Weather–everyone talks about it…

Cat_243_dover_37 by Mary Jo

“Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.”

Actually, the latter is no longer true.  Now that it’s widely accepted that pouring greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere can change the climate much faster than is convenient, a lot of people are trying to do something about the weather. 

But talking about the weather—ah, now that’s one of humankind’s favorite topics.  And it’s infinitely variable–Edith recently blogged about the weather, and I’ll bet ever Wench could come up with a completely different post on the subject.

On a social level, commenting on the weather to a stranger is a way of showing Snow_1 mild, benign intentions.  “Cold enough for you?”  “Yup.”  (That’s a transcript of a very common conversation in the corner of Upstate New York where I grew up. <g>)

Then there’s the ever-popular “Hot enough for you?”  “Yup.”  These are terse remarks, but they can easily be expanded to any length.  This social aspect—using weather to make a connection with someone else—is quite significant in human interactions, I think. 

Tornado Weather is stereotypically the topic one falls back on when struggling to converse with a person one has nothing in common with.  And there is –always- something to be said about weather.  I grew up in the inappropriately named temperate zone, where the winters were long and the summer, though brief, could get pretty hot.  There was always something interesting going on weatherwise.

After college I moved to San Francisco.  It was June, and one day was much like another.  Yet my coworkers happily talked about how variable Bay Area weather was.  Such was the predictability of the weather that in the weeks after I moved to San Francisco, I was assured that it never rained at this time of the year.  This was repeated evenFog_1 when water was falling from the sky. Nope, couldn’t be rain, not in summer.  Just heavy fog.  It was a triumph of belief over reality. <G>

I once read a story about a family who became totally exasperated by the winter weather where they lived—Michigan, perhaps.  (The story might have been a Reader’s Digest Condensed Book.  It was a lot of years ago.)  So the family bought a trailer and went searching for the perfect place to live.  After numerous Dscn0061_5 adventures all over the country, they reached Santa Barbara, California, and it was indeed perfect.   Sunny, warm, and beautiful all year round. 

The family settled down.  It wasn’t long before they all realized they were bored out of their minds.  They didn’t have weather, they had climate.  So they packed up and moved back to Michigan, where they would never run out of weather toBlizzard_1  talk about.

While weather as conversation is fun to riff about, for a novelist, weather is an aspect of worldbuilding.  I think that a disproportionate number of my books are set in spring, because the growth of love is nicely symbolized by the earth’s blossoming and renewal.  But there are Spring plenty of exceptions. 

Whatever the season in the book, it’s important to think about weather and how it affects our characters.  These days, most of us live fairly well protected from nature.  In the past, weather was far more intimate–literally in one’s face.  Dirt roads because so muddy in winter that travel could be impossible, meaning your characters might be imprisoned in the country for weeks or months on end.  Very claustrophobic!

Storm_cloud__p9c0706Snow might come in around badly hung windows and collect on the bedroom floor, where it won’t melt because the air is too cold.  Water might freeze in the washbasin, and getting out of a bed into a freezing room is so not fun.  Icy drafts whistle across rooms.  (I grew up in a pre-Civil War farmhouse, so this is not all just imagination on my part!) 

In the Gilded Age, American heiresses who married English aristocrats were horrified by the levels of creature discomfort in their new stately home.  (As Edith said in her own musings on weather, castles are some of the most uncomfortable structures ever built!)

Spring was a great release, the first strawberries an exquisite pleasure.  I’m lucky Dscn0636_5that I grew up on a farm, for that made me more aware of nature’s power and cycles.  Likewise, living in England made me more aware of the natural cycles of produce.  I try to incorporate this awareness in my historical settings.  In the U. S., a bad frost in Florida might mean that the oranges will come from California and cost more, but it’s not a serious inconvenience.  But historically, bad weather that ruins a harvest can produce great hardship, even starvation. 

LondonfogNot all writers think to question what the weather is like in other parts of the world.  Britain is much farther north than most of the U. S., so summer days are much longer and winter days are much shorter.  Someone who has always lived in the Sunbelt might think it reasonable for characters to boff in a field in March in Scotland.  Er…the boffers would need to be pretty hardy.  <g>  It’s important to understand what the weather might be like during a scene, to help make the action seem real.

For a writer, it’s useful to always ask questions about the physical environment.  Happyfunkysun_1What season is the book set in?  When will the flowers bloom—and did that species exist in your time period?  When are crops planted and harvested?  Thank heaven for the internet, which makes such information readily accessible! 

Is it necessary for an author to find out exactly what the weather was like in a given place on a given date?  I know writers who do so, but personally, I think that 180pxfrost_fair_of_1814_by_luke_clenell such detail isn’t necessary unless one is writing about a specific weather-related event, like the last London Frost Fair in 1814, when the Thames froze over and carriages could cross business set up shop on the ice.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Thames_frost_fairs

Do you notice weather when you’re reading a book?  And if so, does it make you raise your eyebrows or nod approvingly?  One thing I think most of us will agree with—there’s nothing like a good book and a roaring fire when the weather outside is frightful!

Santoriniwall_niche Mary Jo

64 thoughts on “Weather–everyone talks about it…”

  1. I notice the weather the most when it is inportant to the plot. Such as being snowed in at an inn, a carriage stuck in the mud so the occupants must take shelter at the spooky house on the hill, and of course the dreaded thunderstorm that necessitates the heroine cuddling up with the hero 😀

    Reply
  2. I notice the weather the most when it is inportant to the plot. Such as being snowed in at an inn, a carriage stuck in the mud so the occupants must take shelter at the spooky house on the hill, and of course the dreaded thunderstorm that necessitates the heroine cuddling up with the hero 😀

    Reply
  3. I notice the weather the most when it is inportant to the plot. Such as being snowed in at an inn, a carriage stuck in the mud so the occupants must take shelter at the spooky house on the hill, and of course the dreaded thunderstorm that necessitates the heroine cuddling up with the hero 😀

    Reply
  4. I notice the weather the most when it is inportant to the plot. Such as being snowed in at an inn, a carriage stuck in the mud so the occupants must take shelter at the spooky house on the hill, and of course the dreaded thunderstorm that necessitates the heroine cuddling up with the hero 😀

    Reply
  5. Gosh, Mary Jo, you’ve made the weather conversation interesting! I’ve often wondered about the proscribed 20 minute afternoon visit or waltz exactly how long you could talk about the weather.
    I do notice weather, whether writing or reading. A convenient rain storn is always good for dampening the muslin and luring the hero. In the first book I wrote (unpublished, of course), my h/h are stranded in an inn during a snowstorm. Fortunately there’s a church across the way so they can have a midnight wedding.
    I find I actually get cold reading historicals, imagining the deprivation. I must have central heating and a hot shower. I have sturdy boots instead of thin slippers, and my L.L.Bean jacket is guaranteed to keep me warm up to 20 below!

    Reply
  6. Gosh, Mary Jo, you’ve made the weather conversation interesting! I’ve often wondered about the proscribed 20 minute afternoon visit or waltz exactly how long you could talk about the weather.
    I do notice weather, whether writing or reading. A convenient rain storn is always good for dampening the muslin and luring the hero. In the first book I wrote (unpublished, of course), my h/h are stranded in an inn during a snowstorm. Fortunately there’s a church across the way so they can have a midnight wedding.
    I find I actually get cold reading historicals, imagining the deprivation. I must have central heating and a hot shower. I have sturdy boots instead of thin slippers, and my L.L.Bean jacket is guaranteed to keep me warm up to 20 below!

    Reply
  7. Gosh, Mary Jo, you’ve made the weather conversation interesting! I’ve often wondered about the proscribed 20 minute afternoon visit or waltz exactly how long you could talk about the weather.
    I do notice weather, whether writing or reading. A convenient rain storn is always good for dampening the muslin and luring the hero. In the first book I wrote (unpublished, of course), my h/h are stranded in an inn during a snowstorm. Fortunately there’s a church across the way so they can have a midnight wedding.
    I find I actually get cold reading historicals, imagining the deprivation. I must have central heating and a hot shower. I have sturdy boots instead of thin slippers, and my L.L.Bean jacket is guaranteed to keep me warm up to 20 below!

    Reply
  8. Gosh, Mary Jo, you’ve made the weather conversation interesting! I’ve often wondered about the proscribed 20 minute afternoon visit or waltz exactly how long you could talk about the weather.
    I do notice weather, whether writing or reading. A convenient rain storn is always good for dampening the muslin and luring the hero. In the first book I wrote (unpublished, of course), my h/h are stranded in an inn during a snowstorm. Fortunately there’s a church across the way so they can have a midnight wedding.
    I find I actually get cold reading historicals, imagining the deprivation. I must have central heating and a hot shower. I have sturdy boots instead of thin slippers, and my L.L.Bean jacket is guaranteed to keep me warm up to 20 below!

    Reply
  9. Good Morning, Mary Jo!
    Great post. I do notice weather when I read. It is a very important element from my perspective because it too is a character of sorts. If memory serves, the weather in THE MARRIAGE SPELL is a bit gloomy, which beautifully highlights Abby’s (heroine) sunny disposition. In Jo’s FORBIDDEN MAGIC, it’s cold. Very cold. And all I wanted to do was cuddle up with Sax (the hero).
    As a writer I love to use nature as an unpredictable character. Sunsets, a dramatic sky and the moon are my favorites. And I do fret about getting the weather right in my ms. Not to the enth degree (i.e.: did it rain in Berkshire on 1 October, 1815) but I never feel like I have a good handle on the English climate and how it affected daily life. For example, would it be plausible for character take a cross country (over fields and such) horseback ride on a late September morn? Its stuff like this that brings my WIP to a grinding halt because changing the scene (putting the hero on dirt packed road or in London on a paved surface) would change the entire line of the book. Very frustrating. Do you (or anyone else) have a resource suggestion for historical weather?
    Nina, thankful for Word Wenches

    Reply
  10. Good Morning, Mary Jo!
    Great post. I do notice weather when I read. It is a very important element from my perspective because it too is a character of sorts. If memory serves, the weather in THE MARRIAGE SPELL is a bit gloomy, which beautifully highlights Abby’s (heroine) sunny disposition. In Jo’s FORBIDDEN MAGIC, it’s cold. Very cold. And all I wanted to do was cuddle up with Sax (the hero).
    As a writer I love to use nature as an unpredictable character. Sunsets, a dramatic sky and the moon are my favorites. And I do fret about getting the weather right in my ms. Not to the enth degree (i.e.: did it rain in Berkshire on 1 October, 1815) but I never feel like I have a good handle on the English climate and how it affected daily life. For example, would it be plausible for character take a cross country (over fields and such) horseback ride on a late September morn? Its stuff like this that brings my WIP to a grinding halt because changing the scene (putting the hero on dirt packed road or in London on a paved surface) would change the entire line of the book. Very frustrating. Do you (or anyone else) have a resource suggestion for historical weather?
    Nina, thankful for Word Wenches

    Reply
  11. Good Morning, Mary Jo!
    Great post. I do notice weather when I read. It is a very important element from my perspective because it too is a character of sorts. If memory serves, the weather in THE MARRIAGE SPELL is a bit gloomy, which beautifully highlights Abby’s (heroine) sunny disposition. In Jo’s FORBIDDEN MAGIC, it’s cold. Very cold. And all I wanted to do was cuddle up with Sax (the hero).
    As a writer I love to use nature as an unpredictable character. Sunsets, a dramatic sky and the moon are my favorites. And I do fret about getting the weather right in my ms. Not to the enth degree (i.e.: did it rain in Berkshire on 1 October, 1815) but I never feel like I have a good handle on the English climate and how it affected daily life. For example, would it be plausible for character take a cross country (over fields and such) horseback ride on a late September morn? Its stuff like this that brings my WIP to a grinding halt because changing the scene (putting the hero on dirt packed road or in London on a paved surface) would change the entire line of the book. Very frustrating. Do you (or anyone else) have a resource suggestion for historical weather?
    Nina, thankful for Word Wenches

    Reply
  12. Good Morning, Mary Jo!
    Great post. I do notice weather when I read. It is a very important element from my perspective because it too is a character of sorts. If memory serves, the weather in THE MARRIAGE SPELL is a bit gloomy, which beautifully highlights Abby’s (heroine) sunny disposition. In Jo’s FORBIDDEN MAGIC, it’s cold. Very cold. And all I wanted to do was cuddle up with Sax (the hero).
    As a writer I love to use nature as an unpredictable character. Sunsets, a dramatic sky and the moon are my favorites. And I do fret about getting the weather right in my ms. Not to the enth degree (i.e.: did it rain in Berkshire on 1 October, 1815) but I never feel like I have a good handle on the English climate and how it affected daily life. For example, would it be plausible for character take a cross country (over fields and such) horseback ride on a late September morn? Its stuff like this that brings my WIP to a grinding halt because changing the scene (putting the hero on dirt packed road or in London on a paved surface) would change the entire line of the book. Very frustrating. Do you (or anyone else) have a resource suggestion for historical weather?
    Nina, thankful for Word Wenches

    Reply
  13. Jane Eyre begins her narrative with a comment on the weather. That gloomy wet afternoon sets the tone for the story. Since my childhood home had no heat in the upstairs- just holes cut in the floor so heat could rise from the upper story- I really identified with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter! Weather is far more important to me in a story than I had thought- and I just realized that many of my favorite romances are set in winter, which is my least favorite season.( ChristmaS Angel, Forbidden Magic are two of Jo’s that I reread often.) I guess I like it because it presents a great challenge for the characters. As long as I’m not reading about the Donner Party!
    Gretchen F, freezing in IN and dreaming of FLA…

    Reply
  14. Jane Eyre begins her narrative with a comment on the weather. That gloomy wet afternoon sets the tone for the story. Since my childhood home had no heat in the upstairs- just holes cut in the floor so heat could rise from the upper story- I really identified with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter! Weather is far more important to me in a story than I had thought- and I just realized that many of my favorite romances are set in winter, which is my least favorite season.( ChristmaS Angel, Forbidden Magic are two of Jo’s that I reread often.) I guess I like it because it presents a great challenge for the characters. As long as I’m not reading about the Donner Party!
    Gretchen F, freezing in IN and dreaming of FLA…

    Reply
  15. Jane Eyre begins her narrative with a comment on the weather. That gloomy wet afternoon sets the tone for the story. Since my childhood home had no heat in the upstairs- just holes cut in the floor so heat could rise from the upper story- I really identified with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter! Weather is far more important to me in a story than I had thought- and I just realized that many of my favorite romances are set in winter, which is my least favorite season.( ChristmaS Angel, Forbidden Magic are two of Jo’s that I reread often.) I guess I like it because it presents a great challenge for the characters. As long as I’m not reading about the Donner Party!
    Gretchen F, freezing in IN and dreaming of FLA…

    Reply
  16. Jane Eyre begins her narrative with a comment on the weather. That gloomy wet afternoon sets the tone for the story. Since my childhood home had no heat in the upstairs- just holes cut in the floor so heat could rise from the upper story- I really identified with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter! Weather is far more important to me in a story than I had thought- and I just realized that many of my favorite romances are set in winter, which is my least favorite season.( ChristmaS Angel, Forbidden Magic are two of Jo’s that I reread often.) I guess I like it because it presents a great challenge for the characters. As long as I’m not reading about the Donner Party!
    Gretchen F, freezing in IN and dreaming of FLA…

    Reply
  17. Great topic, Mary Jo!
    Dickens used weather as a character, most notably in the opening to BLEAK HOUSE. It absolutely sets the mood. Books which make appropriate use of the weather take me deeper into the other world of the story. I agree absolutely that weather is important in a great many stories, vital in some. I could go on and on about its uses (foreshadowing, mood setting, symbolism)–as I’m sure could the other Wenches.

    Reply
  18. Great topic, Mary Jo!
    Dickens used weather as a character, most notably in the opening to BLEAK HOUSE. It absolutely sets the mood. Books which make appropriate use of the weather take me deeper into the other world of the story. I agree absolutely that weather is important in a great many stories, vital in some. I could go on and on about its uses (foreshadowing, mood setting, symbolism)–as I’m sure could the other Wenches.

    Reply
  19. Great topic, Mary Jo!
    Dickens used weather as a character, most notably in the opening to BLEAK HOUSE. It absolutely sets the mood. Books which make appropriate use of the weather take me deeper into the other world of the story. I agree absolutely that weather is important in a great many stories, vital in some. I could go on and on about its uses (foreshadowing, mood setting, symbolism)–as I’m sure could the other Wenches.

    Reply
  20. Great topic, Mary Jo!
    Dickens used weather as a character, most notably in the opening to BLEAK HOUSE. It absolutely sets the mood. Books which make appropriate use of the weather take me deeper into the other world of the story. I agree absolutely that weather is important in a great many stories, vital in some. I could go on and on about its uses (foreshadowing, mood setting, symbolism)–as I’m sure could the other Wenches.

    Reply
  21. I don’t usually pay conscious attention to weather as I read–it’s more something that creates a background, um, *atmosphere.*
    And I hadn’t thought about it before, but so far all three of the manuscripts I’ve written have been set primarily in the summer. I lived in England for a year and have lived in Seattle since 1999, and I love the gloriously long days and relatively cool temperatures of a northern summer. I guess setting my stories in the summer is a way of reminding myself that those beautiful 75-and-sunny days with twilight still lingering as you leave a night baseball game at 10:00 p.m. actually will return, even when I’m slogging my way through December and January, when it’s already dark when I leave the office at 4:30 or 5:00.
    When I lived in Alabama and then Philadelphia, I didn’t like summer nearly as much, since I’m the type who starts wilting once it hits 80 or 85. Then I liked fall best, and I still find October and November in Seattle *wrong* somehow–fall is supposed to be crisp and brightly sunny, not gray and gloomy!

    Reply
  22. I don’t usually pay conscious attention to weather as I read–it’s more something that creates a background, um, *atmosphere.*
    And I hadn’t thought about it before, but so far all three of the manuscripts I’ve written have been set primarily in the summer. I lived in England for a year and have lived in Seattle since 1999, and I love the gloriously long days and relatively cool temperatures of a northern summer. I guess setting my stories in the summer is a way of reminding myself that those beautiful 75-and-sunny days with twilight still lingering as you leave a night baseball game at 10:00 p.m. actually will return, even when I’m slogging my way through December and January, when it’s already dark when I leave the office at 4:30 or 5:00.
    When I lived in Alabama and then Philadelphia, I didn’t like summer nearly as much, since I’m the type who starts wilting once it hits 80 or 85. Then I liked fall best, and I still find October and November in Seattle *wrong* somehow–fall is supposed to be crisp and brightly sunny, not gray and gloomy!

    Reply
  23. I don’t usually pay conscious attention to weather as I read–it’s more something that creates a background, um, *atmosphere.*
    And I hadn’t thought about it before, but so far all three of the manuscripts I’ve written have been set primarily in the summer. I lived in England for a year and have lived in Seattle since 1999, and I love the gloriously long days and relatively cool temperatures of a northern summer. I guess setting my stories in the summer is a way of reminding myself that those beautiful 75-and-sunny days with twilight still lingering as you leave a night baseball game at 10:00 p.m. actually will return, even when I’m slogging my way through December and January, when it’s already dark when I leave the office at 4:30 or 5:00.
    When I lived in Alabama and then Philadelphia, I didn’t like summer nearly as much, since I’m the type who starts wilting once it hits 80 or 85. Then I liked fall best, and I still find October and November in Seattle *wrong* somehow–fall is supposed to be crisp and brightly sunny, not gray and gloomy!

    Reply
  24. I don’t usually pay conscious attention to weather as I read–it’s more something that creates a background, um, *atmosphere.*
    And I hadn’t thought about it before, but so far all three of the manuscripts I’ve written have been set primarily in the summer. I lived in England for a year and have lived in Seattle since 1999, and I love the gloriously long days and relatively cool temperatures of a northern summer. I guess setting my stories in the summer is a way of reminding myself that those beautiful 75-and-sunny days with twilight still lingering as you leave a night baseball game at 10:00 p.m. actually will return, even when I’m slogging my way through December and January, when it’s already dark when I leave the office at 4:30 or 5:00.
    When I lived in Alabama and then Philadelphia, I didn’t like summer nearly as much, since I’m the type who starts wilting once it hits 80 or 85. Then I liked fall best, and I still find October and November in Seattle *wrong* somehow–fall is supposed to be crisp and brightly sunny, not gray and gloomy!

    Reply
  25. Since I just read a historical where there was more weather than place setting, and it annoyed the daylights out of me, I’m not fond of weather as symbolism today, thank you. But admittedly, it’s a useful tool. (Maggie, you may want to worry about the hours the CofE allowed weddings if your story is English!)
    Judging what a character can or can’t do in what kind of weather is difficult to do from our perspective. People accustomed to living in houses that seldom got warmer than 50 degrees in winter might have a different take on whether the weather was pleasant for a fall morning ride!
    Currently, I’m stuck with whatever season the events I’m writing about occur, and since snow and muddy roads make most rebellious events impossible in winter, I get to write about summer a lot. “G”

    Reply
  26. Since I just read a historical where there was more weather than place setting, and it annoyed the daylights out of me, I’m not fond of weather as symbolism today, thank you. But admittedly, it’s a useful tool. (Maggie, you may want to worry about the hours the CofE allowed weddings if your story is English!)
    Judging what a character can or can’t do in what kind of weather is difficult to do from our perspective. People accustomed to living in houses that seldom got warmer than 50 degrees in winter might have a different take on whether the weather was pleasant for a fall morning ride!
    Currently, I’m stuck with whatever season the events I’m writing about occur, and since snow and muddy roads make most rebellious events impossible in winter, I get to write about summer a lot. “G”

    Reply
  27. Since I just read a historical where there was more weather than place setting, and it annoyed the daylights out of me, I’m not fond of weather as symbolism today, thank you. But admittedly, it’s a useful tool. (Maggie, you may want to worry about the hours the CofE allowed weddings if your story is English!)
    Judging what a character can or can’t do in what kind of weather is difficult to do from our perspective. People accustomed to living in houses that seldom got warmer than 50 degrees in winter might have a different take on whether the weather was pleasant for a fall morning ride!
    Currently, I’m stuck with whatever season the events I’m writing about occur, and since snow and muddy roads make most rebellious events impossible in winter, I get to write about summer a lot. “G”

    Reply
  28. Since I just read a historical where there was more weather than place setting, and it annoyed the daylights out of me, I’m not fond of weather as symbolism today, thank you. But admittedly, it’s a useful tool. (Maggie, you may want to worry about the hours the CofE allowed weddings if your story is English!)
    Judging what a character can or can’t do in what kind of weather is difficult to do from our perspective. People accustomed to living in houses that seldom got warmer than 50 degrees in winter might have a different take on whether the weather was pleasant for a fall morning ride!
    Currently, I’m stuck with whatever season the events I’m writing about occur, and since snow and muddy roads make most rebellious events impossible in winter, I get to write about summer a lot. “G”

    Reply
  29. I don’t tend to pay much attention to weather unless it’s something that jerks me out of the story, like having outdoor fun in Scotland in March :). Most of the time, I just go with it.
    I love Lisa Kleypas’ book The Devil in Winter. She dealt well with the issue of traveling by coach in winter and the resulting cold. BUT, her cover (and I know she had nothing to do with it) has these two entwined outside with snow on the ground. What art department thought that would be romantic and sexy? Nothing like a little hypothermia to get you in the mood!

    Reply
  30. I don’t tend to pay much attention to weather unless it’s something that jerks me out of the story, like having outdoor fun in Scotland in March :). Most of the time, I just go with it.
    I love Lisa Kleypas’ book The Devil in Winter. She dealt well with the issue of traveling by coach in winter and the resulting cold. BUT, her cover (and I know she had nothing to do with it) has these two entwined outside with snow on the ground. What art department thought that would be romantic and sexy? Nothing like a little hypothermia to get you in the mood!

    Reply
  31. I don’t tend to pay much attention to weather unless it’s something that jerks me out of the story, like having outdoor fun in Scotland in March :). Most of the time, I just go with it.
    I love Lisa Kleypas’ book The Devil in Winter. She dealt well with the issue of traveling by coach in winter and the resulting cold. BUT, her cover (and I know she had nothing to do with it) has these two entwined outside with snow on the ground. What art department thought that would be romantic and sexy? Nothing like a little hypothermia to get you in the mood!

    Reply
  32. I don’t tend to pay much attention to weather unless it’s something that jerks me out of the story, like having outdoor fun in Scotland in March :). Most of the time, I just go with it.
    I love Lisa Kleypas’ book The Devil in Winter. She dealt well with the issue of traveling by coach in winter and the resulting cold. BUT, her cover (and I know she had nothing to do with it) has these two entwined outside with snow on the ground. What art department thought that would be romantic and sexy? Nothing like a little hypothermia to get you in the mood!

    Reply
  33. Mary Jo, I LOVE weather ( as a Signet editor we both knew used to lament.) I could go on for pages. But I’ve learned to keep my weather down to a minimum, because as Pat points out, it can get a bit much.
    I did write a Regency novel set at a Frost Fair – but it never sold.
    It was a mystery and had a love triangle, And lotsa ice and snow. It involved a Bow Street Runner, a Nobleman, and a fish monger’s widow. I recall one editor saying, with a sniff: “I smelled fish.”
    Which means, I guess, that you can have too much weather and too much description all ’round.
    I guess weather and fish need to be taken with a grain of salt and a lot of restraint. sigh.

    Reply
  34. Mary Jo, I LOVE weather ( as a Signet editor we both knew used to lament.) I could go on for pages. But I’ve learned to keep my weather down to a minimum, because as Pat points out, it can get a bit much.
    I did write a Regency novel set at a Frost Fair – but it never sold.
    It was a mystery and had a love triangle, And lotsa ice and snow. It involved a Bow Street Runner, a Nobleman, and a fish monger’s widow. I recall one editor saying, with a sniff: “I smelled fish.”
    Which means, I guess, that you can have too much weather and too much description all ’round.
    I guess weather and fish need to be taken with a grain of salt and a lot of restraint. sigh.

    Reply
  35. Mary Jo, I LOVE weather ( as a Signet editor we both knew used to lament.) I could go on for pages. But I’ve learned to keep my weather down to a minimum, because as Pat points out, it can get a bit much.
    I did write a Regency novel set at a Frost Fair – but it never sold.
    It was a mystery and had a love triangle, And lotsa ice and snow. It involved a Bow Street Runner, a Nobleman, and a fish monger’s widow. I recall one editor saying, with a sniff: “I smelled fish.”
    Which means, I guess, that you can have too much weather and too much description all ’round.
    I guess weather and fish need to be taken with a grain of salt and a lot of restraint. sigh.

    Reply
  36. Mary Jo, I LOVE weather ( as a Signet editor we both knew used to lament.) I could go on for pages. But I’ve learned to keep my weather down to a minimum, because as Pat points out, it can get a bit much.
    I did write a Regency novel set at a Frost Fair – but it never sold.
    It was a mystery and had a love triangle, And lotsa ice and snow. It involved a Bow Street Runner, a Nobleman, and a fish monger’s widow. I recall one editor saying, with a sniff: “I smelled fish.”
    Which means, I guess, that you can have too much weather and too much description all ’round.
    I guess weather and fish need to be taken with a grain of salt and a lot of restraint. sigh.

    Reply
  37. Interesting post, Mary Jo.
    I’m with Edith: I think weather should play an important role in historical stories. It can almost be like extra supporting character.
    Nowadays it takes some momumental “weather event” (as the tv folk call it) like a hurricane or blizzard to shake most of us loose from air conditioning and central heating, carefully coddled at seventy-two degrees year-round. But in the past, weather played an unavoidable role in most people’s lives.
    Weather affected the lives of the everyone. Travel was affected, and there was less to available to eat in the winter, regardless of whether there was money to pay for it or not. Even rich babies had a much lower survival rate in the winter months, while long rainy spells increased standing water and insects that carried diseases like malaria.
    Fortunes could be (and were) lost when monsoons wrecked distant merchant ships; long days of rain turned linen stored in warehouses to unsaleable mildew; droughts withered crops; and a storm-swollen river spilling over its banks flooded mines. Hot spells in summer dried up water supplies and wells, and turned wooden buildings to tinder. The Great Fire of London occurred during an unseasonly hot summer.
    Weather was a trial alike to a laundress hanging out the linen to dry, and to an admiral plotting a grand fleet-action. History-changing battles were won, lost, or avoided because of weather.
    Even city-folk had an awareness of “weather knowledge”, of reading the clouds and feeling changes in the wind. Nearly all older journals and diaries include some mention of the day’s weather, good or bad. Weather mattered, because weather had consequences.
    See, Edith, I’m running on and on about it, too…..:)

    Reply
  38. Interesting post, Mary Jo.
    I’m with Edith: I think weather should play an important role in historical stories. It can almost be like extra supporting character.
    Nowadays it takes some momumental “weather event” (as the tv folk call it) like a hurricane or blizzard to shake most of us loose from air conditioning and central heating, carefully coddled at seventy-two degrees year-round. But in the past, weather played an unavoidable role in most people’s lives.
    Weather affected the lives of the everyone. Travel was affected, and there was less to available to eat in the winter, regardless of whether there was money to pay for it or not. Even rich babies had a much lower survival rate in the winter months, while long rainy spells increased standing water and insects that carried diseases like malaria.
    Fortunes could be (and were) lost when monsoons wrecked distant merchant ships; long days of rain turned linen stored in warehouses to unsaleable mildew; droughts withered crops; and a storm-swollen river spilling over its banks flooded mines. Hot spells in summer dried up water supplies and wells, and turned wooden buildings to tinder. The Great Fire of London occurred during an unseasonly hot summer.
    Weather was a trial alike to a laundress hanging out the linen to dry, and to an admiral plotting a grand fleet-action. History-changing battles were won, lost, or avoided because of weather.
    Even city-folk had an awareness of “weather knowledge”, of reading the clouds and feeling changes in the wind. Nearly all older journals and diaries include some mention of the day’s weather, good or bad. Weather mattered, because weather had consequences.
    See, Edith, I’m running on and on about it, too…..:)

    Reply
  39. Interesting post, Mary Jo.
    I’m with Edith: I think weather should play an important role in historical stories. It can almost be like extra supporting character.
    Nowadays it takes some momumental “weather event” (as the tv folk call it) like a hurricane or blizzard to shake most of us loose from air conditioning and central heating, carefully coddled at seventy-two degrees year-round. But in the past, weather played an unavoidable role in most people’s lives.
    Weather affected the lives of the everyone. Travel was affected, and there was less to available to eat in the winter, regardless of whether there was money to pay for it or not. Even rich babies had a much lower survival rate in the winter months, while long rainy spells increased standing water and insects that carried diseases like malaria.
    Fortunes could be (and were) lost when monsoons wrecked distant merchant ships; long days of rain turned linen stored in warehouses to unsaleable mildew; droughts withered crops; and a storm-swollen river spilling over its banks flooded mines. Hot spells in summer dried up water supplies and wells, and turned wooden buildings to tinder. The Great Fire of London occurred during an unseasonly hot summer.
    Weather was a trial alike to a laundress hanging out the linen to dry, and to an admiral plotting a grand fleet-action. History-changing battles were won, lost, or avoided because of weather.
    Even city-folk had an awareness of “weather knowledge”, of reading the clouds and feeling changes in the wind. Nearly all older journals and diaries include some mention of the day’s weather, good or bad. Weather mattered, because weather had consequences.
    See, Edith, I’m running on and on about it, too…..:)

    Reply
  40. Interesting post, Mary Jo.
    I’m with Edith: I think weather should play an important role in historical stories. It can almost be like extra supporting character.
    Nowadays it takes some momumental “weather event” (as the tv folk call it) like a hurricane or blizzard to shake most of us loose from air conditioning and central heating, carefully coddled at seventy-two degrees year-round. But in the past, weather played an unavoidable role in most people’s lives.
    Weather affected the lives of the everyone. Travel was affected, and there was less to available to eat in the winter, regardless of whether there was money to pay for it or not. Even rich babies had a much lower survival rate in the winter months, while long rainy spells increased standing water and insects that carried diseases like malaria.
    Fortunes could be (and were) lost when monsoons wrecked distant merchant ships; long days of rain turned linen stored in warehouses to unsaleable mildew; droughts withered crops; and a storm-swollen river spilling over its banks flooded mines. Hot spells in summer dried up water supplies and wells, and turned wooden buildings to tinder. The Great Fire of London occurred during an unseasonly hot summer.
    Weather was a trial alike to a laundress hanging out the linen to dry, and to an admiral plotting a grand fleet-action. History-changing battles were won, lost, or avoided because of weather.
    Even city-folk had an awareness of “weather knowledge”, of reading the clouds and feeling changes in the wind. Nearly all older journals and diaries include some mention of the day’s weather, good or bad. Weather mattered, because weather had consequences.
    See, Edith, I’m running on and on about it, too…..:)

    Reply
  41. “I guess weather and fish need to be taken with a grain of salt and a lot of restraint. sigh.”
    To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, “Fish and blizzards stink in three days”? 🙂
    The mystery with the Bow Street Runner at the Frost Fair sounds fascinating to me. Oh, well. I will never understand the market.

    Reply
  42. “I guess weather and fish need to be taken with a grain of salt and a lot of restraint. sigh.”
    To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, “Fish and blizzards stink in three days”? 🙂
    The mystery with the Bow Street Runner at the Frost Fair sounds fascinating to me. Oh, well. I will never understand the market.

    Reply
  43. “I guess weather and fish need to be taken with a grain of salt and a lot of restraint. sigh.”
    To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, “Fish and blizzards stink in three days”? 🙂
    The mystery with the Bow Street Runner at the Frost Fair sounds fascinating to me. Oh, well. I will never understand the market.

    Reply
  44. “I guess weather and fish need to be taken with a grain of salt and a lot of restraint. sigh.”
    To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, “Fish and blizzards stink in three days”? 🙂
    The mystery with the Bow Street Runner at the Frost Fair sounds fascinating to me. Oh, well. I will never understand the market.

    Reply
  45. Yep, I think I’m another one that just really notices the weather when it’s a major part of the book — when a rainstorm makes the carriage crash and the hero/ine helps the hero/ine inside. . . a snowstorm stranding them inside somewhere or a mood helping thunderstorm during a spooky period. . . stuff like that. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  46. Yep, I think I’m another one that just really notices the weather when it’s a major part of the book — when a rainstorm makes the carriage crash and the hero/ine helps the hero/ine inside. . . a snowstorm stranding them inside somewhere or a mood helping thunderstorm during a spooky period. . . stuff like that. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  47. Yep, I think I’m another one that just really notices the weather when it’s a major part of the book — when a rainstorm makes the carriage crash and the hero/ine helps the hero/ine inside. . . a snowstorm stranding them inside somewhere or a mood helping thunderstorm during a spooky period. . . stuff like that. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  48. Yep, I think I’m another one that just really notices the weather when it’s a major part of the book — when a rainstorm makes the carriage crash and the hero/ine helps the hero/ine inside. . . a snowstorm stranding them inside somewhere or a mood helping thunderstorm during a spooky period. . . stuff like that. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  49. “One thing I think most of us will agree with—there’s nothing like a good book and a roaring fire when the weather outside is frightful!”
    Right ! But it’s also very good to be lazy on a chair under the summer sun with a cold drink and a good book 😉 JOELLE – France

    Reply
  50. “One thing I think most of us will agree with—there’s nothing like a good book and a roaring fire when the weather outside is frightful!”
    Right ! But it’s also very good to be lazy on a chair under the summer sun with a cold drink and a good book 😉 JOELLE – France

    Reply
  51. “One thing I think most of us will agree with—there’s nothing like a good book and a roaring fire when the weather outside is frightful!”
    Right ! But it’s also very good to be lazy on a chair under the summer sun with a cold drink and a good book 😉 JOELLE – France

    Reply
  52. “One thing I think most of us will agree with—there’s nothing like a good book and a roaring fire when the weather outside is frightful!”
    Right ! But it’s also very good to be lazy on a chair under the summer sun with a cold drink and a good book 😉 JOELLE – France

    Reply
  53. From MJP:
    Nina, I don’t know know any sites for historical weather, but I’ll bet some Googling with bring up a few. I can tell you from personal experience that the weather in England in late September can be extremely pleasant, so riding cross country would be no problem.
    Of course, English fox hunters hurled themself across fields all winter, so they were a hardy lot. 🙂 But September is nice–like here, but maybe a few degrees cooler. (And generally damper–Britain has a marine climate, more like Seattle than New York.)
    Susan W., I’m like you and wilt in heat. You can take the girl out of the north, but not the north out of the girl. 🙂 I actually like subfreezing weather, when it feels like your skin is being peeled back a layer and leaving your complexion bright and fresh.
    As several of you have pointed out, weather can be a virtual character in a book, and it’s great for setting moods. Edith, the very first time I met you, Barbara Hazard addressed you as “the Weather Queen.” 🙂 British weather gives LOTS of opportunities to set the scene!
    Joelle, it’s nice to see you here! Kiss a kitty for me. 🙂
    Mary Jo, agreeing that Edith’s Frost Fair mystery sounds delightful

    Reply
  54. From MJP:
    Nina, I don’t know know any sites for historical weather, but I’ll bet some Googling with bring up a few. I can tell you from personal experience that the weather in England in late September can be extremely pleasant, so riding cross country would be no problem.
    Of course, English fox hunters hurled themself across fields all winter, so they were a hardy lot. 🙂 But September is nice–like here, but maybe a few degrees cooler. (And generally damper–Britain has a marine climate, more like Seattle than New York.)
    Susan W., I’m like you and wilt in heat. You can take the girl out of the north, but not the north out of the girl. 🙂 I actually like subfreezing weather, when it feels like your skin is being peeled back a layer and leaving your complexion bright and fresh.
    As several of you have pointed out, weather can be a virtual character in a book, and it’s great for setting moods. Edith, the very first time I met you, Barbara Hazard addressed you as “the Weather Queen.” 🙂 British weather gives LOTS of opportunities to set the scene!
    Joelle, it’s nice to see you here! Kiss a kitty for me. 🙂
    Mary Jo, agreeing that Edith’s Frost Fair mystery sounds delightful

    Reply
  55. From MJP:
    Nina, I don’t know know any sites for historical weather, but I’ll bet some Googling with bring up a few. I can tell you from personal experience that the weather in England in late September can be extremely pleasant, so riding cross country would be no problem.
    Of course, English fox hunters hurled themself across fields all winter, so they were a hardy lot. 🙂 But September is nice–like here, but maybe a few degrees cooler. (And generally damper–Britain has a marine climate, more like Seattle than New York.)
    Susan W., I’m like you and wilt in heat. You can take the girl out of the north, but not the north out of the girl. 🙂 I actually like subfreezing weather, when it feels like your skin is being peeled back a layer and leaving your complexion bright and fresh.
    As several of you have pointed out, weather can be a virtual character in a book, and it’s great for setting moods. Edith, the very first time I met you, Barbara Hazard addressed you as “the Weather Queen.” 🙂 British weather gives LOTS of opportunities to set the scene!
    Joelle, it’s nice to see you here! Kiss a kitty for me. 🙂
    Mary Jo, agreeing that Edith’s Frost Fair mystery sounds delightful

    Reply
  56. From MJP:
    Nina, I don’t know know any sites for historical weather, but I’ll bet some Googling with bring up a few. I can tell you from personal experience that the weather in England in late September can be extremely pleasant, so riding cross country would be no problem.
    Of course, English fox hunters hurled themself across fields all winter, so they were a hardy lot. 🙂 But September is nice–like here, but maybe a few degrees cooler. (And generally damper–Britain has a marine climate, more like Seattle than New York.)
    Susan W., I’m like you and wilt in heat. You can take the girl out of the north, but not the north out of the girl. 🙂 I actually like subfreezing weather, when it feels like your skin is being peeled back a layer and leaving your complexion bright and fresh.
    As several of you have pointed out, weather can be a virtual character in a book, and it’s great for setting moods. Edith, the very first time I met you, Barbara Hazard addressed you as “the Weather Queen.” 🙂 British weather gives LOTS of opportunities to set the scene!
    Joelle, it’s nice to see you here! Kiss a kitty for me. 🙂
    Mary Jo, agreeing that Edith’s Frost Fair mystery sounds delightful

    Reply
  57. Hi Mary Jo,
    I have always loved the book “They Loved to Laugh” by Kathryn Worth, a young adult title I read as a girl and recently bought for my teenage daughter. It’s about an orphaned girl, Martitia, who’s adopted by a Quaker family in North Carolina–and of course there’s a love story along the way as she grows up. It features a historical “weather event” as part of the plot–well, it’s not really weather, it’s the Great Leonid Meteor Shower of 1833. If I remember correctly, the hero proposes to Martitia during the meteor shower– even as they imagine that the world might be coming to an end, they know that they want to be together whatever comes. Sigh.
    And hasn’t their been at least one Regency that takes place during a Frost Fair? I swear I read one once–was it by Elizabeth Mansfield?
    Melinda

    Reply
  58. Hi Mary Jo,
    I have always loved the book “They Loved to Laugh” by Kathryn Worth, a young adult title I read as a girl and recently bought for my teenage daughter. It’s about an orphaned girl, Martitia, who’s adopted by a Quaker family in North Carolina–and of course there’s a love story along the way as she grows up. It features a historical “weather event” as part of the plot–well, it’s not really weather, it’s the Great Leonid Meteor Shower of 1833. If I remember correctly, the hero proposes to Martitia during the meteor shower– even as they imagine that the world might be coming to an end, they know that they want to be together whatever comes. Sigh.
    And hasn’t their been at least one Regency that takes place during a Frost Fair? I swear I read one once–was it by Elizabeth Mansfield?
    Melinda

    Reply
  59. Hi Mary Jo,
    I have always loved the book “They Loved to Laugh” by Kathryn Worth, a young adult title I read as a girl and recently bought for my teenage daughter. It’s about an orphaned girl, Martitia, who’s adopted by a Quaker family in North Carolina–and of course there’s a love story along the way as she grows up. It features a historical “weather event” as part of the plot–well, it’s not really weather, it’s the Great Leonid Meteor Shower of 1833. If I remember correctly, the hero proposes to Martitia during the meteor shower– even as they imagine that the world might be coming to an end, they know that they want to be together whatever comes. Sigh.
    And hasn’t their been at least one Regency that takes place during a Frost Fair? I swear I read one once–was it by Elizabeth Mansfield?
    Melinda

    Reply
  60. Hi Mary Jo,
    I have always loved the book “They Loved to Laugh” by Kathryn Worth, a young adult title I read as a girl and recently bought for my teenage daughter. It’s about an orphaned girl, Martitia, who’s adopted by a Quaker family in North Carolina–and of course there’s a love story along the way as she grows up. It features a historical “weather event” as part of the plot–well, it’s not really weather, it’s the Great Leonid Meteor Shower of 1833. If I remember correctly, the hero proposes to Martitia during the meteor shower– even as they imagine that the world might be coming to an end, they know that they want to be together whatever comes. Sigh.
    And hasn’t their been at least one Regency that takes place during a Frost Fair? I swear I read one once–was it by Elizabeth Mansfield?
    Melinda

    Reply

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