How To Avoid Hanging

Last night I finished the Work-in-Progress, Book 2 in the Scandalous Summerfields series, sent it off and now will await my editor’s feedback on it. Color me relieved!

When writing my books, I always need to stop and research period detail. Sometimes the research plays a big part in the books. Other times it is just a small piece that I want to get right.

Like, what happens when a minor character is unjustly sent to prison? How might his friends get him out?

Paul-Charles_Chocarne-Moreau_Opportunity_makes_the_thief_1896This character was unjustly convicted of theft and the punishment, I’d learned, was hanging. During the Regency, there were as many as 200 offenses punishable by hanging, even what we would consider minor ones, like shoplifting.

That did not mean every criminal offender was hanged. In reality only about 40% were.

One of the ways the offenders avoided hanging was to plead “benefit of clergy,” a once in a lifetime plea, which basically could be done by anyone who could read. They would, then, be incarcerated for a year. Other means to avoid hanging were convictions to lesser crimes, nullification of the offense, or “pious perjury,” meaning devaluing goods stolen to a value covered by a non-capital punishment.

Black-eyed_Sue_and_Sweet_Poll_of_Plymouth_taking_leave_of_their_lovers_who_are_going_to_Botany_BayAnother much used way of avoiding hanging was transportation. During the Regency, this meant transportation to Australia and Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). I wrote about the First Fleet a little while ago.

Several avoided hanging by the use of pardons, which were accomplished by letters petitioning the court. In pardons, the guilt or innocence of the convicted person was rarely the issue. The pardon was based on character evidence provided by the petitioner about the offender. Ironically, it mattered less how closely the petitioner knew the offender or even if he knew the offender at all. What mattered more was how influential the petitioner was. Officials liked knowing that men of influence and prestige were beholding to them. This option fit right in with my story.

What interesting research tidbit have you come across lately?

Book 1 of the Scandalous Summerfields series, Bound By Duty, will appear in bookstores March 17!

Read an excerpt. Enter my contest!

Posted in Regency, Research | Tagged | 3 Comments

Invaders Behaving Badly

This week in 1797, the French invaded Britain.

No kidding. We tend to think of 1066 as the last invasion, but a far less auspicious attempt took place in February, 1797, at a town called Fishguard in Wales. And it’s a great, bizarre story that has trappings of Gilbert & Sullivan and a heroine of a certain age.

The idea was that members of the French Légion Noire would storm Bristol, release the citizens from the king’s tyranny, and, march inland conquering all. But it didn’t work out that way. They were blown off course, and the Légion Noire was not so much a crack regiment as a regiment of crackheads, “the worst soldiers ever,” according to one of the commenters on this video. Most of them had been culled from prisons.

The first thing the gallant invaders did was to get drunk; a Portugese ship had grounded recently on the coast with a cargo of wine. Then, after some looting, they began to mutiny. And the good people of Fishguard, not very keen on the invaders gobbling up their wine and trashing their church, did not flock to the tricouleur.

Then things really got pear-shaped for the French who didn’t realize that Lord Cawdor, commander of the local militia, was hopelessly outnumbered. Had they been better soldiers things might have gone very differently. There’s a legend that the French, who probably couldn’t focus too well, saw jemsome local women in the Welsh national costume of red cloaks and tall black hats, and thought they were English soldiers. A tapestry on display in Fishguard depicts the legendary Jemima Fawr, (Jemima the Great) who, armed with a pitchfork, captured twelve soldiers, locked them in the church, and went out for more. She was 47 years old.

Two days after landing the French surrendered. A peace treaty was signed in the Royal Oak Inn on February 25.

The-Royal-OakTo add to the farcical elements of the story, the French officers broke their parole and escaped in Lord Cawdor’s yacht. Definitely not cricket.

What I love about this story is that it has so many bizarre, incredible elements. What if the French had landed in Bristol, kept out of the pubs, and succeeded? (I used this in my book Jane and the Damned. If you’re going to have Jane Austen become a vampire you can do just about anything else you want). Or landed in Brighton–that was one of the hotspots for an invasion, which is why the regiment was sent there in P&P, not purely because it was a major party town.

Do you know any strange but true historical facts that are begging to have a story built around them?

 

Posted in History | Tagged | 2 Comments

The British Sea Service Pistol – Guest Post by Georgie Lee

Today, The Riskies welcome a guest post from historical romance author Georgie Lee. In addition to her fascinating post, she’s offering a giveaway, so make sure you enter!

Before we get started, here’s a little bit about Georgie:

About Georgie Lee

Head Shot of Georgie Lee. She is smiling, has blonde hair and is wearing a spiffy black dress
Georgie Lee

A lifelong history buff, award winning author Georgie Lee hasn’t given up hope that she will one day inherit a title and a manor house. Until then, she fulfills her dreams of lords, ladies and a season in London through her stories. When not writing, she can be found reading non-fiction history or watching any movie with a costume and an accent. Please visit georgie-lee.com to learn more about Georgie and her books.

Where to Find Georgie

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | Website

The British Sea Service Pistol

In my latest novel, A Debt Paid in Marriage, a pistol plays an important role in both the beginning of the story when the heroine sneaks into the hero’s house and threatens him, only to discover him naked in the bath, and in the turning point at the end, which I won’t describe since I don’t want to spoil it. The pistol in question is a Royal Navy issued flintlock pistol known as the British Sea Service pistol. The army had its own version of this pistol which contained only minor variations.

The Board of Ordinance oversaw the manufacture and distribution of these pistols which were issued from the early 1700s until 1815. The pistols were assembled in the Tower armory but the pieces came from various sources. Made of brass, steel and wood, the user loaded it by ramming the ball and black powder down the nine or twelve inch barrel. The length of the barrel depended on the year it was made, with earlier versions being longer and later versions being shorter. It was a solid weapon meant for use in close fighting during boarding. However, the user only got one shot. Afterwards, it was pretty good for whacking the enemy but not much else, unless a seaman could find a place to hunker down and reload, which, in the heat of battle, wasn’t likely.

The fact that the pistols were government issue did not mean that they were accurate or safe. They weren’t. Flintlocks had a bad habit of misfiring and the harsh sea air aboard ship could wreck havoc on their springs and hammers. The phrase “a flash in the pan” came about in reference to misfires. A flash in the pan is when the flint ignites the gunpowder, or charge as it was known, in the pan but does not fire the ball. With the enemy bearing down on you, this would not be a good thing.

Officers usually had their own weapons especially made for them, but many weren’t above using the standard issue Sea Service pistol. In the painting Nelson Boarding the ‘San Josef’ at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent by George Jones held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/11984.html) you can see Admiral Nelson holding a Sea Service pistol. Thousands of the pistols remained in circulation for decades after they were no longer issued and it wasn’t just the British who used them. The weapon ended up in several countries, including America, as various enemies captured British supply ships during the numerous wars. Even the East India Company preferred the pistols.

The heyday of the Sea Service pistol would come to an end in the mid 18th century when flintlocks were replaced by percussion cap pistols. However, the Sea Service still remained as many were changed into the less hazardous, but no more accurate percussion cap design. The pistol was a workhouse and a staple of life aboard ship. One of these pistols also plays an integral part in the plot of A Debt Paid in Marriage. After learning about the history of this firearm, I hope you will check out A Debt Paid in Marriage, my March 1, 2015 release from Harlequin Historical.

A Debt Paid in Marriage by Georgie Lee

Harlequin Historical March 1, 2015

Cover of A Debt Paid In Marriage by Georgie Lee
A Debt Paid In Honor

Laura Townsend’s plan to reclaim her family’s merchandise backfires when she creeps into moneylender Philip Rathbone’s house and threatens him with a pistol, only to find him reclining naked in his bath!

The last thing she expects is to see this guarded widower on her doorstep a couple of days later armed with a very surprising proposal. A marriage of convenience may be Laura’s chance to reclaim her future, but she won’t settle for anything less than true passion. Can she hope to find it in Philip’s arms?

Where to Get A Debt Paid in Marriage

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Harlequin

To thank Risky Regencies for allowing me to join them today, and to thank you for stopping by, I am giving away an ebook copy of Rescued from Ruin. This is the book where the hero from A Debt Paid in Marriage first makes his appearance. Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. It is open to international entries. Good luck!

Cover of Restored From Ruin by Georgie Lee
Cover of Restored From Ruin

Enter the Contest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Giveaways, Guest, Research | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

To convert White Wine into Red

Hi all! Huzzah, this is my first post as an official Risky! I am so happy to be here. :D

The hero of my current WIP Listen to the Moon (readers of Sweet Disorder may remember him as Nick’s pun-hating valet Toogood) has recently taken a job as butler in a vicarage. Now, one of the tasks of a butler is to oversee the wine cellar. As The Complete Servant (published in 1825 by husband-and-wife butler/housekeeper duo Samuel and Sarah Adams) puts it:

The keys of the wine and ale cellars are specially kept by him, and the management of the wine, the keeping of the stock book, and also of ale in stock, or in brewing, are in his particular charge. This duty he generally performs in the morning before he is dressed to receive company, and he then brings out such wine as is wanted for the day’s use. It is his duty to fine* wine as it comes in the pipe**, and to superintend the bottling, sealing it himself, and disposing it in bins so as to know its age and character. While these duties and those of brewing are in hand, he leaves the parlour and waiting duties to the under butler and footman.

* Fining is the process of adding stuff to wine that attaches itself to unwanted particles in the wine; they can then be removed together or allowed to sink to the bottom of the keg or cask. It ensures your wine doesn’t look like this:

640px-Sediment_in_winePhoto Credit: Monica Yichoy via Wikimedia Commons.

** A pipe is a traditional English wine cask size, equal to about a hundred and twenty-five gallons, or half a tun.

I wanted to write a scene set in the wine cellar, but I know almost nothing about wine except that I like to drink it. So I checked out some of the helpful tips and recipes in The Complete Servant.

I loved the long list of equipment “To Fit up a Cellar of Wines and Spirits.” Then I tried reading some methods of fining wine.

To fine Port Wine

Take the whites and shells of eight fresh eggs, beat them in a wooden can or pail, with a whisk, till it becomes a thick froth; then add a little wine to it, and whisk it again[…]If the weather be warmish, add a pint of fresh-water sand to the finings. Stir it well about; after which put in the finings, stirring it for five minutes; put in the can of wine, leaving the bung out for a few hours, that the froth may fall: then bung it up, and in eight or ten days it will be fine and fit for bottling.

Ewwwww!

To improve White Wines

If the wine have an unpleasant taste, rack off one half; and to the remainder add a gallon of new milk, a handful of bay-salt, and as much rice; after which take a staff, beat them well together for half an hour, and fill up the cask, and when rolled well about, stillage it, and in a few days it will be much improved.

If the white wine is foul and has lost its colour, for a butt or pipe take a gallon of new milk, put it into the cask, and stir it well about with a staff; and when it has settled, put in three ounces of isinglass made into a jelly, with a quarter of a pound of loaf sugar scraped fine, and stir it well about. On the day following, bung it up, and in a few days it will be fine and have a good color.

Well. Now I was well and truly grossed out! Truly, the past is another country, I thought.

Shows what I know. While inorganic finings are also widely used these days, Wikipedia says: “The most common organic compounds used include egg whites, casein derived from milk, gelatin and isinglass obtained from the bladders of fish.”

Yes indeed. Even dried oxblood powder (a popular traditional fining for red wine) is not entirely a thing of the past. Yes, it had already mostly gone out of fashion when it was banned by the EEC in 1997 due to concerns about mad cow disease–but even after that some wineries were caught breaking the ban!

In theory, only trace amounts of finings remain in the final bottled wine. But although I could find no anecdotal evidence of folks allergic to milk having a reaction to drinking white wine, in 2007 the Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies of the European Food Safety Agency published their finding “that milk and milk products used in winemaking may trigger allergic responses”! (A helpful blog post on the subject is here.)

I think the tip that horrified me the most, though, was this one:

To convert White Wine into Red

Pour four ounces of turnesole rags* into an earthen vessel, and pour upon them a pint of boiling water; cover the vessel close, and leave it to cool; strain off the liquor, which will be of a fine deep red inclining to purple. A small portion of this colours a large quantity of wine. This tincture may either be made in brandy, or mixed with it, or else made into a syrup, with sugar, for keeping.

* “A violet-blue or purple colouring matter, obtained from the plant Crozophora tinctoria, formerly much used for colouring jellies, confectionery, wines, etc., and later as a pigment[…]Coarse linen rags are steeped in the juice, and then dried and exposed in vats over an ammoniacal mixture; hence the designation turnsole in rags.” –The Oxford English Dictionary

In those countries which do not produce the tingeing grape which affords a blood-red juice, wherewith the wines of France are often stained, in defect of this, the juice of elderberries is used, and sometimes log-wood is used at Oporto.

Now that’s just cheating.

Posted in Food, Research | 10 Comments

Peninsular War road trip

As I think I’ve mentioned here on several occasions, this summer Mr Fraser, our daughter (who turns 11 in two months), and I will be going to Europe this summer, among other things to attend the bicentennial reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo.

We’re going to be there for nearly four weeks, so there will be far more to our trip than just Waterloo. While some of the trip has nothing to do with my Regency research interests–e.g. the five nights we’ll be spending in a cottage in the Dordogne River valley near Sarlat–we’re planning a week in Spain that’s turning into The Frasers’ Excellent Roman Ruins and Peninsular War Battlefield Road Trip Adventure.

I’m still researching the details, but at this point it looks like I’ll get to feed my Wellington obsession at the following sites:

Vitoria, where in June 1813 Wellington trounced Jourdan and the British army captured the French baggage train, laden with treasure Joseph Bonaparte and his courtiers had seized from Madrid–the incident that opens my 2013 novella, A Dream Defiant.

Salamanca, where Wellington, who is primarily regarded as a brilliant defensive general, proved himself pretty damn capable on the attack as well. As Maximilien Foy, one of the French generals there, put it:

“This battle is the most cleverly fought, the largest in scale, the most important in results, of any that the English have won in recent times. It brings up Lord Wellington’s reputation almost to the level of that of Marlborough. Up to this day we knew his prudence, his eye for choosing good positions, and the skill with which he used them. But at Salamanca he has shown himself a great and able master of manoeuvring. He kept his dispositions hidden nearly the whole day: he allowed us to develop our movement before he pronounced his own: he played a close game: he utilized the oblique order in the style of Frederick the Great.”

Badajoz, site of a bloody siege and storming followed by brutal and shameful pillaging in April 1812–and another battled that’s shown up in my writing, in my 2010 debut, The Sergeant’s Lady.

Talavera, the 1809 victory that first raised Wellington to the nobility as a viscount.

And last but very far from least, we’ll end up in Madrid, where we’ll visit the Prado and I’ll be able to see many of Goya’s works, including ones like the above illustrating the horror and brutality of war–something I try my best never to forget even as I write adventurous romances with soldier heroes.

I’m more thrilled than I can say that this trip I’ve been planning and dreaming of for a decade is now just a few short months away, and I can hardly wait to come back with pictures and stories to fill months of blog posts!

Posted in History | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

First Post as a “Risky”

comfort 1815 no drawers
Comfort, 1815

 

I’ve been mulling over ideas for my first “official” post as a Risky, and in the end, I’m falling back on clothing (shocking, I know, LOL!). I thought I’d do a post about “risky” clothing, or drawers. After all, what’s more risky than a risqué garment that we now think of as a necessity!

Knee-length drawers are reported to have been worn by women as early as the turn of the 19th century, but they were considered fast and unladylike, and were not commonly adopted from what I can tell. I’ve consulted with a lot of costume historians and museum curators over the years, and none of them see them as a common garment in the records, household accounts, or as extant garments before the Victorian period, really.

1810 2nd verision gilray drawers
Gilray,1810

They had a split crotch, usually being made up of two entirely separate legs on a drawstring waistband. An illustration from 1810 (included below) shows a lady wearing them, so it can be construed that they were somewhat accepted by then, but I do wonder as other images in the series seem to concentrate on highlighting the more deceptive aspects of a woman’s toilette (such as wigs).

 

1820lawndrawers
Woven linen drawers, c. 1820

 

The extant pairs we DO have from the Regency all seem to date from the 1820s. They have a split crotch, usually being made up of two entirely separate legs on a drawstring waistband.

An illustration from 1810 shows a lady wearing them, so it can be construed that they were becoming more accepted by then, but I would still hazard that they were not a universal.

stare case
Exhibition Stare Case, 1811 Click for a larger image!

And I would make that guess because of other images that clearly show them as not being worn (such as Comfort at the top of the post and Exhibition Stare Case, left).

So it’s always worth remembering that the daring, fast, risky move in the Regency period was to put on a pair of drawers. I’d love to see a book where the hero is scandalized by discovering his lady love’s undies, and I fully expect that if anyone can write that book, it’s one of the marvelous women I now share this blog with.

I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with to talk about in 2015!

 

Posted in Clothing, History, Isobel Carr, Regency, Research, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Newcomer!

Three cheers for the Risky Regencies and how exciting that I can count myself one of them as of today. Thanks to the long time members for thinking of me and making this happen. Now I have an outlet for the research that never gets used, for research that is so great I need to share more than the mention it gets in a book, to discuss story concepts, release of new books, both ePublished and from legacy publishers, and the general commenting back and forth that makes this blog one of the best.

But first I want to tell you how and why I became a writer of Regency set romance. When I started writing I wanted to write books with happy endings and romance was the only place that welcomed an upbeat ending. (It was more than 25 years ago) I started with contemporaries when Harlequin and Silhouette were in competition, in what I think of as the golden days of romance.

After selling two books in quick succession (FATHER CHRISTMAS is now available as an ebook) I sold nothing, zip, zero for twelve years. I wrote and submitted proposals and the occasional complete manuscript and shook my head, or yelled, or cried at every rejection. Then one day a good friend of mine suggested that I write a regency. My answer was, “But regencies don’t make any money.” And her reply (with exasperation edging her voice,) “Mary, if you wanted to make money you would have written to the market for the last twelve years.”

Oh. Good point. For me it’s always been about sharing the story. Making money is a wonderful fringe benefit. So I finished the regency that I had started years before and sold it within three months. And eventually I made money writing series for Kensington, Bantam and Berkley.

Why has it been such a good fit? I was a history major in college. For me history is crammed full of stories waiting to be told.

Even more important: the Regency is, I think, the first period in history that 21st century people can truly relate to. The early nineteenth century is when the pendulum begins to swing from doing what is good for the community to what is good for the individual. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century men and women considered, for the first time, marrying for love rather than for what a marriage could add to the family in terms of wealth, land or social advancement.

Add to that the war with Napoleon and the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and the period from 1800 to 1825 is a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration.

Why you love reading (or writing) regencies? What sort of stories do you enjoy the most?

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

On Going Home

winter landscape - winter sunrise

I’ve been trying to keep showing a cheerful front to the world here in this blog, Facebook and elsewhere, but it’s time for a confession. I haven’t done any creative writing in many months.

I’m not ready to go into the reasons at this point. I can only say that I’m facing a challenge bigger than any I’ve encountered thus far, including my husband’s stroke. The good news is that I have learned a lot from that crisis and am using it all now. I am no longer looking for a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve also discovered that I can light my own way.

My instincts (which have been serving me very well lately and I should have listened to before) are telling me to focus my energy on solving the current crisis and that it is OK to take a break from writing. Sometimes writing is a solace, but pushing myself to write now—even if I had time—would be like a runner trying to train on a broken leg.

I am doing is letting go of the guilt imposed by internal and external critics and trusting myself. I know how to be mindful, how to tell I am being too hard or too easy on myself, how to ask the right questions and find out what I need more of, what I need less of, not only to get through the crisis but to thrive afterwards.

I think we all can do this. As Jane Austen wrote, “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”

In order to learn to attend to that guide, I’ve been rereading Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. She writes about women’s need to “go home”, where “Home is a sustained mood or sense that allows us to experience feelings not necessarily sustained in the mundane world: wonder, vision, peace, freedom from worry, freedom from demands, freedom from constant clacking. All these treasures from home are meant to be cached in the psyche for later use in the topside world.” One can “go home” many ways, including going into nature, praying, meditating, making art.

She also writes “if a woman doesn’t go when it’s her time to go, the hairline crack in her soul/psyche becomes a ravine, and the ravine becomes a roaring abyss.” I know from experience that this is true. So while I’m dealing with some crazy-making issues, I’m also doing my Morning Pages (a type of journaling taught in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron), meditating at every day and finding pockets of time to do smaller projects that sustain my creativity while demanding less time than the writing.

I am not leaving the Riskies, as our new schedule of posting just once a month allows me enough time to do the rest of the work I must do before I can write again. And I will get back to writing. The river hasn’t dried up; it’s only gone underground for a while.

Do you “go home”? How?

Elena

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

In Betweens

At the moment, I am in between historical releases. That is to say, I am working on My Immortals Book 7–No title yet. My next project will be another historical novella for a second anthology with Grace Burrowes, Miranda Neville, and Shana Galen. I believe the anthology title will be Dancing in the Duke’s Arms, and we’re targeting a summer release. We’ve chosen a cover image already, but I have yet to write a word. Even though I have a story idea I’m really excited about.

My point, really, is that I have my head in the paranormal world not the Regency historical world. If I were to noodle around with my historical idea I’d end up with Dancing in the Demon Duke’s Arms. In the meantime, however, I have released my individual novella from Christmas in the Duke’s Arms. Here’s the cover:

In the Duke's Arms by Carolyn JewelAnd here is where you can buy it, if you don’t have the anthology:

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Google Play | Kobo | All Romance

It’s early days in my story process — seeing as how I haven’t started writing yet, and it’s entirely possible my story will end up completely different. I’m planning a heroine who is considered peculiar and unmarriageable because she never forgets a fact, and she knows lots of them. The hero will figure out what’s up with her and fall madly in love. The end. I’m telling you that’s more than I usually start with. I have a period book that is, more or less, a Farmer’s Almanack, and she’ll have read and remembered it all, so I’ll be referring to that quite a lot. The challenge, naturally, will be making sure her knowledge is period accurate. I foresee Google Books Advanced Search in my future.

I’m not a plotter, so I have to be careful about doing too much planning, or, perhaps another way to think about it is I need not to be wedded to any plot points that might come up before I start writing. I never know what the plot is until I’m done. Truth. So, though I would like to tell you all that my story will be about thus and such, the truth is, I have no idea. I’ll find out about halfway through the story. Possibly later.

For you readers out there, does the idea of an author having no idea what the book is about before she starts writing make you anxious?

Posted in Research, Writing | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Murder in the Queen’s Garden

Murder in the Queen's GardenFebruary 3 was the release date for the third Kate Haywood Elizabethan Mystery, Murder in the Queen’s Garden!  I loved writing this one–summer at beautiful Nonsuch Palace, alchemy, dancing, courtly skullduggery…

To celebrate, I’m taking a look at why I love this time period so much–and giving away a signed copy to one commenter…

I’ve been fascinated by the Elizabethan age for as long as I can remember! When I was a kid, I would read everything I could find about the period—romance novels, thick history books I could barely lift off the library shelf, Shakespeare plays, and bawdy poetry I couldn’t really figure out, but I liked the weird words such as “fie, away, sir!” and “z’wounds!” I dressed up as Anne Boleyn for a fifth grade book report, and spent days watching videos like The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R.

That’s what I love the most about writing the adventures of Kate Haywood—getting to live at the court of Queen Elizabeth, losing myself in that world and seeing I through Kate’s eyes, but then returning to my cozy house with running water and electricity! (I do love the 16th century, but not really enough to want an open sewer running down the middle of my street, or cooking a roast over and open fire while trying not to set my petticoats on fire…)

Kate is a young lady with many interests. She is the queen’s favorite musician, a performer and composer, as well as the catcher of villains who try to harm the new queen. She finds herself in the very midst of all the excitement of the day, and in vicariously living her life I get to be there, too. A bit like the archaeologist I wanted to be when I was a kid, before I realized how dusty the job would be!

So—what are some of my favorite things about Queen Elizabeth and her world?

  1. There were so many strong, fascinating women in charge! Not just Elizabeth herself (who overcame a lonely, dangerous upbringing to become the most famous monarch in English history), but her mother and stepmothers, Mary Queen of Scots and her mother Marie of Guise, Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers, and so many others)
  2. The wondrous explosion of the creative arts, especially theater, music, and poetry (Shakespeare, Marlowe, Sidney, Spencer, to name just a few)
  3. The Age of Exploration. Men willing to pack themselves into tiny wooden boxes and launch across the oceans to find lands that might or might not be out there. That’s amazing to a homebody like me!
  4. The advances in science and medicine
  5. And, because I am a girly-girl, the clothes! This isn’t the era whose fashions I would most want to wear myself (that would be the Regency—high waists and lighter corsets!), but the fashions of the Elizabethan era are so fascinatingly elaborate, with lovely fabrics and colors, intricate embroidery and lace ruffs. (for a closer look, Janet Arnold’s wonderful Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d is a great source)
  6. The architecture. Places like Hardwick Hall and Hampton Court, and Nonsuch Palace (which is gone now, but which Kate gets to explore in Murder in the Queen’s Garden!) are amazing settings for royal shenanigans!

For more “behind the book” info on Kate Haywood and her adventures, you can visit my website at http://amandacarmack.com! I’m also on Facebook and spend way too much time on Pinterest.

What is your favorite time period? Where would you visit if you had a time machine???

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments