Home of the Bluestocking Belles

Because history is fun and love is worth working for

Category: Guest author (Page 2 of 16)

One of them has to go home

Dear Mr. Clemens,

Master Clint is away fighting Yankees and I’m beginning to suspect that my mistress, Miss Julianne, is possessed by haints. Worse yet, Miss Julianne is figuring that out, too. We been together since we was born, so there ain’t much trouble we hadn’t been into. But when she asked me to take her to see Miss Jetta, the old root doctor whose cabin is hidden in the cypress swamp, I told her I thought that was a line we ought not to cross. So off we went anyway. Then Miss Jetta started coming around in the night putting root bags in the nooks and crannies of the house.

Now I found out that Miss Audrey is in Miss Julianne’s body. She says she’s from a place called the future, but she ain’t a haint. She just wants to go home. At first I was mad at her for taking Miss Julianne’s body, but while Miss Audrey and I been trying to figure out how to get her home, we’ve grown to be good friends. A lot of stuff has happened since Miss Audrey’s been here – some good and some so bad it makes my heart hurt to think about it. I don’t want Miss Audrey to leave, but old Miss Jetta say Miss Julianne and Miss Audrey cain’t both stay. And the time is fast approaching when one of them has to go.

Tess Joseph, 1864
Wren Song Plantation slave
Ladies maid to Mistress Julianne Wren

A Splinter in Time

Charleston antiques dealer Audrey Parrish attends an auction preview at Wren Song plantation, hoping to find relics from her past. Instead, she snags her hand on a bedpost splintered by a musket ball and finds herself at the plantation at the exact moment the shot is fired.

Confederate officer Matthew Orrick is staying in the vacant overseer’s cabin while recovering from a battle wound. Audrey is captivated by him, but falling in love is not an option. Altering Matt’s destiny would impact the fate of generations yet to be born.

After Matt discovers Audrey’s true identity, he demands she abandon her attempts to return to her own time. But Audrey’s feelings for him conflict with her concern for the lives that will be erased if she stays.

When an eleventh hour opportunity arises, Audrey has only seconds to weigh her decision – stay with the man she loves, or return to set her own world right?

Excerpt: Matt discovers the deception.

He went to the end of the veranda and looked out into the night. “You are not the Julianne I have known all my life.”

Audrey had been so infatuated with him she hadn’t thought to look at herself through his eyes. Still, she did not believe that he could be speaking literally.

“Tell me,” he demanded, turning back to her.

“There is nothing to tell.”

“You are changed. It began the evening of your fainting spell. The evening  before, you were as I’ve always known you. Now, the  way you speak, your manner, you are an entirely different person. At first it was entertaining, but now it has grown troubling. Has this to do with your trip to the old root woman? Is that the reason she creeps around here in the deep of night tucking her spell bags into the  nooks and crannies of the house?”

“Miss Jetta comes here at night?” Audrey said, stunned.

“Do you expect me to believe you don’t know she  comes when all the Negroes know? They think she is the reason you have suddenly regained your health. I  should believe so, too, but there’s something deeper going on. Tess knows what it is and she’s protective of it. Tell me,” he demanded, “are you a piece of Miss Jetta’s work?”

She was suddenly afraid—afraid to tell him and afraid not to. “No! I only went to Miss Jetta for help.”

“So, you admit it.”

“No. Well, yes. But…”

They turned at the clatter of a tray being set heavily on the table. Tess stood stone-faced looking at her.

“Tell him.”

Audrey shook her head. “No.”

“Tell him,” Tess said, her voice emotionless.

She looked at Tess with rising panic. “He won’t believe me.”

“He’ll believe me,” Tess said. “Tell him all of it.”

 About Linda Shelby.

Linda Shelby lives on a small ranch in central Oklahoma. She loves reading, traveling to historical places and blending historical facts into her stories. Her novel, A Splinter In Time, won the 2017 OWFI award for best book of fiction.

The Peculiar Lighthouse Keeper


Edward Moran 1876

Mr. Clemens,

I beg your help. Perhaps your readers have information.
I just can’t believe all that has happened in the last few days. My brother drowned in that treacherous storm, and three days of worrying about him and my niece, Abigail. Then such relief when that lighthouse keeper returned her in good health. But now she wants to marry him. A blind girl with no one in the world now but myself and her uncle. What were they doing alone on that island for three days. That strange recluse with the scared face and Irish to boot! Said he fought in the Civil War, our Civil War for the Union and he’s saving money to bring his mother and brother to America. I know the whole town will be talking, rumors from busybodies, and I’ve a funeral to plan for my poor brother. A funeral without a body. I told him he was getting too old to deliver supplies to the lighthouse. If he’d listened to me, he might be alive now.
And that Jeremy, he’s handsome enough from one side, but what do we know about him? Nothing.
Nothing at all.
Abigail’s Frantic Aunt

LighthouseAbout the Book

An immigrant from Ireland, Jeremy McKetcheon took the place of a wealthy New Englander drafted into the Union Army during the Civil War. Terribly scarred by a shell that set fire to his tent, Jeremy is now a reclusive lighthouse keeper on an island off the coast of Maine. He is haunted by flashbacks of the war, and never expects to find love, understanding, or acceptance.

Beautiful but blind from birth, Abigail Morrison sees the world through the intricate carvings her father brings back from Lighthouse Island when he takes supplies there. She wonders about the artistic carver and why he hides from the world. But when the opportunity arises for her to visit the island, she and her father are tossed overboard in a raging storm. Having seen their distress from the parapet of the lighthouse, Jeremy attempts a rescue in the frigid waters, and all their lives are changed forever.


    Abbey could tell the day was dying, the sunlight ebbing. The air had grown chillier. Her fingers, nose, and toes were numb. She rubbed and moved and massaged them. How she dreaded another night among the boulders. Her stomach was so empty that it churned endless and cramped painfully.

    She shook snow off her cape and curled up under it again. After a while, she slept.

She awoke to the howling of wolves. This time they were much closer. Her fingers wrapped around the club.

    She heard growling and imagined their fierce teeth. She’d heard stories of wolves surrounding a big bull moose and bringing it down, tearing open its neck. The silver timber wolves were large brutes with little fear of humans. Abigail tensed remaining perfectly still as she heard and smelled their approach. A branch snapped. She jumped involuntarily.

    I can’t spend another night here.

    A low growl erupted outside her cape. The muffled sound of front paws digging in the snow terrified her. She felt a canine body bump against hers with nothing separating her but a thick wool material.

Amazon  Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Kim McDermott was born and raised in Charleston, SC where she graduated valedictorian of Middleton High School and cum laudi from the College of Charleston with a B.A. in English.  She received a Masters Degree in Counseling from the Citadel and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in S.C. She has nine years of experience in guidance. She is also a Nationally Certified High School English and Language Arts teacher who worked for Charleston Country School District for 28 years as both an English teacher and a guidance counselor.  She is retired and currently teaches English and Creative Writing part-time as an Adjunct English Professor at Trident Technical College.

She has free lanced for numerous regional and national publications including: The State, Charleston Magazine, Standard, Blue Ridge Country, Reader’s Digest, Christian Single, Home Life, Straight, Evangel, Smokey Mountain Magazine, and others.  She won the Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s award in l987.  Her first book, All Work, All Play published by Marco. She has two children’s books, a chapter book aimed at elementary age children entitled The Underwear Tree and a picture book, Les Petits Gardes. With Margie Clary, she co-authored South Carolina Lighthouses published by Arcadia Publishing. Her latest book is a suspense romance entitled Hiding published by The Wild Rose Press.

Contact Information



Duke in disguise

Dearest Sister,

I have some unusual tidings to impart. Some that might even shock you.

Do you remember His Grace, the Duke of Waking? Well, he has decided to pursue a young lady of good birth and fair countenance. The shocking part? She doesn’t know he is a duke. In fact, she believes him to be a mere baronet. He refuses to reveal his identity until she has fallen in love with him rather than his title.

I wouldn’t believe it except I have witnessed his treachery with my own two eyes. He, a lofty duke, has resorted to all manners of misconduct to gain her favor and I fear I have delighted in witnessing his endeavors. Sometimes, I even lend him my aide by furthering the falsehood.

I should feel guilt over my actions, but I simply cannot. He means well and has the most honorable of intentions. I do believe His Grace will succeed if only he can hide his identity. And if he should fail… Well, I cannot even countenance the thought because, dearest sister, I do believe he is half-way in love with this girl already.

I shall write to you soon to abate your curiosity. Till then, I wish you well.

Forever yours,


To Dodge a Duke

When a duke gets a chance to pursue a lady as someone else, he would be a fool not to take it.

Logan Eastworth, the Tenth Duke of Waking, returns to England to find a woman to marry. When Miss Eleanor Ashford assumes he holds the title of baronet, he does not correct her error. Instead, he plays on her misconception and arranges a house party where he can make her fall for him and not his title.

Miss Ashford desires a marriage of convenience to an earl or higher. Not to some low-life baronet with an estate in the far reaches of England. She has no time for love, even if the green-eyed baronet with a charming smile tries to convince her otherwise.

Miss Ashford has a choice to make. To wed a duke or the baronet setting her heart aflame. Her choice might not be as simple as she believes.

Meet Naomi Boom

Naomi Boom is an author who never expected to love writing. Her inspiration struck when she searched for the perfect historical romance novel to read. Nothing sounded appealing, so she decided to write her own. That one novel has morphed into a series, and hopefully many, many more.

She resides in her home state of South Dakota with her husband and toddler. Her dream is to someday find an acreage where she can raise chickens, and continue her writing.

Links Included:



Logan smirked and stood to tower over her. “I think you welcomed my advances very much. I would prove it if you ask.”

Eleanor glared at him and took a step back. “That is unnecessary. I already know I did not appreciate the first example.” Besides, even if she had enjoyed it, it would be inadvisable for her to allow another kiss to transpire. His smirk remained glued to his handsome face, and she said, “Oh, stop it. You think much too highly of yourself.”

He chuckled in response and took a step closer. Eleanor, naturally, took another step back until he reached out and pulled her to him in a rough embrace. Incensed, Eleanor asked, “Who do you think you are? There is never an acceptable time for you to behave so impudently toward me!”

His arm imprisoned her as he smiled down on her. “Isn’t there? Would it have been preferable to fall into the ravine?”

She swung her head around to find they stood mere steps from the rushing waters. She gulped and turned to face him. Obviously, it was best to stay away from the ravine, but she would not concede his point. “Yes. It would have been much more desirable.”

An Encounter in the Cyder Cellars

In the basement of 21 Maiden Lane in London, the great metropolis, there is a tavern called the Cyder Cellars, much frequented by writers and artists, and the young men about Town. After curtain in the nearby theatres, it tends to be packed with men desiring supper and some old-fashioned glee-singing. It was there that Mr. Clemens of the Teatime Tattler ran into his flame-haired colleague Mr. William MacNeil from that esteemed Victorian magazine Allan’s Miscellany.

The Great Mac was in a gloomy mood. “I envy you, Mr. Clemens,” he said, staring into his mug of cheap beer. “I do envy you. In your time you don’t yet have to endure the dreadful consequences of Mr. Scott’s medieval flights of fancy in all their full extent. You don’t have to endure your chief artist — well, only artist, really — and your publisher ganging up on you and force you to travel to the Scottish wilderness to attend a [redacted] tournament.”

Mr. Clemens raised a brow. “A tournament?” he asked mildly.

“A tournament.” MacNeil shuddered. “Lord Eglinton’s medieval tomfoolery. With lords of the realm and members of the gentry donning all the impediments of chivalry to joust like knights of old, giving themselves silly names — the Knight of the Swan and the like — and generally making fools of themselves. Old England forever, and all that.”


“Well you may say, ‘Ah,’ but you did not have to travel to Ayrshire on roads crammed full with ten thousands of carriages, totter around a village in desperate search for a room and a bed, where no more beds were to be had for miles and miles. And everybody milling around in the most ridiculous costumes imaginable.”

“I say!” said Mr. Clemens.

“But that wasn’t the worst,” MacNeil continued, his voice becoming even gloomier. “No, the worst was when I sat on that gallery amidst all the chivalric gaiety and had to watch my chief artist and best friend”—he leaned closer as if to divulge a terrible secret—“fall in love.”

“But that is very romantic, is it not?”

MacNeil reared back and cast the other man a baleful glance. “Romantic! What nonsense! As if one ought to take delight in one’s best friend turning into a veritable mooncalf! A detestable spectacle, if I ever saw one.” He drank from his beer. “And on top of everything else,” he muttered, “we had forgotten to take our umbrellas.”

 The Bride Prize: Allan’s Miscellany 1839

A medieval tournament in Victorian Britain,

two unlikely lovers, a very grumpy editor,

& an unfortunate dearth of umbrellas.

It’s 1839, and Lord Eglinton’s tournament in Scotland is the most anticipated event of the year: he and a group 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 learn that a dash of romance can overcome the greatest differences and that true love might find you in the most unlikely place.

If only Robbie wasn’t working for that scandalous new magazine Allan’s Miscellany! If only Flo’s father didn’t detest the periodical press!

And if only they had remembered to bring an umbrella!


“[T]hese books are dang cute. So freaking cute. You just get happy by reading.”

~ Blodeuedd, Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell


The Bride Prize is free on Amazon US | UK | AUS as well as on B&N | Apple | Kobo

Or download the novella from Instafreebie (until 28 September 2017)


St. John’s Wood, London, 13 July 1839

Charging down the lists towards the wooden dummy on wheels, the noble Knight of the Swan suddenly lost both his balance and the control over his horse. One moment he was a shining star of chivalry, his armor glinting in the sun, and the next he was flying over the head of his horse and landed in the mud in an undignified sprawl.

A groan rippled through the crowd of spectators, then laughter as the Knight of the Swan—the Honorable Mr. Jerningham—heaved himself upright, unhurt, with nary a dent in his fine armor.

Robert Beaton, writer and chief—indeed, only—artist of that hopeful new periodical Allan’s Miscellany scribbled into his notebook, his boyishly round face crunched up in concentration. He added a few lines, a hasty sketch…

Drat, we need somebody to do satirical illustrations, he thought, glancing up to see how the next knight riding against the wooden dummy would fare.

Once again, he was struck by the incongruity of the scene: The gardens of the Eyre Arms had been transformed into a jousting ground, with elevated benches on either side to accommodate the spectators, members of the gentry and the aristocracy. There were several thousand people present this afternoon to watch the chivalric proceedings—and this was merely the final rehearsal before the tournament proper!

There was no question: he needed to get Mac up to Ayrshire next month. All the papers and periodicals would be writing about Lord Eglinton’s medieval spectacle. Unthinkable that Allan’s Miscellany should not!

Down at the grounds, the dummy knight was cleared away and preparations were made for the main event of this rehearsal: the tilting between the Lords Eglinton and Waterford.

Lud! It’s Ivanhoe sprung up to life! Or rather, Astley’s in St. John’s Wood. A circus show with buffoons in sparkling armor, who took their chivalric endeavor very, very seriously indeed. They had even given themselves names—the Knight of the Swan, the Knight of the Dragon; there were a few lions as well—as if they were children playing at dressing up.

Robbie snorted.

Oh, Mac would just love this—he would get that glittering look in his eyes as if he wished nothing more than to level somebody. Or at very least demolish them with words. He was very good at that, Mac was. It had been his sarcastic wit which had made Allan’s Miscellany notorious these past months. Good for making people talk about the magazine, but not necessarily something which would secure them a wider audience. Hence it fell to Robbie to tune down his friend’s more caustic outbursts.

A flourish of trumpets sounded, and amidst the cheering of the crowd, the two noble lords…eh, knights charged at each other. Or rather, trotted towards each other and passed each other with a good few yards in between them. If anybody had expected the thunder of galloping hooves from a historical novel, they would be sorely disappointed.

Robbie chuckled. They should have taken some lessons from the performers at Astley’s!


Award-winning author Sandra 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 (some of which she now uses to shamelessly fangirl over Punch, her favorite Victorian magazine).

She holds a PhD in English literature, and in autumn 2015, she appeared on the BBC documentary Great Continental Railway Journeys to talk about another favorite topic of hers, the Grimms’ fairy tales (while walking through a rather muddy stretch of the Black Forest) (there were a lot of slugs, too).

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

Website ♠ Twitter ♣ Facebook ♣ Instagram


The mistress and the wife

“Have you heard the way the master’s wife snaps at Katarina?” Sara asked. “Katarina not only has to listen to her complaints, she has to do all sorts of senseless chores.”

Anna set two mugs on the table in the kitchen of the workers’ house. “I just made some tea. Set yourself a moment.”

Sara crumpled up her soiled apron, threw it in the basket and joined Anna on the bench. “Katarina is not coping well at all. She usually enjoys the run of the house. Who would have thought that Herr Tucher would allow his wife to come out to the farm for such a long stay?”

Anna slid a wooden plate with fresh-baked honey cakes in between the two of them. “The last time Frau Tucher came to visit, she hopped right back into that coach of hers and ordered the driver back to Nuremberg. The fine lady would never live in the country.”

“Tanner said Nuremberg is much too dangerous for her and the children. The city is full of all sorts escaping the war. That’s where she really wants to be.”

“Have you heard the tone the two take when they speak to each other?” Anna asked. “I thought Frau Tucher was sharp with Katarina, but she’s worse with Herr Tucher!”

Sara took a sip of tea. “My husband would never talk to me like that.”

“Tanner’s father says she never wanted to marry Herr Tucher,” Anna said. “He says the only reason she married him was because her father forced her, to secure business ties. She wanted someone with a bit more status, not this dreamer who lives on a farm.”

“Well, Herr Tucher was also a bit of a carouser when he was younger,” Sara said. “When Tanner and I lived in Nuremberg, he was always in the Stork’s Nest tavern. Likes his drink, that one. And, Katarina was the barmaid there. Herr Tucher won her in a dice throw.”

“That’s not what Katarina says,” Anna said. “Katarina acts like they were truly in love. She says they had a proper courtship. I say she forgets who she is. Herr Tucher is a married man!”

“Herr Tucher was always smitten with Katarina,” Sara said. “He hated the way her fiancée treated her.”

“Bjarne said Herr Tucher had the man killed so he could have Katarina.”

Sara laughed and shook her head. “He wished him dead but that’s not how it happened. Don’t listen to Bjarne.”

“Well, Katarina should remember her place here.” Anna poured the rest of the tea. “She’s his maid. She must do what the master’s wife says. Frau Tucher could make her life hell.”

“Katarina knows she’s only his maid but she has been too comfortable,” Sara said. “He gives her too much freedom to speak her mind…”

Sshh! someone’s coming….”

Excerpt from The Soldier’s Return:

“I hate that boy!” Isabeau said, stormed into the kitchen of the workers’ house and shoved the door closed with a fury.

Katarina managed to stop the door with her foot before it hit her in the face. “Isabeau, you almost knocked me over!”

Water spilled out of Katarina’s buckets and onto the front step outside. She kicked the door and it swung open, banging against a chair. Sara and Anna sat at the table, heads together. They stopped their whispering abruptly and looked at Katarina. They had obviously spoken about her.

It had been two weeks since Frau Tucher arrived with the children. Over the years, Isabeau had always been patient with the spoiled Christoph Tucher, who was only a few months younger than she was. When Christoph stayed on the farm without his mother, he was a cordial boy. But Frau Tucher’s influence and the intrusion her indefinite stay posed on Katarina and Isabeau was now apparent. Isabeau was used to being Herr Tucher’s little girl and had all of his attention. She was not coping with her displacement out of Herr Tucher’s daily life any better than Katarina was.

“Would you mind…” Katarina huffed and glared at Isabeau.

“He’s horrible,” Isabeau ranted on. “He spilled wine all over the kitchen floor and when that thin horse woman came in, he blamed it on me!”

“Then stay away from the main house,” Katarina yelled back.

“Herr Tucher called me in,” Isabeau said. “He had a book for me. But his wife took it away and gave it to Christoph. Then they left and Christoph spilled the wine. Not me. Then that thin horse woman came in. I would have gotten the whip if Herr Tucher hadn’t come back down and stopped her.”

“Just stay away from them altogether,” Katarina said and sat down on the bench.

Anna quieted Elsbeth’s fussing baby by putting her finger in the baby’s mouth. “Just keep your head down, do what they say,” she said to Isabeau.

Elsbeth’s girl Hannah sat at the table and sucked her thumb, her face lethargic, gray and sunken. Sara poured Katarina a mug of tea and turned away.

“Yesterday Christoph wanted to play Executioner again,” Isabeau said. “He wants me to kneel down and beg for my soul. He says he’s Meister Franz. He said I’m no better than a dirty wench.”

Sara fingered the white cap on the table, her face almost pitying. She set the cap on her head and pushed a few of the loose strands of hair back under it. Suddenly her face sparked up as she got an idea.

“Katarina, it’s going to be a lovely day.” Sara pushed one of the baskets on the table towards Katarina. “Bjarne needs help with the sheep up at the pasture beyond the North Hill. And he needs his lunch. He could use some company, too. Take his bread to him for me. And a bit of meat, too. Get out and get some air.”

Sara stood, grabbed a huge knife and sliced a hunk of bread from the round loaf. “Isabeau will stay here. She can go with Albin and help him find some tinder.”

“I want to go out with my horse!” Isabeau said, her face red and shiny.

“You have work to do, young lady,” Sara said.

Isabeau tried to stomp away but Sara caught her by the elbow and spun her around. Dragging Isabeau behind her, she opened the door and whistled. Albin appeared within a moment. She grabbed the other basket from the table, handed it to Albin, whispered to the two and they ran off.

“That settles that!” Sara smiled, satisfied with herself.

Sara set a thin slab of dried meat on the table and Katarina packed that and the bread into the basket. She filled a jug with beer and Katarina packed that as well. Anna, still holding the baby, grabbed Hannah by the hand and disappeared behind the wood stove into Sara’s room. Katarina lifted the basket and headed for the door. She looked back at Sara, who absently brushed some bread crumbs from the table into her hand. Sara’s smile was gone and the pitying expression was on her face again. Katarina felt an instant pang of anger.

“What’s that look supposed to mean?” Katarina moved back to the table.

“Oh, I’m just so sorry. I know you’re upset.”

“I can’t believe he’s doing this to me.”

“But she’s his wife,” Sara said. “You’ve always known this could happen.”

“But why now?” Katarina said. “After all these years.”

“Don’t act so surprised. You…”

“But that’s my house!”

“It is not,” Sara said. “You’re just his…”

“Say it.” Katarina slammed the basket on the table. “Just say it. I’m his mistress. I’m his whore. What else do you think I am?”

“You’re his maid, Katarina!”

Katarina closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

“Do you love him?” Sara said.

“Hmpff,” Katarina said.

“Do you?” Sara said.

“Do you love Tanner?”

“Of course, I do. He’s the father of my children. He’s my husband!”

Katarina grabbed the basket. She walked back to the open doorway and hesitated. She turned back to Sara, wishing Sara would make this all right again, the way she settled fights between children. Sara just whispered an apology and turned away.

Katarina made towards the North Hill, taking the time she normally didn’t have to appreciate the spring day. She had no reason to rush. No one was waiting for her. The day was cool and the birds were twittering and flying about. Pale blue sky struggled to show itself from behind stubborn clouds. Katarina strolled along the path up the North Hill observing the changes spring had made. Tiny green shoots peeked through the compressed earth. She picked a twig from a willow tree and rubbed the furry catkin on her cheek. A slight breeze fluttered through the dried leaves that had refused to fall from the trees.

Her heart pounded empty, heavy beats. Of course Katarina loved him! She loved him more than she could allow herself to feel. Her love for him encompassed her and overwhelmed her and the thought of being away from him even for the afternoon made her sick. Now she wanted to wretch. She felt like her best friend had died. Maybe, in a way, he had.

The Soldier’s Return Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/XZ_lVzMYqXE

The Soldier’s Return is book 2 in the Heaven’s Pond trilogy.

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