Mews Houses

Christina here. Wench Anne has recently been talking about the hidden gardens of London – green oases of calm in the midst of all the grand houses in the fashionable areas of town. But there were other hidden areas there too, much less impressive and kept out of sight of the rich people – the mews. Those of you who read Regency novels are probably very familiar with the term. Many of the big houses in London had a set of adjacent buildings containing stables, a carriage house and usually also accommodation for coachmen, grooms and their families on the levels above. These buildings were situated in a sort of small back alley behind the main house, mostly running parallel to the street at the front. Ironically, although they were built for servants and horses, these days they are very sought after.

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Meeting Readers

Rare lightsChristina here. Authors are mostly solitary creatures, holed up in our lair with just our characters for company, and snarling at anyone who interrupts us when we’re in the writing zone. But sometimes we need to get out and see people, and one of the very best things is meeting readers. Having someone buy your books or tell you that they enjoyed one of your stories is lovely, and although getting messages like that on social media is always appreciated, meeting readers face to face is even better. So when I got the opportunity to join a big book signing event at London’s ExCel exhibition centre recently, I jumped at the chance. It was something I simply couldn’t miss!

Rare bannerRARE (Romance Author & Reader Events) book signing events are organised by two indomitable ladies, and they move around to venues in various different countries around the world. It’s been held at places like Melbourne, Paris, Berlin and Edinburgh, and there are lots more to come. The aim is to bring together as many authors and readers as possible for one-day book signings, but it has also created a romance reading community. There’s a dedicated FaceBook group and RARE can also be found on Instagram. Some of the readers travel huge distances in order to attend, and they are very enthusiastic and loyal. It sounded fantastic, and I couldn’t wait to take part.

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Peace of Amiens

The Peace of Amiens

Mary Jo

NotreDameDeParisMost Regency readers and writers are generally aware of the Peace of Amiens, a 15 month period of peace from March 1802 until May 1803.  It's the marker between the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars and was the only period of general peace in Europe until 1814, when Napoleon abdicated his throne.  (1815 was when he returned from exile, reigned for the Hundred Days, and was responsible for the slaughter of masses of men at Waterloo.)

 

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London Calling!

IMG_0978London calling!

by Mary Jo

Did you know that cruise ships migrate like birds?  In summer they flock to Europe, cruising from Nordic regions to the Mediterranean and more.  In autumn, they turn and head to the Western hemisphere, particularly the Caribbean.  They do this because tourists follow the sun, and so do the cruise ships.

This means that ships do repositioning cruises twice a year, spending days crossing the Atlantic with very few ports of call.  This is great if you like lots of lazy days at sea and the Mayhem Consultant and I do.  Hence we cruised from Southampton in England to Miami, with three stops in Europe and seven glorious sea days. 

 

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The Big Stink

Pumpingstation abbey millsPat here—dragging you down into the sewers with me. Silly me, I started poking around Roman sewers for a plot point in next spring’s School of Magic series, and then, of course, I had to look up Victorian sewers to see how my various heroes would repair the plumbing in their respective renovations. (Ask me about our 21st century plumbing problems, and you’ll know where I get my ideas!)

My poking dropped me down a research bunny hole I thought you might find entertaining. I don’t suppose any of you have ever seen the fabulous Victorian pumping stations in London? (That's the Abbey Mills station in the photo) Absolutely enormous, decorated better than any early 20th century movie palace—for sewage. The mind boggles. So does the story.

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