Keep Calm and Read This: Blind Tribute by Mari Anne Christie

Keep Calm and Read This: Blind Tribute by Mari Anne Christie

This week I have the pleasure of welcoming Mariana Gabrielle. She has a new novel set in a different era from her previous releases (and if you haven’t read La Déesse Noire: The Black Goddess, or any of the Sailing Home series, get to it!). Writing as Mari Anne Christie, she’s delving into the world of journalism and the American Civil War. In the midst of new release mania, I managed to snag an interview with the big man himself, Harry Wentworth.

And there’s a giveaway!

NAME: Palmer Harrold Wentworth III (Palmer to his mother and wife; P.H. Wentworth III to readers; Harry to friends and family)
AGE: 57
OCCUPATION: Executive Editor of The Philadelphia Daily Standard, writing primarily on issues of business and finance
NET WORTH: ~$4 million
CURRENT DATE: April 1, 1861

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
Though I have been employed since my early twenties, I have never needed to work for my living, so I imagine I would do what I have chosen to do every day of my adult life: write.

What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they’ve known you for a while?
I have long since ceased concerning myself with the impression I make, as my reputation nearly always precedes me, and there is little I can do to change the perception created by my newspaper columns. I hope, upon deeper acquaintance, those who meet me understand that my reputation is larger than life, and I am only a man like any other.

What’s your idea of a good marriage? Do you think that’ll happen in your life?
My marriage is tolerable, and I think it foolish to expect anything more when marrying for bloodline. All ancestry being equal among the available young ladies, I chose my wife precisely for her lack of romantic notions, and largely, that has contributed to a successful partnership.

What are you most proud of about your life?
My twin daughters, Fleur and Belle, followed closely by the global readership I have worked all my life to build, and the reputation associated with such renown.

What are you most ashamed of in your life?
I am deeply ashamed of the way I raised my son, Robert. I am not certain what else I could have done, but I cannot help but feel responsible for the sort of man he has become.

If you could spend the day with someone you admire (living or dead or imaginary), who would you pick?
I would give all I own to spend the day with my childhood nanny, who is yet living, but beyond my reach.

Do you think you’ve turned out the way your parents expected?
I have turned out exactly as they expected, which is to say, not at all as they hoped.

What do you believe about God? (If they believe in God, ask “What do you suppose God thinks of you?”)
God is a convenient and efficient means of ensuring people act with decency and contribute to society. As such, it is a concept worthy of cultivation.

Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done? What would happen if you did it?
I wish I had freed two slaves, but the possibility is long since gone.

What’s the worst thing that’s happened in your life? What did you learn from it?
I have been disowned by my father three times, which taught me that his influence is smaller than he would have the world believe, and that I could survive on my own.

Tell me about your best friend. (If you think it might be interesting, ask “How did you meet? What do you like about this person? What do they like about you?”)
What a ridiculous notion. I am on intimate terms with several gentlemen, most notably, the current Secretary of State for the Union, William Seward, but a “best friend” is a fancy best suited to young girls.

Every newspaper editor may owe tribute to the devil, but Harry Wentworth’s bill just came due.

As America marches toward the Civil War, Harry Wentworth, gentleman of distinction and journalist of renown, finds his calls for peaceful resolution have fallen on deaf—nay, hostile—ears, so he must finally resolve his own moral quandary. Comment on the war from his influential—and safe—position in Northern Society, or make a news story and a target of himself South of the Mason-Dixon Line, in a city haunted by a life he has long since left behind?

The day-to-day struggle against countervailing forces, his personal and professional tragedies on both sides of the conflict, and the elegant and emotive writings that define him, all serve to illuminate the trials of this newsman’s crusade, irreparably altering his mind, his body, his spirit, and his purpose as an honorable man. Blind Tribute exposes the shifting stones of the moral high ground, as Harry’s family and friendships, North and South, are shattered by his acts of conscience.

Anne’s face contorted, red with rage. Her entire being seemed to swell three sizes. As many weeks as Harry had been considering this evening’s discussion, so had she. She would spring at him any moment with two weeks’ worth—two months’ worth—of argument she’d been amassing. He should have known; she’d been much too accommodating of his opinions thus far.

“Far be it from me to keep you from suicide, Palmer, for I shall be a very merry widow, but you cannot expect me to uproot my children over a minor conflict about which you have a bad feeling. You would have me leave everything I know to assuage your fears for our safety, when you refuse to stay and ensure it yourself?! I have family here, and a home, and two girls to present and marry. There is no chance the fighting will reach Pennsylvania before the insurrection is put down, and I’ll not disrupt everything for you, or for this ridiculous war!”

Instead of backing away, he stepped forward. “I married you because you read the newspaper, Anne, and because you do not usually speak drivel. Can you be so short-sighted? You would refuse to take our children to safety, simply because it is I who suggest it?” He raised his voice for the first time since their argument began. “No, Anne! I will not hear it! I have chosen the safest course for you and the children, and the only course for myself. Stop screeching about something you should have expected. I’ve had enough argument from you for one evening. The decision has been made.”

Her tone lowered from a shriek to a loud yell as she took a step backward. “I never believed you could do such an awful thing to your wife and children! Tearing us away from everything—our whole lives—so you can stand on some ill-defined principle! It’s inhuman!” She stomped her foot again, retaking the ground she had lost, shaking the pictures on the blue silk walls and the curios interspersed among the bookshelves. An Argentinean mask toppled off a shelf, but didn’t break on the Persian carpet.

He saw the tears well up, and hoped sincerely he would ultimately be allowed to soothe her when he won the disagreement, rather than watch her walk away from the fight, lock the door to her rooms, and prepare herself for continued battle until she’d won her point. Unfortunately, Anne’s tears in such a situation could portend anything—except surrender.

Click below to grab your copy today ~ available at most online vendors!

 

 

Mari was “raised up” in journalism (mostly raising her glass at the Denver Press Club bar) after the advent of the web press, but before the desktop computer. She has since plied her trade as a writer, editor, and designer across many different fields, and currently works as a technical writer and editor.

Under the name Mari Christie, she has released a book-length epic poem, Saqil pa Q’equ’mal: Light in Darkness: Poetry of the Mayan Underworld, and under pen name Mariana Gabrielle, she has written several Regency romances, including the Sailing Home Series and La Déesse Noire: The Black Goddess. Blind Tribute is her first mainstream historical novel. She expects to release the first book in a new family saga, The Lion’s Club, in 2018.

She holds a BA in Writing, summa cum laude and With Distinction, from the University of Colorado Denver, and is a member of the Speakeasy Scribes, the Historical Novel Society, and the Denver Press Club. She has a long family history in Charleston, South Carolina, and is the great-great niece of a man in the mold of Harry Wentworth.

And connect with Mari around the web:

Mari’s Website
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads
Wattpad
Bookbub
Authorgraph
Street Team

 

 

 

 

 

Mari will be giving away a quill pen (like Harry’s) and powdered ink, a swag pack including Harry’s Editorials Collection, and a e-copy of the book to one winner. To be entered for your chance to win, click this HERE.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Monks and Friars

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Monks and Friars

It’s the unofficial beginning of summer and the official beginning of reading season! I thought this week’s term was especially appropriate.

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 what would Regency ladies have to read under the shade of a yew tree, or beside the bubbling fountain in their fragrant garden?

Glad you asked.

Author and historian Rachel Knowles compiled a list of novels – yes, those horrid things – that the gentle reader might pick up for her delectation from her circulating library. How many have you read?

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 read this summer, may the monks be legible and the friars visible.

 

If you’d like to meet a boatload of romance authors and have multiple chances to win free books, consider heading over to Romance Writers Gone Wild this week. I’m participating in the Historical Romance group on Friday, but Monday through Thursday are filled with authors who write contemporary, paranormal, suspense, inspirational, urban fantasy, and everything in between. Just click the picture below to join us!

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Dining Room Post

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Dining Room Post

This week’s phrase comes courtesy the dedicated thief who’s in it for the art of the deception, with the Rube Goldberg-esque planning and implementation of the steal.

Dining Room Post

A mode of stealing in houses that let lodgings, by rogues pretending to be postmen, who send up sham letters to the lodgers, and, whilst waiting in the entry for the postage, go into the first room they see open, and rob it.

Arrest of a Woman at Night by Thomas Rowlandson, date unknown, The Samuel Courtauld Trust at The Courtauld Gallery, London.

As we all know, however, crime rarely pays, or at least fails to pay for the long run. It can be argued that the Regency era gave rise to the (more) modern  and organized police man. During this time, criminals were pursued by constables, the night watch, thief-takers, and Bow Street Runners. The Metropolitan Police themselves were formed in 1829, a few years removed from the Regency but during the reign of George IV (the former Prince Regent). These various officials of law enforcement were notoriously tough and dogged in their pursuit of criminals (or at least the payment at the end of the pursuit). Some lawmen were fresh from lives of crime themselves, and used their considerable knowledge and connections to ferret out criminals.

The Night Watchman Picking Up a Wayward Girl by Thomas Rowlandson, Bonhams, New York.

Interestingly, when searching for period graphics to illustrate this post, the majority I found were of women being arrested rather than men. I’m not sure if there’s a less-than-subtle message to be inferred here, but at least one engraving by Thomas Rowlandson showed they didn’t all go down quietly.

Attacking the Night Watchman by Thomas Rowlandson, date unknown.

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

The New Yearright

“A good New Year, with many blessings in it!”
Once more go forth the kindly wish and word.
A good New Year! and may we all begin it
With hearts by noble thought and purpose stirred.

The Old Year’s over, with its joy and sadness;
The path before us is untried and dim;
But let us take it with the step of gladness,
For God is there, and we can trust in Him.

What of the buried hopes that lie behind us!
Their graves may yet grow flowers, so let them rest.
To-day is ours, and it must find us
Prepared to hope afresh and do our best.

God knows what finite wisdom only guesses;
Not here from our dim eyes the mist will roll.
What we call failures, He may deem successes
Who sees in broken parts the perfect whole.

And if we miss some dear familiar faces,
Passed on before us to the Home above,
Even while we count, through tears, their vacant places,
He heals our sorrows with His balm of Love.

No human lot is free from cares and crosses,
Each passing year will bring both shine and shower;
Yet, though on troubled seas life’s vessel tosses,
The storms of earth endure but for an hour.

And should the river of our happy laughter
Flow ‘neath a sky no cloud yet overcasts,
We will not fear the shadows coming after,
But make the most of sunshine while it lasts.

A good New Year! Oh, let us all begin it
With cheerful faces turning to the light!
A good New Year, which will have blessings in it
If we but persevere and do aright.

—E. Matheson

left down

From Yule-Tide in Many Lands by Mary P. Pringle and Clara A. Urann (a Project Gutenberg ebook).

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Swell

Cloak Room at Clifton Assembly Room, Rolinda Sharples, 1817.

Cloak Room at Clifton Assembly Room, Rolinda Sharples, 1817. This painting is no doubt familiar to many Regency Romance readers as it is to found (at least in part) on over twenty book covers.

August is Romance Awareness Month, but what exactly is “romance?”

As a noun, romance is defined as the excitement associated with love, and can be everything from exquisite feelings of nostalgia and tenderness, to unrealistic expectations, exaggerations, and fantasies. Romance books and romance movies are considered idealized and sentimentalized presentations of love. As a verb, romance means to court or woo through means of love or flattery, or to engage in a love affair.

That’s a broad perspective for one simple word. No wonder Oscar Wilde swung so to and fro on the pendulum that is Romance.

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever.

Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.

So if romance lends itself to both idealization and nostalgia, perhaps it is fitting to search out some desirable male specimens from the Regency Period that set hearts aflutter. In celebration of Romance Awareness Month, of course. It’s time to examine the “swell.”

Swell (noun)

Portrait of an Artist, Michael Martin Drolling, 1819.

Portrait of an Artist, Michael Martin Drolling, 1819.

A gentleman, but particularly a well-dressed gentleman. A family man with plenty of the ready who cuts a genteel figure is said to be in swell street. Sometimes, when speaking of a particular person but without drawing attention or naming names, the gentleman is styled the swell.

In modern, American slang, swell has come to mean excellent or very good. For your delectation, I present my interpretation of swell, both vulgar and modern American.

The prolific portraitist Sir Thomas Lawrence (13 April 1769 – 7 January 1830) was a very dab hand at painting several swoon-worthy swells. Whether literal facsimiles or idealized interpretations, I leave it for each romantic heart to decide.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, date unknown, Sir Thomas Lawrence date unknown

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, date unknown, Sir Thomas Lawrence date unknown

Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Broughan and Vaux (1778-1868), Detail, 1825, Sir Thomas Lawrence

Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Broughan and Vaux (1778-1868), Detail, 1825, Sir Thomas Lawrence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portrait of Hart Davis Jr, date unknown, private collection, Sir Thomas Lawrence

Portrait of Hart Davis Jr, date unknown, private collection, Sir Thomas Lawrence

The 4th Earl of Aberdeen, 1829, Sir Thomas Lawrence, private collection

The 4th Earl of Aberdeen, 1829, Sir Thomas Lawrence, private collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And two distinguished older gentlemen, swell swells, if you will.

Sir Graham Moore, 1792, Sir Thomas Lawrence

Sir Graham Moore, 1792, Sir Thomas Lawrence

Portrait of Sir Harford Jones Brydges, Sir Thomas Lawrence, John Lucas-Scudamore Collection

Portrait of Sir Harford Jones Brydges, Sir Thomas Lawrence, John Lucas-Scudamore Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence, considering visiting ABC Gallery.

The definitions for romance were adapted from the American English version of the Oxford Dictionaries. All definitions and/or examples for swell were taken from Online Etymological DictionaryCant: A Gentleman’s Guide, and/or 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

My Top Ten Clankers in Regency Romance

My Top Ten Clankers in Regency Romance

via Reddit.com

via Reddit.com

Earlier this week, I wrote of the terrific slang term clanker, meaning “a great lie.” The imminently quotable philosopher Barney Stinson once said of clankers:

A lie is just a great story that someone ruined with the truth.

For real.

As an author of Historical Regency Romance, there are few things as frustrating as writing what you think is a terrific scene only to find out through research that your situation could not have happened for another fifty years. Or that the words you think made your dialogue Oscar-worthy weren’t even thought of for another five generations.

Pffft.

I love history and I love research, so it’s no chore for me to dig deeply into archives and contemporaneous resources to find the meat for my stories…but this does not make me hung up on being 100% historically accurate 100% of the time. Care should be taken to be as authentic as possible, but there is room for creativity and invention without completely disregarding archival facts. I like characters with independent, curious natures and sparkling wit, but they can still be properly attired and mannered when in Society (though not necessarily in private!). As an author, I have to set up my narrative in a way that makes the anachronism plausible and thus acceptable in my story.

credit: Trevor Hudgins http://tinyurl.com/pcc9ygm

Abe Lincoln. Word. Credit: Trevor Hudgins http://tinyurl.com/pcc9ygm

If we can all find some common ground and agree to the premise that Regency romance is fiction and that some artistic license is allowed, can there still be errors that bump readers out of our time period, and thus out of our stories? Most definitely.

Some errors – whether accidental or purposeful – are so egregious that readers say they have to physically restrain themselves from throwing their Kindles against the wall. When accidental, we authors have a responsibility to learn from and vow not to repeat those mistakes. When purposeful, we authors need to support our choices: by explanation in the notes at the end of the story, by context in the anachronistic scene, or by consistent narrative that makes the error necessary and relatable to our entire plot. It’s a fine line to walk, and care must be exercised to make sure the historical embellishment (such as the educated and politically-minded heroine) doesn’t stray into the implausible (said heroine decides to stand for her deceased father’s seat in Commons because she must fight for her neighbors’ rights).

It’s a gamble to play fast and loose with historical fact. When successful, it’s wonderful (“I love this book!” gushes one reviewer). When it fails (“This book needs to be burned with fire!” raves a reviewer)…well…it just fails.

Just as it’s unreasonable to have doctors shock patients back to life with a MRI or cars maneuvered by gear sticks rather than steering wheels, I think there are some clankers in Regency romance that need to be phased out. I’ve made a list of the ones that bother me enough to eliminate.

So much anachronism, so little time. Austenland (Sony Pictures Classics and Stage 6 Films).

So much anachronism, so little time. Austenland, Sony Pictures Classics and Stage 6 Films

My Top Ten Clankers in Regency Romance:
(in no particular order)

1. The engagement notice to the newspapers. Some marriages had notices placed, but never betrothals.

2. The threat or bargain of a simple annulment or divorce. Annulments occurred due to ineligibility of the participants (someone was too young or the guardian’s permission was not granted) or inability of the male (ahem). Divorce was even more difficult. Both were ugly, drawn-out, and expensive. See Nancy Mayer’s thorough explanation on Dissolving a Marriage.

3. The overnight elopement to Gretna Green. Only if you begin the trip in Yorkshire.

4. The heroine must marry by age 20 or be “on the shelf.” I admit I’m torn about this one. A simple check of parish registers reveals marriage of the extremely young to be the exception rather than the rule among the peerage…but I do love a good “almost a spinster” storyline!

5. The threat of disinheritance of the heir apparent by the parent/guardian. This clanker is usually tied to the main plot of why the hero marries the heroine (i.e., the hero is threatened with the loss of peerage unless he produces an heir, nabs a respectable wife, changes his rakehell ways, etc.). The heir’s title cannot be withheld or given away; parents and peerages were stuck with the firstborn. In book three of my Lords of Oxford series, Earl Crazy, the earl grandfather petitions parliament to amend the Letters Patent of the Aylesford Earldom to change the line of succession. Change could take place, but not via threats, just arduous and slow parliamentary procedure. Better to just blackmail and bully the heir with penury; parents didn’t have to send along enough of the ready to run the peerage.

6. The heroine is alone with the hero (or any unrelated male) and thus compromised. This situation alone didn’t force marriage. Extenuating circumstances were called for: her skirts up around her waist; traveling alone, especially overnight; those discovering the twosome demand satisfaction (through duel, marriage, etc.). If all parties agreed to just let it lie (or let it lay; I can never remember the grammar here), there was no scandal.

7. The Upper Ten Thousand. Not until the Edwardian era. The Regency featured the ton, beau monde, and Society (to name a few).

8. The necessity of permission from Almack’s patronesses to waltz. There is zero/zilch/nada contemporaneous documentation for this entrenched clanker. The earliest documentation of the concept occurs in the novels of Georgette Heyer. Several reputable research sites still list this myth as fact, which only strengthens the truth behind the adage of always going to the source. In a review dated 16 July 1816, a writer from the London Times reported:  “We remarked with pain that the indecent foreign dance called the Waltz was introduced (we believe for the first time) at the English court on Friday last.” This was the King’s Birthday Ball. Although the waltz had been danced in England much earlier than this (privately, and especially in the country and by the lower orders), the writer notes that inclusion at the Kings Birthday Ball will make the popularity of the waltz spread like disease. Despite this writer’s near apoplexy over the dance, no mention was made of permission nor patronesses. It seems were there a way to stem the tide of its unfettered acceptance, this writer would have stressed any restrictions.

“So long as this obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adulteresses, we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is attempted to be forced on the respectable classes of society by the civil examples of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion.”

9. The legitimization of a bastard. Never. Ever. A natural child could be included in a will to receive money or unentailed property, and they could be acknowledged openly by the family, but they could never claim legitimacy nor be put in the line of inheritance.

10. The concept of adoption. Much like a bastard, an orphan or foundling could be taken in and receive money or property in a will, but there was no concept of adoption as we know it. This can be confusing because bringing an orphan or foundling into the home was called adoption – but it’s not a legal term, just a familial one.

His Royal Highness George, The Prince of Wales, in Blackadder the Third.

His Royal Highness George, The Prince of Wales, in Blackadder the Third.

🌟 11. BONUS: The misuse of titles. I’m going all-in on this clanker, which probably deserves a rant post of its own. When writing about the aristocracy,  there’s just no escaping the necessity of proper address and use of titles. Could a reader ever take seriously a story set in a hospital where the doctor was always addressed “Mr. Randall?” Likewise, would it pull a reader out of the story if nurse Stephanie Smith was addressed as Doctor Smith in her scenes? That’s a contemporary example of the misuse of titles. I’d love to declare a universal embargo on lordly dukes and baronets (His Grace and Sir FirstName, if you please), married ladies going by their first names, and unmarried ladies sporting title names. Does anyone else hear nails on a chalkboard? To be in the know, reference Nancy Mayer, Laura Ann Wallace (Chinet), or venerable Debrett’s.

I write Regency romance and will be the first one to admit that I make multiple mistakes; some are discovered before publishing, and some slip through the editing net and go live. It is a difficult job to keep everything straight all the time. But guess what?! It’s my genre and I’m sticking with it. With great power comes great responsibility – the responsibility to do all that I can to thoroughly research and produce an authentic product.

So what do you think? Did I miss some big clankers? Are any of these lovelies too delightful to stop using? Is clanker too harsh a word – would you prefer “trope?” Am I too nitpicky? Tell me what you think in the comments below!

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Waterloo

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Waterloo

George+Jones-Napoleon+Leaving+The+Field+Of+Waterloo-june 18 1815

Napoleon Leaving the Field of Waterloo 18 June 1815 by George Jones

This Thursday marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, the decisive end of the sovereignty of Napoleon Bonaparte.  I thought it would be interesting to examine the slang terms that arose from, or gave reference to, this famous battle.

 

Old Blücher Beating the Corsican Big Drum, George Cruikshank, 1814

Old Blücher Beating the Corsican Big Drum, George Cruikshank, 1814

Blücher (noun)
A non-privileged cab allowed in railway stations after the privileged cabs were all hired, late 19th century; named for the Prussian Field-Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher who arrived at Waterloo after the pitched battle and finished up whatever work remained (from A Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial English by John S. Farmer 1905).

 

Midas, Transmuting All Into Paper, James Gillray, 1797

Midas, Transmuting All Into Paper, James Gillray, 1797

 

 

Golden Cavalry of St. George
Monies paid to to continental heads of state by George III and the Prince Regent to bribe persuade them to stay with the allied cause against Napoleon; some historians think the gold was paid to keep other countries from joining Napoleon to fight the British (from Napoleonic Wars).

 

 

 

The Head of a Great Nation in a Queer Situation, George Cruikshank, 1813

The Head of a Great Nation in a Queer Situation, George Cruikshank, 1813

 

Meet One’s Waterloo
One who suffers a major (sometimes unexpected) defeat after having previously achieved victories.  The phrase alludes to Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, Belgium, in 1815.  By the mid-1800s, it was adapted to mean other kinds of defeat (from Dictionary.com).

 

 

Celebrations (satirical) at the Congress of Vienna, 1815

Celebrations (satirical) at the Congress of Vienna, 1815

Prussian (Prooshun) Blue

A great term of endearment.  This was a pun on the color that capitalized on the huge popularity of the Prussians with British citizens after Waterloo (from A Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial English by John S. Farmer 1905 ).  Toasts were often offered up to “The True Blue” and the “Prussian Blue.”  Dickens included the endearment in his novel The Pickwick Papers in 1837 (Oxford Index).

 

The Duke of Wellington at the End of the Battle of Waterloo, Robert Hillingford

The Duke of Wellington at the End of the Battle of Waterloo, Robert Hillingford

Tommy
A British soldier; of disputed origin. Popular opinion holds the nickname was created by the Duke of Wellington after the Battle of Boxtel in 1794 (the Flanders campaign). After the fighting ended, the Duke saw wounded Private Thomas Atkins, who reportedly said, “It’s all right, sir.  It’s all in a day’s work.” However, the Imperial War Museum documents Wellington using the the name “Tommy” much later, in an 1843 praise of soldiers. Consultation of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), reveals yet another origin: the War Office chose the sobriquet in 1815, immediately following Waterloo, as documented in the Collection of Orders, Regulations, etc. published 31 August 1815. Further clouding the issue, several writers are credited with originating the nickname; the most famous is Rudyard Kipling’s stirring defense of soldiers and their treatment in “Tommy,” a poem included in his Barrack-Room Ballads in 1892. By WWI, the term was used universally, although rarely by British troops themselves, unless derisively (from Whizz Bangs and Windups: Ten Tommy Slang Terms).

 

A New Way to Pay the National Debt,  James Gillray, 1785

A New Way to Pay the National Debt, James Gillray, 1785

 

 

Waterloo Day
Payday; after the Crimean War battles in 1854, also Balaclava Day (from A Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial English by John S. Farmer 1905).

 

 

 

The Tyrant Overtaken by Justice is Excluded From the World, George Cruikshank, 1814

The Tyrant Overtaken by Justice is Excluded From the World, George Cruikshank, 1814

 

Waterloo Stew
The unpalatable consequences of choices that turn out to be wrong; Napoleon was left suffering the consequences of his own actions after Waterloo (from The Ultimate Cockney Geezer’s Guide to Rhyming Slang).

 

 

The Blessings of Peace; the Curse of the Corn Law, George Cruikshank, 1815

The Blessings of Peace; the Curse of the Corn Law, George Cruikshank, 1815

 

Waterloo Porridge
A thin broth of gruel made with more water than oats.  It is mentioned in the folk song, The Oldham Weaver (also known as The Hand-Loom Weaver and The Poor Cotton Weaver), which told the story of the son of a naive hero by the name of Jone o’Grinfilt Junior, and the hard times encountered by hand-loom weavers when steam-driven looms came into use and forced workers into mills.  The song began circulating after 1815, and is still sung today under the name The Four-Loom Weaver. Whether Waterloo Porridge is a reference to food eaten by soldiers or merely anecdotal, the likeliest explanation is that the gruel is not named for the battle location but for the watery consistency of the porridge, as times were difficult with cotton famine and war-time trade embargoes (from The English Dialect Dictionary by Joseph Wright, 1905).