Hopefully will make this a weekly event, words found whilst doing my writing and researching. Feel free to email me with any you’d like included.

A disordered state of the stomach characterized by rumbling in the intestines; diarrhœa with stomach-ache; hence gen. indisposition, ‘butterflies in the stomach’, a state of nervous fear. (In quot. 1853   used nonsensically.)

1823   P. Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. Vulgar Tongue (rev. ed.) ,   Collywobbles, the gripes.
1841   Punch 9 Oct. 154/1   To..keep him from getting the collywobbles in his pandenoodles.
1853   ‘C. Bede’ Adventures Mr. Verdant Green viii. 75   A touch of the mulligrubs in your collywobbles?
1901   F. T. Bullen Sack of Shakings 308   He laughingly excused himself on the ground that his songs were calculated to give a white man collywobbles.
1959   I. Opie & P. Opie Lore & Lang. Schoolchildren x. 185   He is a ‘funk’..or has ‘got the collywobbles’.
And also a place in South Africa, so one wonders if it actually derived from the place – as “Delhi Belly” is used these days.
I think next week’s should be pandenoodles!

I’m sorry that we are a bit late in announcing this, my fault entirely! Thank you to everyone who entered, there was a great response.

The winner of Ava March’s bundle is ELIN GREGORY

The winner of my bundle is KIRSTEN

(Here’s a screencap of my draw so you can see it’s all above board!)

Well done, both of you, Carina will be sending your prize very soon. (probably after they’ve recovered from RT….)

Thanks for playing and I hope you both enjoy all the books!

Thanks to The Macaronis for having me today to start off the Carina Press M/M Week Blog Tour. Today, Carina Press is releasing six wonderful M/M romances, (two of which are historicals) and in celebration, the authors are going on a blog tour. As part of the tour, each author is giving away an ebook bundle of all 6 book releases. Yes – all six! All you need to do is comment on this post to be entered into today’s giveaway.

To start things off, today we’re going to have some fun with Regency cant. Cant is slang, usually from an underground group. For the purpose of this post, the underground group is thieves. And why am I babbling on about thieves? Because I have a book releasing today from Carina Press titled Brook Street: Thief. The book tells the story of a romance between Lord Benjamin Parker (a younger son of a marquis) and Cavin Fox (the thief).

Cavin lives in a flash house on King Street, deep in the heart of the slums (or rookery) of Regency London. Not a pleasant place to live. Over-crowded conditions with many families living in one house, narrow and very dangerous alleys, buildings that were on the verge of collapse. The rookery was full of criminals of all sorts, including thieves.

Cavin is what we would term today as a hustler or con-artist. He picks up gentlemen from gambling hells with the express intent of having sex with them then robbing them afterwards. To put gentlemen at their ease, he’s learned to not sound like a lower-class thief. To Benjamin, he appears a friendly, lower/middleclass man. Even though Cavin’s speech isn’t littered with cant, some terms are deeply ingrained in him, such as terms associated with thieving.

So now that you have a bit of background, it’s time to have some fun. And fun means quiz time! Don’t worry, I’m an easy teacher. I give gold stars to everyone, and also provide the answers after the questions.

There are a few basic thieves’ terms in the following questions. See if you can pick out the terms that go with their definitions.

1. To steal on the sly (similar to shoplifting).

A.  Sneak

B.  Pinch

C.  Dive

2.  To rob a house or a shop. To slip in undetected and take whatever’s lying around.

A.  Sneak

B.  Pinch

C.  Dive

3.  To pick a person’s pocket.

A.  Sneak

B.  Pinch

C.  Dive

4.  If someone cries beef, what are they doing?

A.  Announcing they are in the mood for a hamburger.

B.  Shouting, raising an alarm after someone.

C.  Divulging a secret.

So how do you think you did? If you’re unsure, check the answer key below. And now you know a bit of Regency thieves cant.

Brook Street: Thief by Ava March – A lord intent on his first decadent night with a man finds love when he picks up a thief in a gambling hall.


Buy Link at Carina Press:

Answer key: 1) B. 2) A. 3) C. 4) B.

Map Source: http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/snow/1818map/1818map.htm


A glance at the six books coming out from Carina this week makes me amazed at the scope of our corner of the romance world. The settings span centuries, from long ago in Ava March’s 1822 London story of class boundaries stretched and Erastes’s evocation of light and art in Florence in 1875, to not so long ago, with Larry Benjamin’s chronicle of young love in the 1970’s and 80’s and all the way to Kim Knox’s story of passion in dystopian 2050. Dev Bentham’s story is set in the present with love finally found, as is KC Burn’s tale of a relationship rekindled. Our protagonists are artists and aristocrats, pickpockets and soldiers, all steaming hot.

A Brush With Darkness by Erastes

Brook Street: Thief by Ava March

Moving in Rhythm by Dev Bentham

Bitter Harvest by Kim Knox

First Time, Forever by KC Burn

What Binds Us by Larry Benjamin

Just leave a comment on this post to enter to win an ebook bundle of all 6 releases in Carina’s M/M Week.


Check out the other stops along the tour. http://carinammweektour.blogspot.com/

19th March – Dev Bentham at Fiction Vixen http://www.fictionvixen.com

19th March – Ava March at The Macaronis https://historicromance.wordpress.com/

20th March – Larry Benjamin at Joyfully Jay http://joyfullyjay.blogspot.com/

21st March – Kim Knox at Rarely Dusty Books http://www.rarelydustybooks.com/

22nd March – Erastes at The Macaronis https://historicromance.wordpress.com/

23rd March – KC Burn at Babbling About Books, and More http://www.kbgbabbles.blogspot.com/

implausible deniability

No – the title isn’t misspelled. (However – warnings for plot spoilers of Mere Mortals)

One of the things I wanted to explore in Mere Mortals was the sheer disposability of human life. I remember that Dickens’ expose of the terrible treatment of orphans in Oliver Twist helped to start the authorities to look at them, and to improve matters–and Kingsley’s Water Babies highlighted the plight of chimney sweeps, which again led to reform.

I’m a bit too late to reform the Victorian Age, though, but I did want to explore some aspects of life that make our modern hair stand on end.

Orphans were pretty much human detritus–we see that in Oliver Twist, of course. Boys from the orphanage are simply objects, not humans to be raised and cared for in the way they are today. When Oliver plays up, asking for more food (the cheek of it!) he’s sold off to a local tradesman–which would have been a step up, if he’d managed to keep the job. He certainly had more chance surviving out of the workhouse.

Greediest Boy In The School

In Mere Mortals, the three young men, Crispin, Myles and Jude, are a little more fortunate, at least in some respects. They are obviously natural sons of well-to-do men, and better still, men who (in the absence of DNA testing and the authorities we have today such as the Child Support Agency) who feel that they should provide the minimum of decent education for those sons. But that’s as far as it went. Once those orphans left their preparatory schools, there would be no money for further education–or apprenticeships. One of them dreams of being a barrister, and that would have been impossible without funding. They might, if fortunate, be placed in an office somewhere as a clerk, or perhaps in a shop, or even–like Jane Eyre–as a tutor, but without more education than they have (two of them didn’t even take their final exams) even this last was an unlikely option.

Thing is, that orphanages and workhouses were good places to find workers for employers, scrupulous and otherwise. Today there would be a national/international uproar if you walked into a school or orphanage and said “I’ll have three, please,” and took them off, no questions asked, but back in 1847 it was a real possibility. Especially if the owner of the establishment was unscrupulous too. If he was being paid for a boy’s education–but no-one had ever checked on that boy–why not let him go, continue to take the education money and pocket the difference?

If they were taken away, no-one would bother to check up on them once they had gone. Perhaps a schoolfriend might write, if he knew where his friend was going, but the headmaster was unlikely–once rid of his responsibility–to ensure that his ex-charge was being treated well. Look at Becky Sharp, you can be sure that her headmistress, once having got shot of the acid-tongued girl, couldn’t have cared less if the girl ended up as a white slave or white slaver.

And then–if the person who HAD taken these orphans got tired of them? Or they didn’t work well at the job they were given? Or didn’t suit in some way? It’s quite likely that their future would become a little less than rosy–and if they did disappear–who’d care? Who’d check?  All the employer/abductor had to say was “Oh, they ran away, ungrateful wretches, I’ll give another boy the opportunity he obviously didn’t want.”

and in the days before Social Services, phones, email, TV…Who’d know? Who’d care?