Thursday 5 March 2015

Salon Guests: The Bluestocking Belles

Today I welcome the Bluestocking Belles, here to share news of an exciting new writing initiative (in which you might meet a couple of my very own leading men and a nightmarish Dowager Viscountess!) and their charity drive!

Storytellers create fun out of chaos

Have you ever wondered what would happen if characters from one fictional Regency world could wander into another? If Georgette Heyer’s Lady Sherringham had benefitted from the support and wisdom of Stephanie Lauren’s extended family of Cynster matriarchs? If Grace Burrowes’ Duke of Mercia had been able to spend time with Mary Balogh’s Survivor’s Club? Or if the rakes and rogues of countless stories stopped to exchange a flirtatious word with the protected sisters and daughters of others?

There’s lots of room at the inn

Such an interactive collision of fictional worlds is currently happening at the Bluestocking Belles’ pre-housewarming party (until March 12). We can’t promise such illustrious guests (though one of us is swoony-eyed at the rumor that the Duke of Roxton may drop by). However, an assortment of characters from the books of the Bluestocking Belles have gathered at an inn (with guests and their characters) to flirt, fight, chat, and behave according to their various natures.

It started in a small way, when a couple of us turned up at a Facebook party escorted by our characters, and they began to chat with one another and the guests. When we realized we were in danger of turning into that cheerful drunk who dominates the whole affair and stops the hostess from running her own party, we took the chat onto the page we’d set up for our own Housewarming Party, and the Bluestocking Belles’ fictional-world- and time-spanning, infinitely expandable inn was born.

Meet the Bluestocking Belles

Backing up yet another step, let me introduce you to the Bluestocking Belles. We are a group of authors who write books set in or around the Regency. By getting to know us, readers can ‘taste’ the writing of eight very different authors, and decide whether they want more. We’ll be posting blogs, running a book club chat, hosting Facebook events, and publishing boxed sets of our work. And we hope to improve the universe a little on the way; we’ve agreed that income we earn jointly will go to the Malala Fund, a non-profit associated with Malala Yousafzai, the young girl—now Nobel Peace Prize winner—assaulted by extremists because she claimed her right to an education.

Relax and have fun

Back at the inn, what started as a way to while away a pleasant evening has become an exercise in interactive story building, and our guests are warned to be careful about reading our threads at work if they don’t want to explain why they’re laughing.

Mariana Gabrielle’s Duke and Duchess of Wellbridge (from Royal Regard) are hosting the party, having taken over the inn for the purpose. His Grace hopes his budget expands as rapidly as the inn’s guest list and its walls. He also hopes (somewhat forlornly) that his niece, Lady Anne, will make it through the party with her virtue intact.

Wellbridge specifically invited his old friend Aldridge, Jude Knight’s dissolute rake. We’re not sure whether Wellbridge wants to recover his lost youth, or simply avenge himself on Aldridge for the incident that saw the two of them banned from an entire town when they were young rakes racketing around England.

Caroline Warfield’s Glenaire has arrived at the party with Jamie Ross (both from Dangerous Works). Glenaire is working with Jude Knight’s thief taker, David Wakefield (from the upcoming Farewell to Kindness), to work out whether new guests Arnaut de Montailhac and Louise Fauriel are foreign spies. Jamie divides his time between drinking, flirting, and finding cats to distract Lady Anne from her husband hunt.

Sherry Ewing’s medieval knight, Sir Dristan, and his lady, Amira (from If My Heart Could See You), are at the inn, which sits outside of time and can be entered from any era. They have spent some time closeted with their descendants, while Sherry’s Margaret Templeton was defending her innocence from Aldridge.

Nicole Zoltack’s Lady Vanessa, daughter of the Duke of Honcaster (from Love Before Honor), is playing the pianoforte for the delight of ladies from a dozen novels. The Duchess of Wellbridge having expressed the desire to dance, His Grace added a ballroom to the inn forthwith.

Lady Beauchamp, Amy Rose Bennett’s heroine (from Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal), is fleeing from her evil husband in the guise of a widow, and has sought refuge in the inn on her way north to work as a governess. The Duke of Wellbridge has ordered that she be left alone, but Her Grace may not be able to keep herself to herself when faced with a lady in distress.
Meanwhile, Amy Rose Bennett’s Lady Bianca has flirted with a handsome dragoon major penned by Jude Knight and kissed an itinerant artist introduced by one of our guests. Much to her dismay, her erstwhile paramour has been stolen by Mariana Gabrielle’s Lady Anne, who is determined to discover whether kisses are as delightful as they sound.

Susana Ellis has brought her heroine, Lucy Barlow (from A Twelfth Night Tale), and Glenaire’s attentions threaten to derail the young lady’s expected romance with a retired and maimed Peninsular veteran, let alone her engagement to a respectable middle-aged gentleman.

Anne Townsend, Eileen Richards’ heroine, has arrived at the inn under the influence of a wish. Her earnest suitor, Mr. Nathaniel Matthews (both from the upcoming An Unexpected Wish), is concerned she will be tempted by the number of eligible men in the inn.

Please join us

These are just a few of the characters running amok at the inn. With several from each Belle, and characters, dialogue, and storylines from many of our guests (most likely including some of your favorites—Madame Gilflurt included), who knows what could happen?

The party is running until March 12, with a “Bluestocking Ball” planned for March 14, from noon to 8 pm EDT, on Facebook, Twitter (#BellesInBlue), and in our own chatroom (open on the day of the Ball).

Almost anyone could turn up, and when it’s over, we may find ourselves with the world’s first crowd-sourced, post-modern, extempore Regency novel, all to benefit bluestockings everywhere through the Malala Fund. 

Written content of this post copyright © Mari Christie, 2015.


Carol said...

Jude, I'm smiling into my coffee. When guests began to pop in bringing or inventing characters, things got even more lively. What a hoot! We're having a blast with this.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how well this experiment has taken off at our virtual coaching inn. Thank you Catherine Curzon for hosting The Belles on your blog!

Unknown said...

Indeed! The days of "I wish other people would join in" are long-since over, and what a change with our "guest" characters!

I mean, my Anne (who we figured out late is the Honorable Miss Findemoor, not a Lady) is about to marry Madame Gilflurt's Anthony Lake, so she is quite happy he appeared.) Huzzah!

Catherine Curzon said...

it really is so much fun!

Catherine Curzon said...

It's my pleasure!

Catherine Curzon said...

And he is delighted to have met her!

Unknown said...

Can't contribute in writing, sadly, due to basic ignorance about these wonderful characters. But if it's for the Malala Fund, then somehow count me in.

Catherine Curzon said...

Thank you; it's such an important initiative and lots of fun too!