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Did you know that January 1 wasn’t always January 1? The grandparents and parents of our Regency heroes and heroines would have known a year when January 1 followed March 24. What’s more, that year they would lose a whole eleven days that September.

Until 1752 Britain and the British Empire, including the American colonies, still followed the Julian Calendar, established in the time of Julius Caesar, which made the year 365 days long and used leap years, but the calendar had an error that made the Spring equinox drift from its date of March 21. Two hundred years earlier, though, astronomers convinced Pope Gregory to change to a calendar based on the  solar calendar that kept the equinox on March 21, important, because that was how they calculated when Easter would be.

Most of the Catholic countries adopted this Gregorian calendar in the 1500s, but Britain refused to switch to that “papist” system. You can imagine how confusing using two different calendars could be to travelers and traders.

And how disruptive changing the calendar would be to birthdays, festival days, paydays, dated contracts–any number of things.

In 1752 in Britain, March 25 became January 1, the start of a new year. But more adjustment was necessary to bring things in line with the Gregorian calendar, so Wednesday September 2, 1752, was followed by Thursday September 14, 1752, “losing” eleven days.

In 1752 William Willett of Endon bet that he could dance non-stop for twelve days. He started dancing on September 2, danced all night and stopped the next day–Sept 14. Twelve days! He won the bet.

The Whigs, who were more progressive and were convinced by the science of why the change was needed, supported the change. The conservative Tories were opposed and protested under the slogan, “Give Us Our Eleven Days.”

In 1755 Hogarth released a satirical print called An Election Entertainment depicting a tavern scene with some bawdy Whigs celebrating while Tories outside protested, “Give us our eleven days.” Apparently, though, citizens did not really riot in the streets believing they’d lost eleven days, as many believe. Hogarth’s print is thought to have contributed to this idea. 

If you’d like to learn more about the differences in the Gregorian and Julian calendars, here’s the Wikipedia link.

My book, Not Proper Enough, is due Jan 1, 2012. I am, therefore, not fit company for much of anyone. Two and a half hours of sleep one night (night before last for those of you panicking that I drove to work in such a sleep deprived condition) actually makes you mostly brain-dead the next day.

I will see you in 2012 with a list of my New Year’s Resolutions which will be something like this:




Actually, could you-all fill in the blanks for me?

Thank you.


Oh, dear. I had Monday off and just realized that yesterday was Tuesday which makes today Wednesday, not Tuesday.


I am preparing a post on crystalizing stuff per instructions from 1807, which I guess I will debut NEXT Wednesday. As a teaser, the process clearly works, but requires refinement. I have some pictures and, I just realized, a jar of alum sludge in the pantry that by now must be a god awful mess, since I was only supposed to leave the item in there for 24 hours and now it’s been days. Uh-oh.

I think my pictures should be sufficiently disgusting that you guys should calendar the Wednesday post next week. You won’t want to miss it.

My historical, Not Proper Enough, is done and turned into my publisher. But not before discovering that I had written TWO marriage scenes. Yes. My hero and heroine got married twice. I thought I’d deleted one of them but didn’t!

So, how’s the New Year been for you so far?

farewelltoscandalI was googling around to see if people during the Regency might have made New Year’s resolutions and found confirmation in a delightful post from The Snug Blog. The author found a 1792 etching “A Long String of Resolutions for a New Year – Design’d by G.M. Woodward” including satirical sketches of people making various resolutions including the one shown here.

I imagine they probably had a similar success rate to what people have now. Googling further, I found statistics saying that about 8-12% of those making New Year’s resolutions end up succeeding. Maybe it’s not so bad–at least those 8-12% made it, and for the rest, there’s always next year.

The problem is that starting a new calendar doesn’t mean I’ve left the baggage of the previous year behind. All the things that hindered me in the past may still be there. Any resolution that doesn’t take those things into account isn’t going to go far.

Also, if I feel the need for a change, I don’t want to wait until the New Year to start it. And if I backslide, I’m also not going to wait until the next year to start over. It’s only through setbacks and recoveries, by stringing together small successes day by day, that my larger goals have ever been met.

So I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions as such, although I do think it’s good to take time to reflect on how life is going and whether I’m living as authentic a life as I can.

The small steps I’ve been taking recently toward creative recovery include going to a coffee shop a few times a week to work on a new novella. I’m nearly done with the first draft and more importantly, I’m enjoying it.

Baby steps.

How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions? Have you made any? What helps you succeed?


Happy new year, everyone and big congrats to Carolyn on her release this week!

This was quite a week for me as I finished both my second Jane as a vamp book (no title yet) and revisions for my Harlequin Spice contemporary, Tell Me More (August 2011). I found Jane 2 an incredibly difficult book to write and it weighed me down like a millstone around my neck that I couldn’t move forward on it–I had one major false start so I got off to a late start. I have been absolutely euphoric ever since Sunday night, when I sent it in, and pretty happy about the revisions that I sent in Tuesday.

So having spent the last few months in a state of whiny self pity squeezing out Jane 2 and Mr. Bishop and the Actress (Little Black Dress, next month!) and not allowing myself to do things because I had to write (I wasn’t very productive but I spent a lot of energy agonizing), I really feel this new year is a fresh start.

I don’t make resolutions, but this is what I hope to do in 2011:

  • Go to things–the Smithsonian is on my doorstep (more or less)
  • Hang out with friends
  • Write at a reasonable pace
  • Go to the library
  • Update my website and try and develop a more cheerful, giggly and milk-chocolatey online persona
  • Give back–judge a few contests. Also if you’re considering entering WRW’s Marlene contest and win the historical, you’ll get a critique from me!
  • Come up with brilliant ideas for next books and make huge amounts of $
  • Exercise, watch what I eat, clean the house, get the ivy up in the front yard and do something about the back blah blah blah
  • Paint stairwell I put undercoat on at least ten years ago and make my house a lurrrve nest

Sounds all fairly doable, right? But right now I’m going to take a nap. Happy new year, dear Risky friends. What are you up to today?

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