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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

About my writing

I have set up a new blogspot where my draft work can be viewed and read, and I will post as I write.  I will preview covers there as well. 
I will delete all but the first chapter of each work when I am ready to publish.

Monday, 16 April 2018

No readymade garments in the Regency? not true!

I'm working, among other things, on 'Daisy's Destiny', latest in the Charity School series, and was looking into milliners' shops in the Regency, via adverts in the newspapers.  I got to see a lot covering tailors, corsetry and so on. Most Milliners also seem to have sold ready made dresses.
One thing which struck me was the number of times the advertisements said "Dresses ready, many sizes kept in stock. Country ladies have only to send their size and a dress may be despatched immediately."  Tailors also seemed to keep suits of clothes in stock, which 'could be quickly altered for an exact fit', and livery for servants, a complete suit costing around four quid, was probably, if not 'one size fits all' made in several sizes all of which doubtless conformed to the British Army standard fit.
That's to say, 'too big', or 'too small' aka 'fits where it touches'.

I have been asked to update this with an approximation of what the prices mean nowadays.  This isn't that straightforward, as some things cost more and some less, but for a rough guestimate, shove a couple of zeros on the pounds.  As for shillings, there are 20 shillings in every pound and 12 pence in every shilling.  A guinea is a pound and a shilling.  

Radford and co.,   of 188 Fleet Street, who made gentlemen's attire and ladies' habits, claimed to be able to make a suit of clothes in 5 hours.  Impressive! Now, I know I could cut sew a pair of trousers in 5 hours - with a sewing machine! so I assume that they had many tai
lors working on different pieces at once, and Mr. Radford or one of the 'co' did the finishing.  Radford's appeared to make bespoke clothing, and offered:
Elegant coats of superfine, £3/3/- to £3/10/-
Great coats faced with silk, from £3/3/- to £4/4/-
fashionable waistcoats from 8/- to 15/-
Best double-milled Kerseymere breeches from £1/5/- to £1/9/-
Blue or mixed trousers from £1/1/- to £1/12/-
Nankeen or drill trousers from 13/-
Ladies habits completed by experienced workers, 4 to 5 guineas [does this imply they let the apprentices loose on completing the other clothes as it was the habits completed by experience workers?  revealing!]
 Suit of livery complete £4/10/-
Ladies and gents travelling coats from £2 to 5g
Radford and co., were certainly around from 1817.
In 1810 there was a Radford's Hosiery at 52 Cheapside, selling 'all manner of hosiery, gloves, flannels, drawers, ladies' invisible dresses.'
I haven't tracked down what ladies' invisible dresses are, but I'm guessing some kind of undergarment to hold a gown's line better. A Mrs Morris, previously known to her clients as Mrs Robertshaw, also sold invisible dresses and waistcoats [implied for women] of real Spanish lambs' wool so maybe undergarments for warmth?
One thing Radford's Hosiery held were brown cotton stockings for boots, as well as silk stockings, cotton stockings and silk stockings with cotton feet.  who knew?
I do not think this is the same Radford as Radford and co., as in 1819 there was a Radford's at 118 Cheapside, selling 'elegant silk stockings and French kid gloves'; it looks as though Radford's hosiery expanded and moved down the street to a better shop.  One wonders, however, if the two Radfords were related.

Now Smith and co.,, of 146 Strand, specifically state that they keep readymades in stock.They also offer bespoke, and specialise in naval and military uniform and liveries.

as to ladies' wear, this seems to range from Miss Blacklin's shop in Blenheim St selling millinery, corsets and ready-made dresses to L. Collins, corset maker to her Highness the Duchess of York, who had a shop at 5 London Rd, but who also advertised 'Ladies waited upon at their respective residences.'

Certainly many shops offered ready-made mourning clothes, and childbed-linen.  Birth and death then, as now, was profitable.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Update on where I've been, why, and what I'm up to.

Somewhere along the line of being made very ill with the blood pressure pills I was given, Enalapril, whose side effects look like an M.E. relapse, I pretty much lost 2017.
So this was a time following my husband's illness, when an M.E. relapse might be expected to happen that I spent with a permanent fluey cold, hacking cough, swollen neck and throat, and sleeping 16 hours a day.
You may begin to understand why my writing productivity has been poor.
However, when I came off the damned drug and it cleared from my system, I wrote the first draught of 'Heiress in Hiding', the sixth Brandon Scandal, in less than a fortnight. I think it was eleven days, which isn't bad going by anyone's standards.  It's now published. 

I've also just released 'The Redemption of Chauvelin' which is a Scarlet Pimpernel sequel.  I've been waiting to publish that for a while, but under British law, Baroness Orczy wasn't out of copyright until January this year. So I have been editing that, and having it edited and so on as well.

I'll shortly also be releasing 'The Ace of Schemes', a sequel to 'The Valiant Viscount' [previously called 'The Pugilist Peer'] which was about the only thing I managed to write during that whole annus horribilis. 

I've been working through the next Felicia and Robin, and need to go through to see what my Editor has said with regards to that.  I am also writing a Jane and Caleb book, in which they must solve three mysteries simultaneously, which have connections to each other, after the fashion of the Chinese detective story - I am a fan of Robert Van Gulik, who is the master, and I, the detective story padawan, sit at his feet.  It's good fun actually but a bit slower and I reduced my cast list to 33.  I'm on chapter 9 and one chapter a day is about all I can manage, though I have just got over the Australian flu, so that might account for it as well.
I haven't forgotten a sequel to the revamped Cousin Prudence, or the Charity School stories and will be working on them.

Future plans
there are 4 more Charity School stories I want to write,  and I'll be going with the suggestion made to me of drawing in the character Stoat from 'Unwilling Viscount' who raised requests to see more of him.
I am thinking of doing series of Brandon Scandals set in other times/places, like the American branch founded by Henry Brandon in 1620 or so; also the children of those I have already covered, and maybe series set in late Victorian times and 1920s.  It has a certain soap opera quality to it which demands spinoffs
I have two other series outlined, the Seven Stepsisters series and the Diaries of a Chaperone for Hire series, both set in the Long Regency.
I have one short story which will hopefully be joined by others; it involves a Regency maiden lady detective. 
I've also been playing with some noir cyberpunk.
I have not abandoned Bess and the Dragons, in which Kit Marlowe's daughter goes to a school to learn about the dragons hatching from the eggs Walter Raleigh found instead of El Dorado. 
I will probably write more Regency and Georgian short stories and eventually put together another anthology to go with Belles and Bucks.
The  Bailiff's Baroness will be another in the Georgian Gambles series, following Ace of Schemes, and will be the third of 4 planned for that series. That one plunges us forward into the French Revolution. 
The muse being a fickle jade plans are made to be overturned, but these are my intentions to date.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Naming elements in place names

When I place my characters into a landscape, I usually give them fictional surroundings, based on local names, but made up of [usually Saxon/Old English] naming elements.

I use the same system to give peers names since most are going to be Lord [Somewhere]. 

If I have a definite county in mind, I look at a map to see if there are any peculiarities about naming, such as using -hithe, a good place for a harbour in East Anglia, and Hasel- in rural Wiltshire, as well as the obvious tre-, pol- and pen- in Cornwall.  I haven't gone into the peculiarities of the Cornish dialect, though I have made up the name Penroselly for one of my short stories.  Thorpe tends to be north-eastern. Glen tends to be Scots.  Devon feels right with Otter- [the most famous fictional example being Ottery St Catchpole, home of the Weasley, Diggory and Lovegood families]

As many surnames are locative there is nothing wrong with using these elements for surnames, whether to use as people named after a village, or as a more immediate location, like the surname Attwood, someone who lives at the wood; Nokes, from Attenokes, he who lives by the oak trees, etc.

Following are lists of naming elements with their meanings, for mixing and matching as seems appropriate. Unless appended as ON [old Norse] Lat. [Latin] or Celt [Celtic] they are Saxon in origin.

land an area of land
acre, aker, iker,ager an area of land, an acre is a measure of land.
hurst, hersh, nersh field
field, feld field
wix, wis[ce], -wisse marshy meadow
lea, ley, meadow
hale, heale, hele nook
hop[e] remote enclosed space
brick, brig top, slope
dun [Celt] hill
linch, link bank, hedge
lyth, lith, lither [ON]  slope
thwaite clearing, meadow, paddock
dale or comb valley
den[e] valley or weedy place
-dish pasture
wynn [celt] pasture
ham settlement or hamm land hemmed by water
ton town
wic[h] town anglicised from Lat. vicus
burgh fortified settlement
cester [Lat] town

to which one may also add mud, sand/samp, ston/stain/stan, chesil/ching/chilles gravel to add a component of what it may be made of as well.

Watery words
-ea river
-ea or -ey island or land raised above marsh
beck, brook, brok, burn, bourne, lak[e] stream
keld [ON] stream
fleot, fleet estuary, stream that goes inland
rith/reth small stream sometimes -ry and -ready
mere, mire, marsh, mersh, fen[n] a marshy area
font, spring, well spring
flode, flood, wash an area prone to flooding
strode, stroth, car[r], boggy marginal regions overgrown with brush and water-loving trees like alder
staith [ON]  a place to tie up boats, usually only found in eastern counties.
vath/wath [ON] ford
wade, ford ford
brig, bridge bridge

Concerned with woods and vegetation
den woodland pasture
wood, holt wood
wold uncultivated land, overun with vegetation weald, wald the Kentish version
with [ON] uncultivated land
chet, chat [Celt] wood, forest
grove, grave, beer, bere, barrow thicket or grove
hay, hey woodland enclosure
hangar sloping wood
hurst wooded hill
lound, lund, shaw, skew, seue small wood, shaw implies single species of tree and can be teamed with same
frith fir, scrubland
brake, brak, brex, brec brake,furzy bracken

ac, ake, oc, oak, oke, noke, roke  oak
As, ask, ash, esk ash
boc, box, beech, bex beech
ew yew
berk, bar, birch, birk birch
holen, holm[e] holly
alor, alr, alder alder
appel apple
piri pear
hazel, hasle, hasel hazel
withy, withi[a], weli- weel, win, sall, saul, willow
hather, thorn, thearne, thyrne hawthorn
elm, alm, el elm
lyne, lind lime
asp, esp aspen
red reed

plus rush, sedge, grass, heath, nut

ox ox
gos goose
hurt, hart stag
wul, wool wolf
bag badger
beever beaver
tad toad
il hedgehog

al eel
pik pike

cran, hern heron
eld, swan swan
fin woodpecker
fowl, ful fowl
gled kite
craw, crow crow
are eagle

find also fish, fox, frog, raven, cat etc

brad, braid broad
durn, darn, dern hidden
dip, dep deep
scal shallow
ful foul
lang, long long
sher[e] bright

so here are some to get you going: Bradwath, Braxstrode, Withymere, Litherthwaite, Okedene.   Have fun!