Tuesday, July 26, 2022

A Pilot Launches!

Ready for some more steampunk Regency adventure? Tomorrow, July 27, sees the launch of The Prince’s Pilot, the second book in the Regent’s Devices trilogy, and I can’t wait for you to see what Loveday Penhale and Celeste Blanchard are up to now!

Napoleon’s invasion of England is hidden in the clouds…

It is 1819, and Cornwall is agog at the daring of the two young lady aeronauts who, earlier in the summer, flew nearly to France and back in their homemade air ship. Much more is riding on Loveday Penhale and Celeste Blanchard’s new and improved vessel—they plan to win the Tinkering Prince’s prize, offered to anyone who can help England win the war against Napoleon.

To their dismay, they must take two local gentlemen aloft to report on the ship’s capabilities. While Captain Trevelyan and Emory Thorndyke are welcome in drawing room and ballroom, their presence on the air ship proves disastrous. Wildly off course, Loveday barely manages to bring the vessel down safely—in France! Now it is up to the gentlemen to keep the newly designed ship hidden while Loveday and Celeste secure supplies for its repair from Celeste’s former home, l’Ecole des Aéronautes in far-off Paris.

But much has changed since Celeste left the capital, and enemies lurk in its very walls. With her famous aeronaut mother dead in suspicious circumstances, and the flight school closed, there is only one thing to do—make up a story about her absence and approach Napoleon himself. He promptly makes Celeste his Chief Air Minister, and commands her to plan the invasion of England by air. Can she and Loveday stay alive in this nest of vipers long enough to help their stranded friends? Before they are unmasked as spies—and before their beautiful air ship is captured and used to attack England?

Steampunk, historical fiction, and the wits of two amazing authors blend seamlessly to give readers an adventure that will long linger in their minds. I can hardly wait to find out what happens in the next episode.” Huntress Reviews

You can find the book in ebook and print at fine online retailers like

Amazon (affiliate link) 

Apple Books 


Barnes and Noble 

Google Play 

And look for the thrilling conclusion in The Lady’s Triumph, coming in September!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Retro Blast: Bathing Place Evening Dress

With the temperatures that Britons are suffering right now, I hope most of them can manage a trip to the shore...in somewhat cooler bathing attire, though. As I'm just starting a Ladies of Almack's story set in Brighton in 1810, I'm having fun picturing Annabel in a similar outfit...including the gladiator sandals, still fashionable after more than two hundred years. This post first appeared in July 2017; enjoy, and keep cool. 

* * * * *

Just in time for summer...

Isn’t this a delightful print, from the September 1810 edition of La Belle Assemblee?  I mean...she’s wearing what we would call pantalettes, complete with a triple lace frill round each leg...not to mention sandals. The dress itself is surprisingly simple, buttoning up the front. It’s cute as a bug, but certainly unlike any early 19th century evening dress I’ve seen before. Since no text accompanied it. I dug around on-line and found this in Google Books:

A gown of white French cambric, or pale pink muslin, with long sleeves, and antique cuffs of thin white muslin, trimmed with Mechlin edging; made high in the neck, without a collar, and formed in points at the center of the bosom, with three rows of letting-in lace; confined down the front of the dress with small buttons; and hemmed round the bottom with three rows of deep Mechlin lace; made rather short, and worn over trousers of white French cambric, which are trimmed the same as the bottom of the dress. A cap composed of lace and light green silk trimming, tied under the chin, with a bunch of natural flowers in front. Hair in full ringlet curls, divided in the front of the forehead. A figured short scarf of pale buff, with deep pale-green border, and rich silk tassels; worn according to fancy or convenience; with gloves of pale buff kid; and sandals of pale yellow, or white Morocco, complete this truly simple but becoming dress.

And there you have it—the reason it’s unlike any other evening dress is because it’s actually a walking dress...and perfect for that. Evidently an engraver for La Belle Assemblee took a mental vacation while working on this print, and gave it an incorrect title. Can’t you see a fashionable young lady out in society, visiting Brighton at the end of the London season, tripping blithely down the sands (not that Brighton has a very sandy beach), kicking at the waves, picking up pretty seashells, and generally having a time of it?☺


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Napoleon Hearts Science

Napoleon Bonaparte was the big bag bogeyman for much of the Regency period. Nothing would have made him happier than to invade England, and the English knew it. His face and figure featured in many a satirical cartoon of the day. Boney. The Corsican Monster.

The promoter of science and technology.

From an early age, Napoleon showed a skill for mathematics, so much so that he was originally put into artillery school in the military. He was still a young general, his star rising, when he was voted into the equivalent of the French Academy of Sciences. Many would whisper the scientists were merely attempting to curry favor. But he reciprocated by insisting that more than 150 scientists join the “expedition” to Egypt when he and the French army attempted to conquer that country in 1798. On the trip, he held scientific discussions aboard ship, raising the brows of the other military leaders and crew alike. But that expedition ended up discovering the Rosetta stone and opening the study of Egyptology.

Once back in France, Napoleon put not only his political prowess behind scientific advancements but his finances. He paid exorbitant salaries to scientists and engineers and offered prizes to have the most learned men of the day come speak on emerging areas, like electricity. One of these was Alessandro Volta, the Italian chemist credited with inventing the battery.

He pushed France to improve iron-smelting skills, supposedly because he wanted to be able to build bigger monuments. After seeing Robert Fulton test his submarine in the Seine in 1800, Napoleon awarded him with a grant to continue advancing the technology. Unfortunately, Fulton couldn’t figure out the fine points of propulsion. He lost his grant and returned to the United States. A shame Loveday Penhale of the Regent's Devices series hadn’t been there to help him. Doesn't it just look like a device she and Celeste Blanchard would have created? 😊

Others remembered his work. When Napoleon was defeated and exiled to St. Helena, there were allegedly plans to rescue him, by submarine!

One biographer claims Napoleon said if he hadn’t been the leader of France, he would have been a scientist on the scale of Galileo and Newton. Now, that sounds like the arrogant emperor England loathed!

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

A River Runs Through It: Turmoil on the Thames is here!


The Ladies of Almack’s embark on a watery adventure this month: Turmoil on the Thames releases today!

It’s the Fourth of June, the annual (if unofficial) celebration of the birthday of the King at Eton. Annabel is very much looking forward to attending, along with most of the fashionable portion of London: her elder son, William, will be rowing in the boat race, and picnics and fireworks festively conclude the day. But celebration nearly turns to lamentation until Annabel and Lord Quinceton (you knew he had to be there) avert tragedy…and the Ladies are left wondering how it happened, and what might happen next…

It was fascinating to research the Fourth of June, which became one of THE events of the social season through the 19th century and is still celebrated to this day at Eton. It was also fun to start developing Annabel and Lord Quinceton’s relationship, and begin to set up circumstances and drop hints about later events in the series.

Have I wetted—ahem!—whetted your appetite? 

Turmoil on the Thames can be purchased directly from my 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.

Book View Cafe

Barnes and Noble





Happy reading!