Companions & Whitefield Hall

Whitefield Hall has been substantially rewritten and expanded, and will be out in eBook format in the next 24-72 hours on all major venues.  In anticipation of its release, here is a post about companions in the Victorian era. My heroine in Whitefield Hall is a middle-class woman by the name of Elizabeth Dutton. Elizabeth has chosen a career as a companion, rather than seeking a husband and having children. Elizabeth Dutton is also the name of my third great grandmother who was born in Warrington, England, the setting of Whitefield Hall.  Of course, the book is dedicated to her memory. As I researched the lifestyle of companions in the Victorian era, I discovered some fascinating reports. In addition, I discovered photographs of advertisements placed in the London paper (click link to read). Here is one that I tweaked for the book: Wanted – A respectable, young woman as a companion Read More

My Inspiration for Lady Charlotte

I had a great time writing Lady Charlotte, which is a tit-for-tat relationship between Albert Beckett and Charlotte Rutherford.  Cedric, Charlotte’s cousin, thinks her behavior is an embarrassment to the extended family and sets out on a bid to reform her ways. He chooses Albert Beckett to take on that task, who you will soon find out spouts an awful lot about what constitutes good society. So, where did I get all this stuffy fluff about behavior?  It’s from a book that I’ve used quite a bit in research entitled, The Habits of Good Society: A Handbook for Ladies and Gentleman written by an Unknown Author in 1872. I wrote a review of the book on Amazon that will give you an idea of its contents: When writing, I try to be as accurate as possible regarding the times. However, this book goes far beyond what I would term a typical Read More

Where Are the Poppies Now – Tales From Those Who Bought Poppies

I was one of the lucky ones to purchase a poppy from the Tower of London. As you know, I dedicated Lady Grace to my fallen cousins who lost their lives in World War I. I’ve been able to replant the poppy on this wonderful website! Please visit, comment, and read their story of where the poppy has been planted.  Find my Tower poppy at: https://www.wherearethepoppiesnow.org.uk/the-poppy-map/               Source: Where are the Poppies Now – Tales from those who bought poppies Read More

World War I Posters

The call to war is evident by the myriad of propaganda posters encouraging the general public to enlist, serve as civilians, donate money, or to take in the downtrodden. One of the scenes in Lady Grace touches on the heroine’s thoughts of a poster she sees at the train station depicted below, “Women of Britain Say GO!” Rather than inciting empathy for the cause, she questions the ability of any rational woman to encourage their husbands to join and face the probability of certain death. Writing about this era in England has been a challenging exercise in examining the struggles of those left behind and the fears they may have endured. Of course, there is often passionate love based on the uncertainty of survival. As you can see from the examples of posters below, each carries their own theme that is meant for the very purpose of moving individuals to Read More

The 1880s in Fashionable Gowns: A Visual Guide to the Decade – Mimi Matthews

Mimi Matthews is my go-to expert for anything Victorian. She’s a fantastic resource for 19th-century etiquette, fashion, beauty, and more. It is worth subscribing to her newsletter and blog if you wish to learn more about the era. Below is a link to fashionable gowns that will make you want to throw away your jeans and tee-shirts.  Enjoy! “The 1880s ushered in an era of tailored, close-fitting gowns, some of which were almost masculine in appearance.  These gowns exemplified women’s changing roles in society.” Source: The 1880s in Fashionable Gowns: A Visual Guide to the Decade – Mimi Matthews Read More

Madam, it is my painful duty to inform you…

As part of my research for Lady Grace, I needed to know how families were notified of the death of their loved ones. The next of kin of officers often received telegrams, while the families of non-officers received a letter. The link to the article below talks more of the sad process during World War One and contains examples of correspondence. From looking at the demise of my distant cousins in the war, I discovered that their bodies were never returned to their homeland. They were buried where they fell in the distant lands of France, Belgium, and Turkey. Not having their bodies returned to be buried near their families surely added to the grief. I’m reminded of the movie Water Diviner, with Russell Crowe, that was released a few years ago. It’s a story about three of his sons who died in the battle at Gallipoli, Turkey (where Thomas Read More

World War One: Belgian Refugees

Britain was home to 250,000 Belgian refugees in WW1 so why is their story forgotten today? Read the story below. Source: World War One: How 250,000 Belgian Refugees Didn’t Leave a Trace – BBC News When I set Lady Grace during World War I, there were two choices for her manor home. One was to take in wounded soldiers for recuperation like those in Downton Abbey, and the other was a lesser known occurrence during the war – the influx of 250,000 Belgian refugees integrated into society. In the end, I decided to take the second route, because I had read quite a bit about it during my own ancestral research in Manchester during the war years. I discovered that Salford, where my grandparents were born, welcomed refugees. The city, at first, set up temporary housing using schools and other public buildings. However, as the wounded returned from the front Read More

Lady Grace – Update

Progress so far on Lady Grace – 12,192 Words – Chapters so far include: 1 – A World Turned Upside Down 2 – Shared Heartache 3 – Digging Trenches 4 – The World at War 5 – Welcome to Our Homeland 6 – Cozy Cottage 7 – Whales and Poets. Two new posts on Ladies of Disgrace book blog – fashions of the era and the story of Belgian Refugees. Women in Dresses  World War One: 250,000 Belgian Refugees Read More

Looking Back at 2016: Important Publishing Developments Authors Should Know | Jane Friedman

45% of all books purchased in the US in 2016 are digital In adult fiction, sales in the US are roughly 70% digital 30% of all US adult fiction purchases are books by self-published authors Source: Looking Back at 2016: Important Publishing Developments Authors Should Know | Jane Friedman An interesting article worth the read, especially that 30% of all U.S. adult fiction purchases are books by self-published authors.   Read More