My historical novels Rebel Puritan and The Reputed Wife, Herodias (Long) Hicks Gardner Porter, colonial New England, travels, and whatever else seizes my fancy...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Historical Holiday Blog Hop

Welcome to the first annual Historical Holiday Blog Hop!
You are asking, what's a blog hop?

It's a chance to view historical authors' blogs with easy one-click links,
to enter to win an Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card,
and to win more historical novels
than you can shake your quill pen at!

"Rebel Puritan" is included in one of the prize packages,
but I will also give away a signed copy to a lucky U.S. winner, and toss in a couple of surprises.  
Simply leave a comment below or on my Facebook page before midnight on the 17th at  

Now you are asking, "How do I enter?"
Leave a comment between December 10 and 17 at the end of this post.
It's that easy!

  The Historical Holiday Blog Hop runs from December 10th at 12:01 am EST to Dec. 17th at midnight.
Historical Holiday Blog Hop Grand Prizes
- $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card

Prize Package #1 

The Sumerton Women by D.L. Bogdan (PB) 
The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick (PB w/Signed Bookplate) 
What You Long For by Anne Clinard Barnhill (PB) 
The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig (Signed PB) 
Claude & Camille by Stephanie Cowell (PB) 
Selene of Alexandria by Faith L. Justice (eBook, author will send) 
A Dance of Manners: A Regency Anthology by Susan Flanders, Kristi Ahlers, Gerri Bowen, Cynthia Breeding and Erin E.M. Hatton (PB) 
By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan (PB) 
The King's Daughter by Barbara Kyle (PB) 
The Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell (PB) 
Four Sisters, All Queens by Sherry Jones (PB) 
The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh (ARC, sponsored by Penguin Publishing) 
The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry (PB) 
I, Jane by Diane Haeger (PB)
Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara (Signed HC) 
Illuminations by Mary Sharratt (HC) 
The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin (PB)

Prize Package #2 

The Master of Verona by David Blixt (HC) 
The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick (PB w/Signed Bookplate) 
At the Mercy of the Queen by Anne Clinard Barnhill (PB) 
The King's Grace by Anne Easter Smith (Signed PB) 
Oleanna by Julie K. Rose (PB) 
The Sumerton Women by D.L. Bogdan (PB)
Rebel Puritan by JoAnn Butler (Signed PB) 
The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen (Audiobook) 
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchahan (ARC, sponsored by Penguin Publishing) 
The King's Concubine by Anne O'Brien (PB) 
The September Queen by Gillian Bagwell (PB) 
The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd (PB w/Tower of London Tea Sachets) 
Selene of Alexandria by Faith L. Justice (PB) 
The Virgin Queen's Daughter by Ella March Chase (PB) 
The Sign of the Weeping Virgin by Alana White (PB) 
The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger (PB) 
The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig (Signed HC) 
The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin (PB)

Prize Package #3 

The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose (HC) 
Sea Witch by Helen Hollick (PB w/Signed Bookplate) 
The Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland (Signed PB) 
Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell (Audiobook) 
Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth (PB) 
A Thing Done by Tinney S. Heath (PB) 
The Sumerton Women by D.L. Bogdan (PB) 
By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan (PB) 
Royal Romances by Leslie Carroll (PB) 
The Rose of York: Love & War (Book 1, War of the Roses trilogy) by Sandra Worth (PB) 
The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman (Signed PB) 
Above All Things by Tanis Rideout (ARC, sponsored by Penguin Publishing) 
Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri (ARC, sponsored by Penguin Publishing) 
Three Maids for a Crown by Ella March Chase (PB) 
The Queen's Rival by Diane Haeger (PB) 
The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau (Signed PB) 
The Courtier's Secret by Donna Russo Morin (PB)

Prize Package #4 

A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick (PB, US Edition) 
Marrying Mozart by Stephanie Cowell (PB) 
The Queen's Vow by C.W. Gortner (PB, UK Edition) 
The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell (PB) 
The Lady's Slipper by Deborah Swift (PB, UK Edition) 
Before Versailles by Karleen Koen (PB) 
The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora by Stephanie Thornton (PB w/Theodora Bookmark)
The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan (ARC)
The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot (PB) 
Movement of Stars by Amy Brill (ARC, sponsored by Penguin Publishing) 
Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn (PB)
Second Lisa by Veronica Knox (eBook) 
To Serve a King by Donna Russo Morin (PB)
Into the Path of Gods (Book 1, Macsen's Treasure Series) by Kathleen Cunningham Guler (PB) 
In the Shadow of Dragons (Book 2, Macsen's Treasure Series) by Kathleen Cunningham Guler (PB) 
The Anvil Stone (Book 3, Macsen's Treasure Series) by Kathleen Cunningham Guler (HC) 
A Land Beyond Ravens (Book 4, Macsen's Treasure Series) by Kathleen Cunningham Guler (HC)

And here are the participating blogs:


Friday, November 23, 2012

The Next Big Thing: Authors tagging authors!

I am very pleased to be tagged for The Next Big Thing by Karen Aminadra, and to get to know Karen better.  I will tag other authors, they will answer questions about their coming work, tag other authors, and so it goes...

For now, I am called upon to answer questions about my next big thing - the sequel to my B.R.A.G. Medallion winner, Rebel Puritan.

The Reputed Wife
What is your working title of your book?
The Reputed Wife is the sequel to Rebel Puritan, the first book in my A Scandalous Life series about Herodias Long.  Both phrases come from 1665 Rhode Island court documents regarding Herodias’ divorce request after twenty years of pretended marriage.  She was referred to as George Gardner’s ‘reputed wife’ and they were admonished not to ‘lead soe scandalose a life.’

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wrote Rebel Puritan years after finding my 8th-great grandmother Herodias Long in my genealogy.  She is notorious for her marital escapades, of which we modern folk would take no notice.  However, Herodias was whipped in Boston for protesting even harsher sentences carried out against the Quakers, and that makes her a heroine in my eyes.  The Reputed Wife is about that episode, Herodias’ messy relationship with George Gardner, and struggles between New England’s Puritans and their liberal neighbors in Rhode Island.

What genre does your book fall under?
Historical fiction, biographical fiction, or fictional history.  Rebel Puritan has been called all three, but I describe it as historical fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I describe my series as “Scarlett O’Hara meets The Scarlet Letter.” Naturally, Herodias Long will be played by Scarlett Johansson.  Herod’s first husband, John Hicks, should be played by Colin Firth as in “Shakespeare in Love,” though he has to lose the pearl earring.  George Gardner, Herod’s second husband must be Harrison Ford in “Witness.” Ooh, la la!  Herod’s third husband was John Porter, who was old enough to be her father.  Sean Connery has proven that older men can be deliciously sexy.

Whipping Quakers
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I'm going to take two sentences to ask, How far would you go to defend religious freedom?  Herodias Gardner walked sixty miles to protest the abuse of Quakers, only to face Boston’s whipping post herself.

 Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neverest Press
Like Rebel Puritan, I will self-publish The Reputed Wife through my Neverest Press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Eighteen months.  I’m in the final tweak phase, and will send the mss to the printer in January.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Anya Seton’s The Winthrop Woman is by far the best example.  Ms. Seton’s works are a delicious blend of fiction, history and biography, and my love of them inspired me to try writing my own historical novel.

Rebel Puritan
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Herodias Long and her bold, scandalous life, of course.  When I read entries about Herod in Rhode Island’s court records, I wondered why nobody had written about her.  I wrote Rebel Puritan as the book I wanted to read.  The Reputed Wife continues Herod’s story.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Accused witches weren’t the only innocent persons hanged by Puritans, and some horrific acts are contained in Reputed Wife as the Puritans sought to preserve their religious and political purity.  Hanging witches weren't their only method, but some of their highly controversial acts have been forgotten.  By the way, I searched Rhode Island's records for witchcraft incidents, but there are none.  Zero!  The Rhode Islanders were outcasts from Puritan colonies, and that made them much more sensible than their Puritan neighbors.

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.
I thank Karen Aminadra for tagging me, and for now I have tagged Ellen Marie Wiseman.  I'm on the prowl for others to tag, and I hope that you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Karen is the author of Charlotte: Pride and Prejudice Continues, Life and Loves, and Relative Deceit, which is hot off the presses!

Ellen Marie Wiseman is also the author of a hot-off-the-presses book, The Plum Tree.  I've read this Holocaust story, and heartily recommend it.  She will post her answers on December 17th.

Message for the tagged authors and interested others:

Rules of the Next Big Thing
***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.
Be sure to line up your five people in advance.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Can a Willful Wife be Truly Tamed? Let's ask Christy English

How to Tame a Willful Wife
My good friend Christy English has just launched her latest novel, HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE.  Christy is the author of two excellent novels about Eleanor of Aquitaine.  She has now turned her talent to introducing one of Shakespeare's wildest women into the unsuspecting world of Regency England.

Today it is my great pleasure to let Christy share her thoughts about our favorite strong-willed women, and why we all love them so.  Take it away, Christy!

Strong Women in Fiction: Reflections of Ourselves
Christy English

Scarlett O'Hara
I have always been fascinated by strong women in literature. Since I was in seventh grade and first read Gone with the Wind, and watched as Scarlett O’Hara destroyed and rebuilt her world time and time again, I have been obsessed with strong characters as they reflect my own strength back to me.

Eleanor of Aquitaine
Of course, it took many years before I realized that these women drew me in because they were an exploration of my own strength and weaknesses. Anytime an author picks up her pen, she explores herself, her own world and her view of it. My fascination with strength in women in my own writing began with Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the most powerful women in Western European history. She ruled vast territories in her own right, and added to those territories with each marriage, first to the King of France, and later to the King of England.
She did not hesitate to leave her first husband when he would not give her a son, and she went on to rule a vast empire at the side of Henry II, while giving him eight living children, seven of whom survived to adulthood. Though her alliance with her second husband fell apart as had her alliance with her first, she went on to rule as Regent for her favorite son, Richard the Lionhearted while he was on Crusade. Eleanor of Aquitaine has held a place in my imagination since I first read about her, reminding me of what it means to be dedicated to a goal, and to work toward it even as it changes beneath you, never relinquishing the final outcome, only letting go of the present obstacles until they can be overcome.
Herodias Long - the Rebel Puritan
Herodias in REBEL PURITAN is much like Eleanor in this regard. She is touted as Scarlett O’Hara meets THE SCARLETT LETTER, and that is true. Though she is a woman of her time, she does not allow herself to give up and give in when obstacles rise in her path. She does not hesitate to defend herself or her children, leaving an abusive husband at a time when women simply did not do this.

Now, in my latest novel, HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE, I find myself in the joyous world of Regency England, exploring the strength of my latest character, Caroline Montague. Another strong woman, she rides a war stallion, fights with a knife and a rapier, and shoots a bow and arrow not just for formal target practice, but hunting from horseback. When her father returns from the Napoleonic wars to arrange her marriage, she finds that the man she is called on out of duty to marry has never known a woman like her. Raised in the wilds of Yorkshire and taught to fight by her father’s veterans, Caroline does not resemble the staid, demure women of the south where Anthony Carrington hails from.

Between them begins a battle of wits and wills as they vie for supremacy. Who will be tamed in the end? My intention was to write a novel in which the male and female leads work out their differences and learn, step by step, moment by moment, to face each other as equals. I can’t speak for Scarlett or Herodias, or even for Eleanor of Aquitaine, but Caroline and Anthony discover that equality in a romantic relationship is a goal worth seeking.

Description of How To Tame A Willful Wife:
1. Forbid her from riding astride
2. Hide her dueling sword
3. Burn all her breeches and buy her silk drawers
4. Frisk her for hidden daggers
5. Don't get distracted while frisking her for hidden daggers...

Anthony Carrington, Earl of Ravensbrook, expects a biddable bride. A man of fiery passion tempted by the rigors of war into steely self-control, he demands obedience from his troops and his future wife. Regardless of how fetching she looks in breeches.

Promised to the Earl of Plump Pockets by her impoverished father, Caroline Montague is no simpering miss. She rides a war stallion named Hercules, fights with a blade, and can best most men with both bow and rifle. She finds Anthony autocratic, domineering, and...ridiculously handsome.
It's a duel of wit and wills in this charming retelling of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. But the question is...who's taming whom?
Link to the novel on Amazon

Christy English
 After years of acting in Shakespeare's plays, Christy English is excited to bring the Bard to Regency England in her romantic re-telling of The Taming of the Shrew, HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE. When she isn't acting, roller skating, or chasing the Muse, Christy writes historical novels (The Queen's Pawn and To Be Queen) from her home in North Carolina. Please visit her at

Friday, October 12, 2012

An Early Quaker "Found Poem"

Quaker women could speak in meeting!
David Teague has kindly assented to let me repeat his recent blog about a poem written by Margaret Fell.  The feelings expressed by Ms. Fell reflect the Quaker belief that women were worthy vessels for God's word.  This countered the Puritan and Anglican conviction that women should remain silent in church.

Herodias Long never heard this poem, but I believe it would have matched her personal beliefs.  And now, here is David's blog post from:

If George Fox was the father of Quakerism, Margaret Fell (1614-1702), was its mother. In 1666, she published Women's Speaking Justified, the earliest known defense of women's ministry actually written by a woman.

While Margaret's writing style is a bit rambling for modern tastes, and some of her arguments are more clever than profound, some of her language approaches the lyrical. I have always found Margaret's observation that women loved Jesus because he was kind to them, and so they kept faith with him even after he was buried, to be quite moving.


Those that speak against
the Spirit of the Lord
speaking in a woman,
simply by reason of her sex,
or because she is a woman,
not regarding
the Seed
and Spirit
and Power
that speaks in her,
such speak against
Christ and his Church. . . .

God the Father
made no such difference
in the first Creation –  
nor ever since –
between the male
and the female,
but always,
out of his mercy
and lovingkindness,
had regard unto the weak.
So also his Son,
Christ Jesus,
confirms the same thing. . . .
that woman  
that came unto Jesus
with an alabaster box
of very
and poured it
on his head
as he sat at meat—
this woman knew more
of the secret power
and wisdom
of God
than his disciples did. . . .
owned the love and grace
that appeared in women
and did not despise it:
and he received as much love,
and tender dealing
from women
as he did from any others,
both in his lifetime,
and also
after they had exercised their cruelty upon him. . . .
Mark this,
ye despisers
of the weakness of women:
if these women
who had received mercy
and grace
and forgiveness of sins
and virtue
and healing from him –  
if their hearts
had not been so united
and knit unto him
in love
that they could not depart
(as the men did)
but sat watching,
and waiting,
and weeping around the Sepulchre
until the time of his Resurrection,
and so were ready
to carry his Message,
how should his disciples have known
(who were not there)?


Friday, September 21, 2012

Why Herodias Long?

Jo Ann Butler

Why Herodias Long?
By Jo Ann Butler
Author of REBEL PURITAN and

I bear genes from Herodias Long and George Gardner passed from son to grandson, down to my maternal Grandma Gardner.  My genealogy research commenced with Grandma in 1978, and quickly led me to The Gardiners of Narragansett by Caroline Robinson.  There I found the George and Herodias as 1630s immigrants from England, but Herodias and her stormy life occupied far more space in the pages than George’s did.

Herodias and her first husband followed religious exiles from Massachusetts to Newport, Rhode Island.  She was married at the age of thirteen, but otherwise Herodias lived a modern life.  Unless they came from a powerful family, 17th-century wives were little more than the property of their husbands, and it was extremely rare for a woman to be granted a divorce unless she was abandoned.

However, Herodias was not afraid to pursue what she needed.  She petitioned for two divorces and was legally parted from both husbands after they proved unsuitable.  She acquired her own land (most female landowners were widows), and retained custody of some of her children.

I admire Herodias for her boldness and persistence, but particularly honor her for an act which does not appear in Rebel Puritan, the 2011 historical novel I wrote about her.  This incredible act of bravery is featured in my sequel, The Reputed Wife, which will be published in autumn, 2012.

Whipping Quakers in Boston
Missionaries from England’s Society of Friends first appeared in Boston in 1656, determined to bring their renewed faith to New England’s Puritans.  They were jailed, but when that did not discourage their acts of civil disobedience, both men and women were whipped with increasing savagery.

Herodias met the Friends – often called Quakers – through Mary Dyer, a Newport resident who had become a Quaker convert in England.  Though she may not have been a convert, Herodias walked fifty miles from Newport to Weymouth, Massachusetts to protest against the brutality, carrying a nursing infant in her arms.

Herodias, the Rebel Puritan
She had seen the wounds borne by Quakers whipped in Boston and New Haven.  She had met Humphrey Norton, whose hand was so deeply branded that he might never use it again.  She knew well that she might receive no mercy from Governor John Endecott and his Puritan magistrates and ministers.  And yet Herodias could not remain silent.

After speaking in Weymouth against the whippings, Herodias was arrested.  She and her maidservant were marched ten miles to Boston, where they were whipped on her naked backs in the street, then jailed for two weeks.

Herodias knew all of this could happen, and yet she spoke.  Some of her other acts scandalized her Rhode Island neighbors and her descendants, but for her courage I honor Herodias (Long) Hicks Gardner Porter.

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