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Archive for September, 2013

From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Detail of an original George Cruikshank engrav...

Detail of an original George Cruikshank engraving showing the Artful Dodger introducing Oliver to Fagin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Father or Fence: a buyer of stolen property.

(Well, this meaning of Fence has made its way into correct usage but Father is a new one to me. Maybe it was a useful. If someone asked where that gift they gave you went, you could tell them, “I left if at my father’s place.”Uncle could be used in the same way. Also useful code for thieves speaking in public I imagine.)

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Französisches Duell im Bois de Bologne von Par...

Französisches Duell im Bois de Bologne von Paris – eine Zeichnung von Durand 1874 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dead-Set: a pointed attack on a person.

(Interesting how that one morphed. Now if you’re Dead-Set your are determined in your position.

Of course back then a “set to” was a fight, so Dead-Set makes sense since it’s an attack on one person in the hopes of killing him.)

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Map of Silidor Valley on Kickstarter

Map of Silidor Valley on Kickstarter

Okay, this is off topic, but I’m too excited not to share.

Besides being a historical fiction author, I’m also a huge fan of D & D and fantasy novels in general. So while I’ve been doing the marketing for Lady Blade and researching a prequel, I’ve also been working on a side project. It’s a map of my home, the San Francisco Bay Area, done in fantasy style.  A Map of Silidor Valley instead of Silicon Valley.

Well, it’s up on Kickstarter now. We’re hoping to make enough money to get the maps printed and out to the masses. And guess what! In the one day that it’s been live we’ve been 38% funded! The response has been incredible. I feel very humbled and honored.

So if you love the Bay Area and see it as a land of wonder and possibility, like I do, come take a look.

A Map of Silidor Valley

C. J.

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Slang (Def Leppard song)

Slang (Def Leppard song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And now for something completely different. Here are a bunch of words that have not only kept their slang meanings for the last couple hundred years but have also become standard usage. Pretty amazing. They’re in no particular order.

Natty: pretty, neat, tidy. Old.

Let On: to give the intimation of having some knowledge of a subject. Ramsey employs the phrase in the Gentle Shepherd. Common in Scotland.

Fat: rich, abundant, &c.; “a Fat lot;” “to cut it Fat,” to exaggerate, to show off in an extensive or grand manner, to assume undue importance;   As a theatrical term, a part with plenty of Fat in it, is one which affords the actor and opportunity of effective display.

Dawdle: to loiter, or fritter away time.

Off One’s Feed: real or pretended want of appetite. Stable slang.

Bar or Barring: excepting; in common use in the betting ring; “I bet against the field Bar two.” The Irish use of Barrin‘ is very similar.

Deck: a pack of cards. Old. Used by Bulwer as a cant term. General in the United States.

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First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

Hi Friends,

So, how do you stuff a 600 page (double spaced) book into a 120 page screenplay? Seriously, I’d like to know, ’cause I’m having a hell of a time.

Okay, so I do have some ideas. I originally wrote Lady Blade as a screenplay so I have the original work to start from, But in the five years I spent writing the book the story has changed quite a bit. There are a ton more characters, lots more difficulties for my main character Francesca  to overcome, more subtleties and subplots. I know I have to let them all go, but it hurts.

So I’m saying goodbye to Willy Brown, the orphaned 16-year-old son-of-a-gun (or son of a woman who worked the docks) who trained Francesca in her topman duties – working the lines and sails above deck on the ship.  And who Francesca saves when he’s going to be strung up for stealing from another pirate.

Sayonara to Tuit, the tattooed islander who takes the “bad luck” off Francesca in a moonlight ritual. And goodbye to the ritual too.

Farewell to Mr. Hart, the ex-navy sailing master who refers to Francesca as Mr. DiCesare because he doesn’t approve of women aboard ship.

And to Old Nob, the ageless, leathered leader of her messmates who scurries through the rigging like a squirrel.

And so much more.

Creating them was a joy. Losing them is painful. But it’s not like they’re going away for good. They’ll still be there in the book. I can always go back and visit. And I do like that the process of adapting the story back to the screen makes me really focus on what’s important.

Still, it’s painfully obvious why people always go to the movie and then say, “I liked the book better.”

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

English: King lords

English: King lords (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Out and Out: prime, excellent, of the first quality. Out and Outer, “one who is of an Out and Out description,” Up to anything. An ancient MS. has this couplet, which show the antiquity of the phrase.

The Kyng was good alle aboute,
And she was wycked oute and oute.

(I had no idea it went back so far. They were amazingly fond of the letters “e” and “y.”

Good king, wicked queen, it’s a story as olde as tyme.)

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

English: J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter ...

English: J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the Easter Egg Roll at White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One-er: that which stands for One, a blow that requires no more. In Dickens’ amusing work, the “Marchioness” tells Dick Swiveller that “her missus is a One-er cards.”

(I like it. Though I’d hate to be at the receiving end of a One-er blow. I suppose it’s related to the current phrase, one and done. Mike Tyson or Ali at his prime was a One-er. In the publishing world J. K. Rowling would definitely be a One-er. Anyone else?)

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First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

Hi Friends,

I’m thrilled to see that in the month that the first chapter of Lady Blade has been up on Wattpad it’s already gotten over 200 reads! Great news. I’d love to keep the momentum going! So if you haven’t taken a look, it’s free to read, and here’s the link:

Lady Blade – Chapter One

My short story, My Brave Girl, about Francesca’s birth during a pirate attack, has gotten 192 reads! If you haven’t read the story yet I do believe it is my best so far – and it’s free! So if you like pirates, tall ships and mayhem, here’s the link:

My Brave Girl

Thanks everyone!

C. J.

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

A classic cocktail combining carbonated water,...

A classic cocktail combining carbonated water, sugar, lemon juice and gin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On: “to be On,” in public-house or vulgar parlance, is synonymous with getting “tight,” or tipsy; “It’s Saint Monday with him, I see he’s On again,” i.e., drunk as usual, or On the road to it.

(Well that meaning has certainly changed. Although, I have to say, as an introvert, after a glass of Old Tom I’m definitely more talkative and outgoing –  or On.)

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

English: Speeches and rally against the establ...

English: Speeches and rally against the establishment of a penal colony. Cape Colony. Painting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the Shelf: to be transported. With old maids it has another and very different meaning.

(Okay, I’m assuming he’s referring to the old meaning of being transported – “To send abroad to a penal colony,” not “to move to strong emotion; carry away; enrapture.” I can see how you’d be On the Shelf in a penal colony – out of circulation, unable to take part in anything… Sounds miserable. Also pretty easy to imaging the meaning for old maids, they too would be to some extent out of circulation and unable to take part in anything.

From Wikipedia:

Under British law, transportation was a sentence imposed for a felony,  for which capital punishment was deemed too severe; for example, forgery of a document was a capital crime until the 1820s, when the penalty was reduced to transportation. The sentence was imposed for life or for a set period of years. If imposed for a period of years, the offender was permitted to return home after serving out his time, but had to make his own way back. Many offenders thus stayed in the colony as free persons.

North America was used for transportation from the early 17th century to the American Revolution of 1776.  The first Transportation Act in 1718 allowed courts to sentence convicts to seven years’ transportation to America.  Returning from transportation was a capital offense.

The gaols became overcrowded and dilapidated ships were pressed into service, the hulks moored in various ports as floating gaols. The number of convicts transported to North America is not verified although it has been estimated to be 50,000 by John Dunmore Lang and 120,000 by Thomas Keneally.

The American Revolutionary War brought transportation to an end, and the British Government was forced to look elsewhere.

In 1787, the “First Fleet” departed from England, to establish the first British settlement in Australia, as a penal colony. They arrived at Port Jackson (Sydney) on 26 January 1788, a date now celebrated as Australia Day. Norfolk Island served as a convict penal settlement from 1788 until 1794, and again from 1824 to 1847.  In 1803, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) was also settled as a penal colony, followed by the Moreton Bay Settlement (Queensland) in 1824. The other Australian colonies were “free settlements”, as non-convict colonies were known. Until the massive influx of immigrants during the Australian gold rushes of the 1850s, the settler population had been dominated by English and Irish convicts and their descendants.

Transportation from Britain and Ireland officially ended in 1868 although it had become uncommon several years earlier.)

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