BLOG TOUR FLASHBACK: BLOG TOUR – Wellington Beaus
Welcome to Shannon Muir’s Infinite House of Books!
DISCLAIMER: This content has been provided to INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS by Bewitching Book Tours. No compensation was received. This information required by the Federal Trade Commission.
What initially got you interested in writing?
I always used to play pretend when I was little. I loved making up scenarios, mostly of TV shows I watched. I didn’t start writing stories down for fun until after I had graduated high school. I had a manual typewriter that I took outside one summer to our picnic table under the trees and wrote a Civil War love story.
How did you decide to make the move into being a published author?
When I moved to Virginia Beach, my husband and I toured old plantation homes, and I got inspired to make up stories to people that I imagined lived there. This was when I first wrote Wellington Cross, my first book. I sent off letters to a few publishers at the time and was rejected, so I put writing aside for many years while our son was young and growing up. I had a job (and still do) as a medical transcriptionist. When he was a teenager and driving his own car, I had a little more time to write again, and I revamped that book and sent letters off to the literary agents once again. I got rejection letters once again and decided to self-publish with Amazon.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
I want readers to enjoy the stories, enjoy the family interactions, fall in love with the lovers in the stories, and I like to provide an escape from everyday life. I especially enjoy writing historical romance because it’s easier to be taken away to a different time period and try to imagine what life was like back then. I want my readers to take that journey, too.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I just think it’s fun to make up stories. Every time I finish a chapter, I feel a sense of accomplishment and my mood improves. It’s just something I love doing.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
I think the most challenging thing is writing historical fiction. For my Wellington Cross series, which is set in the late 1800’s, I have to do a lot of research and look things up for what they had back then. I try to be as historically correct as possible to make it seem more authentic. That takes a lot of work.
What advice would you give to people want to enter the field?
If you want to write, you have to read other people’s books to get a sense of storytelling. Also, don’t give up. If you enjoy writing, keep doing it, whether you publish it or not. Do it for the enjoyment of it.
What ways can readers connect with you?
Readers can connect with me through my website, email me, send me a letter through snail mail, and I have accounts as Cheryl R. Lane on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Goodreads, and an author page on Amazon.
walked out onto the front porch wearing her best blue dress with leg o’ mutton
sleeves and waited for guests to arrive. She was having a birthday party and
had invited a few of her family and friends to attend that day.
birthday was in June, but she had delayed a party so that her cousin Jason
could have a proper honeymoon with his new wife, Belle Wellington. Belle had
worked at the boarding house where the three of them lived and took care of
Adams House. Most guests were just passing through town, but one guest had been
a particular nuisance and caused a lot of trouble to all three of them at the
Brewster aka Wayne Trueman, Jr., had forcibly raped Amanda back in February
when he first came to visit the boarding house. He’d been handsome and
charming, and she’d made a terrible mistake.
being with child and called on a doctor in Richmond to try and get rid of the
baby. She didn’t think she could bear looking at a baby every day who had been
the result of such a brutal act of violence and violation. She found a Doctor Gardner,
and he’d come to the boarding house in May to perform the surgery.
Brewster had returned, found out what she was doing, and tried to stop it.
having a heart attack and died before completing the surgery, before sewing her
up. She’d bled a lot and the next day, Doctor William Brown and his wife Ginny
had taken over her care. She’d taken a long time to heal, both physically and
emotionally, and had eventually moved out to the country to stay at her Aunt
Paisley’s plantation for a while. Her savior had been Bertie.
Wellington, whom everyone called Bertie, had come to visit her at Carter Manor
on a regular basis, and the two of them started taking walks outside on the
plantation. First they walked in the garden, then the walks got longer and
they’d walked around some of the crops and even over into the woods a little.
sweetest man she’d ever met, and he knew how to make her laugh. He seemed to
care a great deal about her.
she was in love with him. The day he saved her and his sister, Belle, from
shooting him after he’d shot Belle in the stomach, was the day she realized she
his life, which he did quite often being deputy of Charles City, but she knew
he would do it for her at any given moment, should the need arise. He’d told
her so on one of their walks. That he would do anything for her to prove to her
that there were good men still left in this town.
guilty about Belle getting shot and that it was her fault since she was the one
who had gotten involved with Mister Brewster. It took her a while to forgive
herself, even though Belle said she didn’t blame her at all. She’d insisted
that since Mister Brewster had lived in the boarding house when he was growing
up, he would’ve been back anyway, whether Amanda had taken up with him or not.
Amanda knew that was true, but it didn’t help assuage her guilt sometimes.
guilt for getting rid of the baby. She had been the cause of an innocent life
being terminated. Essentially, she had committed murder. Not actually with her
own hands, but it was still her fault. She was the one who’d asked Doctor
Gardner to perform the surgery that terminated the baby’s life.
awful and dreaded that she might not ever have another baby again, either as a
result of the procedure or as punishment.
days not to think any of those thoughts and quickly pushed them out of her head
as she straightened up her dress. It was her best dress, one she had gotten at
Belle’s sister Lillie’s shop. She first wore it to the Wellington’s Spring Ball
last year. She hadn’t been able to go this year because of all the mess with
Mister Brewster. She was happy she could wear it now. She’d sent it out to the
lady who does their laundry, and it had just barely arrived at the boarding
house in time – that very morning!
hand on one of the white porch columns and looked around the town until her
eyes paused at the Sheriff’s Office where Bertie worked and then the small
house down the street from it where he lived.
ask for the whole day off so he could attend the party. She couldn’t wait to
see him. And dance with him.
everything is nearly ready,” Belle said behind her.
around as Belle walked out onto the porch. She looked so much happier since
she’d married Jason. Amanda was happy for them both but felt a twinge of
jealousy. She wished she could feel so completely happy. She thought she just
might be able to, someday. Maybe with Bertie.
Amanda said. “Thank you so much for all your hard work.”
all the food for the party, including a ham, a large roast turkey, a round of
beef, and scalloped oysters. Also served would be four kinds of finger
sandwiches – cucumber, egg salad, ham and goat’s cheese, and tomato-and-basil –
as well as fresh vegetables from the garden, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots,
which would be served alongside peach cobbler, ice-cream, and a three-layer
cake made with strawberry jam inside the layers.
started working for Amanda, she was tasked with cleaning the rooms, cooking,
checking people in and showing them to their rooms. After Belle married, she
recuperated from her gunshot wound and had only recently started cooking again
as her sole duty. Amanda was checking people in, and another lady, Malynn, was
cleaning the house.
had been involved with Mister Brewster out in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and
had followed him to Virginia just before his tumultuous demise. She had also
become impregnated by Mister Brewster and had a baby girl named Mabel who was
now two months old. Amanda marveled at the woman’s tenacity and ability to make
the long arduous journey all the way from Colorado after such a short period of
time since birthing a baby. Malynn had helped Bertie trap Mister Brewster and
decided to stay in Charles City after the incident. She said she wanted a
quieter place to live and raise her baby.
Amanda,” Belle said, stirring Amanda from her thoughts. “It’s the least I could
before he left. Is he back with Aunt Paisley yet?”
a carriage to go and fetch Amanda’s aunt, as she was planning to spend a week
at the boarding house. Amanda had insisted that she stay in her own room, which
was located on the second – main – floor of the house near the check-in area.
That room had been Belle’s room at first, but after
procedure and Doctor Gardner’s subsequent death, Amanda wanted no further part
of the room she used to occupy with all its bad memories, so she had switched
rooms with Belle. When she moved back
Paisley’s while Belle was recuperating, she had taken the same room on the
second floor, still not ready to face her ghosts in the other room on the
but I expect them anytime,” Amanda said.
Jason to the kitchen when he arrives. I need to check on the beef.”
and tell him. When your brother gets here, I’ll have him help carry the food
up.” The food was going to be served in the dining room on the second floor,
while the kitchen was on the first floor.
inside, Amanda turned around and saw Bertie walking her way. She broke out into
a big smile and pushed a loose strand of her copper-colored hair behind her
and he began smiling, too.
breathtaking,” he said upon reaching the top step of the porch. He took her
hands in his, leaned in, and kissed her temple.
shade that competed with the color of her hair. “Thank you, Bertie. You look
very nice yourself.” She was used to seeing him in his deputy uniform, though
he had worn a rugged Norfolk jacket or cutaway morning coat on many occasions
when he came to visit her. This time, he wore a more formal dark dinner jacket
with a shawl collar over a light gray waistcoat, white shirt, and a dark tie.
“You didn’t have to get so dressed up for the party. It’s not a big to-do, just
a nice quiet little party.”
weren’t able to attend my family’s party in the spring, so I wanted to look
nice when I dance with you.”
her stomach fluttered a little bit at the thought of dancing with him. “I can’t
wait, Bertie.” She straightened his collar, just wanting to touch him
eyes briefly and took her hand in his. When he opened his eyes, he looked
wrong?” she asked.
nothing at all.” He seemed nervous all of a sudden.
pulled up then – it was Jason and Aunt Paisley. After him was the Wellington
carriage which held Bertie’s parents, and another carriage behind that which
belonged to Bertie’s brother, Godfrey.
herself getting nervous at the thought of mingling with Bertie’s family because
of how close she felt to him now. She barely knew his family at all, had only
met his mother once. It was time she got to know them.
the party to begin.
the party was in full swing. A string band played inside in the parlor, and
with the windows open, the music could be heard inside as well as outside on
the wraparound porch. Food was spread out in the dining room at the back of the
house in a room with red walls, white trim, and windows on three sides, which
afforded views of the garden and cottage out back. Jason and Belle were the
perfect hosts, making sure the food and drink were plentiful.
with Amanda as well as his family who were there – his parents, his older
wife Cecilia, and his three sisters – Lillie, Lizzie, and Belle – along with
spouses Ian and
was visiting from Boston and would be going back home the following morning.
She was found out to not actually be a blood relation to the Wellingtons, but
he still considered her a sister. Her husband, Josiah, was actually the one who
was a Wellington, and even though they were nearly the same age,
uncle. He didn’t travel down for this visit, as Lizzie wanted to stay for four
weeks and Josiah could not be away from his occupation as a banker for that
length of time.
people present were Amanda and her small family – her cousin Jason and her Aunt
Paisley. She had lost her parents in an accident three years ago and Bertie
knew she missed them a lot, especially her mother. Especially on her birthday.
That was one of the reasons he decided to propose marriage to her at her
birthday celebration, so that she would have a new memory to think about and
something happy to celebrate instead of feeling sad.
and tongue-tied around her. He’d been engaged before, had been in love before,
but the woman had broken the engagement and he swore off women for many years.
Until he met Amanda. In all his twenty-six years, he had never met a more
formidable and yet vulnerable woman before. He loved her for her sweetness, her
determination, and her courage. She’d been through a lot and he wanted to take
care of her, more than anything, for the rest of his life.
side of the wraparound porch looking over the garden when he walked up behind
her. “Amanda, there you are.”
quickly, looking startled.
was just looking out over the garden…thinking about my mother.”
rather be alone?” Although he thought he would die if he put off proposing to
her any longer.
him and smiled. “No, I’m glad you’re here. We haven’t danced yet.”
Dancing. Could we, uh, talk for a minute first?” he asked her.
did you want to talk about?”
his throat and fumbled inside his pockets for the ring he was going to give
her. He found it and kept his hand on it for the moment until he worked up the
courage to present it. “Would you take a walk with me in the garden?”
asked. “Can we not talk here where we can still hear the nice music?”
likely still hear it out there,” he said. “And then we will dance after, um,
after we walk in the garden. It’ll only take a moment, I promise.”
in his and kissed it, hoping she would comply. He was so nervous that she would
decline his proposal.
agreed. “A little walk and talk, and then we’ll dance.”
around to the back of the porch, past the dining room windows where Bertie knew
others would be watching. He glanced inside and saw Jason looking his way. He
smiled broadly and gave him a thumbs-up. Bertie quickly looked away and nearly
stumbled as he followed Amanda down the outside stairs leading towards the
garden and stables. When they got to the last bottom step, he placed his hand
on the small of her back and pointed towards the cottage and they walked behind
it where there was a black wrought iron bench. This was a secluded spot away
from view of the house, and it overlooked a tall group of sunflowers and the
woods beyond. They walked over to the bench and he motioned for her to sit down
on it while he kept standing. She looked at up him curiously, and he looked
around them nervously, not wanting an audience for this.
Bertie?” she asked him. “Just tell me.”
his pocket again and pulled the ring out, not showing it to her yet. He might
as well get this over with before he exploded. He dropped down onto one knee
and Amanda looked stricken. Did she know what he was going to ask? Why didn’t
she look happy?
squeaked and cleared his throat again.
her hands in his and with the other he presented her with a silver-banded ring
with a square-shaped small diamond on the top. It was brand new; he’d ordered
it at the mercantile a month ago.
sudden,” he said, licking his lips. “We’ve only known each other a short time,
but I…I love you and I want to spend the rest of my days with you. Would
you…will you marry me?”
eyes, looking like she wanted to cry. Why was she sad? “Oh, Bertie. I would
love to, but…”
he’d been slapped. “But what?” he whispered. “Is it too soon after…your ordeal?”
He cleared his throat again and spoke louder. “Because I’ll wait as long as you
want to. We can have a long engagement.”
tears back with her free hand. “It’s not that, Bertie. I don’t…well, it is
partly because of that. I’m not good for you, Bertie. I’m not…pure.”
momentarily and then he recovered himself. “You think I don’t know that? I know
what procedure you had done and how you got that way. I’m not naïve.”
not, but I’m just not good enough for you, Bertie. You deserve better.”
enough? Amanda, how could you think that? You are a beautiful woman who cares
about other people. You have gone through many challenges in your short life
and yet you smile and wear a happy face. And you have made me happy in the
short time I have known you. You absolutely are good enough for me. You’re all
I’ll ever want.”
me happy, too, Bertie, but I hide my feelings a lot. I…I have a lot of burdens
in here,” she said, putting her hand over her heart. “A lot of sadness.”
can change all of that. Haven’t I made you happy at all in these past few
months? Don’t you care about me?”
eyes and sniffed, opened them and said shyly, “Yes, I have come to love you
dearly, and yes, you have lightened my burdens a lot, but I still don’t feel
that I deserve you.”
marriage is perfect. Even my own parents had difficulties. My father took
another wife when my mother had lost her memory for a year and couldn’t be
found. I’m not perfect either and I’m not looking for perfection…just love. And
I love you like no other. Won’t you please be my wife? We’ll lighten each
other’s loads and fill our lives with love. I’d like no one but you to share my
him, then at the ring, and then back at him. “Are you sure your family will
she still felt down on herself for her past mistakes.
like you, and once they find out that I love you and want to marry you, they’re
going to love you, too. Belle already does.”
have any more children? You know what I did to Brewster’s baby.” She looked
down again and he saw tears in her eyes again, which she tried to hide.
We don’t have to have any children. It won’t change my love for you.”
at him under her long lashes, her green eyes making his insides melt.
whispered. “Please say yes. I’ll treat you better than any man ever has
smiled. “Yes,” she whispered.
he asked, grinning happily.
more. “Yes,” she said louder.
into a quick hug, released her quickly, and then stood up. “Thank God! My knee
is killing me, and I didn’t know how much longer I could stay on it like that.”
making him so happy. He pulled her up against him. “Thank you,” he whispered.
“I love you.”
ring on her left third finger and then leaned down and kissed her sweet lips.