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Monthly Archives: January 2014

There were different classes of inns in the 18th century and they

A Country Inn by Rowlandson

A Country Inn by Rowlandson

made quite strong distinctions between the patrons they would admit.

In Travellers in 18th Century EnglandRosamond Bayne-Powell writes:

The traveller had his choice of inns but must select them with care. There were first, the grand establishments, the Posting Houses, which entertained the quality who travelled in their own carriages or in post-chaises. They might accommodate riding gentlemen if these were duly accompanied by their servants. Some of these inns accepted passengers from the mail coach, some did not; but they never stooped so low as to take in the common stage passenger. Those low people had to go to the inns which catered for them ; but they had the satisfaction of knowing that there were others of a still inferior order.The passenger in the wagon, the walker on foot, was seldom admitted or, if he were, was pushed into the kitchen and fed upon remains.

This “class system” in regard to inns caused confusion among foreign visitors to England, who were unaware that arriving on foot might bar them entry.

Pastor Karl Philip Moritz in his book Travels in England  (1782) was very upset by the assumption that if he arrived on foot at an inn he was a man of no consequence, and was, accordingly, shabbily treated. He arrived at an inn at Windsor on foot and was appalled by the reception given:

As I entered the inn and desired to have something to eat, the countenance of the waiter soon gave me to understand that I should thee find no very friendly reception. Whatever I got they seemed to give me with such an air as showed how little they thought of me, and as if they considered me but a beggar. I must do them justice to own however, that they suffered me to pay like a gentleman.  No doubt this was the first time that this pert , bepowdered puppy had ever been called upon to wait on a poor devil who entered their place on foot/

Moritz asked for a room and was shown one, as he remarked, that resembled a “prison for malefactors.” When he asked for a better one, he was told they had no room for such guests as he and it was suggested he go back to Slough. He decided to accept the room, which may have been a mistake, as it cost him 9 shillings to stay the night ,despite having to share the room with drunken old man who got into bed wearing his boots. Note that it was not uncommon for guests to be asked to share rooms at all classes of inns throughout the 18th century.

Pierre Jean Grosley in his book,  A Tour to London or, New Observations on England, And its inhabitants (1772), wrote of how when staying at an inn in London he was woken at 3 a.m. in order that another guest could share his room and bed.

Moritz did get good service at the Mitre in Oxford, even though the arrived on foot, but this was probably because he was introduced to the inn’s staff by an Oxford clergyman who vouched for him.

According to Bayne-Powell, the lowest class of inn was the hedge-inn. These places took in as guests those who arrived on foot and wagon passengers. They charged between 9 pence – 1 shilling for bed and supper. Compare this with the extortionate charges poor Karl Mortiz paid at the Posting House at Windsor.

Until the end of the 18th century, the better type of inns did not have common dining rooms. A guest at this type of inn would normally have had the choice of hiring a private sitting room, if there was one to be had, or dining with the landlord and his family in their dining room, or even in the kitchen.

George_Goodwin_Kilburne_Checking_the_billHowever, at the end of the 18th century common dining rooms, or as they were known “coffee rooms” were introduced at the posting houses. In these common dining rooms it became customary to serve a set meal which became known as an “ordinary.”

The whole thing makes the modern Day’s Inn look pretty darned good.  Where would you like to stay when you travel and how would you arrive?

Posted in History, Research | 2 Replies

Lord Langdon's KissLord Langdon’s Kiss was the first book I wrote. Although some readers have asked about it, I haven’t reissued it yet because I thought it needed work. I’m in the thick of it now, about 5 chapters in, and I rather wish someone had told me back then to cut 10,000 words. Yup. 10,000.

Lord Langdon’s Kiss was originally published at about 85,000 words. My other traditional Regencies, the “Three Disgraces” series, are all around 75,000. And Lord Langdon’s Kiss has no more plot than any of them. What it does have is introspection. Tons and tons of introspection. What was I thinking?

I was thinking that it was so fun to get inside my characters’ heads.

And it is. Why people do things is still fascinating to me, and that applies to my characters as much as it does to real people. What I learned from the next story I wrote, a novella, The Wedding Wager, was that I didn’t need to use introspection to reveal everything. Writing a 20,000 word story taught me to tighten, tighten, and tighten some more.

I have a confession to make, though. I still love introspection, but I use it in a more disciplined way now. If a character can express him or herself through dialogue, action or body language, I use that instead. But there are times when a character has good reasons not to want to reveal his or her thoughts or feelings to others, and then I think a little internal dialogue is just fine.

Looking back over some older traditional Regencies, I see that I wasn’t the only one to write paragraphs and paragraphs of introspection. Perhaps one reason for it is the mores of the Regency, when it would have been improper for couples to express their feelings to each other before having an “understanding”. But I also think it’s a more old-fashioned way of writing.

What do you think of introspection? How much is too much? Can there be too little?


A Certain Latitude by Janet MullanyI’m happy to announce that A Certain Latitude is free for kindle today through next Monday, so now you have no excuse whatsoever to acquire it. Here’s an excerpt from a very nice review:

The book pairs two subjects you wouldn’t think would work together: very kinky explorations along with a serious eye-opening look at the sugar trade on an island loosely based on Antigua about eight or ten years before the slave trade is abolished in England. … You wouldn’t think those subjects would mesh at all, but in a weird way, they do. It’s not as if modern people don’t get up to serious mischief while the problems of the world continue to rage on right in our faces. However, at the heart of it, what holds the whole story together is a remarkable and easy-to-like heroine. All you need to know about her is this quote from early in the book which portrays her character perfectly: “Whenever she wished she had had the moral courage to starve… she was glad she had the good sense not to.”

readerimarriedhim333x500And I’ve also reissued my erotic tribute to Jane Eyre– Reader, I Married Him–which caused some weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth for its suggestion that Jane could go in uh, different directions. It is finally, finally priced appropriately for a novella. Cool cover!

And remember that reviews are very, very important to other readers, so please post one.

Thanks! Next week we return to our regularly scheduled program.

Murder at Westminster Abbey-1So many lovely new Risky books lately!!!  I am headed to the hospital today for surgery (hopefully just one night there, then I will be home again), and I have my Kindle loaded with new books and my stuffed Hello Kitty in my bag to keep me company.  In the meantime, I think a giveaway would be a good thing…

The second in my Amanda Carmack “Kate Haywood Elizabethan Mysteries” is out in April!  Murder at Westminster Abbey is set around the festivities of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation (which was tremendous fun to research!).  I just got a boxful of ARCs last week, and will give away one of them to a commenter on today’s post!  Just let us know what you’re reading lately, some of your favorite get-well-quick tips, whose coronation you would have liked to attend, anything you like.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee you all next week!

Posted in Giveaways | 5 Replies

I’m about to start writing a new book, so this is a good time to remind myself of what qualities I need in a hero. Years ago in my pre-blogging days, I wrote an article about romantic heroes. I looked it over and thought to share it with you.

Gentleman1812Here are, in my view, 10 qualities essential in a romantic hero, as I wrote them over ten years ago.

1. Be flawed. Surprisingly, women don’t want the heroes of romance novels to be perfect. Perfect is boring. After all, if the hero has no flaws, what can the heroine offer him? Romantic heroes are often arrogant, short-tempered, and tough. They are complex and full of paradox. The romance reader wants the hero to overcome his faults, grow emotionally, and rise to grander heights because of his relationship with the heroine. Love enriches him and makes him into a better person.

2. Be self-assured. No, this does not contradict tip number one. The romantic hero knows himself well. He knows his strengths and weaknesses and accepts himself as he is. He has come to terms with who he is and, as a result, has confidence and surety of purpose. The heroine is attracted to his confidence, though her challenge that he become a better person always shakes him up. The hero is less sure of himself in her presence. She upsets his equilibrium.

3. Be tough. The romantic hero handles adversity, tolerates pain. He does the difficult jobs, the ones that need doing, that no one else wants to do. Romantic heroes are often special military men, like Navy Seals, or policemen, or rescue workers risking their lives for others. The worlds they inhabit are often bleak and depressing, as well as dangerous. The romantic hero is often emotionally (and physically) wounded, and the heroine’s love is what he needs to heal.

4. Be controlled. Though tough and often foul-tempered, the romantic hero nonetheless exhibits remarkable self-control. He shoulders his burdens without complaint and nevers dumps those burdens on others. He is too self-disciplined to discharge his emotions onto others. The heroine, then, helps him loosen up enough to risk sharing some of his burdens with her.

5. Be trustworthy. The romantic hero is a man of his word. If he says he will do something, he will do it. The heroine can count on him; especially, she can entrust her own vulnerability to him and know that he will not betray her. The plots of romantic novels sometimes include elements where the hero seems untrustworthy and might appear to betray the heroine; however, the reader always knows he will reveal himself to be unwaveringly true to her.

6. Be ethical. The hero’s strong sense of ethics is closely related to his trustworthiness. The romantic hero knows what is right and what is wrong. He stands by his beliefs even in the face of his own annihilation; indeed, even if he fears that, in doing so, he will lose the heroine’s love. The hero is not afraid to stand alone for what is important to him. He plays by the rules, though sometimes the rules are of his own making. He does not prey upon the less fortunate, but saves his strength to fight injustice.

7. Value equality. The romantic hero accepts his heroine as his equal, although it sometimes takes the whole book for him to learn to do so. He becomes less fixated on having his own way and learns to consider the heroine’s needs, wishes, and goals as equally important as his own. Rather than bully and dominate, he seeks to achieve an equitable balance between himself and the heroine, one in which they both are winners. He might even learn to cook.

8. Be physically fit. In romance novels, the hero’s fitness often reaches idealized perfection, but the important point is he values his body and his health. He may stretch his physical abilities to the limit and beyond, but he would never neglect himself physically or abuse his good health. At least, not once he meets the heroine.

9. Be sexually generous. Sometimes the romantic hero begins the book focused on superficial sexual relationships and his own pleasure. His relationship with the heroine, however, travels beyond the sexual. Lovemaking is one area where the hero can show the heroine his love. In his lovemaking, he gives as much or more than he takes. It is essential to him to please the heroine, to show her physically that he loves her. To his wonderment, the pleasure he receives from their lovemaking is intensified by his generosity.

10. Finally, be sure to have dark-as-night hair with a habit of falling waywardly across your forehead. The romantic heroine will ache to gently comb the unruly hair back into place with her fingers.

Actually, is it not really essential a hero have dark, touchable hair. Romance heroes come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. It is essential, though, that the romantic hero act like a hero.

What do you think? Did I miss anything?

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