Keli Gwyn
Friday Fun Victorian Style

One of the ways I create a period feel in my stories set in the Victorian era is to use dated terms as often as I can. They have richness and flavor.

For example, doesn’t addlepated have far more personality than just plain crazy?

Readers of Victorian-era stories learn a new vocabulary, which can be lots of fun.

I’m going to let you in on some of that fun.

Below are the modern terms for three items. Your task is to figure out the older word(s) for the same items. To make it a little easier, I’ll indicate how many letters are in the alternate words and fill in R, S, T, L, N, and E like they do on Wheel of Fortune.

Leave your answers in a comment, numbering them as I have.

1. suspenders

__  R  __  __  E S

2. purse

R  E  T  __  __  __  L  E

3. binoculars

__  __  E  L  __       __  L  __  S  S  E  S

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I’ll update the post over the weekend to include the answers, so you could check back Monday. I’ll also provide a link to this post at the end of next Friday’s quiz. If you view that post, you’ll be able to click the link and see what the dated terms for the items are.

• • •

Update and Answers

A number of those who left comments got the right answers. Congratulations!

1. braces

2. reticule

3. field glasses

• • •

I’ve updated the Friday Fun post from last week. Click this link to see the answer.

• • •

The royalty-free photographs above are from either Victorian Goods and Merchandise or from Victorian Fashions, each a book and CD-ROM of electronic clip art published by Dover Publications and are used in this post by permission granted a buyer of the book.

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Keli Gwyn
Raining Romance

Sometimes my best romantic ideas are all wet.

Such was the case last week. Literally.

Knowing that St. Patrick’s Day fell on Saturday this year, one of the days Gwynly is able to join me when I hike my favorite trail, I planned a surprise for him.

The Tuesday before, I walked the six miles in the pouring rain. Not to worry. Since I plan to walk four days a week regardless of the weather, I’d purchased water-resistant gear.

Not a car was to be seen in the trail-head parking lot, but there was one happy hiker.

I pretty much had the trail to myself, which suited my purposes, because I was on a mission. Weeks before, I’d decorated a spot on the trail with Valentines’ Day goodies. Gwynly thought that was cool, so I planned to do the same for St. Patrick’s Day.

That Tuesday, I was packin’ plenty of green. Rather than trimming the trees and shrubs in one spot, I spread the holiday cheer along the entire three-mile section of the trail.

I hung three swirling streamers, one per mile.

I twisted three wire garlands around shrubs, again one per mile.

While the streamers and garlands were fun, my plan centered around the forty-eight shamrocks I suspended from trees and shrubs at frequent intervals. Since wind and more rain were predicted, I used cable ties to ensure that the decorations didn’t blow away.

Gwynly walked the trail Friday without me. He knew I’d hung the shamrocks, but he didn’t know the rest of my plan. Once again, a storm raged. He carried an umbrella, which may account for him seeing only one garland and a single shamrock out of all those I’d hung.

When Gwynly told me how few decorations he’d seen, I fought to hide my disappointment. My guy isn’t as into details as I am. (Few people are, I know. 🙂 ) I suspected vandals had pulled some shamrocks down, but I hoped they’d left more than Gwynly saw.

Saturday dawned dreary and cold, but Gwynly and I donned our rain gear and hit the trail. To my delight, we spotted nineteen of the shamrocks I’d hung. Each time we saw one, I gave Gwynly a reason why I’m lucky/blessed/happy to have him as my guy.

Gwynly was impressed at how many reasons I came up with, but what impressed him more was the time and effort I’d put into planning this surprise for him. That and the fact that I was walking in the rain and having a good time.

While life doesn’t always go the way I’d like, I’m learning to make the best of the situation. Rather than let the vandals or the wet weather ruin my surprise, I chose to proceed with my plan. Things turned out better than I hoped. You could say it rained romance that day.

• • •

What is a unique way you could list the reasons you’re grateful for your special someone?

How do you deal with the inevitable changes in plans that affect us all at times?

Do you walk or jog in the rain? If so, do you enjoy or endure the experience?

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Keli Gwyn
Meet the Reviewers: Renee Chaw

I’m honored to feature Renee Chaw, aka Steeler Girl. She posts reviews at her fun site, Black ’n Gold Girl’s Book Spot. Last week she celebrated her blog’s third anniversary.

Renee loves to read. No surprise there, right? She says she’ll take a good book over TV any day. She has a B.A. in history, a degree she chose based on her love of the Victorian era and historical romance. She has a fondness for vintage jewelry and antiques and is quite passionate about watching football games, especially if “her” Steelers are playing. She’s a car aficionado and has been since fourth grade, when she started a scrapbook devoted to Barbies and classic cars. She would prefer going to a car show over visiting the mall any day of the week. In her own words Renee says, “I’m not your average girl.” I’d agree. Renee is one cool gal, and I’m happy to have her visiting today.

I asked Renee three questions about her reading and review process. After that, you’re in for a treat, because you get to learn three fun things about the woman behind the reviews.

Reading and Reviewing

When you began blogging three years ago, what was your vision? How has the site changed over time, and what can readers expect in the future?

When I started blogging I really had no idea what it was going to be like. I have always loved to read, but I really didn’t have anyone to discuss books with other than one or two friends over Facebook or through G-mail chat. The fact that I have almost 300 blog followers who love books as much as I do is crazy (in a good way, of course), and I live for the great comments and encouragement I get from other readers and bloggers. Who woulda thunk it that there are so many people in this world who have almost the same taste in books as I do?

When I first started blogging I had no idea about post format, blog backgrounds, review criteria etc., but I had a few great friends who helped me out. I really think the looks and content of my blog have evolved nicely, and I hope to continue improving it as time goes by. I definitely can say to readers, expect more book reviews and more giveaways! I have received so many review requests for great looking books that I just can’t pass up! It’s really tough for me to say no to a book LOL!

My goal is to host more authors on my blog this year. I think it is critical to get the word out about authors whose books I love and to spread the word about new authors. I know how hard an author works to get their book published, and I want to help in anyway I can.

If there’s an aspect of a story you don’t care for, you address it, but you do so with kindness and respect. How do you balance a reader’s desire for an honest review with your heart for the author of the work?

Wow great question. When I don’t care for a book it is so difficult to write a review for it, and sometimes I don’t want to do it. I hold authors in the highest regard, and like I said in the previous comment, I know how hard they work on a book–they pour their heart and soul in it, so to me if I have to write a negative it kills me. It’s like telling someone you don’t like their kid! I almost always can find something that I like in a book, and I will say so in hopes that I can balance the review out and not step on too many toes while at the same time staying true to myself and my readers.

When and where do you do most of your reading?

Hahaha I read ALL the time! I’m unemployed right now, so I can read pretty much whenever I want. Of course the housework and pets call my name so usually, IMO, the best time to read is at night when everyone else is in bed and there is some peace and quiet! Now that I have a Kindle Fire, nighttime reading is even better…gotta love that LCD backlit screen! The only place I don’t read is in the car. Me + book in car = disaster of the yuckiest proportions. LOL

Three Fun Facts About Renee

I know you love the Steelers, but I don’t know how long you’ve been a fan or how far you’ll go to support your team. When did you fall for the guys in black and gold? What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to cheer your team to victory?

Okay Keli, you are not from this area if you asked that question LOL! I grew up in the Pittsburgh area, so I pretty much came out of the womb cheering the Steelers. Seriously, my newborn cries sounded like “Here we go Steelers, here we go!” Hahahaha.

I’d say the craziest thing I’ve ever done to cheer on my guys is to make posters to decorate the house for the Super Bowl. I remember when the Steelers played the Seahawks and I made a poster of a busload of Steeler players running over a bird…gruesome I know but they did win so maybe the poster was good luck.

I’m married to a guy who’s owned his classic MGB roadster since 1970, so I’ve seen how into cars a car person can be. I also know that classic car people have dream cars. What are yours? (I figure there’s more than one. 🙂 )

Keli I’m hiring you the next time I host an interview on my blog. You ask THE best questions. I’m a Mustang girl through and through, so get me any classic ‘Stang or even one of the awesome new Cobras or 5.0s, and I’ll be a happy camper. For those who’d like to see some of my faves, I have a board on Pinterest devoted to cars.

You describe yourself as being somewhat of a tomboy, but I noticed you like vintage jewelry and antiques. How often are you able to add new items to your collection? What are some of your favorite finds?

I do really love the watch pins that the ladies wore in the early 19th century through the early 20th and would LOVE to have one someday, but for now I collect old postcards and schoolbooks since they’re less expensive for a girl whose on a tight budget like me. The best thing in my collection right now is an old schoolbook that belonged to a local girl. I posted pictures of it on my blog a few years ago of some of the things that were written in the book that make it sooo neat! If you’re interested in the pics go here.

Renee’s Question for You

The question that Keli asked me about things that I like to collect has me thinking about books. I would like to know if money was no object what first edition book would you buy? Since I’m a Pride and Prejudice fan I’d definitely spring for a first edition of that book which I believe came in 3 volumes. Can you imagine having THAT in your library? *sigh*

• • •

Connect with Renee on Twitter and Goodreads.

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Keli Gwyn
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