Back to Top

Tag Archives: The Magnificent Marquess

ge-tmm-banner-750x1125 Happy 2017! I had hoped to give you a date for the re-release of The Magnificent Marquess, but I am finishing up my revisions and still aiming for the end of this month or early February. I just can’t sit on my new cover any longer –take a look!! (click on images to see them bigger)

The hero in this book has lived in India for most of his life, and besides some loyal Indian servants who chose to come with him to London, he also has brought his pet cheetah, Ranee. She is the cause of some trouble right at the beginning of the story. And while you might not think the topic of cheetahs is very connected to the Regency, let me show you how it is!

When this story was first published by Signet back in 1998, some readers didn’t realize that in the early 19th century there were still (or ever had been) Asian cheetahs in India. They are gone from India (the cheetahs, not the readers) and are very nearly extinct now even in the Middle East, where they used to roam freely. I was very distressed recently to read that cheetahs of every kind are now considered endangered. But in 1816, that was not the case.

In India, cheetahs were often trained for hunting. They are, after all, the fastest animal on the planet. It almost seems like cheating!! cheetahs-2Just because the British were in India where the climate was quite unlike that at home doesn’t mean they were about to give up their treasured leisure pursuits. But not all cheetahs were suited to it, and that is the case with Ranee, who is much happier as a pampered companion.

Of course, Ranee is fictional, and I went with my belief in “what could have been” when I wrote this story. Have you ever read or written something in a story that seems reasonable based on research, even though you couldn’t document that anyone ever did it? Isn’t it exciting when later you stumble across information that supports it? It’s so much easier to do research now!

The Internet was just blossoming back when I wrote the original version of this book. At that time I did not find any actual cases of cheetahs being brought to London. But do you know who had one? George III! And the artist George Stubbs took time off from painting horses long enough to paint a picture of it. Here it is:

stubbs-painting-of-george-iiis-cheetahIt breaks my heart that the king’s cheetah eventually ended up in the zoo at the Tower of London, such a sad fate for a magnificent animal born to run. How long it survived there I have not been able to find out. Even though this happened some 60 years before my story takes place, pre-Regency, the king and many other people from that time were still alive during the Regency and might have remembered poor Sultan, or at least saw Stubbs’s painting exhibited at the Royal Academy.

I still haven’t been able to access much information about Sultan or even the later history of the Stubbs painting, and now I would love to know more. If you’ve ever run across this or know of an accessible source, please share!

In the meantime, please let me know in the comments what you think of my new cover? I always wished Signet had included Ranee in the original one. I hope by next month I’ll be letting you know the new version of the book, revised and expanded, is out and available!! Happy New Year, everyone!    cheetah_trainer-croppedP.S. If you are interested in learning more about cheetahs, there’s a fascinating blog that follows the story of one rescued cheetah from cub-dom to adulthood (click on any of the cheetah pix on the site’s homepage, or go here for a single post:   or here for a nice narrative version of Sheba’s story:  Also here’s a link to the recent information about how endangered these beautiful cats have become today (with some more lovely photos):










I’ve never missed my Riskies blogging date (except one time we switched dates), and here I am, but I have to tell you I have been sick all month. ALL MONTH!

Rather unbelievably, I came down with the mumps. Yes, I had it as a child (we didn’t have the vaccine for it then), although I had a very light case. My sister had it much worse. Perhaps my case then wasn’t bad enough to give me full immunity, or something. At any rate, an outbreak of it on the state college campus close to where I work apparently spilled a bit into the nearby community, and WHAM!

I will tell you, having mumps at my age is NOT for sissies. Also, when you are that sick, not resting enough can prolong how long it takes to get well (what, you are not writing that down?), and can also lead to secondary infections…..

In my defense, allow me to explain that in my primary day job, I work in a one person church office, and as we are in between pastors at present, there is literally no one else who can do the work. And the work does need to get done. (sigh.) I was good about cleaning the office with Lysol in case anyone else came in there. Obviously I stayed home from Sunday services! But I did get more intentional about balancing work and rest, and I am finally on the mend.

So instead of an interesting research piece, I am begging your indulgence. I know I already announced that The Magnificent Marquess was coming out on May 15, and we only missed that by a couple of days. Not bad all things considered! But I do have buy links to share now. (Print edition is not done yet.)




I also –tah-dah –issued my first newsletter in literally YEARS. If by any chance you are interested in signing up for future ones (I will only send one out when there is actual news), then here is a link to sign up for that:

Did you ever have the mumps? I don’t want to turn this into a rant about why people should vaccinate their children, but OTOH I am pretty steamed about having just lost the entire month of May while being in a lot of pain!! Feel free to reminisce or rant here if you want to.  🙂



I know you understand the issues –I think all of us here tend to be research geeks. Sometimes it’s hard to pull ourselves away from the endless journey of searching out more information, more fascinating details –just a little more time, or just one more day…. Not everyone gets it. Back in the days before the Internet (I know, I’m old) I was so lost in the pages of the London Times from 1813, peering at the screen of one of those God-awful microfiche scanning machines in a library basement, I forgot one child’s orthodontist appointment, a whole afternoon, plus dinner, and oh boy, the looks I got when I finally went home!!!

The Internet has been both a blessing and a curse. So much is now available at our fingertips, but there are so many more rabbit holes to fall down!! Those were less likely to occur in the pre-Internet days. When I could only get information I needed for The Captain’s Dilemma (orig pub date 1995) by traveling to England and visiting special libraries (both military and civilian), you can bet I stayed on point for pretty much every minute I was over there! No rabbit holes. But the time thing, well, that was still an issue. Traveling alone was a blessing so there were no dinner appointments to make or other people’s schedules to accommodate. I guess there’s never enough time, no matter which way we research!

But now if we’re lost in the wonderful feast of Internet information, we may not even notice we’re down a rabbit hole until we’re pretty far down, LOL!  Does anyone else think the ease of Internet surfing has made research even more addictive?

Not to mention things like Pinterest!! How many of you have Pinterest boards set up for details of clothing, heroes, heroines, ideas for cover art, period room décor, views that inspire you –do I need to list more? Totally addictive. Every time Pinterest sends me an email with “suggestions” for my boards, I try to delete it, I really do. And sometimes succeed. But sometimes I just-can’t-stop-myself! My finger hovers, then clicks the fatal button and there goes a precious half-hour or more. But sometimes I find really helpful pictures that somehow escaped previous discovery.

For The Magnificent Marquess, I set up a board on Pinterest to collect pictures of East Indian artifacts that Lord Milbourne might have in his London townhouse after living in India. So many beautiful things!! They inspired me but I had to be careful not to put them all into the story!! (It’s called East Indian design, under Gail Eastwood-Stokes.) Here’s the link if you want to explore: (Be warned, there’s 226 pictures!)

However, I’ve discovered readers can be interested in these things too. Am I the last one to figure this out? I just did a tea party with Cerise DeLand and Susana Ellis where I posted this silver tea pot  very similar to one my marquess uses in the story. I was astonished by all the love!! But then, I loved it, so why wouldn’t others?

On Facebook I’ve posted this picture of some gorgeous Indian teacups that were too beautiful not to use in the book. Just for fun, here’s the excerpt from fairly early in The Magnificent Marquess where both these cups and the silver teapot similar to the one above make their appearance.

The hero is serving tea to the heroine (I can’t explain why without giving spoilers):  “I must compliment you on your fetching ensemble,” Lord Milbourne said, picking up the silver teapot and pouring tea into one china cup. Was he fighting a smile? She could not quite tell. “It is so fitting to the occasion, for one thing. If I had a wife, I would make certain to take down the name of your modiste.”
Now he was openly roasting her! Apparently she was not already miserable enough. He added milk and sugar to her cup without asking, and held it out to her. She moved to the tea table and took the cup from him in suffering silence. She took a biscuit, although she was not certain she would be able to swallow anything solid, with her heart in her throat. He poured a glass of brandy for himself.
“Ah-h. One of the smaller but no less happy benefits of the war being over,” he said, holding the glass up and taking a deep, appreciative sniff. “Please, do sit. Otherwise I shall feel obliged to remain standing. In the company of a lady, and all.”
She dropped into the nearest chair, biting her lip. What he must think of her now! His tone said it all. How silly of her mother to have feared that she would ruin her sister’s chances with her blue-stocking ways! She had done a far more thorough job of it now, in a way her mother could never, ever, have imagined.
She sipped the tea, just now noting how exquisite the cup was. A little taller than usual, it was made of thin white porcelain and decorated so thickly with gold leaves, flowers, and vines that at first glance it appeared to be made of gleaming solid gold. The tea set on the table, too, at first appeared to be beautifully made but conventional in shape and design. It was only when she looked closer that she realized the silver pieces were covered with the same sorts of natural motifs she had seen on the walls and carved screens. The knobs and spout supports were flowers. Had every single thing in the house been brought with him from India?

I was tempted to make this post chock full of pictures from my East Indian Pinterest board –be glad I spared you (even though most of them are stunning!!). If you look there, just know you have to scroll down past all the weapons (Lord Milbourne has a collection of those on his library wall). Even some of those are pretty amazingly beautiful!

What are your research time and rabbit hole challenges? I refuse to call them weaknesses!! J It all goes to enrich our stories and reading pleasures, right?



Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By