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 Bowdler
11 July 1754 – 24 February 1825

Thomas Bowdler was born at Box, near Bath, Somerset, the youngest son of the six children of Thomas Bowdler (c. 1719–1785), a banker of substantial fortune, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Cotton (d. 1797), the daughter of Sir John Cotton of Conington, Huntingdonshire. Bowdler studied medicine at the universities of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, where he took his degree in 1776, graduating with a thesis on intermittent fevers. He spent the next four years in travelling in continental Europe, visiting Germany, Hungary, Italy, Sicily and Portugal. In 1781 he caught a fever in Lisbon from a young friend whom he was attending through a fatal illness. He returned to England in broken health, and with a strong aversion to his profession. In 1781 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians (LRCP), but he did not continue to practise medicine. He devoted himself instead to the cause of prison reform. Bowdler was a strong chess player and once played eight recorded games against the best chess player of the time, François-André Danican Philidor, who was so confident of his superiority that he played with handicaps. Bowdler won twice, lost three times, and drew three times.

Bowdler’s first published work was Letters Written in Holland in the Months of September and October, 1787 (1788), which gave his eye-witness account of the Patriots’ uprising. In 1800 Bowdler took a lease on a country estate at St Boniface, on the Isle of Wight, where he lived for ten years. In September 1806, when he was 52, he married Elizabeth Frevenen or Trevennen, the widow of a naval officer. The marriage was unhappy, and after a few years Bowdler and his wife lived apart. They had no children. After the separation, the marriage was never referred to by the Bowdler family, and in the biography of Bowdler by his nephew, Thomas Bowdler, there is no mention of Bowdler’s ever marrying.

In 1807 the first edition of the Bowdlers’ The Family Shakspeare was published, in four small volumes. From 1811 until his death in 1825, Bowdler lived at Rhyddings House, overlooking Swansea Bay, from where he travelled extensively in Britain and continental Europe. In 1815 he published Observations on Emigration to France, With an Account of Health, Economy, and the Education of Children, a cautionary work propounding his view that English invalids should avoid French spas and go instead to Malta. In 1818 Bowdler published an enlarged edition of The Family Shakspeare, which had considerable success. By 1827 the work had gone into its fifth edition. In his last years, Bowdler prepared an expurgated version of the works of the historian Edward Gibbon, which was published posthumously in 1826. His sister Jane Bowdler (1743–1784) was a poet and essayist, and another sister Henrietta Maria Bowdler (Harriet) (1750–1830) collaborated with Bowdler on his expurgated Shakespeare.

Bowdler died in Swansea at the age of 70 and was buried there, at Oystermouth. He bequeathed donations to the poor of Swansea and Box. His large library, consisting of unexpurgated volumes collected by his ancestors Thomas Bowdler (1638–1700) and Thomas Bowdler (1661–1738), was donated to the University of Wales, Lampeter. In 1825 Bowdler’s nephew, also called Thomas Bowdler, published his Memoir of the Late John Bowdler, Esq., to Which Is Added, Some Account of the Late Thomas Bowdler, Esq. Editor of the Family Shakspeare.

In Bowdler’s childhood, his father had entertained his family with readings from Shakespeare. Later, Bowdler realised that his father had been omitting or altering passages he felt unsuitable for the ears of his wife and children. Bowdler felt it would be worthwhile to publish an edition which might be used in a family whose father was not a sufficiently “circumspect and judicious reader” to accomplish this expurgation himself.

In 1807 the first edition of the Bowdlers’ The Family Shakspeare was published, in four duodecimo volumes, containing 24 of the plays. In 1818 the second edition was published. Each play is preceded by an introduction where Bowdler summarises and justifies his changes to the text. According to his nephew’s Memoir, the first edition was prepared by Bowdler’s sister, Harriet, but both were published under Thomas Bowdler’s name, probably because a woman could not then publicly admit that she understood Shakespeare’s racy passages. By 1850 eleven editions had been printed. The spelling “Shakspeare”, used by Bowdler, and also by his nephew Thomas in his memoir of the older man, was changed in later editions in the mid-19th century to “Shakespeare”.

The Bowdlers were not the first to undertake such a project, but, despite being considered a negative example by some, their editions made it more acceptable to teach Shakespeare to wider and younger audiences. The poet Algernon Charles Swinburne said, “More nauseous and foolish cant was never chattered than that which would deride the memory or depreciate the merits of Bowdler. No man ever did better service to Shakespeare than the man who made it possible to put him into the hands of intelligent and imaginative children.” Bowdler’s commitment not to augment Shakespeare’s text was in contrast with the practice of some earlier editors and performers. Nahum Tate as Poet Laureate had rewritten the tragedy of King Lear with a happy ending. In 1807 Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb published Tales from Shakespeare for children with synopses of 20 of the plays, seldom quoting the original text.

Some examples of alterations made by Bowdler’s edition:

  • In Hamlet, the death of Ophelia was referred to as an accidental drowning, omitting the suggestions that she may have intended suicide.
  • In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth’s famous cry “Out, damned spot!” was changed to “Out, crimson spot!”
  • “God!” as an exclamation is replaced with “Heavens!”
  • In Henry IV, Part 2, the prostitute Doll Tearsheet is omitted entirely; the slightly more reputable Mistress Quickly is retained.
  • The Family Shakespeare, Volume One, The Comedies, ISBN 0-923891-95-1
  • The Family Shakespeare, Volume Two, The Tragedies, ISBN 0-923891-98-6
  • The Family Shakespeare, Volume Three, The Histories, ISBN 0-923891-99-4
  • The Family Shakspeare, in which nothing is added to the original text; but those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family by Thomas Bowdler in 10 volumes, Facsimile reprint of 2nd edition, revised, in 1820, Eureka Press, 2009. ISBN 978-4-902454-16-1

Special Sale Price!

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.


Barnes and Noble for your Nook



Amazon for your Kindle

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.

Jane Wells Webb Loudon
19 August 1807 – 13 July 1858


Jane Wells Webb Loudon

Jane Wells Webb Loudon was born in 1807 to Thomas Webb, Esq., a wealthy manufacturer from Edgbaston, Birmingham and his wife. (Sources vary on her place of birth: according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB), she was born at Ritwell House—possibly the same as Kitwell House at Bartley Green.) After the death of her mother in 1819, she travelled Europe for a year with her father, learning several languages. On their return his business faltered, and as a consequence of over speculation, his fortune was lost. He sold the house in Edgbaston and they moved to another of his properties, Kitwell House at Bartley Green, 6 miles away. He died penniless in 1824, when Jane Webb was only 17.

After her father’s death, she found that:
on the winding up of his affairs that it would be necessary to do something for my support. I had written a strange, wild novel, called the Mummy, in which I had laid the scene in the twenty-second century, and attempted to predict the state of improvement to which this country might possibly arrive.

She may have drawn inspiration from the general fashion for anything Pharaonic, inspired by the French researches during the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt; the 1821 public unwrappings of Egyptian mummies in a theatre near Piccadilly, which she may have attended as a girl; and, very likely, the 1818 novel by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein. As Shelley had written of Frankenstein’s creation, “A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch,” which may have triggered young Miss Webb’s later concept. In any case, at many points she deals in greater clarity with elements from the earlier book: the loathing for the much-desired object, the immediate arrest for crime and attempt to lie one’s way out of it, etc. However, unlike the Frankenstein monster, the hideous revived Cheops is not shuffling around dealing out horror and death, but giving canny advice on politics and life to those who befriend him. In some ways The Mummy! may be seen as her reaction to themes in Frankenstein: her mummy specifically says he is allowed life only by divine favour, rather than being indisputably vivified only by mortal science, and so on, as Hopkins’ 2003 essay covers in detail.

Unlike many early science fiction works (Shelley’s The Last Man, and The Reign of King George VI, 1900-1925, written anonymously in 1763), Loudon did not portray the future as her own day with only political changes. She filled her world with foreseeable changes in technology, society, and even fashion. Her court ladies wear trousers and hair ornaments of controlled flame. Surgeons and lawyers may be steam-powered automatons. A kind of Internet is predicted in it. Besides trying to account for the revivification of the mummy in scientific terms—galvanic shock rather than incantations–“she embodied ideas of scientific progress and discovery, that now read like prophecies” to those later down the 1800s. Her social attitudes have resulted in this book being ranked among feminist novels.

The Mummy!: Or a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century was published anonymously in 1827 by Henry Colburn in three volumes, as was usual in that day so that each small volume could be easily carried around. It drew many favourable reviews, including one in 1829 in The Gardener’s Magazine on the inventions proposed in it.

Among other foreshadowings of things that were to be, was a steam plough, and this attracted the attention of Mr. John C. Loudon, whose numerous and valuable works on gardening, agriculture, etc., are so well known, led to an acquaintance, which terminated in a matrimonial connection.

John Loudon wrote a favourable review of The Mummy in a journal he edited. Seeking out the author of the text, presuming that person to be male, he eventually met Jane in 1830, and they married a year later.

In 1829, Loudon published the semi-fictional Stories of a Bride, her second and last foray in fiction.

She became fascinated with her husband’s field of agriculture and gardening. She found the gardening manuals of the day confusing as they were written for those already deeply into the field via some apprenticeship: there were no entry-level manuals. She saw the need for and potential interest in such books, and set to writing them as she herself learned: Instructions in Gardening for Ladies; The Ladies’ Flower Garden; The Ladies’ Companion to the Flower Garden; Botany for Ladies; The Lady’s Magazine of Gardening, etc. According to Adams, these became “standard books of reference, and attained a large circulation.” She was not only influenced by her husband in gardening, but by John Lindley, whose lectures she attended; she ardently seconded his concepts of gardening as an occupation very fit for ladies.

She learned to plant and tend in the meticulous manner her husband needed for his researches and was his helper, if not co-author, on his books hereafter.

In 1832, they had a daughter, Agnes Loudon. She became an author of children’s books.
The Loudons were considered the leading horticulturalists of their day, and their circle of friends included Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackery.

In 1843, John Loudon died of lung cancer, leaving Jane with a 10-year-old daughter, Agnes. In addition to earning her living by writing, Loudon received “a pension of a hundred pounds per annum, from the Civil List, which she has deservedly gained.”

In late 1849, Loudon was editing The Ladies’ Companion at Home and Abroad, a new magazine for women. Although highly successful in the beginning, book sales decline and she resigned as editor. Loudon died in 1858 at fifty-one years of age.

  • The Mummy!: Or a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century (1827)
  • Stories of a Bride (1829)
  • Young Ladies Book of Botany (1838)
  • Gardening for Ladies (1840)
  • Botany for Ladies (1842)
  • The Ladies Magazine of Gardening (1842)
  • The Ladies Companion to the Flower Garden (four volumes, 1840–44)
  • My Own Garden (1855)

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.


Barnes and Noble for your Nook


Amazon for your Kindle

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.

Charles Cornwallis 1st Marquess Cornwallis
1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852


Charles Cornwallis

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.

William M. James (naval historian)
1780 – 28 May 1827

William M. James (naval historian) was trained in the law and began his career as an attorney. He practised before the Supreme Court of Jamaica and served as a proctor in the Vice-Admiralty Court of Jamaica from 1801 to 1813. In 1812, when war broke out between Great Britain and the United States, James was in the United States. Detained by American authorities as a British national, he escaped to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1813.

This experience interested him in the War of 1812 and he began to write about it, particularly defending the reputation of the Royal Navy and pointing out the factual errors and excessive claims that American reports made against the Royal Navy. His initial literary efforts seem to have been letters written to the editor of the Naval Chronicle under the pen name ‘Boxer’. In 1816, he published his first pamphlet, An inquiry into the merits of the principal naval actions between Great Britain and the United States. This pamphlet caused a controversy in the United States, leading to much American criticism of James’s views.

James went on to write his six-volume Naval History of Great Britain, 1793 – 1827 in reaction to American accounts of the War of 1812. Similar in approach, this work was highly critical of the history that his contemporary Captain Edward Pelham Brenton had written on the subject and led to controversy between them that is reflected in successive editions of their works.

James’s legal background would influence his approach to obtaining evidence. He attempted, therefore, and managed to board American warships and speak to their crews, to verify their characteristics at first hand. In this pursuit he claimed, for example, that the USS Constitution was not only much larger, but also more heavily manned and armed, than HMS Guerriere – contrary to previous American claims that the ships had been equal at the time of their engagement. More alleged erroneous American assertions were dealt with. Equally, James was not shy to criticise British officers as well, where he saw fit.

James died in South Lambeth, London, in 1827, but his works continued to be published. Captain Frederick Chamier expanded the work in 1837 to include the Burmese War and the Battle of Navarino. The book remained a major reference work and was so often consulted that the Navy Records Society published an index to the history in 1895, which is now available on the Internet.

Theodore Roosevelt, as a young Harvard University undergraduate in 1876–77, began work on a response from the American perspective. Published in 1882 as The Naval War of 1812, the book took James to task for what Roosevelt felt were glaring mistakes and outright misrepresentations of fact based on malicious anti-American bias and shabby research, despite James’s painstaking research and primary sources. In places, Roosevelt becomes almost mocking in his criticism of James. The book was an immediate sensation in the United States and is still considered a source book on the subject (no less than three books on the War of 1812 written in 2006 alone quoted from Roosevelt’s response); however, Roosevelt’s conclusions have been disputed by Professor Andrew Lambert in his 2012 book The Challenge: Britain Against America in the Naval War of 1812.

Scholars further note that Roosevelt’s effort did not actually refer to James’s two books on the War of 1812. Instead, Roosevelt referred to James’s Naval History series, which holds only a shortened version. This avoidance of James’s arguments and detailed evidence of 1817 and 1818 is seen by some as largely undermining Roosevelt’s critique of James’s work. Moreover, Roosevelt is also accused of ignoring the earlier American claims that provoked James in the first place, claims that might be best understood to be beneficial to American morale at the time.

James’s primary conclusion – that no American vessel of equal force ever captured a British ship – essentially remains unchallenged.

However one might also read Ian Toll’s Six Frigates, published in 2006, where Toll cites Roosevelt’s purpose as not only showing James’ distortions and fabrications but also showing James’ American contemporaries as being equally guilty of being culpable. In his book Roosevelt stated:
And it must always be remembered that a victory, honourably won, if even over a weaker foe, does reflect credit on the nation by whom it is gained. It was creditable to us as a nation that our ships were better made and better armed then the British frigates….Some of my countrymen will consider this but scant approbation, to which the answer must be that a history is not a panegyric.

  • An Inquiry into the merits of the principal naval actions between Great Britain and the United States : comprising an account of all British and American ships of war captured and destroyed since 18 June 1812 (Halifax: Holland, 1816).
  • A full and correct account of the chief naval occurrences of the late war between Great Britain and the United States of America : preceded by a cursory examination of the American accounts of their naval actions fought previous to that period (London: T. Egerton, 1817); (London: Conway Maritime Press, 2002).
  • Warden refuted; being a defence of the British navy against the misrepresentations of a work … entitled, “A statistical … account of the United States of North America,” by D. B. Warden, … in a letter to the author of that work (London, 1819).
  • The naval history of Great Britain from the declaration of war by France in February 1793 to the accession of George IV in January 1820 : with an account of the origin and progressive increase of the British Navy … Five volumes (London Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, 1822–24); New edition in Six volumes … and an account of the Burmese War and the battle of Navarino. (London: R. Bentley, 1837); (London: Richard Bentley, 1847); (London: Richard Bentley, 1859); (London: Richard Bentley, 1860); (London: Richard Bentley & Son, 1886); (London: Macmillan, 1902); (London: Conway Maritime Press, 2002).

William James’ six volume set is now in the public domain and available in Ebook form:

  • James, William, (1826), The naval history of Great Britain…Volume 1,
  • Harding, Lepard and Co., London, pp.567
  • —— (1822), The naval history of Great Britain…Volume 2,
  • Baldwin, Cradock and Joy, London pp.646
  • —— (1837), The naval history of Great Britain…Volume 3,
  • Richard Bentley, London, pp.386
  • —— (1824), The naval history of Great Britain…Volume 4,
  • Baldwin, Chadock and Joy, London, pp.500
  • —— (1847/1859), The naval history of Great Britain…Volume 5,
  • Richard Bentley, London, pp.458
  • —— (1837), The naval history of Great Britain…Volume 6,
  • Richard Bentley, London, pp.458

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.


Barnes and Noble for your Nook


Amazon for your Kindle

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.

John Eyre (Painter)

John Eyre (Painter) a pardoned convict, was an early Australian painter and engraver.

Eyre was born in Coventry, Warwickshire in England. Aged 13 years in 1794, he was apprenticed to his father, a wool-comber and weaver, and became a Coventry freeman in August 1792. On 23 March 1799 he was sentenced to transportation for seven years for housebreaking, and reached Sydney in the transport Canada in December 1801.

Granted a conditional pardon on 4 June 1804, Eyre’s early drawings are dated from around this time. He generally focused on urban landscapes, giving his creative output value not only as works of art but also as historical records. Over the course of Eyre’s artistic career, his work progressed from purely representative topographical depictions, to more artistic compositions with embellishments such as Aboriginal figures and ships at sea. This progression is typical of the developmental pattern of landscape depiction in the early colonial period.

He left the Colony as a free man in 1812; nothing is known of his later life.