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Tag Archives: Williamsburg

I’ve just discovered some big news that I want to share, nothing to do with writing directly. The Threads of Feelingexhibit is coming to the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in Williamsburg, VA, opening May 25 2013. If you’re not familiar with this astonishing and moving exhibit, take a look at the online version. It’s the records of admissions to the Foundling Museum in London, the first home in Britain for abandoned children, founded by William Hogarth, George Frideric Handel, and Thomas Coram. When babies were admitted, the parents provided a scrap of fabric, embroidery, or sometimes a note so that they could identify the child when they were able to support them once more.

Some children had a happy ending and were reunited with their mothers again. Many didn’t. Ones who survived were apprenticed out and disappear into the great mess of history.

What’s extraordinary, as well as the emotional impact, is the variety of fabrics and the vivid colors (because they were pinned inside the ledger and didn’t fade). It constitutes the best collection of period fabrics in the world.

There’s also a symposium, Threads of Feeling Unraveled: The London Foundling Hospital’s Textile Tokens on October 20-22, 2013 in Williamsburg, with the exhibit’s curator, John Styles, among the speakers. Registration isn’t open yet but scroll down on this page for details.

I can’t wait! There’s also a fabulous resource at the museum for historical clothes if you want to frivol away some hours online.

Although I should be planning what I’m going to cook for the Thanksgiving feast next weekend (possibly something hip with brussel sprouts that only I and my daughter will eat) I’m planning a new Regency gown. I have a lovely silk gown but I’m after a cotton one that I can do the dishes in and preferably a drawstring one I can get into without assistance. This is the fabric I’m probably going to use. It’s from an ebay store, Heritage Trading, which has some gorgeous silks and cottons and uses the traditional hand woodblocking techniques.

So what are you up to and what are your Thanksgiving plans?

I’m trying to be enthusiastic about food.

Now, to those of you who know me, that may sound odd, because formerly I loved to eat. In fact I did rather too much of it. Then came adventures with teeth, where for some time I nursed along two temporary crowns and a gap, and had to think every time I put something in my mouth whether it could dislodge a crown and whether it was therefore worth the effort. (Yes, we romance writers are such glamorous creatures.)

Now I sport a full working mouth of teeth again and decided I should build on the momentum of losing weight by joining Weightwatchers. I’m finding it a slow, tedious process, the program altogether too damn perky, and some of the food weird. (Brownies made with black beans? Eew.)

I’m not that enthusiastic about food and it’s not helping the weight loss process, so I’m trying to take an interest. I mourn the brief tomato and peach seasons of the summer; the first time my farmers’ market had heirloom tomatoes, I brought some home, along with a loaf of expensive artisan bread, and made myself a massive tomato sandwich. I think it was the highlight, gastronomically, of my summer.

I’m thinking hard about the pleasures of winter squash and of the delicacies of winter-harvested brussel sprouts; yes, I know 90% of you are turning up your noses, but believe me, brussel sprouts turn deliciously sweet in frost, even if you have to saw through the stalks. I’m indebted to the wonderful Tiny Farm Blog for this picture and other interesting stuff.

So, what would Regency folks eat in October? According to Sarah and Samuel Adams, you’d get the last of the artichokes and scarlet beans, the first broccoli, and cabbage, carrots, endive, leeks, onions, potatoes, beets, parsnips, spinach, and small salad (not sure what this is; does anyone know?). Just imagine what you could get if you had a greenhouse. Yum. (The pic, by the way, is from Colonial Williamsburg, not England.)

What are you planning on eating and cooking this fall? Any sources of good recipes you’d like to share?

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After Christmas we spent a few days visiting my in-laws in Williamsburg, Virginia, and this time we actually took a stroll down historic Duke of Gloucester Street to see the Christmas decorations. The weather was beautiful!

I knew from doing the booksigning that the Barnes & Noble in Historic Williamsburg didn’t carry Harlequin Historicals, but emboldened by discovering my book in two local Northern Virginia bookstores, I set out on a quest to see where in Williamsburg I might find The Vanishing Viscountess on the shelf.

The answer? NOWHERE

After our walk in Colonial Williamsburg, we drove to the Barnes and Noble in “New Town” (a nearby trendy new shopping center/residential complex that is supposed to mimic a city street, except the fake rocks beneath the lamposts play Christmas music). No Harlequin Historicals there. In fact, they only had a very small Romance section tucked away in a corner beyond the manga and the sci fi. Why stores limit their Romance sections is beyond me. You would think they would love the genre which sells almost 50% of all mass market books.

But I digress.

I begged for us to make one more stop–A Books A Million store in a perfectly ordinary shopping center in Williamsburg. Surely they would carry Harlequin Historicals–But they didn’t. By this time my husband and in-laws just wanted to get home to eat some dinner, so they wouldn’t take me to check the local Walmart, which I was almost sure would have The Vanishing Viscountess.

I love writing for Mills & Boon Historical/Harlequin Historical. I think Harlequin Mills & Boon produce wonderful books and innovative ones. They are not at all afraid of taking a chance on new time periods and settings, like Amanda’s A Notorious Woman, or on “the Regency underworld,” my little niche. They continued to print Westerns when the other publishers wouldn’t touch them.

The Harlequin Historical line was almost discontinued in 2003-2004. Instead, Harlequin turned the acquisition over to Mills & Boon Historical, which has done wonders with the bookcovers and has increased the number of books released per month. To save the line, however, they also limited distribution to only their best selling venues.

This means you don’t see Harlequin Historicals in grocery stores or lots of places that carry the other Harlequin lines. Obviously, not every big bookstore sells them, either. If a bookstore does sell them, they are typically with the other Harlequin lines and are usually on a bottom shelf. You have to work hard to find Amanda’s and my books in a bookstore.

Most of our Riskie readers are familiar with ordering books online , but if you want to buy a Harlequin Historical in a bookstore and you can’t find it, there is something you can do.


Ask a clerk if they have the book buried in a bottom shelf. If they don’t, ask the clerk to order a copy. All of the bookstores that did not carry The Vanishing Viscountess told me they could order it for me.

And if you do see Harlequin Historicals in a bookstore, do us a favor and turn some of them out so they catch the browsers’ eyes.

Everyone have a very safe and happy New Year’s holiday! This is not one of my favorite holidays, because of the whole drinking and driving thing and because my kids will be “out there” where people are drinking and driving. My husband, the cats, and I will stay at home and watch TV and maybe have champagne. However you celebrate…stay safe!

And let me know if you see my book on a bookstore shelf. Oh, Michelle Willingham’s latest Harlequin Historical is out in January, too, so also look for hers. We’ll be interviewing her this month.

Today I’m off to see PS I Love You…again! Yippee.

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The fun continues in Williamsburg, Virginia! On Friday Amanda and I took a break from sightseeing and went shopping. Book Shopping, especially at the William and Mary Bookstore where I’ll be joining other authors (including Harlequin Historical author Michelle Willingham, whom we met for dinner on Thurs) for a Romance booksigning on Sept 15.

On Saturday we met our friend and fellow Harlequin Historical author Deb Marlowe (Scandalous Lord, Rebellious Miss, Nov 2007 in the UK, Feb 2008 in North America-her debut book!) for a day of sightseeing and working. Amanda, Deb, and I are going to do a Regency Anthology to come out in 2009 (so start saving your pence now!). The photo is of us at the Kings Arms for Sunday lunch, the same restaurant where we ate with Michelle Willingham (The Warriors Touch, Sept 2007) .

At Williamsburg there are reenactments all day long starting with the Governor arriving in a carriage at the Capitol where he addresses the people after word arrived about the Boston Tea Party, and dissolves the House of Burgesses. Well, what was the man to do? These pesky Colonials and their addlebrained ideas of Independence. It was enough to make George III go mad….well, maybe that wasn’t what made him go mad…

Anyway, we had a terrific time working our way from exhibit to exhibit and gift shop to gift shop all the way to the other end of the Historic area. One of the exhibits was the Print Shop, where we watched the Reenactor run the press and I learned things I need for the book I just turned in. I’ll add them during Revision time. We also visited the Milliner who was making stays and the Apothecary, the Silversmith, the Blacksmith. We even worked a little.

Sunday Amanda and I returned to Jamestown, this time to the actual site. We could not see much of the archaeological work that is ongoing because it was all covered over in case of rain, but we toured the museum and walked where John Smith walked all those years ago. Then we met Deb for lunch and then…..we had to drive home. I’ll take Amanda to the airport today.

It was a very excellent adventure, indeed!

What were you all doing while we were in Williamsburg??

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