Author Interview with Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Hi Everyone!

We’re honored to have a special guest with us today, Regency author Jennifer Hudson Taylor. Jennifer will be giving away one free kindle version of her newest novel, Awakened Redemption to a commenter, so be sure to say hi in the comment section below.

1. Jennifer, what drew you to write during the Regency Time JHT-2012-HeadshotPeriod?
I have never seen a movie or read a book in this time period that I didn’t enjoy. I wish there were more stories in this era and decided I would write one.

2. Tell us what year your book is set in and why you chose that particular time.
1815. It had to be after the war since my hero was returning from the war at the beginning of the story. His history in the war provides the back story needed to set stage in Awakened Redemption.

3. What’s your favorite, unique Regency aspect of the novel, something you wouldn’t be able to include in a novel set in another place or time?
The clothing and fashion of the time period

4. Historical clothing is always fun, isn’t it? What are the biggest challenges to writing in the Regency Period?
Getting all the titles and rules correct

5. I’m laughing at that because there are certainly a lot of both titles and rules! Who is your favorite Regency Author?
It would be too difficult for me to choose just one

6. What is your favorite Regency food, aspect of dress, and/or expression?
Stuff and nonsense

7. What is your favorite Regency setting; e.g., London, country house, small village?
This is hard since I prefer a variety of settings. In Awakened Redemption, the story is set in Cambridge and they live in a country cottage, but the setting changes to London.

8. What makes your hero and heroine uniquely Regency?
The way they talk, dress and act. I don’t think it is any one unique thing about them, but everything about them.

Thanks so much for being on Regency Reflections, Jennifer! I wish you well with the release of Awakened Redemption. It sounds like a fun story, but then, who could complain when you’ve got murder and betrayal twined into a Regency novel? To enter the giveaway, be sure to leave a comment below. Contest will end at midnight on Saturday, Feb 1.

AwakenedRedemption-Cover-3DAwakened Redemption
Preston Mallory hires Elyse Brigham as a nursemaid for his son. Recovering from an abused past, she begins to open her heart to him until she discovers Preston’s true identity. Betrayed, she flees to London and Preston follows hoping to mend things. His plans are thwarted when his former fiancée is murdered. With plenty of motive and no alibi, he’s arrested. How will he prove his innocence and convince Elyse to forgive him?
Elyse has nowhere to turn and believes the Almighty has forsaken her. As her life unravels, a new foundation and path are laid before her if she has the courage to forgive and cling to a forgotten faith.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of inspirational fiction set in historic Europe and the Carolinas. She gives presentations on the publishing industry, the craft of writing, building an author platform and digital marketing. Her first six novels were contracted through Abingdon Press and her other published by Barbour Books, Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, RT Book Reviews and USAir Magazine. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and visiting historical sites.

The Best Book of the Year?

When we asked the Regency Reflections authors what the best book of the year was, we got several interpretations:

* What is the best book you’ve read thus far in 2014?

* What was the best book of 2013?

* What is your most anticipated book of 2014? 

Any way you interpret it, it’s an intriguing question. Our answers are below but we’d love to hear from you in the comments. What do you think is the best book of the year?

Ruth Axtell – In fiction I’ve been very impressed with A Cast of Stones, Book 1 in the new Staff and the Sword Christian fantasy trilogy by debut author Patrick W. Carr

Naomi Rawlings – A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears

th_holy_bibleLaurie Alice Eakes – Right now, the only amazing book I’ve read so far and will be reading through this year is the Bible. It’s been a few years since I’ve read through it in a disciplined plan, and am amazed all over again at how amazing is the word of God. Holding fiction reading opinions in reserve as of yet.

Kristi Ann Hunter – Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. Such a fun read and a great look at the difference between books as a passion and books as an obsession. If you love the classic Austen and Bronte books, you’ll enjoy all the references in Dear Mr. Knightley. I’m pretty sure this is her first book, so I’m very excited to see what else she does.

BookCornersKristy Cambron – I am in the middle of Sarah Ladd’s new release — The Headmistress of Rosemere. As with her debut, fans of Austen will love book two in the Whispers on the Moors series. I’m planning on getting little sleep until I make it to the back cover! 🙂

Susan Karsten – Ah, what fun! To think over all the wonderful books I read last year and pick the most amazing. I am going to pick a CBA* book, To Die For, A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Sandra Byrd, as the most amazing Christian historical fiction book of 2013. Honorable mention goes to an excellent laugh-out-loud ABA* book, Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

Your turn! Head down to the comments and tell us your favorite book of 2013 or thus far in 2014 or even the book you can’t wait for that’s coming out sometime this year.

*Note: CBA stands for Christian Booksellers Association and ABA is for the American Booksellers Association. In writing circles ABA is sometimes referred to as “general market.”

 

Regency Reference Books

A Walk down Memory Lane

by Ruth Axtell

I was recently emptying out and cleaning a bookshelf, one that held my non-fiction. I realized that most of my reference books are books I’ve acquired over the years (decades) to aid me in researching whichever story I happen to be working on at the time. They are grouped by subject, so they are like a roadmap of my writing career.

Winter Is PastFor example, along half a shelf were books on Sephardic judiasm, judiasm in the first centuries A.D., synagogues across Europe, the formation of the Methodist church, and portraits of the great 18th century revival. These books cover the period when I researched and wrote my first-ever regency historical, Winter Is Past, a love story between a Sephardic Jew in London and a Methodist nurse. Talk about star-crossed lovers.

Another shelf has books on the history of the American sailing ship, piloting, seamanship, and small boat handling, for a historical romance I did about a wooden boatbuilder (Lilac Spring).

Getting back to regencies, here are some of my favorite reference books, which I collected The Dandyin those years preceding Google: Quacks, Fakes and Charlatans in Medicine (used primarily in researching The Healing Season, a story about a surgeon in regency times); Moers’ The Dandy (great resource for information on Beau Brummell and all those who aped him);  Colley’s Britons, for a general history of the nation; and The War of Wars, a very thorough history of the Napoleonic wars. The Streets of London from the Great Fire to the Great Stink is a detailed description of street life in regency London (which I also needed in writing The Healing Season). The London Encyclopedia, which I was fortunate to get used, is a wonderful resource on just about any geographic building and landmark in London and its environs. I used a 16th century mansion, Osterley Park, within a short train ride from the center of London, for the country estate of one of my characters in The Rogue’s Redemption. I was able to tour the place in person, but if I hadn’t, there it is listed in The London Encyclopedia, complete with a print of it on page 568.

London EncyclopediaFor a different kind of London residence, there’s a print and entry for the Millbank Penitentiary, built in 1821. It was pulled down in 1903, so you need a reference like The London Encyclopedia to pinpoint what buildings did and didn’t exist in London 200 years ago. I set my first regency in Belgravia, until a critique partner pointed out to me that this London neighborhood had not begun to be developed until AFTER the regency. Oops! Thank goodness for sharp-eyed and knowledgeable critique partners.

John Russell’s London, is another fun, fact-filled history of London and its various neighborhoods over the centuries.London

For regency fashion, I have Ackerman’s Costume Plates 1818-1828, which has detailed prints of late-regency gowns.

This is only a portion of my historical research books, which I don’t pull down from the shelves so much anymore. These days it’s easier to “google” an item in question. But having read these books cover-to-cover at one time or another certainly gave me a more in-depth knowledge of the 19th century than just googling disjointed pieces of information would have.

What are some of your favorite reference books for history?

 

War of Wars Streets of London Ackerman's

An Earlier Regency?

Charles James Fox, Source: Wikipedia
Charles James Fox, Source: Wikipedia

Laurie Alice here,

Since this is January, I wanted to write something that happened in that month during the Regency. Although I know many things did, I ran across something I could not resist writing about, though it takes place twenty-two years earlier than the Regency that has given rise t so many novels and films.

In 1788, George III’s illness manifested itself so severely, many believed he would not recover. Pitt the Younger, prime minister at the time, considered a Regency for the simple fact that it was that or lose his power. Charles Fox, after all, was firmly in the Prince of Wales’ camp and had too great a shot to gain power and depose Pitt without a Regency bill.

Pitt the Younger Source: Wikipedia
Pitt the Younger
Source: Wikipedia

Yes, politics has always been about power.

So, during January of 1789,  Pitt set a Regency bill into motion and it was passed by the House of Commons. This bill kept the Prince of Wales under firm control of Parliament with such provisions as how the Prince must keep the King’s present government and he could not manage the king’s real or personal estate without Parliamentary approval. In short, Prinny would be nothing more than a figurehead monarch.

Precedent for the future?

The bill never reached the House of Lords, for the King

Mad King George III, Source Wikipedia
Mad King George III,
Source Wikipedia

recovered by March, but the seeds were planted for the all-important Regency era that made it’s debut in 1811.

For a little extra, here is a poem about the almost Regency, written by Robert Burns, that great Scottish poet whose birthday is celebrated on January 24.

Ode to the departed Regency bill 1789

Daughter of Chaos’ doting years,

Nurse of ten thousand hopes and fears;

Whether thy airy, insubstantial shade

(The rights of sepulture now duly paid)

Spread abroad its hideous form

On the roaring Civil Storm,

Deafening din and warring rage

Factions wild with factions wage;

Or underground, deep-sunk, profound,

Among the demons of the earth,

With groans that make the mountains shake, Thou mourn thy ill-starr’d, blighted birth; Or in the uncreated Void, Where seeds of future-being fight, With lightened step thou wander wide, To greet thy Mother – Ancient Night, And as each jarring, monster mass is past, Fond recollect what once thou wast:

In manner due, beneath this sacred oak,

Hear, Spirit hear! thy presence I invoke!

By a Monarch’s heaven-struck fate!

By a disunited State!

By a generous Prince’s wrongs!

By a Senate’s strife of tongues!

By a Premier’s sullen pride,

Louring on the changing tide!

By dread Thurlow’s powers to awe,

Rhetoric, blasphemy and law!

By the turbulent ocean,

A Nation’s commotion!

By the harlot-caresses

Of borough addresses!

By days few and evil!

Thy portion, poor devil!

By Power, Wealth, Show! The gods by men adored!

By nameless Poverty! their hell abhorred!

By all they hope! By all they fear!

Hear!!! And appear!!!

Stare not on me, thou ghastly Power;

Nor grim with chained defiance lour:

No Babel-structure would I build

Where, Order exiled from his native sway, Confusion may the regent-sceptre wield, While all would rule and none obey:

Go, to the world of Man relate

The story of thy sad, eventful fate;

And call Presumptuous Hope to hear,

And bid him check his blind career;

And tell the sore-prest Sons of Care,

Never, never to despair.

 

Paint Charles’s speed on wings of fire,

The object of his fond desire,

Beyond his boldest hopes, at hand:

Paint all the triumph of the Portland Band:

Mark how they lift the joy-exulting voice; And how their numerous Creditors rejoice:

But just as hopes to warm enjoyment rise, Cry, Convalescence! and the vision flies.

Then next pourtray a darkening twilight gloom Eclipsing, sad, a gay, rejoicing morn, While proud Ambition to th’ untimely tomb By gnashing, grim, despairing fiends is borne:

Paint ruin, in the shape of high Dundas

Gaping with giddy terror o’er the brow;

In vain he struggles, the Fates behind him press, And clamorous hell yawns for her prey below:

How fallen That, whose pride late scaled the skies!

And This, like Lucifer, no more to rise!

Again pronounce the powerful word;

See Day, triumphant from the night, restored.

Then know this truth, ye Sons of Men!

(Thus ends thy moral tale,)

Your darkest terrors may be vain,

Your brightest hopes may fail.

Why Regency?

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you are a fan of the Regency fiction genre. You’re all about high-waisted dresses, chaperones, Almack’s, Gunther’s, house parties, and more.

But do you know why there ever was a Regency? It was madness! The madness of King George III. His health required the contingency plan of a prepared handing off of the reins of power – this plan laid out a form of emergency government/royal powers which was known as the regency. It’s a situational set-up for when a monarch is unable to fulfill his duties.

You can’t uncrown a living king, right? So, in their wisdom, the high advisors of the land made the Prince of Wales, eventually Goerge IV, the Prince Regent.

King George III (king during the American Revolution) had a disease now thought to be Porphyria. Porphyria is a rare blood disease and drove the king to complete madness and seclusion in 1810.

King George III
(“Farmer George”)

For Americans, King George III is a vaguely hated figure, because of the Revolutionary War, but he doesn’t sound all bad. His nickname was “Farmer George” due to his keen interest in agriculture. Said to be a devout Christian, he was a dedicated, yet repressive parent (not enough grace?), a faithful husband, and a plain-living man. The information about his interests is fascinating, if you decide to learn more, and the manner in which his first born son rebelled is an instructive cautionary tale.

The Prince Regent,
King George IV, (“Prinny”)

Do you enjoy knowing the nicknames of historical figures? If you know some, please share in the comments.

Interesting Options for Setting Reading Goals… and Why You Should

From expanding your vocabulary to boosting your brain activity to just being downright entertaining, reading has a plethora of benefits.

BooksTabletThis is the time of year when most people decide on what changes to make in their life and what they want to accomplish in the coming year. If reading more is anywhere on your resolution list, you might want to consider setting a solid goal for yourself.

If reading isn’t on your list anywhere, I refer you back to the first sentence of this article for reasons why it should be.

Here are a few ideas for setting and reaching a reading goal:

 

By Stephan Brunker from Wikimedia Commons

1. Set a Number

This is a pretty common, traditional way to set a reading goal. Do you want to read 20 books this year? 52? 100? Maybe you don’t read much and just want to increase to reading a book a month.

Whatever your number is, make sure it’s reasonable. If you take weeks to finish a book, don’t shoot for 100.

 

Help for Achieving Number Goals:

* Track your reading on a site/app like Goodreads or Shelfari. Pick your favorite book tracking site and log your reading. This will make it easier to remember what you’ve read.

Set your reading goal on Goodreads to keep track of it.
Set your reading goal on Goodreads to keep track of it.

* Make a sticker chart. Remember those charts when you were a kid? You got gold stars for anything and everything your teacher or parent could think of rewarding you for. Your inner child probably still finds some satisfaction in those gold stars. Print out a chart with a spot for each book you want to read. Then mark it off with a sticker when you finish it.

2. Expand Your Genres

Maybe numbers aren’t a problem. You’re constantly reading, but most if not all of those books fall into the same general genre. You might consider setting a non-fiction goal or an out-of-the-norm novel goal.

Help for achieving genre expansion goals: 

* You can set a ratio goal such as one non-fiction book for every three novels. One caution on this one: I tried this about three years ago and I ended up not reading anything for months because I was struggling so badly to get through the non-fiction book I’d chosen. Don’t let that happen to you.

* Consider joining a book club. If you join a monthly book club and commit to reading whatever book they are reading, it will pull you out of your comfort genre and make you try other things. Plus you’ll get he camaraderie of a book club. Try googling book clubs in your area or search for one on The Book Club Network. Goodreads also has a large assortment of online book clubs. You can also google online book clubs by specific genre you are hoping to expand into.

3. Use a Non-numeral Gauge

Maybe numbers aren’t your thing. You might have trouble grasping your progress on a numeral scale. Join Jon Acuff on his Empty Shelf Challenge. The concept is fairly simple. Empty out a bookshelf and read until you’ve filled it back up again. There’s even a Pinterest support group.

The empty shelf challenge on pinterest
The Empty Shelf Challenge on Pinterest

What are the benefits to this? You’re in a group with people of various reading speeds. Some are doing audio books, others are putting eBooks on a virtual shelf. Some are already on book five while others are still working on book one. Some devour non-fiction self-enrichment books while others read business books and still others almost exclusively read novels.

Unlike a normal book club, people are reading whatever they want, so you might get some good book recommendations. I know I have.

Other non-numeral challenges can be found on places such as Goodreads. Some I’ve seen in the past year:

* The Rainbow Challenge: Where your book covers have to make a rainbow OR books with the colors of the rainbow in the title.

* The State Challenge: Read books set in each state.

* The Dewey Decimal Challenge: For the non-fiction lover, read a book for each fifty number chunk of the Dewey Decimal system.

4. Use a Timer

Maybe all you really want or need is to make reading a priority in your life. Set aside a time to read every day. Thirty minutes, fifteen, maybe even an hour. Don’t worry about how many books you get through, just enjoy the time and benefits of reading.

 

Are you setting a reading goal?

If you’re looking for a good place to start, check out any of the books on our Inspirational Regencies list, particularly those by your favorite Regency Reflections author. You can also look back through our December posts for some recommendations on traditional regencies. And keep an eye on this blog throughout the year as we tell you about more great Regency-set books.

Looking for something outside the Regency? Two of our authors just published a couple of non-Regency books that will still warm your heart and given you an enjoyable read. Check them out.

Shhsh!!! Don’t Tell Anyone

Vanessa here,

Happy New Year everyone.

We here at Regency Reflections wishes each of you a safe and happy 2014.  I’m very proud of my colleagues. We’ve got some exciting Regency books releasing this year. New projects to crow about, but I thought today, I’d let you in on a secret, but don’t tell anyone.

Some of our authors are multi-talented.

Naomi Rawlings has her second book coming out, Wyoming-Heir-lowres-189x300The Wyoming Heir. Since its by Naomi, their must be memorable kisses: The Wyoming Heir:

Given a choice, Luke Hayes wouldn’t ever leave his Wyoming ranch. Yet when his estranged grandfather dies, leaving him everything, he’ll travel to Valley Falls, New York—but only to collect his sister and his inheritance. He won’t be roped into saving a floundering girls’ school, no matter what mathematics teacher Elizabeth Wells says.

Elizabeth has defied social convention and her own family for the sake of her beloved Hayes Academy. Luke is pure rancher, from the tip of his Stetson to the scuff on his boots, yet he’s also becoming her unlikely ally. Only he can help save her job and school…but how much will she lose when the time comes for him to leave?

For more information about Naomi and her novels, visit her website at www.NaomiRawlings.com.

Now, its not a Regency, so don’t tell anyone you learned about it from me.

Laurie Alice Eakes, has her twenty-first, or hundredth book coming out. She writes so many I’ve lost track.  the-professors-heartThe Professor’s Heart:

Mia Roper has what she always wanted

Her independence, her career and her home back East. But when a train wreck strands her in Hillsdale, Michigan, the town she once called home, Mia begins to wonder if she made the right choice to leave Hillsdale—and her true love—behind.

Rescuing injured passengers, Professor Ayden Goswell can’t believe his eyes. Could that really be Mia, the woman who once owned his heart, emerging from the wreckage? Long ago, Mia and Ayden chose their careers over love. But God, it seems, may have other plans for them….

A wreck, a reluctant heroine, what’s not to love, but since it’s not a Regency don’t tell anyone you heard it from me.It’s available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or CBD.

Ok, I got those secrets off my chest. I feel better, probably won’t need a mustard plaster. There probably will be more books, non-Regencies that my wonderful friends here will be releasing this year: Kristy, Camy, Ruth, etc. That I won’t be telling anyone about :), but I am so proud of the gaggle of authors here, I just couldn’t help spilling the beans.

PS. Tweeting this is not the same as verbally telling.

 

 

 

Top Blog Post: My Carriage Awaits… Maybe

Vanessa here, writing with tongue in cheek about Regency transportation.

News of the heroine’s abduction has made its way to the hero. With a quick prayer for strength, he yanks on his tailcoat and readies to chase after the villain and reclaim the lass. How will the hero get to his sweetheart in time? It all depends upon the hero’s fortune and location.

Read More:

http://christianregency.com/blog/2012/03/12/my-carriage-awaits-maybe/