Posts Tagged ‘Pride and Prejudice’

Today I am joined on The Things That Catch My Eye by Karen Aminadra.

Karen has just released her Rosings.

Our regular posts will return, but now, our interview:

Today we are fortunate to have with us Karen Aminadra who writes in Historical Fiction genres. Though we want to hear of her historical work in the Regency.

1)What moved you to become an author?

I’ve always made up little stories and had a very fertile imagination. Even as a child, I found it extremely easy to invent worlds, or new identities and write little stories. I also inherited a love of books and reading from my father. I especially love historical novels as they spark my imagination more than contemporary fiction. I suppose that being an author is the natural ‘grown up’ progression of who I was as a child.

2) Tell us about your current novel.

I’ve just finished and published the second in my Pride and Prejudice series – Rosings. In my series, I take the secondary or lesser characters and write about what might have happened next. I always do that when I read too. I love the main characters and how it all turns out, but I cannot stop my mind from asking what happened to so-and-so? Rosings is about Anne de Bourgh and obviously, her mother Lady Catherine from Jane Austen’s much loved book – Pride and Prejudice.

3) How did the story begin to develop in your mind?

Firstly, I’ve always wondered if Anne was really sickly, or is she just down-trodden from having such an overbearing mother. Secondly, the premise for the book was sparked off by something that I had Lady Catherine say in book one of the series – Charlotte. She said that after being let down by Mr Darcy with regards to him marrying Anne, that she’d have to invite a party of gentlemen to stay for Anne to choose a husband from. As you can imagine, that’s not the best way to gain a husband.

4) What did you find most challenging about this book?

Overcoming Lady Catherine’s stubbornness was the hardest thing to do. No matter what Anne and I wanted to do, Lady Catherine had other ideas. She is a difficult woman, you know. So, I had to give her a good healthy dose of reality. You’ll have to read the book to see if it did the trick.

5) How did you choose your publishing method?

I am a hybrid author – I have signed with a small press publishing company recently, but with my Pride and Prejudice series, I wanted to keep self-published. This is because of some excellent advice I received from some other Austen authors out there. Jane Austen Fiction as it’s called, has quite a niche audience and although it sells and JAF readers have voracious appetites, most publishing houses just aren’t interested I am afraid. For me, self-publishing works well. I like the flexibility involved.

6) Tell us a little about yourself?

Well, I’m English and I can usually be found with my head in the clouds and muttering inanely to myself. I mostly reside in my writing cave, but I am occasionally permitted to come out to eat. I’ve travelled to and lived in many countries, not just in my imagination. Although today, with my feet firmly back in England, I travel the world, the universe and in time through my novels only.

7) What is your next work, and beyond that, what do you want to work on.

Right now, I am working on a contemporary novel that sprung into my head last summer. It’s been nagging me for attention so I have knuckled down and I am about one third of the way through it. After that, I intend to write a novel set during the Scottish war of independence.

8) In the current work, is there an excerpt to share?

This is one of my favorite scenes from Rosings as it shows Lady Catherine to be quite human and prone to being a ninny from time to time, just like the rest of us mere mortals.

Meanwhile, Lady Catherine had other things on her mind. She was surprised to learn of the recovery of Mr Collins and, even more so, the news that he was to vacate his position at Hunsford in favor of the living offered to him by Mr Darcy at Pemberley in Derbyshire. Lady Catherine felt her nerves become frayed more than ever by the news. She was sure that Mr Collins would die, and the sight of him walking into the drawing room at Rosings that morning and being presented made her feel quite faint. Lady Catherine tried to pull herself together; however, she was convinced that she was seeing an apparition and that the ghost of Mr Collins had come to haunt her. Her screams and cries for help brought Anne and Mrs Jenkinson scurrying in from the music room, where Anne was covertly being taught to play.

“Mama, what is it? What has happened?” Anne cried, her annoyance with her mother momentarily forgotten.

Lady Catherine could only manage to whimper and screech whilst pointing her finger at Mr Collins, who was hopping from foot to foot in his distress.

“My dear Lady Catherine, please do forgive me if I have caused you any distress by my presence in your gracious home this morning,” Mr Collins pleaded. He looked up at Anne. “I cannot imagine what I have done to effect such a change in your mother.”

It seemed the more Mr Collins spoke, the more Lady Catherine grew distressed, and so it was deemed better for him to remain out of her line of sight until she recovered. After being brought her smelling salts and drinking a cup of tea laced with brandy – for medicinal purposes, they assured her – Lady Catherine was finally able to gather and calm herself.

Anne remained by her mother’s side and whispered, “Mother, what happened?”

Lady Catherine looked at her daughter, wide-eyed, and whispered back, “I thought he was dead!”

“Mr Collins? You thought him an apparition?” Lady Catherine looked at Anne incredulously. Anne was stifling a giggle and that enraged her.

Her Ladyship took in a sharp breath through her nose and straightened up in the chair. Now that she thought about it, the notion was beyond ridiculous and she looked very foolish. “Do not mock me, child!” she snapped.

“Well, I see you are returned to your old self. I shall leave you to it,” Anne snapped, stood, and left the room without a rearward glance.

Lady Catherine barely noticed her daughter leave, or what she said in parting. She was staring fixedly, and with suspicion, at Mr Collins, who was nervously playing with the rim of his hat. She watched him creep towards her.

“Your Ladyship, I do apologize for distressing you so. If I had known that my presence here would have discomfited you, I would have sent a note ahead of me.” He simpered reassuringly.

Lady Catherine found her voice at last. “I am pleased, Mr Collins, to see you recovered. We were concerned that you would not be long for this world.”

“Thank you, Your Ladyship. I believe it was touch-and-go there for a while, however, I…”

Lady Catherine waved her hand and stopped him in mid sentence. “Yes, yes! But what vexes me is why my nephew and his wife were at the parsonage with you, and in your bedchamber, of all places!” She took another sip of her tea to calm her frayed nerves.

Mr Collins drew himself up to his full height. “That is what I have come to speak to you about, Your Ladyship.”

9) Who do you think influenced your writing, this work, and who do you think you write like?

Of course I have to say Jane Austen inspires me, as does Charles Dickens, the Bronte’s and Elizabeth Gaskell. However, if I wanted to mention people in my life who have influenced me then I’d have to credit, my dad, granny and mother-in-law. All three of them introduced me to books that I otherwise might not have been able to get my hands on. It’s because of them that I am the bookworm I am today. As to whom I write like, I cannot answer that, I really don’t know. What do you think?

10) Who do you read?

Of course I read the classics as I mentioned in the last question, they are my favorites. However, I am a huge supporter of independent, self-published authors. I believe that there is a lot of talent out there and I love to read those books and discover new authors too.

11) When writing, what is your routine?

I have to have silence, that is hard for my poor husband. I think that he always needs to talk to me once I start writing. Haha. What I usually do is make myself a very large cup of tea. While I am making it, I set my mind to work. I travel back in time and to the scene that I am writing. I play it out in my head and sometimes even act out the dialogue. Goodness knows what my neighbors think of me! For me that’s how I get into my ‘zone’. If I don’t do this routine or if I’m disturbed, then it’s gone – the muse is a fragile thing.

12) Do you think of yourself as an artist, or as a craftsman, a blend of both?

I don’t think I think of myself as either, but I like the thought though. I’ve only been published for a year and I still find it hard to get my head around the idea that I am a published, internationally selling author. Sometimes that seems like such a pompous title to attach to oneself. However, I do call myself creative and a storyteller. So, in answer to your question, I guess that I am a creative and imaginative story-craftswoman.

13) Where should we look for your work.

Amazon US for your kindle –Rosings

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CM4QZ4W

Amazon Canada – http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00CM4QZ4W

Xinxii – http://www.xinxii.com/en/rosings-p-343468.html

You can connect with me on twitter @kaminadra, on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/karenaminadra and of course, through her blog http://kaminadra.blogspot.co.uk/

Rosings is currently available for your Kindle at Amazon



Trapped and cloistered in her own home.

Anne de Bourgh, wealthy heiress daughter of the inimitable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, yearns to be set free from her luxurious prison, Rosings Park.

Her life stretches out before her, ordered and planned, but it is a life she does not want. She wants more. She wants to be free. She wants to do everything that has been forbidden her, and she wants more than anything to fall in love with whom she chooses.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh has other plans for Anne.

Will Lady Catherine have her own way as always?

Will Anne succeed?

Can she break through the barriers of wealth, rank and duty?

From the award-winning author of Charlotte ~ Pride & Prejudice Continues and Relative Deceit comes ROSINGS ~ Pride & Prejudice Continues Book Two!


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Today I am joined on The Things That Catch My Eye by Maria Grace.

Maria has just released her All the Appearance of Goodness.

Our regular posts will return, but now, our interview:

Thanks for hosting me David. I’m more used to interviewing authors and its fun to have the shoe on the other foot.

What moved you to become an author?

It’s not something I ever really decided, I think. Like most things in my life, I kinds of walked into it and looked around and realized it was happening.

I have been writing and making up stories as long as I can remember. But, on reflection, I think my third grade teacher had the biggest influence on me. We had just moved into the school district and I was the new kid in class. I wrote my first poem and short story about that time and showed them to her. She encouraged me to continue writing and even helped me to format some of my pencil scrawl correctly. So I just kept at it from there.

In middle school I wrote a short story anthology and two novels that I shared with friends. They were enthusiastic about them. In high school I added another standalone novel and a six book series to the mix, again written mostly for the entertainment of my friends. So, I suppose my friends who read those early efforts also had a big influence as well. I still have those old scribbles, hidden in a box in my office, they remind me I’m just getting back to one of my first loves.

Tell us about your novels.

My latest novel is the third in a series of Jane Austen inspired novels. I have two additional manuscripts in this genre sitting in the drawer waiting to be edited.

My novels are unique in that I like to explore the ‘what if’ aspects of the characters. In my current series, I explore what might have happened if a mentor had been present to influence the main character’s lives. Would there still have been a story to tell? In this case, the answer was happily, yes.

Though I have borrowed Jane Austen’s characters, their new situations makes for a very different story. I strive to keep true to her character’s personalities while exploring how they might have realistically been different due to changed circumstances.

I have several other projects in various states of completion. One day I was at the gym lifting weights with my sons—always fodder for creativity—and the thought winged by ‘what would the social structure and culture of Regency England look like in an advanced/space faring technological society? True, it was an odd thought for the gym, but, it gave birth to a trilogy that is also sitting in the drawer waiting for the attentions of a developmental editor later this month.

My academic training is in sociology, psychology and education more than straight history, so I love to explore the person in the context of their society both in the large sense of a nation and the smaller sense of a community. That’s where I tend to find my plots.

How did the story begin to develop in your mind?

In the series I just published, the inspiration was very personal. I found myself caught in the midst of a situation where someone, actually several people, who knew how to behave better and should have, but did not. I ended up being the brunt of their ‘stuff’. It was exceedingly painful and left me with a lot of junk to work through.

Around that time, I reread Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and the line “as a child, I was given good principles, but left to follow them in vanity and conceit” jumped out at me. At the time it described what I had been on the receiving end so well I could hardly believe it. That got me thinking, what would have happened, both in my situation and in Jane Austen’s, if people would have followed their ‘good principles’ and how that might have happened. One thought led to another and a series was born.

The real key to all of this was trying to figure out how it might have happened realistically, with people you would want to be with, not simply a ‘know it all’ who shows up and tells everyone what to do. Thus my character, the curate and later vicar, Mr. Bradley was born. He gives very few answers to the characters, but he challenges them with his own hard-won insights and then allows them to wrestle with their choices. Sometimes, the characters stomp off in a huff, sometimes, they get quite upset that he will not give them a straight answer, but always they are offered the opportunity to grow.

What did you find most challenging about this book?

Without a doubt, the most challenging part of the process for me is the editing and proofreading stages. Doing the research and putting together the basic story is the easy and fun part for me. Polishing it and making it beautiful is hard.

Part of the challenge is that there are so many levels of the process. Once the story is roughed out, the developmental editing process insures that the story hits all the right notes in the right places and that the characters are active participants, not just passive players that things happen to. Pacing and subplots have to be balanced to fill out the story enough so it is satisfying, but not bloated.

Elements of developmental editing can actually be fun and creative, but the line edits and proofing, for me are as challenging as piping the icing on a wedding cake—which I have actually done. In cake decorating, every stroke, every dot, every line has to be perfect both on its own and in relation to everything else on the cake. In the same way, each paragraph, each sentence, each word, each comma has to be right and when there are eighty thousand of them to review individually and in relation to one another, the process is pretty daunting.
How did you choose your publishing method?

After considerable study of the industry, I chose to self-publish. Being a closet control freak, I balked as the lack of control many publishing houses offer authors. I just could not bring myself to turn my ‘babies’ over to someone else. I liked the control and flexibility offered by doing it myself, though it has meant over a year of very intensive study, not just on research for the books, but on everything from graphic design and learning to use photoshop to copyrights and estate planning. I do not regret a moment of it though.

Now I am with a small publishing imprint, White Soup Press. I love it because it offers all the control of self-publishing while giving me a small community of expertise and support from which to draw in the process.
Tell us a little about yourself?

I have always done things in an odd and round-about sort of way. My parents convinced me from early on that I was supposed to be an engineer. That lasted one semester in college before I realized that while I could do it, it would drive me crazy. I ended up with a quadruple major (yes really and in four years) of economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavioral sciences. From there I did a master’s degree in counseling and a doctorate in education psychology. All the while I took nary an English nor a history course, having placed out of them one way or another. Perfect fodder for being an author of historical fiction—right?

I ended up marrying an engineer and producing three strapping sons who are also destined to be engineers. Said strapping sons have dragged me kicking and screaming into their activities, which among other things, led to me earning two black belts along the way. Surprisingly, these have been pretty useful in relation to writing as I can block out a terrific fight scene!

All in all, I think these experiences give me a singular basis from which to write. I have a distinctive perspective on culture and what makes people tick and why. Living with so much testosterone give me some insight into my male characters and I regularly check with my resident experts to make sure my male ‘voices’ are accurate and authentic. All of this together gives my work a unique voice and perspective—and a bit of quirky humor that is some fun along the way.

What is your next work, and beyond that, what do you want to work on.

I have several directions for a ‘next’ work really. I have an Austenesque manuscript in the drawer screaming for editing time. It features a physically disabled character whose condition is the basis of the ‘what-if’. I love that story and want to get it out. But then my Regency-cum-sci-fi trilogy is also begging for attention. In another stack, I have a novella calling out to me that is the bridge to a new, original Regency series that will focus on the people of a parish between two smallish towns. So I’m not entirely certain which one will be calling the loudest.
Who do you think influenced your writing, this work, and who do you think you write like.

I think everyone I have ever read has influenced my writing though I try to be true to my own voice and write like me. People have compared my writing to Asimov, Orson Scott Card and Jane Austen, which is about as desperate a group as you could name. I honestly do not know what to make of that.
When writing, what is your routine for the day, for crafting a scene, for the entire cycle of first work to published copy?

I usually start my day with dealing with the ‘business’ side of things, correspondence, blog, marketing and other chores. About mid-morning I get to the fun stuff.

My favorite part of the process is rough drafting everything. I often strap on my running shoes and it the trails and just let my characters loose in my head. Running has a meditative quality to me and I can really set creativity free then. When I come back, I’ll clean up and either hit the keyboard or grab my pen and paper and let the characters speak. Once they have had their turn, I need to clean up the mess they leave behind. And they are a messy lot.

They leave it to me to rewrite their conversations into properly constructed scenes with goals, conflict and motivation, with properly established points of view and resolutions. Sometimes the process is fairly simple, more often, it requires hours of shaping and revising. My work typically goes through four to five drafts, a different focus for each one. Each scene is drafted, then edited and added to the manuscript, then I work on it all at the story level, then down at the word and sentence level. The entire process takes on the order of fifteen hundred hours to complete. Oooh, I really did not want to think about that!
Where should we look for your work.

My books are available in paper back and ebook on Amazon right now. I will be adding Barnes and Noble (Nook) and Kobo versions in the next few weeks.

I also write for two group blogs, English Historical Fiction Authors and Austen Authors as well as at my own site Random Bits of Fascination.

You can find me:
email: author.MariaGrace@gmail.com.
Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorMariaGrace
Visit her website Random Bits of Fascination (AuthorMariaGrace.com)
On Twitter @WriteMariaGrace
On Pinterest : http://pinterest.com/mariagrace423/
English Historical Fiction Authors (EnglshHistoryAuthors.blogspot.com) (DWW-Which I blog at as well)
Austen Authors (AustenAuthors.net) (DWW-I got to get me into this group also.

You can click on the images below to find Maria’s books or at amazon.com/author/mariagrace

Darcy’s Decision


Six months after his father’s passing, Fitzwilliam Darcy still finds solace in his morning reflections at his parents’ graves. Only in the quiet solitude of the churchyard does he indulge his grief. None but his unlikely mentor recognize the heartache and insecurity plaguing him as he shoulders the enormous burden of being Master of Pemberley. Not all are pleased with his choice of adviser. Lady Catherine complains Darcy allows him too much influence. Lord Matlock argues, “Who is he to question the God-appointed social order?” But the compassionate wisdom Darcy finds in his counselor keeps him returning for guidance even though it causes him to doubt everything he has been taught. In the midst of his struggles to reinvent himself, his school chum, Charles Bingley, arrives. Darcy hopes the visit will offer some respite from the uproar in his life. Instead of relief, Darcy discovers his father’s darkest secret staring him in the face. Pushed to his limits, Darcy must overcome the issues that ruined his father and, with his friends and mentor at his side, restore his tarnished birthright.

The Future Mrs. Darcy


With the regiment come to camp in Meryton, many young ladies are pleased. Not all share their enthusiasm. Among them, Mr. Carver, who removes his family from Meryton’s savage society. He blames, not on the militia officers, but the Bennet family. The flirtations and boisterous ways of the youngest sisters are too much to be borne. Not even Jane’s renowned beauty and charm can make up for them.   Elizabeth denies the allegations at first, but rapidly uncovers the shocking truth. The Carvers are not the only family to cut the Bennets from their acquaintance. Their reputations materially damaged, the family borders on social ruin.   The news is too much for Mrs. Bennet who collapses from the shock. So, Elizabeth and her sisters must manage the estate until she recovers, a task for which none of them is prepared.   Warned by Mr. Pierce, the local curate, that several of the officers have unsavory designs on the local girls, Elizabeth must find a way to honor her father, rein in her sister and salvage the family’s reputation, all in the most ladylike way possible.

All the Appearance of Goodness


What is a young woman to do? One handsome young man has all the goodness, while the other the appearance of it. How is she to separate the gentleman from the cad?

When Darcy joins his friend, Bingley on a trip to Meryton, the last thing on his mind is finding a wife. Meeting Elizabeth Bennet changes all that, but a rival for his affections appears from a most unlikely quarter. He must overcome his naturally reticent disposition if he is to have a chance of winning her favor.

Elizabeth’s thoughts turn to love and marriage after her sister, Mary’s, engagement. In a few short weeks she goes from knowing no eligible young men, to being courted by two. Both are handsome gentleman, but one conceals secrets and the other conceals his regard. Will she determine which is which before she commits to the wrong one?

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In keeping with the new format of my blog, first a little history, then the interesting bits and pieces of this writing life

The ‘Change or the London Stock Exchange

It is very tempting to use the Exchange in the Regency era for it gives you the chance to write such things as the ‘Change, or discuss Exchange Alley. That sets up an evocative description now in our present time. To discuss Jonathan’s Coffee House, which is where the roots of the London Stock Exchange was founded just over 100 years before stories of the Regency take place.

Jonathan’s Coffee-House was founded by Jonathan Miles, in Exchange Alley, around 1680. In 1696 patrons of the Coffee-House plotted to assassinate William III. And in ’98 John Castaing started to post the prices of stocks and commodities. That then would be the start of systematic trading in London. That same year other traders that had been expelled from the Royal Exchange for rowdiness came to Jonathans and Garraway’s Coffee House to conduct their business.

The Royal Exchange had been found by Sir Thomas Gresham in 1565 during the reign of Elizabeth I. It opened in 1571. As noted above, rude manners forced the stockbrokers to seek other locations to conduct their business. By the time of the Regency, fires had destroyed the original buildings of the Royal Exchange as well as the coffee-houses.

Lest we think Sir Thomas was perfect, it seems that he had an interest in the land where the Exchange was built, helping to build a part of his fortune. But upon his death, bequeathed that part of the rents from the Exchange to fund what became Gresham College, the first place of higher learning in London.

Jonathan’s was where the shares of the South Sea Bubble traded. And by 1773 a coalition of traders built a new building in Sweeting’s Alley that was dubbed New Jonathan’s first, and later the Stock Exchange. Here traders paid a fee to enter and to trade. But fraud was rampant and by 1801 an annual subscription was enforced for the Stock Subscription room for traders. When the Subscription room was open, it still took a constable to remove all the non-members.

Then in 1802 moved to Capel Court where “The Stock Exchange” was labeled upon the entry. Still this was not enough and by 1812 a series of rules had become adopted so that trading could be done much more fairly. These rules and organization allowed the government to raise the large sums of money it needed to fight Napoleon.

An Interview

Last week I was interviewed for Colonel Fitzwilliam’s CorrespondenceColFitzweb-2011-11-12-19-00.jpg. In this blog, the first half of the interview, and next time the last half, or you can read it all here. The interviewer was Joyce DiPastena at her blog. She writes medieval historical romance.

Today I have an author interview and giveaway with David William (D.W.) Wilkin, who among many other things, writes Regency romances. David has graciously agreed to give away one of his books at the end of this interview, Colonel Fiztwilliam’s Correspondence, a Regency romance based on some characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Read on to learn more about David and find out how you can enter to win a copy of this book! (E-book open to International and US entries, print copy US only)

JDP: Thank you for joining us today, David. How did you become interested in writing about the Regency period?

David: That is a tale, and bear with me, I shall lead you to the end of the trail. I liked history enough from High School to make it my major in college. I specialized in Pre-Modern Asian history while getting my degree which is pretty far from the study of Regency England. But History, I have always found, is stories. I like stories and even before college I wrote some, but after, I started my quest to be a novelist. I also became an Historical Re-enactor.

I joined groups where we made the costumes of the era we were Re-enacting. I learned the dances from those times, and then actually taught well over 1000 people how to do them. Running regular dance practices. My early main focus was Medieval and Renaissance, but one day a friend said, ‘Have I got a girl for you to meet,’ and dragged me to a Regency Dance. Well, not that girl, but several years later, I met my wife, Cheryl at a Regency Ball.

To woo her (she was very far away), I wrote her a regency romance, a few pages a day, that turned into a novel. When taking a class to further enhance my writing, I resurrected the story and worked on it more. Then over the last ten years, found that a good third of my output was Regency Romances.

JDP: Wow, that’s an amazing (and wonderfully romantic) story! What do you find most fascinating about the Regency era?

David: We of course stylize the era. How many of us portray London or Town, other than full of beauty and elegant living? When of course you step outside those stately homes, and there is filth in the streets. The lower classes are everywhere, and the middle classes are struggling. But in our Regencies, we set aside that and in is light and glitters. That is something I love. It is actually a fantasy world we create each time.

Even in movies, or especially in movies, the clothes our heroines and heroes wear are never smudged with dirt, or tattered. I find it hard to imagine that everything would look so clean back in the day. So on my Planet, where I recreate the Regency, I can enter the world of the Aristocracy and Nobility, and share those titles, and those riches. I think of it as a great escape.

JDP: Ah, yes, I relate to your cleaned up fantasy world. Only my characters live on Planet Medieval, rather than Planet Regency. I’m always interested in how authors research their historical novels. Could you tell us a little about how you researched the historical background for Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Correspondence?

David: Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Correspondence is of course a sequel to Pride and PrejudiceAmazon.com_TheAnnotatedPrideandPrejudice%2525289780307278104%252529_JaneAusten%25252CDavidM.Shapard_Books-2011-11-12-19-00.jpg. So first, I reread Austen’s classic. My book also focuses on Darcy’s cousin, who does not get a lot of play in a novel set during the Napoleonic Wars. It was still a time where a very rich man could purchase their rank, and one can imagine that the Earl of M—-K, as Austen calls Fitzwilliam’s father, having done so for his son.

As a history major, I have delved into military history, and have learned a thing or two about the Napoleonic Wars. Philip Haythornwaite’s Wellington’s Military Machine PastedGraphic-2011-11-12-19-00.jpg, Sir Charles Oman’s History of the Peninsular War PastedGraphic1-2011-11-12-19-00.jpg, David Chandler’s The Campaigns of Napoleon Amazon.com_TheCampaignsofNapoleon%2525289780025236608%252529_DavidG.Chandler_Books-2011-11-12-19-00.jpg and David Gates The Spanish Ulcer Amazon.com_TheSpanishUlcer_AHistoryofthePeninsularWar%2525289780306810831%252529_DavidGates_Books-2011-11-12-19-00.jpg all have places on my bookshelf along with dozens of others about the battles and period of the war. In addition to many books about the Regency. Knowing about the war and thinking about the Colonel, I knew that he had to be a participant in it.

I knew that by bringing the two together, I could craft a story with a little steel in our hero. (I hope I’ve conveyed that.) And that during the period, many, many men were affected truly by the war.

JDP: Can you share with us your top three favorite research books or other resources?

David: For the Regency era, my all time favorite is What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool Amazon.com_WhatJaneAustenAteandCharlesDickensKnew_FromFoxHuntingtoWhist-theFactsofDailyLifeinNineteenth-CenturyEngland%2525289780671882365%252529_DanielPool_Books-2011-11-12-19-00.jpg. Very similar but with enough extra is Kristine Hughes Everyday Life in Regency England Amazon.com_Writer_sGuidetoEverydayLifeinRegencyandVictorianEnglandfrom1811-1901%2525289781582972800%252529_KristineHughes_Books-2011-11-12-19-00.jpg. Last, since I have been influenced by Georgette Heyer in creating my view of the Regency since a friend told me at one of those Regency Dances I just had to read Frederica Amazon.com_Frederica%2525289781402214769%252529_GeorgetteHeyer_Books-2011-11-12-19-00.jpg, is Jennifer Kloester’s Georgette Heyer’s Regency WorldAmazon.com_GeorgetteHeyer_sRegencyWorld%2525289781402241369%252529_JenniferKloester_Books-2011-11-12-19-00.jpg.

JDP: Ahhh, I love Frederica, by Georgette Heyer! (And Friday’s Child and These Old Shades and The Convenient Marriage and The Talisman Ring… Oops! Better stop and get on with the interview!) Are there any historical figures from the Regency era who particularly intrigue you?

David: We often forget that that across the channel a whole slew of characters, who were very much effecting what happened in London, were alive and influencing all of Europe. I think the most exciting is Ney. If your readers hear of his defense of the Grande Armee as it retreated from Russia and crossed the bridge at Kovno. Heroic stuff.

In England and our Regency, I love the many fictional Age of Sail officers. Hornblower shall always be a favorite, followed by Ramage, Bolitho, Drinkwater (isn’t that a great name that Richard Woodman gave us for a Naval Hero?) Nelson then is fascinating to me as are some of the other great British seamen, Hornblower’s Pellew was a real historical figure. Militarily Wellington and his generals are also fascinating. Henry Paget, a great cavalry commander that returns from the Peninsula and promptly runs-off with Wellington’s sister-in law. Wellington thus cannot have him serve on his staff, at least not until Waterloo years later and there his leg had to be amputated. He lived almost 40 years after that. Stapleton Cotton (What a great name), a Cavalry officer who lived to the age of 91 after the war.

What of Sir Harry Smith, who Heyer immortalizes in The Spanish BrideAmazon.com_TheSpanishBride_ANovelofLoveandWar%2525289781402211133%252529_GeorgetteHeyer_Books-2011-11-12-19-00.jpg. Later to become a Lt. General and his wife, saved from Badajoz, becomes the woman that the cities (3 of them) of Ladysmith is named after. Beau Brummel and his Dandy Club, all I find fascinating

More next time…

NaNoWriMo 2011

Already finished the 50,000 word goal of the NaNo Organization. But still hard at work on the novel, The Other Shoe. Added one chapter beyond my original plotting, so now at 16 chapters. Nearing the end of Chapter 11, at almost 70,000 words.

Here is an excerpt (As usual, about 5 pages from the first chapter, unedited at this stage):

Chapter 1

“You sir, are not listening to a word that I have spoken,” Lord Frederick Vesey said.

Michael, or more completely Michael Hope Montgomery Baxter, the Viscount Devon, when he was younger, might have winced at such criticism. And certainly if Frederick’s brother Henry had been the one to deliver it, he would have. Frederick’s late older brother had been Michael’s friend. Frederick was now a project of his, as he had been left without immediate family and the tie that Michael had to the deceased Henry was a bond, and a promise that needed to be tended to.

The other gentlemen at the table chuckled a little at the scold that Michael had received, and placing his cards carefully in front of him, Michael turned and gave Frederick a stare. It was meant to unnerve, and generally was successful.

“Oh, sorry. Pray forgive,” Vesey said.

The room was quite, it being late and only one other game was taking place. Most of the members of Brooks had retired or were elsewhere in the club.

Michael said, “Quite. A few moments more Lord Vesey,” the other men at the table laughed, or in the case of Mr. Samuals, cleared his throat.

Mr. Samuals then said, “Gentlemen, are we playing whist, or listening to the latest tale of the lovelorn? I have a significant sum wagered on this rub.”

Michael had to agree that Samuals did have a large sum in the pot. It stood at over five hundred to the winning pair. By the end of the evening, Michael expected that it could easily triple.

Michael responded, “You are correct Mr. Samuals that we are playing whist.” Then he drew himself up in his chair and using all the generations that had proceeded him, he poured the essence of his family in the second part of an admonishment that dignity and grace should have left unsaid, but then Samuals wasn’t from an old family, “But good manners has allowed Lord Vesey to apologize and should his interruptions have been such an annoyance, you would have best been served by asking for his silence at the beginning of his tale of affection for Lady B. that you may then have spent time concentrating on your hand. To whit, now that time has long passed as we know far more of Lord Vesey’s desires then perhaps you are comfortable of knowing though his need to share is keen. It however has left you in such a predicament that I fear you have lost this hand.”

“What, we have only played six tricks, and we have four of them!” Samuals said.

“Yes, but you have led with your hearts and in these six hands we have played most of the cards in the deck. I shall take this trick with the king, then in the next trick, Lord William shall take the trick with his queen, I follow for I still have my Jack and of a sudden we have five of the nine tricks that we have seen vanquished. Do I need to tell you how the rest of the hand plays out? And as the second hand to us, the rubber shall be ours.” It was academic and clear. But Samuals insisted since he could not see how it all would happen. The Baron of Lechmere who partnered Mr. Samuals shook his head, and then pointed out that it was so. They had lost.

It took a minute, perhaps two to calm Mr. Samuals and urge him to proceed to the gallery where he might find some liquid refreshment. Then they could resume play in a quarter hour as Michael, dealt with his friend.

“I am sorry my lord,” Lord Frederick said. “I did not mean to cause you any problems.”

The Vesey home, Monkton Priory was quite close to the ancestral home of the Duke’s of Stanfield and so Michael, as the heir and only son of the present Duke, grew up with the young men of Monkton. Henry, the elder Vesey boy and he had been childhood playfellows and gone to school together, as well as being gentlemen volunteers in Spain together.

Where Henry lost his life and thus Frederick became the lord of Monkton. As Henry struggled to survive his wounds, knowing that it was futile, he held Michael to a pledge to look out for his younger brother as if Frederick was Michael’s own. Michael had agreed of course. You always agreed to the wishes of the dying. Michael though had not realized that having a younger brother, as he had no siblings, was to be such a trial.

“Do not worry about Mr. Samuals. He has a short attention span when it comes to his pockets. He had nearly three hundred pounds of me last week, and twice that a month gone.” Michael though would not say that he was nearly five hundred ahead of Mr. Samuals after all the games they had played. It was a trick of Michael’s, one that his father the Duke did not like, that he knew exactly where he was at any moment in regards to his fortune.

Since he was initially on an allowance from the Duke, a small one that got smaller each year, anything extra that he succeeded in getting was found money, and an idle gentleman was always in need of money. Though Michael hardly ever touched it, having the ready was quite important for paupers, as well as the sons of Dukes.

Lord Vesey said, “Still, I know I deserve a scold.”

“You do indeed. You have mentioned this lady that you are enamored of in the club. That you disguised her identity a little by referring to her as Lady B, is an affectation. We do not talk of such things in public, Lord Vesey.”

Frederick looked admonished, so Michael knew that his reprimand was somewhat successful. He could not let up though. “I should exact a promise from you that you shall not do so again, for this rule, well most of the rules regarding our behavior are unwritten of course. I should like you to try to do better in my presence and that of those who are not solely of our circle. William of course you need not disguise your meaning from, but Mr. Samuals and Lechmere do not need to be party to your most personal pursuits of love.”

Michael often wished he need not hear of them either. Vesey seemed to fall in love every hour. And while it would be important one day for there to be new little Veseys, Frederick was but a few years past twenty. A boy still in many things. Michael suspected were his own mother alive, or had he sisters as his friend, Lord William the Earl of Mercia, then he would be constantly harangued to marry. The countess, William’s mother, had included him in the conversation a time or two when she had pointedly been scolding William to marry.

Frederick nodded, “I understand my lord, I shall try.”

Michael said, “The others have moved off, Frederick. I have told you before you may call me Devon, or Michael.” It was what a brother would do. The honorary title of Viscount Devon, his father’s lessor title had suited him all his life. Most called Michael by that, though Lord William and Frederick often did call him Michael. The only other to do so was the Duke, but he did so when vexed with his heir.

“Sorry Michael, of course. But I am a little unnerved. Lady Barb… I mean Lady B was so charming this evening at Almacks. You really should have come out…”

Michael held up his hand, “I really do not like dancing at present.”

“Henry told me that you commanded the dance floor when the two of you first came to Town. He said that all the ladies would form lines for your attention.”

Michael could not argue with that. He had not realized quite in the beginning that most, if not all, desired that attention for they wished to be the next duchess of Stanfield. That would get any man’s attention. In any case, since he had gone to Spain and returned, though it had been some years, he had no desire to dance any longer.

Michael said, “We should not talk of my desires, or lack of them. You came to me for some advice and help with this current inamorata of yours.”

Frederick sat bolt upright in the chair as if he had been caned at school. “She is not my inamorata, at least not yet. She gave me one dance, and her father was quite agreeable.”

“The Earl of Tyrone. Yes I know him. At least we have talked a time or two. A likable chap. He is a member of Boodles across the street. A Tory of course.” Brooks was the home to the Whigs, but Michael did not often care to argue politics. He was a member of Brooks as well, for his father the Duke was also a member there. So much of who one was and what one did was tied to whose son one was, that Michael had little choice in the clubs he was to belong to, as well as what thoughts of his own he was allowed to express. At least not until he became the Duke. A time far in the future, for his father, though they did not see eye to eye, was his closest family member.

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I have spent two weeks actually thinking about writing a blog post everyday and have yet to have done so until now.

One reason I think is that sales have slowed to half of what they were before. That is the wrong direction. I wanted things to keep going. I had one negative review of my work, and checking with the positive reviews I have had, it seems to be the reviewer not liking the tone I take to write dialogue.

That is a shame for I think that my dialogue provides mood, and gives one an idea for the Regency.

In any case the statistics for September were very good.

169 books sold.

Here at mid October we are at 54 units sold.

I did a great deal of work on the Jane project and finished the second draft as well. I think the price point is going to be $3.99 for an ebook and 8.99 for a physical book.

It is in the hands of three friends who are critiquing and reading it. I hope they will finish soon so I can get it out to the world.

But that means while waiting I should continue on with my Space story. The passion for it comes and goes. And with less than 2 weeks before NaNoWriMo, I have to get working on the plot for that as well.

Tentatively called the Other Shoe. As with past years it will be a Regency Romance

When the cliche, the shoe is on the other foot, becomes more reality than fiction, Lady Barbara Winhampton does not know if she is in love, or if she is being spitefully treated in retribution for all the men she has spurned these two seasons in London. Suitor after suitor came to profess their love and she would have none of them until she met the heir to Duke Stanfield. Michael Hope Montgomery Baxter, Viscount Devon and one day the eight Duke, took one look at her and then gave her the cut direct.

Yet only the moment before that she had seen him, and knew, beyond any doubt, that he was the husband she had been waiting for.

Stayed tuned to see what happens and what I do.

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The question I am asking myself these days as the countdown to the end of the year creeps closer, is how many pages and how many words will be my total. At the moment I have reached, 1,236,837 or 4,123 pages. 30,139 are for the second book of the KoTohLan saga which I started monday morning. Last post I told how I was re-reading the first book so I could tackle writing this.

Some thoughts on Hoveria emerged, though as I read the first book, it seemed clear I meant for the characters who would be in the second adventure to go to Fellane, a land that is a great deal like medieval Japan. Instead we end in a land of Feudal Europe. Knights and such where one of our favorites, Captain Jack Anhalt hails from. But the feudal lords power was broken somewhat when they were part of the empire. No great Dukes and Counts ruling and commanding large fiefs and countless men. Every manor or castle has a knight, or a lord with a higher title, but only enough armed warriors for just that place. And they were direct vassals of the Emperor. The Emperor before Joss of the Krache, our enemy, let them go.

That Krache Emperor making another mistake that put people at risk.

Hoveria known for Cattle, Knights with hair trigger, Musketeer like honor, and wine. Our Jack tells a tale right out of French Kiss about why he had to leave Hoveria and went to Karn, where he meets Magnus. His family has one of the Fiefs, an old barony, known for its vineyards. BUt now close to where the incursion of enemies from the south are coming, as well as close to the location where Magnus’ parents, his true parents were killed and are buried.

1) A Tavern on the Road

Magnus knew he should answer the question, “Why Hoveria?’ He stared at the Inn’s game board, a few feet beyond him. Farthing would be down soon from the room they shared. Magnus and he one, the other friends clustered a little more cramped in a second room. They thought they had the worst of it, but as far as Magnus had determined Anhalt, Barron and John did not snore. Master Farthing did.

Magnus smiled, for he would not have been without his friends. It would have been decidedly scarry without his friends. Joss had sent men to kill Master Frederman. Would he not do the same against Magnus? He was certainly capable of it. They had outdistanced the game papers, or other news of what was occurring back in Karn. Perhaps they should slow and wait for the news to catch up to them.

Jack had told him that he was recognizable for the papers had shown his likeness for some days. Master Farthing said that was easily taken care of he could cover his head still with the hat of the Emperor Returned. Take away his hair that shouted Fellane and Magnus Thistle the color of the bronze stone, and he would look rather nondescript.

That was one thing that he had to decide what to do. He knew Master Farthing and now Young John had validated their thought that he actually was the Emperor Returned, but they only thought of him as the great player of the game. Would he have to tell them the truth. Would he even want to keep the disguise up. Did he need a disguise the further from Karn that they were.

“Ah, dinner is to be braised game bird sandwiches,” Mischa said as he sat with two mugs of ale. One for Magnus that he slid over. “Did you smell the bread baking as we came in? It will still be warm when we are served. I like that. The cooks at the barracks never thought to make bread but once in the morning. If we had it at dinner it was cold and already going a little stale.” Magnus smiled and took a sip of his beer. Halfway to Hoveria and Mischa had a comment about everyplace they had stopped to eat on their way.

“Where are John and Anhalt?”

“The Captain is looking about the town to make sure, you know,” Mischa said. He meant that Jack Anhalt was looking all over the town to see about lanes of defense and retreat should there be an attack on them. It would look ill if five men camped anywhere but the village, but that did not mean they should not know a little of it. “John is with the horses taking care there.” They had been on the road over a week and this was how things had worked themselves out.

John saw to their mounts, Anhalt to their defenses, and Mishca to their supplies. Farthing and he had little duties at all. Perhaps to be the bank, provide leadership, and wisdom. Farthing knew all the inns that the should stop on the road. Magnus, the Imperial Master, was giving them the direction.

“Are you going to play Master Farthing in a game? I know he should like that. You are going to do so one day?”

Magnus looked at this friend. That question was hard to answer. “We need to talk all of us, and best to do it privately. There are some things that you all don’t know and I suppose you should. It is a little more than your Colonel telling you to stick to me because we are friends and I may be in trouble with…” Magnus stopped before he mentioned the emperor by name, “that man.”

“You want to talk finally and you tell me. Do you tell me first, or have you told any of the others as well?” Mischa asked.

“No, you are the first,” Magnus said and was a little startled as Mischa laughed and struck the table hard.

“Ha, I knew it. They each owe me a silver now. We had a wager on it. Silver from each of us to the winner, and I should like to buy me some more of this ale. Especially if tomorrow is another day in the saddle. It is Holyday tomorrow and they have a ecumenical hall here. We could take a day from travel. We missed last Holyday.”

Magnus nodded. “Let me talk to all our friends first. There is a room that the innkeep said he had that we could use if we wished. Let us talk and then Farthing and I might have a game and we might not. Go tell the others while I find the Innkeep and make those arrangements.” Mischa nodded, but first he took a great quaff from his mug. Holding his hand up higher and higher as he tilted the mug letting the ale pour into his mouth.

“Ahhh! Very good. I’ll go get the Captain and Young John.” He said and rose to go about his task.

The Gratitude Log

  1. Kevin Kline–Kevin-Kline-French-Kiss.7.XW0FjpaweDpW.jpg Mr. Kline is a wonderful actor and as I thought about Jack Anhalt, some of the actions that Mr. Kline has shown us, for he is the Pirate King images.XQxg6tQ3phJ5.jpg you know, seem to vividly occur to me.
  2. Gilbert and Sullivan– sullivan_gilbert.v3LIhYSMvtHM.jpg These two composers have given us great musicals. Fun and frivolity in this topsy turvy51Q3YFQRY0L._SL500_AA300_.EaHeJ6pFQZXk.jpg world. How can you not appreciate ‘I am the very model of a modern Major-General.’
  3. Bridget Jones Diary51GAS3VCA2L._AA115_.Qsgpj4ChKRc2.jpgThis arises from thinking of Gilbert and Sullivan that leads to the movie about the Mikado51M05ZHNSZL._AA115_.PL6WD1ezZQ0s.jpgtopsy turvy 51Q3YFQRY0L._SL500_AA300_.RqcCxRSmVsQ2.jpg. A great insight into how these shows and the power of Gilbert and Sullivan came to be. But the lead is Jim Broadbent 1945169.28.OAlVTij5WNK5.jpg in topsy turvy 51Q3YFQRY0L._SL500_AA300_.0Tm0DVQQ8dyn.jpg and thus we go to Bridget Jones Diary, the movie where Mr. Broadbent 2099-25626.jrRwMF5KyjlB.jpg is featured as Mr. Jones, Bridget’s father. I have the book but have not read it yet. Love the movie.
  4. Pride and Prejudice51GIYlE19KL._SL500_AA300_.pQH4oYHLIuIg.jpgOf course we are drawn here because of the similar story line we find in Bridget Jones Diary.
  5. Colin Firth–Which brings us to Darcy playing Darcy?0.uHbcdrsAvwCs.jpg This is my wife’s favorite Darcy, mine is an actor he had almost his first major role with, in the show Lost Empires edea810ae7a02655d0503210.L.h1lpxX7s2x4q.jpg, Laurence Olivier pride-prejudice-1940.XjByDU68fvBW.jpg51D0iAEOTZL._SL500_AA300_.iaZCBBocxpF2.jpg

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Today I finished Chapter Seven of Space Mine, another 800 plus words.

This frees me up to start work on the next goals for a while. I am not sure what I want to work on, Probably the third chapter of Graces.

I did a lot of work on the Rollercoaster Tycoon Site yesterday:
David’s Coaster Site

And think it is ready to put up for all to appreciate. Anything new will be additional and refinement work.

I also worked more on my review pages and have it pretty well going.

For the synopsis today we have Colonel Fitzwilliam

I always liked this character, Darcy’s cousin and I have always liked Kitty from Pride and Prejudice. So my what if was getting these two together.


Meeting at the Wedding of his cousin Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet, at first Colonel Fitzwilliam does not think a great deal of the brides sister, Kitty. But over the course of the war with Napoleon under Wellington in Spain, a correspondence between the two of them develops and they become good friends. Friendship leads something deeper and will that affection lead to marriage or will time and the separation that the war brings keep them forever apart.

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