Want to win a paperback copy of The Good, The Bad, And The Scandalous? Here’s your chance! Three copies are available–all you have to do is click on the link below to enter 🙂
*Open to people residing in the US, UK, and Canada.
Thanks so much to everyone who suggested names! I had a lot to mull over this past week–and one very obstinate character–but I think we have a good result 🙂
Let’s start with the contest winners:
Congratulations! E-mail me ladies and let me know which of the four prizes you’d prefer, and what would be your second choice if your first isn’t available.
And an honorable mention goes to Carol (my wonderful friend in Wales), for her suggestion of Lady Felicia!
The stubborn character was my hero, Mr. Archaeologist. He informed me during the week that he was no ordinary archaeologist, but that he was the male-line heir to his cousin’s title and estates.
And his cousin has already introduced himself in my other WIP.
So Mr. Archaeologist became Mr. Grey, and clung to his own preference for a given name…which took me several hours to uncover 🙂
That makes our cast of characters:
What a group, eh? And they’re all whispering in my ear, so I’m off to write. All I need now is a title!
Okay readers, I need some help.
Publisher Elora’s Cave is looking for sweet Regency novellas for their Christmas anthology, and I’m going to give it a shot. It will be good for my brain and creative process to work on something else for a while–and it will be good for my work ethic to have a deadline that I can’t move!
Without giving too much away, I can tell you that the idea I have is for a male wallflower story. He’s a science geek who has been out of society on archaeological digs (things like excavating the Elgin marbles in Greece), and has only recently returned home. She is a duke’s daughter and a social butterfly who is being forced into a betrothal to a Bad Guy.
But neither of them have names.
Naming my characters is always one of the hardest parts of a story for me. I don’t have children of my own, but I imagine this is what it would feel like to name them (except that I get to know my characters as adults first 🙂 ). I agonize over baby name books, comb through lists of important and historical people. I dissect my family and friends–would I name a character after any of them?
This time, I’m enlisting help. Your help. I need a first and last name for my hero, Mr. Archaeologist. I also need a first and last name for my heroine, Lady Butterfly. Leave a comment on this post with your suggestion(s), and if I use yours you win a Kindle book!
Regency romance author Susana Ellis is stopping by on her Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Tour to celebrate her newest release A Twelfth Night Tale. She’s brought with her some tidbits about the celebration of Twelfth Night and not one, but two giveaways!
Twelfth Night was the evening of January 5th, the night before Epiphany (“Twelfth Day”), which marked the end of Christmastide. On Twelfth Day, Christmas greenery is taken down and burned in the fireplace, in order to avoid the penalty of an entire year of bad luck for everyone in the house.
Twelfth Night was the traditional night for wassailing (See December 15th post), which was similar to caroling. “Twelfth Night Cakes” or “King Cakes” were served (See December 16th post), which were baked with a bean and pea, the fortunate recipients of which would be crowned “King” and “Queen.”
It was also a time for masks and playacting, charades being a very popular game for the evening. Partners were chosen by gentlemen drawing ladies’ names out of a hat.
In A Twelfth Night Tale, Lucy and her best friend Jane Livingston, charged with planning the Twelfth Night party, were expressing concern about the numbers being unequal, with so many more “ladies”—the children were allowed to participate as well—than gentlemen, when Jane’s brother Andrew Livingston came in and offered a solution. (He seemed to “pop in” a lot when Lucy was there…hmm.)
A tradition customary of the Livingston family was to reenact the “lord of the manor” ritual from medieval times. The “lord and lady” (usually Mr. and Mrs. Livingston wearing period costumes) would welcome the wassailers (“peasants”) to their ballroom (decorated to appear as a medieval dining hall) and offer them food and drink as a gesture of goodwill for the New Year. This custom had ceased after Mrs. Livingston’s death several years ago, but this year, there seems to be a spark of Yuletide spirit in the air once again.
Susana is going all out to celebrate the release of A Twelfth Night Tale! She is giving away a Twelfth Night Tale Christmas charm bracelet (silver-plated) for one random commenter here and on each of the other twelve stops of the tour.
As a grand prize, Susana is also giving away a treasure box full of goodies!
A Twelfth Night Tale Giant Treasure Box*
*In lieu of the treasure box, a winner from outside the U.S. will receive a gift card from the book retailer of their choice.
About A Twelfth Night Tale
A wounded soldier and the girl next door find peace and love amidst a backdrop of rural Christmas traditions.
Without dowries and the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. But when the eldest attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, suddenly it seems as though Fate is smiling upon them.
Lucy knows that she owes it to her younger sisters to encourage Lord Bexley’s attentions, since marriage to a peer will secure their futures as well as hers. The man of her dreams has always looked like Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and, in any case, is betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to put away childhood dreams and accept reality…and Lord Bexley.
Andrew has returned from the Peninsula with more emotional scars to deal with than just the lame arm. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend “Little Lucy” who shows him the way out of his melancholy. He can’t help noticing that Lucy’s grown up into a lovely young woman, but with an eligible viscount courting her, he’ll need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
A Blush® Regency romance from Ellora’s Cave
The Barlow Home
near Charlbury, Oxfordshire
23 December 1813
“It’s so kind of you to call, Lord Bexley. The flowers you sent are simply lovely, are they not, Lucy?”
Unable to miss the warning tone in her mother’s voice, Lucy sat up straight in her chair and smiled sweetly at their caller.
“Oh yes indeed. They are undoubtedly the most beautiful I’ve ever received, my lord.”
Of course, she did not mention that they were the first flowers she’d ever been sent by a gentleman. And considering that there were few opportunities to meet eligible gentlemen in the quiet little neck of the woods where the Barlows resided, the arrangement was quite likely to remain the only floral tribute to come her way.
Her caller beamed with pleasure. “They were the best I could find at the florist, but of course they cannot hold a candle to your beauty and sweetness, Miss Barlow.”
Lucy swallowed and forced herself to reply. “You embarrass me with your flattery, my lord.”
“Not at all,” he insisted. “You were quite the belle of the Christmas Ball last evening, Miss Barlow. I was much envied to be allowed the honor of two dances with you when so many gentlemen had to be turned away.”
The “Christmas Ball” was merely a small celebration at the local assembly rooms. Her mother had encouraged her to favor Lord Bexley, but in truth, Lucy herself had not found him objectionable. He was an accomplished dancer and quite distinguished-looking, in spite of the fact that he had at least twenty years over her.
At eighteen, she was of an age to be out in society, and Lord Bexley, a wealthy widower from Warwickshire, was undoubtedly the most eligible gentleman in the county. Recently out of mourning, he was seeking a new wife and a mother to his three children, and as Mrs. Barlow kept telling her, Lucy should be flattered that he seemed to be favoring her for the role.
Well, she was flattered. Wasn’t she? The number of young ladies far exceeded that of eligible gentlemen, and she didn’t wish to be left on the shelf. With her family in financial difficulties and four younger sisters to be married off, Lucy knew she owed it to them to marry well and do what she could to find her sisters suitable matches as well.
She was prepared to do her duty and make the best of it, but somehow, when she thought of marriage and children, it was not the kindly Lord Bexley who came to mind. It was the face of the strapping, dark-haired Adonis with laughing gray eyes who lived on an adjoining estate with his younger sister—her bosom friend Jane—who had teased her unmercifully from the time she learned to walk. She couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t been in love with Andrew Livingston—she’d even asked him to marry her at the age of five when he’d been twelve and about to leave for Eton. He’d laughed and quipped that it would be like marrying his sister, and she’d nursed a broken heart ever since.
She sighed as she frequently did when she thought of Andrew and his affianced wife, and her mother glared at her. Fortunately, Phillips wheeled in the tea cart and Mrs. Barlow’s attention was mercifully diverted.
“Please do the honors, Lucy. An excellent opportunity to practice your housewifely skills.”
Lucy flushed. Could her mother’s intentions be more obvious? But Lord Bexley did not seem to notice. He smiled kindly at her somewhat shaky inquiry as to his preferences, and thanked her graciously when she brought him his tea and a plate of cherry tarts.
“Quite charming,” he commented as he regarded her with obvious approval. It was unclear whether he was speaking to her or to her mother, and Lucy wasn’t sure how to respond.
Fortunately, there was a shriek followed by the sound of fierce arguing from the back rooms of the house. Lucy turned instinctively to the door, which was promptly thrust open and filled by the figure of her sister Lydia, who was breathing hard and wringing her hands in agitation.
“Do come, Lucy! Lila and Louisa are having one of their rows again, in the kitchen of all places. Lila broke one of Cook’s mixing bowls, and Cook swears she’ll leave if someone doesn’t stop them and you know you’re the only one who can, Lucy!” She flushed when she saw Lord Bexley and her mother’s angry face. “Oh…pardon me, I didn’t realize we had a guest.” She backed out into the hall, shooting Lucy a pleading look as she did so.
Relieved for an excuse to terminate the social call, Lucy muttered her excuses and scrambled out of the room. But not before she heard her mother’s mortified apology and Lord Bexley’s soothing reply that he found it quite agreeable to discover a young lady so accomplished in the maternal skills.
Goodness, he really was intent on courting her! She should be flattered. She was a sensible girl, and it was pointless to set her cap at Andrew Livingston, in any case. Lord Bexley would be an excellent match for her. His three daughters could not possibly be as troublesome as her two youngest sisters, after all.
She gritted her teeth and hurried to the kitchen, the ineffectual Lydia as usual trailing behind her. The second eldest Barlow daughter was as helpless as their mother at controlling the two youngest children. When Lucy married and left the house, as she would in time, her bookish middle sister Laura was going to have to take up the reins.
About the Author
A former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.
In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around the UK and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley and Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.
This is summer reading, Regency style!
Roof Beam Reader is hosting the 2nd annual Austen in August event, a celebration of all things Jane Austen. Participants read as many Austen or Austen-related works as they choose (biographies, spin-offs, contemporary re-imaginings, and re-reads count too!), and blog about their adventures. Roof Beam Reader will also be hosting guest posts and giveaways throughout the month.
If you’d like to be a part of Austen in August, you can sign up or find more info here. Some of the giveaways require that you sign up by August 3rd, but others don’t. You can participate in the reading and blogging at any time.
Any posts you make for Austen in August should be linked here.
I’m signed up and ready to go–my Kindle is full, my audible account is stocked. Who’s joining me?
The winner of my giveaway–the 6-pack of credits at Discover a New Love–is Mel (bournmelissa at hotmail dot com)!
The grand prize winner, with the most correct scavenger hunt answers, is Jessica (jessica dot deluna at gmail dot com)! She won a $50 gift certificate to her favorite book retailer.
Congratulations to both of you, and happy shopping!
If you were a bookish sort of girl during the Regency period, where would you go on an outing with a gentleman? Assuming you found a gentleman who appreciated a lady with a sharp mind, and a chaperone willing to accompany you, you might make a trip to the British Museum.
In 1675 Ralph Montagu (later the 1st Duke of Montagu) bought a piece of property on what was then the northern outskirts of London, and built himself a grand house. When it burned down a few years later he built an even bigger one, more palace than house. Upon the 1st Duke’s death, his son inherited the property, but had no son to follow him. The 2nd Duke’s two daughters inherited the unentailed property when he died, including Montagu House in London. Since both were married with homes of their own neither sister actually lived in the place, and it began to fall into disrepair.
Enter the trustees of the newly-founded British Museum, who were looking for a building suitable for housing antiquities and other collections. They bought Montagu House in 1754 for 10,000 pounds and hired a Mr. Bramley as gardener. Within a year the lawns, gravel walks, and kitchen gardens were restored to their former glory. By 1757, the gardens were open to the public a full two years before the building itself was ready. By 1800, 600 different species of plants had been established on the grounds.
What would you have seen inside? A big attraction was the Parthenon Sculptures brought to England by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin (popularly known as the Elgin Marbles). On display since 1817, the sculptures were originally part of the Parthenon in Greece, decorating the building as it went from Athenian temple to Catholic church to Muslim mosque. When Lord Elgin took up his post as British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, the Parthenon was a ruin. As a way of preserving what was left, he removed statues and friezes from the Parthenon and sent them home to London. This jump-started a craze in England (and the rest of Europe) for all things Greek.
Have you read a Regency novel where a character dressed as a Greek goddess for a masquerade? Have you heard gowns or hairstyles described as Grecian? The Elgin marbles were a large part of this cultural phenomenon. And they are still on display at the British Museum to this day.
And now for the giveaways!
Leaving a comment on this post will enter you in my individual giveaway: a 6-pack of credits at Discover a New Love. Each e-book is 1 credit, and they often have books available before their public release. This giveaway is open to anyone in any country, but comments must be left by 11:59 pm EST on Friday, July 26, 2013 to be entered.
We’re also having a Hop-wide scavenger hunt! Just visit each of the websites participating in the Grand Tour, and enter your answers to their scavenger hunt questions here. The entrant with the most correct answers will receive a $50 gift certificate to the book retailer of her choice. This contest is also open internationally, and entries must be submitted by July 26, 2013.
Scavenger Hunt question: What year did the Elgin Marbles go on display at the British Museum?
History Lovers Grand Tour Authors:
Rue Allyn / Amylynn Bright / Collette Cameron / Téa Cooper / Beverley Eikli / Susana Ellis / Aileen Fish / Debra Glass / Amy Hearst / Evangeline Holland / Piper Huguley / Eliza Knight / Kristen Koster / Cora Lee / Georgie Lee / Suzi Love / Denise Lynn / Deborah Macgillivray / Barbara Monajem / Shelly Munro / Ella Quinn / Eva Scott / Shereen Vedam / Elaine Violette
Source: The British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG
I love technology, but for this giveaway I went old school and put everyone’s names in a basket. Whose name did I draw?
Congratulations to Denise Duvall! She’s the winner of a signed copy of The Soldier by Grace Burrowes!
Thanks to everyone who dropped by to read and/or leave a comment 😀
No, that’s not a typo. This article is not about Napoleon’s victories on the battle fields of Europe. It’s about his victory in the farmers’ fields in France.
With sugar beets.
Sugar beets (Beta vulgaris) are white, conical roots, with a rosette of leaves above ground. The leaves absorb sunlight and produce sugar by photosynthesis (remember your high school biology?). The sugar is then stored in the root—the part we dig up and process. Sugar beets are grown in temperate climates like Germany, France, the UK, and the northern US, rather than the tropical locales sugar cane prefers.
But what do they have to do with the self-proclaimed Emperor of France?
In 1806 Napoleon attempted to destroy British trade lines and weaken the country by banning the import of British goods into Europe (including those from Britain’s colonies). George III and his Parliament responded by ordering a blockade of all French ports. So the only goods Napoleon and his people were getting (legally) were those they could grow or make themselves. Since all of the sugar in use at the time came from plantations in the West Indies, that meant no sugar for France.
Sugar beets were already known at this time—in the mid-1700’s, a German chemist named Andreas Margraff discovered that the sucrose contained in the beet’s root was indistinguishable from the sucrose in sugar cane. One of Margraff’s students, Franz Karl Achard, later experimented with ways to extract the sugar from beets, and was successful (he’s now considered the father of the sugar beet industry).
So when France found herself sugarless in the first decade of the 1800’s, a starting point already existed for her scientists. In 1809, a commission repeated Achard’s experiments, producing two loaves of beet sugar. One of them was eventually passed on to Napoleon himself, who realized he held the answer to his problem (one of them, anyway). He ordered 32,000 hectares of sugar beets to be sown, and more than 40 small factories were built to process them. In January 1811, the order was upped to 100,000 hectares and licenses were given to build 334 factories throughout the French empire.
In 1813, however, the tide of the war turned. Napoleon was on the run, and the blockade was lifted. Cane sugar once again became readily available, and beet sugar was no longer competitively priced. All of the beet processing factories that had been built in Germany and Austria (part of Napoleon’s territory) were closed down. The following spring the Sixth Coalition defeated the French empire, and Napoleon—champion of the sugar beet—was exiled to the island of Elba.
Then why do we eat beet sugar today?
France never quite gave up on sugar beet refinement. Between 1820 and 1839, the number of factories began to slowly climb again in response to a duty imposed on imported cane sugar. Once again, beet sugar was a cheaper alternative. The production of cane sugar also had an ugly stigma attached—it was only possible on large plantations using slave labor. Sugar beets could be grown and processed right at home, in factories that employed paid workers.
The process of refining sugar beets later became popular in Germany, the UK, Russia, and even spread across the Atlantic to the US. My home state of Michigan is one of eleven states that continue to produce beet sugar today, though the European Union is the world’s largest producer with about 50% of the total. Overall, beet sugar accounts for about 35% of the world’s production.
Beet sugar: just one example of the silver lining on a very dark cloud.
Another silver lining of the Napoleonic Wars? Wounded warrior romance heroes! To celebrate the Summer Banquet Blog Hop, I’m giving away one of my very favorites: a signed, print copy of Grace Burrowes’ The Solider, direct from the author herself!
Leave a comment below to enter: tell me what you learned today, what you really think of Napoleon, who your favorite historical soldier/sailor is, what draws you to this period of history, your obsession with sweets (or wounded warriors!), or whatever else you’d like.
Comments must be left by midnight EDT on June 7, 2013 to be eligible to win. Open worldwide.
Don’t forget to check out the posts and giveaways of all the Hop participants:
Agribusiness Handbook: Sugar Beets. Food and Agricultural Organization, United Nations. 2009
Agriculture and Rural Development. European Commission. 2013.
Bonaparte, Napoleon. The Berlin Decree. November 21, 1806.
Draycott, A. Philip (editor). Sugar Beet (World Agricultural Series). John Wiley & Sons, 2008.
Harveson, Robert M. “History of Sugarbeet Production and Use.” Crop Watch: Sugarbeets, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Retrieved electronically May 2013.