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Tag Archives: Midsummer Moon

Like many other historical romance authors, I have a fondness for outdoor love scenes and put one in my new Regency novella, LADY EM’S INDISCRETION. Maybe real Regency folk didn’t spend as much time cavorting around gardens as the fictional ones. But they could have, and based on human nature, I bet some did.

Some of my favorite fictional spaces for outdoor romance: mazes, bowers, and what appears to be another of my fetishes (along with the chaise longue): the classical folly. One of my critique buddies asked when a Grecian temple is going up in my backyard. Maybe after I buy a chaise longue. 🙂

I enjoyed the use of Stourhead Gardens as the setting for the famous rejection scene in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice, with Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadyen. They don’t quite kiss, but I find this scene very sexy.

As for favorite outdoor love scenes in fiction, I have many. There was a fun scene in a fountain in Laura Kinsale’s MIDSUMMER MOON. I loved the ending of ILLUSION by Jean Ross Ewing (aka Julia Ross), in which the hero ties up the heroine in chains of daisies.

What are some of your favorite romantic outdoor scenes, whether from books or films?

From comments on this post, I’ll draw five names to receive a Kindle edition of LADY EM’S INDISCRETION. If you win, you can also suggest a friend who will receive one as well. Comment through Friday (one entry per person) and I’ll announce the winners next Saturday.

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I recently visited the MOST (Milton J Rubinstein Museum of Science and Technology) in Syracuse, NY, where there was an exhibit on the history of human flight. It began with some information on early ballooning, interesting though familiar since I’ve read a lot of books on the subject. But there was also a section devoted to Sir George Cayley (1773-1857) who invented what was said to be the first glider in 1804.

Sir George Cayley has been called the Father of Aviation. He was the first to identify the four forces that influence flight: weight, lift, drag and thrust and designed (though never built, of course) the first airplane. The picture here is of his 1804 glider. He continued to work with gliders, designing a biplane with “flappers”, which was flown in 1849 and the first manned glider, which was flown in 1853. There’s a story that the pilot was Cayley’s coachman, and that afterwards he said, “Please, Sir George, I wish to give notice, I was hired to drive and not to fly.”

This all made me think of Laura Kinsale’s MIDSUMMER MOON, in which the heroine invents a manned glider. I can’t locate my copy (I think I loaned it to a friend) and I can’t remember if there was an author’s note. In any case, what I learned at the MOST confirms that the heroine’s invention was not out of line with what real inventors were working on during the general time period.

I love when things like this are used in books, such as the blood transfusion in Mary Jo Putney’s SHATTERED RAINBOWS (which does have a useful historical note). IMHO it’s important that the cool bit of research support the overall story, which in both these cases it does.

Have you learned anything new or unusual recently through reading historical fiction? Through visiting a museum or exhibit? Any interesting bits of research you’d like to see used in fiction?


The recent awards season makes me think about famous eccentrics, what makes them eccentric and why we find them entertaining.

I have a theory. I think many of us secretly wish we could do something a little outrageous once in a while. For instance, I love some of the crazy clothing in the Harry Potter movies but would never dare to wear anything like that except to a costume party. Maybe that’s why we love eccentrics, because they appear to be genuinely having fun living an extraordinary life without concern for appearances.

Some eccentrics ring more true to me than others. I might be wrong, but I think people like Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp are the real deal, genuinely a bit mad, and in a good way. Celebrities like Madonna and Lady Gaga (again I could be wrong) come across as more calculated, though they are entertaining in their way.

Many famous figures from the Regency could be considered eccentrics, from Prinny himself to Beau Brummell and other dandies like Poodle Byng. It’s harder for me to tell whether some of these characters donned their idiosyncrasies to get attention or whether they were as eccentric in private.

I think that many of Brummell’s shocking sayings (“Who’s your fat friend?”) were a calculated risk. However, his friend the Princess Frederica Charlotte, Duchess of York, “Freddie” to her friends, seems more of a genuine eccentric. Her marriage was unhappy and she lived in the country, at Oatlands in Surrey, lavishing affection on her pets, which included cats, dogs, birds and monkeys.

“The Duchess’s life is an odd one; she seldom has a female companion, she is read to all night and falls asleep towards morning, and rises about 3; feeds her dozens of dogs and her flocks of birds, &c., comes down two minutes before dinner, and so round again.” – Right Honourable John Wilson Croker, LL.D. F. R. S., Secretary to the Admiralty, 1818

Eccentrics in romance novels are usually secondary characters, the weird great aunt and the like. I’ve tried to think of major characters who are eccentric and came up with a few. Merlin Lambourn, the heroine from Laura Kinsale’s MIDSUMMER MOON is a brilliant inventor but seriously unworldly. I’d call Charles Harcourt, the hero from Judith Ivory’s BEAST, something of an eccentric as well.

Do you enjoy eccentrics? Which are your favorites, real, historical or fictional?

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