Monday, December 19, 2011
Guest Post & Giveaway: ALL THE PLEASURES OF THE SEASON by Lecia Cornwall
Hi Everyone! I would like to welcome author Lecia Cornwall to the blog. She is here today to promote her new novella, All the Pleasures of the Season and talk about her favorite historical time period.
I find endless excitement and romance in history! I grew up reading fairy tales, and then real life history. The Tudors were my first great love. The BBC series “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” came out when I was about ten, and I looked forward to watching it every week (does anything tell people I was born to be a writer better than that?).
Then I discovered medieval history, and people like Eleanor of Aquitaine (she was Richard the Lionheart’s remarkable mother) and Sir William Marshal, the most incredible alpha hero EVER. These real life characters were stronger, wilier, and more intriguing than any fictional characters could be. When I began writing actual books in my spare time, I wrote medieval romances.
My books are presently set in the Regency. It was such an incredible era, and it offers everything an author—or a reader—could want. There are fabulous clothes, larger than life characters and who could resist the grand sweep of world events from the French Revolution to the Napoleonic wars? Society was so structured—but as lovers of Regency romance know, rules were made to be broken. Under all those strict laws of behavior and etiquette, there was a wild, dark, seductive layer. For every proper miss, there was an improper mistress, for every noble lord, there was a spy, a thief, or a rake. The Regency was also a time of huge advancement, with new discoveries in science, great literature, art, and architecture. There was all the celebrity gossip you could want, with the scandalous royal misbehavior of the naughty Prince Regent to Napoleon’s battles, and his tempestuous marriages, family and mistresses.
Stories like ALL THE PLEASURES OF THE SEASON, my Christmas e-novella, offer a glimpse at Regency society, both as it really was and how we’d like it to be. The heroine is Miranda Archer, the granddaughter of a duke. She is expected to marry within her class, adding wealth, prestige, and noble sons to both her family line and her husband’s.
Well-born ladies didn’t make love matches very often. They married according to the advice and authority of the men who ruled their lives, and gentlemen of that time chose a wife as much for her cash value as her beauty (and if it came down to a choice between the two, cash usually won out over looks). But what if a duke’s granddaughter were to fall in love with someone outside her class, someone she could never hope to marry, a man with no money, no land, no title? Gilbert Fielding is a second son, and he’s for the army. Rising above his class by marrying ‘up’ would dismay his father, a simple baron, and scandalize good society.
And what if a lady bows to family pressure and agrees to marry England’s handsomest, most eligible earl, only to find he is less honorable, less interesting, less everything than that plain second son? What would she do? What could she do? Breaking off the engagement was scandalous in her time. Her family would be devastated. She’d get a reputation, though her huge dowry would certainly go a long way to encourage future suitors to overlook it.
It certainly helps that Miranda Archer’s family is a most unconventional clan. They’ve caused and survived dozens of scandals, and they never do the expected. Until now. Miranda is determined to do as her grandfather wishes, and make the best of her marriage, even though it’s starting to look like that might just be impossible. Fortunately, every Archer knows that when they marry, they marry for love, and if their youngest sister is unhappy, then they will move mountains to set things right.
But does Gilbert Fielding really want to put himself in the midst of all this, even for the woman he loves? It would be so much simpler to ride off to war, and do what society expects of him. He could just get on a ship, and let Miranda marry her earl, but he learns a secret about Miranda’s fiancé, and her brother-in-law owns the ship, and he isn’t about to give Gilbert passage without an explanation.
It comes down to choice, dear readers, and a willingness to challenge all those rules and conventions. Will Miranda and Gilbert do the expected thing, or will they risk everything for a chance at happiness? And if they do, how on earth is it going to succeed? Miranda’s grandfather still must approve the match, and he isn’t likely to welcome an upstart into the esteemed family tree.
Thankfully, it’s Christmas, the season of love and miracles, and all they can do is hope for one of their own.
Could this story happen in any other time period? Possibly, but there’s something about the Regency that makes it better. Those rules. Those clothes. Those titles! And of course, those houses. I chose Holker Hall in England’s magnificent Lake District as the inspiration for Carrington Castle. Who wouldn’t want to spend Christmas there? http://www.holker.co.uk/DB/events-3/christmas-at-holker-2.html
Regency Christmas celebrations were fun and festive. The aristocracy spent Christmastide at their country estates. While Queen Charlotte introduced the Christmas tree (Prince Albert later made it fashionable), the medieval tradition of going out and gathering greens to decorate the hall on Christmas Eve prevailed during the Regency. So did the Twelve Days of Christmas, with parties and celebrations lasting from Christmas Eve to Epiphany. Festivities began on Christmas Eve, when a party would go out into the woods and pull mistletoe down from the trees, collect holly and ivy, and rosemary. The gentlemen would find an ash tree and cut it down as the Yule Log. The remains of last year’s Yule log would be used to light the new one on Christmas Eve, and it would burn for the full twelve days. It symbolized luck for the coming year, and a return to the light half of the year.
With favorite holiday foods, family, carols, parties and games, a Regency Christmas wasn’t that different than our own. And isn’t love and family the best thing about Christmas?
What is Christmas without gifts and surprises? For a chance to win an e-copy of ALL THE PLEASURES OF THE SEASON (remember it’s available only in e-format), tell me one thing you love about your favorite time period in history.
Wishing everyone out there all the pleasures of the season!
*Update* The daily winner of the eBook copy of All the Pleasure of the Season is Shelly B. Congratulations! The eBook will be sent to you.
There is still time to enter for the $25 Amazon gift card, through December 23rd.
Author Bio – Lecia Cornwall
I was born in the wrong century.
Don't get me wrong, I'm devoted to the conveniences of this world, especially modern plumbing and good chocolate, but I long for the elegance, grace and adventures of the past.
I've always wanted to be a writer, and a historical writer at that. In fourth grade, I wrote a story about a Welsh mining pony that takes revenge for the horrible conditions in the pits. In sixth grade, my mother got a letter from the teacher after I wrote a story about a grandmotherly shop owner in occupied Europe who lured enemy soldiers into her shop and made sausages out of them. I was probably the only kid in my class who fell in love with the Masterpiece Theatre series The Six Wives of Henry VIII.
As an adult, I became a direct marketing copywriter. When my children were born, I stayed home with them (the best decision I ever made), worked as a freelance writer, and dreamed of writing fiction.
My big chance came when we moved from Ottawa to Calgary, Alberta. Unemployed, I decided to start downloading the daydreams whirling around in my head. After six years of learning and honing my craft, submitting to dozens of contests and editors and agents, I found a wonderful agent (Kevan Lyon) and sold my first book. I discovered the harder you work, the quicker luck comes calling.
When I'm not writing with a cat by my side, I'm volunteering at my daughter's high school, or corresponding with my son at university. In the afternoon, I can usually be found walking my dog and pondering my latest plot by the beautiful Bow River.
I was born in Toronto, raised my family in Ottawa, and now live in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies with four cats, two teenagers, a crazy chocolate lab and one very patient husband.
1) Lecia is giving away an e-copy of her novella, All the Pleasures of the Season to one lucky winner today. The winner will be announced on this post.2) She is also giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one one randomly drawn commenter during the entire tour.
Please tell us one thing you love about your favorite time period in history and leave your email address.Be sure to visit the other blogs on this tour. Click on the tour button below for a list of participating blogs.