Monday, May 26, 2014

Brief History of Napoleon Bonaparte in the Regency Era by Suzi Love

Brief History of Napoleon Bonaparte in the Regency Era 

by Suzi Love

A brief history of Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the greatest military leaders in history. 
While he was emperor of France, Napoleon conquered much of Europe and often battled the British. 

Napoleon therefore often features in our Regency Era historical  romances and many of our romance heroes are either spies against Napoleon and his armies, or have returned to England after one of the many battles. 

  • 1769  Born Corsica to gentry family, educated military school
  • 1790s Rapid promotions
  • 1796  Became commander of the French army in Italy
  • 1798  Conquered Ottoman-ruled Egypt to strike at British trade with India.
  • 1798  Returned to Paris where government was in crisis
  • 1799  Became first consul
  • 1800  Attempted assassination by infernal machine
  • 1802  Vice-President of Italian Republic
  • 1802  First Consul for life
  • 1803  Civil Code, later Code Napoléon, decreed and war with England
  • 1804  Crowned Empereur des Francais

  • 1805  Crosses the Rhine and the Battle of Trafalgar

  • 1808  Conferences Napoleon, Alexander, and German Sovereigns
  • 1809  Relatives and loyalists installed Holland, Westphalia, Italy, Naples, Spain, and Sweden
  • 1810  Childless marriage to Josephine de Beauharnais annulled

  • 1811  Son of Napoleon born
  • 1812  Enters Moscow in September, commences retreat in October.
  • 1812  Arrives in Paris in December
  • 1813  Defeats Russians and Prussians at Lutzen and Bautzen

  • 1813  Defeats allies at Dresden but is beaten at Leipsic
  • 1814  Battles of Montmirail, Vauchamps and Montereau.
  • 1814  First Treaty of Paris
  • 1814  Senate declare dethronement of Napoleon and he abdicates
  • 1814  Lands at Elba.
  • 1815  Escapes Elba, lands near Cannes, and enters Paris.

  • 1815  Battles of Ligny, Quatre Bras and Waterloo

  • 1815  Surrenders to English and imprisoned St. Helena
  • 1821  Died at St Helena
  • 1840  Body of Napoleon disentombed and placed in Invalides

So what do you think about Napoleon and his grandiose dreams? 
Do you see him as a madman dictator, 
or as a patriot who stepped up during a chaotic situation but became obsessed 
with seeing his country survive, 
expand, and conquer? 

Want to see what Suzi Love gets up to each day?

If you'd like to read more about Suzi Love, take a look here:

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Pistols or Swords?

Trial by Combat. Wager by battle. Duelling. This one on one practice of conflict resolution has been around for centuries.

Roman Gladiators would fight for the honor of their masters.
Knights would duel on horseback and with swords to honour their King, Queen or noble house. It was a form of entertainment but also a battle of wits and skill.

Later around the 1700s, duelling became fashionable and was fought over more trivial matters. They were still matters of honour and were serious events despite what might have been the original slight.

As you can see the sword was the weapon of hand to hand combat. From the heavier broad sword, the longer Rapier, short sword and the deadly Saber.

 All were weapons that could wound and kill depending on the combatants and the seriousness of their quarrel. Some duels were to the death while others were to first blood only.

Around the 1770s there was a brief transition whereby both the pistol and the sword were used in a duel. Swords soon fell out of favour and the pistol became the weapon of choice by the 1800s. Duelling with swords became more of a recreational sport amongst the aristocrats.

There were only a very few master craftsmen who made duelling pistols (Wogdon and Barton being two). These men took pride in their creations and presented them in a set, usually in a beautiful inlaid box. These pistols could be highly decorated or austere but they had one thing in common - they were deadly.

French Duelling pistol set.
A pistol duellist would stand side-on (presenting the smallest target), pointing his pistol at the ground. On signal he would raise his arm in a single movement and fire. These instructions varied. Some dropped a handkerchief as can be seen in the above painting, while others stood back to back took paces, turned and fired. In every instance it is hoped that the quick action would be less accurate giving the opponents less time to aim and more chance to miss, therefore giving each a fighting chance (pun intended).

Set of Duelling pistols with all the trimmings.
Watch this video if you want to learn more about the: History of the Duelling Pistol.

I have a duel in my current work in progress, currently called The Collector of Hearts. The duel is the catalyst for my hero's journey. Everything he does and every decision, right or wrong, is the effect of what happened that fateful day. 

There are many variations on the rules of duelling depending on time period, country and choice of weapon. They are all very interesting. 

There are many great stories of duels between notable men but I only have space for one. In 1761 Colonel Grey was killed and Major Egerton wounded after Grey bumped into Egerton while leaving a performance at the theatre. Egerton had called Grey 'a stupid booby', punches were thrown and a duel was quickly organised. Many such incidences occurred with at least six recorded in 1793 and 1796. 

Women loved duelists, perhaps they were the bad boys of the time or just dangerous to know and exciting to be with.

I hope you have enjoyed this short history.

Here are some links if you want to know more:
Wikipedia -Duel
Watch the 1977 The Duellist movie

Monday, May 12, 2014

The History of the Bra is Older than you think!

It's true ladies! 
New evidence has come to light, that proves the Bra came first, followed by the Corset, then the Bra again in women's undergarments and fashions.
I was moving my writing desk & PC,  and came across a pile of notes and scraps of 'useful information' that I might use for my writing one day. In it was this tiny piece I'd cut from a magazine or newspaper a few years ago. I delved into the news behind the piece, and here's what I found ...

It was commonly thought the bra was a little more than 100 years old. Born at a time when the tight corset was abandoned for a more suitable garment for women to wear.

The word 'bra' didn't come into effect until the early 20th century when garment traders borrowed it from the French word "brassier" meaning, 'a child's chemise - shoulder strap'

The reality of the Bra being a 'Modern' invention, can now be laid to rest with a discovery made at Lenberg Castle in Austria - Vienna. In 2008, beneath the floorboards, during some renovations, Archaeologists found a space filled with dry organic material, branches, straw, processed wood, leather, shoes, yarn rope & more than 2,700 textile fragments. There were men's linen shirts and a complete pair of men's underwear - (being that only men wore underpants in those days while women wore nothing beneath their skirts). Hence came the saying - "who wears the pants in this family".
Amongst this magnificent find, were four lace-decorated linen bras. This discovery pushes the date of this type of woman's undergarment more than 500years.

Beatrix Nutz
The information about this find was not published until July 2012 by  FoxNews.  Beatrix Nutz, of the University of Innsbruck, the Archaeologist responsible for the discovery, said they had to research the items to make sure they were genuine before they could publish the find.
In 2011, she delivered a lecture that stayed within the academic circles until an article was released in the BBC History Magazine. She said, carbon dating them also took some time. "We didn't believe it ourselves," she said in a telephone call, "From what we knew there was no such thing a bra-like garments in the 15th Century." Beatrix has dated the garments between A.D. 1390 & 1485.
Hilary Davidson, fashion curator for the London Museum, said, "These are amazing finds, one specimen in particular looks exactly like a (modern) brassier."
There are numerous medieval written sources that describes bras as  'breast-bags', but until this discovery no-one had any idea what they looked like. According to Nutz, it was likely women made these garments themselves, not using male tailors. Now the discovery will enable archaeologists and clothing historians to find out more about tailoring by women.

Support of the bosom
by a brassier - French 1900.
A therapeutic elastic breast
girdle for 'breast hypertrophy'
c/ Leon Jules Rainal Freres

The History of the Bra has always been entwined with women's fashion and the changing views of the female body. There have been a variety of devices and garments used to restrain, cover reveal, or modify the breasts. From the 14th century, undergarments were dominated by the corset, made to push the breast upward, and worn mostly by wealthier western women. It wasn't until the late 19th century that the arrival of the Bra saw the decline of the corset as the preferred garment to support the breast, although large scale commercial production of bras didn't occur till the 1930's.
Today Brassier manufacturing is a multi-billion dollar industry.


Wikipedia - History of Brassiers
Photos of Bras taken from wikipedia

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Brenda Novak - NYT Best seller - Auction

  The Auction for the BEST basket 

That's right, here's your chance to bid on a whole heap of books donated by more than a few wonderful Aussie Writers.

Thanks to the hard work by the lovely  Christina Phillips   a large bunch of us Australian writers donated some of their favourite books to this worthwhile cause.


This is the 9th Annual On-Line Auction for Diabetes Research New York Best Seller Author - Brenda Novak has held.  Follow the links to find out more details and how to sign up for your bid here: Brenda Novak - Auction for Diabetes         To take a look at the Basket of E-Books on behalf of the Historical Hearts Group click the link  HERE

This magnificent collection of Romance Titles takes in Historical, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Outback, Erotic & Spicy & Contemporary Reads. Something for everyone  OR Everything for some-one lucky Bidder!!

I'd like to acknowledge the support of ALL the Authors who made the donation basket, from the Historical Hearts RWA group of Writers, such a marvellous item to bid for.

Tamara Gill     Erin Grace ,    Maggi Andersen    Carol Hoggart    Euphrasia Holmes  Joanna Lloyd
   Alison Stuart     Suzi Love    S E Gilchrist  Catherine Evans   Kylie Scott   Marianne Theresa Beverley Oakley Annie Seaton    Keziah Hill    Mel Teshco 
 Rhian Cahill    Nicole Hurley-Moore 
 Rhyll Biest    Shona Husk   Tracey O'Hara

There is also A virtual Gift Basket of Critiques for Writers from HEREThis basket Includes:
**From developmental & copy editor Annie Seaton:1 10-page edit
**From author Erin GraceOne 3-Chapter Critique
**From author Euphraisa Holmes
1 10-page edit.
Thanks Ladies :))

BUT WAIT - There's more ...  Check out these Hot & Spicy Reads from the Hot Downunder Authors. 14 Titles to help put a Sizzle into your Winter reading..  

Monday, May 5, 2014


Can the love of an honourable man save her from the memory of a desolate marriage?

The battlefield of Waterloo

The idea for LORD SOMERTON'S HEIR began on a visit to the actual battlefield of Waterloo (those who follow my perambulations may have noticed that battlefields feature in all my travels). There is something fascinating , if not slightly voyeuristic, about visiting the peaceful, often well tended pastures where once there was fear and pain and death. I think the heightened emotions generated on the day of the battle, still hang like a miasma over the scene of such death and destruction. As I tramped the gravelled paths, a soldier came to my mind - a career army officer in one of the infantry regiments. A man who had gained his commissions on the field, rather than out of the purse of his father. What would become of such a man once the war was over? 

I am not known for writing Regency Historicals and I must confess to never having read a Georgette Heyer until recent years and even Jane Austen only featured peripherally in my reading tastes. I have always been drawn more to action than drawing rooms. So LORD SOMERTON'S HEIR marks something of a departure from my previous stories. 

That said, LORD SOMERTON'S HEIR is not, a "mannered" Regency. There are shades of the horror of the Napoelonic wars, a mystery to be solved and plenty of action and yes, once again, a soldier hero and one I am more than slightly in love with. Sebastian Alder is a decent, honourable man adrift in an unfamiliar world that is probably more dangerous for him than the battlefield of Waterloo.

To celebrate the release I will be running month long "Rafflecopter" contest for a "Goody bag" worth over $50. The prize contains:

  • A canvas bag
  • A notebook
  • Fridge magnets (including a "Mr. Darcy" fridge magnet)
  • A Mesopotamian bracelet
  • An autographed copy of Alison's Stuart's collected short stories TOWER OF TALES
  • A voucher for the purchase of an ecopy of any one of Alison's books (excluding Lord Somerton's Heir). Winner's choice.
     TO ENTER CLICK HERE or visit my WEBSITE...
Over the month I will be out and about as a guest on other blogs, so there will be plenty of opportunities to enter!

Here are the BUY links:
Kindle (where it has been on pre order sale for .90c! Hurry you may still catch it) 
Itunes  (where it has also been on pre-order sale for .99c)
Barnes and Noble

For the other retailers, visit the Escape Publishing site. Click HERE

From the battlefield of Waterloo to the drawing rooms of Brantstone Hall, Sebastian Alder’s elevation from penniless army captain to Viscount Somerton is the stuff of dreams. But the cold reality of an inherited estate in wretched condition, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his cousin’s death, provide Sebastian with no time for dreams, only a mystery to solve and a murderer to bring to justice.

Isabel, widow of the late Lord Somerton, is desperate to bury the memory of her unhappy marriage by founding the charity school she has always dreamed of. But, her dreams are shattered, as she is taunted from the grave, discovering not only has she been left penniless, but she is once more bound to the whims of a Somerton.

But this Somerton is unlike any man she has met. Can the love of an honourable man heal her broken heart or will suspicion tear them apart?


Brantstone Hall
December 11, 1814

...The tea, in its delicate porcelain cup, sat undrunk and cold, the bread curled and dried as the little clock on the mantelpiece ticked away the minutes. Isabel sat unmoving, staring out at the winter landscape of the Brantstone Park as if she expected Anthony to come galloping down the carriage way. She knew even before Thompson knocked on the door and stood shifting from one foot to the other, his shapeless felt hat clutched in his hand, that Anthony was dead.
She followed the head groom out into the stable yard again, where a farmer’s cart now stood. She looked at the cart and with her head held high; she walked across it. Thompson interposed himself between her and the inanimate object that lay in the filthy dray.
‘Are you sure, my lady?’ he asked.
She nodded and Thompson flicked back the sacking that covered the shapeless lump in the back of the cart. Isabel stared down into her husband’s face, into his open, staring eyes, already opaque in death. Anthony lay, stiff with rigor mortis, in the filth of a cart that had last been used to shift manure, from the smell. An ignominious end to his life, she thought.
‘We found him over by Lovett’s Bridge. He’d taken the hedge intending the shortcut across the Home Farm fields,’ Thompson was saying. He jerked his head at the saddle, the beautiful, hand tooled saddle that had been tossed into the cart with its owner. ‘Looks like the girth strap broke and he came off. Broke his neck in the fall. He’d not have known anything about it, my lady.’
Aware of the anxious faces that surrounded her, Isabel swallowed. They expected her to break down. They wanted her tears but she had none to give. She had expended too many tears over Anthony, Lord Somerton, while he lived to spare any for him now that he was dead.
Her gaze rested on the saddle. It had been her gift to Anthony on his birthday only a few months earlier. Now it was the cause of his death. It stood as a symbol of everything that had gone wrong between herself and her husband.
She turned on her heel and walked back to the house with her head held high. With every step, the enormity of Anthony’s death sank in.
She was free, but at what price came that freedom?
Her back straightened and her lips tightened.
To attain freedom, first she had to find Lord Somerton’s heir....