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Dark Doings

One of your Tattler contributors has cornered a witness to goings-on in Edinburgh:

Dark Doings

“I am talking with Lady Eufemia here, down at the hotel in Edinburgh where THE DARK DUKE is rumored to have taken his bride for their post nuptials. However, they are not the story of the hour any longer, for the new Duchess of Canterbury has been seen having breakfast with the Honorable Hermione and the truly stupendous Countess of York. 

“She wore a stunning confections, as always, her hat in perfect counterpoint, and showing off her pert countenance. In fact, according to our Lady Eufemia, it also showed up her tears as she went running from the dining room in a decidedly unladylike fashion. Tsk tsk. 

“I ask the Lady Eufemia, what do you make of such shenanigans?

“Well, Lady Charissa, I am decidedly not one to gossip, but, I feel there is already a problem in the newlyweds marriage. And I think Lady Sarah may be at the crux of it. The duchess and countess have long been fast friends, but on the morning after the wedding, Lady Sarah slinks to another part of the dining room, only to run off crying a few minutes later? No, I tell you, Duchess Canterbury said something and Lady Sarah tried to compose herself. Then, when the upset just became to great, she left to find privacy to cry in. 

“I am sure that we will see more of this rift back in town for the season.”

“Why, Lady Eufemia, you have the brightest smile when it is so engaged. Good luck with the season. I am telling you, something dark and nefarious is happening here. I just hope we learn the on dits first.”

About the Book

Dark Doings

Dark times fall upon Lady Sarah and her friends as they try to unravel mysteries of who wants them dead.


Barely snagging Lady Lillian out of danger, Lady Sarah finds herself embroiled in some clandestine mischief. It causes her to doubt Lord Archer and her own feelings for him. But this fashion loving countess is not able to give up on her dreams and love for him. She enlists the aid of her two best friends to piece together what might really be happening. For she couldn’t bear it if he was a traitor to the crown.

Lord Archer’s hero in the spy organization he and his family had long been a part of are in Edinburgh to reveal a traitor to the crown. Only, his boss wants him to spy on the woman he loves and the best friend of her and his own sister. Could he have really fallen in love with a traitor? He keeps his own counsel from his boss. death.Upon deciding that there is no way his beloved could be a traitor, he recruits them all to uncover the dark underworld doings which could lead to Queen Victoria’s

While their lives and love are under attack, the two of them work to bring down one of England’s most powerful lords before he can kill the Queen.

Read **FREE** with Kindle Unlimited or buy it at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MDV3T6J/

An excerpt from Darkest Death

Hermione and Lady Lillian laughed. “I said, you’re thinking about women’s rights again, aren’t you? About the battles and the queens?”

A flush stole over her in embarrassment. “Yes,” she mumbled. “Though I do not see how you are always able to tell when such things cross my mind,” she added primly. “One might think you possessed some magical powers if one lived in the dark ages.”

They laughed harder. “It does not take a genius to see the look on your face. After these many years, I have come to learn this look quite well,” Hermione said. “It used to scare me witless, afraid Father would not approve of you and your ways.”

“Your father would not dare to have offended mine,” Sarah said, a little laugh escaping. “They had too many business interests together. How do you think we ended up playing together so much as children?”

Their food came, and the three of them ate and laughed, enjoying being women. Soon enough, Lord Clarence would come and steal Lady Lillian away again, so Lady Sarah would enjoy that morning together before her best friend left to Lord Clarence’s Scottish estates.

She’d have time later to think of her own marriage and other long-lost stories and dreams.

As they finished their meal, Sarah noticed a man having undue interest in their table.

“Hermione, Lillian, I wish to have tea before we all leave. Care to join me in the suite of rooms? I’ll have some sweets brought up. We must plan our next get together, and I find I need to go…” She flicked her napkin, trying to think of a probable story that would not be a lie. She let out a sigh. “I need to check a few things. I will fill you in when I have been able to finalize my thoughts on the matter.” A half-formed plan to stay in Scotland rather than go back for the slowly starting season began to play on her mind. 

“Of course,” Hermione said. “I will be up when I finish this scone. I find I am hungry more and more these days.”

“I will wait for Clarence, and he can escort us both to the gardens then to your rooms,” Lillian said, a blush stealing over her cheeks once more. No doubt from calling His Grace by his first name. 

“Then it is settled. I will meet you for tea. Thank you.”

She stood and shook her skirts out in a deliberate manner, trying to see the man from the corner of her eye. Most definitely watched her much too closely. A pillar stood near him. She would make her way around to there and try to listen in on the conversation. Call her paranoid, but after what they’d just gone through with Lady Amber and Lord Jarvis, on top of her ugly valentine, she would take no chances. Rather to feel foolish than feel dead. She nodded her head as she walked, then proceeded to listen.

About the Author

Leona Bushman is a USA Today best selling author. She is a crazy writer taught by dragons and known as Dragon Queen of the North. She loves to write and paint, even when her muse tries to muck things up. She chases after the three out of the five children still at home, and sometimes after the other two and the grandbaby. She has many hobbies like SCA, quilting, sewing, and gardening. Or, as one blogger succinctly put it, Leona Bushman is a whirlwind made of sheer will with a dash of clumsy to keep her grounded.

She can be found solving mysteries, exploring space, making art, and loving dragons and other creatures of the supernatural at these places:
Twitter: @L_Bushman
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLeonaBushman
Facebook artist page: https://www.facebook.com/LeonaBushmanArtisteExtraordinaire/
Website: www.leonajbushman.com
Blog: www.lbushman.blogspot.com and www.lbushman.wordpress.com
Newsletter: http://madmimi.com/signups/374285/join

Deception and family honor

Welcome to this special lecture presentation of The Teatime Tattler. I am your host and moderator, Samuel Clemens. In our continuing effort to bring you information about the people involved in The Stelton Legacy, we’ve been able to pull off a real coup. Family honor is at stake.

Tonight we meet Lady Darla Maxwell, a young woman for whom her father Graeme Maxwell and close friend, Lord Ewan MacDougall sought a suitable husband. Lady Darla has a … magical background which, as a young woman would, she sought to deny. I hope we can find out more about how her magic influenced the outcome of her story.

Lord Wesley Reynolds, the son of the well-known silk merchant William Reynolds has a most interesting background that I hope he’ll elaborate on today. It’s what made him the man trusted by the King of England as well as the Guardians of Scotland.

One moment, please. I’m getting instructions from our stage manager. (leans over the stage). Ladies and gentlemen. Our stage manager has just informed me our guests have arrived at the studio.

Ah. The lights have dimmed. A hush has come over the theatre. I can see into the wings. Yes. The door has opened. The anticipation in the room is palpable. Wait. I see them. They’re walking toward us. They have a stately and commanding appearance, and they’re holding hands. It is very tender and touching.

(Clemens rises from his chair as his guests’ approach.)

Clemens: Lord Wesley, Lady Darla. It’s good to meet you.

(Chairs scrape the floor, feet shuffle as everyone takes their seats.)

Clemens: Lady Darla please sit here next to Lord Wesley.

(Darla and Wesley hold hands. Wesley eases back in his chair and crosses his legs in a relaxed position.)

Clemens: Thank you for granting us an interview. Everyone here at Inside Scoop is excited you’re with us.

Lord Wesley: Lady Darla and I are happy to be with you today.

Justin: Our time is short so unless you have any questions I’d like to get right to the questions.

Wesley: I have no questions at the moment. Please begin.

Clemens:: (Papers rustle as Clemens gets settled.) Lord Wesley, you have a very interesting personal history with several twists and turns. Please explain how your background made you the man you are today.

Wesley: As a young man I followed in my father’s footsteps. He was both an excellent silk merchant and business man. He taught me the silk business from cultivating the silk worms, to making the final bolts of cloth, to selling and shipping the bolts. I learned by traveling with him and observing him at his work. He was a well-respected merchant and excellent negotiator. When he passed away, I was ready to take over although I will never be able to take his place.

(Darla squeezes Wesley’s hand, her face full of encouragement.)

Justin: I understand you sailed out of the Cinque Ports in southern Europe, in the service of the King of England. Some say you were a privateer.

(Wesley lets go of Darla’s hand and moves to the edge of his seat.)

Wesley: Why do you ask?

Darla: Wesley. (She touches her husband’s arm.)

Wesley: My Love, it still pains me to think of those days much less speak about them.

(Darla gives her husband an encouraging smile. Wesley turns back to Justin and lets out a slow breath.)

Wesley: I provided the king with the silks he wanted, as I did with many monarchs across Europe. Because of my connections I was a good sounding board for him. I had my own ships and one thing led to another. I had no love for the Spanish. They thought I was a charity, taking my goods without paying for them. So, I simply took from their ships to repay their debt. All in all, a good transaction.

Darla: When Wesley’s father took ill he went to help him.

Wesley: There were certain family incidents that happened. Over the years, my brother told me what happened and why. I believed Darla’s father and Lord Ewan, my father’s closest friends plotted against him and my family. I thought they ruined his business and took his property, circumstances that led to his death.

Justin: You said you thought they conspired against your father. I surmise you don’t believe that now. What made you believe it in the first place and why did you have a change of heart?

Wesley: Simply said, I put my trust in someone close and was deceived.

Clemens: Did this have anything to do with the pirate king, MacAlpin?

(Wesley chuckles.)

Wesley: I understand why you ask. The MacAlpin has the reputation of being a ruthless savage pirate. But, in all my dealings with him he proved to be fair and trustworthy. He was instrumental is seeing justice was served. It was difficult after years of believing something so strongly that it became your essence, to have the truth uncovered and recognize you’d been lied to for a very long time.

Justin: I’m sure it is. I understand Lady Darla was at your side.Darla: From the first moment we met on the docks by my father’s ship and I mistook him for Lord Ewan’s son-in-law, Magnus I was drawn to Wesley. I was relieved to learn he wasn’t Magnus. Very pleased indeed.

Wesley: Darla’s father, Lord Graeme Maxwell–

Clemens: The renowned gem and jewelry merchant?

(Darla beamed with pride.)

Wesley: Yes. Maxwell and Lord Ewan were nothing like I expected. After my father’s death I was told again of their thievery, had it stamped into my brain. I didn’t question it. You see, from an early age I was fostered to the Highland Maxwells. When I came back and worked with my father he had already moved the family from our home on Lord Ewan’s island, forced out I was told. I accepted it as truth and when my father died I vowed to take revenge for all the injustices Graeme Maxwell and Ewan MacDougall did to my father and family.

Darla: Wesley thought to use me as a pawn in his effort to hurt my father.

Wesley: (He turns to Darla) That wasn’t one of my shining moments. The more time we spent together and the more I got to know you, your father, and Lord Ewan, the more I knew I had it all wrong, but evil kept buzzing in my ear, pushing me to carry out the plans.

Darla: You found the truth. It’s all over now.

(Wesley holds Darla’s hand and looks into her eyes.)

Wesley: I’m a very lucky man.

(Clemens coughs to remind them they aren’t alone. They both turn toward Clemens.)

Clemens: Lady Darla, I understand you have unique insight—

Wesley: Come Darla. (Wesley gets to his feet.) It’s time to leave.

(Clemens, astonished by Lord Wesley’s action looks at Wesley. Darla remains calm and seated.)

Clemens: M’lord. I apologize if I have offended you or your lady.

Darla: No, Mr. Clemens. My husband is very protective. (Darla stands next to her husband.) I do have a unique ability. I have second sight. I see things before they happen. Some people—

Wesley: Unintelligent, witless ones–

Darla: Mr. Clemens gets your meaning. Some people believe it witchcraft. They say and do foolish things. It is why I kept to myself while growing up. Why I never allowed myself to become attached to a gentleman. How could I get someone I loved tangled in that rat’s nest. Some may see my gift as a blessing, but I assure you it is not. Imagine knowing something terrible is going to happen and you’re not able to influence it at all. I thought I would never marry. I was satisfied with being alone the rest of my life. I was wrong. I had no idea that I waited for the right person, my soul mate. I never saw that coming until I met Wesley. So much for my second sight. When I found him I knew I would never let him go. He is my love, my life.

(Wesley takes his wife in his arms. Clemens stands.)

Wesley: As you are mine. (He turns to Clemens.) Deception and family honor were at stake.

Darla: So was my heart.

Wesley: Do you have any other questions?

Clemens: No, Lord Wesley. Thank you both for speaking to us. (He turns to the audience.) Thank you for coming today. Lady Darla hasn’t told us much about her second sight, but I understand it is quite interesting. You can find out more about Lady Darla’s magic and Lord Wesley in The Pirate’s Jewel. Until next time.

The Pirate’s Jewel

Deception and family honor are at stake – so is her heart.

Wesley Reynolds will do anything to avenge his family’s banishment from Dundhragon Castle even throw in with the notorious pirate, MacAlpin. His plan, ruin Lord Ewan’s trading network. He has a more devious plan for his father’s ‘best friend,’ the man who abandoned them at the eleventh hour. He’ll ruin the man’s most precious jewel, his daughter Darla. Wesley’s so close to ruining the trade network and succeeding he can almost taste it, but revenge is not nearly as sweet as Darla’s kisses.

Darla Maxwell, beloved by her parents has no prospects of marriage. Her father and Lord Ewan search to find her the right husband. Darla’s special gifts are frightening to many. She has visions that often come true. The murky image of a man haunts her, she’s sure it’s Lord Ewan’s soon-to-be son-in-law, but the vision morphs when she meets Wesley. The meaning couldn’t be any clearer to her, her destiny lies with Wesley.

When revelations surface indicating Wesley has been deceived and his revenge misplaced. Will he find the truth of what really happened to his family in time to stop the pirates? Will Darla ever forgive him? Will he ever forgive himself?

Buy Link: Kindle Unlimited https://amzn.to/2Cyrbev

About the Author

Storyteller | Blogger | Creative Thinker | Dreamer | Good Sport | Teammate

Hi – I’m Ruth A. Casie and I write historical and contemporary romance. You might be wondering what I’m about. Sit back and let me tell you.

I’m happiest when I’m telling stories either chatting in a group or writing them down. I love to put my hero and heroine in tough situations and dare them to work it out—together, always together. They haven’t disappointed.  Oh, they complain but in the end their love and relationships are stronger than ever.

Here are five things you probably don’t know about me.

1.  I filled my passport up in one year.

2.  I have three series.  The Druid Knight stories are a historical time travel series. The Stelton Legacy is historical fantasy about the seven sons of a seventh son. Havenport Romances are stories set in a small coast Rhode Island town.  I also write stories in the connected world the Pirates of Britannia.

3.  I did a rap to “How Many Trucks Can a Tow Truck Tow If a Tow Truck Could Tow Trucks.”

4.  When I cook I dance.

5.  My Sudoku book is in the bathroom. I’m not saying anything else about that.

My stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Their stories will keep you turning the pages until the end. I hope my stories become your favorite adventures.

I’m a USA Today bestselling author.

My hobbies:

* counted cross stitch

* ballroom dancing – not just between the fridge and stove

* reading almost anything

* Sudoko – I’m still staying quiet about that

 Social Media Links:

Website: https://ruthacasie.com/

Email:  mailto:ruth@ruthacasie.com

Personal Blog:  http://www.ruthacasie.blogspot.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/RuthACasie

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/RuthACasie/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ruth-A.-Casie/e/B005V0YEVU/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ruth-a-casie

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ruth-seitelman/6/6b7/964

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ruthacasie/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4792909.Ruth_A_Casie

YouTube:  http://bit.ly/RuthACasieYouTube

Ruth’s Newsletter Signup:  http://ruthacasie.com/contact.html#newsletter

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/ruthacasie/

AllAuthor: http://ruthacasie.allauthor.com

A Widow at the Lighthouse!

Lighthouse

It has come to our attention here at the Teatime Tattler that in a certain town in Maine, there is a widow in charge of the lighthouse. Perhaps the population there is so sparse that they must press ladies into occupations better suited to gentlemen?


We have investigated this untoward circumstance thoroughly, to see if there is some suitable explanation. Perhaps she holds domestic sway while a son does the more — muscular, dare we say, — duties? While there is a son, he is to attend medical school, leaving the widow to attend the lighthouse, her home, and take care of the raising of two younger girls.

Those in town report the widow has taken the duties of lighthouse keeper upon herself. We can only imagine her grief at the loss of her husband has rendered her incapable of understanding her feminine limitations. Why, much mechanical work must be done to keep the lens in order. And much courage is needed to keep the light burning during stormsy weather. Reading the list of instructions for a lighthouse keeper, it becomes clear that only a man is up to the task.


You may suggest that we, who do not live in this town, have no business reporting on their lighthouse keeper. But you forget that the lighthouse is all that prevents ships from foundering in the dark, in the fog, and in stormy seas, where Mother Nature wreaks her bad temper on unlucky sailors. Do we want our sailors coming near a lighthouse where a widow is in charge? We think not.
It has been reported, but we can scarcely credit it ourselves, that the widow had attended the lighthouse well, in all her duties and the town wishes her to remain in place.
If so, we have a suggestion for them: please find that widow a husband, forthwith.

An excerpt…

The sight of her new home stole Betsy’s breath away. The lighthouse perched like an ancient warrior goddess atop the throne of rocks that acted as a bulwark against the relentless surf. The sound and scent and feel of the water permeated through everything, enfolding her in its powerful embrace. She breathed in, closed her eyes—then opened them and carefully picked her path up toward the entrance. 

The front door was constructed of heavy, unpolished wood, as though it had been salvaged directly from the waves. Its austere beauty reminded her of the duke’s ancient manor home, stalwart and secure. The cracks and peels in the dirty white paint around the base of the massive structure became clear as she approached, but they only added to the picture of a home that would stand through a storm and show little damage for it. 

She frowned slightly, looking around. Not that a woman’s hand wasn’t needed here, she was relieved to see. What scrubby grass had managed to pry its way through the stones was left untended. A child’s faded toy ball sat lonely in the center of the footpath, half-deflated. She would make her mark on her new home. Her husband would see that she was a worthwhile addition to his life. 

Betsy paused. She gazed at the sun-bleached, wind-worn outer walls, at the two crumbling steps leading up to a bare stoop. The light above the doorway was clouded with grime. She glanced over her shoulder, but the driver was long gone. All she had left by way of companionship was the lighthouse and the sea. Where was her new family? Why had they not come outside to greet her yet.

She sighed, hoping that this lonely doorstep wasn’t the beginning of a huge mistake. Then she steeled herself once more, climbed the stairs, and knocked. It was cool in the shadow of the building; she felt a chill run through her. The crazy notion of running away, simply turning and bolting down the long ocean road, flashed through her mind—but right behind it was something Kate had said to her as they parted — the only impossibility is the possibility you fail to see.

The door began to open. In moments, it would be too late to flee.

Betsy squared her shoulders and plastered a smile on her face. Emile Laverdiere was a possibility she must see before she let fear chase her away.

 A wraith of a man stood just inside the threshold, his pale eyes huge in the gaunt frame of his face. Betsy bit her tongue just in time to keep a gasp of surprise from escaping her lips. Though she had not chosen to follow the healer path her mother had taken, with her herbs and potions, she knew this man was gravely ill.

“Betsy Lawton?” he asked in a voice that matched the rest of him—thin, frail, reedy.

“Emile Laverdiere?” She looked into his eyes and saw that he had registered her dismay. No doubt he had been expecting it.

 He smiled, and his cheekbones stood out like mountain ridges underneath his sunken eyes. There was humor there, despite the ravage of illness. “The one and only. We have been counting the minutes until your arrival. Though it may be impolite, we must ask what you think of your new home?” 

Betsy somehow kept her smile in place as she took his offered hand and stepped into the lighthouse. Her soon-to-be-husband’s fingers were cold and bony against hers; she feared that if she squeezed at all, his hand would break. “You have a magnificent landscape at your command,” she answered honestly. He had said nothing of illness in his letters. Nor had those who had attested to his honest character and true desire to wed. Could it be recent? Or had she been duped?

His air of acute attention told her he waited for more. There was an air of patient acceptance in his waiting eyes, as if she could tell him the truth. That she did not want to wed a dying man. Did not know if she truly wanted to immure herself on an isolated jut of rock like Rapunzel in one of the duchess’s favorite fairytales.

But she had come all this way, she would not be her practical mother’s daughter to throw everything away without discovering all she could about this place. Her eyes roamed the interior of the lighthouse’s living space, and she found it plain but comfortable. The rounded room was cozy, softly lit, warmed by a small stone hearth. A spiral staircase formed its centerpiece, climbing up and up through the ceiling. Her eyes could not help following it upward into the unknown. She could hear a slight scraping sound, some rustling, a whispered exchange so low she could almost dismiss it as the sound of the wind.

She looked at her soon-to-be-husband. “What is up there?’ Her eyes swept back upward, toward the sound.

He seemed to approve of her question. “Take a look for yourself, if you like.” He gestured upward. “But forgive me for not accompanying you. I will only slow a young woman like you down. It takes me a while to climb up and down, thought I do it three times a day.”

Of course, Betsy thought. That was why he had not been down to greet her quickly. He had come from the top of the lighthouse. She felt a sympathetic ache in her own healthy joints at what he must endure to do his duty three times a day.

She looked upward, walked to the iron railing, and grasped the cold metal. She began to ascend. On the first landing, she paused at what sounded like sudden whispers, but she saw nothing, so she continued upward.

At the very top, she found her answer. The view that had seemed magnificent when she first arrived, had become almost godlike here, above the sea. She could see for miles. She could pick out the people in the village going about their business, but also the sea life in the ocean. Her breath caught. She leaned closer to look. A whale. She could see a whale in the distance, breaching repeatedly like a child at play.

She was careful not to touch any of the instruments that controlled the light. Emile would teach her to use them, she was certain. She had always been an apt pupil. Living in a duke’s household had exposed her to many lessons not always provided to a governess’s daughter. Living with the Fenster siblings had provided her with lessons that went beyond what was possible even in a duke’s household. She had seen one Fenster sister start a business making beautiful high fashion buttons with a cottager, another become an artist of repute, and one a card sharp that others admired. Kate, her best friend and youngest Fenster sister, had won prizes for the roses she created in her greenhouse.

The gleaming brass of the instruments called to her, but she did not touch, except for one, loving stroke. If she accepted the dying man downstairs as husband, this could be hers.

About the Book: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Bride

At long last, Book 8 in the Once Upon a Wedding series has arrived

Lighthouse Keeper

Raised almost as a sister in a duke’s household, Betsy Lawton has let the duchess’ love of fairytale endings lead her to believe she has a chance at true love with a man far above her station.

Betsy Lawton, the governess’ daughter, dares to give her heart to an earl. When he crushes it under his heel to marry according to his family’s expectations, she turns her back on England and departs for America, where rank and station are no impediment to her dreams. Not that Betsy desires true love any longer. Instead she will be the mail order bride of a lighthouse keeper. It is the lighthouse she will love, she vows.


Matthew Thigpen, Earl of Battingston, had always regretted not fighting hard enough to marry the woman he loved, despite her lack of rank and family. But now he needs to find her. The woman he jilted is the only woman who will understand his predicament and keep his daughter safe.

Now a widow, Betsy must marry again to keep her job at her beloved lighthouse. Matthew offers her a devil’s bargain that will allow her to keep her job at the lighthouse she loves and keep his daughter safe as well. But is his bargain worth the lighthouse, if he breaks her heart all over again?

Find buy links here: https://kellymcclymerbooks.com/book/lighthouse-keepers-bride/

About the Author

Kelly McClymer fell in love with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White as a child. Her most prized possession is her copy of The Complete Tales of the Brothers Grimm. These are the stories which gripped our ancestors as they huddled around the fire at night, which taught countless children to persevere through hardship and succeed against the odds. Her favorite fairytale remains “The Six Swans” — where a young sister must not speak a word for six years in order to save her brothers from their stepmother’s evil spell.

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.

Find and follow IreAnne Chambers here:

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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/

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