I’m Back!

I took the professional writing career thing on hiatus for a little while, but for very good reasons (I think. Too late now!) I’m back with the announcement that the academy was mad enough to admit me as a colleague “with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto,” and I’m now Dr. Bowery, PhD. 

That and a full-time teaching load would be enough to buy me a cup of coffee, but hey. It’s still an achievement that I’m proud of, even if it doesn’t do much other than give my mother naches*.

And with that done, I suddenly have both time in my schedule and energy in my brain for fiction. I’ve pulled out the 1/3-finished draft of Roberta’s Folly and honest to God, I still really love it. So I’m diving back into the world of Regency England head-first, with Cecily’s love story. I’d dearly love to be able to finish it and get it out for Pride next year, but no promises at the moment. 

I’m just glad to be back! 

* The right and pleasure of bragging about someone else’s achievements, especially those of your children. Also see: “but Ellen’s daughter is a neurosurgeon.” 


Good news: I just figured out everything that’s wrong with book 2. 

Bad news: I have to finish editing book 1 before I can go back to the beginning of book 2 and start ripping it to pieces. 

/types rapidly into notes program so as not to forget a thing… 



Wlliam Hogarth

Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn

England (1738)

Etching/Engaving, 16 3/4 x 21 1/4 in.

By the middle of the 18th century there were between 10-15,000 black people living in London. The development of the slave trade from the mid 17th century brought many more African people to the UK. However not all black people at this time were slaves.

Hogarth’s prints of life in London feature black performers in pageants as well as black actresses and dressers. The picture ‘Strolling Actresses in a Barn’ shows a group of touring actresses in various states of undress as they prepare for that evening’s performance of ‘The Devil to Pay’ at the George Inn in South London.

Men at this time could pay to peek at the actresses changing. The figure in the centre of the image looking out at the viewer appears to be performing for us, and casts us as one of these Peeping Toms.

The print also shows the presence of black people in
London at the time: to the right a black woman is darning the stockings of an actress; and on the left, a black actress dressed as Aurora (the goddess of dawn) picks lice off the collar of a kneeling colleague whose costume has a mermaid’s tail.

The engraving shows a seedy, disordered side to a play filled with magic and goddesses, but also illustrates the normality of a black presence in English working class communities.

-Black Performance in Britain Before 1800 (V&A Museum)

[source] [source]

She Whom I Love: Progress Report

It goes and it goes. 

Word Count: 20,323 / ~98,000? I’m getting verbose and some of that will have to get cut down or moved around. 

Listening to: snoring cats and falling rain

Reading: The Theatre of Shelley, by Jacqueline Mulhallen

Reason for Stopping: Chapter break, moving to some fic writing for a brain break. 

Things Researched: Annual salaries for Georgian staymakers, seating arrangements in small theaters, popular perfume scents in 1811.

Mean Things: Nothing major… yet 

Favorite Bit:

“Let us say,” James began, “that a friend of mine-“ Sheridan snorted with laughter, and James stopped talking. Sheridan waved him off with a swing of his hand.

“No, no, pray, continue.”

“A friend of mine is caught in a bind,” James said pointedly, but the men shared a grin. “Between a fine, lovely woman fit to be a good helpmeet and wife, and a glorious angel who haunts his dreams.”

Sheridan dropped his chin and chortled, shaking his head with the easy way of a man who has seen too much. “First things first, that friend of yours better hope that even one of ‘em will want him in the first place,” he advised. “Assuming he’s no fool.”

“Oh, he’s a fool, alright,” James said ruefully.

“So let him be foolish,” Sheridan said unexpectedly. “Marry the one and keep the other, in whatever manner he can afford.” 

She Whom I Love – update!

W00t! Two chapters drafted. I always find the first bit of a story the absolute hardest; I’ve got major plot events outlined, a list of characters and their main attributes, and now I have to find not only all their voices but the structure of the book and the points of view and all the technical stuff that can get in the way of just telling the story. It’s all rather Sysephian, until somewhere around the chapter-four mark. 

11200 / 98000 words. 11% done!

Current music: streaming true crime videos off of YouTube

Current reading: Playing to the Crowd: London Popular Theatre, 1780 – 1830. Frederick Burwick. 

Things researched: Minor London theatres, neighbourhood where actors lived, Georgian melodrama, 19th century slang.

Mean things: Unrequited passion, being queer in a straight world.

Nice things: Friendships never end

Favorite Line: 

Grace simply shook her head. “Taking presents from admirers is one thing; chasing them is another. Players are all thieves, vagabonds and whores in the eyes of the law. Don’t give anyone a chance to prove their suspicions right.” 

Book 2 has a working title! ‘She Whom I Love’

Because I’m an enormous nerd (like this is news?), and it amuses me to take a ‘holy sonnet’ and twist it for my own rude purposes. ‘She Whom I Love’ just fits, at least for the moment. 

But why should I begg more Love, when as thou

Dost wooe my soule for hers; offring all thine”

— James Donne, Holy Sonnet #17


(‘Rite of Summer’ was the boring old ‘The Country House’ for more than a year, mind you, so who can tell what it’ll end up becoming? )

And I technically have 2.697 words down out of a projected 98k or so, but a good half of that is outline notes. But it’s a start!