Tag Archive | Regency

Rules or Passion? Can the two coexist?

the-mysterious-merriana-webI wrote my latest release, The Mysterious Merriana, about a quarter of a century ago. At that time, I had no education in the craft of writing. I knew grammar but not the nuts and bolts of the rules as applied to writing fiction. It’s little wonder that my early manuscripts were roundly rejected by editors.

Then, several months ago, I decided to see if I could revise The Mysterious Merriana without having to rewrite most of it from scratch. I discovered that this old manuscript contained a very good story (in my opinion) along with many amateurish mistakes. Some of these errors required rewriting or omitting paragraphs, and in some cases, I had to decide between following the rules and striping away the passion I’d felt while writing this book. Knowing I might get dinged by some readers (and especially other writers) for breaking the rules, I nevertheless decided to leave the passion. I don’t regret that at all. After all, as they say, “You need to know the rules in order to break them.” If you’d like to visit the ebook on Amazon and see for yourself, click HERE.

Following is a brief description of The Mysterious Merriana.


On his way to France to extract an English agent, Justin Foster, Earl of Cardleigh, stops overnight at his favorite country inn, only to discover a mysterious female in the kitchen. This gorgeous woman claims to be the daughter of an English farmer, but she cooks like a French chef and sings French songs like a native of that land. When Justin learns that the agent who was supposed to travel with him has been mysteriously disabled, he insists the female accompany him to France and serve as his guide.

Having recently arrived in England on a smuggler’s boat, Merriana de Mérchan has no desire to return to France, but the distrustful Earl of Cardleigh, who assumes she is a French agent, gives her no choice. Although aware that she presents a suspicious image, she dare not attempt to tell him the full truth for fear of an unknown enemy who seemingly wants her dead.

As Justin and Merriana struggle toward opposing goals, the attraction they feel keeps drawing them closer. The question becomes, can they trust each other long enough for love to triumph?

My Regency Christmas story now available

If you enjoy Christmas stories, be sure to check out Crimson Romance’s December 23rd release, an anthology entitled Bells Will Be Ringing. The anthology consists of four stories set around Christmas. Three are contemporary (Her Secret Santa by Monica Tillery, His Hawaiian Christmas by Diana Jean, and Gavin Fever by Angelita Gill).

Cover for Carey's story

My historical story, Merry’s Wonderful Christmas Gift, is set in a country village in England in 1817 in early December. The heroine, Merry Damonson, once loved Christmas but now the season serves only to remind her that Edward, the man who had asked her to be his wife, deserted her just before Christmas the previous year when he inherited an earldom. Now this man she had hoped never to see again is returning to the neighborhood and he has brought a woman with him. What hope does a simple country girl have when the beautiful and sophisticated Regina seems to have firmly attached herself to Edward? But perhaps all is not what it seems as Merry learns when she begins helping Edward’s mother plan a Christmas ball. Can she and Edward learn to let go of their misconceptions and allow the magic of the season to bring them back together again?

The Secret Christmas Ciphers is now just 99 cents

For the next few days, beginning November 3, my Regency Christmas romance titled The Secret Christmas Ciphers is on sale for 99 cents instead of the usual price of $2.99.

Someone recently asked me what a cipher is. The dictionary definition for cipher (which can also be spelled “cypher”) is “a message written in a secret code.” A second definition is “a secret method of writing.”

The Secret Christmas Ciphers

The Secret Christmas Ciphers

When I was writing The Secret Christmas Ciphers, I researched ciphers and learned that to “encipher” or “encode” means to convert plain text into a cipher or code that can only be deciphered or uncoded by someone who has a “key” as to how the text was enciphered to begin with.

Although my story, which is set during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, is fiction, ciphers were reportedly used by Napoleon and his generals. I used this information in plotting the story by providing the heroine with the knowledge she needed to help her husband decipher intercepted messages from the French and thus provide invaluable information for the English.

I enjoyed writing a story about ciphers, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it, especially at a reduced price! But hurry before it goes back up to $2.99! Buy it now by clicking on the following link: http://amzn.to/1bOlp36

My newest (old) Christmas novella

I’m pleased to announce the publication (for the second time) of my Regency Christmas novella titled A Christmas Spirit of Forgiveness. 

Why is it being published for the second time? You see, the story originally appeared in an anthology published in 2009 by Cerridwen Press as part of their Cotillion line for traditional Regencies. About a year ago, the anthology went out of print, but fortunately the stories are now being released as stand-alone ebooks. I’m delighted that this story is available again.

A Christmas Spirit of Forgiveness

The following paragraphs give an idea of what the story is about and also illustrate the significance of the woman depicted on the cover.

            An endangered kitten and a mysterious lady in red combine to lure Anna Marshall away from her home and out into the teeth of a ferocious snowstorm. After rescuing the kitten, Anna walks on through the falling snow, searching for a man reported missing by the lady in red.

This rather peculiar evening turns alarming for Anna when an encounter with a stranger on horseback results in her being unceremoniously “rescued” by the notorious Earl of Ashington, who was told by the lady in red that a female was missing in the storm.

Convinced he’s saving Anna’s life, Ashington insists on taking her home with him. Marooned on his country estate, the two discover a mutual attraction that both realize can lead nowhere. After all, he’s universally detested by his country neighbors and thus prefers life in London while Anna avoids the city because she has reason to dislike her aristocratic relatives who reside there.

But Christmas is approaching and with help from the ghostly lady in red, the two of them discover that by accepting love and forgiveness, they can possess the peace and joy that the season promises.

If you enjoy Christmas romances, I hope you’ll consider trying A Christmas Spirit of Forgiveness. It will soon be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all venues for electronic books.

New Book Will Be Free June 2-3

Oops! I forgot to include a title for my post yesterday when I posted here about my new book, The Secret Christmas Ciphers. I’m not sure how much difference that makes, but to be on the safe side, I decided to mention again that the ebook version will be free on Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3. If you are so inclined, I invite you to download it and, if you enjoy it, to say so on Amazon in the review section.

And if you’re interested, here’s a blurb about the book:

Abigail can’t explain, even to herself, why she married Derek after he’d asked her to wait for him and then became engaged to someone else. If his poor fiancée had not died, he would now be wed to her instead of Abigail. But then Abigail begins uncovering some of the secrets that are a part of her husband’s life and wonders if perhaps there is hope for their marriage after all.

Abigail and Derek

Derek, Lord Westdale, wasn’t sure why Abigail married him; she obviously despised him. On the other hand, he knew exactly why he was marrying her: she was the only woman he would ever love, despite his having offered marriage to another. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to convince Abigail that he never really betrayed her after all.

Can their decoding of a secret Christmas cipher bring an end to their misunderstandings and help them create their own special Christmas tradition?

What is a curricle, anyway?

When I was writing my most recent Regency-set historical romance, My Elusive Countess, I frequently described the hero tooling the heroine from place to place in his curricle. Fortunately, I now know what a curricle is. That wasn’t always the case.

When I first began reading Regency romances, I didn’t understand the references to the various carriages that were in use in the early nineteenth century. Since my need for information was in the days prior to the Internet, I began checking research books out of the library.


One of those books, The English Carriage by Hugh McCausland (1948), was especially helpful. From reading McCausland’s descriptions, I soon learned that the curricle was a sporty vehicle with a folding leather hood, and it seated two people, the driver and a passenger. Most curricles also had a small seat or platform at the rear to accommodate a groom.

What differentiated curricles from other two-wheeled vehicles of the time was their pole-and-bar design (as opposed to a shaft design in which a single horse is driven between a pair of shafts). The curricle was designed for a pair of horses to be driven abreast. In order for the curricle to appear to best advantage, the two horses needed to be matched, preferable in color, size, and action. Finding quality horses that fit these criteria was not inexpensive, so this carriage was basically one for the well-to-do. According to McCausland, curricles were easy on horses and thus were favorites for driving both in town and for longer distances.

McCausland seemed especially to enjoy pointing out that “modern writers” frequently make errors when writing about carriages. Sherlock Holmes’ creator, Conan Doyle, McCausland said, described a curricle with the horses in tandem (one in front of the other in single file). “Any English two-wheeled carriage might conceivable be used as a tandem cart, except only the curricle; barred because of its structure,” McCausland wrote.

I’m planning to avoid Conan Doyle’s error and always have my hero drive abreast a pair of beautifully matched horses that will carry him and the heroine wherever their hearts desire.