One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
Don't forget to comment!
CROSS THE OCEAN
1871 . . . Worlds collide when American Suffragette, Gertrude Finch, and titled Brit Blake Sanders meet in an explosive encounter that may forever bind them together. Gertrude Finch escorts a young relative to London and encounters the stuffy Duke of Wexford at his worst. Cross the Ocean is the story of an undesired, yet undeniable attraction that takes Blake and Gertrude across an ocean and into each other’s arms.
The starch in Mrs. Wickham’s black dress seemed to wilt as she quivered. The soft folds of her jowls shook. “The Duchess is not coming down, Your Grace,” she repeated.
The Duke of Wexford stood stock-still. The guests were to descend on his ancestral home in a matter of moments. The candles lit, the buffet laid, the flowers had bloomed on cue. The last remaining detail was the receiving line.
“Mrs. Wickham. There is a small matter of greeting two hundred and fifty guests arriving momentarily. The Duchess needs to attend them,” Blake Sanders, the Eighth Duke of Wexford, said sternly to his housekeeper.
When the woman had announced his wife would not be joining him, Sanders was certain he had not heard correctly. The Duchess knew her duties, as did he. He turned abruptly to the staircase and stopped as a shiver trailed down his arms. He turned back. The rotund woman had not moved other than the flitting of small hairs peeking out of her mobcap. After twenty-five years of service to his family, he supposed she stood rooted for good reason.
The Duke spoke quietly. “Is there a problem conveying this message, Mrs. Wickham?”
The woman swallowed. “Yes, Your Grace. There is.”
“What is it, Mrs. Wickham?” he asked.
It was then he noticed a folded piece of paper in the woman’s hand. As with most lifetime retainers, he had seen worry, seen anger and joy in her face. But never fear. And it was fear indeed that hung in the air, widened her eyes and had the missive shaking in pudgy fingers.
1. Romance ‘musts’
I’m a big fan of Regency and Victorian romances, and there are some universal things about all of the really good ones that make for the most memorable historical romances. First, somebody has to have some serious money. While intellectually, I know that Regency and Victorian England had squalor and poverty, and that common folk had their own hopes and dreams and success and failures. Call me shallow but I like the gowns and the jewels and the balls. I want to read about beautiful dresses and sculptured lawns and fast, sleek horses when I’m reading a British historical romance. This isn’t necessarily true when I’m reading historical romances set in the US, in fact, some of my favorites and my own, are about everyday people.
Second, and I’m doing these in no particular order, there has to be enough historical detail to convince me that what was happening in the story was real or could have been real. In my novel, Cross the Ocean, the Duchess of Wexford leaves her husband, the Duke – I thought long and hard about whether it would seem possible to readers and if I could make it plausible. I did some research and found that while not usual, it did occur both in Regency and Victorian times. I read about some deliciously true scandals about this exact thing.
Third, give me some passion, some spark between the hero and heroine. Give me a reason that they will fight their way through all the roadblocks put in front of them. Give me some witty dialogue, tender moments and real challenges to them being together. If there are going to be sex scenes make them part of the natural progression of their relationship. And make them hot.
Fourth and finally, give me some interesting and entertaining secondary characters. I expect my Regency and Victorian reads to have a large cast of characters inter-woven with the hero and heroine. Most times it’s family, but often it’s the larger social milieu I expect from that time period. After all, how can I have a novel of ‘manners’ if there is no one to be mannerly with or to?
Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states, booked two years out. Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject.
Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800’s. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer’s group.
Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, has been an active member of her local library board and loves to spend time near the ocean. She is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more than a few years her junior.
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e43415/">Win a $50 Amazon/BN GC - A Rafflecopter giveaway.