Thursday, September 3, 2015

Annemarie Brear: Historical research: Horses, carriages, stables an...

Annemarie Brear: Historical research: Horses, carriages, stables an...: On a recent trip to Normanby Hall, a local historical manor house a few weeks ago, I spent a lovely few hours in the sun strolling around th...

Monday, August 31, 2015

RELEASED! HOW TO TAME A RAKE My research for the book!



My new release, HOW TO TAME A RAKE is set in the Victorian era, because I wanted to feature an amazing woman, 1st Baroness, Angela Burdett-Coutts, who was widely known as ‘the richest heiress in England’. Angela did some amazing things in her lifetime, she proposed to the Duke of Wellington, and at 67 years old, despite the huge disparity in their ages, married her 29 year old secretary, American-born William Lehman Ashmead Bartlett. But it’s her philanthropic endeavors which are most impressive.


Burdett-Coutts spent the majority of her wealth on scholarships, endowments, and a wide range of philanthropic causes. One of her earliest philanthropic acts was to co-found a home for young women with Charles Dickens. Urania Cottage was for those who had ‘turned to a life of immorality’, including theft and prostitution.
Her amazing achievements are too large to list here. My interest lay in her close involvement with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
The RSPCA was founded in a London coffee shop in 1824. The men present knew they were creating the world’s first animal welfare charity, but they couldn’t have imagined the size and shape that the charity would become today.

 
A painting of the trial of Bill Burns, showing Richard Martin with the donkey in an astonished courtroom, leading to the world's first known conviction for animal cruelty, after Burns was found beating his donkey. It was a story that delighted London's newspapers and music halls
 
Back then, they were called the SPCA - Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Royal patronage followed in 1837 and Queen Victoria gave permission to add the royal R in 1840, making us the RSPCA as they’re known worldwide today. They are best known today for the work they do with pets. But they were influential in forming and improving animal welfare law.

When they were founded, their focus was on working animals, such as ‘pit ponies’, that were worked down the coal mines.  
In 1822, two years before they were founded, ‘Martin’s Act’ was passed. It was the very first animal welfare law and it forbade ‘the cruel and improper treatment of cattle’.

Thirteen years on, in 1835, and ‘Pease’s Act’ consolidated this law. The prohibition of cruelty was extended to dogs and other domestic animals, bear-baiting and cock-fighting was forbidden, and it insisted on better standards for slaughter houses.

Other successes long after my story ends have included laws for lab animals, the abolition of fur farming in the UK, the ban of fox hunting with dogs and the animal welfare act.

How to Tame a Rake

Due to the codicil in his father’s will, Blake Dangerfield, Earl of Hawkeswood, must marry the woman chosen for him, or lose part of his inheritance. Did his father hate him that much? Wilhelmina Corbet is a hoyden, not long out of the schoolroom, who hails from a farm in Northumberland. The last time Blake saw her she wore braids and climbed a tree to rescue a kitten.

Wilhelmina Corbet has dreamed of Blake since she was twelve. But the thought of marrying the handsome earl terrifies her. She comes to his estate, Hawkeswood, determined to measure up to his expectations for a wife. But after time spent with him in London, Mina begins to wonder if the rake is the man she wants to marry.

Can they find happiness when a handsome heir to a dukedom, unruly pets, and a young chimney sweep are thrown into the mix?
Refreshed edition.


Here’s a taste:
Another day passed before Mina felt well enough to leave her bed. The breakfast room was empty. Crowley informed her that Blake always rode early and Lady Elizabeth took breakfast in bed. She sipped her tea, gazing at the gardens beyond the window, where an unusually mild day beckoned.
Donning her pelisse and bonnet, she ventured outside into the brisk air and went for a long walk, glad to be out again after the stuffy, overheated rooms. The day was cool, but not as cold as it had been. She ambled along the path and descended a graceful, stone stairway flanked by enormous marble urns and onto a long sweep of lawn. A statue sat on a plinth in the distance, and she walked toward it. Before she reached it, she saw something lying stretched out on the grass. At first, she thought it a pile of leaves. On closer inspection, she found a fox cub. As she knelt down to him, he lifted his head, his dark eyes pleading.
“Oh, you poor, poor thing.” She stroked the red-gold coat. How beautiful he was. He’d hurt a leg, probably in one of those horrid traps. It was broken, dangling at an odd angle. She knew just what to do about it. She’d splinted one of her dogs back home when he’d broken his leg jumping from a high wall.
Picking the cub up carefully, Mina cradled him against her chest. He didn’t struggle. Perhaps he knew that she was a friend or was too weak to care.
She carried him along the path. As she rounded the corner of the house, she came face to face with Blake.
“I’m glad to see you out and about…” he began. His dark brows shot up. “What on earth do you have there?”
“A fox cub. He’s hurt his leg. I’ll have to splint it.”
“You’ll do what?”
“A splint. You use a straight piece of—”
“I know what a splint is, Mina! But this is fox hunting country. We can’t keep a fox here.”
“Why not? When his leg is healed, he will go and join the other foxes.” Her lip trembled. “And then you can hunt him down and kill him.”
“For Lord’s sake!” Blake searched her face as she hugged the animal possessively in her arms. “Come on, then. The animal is ruining your gown. Fortunately, that’s no great loss for Mother plans to see to your wardrobe.” He turned and headed back toward the stables. “We’ll get my head groom to splint it.”
“And feed and water him until he’s strong again?” she called after him.
“Yes. All right!”
Early the next morning, Mina returned to the stables.
Blake came in as she was sitting with the fox. He had a stall all to itself. He was sitting up, his ears pricked. “Won’t be long before the leg is mended,” Blake said, leaning against the stall door. “And then you must let it go, Mina.”
“I know. He’s a wild thing.” She stroked the fox’s soft fur.
“Are you feeling well now?”
“Yes, thank you.”
“Good. Arrangements have been made for you and Mother to go to London. Tomorrow.”
Mina gazed up at him. “You’ll look after Felix?”
“Who?”
“That’s his name. Felix. Promise you’ll look after him after I’ve gone.”
Blake tilted his head, gazing down at her. “You are an odd girl, Mina. I would have expected you to be far more interested in going to London.”
She stood and shook out her skirts. “I’m very excited, I assure you. I must go and pack.”
“The maids will do it,” he called after her. “But you can leave most of your clothes behind.”
Mina had a strange impulse to turn and poke her tongue out at him. But she suspected he already thought of her as too young for him. She put her fingers to her lips. No matter what happened, she would always remember her first kiss.


#VictorianRomance #HistoricalRomance #RSPCA #Earl #Ton #Romance #Maggiandersen

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Up for pre-order HOW TO TAME A RAKE

Due to the codicil in his father’s will, Blake Dangerfield, Earl of Hawkeswood, must marry the woman chosen for him, or lose part of his inheritance. Did his father hate him that much? Wilhelmina Corbet is a hoyden, not long out of the schoolroom, who hails from a farm in Northumberland. The last time Blake saw her she wore braids and climbed a tree to rescue a kitten.

Wilhelmina Corbet has dreamed of Blake since she was twelve. But the thought of marrying the handsome earl terrifies her. She comes to his estate, Hawkeswood, determined to measure up to his expectations for a wife. But after time spent with him in London, Mina begins to wonder if the rake is the man she wants to marry.

Can they find happiness when a handsome heir to a dukedom, unruly pets, and a young chimney sweep are thrown into the mix?
Refreshed edition.

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Excerpt:
Another of my refreshed backlist books is released for pre-order in a week: HOW TO TAME A RAKE. A romance with a touch of comedy and suspense:
Due to the codicil in his father’s will, Blake Dangerfield, Earl of Hawkeswood, must marry the woman chosen for him, or lose part of his inheritance. Did his father hate him that much? Wilhelmina Corbet is a hoyden, not long out of the schoolroom, who hails from a farm in Northumberland. The last time Blake saw her she wore braids and climbed a tree to rescue a kitten.
Wilhelmina Corbet has dreamed of Blake since she was twelve. But the thought of marrying the handsome earl terrifies her. She comes to his estate, Hawkeswood, determined to measure up to his expectations for a wife. But after time spent with him in London, Mina begins to wonder if the rake is the man she wants to marry.
Can they find happiness when a handsome heir to a dukedom, unruly pets, and a young chimney sweep are thrown into the mix?
Here's an excerpt: The groom rushed over to Blake and engaged him in conversation. When Blake spied Mina atop Thundercloud, he looked much like a thundercloud himself. He gestured for her to return to the mounting yard with a sharp motion of his arm.
She meekly obeyed.
“You are not riding that stallion, Wilhelmina! He was a misjudged purchase of my father’s. He’s the very devil.”
“As you see, Cou ... Blake, I am riding him.”
“Come here.”
She rode up to him, and Blake unceremoniously pulled her down from the horse. “Take him back to his stall, Tarrow,” he said, tossing the reins to the groom.
More breathless from the touch of Blake’s hands at her waist than at the confrontation, Mina studied his handsome face, hating to see the world-weary expression in his eyes. She was just a nuisance to him, and he wished her gone. “I assure you I can handle him. He was a perfect angel.”
“An angel one minute and a devil the next.”
Mina folded her arms. “I would have thought you could ride him.”
He raised an eyebrow. “I can.”
“But you’re a bit wary of him,” she said politely.
Blake frowned. “I’m not a bit afraid of him. I prefer Ebony Fire—he’s a far superior horse.”
“Oh, I understand.” She gazed up at the sky. “One is entitled to have a favorite.”
“Thank you,” he said in an ironic tone.
“Not at all, I quite understand.” Mina tapped her riding crop on her gloved hand.
He eyed her suspiciously. “No need to repeat it.”
“But I do, honestly.”
“Why, you wicked girl.” A brief smile lifted his lips. “I believe you’re toad-eating me.” He called to the groom. “Bring Thundercloud back, Tarrow, and put a saddle on him. I’ll ride him.”
“Oh, if you’re sure?” Mina said. “He really does need exercise.”
“And shall you be glad if he throws me over a hedge?”
“Oh no,” Mina said hurriedly. “I shan’t like that at all. But you can ride him, can’t you? I wouldn’t—”
“Enough!” Blake said. “We shan’t travel down that road again.” He looked around. “Where’s that horse I picked out for the lady to ride?” he bellowed at the hapless groom.
Mina shook her head. “I’m not riding that ... that sleepy pony.”
Blake gave a grudging laugh. “Sleepy pony, is it?” He walked along, studying his stable of fine horses. He stopped in front of a solidly built grey of about fourteen hands. “What about Silver Shadow?”
She came and rested her arms on the box and the sturdy horse nudged her hand looking for apples. “Very well,” she said. But she intended to ride Thundercloud one day. She was confident of her ability and would fight to prove her worth to this man.


Monday, August 17, 2015

18th and 19th Century: How Regency People Passed Their Time

18th and 19th Century: How Regency People Passed Their Time: Regency people filled their free time with a variety of public and private amusements. Such amusements offered Regency people a mild form ...

From Geri Walton.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Release: Regency Romance AT THE EARL'S CONVENIENCE $0.99


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After refusing him once, heiress Miss Selina Wakefield accepts Giles Devereux, Earl of Halcrow’s, offer of marriage, against her better instincts. The handsome earl confesses that he needs to marry into money to save his crumbling estate, Halcrow Hall, and produce an heir.
Giles is the most interesting and fascinating man Selina knows. But he is also the most secretive. He has resigned his commission in the army while England is at war, and members of the ton cut him.
Because of the earl’s rakish reputation, Selina fears she may be leaving her calm, organized life for one of disorder and heartbreak. But she never expects what lies ahead. 

  *This story was originally published as a short story, Love and War, although it's been completely re-written.

Excerpt:



Devereux collapsed into a leather chair by the fire. Leaning back exhausted, he rested his boots on a leather ottoman. She bit her lip at the ridge of high-color on his cheeks, made obvious by his pallor. Her unreliable heart turned over with anguish. He was far sicker than she’d first thought.
          Selina gave up on her determination not to touch him. She rested her hand against his brow, finding it burning. “You must go straight to bed,” she said, alarmed. “I have your bedchamber prepared.”
          “Not the marriage bed then, Lady Halcrow?” His savage laugh turned into a cough.
          Selina pulled the bell cord. A minute later, the butler appeared. “Send Joseph for the doctor. Joseph must be sure to tell the doctor his lordship is very ill.”
          “Very good, my lady.”                           
          “And send Mrs. Lark to me, Frobisher.”
Moments later, the housekeeper entered the room, and Selina introduced her.
 “Welcome to Halcrow Hall, Mrs. Lark,” Devereux said.
          Mrs. Lark curtsied in her neat black gown. “A pleasure to be here, my lord.”
          “Have the bed in the blue suite made with fresh sheets and a bed warmer, if you please, Mrs. Lark, and the fire lit,” Selina said. “Ask Cook to make beef tea.”
          “I’ll not drink any of that foul stuff,” Devereux muttered. “Bring me a brandy.”
          “Does your throat hurt?” she asked, ignoring his bad temper.
          “A little,” he said gruffly.
          “My mother had a good remedy for sore throats,” Selina said briskly. “Mrs. Lark, Cook is to steep horseradish in a gill of vinegar and add a gill of honey. I’ll have his lordship take a teaspoon every twenty minutes.”
“Are you trying to poison me, madam?”
“And for his lordship’s cough, Mrs. Lark,” Selina continued, “we shall need sliced lemon mixed with a half-pint of flaxseed and two ounces of honey, added to one quart of water. Cook must simmer the mixture for several hours and then strain it.”
Mrs. Lark hurried from the room.
Selina turned to find Devereux slumped in his chair watching her.
“Good God, I’ll not take that,” he said. “You’ll have to tie me down.”
“No brandy.”
He widened his eyes. “You are refusing me?”
“For the time being.”
“What gave you such conviction, Selina?” he asked with a lift of his brows. “Was it your father? Were you his pet? I can imagine you as a child, ordering everyone about in your ebony plaits.”
“I declare you are color-blind, my lord.”
He grinned. “See? Resolute, right down to your toes.” His gaze roamed down her body, making her unsure what point he was making.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

RELEASE DAY BLAST - LADY FAITH TAKES A LEAP - Maggi Andersen

5 day left! Join my Release Day Blast to win a copy of TAMING A GENTLEMAN SPY

Monday, June 1, 2015

LADY FAITH TAKES A LEAP - Released today!




As the second novella in my Baxendale Sisters Series, LADY FAITH TAKES A LEAP is released today;

Faith appears in the first book of the series, LADY HONOR’S DEBT. Vaughn and his large family the Brandreths, in TAMING A GENTLEMAN SPY.

LADY FAITH TAKES A LEAP – The Baxendale Sisters Book #2

$0.99!
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Join my Release Day Blast to win a copy of TAMING A GENTLEMAN SPY


#HistoricalRomance #Regency #Series #MaggiAndersen #RegencyNovella #NewRelease #ReleaseDayBlast