Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Holiday Post

  Next New Blog - January 6, 2024


Featured book first this week . . . a Christmas love story guaranteed to bring tears to all the non-Scrooges out there. (A novella, originally written for a Christmas anthology.)

After suffering social disaster at her very first ball—severely aggravated by the horror of an unfeeling family—Miss Pamela Ashburton hides herself in the country, expecting to live out her life as a spinster. Major Will Forsythe, injured in body and spirit at Waterloo, comes to the country to escape the concern of well-meaning relatives. Privacy, peace and quiet—that's all he wants. Until he meets a holiday sprite in search of mistletoe. And the Christmas spirit, in the form of a cluster of white berries, gives them both a second chance.



Sanford, Fl, 12/23

Lake Kearney, not the ocean. Photo by Buffy Peck of Sanford Parks & Recreation

Photo by Susan Coventry

Lessons & Carols, 12/23

Lessons & Carols, 12/23. Grace & Susie on the end

The string players were all from University High School in Orlando.

For Mike's video of Susie singing, "Do You Hear What I Hear?" click here.

Mike, Susie, Riley, Cassidy - Festival of Trees, 2023

As a holiday "extra," we are happy to announce that Cassidy has been accepted at both UCF and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

And in contrast to singing at Church of the Resurrection . . .

Susie singing Friday night at the Capital Room Bar

Really loved hearing all those classic Christmas songs!

And seventeen hours later - Saturday afternoon - Susie directed the Girl Scout Citrus Singers in the National Anthem at a Cure Bowl plagued by a chill, all-day downpour. 

For video of the Citrus Singers "singing in the rain,"  click here.

~ * ~
For a link to Blair's website, click here. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Reinventing the Gothic Format



Squeak's First Christmas (2017?)

Fortunately, after knocking the whole tree down - before decorating, thank goodness - she got the message:  No more climbing the tree!


Hailey, Cassidy, Riley - 2005

Hailey, Riley, Cassidy - 2022

~ * ~



As mentioned in a previous blog, when I debuted my first Regency Gothic, I added the following Author's Note:                       

Brides of Falconfell is a tribute to the great era of Gothic novels, written by Victoria Holt, Jane Aiken Hodge, Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, and other talented authors of that time. The books—more Jane Eyre and Rebecca than Pride and Prejudice—have several common elements: they are told in first person, as both heroine and reader must be isolated, unable to know what the other characters are thinking. Frequently, the heroines are married and begin to suspect their husbands of murder. There is often a child, usually the hero's from a previous marriage. A large, gloomy mansion is a must, where murder, madness, and evil abound, with the heroine escaping death by the skin of her teeth. I have put all these conventions in Brides of Falconfell and chosen an isolated location at the very "top" of England as a setting. I hope you will enjoy my personal attempt at "Gothic Revival." Blair Bancroft 

Today, I'm going to attempt to explain how, in my latest maybe-Regency/maybe-Gothic, I've turned the whole concept of the Gothic novel topsy-turvy. Something that may work, and may not. I'm certainly having fun snapping the old conventions and twisting them into something that may be intriguing, or possibly come under that dreadful condemnation:  "Neither fish nor fowl nor rare roast beef." Only time will tell.

Point 1 - First person. The Abandoned Daughter uses the multi-voices of the classic Regency Romance—not just the hero and heroine but a wide variety of characters, from a Cook to a Dowager Countess. 

Point 2 - Gloomy Mansion. The Abandoned Daughter begins in a run-down mansion in Oxfordshire, but the setting quickly changes to the splendor of Bath after its spurt of growth in the mid to late 18th century. One can set a Gothic novel in Bath?? I am in the process of finding out.

Point 3 - Heroine's Isolation. (Six of one, half dozen of the other.) Our heroine has been shockingly abandoned by her father, any other relatives, unknown. But she falls on her feet, employed as companion to an undemanding elderly countess in Bath, with freedom to explore the wonders of the city. No menace in sight.

Point 4 - Marriage/suspected husband. Our heroine is single, with no prospects. She does, however, have more than a few qualms about the viscount who alleges he has found her a position with his grandmother. Until he does exactly as promised and returns to London, leaving the heroine's apprehension flown on the wind.

Point 5 - Child. There are no children in The Abandoned Daughter.

Point 6 - Murder & Madness. Impossible to have any semblance of a Gothic novel without one or the other. Or both. So yes, there must be a series of suspicious deaths. And surely the man (or woman) who plots to kill must be mad. Or is he/she?

Point 7 - Stalker. A stalker in a Gothic novel?? Why not? Several classic Gothic heroines of the past are "stalked" before the threats against them become more lethal. (Though I don't recall the term "stalker" actually being used to describe the heroine's growing fear of a mysterious menace.)

Point 8 - Style. Both narration and dialogue owe a great deal to classic Regency Romances - light-heartedness that takes some time to devolve into the awareness that life in Bath is not as idyllic as it seems.

* * *

 The Abandoned Daughter is no farther along than Chapter 4, so truth is, I'm not sure I can pull it off. But after ten Gothics that more or less followed the rules, I couldn't resist giving it a try. It will be some months before readers can judge for themselves. (I do enjoy a challenge!)

~ * ~

My second Regency Gothic:

 Penelope Ruth Ballantyne has lived at the tail of the army all her life, experiencing the rigors of life in India, followed by five years of war in Portugal and Spain. Not surprisingly, now that she is orphaned, she accepts the most challenging position available, companion to an invalid who lives on the edge of Exmoor in northern Devonshire. After years of constant travel, Penny longs to settle under one roof, find a true home. Instead, she encounters hysteria, mysterious deaths, a nasty rival, and the constant fear of dismissal as she attracts the attention of more than one young gentleman in the household. Though the only one she truly sees is Robert, Lord Exmere, heir to Moorhead Manor. Together, they face a startling dilemma worthy of the judgment of Solomon.

 ~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Wild Rice Recipes & Gallery

  New blog - "Reinventing the Gothic Format" - Sunday, December 3.

 A new dish for Thanksgiving? Really?

YES, it's allowed to add something new to Thanksgiving dinner. And, no, I forgot to take a photo. But below are two recipes for adding wild rice to your traditional dinner. Because I wanted to use REAL wild rice, a Native American black rice now mostly grown in Minnesota, I adapted a crockpot recipe that used - oh,horrors - packaged long grain & wild rice (readily available at most supermarkets while "real" wild rice has to be ordered - mine through Amazon). And, yes, it's expensive but not exorbitantly so. 

For our Thanksgiving dinner, I used the recipe on the wild rice box and added the "extras"s from the crockpot recipe. Amazingly, it worked. A truly delicious addition to Thanksgiving.

Grace's adaptation of Fruited Wild Rice with Pecans:

½ cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter, cut in chunks
1 cup wild rice
2¼ cups water
3/4 cup apple juice
1 large, tart apple, chopped
¼-½ cup golden raisins
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
*I used Mrs. Dash's "Everything" seasoning & a bit of Herb & Garlic + 
a twist or so of fresh-ground pepper.

Combine all but apple and pecans in a good-sized, preferably copper-bottom, saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover & reduce heat to a strong simmer. At c. 25-30 minutes, add chopped apple. Continue to simmer for a total of 50-60 minutes. Do NOT overcook. This means keeping a close eye on the pot during the final minutes. According to the package directions, the wild rice is done when it opens into the shape of a mini hot dog bun(!)

Drain off any remaining liquid in a colander. Put rice mix in 2-quart casserole dish. Add pecans. Stir in. To keep rice warm until leaving for dinner at my daughter's, I put it in a 250° oven for half an hour. Which turned out to be perfect for drying the rice and the final opening to the desired shape.

Original crockpot recipe:

½ cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter, cut in chunks
1 6-oz. pkg long grain & wild rice
Seasoning packet from wild rice pkg
1½ cups hot water
2/3 cup apple juice
1 large, tart apple, chopped
¼ cup raisins
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
Combine all ingredients except pecans in greased slow cooker. Cook on High 2-2½ hours, or until rice is fully cooked. Stir in pecans.

~ * ~

At Orlando Art Museum's Festival of Trees
                           (camera-shy Hailey acting as photographer)

Rainbows w/Cross, Virginia

Road in Chile

I vaguely recall a French movie about this from my college days - a trucker transporting dynamite on this road, a real hair-raiser.

Eagle photo by Liz Tyner

 ~ * ~

This week's featured book:

There's a long holiday section in this one, appropriate for the Season.


Miss Aurelia Trevor has a problem. Until she reaches the age of twenty-five, she will have no control over her beloved Pevensey Park, and by that time her unscrupulous uncle will have run it into the ground. Marriage to someone other than her uncle's leering son is her only way out, but, one by one, she rejects the men on her list of suitors. In desperation, Aurelia does the unthinkable. She hires a solicitor to find her a husband strong enough to stand up to both her uncle and her cousin. And soon learns the truth of that old adage: Be careful what you wish for.

Thomas Lanning is a man of the City. Unlike Aurelia, who stands to inherit vast land and wealth, he has made his own place in the world. He is not at all tempted by the suggestion of marriage to an heiress, but other considerations, such as a power base for a seat in Parliament, tweak his interest. Plus an unexpected twinge of chivalry when he hears the full extent of Miss Trevor's difficulties with her uncle and his family.

Aurelia, who only wants to live in peace on her acres, finds she has acquired a ready-made family in Thomas's younger sister and brother, as well as a head-strong husband whose campaign for MP fills her household with a shockingly odd assortment of characters. It seems her marriage of convenience is fast becoming a marriage of inconvenience. Just how far will this strong-willed pair bend to accommodate each other? And will they do it before it's too late?


"Blair Bancroft's warm and tender [novel] boasts a great heroine in Aurelia: She's attractive, courageous, vulnerable and intelligent."
Robin Taylor, Romantic Times

"Reading how they gradually learn to like and eventually love each other is wonderful. Blair Bancroft is now definitely one of my favorite traditional Regency authors and this book is a prime example of why."
Nicole Hulst, Romance Junkies

"Set against a backdrop of rural politics (and a fascinating look at the early world of "buying votes) this is a story that entrances, enlightens and endears."
Celia at A Romance Review
~ * ~
For a link to Blair's website, click here. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

Saturday, November 11, 2023

200 lb. Python + Gallery

 In my last post I featured an article stating that python hunters believed there was a 200-pounder out there. Well, evidently this year's hunters found it. (At least all but 2 pounds of it.) Limited in their options by Hunt rules, the five wrestled with the 198-lb. behemoth for 45 minutes before subduing it. And had to call in an expert to euthanize it. Before anyone growls over the kill, please recall that non-native pythons have nearly destroyed the wildlife population native to the Florida Everglades. Photo credit:  The Orlando Sentinel


 And now, some much more beloved creatures . . .


Photo by Susan Coventry


Closing with a bit of wisdom, a bit of humor & a bit of beauty . . .




~ * ~

 This week's featured book - my very first Regency Gothic

I never dreamed ten more would follow, or that I would be starting yet another this week. Tentative title:  The Abandoned Daughter


 Miss Serena Farnsworth, spinster, is a managing female, the crutch for her extended family, for whom she functions as nurse, companion, and household organizer. In short, she lives a life of service, devoid of romance. Until she is invited to attend an invalid at a gloomy Gothic-style estate in Northumberland, where she encounters two suspicious deaths, personal animosity, a needy child, and even needier father. Add witchcraft, shake (sink) holes, Mid-summer Eve revels, and a variety of odd characters, as well as the certainty someone is trying to kill her, and Serena finds herself surrounded by a miasma of evil. The lord of the manor should be of help, but he, alas, is a prime suspect in the murder of the Brides of Falconfell.

Author's Note: "Brides of Falconfell" is a tribute to the great era of Gothic novels, written by Victoria Holt, Jane Aiken Hodge, Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, and other talented authors of that time. The books—more "Jane Eyre" and "Rebecca" than "Pride and Prejudice"—have several common elements: they are told in first person, as both heroine and reader must be isolated, unable to know what the other characters are thinking. Frequently, the heroines are married and begin to suspect their husbands of murder. There is often a child, usually the hero's from a previous marriage. A large, gloomy mansion is a must, where murder, madness, and evil abound, with the heroine escaping death by the skin of her teeth. I have put all these conventions in "Brides of Falconfell" and chosen an isolated location at the very "top" of England as a setting. I hope you will enjoy my personal attempt at "Gothic Revival." Blair Bancroft

 ~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

How to Hunt a Python

 After suffering through a week-long mystery of why, after uploading 50+ books, I could not do a successful upload of The Indomitable Miss Lacey to Smashwords, I finally managed it* and can, at last, turn my attention to my blog. 

*For those who have not read the explanation on Facebook:  It took a week of sleuthing and SIX attempts before the upload to Smashword worked. The problem? After umpteen years, AOL changed its download rules without bothering to mention it. No matter what pixel width a pic was when sent to me, it would only download to My Pictures as a THUMBNAIL. I had to manually re-edit the pixels to the correct size before the photo was usable. A-argh!!


Susie, one foot in Europe, one in North America

Among the many photos and videos my daughter posted to Facebook during her circumnavigation of the globe, I found one video more remarkable than all the others. When in Iceland, Susie and Mike visited a shopping mall where a gap had been torn in the floor during an earthquake. The gap was filled in with glass (and a bit of dramatic red "lava") and each side of the gap was labeled for the tectonic plate it belonged to. It was, therefore, possible for Susie to put one foot in North America and one foot in Europe! To see my son-in-law's video of this phenomenon, click here. 


Other grandmothers post photos of their granddaughters in frilly little dresses, playing with a pet, or participating in sporting events. In our family . . . here's Cassidy demonstrating her marksmanship at Police Explorers.


The place Susie most wanted to go on her round-the-world trip was the black sand beach in Iceland (sand from volcanic rock). Here are two pics of the beach, including the columnar basalt formations I've only previously seen in Northern Ireland.


~ * ~


Introduction to "How to Hunt a Python"

(from my photo archives)




Only in Florida . . .


 I have been talking about the Great Florida Python Hunt for years now, most recently, just to mention the results. But on Sunday, October 29, 2023, the Orlando Sentinel published a lengthy article entitled "So you want to be a python hunter?" Definitely something unique enough I felt I should share it with my readers. 

Background for those who haven't heard about this unique event before:

Apparently, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and other cities at the southern tip of the peninsula of Florida have a large number of snake-lovers. Or lovers of snakes when they are still small and not menacing. But there comes a time when that baby snake grows to the point where owners fear the snake is considering them for its next meal. So into the car, drive the snake out into the wilds of the Florida Everglades and abandon it. Nice, humane decision, right? Except pythons loved the Everglades. So much so, they multiplied and multiplied, until they were killing off the species native to the Everglades at an alarming rate. So, in an attempt to close the barn door long after the horse had been stolen, the State of Florida initiated the Great Python Hunt. Hunters are paid to bring in as many dead pythons as possible and receive monetary rewards, according to size. Alas, at this late date, it's rather like attempting to clear sand off a beach. But hunters keep trying, year after year. This year the prize for the longest python went to a female hunter.

Below, I will attempt to summarize the highlights of Sunday's article.

The article is topped by a chart:  how much money is paid for each python by length. For example, a four-footer will get you $50; five feet, $75; six feet, $100; seven feet, $125; eight feet, $150. Plus a bonus for the most pythons caught and the longest python caught. And if you stumble on a nest of eggs & collect them, the reward is $200.

The record of the longest python caught is nineteen feet, with a twenty-footer suspected of being still out there.  Each year, about 200 hunters are contracted by the state; their haul, around 2000 pythons. It is believed more than 18,000 pythons have been removed from the ecosystem since 2000. 

Since the program began with a minimal number of intrepid hunters, it has burgeoned into a major event in south Florida, with experienced hunters taking on apprentices to learn the how-to's of hunting pythons. There is even virtual online training available.

Traps are prohibited, as are firearms. The article goes on to detail how to kill a python in the most humane manner. (I will spare you the details.) The article also emphasizes that python-hunting is hard work. A lot of tramping through swamps, including tall grass, carrying equipment, being constantly on the lookout, and hopefully ending in success. And remember, if you kill a python, you have to haul it back out to wherever you left your transportation! As mentioned above, if you want to know more, information is available online and no longer confined to a few good ol' boy hunters who grew up in the Everglades.
~ * ~ 

When I looked for a book to feature with python-hunting, it didn't take much thought to come up with the Matthew Wolfe series. There's a definite swashbuckle to Matthew's adventures. I think he would have enjoyed python hunting. 

Matthew Wolfe, born and raised in the squalor of London's inner city, should be a nobody, forever destined to obscurity, or the hangman. But wait . . . he can read and write, is a whiz at math, can speak like a gentleman, even knows more than a bit of French. And when the boy from London ends up on a hops farm in Kent, surrounded by the remnants of the Royal 10th Hussars and a passel of children, what will this fish out of water do? Retired military and their ladies, children, dogs, a regal cat, neighbors in need, and a determined twelve-year-old—all assist Matthew on his journey toward the person he is meant to be.

There are two more books in this series:  Matthew Wolfe - the Adventures Begin and Matthew Wolfe - Revelations. For drama, comedy, adventure, and a bit of romance, you can't go wrong with Matthew Wolfe.

Note to readers of my Regency Warriors series:  a number of familiar characters appear in the Matthew Wolfe series, including Jack Harding, who has been in more Blair Bancroft books than any other character, even getting a "mention" in my brand new Trad Regency, The Indomitable Miss Lacey. 

~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)


Thursday, October 19, 2023

The Indomitable Miss Lacey - a Traditional Regency


My last blog post, "What is a Traditional Regency?" did not come out of the blue. After a number of years of writing Regency Gothics, Regency Historicals, the uncategorizable—is there such a word?—Matthew Wolfe series, and a spin-off of my SciFi Fantasy series, Blue Moon Rising, I went back to my long-ago Regency roots with Signet and wrote a genuine Traditional Regency . . . well, almost. Inserting Peru into a Trad Regency may be a bit of a stretch! 

So, sorry, Gothic fans. No dark & gloomy settings, no dead bodies, no ghosts, no paranormal, no threatened heroine—just London during the Season, though the hero and heroine—a world-traveling spinster and an impoverished earl—also stretch the Trad Regency concept a bit. 

The Indomitable Miss Lacey is available on Amazon and Smashwords (with a 15% free read), and should soon be available on most ebook vendor sites.

Grace note:  I did some in-depth research on Vauxhall for this one and have probably included more than anyone wants to know about the famous pleasure gardens. But after reading about the Dark Walk in so many novels, it was truly satisfying to find out where it was actually located. 

So here is my first Trad Regency in umpteen years:


Miss Madeline Lacey—world traveler and spinster—is a far cry from the other young ladies making their debut in London society. But instead of wilting into an aging wallflower, she surprises everyone by attracting the attention of a wealthy country gentleman and a newly made rough-about-the-edges earl. Except . . . one lacks the spirit of adventure and the other is allegedly betrothed to the daughter of a marquess. And then there is the problem of what to do with the many artifacts Miss Lacey's father accumulated during eighteen years of exploration, as well as the deep, dark secret that Miss Lacey is not as penniless as society assumes. Disaster looms as sheer stubbornness on the part of both hero and heroine threatens the possibility of Happily Ever After.

~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

Saturday, October 7, 2023

What is a "Traditional Regency"?

As mentioned last week, my daughter and her husband are in Singapore this week, where Mike is in charge of tech for a large convention. On the way, they made a 3-hour stop in Japan, and Susie posted this photo of a toilet at the airport - which, to me, looks more like the cockpit of Cassidy's Cessna. No wonder they had to post a hint for foreign visitors. But, frankly, I'm really intrigued by what all those buttons are meant to do. 

The Conference hotel, Singapore 2023

 Grace note:  nothing like getting paid to stay in a 5-star hotel!

Susie at the Singapore branch of the company
she works for at the Altamonte Mall


Singapore skyline, very likely from roof of
hotel in Pic 2 above

(Regular readers will recall that Mike & Susie have been doing alternating conferences in Singapore and London for some years now, including taking the whole family to Singapore in 2019.)

~ * ~


What is a "Traditional Regency"? 

Grace Note 1: the comments in the following article do not include the requirements for Harlequin Regency novels, which are a whole 'nother kettle of fish.)

Grace Note 2: I have so many scribbled notes, I scarcely know where to begin, but as someone who's written ten Traditional Regencies, plus six more serious Regency Historicals, eleven Regency Gothics, and seven Regency novellas that range from comedy to scandalous, I'm going to give it a try.


A so-called Traditional Regency Romance is based on the early 19th century novels of Jane Austen. A style that was revived and augmented in the 1950s and 60s by the extensive works of Georgette Heyer, who is credited with bringing the genre back into vogue.  

What does "Regency" mean? 

"Regency" literally refers to the period between 1811 and 1820 when the Prince of Wales was named Regent in place of his father, King George III, who had gone mad. In Regency fiction, however, the "allowable" years are 1795-1820. To many, this will make more sense if it's noted this is the time period when Napoleon Bonaparte set out to conquer every country in sight, only meeting his final defeat in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo. (Although most Trad Regencies are set in a London society seemingly oblivious to the war, I've always preferred to include, wherever possible, the war and its affects on my characters.)

Background on New York publishers and the Regency novel

For many years after the success of Georgette Heyer's novels, Traditional Regency Romances were published by Signet and Kensington. Then somewhere around 2008, SEX - the more graphic the better - swept the publishing world, and those of us writing pristine comedies of manners with nothing more than a kiss here and there were out, the lines shut down, all Trad Regency authors out of a job. Sigh. So what to do?

Most of us ended up in the burgeoning e-book market. Fortunately, our publishers were good about returning the titles to our earlier books, so most of us began by learning how to format our backlist for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, etc.

Below, a list of what I believe makes a Traditional Regency Romance:                 

1.  Overall "feel."  A Trad Regency is basically light-hearted, even though the plots sometimes get a bit out of hand.

2.  Point of View.  Trad Regencies frequently feature multiple Points of View. Not just the Hero and Heroine, but stray glimpses into other characters from relatives to the butler or even a street urchin. 

3.  Writing Style. Trad Regencies often feature long, involved sentences, with lots of commas, semi-colons, and colons. 

4. Vocabulary.   Trad Regencies have their own special vocabulary, based on the well-educated vocabularies of the protagonists in Austen and Heyer. The vocabulary also includes "cant" phrases of the period, most culled from Real Life in London by Pierce Egan (1821) and Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, by Francis Grose (1811). Any Trad Regency not using some of these phrases is not considered authentic by aficionados of the genre, although I have to admit if we used as many as Ms Heyer does, 21st c. readers would likely wrinkle their noses in disgust (or confusion).

5.  Characters.  The main characters must be from England's Upper Class, preferably titled. Yes, the sons or daughters of second sons of second sons may sometimes sneak in there, as does an occasional daughter of a wealthy "cit" (i.e., merchant class). But for the most part Trad Regencies stick to the upper echelons of society. 

And just as important, characterizations must be diverse and well-delineated:  the interesting, charming, challenging, infuriating, kindly, bombastic, classic busybody, etc. Heroines and secondary females range from shy, wilting, wouldn't-say-boo-to-a-goose to strong-willed, courageous, and willing to fight against male dominance. The heroes and secondary heroes range from titled rakes who vow they will never to marry to responsible gentlemen not averse to finding a wife and an occasional shy young man who thinks love unlikely to come his way.

 6.  Setting.  The setting of a Trad Regency is most frequently London during the spring Season. This can be extended to other "socially acceptable" sites, such as Brighton, Bath, and/or an English country house and nearby village. There may be short scenes elsewhere, but the activities of the London ton (society) is a prime ingredient.

The London sites most frequently used: Mayfair, Bond Street, Hyde Park, Almack's, Tattersall's, Gentleman Jackson's, Manton's; and just out of town, Richmond Park. If you don't know what these places are, you should not attempt to write a Trad Regency.

7.  Descriptions.  Good descriptions of people and places are necessary, most particularly the details of gowns and hats, but not forgetting a nod to the austere garb for men dictated by Beau Brummel, in striking contrast to the elaborate male costumes of the 18th c. (I tend to short clothing description in favor of character delineation, but to each his own.)

8.  Plot.  You will note that Plot is last on the list. Plots in Trad Regencies tend to be thin, little more than a idea that allows the author to display the full panorama of British Upper Class society enjoying life on inherited money (never having worked a day in their lives). Yes, there is always a Romance, but on occasion it can be extremely sketchy. One Georgette Heyer comes to mind - definitely not one of my favorites - where the hero spends the entire book trying to rescue a foolish runaway female, while his supposed love interest languishes away, wondering where he is.

Summary.  It could be said that a Traditional Regency Romance is everything that a Regency Gothic is not. No ghosts, no dead bodies, no paranormal, no dire threats or life-threatening moments. While Trads, even those with strong heroines, tend to be frothy, with numerous touches of comedy. Depictions of life at the very top of England's nobility. Of life in those few short years that saw a sharp change from the lavishness and licentiousness of the 18th century to a more refined, more polite, more conservatively-dressed society. An almost perfect moment before it all disintegrated under the austere disapproval of young Queen Victoria, who was so horrified by the society espoused by her uncle, George IV, that she tore down his palace in London and would have done the same for his summer home in Brighton if it hadn't been rescued by being purchased by the city. To this day, the Pavilion in Brighton is one of the "must sees" for tourists from all over the world. 

Experts on the Regency period - which the Brits call "Late Georgian" - will undoubtedly note all the points I forgot. But this article was written for those who haven't the slightest idea what a Trad Regency is, and I hope it helped.

Additional Notes:

Regency Historical Romances are longer, more serious, more adventurous, and feature more action. But like all romances, no matter how much the Hero and Heroine have suffered, a Happily Ever After is required.

Regency Gothics, as previously stated, feature a lone heroine against the world - tales often embellished by ghosts, the paranormal, deadly threats, scary situations, a continuing sense of gloom and doom. But with the inevitable HEA ending.

Naughty Regencies.  Yes, there are Regency novels that are far from squeaky clean. I ventured into that realm with my Aphrodite Academy series, though those four books are mild compared to some. These novels are at the opposite end of the spectrum from Traditional Regencies. They do, however, depict an aspect of the Regency that existed, though not as blatantly as in the 18th century. Again, HEA required.

Hopefully, if you've managed to plow through the above, you have a better idea of what you'll be getting if you choose a Traditional Regency Romance.

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 My featured book this week is my first sale of a Trad Regency to the New York print market. I still remember the moment when I answered "the call" in my kitchen in Venice, Florida. After two lengthy Regency Historicals that had gone to the e-market, I disciplined myself to stick to the expected Trad Regency format and, lo and behold, the Regency editor at Signet (Penguin Putnam) was on the line telling me they wanted The Courtesan's Letters. Wow!  Appallingly, however, the title would later be changed to The Indifferent Earl (which he most certainly was not) as the Marketing Department didn't think "courtesan" would play well in the hinterlands. Sigh. When, many years later, I got my rights back, the book went on Amazon and Smashwords under its original title.  

Miss Abigail Todd, the very proper headmistress of an academy for young ladies in Boston, arrives in England to settle her grandmother’s estate, only to discover that her ancestor was la grande Clarisse, the most notorious courtesan of her day. And, to her even greater horror, she herself is the perfect image of her grandmother. Clarisse has left a series of letters detailing commissions Abby must carry out in order to obtain her inheritance (an amount far greater than anticipated). In order to do this, she must accept the assistance of Jared, Earl of Langley, grandson of the man who was Clarisse’s devoted lover for forty years. Has Clarisse created these letters because of love, nostalgia, mischief, vengeance . . . or is she perhaps more interested in matchmaking? The most likely answer: all of the above.

Author’s Note:
The Courtesan’s Letters is suitable reading for Ages 14 & up. Under the Signet title of “The Indifferent Earl,” it was nominated for a RITA award by the Romance Writers of America and was awarded “Regency Romance of the Year” by Romantic Times magazine.