Blog Exclusive: Loos of London

In the course of visiting museums and historic sites during my stay in London last summer, I visited, as you’d expect, quite a few ladies’ rooms. I’m not sure what set me off. Maybe the first one or first few were so pleasing aesthetically. At any rate, I started photographing them. Not all. In some, the space was too tight. In others, there were other occupants, and I did not want anybody emerging from a stall to find my camera pointed at her. And once or twice I forgot my camera. Still, a good representation remains.



What's a Pomatum?

January 1831 Magazine of the Beau Monde

In A Duke in Shining Armor (and in other of my books),  the term pomatum appears. If the context leads you to believe that this has something to do with styling hair,  you’ll be right.

A pomatum,  based on a grease of some kind (usually lard), was used to style hair and to keep it smoothly in place, like today’s gels, mousses, hair waxes, and sprays.

March 1831 Magazine of the Beau Monde

Some recipes call for bear grease, but it appears that other forms of grease or fat usually masqueraded as bear grease (luckily for the bears). The initial reaction of the modern mind to putting lard and/or suet in the hair is ick. But re-enactors don’t seem to find it icky, and some have become converts to the 18th and 19th century ways of caring for the hair.

May 1831 Magazine of the Beau Monde

Parisian Pomatum was one formula I came across again and again, in all kinds of books and magazines. Very often, I saw the exact same recipe in several different publications, a reminder that copyright was not protected, and publications stole freely from one another. I'm listing several recipes here, to show both variations and the extent of "borrowing."

A New Supplement to the Pharmacopoeias of London, Edinburgh, Dublin, and Paris: Forming a Complete Dispensatory and Conspectus; Including the New French Medicines and Poisons (1833).  Recipe here.

The Art of Preserving the Hair (1825).  Recipe here.

The Art of Beauty (1825). Recipe here.
The Duties of a Lady's Maid (1825).  Recipe here.

Finally, in the London Magazine (1826) you’ll find this lovely rant about the advice offered in The Duties of a Lady's Maid.

If you'd like details about how milady’s maid arranged the complicated styles of the 1820s and 1830s, you may peruse my Two Nerdy History Girls blog post on the subject.

Susan, the other Nerdy History Girl, offered this post on one of the fashionable hair accessories.

Portions of this post appeared previously at Two Nerdy History Girls, but the images did not. The images are hair styles from 1830s ladies' magazines online. Gallery first row, left to right: all from May 1833 Magazine of the Beau Monde; second row left to right: June 1833 Magazine of the Beau Monde, June 1833 World of Fashion (courtesy Los Angeles Public Library, Casey Fashion Plates collection), August 1833 Magazine of the Beau Monde



A Duke in Shining Armor Book Tour, Actual & Virtual

Me in London in June,  happily making a point of some kind at the Geffrye Museum.

As we approach the release day of A Duke in Shining Armor, you can expect to see the pace of my blog posts pick up. Among other things, I plan to offer my loyal blog subscribers exclusive material as well as some first-look (ahead of my other social media) related to this first book in my Difficult Dukes series.

Also, you’ll find me popping up in various places online in November:

At USA Today’s Happy Ever After, Cathy Maxwell and I will have a conversation about the role of strong spirits in the Regency era and the part it’s played in our recent stories.

Heroes and Heartbreakers will publish an excerpt from A Duke in Shining Armor.

RT Book Reviews will publish my short article about real 1800s dukes vs. the ones we historical romance authors create, and RT VIP Salon will include an interview.

In the first two weeks of the book’s release I’ll appear in actual person, with other actual authors. We’ll be talking about romance in general as well as our books in particular, and we’re expecting audience participation.

Loretta Chase & Caroline Linden: A Conversation
7 PM Wednesday 29 November 2017
Bacon Free Library
58 Eliot Street
Natick MA 01760

Once again I’ll join author Caroline Linden to talk about writing and reading and whatever else participants suggest. If you’ve never attended one of Caroline’s book events before, you’ve missed out. She’s funny and smart, and she gets everybody talking. You can register here (please scroll down for the registration form).

30 November 2017 Savoy Booksore & Cafe

Romance Event with authors Sarah MacLean, Maya Rodale, and Megan Frampton
7-8pm Thursday 30 November 2017
Savoy Bookstore and Café
10 Canal Street
Westerly RI 02891

6 December 2017 Strand Bookstore

Romance & Respect
—with Joanna Shupe, Tessa Bailey, Megan Frampton, Tracey Livesay
7-8pm Wednesday 6 December 2017
Strand Bookstore
828 Broadway (& 12th Street)
New York NY 10003


Auction for Romance Readers

Bacon Free Library 2017-10 Auction.jpg

The Bacon Free Library is having an auction, and what an auction!

It’s going on right now, until 29 October

Bacon Free Library Reader's lunch bag.JPG

This is my stuff here. Also at right.

But I’m not the only one. At least a kazillion other romance authors have put together some splendid swag.

Here is a fine opportunity to get books and other lovely things, and support a library at the same time. Libraries are our friends. That’s where vast numbers of us got hooked on reading, and numerous others became inspired to write our own books. Do you remember the first library book you ever read? Or the first librarian you ever talked to? Or maybe simply a time when you made a wonderful discovery, thanks to a librarian. A librarian introduced me to The Wind in the Willows, which remains one of my very favorite books.

Please stop by the site and see what’s on offer. I hope you’ll be tempted.


Those Puzzling Messages from Amazon UK

Marguerite Gérard, Lady Reading in an Interior

Marguerite Gérard, Lady Reading in an Interior

Loyal readers in the UK recently alerted me to an upsetting development. They have received messages from Amazon UK telling them they can’t get copies of A Duke in Shining Armor. These readers had pre-ordered (thank you!) and things were OK, I guess, until the recent message arrived, telling them things were not OK.

Well, that can't be right, can it? No, it isn't. I checked.

Here’s the good news: A Duke in Shining Armor will definitely be available in its various formats—print, eBook, audio, etc.—in the UK/Australia/New Zealand. Sometime on or near the U.S. release date, it will magically reappear on Amazon (fingers crossed).

But for complicated reasons, apparently having to do with who has what territorial rights where (we’ve been in this surreal world before, alas), Amazon won’t allow us to have preorders. Or something like that. Until they decide they will (which could happen, too.)

Really, I do not understand, and probably wouldn’t even if Amazon explained. I would just put my head on my desk and cry.

It’s all part of the dreaded business of international contracts, which I discuss here, and which, I’m grieved to say, has come up many times before on this blog.

The Clarendon Hotel, pictured here, plays a crucial role in A Duke in Shining Armor. Image: Egerton, The Leech, from the Fashionable Bores series, 1824, courtesy Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

The Clarendon Hotel, pictured here, plays a crucial role in A Duke in Shining Armor.

Image: Egerton, The Leech, from the Fashionable Bores series, 1824, courtesy Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

Once again, dear reader, thank you for your patience. I’m sorry this contract business tries it so often. But we are learning how to work around these technical difficulties, and this time, I trust you will get the book, in the form you prefer, sooner rather than later.

In compensation for this and other trials you’ve endured on behalf of my books, I am planning to send out exclusive content via this blog as well as posts in advance of those that will appear in the various other places where I yammer on about something or other.