Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Susana Ellis gives us her new #Regency, A Home for Helena, #timetravel, #release party today! Prizes!

A Home for Helena Release Party: March 29, 2016, 4:00-11:00 p.m. EDT
Guest authors • Prizes • Fabulous gowns • Swoonworthy heroes • Fun for everyone


Widowed father James Walker has no intention of remarrying until he makes the acquaintance of his daughter’s lovely new governess. 

Lady Pendleton, a time-traveling Regency lady herself, suspects that these two belong together. First, however, she must help Helena discover her true origins—and hopefully, a home where she belongs.

A Home for Helena is Book 2 of The Lady P Chronicles.

Book 1, The Ultimate Escape, originally published in the Bluestocking Belles’ anthology, Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem, will soon be available individually.

EXCERPT, All Rights Reserved.
Newsome Grange
Kingswood, Kent
Later that morning

Miss Dray is dead?”
James stared incredulously at Sir Henry, who, for once, was not wearing his normal easy-going expression. Instead, he leaned against the mantel of the fireplace of his study, studying the grate as though there were a fire blazing in it.
“Good God, what happened? Is Annabelle all right?”
“She’s fine, James.”
Lady Sarah strolled through the doorway and into her husband’s arms. In spite of her words, she looked worn out. Strands of her blonde hair were falling out of her chignon, and he thought he saw the remains of tears on her cheeks.
“The girls are quite distressed, of course. They were fond of Miss Dray. As were we all,” she said with a glance at her husband, whose arm remained tightly clasped around her shoulders. “She was a dear thing, but very strict. The perfect governess. I don’t know how we shall go on without her.” Her voice broke and she buried her face on her husband’s chest.
“They found her in Abbey Wood,” Sir Henry explained. “Wednesday was her half-day, and when she didn’t return, we sent out a search party. No signs of foul play. The doctor says it was natural causes—her heart just gave out.”
His wife erupted in sobs again, and James decided he should find his daughter and leave the Newsomes to their grief, giving voice to that decision.
Lady Sarah turned to face him, accepting her husband’s handkerchief to dab her eyes with.
“Oh no, James, you needn’t do that. The nanny will manage until Mother can send us a replacement. Emily and Theodosia simply love having Annabelle around, and it will only distress them further if she leaves as well.  And as for Colin, I’ve no doubt he thinks Annabelle’s his mother by now. She has a way with babies, it seems.”
James was not convinced. “Still, it takes time to find a governess.” He should know—the agency he’d consulted in London had yet to send him information on any potential candidates.
Sir Henry chuckled. “Have you met my mother-in-law?”
Lady Sarah smiled in spite of herself. “We sent an express requesting her aid. If I know her, she’ll come herself if she can’t find someone suitable to fill in until we find a permanent replacement.”
Sir Henry winked at him. “Perhaps she’ll bring along that pretty Miss Lloyd she has residing with her. I think she liked you well enough.” He chuckled. “Not looking for a husband, though. Or so she says.”
James frowned. He’d nearly succeeded in forcing the image of the forthright Miss Lloyd out of his mind, and now she had installed herself right back in again. If he were truthful with himself, he’d admit he wouldn’t be sorry to see her again. She was quite an eyeful.
It was really too bad he hadn't been able to visit Violet while in London. It seemed her new protector demanded exclusivity, and he'd not been able to get past her burly butler. He hadn't been near an attractive woman in ages, and this Miss Lloyd was proving strangely difficult to dismiss from his thoughts.
Lady Sarah looked thoughtful. “What do you know about this Miss Lloyd, Henry? Where did she come from? I don’t believe Mother has ever mentioned her before.”
Sir Henry grinned as he looked down at her. “She’s your mother, my dear. Surely you know by now how unpredictable she can be.”
Lady Sarah drew a deep breath. “I do know that. That’s precisely why I’m—concerned.”
James cleared his throat. “I appreciate your kindness in offering to keep my daughter, but you obviously have more than enough to deal with at present. If you would be so kind as to call her down… I can send for her things later.”
But the Newsomes wouldn’t hear of it. Lady Sarah was so vehement that he could see she was almost ready to burst into tears again, and after Sir Henry shook his head in warning, James visited his daughter briefly and left without her.
As he rode home, no matter how he fought it, his mind’s eye kept reverting to a pair of bright green eyes and the lovely face that went with them.  Would he be seeing them again?

The wheels of the golden carriage rolled over the fine gravel drive through the grand metal gateway, passing under a bower of stately oak trees toward the magnificent palace. Helena peered out the window to admire the lavish beauty of her future home with its crenellated walls and tall turrets and the colorful flags waving in the breeze. A multitude of common people lined the entrance to the castle, cheering and calling out, “Welcome home, Your Royal Highness!” and “The Princess has returned! Long live the Princess!”
Shaking with excitement, Helena waved eagerly at her subjects, wishing she could descend the carriage and embrace them all for their warm welcome.
Home. Yes, she was home. After a lifetime of being lost in a world that was not her own, she was finally returning to the place where she belonged, to the parents out of whose arms she had been snatched by an evil witch. But that nightmare was over now. She would soon be reunited with her very own parents, who had been relentlessly searching for her for decades.
Her parents. Dressed in magnificent robes with jewels sparkling from their crowns, they eagerly waited for the carriage to stop and the door opened to reveal their long-lost daughter. Happy tears clouded Helena’s vision, but she imagined their faces to be older versions of the miniatures on her locket.
The cheering intensified as the footman opened the carriage door, snapped the metal step ladder in place, and held out a hand to assist her in alighting from the carriage. Once on the ground, she smoothed out the folds of her silver-threaded gown, and waved to the cheering crowd before turning to ascend the staircase to where her parents awaited.
She forced herself to take several deep, calming breaths to keep herself from rushing toward them like a lunatic. Could this really be happening or was it some incredible dream from which she would awaken and find herself alone once more? She’d never dreamed she could be so happy. Or that anyone could be so happy. The world just didn’t work that way, at least not in her experience.
Only a few yards away, they locked eyes on her, and suddenly her mother shrieked and crumpled in her husband’s arms.
“How can this be?” she sobbed. “It is too cruel to torment us in such a manner!”
The king—her father—glared at her, nostrils flaring.
“Where is our daughter?” he demanded. “Our real daughter? Our little Helena who was cruelly taken from us.”
Helena fell on her knees before them. “But I am your daughter. I’ve grown up, you see. I’ve been gone more than 26 years! Surely you don’t expect me to be a baby still!”
The queen straightened her back and scowled at Helena. “Do you think us fools? We could not possibly have a daughter as old as you. You are nothing but yet another imposter!”
And Helena saw that it was indeed true—her parents looked exactly as they had in the locket; they had not aged at all since the miniatures were painted.
“But I am your daughter!” She cried and pleaded until her throat grew sore. The crowd around her had turned hostile, yelling “Imposter! Imposter! Off with her head!"
“I am Helena! I am your daughter! Not an imposter! You must believe me!"


Misplaced in time… can she find her way home?

$2.99 on Amazon or FREE on Kindle Unlimited


Susana Ellis has always had stories in her head waiting to come out, especially when she learned to read and her imagination began to soar.

A former teacher, Susana lives in Toledo, Ohio in the summer and Florida in the winter. She is a member of the Central Florida Romance Writers and the Beau Monde chapters of RWA and Maumee Valley Romance Inc.
Website: http://www.SusanaEllis.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Susana.Ellis.5
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SusanaAuthor
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The Ultimate Escape: Book 1 of The Lady P Chronicles (from Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem)
On the eve of her wedding, Julia realizes she cannot marry her fiancé after all, no matter that it’s been her dream for eight long years. Too distraught to face him, she follows in her mother’s footsteps and flees to the future for a brief reprieve.

Oliver knows he has bungled things badly, but he is determined to win the woman he loves, even if he must travel through time to do it.


The Third MacPherson Sister (from Sweet Summer Kisses)
Rebecca’s older sisters took the ton by storm while she herself has failed to attract a suitor in four Seasons. Miles is pondering his urgent need for a wife when Rebecca lands in his lap in the nave of Bath Abbey. A match between them seems ordained by the heavens… except for the little matter of his past history with her sisters.


Lost and Found Lady (from Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles)
Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late?


A Twelfth Night Tale (from Cotillion Christmas Celebrations)
A wounded soldier and the girl next door find peace and love amidst a backdrop of rural Christmas traditions.

Barnes & Noble

Treasuring Theresa
She's a country lady. He's a London swell. They have nothing in common. Or have they?

Treasuring Theresa was a finalist in the 2013 EPIC Awards.

Barnes & Noble


Thursday, March 24, 2016

A nibble of my new #Regency cherry, INTERLUDE WITH A BARON? YES! #99cents

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An excerpt from Cerise DeLand’s INTERLUDE WITH A BARON, Copyright 2016, Cerise DeLand. All rights reserved.

“Excuse me, will you?” Dray dismissed himself from the group. He had four days to talk with all these people at this house party. What lured Dray was his favorite puzzle. The famous Marlthorpe maze.
  He escaped through the French doors opening to the veranda and the complex design of the evergreens. He loved this labyrinth, its path copied from an ancient Greek oracle. For many years, he’d come here to Marlthorpe’s springtime party and sought out the serenity of the garden and the mental exercise it afforded. Puzzles were his favorite pastime when he was not making money.
Starting down the entrance, he paused a moment to consider the right turn or the left. He’d tried the left last year and found it led to a circular route back to the entry. Right then, it would be. The yews had grown two inches or more since last spring and the enclosure was quiet, comforting. That is, it was until he heard giggles from another quarter of the shrubbery.
  The sounds were those of a young child and a woman.
  “Come now, Christine,” the female voice was low, breathless. It had a distinctive rasp.
  Dray halted.
  “You must put on your mask, dearest. You have the advantage if you can see!” The woman laughed though she tried to sound stern.
  And Dray swallowed, drowning his instincts about the identity of the lady who chased her daughter in the garden.
   The child shrieked in delight, then pattered away.
  Rustlings in the bushes gave evidence of the two running.
  “I found you!” the woman said.
  “Not fair. Not fair, Miss Bedlow.” The girl objected but laughed nonetheless.
   Miss Bedlow? How could it be?  
   Dray stared at the wall of greenery.
   The two chuckled and chased each other.
   The woman stopped. “Wait, Christine!”
   He spun around, following the sounds, his head whirling with the shock and the possibility that Emma Bedlow was a guest at this party. That she played with a child.
   And that she was in this garden and he was, too. After years of taking care to never cross her path, how ironic that he could come to a house party on a spring afternoon in Berkshire and be so near.
   He stood, confounded by his choices. Call to her. See her. In truth, over the next three days, he would eventually be near her. To converse. To dine. To dance. Better to face her alone now than later in a room filled with curious spectators.
  So be it. Following their voices, he tracked her and her charge down one path and left across another. Luck was with him and he recalled one lane with the grey stone bench…and another one with the potted white roses along the east barrier.
  The noises stopped.
  The girl asked a question and Emma answered, walking toward him and laughing.
  Anxious, fretful, he turned a corner.
   Let his eyes revel in the sight of her.
   She was holding hands with a girl and beginning a children’s roundelay.
  The girl broke away from her, racing around like a little animal and not watching where she was going, she ran right into Dray.
   With a grunt, she froze and peered up at him.
   Dray caught the child with hands to her shoulders. She squirmed and pleaded with him to let her go.
   But Dray had no presence of mind to do it. He gazed at Em, his soul drinking in her pale green gown, her fuller figure, her wealth of midnight hair. He had died of thirst for years to see her—and he rejoiced that she appeared hale and hearty, even happy, if also at the moment, shocked to stillness.
  What to say to her? What to call her? He wouldn’t address her by her title. That was one she’d hated, never wanted. And since the autumn, she told it about that she wished to discard her married name for her maiden.
  “My lady, how wonderful to see you again.”
  She gaped at him as she blinked and stepped backward. “My lord.”
  “I had no idea you were here.”
   “I—I was amusing her, tiring her before…”
   He tore his gaze from hers and looked at the girl with a critical eye. The child was too old to be hers and Montroy’s. Was she ten? Eleven? Twelve years old, at the very most. When he’d last seen Em after Waterloo, she’d been married only a year and the anniversary of that great battle would be five years in June. This child was not hers.
  He peered at her. “You are invited to the house party?”
   Emma shook her head so forcefully that her shining hair, so thick, fell from her pins, draping her shoulders with fat curls. “ Yes. But I will not attend.”
   He took a step nearer. She was as lovely—no, even more beautiful than she’d been as an eighteen-year-old dancing in his arms at the Dunstables’ ball. Now she was what? Twenty-four? Twenty-five?   Her cheeks were plumper. Her exotic aqua eyes round with shock. Her form was fuller. A woman, no longer a girl. A woman who had seen too much agony and deserved all the laughter and light she could garner in her lifetime.
   “I don’t understand. Are you not a guest?”
  “I am acting governess to the earl of Tunbridge’s daughter. Forgive me. This is Lady Christine, my lord. My dear, I present Baron Lansdowne.”
   While the girl murmured how she was pleased to meet him, he took a second to realize Em used the formal title of Naill Wainwright. Astonishing, too, was that this child was Naill’s, the one no one ever saw and often remarked might not exist.
   “You are employed?”
   “I am.”
   That confused him. She had money. He’d made certain of it. His sum complemented that from her mother’s dowry, which her father had not been able to throw after bad schemes, grasping mistresses and cards. “Will you come inside and—?”
   “No, my lord.” She stiffened and never took her eyes from him. “I cannot.”
  “I am so delighted to see you, Em.”
   She looked as if she were about to cry. But she took hold of her charge’s hand. “I must go.”
   “Wait, Em. I must talk to you.” Make amends.
   “I do not wish to speak with you. Go about your party, my lord. Say nothing, I beg you, of this or me to anyone.”
   The Elgin family had invited her. They had evidently accepted that she needed careful assistance to enter society again. He didn’t understand why she hung back.
   Unless she was angry at him.
  And he couldn’t blame her. “Em, I mean you no harm.”
   She put up a hand. “Please, Dray. I must do this my way. Let me go in peace.”

   And since she had had so little of it in her life, he did as she asked and watched her leave him. As she always did.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A nibble of my new cherry, MASQUERADE WITH A MARQUESS! You need it!

Masquerade With a Marquess, Regency Romp #3
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An excerpt from Cerise DeLand’s MASQUERADE WITH A MARQUESS
Copyright 2016, Cerise DeLand. All rights reserved.
Victor made his way toward the threesome—and stopped in his tracks.
Across the room, a woman stood near the wall. Attired in a simple gown of cream, she portrayed a Greek or Roman queen. Her half mask was white, covering a straight nose and framing eyes that darted and scanned, settling here and there and moving on. Her hair glowed like pale sunlight. Beneath a headband of gold and white satin, her tresses curled in a braid high around her head. In a bow to current fashion, delicate wisps dangled at her ears. But the disarray made her more elegant, more classically beautiful. He could not drink in enough of her—and his mind stalled.
His stomach clenched. Oh, most definitely, this was the elusive housemaid. Or more accurately, Sophia di Bertolla di Contini, the daughter of the famous Italian courtier and poet, Marco di Bertolla.
Why would she come here to this party disguised?
 The irony that she should appear here in plain sight when he had searched for her for weeks had him setting his teeth. What game did she play?
The woman had disappeared from Whiting’s house that night in December. He’d run out into the streets to search for her, to no avail. He’d hired men he often employed to track thieves or those who owed him money. But they’d found no one answering her description in any lodgings in greater London. He’d extended their territory to search for her in Dover and Calais, assuming she might seek refuge there to book a packet across the Channel. They had come up short.
But here she was.
No maid’s drab cloth for her tonight. The opposite. Poised, shining and polished as a marble goddess, she surveyed the guests, all grace and purpose. She spoke with no one. In truth, she seemed to hug the walls. Was she here alone?
He made his way across the ballroom. In the crowd, that took him time. Too much, in fact. And as he wove his way among his guests, she left her secluded spot to wander toward the central hall. Odd, that. The ladies’ retiring room was on this wing. If she wondered precisely where, she need only ask a servant who would redirect her.  But she didn’t.
She continued toward the foyer. Scurrying, really.
Then she froze. Her eyes rounded.
Victor followed her line of sight.
Dray appeared straight ahead of her in the doorway, his ginger hair mussed by the wind and the half-black mask he wore. She turned aside, deftly weaving around Dray with not so much as a nod of greeting. That easily, she slipped out.
Victor hastened to catch her. But damn the crowd.
Threading his way through the throng required more greetings and diplomacy than he had expected. Next year, by god, he’d stay home. He wished to speak only to this intruder who appeared here as a guest. A creature who perennially danced in his memory like Salome.
Muttering to himself about his failure to eradicate her from his thoughts, Victor picked up his pace toward the hall.
But in his path stood Dray.
“I must speak with you.” Dray stepped toward him, straightening his tailcoat but looking oddly agitated.
“Later.” Victor clasped his step-brother’s hand. “Wait for me, please.”
“This is important. Where’re you going?” He turned as Victor passed him by.
“A guest.” He’d explain her identity later. “She’s headed the wrong way to the retiring room.”
“Put a footman to the task. I have news from Windsor—”
“Dray, wait.”
“I can’t!”
Victor ignored him and hurried away.
At the first floor landing of the staircase, he came to a stop. He turned to one side, the movement of a figure catching his eye. But it was a man, not Sophia.
In a stealthy move, the man shut the door behind him. As the latch clicked, so did knowledge of who the man was.
Otis Underwood. A degenerate of the first order.
Was he stalking Sophia? Was she in that room?
The reason that she might have gone there rose like bile in his throat. Did she seek an assignation with Underwood?
Preposterous. She had better sense than that. Or had years ago. Why would she consider alliance with such a man as he? She had no reason.
But he squeezed his eyes shut a second. Of course, it was her looks. The soft blue eyes that mesmerized a man. The lush rosy lips that inspired erotic fantasies in any man who gazed upon her. Young, old, infirm, any man with blood in his veins took one long look and coveted her.
Distaste for Underwood and his nefarious actions washed away all condemnation of Sophia.
Still, why was she floating around Winterbourne’s house?
She wasn’t a thief. Or hadn’t been that night at Whiting’s.
But was she in that room and if so, what did she want?
Flummoxed, he ripped off his mask and swung about, once more in complete review of the hall. No doubt of it. Unless she’d left the house, she was in that room where she should not be.
He’d root her out. He would.
He took the hall on cats’ feet. With utmost care, he turned the knob and thrust open the door.

Across the moonlit room she stood in profile to him facing Underwood. The man advanced on her, a salacious smile upon his fleshy lips, his hawk-like nose hooked like the predator he was.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Did Cerise's #Marquess and his lover, the Countess, really find Pauline #Bonaparte's missing gold? #Regency

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You love your historical fiction to have a few facts? Of course you do!

Not just the way the characters dress or talk or regard each other with proper manners. No, no. You like them to have a foot in their own era, their own problems.

Well! Do I have fun for you!

Lots of occurrences in my MASQUERADE WITH A MARQUESS are true. Like what, you ask?

George III really did die in Windsor Castle January 29, 1820 only days after his youngest son passed away. And that man was Duke of Kent, Victoria's father. A year and a half mourning period ensued. The royal court wore black. Noblemen and women wore black armbands and Parliament did adjourn, then reconvene later in the spring. Parties were at a minimum or scaled down in reverence for the king's passing.

Pauline Bonaparte
But in the novel, my heroine Sophia di Contini searches for treasures stolen from her during the Napoleonic wars. The treasures she seeks were taken by Napoleon's sister Pauline and Sophia has the names of those who may have taken them into their own possession!

Is it true that Pauline was inclined to take items that did not belong to her? Yes.
Is it true she took them to her own home in Paris? Yes.
Is it true she sold her house to Wellington? Oh, yes.
Is it also true that her portrait is the only one of a woman hanging in the Duke's Apsley House Waterloo gallery in London? Oh, yes.
And is it true that she wished to use this money to finance Napoleon's return from Elba and to the Imperial Throne of France?
Indeed, it is.
Do you know what happened to the remainder of that money?
No? Then you must read MASQUERADE WITH A MARQUESS!
Winston Churchill
And might you know what has become of that house today?
It is the residence of the British Ambassador to France.
Oh, yes, and one more fact. Winston Churchill's mother, American Jennie Jerome, and Winston's father, Randolph Churchill were married in Pauline's home. Do you know why?
The Churchills did not approve of the match and they refused to attend!
Hotel Charost

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Cerise's MASQUERADE WITH A MARQUESS, #3 in #Regency Romp series, videos of hero's home!

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Victor Cameron, the hero in MASQUERADE WITH A MARQUESS, is a nobleman with wealth and a few fabulous homes. One is in London, one near the border in Yorkshire, but the other lies in Berkshire. And a fabulous abode it is, too.
Want to take a look?
Of course you do!
This picture is the National Trust's photo of Basildon Park in Reading, Berkshire.

YOUTUBE OF HOUSE (28 minutes long): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovA1lQeRx5E

Missed it in 2005 Pride and Prejudice? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep7NVFZbEPY

The real house of Basildon was built beginning in late seventeen hundreds for the then current owner. In the Palladian style which conforms to very strict standards of elevations and dimensions of apertures such as doors and windows, this house is nonetheless a late example of the style brought from the Continent by those noblemen who took their grand tours.

During the Regency period, the center block was the main house for the owners, with ground floor used as wine cellars, servants quarters and service rooms. The rooms opened to the center court, hall or stairs and were in a row, one leading to another. The wings would have served secondary functions.

Do watch the videos of the house. I think you will enjoy seeing the true "Cameron Park" as much as I!
I also hope you are reading (if you haven't already) the other three novels in this series. Each stars a man who fought, served and spied for the Crown during the wars against Napoleon.