Welcoming New Wench Andrea Pickens

We have a new Wench!  Like several other Wenches, Andrea Pickens started out as a traditional Regency writer.  Last autumn, she did an interview with us  HYPERLINK "http://tinyurl.com/cfehgj" http://tinyurl.com/cfehgj  and became an honorary Word Wench.  Now we've lured her into becoming a regular.  

Andrea will be starting as a half time demi wench, and she’s beginning with a bang (sorry, I couldn't resist <g>) by blogging about the history of gunpowder.  Andrea, the floor is yours!  The roof was, too, until you blew it off. <g>  Mary Jo

A Short History of Gunpowder

I’m absolutely delighted to be joining the illustrious ranks of the Word Wenches. My fellow authors have set the Wenchly bar at a lofty height, so I will lace up my sneakers (you will soon learn that I am the resident “jock” among other things) and make a jump at rising to the occasion.

I write Regency-set historicals, but I have a confession to make—some readers have complained that my books are NOT traditional Regencies. And they are right! My current trilogy is a swashbuckling, sexy series featuring three best friends who have trained at Mrs. Merlin’s Academy for Select Young Ladies, a secret school for female spies. (Think James Bond meets Jane Austen!)

But enough background—now on to the fun stuff. As those of you who are regular visitors here know, research is a big part of writing historicals. Like the other Wenches, I love poking around for the facts—many of them arcane and esoteric—that add depth and texture to a story. So I’ve decided to make my debut with a BANG . . . so to speak.

A Pickens books My ‘Spy’ series involves not only swordplay and seduction, but also pocket pistols and pyrotechnics. Which require gunpowder. (Okay, a little shameless self-promotion here—Seduced By A Spy, in which gunpowder figures prominently in the plot, just won the Romantic Times Readers Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Adventure!)

Seeing as my experience with black powder—as traditional gunpowder is called—consists of watching Fourth of July fireworks, I figured I had better learn a little bit about the subject. And that sparked what turned out to be a fascinating foray through history. Without further ado, allow me to illuminate you on just a few of the highlights that I discovered!  

Gunpowder was invented in China sometime around the ninth century. Ironically enough, the alchemists of the time were looking to create a potion for eternal youth. Instead they ended up with something they called the “fire drug.”  Gunpowder consists of three basic elements—saltpeter, sulphur and charcoal. The proportions were tweaked over the centuries to create more explosive power, but until the advent of our modern synthetic propellants, the basic formula remained unchanged.

Fire lance Over the years, Chinese military leaders came to realize that the invention could be used as a formidable weapon. By the 1200s, gunpowder “bombs” filled with rocks or bits of metal were being thrown or dropped on an enemy. The Chinese also proved quite inventive in naming their new arsenal. Some of my favorites include “Bandit-Burning, Vision-Confusing Magic Fire-Ball” and “Bone-Burning and Bruising Fire Oil Magic Bomb”. Next came fire lances, which could launch arrows or spears. I’m particularly fond of “Nine-Arrow Heart-Piercing Magic-Poison Thunderous Fire Erupter.” The name alone must have been enough to rout an opposing army! The first gun on record is a small cannon, which dates from 1288.

It’s not exactly certain how gunpowder came to the West, but the first reference to it in Europe appeared in 1267, when Roger Bacon, the famous medieval thinker, made mention of it in a letter to the Pope. By 1300 there is written evidence of a formula.

In 1346, Edward III of England used cannons to help his army of knights and archers defeat the much larger force of the French King. The Battle of Crecy is considered to mark the end of chivalry, as armor proved no match for the new weaponry. The use of cannons quickly spread throughout Europe.

Throughout the next few centuries, the methods for grinding gunpowder were refined, in order to add more force and stability. At first, powder was dampened to a paste, then formed into balls, which lasted longer than dry powder and were easier to transport. However, the process of “corning,” or forcing the paste through different sized screens to create “grains”  was invented, and it remains the standard to this day. (Gunpowder is corned according to the intended weapon.)

EarlyCannon The technique of casting metal for cannons also underwent great changes. Early European bombards grew to mammoth proportions. (“Mad Margaret” weighed 18 tons and had a barrel 16 feet long.} By the Renaissance, the technology had evolved enough that the smooth bore muzzle-loading cannon of the era would remain basically unchanged until the late 1800s. (Both Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo were involved in designing fortifications to withstand cannonfire.)

Not to be outdone by their Chinese counterparts, European gunners were quite inventive when it came to naming their weapons. “The Brutal Butcher” is one early moniker, and Henry VIII had a battery of cannons known as “The Twelve Apostles.”

The earliest hand guns began appearing around 1400. At first they were heavy, awkward weapons that needed a tripod to hold them up. Various mechanisms were invented to  hold the gunpowder charge, as well as spark the initial tiny explosion needed to propel a bullet through the gun barrel. Matchlocks, wheellocks, flintlocks . . . don’t ask. Suffice it to say that man was quite inventive in creating a lethal weapon.

The moral impact of gunpowder was not lost on theologians and intellectuals. Many called it “the devil’s distillate ” and blamed it for the death of chivalry. The stench and smoke given off by gunpowder added to its Satanic image. Echoing modern sentiment, a number of people bemoaned the fact that gunpowder made “violence too freely available.”

During the Age of Exploration, Vasco de Gama helped establish a lucrative trading empire for Portugal through use of gunpowder, and other European seafaring nations were quick to follow. The Conquistadors conquered the mighty Aztecs with a tiny force of soldiers and the “devil’s distillate.” Farther north, the French and English used their guns to carve out colonies in the New World. And in Africa, gunpowder was instrumental in allowing the slave trade to begin.

Battle By the 1700s, war had become a carefully choreographed dance o
f opposing armies. Each soldier was now armed with a firearm, and arrayed in elegant, precise formations, they would march to within close range and exchange ritual fire until casualties forced one side to withdraw. Conflicts were escalating. And so was the carnage. (On a brighter note, George Frederich Handel was commissioned to create the lovely “Music for Royal Fireworks” in celebration of the 1748 Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle, which ended the War of Austrian Succession.)

The famous American Revolutionary War phrase, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” was not just manly bravado. It was based on the fact that muskets are wildly inaccurate at anything other than close range. That’s because it’s a smooth bore weapon (the inside of the barrel is, well, smooth!)

Rifling—which refers to a circular groove cut into the metal—imparts spin to a bullet, which adds stability to its flight and thus makes it far more likely to hit its target. The British thought the Americans—and their show of nascent Yankee ingenuity—were very unsporting to use their accurate hunting rifles to pick off Redcoats from great distances.

Brown Bess Re-equipping whole armies with the new technology was frightfully expensive, so most military forces fought with smooth bore muskets until well into the 1800s. The classic British “Brown Bess” musket was first issued in 1703 and remained in use for 140 years. A flintlock weapon, it could be fired every 12 seconds by a well- trained soldier.

But I digress . . .

As the Napoleonic Wars engulfed Europe, the production of gunpowder became a critical matter. Saltpeter is a bacterial waste product and occurs naturally in soil. But war demands LOTS of saltpeter. The substance is also found in human and animal waste. (Those of you who are squeamish might want to skip over the next paragraph.) In France, government officials called “Petermen” had the right to dig up a farmer’s barnyard to collect nitrate-rich soil—a law that was bitterly resented.  

The English, through the East India trading empire, imported large amounts of cheap bird dung from India for the task. Even so, during the height of the wars, the government considered passing a law that would have required innkeepers to collect the urine of their patrons in barrels. (Brandy was said to produce the most desirable, er, raw material.)

By the 1820s, the old gunpowder cartridge—a greased paper cylinder filled with powder and bullet that was rammed by hand down the barrel of a musket—was giving way to a new technology. The “percussion cap” bullet used a small amount of gunpowder at the base of a metal cylinder. The strike of a gun’s hammer would ignite the powder and fire the metal projectile.

Combined with other innovations from inventors such as Samuel Colt, firearms became even more deadly. Colt’s invention of a multiple chamber to hold bullets allowed the development of the “six-shooter.” By the time of the American Civil War, armies were equipped with all manner of weapons that could fire with frightening rapidity. Again, the death toll in war grew to gruesome proportions.

Traditional black powder became obsolete in the late 1800s. Alfred Nobel—of Nobel Prize fame—developed the use of nitroglycerin, or dynamite, which was far more effective for blasting in mines and civil engineering. Modern chemistry also led to the discovery of  better, more powerful “smokeless” powder to use in guns.

Fireworks Today, gunpowder is still used in fireworks and for reenactments of traditional battles. The next time you watch a Fourth of July celebration, breath deep and smell the acrid scent of burned powder. Listen to the thunderous bangs and watch the thick smoke cloud the air. Let it spark your imagination, and carry you back in history to the epic battles of Bunker Hill, Borodino and Waterloo. It’s a living, breathing reminder of man’s incredible—and sometimes frightening—creative spirit.

When asked to name the most influential inventions in history, most intellectuals include gunpowder and printing among their choices. As both an author and an aficionado of history, I would have to agree. What historical inventions do you find fascinating? Terrifying?

(Next post I’ll be talking about another type of projectile, but one that is far more light-hearted. For those of you who ever wondered about the origins of tennis, check back here as the summer gets into full swing. And for those of you who want to know more about gunpowder, I highly recommend  Gunpowder: Alchemy, Bombards and Pyrotechnics, by Jack Kelly,)

And oops, forgot to mention that I will be giving away a signed copy of Seduced By A Spy, which features lots of gunpowder talk, to a winner drawn at random to one of the people who leave a comment here between now and midnight, May 2.

200 thoughts on “Welcoming New Wench Andrea Pickens”

  1. Welcome to the Wenches from me too 🙂 Glad to have you here. I have not read you, but your post is excellent. Since today is IndieBook day, I’ll have to put you on my list 🙂 (my list is a good thing btw, not the one I put the DH or DDs on 😛 )

    Reply
  2. Welcome to the Wenches from me too 🙂 Glad to have you here. I have not read you, but your post is excellent. Since today is IndieBook day, I’ll have to put you on my list 🙂 (my list is a good thing btw, not the one I put the DH or DDs on 😛 )

    Reply
  3. Welcome to the Wenches from me too 🙂 Glad to have you here. I have not read you, but your post is excellent. Since today is IndieBook day, I’ll have to put you on my list 🙂 (my list is a good thing btw, not the one I put the DH or DDs on 😛 )

    Reply
  4. Welcome to the Wenches from me too 🙂 Glad to have you here. I have not read you, but your post is excellent. Since today is IndieBook day, I’ll have to put you on my list 🙂 (my list is a good thing btw, not the one I put the DH or DDs on 😛 )

    Reply
  5. Welcome to the Wenches from me too 🙂 Glad to have you here. I have not read you, but your post is excellent. Since today is IndieBook day, I’ll have to put you on my list 🙂 (my list is a good thing btw, not the one I put the DH or DDs on 😛 )

    Reply
  6. Hi Andrea, nice to have you here. Thanks for taking the time to do your research. I hate reading a book with obvious historical errors. If I know they’re errors, so will everyone else, and it throws me right out of the book.
    I loved your “Spy” trilogy. I like stores with non-traditional heroines.
    What’s coming up next? I haven’t seen any new books for you in the Borders “Upcoming” list.

    Reply
  7. Hi Andrea, nice to have you here. Thanks for taking the time to do your research. I hate reading a book with obvious historical errors. If I know they’re errors, so will everyone else, and it throws me right out of the book.
    I loved your “Spy” trilogy. I like stores with non-traditional heroines.
    What’s coming up next? I haven’t seen any new books for you in the Borders “Upcoming” list.

    Reply
  8. Hi Andrea, nice to have you here. Thanks for taking the time to do your research. I hate reading a book with obvious historical errors. If I know they’re errors, so will everyone else, and it throws me right out of the book.
    I loved your “Spy” trilogy. I like stores with non-traditional heroines.
    What’s coming up next? I haven’t seen any new books for you in the Borders “Upcoming” list.

    Reply
  9. Hi Andrea, nice to have you here. Thanks for taking the time to do your research. I hate reading a book with obvious historical errors. If I know they’re errors, so will everyone else, and it throws me right out of the book.
    I loved your “Spy” trilogy. I like stores with non-traditional heroines.
    What’s coming up next? I haven’t seen any new books for you in the Borders “Upcoming” list.

    Reply
  10. Hi Andrea, nice to have you here. Thanks for taking the time to do your research. I hate reading a book with obvious historical errors. If I know they’re errors, so will everyone else, and it throws me right out of the book.
    I loved your “Spy” trilogy. I like stores with non-traditional heroines.
    What’s coming up next? I haven’t seen any new books for you in the Borders “Upcoming” list.

    Reply
  11. Welcome to Wenchdom, Andrea! It’s so nice to have you making your official bow on May Day. I think this makes you Queen of the May? 🙂
    I’ll have to send the Mayhem Consultant over to read this, since he loves learning more about things that go BANG!
    Your talk of battlefields reminded me to research I did on Waterloo for an older book of mine. It’s called the last great black powder battle, and with two huge armies fighting, the clouds of stinging, acrid black powder smoke were so dense that it was impossible to see any distance across the field of battle. The phrase “The fog of battle” is more than just a metaphor!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  12. Welcome to Wenchdom, Andrea! It’s so nice to have you making your official bow on May Day. I think this makes you Queen of the May? 🙂
    I’ll have to send the Mayhem Consultant over to read this, since he loves learning more about things that go BANG!
    Your talk of battlefields reminded me to research I did on Waterloo for an older book of mine. It’s called the last great black powder battle, and with two huge armies fighting, the clouds of stinging, acrid black powder smoke were so dense that it was impossible to see any distance across the field of battle. The phrase “The fog of battle” is more than just a metaphor!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  13. Welcome to Wenchdom, Andrea! It’s so nice to have you making your official bow on May Day. I think this makes you Queen of the May? 🙂
    I’ll have to send the Mayhem Consultant over to read this, since he loves learning more about things that go BANG!
    Your talk of battlefields reminded me to research I did on Waterloo for an older book of mine. It’s called the last great black powder battle, and with two huge armies fighting, the clouds of stinging, acrid black powder smoke were so dense that it was impossible to see any distance across the field of battle. The phrase “The fog of battle” is more than just a metaphor!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  14. Welcome to Wenchdom, Andrea! It’s so nice to have you making your official bow on May Day. I think this makes you Queen of the May? 🙂
    I’ll have to send the Mayhem Consultant over to read this, since he loves learning more about things that go BANG!
    Your talk of battlefields reminded me to research I did on Waterloo for an older book of mine. It’s called the last great black powder battle, and with two huge armies fighting, the clouds of stinging, acrid black powder smoke were so dense that it was impossible to see any distance across the field of battle. The phrase “The fog of battle” is more than just a metaphor!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  15. Welcome to Wenchdom, Andrea! It’s so nice to have you making your official bow on May Day. I think this makes you Queen of the May? 🙂
    I’ll have to send the Mayhem Consultant over to read this, since he loves learning more about things that go BANG!
    Your talk of battlefields reminded me to research I did on Waterloo for an older book of mine. It’s called the last great black powder battle, and with two huge armies fighting, the clouds of stinging, acrid black powder smoke were so dense that it was impossible to see any distance across the field of battle. The phrase “The fog of battle” is more than just a metaphor!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  16. Lind, thanks so muchfor the nice words. I’m so glad you enjoyed the Spy series, and like unconventional heroines—I’m afraid my ladies always do seem to have a mind of their own!
    As for new books, I have a new trilogy, which will debut in March ’10. I’ll say more about it later this summer, for there’s a surprise coming!

    Reply
  17. Lind, thanks so muchfor the nice words. I’m so glad you enjoyed the Spy series, and like unconventional heroines—I’m afraid my ladies always do seem to have a mind of their own!
    As for new books, I have a new trilogy, which will debut in March ’10. I’ll say more about it later this summer, for there’s a surprise coming!

    Reply
  18. Lind, thanks so muchfor the nice words. I’m so glad you enjoyed the Spy series, and like unconventional heroines—I’m afraid my ladies always do seem to have a mind of their own!
    As for new books, I have a new trilogy, which will debut in March ’10. I’ll say more about it later this summer, for there’s a surprise coming!

    Reply
  19. Lind, thanks so muchfor the nice words. I’m so glad you enjoyed the Spy series, and like unconventional heroines—I’m afraid my ladies always do seem to have a mind of their own!
    As for new books, I have a new trilogy, which will debut in March ’10. I’ll say more about it later this summer, for there’s a surprise coming!

    Reply
  20. Lind, thanks so muchfor the nice words. I’m so glad you enjoyed the Spy series, and like unconventional heroines—I’m afraid my ladies always do seem to have a mind of their own!
    As for new books, I have a new trilogy, which will debut in March ’10. I’ll say more about it later this summer, for there’s a surprise coming!

    Reply
  21. Mary Jo, I hope the Mayhem expert enjoys the post.
    As for the “fog of battle,” I’ve often tried to imagine what it was like to be in the thick of things at battles such as Waterloo or Trafalgar—and I think it’s almost impossible for us modern day people to comprehend the smell and haze of black powder. Just the small hint of thick smoke that a fireworks display creates is pretty amazing.
    Along with all the sounds of gunfire and screams on a historical battlefield, not being able to see or breath very well must have really amplified a solider’s fear factor!

    Reply
  22. Mary Jo, I hope the Mayhem expert enjoys the post.
    As for the “fog of battle,” I’ve often tried to imagine what it was like to be in the thick of things at battles such as Waterloo or Trafalgar—and I think it’s almost impossible for us modern day people to comprehend the smell and haze of black powder. Just the small hint of thick smoke that a fireworks display creates is pretty amazing.
    Along with all the sounds of gunfire and screams on a historical battlefield, not being able to see or breath very well must have really amplified a solider’s fear factor!

    Reply
  23. Mary Jo, I hope the Mayhem expert enjoys the post.
    As for the “fog of battle,” I’ve often tried to imagine what it was like to be in the thick of things at battles such as Waterloo or Trafalgar—and I think it’s almost impossible for us modern day people to comprehend the smell and haze of black powder. Just the small hint of thick smoke that a fireworks display creates is pretty amazing.
    Along with all the sounds of gunfire and screams on a historical battlefield, not being able to see or breath very well must have really amplified a solider’s fear factor!

    Reply
  24. Mary Jo, I hope the Mayhem expert enjoys the post.
    As for the “fog of battle,” I’ve often tried to imagine what it was like to be in the thick of things at battles such as Waterloo or Trafalgar—and I think it’s almost impossible for us modern day people to comprehend the smell and haze of black powder. Just the small hint of thick smoke that a fireworks display creates is pretty amazing.
    Along with all the sounds of gunfire and screams on a historical battlefield, not being able to see or breath very well must have really amplified a solider’s fear factor!

    Reply
  25. Mary Jo, I hope the Mayhem expert enjoys the post.
    As for the “fog of battle,” I’ve often tried to imagine what it was like to be in the thick of things at battles such as Waterloo or Trafalgar—and I think it’s almost impossible for us modern day people to comprehend the smell and haze of black powder. Just the small hint of thick smoke that a fireworks display creates is pretty amazing.
    Along with all the sounds of gunfire and screams on a historical battlefield, not being able to see or breath very well must have really amplified a solider’s fear factor!

    Reply
  26. Hi, Andrea. Welcome to Wenchdom. Congratulations on the RT award as well. 🙂
    Great post, and I agree about the demonic murk of gunpowder battlefields, to which we can add the possibility of chaotic cannonballs coming out of the gloom. One of Wellington’s senior officers was killed by a bouncing one. Hit him in the chest.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  27. Hi, Andrea. Welcome to Wenchdom. Congratulations on the RT award as well. 🙂
    Great post, and I agree about the demonic murk of gunpowder battlefields, to which we can add the possibility of chaotic cannonballs coming out of the gloom. One of Wellington’s senior officers was killed by a bouncing one. Hit him in the chest.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  28. Hi, Andrea. Welcome to Wenchdom. Congratulations on the RT award as well. 🙂
    Great post, and I agree about the demonic murk of gunpowder battlefields, to which we can add the possibility of chaotic cannonballs coming out of the gloom. One of Wellington’s senior officers was killed by a bouncing one. Hit him in the chest.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  29. Hi, Andrea. Welcome to Wenchdom. Congratulations on the RT award as well. 🙂
    Great post, and I agree about the demonic murk of gunpowder battlefields, to which we can add the possibility of chaotic cannonballs coming out of the gloom. One of Wellington’s senior officers was killed by a bouncing one. Hit him in the chest.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  30. Hi, Andrea. Welcome to Wenchdom. Congratulations on the RT award as well. 🙂
    Great post, and I agree about the demonic murk of gunpowder battlefields, to which we can add the possibility of chaotic cannonballs coming out of the gloom. One of Wellington’s senior officers was killed by a bouncing one. Hit him in the chest.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  31. Thanks for the welcome, Jo, and for the congrats.
    I’m sure plenty of other soldiers succumbed to bouncing cannonballs—it brings to mind a rather unfortunate image of bowling oins aligned in a neat formation, seeing as the armies prided themselves on maintaining unflinching discipline in the ranks. So many of the poor souls were literally sitting ducks.
    It’s interesting that as a young cadet,bNapoleon trained as an artillery officer. It’s said that his understanding of how to employ ballistics and firepower was part of his genius as a military commander.

    Reply
  32. Thanks for the welcome, Jo, and for the congrats.
    I’m sure plenty of other soldiers succumbed to bouncing cannonballs—it brings to mind a rather unfortunate image of bowling oins aligned in a neat formation, seeing as the armies prided themselves on maintaining unflinching discipline in the ranks. So many of the poor souls were literally sitting ducks.
    It’s interesting that as a young cadet,bNapoleon trained as an artillery officer. It’s said that his understanding of how to employ ballistics and firepower was part of his genius as a military commander.

    Reply
  33. Thanks for the welcome, Jo, and for the congrats.
    I’m sure plenty of other soldiers succumbed to bouncing cannonballs—it brings to mind a rather unfortunate image of bowling oins aligned in a neat formation, seeing as the armies prided themselves on maintaining unflinching discipline in the ranks. So many of the poor souls were literally sitting ducks.
    It’s interesting that as a young cadet,bNapoleon trained as an artillery officer. It’s said that his understanding of how to employ ballistics and firepower was part of his genius as a military commander.

    Reply
  34. Thanks for the welcome, Jo, and for the congrats.
    I’m sure plenty of other soldiers succumbed to bouncing cannonballs—it brings to mind a rather unfortunate image of bowling oins aligned in a neat formation, seeing as the armies prided themselves on maintaining unflinching discipline in the ranks. So many of the poor souls were literally sitting ducks.
    It’s interesting that as a young cadet,bNapoleon trained as an artillery officer. It’s said that his understanding of how to employ ballistics and firepower was part of his genius as a military commander.

    Reply
  35. Thanks for the welcome, Jo, and for the congrats.
    I’m sure plenty of other soldiers succumbed to bouncing cannonballs—it brings to mind a rather unfortunate image of bowling oins aligned in a neat formation, seeing as the armies prided themselves on maintaining unflinching discipline in the ranks. So many of the poor souls were literally sitting ducks.
    It’s interesting that as a young cadet,bNapoleon trained as an artillery officer. It’s said that his understanding of how to employ ballistics and firepower was part of his genius as a military commander.

    Reply
  36. From Sherrie:
    Hi, Andrea! So cool to see you make your official bow! I loved your post about gunpowder. I had absolutely NO IDEA what saltpeter was and to say I was shocked is an understatement.
    Back to gunpowder. Your essay reminded me of a hilarious scene in a Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin novel, where Capt. Aubrey had purchased gunpowder for his ship’s cannons, unaware it was fireworks powder. When they engaged in a sea battle with a French ship, the bright and multicolored flames and smoke from their cannons so shocked the French, who thought Aubrey had a new secret weapon, that they fled.
    I look forward to more of your posts in the future, Andrea, especially the one on the origins of tennis. Oh, and congratulations on winning the RT Readers Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Adventure!

    Reply
  37. From Sherrie:
    Hi, Andrea! So cool to see you make your official bow! I loved your post about gunpowder. I had absolutely NO IDEA what saltpeter was and to say I was shocked is an understatement.
    Back to gunpowder. Your essay reminded me of a hilarious scene in a Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin novel, where Capt. Aubrey had purchased gunpowder for his ship’s cannons, unaware it was fireworks powder. When they engaged in a sea battle with a French ship, the bright and multicolored flames and smoke from their cannons so shocked the French, who thought Aubrey had a new secret weapon, that they fled.
    I look forward to more of your posts in the future, Andrea, especially the one on the origins of tennis. Oh, and congratulations on winning the RT Readers Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Adventure!

    Reply
  38. From Sherrie:
    Hi, Andrea! So cool to see you make your official bow! I loved your post about gunpowder. I had absolutely NO IDEA what saltpeter was and to say I was shocked is an understatement.
    Back to gunpowder. Your essay reminded me of a hilarious scene in a Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin novel, where Capt. Aubrey had purchased gunpowder for his ship’s cannons, unaware it was fireworks powder. When they engaged in a sea battle with a French ship, the bright and multicolored flames and smoke from their cannons so shocked the French, who thought Aubrey had a new secret weapon, that they fled.
    I look forward to more of your posts in the future, Andrea, especially the one on the origins of tennis. Oh, and congratulations on winning the RT Readers Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Adventure!

    Reply
  39. From Sherrie:
    Hi, Andrea! So cool to see you make your official bow! I loved your post about gunpowder. I had absolutely NO IDEA what saltpeter was and to say I was shocked is an understatement.
    Back to gunpowder. Your essay reminded me of a hilarious scene in a Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin novel, where Capt. Aubrey had purchased gunpowder for his ship’s cannons, unaware it was fireworks powder. When they engaged in a sea battle with a French ship, the bright and multicolored flames and smoke from their cannons so shocked the French, who thought Aubrey had a new secret weapon, that they fled.
    I look forward to more of your posts in the future, Andrea, especially the one on the origins of tennis. Oh, and congratulations on winning the RT Readers Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Adventure!

    Reply
  40. From Sherrie:
    Hi, Andrea! So cool to see you make your official bow! I loved your post about gunpowder. I had absolutely NO IDEA what saltpeter was and to say I was shocked is an understatement.
    Back to gunpowder. Your essay reminded me of a hilarious scene in a Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin novel, where Capt. Aubrey had purchased gunpowder for his ship’s cannons, unaware it was fireworks powder. When they engaged in a sea battle with a French ship, the bright and multicolored flames and smoke from their cannons so shocked the French, who thought Aubrey had a new secret weapon, that they fled.
    I look forward to more of your posts in the future, Andrea, especially the one on the origins of tennis. Oh, and congratulations on winning the RT Readers Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Adventure!

    Reply
  41. Hi Sherrie (waving back madly)
    Thanks for the warm welcome!
    I haven’t made my way through all the Aubrey/Maturin books yet, but love the image of the fireworks gunpowder. From what I have read on the subject, the different formulas and grain sizes make a huge difference in its use—and knowing Patrick O’Brian, I am sure he’s very accurate. Ilook forward to reading the scene.

    Reply
  42. Hi Sherrie (waving back madly)
    Thanks for the warm welcome!
    I haven’t made my way through all the Aubrey/Maturin books yet, but love the image of the fireworks gunpowder. From what I have read on the subject, the different formulas and grain sizes make a huge difference in its use—and knowing Patrick O’Brian, I am sure he’s very accurate. Ilook forward to reading the scene.

    Reply
  43. Hi Sherrie (waving back madly)
    Thanks for the warm welcome!
    I haven’t made my way through all the Aubrey/Maturin books yet, but love the image of the fireworks gunpowder. From what I have read on the subject, the different formulas and grain sizes make a huge difference in its use—and knowing Patrick O’Brian, I am sure he’s very accurate. Ilook forward to reading the scene.

    Reply
  44. Hi Sherrie (waving back madly)
    Thanks for the warm welcome!
    I haven’t made my way through all the Aubrey/Maturin books yet, but love the image of the fireworks gunpowder. From what I have read on the subject, the different formulas and grain sizes make a huge difference in its use—and knowing Patrick O’Brian, I am sure he’s very accurate. Ilook forward to reading the scene.

    Reply
  45. Hi Sherrie (waving back madly)
    Thanks for the warm welcome!
    I haven’t made my way through all the Aubrey/Maturin books yet, but love the image of the fireworks gunpowder. From what I have read on the subject, the different formulas and grain sizes make a huge difference in its use—and knowing Patrick O’Brian, I am sure he’s very accurate. Ilook forward to reading the scene.

    Reply
  46. Hello Wench Andrea! Welcome to WordWenchs. Really enjoyed your post. The hero of my current ms is an artillery captain who fought at Waterloo. Last July, while watching my local fireworks, I allowed my mind to drift as you suggested. What struck me the hardest, I think, was the bravery those men (most of them boys, really) must have possessed. To march out onto that field w/o the benefit of Kevlar or even a useful helmet… I don’t know how they did it.
    Nina, heading back to battle her ms.

    Reply
  47. Hello Wench Andrea! Welcome to WordWenchs. Really enjoyed your post. The hero of my current ms is an artillery captain who fought at Waterloo. Last July, while watching my local fireworks, I allowed my mind to drift as you suggested. What struck me the hardest, I think, was the bravery those men (most of them boys, really) must have possessed. To march out onto that field w/o the benefit of Kevlar or even a useful helmet… I don’t know how they did it.
    Nina, heading back to battle her ms.

    Reply
  48. Hello Wench Andrea! Welcome to WordWenchs. Really enjoyed your post. The hero of my current ms is an artillery captain who fought at Waterloo. Last July, while watching my local fireworks, I allowed my mind to drift as you suggested. What struck me the hardest, I think, was the bravery those men (most of them boys, really) must have possessed. To march out onto that field w/o the benefit of Kevlar or even a useful helmet… I don’t know how they did it.
    Nina, heading back to battle her ms.

    Reply
  49. Hello Wench Andrea! Welcome to WordWenchs. Really enjoyed your post. The hero of my current ms is an artillery captain who fought at Waterloo. Last July, while watching my local fireworks, I allowed my mind to drift as you suggested. What struck me the hardest, I think, was the bravery those men (most of them boys, really) must have possessed. To march out onto that field w/o the benefit of Kevlar or even a useful helmet… I don’t know how they did it.
    Nina, heading back to battle her ms.

    Reply
  50. Hello Wench Andrea! Welcome to WordWenchs. Really enjoyed your post. The hero of my current ms is an artillery captain who fought at Waterloo. Last July, while watching my local fireworks, I allowed my mind to drift as you suggested. What struck me the hardest, I think, was the bravery those men (most of them boys, really) must have possessed. To march out onto that field w/o the benefit of Kevlar or even a useful helmet… I don’t know how they did it.
    Nina, heading back to battle her ms.

    Reply
  51. For anyone interested in what it was like to be in battle, I strongly recommend THE FACE OF BATTLE by British military historian John Keegan. The book concentrates on several battles: Agincourt, Waterloo, and The Somme in WWI.
    He really brings alive the experience of fighting in those different periods, and how war changed. Most of all, the experience of battle. The Waterloo chapter of my copy is covered with Post-its and highlighting. It was one of my chief sources for the Waterloo chapter in my book Shattered Rainbows.
    Mary Jo, who loves the idea of fireworks gunpowder!

    Reply
  52. For anyone interested in what it was like to be in battle, I strongly recommend THE FACE OF BATTLE by British military historian John Keegan. The book concentrates on several battles: Agincourt, Waterloo, and The Somme in WWI.
    He really brings alive the experience of fighting in those different periods, and how war changed. Most of all, the experience of battle. The Waterloo chapter of my copy is covered with Post-its and highlighting. It was one of my chief sources for the Waterloo chapter in my book Shattered Rainbows.
    Mary Jo, who loves the idea of fireworks gunpowder!

    Reply
  53. For anyone interested in what it was like to be in battle, I strongly recommend THE FACE OF BATTLE by British military historian John Keegan. The book concentrates on several battles: Agincourt, Waterloo, and The Somme in WWI.
    He really brings alive the experience of fighting in those different periods, and how war changed. Most of all, the experience of battle. The Waterloo chapter of my copy is covered with Post-its and highlighting. It was one of my chief sources for the Waterloo chapter in my book Shattered Rainbows.
    Mary Jo, who loves the idea of fireworks gunpowder!

    Reply
  54. For anyone interested in what it was like to be in battle, I strongly recommend THE FACE OF BATTLE by British military historian John Keegan. The book concentrates on several battles: Agincourt, Waterloo, and The Somme in WWI.
    He really brings alive the experience of fighting in those different periods, and how war changed. Most of all, the experience of battle. The Waterloo chapter of my copy is covered with Post-its and highlighting. It was one of my chief sources for the Waterloo chapter in my book Shattered Rainbows.
    Mary Jo, who loves the idea of fireworks gunpowder!

    Reply
  55. For anyone interested in what it was like to be in battle, I strongly recommend THE FACE OF BATTLE by British military historian John Keegan. The book concentrates on several battles: Agincourt, Waterloo, and The Somme in WWI.
    He really brings alive the experience of fighting in those different periods, and how war changed. Most of all, the experience of battle. The Waterloo chapter of my copy is covered with Post-its and highlighting. It was one of my chief sources for the Waterloo chapter in my book Shattered Rainbows.
    Mary Jo, who loves the idea of fireworks gunpowder!

    Reply
  56. Hi, Andrea! What an amazing beginning for your stint with the Wenches! How are you going to top it? “G”
    I’m with Chey, however, running water and plumbing are more my interest, although I do have a sad penchant for blowing things up.

    Reply
  57. Hi, Andrea! What an amazing beginning for your stint with the Wenches! How are you going to top it? “G”
    I’m with Chey, however, running water and plumbing are more my interest, although I do have a sad penchant for blowing things up.

    Reply
  58. Hi, Andrea! What an amazing beginning for your stint with the Wenches! How are you going to top it? “G”
    I’m with Chey, however, running water and plumbing are more my interest, although I do have a sad penchant for blowing things up.

    Reply
  59. Hi, Andrea! What an amazing beginning for your stint with the Wenches! How are you going to top it? “G”
    I’m with Chey, however, running water and plumbing are more my interest, although I do have a sad penchant for blowing things up.

    Reply
  60. Hi, Andrea! What an amazing beginning for your stint with the Wenches! How are you going to top it? “G”
    I’m with Chey, however, running water and plumbing are more my interest, although I do have a sad penchant for blowing things up.

    Reply
  61. Hi NinaP,
    You are SO right about the incredible bravery of those men and boys, to march into the withering fire of enemy guns. I truly don’t know how one summons that sort of discipline. Every fiber of your being must be screaming, “Run! Duck! Hide!”
    Good luck with your manuscript. I “hope I have “sparked” the Muse for today!

    Reply
  62. Hi NinaP,
    You are SO right about the incredible bravery of those men and boys, to march into the withering fire of enemy guns. I truly don’t know how one summons that sort of discipline. Every fiber of your being must be screaming, “Run! Duck! Hide!”
    Good luck with your manuscript. I “hope I have “sparked” the Muse for today!

    Reply
  63. Hi NinaP,
    You are SO right about the incredible bravery of those men and boys, to march into the withering fire of enemy guns. I truly don’t know how one summons that sort of discipline. Every fiber of your being must be screaming, “Run! Duck! Hide!”
    Good luck with your manuscript. I “hope I have “sparked” the Muse for today!

    Reply
  64. Hi NinaP,
    You are SO right about the incredible bravery of those men and boys, to march into the withering fire of enemy guns. I truly don’t know how one summons that sort of discipline. Every fiber of your being must be screaming, “Run! Duck! Hide!”
    Good luck with your manuscript. I “hope I have “sparked” the Muse for today!

    Reply
  65. Hi NinaP,
    You are SO right about the incredible bravery of those men and boys, to march into the withering fire of enemy guns. I truly don’t know how one summons that sort of discipline. Every fiber of your being must be screaming, “Run! Duck! Hide!”
    Good luck with your manuscript. I “hope I have “sparked” the Muse for today!

    Reply
  66. Mary Jo,
    Thanks for the mention of Keegan’s book. I have been meaning to read it, as I’ve heard it’s terrfic. Now it’s definitely moved to the top of my TBR pile (assuming I can reach that high!)

    Reply
  67. Mary Jo,
    Thanks for the mention of Keegan’s book. I have been meaning to read it, as I’ve heard it’s terrfic. Now it’s definitely moved to the top of my TBR pile (assuming I can reach that high!)

    Reply
  68. Mary Jo,
    Thanks for the mention of Keegan’s book. I have been meaning to read it, as I’ve heard it’s terrfic. Now it’s definitely moved to the top of my TBR pile (assuming I can reach that high!)

    Reply
  69. Mary Jo,
    Thanks for the mention of Keegan’s book. I have been meaning to read it, as I’ve heard it’s terrfic. Now it’s definitely moved to the top of my TBR pile (assuming I can reach that high!)

    Reply
  70. Mary Jo,
    Thanks for the mention of Keegan’s book. I have been meaning to read it, as I’ve heard it’s terrfic. Now it’s definitely moved to the top of my TBR pile (assuming I can reach that high!)

    Reply
  71. Well, Pat—try not to blow up that beautiful new kitchen. At lest not for a while.
    Indoor plumbing is right up there with great inventions (maybe one of the Wenches should blog on Sir Thomas Crapper, who invented the know-know-what.)
    As for tpping this post, I’ve got a few other fun topics up my pen . . . heh, heh, heh

    Reply
  72. Well, Pat—try not to blow up that beautiful new kitchen. At lest not for a while.
    Indoor plumbing is right up there with great inventions (maybe one of the Wenches should blog on Sir Thomas Crapper, who invented the know-know-what.)
    As for tpping this post, I’ve got a few other fun topics up my pen . . . heh, heh, heh

    Reply
  73. Well, Pat—try not to blow up that beautiful new kitchen. At lest not for a while.
    Indoor plumbing is right up there with great inventions (maybe one of the Wenches should blog on Sir Thomas Crapper, who invented the know-know-what.)
    As for tpping this post, I’ve got a few other fun topics up my pen . . . heh, heh, heh

    Reply
  74. Well, Pat—try not to blow up that beautiful new kitchen. At lest not for a while.
    Indoor plumbing is right up there with great inventions (maybe one of the Wenches should blog on Sir Thomas Crapper, who invented the know-know-what.)
    As for tpping this post, I’ve got a few other fun topics up my pen . . . heh, heh, heh

    Reply
  75. Well, Pat—try not to blow up that beautiful new kitchen. At lest not for a while.
    Indoor plumbing is right up there with great inventions (maybe one of the Wenches should blog on Sir Thomas Crapper, who invented the know-know-what.)
    As for tpping this post, I’ve got a few other fun topics up my pen . . . heh, heh, heh

    Reply
  76. What an interesting post, Andrea. Thank you! One of the inventions of war that has always fascinated and terrified me is Greek Fire. I find it amazing that it was apparently so powerful and frightening that it could burn ships to a cinder on the water, and then the secret of how it was made was lost so that even now they can’t be completely sure of the ingredients or the way it was ignited. I read a marvellous historical novel by C J Samson called Dark Fire that was based on the idea of rediscovering the secret weapon Greek Fire.
    On a lighter note it probably reflects my pre-occupation with sweets and chocolate but I was fascinated to discover that candy canes were first introduced in the mid seventeenth century as Christmas tree decorations in Europe. Now that is an invention I would have been very happy to help develop!

    Reply
  77. What an interesting post, Andrea. Thank you! One of the inventions of war that has always fascinated and terrified me is Greek Fire. I find it amazing that it was apparently so powerful and frightening that it could burn ships to a cinder on the water, and then the secret of how it was made was lost so that even now they can’t be completely sure of the ingredients or the way it was ignited. I read a marvellous historical novel by C J Samson called Dark Fire that was based on the idea of rediscovering the secret weapon Greek Fire.
    On a lighter note it probably reflects my pre-occupation with sweets and chocolate but I was fascinated to discover that candy canes were first introduced in the mid seventeenth century as Christmas tree decorations in Europe. Now that is an invention I would have been very happy to help develop!

    Reply
  78. What an interesting post, Andrea. Thank you! One of the inventions of war that has always fascinated and terrified me is Greek Fire. I find it amazing that it was apparently so powerful and frightening that it could burn ships to a cinder on the water, and then the secret of how it was made was lost so that even now they can’t be completely sure of the ingredients or the way it was ignited. I read a marvellous historical novel by C J Samson called Dark Fire that was based on the idea of rediscovering the secret weapon Greek Fire.
    On a lighter note it probably reflects my pre-occupation with sweets and chocolate but I was fascinated to discover that candy canes were first introduced in the mid seventeenth century as Christmas tree decorations in Europe. Now that is an invention I would have been very happy to help develop!

    Reply
  79. What an interesting post, Andrea. Thank you! One of the inventions of war that has always fascinated and terrified me is Greek Fire. I find it amazing that it was apparently so powerful and frightening that it could burn ships to a cinder on the water, and then the secret of how it was made was lost so that even now they can’t be completely sure of the ingredients or the way it was ignited. I read a marvellous historical novel by C J Samson called Dark Fire that was based on the idea of rediscovering the secret weapon Greek Fire.
    On a lighter note it probably reflects my pre-occupation with sweets and chocolate but I was fascinated to discover that candy canes were first introduced in the mid seventeenth century as Christmas tree decorations in Europe. Now that is an invention I would have been very happy to help develop!

    Reply
  80. What an interesting post, Andrea. Thank you! One of the inventions of war that has always fascinated and terrified me is Greek Fire. I find it amazing that it was apparently so powerful and frightening that it could burn ships to a cinder on the water, and then the secret of how it was made was lost so that even now they can’t be completely sure of the ingredients or the way it was ignited. I read a marvellous historical novel by C J Samson called Dark Fire that was based on the idea of rediscovering the secret weapon Greek Fire.
    On a lighter note it probably reflects my pre-occupation with sweets and chocolate but I was fascinated to discover that candy canes were first introduced in the mid seventeenth century as Christmas tree decorations in Europe. Now that is an invention I would have been very happy to help develop!

    Reply
  81. Welcome to the Wenches Andrea how could I have missed your books they sound wonderful just what I love to read.
    I love the research on gunpowder really interesting.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  82. Welcome to the Wenches Andrea how could I have missed your books they sound wonderful just what I love to read.
    I love the research on gunpowder really interesting.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  83. Welcome to the Wenches Andrea how could I have missed your books they sound wonderful just what I love to read.
    I love the research on gunpowder really interesting.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  84. Welcome to the Wenches Andrea how could I have missed your books they sound wonderful just what I love to read.
    I love the research on gunpowder really interesting.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  85. Welcome to the Wenches Andrea how could I have missed your books they sound wonderful just what I love to read.
    I love the research on gunpowder really interesting.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  86. Welcome! Your books sound like something I would enjoy! I appreciate authors who take the time and effort to do research. I don’t read romance to get a history lesson, but one thing that irks me is when there are glaring factual errors in books. It yanks me out of the story and the time period.

    Reply
  87. Welcome! Your books sound like something I would enjoy! I appreciate authors who take the time and effort to do research. I don’t read romance to get a history lesson, but one thing that irks me is when there are glaring factual errors in books. It yanks me out of the story and the time period.

    Reply
  88. Welcome! Your books sound like something I would enjoy! I appreciate authors who take the time and effort to do research. I don’t read romance to get a history lesson, but one thing that irks me is when there are glaring factual errors in books. It yanks me out of the story and the time period.

    Reply
  89. Welcome! Your books sound like something I would enjoy! I appreciate authors who take the time and effort to do research. I don’t read romance to get a history lesson, but one thing that irks me is when there are glaring factual errors in books. It yanks me out of the story and the time period.

    Reply
  90. Welcome! Your books sound like something I would enjoy! I appreciate authors who take the time and effort to do research. I don’t read romance to get a history lesson, but one thing that irks me is when there are glaring factual errors in books. It yanks me out of the story and the time period.

    Reply
  91. Hello Andrea!!! (waving) It’s so great to “see” you here, and I can’t wait to read more of your posts. There’s no better way to put research resources to use 🙂

    Reply
  92. Hello Andrea!!! (waving) It’s so great to “see” you here, and I can’t wait to read more of your posts. There’s no better way to put research resources to use 🙂

    Reply
  93. Hello Andrea!!! (waving) It’s so great to “see” you here, and I can’t wait to read more of your posts. There’s no better way to put research resources to use 🙂

    Reply
  94. Hello Andrea!!! (waving) It’s so great to “see” you here, and I can’t wait to read more of your posts. There’s no better way to put research resources to use 🙂

    Reply
  95. Hello Andrea!!! (waving) It’s so great to “see” you here, and I can’t wait to read more of your posts. There’s no better way to put research resources to use 🙂

    Reply
  96. Hi Nicola,
    Thanks for the welcome—and I really enjoyed your recent post!
    Greek Fire is fascinating topic, especially as it was discovered so early on. It was an incredibly sphisticated weapon, wasn’t it? (if that is the right word!) Being a sucker for arcane and esoteric info, I must read more on the subject.
    Chocolate is something fascinating too! I have been toying with a WIP that centers around a choclate maker, so I’ve actually done a fair amount of research. Will think about doing a future post!

    Reply
  97. Hi Nicola,
    Thanks for the welcome—and I really enjoyed your recent post!
    Greek Fire is fascinating topic, especially as it was discovered so early on. It was an incredibly sphisticated weapon, wasn’t it? (if that is the right word!) Being a sucker for arcane and esoteric info, I must read more on the subject.
    Chocolate is something fascinating too! I have been toying with a WIP that centers around a choclate maker, so I’ve actually done a fair amount of research. Will think about doing a future post!

    Reply
  98. Hi Nicola,
    Thanks for the welcome—and I really enjoyed your recent post!
    Greek Fire is fascinating topic, especially as it was discovered so early on. It was an incredibly sphisticated weapon, wasn’t it? (if that is the right word!) Being a sucker for arcane and esoteric info, I must read more on the subject.
    Chocolate is something fascinating too! I have been toying with a WIP that centers around a choclate maker, so I’ve actually done a fair amount of research. Will think about doing a future post!

    Reply
  99. Hi Nicola,
    Thanks for the welcome—and I really enjoyed your recent post!
    Greek Fire is fascinating topic, especially as it was discovered so early on. It was an incredibly sphisticated weapon, wasn’t it? (if that is the right word!) Being a sucker for arcane and esoteric info, I must read more on the subject.
    Chocolate is something fascinating too! I have been toying with a WIP that centers around a choclate maker, so I’ve actually done a fair amount of research. Will think about doing a future post!

    Reply
  100. Hi Nicola,
    Thanks for the welcome—and I really enjoyed your recent post!
    Greek Fire is fascinating topic, especially as it was discovered so early on. It was an incredibly sphisticated weapon, wasn’t it? (if that is the right word!) Being a sucker for arcane and esoteric info, I must read more on the subject.
    Chocolate is something fascinating too! I have been toying with a WIP that centers around a choclate maker, so I’ve actually done a fair amount of research. Will think about doing a future post!

    Reply
  101. Hi Mari,
    THanks for the welcome! I’m like you in that a glaring historical error really jerks me out of a story. So I try very hard to be accurate. As a writer, you don’t want to overdo it and bore a reader with too much info (and I admit, I sometimes get excited about a subject and get too carried away with it) But learning a little something is always fum IMO>

    Reply
  102. Hi Mari,
    THanks for the welcome! I’m like you in that a glaring historical error really jerks me out of a story. So I try very hard to be accurate. As a writer, you don’t want to overdo it and bore a reader with too much info (and I admit, I sometimes get excited about a subject and get too carried away with it) But learning a little something is always fum IMO>

    Reply
  103. Hi Mari,
    THanks for the welcome! I’m like you in that a glaring historical error really jerks me out of a story. So I try very hard to be accurate. As a writer, you don’t want to overdo it and bore a reader with too much info (and I admit, I sometimes get excited about a subject and get too carried away with it) But learning a little something is always fum IMO>

    Reply
  104. Hi Mari,
    THanks for the welcome! I’m like you in that a glaring historical error really jerks me out of a story. So I try very hard to be accurate. As a writer, you don’t want to overdo it and bore a reader with too much info (and I admit, I sometimes get excited about a subject and get too carried away with it) But learning a little something is always fum IMO>

    Reply
  105. Hi Mari,
    THanks for the welcome! I’m like you in that a glaring historical error really jerks me out of a story. So I try very hard to be accurate. As a writer, you don’t want to overdo it and bore a reader with too much info (and I admit, I sometimes get excited about a subject and get too carried away with it) But learning a little something is always fum IMO>

    Reply
  106. Hi Ammanda,
    Thanks for coming by. Trust me, I’ve got LOTS of research stuff to blog about. The problem will be to shut me up!

    Reply
  107. Hi Ammanda,
    Thanks for coming by. Trust me, I’ve got LOTS of research stuff to blog about. The problem will be to shut me up!

    Reply
  108. Hi Ammanda,
    Thanks for coming by. Trust me, I’ve got LOTS of research stuff to blog about. The problem will be to shut me up!

    Reply
  109. Hi Ammanda,
    Thanks for coming by. Trust me, I’ve got LOTS of research stuff to blog about. The problem will be to shut me up!

    Reply
  110. Hi Ammanda,
    Thanks for coming by. Trust me, I’ve got LOTS of research stuff to blog about. The problem will be to shut me up!

    Reply
  111. Andrea it’s so lovely to have you join the word wenches. Welcome! And adding my congratulations for the RT award.
    Loved your post. My current wip has some scenes in war time Spain and I had to dig out all my old firearm research. There are some wonderful first hand battle accounts.
    Sherrie if you find the use of saltpetre in gunpowder makes you queasy I won’t mention that it was also used in preserving meat… Oops, did I say I wasn’t going to mention it? 😉

    Reply
  112. Andrea it’s so lovely to have you join the word wenches. Welcome! And adding my congratulations for the RT award.
    Loved your post. My current wip has some scenes in war time Spain and I had to dig out all my old firearm research. There are some wonderful first hand battle accounts.
    Sherrie if you find the use of saltpetre in gunpowder makes you queasy I won’t mention that it was also used in preserving meat… Oops, did I say I wasn’t going to mention it? 😉

    Reply
  113. Andrea it’s so lovely to have you join the word wenches. Welcome! And adding my congratulations for the RT award.
    Loved your post. My current wip has some scenes in war time Spain and I had to dig out all my old firearm research. There are some wonderful first hand battle accounts.
    Sherrie if you find the use of saltpetre in gunpowder makes you queasy I won’t mention that it was also used in preserving meat… Oops, did I say I wasn’t going to mention it? 😉

    Reply
  114. Andrea it’s so lovely to have you join the word wenches. Welcome! And adding my congratulations for the RT award.
    Loved your post. My current wip has some scenes in war time Spain and I had to dig out all my old firearm research. There are some wonderful first hand battle accounts.
    Sherrie if you find the use of saltpetre in gunpowder makes you queasy I won’t mention that it was also used in preserving meat… Oops, did I say I wasn’t going to mention it? 😉

    Reply
  115. Andrea it’s so lovely to have you join the word wenches. Welcome! And adding my congratulations for the RT award.
    Loved your post. My current wip has some scenes in war time Spain and I had to dig out all my old firearm research. There are some wonderful first hand battle accounts.
    Sherrie if you find the use of saltpetre in gunpowder makes you queasy I won’t mention that it was also used in preserving meat… Oops, did I say I wasn’t going to mention it? 😉

    Reply
  116. Thanks, Anne!
    And we won’t tell Sherrie that saltpeter was sometimes put in the food at boys’ prep schools, as it was supposed to inhibit . . . well, enough said!

    Reply
  117. Thanks, Anne!
    And we won’t tell Sherrie that saltpeter was sometimes put in the food at boys’ prep schools, as it was supposed to inhibit . . . well, enough said!

    Reply
  118. Thanks, Anne!
    And we won’t tell Sherrie that saltpeter was sometimes put in the food at boys’ prep schools, as it was supposed to inhibit . . . well, enough said!

    Reply
  119. Thanks, Anne!
    And we won’t tell Sherrie that saltpeter was sometimes put in the food at boys’ prep schools, as it was supposed to inhibit . . . well, enough said!

    Reply
  120. Thanks, Anne!
    And we won’t tell Sherrie that saltpeter was sometimes put in the food at boys’ prep schools, as it was supposed to inhibit . . . well, enough said!

    Reply
  121. Your comment on running water brought to mind an old story I heard long ago of a great grandmother talking to her adult ggd about her life in the late 1800’s outside a major city. She explained what it was like to do things without the benefit of so many ‘luxuries’ we enjoy today, then asked her ggd; if her ggd could go back in time, what is the one thing she would want to have then that she has now. After much thinking, the ggd said she’d most like to take back her washing machine. She felt that was the one chore that would be hardest of all during that time.
    Her great grandmother looked at her, smiled wistfully and said; “I was thinking more along the lines of running water, myself.”
    😀
    Greek Fire is a fascinating subject for study. I’ve come across several studies of scientists trying to recreate the exact formula to no avail. Sometimes, I just have to shake my head at the way we think, in this day and age, how very far advanced we are now than we were 1000 or more years ago. HAH! Think on…

    Reply
  122. Your comment on running water brought to mind an old story I heard long ago of a great grandmother talking to her adult ggd about her life in the late 1800’s outside a major city. She explained what it was like to do things without the benefit of so many ‘luxuries’ we enjoy today, then asked her ggd; if her ggd could go back in time, what is the one thing she would want to have then that she has now. After much thinking, the ggd said she’d most like to take back her washing machine. She felt that was the one chore that would be hardest of all during that time.
    Her great grandmother looked at her, smiled wistfully and said; “I was thinking more along the lines of running water, myself.”
    😀
    Greek Fire is a fascinating subject for study. I’ve come across several studies of scientists trying to recreate the exact formula to no avail. Sometimes, I just have to shake my head at the way we think, in this day and age, how very far advanced we are now than we were 1000 or more years ago. HAH! Think on…

    Reply
  123. Your comment on running water brought to mind an old story I heard long ago of a great grandmother talking to her adult ggd about her life in the late 1800’s outside a major city. She explained what it was like to do things without the benefit of so many ‘luxuries’ we enjoy today, then asked her ggd; if her ggd could go back in time, what is the one thing she would want to have then that she has now. After much thinking, the ggd said she’d most like to take back her washing machine. She felt that was the one chore that would be hardest of all during that time.
    Her great grandmother looked at her, smiled wistfully and said; “I was thinking more along the lines of running water, myself.”
    😀
    Greek Fire is a fascinating subject for study. I’ve come across several studies of scientists trying to recreate the exact formula to no avail. Sometimes, I just have to shake my head at the way we think, in this day and age, how very far advanced we are now than we were 1000 or more years ago. HAH! Think on…

    Reply
  124. Your comment on running water brought to mind an old story I heard long ago of a great grandmother talking to her adult ggd about her life in the late 1800’s outside a major city. She explained what it was like to do things without the benefit of so many ‘luxuries’ we enjoy today, then asked her ggd; if her ggd could go back in time, what is the one thing she would want to have then that she has now. After much thinking, the ggd said she’d most like to take back her washing machine. She felt that was the one chore that would be hardest of all during that time.
    Her great grandmother looked at her, smiled wistfully and said; “I was thinking more along the lines of running water, myself.”
    😀
    Greek Fire is a fascinating subject for study. I’ve come across several studies of scientists trying to recreate the exact formula to no avail. Sometimes, I just have to shake my head at the way we think, in this day and age, how very far advanced we are now than we were 1000 or more years ago. HAH! Think on…

    Reply
  125. Your comment on running water brought to mind an old story I heard long ago of a great grandmother talking to her adult ggd about her life in the late 1800’s outside a major city. She explained what it was like to do things without the benefit of so many ‘luxuries’ we enjoy today, then asked her ggd; if her ggd could go back in time, what is the one thing she would want to have then that she has now. After much thinking, the ggd said she’d most like to take back her washing machine. She felt that was the one chore that would be hardest of all during that time.
    Her great grandmother looked at her, smiled wistfully and said; “I was thinking more along the lines of running water, myself.”
    😀
    Greek Fire is a fascinating subject for study. I’ve come across several studies of scientists trying to recreate the exact formula to no avail. Sometimes, I just have to shake my head at the way we think, in this day and age, how very far advanced we are now than we were 1000 or more years ago. HAH! Think on…

    Reply
  126. Mystery revealed! I had all sorts of ideas of who the new wench would be. Though I didn’t guess accurately, what fun to find the new demi-wench involved in espionage and explosive substances! Will look forward to your discourse.

    Reply
  127. Mystery revealed! I had all sorts of ideas of who the new wench would be. Though I didn’t guess accurately, what fun to find the new demi-wench involved in espionage and explosive substances! Will look forward to your discourse.

    Reply
  128. Mystery revealed! I had all sorts of ideas of who the new wench would be. Though I didn’t guess accurately, what fun to find the new demi-wench involved in espionage and explosive substances! Will look forward to your discourse.

    Reply
  129. Mystery revealed! I had all sorts of ideas of who the new wench would be. Though I didn’t guess accurately, what fun to find the new demi-wench involved in espionage and explosive substances! Will look forward to your discourse.

    Reply
  130. Mystery revealed! I had all sorts of ideas of who the new wench would be. Though I didn’t guess accurately, what fun to find the new demi-wench involved in espionage and explosive substances! Will look forward to your discourse.

    Reply
  131. Theo, can you imagine most people trying to live without their computer, i-pod and Blackberry? Hah!
    Now I’m really “fired up” to learn more about Greek Fire. I knew it was something unique, but need to know more!

    Reply
  132. Theo, can you imagine most people trying to live without their computer, i-pod and Blackberry? Hah!
    Now I’m really “fired up” to learn more about Greek Fire. I knew it was something unique, but need to know more!

    Reply
  133. Theo, can you imagine most people trying to live without their computer, i-pod and Blackberry? Hah!
    Now I’m really “fired up” to learn more about Greek Fire. I knew it was something unique, but need to know more!

    Reply
  134. Theo, can you imagine most people trying to live without their computer, i-pod and Blackberry? Hah!
    Now I’m really “fired up” to learn more about Greek Fire. I knew it was something unique, but need to know more!

    Reply
  135. Theo, can you imagine most people trying to live without their computer, i-pod and Blackberry? Hah!
    Now I’m really “fired up” to learn more about Greek Fire. I knew it was something unique, but need to know more!

    Reply
  136. Maya and Louis, Thanks for the welcome. I’ll try to live up to the high standards of my fellow wenches!

    Reply
  137. Maya and Louis, Thanks for the welcome. I’ll try to live up to the high standards of my fellow wenches!

    Reply
  138. Maya and Louis, Thanks for the welcome. I’ll try to live up to the high standards of my fellow wenches!

    Reply
  139. Maya and Louis, Thanks for the welcome. I’ll try to live up to the high standards of my fellow wenches!

    Reply
  140. Maya and Louis, Thanks for the welcome. I’ll try to live up to the high standards of my fellow wenches!

    Reply
  141. Oh, I’m so glad I thought to check here tonight. I definitely want to be in the drawing for your book! After your visit here last fall, I got The Spy Wore Silk and really enjoyed it so I am eager to read more Andrea Pickens. 🙂 And welcome to Word Wenches. You first post was fascinating – I look forward to more from you. Thanks!

    Reply
  142. Oh, I’m so glad I thought to check here tonight. I definitely want to be in the drawing for your book! After your visit here last fall, I got The Spy Wore Silk and really enjoyed it so I am eager to read more Andrea Pickens. 🙂 And welcome to Word Wenches. You first post was fascinating – I look forward to more from you. Thanks!

    Reply
  143. Oh, I’m so glad I thought to check here tonight. I definitely want to be in the drawing for your book! After your visit here last fall, I got The Spy Wore Silk and really enjoyed it so I am eager to read more Andrea Pickens. 🙂 And welcome to Word Wenches. You first post was fascinating – I look forward to more from you. Thanks!

    Reply
  144. Oh, I’m so glad I thought to check here tonight. I definitely want to be in the drawing for your book! After your visit here last fall, I got The Spy Wore Silk and really enjoyed it so I am eager to read more Andrea Pickens. 🙂 And welcome to Word Wenches. You first post was fascinating – I look forward to more from you. Thanks!

    Reply
  145. Oh, I’m so glad I thought to check here tonight. I definitely want to be in the drawing for your book! After your visit here last fall, I got The Spy Wore Silk and really enjoyed it so I am eager to read more Andrea Pickens. 🙂 And welcome to Word Wenches. You first post was fascinating – I look forward to more from you. Thanks!

    Reply
  146. Thanks for the welcome, Anne! So glad you enjoyed The Spy Wore Silk. Seduced By A Spy tells Shannon’s story, and if you enjoyed this post on gunpowder, I think you will get a bang out of her her story!

    Reply
  147. Thanks for the welcome, Anne! So glad you enjoyed The Spy Wore Silk. Seduced By A Spy tells Shannon’s story, and if you enjoyed this post on gunpowder, I think you will get a bang out of her her story!

    Reply
  148. Thanks for the welcome, Anne! So glad you enjoyed The Spy Wore Silk. Seduced By A Spy tells Shannon’s story, and if you enjoyed this post on gunpowder, I think you will get a bang out of her her story!

    Reply
  149. Thanks for the welcome, Anne! So glad you enjoyed The Spy Wore Silk. Seduced By A Spy tells Shannon’s story, and if you enjoyed this post on gunpowder, I think you will get a bang out of her her story!

    Reply
  150. Thanks for the welcome, Anne! So glad you enjoyed The Spy Wore Silk. Seduced By A Spy tells Shannon’s story, and if you enjoyed this post on gunpowder, I think you will get a bang out of her her story!

    Reply
  151. Very behind in my welcome, but it is just as heartfelt. I love the research. I keep finding stuff in “fluffy romances” then go off and look up more details.
    When I first saw your spy novels, I was reminded of “The Spy Wore Red” by countess Aline Romanones. As for Napoleanics, I love Sharp and am currently reading “Wellington at Waterloo” by Jac Weller. It is supposed to be the ultimate authority on that battle. I read Keegan in ollege for my Military History class in ROTC. What is really neat is location. Look up the Battle of Fleurus in Belgium take your pick 1622, 1648,1794 and 1815 (also called Ligny). Enjoy and keep writing and researching.

    Reply
  152. Very behind in my welcome, but it is just as heartfelt. I love the research. I keep finding stuff in “fluffy romances” then go off and look up more details.
    When I first saw your spy novels, I was reminded of “The Spy Wore Red” by countess Aline Romanones. As for Napoleanics, I love Sharp and am currently reading “Wellington at Waterloo” by Jac Weller. It is supposed to be the ultimate authority on that battle. I read Keegan in ollege for my Military History class in ROTC. What is really neat is location. Look up the Battle of Fleurus in Belgium take your pick 1622, 1648,1794 and 1815 (also called Ligny). Enjoy and keep writing and researching.

    Reply
  153. Very behind in my welcome, but it is just as heartfelt. I love the research. I keep finding stuff in “fluffy romances” then go off and look up more details.
    When I first saw your spy novels, I was reminded of “The Spy Wore Red” by countess Aline Romanones. As for Napoleanics, I love Sharp and am currently reading “Wellington at Waterloo” by Jac Weller. It is supposed to be the ultimate authority on that battle. I read Keegan in ollege for my Military History class in ROTC. What is really neat is location. Look up the Battle of Fleurus in Belgium take your pick 1622, 1648,1794 and 1815 (also called Ligny). Enjoy and keep writing and researching.

    Reply
  154. Very behind in my welcome, but it is just as heartfelt. I love the research. I keep finding stuff in “fluffy romances” then go off and look up more details.
    When I first saw your spy novels, I was reminded of “The Spy Wore Red” by countess Aline Romanones. As for Napoleanics, I love Sharp and am currently reading “Wellington at Waterloo” by Jac Weller. It is supposed to be the ultimate authority on that battle. I read Keegan in ollege for my Military History class in ROTC. What is really neat is location. Look up the Battle of Fleurus in Belgium take your pick 1622, 1648,1794 and 1815 (also called Ligny). Enjoy and keep writing and researching.

    Reply
  155. Very behind in my welcome, but it is just as heartfelt. I love the research. I keep finding stuff in “fluffy romances” then go off and look up more details.
    When I first saw your spy novels, I was reminded of “The Spy Wore Red” by countess Aline Romanones. As for Napoleanics, I love Sharp and am currently reading “Wellington at Waterloo” by Jac Weller. It is supposed to be the ultimate authority on that battle. I read Keegan in ollege for my Military History class in ROTC. What is really neat is location. Look up the Battle of Fleurus in Belgium take your pick 1622, 1648,1794 and 1815 (also called Ligny). Enjoy and keep writing and researching.

    Reply

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