Happy Monday, my dear friends! I am here today to celebrate the release of my fifth book, Never Love a Scoundrel, which is also the fifth installment of the Secrets and Scandals series. When I thought about what historical morsel I wanted to share today with regard to this story, I thought of tipstaves. Or truncheons. Or, as we might call them: police batons or nightsticks. I had no idea these clubs were the early law enforcer’s weapon, badge, and even vessel, as some were hollow in order to carry a warrant inside. I found them so fascinating, in fact, that I could honestly see myself trying to collect them!
I wish I could say a tipstaff figured into Never Love a Scoundrel, but it was more of a “rathole research” endeavor. That’s what happens when I’m researching one thing, become interested in something else entirely, and before I know it, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time researching something I’m never going to use. I’m certain the other duchesses know exactly what I’m talking about. It also didn’t help that there isn’t a ton of information about these interesting items, which made the research particularly rathole-ish, to coin a word, which like the research it represents, I may never use again.
There is, however, a Bow Street Runner featured in Never Love a Scoundrel and he does carry a tipstaff. I do expect it to make an appearance in the next book Scoundrel Ever After. In fact, one (though not his) does make an appearance in the first scene, which you can read on my website.
What makes tipstaves and truncheons so interesting to me is their uniqueness. There are many different sizes and they’re made from different materials, and in most cases, each one is individualized based on the holder’s office. Some bear their names, the location of their service, and the date it was invested to them. Some even bear dates of some event, such as a riot or other occurrence of lawlessness. Many have a cipher or coat of arms, typically of the reigning monarch. Some are quite plain—just wood with an inscription, while others have a crown at the top (perhaps even with a velvet insert!) and are etched with fancy script. The uniqueness can be credited to the fact that there was no central police force until the Metropolitan Police Force was formed in 1829. Consequently, these items were not mass-produced until the mid-nineteenth century did not follow a general form.
The golden age of the truncheon died out by 1880 as warrant cards took their place. Warrant cards are still used today to identify the officer. This isn’t to say that the art of truncheons or tipstaves died out entirely. They still figure into police insignia and have been created for various commemorative purposes, such as during World War II.
Because there isn’t a lot of information about tipstaves and truncheons, I was unfortunately unable to procure an image or two to post here. However, you can see a stunning array of tipstaves and truncheons here.
Now, what book release celebration would be complete without an excerpt and a contest? None, I tell you! Here’s an excerpt from chapter three of Never Love a Scoundrel, which is the second time Lydia and Jason meet. They’re at a tea, which is Jason’s first social appearance in seven long years. His arrival is . . . well, read and find out.
Mrs. Lloyd-Jones’s butler appeared in the doorway. “Lord Lockwood, my lady.”
Every head turned at once, and the resulting gasps were audible.
Lydia had reached for her cup, but was glad she hadn’t picked it up. She likely would have dropped it. The sound of breaking china echoed her thoughts and drew everyone’s attention to Miss Vining, who stared open-mouthed at the door, her teacup in pieces at her feet. Suddenly Mrs. Lloyd-Jones’s suppressed smile made sense—she’d known his arrival was imminent.
Lord Lockwood’s intimidating figure filled the doorway. Lydia’s heart hammered as she looked up at him. He was, without question, the most broad-shouldered man she’d ever seen. And quite tall, with dark hair, and of course that vicious scar running down the left side of his face.
“Good afternoon, ladies.” His deep tone filled the drawing room as he stepped over the threshold. He offered a serene smile, which drew her to stare at his scar again. Did it pain him? How had it happened? Did he hate it very much?
Lydia shook herself from her fancy and caught sight of Lady Trevett’s horrified expression. Goodness, couldn’t the woman rein in her reaction? He wasn’t ghastly to behold. Oh, but perhaps that wasn’t the cause of her distress. It was simply his scandalous presence.
Mrs. Lloyd-Jones stood abruptly. She grinned and because Lydia knew her, she knew the welcoming expression was genuine—just as everyone else’s shock was equally real. “My dear boy, do come in. I’m honored by your attendance. Indeed, I shall be the envy of every woman in Town.” She gestured to the lot of them seated about the room. “All of us will be.
“Lord Lockwood,” she said with a knowing smile, “I believe you’ve already met my dear friend Lady Lydia Prewitt.”
He moved slowly closer, and the advance seemed somehow predatory. She attributed such nonsense to his size and ignored the way the drawing room suddenly felt quite small. And warm. “It’s a pleasure to see you again, Lady Lydia.” He bowed and Lydia wished she’d offered her hand. What would it feel like to have a man such as him touch her? He was vice and scandal incarnate. Delicious. Oh confound it, there was that word again!
She smoothed her skirt as if she could gentle the thudding of her heart. “The pleasure is mine, my lord.”
“Would you care for tea?” Mrs. Lloyd-Jones asked as she sank back down onto the settee.
“Yes, thank you. No cream, and just a bit of sugar.” He looked around at the shocked faces of the other women. “I hope it’s all right I’ve invaded your drawing room.” He turned his attention to Mrs. Lloyd-Jones.
Mrs. Lloyd-Jones poured his tea and stirred in a trifle of sugar. “You are more than welcome. Please, sit.” She gestured to the rather feminine-looking, pale yellow-cushioned gilt chair situated very near Lydia.
He lowered himself to the edge of the seat, looking as if he feared he would break the piece. Perhaps he would. He was huge. Wild. Unlike any other gentleman Lydia had ever met. But then he wasn’t a gentleman, even if he had given evidence to the contrary—holding gates open for her and her maid, bowing elegantly before her.
Mrs. Lloyd-Jones finished with the tea. “Lydia, be a dear and give Lord Lockwood his teacup.”
Lydia picked up the cup and saucer and transferred them to Lord Lockwood. His fingers brushed against hers. Though they were both gloved, her imagination threatened to run away with itself from the slight contact—had he intended to touch her?
“Mrs. Lloyd-Jones’s blend is excellent.” Lydia mentally chastised herself for the inane comment. Lockwood likely didn’t give a fig about tea!
Lord Lockwood’s gaze was intent, and when it was combined with that ferocious scar, he looked utterly imposing, like some warrior of old. Thankfully, he shifted his heady regard to their hostess. “I must apologize that it’s taken me so long to accept your kind invitation.”
“Not at all, my dear. Though, forgive me for saying, your presence is most remarkable,” Mrs. Lloyd-Jones said.
Miss Vining gasped again, and Lydia didn’t suppose it was due to the footman who was cleaning up the mess of her broken teacup. Mrs. Lloyd-Jones threw her sister an exasperated glance. “Bridget, pull yourself together. We’re being visited by Lord Lockwood, not Lucifer.”
Lord Lockwood cradled his teacup in his massive hands, making him seem even more masculine, if that were possible. “I’m certain there are those—perhaps even in this room—who would argue there is no distinction.” He lowered his voice and gave Mrs. Lloyd-Jones and Lydia a provocative stare. “And I wouldn’t blame them.”
You can read another scene (from chapter one) here.
Contest time! In the comments, do tell us what research rathole you recently fell down. Or if research isn’t your thing, what other rathole dragged you away from what you should have been doing—perhaps a Netflix marathon that kept you up for three days or a book binge that devoured an entire weekend. One lucky commenter will win a copy of one of my backlist novels in either ebook or paperback. Choose from Her Wicked Ways, His Wicked Heart, or To Seduce a Scoundrel (only US and Canadian residents may choose paperback). Plus, I’ll throw in an ebook copy of book four, a novella, To Love a Thief, which features a former constable who definitely keeps his old tipstave of office in a safe place!
Darcy Burke wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. An RWA Golden Heart® Finalist, Darcy lives on the edge of Oregon wine country with her devoted husband, their two great kids, and three cats. In her “spare” time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say “no,” but she keeps having to start over. She’s also a fair-weather runner, and her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge. Visit Darcy online at http://www.darcyburke.com, follow her on Twitter, or like her Facebook page.
Never Love a Scoundrel is available at:
I am excited to present to you fellow Avon Author Elizabeth Boyle today, who is visiting the Dashing Duchesses today! Elizabeth is RITA-winning author who has penned twenty adventurous and romantic novels, with seventeen of them hitting bestseller lists. That might make her a Grand Duchess… and means we might want to offer her more than tea! Without further ado, I give you the fabulous Lady Boyle.
Everyone always asks, where do you get your ideas. Well . . . I get ideas in all sorts of ways—sometimes it is an item in the newspaper, other times it might be a pair of teens gossipy about their “BFF”, and for my new book, AND THE MISS RAN AWAY WITH THE RAKE, the idea for my correspondence match up came from two places: an article in the Jane Austen magazine about matchmaking advertisements at the time, and one of my favorite movies, Shop Around the Corner (and my less favorite remake, You’ve Got Mail).
I had just read the matchmaking article as I was beginning to write the first book in the series, ALONG CAME A DUKE. When I saw this actual advertisement from Regency times, I died—the very notion of a gentleman advertising for someone to find him a Lady of Fortune was hilarious, and wanted to work something akin to this into the story—using it eventually as a joke of sorts.
But that joke, the hero placing a matchmaking advertisement in the paper for his staid and proper uncle, Lord Henry Seldon, just kept prodding the idea hopper. What if someone actually answered such an ad? What if LOTS of women responded to his ad? What would poor Henry do with baskets and baskets of perfumed letters? The idea was just too much fun, too delicious to pass up and thus starts my latest book, AND THE MISS RAN AWAY WITH THE RAKE.
In actuality, placing ads was one way for lonely hearts to find a mate during the Regency time period, just as people go online now. And just like now, there were cautions about meeting a potential suitor that way. Several women responded to such ads and were never seen or heard from again, or arrived to find their future husband already had a wife.. . or two already.
So I have to ask—has anyone used online dating or answered a personal ad? What happened? And did you find your rake, as Miss Daphne Dale did?
Elizabeth Boyle is the author of 20 historical romances and an avid fan of all things Regency, especially quirky little bits of history like matchmaking via the newspaper. You can find a list of Elizabeth’s books at her website (http://www.elizabethboyle.com) or LIKE her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElizabethBoyle) or follow her on Twitter(https://twitter.com/ElizBoyle) , where she waxes poetic and snarky, depending on her mood.
I love writing romance with an added bit of swashbuckling and adventure. Give this girl a pirate, a smuggler, or a spy any day. After all, who doesn’t love a bad boy? And I always gift my bad boys with equally feisty heroines. This means I end up arming my feisty heroines…which leads me to the fun research: historical weaponry!
DISCLAIMER: I am not a weapons expert. I’m not even halfway knowledgeable. I have never touched or fired a present-day gun, let alone anything historical. Nor have I handled any kind of knife beyond a butter knife. But I have researched weapons for my heroines, which I’m going to share with you today. Mostly because I thought they were so neat I couldn’t help myself. Still, in the scheme of things, this is only a very basic primer on a few interesting weapons. If you want more information, there are many, many experts and enthusiasts that would gladly share their knowledge.
So. Without further do, the weapons. It is quite difficult to conceal a weapon if you are an 18th or 19th century society lady. A lady doesn’t run around London with a huge pistol in her reticule such as this 9 inch pistol circa 1800. It wouldn’t fit. And a 9 inch pistol does not accessorize well.
What does a girl do? Invest in a pocket pistol, so called because it could fit in a great-coat pocket (which is not useful for my heroine unless she intends to rely on the hero–which of course, she does not). It will also fit inside a ladies’ muff (which is quite useful for my heroines, assuming it’s winter when the book takes place). The size of a pocket pistol varies. Here are a set of pistols circa 1800 that are about 7.5 inches long.
Here is a French pocket pistol that is 5.75 inches long. The handle is a carved bird, which is both interesting and disturbing. Look at the wonderful details in these pictures!
My favorite, the pistol set to the left is only 4.5 inches long–very easy to conceal!
Of course, in the late Regency, my heroine would most likely carry a flintlock pistol, though percussion pistols were beginning to be available around 1820. Thus, many of the caveats of flintlock pistols apply. They don’t fire in rain or damp weather as the powder will be too wet. Also, they frequently misfire. This is bad. One wouldn’t want to accidentally shoot an eligible bachelor while dancing!
But what about knives? Less chance of misfire and still concealable, so perhaps this would be an ideal weapon for my heroines. Knives can be made to any length and any size, and their shapes change based upon their purpose. The stiletto, for example, which is long and slim with a sharp point is meant for thrusting. At the risk of being too blood-thirsty, a stiletto is meant to pierce deeply, not to have sharp edges for cutting. (Ick.) It dates back to the late 1400’s in Italy.
And last but not least, a bodice is another place to hide a knife. Though I imagine it would be a bit uncomfortable (and sharp!) if you move just wrong. Still, there were such things as bodice daggers in the Medieval times, when both men and women regularly carried daggers for eating and self-defense.
And now we are coming to my very favorite knife. The salvavirago. A Spanish knife which is also called a “chastity knife.” Guess who gets to use this knife? Yep. Feisty heroines. I couldn’t find a lot of information on this knife beyond that Andalusian women carried it in their garters or bodice. It was smaller form of the navaja, which was a larger Spanish folding knife. Here is a picture of a navaja knife fight, and here is a picture of a salvavirago.
I don’t think hiding a knife in a bodice would work quite as well in the Regency as in earlier times, however, when the bodices were so short! But I’m betting an ingenious female spy might figure out a way to make that work!
Alyssa Alexander writes historical romantic suspense about spies and smugglers and nefarious villains. She avoids even the dullest of kitchen knives. Watch for her debut release The Smuggler Wore Silk coming from Berkley in early 2014.
Today on the Dashing Duchesses, we are thrilled to have the fabulous NY Times Bestselling Author Lorraine Heath. Her newest book, Lord of Wicked Intentions, is available now (and utterly intriguing)! We warned her that we duchesses are quite skilled at ferreting out the very juiciest gossip, yet she was brave enough to show up anyway. (We’ll see if she regrets it later…)
Duchess Anna: Welcome! Come in sit down and have a cup of tea! So if you had to pick one flag to hang over your bed which would it be: Britain or Texas? (And may I remind you, you are talking to a duchess… *gives a pointed look*)
Lorraine: Oh, so not fair. I suppose I would go with a British flag over my bed … a Texas flag over my door. (Find out why here.)
What is your favorite part of the writing process (besides eating chocolate while being fanned by handsome footmen…)?
Sipping wine while being fanned by handsome footmen. My favorite part of the writing process is revising after the rough draft is done—I know where the story is going and have a firmer grasp on the characters. I love layering in details.
Wine…Why didn’t I think of that? Now, I love a hero with a dark tortured past, and you have created three amazing examples in your Lost Lords of Pembrook series. For those readers buried under their TBR pile, could you give a brief explanation about who these brothers are and what happened to each of them?
Absolutely. Sebastian and Tristan are twins. Sebastian is the oldest and the heir. Rafe is 4 years younger. When they were lads of 14 and 10, their father was killed, probably by their uncle who proceeded to lock them in the Pembrook Castle tower. They were certain he had plans to kill them. With the help of a neighbor’s daughter, they escaped and parted ways. Sebastian went to the army, Tristan to the sea, and Rafe to a workhouse, then the streets. Twelve years later they return to London to reclaim their birthright and their place in Society.
Lord of Wicked Intentions deals with the final brother, Rafe. He thinks he had the worst experience because he was the one left behind in London when his brothers fled to far off places. Do you agree with him? How would you have tried to survive if you were in his place?
I think he did have it the worst. He was young and confused when he was left behind. The workhouse was a very unpleasant place and as the son of a lord, he was ill-prepared for the hardship. When he escaped and made his way to the London streets, he fell in with a fellow who knew all of London’s darkest secrets. They soon became Rafe’s. He eventually came to own a gaming hell, but he cares for nothing and is always alone.
I suspect that I would have tried to survive as he did—as best I could, always hoping for something better. It’s strange, but when I wrote the first book, Tristan comments on the fact that Rafe has many globes in his office. At the time I didn’t know why, but when I was describing the room, I saw the globes and decided to go with it. They turned out to reveal quite a bit about him. He collected them because they gave him hope that there was someplace better than where he was. And while he never admitted it, I suspect he also collected them as a way to feel closer to his brothers. He had no idea where they were, but looking at the globes helped to reassure him that they were somewhere.
What characteristics do you think that the heroine, Eve, possesses that makes her Rafe’s match?
He’s a cynic while she remains an optimist who believes there is good in people. It’s part of the reason she found it so difficult to believe her brother’s plans for her. But she refused to paint the rest of the world with the brush of his cruelty. She also, like Rafe, was willing to do whatever was necessary to survive. She accepted the reality of her situation, but refused to be cowed by it. I never saw her as weak. Rafe would never have fallen for someone who was weak. But her strength resides in her innocence and her firm belief in love. She rather fascinated me.
What do you think Eve was most surprised to find out about Rafe? And Rafe to find out about Eve?
I think she was most surprised to discover that his actions were often the opposite of his words. He claimed to care for no one, and yet little hints to his goodness were sprinkled throughout the story.
I think Rafe was most surprised to discover Eve’s kindness could lash so painfully at his stone heart. He’d had no kindness since he was 10. She had every reason to despise him, and yet she didn’t. No matter how often he told himself that he didn’t care for her, he was only lying to himself.
Now on to one final and perhaps most important question—what is your favorite dessert?
Wedding cake, whether it’s an actual cake, ice cream, frozen yogurt, or vodka (Yes, there is wedding cake flavored vodka, which I highly recommend).
Ooh, that does sound delicious! And you came through the interview without breaking into a sweat! Are you sure you aren’t a duchess?
So, Readers, if you could pick one dessert to share with the fabulous Lorraine Heath, what would you choose? One lucky commenter will be selected to win a copy of Lord of Wicked Intentions! Must be 18 or older to enter. Void where prohibited.
Lord Rafe Easton may be of noble blood, but survival taught him to rely only on himself and to love no one. Yet when he sets eyes on Miss Evelyn Chambers, an earl’s illegitimate daughter, he is determined to have her, if only as his mistress . . .
After her father’s death, Evelyn Chambers never imagined she would be sold to the highest bidder, yet circumstances give her little choice but to accept the lord’s indecent proposal. Rafe is wealthy, as well as ruthless. Yet his coldness belies deep passion and deeper secrets. If she must be his, Evelyn intends to lay bare everything the Lord of Pembrook is hiding. But dark discoveries threaten to destroy them both until unexpected love leads the last lost lord home . . .
I discovered Donna Thorland and her incredible new historical fiction novel THE TURNCOAT the old-fashioned way. I saw her book trailer.
What’s that, you say? Book trailers are old news, and don’t work to drum up interest in a book?
Oh, you poor, dear creature. Clearly you’ve been watching the wrong book trailers.
In the making of the trailer for The Turncoat, Donna brought her prior film-industry experience (and friends) to the table. The result is a lush cinematic feast that watches like a movie trailer. But the book doesn’t just deliver on the promise of the trailer… it up-ends it, shakes it out, and crafts it into something far better.
A book you can’t put down. Read the rest of this entry »
Today I am honored to (re)introduce Kieran Kramer (who happens to be my sister-in-law!), the award-winning, best-selling author of my favorite Regency romances including the Impossible Bachelor series and her new House of Brady series. But as I set out the tea and cakes, looking forward to a cozy chat, she arrives with two tall, muscular men.
Me (whispering): Kieran? Why are there two hot men standing behind you?
Kieran (shrugging): The heroes in my two recent books love attention! And I have to admit, I love to give it to them. So when they asked to come along, I said yes.
Me: I’m not one to complain, but won’t your brother (my DH) have something to say about this?
Kieran (tosses away my concern with a regal wave): We just won’t tell him! So let me do the formal introductions. She nods to the more rakish of the two, with blue eyes and dark, wavy hair. Read the rest of this entry »
My debut book, Seducing Charlotte, is set more than 200 years ago, but one of its key themes—conflict and disenfranchisement due to the rapid advance of technology—remains relevant today.
While we worry about the video games our children play, or the strangers they might meet during their forays into the virtual world, most of us have come to embrace the smart phones, electronic tablets and social media that have invaded our lives in the last few years.
Those who resist getting caught up in this technological onslaught might be called Luddites. Read the rest of this entry »