Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sharon Lathan: History In The Making!!

Happy Friday!!

Ain't it great to be headed into the weekend?! I know I'm all in favor of two days respite! If you're hankering for a good read to snuggle up to, I have just the 'yarn' to leave you yearning for more!

My Yosemite Romance Writer chapter mate and good friend, Sharon Lathan, is hanging her bonnet on the TLN wall today. Her latest addition to The Darcy Sagas, MY DEAREST MR. DARCY, hit bookshelves earlier this month.

Sharon was sweet enough to find some marvels of the Regency Era to dazzle us with! So, put the kettle on and let's have tea!

Without further ado, here's Lady Lathan!!!

I love history! I think I have said that a few hundred times since I began to delve into the past for my writing, but I never tire of saying it. Nor do I tire of searching for new facts to include in my novels. Man, do I ever get a thrill out of discovering something cool!

The Regency Era was a wonderfully romantic period. But even better, at least to me, is that those nine years fell within a slice of time replete with exciting inventions and changing ideals while also clinging to traditions. Picking and choosing the ones to elaborate upon within my series has been the hardest part because I want to talk about all of them. Allow me to share a selection of my favorites from my latest novel in the Darcy Saga series, My Dearest Mr. Darcy.

Chippendale furniture: Originally a cabinetmaker in London, Thomas Chippendale became a noted interior designer whose unique English Rococo and Neoclassical styling made him famous among the wealthy of the latter 1700s. His son, also named Thomas, continued his father’s work on into the Regency Era, adding distinctive touches of that period but keeping the Chippendale legacy alive and inimitable.

Angelo’s Fencing Academy: The Italian fencing master known as Dominico Angelo, who taught many of the aristocracy to fence during the late 1700s (including a young George III), established his school in Soho around 1770. He taught generations of gentlemen the art of swordsmanship, including his son Henry Angelo who continued the school even as the locations moved. Regency Era positioning on Bond Street next door to Gentleman Jackson’s Boxing Club cemented the Academy as a prime place for men of wealth and society to visit for entertainment and exercise.

English mastiff: These massive dogs have an ancient history, but in the era of vast estates they were commonly found as guards against poachers. Merely the sight of these animals bred to be war dogs and vicious hunters would frighten most criminals away! The mastiff was extremely loyal and obedient to its master, trained to protect at all costs.

Gamekeepers: Vital to the function and preservation of estates, the gamekeeper was that man who kept track of the animals roaming the master’s lands. Although experts in firearms and hunting, these men were in many respects the predecessors of modern-day conservationists. It was his job to ensure game was plentiful and healthy to provide for the families dependent on the estate, as well as the entertainment of the menfolk. An old and revered profession, gamekeepers today have their own organizations and are essential to the safeguarding of the land.

Falconry: The art of hunting with raptors is beyond ancient. In England falconry was a sport of prestige among the nobility, especially in the time of Henry VIII. With the invention of accurate guns, falconry (or hawking) lost popularity. However, there have always been groups of the elite who clung to the thrill of hunting with a wild bird of prey. My father was a falconer, so for me it was a personal delight to write Darcy as a man who hunted with falcons.

Baby rattles: Early rattles specifically designed to calm fussy babies ran the gamut from hollowed gourds or bones filled with beads to fancy sterling silver devices with bells attached. Designed to be clutched by the baby, they usually included an end of coral, hard gumstick, bone, or stone that was cooling to the infant’s gum. Yes, a pacifier! Silver was the metal of choice, and this is where the term “born with a silver spoon in his mouth” is derived.

Curricle: These carriages were fast and regarded as very smart and fashionable, much like the sports cars of today. The curricle needed two horses to pull it and was sturdier and fancier than the simple one-horse gig. It was designed as a “gentleman’s carriage” that he could easily drive himself. Or, as in my story, a woman.

OK, I shall limit myself to only sharing these few! I could go on illuminating hot air balloons, magic lantern shows, bathing machines, dovecotes, mews, medicines, men’s wedding bands, and so much more. Good thing I need to keep this essay a reasonable length, right?

On my website I have an awesome Regency Glossary that defines numerous people, places, and things common at the time. Feel free to pop over and browse. Thanks, Sarah, for allowing me to share with your readers some of the bizarre tidbits of history I love. And if anyone knows of something really cool from two hundred years ago, clue me in! What are some of the amazing facts of the past that you have learned from reading a novel?

Well, thank you, Sharon, for sharing some time with us. Best wishes for tons of success with MY DEAREST MR. DARCY! For more information on Sharon and her Darcy Saga Books, please check out her gorgeous website-

THANK YOU, TLN'ers, for swinging by! To get you craving a little Pride and Prejudice, here's a video montage of
2005's P&P timed to Evanescence's MY IMMORTAL -a truly delightful find, I assure you. Stay comfy and warm this weekend and we'll catch you back next week!


Emma Lai said...

Lots of fun information!

Micole Black said...

Hello Sarah and Sharon!!! Thank you for the history lesson. All of those things are fascinating! I'm having a little trouble with giving a baby a bone to gum or rattle around... Yuck!!!

It's always a pleasure ladies. Can't wait to see you in a couple of weeks.



Sharon Lathan said...

Hey, I'm up already! Cool! I wasn't expecting it until the a.m. Thanks Lady Sarah! :)

Hi Emma Lai. Thanks for stopping by and supporting Sarah, and me.

Micole! My friend!! Sucking on bone sounds fairly disgusting to me as well, but I guess they had to make do with what was available. LOL! See you soon.

I'll be back tomorrow. Thanks Sarah! Great introduction. You crack me up. :)

Vee said...

Your history lessons are amazing Sharon! I must say the falconry is fascinating, mainly because i have always loved birds or prey. They are so majestic.
I love the fact that you mention the way ideals were changing around this time. I am an old fashioned girl at heart so I particularly love the way you are able to use this in your glorious novel. Allowing our gorgeous couple Darcy and Lizzy to remain noble and regal, but also try their hand at modern ways. You blend it together masterfully without doubt.
Oh and I wouldn't mind a curricle of my own they sound awesome!
Sarah best of luck with your novel, I can;t wait to read anything Sharon recommends!
TSBO devotee

Sheila said...

Fascinating stuff, Sharon... just like your book!

Sharon Lathan said...

Hi Vee! You are so awesome to follow me around. How do you continually manage to say something unique and wonderful at each place? I tell you, you should start writing yourself. :)

Sarah's book will be great, I know it. I have read parts, although she is still tweaking it, but her style is excellent and the story intriguing.

Sharon Lathan said...

Hi Shelia! Thank you. I love all these historical facts. Kinda weird, I know, but that love for trivial bits of the past has finally paid off! LOL!

Kaye Manro said...

Great history lesson. Thanks Sharon! And contrats on it all paying off!

DanielleThorne said...

Great tidbits of information! Thanks for sharing your knowledge. And how cool your father shared a hobby with Mr. Darcy. That's some bragging rights! Best of luck with your books. The bookcover for your new release is beautiful.

Carol North said...

Hi Sharon:
Didn't know all those facts about the time period. You sure peaked my interest in Regencies. I'm heading to your website.
Hi Sarah:
Thanks for another great interview.

Lori Johnston said...

Hi Sarah,
I'm a new follower to your blog. I followed Sharon over here. Happy to have found you! Best of luck with your book.

Sharon, fascinating facts about the Regency period. I love reading how different their day to day lives were and how many things we take for granted. The Regency period surely was beautiful and (in parts) excessive.
Best wishes with the remainder of your blog tour (and thanks for making a stop at my place last week.

~ Lori

Sarah Simas said...

HI Emma and Micole!

Thanks for swinging by! You ladies are the best! :)

Yes, that was a little weird, babies chewing on a bone. YUCKY! Oh, woh I am I to judge? My daughter chewed her $500 crib up like a little beaver. LOL

Sarah Simas said...

HI Vee!

I agree, Sharon is a fun lady to follow around! Thanks for coming by my blog. It's always fun to meet new people. :)

She's very sweet, too! I appreciate her kind words a lot. I've been very lucky to have an awesome group of friends who have helped guide me down the learning curve.

Happy reading, Vee!

Sarah Simas said...


How great to see you! Have all of you gals stop by today is brightening my afternoon. I'm so ready for some R&R. lol It's quite time and I'm getting to hang out with all of you. Now, that is FUN! ((hugs!))

Ahoy, Dani!!! lol

Thanks for weighing anchor here today! It's always a peasure to see your smiling pic. Can't wait for your new release! Guess we better book you a date, lady! :)

Hi Carol!!!

I know the techie in you is going to love Sharon's website. It's beautiful and such lovely features. I'm so glad you clicked on over! Hope you stay warm during the cold weather headed you way! I'll be thinking of you, friend. :)

Sarah Simas said...

Hi Lori!

Thanks for visiting. I'm so happy to have you as a follower. Thanks! :) I look forward to getting to know you better.

I love sharon's blogs, too. She always find such wonderful info to pass along. Makes for some great ponderings, too!

Great to meet you!

Sharon Lathan said...

Sarah is better at responding than me! And she has sick children at home. Geez! My excuse is that my Mr. Darcy took me out for a lunch date. Does that suffice? So sorry all!

Hi Kaye! Glad you enjoyed my history lesson. :) I think I missed my calling: I should have been a history teacher! I would make it fun.

Danielle, My step-dad was an awesome man. The consummate outdoorsman who fearlessly skydived, hunted, and so on. I keenly remember him with his hawk, named Varda just as I named Darcy's hawk. My brother now has all of our dad's notes on his training of Varda. Priceless heirlooms.

Carol, Great that I piqued your interest! Regency romances are so much fun. I hope my novels appeal to you. :)

Sharon Lathan said...

Hi Lori! Thanks for following me around. I love it! I had a wonderful time at Psychotic State and SO appreciate you having me. The blog is still open, by the way, to anyone who wants to check it out and possibly win a set of books!!

LOL Sarah! Yes, considering the disgusting things kids put into their mouths, a cleaned bone is not that odd really. Thanks again for your kindness and support. Mostly, I value our friendship and can't wait until we can both find the time to hang together! Next month for sure: YRW meet and the Jane Austen thing if you are still up for that. Love ya!!

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Love history! I enjoyed learning some new tidbits of history. Very cool information. Thanks, Sharon and Sarah!

Cari Quinn said...

Hi Sharon and Sarah! I love Sarah's blog because she always introduces me to so many great authors. Lots of fascinating information here...thank you! :)

Helen Hardt said...

Sharon, I just checked out your website. I'm really excited to explore this series!

Laura Hartness said...

Last blog visit! What a tour. Good job!

Laura Hartness
The Calico Critic

Vee said...

Thank you Sarah!

Sharon if my writing skills are improving than I have you to thank for the inspiration xoxo
TSBO devotee

Sharon Lathan said...

Thanks Karen. I love sharing history, so we all win! Thanks for stopping by.

Cari, Sarah does a great job of creating a welcoming environment for authors. Her website is wonderful and it is a pleasure to hang out with her. Thanks for joining in.

Thanks a ton, Helen. :) I am very proud of my website and work very hard to keep it fabulous.

Rather sad, isn't it Laura. The blog tour has been wonderful fun and I appreciate you following me around. :)

You too Vee! I can always count on sweet, wonderful Vee to faithfully join me. Love you sweetie.