Monday, May 27, 2013

Bookcation Event: The Secret Life of Lady Julia by Lecia Cornwall (Guest Post/Giveaway)

Happy Memorial Day to all of our friends in the States today! 
Lady Julia travels to many exotic locations in The Secret Life of Lady Julia and author, Lecia Cornwall, is joining us with summer adventures and dream vacations. Enjoy!

A Writer’s Dream Summer Vacation

It would involve time travel…

There’s a painting by American Impressionist artist Frank Weston Benson called “Summer” on the calendar hanging by my desk. Painted in 1909, it shows a group of young women in white Edwardian dresses seated on a hill overlooking a blue ocean. While the others are content with their conversation, one woman is on her feet, the wind whipping her dress, her hand shading her eyes as she looks out to sea. I like to think she’s dreaming of travel and summer adventures. 

To write books is to crave great adventures, or perhaps it’s the other way around. Either way, why else would writers create such vivid imaginary lives, so much more exciting, dangerous, and daring than our own earth-bound existences? My characters get to do things I’d never be courageous enough to try in a million years. They go to wonderful places, have adventures, wear gorgeous gowns, and meet people that the passage of time has otherwise made impossible to experience. For example, in the Secret Life of Lady Julia, Lady Julia meets highwaymen in the park, steals kisses and state secrets, and creates a brand new life from the ashes of grave mistakes. That would be rather daunting for a simple writer and mother!

Oh, how I’d love to be with Lady Julia in Vienna in 1814 right now! But this summer I won’t be able to actually travel. I had surgery a few weeks ago, and I’ve been warned there’s to be no adventures (aside from written ones), and no lifting of anything over ten pounds—why, a good guidebook and a decent camera alone weigh close to ten pounds! 

Summer here in Alberta is too short as it is. If I stay inside crafting adventures on paper, before I know it, it will be fall, then winter—and I haven’t the technological skill to invent a time-travel device in my basement to get me out of this predicament. So what’s a writer to do?

A few years ago, when my kids got to the age of summer jobs, we found it difficult to plan family holidays. We invented “Summer Sundays”. We take turns planning a day trip, and go. It might be a drive to the mountains or a museum, a chance to try a new restaurant, or a visit to the farmer’s market.It gives us precious time together, offers new adventures, and makesnew memories. And when all else fails, there’s always time to rememberthe favorite places we’ve already been.  Allow me to recommend some of our favorites. Believe me, I wish I could time-travel back even the short distance to those summer holidays! 

I’d go back to Sand Banks Beach, where I grew up playing on the soft sand beach beside Lake Ontario on hot summer days, and where my own children learned to build ‘glop’ sandcastles. 

I’d visit Malmaisonagain, the home of the Napoleon’s Empress Josephine in Paris. We arrivedat Malmaison in the early morning before the tour buses, and we had the place entirely to ourselves. It’s a lovely, sad house. Josephine died here, and Napoleon rarely visited after her death, though it had been a favorite retreat for him while she was alive. 

I’d spend more summer days in Paris—need I say more? 

I would relive the adventure we had at Vimy Ridge, in Arras, France—My Great Uncle Matthew fought and died at the battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917. My grandfather made me promise to go and visit his grave someday. On the summer day we went, locating Matthew was like an episode of the Amazing Race, full of wrong turns, misinformation, and time limits imposed by train schedules, but thanks to the wonderful local villagers, we found Matthew’s grave and fulfilled the promise. 

I’d go back to the Scottish Highlands, and thank Gus, a man who owned a small restaurant in Inverness. He asked us where we were going next(Glasgow, via Skye). He recommended an alternative, and it turned out to be one of the most breathtaking scenic routes ever, and the best day, as we drove past Loch Torridon, through Applecross, and over a mountain pass that was terrifyingly high and narrow and completely unforgettable. 

There are so many moreplaces to remember. Each place we visit leaves a mark on us, doesn’t it? It makes our imaginations and knowledge of the world more vivid, and our lives so much richer.

And where would I go if I could travel this summer, via modern transport or time portal? I would follow the trail of my books. The Secret Life of Lady Julia takes place in beautiful Vienna, and so many of the palaces and parks, including the Schönbrunn Palace, The Spanish Riding School, and the Hofburg, all the places that the exalted Congress of Vienna attendees (and my fictional Lady Julia) knew in 1814, are still there.

Here’s true story about ‘visiting’ Vienna: A few hours after surgery, while I was still groggy and drifting in and out of sleep, I woke to images of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. They held a ball at the Hofburg Palace in 1814 to open the Congress, and there were so many invited and uninvited guests that they turned the connected Riding School into a second ballroom—the arena looks now as it did then, a beautiful gold and white room with magnificent crystal chandeliers. Only when I woke up in the hospital, instead of people there were horses dancing. Drugs? No—it turned out to be just the television, showing an episode of Nature on PBS about the world-famous Lipizzaner stallions—but with upcoming release of The Secret Life of Lady Julia lodged in my brain, it was a surreal trip indeed! I’d love to visit the Riding School in person. 

I’d also visit Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire, which stood in for Temberlay Castle as the hero’s ducal seat in How To Deceive A Duke. I’d go to Snowdonia in Wales, and see more than just pictures of Gwydir Castle, set among beautiful mountains, and chosen to play the role of Collingwood Castle in The Christmas King, a recent Christmas novella that’s posted free on the blog section of my website. AndI’d go to Holker Hall in Cumbria, my ideal Carrington Castle, in the beautiful Lake District, as imagined inSecrets of A Proper Countess and All The Pleasures of the Season. I’d visit Bamburgh Castle in Northumbria (again), tapped to play the haunting seaside Waterfield Abbey, a place of danger and dark deeds in Secrets of A Proper Countess. 

Actually, I’m doing more imaginary travel now, as we speak, looking for a crumbling Scottish tower in the Highlands to set a new love story in, one that takes place in the magic of midsummer, complete with ghosts, lost love, and a family curse.  

Is there a better way to spend the summer than that? Since I can’t go out and get lost, I think I’ll get lost in a book. Or two. Or even three. 

May your summer be filled with adventure, memories and unforgettable stories! 

The Secret Life of Lady JuliaThe Secret Life of Lady Julia
by Lecia Cornwall 
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: May 28th 2013 by Avon
ISBN 0062202456
Just a year or so ago, Julia was a lovely earl's daughter, celebrating her betrothal to David, the Duke of Temberlay and set for a life of elegance and luxury.
But at her betrothal ball, she meets a stranger, a man who makes her feel like the most beautiful woman in the world—and when your fiancé thinks of you more as a little sister than a bride, that kind of attention can certainly turn a lady's head.
Thomas Merritt is a thief with a secret past of his own. He attended Julia's betrothal ball to steal her jewels, but ended up leaving with far more, utterly bewitched by the beautiful, innocent Lady Julia. After their one glorious evening together, Thomas leaves London, knowing he can never be part of her world again.
Julia's steamy encounter with Thomas Merritt changes her life. Now, she's no longer an earl's daughter (disowned), or a duke's bride-to-be (deceased). She's an outcast and a mere paid companion to a lady who used to be her equal.
But things are looking up. She's on her way to Vienna on a breathtaking adventure, and her employer's handsome brother seems more than willing to overlook Julia's scandalous past. Love is in the air, dear readers!
Julia and Thomas meet again in Vienna under most inconvenient circumstances during the great peace conference meant to determine the fate of Europe now that Napoleon has been defeated. All the crowned heads of Europe are in attendance, and at the lavish parties, salons, and grand balls, secrets lurk behind every fan, under honorable military tunics, and beyond every half-closed door, and Thomas is not the only thief in town. When Julia discovers a plot that could destroy her new life, Thomas Merritt is the only man who can save the day, and only she can save him from certain death.
And at yet another betrothal ball, they meet again...
Goodreads - Amazon Kindle - Amazon Paperback - Barnes & Noble - The Book Depository

Lecia is giving away a copy of The Secret Life of Lady Julia to two readers. (Open US/CA residents, please see terms & conditions at the bottom of the Rafflecopter. ) To enter, just leave a comment on this post and then fill out the Rafflecopter below. If you could travel to any exotic location where would it be and why? Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I have seen so many pictures of new Zealand that I would love to experience its exotic beautify myself.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. Sounds like a great book I can't wait to read. New Zealand is one of the places I want to go on my bucket list

  3. Pretty cover. I always wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand.

  4. Hawaii! Have always wanted to visit there!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Love the cover and the post. Can't wait to get my hands on that book!!!!!

  7. i would say paris! thanks so much, the book looks great!

  8. My number one location I want to travel to is Great Britain, even though it might not seem exotic, I'd love to visit. If I have to pick somewhere exotic, I think Australia would be awesome to visit. :D

  9. somewhere secluded on the water. why? where i live now i have a beautiful view of mt. rainier. water would be a nice change. :)

    jukyjoauka at aol dot com

  10. I would love to go to Hawaii! Thanks for sharing!

  11. I would visit Scotland or England and learn more about the history behing these beautiful countries! thanks for the giveaway

  12. I am dying to get to Scotland.

  13. I would like to visit Peru or Egypt.
    Thanks :)
    lorih824 at yahoo dot com

  14. I'm not one for exotic locales but I did love spending time down in Australia and Fiji. I'd go again and spend more time exploring!

  15. Costa Rica because I would love to see an exotic rainforest and all the creatures that live in it. Plus I really want to ride the zip line they have in Costa Rica.


  16. I've wanted to visit New Zealand ever since I originally saw the beautiful scenery on Hercules and Xena. Of course, the Lord or the Rings trilogy only made me want it more!

  17. I would really love to visit Ireland, Scotland and England and travel around to see all the castles.

  18. If I could travel anywhere I'd take my husband to Egypt to see the pyramids!

    He is not only a Master Stone and Brick Mason but a Masonic Mason and Knights Templar as well and has always not only been fascinated by the pyramids themselves but the art that went into designing and building them as well!

    I would love to just stand there and watch his face as he saw them in person for the very first time!

  19. Pretty cover. I always wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand.

  20. Germany. I have always wanted to go there.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  21. I would love to travel to a private, tropical island. Someplace with lots of tropical flowers and fruits, a lagoon with waterfall, but also air conditioning, wi-fi, and room-service, lol.

  22. Probably Italy and all it's surrounding areas. Just for the pure romance of it.

  23. Greece - I've always been fascinated with it's ancient culture and the mythology that originated there.

    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  24. I'd love to travel to Scotland and Wales to see the beautiful rollong hills, the castles, and to learn more about my ancestors.



Due to time constraints we may not be able to personally respond to every comment made, but we do read and appreciate them all. 📚❤️🙂

✋ RBtWBC has a zero-tolerance policy for review harassment and author bashing. Such comments will be deleted at the the blog's discretion.