Spotlight on Never Too Late Holiday Anthology

I’m happy to welcome multi-published author Caroline Warfield and the Bluestocking Belles. Today, Caroline shares their holiday anthology, Never Too Late, and her contribution, Roses in Picardy.

Here’s Caroline!

We are currently in the centennial of The Great War, the war to end all wars, that sad failure that led to a Second World War and endless conflict in the Middle East. Caroline Warfield presents a story of light in the midst of despair set in 1916. When hope begins to flicker out, love still catches fire. It is never too late.

On a trip to Amiens a few years ago I fell in love with les hortillonnages, the city’s famous “floating islands” along the river that generations used as the garden basket of the city, growing vegetables and flowers on little plots, set in a maze of canals, many dotted with colorfully painted cottages. A leisurely cruise through them with Amien’s massive medieval cathedral visible in the distance filled me with peace. That horrific battles had been fought nearby seemed unreal.

Photos of the battle scarred Valley of the Somme in 1916 show trees stripped of leaves or any sign of life, men coated with mud, war machines of all kinds, and endless trenches. Yet, a few miles away lay the city of Amiens, its great cathedral enshrouded in sandbags, and its floating islands. How could a soldier who stumbled out of the trenches fail to be drawn to les hortillonnages?

Blurb

Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.

Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday and More Anthology.

It’s Never Too Late to find love.

25% of proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.

The Stories of Never Too Late…

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The Piper’s Lady by Sherry Ewing
True love binds them. Deceit divides them. Will they choose love?

1354
Her Wounded Heart by Nicole Zoltack
A solitary widow, a landless knight, and a crumbling castle.

1645
A Year Without Christmas by Jessica Cale
An earl and his housekeeper face their feelings for one another in the midst of the English Civil War.

1795
The Night of the Feast by Elizabeth Ellen Carter
One night to risk it all in the midst of the French Revolution.

1814
The Umbrella Chronicles: George & Dorothea’s Story by Amy Quinton
The Umbrella Strikes Again: St. Vincent’s downfall (aka betrothal) is assured.

1814
A Malicious Rumor by Susana Ellis
A harmonious duo is better than two lonely solos for a violinist and a lady gardener.

1886
Forged in Fire by Jude Knight
Forged in volcanic fire, their love will create them anew.

1916
Roses in Picardy by Caroline Warfield
In the darkness of war, hope flickers. In the gardens of Picardy, love catches fire.

Excerpt – Roses in Picardy

Are men in Hell happier for a glimpse of Heaven?”

The piercing eyes gentled. “Perhaps not,” the old man said, “but a store of memories might be medicinal in coming months. Will you come back?”

Will I? He turned around to face forward, and the priest poled the boat out of the shallows, seemingly content to allow him his silence.

“How did you arrange my leave?” Harry asked at last, giving voice to a sudden insight.

“Prayer,” the priest said. Several moments later he, added, “And Col. Sutherland in the logistics office has become a friend. I suggested he had a pressing need for someone who could translate requests from villagers.”

“Don’t meddle, old man. Even if they use me, I’ll end up back in the trenches. Visits to Rosemarie Legrand would be futile in any case. The war is no closer to an end than it was two years ago.”

“Despair can be deadly in a soldier, corporal. You must hold on to hope. We all need hope, but to you, it can be life or death,” the priest said.

Life or death. He thought of the feel of the toddler on his shoulder and the colors of les hortillonnages. Life indeed.

The sound of the pole propelling them forward filled several minutes.

“So will you come back?” the old man asked softly. He didn’t appear discomforted by the long silence that followed.

“If I have a chance to come, I won’t be able to stay away,” Harry murmured, keeping his back to the priest.

“Then I will pray you have a chance,” the old man said softly.

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Bio – Caroline Warfield

Caroline Warfield has been many things. Now retired to the urban wilds of Eastern Pennsylvania, she divides her time between writing and seeking adventures with her grandbuddy and the prince among men she married. Her new series sends the children of the heroes of her earlier books to seek their own happiness in the far-flung corners of the British Empire.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter | Pinterest

Bio – The Bluestocking Belles

The Bluestocking Belles (the “BellesInBlue”) are eight 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.

Website | Teatime Tattler | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Giveaway

I will give an ebook copy of any of my earlier books (winner’s choice) to one randomly chosen person who comments.


10 Interesting Historical Facts

I’m happy to welcome author Caroline Warfield. Today, Caroline shares ten interesting facts gleaned from her extensive historical research and her latest release, The Reluctant Wife.

Here’s Caroline!

Joanne, thank you for hosting me and for setting this interesting challenge. Everytime I write a book, I learn more than I bargained for. The Reluctant Wife was no exception. Here, in no particular order, are some of those things.

1. The word Khaki did not come into use until 1857, over twenty years after my story was set.

2. The East India Company instituted mail service overland through Egypt in 1835. It cut months off the previous service which involved sailing around Africa which took roughly six months. I couldn’t resist sending my characters that way: steamship to Suez, across the desert to Cairo, up river to Alexandria and steamshop to England.

3. Historically, various kingdoms in what is now India tended to be diverse. In some courts Moslem, Hindu, Protestant, and Catholic served side by side.

4. Honey was an excellent treatment for burns and other wounds.

5. By the 1830s the Company frowned on intermarraige and forms of fraternization tolerated earlier.

6. The Thugees’ favorite technique for assassination was to join a caravan and strangle victims in their sleep. They traveled in groups.

7. Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, older brother to the Duke of Wellington, ordered Government House in Calcutta on a massive scale designed to reinforce a sense of British power (and not coincidentally, his own consequence).

8. William Withering published data about the use of foxglove to treat heart failure as early as 1785.

9. Adolphe Quetelet, noted that the August meteor shower emanated from the constellation Perseus in 1835. As a result we call the annual event The Perseids.

10. A duke might be the most powerful man in a shire, but the justice of the peace who had the power to turn someone over to the assizes for trial was likely someone else entirely.

Blurb

When all else fails, love succeeds…

Captain Fred Wheatly’s comfortable life on the fringes of Bengal comes crashing down around him when his mistress dies, leaving him with two children he never expected to have to raise. When he chooses justice over army regulations, he’s forced to resign his position, leaving him with no way to support his unexpected family. He’s already had enough failures in his life. The last thing he needs is an attractive, interfering woman bedeviling his steps, reminding him of his duties.

All widowed Clare Armbruster needs is her brother’s signature on a legal document to be free of her past. After a failed marriage, and still mourning the loss of a child, she’s had it up to her ears with the assumptions she doesn’t know how to take care of herself, that what she needs is a husband. She certainly doesn’t need a great lout of a captain who can’t figure out what to do with his daughters. If only the frightened little girls didn’t need her help so badly.

Clare has made mistakes in the past. Can she trust Fred now? Can she trust herself? Captain Wheatly isn’t ashamed of his aristocratic heritage, but he doesn’t need his family and they’ve certainly never needed him. But with no more military career and two half-caste daughters to support, Fred must turn once more—as a failure—to the family he let down so often in the past. Can two hearts rise above past failures to forge a future together?

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Giveaway

Thank you for joining the celebration. Tell us about your favorite story elements. Caroline will give a kindle copy of The Renegade Wife, Book 1 in the series, to one person who comments.

She is also sponsoring a grand prize in celebration of her release. Get it here

The prequel to this series, A Dangerous Nativity, is always **FREE**. You can get a copy here

Excerpt

The ballroom at Government House, Calcutta, 1835

Clare had stopped listening. A prickle of awareness drew her gaze to the entrance where another man entered. He stood well above average height, he radiated coiled strength, and her eyes found his auburn hair unerringly. Captain Wheatly had come. The rapid acceleration of her heart took her off guard. Why should I care that he’s here?

“Clare? The lieutenant asked you a question.”

Lieutenant? Clare blinked to clear her head, only to see Mrs. Davis’s icy glare turned on Captain Wheatly. “Is that your strange captain from the black neighborhood?” she demanded in a faux whisper.

The lieutenant’s avid curiosity added to Clare’s discomfort. “Is that Wheatly in a captain’s uniform? I thought they might demote him after the business with Cornell,” he volunteered.

Clare forced herself to turn to the lieutenant. “Cornell?” she asked to deflect Mrs. Davis’s questions.

“Collector at Dehrapur. Wheatly assaulted the man. Unprovoked, I heard,” the lieutenant answered.

She looked back, unable to stop herself. Merciful angels, he’s seen me. She watched the captain start toward them. At least Gleason could make introductions.

The lieutenant went on as though he had her full attention. “He was in line for promotion, the one that went to your brother instead. Philip posted over there right after it happened.”

Clare found it impossible to look away. The captain gave an ironic smile when he saw her watching. Mrs. Davis gave a sharp intake of breath when she realized Wheatly’s intent. “He’s coming here? Clare, I think I should warn you that a man who has been passed over as this one was—”

Before she could finish, Colonel Davis, who had been coming from the other direction, met the captain and greeted him with a smile. Clare couldn’t hear the words, but Captain Wheatly’s self-deprecating grin seemed to indicate at least a modicum of respect. The two men approached together.

“Captain Frederick Wheatly, may I present my wife, Mrs. Davis.” The captain bowed properly, and the colonel went on, “And our house guest, Miss Armbruster.”

This time the captain’s eyes held a distinct twinkle. “Miss Armbruster and I are acquainted. I met her when she visited her brother in Dehrapur.”

“Of course, of course! I should have remembered,” the colonel said jovially. He leaned toward Clare and winked. “He’s a catch, this one. Doesn’t like to boast of his connections, but earls and dukes lurk in his pedigree. His cousin stepped down from Under-Secretary for War and the Colonies just last year!”

Captain Wheatly looked discomfited by that revelation.

Gleason looked skeptical. “The Duke of Murnane?” he gasped.

Before anyone could answer, the small orchestra hired for the occasion began to play, and the captain cocked an eyebrow as if to ask a question.

“I think the captain wants a dance, Miss Armbruster. It’s your patriotic duty to see to the morale of the troops,” the colonel said coyly.

Captain Wheatly put out a gloved hand, and she put her equally gloved hand in his. Walking away from Gleason and the Davises, she admitted two things to herself. She was glad he came, and she planned to enjoy the dance.

Bio

Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—Caroline Warfield has been many things (even a nun), but above all she is a romantic. Having retired to the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania, she reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows while she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Caroline is a RONE award winner with five star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, Night Owl Reviews, and InD’Tale and an Amazon best-seller. She is also a member of the writers’ co-operative, the Bluestocking Belles. With partners she manages and regularly writes for both The Teatime Tattler and History Imagined.

Where to find Caroline..

Website | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Email


A Second Act? At least.

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Soul Mate author Caroline Warfield chatting about her multi-act life and her latest release, The Renegade Wife.

Here’s Caroline!

Carol Roddy - Author

By my reckoning, I am well into my fourth act, but I suspect a better analogy, is perhaps the bard’s Seven Ages of Man (As You Like It, Act II Scene 7) They prove to be as true for women as they are for men and as true now as they were in the sixteenth century.

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As Infant, I was an adored only child. As Schoolgirl, I was moved from place to place, doing what in an earlier age would have been called following the drum. I was an army brat, perpetually the new kid on the block. I found my refuge in books and in the tree shaded paths of my mind, seeking adventure and romance. You could call those two the first act.

treelinedpath-2

The third age is Lover, and I flung myself into that glorious stage of life with a vengeance, falling in love first with God—yes then and always. When He made it clear my path lay far from the cloister, he gave me Beloved, the other half of my soul. Children came into our life, some children of our body, some from afar, all beloved. This age of life is so all absorbing that those in it can think of little else, even story telling. However, like all life, it passes. Love remains.

Shakespeare called the fourth age of man, the Soldier, and it is an apt description. Career can feel like war, driving the Soldier out, sword in hand, to fight through the thickets of technology, office politics, and success criteria. In my case passionate involvement in libraries and information technology kept me at the top of my game, but left little room for those tree shaded paths. I began to write fiction fairly but, time was short and success limited. Failure and the wisdom of friends taught me hard earned skills anyway.

This fourth act seems to coincide with both the fourth and fifth ages of (wo)man. Old Will talks of Justice, all formal and “Full of wise saws…” and the slips into the foolish slippered Pantaloon “with spectacles on nose…turning toward childish treble pipes and whistles in his sound.”

When the warfare of the Soldier faded away, with some hard earned wisdom on my hide, the stories surfaced again. I had 4-5 books in various stages and condition on my laptop when Soul Mate Publishing accepted Dangerous Works for publication. Then I began to write in earnest—often in those slippers Will mentioned. In three years I have four published novels, one published novella, a fifth novel scheduled for April release, a novella for May, a novella and short story for the holidays and a sixth novel for October release! I fill them with love and family and I hope they teem with life and joy, tragedy and comedy. When Dangerous Secrets won the RONÉ award for “Best Post-Medieval Historical Novel” last year, I took it as a tribute to late-bloomers everywhere.

Who, knows I may have a Shakespearean fifth act in me in me, but whether the whole will resemble on of his tragedies or comedies remains to be seen. I can guarantee you when I slip into his final age “mere oblivion…sans everything” I will have left it all on the floor with no regrets.

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Blurb

Desperate and afraid, Meggy Blair will do whatever it takes to protect her children. She’d hoped to find sanctuary from her abusive husband with her Ojibwa grandmother, but can’t locate her. When her children fall ill, she seeks shelter in an isolated cabin in Upper Canada. But when the owner unexpectedly returns, he’s furious to find squatters disrupting his self-imposed solitude.

Reclusive businessman Rand Wheatly had good reason to put an ocean between himself and the family that deceived him. He just wants the intrusive woman gone, but it isn’t long before Meggy and the start breaking down the defensive walls he’s built. But their fragile interlude is shattered when Meggy’s husband appears to claim his children, threatening to have Rand jailed.

The only way for Meggy to protect Rand is to leave him. But when her husband takes her and the children to England, Meggy discovers he’s far more than an abuser; what he’s involved in endangers all their lives. To rescue the woman who has stolen his heart, Rand must follow her and do what he swore he’d never do: reconcile with his aristocratic family and finally uncover the truth behind all the lies. But time is running out for them all.

A Quick Excerpt

She pushed away from the door. “If you’re finished, I’ll clear up your dishes.

“Damn it woman, I fend for myself here.” He looked her up and down. He noticed her deep blue eyes, midnight black hair, and dusky skin. “What are you? Gypsy? Is that where you learned how to diddle a man out of his belongings?”

She drew her back up straight and squared her shoulders. The gesture pulled her dress tight across obviously ample breasts.

There’s a practiced enticement. She’s in for a surprise if she thinks that trick will work on me.

Chin high, she met his eyes without flinching. “My grandmother is Ojibwa, my father was French, and my husband was a Scot. You can despise whichever one of those your English heart chooses, or all of them, but I am not a thief.”

She grabbed her skirt and took a step toward the door. “Do fend for yourself. We’ll leave as soon as we can.”

“I’ll decide when you’re a thief,” he snarled, bringing her to a halt. “It’s my house.”

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Bio

Caroline Warfield writes in an office in the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania surrounded by windows while she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart. Her most recent novel is The Renegade Wife.

Where to find Caroline…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

Joanne here!

Caroline, Thanks for the entertaining and inspiring post! Best of luck with all your literary endeavors.


10 Reasons I Love Historical Romance

I’m thrilled to welcome Soul Mate author Caroline Warfield to the Power of 10 series. Today, Caroline shares the reasons she loves historical romance and her latest release, Dangerous Weakness.

Here’s Caroline!

Carol Roddy - Author1. Castles and manor houses—I wouldn’t want to clean one but it is fun to fantasize living in one. I would particularly love a house with fabulous views from every window.

2. Servants—who wouldn’t want them?

3. Tall ships—they look glorious under sail, and impressive when docked. Although I would without doubt suffer from mal-de-mer if I had to sail on one, I love to look at them.

4. Paper—deep cream-colored vellum, or scrolls of parchment or papyrus. Old books and documents draw me like a bee to honey.

5. Houses with libraries in them—nothing is better than walls lined with books, dark wood and the smell of bees’ wax.

6. Standards—most historical periods come with clear standards for behavior, honor, and romance. The rules give structure to the age old dance of love, and ease the writer’s task.

7. Clothes—long gowns and soft fabrics look yummy. Periods in which the fashions are simple and take a natural shape such as ancient Rome, the Regency, and the first thirty years of the 20th century appeal to me the most.

8. Heroes—men who have honor and courage, with a mix of protectiveness and tenderness. Heroes who aren’t afraid to both manage a nation and build a family, bending from great issues to small children when called upon.

9. Family–sadly enough I find stories about family and life-long marriage easier to write when placed in an earlier time.

10. History itself—I love stories placed against the great events with their larger than life heroes.

dangerousweakness

Blurb

If women were as easily managed as the affairs of state—or the recalcitrant Ottoman Empire—Richard Hayden, Marquess of Glenaire, would be a happier man. As it was the creatures—one woman in particular—made hash of his well-laid plans and bedeviled him on all sides.

Lily Thornton came home from Saint Petersburg in pursuit of marriage. She wants a husband and a partner, not an overbearing, managing man. She may be “the least likely candidate to be Marchioness of Glenaire,” but her problems are her own to fix, even if those problems include both a Russian villain and an interfering Ottoman official.

Given enough facts, Richard can fix anything. But protecting that impossible woman is proving to be almost as hard as protecting his heart, especially when Lily’s problems bring her dangerously close to an Ottoman revolution. As Lily’s personal problems entangle with Richard’s professional ones, and she pits her will against his, he chases her across the pirate-infested Mediterranean. Will she discover surrender isn’t defeat? It might even have its own sweet reward.

Excerpt

“We will marry of course,” he told her. “Quickly, but not so abruptly as to cause comments.” He walked toward the door, expecting her to follow.

“I beg your pardon,” she called out to him. “We will what?”

He turned on his heel. “Miss Thornton, you will be the Marchioness of Glenaire. That is far from ideal, and the difference in our state will no doubt cause talk. We will have to endure it.”

“Why?” she demanded. “Why this ‘far from ideal’ demand? Has Lady Sarah refused you?”

“Don’t be coy, Miss Thornton. You have led me into folly at every step. After last night I have no choice. I shall have to marry you. My family—”

“Your family would have kittens if I married you, which I will not.”

“You have respectable, if not the highest, breeding, you will show to advantage when properly dressed, and you will do well as a diplomatic hostess. My family, I was going to say, will have to deal with it.” He stalked away. “So will you.”

“I will not,” Lily shouted after him.

Buy Links – Amazon

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Bio

Caroline Warfield has at various times been an army brat, a librarian, a poet, a raiser of children, a nun, a bird watcher, an Internet and Web services manager, a conference speaker, an indexer, a tech writer, a genealogist, and, of course, a romantic. She has sailed through the English channel while it was still mined from WWII, stood on the walls of Troy, searched Scotland for the location of an entirely fictional castle (and found it), climbed the steps to the Parthenon, floated down the Thames from the Tower to Greenwich, shopped in the Ginza, lost herself in the Louvre, gone on a night safari at the Singapore zoo, walked in the Black Forest, and explored the underground cistern of Istanbul. By far the biggest adventure has been life-long marriage to a prince among men.

She sits in front of a keyboard at a desk surrounded by windows, looks out at the trees and imagines. Her greatest joy is when one of those imaginings comes to life on the page and in the imagination of her readers.

Where to find Caroline…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

Giveaway

Caroline will give a Kindle copy of the winner’s choice of Dangerous Works or Dangerous Secrets to one randomly selected person who comments.