During the Regency era, merchants allowed aristocrats to purchase products even if they didn’t pay back money owed for years. Shop owners hoped that once it was known that an aristocrat or well-known person had purchased a particular product from their shop, sales would follow. The emerging middle class was eager to own the same items being consumed by the upper classes. There were also more products available for purchase as a result of industrialization.
Many of the streets where people shopped during the Regency—Piccadilly, Bond and Oxford, among others—remain busy shopping areas today. A few stores in these shopping areas have been in existence since the eighteenth century. Piccadilly has been home to Hatchard’s Book Shop since 1797, and Fortnum and Mason since 1707. Other shops remaining from the Regency era are Locks for hats, Floris for perfumes and the Berry Brothers Wine Shop.
Research is important if writing in a historical era. Some of the shops listed above have never been renovated, providing insight as to how stores were laid out and decorated in the seventeenth century. At Floris, they have archives of orders placed by notable people such as Queen Victoria. Their Limes perfume, which has been selling since the 1700’s, is still available for purchase. These stores provide a way to experience the past through scent, their furnishings and samples of items created in the past.
Cynthia Capley is working on her first novel set during the Regency era. She enjoys writing stories with strong characters that triumph over challenges to achieve their happily ever after. Cynthia lives in the Pacific Northwest where the rain and numerous coffee houses make the perfect writing companions. She lives with her husband and a menagerie of pets and likes to spend time playing fetch with Natasha, a tortoiseshell-colored cat with an attitude.
Philosopher George Santayana is quoted as saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” I believe it’s true that if we don’t remember the mistakes of the past we’ll repeat them, but I also believe there are things in the past that are not only worth remembering, but repeating as well. Case in point: Arthur A. Schomburg.
For instance, what can you tell of someone’s past from their name? My real name is Anna Taylor Sweringen. Except perhaps that I’m female, what would you guess about me? From the way Sweringen sounds (swur-in-gen) would think Dutch or German? My husband’s family name was originally van Swearingen, so if you guessed Dutch you were right. But without meeting me, would you have guessed by that name I’m African American Manhattan born and Brooklyn bred?
What about Arthur A. Schomburg? Male? Maybe with some Latinx ancestry? Some European? You’d be right on all counts. Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was born in 1874 in Canegros,Puerto Rico of African and German ancestry. I first learned of Mr. Schomburg when as a teen I visited the Schomburg on 135th Street off Lenox avenue in Harlem. I remember learning there that one of Schomburg’s teachers told him black people had not contributed anything to history, that black people had no past to remember. Schomburg spent his life dispelling that myth. In 1926, the Carnegie Corporation gave the New York Public Library $10,000 to purchase his collection of books, artwork and other materials that by then exceeded 10,000 items. Mr. Schomburg served as the curator of the collection until his death in 1938. In 1972, the library’s collection was moved from its 135th building to a brand new building next door on the corner of Lenox Avenue and became the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The Center is now a National Historic Landmark and houses over eleven million items.
I’m now 62, but I’ve never forgotten the wonder and pride I felt in my youth as I walked from one end to the other of the original 135th street building looking at the sculptures, the paintings and the books created by people of African ancestry. I’ve always loved history in general, but I’m sure the seeds of my love for African and African American history in particular can trace their roots back to those visits. The Center is sowing similar seeds in present generations through their Junior Scholars and Teen Curators programs. One current exhibits includes work by the teen curators, combined with work by anthropologist Melville Herskovits, who like Schomburg also argued against the myth that those of African ancestry had no past.
If remembering the past leads to revelation and reverence in ways that uplift and inspire the better angels of our nature, then that’s a past I don’t mind being doomed to repeat. If you ever visit New York, make the Schomburg a must-see stop. Until then, enjoy it online at https://www.nypl.org/locations/schomburg.
One Breath Away
Sentenced to hang for a crime she didn’t commit, former slave Mary Hamilton was exonerated at literally the last gasp. She returns to Safe Haven, broken and resigned to live alone. Never having been courted, cuddled or spooned, Mary now fears any kind of physical intimacy when arousal forces her to relive the asphyxiation of her hanging. But then the handsome stranger who saved her shows up, stealing her breath from across the room and promising so much more.
Wealthy freeborn-Black Eban Thurman followed Mary to Safe Haven, believing a relationship with Mary was foretold by the stars. He must marry her to reclaim his family farm. But first he must help her heal, and to do that means revealing his own predilection for edgier sex.
Then just as Eban begins to win Mary’s trust, an enemy from the past threatens to keep them one breath away from love…
God created something unique from Africa’s ebony clay when He made this one. Eban’s broad nose and high cheekbones belonged on a statue in a museum for all to enjoy. Legs long enough to cross the length of Texas in five strides brought Eban in her direction. An expensively tailored jacket hung off shoulders that could span the banks of the Rio Grande. A ruby glinted in his left earlobe and conspired with his shaved head to give him an air of mystery and menace.
Mary closed her eyes and again tried to resist his allure.
The devil often appears as an angel of light.
She sucked in a breath, opened her eyes, and gnawed her lip. This angel of light hadn’t stopped his approach. Clenching her thighs hadn’t stifled the desire swelling within her privates.
Hadn’t smothered the hope reviving in her heart.
Felicity slanted her head to the right. A coy smile gave the angle weight.
“And what brings you to our side of the room, stranger?” She repeated her breast-swelling move and grinned, peacock proud. “See something you like?”
Eban tapped a finger in salute at his brow. “More than like, miss.”
His smile turned up the heat in his gaze. Mary frowned, painfully aware the smell of her passion lingered in the air, despite the woolen barrier of her skirt.
He stepped forward so his hand-stitched boots stood toe-to-toe with Mary’s second-hand shoes. “Eban Thurman, at your service, Miss Hamilton. May I get you something to drink?”
At her service? The air congealed. Mary gasped, trying to suck in air too solid to inflate her lungs.
“No—no, thank you. I’m not thirsty.” Her stutter mimicked the tremor between her thighs. She clasped her hands and planted them hard against her lap.
“It’s a really hot night.” He turned his hand palm up in a silent plea. “Perhaps you’d find a waltz more cooling.” He eased his fingers into her clenched hands. “May I beg the honor of this dance?”
“Yes, Miss Hamilton.” He tilted his head, slanting his smile to the right. “Beg.”
“You don’t strike me as the begging type, Mr. Thurman.”
“To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.” He tongue-swiped his full lips as if he’d just tasted something he wanted to taste again. “I know when it’s time to beg.”
A native New Yorker, Michal Scott is the pen name of Anna Taylor Sweringen, an ordained United Church of Christ and Presbyterian Church USA minister. Using the writings of the love mystics of Begijn for inspiration, Michal Scott writes Christian erotica and Christian erotic romance (i.e. erotica and erotic romance with a faith arc), hoping to build a bridge between the sacred and secular, spirituality and sexuality, erotica and Christ, her readers and a well-written spiritually-stimulating and erotically-arousing story. As an African American, she writes stories to give insight into the African American experience in the US. She has been writing romance seriously since joining Romance Writers of America in 2003 and had her first novel published in 2008. She writes inspirational romance as Anna Taylor and gothic romance as Anna M. Taylor. You can connect with Anna on Twitter @mscottauthor1 and learn more about her and her writing at her various websites: www.michalscott.webs.com, www.annamtaylor.webs.com and www.annataylor2678.webs.com.
I love fall. For me it’s a magical part of the year, a passage of time that I enjoy. It’s as if nature takes a deep breath, peace slowly settles upon the land, and leaves explode with a myriad of colors.
Nor is wildlife exempt from the changes around them. Fawns lose their spot, my much-loved hummingbirds join many birds during their annual southern migration, and some animals like, Ian, the chipmunk, begin their hibernation.
The gorgeous swath of leaves throughout the forest provide an amazing backdrop to the wildlife settling in for the winter. I enjoy each day of the beautiful colors of the leaves as soon they’ll fall to the earth rest with the arrival of winter, rest beneath a blanket of snow.
I’m fascinated by the changes in the insects during this time. Bees are hurrying around gathering pollen to make honey before the flowers wither, then they remain in their hive until the warmer days of spring. As fall progresses, instead of the blue, green, and gold dragonflies of summer, dragonflies of amber and rust shades glide through the skies.
Fall flowers bloom with flourish, their vibrant colors blanketing the ground, igniting thoughts of the warm scent of apple pies, warm cider, and freshly baked cookies. Soon winter will soon be upon us, but for this special time, I enjoy the blessed bounty given to us by the fall.
What do you like best about fall?
About the Author
A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series have been translated in five languages. Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.
After her career in the Navy, Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world. After the release of the bestselling MacGruder Brothers series, The Oath Trilogy, and the first two book of The Forbidden Series, she’s now working on book #4, Forbidden Realm, of the five-book series, which will be released August, 6th, 2019.
Diana looks forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share this journey.
***ONE winner will be drawn from everyone who posts on Delilah’s blog between 28 September 2018 – 6 October 2018. The winner will receive one of Diana’s mugs and a tote.