Posts Tagged ‘Austenesque Stories 1700s to 1930’

Austenesque Stories 1700s to 1930

My Historical Post



A few months back, those who are regular readers will remember The Fastest Love on Earth. The late Regency period romance i wrote that started with the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. During the period I worked on the story, I populate the Historical part of the Novel, with secondary characters, one of whom was Lord Palmerston.

Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount of Plamerston would become Prime Minister in the Victorian Age, after the time of the novel, but most men who do become Prime Minister surely impact the world well before they rise to that office.

During the period of The Fastest Love on Earth he is a neighbor to our hero of that story and he is also Foreign Secretary in the Cabinet of the Duke of Wellington. A man who is very prominent during the Regency of course, and in many of my own stories as so many of the heroes I plunk into my tales see service in the Peninsular Wars with the Iron Duke. Palmerston was also the Foreign Secretary for Lord Melbourne, who preceded and succeeded Duke Arthur as Prime Minister. The Viscount Melbourne sister, Lady Emily Cowper married Palmerston.


We should look into Lady Emily because she was a Patroness of Almacks. She also had a 20 year love affair with Palmerston before they married. Palmerston in his young days, well before anyone saw him as a future Prime Minister during the reign of Victoria, was known as Cupid in the inner circles of Regency society. In government he was known as Pam.

Palmerston was in office from 1807, when he was 23 until he died in 1865. Pam studied at Harrow School and the University of Edinburgh, then finished at St. John’s College, Cambridge. As a nobleman he did not have to take an examination to get his degree, he did however take the exams and passed with first-class honors.

PastedGraphic1-2011-12-9-10-54.jpg (Their home-Broadlands)

We often discuss pocket boroughs, and Palmerston finally got into the house of Commons as a Tory MP in June of 1807 after twice not getting in. From 1809-1828 he served as Secretary of War, so that was his position during the heart of the Regency era.

On April Fools 1818, he was shot by a retired officer on half pay, but the wound was just a graze. Palmerston found that his assailant was mad, and so he paid the legal defense of the man who attacked him.

I think that the best place to use one such as Palmerston is in his service to the crown as Secretary of War during the period, or of Lady Cowper’s Cupid at Almacks. We often need such additional characters to round out our panoply, and we almost always look to Almacks as a place that society considers one of the legs that supports it. Cupid, Pam, Palmerston was an ardent attendee and his tie to Lady Emily would have him easily be an acquaintance of any of our heroes who spend time there.

Yearly Word Count        

As the last three weeks are upon us for the year, I stand at 970,000 words so far. My goal has become to hit 1,040,000 words. This would be 20,000 a week, no matter if I took vacation or sick days from writing. Which I have. That is the goal. 19 more days. Hope I can make it.


The first post for the English Historical Fiction Authors went live and more new visitors showed up then, then for other days preceding it! All about waltzing during our period. I think I posted how another writer got me all upset by writing of waltzing before there was any waltzing. You can view it here.

I have decided my next two posts, one on New Years Eve, which I researched for The Other Shoe: Regency-Wallpaper. Then following that, I shall write on Castlereagh, who I believe was the spymaster of the British Government for a time especially during the war.

ECO Agents

My brother Douglas has his PHd, and was a hot shot BioChemist at one time. Working at the NIH and the FBI. Until these last years where he has started to write textbooks and teach. He called to say he was approached by a writer of Young Adult fiction to do a series of books about teenage students who have a bent to protect the earth and make us more green. Doug wrote an outline, the other writer disappeared and it was turned over to me. Here is Chapter 5’s start, though since it is YA, and we want to have our hero emerge early, it will probably be chapter 1.

Chapter 5

Watching the clock was something he was sure no one else did. It was in the upper right hand corner of Parker’s laptop screen. As well as on the thermostat near his window, on a bookshelf across from his desk, and even a mantel clock on his desk. He also had a wristwatch and he was sure his tutor, Mr. Frakes, had a watch as well.

But Mr. Frakes also had an alarm on his phone that rang when the lesson time was up and he could leave. Mr. Frakes was the math tutor and came three times a week for two hours in the early afternoon. Parker was home schooled and had seven different tutors that his parents paid to teach him.

Some, including Mr. Frakes said they could do so over the internet and did not really need to be physically present, but Parkers parents insisted. And Mr. Frakes showed up. It was probably wise that he did so, otherwise Parker might not pretend to be so diligent.

At the moment he was just pretending to double check his answers on the three tests that Mr. Frakes had brought over. It was summer and even the kids in at the public school were out on break. Parker though was cramming to get extra work done before he left for his new school.

Another minutes ticked away, Parker noticed by glancing at the corner.

“Nearly time, Parker. Are you ready to send me your answers so I can grade them?”

“Almost Mr. Frakes. Just need to check this. Here are the first two tests.” Parker clicked enter and the email with the two tests attached went to Mr. Frakes. Not quite another minute had passed, but then when it did, he prepare the email and sent it off to Mr. Frakes.

“Ah, good. Good. Well let’s call it a day then. Your folks are out, but they said you are to play in the yard for an hour. Not to ride over to the park.

Parker nodded. That was fine with him. But he wasn’t going to play in the yard. Mr. Frakes showed himself out.

His parents were out of the house and so entering his father’s man cave could be done without anyone knowing. Parker was to leave for school in three days, so the punishment, even should he be caught, was not going to be too serious.

You had to way the risks with the rewards. His father was always saying. It was one of the concepts about managing money that his father was really concerned with.

The man cave was where the 80 inch screen was.

And for today, he wanted every bit of the resolution he could get.

He was going to play Call of Duty:Modern Warfare with his clan, the Lords MissRuled. The had a double s in misrule for Missouri. He was pretty sure all the other members of his clan were all over sixteen since they talked about cars and driving, and girls and stuff like that while they fought, or in their private forum chats. He kept his own age hidden so that they did not know he was younger.

He had two hours before his folks came home and he was going to use every minute that he could to score some great victories for his team. He set a loud timer so he go AFK with enough time to leave the battle and return the room to the way his father liked it.

Parker ejected his father’s bowling disk from the PS3, and then put his own in, and scrolled to his account on PSN to sign in. Fortunately his father did let him have an account the PS3 in the man cave. Otherwise he would have had to do some hacking on his father’s console.

A few minutes later, he and the other Lords MissRuled were in the game. Killing others and wracking up victories.

After each mission he would look at the clock.

The punishment if his father caught him in the man cave without permission had always been severe. It was why he had to sneak in. Two weeks ago, he had asked to use it.

Prescott Thornton had looked like he was considering allowing him, “You know, I don’t think so. Last time I let you in, you tracked mud on the carpet, and I don’t really like that.”

Parker hadn’t. His father had tracked the mud into the room, but he was blaming Parker again. So Parker knew it was better to not ask permission sometimes. Sometimes you just had to do what you had to do. And the Lords MissRuled were way ahead of anyone else they had met so far. It was a good day.

Parker was able to put everything away, and even remembered to put the bowling disk back in before his folks got home. He was taking his PS3 to school with him, but he did not know if he was going to get as much time to play as he had at his parents home. He told his online friends that he would try to connect with them.

Parker knew every year it got harder to remember the times when he was a child. Kansas City, at least the neighborhood he had grown up could have been right out of a TV show. Parker knew now that the house he grew up in the Roanoke Park section of town was a fake Tudor two story affair. Back then, it was just a great big home. Much bigger than his family really needed. He had no siblings so it was just his parents and he.

He had a lot more space for himself growing up then he had when he reached his away school. He could not really call it boarding school, even though he was boarding there. But he had been advanced to tenth grade and still was faster at everything then the other students. His parents had been advised to take him out of school and get him home schooling where he could test above his grade and get his diploma. With online teaching, he could also start college work from home.

Parker just felt he didn’t fit it. At least with the kids of the neighborhood, he could ride his bike and play in the park and there school did not matter.

One of his first memories was Roanoke Park and his father training him to ride a bicycle. It was just after his birthday, and he had a hot blue two wheeler to celebrate. Riding a bike instead of a trike was what the big kids did. He was going to be a big kid. Though he liked to ride his trike up and down the street. His parents told him he could never leave the sidewalk with his trike and he always had to slow down at driveways.

With a bike he could ride all over the park and there were lots of sections without cars so he could go really fast. That would be way fun.

At first his father, the president of a small regional bank, had training wheels on the bike. They would run down the street and Parker could feel the air flow against him like wind, his father ran so fast and he pedaled as hard as he could. And then his father would let go and the bike would be a but wobbly but it was pretty steady.

His father, Prescott Thornton always said he had become a bank president not only because he was determined, but because with a name like Prescott, what else could he do. It was important, his father said, to live up to your name, and Thornton was a name that was at the bottom of the Declaration of Independence. Not that his father wanted to flat out tell everyone that they were descendants of a signer of such an august document, but it placed a great burden on the name.

Just as those that came over in the Mayflower felt they had some legacy to live up to, or when you joined the Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution. And Patrick was scheduled to become a member on his eighteenth birthday of that club. The name had a history and his father and mother told him he was to do great things because of his name.

They placed the first trophy he had earned on the mantel. His father had a whole lot of trophys in his mancave room. There was a big screen television there, that Patrick could only use when his father said he was allowed to, and he was punished if he was caught in the mancave at any other time.

Patrick’s mother Beth had ribbons and sashes, tiaras from when she was a beauty contestant. She had been runner-up to Miss Missouri when she had met his father. He had been first vice president at grandpa’s three branch bank. Parker knew that because Gampa Thornton always said that. That between his father meeting his mother and his being born a few years later, his father had made the small bank into eleven branches. It was over twenty-five branches when he left for school.

Parker knew now that made them pretty well off. He supposed another way he could tell his father did well is he always had food to eat. The house was warm in winter. He got a great selection of toys for Christmas and his birthday, and special release sneakers from Nike and New Balance when they came out. The only thing he did not have was friends at school, and a brother or sister.

Or that his father was a banker and people tended to give bankers lots of money. And his father said he was smart about the money. Other bankers took on too much debt and made risky loans. His father didn’t, he always said. He took on solid loans in the community. He leant to homeowners with two jobs. His father also didn’t sell the loans to other banks so the customers wouldn’t look elsewhere when they needed their next loan.

His father said that these were life lessons. Learn about the people you needed to trust. In his father’s case it was those he leant the bank’s money to. For Parker, once his father accepted the fact that he was going to be a scientist and not a businessman, it was trust those he wanted to work with. Prescott had told his son that he had heard of a great many scientists who stole the work of their researchers to pursue such prizes as the Nobel, or other awards.

Parker thought what his father was saying was watch his back. His mother Beth, who was not the smartest of women he had come to realize for her beauty pageant answer to the question of what she wanted most was the safe, ‘World Peace,’ said that his father meant more than a trite modern slogan. He meant build a group that could be trusted. Trust was key.


Read Full Post »

New Format

I have recently been invited to a Blog Tribe, the concept of which I am still a little sketchy on, but the idea is 6 other writers who explore the same periods as I get together and as we create our wonderful erudite web logs full of historical information, we share it.

The writers are Debra Brown, Teresa Thomas Bohannon, Maria Grazia, John D. Aidan, Lauren Gilbert and Emily Snyder

This new venture for me then leads me to redesign how I report in Things That Catch My Eye. Instead of just a Writer’s Blog where I report on the success and failure of my writing life. Write up my Gratitude Log. Provide excerpts of my writing, I will also write notes on my historical research for the books I am working on. And as they should carry more weight, I will place them first in the blog, with the notes of what I have been doing as a writer following.

This month is NaNoWriMo, and so I am at work on a Regency. The Other Shoe. It has led to research on Lloyds of London for today and the Royal Exchange for next time.

Lloyds of London

Starting in Edward Lloyd’s coffee house in 1688 on Tower Street, it was not the site of commercial interaction at first, but as more members of the shipping trade gathered there, ship’s captains, merchants, and owners, it evolved to a place where marine insurance could be financed. So successful that by 1691 Mr. Lloyd was able to move to a larger premise at the corner of Lombard Street and Abchurch Lane. Lloyd also began to employ correspondents at the main ports in England and abroad to get factual news quickly.

The motivation for Lloyd’s to grow beyond a place where like minded businessmen would gather to talk was the need to protect individual owners from the possibility of catastrophic losses. Underwriters would subscribe and assure that should a vessel be lost, they would then pay for it’s loss. They though would receive rewards for agreeing to such risks. Thus insurance as we know it was born, and Lloyd’s is now the leading specialist insurance market.

The coffee house PastedGraphic2-2011-11-2-10-43.jpg was taken over by Edward Lloyd’s son in law, and then in later years, the trading inside the coffee house took on a life of it’s own. By 1769 the first breakaway underwriters left to form New Lloyd’s Coffee House in Pope’s Head Alley. In 1771, 79 merchants, bankers, shipowners, brokers and underwriters subscribed with £100 each to create a building for all. In 1774 Lloyd’s then moved to the Royal Exchange.

One can not hide from the fact that a major component of what occurred at Lloyd’s was the insuring of vessels engaged in the Slave Trade. One can not just wish that such facts could disappear. That we of the 21st century can wish away the horridness of the Slave Trade, but having that in our history defines us now. Austen has the Bertram family receiving their income from slave plantations in the West Indies. They of course are not the only families to be so involved in the matter. English shipping carried 3 1/4 million people into slavery.

During the years that Lloyds was extant and Slaver trafficking was legal, British shipping lost over 1000 vessels.

With the advent of the Napoleonic wars, and shipping so much at risk, a close synergy was created between the business interests and the Admiralty. Even to this day, the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund started in 1803 still functions and supports ex-servicepeople.


Just a few days ago, before the start of National Novel Writing Month, I passed another writing milestone. Four Million words written. There has been more than that. I don’t keep track of the blogs, and it is possible that the blogs one day could become books. Nor do I keep track of the reviews, or other writings.

Four Million though for the novels that I have in the drawer as finished first drafts, second drafts, published, working on now.

That is over 13,300 pages of material. It’s a lot. Stack up nearly 3 boxes of copier paper. 500 sheets to a ream, 10 reams to a box, so 26 reams of finished work that I have been keeping track of. There are other buried bones in the closet that could contribute to my word count but have not.

Sales October

Down from September, which is hard. I had hoped for sales growth every month, instead of the other way around. 86 books which is slightly over 50% of the month before. One series of 6 Colonel Fitzwilliams and a Shattered Mirror went to a bookshop (can’t tell which one though) and another bookshop (maybe the same one) has bought a series in November as well. Kindle to Physical was 31% so I definitely see a trend there.

Overall, 13% of the goal we want in sales to become a full time writer. Of course the goal is the minimum needed to support us. I am sure Cheryl would like the revenue to be a little better than minimum so we could travel. Buy Christmas presents, that sort of thing.

Good Review

I love getting good reviews, especially when I am in the doldrums and I did garner another 5 star review (my favorite kind) Next to those, I like those that end with “would recommend.” Those are always valuable. I have a few now for Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Correspondence. I think those that read it, will be able to say the same. That they would recommend. I find that those who do not like what I have written are those who fault me for language. Aside from Austen and Heyer, there are few others that I have read for the period, but those that I have, write with a flair for setting the dialogue and narration with that period style. Some better than others. Those who have written with our present use of language are the ones I personally don’t read or recommend. So I suppose when a reader faults me for not writing with a contemporary use of language, I have written a Regency that does not appeal to them, just as I fault those writers who can’t find their way to use the rich Regency Lexicon available to us.


This year, I am once again writing a Regency. It is tentatively called The Other Shoe, as mentioned above. I completed the competitions 50,000 word requirement in 9 days. And having written several Novella length pieces this year, I can see that we can call 50,000 words a book. But my full length books are always well over 90,000 words and even 100,000. The big ones are over 200,000.

So The Other Shoe, at 50,504 words, has just reached the middle of Chapter 8, and in a 15 chapter book at present, that would be the middle of the story. Where our heroine (Lady Barbara Winhampton, the daughter of the Earl of Tyrone) is unburdening her soul saying how she just hates the hero. Though she doesn’t say how the hero has stirred thoughts in her that she had not known she had.

I scanned the list of Earldoms, for a defunct one to give to our heroine’s father. Tyrone was the first I saw that seemed to be useful, but it was a subconscious choice that guided me to it. There is a 1936 (wow-75 years old) movie called Lloyd’s of London.PastedGraphic-2011-11-2-10-43.jpg I like the movie, and it ends during the Regency with the news of Trafalgar a key part of the story. It is one of my influences and as I plotted the story a few days ago, I remembered the movie and put in a needed plot device for both Hero and Heroine’s family need to find some quick wealth. Wealth that could be gotten by investing as the star of the movie, Tyrone Power did. This fact came to me on Tuesday this week, when I had passed the first third of the novel.

Inside Mac Games

Over the course of the last few months, I have become a reviewer at Inside Mac Games. I am now working on my third review for them. My previous two involve the game AI:Wars, which was actually pretty bad the more I think on it, and the Map bundle from Civilization V, PastedGraphic1-2011-11-2-10-43.jpg (picture from actual gameplay I did for the review) which I have mentioned before is a great game.


I have decided, as a matter of preference, that now, almost 50, I do not have to be humbled by my opinions any longer. IMHO is out!!! My Opinions are mine, and I intend to drop the H. And that is my opinion, 😉

Read Full Post »