Book Review: Rules for Engaging an Earl by Janna McGregor by Traci Kenworth

Book cover

Book Review: Rules for Engaging the Earl by Janna McGregor Review by Traci Kenworth

Get ready for lost wills, broody dukes, and scorching hot kissing all over London in Rules for Engaging the Earl by Janna MacGregor.

Constance Lysander needs a husband. Or, so society says. She’s about to give birth to her late husband’s child
a man who left her with zero money, and two other wives she didn’t know about. Thankfully, she has her Aunt by her side, and the two other wives have become close friends. But stillwith a baby on the way, her shipping business to run, and an enemy skulking about, she has no time to find the perfect match.

Enter Jonathan, Earl of Sykeston. Returned war hero and Constance’s childhood best friend, his reentry into society has been harsh. Maligned for an injury he received in the line of duty, Jonathan prefers to stay out of sight. It’s the only way to keep his heart from completely crumbling. But when a missive from Constance requests his presence
to their marriage ceremonyJonathan is on board. His feelings for Constance run deep, and hell do anything to make her happy, though it means risking his already bruised heart.

With Constance, Jonathan, and the new baby all together, it’s clear the wounds
both on the surface and in their relationshiprun deep. But when the nights come, their wounds begin to heal, and both come to realize that their marriage of convenience is so much more than just a bargain.

Review of the story: Jonathan is set to go off to war. He has arrived to say goodbye to his childhood friend, Constance, who promises to wait for him, but he tells her to go on with her life without him. They share a kiss. Years go by and Constance finds herself one of three wives of her former husband who has died. A scoundrel, he left her pregnant and without money just as the other two. The three have formed a friendship. She summons Jonathan who has returned a disabled war hero to her home to marry.

Though he has been disgraced by those he relied on to build a business for the army due to his injury, he finds himself still enamored by Constance. They wed and he tells her he will send for her, but circumstances dissuade him when his former commander tells him charges of treason and desertion are about to be filed against him for failing to go through with his mission. He attempts to find the man he was to assassinate who was unarmed at the time. The commander makes Jonathan feel a fool and he retreats to his estate and isolates himself.

Unbeknown to him, his butler sends letters to Constance in Jonathan’s name asking her to come with her baby. Constance arrives to find Jonathan in a disheveled state. Though still attracted to her, he tries to discourage her as she and the baby would be dragged down by his charges as well. However, Constance moves in and begins to bring him out of his shell.

With her support, he becomes a better man again. But when a shared enemy brings charges against Constance, will Jonathan be able to stand for her in return?

My Thoughts: I was charmed by this book from the start. It reminded me of those days when I’d sit and read books from start to finish as quickly as possible. From the beginning, both Jonathan and Constance are characters who you care about and want to see find happiness. Unfortunately, it’s a long path for both. Jonathan keeps getting triggered by his PTSD (although not known as such in those days) and Constance for her terrible history with men especially when it comes to sticking with her. Still, they’re both motivated by their friendship and childhood to keep trying.

I loved that these characters never gave up on each other. I love that they pushed each other in good ways. They became a family despite the odds. Some things I didn’t like were how it seemed the people in Constance’s life seemed rude and inconsiderate to Jonathan. And even though she should’ve known that he didn’t entertain guests, she didn’t forewarn her friends of such and so caused strife.

Usually, here, the reviewer will reveal the rating system they follow. I’ve decided to do mine based on readability, enjoyability, and their ability to draw the reader in. I also looked for: how the couple rated as a couple themselves and whether their setting seemed accurate or weak. So, here goes. On the readability, enjoyability and draw: three stars. On couple and setting two stars with a total of five stars out of five stars.

As I explained, the story was charming and thoroughly engrossing. I had no trouble following the story even though it’s a second book in a series. Constance and Jonathan make an extremely likable pair and you root for both throughout the story. The setting drew you into the historical period and taught me a bit about the male attire of that era.

Some products you might want to check out. I receive a small compensation from the site for displaying them.

  1. Rules for Engaging the Earl by Janna McGregor
  2. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
  3. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
  4. It All Comes Back to You by Beth Duke
  5. Cottage By the Sea by Debbie Macomber

These are some links you might like:

  1. The

The novella is an interesting part of fiction history and the current fiction panorama. It played a role in the development of other forms of current fiction and is being used more in today’s fast-paced publishing environment.

A review of The Kill Zone’s archives (for novella) revealed three articles by James Scott Bell, Joe Moore, and Jordan Dane. It’s been 6-10 years since those posts, so let’s take another look at the Novella.


The word “novella” is the feminine form of “novello,” Italian (masculine) for “new.”

The novella has been described as “a short novel or a long short story.” Its length is listed as 10,000 – 40,000 words (some sources say 20,000 – 50,000 or even 15,000 – 60,000). The novella usually has a single plotline, is focused on one character, and “can be read in a single day.” It may or may not be divided into chapters, and white space is traditionally used to divide sections.

2. WritersHelpingWriters

Fears can be a struggle for everyone, an unfortunate part of the human experience. Whether they’re a result of learned behavior as a child, are related to a mental condition, or stem from a past wounding event, some fears can be debilitating, influencing a character’s behaviors, habits, beliefs, and personality traits. The compulsion to avoid what they fear will drive characters away from certain people, events, and situations and hold them back in life. 

In your story, this primary fear (or group of fears) will constantly challenge the goal the character is pursuing, tempting them to retreat, settle, and give up on what they want most. Because this fear must be addressed for them to achieve success, balance, and fulfillment, it plays a pivotal part in both character arc and the overall story.

3. Syl’s65blog

It goes without reason

That kindness and love

Can live in all seasons

Cut and dry

Black and white

4. Syl’s65blog

5. Meeka’s Mind

In my previous post I showed you the finished Tukti graphic (shown on the left). In this post, I want to show you a few of the techniques I used to create the graphic.

I call this style of making graphics ‘digital collage’, but real digital collage involves taking whole photos, making them very small and then building an over-arching image out of them. Think tiled mosaic. If you zoom in far enough, you can still see each image in its entirety.

My version of digital collage is rather different. I cut snippets of shape and colour and texture out of photos and then build up a multi-layered image out of all those snippets.

To give you some idea of what I mean, these are some of the 40 snippets I used to create the Tukti:

Everything Has to Change in a Small Town by Loleta Abi

Everything Has to Change in a Small Town

Traci Kenworth

When I was little, I thought the world was constant. That I’d always live in the small century town that I grew up in Ohio. As I aged, the need to get out and explore other places dawned in me. I went away for college. Not as far as I’d hoped but still a good three-to-four-hour drive. In the quiet moments alone, I’d reflect on that century village and miss it though I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time.

When things didn’t go as planned, I returned and lived there another four-to-five-years before moving to different towns around Ohio. The place that I’d longed to escape as a teenager somehow became the place of safety for me when my world turned upside down. It’s funny how things can change that way. You think you don’t want to be there and then you’re glad that you are.

Sometimes, the town felt claustrophobic to me. You feel like you can never break out from it. Then when you do, you come to appreciate what you had. It’s like an old friend who when you think of them brings a smile at some memory or other. You want to go back and spend time with them, but you realize that closeness has moved on. Your lives are different and will probably never cross again.

It makes you nostalgic. I wish sometimes that life had spun me different but well, I’m happy with who I am now. Where I stand. What I believe. There are times when you wish you could change something from your past but as the saying goes, you wouldn’t be the same. And, personally, I’d take all the pain, all the horror, just to have my kids, my kitties, and be happy with life as it is now.

You start off wanting one thing in life and find roads that lead elsewhere. It’s all a journey about finding who you are, what a place means to you, and most importantly, loving and getting to know the family and friends that come into your life along the way. We’re not always perfect. Sometimes, there are deep pitfalls in our pasts. But together, we find a way to peace within ourselves.

I still cherish the dreams of my youth. However, most were not meant to be. The family I have now is different than the one I had growing up as it is for all of us. It’s not the picture you saw in your head. That doesn’t mean it’s less. Just different. And I’d take those differences over the conflicts. The people I treasure, count on in life are genuine. I can’t say the same of some of those in my past.

Everything in a small-town changes as time goes by. Just like each of us. It must be that way for growth to happen, I guess. Life takes us in different directions some of which we’re not even ready for or not aware that they were the way we were meant to go. There are no short cuts. No way to turn things back. We move on and up. The way we were meant to. It’s not surprising where we come from doesn’t go through just as many changes.

Some products you might be interested in. I may receive a small compensation from the seller for directing you to. All handmade.

Some posts around the web you may like. I highly recommend all the sites, they always have something interesting to say.

Hi, gang. A little something special for you today. Sally Cronin has been a huge supporter of mine, both here, and at the Story Empire blog. She’s always there to share my new releases, and to review my books.

I’ve sold books on days when Sally posts a review or shares my newest news. She’s a very active blogger, and someone every author should get to know.

She also bundles up her promotions and posts a Weeky Roundup which gives authors a second bite at the apple. She does all of this without being asked, and never asks for anything in return.

3. Life in the Realm of Fantasy:

In any environment, fictional or real, the following is true: no matter how costly and rich or poor and rundown, personal belongings in a scene are only necessary for what they say about the people who own them.


Why is this so? Let’s look at an example.

Consider the protagonist in a scene set in a kitchen.

I cross to sit at the table. In front of me are a laptop, a cup of tea, a notepad, and a pen. The white page of the notepad stares back at me, accusing, as if to say, “Write, you fool.”

But words elude me.

As a reader, what do you see?

You see the word kitchen and assume it is furnished with everything you think should be there. You assume there is a sink, a stove, a refrigerator…and so on. Instantly, it becomes a room you can understand. Yet only the tea, the table, the notepad, and the pen are mentioned. The code word, the one that triggers the mental picture, is kitchen.

If we mention how the dark, heavy furniture lends an atmosphere of gloom to the room, that’s all the description we need to offer. The reader sees the laptop, notepad, and pen, along with a cup of tea against a version of dark and heavy dining furniture. The style of furniture will be something the reader is familiar with.

4. Myths of the Mirror:

Greetings Storytellers! I’m over at Story Empire today talking more about character development. If you’re interested, stop by to say hello. And Happy Writing!

Story Empire

Greetings Storytellers! We’re off to Part 3 of Crafting Rich Characters. In Part 1, we explored a character’s physical appearance, mannerisms, and quirks. In Part 2, we covered Attributes and Traits, Skills and Abilities, and Occupations and Interests.

5. Chris the Story Reading Ape:

When I do presentations and Q&As, I’m often asked to name the most common scheme or scam writers need to watch out for.

Usually, I have to think a moment before I answer—not just because the universe of writer-focused predation is constantly evolving (for instance, there are far fewer fee-charging literary agents now than there were when Writer Beware was founded), but because the ways in which writers can be tricked and exploited are so many and various that it’s hard to choose.

These days, though, I can respond without hesitation. By far the most prevalent writer-focused scams are solicitation scams.

Celebrating the Holidays in a Century Village by Traci Kenworth

Celebrating the Holidays in A Century Village

Traci Kenworth

Celebrating the holidays in a century village can be quite unique. From the train ride with Santa that takes children around the circular park and back to the log cabin. Yes, log cabin. That’s where our maple syrup is made and distributed in Spring through Fall. It’s quite the treat. Old time caroler cutouts decorate the park and town square. There are a couple Christmas trees in the ceremonial side of the park.

In the square, various shops dress up their storefronts as they see fit. More trees from lights to garland and such. Along the telephone poles are a blend of oversized plastic candy canes and trees lit at night, of course. From the post office to the bank, decorations abound.

There seems to be some competition between households as well as to who can have the better Christmas display in their yard. Houses are decorated to the brim with stars, Nativity sets, snowmen and reindeer. A particularly breathtaking display this year was a set of white reindeer. There were Santa sleds and trees all about. Purple was a popular color. As was white, red, and blue.

I love to just drive through the town and look at all the lights. It’s just so heartwarming and festive. It really puts one in the mood to celebrate with their families. A lot of people have lived in the town for generations but there are newcomers as well. One particular couple is known for their displays throughout the holidays all year-round after coming from California where they were movie producers.

A new thing this year has been the City of Bethlehem Lights in the Geauga County Fairgrounds. The magical road of Christmas lights that lead to a Nativity scene as well as many more scenes to enjoy. There are reindeers and candy canes. Santa and stars. Carnival lights also showcase the event. To see their changing colors and splashes of fun is just awesome. It truly looks to be a drive to appreciate with your family and friends for years to come. The event is a drive-through experience for all ages.

I can’t tell you what it means to go past these fairground lights at night. They are just so spectacular! The whole place is lit from the front entrance all the way to the back. To me, Christmas lights have always been something special to behold at holiday times. There’s just a magical quality to them. It’s like anything could happen. Even those Christmas miracles!

Celebrating holidays in a century town can be exciting and bring back warm memories of days gone by. And isn’t that what those special times are supposed to be like? There’s nothing better than bringing joy to your families and friends during these times. And whether you’re doing so in a city or a small town, look around your area and discover what’s there. Every place called home has its own treasures to share. Happy New Year to all my readers!

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  1. Valentine’s Red Leggings
  2. Instant Detox Mask
  3. Sugar Lip Scrub

Below are some posts you might be interested in.

  1. Killzone blog

It may be the most famous (infamous?) case of writer’s block in the annals of American lit: George R. R. Martin is having trouble completing his epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire (of which A Game of Thrones is the first volume). It’s been over ten years since the last book, A Dance with Dragons, came out, and there is no pub date in sight for the next one, titled The Winds of Winter. 

So what’s the trouble? Martin himself admits:

Looking back, I wish I’d stayed ahead of the books. My biggest issue was when they began that series, I had four books already in print, and the fifth one came out just as the series was starting in 2011. I had a five-book head start, and these are gigantic books, as you know. I never thought they would catch up with me, but they did. They caught up with me and passed me.

Another clue to the blockage comes from something he told his friend Diana Gabaldon, “I’m having all kinds of trouble. Have you ever killed somebody off that you later realized that you needed?…I just painted myself into a corner.”

2. Writers Helping Writers

Most of us are familiar with the “Show, don’t Tell” rule. In short, it’s more effective to dramatize the story than to simply tell what happened. Nonetheless, almost every story needs at least some telling. It can help keep the pacing tight, relay background information, and enhance tone, among other things. Here’s more on when breaking the rule can work.  So how do we tell well? Here are six cheats to help you.

1. Appeal to the Senses

Good showing appeals to the senses. Basically, we have to appeal to the senses to really show a story. There is no reason moments of telling can’t appeal to the senses in a similar way. Appealing to sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch can strengthen your telling just as it does with showing. It’s just that with telling, it’s usually brief, or relayed “in passing.” This example appeals to senses despite it being a telling summary:

3. Life in the Realm of Fantasy

Now that we are well into the new year, many of us are finally getting back to work on novels we began for NaNoWriMo or work we had on hold for the holidays.


This is an excellent time to look at the freedom we give our characters to act and react within the story. I have mentioned many times that I am a plotter. However, when I am in the process of writing the first draft of a novel, the characters sometimes take over. The plot veers far from what I had intended when I began writing it.


This happens because my work is character-driven, and sometimes, they’re like demolition derby drivers.

When a significant change happens, I have to adjust events to match the timeline. Adjusting my outlines is a simple process because I create them in Excel. I can delete and move events as needed to ensure my story arc doesn’t flatten.

Other people use whiteboards and sticky notes, and still others use Scrivener—a program my style of thinking doesn’t mesh with.

4. Natalie Ducey

If you’ve ever wondered how to create and add a QR CODE to digital graphics and print documents, this post is for you. ♥

In just a few quick and easy steps you, too, can easily create and add a unique QR Code to your designs.

QR Codes are fantastic for their ease of use and are a valuable marketing tool. We can create QR Codes to link to our website, social media profiles, online shops and products, author profiles, and more.

A little information… the QR is short for Quick Response. QR Codes are a type of barcode that is readable with digital devices like smartphones.

In a nutshell, they store information (ie. website, social media profiles, etc) that can be easily accessed by simply using the phone’s camera to read the QR Code.

If you’d like more information on QR Codes and their origin and use, Business Insider shares a fantastic post ~ What is a QR code? A guide to the barcode’s basics, why you’re seeing it everywhere, and how to scan one.

5. The Write Stuff

Ode to a Painted Bunting

A sign.
My heart called out for a sign.
Something to hang onto.
Something to give me hope.
Something to remind me the world can be beautiful,
And people can be kind, generous, and loving.

A little extra self-promotion:

6. Two Drops of Ink

“…Creative work becomes more meaningful the more it conveys our truth. And in our lives overall, an understanding of what is meaningful to us provides us with purpose, clarity, and intention.” ― Kate O’Neill, Pixels and Place: Connecting Human Experience Across Physical and Digital Spaces

How often do you sit down to write a blog post and find yourself searching for something with meaning? Perhaps you feel you’ve written every topic to exhaustion. The truth is you can always find a different spin on everything, and when you write it from a place of purpose and enthusiasm for you, it will have meaning for others as well. 

What Topics Pique Your Interest? 

For instance, grammar. Is it important? A must for the writer? As I heard in a podcast recently while studying How to Write a Bestseller 3.0, the structure is essential, but so is getting to the point where you begin to break the rules. Of course, you have to know the rules before you do so. Once you do, though, you can experiment with how to play with them.

Winning Romance: Does This Couple Match? Loleta Parks

Image by Julie Rose from Pixabay

Winning Romance: Does This Couple Match?

Loleta Parks

Trying new things on this website as well. I know there’s been a limited audience on this site, but I hope to increase that going forward. What draws you into a couple’s romance in fiction? Is it the cover? Their background? I would venture to guess it’s the story. Where they’ve been. Where they’re going. What they’ve overcome. How they met. What kept them apart. What brought them together. And how they stayed together.

Who are some of your favorite couples?

Mine are:

  1. Any Nora Roberts couple.
  2. Jamie and Claire Fraser.
  3. Any Constance O’Banyon couple. My favorite author of all time. Windhawk and Joanna.
  4. Westley and Buttercup.
  5. Aragorn and Arwen.
  6. Benedick and Beatrice.

Update 3 Traci Kenworth

Hello. Just wanted to update things. Hoping to get back to some activity in the weeks ahead. I’ve been seeing a host of different doctors as the team in charge of health want to move all my doctors in the same umbrella, so to speak. Thus, I went to see a new family doctor who is known for complex medical conditions such as mine. Two new things added to maintenance: 1) None of the other doctors told me I had a bulging disc in my back. Not sure if this is the only thing causing pain around the belt of my stomach, sides, and back. 2) I did have low blood pressure that’s since moved to high. My diabetes is the main thing we’re working on along with blood pressure right now. Other issues will be done later but I hope I get relief for my back/stomach soon. Also, went to see specialist for my HS. He put me on some new meds and a supplement with another to be added should this regime work out. Next up, the vascular surgeon for my splenic artery aneurysm. Take care and God bless, till we meet on this website again. Traci

Update 2

I had my wounds reopened again as they didn’t heal properly. Still have to heal fully before another surgery for the HS. Meanwhile, I have to see my dr. for stronger antibiotics the wound dr. said. Made appointment for my surgery for a splenic artery aneurysm. I also have to see numerous drs. on diabetes. Then there’s my back to see to. Hopefully, nothing more but we will see. Have a great week, take care, and God bless.


The Writer’s Wheel 10/31/2020 Loleta Abi

Image by mollyroselee from Pixabay

The Writer’s Wheel 10/18/2020

Loleta Abi

Update: We haven’t been able to get any plumbers in our county to bid on the job. Not sure if the adjuster will even approve anything as damages. With winter coming, it’s becoming a bit of a problem. Going to speak with insurance company again tomorrow. May have to consider moving. This place has become a money pit starting two months after we moved here going on sixteen years ago.

I’ve had to juggle this all with health issues. Doctors still not sure what’s causing my pain and bloating. It doesn’t help that I’ve missed several meds of late with everything going on. Good thing today is that I got to pick off the walls of our eye doctor’s shelves. When you’ve been poor as long as I have, the little things in life tickle you. I checked out Cover Girls and Candies.

Tricks to Keep Focused

Loleta Abi

  1. Distracting Yourself with Blog Posts, Writing, and Reading helps immensely. It gives you purpose and bring a sense of accomplishment. It also makes you feel you have control of something. Even that small bit can help.
  2. Making progress puts you in a good mood. You are going somewhere, and it will pay up someday. Yeah, you might have years to hit your mark still, but keeping going forward will make you smile and dream a bit.
  3. Reading sharpens those tools in the box. It will help you with structure. You will learn how to handle narrative. Characters will start to zing on that screen before you. Your plot will be more cohesive. Don’t be fooled. While you are reading, you’re learning. That’s how it works. Examining things further will also add an edge.
  4. Eliminates Time to Worry. Perhaps this is the best result. It keeps you busy and moving onto the next thing. Laying about depressed doesn’t help. You need to get up and try something, anything to keep your spirits up. Yeah, you may lose your home but maybe that’s the way it was supposed to bring you to a better set-up.