The Divinity School 7(?)

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda’s mother made it clear that she must attend the assembly. After a short carriage journey, it only being six or so miles between Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury, they have arrived. Mr Jameson just asked Amanda to dance, despite her interest in a mathematics problem. The set over, Amanda wants to return to her usual pursuits when her mother stops her.


Amanda reached for her reticule; to retrieve her notes, when her mother snapped, “Leave that; we should be sociable; you may play with your figures some other time.”

“I don’t know anyone.”

“Surely you do,” Mrs Bentley waved to another woman with her daughter, “You can’t have forgotten Louisa.”

“More hair than wit,” Amanda muttered under her breath.

“Don’t be so snobby, you know that’s not true; she’s a delightful chit and you used to be such friends; come,” Mrs Bentley took her daughter’s hand and dragged her around the outside of the room.

Louisa bounced as she said to Amanda, “I saw you dancing with that handsome Mr Jameson; did you know he’s the chaplain at Mrs Hudson’s academy?”

Amanda said, “A chaplain?”

“Yes,” Louisa bounced, “He is a divinity student … Oxford I think … on leave from exhaustion.”

“Exhaustion; from what – too many compline services?”

 


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

My coauthor received a hint that our titles are not quite right for the genre. (Thank you for it. There’s nothing like a Friday deadline and a hurricane to put one behind.)

Though not full of hot Gypsy lust, this is a romance.  Albeit one with spies, secrets, and the occasional murder. You wouldn’t know it from the title – which sounds like a theological treatise. (As will eventually be revealed ‘the Divinity School’ is the cover name for a code-breaking establishment.)

So we were wondering about other titles. Such as:

Amanda Breaks the Code (sounds too Hardy-Girlish)

Decrypted Secrets.

Secrets Revealed.

I think we have a great deal of work to do. None of these are much better.

 


I’ve put up a couple of things on instafreebie. The first is a short story, To Court a Dragon.

The second is the start of a science fiction story in the same universe as Cynthia the Invincible, but set in 1893 Dartmoor, The Curious Case of Miss James. It’s available on Amazon.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Divinity School 6

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda’s mother made it clear that she must attend the assembly. After a short carriage journey, it only being six or so miles between Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury, they have arrived. Mr Jameson just asked Amanda to dance, despite her interest in a mathematics problem.


“Yes, but I’m not skilled.”

“Then let me be your tutor.”

Amanda joined him in the line on the floor; the orchestra played the opening chords of a country-dance and the crowd began to move through the figures.

After a few moments Mr Jameson said, “It is customary to converse during the dance.”

“I’m counting my steps,” Amanda watched her feet on the floor.

When they reached a pause in the figure, he said, “Look at me while you dance.”

Amanda looked up and he smiled at her; he continued, “It’s easier if you watch your partner.”

It was their turn to move, circling around another couple; Amanda relaxed with the practice; she said to Mr Jameson, “I should dance more often.”

“Yes … you should, with me.”

“Not two sets in a row; I’m not fast.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

The featured image shows dancing at Almack’s. Actually it shows Beau Brummel giving his critical opinion about the dancing.  Something tells me he was not amused.

Despite Mr Darcy’s comments to the contrary, dancing was a critical social skill.  Amanda, living on the outskirts of the polite world, is doing her best to stay in step. At least she’s aware that dancing with the same man too often would have consequences.


I’ve put up a couple of things on instafreebie. The first is a short story, To Court a Dragon.

The second is the start of a science fiction story in the same universe as Cynthia the Invincible, but set in 1893 Dartmoor, The Curious Case of Miss James. It’s available on Amazon.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

You can find my, well our, works here.

Field Research

I’ve been writing, at least when i’m writing regency stories, from the English or British viewpoint. You know, where the French are devil incarnate. While Napoleon, who his own soldiers called “le Chapeau” (the hat) which is vaguely – more than vaguely rude, really was a despicable character, the majority of the French were not.

So I’m tagging along on a trip where my co-author is talking about Restricted Boltzmann Machines. He’ll be occupied with computer stuff and I’ll look around for culture, ambiance and (one hopes) good food.

The Divinity School 5

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda’s mother made it clear that she must attend the assembly. After a short carriage journey, it only being six or so miles between Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury, they have arrived.


The young man, who stood next to her father, said, “I should like the honour of the next dance, if I may?”

Amanda blushed, “Yes,” She rose to curtsey to him; her notes lying, unbidden on the table.

Mr Jameson glanced at them; then he reached over and folded them, neatly, and gave them to her, “Don’t forget your work.”

Amanda curtseyed and blushed again, “Thank you,” she took the paper and replaced it in her reticule.

He said, “It looked important.”

“Just some scratchings – a problem from Dr Hutton’s book.”

“His course in mathematics? I’ve been told it’s an excellent work.”

The orchestra reached the end of the 2/3; the final chords echoed through the room and interrupted Amanda’s reply; a pause in the music preceded the introduction of the next set.

Mr Jameson inclined his head, “Would you care to dance?”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

There’s a revolution in transportation that is underway during the time frame of this story. Canals would connect large parts of the UK withing ten-fifteen years.  The Kennett and Avon Canal was finished in 1810. The featured image shows the canal in Bath. Jane Austen would have been familiar with it, although it was a rough place in her time.

This bridge, in the middle of farmland, and almost literally in the middle of nowhere shows Regency decorations. It feels as if it were Mr Darcy’s moonshot, and in some what that’s true.


This lock, in Bradford on Avon, would have been there while Amanda worked on her math problems.

As would this, the Avoncliff Aqueduct. It’s next to the Cross Guns which is an elegant pub – though that doesn’t stop the chavs from decorating the path with technicolour yawns (I know that’s Australian).

The last locks to be finished, in 1810, were the Devizes steps. They make for an exhausting day, even with modern canal boats.

If you’re a yank and want to try a canal trip, the trick is to go directly to the UK sites. The US ones tend to double the price.


I’ve put up a couple of things on instafreebie. The first is a short story, To Court a Dragon.

The second is the start of a science fiction story in the same universe as Cynthia the Invincible, but set in 1893 Dartmoor, The Curious Case of Miss James. It’s available on Amazon.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Divinity School 2.

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda has just asked if she must attend the assembly.


Her mother echoed her, almost mocking her question, “Must we go to the assembly?”
“Yes; It’s only in Chipping Sodbury.”
Her mother took a deep breath and tried, once more, to explain, “Amanda, dearest; dearest Amanda … do you want to be an old maid, a burden on your brothers and an embarrassment for your sister?”
Amanda gazed over her mother’s shoulder, “No, not as such, but the company … In Chipping Sodbury of all places … it is vulgar.”
“Not half as vulgar as the hatters in Frampton,” Her mother paused, “Nor as vulgar as the iron master I married.”
“Don’t you love father?”
“I do, but he can be so … so annoyingly common.”
“Rich, wasn’t that enough?”
“For my father, yes; however, not for us; you should marry a gentleman.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

While she seems strict, Amanda’s mother has her head screwed on the right way. The alternatives to marriage for an unmarried woman, even a mathematically inclined one, were bleak.

To set the scene, this building in Lacock abbey is fairly typical of village buildings.

You’ve seen it – Lacock abbey is the background in many films – ranging from Pride and Prejudice to Harry Potter. The Red Lion pub (I don’t have a good picture of it but it’s in the centre in this picture) is a dead giveaway.

Main street Lacock Abbey.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. In the end, the way to fix my mistakes was to issue a new edition. I still used kindle create but in a more native way to produce a “reflowable” book.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

The Divinity School

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception.


Amanda looked up from her stitchery at the noise; her parents were arguing; they always were arguing. This time it seemed to be about the assembly tonight; her father did not want to attend it. She thought, “Perhaps they love to argue,” and with them distracted, put down her stitchery. She rose and slipped away to an upstairs room; a room away from the noise, but more important, it was where she hid her books. The ones that were too exciting for a mere female.
Ignoring the distant cries of battle from her parents, she sat in the window. She opened her book, a tattered copy of Hutton’s ‘Course in Mathematics’ and re-read the inscription, “To my darling sister, better you than me, Freddy.” She paged through the book to find the section, on symmetric polynomials; it was hard going, but interesting.
A gentle knock, on the door frame, disturbed her. Mary, her maid, said, “Miss, your mother is asking for you; remember, there is an assembly tonight.”


My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.

As a bit of a hint, symmetric polynomials were the basis for Galois’ investigations into polynomial groups. Groups form the basis for much of modern cryptography – including the https you don’t see at this website. Amanda won’t go there, but … well you’ll see. Any road, Dr Hutton’s book was state of the art for 1809, and her brother has done her a great favour by sending it to her. Mind you, he wants to be a poet – a much more suitable occupation for a gentleman.

Chipping Sodbury today

The assembly takes place in Chipping Sodbury, a small town near Coalpit Heath, which is near the villages of Frampton and Cotterell. Not to mention the thriving iron works at Iron Acton. It doesn’t look it today, but the area was a hotbed of coal mining and iron working in the early 19th century. Mind you, Frampton was an industrial centre for making hats. Today they’re all suburban communities on the outskirts of Bristol. The featured image shows how some of the area looks today – the buildings in the foreground would have been there, but those on the hill were built mostly after the second world war.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

Illegal aliens is up for order on Amazon. In the end, the way to fix my mistakes was to issue a new edition. I still used kindle create but in a more native way to produce a “reflowable” book.

You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.

You can find my, well our, works here.

Modern Love

John Keats, 1795 – 1821

And what is love? It is a doll dress’d up
For idleness to cosset, nurse, and dandle;
A thing of soft misnomers, so divine
That silly youth doth think to make itself
Divine by loving, and so goes on
Yawning and doting a whole summer long,
Till Miss’s comb is made a pearl tiara,
And common Wellingtons turn Romeo boots;
Then Cleopatra lives at number seven,
And Antony resides in Brunswick Square.
Fools! if some passions high have warm’d the world,
If Queens and Soldiers have play’d deep for hearts,
It is no reason why such agonies
Should be more common than the growth of weeds.
Fools! make me whole again that weighty pearl
The Queen of Egypt melted, and I’ll say
That ye may love in spite of beaver hats.

(Bath rather than London for the image.)

England in 1819 #fridayreads #fridaypoem

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792 – 1822

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,—
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn,—mud from a muddy spring,—
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,—
A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field,—
An army, which liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless—a book sealed;
A Senate,—Time’s worst statute unrepealed,—
Are graves, from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestous day.

Viewed through the rose-tinted spectacles of Regency Romance, we tend to think of the Regency as calm, beautiful, and serene. An island of beautiful people in the midst of historical turbulence. It was nothing of the sort. The world was changing at a rate scarcely equalled. Even though that Corsican monster had finally been sent to bed in Saint Helena.

The Georgian period had been one of stability, where everyone knew their place and stayed in it. No more.

The Prince Regent was the quintessential “frat-boy” to borrow a modern term, and his father, George III was completely insane.

In some ways it was extremely modern, more like 2016 than we’d like to think.

A Meat Pie #recipe #regency

A Meat Pie in the English style.

2015-10-04 16.47.53

This is something that would have been eaten during the Regency (although without the pyrex baking dish). Dashed good, if I say so myself.

Cut 2 lbs (1 kilo +-) of beef into 1 inch/ 2cm cubes.
Marinate overnight in:
1/2 bottle guiness stout
1 cup red wine
teaspoon dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed.
2 bay leaves.

3-4 hours before eating:
cut up and saute:
2 onions
handful of mushrooms
2-3 carrots

when soft add the marinade, a teaspoon of boullion (or cup of stock) and reduce.

Meanwhile, flour the beef and brown it in a frying pan.

Once the marinade is reduced:
put the vegetables in the bottom of a baking dish, cover with the meat. Use the reduced marinade to deglaze the  pan the beef was browned in. (There will be flour that has stuck to the pan, this will dissolve it to thicken the gravy.) Add the deglazings to the baking dish. If the volume is correct, it will just cover the meat.

Bake in a cool oven (300F, 150C) for 3 hours. Use a covered baking dish. (important, you don’t want it to dry out.) The meat should be very tender by this time.

Remove from the oven, place a pie crust over the top (I used Type L biscuit mix here; my sister in law in the UK uses suet dumplings.)

Return to the oven and bake at 375F 180C for 45 minutes until the crust is done.

A Designing Woman 4 for #wewriwar

More from the Steampunk book

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors.  This is a sample from my latest work in progress, “A Designing Woman”, and I hope you enjoy it.  This is the start of the next chapter and introduces more of the family. Continuing from last week, Amanda’s father and brother quiz her about the mysterious Mr. Williams.
(last weeks snippet).


 She laughed, “Don’t get too far ahead in your hopes. He’s studying for the ministry, and I somehow cannot see myself as a minister’s wife. Could you imagine me doing everything Mrs. Peabody does?”

Privately, Lord Caterham had to admit that he couldn’t see that either, but this was such a step in the right direction for his daughter that he wasn’t about to throw the least bit of obstacle in its path. So he changed the subject, “Did Mr. Williams mention which college he was a member of?”
New College, Freddie’s; doesn’t remember Freddy, though.”
Who doesn’t remember me?” Frederick found his way to the parlor, having dealt with the horses, or at least ensured that the stable hands were at their work.
Amanda regarded her brother with a mixture of affection and envy. Affection, because he was a likeable if somewhat flighty, young man, and envy, because he could attend university while she could not.


This is a work in progress. Here are links on tablo and authonomy.  Apparently Steampunk implies Victorian, Dieselpunk the 1920’s. What-punk should a Regency period book be? Horse-punk isn’t right.

Despite being told in no uncertain terms that “steampunk” meant Victorian with ubiquitous steam technology, I’m calling this steampunk, although given the amount of time they will later spend on the river, maybe “Steampunt” is better. Amanda is working on what will become the defining technology of the 19th century, steam. Although, a few things, like the Napoleonic war will get in the way.