Justine: Some Historical Fun in the Kitchen

Program note: I have a set of blog posts planned over the next several weeks geared for the newbie writer. I’m calling it “Back to Basics,” as I find myself going back to the storytelling basics as I work on my new contemporary romance. Also, beginning next week, Nancy Hunter and I will be alternating Tuesdays. I’ll start with my first “Back to Basics” piece, then she’ll blog the following week. We hope you’ll tune in!

In the meantime…I’m taking you back in time!

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Last week, I followed a link from Isabella Bradford and Loretta Chase’s site Two Nerdy History Girls and after much clicking and reading, I found these amazing videos of cooking in a real Georgian kitchen.

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Kew Palace (rear) and Queen’s Gardens. Image courtesy WikiMedia Commons.

The kitchen, located in a separate building from Kew Palace, is one of the few original Georgian kitchens restored as it was last used over 200 years ago. Here you can learn Continue reading

Justine: The Easy Answer is Often Hard to Find

magnifying glassSo, just a warning for you…this post is deliberately short. I’m sorry to disappoint in case you were hankering for a thousand-worder, but I have a point to make and it won’t take long to do it. My point?

Sometimes the EASY answer is HARD to FIND!

An example: I have been stressing for months now that my book is WRONG in the eyes of the Historical Police. No matter how much I wish it otherwise, Susannah could not marry Nate (for real or pretend) without it being null and void from the get-go. And everyone would know it.

Here’s why: Continue reading

Justine: Community

eight ladies writing, justine covington, community, writing, writerThe concept of community is something very important in books, IMHO. When you fall in love with a character, invariably you fall in love with the other characters that make up their community and often, the community comes together to help the hero or heroine achieve their goal.

The same is true in the writing community. For a few weeks now, I’ve been thinking about how to revise my first scene. The way it is (as evidenced by my five-week evolution here) is okay, but it sets me up with a big problem, namely we don’t see Susannah and Nate together until the fourth scene — WAAAAAY too long for the two of them to meet. Plus, by setting up the first scene as it was, we don’t get a sense of Susannah’s community (which is limited at first to her friend Maggie). Again, we have to wait until the fourth scene to discover Susannah’s friend. Continue reading

Justine: Research Books About Regency

regency, regency researchI may have taken a hiatus from writing, but I haven’t taken one from learning about the period in which I write. I’m reading four books right now related to the Regency, each helpful in their own way.

“What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist — the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth Century England” by Daniel Pool
This book covers the gamut. Card games, how to address your peers, the Church of England, MPs, you name it. Everything is covered at a high enough level that you learn about it, but you won’t necessarily become an expert. The most helpful insight so far: learning how many players it takes for a game of loo. Continue reading

Justine: How Far Will I Go For My Book? About 5,200 Miles.

I just returned from eight days in Bath and London doing research for my Regency WIP. I’ve read a lot of Regencies; I think I have a pretty good handle on a lot of the social conventions, dress, forms of address, etc. of the time, but there’s nothing like walking in the shoes of your literary forebears (á la Jane Austen) to get a feel for what life looked like to people who lived 200 years ago. Continue reading