A Chat with Our Characters by Sherry Ewing and Jude Knight

PeterThis is Peter Pritchard of Regency Morning Gazette, and I am reporting today from the Crock and Bull Inn, a mysterious accommodation house that has appeared in a number of counties simultaneously, and that is currently providing lodging to a vast cast of characters written by the eight Bluestocking Belles and their guests.

Part 1 of my report will be on Sherry Ewing’s blog, and part 2 on Jude Knight’s.

I am with Amiria of clan MacLaren and wife to Lord Dristan, first Earl of Berwyck, and Anne, Countess of Chirbury, wife to Stephen Redepenning, eighth Earl of Chirbury. Lord Dristan is also known as the Devil’s Dragon, and Lord Chirbury as The Wild Trapper Earl.

The two noble ladies normally inhabit different fictional worlds and different eras. Lady Amiria is normally found in the twelfth century and between the pages of If My Heart Could See You by Sherry Ewing. Lady Anne is from the early nineteenth century, and Farewell to Kindness (to be published 1 April) by Jude Knight.

Thanks to a magical time-spanning ever-expanding coaching inn, and a shared adventure in the nearby woods, the two ladies have found much in common and have become friends.

See Bluestocking Belle Sherry Ewing’s blog for Part 1.


medievalI understand that you, Lady Amiria, were able to assist Lady Anne during the unpleasant episode involving her sons.

Amiria: Indeed. When my new friend Anne’s twin sons were kidnapped, I could not stand idly by and do nothing when I could be of some use. ’Tis a good thing I brought my sword and crossbow so I could assist the dear lady. I am an excellent swordswoman.

Do all women of the twelfth century carry such weapons of war?

’Tis most unusual, but I have been practicing with my brother since I was but a child. My father indulged me, since I seemed to thrive in the lists. Then, Dristan himself presented me with this very sword as a wedding gift. He is quite sentimental in offering me presents that are more useful to my skills and talents. I am not one to sit in a solar with needle and thread, you see. (Amiria leans forward to whisper softly) But do not mention that I said such about my husband. He has a fierce reputation to uphold, after all.

And, Lady Anne, I am told that you did not sit idly by.

Anne: I am not the warrior that my new friend Amiria is. But when those at love are at risk I will not stay at home weeping and wringing my hands. Happily, I had my archery equipment with me, and was able to make a contribution to the task of bringing my little boys safely home.

This is not the first time you have drawn your bow in the cause of your family’s safety. The Battle of Abbey Farm? The incident with your guardian?

You have been talking to the servants, I see. I cannot discuss those past matters, Peter. Archery has been my hobby since I was a young girl. And, yes, I have had cause in the past to… defend those I love. And will do so again if their safety is threatened. Or, Peter, their reputations. Let us say no more of that.

Were the kidnappers apprehended?

Amiria (with a scowl): I do not have much patience with those who would steal children to retrieve a ransom from their parents. I, too, am a mother so I know how I would feel if someone dared such an offense with mine. Dristan would not be so lenient as to just let someone who took his children wallow in our dungeon. Nay…he would have their heads sitting on a pike outside our gates as a warning to any with such foolish thoughts.

Dristan and Riorden were not pleased that they were not allowed to kill off at least one or two of the villains who were involved with the escapade. Even a bit of torture to glean information would have made them happy, but times are apparently more civilized here than where we come from.

Anne: I was well satisfied to have my children back and the kidnappers imprisoned. I believe that even their leader, who was injured in the rescue, will live to go on trial. Indeed, (here Anne looks down at her hands and colours slightly) I discovered once again that the veneer of civilization is thinner than we care to think. I hardly like to think of what I said and did to get the information we needed to find the villains and my babies.
But make no mistake. I would do it again.

Were the kidnappers given a ransom?

regency ladyAmiria: Bah! Another annoyance for me. Anne’s husband handed over a fair amount of monies to Mrs Angel. I know she was more involved with the taking of those children than she let on.

Anne: My boys must have been fed, for they were in good spirits. Whatever her sins, she looked after them. And she returned them safe and sound. I am grateful that they were not at the apprehension of the villains, where they may have been hurt.

Amiria: Since Mrs. Angel had a daughter, Connie, I can only pray she will use some of the coinage in taking better care of the young girl and show her a better life. I may live my life in hose, boots, and tunic on most days, but I am still a lady and my mother’s daughter, and I am able to show a fair bit of compassion now and then.

Anne: Her Grace of Wellbridge invited mother and child to stay at the inn, and will undoubtedly help the woman to find respectable work, should she want to do so. My husband suspects that she is seeking work of a quite unrespectable kind, but we shall hope for the best.

At this point, a servant comes to tell the ladies that their husbands are waiting for them to join the wedding party, and they leave.

So this is Peter Pritchard, signing off from the Crock and Bull inn.


Dangerous Weakness meets Encouraging Prudence – Part 1 of 2

Author’s note: Today, exclusively in cyberspace, Caroline and Jude Knight tell the story in which two of their characters meet. Half is on Caroline’s blog, and half on Jude’s. Below is Part 1, and the link to Part 2 is at the bottom.

In the virtual worlds of historical fiction, authors create whole societies of characters, interacting with real historical events and even real people. But each virtual world sits alone, never touching the worlds of other authors. Until now.

The Bluestocking Belles, as part of the launch of our new website for historical romance readers, created a magical coaching inn—fittingly called ‘The Crock and Bull’—a place for characters to meet from all of our books’ worlds and those of our guests.

Caroline Warfield and Jude Knight soon discovered the two of their characters had worked together in the past.

David Wakefield is the baseborn son of the Duke of Haverford. He earns his living as an enquiry agent. (Encouraging Prudence, work in progress to be published in September 2015)

Richard Hayden, The Marquis of Glenaire, is heir to the Duke of Sudbury. He is also Castlereagh’s protege, spymaster, diplomat, and fixer (Dangerous Weakness, yet to be published.)


The year is 1807.

David Wakefield, enquiry agent, has been asked to meet the Marquis of Glenaire at Glenaire’s office in the London headquarters of the Royal Horse Guards.

Horseguard buildingThe Marquis of Glenaire leads the way through the Horse Guard Building, along halls and down staircases, until they come to a small door that let out into a service alley.

The man doesn’t seem to be a typical aristocrat, afraid of getting his hands dirty. David Wakefield knows them well, the spoiled sons of the aristocracy, sitting at desks and giving order while better men take the risks and do the work.

Glenaire’s reputation suggests he is brighter than most, and good at the shadowy work he did for the KIng. To be fair, he also seems determined to be fully involved in the errand he has employed David for. David isn’t feeling at all fair. His investigation into the murder of the courtesan Lilly Diamond is not going well, and his other investigation, for his friend Rede, is also stalled.

This job started like any other. “I need to hire a thief taker,” Glenaire had said without preamble when David was shown into his office.

“I am an enquiry agent,” David told him. Thief takers have a reputation of being little better than the criminals they round up for the reward. David objects to the term.

Glenaire had waved aside the objection, getting straight to the job he wanted to hire David for: tracking a man. “I need to know where he goes tonight. I will follow him myself, but I need someone to back me.”

In the ensuing discussion, Glenaire had agreed he would back David. “I cede my place to the Shadow,” he said.

Remembering, David narrows his eyes. Only two people know that David Wakefield and the Shadow are one and the same. The government contact who sometimes hires him, and who gave him the usename for his work as a spy. And David’s lover, the spy called Mist, whose real name is Prue.

It must have been Tolliver. The government contact has been talking out of turn.

David catches up with Glenaire at the mouth of the alley. Glenaire’s job is to point out the man he suspects of being a French spy, then follow David’s instructions to the letter.

The suspect is where they think he will be; a nondescript man known by half-a-dozen names and as many professions. And David and Glenaire soon fall into the rhythm of passing the sentinel position from one to the other, making them harder to detect as the follow the man through the streets and clubs of London.

The job is to follow, to watch were the man goes, and to see who he meets. David has drawn his own conclusions about why he is now threading his way through the London streets instead of one of Glenaire’s usual operatives.

The Marquis suspects that the spy will meeting someone from his own office.

To find out what happens next, see PART 2


Royal Regard meets Encouraging Prudence – Part 2 of 4

Authors’ note: In the virtual worlds of historical fiction, authors create whole societies of characters, interacting with real historical events and even real people. But each virtual world sits alone, never touching the worlds of other authors. Until now.

11025188_432122276937344_5770461272420998884_nThe Bluestocking Belles, as part of the launch of our new website for historical romance readers, created a magical coaching inn—fittingly called ‘The Crock and Bull’—a place for characters to meet from all of our books’ worlds and those of our guests.

Mariana Gabrielle and Jude Knight soon discovered that two of their characters knew one another well. Rather too well, according to all who knew them as young men.

During the course of the party, the Duke of Wellbridge and the Marquis of Aldridge have referred on several occasions to an incident that saw them banned from an entire town, from the Prince of Wales’ presence, and even—for a time—from England. Until now, even the Duchess of Wellbridge hasn’t known the whole truth.

What was that mysterious event? How do Aldridge and Wellbridge know each other? Why has it been so long since they’ve spoken? Are they still keeping secrets?

Anthony Grenford, the Marquis of Aldridge

Anthony Grenford, the Marquis of Aldridge

Now, exclusively for readers of our blogs, Mariana Gabrielle and Jude Knight have co-written a small bit of backstory shared by a young Lord Nicholas Northope (from Royal Regard) and his protégé in crime, the Merry Marquis of Aldridge (who first appears in Jude Knight’s work-in-progress, Encouraging Prudence).

We will share sections of this scandalous story the week of March 8-13, leading up to theBluestocking Ball on March 14.

The year is 1801 in Fickleton Wells, Somerset.

The Marquis of Aldridge, heir to the Duke of Haverford, is 21, just down from Oxford. Lord Nicholas Northope, second son of the Duke of Wellbridge has been, at 27, racketing about England unchecked a fair few years without much purpose. And the trajectories of both young lives are about to change.

Nicholas Northope, one day to be Duke of Wellbridge



A sound outside the tower room brings them both to their feet. A key turns in the lock.

The Duke of Haverford brushes past the burly guard who opens the door. “Out!” he barks.

Lord Nicholas Northope is no stranger to the ducal disposition and backs into a corner first thing, a tactical error he started making in childhood. Aldridge, who is the son of this particular angry duke, stays at rigid attention, which does not avert the ducal fire.

“You miserable, self-indulgent, beef-witted nodcocks! What on earth possessed you? What were you thinking? Don’t answer that. You were not thinking!” Nick and Aldridge shrink, inch by inch, to the size of ten-year-olds. “Northope, I blame you for this mess. Show the boy the town, I said. Give him a good time. Keep him out of trouble. What the hell do you mean by it, eh?”

If Aldridge thinks Nick will step forward to do the honorable thing and admit his part, he has lost his bloody mind.

“Aldridge,” the duke barks as his heir begins to edge to one side. “Stand, boy. I’ll get to you.” The last is uttered in a low steady monotone.

Nick sinks ever-deeper into the corner he should have abandoned when he had the chance.

“Listen to me, and listen well, you buffle-brained nincompoops. You have been banned from Fickleton Wells! Banned! The sons of two of the greatest men in the Commonwealth banned from an English town. How on earth did this happen?”

Nick clears his throat and still manages to squeak, “Patent medicine, Sir, I swear it!” He shoulders his way out of the corner, determined to give his lies confidence. “In the… in the gin… we were… we were poisoned! The brandy, too, I’ll wager. Lucky to be alive… Surely cannot be held responsible for…”

“Rubbish, Northope. Rubbish! I’ll tell you how it happened. You let yourself be taken in by feminine wiles. You let a pack of women lead you by your willies. Yes, you did. Your father and I have talked to them. And paid them off, the bitches. Because…” he walks right up and taps Nick’s chest as he makes his point. “You. Let. Them. Fool. You.”

Nick’s hand runs around his neck again.

“Your Grace,” Aldridge has suddenly realized that they wouldn’t be banned if they were to be hanged. This has given him an altogether overly optimistic sense of confidence. “They say they are pregnant, Your Grace.” Haverford’s head swivels dangerously in Aldridge’s direction. “It can’t be us, Your Grace. It’s only been a week since we arrived, and surely, virile as we are, we cannot each have impregnated a dozen women in a week? Surely, not even Your Grace could—”

Nick suddenly realizes the benefit of being six years wiser.

To find out whether Prinny has them served broiled, fried, or fricasseed, go to Mari Christie’s blog tomorrow, March 11, 2015 (EDT).

To attend the Bluestocking Ball with Aldridge, Nick (who is now, himself, the Duke of Wellbridge, at the wise old age of fifty), and dozens of other historical romance characters, go to the Bluestocking Belles’ Housewarming Party, March 14, 12 noon – 8 pm EDT.

Facebook Housewarming Party (The Bluestocking Ball)
Twitter Chat: Follow @BellesInBlue #BellesInBlue
Web Chat on the Bluestocking Belles Website


Bring your characters and enjoy a party

country inn


As I said a few posts ago, the Bluestocking Belles are having a multi-venue house warming party next month.

Between now and then, we’re trying something new; a gathering at a nearby inn, hosted by Mariana’s hero and heroine from Royal Regard (the Duke and Duchess of Wellbridge), and attended by characters created by all eight of us, and any characters that our friends and party guests may want to bring along.

Please come and join in the comments. Ask questions. Complain about the goings on or join in. Add one of your own characters to the mix. (The party is taking place in during the Regency in England, but we’re not averse to a bit of time travel if your character needs to cross the years to join us.)

We’re having a great time, and we’d love to see you there.


Announcing Bluestocking Belles

Bluestocking-Belles-logo-01-300x300My seven author colleagues and I are delighted to unveil the group we’ve been putting together over the last couple of months.

Bluestocking Belles is a group of eight authors who write novels set in or around the Regency period. Come and visit our website. Meet the other authors and their books, and learn about the Malala Fund, the charity we jointly support.

We’ve got lots planned for the future, including a book club, boxed sets of our work (some written specifically for the Belles), interesting newsletters, and fun contests. And we’re kicking it all off with a Housewarming Party in e-space on 14 March (or 15 March if you live on my side of the date line). Please join us in one or all of the three party venues:

We’ve an exciting line up of giveaways, games, and questions, and the eight of us (and some of our characters) will be delighted to mix and mingle with all of you lovely people.

And if you can hardly wait, fill in the time by entering the Rafflecopter we’re running between now and then. Be in with a chance to win an amazing grand giveaway prize of books, swag, and gifts from the Belles.