Monday, 28 September 2009

Fortunate Wager available for pre-order

Hooray! Fortunate Wager is now available to pre-order from the Hale website at only £13.29 post-free (in the UK) instead of the rrp of £18.99

It might even arrive before the official publication date of 30th November!

Caroline Fortune wants to be left in peace to train racehorses. Lord Alexander Rothwell wants to know who is trying to kill him.

Another sparkling Newmarket Regency from Jan Jones

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Poems across the Internet!

Well, now, this is weird. I have several Google alerts set up, one of which is for "Jan Jones". Normally I skim through the entries (you have no idea how many Jones-related stories there are out there, and there are even more in January) and delete the mail. This morning I was sitting at the PC with a nice cup of tea
when I saw my name followed by the first lines of a poem I'd written. But it was a poem I didn't know was out there!

She's put a good photo with it - not an image I'd had in mind while writing the poem, but then the joy of poetry is that we're free to make our own interpretations - but I'd dearly love to know where she saw the poem first!

Here it is - and here is Vikki Jacobs' blogpost

The Time Between by Jan Jones

Treasure it, the time spent travelling

This time between roles
The time between

Slipping from one existence into another
A spider strand of no-man’s-land
The time between

You’re no-one here
Invisible, unfettered
Not pressured

Treasure it, this time spent travelling
This time between arenas
This time between.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Georgian Lectures

I'm having an Autumn feast of all things Georgian. A couple of weeks ago I went to a lecture at the Bury St Edmunds Records Office about the Cullum Library that they store. Today it was the turn of a batch of letters sent from Thomas and Susan Macro (Thomas was a prominent apothecary in the town) to their daughter and son-in-law Mary and John Wilson between 1713 and 1718.

As all writers know, there is a huge amount of social history to be found in letters. Mild complaints that letters had been left at the delivery office for too long, worries about lyings-in, sensible advice on settling into a new home, anecdotes of neighbours - all these things add up to a background in which to set our own writing.

And as a bonus - Dr Pat Murrell had baked us wigs to go with our tea. These are spiced buns with a scattering of sugar-coated caraway seeds. (The idea was to cleanse the palate and perhaps sweeten the breath!) Strangely enough, one cannot buy sugar-coated caraway seeds these days but Pat had discovered Indian shops sell a very acceptable substitute in sugar-coated fennel seeds.

They were extremely tasty - and when we were told they were even better hot out of the oven I asked if I could take a second one home with me to try it warm. This is it just before I ate it. Delicious!

Friday, 11 September 2009

"He's Much To Blame"

Oooh! I do like a nice revival!

Steeping myself as I am in Regency theatre research for the Work In Progress, I was overjoyed to open the latest Theatre Royal brochure and discover that the main Restoring the Repertoire play this Autumn is He's Much To Blame by Thomas Holcroft.

Holcroft was one of a band of radical thinkers who sought to change people's opinion by means of incorporating telling scenes and speeches into his plays. Very witty and sharply executed, a lot of the exchanges on stage are as true today as they were 200 years ago. Billed at the time as a comedy,
He's Much To Blame (first performed in 1798, but they'd still have been putting it on in the Regency era) nevertheless produces moments of stark tragedy designed to make the audience stop and think.

So what's the story? Maria has come to town disguised as a man in order to prevent her brother (Delavel) and her erstwhile suitor (George Versatile) from fighting a duel. George had been going to marry Maria until he was suddenly taken rich and had his head turned by Society.

George has now fallen in with Lord and Lady Vibrate and their celebrity German doctor Gosterman. Versatile by nature as well as by name, he has lost his own true self in making himself pleasant to everybody and has apparently forgotten the love he left behind. Lady Vibrate (who lives only for pleasure) wishes him to marry her daughter Jane. Jane, however, is in love with Delavel.

And - as could only happen in a play - all of them are now staying in the same hotel!

The Bury St Edmunds production was an absolute joy, and as I had secured a seat in the box right on the stage again, I felt as if I had slid not only into the past, but also into the play itself.

And on Monday the cast is taking a day off(!) to do a rehearsed reading of Holcroft's comedy The Road To Ruin. I am a very happy Regency writer.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Warning - electrical fault

My car has one of those delightful intermittent faults which brings up a scary orange light right in the middle of the dashboard. Every time this happens the car and I go into the garage where they clear the fault, speculate interestedly about what might be causing it and tell me to come back next time it occurs. A couple of times it has been a real fault entailing the changing of various expensive parts. Even if it doesn't cost money - it always involves loss of time.

This time, however, the garage decided Action Was Needed (possibly they were getting fed up with me plugging Nymph into their power supply, using their free wifi and drinking all their tea). They stripped the engine down ("No cost, Mrs Jones") and found - a broken wire.

Sadly, it seems wires don't get mended any more, they get replaced. The entire wire loom gets replaced. At a cost of £150+.

While my car was being investigated, the garage driver ran me into Bury St Edmunds for an excellent lecture at the Theatre Royal on the Georgian playwright Thomas Holcroft and picked me up again afterwards. Then (as my car was in pieces) he took me home. Tomorrow he is going to collect me, drop me off at the Records Office for a lecture on the Georgian Gentleman's Library and pick me up after a matinee of He's Much To Blame by the said Thomas Holcroft at the theatre.

"There," said the service receptionist. "At least we've saved you the parking fee."

To park in Bury St Edmunds all day costs £1.80 !!!