Category Archives: Victorian romance

RONE AWARDS • Week Four • Young Adult Paranormal and Novella

The InD’Tale Magazine RONE Awards continue! It’s Week Four, and I need your votes for my two nominated entries, Larken (Category: Novella) and Dancing With Raven (Category: Young Adult: Paranormal). Go HERE to vote (you must create a free account first), and I thank you for your support! ~ S.G. Rogers

LarkenThe sole survivor of a train accident, young Larken Burke is dubbed the Miracle Orphan. Four years later, however, her life is far from fortunate. Because of her emotional and physical scars, she believes she’s un-marriageable. With little hope for the future, she agrees to wed a gentleman she’s never met. Unfortunately, his aloof manner proves difficult to take.

Marked by romantic tragedy and the loss of his brother, Brandon King has forsworn marriage. Obliged to take in a ward, he advertises for a mail-order bride to raise the boy. Since the union is to be a marriage in name only, his criteria are youthful age, a certain level of intellect, good breeding, and that the girl shouldn’t be so ill-favored she would embarrass him in society. To his dismay, he gets more than he’d bargained for.

Will it take a miracle for Mr. and Mrs. King to fall in love, or is their marriage another accident waiting to happen?

P.S. I’m writing the sequel to Larken right now, called Lord Apollo and the Colleen!

pagebreakDancingWithRaven-newText3dThe Shakespearean Institute of London is the most powerful, prestigious, and top-secret demon-hunting organization known to mankind…and they want American Tori Moss dead before she turns eighteen. Demons are pouring into her hometown of Los Angeles as they await the end of the world, and she doesn’t know whom to trust or where to turn. After a handsome English boy enrolls in her performing arts school, Tori’s life takes a turn for the deadly. Sometimes in the fight between good and evil, the enemy of your enemy is your friend. And sometimes, you’re on your own.

RONE Awards – Duke of a Gilded Age

2014 RONE Awards Week One has begun!  Duke of a Gilded Age has DukeofaGildedAge_432been nominated under the category of Young Adult, and I need your vote to make it into the finals. Voting is only open until March 16th, so don’t wait! Go HERE to vote. As an extra incentive, if you leave a comment, below, letting me know you’ve voted, I’ll enter you into a drawing to win your choice of ANY of my e-books in Nook or Kindle format (go HERE for the full list). I’ll draw the winner on March 18th, before noon EST. I cannot win without YOU, so please, please vote! ~ S.G. Rogers


arrow1twistingPSST…Haven’t read Duke of a Gilded Age yet? It’s on sale at Amazon through March 16th only.  Pick up a copy for $0.99 (regularly $2.99) HERE.

Author S.G. Rogers – Double RONE Nominee

I’m plDukeofaGildedAge_432eased to announce two of my novels have been nominated by InD’Tale Magazine for a 2014 RONE (Reward of Novel ExcellenceYden_Book2) Award. Under the category of Young Adult is my historical romance Duke of a Gilded Age, and under the category of Young Adult Paranormal is my fantasy novel Children of Yden.  I don’t write for awards, but it’s certainly nice to be recognized! ~ S.G. Rogers


Noblesse Oblige and Jane Austen

484px-Jane_Austen_coloured_versionAlthough it’s not the main focus of Jane Austen’s Emma, the main character is portrayed as doing a great deal of charitable work in her town. Because of her fortunate financial and social status, she feels a sense of obligation to help those in need. The concept of noblesse oblige (translated from French “nobility obliges”) is at work; the idea that privilege is paired with social responsibilities. This notion is codified in the bible: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” (Luke 12:48)

When attempting to dissuade Harriet from her interest in Mr. Martin, Emma says, “The yeomanry are precisely the order of people with whom I feel I can have nothing to do. A degree or two lower, and a creditable appearance might interest me; I might hope to be useful to their families in some way or other. But a farmer can need none of my help, and is, therefore, in one sense, as much above my notice as in every other he is below it.”

For Emma, at least, one can conclude her feeling of noblesse oblige has extremely specific parameters and limitations!

AGiftforLara_432I use this concept of noblesse oblige to motivate Lara Robinson in A Gift for Lara. She lives in a country manor, and is keenly aware of the needs of the poor. When Miles Greystoke comes to stay, they have a conversation about charitable works. To Lara’s dismay, Miles believes, “There will always be inequality and poverty, no matter what any of us do. I believe that much of our efforts toward the poor are wasted.”

Lara thinks Miles means he’s unwilling to even try. Therein lies the conflict. Noblesse oblige does not require the privileged to guarantee a positive outcome from charitable works—-only that a sincere effort be made. Will Miles make the effort to please Lara?

For my part, I think giving out of a sense of obligation is good. Giving from the heart is better. ~ S.G. Rogers


Victorian Vise — Dilemma of the Newly Poor

“He cut off a long lock of her hair.”

In Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, the Dashwoods are cast into poverty when Mr. Dashwood dies. The home passes to his only son from a first marriage, and his second wife and three daughters are left to fend for themselves. The situation is all more tragic when one realizes English women of a certain social strata in that era did not work, and perhaps had few marketable skills even if they could. Therefore, women were almost entirely dependent on a male protector for their very survival. Throughout the Victorian era, very little changed. Society women were discouraged from pursuing any course of education other than “drawing room” skills such as music or singing, or artistic endeavors such as embroidery, painting, and the like. What happened to newly impoverished Society women if they had no relatives? If they were lucky, they could procure a position as a governess or companion. The unluckier ones might be forced into a seamier career in East End in order to eat.

Sense and Sensibility was one of the inspirations for Jessamine’s Folly. In the story, Jessamine is orphaned at fifteen, and her estate is entailed away from her to an uncle. Although the uncle agrees to let her stay, her aunt and cousin make her life miserable. When Jessamine is of age, her aunt forces her to look for work as a governess. A loyal servant knows of a position, but it comes with a catch:


“My cousin Garfield is valet to the Earl of Kirkendale. He wrote me just the other day about the young lady of the house needing a governess, or companion more like, since Lady Amelie is turning eighteen soon. The thing is, no governess has managed to last at Knight’s Keep more than a few weeks.”

Jessamine blinked. “Is the girl difficult?”

“The problem might lie with the master of Knight’s Keep. Lord Kirkendale is Lady Amelie’s elder brother, and the Earl of Kirkendale since his father died. It seems no lass young enough to be a governess or companion to Lady Amelie can avoid falling in love with the man. He’s that handsome, says my cousin.”

“What a bunch of ninnies!” Jessamine exclaimed.

“Aye. Well, you know how impressionable young women can be. Anyway, Lord Kirkendale is looking to fill the post. It’s likely only a temporary position, however, until Her Ladyship makes a good marriage.”

“I think I can avoid falling in love until then,” Jessamine said.

ornament29Can Jessamine can avoid falling in love with Lord Kirkendale, or is taking such a position sheer folly? Unfortunately for Jessamine, she has little choice but to try.There is much to admire about 19th century dress, manners, and style but the cultivated helplessness of upper class women isn’t something I could easily accept. Fortunately, my time machine has never failed me yet. ~ S.G. RogersJessaminesFolly_432

Victorian-Era Walking Sticks to Stir the Imagination

Dandys_1830In my Victorian-era romance Duke of a Gilded Age, Wesley is obliged to hire a valet to tend to his new wardrobe and help him navigate the potential minefield of moving in Society as an American duke. Bristling at the idea he can no longer dress himself nor enjoy the complete freedom he’d had in Brooklyn, Wesley is determined to hire someone who will stay out of his way. When valet candidate Cavendish appears, he represents himself as a drunk who enjoys baseball–thereby fulfilling all of Wesley’s requirements. Although Cavendish wins the job, he quickly proves himself to be much more than he seems…starting with a rather extraordinary collection of walking sticks.


As he reached for a freshly baked fruit muffin, Wesley noticed yet another one of Cavendish’s walking sticks propped up in the corner. This one was slender, fashioned of a highly polished dark wood, and sported a deep blue cut‐glass knob handle. I wonder how many walking sticks the man has?

Since there was much to be done, Cavendish didn’t allow his master to linger overlong at breakfast. After Wesley bathed, the valet gave him a shave and manicure. Wesley examined his buffed fingernails, impressed.

“I’m not uncouth anymore,” he said.

“I daresay you never were, Your Grace.”

“Tell me, Cavendish, how many walking sticks do you own?”

“I’ve never actually counted them, Your Grace, but I am quite the collector.”

Wesley read Jules Verne until his mother was ready to go, while Cavendish sat nearby reading a pocket‐sized copy of L’Art de la Guerre. Wesley gave the book’s title a curious glance.

“Is that French?” he asked.

“Yes. It’s The Art of War by Chinese military general Sun Tzu.”

“He speaks French?”

“No, he lived thousands of years ago. This is a translation from Chinese.”

“Why don’t you read it in English?”

“Sadly, the English translation does not yet exist.”

Wesley returned to his book, puzzled. The man is extremely learned for a valet. Could there be more to Cavendish than meets the eye?

ornament29Walking Stick Compass image courtesy Design ToscanoAn an author, my imagination is seized by the idea of Victorian-era walking sticks serving more than one purpose. Cavendish has all manner of decorative walking sticks, but he also has a very cool walking stick with a compass, a tippling stick containing a compartment in which alcohol can be stored, and a cane with a blade for self-defense. Although admittedly low-tech, it’s rather James Bond-ish, to my way of thinking.  Here are a few resources, if you’re inclined to do further research or purchase one for yourself. Some of these walking sticks are truly amazing works of art. Like Cavendish, I suspect one could build an impressive and fun collection.

~ S.G. Rogers

Design Toscano

Scotties Walking Sticks & Canes (UK)


M.S. Rau Antiques

Antique Cane World


New Victorian Christmas Story – A Gift for Lara

AGiftforLaraI’d like to announce the release of my Victorian Christmas short story, A Gift for Lara.


Can the spirit of Christmas mend two broken hearts?

Lara Robinson wrote a love letter four years ago, but received no reply. Now the man to whom she gave her heart will visit Blythe Manor for Christmas. How can she enjoy the holidays knowing Miles Greystoke must despise her for revealing her feelings in such an unguarded fashion?

As an awkward youth, Miles fell in love with a kindred spirit…but his love was unrequited. Against his wishes, he’s now obliged to spend the holidays at Blythe Manor. Time has wrought changes in his physique, but his devotion to Lara Robinson has never wavered. He searches for the perfect present to show her how he feels, but nothing seems quite right…until he realizes the best sort of gift will embrace the true meaning of Christmas.


“I have an idea,” Angelica said. “Papa has invited us to Blythe Manor for Christmas. I’ll write back and ask if the invitation could be extended to Miles.” She slid her husband a mischievous glance. “Mistletoe can be quite inspirational to a young man if he’s in good company.”

William lifted an eyebrow. “You’re not suggesting he should consider marriage to one of the twins, are you?”

“Why not? He got along particularly well with Lara at our wedding, as I recall.”

“That was four years ago. The lad has changed a great deal since then.”

“For the better, in many ways. Miles used to be shorter than either Lara or Fiona, and a great deal thicker ’round the middle. At any rate, perhaps he and Lara will reestablish their relationship.”

“I think it’s an excellent notion,” William said. “Ordinarily, I wouldn’t interfere. In this case, however, a little intervention is warranted.”

Available now as a Kindle download HERE.

Victorian-Era Iconoclast Catherine Walters

Catherine Walters (1839-1920) courtesy wikipedia
Victorian-era courtesan Catherine Walters

With all the emphasis on moral purity, money, and royal titles in the Victorian era, it’s refreshing to hear about an outsider beating the Upper Tens at their own game. Liverpool-born lass Catherine Walters (1839 – 1920) was the Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton of her era. Nicknamed “Skittles” (perhaps stemming from her early job at a bowling alley), her exceptional beauty allowed her to rise to the level of a superstar. Among her lovers were royals, intellectuals, and wealthy benefactors alike, and her discretion was nearly as valuable as her looks. Among other properties, she had a home in the exclusive London neighborhood of Mayfair. An accomplished horsewoman, she drew admiring crowds whenever she rode on Rotten Row in Hyde Park. Her taste in clothes set trends and sparked envy among aristocratic ladies. She “retired” at about the age of 50 (cougar anyone?) as a wealthy woman.

Although my current work-in-progress (Jessamine’s Folly) is set in the Edwardian era, the story includes a character reminiscent of Skittles. I admire the mindset of a woman who goes about living life in her own fashion, thumbing her nose at snobbish conventions and refusing to bow to a set of societal “rules” which excluded her from birth. I drink a toast to an iconoclast of a prior era. ~ S.G. Rogers




Waltzing in the Victorian Era


My favorite historical romance movies tend to have dancing scenes in them… so when I wrote Duke of a Gilded Age, I made sure to put plenty of dancing in it.  The year is 1890, and when the old Duke of Mansbury passes away, Belle accompanies her attorney father to American to retrieve Mansbury’s heir, Brooklyn-born Wesley Parker. On the Transatlantic voyage back to England, Belle, Wesley and some of the young American “aristocracy” form a dance club to practice the waltz.

Detail from frontispiece to Thomas Wilson’s Correct Method of German and French Waltzing (1816). Image courtesy Wikipedia.

As a dance, the waltz had a somewhat scandalous reputation in early 19th century England, due to the fact it required the gentleman to put his hand around the lady’s waist. Nevertheless, as the years marched on (in 3/4 time?), the waltz became increasingly accepted–probably because ladies knew it showed them to their best advantage!

Below is a lovely video showcasing the Emperor Waltz by Johann Strauss, written in 1889, as performed on the piano. (It’s the same piece performed by Stacy Egermann during the first dance club meeting on board the SS City of New York.)  Enjoy! ~ S.G. Rogers

Chocolatier of a Gilded Age

Long before Godiva, there was Maillard’s.

While doing research for Duke of a Gilded Age (set in 1890), I discovered several shops on the ground floor of the 5th Avenue Hotel, one of which was a famous confectionary known as Maillard’s.

Maillard’s Candy Store, 116 West 25th St. (1901)
Maillard’s, Broadway at 24th St. (5th Ave. Hotel) (1902)

Mr. Maillard came to the States from France in 1848, opening his first store at 401 Broadway, NYC. A Maillard’s shop was a tenant at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, eventually evolving from a confectionary into a ladies’ restaurant. In 1908, after the Fifth Avenue Hotel was demolished, a much larger store and ladies’ luncheon restaurant opened at the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 35th Street.  The decor was Louis XVI, the ceiling was graced with lovely paintings, and the settings were completely French. Mr. Maillard, whose award-winning chocolates were exhibited around the world, furnished the inaugural banquet of President Lincoln, thereby making himself a household name. The shop was renowned for chocolates, bon-bons, cocoa, and ice cream.  Although Maillard’s has long been out of business, their advertisement and trade cards are still collectible items today.

I wish these photographs were scratch-and-sniff, because I’ll bet the fragrance inside the shop was heavenly. Have a chocolate day.

~ S.G. Rogers