Friday, February 15, 2019

It is release day for The Governess's Peculiar Burden! It is an exciting time for me, releasing my latest endeavour to the world.

Please visit or your favourite ebook retailer for your copy.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Less than Two Weeks

It is now eleven days until the publication of my newest book "The Governess's Peculiar Journey." You can probably tell that I am excited about my latest release!

I don't like to talk about a book while I am writing it, but once the story is finished, I enjoy discussing it. The heroine of this book is the governess of the title. But she is a governess in Victorian England, in 1865. This is odd for a Regency romance, but with time travel all things are possible.

Avice Palsham is my governess's name, and she travels back in time to 1815. I have discussed governesses before in this blog, but not Victorian ones. But in fact, the life of a governess changed little in the fifty years from 1815 to 1865. Governesses in both eras were under-valued, and derided, and inhabited ill-defined positions
in the households where they resided.

A governess is arriving into a merchant's house
by Vasily Perov (Russian) circa 1860
The Governess by Richard Redgrave 1844
The oil paintings above show situations Avice Palsham might certainly have experienced.

Governess by Rebecca Solomon (detail)
This picture above, painted in 1851, shows a governess and her young charge much like Avice and little Jacob. 

When looking for a post, Avice might have advertised  like her Regency counterpart did, below.
Morning Post 1 January 1810
Or she might have used an agency like the one below.
Morning Chronicle Monday, January 4, 1819
Another option Avice might have chosen, and perhaps she wished she had when the time travel occurred, was that of 'daily governess'. We might today call such a teacher, who did not live in the home of their employer, a 'tutor'. I find the position of the daily governess intriguing, and I have written a short story about such a governess.
Morning Chronicle January 3, 1815
There were many books available that instructed the governess on how best to teach her  pupils. From what I know of Avice, she would have read as many of these as were available to her.

Avice Palsham is certainly a real person now to me, after writing her story. I hope that when this book is released on February 15, she will become real to everyone who reads it.

'Til next time,


Monday, January 7, 2019

The Red Tower Stories

Happy New Year!

"The Governess's Peculiar Journey" is now available for pre-order at Amazon and other e-booksellers! It's the end of the long writing process and the beginning of the marketing process.

However, here, I want to talk about writing the books, the how and why of the two Red Tower stories. The first, as you may know, was The Earl's Peculiar Burden. It took shape as I began to think, a few years ago, about how modern and amazing the Regency era in England would look to someone from several centuries earlier.

Most time-travel stories involve either someone from our current time traveling to the past, or someone from the past traveling to the present. In my time-travel story, I didn't want to involve the present day at all.

In the Red Tower stories I have taken the Regency era in England as my 'present day' and I bring characters from other eras to the Regency. So, in the first book, Ysmay of Scarsfield travels from the 1200s to the Regency and finds it a place of unimaginable advancement and wonder. 
This is how I see Ysmay when she first arrives from the Middle Ages. (Wikimedia Commons)
But in this new, second book, Avice Palsham, a governess from 1865, finds the Regency old-fashioned and she has a Victorian preconception of the era as immoral and uncouth.
This is how I visualize Avice in her 1865 garb. (Perov 'guvernanka kupe' [detail] from Wikimedia Commons)
It has been fascinating to imagine the characters' views of the Regency era in which they find themselves. To make those views authentic though took a lot of research. Fortunately, as you know, I love research, and because I have been reading English history for a long time, I had the books I needed right in my research library. 
A portion of my 'research library'
For a general overview, in writing both books, I referred to "The Culture of the English People" by N. J. G. Pounds and "A Social History of England" by Asa Briggs among other titles. For the Victorian era, I looked at "The Victorian Scene: 1837-1901" by Nicolas Bentley, and others (I must admit to having a lot of books on the Victorian period). The Medieval period is excellently described in the books of Frances and Joseph Gies written in the 1970s and 80s, including "Life in a Medieval Village" and "Life in a Medieval Castle".

It has been fun writing the Red Tower stories. There will probably be more, and who knows, one may include someone from our present-day travelling to the Regency. I will never say it will never happen! But time travel may have to wait a while--other Regency tales are swirling, there are characters who want their stories told.

If you ever wish to discuss writing in general, or in particular, please contact me. If you have a research question or problem you need help with, I would be glad to try and assist you. Also, you may notice that my blog has a brand-new look; I would love to know what you think of it.

'Til next time,