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HELP US FILL THE TEATIME TATTLER OR HEADS WILL ROLL!

“Don’t drop him, Will,” said Fred, compositer for The Teatime Tattler.

“It would serve him right,” Will, the pressman, grumbled. “This is all his fault.”

“Let’s not argue about this again,” Fred responded. “We need him to write some articles, so I can typeset them and you can print them, so Mr Clemens doesn’t fire the lot of us when he gets back from Paris.”

“He’s the one that should be fired,” Will complained. “He promised Mr Clemens he’d find enough correspondents to fill the paper for the whole of May and all of June, too. And what has he done? Drunk half of London dry, that’s what he’s done. Why should we save his bacon?”

“Because ours will be cooked along with his, that’s why. Now drop him here, and I’ll tip a bucket of water over him while you make the coffee.”

Help! The Bluestocking Belles have spaces for the rest of the year in The Teatime Tattler, and we need gossip about your characters and blurbs and covers for your book! New releases, backlist, current promotions—we take them all. We’ve even printed articles set in the worlds of role-playing Facebook pages and groups.

If you’re an author, read on. If you’re a reader, please help us out and share this article with your author friends.

The situation is desperate. The Editor went off on holiday to Paris, and the assistant editor was meant to promote the paper, but fell down on the job. And it was Sam’s first summer holiday in seven years!

We have spaces all the way to the end of the year.

Samuel Clemens (our fictional London-based uncle to the more famous American nephew) is due back any minute, and the assistant editor is for the chop unless we can show some great bookings.

What’s in it for you and your readers?

You get something fun to share with your fans.

You have the joy of playing with minor characters or backstory, or taking a cheeky peek at your hero or heroine through the eyes of an outsider.

We Bluestocking Belles promote your article by sharing it on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumbler and Facebook, then each individual Belle shares again to Facebook groups and pages.

What can you write for us?

In 150 to 500 words:

  • Have a minor character report on what they see happening in the story.
  • Use a character snippet to give backstory to your novel. If you create a scene of some sort, put a note over the top that a gossip sheet might have such as “Overheard at a . . .”
  • Create a correspondence between two characters
  • Stage a lecture on a controversial topic
  • Have Mr. Clemens interview a character during a public lecture
  • Write a “report” by a fictional reporter
  • Write on a topic from your research. Report it as a character from that era.
  • Or propose another take on a suitable gossip sheet topic

Then send us your blurb, your cover, your buy links, your bio and mugshot, and any other images you’d like us to use.

Book your spot now

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f44a9ad29a6f4c34-write

Frederick & Fiona: Fiona

by Susana Ellis

Fiona Hendrickson woke up begrudgingly as the chamber flooded with bright sunlight from the windows. Shielding her eyes with her hand, she could make out the pudgy figure of her grandfather’s housekeeper in the blinding light.

“What?” Then, “Oh,” after her wits returned to her. Grandfather’s house. The long trip from Yorkshire by stage coach. The prospect of a long, lonely future in the country with only her cantankerous old grandfather for company. Now why had she agreed to this? Oh yes, the farm.

“If ye’d like to break yer fast afore church, ye’d best go down right quick. T’ master’s ‘ad ‘is and it’s no doubt cold by now.” She cocked her head and studied Fiona doubtfully. “Ye kin dress yerself, eh? No maids in this ‘ouse.”

Fiona rolled her eyes, something her stepmother would never have approved of. The thought of her stepmother made her chest ache. Would they ever see one another again?

“I’ve no need of a maid.” Not only had she never needed a maid, but she and her stepmother had never had a servant of any kind. A housekeeper was a luxury beyond reckoning.

“I’m not hungry.” Not true. She was starving after a day on a rattling stagecoach. But the prospect of getting out of bed and facing the reality of her new circumstances gave her a feeling of panic.

The housekeeper (what was her name?) shrugged. “Matters naught to me, miss. But t’ master expects ye t’ be fixed t’ leave by eight. It’s a good two miles, ye know. Likes t’ be on time, ‘e does.”

Fiona took a deep breath and threw aside the bed coverings. It was no good whining. She hadn’t been a child for several years. Grown women left home every day, usually to marry or to start a life on their own, for better or worse, but at some point they had to move on.

“I suppose I’ll have a bite to eat after all. I’ll be down shortly, er Mrs.—“

“Perry, miss.”

Perry. Ah yes, that was it. “Thank you, Mrs. Perry.”

Was that a shadow of a smile on the older woman’s lips as she turned and left the room? Fiona chose to think so, and set her mind to more positive thoughts. It was a beautiful day. She had a grandfather to get to know; perhaps in time they could learn to get on with each other. As far as learning how to manage a farm, well, that seemed unlikely. The city girl in her knew where her food came from, but she wasn’t keen on making its acquaintance when it had eyes to look upon her.

****

“You’ll want to wed a fine, sturdy gent, lass. As soon as may be. A woman can keep hens and a kitchen garden, but it takes a man to plough and make hay and such.”

Her grandfather didn’t waste time issuing commands, did he? They’d barely made it out of the gate when he’d begun setting down his plans for her life.

“I-I suppose there are farm workers I can hire, can I not, Grandfather?”

“What? Have something against marriage, lass? Most women would have married at your age.” He looked at her sharply. “Not looking for a love match, are you? I had enough of that nonsense with your mother.”

Fiona tamped down the resentment that lurked beneath the surface. There was no point in revisiting an event from twenty years past. Of course she wanted a love match; every woman did. Most women had to settle for less, however. She doubted she had the courage to elope to Gretna Green as her mother had. 

“You must at the least allow me time to become acquainted with the neighborhood, Grandfather. I shan’t marry only for someone to run the farm.” Seeing her grandfather’s face start to turn purple, she quickly added, “He must be a man of good character, you know. I refuse to wed a drunkard or a brute.”

He opened his mouth and then closed it. “Girl, I’m not asking you to marry the first man you meet.” He paused and took her shoulders in his hands. “Just don’t be too fine in your requirements. I’m not at death’s door just yet, but it’s best you have a husband before I get there.”

As that was probably true, Fiona nodded and fell silent until they arrived at the parish church and seated themselves on a bench. 

Almost immediately she sensed someone staring at her. Turning her head to the back, she saw an attractive young man with a look of awe on his face. 

The first man she’d met. Well, seen, anyway. Was he perhaps a farmer? Suddenly her heart lightened and she felt a sense of hope for the first time since she’d arrived. 

****

Frederick Hofbauer is the oldest (by two minutes) of triplets, his brothers being Fritz and Franz, who serve tea every Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. EST in the Tea Room, hosted by Cerise DeLand and Susana Ellis and their weekly guest authors, who come to discuss themselves and their books. If you are interested in discovering new authors and books, recipes, historical fashion, and lively conversation, please join them.

Fiona hasn’t been to tea as yet, but it’s possible you will see her there in the near future.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/265460994261469

Frederick & Fiona: Frederick

by Susana Ellis

Frederick Hofbauer almost did not go to church that morning.

 

The party at Mellowwood Manor had lasted until the wee hours and he and his brothers Fritz and Franz, as footmen, were kept busy for more than two hours after that assisting the tired and tipsy guests with their outerwear and ensuring they managed to alight their coaches without injuring themselves. He barely had time to remove his livery before falling into bed next to his brothers, who were already snoring softly.

Dawn came much too quickly, and Frederick would have quite happily snored on past breakfast except for the sound of a light tapping on the door of the servant quarters.

“Frederick? Are you awake?” He recognized the soft voice as Daniel, the steward’s son, and sighed. Fitzwilliams had passed out again at the local inn and poor Daniel had to cart him home before word got out to his employer. Frederick would be tempted to leave the drunken lout where he was and suffer the consequences were it not for the frightened lad, barely six years old. He certainly did not deserve to be thrown in the streets.

Rising reluctantly from his bed, he opened the door and whispered to the boy to wait for him in the stable as he quickly donned his ordinary clothes and departed with him and Fitzwilliams’s old nag to the Dawdling Duck. By the time they had him settled in his bed at Hull Cottage, it was full daylight and Frederick was not inclined to return to his own bed. Instead he strolled around the estate, admiring the newly planted fields watching the milkmaids lead the cows into the milking shed. This was his favorite morning amusement during his free time, at least when he managed to retire before midnight.

Upon his return to the house, he found the cook ready to leave for church, about a mile down the lane. She clucked when she saw him.

“Up with t’ roosters again, lad? After all last night’s mayhem? I slept like a log until Mary brought me coffee.”

“Fitzwilliams,” he said simply. She rolled her eyes. “I should ha’ known. ‘Bout every Saturday night now. Yer too good to ‘im. Wretch deserves ta be sacked. Sad ‘bout the boy though.”

Frederick nodded.

She tilted her head to one side as she studied his face. “Come ta church wit’ me? I’ll wait for ye ta wash up.”

Frederick rubbed a hand through his hair. Well, it wasn’t as though he had anything else to do. The house was silent as a grave and it appeared as though its occupants were dead to the world after their evening of merriment.

“Very well,” he said with a smile. “I shall be only an instant, Mrs. Brown.”

Much later on, Frederick reflected that it was surely Fate that impelled him to accompany Cook to church that morning. Because that’s when he met Fiona and the scheme for his entire life was altered forever.

Meet Fiona here!

Frederick Hofbauer is the oldest (by two minutes) of triplets, his brothers being Fritz and Franz, who serve tea every Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. EST in the Tea Room, hosted by Cerise DeLand and Susana Ellis and their weekly guest authors, who come to discuss themselves and their books. If you are interested in discovering new authors and books, recipes, historical fashion, and lively conversation, please join them.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/265460994261469

The Tea Room recently celebrated its FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY, and would love to welcome you to the festivities.

From the Editor’s Desk

From the desk of Sam’l Clemens, esq.

December 15

Dear readers, kind followers, critics, and vile attackers,

We at the Tattler thank you for your attention throughout this past year, whether you have applauded or showered us in brickbats (all attention is good and we’re pleased when you mention our name).

As the year draws to a close, our reporters grow weary. I have surrendered to pleas and declared that The Teatime Tattler shall be on hiatus. This respite began at close of business yesterday and will, I regret to say, continue until the middle of January when the rascals and rogues I call reporters shall have returned from the burrows into which they have disappeared. One hopes they will bring with them tantalizing tales, ribald rumors, and stories of disgraceful deeds: our stock and trade. One ambitious young fellow is off to visit his granny in Yorkshire, where, we hear, some salacious scandal is brewing.

I myself wish to spend these holidays in Bristol with a nephew who is soon to depart to the former colonies. I hope to convince him to send dispatches from that wild and uncivilized place.

We shall do our best to return to you reinvigorated and prepared to bring you the gossip you crave as often as may prove possible. Enjoy your winter revels, and do send us any tidbits you come across.

S. Clemens

 

Lord M’s Companion

Dear Readers,

You no doubt read this report from our intrepid Suffolk reporter last month:

The rustic seaside town of Fenwick on Sea is not as sleepy as one might think, especially with the travelers stranded by what might truly be called the Storm of the Century.

A Scotsman has arrived at the Queen’s Barque, his well-made coats soaked and his fine boots caked with mud. A tall, handsome specimen of our northern cousins, he claims the status of gentleman. And yet, dear Reader, he arrived with a local woman, with whom he plans to shelter in the inn’s oldest wing–alone!

Is she, in truth, a titled lady, as some say? She goes about in men’s trousers, is said to be not averse to a midnight sail, and often visits the inn with a tub or two in hand! Though on this occasion, it was her companion thus encumbered, so perhaps he truly is a gentleman after all.

The Teatime Tattler

My dear Lady F

I’m sorry I did not get a chance to bid you farewell before leaving town. My journey north was uneventful, apart from my diversion to Norfolk for my godson’s leave-taking. I just could not deny myself the opportunity to visit my cousin there who has not been well.

I found myself caught in that terrible storm flaying East Anglia, and thus, having broken an axle, stayed several nights at the Blue Boar in Yarmouth. I cannot tell you how surprised I was to see your relation there, young Lord M. Such a handsome and sober young man for a Scotsman. You recall that he attended my soiree with your other relation, Mrs. McB. That was a clever bit of matchmaking we managed there, bringing her back together with Major McB. As for Lord M, I saw him across the crowded inn yard as I was departing, and was about to send my man to fetch him, when he was joined by a boy of about twelve years of age, and, dare I say, a lady? She did appear to be a lady, and I was reliably informed that she was indeed a titled lady, and a quite comely with an air of assurance. You must write at your earliest convenience and tell me if there is news, because I had thoughts of introducing Lord M to my great-niece and must not raise her hopes.

Dear Readers, could this be the Scotsman and titled lady in men’s trousers from the Queen’s Barque? And who is the boy appearing with them?

About the Book: Storm & Shelter

When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.

One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.

About The Story: Comtesse of Midnight

A Scottish Earl on a quest for the elusive Comtesse de Fontenay rescues a French lady smuggler from the surf during a devastating storm, and takes shelter with her. As the stormy night drags on, he suspects his companion knows the woman he’s seeking, the one who holds the secret to his identity.

Marielle Plessiers may dress like a boy and go out with the local free traders, but she’s really the Comtesse de Fontenay. She trades in spirits, not secrets, but the information she holds will change Malcolm Comyn’s life forever.

Excerpt:

The Scotsman, however, was dead on his feet. She could almost feel sorry for him. He was far from home, and had been traveling for several days. His neckcloth was limp, his cuffs soiled, his coat wrinkled. His boots, well and carefully crafted, if not by Hoby then by some equally fashionable bootmaker in Edinburgh, had not been properly polished in the last few days.

He’d shaved though, probably very early that morning, because a delicious dark stubble had sprouted along his strong jaws.

Did he have a razor in his interesting valise? She wouldn’t molest him, unless he thought to do the same to her. If it came to that, and she prayed that it wouldn’t, she would use her own blade and not some unfamiliar shaving instrument.

“Is this one of your imports?” he asked, swirling the amber liquid. “It’s very good.”

His words stirred her out of her imaginings about handsome young men, and she realized she must manage the conversation else she’d slip into sleep, or perhaps something more inconvenient, without thinking.

The Comte had always succumbed to sleep when they’d conversed, no matter the topic. She must soothe this fine-looking and very fatigued man the same way.

Outside, the thunderstorm had moved on, and the rain pounded in a comforting downpour. With the warm fire, and the heavy blankets, and the sleeping dog, it was quite cozy.

But what to talk about? Most certainly not the free trade. It would be far too diverting to put him to sleep, and besides she had no idea what he would do with the knowledge.

The countryside? She might slip and drop a hint about her home at Bloodmoor Hill.

She thought back to her time on the fringes of a London society that she’d found unbearably dull.

The weather.

“I am glad you are enjoying the brandy,” she said. “But I daresay you are not liking this weather. It is quite the worst storm in many seasons, people are saying. Normally at this time of year the sea has quietened.” A lie, of course, but how would he know?

He sipped his drink, eyeing her over the glass.

Oh. Given that it might remind him of her activities that evening and spark questions, the sea was an inappropriate topic, whether or not one was fudging a weather report. “Winters, however are generally mild.”

He yawned, and she went on, discussing the number of rainstorms in March and going back to February, and then January, and making up the story as she went along, until his eyes drooped and the empty glass fell into his lap and lodged itself next to his fall.

Warmth uncurled in her. His trousers were tight in the usual fashion for gentlemen, outlining masculine endowments that sparked her interest far too much. Retrieving the fallen tumbler was out of the question.

She set down her own glass and fought the urge to join him in slumber.

Storm & Shelter also includes novellas by Jude Knight, Carolyn Warfield, Sherry Ewing, Rue Allyn, Cerise DeLand, Mary Lancaster, and Grace Burrowes.

Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kgRmLG

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3lZYHja

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/storm-shelter-bluestocking-belles/1137958115

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3o0z977

Google books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Grace_Burrowes_Storm_and_Shelter?id=TNMhEAAAQBAJ

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/38Rr8w

About the Author

Award winning and USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but prefers the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California, where she shares a midcentury home with her husband and a spunky, blond rescued terrier. She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. Though hard at work on her next series of romantic adventures, she loves to hear from readers!

Website: https://alinakfield.com/ 

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alina-K.-Field/e/B00DZHWOKY

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