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Storm Chasers are Coming!

Have I got a story for you, my dear readers. Over here at the Teatime Tattler the ladies are a buzz. We’re excited to tell you about an event you will not want to miss. Storm Chasers are coming to Wentworth Hall, I tell you. What are Storm Chasers you ask? All I can say at this time is they’re very much what you might already be thinking. However, I’ve been warned by none other than the Prince Regent himself not to reveal a word to anyone. I’m taking his warning serious. However, what I can tell you is that everything you may be curious to know about can be found inside the pages of Storm Chasers of Wentworth Hall.

Yes. Your vision is not impaired. That is a hot air balloon. It’s no secret that this correspondent was more than a little concerned when this particular on dit was first revealed. After a fair amount of research, believe it or not, there are actually two types of balloons in competition with each other so to speak. Hydrogen gas and hot air balloons. Research on the feasibility of hydrogen gas balloons dates as far back as 1662. Hot air balloons date all the way back to 220-280 A.D. in China, no less.

Needless to say, the hot air balloon is this correspondent’s preferred choice. The first unmanned ascension was attempted by Joseph-Michel and Jaques-Etienne Montgolfier. The French! Who can believe it? And not too long ago either. September 1783 to be exact. The balloon was called Aerostat Reveillon. It took flight in Versailles and was manned by three non-human living creatures. Yes, you heard right. A sheep called Montauciel meaning “climb-to-the-sky,” a duck, and a rooster. Their journey lasted eight entire minutes with a safe landing. I say, they should have included a pig in the ranks. Or maybe a frog?

As diverting as this may be, these accomplishments are of the utmost importance. The first tethered flight also happened in 1783, one month later, in October. Those pesky Frenchmen powered on until the first untethered, manned flight happened also in France. That is Paris, France on November 21, 1783. This balloon was piloted by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent le Vieux d’Arlandes. How, you might ask, is all this possible? A smoky fire under the neck of the balloon in an iron basket. That’s how.

France refused to stop there because only a few weeks later, the first manned hydrogen balloon flight occurred on December 1, 1783. This flight was piloted by Jacques Charles and Nicolas-Louis Robert. They carried a barometer and thermometer making this the first balloon flight to provide meteorological measurements. Storm chasers indeed!

Take a look at the photos this correspondent went to great lengths to acquire:

Hot Air Balloon                                              

Hydrogen balloon

Explaining the science behind hot air and hydrogen will have to be left to the experts. It’s no wonder Prinny insists on complete discretion. Readers be warned. The Crown has plans in the works.

And what about England? The first balloon flight in England actually happened in 1784 not too long after France. This correspondent has reservations on that account in any event. One cannot believe everything one hears regarding the French.

Until next time…unless, of course, too much has been revealed in which case this correspondent will be answering to the powers that be.

STORM

Storm Chasers of Wentworth Hall releases on April 18, 2019. It’s currently on pre-order at: Amazon but soon to be available across all digital outlets.

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High and Mighty Teatime

Tea

A flurry of activity whirred through the parlor of Lady Benedicta Rangecroft, where a gathering of ladies was setting up to hear the news of London from Lady Selina Peckham. The tea service, complete with both China and Indian, a selection of finger sandwiches, and delicate pastries were set with the finest care. The visiting guests, five in total, made up the most influential women in Morgan Hill, South Carolina.

They busied themselves with social responsibilities prior to the taking up the responsibilities of motherhood, which would unavoidably usurp their valuable time. This meeting was an invaluable opportunity to discuss important matters of the day. And by extension, to stay abreast of the news from foreign lands. And today, as luck would have it, Lady Selina Peckham, is gathering to delight the group with news of London.

Lady Selina Peckham, while standing by the fireplace holding the mantle with one hand, was in thoughtful preparation to perform an imitation of Henry Irving’s performance of Mathias in “The Bells”.

“Ladies, it was precisely at this time,” Lady Selina began, with a flourish of her arm and placing her wrist upon her forehead, regaling the group with her performance.  “I was dumbfounded, upon the realization that Mathias, the primary lead character, would be haunted for the rest of his life because of a moments madness.”

At this point, Lady Christmas Harper, set down her tea cup and saucer with such command that all could hear the clang of the china. “But didn’t you say that Mathias had virtually killed a seed merchant in order to gather money to pay off his own mortgage?”

Lady Selina’s shoulders slumped knowing that the critical  moment was destroyed with the foolish question. “My dear, it’s not a simple matter of murder, he was a desperate man, the seed merchant was overly fortunate, . . .”

“Heathen, he was a heathen to take another man’s life for such a selfish reason.” Lady Christmas stood to make her views known beyond doubt.

During the kerfuffle, Lady Gertrude Stark, reached out for her third sandwich. She carefully slid the sandwich behind her tea cup, in order, that it would escape Lady Benedicta’s attention. 

Tea

Clearing her throat, Lady Benedicta gently set her tea on the table and ushered her opinion to the fore. “Please, let us remember that we are here to fortify our minds with clever new ideas and thoughts to ponder. We are fortunate that Lady Selina so willingly exposed herself to the dangers of the theatre in order to regale us with the story of Mr. Henry Irving’s performance. Let us be understanding. Continue please,” Lady Benedicta said with authority, and again sat poised with her tea cup and saucer in her lap.

Lady Selina smiled patiently at her challenger until finally Lady Christmas capitulated and dutifully took her seat among group.

“Simply said, Henry Irving’s performance in “The Belles”, was tragic magnifique. I am not over praising his skill when I say his command of the stage is nothing less than astonishing. No other actor will ever be able to match his resonate vocalization, masculine gait across the stage, and his tender fall from grace,” she said tipping her head just enough to show due reverence to the performer.

During the moment of stillness that followed Lady Selina’s pronouncement, Lady Gertrude captured another three cookies from the closest tray, having already finished the earlier sandwiches. She briskly eyed the room, so as to make sure that her theft went unnoticed by all.

It was at this time Lady Philippa leaned forward, glassy eyed and swooning. “It sounds like the most romantic evening that could ever be endured. How can you stand that the performance ended?”

Lady Christmas, upon hearing turned her head from the conversation and bit her lip.

Upon hearing just this one note of appreciation, Lady Selina drew herself to the cushion closest to Lady Philippa and prepared herself for yet another confession. “That is not totality of the surprises we endured that evening.”

Lady Selina stood again, and walked about the room while she gathered the perfect words to compliment the most important revelation of the evening.

The gathering of women, beyond Lady Christmas, waited with bated breath.

“After we arrived at the Lyceum Theatre, and after we enjoyed the opulence of the crystal chandeliers, the velvet wall dressing, and the handsomely carved wooden banisters. After we were met with dignitary’s, business men, and their elegant wives. After we…”

“Get on with it, can you?” Lady Christmas nearly shouted.

Abruptly, Lady Selina turned her back toward Lady Christmas and continued her talk focusing entirely on the other three in the room. She noticed for a brief moment, that Lady Gertrude had a biscuit crumbs on her mouth. Lady Selina, not wanting to be distracted, offered a most discreet wiping of her own mouth, to entreat Lady Gertrude to wipe the crumbs away. Then she continued, maintaining her dignity to the end.

Tea

“After we were seated in our most comfortable box seats, and just before the performance began, can you imagine what happened next?”

“Do, please tell us, before we are lost in your circular theatrical tale,” Lady Christmas blurted.

This outburst was followed by Lady Benedicta clearing her throat for the third time in this conversation.

“Oh, yes, please do put us out of our suspense,” Lady Philippa said, clapping her hands and bobbing her knees up and down.

“Imagine if you will, the red velvet curtain opens, the gas lights on the stage using some magical method of sorcery. . . “

“Sorcery! Holy Mother of God, what demon story is being inflicted on me now!” Lady Christmas exclaimed her protest at the top of her lungs.

The next few moments were a flurry of activity.

Instantly, Lady Philippa audibly gasped, pulled out her ornamental fan, leaned back in her chair, and waived the fan briskly in front of cheeks. Which by this time, at the mere mention of sorcery had gone flush with excitement.

Lady Gertrude took the break in the conversation to refill her tea cup and fill her saucer with the final pastry on the serving tray. 

Lady Benedicta stood, placed her hands on her hips, and with an admonishing glare, stared fiercely at Lady Christmas. 

“You will take care not to insult a guest in my home or you will be forced to leave and not return again. It doesn’t matter that you are my sister-in-law. Am I made perfectly clear?”

It was at this point that Lady Christmas, whose eye’s had filled with scorn, looked to the heaven’s for strength. She muttered a soft prayer to herself and finally took her seat once again, and braced for the worst. Which was inevitably to follow.

Then, without hesitation, Lady Benedicta nodded for Lady Selina to continue.

Lady Selina had determined her best opportunity to complete her story was to focus her attention toward Lady Philippa and remain this way through the duration of her story.

“As I was saying, the gas lamps on the stage were extremely bright and this was the first time I had seen anything like this. But the lights in the theatre were dimmed to the point that the entire audience was sitting in the complete dark.”

“Oh no!” exclaimed Lady Christmas.

“Oh yes!” exclaimed Lady Benedicta.

“Oh my!” exclaimed Lady Philippa.

“I will,” Lady Gertrude said, and pinched an untouched sandwich from another woman’s plate.

Lady Philippa moaned in astonishment. She was dumbfounded beyond measure. Her fan flipped with such energetic gyration that it nearly split up the middle.  “Well, I have never sat in the dark during the performance of any kind, let alone in a box seat with my husband. The entirety of the audience could see you. In the dark, it’s near madness.”

Lady Selina shook her head, “No my dear, all the audience was in the dark. Never in my life, and I have been witness to dozen’s of plays, have I ever sat entirely in the dark with my husband in a public venue. I don’t mind saying, it was thrilling to say the least.”

A wily smiled passed across Lady Benedicta’s sober face for the first time today.

There was a stillness that fell across the room, each woman in her own seat pondering the dark.

“I’ll tell you ladies, it was a celebratory event,” Lady Selina said taking her first sip of tea. 

About the Book

Valentine's Day

Eleven lovelorn singletons. Eleven tales of Cupid, catastrophe, and maybe more…

These characters have had it with love—or, if not with that, with Valentine’s Day. But no matter how they fight it, Cupid refuses to relent. From struggling singles to secret crushes to enemies turned much, much more, these lightning strikes of love will add a spark of hope to your holiday. 

Worst Valentine’s Day Ever flips the script on lonely hearts who seem destined for Valentine’s disaster. If you like laugh-out-loud rom-coms, terrible dates gone right, and gorgeous happily-ever-afters, then you’ll love this adorable collection. It ain’t all hearts and roses; but these tales of triumph will find your faith in Valentine’s Day—and your faith in love—restored. 

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Worst-Valentines-Day-Ever-Anthology-ebook/dp/B07N16BVZD/

About the Author

Daphne Masque – Writes about Romance in the theatre for any time period.

Daphne started keeping a journal during her formative years, junior high. Journaling and bad poetry started her love of working with words. She didn’t know it would last a lifetime. She went on to study Theatre Arts in college and since that time she’s been working in the theatre for over four decades. Her love of dialogue, storytelling, and bringing characters to life has been her passion ever since she first stood on the stage. Writing romance has brought a new dimension to her craft. She adores putting the two elements of romance and theatre in the same world. She hopes you enjoy her stories as much as she enjoying writing them.

Join her email list at:  http://www.daphnemasque.com/contest/

Desires of the heart…

Garrick of Clan MacLaren burst through the turret door whilst rushing after the distraught woman as she ran towards the battlement wall. Lady Coira Easton almost collided with a kitchen serf who quickly moved out of her way. His eyes briefly met Fira’s as they passed one another on the narrow stairs but he had no time to worry over the troublesome look she gave him. He had bigger problems on his mind than to wonder what she was doing so far from Berwyck’s kitchens.

He hurried to Coira’s side. “Dinnae worry yerself, lass. We shall think of something,” he whispered suddenly finding his arms full when his lady reached out to him for support. He could do nothing less but clutch her trembling body to his own. “Please, Coira… I canna stand yer tears.”

“’Tis hopeless, Garrick,” she sobbed. “If my cousin will not give his consent for us to wed, he will marry me to another. How will I bear it?”

How indeed, he thought remembering his meeting with Dristan of Berwyck. His laird had warned Garrick that his life would be all but over if he so much as touched the hem of Coira’s gown. And now here he was with his arms wrapped around his lady offering her what comfort he could.

“Hush now, my sweet. Dry yer eyes. I willna have this upsetting ye.” Coira lifted her head and he witnessed for himself her tear filled eyes. He swore his heart broke all over again and he could not imagine a life without this woman at his side. He pushed back a lock of her hair when it fell across her face and laid a kiss upon her forehead.

“I cannot marry another, Garrick,” she said, echoing his own thoughts, “not when my hearts desire is to belong only to you.”

“’Twill not come to that, I promise ye.”

“You cannot make such a vow, my love, and I will not hold you to it. You know my cousin better than most. When his mind is made up, he will not change his decision for me to marry no less than a knight.”

“I will make him see reason, Coira, and prove my worth upon the lists,” Garrick proclaimed. “Trust me…”

She gave a heavy sigh. “You know I do with my very life, Garrick. Now kiss me as a token of your affection for I must needs return to Amiria’s solar afore I am missed,” she insisted as she closed her eyes and leaned back her head.

He wasted no time claiming the lady who more than proved her own desires when he deepened their kiss. He was unsure how long they stood there wrapped up in their own little world but the sound of Coira’s name being called from the turret stairs broke the spell woven around them. Not wishing to be caught opening disobeying his liege lord, he reluctantly pulled Coira from his arms.

“I must go,” she declared even though her eyes told him she would rather stay. “I will see you at the evening meal.”

He could only nod in response, not trusting himself to have further speech with the lady. Instead he watched her leave to disappear down the stairway. Garrick leaned his arms against the battlement wall, lost in thought, ’til he felt a hand upon his arm. He did not expect to see Fira at his side. Her eyes were swimming like pools of jealousy for she clearly could not mask the emotions etched upon her mutinous face.

“What is it, Fira?” he asked, almost hating to hear her answer. She had been bothersome of late with hopes that there was something between them. He was unsure where she had gotten such a notion for he had been nothing but polite to her in the past.

“What does that outsider have that I do not,” Fira hissed.

“I willna discuss the Lady Coira with ye,” he answered, hoping she would let the matter rest. Such was not going to be the case.

“Ye shall regret not taking me up on me offer, Garrick. ’Tis best tae stay with yer own kind instead of thinking ye can wed someone above yer station.”

Garrick scowled, her words thrusting into his heart like a dagger. He did not need Fira to remind him that he was only the clan’s piper and not a knight. “Dinnae be daft, Fira. I have already told ye I am not interested in what ye offer tae any of the men who pass through Berwyck’s gates. Be off with ye and mind yer own business,” he snapped harshly as he lost what little patience he had left.

 

Fira gave a laugh. “Ye best remember me words, Garrick,” she answered leaning her shoulder upon the wall and crossing her arms.

“If ye willna leave me in peace, then stay and enjoy yer view,” Garrick huffed. He gave her no further thoughts and made his way back to the Great Hall. He would have been troubled to learn just what the woman had in store for him and his future.

This is an original piece by Sherry Ewing. Garrick and Coira can be found in The Piper’s Lady in the Bluestocking Belles’ box set Never Too Late.

The Piper’s Lady

True love binds them. Deceit divides them. Will they choose love?

Lady Coira Easton spent her youth traveling with her grandfather. Now well past the age men prefer when they choose a wife, she has resigned herself to remain a maiden. But everything changes once she arrives at Berwyck Castle. She cannot resist a dashing knight who runs to her rescue, but would he give her a second look?

Garrick of Clan MacLaren can hold his own with the trained Knights of Berwyck, but as the clan’s piper they would rather he play his instruments to entertain them—or lead them into battle—than to fight with a sword upon the lists. Only when he sees a lady across the training field and his heart sings for the first time does he begin to wish to be something he is not.

Will a simple misunderstanding between them threaten what they have found in one another or will they at last let love into their hearts?

 Buy Links:

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You can learn more about Sherry and her books on the tab above or on these social media outlets:

Website & Books: www.SherryEwing.com
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Cousin’s Plans Make Nunnery Look Good

nunneryLady Coira Easton stared out the window whilst she waited in her cousin’s solar with trepidation. It had been many a year since their paths had crossed and she had mixed feelings about their reunion. ’Twas not because she was afraid of him or what she had heard about his reputation over the years as the Devil’s Dragon. Nay… such was not the case. She was just uncertain as to where her life would lead her now that he was her only relation.

She knew most of what was said about Dristan of Berwyck was a falsehood. Rumor’s had reached her as far as France about her cousin’s ruthlessness upon the battlefield. But she was certain his skill with a sword was how he had become a champion knight for King Henry II. Surely he would find a place within his household for her. She hated the thought of having to join a nunnery.

The solar door swung open and he filled the space with his presence. Coira had forgotten what an impressive sight Dristan was but the welcoming smile upon his face set most of her fears to rest.

“Cousin,” he said opening his arms. “’Tis been far too long since our paths have crossed.”


She went to him and was enfolded into a fierce hug. “My Lord Dristan,” she murmured. “’Tis good to see you. Thank you for receiving me.”

“You can cease with any of that title business, Coira. We are family. As such, we need no formalities between us.”

“How are your mother and father?” she asked, wishing her own parents yet lived. He took her hand and ushered her to a seat by the fire.

“They are well, the last I heard from them.” He went to pour them a goblet of wine and Coira had the distinct feeling he did not wish to have speech about his parents.

“I pray you do not mind that I am here.”

“Mind? Why ever would I mind?”

Coira sipped her goblet whilst she watched her cousin take a seat across from her. “Your poor relation comes to beg lodging from her rich cousin does not bother you? Generally this does not sit well with most people.”

“You are hardly poor and I am not like most people. If you would take a moment to recall, I sent Morgan to find you. Hence you are welcome here.”

“You are too kind, Dristan,” she whispered in relief taking another sip of her wine…

“We will find you a suitable husband.”

… and coughed on the liquid as it began to choke her. “A husband?”

“Aye! I have several noblemen in mind that would be more than adequate to provide a good enough life for you. I will ensure none who press their suit is anything less than a knight,” he said with a satisfied smile.

Adequate? Dristan I–”

“No need to thank me. I shall see to all the details and send runners to those who I think will make a good match.” He drained his wine, stood, and came over to her side. Leaning down, he pressed a kiss upon her cheek. “’Tis good to see you, Coira. Relax whilst we have a room prepared for you and I will see you later at the evening meal.”

Dristan left just as quickly as he arrived whilst Coira sat there stunned. She had a notion a nunnery was looking more appealing than a life spent with some unknown man who would only make an adequate husband.


This is an original piece by Bluestocking Belle Sherry Ewing that gives you a behind the scene look into The Piper’s Lady which can be found in the Belles’ 2017 anthology, Never Too Late.

Blurb:

True love binds them. Deceit divides them. Will they choose love?

Lady Coira Easton spent her youth traveling with her grandfather. Now well past the age men prefer when they choose a wife, she has resigned herself to remain a maiden. But everything changes once she arrives at Berwyck Castle. She cannot resist a dashing knight who runs to her rescue, but would he give her a second look?

Garrick of Clan MacLaren can hold his own with the trained Knights of Berwyck, but as the clan’s piper they would rather he play his instruments to entertain them—or lead them into battle—than to fight with a sword upon the lists. Only when he sees a lady across the training field and his heart sings for the first time does he begin to wish to be something he is not.

Will a simple misunderstanding between them threaten what they have found in one another or will they at last let love into their hearts?

Buy Links:

Amazon US  | Barnes & Noble   | iBooks  |  Kobo | Smashwords

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

Bio:

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances all with a happily ever after ending. An Information Technology Specialist by day, she enjoys writing romance novels to awaken the soul one heart at a time at night. You can learn more about Sherry and her work on the tab above or on these social media outlets:

Website & Books 
Amazon
Bookbub
Facebook
Goodreads
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Scandal in Venice

VeniceThis house is not a brothel.  I Signora Rossi conduct a respectable boarding house—respectable! All Venice knows. And I tell you true. Those English aristos, they bring disgrace on my business. One would expect an earl and his sister to bring renown to an establishment like mine. Instead the Earl of Ambler and that disgraceful sister of his bring me ruin.

When they arrive, I already suspect. His so-called sister comes with no maid, no older lady to, what you call, chaperone. What kind of “lady,” travels with men and no older woman? The clink of their coin sounded more real than their story; I swallowed my misgivings. Perhaps a respectable older woman, delayed along the road, did follow. So far I see no sign of her. The earl, he looks younger so perhaps he really is her brother. She calls herself Lady Charlotte Tyree.

The earl comes in drunk, loud— very late the first night, shouting that he met that English poet Byron, another aristo. A very bad set, that. Me, I try to warn the woman, but the earl? Like most men, he don’t listen. If he visits Venice to study our architecture or take in Tinteretto, I see no sign of it. The few days he doesn’t sleep all day he runs off with that poet to Lazaretto and the Armenians. Only the girl spends time in our many lovely churches. She does the sketching and the studying. Perhaps he plans to pass her work off as his—idiota.

The girl behaves well enough. I began to think her respectable and pity her the company of her spoiled brother. Last week everything changes. Due pescatori still in their fishing clothes and drunk as lords, drop the earl at my door smelling of fish and rotten water. The boy tried to swim Il Canal Grande like his idol, an even bigger fool. He spews canal water—and worse—on my floors. 

VeniceNow scandal in my house. I not bargain for scandal. The medico—the one with the horrid children and nasty mother—he arrives. I stand at my door and before I can blink he comes down my stairs carrying that girl over his shoulder. He dumps her in his ancient gondola and leaves his helper upstairs with the earl. No coin. Not one word to me.

Santa madre di Dio! What is a widow to do?

About the Book: Lady Charlotte’s Christmas Vigil

It’s 1818 and Byron is in Venice. When Lady Charlotte Tyree’s feckless brother attempts to mimic his idol and swim the Grand Canal, putrid fever lays him flat and strands her there. Venice, Christmas, a handsome Italian doctor… her life is about to take an interesting turn.

Pre-order from Amazon or Epub from Smashwords

About the Author

Caroline Warfield, a Bluestocking Belle and regular contributor to The Teatime Tattler, writes historical romance. In addition to her holiday novellas, she writes novels set in the Regency and immediate post-Regency eras.  In her newest series, Children of Empire, three cousins driven apart by lies and deceit, find their way home from the farthest corners of the British Empire—and find love along the way.

Find out more here.

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