Five Fascinating Facts about Regency-era Weddings

AWC_1400x2100One of the reasons many readers enjoy historical fiction is that it provides a glimpse into the lives, relationships and traditions of different countries and eras. Weddings and marriage are, by far, one of the most fascinating topics to research.

Here are five interesting facts I discovered about weddings and matrimony during the Regency era while writing my upcoming release, A Wedding Code (The Code Breakers series book 5, releasing April 25, 2017).

For many centuries, marriage was not based on love, but as a strategic alliance between families for monetary, social or political gain. Marriages were often arranged when the bride and groom were still children.

Although the popularity of love matches began gaining popularity in 18th and 19th century England, demonstrating passion for one’s spouse was considered déclassé.

Almack’s, a London social club, became one of the most prominent “marriage marts” of Regency England. Debutantes, who once sought to be presented at the King’s court, vied for vouchers from Almack’s patronesses so they could be presented there instead.

Regency brides did not commission gowns exclusively for their wedding. Most gowns were re-worn. Although any color or pattern was acceptable, blue, white, silver and light-colored hues were most popular. Instead, many brides cherished their wedding shoes as treasured keepsakes.

 

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Brides were given a wedding ring during the wedding ceremony, but men did not wear wedding rings.

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What is your favorite contemporary or Regency-era wedding tradition?

An Inner Fire now on audio

Fans of contemporary romantic suspense can now enjoy An Inner Fire, book 1 in the Grayce Walters series, on audio. Em Eldridge gives voice to the Grayce, an intuitive animal acupuncturists and reluctant amateur sleuth from Seattle.

Enjoy the trailer for this new audiobook release.

Available on Audible, iTunes and Amazon.

Grayce Walters, animal acupuncturist, harbors a secret. She hides her intuitive gifts from the world until she becomes embroiled in arson on Seattle’s waterfront. As a key crime witness, Grayce must convince the attractive, logical, by-the-numbers fire investigator, Ewan Davis, that the fire she witnessed is part of a larger criminal conspiracy. Grayce embarks upon a mission to gather proof of the dangerous threat. She enlists the help of her cross-dressing best friend, her street-wise assistant, and Davis’ poodle, to conduct her own investigation. As her feelings for Davis shift between white hot passion and cold fear, Grayce must risk exposing her secrets to safe Davis’ life. Davis must accept things, he can neither see, nor understand to solve the mystery and finally find the love he has stopped believing in. With nudges from the protective poodle, Grayce and Davis confront shocking betrayal and international crime on the rain soaked streets of Seattle.

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Women Sleuth Mysteries Giveaway

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Have you read my novel, An Inner Fire? For a limited time, you can enter to win the book plus more than 45 fantastic Women Sleuth Mysteries from an amazing collection of authors, PLUS A KINDLE FIRE!

Enter the contest by clicking here: bit.ly/women-sleuth-myst

Be sure to check out the books from these award-winning and bestselling mystery authors.

Alana Albertson
Angie Fox
Ann Charles
Barbra Annino
Christine Kling
CJ Lyons
Connie Shelton
Dale Mayer
Danielle Lenee Davis
Deborah Brown
Dee Ernst
Denise Grover Swank
Dianne Harman
Emily Kimelman
Fiona Davis
Heather Sunseri
Jacki Delecki
Joanne Pence
John Sullins
Josie Brown
Joy Ohagwu
K.J. Emrick
Karen McCullough
Kathi Daley
Kelle Z Riley
Kelly Miller
Kristi Belcamino
Libby Fischer Hellmann
Linda Fulkerson
Lindsay Emory
Lynn Emery
M. Louisa Locke
Maggi Andersen
Mara Jacobs
Marcy McKay
Melissa Storm
P.B. Ryan
Paisley Ray
Pamela Fagan Hutchins
Patricia Rice
Sara Rosett
Seeley James
Sibella Giorello
Suzanne Jenkins
T.K. Wilde
Toby Neal
Vered Ehsani
Vicki Hinze

 

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3 Reasons to attend a Reader/Writer Event

One of the rising trends in the book community is the proliferation of reader and writer events. Back in the day, authors used book signings as a venue to connect with readers. With the closure of many brick-and-mortar book stores and the evolution of the digital marketplace, traditional book signings are a less popular option, especially when compared to everything a reader/author event (sometimes called a reader appreciation event) offers.

If you haven’t attended a reader/writer event, here are three reasons to finish the chapter you’re currently reading and find an event to explore today!

  1. SWAG! Event coordinators usually assemble a goody bag for attendees, but authors also have lots (and lots) of goodies. Tip: Bring an extra tote or backpack to carry all the great stuff you collect. You can always tell the hardcore readers who have attended events before because they bring those wheeled-shopper carts!
  2. Make new book friends. Everyone at a reader/writer event is there because they love books – reading them or writing them. This fun and friendly environment makes it easy to chat with strangers. You might even make a new BBF (book best friend)!
  3. Meet the real person behind the book cover. Have you ever wondered what your favorite author is like in real life? Connecting in person gives you chance to bond over shared interests, laugh over an inside joke or just express how much you enjoy their work.

Each reader/writer event is different. Some last a few hours; some a few days. Some are free; some require paid admission. Some include a variety of genres; some are genre specific. Most include a book signing and opportunity to mix and mingle with authors.

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I’m participating in the Reader & Writer Event in Seattle, June 3, 2017. This event includes more than 50 authors, hot cover models and other “bookish” fun. If you’re in the area, get a ticket before the event is sold out. If not, look online for other reader/writer events and have a great time!

Seattle Reader Writer Event

Reader and Writer Author Event – Seattle, WA

Featuring authors and cover models!
June 3, 2017 – WithinSodo, Seattle, WA
Tickets:  http://readerswritersevents.com/product-category/seattle-17/
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1693884950856549/

Excerpt: A Cantata of Love (Regency Romantic Suspense)

Research is one of the reasons I love writing Regency-era romantic suspense. Digging into history is fascinating and these factual events often inspire my plots. A Cantata of Love, book 4 in the Code Breakers series, features spies that use music to transmit secret messages. Here is an excerpt for you to enjoy.

JackiDelecki_ACantataofLove_HR1-200x300About the Book

Napoleonic France is no place for an Englishman, especially Michael Harcourt, the Earl of Kendal, who is on a clandestine assignment for the Crown. Already injured and facing imminent discovery by Napoleon and Fouche’s men, Michael finds his escape made even more perilous when he is charged with the safety of a young boy who must be spirited out of Paris.
Desperate to escape the terrible fate that awaits her if she remains in France, Lady Gabrielle De Valmont must disguise herself as a boy and rely on the cunning of a virtual stranger—an Englishman, no less—to smuggle her out of the country. When the Earl’s injury becomes severely infected, rendering him gravely ill, Gabrielle realizes it is now up to her to save them both.

Excerpt – Prologue & Chapter One

1803
In the seaside town of Berck, France

Gabrielle De Valmont brushed back Lord Kendal’s blond curls and applied the wet cloth to his burning brow. His long, golden waves and eyelashes accentuated his fiery red cheekbones. In their days of hard travel from Paris, the earl’s gunshot wound had festered into a nasty infection.

At this moment, he rested. For days, when the fever spiked, he thrashed about, calling out about sending a code book to a woman named Henrietta.

Desperate to soothe him, Gabrielle discovered that he would calm with the French songs of her childhood.

They couldn’t hide much longer without being discovered by Napoleon’s or Fouché’s henchmen. When the earl’s condition had worsened to the point where he could no longer travel, Gabrielle had brought them, under cover of darkness, to her former mémé’s tiny village of Berck, south of Calais.

For eight long days and nights, she had cared for the feverish earl. Their presence in the tiny town couldn’t be kept secret much longer. They must leave Berck, and France, soon. But how could they flee with the French soldiers on high alert, inspecting every boat crossing the English Channel?

Monsieur Denby, Lord Kendal’s valet, had assured her that he had a plan to divert their attention.

Exhausted and despondent, she beseeched the Blessed Virgin for their safe escape and the earl’s recovery.

She also prayed that the earl would forgive her and Mother Therese for their deception. She had to believe that Lord Kendal would never abandon her to her terrible fate.

***

Michael Harcourt, the Earl of Kendal, woke to a soft voice and the delectable smell of a woman. She smelled like wildflowers. And her voice was soothing and sweet. Last night must have been one hell of a night of dissipation since he remembered nothing. But he had dreamed of his French mother crooning to him.

What was wrong with him? He had been in bed with a French woman, and he’d thought of his mother. His head ached as if horses had trampled over him. He tried to remember her name—Yvette? Or was it Mimi? He cracked open one lid. Big blue eyes the color of cornflowers stared down at him, and a lush, pink lower lip pouted. How could he have forgotten this angel’s name? Yvette. Definitely Yvette. “Yvette? Or maybe Mimi?”

He needed her again to refresh his memory. He raised his arms to pull her against him. He grabbed for her, but his arms felt weak. Thank God the rest of his body wasn’t that tired. She yelped when he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her on top of him. “Yvette, darling. Don’t fight me. I need you.”

Yvette gasped and tightened against him. He rubbed himself against her slender body. Not his usual type, he noted. Clearly not an opera dancer by the slender frame. What had he drunk last night that he couldn’t remember this delectable handful?

“Let go of me,” she hissed.

He whispered against her soft, tender neck, kissing her ear. “Were you this feisty last night?”

“Let me go, you brute.” She shouted in his ear, causing his head to feel as if it were cracking wide open. She jumped back, tripping on the bedclothes and knocking the water canister from the side table. The loud crash reverberated in his head.

Women didn’t fight him. He was a generous lover. Was he overlooking something from last night?

Michael looked at the disheveled, bewitching woman glaring at him. Hair the color of honey sparkled in the morning sunlight, but her bright eyes were now dark and stormy.

Damn, damn. She looked far too innocent and way too marriageable. What had he gotten himself into?

He rearranged the bedding to hide the obvious, then lifted himself to the head of the bed.

The mademoiselle didn’t look so much offended as just plain pissing mad. Her eyes had narrowed, and she glowered at him—the look of a woman who might impale him with the fireplace poker. He had gotten into a lot of scrapes, but this wasn’t how he imagined finding a wife.

The door to his bedroom swung open, knocking against the wall. The pain behind his eyes pounding like a son of a…

Denby, his valet, stormed into the room, swearing under his breath. “What the hell? Are you alright, Mademoiselle Gabrielle?”

She gestured with her hands and spoke in rapid French to Denby. Had she just called him, the Earl of Kendal, a “stupid horse’s ass”?

Denby took the irate woman’s arm. “I’ll clean up the mess. Now that he’s awake, you should prepare yourself to leave. We’ve a long journey ahead of us.”

With no word of farewell, the Mademoiselle Gabrielle huffed and left the room.

Denby chuckled. “Barely awake and already causing problems.” He bent to pick up the water container. “It is good to see you back, my lord. You scared the hell out of me. If it weren’t for Mademoiselle Gabby’s nursing, I’m not sure…”

“I’ve been sick?” He did feel a bit weak after his tussle with the delectable young woman.

“You developed a fever right after we escaped from Paris.”

The memory of fleeing Paris and Fouché’s men brought him totally awake. “My last memory is leaving Paris dressed as a nun.”

Denby handed him a glass that had survived the mademoiselle’s spirited response. “You developed a fever from your gunshot wound, and we had to hide out here. This is where Mademoiselle Gabby’s nanny is from and the people helped us.”

Gabby. He didn’t have any recollection of Gabby when they left Paris. “How long have I been out? And who is Gabby?”

“I’m glad you’re ready to travel. I’ve got a bad feeling if we don’t get out of here soon, all of Fouché’s and Napoleon’s men are going to descend.”

He only remembered Denby, and the boy, Pierre, fleeing for their lives dressed as nuns. He had stolen the code book from Le Chiffre, and everyone in Paris seemed to be after him. He wondered if Henrietta had received the book.

“Any news from England? Do we know if Henrietta received the package?”

“I haven’t been able to make any contact. We’ve been in hiding. I’ve arranged for a boat from Calais. They’ve been waiting for a signal that you’re able to travel. We go tonight with the tide. I want to get us out of France. I can’t breathe here.”

“Did you shake the villain who was posted at my house in Paris too?”

“Yes, but we can’t stay here any longer. I’ll change the bandages and get you some breakfast. You’ll rest up before we make the trip. We have to go by horseback, and I hope it won’t open your wound.”

He suddenly was assailed with the ignominy of the location of his wound. He had been shot in the arse by an unknown assailant while fleeing after he had stolen the code book. The code book, literally, was a pain in his arse.

He sure hoped to hell it gave England a tactical advantage against the power-hungry Napoleon.

For more information or to keep reading, click HERE.

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Triple Kindle Giveaway

Follow me — and your other favorite authors — on Amazon for a chance to win a Kindle Fire, a Kindle Paperwhite or a Kindle Voyage! Litring‘s Triple Kindle Giveaway offers more than 35 ways to enter. The more authors you follow, the more chances to win!

To get started, click HERE and log in using your preferred profile (email, Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter). The sign-on is directly under this graphic on the giveaway page.

amazongiveaway3The contest is open through January 27th so invite your book besties! If you’re a lucky winner, let me know!

Good luck and happy reading.

 

Excerpt: An Inner Fire (Contemporary Romantic Suspense)

If you are new to my contemporary romantic suspense series, here’s an excerpt from An Inner Fire, Grayce Walters Book 1.

JackiDelecki_AnInnerFire_300 (2)About the Book

Grayce Walters, animal acupuncturist, harbors a secret. She hides her intuitive gifts from the world until she becomes embroiled in arson on Seattle’s waterfront.

As a key crime witness, Grayce must convince the attractive, logical, by-the-numbers fire investigator, Ewan Davis,that the fire she witnessed is part of a larger criminal conspiracy. Grayce embarks upon a mission to gather proof of the dangerous threat. She enlists the help of her cross-dressing best friend, her street-wise assistant, and Davis’ poodle, to conduct her own investigation.

As her feelings for Davis shift between white hot passion and cold fear, Grayce must risk exposing her secrets to save Davis’ life. Davis must accept things, he can neither see, nor understand to solve the mystery and finally find the love he has stopped believing in.

With nudges from the protective poodle, Grayce and Davis confront shocking betrayal and international crime on the rain soaked streets of Seattle.

Excerpt – Chapter One

Grayce Walters’ left hand twitched. Her universe spun on an altered axis. Her instincts swirled. Her intuition flared.

Earlier today, a cranky feline had gouged her, a sneaky dog had nipped her, and now, late for dinner with friends, the parking gods were messing with her. Something was coming. Something strange.

Her headlights probed the mist, dissolving in the murk of Puget Sound fog. Her intuition acted like an inner GPS, directing her to the far side of Seattle’s Fisherman’s Terminal. The beams shone on a yellow heap between stacks of crab traps. A dog lay on its side, barely visible in the shadow of a fishing shed.

Stepping out of her car, she inhaled the musky smell of salt water. A horn blared from the Ballard Bridge. Grayce jumped at the sudden sound. She grabbed a flashlight and moved into the mist toward the large canine.

She knelt on the damp cement next to the golden retriever. Relieved to observe the dog’s shallow respirations, she released a slow breath Baxter was written in bold script on the dog’s red leather collar.

She gently ran her hand along Baxter’s inert body. Her cold fingers probed the crown of his head, locating an egg-sized lump on the back of his skull.

“Your head hurting, Baxter?”

The large retriever wagged his tail ever so slightly and then stilled.

Grayce scanned the cluster of corrugated fishing sheds. A deep foreboding flooded her senses. “Baxter, I need to get us away from here.”

She searched the waterfront, looking for the perpetrator of Baxter’s injury. The overhead lights on the docks cast an eerie halo on the boats bobbing in the black water.

Screeching hinges broke the silence. The sound raked her skin like dogs’ nails skittering across the metal exam tables in vet school. Her nervous system ratcheted into high alert.

The sound of a door opening in the next row of sheds echoed in the night’s silence. Then she heard footsteps on the cement, moving toward the water. The sound of the footsteps grew distant, swallowed in the darkness.

Under the dock lights she spotted him, a beefy man with a satchel slung over his shoulder. Wearing the slicker and boots of a commercial fisherman, he moved with an energized self-assurance toward the boats. Rage and elation radiated from him. Grayce was sucked into his dark violent energy. She fought the temptation to absorb his malevolence.

The footsteps stopped. He looked back in her direction. A raw chill penetrated Grayce’s body. She bent forward to shield the dog and tightened her hold on the flashlight, ready to protect Baxter.

Moving in and out of the shadows on the wharf, the overhead beams caught the top of his head. His hair shone a fiery red. He walked into the fog.

Baxter whined, breaking the tense silence. She ran her hands along the damp dog searching for further injuries. “You’re going to be all right, big guy.”

Nerves stretched taut, she twisted to look for the man. She studied the entire area searching for him. Every sound boomed in her ears.

She fumbled in her jeans pocket for her phone, then hesitated. Grayce hit favorites for James, her best friend.

Damn! Voicemail.

Peeling off her coat, she covered the dog.

“Baxter!” A woman’s voice, then a whistle.

The dog’s ears shot up as he bolted upright. He gave a high-pitched yelp, shook several times, and loped in the direction of his owner’s voice. Twenty feet away, a middle aged woman stood next to her Volvo station wagon with the hatch-back door open. Baxter jumped effortlessly into the car. The dog’s large head was silhouetted in the rear window as they sped away.

She bent to pick up her rain jacket when a massive blast shook the wharf causing the cement to sway beneath her. The harsh sound reverberated in her ears as the tremor traveled through her legs.

She whirled around, trying to locate the source of the explosion. Shock waves continued to pulsate throughout her body.

She heard the fire before she saw it, a slow hiss followed by a roar. Twenty-foot-high flames shot out of a shed less than a few car lengths away. Heat blazed across her face, hot enough to singe her eyebrows and eyelashes.

Primitive fear imploded in her chest. She ran, ran as if the flames chased her.

The fire’s heat penetrated her sweater to her skin. She sprinted, her feet and heart pounding.

When she reached the far side of the wharf and the far side of the inferno, she dialed 911.

The wail of sirens filled the night’s silence.

In the frenzy of noise and flashing lights, she spotted the red-haired man lurking in the shadows. He was crouched, half hidden by an industrial dumpster. As if he sensed her watching him, he turned and vanished into the darkness.

For more information and to keep reading, click HERE.

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Big Quiz Giveaway – Fun, Books & Prizes

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Giveaways are great…until you discover you weren’t one of the lucky grand prize winners. LitRing is sponsoring a giveaway where everyone is a winner! Take the #LitQuiz to discover your next late night binge with a book tailored matched to your preferences.

Click HERE to get take the quiz. Be sure to browse the LitRing website where you can find lots of new releases, free reads and enter to win more than $1,500 in prizes.

Good luck and happy reading!

A Veterans Day giveaway in honor of ‘war dogs’

Friday, November 11, is Veterans Day. This national holiday is dedicated to honoring veterans of the armed services (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, National Guard, and Coast Guard) who served to protect our country.

Did you know Veterans Day originated from Armistice Day, a holiday enacted in recognition of WW I soldiers? Click HERE to read more about the history of Veterans Day.

In addition to honoring the men and women who have served, I like to acknowledge the contributions of canine service members. I’m not the only American in awe of “war dogs.”  There are several organizations dedicated to honoring and assisting active and retired military dogs.

 

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The United States War Dogs Association – features war dog history, information about the U.S. War Dogs Memorial, and how to participate with this organization.

Save a Vet – provides adoption and rescue support for military and law enforcement working dogs.

Operation Military Care K9 – collects and distributes care packages to military working dogs and their handlers.

Kevlar for K9s – works to provide bulletproof vests for working canines.

 

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If you would like more stories or information about military working dogs, check out these sites or click HERE for a full listing of military working dog organizations/resources.

Dogs of the Navy SEALs

The Dogs of War

Canines in Combat

10 Things You Might Not Know About Soldier Dogs

Dogs of War: 23 Facts You Never Knew About Military Working Dogs

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As an author, I’ve incorporated my passion, respect and enthusiasm for working military dogs into my contemporary romantic suspense fiction. Sergeant Nick Welby and his bomb-sniffing golden lab are leading characters in Men Under Fire, Book 3 in the Grayce Walters series.

This book is one of more than 60 titles featured in the Military Romance Book Giveaway, which includes a Kindle Fire. If you’re a fan of military heroes and heroines, be sure to enter for a chance to win.

 

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In honor of Veterans Day, I’m giving a way an ebook copy of Men Under Fire. For a chance to win, simply comment on my Veterans Day Facebook post. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2fD26DI

 

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Kick off autumn with these fun giveaways

Tis the lucky season for romantic fiction readers! Many authors are participating in fall giveaways, including me! I love to reward my readers with gifts to show how much I appreciate their support, enthusiasm and loyalty. Giveaways are also a chance to meet new readers by providing an opportunity to sample my books when they win free copies.

Please take a moment to enter these two giveaways. It would be fantastic to learn one of my readers won, and you know, you can’t win if you don’t play! Be sure to tell your book besties about these giveaway opportunities. What a terrific way to welcome autumn!

Sweet vs. Spicy Giveaway

Are you SWEET or SPICY? Win Up To 40 Romance Novels!
(2) Grand Prize Kindle “Gift Baskets” of ALL eBooks (sweet or spicy!)!
+ Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)!
Sept. 19-Sept. 25

sweetspicyFall for Suspense Giveaway

From September 30 – October 2 everyone has an opportunity to FALL FOR SUSPENSE on JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE!

Thirty of your favorite Romantic Suspense authors have pitched in with their print or digital books to make your fall a special one.

On October 3rd, one grand prize winner will be able to select 10 titles of their choice from the big pile of books. Two lucky runner-ups will receive half each of what is left in the pot! (10 books each!)

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