Archive for October, 2008

Meta: “The Kick-Ass Heroine Just Left The Ship” – do we hate women and sugar-coat history?

I’ve written an article for the wonderful Macaronis:

“The Kick-Ass Heroine Just Left The Ship” – do we hate women and sugar-coat history?

To them, romance is icky. It’s not intellectual. It’s written by women wearing fedoras and read by women with no career or too much time at hand. Romance is the equivalent to stepping barefoot on a slug.

My evil socialist feminist thoughts on historical gay romance, let me show you them…

29 October, 2008 at 12:10 am Leave a comment

Speak Its Name – for readers and writers of GLBT historic romance

As Erastes has put this in words so beautifully; I simply quote and add that Emma Collingwood will be there too, would love to see you ’round and have a chat and lots of fun. And a drink. But that goes without saying!

* * *

It is with great pleasure that The Macaronis, purveyors of fine historical romance out of the closet, announce the grand opening of `Speak Its Name’ chat group

To be located at, this is a group for the enjoyment, discussion, and promotion of GLBT Historical Romance fiction. Discerning adults are most welcome to join us.

There will be a splendid inaugural celebration on Friday 31st October, where a dazzling array of authors – Lee Rowan, Alex Beecroft, Charlie Cochrane, Erastes, Mark Probst, Emma Collingwood and Margaret Leigh, to name but a few – will be on hand to ply you with wit, wisdom and goodies. Your attendance is most warmly anticipated. R.S.V.P.

By which we mean: Friday 31st October sees the grand opening of the Speak Its Name Yahoo group, for the enjoyment, discussion, and promotion of Gay Historical Romance fiction. Come and join The Macaronis for the celebrations – there’ll be authors, goodies and fun galore.

* * *
You can already register now, though the group will not officially open its doors before Friday. Don’t be late for the party! 🙂

27 October, 2008 at 10:19 pm Leave a comment

Trafalgar Day, Part III: The Contest – Book Prizes! :-)

I’ve kept the contest simple; you can participate even if you don’t have the foggiest about history. All it will take is a bit of guess work, I’m sure you can manage that.

Question 2: NAME TWO OF THOSE ANCESTORS (family name is enough)
(Yes, I know, grammatically, it’s not a question, but let’s not be fussy…)

There are many possible answers for question 1, and I’ll accept them all.

I have two book prizes to give away:

1. “The Pursuit of Victory – The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson” by Roger Knight
2. “Trafalgar’s Lost Hero – Admiral Lord Collingwood and the Defeat of Napoleon” by Max Adams

All you have to do is to send an email with the two answers to

joyful_molly at

Please include in your mail which book you’d prefer if you win. The winner will be drawn from all correct entries. The contest is open to everybody, no matter where you live, so feel free to spread the word in places where you feel people might be interested. Please allow ten days for delivery, as I live under a rock on the outskirts of nowhere.

The deadline for the contest is Sunday, 26th October 2008, noon GMT.

Have fun! 🙂

21 October, 2008 at 10:40 pm Leave a comment

Trafalgar Day, Part II: Nelson Memorabilia

We often think that “fan merchandise” is a product of our times. But all through history, mankind tried to express its excitement about significant events or its admiration for a fellow man (or woman) by the means they had. Of course a nice little plaque commemorating the signing of the US Declaration of Independence would have done as well, but let’s be honest, Lady Liberty is far more impressive. And as a miniature, everybody can take a bit of that commemoration home.

The victory of the Battle of Trafalgar was a markstone in the history of Britain, and Nelson, already in high favours with his fellow countrymen, achieved legendary status. Not only because of the victory itself, but also because of his death under such dramatic circumstances. Men like Collingwood who contributed just as much to the victory ended up almost forgotten (until the recent “Collingwood-revival”, which I highly welcome!), because it’s the heroic death which makes the difference between “hero” and legend”. Nelson’s funeral is, at least in my opinion, to this day unchallenged when it comes to pomp and circumstance and commiseration of the population.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that people asked for souvenirs of both the victory and Nelson, and where there’s a demand, there’s a market. Over the last months, I’ve collected documentation of such memorabilia, and I found an amazing number. The quality varies, and to our modern eyes, many of the following pieces might look overly dramatic, sentimental and maybe even downright kitschy, but we have to look at them from an 18th century’s point of view. I can promise you that future generations will not look overly kindly at commemorative plates celebrating the wedding of Charles and Camilla, either.

Please note: I’ve had to do a lot of readjusting with the following pictures, especially the glass plates. Dusty glass + flash = what on earth is that supposed to be? So if the colours look overly bright, then it’s because I tried to make the artwork visible. The originals didn’t look like that; I didn’t take the pictures which mostly come from auction catalogues (if I remember correctly). Also: VERY image heavy, dial-uppers beware!

Nelson bust, 1805 – what’s wrong here…?


21 October, 2008 at 7:20 pm 1 comment

Trafalgar Day, Part I: My Thoughts

After escaping the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre in 1572, my ancestor found a new home in Switzerland. For 200 years, all was fine and good until Mr. Bonaparte decided that he needed yet another cherry on his cake and sent his army here, occupying the country and killing a couple of hundred people. One of them just happened to be my great-great-great- well, grandfather by many degrees. Considering these circumstances, I still find it a little strange to remember history lessons in which I was taught that “unfortunately, Napoleon lost the Battle of Trafalgar, because he would have brought democracy to England.”

Well – yes. I guess it’s no surprise we still use Francs as currency here, long after France itself has abandoned the currency. History education has hopefully changed since the time I was a kid; after all, there’s more to history than the Stone Age and The French Revolution.

Anyway, with a family history like that, I can’t help but be biased when it comes to The Battle of Trafalgar. Am I happy Britain won? You bet! But no matter what war we’re talking about, no matter if it was one that we consider “justified” or not, we should never forget that in any war thousands, sometimes millions of people died. People who loved and were loved, on both sides of the fence.

So maybe let’s just think for a moment of all the 3692 people who never returned home after the Battle of Trafalgar, and of their families, waiting for them. If there’s one thing we, the following generations, can do with history, then it’s learning some lessons and see how to prevent wars, beyond the golden rule that giving pint-sized men in charge of a nation too much power is never a good idea.

* * *

There will be two more Trafalgar-entries from me today. One will be a contest with book prizes, so stay tuned!

21 October, 2008 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

Resource: HMS Ganges Mast-Manning Ceremony

The Blue Peter video I posted recently has been doing the rounds, and last night a reader of this blog sent me a mail with the link to a youtube-video with the full mast-manning ceremony of HMS Ganges, back in the 60ies. Thank you, Roger! 🙂

The quality is not fantastic, but it’s a great document, and there’s lots of background information on the origins and the Age of Sail by an officer. This ceremony dates back to the Georgian navy, so this has definitely to be filed under “resources”!

Add “Button Boy” to the jobs in history I wouldn’t have volounteered for.

Warning! Video not suitable for those who are afraid of heights!

*covers eyes again*

Edit: Embedding has now been disabled by request of the owner (embedding was enabled when I made this post originally). If you want to see the video, you have to go here now.

Video has been removed from youtube.

18 October, 2008 at 10:25 am 14 comments

Happy 50th Birthday, Blue Peter! (Yes, this IS on topic!)

John Noakes trying to touch the “button” on top of HMS Ganges… John Noakes climbing Nelson’s column… if that’s not enough to qualify for this journal, then I don’t know what is.

WARNING! If you’re afraid of heights, this might not be the best video to watch. Trust me on that. *covers eyes*

16 October, 2008 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment

The most awesome 18th century online game! :-D

I’m not a gamer at all, but this game is just fantastic, especially for those of us who love the 18th century! Very special thanks to Esteven for giving me the link, I’m addicted! And I made it all through the end, with a B- grade. Ha! Go me!

You can play online, it’s for free, but image heavy. Dial-uppers, beware.


“Bow Street Runner” is the game to go with the TV series “City of Vice”, which was fantastic, great, amazing, brilliant, woof. It’s set in London’s Covent Garden in the 1750s. With crime and vice running at very high levels, and before the organised police force existed in England, local magistrates formed the Bow Street Runners and began to impose law and order.

Each episode of the game will lead the player to explore different crime scenes, collecting evidence, solving puzzles, interviewing characters and presenting the case to the magistrate for judgement. Will Fielding’s fledgling police force gain the public’s trust through successful convictions of hardened criminals? Only if the player, as Fielding’s key Runner, can prove who did it…

‘Bow Street Runner’ is designed to be historically accurate and therefore the game’s content and its setting may not be suitable for younger players.

(I shouldn’t be so excited to find cat-intestine condoms and Georgian love toys in a game…)

15 October, 2008 at 9:34 am Leave a comment

Emma Collingwood: Freebie – “Manco or The Financial Crisis As Explained By Sebastian Quinn, Purser”

From the blog of Emma Collingwood:

“Read a short story featuring the characters from my upcoming book “The Purser, The Surgeon, The Captain And His Lieutenant”. The story itself won’t be included in the book, but here it is, available online for free. Though set in the 18th century, it’s very up-to-date…

Author: Emma Collingwood
Rating: PG
Genre: Original
Characters: Captain James Denningham, Purser Sebastian Quinn
Warnings: none
Feedback: Sure! Keep it coming, good or bad!
Summary: Sebastian Quinn takes artistic liberties with the mess book of HMS Selkie.

“MANCO” or

Have fun!”

13 October, 2008 at 10:57 pm Leave a comment

Reminder: Charity Auction Ends Today!

The charity auction on ebay for the Morpeth Lions Club Flood Fund will end today. There’s still time to place your bids! Many thanks to all those who have supported the auction.


6 October, 2008 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment


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Four Ghost Stories from the Age of Sail

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Love, Suspense and Sarcasm in the Age of Sail

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