Writing’s Not A Hobby… But This Is!

Our Regency Reflections authors spend a lot of time writing, but it isn’t all they do. We asked them to share what some of their favorite hobbies are and what they use them for.

Kristy L. Cambron

Not surprising, my main hobbies center around what I have time for in a packed schedule: chasing after our young boys, belting out off-key worship songs in my car before I get to the office, and of course, writing.

Asthma Walk LogoMaybe lesser known is our family’s struggle with asthma. Our two older sons have endured hospital admissions and seemingly endless urgent care visits since six months old. Now that they understand what asthma is, we try to get them involved with a community that focuses on well-being. We’ve walked in the American Lung Association Asthma Walks for a number of years and though not exactly a hobby, we are passionate about research to cure childhood lung disease and to live a healthy lifestyle.

Naomi Rawlings

My hobby is hiking. There’s lots of lovely trails around Lake Superior, so we don’t have to go far at all.

Ruth Axtell

Peony clusterMy hobby is gardening, both vegetable and flower. I love getting out there and grubbing in the dirt! I always have more vegetables that I, or my family can use, so I’ve been taking extra stuff to church, putting a box out back for anyone to take if they wish after the service. If I’m in town on the day the food pantry is open, then I donate fresh vegetables there. 

 

Susan Karsten

This question sparked me to realize I have hobbies, interests and passions!

Sun Quilt (not one of Susan's)
Sun Quilt (picture via WikiCommons) Not one of Susan’s quilts

I consider the hobbies to be the tangible skill-based activities.  Using this classification system, sewing and quilting have got to be my top hobby.  I like sewing and have since around age eight. I made my first quilt in my teens, then stopped and started up again in my late twenties.  With my sewing, I am able to mend things for people, and I make and give away baby bibs, often combining re-purposed fabric with new. I also do light alterations for my friends.   I make and give baby quilts to each new baby in my life — at church, in my friend circle, or within my family.  It’s so inspiring to see the excitement on the recipients’ faces.  For some, it’s the only hand-made quilt they’ve ever owned.  My nieces and nephews (and my own kids) have kept their quilts from me on their beds into their teen years.  And that warms my heart and encourages me to persevere.

Laurie Alice Eakes

Fingers Knitting
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

I knit and crochet. I’m not terribly good at either, and it keeps my hands  busy while I read. I have given some of my better projects as gifts—prayer shawls and baby afghans—and I made an afghan for my husband the first Christmas when we were dating. Usually, I get bored with the project and give it up, so now I’m working on my first complex project, having decided that the reason I get bored is I haven’t challenged my ability enough.

Kristi Ann Hunter

Hobby… hobby… that’s what you do during free time, right? 🙂 My “killing time” hobbies include playing computer and Wii games, reading, and messing around on social media stuff like Pinterest. Television is probably my main unwinding activity since my husband and I watch it together.

I don’t get to spend a lot of time on those things because my passions take up whatever time isn’t dedicated to caring for my family. Building my career as a writer and speaker as well as supporting and volunteering alongside my husband in his youth ministry gets me excited and fills most of my free time. I guess those are as close to a hobby as I have.

What’s your hobby? 

Let us know in the comments!

Originally posted 2013-05-15 10:00:00.

Spring at Kew Gardens

Peony cluster Spring is bulb season at Kew. From the carpets of the small, blue, bell-like squill to the tall straight tulips with their simple form, there are bright primary colors everywhere.

What was it like in regency times?

outside my writing windowRhododendron Dell, originally known as the Hollow Walk, was formed at the edge of the Thames out of its flood plain. Famous landscaper Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown designed it in 1773 in the shape of a horseshoe and planted hundreds of mountain laurels along it, which gave it the nickname of Laurel Walk.

 

Kew_Palace

The Dutch House, or the royal palace with its Dutch architectural style, doubtless had many flower gardens enjoyed by the royal family who frequently stayed there. In springtime, tulips, narcissus, squill, and hyacinths were popular bulbs. Since the tulip craze in the Netherlands in the 17th century, the hyacinth, also originating from Turkey in the 1500s, became very popular to cultivate in the 18th century and regency England.

Mora & Ruth with Peonies

 

 

 

I’ve included some photos of my own garden flowers to give you an idea of what visitors to the royal gardens at Kew might enjoy in the early 1800s. garden photos 0072010 garden 002IMG_3442IMG_3441

Originally posted 2013-05-13 10:00:00.

Portraits of Our Mothers

mother

The Washington Post headline read: “Survey: Half of women say they don’t have enough free time”. I confess that I laughed when I saw it on my Smartphone screen. No kidding? Half of us have enough hours in the day while the other half of us are just trying to make it through with our sanity intact? Whether it be for maintaining a household, rearing children (aka making sure they don’t destroy the house most days), focusing on a career or investing in the relationships in our lives, do women really have much “time to ourselves” to speak of? I wasn’t sure, especially since I was doing some quick reading during the halftime of my son’s soccer game.

Author Mom
Portrait of Madame Emilie Seriziat and son (Jacques-Louis David, 1795. Oil on canvas) Photo: Wikimedia Commons

When thinking about our topic of alfresco activities in the month of May, I just couldn’t let go of this concept of time. What would we do with scads of it to spend as we choose? Did I really have to sneak in a little research time in-between quarters for the soccer game? As Mother’s Day approaches, I had to wonder if time is an activity in and of itself  – and not just for women in the year 2013. We modern woman have entered the workforce with a vengeance, going from working an average 8 hours per week (at a paying job) in 1965 to working an average 21 hours a week in 2011. A whopping 56% of employed mothers with children under eighteen say it is very or somewhat difficult to maintain a balance between work and their home life (USA Today). And in 2011, women reported spending an average of 13.5 hours per week with their children.

With those stats, why wouldn’t we think that maintaining careers, taxiing kids to soccer fields and dance class, popping dinner in the microwave and rushing through the occasional load of laundry makes us busier than mothers in the Regency Era? After all, Jane quoted that a mother would have always been present. That must mean a mother had little by way of responsibilities in 1812, right? Wrong. She had more to do than choose fabric for her next ball gown, that’s for sure.

Author Mom 2
The Good Mother (Jean-Honoré Fragonard, 18th century. Oil on canvas.) Photo: Wikimedia Commons

One of the most interesting books I read in college was A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785 – 1812 (by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich). Martha Ballard was a Regency Era woman, mother, and midwife living in eighteenth-century Maine. (If you want a picture of the hard-working Regency Super-Mom, this lady was it.) She ventured out on ice-covered lakes to deliver babies in the middle of winter. She managed to have nine children of her own while performing duties akin to that of a physician on a somewhat regular basis. She maintained her frontier home in rugged New England and fashioned a domestic economy as an herbalist and healer. (Career. Kids. Balancing work and home. Sound familiar?) I recommend this book for a candid look at the Regency from a fresh angle – maybe to see a connection between those mothers of 200 years ago and the portrait of a special mother in our lives today?

When I think about the portrait that my sons have of me as their mother, I’d hope they could say what Jane Austen did in her quote; I was always present. Maybe I was stretched a little and couldn’t give every moment, but I would hope I was always present in the moments I could give. That I was indeed a constant friend and cheerleader. That the influence I had brought them up to fear the Lord, to grow in righteousness, and to always treat gently the women God has gifted into their lives. I would hope that they remembered the time – the honest-to-goodness quality time – their mother spent with them in their youth… That I put the phone away on the soccer field and stayed present in the moment at my son’s game.

I pray the portraits we women paint as mothers in this life (whether in the Regency or in today’s world) showcase an abundance of grace and beauty. I pray that they’re portraits of our mothers, just as they will be of us some day.

Portraits of our mothers on Regency Reflections…

Author Kristi Hunter
Author Kristi Ann Hunter, her mother, and eldest daughter
Author Susan Karsten
Author Susan Karsten (far right), her mother, and youngest daughter
Author Vanessa Riley
Author Vanessa Riley and her mother (left); Author Vanessa Riley and daughter Ellen on Stone Mountain (right)
Author Kristy Cambron
Author Kristy Cambron and her mother

Who is a special mother in your life? How has she invested the gift of time in your life?

 Have a blessed Mother’s Day!

In His Love,

Kristy

 

Originally posted 2013-05-10 10:00:00.

Flirtations, Fitness, and Fun: The Benefits of Walking in Regency England

Kristi here. Have you ever visited a big, historic estate? I love to see the old houses, castles, and palaces and have been privileged enough to visit several in my life. Two things I’ve learned you should always bring with you: a camera and good walking shoes.

Before the age of the car, people walked everywhere. Horses were expensive to maintain and even if you had them, they weren’t always a practical option for exercise or travel.

Stile
Stiles were built into countryside fences to keep walkers from having to stop and open gates. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Walking was essential for the working class. They had no other option unless they were traveling a distance long enough to make buying a ticket on the post or renting a hack worthwhile. This made living near work a requirement and visiting family a luxury.

For the upper class walking was a way to kill time and exercise. Walking was especially encouraged for young ladies in 1811’s The Mirror of Graces a long, vigorous walk every morning was recommended. Elite families ate very rich, fattening foods and often participated in dormant activities such as reading, needlepoint, and drawing room visits.

Blickling Hall Grounds
Blickling Hall in England. Photo by georgaph.org.uk.

This inclination for walking led to the extensive glorious grounds surrounding most grand homes. In the late 1700s and early 1800s the most famous of grounds designers charged exorbitant rates, traveling around England and transforming acres of land to suit their owners.

While there were differing opinions when it came to trees and expanses of lawn, one thing all designers incorporated were gravel pathways. These pathways wound their way through shrubs and trees, around statues and the occasional water feature. Gravel paths were essential as they wouldn’t turn muddy after a rain, thereby ruining the hems of the expensive, fashionable gowns.

Painting of couple walking arm in arm away from church.
“A Wet Sunday Morning” by Edmund Blair Leighton Photo: Wikimedia Commons

England is no stranger to wet, rainy days. Those long galleries that often ran along one side of the large houses served a greater purpose than an open area to display artwork. When outside strolls were out of the question, people – women especially – would make laps in the gallery to stay active.

Another great benefit to walking was the social acceptance of a man and woman walking together. Proper etiquette required the male stay with his female companion for the duration of the walk. It was also expected that he would lend her an arm if she got tired. One can only wonder how many ladies “got tired” when walking with a man they were particularly interested in.

Do you enjoy walking? Where is the prettiest place you’ve ever strolled?

 

Originally posted 2013-05-08 10:00:00.

Contest Winner for Madeline’s Protector

As many of you know, we’ve spent the past week celebrating the debut release of
Madeline’s Protector by Regency Reflections’s own Vanessa Riley. To help celebrate this new novel, we’ve included giveaways with every post over the past week and held one giant, week-long contest for a Nook ereader. Well, we have winners! And I’m very excited to share them with everyone.

The winner of a brand new Nook is . . .

Michelle Griep!

BooksTablet

Michelle visited our Regency Reflections on the very first day of the contest and answered the question of what suitor you would pick for your daughter if you were a Regency mother. Congratulations, Michelle! We wish you lots of enjoyable hours of reading time on your new Nook!

Our other daily winners are as follows:

$10 Starbuck’s gift card – Nancy
iTune card – Teela
$10 Amazon gift certificate – Piper
Paperback  copy of Madeline’s Protector – Jackie Layton 

Congratulations to all our winners, and a special thanks to everyone who stopped by to help us celebrate the release of Madeline’s Protector!

 And now, in case you’re wondering about the thought-provoking questions we asked at the end of each post. Here’s a list of the questions and the most popular answers.
MadelinesProtector11125

Friday, April 26: If you were a Regency Mama, which suitor would you pick for your marriageable daughter and why:The son of a family friend, a titled reformed rake, a wealthy gentleman looking for a 2nd wife?

The most popular answer was: The son of a family friend. Most of the commentors liked being familiar with the suitors family and background before giving their daughters over in marriage to our imaginary man.

*****

Monday, April 29: If you lived during the Regency and found yourself in a dire circumstance would you:

A. Do everything possible to save yourself, not caring of any possible ramifications.

B. Do everything possible, but you would worry about potential scandals or compromise.

C. Risk everything to a point. Your family name and position could not be threatened.

The most popular answer was B. Most commentors would do everything possible, but still be conscientious about scandals.

*****

Wednesday, May 1: What got you interested in the Regency time period?

The most popular answer was: Pride and Prejudice, either one of the movies or the book or a combination of the two.

*****

Friday, May 3: Have you ever had your purse snatched? And if so, did you give chase?

The most popular answer was: No, most people have not had their purses taken (though a few have). And no, most people did not think they would give chase, even if their purses were stolen.

*****

Thanks again for stopping by and enjoying our week-long celebration of Madeline’s Protector. We hope to see each and every one of you back again sometime over the coming weeks!

 

Originally posted 2013-05-06 10:00:00.

Madeline’s Protector ~ Spiritual Themes, review by Susan Karsten

Note from Management: 🙂

Our Daily Post Winners:

Fri, April 26—$10 starbuck’s gift card – Nancy
Mon, April 29–iTune card – Teela
Wed, May 1–$10 Amazon Gift certificate – Piper
Fri, May 3—A paperback of Madeline’s Protector. – Maybe you?

Add a comment and you will be entered into the daily contest as well as the Grand Prize: Color Nook ereader.  You can also enter here for an extra chance:  http://wp.me/p2854H-Jj

———–

When searching for spiritual themes in Vanessa Riley’s new book, Madeline’s Protector, one doesn’t search long before coming upon several worthwhile strands of Christian truth.

Book Cover

Riley weaves a tale wherein our beloved faith emerges deeply embedded within her rollicking, action-packed tale of love’s trials. What begins as a deceptively simple conflict, spirals into a web of difficulty for the young aristocrats.

Madeline St. James and Justain Delveux meet under highly stressful circumstances. Robbery, murder, peril, and compromised reputation mesh in a riveting tale dappled with otherwordly beauty.

Madeline’s confidence in Providence wars against Justain’s uncertainties, as all the while Justain battles to protect her from forces just beyond sight.

Misunderstandings, violence, subterfuge, and distrust forge a gauntlet which must be braved for their love to triumph.

Our heroine trusts the Lord to deliver her from those who would spitefully use her, and He uses a weak mortal man, Justain to protect her virtue. As the plot unfolds, Justain’s need for a savior becomes evident to him and he joins his bride in the fold.

Author Vanessa Riley

A thoroughly satisfying read, in which Riley has a deft touch with spiritual matters.

Question: Have you ever had your purse snatched, and if yes, did you give chase? (Yes, this reveals a plot twist 🙂

Originally posted 2013-05-03 10:00:00.

Madeline’s Protector Author Interview

Play our new release contest game, the first post: http://wp.me/p2854H-Jj

To celebrate Madeline’s Protector, we’re running a special week-long contest. Starting today through next Friday, May 3, we’ll feature thought-provoking questions at the end of each post. To enter the contest, you’ll need to supply a thoughtful answer to the question. The grand prize winner at the end of the week will receive a brand new Nook.

But the contest doesn’t stop there. Each day a new post goes up (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) we’ll be giving away mini-prizes for that day only. Here’s a list of the prizes:

Fri, April 26—$10 starbuck’s gift card
Mon, April 29–iTune card
Wed, May 1–$10 Amazon Gift certificate
Fri, May 3—A paperback of Madeline’s Protector.

And that’s not all. If you want to be eligible for a second chance to win the Nook tablet, you need to refer someone else to Regency Reflections. (Note: if you bring someone on over, make sure the other person’s comment mentions that you referred them).

If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment to enter the giveaway, or if you want yet a third chance to enter, you can follow this link and enter the contest once on this site:  https://contest.io/c/8jhitnpz

As part of the launch for Madeline’s Protector, Laurie Alice Eakes interviews the author, Vanessa Riley, for Regency Reflections. At the end, please answer a question to participate in the drawing.

Vanessa Riley photo
Vanessa Riley

RR: What other question to ask a Regency author, but: Why the Regency and not some other time period?

VR: I am a certifiable Regency nut. I’m not sure whether it began from reading Heyer or Austen, or buying tons of Kensingtons. I can’t remember a month going by without reading of a ball or the Ton, or some wonderfully hilarious scandal. For me, no other time period has as much conflict and romance as the Regency: the battle between the classes, the rigor and duty of birthright, the role of honor versus personal choice. All set in the background of war, an industrial revolution, and changes in the role of religion. The Regency is a canvas of bright colors.

RR: What inspired Madeleine’s Protector?

VR: Madeline’s Protector was a dream I had in high school.  I remember having Regency overload. I had just watched Lawrence Olivier’s and Greer Garson’s black and white movie version of Pride and Prejudice, wrote a paper on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and read some new marriage of convenience novel. The dream was vivid, and I wrote it as a short story. Years and years later, I picked up one of my old writing diaries, found the story, and started rewriting it.

RR: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

VR: Writing has always been an escape. I used to love putting pen to paper. Now it’s keys to bang.  I won a few writing awards in high school, and served as an editor to my high school paper. I also served as editor-in-chief to my college magazine.

RR: Is Madeleine’s Protector your first publication including articles, short stories, academic work?

VR: I have a few technical publications about martensitic transformations of metals and rapid prototyping for metallic die-casting. (Laurie Alice, are you still awake? I think I dozed off on that one.)  I won writing awards (poems and essays) in high school, but Madeline’s Protector is my first widely-available public fiction work.

RR: You have a rather impressive curriculum vitae. Tell us about your career outside of writing, and what led you in that direction.

VR: My day job is all about software. My company designs portal software, the kind of software you use when you login in to a member-oriented site or e-Learning. In college, I wrote a number of programs to analyze data or to my organize files. It seems a natural fit to keep writing programs that help make people’s lives better or more organized.

Photo of office for day job
Vanessa’s Day Job Office

RR: Does your more logical career and your more heart-felt writing career mesh or do they conflict?

photo of Vanessa's writing office porch
Vanessa’s Fav Writing Office

VR: I think they mesh well. It’s left brain, right brain activity. The right side is the technical side, structuring code, building programming modules. I also think the technical side helps structure the plot, scene orientation, and writing about mechanical actions like working a flintlock. The left side is meant for escapism. It is the softer side that loves poetry, gourmet cooking, and lots of chocolate. Maybe chocolate goes to both sides. The anti-oxidants in the candy must benefit the technical side

RR: What does your family feel about your writing?

Vanessa Rile and hubby
Vanessa Riley and hubby

VR: My mother is very supportive. She’s always been my first editor. I was a little nervous about letting her read the romantic scenes in Madeline’s Protector. Let’s just say, she didn’t put her red pen on those sections.  My husband has given me the freedom to do the things that bring me joy. He’s very supportive but still doesn’t understand why Lord Devonshire has two names. My daughter sits at a little computer next to me trying to write a book like ‘Mommy’.

Vanessa Riley and Ellen
Vanessa Riley and Ellen

RR: What’s your favorite part of the writer’s journey?

VR: Other than typing ‘the end’ or getting the acceptance letters in the mail, my favorite part is interacting with readers. It’s very humbling listening to how someone is moved by what you wrote or even as she/he asks questions like ‘why did Madeline….’  It shows they are getting into the story, and it lets me know in a small way I’ve advance His story.

RR: As a final note, I wish to add that Vanessa, in her other life, has a Ph.D. from one of the most prestigious universities in the country.

RR Question for the audience: Since you’re visiting here, we will presume that you are interested in the Regency; therefore, please share with us:  What got you interested in the Regency time period?

Originally posted 2013-05-01 05:00:00.

Corsets: Putting a Rake’s Knowledge to Good Use

Vanessa here,

To celebrate the release of Madeline’s Protector, we’re running a special contest. Starting today through next Friday, May 3, we’ll feature thought-provoking questions at the end of each post. To enter the contest, you’ll need to supply a thoughtful answer to the question. The grand prize winner at the end of the week will receive a brand new Nook.

But the contest doesn’t stop there. Each day a new post goes up (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) we’ll be giving away mini-prizes for that day only. Here’s a list of the prizes:

Fri, April 26—$10 starbuck’s gift card  – Nancy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mon, April 29–$itune card

Wed, May 1–$10 Amazon Gift certificate

Fri, May 3—A paperback of Madeline’s Protector.

And that’s not all. If you want to be eligible for a second chance to win the Nook tablet, you need to refer someone else to Regency Reflections. (Note: if you bring someone on over, make sure the other person’s comment mentions that you referred them).

If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment to enter the giveaway, or if you want yet a third chance to enter, you can follow this link and enter the contest once on this site: https://contest.io/c/8jhitnpz

Now, on with this post.

In my debut novel, Madeline’s Protector, my heroine, Madeline St. James, has been shot. She’s drenched to the bone, and the hero, Justain Delveaux, Lord Devonshire, has to stop the bleeding, remove the bullet, and keep her from going into shock.

Devonshire is a complex Regency gentleman. He’s a veteran of the Peninsula War and is familiar with patching men up, but a woman?

Luckily, Lord Devonshire is also a reforming rake. His acute knowledge of unmentionables helps him save Miss St. James ‘s life without indecent action. (This is a Christian Regency. 🙂 )

Thus, I researched stays. Stays is the English term for the corset during the Regency. Prior to the 18th century, corsets were stiff devices made to support and shape a woman’s body. They were made of silk, silk brocade, linen, or even leather. They were boned throughout with whalebones, making the unmentionables stiff and restricting.

Here are some pictures of corsets from the 1760 and early 18th century.

corset5
Picture A.

 

Picture B
Picture B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the things that struck me about these corsets were the bright colors of these Pre-Regency pieces. Also, it was not uncommon to find over 150 wale bones inside the corset to sculpt the female shape. Ouch.

These units laced in multiple directions. Picture A laces in the front and the back.  Picture B laces on both sides under the arms. So trying to unhook these models varied from corset to corset. Thus attempting to loosen one of these to aid a stricken woman’s breathing could be useless or fraught with disaster. We’d hope a gentleman wouldn’t need to grope a woman trying to determine where the laces of the corset were positioned.

Typically, the corset did not sit against the skin. A chemise of cotton chintz or muslin covered the body sitting underneath the corset. This continued to be the norm during the Regency.

Between 1785-1800’s, corsets were typically light in color. Boning is used to stiffen, but metal springs are also used to help shape.  Fabric choices are quilted silk taffeta,

Picture C
Picture C

linen, and chintz. Hand darned eyelets routed the laces to keep on the corset. These corsets laced in the front and/or back. (Picture C)

 

 

By 1804, a new type of corset was created. These were soft without the all over use of whalebone.  These corsets were constructed from cotton, cotton sateen, cord quilting, and/ or cotton satin. The bust could have a drawstring to help provide shaping. It might also use a busk, a long strip of metal or flat bone to stiffen the corset. The following picture show a long rectangular section between the breasts (Picture D). That is the busk.

Picture D
Picture D

These corsets used laces in the back (Picture E) to close the garment. Sometimes these corsets are called Long Corsets.

Therefore, the hero during the Regency more often than naught guessed correctly, if he attempted to loosen the corset by finding laces along the heroine’s back.

A man during the Regency did not have to be a rake or a womanizer to have knowledge of a woman’s undergarments. Having a sister, mother, or a dandy as a brother could provide the needed information. Some dandies wore Apollo or Cumberland Corsets. The male corsets bound the stomach and were constructed with whalebone to stiffen.

Picture E

One of the more interesting things, I found during my research is that girls also started

Picture 5
Picture F

in corsets (Picture F) at a young age.  I suppose if you become accustomed to something early in life, it is easier to bear.

 

 

 

Today’s question: If you lived during the Regency and found yourself in a dire circumstance would you:

A. Do everything possible to save yourself, not caring of any possible ramifications.

B. Do everything possible, but you would worry about potential scandals or compromise.

C. Risk everything to a point. Your family name and position could not be threatened.

Please add your comment below. You could be today’s daily post winner. All comments will be entered into our grand prize drawing.  For an extra chance to win click here: https://contest.io/c/8jhitnpz

 

 

Originally posted 2013-04-29 10:00:00.

Madeline’s Protector: A Regency Novel by Vanessa Riley plus Contest

I’m excited to introduce a new Regency novel today. It’s entitled Madeline’s Protector, and headshot_VanessaRileyTit’s the debut novel by Regency Reflections own Vanessa Riley.

To celebrate the release of Madeline’s Protector, we’re running a special contest. Starting today through next Friday, May 3, we’ll feature thought-provoking questions at the end of each post. To enter the contest, you’ll need to supply a thoughtful answer to the question. The grand prize winner at the end of the week will receive a brand new Nook.

But the contest doesn’t stop there. Each day a new post goes up (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) we’ll be giving away mini-prizes for that day only. Here’s a list of the prizes:

Fri, April 26—$10 starbuck’s gift card

Mon, April 29–$itune card

Wed, May 1–$10 Amazon Gift certificate

Fri, May 3—A paperback of Madeline’s Protector.

And that’s not all. If you want to be eligible for a second chance to win the Nook tablet, you need to refer someone else to Regency Reflections. (Note: if you bring someone on over, make sure the other person’s comment mentions that you referred them).

If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment to enter the giveaway, or if you want yet a third chance to enter, you can follow this link and enter the contest once on this site: https://contest.io/c/8jhitnpz

So without further ado, let me tell you a little more about Madeline’s Protector:

If all the young men of England leapt off a cliff, Madeline St. James wouldn’t care. Then MadelinesProtector11125she’d have peace. Her nightmares of courtship would end,and she’d cozy up with a Psalm in her aunt’s quiet sculpture garden. Yet, a chance meeting and a bullet wound change everything, and Madeline must trust the Good Shepherd has led her to the altar to marry a dashing stranger, Lord Devonshire. Death and pain are no strangers to Justain Delveaux, Lord Devonshire, and he vows his dutiful bride will be kept safe and in her place. Though this compromised marriage is in-name-only, his wife and her unwavering faith both intrigue and allure him. Perchance when he thwarts his brother’s killer, Justain will tempt the unpredictable Madeline with the comfort of his arms. But can Madeline and the stubborn earl forge a true bond before the next disaster strikes?

I’ve read this book, and it’s filled with witty barbs and intellectual insights between the hero and heroine, as well as a pinch of danger and an insatiable desire for revenge. And I’m not the only person who thinks so, either. Ms. Riley’s work has garnered praise from award winning authors such as Laurie Alice Eakes and Mildred Colvin and June Foster. And Blogcritics is calling Madeline’s Protector a “refreshing change from the norm of this genre.” So if you’re looking for a fast-paced Regency read, you’ll likely enjoy this debut novel.

Today’s giveaway: $10 Starbucks gift Card

Today’s Question: If you were a Regency Mama, which suitor would you pick for your marriageable daughter and why: The son of a family friend, a titled reformed rake, a wealthy gentleman looking for a 2nd wife?

Be sure to come back on Monday for a historical post by debut author Vanessa Riley and a chance to win an itunes gift card!

 

 

 

 

Originally posted 2013-04-26 10:00:00.

How Regency Ladies Bought Jane Austen

Kristi here. At Regency Reflections we celebrate books containing inspirational stories set in Regency England and this year we have a lot to celebrate. This month alone, two of our own authors saw their debut novels hit the shelves. (Yea, Sarah and Vanessa!)

BooksTablet
Image courtesy of Maggie Smith, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, we have a variety of options when purchasing our reading material. We can get the book electronically, printed and bound with a stunning cover, or even read to us via audiobook in some cases. We can make our purchases online or in a physical bookstore.

Aside from the very obvious lack of internet purchasing and electronic book readers, people wishing to purchase books in Regency England faced other obstacles on the road to filling their personal libraries.

For one thing, books were considerably more expensive in the 19th century. An ordinary servant would have to pay half a month’s salary to purchase even the cheapest of novels. No wonder a full and robust library was such a clear sign of wealth!

Let’s assume that you did have the money to fill your shelves with volumes of written words. How would you purchase them?

Lackington Allen Co Bookstore, 1809 Ackermann print
Lackington Allen Co Bookstore, 1809 Ackermann print

Bookstores were becoming quite prevalent by the time the Regency rolled around. Though considerably smaller than your local Barnes and Noble, the were considered large stores at the time. Many served as printers and circulating libraries as well – more on that in a bit. Books could also be purchased on subscription, if you wished to support a particular author or project.

One very large difference in the book buying experience of today and that of two hundred years ago is the cover. Can you imagine getting to choose what the cover of your book looked like? Do you want the picture of the couple or one of a meadow? Maybe you don’t want a picture at all, just the title and author in large letters. It’s pretty hard to fathom.

Back then you weren’t choosing a picture, but choosing the material. And it was more than just hardback or paperback kind of choices. Books were sold unbound and uncut. People would then take the book to a bookbinder. The wealthy had them bound in leather, which varied considerably in quality and types, while the more frugal had theirs sewn into stiff cardboard with a flexible connecting piece. The outside edges were then cut with a sharp knife and the book was ready to read.

If you couldn’t afford to purchase a book you might could afford a subscription to a circulating library. This was a combination of a current day library and coffee shop. The size of the libraries varied greatly. At the turn of the century (1801) the largest could be found in Liverpool with more than 8000 books available. For the same cost as purchasing 2-3 books a year, a person had access to an entire library.

The sheer expense of being an avid reader made being well read a sign of gentility and wealth. It also explains why so many stories were printed as serials in newspapers and magazines to make them more accessible to more people.

Have you had a unique experience buying a book or going to the library? Share it in the comments!

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Originally posted 2013-04-24 10:00:00.