A Cyprian’s Ball and the Three Graces
Published on January 13, 2016 by LA Hilden | Views: 799

Prostitution is not an easy way to make a living, relying on your looks, wit, and body to make ends meet would be stressful and not lucrative forever.  During Regency England it is said that one and five woman made their living by selling their bodies.  Often these desperate ladies were born of poverty and uneducated. But for a courtesan, selling themselves was not just about beauty and sex. Their success also relied on the show of presentation. But to move away from the image of prostitute and to be viewed as a courtesan took dedication and determination. To be the best and most popular courtesan they learned to play music, read, debate, and charm men to the best of their abilities. The renowned courtesans were clever and accomplished. Gentlemen, who enjoyed their company and their style, admired the eccentric and outspoken ladies of the demi-monde. Many titled gentlemen frequented these women, since it was considered the fashionable thing to do, but only the very wealthy could afford their company. Having a famous courtesan on your arm bespoke of your wealth, power, and virility. Harlots were welcome at public places such as parks, theaters, and masquerades, but the houses of High Society were closed to them. Meeting those of the demi-monde at what is known as the Cyprian’s Ball was seen favorably by most, except by the heroine in the book I’m currently working on, but then she does view this event from an innocent young lady’s perspective.

The first Cyprian’s Ball was held in London’s Argyll Rooms in 1818 and was hosted by the celebrated members of the demi-monde, Harriette Wilson and her three sisters, Amy, Fanny, and Sophia, who were also courtesans.  Harriette Wilson was one of the most famous and sought after courtesans of the early 19th century, whose clients included the Prince of Wales, the Lord Chancellor, and four future Prime Ministers.  Harriette and her sister, Fanny, and friend, Julia Johnstone, were known as the three graces.  These three ladies frequently spent time together and hired an opera box to share for the London Season as a way to show off their wares.  People linked to one of the three graces were admired by others.  The three graces were known for their wit, flirting, and their ability to wrap men around their well-paid fingers. Harriette retired at the age of 35 and in 1825, likely tired of her lovers broken promises, published a series of kiss and tell stories as her memoirs in a British broad sheet.  In these stories the famous courtesan named those of which she was intimate.  The War Hero, the Duke of Wellington, had a business arrangement with Harriette and was not happy to hear she was to publish these memoirs, he was quoted as saying, “publish and be damned.”  Of course, she published her shocking memoirs anyway, holding the names of her lovers as blackmail.  She suggested her past paramours give her cash payment to “prevent unpleasantness.”  Harriette was daring and unashamed, and her memoirs enjoyed scandalous success.  Her witty and cutting dialogue to others in her memoirs exemplifies her humor and cleverness.

The first page of Harriette Wilson’s Memoirs begins with, “I shall not say how and why I became, at the age of fifteen, the mistress of the Earl of Craven. Whether it was love, or … the depravity of my own heart, or the winning arts of the noble Lord, which induced me to leave my paternal roof and place myself under his protection, does not now much signify…”

At the Cyprian’s Ball admirers and protectors enjoyed an evening of unrestricted entertainment and dancing in a refined establishment. The rooms were expensively decorated, and at the first Cyprian’s event, statuary abounded with plaster carvings adorning the walls.  The gentlemen were often members of the peerage or the military who attended these events without any type of mockery or embarrassment.  The courtesans gossiped and preened for the gentlemen as they sipped spirits.  At dawn a light supper and champagne was served.

The ladies of the night wore gowns made of the sheerest and most expensive silks and muslins.  Deep décolletages with cleavage amply on display, empire waists with tiny puffed sleeves that always fell enticingly off the shoulder.  Some ladies even dampened their gowns to accentuate their womanly curves.  It was the place to say hello to past paramours and precisely where a gentleman could visit to find his next.

In my second book in the Wintergale Orchard Series, Love With Purpose, the hero, Lord Giles Vanhorn, involved himself with a courtesan and is now paying the price as the villain has turned the entire transgression into a public scandal.  The heroine, Lady Avis Rosse, has difficulty putting the hero’s past love for a courtesan, a woman far more experienced than she in nearly every category, behind them.  Avis seeks to protect her heart, but Giles plans to accomplish Herculean feats to win her love and admiration.

A special thank you to: Harriette Wilson’s Memoirs of Harriette Wilson. https://thecaferoyal.wordpress.com/2007/05/07/the-cyprians-ball/ https://thecaferoyal.wordpress.com/tag/harriette-wilson/

Idioms and Origin
Published on December 28, 2015 by LA Hilden | Views: 2187

By definition an idiom is a word or phrase not taken literally.  They show up often in books and in everyday conversation.  I find the origins interesting and thought to share some of them with you.  A few of the origins are sketchy and I’ve taken the best explanations from what I researched.

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed. This idioms origin dates back to Roman times when it was considered bad luck to wake up on the left side of the bed.  If you got up on the wrong side of the bed it meant you’d have a bad day or be grumpy.

Crying wolf. This 15th century idiom is based on The Boy Who Cried Wolf fable by Aesop and means to give false alarm.

Caught red handed. This idioms origin dates back to 15th century Scotland. It likely referred to people being caught murdering or poaching with blood on their hands. It was used often in legal proceedings in Scotland and meant that the culprit was caught in the act of committing a crime.

Leave no stone unturned. This idiom dates from the mid-16th century and is based on the Greek legend about a general who buried a treasure.  Those seeking his treasure were told by the Oracle of Delphi to move every stone.



Working with a skeleton crew. Refers to working with the bare minimum to keep the business functioning, although it’s not as efficient.  It was first recorded in the 17th century.

Skeletons in your closet. This phrase is first recorded in 1812 in the Bluebeard fable.  It means you hide secrets and shame.

Mind your P’s and Q’s. This idiom has many possible origins.  Some say it refers to the old typesetting when each letter was put into place before the printing process began.  Lower case p’s and q’s were easily confused.  Some believe it was used because children often reversed these letters when learning to write.  And others say it was because in the old English pubs the number of pints and quarts were often tallied on a chalkboard to keep a running tab.  The idiom means to mind your manners.

A stone’s throw away. This refers to a short, undefined distance.  Early English versions of the Bible refer to “a stone’s cast.”  The idiom was used in a non-biblical manner by the end of the 16th century.

Get the ball rolling. This idiom is believed to have originated in sports in 19th century England, during the game of croquet.  It means to begin in speech or action.

Hit the sack or hit the hay. This idiom is from the 19th century and refers to how mattresses were filled with hay or sacks of hay.  It means to go to bed.

A special thank you to: http://mentalfloss.com/article/33503/where-did-phrase-caught-red-handed-come http://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/skeleton-crew-mind-your-ps-and-qs http://www.onestopenglish.com/community/your-english/phrase-of-the-week/phrase-of-the-week-to-start-the-ball-rolling/154100.article http://www.bloomsbury-international.com/en/student-ezone/idiom-of-the-week/list-of-itioms/1203-hit-the-sack.html

What I'm Currently Working On...
Published on December 15, 2015 by lahilden | Views: 638

Shopping, shopping, and more shopping.  With Christmas quickly approaching I’m working on what to buy the ones I love, which takes serious thought. According to the traffic whenever I leave the house, I assume everyone else is doing holiday shopping too. The nice bonus is that it has been a warm December in Michigan and so there’s no snow or freezing cold to deal with yet. Next week I start my baking for four different Christmases. As for my writing I have just put my Griffin Witches series away for a bit.  I always find it best to take a break and come back to the novel at a later time.  When you are immersed in writing a story and you know in your mind where the plot is taking you, it is better to try and forget the plot for a while and tackle the book again as a reader and not a writer. This merely ends up as another edit, but by this point I’m in the tweaking stages of book one and two and not much is changing aside from detail and embellishment.

I’m currently working on another edit of When Love Wins. This is my Wintergale Orchard series where the hero must overcome a laudanum addiction with the help of his ladylove. I’m finding this story is more of a Regency Rom-Com, which sounds odd when considering the seriousness of the storyline, but it totally works. I love the witty dialogue and prankster behavior between the characters. My son, who excels at computer graphics, is helping me design the book cover. We are having a lot of fun with it. As the story takes place in an apple orchard estate he thought to put a single apple on the cover, which looked great, but it has an overtone to Sleeping Beauty and poisonous apples and so we nixed it and are working on something new. He has many amazing ideas and I love having his help in the designing process. We are also developing new ebook covers for Born Reckless and London’s Quest as I feel the darkness of the covers is overdone. I won’t get this book off to the editor before the holidays as I’m still in the middle of a final read and it has to visit the editor. I’m also working on book two of this series and I’m about 120 pages in.  Below is the blurb for When Love Wins.

Tormented by the past …

Warin Vanhorn, the Marquess of Wintergale, is one of England’s heroes.  After fighting valiantly in the war against Bonaparte he has tried to fall back into the routine of his old life.  But life at the orchard cannot be calm when the sounds of his dying men continue to haunt him and turn him violent, leaving him to escape these nightmares with heavy doses of laudanum.

Meddling where you shouldn’t…

Helena Dabney is different from many ladies when it comes to knowing the details of wartime.  She views Lord Wintergale as an untouchable, a man she has read about in every paper she could get her hands on, but never in a million years does she think to ever meet him.  Fate has other plans.

Love wins the battle…

With hemlock poisoning, an eccentric aunt, secret mistresses, addictions, and betrayals of friendship, one can safely say that life at Wintergale Orchards is never dull.

When Love Wins is book one in the Wintergale Orchards Series.

Past Life Regression
Published on November 18, 2015 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 624

For those of you who follow my blog you are likely aware of my interest in history and the sacred sciences.  And perhaps you read the blogs I posted about my sweat lodge experience and following the lines of my family tree into medieval times.  I mentioned in my reincarnation post that if I ever had the opportunity to do a Past Life Regression (PLR) with a Life Between Life (LBL) session, I was in.  The opportunity presented itself on my spring trip to Florida in 2015, where I met with Regression Hypnotherapist, Chuck Frank.

Before embarking on this journey, I had read books by Michael Newton, Brian Weiss, Delores Cannon, and Edgar Cayce.  I had also watched others go through the regression process.  I knew going in that I was likely to come out of this thinking that I had made up everything I felt and saw in my crazy imagination.  After all, I’m a writer and I come up with names and places all the time.  I’m also a Reiki practitioner and I’ve participated in many guided meditations so I was curious to see what this experience would bring.  To gain a true understanding of what people in PLR and LBL experience, I needed to feel and see it for myself.

After more than an hour induction where I almost fell asleep twice, I was taken back to the age of twelve.  I described the house where I grew up.  This was an easy task since I have not forgotten the house over the years.  I also described the music I liked and my favorite song at the time.  I later researched when this song was popular; it was when I was twelve, which was pretty cool.  I was then taken to a younger age, I believe I was around three and I was playing in the leaves while my dad stood watching me.  I remembered my clothing and how it was a happy, carefree time.  From there I moved to the womb where I was amazed by my fingers and my ability to move them.  I could feel my mom’s excitement at being pregnant, but I also felt her fear toward motherhood.  (If you are like me you are reading this and thinking many women feel this way before giving birth, which I believe is true.)

From there I moved into a long corridor of greenery in my mind, since this is what I wanted my tunnel to look like, at the other side I was taken into my most recent past life.  I was told to describe my feet and I looked down to see a pair of white nurse shoes.  I was a black woman named Rose Ferrier and I was a nurse in what I believe to be upstate New York.  I was outside on a partly cloudy day, walking along the sidewalk as I made my way to one of the many rectangular brick buildings sitting upon acres of green land.  The all brick building I entered was ordinary in design, a few chimneystacks and narrow windows in metal frames along the width, spaced every five feet.  A metal light was affixed into the brick above the plain wooden door, which is what my eyes focused on as I approached from the narrow end.  The light fixture was a sure sign of electricity and looked Victorian in design.  As I entered I was greeted by others who called me Rosie.  I was not thrilled with being at work, more resigned and doing my duty.  I assisted the sick by moving their wheelchairs and I proceeded to cut up food to assist a lady to eat.  (I have searched the Internet for everything I could think of to find this set of buildings I saw, but have had no luck.  I had no real expectations going into this process, but I was amazed every step of the way at the images I saw and I was even more amazed by what I felt.)

From there I was told to move to a significant moment in this person’s life and I found myself in a park, smiling at my two grown children.  I was exceedingly proud of my son, although I could not tell you why.  Nevertheless, it was a happy day and a crowd had gathered in celebration.  I then moved to Rose’s death scene, where she was alone in bed and unable to breath.  Her passing was merely a sense of letting go, so it was very peaceful.  After she passed she went to her son and exchanged energy to help her son deal with her loss before moving onward.  I then pondered the lessons behind Rose’s life and was told by my spirit council that Rose was to learn patience in that life, which she did.   (I had posed the question in my mind and the word “patience” boomed in my head.  Just the one word, which I learned is often how these questions are answered.)

As Rose left the earth plane, she turned to the light and headed upward into a vast space.  There were no worries or fear as she headed upward, just a peaceful calmness.  The floating sensation stopped and I was standing in front of my spirit guide.  After putting my dozens of questions to my guide, which included my purpose here, as well as my soul name there, I was told to see if I could find my soul group.  There were many figures around me, but I could not tell who they were, only that they were there in the shadows of peaceful darkness.  I counted eleven figures, including myself.  The one that moved forward to greet me was my father, again it was more of a knowing as his body was a shadow human shape and not physically detailed.  Since it is believed we leave a good portion of energy in heaven when we incarnate, I assume this is why my father greeted me.  I can say that this was not who I expected to greet me, I had assumed I’d see one of my deceased relatives, like one of my grandfathers.  

After happily speaking to my dad, I asked my guide to take me to my council.  To describe the soaring chamber I entered is difficult, but the chamber was extremely tall.  It was all white, but light could shine through the walls, not like glass or ice, but more opaque and illuminating, without being overwhelmingly bright.  The base was really wide, no doors, just open space.  The structure narrowed at the top, but not to a point, more of a rounded rectangle.  There were five figures making up my council, and they sat spaced a good eight feet apart around a large half moon table that curved toward me.  My guide stayed with me and stood behind my left side, about three feet away.  Only the council member sitting at the center of the table made himself visible to me, he was the only one during the entire LBL regression that I saw in great detail.  He was dressed in white robes like a toga.  He had a big smile, blue eyes, a gray beard, and lots of gray hair on his head.  He was wearing a laurel wreath upon his head and his glance spoke of wisdom and knowledge beyond my understanding.  He was thrilled to see me and amused by my presence as he had been expecting me.  “He thinks I’m funny,” which is exactly what I told Chuck when he asked about my reception.

I later researched this scene to learn that many who participate in LBL sessions see the elders in various colored robes.  People also describe this chamber I entered.

The laurel wreath is said to represent great thinking, which fit perfectly with the energy that I was receiving at the time, although I’m unaware if anyone else who participated in an LBL session has seen elders with wreaths upon their heads.  Just knowing others have described this same odd structure while under hypnosis is fascinating.

Questions were answered and I was shown family members who struggle in life today.  My childhood horse was brought to me, and even my 6th great grandfather Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee came to offer me words of wisdom.  I was regressed for a good two hours.  The peacefulness and love I felt was something I’ll never forget.

After thanking my council and my guide, I was brought out of the hypnosis feeling happy and rested.  But once I left and I began to share the details of my regression with others, the analytical side of my left-brain reinserted itself, having been on hiatus during the hypnosis it had much to dissect and try to dismiss.

Although I had felt the different energies and saw these scenes play out in my mind, I returned home and my immediate reaction was that I made everything up.  Wow, how weird is that.  But even with my doubts, a part of me realizes that what I saw was a completely different experience when compared to using my imagination to create stories.  For one, I did not have time to create in my mind a scene like I do with my stories as I was answering the hypnotherapist’s questions as to where I was and what I was doing.

What I experienced during the Life Between Life was more along the lines of images seen while in deep meditation, which in turn makes sense.  The LBL scenes came from a different place in my mind, these scenes often had black backgrounds suggesting infinite space, whereas my imagination is in full color with background scenes taken from actual life with trees and blue skies and such.  My Past Life Regression to Rose Ferrier was definitely in full color and detail.  I find the distinctions between the two interesting.

So that’s some of my experience with Regression Hypnotherapy.  I cannot tell you with absolute certainty that what I experienced was a past life or that I connected with higher energies through our human connection with the Divine.  I can tell you that I didn’t have the time to make these scenes up in my mind, they just appeared.  The journey was not at all what I had thought it would be, which to me says a lot.  I would also like to mention that I had nothing to fear while under hypnosis.  I was always aware of my surroundings.  I could not have been made to bark like a dog or anything equally absurd as I was not deep enough under hypnosis to not have recall.  I suggest everyone try it at least once.  It is only through personal experience that you can deduce where these scenes are coming from for yourself.  I’ll end with a quote by Edgar Cayce.  “Each soul in entering the material experience does so for those purposes of advancement towards that awareness of being fully conscious of the oneness with the Creative Forces.” 2632-1



My Blog Post on Following Your Roots and My Native American Sweat Lodge Experience. http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=117

My Blog Post on Reincarnation and the Griffin Sisters http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=144


A special thank you to Chuck Frank, Past Life Regression Hypnotherapist. http://www.hypnosisarts.com

Planes of Existence and the Number Seven
Published on November 5, 2015 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 2870

I have been working on book two in the Witches of Griffin series, which is a time travel, paranormal, romance with spiritual elements called Securing Sanctuary.  In this story the Griffin sisters have to enter the astral plane to secure the Map to Sanctuary.  The map, stolen by a dark priestess, is being held in the astral with the help of a voodoo Loa.  If this map isn’t recovered, life on our planet will alter drastically, allowing evil the upper hand.

There are seven colors in the rainbow, seven tones on the music scale that hold seven different vibrations, and according to esoteric teachings, seven planes of existence.  There are also the seven days of creation, seven deadly sins, seven days in a week, seven seas, seven continents, and the lucky number seven.  To many people seven is considered magical.  The number is popular around the world as is seen in art, literature, religion, and culture.  In esoteric cosmology, the seven planes of existence are conceived as a subtle state of consciousness that transcends the known physical universe.  The concept of planes was likely derived from shamanic and traditional mythological ideas of a vertical world-axis.  The planes of existence tie into the states of meditation according to the Chinese Tao.

The Seven Planes

The slowest vibrational speed occurs on the first plane, which is the Physical Plane.  This is where our souls are now.  The second plane is called the Astral Plane, this is the etheric plane the sisters have to enter and it is a place that is often entered while we dream.  It is considered the plane of emotion and it is the first place we go to once we leave our physical bodies.  This plane is said to be populated with angels, spirits, and other immaterial beings.  The Causal Plane is the third plane and is made of intellectual energy.  The fourth plane of existence is called the Akashic Plane.  This is a neutral plane of existence that interconnects with the other six planes.  This is where the Akashic records are said to be found.  These records are believed to hold everything that has ever happened in the universe.  It is also where the deceased go to review past lives and learn from the life they just left.  People who have entered this plane through Past Life Regression describe a place where you can watch scenes as if a movie was playing.  The fifth plane is called the Mental Plane and it is filled with intellectual energy that emphasizes truth.  The Messianic Plane is the sixth plane and it is filled with emotional energy that emphasizes love.  It is believed that Jesus incarnated from this plane.  The highest plane and the seventh plane is called the Buddhaic Plane, which is made of pure or abstract kinetic energy and is described as a realm of pure consciousness. Many of the planes have a variety of sub-planes.  The planes also have different names depending on the source.

To read more about Astral Travel: http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=143

A special thank you to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2601281/Why-lucky-7-really-magic-number.html,http://www.michaelteachings.com/7planes.html, Michael Newton, Journey of Souls, http://www.thetadnaactivation.com/medical2.html, and http://www.esotericscience.org/article10a.htm

Pickpockets, Highwaymen, and Footpads
Published on October 14, 2015 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 1181

As in today’s world, earnings in Regency England were all over the income scale.  The lowest laborer earned less than £25, while the upper classes usually earned around £10,000 or more; taxes to support the royal family exceeded £1,000,000 a year.  Theft was rampant in Regency England, as one aristocrat’s timepiece was tempting and likely to be worth more money than the lowly wage earner made in a year.  If you add in devastating harvests and famine, the hungry and desolate become more willing to take desperate measures.  Of course there was the death penalty to deter thievery, but with an inadequate police force, catching the culprits was ineffective.  Even death wasn’t a strong enough deterrent for these men.

Large gatherings were favorite places for pickpockets.  Some of these criminals were skilled and often dressed well to deceive their victims.  Common places to find these criminals were at racetracks, festivals, theaters, fairs, funerals, public lectures, hangings, and markets.  Any area that was fashionable or known to be crowded would have its fair share of pickpockets.  The pickpockets that frequented racetracks were usually adults.  The pickpockets that frequented the streets were often young boys from gangs.  With overpopulation in London and school not required, many children were left to their own devices while their parents worked.  A common item stolen was the handkerchief since it could easily be taken and resold.  The large majority of young pickpockets were never prosecuted in court and often beaten if captured by the victim or citizens willing to give chase.

The highwaymen were thieves on horseback who terrorized travelers for their purses.  They often made their attacks at night on remote stretches of highway.  Interestingly, these men usually didn’t commit murder and even returned items to the victim if the victim was overly distressed by the encounter.  Ah, yes the nice robbers.  They actually had a reputation for gallantry.  They often awaited travelers on the outskirts of towns and cities.  They were excellent horsemen, which was necessary to make a speedy escape after committing the crime.  Many were believed to be ex-soldiers.  Of course there were also reported incidents of violence and gunshots fired in these situations.  About one in five attacks by highwaymen resulted in brutal violence and death.  It was also known that some highwaymen enjoyed breaking the glass windows of the carriage to cause more fear to their victims.  They wore masks and took care to disguise themselves.  Stagecoaches were prime targets, and like the personal coaches, were attacked since they lacked protection.  “Stand and deliver!” was a famous demand used in the 17th century.

Highwaymen were considered socially superior when compared to footpads.  Highwaymen were generally proud of their exploits and enjoyed boasting to the crowd, even more so once they were arrested.  Many of them made an effort to live up to the public’s image of them being “Gentlemen of the Road.”  They were often from the middle class and were educated as apprentices or for trade occupations.  Many never completed their apprenticeships and were dissatisfied with low wages.

The Great North Road was a main route from London to York and beyond.  It is upon this road that travelers may have been met with the words, “Your money or your life!” which is from the mid-18th century.  Dick Turpin was a famous highwayman of the Great North Road.  Turpin was known to be dashing as he committed his crimes while riding his mare, Black Bess.  From trying his hand at smuggling, to robbing isolated farmhouses with other criminals, Turpin became involved in highway robbery at the end of his long criminal career.

Another famous highwayman is John “Swift Nick” Nevison, known to be a flamboyant criminal whose exploits earned him praise from King Charles II.  Nevison had robbed a man at 4 am one morning in Kent, he then made his way across the River Thames by ferry, rode toward Chelmsford, rested his horse, and continued his travels as fast as he could until he reached the Great North Road, he then hightailed it to reach York by sunset.  He bathed and changed his travel clothes before hurrying off to visit with the Lord Mayor who was playing bowls.  He engaged the Lord Mayor in conversation and laid a bet on the match at 8 pm that evening.  Nevison was still arrested for his crime, but he had the Lord Mayor as his alibi witness.  The court refused to believe a person on horseback could make the 200-mile journey in such a short time and Nevison was found innocent of the crime.  His journey was a stunning achievement that impressed the king, who was believed to have given Nevison the nickname Swift Nick.  Eventually Nevison’s life of continued crime caught up with him and he was hanged in 1684, his body placed in an unmarked grave in York at Saint Mary’s Church.  I’m unsure of Nevison’s behavior when he met with the hangman’s noose, but it was said that many highwaymen went to the gallows laughing and showing no fear; the spectators admired these men.

The last recorded highway robbery occurred in 1831, but these kinds of attacks had declined around 1815.  This was due to repeating handguns becoming more affordable for the average citizen, turnpike expansion, which were manned and gated making it more difficult to escape undetected, and the expanding police force.  The last highway robbery prosecution was heard at the Old Bailey in 1897.

Footpads often worked in gangs and attacked travelers.  Unlike the highwaymen, the footpads had no issue with killing their victims and were known to murder in an inhuman manner for very little coin.  It is assumed they murdered their victims because they didn’t have a horse to make a speedy escape.  Footpads were known to ambush coaches by lying in wait beneath bridges or other unprotected areas.

Outlaws are often portrayed as folk heroes and romanticized in books and movies.  They are admired for their boldness to face a person head on and take what they want.  They represent freedom and independence from authority and live life according to their own rules.  Although they are often glorified, they were ruthless murderers and thieves.  Nevertheless, the outlaw captures the imagination as is seen in the numerous tales and legends written about them.  The most famous outlaw of medieval times was Robin Hood.  Other romanticized outlaws include Billy-the-Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, and Jesse James.


To read more on Royal Spending here’s my blog on the Prince Regent and the Royal Pavilion. http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=8

To read more on Policing in Regency England. http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=167


A special thank you to:  Roy and Lesley Adkins, Jane Austen’s England and http://www.stand-and-deliver.org.uk/great_north_road.htm and http://18thcand19thc.blogspot.com/2013/12/child-pickpockets.html and http://rictornorton.co.uk/gu08.htm

Pregnant and Unwed in Regency England
Published on September 29, 2015 by lahilden | Views: 1122

Unwed pregnant women from Regency England had very few options.  Unmarried mothers were often filled with shame and sought special hiding places to keep their impregnated state from Society’s ever-watchful eye.  There were advertisements in the newspapers offering discreet asylum for these pregnant women for a fee.  These places offered the women a place to “lie-in” while their babies would be put out to nurse and be taken care of by others.  Secrecy and money was key to making these institutions successful.

Unfortunately, due to the ostracism and shame societal judgment cast on unwed pregnant mothers, some of these women were desperate enough to try and abort the fetus by ingesting poison or by inserting a wire or knife into the uterus.  This often harmed the mother as well as the fetus.  Midwives often assisted these desperate women and recommended elixirs to induce a miscarriage.  These potions were often made of ergot, rue, pennyroyal, tansy, and savin.  An unwed mother could not seek employment and many resorted to drastic measures to make sure they didn’t lose their standing in Society.  Many of these women were young and found themselves shunned by their families with nowhere else to turn.

For married women contraception took the form of abstinence or breastfeeding, which is why Regency married women averaged six to seven children, this number does not include miscarriages.  Married women were encouraged to breast feed for 3-4 years so they could time their pregnancies better, but many women chose to hand their child over to a wet nurse, thus their menstruation returned.  “It was deemed morally unacceptable for married women to use artificial contraception.”  Nevertheless, this does not mean women did not try to prevent pregnancy.  Sponges soaked with vinegar or lemon juice were used to try and prevent pregnancy, while condoms were used to try to prevent disease and pregnancy.  And yet, condoms were not used by married women, they were used by men to prevent disease and pregnancy when they were with prostitutes or mistresses.  This method of birth control was linked to vice and practiced in the houses of ill repute.  Regency condoms were made from dried out sheep gut or a linen soaked in a chemical solution and tied with strings to stay in place.  Mistresses were kept by financially solvent men from the gentry and upper classes.  There were many prostitutes during the Regency Period and men of all classes were known to frequent them.  The Regency Era was a time when mistresses and prostitutes were tolerated by Society.  In my Time Travel, Desirea’s Escape, my 21st century heroine finds herself in London Regency’s red light district surrounded by these used condoms.  Not only is Desirea lost in time, she’s lost in the wrong area.

Unwanted children were abandoned in markets, churches, and on porches, this assured the mother that the parish would provide for her abandoned children.  The parish was responsible for caring for abandoned children and orphans when the relatives were not known.  In 1741, Thomas Coram opened London’s Foundling Hospital for abandoned children and in 1801; the doors were opened for illegitimate children too.  In my Regency Historical, The Vengeful Earl, the hero opens an orphanage for young girls on his property.  And in my new release, The Wallflower’s Godmother my hero’s illegitimate child is left on his doorstep.  It was not uncommon for illegitimate children to be brought into a peer of the realms family and even to be raised by the man’s current wife, although the illegitimate child would need to live on the fringe of Society when compared to their legitimate half siblings, and they were not in line to inherit anything tied to their father’s title.

My blog on Regency England and Medical Care http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=133


A special thank you: Roy and Lesley Adkins, Jane Austen’s England and https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/to-conceive-or-not-to-conceive-that-is-the-regency-question/

Researching Ancient Objects
Published on September 14, 2015 by lahilden | Views: 903

Klerksdorp Spheres are small, spherical to disc shaped objects that were mined from three billion year old pyrophyllite deposits in South Africa.  Some believe these out-of-place objects were manufactured by intelligent beings.  Geologists have concluded that the objects are not manufactured, but naturally made.  The appearance of these objects, which look manmade, is what brought them to my attention.  I’m working on a plot for book three in my time traveling Witches of Griffin series and I wanted to find an ancient object I can tie into Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt.  Before I decide to use any objects in my story I do quite a bit of research about them, which is why I decided to turn what I learn into a blog, while also explaining the process I use to create my stories.

The Klerksdorp Spheres range in diameter from 0.5 to 10 centimeters, with colors ranging from dark reddish brown to dusky red.  Many specimens consist of hematite and goethite and some of them have distinct parallel latitudinal grooves, while others are inter-grown with each other.  Geologists Cairncross and Heinrich argue that the grooves are caused naturally in volcanic ash sediments over 3 billion years ago.  There have been other similar objects found in Australia and New York, although the Klerksdorp Spheres are the oldest known examples.

After researching more about these spheres, I decided not to use them in my story. They don’t seem very mysterious since they formed naturally and so it is not what I’m looking for.  And now I’m done wasting time on them and shall move onto a new idea.

Moving onto the Sphere of Destiny, which is a sphere of flawless, natural quartz crystal that weighs about 10 pounds.  There are only a few flawless quartz spheres of this size in existence on earth.  The crystal sphere was believed to have been smuggled out of Acre, Isreal by the Knights Templar in 1291 AD.  The Templars history states that the sphere was carved from a powerful seer’s stone, which was reputed to be the original Eye of Cleopatra.  It is uncertain how the object came to be in the Templars possession, but at that point in history the Knights were collecting objects of power and art from all over the East.  The mention of Cleopatra in affiliation with the crystal sphere is why it was brought to my attention.  I’m debating on having the sisters travel back to assist their many greats grandmother Cleopatra and this research is part of my process to find a reason for their journey.

The Eye of Cleopatra was a large 25-pound rough quartz stone block that had been ground and polished to a glassy shine on its upper surface.  If someone stares into the dark depth of the crystal it is said the past and future will be revealed through images.  It is also said that Cleopatra could speak to her generals through the stone.  History states that Cleopatra saw Mark Anthony’s face for the first time by looking into the stone. 

It sounds like a scrying mirror that can be purchased today, which is believed to show images of the past or future.  Since this crystal can tell Cleopatra the future and allow her to speak to her generals, it is worth a great deal to her and it is definitely something I can work with in book three.  If this crystal was stolen she’d want it returned quickly, and who better to come to her rescue than her triplet 21st century granddaughters who share her gift of magic.  I’m liking the idea, but back to the research.

The Eye was considered ancient even by Cleopatra’s time, and is believed to be from a time before written history.  I do love the sound of that as ideas are flooding my mind regarding its origin.

The Sphere of Destiny was taken from the Knights Templar, who had carved the block of seer stone into a perfect shiny crystal ball.  The Mamluks then took this roughly ten-pound sphere in 1302.  It was later purchased by a wealthy occultist in Egypt, and was passed between various seers over hundreds of years.  The crystal has been used to predict the most accurate prophecies ever documented.  It is currently in a private collection in Istanbul.  It is also the same crystal referenced in Frank Baum’s movie The Wizard of Oz.

This is that same crystal used by the priests of Isis and Osiris, in which Cleopatra first saw the approach of Julius Caesar...and so on, and so on... --Frank Morgan as Professor Marvel in "The Wizard of Oz."

Well that is all the research I can do today, I’ve read so many articles that my brain needs a rest.  Now is the point that my imagination ties in Cleopatra’s magical stone block into the rest of what I envision for the book.  It is a process, but I already know that the research has helped to get the story ideas flowing.  Plus, I’ve learned about Klerksdorp Spheres and the Sphere of Destiny, whereas I knew nothing about them before.


A special thank you to:  http://www.pophaydn.com/sphere-of-destiny.html http://www.studentsocculthistory.com/sphere-of-destiny.html https://eyeofcleopatra.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/the-sphere-of-destiny-and-also-the-eye-of-cleopatra/

Bow Street Runners – London’s First Police Force
Published on August 26, 2015 by LA Hilden | Views: 1897

Bow Street Runners were considered London’s first professional police force and were instituted due to the high levels of crime and vice in the city.  In 1748, London was dealing with a gin consumption problem, which caused more crime.  The British Magistrate and writer Henry Fielding reported, “that every fourth house in Covent Garden was a gin shop.”  As a means to tackle these issues, Magistrate Henry Fielding brought together eight constables, known as “Mr. Fielding’s People.”  His people soon gained a reputation for their honesty and efficiency in pursuing criminals.  These constables became known as Bow Street Runners.
Henry Fielding

Initially there were only eight Bow Street Officers, Runners was the public’s nickname for them.  The Runners had a formal attachment to the Bow Street Magistrate’s office and were paid by the magistrate with government funds.  This made them unlike the “thief-takers” who were men for hire who solved petty crimes for a fee.  The Runners worked out of Fielding’s office at No. 4 Bow Street in London’s Covent Garden.  This was also the courthouse and Fielding’s residence.  The officers did not patrol the streets, but served writs and arrested offenders.  They had leeway to travel all over the nation in search for criminals.  To improve relations between the public and the law, Henry Fielding began a newspaper called The Covent Journal.  The following appeared regularly in the journal: “All persons who shall for the future suffer by robbers, burglars, etc., are desired immediately to bring or send the best description they can of such robbers, etc., with the time, and place, and circumstances of the fact, to Henry Fielding, Esq., at his house in Bow Street.”  In my suspense Regency thriller The Heiress Killer, which is not yet released, my hero, the Earl of Ravenswood is a great “thief-taker.”

After Henry Fielding’s death, his brother Sir John Fielding succeeded him as Chief Magistrate in 1754.  Blinded by an accident at the age of 19, John Fielding became known as the “Blind Beak.”  It was said that John could recognize 3,000 thieves by voice alone.  It was Sir John who turned the Runners into an effective police force for London.  He persuaded the government to contribute more to the expense of the small police force and made pamphlets for his runners, listing the criminal’s descriptions.  In 1805, Bow Street Officers included a horse patrol, this was the first uniformed police unit in Britain.  In the 1800’s, concerns about thefts in the dockyards led to the Thames Police Office at Wapping.  This office eventually had 3 stipendiary magistrates and 100 constables to police.

To encourage people to report crimes made against them, there were rotation offices established in the City of London and Middlesex.  These offices were established to assure that a Londoner could always find a magistrate during the fixed hours.  Two well-known runners who gained reputations for their good works as officers were John Sayer and John Townsend.  These two also made a fair amount of coin in pay, reward, and upon an offender’s conviction.  The coin offered for capture and conviction ended up altering criminal trials, as the witnesses testimonies against the criminals were challenged by defense lawyers who questioned the honesty of a witness who was set to gain a reward.

In 1829, Robert Peel’s Metropolitan Police Act was instituted; this system centralized the police force of 3000 men under the control of the Home Secretary, with responsibility to police the entire metropolitan area.  These uniformed officers wore blue tailcoats, top hats, and carried wooden batons, handcuffs, and a wooden rattle to raise the alarm.  A whistle eventually replaced the wooden rattle in the 1880’s.  These officers were referred to as the “Peelers” or “Bobbies,” which is a reference to Peel’s name.  Bobbies was one of the nicer nicknames given to the officers.  Policing caused fear due to the repressive secret police that aided Napoleon in the French Revolution, which is why the public did not readily accept them.

Even with all the new officers, the victim of a crime was still responsible to report the crime, identify the criminal, and prosecute them.  Gradually a change was made as officers assumed the responsibility for prosecuting the offenders.  In 1839, a second Metropolitan Police Act pretty much cemented the institutions existence as the police extended their jurisdiction and increased the number of officers to 4300.  This Act also abolished the post constable employment at the old magistrates offices.  At the same time another Act was instituted to create a similar police force for the City of London.

By the end of the 18th century, London had a substantial body of watchmen employed to prevent crime and apprehend criminals.  By the end of the 19th century a full-fledged police force was in effect.  Due to the Turf Fraud Scandal the Metropolitan Police Detectives were reorganized with the formation of the Criminal Justice System.  By the 20th century, the Criminal Justice System could claim to be modern and scientific in their pursuit of criminals.  The first conviction made from an offenders fingerprint was in 1902, when Harry Jackson was convicted of burglary.  Nevertheless, the policing system still relied on the victims reporting the crimes and making positive identifications.  The most significant changes from the late 17th century was the introduction of uniformed, salaried officials who were controlled by the Home Office and responsible for tracking down suspects and making arrests.  In my Time Travel Destiny Series, two of my heroes work for the Home Office. http://www.amazon.com/Londons-Quest-Destiny-Book-1-ebook/dp/B004YL2QFI/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

The rise in crime led to vicious penalties.  To read more about Judicial Beheadings http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=121 and to read more about Judicial hangings: http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=119


A special thank you to: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Bow-Street-Runner, http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/static/Policing.jsp and Jane Austen’s England by Roy and Lesley Adkins and http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/Sir-Robert-Peel/

Gunter's Tea Shop
Published on August 17, 2015 by lahilden | Views: 2879

Gunter’s Tea Shop was a famous confectioner and considered “one of the great institutions of Regency London.”  The aristocracy enjoyed lounging about outside the establishment on Berkley Square, while enjoying a delicious treat or a frozen sorbet on a hot day.

The shop was originally called The Pot and Pineapple and established in 1757 by Italian pastry chef, Domenico Negri.  The pineapple was a symbol of luxury and commonly used by confectioners.  The shop sold English, French, and Italian wet and dry sweetmeats, which are sweet treats made from sugar or honey.  The confectioner’s art of creation was like a science, as many processes of heating and cooling were used to refine sugar and produce the tasty treats.  Items served consisted of creatively shaped custards, ice cream, frozen mousses, jellied fruit, candies, syrups, biscuits, and caramels.  Some of the ice cream flavors include chocolate, lavender, maple, Parmesan, Gruyere cheese, and bergamot, which is a type of orange that is yellow like a lemon.  The Bergamot orange is inedible, but its extracts are used to flavor treats.  It is said to taste less sour than a lemon, but bitterer than a grapefruit.  Mousses were often vanilla, saffron, and pineapple.  For more information on sweetmeats, chocolate, and ice cream in Regency England: http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=145

In 1777, James Gunter became Negri’s business partner, and by 1799, Gunter was the sole proprietor.  In the 19th and 20th centuries, Gunter’s was considered a fashionable light eatery in Mayfair, well known for its ices, sorbets, and confections.  James Gunter garnered enough wealth from his business to purchase a fine mansion in Earl’s Court.  Gunter’s son Robert studied confections in Paris and eventually took over his father’s business after his death in 1819.  Robert eventually brought his cousin John in as a partner, assuring the business would remain in the family.  Robert went on to write a cookbook, Gunter’s Confectioner’s Oracle, which was published in 1830.  His book was said to be filled with gossip, name-dropping and a terrible dictionary of ingredients, but I’m sure there were recipes too.  He began his cookbook with a dream he had of being led to a banquet by a witch.  It certainly sounds interesting and unlike other cookbooks I’ve read.  There were also famous apprentices who worked at the shop and went on to write their own cookbooks.

Located on the east side of Berkeley Square, Gunter’s became a trendy place for a gentleman to take the lady he was courting.  According to the Encyclopedia of London, “A custom grew up that ices were eaten, not in the shop, but in the Square itself; ladies would remain in their carriages under the trees, their escorts leaning against the railings near them, while the waiters dodged across the road with their orders.”  Gunter’s was the only establishment where a lady could visit with an admirer in an open carriage, without a chaperone or relative, and no harm would come to her reputation.  Mayfair happened to be were the aristocracy lived and famous people like Beau Brummell lived near the shop.  King George III was known to purchase his buns at Gunter’s Tea Shop.   For more on Beau Brummell:  http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=91

Gunter’s was also known for its catering business and for their wedding cakes.  The bride cake for the marriage of Queen Victoria’s Granddaughter, Princess Louise of Wales, was made at Gunter’s.

Gunter’s Tea Shop is no longer located at its original location and was moved to Curzon Street in 1936.  The shop closed for business in 1956, although the catering business lasted for 20 more years in Bryanston Square.

To read more about the Regency Period: http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=104

A special thank you to: https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/tag/gunters-tea-shop/ and http://christianregency.com/blog/2012/07/11/gunters-tea-shop/ and Secret London by Andrew Duncan