After helping me edit Once Upon a Wager, the Goblin announced he needed a few days of fun in the Lake District. It’s a part of England where, unsurprisingly, there are a lot of lakes in between stony hillsides – it’s utterly magical. So last week we packed up the car and drove up North. The goblin’s idea of fun involves walking up steep hills and taking photos. My idea of fun involves visiting historic houses or monuments and taking photos. We managed to mostly meet in the middle. While he did his two hour steep hill walk I had a lovely nap in the car. He took photos of the valley from above – I took photos of the valley standing in the valley next to the car. I did get some walking in – more than I was hoping to – but I did enjoy it and I got some lovely photos. These were my favorite. (more…)
Once Upon a Wager is finally finished and on my website. There are four free chapters if you want to check it out! I shall be sending out the newsletter to members later today – after I’ve written it. I should have done it weeks ago and somehow spaced it off.
For those who aren’t members the book is now live on Smashwords and Amazon (though it’s not yet up on Barnes and Noble so it will probably be a few days for it to reach all the other online bookstores).
Once Upon a Wager is almost through the second edit phase. I’m hoping it will be on line in another week, though it depends on how fast the Goblin works his magic. The editing process took longer than I expected. I started Once Upon a Wager eight years ago (working on it in-between other stories). Most of the last four years has been one stupid annoying health issue after another. I learned a lot about myself, like how I can’t write without a working brain.
After I finished the book, I had the feeling it had wrinkles that I couldn’t see (because it was written over such a long length of time). Thankfully the Goblin could see them. I’ve been metaphorically ironing for weeks. I enjoy ironing (yes I’m weird), but not day after day for weeks on end. There, lies madness and an aching arm.
At last I can see the end is near. I still haven’t figured out which story to focus on next. I have so many partly finished/started stories it’s like…do I eat this yummy chocolate or that yummy chocolate? I want to eat them all right now!
I’ll send out a newsletter to let you know (if you’re a member – don’t forget to update your e-mail address). If you’re not a member and you’d like to receive an e-mail letting you know it’s in the shops, just drop me a line and I’ll add you to the list.
After dinner, I sat down to do some more work, but I got distracted. Sitting here, I suddenly wondered what sort of free history e-books I could find. Within in minutes I came across this one; ‘Travels in England in 1782‘ by Karl Philipp Moritz
Moritz was a German clergyman who, thankfully for us, was an Anglophile. He’d long wanted to visit England and finally arrived on June 2, 1782 (which I thought appropriate as it’s June 3rd) and he takes the reader on the journey. After the first few pages, I’m utterly enchanted. He’s noting down everything that seems foreign to him, so we get to see what he sees and experience his journey. Historic gold! He only spent a few weeks in England, but he managed to see London and a few other places he’d dreamed of.
We join him as he’s leaving the ship. He and five other travellers are set ashore near some white cliffs and they walk to the nearest village. (I’m guessing they were travelling light!) From there they hire a post-chaise…this was a vehicle where the driver (or drivers in some cases) rode one of the horses (so there was no coachman making it a much lighter, faster and cheaper travel). Here’s a short excerpt… (more…)
It never ceases to amaze me how aspects of the ‘Regency era’ still echo through our lives 200 years later (often in very weird ways). Growing up, Halloween was my favorite holiday. I loved dressing up (and the free candy). My first costumed Halloween I was in Kindergarten. We lived five miles out of town on a sparsely populated road in the woods so there was no local Trick or Treating. The school (even deeper into the woods) thoughtfully provided a Halloween party for the children. I was so excited! For a costume, my mother made me a white mobcap. It being the early 70’s, I already owned a long white cotton dress and a pink pinafore. She then made me a big fat spider out of some black socks and tied it with a length of yarn to a wooden spoon (from out of the kitchen drawer). To complete my outfit she glued some cotton balls into a small bowl and I was transformed. I was no longer Cari, I was ‘Little Miss Muffet’. I loved my costume, particularly the spider which I remember waving at people with glee. I probably hit a few people with my spoon as I waved my arm to make the spider fly about, but I thankfully don’t remember.
This evening the ‘Little Miss Muffet’ nursery rhyme came to mind as I was sitting here thinking of ideas for a Sunday school lesson (I help teach the 5-7 yr olds). I looked it up on Wikipedia and I was surprised to learn that “Little Miss Muffet’ was first published in England in 1805. I had no idea it was that old. I assumed it was from 1920’s or ’30’s. My very first Halloween costume was a Regency costume! How appropriate!
Sadly, my love for Halloween did not survive the three Halloweens I spent working in a costume shop. (more…)
At last…I have finished the rough draft for ‘Once Upon a Wager‘. I had the epilogue written over a year ago so I knew the end-ending, but unfolding the story to the last chapter (figuring out what entailed the final chapter) has involved much head banging on my keyboard. It needs to be edited, but hopefully I’ll soon be able to send you a newsletter that it’s on line ready to be read. If you’re a Member (and you want the e-mail) make sure your e-mail is up to date (I know it’s been ages since I’ve been able to announce a finished book). If you’re not a member, but you’d like to receive notice let me know and I’ll include you.
A brief intro to the three main characters…
I recently started reading a Dutch newspaper on line (in English). The other day I read an article about how leading Dutch authors are rarely translated into other languages. It made me wonder what sorts of books the Dutch write and read. Why are most of these stories considered unsuitable for translation? What sort of stories am I never going to be able to read? I couldn’t think of a single Dutch author so I Googled Dutch authors. I didn’t recognise a single name. However, I did discover two 18th century female authors that many Regency era readers would have enjoyed. (more…)
I love history (I don’t think you can write historical romances if you don’t)! I particularly love discovering and reading about interesting people who defied the accepted norms of their time and became more. One of the things I find fascinating is how every age has it’s own version of the previous eras of history. We always get a filtered vision. Most men and women famous in their day are quickly forgotten. Until last week, I’d never heard of Phillis Wheatley, the first African American female published author. I don’t have a degree in Georgian Female authors, but some people stand out. I can’t believe I hadn’t read about her before. Born somewhere in Western Africa around the year 1753, she was enslaved and brought to America on The Phillis. Purchased by Mr Wheatley, a wealthy merchant/tailor, as a servant for his wife, she was named Phillis after the ship. The Wheatley’s 18 year old daughter took it upon herself to teach Phillis to read and write in English…which can’t have been easy as she first had to teach her to speak English. (more…)
For all of you Regency shoe lovers…I came across a website today where they sell Georgian authentically styled shoes. I now must get rich because I NEED to have pairs of ALL of them. Heavy sigh! These (pictured) nankeen Regency ankle boots are high high high on the list. They also come in black and another colour I can’t remember. If, like me, you dream of Regency shoes… Have a look at these beauties! The sold out red leather buckle shoes look as if they were conjured out of one of Fragonard’s paintings…Magical!
This last year was mostly spent in a miasma of story consumption. I read books like a story-starved creature. The part of my brain that produces stories had malfunctioned. Strangely, It wasn’t writers’ block. I felt nothing as if someone had disconnected the story part of my brain. Then I started meeting up once a week with my friend Gwynn (who’s also a writer) and we’d talk about world events, history, anything that came up as well as discussing stories and writing. (more…)