Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Year of Rock 'N' Roll by Victoria Roberts

It was bound to happen sooner or later. I'm not stupid enough to believe that my sweet daughter, my first born, would stay a wee lassie forever. But the now fifteen-year-old has discovered the joys of being a teenager. And one of those new found discoveries is concerts.

See the problem? No? Let me explain.
  • She's too young to drive and needs chauffeured. 
  • There's no way her parents are going to drop her off and let her attend these events alone. Don't get me wrong. I trust my daughter 100%. It's the other idiots that are a factor.
  • Even though some of her friends like the music she listens to, they are not going to see the artists. 
Well, gosh darn it. Who does that leave? You guessed it. Mom and Dad. Dad is everything country, and mom is everything rock 'n' roll. So guess who won that battle?

Fortunately, the wee apple doesn't fall far from the tree. She loves music that I listen to and truth be told, I love the music she listens to. This is definitely her year for music exploration, and I strongly encourage it.

In two weeks, we'll be seeing these guys. 2Cellos are two men from Croatia who are classically trained musicians. They play cello rock. Perhaps you've seen their famous YouTube video to Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal, but my favorite is the one they did below for Thunderstruck.

In June, we're seeing her favorite band Twenty One Pilots. She really has me hooked on these guys.

Lastly (at least for this year,) we're seeing Halsey. Her voice is incredible.

What was the first concert you escorted someone to? 

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Goodbye Season by Gina Conkle

Are you a Downton Abbey fan? With the show in its sixth and final season, we at Sourcebooks are celebrating all the romance and drama with live tweets (and giveaways) every Sunday, 9:00 PM ET. We'd love to tweet with you --- look for #TeamSource.

To prepare you, here's a little snark and history a la Downton Abbey style.

I first heard about Downton Abbey when I was out to dinner with a friend. She asked me, "What's the deal with an entail?" She knew I wrote historical romance, and her question unleashed my inner history nerd.

The tables soon turned. My friend regaled me with lush set descriptions and character sketches. I was hooked. My car somehow found its way to Barnes & Noble where I bought the season one DVD set. I binge-watched it and got all caught up as season two winded down.

When season two's DVDs released, my car took me to Barnes & Noble again where I promptly bought the next DVD set. (Like Lay's potato chips, you can't just stop at one).

Have there been some awful surprises? Yes. Sybil's shocking death from pre-eclampsia (I bawled like a baby). Or the handsome Turkish diplomat's demise while romping with Lady Mary (didn't see that one coming). And later Matthew's passing (I was in maybe he was unconscious). My friend made me face facts about Matthew.

There's been plenty of drama at the Abbey (typed with Lady Mary's condescension in my head), but there's also been lots of grin-worthy, thought-provoking gems. For awhile I tweeted and posted "Dowager Moments" because no one drops one liners like the Dowager. 

My latest (non-Dowager) quotes from this final season revolve around women pushing the boundaries. From Lord Grantham (read this in his droll tone):

This one comes from Lady Mary wearing the "Land Agent" hat as she becomes a working woman...with four-legged creatures:

There's healthy doses of romance as well. Lady Edith needs to find true love, doesn't she?

Fans want Lady Edith to get her happily ever after. Twitter lights up with well-wishes for the long-suffering heroine. If you doubt that, just look up the hashtag #DowntonAbbey on twitter.

Don't forget the #TeamSource hashtag. Authors Gwyn Cready, Sherri Browning, and moi, Gina Conkle are dishing up quips and quotes, peppered with predictions. We'd love you to join us as we live tweet during the show. Other Sourcebooks authors have dropped in --- you never know who'll show up in the #TeamSource live tweet conversations.

Oh, and I almost forgot. We've hosted some great giveaways, too.

We invite you to join us Sunday night at 9:00 PM ET. Be sure to look for #TeamSource on twitter.


Thanks for stopping by the blog and reminiscing with me about Downton Abbey. Do you have any favorite moments? Please share in the comments below.

Happy New Year!
Gina Conkle

I write Viking and Georgian romance. A staunch history nerd, I love museums and castles --- the older and moldier the better. When not investigating ancient sites, I occasionally dabble in gardening and exercise.  My favorite alpha male is my husband, Brian. We live in Michigan with our two boys.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Lady Susannah Whisperer by Grace Burrowes

My imagination is full of characters, but finding the story that best fits a given lord, laird, lady or lover is usually a challenge for me. I say usually, because Will's True Wish, which hits the shelves on Tuesday, is an exception.

I met Will Dorning in a previous book, Worth: Lord of Reckoning, where Will was a minor character. He's one of the heroine's many brothers (all seven named for plants, hence, Willow Dorning, Grey Birch Dorning, Sycamore, Ash, etc), second oldest after the earl, Grey. In the only scene where Will has much dialogue, he's playing fetch-the-stick with an enormous mastiff named Georgette. Will is ferociously protective of his pup, and prefers her company to that of most people.

That's what I knew about him, when--bam!--like my golden retriever's tail smacking one of my cats (I've seen this happen), an idea for a story popped into my head: Will is the Regency dog whisperer, and he's investigating a "101 Dalmatians" scheme.... sorta.

Turns out, dogs were very much a part of Regency life. Lap dogs went socializing with their owners, sporting dogs graced the abodes of most country squires, and large breeds were both fashion accessories and security systems.

I've often used dogs as reflection characters, and it so happens, I love dogs. When I write, Sarge (rotty-hound cross) and Murphy (golden retriever) are often curled at my feet, while various cats grace the table my computer sits on. So why not have a hero who loves and understands dogs?

The perfect match for this guy is--obviously--a woman who has no use for large, smelly creatures of any kind. Lady Susannah Haddonfield has long admired Will, but she's retiring by nature, and a blue stocking by temperament. Her greatest comfort has been great literature, very little of which deals with dogs.

Will's world has been focused on canines until Lady Susannah crosses paths with him, and Susannah's focus has been
Shakespeare, until Will comes along. When dogs start disappearing from aristocratic households, the only sensible path is for the blue-blooded lady and the hot-blooded gent is to fall in love... I  mean, find the dogs.

Or maybe find love, and fall over the dogs? You'll have to judge for yourself. Read an excerpt here, (and watch out for those madly wagging tails).

Are you a fan of dogs? More of a cat person? Maybe you prefer the freedom of living without animals? To one commenter, I'll send a signed copy of Will's True Wish.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Historical Research and World Building, By Kathryne Kennedy

It often surprises me how my historical research will add to or completely jell with the fantasy aspects of my novels. In THE ELVEN LORDS series, the stories are based in the eighteenth century, so I spent over a month researching the Georgian era, including the political environment, with special emphasis on daily life and--since my books are first and foremost romances--the clothing and housing of the aristocracy.
When I read that white wigs were prevalent in the era, it made perfect sense that the true reasons for wearing the wigs were to imitate the ivory-haired elven lords of my fantasy world. All I needed to do was to add a crushed silver stone to the wigs, which the aristocracy uses to imitate the silver sparkle of my lords. For my readers to identify with the history of the era, I felt that it was important to keep a king on the throne, but since the elven broke through the barrier between worlds and conquered England, dividing it into seven sovereignties that each ruled, I couldn’t be sure of the role he would play.

Then I read that the true power behind the throne at that time lay with Sir Robert Walpole, the Prime Minister of England. So, with an apology to King George, I made him nothing more than a trophy for the elven lords to wage their wars--wars that used humans as chess pieces in games of entertainment similar to the Roman gladiatorial games, but on a much broader scale. Sir Robert (and following Prime Ministers) became the leaders of the Rebellion, the underground movement of humans and half-elven who fight for England’s freedom and the restoration of their king to true power. As with actual history, the court set the precedence for clothing and style, but since the king of my fantasy world held influence only in that limited aspect, it became an obsession with him and his court.

My seven mad elven lords each had possession of a scepter, and the master of a particular power. As I researched the landscape and the development of England’s resources, I used that knowledge to divide the sovereignties. Since Bath and its famous healing waters were located in the southwest, it fell naturally into place that the elven lord Breden, master of the blue scepter of sea and sky, controlled that area, becoming the sovereignty of Dewhame, revealed in the novel THE LADY OF THE STORM. South central England, where London is located, is a politically important part of England and became Firehame, the sovereignty of Lord Mor'ded and his black scepter over the mastery of fire, a powerful realm that is explored in THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER. Agricultural eastern England became Verdanthame, with Mi'cal ruling with the green scepter of forest and plant. Northeastern England, extending upward into York and known for its roadways, became the sovereignty of Terrahame, and the elven lady Annanor and her brown scepter of earth. North central England, dominated by mining and hilly country, became the sovereignty of Bladehame and the silver scepter of Lan'dor, who masters metal. The northwest became Stonehame, where the elven lady La'laylia called up quartz from the depths to enchant with her violet scepter. And the west became Dreamhame, butting up against the craggy mountains of Wales, the sovereignty of Roden of the golden scepter, with his spells of glamour and illusion, fully revealed in the novel THE LORD OF ILLUSION.

Arranged marriages were common in the era, often devised for political gain, and it fell naturally into place that the elven lords would use them to their own advantage. My hero in THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER, General Dominic Raikes, is a half-breed who has inherited his father’s magical gift of fire, and because of it, is a General of Firehame’s army. My heroine, Lady Cassandra Brydges, has the bloodlines to produce a new champion for the elven lord’s war games…and is secretly trained as an assassin by the Rebellion. 

In my novelette, The ASSASSIN’S LOVER, we get a glimpse of the sovereignty of Stonehame, and the capital city that glows with jewel-fire even in starlight. We meet a lady of that city, Minerva Overon, whose home falls within the shadow of Stonehame Palace, which is crafted by the elven lady from one large piece of amethyst. But my heroine lives in one of the few mansions created of black jet, which aids the young assassin (another of history’s ruthless characters) sent to kill her…although he gets more than he bargained for.

And so did I, as I researched eighteen-century England, and found some surprising developments for my stories along the way.

My Magical Best,

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snow Days

By Cheryl Brooks

We didn't get the big blizzard in our neck of the woods this past weekend, but it was still a good time for doing all the things one does when snowed in--provided, of course, that you have power. The weather was plenty cold here, and we still had a fair amount of snow left over from the last weather event, so I did what I usually do when I'm snowed in. I don't go out and buy bread. I make it.

This time, I tried out a different recipe from my trusty copy of "The New Book of Favorite Breads from Rose Lane Farm," which I was surprised to find still available from Amazon, despite the fact that I probably bought my copy back in the early 1980s. There are some things, homemade bread among them, that stand the test of time.

Not long ago I'd used the Italian bread recipe from that same cookbook to make bread sticks. Sadly, even cutting that recipe in half resulted in too much dough, and what I'd hoped would be similar to Pizza Hut's cheesy bread sticks was more of a flat loaf, filling a 9x13 pan to the top and then some. It was good, but the cheese and garlic butter to bread ratio was a bit off. On the next page, however, I noticed a recipe for Fig and Nut Yeast Bread. I'd never made it before, but since I love figs and my husband loves walnuts, I figured it was a win-win, right? So, on my last trip to the grocery, I purchased the necessary ingredients and was ready to go on Sunday.

While the yeast was working, I chopped the figs and walnuts as directed, nearly losing the end of my little finger in the process. Then I mixed up the dough and started kneading. This was a VERY stiff dough, and I had my doubts that it would ever rise. As it turned out, it didn't rise very much. The result was a dense, heavy loaf with a hard crust, but if that's what you're in the mood for, go for it!

I didn't use the dried skim milk the original recipe calls for (I don't care for the taste), substituting skim milk for part of the original 1 1/2 cups of water. Nor did I have enough figs and walnuts for 1 1/2 cups (I ate a few of the figs and saved some walnuts for my husband's lunch *:D big grin ), so what follows is my version of the recipe.

After tasting the bread fresh from the oven, I decided that more white flour and less whole wheat would improve it, along with more salt and a few tablespoons of sugar or honey, but it wasn't bad the way it was, and it was even better the next day warmed up in the microwave and topped with butter and honey. This bread also makes a great dessert when served with a hot wine sauce like fig pudding. Since the fun of baking is as much about the process as the end product, I would advise against waiting for the next blizzard to give it at try, if for no other reason than to smell it while it bakes.

Fig and Walnut Bread

1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ginger
2 packages dry yeast (I use the rapid-rise kind)
1 cup warm water
4 tablespoons Brer Rabbit molasses
1/2 cup warm milk
4 tablespoons soft butter
1 1/4 cups soft dried figs, chopped fine
1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup white flour
6 cups whole wheat flour


Mix the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl and let stand until foamy. Put the figs and walnuts in a lidded bowl and shake them up with the white flour. Add the milk and water to the yeast mixture, then add the nut and fig mixture along with the other ingredients, starting out with two cups of the whole wheat flour and gradually mixing and kneading in the rest until you have a stiff, non-sticky dough. Brush dough with butter and either cover the bowl or put it in a plastic bag (I use oven bags), and let rise until doubled in bulk. Depending on the yeast you use, this could take up to two hours. After the first rising, knead the dough again and shape into four small loaves. Place in greased pans, butter the tops, and cover, letting the dough rise for at least an hour, preferably longer. Bake at 350 F for about an hour.

Monday, January 25, 2016

I Kissed a Rogue is Coming Soon

I've been so excited all week. I'm always thrilled when I receive a good review, but when I receive a Top Pick! 4 1/2 star review from my favorite reviewer, Kathe Robin, at RT Book Reviews, it's especially thrilling.

It's always a little scary when books I've written go out for review. I wonder if readers will like the book and if I've fixed all the problems I saw and if there were others I didn't see. I know a Top Pick doesn't mean a book is perfect or that every reader will love it, but to me it means I've passed the first test.

The next test comes when the book goes on sale. Will readers buy it? Will they like it? I'll find out in a few weeks. In the meantime, I'll share a little about Brook and Lila's story.

Once she spurned the man...
When the Duke of Lennox hires Sir Brook Derring, Bow Street's best investigator, to find his daughter, Brook intends only to rescue the lady and return to his solitary life. He deals with London's roughest criminals every day of the week; surely he should be able to endure seeing his first love again—the perfect girl who broke his heart...

Now her life depends on him
Lady Lillian-Anne Lennox has always done her best to live up to her father's standards of perfection—at the cost of following her heart. When she's kidnapped and her perfect life is shattered, Lila has another chance. Together, Lila and Brook navigate not only the dark and deadly side of London, but the chasm of class and prejudice that divides them.

Have you read any books you'd classify as Top Picks lately? I'm always looking to pad my TBR pile.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

This is why we have children...and a giveaway!

A friend of mine has 4 sons and when they shovel the driveway or clean up the yard, I'm reminded, 'That's why we have them.' LOL Well, I only have 1 daughter and was a single mom when she was growing up. So, ugh. I shoveled my own snow and raked and mowed my own lawn.

Now she's grown, and she's a fabulous graphic artist. How lucky for a mom who constantly needs cute new promo materials. (wink.) Well, My latest series Love Spells Gone Wrong will be complete soon. I had been planning to self publish them...until I discovered that I hated self-publishing. Meanwhile, I had asked her to make the covers and they were so cute I had to find a publisher that would allow me to use them. Enter my Canadian Publisher, Lachesis Publishing, Inc. Okay, so they're a small press, but to be able to show off my daughter's hard work is a big thing to me.

Book 1 came out last spring (2015)
Book 2 came out in Sept. 2015      
And now...Drumroll...the last in the series will be released on Leap Day! Feb 29, 2016

Blurb and cover
Love Spells Gone Wrong series; Book 3 Out of the Broom Closet 

Wiccan priestess Michele Erikson won't harm others with spells, even if it's the only way to save herself from a crazed stalker wielding black magic. He has chased her from Portsmouth, NH, to Daytona Beach FL.
Ex-NFL player turned bodyguard Vic Matthews didn't believe in magic until late in the game. Once he understands the power at Michele’s fingertips, he must convince her to use everything in her arsenal to save herself.
He'll lose Michele, his part-fey client and lover, if he can't persuade her that self-defense won’t compromise her Wiccan principles. It's time to come out of the broom closet and come out fighting!

What are your children able to help you with?

A commenter will win The Cupcake Coven--Book 1 in the series! ebook or print, winner's choice

Friday, January 22, 2016

Moved, Got Sick, But This Makes it All Worth It!

I was finally well enough, though still had a horrible coughing spell while I was walking, but managed nearly 3 miles with the puppies.
Here they are on our walk:
Uhm, yeah, someone has already marked that tree, guys.
Uhm, yeah, someone has already marked that tree, guys.
Pine tree and clouds reflected in the pond.
Pine tree and clouds reflected in the pond.
Fountain in the background.
Fountain in the background.
Hey, what did you find, Max?
Hey, what did you find, Max?
Max and Tanner in the little dog enclosure.
Max and Tanner in the little dog enclosure.
The larger dog park wraps around the smaller one.
The larger dog park wraps around the smaller one.
Hmm, does it look like a safe trail to take?
Hmm, does it look like a safe trail to take?
I tried to take the picture of the remnants of a maple tree that had shed most of its leaves, and the grasses and pine trees behind it. Between the wind, and the puppies pulling, this was all I managed to get.
red leaves on tree (360x640)I tried to take a picture of a yellow bird in a bare tree, but it was impossible with the puppies pulling at me. I should have just stepped on their leashes. I've done that before and left my hands free so they couldn't jerk the camera around.

It was a good thing I took my phone. I got turned around on the walk home. lol But I did make it to the Post Office today with no trouble at all. Will wonders never cease???

I'm sure this all needs to be in a book.

So I'm sort of settled. The new bathrooms have no hand towel bars, and the only bath towel bar they have in the master bath is on the wall behind the tub. So every time I wash my hands, I would need to climb into the tub to reach a towel. Uh-uh. Still emptying boxes and more boxes and more boxes, but finally managed to get a lot done and was able to start concentrating on the next book.

Off to Coastal Magic Reader's Convention in Feb too!

Here's a picture from last year.

Have a great day!!! Back to Loving a Silver Wolf.

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
Connect with Terry Spear:
Wilde & Woolly Bears

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ever-Changing History by Asa Maria Bradley

Since my Viking Warriors series is contemporary paranormal, I spend more time reading about Norse mythology than history. Although when you study Vikings, the two are very much linked. And it was because of the enthusiasm of one of my history teachers that I first became so interested in my Norse forefather explorers and their gods and goddesses.  

Skåne Coat of Arms
I grew up in the very southern part of Sweden and history lessons were a little problematic for my school teachers. If they went by the standard curriculum, we’d be studying all the kings of Sweden and the various wars they fought. However, the southernmost tip of Sweden was actually Danish until 1658 when it changed hands according to the Treaty of Roskilde. The people where a bit reluctant to change nationality and organized an uprising against the Swedish militia. It wasn’t until 1720 that things settled down and Skåne province (Scania) finally flew the blue and yellow flag.

The one thing my history teachers could agree on though was that way before the people in Scandinavia were divided into the three kingdoms of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, the first major city of the region was Birka. Established in the middle of the 8th century on an island just outside contemporary Stockholm, it was an important trade and cultural center. Goods from Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the Orient were bought and sold in Birka. It was also the site of the first known Christian congregation in Sweden. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and daily guided tours introduce visitors to the Viking era through reconstructed buildings and boats.

A small silver statue found
at Uppåkra, nicknamed "Helge."
But now the Swedish history books may have to be rewritten. It turns out that Birka was not the first major trading post in the region. In 1934, a farm was built close to Uppåkra Church just outside Lund in Skåne. While digging to create the foundation, the farmer discovered what turned out to be a Bronze to Iron Age settlement. It was obvious to archaeologists that Uppåkra was a major find, but the sheer size of the project seemed to be too much to take on. The funds to create a proper archaeological site didn’t become available until the 1990s. At that point, archaeologists extended the site and introduced metal detectors in the search. They discovered close to 30 000 gold, silver, and bronze objects.  

I visited the site last summer and was fascinated to watch scientists sift through layers of dirt that covers buildings, surgical instruments, pottery, jewelry, coins, and bones left behind by the people and animals who lived here since 100 AD. As you can imagine, even though serious digging has progressed for twenty five years now, only a very small part of the total find has been revealed.
One of the finds I find particularly interesting is an unusual building. It’s much taller than dwellings revealed at other Viking settlements and the amount of weapons, jewelry, and small statues buried inside shows that it may have been a house of worship where people gave offerings to the gods. It’s the earliest example of such a house that has been discovered. Another rich finding is the amount of surgical instruments found at Uppåkra, giving new insights into the medical knowledge of people of the Iron Age.

The very best part about Uppåkra Archaeological Center is that it is located ten minutes outside the town where my mom lives. That means I’ll have plenty of opportunity to revisit and see new fascinating historical discoveries come to light as the archaeologists slowly sifts through the dirt, millimeter by millimeter.  

For more information about the treasures of Uppåkra, visit or check out the center’s Facebook page.

And here is where you can find me: 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Things are about to get old school...

I am one of those people who makes friends and keeps them.  We may not see each other for years and years and years, but when we do, it's like no time has gone by.

I was the first of my friends to move away.  Born and raised on Long Island, we moved to North Carolina when I was 27 and we're still here.  Due to finances and rarely were able to go back and visit anyone, but in the last few years, I've been blessed with being able to reconnect with some of my girls and we are planning a weekend together in March.

So here's the funny thing - once plans got put into motion, I realized that we are the same people we were in elementary, middle and high school.  We've all gone on to lead very different lives with different experiences and yet as soon as we started group texting and chatting, it was so familiar and wonderful that it filled my heart with joy!  At our core we are snarky, sweet, loud, hysterical, compassionate and strong.  We've all had our struggles - our highs and lows - and we're still here to smile about it.

I think of some of the great female friendships - the sassy girls of "Sex and the City",
the ladies from "Waiting to Exhale" or "Steel Magnolias", and the childhood friends like in "Now and Then".  There is something to be said about people who have known you through the good and the bad, the ups and downs and that you can totally be yourself with - mainly because they'll call you out on it if you're not!

They are meeting me in Florida for a signing event and we have four days together.  It was humbling that seemingly out of the blue, some of my oldest friends wanted to come and show their support of me.  And it's at a time in my life where I so desperately need a little R&R and girl time.

So what about you?  Are you still friends with the ones you had when you were younger?  Do you still get together?  And what's your ideal place for a girls weekend?

Monday, January 18, 2016

'Staches Anyone? by Linda Broday

There's just something about a man with facial hair. Oh man! I confess I really love neatly trimmed mustaches and beards. They add a certain air to a man -- maybe of a little danger, or daring or a hint of mystery. Whatever it is, it's downright sexy. And I can't get enough. 

Here are a few of my favorites. No words are necessary. Just drool away.

Here's a couple of older men who never lose their sexiness no matter their age.

AND since I write historical western romance, I HAVE to have some cowboys because they're...well really kinda hot!

So....are you a 'stach kinda person? I'd love to know who your favorites are. If I didn't include them, you can add to the list. I don't mind at all.

All three of my Bachelors of Battle Creek series are available.

You can contact me:


Saturday, January 16, 2016


First a bit of background. I'm a bench scientist (molecular biologist) of over thirty years. A year before I retired from research, a friend challenged me to write a novel. In doing so, I discovered the FUN part of writing outweighs the hair pulling, heart-wrenching, screaming under a blanket parts of being an author. So now I’m hooked.

In the short time I’ve spent in this profession, I can’t tell you how much I admire authors. Their perseverance in their craft, the belief in themselves and their talent, and the dedication to find writing time, is just awe-inspiring. However, I’m a left-brain sort of person, so there are many aspects in the craft of writing that befuddle me. One of them is the expression “Kill your darlings.”

Kill what?

Not a darling! What is a darling?

Here’s a wonderful definition from the Urban Dictionary:

"“In writing, you must kill your darlings.” --William Faulkner

This literary advice refers to the dangers of an author using personal favorite elements. While these may hold special meaning for the author, they can cause readers to roll their eyes for reasons such as:
1. Purple prose
2. Narm (anything that attempts to achieve some kind of dramatic effect but, whether because of poor writing or poor acting, tends to instead be unintentionally humorous rather than dramatic).
3. Egregious overuse of a word or phrase.”

Okay, I’m guilty. 

I was asked to remove the epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter of my first book, The Rake’s Handbook. Epigraphs are short lines from letters or poetry, that function to set the mood, act as a metaphor for the chapter to come, reinforce the theme, etc. They needed to be removed because they had special meaning for me, were unintentionally humorous, and/or caused an outbreak of eye rolling. The editor was right.

Here’s the set-up. Early in The Rake’s Handbook, a teenager, Berdy, reads a medical dictionary and quickly comes to believe he has every disease in the book:

“What is the next disease? Acor, it is sometimes used to express that sourness in the stomach contracted by indigestion, and from whence flatulencies and acid belching arise. No!” He slapped the page. “Last week, I suffered Acor after eating mutton pie, remember?” Lines of concern appeared on his forehead, and he quickly turned the page. “I have Agheustia. I have Aglutitio. Without doubt I have Agonia.”
“Berdy, please.”
“Elli. I have every disease mentioned so far, and I’m not out of the A’s. At this rate, by the time I reach the D’s, I’ll be—D—for dead.”

After this scene, epigraphs from Quincy’s Lexicon of 1802 were added to each chapter to set the tone. These quotes never made the final book. However, I loved them so much, because they are emblematic of the craziness in Regency-era medical knowledge, I’m adding a few of my favorite darlings here:

Breasts, in men they are very small, and chiefly for ornament . . .

Generation, Parts of, proper to Women . . . In the act of generation, the pleasure is so great, as to alter the course of the blood and animal spirits, which then move all these parts that before lay still. The clitoris is erected which by its exquisite sense affords a great deal of delight.

Penis, membrum virile . . . the cylindrical part that hangs down.

Penetration of Dimensions, is a physical possession of the same place by two bodies, so that the parts of the one do every way pen etrate into and adequately fill up the dimensions or places of the parts of the other, which is manifestly impossible, and contradictory to demonstration.

Hair. The use of the hairs is for a covering and ornament . . . distinguishing the male from the female sex; which otherwise could hardly be known if both were dressed in the same habit.

Acephalos. This is applied to monsters born without heads, of which there have been instances.

Have you ever killed a darling?