Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Pirates Terms in Georgian London by Katherine Bone!

Writing historical romance is a gratifying experience that can oftentimes be difficult too. An author makes choices that help modern readers understand the way people spoke in historical times, but must also season the story with historical words that transport readers to that era. Which words to use and when to use them? Well… that’s a talent every writer must master. Fortunately, several books are available to help authors achieve storyline Zen.

My go-to book for pirate jargon has always been THE PIRATE PRIMER by George Choundas. A fascinating book! A dash of ‘You’re wasting words’ and a smidgeon of ‘What maggot’s burrowing under your periwig?’ goes a long way. (Pirate!)

Most Regency authors tackle stories of the upper crust. Who doesn’t love daring and dashing dukes, marquises, or earls who champion the day? Even historical aristocrats spoke in gentleman’s code. Several of my favorites include ‘Banbury stories’ (falsehoods), ‘befogged’ (confused), ‘dicked in the nob’ (crazy), and ‘land a facer’ (punch in the face).

Word substitutes like these aren’t as difficult for the average reader to understand. But what happens when characters hail from the seedier side of society?

Enter the book CANT, A Gentleman’s Guide, The Language of Rogues in Georgian London. Love this introduction to the book!

“Planning to go to Georgian London? You’ve collected some period money, got yourself kitted out with the appropriate clothes and had your inoculations. If not, go and do it right now.”

~ CANT, A Gentleman’s Guide, The Language of Rogues in Georgian London by Stephen Hart

In CANT, the language of the London Underworld, readers are taken to places where the poor, thieves, rogues, mayhap pirates and murderers roamed. If one couldn’t speak the speak, one might ‘Catch a Cold’ (get into trouble). Think Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, though it takes place 70 miles north of London in 1837, readers can relate to the characters’ accents and seedier environment.

Everyday words used in shabbier districts, not far from where aristocrats dwelt, are definitely contrary to the modern ear, confusing, strange, and oftentimes amusing. Used sparingly modern readers relate to the characters, setting, and plot.

Here are a few that my pirates would enjoy:

Rum Prancer Do you picture a dancing pirate on the deck with rum in hand? Get ready for this. Rum Prancer refers to a fine, beautiful horse.

Rum Kicks Sounds like something a pirate might do while hanging from a noose at Tilbury Point, but we’d be wrong. Rum Kicks refer to gold or silver-brocade breeches.

Rum Clout Something a pirate might have when the rum is never gone. Nope! Rum Clout means a fine silk handkerchief.

Rum Nab The old nab the rum and run trick, eh? Could work, except Rum Nab refers to a good hat.

Rum Nantz A man named Nantz who likes to drink rum? Wrong. Rum Nantz refers to good French brandy.

Words a pirate needs to know in a London Underworld tavern:


Tavern/Ale House: Bowsing Ken

Alehouse/Inn: Touting Ken

Obscure Tavern: Hedge Tavern

Rogue’s Tavern: Flash Ken; Flash Crib

Beggar’s Tavern: Mumpers’ Hall

Rendzvous Tavern: Stop Hole Abbey

Fleet Street: The Mitre

Covent Garden: The Rose Tavern

Whitehall and Charing Cross: The Rummer

Pall Mall: The Star and Garter

Tavern Drinks:

All Nations: Collection of leftovers collected from bottles and bowls

Bragget: Mead and ale sweetened with honey

Cobbler’s Punch: Treacle, vinegar, gin, and water

Grog: Rum and water

Huckle my Puff; Twist: Beer, eggs and brandy, served hot

Kill Devil: Rum

Punch: Spirits, water, lemon and sugar

Purl Royal: Canary wine with a dash of wormwood

Toddy: Rum, water, sugar, and nutmeg

Vessels and Quantities:

Pint or Quart: Gage

Half Pint: Nip; Size of Ale Cogue; Shove in the Mouth

Bottle: Bouncing Cheat

Small Bottle: Bawdy-House Bottle

Large Bottle: Soldier’s Bottle

Quart Bottle: Scotch pint

Drinking Glass: Flicker; Romer

Drinking Bowl: Bubber; Whiskin

Silver Tankard: Clank

Rum Clank: Large silver tankard

Clank Napper: Thief who runs away with tankard

Full glasses or bowls: Bumpers or Facers

Empty bottles: Dead Men or Marine Officers

Drunk much? Here are various ways to say it:

Lightly Intoxicated: Bit by a Barn Mouse; Chirping Merry; Hickey; Mellow; In a Merry Pin; Tipsy

Getting drunker: Drop in His Eye; Half Cut; Half Seas Over; Sucky Boosey;

Drunk: Been in the Sun; Corned; Got into the Crown Office; Cup-Shot; Cut; Disguised; Flawed, Flustered; Foxed; Hocus; In his Altitudes; In the Gun; Nazie; Pogy; Pot Valiant; Bought the Sack; Top Heavy

Drunk Man: Bingo Boy; Ensign Bearer; Guzzle Guts; Piss Maker, Swill Tub; Tickle Pitcher; Toss Pot; and Vice-Admiral of the Narrow Seas (‘a man who urinates under the table into his companion’s shoes’)

Drunk Woman: Mort

Very drunk: Top Heavy Clear; Deep Cut; cut in the Back Leg; Drunk as David’s Sow; Drunk as a Wheelbarrow; Drunk as an Emperor; Floored; Maudlin Drunk; Surveyor of the Highways; Swallowed a Hare

Sick: Cast you your accounts; Cat; Flash the Hash; Cascade; Shoot the Cat; Flay the Flea; Flay the Fox

Hung over: Crop Sick; Womble-Ty-Cropt

Rat: Someone who gets taken up by the Watch and forced into an overnight stay

And there you have it! Adding ‘cant’, ‘Flash Lingo’, ‘St. Giles’ Greek’, and ‘Pedlars’ French’, to stories provides that extra level of depth needed to help readers travel back in time. As a historical author, I’m grateful to George Chaundas, Stephen Hart, and many other researchers for their brilliant and thrilling books. Like good wine before its time, there’s nothing better than ‘Faking a Screen’ (writing) and ‘Snilching’ (learning to behave) into roguish circles.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Multiple Pen Names: Good, Bad, Ugly

by Suzanne Johnson, er, Susannah Sandlin

There are really good reasons for authors to take on multiple pen names. First, they might have a day job and want to keep their writing life separate from it, or write in a genre that might bring them negative attention from family or friends. Perhaps they’re switching genres and want to differentiate between the writings of one name and those of another. Or perhaps their career as Writer A has stalled out and they want a fresh start as Writer B, without any baggage.

Mine is a cautionary tale, of taking on a pen name and ending up with an illogical “brand” that might never be salvageable.

It started out as a seemingly good idea, back in 2010. I had sold an urban fantasy series to Publisher A and while cooling my jets waiting for the books to be published, I wrote another book and my agent sold a paranormal romance series to Publisher B. At that time, Publisher A and Publisher B were in a pretty public feud, and we worried that “Suzanne Johnson” might get some negative treatment from Publisher A if they learned about the deal. “Susannah Sandlin” was born. 

As things would have it, Suzanne’s first book came out in April 2012. Susannah’s first book came out three months later, in June 2012. Because of the different names, I was essentially a debut author twice in the same year, unable to parlay the readers of one series to boost sales for the other series even though urban fantasy and paranormal romance share about 99.9 percent of their readership.

First lesson learned: Don’t take on a separate pen name if you’re writing in the same or a similar genre. All you do is double your workload to reach the same readers twice. I had a full-time, high-stress day job, sole caregiver duties for a disabled parent, and suddenly found myself with two websites, two blogs, two Facebook accounts, two Twitter accounts, and zero time.

After five books published in 2012 under two names with two publishers, I was a burned-out wreck. So, second lesson learned: Unless you really enjoy marketing, have unlimited amounts of time, and enjoy the chaos and uncertainty of being a debut author more than once, don’t try to keep your pen names separate. Unless, of course, one name becomes inactive. When J.R. Ward began writing under that name, her previous writing name of Jessica Bird went inactive, so there was no need to keep them both current and actively marketed.

At that point, my “brand” was still salvageable. Suzanne wrote urban fantasy with romantic elements while Susannah wrote paranormal romance. Then those markets crashed, and I found myself turning to writing a new genre altogether—romantic suspense. Because it was with the same publisher as the previous romance series, I kept the Susannah Sandlin pen name.

Third Lesson Learned. Keep the genre lines clean between your pen names. Suddenly, in 2013, I had a branding problem. I had Susannah writing both paranormal romance and romantic suspense while, caught in a contract vise, Suzanne continued to write only urban fantasy. Here’s the problem: there is virtually zero overlap in readership between paranormal romance and romantic suspense. So people who read and liked Susannah Sandlin’s suspense novels went looking at backlist and found—eek—yuck—paranormals. Likewise, Susannah’s paranormal readers felt abandoned when she dropped her popular vampire series and began writing all-human suspense novels. She got a lot of emails telling her so.

Fourth Lesson learned: Fixing a broken brand takes a lot of time and money, and might not even be possible. I spent a lot of time and money in 2013 and 2014 consolidating Susannah and Suzanne into a single website, a single blog, lots of social media messaging, and the task of working toward a single Facebook author page. (There are still two FB and Twitter accounts but I duplicate posts.) It initially led to a lot of confusion among readers, and even now I get at least one “Wait…I didn’t know you also wrote (fill in name of series)” email or message a week.

Honestly, I have no solutions as to how to fix the brand. In time, if I simply quit writing under one pen name MAYBE it would work. Suzanne has the most loyal fans, but Susannah has BY FAR the most readers. Currently, I’m working on a new book proposal and have no clue whether Suzanne or Susannah should write it.

So, sure, go ahead and take a second (or third) writing name. But think through:
·      Why you want it;
·      How you’re going to publicize multiple pen names and juggle any separation, taking into account the time it takes to actively market two or more names;
·      How the pen names fit into where you see your long-term career plans going.

If you don’t answer those questions, take it from Suzanne and Susannah: what can seem like a good idea could turn bad—and downright ugly. (If nothing else, you have to often refer to yourself in third-person.)

Friday, November 03, 2017

#FridayFeatures Celebrating Southern Magic Authors #Romance #MakingMagic

Author:  Christine Glover

Title:  Resisting The Heartbreaker (Hollywood Heartbreakers, Book 3

Released:  August 17, 2017


He's breaking down her resistance one sexy moment at a time...

Director Trevor Maguire is determined to protect a secret that could destroy his family.  The only person he trusts to help him is his sexy helicopter pilot, Samantha Bennett.  She's got troubles of her own and desperately needs cash so her company won't go belly up.  Trevor saves her business so he can use her company to do research for a movie while also conducting his investigation with her assistance.

Samantha's got a non-fraternization rule in place for a reason.  No way will she get involved with a client.  Sure, she's attracted to Trevor, but he's only with her temporarily and she's not into casual flings, even if the hottest man in Hollywood wants her.  They try to resist each other, but they can't deny the heat flaring between them and their sizzling chemistry spirals into an intense connection.

When Trevor unearths the truth about his past, he's ready to move forward, but he's got a difficult choice to make--will he go it alone or will he bring the woman he loves with him?

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