Thursday, February 26, 2015

Past Thrills for you

Celebrating Historical Romantic Suspense. Contgratulations to Pam, she won a copy of Captured Countess from me and Darcy Burke's the de Valary Code.  Than you to all who entered. Look out for more exciting things from PastThrills.com over the next few months.



Captured Countess by Ann Lethbridge

Never trust a spy!

Nicoletta, the Countess Vilandry, is on a dangerous mission—to lure fellow spy Gabriel D'Arcy into bed and into revealing his true loyalties. With such sensual games at play and such strong sensations awakened, suddenly Nicky's dangerously close to exposing her real identity.
Gabe knows that the countess has been sent to seduce him. The only question is to what end? He's never met such a captivating woman—and he's determined to enjoy every seductive second she spends as his very willing captive!

"Plenty of tension and dangerous excitement blended with poignancy and passion." —RT Book Reviews on Falling for the Highland Rogue



 The de Valery Code by Darcy Burke

Miss Margery Derrington and her dear aunts are in dire straits. Their discovery of a rare medieval manuscript will hopefully stave off their creditors—if it’s worth what they hope. Margery reluctantly allies with a reclusive scholar to use the book to pursue a treasure that could exceed her expectations. Amidst danger, secrets, and an insatiable attraction, is Margery gambling just her financial future . . . or her heart?

 Academic Rhys Bowen can’t believe he has his hands on the elusive de Valery text. Solving its hidden code and unearthing its legendary treasure would establish him as one of Britain’s leading antiquarians, finally casting him out of his brilliant late father’s shadow. But when a centuries-old organization convinces Rhys of the perils of disturbing the past, he must choose between his conscience…and the captivating woman he’s sworn to help.


Click the above link to participate. Visit  PastThrills.com

Until next time.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Regency Fashion February 2015

Evening Dress from Ackermann's Repository February 1815

My first thought when I saw this was "sumptuous".  I love this. I have to use it in a book. This is a very sophisticated dress and the neckline is very daring. It is certainly not the gown for the shy debutante, I am thinking.

Here is the description from the magazine.

Pale pink or primrose-coloured crape petticoat over white satin, ornamented at the feet with a deep border of tull, trimmed with blond lace and pink, or primrose-coloured ribband, festooned and decorated with roses; 

short full sleeve, composed of tull and crape, with a border of French embroidery; and back drawn nearly to a point, corresponding to the cape front of the dress, and trimmed round with blond lace; 

the waist very short, and an easy fullness in the petticoat, carried entirely round.

Necklace and drop of pearl; ear-drops and bracelets to correspond. 

Hair in irregular curls, confined in the Eastern style, and blended with flowers. French scarf, fancifully disposed on the figure. 

Slippers of pink or primrose-coloured kid; gloves to correspond.

For the fashions for this month we are indebted to the tasteful and elegant designs of Mrs. Bean of Albemarle-street.

Until next time…….

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sneak Peek

Coming Soon

Vampires are showing up in Vauxhall Gardens and dying in droves on London's streets. Watch this space for more information.

This is part of the multi author series "A Most Peculiar Season"

For the earlier books check out the author's websites:

Michelle Willingham A Viking for the Viscountess

Deborah Hale  Scandal on his Doorstep 

Barbara Monajem The Lady of Flames - March 2015


Until next time…..

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lullworth Castle 1


Our next visit to a Great Country House is to Lullworth Castle near the coast of Dorset.

At first view, this is a magnificent building built in the seventeenth century by Lord Binden as a hunting lodge and later became a country house, is as as tempting as chocolate cake.

Sadly the chocolate is more bitter than sweet. But I get a head of myself.

Here are some of the views we saw on our approach from the car park.  This first one were it not for the paved road could have been just as it ws in the Regency.

The trees are old and the park is vast.
 One can quite imagine ascending these magnificent steps in a regency ball gown.

What comes next is a completely different experience, but these outer views are to be enjoyed in their own right.  I believe I have more later from other angles, but let us start here.

Until next time...…

My latest novel, Captured Countess is still  in stores and can also be found on line at:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Barnes and Noble
Chapters Indigo Canada

.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Celebrating Valentines week




Join me and other harlequin authors and readers as we celebrate Valentines.

Should be a fun fun week, I'll be hanging out at the Historical board

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/156052-harlequin-books-all-about-the-romance

Regency Morning Dress February 1815

I would call this young lady lachrymose, what do you think?



I'm glad we don't feel obligated to wear these caps anymore.  To me this dress looks a bit like a dressing gown, something to float around in after you get out of bed but not for anyone to see.

From Ackermann's Repository

A ROUND robe of fine Cambric jaconot muslin, fastened down the front with cotton ball tassels; 
a flounce of lace or needle-work at the feet, appliqued with a narrow border of embroidery; 
long full sleeve, confined at the hand with needle-work or French embroidery; 
a falling collar and cape, trimmed with blond lace; full back, drawn to the shape. 
A French mob cap, composed of white satin and blond lace, tied under the chin with celestial blue satin ribband, and ornamented with a wreath of flowers. 
Necklace and cross of satin bead or pearl. Slippers of blue kid. Gloves of Limerick or York tan.

My latest novel, Captured Countess is still  in stores and can also be found on line at:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Barnes and Noble
Chapters Indigo Canada Until next time…….

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Susana's Parlour - It's all True

Drop by for a visit and learn more than you ever wanted to know about me at Susana's Parlour, writing, about research and other fun stuff.

We all know how shy we writers are but when someone asks us friendly questions, there's no stopping the words pouring forth. I wold love to see you over there.

We will return to our regular program next week, until then

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Regency Fashion Advertisement January 1815

Here is something a bit different and though we are actually in February, I did hope you would not mind.

Imagine the appearance of adverts like this today. How many folks would bother to figure it out.

I must say I puzzled over it for a bit.

It is from Ackerman's repository and it is two advertisements in one.

The first is about fabrics available for purchase, and the second is to remind this manufactures of such goods that they might be permitted to advertise their wares in the Repository as long as they met the standards of "Novelty, Fashion and Elegance".

I wonder what a magazine would have in the quotes today.

Now the main part of the ad, the picture, is somewhere in there amid the allegorial stuff (my computer wants to call it allegorical). If you can find it, it  draws attention to the following:

PS, the numbers in the text relate to the numbers in the picture. No really, it does.

ALLEGORIAL WOOD-CUT, WITH PATTERNS OF BRITISH MANUFACTURES. (Page 57)
NOS. 1 and 2. A new choice pattern for furniture, which admits of the ball fringe, and has a neat and elegant appearance. It is sold by Mr. Allen, No. 61, Pall-Mall.
No. 3. A French striped tabbinet, calculated for morning or domestic wear; and is supplied by George and Bradley, No. 19, Holywell-street, Strand.

No. 4. Silk and cotton toilinette, appropriate for evening or full dress, and worn with a bodice of pink, or white satin, or velvet, has a rich and elegant appearance. This article is furnished us by Kestevens, No. 4, York-street, Covent-Garden.

Naturally the charm of this description, the added bonus is the insight it gives us into the locations of our wonderful purveyors of fabric.

Until next time……...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Athelhampton Part VI

I am going to leave you with some external views of Athelhampton before we move on in our tour of Britain and some of its great country houses.

 These views show just how worth a visit to this lovely old house is.
And last but not least the River Piddle.

One cannot make this stuff up.

Until next time....

Friday, January 23, 2015

Athelhampton Part V

Athelhampton. I keep thinking how much I love that name. 

Much of the upstairs was changed during renovations in 1863, for example what is now called the library was then three bedrooms in the west wing. I did love these steps which would have brought one into the west wing added in the early 16th century, and would, in our time, have been the entrance to the corridor with the bedrooms leading off.

Here are some other little nooks that caught my fancy as I moved around the house.
 They are presented for atmosphere rather than any particular significance.

The next room we entered is called the King's Room traditionally the place where the manorial court would be held in the name of the king.

It is now a bedroom with lovely linenfold panelling.  The tester bedstead is Charles 1, the oak coffer  from James the first's time and the brass lantern clock  from the late 17th century and made in Dorset.

All of these items could have been found in a Regency dwelling, since they survived until now, but my guess is they would have been thought dreadfully heavy and old fashioned by our fashion-conscious heroes and heroines.

Until Next time.....

Monday, January 19, 2015

Regency Fashion January 1815

Here we see a trend. Another wide trim around the hem for January

Unusually, we have the back view.

Here is the description from Ackermann's Repository for January 1815

Evening Dress

Light pink satin gown, trimmed round the bottom with a lace flounce, laid on richly, worked and headed with tufts of the same; short full sleeve, trimmed with lace. A shell lace tippet. 
White kid gloves, drawn over the elbow. An India fan of carved ivory. Slippers of white kid. Full crop head-dress, ornamented with flowers.
And a further tidbit of interest
The Fashions for this month, and those for the whole of last year, are from the designs of Mrs. Bean, of Albemarle-street. This lady, since her visit to Paris, has incorporated in her dresses, in the style of French costume, all that is to be admired in the exuberant varieties which that country produces; and has moderated the same by a fancy governed by a chaste feeling peculiar to herself. We were much delighted on viewing the splendid dresses in the Magazin des Modes of this lady.
I really like this gown, at least from this view. I think the shell lace tippet, shawl in s nice touch.
Until next time….

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Regency Romance Turns 80

Can it really be 80 years since Georgette Heyer began our beloved and most popular genre? Apparently so.

My father introduced me to her books, the old romantic. He loved them and we used to fight to be the first to read the book brought home from the library.  I have read them all, many many times and along with those lovely stories comes lovely memories of home and family.

Join the Beau Monde Blog as we celebrate this event.  The first blog appears here. After today you will find at least one article a month discussing each of her books.  Mine will show up in June.

Until next time......


Monday, January 12, 2015

Athelhampton Part 4

I cannot believe I have left you hanging around in the King's antechamber since November. Where did those last few weeks go. Thanksgiving and Christmas eating it all up. So let us return to our wanderings around this lovely old house, parts of which I used in Captured Countess.

We have moved on to the Great Chamber or drawing room, used in earlier times as a granery - hard to imagine.  Recall that only things that would have been around in the regency are covered in this blog, so despite the many beautiful artifacts to be found in each house, I focus on only a few.

 Here we have yet another heraldic window commemorating the owners of Athelhampton and their alliances.  If this is your thing, go on line and find out more. For me this would be a way of presenting the backdrop to my characters.


The panelling is seventeenth century and has Elizabethan carved panel over the fireplace in the "Italian" manner.  Something about all the wood makes it quite cosy.

A few pieces of furniture stuck out for me. The George I walnut bureau and desk from around 1720


 and the George II mahogany breakfront bookcase after the style of William Kent. The latter now displaying china. Each side of it leads back to the antechamber


 And this William and Mary japanned cabinet.

Until next time......

My latest novel, Captured Countess is still  in stores and can also be found on line at:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Barnes and Noble
Chapters Indigo Canada

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Regency Fashion January 1815

egency Full Dress January 1815 Ackermann's Repository

Full Dress, Ackermann's January 1815

Such a demure blushing lady.  I like the hem of this gown.

Here is the official description

A Celestial blue crape frock, over a white satin slip, ornamented round the bottom with a deep border of tull or net lace, embroidered with shaded blue silks and chenille; short full sleeve, trimmed with tull or net lace; the dress trimmed entirely round the top, to correspond. 
Hair parted in the centre of the forehead, confined in the Grecian style, and blended with flowers. 
Necklace of pearl; ear-drops and bracelets to correspond. Slippers of blue satin or kid. 
White gloves of French kid.


A pretty start to a new year of Regency Fashion.
Until next time…...


Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

First let me wish you and yours a Happy and Healthy New Year. I also wish that you prosper in all that you undertake.

And so, here we are, the start of a new year and the opportunity to look back and look forward as if standing at the top of a hill after a long climb.



This year, for me, saw the final book in the Gilvry's of Dunross Series, The Return of the Prodigal Gilvry. I am going to miss my whisky smuggling Highlanders. It was a fun series to write, and I look forward to visiting Scotland again at sometime in the future.



  


In 2014 I returned to Beresford Abbey with a spy story Captured Countess, to be followed in 2015 by the last of the three Beresford Abbey stories, The Duke's Daring Debutante.


 It also marked my first toe in the water of Indie publishing with my short story Remember.


On a more personal note, there have been ups and downs. My little dog is slowing fading, but still game, so we carry him in and out of the house. His appetite is good and he is pleased to see us, so we keep him happy. I lost a dear family member early in the year, and so the year's blessings are mingled with sadness. Once more I joyfully travelled to Europe for research for this blog as well as to catch up with family members. 

As for my resolution: Be More Organized.

I have some ideas about what that entails, more lists, a strategy, and so on. The trouble is that I am a dreamer, and those dreams appear on the pages of my books, and so organizing is not natural for me.

We will see how it goes.  Have you made any new year resolutions? Are they doable or merely a wish list? Do you have a strategy in place to help you accomplish your goals?

I will be interested to hear.

 Until next time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Wishes



Good Wishes for the Holiday Season



And a Healthy and Happy New Year


Monday, December 22, 2014

Regency Fashion December 1814

Every now and then Ackermann's Repository gives us a post of fashionable bonnets and lucky for us they have given us one for December 1814 to finish out what has been a fun year of fashion.

I must say none of these hats look particularly Christmassy to me, but I would like to know which one you would be wearing out on Christmas Day?

Here are the descriptions:

A full turban made either in tiffany or silver net; the crown lashed with silk or silver cords.
A melon cap, made of white satin quilted, with narrow bead trimming inlet, ornamented with a full cluster and wreath of flowers, blended with a quilled border of lace.
Persian calash, formed upon a wire fabric, and composed of satin-striped ribband, trimmed with a full border of blond lace, appliqued with a heading of Vandyke: a net handkerchief crosses the crown en suite, with a large cluster of wild flowers in the centre.
A cottage bonnet, made in salmon colour and white velvets, ornamented with a double plume of ostrich feathers.

A Russian a-la-mode, composed of orange and white velvets, trimmed round the edge with a quilling of Vandyke lace: the crown decorated with flowers and wreaths of Vandyke lace.

Untile Next time…….


Friday, December 19, 2014

A Regency Christmas

Here are a few more traditions from the Regency, you might enjoy.

One of the things we have to remember, by the way, is that a Christmas tradition in one region of Britain, might not be traditional in another. It is only recently that we have become so widely connected, likely one way some of the Christmas practices were able to survive in spite of Oliver Cromwell's best efforts.


Information taken from The Sporting Magazine (1820)



For example, in Whitby, North Yorkshire, during the two weeks before Christmas, numbers of poor wretches, mostly female, strolled
from door to door, sometimes singly and sometimes in pairs carrying circular baskets or boxes of ornamented pasteboard (what we today would call cardboard) some in which is place a wax doll as an image of Christ  surrounded by sprigs of box wood, with two or three applies or oranges.  Called vessel cups, the women would stand at a door and sing a hymn. To send them away empty handed, was to court bad luck for the coming year.

The example here is one carried on a pole and the picture is taken from here where you will find lots more information about the Vessel Cup, or Wassail Box.

The Sporting Magazine also reports the following about Christmas traditions in Whitby:


Christmas-Eve is celebrated in almost every family by a supper, the chief dish of which is frumenty, made of steeped wheat, boiled with milk and seasoned with sugar and spice; after which comes apple-pie, and lastly cheese and gingerbread. The gingerbread cake, in each family that can afford it, weighs from four to eight pounds; and it is reckoned very unlucky to cut this or the cheese before the time. At the commencement of the, supper, the yule clog, a short block of wood, is laid on the fire, and the yule candle, a tall mould candle, is lighted and set on the table; the candles are often presented by the chandlers to their customers. It is reckoned unlucky to light these before the time, or to stir from the table during the supper; nor must the candle be snuffed. A game of cards is the usual desert, and it is unlucky to have an odd number at table. Sometimes a piece of the yule log is saved and put beneath the bed, to remain till next Christmas, then to be burnt with the new log. This is supposed, during the interval,to secure the house from fire. A piece of the candle is also kept to ensure good luck.
On Christmas morning before break of day all is in an uproar; numbers of boys sally forth, roaring out before every door "I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year," vociferated over and over again till the family are awakened, and admit the clamourous visiter, who if he be first, is taken into the house and liberally treated with money, cheese, and gingerbread. No person (boys excepted) are permitted to go out of doors, till the threshold has been consecrated by the entrance of a male. Females have no part in this matter; and should a damsel lovely as an angel enter first, her fair form would be viewed with horror, as the harbinger of death. 

This last actually sounds a lot like the First Footing I sa as a child in the Outer Hebrides, except the first person over the doorstep was supposed to be a dark-haired man carrying a lump of coal, whom you were required to give a drink. More about that another time.

Since my current Christmas story is not set in Whitby, only the Yule log will make its appearance, although….. at least one of my characters could be Yorkshire born and bred. Hmmm.

Until next time….

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Regency Christmas


Some insights into Christmas time during the Regency are needed when writing a Christmas story, which I am. It is especially timely so I thought I would share some of what I have learned and which will in some form or another be incorporated into my story. (More about that another time).

In Victorie Count De Soligny's Letters on England, we learn some interesting tidbits. I should mention that the Count is far from impressed by the serious character of the English nature. We didn't enjoy ourselves enough for him.

He tells us that during the fortnight (two weeks) before Christmas arrives in London, i.e. now, itinerant players,  called Waits, wander the streets of London playing carols. He calls it sweet low music, which by the time you wake up to hear it, the players have moved on, to be heard only in the distance.  These players would go house to house on the day after Christmas Day -- the day we know as Boxing Day -- seeking a small deucement (money).

In a similar vein the Bell-man, or watchman would also stroll the streets ringing his bell and chanting in an ill-sounding voice (according to De Soligny, remember) and also come round on Boxing Day for money. You can tell which one of these our Count preferred.

This tradition was left over from earlier centuries when such carol singing in the streets was encouraged.  Oliver Cromwell sent it underground until the Victorian times were well underway, but it seems as if carol singers might well have been heard in town and country celebrating the arrival of Christmas. I wonder if they will show up in my story?

De Soligny was very pleased by another tradition, that of decorating the interior of houses with evergreens, laurel, bay, ilex and particularly holly with it glittering leaves and bright red berries, which are stuck in windows and over the mantelpieces and wreaths of them hung against the walls.

Oh yes, I feel a scene coming on.

The Count notes that in the kitchen or the servants' hall, a large bunch of mistletoe is suspended from the ceiling, underneath which the maidens are liable to be kissed, if they are caught by the male part of the household.

And that is just perfect for my story.

More Christmas in the Regency to come next time.








Thursday, December 11, 2014

Regency Fashion December 1814

Snow here today.  Others in the house were up and shovelling at 5am. It is a very pretty day and worth a fashion picture.


From the Lady's Magazine for December 1814

Morning Walking Dress.

A round dress of grey or stone colored French silk figured with small flowers or springs of the same, made high on the neck with a frill plating of ribbon of the same colour; the bosom open, the sleeves long, divided at several distances, with tufts of floss silk, the skirt rather short with a trimming of ribbon to correspond with the neck.

Mantle the color of the dress, or scarlet made square, with lapel collar trimmed with a broad border or ribbon, of the same colour.

Bonnet of black silk velvet, made high in the crown with full poke front, figured with tufts of let-in ribbon, of scarlet, or yellow, or variegated; a cluster of coloured flowers on one side with trimming of variegated ribbon.—The hair in full curls, in front and sides, with cap of thread lace,--an occasional handkerchief of variegated French silk.—Gloves of York tan—Half boots of coloured jean.

Personally I am not having a good time matching the description to the picture, nor am I rushing out to buy this one, but there we have it. Until next time.