Archive for the ‘Something Diverting’ Category
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:
This is a special, duchess-approved version of the classic game show. Not that a duchess watches game shows, since the telly hasn’t been invented yet–but if she did, she would know all the answers to this one.
Since this is a Flash game, and I can’t work out how to embed it in the post, I’m going to link to it on another site. Amounts are in pounds, naturally. If you’d like to play along, you can keep track of your score.
Perhaps we can get a little friendly competition going! Not that any of us are competitive in the least.
Click this link for the game, and keep track of your score on paper. And be honest. No Googling.
Let us know how you did in the comments! To sweeten the pot, just a bit, I’m going to pick a commenter to receive a signed cover flat of my second book.
Greetings, Duchesses and friends! I’m so glad you’re here. To celebrate the release of my debut novel, WHEN SHE WAS WICKED, I have a few treats in store for you: virtual ball gowns and prizes!
First, the ball gowns. My heroine, Miss Anabelle Honeycote, is a talented seamstress, renowned for her ability to design the perfect gowns for her clients. Anabelle’s creations capture each woman’s personality and bring out her inner beauty.
Here’s a little glimpse of Anabelle in action, talking with her new friends, Olivia and Rose: Read the rest of this entry »
Downton Abbey, the British TV series, is a huge favorite in the English speaking world. With sharp dialog, sparkling sets, and fabulous clothes, who doesn’t love the Sunday night extravaganza of opulence and biting rejoinders? Being historically true to its times, it is a favorite of our duchesses.
It is such a phenomenon that Downton Abbey is going to shape what we see and read for the next several years. Ordinarily, we duchesses stick to historical fact. Today, I am going to take us on a journey of futuristic fantasy. Or, more bluntly put, my best guesses. Read the rest of this entry »
Meggings? What are meggings? Until last week, I’d never heard of them. I should have known something was amiss when the TV commentator sort of snickered when she announced the upcoming story about meggings. Seconds later, the screen filled with photos of men who were dressed in tights. Had Robin Hood become a fashion icon? Were pointed shoes and feathered hats next?
Alas, this story was not about Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Meggings are a new fashion trend and famous men across America are wearing these brightly colored leggings proudly.
And youngsters laugh at images of 80’s mall hair, cone bras, and disco fashions.
Greetings one and all. Originally published for SheLovesHotReads.com, I thought I’d share with you my Regency romance rendition of Walking in a Winter Wonderland. Enjoy! And happy, happy holidays!
To the tune of Walking In a Winter Wonderland…
by Duchess Valerie Bowman
Dukes are hot; earls are to–oo.
Viscounts make me want to dro-ool.
If he wears a cra-vat, he’s super hot.
Oh, Re-gen-cy, his-tor-i-cal romance.
Make a be-et in White’s bo-ok.
Run off and kiss, inside a no-ok.
A romance novel for me, must be Re-gen-cy.
Oh, Re-gen-cy, his-tor-i-cal romance.
(In the meadow…)
In the novel, there may be a wedding.
Someone could run off to Gretna Green.
Maybe toss in a virgin widow.
And all the fun tropes in between.
Dance cards and…reti-cu-les.
Someone may just fight a duel.
Full of corsets and tea; our beloved Prin-ny.
Oh, Re-gen-cy, his-tor-i-cal romance.
Don’t forget about the war-rs.
And the ma-ny social more-es.
A country house par-ty.
Makes me squeal with glee.
Oh, Re-gen-cy, his-tor-i-cal romance.
(In the meadow…)
What the heck is a pianoforte?
And how come they take so many baths?
Why is hot chocolate so thrilling?
And why are all the heroes good at maths?
Arch a brow, crook a finger.
Steal a kiss and let it linger.
Scandals and misdeeds; see ‘em on SheLovesHotReads.
Oh, Re-gen-cy, his-tor-i-cal romance!
Duchess Valerie Bowman writes Racy Regency Romps! Her debut novel, Secrets of a Wedding Night, was published by St. Martin’s Press in October 2012 and has been nominated by Romantic Times Book Reviews as Best Historical Romance debut of 2012!
Her first novella, A SECRET PROPOSAL, will be published by St. Martin’s Press on 1/1/13. It is the story of what happened to Amelia Templeton from Secrets of a Wedding Night. Please join Duchess Valerie on the Dashing Duchesses blog on 12/31 while she kicks off the launch party for this fun story and gives away a copy of the novella!
I am thrilled to introduce to the Duchesses my good friend and talented authoress, Lori Brighton.
I met Lori a lifetime ago (i.e. before my boys were born) when we were both fledgling authors in the first blush of our careers. What cute ideas we had, thinking that writing books would be FUN and EASY. Over six years have passed, with thousands of pages critiqued between us. I have watched Lori’s career take off–fans rallying for her next story, publishing houses seeking her out, and sales climbing the charts. I couldn’t be happier to have Lori with us today talking about her latest release, TO SEDUCE AN EARL. My comments on this book were “I think this is my favorite writing of yours so far.” “Awesome.” “I want the rest! Now.” Read the rest of this entry »
As you can see, winter has set in around here.
The duchesses would like to spread a little holiday cheer to all our readers. If you would like to receive a card from one of us please send us an email indicating your direction to holidaycheer at dashingduchesses dot com. We’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all, dear readers, the merriest of holiday seasons!
And do make sure you read on for more posts!
Our house party would not be a success, Dear Friends, without the addition of some sport. Take up your bow and quiver and meet us on the lawn. The games are about to begin.
No longer tainted by hunting or combat, archery has been fashionable since the incomparable Queen Elizabeth I tried her hand at slinging arrows. Even ladies can participate in the competition! And we well know there are few sports a Duchess can engage in to get her blood moving. (Other than bedroom sport, of course.)
It is refreshing to be out-of-doors, is it not. We shall amble to the west field, to the butts. The archery butts, that is, where the targets are arranged. Of course, to be correct, we should call the targets a boss. (And who doesn’t want to shoot arrows at their boss?) Read the rest of this entry »