Charming The Professor


With: Donna MacMeans

Congratulations to “Joan V.”, the winner in Donna’s giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!


Madrid, Spain 1853


May God have mercy on my soul!


My name is Padre Rodriquez, alchemist to Her Most Catholic Majesty The Queen of the Spains, and I am dammed. I had no intention of imprisoning the charming Mamoiselle Charlebois in molten iron.  The Queen blackmailed me.  I had no choice.  I don’t know how she learned I had successfully managed to capture the essence of small animals in iron, but she forced me to use my skill on a human, and now the lovely Mamoiselle is trapped in gates destined for the distant city of New Orleans in America.  To add insult to injury, she blessed the gates that all that touch them will receive their charm.  Do they know she meant the charm teacher trapped inside? Will she be trapped for all eternity? Please Madeline. Forgive me.


I love paranormal romance!  I love humor.  I combined both in Charming of the Professor, which is a finalist for both the Reader’s Choice Award and the Prism award for time-travel/steampunk. 


charm gates & CoriHere’s the true inspiration for this story:  The Charm Gates are real and still on display at the Court of Two Sisters.  That’s a picture of the gates and my agent, Cori Deyoe of Three Seas Literary Agency to the side.  If you can’t read the sign, it says:


“These Charm Gates were wrought in Spain especially for the Court of Two Sisters. According to legend, Queen Isabella had them blessed so that their charm would pass onto anyone who touched them.”


 I wondered how this “blessing” came to be.  When I researched Queen Isabella II, I learned she was a vindictive, unloved sovereign.  Such a person might be jealous of a young woman that is everything the queen is not, and might be tempted to get rid of her in a way that could never be proven.


Charming the Professor final



The Charm Gates have stood at The Court of Two Sisters for more than a century with no one guessing the secret they hold. A jealous vindictive Spanish queen and a blackmailed alchemist have encased French “charm teacher” Madeline Charlebois’s essence inside the gates, at least until a grieving professor touches them during a storm and Madeline tumbles out, not in her own 19th century Spain, but in 21st century New Orleans.

Quantum physics Professor Grant Stewart has mourned his wife’s death for the last three years. But he must move on for his young daughter’s sake, the child who delights in terrorizing babysitters. Grant needs adequate childcare to pursue tenure at Tulane. What he doesn’t need is a French beauty believing nonsense like time-travel and voodoo, and whose very being is melting his heart.

Maddie may be without resources but she’s good at making new friends, even if they are on the quirky side. She believes Professor Stewart can return her home, but first she must earn his trust to win his cooperation.  Babysitting his daughter gives her both proximity, and love for the child. Will Grant be the key to returning to her time? Or will she, in turn, unlock his frozen heart? All they need is time and maybe a little voodoo…


Ratings:  4.8 stars on Amazon, 4.6 stars on Goodreads


Are you intrigued?  Here’s a peek at the first meet:


Shoot! He hadn’t meant to scare her. She hovered about a foot away, posing in some frilly, tiered period costume straight off the set of Gone With The Wind. She brandished some fancy do-da umbrella like a sword, twirling the pointed end in tiny threatening circles..

          “You some kind of tour guide?” He asked, rubbing the tender spot where his head had met brick. A wet viscous substance coated his fingertips.

          “I won’t hurt you.” He held up his hand like a policeman directing to ward off the threatening umbrella. “I haven’t the strength to battle a fly at the moment. You needn’t be afraid.” Using the brick wall for support, he pulled himself slowly to his feet. “Was it lightning? I saw a flash right before I hit the wall.”

          Her lips parted as if to reply, but then she hesitated. She frowned, then tried again as if her lips wouldn’t mold the word. Her umbrella pointed from the floor to his chest. “Who?”

          “Who am I?” He tapped his shirt. The woman’s face eased in relief. You’d think a tour guide would be a bit more communicative.

          “I was about to ask you the same question.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m Grant Stewart.”

          He extended his hand in greeting, but as she didn’t advance he used it to brush the dust off his pants. “Who?” He said gruffly, pointing toward her in a similar fashion.

          She straightened, lowered her weapon to her side, then curtsied in a simple yet elegant bend.

          “Je m’appelle Mamoiselle Madeline Rosette Allegra Charlebois. Je suis une demoiselle de la cour d’Isabella.” She hesitated, cocked her head then continued, as if testing the sound, “Queen of Spain.”

          “Queen of Spain, huh?” Yeah, right. He glanced to the floor for his fallen cell phone. “Sounds like someone else took a blow to the head.”

          Her face brightened, her smile adding kilowatts to the dingy hallway.

          “Monsieur. The queen? Nous avons visité…” She stumbled for the word, opting instead to puff out her cheeks and swirl her arms in wide arcs.

          Just his luck, he meets an angel and she turns out to be on permanent Mardi Gras.




I’m giving away a copy of Charming the Professor to someone chosen by a random number generator.  Tell me, do you believe in time-travel?  If you could, would you go forward or back in time?  



About the author:

Critically acclaimed award-winning author Donna MacMeans made a wrong turn many years ago when she majored in Accounting at Ohio State University.  Balancing books just can’t compete with crafting plots and inventing memorable characters. .  A licensed CPA, she has published eight books with a NY publisher, a small press, and as an indie author.  She writes seductively witty historical romance, fun paranormal romance and an intense romantic suspense. A Romance Writers of America © Golden Heart winner, she has also received Romantic Times’s Reviewer Choice Award for Historical Love & Laughter. She resides in a suburb near Columbus, Ohio with her husband of forty + years and one adult child that refuses to leave the nest.


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  1. I’m not sure that I believe in time travel although a recent science show I watched convinced me that at least for short periods it’s possible! But I love it as the basis for a story (hello Doctor Who!!). I’d want to go both ways..,but if I had to pick I’d go back to see some of the historic events and periods that fascinate me.

    • Laura –

      I agree. I’d like to go forward and backward, and I’d definitely want reassurances that I’d be able to get back home! I’d like to be able to “spy” on my ancesters to see what they were truly like and I’d like to see what “miracles” will be invented/discovered in the future. But all in all, I’m happy with my life here and am content to stay 🙂

  2. Hi bn100 –

    You’re not even a little bit curious about events in the future, or how your kids will be in the future?? No Back to the Future or Back to the Past for you? I don’t buy it. You’ll have to explain your lack of curiosity.

  3. Not sure about the scientific realities of time travel, though there are many things we’ve yet to discover. I have always been fascinated by it though. I’d like to go back to the past if I could do it just as an observer and not risk my life. 🙂 Like you, I’d love to be able to travel back in time following my direct family lines to their beginning. It’d be nice to go into the future to see what stocks I should buy now. LOL.

  4. I don’t know that I believe in time travel but if I could meet your Grant and oh…Jamie Fraser…I’d give it a go 😀 Love the unique setting and I know I’ll love this book.

    • Drool…Jamie Fraser. Now he’d definiately be worth going back in time to meet. I believe I read that he’s the most popular hero of all time.

      Now, Grant is a physics professor in modern day New Orleans so he’d be accessible if he were real :).

      Thanks for stoppying by!

  5. Donna, I don’t know whether I believe time travel actually has happened, but I do believe it someday might. Given the choice, I would likely go back in time to Colonial America or medieval England.

    • Hi Nancy!

      I’ll admit that my attitude toward time travel is more that of the professor’s, if it were possible we’d have seen evidence of it occuring in past figures coming forward in time (has he explains) as the arrow of time has always been forward. But then, we don’t know what we don’t know. Perhaps in the future, traveling back in time will be easier. Perhaps we HAVE been visited by people in the future and didn’t know it or couldn’t see them.

      I like your time choices to visit. Add Victorian England in the mix and I’ll be there with you. 🙂

  6. Intriguing question, Donna. I don’t believe in time travel, but if I could travel, I’d love to go to Victorian England, or America. I think the end of the 19th C and the beginning of the 20th was one of the most exciting periods in the world’s history. So much developing. So much going on.

    Loved the book BTW!

    • Thanks for the book love, Jo!

      I’d definitely go back to Victorian England as it was an exciting time especially for new inventions. I think there must be something special about the “turn” of a century. While I wouldn’t want to necessarily visit, the end of the eighteen century with the US’s fight for independence and the birth of the nineteenth century with the Regency period in England would be fascinating as well. Hmmm…do you think in future years, someone will think the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st will be fascinating as well?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I’m one of the rare ones who believe in Time Travel, actually. Grins. I LOVE this book of yours and am so glad it’s out and about in the world. So fun! As to where I’d go….probably back to meet some of my ancestors, yes, and figure out where some of them actually lived and died – dratted people didn’t leave a trace! – but as to other places? Hmmmm….I might want to go back to the 40’s. Also to the court of Queen Elizabeth I. :>

    • Hi Jeanne!

      Thanks for the book love 🙂 . I had so much fun writing that book.

      If Time Travel were possible in that we had a reliable vehicle for travel, there’s so many places and time periods to visit. Wouldn’t that be something? I don’t trace back ancestors, but if I could see them in action I might. I believe anytime a country is engaged in war, life is more interesting – it’s far more precious but also more precarious whcih leads to great stories. 🙂 I’d go back to the roaring ’20 as well as the swinging ’40s – as an observer, at least.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hi Donna! I would love to travel back to the War of Independence and, of course, the Regency period. ; ) However, I would definitely need a way to come back to good ol’ 2016. For showers and modern medicine, of course! ; )

    • Hi Lena!

      Yes – hot water is a must. I always think of that Star Trek episode when the Enterprise time-traveled to modern day and the doctor is dashing through a hospital bemoaning the “barbaric” medicine. He gives a shot to some old man needing a transplant and the guy is up in no time doing a jig to the astonishment of staff. 🙂 It would make period research so much easier if we could go back and just “observe” unseen.

  9. I’m not sure I believe in time travel but amazing unexplainable things happened now and then that make one wondered. If I could experience it… I’d like to go back AND forward. Greedy, I know, but curious mind would like to know. Although, if I reaaally have to choose between the two I’d say to travel back to simpler yet richer time (that’s the romantic in me saying. LOL).

    • Hi Didi!

      I’m with you! I’d like to do both. I mean if Time Travel is possible, why not? I don’t necessarily think there’s a particularly simpler yet richer time in the past. Everything would be more labor intensive than it is today and without many of our conveniences. But the ladies’ clothes were pretty fantastic 🙂 and the men would be more brawny and definitely more romantic 🙂 At least in my world, that is.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. I would go back in time. I’ve always had this urge to live way back then when everything was souch simpler and not so crowded. I love to read the historical romances and imagine myself back then. The clothes were really neat and nice looking.

    • Hi Trina!
      I’m not sure things were ever simple. LOL. I take that back. Things are simple and idyllic when you’re 2,3,and 4 in any time period. When you get to 5, though, you start realizing that life is not as care free as expected. (grin).

      Do you ever think people of the future will look back fondly on current times and wish they lived here? I wonder…

  11. I think I believe, ever since I read Door Into Summer by Robert Heinlein years and years (and years) ago. I am not too adventurous but I think would like to go back or forth in time and just look around. I get so absorbed in books that I would like to “be there” – past or future. I wonder if I would want to stay.

    • Hi Sally –

      I’m not familiar with that particular book, but I’ll put it on my list. LOL. I still have time-travels left to write, like the sequel to Charming the Professor.

      Yes, I’d like to go back and forth at whim as well. However, I suspect that popular fiction “glosses over” the time period so that it fits in our fantasy expectations. I wouldn’t be surprised if a trip back in time included a sudden jolt of realism. (grin).

  12. I don’t believe in time travel. The past might be good for a short duration, but I want a car, clean water and air conditioning. The past doesn’t offer that.

    • Hi Kim –

      One reason why I don’t write in periods earlier than the Vctorian period is that I insist on indoor plumbing and the ability to take a hot bath. 🙂 I lived without air conditioning growing up so I suppose I could give that up – until the first hot stormy night hit. But you’re right, I love our modern conveniences.

  13. I would love to believe that time travel was possible. There are so many loved ones I would like to go back in time and hug one more time.
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