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Friday, April 19, 2013

Book Signing Update




I spent Friday, April 12th at Hastings Books, Music & Videos in Walla Walla, Washington and experienced another great book signing. In fact, it was outstanding! I had signed at the Walla Walla Hastings last September and did very well and had hope to match it the same this time. Instead, I far exceeded my expectations. From the moment I arrived, I was busy speaking to people, handing out flyers and signing copies. Met a wide variety of people, who had one central interest--they like historical fiction. I gladly accommodated their interests. To say the least, management was pleased with my efforts and asked that I return once again, this time in the Fall.


I want to thank Book Manager, Amanda; associate, Christopher; and Store Manager, Travis Bosworth, for assisting me in making this a highly successful event.


New Reader Tiffany
New Sign of the Eagle Reader Tiffany




After staying overnight in Walla Walla, WA, I traveled to Hastings Books, Music & Videos in Wenatchee, Washington (heart of Washington's famous apple country) for another signing, April 13th. To my surprise t...his turned out to be another outstanding event. I had previously signed there last November and again hoped to do equally as well. Like Walla Walla this far exceeded my expectations. Met lots of interesting people, handed out flyers and many complimented the portrait of Macha painted by my niece Katrina Hughes Brennan. Of course, I signed many copies of THE SIGN OF THE EAGLE. Needless to say, management was very pleased. I kept hearing the word, "awesome" over again.


I want to thank Book Manager, Martha, and associates Tara and Lydia, for assisting me in this successful event.


New Reader Joshua
New Sign of the Eagle Reader Joshua



The Broken Lance
         The Broken Lance


An excerpt from my ongoing historical novel, THE BROKEN LANCE, will be published in the August 2013 issue of the Literary magazine, THE ENCHANTED FILE CABINET, a publication of CONCEIT MAGAZINE, San Francisco, California. They will publish Chapter One with the title: STORM OVER THE CHANNEL. I will announce further details on where to purchase copies (if you are interested), etc. as I receive them. This came out of nowhere because I had originally submitted the excerpt back in Jan. 2011 and had not heard from them until yesterday. Wish me good luck.


The Broken Lance (ongoing)


I continue to make steady progress on the rewrite of The Broken Lance. I completed the rewrite of Chapter 45, the end of Part II. Will be working Chapter 46, the beginning of Part III. Because of the novel's growing length, I am looking to finish this story as a trilogy. If Sunbury Press decides that my previous novel, The Wolf of Britannia is to be divided and published as a duo logy, then I stand a better chance of getting this story published in three parts. Still a long ways to go in this one before the rewrite is completed and review done.



That's all for now. Thank you for your support.


Jess Steven Hughes

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Guest Blogger: Maria Grace

Maria Grace Bio Pic
         Author Maria Grace


I want to introduce you to my latest guest blogger, Maria Grace. She is a writer of historical regency romance novels in the style of Jane Austin. Her latest novel is All the Appearance of Goodness. This is the third installment in her Given Good Principles series. If you are interested in this type of historical romance novel, I would certainly recommend that you read this one and the rest of Maria Grace's series. Please look at the enclosed attachments, especially, the book cover and the one titled: Fine Dining in the Regency. This also includes the author's bio, a very accomplished person.


If you have any comments please leave them in the comments segment so I can pass them on to Maria Grace. I am sure she would be grateful for your input.


Thank you for your support.




Book Cover

Fine Dining in the Regency Era


Etiquette is an integral part of every culture. Although the details differ among regions and historical periods, the concept of correct and incorrect ways to behave remains constant. Rules of polite behavior are essential elements of communication within a society, a social code that enables individuals to understand motives and subtle messages that are otherwise cumbersome to display through words alone.


In general these rules reflect the values of a society. Following these rules demonstrates respect for the common morality and for other people. Obedience to the guidelines of good manners also reflects on the character of the individual and suggests one is well bred and refined.


These social rules are adopted and adapted over time. Some may be written into elaborate manuals, though many are unwritten, caught rather than taught among the population at large. In periods of great social transition, like the Regency, published manuals are especially abundant. One topic favored in many of these manuals is the etiquette of the dinner party. When trying to rise into higher levels of society, a family’s social standing could be made or broken by the ability to conform to all the conventions associated with such a formal event.


Whether simply a family dinner or an event with invited guests, members of the gentry and upper classes dressed for dinner in appropriate evening clothes. If one was invited to dinner, etiquette guides suggested that punctuality was a mark of good breeding, so one should plan to arrive a quarter of an hour before the appointed time.


If a party contained a man of rank, they could expect the man of the house to meet them at the coach door and usher them inside. The company would assemble in the drawing room to wait for dinner.

Dining Table Map
          Dining Table Map


Entry into dining room


Once all the guests had arrived and dinner was announced, guests proceeded to the dining room. Two different styles of procession were noted with a transition occurring in the middle of the Regency era.


Early in the period, the ladies entered the dining room first, without the men. The mistress of the house would quietly gather the ladies who would assemble by ranks. The highest ranking lady would lead the rest of the company into the dining room. The rest followed in order of precedence. The hostess would bring up the rear of the company. Once the ladies had taken their seats, the gentlemen would follow the same procedure.


In general, individuals were keenly aware of their own rank and where they stood in relation to everyone else. The order of precedence remained consistent in all circumstances: 1) Aristocracy (everyone from the rank of baron and baroness upward) entered before commoners (baronets, knights and all others without titles. 2) Titled commoners (baronets and knights) and their offspring went before untitled folks. 3) Married women went before single women, though some awkwardness could ensue when seniority of age clashed with seniority of rank.


In the later part of the era, etiquette dictated that each gentleman should offer an arm to escort a lady into the dining room. The host always escorted the female guest of the highest social position, and the highest ranking male guest escorted the hostess. From there, paired by precedence, the ladies and gentlemen advanced to the dining room. Poor relations and guests of low consequence followed at the end of the procession.




Within the dining room, guests were not assigned seats. The hostess sat at the head of the table with the ranking male guest at her right. The host took the foot of the table with the ranking female guest at his right. Other guests were free to select their own seats as they chose though there was a tacit understanding that seats closest to the hostess should be taken by the highest ranking guests.


Conventions later in the era suggested alternate male-female seating around the table, although little effort was generally made it insure equal numbers of male and female guests. As a general rule, husbands and wives did not sit together. One saw enough of one’s spouse at home and ought to mingle with others instead.




Dinner during the Regency was an elaborate affair encompassing several courses with a multitude of dishes at each. It was an opportunity for the hostess to be remembered for her display of wealth and hospitality. Guests were offered with soup, meat, game, pickles, jellies, vegetables, custards, and puddings—anywhere from five to twenty five dishes depending on the grandeur of the occasion. Hostesses who wanted to be especially well remembered might offer a themed meal or one that featured unique and unusual dishes.


The first course always included soup and fish, often, more than one choice for each. The hostess served the soup, the host, and fish. He also carved all the meat joints. The first course included other dishes as well: meat, poultry, vegetables, and starches all on the table at the same time. In order to accommodate more dishes than the table would physically hold at one time, courses might include a ‘remove’ where half way through the course one dish was removed and replaced with another delicacy.


At the end of the course, the dishes and first table cloth would be cleared away. The fresh table cloth, underneath the first would be reset with a second course, similar to, but somewhat lighter than the first. At the end of the second course, the dishes and final tablecloth would be cleared and a dessert course would be served. Dessert included fruits, nuts, candies, biscuits and little cakes, sweetmeats and even ice creams.


Fortunately guests were not expected to try every dish on the table.

Etiquette at the Ball
                   Etiquette at the Table




Getting all this food onto the guests’ plates could be challenging. To help in the process, the hostess would help her guests identify their choices by acquainting them with the dishes on the table and sideboards, the wine and liquors on the sideboard and with any removes added to the table after the course was served.


Each gentleman would serve himself and his neighbors from the dishes within his reach. If a dish was required from another part of the table, a manservant would be sent to fetch it. It was not good form to ask a neighbor to pass a dish. It was equally bad manners for the ladies to help themselves. They had to be served by the gentlemen.


Gentlemen also poured wine for the ladies near them. If any of the company seem slow in asking for wine, the master would invite them to drink, lest he be thought to grudge his liquor.




After dessert, the hostess might lead the ladies away for some time of sex-segregated interaction. The practice was not universal, but it was common. The hostess would ascertain by a glance that her female guests were ready to withdraw to the drawing room (hence the name of the room.) She would rise and the other ladies would follow her out, in rank order. Without the gentlemen, the ladies engaged in polite conversation, sometimes one or another would play the piano, or a game might be played.


After the ladies departed, the host would produce a decanter of port and perhaps cigars. They would generally drink, talk about subjects like politics or even introduce salacious matter and jokes, something strictly forbidden in the presence of ladies. After an hour or so, they would rejoin the ladies for parlor games, music and amusements.


The success of an event and possibly the standing of the family, especially if they were seeking admission into higher level of society, often depended on the hostesses ability to cope with all the details of etiquette with good management, excellent food, well-planned guest lists, and a liberal supply of social grace to handle whatever unexpected challenges the event might throw her way.




A Lady of Distinction   -   Regency Etiquette, the Mirror of Graces (1811). R.L. Shep Publications (1997)

Black, Maggie & Le Faye, Deirdre   -   The Jane Austen Cookbook. Chicago Review Press (1995)

Byrne, Paula   -   Contrib. to Jane Austen in Context. Cambridge University Press (2005)

Day, Malcom   -   Voices from the World of Jane Austen. David & Charles (2006)

Downing, Sarah Jane   -   Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen. Shire Publications (2010)

Jones, Hazel   -   Jane Austen & Marriage . Continuum Books (2009)

Lane, Maggie   -   Jane Austen's World. Carlton Books (2005)

Lane, Maggie   -   Jane Austen and Food. Hambledon (1995)

Laudermilk, Sharon & Hamlin, Teresa L.   -   The Regency Companion. Garland Publishing (1989)

Le Faye, Deirdre   -   Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels. Harry N. Abrams (2002)

Ray, Joan Klingel   -   Jane Austen for Dummies. Wiley Publishing, Inc. (2006)

Ross, Josephine   -   Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners. Bloomsbury USA (2006)

Selwyn, David   -   Jane Austen & Leisure. The Hambledon Press (1999)

Trusler, John   -   The Honours of the Table or Rules for Behavior During Meals. Literary-Press (1791)

Vickery, Amanda   -   The Gentleman's Daughter. Yale University Press (1998)


Author bio


Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful.


She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six cats, seven Regency-era fiction projects and notes for eight more writing projects in progress. To round out the list, she cooks for nine in order to accommodate the growing boys and usually makes ten meals at a time so she only cooks twice a month.


Maria Grace can be contacted at:


email: author.MariaGrace@gmail.com.
Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorMariaGrace
Amazon.com: amazon.com/author/mariagrace
Visit her website Random Bits of Fascination (AuthorMariaGrace.com)
Twitter @WriteMariaGrace
Pinterest : http://pinterest.com/mariagrace423/
English Historical Fiction Authors (EnglshHistoryAuthors.blogspot.com)
Austen Authors (AustenAuthors.net)

2:41 pm pdt          Comments

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