C is for Canadian


As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, one day about four years ago, I woke up Canadian.  In the comments, a person asked me about how that happened.

It is not quite as interesting a story as it sounds, I’m afraid.  What that means is that the Canadian citizenship laws were changed on that day and, as a result, thousands of people (including Americans) who were not Canadian before that day became Canadian.


I was one of them!


My mother was born in Canada but emigrated to the U.S. with her parents as a teenager.  Due to the new laws, all of her children are recognized as Canadian citizens and are granted duel citizenship.  But the U.S. doesn’t recognize duel citizens so I’m a bit of an anomaly. (shhh!!)



Some of my favorite Canadian stereotypes: Canadians are uber polite, even when upset and apologize about everything.


Another stereotype: Canadians say “eh” a lot at the end of their sentences.
so-youre-canadian-eh-nah-i-dont-care-about-anything-you-could-say-reallyAnd lastly: Americans don’t give a crap about Canadians (more or less true, unfortunately!)

I’ll leave you with the link to the fun video that the Canadian Immigration put out to help spread the word about the change in the law and the many new Canadian citizens who are “secret Canadians!”  (LOL!)

It’s full of many more fun stereotypes.  Keep your eyes peeled for the Mountie!

B is for the British Monarchy


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the second monarch of that name to reign, after her predecessor, Elizabeth Tudor (Elizabeth I), another great monarch who ruled for many years and surveyed over what is now called “The Golden Age” of English history.

Queen Elizabeth is the second longest reigning monarch (after her great great grandmother, Queen Victoria) and ascended the throne in 1952 at the age of 25 due to the untimely death of her father to lung cancer.  She had never expected to become queen.  Her uncle was first in line to the throne as a child and when her grandfather died, he ascended as Edward VIII.  However, her father went from Heir Presumptive to King of England practically overnight when Edward the VIiI abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson.  Princess Elizabeth then became Heiress Presumptive and subsequently queen.

Elizabeth II’s official seal “E II R” stands for Elizabeth Regina (Latin for queen) and the Roman numerals for being the second monarch of that name.


Did you know that the British Monarchy has a website and has had some for quite some time?  I discovered this by accident while doing research and found that it is a veritable wealth of information for all things British.  And Royal.

Some interesting things you’ll learn from the website:

The British State Opening of Parliament, amongst all kinds of pomp and ceremony with centuries of history behind it.  This year, it will occur on May 8, 2013 and will likely be televised in many countries (almost certainly if you live in a Commonwealth country).  If you get a chance, I suggest you check it out.  It’s a fascinating lesson in history, tradition and the continuity of one of the most important monarchies of Great Britain.

Royal Events and Ceremonies, including State Funerals, Coronations, Investitures and the Changing of the Guard.

History of the Monarchy provides a timeline of all the British Monarchs and biographies of each using a wonderful visual graphic to illustrate the passage of time over the milenia.

The Royal Household is explained with a wonderful overview video and also delineates the specific divisions within the household.

Resources Elsewhere:

The BBC did a very in-depth set of documentaries about five years ago entitled “A Year With The Queen.”  The DVDs are still available and I highly recommend them.  Here’s a trailer of the documentary.

To go along with it, is this visually stunning and detailed hardback book (and part of my personal research library):


Her Majesty has a sense of humor, despite her austere façade.  The world had a chance to witness it at the London Olympic Games last year.  Because it’s such a fun clip, I’m including it here!

On April 17, 2009 (almost 4 years ago, now!) I woke up a Canadian citizen.  As such, I am now a subject of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.  Believe me, when you are trying to catch up with a lifetime of culture and history, resources like these are very useful!

Video: Elegance and Decadance

I found these treasures on Youtube and thought I’d share.  Part of a series of episodes featuring the history, customs and culture of The Regency Era.

Elegance and Decadence: Portrait of a Prince

Follow the playlist for 2 more episodes after this one. (“Developing a Regency Brand” and “A Divided Decade”)

Rare Royal Navy Lieutenant’s Uniform circa 1815

This article is about 2 years old but I found it of great interest while trolling the Internet for research today.

A rare Royal Naval uniform worn by a British survivor of the Battle of Trafalgar has been unearthed after spending decades in the attic of one of the sailor’s descendants.

William Hicks became famous for his gripping account of Trafalgar which told how, as a 17-year-old midshipman on HMS Conqueror, he helped British forces crush France and Spain in 1805 to end the threat of an invasion by Napoleon.

Now a uniform worn by Hicks several years later when he reached the rank of lieutenant has been unearthed in a plastic bag in an attic, after being handed down through his family for 200 years.

It went on display today at the National Maritime Museum in London on the anniversary of the battle off the Spanish coast

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2051867/Rare-Royal-Naval-uniform-Battle-Trafalgar-survivor-William-Hicks-goes-display.html#ixzz2K8V1QNgL


Here’s a picture of the uniform.  Follow the link above for more details of this amazing story!

Lieutenant's Uniform

My Writer’s Library

I don’t have a lot of storage space at my house.  We live in a modest but very comfortable home with two rambunctious children and lots of stuff.  Probably too much stuff.  But I wanted to dedicate one quiet corner, near my writing space for my writing resources.

I loved the idea of having supplies and research available at my fingertips to consult when I need so I created my “little library” inspired by my writing friend, Tessa Dare‘s writing office.  I don’t have an office but I have a large bedroom with a second-hand recliner nearby that makes a comfortable writing chair.  So I cleared out a bookshelf in the bottom of my closet and created “Bren’s Writing Lair”(tm).

Supply CenterAbove the top shelf (pictured above), I have my supplies and “go to” writer’s references (the ones I find myself pulling because they are most relevant to what I’m working on).  I have my pens, white-out, pencils, erasers, LOTS of sticky notes,  4 x 6 index cards, scissors, tape and glue sticks, etc.  I also always have a “running notebook” full of notes and back-story, planning materials, etc.  For the work-in-progress, I also store this on the top shelf.Research libraryOn the shelves, I keep my historical and subject-relevant resources.  Most of these pertain to the Regency period, English 18th and 19th century history and culture, geographical information (I have a historical atlas that I’m particularly proud of).  There are Royal Navy resources as well.  Not just because I’m writing about Navy Heroes but also because the RN from this period really interests me.  There are some of the often-named “go-to” regency resources as well, such as Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, An Elegant Madness, What Jane Austen Knew and Charles Dickens Ate, along with some other treasures I’ve scooped up, like: In the Garden with Jane Austen, Tea with Jane Austen, The Lady’s Strategem, and Courtesans.

Craft BooksOn the picture above this one, you’ll notice a brown bin on the bottom shelf.  In this are my not-as-frequently consulted writing craft books and all of my manuscript pages (for at least 3 different versions) of my recently-completed Regency novel.  I’m keeping the pages as a resource until they are no longer needed (hopefully once to book is published).  They will then be happily recycled.  Under them in the bin are the craft books that I own in paper version.  I own many more in eBook format.  I took a picture of the spines to give you an idea.New ArrivalsThree of the newest additions to my library, of which I am extremely proud! Life in Nelson’s Navy, Our Tempestuous Day, and The Epicure’s Almanack.

My Christmas list this last year was made up only of books that I wanted and I told my family “I don’t care if it’s used, as long as I can read it!”  One of them is a former library book, which kind of makes me guilty every time I look at it, like I have some massive fine I owe, or something.  Some of these books are kind of hard to get so I was THRILLED that most of my list was filled (hint: If you plan to do the same thing, make sure you provide links to the books… makes it really easy for family members when they shop for you.)


Lastly, since I’m setting my historical novels in and around the historical county of Cumberland (which is now known as Cumbria), I was extremely astonished to learn the existence of this book, The Cumbrian Dictionary.  I was absolutely over the moon when I discovered I could procure a copy for myself.  It has proved an amazing resource.

So what does your writing space / reference storage look like?  Feel free to post a photo link or description in the comments!

Research: 19th Century English Post

Some links I have just discovered and would like to keep for later.  How did the post work during the Regency period?

The Regency Post An EXCELLENTLY researched blog by author Shannon Donnelly

The Regency Post Office by Joanna Bourne

London Mail in Georgian England

Postage in 19th Century England by the Victorian Web

Regency Letter Writing from the Jane Austen Centre

Wonderful series on the Post from The Regency Collection

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