I hope everybody's been having a wonderful summer! Here's some of what I've been up to over the past few weeks--at least the parts that don't involve me being glued to my computer writing, writing, writing, sometimes gleefully, sometimes in :::headdesk::: misery, or, alternatively, engrossed in somebody else's novel. Since these activities do not make for the most thrilling blog post topics, I will spare you, dear reader. Instead, here some of the highlights of the OTHER stuff I've been doing! :)
My Summer Fun So Far
Then There Were The Aliens
WHAT?? Coming home from grocery shopping one night with E, got out of the car and saw these BIZARRE silent floating lights over my neighborhood...
Eventually I realized someone was sending up burning lanterns a la "Tangled." At least I keep telling myself that's what it was... (In case you never saw Tangled, see what I'm talking about below. And if you haven't, egads, man! or woman! you don't know what you're missing! My favorite character: Max the horse.)
In Writing News
Some folks have been wondering when the next Moonlight Square is coming. Just to let you know, it's still on deck, just running a bit behind due to SECRETS OF THE DEEP coming out to be such an epic fantasy sized tome. That set the schedule back a bit, and then I had to finish my part on Harmony Falls, Book 1: DREAM OF ME. That, too, took me somewhat longer than expected because writing contemporary romance is still a brand-new skill set for this ol' historical gal. What a learning curve! But it's exciting to be expanding my abilities, so I appreciate your patience. Good books take time, and my readers deserve my best.
I can tell you one thing, though -- between Harmony Falls and Moonlight Square, it's going to be a busy autumn, book-release-wise! (Is that a word?) There are cover reveals coming soon, but all in due time. Just wanted to let you know, never fear, the mysterious Duke of Rivenwood is still waiting in the shadows for his rendezvous with you, my dear reader! (Sign up for my mailing list if you'd like to receive an email alert as soon as it's available. That will save you the trouble of having to check back, plus you get a free gift, my info-packed 52-page Regency Glossary.) That's all for now!
Enjoy the final month of summer, friends! I hope all you moms out there get a little well-earned me-time with the kiddos back in school, Teachers, of whom I know there are many in my audience, best of luck with your new classes! Thanks for visiting, everybody ~ more to come soon! xo, Gaelen
July 24-27 ~ If you love Romance & Fantasy, you're going to LOVE this big sale going on now, for 3 days only! Imagination rules, from fairytale kingdoms, mysterious mermaids, embattled sexy sorcerers and wandering gods, to epic-fantasy style medieval quests, like in my book, PALADIN'S PRIZE (Age of Heroes, Book 1), starring an uber-alpha "royal champion" knight and a mystic healer (with attendant fairies!). [See below.] So get your geek on, expect the unexpected, and check out all the included titles here:
New York Times bestselling author Gaelen Foley leads readers on a magical journey to a fairytale land, where good battles evil, adventure beckons the daring, and epic love awaits the true of heart...
4 1/2 Stars from Romance Junkies!
"Paladin's Prize is a rare treat for fantasy lovers, the perfect blending of high fantasy and romance." ~ Romance Junkies
Resolutely noble, impossibly brave, paladin Sir Thaydor Clarenbeld serves as royal champion for the kingdom of Veraidel. But when the king becomes corrupt, Thaydor speaks out—and promptly ends up banished from court, sent off as a knight errant on an endless round of quests meant to get him killed. One mission nearly does. Covered in wounds after a monstrous battle, he lies at death’s door when rescue arrives in the form of the beautiful, mystic healer known as the Maid of the Mount.
The lady Wrynne du Mere gave up a luxurious life to devote herself to caring for others. When she finds the famous hero broken and bleeding, saving him will take all her skill—and a fateful dash of magic. And it will cost her dearly. For the dangerous spell will leave their souls forever entwined, and his foes, so many and so powerful, will target her, as well. Wrynne knows to survive and restore justice to the land, they must join forces. But for how long can they resist the searing temptation of desire?
Grab Your Copy of PALADIN'S PRIZE now!
The World of the Age of Heroes series...
Hooray! It's Release Day for my E.G. Foley middle grade/YA fantasy series! SECRETS OF THE DEEP, Book 5 of the Gryphon Chronicles, is now on sale!!! Dive in to this all-ages beach read!
Some lost treasures were never meant to be found…
With the Dark Druids after him and a magical war brewing, thirteen-year-old Jake Everton must lie low for a while, so his Elder witch aunt takes him and the gang on a long beach holiday, out of harm’s way. But sure enough, Jake plunges into trouble once again when he meets a feisty royal mermaid on the run.
Princess Sapphira, daughter of King Nereus, recently ventured into the deep and stumbled upon a powerful artifact from ancient Atlantis. But the mysterious orb holds deadlier secrets than she ever suspected, and now every power-mad tyrant in the Seven Seas wants it—especially the dread, undead pirate king, Captain Davy Jones. When the legendary Lord of the Locker invades her father’s kingdom and takes her little sister hostage, demanding the orb in exchange, Sapphira blames herself for the catastrophe and means to hand it over. But Jake finds out that if Jones gets the orb, he’ll use its power to drown the world in a second Noah’s Flood!
Now it’s up to the aspiring young Lightrider and his friends to help the mermaid rescue her little sister and save the world from the same watery doom that drowned Atlantis—if Jake and the headstrong princess don’t strangle each other first!
As we in the USA honor the memory of our fallen heroes this Memorial Day, my thoughts are with all the military families who’ve lost loved ones, and with the veterans who’ve lost buddies on what’s got to be a painful but proud day each year. I’m grateful for the chance to say thank you for your sacrifice, and I'll continue to remember our brave military personnel in my prayers.
Now pass the apple pie! ;) Hope you're all having a great weekend and getting to spend time with loved ones and enjoying some much-deserved sunshine! Book news coming soon, just wanted to post a quick hello and wish all my readers a Happy Memorial Day!
If you were to travel back in time to the late 17th century to visit one of the grand estates in Britain, you would probably find it surrounded with beautiful, symmetrical gardens, accurately laid out in pleasing designs, where nature was strictly regulated and visibly tamed by man. But soon, tastes were changing, and in the early 18th century one man revolutionized British garden architecture by creating gardens that were modelled on paintings of an idealized landscape.
This man was William Kent, and he invented what become known as the British landscape garden.
His first garden project was Chiswick, where he worked largely under the guidance of his patron Lord Burlington. It was his next projects, among them Stowe and Stourhead, where he could fully develop his vision for this new style of garden. He designed the garden of Stowe House as an idyllic landscape with hills and valleys. A small river leisurely meanders through it, and small temples draw the eye and form focal points for beautiful vistas. Just like a landscape painter, the garden architect designs views and landscapes.
Kent's ideas for garden design soon spread, not the least because of the men he was working with at Stowe, namely James Gibbs and Lancelot "Capability" Brown, who would become the greatest of all British garden architects and whose 300th birthday we celebrate this year.
One of the intriguing things about landscape gardens are certainly the small buildings – the follies – dotted around the landscape. They reflect contemporary tastes, but can also be wildly eccentric. At Stowe we find neoclassical designs such as the Temple of Concord and Victory…
…or the Rotunda…
…next to some of the very first neo-gothic buildings in Britain, such as Gibbs' Gothic Temple…
…and even the very first building in Britain built in the Chinese style.
The garden at Stowe House was thus very much a forerunner in fashions of design: both chinoiserie and neo-gothic design would grow in popularity throughout the 18th century. Indeed, some people even put fake ruins into their gardens. A good example of this is the ruined castle built on the orders of the 1st Earl of Harwick in the gardens of Wimpole Hall.
Yet the large parks and gardens were not merely meant for pleasure, but also had to serve a practical function: they had to provide fruits and vegetables for the kitchen of the country house. So as not to ruin the beautiful views, the kitchen gardens were usually built a little away from the house and were sometimes additionally shielded by trees. They were surrounded by high brick walls that served both as a protection from the wind and as a natural heat storage so even delicate plants like peach trees could prosper.
On some estates, the kitchen gardens were integrated into the whole design of the grounds, and the hothouses in particular became lavish buildings which any owner would be proud to show to his guests. One of the plants cultivated in hothouses was the pineapple, which ideally would be ripe in time for Christmas. The 4th Earl of Dunmore seems to have had a particular liking for pineapples – a preference that is reflected in the very design of one of his large hothouses: the Dunmore Pineapple.
Find out more:
William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K99dalOrR1c
Alan Titchmarsh gets a chance to look at Capability Brown's plans for the park and gardens of Belvoir Castle (pronounced "Beaver" Castle) – and they're pretty big: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gd7hglXqtic
Capability Brown's EPIC engineering: A look at the artifical lakes at Wotton House https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0fsB5cSaUQ
And if you really, really, REALLY want to dig into garden history, check out the Garden History Lecture series organized by Claremont Fan Court School:
Lecture 1: Subverting the Palladian: William Kent and the Eclectic Urge https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWxAaxUNnB8
Lecture 2: The Omnipotent Magician: Lancelot "Capability" Brown https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEsWWiYW8gE
Attributions of Images
Stowe: Grecian Valley Looking towards the Temple of Concord and Victory: By Philip Halling, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13521107
Stowe: The Rotondo from across the Eleven Acre Lake: By Philip Halling, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4391378
Gothic Temple, Stowe: By Amanda Lewis, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4391286
Stowe: The Chinese House: By Philip Halling, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8397611
The Wimpole Folly: By Users Tysto, Nickarse2412 on en.wikipedia - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1076760
The Dunmore Pineapple: By giannandrea - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12863790
May Note to Readers
Hello there, my dear blog visitors! Hope your May is off to a great start. For me, I'm on an especially intense writing binge this month -- and loving it. Given all the feverish creativity going on behind the scenes here, I thought this would be a good time to introduce you to my muse. *grin*
Now, you probably thought a muse is a light and sparkly, airy-fairy creature sort of like the one in this CLASSIC Albert Brooks comedy that every writer/creative should watch for a hearty chuckle. And, I admit, sometimes my muse can be like this, too...
But, for the most part, to be perfectly honest, my muse bears a much closer resemblance to this guy, lol...
Sir, yes, sir! Discipline, discipline, discipline. LOL. And so you can see why I'm keeping this blog post short ~ better get back to it before I end up with latrine duty!!!
# # #
Before I sign off, I also wanted to wish all you wonderful moms out there a very happy Mother's Day. Forget the brain surgeons and the rocket scientists ~ you've got the most important job there is. Hope you have a wonderful celebration with your family. I'm looking forward to giving my Mom a big hug this Sunday and sitting down to a lovely brunch with her and my sisters and their husbands and the whole gang. Lots of love to you and yours, Gaelen
Earth Day is coming up this Friday, so my contemporary co-writer and dear sis, Jaz Kennedy, and I decided to drop in for a visit to Harmony Falls!
With all the farms, forests, mountains and rivers that surround our fictional small town in Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands, we decided it would be fun to see what some of the outdoorsy heroes and free-spirited heroines in our upcoming small town romance series have got going on for the big event!
Read on for a peek into everyday life at Harmony Falls...
She tingled a little inside, hoping her efforts to get the whole town involved would prove to be successful.
Retirees, teenagers, single dads, preschoolers, farmhands, sorority sisters, doctors, painters and firemen packed into the Knickpoint Brewing Company for a hearty breakfast before setting out.
“Come on in, everybody! You’re gonna need lots of energy before you get working. We’ve got a beautiful brunch spread here for all our dedicated volunteers!”
The Knickpoint was an old speak-easy-turned-brewpub, owned by Jules’ good friend Jack Brand–and the giant ex-Marine was a bit of a hometown hero. After his last tour of duty, he’d bought the abandoned pub and refurbished it with his bare hands, right down to its original mahogany carved panels.
Now the town’s preferred watering hole would serve as Earth Day Festivity Headquarters, and it was already getting crowded. Folks lined up at the buffet table nestled by the jukebox, chatting excitedly as they loaded their plates with waffles, scrambled eggs and bacon, getting fueled up for a day of honest work.
Jack placed a gentle but calloused hand on Jules’ elbow. “Hey, red, make sure you let everyone know to report back here for free pints when they’re finished. We’re tapping a keg of Happy Planet Pilsner at fifteen-hundred hours.”
“Yes, sir!” Jules replied, pulling a pen from behind her ear. A strand of ginger hair flung down below her chin as she reviewed her list.
“Where are my garbage pickers?” Regina DuPont bellowed from the doorway.
“Reggie!” called Jules, waving. “You made it!”
One of Jules’ best girlfriends, Reggie was a petite yet regal blonde with ice-blue eyes. As an EMT medic, she was absolutely unflappable—with an occasionally wicked sense of humor.
At the moment, she had her hands full, balancing boxes of trash bags and rubber gloves, and a stack of yellow safety vests ready to distribute to the roadside cleanup crews. [CLICK READ MORE BELOW THE PICTURE TO CONTINUE!]
Imagine you are a Regency miss about to travel to London for your first Season. What's the most important thing you need to know – apart from how to dance gracefully (not the waltz, that dance is terribly improper for young girls!), how to sing prettily, not to traipse around London on your own (*gasp!*), and not to walk or drive down St. James's Street under any circumstances? You need to know how to address all the titled personages you're about to meet, of course!
The British were (and still are) a very class-conscious bunch, and not to know the different forms of address possibly resulted in great embarrassment to yourself. So, BE PREPARED! (A most excellent motto for both boy scouts and Regency misses.)
Let's start with some basics: First names were used only among family members and intimate friends, but even for husband and wife, it wasn't too unusual to use the surname or the title when addressing each other. Remember Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in Austen's Pride and Prejudice? They used surnames when talking to each other. However, there's every indication that Lizzie and Mr. Darcy won't follow that example, but will use a much more informal form of address with each other, as was becoming more and more fashionable among young people.
Women more readily used first names with each other than men: familiarity among men was typically indicated by using last names (without "Mr."), titles (without "Lord"), or abbreviations of titles (even among family members, abbreviations of titles were often used). Thus, even among the members of the Cavendish family, the son and heir of the 5th Duke of Devonshire was known as "Hart" after his courtesy title of Marquess of Hartington. Indeed, even his own mother, the fêted Georgiana, called him Hart instead of by his Christian name William.
And speaking of titles – now, how do you address people of rank and title? (We will assume that our Regency miss meets them only face to face and doesn't write to them – who's got time to write letters in the middle of the London Season anyway?!? – and won't cover the specific rules of how to address people of rank in written correspondence.)
Order of Precedence
Among the peerage, there are five different grades of… hm… aristocratic exaltedness:
duke / duchess
marquess / marchioness
earl / countess
viscount / viscountess
baron / baroness
As most titled people bore (and still bear) more than one title, the heir of a peer (typically the eldest son) would be given one of said peer's lesser titles as a so-called courtesy title. That way, everybody would know to be extra nice to him because he was destined for power and privilege when he inherits.
Should you be so lucky as to meet a duke – sadly, they weren't quite as common as our Regency novels might lead you to believe (I've seen estimates of 27 English dukes total in existence during the Regency period) – let's say, William Snorris, who holds the title of Duke of Mulberingham, you would formally address him in conversation as "Your Grace" (if you know him socially, you might even address him as "Duke"). His wife Sarah would also be addressed as "Your Grace" (or "Duchess"). His eldest son bears the courtesy title of Marquess of Snotheringham and would be addressed as Lord Snotheringham and "My Lord". The younger sons of a duke are addressed as "Lord + first name"; the daughters as "Lady + first name." In conversation, our duke would be referred to as either "the Duke" (if there was no other duke around) or "the Duke of Mulberingham."
The Marquess of Twillham is referred to as Lord Twillham in conversation and is addressed as "My Lord" (formally) or "Lord Twillham" (socially). His marchioness is addressed as either "My Lady" (formally) or "Lady Twillham" (socially). His eldest son is known by his courtesy title; his younger sons are addressed as "Lord + first name" and his daughters as "Lady + first name." (BTW, if you've seen it also spelled "Marquis" that is the French spelling, which became more common in England during the Victorian era, due to a warming of relations between France and England with the Napoleonic wars a few decades behind them.)
John Willingham, who holds the title of Earl of Alwinton, is referred to as Lord Alwinton in conversation and is addressed as "My Lord" (formally) or "Lord Alwinton" (socially). His countess is addressed as either "My Lady" (formally) or "Lady Alwinton" (socially). His eldest son is known by his courtesy title; his younger sons are addressed as Mr. Willingham and his daughter as "Lady + first name."
Willam Winsworth, who holds the title of Viscount Crumley (no "of"!!!), is referred to as Lord Crumley in conversation and is addressed as "My Lord" (formally) or "Lord Crumley (socially). His viscountess is Lady Crumley and is addressed as either "My Lady" or "Lady Crumley." All of his sons are addressed as Mr. Winsworth and his daughter as Miss Winsworth.
John Green, who holds the title of Baron Snodworth, is always referred to as Lord Snodworth and is addressed as either "My Lord" (formally) or "Lord Snodworth" (socially). His wife is Lady Snodworth and is addressed as either "My Lady" (formally) or "Lady Snodworth) socially. Lord Snodworth's sons are all addressed as Mr. Green and his daughter as "Miss Green."
If our Regency miss wants to learn ALL about the members of the peerage before she comes to London, she's well advised to buy a copy of Debrett's, which was and is the who-is-who of the British aristocracy. From Debrett's you can learn all about who married whom, what kind of names they gave to their children, what's their family history, etc. People would often add handwritten notes to entries of peers they were interested in or knew socially. (You can visit their Very Interesting website here: http://www.debretts.com/.)
So what's a Regency miss to do if she's still hopelessly confused by those dratted titles (and we haven't touched upon the members of the gentry and those pesky barons and knights!)? Best perfect your dancing, my dear, so you can at least shine in that regard! :)
Occasional musings on books, life, writing, and a general Whazzup! from your 'umble author.