Home of the Bluestocking Belles

Because history is fun and love is worth working for

Author: Rue Allyn Page 1 of 3

St. Valentine, Love, Work, and Sacrifice

Dear Mr. Clemens,

I have been researching love and St. Valentine’s day for a work in progress and came across this somewhat erudite opinion piece. I thought your readers might find intriguing, this writer’s opinions about St. Valentine and the traditions we associate with him. I do hope the Tattler’s audience will let you know what they think. The opinion article begins below.

Thank you very much for the service you provide to our community. Lady C.

Two things struck me as I did research for this piece intended to be about St. Valentine’s day, but which turned out to be about much more. One amazing item is that Valentine was sentenced to die by beating, stoning, and finally decapitation, because he performed marriage ceremonies in defiance of an edict against marriages by Roman Emperor Claudius the second.This according to Father O’Grady’s article about the Real St. Valentine http://www1.cbn.com/st-valentine-real-story.

The other compelling item is that the lives of Christian saints were first recorded by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, 1275—later ‘Englished’ by William Caxton in 1483—in a book called the Golden Legend or Legenda Aurea. It is not so much this book that is remarkable in relation to Valentine’s Day, but the reason the book was produced. The prologue exclaims in a variety of ways that the Archbishop produced the book to avoid the perils of idleness. “THE holy and blessed Doctor S. Jerome saith this authority: Do alway some good work, to the end that the devil find thee not idle. And the holy Doctor S. Austin saith in the book of the labour of monks that, no man strong or mighty to labour ought to be idle.” http://www.catholic-saints.net/saints/the-golden-legend/prologue.php.

How many of us actually associate labor, or work, with today’s version of St. Valentine’s day? Do gardening, chores, office work, teaching, investigation or any other form of work leap immediately to mind when Valentine’s Day is mentioned? Or do you perhaps imagine lolling on a romantic beach, relaxed dining in a five-star restaurant where customers do nothing more than lift a finger to get their smallest desire fulfilled immediately, or perhaps simply spending hours on end making love—where your greatest task is to bring your partner pleasure? These are traditional image of Valentine’s Day, images not normally associated with work.

For what reason(s) did that medieval archbishop take such great effort to emphasize that idleness is perilously close to sin? In part, I suspect, Jacobus de Voragine prefaced his ‘work’ on saints’ lives with this warning, because he saw work as an expression of Love—Love in the sense of God’s love for man and when we are at our best, our own love for our fellow man. So, it may have been St. Valentine’s sacrifice that eventually became the reason for associating him with the kind of idleness we see today as passion and devotion, even carnal loving.

Valentine died not because of his own love for a woman, but as Father O’Gara says [and I paraphrase] there comes a time when he [Valentine] had to lay down his life upon the line for what he believed. “And with the power of the Holy Spirit we can do that—even to the point of death.” Indeed, every faith that I know of contains some version of ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that he should lay down his life for another. [Paraphrased from John 15:13, King James version.]

What then does all of this talk of sacrifice and keeping busy mean for those of us who love romance, and often idle away hours with reading romance novels?

First of all, I do not believe that reading romance is idle in any way. I prefer to think of my recreational reading is purposeful. It helps me to learn new things. It keeps my mind active and my imagination and my faith healthy. This is so because romance novels are most often stories of sacrifice. Whether the sacrifice is a life, a hope, a dream, a love or some other thing highly valued by readers, authors and characters does not at all diminish the fact of a sacrifice being made for love.

Valentine sacrificed his life so that lovers could marry in the church of their choosing. Romeo and Juliet gave their lives for each other. Readers of romance sacrifice hours of their time to gain the benefits of reading our favorite kinds of stories. Almost everything of value comes at some cost, and I’m not writing about the exchange of money and goods. The prices paid in life and in romance novels are much greater than a few coins or a little cash. This is why romance is celebrated on St. Valentine’s Day, because of all that has been given to make love between two people possible. To recognize not simply the pleasures of physical love, but the worth of the emotional give and take that each person in a relationship shares.

This is what I believe. I’d be interested in your thoughts about Valentine’s Day and how it came to be what it is today, so please leave a comment below.

About Rue Allyn: Hi, I’m Rue Allyn, I write heart melting romance novels. Books about characters and adventures in which love triumphs at the darkest moment. The kind of hopeful, steal-your-breath romance that melts a reader’s heart. The type of book I like to read. Hope you will too.

Naming Characters ~ A Little Help, Please

Dear Mr. Clemens,

I am in desperate need of assistance and hope that your generous readers will come to my aid. I must begin a new story and have no clue what to name my characters.

Who are these people and what are their names?

Many authors speak of their books and the characters therein as their ‘children’ or ‘offspring.’ This is true for me but only in the sense of having an emotional attachment to and an investment in the development of those characters. When I named my children, their father helped. No one ever helps me name my fictional characters. I knew before my kids were born what I wanted to give them and a specific name that represented that. Not true early on in a book. I haven’t spent nine months gestating with these characters so I rarely have any idea what to call them.

For some authors, characters come to mind full-blown, complete with names, cultural and family backgrounds, back-stories, and all sorts of other information. I, however, usually start writing a book with no clear idea of who the characters are other than the role that character plays. Take the following paragraphs from a work in progress as an example.

HERO paused in the doorway of his gentleman’s club and surveyed the room. Good he nodded to himself. Not a friend or family member in sight. He ambled toward a row of tall wing-back chairs near the fireplace. It was beastly cold outside, and the chance for a few quiet moments to warm himself and consider his circumstances was irresistible. He sat, propped his cane against the chair-side table, and held his hands out to warm in the heat of the fire.

“Hullo coz,” WHATZIZNAME’S voice floated from behind the chair. “Mind if I join you?”

HERO repressed a growl. Of course, I mind, but I doubt saying so would stop you. The last thing he needed now was one of his many cousins pouring out their latest family troubles and seeking their wealthy relative’s advice. Advice which without fail proved to be expensive, for him. However, this time he would turn the tables. This time he would seek advice—not that he would follow it—before WHATZIZNAME could even hint at a personal problem let alone that cash would solve it for him.

“By all means, cousin,” HERO gestured to the chair flanking his. “I could use your help.”

WHATZIZNAME paused in the act of sitting, his bum poised a good twelve inches off the chair. His face paled, and his eyes went wide. “Y . . . you wish my advice?”

HERO waved a hand in the air. “Well, I thought, since you are a man of the world, you might have experience with the kind of trouble I’m in.”

WHATZISNAME finished sitting. He looked about as comfortable as a fat monkey that had stumbled upon a tiger’s lair. “Ahem. And what sort of trouble might that be? I can’t imagine that a man of your reputation and, ah, sangfroid would have any difficulty not easily resolved.”

HERO allowed himself to heave a sigh. “My problem is of a delicate nature.”

“Ah, woman trouble,” WHATZIZNAME sat back and made himself comfortable.

WHATZIZNAME’S frequent difficulties with women made him a horrible source of good advice. HERO knew he could successfully follow the opposite of his relative’s counsel to resolve the issue with his current mistress.

“Precisely.”

“What is the exact nature of the problem?”

“As you know, LADY X, and I have enjoyed a pleasant dalliance for several years.”

“True, every man I know envies your success with the widow.”

“Well, she’s decided she no longer wishes to be a widow.”

“Ah, and she wants you as her next husband?”

“She said as much to me.”

“So buy her off.”

“She’s wealthy enough not to be interested in money. That’s is reassuring to my vanity, for I know her interest is in me and my title rather than my fortune. However, even if I could purchase my way free of her, it wouldn’t work.”

“Whyever not?”

“Because . . . .”

As you can see, dear readers, I really must name these two gentlemen and the lady involved. Progress in drafting this novel will be next to impossible if I cannot find suitable names. To help you help me, here’s a little background on the story. It takes place in 1815. While the story opens in a London gentleman’s club, the bulk of the story takes place at the country home of a recently deceased relative. Lady X will play a very small part, but she is a motivating force in HERO’s decision to obey the summons to the reading of the will. Anything you can provide in the way of suggestion will be most sincerely appreciated. However, my most desperate need is names for these three characters. Please comment below with any suggestions and accept my grateful thanks.

Rue Allyn is a Bluestocking Belle and the award winning author of both contemporary and historical romance. You may find her on line at the following links:

Rue’s Website: https://RueAllyn.com

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/rue-allyn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RueAllynFriends

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00AUBF3NI/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5031290.Rue_Allyn?from_search=true

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.es/search/pins/?q=rue%20allyn&rs=typed&term_meta[]=rue%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=allyn%7Ctyped

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RueAllyn

Google +: https://plus.google.com/+RueAllyn

Viking Star Ring Hoax or Not?

To Mr. Clemens, Editor of The Teatime Tattler, London and its faithful readers everywhere.

Dear Sir and Fellow Readers,

I feel compelled to respond to the “scientifically minded” lady’s letter published here on December 5th.  The lady presents what, I am certain, she feels is a reasoned argument. However, this lady’s own letter reveals her to be not as ‘scientifically minded’ as she believes. Her claims that the Viking Star Ring is a hoax, perpetrated by the fictive tales of The Bluestocking Belles, has no basis in science. The lady presents no empirical evidence to support her claim.

This is the only known image of the ring in dispute

A subsequent Tattler article about the sale at Bowkers of a ring that failed to produce the desired result is also insufficient evidence that The Viking Star ring is or is not a hoax. The provenance of the Bowkers’ ring was not detailed sufficiently to prove whether or not the ring that was sold was the actual The Viking Star Ring.

My point, sir, is that without empirical evidence of any kind, the veracity of The Viking Star Ring legends cannot be termed true or false; certainty or hoax. I call for the owners of The Viking Star Ring (past, present, and future) to come forward and provide the evidence necessary to prove or disprove the tales surrounding the ring.

It is a shame that such evidence cannot be presented before this day ends, as it would demonstrate to many the worth of purchasing The Bluestocking Belles, Follow Your Star Home collection. The discounted price of the boxset ends today. I would urge The Tattler’s reader sand their friends to get this book. The empirical evidence notwithstanding, the novellas contained in Follow Your Star Home are as much about faith as they are about a magical ring.

To the ‘scientifically minded lady’ I wish to remind her that even science cannot prove everything. I am certain this lady believes in the divinity, yet no scientist that I know of has proven God’s existence. How much poorer our lives would be, if we could only believe what our five senses could perceive.

Thank you, Mr. Clemens, for this opportunity to clear the air over the differences between what science and faith require. I hope your readers will comment with their opinions on the matter.

Sincerely,

A lady who agrees with Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your [or anyone’s] philosophy.”

Follow Your Star Home:
A Bluestocking Belles Collection
On sale through December 15th for $0.99!

Be sure to grab Follow Your Star Home while it’s still on sale.

Divided sweethearts seek love and forgiveness in this collection of seasonal novellas.

Forged for lovers, the Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard.

In eight stories covering more than a thousand years, our heroes and heroines put this legend to the test. Watch the star work its magic as prodigals return home in the season of goodwill, uncertain of their welcome.

25% of the proceeds benefit our mutual charity the Malala Fund.

Amazon US  |  iBooks |  Kobo |  Nook | Smashwords

Amazon AU | Amazon BR  | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon ES | Amazon FRAmazon IN | Amazon IT | Amazon JP | Amazon MX | Amazon NL | Amazon UK

Belles’ Blog Hop on now!

Come join our blog hop to see the interlinking stories between all eight of the stories in our new Follow Your Star Home!

It’s here: https://lizzitremayne.com/holiday/

The Tattler Interviews Lady Aisla MacKai from A Wish For All Seasons by Rue Allyn in the Bluestocking Belles’ holiday collections, Follow Your Star Home

Greetings friends and readers. Lady Aisla MacKai is among the most fascinating men and women of fiction that The Tattler has been privileged to meet in recent memory. The basic facts concerning the lady are these: She claims to be more than twenty years old, but refuses to be more specific. I got quite the tongue lashing from her when I pressed her on the matter. She was born, and lived her entire life at Dungarob Keep, the ancestral home of the MacKai clan and the Barons who led them. She is black-haired, fair-skinned, gray-eyed, and (as Caibre MacFearann her fiancé told me), as fair a lass as ever graced the highlands. I must agree that his charming and challenging young woman is a most pleasant sight to behold. With that introduction, let us commence Lady Aisla MacKai’s interview.

TT: “I understand you recently became engaged.”

AM: “Aye.”

TT: “Could you tell us about your fiancé and how your engagement came about?”

: “Well Caibre MacFearann is the most exasperatin’ mon a female could ever meet. He’s handsome as the devil and knows it. I dinna wish t’ become engaged at all, especially to Caibre given our mutual past. But you might say my hand was forced.”

TT: “You mean he compromised you?” (I asked this with some trepidation. The Tattler has a reputation for discretion, but also for truth. I want our readers to know exactly what circumstances forced Lady Aisla’s hand to marriage.)

AM: “Nothing of the kind, sir. What sort of woman do you think I am?”

TT: “My humble apologies, Lady Aisla, I believe you to be a most honorable woman, but you must admit that a statement such as ‘my hand was forced,’ leads most minds to the inevitable conclusion that you were compromised. To clear the air for our friends and readers, please explain what you meant.”

AM: “Well, y’ see. Several years ago, my brother, Baron Steafan MacKai embarked on a journey to the east indies in order to gain funds badly needed to repair Dungarob Keep and the barony’s holdings. He’d recently wed and sent his wife back to Dungarob in his stead. However, one thing led to another and she decided to return to her family in Boston. That left me in charge of keep and clan. I did my best to hold things together, even after my brother went missing at sea. His wife, a woman unknowledgeable of British law, petitioned Queen Victoria to have Steafan declared legally dead. That Bostonian wished to marry another mon. With my brother dead and no legal heirs, the barony would revert to the crown.”

TT: “But doesn’t Scottish law recognize women as legitimate heirs?”

AM:” That’s the short way of putting it. But Scotland’s law does’na pertain. Centuries ago one of our ancestors pledged fealty to the English crown in order to protect the keep and the clan. Since then, Dungarob has been subject directly to English law.”

TT: “You have my sympathy. That must be a difficult circumstance for a true Scot to handle.”

AM: “It is, sir, It is indeed.”

TT: “What did you do?”

AM: “What could I do? I wrote to Queen Victoria, and begged her as a woman who understood love of country and the great loss of a beloved man. Albeit she lost a husband, and I only a brother. Nonetheless the loss of any loved one is great.”

TT: (By now I’m sitting on the edge of my chair wondering how all of this forced Lady Aisla to affiance herself to Caibre MacFearann—a second son by the way of an infamous family. But the MacFearann legend is a story for another day.) “Did Her Majesty reply to your letter?”

AM: “That she did, in her own hand. She had all sympathy for my loss, but would not overturn the law for any reason. She would allow Dungarob Keep to stay within the MacKai family however, if within six months I wed a mon willing to take the MacKai name and title. Evidently there is legal precedent for that.”

TT: “I understand now. A title must have been a great inducement to a second son, especially when accompanied by your lovely self.” (Lady Aisla sits opposite me blushing whether from my poor attempt at a compliment or anger over the implication that a title is needed before a man would wed her, I cannot tell.).

AM: “I would be furious at your implication—intended or not—did a title hold any interest for Caibre.”

TT: “You mean he doesn’t care about the title?”

AM: “He says he does’na. As proof he reminded me that he left Scotland years ago to escape the burdens of nobility and his family reputation. He’s been ranching in Wyoming. Making a fortune he claims. He only returned to Scotland when his father passed away.”

TT: “So you discovered he’d returned and wrote to him for help?”

AM: “. I was at my wit’s end when an early November blizzard brought him to my door along with my missing brother.”

TT: “ I don’t understand. If your brother isn’t truly dead why must you wed MacFearann?”

AM: “Because the legal wheels of Britain turn very slowly. It might take years for my brother’s petition to be legally resurrected and reinstated as Baron MacKai could be granted. We had only six months to satisfy the queen’s requirements. It was marry Caibre MacFearann, who happened to be handy and willing, or lose everything.”

TT: “It does indeed seem that you and your brother were in desperate case. Mr. MacFearann is willing to give up the title once your brother’s petition is approved?”

AM: “Aye.”

TT: “And after that will you return with him to Wyoming?” (Lady Aisla looks everywhere about the room, even to the extent of studying her nails to avoid my gaze.)

AM: “He has’na asked me.”

TT: “Surely as his wife . . .?”

AM: “Caibre MacFearann is a difficult mon and beyond understanding.”

TT: (She rises and with hands fisted stares defiance at me.)

AM: “I’ve said entirely too much. In fact, I should never have agreed to this interview. Good day, sir.”

TT: She grabs her reticule and departs before I can soothe any ruffled feathers. I’ll be honest, I’m not quite certain what I did to set her off so. If any of you readers would like to help me understand, please address a comment to Mr. S. Clemens, care of The TeaTime Tattler.

*A note for our readers. Shortly after The Bluestocking Belles announced the future release of Follow Your Star Home, a storm of protest erupted from those who protested that the book was too scandalous to read. Supporters of the Belles, responded in strength and numbers. The Tattler, in fairness, published all communications received on the subject. The book has now been released to great reviews. So you could very well judge for yourself. Below is some information about Follow Your Star Home, A Wish for All Seasons (Mrs. Allyn’s contribution to the collection) about Mrs. Allyn herself, and The Bluestocking Belles. As always our readers’ comments are welcome and appreciated.

About Follow Your Star Home: Forged for lovers, the Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard. In eight stories, covering more than half the world and a thousand years, our heroes and heroines put the legend to the test. Watch the star work its magic, as prodigals return home in the season of good will, uncertain of their welcome. 25% of proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.

Buy Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H4ZY517

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2y0SJbd

iBooks: https://apple.co/2ObkLLj

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/ebook/follow-your-star-home

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/894110

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon BR: https://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon ES: https://www.amazon.es/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon FR: https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon IN: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon IT: https://www.amazon.it/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon JP: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon MX: https://www.amazon.com.mx/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon NL: https://www.amazon.nl/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07H4ZY517

About A Wish for All Seasons: The last thing Caibre MacFearann wants is to return to Scotland let alone be forced to stay there. But the chance to rekindle the lost love of his youth is too tempting to resist. Losing Caibre MacFearann’s love once hurt so much that Aisla MacKai wants nothing to do with him when a blizzard brings the man to her doorstep. Kindness and human charity require that she give him shelter, no matter that her poor heart had never mended.

About Mrs. Rue Allyn: Rue Allyn is the award-winning author of heart melting historical and contemporary romances. A USN veteran with a Ph.D. in medieval literature, Rue has retired south of the US border where she basks in the glow of sunny days and heated inspiration. She continues to enjoy professional relationships in the Romance Writers of America, The Maumee Valley Romance Authors Inc. and the (in)famous Bluestocking Belles.

About The Bluestocking Belles:

The Belles are ten very different writers united by a love of history and a history of writing about love. From sweet to steamy, from light-hearted fun to dark tortured tales full of angst, from London ballrooms to country cottages to the sultan’s seraglio, one or more of us will have a tale to suit your tastes and mood.

We love doing joint projects. This year’s boxed set is Follow Your Star Home, Eight original stories, more than 600 pages of diverse characters, complex relationships, and happily ever afters. Divided sweethearts seek love and forgiveness in this collection of seasonal novellas. Forged for lovers, the Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard. If you’d like to learn more about us try searching these links.

  • Website: http://www.bluestockingbelles.net
  • Teatime Tattler: http://bluestockingbelles.net/category/teatime-tattler/
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bellesinblue/
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/BellesInBlue
  • Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/bellesinblue/

Much Ado about a Great Book

Dear Mr. Clemens,

There has been much ado about Follow Your Star Home, the latest offering from the Bluestocking Belles. I want to say one more word in praise of this collection of holiday stories. Readers can do themselves no greater favor to themselves, can give little better gift to friends, family, and even strangers than to read these stories. This collection of tales honors trust, loyalty, faith in a higher power, and the miracle of love between family as well as lovers. What could possibly be wrong with such stories. I admit to some bias. As one of the authors and a privileged reader of the first drafts, I’ve witnessed the evolution of each tale from rough to polished draft. The attention paid to detail by the Belles is meticulous and rewarding in both historical information, human behavior, and matters of the heart. I am honored to be in the company of these very talented women. To prove my point, I include a line from each story. These small samples, will show the stories written by the Belles to be irresistible. Mark my words, sir, the Bluestocking Belles are a literary force to be reckoned with and their stories are experiences not to be missed. 

Sincerely,

Rue Allyn

“Come on, now, you lazy piece of vermin,” she said crossly. “Wake up, and help me help you.” A Yule Love Story by Nicole Zoltack

“What witchery is this that you come afore me in my dreams?” he all but growled out. “This is my dream, you crazy ghost!” One Last Kiss by Sherry Ewing

“I take it that my father is willing to accept Lady James and our children with the same enthusiasm?” Paradise Regained by Jude Knight

Glancing around, he stepped closer, lifted the locks off her neck and kissed the soft white skin beneath. Somewhere Like Home by Lizzi Tremayne

“Heed me, lad. You must follow this plan to the letter. No skipping steps. No combining steps. And no funny business.” The Umbrella Chronicles: James and Annie’s Story by Amy Quinton

“You’re a toad, Caibre, and I wouldn’t marry you if you were the last toad on earth.” A Wish for All Seasons by Rue Allyn

“How can I produce a marriage certificate if you won’t give me leave to get married? The Last Post by Caroline Warfield

“Well that’s fine thanks!” she called. “I get you a job and you get yourself run over!” A Fine Chance by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Follow Your Star Home will be released on November 4, 2018 and is available for pre-order now.

Buy Links

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Belles-Christmas-Title-Still-Under-ebook/dp/B07H4ZY517/

Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/894110

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/ebook/belles-christmas-2018-box-set-title-still-under-wraps/

Blurb: Forged for lovers, the Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard.

In eight stories, cvering more than half the world and a thousand years, our heroes and heroines put the legend to the test. Watch the star work its magic, as prodigals return home in the season of good will, uncertain of their welcome.

25% of proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.

More information about The Bluestocking Belles is available here:

 

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