Friday, September 12, 2014

Happy Bloggy Birthday!

More cake all around!  You'll notice mine isn't nearly as symmetrical as Marissa's, but it will taste just as good, I promise!

As Marissa said, this week marks the beginning of our eighth year blogging.  Can’t believe it!  Blogs start out with little baby steps, and before you know it, they’re all grown up!

But, we hope, never old. 

And that’s why we need your suggestions.  I love what’s been mentioned so far.  Please chime in with more.  Are there other authors you wish we’d feature?  We haven’t had the delightful Cara King on in a while with a Young Bluestockings Attend the Cinema.  Should we watch another flick together?  And I know Marissa and I are planning to attend a couple of writers conferences in the next few months.  Do you like when we cover what we learned?

As for me, I have some ideas of what I’ll be discussing in the next year.  Most of my books coming out in 2015 will be set in post-Civil War Seattle, so I have some interesting tidbits to share on my research.  I’d also like to do a series on resources online that help readers navigate stories set in the 19th century, things like maps, costume collections, and period guides to London.  Plus I thought you might find it interesting to know more about the various awards and bestseller lists out there--how a book earns a place on them and what that placement means.  And my wonderful critique partner says I have to share my book triage method--how to weed out those wonderful books that keep piling up all over your house.  I recently had to put it to use in getting ready to move.

So, what else do you want to know?  How else can we delight you?  This is your chance--make your voice count.

Thanks for playing with us through another year.  You are what keeps us going.  Happy birthday!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

In Blog Years, We’d be How Old?

Oh my goodness, it’s that time again!

Here at NineteenTeen Regina and I are celebrating our bloggy birthday this week and embarking on our eighth year of telling you about all the fun bits of history that don’t make it into textbooks (or even into our own books.) Yes, that's right, our eighth year--you've been reading us since 2007.

Eight years...if we were a boy in 19th century England, we'd be getting shipped off to Eton about now. 

Like, wow.

So first of all, thank you for subscribing to our feed, stopping by occasionally, or whatever you do as a NineteenTeen reader. Because...well, you're why we post every week.  It wouldn't be much fun if we didn't have someone to talk to.

We plan to bring you more of the same (well, not exactly the same, but you know what I mean.) I’ll be posting a few more Fashion Forecasts from 1917 over the next months in addition to other WWI-centric posts...as well as introducing a new Ackermann’s Repository series (quelle surprise...but I think you’ll like this one a lot.) I’m not sure what Regina has up her sleeve because we like to surprise each other sometimes, so I’ll let her tell you about that on Friday. In short, look for more of what you expect from us.

However, it doesn't have to be that way. As we always do at this time, we’re requesting feedback from our readers. Are there any topics you’d like to see us cover that we haven’t already? Any types of posts you’d like to see more of? Do you want to try a group reading again? More guest posts (and if so, whom would you like us to invite)? Please, let us know how we’re doing...and if you do, I hereby give you permission to eat cake at least once this week. Maybe more.

Because hey, it's our birthday, right?

Friday, September 5, 2014

On Being the Toast of London

You may have heard the phrases in stories set in the early nineteenth century--the toast of London, the belle of the ball, an Incomparable, a diamond of the first water.  What sort of young lady do those phrases describe?  Well, real-life examples vary, but here are some characteristics to consider:
  • She is invited to all major social events and may indeed be the first person on the hostess’s guest list.
  • Her drawing room is constantly filled with fawning gentlemen and giggling lady friends because how could they possibly pass the day without a moment of her company?
  • She receives the coveted vouchers for Almack’s, London’s famous ladies’ club, without any manipulation or begging on her part.
  • She garners more than one offer from an eligible bachelor for her hand in marriage within a short time frame.
  • Her very name is synonymous with good taste, elegance, and sophistication.
Rather tall order to fill, isn't it?  Yet Priscilla Tate, the best friend of Lady Emily Southwell in Art and Artifice (formerly La Petite Four) masters each of these traits within the first month of arriving in London. She has to. You see, Priscilla must go big or go home.  Her family is punting on tick, about to end up in debtor’s prison, if she doesn't marry well.

But the toast of London is about to get burned.

Priscilla is well on her way to wringing a proposal out of the Season’s most eligible bachelor, the Duke of Rottenford, when blackmail notes start arriving, threatening to expose a dark secret unless she ceases her pursuit. It’s up to Emily and her dear friends Ariadne and Daphne Courdebas to help her uncover the mastermind before disaster strikes. But more than one secret is waiting to be revealed, not the least of which is Priscilla’s growing attraction for a most unlikely ally, Nathan Kent, the duke’s personal secretary. But will Nathan, no, no, the duke, understand if her secret comes out?

Here’s an excerpt:

Nathan Kent set his top hat on his head and descended the steps of the town house with an unwelcome feeling of defeat. He glanced back with a frown. Lady Emily, the youngest daughter of the Duke of Emerson, seemed such a levelheaded young woman. He had been quite impressed by the way she’d regained her composure after the contretemps at her debut ball a week ago. Between her personality and her place in Society, Lady Emily would have made an exceptional liaison for His Grace the Duke of Rottenford. A shame her interests obviously lay elsewhere.

He allowed himself a sigh. He was running out of suitable matches, which meant Miss Priscilla Tate was going to be a problem. Oh, there was no doubt she had the presence to make an excellent duchess. And no man alive could complain of her looks.

He supposed if he searched in Belgium or Flanders he might find a woman whose hair was as golden or possessed of such luster and vitality that it begged to be touched. It was possible some Irish lass might have eyes a more vibrant shade of green and capable of exuding the warmth that beckoned a man like a fire on a cold winter night. The women who had modeled for the classic Greek sculptors could have had figures that rivaled the one Miss Tate showed to advantage in her stylish gowns.

But somehow he doubted any other woman in England combined those traits with such cunning and will as he had seen in her. She had thrown her considerable armament against the wall of His Grace’s bachelorhood, determined to capture the duke’s affections. Nathan could not allow her to succeed.
He turned to the front again, his duty stiffening his spine, and found the very woman he’d been contemplating standing in his way. Nathan blinked.

Miss Tate blinked.

For a moment, he almost thought he was mistaken in her identity. Stripped away were the polished airs, the coy smiles. The color in her cheeks came from high emotion or exertion, not rouge. The downturn of those rosy lips spoke of dismay.

He put his hand to her elbow before he thought better of it. “Miss Tate. Is everything all right?”

He watched as the woman withdrew behind the mask. Her gaze brightened, her lips lifted, her lashes fluttered.

“Why, Mr. Kent, how nice to see you.” She glanced pointedly around him as if he could have hidden his tall employer behind him. “Is His Grace with you?”

“Alas, no,” Nathan replied, trying to recapture her gaze even as he dropped his hold of her. “Uneasy lies the head that wears that coronet.”

Her smile was no more than polite. “Of course. I admire a man who takes his duty seriously.”

Did she? Somehow, he doubted she would admire him for doing his duty, especially when that duty meant keeping His Grace away from fortune hunters like her.

He tipped his hat. “Then you will not mind if I return to mine. Good-day, Miss Tate.”

She inclined her head. Had he been the duke, she would have dipped a curtsey with effortless grace and humility. As a mere personal secretary, he had not warrant such a response. Indeed, she turned from him so quickly it seemed he did not even warrant her attention. Given the tasks he needed to complete before returning to His Grace, Priscilla Tate did not warrant Nathan’s attention either.

But as he reached the street, he could not help glancing back one last time. She had reached the door to the town house and lifted her hand to the brass knocker. Her back was straight, her head high. The pink satin pelisse was a mastery designed to outline her curves. She was the epitome of a fine London lady.
Yet the hand that reached for the knocker was trembling.

What had happened to so discompose the redoubtable Miss Tate? And why, when he was certain she was a clever fraud, did he feel compelled to help her?

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Such Language! 1917 Style

I used to have great fun with posts about early nineteenth century slang (and will probably have more of them). Imagine my delight, then, when in the course of research for my work-in-progress set in 1917, I ran across a list of words that first entered common usage (or at least were finally recorded in print) in this year. Entries are from the enormously fun and fascinating site Word Origins.

Ammo: It’s not surprising that a number of the words you’ll see here are related to the war, which the US had just entered in April...like this shortening of the word ‘ammunition.’

Blotto: Because another amusing term for being drunk is always useful.

Camouflage: a useful borrowing from our ally, the French.

Cootie: lice infestations being another by-product of trench warfare. Possibly arriving in English by borrowing from the Malaysian word for biting insect, kutu, by way of British soldiers serving in southeast Asia.

Bolshevik: The Russian Revolution in this year ushered a whole variety of words into English—not only this one, but also Leninist and Soviet as well.

Hokum: a borrowing from American theater slang, a blend of the words ‘hocus-pocus’ and ‘buncombe’ (or ‘bunkum’)

Spritz: to sprinkle or spray, borrowed from German.

Supersize: yes, really!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Good Story Is Timeless



What’s your favorite historical period?  Marissa and I started this blog because we have a fascination for the nineteenth century, and England.  But the nineteenth century is often called the “long” century, because the attitudes in it could be seen as spanning the late 1700s to the early 1900s.  And within that time, as you probably noticed from just in Marissa’s fashion forecasts, everything from fashion to technology to religion made some drastic changes.

Then there’s the difference between what was fashionable in England and what was popular in America.  And Marissa has found plenty to love lately in the World War I era.

So what’s your favorite?  I have a soft spot for the Regency period, no doubt about that.  But I've always loved stories about the way west along the Oregon trail, and I enjoy a good medieval yarn about bold knights and noble ladies.  And who doesn't love a cowboy?

The amazing variety of historical settings available to authors is one of the reason I’m so pleased to be part of the new boxed set, Timeless:  Historical Romance Through the Ages.  Together, the stories range from Regency England to early 1900s Chicago, from Minnesota during the Sioux Uprising to post-Civil War Missouri.  And two stories are set in Montana, one in a Civil War era mining camp and one on a 1890 ranch.   

Give it a try, and tell me which you love most.



And where is Marissa, you might ask? She’s off this week.  She’ll post next Tuesday, we’ll both be off the last week of August, I’ll post September 5, and we’ll be back to our normal posting schedule September 8.  Happy reading!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sailing the Seas of Cover Creativity

Ah, the joys of book covers!  As we've discussed, authors often have very little control over what comes out when they are traditionally published.  I feel quite fortunate that my editor and publisher at Love Inspired ask for a lot of input, and they generally listen when I have concerns.  That was exactly the case for November’s The Bride Ship.

In early June, my editor’s wonderful assistant sent me an early version, cautioning me that not much could be changed but to look for any major errors that must be corrected.  The heroine’s look was spot on, and I loved the way she seemed to be gazing out toward her future.  But then I saw the ship, and gulped.  She looked a bit like the one above.

The problem?  That’s an artist's rendition of the Queen Mary from around the 1930s.  My book is set post-Civil War.  The actual bride ship, the S.S. Continental, looked like this:



So I asked, nicely, hesitantly, whether that could be fixed.  And it could!

Here is the final cover for The Bride Ship.  The hull is still a bit metal-looking, but you can see the two masts rising above her, and the forecastle is much closer to reality.  Phew!



But I would be remiss if I didn't point out another cover recently created.  The talented author and artist Aileen Fish created this cover for our upcoming boxed set, Timeless:  Historical Romance Through the Ages, which will release next Tuesday, August 12. From turn of the century Chicago to 1860’s Montana to the Civil War era and Regency times, there is something for every historical romance reader. This sweet romance boxed set features seven novels by bestselling authors, starring unforgettable characters falling in love in the most captivating settings.

This collection includes:

All the Blue of Heaven by Virginia Carmichael
Sky Tinted Water by Keta Diablo
The Incorrigible Mr. Lumley by Aileen Fish
Lasso My Heart by Linda Ford
A Mile Apart by Sarah Jae Foster
Through the Storm by Brenda B. Taylor
And my own Secrets and Sensibilities, Book One in the Lady Emily Capers.

We’ll be pricing it at just 99 cents for the first month.  I hope you’ll give it a try. 

And happy sailing!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fashion Forecast: August 1917

What was the well-dressed young woman wearing in August 1917?

The reality of war seems to have caught up with designers this month: overall, styles have fewer fussy details, and a definitely military flavor has begun to creep in, as can be seen in both The Delineator...


And in this month’s McCall’s:

 

 Military style coats and dresses with less trimming, also from The Delineator:


The new military styling coming in this month will spell the eventual end of the barrel silhouette seen in the dress on the left, but for now, it's hanging on:


A few more military fashions from The Delineator (she looks like an army nanny, doesn't she?!):


And a daring outfit "for active service" from McCall's which includes bloomers and puttees:


The consciousness of the country's war status extended to learning how to "make do" as well and find new ways to use old garments. From a multi-page article from The Ladies' Home Journal, here are some tips on recycling chic:

 
Of interest are a section on lingerie from The Delineator:


And sports hats from McCall's--the sweaty headband and disheveled ponytail look for sports was definitely a thing of the future.  I wonder if Columbia still has a Millinery Department? ;) :


And lastly, teen fashions weren't exempt from the military look either, as seen in The Delineator here:


And here:


And here in McCall's:


And let's not forget the kids...perhaps more than any other war in American history, World War I had an enormous effect on our popular culture (The Delineator):


What do you think of August 1917's fashions?