Archive for December, 2011

Happy Holidays to All!

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Here’s a funny photo of me in the 1980s – that poodle hair was not attractive LOL. The little boy next to me with the curly hair and the Osh Kosh overalls is my son Daniel. He’s all grown up now.


I hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday season with family & friends. Cheers!

Regency Dancing: Lady Gresham’s Ball – The Hole in the Wall

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

I belong to a special Regency chapter of Romance Writers of America called The Beau Monde. At several of of our conferences we’ve had dances complete with musicians and dancing masters! The dancing is much more difficult than it looks in the film Becoming Jane. By the way, I watched the dancing in this scene several times while writing the scene where Amy Hardwick and Will ‘the devil’ Darcett exchange some rather steamy looks during a dance! Enjoy!

The Prince Regent Regency England

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

This is a bit long, but definitely worth watching. Enjoy!

Best of 2011

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Just a quick note to say Congratulations to Angela who wins an Advance Reader Copy of HOW TO RAVISH A RAKE!  Thanks to everyone for sharing your best of 2011. May 2012 be our best year yet!

We’re hurtling toward the end of 2011, so looking back, what makes your Best of 2011 List? Here are some ideas to spur you. Feel free to add suggestions to the list! Leave a comment for a chance to win an Advance Reader Copy of HOW TO RAVISH A RAKE!  US & Canada Only Please

  • Romance Novels
  • Romantic Comedy
  • TV Show or Miniseries
  • TV Ad
  • Movie(s)
  • Non-Fiction Book
  • Non-romance  Novel
  • Favorite New Song or Album
  • Major Life Event
  • Award or Promotion
  • New-to-You Dish
  • New-You-Electronic Device
  • Vacation or Travel Spot
  • Sporting Event Surprise

Trivial Pursuit: Regency Style

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Hackney Coaches
Hackneys were the 19th century equivalent of the black cabs you see in London today. There were rules for passengers wishing to travel in Hackney Coaches. No more than four adults were allowed inside and one servant on the outside, with the exception of a child held in an adult’s arms. If the coachman agreed to take more, he charged one shilling for each extra person. Passengers who used abusive language were fined, and if they defaulted on the payment, they were sent to a house of correction for seven days!

The Morning Toilet

Servants brought jugs of hot water to the lord and lady’s bedrooms and poured the water into a wash-hand stand.  Squares of violet scented soap were used, although I found a reference to a more manly military cake. Shaving was done with a cut-throat razor (eek!) and sharpened on a strop or strip of leather. Readers, you may rest easier knowing your favorite Regency heroes and heroines would use toothbrushes and tooth-powder. Speaking of toilets…in case you were wondering, chamber pots were still used well into the Victorian era. I took photos of one at Warwick Castle. (My family is now certain I’m certifiably nuts). Our Regency lords and ladies also had water closets. By the way, a man by the name of John Harrington invented the first flush toilet in 1596 (Holy Shakespeare!), but apparently it was not as practical as the one invented by Joseph Bramah of Yorkshire who patented his water closet in England in 1778.

How to Write a Letter in Regency England in Eight (Relatively) Easy Steps

Before the invention of texting, our lords and ladies were reduced to using pen, ink, and paper (one step above the chisel and stone tablet). There were no envelopes, however, and paper was considered ‘dear.’ Here is the proper way to write and send a letter in Regency England.

  1. Using a large sheet of paper, write the date and your current address at the top of the sheet. Be sure to write neatly on one side of the paper and fill it up.
  2. Turn the paper 180 degrees and write upside down between the lines you previously wrote.
  3. Now turn the paper 90 degrees (your choice of direction) and scribble at a right angle across the lines already written. Pray the recipient can read it.
  4. The paper serves as the envelope. Fold the paper lengthwise on both sides so that the two sides meet in the middle.
  5. Now fold this hot mess into three or four sections and leave some room at the top for a flap.
  6. This is the tricky part. Heat some wax over a candle (be careful not to burn yourself) and let a few drops fall onto the flap. Now you press a seal onto the wax–we’re high tech now!
  7. On the unsealed side, write the address. If in London, put a street address. If in the country, just use the person’s name and county as the letter will go to the village post office.
  8. No stamps! The recipient pays for the letter!

Regency Beauty Treatments

Most beauty aids were home-made as imported French cosmetics were highly taxed. The juice of a green pineapple supposedly erased wrinkles, but if no pineapples were available, an onion could be substituted (Oh, dear, the aroma!). Another remedy for the complexion involved mixing rye bread crumbs, hot from the oven (I’m not making this up, I swear!) with the whites of four eggs, and a pint of white vinegar  used as a face mask!  To get rid of freckles, a desperate lady might add shredded horseradish to sour milk (these must have been some odoriferous concoctions!). For the gentlemen, powdered parsley seed was recommended to prevent baldness.

Here are the lovely names of some Regency cosmetics.

  • Royal Tincture of Peach Kernals
  • Carnation of Lilies
  • Liquid Bloom of Roses (rouge)
  • Powder of Pearl of India
  • Olympian Dew

Readers, I hope you enjoyed my edition of Regency Trivia. May the Magic Romance Fairies be with you!


An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England, Venetia Murray, Penguin Books 1998

The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World, Margaret Sullivan, Chronicle Books, 2007

The Soanes at Home: Domestic Life at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Susan Palmer, Sir John Soane’s Museum 2002


Monday, December 19th, 2011

ARC stands for Advance Uncorrected Copy, so these books are released prior to the final proofing of the entire book. I’m so excited because the cover is gorgeous!




Here’s another view!


Regency England: Links to Reference Books

Monday, December 19th, 2011

A Twitter buddy mentioned she’d been hunting forRegency reference books, so I promised to post some that I own. Please note that some of these are expensive, and a great deal of information can be found on the web. I’ve been collecting these books for several years. You may also be able to get the used versions on Amazon, B&N or Abe books. Also, don’t forget to check with your local Indie stores or libraries. Here are some of the reference books in my collection.

Finally, I found a very helpful link this morning to Social Classes, Money, and Servants in Austen’s Society
Do you have some favorite reference books or links to online sources for Regency England? If so, please share!

Lazy Sunday – Good Day to Read!

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

I decided to be a Lazy Lady today & spend all of Sunday reading. I might even watch a movie. Tomorrow I have to dive into the writing again as I owe several deliverables to my editor and agent by the first of the year. But I figured I’d earned a day of rest and relaxation. Today, I’m reading Mary Balogh’s THE SECRET MISTRESS. So tell me what are you currently reading?

Regency England Links for Readers & Writers

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Have you always wanted to know more about Regency England? I’ve collected a bunch of links over time and thought you might find them interesting.

Women’s fashions: The Jane Austen Centre Online
Men’s Fashions: The Jane Austen Centre Online
Regency England – A Brief Introduction to the Era Actually a comprehensive site.
The Georgian Index – Great info on stage travel.
The Regency Collection – Includes information about the military, Waterloo, postal service, coaching, etc.
Candice Hern’s Collections – Everything from reticules to vinaigrettes to quizzing glasses!
Galen Foley – History, clothing (lots of great explanations for men’s clothing), and writing tips, too (be sure to explore the site)

1806 Map of London – Zoomable
The Regency Redingote – One of my favorite sites with info I’ve never seen anywhere else.
The Green Canister: Mrs Phillips’s Covent Garden Sex Shop – Need I say more? LOL.
An Evening Card Party – Info on tables, cards, games, food.
Understanding the Society in which Jane Austen Sets Pride and Prejudice – From the Jane Austen Society of Australia.
Regency Recipes: The Jane Austen Centre Online. FYI: I got the idea for Will Darcett’s favorite dessert in HOW TO SEDUCE A SCOUNDREL from one of these recipes!
Regency History:The Jane Austen Centre Online
Advice to Young Women: The Jane Austen Centre Online (I bet Jane laughed at this advice!)

Social Networking Study

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Since I’m a former market researcher, I always find data fascinating. This new study of 60,000 social media users by the esteemed Forfester Research found that of the adults who use social media, 96% are using Facebook. Here is some interesting data by generation/social media site.

The next chart shows frequency of activities by generation & total US adult population.

Forrester’s survey was conducted shortly after Google+ launched, so there is no data on that particular site. Note the difference in the base sizes for each chart. This essentially means that these participants were qualified (based on a survey question) to answer a particular question or a particular set of questions. Also interesting is that the youngest Generation – Gen Z (18-22) check their social networking sites at least weekly. Maybe they’re hoping someone special will include them in their status update. 😉

How frequently do you check your social networking sites?