A Note:


I once told myself: IF I am accepted into grad school, this blog would no longer be updated. As it turns out, in April, I received news of my acceptance for the Fall 2013 semester, where I will attain a Master's degree of Science in Nutrition.

Running a blog, as many of you may already know, is a demanding side job once the excitement wears off. And once I fell out of the blogging community's loop (have you SEEN how many blogs there are now? Wow!), it was like the kiss of death. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get into a blogging routine once this happened due to the disconnect I felt from the community.

So I took a break. I struggled with the loss and with missing my blog. And then I realized I didn't have to run Book Faery to still be a book reviewer; I could read my books and post reviews online. I'm still a book review blogger, just not in the traditional sense.

I'll still be online. You can chat with me on Twitter, where I'll be posting links to my reviews and talking books. I'll also be posting links to nutrition articles. And if you'd like to connect with me where I guarantee I will post reviews, just add me as a friend on Goodreads.

So that's all, folks! It's been a fun and amazing journey, and I thank you all for listening to my thoughts about books. I hope we all can keep in touch elsewhere :)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Guest Post with Shelley Munro + Giveaway!

Smugglers by Shelley Munro

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse's feet,
Don't go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street,
Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Five and twenty ponies trotting through the dark,
Brandy for the Parson,
Baccy for the Clerk,
Laces for a Lady,
Letters for a Spy,
And watch the wall my darling
While the gentlemen go by

From The Smugglers' Song, Rudyard Kipling.

Taxes are never popular and, if you're like me, you probably mutter and grumble a bit come the time to prepare taxes each year. Our dislike of taxes isn't a new thing. People have tried to avoid taxes or circumvent them since the Romans first introduced the idea.

Let's travel back to England in the 1700s. If you wanted a bottle of good brandy, some quality tobacco or your wife demanded tea or a length of French silk, chances are you'd turn to smugglers to provide the goods.

Smuggling was big business during this era. The Custom officers were few in number and poorly armed. This, along with the possible profits, led to a surge in smuggling. The smugglers were highly organized, often with entire families or villages helping to unload goods off ships under the cover of darkness. They'd blacken their faces and muffle their shoes with worsted stockings, carrying the goods themselves or on ponies. The locals who weren't involved knew to keep to their beds and ignore any sounds they heard during the middle of the night.

The smugglers would make more money in one night than they could earn in a week fishing or farming while the local gentry would receive the goods they coveted.

In the world of historical romance, we tend to think of smugglers as potential heroes, but smuggling was a dangerous business. Some of the smuggling gangs consisted of 20 - 40 men, all armed, which made the job of the Custom officer very dangerous indeed. The gangs in the south-east of England were prone to violence. It wasn't safe for locals to go out at night. Far better, I think, to pull the curtains against the night and enjoy the spoils the next day!

When I first decided to write a historical romance, I picked all my favorite elements and played with them to see if they'd fit my plot. Smugglers were the one element I managed to keep and I had fun writing them into my story.

Here's the blurb and a short smuggler excerpt from The Spurned Viscountess:

She must marry him.

Cursed with the sight and rumors of witchcraft, Rosalind's only chance at an ordinary life is marriage to Lucien, Viscount Hastings. She doesn't expect love, only security and children of her own. Determined to go through with the wedding, she allows nothing she encounters at the gloomy Castle St. Clare to dissuade her.

He wants nothing to do with her.

Recently returned from the Continent, Lucien has no time for the English mouse his family has arranged for him to marry, not when he's plotting to avenge the murder of his beloved Francesca. He has no intention of bedding Rosalind, not even to sire an heir.

Dark secrets will bind them.

Though spurned by her bridegroom, Rosalind turns to him for protection when she is plagued by a series of mysterious accidents and haunted by terrifying visions. Forced to keep Rosalind close, and tempted into passionate kisses, Lucien soon finds himself in grave danger of falling in love with his own wife…

“Stop right there, you thieving bastards! In the name of the king! Stop!”

Harry ignored the bellowed order and kept running. A gunshot rang out. Frank faltered beside him. The cask of brandy Frank carried smashed on the rocky ground. Harry turned, but blank eyes stared back. Frank was dead.

“Run, lad. Frank's done for. Save yer own skin.”

More gunshots. It was dark, so dark Harry couldn't see the path, but he kept running, his lungs wheezing like the blacksmith's bellows. Another shot. Pungent gunpowder. Wind whistled past his ear. Something hit a rock right by his leg. Then his leg collapsed under him. He staggered, the bundle of silk toppled, but he grabbed it before it rolled away.

“Don't stop, lad. You're almost safe.”

Pain. God, his leg hurt so bad.

“Lad, let me help you.” The man appeared in the mouth of the cave. A black cloak billowed in the breeze.

“I got my load,” Harry muttered. “Hawk will pay me.”

“Yes, lad. You'll get your portion.” The man helped Harry stagger to his feet.

“Hawk,” he gasped, seeing the black mask that went with the cloak.

“Let's get you to safety and we'll see about digging that bullet out. We need you better so you can watch Hastings and the castle. You! Fire at the excise men if they come too close to the cave. Give the rest a chance to get to safety through the labyrinth. Half an hour should do it.”

“You'll pay?” Harry demanded.

Hawk chuckled and ruffled his hair. “Yes, lad. You do a good job. You'll get the money you deserve.”

Purchase link for The Spurned Viscountess.

Thanks to Book Faery for having me here to visit today.

Source: The History of Customs & Excise, National Museums Guide, Merseyside. 

CONTEST:  I'm giving away a download of The Spurned Viscountess to one reader. Do you like smugglers or highwaymen in your historical romances? Do you prefer them to be the hero or the villain? Do you have any favorite smuggler stories? 

Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand and enjoys both writing and reading historical romance. She's always on the lookout for a good gothic historical and when she can't find any, she writes her own. Plans are underway for her next…. You can visit Shelley and learn more about her books at http://www.shelleymunro.com


  1. I like it when the smuggler is the hero, or when the one assisting the smugglers is the heroine, who would suspect a woman assisting them?!

  2. I like smugglers and highwaymen in my historical romances as they give the story some spice. I don't even mind if they're the hero or the bad guy.
    My favourite smuggler story is an oldie: Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

  3. Novel Reaction - Ooh, good idea having a woman assisting the smugglers. I'll have to keep that in mind for a future book.

    Sullivan - You know I've never read Jamaica Inn. I should do because it's a classic.

  4. Whereabouts in NZ is Shelley from ? Im a fellow NZ'er who runs a book blog www.thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com and Im an old follower
    Do you like smugglers or highwaymen in your historical romances? I prefer highwaymen as smugglers tend to be cowards
    Do you prefer them to be the hero or the villain? Most of the time the Hero's but the occassional highwaymen is written great as a villian.
    Do you have any favorite smuggler stories?
    As I see Sullivan as written I also liked Jamaica Inn , I quite enjoy Daphne Du Maurier's books

  5. Smugglers as a hero with a good cause on smuggling!

    regards: maidenhealer@hotmail.com

  6. Smugglers as a hero with a good cause on smuggling!

    regards: maidenhealer@hotmail.com

  7. I enjoy smugglers and highwaymen in the historical romances I read. Of course, I like them to be good guys(or girls). I don't care if they are the hero of the story.

  8. Hi Phantom Paragrapher. I'm in Auckland. :) Another Jamaica Inn fan. I must grab a copy from the library.

    There's an older story by Christina Skye called The Black Rose that has smugglers in it. Some of the story is set in the Mermaid Inn in Rye, which is a real place. They have secret passages leading from the pub to smugglers' tunnels. I enjoyed reading it years ago. Has anyone read this one?

  9. Fairy Whispers - yes, our hero needs to have a good reason for breaking the law. We want a heroic hero.

  10. Patsy - most of the highwaymen stories I've read recently have been members of the gentry holding up coaches for a bet. I've read a couple of stories where the heroine is the highwaymen, but I can't remember titles.

  11. I hadn't really thought about what I about smugglers and highwayman in romance. But it seems I own, and have recently read, several where the hero is a smuggler or highwayman for at least part of the book! So I guess I prefer them as hero even though I also have a couple where they're the villain. Also, it has to do with their actions as a criminal. For example, why they do it an how they treat innocents. I recently read a very good romance novel with a smuggler, Dark Prince by Eve Silver. Very good book!

  12. Hi, Shelley! I love your story line for "The Spurned Viscountess--it sounds like a very romantic, exciting adventure! My interest in highwaymen and smugglers was caught when I saw the movie, "The Wicked Lady".

    "The Wicked Lady is a 1945 film starring Margaret Lockwood in the title role as a nobleman's wife who secretly becomes a highwayman,
    "Captain Jackson", for the excitement. Intoxicated by the experience, she keeps on waylaying coaches, until one night, she and the real Captain Jackson (James Mason) target the same one. After they relieve the passengers of their valuables and ride away, Jackson is amused to find his competitor is a beautiful woman. They become lovers and partners in crime. The story was based on the novel The Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton by Magdalen King-Hall, which in turn, was based upon the (disputed) events surrounding the life of Lady Katherine Ferrers, the wife of the major landowner in Markyate on the main London - Birmingham road. (Wikipedia)"

    US Resident, GFC Follower, Subscriber

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  13. I love smugglers and highway men in my stories. It heats it up.Hero or Heroine as long as they always have their good reasons for it.I can't remember the titles but I have read quite a few smuggler and highway men stories. Too early in the AM I guess. :) Love the storyline for The Spurned Viscountess. Look forward to reading it.
    Carol L.

  14. I like the idea of smugglers, though at the moment the idea of the customs man being the out numbered on could make for an interesting story.

    I recently read The Exile of Sara Stevenson, which had done fun interactions between the lightkeeper (who is supposed to help the customs people) and the local smuggling ring.

  15. I like it when the smuggler starts out a villan but turns into the hero :-)

    Sarah M

  16. The only historical romance I have read is Outlanders. I've been sticking to the PNR, but I have been seeing some historicals that are starting to catch my eye . I think I would prefer Highway men.

  17. I like it when highwaymen are the heroes but only if the government is oppressive. I'm not that in favor of people circumventing the law just to make a buck. But I love you Shelley and your writing so I know it'll be a good one regardless.

  18. I like highwaymen sometimes in historical romances, but I like him to be the hero. I haven't read any books with smuggler in them.

  19. myrandaroyann - I'll look for Eve's book. Thanks for the rec.

    Virginia - thanks very much. I adore some of these older movies even if they seem a little dated. It's interesting that the movie is based on truth, even if it is disputed.

  20. Thanks very much, Carol :)

    J - The Exile of Sara Stevenson sounds interesting. The story reminds me of the wreckers. They'd shine lamps on the coast and the ships would think they were safe from rocks. Instead the wreckers were luring them inshore in the hope that they'd founder so they could plunder the ship. A very brutal lot!

  21. Sarah - yes. It's the not knowing that makes this type of story interesting.

    Sharon - LOL - Until this year I'd been taking a break from historicals and consuming paranormal stories. Now I'm the opposite, and I'm not reading as many paranormal stories. Definitely burnout on my part!

  22. Hi Amy - I have to agree with you. Breaking the law is only romantic where injustice is involved. A Robin Hood sort of tale. Thanks so much. I hope you enjoy this one. :)

    Andrea - A highwayman makes a good hero, although I'm not sure I'd like to come face-to-face with one.

  23. I prefer the highwayman who is also the villain!! bad boys are sooo hot, it's hard to resist them. there's just something about a bad boy, who is handsome and has a wickend glint in his eye thats makes him irresistable...


  24. Do you like smugglers or highwaymen in your historical romances? I like reading about both. Do you prefer them to be the hero or the villain? I would say I like bad boys too not just heroes. Do you have any favorite smuggler stories?
    No. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

  25. I'm okay with smugglers as heros, but not as wild about highwaymen as heros. When I was a teenager, two of my favorite books were Jamaica Inn by Daphne DuMaurier and the wonderful Poldark series by Winston Graham, both of which featured smuggling plots on the Cornish moors.

    jen at delux dot com

  26. Alex, I have to agree. Wicked glints are hot. :)

    Tore - thanks for stopping by.

  27. Jen - I purchased the Poldark series on DVD last week. I just need to find time to sit down and watch it.

  28. I agree with Alex above too! Love them bad boys :D Since I'm still fairly new to romance genre, I havent read books with highwaymen or smugglers yet but I read the review for your book The Spurned Viscountess here and decided I must read it! So it will probably be my 1st :) bells DOT franco AT gmail DOT com

  29. I love highwaymen! Especially if they got a secret past and are kind in their core... sorta like a hot version of Robin Hood, I guess. :)
    You can reach me at luvpinkpanther@gmail.com

  30. Bella - thank you. I hope you enjoy it. :)

    Pink Panther - I know exactly what you mean about Robin Hood. The BBC Robin series is great inspiration.