Saturday, August 18, 2012

Husbandly Heroes, Medieval Monuments, and Regency Ramblings: Saturday Links

This week's Saturday Links take us on a trip from Ancient Rome to the Middle Ages to the Regency Era.

Kate Quinn is the author of Daughters of Rome and Mistress of Rome, two novels set in--you guessed it!--Ancient Rome. She is also the wife of a U.S. Navy Sailor. In a recent article in Baseguide, titled "My Military Romance," she confesses that her real life hubby might have more than a little influence on the hero in her latest novel:

That's funny,” my husband commented when he flipped through my rough-draft of the first few chapters. “Your hero is a lot like me.” 
Me: “No, he's not!” 
Husband: (raising an eyebrow) “So it’s a complete coincidence that both your husband and your fictional hero are tall, freckled, left-handed, short-tempered, adrenaline-junkie military men who snore like a chain-saw, can't sit still without one foot jittering, and have a habit of pissing off superiors?”  
BUSTED.... (read more)
In my own historical novels, I have never self-consciously tried to model a character off of someone I know. But I always wonder--how many similarities to my real life creep in subconsciously?

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A couple months ago the photography site Light Stalking put up "21 Amazing Images of Medieval Structures." The word amazing gets thrown around far too much, but in this case, the subjects really deserve that modifier. I would repost some of the pictures here to entice you to check out the rest, but there's been far too much broohaha lately about bloggers getting sued for using copyrighted images on their sites. So, click on over there and take a look for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

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The Regency period has been on mind a lot lately, especially since I've been busy editing a Regency romance soon to be released by Madison Street Publishing. This article by Natalie Garbett entitled "Blinded By the White, Colour and Dresses 1796-1815" is very insightful for those interested in reconstructing the Regency period in book and film. It is also an excellent example of how to do historical research on the subject of clothing.

Ms. Garbett begins with questioning the conventional perception of Regency dresses:
Why do we choose to make mostly white dresses when creating dresses from 1796--1815?  It seems an obvious question to answer……’we choose white because it was the fashion and is period correct’……and evidence from surviving dresses, paintings, fashion plates and documentation support this theory……or does it?
Her next step is to catalogue the Regency dresses found in three prominent museum collections. She notes that the great majority of them were white, but then presents three interesting hypotheses on why that might be the case:
Could the mordant in the dyes in this period be caustic and therefore cause coloured dresses to rot easily over time?... Were coloured silk dresses more likely to be reused or cut up for use in later periods?... Were white dresses more associated with special occasions rather than everyday wear and therefore more likely to be preserved for sentimental value?
Following these hypotheses she then presents a great deal of primary source material from fashion plates and journals that show colored dresses were far more common than the museum collections might lead one to believe. I'm so pleased to have found this article--it was a fascinating read.

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While we're on the subject of the Regency, it might interest you to know that Regency novelist D. W. Wilkin has compiled a Regency Lexicon to aid you in understanding those peculiar turns of phrase that Georgette Heyer so delighted in.

For instance, did you know that an "Act of Parliament" was "a military term for small beer, five pints of which, by an act of parliament, a landlord was formerly obliged to give to each soldier gratis"? No? Then perhaps you knew that a "juniper lecture" was "a round scolding bout," or that a "little clergyman" was "a young chimney-sweeper"? If not, head on over to the Lexicon and browse about for some Jane Austen period slang, most of which that good lady would have never included in one of her own novels.

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