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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Latest Regency comedy, AN INHERITANCE FOR THE BIRDS, Is Now Available

My latest Regency comedy novella, An Inheritance for the Birds, the next entry in The Wild Rose Press's Love Letters series, is now available.

All the stories start with a letter that changes the hero's and heroine's lives. Mine is a letter about an inheritance, but there's a catch...

Available at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.


Make the ducks happy and win an estate!

Mr. Christopher "Kit" Winnington can't believe the letter from his late great-aunt's solicitor. In order to inherit her estate, he must win a contest against her companion, Miss Angela Stratton. Whoever makes his great-aunt's pet ducks happy wins.

A contest: What a cork-brained idea. This Miss Stratton is probably a sly spinster who camouflaged her grasping nature from his good-natured relative. There is no way he will let the estate go to a usurper.

Angela never expected her former employer to name her in her will. Most likely, this Mr. Winnington is a trumped-up jackanapes who expects her to give up without a fight. Well, she is made of sterner stuff.

The ducks quack in avian bliss while Kit and Angela dance a duet of desire as they do their utmost to make the ducks--and themselves--happy.

Yawning, he shut the door behind him. Enough ducks and prickly ladies for one day. After dropping his satchel by the bed, he dragged off his clothes and draped them over the chair back. He dug a nightshirt from the valise and donned the garment before he blew out both candles.

Bates had already drawn back the bedclothes. The counterpane was soft under Kit's palm, and covered a featherbed. He grinned. By any chance, had they used the down from the pet ducks to stuff the mattress and pillows?

After tying the bed curtains back, he settled into the soft cocoon and laced his fingers behind his head. Tomorrow, he would have it out with Miss Stratton about the steward's residence, but that was tomorrow. He fluffed up his pillow and turned onto his side…


A bundle of flapping, squawking feathers exploded from the depths of the covers and attacked him. Throwing his arms over his head for protection, Kit fell out of bed. He scrambled to his feet and bolted for the door, the thrashing, quacking explosion battering him. A serrated knife edge scraped over his upper arm. "Ow!" Batting at the avian attacker with one hand, he groped for the latch with the other.

The door swung open. Miss Stratton, her candle flame flickering, dashed into the chamber. "Esmeralda, you stop that right now!"

The feathered windstorm quacked once more and, in a graceful arc, fluttered to the floor.

Kit lowered his arms and gave a mental groan. A duck. He should have known.

Thank you all,

Friday, February 3, 2012

Guest Samantha Grace on the English Thoroughbred

Linda Banche here. My guest today is Samantha Grace and her debut Regency historical, Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel. Horses play a large part in her novel, and here she talks about the English Thoroughbred.

Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win the copy of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel which Sourcebooks has generously provided. Samantha will select the winner. Check the comments to see who won, and how to contact me to claim your book. If I cannot contact the winner within a week of selection, I will award the book to an alternate. Note, Sourcebooks can mail to USA and Canada addresses only.

And the winner Samantha selected is Kitchen Witch of the West! Congratulations, Kitchen Witch, and thanks to all who came over.

Samantha, we're very happy to have you guest, and thank you for your kind words about us. Welcome!

Samantha Grace:
Andrew Forest, youngest son to the Duke of Foxhaven, has two main loves: women and horses. While I’m a member of the fairer sex and consider myself at least somewhat of an expert on my gender, I knew very little about horses when I sat down to write Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel. So as not to be buried under a pile of vast research on horses, I chose to focus on one breed, the English Thoroughbred.

In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Oriental horses (aka Arabians, Turks, or Barbs) began to be imported to England. They were outstanding breeds originating from the Middle Eastern Peninsula and North Africa. Known for their stamina, good nature, intelligence, and willingness to form relationships with humans, the Oriental horses had that certain je ne sais quoi breeders were looking for to improve upon England’s native breeds. The result was a type of “super horse” known as the English Thoroughbred*, a horse bred mainly for racing, although they are good jumpers and hunters, too.

The Thoroughbred’s lineage is well-traced in the General Stud Book (only horses entered into the GSB are eligible to compete on licensed race courses in Britain), and all modern Thoroughbreds are descended through three male lines: the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian, & the Byerley or Byerly Turk**.

Although there isn’t much known about the Byerely Turk, this horse still has the most interesting history to me. This stallion was the first of the three sires to come to England, and he belonged to an English officer, Captain Byerely. There is some debate whether the horse was seized during the Battle of Buda in Budapest or the Siege of Vienna, where there is an eyewitness account of three Turks captured in Vienna and a fairly good description of Byerely’s Turk. But the story goes Byerely took the horse from a Turkish officer after the battle was won.

In 1689, Byerely was promoted to Captain and dispatched to Ireland with his war horse to fight in King William’s Wars. Byerely and his horse saw further military service in the Battle of Boyne, and there is an account of the horse’s contribution to that battle. Captain Byerely was so far ahead of the cavalry, surveying the enemy, he was almost captured, but his horse’s speed saved him.

Six years after the Battle of the Boyne, Byerely retired as a Colonel, and his trusty war horse was promoted to the rank of stud. Sounds like a pretty good retirement plan for a horse that proved his mettle in times of war and saved his owner’s life.

* The lowercase form of the word thoroughbred is often used to designate any purebred horse, but technically it only applies to the breed Thoroughbred.

** In the General Stud Book, the Byerley Turk is misspelled as Byerly. The horse’s owner was Captain Byerely.

Excerpt from Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel:
Lana’s horse danced sideways and issued a soft whiney while she clung to the reins.
Lord Andrew urged his horse alongside hers and grasped the bridle. “There, there, girl.” His rich voice soothed the frazzled mare, but sent Lana’s pulse racing again.
Lord Bollrud rode up on Lana’s other side. “Are you all right, Miss Hillary?”
“I’m a bit out of sorts,” she admitted, “but suffer no harm.” Not yet, at least, although her body’s response to Lord Andrew warned of the precarious nature of their continued association.
Lady Gabrielle had stopped her mare in the middle of the path and studied her with a troubled frown.
“Please, let’s continue our ride,” Lana said, not wishing to hamper the younger woman’s enthusiasm.
Two of the gentlemen who’d galloped past a moment earlier doubled back and approached Lady Gabrielle. She smiled sweetly and called out a greeting. The men seemed to take this as encouragement to flank her mount and make introductions.
“Hell’s teeth,” Lord Andrew grumbled.
Lana and her two gentlemen followed behind Lady Gabrielle and her apparent admirers.
For a time, Lord Andrew stared holes into the backs of his sister’s companions, his posture rigid, but as the gentlemen conducted themselves with utmost propriety, he seemed to relax his guard slightly.
Lord Bollrud cleared his throat. “Isn’t the countryside beautiful, Miss Hillary?”
“Very beautiful, my lord.”
“And the weather is perfect for a ride, wouldn’t you agree? The sun shines it’s radiance upon us this fine day.”
Lana kept her eyes trained ahead, attempting to hide her amusement. “Indeed. It is a fine day.”
Lord Andrew chuckled under his breath. “Surely, you are not suggesting the radiance of the sun is any more beautiful than one smile from the charming Miss Hillary.”
When Lana looked in Lord Bollrud’s direction, he winced, as if he experienced a sharp pain in his gullet. “Well, no. Of course not, Miss Hillary. I wasn’t implying— Not even the sun can compare to your… your radiant beauty. I’ve never seen anyone more radiant. Not the sun…even.”
The poor man. He obviously didn’t realize Lord Andrew teased him.
Lana made certain their companion couldn’t see her cross her eyes at Lord Andrew.
“And her eyes,” Lord Andrew gushed. “They shine brighter than the stars in a midnight sky. Wouldn’t you agree, Bollrud?”
“Oh, well. Yes, yes, they do.” Lord Bollrud sounded confused by the direction of the conversation but eager to please. “Miss Hillary’s eyes are quite- um, shiny. I suppose.”
Lord Andrew was being quite incorrigible, mocking the gentleman as he was. Lana playfully stuck out her tongue in his direction.
“And those lips,” Lord Andrew raved. “Ah, lips like—”
Lady Gabrielle glanced over her shoulder and grinned, apparently eavesdropping on their conversation. “Cease your nauseating rhapsody, you besotted ninny. We’re having lunch soon and you’re spoiling my appetite.”
A giggle escaped Lana. The two siblings’ playful exchanges reminded her of the relationship she shared with Jake. A twang of remorse sobered her mood. Her brother had warned her to avoid Lord Andrew, but she hadn’t listened. Perhaps Jake knew her better than she knew herself. One day in Lord Andrew’s presence and she was dangerously close to developing a fondness for the scoundrel.

Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel

Debonair bachelor Lord Andrew Forest lives for pleasure and offers no apologies. But he receives a dose of his own medicine when his family's entrancing houseguest beds him, then disappears without so much as a by-your-leave. He'd like to teach the little vixen a thing or two about how to love and man...if he can find her..


After the dashing man of her dreams is revealed as a lying scoundrel, heiress Lana Hilary is ready to seek a match with a respectable gentleman—if only they weren’t so dreadfully boring. Unable to rein in her bold nature for long, Lana flirts with trouble and finds herself entangled with exactly the type of man she's vowed to avoid.

About the Author
Samantha Grace
This is Samantha Grace's debut as a Regency romance author. She is happily writing her next book and loves blogging with fellow authors at Lady Scribes. Samantha married her best friend, strives to stay one step ahead of their two precocious offspring, and lives in Onalaska, Wisconsin.