Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Regency Fiction Writers 2023 Virtual Conference is coming!

Regina and I thought you might like to know about this. Early Bird pricing ends on June 1st, so if you're interested, now's the time to sign up!

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The RFW Board of Directors is pleased to announce our 3rd annual Regency Fiction Writers conference, June 13-15, 2023. Our three-day conference will be held live via Zoom.

Keynote Speakers

We have two amazing keynote speakers lined up for the conference, ladies who are legends in the Regency storytelling world: Julia Quinn, the NY Times bestselling author and creator of the Bridgerton series, and RFW member Cathy Maxwell, a multi-award winner and NY Times and USA Today bestselling author.


Day 1, Thursday, July 13: Industry Workshops and the Business of Writing, with presenters Kathryn Leveque, Cathy Maxwell, Eloise James and Erica Ridley, and Sabrina Jeffries.

Day 2, Friday, July 14:  Historical, Marketing, and Writing Craft Workshops, with presenters Cecelia Melton, Serita Stephens, Kate Bateman, T. Taylor, and keynote by Cathy Maxwell

Day 3, Saturday, July 15: More Historical, Marketing, and Writing Craft Workshops, with presenters Katie Stein, Jessica Hale, Merry Farmer, Anabelle Anders and Tammy Andresen, and keynote by Julia Quinn, followed by the RFW annual soiree with a presentation on Regency Dress and a Silent Auction.


Registration is as follows:
• Early Bird – Saturday, April 1st through Thursday, June 1st
• Regular – Friday, June 2nd through Friday, July 7th
There will be no late registrations.

Early Bird Registrants only: Do you have a question you’ve been dying to ask Julia Quinn? Maybe you’ve wondered how she came up with her character names? Or who her favorite actor was in the Bridgerton series on Netflix? Or how her story process has changed over time? Well, here’s your chance to ask! Register before the Early Bird deadline and you can submit your questions for the Julia Quinn Keynote Q&A!

Of course, we can’t guarantee to ask her every question that gets submitted, but we will do our best to give you a shout-out if we select your question for the Q&A. Just be sure to register before the Early Bird deadline, because we won’t be taking any questions after that

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Want to know more? Then go to https://thebeaumonde.com/main/events/conference/ for details and sign-up instructions. Regina and I will see you there!


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Retro Blast: Updated: Lover’s Eyes

A version of this post was originally published in May 2011 as the second part of a series called Picture Makes Perfect. But, at the moment, eyes feature large in my life. Supposedly, my retina is detaching, but the surgeon can’t find the tear! So, my writing is severely restricted while we wait to see how things progress.

Eyes were also important in the nineteenth century if you couldn’t afford a formal portrait or wanted something to carry next to your heart to remind you of your one true love. Thus, the creation of Lover’s Eyes. This small portrait showed only a portion of a person’s face. I imagine it didn’t take too many settings with an artist, unlike a full-sized portrait. Much more economical!

But sometimes it wasn’t cost or size that made these attractive. Perhaps you couldn’t marry your love, or your dear husband had died young on the battlefield. With the Lover’s Eye hidden in a locket, no one would know about the painting but you. And even if someone accidentally saw the picture, they would be hard pressed to prove who it portrayed.

Legend has it when the Prince of Wales was in love with Maria Fitzherbert and forbidden from legally marrying her without forfeiting the crown, he commissioned a painting of his eye for her and her eye for him. This he could wear against his heart without anyone being the wiser. He must have shown it about sufficiently, however, for Lover’s Eyes became all the rage. Later people chose these tiny portraits to remember someone who had died. This one is supposedly of Princess Charlotte, who died in 1817, and includes hair bound into the locket.

Finally, here are a couple of eye miniatures of two writers you happen to know.  See if you can tell which is which. 

I guess you could say the eyes have it. :-)

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Retro Blast: The Peace of Amiens, or All Major Credit Cards Accepted

Tomorrow marks the 220th anniversary of the end of the Peace of Amiens, that strange interlude in the nearly twenty-five years of war between England and France. So I thought it might be interesting to revisit this post from 2016 and see what it was all about...

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It’s 1802. Great Britain and France have been at war since 1793, when the brand new French republic went on the warpath as surrounding European kingdoms, hoping to nip this republic idea in the bud, sent troops to help restore the Bourbon monarchy. They failed despite various alliances and coalitions and, to everyone’s surprise, France started expanding its borders, thanks in no small part to a certain up-and-coming young Corsican artillery officer.

By 1801 that artillery officer, one Napoleon Bonaparte, is First Consul of the French Republic. British Prime Minister William Pitt,  a resolute foe of Napoleon, is forced out of office in February and a less hawkish PM takes his place. Austria, Russia, and the Kingdom of Naples had all sued for peace a few years before.  And both France and England agree that some peace might be nice for a change.

After much negotiating, wheeling, dealing, and making of secret clauses over the summer and into the fall of 1801 the two countries reach a preliminary agreement at the end of September. In November the Marquis Cornwallis (yes, the same one who surrendered at Yorktown) is sent to the French town of Amiens to negotiate the final terms with Napoleon’s brother Joseph and Talleyrand. Though it takes months and is unsatisfactory in many ways to the British (they in particular are unhappy over the ambiguous disposition of Malta) a final agreement is signed on March 25, 1802 and in October King George officially declares peace.

And Britain goes shopping. 

Before you snort, "yeah, right," think about it: for much of the 18th century, France had been the center of European culture...and Paris had been its apotheosis. French fashions, French art, French food, French manners, all had been admired and imitated; an upper class young man’s education was not considered complete until he’d spent a year or so wandering the Continent—especially France. But for the last ten years, Britain and France had been at war, which meant no visiting most places on the continent.

Now the war was over thanks to the Peace of Amiens, and the English descended on France to satisfy their craving for all things French.They flocked to the Palais Royal for expensive souvenirs and to the modistes and milliners for Paris gowns. They ordered jewelry and sets of china, and went to the galleries to buy art. Artists arrived in droves, not only from England but from all over Europe to visit the Louvre and see not only the latest art but also the Roman and Egyptian sculpture brought back by Napoleon. They visited sidewalk cafes, strolled in the parcs (though Paris was, alas, looking rather shabby after the depredations of the Revolution and ten years of war.) Even scientists came, among them astronomer William Herschel to visit the Paris Observatoire. And politicians came, both for all of the above reasons and, if they could, to catch a glimpse of the First Consul. Napoleon very obligingly received several of them, most notably Charles James Fox (who took the occasion of this trip to France to formally present his heretofore secret wife, former courtesan Mrs. Armistead.) And expatriates took the opportunity to visit their homeland, from which they'd been cut off for so long.

Unfortunately, this amicable state of affairs did not last long. The tensions and discontents created in the Treaty of Amiens were its undoing, along with Napoleon's efforts in other arenas to exclude Britain as much as possible from European affairs. Britain again declared war in May 1803, rather to France's and everyone else's surprise--in fact, over a thousand British tourists ended up imprisoned in France until 1814, when Napoleon was sent to Elba. I hope the shopping had been worth it!

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Sharing a Love for History, One Meme at a Time

You have seen some of Marissa’s wonderful graphics for her The Ladies of Almack’s Series. I am just not that talented. My skills are very focused in the realm of the written word. But my awesome author assistant, Isabella LaVey, had an idea (two of them, actually), and we’ve come up with something we hope is a little fun.

History is amazing.

Well, yes, of course it is. You knew that, or you probably wouldn’t have read our books or this blog. But there are so many fascinating tidbits to ooh and aah over. Like these.

And then, there is the marvelous language of the Regency period. Again, Marissa trumps me there with her Such Language! posts. But here are a couple of contributions of my and Isabella's.


Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t include this Star Wars/Regency mash up, celebrating May the Fourth or Star Wars Day.

The words are mine, but the graphics are courtesy of Isabella. She rocks. I thought she deserved to know it. And now you do too. If you want to see more of her work, follow me on Instagram. There will be more this month and in the months to follow.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

More Historical Comfort Reads

A few years ago I posted about my favorite historical comfort reads—you know, the books you go back and re-read when you’re tired or ill or otherwise not feeling quite up to par and need a soothing old friend to keep you company. Now seems like a good time to revisit the topic, so here are a few more of my favorites. I hope that readers will tell us about some of their historical comfort reads in the comments—I’m always looking for new old friends! Please note that any links may be affiliate links.

Eva Ibbotson

Yes, I know she’s an author, not a book—a much-loved and recognized author of many delightful stories for younger readers such as The Star of Kazan, Journey to the River Sea, The Secret of Platform 13, and many others. But did you know that she also wrote five adult romances? They’re all stand-alones, set at various points between shortly before WWI and around and during WWII. All share England as part of their settings, but several include substantial portions set in Austria (where the author grew up) and on the Amazon River. Written in the 1980s, they do possess that era’s regrettable tendency to Big Misunderstandings (you know, where conflicts could be cleared up if people just talked to each other for ten minutes), but the characters (including secondary ones) and settings and plots and just so wonderful that I forgive them for that. The Secret Countess may be my favorite because it has a denouement scene worthy of Georgette Heyer at her best; but Magic Flutes, A Company of Swans, A Song for Summer, and The Morning Gift are not far behind. Part of what makes these special, I think, is that they’re slightly autobiographical: as a girl, the author fled Austria before WWII with her family, so there’s a feeling of authenticity about the small details that is enthralling. Some people consider these young adult books; I disagree, but they can be read by older teens. 

Caroline Stevermer 

Okay, yeah, she’s an author too. You really aren’t going to make me choose just one of her books, are you? If I had to, though, I’d go with A College of Magics, a marvelous young adult historical fantasy about a young woman coming into her own as ruler of her countryand as a witchset in a fictionalized pre-WWI Europe, with a few extra eastern European countries along with the usual England, France, Spain, and so on. The era feels well-depicted, especially the women’s college the protagonist attends and the brief visits to Paris and on the Orient Express. One of my all-time favorite books, and with an almost as wonderful sequel, A Scholar of Magics.



Connie Willis  I’m an unashamed Connie Willis fangirl. She’s won more Hugo and Nebula Awards than just about anybody writing science fiction today…so why am I talking about her in a post about historical comfort reads? Because she’s written multiple time travel novels (the Oxford Historian series), and written them incredibly well. Doomsday Book may be her masterpiece (about a time-traveling history grad student mistakenly sent back to England on the verge of the arrival of the Black Death), but it’s To Say Nothing of the Dog that is indeed a comfort read: two historians sent back to study Coventry Cathedral before its destruction in the Blitz get entangled in problems and time paradoxes as they bounce between the 1940s, the 1860s, and beyond…and hilarity ensues. Just a delightful, funny book with a happy ending.


Do you have any historical comfort reads you’d like to talk about?


Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Cinderella Meets Her Handsome Logger

The third book in my Frontier Matches series, Frontier Cinderella, launched April 17. I wasn’t sure who to match with the crowned prince of the loggers, Harry Yeager. If you’ve followed the series, and the Frontier Bachelors series that preceded it, you may recall that Harry has courted several ladies, and lost them all! For someone so sure of himself, and for a fellow who is such a prime specimen, those losses had to go down hard.

And then Katie Jo McAllister walked onto the scene in Her Frontier Sweethearts. Shy, quiet, and used to making her own way in a man’s world, Katie Jo has admired Harry much in the way we might admire a Renoir painting—gorgeous to look at but far above what we could pay. And then something amazing happens.

Katie Jo McAllister never considered herself a prim and fussy sort of gal. Men are more likely to ask her help in chopping down a tree than taking a turn on the dancefloor. But when Katie Jo stands up with her friend, Ciara O’Rourke, at her wedding, all gussied up, suddenly every man in miles is angling for an introduction. Even the area’s most eligible bachelor, Harry Yeager, who has ignored her for months, comes calling. It’s enough to give even a strong gal a case of the vapors!

After being orphaned young and passed around among relatives, Harry Yeager is determined to start his own family. He has the claim, the cabin, and the income to support a wife and children. In an area with eight bachelors to every unmarried woman, finding the wife has proven problematic. But the sweet-natured Katie Jo McAllister just might be the perfect bride to rule beside him in his little frontier kingdom.

When danger comes calling along with a host of suitors, Katie Jo finds herself turning to Harry for help. But can he see the heart of the woman beneath all her finery, a heart that beats for him alone?

You can find ebook and print at my own bookstore, fine online retailers, and bookstores near you:

My store 


Amazon (affiliate link) 

Barnes and Noble 

Apple Books 


Bookshop (benefitting local bookstores) 



Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Sneak Peek Time!


Ah, spring! The birds are singing, my garden is sprouting…and after a quiet winter, the pile of pages that will be The Audacious Abduction, the ninth installment in The Ladies of Almack’s series, is starting to grow on my desk.

So what is happening with Annabel and the Ladies now? Well... 

Annabel is in Bath, recovering from the terrifying events in Brighton, when an unexpected visitor brings news of Quin, alive and well but practically a prisoner in his own house. The Lady Patronesses launch a daring, successful rescue, but the captive isn’t necessarily freed. Nor is he the only captive that needs rescuing…

I don’t have the release date yet—that’s in the works with Book View Café—but look for it some time this summer. These later books in the series are running a lot longer than the earlier ones—there are more story threads to weave together and characters and their journeys to choreograph—so the time between releases is longer. I hope you’ll think the waits worth it.

And here’s the sneak peek part: read the first chapter now! You can download it from BookFunnel to your e-reader, or just hop over to my website to read itonline.


Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Nineteenth Century Heroines: Making Sure the Ayes Have It

I am always on the lookout for nineteenth century history near me, which can sometimes be challenging in the Pacific Northwest, especially in the wilds where I live. That’s why discovering a house on the National Register of Historic Places less than two miles away was such a thrill, as was learning about the lady behind it.

Washington State had a rocky road to confirming the right of women to vote. Seattle founding father Arthur Denny tried to convince the territorial legislature in 1854, but the measure lost by a narrow margin. The lawmakers rallied, however, and passed another measure some years later, only to have a territorial court shoot it down! Because “woman’s suffrage” was not specifically included in the title of the law, the court reasoned, the male legislators might not have realized what they were approving. Undaunted, they changed the title and passed the measure again. Women voted in Washington Territory beginning in 1883. Unfortunately, another legal challenge upended the law, and fears that the federal government would find women voting so offensive it would never give the territory statehood kept the idea out of the state constitution in 1889. By the turn of the twentieth century, suffragists in Washington State were entirely disheartened.

Enter Emma Smith DeVoe. Born in Roseville, Illinois, in 1848, she had supported woman’s suffrage since the day she heard Susan B. Anthony speak. She was only eight at the time. Since then, she’d campaigned for women’s rights in Dakota Territory (although women couldn’t vote there until 1918), Idaho Territory (where she helped win the right in 1896), and Oregon State (where the first measure lost, with women winning the vote in 1912). She had also helped with campaigns in another 25 territories and states. When she moved to Tacoma with her husband in 1905, she promptly set to work on campaigning in Washington.

There were, apparently, several philosophies among the suffragists. One group held that large rallies and sit-ins were the order of the day. Others, notably in England, went so far as to smash windows on abandoned buildings to draw attention to their cause. The ladylike Emma was certain there was a more effective way. By being good-natured and cheerful, women might persuade their male counterparts one-on-one. Her goal was to have women ask every voter in the state to support the suffrage movement. She also sent out postcards and put up posters. She even published a cook book, with Votes for Women on the back cover. When the National American Woman Suffrage Association met in Seattle in 1909, she organized a “Suffrage Special” train, with notable ladies giving speeches from the rear platform at stops along the way. That same year, Seattle hosted the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, and she set up a Suffrage Day. That was when a group of suffragists climbed Mt. Rainier to raise awareness of the cause.

In 1910, the all-male Washington State legislature voted by nearly two-thirds to extend the vote to women, 10 years before the nation would follow suit. Emma had a little something to do with that too. For her work in the state as well as at the national level, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000. She died in 1927, at the age of 79, in her lovely home near me.

And if you’d like to read about a fictional Washington State pioneer, you might want to grab an ebook copy of The Perfect Mail-Order Bride, on sale for the first time this week for only 99 cents.

When a beautiful mail-order bride jilts her groom on the way to meet him, her plainer sister Ada Williamson decides to continue the journey and tell him the truth. Yet one look at Thomas “Scout” Rankin, and the truth never comes out. Thomas can buy anything he wants, including the perfect mail-order bride. But past betrayals left him wary, so he notices Ada is not what she claims. When a stranger tries to take advantage of Ada’s secret, and his, can they discover the truth, about their enemy, about their pasts, and about the love they both yearn to share?

Reading is My Superpower called it “swoony, sweet, and full of heart.” 


Directly from me 


Amazon (affiliate link)

Barnes and Noble 

Apple Books 


Tuesday, April 4, 2023

What's the Point?


I think, at least in the case of this Evening Full Dress from July 1809’s La Belle Assemblée, that the point is (or should I say are) quite apparent, despite the not-very-good quality of my print.


Here’s the original description:

THE ELVIRA DRESS. This dress is composed of yellow crape, with a train about half a yard in length; the front of the skirt forming a deep vandyke (to the point of which is suspended a tassel), and is embroidered round the edge in two shades of brown chenille; the sleeves are formed of several rows of plaits crossed on the arm. To complete the whole of this elegant dress, there is worn with it a jacket of yellow satin, which is formed with three deep vandykes behind and two in front; the bosom square, with three straps across the center, which are fastened with diamond brooches; the points of this jacket, front, back, and shoulder straps, are embroidered at the edges the same as the dress, which is worn over a slip of shite satin, likewise embroidered round the bottom, and the sleeves of which appear below the crape over it, and are finished at the bottom with chenille embroidered in form of a vandyke, with the point turned upwards, the center filled up with a sprig.

So many questions, the primary one being, who was Elvira? 😏  Also, the description as written doesn’t quite match the dress, as I see nothing of the straps fastened with diamond brooches on the bodice of the jacket mentioned in the text.

And missing from the text is a description of the accessories—fan, shoes, gloves, pearl jewelry, and headdress—as depicted…and surely that spectacular jeweled diadem and feathers number deserves a few sentences! 

The description of the large triangular points as "vandykes", by the way, comes from the Flemish painter Anthony Van Dyke, who spent most of his career as the leading court painter of King Charles I. He painted a great many portraits of the royal family and nobility...and at the time, lace with deep, indented triangular tongues was highly fashionable, as can be seen in Van Dyke's portrait study of the king (via Wikimedia.)

Looking at the fashion prints from around 1809-1810 in both La Belle Assemblée and Ackermann’s Repository, it is clear that this was a marvelous time to be a modiste: there is such creativity and variability in styles, unlike, say, the early 1820s which were really rather dull. What do you think?