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.

A Designing Woman 3 for #wewriwar

More from the Pre-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. There is excitement in the air; Amanda finally shows some interest in a young man.
(last weeks snippet).


The next morning, Lord Caterham and his son Frederick thundered into the stable-yard on their hunters. They had ridden hard from Ewelme manor in Dursley after receiving important news the night before via a messenger from Lady Caterham. Lord Caterham rushed into the house, while Frederick ensured that the stable hands properly rubbed down, cooled off, watered and fed their horses.
“Elizabeth,” Lord Caterham shouted after he entered the hall, “Is it true?”
“Is what true?”
“Amanda finally has a beau.”
“Quiet, please; let’s talk in the parlor. Things are, I think, at a delicate stage and I don’t want to upset them.”
A few minutes later, in the parlor, behind a closed and latched door, Lady Caterham filled her master and helpmate in on what had happened.

“They met at the assembly. Danced three dances; would have danced a fourth had manners allowed; then he rode here yesterday, ostensibly to see how we had recovered from our exertions, but”

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.

I’m calling this proto-steampunk simply because I was told in no uncertain terms that “steampunk” meant Victorian with ubiquitous steam technology. Amanda’s working before that and during the Regency, so it cannot be steampunk.

A designing woman #2 for #WeWriWa

More from the Pre-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. Mr. Williams has come for a visit, the day after the assembly, and is now walking with Amanda on their way to the riverbank. They’d have seen her workshop, but for wearing their good clothes. He’s just asked her about the papers he read (in last weeks snippet).


“What papers?”
“The ones in the library; I must say, you have a fine hand.”
“I hope you didn’t mix them up, they were in order.”
“No, I could see that.” Then Mr. Williams gently chided her, “May I add, that ‘Principles of Mechanics’ is an unusual read for a young lady. I’d have thought ‘the Mysteries of Udolpho’ or some such romance would be to your liking.”
Amanda stopped short. She was about to reply sharply, and then noticed the smile on his face, “You’re teasing me, aren’t you?”
“Yes.”
“I never saw the point in those books, all heartthrob and passion in some made up land; I want to do real things.”


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.

Google’s being dashed odd – the only way I can reply to comments is to edit the post. Oh well, there’s always wordpress. Turns out, Google and Firefox don’t get along on windows, but they do on my trusty Linux box.

I’m calling this proto-steampunk simply because I was told in no uncertain terms that “steampunk” meant Victorian with ubiquitous steam technology. Amanda’s working before that and during the Regency, so it cannot be steampunk.

A Designing Woman 1 for #wewriwa

More from the Proto-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. Mr. Williams has come for a visit, the day after the assembly, and is waiting in the library. Like most libraries of the time, it was more for show than reading. He’s found his way to Amanda’ corner and is strangely interested in what he finds.


Instead of the unused order that characterized the rest of the library, he came to a section that was in active chaos. He picked up one book that was lying open, face down, and read, “Principles of Mechanics.” He frowned at the equations it contained. Then he smiled to himself and put it back. A disorderly stack of pages was tucked into a corner of the room nearby. They were full of drawings and calculations; all were done in a fine feminine hand.
He paged through the sheets and studied Amanda’s work. As he gazed with interest at a calculation of the optimum size for a piston, he was interrupted from behind.
“That’s my daughter’s trash. I try to remind her to be tidy.”

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.

Google’s being dashed odd – the only way I can reply to comments is to edit the post. Oh well, there’s always wordpress.

I’m calling this proto-steampunk simply because I was told in no uncertain terms that “steampunk” meant Victorian with ubiquitous steam technology. Amanda’s working before that and during the Regency, so it cannot be steampunk.

Checking Slang.

One big headache for historical romance is getting the slang correct. It’s 2015, and the tendency is to write in modern language. A “valley girls in gowns” regency romance won’t always work. To be accurate, it will work some of the time, but not always.

I’ve been using a pretty darn good online etymology dictionary to check on usage. But it’s manually curated. Therefore it makes mistakes (as do troll reviewers). An example from a book that is in the final editing.

‘“Under a pen name, of course. Won’t do to have the next Lord Caterham associated with slushy romantic poetry. Just not done.”’
Slushy sounds rather modern, and the etymology dictionary says it wasn’t used at the time. Ha! If I go to the google Ngram search, which automatically searches the corpus of English (and other languages) literature.  Turns out “slushy” is correct.

“A Formulaic Romance” Work at its inception.

Just to show you how I work. This is the plot sketch for my next Regency romance. I’m thinking of calling it “A Formulaic Romance,” though that will probably change.  
I like to write an outline for the story, but am fully aware that it will change as the characters develop. Still, it gives me a framework for getting on with things. Scrivener is supposed to be great for this step, but I’ve had mixed results with it. 
 The outline is a bit sparse, and not completely grammatical, but it’s not really meant for anyone other than me.
Chemist (male) is disturbed when a carriage loses a wheel or breaks its mainbrace outside his house. He’s the proverbial “billionaire recluse scientist” scaled to regency time.
They interact, sparks sort of fly, then she takes off after the carriage is fixed.
He goes to London (Oxford, Cambridge, Bath?) to present his results (Royal Society?)
She’s in the audience, with a beau? She didn’t know it was him she met on the road. They may say hello at the end of his lecture (basically chemical magic show).
Anyway, Hero is disturbed by family insisting he take a break. Could be a serious enough accident that he needs time away (Hg, Ether, fumes, Halocarbons?) from the bench. Sister/female cousin/Aunt insists that he goes dancing. (see complication below, she could say “You don’t want X to inherit? Time you found a wife. Yes Aunt Augusta).
Runs into heroine again. Almack’s or some party or both.
They run into each other, say at the museum, or out riding, or even (if not Almacks Vauxhall (season was the summer ending sept 1 +-, Almacks was Jan – April/May).
Now they are noticing each other. There has to be some complication
{ complication ideas:
She doesn’t like not knowing that he’ll be safe.
He’s framed for poisoning someone by a not quite so rich relative who will inherit if he dies without issue. (could be after they declare their love and publish a note in the times) Beau from before could be the relative, or in line for inheritance.
}
Complication is resolved. If it’s the poisoning, she does something dramatic like drinking ‘the poison’ in court. Or there could be some skullduggary. (Gaolbreak, followed by chase, followed by finding the critical information in villain’s home.) Heroine proves he’s innocent, maybe by doing the experiment to show that the solution which was supposed to be Arsenic/Antimony was nothing but wine. Could be after he’s on the way to the gallows?