When we decided on the topic for this month’s Read Around the Rainbow blog, given I write gentle MM Historical Romances, I thought my contribution might be rather bland and vanilla compared to my fellow blog ringers. And that suspicion was only confirmed when I glanced through my recent bookmarks for this year.
For my Valentine’s story, The Spice of Life, set in Elizabethan England, I was looking up information on spice merchants and pomanders plus a map of Elizabethan London to check streets and routes for my characters to walk along. For my April story, London in the Rain, there were more maps (this time for 1930s London) and a couple of fascinating articles about clubs in the contemporary Queer scene in Soho. These were truly inspiring reads and lent so much vibrancy to my story.
There were similar searches relevant for my June and July stories. I looked up some info on 17th-century agriculture specifically for the county of Oxfordshire for my first story, and then for the second, some details about prosthetics for injuries sustained in the Napoleonic Wars in the late 18th/early 19th centuries.
All was prim and proper until I got to my current story, One Summer Night. And then I went and spoiled it by having to fact check 18th-century dildos. I blame my characters entirely! Of course, there is nothing new about sex toys which are probably almost as old as the impulse. However, as available materials change over the centuries, it was important to ensure that any items mentioned in my story were made of historically relevant substances. That is my excuse, and I am sticking to it.
In case anyone ever needs some useless and random historical facts about sex toys, in 1793, according to James Caulfield in Blackguardiana: Or A Dictionary of Rogues, “dildoes are made of wax, horn, leather and other diverse substances and if fame does not lie more than usually, are to be had at many of our great toy shops and nick nackatories.” So now you know. And I’m definitely borrowing the term “nick nackatories” to drop into casual conversation.
Since then, normal service has resumed, and I’m back to searching early 19th-century entertainments at London’s Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and the 1802 Treaty of Amiens. That’s quite enough excitement for this year!
I’m thoroughly looking forward being amused and amazed by everyone else’s weird and wonderful internet searches.
My post will be linked on the last Friday of every month with posts from fellow blog ring members. There are eight other writers blogging in the Read Around the Rainbow Webring this month… find their posts about their weird internet searches!