Thursday, September 20, 2018

Today's Special - - Theresa Romain and Shana Galen

I'm delighted to welcome Theresa Romain and Shana Galen, the authors of Mrs. Brodie's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, to the blog today. These two bestselling historical romance authors are among my favorites and I was so excited to learn they were combining their talents to produce this new novella duet set at an exceptionally unconventional academy for exceptional young ladies. I thoroughly enjoyed both stories and have hopes that they will consider revisiting the academy in the future. Please give them a warm welcome!


Hi, everyone! We’re so glad to be visiting The Romance Dish today—happy birthday, PJ! To celebrate PJ’s birthday (*wink*), we’ve got some trivia, excerpts, and giveaway goodies to share about our historical romance novella duo, Mrs. Brodie’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies.


A bit about the duo:
Mrs. Brodie’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies appears exclusive and respectable, a place for daughters of the gentry to glean the accomplishments that will win them suitable husbands.

But the academy is not what it seems. It’s more.


Alongside every lesson in French or dancing or mathematics, the students learn the skills they’ll need to survive in a man’s world. They forge; they fight; they change their accents to blend into a world apart. And the staff at the academy find a haven from their pasts…and lose their hearts.

As you might guess, we had a LOT of fun writing this!


Trivia about Theresa Romain’s novella: 
“The Way to a Gentleman’s Heart”
1.     This is a second chance at love story featuring Marianne Redfern, the cook at the exclusive Academy, and Jack Grahame, the first love who broke her heart years ago. These are all-new characters, so it can easily be read as a stand-alone story! But I’m also considering it part of my Romance of the Turf series because of Mrs. Brodie. She's Anne Jones, alias Janet Ahearn-- the villainess (or is she?) of the first two Romance of the Turf novels. She and her school will be a big part of the final book in that series, His Wayward Bride, coming out next spring.
2.     Because Marianne is a cook in London in the 1810s, I needed to be aware of what foods would be available to her. With a story set in April and May, this British seasonality table was a great help: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/seasonal-calendar/all She could use foods in season or, of course, preserve them with salt, sugar, or pickling. (Finally, all those cooking shows I like to watch have paid off!)
3.     Have you heard of the custom of "telling the bees"? It has never been so common in the USA as it historically was in England. The tradition was that bees on one's property needed to be told of big life events--marriages, deaths, births--or they'd get distraught about being excluded and would leave the hives or stop making honey. I’ve always thought this was a charming tradition, and Marianne and Jack make certain to keep the bees informed of major life changes.

Excerpt from “The Way to a Gentleman’s Heart”

“Where did you get this honeycomb?” Marianne asked.
Jack doffed his hat, looking pleased. “I persuaded a confectioner to open early.”
“Why?”
“I wanted to bring you some, because I was remembering the bees your father used to keep.”
So. He recalled those days too. “Why?”
Now he looked annoyed. “I don’t know, Marianne. Maybe because seeing you reminds me of the way we grew up, helping the beekeeper collect honey and wax, and it was a nice memory, and I wanted to share it with you.”
Yet all of that belonged firmly in the past. The Redfern land now belonged to the Grahames, sold by Marianne’s mother upon being widowed five years before. Jack’s father had been living then, and he’d snapped it up using the Wilcox money that had passed into his hands.
There was no room for Marianne and Jack in that memory anymore, certainly not together.
“That’s not what I’m asking, really.” She bit her lip, wishing for a taste of sweetness. “Why…any of this? You came to London. You brought me strawberries.”
“And honeycomb,” he pointed out.
“I don’t understand why you’re here, Jack. I have a good post, and you have your life in Lincolnshire. If you just wanted to share a memory, why didn’t you send a letter?”
Seeming to think over his answer, he flipped his hat end over end. Fidget, fidget. “Because,” he decided, “I haven’t seen you for eight years, but for all the years before that, I saw you every day.”
The kitchen clock chimed the hour, reminding her of time rushing past. “After eight years without seeing me, it seems as if you could go on in the same way.”
“I probably could have, but I didn’t want to.” His gray eyes were merry. Why did he always look as if things were going his way? “Now that I’m here, maybe I’ll begin to pine for you. Be a devoted suitor and shower you with gifts. Would you be interested?”
The fiend. Did he know that was all she’d once wanted?
Did she know what she wanted from him now?
With one fingertip, she touched the delicate comb—then, in a rush, she folded over the heavy brown paper and set the parcel down on the worktable. “Don’t buy me any more presents.”
“Why not?”
“Because it’s not right.”
He set his hat on the table beside the parcel, then stripped off his gloves. “You don’t like them?”
“I don’t know if I like them or not. It’s too confusing.”
His smile was crooked, not exactly happy. “I don’t mind confusing you, Marianne. That’s a step up from angering you, and isn’t that where we started?”
“I don’t know,” she blurted. “You’re confusing me.”
He poked through the paper and touched the discarded honeycomb with a gentle forefinger. Then he folded the brown paper over it, packing it away. Done, Marianne thought. He’d listen, and he’d stop now.
Instead, he said, “Then I’ll keep right on.” Stepping closer, he cradled her face in his hands—and he kissed her.

~~~~~~~~~~~




Trivia about Shana Galen’s novella: “Counterfeit Scandal”


  1. In my novella, “Counterfeit Scandal,” the heroine Bridget has a talent for counterfeiting currency. She learned from her father, who was a British operative during the American Revolution. In researching counterfeiting during this time, I learned that one method the British employed to win the war as attempting to crash the nascent American economy. By counterfeiting mass amounts of paper money, the British could render legitimate money worthless. As is the case now, money was printed on special paper. The British captured a ship with a large cargo of the special paper and were able to counterfeit large amounts of currency and put it into circulation. In fact, at one point during the war John Adams wrote to his wife to be careful when accepting any paper money.


  1. Bridget has spent time in Fleet Prison for debts. Debtor’s prison was notorious for the poor conditions those imprisoned endured. If prisoners wanted decent food, a bed, or a fire, they had to pay for it. Pretty ironic considering this was a debtor’s prison. Many prisoners died before they could ever repay their debts or finish their time and be set free.


  1. In “Counterfeit Scandal,” Bridget is searching for her son, who she gave up when she went to debtor’s prison. The hero, Caleb, tells her they should ask Joseph Merceron. Joseph Merceron was a real person and a magistrate; he was known as The Boss of Bethnal Green. He was also notoriously corrupt, lining his own pockets and those of his friends at the expense of the poor people he was supposed to be serving.

Here’s a short excerpt from the novella, 
where Bridget tries to see Merceron.


Bridget reconsidered that statement a quarter hour later when she stepped into the Hog and Hen. The place looked as though the hog and hen in question had run rampant through the public rooms. She’d entered by herself about five minutes after Caleb had gone in. He’d told her he’d stand near the bar, and she spotted him easily. She must have looked as uncertain as she felt, because he gave her a firm nod as though to say, You can do this.
She took a breath, straightened her shoulders, and moved forward. Of course she could do this. She’d dealt with crying, screaming, fighting ten-year-old girls. A corrupt politician was nothing to her.
She made her way to the bar, aware that several pairs of eyes followed her. She was dressed more…completely than most of the women in the place, but she wasn’t here to advertise her charms. Still, her lavender gown and spencer were nothing to make anyone take notice. In an area of Town known for its silk weavers, the cloth of her dress was obviously inferior, as were her battered half boots and her drooping hat. She was nothing to waste time over.
Or so she hoped.
Without looking at Caleb, who was now only a few feet away, she cleared her throat. The barkeep flicked his eyes at her, then went back to polishing a glass. “What can I get you?” he asked flatly.
“Information.”
He sighed heavily. “Do I look like a book to you? I don’t ’ave no information. I ’ave ale and spirits.”
“I need to speak with Joseph Merceron.”
The barkeep set the glass on the counter. “What’s that to me? Do I look like ’is butler?”
“Where is he?”
The barkeep jerked his head to a dark corner of the tavern, and when Bridget squinted, she spotted an open door that led to another room. “Thank you.”
He muttered something under his breath as she walked away. She hoped Caleb followed. She was trembling now, but Satan himself couldn’t have stopped her from going into that room. Perhaps she would find James today. She might even hold him in her arms tonight.
She moved through the doorway and into the back room, and a man stepped in front of her. He was short but muscled, his head completely bald. “Can I help you, missus?”
“I’d like to speak with Mr. Merceron.”
“Do you owe him blunt?”
“No.”
“Then he’s busy.”
Bridget scowled. “It won’t take long. Just a few questions.”
“Come back tomorrow. Maybe he’ll see you then.”
“I can’t come back tomorrow. I need to speak with him today. Please.”
The man put his hand on her shoulder and, with strength she had no hope of matching, turned her around. “Goodbye, missus.”
She walked out and continued walking. Tears burned in her eyes, but she wouldn’t give anyone the satisfaction of seeing them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Mrs. Brodie’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies teaches all the usual subjects—plus quite a few unusual ones. We’d love to know, what was your favorite subject in school, or what subject would you like to study at Mrs. Brodie’s Academy?




Today's Giveaways:

To one random commenter on this post, Theresa would like to give away a copy of her historical romance novel Scandalous Ever After and Shana would like to give away a copy of her historical romance novel No Earls Allowed. This giveaway is open internationally, and the winner can choose print or Kindle copies.

PJ, here. Because it's my birthday today, I'm adding more fun with more giveaways! Three randomly chosen people who leave a comment on today's post will each receive a Kindle copy of Mrs. Brodie's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies (open internationally) and three more randomly chosen people who leave a comment will each receive a package of books from my conference stash. (U.S. only)




Shana Galen is the bestselling author of Regency historical romances filled with passion and adventure. A former school teacher, Galen now balances marriage and motherhood with a full-time writing career. Unmask Me If You Can, book four in Galen's popular The Survivors series will be released November 6th. Connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter and visit her website for more information about her books. 




A bestselling author of historical romances, Theresa Romain's accolades include starred reviews from Booklist and a 2016 RITA® final for Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress, book three in her The Matchmaker Trilogy. Her most recent full-length book is Lady Rogue (Apr 2018), book three in her The Royal Rewards series. Learn more about her books at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter



66 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday PJ. I hope you have a Blessed and joyful day. I have read both Authors for quite awhile. Thank you for sharing the excerpts. I enjoyed both. In school I loved English Lit and our Poetry classes. But I have always wanted to learn to speak several languages for some reason. It never happened. :) Instead I had seven children and I can tell you that in times of frustration dealing with their teen years and was surprised how many words in another language I muttered to myself lol
    Carol Lucia No
    Lucky4750 at aol dot com

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    1. Carol, I can only imagine that with seven kids, you have more education than any of us!

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  2. Happy Birthday, Since you are kind to offer us gifts, I hope you get some nice ones yourself. My Dodgers are in middle of run for Division Title so am caught up in that. And My Dad would have been 100 this coming October. Hard to believe he is gone 10 years. We are having a memorial tribute with family this weekend.

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    1. I hope it's a lovely tribute. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Happy birthday PJ! My favorite subjects in school were history, English/literature, and French. As far as Mrs. Brodie's is concerned, I would like to learn how to send/ receive secret messages (ciphering) and lock picking. Both would be very useful, don't you think? Lol.

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  4. Hope you have a lovely birthday!!! Both are authors that I read and enjoy!!

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    1. Hi, catslady! Thanks for joining the fun today. :)

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  5. PJ, thank you so much for hosting us today! I hope you're doing well. Do you have something special planned to celebrate the day--besides all the goodies being given away here? :)

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  6. What a delightful feature and lovely giveaway. My favorite subjects were English, history and French. I enjoyed them thoroughly and still am an avid reader of history, and love languages. Have a wonderful birthday.

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  7. Thanks for this special and beautiful giveaway which I would enjoy greatly. The authors are so talented and their novels captivating. In school I was always interested in reading, spelling and literature as well as linguistics. Now maths, science etc. was not appealing at all and avoided.

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  8. Happy birthday!
    Happy book birthday!
    My favorite subject in school was art. It was fun learning about it and creating it.
    I would want to take the class on how to forge; would be very interesting!

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    1. I wish I had some talent in art. It always looks so fun.

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  9. Good Morning Ladies!
    Misses Theresa and Shane , lovely to see and chat againπŸ˜‰πŸ˜€
    Miss P.J., hello and warm birthday wishes to you .
    Thank you all for this little get together..and of course the chance at some really outstanding reading material ! Woo hoo !
    The excerpts and trivia were great !
    Whether I win or no, is of no consequence, but beibg able to interact and get to know you as lovely peopke and damn good writers ..that in my opinion makes me a winner not matter what !

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    1. I do hearby attest to really disliking my phone..Miss Shana,my apologies for the misspelling of your name ..how embarrassing I didn't catch it before " publishing " my comment.

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    2. No worries, Cyndi! I didn't even notice because my real name is Shane!

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  10. Good Morning, All! Theresa and Shana, welcome to the blog today and congratulations on the release of your new novella duet. I had so much fun reading the stories. Any chance you'll make a return visit to Mrs. Brodie's Academy?

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    1. I'v had several readers ask that PJ. Maybe we should chat about it, Theresa?

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    2. We should, Shana! :)

      I'll be returning there in my next Romance of the Turf novel, out in spring 2019. Mrs. Brodie has appeared in the earlier books in the series and will play a big role in the new novel.

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  11. And thank you to everyone for the birthday greetings. What a lovely way to start my day! :)

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  12. Happy birthday to you. Have you have a great week. Thanks for all the goodies you share with us. One of my favorite blogs, been a fan forever Also have gotten lots of great book and author recommendation from you amazing ladies.

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  13. Happy Birthday PJ! My favorite subjects in school were English and History. I did not enjoy Grammar!

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    1. I think we would have been friends in school, Amy.

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  14. This book sounds so
    good. Thanks for all
    the awesome giveaways
    and Happy Birthday PJ!
    Carla from Utah

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  15. Happy Birthday PJ! I'm alao a Virgo & my great-nephew Sammy is 4 years old today too - his brother Drew's birthday is Sunday 9/23 & they are having a party the next weekend that I'll be traveling to attend - they are having a pinata - are you having a pinata at your party? lol

    My favorite subject in school was history. We mostly did American history, starting over with the pilgrims every year & perhaps getting to the late 1800's. I've learned more of European history thru books & movies - I love to pick up more bits of knowledge like from todays two lovely visiting authors.

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    1. I loved history too, and my favorite class was World History, which I took in 10th grade. But I still feel like I never learned the really juicy bits in school.

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    2. No pinata for me, Di. Hope the boys enjoy theirs!

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  16. Happy Birthday, PJ. My favorite subjects were English, math, history and French.

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    1. Kim, look up the thread--there are quite a few people who loved English and history and French! Me included. :) I wish we could have all been in a class together. (Math...I was ok, but I didn't love it.)

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  17. Happy Birthday, PJ, and happy book release to Shana and Theresa, two of my go to Authors. In school, I loved English Language and English Literature, plus I also learned shorthand and typing. I also loved my Domestic Science class where we learned to cook something different each week.

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    1. Diane, your Domestic Science class sounds fun! I had something similar in Home Ec, but it was only a short course. I wish I could have learned more about cooking when I was in school. Maybe then it wouldn't have intimidated me so much when I had to start cooking for myself.

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  18. Happy Birthday PJ!!!

    Congratulations on the release of Mrs Brodies Academy ladies! I just finished it and LOVED both the stories!

    Oh and my favorite subjects were English and History.

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    1. Glenda, thank you so much for reading it! I'm so glad you liked it. :D

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  19. Happy birthday, PJ!

    Welcome, Shana and Theresa. Thanks for visiting with us today.

    My favorite school subject was history. At Mrs. Brodie’s Academy, maybe I could pick up a few pointers on herbal remedies and other at-home medical care…or lock picking.

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    1. Or counterfeiting! Not that you would ever use that, except maybe with Monopoly money!

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  20. I LOVE the premice (?spelling) of this school! And I'd almost lay down food money there actually was a school like this. Lit and history were/still are, my favorite subjects, hence reading so many historical novels. I'd love to learn how to fence, or sword fighting as I'm sure the girls at Mrs Brodie's did. An old bf taught me to box, and I'm not bad, considering. Happy Birthday to you, PJ, I hope you have a wonderful day with lots of surprises.
    moon_princess111 at msn dot com

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    1. That should say "good money", not food money!

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    2. I have always wanted to learn to fence. My daughter went to fencing camp for a week this summer and loved it. It's really hard work.

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    3. Food money actually made sense to me as I do love my food! LOL!

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  21. Thanks for all the birthday greetings! Like many of you, English and foreign languages were my favorite subjects in school. Unlike a few of you, I loved grammar. It was actually my favorite part of English class. :)

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    1. It wasn't taught much in my English classes, PJ. Maybe that would have made learning another language easier?

      Hope you've had a great birthday. :) Thanks for the chance to visit today!

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  22. Happy Birthday! My favorite subject was Literature! Thanks for the great giveaways.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Martha! I enjoyed literature too. Any class where I got to read books was a good one in my opinion. :)

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  23. I want to say to PJ - HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU....and you can hear me singing softly in the background.....softly because loudly and your ears would bleed.

    I have purchased the Mrs Brodie's book and look forward to reading it. I was a huge fan of English and History. Actually, I liked everything about school. I had so much curiosity that everything was terrific 'cause I learned new things.

    I am a fan of both Shana Galen and Theresa Romain. So, I want to thank you for having here today. And PJ, you look Mahvelous!

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    1. Thank you, Annette! Don't worry about the singing. It can't possibly be any worse than mine. LOL!

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    2. Hi, Annette--thanks so much for getting a copy of Mrs. Brodie! I hope you enjoy it.

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  24. Happy Birthday PJ! Theresa and Shana are authors I enjoy immensely.

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  25. Yay, two of my favorite authors! I am really looking forward to this new duet.

    My favorite subjects in school were reading/literature and history. I guess this explains why I enjoy reading historical romances.

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    1. Cheryl, thank you! And likewise on the subjects. Historical romance is the perfect fit for all the things I most enjoy learning about.

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  26. Happy Birthday, PJ! What better way to celebrate another trip around the sun than with wonderful authors and enthusiastic readers. The new book sounds like great fun and I look forward to reading it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

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  27. My favorite subject was English, and I majored in it in college. Reading is still my favorite thing!

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  28. Happy Birthday PJ!! Happy Book Birthday Theresa and Shana. This book sounds wonderful. I definitely enjoy reading historicals, especially those based on real facts. You both are wonderful authors and enjoyable to read.

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  29. Happy Birthday, PJ and hello to Shana & Theresa! My favorite subject & major in college was literature. Are you surprised? LOL

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  30. Hope you had a wonderful birthday. I love to read, thanks for the chance to win some books.
    Karen T. (Natty's Mama)

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  31. Love the idea for this book. Sounds like a ton of fun!

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