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Monthly Archives: January 2014

I was thinking I would post more about my pugilism research but I when I wasn’t writing, I was prepping documentation for taxes.

Taxes. Boy. Record keeping. ::sob::

Anyway, here’s ten interesting facts about English Taxes during the Regency.

1. 1,308,254 5s 3 1/4d: Land tax gross receipts (England) in 1811

2. 12,358,673 2s 2 1/2d: Property Tax collected in 1811

3. 3,096 7s 11d: Income Tax collected in 1811

4. 11,322 19s 11d: Income tax collected in Scotland in 1811

5. 112,937 10s 0d: Monies Ireland received from Great Britain, representing 1/3 of the profit on the 1810 lottery

This poor tax is now become as much the object of senseless abuse as were, in 1798, those who endeavoured to prevent it from being imposed. In 1812 an unfortunate man, named Carter, was imprisoned in jaol [sic], for a year, and lined, for having published a paragraph complaining of the operation of this tax. My Lord Folkestone, who made a motion upon this subject, described this paragraph as being moderate and inoffensive. Yet, for republishing the same paragraph, Mr. Lovell of the Statesman was imprisoned a year or 18. months in Newgate, and also fined,—The selfish and, unfeeling crowds, who are now clamouring against this tax; who are abusing it; who are applying to it all sorts of vile epithets and names, because they now feel the pinch of their pockets; these persons never meet to petition against the prosecutions of the press; no, and they never would have met for that purpose, if every press in England had been demolished and the types thrown into the street, as were those of the American printers at the City of Washington, by command of our military and naval commanders. Saturday, January 18, 1815, Cobbett’s Political Register

7. XVI. And Whereas Difficulties may arise in discovering Lodgers or Inmates in Houses liable to pay the said Rates, Duties and Taxes, in respect of Carriages, Male Servants and other Male Persons, Horses, Mares, Geldings and Dogs; Be it therefore enacted, That the Owner of any House letting the same, or Owners of any Part thereof, to any Lodger or Lodgers in which any Lodger or Inmate shall reside, who shall keep, retain, employ or use any Carriage, Male Servant or other Male Person, Horse, Mare, Gelding or Dog, shall &c. kept shall deliver to any such Officer or other Person authorized as aforesaid, on Demand, or within Ten Days after by their Lodgers. Notice served by such Officer or other Person authorized as aforesaid, by leaving or causing to be left the same at the House of such Person as aforesaid, a true List or Account in Writing under the Hand of such Owner expressing the Name and Surname of every such Lodger or Inmate, with an Account of every Carriage, Male Servant or other Male Person, Horse, Mare, Gelding or Dog kept, retained, employed or used by such Lodger or Inmate, to the best of the Knowledge and Information of such Owner j and if any such Owner (hall neglect or refuse to deliver such List or Account as aforesaid, or shall wilfully omit or misrepresent any Description which ought to be contained therein, or shall make or deliver any undue or false List or Account, every such Person so offending shall for every such Offence forfeit the Sum of Twenty Pounds. Penalty. The Statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 24 (1816)

8. In Great Britain, the principal taxes upon the necessaries of life are those upon salt, leather, soap, and candles. Heavy taxes upon these commodities must somewhat increase the expence of the sober and industrious poor, and must, consesquently, more or less raise the wages of their labour. Such taxes, notwithstanding their immediate effect, afford a considerable revenue to government, and accordingly they are continued and multiplied.Consumable commodities, whether necessaries or luxuries, may be taxed in two different ways. The consumer may either pay an annual sum on account of his using or consuming goods of a certain kind ; or the goods may be taxed while they remain in the hands of the dealer, and before they are delivered to the consumer. The consumable goods which last a considerable time before they are consumed altogether, are most properly taxed in the one way. Those of which the consumption is either immediate or more speedy, in the other. The Cyclopædia: Or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and …, Volume 35

9. An Act to repeal the additional Duty on British made Wine or Sweets granted by an Act of this Session of Parliament. [25th May 1815.]

WHEREAS by an Act made in this Session of Parliament, intituled An Act for granting to His Majesty, until the Fifth Day of April One thousand eight hundred and nineteen, additional Duties of Excise in Great Britain, on Sweets, Tobacco, Snuff and Excise Licences, an additional Duty of Excise Is imposed for Liquor made in Great Britain for Sale, by Infusion, Fermentation or otherwise from Fruit or ‘Sugar, or from Fruit or Sugar mixed with any other Ingredients or Materials whatsoever, commonly called « Sweets, or called or distinguished by the Name of Made Wines: And Whereas it is expedient to repeal the ‘said additional Duty;’ Be it therefore enacted by The King’s Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That, from and aster the Eighteenth Day of February One thousand eight hundred and fifteen, the said additional Duty shall be and the same is hereby repealed. repealed.

II. And be it further enacted, That the Commissioners of Excise in England and Scotland respectively, or Entries of any Three or more of them respectively, shall and they respectively are hereby authorized and empowered to Duties to cause any Sum or Sums of Money which shall have been charged as any such additional Duty for or in respect charged of any such British-made Wine or Sweets to be discharged from and out of the Books and other Documents containing any Entry or Entries of or relating to any such Charge, or Sum or Sums of Money. The Statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 24 (1816)

10. Examination of Lord Henry Petty’s Plan of Finance.

We have already given an account of Lord Henry Petty’s plan of finance. It was proposed to Parliament and the public, in the year 1807, accompanied with an elaborate set of tables. Being very complex, it was not generally understood. As it promised to raise the necessary loans with little or no increase of taxes, it was favourably received, and probably would have been continued for some years if the ministry who brought it forward had remained in office.

Number 10 is my favorite.

Posted in Former Riskies, History, Regency | Tagged | 2 Replies

Today I thought I’d talk about book reviews. There are two schools of thought about reviews:

  1. They don’t matter.
  2. They do matter.

Similarly, writers are advised to:

  1. Comb through your reviews for quotable quotes.
  2. Never, ever read your reviews. That way lies madness.

So today I want to share some of my finest review hours (of different books, if you’re wondering. I don’t think I’ve yet written the book that could elicit all of the following responses):

This book was very vulgar! Pornography is not my thing. The sex acts were very explicit and embarrassing. I thought I Was reading something historical. This was historical to the point of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The “relations” include scenes involving a corpse which is at best in bad taste and at worst borders on the necrophiliac.

… the worst character — ever. I hope she gets crotch rot. And dies.

…a thowback [sic] the vintage sleaze pulps of the 1960’s of which I am an avid collector.

Moral Note: Above, and heck, and “b” word in reference to breeding.

I’ve long ago come to the conclusion that if someone hates a book they’re going to more readily write a review than someone who loved it, or even just sorta liked it. For one thing, it’s easier. It provides catharsis for wasted money or dashed hopes. I’ve just read two wonderful books about the Borgias by Kate Quinn, and all I can do is flap my mouth and wave my hands in inarticulate admiration, wish I could do what she does, and then feel guilty about not going further with it. (Sorry, Kate.)

I will add that there’s only one thing I find truly offensive in a review (rather than feeling mystified), and that’s a reviewer who spells Austen Austin. She’s not a town in Texas. Austen. Write 100 times….

Do reviews influence you when you buy books? Do you review the books you read? And if you’re a writer, what’s the worst or most bizarre review you’ve ever received?

Lady Em's Indiscretion Original CoverThis is the original cover for my sexy novella, Lady Em’s Indiscretion. I think it’s lovely, as are all my covers from Kim Killion. However, it turns out to have been an error in branding.

After publishing it, I learned that some readers do not read book descriptions before buying. There were complaints that it was too short and too sexy. My guess is the cover and title were too much like the cover and title of Lady Dearing’s Masquerade and misled some people into thinking Lady Em’s Indiscretion would be another long historical, sexy but with many other story elements. This, even though the description included the words “sexy” and “novella”. 

Lady Em's Indiscretion - New Cover
Anyway, there’s no point in blaming readers. So after a while, I asked Kim Killion to do a different cover, one that would make the heat level more obvious. Here’s what she came up with. Although I’m sad the folly had to go, since the switch reviews have been consistently positive. I only wish I’d done it sooner. Live and learn.

What readers are saying now:

“What a great story. A sweet romance of hope everlasting and the power of physical attraction. I really enjoyed the read, quick and very fun.”

“I don’t think the bad reviewers were really paying attention to what they were buying. This is a SHORT and sensual story, well worth the 99 cents I paid for it. It is well-written and sexy, and the author has a good sense of the time period.”

Lady Em’s Indiscretion is free on Amazon today through February 4. Just please do NOT download if you are looking for a sweet traditional Regency!

Which cover do you like best? What sorts of covers signal sexy to you?


Andrea4CoverWe have Tuesday winner announcements!

Lesley A you have won our Cara Elliott giveaway!  And Amy Kathryn, you have won an ARC of my next Amanda Carmack book, Murder at Westminster Abbey!  Please email me your contact info at Amccabe7551 AT yahoo

Meanwhile, I am continuing to get better every day!  Reading lots of books and drinking lots of tea.  Back with a proper post next week

Think back to 2003. I won in the Golden Heart contest, I sold my first book, The Mysterious Miss M, and I made the difficult decision to leave the day job and write full-time. I was floating on air.

Wellington Arch

Wellington Arch

Two weeks after I left the job, Amanda and I went on The Regency Tour of England, a tour designed and led by Washington Romance Writers member, Patty Suchy, whose avocation was to be Novel Explorations, specializing in travel that explored the written word.

Her Regency Tour was specially designed for Regency writers and readers. I was not an experienced traveler, so to have the tour designed for me was a dream come true.

We traveled to London, Bath, and Brighton and saw many places in between, like Lacock Village, a village that appeared unchanged from the Regency, and Salisbury Cathedral, where we saw a copy of the Magna Carta.

Amanda and Diane at Stratfield Saye

Amanda and Diane at Stratfield Saye

We visited Stratfield Saye, the country house of the Duke of Wellington, a visit that sparked my not-so-secret “love affair” with dear Artie (and my intense rivalry with Kristine Hughes over who he loves best). We visited Apsley House, his house in town. We visited so many great houses on that tour: Osterley, Wilton House, Syon Park, Bowood, Mompesson House. I examined furnishings up close and developed a particular interest in carpets. If I mention a carpet in my books, it comes from that tour.

Regency Room, Geffrye Museum

Regency Room, Geffrye Museum

We also saw wonderful museums. The Geffrye Museum of domestic furnishings showed how furnishings changed through the ages. It showed a Regency drawing room. We visited Finchcock’s, a country house converted to a museum of musical instruments.

We visited Brighton, where I learned the beach does not have fine sand, but rather is pebbled. We walked through the Brighton Pavilion–photos don’t do it justice.

In Bath we had tea in the Pump Room with Mary Balogh, who just happened to be in Bath at the same time. She treated all of us. Later we dressed in Regency costume and danced with the Jane Austen Dancers in the same assembly rooms where Jane Austen danced.

Finchcock's Museum

Finchcock’s Museum

We walked through Mayfair and Tunbridge Wells and ate at the George Inn. We ate Sally Lun buns in Bath and visited Kew Gardens and rode a canal boat on the Regents Canal.

Diane at Apsley House

Diane at Apsley House

I’m sure I’ve left out something….Throughout this tour, Patty took care of everything, so all we had to do was look and experience and enjoy.

In 2005, Patty gave another tour, this time called the Romantic Road North. This tour focused on the era of coaching and the inns and sites along the Great North Road. After these two tours, Patty became more than a tour guide to me. She became a friend.

In September 2014, Patty and the ladies of Number One London blog have designed a Wellington tour, covering all the sites relating to the Duke of Wellington. I’m determined to attend.

But…Patty will not be with us, except in spirit. She lost her long battle with ovarian cancer two weeks ago, news that came as a shock, if not a surprise. I will miss her.

Diane and Patty on 2005 tour

Diane and Patty on 2005 tour

Patty showed me the Regency in all its glorious detail and gave me memories I will forever cherish. I can never thank her enough for that. I hope she is looking down from heaven and realizing all the joy she’s given to so many.

Thank you, Patty!!


Posted in Regency, Research | 8 Replies
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