Category Archives: Regency

The Call – Finally!

Every writer dreams of getting the call. That one-in-a-million call from a 212 area code (aka NYC). After about seven years of trying, my day came last month, quite unexpectedly. But isn’t that always the way?

The cell rang at 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon. It was a boring day at work. No afternoon meetings. Lots of people out. I glanced at the cell. Saw the 212 area code and thought, “Wonder who from my old job is calling me?”

My friends at my previous job sometimes called asking for references, checking in. Though rare, it wasn’t surprising. That it was an editor at Kensington was surprising.

Shock. Total and complete shock. Numb, I took the call outside, in the summer heat, where I could pace away the nerves.  They didn’t just want one book, they wanted the series. My response: “Seriously? You read it, right?”

My next thought was “Holy crap I have to write two more books and they are Regency historicals!”

I had switched genres. I set this project aside and started a contemporary series. I dropped out of the regency RWA chapter thinking writing Regency historicals wasn’t working for me. My voice was too contemporary. I am a walking, talking testament to Murphy’s Law.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s so exciting. I have a book coming out next year. It’s an ebook, but I don’t care. It’s a foot in the door. Once your foot is in, the rest of you follows.

Now I’m plotting. I don’t want to be a one-book-wonder. My next one has to be better than the first. Of course that’s not saying much. It needs some serious work. Not to mention all the mistakes I found while researching to prepare for Book Two.  Be careful what you wish for…. no seriously that’s the by-line I’m thinking of using.

The best part? The best part about the whole thing was sharing it with my writing friends. I love being part of such a group where we celebrate our successes.

I couldn’t get this far on the journey without them. I hope they feel the same.

The numbness has worn off. The work is beginning. Deadlines have a whole new meaning and I have a whole new name.

Let me introduce you to Eileen Richards, Romance Writer. Two words that are easy to pronounce. (Not like Pfaff).  I have a new look to the website, a facebook page, and updated twitter.

I’m Sandy Bruney reunion picstill little old me, just with a different name. If I don’t answer please be patient. I’m still trying to get used to someone calling my mother’s name.

Speaking of fabulous writing friends, thank you to Sandy Bruney for allowing me to participate in her blog tour.  She is a special lady and a gifted writer. Check out her website and her books.

Amy… oops! I mean Eileen

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Change – It’s inevitable

need-a-changeJust a brief post today as I’m in the middle of one of the best craft books I’ve read in a long time. It’s filled me with AHA! moments. Don’t worry, more to come later.

I’ll be reworking my website over the next few months. Why? I’ve decided to write a contemporary romance series. It’s growing by leaps and bounds as new characters move into my fictional southern town.

I’m not giving up on the regency historicals by no means. I love writing historicals, but I needed a break. With national novel writing next month, I thought I’d get this story out of my head to make more room for Sophia’s story, the second book in the Townsend Family series.

Those of you who have heard about Miss Townsend’s Unexpected Wish, it is finished and off to an editor who requested the full. I have my fingers crossed and am on my knees hoping this editor will love Anne as much as I do.

Stay tuned. More to come.

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Letter Writing: A Lost Art

writing letter0001While my son is in basic training with the Air Force, we can only communicate via mail. Remember the mail? Where you wrote out the envelope and applied a stamp?  In this world of emails, text messaging and skype, old fashioned letter writing is a lost art.

The Saturday before Mother’s Day, I received flowers from my oldest and his wife.  I also received a letter from my son in basic.  I had hoped he’d be able to call, but not until the 4th week.  This letter is most precious. It’s short. He wished me a happy mother’s day. He’s fine and wanted more football news.  So mundane, but I find myself reading it over and over. I’ve saved them all.

I now understand the importance of letters to Regency women. This was their only lifeline to news and to each other. I imagine that waiting for the post could be the highlight of the day. Writing letters was their only form of communication when they were apart.

Distance was another factor. Today we think nothing of driving thirty miles to visit someone.  We track distance in the number of minutes we can get there in. Not so with my Regency characters.  Even five miles was a great distance if one had to walk. In an Unexpected Wish, Anne and her family can’t afford a horse, so she walked everywhere.  Letters were precious.

sealedletterIn his last letter, my son asked that we write more. I’d like to think he’ll save these letters from home, treasure them as we treasure his. I’m probably wrong, but it has been a good experience for us both.  Hearing from a loved one in written form, where you can hold it in your hand, fold it and re-read it again and again, is an amazing experience.

When was the last time you physically wrote a letter to someone you cared about?

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Tag! You’re It! The Next Big Thing

I’ve been tagged by Suzi Love, fellow Beau Monder, to participate in the Next Big Thing, sort of a blog chain. Suzi, from your lips to God’s ears!

So here are ten questions and my answers on my current work in progress.

What is your working title of your book?

An Unexpected Wish

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I stumbled upon a site belonging to this elderly couple in the UK who walk the downs and take pictures. They had a picture of the Fairy Steps. I did a bit of research and found there is a legend that if you climb the steps without touching the sides of the rocks, a fairy will grant you a wish. Well, I got to thinking: what if a spinster got her wish for a husband and what if it was granted by a mischievous fairy?

What genre does your book fall under?

This is a Regency Historical with a touch of fairy paranormal.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I had fun with this. Alex O’Loughlin is our hero, Nash Matthews. He’s a wealthy gentleman determined to protect his younger brother from an unfortunate marriage. I love Alex O’Loughlin. He is so gorgeous. I needed someone special to be Anne Townsend, older sister and spinster, so I selected Laura Pyper from the 2009 BBC version of Emma. She played Jane Fairfax.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Spinster Anne Townsend is granted a wish for a husband that causes the single men in the area to be besotted with her leaving her unable to trust that the man who has her heart really does care for her.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m hoping for representation. Still waiting to find a home with an agency.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About five months. I try to write at least two hours a day on weekdays and much more on the weekends. 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

There’s humor, family conflicts, and a crazy fairy. I’m not sure what to compare this one too!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Besides the fairy steps, this story is about family relationships. Anne, my main character, is dealing with a brother and two sisters and the craziness that comes from so many different personalities under one roof.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I want to portray a small town feel with a touch of fairy tale magic. I grew up in a rather small town where everyone knows you and your parents. Makes it a challenge to get away with anything. And the gossip? Always exciting.

I want to thank Suzi Love who tagged me.

And check out these authors who could just be The Next Big Thing.

Ann Bartle Stewart

Adrienne Trent

Elizabeth Michaels

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Filed under Next Big Thing, Regency, writing

Reduced Circumstances of a Regency Lady

I spend a lot of time researching life during the early 19th century. In my current work in progress, my main character is a twenty eight year old spinster who’s life changed dramatically when her father dies and her quality of life changes drastically. She goes from being spoiled, wealthy and pampered, to being poor. Think Emma Woodhouse ends up like Miss Bates.

Gone is her maid, the cook, a housekeeper, her horse, new clothes, new books, and all the things she had taken for granted in her life.  She must now make her own breakfast, help with the cooking, gardening and laundry.

In the early 19th century, there were far more women than men. Young ladies were left with few choices to earn their way when left with little or no money.  They were at the mercy of family for their very existence.

But what if your family didn’t want you? What options did you have to earn a living? Society didn’t give women much choice outside of wife and mother. A woman can be a companion to some rich woman. A woman could become a governess. She could become a seamstress, mantua maker or other trades that could use the skills she’s learned as an accomplished woman. Or she could enter into service as a maid in a household. Factory work was just getting off the ground and that offered opportunity, but did not pay a living wage for back breaking work and extremely long hours.

Unfortunately, none of these allow her to keep her place in society. None of them paid well. None provided any retirement or future security. It had to be frustrating and frightening to have to solely depend on family or take a chance at being ostracized from society for trying to make your own way.

I never realized how lucky we are in this century.  I have a day job that allows me to make a good living. I work in a field where the majority of the workers are men, yet I’m treated the same (or close to it).  I can only imagine how frustrating and disheartening this would be to a reasonably intelligent woman who can’t get a position that pays a living wage because she is a woman.

I’m not sure I could survive with such strict guidelines for living my life. it’s just not in my nature. How about you? When faced with losing everything you have, and no easy way to make a living except ostracize yourself from your society, what would you choose?

— Amy

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