Showing posts from April, 2016

The Dollar Princesses

Ursula Houghton is a character in my current WIP. She's around nineteen years old, is American, has been raised in New York City and Newport, the daughter of a Wall Street banker and his wife. She's been raised in the lap of luxury, but her family's money is relatively recent, so the establishment families of New York society look down on her. #RichPeopleProblems

Ursula, her mother, and her brother go to Paris, then London in 1893 to see some European sights, meet some European nobles--and to find Ursula a husband, preferably with money and some kind of ancient noble title.

Ursula is a fictional addition to the many women who did this exact thing in the Gilded Age--they were known as Dollar Princesses or the Buccaneers.

Here are just a few of these ladies:

Jennie Jerome

One of the most famous of these transatlantic marriages is that of Jennie Jerome and her husband, Lord Randolph Churchill, who had two sons together, the eldest being Winston Churchill.

Jennie was born in Br…

The Volcano

When I was six years old, I climbed a volcano.

I should probably explain that. When I was six, my mom and her parents and I took a two-week-long trip to Japan. It was my first time there. Among the many stops we made were to visit my grandfather's family in Shimabara, which is here on this handy Google Map:

My grandpa's sister ran a kimono shop and their house was right behind the store, so we stayed there. It was probably the first time I wore a kimono--and it was the only time I met my grandpa's mother, my great-grandmother.

But back to that volcano.

The year before this trip, Mount Unzen near Shimabara erupted. It was still incredibly active when we made our trip in 1992 and yet, somehow, there was a little restaurant on one of the volcano's slopes that hadn't been burnt to a crisp. I later learned that Mt. Unzen has more than one peak, so it may be that that place wasn't near the most active parts. But still!

My mom's cousin took us there. I remember ea…

Women's Fashion, 1890s

When I think of Victorian fashion, I think of this:

I think of a super-corseted dress contraption with hoop skirts and bustles. I think of Scarlett O'Hara and her sixteen inch waist.

But in doing a bit of research, I've realized that the clothes my characters would have worn in 1893 are not huge, scary, circus tent-looking dresses.

By the 1890s, the crinoline skirt (that hoop-skirt looking thing) had disappeared (probably because no one could figure out how to sit in it?) as did the bustle.

But by the 1890s, ladies' dress consisted of a shift and corset and drawers, then a dress with a tight bodice. The skirt began at around waist-level and was floor-length.
The A-line skirt was popular.
But the sleeves in the 1890s were spectacular: they flared out on top and were fitted under that. They were called leg o' mutton sleeves. 

Women also began to wear shirtwaist blouses and skirts.

They also began wearing tea gowns, which were looser dresses meant for staying indoors. They d…

IWSG: Shared Story Worlds

It's IWSG Wednesday! This is April's post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by Alex J. Cavanagh, so we can release our writerly insecurities into the ether.

Two of my favorite historical romance writers released new books this week. Julia Quinn's Because of Miss Bridgerton is a prequel to her Bridgeton Family series, eight books about eight siblings meeting their spouses, marrying, and living happily ever after. Jo Beverley's The Viscount Needs a Wife takes place in the same Regency world as Jo Beverley's Company of Rogues books--a fifteen (or so) book-long series of single-title romance based around a large group of schoolboy friends, now all grown up.

Now, Viscount is not another Rogues book, Beverley has said---it takes place in 1817, therefore, it's in the same universe as her Regency historical books, which are all Rogues books.

I haven't read the new books yet, but I know there will be a certain familiarity.

Perhaps because of the …

Sunday Snippet

I'm working on a newish story ( that is, a much more fun angle to a story idea I've had in my head for two years now). I also wanted to write a blog post, but didn't really have a particular topic in mind. 

Thus, you're getting a snippet!