner was a medical doctor, the Scottish physician, William Smellie. An 1876 annotated edition of Smellie’s Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Midwifery is available free on Google Books, and makes for fascinating reading if you’re researching this topic.

By the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century more and more male practitioners were invading this lucrative profession. Medical doctors or physicians did not provide hands-on care, so most of these man-midwifes or accoucheurs, were surgeons, like the man Ameline and her mentor call in to help with a difficult birth.

Ameline’s new profession has provided her with a purpose and a way of supporting her twin girls, and she doesn’t want to give it up, not even for the new marquess, the man who loved her, left her, and now is determined to win her back.

marquess-midwife-final-digital-copy

About The Marquess and the Midwife

Finding the woman he lost turned out to be easy. Winning her is another matter.

Once upon a time, the younger brother of a marquess fell in love with his sister’s companion. He was sent off to war, and she was just sent off, and they both landed in very different worlds.

Now Virgil Radcliffe has returned from his self-imposed exile on the Continent to take up his late brother’s title and discover the whereabouts of the only woman he’s ever loved.

Abandoned by her lover and dismissed by her employer, Ameline Dawes has found a respectable identity as a Waterloo widow, a new life as a midwife, and a safe, secure home for her twin girls. Called to London at Christmas to attend her benefactress’s lying-in, she finds herself confronted by an unexpected house guest–a man determined to woo her anew and win her again.

But, is loving the new Marquess of Wallingford a mistake Ameline cannot afford to repeat?

The Marquess and the Midwife is specially priced at 99 cents through December 31, 2016.

AmazonKoboiBooksBarnes & Noble

Excerpt

He released her and leaned back, and his shirt gaped around a starburst scar, corded and jagged right above his heart.

She gasped and reached to touch it, but he clasped her hand and pushed it away.

“Waterloo?” she whispered. “I’d heard you were wounded, but—”

“I survived,” he said in a tight voice.

Her lungs squeezed and her heart quickened. Had he? If so, it was just barely. He’d been stabbed or speared, or shot, and somehow, somehow, his great heart had carried on. This had been no minor wound. Virgil had suffered terribly.

“I want to see.” She pushed his hand away and grasped his collar. He grabbed for her hand, but she dodged him and ripped the fine cotton, rending the shirt down the front.

Ameline—”

“You have a trunk full of shirts. I want to see.” She knelt before him on the sofa, yanked the shirt down his arms, and studied his chest. Small cuts marked his side and his belly, but the mottled scar was the worst. It would have taken months to fully heal a wound like this from the inside out. He should have died.

Her vision blurred so she couldn’t see. But her hands, trained to examine a babe in the womb, they could see. She flattened her palms and set a course over the ridges knots, and hard ripples.

He surely had almost died. A world without Virgil, without his laughter, and his generally kind heart. He’d used her, true, as men did. It was in a man’s animal nature, wasn’t it? And she’d used him also, hadn’t she? Both of them grieving over his sister’s death, and comforting each other. And she was left with her girls, and things had turned out all right, hadn’t they?

Her hands cupped his shoulders and slipped over to his back. No scars there that she could feel. The ball, or saber, or… what else did men use to kill each other?… had not gone clean through. It had merely dredged a hole in his front and wreaked havoc inside him.

And nearly killed him.

She’d always pictured a wounded Virgil, binding up a minor slash and heading off to the Continent to charm actresses and diplomats’ wives, maybe taking a wife there himself, and bringing her back to breed pretty, cheerful children. Virgil, rich, content and happy.

How she’d wallowed in that vision.

The feel of the scarred skin melted away her resentment. Let him have that happy life with his marchioness and heirs. And perhaps, on a rare occasion, he could come down to Longview and visit his twins.

“Ameline.” Virgil’s breath touched her cheek.

Large hands cupped both of her hips.

Warmth spurted through her. Too late, she realized her error. She’d got too close again.

She pulled the sides of his shirt up, her gaze sliding over the rip and…

Right. He was fully erect. Of course he was.

Hot need shrieked inside her, and she battered it down and found her breath. “I apologize. My infernal curiosity.” She patted his shoulders and eased away.

His eyes had gone dark and feral, his lips parted like a hungry man ready to chomp down on a long-awaited meal. Inside, she melted more.

She took in a great breath. She must keep him talking. “How did the wound happen?” she asked.

His eyes shuttered and he yanked her hard against him, smashing his lips to hers.

About the Author

Alina K. Field copyAward winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but her true passion is the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband, her spunky, blonde, rescued terrier, and the blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring, a 2015 RONE Award finalist, Bella’s Band, and a 2016 National Reader’s Choice Award finalist, Liliana’s Letter, as well as her latest release, The Marquess and the Midwife. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!

Visit her at:

WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

PinterestInstagram

K.C. Bateman: A Raven’s Heart (Giveaway)

Interview with Kate Bateman

Susana: What inspired you to start writing?

kate-bateman-author-pic-copyKate: I’ve always been an avid reader, especially of historical romance, but I never considered writing a book myself until around five years ago, when my husband and I moved from England to the US (with his work.)

I’d spent twelve years as an antiques appraiser, running with my own auction house in the UK and I also appearing on several British antiques-related TV shows as an on-screen expert, but since there’s not much use for my auctioneering skills in central Illinois, and with three small kids at home, it was a natural sidestep to use my knowledge to write historical romance.

One day I threw a very badly-written historical across the room in frustration and complained to my husband that I could have done a better job of writing it. He bet me a dollar I wouldn’t even finish a manuscript. I bet HIM a dollar I would. I’d studied English at university, so I knew I could put a coherent sentence together, and I figured well, if they can get published, why shouldn’t I have a go. . . ? At least my historical facts will be accurate. So I made the leap from avid reader to writer.

Susana: How long have you been writing?

Kate: Well, my first attempt at a historical romance (about five years ago) was set in the Italian Renaissance, which is—according to most of the publishers I approached—a tough time period to sell. So I received numerous rejections, (ouch!) but took on board the fact that editors liked my writing and kept suggesting that I write a regency romance to appeal to a larger readership. So I wrote a regency – the first book in my ‘Secrets and Spies’ series: To Steal A Heart.

I entered a couple of RWA contests, finalled in several, and from that I got a full MS request from my now-editor at Random House, and was subsequently offered a three- book deal. That was in 2015. My first book, To Steal A Heart, came out in February 2016. Book two in the series – A Raven’s Heart—is out this month, on 18th October, and book three, A Counterfeit Heart will be out in May next year.

Susana: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Write the books you want to read, and don’t try to copy someone else’s style because you think it will sell—it will come across as forced. I love reading about capable, intelligent heroines, so I to write about ‘historical girls with cool skills’. I also like to highlight the fact that Regency-era romances don’t all have to be set in London ballrooms. There’s a whole world of interesting places out there and many of my ideas come from real-life historical people and events.

My heroines are always feisty, witty, and more than a match for the men in their lives. Unofficially, I describe them as ‘bad-asses in bodices’ or ‘kick-asses in corsets’! To Steal A Heart, features a tightrope-walking thief and the French / British double agent who needs her skills for a prison-break heist. A Raven’s Heart has a code-breaking heroine and the cynical spy assigned to keep her safe. Book three, A Counterfeit Heart, (out next year) has a forger heroine with a dubious moral compass and a suitcase full of fake money… You get the idea!

And I’d also say to new writers: you can always improve your writing. The best thing I ever did was join my local RWA (Romance Writers of America) local chapter and attend conferences and writer events. It helped me connect with other authors whose support, encouragement, teaching, and constructive criticism have been invaluable. I’m always looking for new ways to better my craft.

Susana: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Kate: I’m a little bit of both, but my natural inclination is pantser. I hate plotting. As my engineer-husband will tell you, I hate organizing, timetables, and planning, but I know it’s just asking for trouble to start writing a book with no idea of your overall story arc, or major plot points. So every time I come to plot a new book I pretend to myself that I’m just ‘jotting down ideas’. I keep a notebook and write down a couple of key scenes, character traits, or snatches of dialogue. I type them up. I work out the order they have to go in to make sense. I work out what scenes I need to slot in between the big scenes to join them together. And hey-presto! It’s turned into an outline / plot without me noticing! By the time I’ve turned all my scribbled notes into actual, readable sentences, the book’s almost half done.

Susana: Tell us something about your new release that’s not in the blurb:

Kate: OK, here are a few fun facts about A Raven’s Heart:

First, one of the themes I play with in A Raven’s Heart concerns internal and external scars. Heloise has a scar on her face which she believes makes her unattractive. Raven’s scars are all on the inside. He thinks he’s too emotionally damaged to love. In this respect they’re opposites—and perfect for one another; they both see past the damage and find something to love underneath.

In one of my favorite scenes Raven lets slip how much he cares for Heloise by referring to the ancient Japanese art of Kinstukuroi. It’s the use of gold to repair a broken piece of pottery, with the understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken and lovingly repaired. I thought that was such a romantic idea that I had to include it in a book. Ostensibly Raven’s discussing his mother’s favorite piece of porcelain, but we know he’s really talking about Heloise.

bowl

Secondly, A Raven’s Heart is set mainly in Spain and the descriptions of the landscape and architecture all come from personal experience. I love traveling, and I was lucky enough to have spent quite a bit of time in Spain as a child. The descriptions of the taste of carobs and pomegranates come from experience! I hope my affection for the country shines through and gives those who’ve never been there a hint of what it’s like. I make Pinterest boards for all my books, so if readers are interested in seeing where I get my inspiration they can take a look: https://www.pinterest.com/kcbateman1/a-ravens-heart-raven-and-heloise-spanish-peninsula/

In the story Heloise goes to visit some prehistoric cave art in the caves near the Spanish village of Altamira. These really exist and the only artistic license I took with the story is that the caves weren’t ‘officially’ discovered or made public until a few years later than 1816. I like to think that the locals could have been aware of the existence of the caves, and the art, but might have been unaware of the importance of them from an anthropological standpoint. There’s no reason to suppose they wouldn’t have shown interested, if eccentric, foreigners like Heloise their local treasure. . .

Here’s an image of the wonderful prehistoric / Neolithic art that can be found in the Altamira caves:

cave

And here is a link to the Wikipedia page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_of_Altamira

Thirdly, lots of events in my stories have a basis in real, historical events. For example, A Raven’s Heart features a proposed prisoner swap between the French and the English. In my research, I found evidence for this surprising – if unusual – wartime practice; In 1813, Soult and Wellington agreed to an exchange of three Frenchmen for one Englishman and two Spaniards, a plan agreed by Napoleon.

Fourthly, the heroine in A Raven’s Heart, Heloise, is a talented codebreaker for the British, and in the book she and Raven get to meet her codebreaking idol, George Scovell. Major Scovell, later General Scovell, was is real historical person, and he played a crucial role in cracking the French codes and ensuring a victory for Wellington and his troops in the Peninsular campaign.

Here he is:

soldier

For those who would like to learn more about this interesting man and his achievements, his Wikipedia entry is fascinating! Sometimes truth is even greater than fiction. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Scovell

Susana: What are you currently working on?

Kate: I’m finishing up book three in this Secrets and Spies trilogy, A Counterfeit Heart, which and will be out early next year (May 2017). The heroine, Sabine de la Tour, is also known as ‘Philippe Lacorte,’ the elusive, brilliant French forger. She meets her match in aristocratic spy Richard Hampden—Heloise’s eldest brother.

I’m having a lot of fun with these two. Sabine arrives in England with a suitcase full of counterfeit money. An honest woman would simply destroy the evidence of her crimes. An honest woman would never blackmail her handsome pursuer into paying for her co-operation. But Sabine’s never been all that good at being good…

Sabine can counterfeit anything, but can she tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake when it comes to something as important as her heart?

Susana: What are you reading now?

Kate: I’m re-reading a couple of my favorite authors on my keepers shelf to remind me what good writing looks like – as inspiration! I’ve just finished the delightful As You Desire by Connie Brockway, whose unusual Egyptian setting I love, and the Medieval / Renaissance historical Shadowheart by Laura Kinsale. I’m now currently half way through Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s funny contemporary It had to be You…

Susana: What is your work schedule when writing?

Kate: I write for several hours every day during the week. I have three small kids, so a good day is when I drop them off at school and manage a solid block of writing before pickup. But I also think it’s really important to keep a work-life balance. You can’t stay slumped over a hot computer monitor all day, so I don’t let myself feel guilty for having lunch out with my girlfriends or meeting up for coffee. I don’t watch a lot of TV, so I sometimes get a couple of extra hours of writing done when the kids are all in bed – accompanied by just one small glass of wine…

Susana: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

Kate: A lot of people in the UK know me for my antiques-show TV work, as an appraiser, so they’re quite surprised to learn that I also write historical romance. But I have lots of not-so-well-kept secrets. For example, I almost became a ballerina, and took ballet classes for eighteen years, until I decided it was too uncertain a career and went into antiques and writing instead!

Also, I once kissed the policeman on duty outside Number 10 Downing Street after attending a reception with the British Prime Minister. And I can’t touch dry cotton wool. No, really. Even thinking about it puts my teeth on edge, like nails scraping down a blackboard!

Susana: If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere in the world for a research project, where would you go and why?

Kate: Definitely Italy. The landscape! The food! The wine! The art! I’d choose to go stay in a massive crumbling Italian castle perched on the edge of a cliff with a view of the Amalfi Coast and a lovely garden scattered with good-looking Italian groundsmen and gardeners, of course! The fact that I don’t speak Italian would only be a minor inconvenience. I’d go and wander round all my favorite Tuscan haunts, like Siena and Florence, looking for antiques, then I’d watch the film A Room with a View, accompanied by a fabulous coffee and a decadent dessert like tiramisu.

Susana: What do you want people to take away from reading your books?

Kate: That not all Regency-era romances are set in London ballrooms and country houses! There’s a whole world out there to explore – even if it’s only within the pages of a book as an armchair traveler – and lots of fascinating chapters of history to discover. My heroines are intelligent, witty, independent women who are more than a match for their men. Hopefully readers will continue to enjoy the worlds and characters I create and want to read more!

Susana: What has been your biggest adventure to date?

Kate: That’s a tough question! Having my three kids has certainly been an adventure – the little monsters definitely keep me on my toes.

I also love traveling and I’ve been lucky enough to have had several amazing adventures in that respect. I’ve watched the stars from a Touareg tent in the middle of the Morroccan desert, I’ve survived white water rafting on the mighty Zambezi river in Zimbabwe, and trekked to huge reclining buddhas in Thailand. I’ve done some epic road trips across America with my family since moving here, including the Grand Canyon, the Rockies, Yosemite, Death Valley, and the Utah national parks.

But I think my biggest adventure has to be leaving behind my first career — as an antiques appraiser and auctioneer in England — and finding another career I love just as much; that of historical romance author. My path to publication has been one huge adventure, sometimes frustrating, disappointing and nerve-wracking, but also fun, fascinating and exhilarating. I’ve met some wonderful people, made some lifelong friends, and learned so much. I hope to keep writing and to stay in the wonderful world of romance for a very long time!

Susana: Who gave you the writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

Kate: I always remember the Nora Roberts quote about the importance of having a central conflict in your stories. She said something like ‘If your hero’s a fire investigator, your heroine had better be an arsonist!’

Also, and I don’t know who said it, but I have a post-it note taped above my computer with the fundamental ABC’s of writing: Apply Butt to Chair!

Susana: What one modern convenience you could not live without?

Kate: A kettle and teabags. Life’s just not worth living without a nice cup of tea!

About A Raven’s Heart

August 1815. The war with France is officially over, Napoleon’s an exile on St Helena, but Europe is still a very dangerous place to be. . .

a-ravens-heart-final-cover-copyKidnapped and held for ransom at nineteen, ducal heir William Ravenwood knows the only person he can rely on is himself. Now part of a spy ring that includes his friends Nicolas and Richard Hampden, he’s the smuggler known as The Raven, a ruthless agent who specializes in rescuing hostages and prisoners of war from captivity. Raven longs to discover the fate of his colleague, Christopher ‘Kit’ Carlisle, who’s been missing, presumed dead, for over two years. He’s also equally determined to stay away from the one thing he knows is dangerous to his health—the bane of his life, his best friends’ infuriating little sister, Heloise.

Heloise is a brilliant code breaker, one of the English government’s most valuable assets. She’s loved Raven for years, but considering that he rejected her at sixteen, before her face was scarred rescuing her brother from an icy river, she’s certain he doesn’t want her now, despite his outrageous flirting.

But when Heloise decodes a message that proves Kit is alive and a prisoner in Spain, Raven realizes she’s in grave danger. With French agents determined to silence her, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe, even if that means taking her to Spain with him as an unwilling hostage.

As they face French deserters and Spanish freedom fighters, Raven and Heloise try to ignore the simmering attraction that’s been building between them for eight long years. Heloise might be scarred outwardly, but Raven’s wounds are all on the inside. He knows he’s not worthy of her love—a shadowed Hades pining for sun-kissed Persephone—but he’s not above showing her passion for the short time they’re together. Protecting her from danger will be a challenge; protecting her from desire will be pure agony…

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks • KoboGoogle Play • ARe

Excerpt

Chapter 1

England, June 1816

“I’m a spy, not a bloody nursemaid!”

William de l’Isle, Viscount Ravenwood, glared across the desk at his mentor, Lord Castlereagh.

The older man shook his head, supremely unmoved by his outburst. “Miss Hampden needs immediate protection. Someone’s targeting my code breakers and whoever killed Edward could also have discovered her identity. I can’t afford to lose her, too.”

Raven narrowed his eyes. “Use another agent.”

Castlereagh gave him one of those level, penetrating looks he so excelled at. “Who? Neither of her brothers are here; Nic’s in Paris, and Richard’s following a lead on that French forger he’s been after for months. Who else is left?” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “We’ve lost too many good men. First Tony got himself killed in France, then Kit disappeared. There’s been no news of him for months.”

Raven frowned. He refused to consider the distasteful probability that his friend was dead. Kit was like him, a master of survival. He could be deep undercover. But with every week that went by with no word it became harder and harder to stay positive.

“And now another good man, Edward Lamb, had been murdered,” Castlereagh sighed. “I don’t want Miss Hampden to be next.”

The older man was a master of applying just the right amount of pressure and guilt. He hadn’t made it to head of the Foreign Office without knowing how to manipulate people.

“You think I should entrust her to a less competent operative?” Castlereagh mused softly. “You’re not burdened by false modesty, Ravenwood. You know you’re the best I have. I was hoping you’d use your exceptional talent for survival to keep Miss Hampden alive, too.”

Raven sighed, well aware he was being backed into a corner. If it had been anyone else he wouldn’t have hesitated. But Heloise Hampden was the fly in his ointment. The spoke in his wheel.

A total bloody menace.

Hellcat Hampden had been the subject of his guilty daydreams for years. What had started out as adolescent musings had matured into fevered erotic fantasies that showed absolutely no sign of abating. He’d told himself the attraction was because she was forbidden, tried to lose himself in other, far more available women. Nothing had worked. And while he’d rarely paid much attention to the monotonous sermons preached by the clergy, he was fairly sure there was something in the bible that said “thou shalt not covet thy best friend’s little sister.” Or words to that effect.

He was the last person she should be entrusted to. He’d sworn to stay away from her. Had avoided her quite successfully—give or take a few blessedly brief skirmishes—for the past six years. Hell, he’d traveled to the far corners of war torn Europe to try to forget her.

And now here he was, drawn back to her by some malevolent twist of fate.

As if his life wasn’t cursed enough already.

Over the past few years they’d settled into an uneasy, albeit barbed, truce; it was a sad reflection on his twisted nature that he preferred sparring with her to holding a reasonable conversation with anyone else.

His blood thrummed at the prospect of seeing her again and he smiled in self-directed mockery. Few things increased his heartbeat anymore. In combat he was a master of his emotions, sleek and deadly and efficient. Fighting barely elevated his pulse. He could kill a man without breaking a sweat. But put him ten paces away from that slip of a girl and a furious drummer took up residence in his chest, battering away against his ribs.

He shook his head. Being near her was a torture he both craved and abhorred, but he had a duty to keep her safe. A duty to her family, to Castlereagh, to the whole damn country. Much as he’d like someone else to deal with her, he didn’t trust anyone else. She was his to torment.

Castlereagh, the old devil, smiled, as if he already sensed Raven’s grudging acceptance. “That’s settled, then. She’s safe at home right now. You can go over and get her in the morning.”

He rose and strode to the door of the study, then flashed an amused glance at Raven’s immaculate evening attire and the mask resting on the desk. “I apologize for interrupting your evening, Ravenwood. I’ll leave you to your entertainments.”

Link to longer excerpt from A Raven’s Heart:

http://www.kcbateman.com/books/sneak-peeks/

In A Raven’s Heart, I hint that Raven and Heloise are like the Greek gods Hades and Persephone – Hades kidnaps Persephone and takes her down to the Underworld, but the two end up falling in love and learning to compromise.

My question to readers is: If you could host a dinner party and include any couple—they can be real historical or fictional/mythological, who would you choose? Anthony and Cleopatra? Elizabeth and Darcy? Cathy and Heathcliff? 

Three random commenters will win a free ebook download of To Steal a Heart, Book 1 in my Secrets & Spies series.

to-steal-a-heart-final-cover-image-copy

About the Author

Kate Bateman (writing as K. C. Bateman) wrote her first historical romance in response to a $1 bet with her husband who rashly claimed she’d ‘never finish the thing.’ She gleefully proved him wrong with a historical set in the Italian Renaissance. Now writing for Random House Loveswept, her latest Secrets & Spies Regency-era trilogy features her trademark feisty, intelligent heroines, wickedly inappropriate banter, and heroes you want to alternately strangle and kiss—all mixed up in the intrigue and turmoil of the Napoleonic wars.

When not traveling to exotic locations ‘for research’, Kate leads a double life as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several TV shows in the UK. She splits her time between Illinois and her native England and writes despite three inexhaustible children and a husband who has flatly refused to read any of her books ‘unless she hits the NY Times Bestseller list.’ It is—naturally—her fervent desire to force the semi-illiterate, number-loving cynic to do so. He still owes her that dollar.

Kate loves to hear from readers.

WebsiteFacebook Twitter

AmazonGoodreadsPinterest

Diane Dario: The Rake’s Redemption

I have been reading romance novels since the age of fourteen.

Regency romances are one of my all-time favorite eras (grand ballrooms, dinner parties while sitting next to a grand duke or war hero just returned from fighting against Napoleon and the French, hey I girl can dream, can’t she).

When I am not reading or writing the stories I have visions in my head, I am enjoying the joyful moments with my growing family, the ballet and romantic movies.

Writing has always been a great passion for me, a long road of many ups and downs (and lots of online writing classes) and the years it took to get the craft right, finally, all my time and efforts paid off and now my dream of becoming a published author is now a reality.

It just goes to prove dreams can come true as long as you do not give up on them.

Susana: What is your favorite part of writing?

Diane: The research and having the opportunity to let my imagination run away with me as I go into another place and time while creating romantic stories.

Susana: Your current release, The Rake’s Redemption, takes a slightly different spin on the “left at the altar” storyline. Where did you get the idea for your unique spin on this familiar theme?

Diane: I always enjoyed reading second chance on romance books and I thought I could do this and the hard part was trying to come up with a plot that wasn’t used before. I do hope you like Caroline and Pierce as they found the love they once shared wasn’t lost forever.

Susana: This story also has elements of the difficulties soldiers face when they return home. Who or what was your inspiration for this secondary theme?

Diane: The anniversary of Waterloo and I thought what must it have felt like to be battle, seeing your fellow soldiers and friends die right before your eyes.

Susana: What do you have coming up next?

Diane: January 2016 – A Christmas Regency novella – The Earl’s Christmas Embrace – matchmaking gone astray. First of a series of war heroes coming home and searching for their missing friend.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

While researching for my debut novella The Rake’s Redemption, I stumbled upon PTSD and thought my hero, Pierce Mortimer, just returning from the Napoleonic wars, most likely had suffered this illness on this return home.

In Regency England, they would not have had the name or medical understanding that we have today. It was not until World War I that they termed the condition shell shock.

Research on the condition of PTSD in the 18th century has meant significant digging and piecing together information given to them in bits and pieces. Suffering with PTSD could lead one to re-experiencing experiences through recollections, dreams or acting as if the event is still going on.

PTSD is not limited to just re-experiencing. There are many pieces of the puzzle. There could be attempts to numb or avoid the topic of what he experiences with copious amounts of alcohol. There would be outburst or anger or one might have difficulty in social situations.

The Napoleonic wars were long and drawn out and it is not inconceivable that soldiers did not return with PTSD. They just would had a different name for it.

In regards to the Royal Navy, they were believed to just be melancholy. War and its consequences (death, disease) were so commonplace during the 18th century that those who had symptoms of PTSD were called cowards. The names they had for PTSD were cerebro-spinal shock or wind contusions. The condition was treated with skepticism which had to be difficult for a soldier who had no physical wounds.

IMG_1342 copy

Amazon

About Rake’s Redemption

Rake’s Redemption is a story of love interrupted by a young man’s call to duty…

Pierce, a younger son, realizes that the life of a military officer is far beneath what the woman he loves deserves. Despite her reassurances, he makes a decision to leave her behind, which will haunt him even after he returns from the war.

Caroline, socially ruined by a failed elopement, yearns for a husband and children of her own. Finally deciding to accept the attentions of eligible bachelors, her world is turned upside down once again when her brother in law returns from fighting Napoleon on the peninsula.

When Pierce returns to his childhood home, he and Caroline soon realize they share a sizzling physical attraction. But will the lingering pain of rejection she carries and his dark memories of battle stand in the way of love?

About the Author

IMG_0006Always an avid reader, Diane was introduced to the world of historical romance at the age of fourteen by favorite aunt. From that day, she determined to create her own world of romance, filled with the British aristocracy and the turbulent Regency era, during and after the Napoleonic Wars.

When not reading or writing about dukes, earls, and their ladies, Diane spends her time making beautiful memories with her husband and children, attending the ballet, or watching movies (love stories, of course!).

Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles: Heather King and Copenhagen’s Last Charge

Copenhagen. The very name of the Danish capital conjures exotic images of a bustling, modern city with an infamous red light district; a centuries-old port, evolved from a fortification built in 1167 to protect a ferry crossing; battles on the high seas and an international political centre.

It was also the name of a horse.

That horse was not just any old horse, though. He was the famed mount of a revered general. He was the war horse of no less a personage than the Duke of Wellington and carried his master throughout the whole of the Battle of Waterloo.

Copenhagen’s story begins at the siege of the city which gave him his name. His dam was the half-bred mare, Lady Catherine, bred by Thomas Grosvenor and, it is believed, ridden by him during that conflict. Lady Catherine’s dam was by the Rutland Arabian, ‘out of a hunting mare not thorough-bred’ according to The General Stud Book and was put to the successful racehorse and stallion, John Bull. This meant that although John Bull was full Thoroughbred and Copenhagen was sired by Meteor, second in the Derby of 1786 and son of the legendary Eclipse, Copenhagen was not eligible for the General Stud Book because of his grand-dam’s hunter blood. Lady Catherine is the only half-bred mare included in the stud book ‒ in deference to his honourable military career.

Meteor was tiny by today’s standards, measuring about fourteen hands, but Copenhagen took after his grandsire in colour, height and temperament. Foaled in 1808, he was chestnut (as was his father), stood about fifteen hands high (a hand is four inches, a horse being measured to the base of the neck where it joins the body) and could be bad-tempered, being prone to lashing out with a hind leg. He is described as being muscular and compact, having two white heels, a hollow back and poor shoulders… and, conversely, as being a handsome horse. He was painted by Thomas Lawrence and Samuel Spode as a rich, dark chestnut, but with dissimilar white leg markings. In the Spode painting, he has one white sock on his near (left) hind leg. There are no obvious white markings on his legs in the Lawrence depiction and in a painting of the pair at Waterloo by Robert Hillingford, he would appear to have four white socks. We shall never know, now, which is the most accurate, but one thing is certain. The stallion had a quality which drew the eye and fired the imagination.

In all three paintings, he is a striking individual, his proud bearing, fine legs and sturdy conformation clearly reflecting his Arabian bloodlines. The qualities of the ‘Oriental’ horse were appreciated by the knowledgeable cavalry soldier, for on campaign, horses may receive little in the way of fodder while enduring the harshest of conditions. Toughness was a prime requisite. Wellington is quoted as saying of his famous horse: ‘There may have been many faster horses, no doubt many handsomer, but for bottom and endurance I never saw his fellow.’ Such stamina is the hallmark, not only of the Thoroughbred, but of the three Arab stallions from whom the breed evolved.

However, the Duke of Wellington and his illustrious horse had yet to meet. Despite his lack of a full pedigree, Thomas Grosvenor had bred Copenhagen to race, but although a quick colt, he had not inherited either Meteor’s or Eclipse’s speed. He did not run as a two-year-old and his two seasons were undistinguished at best, resulting in only two wins. He retired from racing in 1812, at the end of his four-year-old season and was sold to Sir Charles Stewart, (later the Marquis of Londonderry) who took the stallion to the Peninsula.

Not a favourite of the future Duke of Wellington, Sir Charles fell foul of the Field Marshal on several occasions, finally, so the story goes, being reduced to tears for remarks made in the Morning Chronicle. Soon after, Stewart was offered a post as Minister to Prussia – possibly through the good offices of his half-brother and Foreign Secretary, Lord Castlereagh. However that may be, towards the end of 1813, Sir Charles, being short of funds and no longer in need of a stable of horses, sold Copenhagen and one other to Colonel Charles Wood (or Colonel Alexander Gordon) on behalf of one Arthur Wellesley.

When Copenhagen arrived in the Marquis’ stables (Wellington was not made a duke until 1814) he caused no small amount of concern. Not only was his temperament uncertain, he had a particularly unusual idiosyncrasy. All horses will lie down in their stable, given that the bed is deep enough and they are comfortable in their surroundings. However, they eat standing up; hay from a hay rack or net, feed from a manger or bucket. Copenhagen had a hearty appetite, for corn feed especially, but he would eat it whilst lying down. Until they determined that there was nothing wrong with their expensive new charge, he no doubt gave the Marquis’ grooms many a sleepless night!

A true horseman, Wellington quickly realized that his chestnut charger needed plenty of occupation. He already maintained his own pack of hounds as well as a pair of hunters for his leisure hours in the Peninsula, since his battle horses were not suitable for the sport. Copenhagen, on the other hand, revelled in the work and the freedom from his stable. The discipline of standing quietly and then galloping when hounds set off developed the five-year-old’s fitness and hardened his legs and tendons. Days in the field developed a relationship between horse and rider which was to be indispensable. The two seasons Copenhagen had spent on the race courses of England had accustomed him to noise and clamour. The pieces of the jigsaw were fitting together to create a legend; a horse whose name would go down in history.

In her diary, Lady Frances Shelley states that: ‘On the day before the battle, the Duke rode Copenhagen to the Prussian headquarters, to ascertain whether he might depend on old Blücher’s co-operation.’ This belief is also reflected by the Reverend Charles Young, who was staying with the Rt. Hon. Henry Pierrepoint in 1833 when the Duke himself apparently related the tale. The Duke is reported to have said, ‘Before ten o’clock I got on Copenhagen’s back… I never drew bit, and he never had a morsel in his mouth, till 8pm, when Fitzroy Somerset came to tell me dinner was ready in the little neighbouring village – Waterloo.’ He went on to claim that he sent Fitzroy Somerset off on an errand, ‘ordered Copenhagen to be re-saddled’ and himself rode out some fourteen miles and back to confirm how matters stood. Some modern historians believe this tale to be a fabrication and that an aide-de-camp made the journey and returned with the message promising assistance from the Prussians. It is a more likely version of events, but if not… the possibility of having carried his master another twenty-eight miles on top of his day’s work and then be ridden the following day during the battle itself, adds to Copenhagen’s considerable lustre and reputation for bottomless endurance.

What is irrefutable fact, however, is that while Napoleon rode probably three or four horses during the battle and covered considerably less ground, the cranky chestnut stallion was Wellington’s sole mount for the whole of that long, momentous day – a stretch of almost eighteen hours. Calm and composed amidst the smoke and mayhem of the battlefield, the very sight of the powerful horse and his rider cheered the Allied forces into greater endeavours and helped them stand firm when the odds were against them. It is little wonder that the illustrious pair were fêted by all and sundry when they finally arrived home victorious.

In due course, the Duke moved to Paris and thence to Chambrai in his role as Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Occupation, taking Copenhagen with him. He rented a house in Mont St. Martin and took his old friend hunting when his duties permitted. Wellington held house parties, mock battles and military ceremonials, and both man and horse enjoyed the attentions of the ladies, both English and French.

This continued when the army at last returned to England, the Duke acquiring Apsley House from his brother. Wellington kept and rode Copenhagen in London until he became too busy, when he sent him to his Hampshire home, Stratfield Saye.

Copenhagen enjoyed a peaceful retirement and was finally laid to rest with full military honours in his paddock near the Ice House. Mrs. Apostles, the Duke’s housekeeper, planted the Turkey Oak which now casts shade over the stallion’s grave. The marble stone was laid some years following the Duke’s death, by the second Duke.

I will be telling Copenhagen’s story in more detail on my Blog A Regency Reticule, later in the year. http://regencywriter-hking.blogspot.co.uk

waterloo_cover_best web

June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington’s Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men’s lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.

The bicentenary of the famous battle seemed like an excellent opportunity to use that setting for a story, and before we knew it, we had nine authors eager to join in, and on April 1, 2015 our Waterloo-themed anthology was released to the world.

You are all invited to

About Copenhagen’s Last Charge

When Meg Lacy meets a broodingly handsome Light Dragoon at the Duchess of Richmond’s grand ball, she little expects that in the early hours of June 19th she will be accompanying him around the streets of Brussels after the Duke of Wellington’s horse, Copenhagen.

Lieutenant James Cooper is surly and unhelpful, but Meg senses the Dragoon will need her help to catch the valuable horse before he injures himself. As they bicker their way around the narrow streets in Copenhagen’s wake, a strange empathy develops as gradually glimpses of the man beneath start to be revealed. Meg finds herself drawn to that person, but when they finally return the horse to the Duke and Cooper assumes the credit, Meg is so incensed she vows to have nothing further to do with him.

Fate, it seems, has other ideas…

Amazon.com • Kobo • iBooks • Barnes & Noble

Amazon.ca • Amazon.au • Amazon.uk

Excerpt

Something was about to unfold, Meg thought, barely suppressing a shiver of apprehension. All these handsome, jolly young men were dancing, drinking and enjoying themselves with a new fervour which was almost a desperation… She must make sure to tell Papa how much she loved him.

“Georgy, my dear. Why are you not dancing?” Wellington, spotting them, had come forward, a charming smile curving his lean lips. In an aside over his shoulder, he said to Richmond, “If you could lay hands on that map, I should be obliged.”

“Oh, your Grace, please allow me to present to you my good friend, Miss Margaret Lacy.”

Heart pounding, Meg sank into a deep curtsey, but was both surprised and reassured to perceive a twinkle in the Duke’s eye when he helped her to rise and then carried her hand to his lips. She felt the burn of his swift appraisal bloom in her cheeks.

“I am charmed, Miss Lacy. Would you be related to Major-General Sir Vincent Lacy?”

“He is my father, sir.”

“Ah. A fine officer and a gentleman.”

Meg dipped her head. “Thank you, your Grace.”

Wellington wagged his finger jovially. “No need for ceremony, my dear young lady. I have every respect for your father. He is also a consummate horseman.”

Georgy took Meg’s arm, infinitesimally drawing her closer to the Duke.

“Meg – Miss Lacy – has inherited her papa’s skill, sir. She has a high regard for Copenhagen. Might we be allowed to visit him in the stables?”

One of the family’s black-liveried footmen appeared at the Duke’s elbow and bowed, presenting a piece of folded paper on a silver salver.

“Excuse me, ladies.” Wellington took the missive and glanced at its contents. “And risk dirtying your pretty gowns? I shall not hear of it.” He nodded to the man. “Have someone send to the stables. I wish my horse brought up at once.”

The Field Marshal was a particularly imposing gentleman, Meg decided, considering him from the corner of her eye while he paused to comment in the ear of one of his aides. It was more than just his proud bearing and handsome features; he possessed an air of invincibility and self-belief which to some probably appeared to be arrogance. To her, it was more the attitude of a man – a general – who knew what he had to do and was determined to do it. If anyone could stop Napoleon Bonaparte, then surely it was he.

They paused at the top of the steps at the main entrance. Meg had noticed a considerable number of the guests slipping away; certainly the company in the ballroom had thinned. Unbidden, a thought for the brooding Hussar popped into her head and she offered a silent prayer for all those who were about to fight. The image of the dark-visaged young man lingered… and then she realized he was real.

Standing in the road at the bottom of the steps, he held Wellington’s famous war horse, Copenhagen, by the bridle. The near-thoroughbred, chestnut stallion was equally as imposing as his master. He stood just over fifteen hands at the base of his neck, but with his head held high and ears pricked in a state of readiness, he seemed far bigger. A trumpet sounded in the distance and he neighed, an ear-splitting vibration of notes that had Georgy covering her ears. Even the horse was challenging the French Emperor. Copenhagen skipped sideways, his iron-shod hoofs clattering on the cobbles. The young man, who was now clad in a navy coat with buff facings, cursed and pulled at the reins, his boots clutching ineffectively for a purchase on the uneven surface…

Our Stories

Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge

Emmaline Rothesay has her eye on Jeremiah Denby as a potential suitor. When Captain Denby experiences a life-altering incident during the course of events surrounding the Battle of Waterloo, it throws a damper on Emmaline’s plans.

Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure and Pandora Wellingham is more than ready to spread her wings. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon she believes her stars have aligned.

Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady

Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late?

Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel

Charged with the duty of keeping his friend’s widow safe, Captain Sam Lumley watches over Ellen Staverton as she recovers from her loss, growing fonder of her as each month passes. When Ellen takes a position as a companion, Sam must confront his feelings before she’s completely gone from his life.

Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue

On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who— dangerously to Aimée— wore blue.

Heather King: Copenhagen’s Last Charge

When Meg Lacy finds herself riding through the streets of Brussels only hours after the Battle of Waterloo, romance is the last thing on her mind, especially with surly Lieutenant James Cooper. However, their bickering uncovers a strange empathy – until, that is, the lieutenant makes a grave error of judgment that jeopardizes their budding friendship…

Christa Paige: One Last Kiss

The moment Colin held Beatrice in his arms he wanted one last kiss to take with him into battle and an uncertain future. Despite the threat of a soldier’s death, he must survive, for he promises to return to her because one kiss from Beatrice would never be enough.

Sophia Strathmore: A Soldier Lay Dying

Amelia and Anne Evans find themselves orphaned when their father, General Evans, dies. With no other options available, Amelia accepts the deathbed proposal of Oliver Brighton, Earl of Montford, a long time family friend. When Lord Montford recovers from his battle wounds, can the two find lasting love?

David W. Wilkin: Not a Close Run Thing at All

Years, a decade. And now, Robert had come back into her life. Shortly before battle was to bring together more than three hundred thousand soldiers. They had but moments after all those years, and now, would they have anymore after?

About the Author

Heather King newHeather has always been a dreamer, going off for hours into a make-believe world peopled by imaginary characters. From the age of about seven, when she won a third prize for a story written at school, she has enjoyed writing almost as much as reading. Devouring a book in one sitting is nothing new to her. Already keen on history, when she read her first Georgette Heyer Regency novel in her teens, she was at once hooked on the era and the genre.

Nowadays she divides her time between her animals, beta reading/critiquing for other authors, writing historical romantic fiction and short stories for magazines. Writing as Vandalia Black, she has recently released a collection of Vampire Romance short stories which includes a novella set in the English Civil War.

Website • Facebook • Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

Other Releases

An Improper Marriage

Marriage to dull ironmaster Jeremiah Knight would be awful enough, but when Eleanor Honeybourne discovers an injured man at a ball, she uncovers a web of intrigue that puts her own and her stepfather’s lives at risk. Meeting again her childhood hero, Charles Ribblesford, she is forced into a situation which could well spell her ruin, unless they can solve the mystery and unmask the villain.

 Amazon.ukAmazon.com

The Middle Of The Day

Lottie Morgan loves all things Regency, but would she like to live in the early nineteenth century, married to a baron? A strange thing happens while she is visiting Berrington Hall; she finds herself confronting George, Lord Rodney and she is a newly-wed!

 Amazon.ukAmazon.com

Writing as Vandalia Black:

Vampires Don’t Drink Coffee And Other Stories

This collection of fourteen tales brings together irresistible heroes and memorable heroines who battle against demons, muggers, lost loves, loneliness and unholy thirst to find their true loves. Tortured and honourable vampire heroes and one lady for whom the search for her mortal love has lasted centuries, will sweep you away into a paranormal world where eternal love means exactly that.

 Amazon.ukAmazon.com

Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles: Téa Cooper and The Caper Merchant

Truth is Often Stranger Than Fiction

I have to admit to being in two minds about the Beaux, Battles & Ballrooms project when Susana asked me if I would like become involved. Not because I have anything against Regency romances or the Duke of Wellington for that matter. Generally I write Australian historical romances – oz-itoricals as they are sometimes called. This would be very different.

Apart from anything else I didn’t even know if there had been any Australians at the Battle of Waterloo and I wanted a link to Australia. I knew that many Waterloo veterans had settled in Australia after the battle but had any Australians fought at Waterloo?

teawaterloo2_2672458b copy

Battle of Waterloo

I started digging around and imagine my delight when I discovered that there was one, and only one Australian at the Battle of Waterloo.

His name was Andrew Douglas White. He didn’t become the hero of my story, The Caper Merchant, but I felt it gave me license to involve an Australian.

And so the fictitious Samuel Blue, the hero of The Caper Merchant, was born. He inherited some of the irreverent, larrikin aspects of the Australians I have come to know and love.

But let’s leave fiction for a moment and let me tell you about Andrew because, as always, truth is stranger than fiction!

Andrew Douglas White was born in Sydney Cove in 1793 when the Australian colony was only five years old, the bastard son of a convict mother. His father, John White was chief surgeon on the expedition to establish the convict settlement at Botany Bay. His mother a convict, Rachel Turner, sentenced to seven years transportation for the theft of some clothing. She arrived in Sydney Cove in 1790 and served her sentence as Surgeon White’s housekeeper.

Sydney 1796

Sydney 1796

In 1794 the married John White returned to England but continued to support Rachel and his Australian son. In 1800 Andrew, then aged six and a half, was sent to England to join his father, step-mother and half-siblings.

Andrew was educated in England and joined the Royal Engineers as a second lieutenant in 1812. He went to Flanders in late 1813 as part of the British force and remained there serving as a junior officer on the Royal Engineer Staff at Waterloo. He survived the battle unscathed and returned to England to receive his Waterloo medal in 1816.

But the story doesn’t end there.

In 1823 Andrew returned Sydney and to the mother he could barely remember. The reunion was obviously a successful one, as he gave her his most prized possession, his Waterloo medal. She treasured it until her death.

Needless to say Andrew’s story set my mind racing and I’m currently working on a story called The Great Platypus Hoax—nothing to do with the Battle of Waterloo but it seemed such a shame to waste all the wonderful stories I had unearthed.

And Susana, thank you for your invitation to join in this great project. It’s been a fascinating ride!

Photos: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

 

waterloo_cover_best web

June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington’s Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men’s lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.

The bicentenary of the famous battle seemed like an excellent opportunity to use that setting for a story, and before we knew it, we had nine authors eager to join in, and on April 1, 2015 our Waterloo-themed anthology was released to the world.

You are all invited to

About The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure but when the Dark Lady wanes into solitude and looks to the shadows life can take an unexpected turn.

For Pandora Wellingham the astrological predictions couldn’t be more fortuitous, especially if they enable her to spread her wings and escape the domineering control of her godparents. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon, she believes her stars have aligned.

Career soldier Samuel Blue has lived much of his life in the shadows embroiled in the cloak and dagger world of ciphers and intelligence. It is during such a mission on behalf of his country that he meets the beautiful Pandora and inadvertently compromises her. But no matter how much he yearns to remain longer to secure the affections of the stargazing girl who has captivated his heart, Samuel has no time to dream of love and happy endings. He has information to deliver that may prove vital in the upcoming confrontation in Belgium.

Samuel’s journey takes him from the ballrooms of Grosvenor Square to the battlefield of Waterloo, with the sinister caper merchant dancing hot on his heels to prevent him from completing his mission. The stakes are high, and now that Pandora is in the picture, they’ve mounted even higher.

Amazon.com • Kobo • iBooks • Barnes & Noble

Amazon.ca • Amazon.au • Amazon.uk

Excerpt

The evening of Thursday, 8th June 1815

Grosvenor Square, London

“Dora, are you touched or simply playing the fool?”

Pan-dora. My name is Pandora.

“I believe you are doing this on purpose. Since your father’s death you have done everything in your power to make my life a misery.” Aunt Audra’s reddened nose disappeared behind a pathetic scrap of lace. “What are we to do?” The peacock feathers attached to her over structured hair wilted in sympathy. “Everyone saw you. It is scandalous, simply scandalous.”

“Just a dance,” Pandora muttered under her breath. A waltz—nothing more than a waltz. It wasn’t as though they were the only couple on the dance floor.

A muted squawk of horror burst from Aunt Audra. “You hadn’t been introduced.”

In actual fact they had, although not in the manner Aunt Audra would have preferred. From all the fuss and commotion it appeared no one knew very much about Captain Samuel Blue other than the obvious. Tall, exceptionally good looking with his loose black curls and startling blue eyes, and from his dress uniform and the easy length of the body inhabiting it, a cavalry officer.

“When I suggested you enter the marriage mart I did not, in my remotest dreams, imagine you would disgrace yourself with the nearest available young man.”

Stifling a yawn, Pandora moved to the window and gazed out onto the terrace and the gardens where couples strolled along arm in arm. The sky, an inky velvet cape, arched above the vista. Soon the moon would rise. The new moon in Gemini. Her moon. A time of promise and rebirth.

Not if Aunt Audra had any say in the matter. “I have no idea what we are going to do.” She wrung her hands performing an admirable impersonation of Lady Macbeth.

Pandora clenched hers and restrained the desire to cover her ears. She knew what she would like to do. Somehow now didn’t seem the best moment to suggest repeating the entire waltz all over again. The dizzying sensation when he’d put his arm around her waist and drawn her to him before sweeping her across the room still made her pulse pound. Distinctly more scintillating than any of the dance lessons she’d received from the odious Monsieur Cagneaux.

With a crack like gunshot the door flew open. “What is all this nonsense?” Her uncle rested his vast bulk against the timber panels, preventing interruption.

Pandora sucked in a steadying breath. No one would be coming to her rescue. An entire battalion would find it difficult to dislodge him.

“I hope, young lady, you are feeling suitably ashamed.”

She swallowed back an honest response and bowed her head. Aunt Audra’s tears were an almost daily occurrence and easily ignored. However her godfather, the esteemed Lord Harold Smotherington, in full flight, commanded her full attention.

“Well?”

She lifted her shoulders and offered a conciliatory smile.

“Don’t you shrug at me, you silly little chit. Whatever possessed you?”

Aunt Audra emitted another strangled sob and dabbed ineffectually with her sodden handkerchief.

“For goodness sake, Audra, pull yourself together. I have made arrangements. Someone must institute recompense.”

Made arrangements? Recompense? What in heaven’s name had happened?

Our Stories

Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge

Emmaline Rothesay has her eye on Jeremiah Denby as a potential suitor. When Captain Denby experiences a life-altering incident during the course of events surrounding the Battle of Waterloo, it throws a damper on Emmaline’s plans.

Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure and Pandora Wellingham is more than ready to spread her wings. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon she believes her stars have aligned.

Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady

Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late?

Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel

Charged with the duty of keeping his friend’s widow safe, Captain Sam Lumley watches over Ellen Staverton as she recovers from her loss, growing fonder of her as each month passes. When Ellen takes a position as a companion, Sam must confront his feelings before she’s completely gone from his life.

Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue

On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who— dangerously to Aimée— wore blue.

Heather King: Copenhagen’s Last Charge

When Meg Lacy finds herself riding through the streets of Brussels only hours after the Battle of Waterloo, romance is the last thing on her mind, especially with surly Lieutenant James Cooper. However, their bickering uncovers a strange empathy – until, that is, the lieutenant makes a grave error of judgment that jeopardizes their budding friendship…

Christa Paige: One Last Kiss

The moment Colin held Beatrice in his arms he wanted one last kiss to take with him into battle and an uncertain future. Despite the threat of a soldier’s death, he must survive, for he promises to return to her because one kiss from Beatrice would never be enough.

Sophia Strathmore: A Soldier Lay Dying

Amelia and Anne Evans find themselves orphaned when their father, General Evans, dies. With no other options available, Amelia accepts the deathbed proposal of Oliver Brighton, Earl of Montford, a long time family friend. When Lord Montford recovers from his battle wounds, can the two find lasting love?

David W. Wilkin: Not a Close Run Thing at All

Years, a decade. And now, Robert had come back into her life. Shortly before battle was to bring together more than three hundred thousand soldiers. They had but moments after all those years, and now, would they have anymore after?

About the Author

TeaCoopersmall copyBest-selling Australian author Téa Cooper lives in a stone cottage on one hundred acres of bushland, just outside the time-warp village of Wollombi, New South Wales. Although Téa was born and raised in England the majority of her books, both contemporary and historical, are set in Australia, the country she now calls home. When she isn’t writing Téa can usually be found haunting the local museum or chatting to the locals, who provide her with a never-ending source of inspiration. She is a member of Romance Writers Australia and Hunter Romance Writers and is a 2014 finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Awards for her historical romance, Jazz Baby.

Website • Facebook • Twitter

Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles: Sophia Strathmore and A Soldier Lay Dying

waterloo_cover_best web

June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington’s Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men’s lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.

The bicentenary of the famous battle seemed like an excellent opportunity to use that setting for a story, and before we knew it, we had nine authors eager to join in, and on April 1, 2015 our Waterloo-themed anthology was released to the world.

You are all invited to

About A Soldier Lay Dying

Amelia Evans finds herself with nowhere else to turn after the death of her father except to Lt. Colonel Oliver Brighton, the Earl of Montford. Lord Montford had been a good friend and protégé of her father and he pledges her his assistance when they return to England from Belgium.

Mortally injured during the battle of Waterloo, Lord Montford marries Amelia to give her his name and to protect Amelia and her sister Anne from their evil uncle and would be guardian the Earl of Wembley. When Lord Montford doesn’t die and returns to Montford Manor, can he and Amelia find true and lasting love?

Amazon.com • Kobo • iBooks • Barnes & Noble

Amazon.ca • Amazon.au • Amazon.uk

Our Stories

Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge

Emmaline Rothesay has her eye on Jeremiah Denby as a potential suitor. When Captain Denby experiences a life-altering incident during the course of events surrounding the Battle of Waterloo, it throws a damper on Emmaline’s plans.

Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure and Pandora Wellingham is more than ready to spread her wings. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon she believes her stars have aligned.

Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady

Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late?

Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel

Charged with the duty of keeping his friend’s widow safe, Captain Sam Lumley watches over Ellen Staverton as she recovers from her loss, growing fonder of her as each month passes. When Ellen takes a position as a companion, Sam must confront his feelings before she’s completely gone from his life.

Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue

On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who— dangerously to Aimée— wore blue.

Heather King: Copenhagen’s Last Charge

When Meg Lacy finds herself riding through the streets of Brussels only hours after the Battle of Waterloo, romance is the last thing on her mind, especially with surly Lieutenant James Cooper. However, their bickering uncovers a strange empathy – until, that is, the lieutenant makes a grave error of judgment that jeopardizes their budding friendship…

Christa Paige: One Last Kiss

The moment Colin held Beatrice in his arms he wanted one last kiss to take with him into battle and an uncertain future. Despite the threat of a soldier’s death, he must survive, for he promises to return to her because one kiss from Beatrice would never be enough.

Sophia Strathmore: A Soldier Lay Dying

Amelia and Anne Evans find themselves orphaned when their father, General Evans, dies. With no other options available, Amelia accepts the deathbed proposal of Oliver Brighton, Earl of Montford, a long time family friend. When Lord Montford recovers from his battle wounds, can the two find lasting love?

David W. Wilkin: Not a Close Run Thing at All

Years, a decade. And now, Robert had come back into her life. Shortly before battle was to bring together more than three hundred thousand soldiers. They had but moments after all those years, and now, would they have anymore after?

sophioAbout the Author

Sophia Strathmore lives in Northwest Ohio with her husband Valentino and her daughter Elle.  When Sophia is not writing, she enjoys attending Elle’s diving meets and her cheerleading competitions.  Sophia and Valentino are both graduates of the University of Toledo, College of Engineering.  Having met at Technorama, the engineering school’s showcase for high school students, they are what Elle calls “nerds”.  In her free time, Sophia mentors on a local First Robotics team and enjoys bicycling and traveling.

Website • Facebook

Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles: Christa Paige and One Last Kiss

waterloo_cover_best web

June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington’s Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men’s lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.

The bicentenary of the famous battle seemed like an excellent opportunity to use that setting for a story, and before we knew it, we had nine authors eager to join in, and on April 1, 2015 our Waterloo-themed anthology was released to the world.

You are all invited to

About One Last Kiss

War is coming and Colin is ready for it, except when he thinks about the possibility that he could well and truly die without ever kissing Miss Beatrice Ainsley. When a horrible tragedy happens on the battlefield, Wellington entrusts him with a great obligation. Colin must turn to his duties, putting aside all thought of the woman who has plagued his dreams and driven him to distraction.

Beatrice has lived the simple life as the ward of her uncle, a powerful titled lord. She’s watched from afar as her cousins lived the high life. Napoleon’s unexpected advance interrupts her idle pursuits and the devilish Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Colin Scoville’s departure brings great upheaval.

Amidst the horrors of battle and the ensuing turmoil, Colin and Beatrice long to be reunited. Yet, Colin must journey to Charleroi and an uncertain future upon the battlefield. He promises to come back to her.

She holds onto his promise to return.

He must… because he took her heart with him to Waterloo.

Amazon.com • Kobo • iBooks • Barnes & Noble

Amazon.ca • Amazon.au • Amazon.uk

Our Stories

Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge

Emmaline Rothesay has her eye on Jeremiah Denby as a potential suitor. When Captain Denby experiences a life-altering incident during the course of events surrounding the Battle of Waterloo, it throws a damper on Emmaline’s plans.

Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure and Pandora Wellingham is more than ready to spread her wings. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon she believes her stars have aligned.

Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady

Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late?

Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel

Charged with the duty of keeping his friend’s widow safe, Captain Sam Lumley watches over Ellen Staverton as she recovers from her loss, growing fonder of her as each month passes. When Ellen takes a position as a companion, Sam must confront his feelings before she’s completely gone from his life.

Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue

On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who— dangerously to Aimée— wore blue.

Heather King: Copenhagen’s Last Charge

When Meg Lacy finds herself riding through the streets of Brussels only hours after the Battle of Waterloo, romance is the last thing on her mind, especially with surly Lieutenant James Cooper. However, their bickering uncovers a strange empathy – until, that is, the lieutenant makes a grave error of judgment that jeopardizes their budding friendship…

Christa Paige: One Last Kiss

The moment Colin held Beatrice in his arms he wanted one last kiss to take with him into battle and an uncertain future. Despite the threat of a soldier’s death, he must survive, for he promises to return to her because one kiss from Beatrice would never be enough.

Sophia Strathmore: A Soldier Lay Dying

Amelia and Anne Evans find themselves orphaned when their father, General Evans, dies. With no other options available, Amelia accepts the deathbed proposal of Oliver Brighton, Earl of Montford, a long time family friend. When Lord Montford recovers from his battle wounds, can the two find lasting love?

David W. Wilkin: Not a Close Run Thing at All

Years, a decade. And now, Robert had come back into her life. Shortly before battle was to bring together more than three hundred thousand soldiers. They had but moments after all those years, and now, would they have anymore after?

About the Author

Strict professor by day. Romance author by night. Lover of all things alpha-male twenty-four hours a day. Christa Paige is a multi-published author in several genres. Her passion for love stories spans many tropes. She writes sensual, romantic tales and sweet love stories. In her free time, Christa, along with her family, often go RVing. They spend the brisk Southern California winters dirt biking at the desert. When summer comes, she can usually be found floating on a lounger at the lake. She has a love/hate relationship with running but can’t turn down a themed 5k race. Her beagle babies are her running partners. She never tires of watching a Star Wars marathon or rereading Lord of the Rings. There’s a special place in her heart for the Regency Romance.