Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

General John Hope 4th Earl of Hopetoun
17 August 1765 – 27 August 1823


John Hope

General John Hope 4th Earl of Hopetoun was the only son of John Hope, 2nd Earl of Hopetoun, by his second wife Jane Oliphant. His mother died when he was one-year-old. He was commissioned into the 10th Light Dragoons in 1784. He sat as Member of Parliament for Linlithgowshire from 1790 to 1800.

He took part in the capture of the French West Indies and Spanish West Indies in 1796 and 1797. In 1799 he was sent to Den Helder as Deputy Adjutant-General and was present at the Battle of Bergen and the Battle of Castricum. In 1801 he was sent to Cairo and then to Alexandria to take the surrender of the French garrisons there.

He commanded a Division during the advance into Spain and commanded the British left at the Battle of Corunna in 1809, succeeding to overall command when Sir John Moore was killed. Later that year he commanded the reserve army during the Walcheren Campaign. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Ireland and was admitted to the Irish Privy Council in 1812. He then commanded the First Division under The Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Nivelle and at the Battle of the Nive in 1813.

He served as Lord-Lieutenant of Linlithgowshire from 1816 to 1823. On 17 May 1814, two years before he succeeded in the earldom, he was raised to the peerage in his own right as Baron Niddry, of Niddry Castle in the County of Linlithgow, with remainder to the male issue of his father. In 1816 he succeeded his elder half-brother as fourth Earl of Hopetoun.

Lord Hopetoun married firstly Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Hope-Weir, in 1798. After her death he married secondly Louisa Dorothea Wedderburn. He died in August 1823, aged 58, and was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son from his second marriage, John. Lady Hopetoun died in 1836.

Following Lord Hopetoun’s death, the Hopetoun Monument was erected on Byres Hill, East Lothian, in 1824. This was followed in 1826 by a similar monument on Mount Hill in Fife. In 1824 the city of Edinburgh commissioned a bronze statue of Lord Hopetoun, by Thomas Campbell, and originally designed as a centrepiece for Charlotte Square in 1829, but which was eventually placed in St Andrew Square in 1834, in front of Dundas House where he had acted as vice governor of the bank.

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Jane Austen and Ghosts.

Not only do I write Regency and Romance, but this can take a humorous turn. Some years back, I am sure readers of this blog will be aware that some writers began to take great liberty with Jane Austen and her works. Pride and Prejudice being liberally rewritten with the inclusion of zombies.

Then other books appeared with sea monsters, and werewolves and vampires. President Lincoln has even made it to the big screen where he is intent on sending foul creatures to hell. It occurred to me, even before I read any of this literature, that Jane would probably not appreciate what had been done to her classic piece.

That the tales and her life have become visual spectacles that we enjoy she might not like either, but is perhaps resigned to. That zombies, ghosts and vampires are now used to follow her own plot lines would I think, have her turning over in her grave. Jane Austen and Ghosts is my take on that.

It is now available in a variety of formats. For a limited time it has been reduced to $2.99 for your eReaders and $8.99 for paperback you can get this Jane Austen adventure.


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and in Paperback

In the world of moviemaking, nothing is as golden as rebooting a classic tale that has made fortunes every time before when it has been adapted for the silver screen.

Certainly any work by Jane Austen made into a movie will not only be bankable, but also considered a work of art. That is of course until the current wave of adaptations that unite her classic stories with all the elements of the afterlife is attempted to be created.

That these have found success in the marketplace amongst booklovers may not be quite understood by those who make movies. But that they are a success is understood and a reason to make them into movies.

All that being said, perhaps it would also be fair to say that the very proper Jane, were she present to have anything to say about it, would not be pleased. Of course she has been away from this Earth for nearly 200 hundred years.

But does that mean were she upset enough, she wouldn’t come back?


If you have any commentary, thoughts, ideas about the book (especially if you buy it, read it and like it ;-) then we would love to hear from you.

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Thomas Dunham Whitaker


Thomas Dunham Whitaker

Thomas Dunham Whitaker was born at Raynham, Norfolk, on 8 June 1759, he was the son of William Whitaker (1730–1782), curate of Raynham, Norfolk, and his wife Lucy, daughter of Robert Dunham, and widow of Ambrose Allen. In 1760 his father moved to his ancestral house at Holme, in the township of Cliviger, Lancashire, and the boy was in November 1766 placed under the care of the Rev. John Shaw of Rochdale. In November 1774, after spending a short time with the Rev. William Sheepshanks of Grassington in Craven, he was admitted to St John’s College, Cambridge, and went into residence in October 1775. He took the degree of LL.B. in November 1781. His intention to enter the legal profession changed on the death of his father in the following year, when he settled at Holme.

He was ordained in 1785, but remained without pastoral charge until 1797, when he was licensed to the perpetual curacy of Holme, where he had rebuilt the chapel at his own cost in 1788. He completed his degree of LL.D. in 1801. In 1809 he became vicar of the extensive parish of Whalley, Lancashire. The rectory of Heysham, near Lancaster, was presented to him in January 1813. He resigned it in 1819. On 7 November 1818 he became vicar of Blackburn, a benefice he retained, together with Whalley, until his death.

When settled at Holme he instituted a local literary club. He had influence with the people of his parishes, and on several occasions exerted it to quell disturbances, particularly at Blackburn in 1817. For his ‘patriotic services’ he was presented with a public testimonial in April 1821. He was also very interested in topography and forestry, writing books on the subjects. In 1818 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society as “a Gentleman well versed in various Branches of Natural Knowledge being desirous of becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society”

He died at Blackburn vicarage on 18 December 1821, and was interred at Holme. He married, 13 January 1783, Lucy, daughter of Thomas Thoresby of Leeds, and left several children, of whom one, Robert Nowell Whitaker, also became vicar of Whalley. A monument raised by public subscription was placed in Whalley church in 1842. His library was sold at Sotheby’s in 1823, and his coins and antiquities, with the exception of his Roman altars and inscriptions, which he bequeathed to St John’s College, Cambridge, were dispersed in 1824.

His published works were:

  • History of the Original Parish of Whalley and Honour of Clitheroe, in the Counties of Lancaster and York, 1801; 2nd edition 1806, 3rd edition 1818; 4th edition (enlarged by John Gough Nichols and Ponsonby A. Lyons), 1872-6, 2 volumes This work used manuscripts of Thomas Lister Parker.
  • History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven, 1805.
  • De Motu per Britanniam Civico annis 1745 et 1746, 1809, an account in Latin based on John Home’s ‘History of the Rebellion of 1745.’
  • Life and Original Correspondence of Sir George Radcliffe, Knt., LL.D., the Friend of the Earl of Strafford, 1810.
  • The Sermons of Dr. Edwin Sandys, formerly Archbishop of York, with a Life of the Author, 1812.
  • Visio Will’i de Petro Plouhman … or the Vision of William concerning Piers Plouhman, 1813.
  • Pierce the Ploughman’s Crede, edited from the edition of 1553, 1814.
  • Loidis and Elmete, or an Attempt to illustrate . . . the Lower Portions of Airedale and Wharfdale, 1816.
  • The History of Richmondshire, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, 1823, in 2 volumes. It has thirty-two plates, after J. M. W. Turner.

Whitaker re-edited Ralph Thoresby’s Ducatus Leodiensis (2nd edition, with notes and additions, 1816). He also planned, but did not finish, several other works. He published ten occasional sermons and a political speech, and wrote dozens of articles for the Quarterly Review between 1809 and 1818.

A Trolling We Will Go

Not only do I write Regency and Romance, but I also have delved into Fantasy.

The Trolling series, (the first three are in print) is the story of a man, Humphrey. We meet him as he has left youth and become a man with a man’s responsibilities. We follow him in a series of stories that encompass the stages of life.

We see him when he starts his family, when he has older sons and the father son dynamic is tested. We see him when his children begin to marry and have children, and at the end of his life when those he has loved, and those who were his friends proceed him over the threshold into death.

All this while he serves a kingdom troubled by monsters. Troubles that he and his friends will learn to deal with and rectify.

It is now available in a variety of formats. For $.99 you can get this fantasy adventure.


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The Valley Kingdom of Torahn had been at peace for fifty years since the Council of Twenty-One saw fit to dispense with their royal family.

The only Kingdom without a King on the west side of the continent. But late last year, something caused the Goblins in the Old Forest, Karasbahn to stir and act courageous.

Something that men can not remember seeing Goblins ever doing. What has gotten the Goblins in such a state?

Whatever it is, it can not be good news for Torahn. Or for Humphrey, a woodcutter for a small town, far from Karasbahn.

But part of the Kingdom’s militia, with no family or other exemptions. He is perfect to be sent to the Old Forest and find out what scares the Goblins that they have become fearless.


If you have any commentary, thoughts, ideas about the book (especially if you buy it, read it and like it ;-) then we would love to hear from you.

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

George Frederick Nugent 7th Earl of Westmeath
18 November 1760 – 30 December 1814


George Frederick Nugent

George Frederick Nugent 7th Earl of Westmeath was the only surviving son of Thomas Nugent, 6th Earl of Westmeath, by his second wife Catherine White. He sat in the Irish House of Commons as member for Fore from 1780 until 1792, when he succeeded his father in the earldom. He became a member of the Irish Privy Council the following year, and held the offices of Custos Rotulorum for Westmeath and Auditor of Foreign Accounts. He was a Colonel in the Westmeath Militia.

As a young man he was described as “gay, social and convivial”. At 24 he married Maryanne Jeffries, who was about a year older. She was the daughter of Major James Jeffries of Blarney Castle and Arabella, sister of John Fitzgibbon, 1st Earl of Clare. She was described as a young woman of “great beauty, education and high accomplishments”. It was generally regarded as a love marriage, and according to the evidence at the trial, was initially happy. After about six years the couple effectively parted, he living in Ireland, she in London. At an unknown date Maryanne became intimate with Augustus Cavendish Bradshaw, younger son of Sir Henry Cavendish, 2nd Baronet and brother of the future Baron Waterpark.

There is no reason to doubt the claim made by Lord Westmeath’s counsel at the trial that he hesitated for a long time before deciding on divorce: divorce then invariably caused scandal, and was slow and expensive, requiring a Private Act of Parliament. Although he was a rich man, financial motives may partly explain his decision to sue for criminal conversation, seeking the (then) very large sum of £20,000; it was also then a necessary first step towards divorce.

The action opened on 20 February 1796, before Barry Yelverton, the Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer. Each side had an impressive legal team: John Toler, the Solicitor General for Ireland and William Saurin, the future Attorney General for Ireland for the plaintiff faced John Philpot Curran for the defendant. The trial aroused enormous public interest and the courtroom was packed.

Five witnesses, all servants of the Westmeaths, testified to actions which amounted to strong if circumstantial evidence of adultery (it was not the practice for the actual parties to give evidence). Curran’s cross- examination is said to have afforded great entertainment to the public, but did not seriously damage the witnesses’ credit. His speech to the jury was praised for its eloquence, although he came close to an admission that adultery was proved. On that basis he attacked the character of both husband and wife, describing Lady Westmeath as an experienced woman of the world who had seduced a much younger man. Lord Westmeath he described as a pleasure-loving and neglectful husband; as he fairly pointed out the picture of a happy marriage destroyed by Bradshaw did not fit with the fact that the couple had led separate lives for years.

For once Curran’s eloquence had little effect: Yelverton in his summing up described the evidence as overwhelming and suggested that the damages should be very large. The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded him £10,000.

The Westmeaths were divorced by a private Act of Parliament later that year, and in November Maryanne and Bradshaw married. She long outlived her first husband, dying in 1849, aged about 90.

In 1797 Westmeath remarried Lady Elizabeth Moore, daughter of Charles Moore, 1st Marquess of Drogheda. He supported the Act of Union 1800 and became an Irish Representative Peer. He died on 30 December 1814.

While the trial refers to several children of the first marriage, we know of only one son George Nugent, 1st Marquess of Westmeath. There were five children of the second marriage, Robert, Thomas, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary.

The Rules for Writers

Those who follow me for a long time know that I also write in other fields aside from Regency Romance and the historical novels I do.

A little while ago, before the end of 2011 and the 2011 NaNoWriMo, (where I wrote the first draft of another Regency) I started work on a project about writing.

The premise was what one should think about when starting and working on a project. I came up with 10 rules to follow in a quest to become a writer and tackle that novel.

Here are The 10 Rules:
1) Read like a writer
2) Have a good story
3) Your work will be Thematic
4) Plot: The seven deadly ones
5) Characters will carry your tale, near and far
6) Words are your warriors
7) Stories are structured
8) All tales building to a Crescendo
9) Genghis edits history, shouldn’t you as well
10) Act like a writer

So it is now released. For $4.99 you can get this treatise on honing your skills.


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Genghis Khan came from the Steppes of Mongolia, a family torn apart by neighboring tribes, to unite those tribes, or defeat them, and then conquer the greater part of the known world. His heirs would continue his conquest right to the edge of western society. The world feared the Mongols, and Genghis. Now, you can benefit, as a writer from the lessons he has to impart on how, with the changing world of publishing, you can perfect your work and write not only good material for this new age of book publishing. But can write great work for this new age. 10 simple lessons, and you will be on your way to conquering the bookshelves of the 21st century. This short book will have you learning all you really need to know to elevate your writing to the next level. These simple lessons will start you on the road to better writing as a member of the Horde in no time.


If you have any commentary, thoughts, ideas about the book (especially if you buy it, read it and like it ;-) then we would love to hear from you.

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Sir Thomas Dick Lauder
13 August 1784 – 29 May 1848


Thomas Dick Lauder

Sir Thomas Dick Lauder was born in Edinburgh, Midlothian but baptised 8 days later at Pencaitland, East Lothian, in early life he entered the army – 79th (The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders) Regiment of Foot, and although possessing Fountainhall (near Pencaitland), he afterwards took up his residence at his wife’s home, ‘Relugas’ in Morayshire, where he remained till 1832 (selling it in 1836), when he removed to the Grange House, in the Grange, Edinburgh until his death. On 8 February 1808 he married, on the banks of the Findhorn at Edinkillie, Morayshire, Charles Anne (1785–1864), the only child and heiress of George Cumin of Relugas. By her he had two sons and eight daughters.

In 1839 Sir Thomas was appointed Secretary to the Board of Manufactures and Fisheries in Scotland, and also, immediately afterwards, Secretary to the Board of British White Herring Fishery.The duties of these Secretaryships he continued sedulously to discharge till interrupted by his last illness. He was for some time Secretary to the Royal Institution for the Encouragment of the Fine Arts, an office which he relinquished about two years before his death. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, where he presented his paper on Parallel Roads of Glen Roy on 2 March 1818.

With his close friend Henry Thomas Cockburn, Lord Cockburn, Sir Thomas was an active Liberal, and took a keen interest in politics. In 1832 he presiding over a huge meeting of some 30,000 people rallying in favour of the Reform Bill at St. Anne’s Yards, the field immediately to the east of Holyroodhouse – said to be the largest ever political rally ever held in Scotland.

Sir Thomas and his family were close friends of Sir Walter Scott. His first contribution to Blackwood’s Magazine in 1817, entitled Simon Roy, Gardener at Dunphail, was ascribed by some at first to Sir Walter Scott. His paper (1818) on The Parallel Roads of Glenroy, printed in vol. ix. of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, first drew attention to the phenomenon in question.

In 1825 and 1827 he published two romances, Lochandhu and The Wolf of Badenoch. He became a frequent contributor to both Blackwood’s Magazine and Tait’s Magazine, and in 1830 he published An Account of the Great Floods in Morayshire in 1829 in the Province of Moray and adjoining Districts.

About this time he was befriended by the Sobieski Stuart brothers, eventual publishers, in 1842, of the disputed Vestiarium Scoticum. Lauder agreed to transcribe the famous Cromarty MS. Sir Thomas and Sir Walter Scott corresponded on this MS at length.

Some subsequent works of Sir Thomas were Highland Rambles, with Long Tales to Shorten the Way (2 vols. 8 vo, 1837), Legendary Tales of the Highlands (3 vols. 12mo, 1841), Tour round the Coasts of Scotland (1842), and was asked by Queen Victoria to write the official history of her visit, entitled Memorial of the Royal Progress in Scotland (1843). Volume One of a Miscellany of Natural History, published in 1833, was also partly prepared by Lauder. An unfinished series of papers, written for Tait’s Magazine shortly before his death, was published under the title Scottish Rivers, with a preface by John Brown, MD., in 1874.

He died at Grange House, and was buried in the new Dick Lauder tomb in the new cemetery at Grange, Edinburgh.

He was succeeded by his eldest son and heir, Sir John Dick-Lauder, 8th Baronet.


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