Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pumpkinnapper is Here!

The time has come! The Wild Rose Press has released my Regency Halloween comedy novella, Pumpkinnapper.

Buy link here. Note, depending on your location, the link may not yet be active.

Join the fun as Henry the man and Henry the goose spar over heroine Emily's affections while they try to capture the foul pumpkin thieves.

The day's events (September 30):

3-5 PM Eastern time: I'll be at the Classic Romance Revival loop
9-10 PM Eastern time: I'll be at The Wild Rose Press loop. I'll drop in all day, but I'll be there for sure at this time.

You must join the loops in order to post.

And enter my CONTEST--Find Me a Hero! Prize is a PDF copy of Pumpkinnapper. Contest runs through October 31. Details on my Contest page.


Pumpkin thieves, a youthful love rekindled and a jealous goose. Oh my.

Last night someone tried to steal the widowed Mrs. Emily Metcalfe's pumpkins. She's certain the culprit is her old childhood nemesis and the secret love of her youth, Henry, nicknamed Hank, whom she hasn't seen in ten years.

Henry, Baron Grey, who's never forgotten the girl he loved but couldn’t pursue so long ago, decides to catch Emily's would-be thief. Even after she reveals his childhood nickname--the one he would rather forget. And even after her jealous pet goose bites him in an embarrassing place.

Oh, the things a man does for love.


"Emily, even with Henry, formidable as he is--" Hank glared at the goose. The goose glared back "--you need protection. I will send over some footmen to guard the place."

"No. Turnip Cottage belongs to Charlotte's husband. What will the townspeople think, with Lord Grey's servants about my house?"

Her refusal increased his fury. The sight of her hand on that damned goose's head didn't improve his mood, either. He balled his fists as his patience thinned and something else thickened. "I'll find you a guard dog. You must have some protection out here all alone."

"But I have Henry." She patted the goose's head and the bird snuggled into her hand. Again.

Heat flooded Hank, part desire for Emily's touch, and part desire to murder that damned goose, who was where he wanted to be. His insides groaned. "Very well, then, you leave me no choice. I will help you catch the culprits."


He changed his voice to the voice that either melted a woman or earned him a slap in the face. "Who knows, mayhap we would enjoy ourselves as I lie in wait with you." I would love to lie with you.

Her eyes widened. Had she understood the innuendo?

"I cannot stay alone with you, and you know it," she said, her voice severe.

"You are a widow in your own home and no one will see. I will make sure of it."

"No." She marched back into her cottage and slammed the door. Henry smirked and waddled away.

Hank grinned. He would be back, whether she liked it or not.

Thank you, all


Linda Banche

Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal

Lady of the Stars--4 stars from Romantic Times, Regency time travel available from The Wild Rose Press

Pumpkinnapper--Regency Halloween comedy, available from The Wild Rose Press

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Kindertransport by Jennifer Childers

Hi all,

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from "Kindertransport"

I filled a syringe with morphine.Could innocent blood ever be washed away?
Would my hands ever be clean again if I continued on this course? The gas would make them choke, gasping for breath as life was strangled to nothingness. Morphine would make them euphoric, and an overdose would put them to sleep, peacefully, with no pain. A sleep from which they would not awake, but they would be safe from the evil that awaited them otherwise.

I filled the second syringe. I thought of each child as I punctured the rubber stopper, the needle sucking up the lethal fluid filling the tube. Little Wilhelm. My treasured leader of the pack. The braces on his legs never stopped his imagination from soaring. Lara. An artist’s soul expressed with the one good hand she had. Art reflective of the beauty living in her heart. The twins. Isn’t intelligence measured with creativity? I would sorely miss their energy.

My hand slipped., and the needle grazed the knuckle of my thumb. I swore and bit my lip. Perfect. I’ll kill myself before I get a chance to euthanize my children. Then, after I enter Heaven’s gate, if He lets me inside them, God can tell me I am an idiot and a murderer.

I rubbed my shoulders. They hunched with an invisible weight that made my back ache.

Romance Studio Review:


Jennifer Childers

Historical romance

Available from The Wild Rose Press

ISBN: 1-60154-522-3 August 2009
In the months before full scale war breaks out in Germany Erika Lehmeier is trying to find a way to help the six children she cares for escape death.

Hitler has decreed that people who have no worth to society, the ones he calls feeders, have to die to preserve the sanctity of the Aryan race. Erika knows the strengths and goodness of the children and can't bear to see them harmed.

The only one she can turn to is Rickard Sankt an SS officer. Will he help her or lead them all to certain death?

Jennifer Childers tells a fascinating story of atrocities committed by people who believed in a leader who brought them to prosperity. By the time they realize what is going on they couldn't refuse to follow his demands if they wanted to live. There are always those, like Gregor, who thrive with a license for cruelty. The writer reminds us in many ways that he and others of his ilk aren't representatives of all German society. Most readers know the history of the death camps where Jews and other unwanted adults were annihilated. This is a heart wrenching tale. I don't think the plans to destroy a whole generation of adults and children with any kind of mental, emotional or physical defect is as widely known.

Excellent characters and dialogue throughout show the wide variation in the German citizens' reactions to what is going on around them in the world. Erika, Rickard, Father Julian, Olga and many others show the diversity and the love everyday Germans have for their country. Ms. Childers has done an exceptional job crafting this mixture of fact and fiction into a book that will captivate the reader from first page to last.

Overall rating: Sensuality rating: Very sensual
Reviewer: Dee DaileySeptember 8, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Worth of Regency Money

When I read in a Regency about the hero giving a waif a pound, I wonder how much money that Regency pound is today. The worth of money has two parts: its value in today's money, and what you could buy with it then.

Here's an Old Money to New Calculator from the British National Archives that translates yesterday's money into today's.

According to this calculator: In 1820, £1 0s 0d would have the same spending worth of today's £41.92

For all of us Yanks out there, we now need to translate to US dollars. Yahoo Finance has a Currency Converter. Here, I select US dollar (USD) and British pound (GBP), setting British pound to 41.92.

For September 21, the day I wrote this post, GBP 41.92 equals 67.9086 USD. Since the exchange rate varies from day to day, you will get a different value on another day.

The second part of the National Archives' currency converter, Buying Power, tells you what you could purchase with that Regency pound: Plug in 41.92 pounds in today's money (1 Regency pound) and select the year 1820.

For 1 pound, you could purchase 6 days (craftsman wages in building trade) or the wool from 1 sheep.

What does this mean? One Regency pound was a lot of money. Coins smaller than the sovereign or guinea, which I listed in my last post, could easily handle most day-to-day transactions.

The other important fact is that labor was cheap and commodities, including food, were expensive. A Regency construction worker had to work six days of more than eight hours each to earn enough money for the wool for a suit of clothes.

That Regency lord was very generous, and that waif was very lucky.

Thank you all,


Monday, September 21, 2009

Regency Reticules

Reticules, pronounced (rett i kyoòl) were sometimes called ridicules, because people thought it ridiculous to carry one’s valuables on one’s arm rather than hidden inside a belt or pocket. The etymology dictionary places the origin upon the French word réticule, and the Latin word reticulum, meaning a small mesh bag.

Reticules were small purses carried by ladies, and became a fashion accessory, as well as a necessity, in the late 1790s. Before then, women carried their purses around their waist, hidden by the panniers and wide hooped skirts. When the Empire style gown came into fashion, that practice was no longer possible. So, ladies began carrying them on their wrists.

Made of fabric or crocheted, often with silk or metallic thread, reticules were often created by ladies at home. Therefore, they greatly varied in style and color. They were usually held together with a small clasp or drawstring. The more elaborate purses which were beaded or made with elaborate needlepoint didn’t crop up until the mid Victorian Era.

And when I say they were small, they typically measured between 2 inches and 5 inches from the top of the clasp or drawstring, to the bottom where the seam or tassel was found. They were barely large enough to carry a few coins, a handkerchief, the ever-important calling card, perhaps a Vinaigrette and maybe a tin of breath mints, but little else. It was possible to carry a very small handgun inside a larger reticule, but it would have made the reticule quite heavy and there wouldn’t have been room for much else. A regency lady would be shocked at the size of our handbags today, and by what ladies carry in them!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Battle of the Bulge... a story

With over 800,000 men committed and over 19,000 killed, the Battle of the Bulge became the single biggest and bloodiest battle that American forces experienced in World War II.

The Germans were trying to penetrate the allies defenses creating a "bulge" in the line. They were able to sabotage equipment, but what they wanted to do was to surround the allies and overcome them.

Our fathers and grandfathers were on this field, historically sixty years is nothing, it wasn't something he ever spoke of, but my father was one of the lucky ones to make in through the battle mentally unscathed. I would have to listen quietly while he talked to other veterans, many my uncles, about the war. It wasn't something he spoke about, but I must have got him at a weak moment as he did recount the following:

It was cold in December and the men fought in the snow. Many got frostbite, the numbing actually caused a piece of flesh to die. Like the bruising of an apple, the frostbite would eat into bigger areas of flesh if not stopped. Dad told me about men who sliced off pieces of fingers and toes to stop the spread.

After about six weeks the battle ended. When Sergeant Richard Bauer, my dad, was summoned by some friends. There was someone he just had to meet.
In the prisoner of war tent was a German also named Richard Bauer. The two shared the same birthday and their ID numbers were off by one digit.

I interrupted the story with "you talked to him?". I suppose my childish response was due to the idea the POW must be an enemy. My dad seemed amused and said "sure I talked to him."
The man spoke of the end of the war as though relieved. He wanted peace, he was tired of fighting. At 21, both men had a life they would rather be living.

The two talked, the irony of their similarities not lost on either of them. The story impacted me over the years. Its too easy to clump people into "us" and "them". The value of facebook, youtube, and the Internet is we can see people, real people and learn who they are.
Its governments who wage war, the regular folks just want to go to work, have some supper and play with their kids.

How do we hasten the day when we look at people for who they are and not what we are told they are?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Regency Money

As I read a Regency romance, I inevitably reach a scene that involves money. All those pounds and pence and shillings are indecipherable to my American mind. So, I translate, or try to. I see "pound" and read "dollar". Even 200 years ago, a British pound never was equivalent to an American dollar. So, what was British money in the Regency?

Money came in the forms of notes and coins. In general, notes were for larger denominations, up to 1000 pounds, and coins were for the smaller denominations. In Regency times, the lowest denomination of notes was 1 and 2 pounds. For smaller amounts, coins were used.

The Royal Mint issued coins, and a bank issued notes. The Bank of England had issued notes from its inception in 1694, and until 1844, regional banks could also issue notes.

From What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool, some of the most common money terms in Regency novels:


21 shillings--guinea

20 shillings--sovereign (1817 and later) -- pound

10 shillings--half sovereign (1817 and later)

5 shillings--crown (slang term--"dollar")

2 1/2 shillings--half crown

2 shillings--florin

12 pence--shilling

6 pence--sixpence

3 pence--threepence

2 pence--twopence

1 pence--penny

1/2 pence--halfpenny

1/4 pence--farthing

Here's a good link with most of the above information.

Guineas, sovereigns and half-sovereigns were gold. Crowns, half crowns, florins, shillings, sixpence and threepence were silver. The pennies and farthings were copper.

This link shows some coins minted during the reign of George III, which includes the Regency:

Most Regency financial transactions involved coins, even though one and two pound notes were available. Why? Because a Regency pound was a lot of money. The Worth of Regency Money is my next post.

Note: the picture above shows the newest designs of British money.

Thank you all,


Friday, September 4, 2009

Medieval Horses and Horse Breeds....

What breed of horses did the knights of yore, the grand ladies, and the poor common peasant ride during the middle ages? In fact, did a particular breed of horse even exist during this time period? As a horse lover and a former horse woman, I’ve always found the subject of horses interesting.

In Medieval Europe, horses weren't really characterized by "breed" but by common traits. Nearly all breeds we see today were 'started' for a specific purpose. Morgans, Quarter Horses and Paints are some of the most well known of the 'modern' breeds. Some of those that are more closely resemble their fore bearers would be most draft horses, thoroughbreds (originally meant any horse of pure breeding that could trace it's genealogy through a Stud Book), and several types of pony. Medieval horses were defined by their confirmation and the role they were intended to be used for. There were highly refined and trained Destriers, smooth gaited Palfreys, long winded and strong Coursers, and general purpose Rouncies. In addition, ponies, mules and donkeys also played a vital role in society of the period.
In the above picture, the Friesian horse reportedly dates back 3000 years though the horse we know today was developed in the twelfth century in northern Europe. Friesians were ridden by the Teutonic Knights and used as war horses for the crusades. They could carry large loads, exist on meager rations, and were agile enough to be effective in battle.

Destrier – In the middle ages this referred to well, bred, highly trained stallion was used as a war or tournament horse. this animal was a specialist mount, they were rare and very expensive even in the middle ages.

Stallions were often used as war horses in Europe due to their natural aggression and hot-blooded tendencies. A thirteenth century work describes destriers “biting and kicking’ on the battle field and “in the heat of battle, war horses were often seen fighting each other.” (A.D.700 through the 15th century)

Palfrey – This was a well bred horse that was used for general purposes such as riding, war and travel. In the Middle Ages the Palfrey were often gaited horses, but this was not an absolute requirement. If you were a person of substance in the middle ages, this was the horse you’d most likely own. Very finely bred mules were often bred for ladies or clergy and called Palfreys. These horses were also called Jennets or Jenet (Fr.)

Courser – This is a catch-all description of a good cavalry horse during the Middle Ages. According to at least one recent book on the subject on medieval war horses, this was the most common type horse used in warfare. Coursers were steady, long winded horses. They wouldn’t be as refined or well trained as a Destrier, but then the Courser didn’t cost as much either. In today’s modern era, we’d refer to the Courser as an endurance horse, hunters or working ranch horses.

Rouncy – This term usually described the general purpose combined work/riding horses. rouncies were common grade horses of no particular breeding or training except that they were indispensable in getting from point A to point B and did the bulk of muscle work people called upon horses to perform another name they are referred to is as Hackneys or Hack Horses.

As the usefulness of the knight began to decline due to the proficiency of the English long bowman and the development of gunpowder, the usefulness of breeding powerful war horses also declined. With the ushering in of a new era, the medieval war horse disappeared forever.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Medieval Medicine

In the Middle Ages, medical practitioners were as varied as were the illnesses. Among those who practiced medicine were monks, folk-healers, and university trained physicians. The first medical university was in 10th century Italy, where students explored Greek manuscripts looking for ways to cure disease. The predominant theory was that the body had four distinct humors, and an imbalance in one of these humors was the cause of any illness. Depending on which humor was to blame, they prescribed accordingly. Sometimes, the color of an herb would target the plant for use. For instance, a yellow flower, like dandelion or fennel, would be recommended for treatment of a liver dysfunction, because of the liver’s yellow bile. Thus, dandelion was considered a remedy for jaundice.
Trained physicians, of course, served royalty and only the very wealthy, as a rule. Commoners were treated either by monks or by folk-healers. Later, as healers were sometimes associated with the occult, and some even considered to be in league with the devil himself, commoners relied on local healers and midwives. I have an interesting book on my shelves: Medicine Women, a Pictorial History of Women Healers, by Elisabeth Brooke, if you’re interested in pursuing the subject further.