Tales from St. Louis ~ A Report on the ACFW Conference

View of over half the arch from Kristi's hotel room. Kristi here. I had the great pleasure of attending the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference in St. Louis this weekend.

This was the view from my hotel window. Pretty cool.

Unfortunately, despite being spitting distance from the arch, I never actually made it over there. Oh well. It’s still pretty.

Meeting Some Familiar People

Kristi Hunter and Kristy Cameron at ACFW galaOne of the best thing about conference is meeting up with people you normally only “see” in cyberspace.

If you’ve been reading this blog long, you know “friend of the blog” Kristy Cameron. Something you might not have known is… the girl is tall. But I love that hair. That’s how I found her from across the room of 600 people.

I also ran into some of our favorite Regency authors.

Kristi Ann Hunter and Sarah LaddSarah Ladd was a finalist for the Carol in the debut novel category with her Regency The Heiress of Winterwood. 

The category was won by a contemporary book with Regency ties, Katherine Reay’s Dear Mr. Knightley, in which a young lady channels Jane Austen’s characters to help her get through life. (Amazing book, I highly recommend it.)

Kristi Ann Hunter and Julie Klassen in Regency garbI also met up with Julie Klassen, looking amazing in her pink Regency ball gown. Julie was honored with the Mentor of the Year award at the gala.

As you can see, she’s another blonde that towers over me. If you ever have the honor of meeting her, think of something more witty to say than, “Wow, you’re tall.” I already took that one.

Kristi's Regency DressYes, I am also dressed in Regency era garb. My amazing and wonderful mother made me a dress for the genre dinner (where we got to dress up in time periods and characters). Now I’ll also have it for things like book signings or other events.

She even made me a matching shawl and reticule.

Mothers are awesome.

Upcoming Book News

Other than Sarah and Julie I didn’t see any of our other Regency authors this weekend. Julie has a new release in December, so keep watching for that.

I know many of our readers are expanding into the Edwardian era, in part because of Downton Abbey. This is a growing area in Christian fiction, so if that interests you be sure to check that out. I know I saw some titles set in Edwardian England from Carrie Turansky and heard of a series by Roseanna White coming out next year.

My Own Happy News

Kristi's Genesis award and ArchI also brought home my own special souvenir. Here is the Genesis award I was blessed to win with the beautiful arch as a background.

In case you’ve missed me making the announcement elsewhere, I’m happy to say you can pick up this award winning story for yourself next Fall when it comes out from Bethany House.

 

 

 

All in all it was a pretty amazing weekend. Were you an author able to go to the conference? Got a question about the weekend that I might could answer? Leave it in the comments.

The Bletchley Circle

the_bletchley_circle_series2_ep1_41Hi guys, Camy here! I hope this isn’t too off topic, but I discovered a BBC TV show that I absolutely LOVE. It’s called The Bletchley Circle, and it’s about a group of women who were code-breakers during WW2. After the war, they find that their pattern-recognition skills enable them to solve crimes in 1940s and 1950s England.

I stumbled upon it by accident on Netflix Streaming and I was absolutely enthralled by Season 1. The acting is amazing and I really love the time period, set in England after the war. It’s so interesting to see since I know very little about the 40s and early 50s.

49cddb9f6931290fef8a1673c7f4d658I also LOVE the period costumes, especially the knitted sweaters/blouses the women wear. I think I even recognized some of the patterns from vintage patterns I’ve seen posted online! I am TOTALLY going to try to knit some of those!

The storyline for the first season is a bit gruesome, just to warn people, but it’s such a fascinating mystery that I was completely hooked. I’m excited to see Season 2, which I think I will pick up on iTunes.

Amazon Streaming
Netflix Streaming
iTunes

Have any of you seen it yet? If you haven’t, definitely give it a shot! If you have, what did you think?

Also, don’t forget to enter my Regency Goodies Giveaway going on right now on my blog!
Regency Goodies Giveaway.001

Dressing Up is Fun To Do

Guest Post by Marisa Deshaies.

People love dressing up—masks, costumes, accessories, face paint. There is just something about putting on a creative outfit and possibly even talking in a different accent than normal that makes people giddy.

Kids in costume via wikimedia commons
Kids in costume via wikimedia commons

Next month trick-or-treaters will dress as goblins, princesses, and pirates and greet neighbors with squeals of delight at the candy given out to fill their pillowcases. Those couple of hours of make-believe brings a thrill for children that equates almost with the excitement of opening gifts on Christmas morning.

Little ones often love wearing play clothes out and about. At five years old, for example, a little girl doesn’t understand why wearing a tutu to the grocery store could elicit some strange looks from passer-by. And at five-years old, she probably wouldn’t get those looks. Why is that?

Children are not alone in the fun of imagination. Despite that Halloween is meant to be celebrated by children just one day a year, plenty of occasions merit adults dressing up simply for the pleasure of creating a world different from their own.

Just as little ones enjoy wearing princess gowns or pirate peg-legs, some adults pull costumes out of their closets for some good, old-fashioned make-believe. Chances are, though, a thirty-year-old woman walking down the street in a Victorian ball gown will get more than strange looks from her neighbor…she’ll probably be gossiped about for not living in the real world. Is it a shame or a necessity that adults are expected to resist the pull of make-believe?

Dressing Like Fanny or Dancing Like Jane

Laurie Alice Eakes in a burgundy and floral ball gown. We went to our book signings in these dresses.
Laurie Alice Eakes and Vanessa Riley in their Regency gowns.

Jane Austen fans are no strangers to playing dress up. More often than not, someone who reads Austen novels desires to travel back to the nineteenth century for a taste of ballroom dances and strolls around the local park.

Plenty of book clubs and blog sites exist to captivate these readers, but nothing like wearing a floor-length muslin gown and bonnet bedecked in ribbons makes a lady feel like she belongs in the English countryside.

Now picture attending the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England—men and women from all over the world travel to Austen’s hometown for a week of living as one of her characters and you can join!

This isn’t dressing up for the fainthearted: be prepared for character role play with no modern amenities allowed. Ladies, if you want to meet your Mr. Darcy, you had best be willing to forgo your cell phone and Facebook.

Be Yourself—Without the Costume

The problem with pretending to be a goblin, a priest, a pirate, a princess, or even just a lady of the Regency is that dressing up encourages behavior  not always applicable to real world situations.

Yes, attending balls and visiting family for months on end—practices   common in Austen’s day—are admirable; however, those wishing for society to revert back to nineteenth century behaviors are in for a long fight.

Technological advances mean people have access to more information than ever before, and with that access comes increased education and independence. That being said, is it fair, Ladies, to hold your husbands to Mr. Darcy’s standards when you want the right to hold a job and wear pants? Can you reasonably expect men to hold open doors for you when sometimes they do so and women snap back at them for old-fashioned habits?

Bringing Austen to Modern Day

Popularity of Austen novels continues to grow even with the modernization of society. Readers love old-fashioned stories for originality and universality of characters; fan-fiction of all six of Austen’s novels prove that two-hundred year-old tales still apply to an increasingly fast-paced world.

The challenge today is to find a balance between retaining the behaviors and morals that emphasize propriety while accepting ideals that highlight educational advancement.

It may be impossible to live at Longbourne with the Bennett family, but once in a while it is alright to live vicariously through a Pride and Prejudice movie. Just be sure to leave your muslin dress in the closet for the rest of the year.

 

Who Were the Bow Street Runners?

The courtroom at #4 Bow Street.
The courtroom at #4 Bow Street.

Traditionally, every male householder in London was expected to police the streets in their neighborhood, and every citizen was to report anyone they witnessed committing a crime. This changed in the eighteenth century because of increasing concerns about the threat of dangerous criminals who were attracted by the growing wealth of London’s middle class.

Prompted by a post-war crime wave in 1749, Magistrate Henry Fielding (who himself was a playwright and novelist) hired a small group of men to locate and arrest serious offenders. He operated out of No. 4 Bow Street, hence the name “Bow Street Runners.”

Magistrate Henry Fielding
Magistrate Henry Fielding

Fielding petitioned the government and received funding, but even so, he soon ran out of money to pay these men a worthy salary. Still, the Runners were committed to justice, so they took on odd jobs such as watchmen or detectives for hire or even—as in the case of Nicholas Brentwood, the hero in my upcoming release Brentwood’s Ward—guarding people or treasures.

What attracted my interest as an author was an old newspaper advertisement put out by Fielding. It encouraged the public to send a note to Bow Street as soon as any serious crime occurred so that “a set of brave fellows could immediately be dispatched in pursuit of the villains.” I wondered about those “brave fellows” and what kind of villains they might come up against, and thus was born Nicholas Brentwood.

Despite Bow Street’s efforts, most Londoners were opposed to the development of an organized police force. The English tradition of local government was ingrained deeply, and they feared the loss of individual liberty. So, as gallant as the Runners were in tracking down criminals, the general public did not always view them in a positive light. Even the nickname given them by the public—Bow Street Runners—was considered derogatory and was a title the officers never used to refer to themselves.

Bow Street eventually gave way to the Metropolitan Police, and by 1839, the Runners were completely disbanded. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still read about them . . .

Brentwood's Ward Cover Peek

BRENTWOOD’S WARD (pre-orders available)

Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.

Titles from my Favorite Regency Writer, by Susan Karsten

Hi, Regency fans! I got into reading regency fiction when my children were young. I needed something enjoyable, light, and clean to have on hand whenever I had a few spare minutes to read.

One day, at my library, I stumbled across a book from the House for the Season series, by Marion Chesney — the rest is history — regency era history. She’s still my favorite regency fiction author, and I only wish she still wrote in the genre. Following is a list of her prolific output (Enjoy!):

 

  • Regency Gold (1980)
  • Lady Margery’s Intrigue (1980)
  • The Constant Companion (1980)
  • Quadrille (1981)
  • My Lords, Ladies and Marjorie (1981)
  • The Ghost and Lady Alice (1982)
  • Love and Lady Lovelace (1982)
  • Duke’s Diamonds (1982)
  • The Flirt (1985)
  • At The Sign of the Golden Pineapple (1987)
  • Miss Davenport’s Christmas (1993)
  • The Chocolate Debutante (1998)

Westerby[edit]

  1. The Westerby Inheritance (1982)
  2. The Westerby Sisters (1982)

The Six Sisters[edit]

  1. Minerva (1983)
  2. The Taming of Annabelle (1983)
  3. Deirdre and Desire (1984)
  4. Daphne (1984)
  5. Diana the Huntress (1985)
  6. Frederica in Fashion (1985)

A House for the Season Series[edit]

  1. The Miser of Mayfair (1986)
  2. Plain Jane (1986)
  3. The Wicked Godmother (1987)
  4. Rake’s Progress (1987)
  5. The Adventuress (1987)
  6. Rainbird’s Revenge (1988)

The School for Manners[edit]

  1. Refining Felicity (1988)
  2. Perfecting Fiona (1989)
  3. Enlightening Delilah (1989)
  4. Finessing Clarissa (1989)
  5. Animating Maria (1990)
  6. Marrying Harriet (1990)

Waverley Women[edit]

  1. The First Rebellion (1989)
  2. Silken Bonds (1989)
  3. The Love Match (1989)

The Travelling Matchmaker[edit]

  1. Emily Goes to Exeter (1990)
  2. Belinda Goes to Bath (1991)
  3. Penelope Goes to Portsmouth (1991)
  4. Beatrice Goes to Brighton (1991)
  5. Deborah Goes to Dover (1992)
  6. Yvonne Goes to York (1992)

Poor relation[edit]

  1. Lady Fortescue Steps Out (1993)
  2. Miss Tonks Turns to Crime (1993) aka Miss Tonks Takes a Risk
  3. Mrs. Budley Falls From Grace (1993)
  4. Sir Philip’s Folly (1993)
  5. Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue (1994)
  6. Back in Society (1994)

The Daughters of Mannerling[edit]

  1. The Banishment (1995)
  2. The Intrigue (1995)
  3. The Deception (1996)
  4. The Folly (1996)
  5. The Romance (1997)
  6. The Homecoming (1997)

PS: This is not Christian fiction, but is pretty clean.

Would love to hear from other Chesney fans in the comments. Fondly, Susan

Can She Get the Title?

Vanessa here,

Before I start, I’d like to break some news. The Duchess of Cambridge is with babe again!!! The future king will now have a sibling.

The Duchess of Cambridge Source: The Daily Mailer
The Duchess of Cambridge
Source: The Daily Mail

 

With the Succession Act passed in 2011 and all the hold outs territories of St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Canada changing their laws to allow a female to become ruler regardless of a subsequent male sibling, a baby George had been Georgette, she would someday be Queen of England. For now this new baby male or female will fourth in line to the throne.

NEW LINE OF SUCCESSION

  1.     Prince Charles
  2.     Prince William
  3.     Prince George (William and Catherine’s son)
  4.      New Baby
  5.     Prince Harry
  6.     Prince Andrew
  7.     Princess Beatrice
  8.     Princess Eugenie
  9.     Prince Edward
  10.     Viscount Severn
  11.     The Lady Louise Windsor
  12.     Princess Anne
  13.     Peter Phillips
  14.     Savannah Phillips
  15.     Ilsa Phillips
  16.     Zara Phillips

Yeah progress. However, back in the Regency we so love, females taking their father’s position was rare, even more so for the lower titles.

Take a look at this list:

Upon the death of the title holder, the title passes in this order:

  • Eldest son
  • Eldest son’s eldest son
  • Eldest son’s eldest son’s eldest son (until there are none left)
  • Second son
  • Second son’s eldest son (until this is exhausted)
  • Any remaining son in order of birth
  • Eldest brother of the title holder
  • Eldest brother’s eldest son (or any other son until this is exhausted)
  • Second eldest brother (and so on until this is exhausted)
  • Eldest surviving male descended from the original title holder

Notice the lack of females. Titles were typically passed to males, not females. However, there have been rare exceptions. The 2nd Duchess of Marlborough, Henrietta Churchill is one. The 1st Duke of Marlborough was given special permission in 1706 to pass his title to his daughter. He was a war hero with no living sons. She became the Duchess of Marlborough in 1722.

Portrait of Henrietta Godolphin, 2nd Duchess of Marlborough Source: Wiki Commons
Portrait of Henrietta Godolphin, 2nd Duchess of Marlborough
Source: Wiki Commons

So when ever you hear never, always realize that there may be some obscure exception  lurking in the annals of history. In my latest release coming September 29th, Swept Away, Charlotte Downing is given her father’s title in this retelling of Cinderella with a Twist.SweptAway08312014LR

If you could inherit any title other than King or Queen what would it be? I for one, fancy duchess. The Duchess of Georgiaporchdom. What about you?

 

 

Pelisses, Spencers, and Redingotes, Oh my!

Our question page is open! If you have a question about the Regency era or a book set in the Regency, let us know! We’ll do our best to answer. Like this question:

Women never just wear a coat in Regency books. What is the difference between a pelisse and a spencer jacket?

There were three types of jackets for females in Regency England. The redingote, pelisse, and spencer.

The Bennet Sisters
Spencer jackets worn by the Jane and Elizabeth Bennet in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice.

The Spencer Jacket

Spencer jackets were short and followed the bodice lines of the dress. These were inspired by the tailless men’s top coats of the late 18th century. The men’s coat were believed to come into fashion after the Earl of Spencer singed the tails on his coat and had them trimmed off. Hence the name Spencer Jacket.

Pelisse from 1811, notice how the closures run all the way down the garment
Pelisse from 1811, notice how the closures run all the way down the garment

The Pelisse

Pelisses also followed the line of the dress, but they went much longer. When completely buttoned, the pelisse could hide all but the hem of the dress underneath. It was almost like wearing an entire second dress which would be necessary during colder time periods because the women’s dresses were very thin.

A Regency redingote where the fastenings are only over the bodice.
A Regency redingote where the fastenings are only over the bodice.

The Redingote

Similar to the pelisse, the redingote is long. However, it does not close completely in the front. As the Regency faded and skirts began to widen and grow, the Redingote became a favored outer garment because it revealed the dress beneath and didn’t have to close over an enlarged skirt.

 

 

Visit our question page to tell us what you’d like to know about Regency England.

What’s your favorite style of jacket?

What does it mean when an estate is “entailed”?

Pride and Prejudice, Downton Abbey, and countless other period pieces use an entailed estate as a key plot element.

But what is an entailed estate?

Simply stated, an entailment meant that the estate had to be inherited by a male. For example, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet had five daughters. No sons. Therefore the estate passed to the closest male heir.

(For more on finding the closest male heir, look at this post.)

In order for an estate to be entailed, one of two scenarios had to happen.

SCENARIO ONE

The possessor of the land didn’t own the property outright. Many years prior, an ancestor of his had been granted the ability to live on it as if it were his own, but since he didn’t own it, he couldn’t will it to whomever he wished.

This granting of land had restrictions on transfer. There were several types of restrictions that could have been placed on the land. Sometimes it was stated that it could only pass to his biological children. Other times, as in the case of P&P and Downton Abbey it was restricted to male biological heirs.

With enough time and money, this could be avoided through legal loopholes that had become common practice by the Regency.

SCENARIO TWO

The property is owned outright, but the somewhere down the line, the estate had been willed as a “life estate”. This meant the male heir had ownership for his lifetime, but he couldn’t sell it because once he was dead, it was already willed to his next male heir.

This is likely the type of scenario that causes problems for our Regency heros and heroines because it was very difficult to get around.

So not all land was entailed and not all land had to go to the first male heir. If there were no restrictions and a man (or woman) owned the property outright, they could will it to whomever they wished whether son, daughter, brother, cousin, or servant.

Got a question you’d like us to answer? Check out our new questions page to submit it.