Category Archives: Regency

Orphan Train series Inspiration

Sophie Cover ImageThe Orphan Train series was inspired by some real life events.

When friends of mine were adopting a beautiful little boy from another country, I decided to research the history of adoption. I found out some dreadful things, sadly, but I also found out about Mr. Charles Brace (a founder of the Children’s Aid Society) and the Orphan Trains from New York.

I’m sure there were some terrible experiences through the many years that the orphan trains were traveling, but there were far more success stories. At least one of the orphans went on to become President of the United States.

While reading  up on it, I began to imagine the lives impacted, not only of the children, but also of the adults involved. Thus was born the idea for three young women who accompanied a trainload of orphans on their journey out West.

The prequel sets up the story. The heroine of Book 2 wasn’t supposed to be on the train. She is taking the place of the heroine of Book 1. The heroines of Books 3 & 4 fully intended to leave their New York lives behind and set up a shop in their new town. Follow along on their journeys in the Orphan Train series!

Start with Sophie, the Prequel: $0.99 for Kindle:  https://amzn.to/2MUwCJ9

Debutante Bride – Guest Blog Interview

I recently visited the blog of a fellow author, talking about my most recent Regency release. Here’s what we talked about:

  • What was the inspiration for The Debutante Bride?

This story explo Deb Bride Ebook Coverres the roller-coaster of emotions that could ensue if an arranged marriage starts off on the wrong foot. I’m always fascinated by the possibilities when a couple is forced together by circumstances. It wasn’t so uncommon throughout history. But what if there are too many factors tearing them apart? In this story, I wanted to explore how love could conquer the external and internal pressures society and we ourselves put upon relationships, but in the complicated context of the Regency era.

  • Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

I did go through a phase as a child when I wanted to be a writer but I thought it was too fantastical of an idea. Then I wanted to be a vet until I realized how allergic I am to cats. Then I didn’t really know what I wanted to do except that I knew I wanted to work in an office in a brand new building in my home town – it was so big and shiny. I took a couple side trips as an executive assistant and an insurance broker before returning to my first love – the written word.

  • When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

After I wrote my first book 🙂 I wrote my first book more as fulfilling a dare from my husband. I never really considered that it could be a serious pursuit. Then I fell in love with writing and the rest is history.

  • What part of the writing process do you dread?

Editing is my least favorite. By the time I’ve gone through the manuscript 35 times I’m ready to throw it across the room. But the discovery of first draft writing is the joy that keeps me returning story after story.

  • What are you currently reading?

A non-fiction book on marketing. There’s always something more to learn.

  • What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I don’t listen to music while I’m writing. I think it would be distracting. I find music to be very inspiring. But I don’t want to run after new ideas while I’m working on my current WIP.

  • Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

Whenever the words are flowing is my favorite time of day 🙂 But I’m a morning person so first thing in the morning is usually my most productive time. I have my computer set up in one room, so that’s where most of my writing takes place. But I carry a notebook with me wherever I go so that I can jot down any notes that come to me when I’m not in front of my computer.

  • How long does it take you to write a book?

It really varies for me from book to book, depending on what else is happening with LIFE while I’m writing. So anywhere from two months to two years has been my experience. I have written the first draft of a full-length book in as short of time as two weeks. But then there are the edits…

What do you think? Have you read The Debutante Bride? I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

Feature Fiction Friday – Bethany Swafford

 

bethany-swafford_origPlease welcome Bethany Swafford today. She’s here to tell us about some great books, including her newest release, Not My Idea.

 

First, Bethany, please tell us a little bit about yourself:

For as long as she can remember, Bethany Swafford has loved reading books. That love of words extended to writing as she grew older and when it became more difficult to find a ‘clean’ book, she determined to write her own. Among her favorite authors are Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Georgette Heyer.

When she doesn’t have pen to paper (or fingertips to laptop keyboard), she can generally be found with a book in hand. In her spare time, Bethany reviews books for a book site called More Than A Review.

Please share your favourite books with us:

Persuasion by Jane Austen
Anne Elliot may not have the charm of Elizabeth Bennet, but she is the most loyal of all Jane Austen’s works and thus my favorite. I love how in her story, she’s matured but still loves the man she turned away. Also, this quote: “All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one: you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone!”

The Foundling by Georgette Heyer
What I love about this book is Gilly, the seventh Duke of Sale. He is a mild mannered young man, who longs to know what life would be like if there weren’t well meaning family members and servants who won’t let him lift a finger for himself. He is such a lovable character who really grows up in the story.

The Case of the Left-Handed Lady (Enola Holmes #2) by Nancy Springer
This is the second book in a middle-grade series about Sherlock Holmes much younger sister. What I love about this book especially is Enola Holmes interactions, not only in disguise with her detective brother, but with a young lady who comes to be her best friend. With codes to solve and danger on every corner, this book out of the series is the one I pick up first.

The Clue of the Broken Locket (Nancy Drew #11) by Carolyn Keene
This one is on my list because this was my first introduction to Nancy Drew when I was seven years old. Nancy has two mysteries to solve. What I fell in love with was how the mysteries entwined through the story and how much spunk this detective has.

Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose
So this is a book that has yet to be released but I was privileged to receive an ARC. The hero of this particular book is an earl with an interest in science and when he comes under suspicion for murder he quite logically sets out to prove his innocence. The plot of this book is unusual for the Regency era and is written brilliantly.

Wow! These are some great choices, Bethany, thanks! Now I have some reading to do 🙂

not-my-idea

 

Now, please tell us about your new book, Not My Idea. I must admit, your title is very intriguing…

“Lucas, you must return home.”

Twenty two year old Lucas Bywood abandons his Grand Tour in response to those words from his father. Everything is not well at home and he finds himself in a bit of a fix. A little warning that his father had made tentative arrangements for his marriage would have been nice but Luke really wishes it had been anyone other than the young lady chosen. After all, Phoebe Ramsey had always been an annoyance and any time they had spent together had resulted in physical injuries for one of them.

Just when Luke thinks he’s escaped that particular future, he finds himself courting a young woman he doesn’t want, a furious best friend who wants a duel to satisfy honor, and the responsibility of finding who and why someone had caused an accident for his mother.

This was not his idea of what the summer was going to be like.

Here’s an excerpt:

​“Luke, you finally came!” Philippa said, squeezing tightly. Her wispy brown hair tickled my cheek. “I thought you must have been killed in France. It was too cruel of you to stay away for so long!”
“Hello, Philly.” After a few seconds, I disentangled myself from her. “That’s enough of that. It’s good to see you, brat.”
Philippa scowled at me. “I am eighteen now, Luke. You have no right to say I’m a brat.” She smacked my arm, causing me no pain at all but the action seemed to make her feel better. “What took you so long to get here? It’s been ages since I sent you the letter telling you Mama was ill.”
I raised an eyebrow. I had not been told this. “Father said you wrote the letter after Mama and Sprite fell.” She opened her mouth, no doubt to argue the point, but I kept talking. “I did not receive your letter, and this afternoon was the first I have heard of Mama’s accident and illness. Are you certain you sent the letter at all?”
“Certainly I sent it! You cannot blame me for the lack of reliable mail delivery in foreign lands if you’re the one who chooses to go there.”
Waving my hand, I decided to let the matter pass. “I’m here now,” I said. She wrinkled her nose, surveying my appearance. “Do I pass muster, or do you find me wanting?”
“You have not washed from your travels,” she said, her tone judgmental. Her eyes widened with horror. “Please tell me you did not go into Mama smelling like a stable!”
“Our mama is not about to object to the smell of animals, sister of mine. But if I am so offensive to your nose, I will go to my room now.”
Apparently forgiving me for any offense I had given her, Philippa looped her arm around mine and walked with me down the hallway. “I am so glad you are here, Luke,” she said magnanimously. “My first Season was such a success, and you will never guess what happened!”
Even if I had not been told, what she wished to reveal would not have been difficult to discern. “Let me guess. You wore a pretty dress of fine muslin and you gossiped to all hours of the night? Or was it that you danced until dawn every night?”
“I’m not a gossip! No, Luke. I had no less than four offers, and I accepted one of them. I am to be married!”
“I am glad you accepted only one of those offers,” I told her. “Imagine what would happen if word got around you had consented to marry all of them!”
Philly scoffed at my teasing. “You are ridiculous,” she said. “His name is Mr. Bartholomew Talbot, and he is quite the nicest gentleman I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I have high hopes of him joining the party, and then you will be able to meet him.”
“Party? What party is this?” I asked, reaching the door of my room. I paused, my hand on the doorknob as I glanced back at her.
“Phoebe told me all about it. Her parents are having a grand house party in a week. They have invited several of our friends from London. Phoebe is thrilled about it.”
I chuckled. Phoebe Ramsey was a year older than Philippa and was one of the silliest girls I had the misfortune of knowing. Growing up, she and I had done nothing but fight if we were left together for longer than a few minutes. As the older one, I had been scolded for not behaving better, an injustice I had never forgotten.
“Did you even tell her you were coming?”
Startled by the question, I frowned at Philippa. “No, why would I?”
“I was going to say you must not have. Heaven knows Phoebe cannot keep a secret,” Philippa said with a laugh. “She will be pleased when you visit, though she may not appreciate the surprise. It was badly done of you, Luke.”
Blinking, I tried to make sense of her words. “I doubt Phoebe Ramsey cares about my comings and goings, Philly,” I finally said, giving up on understanding her. “Run along.”
My sister frowned at me for a moment and then shrugged in an unladylike manner. “Brothers,” she said with a huff. She spun on her heel and called over her shoulder as she walked away, “You have no idea what a lady expects from you!”
Shaking my head at her incomprehensibleness, I put the matter from my mind and entered my room.

Not My Idea can be purchased wherever ebooks are sold including Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ts9iM9

Bethany would love to hear from you. She can be found in these places:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bethanyswafford/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bethany-Swafford-Author-303302543339828/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SwaffordBethany

~ Happy Reading ~

 

Feature Fiction Friday – Marlene

Aunt Marlene, the biggest influence on my early love of Regency, has many favorite books and she’s back to tell us about another one 🙂

Pride

As many others do, I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen knows how to develop characters and although one must have patience to read her (consider the years in which she wrote) she was truly able to hold my interest. You cannot just skim through P & P……..it is a work of art story-wise. It is almost a study of character written in a love story. Each personality is visible to the mind’s eye. I could be irritated at one while loving the other, and yet she creates understanding for those less loved, (Charlotte) and creates humour with the foolish ones (Mr. Collins, Countess de Burgh) all the while weaving her story through and making her point of view of her times obvious. This should be a read on everyone’s list.

​Thanks for visiting and sharing with us, Marlene!