Monday, February 28, 2011

Regency Rank & File

Now some of you may wonder why I love Regency romance. It's simple. I love the class structure of the British aristocracy. Dukes and Earls and Viscounts, oh my. I'd like to think I was a Countess in a former life. LOL. (And I know it wasn't all sunshine and lollipops for the lesser classes, but in my world they all had good jobs and decent homes and no one died from disease or pestilence.)

For those of you who'd like a primer in that world, here's a little info that may help you, in either reading, or writing it. Let's start at the top, shall we.

King & Queen -- They are the reigning Monarchs. They rule the country. You would address them as Your Majesty, Your Highness, or, Your Grace.

Prince & Princess -- Children and grandchildren of the King and Queen. You would address them as Your Highness, or, Your Grace.

Duke -- Their wives were known as Duchess. Created in 1337. These were the people who were next in line to the throne after the Prince and Princess. Their family line could be traced to the reigning Monarch. You would address them as Your Grace. During the Low and Middle Ages the Monarch would give their kinsmen land surrounding the castle. More land was gained by marrying into it. Their title would be the name of the county of which their principal holding sat, ie. Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Devonshire, etc. They all held a seat in the House of Lords in Parliament.

Marquess -- (pronounced Mar-Kwess) Their wives were known as Marchioness (pronounced Mar-Ki-o-ness or Mar-Key-o-ness) Created in 1385. These titles were created when England usurped Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Members of these aristocracies in their own country weren't in line to the throne so they couldn't become Dukes. They became Marquess instead, which is why there aren't a lot of them. You would adress them as -- my lord. They also hold a seat in the House of Lords.

Earl -- Their wives were known as Countess. Created in the 800's. You would address them as -- my lord, my lady. They were the chief royal representative in the shires (counties). Their name was usually from their place, Earl of Cory, but later, they could also use their surname if they held no land, Earl Gray. (Yes, there actually was an Earl Gray.)

Viscount -- (pronounced Vi-count) Their wives were known as Viscountess. Created 1440. Originally a Viscount was the sheriff of the shire and reported to the Earl. They mainly used their surname in their title, Viscount Hadley. They were addressed as -- my lord.

Baron -- The least of the nobility. Their wives, of course, were Baroness. Created 1066. This title was usually applied to the chief tenants of the Earl, and their land had been granted to them by the Monarch. I'm not really sure how you would address them. I think - Sir - possibly - my lord. I don't really know a whole lot about Barons.

Baronet-- Created in 1611. This is a special hereditary rank. If you remember, in Jane Austen's PERSUASION, Anne Elliot's father is a Baronet. I know you address them as Sir.

Knight -- Are NOT members of the aristocracy. They are addressed as Sir or Madam. It is an Honorary title. Sir Paul McCartney, Dame Judi Dench.

You could have as many, or as few titles, as you had ancestors. You would sometimes also lose a title if you gained another one. Say you were a Marquess and your father the Duke died, you would become the Duke. Now if you had a son, he would become the Marquess.

If you died without issue (male children) the Monarchy could usurp your title back into its fold, taking with it all land and monies you had. It would either keep it, or reissue it to someone else as was its wont.

You could also gain a title by doing some great heroic endeavor, ie. Admiral, Lord Nelson. He was just plain old Horatio Nelson when he joined the Royal Navy. After his action at Cadiz he was given the title of 1st Viscount. (He was also the Duke of Bronte but that was given to him by the King of Spain. Also, because he died without issue, his Viscountancy was taken back by the King of England, and there has never been another. However, there was a special provision for his Baronetcy that was given to his brother after his death.)

This is the list of Nelson's titles that was read at his state funeral.

The Most Noble Lord Horatio Nelson, Viscount and Baron Nelson, of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk, Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough in the said County, Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of the Fleet, Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Ships and Vessels in the Mediterranean, Duke of Bronte in Sicily, Knight Grand Cross of the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit, Member of the Ottoman Order of the Crescent, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of St. Joachim.

And there you have my take on the aristocracy. Now, by all means this is not a comprehensive list or definition. This is just a cursory glance at what I've learned. Believe me, I have scads of notes and web-sites that could explain it a whole lot better. And I'll spare you from discussing precedence. It's a nightmare.

Any questions?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On the Menu Today -- A blogfest I missed.

While I was on hiatus the fabulous Nicole Ducleroir held the Bernard Pivot Blogfest. I love Inside the Actors Studio and the last time I saw it, Denis Leary was the guest. (Shows you how long it's been since I've had cable.)Anyway, I thought I might participate, better late than never.

What is your favorite word? Hope.

What is your least favorite word? Alzheimers.

What turns you on creatively, spritually, or emotionally? The ocean.

What turns you off? Mediocrity.

What is your favorite curse word? F*ck.

What sound or noise do you hate? The dentist drill.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Actor.

What profession would you not like to do? Police officer.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Welcome back.

I also wanted to say, hey, I finally made 250 friends, Corinne hit it on Tuesday. Welcome Corinne, it's nice to have you here. And Renae who came in at 251 on Wednesday. Welcome welcome.

I'm over 62K words on Ellis and Violet's story, 2/3rds done. I'm very excited as I want to finish. As soon as I'm done with MisMATCHED, I'm pulling MASQUERADE back out again and revising the snot out of it. I will query MisMATCHED this spring and see what happens. Revising MASQUERADE will keep me busy. Well, that's the plan anyway.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who Does Your Eyebrows?

Monster Child was watching me pluck my eyebrows the other day.
"Why do you that?" She asked.
I said, "So I don't look like a neanderthal."
"What's a neanderthal?"

After the discussion of cave men and dinosaurs, I thought about eyebrows, and how we use them in our work.

I'm sure you all have read at least one book where the hero 'quirks his eyebrow'. Or the heroine raises hers. Or someone knits them together.

I must confess I have used all three. In my latest book, each one of the major players does. But only once.

And therein lies my post for the day. Each of our characters are special to us. They become like family and with family we all have our own little quirky things that we do. Sometimes they drive other people nuts. Sometimes, they can be downright endearing.

When Monster Child was a baby she used to grab the bottom of my earlobe when she was feeding. (Very endearing and I miss it.) Now she sticks her cold feet down my bum before she goes to sleep. (Family bed, big mistake and not so endearing anymore.)

Genna in REMEMBERING YOU used to make this noise. I call it a snort, but it's not really. It's that noise in the back of your throat you make when someone does something incredibly stupid, yet funny at the same time. (We watch America's Funniest Videos every Sunday night so I am forever making that noise.)

Dr. Blakestock (in MisMATCHED) wipes his spectacles before he says something of importance. Lady Olivia (in MASQUERADE) thumps her cane on the floor to make people pay attention to her.

The key is to use them sparingly. If your hero is quirking his eyebrows on every other page we might think he has some kind of neurological disorder. If he rakes his hands through his hair during every chapter, I would think he needs a good shampoo. If your heroine dabs her eyes with a hankie more than twice, well, I think she should see an optition.

Don't get me wrong, character quirks are great to use but I recommend doing so only when it will really make a point. Otherwise it gets wasted, and the next time they do it, the reader will be saying, "Oh will you stop with the eyebrow already!"

Do you use character quirks? If so, what are they?

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Characters for MisMatched

Well, here we are. I finally found my characters for MisMatched -- Ellis and Violet's story. Some of you may remember a few from last year's MASQUERADE. All my books are intertwined so the same characters pop up every once in awhile. Without further ado.

(And please read through to the bottom of this page for some rather exciting news.)

This is Lady Penny, Duchess of Caymore, Violet's new friend and Haverlane's sister-in-law.

This is Lady Olivia, who makes a very brief, but very crucial appearance at the end of the book.

This is Manning, Haverlane's venerable butler.

This is Mrs. Jeffers, the housekeeper at Fairhaven.

This is Reverend Andrew Perry. Wrong costume but close enough I say.

This is Lady Rose Flowers, Violet's mother. We don't like her very much.

This is Lady Chesnick, Haverlane's mother. We don't like her either.

This is the Duke of Chesnick, Haverlane's father and not a very nice man.

This is Lady Georgiana Baxter, the vixen after Haverlane's heart and money.

This is the Prince Regent. I think he's perfect.

This is the man who tries to steal Violet away from Haverlane. Captain John Winsbarren.

This is Haverlane as you all know. God, I just love this picture of him.

And this is Violet. Isn't she pretty?

Now, for the exciting news. If you don't know Bridget Chicoine, she is a writer as well as a phenomenal painter. She has done a painting for Michelle Davidson Argyle and has asked me to write something to go along with it. If you'd like a little more of Violet and Haverlane's adventure, please go here. Please, also while you're there, click on over to her artist blog and view all the lovely paintings she has done. If I were a rich and famous author I'd buy them all.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

I'm back! I think. It's been such a crazy last few weeks, I'm not sure where I am exactly. But I do know, I've missed you all terribly and I just can't stay away any longer.

Thanks for all your great support with my excerpts. I'm glad so many of you love Ellis as much as I do. I hope you'll get to love Violet as well. She made her debut for the Christmas blogfest, but Ellis has taken over my life, as well as my heart, and hers. As I said before, he is one of my most compelling characters and I love getting inside his head.

I also want to say Thank You and Welcome to all my new followers. Charlie, Meredith, N.R., Mary, Clp3333, Amy, Demitria, Kulsama, Liz, Aimee, and Tamara. I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to follow you back. But I think I remedied that. And if I don't follow you, it's because you never left me an address, so do so now. Please.

I have so much to say, as well you know, but I'll save it for next week (and the week after, and the week after that, etc. ad infinitum.) I'll be sticking to a M-W-F schedule as far as I know. I hope. However, as you know, I'm really trying to finish this WIP by the end of February, so if you don't see me around, that's where I'll be.

I have some exciting news. I found pictures for the characters for MisMatched. I will be posting them on Monday so don't forget. Also, there's another surprise I'm going to share so please stop by. (And no it's not THAT surprise, but really cool just the same.)

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Movie Madness

Good morning everyone. As you know, I'm a sucker for Jane Austen and the Regency. I have several different movie versions of P&P, S&S, Emma, and Persuasion. I love seeing how the directors and actors take these timely characters and make them their own. However, in writing this new book, I've found I need to see more of that life. I can read all I want, but with movies, I'm transported by the settings and costumes and dialogue that I can't readily see in my head. Black and white research sucks. Pages are not three dimensional. Well, neither is the tv screen but you know what I mean.

Anyway, due to a rare occurence in extra cash flow recently, I treated myself to some movies.

The Duchess -- starring Kiera Knightly and Ralph Fiennes.

Jane Eyre -- starring Samantha Morton and Ciaran Hinds.

Vanity Fair -- Starring Reese Witherspoon and Gabriel Byrne.

The Other Boleyn Girl -- starring Natalie Portman and Eric Bana.

And lastly -- Becoming Jane -- starring Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy.

Now, all of these are not Regency based, but the costumes and settings were fantastic. The dialogue in some was not how it was spoken truly, but you can't really expect an audience to follow the proper English prose as it sounds.

My favorite, favorite, favorite, was Becoming Jane. Could you tell? I cried my eyes out at the end. Now, SHE lived a true romantic life. (I wont' spoil it for you by telling you what I thought and why.) Sad, sure. But romantic, OMG, it broke my heart. Broke. My. Heart.

The other that I fell almost as wildly in love with was Jane Eyre. I wasn't really crazy about the lack of definition in the characters, (they were kind of flat in my opinion) but Ciaran Hinds as Mr. Rochester -- let's just say YUM and leave it at that.

The Duchess, about the Duchess of Devonshire, was dazzling with its story, but that also left me kind of flat. I was disappointed with the last 3 quartes of the film but the ending left me speechless. I loved Ralph Fiennes portrayal of the Duke, (He was such a JERK) and that movie too, left me weeping. The inconsideration of some men! UGH!

I'm trying to lay my hands on a copy of Beau Brummell: This Charming Man. I need to see the Prince Regent at work and Hugh Bonneville is one of my favorite actors. Also, I think this movie, set as it was right at the beginning of the Regency will just give me the oomph I need to flesh out the rest of my story as it pertains to George. I'm putting a different spin on him than what's written in the history books.

So, how do you feel about watching movies for historical research instead of reading?
Does it impede your process, mess you up, or does it help?

(And I know, reading far outweighs movies because one directors version is not what the author intended when they wrote it.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Another Excerpt

Good morning. Happy Valentine's Day. I decided this time to post an excerpt from Violet's POV and see what you think.

Rating G -- Set-up -- Haverlane left to go back to London right after talking to Andrew Perry. Two days later, his mother, Violet's mother, Lady Penny (Haverlane's sister-in-law), and Violet's two youngest sisters show up at Fairhaven to make merry for Twelfth Night.


Sorry this excerpt has been removed by the author.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Update on Ellis

Good morning, my sweetings. Pray, how are you faring this lovely Friday morn? Forgive my prose, as I have been gripped in 1811 and cannot seem to remove myself from its clutches.

I have been writing steadily these last two weeks, am now up to 40,305 words as of this writing. Don't ask me how because Monster Child has been home for the last two weeks with a severe sinus infection. Yeah, I know, first the snow and now this, but I am determined to finish this story by the end of Feb. if it kills me. And it bloody well might. (Just love that word - bloody)

Thank you all so much for your kind words on the excerpt I posted last Friday. Ellis is indeed one of my most compelling characters. I love, love, LOVE him. I wish he were mine. And he is, well, sort of, but alas, he's in love with Violet. Yes, he finally succumbed.

But wait, there are other obstacles he must overcome before they can finally be together. A creepy ex-girlfriend, a bitchy mother, an interfering Prince Regent, and of course, another man. *Dun Dun Dun* Oh no, whatever shall he do????

And yes, Sarah, this is the second in the series following the MASQUERADE line from last year. I have someone in mind to play Violet but she's never been in a period drama so I'm not sure I'll be able to use her. I have to scour more BBC/Masterpiece Theatre casts. This is the latest picture, the best picture I've found of Ellis so far. Unfortunately he's in the wrong period costume but, hey, a man in a tux is worth four in jeans I've always said.

And so, there is my update. I miss you all but am having so much fun writing this that I cannot pull myself away. Mayhap if you wish, I shall post another excerpt next week. What say you? Should you like to hear more about Ellis and Violet? Pray, tell me.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, February 4, 2011

An excerpt from the latest WIP

Hi. Just thought I'd share a little of what I've been working on. Some of you may have seen the excerpt I posted for the Christmas blogfest. Ellis and Violet sharing a kiss in a darkened hall. Here is the outcome of another kiss that happened the next day. Poor Ellis. God, I just love angst.

******** Rating "G" Sorry about the length but I hope you enjoy it. And as always, this is a first draft. There's a lot more I have to add yet.

sorry this excerpt has been removed by the author.