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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How Much I Know About the Regency

More than I used to. *g*

I will never know everything, but part of the fun is finding out new things.

About six years ago, when I got it into my head the idea to write a regency, I looked for library books on the subject. One of the books I found was What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool.

I was in alt. Here was a list of lots of the things I read about in regencies, but had no idea what they were. Pounds and pence, Parliament sessions, Whitsunday and Michaelmas, quarter days and consols, pelisses, footmen and scullery maids. I was also totally confused. How would I ever remember all this stuff?

I recently reread the book. And, lo and behold, much of the information has become second nature. I guess I've learned a lot in the past few years.

Some will scoff at the book. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew covers both the Regency and the Victorian eras, so not everything is valid for the Regency. And the information is general. But the book is a good overview and has an extensive bibliography and a great glossary.

I will always make errors, and I hope my readers will be forgiving because I try to get things right.

Thank you all,

The picture is Carlton House, the Prince Regent's home during the Regency.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer

The Dog Days of Summer are the hottest, most sweltering days of the year. Depending on your location, they run for about a month between early July to the beginning of September in the northern hemisphere, and from January to March in the southern hemisphere.

The term "Dog Days" refers to the days when Sirius, the Dog Star, rises with the sun.

The ancient Egyptians associated Horus, the dog-headed god, with Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (The Greater Dog) and the brightest star in the night sky. During this time, Sirius rose at dawn during the most blistering part of summer. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans believed the bright Sirius, so close to the sun, added its radiation to the sun's, increasing the season's already fierce heat.

To the ancients, these sultry days, when rainfall is at its lowest and temperature its highest, was an evil time, causing suffering and disease in man and beast. Food spoiled, dogs went mad and all creatures languished in the stifling atmosphere.

Due to the precession of the equinoxes (the change in the earth's orientation to the night sky as our globe revolves around the galactic center), Sirius no longer rises at daybreak on the same dates as it did for the ancient Mediterranean civilizations. In the Roman era, the Dog Days ran from July 24 through August 24. Today, the Dog Days run from July 3 to August 11, according to The Old Farmers' Almanac, although many European cultures adhere to the original dates.

So, if you're awake before dawn during the peak of summer, take a look at the eastern sky. That bright star near the horizon is Sirius, heralding the Dog Days of Summer.

Thank you all,

The picture, from Wikipedia, is of Canis Major. Sirius marks the dog's nose.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Guest Grace Burrowes: The Windham Family

Linda Banche here. Today I welcome back New York Times best-selling author Grace Burrowes, author of the Regency historicals The Heir and The Soldier, with more to come. Her series tells the story of the Windham family, and, I admit, I'm somewhat confused about the relationships between the family members. In this post, Grace has kindly explained a little about all the delicious characters she has created.

Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a signed copy of either The Heir or The Soldier (I'm drooling, but I'm not eligible), or one of two signed ARCs of The Virtuoso, which Grace has generously provided. That's THREE chances to win! So comment away! Check back here to see who won.

Grace will also sign your e-copies using Kindlegraph, for those who already have The Heir and/or The Soldier in eformat. Any eformat will work.

The winners Grace selected are: Karen H and Toni for The Virtuoso, Phyllis C for The Heir, and Bonnie for The Soldier. Thanks to all for coming over.

Welcome back, Grace!

Grace Burrowes:

Which Windham?

I’m happily at work on the seventh book in an eight-book sibling series featuring the offspring of Percival Windham, the Duke of Moreland, but I must confess I never foresaw starting my career as a published author with such an ambitious project. Like many aspiring writers, I entered a lot of contests in an effort to get professional feedback on my manuscripts, and when it came time to pitch, of the twenty or so completed manuscripts I had, I chose the contest winners to send in to an editor.

There’s a problem with this approach: My contest champ was “The Heir,” which in addition to being about a third son, was also my fifth completed MS in a related series. Hmm. My editor at Sourcebooks figured out that I’d completed books about two of the hero’s brothers, and a trilogy was born. When the first book did fairly well, we decided to write stories for the five Windham sisters, and the rest, one hopes, will be bestseller history.

This has taxed the patience of many of my readers, and what follows is an attempt to fill in some blanks regarding the Windham family.

The oldest child is Maggie, a by-blow of the duke’s conceived prior to his marriage. The duke and duchess have adopted her, but she maintains her own establishment, being well past marriageable age… or so she thinks. Her story is slated for publication in May 2012 as “Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal.”

Next comes Devlin St. Just, another by-blow who joined the ducal household at the age of five. His story is “The Soldier” which came out in June 2011.

The oldest legitimate son is Bartholomew, or Lord Bart. Friction between His Grace and Bart go so bad that when Bart asked to join Wellington’s cavalry, his parents permitted it. Alas, Lord Bart came to grief in Portugal when he mistook a decent woman for a soiled dove and her menfolk took lethal exception.

Next in line we have Gayle, the Earl of Westhaven (Bart had used the courtesy title Marquis of Pembroke). As a spare Gayle envisioned himself going into the legal profession, but we saw a happier fate befall him in “The Heir,” which was published in December 2010.

And this is where it gets a trifle tricky, because we have another Windham brother resting in peace as a result of consumption, Lord Victor, though Victor left a daughter behind. The story of little Rose and her mother’s involvement with first Victor and then Douglas, Viscount Amery, goes by the working title of “The Proper Peer.” His Grace’s matrimonial fixations create significant havoc for Guinevere and Douglas on the road to their happily ever after. I hope this book becomes available at least for e-readers in early 2012.

The youngest brother, Valentine, is familiar to readers as an accomplished musician and his story, “The Virtuoso,” comes out in November.

Which leaves us with the four remaining sisters, in order of planned publication: “Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish” comes out in October 2011, to be followed by stories for Lady Eve, Lady Louisa, and Lady Genevieve, the last two also being planned as Christmas books.

When my website is up sometime in the next few weeks, I intend to have a family tree available to keep the Windham batting order organized for my readers. It won’t stop there, though. The Windhams have friends, neighbors, cousins and other associations, all of whom are clamoring for books. In fact, I heard a rumor the other day even Lord Bart might have left a small legacy…

Thanks so much for coming over, Grace.

Readers, don't forget to leave a comment!