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Nicola Cornick
I write Regency historicals for Harlequin HQN Books and also work as a historian
Recent Activity
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Nicola here, musing about the atmosphere of particular places. Today I’m taking us back a long way in English history, beyond the Regency, beyond those ubiquitous Tudors, to a time before the Norman Conquest when England was split into the Anglo Saxon seven kingdoms. The village where I live has a recorded history that goes back to this distant time – there are actual documents from the era relating to events that happened in this very place over a thousand years ago and I find that mind-blowing. As I walk along the footpaths and over the hills I frequently imagine... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2019 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here. It’s New Year’s Eve here in the UK, with fireworks, celebrations and all the traditions that go with the ending of one year and the start of the new. One of my favourite new year'e eve traditions was celebrated by my grandmother for many years - She would open the windows at the front and back of the house to invite good luck in and the front and let bad luck out at the back! However this might just have had the practical intention of airing the house after all the smells of Christmas cooking! It may be... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here. Over the past few weeks we’ve been sharing excerpts from our Word Wench Christmas Anthology, The Last Chance Christmas Ball (which is currently still on special offer in the US and Canada in the run up to the festive season – you can find it here!) A number of commenters have asked about the process we went through writing the book as a group project (thank you!), so we’ve updated a post from 2015 when the anthology first came out explaining a bit about this and about the individual stories that we came up with. Today's blog title... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here, continuing our Sunday excerpts from The Last Chance Christmas Ball, (the e-book is on special sale right now for only $.99!) Here's the setting: Christmas 1815. Upstairs and downstairs, Holbourne Abbey is abuzz with preparations for a grand ball to celebrate the year’s most festive—and romantic—holiday. For at the top of each guest’s wish list is a last chance to find true love before the New Year… My story is A Season for Marriage... Lady Caroline Camden is unhappily married to a brilliant MP whose work is his life. In love with her husband and resigned to the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here. There’s something about this time of year that makes me think about food even more than I usually do. Perhaps it’s the run up to the festive season when I’m not only thinking of the dishes I’d like to cook, or more accurately, I’d like the DH to cook for me as he’s a much better chef than I am, but somehow the dark evenings, short days and cold weather make me long to turn to food for both comfort and warmth. I’m reasonably okay about trying new dishes but when I came across a recipe that mentioned... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Last week I was in London for the RNA Winter Party and Industry Awards, and had the pleasure of meeting up with fellow Word Wench Susanna Kearsley who had come to talk to the RNA’s members about her latest book, Bellewether. It was a fabulous occasion and as an added bonus, the following day I had a ticket for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Gallery in Westminster Abbey. I’ve wanted to visit the gallery ever since I read of how they had found so many treasures up in the roof space at Westminster Abbey and that they were restoring and displaying... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here. I’ve always loved a road trip, whether real or fictional. In my time I’ve been lucky enough to circumnavigate Iceland, drive across a fair bit of Southern Africa and enjoy a fabulous journey on the iconic Route 66. Last month, though, we took to the road closer to home and travelled the North Coast 500. This amazing route around the Highlands of Scotland is becoming one of the most popular driving routes in the world and I can totally see why. It has stunning views and even more amazing history to take in on the way and I... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here. Today it is my great pleasure to welcome to the blog Julia Gasper, a historian and author whom I met through a shared interest in Craven family history. Today Julia is talking about one of the Georgian Lady Cravens, Elizabeth Berkeley, whom she intriguingly describes as a "writer, feminist and European." Julia also draws some interesting parallels between Elizabeth Stuart, for whom Ashdown was built, and her namesake Elizabeth Berkeley. "I greatly enjoyed reading Nicola Cornick’s novel, House of Shadows. However, one thing I found worrying was being told that, in this fictional world, Ashdown House had been... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here. A short and hopefully sweet blog from me today as I’m heading off on holiday to Scotland soon and am surrounded by dog and human packing and am trying to work out how much food we will all need for 2 weeks in remote locations! Anyway, back to the blog, and a writing friend mentioned to me a week or so ago that she thought numbers in book titles were becoming a trend. Just as there had been “girl” titles, so there are now number titles, and a glance at the UK charts seems to support this: Joanna... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here, introducing this month’s Ask A Wench question which is: "What comfort foods and other strange rituals do the Wenches turn to when under deadline?" This is a subject which elicited many sighs, groans and hollow laughter when it was raised amongst us. We've all been in deadline territory and we have the scars to prove it. How do we handle it? What rituals do we indulge in to tempt the Muse? How much extra chocolate does it take to see us through to the end of the book? These are all questions that we will be tackling. And... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Here in the UK it’s the first day of the new school year today. I can vividly remember the pleasure of the school summer holidays – six weeks off! – lasting from the end of July to the beginning of September, including my birthday and usually a holiday by the seaside. Summer was such a treat in that respect! Then the days would start to shorten and the nights would turn cooler and even if it felt as though it was still summer we knew that autumn and a return to school was on the way. The shops would all... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here, inviting everyone to join me in a small celebration! Twenty years ago this year my first book for Harlequin Mills & Boon was published. True Colours was named in homage to Georgette Heyer; the writing style probably owed a fair amount to her as well for she, along with Alice Chetwynd Ley, Clare Darcy and others had been strong influences on my developing love of the Regency romance. Even now I can remember the sense of disbelief to see a book I had written actually in print. For years I had written in my spare time – 12... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2018 at Word Wenches
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You'd have been in full keeping with tradition if you'd leapt into the Serpentine, Andrea! Yes, it's so typical of Oxford and Cambridge to keep that rivalry going in any way they can...
Toggle Commented Aug 3, 2018 on A Dip in the Pool of History at Word Wenches
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That sounds lovely, Mary. I think it is wonderful how the water can improve our sense of well-being.
Toggle Commented Aug 3, 2018 on A Dip in the Pool of History at Word Wenches
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Nicola here! Last month we had a heatwave in England and now once again the hot weather is back, the grass has turned yellow and there’s talk of banning the use of hosepipes. Our heat here (up to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit) is nothing though compared to the temperatures elsewhere in Europe and also across the world. It’s not something we’re equipped to deal with (no air con in most homes and other buildings) but at least as an island we have lots of lovely beaches and cool seas. I live as far away from the sea as it’s possible... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Hello! This is Angus MacLeod Cornick. Today I’m an honorary Word Wench as Nicola has turned her blog spot over to me to tell you about how I train service dogs for the UK Guide Dogs Association. It’s a demanding job but I like to feel I do my bit to help and my fee of one special dog treat per day is, I think, very reasonable. Earlier this year I qualified as an official Guide Dogs supporter dog, a role usually reserved for retired or failed guide dogs – Nicola was very proud of me! The exam was arduous... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here, with another of my summer historic house travelogues. I finished my latest manuscript a week ago and in traditional fashion celebrated by cleaning the house and doing some ironing. As regular readers of the Wench blog will know, this is the time we all catch up on the thousand and one things that get neglected whilst we are in our writing caves desperately trying to get to The End. Much as a city break in Europe or even a trip to the seaside might sound nice, it’s usually the mundane things that claim our attention, partly because we... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here. Last week I spent a most enjoyable evening in London at a Georgette Heyer soiree. It was part of a two-day event organised jointly by London University and the London Book Fair; earlier in the day there had been a conference on Georgette Heyer and her writing which my writing friend and colleague Sophie Weston had attended. You can read her report on the conference here and it’s both fun and thought-provoking, like Georgette Heyer herself. The evening soiree was, appropriately enough, in an 18th century townhouse, The House of St Barnabas, 1 Greek Street, Soho, London. It... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here, talking about a recent visit to a place steeped in history. “At the edge of Wiltshire’s ancient Savernake forest lies a house steeped in Royal history. Shrouded in mystery and lost to the mists of time, Wolfhall stands, a testimony to the rise and fall of the Seymour family, so crucial to the heart of the Tudor monarchy and the history of England itself…” So reads the enticing introduction on The Real Wolfhall website, drawing in all of us who have a fascination with Tudor history. Long before Hilary Mantel made the name “Wolf Hall” famous all over... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here, introducing this month's feature on our Wenchly reading. After what felt like a long reading slump I’ve had an amazing month of good books. I was lucky enough to be a judge for the RNA Debut Novel award and really enjoyed the experience; there was a huge range of books in contention this year, ranging from an 18th century historical set in Ireland that was based on a riveting true story – Heart of Stone by John Jackson - to a laugh out loud romantic comedy – Perfect Match by Zoe May – with a load of other... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Spring is advancing which means that in villages and stately homes across the length and breadth of the British Isles the mournful cry of the peacock will start to ring out, followed by various news stories about how bad-tempered and/or exhausted peacocks have been causing havoc. Last year there was Kevin, a mischievous peacock causing mayhem in a Derbyshire village, then we heard about Henry the peacock who was so tired of being the only male in a flock of peahens (exhausting work!) that he flew away for some rest. The peacock is a familiar sight at many of our... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here! As readers and writers we all know the importance of a character’s name. The right name can fit perfectly with our view of that person; the wrong one can completely pull us out of a story. With historical fiction it’s even trickier because not only do names have to fit the character but they also need to be historically correct. Nothing breaks my enjoyment more than a Regency heroine called Tiffany. And that is where I am wrong, as I discovered a couple of weeks ago when I heard about “The Tiffany Effect.” The Tiffany Effect is the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here, with a post that is part travelogue, part about settings and backgrounds in books. There’s something about Cornwall, isn’t there. It rivals Scotland in the imagination as a romantic setting for a novel. It's wild, rugged and magical. Perhaps it all started with Daphne Du Maurier and with Winston Graham’s Poldark books and the TV series. I know it did for me. I grew up on the original BBC dramatization of Poldark, though my teenage heart was mostly given to Dr Enys rather than to Ross. When the more recent dramatization came out I felt it couldn’t possibly... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Nicola here. I’ve always found writing minor characters to be fun. They add context and depth to a story. Sometimes they run away with it and demand a story of their own. In House of Shadows I have an “offstage” character, Lady Evershot, who is modelled on a famous Georgian aristocrat, Elizabeth Berkeley, and as this is Women’s History Month I thought it would be fun to talk about Lady Elizabeth, who was most definitely a woman ahead of her time. Lady Elizabeth Berkeley was the daughter of the Earl of Berkeley, and married the 6th Baron Craven when she... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Last week, on a cold and snowy morning, I went up to Buckingham Palace to visit an exhibition in the Queen’s Gallery. It was a brisk walk across Green Park (I hadn’t seen London in the snow for years) and I pitied the poor little green parakeets that live there. London isn’t exactly prime parakeet climate at the best of times and I imagine they are shivering at the moment. There was a big crowd at Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard, but we were heading around the side to the gallery entrance to see “Charles II: Art... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2018 at Word Wenches
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