Take a Leap

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Soul Mate author Carol Roddy sharing insights and advice from her multi-act life.

Here’s Carol!

By my count, I am now in my third—or perhaps fourth act. Let me talk about the move from one to two.

Like many folks, college involved some changes. I was happily majoring in East Asian Studies and dreaming of possible graduate work at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service when I met Beloved. My priorities shifted quickly and I launched into my first act as a stay at home Mom. Initially it was all consuming. Children—bright, interesting, creative little people—came quickly and took all my attention. Parenthood may be a lifetime commitment, but little ones are temporary; they insist on growing up.

Several factors pushed me into the next act.

• As much as I liked having children, I craved intellectual stimulation. I also craved conversation with adults. Graduate school helped with those two.
• Raising a family on one income is tough.
• My youngest started school. Keeping house bores me silly, especially one empty most of the day.

After finishing my Masters in Library Science, I went to work in a public library. I could have stayed there for thirty years. I didn’t. Many factors weren’t working for me including the fact that typical library hours (2 nights a week and every other Sunday) aren’t terribly family-friendly. Leaving a good professional job for a part time clerical position at a small technology company close to home was a huge risk.

However, that risk resulted in an explosion of knowledge. I had walked into a small, creative, innovative company, a place where if you could think it up, you could do it. It was the pre-Internet days, but within two years I had built a database of technology products for disabled children, mounted it on a dial-in platform for public access, and written my first tech manual.

Alas, after a few years, our funding disappeared and I moved on. Over the next thirty years I zigzagged through a time of upheaval in the technology industry, working for companies and divisions that were bought, sold, merged, and disbanded. I was laid off and in a position where I had to lay others off. I helped close a division; I built new organizations from scratch three times. I directed shared library technology at the state, county, and local level.

I learned:

• Risks pay off. Even when one doesn’t pay off, it moves you closer to your goal.
• To do nothing is a bigger risk than stepping out. You will never achieve a goal if you are afraid to make changes.
• Change forces growth. Sometimes something has to end for something new to take life. Embrace it.

That leads me to my third act. In the middle of work I loved, something in me kept longing to write fiction. I worked on my first novel for several years, but I never told anyone except Beloved. Approaching retirement, I knew I wanted writing to be what filled my need to be creative. I also knew it wouldn’t happen if I kept hiding it.

I took a risk. I sent that first book to a critique service. Was it great? No, but I learned a ton, and began the second book. I took another risk: I began pitching my books, swallowing rejecting and learning more. Why not just publish it myself? It wasn’t ready and wouldn’t earn back what an editor would cost. As luck—or God’s kind providence—would have it, Soul Mate Publishing accepted one of my books within months of my retirement. I’m not on the NY Times bestseller list, but I have awards, top pick reviews, and, above all, readers who like what I do. I’m a happy camper.

My advice? Don’t let fear of failure keep you paralyzed. You learn the most when things don’t go right. Nothing will happen unless you take a risk.

About the Author and Her Books

Caroline Warfield’s passions are faith, family, history and travel and all four drive her stories. She writes historical romance set in the Regency, Late Georgian, and Victorian eras. She is currently working on a Children of Empire, a series set in the 1830s, when the British Empire was approaching its zenith.

Three cousins, who grew up together in the English countryside, are driven apart by deceit and lies. (You may guess a woman is involved!) Though they all escape to the outposts of The British Empire, they all make their way home to England, facing their demons while finding love and the support of women of character and backbone. They are:

• Randolph Baldwin Wheatly who has become a recluse, and lives in isolation in frontier Canada intent on becoming a timber baron, until a desperate woman invades his peace. (Book 1: The Renegade Wife)
• Captain Frederick Arthur Wheatly, an officer in the Bengal army, who enjoys his comfortable life on the fringes until his mistress dies, and he’s forced to choose between honor and the army. (Book 2: The Reluctant Wife)
• Charles, Duke of Murnane, tied to a miserable marriage, throws himself into government work to escape bad memories. He accepts a commission from the Queen that takes him to Canton and Macau, only to face his past there. (Book 3: The Unexpected Wife)

Who are their ladies?

• Meggy Campeau, the daughter of a French trapper and Ojibwe mother who has made mistakes, but is fierce in protecting her children. (Book 1: The Renegade Wife)
• Clare Armbruster, fiercely independent woman of means, who is determined to make her own way in life, but can’t resist helping a foolish captain sort out his responsibilities. (Book 2: The Reluctant Wife)
• Zambak Hayden, eldest child of the Duke of Sudbury, knows she’d make a better heir than her feckless younger brother, but can’t help protecting the boy to the point of following him to China. She may just try to sort out the Empire’s entangled tea trade–and its ugly underpinning, opium, while she’s there. (Book 3: The Unexpected Wife)

Book 3, The Unexpected Wife, will be released on July 25.

Charles Wheatly, Duke of Murnane, doesn’t expect to find his great love when he accepts an unofficial fact finding mission to Canton on behalf of the queen. He certainly doesn’t expect to confront his wreck of a marriage in such an exotic locale. Zambak Hayden follows her brother to China to escape pressure to make a suitable marriage. She finds the brother drawn into the world of greed, smuggling, drugs, and corruption and resolves to both sort out the truth and protect her brother from becoming prey to all of it—if only she could stop yearning for the one man she can’t have.

Here’s a short video about it.

It’s a good time to read Book 1 and begin the series!

For more about Children of Empire and all of Caroline’s books, look here.

A prequel to the series, A Dangerous Nativity, is always ***FREE*** at various retailers. Find out more here.

Stay in touch with Caroline in cyberspace in any of these places:

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

Joanne here!

Carol, I’m in awe of all the risks you have taken. You are an inspiration! Best of luck with all your literary endeavors.


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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