Marriage A Glimpse Of Heaven Or Hell

Vanessa here,

Glad you can join me here, today. Well, the porch at the Regency Reflections Blog now possesses new paint, a bit of a makeover. We’ve been posting here since 2012. We love being able to showcase different glimpses of Inspirational Regencies, talking about the stories and the motivations behind them. We’ve even given tastes of the Regency romances that hooked us long before the first traditionally printed Christian Regency was released.

But our fire had grown cold.

It was time find our love again.

The reason I write Regencies is because I found my voice in the 1800’s.  It sounds of a woman, with dreams of a happy-ever-after, challenged by the circumstances, the very skin she’s born within. These stories, gifted by my first love, a passionate, merciful God must be told. It is my first love. And this blog will now share stories of authors and characters who possess the same fire.

Now some of my friend’s stories may be secular authors.  Before you throw holy water at me, I just have to say it. Not everyone is meant to entertain the pews. All types of stories are needed to edify, entertain, and to educate. All of my friends, regardless of what they write use their God-given talents to bring joy and hope into this world. This is something all should see.

 


The Fabulous Jude Knight


My first guest is the wonderful Jude Knight.  Jude traveled all the way from New Zealand to have tea with me on my Atlanta porch. Jude writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humor.

“Jude, I know you must be tired, so have a seat. Let me fix you some tea. How would you like it?”judeknight

“Thank you, so much for your hospitality. I’d like a green tea with a slice of lemon, or black tea with a small dash of milk.

“Green it is. Here you go. It’s quite hot. While it cools, tell the good readers what a happy ever after means to you.”

“My view of ‘happy ever after’ is shaped by my life and my beliefs. Falling in love is not enough. A wedding is not enough. Good intentions are not enough. To believe that a romance has a happy ending, I need to believe that the couple’s love will last for a lifetime; that they have what they need to work out the inevitable problems that will try to tear them apart.”

“I don’t mean to get you kicked out of any ‘ABA’ bad girl societies, but tell me what love and faith means to you.”

“My beloved and I have known one another for 47 years, and been married for nearly 44. In that time, our love has been tested over and over, but each challenge we’ve surmounted has made our relationship stronger.
I joke that our marriage has survived because his parents and mine were both against it, and we were too stubborn to admit they were right. He always adds that it also survived because we lived at the end of a long country road and were very poor. Walking out on the marriage would have meant a literal walk — and it was a long way.”

“I love that. Please continue.”

“More to the point, though, we both believed that we had to work things out. Our Christian faith told us that marriage was a permanent commitment. We promised ‘as long as we both shall live’, and we meant it. And we both came from fractured marriages; we knew what disharmony did to children. We were determined to find our ‘happy ever after’, and we did.”

“Tell me how your beliefs have shaped your writing.”

“My husband is a Catholic, and I converted to Catholicism some eight or nine years after we first met. Catholic marriage theology holds that marriage is a sacrament — a visible sign of the presence of God in the world. Just as water is the sign of Baptism, and the bread and wine are the signs of the Eucharist (Holy Communion), so the man and the woman are the sign of Marriage. Water signifies (and becomes) the cleansing grace of God. Bread and wine signify (and become) the presence of Christ in the church community and each individual. The couple signify something very wonderful: Christ’s union with the Church, God’s union with His creation. A person could spend a lifetime thinking about the implications of this, and some people have.”

“Wow. That’s deep. I’m Baptist, and I get it. More so, I feel the same.”

“For today, suffice it to say that building the kind of marriage that is a true signifier of this mystery is not a magic trick taking place in front of the altar on a couple’s wedding day. It is the work of a lifetime together.”

“Ok, tell the good folks about A Baron for Becky.”

“A Baron for Becky is my Regency about marriage, which is why it is a book of two halves. In the first part of the book, my heroine — rescued from dreadful danger — becomes the mistress of a kindly libertine whose view of marriage is extremely jaundiced. Their relationship is founded on lust and convenience on his part, and gratitude on hers.”

“Did I mention to you to tell the PG version for Regency Reflection readers? Just kidding. So in a A Baron for Becky, the heroine makes wrong choices, but that didn’t disqualify her from finding true love. Now that is a message for today.”

“Yes. The second half of the book is about just that between, Becky and Hugh. The libertine arranges their marriage, which takes place at the midpoint of the book. But Becky and Hugh build that marriage. I poured my heart into showing them falling in love; showing how their past experiences almost destroyed them; showing the slow painful process of rebuilding.”

“He was sorry for hurting her, for not trusting her, for manipulating her into marriage, for being a representative of the men that had hurt her. He was sorry for it all, and he could never make it up to her. But he would live his life trying.”

“Dear hubby and I just made 19 years. An accomplishment in this age, but tell us your 44-year secret.”

“The trick of a happy marriage (and a happy life) is to go on loving one another between trials, and to consistently fall in love with the same person, over and over and over. Because love is not about being in love, pleasant though that state is. Love is an action, not a state, not a feeling. Love is making breakfast for the person you want to brain with the frypan. Love is listening to the same joke for the twentieth time and laughing yet again. Love is walking hand in hand for no better reason than that you are fond of one another. Love involves feelings: lust and affection, familiarity and friendship, mutual respect and regard. It grows on shared experiences, memories—both good and bad—of the things you’ve lived through together. But above all, love is what you do when your feelings prompt you against being loving.

How could it be otherwise when love is an echo of Love Himself, the One who loved His people even though they betrayed him, rejected him, and even killed Him? Love is far too important to depend on chemical soup. Love is an action.”

Now that is a message to kick off the new Regency Reflections. Thank you Jude. While my friend takes a swig of her green tea, I just want to thank her for traveling to Atlanta and being my guest. Below is more about Jude and links for A Baron for Becky.baronforbeck

About Jude Knight

Jude Knight is the pen name of Judy Knighton. After a career in commercial writing, editing, and publishing, Jude is returning to her first love, fiction. Her novella, Candle’s Christmas Chair, was released in December 2014, and is in the top ten on several Amazon bestseller lists in the US and UK. Her first novel Farewell to Kindness, was released on 1 April, and is first in a series: The Golden Redepennings.

Follow Jude on social media:

Visit Jude’s Website http://judeknightauthor.com/

Like Jude on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JudeKnightAuthor

Buy links

Amazon http://amzn.to/1C3hFNl

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1H3YmTk

Amazon Aus http://bit.ly/1HzUZ9R

Smashwords http://bit.ly/1HzUXPf

Barnes & Noble  http://bit.ly/1GRTvkR

iBooks http://apple.co/1FVFNfU

Kobo http://bit.ly/1NzI2LK

 

New Romances by Kristi Ann Hunter

Vanessa here,

It’s my pleasure to have Kristi Ann Hunter on my porch today to talk of her latest novels.  Really, I should have had you here sooner since we are both Georgia Peaches, but we’ve both been a little busy.

Kristi Hunter and I enjoying the music.
Kristi Hunter and I enjoying the music at RWA 2013.

Please have a seat on the pollen free chair. So Kristi Ann what made these stories come to life in your head?

There are always stories in my head. It’s a very noisy place.

Isn’t that always the way. Please continue.

There are a few things I do to streamline my thoughts enough to actually pull a coherent tale together, though. Usually I start with a question, a “What If” sort of scenario, or I start with a character that I’d really like to explore. Once I have both of those pieces, I know I’ve got the basis for a real story.

 

In A Lady of Esteem I started with the idea of Amelia. On the surface, Amelia had everything she needed to make a good connection – respectable family, connections to aristocracy, and a home in a fashionable area of town. Even though she had the necessary elements, they were useless because she had no way to utilize them. She’s a Cinderella figure oppressed by circumstances instead of people. The big question then was what do I do with her?

 

That’s where the big What If question comes into play. What if the servants of London decided they wanted something to happen? These people are so deeply embedded in the lives of the aristocracy that it’s hard to believe they couldn’t do something is they put their collective minds to it. That was the birth of the story.

She said free everyone. Please go find this free romance. http://www.kristiannhunter.com/#!a-lady-of-esteem/c2407ALoECover

What do you want people to think about when they read a Kristi Ann Hunter book.

While they’re reading it I hope they’re not thinking much of anything. My books are meant to be an enjoyable escape. I hope the story takes them into the world of Regency England until they’re completely immersed. A laugh or two would be good. Mostly I want them to enjoy the story. Once they’ve closed the book is another story. If an element of the story resonates with them and gets them to think about life a little differently or come to a better understanding about God and how much He loves us, then I consider that a success.

A Lady of Esteem is available now as a free eBook!

Miss Amelia Stalwood may live in London at her absent guardian’s townhouse, but she’s never actually met any nobility, and instead of aristocrats, her closest friends are servants.

Kristi Ann Hunter and Julie Klassen in Regency garb
Kristi Ann Hunter and Julie Klassen in sweet Regency gowns.

Quite by happenstance, she’s introduced to the Hawthorne family and their close family friend, Anthony, the reformed Marquis of Raebourne. They welcome her into their world, but just as she’s beginning to gain some confidence and even suspect she may have caught Anthony’s eye, she’s blindsided by an unexpected twist in her situation accompanied by nasty rumors.

Will she lose her reputation when the world that has only just accepted her turns its back on her, or will she rest in the support of the friends who’ve become like family and the man who’s shared his faith and captured her heart?

It’s free people! : http://www.kristiannhunter.com/#!a-lady-of-esteem/c2407 

On September 8th Kristi Ann Hunter’s first full length Regency Romance Will be Available.

A Noble Masquerade will be available everywhere on September 8!

Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, a duke–with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she’s heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother’s new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.NobleCover

When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men–one she’s never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marlow is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

Let’s all go order a copy:  http://www.kristiannhunter.com/#!a-noble-masquerade/c190y

Thanks for visiting with me. Next time I’ll serve cake.

The Husband Campaign ~ Guest Post by Regina Scott

Like many of the wonderful writers on this blog, I work hard to make sure my stories are true to the historical period, but there are some areas of the Regency that frankly scare me. I am in awe of the writers who can name every battle Wellington fought in or the color of the braid on the 95th Rifle’s uniform. I admire authors who manage to study period medical books without growing queasy. And if you can figure out how to do more than describe the colors of horses as they pull the appropriate carriage to whisk a heroine away to a ball, well, you have my respect.

Regina Scott The Husband CampaignAnd then along came John, Lord Hascot, the hero of my April Regency-set romance from Love Inspired Historical, The Husband Campaign. John who raises hunters, those powerful horses that carried gentlemen into the hunting field and, occasionally, into battle. I was fairly certain I would never be able to think about horses the way John, Lord Hascot, does. Horses are John’s life. But they would need to become the life of any lady he wed. How could I possibly describe Lady Amelia’s response to John’s horses or her own?

Luckily, research led me to an exceptional little book, lovingly recreated online, called The Young Lady’s Equestrian Manual. Though its original publication date of 1838 (taken from material dating from 1829) post-dates the Regency, it is close enough that I felt comfortable relying on it. The manual describes such things as how to choose a proper ladies mount, the various parts of the horse and its accoutrements, and how to mount, manage the reins, and find your seat. It confirms that the way a lady sat upon her horse was very important to many Regency era gentlemen, as this passage indicates:

“A lady seldom appears to greater advantage than when mounted on a fine horse, if her deportment be graceful, and her positions correspond with his paces and attitudes; but the reverse is the case, if, instead of acting with, and influencing the movements of the horse, she appear to be tossed to and fro, and overcome by them. She should rise, descend, advance, and stop with, and not after the animal. From this harmony of motion result ease, elegance, and the most brilliant effect.”

And how, you might ask, can a lady have the best deportment on horseback? The manual explains that as well. A lady must

• Keep her shoulders even but back
• Put no weight on the stirrup
• Incline partially backward
• Keep her head in an even, natural position looking straight ahead
• Hold her elbows steady and near her side, with the lower part of the arm at a right angle to the upper
• Above all, never carry the whip in a way that might tickle the horse.

Got all that? Good, because according to the manual, “Nothing can be more detrimental to the grace of a lady’s appearance on horseback, than a bad position: a recent author says, it is a sight that would spoil the finest landscape in the world.”

All I can say is that I’m glad Amelia gets to ride the horses and I only have to read about them. What about you? Do you ride? Were you given any rules of the road for how to sit on horseback? Are you glad women are no longer constrained to riding sidesaddle?

reginascott11-07mediumAfter 27 sweet historical romances set in the Regency period, Regina Scott knows there is still much to learn. You can learn more about her at her website at www.reginascott.com, her blog she shares with author Marissa Doyle at www.nineteenteen.com, and her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/authorreginacott.

 

 

 

 

Book Blurb
The moment John, Lord Hascot, encounters a young woman sheltering in his abandoned stable, his future is sealed. To prevent scandal, and protect Lady Amelia Jacoby from her parents’ ire, he must propose. John’s ability to trust vanished when his former love married his twin brother. Yet he offers Amelia everything she could want, except affection.

Amelia sees John’s true nature shine through when he cares for his horses. But the brooding aristocrat seems determined to keep her at arm’s length. Little by little Amelia will turn Hollyoak Farm into a home, but can she turn a marriage of convenience into a joyful union?

Interview with Ruth Axtell

Axtell_HeartRebellionOur beloved Ruth Axtell has a new Regency romance just out! Here’s the back cover blurb:

In a world governed by unspoken rules, one young woman is about to break them all . . .

Dutiful Jessamine Barry is tired of waiting patiently for a man to decide her future. So even though Lancelot Marfleet, second son of an aristocrat, is taking an interest in her during the London season, she refuses to consider him as a suitor. Instead, she’s ready to take fashionable society by storm–and finds a rakish young man all too willing to help her do it.

Can Jessamine trust her heart to lead her to a love that proves true through thick and thin? Or will her rash actions close the door on the life she really desires?

Lose yourself in Ruth Axtell’s sumptuous story of discovering one’s true self and finding true love.

Camy here: I have the honor of interviewing Ruth today!

The hero, Lancelot Marfleet’s, hobby in A Heart’s Rebellion is botany. How did you come up with this for a hobby?

The regency era was a time for amateur scientists. It was considered an appropriate pastime for the gentry and aristocracy. Lancelot studied some of it while at Cambridge pursuing his divinity studies, and when he went to India as a missionary, he was able to indulge his hobby, seeking out and identifying many new varieties of plants.

Did you learn any interesting facts from the regency period about botany?

Yes, I learned about Captain Cook’s travels to the Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, and the islands down there) and how many new plant specimens he brought back. This spurred on botanists like Carl Linnaeus, who laid the foundations of the modern classification system of genus & species.

The hero has been in India as a missionary. What was it like for a missionary in regency times?

Very difficult in tropical countries like India, mainly because of disease. Many died very quickly because of fevers and such, which their bodies were not immune to.

The heroine is a vicar’s daughter. She makes a brief appearance in the previous regency, Moonlight Masquerade. Did you already have a sequel in mind when you wrote Moonlight Masquerade?

Yes, I got the beginnings of an idea for her story while writing Moonlight Masquerade.

What interested you about her character?

I think some of Jane Austen’s heroines inspired me. A lady was supposed to be ladylike–self-controlled, gentle, well-mannered. So, even if her heart was trampled on, she was expected to take it like a “lady.” I wanted to explore what was really going on inside this ladylike facade when a woman’s heart was breaking.

Camy again: Thanks so much for the interview, Ruth!

To celebrate the release of A Heart’s Rebellion, Ruth will be giving away two copies of her book. The first giveaway will end Monday, March 24 at midnight, and the second will end Monday, March 31 at midnight. To enter this week’s giveaway, answer this question in the comments below:

In regency times, being the firstborn male was everything in terms of inheritance. What career avenues were open for younger sons? 

Thanks for stopping by Regency Reflections for our Spring Release Extravaganza! Be sure to come back on Thursday for a history post by Ruth as well as another chance to win a copy of A Heart’s Rebellion.

One, Two, Three… Dance With Me. A Wondrous Set With Julie Klassen

“What place is so proper as the assembly-room to see the fashions and manners of the times, to study men and characters…”  Thomas Wilson, Dancing Master, An analysis of Country Dancing, 1811, pg. 6 of The Dancing Master.

Vanessa here,

It was late. The lights had dulled. I turned to leave, and there across the crowded bookstore, I saw it. A book like no other.

Timed to the subtle Barnes & Noble background minuet, I stepped near and ran a finger along it’s fine spine. It whispered a blurb just for me.

Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch’s daughter. Though he’s initially wary of Julia Midwinter’s reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul—and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master—a man her mother would never approve of—but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec’s help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life  to her somber village . . . and to her mother’s tattered heart?

Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a “good match” in Regency England.

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen
The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

It had me at Finding. With The Dancing Master tucked firmly in my grasp, I gave the attendant my coins and fled to a carriage, content in the knowledge I’d found a joy to keep me warm through the frigid Atlanta night.

Vanessa: Today at R&R we have Julie Klassen joining us. Julie, it is my pleasure to welcome you back to Regency Reflections. The Dancing Master ‘s premise really intrigues me. Normally, we see Regency books with the hero as a duke, a barrister, a spy, or maybe a doctor, but a dancing master, not so much.   How did you come up with this idea?

Julie: In Regency England, dancing was one of a limited number of ways young men and women could spend time together or court one another. It was considered such an important social skill that parents hired dancing masters to come into the homes and teach their sons and daughters to dance. “Every savage can dance,” Mr. Darcy says, but unless one wished to dance very ill (Mr. Collins comes to mind) lessons were crucial. So, as an author of half a dozen other books set in the Regency era—and someone who Screen Shot 2013-10-08 dance classloves to dance–it was probably only a matter of time until I wrote about a dancing master. As I say in my author’s note, I learned to dance the box step standing atop my dad’s size 15 triple E shoes. Later, I went on to take every ballroom dance class I could sign up for at the University of Illinois. I even taught a few dance classes of my own through community ed. I enjoyed drawing on all of these experiences to write this book. Like ballroom dancing, I find English country dancing exhilarating, joyful, and just plain fun. I hope to express that joy in the novel.

Vanessa: Wow, Dad has some big shoes to fill. Poor Mr. Klassen, has his work cut out for him, between dad and all of your romantic heroes. Tell me about what kind of research you conducted. Hopefully plenty of dancing.

Julie: I read instructional guides and journals written by dancing masters of ages past, and watched reenactors perform English country dances online. But the best and most enjoyable kind of research was actually learning dances from that period. My dear, long-suffering husband and I went English country dancing several times.

Julie Klassen at the Ball
Julie Klassen at the Ball

I also attended the annual general meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America, held in Minneapolis in 2013. There, I took two more dancing classes to polish my skills before the “Netherfield ball,” complete with live musicians and costumes. It was a wonderful experience to dance with fellow Austen fans from around the world.

During the conference, we also watched a BBC production: “Pride And Prejudice: Having A Ball.” In this program, a team of experts recreated a private Regency ball, complete with historical food, costumes, music, and dances. Unlike most of the sedate dances we see performed in period movies nowadays, in reality many of the dances of the era were fast paced and lively. Those of us watching were surprised how energetic the dances were, and how the performers (trained dancers in their twenties) were breathing hard and perspiring after a few dances.

By viewing the program and taking the dance classes, I gleaned several details to include in The Dancing Master. For example, when a couple reaches the top or bottom of a long-ways set (line of dancers) they stand out for a round before working their way back up or down the line. This gives couples a breather, and more importantly, a chance to talk and flirt with their partners!

If you’d like to learn more about the JASNA conference, here’s a fun video my publisher took of me (in costume) at the event. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5KmFKlJlfk

Vanessa: Ok, enough of the pleasantries. Julie, tell me about dreamy Alec Valcourt.

Julie: Alec is capable, loyal, and determined to support his mother and sister. He is a sharp dresser, prefers to keep his hands clean, and wields a fencing sword far better than an axe or spade in a rural village where most men are farmers or miners. As you can imagine, this leads to several painful scrapes along the way.

Vanessa: Why is Julia Midwinter the perfect foil to Alec?

Julie: Julia is a bit reckless, flirtatious, and difficult. But like many people in real life, there is more going on beneath the surface—and in her past—that has made her who she is. As the story unfolds and secrets are revealed, Alec begins to see the vulnerable, wounded soul beneath the brash exterior. He learns to understand her and becomes fond of her, especially as she begins to grow and change, and I hope readers will follow his lead.

Vanessa: Growing and changing. Sigh. I know I’ve made a few mistakes on that road. What spiritual truth would have made a difference to Julia, if she had realized it at the beginning?

Julie: All her life, she had been seeking a father’s love and approval. And if she could not have a father’s love, then any man’s approval would do. She had strived so long and so hard to gain attention in the wrong ways and from the wrong people…. If Julia had realized earlier that even though her earthy father failed her, her heavenly father loved her and highly valued her–she might have avoided some of the foolish things she did to try to fill the void left by the absence of a father’s love.

Vanessa: After reading Julia’s and Alec’s story, what else do have for us. There will be more cold nights in Atlanta.

Julie: I am currently working on rewrites for my next Regency-era novel with Bethany House Publishers. It’s a mysterious romance called The Secret of Pembrooke Park, and is due to be released December 2014.

Vanessa: Julie, The Dancing Master, is an amazing book. Asking this of any author is unfair, but if you could sum up the spiritual journey in one word what would it be?

Julie: Grace. I enjoyed weaving in grace in its many forms–social graces, grace in dancing, and most importantly, God’s grace—and I hope readers will be reminded of His amazing grace for us all.

Vanessa: Thank you for being a great sport and sharing this special book with us.

Julie: Thank you for having me here!

Julie Klassen is going to give away a paperback or e-book copy of The Dancing Master to one lucky commenter. Share with us your favorite dance, dance scene, or dance disaster.  Mine took place at last year’s RWA conference when I tried to do a reel. There’s video….

Any way, here’s an excerpt from The Dancing Master:

 “May I help you with something, Miss Midwinter?” Alec said officiously, hoping to chase the self-satisfied grin from her face.

“Yes, actually.” She clasped her hands. “I’ve come for a dancing lesson. Here—since Lady Amelia would never allow it in the house.”

He licked dry lips and felt his pulse rate quicken. Part of him relished the notion of being alone with Miss Midwinter. Enjoying her company and her undivided attention. Taking her hand in his to lead her through a private dance in a deserted churchyard . . . His chest tightened at the thought.

But he knew all too well the possible consequences of such stolen moments. Such seemingly innocent beginnings.

She took a step forward, and he stepped back. She performing the chassé, and he performing the dance of retreat.

He said, “Miss Midwinter. Before we proceed any further, I must tell you that I have a strict policy against any romantic involvement with my pupils.”

She blinked, momentarily taken aback. “In that case, perhaps I ought to reconsider becoming a pupil of yours.”

“Perhaps you should.”

You can purchase your own copy at: Amazon BN Christianbook.com

Julie s Images-Julie Edited Images-0007JULIE KLASSEN loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won Christian Retailing’s BEST Award and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Find Julie at: Her Blog or FaceBook

Author Interview with Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Hi Everyone!

We’re honored to have a special guest with us today, Regency author Jennifer Hudson Taylor. Jennifer will be giving away one free kindle version of her newest novel, Awakened Redemption to a commenter, so be sure to say hi in the comment section below.

1. Jennifer, what drew you to write during the Regency Time JHT-2012-HeadshotPeriod?
I have never seen a movie or read a book in this time period that I didn’t enjoy. I wish there were more stories in this era and decided I would write one.

2. Tell us what year your book is set in and why you chose that particular time.
1815. It had to be after the war since my hero was returning from the war at the beginning of the story. His history in the war provides the back story needed to set stage in Awakened Redemption.

3. What’s your favorite, unique Regency aspect of the novel, something you wouldn’t be able to include in a novel set in another place or time?
The clothing and fashion of the time period

4. Historical clothing is always fun, isn’t it? What are the biggest challenges to writing in the Regency Period?
Getting all the titles and rules correct

5. I’m laughing at that because there are certainly a lot of both titles and rules! Who is your favorite Regency Author?
It would be too difficult for me to choose just one

6. What is your favorite Regency food, aspect of dress, and/or expression?
Stuff and nonsense

7. What is your favorite Regency setting; e.g., London, country house, small village?
This is hard since I prefer a variety of settings. In Awakened Redemption, the story is set in Cambridge and they live in a country cottage, but the setting changes to London.

8. What makes your hero and heroine uniquely Regency?
The way they talk, dress and act. I don’t think it is any one unique thing about them, but everything about them.

Thanks so much for being on Regency Reflections, Jennifer! I wish you well with the release of Awakened Redemption. It sounds like a fun story, but then, who could complain when you’ve got murder and betrayal twined into a Regency novel? To enter the giveaway, be sure to leave a comment below. Contest will end at midnight on Saturday, Feb 1.

AwakenedRedemption-Cover-3DAwakened Redemption
Preston Mallory hires Elyse Brigham as a nursemaid for his son. Recovering from an abused past, she begins to open her heart to him until she discovers Preston’s true identity. Betrayed, she flees to London and Preston follows hoping to mend things. His plans are thwarted when his former fiancée is murdered. With plenty of motive and no alibi, he’s arrested. How will he prove his innocence and convince Elyse to forgive him?
Elyse has nowhere to turn and believes the Almighty has forsaken her. As her life unravels, a new foundation and path are laid before her if she has the courage to forgive and cling to a forgotten faith.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of inspirational fiction set in historic Europe and the Carolinas. She gives presentations on the publishing industry, the craft of writing, building an author platform and digital marketing. Her first six novels were contracted through Abingdon Press and her other published by Barbour Books, Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, RT Book Reviews and USAir Magazine. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and visiting historical sites.

The Best Book of the Year?

When we asked the Regency Reflections authors what the best book of the year was, we got several interpretations:

* What is the best book you’ve read thus far in 2014?

* What was the best book of 2013?

* What is your most anticipated book of 2014? 

Any way you interpret it, it’s an intriguing question. Our answers are below but we’d love to hear from you in the comments. What do you think is the best book of the year?

Ruth Axtell – In fiction I’ve been very impressed with A Cast of Stones, Book 1 in the new Staff and the Sword Christian fantasy trilogy by debut author Patrick W. Carr

Naomi Rawlings – A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears

th_holy_bibleLaurie Alice Eakes – Right now, the only amazing book I’ve read so far and will be reading through this year is the Bible. It’s been a few years since I’ve read through it in a disciplined plan, and am amazed all over again at how amazing is the word of God. Holding fiction reading opinions in reserve as of yet.

Kristi Ann Hunter – Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. Such a fun read and a great look at the difference between books as a passion and books as an obsession. If you love the classic Austen and Bronte books, you’ll enjoy all the references in Dear Mr. Knightley. I’m pretty sure this is her first book, so I’m very excited to see what else she does.

BookCornersKristy Cambron – I am in the middle of Sarah Ladd’s new release — The Headmistress of Rosemere. As with her debut, fans of Austen will love book two in the Whispers on the Moors series. I’m planning on getting little sleep until I make it to the back cover! 🙂

Susan Karsten – Ah, what fun! To think over all the wonderful books I read last year and pick the most amazing. I am going to pick a CBA* book, To Die For, A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Sandra Byrd, as the most amazing Christian historical fiction book of 2013. Honorable mention goes to an excellent laugh-out-loud ABA* book, Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

Your turn! Head down to the comments and tell us your favorite book of 2013 or thus far in 2014 or even the book you can’t wait for that’s coming out sometime this year.

*Note: CBA stands for Christian Booksellers Association and ABA is for the American Booksellers Association. In writing circles ABA is sometimes referred to as “general market.”

 

Camy interviews Laurie Alice on A RELUCTANT COURTSHIP

Laurie Alice EakesCamy here! Today I get to interview Laurie Alice Eakes on her newest release, A RELUCTANT COURTSHIP.

1. What inspired you to write  A Reluctant Courtship?

Since I like to go in other directions than the norm, I kept thinking opposite other books I read. One question I asked myself was: What if a heroine decides to go along with her father’s wishes for an arranged marriage instead of fighting against it, as usual. She’s a heroine who wants to marry and is so disillusioned with love that a mariage de convenable sounds great to her. So, in other words, a desire to deliver a story outside the norm inspired me.

2. Tell us what makes your heroine and hero special to you.

Honore is a truly loving person who wants everyone happy. I have lived with her for two other books and have maternal feelings toward her, so writing her story was like spending time with an old friend I loved, but also shook my head at and wanted to force to take good advice.

As for the hero, I like to put people into a wholly foreign—to them—element. Here he is, a man raised in the wilds of upstate New York, suddenly inheriting an English title. He doesn’t like to ride horses. He doesn’t like being idle. He thinks nothing of walking five miles to get to his destination instead of taking a carriage. Lots of fun to work with.

A Reluctant Courtship
3. If your hero and heroine had a contemporary theme love song, what would it be and why?

This question sent me running to the pop station on my satellite radio, since I don’t listen to pop all that much. Two songs kind of work:  “Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink and “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum. The first one because Honore needs lots of reason to love again. Unlucky in love is putting her situation mildly. “Need You Now” because they both try to resist their lure to one another despite good reasons for staying away, and yet they need one another.

Not to be a prude, because I am certainly not one, and I don’t recommend or advise some of the other sentiments in these songs.

4. What is your favorite dessert and why?

Something I haven’t eaten in a long time, not because I haven’t wanted to, and because I haven’t been anywhere that serves it and am certainly not making for myself:  chocolate mousse cake with chocolate ganache icing. Key words in the answer as to why: chocolate, cake, mousse, ganache. Need I say more?

5. Is there another Regency-set book that you would compare A Reluctant Courtship to?

I haven’t run across one, and, believe me, I’ve read dozens. But then, I set out to write one that was different. In tone, though, probably Patricia Veryan meets Amanda Quick.

I’d love input from readers on whether or not they can compare it to another book. Please write me at laewriter@gmail.com, or find me on Twitter @LaurieAEakes

Camy: Thanks for the interview, Laurie Alice!

For a chance to win a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card today, answer the question below in the comment section. I’ll pick the winner for the $10 gift card tonight at 11:59 pm PST. If you answer the question, your name will also be entered into our Regency Grand Prize giveaway in honor of the release of A Reluctant Courtship. The giveaway includes a tea cup, a package of tea, a box of chocolates and a $10 gift card (to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble). (Click here for more information on the Regency Grand Prize giveaway.) Be sure to come back on Thursday, for another chance to win.

Today’s question: If you have read Regency romances before, why did you pick one up? What keeps you reading them?

How Louise M. Gouge Came To Write Regencies and a Giveaway!

Guest post by Louise M. Gouge

It all began with Jane

Jane Austen
Jane Austen

I have always loved stories set in the Regency period. One of my earliest movie memories is of watching Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier in the old black and white Pride and Prejudice. What a romantic story! I never even noticed that the costumes were definitely not from Jane Austen’s era. Later, I took a graduate class in Austen and loved reading all of her books. When the 1994 A & E version of Pride and Prejudice came on television, I was enthralled by the spectacular production. But I never considered writing a Regency romance because I wasn’t sure I could capture all the nuances of the era. There were just too many details I didn’t know about it.

Who, me?

But then I got tricked into it. I had just completed a Revolutionary War series and was wondering what to offer my editor in my next proposal. She solved my dilemma by asking me to write a Regency novella to be paired one by Deborah Hale, an experienced Regency author. I don’t know about you, but when my editor asks me to write a book, I say yes. The opportunity to share a book with Deb was icing on the cake.

So now I faced a challenge. As a reader, I don’t care much for careless or nonexistent research. As a writer, I endeavor to create interesting stories that take place in realistic settings. You may say, “Well, duh! Doesn’t every author want that?” But haven’t we all been pulled out of a story by some nagging little plot device we know could not have happened in that particular time period? Devoted Regency readers are particularly sensitive to such errors. I didn’t want that to happen with my story.

A LAdy of Quality Cover
Louise’s latest Regency offering ~ proof that she mastered the genre.

Help arrives

Fortunately, I had the help of our good friend, Laurie Alice Eakes, an amazing author who knows the era well. She answered my pesky questions and insisted that I join the Beau Monde chapter of RWA. There I could ask the research mavens for help. And believe me, I did!

Well, I finished my novella, and by then I was hooked and ready to propose a full Regency series. After reading in another author’s lovely book that included a rather pathetic minor character who was a lady’s companion, I knew that had to be my subject. I came up with three different aristocratic young women who were forced by circumstances to go to work as companions. As you readers and writers of this era well know, it was shameful for aristocrats to work at any job, so my heroines were all bound to suffer Society’s disdain. Yet paired with the right hero, each lady found her true calling: marriage to the man of her dreams and a happily-ever-after life. So far, only a few tiny errors have crept into my books, but I welcome any corrections so I can get it right the next time.

Success!

By the way, that novella, The Gentleman Takes a Bride, earned second place in the Inspirational Readers Choice Awards, so I was more than pleased with that.

My brand new release, A Lady of Quality, is the third in my “Ladies in Waiting” series. Catherine Du Coeur is determined to uncover the truth about wealthy Lord Winston, who falsely accused her father of treason. But the closer she gets to the handsome young nobleman, the more she wonders how such a benevolent gentleman could have conspired to commit such evil. Baron Lord Winston has had little success in finding an accomplished aristocratic bride who is suited to his diplomatic aspirations. But when he meets Miss Du Coeur, a countess’s lowly companion, he finds that family connections are far less important than matters of the heart.

Louise M. GougeAward-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction for Harlequin’s Love Inspired imprint. In addition to numerous other awards, Louise is the recipient of the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award for her 2005 novel, Hannah Rose. With her great love of history and research, Louise has traveled to several of her locations to ensure the accuracy of her stories’ settings. When she isn’t writing, she and her husband love to visit historical sites and museums. Her 2011 Regency novella, The Gentleman Takes a Bride, earned second place in the prestigious Inspirational Readers Choice Award.

One lucky commenter will win their choice of one of the Ladies In Waiting books. Leave a comment telling us why you started reading regencies to be entered to win!

Contest is now over. Look for Louise’s latest novel wherever you buy books. 

Our Favorite Regency Figures

In our poll a few weeks ago, several of you indicated you’d like to see more profiles of historic Regency figures. That got us talking about various people we could feature. So this month we asked our authors who they thought was one of the most intriguing figures from the Regency era.

Lord byron
Lord Byron. Photo: wikimedia commons

Ruth Axtell

Lord Byron, for me, I think.

Susan Karsten

Neither of my most-intriguing Regency figures is very “cool” noble-character-wise, but I am interested in Hariette Wilson and Beau Brummel. Though I suppose she, with her loose morals and fly-in-the-face of society’s mores attitude, and he, with his obsession with surface and image, would be considered cool in the world of today. I intend to do a blog post on Wilson in a few days — so watch for it.

(We’ve mentioned Beau Brummel on this blog before. Check out Mary Moore’s post about Brummel and his influence on society.)

Jane Austen
Jane Austen

Kristy Cambron

I love Jane Austen – she will always be in my heart as my first introduction to British wit and brooding heroes. : )

Vanessa Riley

That would be Jane Austen.  Her wit and turn of phrase still haunts my dreams, but in a good way.

(Do you love Jane Austen? Keep an eye on this blog! August is Austen month here at Regency Reflections and we’ll be celebrating Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice.)

Laurie Alice Eakes

Mrs. Radcliffe. I want to meet one of the hottest selling authors of the Regency. (Mysteries of Udolpho)

Lady Jersey
Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey

Kristi Ann Hunter

I’m going to go with Lady Jersey and the others of her ilk. The whole idea of the Queen Bee fascinates me. I love looking at them and trying to figure out what about them made them the one who got to dictate what was right and proper to everyone else. While we have the rankings to make some sense of certain women’s rise to social power, there are certainly other factors to consider.

 

What about you? Who do you find fascinating from the Regency Era? Anyone in particular you’d like to see us do a post on?