WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Kingdom Come

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Kingdom Come

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, the day when we honor those who gave their lives in battle while serving in the Armed Forces. It’s ones of the greatest sacrifices one person can perform for another, and should never be taken lightly nor forgotten.

I write romances set during the Regency, but this period overlapped with the Napoleonic Wars, and military casualties were great. Record-keeping was not as instantaneous as it is now, so losses have to be tallied in the estimates rather than specifics, but even when rounding low, the numbers are still staggering.

I’m one of those historians who believes in keeping the aggressor’s casualty numbers separate; though those fighting are not necessarily there by choice nor ideology, I’ve always felt there’s something disrespectful in placing the perpetrators alongside the defenders on the memorial sheets. It’s a personal preference only.

Battle of Borodino, 7th September 1812, by Louis-François, Baron Lejeune, 1822, Palace of Versailles. The Battle of Borodino, or Battle of Moscow, was the largest and bloodiest single-day action of the Napoleonic Wars.

Kingdom Come

He is gone to kingdom come, he is dead.

Battle of the Pyrenees, July 28th 1813, by William Heath, between 1814 and 1815, Bibliothèques de Toulouse.

Coalition forces

  • 120,000 Italian dead or missing.
  • Russian: 289,000 killed in major battles.
  • Prussian: 134,000 killed in major battles.
  • Austrian: 376,000 killed in major battles.
  • Spanish: more than 300,000 military deaths
  • Portuguese: up to 250,000 dead or missing.
  • British: 311,806 dead or missing.
  • Killed in battle: 560,000–1,869,000
  • Total: 2,380,000–5,925,084

Duckworth’s Action Off San Domingo, 6 February 1806, by Nicholas Pocock, 1808,National Maritime Museum.

Royal Navy

  • Killed in action: 6,663
  • Shipwrecks, drownings, fire: 13,621
  • Wounds, disease: 72,102
  • Total: 92,386.

Defence of Smolensk, by Aleksandr Averyanov, undated.

British Army, 1804–1815

  • Killed in action: 25,569
  • Wounds, accidents, disease: 193,851
  • Total: 219,420

The Battle of Leipzig, by Vladimir Ivanovich Moshkov, undated. This battle involved over 600,000 soldiers, making it the largest battle in Europe until World War One.


WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Monks and Friars

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Monks and Friars

Places are slowly opening up in some states around the country…but it’s still a good idea to stay home unless it’s essential to leave. In the interest of continuing to flatten the curve, and corrupt our minds, let’s crack open some horrid novels! If they were delightful enough to cause offense to polite society, they must have much to recommend them.

Lady Reading in an Interior, by Marguerite Gérard, between 1795 and 1800, private collection.

Monks and Friars

Terms used by printers: monks are sheets where the letters are blotted, or printed too black; friars, those letters where the ink has failed touching the type, which are therefore white or faint.

So as we emulate a Regency lady under the shade of a yew tree, or beside a bubbling fountain in her fragrant garden, wherever shall we turn for a list of books, as most ‘circulating libraries’ remain closed?

Glad you asked.

Author and historian Rachel Knowles compiled a list of lovely, vulgar novels that gentle readers might peruse for their delectation. Most are available in the public domain. How many have you read, or will you attempt to read this quarantine season?

Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe -1719

Captain Singleton – Daniel Defoe – 1720

Captain Jack – Daniel Defoe – 1722

Moll Flanders – Daniel Defoe – 1722

Roxanda – Daniel Defoe – 1724

Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift – 1726

Pamela or Virtue Rewarded – Samuel Richardson – 1740

The Adventures of Joseph Andrews – Henry Fielding – 1742

Clarissa or The History of a Young Lady – Samuel Richardson – 1747-8 (epistolary novel)

Tom Jones – Henry Fielding – 1749

Amelia – Henry Fielding – 1751

The History of Sir Charles Grandison – Samuel Richardson – 1753-4

Vicar of Wakefield – Oliver Goldsmith – 1766

Evelina or The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World – Fanny Burney – 1778

Cecilia or Memoirs of an Heiress – Fanny Burney – 1782

The Sylph – Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire (1788)

The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne – Mrs Radcliffe – 1789

A Sicilian Romance – Mrs Radcliffe – 1790

The Romance of the Forest – Mrs Radcliffe – 1791

The Monk – Matthew Gregory Lewis – 1792

The Mysteries of Udolpho – Mrs Radcliffe -1794

Camilla or A Picture of Youth – Fanny Burney – 1796

The Italian – Mrs Radcliffe – 1797

Castle Rackrent – Maria Edgeworth – 1800

Memoirs of Modern Philosophers – Elizabeth Hamilton – 1800

Belinda – Maria Edgeworth – 1801

Popular Tales – Maria Edgeworth – 1804

The Modern Griselda – Maria Edgeworth – 1805

Leonora – Maria Edgeworth – 1806

Corinne – Madame de Stael – 1807

Tales from Fashionable Life – Maria Edgeworth – 1809/1812 (6 volumes) including The Absentee

Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen – 30 October 1811

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen – 28 January 1813

Mansfield Park – Jane Austen – 9 May 1814

The Wanderer or Female Difficulties – Fanny Burney – 1814

Waverley – Sir Walter Scott – 1814 (first of the Waverley novels)

Emma – Jane Austen – December 1815

Guy Mannering –Sir Walter Scott – 1815 (a Waverley novel)

The Antiquary – Sir Walter Scott -1816 (a Waverley novel)

Mandeville – William Godwin – 1817

Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen – December 1817

Persuasion – Jane Austen – December 1817

Rob Roy – Sir Walter Scott – 1817 (a Waverly novel)

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley – 1818

Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott – 1819

Kenilworth – Sir Walter Scott – 1821 (a Waverley novel)

Peveril of the Peak – Sir Walter Scott – 1822 (a Waverley novel)

The Pirate – Sir Walter Scott -1822 (a Waverley novel)

Quentin Durward – Sir Walter Scott – 1823 (a Waverley novel)

St Ronan’s Well – Sir Walter Scott – 1824 (a Waverley novel)

The Betrothed – Sir Walter Scott – 1825 (a Waverley novel)

Redgauntlet – Sir Walter Scott – 1825 (a Waverley novel)

The Talisman – Sir Walter Scott – 1825 (a Waverley novel)

Gaston de Blondeville – Mrs Radcliffe – 1826

Woodstock – Sir Walter Scott – 1826

The Fair Maid of Perth – Sir Walter Scott – 1828 (a Waverley novel)

Anne of Geierstein – Sir Walter Scott – 1829 (a Waverley novel)

Cloudesley – William Godwin – 1830


As we binge to our hearts’ content, may our monks be legible and our friars visible.


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Chicken-Hearted

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Chicken-Hearted

In the midst of researching and writing, I came upon the town of Pluckley in Kent. It holds the distinction of being in the Guinness Book of World Records (circa 1989) as the most haunted village in Britain, with 12-14 verified/documented spookety happenings.

Well done!

Someone, at some point, in one of my stories, must reference this place, and one of its shivery tales.


Fearful, cowardly.

Pluckley is a village dating from the Roman era in the southeastern English county of Kent, and characterized by orchards, grazing sheep, and rolling woodlands. The village benefited from the railroad and a fairly busy crossroads…which also benefited those who would become ghosts.

The most famous story seems to be of the Gypsy or Watercress Woman. Her tale states she used to sell watercress collected from the stream running under the Pinnock Bridge. She tragically burned to death in an accident on that very bridge, and can now be seen on its edge, benignly puffing on a pipe.

Pinnock Bridge, Pluckley, Kent, courtesy Andy Jones.

The story of the Highwayman takes place at the aptly named Fright Corner. This unnamed criminal was dispatched via sword by other unnamed men; whether they were comrades, competitors, or lawmen is unknown. His ghost is purported to reenact his last moments, with some witnesses stating they’ve seen the doomed highwayman pinned to the tree and cut up by the sword, while others have stated he hides within the tree only to be stabbed repeatedly.

Fright Corner, Pluckley, Kent, courtesy Tracy Monger.

The sound of horse hooves on cobblestone streets despite said streets being paved? Check.
Ghostly apparition of a horse-drawn carriage? Check.
Eerie light glowing and spilling from the carriage windows? Check.

Haunted Carriage Road, Pluckley, Kent, courtesy The Line-Up.

Any good haunted village always has a sad ghost story, and Pluckley doesn’t disappoint. The Red Lady is said to search the cemetery next to St. Nicholas Church in a desperate quest for her stillborn child’s grave. Nothing more is known about the story dating from the early 12th century, other than the spectre’s name supposedly arose from the red rose placed on her child’s grave.

St. Nicholas Church cemetery, Pluckley, Kent.

Dering Woods, also known as Screaming Woods, lies between Pluckley and Smarden, and is known as the most haunted woods in Britain. Multiple reports of screams during the night have given rise to the name, but tales of footsteps and whispers have also been documented during the daylight hours. Perhaps the worst story is a both a mystery yet with very tangible evidence: on 1 November 1948, twenty people from the Maltman’s Hill area, just south of Pluckley, were found in a pile, deceased, in the woods. Eleven of the dead were children. There were no visible wounds and no cause of death was determined after autopsies. Reports of strange lights in the woods the previous night – Halloween – were reported, but no cause could be determined. The investigation was closed after a few weeks with a ruling of carbon monoxide poisoning despite no evidence indicating this.

Twenty Dead Bodies Found in the Woods, The Smarden Post, 2 November 1948, courtesy CreepyPasta.Fandom.

Here’s the only list of the heebidy-jeebidy happenings I could find for Pluckley:

  • The spectre of the highwayman hidden in a tree at Fright Corner.
  • A phantom coach and horses on cobblestone streets that no longer exist.
  • The ghost of a Gypsy woman who drowned in a stream at Pinnock Bridge.
  • The miller has been seen at Mill Hill.
  • The hanging body of a schoolmaster in Dicky Buss’s Lane.
  • A colonel who hanged himself in Park Wood.
  • A man smothered by a wall of clay who drowned at the brickworks.
  • The Lady of Rose Court, who is said to have poisoned herself in despair over a love triangle.
  • The White Lady, a young woman apparently buried inside 7 coffins and an oak sarcophagus who haunts St Nicholas’s Church [author’s note – wouldn’t you be inclined to haunt the place if this happened to you?]
  • The Red Lady, reputedly a member of the Dering family who haunts the churchyard of St Nicholas’s Church. A small white dog has also been reported in the same location.
  • The Dering Woods Massacre.

Dering Woods, also known as Screaming Woods, courtesy CreepyPasta.Fandom.


WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Cackling Farts

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Cackling Farts

If you’re anything like me, you’re about to run out of ideas for things to cook and bake during this “corn-teen.”

I happen to be someone who loves to do both, but three meals a day for the past six weeks has about cured me of this. We’ve not been ordering to-go meals, either, out of an abundance of caution and a belief that since this is a “novel” virus, and we’re still learning everything from its origin to its spread to its prevention and/or cure, we’d just hunker down and keep away from everything possible.

Last week I mentioned my family decided to switch from Netflix to the Disney+/Hulu/ESPN package about a month before all sports ended; our timing is always impeccable. It didn’t take us long to burn through all we hadn’t seen or owned already on Disney+, and Hulu was…disappointing. Hence my deep dive into YouTube. This week once again yields a bounty for both my viewing and cooking woes.

Cackling Farts

Eggs. CANT.

If your area is like mine, food shortages wax and wane, and whatever the crazed masses are hoarding changes inexplicably from week to week. Eggs and butter seem to be extremely popular here, so much so that our local city and county news Facebook pages post alerts when stores actually have some on their shelves. Evidently memes about the quarantine will be true for our area: people will be emerging from their lairs with unkempt hair and serious spare tires.

Despite this, I’m going to share the variety of recipes I’ve stumbled upon from Ann Reardon, the witty food scientist and dietitian from Australia and creator of How to Cook That, who uses her husband (and occasionally other family members) as taste testers for her food experiments. She has videos on everything from creating gorgeous desserts to debunking food hacks touted by popular but suspect YouTube channels. The videos I’m sharing appeal to me twice-over: they’re recipes, and they’re over 200 years old.

Here we go.

The 200 Year Old Cookbook dessert recipes │ How To Cook That Ann Reardon

The 200 year OLD cheesecake recipe | Ann Reardon How To Cook That

200-year-old fruit pie | How To Cook That Ann Reardon

Wedding Cake Recipe from 200 years ago | How To Cook That Ann Reardon

200 year old CANDY recipes | How To Cook That Ann Reardon


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Dicked in the Nob

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Dicked in the Nob

This week’s word applies not only to what I’ve discovered, but also to me for deciding to share it. I’m pretty sure the sheltering-in-place is beginning to give me a bit of cabin fever. All I know is that my family picked a bad time to dump Netflix to try the Disney+ package, because we ran through all its offerings fairly quickly, and I’ve now resorted to searching for the most random items on YouTube. And that can be a good thing, a weird thing, and everything in between.

This week it was strange, hilarious, and entertaining, as well as borderline blasphemous considering some of the fun poked at my beloved Jane Austen characters.

Dicked in the Nob

Silly. Crazed.

I’m sure everyone else in the world has heard of crack in terms of fan fiction, because I am literally the last person to ever know of anything cutting edge or new, unless I accidentally stumble on it during a pandemic. Crack, in terms of fandoms, has two meanings, but for my purposes I’m only interested in the second one, which Fanlore defines as

…fanworks with a fundamentally ludicrous premise, or otherwise including a plethora of unbelievable, incredible, or just plain silly elements – that is, implying the author/artist must have been on drugs to produce something so insane. It may be used in a compound noun (“crackfic”), or as an adjective (“crack pairing”). On tumblr, posts in the vein of crack may be labelled as crack!post.

On YouTube, the videos have come to be known as crack!vid. You can see where I’m going with this, to be sure: if you guessed Jane Austen crack!vid on YouTube, you win. There’s no prize, but you!win

So laugh, cast a quizzical brow, and even cringe with me at some Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice) crack. (Please be warned there is some scattered language, so NSFW if you’re still at work, or NSFLE, meaning Not Safe For Little Ears if you’re quarantined with your kiddos.)


“Darcy’s inner monologue…”

“Get in the water!”

“You sit on a throne of lies!”

“Mr. Collins: Are you familiar with Fordyce’s sermons, Miss Bennet?
Elizabeth: #crap”

“I like big butts and I cannot lie…”


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Norfolk Dumpling

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Norfolk Dumpling

Norfolk Dumpling

A short thick man or woman. Norfolk dumpling; a jeering appellation of a Norfolk man, dumplings being a favourite kind of food in that county.

A Natural Crop; – alias – A Norfolk Dumpling, by James Gillray, 1791, The Trustees of the British Museum.

From the British Museum description:

A whole length satirical portrait of the Duke of Norfolk, directed to the right; in his left hand is the baton of Earl Marshal; his right hand is in his waistcoat pocket. He wears top-boots, a slouched hat, and his hair is closely cropped. Earlier caricatures show the Duke wearing his own hair without powder, hanging on his neck. 21 September 1791
Hand-coloured etching.


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Windmills in the Head

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Windmills in the Head

I’m sure they were told it couldn’t – or shouldn’t – be done (hence the tongue-in-check Word of the Week) . . . and look at them now. As a writer, I can totally identify and empathize. I hear contradictory advice all the time (“write what you know,” then “write your dreams and fantastical thoughts;” “don’t edit as you go,” then “don’t let your mistakes get too out of hand as you write,” etc., etc.).

This week, as we X more squares on our calendars of confinement, might I suggest a dive into the world of YouTube Jane Austen web series? None of them are new. It’s likely you’ve seen many, if not all of them. But just in case you haven’t, for your delectation, in no particular order . . .

You’re welcome.

Windmills in the Head

Foolish projects.

Pride and Prejudice

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

“My year long video diary of my sisters, my best friend Charlotte, and eventually a guy named Darcy.”


“Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse is reimagined as a young lifestyle coach and matchmaking entrepreneur.”


Sense and Sensibility

Project Dashwood

“Teen vlogger Margaret Dashwood documents a year in the life of her family.”


Elinor and Marianne Take Barton

“Updating the action to a modern-day university, ‘Elinor and Marianne Take Barton’ explores the highs and lows of being young, (relatively) independent and dealing with friends, family and boys. As well as the video diary of Marianne Dashwood, the series follows the other characters through social media and Tumblr blogs.”


Mansfield Park

From Mansfield With Love

“From Mansfield With Love follows the life of Frankie Price as she posts a series of vlog letters detailing the ups and downs of life at Mansfield Park.”


Northanger Abbey


“Join Catherine Morland as she chronicles the perils of young adulthood and her many (mis)adventures through her vlogs on YouTube.”


The Cate Morland Chronicles

“Cate Morland, a recent journalism graduate who is obsessed with fan culture, particularly of the short-lived cult series The Mysteries of Udolpho, finds her new job at an LA entertainment magazine puts her in contact with many different people in the pop culture sphere, but none more exciting than Henry Tilney, the former star of The Mysteries of Udolpho himself…”



Welcome to Sanditon

“Welcome to Sanditon relocates the action from the English seaside to a California beach town, and replaces the novel’s protagonist with LBD’s [Lizzie Bennet Diaries} Gigi Darcy. Gigi has come to Sanditon, CA to run a beta demo of the Pemberley Digital Domino application. The residents of Sanditon have all been invited to join in the test, and discover how this “life-revealing” app performs.”


All-Purpose Jane Austen

The Jane Games

“A web series in which Jane Austen and her characters abandon pride and good sense to compete on a modern day reality show.”


Persuasion did have two web series that I watched, albeit a couple of years ago, that have since disappeared entirely. Just in case my search skills failed me, their titles were The Elliots and Anne Elliot (although this last one petered out after four episodes; I kept hoping the actress would do more because it was a promising series).


Bonus Entry

I am no fan of anything bearing the name Brontë, so it took me by surprise that I really enjoyed the web series based on Jane Eyre. Maybe it was far enough removed from the source material, and true aficionados will not be so approving.

The Autobiography of Jane Eyre


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.