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A Tour of Henrietta's Oxford
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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

Announcement

What's New and What's Next?


Yesterday, I tried to give you an idea of what “Henrietta’s Journal” is all about. Today, here are the answers to a couple of questions that keep popping  up.
 
Q. Are these all new characters, or is there a connection to your other books?
 
A. For the most part, the Beauchenes are an entirely new family. However, it helps me to visualize the story if I can relate it to others I’ve written, so there’s at least one connection. Sharp eyes will recognize Elizabeth Dubois, whom you have met before in “Damned Yankee” and “Yankee Reconstructed.” In those books she was an old lady, the widowed mother of Susan Grenville, and grandmother to the Grenville children. In this story she is still a young woman in her thirties, and her daughter Susan appears briefly at age seven. Elizabeth befriends Henrietta early in the new book, helps her adjust to life in Charleston, and serves as godmother to Henrietta’s children.
 
Q. I want to know more about Henrietta’s later life as the Civil War draws nearer. Will there be a second book?
 
A. At the moment I am planning a second volume. Of course, I can’t promise anything, for, as Henrietta would be the first to tell you, life changes very rapidly. However, as my mother would have said, “I’ll do it, God willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise!” But here’s what I think will be coming a couple of years down the road.
 
The idea for “Henrietta’s Journal” came out of a rough sketch for a much larger book dealing with the beginning of the Civil War, its effect on the cotton trade, and some interesting but little-known facts about southern blockade runners, spies, and smugglers during the war. The diary Henrietta kept was originally going to hold some clues to a couple of mysterious happenings in the larger book. Then the diary took on something of a life of its own and became a stand-alone novel. The next book will take place some twenty-five years later. The main characters will be Henrietta’s children (now all grown up). They will solve some of their 1860s dilemmas by re-discovering the diary their mother wrote and uncovering the clues she left in the journal.
 
Eventually the two books will have close ties. I’m even considering an electronic edition for the two stories that would let the reader click back and forth between Civil War crises and  the unsolved issues in the 1830’s journal. I’m as curious to know what will happen as you are!
 
Want to know more? Pre-order the Kindle edition at https://www.amazon.com/Henriettas-Journal-Compromise-Carolyn-Schriber-ebook/dp/B074S97SVJ and receive your copy on September 19. (You’ll also save $2.00 off the list price if you order before Tuesday.)
 
The Amazon print version is now functional and available at: www.amazon.com/Henriettas-Journal-Compromise-Carolyn-Schriber/dp/0990797597. With luck, you could have your copy by Monday.
 
Or order a trade paper edition at https://www.createspace.com/745653


 

Four Days and Counting

What’s more fun than peeking into someone’s diary and learning all their secrets? Well, how about an entire novel, written as diary entries that chronicle the story of a marriage?
 
Henrietta’s Journal is a historical romance. Henrietta is a 20-year-old English girl, raised among the sheltering walls and dreaming spires of Oxford. In 1832, her diary begins with the first day she meets Julien, a handsome and wealthy cotton broker from Charleston, South Carolina. The two could not be more unsuited to one another, but their attraction is immediate and unbreakable. A whirlwind courtship, a hasty marriage, and a stormy journey across the Atlantic-–and Henrietta finds herself in a strange new world.  Charleston in the 1830s is an insular society controlled by a small group of families who consider themselves a new aristocracy of culture, wealth, and refinement. Their public buildings are modeled on Greek and Roman styles. Their children receive classical educations. They spend their days recreating the past, while relying on black slaves to do the hard labor that makes such leisurely white lives possible. As a ruling social class, they do not welcome outsiders.
 
Henrietta declares she will never be a slave-owner. Julien replies by agreeing, because in South Carolina, a married woman is not allowed to own property of any kind. Henrietta tries to hold onto her independence; Julien and his father will not even allow her to choose the name of her first-born child. Henrietta’s every word and action are noted down for criticism and correction. Julien’s younger brother, a lecherous and vicious drunk, is forgiven for any misdeeds because he is still young. She soon gets the message. Men may do as they like. Women must do as they are told.
 
The book is a love story, but it also provides a revealing look into the contradictions and injustices of the South in the years leading up to the Civil War. The bonds between husband and wife are frequently tested by their differing value systems. Henrietta soon finds that she has compromised her own beliefs in order to keep the peace within her disapproving family. Then the principle of compromise takes on a life of its own, leading her further and further into a world where prostitution, rape, murder, opium addiction, and kidnapping are all excused as necessary evils.
 
Want to know more? Pre-order the Kindle edition at https://www.amazon.com/Henriettas-Journal-Compromise-Carolyn-Schriber-ebook/dp/B074S97SVJ and receive your copy on September 19. (You’ll also save $2.00 off the liest price if you order before Tuesday.)
 
The Amazon print version should be functional by the weekend.
 
Or order a trade paper edition at https://www.createspace.com/745653

 

A Day for a Double Celebration




What a way to start a Monday!  First, my latest book -- Henrietta's Journal: A Life of Compromise -- just became available for pre-ordering on Amazon's Kindle page. As a pre-order, you can get it for $2.99, and your copy will automatically appear in your in-box on September 19th. Of course, you can wait till September 19th and order it for immediate delivery (if you are into instant gratification) , but by then the price will go up to $4.99. The special price reduction is for anyone who already wants to read this story of a young English woman who marries into a cotton-dealing South Carolina family in the 1830s. The book follows her day-to-day musings as her slave-owning new family disintegrates into the turmoil of seduction, rape, murder, opium addiction, and kidnapping.  There's a bit of something there for everyone! 

 Go here to place your pre-order. Send me a copy of your receipt, and I'll enter you into a drawing for a signed trade paper edition.





The other good news this morning comes in the form of an announcement that sometime in the middle of last night, this website has hit a milestone marker -- TWO MILLION page views in the past seven years. 

















Thanks to everyone who faithfully reads these blogs posts and checks out the book announcements at Katzenhaus Books.

What has Saturday's Meteor Shower to Do with Henrietta Ainesworth?


When I’m getting ready to start writing a new book, I take the time to find out what was going on during the historical period in question.  Normally I’m looking for wars, major battles, presidential elections, economic crises, inventions, new laws—any event that might change the lives of my characters. When my story is set in Charleston, South Carolina or the Low Country between Charleston and Savannah, I check the weather conditions, too. That’s a region prone to hurricanes, major temperature fluctuations, insect infestations, earthquakes, and lethal epidemics.
 
This time, however, I was in for a surprise. I was getting reading to write Henrietta’s Journal, set in Charleston in the 1830s, and I wanted to know if there had been any hurricanes. The period turned out to be relatively quiet on the weather front. Only a couple of tropical storms threatened, and those barely brushed the city. I was not expecting to find two major astronomical events. They were both so spectacular that I had to write them into my story. What caught me most off guard was the realization that just as I would be getting ready to announce the upcoming publication of this new book, two similar events would be happening  in South Carolina in 2017.
 
The first event was a massive storm of meteorities witnessed all across the South on November 13, 1833. No mere meteor shower, this! People were terrified, many declaring that the world was coming to an end as the sparks seemed to be falling all around them. The occasion was the Leonid Shower, which occurs in mid-November every thirty-three years. In 1833, the earth’s orbit took it very close to the orbit of the comet Tempel-Tuttle and was said to have caused some 100,000 shooting stars per minute. Another legend says that the song “Stars Fell on Alabama” was written to commemorate the event .  And witnesses declared that this famous woodcut was an accurate depiction of what happened.
 
Now, in 2017, we are told that an even greater meteor storm will fill the skies on Saturday, August 12. This one comes from the Swift-Tuttle comet and is called a Perseid shower. Although articles on the internet are claiming that it will be the brightest shower in human history, its expected 300 shooting stars per hour cannot hope to rival what Henrietta Ainesworth witnessed in 1833. Still if you want to get a feel for what Henrietta’s experience was like, it wouldn’t hurt to look up at the sky on Saturday night.

Stay tuned to hear about the second event.

Harbingers of Things To Come

Now that the Katzenhaus Summer Promotion is officially over, we’ll be moving on to some major announcements  about upcoming books. Let’s start with the answers to last week’s quiz questions.

Henrietta Ainesworth is a fictional character, which is why no one successfully “googled” her. She is the main character in my next book. She was born in 1832 in Oxford, England. Her father, Sir Ephraim Ainesworth, is the Keeper of Medieval Manuscripts at Oxford’s Bodleian Library. His office in Duke Humfrey’s Reading Room oversees scholarly access to such priceless holdings as the Digby 209—a twelfth-century manuscript containing the works of several prominent churchmen of the period. (Digby 209 is a little different in that the scribes who copied it did a lot of doodling in the margins—and some of the doodles are quite funny and more than a little pornographic.)

In 1832 Henrietta meets Julien Beauchene, an American from Charleston, South Carolina. His family has made a fortune by acting as cotton factors—which means they buy up cotton crops from plantation owners, store it in their warehouse, and then sell it for the highest possible price to textile manufacturers in England and France. When Henrietta and Julien fall in love, Henrietta faces several dilemmas. She is violently opposed to slavery; he is a slave-owner. She has led a sheltered, scholarly life in Oxford; he comes from the brash, energetic, and business-oriented new United States. Henrietta’s only role model as a wife is her mother, who is a take-charge, controlling woman who dominates her meek librarian husband. Julien’s mother died when her children were small, and Julien has grown up with the example of a strong and dominating father.  


Is there any hope for the marriage of Henrietta and Julien? The answer lies in the up-coming book. We’ll do a title and cover reveal in the next couple of days. Stay tuned.