Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Richard Trevithick: Getting Steamy in Cornwall

In The Emperor’s Aeronaut, the character of Loveday Penhale gained some of her knowledge of steam engines from the great Richard Trevithick, a Cornwall native like her. While he doesn’t appear in the book, he was a real-life engineer whose works astonished everyone around him.

As someone with two people with Attention Deficit Disorder in her household (and a profound love for both of them), I can recognize the traits in Richard. One of his biographers called him quick-tempered and impulsive. His teachers called him slow, obstinate, and very inattentive, but he excelled at math. Though it was said he had enthusiasm, his father considered him a loafer. Like father and maternal grandfather, he began working in the tin and copper mines in Cornwall when he was nineteen, but as an engineer, not a miner.

He was simply fascinated by steam power.

Steam engines were already being built when Richard entered the field, but they were low-pressure, often massive, and generally took their own sweet time getting anything done. Other inventors shied away from the potential danger of a high-pressure engine, but not Richard. He kept tinkering until around 1800, he developed the first high-pressure steam engine. He would go on to use it for railway locomotives, an iron-rolling mill, a paddle-wheel barge, steam carriages (yes, he had the first two in the world), steam dredgers, and threshing machine.

He even had the idea for a “steam circus” in London and set up his Catch-Me-Who-Can, a locomotive that ran on a circular track. It was the first locomotive to haul fare-paying passengers, at a shilling a ride, but the soft ground proved incompatible with the engine’s weight, and he had to abandon the scheme.

Though he married at age 26 and had six children, it was his love for inventing that drove him. In 1814, Peruvian silver mines ordered nine of his engines. By 1816, he was off he went to see the New World. Few knew what had happened to him. Sadly, when he returned to England in 1827, he had lost what fortune he’d found. He died in 1833 in Kent.

But his legacy inspired other engineers to continue advancing the steam engine, fueling the Industrial Revolution around the world.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Pretty Interesting in Pink

What might you have worn for an evening party 210 years ago? Maybe this?



Er, maybe not. But let’s have a look anyway at this offering from La Belle Assemblée, May 1812:


No. 1 - Evening Dress  An embroidered white crape, or fine India muslin frock, with long sleeves, and trimmed round the bottom with fine lace, set on full, worn over a blush colour satin or sarsnet slip; the frock ornamented down the front of the skirt with beads and lace in the Egyptian style. Parisian mob, worn unfastened, of puckered pink, and white crape over pink satin. Small pink satin tippet, with full plaiting of lace. Cestus of pale pink, confined by a clasp of pearl. Pink satin slippers, with white rosettes. The jewellery worn with this dress is the shaded cornelian, or large pearls.


Reading the description, I think this might, in many ways, have been a rather pretty dress: picture very, very fine, sheer white embroidered muslin over a pale pink underdress, so that as the wearer moved, your attention might be drawn by the embroidery one minute, and by the color the next. The oblong panels “in the Egyptian style” (and I’d love to know what makes them particularly ‘Egyptian’) aren’t very attractive by modern standards, though, nor is the pink satin “tippet”, or scarf around the shoulders, unless it drapes in an interesting way or offers some other visual interest in the back. A cestus is a belt; what's noteworthy here is that it appears almost at the natural waist, rather than up under the bust.


The hat—a “Parisian mob” (and now all I can think of is A Tale of Two Cities!) is "interesting" as well—not the mental picture I have of a mob cap, but more almost like a pair of kerchiefs.


All in all, not one of La Belle Assemblée’s more noteworthy efforts, but it has its charms. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

An Aeronaut Launches!

It’s no secret I love steampunk, that juxtaposition of history and science with a touch of wonder and whimsy. So I am beyond-the-moon excited to be writing a trilogy of Regency-set steampunk novels with master-in-the-field Shelley Adina. We affectionately call them “Prinnypunk” after the Prince Regent. 😊 The first is now out!

Napoleon is determined to conquer the world with his steam-powered weapons. Nothing in England can stop him … except two young lady inventors.

In 1819, France is surrounded by armies. With Russia in the north, the Karlsruhe Confederacy in the east, and a pirate kingdom in the south, Napoleon cannot break out, nor can the English Navy seem to break in. Europe teeters on the edge of a sword. Whichever side rules the air will win.

Celeste Blanchard, daughter of the Emperor’s disgraced Air Minister, is running out of time to develop an air ship that can carry his armies to England and restore her mother to glory. But on a daring and desperate test flight, she is blown off course … and washes up, half drowned, on the shores of Cornwall, in the heart of enemy territory.

Loveday Penhale, cosseted daughter of gentry, has her own inventions to build, even as pressure mounts to behave like a proper young lady and seek a husband instead of a design for a high-pressure steam engine. But when Arthur Trevelyan, heir to the neighboring estate, Gwynn Place, asks for her help in rescuing an unconscious young woman on the beach, Loveday discovers an aeronaut and an inventor as skilled as she is. Between them, a friendship blossoms, and Loveday wonders if they might even pull off the impossible and invent an air ship that will catch the eye of the Tinkering Prince Regent, who has offered a prize to anyone who can help England break the impasse. Celeste’s loyalties are torn in two. If she is caught working secretly for France, she will lose her friend, the love of an honorable man—and her life. But if Napoleon learns she has betrayed him, she will be executed on sight. 

Can friendship prevail in the face of war? Or is there a third solution—one where everything hinges on the bravery and daring of a Cornish debutante and the Emperor’s aeronaut?

Booklist called it “a witty and whimsical flight of fancy,” and Among the Reads said “I was mesmerized from the first page by these plucky, brilliant ladies.”

Get your copy in ebook or print at fine online retailers:

Amazon (affiliate link) 

Apple Books 


Barnes and Noble 

Google Play 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Stolen for a Song?

It’s the beginning of the month, which means it is time for the next installment in the Ladies of Almack’s series, Lyrics and Larceny.

In Lyrics and Larceny, we meet Lady Patroness and shadow-shaper Annabel Fellbridge’s cousin Hartley, who has been shaken from his self-absorbed ways by Demetria Pouli, a bewitching Greek soprano who is taking London by storm. When a rash of jewel thefts seems to accompany her recitals, Annabel fears Demetria may not be what she seems. As it happens, she isn’t—but a happily-ever-after for Hartley and Demetria isn’t necessarily out of the question, thanks to the Ladies of Almack’s…

I’ve made use of my fondness for classical mythology in this story, as you will see…and have dropped a few hints that another figure from classical mythology—a little boy equipped with bow and arrows—might be making an appearance soon. I hope you’ll enjoy this latest story in the series: it’s light-hearted fun for not-so-light-hearted times.

Lyrics and Larceny can be purchased directly from the publisher, Book View Café, in both EPUB and MOBI formats as well as from all the usual online bookstore outlets. Print versions can be found at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. (affiliate links may be used)

Book View Cafe

Barnes and Noble





In addition, the next three books in the series are available for pre-order at all vendors, so if you're enjoying them, you can grab em now. Happy reading!


Monday, May 2, 2022

What Lies Beneath is a RONE Finalist!

You’re probably surprised to see a post from one of us on a Monday. But there’s a good reason for me to be posting today—I would very much appreciate your help!

My young adult fantasy What Lies Beneath is a finalist in InD’tale Magazine’s 2022 RONE Awards. Books achieve finalist status by receiving a 4 ½ or 5 star review from the magazine during the previous year—in my book’s case, it was a 5 star review (which you can read here.) The RONE Award is a three-step contest; once the finalists are announced (first step) then there’s a sort of “people’s choice” contest, where readers vote for their favorite books. In the final step, the top vote-getters in the middle round go on to be judged by industry professionals to decide the winner in each category.

So what I really hope is that you’ll take a moment to vote for What Lies Beneath, to help it move onto the final round. Here’s what you do:

  • Sign up/log in at www.indtale.com Please note that you’ll have to sign up, but it’s not a difficult or lengthy process. 

I should add that What Lies Beneath is currently on sale at Book View Cafe for $2.99 for a limited time, available in both EPUB and MOBI (Kindle) formats.

And I’ll be very grateful for any votes from NineteenTeen readers. You’re the bestthank you!


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Scouting for The Perfect Mail-Order Bride

When I wrote my Frontier Bachelors series, the Wallin family had a good friend who’d had a rough upbringing but a heart of gold. I still get letters from readers asking when Scout Rankin will have his own story told. So I’m giddy to report that it’s here! The Perfect Mail-Order Bride launched on April 18.

Ada Williamson lived her whole life in the shadow of her charismatic, capricious sister. But when the beautiful Melinda decides to jilt her mail-order groom on the way to meet him in Seattle, Washington Territory, Ada’s conscience demands that she continue the journey and tell Thomas Rankin the truth. After all, she wrote most of the letters the couple exchanged, and she’s already halfway in love with the man herself. Yet somehow, one look at Thomas and the future he offers, and the truth never comes out. Suddenly, Ada finds herself not only out of the shadows, but living the life meant for her sister.

After making his fortune on the goldfields, Thomas “Scout” Rankin found he could buy almost anything he wanted, including the perfect mail-order bride in a territory where women are still few and far between. But past betrayals have left him wary, so he immediately notices that the woman who claims to be his mail-order bride doesn’t quite act the part. Still, someone wrote those letters that spoke to his heart. If getting to know Ada better will reveal the truth, he’s willing to try, even if he must protect his own secrets along the way.

But someone knows both their secrets and aims to use them to advantage. Can Thomas and Ada discover the truth, about their enemy, about their pasts, and about the love they both yearn to share?

The Huntress Reviews gave it five stars! “One thing is certain, if the author, Regina Scott, penned the story, it is sure to satisfy. Marvelous!”

“Scout is everything I remembered and more. He grew into the man that we hoped he would become and someone that we can fall in love with for himself,” said Hott Books.

The Perfect Mail-Order Bride is available in both ebook and paperback at fine retailers:


Amazon (affiliate link) 

Barnes and Noble 

Apple Books 


Overdrive (request it from your local library)

Indie Bound (an independent bookstore near you) 

Bookshop (with proceeds benefitting independent bookstores) 

The Book Depository (free shipping worldwide) 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Such Language, Part 31

More wordly wonderment and wackiness, with some help from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. What's your favorite word this week?

Hugger-mugger: By stealth, privately, without making an appearance. (Lady Alice Lonesley is so shy that she only wanted to invite three people to her come-out ball, but the marchioness would not hold such a hugger-mugger affair.)

Sneaksby: A mean-spirited fellow, a sneaking cur. (Never invite Sir James Haynoose to dine when it’s raining; he’s such a sneaksby that you’ll find your umbrella stand is empty after he’s left.)

Clapper claw: To scold, to abuse, or claw off with the tongue. (The last time he did that, though, Mama so clapper-clawed him that he didn’t appear in public on cloudy days for an entire month.)

Jobation: A reproof. (He richly deserved that jobation, for he also absconded with my French silk parasol.)

Pickle: An arch, waggish fellow. (My aunt always buys jolly Uncle Frederick green waistcoats because he’s such a pickle.)

High water: To have plenty of money. (As he frequently loses buttons from laughing too hard, it is good that it is high water with them.)

Sparkish: Fine, cheerful. (But with buttons or without, we love the sparkish old gentleman.)

Also sparkish is some recent happy writing-related news: What Lies Beneath, my World War I young adult fantasy, is a finalist in the North Texas RWA chapter’s Carolyn Readers Choice Award, in the Specialized category (along with one of my first writing friends, Janet Raye Stevens, and her time travel mystery-romance Beryl Blue, Time Cop.) Very excited!

And also, if you have a moment, do stop in at Lady Catherine's Salon on Facebook, a group for lovers of Regency romance, where I'm guest-hostessing this week. So far we're talking about being history lovers, what we collect, Regency fashions, and more. Come say hello!