Daily Archives: August 11, 2007

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I Don’t Want To Write A Regency

August 11, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as

by Sandra Paul

Regular readers usually have a book or two lying on their coffee tables. Book lovers’ homes tend to feature large shelving units with a cozy couch nearby to cuddle up on while reading.

Bookaholics have couches, too–at least, I think we do. It’s hard to tell with books stacked everywhere. All too often, the only visible seat in our house is in the bathroom.

Which is possibly why my husband blanched when I told him I was going to my friend Angie Ray’s to pick up books she was donating (thank you, Angie!) for OCC’s Back to School Research Book Sale scheduled for our September 8th meeting.

“More books!” My husband clapped his hand to his forehead as if he had an immediate headache. “You’re {insert bad word here}-ing me! We don’t have room in this house for any more books!”

“These aren’t for me,” I reminded him. “They’re research books for the chapter sale.”

“How many books are we talking about?” he demanded.

“I think she said she has one or two books . . .” I wrinkled my brow. “Or was that one or two boxes?”

He got the grim look he always seems to wear whenever we go into bookstores. “Promise me–promise me!–that you won’t decide to keep them all yourself.”

“I wouldn’t do that! Besides, I’m working on a contemporary category with single title and historical western elements. Angie’s research books are mostly for medievals and Regencies. I don’t wanna write a Regency.”

He just stared at me.

I gave a long-suffering sigh. “Okay! I promise.”

“I’ll get the truck.”

He got the truck; and we hauled the books home. All five, nine–no, make that twelve–boxes of them. And I’m not going to keep them–but I figured it couldn’t hurt to scan a few–just to share with my fellow writers.

So I scanned BRITAIN THROUGH AMERICAN EYES by Henry Steele Comager and discovered in Regency England, the way a person knocked on a door denoted his social standing. That a servant, a postman, a milkman, a “half or a whole” gentleman, a very great gentleman, a knight or a nobleman all had distinctive knocks. “A servant is bound to lift the knocker once, whilst the postman knocks twice, very loudly. A milkman knocks once, at the same time, sending forth an artificial noise, not unlike the yell of an American Indian . . .”

I never knew that.

Another book Angie donated (and I just happened to glance over) is CAPTAIN GRONOW: HIS REMINISCENCES OF REGENCY AND VICTORIAN LIFE 1810-60, edited by Christopher Hibbert.

Anyone who loves Georgette Heyer’s work, can’t help but be intrigued by Captain Gronow’s description, written in 1862, of the Crockford Club.

I have alluded to the high play which took place at White’s and Brookes’s in the olden time,” says Gronow. “In the reign of George IV, a new star rose in the person of Mr. William Crockford; and the old-fashioned games of faro, macao, and lansquenet gave place to the all-devouring thirst for the game of hazard. Crockey, when still a young man, had relinquished the peaceful trade of a fishmonger for a share in a ‘hell,’ where with his partner Gye, he managed to win, after a sitting of twenty-four hours, the enormous sum of ones hundred thousand pounds. With this capital added to his former gains, he built the well-known palace in St. James’ Street–“

Okay. I wanna write a Regency.

Sandy Novy-Chvostal (aka Sandra Paul) is a recovering bookaholic, a published author, and 2007 Co-President of OCC/RWA.

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