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…)
Most of the last year feels like a long strange blur spent reading other people’s stories. I have read A LOT of books in all sorts of genres. With my thyroid careening back and forth between under and over active I’ve been living in a creative wasteland. For most of the last six months I couldn’t watch Tv or movies because my brain couldn’t handle the moving images or follow the story lines (very irritating). Thankfully my brain could still read! Finally about a month ago my brain seems to have found an even keel and I’ve been writing again which feels really good. With luck I’ll even finish something in the not too distant future. That’s my goal! I’ll let you know when I’m close to sending a book out into the world. I can only hope it will be sooner than later (if only for my sanity). I have a backlog of characters and stories all clambering for attention. I need to get them thinned out before another crowd comes rushing in. Wish me luck!
The last few weeks I’ve been consuming other people’s stories like a literary black hole, but it’s priming my writer (I’ve actually cracked open several stories and tentatively started working on them). Here are three more great free stories (all romances in various genres). The links take you to the books on Barnes and Noble, but they can be found elsewhere (I found them on iBooks). (more…)
Some books we consume as light reading end up catalysts for change in our lives. Laura Florand’s romance novels have fallen into this category for me (I recommended her free story The Chocolate Rose in my last post). In her chocolate series her heroes are French chefs (the stories set in France). I’ve loved all her heroes. Even the book I gave two stars (The Chocolate Temptation) I’ve actually re-read the first half again (and will read again because the first half deserves five stars). Her French chefs are just so captivating I’ll probably break down and buy the rest of the series (soon).
So how can reading about fictional French chefs finding love change one’s life? If you’d asked me this question two weeks ago I would have raised an eyebrow and stared back with a blank mind. I think it was while reading The Chocolate Rose a second time that change set in. The hero is a pastry chef who pours his heart into his desserts. When he offers the heroine something he’s made for her the reader knows he’s offering his heart on a plate though she doesn’t realise this at first. It made me stop and wonder if I’m dishing up my heart for my creative endeavours and if not, why not? There is no point creating anything without passion (without pouring our hearts into it). It’s made me ask myself, do I dish up my heart in my stories? I do! Am I dishing up my heart in my other artistic creations? Hmmm – not all the time! Why not? What do I want to be creating? Does it make me happy to dish up my heart? Yes, but I must feel passionate about the feeding.
So what else is changing? (more…)
The last few months I’ve been gorging on other people’s stories. Perhaps a part of me has been story-starved. Normally when I’m writing I crave non-fiction, but at the moment I crave fiction (like a fiction-addiction!). Perhaps I needed the escape so as to not think about not being able to write because my brain is still not right (I’m off to the hospital in a few weeks for an ultrasound on my thyroid) – in the mean time I have had new stories sprouting in my head and older unfinished ones demanding attention, but it’s like the characters are talking to me while I’m under water. I’m sure they’re frustrated! I know I am. In the mean time I’ve discovered new authors and tried out new genres. I’ve taken to haunting my local library once a week – willing to crack open any cover that grabs my eye. I’ve spent a lot of money buying books, but there are some great free books out there. I had to share my three favorite.
I downloaded mine from iBooks, but you can also find them free on Amazon (and I’m presuming other sites). My links will take you to the UK Amazon site so you may want to go straight to your own if it’s different. (more…)