Saturday, August 24, 2019

Travel in the Regency Era

Our Round Robin blog for August is to post an excerpt from one of my books dealing with travel or vacation.  

In the Regency era most people did not go on vacation as we know it today. Young men might be sent on a Grand Tour of Europe for them to gain a bit of sophistication and polish in much the same way as young ladies were sent off to finishing school in more recent history. Once Parliament closed for the summer recess, London was almost deserted as families headed out to their country estates or prepared for a round of house parties.

This socializing caused a great deal of stress for the host as it was not only their guests that had to be entertained and housed but their servants, too. It could also be an expensive time for the guests, as they would want to show off their finery which might require as many as six changes of outfits in a day.

My character, Emmaline, in His Dark Enchantress, had done her fair share of travelling for a variety of reasons, but one of her trips was to get home to her grandfather as fast as she could. The place names in the narrative were all coaching stops on what was known as The Trafalgar Way.

This was the route taken by Lieutenant John Richards Lapenotiere of HMS Pickle, who carried dispatches containing the news of Lord Nelson’s victory and death in the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805. Lapenotiere began his journey on 4th November 1805 and covered the 271-mile route in 38 hours with 21 changes of horses. Emmaline didn’t have to make her trip at that speed and broke her journey at Dorchester to make her way home from there. Here is the excerpt:

Emmaline rested her head against the window frame, thankful for the corner seat she had managed to claim in the crowded stagecoach. Dressed in her shabbiest clothes, her cheeks dirtied a little and a wide-brimmed bonnet pulled down as much as possible to hide her face, no one paid much attention to her.
Pressed on her left by a large farmer, she sank further into her corner and remained mostly unseen by her fellow passengers. The gentleman sitting opposite her tried to draw her into a conversation but, after being subjected to her mute nods and one-syllable answers soon left her alone.
If not for her thoughts of Baymoor House, her grandfather and Lucius, Emmaline would possibly have slept a little. Baymoor itself would not have changed, its grey stone walls withstanding all winds and weather as it had done for a century and more. Her grandfather, she knew, had been in decline for some time before he’d insisted that she go to London. How much worse might his condition be now? And then there was Lucius. Did he have any regrets? Might he miss her just a little? Her heart weighed heavy just thinking of him.
She remained awake through Staines, Bagshot, and Hertford-bridge. Basingstoke, Overton, Andover all slipped by in a blur. At each stop, with passengers clambering in and out of the coach, Emmaline avoided being jostled by sitting firmly in her seat. But, with the unsavoury smell of unwashed bodies and stale clothing, the constant noise of clattering hooves and rumbling wheels, she was almost comatose with fatigue.
She endured the changes at Salisbury, Woodyates and Blandford, but at Dorchester she knew she must stop and rest. She had not eaten since she and Noble had racked up at the inn at Epsom. Then she had barely managed a small piece of cheese and a crust of bread and the tea she had drunk in Juliana’s room was a distant memory to her parched throat.

Now let’s take a look at at what these fine authors have to say.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

What Are You Working On?

First I must apologize to my fellow bloggers for having been MIA in June. I was behindhand all month due to working on what is now my latest book, so July's topic is particularly pertinent.

This month the question is: what book (or type of book) are you currently working on? Do you have ideas for future books?

I have just typed THE END on Book 3 in my Berkeley Square Regency romance series. When I started writing Book 1, I had no idea that it would expand beyond that. It wasn’t even Book 1 at that point, just an idea for a Regency romance that wouldn’t go away, but that’s what happens when characters almost jump off the page and demand their own books.

Okay, okay. Not literally, of course. It’s just one of those quirky turns of phrase that writers tend to bandy about. Non-writers just don’t get the concept of having people wandering around in your head and whispering in your ear from the inside out. My heroine in Book 1, His Dark Enchantress is Emmeline Devereux, whose best friend is Lady Juliana Clifton. Juliana intruded so much while I was writing His Dark Enchantress that I gave her a book of her own, Book 2, His Ocean Vixen.

Believing I had done with those characters, I started thinking about what else I could write, but a reader query asking if Lady Rosemary Darnley, the villainess in Book 1, ever got her comeuppance, started me on another path which led to Book 3, His Unexpected Muse. This involves the unexpected (as the title suggests) romance between Lady Olivia Darnley (Rosemary’s daughter) and Lord Peter Skeffington, both characters from Book 1. You’ll have to read the book, which will be launched next month, to find out what happens to Lady Darnley.

So what comes next? I have an idea for a new series on Regency belles (hmm, now that could work as a series title) and already have a rough outline for Book 1. It will mean more research, but that is the part I really like. Plus, why let all the research I have already done go to waste?

Take a look at what my fellow Round Robin authors have in the works by clicking on their links.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Our May Round Robin Blog

Our May Round Robin challenge is: What would you like to tell your readers about your novels and their purpose?

I would love to be able to answer this with a noble, high-brow, reply. However, first and foremost, I wanted to write books like those I enjoyed reading. Now, how self-serving is that? Nothing noble or high-brow there. I wrote purely for my own pleasure and satisfaction.

That only lasted until I got the itch for publication, and then everything changed. I had to let my babies out of my sight while they were perused by critique partners and beta readers. Handing over my first ever novel to an editor was gut-wrenching but I was lucky enough to receive great feedback which empowered me and so I kept writing. 

My books are mostly historical romantic fiction. I say mostly as I have penned two Regency romances (my favourite historical era), an Edwardian trilogy, a more recent romance set in 1935 and one contemporary western romance. I may attempt more contemporary western romances. If my books have a purpose, it is to entertain my reader. Hopefully, they will enjoy the romance, find some intriguing historical fact that they might not have known before, and be satisfied when they get to the last line.

Reviews on all my titles are, for the main part, favourable. I have met people in libraries who have rushed off to see if any of my books are on the shelf and have later received messages on how much they have enjoyed whichever book they have read. I have talked to people at book-signings and recommended whichever of my titles fit with their reading tastes or what they might like to give as a gift. Sales remain steady and I like to think that I now have a happy and contented readership, which is all I ever really wanted from my books.

I’m going to be interested in what these authors have to say.