annathepiper: (Castle and Beckett and Book)

It’s been a while since I had a Boosting the Signal post to share with y’all! But my Here Be Magic compatriot Ruth A. Casie approached me about sending me a piece, and my door’s always open for my HBM crowd. Ruth’s been here before, y’all may recall, with The Guardian’s Witch. Now she’s back with another historical romance in the same series, and another character interview! And I’ll say about this one what I did about the previous: I do rather like that cover! Also, I do really rather like the NPR-ish flavor of this piece. Check it out.


The Highlander's English Woman

The Highlander’s English Woman

The Inside Scoop
Interview with Lord Bryce Mitchell

Welcome to The Inside Scoop, Radio Transcripts of Guest Interviews. My name is Justin Case, host and executive producer of The Inside Scoop, where we interview the characters in the stories created by author Ruth A. Casie.

This was the fourth interview of characters in The Stelton Legacy series and took place in front of a live audience. I ask everyone to sit back and imagine sitting in a comfortable chair and talking with my guests. I hope my interview is informative and thought provoking and that you enjoy reading them as much as I had conducting them.

If these interviews spur questions of your own, contact me via Ms. Casie at She and I will work together to get you answers.

Previously Recorded

Justin Case: Thank you for joining me today at The Inside Scoop. I’m your host and moderator, Justin Case. We’re about to interview Lord Bryce Mitchell of Ravencroft, the neighboring estate to the Reynolds family of Glen Kirk Castle. To clarify, both domains are on the English side of the Scottish border. Through Lord Bryce’s service to the king, he is also a close friend of Lord Alex Stelton, the guardian of Glen Kirk Castle.

Lord Bryce makes appearances in The Guardian’s Witch, The Maxwell Ghost and The Highlander’s English Woman. You can see he’s an integral part of the Stelton Legacy story. Ah, I see him approaching now.

You can’t miss the man, always dressed in black, holding his signature black leather gloves. He has a shot of black hair and a well-trimmed beard. He walks with a commanding air that I suspect has served him well in court. He certainly looks the part of the black knight. Intimidation has served him well. He’s been battled trained through his youth alongside his neighbor and close friend, Richard Reynolds and cheered on by Richard’s sister, Laura.

(Sound of footsteps approaching)

Justin Case: Good afternoon, my Lord. I’m so glad you could join us today.

Lord Bryce: Case. (A slight nod of acceptance as he sits) Many thanks for the invitation. (He looks at the tankard by his chair)

Justin Case: I secured it from Glen Kirk Castle. (He motions toward the tankard) I understand it’s your favorite brew.

Lord Bryce: (A smile breaks his set expression) Glen Kirk is renowned for its fine ale. It’s even prized by the king.

Justin Case: I understand the Mitchell and Reynolds families have been neighbors for quite some time.

Lord Bryce: My family has held Ravencroft and the Reynolds have held Glen Kirk Castle for centuries.

Justin Case: (Flipping through notes) My sources tell me you have been fond of Lady Laura Reynolds for some time.

Lord Bryce: (His steely eyes take on a dangerous glint. Justin Case mops his brow.) It was a political strategy, I assure you. It’s the thirteenth century. Combining our houses would have ensured the safety and longevity of the castle, besides I’m sure it would please the king to have an Englishman hold the castle and not a Scottish sympathizer.

Justin Case: I understand Laura was called away to Scotland before her parents discussed your proposal with her.

Lord Bryce: Laura went with the Scottish bastard Jamie Maxwell Collins to Caerlaverock Castle to visit with her distant relations. Lord Maxwell saw an opportunity to secure Glen Kirk Castle for his family. If his nephew Jamie married Laura it would further tighten the Maxwell stronghold on both sides of the border.

Justin Case: You grew up and trained with Jamie. He was fostered to the Lord at Glen Kirk. He was—

Lord Bryce: (Bending menacingly forward toward Justin Case) I wouldn’t go there if I were you. Jamie was a filthy Scot who didn’t deserve the air he breathed.

Justin Case: I understand m’lord. That doesn’t change the fact that he married Lady Laura and that their marriage was sanctioned by the King of England himself. Not an easy thing for a Scot in the thirteenth century.

Lord Bryce: Not marrying into the family was a relief. You know the women are all witches—every last one of them. (Bryce glares at Justin Case) And you know what they do to witches.

Justin Case: Lord Bryce, surely you don’t mean—

Lord Bryce: I certainly do. As well as everyone who harbors and supports them no matter who they are or what position they hold. Do you support the arcane arts? (Bryce rhythmically slaps his gloves against his thigh)

Justin Case: I mean no disrespect, m’lord. But the healing arts which the Reynolds’ women are known for is not witchcraft.

Lord Bryce: (Stands up) You think that’s all they do? You have a lot to learn. Read the stories. It is all there, and then you tell me they’re not witches.

Justin Case: (Stands up) I will read the stories, sir. And we will meet again to discuss them. Thank you for your time.

(Retreating footsteps are heard as Lord Bryce leaves the studio)

Justin Case: (Turning toward the audience) Thank you for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed learning about Lord Bryce Mitchell and the part he plays in The Stelton Legacy.

Before you leave, I’d like to acknowledge our station and staff at WRAC for their commitment and fortitude to see this project to fruition. Many technologies had to be developed to make this happen and credit must be given where credit is deserved.

General Manager — Norma Leigh Lucid
Studio Manager — Helen Back
Maintenance Supervisors — Earl E. Bird and Ella Vada
Musical Supervisor — Kerry Oki
Electrical Engineers — Flint Sparks and Les Volt
Sound Crew — Mike Rafone and Constance Hum
Traffic Manager — Joy Rider
Legal Advisor — Sara Bellum
Researchers — Paige Turner and Rita Booke
Commissary Director — Jasmine Rice
Security Directors — Barry Cade and Anna Conda
Funded by donors Hy Price and his wonderful wife Lois Price


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annathepiper: (Good Book)

I’m continuing my series of catchup posts for Boosting the Signal, to clear my queue so that I can put the feature on soft hiatus while I THEN get caught up on my own work. Since I did three posts yesterday, I’m doing a couple more today to clear the queue, and the first of these is for the anthology Through the Hourglass. Editor Sacchi Green talked to me about how to do a post for this anthology–and the theme, lesbian historical romance, definitely fits in with my interests around here. If the words “lesbian historical romance” sound like reading catnip to you, check this excerpt from Connie Wilkins’ story “The Bridge”, won’t you?


Through the Hourglass

Through the Hourglass

Blurb from the Editor:

Women loving women have been a fact of life for as long as love and women have existed. Who’s to say some of those sculptors of full-bodied stone or ivory goddesses weren’t women? We have always been here, in every era and every area of society, even though our stories have so seldom been told.

Fiction has its own power to deepen and intensify our perceptions and beliefs. Stories that show lesbians in well-researched historical settings, with passions fully recognizable today, rescue our past from invisibility and affirm our place through all time, past, present and future.
The stories here, set from Iceland in the 10th century to New York in the mid 20th, have been written by Ann Bannon, Jean Copeland, R.G. Emanuelle, Allison Fradkin, Patty G. Henderson, Heather Rose Jones, Lee Lynch, Megan McFerren, Cara Patterson, Aliisa Percival, Doreen Perrine, Priscilla Scott Rhoades, Susan Smith, Lexy Wealleans, Connie Wilkins, and MJ Williamz.

A portion of the proceeds for Through the Hourglass will go to these charities that directly serve LGBT senior citizens: Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and The Gay & Lesbian Association of Retiring Persons, Inc. (GLARP).

Edited by Sacchi Green and Patty G. Henderson
Published by The Liz McMullen Show Publications
November 2015


Upstream the river riffled over stony outcroppings, but under the bridge it ran deep and clear. Reggie leaned over the wooden railing and stared down into those amber-green depths, willing herself to see only a great speckled trout balanced in perfect stillness against the current. An ordinary Midlands English stream, all green shadow and shimmering sunlight and blue reflected sky. An ordinary fish. Yet she could not block out visions of bodies submerged in other streams throughout the ravaged countryside of France, flowing ever redder with blood until they reached the Somme. Even the songs of birds in flight, spilling over with rapture, warped in her mind into cries for help, help that could never be enough.

“Shell-shock,” the doctors might say, but it scarcely mattered what one called it. Pure, searing grief, not war itself—though war would have been enough—had breached her defenses. Grief for Vic. For herself without Vic.

By what right did England bask in such a May morning, calm and lovely, while over there artillery’s thunder still shook the fields, and men rotted in muddy trenches? How could she bear to stand idle in the midst of such peace when her place was over there, even…even with Vic gone? All the more with Vic gone.

But she must adjust, must let the peace of home heal her—not that anywhere felt like home now. Or ever could again, without Vic. If Reggie could prove herself recovered, not only from her physical injuries but those of the spirit—capable once more, clear-minded—they just might send her back to the war. An experienced ambulance driver, strong as most men, skilled at repairing motorcars and field-dressing wounded soldiers; here in pastoral England she was of no use, but over there she was desperately needed.

Reggie straightened abruptly, trying to focus on the tender green of new leaves, the glint of sunlight on the flitting gold and peacock blue of dragonflies. She shook herself like a retriever emerging from deep water.

“Don’t move!” 
The low, terse command froze her in mid shake. “There’s a nest…” The voice came from below, less peremptory now, but Reggie’s mind raced. A machine gun nest? She fought the impulse to drop to the wooden planks of the bridge. Surely not gunners, not here! A nest of wasps?

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.” The speaker was almost whispering. “It’s just that swallows are nesting below you on the supports of the bridge, and I’ve been sketching them, but they get uneasy when you move so suddenly and might leave the eggs.”

A flush of fury heated Reggie’s face. Forced to the verge of panic by some silly schoolgirl! She bent over the wooden railing, an angry shout surging into her throat, and saw, first, a head of tousled light brown hair cut short about the ears. A schoolboy, then! All the worse! “WHAT do you bloody mean by—”

The artist looked up. The remainder of Reggie’s words, stifled, burned like mustard gas in her mouth.

Not a boy. Not a child at all, though she might have been taken for one if it weren’t for tiny lines at the corners of mouth and eyes, and a certain look in those eyes that spoke of a share of pain in her life; rather like what Reggie saw in her own when she was careless enough to look in a mirror. Her hair was really no shorter than Vic’s pale curls had been in France, and Reggie’s own dark thatch had been cropped a good deal shorter back then, a necessity in the filth and chaos of battlefields. She realized uneasily that it was about time she cut it again. Eight months in hospital had left it just long enough to tie back in a straggly knot, which she would have hated if she had cared in the least about appearance these days.


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annathepiper: (Beckett and Book)

I’ve mentioned fellow Carina author Susanna Fraser to y’all before–and I have indeed featured her before right here on Boosting the Signal. I’m delighted to have her back for her latest release with Carina, a romance novella just in time for the holidays. If Christmas-themed romances are your cup of spicy, aromatic tea, then you really can’t go wrong with a Fraser.

A Christmas Reunion is the story of star-crossed lovers reunited at Christmas just a week before the heroine is set to marry another man. For today’s post, Susanna’s stepping into the point-of-view of that other man—the perfectly wealthy, charming, and suitable Sir Anthony Colville.


A Christmas Reunion

A Christmas Reunion

I need a wife. Whether or not I want one hardly matters.

Other gentlemen have the luxury of delay, or even of never wedding at all should true love fail to enter their lives or if the thought of a settled existence does not appeal. Those gentlemen either lack entailed property or have trustworthy heirs for it already, brothers or nephews or cousins who will take good care of their lands and dependents should it come to that.

I am not so fortunate. The cousin who would inherit Colville House, and with it responsibility for the health and well-being of my tenants, my lands, and my mother and sisters, is a rogue and a wastrel of the first order. Every day that I go without fathering a healthy, legitimate son and heir and, ideally, an equally healthy younger brother for him, is a day everything my grandfather, my father, and I have worked for decades to build remains at risk of utter ruin.

Lady Catherine Trevilian seemed an answer to my every prayer. She is a clever and self-possessed young lady of excellent birth, ideally suited by both family connections and inclination to be a great political hostess as well as the mistress and patroness of my estate. No, I am not passionately in love with her, but nor is she with me, so there is no imbalance there. We are friends, we can talk for hours, we can make each other laugh, and until today I was confident we would be happier together than ninety out of a hundred married couples in Society.

But today I saw her with Captain Gabriel Shepherd, the baseborn and penniless poor relation of the family who became Catherine’s guardians after her father’s demise. They had not seen each other in five years, the good captain having been driven into the army after the two of them were caught kissing under the mistletoe, if you please! I would happily regard this as a mere youthful indiscretion—after all, who of us hasn’t experienced desperate calf love at sixteen or eighteen or twenty?—except that neither of them can tear their eyes from the other for any length of time, and last night I saw them passionately kissing on the staircase.

I would never wish for Catherine to be unhappy. By any logical measure I would be a better husband for her than Captain Shepherd. Who knows if that grand Romeo-and-Juliet passion of theirs would last if she actually married him and had to live an everyday life with a man so far beneath her in birth and fortune? With me she would always have safety, stability, and a secure place in the world she was born into.

Yet I will never be able to offer her that passion, that wild intensity of feeling. And now that she’s tasted it again—and as a woman grown, no longer a girl barely out of the schoolroom—will she truly be content without it?

Still, I need a wife most desperately. I wish I knew the right path to follow.


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annathepiper: (Beckett and Book)

Mmm, time travel! A staple of historical romances! And Emma Kaye would like you to know about hers–Time for Love, which brings you not only a time-traveling heroine, but also the fine and upstanding The Captain Thinks He’s Hired a Boy for the Crew but Boy Howdy is HE Going to Be Surprised trope. Here’s Emma’s heroine, Alex, on the topic of why exactly she’s made this jump into the past!


Time for Love

Time for Love

Dear Jessie,

I know you’re probably crazy worried right now. I hope I didn’t make a mistake in telling you what I was doing. I know Sawyer was dead set against me telling anyone, but since it was his company that got my sister into this mess in the first place, I don’t really care what he wants.

Still, I worry about you. You are my best friend, after all. I wish there was a way to let you know that I made it through the time portal and I’m doing fine. This letter is pointless. I feel like an idiot writing it—it’s not like I can slap a stamp on it and stick it in the mail.

Anyway, this whole journey is so surreal, writing it all down helps me face the fact that I’ve actually traveled through time. And I’m doing pretty well so far.

It’s going to be a bigger challenge than I thought, though. Yeah, I found a ship right away, but it was my rotten luck that they don’t take passengers and I had to sign on as a member of the crew. They still almost didn’t take me, but I offered to work for free. Even in the eighteen hundreds people have a hard time passing up on a freebie.

The work’s not the problem. It’s the captain. I’m going to have to avoid him, which won’t be easy. I’m afraid he’s going to see through my disguise. I think he already suspects there’s something strange about the boy he hired on for this trip. He just hasn’t figured out yet that I’m actually a woman. And if I keep staring at his ass, he’s bound to figure it out sooner rather than later.

That’s the other problem. I can’t seem to keep my wits about me when he’s around. My mind goes blank and damn, I can’t keep my eyes off him. The first mate’s technically better looking, but there’s just something about Nicholas the captain that makes me want…

Well, enough about him. I have other things to worry about. Like how I’m going to find my sister when I get to London. This trip takes about a month. I’m not going to have that much time once I arrive if I’m going to find her before… I can’t even write it down. It’s too awful. I try not to think about what could happen if I don’t get to her in time. I can’t give up now that I’m getting so close. I have to save her.

I wish I could ask for your advice, my dear friend.

I have to go. I have to report to the galley. (Yes, I’m working in the ship’s kitchen. Laugh all you want. Even I can clean a pot and peel a potato.)

If all goes well, I’ll see you in a few months.



P.S. — Thanks for taking care of Maximus while I’m gone. And don’t forget—he likes to hide in the strangest places, so if you can’t find him just pop open a can of tuna and that cat will come running.


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annathepiper: (Castle and Beckett and Book)

It is my distinct pleasure to feature Susanna Fraser on Boosting the Signal today. Some of you may have seen me post about Susanna before, since she’s a fellow Carina Press author–and she’s also one of the authors that falls squarely into the somewhat narrow bracket of historical romances I like to read! I have read both of the books we’ll be featuring today, Regency-era romances, and was very pleased to learn in particular that Susanna is a fellow Browncoat. If you check out The Sergeant’s Lady, see if you can spot the same Firefly reference I did!

Also–be advised that A Marriage of Inconvenience actually is a prequel to The Sergeant’s Lady, even though it came out later. So I’d recommend reading them in reverse order.

And without further ado, here’s Anna Wright-Gordon, the sister of the hero of A Marriage of Inconvenience. At the halfway point of her brother’s story, she has a complaint!


The Sergeant's Lady

The Sergeant’s Lady

My brother James likes to think he knows everything. When I was younger, I believed it was true. Of course to a little girl of 5, a 10-year-old brother, especially a kind and affectionate one, will seem quite splendid and wise. He taught me my letters and gave me my first riding lessons on his old pony, years before Papa thought I was ready.

But I’m 19 now, and he still cannot accept that I’m a grown woman who knows her own mind and heart. He thinks I am mad to marry Sebastian Arrington on so short an acquaintance, that I cannot truly know him. Well, I know enough! I know that he is nothing like any other man I know. He is neither frivolous youth nor callous rake, which is enough to set him apart from most of the gentlemen who attempted to court me during my Season. Sebastian is serious, even grave, and the way he watches me, so hungry and fascinated and almost worshipful, makes me feel honored and cherished in a way I’ve never experienced before.

James himself said I should marry an officer, a diplomat, or a politician–someone whose career I can help to advance. I don’t know how he can complain when I am only following his advice. And it’s all very well of him to say that if Sebastian and I truly love each other, we would be willing to wait a year or two. Has he forgotten that we are at war, and that Sebastian must return to his regiment on the Peninsula next month? Surely James knows how short and uncertain life is. What if Sebastian…dies, and we never had the chance to live together as husband and wife?

A Marriage of Inconvenience

A Marriage of Inconvenience

And I know something about James that he has yet to discover: he is going to marry Sebastian’s cousin Lucy Jones. I don’t think he even realizes how he watches her every time she enters the room, nor how he spends more time at her side than with anyone else. But I do, and so do our aunt and uncle. They think that James could do better than to marry a poor relation with no fortune at all. Yet while it’s true that he could, James’s own fortune is so large that he doesn’t need a wife with money, so I think he should choose a woman who will make him happy. And Miss Jones will. He needs someone with her peace, quietness, and calm, or he will never develop any of those qualities himself.

Best of all, once he marries Lucy and I marry Sebastian, our families will be doubly connected, and we will be so much in each other’s company. No matter how much James exasperates me, I don’t want to drift apart from him now that we are both grown. He is the best of brothers, after all. I’ll never forget the pony.

You can read James’s story in A Marriage of Inconvenience, and Anna’s further adventures are found in The Sergeant’s Lady.


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Anna the Piper

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