Tag Archives: literature

Put Up Your Dukes — Literary References in Historical Romance

398px-Thomas_Gainsborough_008While I was doing research for my historical romance novella, The Ice Captain’s Daughter, I became interested in the concept of male succession.  My research actually provided the idea for my forthcoming novel, Duke of a Gilded Age, in which a dukedom passes to a young American man born on the mean streets of Victorian-era Brooklyn. Early on in the book, my main character, Wesley, gets into a fight with a group of local second generation Irish kids. Although none of them yet realize he’s inherited a title, including Wesley, his royal pedigree has been outed, thereby causing resentment.



When Wesley stepped onto the street a few minutes later, however, the Irish were waiting for him.

“Thought you’d give us the slip, eh?” Liam said. “Where’s your silver spoon, pretty boy?”

Wesley’s hackles rose, and he assumed a cocky swagger. “How’s that fine-looking sister of yours, Liam? I hear she’s lonely for me.”

“Shut your filthy mouth about my sister! Why would Coleen be lonely for the likes of wee Lord Fauntleroy,” sneered Liam. He ended his sentence by knocking Wesley’s cap into the gutter.

Wesley’s knuckles showed white. “Don’t ever call me that again.” He decked Liam and turned to face the others.

One down, four to go.


The insult ‘wee Lord Fauntleroy’ was, of course, a reference to the novel Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886) by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Before I wrote Duke of a Gilded Age, I was familiar with the book only insofar as it involved a young American boy who discovers he’s the heir to a British earl, his grandfather.  I decided to read the book to get more than a passing understanding of the story, and I was glad I did. As ‘unrealistic’ as the perfect child’s portrayal might have been, I’ve always been drawn to characters who have the ability to change others for the better.  Although the earl grooms the boy, Cedric, to become an English aristocrat, Cedric’s sweet and loving nature softens his grandfather’s heart toward Cedric’s American mother and toward the people who serve him.

The book was originally published in serial form (1885 – 1886) in St. Nicholas Magazine, and became a huge phenomenon in the States especially. A fashion craze for Fauntleroy suits began (black velvet with a lace collar) and Fauntleroy hair (“lovelocks” and curly ringlets), as American mothers sought to give their young sons the “royal treatment.” Although I have no empirical data on the subject, I also suspect many matrons also tried (unsuccessfully) to get their boys to call them ‘Dearest,’ Cedric’s form of address to his mother.  I daresay many of these poor little chaps were beaten up and bullied due to their fussy appearance, and perhaps harbored a lifelong resentment toward their mothers for being thus inflicted upon.

In Duke of a Gilded Age, Wesley Parker is far too old (twenty) to wear a Fauntleroy suit, and his mother is too poor (and sensible) in any case to have ever considered such a thing. Nevertheless, references to the novel pop up from time to time as certain inescapable parallels are drawn. Since my story is set in 1890, the Fauntleroy craze had not yet run its course, and would have been in the popular culture. Other literary references crop up too, as I depict what other books people may have been reading and discussing at the time. The context of a story thereby becomes an immutable character which adds richness and depth to the narrative.

I hope you agree.

~ S.G. Rogers


When American-born Wesley Parker inherits a dukedom, he must learn to be an aristocrat. Assigned to the task is his attorney’s daughter, prim Belle Oakhurst. As they travel to England together on a luxurious ocean liner, their tempestuous relationship encounters more than rough seas. Although Wesley is increasingly attracted to Belle, she is already engaged. While Belle begins to regret her hasty promise to marry, she is bound by honor and duty to keep her pledge. Furthermore, a thoughtless fabrication on her part threatens to expose her to shame. Neither Wesley nor Belle can foresee that their voyage across the Atlantic will be fraught with peril, and will cost more than one man his life.

Duke of a Gilded Age, a historical romance set in 1890, will be released June, 2013.

From Reject to Release — Tournament of Chance

“What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

My romantic fantasy novel, Tournament of Chance (Musa Publishing) will be released Friday, September 28th.  I couldn’t be more pleased, especially considering its inauspicious beginnings.  You see, I originally wrote TOC as a short story (around 8,000 words).  I submitted the short to several magazines, and although the feedback was positive, I could not find a magazine willing to publish it.  Battered and bruised, I ordinarily would have chucked the manuscript into a folder marked REJECTS, licked my wounds, and moved on to something else.

But I just couldn’t let it go.

I liked the concept of a young woman striving to break through the glass ceiling between commoners and royalty by honing her skills as an archer. In the back of my mind, I knew there was more to the story than the 8,000 words I’d written.  So in between revising, editing, and promoting my other titles, I allowed the full-length version of TOC to unfold. Unlike other, more disciplined authors, I usually let my stories discover themselves.  As the novel moved along, I was actually quite shocked at all the twists, turns, and surprises in store for me.  For example, who knew time travel and shape shifters would find their way into the mix? It took about six months to finish Tournament, and it incorporates many of my favorite things – peacocks, lava tubes, caves, volcanoes, dragons, wizards, romance, and magic.  It also deals with some unlikeable qualities, such as deceit, treachery, false hope, envy, abuse of power, and pride.

So if it weren’t for the rejections I experienced, Tournament of Chance would never have been published as a full-length novel. Perhaps it’s the fighting Irish in me but when I get knocked down, I get up again…and then I write some more. I’m not sure I agree with the Nietzsche quote, above, one hundred percent of the time, but it’s better than the alternative.

Has rejection ever motivated you to succeed?

~ S.G. Rogers

A hunter’s daughter becomes the spark that ignites a revolution—in time.

DragonRebel-Cory2When a beautiful commoner enters the Tournament of Chance archery competition, her thwarted victory sparks a revolution in the oppressive kingdom of Destiny. Although Heather never believed the legends about the restoration of Ormaria, after three shape-shifting Ormarian wizards awaken from a long magical slumber, she joins their perilous quest to regain the throne. Heather battles vicious predators and angry trolls to free the wizards’ magic, but at a horrendous cost. She is unexpectedly torn from the arms of the man she loves and hurled back in time to fulfill a prophecy not yet written.  The ensuing maelstrom tests Heather’s survival skills, wits, and endurance. Will she become an unwritten footnote in history, or can she trust the magic to lead her back to her one true love?

New Book Club With Benefits

Pure. Fiction.

Astraea Press has started a new book club on Facebook you will want to join. Why? For a two week period at the beginning of each month, Astraea Press will offer ONE free e-book to readers to read and enjoy 🙂 At the end of the month you can come back for a chat with other readers and the author. Readers are encouraged to post a reader review on Amazon, B&N and/or Goodreads with their thoughts on the book 🙂  There will also be the opportunity to win author swag!  You really don’t want to miss out.

The fun starts in June, and you must join the group HERE to be eligible to receive the book.  The very first free read will be…Come on over to Facebook and join the fun.

~ S.G. Rogers