Blog Hopping – Today’s ‘Leaving Cards’

Outward Looking

Outward Looking

Visiting cards were the system that oiled a person’s movements around society. You left cards at houses where you were known and would be welcome and also at houses where you wished to be known and perhaps, weren’t quite so sure of a welcome.

I’ve just finished reading Anne De Courcy’s wonderful book about the British Raj, The Fishing Fleet. Well into the twentieth century, a person did not exist until they’d left cards letting the residents know they’d arrived in the area or returned to it. In today’s Establishment world, perhaps only Ambassadors carry on the tradition by presenting their Letters of Credit, identifying them in a foreign state.

However, the blogger and writer making headway in this electronic world we inhabit, also needs to present their credentials or leave their visiting card on other blogs.

Novels Now has been welcomed recently onto several blogs where the holder makes opportunities available. Often a free copy of one’s novel acts as a calling card.

At the head of this post is the flyer for the upcoming month of celebration marking The Romance Review’s 3rd anniversary. Novels Now will be there with a question on 7th March. And the calling card? A copy of Mariah’s Marriage for one lucky person.

This week, we accepted the invitation to leave an extract of Bella’s Betrothal on Ella Quinn’s blog.

Over the weekend, there was the chance to leave a shorter excerpt on Exquisite Quills

Exquisite Quills have other opportunities, too, like First Kiss Wednesday and Set the Scene in Six. Hosted by Rose Anderson and Jane Leopold Quinn.

Earlier this year, there was the Burns’ Night Blog Hop which resulted in a lot of visitors to Novels Now and a new reader who posted a lovely review.

Lyndsay Townsend, historical novelist, manages several websites where writers may leave cover details, make blog posts etc. Check out British romance fiction, Historical Excerpts etc.

It’s First Kiss Wednesday over on Exquisite Quills, but just for you dear reader, here’s Bella’s first kiss.

Bella's Betrothal

Bella’s Betrothal

Bella’s Betrothal by Anne Stenhouse published by MuseItUp, Canada
“Get out, Mr. Lindsay, before I scream so loudly everyone in this…”
Before Bella could finish, Lindsay reached for her and drew her up out of the chair, hard against the long muscles of his legs. His arms encircled her and the flickering light was extinguished as his head came down. With a restraining hand in her voluminous curls, he held her while his mouth covered hers. The kiss was pitiless, and Bella, who had never been so insulted despite what the scandal sheets said, was stunned. She did not struggle or respond, but squirmed in exquisite discomfort when Lindsay’s other hand found the curve of her buttock and lifted her into the apex of his thighs. She felt hard pressure against her abdomen and realised exactly how vulnerable she was. Drenching fear gave way to fury. When Lindsay released her, she would grab the fire-irons again and she would kill him.
There was a knock on the door. Mariah’s Marriage US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK


More Hoard: Cheap rather than Cheapside: Priceless, Too

Manchester night out

Okay, so are the shoes above worth ‘keeping for a rainy day’ – ‘might come in useful’ – ‘rubbish’?

They were abandoned on the streets of Manchester by, I’m assuming, an overnight reveller. Having written last week’s post about the Cheapside Hoard, I’ve been having a rake through my own stored items to see what I’m hoarding and why. There are interesting discoveries to be made.

Jewellery is an obvious thing to hoard. It’s of small volume and high worth. What did I find? Well, there’s a brooch of metallic gilt with Mother written across the middle. It’s very precious because pocket money bought it from a white elephant stall. There’s a polished stone given to me by the others in my student house to mark my 21st birthday. It fell just days after my dad died and all those very young friends were struggling to know how to treat me. A real milestone, sorry, pun alert.

Cuddlies are hoarded assiduously by small children, but I really had none left over from childhood. I don’t know why although a tail of siblings might be an answer. I now have several. The lion my husband gave me early in our relationship. He’s from a very upmarket toyshop and he shares a corner with a real elephant, blue not white, bought from another of those table sales by the child who knew exactly what he wanted for Christmas and, therefore, Mummy would be so lucky to get the same. And Mummy thinks so still. Then there’s my hippo bought by another child. He graces the bed during the day.

Shoes have been known, in this house, to separate into constituent parts before being deemed unfit for normal use. Explaining to a bewildered child why you have xx pairs of shoes and she has one, is taxing. It does, however, help to remember that her feet are still growing and yours have stopped – at least lengthways. It can be a problem of course. Packing a coming home bag for my mum after her stay in hospital got highly charged when the shoes I took from her cupboard didn’t fit. Like the rest of us, I should have looked under the edge of the bed, or beside the front door and not in ‘the hoard’ of the ones that might fit again some day.

I won’t take you through the books, clothes, photographs, and china. But I’ll just mention a bone crochet hook. It was my granny’s. She was my pal and she taught me to knit when I was four. I held it in my hand this morning and her image floated into my mind. Like so much of my personal hoard, it’s worthless and priceless. What’s in yours? Mariah’s Marriage US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK

Country Mouse goes to Town: Anne Stenhouse in London

London Girl

London Girl

Writing Bella’s Betrothal and Mariah’s Marriage gave me a great excuse to get away from the desk and wander the streets from time to time. Bella’s Betrothal is set in Edinburgh where I live so that’s literally a moment or two’s walking and I’m on the roads Bella, would have walked, albeit they’ve changed a wee bit since.

Mariah’s Marriage and the continuation I’m working towards, Daisy’s Dilemma, need a train ride. So country mouse. Anne Stenhouse, headed up to town. And had a lot of fun.

Firstly, straight off the train, I walked along to the British Museum where the Georgian Exhibition
is running until sometime in March. Composed of items mainly from their collection, I found the exhibition full of interest, if London-centric. Country Mouse was impressed by the maps, the artefacts, the children’s toys and the few but well chosen pieces of Georgian clothing. There’s a great catalogue, too, and I’m going to find that an invaluable reference for future projects.

The 17th century is before the time I write about, but I have enjoyed a lot of fiction set in that period. Charlotte Betts’ The Apothecary’s Daughter, for example, and the mysteries of Deryn Lake. However, the exhibition running at The Museum of London called The Cheapside Hoard is fantastic. Go!

At the beginning of the 20th century, a group of labourers digging foundations below cellars in Cheapside unearthed a hoard of jewels, gold and buttons. It was distributed into three collections with the bulk going to the Museum of London. That museum is very close to the old Cheapside where London’s goldsmiths once congregated. The pieces are exquisite. Wonderful examples of chains, earrings, pendants with a few rings and brooches; and enamelled buttons. Many pearls have survived, but many didn’t. There are, however, garnets, sapphires, amethysts, diamonds and gold. Around the walls are contemporary portraits of ladies and gentlemen wearing the type of piece found in the hoard. I do find that so useful for the writer’s imagination.

Waiting for my friend to arrive, I had time to wander the Museum’s galleries and strayed into their dramatisation of visits to the Vauxhall Gardens. Ladies and Gentlemen of the period, flitted about, often up to no good as in many a Georgian set or regency novel, dressed in period costume. A voice-over takes you into their dramas. On my final morning, I passed the entrance to the contemporary Vauxhall gardens, but didn’t have time to stop and read the board.

It is worth going to see where you’re writing about, if at all possible. Country mouse had a great weekend. Mariah’s Marriage US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK