Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A New Regency Author Joins the Group

Hi, my name is Wendy Soliman and I am delighted to have been asked to join this group of well-respected Regency authors. Even as a child, growing up on the Isle of Wight, (anyone out there from my neck of the woods?), I loved making up stories and reading them to my friends.

More years later than I'm prepared to admit to, I've started writing seriously. I refused to be discouraged by all the negative comments I read about the impossibility of becoming a published author and so am delighted to announce that less than four years after picking up my pen, my first Regency-set mystery/romance, LADY HARTLEY'S INHERITANCE, is to be published by Robert Hale in April this year.

What's more, Mr Hale has just accepted my second, DUTY'S DESTINY, for publication and I'll be regaling you with details of both very soon.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

A new dawn for the historical romance?

I have a new book coming out on the 15th February; “Season of Storms.” It’s Georgian set, but it represents a new departure for me. It’s a paranormal historical romance.
This is a book of my heart, one I really wanted to write, one of those ideas that takes you by the scruff of the neck in the middle of the night and keeps you awake.
When you think of the usual paranormal romance, you think of vampires, elves, even ghosts, but in this one I thought of the Greek Pantheon. You know, Zeus, Apollo and the rest. Since I love the Georgian era, I had a vision of Zeus, splendid in dark blue dull taffeta, striding into a ballroom and taking the ladies by storm.
Wow, I thought, and I started. I soon discovered that writing a being that was thousands of years old and making him tangible, believable, was way beyond my capabilities. What would such a being think, how would he feel? He would hardly be on our plane, wouldn’t care about the short-lived mortals who flitted through his existence like mayflies. So I devised a scheme. The gods were not the original Pantheon, but people who had inherited their attributes. Remember, each god has a special attribute, or series of them, so Zeus is a leader who can make thunderbolts and Artemis is a virgin huntress, one of the moon goddesses. But the gods can die, of starvation, or violence. They can’t die from old age and disease.
Thirty years before the start of “Season of Storms,” their old enemies of the gods, the Titans, caught up with the Olympian gods and set a trap, detonating an explosion that killed many of the old ones, the Ancients. The attributes migrated to the bodies of the nearest unborn children, so now they are scattered far and wide.
That’s where I started the story. And of course, where else would I start it but Bedlam?
Apart from inserting a few new beings into the Georgian scene, I’ve tried very hard to keep to the Georgian era as it was. I’ve not distorted history, nor have I changed the way things happened, or how people felt, any more than I do in my contemporary urban gothics.
While very exciting, it’s also scary.
Will it catch on? What do you think? Or will I have to give up writing more in the series?
Oh yes, and we’re hovering on a name for the whole series. The Pantheon, or The Olympians? What do you think?
Lynne Connolly, GSOLFOT
"Season of Storms" is coming out at Triskelion Publishing on February 15th

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Suitable Husband and A Dissembler

Finally the completed cover cover for A SUITABLE HUSBAND is here and I'm not too sure - what do you think? I think I preferred the black and white version.
Good news on the sales front- Mr Hale has bought my latest Regency, A DISSEMBLER, and I'm thrilled. Having had the previous one turned down I was worried my writing career could be over before it had really begun.
Now I can concentrate on promoting A SUITABLE HUSBAND which makes its appearance in March this year.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Miss Bridget Jane's Diary - part 2

So here it is, another extract from Miss Bridget Jane's Diary!

January 2nd

9 o’clock

Breakfast with Mama and Susan, who is visiting for New Year. Was just pouring my second cup of chocolate when Susan reminded me that we are going to one of Aunt Anne’s balls in a few days time.

Forgot all my good resolutions and said, ‘As long as my headache’s better by then, otherwise I don’t think I’ll be able to go.’

Cannot help dreading Aunt Anne’s balls. She says the same thing every time.

‘What, Bridget, still not married? We’ll have to find you a husband soon, won’t we, or you’ll end up an old maid.’

Then she rolls her eyes at Mama, and Mama rolls her eyes back, and they both give silvery laughs, and I give a silvery laugh, too, to show what a good joke it is, even though I don’t think it’s a good joke at all.

11 o’clock

Extra New Year’s Resolution.

I will not dance with anyone who is short, fat or over forty, or anyone who licks their lips when they see me as though I’m a particularly tasty mutton chop.

Oh dear! I’ve just remembered that last year I made the same resolution, but I wrote, I will not dance with anyone who is short, fat or over forty, or anyone who licks their lips when they see me as though I’m a tender piece of lamb.

Note to self. Must not think of myself as mutton. Must continue to think of myself as lamb.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

No you don't have to mortgage your soul

Last week, courtesy of jay Dixon, members of the RNA had a chance to go on a guided tour of the British Library at St Pancras in London. Yes, we had to pay (tours for groups cost £70), but when the fee was divided up among us all, it didn’t come to much. And it was absolutely fascinating. We had a chance to find out what material the BL had and how it worked, to see all the public areas, to peer through the glass doors into the various reading rooms, and even to get a quick look behind the scenes to find out how the books are brought up from the storage areas on computer-controlled conveyors.

I’d visited before, but only the public areas. The displays there are incredibly interesting and are worth a visit on their own. (Among other things, they've got a lot of Mozart manuscripts on display at the moment.) There’s also a café and restaurant which make good places to meet friends or business contacts.

I had assumed that I’d have to jump through all sorts of hoops to get a reader’s ticket, including proving that only the BL had the information I needed to research, and that it couldn’t be found in other libraries, such as the London Library. I think it may have been like that once upon a time, but it certainly isn’t so now.

In fact, the BL staff couldn’t be more encouraging, especially to published authors. I filled in a form online in the admissions office, with all the usual personal stuff, plus information about the libraries I already used and the areas of research I wanted to pursue. I thought they might want that information so they could vet me, or tell me to go elsewhere. Quite wrong. It was so that they could be helpful in telling me precisely which BL collections I’d want to consult and the best way to go about it. And in the space of less than 15 minutes, I got the magic reader’s ticket.

For anyone wanting to apply, you need to take some form of identification with your address on it. I used my new-style driving licence. For published authors, it’s also helpful to produce your Society of Authors membership card since that gets you a three-year BL ticket. Aspiring authors can get a ticket, too, though it may not last as long.

I should warn you, though, that the reader’s ticket comes with a photo on it which is taken at the desk at the time you apply. Since I wasn’t forewarned, it is not the most flattering likeness I ever saw. But I don’t care. I have a BL reader’s ticket. I'll happily show it to get into the BL reading rooms.

Mind you, I probably won't be showing it off to anyone else!


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Competition winner!

The winner of our January competition to win a signed copy of Darcy's Diary is Laura Jeffs. Congratulations, Laura!

Thanks to everyone who took part. If you didn't win, why not visit our sister site Regency UK next week, and enter our new competition? We'll be posting details shortly.

A Box of Books and a jpeg!!

Last night I did my talk to the W.I. I arrived at 7.15 pm to allow me time to set out my bits and pieces before the meeting started. I was on at eight! I had written out the whole talk and sat at the back reading it through, during the singing of Jerusalem and the reading of the minutes.
Then it was me!! I had dressed to impress- new long pink herringbone tweed skirt from Monsoon and shirt from Gap, cardigan from Primark which lowered the tone somewhat. I put my watch in front of me, I had 45 minutes plus to fill.
I found that I didn't need my speech, I rememeberred the gist and it went swimmingly. One lady fell asleep, quite early on which was a bit off putting and two ladies walked out,( I discovered later they had gone to put the kettle on), but I carried on and the remainder enjoyed it- at least they were smiling and laughing at my merry quips.Then a forest of arms began to wave - was I to have a mass exodus? I watched as coats were put on- it wasn't me, thank goodness, it was freezing at the back of the hall!
The organiser told me I should have charged double and I sold no books- but the good news is I enjoyed it and two other WIs have asked for details. I am going to be added to their list of offical speakers. Wow!!
I intended to show you my new cover for A Suitable Husband, which finally arrived in colour, but the jpeg is corrupted - so my PC tells me- and I'm not up to dealing with recalcitrant files at this time in the morning.
Fenella Miller

Monday, January 23, 2006

The waiting is over!

I'm relieved and very happy to say that my publishers have taken my new book, Mr Knightley's Diary. I don't know when it will be out, but my guess is that it will be in the autumn.

If you'd like to read an exclusive extract, visit Austenblog, a great site for finding out about anything to do with Jane Austen.

And here's an exclusive excerpt for readers of the blog!

This is taken from near the beginning of the book. Mr Knightley has just returned from London, and goes to visit Emma, following Miss Taylor's marriage.

Friday October 2nd

After the noise and grime of London, it is good to be home. I was struck anew with the beauty of Donwell Abbey, with its low, sheltered situation, and its avenues of timber. I left my horse in the stables and walked through the meadow and down to the stream. The light was fading, but there was still enough to see by and the low sunlight sparkled on the water. I thought of happy years spent fishing there with John, and I watched it as it trickled along.

I turned and walked back to the house, and was warmed by the sight of it. The west front was catching the last rays of light, which gleamed on the spires and arched windows. They brought out the detail in the carvings of birds and fruit, and I thought of the craftsmen who had made them centuries ago. After John’s town house, I welcomed the Abbey’s ancient walls, and its familiar sprawl.

I noticed that some of the furniture was becoming shabby, but I could not bring myself to think of changing it. Besides, the furniture in the drawing-room and dining-room is well enough, and visitors do not penetrate further than those two rooms.

I ate my dinner in solitary splendour, and afterwards I walked to Hartfield to give Emma and her father all the London news.

I found them about to play backgammon, but they abandoned their game as I entered the room. Mr Woodhouse fussed about my health, and the damp and the dirt, but I did not pay him much attention. Instead, I let my eyes wander to Emma.

I was struck at once by the difference in her. With her governess in the house, Emma had always seemed like a schoolgirl, but with Miss Taylor gone, she seemed more like a young woman. Miss Taylor’s absence will be good for her.
She was taking her new condition well. She could not but miss the company of Miss Taylor, but she was making an effort to be cheerful. Her face broke out in a smile when she saw me, and it elicited an answering smile from me.

She asked about her sister, and her nephews and nieces.

‘Did Isabella like the baby’s cap?’ she asked.
‘Very much. She said it had come just in time, as Emma had outgrown the last one.’
‘And did the boys and Bella like their presents?’
‘Yes, they did. John complained there was no present for him.’
‘I will have to make him a cap the next time you go to London!’ Emma said.

‘And how did the wedding go?’ I asked.
‘Ah! Poor Miss Taylor!’ sighed Mr Woodhouse, who, I fear, will be lamenting the marriage ‘til Doomsday. ‘She will miss us, I fear.’
‘We all behaved charmingly,’ said Emma. ‘Everybody was punctual, everybody in their best looks: not a tear, and hardly a long face to be seen. We all felt that we were going to be only half a mile apart, and were sure of meeting every day. Besides, it had an added matter of joy to me, and a very considerable one - that I made the match myself.’

So she is still claiming to have made the marriage, despite everything I can say to give her a more rational view!
‘My dear, pray do not make any more matches, they are silly things, and break up one's family circle grievously,’ said her father.
I could not help giving a wry smile at this novel view of marriage!
‘Only one more, papa; only for Mr. Elton. Poor Mr. Elton! You like Mr. Elton, papa. I must look about for a wife for him.’

I shook my head at her delusions.
‘Depend upon it, a man of six or seven-and-twenty can take care of himself,’ I told her.
Nevertheless, I find myself half hoping she will attempt it. I cannot make her see sense, but when she fails in this new endeavour, it will teach her that her powers are nothing out of the ordinary, and that she had better leave other people to manage their own affairs!

Mr Knightley's Diary can be pre-ordered from the publishers by emailing enquire@halebooks.com

Amanda Grange

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Website Update

Over the past few weeks I have been updating www.nicolacornick.co.uk with information on the books I have coming out this year. I’ve also been adding to the “history pages” which is one of my favourite parts of the site. Most authors of historical fiction will get very excited when they start talking about the research they do and about the way that one line in a reference book can catch your eye, for example, and give you a whole new idea for another story. A few years ago I remember reading about shopping in Regency York and a brief reference to the Regency lottery catching my interest. It was from that snippet that the whole idea for my book about the lottery, The Earl’s Prize, was born.

Please come and visit my new, improved website! I hope you enjoy browsing the history pages and that you find something to interest you there. And don’t miss the Spring contest, with the opportunity to win a Pride and Prejudice themed recipe book!

Nicola Cornick

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Competition closed

The competition to win a signed copy of Darcy's Diary on our sister website has now closed. The name of the winner will be posted here on Tuesday, so watch this space!

A new competition will be announced shortly.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The highs and lows

It's always nerve-racking reading a review of one of my books, but I was on a high when I read the new review of Darcy's Diary at Single Titles.com

"Written with charm, elegance and style, Amanda Grange's excellent re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, Darcy's Diary, will make you fall in love with Fitzwilliam Darcy once again!"

Oh wow! That's exactly what I hoped the book would do! You can read the full review here:

Darcy's Diary reviewed at Single Titles

That's the high. Now for the low . . .

At the moment, I'm waiting to hear back from my publisher about my new book. I sent it off last week, and I can't stop thinking about it. Will they like it? Will they want rewrites? Will they publish it? Even after ten books, the waiting time doesn't get any easier.

I know I should be distracting myself by thinking of other things, but it's always at the back of my mind - anyone who's ever sent a book off to a publisher will know what I mean! All I can do is keep my fingers crossed and wait.

Amanda Grange

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Packet Service

I've always had a great love of the sea and sailing ships of all sizes. I also love adventure stories that feature a powerful love story. This combination inspired me to set my three most recent books in 1795, when England was at war with Napoleonic France.

The ships I chose to write about were schooners employed by the Packet Service to carry mail to and from Britain's growing worldwide empire. They also carried dispatches to and from the various theatres of war. They even carried bullion and ransom money to free those passengers on Packets unfortunate enough to be captured in the Mediterranean and held prisoner by pirates.

The Packet Service was based in Falmouth from 1689 until 1851, and made a huge difference to the town's size and status. Boat-builders worked flat out constructing new ships to replace those captured or sunk in battles with the French navy, pirates or the roving privateers who considered the packets valuable prizes.

The captains and crews of the packets were incredibly brave, risking death or capture every time they sailed. To ensure the packets made the fastest passage possible, the Post Office decreed that the ships should carry the minimum of guns with which to defend themselves. If attacked they were to flee rather than fight. If cornered they could fight only for as long as it took to sink the mail. Then they should surrender.

This ruling was loathed by proud, brave Cornishmen, and there are many stirring stories of resistance, even of packet ships turning on their attackers and becoming captor rather than victim.

My latest in this series will be published next month by Robert Hale, and is entitled DANGEROUS WATERS. The story begins in Falmouth and moves to Jamaica at a time when the island was overrun with French refugees and in the grip of a slave revolt. I'll tell you more about it next time, when I really do hope to have a jacket photo.

From Jane Jackson.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Guest Blogger of the Month - Margaret James

Every month we bring you a guest blog from other authors who write historical romance, sometimes set in the Regency, sometimes set in other eras. Our guest blogger this month is Margaret James, who is the author of a wide range of hugely popular books. Here, she chats about the inspiration for her latest novel, The Morning Promise, published by Hale, August 2005

"A few years ago, I read a wonderful non-fiction book called The Roses Of No Man’s Land about the army nurses who served during the First World War, and it inspired me to write a novel about the girls who worked for the Voluntary Aid Detachment - the VAD.

The girls who joined the VAD were often from privileged backgrounds, and the outbreak of war presented these gentlemen’s daughters with the opportunity for an adventure. The VAD girls weren’t all saints or superwomen. Some of them fell in love with the wrong men, some got pregnant, some went right off the rails, some had to admit defeat and go home. But the more I read about them, the more I admired them all.

The novel is about different kinds of bravery - that of the soldiers, obviously, and of the army nurses who saved so many of their lives. But it’s also about the quiet courage of the people left behind, who had to cope with dramatic social change and who sometimes displayed huge generosity of spirit.

My heroine Rose Courtenay is a lively, out-going, likeable but naïve young girl, who makes many mistakes and pays dearly for them, but who finally grows up. Rose wants what most of us want out of life - to make the most of our opportunities, to discover and use our talents, to love and to be loved.

Today, a girl like my Rose would probably be working for a famine relief agency, backpacking round the world, or saving the planet. She’d be displaying the idealism and enthusiasm that young people have always done, and hopefully always will. "

We'd like to thank Margaret for sparing the time to visit us on our blog, and we hope you'll read her book! You can buy it from any bookshop or online bookseller in the UK, or you can buy it from Amazon around the world. And don't forget to tell your librarian about this book!

To find out more about Margaret James and her books, visit Margaret James's homepage

Thursday, January 12, 2006

My first talk- and other things!

I am have almost completed my third Regency romantic adventure for Robert Hale and hope to send it off by the end of the month. It is entitled 'A Dissembler' but I'm not sure if that title will stay. It is set locally, as one thing I have learnt on my sorties into various bookshops and libraries is that their first question is. 'Is it local?' Hopefully setting it in the villages around where I live will improve the sales of this novel.
The two page spread published in the East Anglian Daily Times before Christmas has not, as far as I am aware prompted a big rush to the bookshops. In fact I'm beginning to think this paper is read about as often as 'Poultry Monthly'.
I have the first of three talks to local grouops coming up soon. As an ex-teacher talking to a captive audience has never been a problem. However this is to a W.I. group and doesn't start until 8.30pm. I hope I can stay awake that late- I get up at 5.00 am to write and would normally be collapsed in front of the TV by then, not trying to entertain a group of annonymous ladies in a chilly village hall.
I will keep you posted about the success, or otherwise, of this venture.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Different Kind of Research but still Inspiring

The Napoleonic Wars loom large in the Regency period. In Regency novels, including mine, there are often references to Waterloo, for example, and probably even more to the long Peninsular War in Spain and Portugal.

If you’ve watched any of the Sharpe stories on TV (with the delicious Sean Bean as Sharpe) you’ll have some idea of what conditions were like for the soldiers who fought there. In the winter, it could be freezing cold, with the soldiers ploughing through deep snow, as was the case for their 250 mile retreat to Corunna in January 1809.

In the summer, the heat could be merciless. British soldiers, marching across the arid Spanish plain in searing heat, had no means of protecting their fair northern skins. The best they could do was to put an olive leaf on their lower lip, to stop it from bursting. That conjures up such a painful picture.

Last year, I visited some of the principal battle sites of the Peninsular War. Although it was only early June, the temperatures were incredible, up to 38 degrees C (= 100F). The Spanish central plain goes on for miles and miles, dotted with scrub and olive trees and with very little sign of water. Some of the rivers were dry, even so early in the year. I couldn’t help thinking about those marching soldiers, with aching bodies, blistered feet and parched throats, arriving at the river to drink and finding no water. Wellington may have called his men the “scum of the earth” but they certainly had staying power.

At Ciudad Rodrigo, in 1812, Wellington lost nearly 600 men, with over 700 wounded. It’s not surprising the fortress was difficult to take. There are several sets of walls and they are still formidable, as you can see.

The view from the ramparts by the square tower of the Alcazar shows the steep drop to the River Agueda. It would have been impossible to scale those walls without heavy loss of life.

Ciudad Rodrigo itself is picturesque, exactly how one expects a Spanish town to be. Sadly, it did not look much like this after the battle, for the victorious troops indulged in a frenzy of drunken looting and violence. When order was eventually restored, they marched out “dressed in all varieties imaginable. Some with jack-boots on, others with white French trousers, others with frock-coats with epaulettes, some even with monkeys on their shoulders…” (according to Costello’s Adventures of a Soldier). But in spite of all that, the taking of Ciudad Rodrigo was a triumph for the Allies.

Much food for thought for a Regency author. And for readers, too, perhaps.

Best wishes for 2006 to everyone

Monday, January 09, 2006

Fateful Deception

A new year and my first book as a sole author hits the shelves! I wrote Fateful Deception in 2002-3 and sold it in May 2004 so it seems a long time in the making. Originally titled A Notorious Deception, it was the second novel manuscript I completed. (The first, currently titled Journey to Love, is out as a My Weekly Story Collection paperback later this year). Fateful Deception is in WH Smith, Asda and other good newsagents this month (on the magazine stands).

It's an adventure following the story of an unknowing heiress Lucinda Handscombe who is being persued by two plotters wanting to marry her for her fortune. Dragoon captain Robert Monceaux rescues her from a supposed highway robbery and then finds himself increasingly unable to untangle himself from her affairs as she arouses his protective instincts and he finds himself falling in love with her. But will she think him simply another fortune-hunter?

The story begins in Hounslow, Middlesex, where I worked for a time. Hounslow Heath was notoriously dangerous for travellers but also a military training ground for troops stationed at Hounslow barracks. You can read more about the historical background to the story here.

And the first chapter is excerpted here.

The cover isn't Regency, looking at the fashion-sense of the lady depicted, and she looks more like she is standing in Italy rather than the rain and snow-laden Middlesex of 1810 - but us authors rarely get any say in our covers!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

New in 2006

This week I had a lovely surprise when the cover of my new Regency, Deceived, arrived in the post. Here it is – and I think it is beautiful!

Deceived tells the tale of the scandalous Princess Isabella di Cassilis, who jilted her fiancé, Marcus Stockhaven, at the altar. Now Isabella is penniless and about to be arrested for debt, and Marcus is the only one who can help her. But is Marcus acting out of sympathy for Isabella’s plight or is he planning a long-delayed revenge…

Deceived is my first mainstream Regency historical for HQN books. It was the runner up in the RNA Elizabeth Goudge Trophy Contest in 2005 under the title An Immodest Proposal, and it will be published by HQN in July 2006. I hope you like it!

Best wishes for a very happy 2006!


Friday, January 06, 2006

Miss Bridget Jane's New Year Resolutions

Miss Bridget Jane's Diary by Amanda Grange is a Regency satire of the wonderful Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding.

I happened to visit Miss Bridget a few days ago, and she kindly showed me her New Year Resolutions:

January 1st
New Year Resolutions

I will not

I will not sneak cooking sherry from the kitchen

I will not eat chocolate cake, syllabub or meringues

I will not fall in love with penniless soldiers, curates or poets

I will not worry about being twenty-five and unmarried

I will not think I am going to be twenty-six in August

I will not buy a new bonnet every time Mama says, ‘Your sister Susan has been married for three years and she’s younger than you are’

I will not grin from ear to ear when someone asks me to dance, but will remain cool and calm and dignified, and merely nod in a languid manner

I will not fantasise about being a heroine in a romance who is swept off her feet by a hot earl despite the fact she is twenty-five (or twenty-six after August)

I will

I will join a circulating library

I will read an improving book every day

I will be kind to animals, old people and my sister

I will sew blankets for the needy

I will attend Aunt Anne’s balls willingly, instead of feigning a headache, earache
or bubonic plague

I will go for long walks, even if it is raining

I will acquire a sylph-like figure

I will learn to play the harp

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Inspiration and research

Inspiration for a book can come from all sorts of places. For me, reading a number of books on Regency Brighton fired my imagination and resulted in Lord Deverill's Secret. I wanted to include a lot of background detail, and this suggested the plot: Cassandra Paxton, enjoying the pleasures of Brighton, finds that she is suffering a number of accidents, and comes to realise that someone is trying to kill her.

I loved finding out about sea bathing at the time. I wasn't sure, to begin with, what a bathing hut looked like inside, how it got into the water, or even whether women were allowed to bathe at the time. I found the answers to all these questions, and sent Cassandra and her friend down to the beach. There they hired a hut, left their clothes on the seat running along the length of it inside, and felt it bump over the beach as a horse, ridden by an urchin, pulled it into the water.

I included a trip to the races, as well as private parties, and of course I couldn't neglect the Pavilion.

In 1804, when the book is set, it wasn't the building we know today. It looked like the picture on the left.

You can see how the cover artist used the contemporary Nash illustration (above) as a basis for the book cover. The scene depicted is of Cassandra attending an evening at the Pavilion.

To find out what it was like to go to the Pavilion for an evening, I read The Creevey Papers. I'd recommend them to anyone interested in the Regency, as they make fascinating reading. One of the incidents in the book is based on an incident recounted by Lady Creevey. She didn't like going to the Pavilion - it was very hot, and the Prince was unpredictable.

If you want to find out more, you'll have to read The Creevey Papers, or Lord Deverill's Secret!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


One of the best places to talk about the Regency with fellow enthusiasts is on the Regency list. There are all sorts of interesting people on the list: readers, writers, librarians, in fact anyone with an interest in the Regency.

Members come from all over the world, and chat includes discussions of favourite books, history and films.

If you want to know anything, a question on the list will usually provide you with the answer. Have you forgotten the title of a favourite book? Are you trying the recall the name of the actor who played Mr Darcy in the 1980 miniseries? Or are you wondering what a pelisse is? The Regency list is the place to find out.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year New Beginnings

After a build-up that began in our shops in October suddenly Christmas is all over for another year. When my children were small we always has a house full of people and I regularly cooked Christmas lunch for fourteen or more. This year, after several family gatherings earlier in the week, my husband and I spent a mild, sunny Christmas Day walking the cliffs at Cape Cornwall so I could take photographs of rocky coves suitable for smugglers then had turkey sandwiches for lunch. It was lovely.

I had hoped to post a cover photo of Dangerous Waters but it hasn't arrived yet, so fingers crossed for next time.

The weather turned really nasty a couple of days ago. We didn't get snow, just gales and rain. So I asked my husband to do something I've been putting off for far too long - take some new photos of me for my website, this blog, and the Press Release for Dangerous Waters. I loathe having my photograph taken. If I have to hold a smile my cheeks ache and it looks totally artificial. But my husband has a really nice camera and I'm relaxed with him. I thought a few snaps and it would all be over - like a visit to the dentist. But when he carried in halogen lights and put blue polythene covers over them to simulate daylight my heart sank. When he put on some music, hung up a rug to provide a non-reflective background and chose the top I should wear for contrast it sank even further. Then he made me laugh and what began as an ordeal turned into an hour of hilarity. He used up two films. Fingers crossed there'll be one print I like.

For me one of the joys of writing is research. History is my passion and I love learning about the way people lived. But sometimes a fact that I want for a story can prove elusive. I've been trying to find out when a ring was first given to celebrate a betrothal. So far no luck. If anyone out there knows, I'd love to hear from you. Meanwhile all the very best for 2006 from Jane Jackson.