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Author: Bluestocking Belles (Page 1 of 4)

Could you wow the Teatime Tattler audience? Contact us if you think you can.

“But how did this happen?” Sam asks. “Again!” The Wednesday article has failed to arrive, and Sam Clemens is not happy. “I blame Mrs. Knight,” he grumbled. “She didn’t send out a reminder. But still, people are usually excellent at remembering for themselves.”

“Look!” he declares, waving at the old editions of the Teatime Tattler scattered across his desk. “People love it. Have you seen the numbers of readers for these posts? We regularly have over a thousand views a month. And we have fans; people who say they read the Teatime Tattler twice a week, as soon as the edition comes out. We have bookings through to Christmas.”

“But,” he frowns sternly at the gathered staff members: printers, correspondents, ink boys, paper sellers, “we still have gaps. Get out there, and find us more authors who want to write for the Teatime Tattler. Great articles like the ones here.”

Read the high-performing articles below to find out what Sam loves to see in the Teatime Tattler, or sign up to write your own, and to advertise your book (new or one from your backlist).

The Mistress and the WifeThe Soldier’s Return, by Laura Libritz

A base-born son, a hasty marriageThe Bastard’s Iberian Bride, by Alina K. Field

Mrs Bingham tries againThe Rake and His Honour, by Beth Elliott

Be Careful What You Ask a Hero — Only a Hero Will Do, by Alanna Lucas

Duke in Disguise — To Dodge a Duke, by Naomi Bloom

Overheard at the Courtesan’s Ball — The Pleasure House Ball, by Suzi Love

Heir to Textile Empire Journeys West — But Why?

In a shocking turn of events, we have discovered that the young heir to the Gardiner textile empire has departed London on a ship bound to parts far distant, and in the company of a man thought to be an agent of the King!

Yes, if reports are to be believed, it is true. Whilst most of the Ton would not socialize with the merchant-class Gardiners, their influence in London’s society cannot be neglected, for they dress the elite, and whatever fine fabrics Gardiner brings into his warehouses are sure to be the latest fashion amongst those who set the mode for the coming season.  Not a duke or earl in Town has not been seen gracing the showrooms at Gardiner’s warehouse, choosing the finest cloth England has to offer for his wife, daughter, or unnamed female companion.

But now, our sources reveal, young Edward Gardiner has absconded with little warning on a ship bound for the colonies, a ship owned by none other than George Darcy, whose influence is felt at the highest levels of Society.  Furthermore, Gardiner was reportedly joined by a gentleman whose name we dare not print, but who has been known to be part of His Majesty’s intimate circle, and who has been rumoured to be in possession of the King’s confidence—and perhaps employ—for matters clandestine and of importance to the Realm.

The questions this unlikely happening raises are many. Does this sudden departure have anything to do with a near-fatal accident in the vicinity of Gardiner Warehouses just last week? Is it related at all to the recent disappearance of Gardiner’s young assistant, whose mathematical prowess has tongues wagging across London? Or to the fate of a young lady from the north whose name has been whispered in the same breath as Gardiners? Or is there any connection with the rumours that this same lady’s brother, long thought missing, has been found in Nova Scotia—the exact destination of Darcy’s ship?

One matter is certain, however: the Gardiners might be deemed below the Ton in terms of social standing and place in life, but they keep company many of their betters would fall over themselves to enjoy. Perhaps there is more to the Gardiners’ empire than mere fabric!

 

Excerpt from The Assistant

Sherrington now stood and moved to look out the window. “My local informants tell me that a ship left London’s harbour this morning, bound for the colonies. If Grant hoped to send any directives, they would be in a letter on that ship.” Edward jerked upright and staggered to the fireplace. Sherrington still spoke. “My informants tell me further that a young lad begged passage on that ship moments before it sailed. This young lad matched the description of your assistant.”

Now Edward had stopped all motion and was staring at Sherrington, scarcely able to breathe. “You don’t mean—?” he began.

The older man nodded. “Yes, I do. It seems, in all likelihood, that your brave young assistant has taken it upon himself to gallivant off to the wilds of Nova Scotia to rescue his friend.”

James Gardiner now addressed his friend. “Jeremiah, what can this mean? Would the boy really do such a thing? He did not seem the adventurous sort.”

“Perhaps not, James, or not under normal circumstances. But recollect: people will go to great lengths to protect those they love. I recall, just this morning, a certain young man willing to sell his soul to protect the woman he loves.”

Edward blushed, desperately hoping his father’s eyes were directed elsewhere. When he felt himself able to speak steadily, he ventured to ask, “And what of Miss Grant? Did she travel with him?”

“That I cannot ascertain. My informants did not hear talk of a lady, but she may have gone on ahead, or come later. There were, perhaps a few too many trunks for a lone youth, but more than that I cannot say.”

“So what are we able to do? What are our choices? Certainly we must act!”

“Yes, we must. And act we shall. My friend Darcy—you must have heard me speak of him, have you not, James? Big landowner up in Derbyshire—has interest in a ship leaving next week, taking farmers and tea and hoping to bring back timber and furs. There can be a cabin available if you wish it.”

“What?” Edward had not expected this. “Return to Nova Scotia? I never believed I would make that journey again.”

“Do you not wish it? The ship is destined for Saint John, in New Brunswick, but will stop in at Halifax Harbour to let you off. Darcy is a powerful man and can make this so.”

Both Gardiners stared at him. It was James who eventually spoke. “By gum, that’s quite the claim. Do you know what that extra port of call would cost?”

“Yes, James. But it’s Darcy’s ship, and as Edward knows, he is as eager to see an end to Grant’s machinations as any of us. Are you in, son?”

Edward looked to his father for some sort of response, not certain whether he was hoping for permission or denial. Sherrington nodded once, and James turned to Edward. “Go. Go and save your young woman.”

“Thank you. Both of you,” Edward stated as he turned to leave the room. Before he moved through the doorway, however, Sherrington proclaimed, “I shall make the arrangements and call for you at first light on Monday of next week. If the ship’s planned departure changes, I will let you know. I have long since wished to see Halifax.”

“You… you are coming as well?” Edward turned in the door and gaped at his friend.

Sherrington smiled. “This is an adventure I would not miss for the world!” Then, “James, I would love a game of chess and cup of tea. Might that be arranged?”

The Assistant

A tale of love, secrets, and adventure across the ocean

When textile merchant Edward Gardiner rescues an injured youth, he has no notion that this simple act of kindness will change his life. The boy is bright and has a gift for numbers that soon makes him a valued assistant and part of the Gardiners’ business, but he also has secrets and a set of unusual acquaintances. When he introduces Edward to his sparkling and unconventional friend, Miss Grant, Edward finds himself falling in love.

But who is this enigmatic woman who so quickly finds her way to Edward’s heart? Do the deep secrets she refuses to reveal have anything to do with the appearance of a sinister stranger, or with the rumours of a missing heir to a northern estate? As danger mounts, Edward must find the answers in order to save the woman who has bewitched him . . . but the answers themselves may destroy all his hopes.

Set against the background of Jane Austen’s London, this Pride and Prejudice prequel casts us into the world of Elizabeth Bennet’s beloved Aunt and Uncle Gardiner. Their unlikely tale takes the reader from the woods of Derbyshire, to the ballrooms of London, to the shores of Nova Scotia. With so much at stake, can they find their Happily Ever After?

About the Author

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

Links

Universal book link: https://www.books2read.com/theassistant

If you want store-specific links for Amazon, they are as follows.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Assistant-Before-Pride-Prejudice-ebook/dp/B07B3NFMQ4
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Assistant-Before-Pride-Prejudice-ebook/dp/B07B3NFMQ4
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Assistant-Before-Pride-Prejudice-ebook/dp/B07B3NFMQ4/

Social Media Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RianaEverly
Website – https://rianaeverly.com/
Twitter – @RianaEverly

A sister’s love

Flora hugged her cloak around her, as much for its concealment as for its warmth, though certainly the night grew colder as midnight approached. A dark shape in the shadows of the trees, she could not be seen even if the old hag had men patrolling the grounds. And in the two hours Flora had been watching, no patrollers had shown themselves.

Presumably, the Dowager Lady Rutledge assumed she had her daughter-in-law thoroughly cowed.  And, indeed, how likely was it that such a gentle creature as Chloe would flee into the night?

Flora spread her lips in a fierce grin. Her little sister was stronger than that harpie knew; stronger than Chloe herself knew. She had survived her vicious husband by retreating into herself, but the real Chloe peeped out when she was with her little daughters, or on the rare occasions that Flora was permitted to visit.

Since Lord Rutledge’s death, Flora had been turned away at the door and Chloe had been confined. Flora had laid out far too much of her small stock of coins to confirm that her sister had been locked in her own suite of rooms. If she was successful tonight, they would need to go cap in hand to the Countess of Chirbury. Flora hoped she would take them as her pensioners, for if she turned them away, there was no backup plan.

The last of the lighted windows turned dark. In half an hour, the whole house would be asleep. She began reciting the play Hamlet as a rough measure. When she finished Act II, it would be time to move.

Flora kept to the edge of the shrubbery as she crept closer to the house. When all that separated her from the wall she needed to climb was a large open patch bathed in moonlight, she stopped, waiting for a cloud to cover the moon. In the near dark, she ran across the grass to crouch, her heart pounding, at the foot of the wall.

It would have been too much to hope that Flora’s nieces would be kept with her, so Flora needed first to free Chloe, and then raid the nursery to kidnap the two girls.

She unclasped the cloak, and rolled it into a bundle. Now her childhood prowess at climbing was about to be put to the test. But it was easy. The old vine that draped the wall clung to the stones and provided almost a ladder to the window she had selected, in the suite next door to Chloe’s. Now she would find out whether the help she had been offered was true, or a trap.

The window slid up easily, as she had been promised. And no-one waited to keep her from her sister. Now for a little more light to see if the key was waiting, too.

On cue, the cloud slid away from the moon, and there it was, waiting in the keyhole of the connecting door, as promised. Flora put her ear to the door, but could hear nothing. Chloe had a maid sleeping with her, apparently. But the girl slept deeply, and if the sister remained quiet, they could escape without waking her.

Time to put it to the test.

Flora took a deep breath, turned the key and opened the door.

The scene about takes place around six months before The Realm of Silence. In the book, the new Lord Rutledge has many burdens: a estate bankrupted by his wicked brother, both financially and morally; a mother who hates him; a sister-in-law who hasn’t been seen since she fled into the night with her two children.

The Realm of Silence

(Book 3 in the Golden Redepennings series)

Rescue her daughter, destroy her dragons, defeat his demons, go back to his lonely life. How hard can it be?

“I like not only to be loved, but also to be told I am loved…  the realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave.” George Eliot

When Susan Cunningham’s daughter disappears from school, her pleasant life as a fashionable, dashing, and respectable widow is shattered. Amy is reported to be chasing a French spy up the Great North Road, and when Susan sets out in pursuit she is forced to accept help from the last person she wants: her childhood friend and adult nemesis, Gil Rutledge.

Gil Rutledge has loved Susan since she was ten and he a boy of twelve. He is determined to oblige her by rescuing her daughter. And if close proximity allows them to rekindle their old friendship, even better. He has no right to ask for more.

Gil and Susan must overcome danger, mystery, ghosts from the past, and their own pride before their journey is complete.

Get the first in series, Farewell to Kindness, for only US 99c for the rest of May, and the second, A Raging Madness, with a US $2.75 discount from Jude’s shop. Just choose the Buy from Jude Knight button, go to checkout and enter the code KWMS6GNW.

GRANDMOTHER FEARS GOVERNESS

Eaton Square

January 1821

Dear Teatime Tattler,

I do believe my darling grandson has lost his mind. I come to you, understanding that by addressing my desperation publically, I may make the gossip about him worse. But I need insights from your readers.

At six and thirty, he’s older than most bachelors should be. More attractive, too, dare I say, with a shock of bright blond hair and charming blue eyes. He’s wealthy with eleven thousand a year from estates, but independently situated because he is a hero of the recent campaigns abroad. Against Bony, my dear boy was a leader of men in our Army. For his service, he gained numerous awards and bonuses that allowed him to purchase a townhouse in Dudley Crescent. He’s lived an honorable life and at the recent demise of his older brother (who by the way never saw fit to open his purse to help him buy his kit!), he has inherited the earldom. He devotes himself to learning his new responsibilities and his tenants do praise him for his devotion. Their lot—shall I praise my boy inordinately?—has risen since his ascension to the title. He is so dear, so dedicated to those who rely upon him, that I fear for him in this new challenge he faces. Bless his soul, he deserves better than more turmoil in his life.

But I must get to the crux of his problem, mustn’t I?

A friend, a former comrade in arms, has recently passed this mortal coil. The man was a widower with a young daughter, age eight, in his sole care. At his demise, this gentleman wrote in his last will that he gave his daughter to the care of my grandson! The child is lovely, at first demure and well-mannered. But she arrived on my grandson’s doorstep with a dog and a parrot. Now mind you, canines are a special species. I keep quite a few hunters at my home in the country. But they sleep in the stables. Never in my home! And a parrot? Really. The creature talks like an inmate of Bedlam! But this, dear Tattler, is not the worst problem. Oh, no.

The child has moved in. She’s intelligent, but forward and will grow into a bluestocking, I wager. The dog seems well-mannered (and without too many fleas, I must add.) The bird, odd creature, irritates me because he (she?) imitates my greetings.

But the bigger problem is now the new governess. She is astonishingly beautiful with a heart-shaped face, green eyes the color of spring grass and a laugh so bright it would charm church bells. From what my grandson tells me, she has no previous employment as governess, but speaks French well and plays the piano like Brahms. He hired her within ten minutes of laying eyes upon her. But she disrupts his life with dancing in the upstairs hall and without invitation, moving pieces on his chessboard. Now he has her dining with him in the kitchen!

I fear, dear Tattler, she is there to lure my boy to the altar.  What should I say? What can I do to alert him to the possibility she will seduce him, marry him and ruin his reputation and his life?

Respectfully,

A doting Grandmother

Find out more

(This lady appears in the forthcoming tale, HIS TEMPTING GOVERNESS, Delightful Doings in Dudley Crescent, Book 2, by Cerise DeLand. The first book in the series is currently available everywhere, HER BEGUILING BUTLER!

CORRESPONDENTS WANTED: APPLY WITHIN

Sam Clemens, editor and proprietor of the finest Society newspaper in the historical fictionsphere, completed the final draft of his front-page advertisement, put it into the tray marked ‘Urgent’, and rubbed a hand over his face. Today’s edition would be late to the boudoirs of the ladies of the ton, the clubs of the gentlemen, and the shadowy world occupied by the (to his mind) half-mythical ‘authors’ who purportedly invented the multiple universes and characters featured by the Teatime Tattler.

Today, his advertisement would take pride of place on the front cover, which might not excite the first two categories of reader, but would, Sam hoped, be seen as an opportunity for the third.

The recent push for Wednesday correspondents had garnered many more bookings, but they were spread through the year. He still had spaces most months, including the second half of April.

He crumpled up his rejected attempts and lobbed them one by one into the waste paper bin. “Promote your book”, one started. “Reach new readers”, said another. “A fun way to promote” followed “Stand out in the billion-book marketplace” into the bin.

He’d done his best. Now it was up to the authors. He rang the bell for the copy boy. “And tell Tom to add the block with the place they can find out more and book their spot,” he ordered. As the door closed behind the boy, he fished his brandy and a glass from the bottom drawer. Time for a quick drink before the proofs arrived, and then he’d be busy all night as the presses rolled.

 

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