Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Falling for the Highland Rogue - Cover

Getting the cover of an upcoming book is always filled with excitement and trepidation.

At least for me.

This one is for my December 2013 book.  Falling for the Highland Rogue.

I am delighted, I must say. It captures the dark streets of Edinburgh where much of the plot takes place, and I have no doubt this is my whisky smuggler hero, Logan.

Of course, its too early to be telling you too much about the plot: the book won't be out for a good while yet. But getting a cover is always the first sign that the book is a reality, and no longer just a figment of my imagination.

I'll be posting more about the story in the coming months. In the meantime, enjoy the cover.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Saltram Below Stairs Part 2

Moving on to:
The Great Kitchen at Saltram was described in 1811 by the Lady Boringdon's brother as, immense & in the utmost order of neatness. The Borigdon's must have been very proud of this kitchen if they were showing their guests around. Or perhaps he was thinking of doing something new at his own house and was looking for ideas.

I have to say that I always have difficulty deciding what pictures to use. And how much is is too much. As always I have far more pictures that I have room for in a blog and have not wish to bore my reader. Here is the first of a selection that I thought gave a really good idea of this part of the house.

This one was built in 1779 and modernized in 1913.

This hearth incorporates an open range which dates from about 1810.  Very modern. As you can see, it has roasting spits driven by heat from the fire and a huge dripping pan to catch the fats. This would have been the centre of cooking during the regency. I must say I find it rather daunting, but I guess it depends what you are used to.

Something I loved about the Saltram kitchen was the large windows, all of which could be opened. The room was bright and airy, though I can imagine how hot it would have been too when cooking a meal for a dinner party on a summer evening.

This kitchen required a staff of ten to keep it running smoothly beneath the watchful eye of the cook, the housekeeper and the butler.

 The other thing that is always a classic in a kitchen of this size is the long central worktable.

If you are wondering about the black range in the middle of that table it is Victorian, and therefore ignored. At least by me.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Saltram Below Stairs

Ever since I wrote Lady of Shame, part of the Castonbury Park Series, a Regency upstairs downstairs, or Downton Abbey, I have loved visiting the kitchen areas. Not the least because my hero in that story was a French Chef. I had to smile at one of the reviews which was quite positive about the idea of a Regency hero with a real job.

I digress.
Here we are exploring what at Saltram is called the Wet Larder. Not because of the sinks, called salt tanks, but because this is where wet work is done.(Not the kind you see in the mob movies, but it was used  for raw meats. And nothing else.

Joints of meat to produced bacon, ham and joints of beef to make salt beef for boiling would have been brought here. If they were to be wet salted they would have been immersed in water, salt, saltpeter and coarse sugar. The same ingredient were used as a dry rub. Some meats, salt beef for example, was kept in the tanks or in the wooden barrel, other meats like ham or bacon were hung in the cool and the dry.

The ready the meats were stored in earthenware dished on the non absorbent slate table tops you can see in this picture. As you can see the window looks out on the courtyard we saw earlier

The scales were used to check that what was ordered had actually been delivered.

No space is wasted, this is a store cupboard under the stairs leading up to the bedrooms at the back of the house.

More on the Kitchens to come later, until then, Happy Rambles

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Regency Fashions August 1817

 Oh its fashion time again.  I always love this bit.  Here are a couple of delightful summer frocks.
From the July 1817 La Belle Assemblee

Our first gown is advertized as a French fashion, and French was and is always considered tres chic

The official description is as follows:

Round dress of cambric, with two embroidered flounces, divided at about half a quarter of a yard, with rows of small tucks. Colerette body of fine cambric, ornamented round the bust and at the bottom of the waist to correspond with the border of the dress. Leghorn bonnet ornamented with puffings of pink satin. Lyonese shawl of grass-green with a narrow variegated border. Pink kid shoes, and Limerick gloves.

Puffings?  That made me chuckle. I was also smiling at the half a quarter of a yard.  Did she mean an eighth?  It is an interesting insight into language of the day. I quite like the bell shape of the skirt and the length is practical for walking, but not sure about the ruffle around the neck. But then my neck is not quite of the swan-variety. That green scarf is startling amid all the pale colours.

The second offering is English.

And classified as an Afternoon Dress. Just what I would be wearing to afternoon tea with the local lord of the manor, and lounging about in during a country house party.

The official Description goes as follows:

Round dress of fine plain India muslin, with triple flounces richly embroidered; the upper flounce finished with a bouillone run through with ribband of ethereal blue. Open spenser of ethereal blue sprigged satin, lined with white; the part that turns back and the falling collar elegantly finished with find blond; macherons of white satin surmount the sleeves, trimmed also with blond. Elphinstone cap of blue and white satin, with a plume of white feathers.

I have some more to share about August fashions later in the month. Some fun observations, but next time we have to move on with our tour of Saltram.
Until then, Happy rambles.

Monday, August 12, 2013

RWA 2013

My RWA conference started with the my Regency Chapter's mini conference.

The Chapter is called the Beau Monde and it is a
group of authors who write Regency Romances.

Each year, the day before the main conference, we get together to talk about research in our era and in the evening we dress up and learn to dance the way they did in Jane Austen's time. Umm ...  well sort of.  We have fun pretending anyway.

As you can see, some of us dress for the occasion. I didn't this year, because I was up for an award and had to attend another event at the same time the soiree got going.  While I didn't win the Bookseller's best this time, it was a great honour to be nominated.

I attended a great many RWA workshops and learned a great deal about the business side of writing in this changing publishing world as well as catching up with old friends and making new ones.

 This is me with my editor, Joanne Grant from Harlequin Mills and Boon, at the Beau Monde Soiree, and Michelle Willingham who also has Joanne as her editor.  Michelle writes about Vikings as well as the Regency.

Always a big hit for Harlequin authors is the annual party where we celebrate our successful year with our publisher.

The goodies were amazing especially the design your own cupcake bar and we all got to make little flip books as a souvenir of our
evening. A sort of flicker film. Fun.

If you are wondering what that is hanging on the wall behind me, that is the wall of socks. Everyone got a pair of pink wooly socks so we could kick of our shoes and dance the night away. 

  Everyone gets up to dance, even Nora.  And if you don't know who I mean, you are so not a Romance reader, vbg.

One of my favourite events is always the booksigning.

It was busy this year as I was giving out trading cards and albums and was thrilled to have so many readers of my books drop buy to say hello.  I also signed at the Harlequin signing event.

Oh and now its back to the real world of trying to get my ideas on the page, so you can enjoy my stories. 

Until next time, Happy Rambles