WOW!!! I’ve got a great package today! A very awesome contest with entry details at the end of this blog, a fascinating guest post by the equally fascinating author, Jena Baxter and a delectable excerpt from her new novel, The Carriage. Let’s get started:
The Charm and Truths in Historical Romance
by Jena Baxter
Hello, my name is Jena Baxter, and I write YA fantasy and historical romance.
I never planned on writing historical fiction, but I’ve always loved history, and wanted to write a novel of The Little Matchgirl, that was closer to Hans Christian Anderson’s vision. I guess that’s a little contradictory, but I hadn’t seen past that particular story yet. I started my research on the time period and studied the story and what he might have seen. Later I learned it was a prompt from a popular calendar someone gave him, but I’ve also read that he meant for it to be a statement of his time.
I’ve always thought it was interesting that Little Matchgirl became a children’s Christmas classic. A young girl is afraid to go home because she didn’t sell any matches. It’s New Year’s Eve and she’s cold so she lights her matches one by one to try and stay warm, hallucinating, until she dies sometime before morning and her grandmother – who is now an angel – takes her to heaven. We see the romance in her visions and the dream of a better life, and forget she’s a lost child on the street somewhere. I’ve written two published novels since then and my Little Matchgirl still hasn’t been written.
The Victorian Era was such a time of hope, but also a time of despair. It encompassed the Industrial Revolution. Many people suffered incredible losses; a few opened factories and made a fortune. Unfortunately, so many people flocked into London that employers could pay less than they should, and many lives fell into poverty. Even children had to work some pretty terrible jobs.
And yet it’s still a period of romance. The language of flowers, courting, dancing, gorgeous dresses and long walks with a hopeful suitor. But a woman had to choose well because who she chose defined not only who she was, but also the comfort of her future. I found a diary entry by a gentleman who said he had everything he needed and it was time to get a wife to care for his home. Forgive me for not being able to give you my sources, in changing computers I’ve lost more than a few things I studied.
We all know about the dreaded corsets. They were uncomfortable and often cut off the air flow so much that women would faint. Men saw them as delicate creatures. They would be too, if they couldn’t breathe, but women have always paid for beauty, whether by cash or disfiguration. What I had never realized was that the internal organs had to go somewhere, so they were pushed up and down, away from the beautifully sculpted waist.
In my recent novel, The Carriage, my main man and heroine have to face a clash of cultures because Alexis is an independent twenty-first century woman. They learn how to compromise to make the relationship work, and my leading man, Ezra is cutting edge for his time.
The facts of the era sound discouraging, and in some ways they are, but time has proven that romance is eternal. From the beginning of time until now, love has always made the difference.
4 $10 Amazon Gift Cards
1 $20 Amazon gift card
2 e-book copies
Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Jena Baxter Books
Date of Publication: February 16th, 15
Number of pages: 214
Word Count: 52,313
Cover Artist: Consuelo Parra
Model: Amber Ornelas
A teenage girl enters a carriage in Central Park and disembarks in Victorian, England.
Cursed by her sister Brooke, Alexis Powell arrives in the Victorian Era where she meets Ezra, who was recently murdered by an assassin his brother Amos hired. Now a supernatural creature, Ezra sees into Alexis’ mind with a touch and Intrigued by her memories, offers his help only to be rebuffed for his kindness. Alexis runs away, but Ezra is unable to shake off what he saw. He follows her through the streets of London.
Vulnerable after the death of his Father, his brother’s harassment, and Alexis’ many rejections, Ezra decides to stop following her. Alexis is unable to find work or food. Facing starvation, she steals a tomato and Ezra finds her facing the local magistrate and an angry mob. He pays for her freedom.
Finally accepting the help Ezra offers, Alexis moves into the manor he shares with his brother. Romance blossoms but the bond between Ezra and Amos is worse than Alexis’ relationship with Brooke.
While Ezra and Alexis search for a way to send her home, Amos looks for a way to kill them.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/-2P1NTDmQww
Available at Amazon
Somehow I was certain I was no longer in New York. The streets were cobblestone, and the buildings wood and brick. A lot of them were broken down, old and shabby. The alleys were filthy and smelled like shit. Exhausted, I looked for a place to hide but didn’t know where to go. When I couldn’t move another muscle, I hid behind a wooden staircase with my back against the wall and fought not to jump at every sound.
I hadn’t meant to fall asleep, and didn’t know how long I’d slept, but it looked close to mid-morning when I opened my eyes and looked around.
The women walking by were wearing long, full dresses, and big feathered hats. The men’s pants were more form fitting, not the jeans they usually wear. Some of the children running around were barefoot and downright filthy, looking as if they had been rolling in mud or playing with charcoal. I cringed when I saw a boy carrying a rat by the tail. Everything was straight out of a Dickens novel. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see little Dorrit, or Ebenezer Scrooge waltz by any minute now. I rubbed my nose with the palm of my hand. What the hell was I going to do?
This obviously wasn’t real, so I must have fallen in with a role playing community of some sort. My mother and father used to play dungeons and dragons. Maybe this was the same thing, but in the extreme.
Something slammed into my back. I screamed and turned at the sound of a woman yelling at me. The broom in her hand whooshed down again, just missing my face.
“Whoa. Hey, stop!”
What was wrong with these people? I couldn’t understand a word she said, so I ran. She chased me, swinging the broom until I left the alley.
I stopped to catch my breath, smoothed my clothes, and approached a woman in a long brown dress with a white bonnet and black boots. She stared at me like I was some sort of freak. Uh … she was the freak, not me. Maybe the men would be friendlier, but not one of them would stop. Then I saw the man that crashed into me yesterday across the road. He looked a little different, wearing a brown suit, and an odd piece of material similar to a scarf around his neck, with a top hat. He was actually still attractive in the weird clothes. Dodging carts and vendors, I made a bee-line for him. At least he wouldn’t chase me with a broom.
About the Author:
Jena Baxter has always loved history and time travel. She liked to read, and often wrote poetry as a stress inhibitor while growing up. But like other writers, she dreamed of writing a novel. So she enrolled at the UCLA Writer’s Extension, to gain the confidence and skill to move forward.
Today Jena has a YA Fantasy novel, as well as a YA Paranormal Romance novel online and in print.