Five Authors. Five Romances. One Unforgettable Party.
This is what the Regency House Party (RHP), an incredible weekly serial event, promised readers across social media back in December 2017. Five talented romance authors worked together to tell love stories set in the beautiful English countryside. The near-constant flow of story and extra content (like the adorable social media account of Wellington the Pug) kept fans entertained for several months.
After the stories came to an end, these five authors went to work turning the online content into novellas, now available for order and pre-order on Amazon.
I’ve asked Jen Geigle Johnson, author of The Nobleman’s Daughter, Scarlet, and the RHP Title Tabitha’s Folly, to tell us a little more about this incredible project.
What inspired this unusual method of storytelling?
A long time ago, a group of Regency Authors used to manage a blog called, The Ballroom. It was essentially a setting to play around in with regency characters. I loved the sound of it. People could check in at any time to see what was going on in the Ballroom. I loved that concept and wanted to create a world like that.
What made you decide to use a Regency house party as your setting?
Who doesn’t love a good house party? It seems like that setting left lots of room for many different scenes and characters, conflict and maybe even a little clean scandal.
Did you already know the other authors? What was the recruitment process like?
The authors for Regency House Party were friends in my critique group and beta readers for my books. I knew I loved their writing, their grasp of the time period, and I enjoyed working with them already. I also knew that they were going places. When we met, I was the only one with a published historical book. Michelle had several contemporary romances out. And the others were just beginning, but there was such talent and such promise in these ladies, I knew it would become something special.
How are the stories tied together? Could you read them as stand-alones or is it best to read the series from start to finish?
They are all set in the same place during the same time. You will find characters showing up in all our stories. There are some static characters who also hold the stories together, but each romance is a stand alone book and they can be read in any order. You will get the richest experience if you read all of them. There are fun hidden secrets and nuggets and hints that you would only notice if you are familiar with all the stores, but each book on its own is a complete experience.
The extra content was fantastic and fun. What’s one of your favorite “extras?”
Damen. What a character. He took on a life of his own. He is one of the footmen at the house party, but he is just one of those intriguing larger than life characters that sort of grabbed us all. The Countess is also like that. Once I had finished Tabitha’s Folly and analyzed Damen’s role in her story, I knew he needed his own novella. And so Damen’s Secret was available for free for a few months and will now be for sale for .99 as an extra story. He has his own romance and motivations and I love how his situation turned out.
Your novella is titled Tabitha’s Folly. What do you want your readers to know about Tabitha?
She is hopeful and fun and gentle. But she is surrounded, stifled by her five brothers and because of their overbearing hovering, she makes rash decisions that could get her into a lot of trouble. She is distractingly in love with her childhood friend and desperately hopes he will one day see her as anything but the little sister. Her Folly. What is her folly? I would be interested to hear what readers think.
What comes next for fans of RHP? Will there be future multi-author projects in your future?
We will be doing other Regency House Party stories. This spring we will start work on our next one, and we are actively seeking out a new location. Our minds are turning with character and plot. I see lots of opportunity for this to continue to grow.
You’ve also published two books with Covenant, The Nobleman’s Daughter and Scarlet. Do you have any personal projects or publications coming up?
I have two more books coming out with Covenant between now and 2020. A Lady’s Maid will be published in August 2019. And Lady in Disguise some time the following year. I have big plans to continue a line of books set in the same story and setting as Scarlet. But the thing I am working on right now is another line of Regency stories set in Bath. I can’t wait to introduce these characters to you also.
Thank you so much for your time, Jen! Links to the Regency House Party sites and books by all five authors are listed below. Check out these fabulous stories and make sure you follow the Regency House Party accounts for deals on their books and other great Regency reads!
Miss Devon's Choice, by Sally Britton
Gorgeous, isn't it? Many thanks to Shaela Kay for the brilliant design. I really, really want this dress. Let me tell you a little about this beautiful book.
This is the fifth book in my series, Branches of Love, and it's about the youngest of the Devon sisters. That's right, Rebecca Devon is finally getting her love story - but it's not going the way she planned. Rebecca is the reader in the family, always found with a book in her hand or hidden beneath the cushion on which she sits. She's a dreamer, she's read enough novels that she knows what a happy ending should look like, but then- Rebecca's father, the cold, manipulative man -arranges her marriage to a complete stranger.
With only weeks until she speaks her vows, Rebecca's choices are all made for her, except one. It is up to her to decide whether or not to love the man her father has chosen for her.
I have had such a lovely time writing this story and I'm thrilled to finally be sharing it with everyone.
You can hope on over to Amazon to pre-order the title, or keep an eye out. I'm hoping to release it in late September.
A Trend in My Writing
I have some interesting information for people who wonder about what goes on behind the writing scenes.
When writers submit work for traditional publication, or to editors, or exchange manuscripts among themselves for opinions, we let people know how long our books are by sharing the number of words in the manuscript. We do this because page count varies depending on what your settings are in your word processor.
My novella, Martha's Patience, is just under 20,000 words. Super short. Romance books cannot be considered novels unless they have more the 40,000 words.
The Social Tutor: 67,000 words
The Gentleman Physician: 65,000 words
His Bluestocking Bride: 76,000 words
The Earl and His Lady: 81,000 words
There's a definite trend going on here. :-) Because I just passed 80,000 words on my current work in progress and I still have a few more scenes to go!
For a little contrast, War and Peace is over 580,000 words long. Pride and Prejudice is just over 122,000 words long. :-)
According to recent market surveys, the "clean romance" readership has grown by 60% in the last three years. Wow. Despite that significant amount of growth in readers it can still be really difficult to find a good, clean romance to read. When you start getting picky about genre beyond that, it can be even more difficult. So I'm going to do a monthly post with a list of clean romance books listed, and with different themes. This month, I'm sharing ten historical romance novels/anthologies that I've enjoyed. I hope you find some new favorites!
Calico Ball, Timeless Western Collection
by Carla Kelly, Sarah M. Eden, and Kristin Holt
The Timeless Romance series is amazing. You can't go wrong with any of them. But this is the latest from their collection, featuring three of my favorite authors. Carla Kelly, Sarah M. Eden, and Kristin Holt. They're masters of their craft and these sweet stories are sure to leave you romantically satisfied.
The Merry Lives of Spinsters
by Rebecca Connolly
I'll pretty much pick up anything by this author. She does an excellent job of crafting fun, memorable characters and entertaining stories.
From Amazon: Georgiana Allen is a spinster and everybody knows it. She also happens to be one of the writers for the Spinster Chronicles, and everybody knows that as well. She’s accepted her lot in life, and, along with the other spinsters in her circle, takes great pride in the articles she writes and the influence she has. Then Captain Anthony Sterling infiltrates their group, and her life, and Georgie impossibly begins to hope once more.
Tony Sterling had no idea what to expect when he agreed to break up the Spinsters for his cousin, but he certainly did not expect Georgie Allen. From the very first meeting, she upends everything he thought a spinster would be, and her beauty and wit keeps him on edge in thrilling ways. The more he gets to know the Spinsters, the less he wants to break them up. And the more he wants Georgie in his life. Permanently.
Book 1 in A Hearthfire Romance Series
by Michelle Paige Holmes
This was the first book I ever read by this author, and I was immediately charmed and eagerly waited for the next, and the next. This is such a beautiful story.
From Amazon: After the death of her grandfather, the Duke of Salisbury, Grace Thatcher wants nothing more than to live quietly in the country with her younger siblings. Her father’s debts thwart those plans, and to protect her sister, Helen, Grace must marry a man of her father’s choosing.
As each suitor proves less than desirable, Grace comes up with clever schemes, causing each to reject her. While staying at the mysterious Sutherland Hall, a middle-of-the-night mishap sends Grace into the arms of a stranger, Nicholas Sutherland—and provides inspiration for her grandest plan yet—one that will leave her reputation in tatters yet free both her and Helen from all possibility of marriage.
Too late Grace regrets her rash actions when her father’s last choice, Mr. Samuel Preston, proves to be a gentleman and a friend. But Samuel is the sworn enemy of Nicholas Sutherland, the man responsible for her “ruin.” Now instead of being free, Grace is caught between two men—each with his own agenda.
His Bluestocking Bride
by Sally Britton
Yup. I have no problem including my books. I poured my heart and soul into this one, telling the story of a young woman who has given up hope of being loved for herself. While this is part of my series, it actually stands alone very, very well.
Summary: Overlooked by society and underappreciated in her family, Ellen Bringhurst has resigned herself to spinsterhood and a life of reading. Until her match-making friends contrive to reintroduce Ellen to the man she has secretly loved since their shared childhood.
As the younger son to an earl, Marcus Calvert must wed in order to inherit his estate. Still nursing a broken heart, he prefers a practical approach to matrimony rather than romantic love. When Ellen is presented as a possible bride, he proposes a marriage of convenience.
Ellen accepts his hand, hiding her feelings rather than risking her husband’s rejection. Marcus, though determined not to expose his heart again, finds more to admire in his childhood friend with each passing day. What began as a sensible arrangement now has the possibility to become so much more. But is Marcus willing to risk his heart a second time?
Christmas at Edgewood Park
by Shaela Kay
A Victorian Christmas novella, by a lovely author and dear friend of mine. I love this book, so much.
From Amazon: At nearly thirty years old, Eleanor Eves is a confirmed old maid - and a rather wealthy one at that. She enjoys her independence, relishes her position, and delights in serving the people of Littleton. But when the reclusive Mr. Cartwright returns to town after eight years abroad, she finds herself the unwilling delegate volunteered to welcome him into the neighborhood.
Not only is he shrouded in mystery, but Albert Cartwright is horribly disfigured, and carries a reputation for being somewhat of a brute. With Christmas on the horizon, a holiday bazaar to organize, and her aging father to care for, can Eleanor make room in her heart for Mr. Cartwright as well?
The Earl and His Lady
by Sally Britton
This is a story of love lost, second chances, and healing. I cried writing it and more than a few of my reviewers said they cried reading it.
Lady Virginia Macon, the recently widowed Baroness of Heatherton, has an impossible decision to make. Her late husband’s unscrupulous brother demands guardianship of her sons. The courts are on his side, unless she marries someone willing to stand in her late husband’s place. Locking her heart away and devoting herself to her children is the only way Virginia can countenance such a decision.
Wearied by the world, Lucas Calvert, Earl of Annesbury, is tired of being alone. His wife’s passing six years previous left his life gray and empty. His only recourse has been to make life better for those around him, using his considerable wealth and influence. When he learns of Virginia’s plight, he knows he can save her and her sons.
During one of the rainiest summers in England’s history, Virginia and her children bring light and color back into Lucas’s life. But will Virginia’s determination to protect her heart destroy their possibility of finding happiness together?
A Rouge About Town,
Book 2 in the London League Series
by Rebecca Connolly
I know. It's book two. And the first book in the series, The Lady and the Gent, is charming and fun! But I like this one even more.
From Amazon: Gabriel Statler, Lord Wharton, has a problem. His duties as an operative for the Crown are being compromised for the sake of his cover, where he is known only as the Rogue. His days are now filled with trivial investigations, and none of the problems are ones he wants to solve. Then he meets a mysterious young woman who holds more secrets than he likes, and, against his better judgment, he takes her case.
Amelia Berger needs the Rogue, and she needs everything he can offer without revealing everything she knows. Her secrets are her own, and she has far too many to risk revealing even one. But when working with Rogue turns into something entirely unexpected, she finds that the secrets she began with are not the ones she most needs to protect.
Loving an Outlaw
by Kristen Iten
I enjoyed reading this sweet Western romance very much. It was absolutely delightful - full of beautiful description, strong characters, interesting twists, and a love story that made me sigh.
From Amazon: Eighteen-year-old Abigail Dodd has always dreamed of building a life out West. Her plans to join her older brother in Texas are put in jeopardy when he suddenly stops writing. Unsure whether he’s dead or alive, Abigail leaves for the Wild West in search of the truth. Jake Morgan rides to the rescue when things go wrong on the long road to Sweet Creek, Texas. He vows to see Abigail safely to her destination before continuing his own journey to California. When it becomes clear that her life is in danger, Jake decides to stay as long as it takes to make sure she’s safe — even if it costs him his life.
When Abigail learns of a dark secret from his past, she realizes that she may have to let go of the man she has come to love in order to save his life.
by Kristen McKendry
I discovered this book and author quite by accident. This novel was an impulse buy for me at a brick-and-mortar store. Now, I almost can't stop recommending it!
From Amazon: Independent young Kate Porter envisions a future far greater than the middle-class existence she’s always lived, and her work as a governess is simply a means to an end. The glittering world of a society wife calls, and her new position as a private tutor for the children of Mr. Alonzo Colaco is a step in the right direction. She merrily imagines the grand house awaiting her—but when her new employer meets her at the train station driving a gaily painted gypsy wagon, Kate suspects her new job as a children’s tutor will not be all she dreamed. Instead of the mansion she anticipated, Kate finds herself living in the woods in a refitted train car as she teaches the charming children of Alonzo, a tinker by trade.
After trying in vain to secure another job, Kate is left with little choice. She must simply bide her time until a better position presents itself. Before long, however, she abandons her petticoats and preconceptions in favor of the joys of a simple life—and the possibility of true love. But when opportunity knocks, will Kate really be ready to walk away from all she’s come to care for to pursue her high-society dreams?
The Orient Express, Timeless Victorian Collection
by Elizabeth Johns, Annette Lyon, and Nancy Campbell Allen
Again, you cannot go wrong with the Timeless books. These three stories take place in the age of Queen Victoria, the golden years of the railway system that stretched from one side of Europe to Istanbul. In keeping with the tradition of writing about this amazing train, each of these sweet romances contains just a hint of intrigue.
Don't forget to share this list with friends!
Name inspiration comes from crazy places, and I find names I love EVERYWHERE. I actually have a spreadsheet with something like 200 first and last names from the Regency period. I've used that list a lot for characters. But sometimes, a name just falls out of the sky...
Or at least falls open in your lap.
My family loves used books. I recently found all the Lemony Snicket books for my oldest daughter to read. While paging through a used copy of The Carnivorous Carnival, I happened to look at the front page. There, in sweet little boy handwriting, was the most perfect name for a Regency hero...
I knew at once I must use it. I messaged my critique partners with the name. They all agreed it was perfect, but for WHO? One of them even threatened to steal the name of I didn't use it soon! (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Joanna!)
Then I started thinking about Rebecca Devon and her love story. Who would be perfect for Rebecca? What sort of man would fall for her?
Of course, it would be Christian Hundley, Lord Easton. A viscount. And suddenly, he burst into my mind. :-) I think everyone is going to love him!
What are some of the best names you've heard? What names would you use in a novel?
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Sally Britton's books on Goodreads
His Bluestocking Bride (Branches of Love #3)
ratings: 1062 (avg rating 4.21)
The Earl and His Lady (Branches of Love #4)
ratings: 1008 (avg rating 4.36)
The Gentleman Physician (Branches of Love #2)
ratings: 680 (avg rating 4.20)
The Social Tutor (Branches of Love #1)
ratings: 656 (avg rating 4.11)
Miss Devon's Choice (Branches of Love #5)
ratings: 517 (avg rating 4.45)