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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Ammanda cannot be here with you today so I, Risky Carolyn, am filling in for her.

Can you guess who I’m thinking of? Here are some clues.

1. A man who was born in Dublin, Ireland.

2. He’s a Gemini. His characteristics are: Communication, Indecision, Inquisitive, Intelligent, Changeable

3. He died in 1822.

4. College: Cambridge.

5. If you take the first 3 letters of his Christian name, change that 3rd letter to the first letter of a word that is the opposite of “cat” and leave his last name alone, you would have the name of a blond Rock Star from the 80’s who is still touring today.

6. He was once a Whig

7. From 1797 to 1800 he was a member of the Privy Council of Ireland

8. He was involved in an infamous duel and shot his opponent in the thigh. His opponent had never fired a gun before.

9. In 1821, he became the 2nd Marquess of Londonderry

10. in 1822, his half brother became the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry.

11. Byron had these unkind words for him:

Posterity will ne’er survey
A nobler grave than this:
Here lie the bones of [XXXXXXXX]:
Stop, traveller, and piss.

12. Per Wikipedia: In a profile of XXXXXXX published within months of his death, he was reported to have had, prior to his marriage, a son by a maidservant who lived near the Mount Stewart estate, and whom it was rumored he supported.

Leave your guess in the comments.

Craziness reigns at Jewel Central.

I’m working on The Next Historical and I’m in that “This is so painfully bad, why did I EVER think I could write anything?” phase, plus it’s just really hard, this writing business.

My hero and heroine are currently alone in a bedroom and ALL THEY DO IS TALK!!! I keep muttering “shut up, would you?” at the monitor and they keep talking. This happened in Not Proper Enough, and I thought I was going to end up with the World’s Talkiest Romance. I imagined reviewers saying ALL they do is TALK! but actually, by the time it was out there in the world there were a few complaints about too much sex. So, I must have gotten through the talking part. Cross your fingers that Lucy and Thrale will end up smoking hot.


Today I ended up chatting with a really gifted artist, and though illustration and writing are very different, it turns out there are things in common about being a creative sort. Here’s a link to his website: Ricky Watts. The link goes to his illustrations. I bought two prints. Any guesses about which ones? One hint – Poultry is big in my town. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! You’re on your own as to the other.

Challenges in common: procrastination. I did not tell him it is my belief I can out-procrastinate anyone and besides, he had walls full of art that said his procrastination problem is not as severe as mine.

Getting in the zone. Very familiar (but not as familiar as it ought to be, you talkie hero and heroine!). When you come out the end, it can feel like someone else did all that work. I know a lot of writers feel that way. I’m surprised, for some reason, that it happens to artists too.

I do enjoy meeting creative sorts.

Nachos, Spinich Salad, Sweet Potato Fries

Does that sound like dinner? It was! For me, our own Janet Mullaney, and Pam Rosenthal. Janet was all the way in my part of California this weekend. I was supposed to see them in Berkeley on Saturday, but the Evil Day Job was particularly evil and by Friday I’d had too many nights of <5 hours sleep. I slept until 11:00 AM Saturday, long past our meeting. Goodness. Janet and Pam drove to my town Sunday instead and we shared the meal noted and talked about writing and publishing and writing and it was really lovely to see them both.

To Be Read, and Wished-I-Hadn’t-Read

My digital TBR is getting out of control. But that doesn’t stop me from buying more books. I have Meljean Brook’s Guardian Demon in my Kindle and part of me doesn’t want to read it because then it will be over and I won’t have it to look forward to with such delicious anticipation. I love that series. I love her writing. I do know I have to save the book for when I have a block of time, hopefully this coming weekend.

I did read a book that someone in an RWA workshop (I have the conference on audio and am listening to workshops) said was edgy and risky so I bought it immediately and by about 1/3 of the way through I knew exactly what would happen next and I was in fact right every time. That, my friends, is not edgy or risky. It can’t be if I know what will happen, why it happens, and don’t even care. This book had nearly 900 Amazon reviews and most of them are raving. The author was consistently mistaken about the difference between your and you’re. I was skimming by the middle in case I was wrong about what would happen but I wasn’t so I dnf’d.

What’s in your TBR and any books in your Wished You Hadn’t Read pile?

Well. I think this is a blog bost! I need to get back to Lucy and Thrale and see if I can get them to stop talking.

I’ve been writing historical romance for quite some time. You’d think I’d know EVERYTHING by now. But I don’t. I know that shocks you, but it’s true. Like most authors who set books in the past, I have a good grasp of the basics of my era (The Regency, doh) and a decent big picture of the Regency era. That’s never enough, of course.

With every book, I’ve either run across something I didn’t know or hadn’t seen before, or else needed some specific detail not in my research library or collection-O-Links. In Not Wicked Enough, for example, I ended up with a need to know about doorknobs. Really, really specific information. I found it, too, from a kind gentleman who is a member of a Doorknob collectors group. For Indiscreet, I had to go big and wide — Turkey in the Regency era. One of my first posts (possibly NSFW, as the post has naked women paintings) for the Riskies was the result of some of that research.

Sometimes I come across something while I’m doing something else ::cough::procrastinating::cough:: and I end up with a fact that I just have to use. Chimney ornaments and chimney glass in Not Proper Enough.

My current project is no exception. Yesterday I came across an amazing website. Before I send you off there to have a look, here’s how it came about: I was writing The Next Historical (Sinclair Sisters Book 2!) and I needed my heroine to call on my hero’s fancy Mayfair house which in Lord Ruin, I’d said was on Charles Street. So I went to Google maps and entered Charles Street, London England — not specific enough to be useful. I made up a street number (25) and THEN I had good results. I switched to Street View and uh-oh. Those houses were cute and clearly close to period, but they were small. I needed a mansion. For some reason I then searched for something like “historical regency interiors charles street” clicked on images and voila! 137 Charles Street is Dartmouth House and the street view is awesome. It’s also now a hotel/wedding location so there were lots of pictures of the interior, including some historical pictures.

In the middle of that Googling, I ended up at a site that was NOT on point as it turned out. Including the word “Regency” in a google search even with other words to filter out the not-even-close stuff, typically hits Real Estate sites. What I thought was one of those had a very interesting, atmospheric picture of Montague House, which I decided to look at. I like to pretend I can buy an English mansion. The website name was Ideal Homes, so, hey!

Since the picture is copyrighted, and since you should go look, here’s a link to the page I landed on. But come back! There’s more!

Obviously, 1) totally awesome 2) Not about buying or selling Real Estate. Oh, ho ho no!!

But what is this site?

Using a generous selection of old photos, old maps, and historic documents from the rich and unique archive and local history collections of Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Southwark, Ideal Homes explores the origins and significance of suburbia as revealed through the history of South London. The site is hosted by the University of Greenwich and was funded by the New Opportunities Fund.

I clicked the link A-Z Galleries

Carolyn About Faints: Historic Maps

People, this site is the motherlode for historical researchers. Then I randomly clicked around the South East London boroughs and wow. I am SO grateful to the UK for getting the funding out there to put this kind of resource out there for people. And grateful to the University of Greenwich for doing this. Here’s the about page. While I understand why they’ve called the website Ideal Homes, I’m not sure it was the best choice from a Google-Fu point of view, but I don’t care! I found it! It’s awesome.

Anyway, I wrote my scene, inspired by Dartmouth House (and unable to get Montague House of Blackheath Park out of my head) and when I was all done, I realized my heroine could not go to the hero’s house after all. So yeah. I’ll save most of it for when she DOES have to go.

But it was one of my better writing days.

My hero needs a rather run down estate and I think I’m inspired!

With Napoleon rampaging around Europe, the grand tour was a little more problematic during our period.  But country house visiting was quite the thing.

This wasn’t always to the taste of estate owners.  In 1783, Horace Walpole wrote to Sir Thomas Mann

“I am tormented all day and every day by people that come to see my house, and have no enjoyment of it in summer. It would be even in vain to say that the plague was here. I remember such a report in London when I was a child ,and my uncle Lord Townshend, then secretary of state, was forced to send guards to keep off the crowd from the house in which the plague was said to be–they would go and see the plague. had I been master of the house, I should have said… “You see the plague! you are the plague.”

Poor Horace was so inundated with visitors to his extraordinary house-Strawberry hill, Richmond, that after he had been disturbed at dinner by the arrival of three Germans Barons who wished to visit his house,  he eventually would only allow his housekeeper to admit people to his house if they could show her a signed ticket obtained from him in advance. Such was the demand for these visits that Walpole had tickets printed– he still signed them and inserted the date of the proposed visit — and  went so far as to print “a page of rules for admission to see my House”:

“…..Mr Walpole is very ready to oblige any curious persons with the sight of his house and his collection…it is but reasonable that such persons as send, should comply with the rules he has been obliged to lay down for showing it.

No ticket will serve but on the day for which it is given.If more than four persons come with a ticket,the housekeeper has positive order to admit none of them….

Every ticket will admit the company only between the hours of twelve and three before dinner,and only one company will be admitted on the same day.

They that have tickets are desired not to bring children…”

Chatsworth was the first house to adopt the habit of reserving “open days” for tourists and as early as 1760 it was open only on two public days each week.

Derbyshire was a very popular destination — with the Peak district, Matlock, spas at Buxton, and houses such as Chatsworth, Haddon Hall and Kedelston.


Mrs. Garnett – Kedleston Hall

Mrs Garnett, who was the housekeeper at Kedelston,  was famous for her guided tour. In her hand you can see a copy of Catalogue of Pictures, Statues, &c. at Kedleston, ready to put it into the hand of the next enquiring visitor.  Such guidebooks had been produced at Kedleston since 1769, with subsequent editions revised to take account of the expanding art collection. It was an important means of recording the identities of the sitters in portraits, which were of greater interest to 18th-century visitors than matters of attribution or iconography.  A consequence of not having such aids was recorded by Horace Walpole, who described how at Petworth the 6th Duke of Somerset refused to let his servants have new picture lists, “so that when he died, half the portraits were unknown by the family.”

Although it was by no means uncommon for house servants to act as guides, it was unusual for the housekeeper herself to be painted. That she was immortalized in this way perhaps indicates the respect and affection in which this long-serving and highly capable servant was held; indeed, she was given a gravestone describing her as “sincerely regretted.”

In 1777 she took Samuel Johnson and James Boswell around the house: “Our names were sent up, and a well-drest elderly housekeeper, a most distinct articulator, shewed us the house… We saw a good many fine pictures… There is a printed catalogue of them which the housekeeper put into my hand; I should like to view them at leisure.”

An excellent book on Country House visiting is Adrian Tinniswood’s The Polite Tourist.

Posted in Regency, Research | 8 Replies

pageproofsThis picture is an example of the sort of week I’ve been having.

See the pretty page proof of Fly with a Rogue on the left? It’s actually the second of three proofs I ordered for checking out updates to the paperback version. Nice cover, right? And that’s just as it was in the first page proof. But there were still some issues to be addressed in the interior, so after making corrections, I ordered the third page proof. In the rush to check the interior, I didn’t take a close look at the cover. After all, it was good in the previous two proofs and I hadn’t changed the file, right?

My bad. Next time I will check everything, every time. For now, I’m going to wait until the cover is fixed—which should be soon—before I do a giveaway of the paperback copy.

Other Stuff That Went Wrong this week. One of the support cylinders for the trunk of my hard-working, much-loved but soon-to-be-replaced Subaru Outback broke, so now it takes two people to load or unload anything, one to hold the trunk open, one to handle the stuff. An important message to the narrator of the audiobook for Lady Dearing’s Masquerade didn’t go through for whatever reason—and with no error reported, so I didn’t know until I sent her another note that she hadn’t gotten the first. Anyway, she’s now working diligently to make up for the lost time, which I appreciate!

So nothing terrible, just little annoyances and setbacks. So how was your week? Any accomplishments? Any setbacks, large or small, you’d like to share?

But first let me announce the winners of the e-book version of Fly with a Rogue. Congratulations to:

Shelley Munro

Please email me at elena @ (no spaces) and let me know the correct email to use for the gift and if you prefer a Kindle, Nook or Smashwords copy.

So let me know how your week has been going!


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