Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Welcome to Regency Author - Catherine Kullmann

I am delighted to welcome Catherine Kullmann to the blog.

Catherine Kullmann - Author

Hello Catherine – It was lovely to connect with you through The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Historical Interest Group on Facebook and I’m looking forward to reading about your Regency writing experiences. But before you tell us about your latest release - The Potential for Love - here are a few questions that will hopefully give your readers and followers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.

Arabella: How did you manage to get your first Regency novel published and what did you learn from the experience?
Catherine: After receiving several warm declines from publishers, I decided to go ahead and self-publish. Fortunately, because of trying the agent/traditional publisher route, I had several books in the pipeline by this time and so was able to publish the first three within 24 months. This helped build a brand and I would recommend any author wishing to self-publish to have the second book well on the way before publishing the first one. The other thing I learnt was the importance of marketing and how time-consuming it is.

Arabella: If you could choose, which would it be: A walk in the woods, a walk along a beachfront to dip your toes in the sea, or a day shopping for clothes?
Catherine: My first choice will always be the sea. I live ten minutes’ walk away from it. Our local strand has a huge tidal difference and when the tide is out I love to walk barefoot on the firm sand and splash in the little puddles and rivulets left behind by the tide. You just have to be careful that you don’t get cut off when the tide turns as it races in.

Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest Regency release, The Potential for Love?
Catherine: My books are set against a background of the off-stage Napoleonic wars. Where previous ones considered the situation of women left behind when their menfolk disappeared over the horizon, many never to return, The Potential for Love considers the aftermath of these wars.

Arabella: Learning the special symbolism of flowers became a popular pastime in the 1800’s.
A Pink Rose symbolises: grace, happiness and gentleness, and a Forget-Me-Not symbolises: true love memories. Do you have a favourite flower, and does it hold a special symbolic meaning or sentiment for you personally?
Catherine: I love all flowers, but daffodils are my favourite. Not only are they harbingers of Spring that have cheered up many a grey day, they have inspired such wonderful poetry. So many of us have ‘wandered lonely as a cloud’ with Wordsworth but I love Robert Herrick’s Sweet Daffodils too. According to my book on The Romantic Language of Flowers (Gill Davies and Gill Saunders), they can signify ‘chivalry, regard, respect, sunshine, uncertainty, unrequited love & deceit’. What a range of meanings! I’ll take sunshine and uncertainty, the essence of Spring.

Welsh Daffodils

Arabella: Some authors write at first light, others need a gallop across the fields or a glass of Madeira before putting pen to paper. When writing, are there any “essentials” you need to help the words flow?
Catherine: I need to have the decks cleared—breakfast, the newspaper read, the crossword and the daily chores done. It is usually mid-morning before I sit at my desk.

Arabella: You’re halfway through the work-in-progress, you’re about to kill off the hero and there is going to be no happy-ever-after. In other words, you’re stuck! If you had to contact an “author/publisher/editor friend” for guidance, who would it be?
Catherine: I’m a very solitary writer and don’t seek guidance on writing matters elsewhere. I would never kill off a hero—I believe in a happy end— but I do wonder ‘what happens next?’ When this happens, I consult my public timeline containing all the historical and trivial events I could find for the time in which the book is set, and also the many diaries, letters and memoirs of the period. Generally I find a new starting point. In The Potential for Love, for example, Thomas accompanies Arabella’s family to see Edmund Kean play the title role in Richard III, an occasion that helped me progress several plot lines.

Arabella: Your next Regency WIP (work in progress) is on schedule, and it’s time to take a break and relax. Which Jane Austen adaptation would you choose to watch (again J) ?
1) Persuasion
2) Pride and Prejudice
3) Northanger Abbey
4) Mansfield Park
Catherine: Persuasion. We visited Bath some years ago and I reread Persuasion while we were there. I got just as much of a thrill in tracing Anne’s and Captain Wentworth’s footsteps as I did in visiting the places associated with Jane Austen herself.

Persuasion - Jane Austen

Arabella: In Georgette Heyer's "Frederica", when Alverstoke is contemplating the merits of Miss Frederica Merrivale, his thoughts turn to her two brothers. Alverstoke believed he had allowed himself to yield to the blandishments of Felix (detestable imp!); then Jessamy had got himself into a scrape (tiresome young chub!), and as for Frederica, she had been as cross as crabs, and was a top-lofty little pea-goose.
What endearing nick-names or slang expressions have you used, (if any), for your characters in your Regency novels?
Catherine: I don’t know if they are endearing. Generally, I use slang sparingly but, in The Potential for Love, Francis Nugent is a friend of the Malvins. He is a member of the Fancy (a fan of boxing). When he visits Thomas, he treats him to a blow by blow account of the best mills he had witnessed, letting his cheroot burn out on the little plate while he demonstrated how, “Haydon then planted a desperate right-handed hit upon Smith’s upper works that made a dice-box of his swallow. Smith’s claret flowed freely but he was full of game and put in a most severe blow on Haydon’s jaw, flooring him.”

Arabella: Do you have any great writing, publishing, or marketing tips you’d like to share to “want-to-be” historical authors starting out on their writing journey?
Catherine: Research, research and research. Not only the big events but also the quirky trivia that bring an era to life. I have a large research library and also collect engravings of the period.  I was surprised when I started out to discover the wealth of hand-coloured prints and engravings that help set the scene. The internet is another wonderful resource. I have a huge document called Historical Facts & Trivia where I save everything that I come across, whether I need it immediately or not. It is invaluable.

Thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Catherine. And about your "essentials" to help you write…I too have to have everything ship-shape and Bristol fashion before I can put pen-to-paper (or fingertips-to-keyboard). My mind has to be clear of “things to do” leaving the muse to flow. (Not always easy when something like a pandemic is threatening the world).
All the best and wishing you lots of happy-ever-after writing…
Stay safe.

About Catherine Kullmann

Catherine Kullmann - Author

Catherine Kullmann was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, she moved to Germany where she lived for twenty-five years before returning to Ireland. She has worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector.
Catherine has always been interested in the extended Regency period, a time when the foundations of our modern world were laid. Her books are set against a background of the offstage, Napoleonic wars and consider in particular the situation of women trapped in a patriarchal society. She also blogs about historical facts and trivia related to this era.
You can find out more about Catherine’s books and read her blog (My Scrap Album) at

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When Arabella Malvin sees the figure of an officer silhouetted against the sun, for one interminable moment she thinks he is her brother, against all odds home from Waterloo. But it is Major Thomas Ferraunt, the rector’s son, newly returned from occupied Paris who stands in front of her.
For over six years, Thomas’s thoughts have been of war. Now he must ask himself what his place is in this new world and what he wants from it. More and more, his thoughts turn to Miss Malvin, but would Lord Malvin agree to such a mismatch for his daughter, especially when she is being courted by Lord Henry Danlow?
As Arabella embarks on her fourth Season, she finds herself more in demand than ever before. But she is tired of the life of a debutante, waiting in the wings for her real life to begin. She is ready to marry. But which of her suitors has the potential for love and who will agree to the type of marriage she wants?
As she struggles to make her choice, she is faced with danger from an unexpected quarter while Thomas is stunned by a new challenge. Will these events bring them together or drive them apart?

Friday, 27 March 2020

Westbury by Arabella Sheen - EXCERPT 4


A Traditional Regency Romance

Arabella Sheen

Can Miss Georgina Morton surrender her independence and accept the Duke’s love?

Miss Georgina Morton, at the age of four-and-twenty, with a modest annual income of four hundred pounds, believes she has no need of a husband and can manage quite nicely without one. Yet within a matter of weeks, she’s betrothed to Giles Glentworth, the Sixth Duke of Westbury, and bound for Regency London.
Set in rural Wiltshire and elegant, fast-paced London...a runaway ward, a shooting at midnight, and a visit to fashionable Almack’s, are only a few of the adventures Georgina enjoys while falling for the Corinthian charms of the Duke.

Chapter One     Excerpt 4    continued…

Tempted to stamp her foot in frustration, but being of a calm and level-headed disposition, Georgina knew such an outburst of emotion would achieve nothing productive.
“Georgina, I think you’re unnecessarily fearful.” said Mr Morton. “The child must have some sense. Some intelligence. And she has seen you’re a trustworthy individual, has she not? But on the matter of keeping her here, even though we might not wish for her to wander the countryside alone, we cannot force her to stay with us, my love.” Mr Morton looked at his daughter over the rim of his spectacles. “If we did, we might be accused of kidnapping, or at best, holding her against her will. She must be free to continue on her travels if she so wishes and to face the perils of them, if that is the case.”
“Then in all good consciousness, we must persuade her otherwise,” said Georgina. “For I cannot allow this to happen.”
“You cannot stop it from happening. You’re not her keeper.”
“But Papa, I cannot turn a stray dog away from the door and certainly not this poor child. With your permission, Abigail must remain here with us until I find a solution. Perhaps if we are able to discover the whereabouts of her relatives, her troubles might be solved.”
“Go and fetch this poor child and let me see for myself how things stand, for I fear you’re too emotional. I expect your judgement is clouded and all this runaway needs is a good talking to. Perhaps we can persuade her to return to her family.”
“I think not,” said Georgina. “Although Abigail is terrified about what is to become of her, I believe she is brave enough to find her way to London as she originally intended. My only wish is that she might do so safely.”
Georgina stood and walked to the door. She turned and said, “Papa, I will go and find her. And please be kind, for I know how intimidating you can be. Sometimes you only have to look at me over your papers and you have me quaking in my shoes.”
Abigail was no longer to be found in the parlour.
Concerned and suspecting the worst, Georgina went in search of her, but luckily Abigail hadn’t left. She was to be found in the kitchen sat at the table with Betty, the housekeeper, and with Nelson, their cat, on her lap.
The warm, inviting kitchen was filled with the delicious smell of freshly baked bread. Betty had been baking, and two large loaves were cooling on the table.
An array of sparkling brass pots and pans were on a dresser along with copper jelly moulds and jugs. A kettle hung over the black cast-iron hearth in which a fire was burning. Steam came from the kettle’s spout, and Betty had the makings of a pot of tea at the ready.
Abigail looked up from stroking Nelson. “Oh, Georgina, I hope you don’t mind, but Nelson came into the parlour, and when he left, I followed him to the kitchen. Isn’t he gorgeous? And he’s so fluffy.” Heedless of the cat hairs that were being shed on her clothes, Abigail continued to stroke him. “Betty said she would bring me tea in the parlour, but I much preferred waiting for you here.”
“I’ve come to take you to see Papa,” Georgina said. “I’ve explained most of what you’ve told me, but he would like to see for himself what sort of person you are. Shall we go to him now? In ten minutes Betty can bring tea and some of her delicious caraway-seed cake. Or would you perhaps prefer some sandwiches?”
“Oh, no. Cake is fine. And yes, I would love to meet your father.”
When Georgina managed to distract Abigail away from Nelson, they went to the library where Mr Morton had remained. Georgina knocked before entering. He was still sat in his high-back armchair.
“Papa, this is Abigail. The young person I told you about. She’s hoping to stay with us―for a little while.”
“Indeed?” said Mr Morton.
Abigail dropped a curtsy.
“Yes, sir. And thank you for allowing me to stay in your home. It’s so kind of you.”
“Nothing has been decided, young lady. I don’t know enough about your circumstances to understand if it warrants you staying with us. Would you care to explain what has happened?”
“Oh, Papa. I’ve already told you what has happened, and―”
Mr Morton held up his hand, and Georgina fell silent.
“Let the young lady speak, Georgina. I prefer to hear the story from the source.” Mr Morton looked long and hard in Abigail’s direction. He eyed her from top to toe and made an assessment. Like Georgina, he too came to the decision she was of good family and ought not to have been allowed to venture abroad. But he was determined to get to the bottom of the problem and find out exactly what was going on. “What brought about your departure from Bath, and why did you leave the safety of your home?”
“It wasn’t my home, sir. And the reason I left so suddenly is because I urgently need to reach my Great Aunt, in London. Only…that dreadful coachman cast me off and now I’m stranded in Avebury.”
Mr Morton reached down to a wicker-basket beside his chair; he lifted a log and threw it onto the fire. The log knocked against others burning in the hearth, and sparks danced into life.
He’d had time to think.
“We must write to your Great Aunt, and we must do so at once.” he said. “Your Great Aunt can send someone to collect you.”
Abigail’s eyes widened with fear.
“Oh, no! I must tell you that I do not wish to be collected. I would not wish for my Great Aunt to be so troubled.” Abigail sighed despondently. “Mr Morton…sir…can you not lend me the money to pay my fare? I promise it will be returned as quickly as possible.”
“I won’t lend money,” Mr Morton said. There was a frown on his brow. “Not because I think it will not be returned, but because the same might happen to you again. You could become stranded. Left by the roadside and in a worse position than you are now. Perhaps next time someone of a similar character as that of my daughter will not be on hand to save you.”
“Can Abigail stay, Papa? Please? At least for a little while. Perhaps in a few days she will be more inclined to contact her relatives and seek help. Is that not so, Abigail?”
Abigail nodded. “Yes...perhaps. Maybe in a few days.”
“Surely there can be no harm in her staying with us?” Georgina asked.
Mr Morton raised a brow, sceptically.
“I should imagine her family will be worried, concerned and fretful,” Mr Morton said. “Georgina, if you were to run from home, I certainly would be troubled.”
“Oh, no, Mr Morton. No one will worry about me,” said Abigail with a smile. “Truly.”
“Papa…?” Georgina looked expectantly at her father.
Mr Morton, knowing of his daughter’s determined nature, and realising it might take a few days to uncover all Abigail’s secrets, eventually nodded his consent.
And Georgina was happy. Their guest was to remain.

Disclaimer, Copyrights and Publishing
Any names or characters have no existence outside the imagination of the
author or are used fictitiously, and actual events are purely coincidental.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, copied,
stored in a retrieval system known or hereinafter invented, without
written permission of the publisher.

Copyright © 2019 by – Arabella Sheen
Published by priceplacebooks

All rights reserved.
ISBN 978-0-9575698-4-3

About Arabella Sheen

Arabella Sheen

Arabella Sheen is a British author of contemporary romance and likes nothing more than the challenge of starting a new novel with fresh ideas and inspiring characters.
One of the many things Arabella loves to do is to read. And when she’s not researching or writing about romance, she is either on her allotment sowing and planting with the seasons or she is curled on the sofa with a book, while pandering to the demands of her attention-seeking cat.
Having lived and worked in the Netherlands as a theatre nurse for nearly twenty years, she now lives in the south-west of England with her family.
Arabella hopes her readers have as much pleasure from her romance stories as she has in writing them.

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Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Welcome to Regency Author - Jayne Bamber

I’m delighted to welcome Regency author Jayne Bamber to my blog.

Jayne Bamber - Author

Hello Jayne – It was lovely to connect with you through the Regency Readers and Writers group on Facebook, and I was so pleased you were able to fill a spot on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat this week. But before we discover more about your latest release, Strong Objections to the Lady, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers and followers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.

Arabella: Are there any organisations, writing, or reader groups, you belong to? And, how do they support or help you in creating such wonderful, inspirational novels?
Jayne: I do participate in a lot of Jane Austen related groups on social media. It’s a great fandom, and there are many groups dedicated to JAFF specifically. Sometimes I just get a laugh out of some great Austen memes, but it’s also a wonderful way to engage with other readers about Austen’s novels and characters. It’s tremendously helpful in writing fan-fiction, to be able to start discussions on Facebook about characters and events from the original books, and let that feedback actually help shape my ideas as they take form.

Arabella: Where do you read? Sofa or bed or ____?
Jayne: Well - when I’m indoors, bed, always bed! However, I am fortunate enough to live among some really beautiful scenery out in the Piney Woods of Texas, so I spend a lot of my day outdoors finding comfy, sunny spots for reading and writing.

Arabella: In your latest Regency release, Strong Objections to the Lady, who is your favourite character and why?
Jayne: Hands down, Anne de Bourgh! She was an absolute blast to write, because Jane Austen gave us just enough of a glimpse at her to want to know more, and as a writer the possibilities were endless for me. I decided to develop her as brash, romantic, and kind of a loose cannon - think Catherine Morland meets Lydia Bennet. It’s a take I had not seen done before in fanfiction, and though the story focuses on romances for Elizabeth and Jane Bennet as well, I got to unleash Anne de Bourgh’s high energy and unrepentant youthfulness on the cast of characters to wreak some havoc.

Arabella: When writing a novel, how do you work? Are you a plotter or pantser?
Jayne: I always start out as a plotter, with a meticulously detailed outline, but I inevitably do some pantsing as I go, especially toward the end.

Arabella: It’s your day off. The WIP (work-in-progress) is going to plan and you’re free to do what you like. Which would you prefer to do?
1) Spend a morning in the grounds of a stately home or historical building?
2) Find the nearest library and sit in a quiet corner with a research book? 
3) Scour the local antique shops and flea markets looking for Regency bargains?

Jayne: Wow, all of these sound pretty tempting! While number 1 is a strong contender, I think I would have to choose option 2, and lurk with a book! I have been enjoying some pretty niche historical reads lately, which might develop into future projects someday.

Research Library

Arabella: We all have a long list of books we keep meaning to read but never have the time for --- which book is a must read for you this season?
Jayne: This is not a new-release, but something I started and then had to put aside when I started my WIP. I read about a quarter of The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick and I was absolutely engrossed. Not only is the story of Eleanor of Acquintane fascinating, but the writing style was so unique and wonderful, I really cannot wait to pick it back up again after I finish my current WIP.

Arabella: Which historical locations, cities or buildings have given inspiration when writing your Regency novel(s)?
Jayne: Definitely the great houses in England that have been used in film adaptations of Austen. I’m trying to conceptualize Norland right now, and it doesn’t get much time in Sense & Sensibility, but my vision for it is pretty grand. I am looking at Petworth House, Ashton Court, and Donington Hall right now.

Ashton Court Estate
Arabella: What about your future plans? Any books or series in the making?
Jayne: I have a list of books to someday write, and I think that list grows longer, faster than I can keep up! I have a couple more Pride & Prejudice variations I would like to do soon, but at the end of the year I am planning a series of stand-alone regency novellas that are all cross-overs of Emma with other Austen novels. Emma’s matchmaking skills unleashed on the characters from across Austen is going to be a lot of fun!

Thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Jayne. It was great to learn about some of your writing secrets and discover your insatiable passion for JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) and Pride & Prejudice variations.
Now here is a bit of a shocker…
You mentioned Ashton Court. I once worked within the catering team at the beautiful historic building known as Ashton Court. The Smyth family’s home had been converted to an entertainment venue, and weddings and large gatherings such as university graduate parties were held there. Alas, this has now ceased to happen due to lack of funding…but the famous Bristol Balloon Festivals still continues in the extensive estate grounds.
I also feel privileged in that I can enjoy looking at the historic building with its surrounding majestic trees and grounds from "our" kitchen window. This gives me much pleasure, especially on a sunny morning.

All the best for your release - Strong Objections to the Lady – and happy Regency writing…

About Jayne Bamber

Jayne Bamber - Author

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Book Blurb - Strong Objections to the Lady

A tale of…
Intrigue & Inheritance… Meddling & Manipulation… Sisterhood & Self-Improvement...

When Lady Catherine de Bourgh learns of Mr. Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, her wrath sets in motion a series of events at Hunsford Parsonage which embroil Darcy and Elizabeth in a family fracas that grows more complicated daily.
The shades of Rosings Park are soon polluted by the shocking transformation of its new mistress and her guests, as well as secrets of the past and schemes for the future.
Appearances and alliances shift amidst the chaos wrought by a well-intentioned house party, and Darcy and Elizabeth must finally face their feelings for one another despite mounting obstacles and misunderstandings of every kind.


Set chiefly in Kent and spanning the short space of just a month, this stand-alone variation begins the morning after Mr. Darcy's failed proposal at Hunsford. From there, chaos quickly erupts and the lives of three strong young women tangle together in a day-by-day journey of growth, sisterhood, and ultimately romance, in the wake of tragedy.


Welcome to Regency Author - Catherine Kullmann

I am delighted to welcome Catherine Kullmann to the blog. Catherine Kullmann - Author Hello Catherine – It was lovely to connec...