Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘historical’

Book #3 in The Worthingtons, It Started with a Kiss releases tomorrow, but the blog tour has already begun!

What is a young Worthington woman to do when the man of her dreams is not who she thinks he is? 

This season, all eyes are on the Earl of Worthington’s spirited, beautiful sister, Lady Louisa Vivers. Many gentlemen are vying for her attention in and around the ton. Yet, Louisa longs for someone who can take her beyond the ballroom—a man who is worldly, adventurous, and passionate. She won’t settle for just any suitor. She wants her true soul mate—and she’ll know him when she sees him.

Is Gideon, the Duke of Rothwell, him? The moment he and Louisa meet, they share a powerful attraction. Rides at sunrise and waltzes at dusk follow. Finally, Gideon can no longer resist the urge to embrace her, and Louisa is sure he will ask for her hand. But Gideon believes he is in no position to marry. The Rothwell estate has gone bankrupt, a scandal simmers in its wake, and he has nothing left to offer. Now, he must decide if he will let pride stand in the way of true love—or if he will risk everything, and let the lady decide for herself…

To celebrate the release I’m giving away 5 signed ARC!

Visit any or all of the sites below and enter!

If you don’t want to wait to see if you’ll win or you would rather have an ebook, here are the buy links!

Read Full Post »

Yes, this is Friday, and normally I would have a guest author. However, I decided to slid her to tomorrow in order to take part is a celebration of historical romance. If you are on Facebook or Twitter, you might notice that some of your favorite historical authors are posting with the hashtag #whyIreadhistoricalromance. Please share the posts and tell us why you read historical romance. After all, in what other genre can you get a cover like this?

Three Weeks to Wed

Read Full Post »

Please welcome Anne Cleeland back to the blog! She is promoting her latest book, Murder in Hindsight. Naturally, she will give a copy of the book to one of you. All you have to do is leave a comment telling her you want it.

We’ll start with the intriguing cover!

 

Murder In Hindsight2

Now the blurb.

There’s an unusual killer combing London’s streets—a vigilante is at work, killing suspects from prior cases who were never convicted; those who’d gotten away with murder, in hindsight.

It’s a puzzler, though; this vigilante is staying to the shadows, and covering his tracks so that Detective Sergeant Kathleen Doyle is left to guess at his motivation.  Is the killer guilty about his own role in helping murderers get off, or is it someone who’s just had-it-up-to-here with the imperfect justice system?

Meanwhile, the crises keep piling up; Chief Inspector Acton, her husband, is up to something having to do with brassy female reporters and the heir to his estate, and when Acton is up to something, murder and mayhem are the certain result.  Not to mention she’s needed to quash a messy little blackmail plot, and do battle with the dowager Lady Acton.  All in all, it will make for a busy few weeks; now, if only the ghosts that haunt the manor house would leave her alone. . .

And an excerpt.

Detective Sergeant Kathleen Doyle was fretting; fretting and stalling until Detective Chief Inspector Acton could make an appearance whilst she tried to appear calm and composed in front of the Scene of the Crime Officers. As a newly-promoted DS, she should maintain a certain dignity and display her leadership abilities, even though she was longing to bite her nails and peer over the hedgerow toward the park entrance.   The various Scotland Yard forensics personnel were impatiently waiting because Acton was delayed, and Doyle had a good guess as to why he was delayed.  One of these fine days, someone else may make the same guess, and then the wretched cat would be among the wretched pigeons—although the mind boggled, trying to imagine Acton being called on the carpet by Professional Standards.  Pulling out her mobile, she pretended to make a call just to appear busy.

“I’ll lose the light soon, ma’am.”  The SOCO photographer approached, cold and unhappy, and small blame to her; Doyle was equally cold and unhappy, but with better reason.

“Ten more minutes,” Doyle assured her, holding a hand over her mobile so as to interrupt her pretend-conversation. “Then we’ll move forward—whether DCI Acton makes it or no.”  She wanted Acton to have a look before the corpse was processed and removed, but she could always show him the photos.

The woman immediately plucked up. “No hurry; we can wait, if the DCI is on his way.”

Has a crush on him, the brasser, thought Doyle.  Join the club, my friend; the woman probably had some private photographs she’d be all too happy to show Acton in her spare time.  The SOCO photographer used to treat Doyle with barely-concealed contempt, but her attitude had improved remarkably after the bridge-jumping incident. A few months ago, Doyle had jumped off Greyfriars Bridge into the Thames to save a colleague, and was now a celebrated hero.  All in all, it was a mixed blessing, because Doyle was not one who craved the spotlight and now she was perceived as sort of a female version of St. George—except that she’d rescued the dragon instead of the maiden, when you thought about it.

Irish by birth and fey by nature, Doyle had an uncanny ability to read people, and in particular she could recognize a lie when she heard it.  This perceptive ability had launched her career as a detective, but it also made her reclusive by nature—it was no easy thing, to be able to pick up on the currents and cross-currents of emotion swirling around her. The SOCO photographer, for example, was lusting after the vaunted Chief Inspector but bore Doyle no particular ill-will for being married to him, since she was the heroic bridge-jumper and thus above reproach.

With a nod of her head, the photographer gestured toward the victim, being as she didn’t want to take her hands out of her pockets until it was necessary.  “Is there something special about this one, then?”

There was, but Doyle did not want to say, especially before the loose-lipped SOCOs who were notoriously inclined to blather in their cups—it came from wading knee-deep in guts all the livelong day. So instead, she equivocated, “There are a few details that are worrisome, is all.  I wanted the DCI to have a quick look.”

Buy links: Amazon

About Anne.

Anne CleelandAnne Cleeland is a lifelong Southern California resident, and currently makes her home in Newport Beach. An attorney by trade, she’s been reading mystery stories since her Nancy Drew days, and especially loves Agatha Christie and the other Golden Age British mystery writers.  The Acton & Doyle series features two Scotland Yard detectives, and if you are a fan of Masterpiece Mystery, you may enjoy their adventures.

Anne also writes a historical series set in 1814 because she loves historicals, too. Being a romantic at heart, all her stories have a strong romantic element.

She has four grown children, three wonderful grandchildren, and one nutty dog.

www.annecleeland.com @annecleeland

Read Full Post »

Please welcome Liza O’Connor back to the blog! Today she’s talking about automobiles and her latest book, The Missing Partner,  not on pre-order.

Because we like book giveaways, she will give a copy of The Troublesome Apprentice to someone who tells her you want the book!

Liza Investigates

Why it took years for England to get its first car.

In 1895, the Honorable Evelyn Ellis purchased and brought the first automobile in England. It was a Panhard-Levassor from France.

URL: http://datchethistory.org.uk/Link%20Articles/Ellis/ellis.JPG

The Panhard-Levassor had been available for sale since 1890 in France. Thus, in my story, I have my character, Mr. Robinson buy the car in 1894 upon hearing the Hon. Ellis planned to buy one.

The reason why wealthy Englishmen weren’t importing cars as their latest amusement since 1890 was because the 1865 Locomotive Act stated that self-propelled vehicles could not travel faster than 4 mph. (Egads! A horse can canter at 12-17 miles. This restriction would be like trading in a horse for a pregnant cow.)

Originally a man with a red flag had to walk before the vehicle, but that was revoked by the time Ellis bought his auto. But the speed restriction continued to thwart the auto industry in England.

Weary of waiting for Parliament to act, Ellis boldly engaged the French company to build a car to his specifications (steering device on the left, Daimler engine), which was brought by boat to England and train to Hampshire. Then the Honorable Evelyn Ellis drove his new toy home, sometimes at 5 times the legal speed limit. No officer of the law stopped him on the well promoted journey.

Mr. Fredrick Simms was Mr. Ellis’s companion on this maiden passage and he wrote a journal which was published for all to read. Here is a bit of what the fellow had to say:

We were not without anxiety as to how the horses we might meet would behave towards their new rivals, but they took it very well and out of 133 horses we passed only two little ponies did not seem to appreciate the innovation.

On our way we passed a great many (horse drawn) vehicles of all kinds as well as cyclists. It was a very pleasing sensation to go along the delightful roads towards Virginia Water at speeds varying from three to twenty miles per hour, and our iron horse behaved splendidly. There we took our luncheon and fed our engine with a little oil.

 

The trip was completed in 5 hours and 32 minutes (not including stops) at an avg. speed of 9.84 mph.

Ellis loved to give his friends rides in his car, and one passenger was Edward, the Prince of Wales, later to be King Edward the VII. Ellis’ speed terrified the poor fellow. (He was about 54 yrs old when he took this ride. While I can find no evidence that he rode with Ellis again, he did ride with other drivers and became a strong supporter of the automobile industry.)

To stop the honorable Ellis and many other high gentry from constantly breaking the law, Parliament attempted to fix the problem in the Locomotive Act in 1895, but sadly the standing Parliament fell and the bill was delayed until November of 1896, when a new Parliament allowed automobiles to drive 8 to 16 mph (local authority’s discretion).

So why did my character not get credit for having the first car in England?

Because the man turned out to be a white slaver and was sent to prison. His car was sold to reimburse the poor servants he’d abused. He didn’t deserve historical mention. Also, he’s fictional and history mostly ignores those type of people.

Here is a rare color photo of the actual car that Ellis drove.

http://datchethistory.org.uk/Link%20Articles/Ellis/br%20run.JPG

Did I time-travel to take this pic? No. It’s a staged shot with modern people dressed up as Victorians. But the car is actually the one Ellis drove. The lady is a descendant of Ellis’ and the gentleman is the Director of the Science Museum….hmmm, perhaps there was some time traveling involved.

I’ll investigate at a later date why, if the first car had the steering wheel on the left, how Britain ended up being a right sided driving country.

xnv The Missing partner Xavierfinal3400x640

 

The Adventures of

Xavier & Vic

Book 2

The Missing Partner

By Liza O’Connor

Cases to be Resolved:

The ‘New Woman’ Who Lost Her Old Mind

The Lost Servant of Dante’s Hell

The Disappearance of a Very Important Man

The Abduction of Sneaky Snake by a Grand Elephant

The Cat Who Wore Too Much

 

blurb

 

Vic Hamilton takes the reins of the investigation office, while Xavier Thorn disappears on an assignment for the British government. Her caseload is entirely ‘lost and recovery’ cases. In the midst of solving all her client’s problems, she learns that the government has lost Xavier. With the help of the gypsy pirate Jacko, and her driver Davy, Vic rushes against time to rescue everyone.

Most alarming, she befriends and hires a dangerous criminal as an employee of Xavier Thorn’s Private Inquiries—without Xavier’s permission.

An Excerpt

Despite Mr. Robinson’s instructions to his butler to assist Victor, she sensed Jonston did not relish his assignment. He sat stiff and rigid on the edge of the chair with an expression of stoic suffering.

Victor studied him, wondering how to penetrate his armored shield. She decided to sneak in, using the unreasonable employer card. “How many people work here?”

“Thirty-two in total. Eleven in the gardens, nineteen in the house and two in the auto shed.”

“The what?”

Jonston sniffed as if a foul odor assailed him. “Mr. Robinson has purchased an automobile.”

“Really?”

“Ever since he’d heard the Honorable Evelyn Ellis intended to acquire a Panhard-Levassour, Master Robinson wanted to buy one, as well. A month ago, he purchased the contraption and hired two men to keep it running.”

“Where does he drive it?”

“Wherever there are horses to frighten,” Jonston replied in aggravation. “It’s an ugly thing. A little dogcart with giant wheels. Makes a ghastly noise.”

 

lINKS

Book 1

The Troublesome Apprentice

Amazon

Don’t forget

Book 1 is free 9/15-9/21

Want a free copy of The Troublesome Apprentice?

Leave me a humorous comment with your email address below.

  

Book 2

The Missing Partner

Amazon

Available for Pre-order

 

 

About the author

 

First, I got tired of telling my proper blog. Now, I’m tired of telling my improper bio. So what’s left?

Liza O’Connor was born, raised badly, left the South/Midwest and wandered off to find nicer people on the east coast…and employment, there were no jobs in the Mid-west. There she worked for the meanest man on Wall Street, while her psychotic husband tried to kill her three times. (So much for finding nicer people.) Then one day she declared enough, got a better job, divorced her husband, and fell in love with her new life where people behaved normally. All those bad behaviors has given her lots of fodder for her humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. And given her past, they will likely traumatize you.

Mostly humorous books by Liza:

Saving Casey – Old woman reincarnates into troubled teen’s body. (Half funny/half traumatizing)

Ghost LoverTwo British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. There’s a ghost cat too. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)

A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)

Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.

Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.

Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.

Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.

The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.

 

Social Networking

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT

LIZA O’CONNOR, XAVIER & VIC:

Investigate these sites:

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

Read Full Post »

My good friend Liza O’Connor has released a Victorian Romantic Mystery!! As usual, she has a lot going on. Please welcome her back to the blog!!

Take it away, Liza!

Thank you, Ella.

Today, let’s talk about an item that has become the most beloved object in the universe: the telephone

xnv_telephone

In 1854 the French engineer Charles Bourseul wrote the first design of a telephone in a public memorandum, but everyone considered it a fantastical concept, thus no one would fund him, so endeth the story.

In 1860, Johanne Phillip Reis constructed a prototype which he named ‘telephon’. Sadly, he couldn’t find anyone in Germany who had the least bit of interest in his invention, so again, endeth the story.

In 1871 Antonio Meucci created a voice link between floors of his house, but failed to mention voice in his patent claim. Never underestimate the importance of proper documentation or persistence. If Meucci had been able to pay the $10 fee to maintain the caveat after 1874, no patent could have been issued to Bell. Sadly Meucci was too poor and let it expire.

1876:  Two inventors: Alexander Graham Bell (Bell Telephone Co.) and Elisha Grey (Western Electric Co., now Lucent Technologies) both filed for patents on the same day for voice over wire devices. Gray entered his first, which meant it was further down in the stack of patent requests, thus Bell’s patent was plucked from the pile first, and therefore awarded the patent.

Any of these earlier inventors could have created the telephone if only they had received more encouragement and had the support structure necessary to succeed. Bell happened to have a rich and business-savvy father-in-law who did not wish his daughter to live in disgrace and poverty so he ensured Bell succeeded, whether the fellow liked it or not. (Bell hated being his puppet.)

Throughout the years, there have been a great many patent wars on who actually invented the telephone and specific designs within the phone. But without doubt, the Bell Company was the first to commercialize the telephone.

Still, had Bourseul received funding and support like Bell, the world might have had telephones twenty years earlier.  What I do know, if Bell hadn’t had married his wife and gotten a control-freak father-in-law, he wouldn’t not be the father of telephony. Someone else would have stepped up and taken his place.

And who was Alexander’s father in law? Gardinar Greene Hubbard, U.S lawyer, financier, & philanthropist. He founded National Geographic and then made himself its first president, Founded (with friends) Bell Telephone and made himself president. (By the way: Alexander Bell, resident genius, only received the title of Chief Electrician.) If you haven’t figured it out yet, Hubbard was uber high society and Alex would never be one of ‘them’.

The only reason why Alexander even met Hubbard’s daughter was because he taught at the school for the deaf that Hubbard funded to help his daughter Mabel learn to speak. (Yes, he basically bought a school to teach his daughter to live among the hearing). Mabel had gone deaf at five from scarlet fever. She fell in love with her instructor (Bell) and wanted no one else. Given her limited opportunities for a happy life in high society, Hubbard decided to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. His son-in-law would amount to something rather he liked it or not!

In retrospect, Alex might have been happier if he remained a teacher, married someone of his own class, and let one of the other guys invent the phone, but he loved Mabel and Mabel loved her daddy, so he bent his will to that of Hubbard’s.  During his life, he created other fascinating things, as well, such as electric heaters, sound carried by light (the beginning of Digital music), electronic mail, and composting toilets, (two of those were practical needs in Canada, the other two were clear foresight into future needs.) Hubbard wasn’t interested in his other inventions. He just wanted a son-in-law that didn’t bring shame to his family name (and for the telephone to sell well enough to pay him & his investors back for all the money they had put out to make Bell Telephone successful, plus a profit.)  Ironically, he achieved getting Bell into the history books, while Hubbard has pretty much been been forgotten.

But then the youth of the world may soon forget Bell and insist the inventor of the phone is Steven Jobs.

Main sources: Wikipedia and the biography by Charlotte Gray. Reluctant Genius: Alexander Graham Bell and the Passion for Invention.

And what do my characters think of this new contraption? Vic would love a phone but the network to make them useful isn’t established yet. It will be a few more years before Gregory the butler acquires one in his room.

Xavier is appalled at the idea clients could call him up day and night without an appointment set 24 hours in advance. So he stubbornly refuses to consider the matter even once they become a useful item.

Book 1 Banner1

Book 1 Prize Banner2

 

The Adventures of

Xavier & Vic

Book 1

The Troublesome Apprentice

By Liza O’Connor

XnV Troubled Apprentice 400 x 640

Cases to be Resolved:

The Key to Aunt Maddy’s Death

The Missing Husband of Mrs. Wimple

The Disappearing Scarlet Nun

The Clever Butcher’s Wife

The Rescue of Lady Anne

 

blurbWhile investigating the death of a friend and client, Maddy Hamilton, Xavier Thorn (reputed to be the greatest sleuth in England) is greatly impressed with Maddy’s nephew, Victor, and offers him a job as his secretary. Aware of Xavier’s history of firing secretaries, Victor garners a promise that for three months he cannot be fired. Vic then proceeds, in Xavier’s view, to be cheeky and impertinent at every turn. Xavier endures the impudent pup because Victor is most skilled in extracting the truth from clients and intuiting facts with little evidence to assist.

As they solve a string of cases, Xavier discovers a few more important details about his troublesome apprentice, such as her true gender, and the realization that she has awakened his long dormant heart.

An Excerpt

Mrs. Wimple entered and, before Xavier could ask if she wished tea, Victor, the impertinent pup, asked the question as he showed her to a chair. She requested tea, and Victor promised to bring it shortly.

“He’s new,” Mrs. Wimple said once the scamp had left the room.

“Yes, I recently acquired him. He’s just come down from Oxford.”

“Oxford,” Mrs. Wimple repeated, clearly impressed. “I would not think a young man from Oxford would wish to be a mere secretary.”

“Daresay you are right. Victor is my apprentice. He is learning the craft of investigation.”

“Oh, how very exciting for him.”

“I have strong hopes for the young man. He’s incredibly bright and very insightful. I daresay, within a year, I will be forced to make him my partner or he’ll leave and open his own office.”

“And then we would have two Sherlock Holmes.”

Xavier’s muscles tightened at her words. He had already told the damnable woman during her first visit Sherlock Holmes was a fictitious character who bore no resemblance to him at all. He hated it when clients thought themselves clever. “Yes, and imagine how confusing it would be.” He rapped his pencil on the edge of his desk. What is taking Vic so damn long? Unless he has never made tea and hasn’t a clue, but surely he can figure out something so simple.

Victor returned carrying a silver tray burdened with a large assortment of bowls, cups, and saucers. Where the bloody hell did he find a serving set? In the past, all the secretaries had brought a single cup of tea.

Mrs. Wimple seemed to appreciate all the tomfoolery and complimented Victor on his fine manners.

 

***

 

“Mr. Holmes was telling me you are an Oxford man.”

Vic smiled with amusement at Xavier being called “Mr. Holmes”. “I am indeed, ma’am.” Vic smiled at Xavier. “And you, Mr. Holmes, how do you wish your tea?”

Xavier’s eyes narrowed. “Guess.”

Vic handed him a plain tea, then removed the service tray and returned with pencil and paper to take notes. To her surprise, Xavier had waited for her to return before beginning.

“I’ve decided to place Victor in charge of your case, Mrs. Wimple.”

That made no sense. She’d nearly burnt down his place of business. Hardly a reason to promote her to investigator. Without a doubt he was up to something.

“Since he has not read my notes from the first meeting, we are going to start at the beginning, as if you have never been here before. I would like you to tell him all pertinent facts, but bear in mind, if you lie to him, he cannot help you.”

“Lie? Why would I lie?”

“I sincerely hope you will not, but you lied to me. You wasted my time in our last interview and I’ve no patience left. Therefore, I am going to sit quietly and enjoy my tea while Victor conducts his interview. If he manages to do what I could not, I will allow him to continue to learn this business. However, if he cannot pull the truth from you, I will fire him for incompetence and it will be on your head, Mrs. Wimple.”

“But that’s not fair,” she protested.

Vic couldn’t agree more. True her actions had almost scarred Xavier for life and burnt down his business, but he had given her his word she would not be fired for three months. She was barely into her second day. She studied her cranky employer, trying to make sense of his turnabout. He showed no anger, only annoyance, all aimed at Mrs. Wimple.

Xavier set his cup on his desk and leaned forward. “I’m sorry, but it’s your punishment for wasting my time with lies and half-truths.”

lINKS

 

The Troublesome Apprentice

Amazon

Kindle Unlimited

 

About the author

 I’m tired of telling my proper bio. So you get the improper bio.

Liza O’Connor was raised by feral cats, which explains a great deal, such as why she has no manners, is always getting in trouble, and doesn’t behave like a proper author and give you a proper bio.

She is highly unpredictable, both in real life and her stories, and presently is writing humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.

Mostly humorous books by Liza:

Saving Casey – Old woman reincarnates into troubled teen’s body. (Half funny/half traumatizing)

Ghost LoverTwo British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. There’s a ghost cat too. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)

A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)

Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.

Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.

Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.

Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.

 

Social Networking

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT

LIZA O’CONNOR, XAVIER & VIC:

Investigate these sites:

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

Prior Tour Sites

 

 

Don’t Forget to enter to win one of the two $25 Amazon Gift Cards.

Enter Rafflecopter

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

While I’m off on the last stop of my blog tour at Karen’s Killer Fixen’s. , Anne is going to introduce you to her latest release, Murder In Retribution! The second installment of Anne Cleeland’s Acton & Doyle Scotland Yard series. The two detectives are investigating an escalating turf war between two underworld factions.

Ann is giving away one print copy to a commenter who tells her you want the book!

Murder In Retribution cover

Now the blurb.

Perhaps there’s nothing more to the murders than under-the-table business dealings gone wrong, but Doyle is uneasy because there’s something here that doesn’t make sense. . .and sometimes vengeance takes a wrong turn.

Here’s the starred review from Library Journal:

“While dealing with the aftermath of their relationship going public, DC Kathleen Doyle and CI Michael Acton set out to discover who is behind a rash of underworld murders in London. As the couple try to find a balance between their work and personal lives, everything escalates when violence hits close to home. In addition to dealing with her not-so-traditional marriage to Acton, Doyle must face some hard truths during her investigation that might better have stayed unrevealed. VERDICT Doyle and Acton are incredibly flawed and engaging protagonists who stay in the reader’s mind long after the case is solved and the last page turned. With just a second book (after Murder in Thrall), Cleeland is developing a memorable series that will captivate fans of police procedurals and complicated sleuths such as the protagonist in Carol O’Connell’s “Mallory” series.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Detective Constable Doyle and Detective Chief Inspector Acton crouched on the cement floor of the aqueduct and peered into the conduit that diverted surface waters into the greater London drainage system. Lodged in the conduit—dry at this time of year—was the decomposing body of an adult white male of perhaps forty years.  Doyle held a paper mask over her face because the odor was making her stomach heave, and they studied the crime scene in silence while the SOCOs—Scene of the Crime Officers—stood by, clad in their paper bunny suits and awaiting instruction. Weak morning sunshine filtered through the trees lining the aqueduct, which ran though a remote wooded area near Epping Forest.

“Less than a week?” suggested Doyle.

“Perhaps,” said Acton. “Difficult to say—it is cool down here, and so we’ll wait for the Coroner to come up with something more precise.” He glanced at her. “Ready to pull him over?”

Doyle nodded, unaccountably annoyed that he was being so deferential, and they carefully rolled the corpse over, allowing the SOCO photographer to step in and take photos as they studied the decedent. It was an unusual wound; the man had been shot in the face with a large caliber weapon. An act of rage, thought Doyle; not your average professional job, which was a bit strange as all other aspects indicated a professional job. The remains of the face were a mess as the maggots had been busy, and between this gruesome sight and the odor of decomposition, Doyle made a strangled sound in her throat and wished she were elsewhere.

“Need a moment?” asked Acton quietly, motioning the photographer away.

“No. I am in perfect curl.” Annoyed, she broadened her Irish accent so that she pronounced it “paarfect,” just so he was aware she was annoyed—not that there was any mistaking. She knew she was being childish, snapping away at him, but couldn’t seem to help herself; she was miserable, he knew she was miserable, and he was walking on eggshells which was a sad, sad testament to her supposed role as his helpmeet.  Unconsciously lifting a hand to bite her nails, she was thwarted in this desire by her latex gloves, and so instead fought an almost overwhelming urge to cry. Or start throwing things; either, or.

Acton’s dark eyes rested on her for a moment and then returned to study the body. “It would probably be best to know for certain.”

With a monumental effort, Doyle took hold of her foolish, sorry self. “I do know for certain. I took a pregnancy test this mornin’.”  Best not to mention that she had panicked, thinking he’d discover the evidence, and so had thrown the stupid stick out the bathroom window, no easy feat from seven stories up.

He raised his gaze to meet hers.

“I am wretchedly sorry, Michael; I am bein’ such a baby and I can’t seem to help myself.” She sighed so that her mask puffed out and then collapsed again.

He touched her hand and said with quiet emphasis, “I am not sorry; it is wonderful news, Kathleen.”

It was the truth—which came as a complete surprise. Doyle had an innate ability to read people, and she could usually tell when someone was lying. Presumably, this ability was inherited from some Irish ancestor—hopefully one who hadn’t been burned at the stake as a result—and it was a mixed blessing; it was no easy thing to constantly aware of the currents of emotions that swirled around her at any given time. Acton guarded his own emotions very closely but she knew on this occasion he was speaking the pure truth. It was a huge relief, all in all.

Fearing she would disgrace herself by being sick during what should be a sentimental milestone in married life, she stood and backed away a step, taking in a deep breath and trying to settle her stomach.  Acton rose to stand alongside her and the SOCO team took this as a cue that the visual inspection by the detective staff had now concluded—although there had been precious little detecting done, thus far.  As Acton nodded permission, the examiner moved in to bag the corpse’s hands and conduct preliminary tests for trace evidence before the body itself would be bagged and removed.  After the man moved away, Doyle continued, “And do not pretend this blessed turn of events is not completely my fault.”

“Oh? I feel I may have had a hand in it.”  He cocked his head, trying to tease her out of the sullens.

For whatever reason, this attempt to humor her only succeeded in making her more annoyed and she made a hot retort. “I am well-aware that you have no self control, my friend; mine is the burden of keepin’ you at arm’s length.”

“You failed miserably,” he agreed. “A very memorable occasion.”

She had to duck her head to suppress an inappropriate smile; it wouldn’t do at all to be seen giggling while this poor mucker’s mangled body was supposedly under examination.

 

Buy Links: Amazon ~ B&N

 

about Anne.

Anne Cleeland

Anne Cleeland holds a degree in English from UCLA as well as a degree in law from Pepperdine University, and is a member of the California State Bar.  She writes a historical series set in the Regency period as well as a contemporary mystery series set in New Scotland Yard.  A member of Romance Writers of America, The Historical Novel Society and Mystery Writers of America, she lives in California and has four children.  www.annecleeland.com; @annecleeland.

Read Full Post »

While I’m running hither and yon today, Victorian author Sandra Schwab will entertain you!! Please give her a warm welcome to the blog!!

Four years ago I fell in love with nineteenth-century periodicals. It all started quite harmlessly when in 2010 I was invited to speak at the annual conference of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals. I had already done some research on the satirical magazine Punch, in particular on the artist Richard Doyle, who worked for the magazine in the 1840s. But it was at that conference that I really fell in love with Victorian periodicals. After my return home I got lucky and found a reasonably priced collection of all Punch volumes from 1841 to 1891 online. I bought it—155 pounds of Mr. Punch! When the packages finally arrived, I was so happy that I burst into tears (which might have disconcerted the postman a little…).

MrPunchAndBooks-small

Since Mr. Punch moved into my sitting room, much of my academic research has focused on the 1840s. It was only recently that I realized I could use this research for my creative work as well. Thus, the idea for my new series about the writers and artists working for the fictional magazine and my series,  Allan’s Miscellany was born.

The upheavals that shook the publishing world in the early nineteenth century were just as momentous as the changes that are happening in our time. Thanks to the rise of the middle classes, technological improvements, and higher literacy rates, the market for periodicals grew exponentially: It is estimated that about 4000 periodicals were launched between 1790 and 1832. In other words, there was suddenly a mass market for newspapers and magazines.

The latter covered every topic under the sun: there were sporting magazines and art magazines and music magazines and magazines about botany and horticulture. The Lady’s Magazine, or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex (1770-1847) was the first to explicitly target a female readership. In terms of content, the magazine set the example for other women’s magazines that followed: it contained articles on various subjects as well as fiction, poetry, music (on fold-outs), exemplary biographies (often illustrated), sometimes short descriptions of the latest dresses and fashions (with plates), and a pattern for decorative needlework.

What was missing, though, was a recipe section and a column with domestic advice. The reason for this was that the magazine was targeted at upper-class women who had servants to do all the household work for them. In this, too, the magazine set the model for other women’s magazines of the early nineteenth century: they were all expensive and they were all meant for an upper-class readership. This changed only in the 1850s and 60s when the older ladies’ magazines disappeared and were replaced by new periodicals targeted at middle class women. The most famous and most popular of these was Samuel Beeton’s The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine (1852-79).

Cover-EnglishwomansDomesticMagazine

There were often more general magazines, often referred to as “miscellanies” because they covered a variety of different topics and contained book reviews, theatre reviews, articles on literature and science, opinion articles, and poetry. I imagined Allan’s Miscellany as one of these periodicals.

In The Bride Prize, the first story of the series, Allan’s Miscellany is only a few months old, and the staff consists of a grand total of two people: William MacNeil, editor and writer, and Robert Beaton, writer and chief — well, only — artist. Robbie knows that they need a big break if the magazine is to survive, and so he drags Mac to what must have been one of the strangest (and quirkiest!!!) events of the period: the Eglinton Tournament of 1839, where a group of noblemen donned medieval armor to joust like knights of old.

 

AllansMisc-01-TheBridePrize-klein

 

THE BRIDE PRIZE: ALLAN’S MISCELLANY Blurb

It’s 1839, and Lord Eglinton’s tournament in Scotland is the most anticipated event of the year: he and some of his noble friends will don medieval armor and joust like knights of old.

Does this mean a revival of true chivalry? Miss Florence Marsh thinks it might.

Or is the tournament mere tomfoolery and the greatest folly of the century? Mr. Robert Beaton thinks it is.

But when Flo and Robbie meet at Eglinton Park, they’ll soon learn that a dash of romance can make the greatest differences look rather small and that true love might find you in the most unlikely place.

An excerpt can be found here.

Buy links:

Regular edition:

Amazon US ~   Amazon UK ~ Kobo

B&N will follow soon

Enhanced edition:

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

Kobo and B&N will follow soon

 

About Sandra

Schwab2Sandra Schwab started writing her first novel when she was seven years old. Thirty-odd years later, telling stories is still her greatest passion, even though by now she has exchanged her pink fountain pen of old for a black computer keyboard. Since the release of her debut novel in 2005, she has enchanted readers worldwide with her unusual historical romances.

She lives in Frankfurt am Main / Germany with a sketchbook, a sewing machine, and an ever-expanding library.

Link up with Sandra on any of her social medial sites!

website: http://www.sandraschwab.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScribblingSandy

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SandraSchwab.Author

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: