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Posts Tagged ‘Regency’

I have spent a large part of my weekend making widget changes here at The Things That Catch My Eye.

Many new future biographies were also written, but over on the right side you will instantly notice a Donation button in the upper right. It takes a good hour each day to put together the biographies as well as the many other resources for the Regency Era that you will find as you scroll down the right hand side of the blog. If anyone is so inclined, to either buy a book (where you will get a tangible something (or a digital ether something)) or donate some scratch, it will be greatly appreciated.

You will also find links to Romance Reviews Magazine which has awarded Beggars Can’t be Choosier Image with their prestigious Outstanding Historical Romance award Image. Or you will find a link to our new Weekly Regency Post, a consolidation of posts and information from around the internet that is collected each week at our newspaper for your enjoyment of a Sunday Morning. Last in updates we have a link to the WattPad page so you can enjoy new WIPs that I am developing.

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As we do on Fridays, when we have an interview, we take a break from the Regency Personality series. It shall of course return. As early as tomorrow.

Today we are fortunate to have with us novelist and poet Sue Millard who writes in historical, humorous, and equestrian genres. Though we want to hear of her historical work in the Regency/early Victorian period.

What moved you to become an author?
I would say it was reading great stories as a child, that took me into different worlds of the imagination. I wanted to record some of the ones I created for myself. I wrote my first novel (a shameless bit of stealing from several equestrian novelists) when I was 12, and sent it to Collins. The local newspaper got hold of the story and I ended up being interviewed by Granada TV, and subsequently chased around school for my autograph! The book, in its original form, deservedly sank, but popped up again to become 61IokLJ8e1L._SL1000_-2013-06-21-07-01.jpg Against the Odds, which J A Allen published in 1995.

71f418Cpz%25252BL._SL1360_-2013-06-21-07-01.jpg

Tell us about your current novel, Coachman.
Coachman tells the story of George Davenport, a young coachman in the first year of Victoria’s reign, whose ambitions are foiled as much by the women in his life as by the downturn in coaching work at the dawn of the Railway Age.

How did the story begin to develop in your mind?
I began with the idea that I’d chronicle the life of William James Chaplin, who was a huge force in the London coaching business in the 1820s and 30s. When the railways came to change long-distance travel he was able instantly to step back, reorganize, and rebuild his business in relation to the new technology. The few contemporary stories that are recorded in such books as Driving (Duke of Beaufort, 1890) all show him in an affectionate light, and of course his great-grand-daughter who was a neighbor of ours had nothing but good to say of the man who created her family’s wealth! In 1994 she asked me to transcribe a letter written by Chaplin, which a bookseller had bought at auction and brought to show her. Neither of them could read his writing. I could… Originally the title was “Stagecoach King” with the focus on Chaplin himself.

Then I realized how damn boring that story would be.

I had to invent someone whose life would touch his, so I could show what might have happened to the drivers, stablemen and horses when railways took the heart out of coaching. My own great-grandfather was a coachman, who lived 50 years after Chaplin’s time, but he gave me a name to hang my story on: George Davenport.

What did you find most challenging about this book?
No novel has ever taken me so long to research and write as Coachman – given that my starting date was 1994 and publication was in 2012. Much of the information I needed to paint the complete picture was held in old, out of print and hugely expensive books. It wasn’t until digital content was made available freely online by Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive that I was able to access the books that gave me anecdotes, scenarios and facts to build my story. Achieving historical accuracy is far more demanding than creating a world that is totally fictional. For instance, Dragon Bait 91bfW00S-jL._SL1500_-2013-06-21-07-01.jpg wrote itself in about six weeks compared to Coachman’s 18 years.

How did you choose your publishing method?
I think it chose me. I’d been published previously by both small presses and a specialist London house, but with the economic downturn and the continual absorption of smaller publishers into the Big Six (now the Big Five) direct submission to publishers is well nigh impossible. Agents are becoming as difficult to find as publishers used to be… Looking at the services offered by assisted publishing, I already had many of the necessary skills. Not only could I handle web design, illustration, photography, writing (of course) and editing, working on social media and desk top publishing – I had taught many of them up to BSc level. I’ve always been happiest combining arts and sciences, so it seemed obvious to employ my skills for my own writing.

Tell us a little about yourself?
Born in Cheshire, I’ve lived up here in Cumbria since 1975 in what my husband calls “a very small hamlet at the end of the world.”  We have a grown-up married daughter and a son, and a red-headed grandson with a permanent grin. At various times I’ve designed embroidery canvases, painted murals, taught BSc computing and built websites. My favorite recreation is carriage driving – I made competition driving harnesses for 14 years and I enjoy teaching people how to carriage drive safely – so my hands-on knowledge of how horses, harness and carriages “tick” is a big component of the background of Coachman. I was a regular contributor to Carriage Driving Magazine, was a cartoonist and wrote for the pony magazine Going Native until its closure in 1995, and I still contribute occasionally to its successor Native Pony and other equestrian magazines.

What is your next work, and beyond that, what do you want to work on.
The very next project is the publication of a poetry pamphlet, Ash Tree, by Prole Books in August 2013. I’m also working hard on promoting my current novels, Coachman, Dragon Bait, and The Forthright Saga. 71788L46msL._SL1360_-2013-06-21-07-01.jpgI’m in the process of writing a series of children’s stories, some historical, told through the experience of working horses – after all, until the 1820s no human could travel fast, go to war or transport large amounts of goods without a horse being involved. There will also be a sequel to Against the Odds, and at some time I’ll explore what happened in George Davenport’s life after he had to leave London…

8) In the current work, is there an excerpt to share? Your favorite scene, a part of your life that you put into the work and think it came out exceptionally well that you would like to share.
As part of my research for Coachman I took part in a coaching run with the Bowman family in 2011 (see Facebook album listed at end, Top Hats to Cowboy Hats). Here is Sarah Chaplin, riding beside George Davenport on the box seat of his coach, separated by the rainy weather from her chaperone sheltering inside — and flirting hard!

“All right behind? Trot on!” With the horses moving and the coach on the road, George glanced at Sarah and said, “You ought to be inside.”

She broke into laughter at his disapproving face. “Who’s in charge of these horses, Mr Davenport? And how many brandies have you had?”

“The rain soon washes it out of you.”

“Well, as for that, I would hold the umbrella over both of us, but I fear we would then get equally wet.”

“Oh! No. You don’t need to worry about me, Miss Chaplin.”

She continued to smile, which he found unsettling – as though she had foreseen his rebuff, and discounted it. She watched the steadily trotting team and said, “How well they work in your hands, George.”

George?

“Stop it. You’re playing a very brazen game.”

“No game. I am complimenting you on your driving, as I’m sure many other box-seat passengers will have done.”

So many replies crowded his tongue that for a moment he was unable to speak. He remembered Lucy refusing to climb to the box-seat. And this girl assumed it by right – which he wasn’t sure was true. Months ago, George had trembled at the idea of driving with William Chaplin on the box-seat. Now he had Chaplin’s daughter beside him, and he wished with all his heart that her father were there instead.

“I’ve never had a lady compliment my driving.”

“Not even your wife?”

He flushed. Then embarrassment gave way to relief. Even Sarah’s advances could be held at bay by that simple word.

“No,” he said. “Not even my wife.”

“But you will have been told how well you drive.”

“Now and then.” He forced himself not to follow Sarah’s hints. “You know, this could be the best team I have, maybe even better than the last stage into the city. You’ll remember Anderson? He pretty well ruined the old team for this coach. These new leaders are still very green but they learn fast, and they want to please you. This wheeler on the nearside, she’s half thoroughbred.” Cinnamon, the willful mare who had a piece of his heart. “We got her cheap because she ran away in single harness, but I think she’s a damn good horse.”

For a moment he suffered a kind of double vision – the strong game mare, the unpredictable girl. He must be tired, to confuse the two. Keep talking.

“The off wheeler is the only one of that old team that was still worth anything. Mind you, on the middle ground you have to drive all sorts,” he said, “especially on the night stages. You know – the poor worn-out old things with wreckage for legs.”

“I must have seen some of them in the down coach this morning. Broken knees, harness galls and all.”

“It’s no fun driving them, I can tell you.”

Again, that shift of the umbrella, revealing the honey-brown, appraising eyes. “But it takes real skill to make a team out of wreckage. Anyone can drive good horses down a straight road.”

He didn’t speak for three beats of the horses’ hooves, then he said roughly, “Shut up your umbrella. Put it on the footboard, behind my boots.”

“Why?”

“You’re going to drive.”

He was getting tired of her constant challenges. He would find out whether she was thoroughbred, or just contrary.

“Hold out your left hand. These two reins go either side of your first finger. These two either side of your second finger. Curl your hand a little, so… ”

He managed to transfer the reins without touching her at all. She handled the leather like a workman, no foolery, no teasing, her gloved fingers both quick and firm as they accepted control. He had to admit that although she was tense with excitement, she did as she was told. The team, released by her lighter contact, trotted faster.

“Oh!” There was that little thrill in her voice, that he had heard at the Mail Procession. “You can almost feel what they are thinking! Oh George, the power they give you!”

Who do you think influenced your writing, this work, and who do you think you write like
Malcolm MacDonald is one of my favorite historical authors and his ability to weave a narrative around the facts of history constantly excites my admiration. K M Peyton, ditto – though I have had to avoid reading The Right Hand Man The_Right-Hand_Man_cover-2013-06-21-07-01.jpg while writing the story of George Davenport.

When writing, what is your routine?
I write best when the house is quiet, so late nights and early mornings work for me. Editing last night’s stuff first thing then moving on to write the next pages. Trying to do NaNoWriMo last year proved to me that I’m a relatively slow writer, because I found I didn’t enjoy pushing out large quantities of substandard sentences against a flicking calendar. I’d rather tinker a bit and get the sense and the shape right, the way I do with poems, so the story doesn’t go too far off track. I don’t like having to send out work that hasn’t gone through the “6-weeks-in-a-drawer” system, so I appreciate the functionality of my Kindle for e-mailing myself a differently-formatted version of the MS to read through at that stage.

Do you think of yourself as an artist, or as a craftsman, a blend of both?
Definitely both. Burgess wrote that “Art depends on craft, and there is no art until craft has been mastered.” I’ve always inhabited the boundaries between art, craft and science. If I had discovered re-enactment earlier in life I would certainly have had a go at that, for the informative aspect.I like to do things myself, learning how the theoretical side informs the practical, and often debunking hypothetical explanations of how or why things were done in the past.

Where should we look for your work?

http://www.jackdawebooks.co.uk

Facebook photos, http://www.facebook.com/sue.millard.9/photos_albums
See the albums Profile pics, Cover photos, Top Hats to Cowboy Hats coaching run

Amazon author page
http://www.amazon.com/Sue-Millard/e/B0034PVGQU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Blog
http://suemillard.blogspot.co.uk

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Today I am joined on The Things That Catch My Eye by JA Beard.

JA has just released his A Woman of Proper Accomplishments.

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

1) What moved you to become an author?
I enjoy telling stories. I always have.
2) Tell us about your novel, A Woman of Proper Accomplishments.

Helena Preston, the eldest daughter of a Bedfordshire gentleman, would rather risk spinsterhood than marry a man unwilling to accept her for who she is, much to the consternation of her mother and sister. She feels marrying an ugly or poor husband would be a mere inconvenience; marrying an irritable fool would be a genuine tragedy. Intrigued more with books and scholarship than finding a husband, the young woman has yet to attract any interest from eligible bachelors.

Joseph Morgan is a scholar who studies spiritus, the rare ability to imbue life into objects. With his arrival, Helena finds herself in the delightful position of having the attention of a handsome, educated gentleman of status, but she begins to worry Mr. Morgan is more interested in seduction than marriage. Soon after meeting the scholar, an unfortunate encounter with a sinister highwayman ends in rescue by the stoic and handsome Captain Thomas Southward.

As bothersome as juggling the attention of two potential suitors can be, Helena is still the target of a criminal. When evidence suggests her assailant is a wooden man created by spiritus, Mr. Morgan falls under suspicion. Unfortunately, she can think of no polite way to accuse a gentleman of sending a pile of animated wood to kill her.
3) How did the story begin to develop in your mind?
I started by asking myself, “What would happen if late Georgian England had access to magic? How would it be received? How might it affect things? Would this be something respectable young ladies would be interested in?”
4) What did you find most challenging about this book?
Well, it was very important to me to maintain the Georgian England atmosphere as much as possible while simultaneously introducing this radical departure from history, the presence of spiritus. Accordingly, I tried to focus on accuracy in other areas such as social customs and attitudes. I went to the trouble of studying period letters, novels, et cetera. Even the word choice in the book was backed up by etymology research. That can be difficulty in ways you don’t expect as certain common words and phrases just aren’t available. All in all, I had to do a decent amount of research on rural gentry in the period.
5) Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve had a number of different careers ranging from military intelligence to research science. I’ve lived a number of places, including South Korea. I’m happily married with two children. Plus, I enjoy baking.
6) What is your next work? Beyond that, what do you want to work on?
Well, my next novel coming out is Mindcrafter, a more traditional fantasy novel (i.e., not a historical fantasy). The story focuses on a young woman who is a member of a scholarly orderly of mind mages. She becomes embroiled in political conspiracy and the machinations of a genocidal cult. Good times! That should be out in about a month.
In a few months, I’ll also have the sequel out to my YA urban fantasy, The Emerald City.
In the long-run, I have several different series I’m working on. There will be three books in the “Proper Woman” series. Each will focus on a different female lead, and the alternate Napoleonic Wars will loom a bit larger as the series progresses.
Mind Crafter is the first of a five-part “epic” fantasy series. I have one more book in my YA urban fantasy series planned.
In addition, I’m currently doing a huge amount of research on the Heian era in Japanese history. I want to write a non-fantasy suspense book set in the era.
7) Where should we look for your work?
My blog
riftwatcher.blogspot.com always contains links to my work.
More directly, A Woman of Proper Accomplishments is available at
Amazon, Barnes and NobleSmashwords, and Kobo.

A Woman of Proper Accomplishments

Helena Preston, the eldest daughter of a Bedfordshire gentleman, would rather risk spinsterhood than marry a man unwilling to accept her for who she is, much to the consternation of her mother and sister. She feels marrying an ugly or poor husband would be a mere inconvenience; marrying an irritable fool would be a genuine tragedy. Intrigued more with books and scholarship than finding a husband, the young woman has yet to attract any interest from eligible bachelors.

awopa_small-2013-03-23-08-05.png

Joseph Morgan is a scholar who studies spiritus, the rare ability to imbue life into objects. With his arrival, Helena finds herself in the delightful position of having the attention of a handsome, educated gentleman of status, but she begins to worry Mr. Morgan is more interested in seduction than marriage. Soon after meeting the scholar, an unfortunate encounter with a sinister highwayman ends in rescue by the stoic and handsome Captain Thomas Southward.

As bothersome as juggling the attention of two potential suitors can be, Helena is still the target of a criminal. When evidence suggests her assailant is a wooden man created by spiritus, Mr. Morgan falls under suspicion. Unfortunately, she can think of no polite way to accuse a gentleman of sending a pile of animated wood to kill her.

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TWO PEAS IN A POD

For the weekend you can get Two Peas in a Pod For your Kindle at the link below on Amazon. Or you can support this writer and purchase it at the other outlets, or if you like, purchase it on Monday.

Nook-Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

iBookstore (These are my books)

and still at Amazon

Here is a picture, which of course you can click on to go fetch the book:

TwoPeasinaPod_DavidWilkin_Amazon.com_KindleStore-2012-08-22-08-41-2012-11-26-09-36-2012-12-30-13-41.jpg

TWO PEAS IN A POD

978-0-9829989-3-9

Love is something that can not be fostered by deceit even should one’s eyes betray one’s heart.

Two brothers that are so close in appearance that only a handful have ever been able to tell them apart. The Earl of Kent, Percival Francis Michael Coldwell is only older than his brother, Peregrine Maxim Frederick Coldwell by 17 minutes. They may have looked as each other, but that masked how they were truthfully quite opposite to one another.

For Percy, his personality was one that he was quite comfortable with and more than happy to let Perry be of a serious nature. At least until he met Veronica Hamilton, the daughter of Baron Hamilton of Leith. She was only interested in a man who was serious.

Once more, Peregrine is obliged to help his older brother by taking his place, that the Earl may woo the young lady who has captured his heart. That is, until there is one who captures Peregrine’s heart as well.

There is a visual guide to Two Peas in a Pod RegencyEravisualresearchforTwoPeasinaPodTheThingsThatCatchMyEye-2012-08-22-08-41-2012-11-26-09-36-2012-12-30-13-41.jpg as well at Pinterest and a blog post here.

Read Full Post »

TWO PEAS IN A POD

For the weekend you can get Two Peas in a Pod For your Kindle at the link below on Amazon. Or you can support this writer and purchase it at the other outlets, or if you like, purchase it on Monday.

Nook-Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

iBookstore (These are my books)

and still at Amazon

Here is a picture, which of course you can click on to go fetch the book:

TwoPeasinaPod_DavidWilkin_Amazon.com_KindleStore-2012-08-22-08-41-2012-11-26-09-36-2012-12-29-13-40.jpg

TWO PEAS IN A POD

978-0-9829989-3-9

Love is something that can not be fostered by deceit even should one’s eyes betray one’s heart.

Two brothers that are so close in appearance that only a handful have ever been able to tell them apart. The Earl of Kent, Percival Francis Michael Coldwell is only older than his brother, Peregrine Maxim Frederick Coldwell by 17 minutes. They may have looked as each other, but that masked how they were truthfully quite opposite to one another.

For Percy, his personality was one that he was quite comfortable with and more than happy to let Perry be of a serious nature. At least until he met Veronica Hamilton, the daughter of Baron Hamilton of Leith. She was only interested in a man who was serious.

Once more, Peregrine is obliged to help his older brother by taking his place, that the Earl may woo the young lady who has captured his heart. That is, until there is one who captures Peregrine’s heart as well.

There is a visual guide to Two Peas in a Pod RegencyEravisualresearchforTwoPeasinaPodTheThingsThatCatchMyEye-2012-08-22-08-41-2012-11-26-09-36-2012-12-29-13-40.jpg as well at Pinterest and a blog post here.

Read Full Post »

TWO PEAS IN A POD

For the weekend starting today, You can get Two Peas in a Pod For your Kindle at the link below on Amazon. Or you can support this writer and purchase it at the other outlets, or if you like, purchase it on Monday.

Nook-Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

iBookstore (These are my books)

and still at Amazon

Here is a picture, which of course you can click on to go fetch the book:

TwoPeasinaPod_DavidWilkin_Amazon.com_KindleStore-2012-08-22-08-41-2012-11-26-09-36-2012-12-28-13-40.jpg

TWO PEAS IN A POD

978-0-9829989-3-9

Love is something that can not be fostered by deceit even should one’s eyes betray one’s heart.

Two brothers that are so close in appearance that only a handful have ever been able to tell them apart. The Earl of Kent, Percival Francis Michael Coldwell is only older than his brother, Peregrine Maxim Frederick Coldwell by 17 minutes. They may have looked as each other, but that masked how they were truthfully quite opposite to one another.

For Percy, his personality was one that he was quite comfortable with and more than happy to let Perry be of a serious nature. At least until he met Veronica Hamilton, the daughter of Baron Hamilton of Leith. She was only interested in a man who was serious.

Once more, Peregrine is obliged to help his older brother by taking his place, that the Earl may woo the young lady who has captured his heart. That is, until there is one who captures Peregrine’s heart as well.

There is a visual guide to Two Peas in a Pod RegencyEravisualresearchforTwoPeasinaPodTheThingsThatCatchMyEye-2012-08-22-08-41-2012-11-26-09-36-2012-12-28-13-40.jpg as well at Pinterest and a blog post here.

Read Full Post »

TWO PEAS IN A POD

For the weekend starting Tomorrow, You can get Two Peas in a Pod For your Kindle at the link below on Amazon. Or you can support this writer and purchase it at the other outlets, or if you like, purchase it on Monday.

Nook-Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

iBookstore (These are my books)

and still at Amazon

Here is a picture, which of course you can click on to go fetch the book:

TwoPeasinaPod_DavidWilkin_Amazon.com_KindleStore-2012-08-22-08-41-2012-11-26-09-36-2012-12-27-13-38.jpg

TWO PEAS IN A POD

978-0-9829989-3-9

Love is something that can not be fostered by deceit even should one’s eyes betray one’s heart.

Two brothers that are so close in appearance that only a handful have ever been able to tell them apart. The Earl of Kent, Percival Francis Michael Coldwell is only older than his brother, Peregrine Maxim Frederick Coldwell by 17 minutes. They may have looked as each other, but that masked how they were truthfully quite opposite to one another.

For Percy, his personality was one that he was quite comfortable with and more than happy to let Perry be of a serious nature. At least until he met Veronica Hamilton, the daughter of Baron Hamilton of Leith. She was only interested in a man who was serious.

Once more, Peregrine is obliged to help his older brother by taking his place, that the Earl may woo the young lady who has captured his heart. That is, until there is one who captures Peregrine’s heart as well.

There is a visual guide to Two Peas in a Pod RegencyEravisualresearchforTwoPeasinaPodTheThingsThatCatchMyEye-2012-08-22-08-41-2012-11-26-09-36-2012-12-27-13-38.jpg as well at Pinterest and a blog post here.

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