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A retreat. Sylvan peace and lots of writing.

Sort of. That’s what I was doing last week, at a writers’ retreat in NC (and I have to say it, but the south is weird. Just weird. Sorry, y’all. But that’s not what this post is about).

woodsThere were trees. Lots of trees. Mountains. Fresh air. And at 3000′ you don’t need AC. It was incredibly quiet, too. I consider that I live in a quiet place although there is a constant hum of traffic, and on the weekends a lot of screechy power tools as neighbors beautify their surroundings. We even have more birds here. The dawn chorus up in the mountains was fairly restrained.

sunsetLovely sunsets and spectacular storms. This pic captures both.

Also lots of wildlife. We were told not to hike the trails alone because there had been bear sightings, although I’m not sure if anyone had told the bears not to come onto the tarmac. We didn’t see any. I saw deer and wild turkeys that did not stand still long enough for me to take their pics, altho this sleeping beauty, a lunar mothmoth, allowed itself to be photographed. It was quite big. There is nothing to indicate scale here except that it is on a window sill. Now if that was a piano keyboard in the background it would be a truly monster moth.

The other wildlife was the writers, a friendly bunch who liked to party. I’d post the pic of the pirate party but inexplicably it’s upside down. Just imagine.

This wasn’t a romance writers event and so there were no editors or agents and it was a time for people to write, critique, and talk about writing. There were also readings, again generally a non-romance thing. I had some notoriety as someone who wrote filthy stuff and considered reading a spanking scene aloud until I realized that to do so I would have to use three different dialogue voices, and decided against it.

So was it worth it? Definitely, yes. Do you really need to get away into a different environment with minimal internet and (mostly) no phone to  crank up your writing? I’m undecided. If I wanted to lock myself up and write write write this wasn’t the place to do so, since there were classes to attend or audit. (I chickened out midway through the week and drove to the nearest Burger King to read my emails.) But it was a good place to take a breath and plan what to do, and where my writing should go next.

Have you been on a retreat? Did you find it useful?

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Regency Riding Habits

In my last post I talked about the difference between morning gowns and walking costumes and other “informal” types of dress. Today we’re going to take a peek at riding habits.

Habits are something you’re probably all familiar with, at least in concept. They’re composed of an extra-long skirt and a spencer jacket. They might also involve a waistcoat and a habit shirt (worn with a cravat), or with a chemisette with a frill for a more feminine look.  Sometimes they follow the high-waisted silhouette of the Regency era, and sometimes they don’t (a rare chance to show off your heroine’s waist!). Most often, they’re made of wool of some kind (stuff, bath coating, kerseymere, etc.), but there are extant examples of summer habits made of linen.

Habits are worn with some kind of hat, gloves, and either pumps or low half-boots (yes, pumps!). No tall riding boots for women as far as I can document (I’ve seen ONE cartoon of a woman in riding boots, but she was also shown with 5 o’clock shadow so we can hardly take her adoption of a masculine boot seriously).

First is this sketch of an extant 1810 habit by Janet Arnold for her book, Patterns of Fashion. It’s particularly great because Arnold details all the innards of the garment, including just how the skirt stays up (it’s really a “bodiced petticoat”), and we get to see the watch pocket, and the fact that their are hook and eyes connecting the jacket and the skirt. The pattern also lays out the series of tapes on the inside of the skirt that can be used to loop it up invisibly so that the train/length is hidden and you can walk.

1810 habit
Habit, 1810 (sketch by Janet Arnold)
1810 habit detail
Detail of 1810 Habit.

Here are couple of basic habits. They could be masculine in style (as is the à la militaire one from 1817 with its “lacing”), or they could be  feminine and frilly (I can’t find a public source for this one, so I’m sending you to Candice Hern’s site for all the filly glory).

1803habit
Habit, 1803
1817 habit
Habit, 1817

 

 

 

 

Posted in Clothing, History, Isobel Carr, Regency, Research | Leave a comment

A Story in Pictures

THIS coat. He was out walking. That’s all. A little moody and sad because his favorite uncle died about a year ago and left him dukedom and loads of money. But never mind that. It’s cold and he’s out walking.

Regency Gentleman in a sexy coat, boots, has walking stick. Seem from profile.
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Now THERE’S a goddamned coat. That’s what everyone is thinking as he walks past them, feeling maybe a little sad and lonely. He just CANNOT MEET the woman for him. And then he sees a lady wearing this gown:

A Regency silvery bronze gown with little gold decorations. Coronation dress of Queen Frederica, 1800
:::double take::::

And he’s all, WHO THE HELL IS THAT??? Mine eyes bedazzle.

Unbeknownst to him, she sometimes dresses like this.

 

Pirate outfit of dubious accuracy.

Which she does because a girl’s gotta pay for gorgeous gowns, am I right? The next day, she’s out walking with two of her good friends and she’s kind of jealous of Jenny’s gray shawl and wondering why Betty looks so concerned. She’s wearing a blue cap that’s tots awesome and telling her buds all about how she saw this super hot guy the other day.

Three Regency ladies walking close together. All very stylish and chatty looking.
I’m telling you, he was hot!

But they’re going to a party in the country and so her heart will be sad forever. But at the party, the men go hunting, and OMG!!!

 

A gentleman's hunting costume with red coat white breeches and top boots.
Boots. Dude boots.

It’s him!

And he sees her:

Regency lady seen from the back, on a black horse. She's totally spiffy looking.
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And then, later that night they are both wandering the house and:

"The Kiss" by G. Baldry they are kissing.
True Love?

And then… ??

Finish the story in the comments.

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Audley End – From Jacobean Splendor to Taxidermied Birds

“The rooms are high and hung with beautiful tapestries […] [and] the staircases are built with peculiar comfort: after every five steps there is a landing so that one can rest and does not get out of breath.”
Johann Ernst von Sachsen-Weimar about Audley End

Audley End in EssexThis past weekend, I went on a short trip to London to meet up with online friends. And what does a historically-minded person do when in Britain? Visit a stately home of course! This time around the stately home in question was Audley End in Essex, which in many ways is an excellent example of the varied history of British country houses.

The current house is built on the foundations of a 12th-century Benedictine monastery, Walden Abbey, which fell to the Crown during Henry VIII’s dissolution of monasteries in the wake of his break from the Church of Rome. Henry gifted the house and its environs to one of his most trusted advisors (and a man who knew enough of courtly politics to keep his head low), Lord Audley, who converted the monastery into a home for his family.

It was his grandson, Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk, who transformed the house into a splendid palace, quite literally fit for a king: in 1614 James I came for a visit. This Jacobean version of Audley End was one of the most ambitious building projects of its time. According to T.K. Cromwell in his Excursions in the County of Essex (vol. 1, 1818), the house

“was deemed equal to the palaces of Hampton Court, Nonsuch, and Richmond. […] Audley House, when first completed, consisted of various ranges of building, surrounding two quadrangular courts. That to the west was very spacious, and was approached through a grand entrance gateway, between four round towers.”

18th-century print of the Jacobean palace Audley End
“Audeley End Palace in Essex, as it was in it’s Splendor,” 18th-century print, Wikipedia

But such a vast palace was difficult to upkeep, and thus various wings and buildings were demolished in the course of the early 18th century as the house passed through various different branches of the Howard family (who had some problems producing an adequate number of heirs). It finally ended up in the possession of Elizabeth Griffin, Countess of Portsmouth, who bought the house in 1751 and had it remodelled and altered in the Jacobean style. While she didn’t have any children either, she solved that particular problem by naming her nephew as her heir on the condition that he change his surname to Griffin.

Not only did Sir John Griffin Griffin continue the alterations of the house, e.g. by having a new range of detached kitchen buildings erected on the north side of the house, but he also employed Capability Brown to transform the grounds around Audley End into a landscape garden, with buildings designed by Robert Adam. Alas, soon, Sir John and his garden architect quarelled bitterly—over the completion of the project (not on time) and added costs (way too high), but perhaps also because Sir John took a very decided interest in the remodelling and apparently wished to be very, very, very closely involved in it. The contract with Brown was eventually terminated, and the remodelling of the garden was entrusted to the otherwise unknown Joseph Hicks.

The grounds feature all the typical elements of a  landscape garden: wide, sweeping views from the house with neo-classical follies acting as focal points, a stretch of water spanned by a neo-classical bridge, and a pleasing arrangement of various groups of trees.

Audley End, Palladian Bridge
The Palladian Bridge, designed by Robert Adam in 1782

However, in its current form, the house most closely reflects the taste of its owners in the 19th century, when once again due to the lack of a direct heir, the house passed to yet another branch of the family. And finally, in 1820, a nursery was established at Audley End. As the family of the 3rd Lord Baybrooke expanded, the nursery eventually moved to a larger set of rooms, which have recently been restored and opened to the public.

It was perhaps this nursery which surprised me most of all the things to see at Audley End: I had always thought of a nursery as a plain white-washed room, perhaps two, somewhere on the top floor of a great house. The nursery at Audley End not only consists of several rooms, but it is also large and comfortable with large windows that let in the light. There’s also a large doll house, filled with both bought items and homemade elements as is typical for dollhouses of this era. (Taking photos is forbidden inside the Audley End, hence no pretty pictures of the interiors.)

The nursery was run by a governess, who oversaw three nursery maids and, if necessary, a wet nurse. Mirabel, the eldest daughter of the house, loved doing watercolors, and apparently large parts of the nursery were restored based on her sketches and paintings. She never married, and remained life-long friends with her old governess. Richard, the eldest son of the family, had a keen interest in archaeology and taxidermy (with a special interest in birds). Today his fossils and stuffed birds (especially the stuffed birds) fill two galleries of the house and make you think you’ve accidentally stepped into a natural history museum.

While the displays in the big house focus on the family who lived here, the displays in the service areas and the stable block focus on the servants who worked here, with photographs of estate workers from the turn to the 20th century. And thus, a nice balance is achieved between “upstairs” and “downstairs.”

The Kitchen Garden of Audley End
The Kitchen Garden
Office of the Head Gardener at Audley End
Office of the Head Gardener
Training Horses for the Hunt with Birds of Prey
Training Horses for the Hunt with Birds of Prey
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Independence? What were they thinking?

United_States_Declaration_of_Independence-1Today we in the USA celebrate Independence Day, the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the American colonies’ declaring themselves independent sovereign states separate from Great Britain.

What were they thinking?

The members of the Continental Congress who signed the Declaration were fed up with being taxed by Great Britain without having any representation in Parliament. The colonies had their own legislatures; they didn’t need Parliament.

Ordinary citizens of the colonies were not so sure of this independence idea. They were used to British rule and did not know what life would be like if they weren’t subjects of the British crown. Upper classes feared they might lose their status in an independent America and no one knew if common citizens were capable of governing themselves.

120px-American_revolution_cow_commerce_cartoonIn Great Britain the aristocracy called the American’s misguided in their desire to break from the Crown. They signers were threatened with imprisonment, seizure of property and death. A pamphlet of the times also noted that although the Americans declared their belief that “all men are created equal,” they weren’t freeing their slaves.

King George III declared the colonies to be in a state of rebellion and he sent in the British Army to set them straight.

800px-Declaration.independence.1776The Declaration of Independence captured the interest of French revolutionaries, who used it when drafting their own Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. The document influenced the development of freedom and democracy in Europe and other parts of the world.

So as we eat our hot dogs, march in parades, and ooh and aah over fireworks, let’s remember the courage it took to leap into the unknown and start a new country founded on new ideals.

Happy July 4th!!

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London’s River

Thomas_Luny_Blackfriars 1806
Thomas_Luny_Blackfriars 1806

The River Thames has a starring role in my story, The Rake’s Mistake. The heroine, Daphne, Lady Wetherell, lives in a house on the river, and my hero, Lord Ramsdale, is a recreational sailor in an era when that pastime was still developing. Lots of action takes place on the river, from peaceful romantic sailing to a frantic race with much at stake. Researching the river was one of my great pleasures in writing that story, which I will be reissuing one of these days after some revisions I want to make.

The idea for that story was inspired by a single sketch of the Thames that showed a small sailing race on the Thamesflotilla of sailboats, what we’d call “day-sailers” around here, engaged in a recreational race in London. I think it was dated 1795, and my first thought was that it looked just like any recreational sailboat race held today –like this one.  I had one of those moments when it feels as if the divisions between the centuries fall away, leaving a universal moment in time that transcends history.

For centuries the river was the main artery for goods and transport (not to mention jobs), the lifeblood of London. Sailing on the river required a lot of knowledge, not only of the currents and tides, but also of navigating all the various bridges. “shootinbridgeShooting the bridge” –traveling through the bridge openings with their swift current and varying water levels –could be very dangerous, yet was necessary for anyone who needed to get up or downstream for any distance.

As we travel through Regency London in our stories, I think we tend to forget how much construction was going on everywhere. Gas lines were being laid in the streets, and new bridges were being erected over the Thames, adding to those already in place. Unbearable traffic on the existing bridges made the need for new ones pressing.

Watercolour1799 Old London bridge
Old London Bridge 1799

London Bridge, of course, had existed in one form or another since the days of the Romans.  For centuries it was the only bridge across the Thames in London, until Fulham Bridge (first proposed in 1671) was completed in 1729. There’s a lovely story that Sir Robert Walpole pushed for the Fulham Bridge construction after being delayed by the ferryman, who was drinking in the nearest tavern and oblivious to customers waiting to cross the river.

The rights of owners, ferrymen and watermen –not to mention competing bridges, and financing –were all matters of contention each time a new bridge was proposed. A proposal for Westminster Bridge was already being debated in the 1720’s, but the bridge wasn’t completed until 1750.

1954/1.371
Battersea Bridge, sketch by Whistler

Blackfriars (1768) and the rough wooden Battersea bridge (1776) followed.

Prince & Duke at Waterloo Bridge 1817
Opening Waterloo Bridge

The Vauxhall Bridge, the first cast iron bridge across the river, opened in 1816.

The opening of the Waterloo Bridge in 1817 was a festive and crowded occasion complete with military displays and bands playing (my characters mentioned above observe this from Archer’s boat on the river).

southwark-bridge
Southwark Bridge

Parliament authorized the construction of Southwark Bridge in 1811. The work began by 1813, and the cornerstone ceremony was held two years later. The bridge opening took place in March, 1819, at midnight –“the bridge, illuminated with lamps, being declared open as St. Paul’s clock tolled” the hour.

The power of the river is extraordinary, and every one of these bridges has since been replaced.

There’s a nice brief summary of the Thames history at http://www.southwarkbridge.co.uk/history/the-river-thames.htm

A description of Old London Bridge by Louis Simond (1815) reads:  “Nothing can well be uglier than London bridge ; every arch is of a size different from its next neighbour; there are more solid than open parts; it is in fact like a thick wall, pierced with small unequal holes here and there, through which the current, dammed up by this clumsy fabric, rushes with great velocity, and in fact takes a leap, the difference between high and low water being upwards of 15 feet.”  Simond, in fact, ventured to stay in his hired boat to experience shooting the bridge, reasoning that boats had to do it every day, and he “being quite sure of reaching the shore by swimming, … remained with the boatman.” London Br 1794c J.M.W. Turner

I know other authors who have featured the river and/or the bridges in their stories –Jo Beverly comes to mind, and Regina Scott. But still it surprises me that something so integral to life in London (at any time period) so often has no place in our fantasized Regency version of Town.

Have you ever traveled on the Thames? Can you recall any Regency romances you’ve read (or written) that use the river as part of the story?

 

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Regency shop windows

“Folkstone Strawberries or more carraway comfits for Mary Ann,” showing Samuel William Fores’s at the corner of Sackville Street and Piccadilly, c.1810, attrib. Isaac and George Cruikshank. Via Wikimedia Commons.

The above caricature shows a printseller/publisher’s shop window with what mostly appears to be books on display. Windows with lots of small panes were popular in Regency storefronts for at least two reasons (maybe more—I’m not sure how good the technology was for making large sheets of glass at the time):

1. Glass was still taxed by weight. A larger pane requires a thicker weight of glass. (This applied to greenhouses as well, by the way. You see them with lots of little panes.)

2. Shoplifting and property crime was endemic, and a small pane of glass was easier and cheaper to replace if someone broke it to steal your goods. (This was called “starring the glaze” by those in the biz, and here is how it was done, from a 1839 Commissioners Report:

One or two parties divert attention while another “stars.” This is either done by a diamond, or by inserting a small pen-knife through the putty near the corner of a pane and cracking it; the wet finger carries the crack in any direction; an angle is generally formed. The piece is wrought to and fro, and removed; if necessary, another piece is starred, to allow of the free ingress of the hand.

Read the full report to learn more about different theft techniques.)

Small panes also presumably meant it would take a lot more effort and time for thieves to access everything in the store window—and provided a convenient way to display more small wares, because as you can see in the above engraving, they built the windows with lots of tiny shelves to display items in every pane!

Here’s a still of a sweet shop in Bath from the 1995 Persuasion, from this excellent blog post at Jane Austen’s World. I looked at their screencaps a lot while creating the Honey Moon confectionary in my Lively St. Lemeston series.

More Georgian and Regency shop windows:

A much fancier confectionery.

A printseller. Crowds looking at the prints in printsellers’ windows seem to be a popular caricuture topic because I found LOTS of them. I especially love these dandies picking pockets from this wonderful post on dandy caricatures.

A cobbler/shoemaker.

This tavern in colonial America has ivy leaves in the window for Christmas!

A haberdasher.

A circulating library.

“Night,” from the Hogarth series “Four Times of the Day,” 1736. Via Wikimedia Commons.

The dentist/barbershop to the right of this Hogarth painting has a candle in every window pane, probably because at night the windows would reflect and amplify the light back into the room, serving as sconces.

Rundell & Bridge’s in 1822. (For those of you, like me, who are curious about the subject of the caricature: it looks like Lady Conyngham was a mistress of the Prince Regent and involved in political maneuvering about the Privy Purse, i.e. the Regent’s publicly funded allowance from Parliament.)

And here is one of my very favorite things in the Metropolitan Museum, an actual 1775-7 fancy Parisian storefront, carved from oak and stunningly beautiful.

Do you have a favorite shop whose window you like to look in when you go by? There’s a wedding dress store in downtown Seattle that I’m very fond of…

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Visiting Sotterley Plantation, MD

sotterleyI went on a field trip yesterday with a bunch of museum/history geeks to Sotterley Plantation, in Hollywood. (No, not that Hollywood. The one in Maryland.) It’s on the Patuxent River and is the only tidewater plantation open to the public, and is over four hundred years old.

Did I mention how old it is? I did. The land was first colonized by James Bowles in 1699, who built a modest two room a few redyears after, which forms the core of the house. It’s possible to date it so accurately because dendochronology has determined that the cypress posts used in construction date to 1703. This extremely red room, apparently a highly popular color in the period, is the oldest part of the house. There’s a dark rectangle to the right of the notice on the door which is actually a hole cut in the woodwork to reveal the original cypress post.

chinesestaircaseNaturally subsequent owners began to make expansions and improvements, and suddenly,  later in the century, Chinoiserie became all the rage. Hence this extraordinary staircase in the expansion of the house undertaken by George Plater III (lots of Georges in this family). He also became a governor of the State of Maryland, and, eew, I cannot get this out of my head: he married a 13 year old who had their first baby when she was 14, and who became, according to the Sotterly website, “a political and social asset to her husband.” Gawd.

yellowA pretty yellow parlor was added in this period and the shell alcoves in the room are original (built with help from Mt. Vernon’s slaves).

Note the picture over the mantelpiece. This is an amazing bit of Colonial Revival kitsch. Colonial Revival was a big hit in the second half of the nineteenth century. There was a sudden burst of interest in the noble patriots of the revolution, gentlemen and landowners (and that meant slave owners. Mr. Bowles bought over 200 slaves when he arrived in 1799, and so it continued). Given Maryland’s geographical location, the division during the Civil War, and the reluctance of the state to free its slaves, the colonial period seemed a lot safer. The Colonial Revival movement presented an imaginary version of the good old days, in terms not only of interior design and decoration, but also in interpreting uncomfortable history. So a late 19th century artist was moved to paint this (pardon my assymetry):

painting

Wow. Is it Tara? Is it … well goodness only knows, but the artist had apparently never visited this house in Suffolk, Sotterley Hall, which it’s meant to depict:

sotterleysuffolk

The Platers believed they were descended from a Thomas Playter who owned Sotterley Hall in the fifteenth century (they weren’t), hence the name of the plantation.

And here’s a pic of a view from the gardens of the house, looking out over the Patuxent:

patuxent

Are you planning to visit any historical sites, or have you been to any recently? Plans for the summer?

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Morning Gowns and Walking Costumes

One of the topics under recent discussion was all the different types of gowns a Regency lady would have worn and how people could possibly have told the difference. Morning Gown, Domestic Costume, Walking Dress, Promenade Costume, Carriage Dress, all of these appear somewhat similar when you look at the period fashion plates, and you’re not wrong to be confused (and there’s a LOT of crossover).

The first thing to understand is that the name used for the fashion plates describes the activity being undertaken more than the garment being worn. The second thing to note is that often the most distinguishing factors are the accessories rather than the gown itself. The same basic white gown might have been worn for morning activities around the house and then with a quick change of accessories, been transformed into something to wear on a walk into the village or out to pay morning calls (which are more like afternoon calls in real life) if one was in Town.

So let’s look at the prints themselves (these are all from Ackermann’s):

Screenshot_2016-06-15-08-18-04-1
Very informal Morning Gown with a little pelerine over the shoulders.

A domestic costume is exactly what it sounds like. Something informal and meant to be worn strictly indoors when at home. These are pretty much universally made of white linen fabrics and they’re gussied up with some kind of robe, pelerine, mantle, or shawl for warmth. These tend to be on the loose side, and were probably worn with jumps rather than stays. They’re also invariably shown with caps (roll out of bed, hair not done, probably still in curling rags, put your cap on). While your hero is having breakfast downstairs in his banyan, your heroine is having breakfast (probably in her room) in her Domestic Costume. In a family situation, the mother and elder girls might also be eating downstairs in this attire. And they might wear it all morning while they wrote letters, went over menus, etc.

Screenshot_2016-06-15-08-21-09
Morning Gown. Note the gloves and the very high collar. She has a loose, open robe over the gown.

When it came time to receive guests or to leave the house, she would change into a morning gown. Morning gowns are just a tad more formal than domestic costumes. So she’d likely put on her stays and have her hair arranged (though still in a cap!). Most of these outfits are shown with some kind of over garment, usually in the same fabric as the gown), and sometimes with gloves. This is the state in which she could come downstairs for a meal if there were guests or if she were a guest.

Screenshot_2016-06-15-08-21-25
Walking Dress. She now has a bonnet and a colorful mantle on, as well as a parasol.

If she were walking into the village or going out to pay morning calls, she would swap out the simple over garment for a cloak, coat, spencer, etc., put a bonnet or hat over her cap, and maybe grab a muff or parasol depending on the time of year.

Screenshot_2016-06-15-08-18-44
Promenade Dress. Note the halfboots, the veil, the watch and chain, the ridicule. She’s out to see and be SEEN! (and quite interestingly, NO HAT!)

A promenade costume is usually just a fancier update to accessories. It’s meant to be showy because you’re wearing it in the afternoon at the park or other location where fashionables went to see and be seen (you even see in the descriptions in Ackermann’s that the gown part of the “costume” is called a “morning gown”). And you pretty commonly see halfboots instead of slippers in the description and illustration.

So there you have it, your heroine might have changed costume four times today, or she might have just swapped around her accessories if she were frugal or not wealthy enough to have brought 50 gowns with her to a house party.

Posted in Clothing, History, Isobel Carr, Regency, Research, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Head Down Revising and Something Odd About Names

I’ve been busy on the last revisions of Surrender to Ruin before I send it to a trusted reader. The hero of this book owns a gaming hell and some brothels which he continues to operate despite having inherited a title.  As I wrote the book, I gave him a partner in the business. This was due to a number of things having to do with plot and research that indicated hells were frequently run by more than one person.

Without spoilers, his partner is from India, a man who came to England as the servant of an Englishman and then found himself without a job because his former employer’s new bride objected to his presence in the house.  He and my hero meet as near destitute young men in London and embark upon their life skirting the edges of legality. They make a lot of money in the process. The life of boxer Bill Richmond (I interviewed Richmond’s biographer in that post) made it clear some of our notions of diversity in the Regency are very wrong. If you haven’t read the biography, I urge you to do so. It’s a wonderful book. Richmond clearly earned social distinction. He was a participant in George IV’s coronation ceremony. Not someone who watched. He participated in ceremony.

My hero’s partner, therefore, is an Indian man living in England, who is wealthy and a businessman in his own right. And he needed a name. I could have made one up. Instead I asked one of my former colleagues from India if I could use his name. He and I worked very closely together in a fast, tense environment. I did indeed explain that the character would own a gambling hell and brothel. And he graciously agreed to let me use his name for the character.

And now, as I write and flesh out this character, I keep thinking of my friend and colleague who lent his name. And, well, if this character seems super smart and really, really nice, it’s because the person whose name I’m using is both those things. He was always going to be awesome, since he’s my hero’s buddy, but now he’s really awesome.

Other News

I have a boxed set of three of my historical romances just now out. Three full length novels for less than $5.00.

Fancy 3-D cover for Historical Jewels, 3 Regency Romances
Three Books!

The three books include The Spare, Scandal, and Indiscreet. It’s a bargain, so if you don’t have these books, here’s your chance to get three for essentially the price of one.

All Romance | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

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