Where My Research Took Me – Ice Houses In The Nineteenth Century

I first learned about ice houses at my grandparents resort on Red Lake in Ontario, Canada when I was around six or seven years old. Even in the 1950s a few ice houses were still used in remote areas like this one. Hard to believe, but true. The pictures below are very old, probably, 60 to 70 years old and are old black and white photos but I think they will help with the understanding of ice houses and ice harvesting.

Ice House with convenor of ice from the channel to the house.

While Writing my current book in progress, How To Kiss A Troll I mentioned the Bjornson’s ice house and was remembered of my grandparent’s ice house. That’s how this blog was born.

The ice was floated to the Ontario resort ice house much like what is described below. My grandparents kept the fish caught by vacationing customers in the ice house. The fish was packed in chipped ice within boxes

and then those boxes were kept in the ice house. Sometimes hunters kept their venison and bear meat in this ice house, too. In the this old black and white picture my grandmother stands in the forefront  and you’ll see the conveyor that carries the ice cakes from the channel that led from the lake.

 

Grandpa LeGore in the forefront. Men with huge ice hooks in the background.

Ice Harvesting:

Prior to the 1800s there is little recorded about harvesting ice but even the ancients tried their hand at keeping food fresh by keeping it cold.

In the late 1700s and 1800s farmers harvested ice for their own use, storing meat and dairy foods.

Harvesting ice was cold, hard, wet work. At times, it was dangerous too. Once the first piece of ice was cut, a man could easily fall into the freezing water and drown. And in the process of storing the ice, a man could be crushed by a falling cake of ice. We have to appreciate what farmers and ice companies went through just to preserve their foods and have little ice tea in the summer.

How thick the ice had to be before it could be cut in a river or pond varied from one place to another. The thickness might be as deep as 20 to 30 inches or as little as 6 inches. A hole was drilled into the ice and a measuring pole was inserted into the ice to test how thick it was.

At first, ice cutting was a rural affair that took place each year after Christmas in January or February. Farmers took their teams and flat sleighs to a lake or pond and cut a hole large enough to accommodate a wooden chute. Using one-handled crosscut saws, men cut ice blocks weighing about 300 pounds. Then using picks or rigging towed by a horse, they pulled the blocks up a chute to their flat low-to-the-ground sleighs.

Teamsters hauled the ice to the farms where a group of neighbors unloaded it into an ice house. This was repeated many times during the day.

A thick layer of sawdust or salt hay was layered on the floor of the icehouse before the ice arrived. The ice blocks were pushed up a plank into the house and layered inside with a thick layer of sawdust dust that kept the cakes separated when taken out during the summer. About a foot of sawdust or hay was used between the ice and the walls of the ice house for insulation. After the house was filled, a layer of sawdust or hay was spread on the top layer as well.

Below is a picture of my grandfather Roy Le Gore standing by the ice channel used to float the ice to the conveyor that led to the ice house.

In Cites:

Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth of Boston is credited with developing large scale ice harvesting starting around 1825. Due to his inventions ice could be harvested and shipped internationally.

The snow on a pond or river where ice was harvested had to be scraped of snow until ice harvesting time, which meant it was cleared many times during the winter. Plows pulled by horses piled the snow along the shoreline in snow dumps.

When the field of ice to be harvested was chosen, the field was lined off into squares. Sometimes the ice blocks measured 22′ x 22′, sometimes 22′ x 32′ as in New York.

Next came the ice plow which cut the ice about two-thirds the depth of the ice. Hand tools were used to detach the blocks so they could be floated through a channel that has been cut for that purpose to the ice houses located close to the shoreline. Hand tools consisted of steel saws and sometimes a bar or chisel as well as grapple hooks.

Sometimes horses guided the ice cakes downstream and sometimes a man or men on shore used poles to guild the floating ice to the ice house. [There are many pictures of these steps in the book, America’s Icemen. Pictures of the hand tools and plows are also available.]

Large ice house companies built elevators powered by steam to move the ice out of the water and up into the ice houses. Inside the house, the ice slide down shoots to the ice house floor. Men at the bottom using pole-hooks arranged them until the floor was covered. Several tiers of ice were made until the house was full. Lots of details, too many to list here, happen during this process in and out of the water, but this is basically how it was done. [Find more information from the provided links and books.]

Ice companies used large forces of men, sometimes as many as 100 to accomplish the ice harvesting.

I was surprised to learn that railroad cars could be loaded with ice destined for inland cities.

Ice Houses:

Ice houses were first built below ground. These were usually personal ice houses on farms.

There were little to no commercial ice houses prior to 1800. Frederick Tudor of Boston became known as the Ice King after succeeding in large domestic and export markets of ice.

Ice was being commercially cut on the Hudson River at Athens, New York in 1847 and by 1880 there were 160 large commercial ice houses along the Hudson.

Neighborhood Deliveries:

Horse drawn enclosed wagons delivered ice to customers’ homes all summer. Ice companies had ice routes in towns like the milkman. Most had scales on the wagons to weigh the ice. Some just guessed. It was up to the housewife to get a chunk of ice from her kitchen’s back door into her ice box. Ice deliveries were a mess on her floors and a big complaint.

Home Ice Boxes and Refrigerators:

In homes ice was kept in ice boxes and only lasted about two days. I found around 42 ice box manufacturers listed from the 1800s. A brand by D. Eddy & Son of Boston was the oldest and said to be the best quality. The ice box became outdated in the early 1900s by electric refrigerators. In 1913 the Domestic Electric Refrigerator was marketed in Chicago.

The historical story of ice boxes and refrigerators is another topic and too long to go into here. However, here are a few interesting facts.

From: Domestic Technology A Chronology of Developments by Nell Du Vall – This book is now very pricey. I feel lucky that I’ve had mine for years. I have seen used copies and if you write historicals or just plain love history, this book is a must have.

*Most domestic-use refrigerators didn’t come into use until the beginning of the 20th century.

*1899 Albert T. Marshall received a patent in 1899

*1918 The Kelvinator – I heard my grandmothers mention this one

*1919 Frigidaire

* 1931 Freon was introduced

*1939 General Electric introduced a dual temperature refrigerator for frozen foods and foods to be kept for limited time.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look at ice houses, ice harvesting and refrigeration. Below is a list of resources with more information.

Resources/Links

Books:

The Ice Industry of the United States (1888) by Henry Hall– excellent book

America’s Icemen, An illustarative History of the United States Natural Ice Industry 1665-1925 by Joseph C. Jones Jr. – I own a hardcover of this book but it’s become pricy. However there is paperback version fro around $16.00.

Tidewater Ice of the Kennebec River by Jennie G. Everson

Domestic Technology A Chronology of Developments by Nell Du Vall

Internet:

Ice House facts and history

Ice Harvesting in the 19th Century – Good site

Ice History – excellent sight with pictures and info on tools etc.

The Story of Ice Before Home Freezers

 

 

 

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Laughter – A Gift To Readers and Writers And Everyone In Between, in memory of my son, Alan

 

Laughter goes a long way to heal the body and soul. As a writer I’ve experienced laughter’s wonderful gift in real life events and in fictional movies and books.

 

 

Did you know that the Cancer Center of America supports laughter therapy for its patients?

Paraphrased from Cancer Center of America: After evaluating patients before and after a humorous events, results demonstrated that episodes of laughter help reduce pain, decrease stress hormones and boost the immune system.”

Ridding the body of stress hormones is important because stress “feeds” cancer. It also exasperates other illnesses and conditions.

Laughter is a superman among medicines.

I’ve always enjoyed funny books and movies, but I had my eyes opened to the vast benefits when I became my son’s caretaker for two years during his cancer treatments at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas.

There was no such thing as immune therapies then, and Alan’s battle was made worse by the fact that he could not be with his children very often. The chemo destroyed his immune system and kids are little germinators. So, his wife remained in North Texas, taking care of them and holding down the fort with only rare visits. We all felt Alan’s pain and stress over this.

Alan and I lived in a two-bedroom apartment within a mile of the hospital. His illness was already 4th stage when diagnosed and his treatment was extremely harsh. Often it seemed we took two steps forward, only to take one step back. The stress on both us took a toll, not to mention his physical discomfort.

Then one day, a stranger opened my eyes. As we sat waiting for the patient bus that would drive us to our apartment, I was feeling particularly defeated. A man’s hearty laugh drew my attention. For some reason it made me feel better and I glanced over to see what was so funny. I was shocked. Half of the man’s face was gone. I nearly cried. Not so much for the horror of his loss, but for the fact that I felt ashamed of myself.

I mean, here was a man who had lost so much and yet, he could still laugh. I determined then and there, that a defeatist attitude would win us no battles against the depression or the cancer.

And so Alan and I laughed — whenever we got the chance. Sure we had some low moments but we managed to find humor in almost every situation, and we used the he** out of it.

Even during the one-week intervals every 21 days, when he received chemo in the hospital, we laughed. We watched old movies together until the wee hours of the morning – didn’t matter how lame they were as long as they were funny. I remember one in particular, the The Cone Heads. We laughed till our cheeks hurt.

Laughter helped Alan push through his misery. It helped me to cheer him on.

One time we came back to the apartment to discover a bat-size moth roosting in the artificial fichus plant by his favorite chair. My big brave son jumped a foot when it flew out at him, and we became a couple of bumbling stooges trying to wave the darn thing out the door, him with his shirt and me with a broom. Again, we laughed so hard. Another time a huge and I mean Texas-size tree roach appeared on his bed cover. Alan came tearing out of his room yelling as me to “get it.” I’m like, no way! I don’t do creepy crawlers. But I found the trusty broom and the bug spray, batted the monster off his bed and drowned it bug juice. Then I teased the he** out of my son.

I have many such stories that happened during those two years. Now, almost five years after his passing, I remember our special bonding over shared laughter. In my grief, nothing has ever comforted or healed me more then those memories of laughing together.

I’ve always been fond of humor in the fiction I read. I suppose that’s why I like to write humor in my own stories. Like most writers, I’ve endured more than one crisis in my life and looking back, I realize humor and laughter have always helped me get through rough times.

One of my readers once said to me, “I know what you were going through when you wrote that book. How on earth did you write something so funny at a time like that?”

It was an easy question to answer. I told her, “the book saved me; its humor was an escape and reminded me what’s truly important in life.”

It’s my hope that the humor in my stories will — even for a moment — put a smile on the face of someone who’s having a tough time.

May is my son’s birthday month so I’m posting the special links below. I hope you’ll take a look.

You don’t have to donate money to help cancer patients. Only about 75% of patients have family members that are perfect matches for a stem cell transplant. You can save a life by registering and donating stem cells. Here are a few links to sites that will explain how it’s done.

On a special note: For some reason, Asian stem cell donors are few. Thus Asians and half Asians [like my son] have a more difficult time to find a match. If you’re Asian, please consider donating.

Links:

A You Tube explanation of the process should you be chosen to donate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyriQibRhLA

Real stem cell donor talks about how to donate stem cells and how easy it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPwNSd15phQ

BONE MORROW DONERS WORDWIDE http://www.bmdw.org/index.php?id=addresses_members&no_cache=1

How to become a stem cell donor

http://www.bmdw.org/index.php?id=become_donor

BE THE MATCH how to register & receive a stem cell test kit http://marrow.org/Support-the-Cause/Donate-bone-marrow/Join-the-marrow-registry/Join-now/

BE THE MATCH how to register & receive a stem cell test kit

https://join.bethematch.org/s/landing

https://www.anthonynolan.org/8-ways-you-could-save-life/donate-your-stem-cells

 

 

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Meet Ewok My New Puppy

Ewok & Me

 

 

Meet Ewok, my new Shichon puppy. He’s part Shih Tzu and part Bichon Frise. And because of him I’m adding a dog to my next book. He’ll be much bigger and in fact is half wolf. I hope my readers will enjoy reading about him.

It’s been many years since I owned a pet but since hubby is retired and we are no longer moving state to state, it seemed a great time.

 

The minute I saw Ewok’s little face, I knew he was for me. He’s one little furry cotton ball with blond ears and a small patch of blond on his back. And boy is he a little lover. 

I can’t wait till he’s potty trained so he can join me in my office while I write.

One might ask why a puppy? They are a lot of work!

Well, how I came to find Ewok is a long story.

I tried to adopt an adult rescue dog through Petfinder.com with no luck. I admit I had some criteria I was looking for a non-shedding, little dog. Unfortunately,  I had a devil of a time getting this organization to answer my questions about their doggies. I got my hopes up  several times [you have to be approved] only to have my heart broken.This organization even inspects your home if they think you are good candidate. I totally understand that. They don’t want someone chaining an animal outside on a dirt pile all day. I was ready and willing to jump through hoops and filled out their forms. Sadly we never reached the point of a home inspection.

One foster dog mom indicated I was too “old” to have an adult dog who was 3 years old. Now since I have neighbors who are 20 years my senior with pets, I was flabbergasted. Admittedly, the dog I applied for was adorable and many applied for her. I knew that would be the case and arrived an hour early for her showing. I was so excited, but like I said, it didn’t happen.

Another little dog that I loved on sight needed TLC as she’d been mistreated. After three weeks of waiting for a yea or nae, I emailed them. A couple weeks later I received an e-mail saying they had decided she was too feral and I’d have to adopt a second dog along with her so she could relearn how to fit into a family from the other better adjusted dog. Why they didn’t say this in the first place, I don’t know. They’d just stated she needed a quite home. 

Since my grand kids are out of state, I’d thought my home was perfect for this little dog, but taking in two dogs at once in my small home wasn’t a good idea, so ….

I inquired about other dogs and never received a reply. Each time, I gave them three weeks because the foster homes for these dogs is volunteer and I knew these people most likely had day-jobs.

Hubby got tired of seeing my heart broken and called our vet friend in Iowa.

Ewok

Terri was wonderful and recommended a certified breeder in Burlington, Iowa. This breeder even gives warranties with her pups. After talking to another couple who had purchased a pup from this breeder, I decided to go this route. 

I accepted that a puppy would be more work, but we are so happy with Ewok and he is such a loving little dog, healthy and cute as a button. 

So how did I name him? I’m sure most of you recognize the term Ewok as the name of the teddy bear-like characters in Star Wars. The Shichon puppies are commonly called Teddy Bear dogs for obvious reason and since I’m also a Star Wars fan from way back, Ewok just fit. On top of that when I researched dog names, I found none called Ewok, and I liked that he’d have a unique name. 

So tell me about your fur babies. I’d love to hear their stories and puppy tips you might offer too!

 

 

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Catching Up With A Few Funnies In English Language

Hey Everyone. Yeah it’s been since Christmas since I posted and I’m sorry for that. All, I can say is that it was quite a winter at my house. That’s why I decided a few chuckles were in order. So here’s a few funnies from our English Language. I received these from a friend’s e-mail so I have no idea who took the time to look these up, but I thank them for the laugh because really it’s no wonder foreigners trying to learn English have a difficult time of it. 

Enjoy these, and please feel free to add some of your own in comments. You know me, I love my lists!

1) The bandage was *wound* around the *wound*.

2) The farm was used to *produce produce*.

3) The dump was so full that it had to *refuse* more *refuse*.

4) We must *polish* the *Polish* furniture.

5) He could *lead*if he would get the *lead* out.

6) The soldier decided to *desert* his dessert in the *desert*.

7) Since there is no time like the *present*, he thought it was time to  *present* the *present*.

8) A *bass* was painted on the head of the *bass* drum.

9) When shot at, the *dove dove *into the bushes.

10) I did not *object* to the *object*.

11) The insurance was *invalid* for the *invalid*.

12) There was a *row* among the oarsmen about how to *row*.

13) They were too *close* to the door to *close* it.

14) The buck *does* funny things when the *does* are present.

15) A seamstress and a *sewer* fell down into a *sewer* line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his *sow* to *sow*.

17) The *wind* was too strong to *wind* the sail.

18) Upon seeing the *tear* in the painting I shed a *tear*.

19) I had to *subject* the *subject* to a series of tests.

20) How can I *intimate* this to my most *intimate* friend?

Okay, your turn to add a few of these.

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Happy 2017 Holidays Everyone!

Our Court Yard

It’s been some time since I’ve posted and I apologize for that. With vacations, family doings and some health issues to deal with, I’ve been lax.

Just to catch you up with some of my doings, I’m including some pictures below, but first …

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

For those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas please know that by wishing you a Merry Christmas I’m simply wishing you good things and wonderful family times as I’m sure you wish others when celebrating your favorite holidays. 

My biggest wish for 2018 is that we will find ourselves being kinder to each other. Kindness rubs off and comes back to make us smile.

If you love Christmas as much as I do and would like to read about the history of Christmas, the songs and traditions, click on the following links for part I, part II, Part III and Part IV of A Brief History of Christmas Traditions.

 

 

If you follow me on Facebook you know we took our family on a huge Disney Cruise this year with 11 of us altogether. The kids had a ball so did the parents. It was so much fun I’d do it all over again!

Silly was the name of the game.

Ready for Trick or Treat

Tug of War on Deck

Cajun night

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Where My Research Took Me – Spanish Guitars

I’m working on How To Kiss A Troll and you might wonder how a story about a Norwegian family led me to Spanish Guitars.

It’s simple, My heroine Bella, flees her father’s Texas Ranchero for Minnesota where the Norwegian hero, Ax Bjornson’s family shelters her.

Bella has had some trying times but through it all she had her music, a beautiful flamenco guitar handed down to her by her grandfather. Her guitar is made of the traditional Spanish/Mediterranean cypress which makes it very light.

 

The flamenco has Moorish and Spanish roots and the Spanish gypsies were famous for playing the instrument.

Many modern Spanish guitars are made of Indian rosewood or Maple because the cypress has become more scarce, thus making them very expensive. These modern versions are a heavier wood and this affects the tone somewhat.

Spanish guitars are played in a flurries of notes and are very percussive. They don’t sustain notes as long as other guitars because they’re made for volume and attack. I’m sure everyone has noticed how flamenco guitarists strum the strings very vigorously. The guitars are also smaller than the American guitars The result is sharper notes, sometimes almost metallic in sound. And instead of using a pick guard, the flamenco’s slightly different barrier allows the guitarist to tap his fingers against the guitar while he is playing.

During the Renaissance there were two types Spanish guitars, the Vihuela, played in court and the guitarra latina, which was played by ordinary folk. The Vihuela had eleven strings, five double and one single and was plucked. The guitarra latina had four double strings and was strummed. Soon a fifth string was added to this guitar and it gained popularity over the Vihuela. Toward the end of the 17th century as sixth string was added. The added strings helped the guitar to better heard in concert with other instruments.

In How To Kiss A Troll, Bella finds a fellow music lover in Ax’s sister. Mista. She plays a stringed instrument as well, the hardanger fiddle. Back then they looked different than the modern ones and the type of music played on them was very different from the Spanish guitar. But that’s another blog.

If you’d like to listen the flamenco guitars and see some Spanish dancing be sure to visit the links below.

Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inBKFMB-yPg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADwfyxpriAM

More music and Spanish gypsy dancers! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLFH01qJT3k

For more history:

http://www.spanishguitarlessons.org/spanish_guitar_history.html

http://www.linguatics.com/guitar.htm

 

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Humor – What’s Your Favorite Kind to Read or Write

There’s an old saying that says “life is stranger than fiction” and this holds true with humor too.

I think we’ve all been in a ridiculous situation that when we relay it to friends it sounds like we’re embellishing it just to get a laugh. But some stuff you just can’t make up. <g> Or can you?

I like to read humor and in all of my books, you’ll find funny situations that actually could happen.

 

 

I love when an author takes a perfectly sane character and throws them into a hilarious situation that while uncommon is totally believable. Some call this situational comedy.

An example:

Okay, this really happened. But it’s funny and it could happen to anyone . . . maybe. It’s a situation that took two normally sane people, me and writer friend Dee Speers and turned us into Ethel and Lucy. It’s too bad I write historical because it truly needs to be in a book.

Dee and I were attending a Romantic Times conference in Fort Worth. She lived in Phoenix at the time and had come to stay at my house out on the lake.

We jumped into my beautiful pearlized white Infinity and drove into town, styling long evening dresses for an awards dinner. We were driving and gabbing when we heard a tin-sounding pop!

Me: “Oh my God, what did I just run over.”
Dee: “I think I saw some kind of can roll out of that truck service lot over there.”
Me: “I wonder if it hurt my tires?”
Dee: “Better pull over.”

We pulled over into the truck service lot, hoisted our dresses and got out.
Dee looked at the passenger side of the car: “Oh my god!”

I rushed around the car to find black paint speckling the side of my pretty white car. My first thought. Tony [my husband] is going to kill me!

Me: “Oh, my god, we have to get it off before it dries.”

We’re both standing there with no way to do this. And yeah, we didn’t want to get dirty.

Two mechanics from the truck place came running with rags soaked in paint thinner.”We saw the whole thing! We’ll help.” [They were probably the buggers who threw down the spray paint can in the first place.]

They handed Dee and I extra rags. Looking like frantic Cinderellas, we hurried to scrub the paint off my car. The whole time, I’m praying the thinner won’t remove the white pearl paint too!

Finally all the black paint came off, but the mechanics advised us to get to a car wash fast and remove the thinner. Eau de paint thinner filled the car as we jumped back into the car. Thank God, there was a handy-dandy self-service car wash across the street.

At the car wash, Dee took the front of the car; I took the back. We each held our long dresses with one hand to keep them from getting soaked. In our other hand we brandish long metal pipes spurting soap and water onto the car.

Dee tried to brush hair off her face with the back of the hand that was holding her gown. That’s when the hilarity of the situation hit us. We both glanced up at each other over the top of the car and burst out laughing.

Ethel and Lucy to be sure, washing a car in evening gowns!

Then we jumped back into the car and hauled our behinds to the RT award dinner. I made Dee swear to never tell Tony, because he’d inspect that car until he found what he was sure was a speck of black paint.

We arrived at the dinner, a bit worse for wear and people asked where we’d been. We looked at each other and started laughing again. When we told everyone what happened we were dubbed Thelma and Louise because everyone knew that when the two of us got together, trouble found us. And as the evening proceeded, we proved them right all over again. That’s another story for another time.

Some types of humor happen when characters have personal quirks that make them a disaster waiting to happen. I’m not talking about the slapstick, clownish humor.

Here’s an example:

Remember the old TV series called Monk? Monk is a policeman who got fired after his wife died because he became phobic and paranoid. Throughout the series he sees a psychiatrist in an effort to cure himself.

On the surface we feel pity for Monk. But because of his quirks, very normal situations were turned into a hilarious nightmare for him. Funnier yet, he pulls everyone around him into his world of torment when they try to help or cover up for him. Voila! Otherwise common situations became bizarre and humorous.

The very worst kind of humor is forced humor because it’s not funny. It might be comical but it’s always kind of stupid and serves no purpose. Worse, it’s  not believable. It’s okay to watch a couple clowns perform on stage but in a book, it comes off as a farce.

Everyone likes different kinds of humor. Here’s a couple links that lists types and styles of humor.

Mark Nichol lists: 20 Types and Forms of Humor.
On Wikepedia you can study different Styles of humor. This list pertains to “how” people use humor.

What types of humor are your favorites?

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Sexy Writing Phrases For In And Out Of The Bedroom

Many of my writing buddies hate writing love scenes. I have to admit that they aren’t one of my favorite things to write either. I rewrite them more than any other scenes in my books. It’s not the idea of writing sex that bothers me; it’s making sure I get it right.

Merely fitting part A into part B turns your characters into stick people. It’s not sensual and it’s just plain boring.

Emotion is key. Emotion can really turn up the heat but there’s more to it than the heat.

If the character’s feelings and reactions don’t seem right, the problem could be that the characters aren’t ready for sex. Don’t stick a love scene in a book just because you think it’s time for one. [See gratuitous sex below]

Balancing emotion with the physical aspects can be tricky. Too much emotion or internalization throws cold water on the heat. Explaining how the “physical” touch makes the character “feel” is a good start on balancing the two.

No matter the story, sex needs to mean something. Good or bad, sex alters characters and their relationships.

Writing sex scenes demands your entire repertoire of writing skills: emotions, body language, dialog, and plotting [moving the plot forward].

Which brings us to the problem of Gratuitous Sex, sex that happens for no apparent reason. As writers, especially romance writers, we sometimes panic — “Eek! I’m a third of the way through the book and my characters should be having sex by now!” And then we plug in a sex scene whether the characters are emotionally ready for it or not! NOT SEXY!

Gratuitous sex is a throw-the-book-across-the-room mistake because the scene serves no purpose.

Another problem with the sex scenes in a book could be that they all sound alike. An easy way to discover if you’ve made this mistake is to plug all your love scenes into the Sporkforge.com website. It will show how many times you repeated particular words and phrases. Be prepared for a shock!

Repeated phrases in love scenes are particularly noticeable to readers. I hope my list below will offer you ideas for ways to change up your wording.

Yes, some of the following phrases in the list do, by themselves, sound like purple prose. Can’t be helped. It’s the nature of the beast. Keep in mind it’s how you use the list that counts. These phrases are meant to kick up your own creative juices. So study them, then write the love scene in your own words.

Note: For this blog, I robbed a few phrases from my other lists: Kisses – All Kinds, Descriptions of Men, Descriptions of Women, and Body Language. I could have included a few from my list of emotions too, but this is already a really long list. As it is, you will find some emotion phrases too.

So here’s the list of Sexy Phrases For In And Out Of The Bedroom

Absorbed the feel of him
Aching tension between them built
Acute surge of desire
Admired the full length of his powerful physique
Aflame with
Agile fingers fondled
All thoughts became superfluous but one
All-over kiss of two bodies
Allowing his erection to cushion against
Already plumb and swollen
An opiate, she had no wish to kick
An unfurling of
Anticipation so keen
Apex of her legs
Arched her back to better accept him
Ardent loving
Attraction that became much more
Attractive dishabille
Beautiful landscape of plains, tight abs and

Beckoned him like a siren’s song
Beguiling her with his
Between her thighs
Blood humming in her veins
Blown apart by heat
Body surged into hers
Bold caress of his tongue
Boneless limbs
Brain wouldn’t focus
Brazen hands
Breached her every defense
Breathless urgency
Breathtakingly aware
Brutal strength of his passion
Building of a gripping sensation
Bunched her skirt up her thighs
Burgeoning frenzy
Buried in her sweet heat
Burn, tremble and yearn
Catalogued every curve and dip
Caused women to hyperventilate
Charge of excitement
Chuckled at her goose bumps
Circled his hard length with her hands
Circled his neck with her arms
Clad only in panties
Clever hands
Climax came at her in drugging waves
Closed about her breasts
Clutched fistfuls of his shirt
Coaxing her to abandon
Collapsed, spent
Come hither grin
Complied without thought
Consuming climax
Convulsed with her orgasm
Crumbling barrier of resistance
Cry of release
Cupped her soft blond mons
Cupped him in her hands
Cupped his face between her hands
Curve of her collarbone
Damp quivery thighs
Dazed and mellowed
Deep dips and curves in all the right places
Deep primitive tug that signaled
Deep sense of completion
Deliberately stretching her
Delicate inner face of her thigh
Delighted with her excited anticipation
Devastating her control
Dragged his mouth from hers
Drank freely of him
Draped her arms
Drew her into the maelstrom
Driving force of his kiss
Driving hips
Eager to sample
Engulfing emotion
Entered her slowly
Enthralled her with his touch
Enticing image of her beneath the
Essential speed
Euphoric aftermath
Evocative stroll to the bed
Excellent molecular structure
Explored the texture of his
Eyes narrowed to half mast
Eyes slid shut in ecstasy
Familiar hot longing squeezed his
Fascinated with the soft roundness of
Feathery strokes of her tongue
Feel of him next to her
Feminine portal
Fervor of her response
Fevered skin
Fierce flare of yearning
Filling her
Final surrender
Fingers tangled in the curls at her
Firm curves and slender limbs
Firm male lips that knew what they were about
Flawless skin
Flexing muscles in his back and legs
Flicked open the buttons one by one
Flooded her
Fly apart
Focused on the sensation
Focused totally on her
For his private deletion
French cut panties and lacy bra cupped
Frenzied race to fulfillment
Full lips softened under his
Fused his flesh with hers
Gentle persuasion of his kisses
Going up in smoke
Grasped her knees and eased them apart
Gravelly words uttered against her flesh
Greedy mouth took bold possession
Handsome, hypnotic, and powerful
Hard little kernel of tormented flesh
Hauled in a breath and tensed
Head of his staff nudged
Head twisting frantically as he
Heart-shaped ass begged a squeeze
Heart-stopping tenderness
Heat and power radiated
Her body closed tightly around him
His erection bumped against
His hard thighs crowned her hips
Hormones percolated
Hot flavor of desire
Hot/warm honey
Hunk of sexy brawn
Husky voice whispered want and need
Ignited a hunger
Introduction of delights
It was damn potent
Joined her in the void of
Joined their heated flesh
Keening sound as she threw back her head
Kiss held  promise of fulfillment
Kiss spoke of things left unsaid
Kissed the back of her knees
Kissed the slender column of her throat
Kneaded her bosom
Knees clamped his naked hips
Lean muscles of his belly
Legs entangled with his

 

 

Lethargy of spent passion
Licking her
Lips fused and heldLips grazed the ripe buds

Long, liquid kiss that rushed lust through her
Long, slow ride of delight
Loomed over her
Lost her sensesLoved this swarthy virile man
Loving attack on
Low slung jeans hugged his
Low sultry, incoherent mews
Luscious vessel
Made him more rigid and engorged
Made mincemeat of her will
Mapped her body with his
Matched his rhythm
Molded intimately against
Molding her to him
Molten waves of pleasure
Narcotic power of his voice and eyes
Naughty smile that had him imagining
Nearly maddened
Nearly melted in his Armani loafers
Need that defied reason
Nerves stretched taut
Nibbled her ears
Nipples pebbled
Only he could appease
Onslaught of raw physical desire
Passionate tide overtook
Past her own will
Peeled off her tight blue jeans
Penetrated her
Perceived her every desire
Pert nipple beckoned
Picked up his rhythm
Plea in her eyes
Pleasure licked at
Plucked kisses from
Poised at her entrance
Potency of his presence
Preparing her for him
Pressed her back and took his fill
Pressed two fingers into the silken curls
Pressing her against his arousal
Primitive maleness
Probing in a slow repetitive rhythm
Prolonged the pleasure
Purring beneath his touch
Quiet sensuality brewed in
Quivery awareness shot
Radiated each others heat
Ragged breathing
Rained kisses across her silky shoulder
Rapid, shallow breaths
Reason tumbled into oblivion
Reckless savage lust unlike anything he’d
Reeled in wicked delight
Relentlessly moved her hips against his
Restraint that drove her to distraction
Riding rhythm
Ripples of pleasure
Rose over her
Saucy grin invited his touch
Savored her
Scent rising to torment
Sea of pleasure
Searing need
Seeking all her secrets
Sexy little mole on her
Sexy, tight man buns
Shackled his raging lust
Shaft reared hot and hard against her
Sharp spasm of need
Shattering climax
She was tight
Shocking, possessive gaze climbed
Shock waves of pleasure sizzled
Shuddering with desire
Silken length of her thigh
Sinewy arms holding her captive
Sinuous, leonine strength
Slick heat
Slid another finger inside.
Sliding thrust
Sliding upwards against him
Smelled of Jasmine and sex
Smoldering eyes drew him in
Sneaked into her heart
Soared high
Soft cheeks of her bottom filled
Soft coziness of passion’s aftermath
Spasms of pure unadulterated
Spilled his seed within
Splintered into
Startled by his intimate kiss
Stirring of primal needs
Stoking a fire
Stretching her softness
Stripped away her restraint
Stroking fingers matched that of his tongue
Sucking them into his mouth
Surge of his possession
Swiftly dealt with her clothes
Swirling hotly
Taking him to the hilt
Tampering with her sanity
Tangy taste and male scent
Tasted of heat and honey
Taunting the pink morsels
Taut steely muscles
Teased her lips apart
Teased the tiny bud
Tender assault
Tension built where their bodies
Testosterone was getting a workout
Throbbing inside of her
Tight-ass jeans left no doubt about
Tinder beneath his touch
Tingles ricocheted
Tongue dipped and swirled
Tongue skimmed her trembling lips
Tormented the hidden morsel
Touch provoked a cry of
Transcended physical pleasure
Tremors rose in the wake of his
T-shirt bulged with rock-hard chest and muscle-bound arms
Ultimate surcease
Unbearable heights
Unchaining wild, delicious feelings
Undulating hips
Urgent need flowed/commanded
Urging her on
Voice not entirely steady
Voice quavered with the after effects
Vortex of heady sensations
Wanton striptease
Warm and pliant
Warm, calloused man’s hand enfolded
Warm, wet, recesses
Watched her face
Welcomed with an open-mouth kiss
Wild and fierce possession
Wild ride
Wild, reckless and restless mood
Wildness brewed beneath the gentleness
With consummate skill
Withdrew and slid home again
Wrapped in a web of magic
Wrestled it off
Wrestled with his need

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Word and Phrase lists | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Fashion Terms New And Old

While I once blogged a part of this blog elsewhere, I’ve added a bonus to this one by listing terms old and new for all sorts of clothing like coats, pants, hats, shoes, skirts etc. This makes for a lot of information. Even though I couldn’t possibly cover everything, I think you’ll find lots of useful details here.

Clothing and its condition says as much about our characters as they do on real people.

The trick to writing the description of clothing so it doesn’t sound like a fashion magazine isn’t easy.

 

When ever possible, let clothing and the character’s appearance leak into the scene.That is, the reader can see the character but the description doesn’t interfere with the action of the story

Example: She sat, smiled and nodded her head. Beneath the table, her damp fists crushed the delicate silk of her evening gown while her kid boots tapped a rapid rhythm. This doesn’t sound like a description of clothing at all because it shows that not only is she’s dressed well, but also that she’s nervous.

 Clothing descriptions in an action scene is not the norm because detailed descriptions slow the action. There are exceptions, specifically if the costume has a part in the scene.

Example: Set up: In my book Love and Fortune the heroine is a distraction while a group of Yankees soldiers surround a band of weary Rebels. Thus, her attire is important to this scene.

 The dancer was one with the music … She raised softly curved arms, and a myriad of gold bangles jangled to the rhythm of the mounting beat. Only her green feline eyes were visible above the diaphanous red silk draped loosely about her head and across the lower half of her face. A red peasant blouse slipped down one shoulder, sparking the imaginations of her hushed, gray-uniformed audience. Inky tresses swirled about her undulating hips, hips that invited a man’s caress. … She pivoted abruptly and dashed into the oblivion of the night. Gradey started to rise, but the clicking of rifles being cocked and aimed froze him in place.

 Then of course, there’s times when a character arrives on stage, requiring a quick description of their appearance and little more. For those times, the word lists below come in handy.

Knowing the exact name of a fashion saves words and gives the reader an instant picture: Hobble-skirt, mini skirt, peasant blouse, cravat, kid gloves, pea coat, dickey etc. These terms might also describe the era when the story takes place.

Note: Don’t waste time and words describing an unimportant character who makes only one appearance in the book. Lengthy descriptions imply the character is important to the story.

Below is a list of my fashion terms for women and men. Keep in mind that descriptions of men’s attire should lend themselves to masculinity and durability with a bit of suave thrown into the mix.

By themselves these terms sound like they were taken right out of a fashion magazine. Their beauty is more evident when they’re used to trim a wordy description to a concise expression.

Don’t forget to look over the Definitions Lists at the end of the blog.

General Fashion Terms and Phrases for Women

Accented with

Accentuated waist

Accessorized

Aesthetic quality

Bold detail

Characterized by

Charming

Clean lines

Contrasted

Cut generously

Daring creation

Dazzling sparkles

Deep pleats

Delicate and lacy

Displayed her assets

Dominate stripe

Drama

Eccentric designs

Essential elements

Exotic

Figure fattering

Fitted, tailored to fit

Flair for the spectacular

Flaring

Floaty and sheer

Flowing

Form fitting

Frame the face

French cut panties

Fresh, spring colors

Fullness

Graceful silhouette

Great daring and originality

Harmony

Harsh tones

Height of propriety

Highlighted by

Hot little off-the-shoulder number

Indulge herself with

Latest craze Lavished with ruffles/lace

Lively print

Luxurious silk

Made a statement

Masterfully rendered in

Mode of dress

Modified the hemline

Motif of *** swirled around the hem

Noble simplicity

Ornate

Ostentatious extravagance

Outlined – figure, hem, sleeves

Piping detail

Plunging neckline

Portray the rich variety in design

Prestige of the label

Provocative

Prudish length

Rare

Richly decorated

Romantic

Rounded collar

Sashed at the waist

Savvy cut

Shabby chic

Shapeless

Shapely Profile

Silky scarves

Simplicity

Slim lines

Soft, supple

Spectacular style

Stunning

Stylistic mélange

Taste

Thin as a Vail of tears

Trailing

Trends

Trimmed

Velvety soft

Vogue

Terms and Phrases for Men’s Fashion

Adds endless fashion mile

Black, a logical choice for man of noir

Bold colors for bolder men

Charting a new coarse in men’s tailoring

Convenient

Conventional

Crew neck

Cushioned inner soles

Dressy but dashing

Durable

Enhanced

Expensive masculine leather

Sporty elegance

Geared to a man’s needs

Generously cut

Hand-crafted

Handsomely tailored

Heavy duty

Indispensable

Intricately tooled

Lightweight

Long-range wear

Look sharp, dynamic

Moves from boardroom to beyond

Nattily unkempt

Necessary wardrobe staple

Powerful shoulders

Prerequisite for the outdoor man

Relaxed fit

Sharp front pleats

Step out on the town in these

Sturdy

Comfort you never want to take off

A tie to set off the strong lines of dark suit

Traditional

Two great versatile pieces

Unsurpassed comfort

Well groomed

Wrinkle resistant

Less Than Presentable

All flash no dash

Beauty blight

Bedraggled

Blowzy over-done

Streetwalker chic

Boots with newspaper stuffed inside to cover the holes in the soles

Cleaned his boot toes on his trouser legs

Clothes painted on her

Donned grubbies to do the yard work

Dress gone limp in the heat

Dressed like an unmade bed

Dressed like he’s fleeing a fire

Ensemble clashes

Feet were miserably shod

Flamboyant colors clashed with her hair

Foul-smelling socks

Gaudy/gauche

Gowns cut to see level

High water pants, flood pants

Housedress that looked like a slipcover

Huge hat with a hectic array of feathers, bird’s nest and bird

If she’s class, it doesn’t show on her back

It’s called the tacky cut

Jeans deliberately torn and frayed

Misshapen straw hat perched at a jaunty angle

Motley hat tilted over one eye

Off-beat/kinky/Bohemian/hippie/beatnik

Old mossback cares nothing for fashion

Poured into her jeans

Resembles Rummage Sal

Scandalous lack of decency

Seedy taste

Shabby as a hobo

Shows more of her self than she does style

So nondescript as to go unnoticed

Tattered cast-offs, patched hand-me-downs

Teen uniform of blue jeans, scruffy T-shirt, dirty sneakers and no socks

Threadbare/napless/frayed/holey/dilapidated/misshapen

Vermin ridden/lice fleas/bedbugs

Walking billboard for

Whites that looked gray

Wretched condition of

Getting Dressed

Array

Attire

Bundle up

Change

Clad

Cloaked

Costumed herself

Doll up

Don

Dress fit to kiss

Dress to the nines

Dude up

Equip

Garb

Get beautiful

Get glizted

Getting ready

Glammed

Gown up

Groom

Gussy up

Invest

Make ready

Outfit himself

 

Primp

Rig up

Shroud

Slicked up

Slip on or into

Snaz up

Spiff up

Spruce up

Suit up

Swaddle

Swath

Wrapped in

General Terms of Clothing

General Alternative Names for Clothing

Array

Attire

Best bib and tucker

Costume

Doodads

Drapery

Duds

Ensemble

Evening dress, wear

Fashion

Finery

Flashery

Frippery

Frocks

Garb

Garments

Garmenture

Gear

Getup

Gladrags

Grubbies

Guadery

Guise

Habiliment

Hand-me-downs

Outfit

Rags

Raiment

Regalia

Rigging

Suit of clothes

Suit up

Sunday-go-to-meetin’

Threads

Togs

Trapping

Trousseau

Uniforms

Wardrobe

Weeds

Wraps

Definitions

Coats

Blazer – jacket tailored similar to man’s jacket; worn for semi-casual occasions by men and women

Bolero – short jacket ending just above the waist; worn by men and women

Burnoose – cape or cloak with a hod worn by Moors, Abrabs etc

Capote – hooded cape; in 1775, a woman’s mantle enveloping the wearer from head to toe; in 1804, man’s mantle with a collar and a wide shoulder-cape; a wide cloak generally in heavy cloth with or without a hood, appearing as part of military and college uniforms and some civilian uniforms

Cutaway coat – formal wear for a man, some with swallow-tail or tails

Dolman – woman’s cape-like coat; woman’s coat with sleeves wide at the armholes and narrower writs

Greatcoat/overcoat – early18th century English surcoat/overcoat with a flat collar topped with smaller collar that could be raised to protect face; in France called the redingote

Mackinaw coat – short coat of thick wool and often in plaid design

Manteau – woman’s cape or cloak

Mantle – wrap, cape, sleeveless cloak

Nehru jacket – lightweight Indian jacket with oriental style stand-up collar; popular in the 1960s

Pea coat – thick woolen coat of short length worn by sailors in winter

Parka – winter hooded jacket usually coming just below hips

Pelisse – long cloak with arm openings, worn by women

Raccoon coat – long, bulky coat of raccoon fur worn by both sexes in 1920s

Raincoat – mackintosh, oilskins, slicker, tarpaulin

Rebozon – Mexican; colorful shawlRedingote – (1)Adapted for women about 1785; lighter unlined version of the man’s redingote; worn open down the front almost like a gown. (2) Men’s double-breasted long overcoat; wide-cut collared coat worn for riding and traveling; appeared about 1725; in 19th century it replaced the coat for town wear; the front panels were in one piece instead of being cut like those of the habit

Safari jacket – usually khaki in color; a hip length jacket with large front pockets and belted at waist

Serape – Mexican, colorful blanket with a hole in center for the head to form an armless coat

Stadium – long coat often of water repellent material with a drawstring hood and large pockets; sometimes the material appears to be quilted; worn for observing sports events

Surcoat – (1) Man’s close-fitting overcoat (2) Coat worn over armor in medieval times

Trench coat – long overcoat or rain coat buttoning down the front and belted around the waist; usually associated with a detective’s wearTuxedo – men’s semi-formal wear

Ulster – long, loose-fitted overcoat

Windbreaker – lightweight nylon jacket; usually zips up the front and often has a drawstring hood

Neckwear

Cravet -band or scarf worn around the neck mostly by men; 19th century

Dickey – detachable collar for women’s blouse; sometimes a fake turtle neck worn by men and women

Eton collar – wide stiff collar worn with a short jacket

Fichu – woman’s triangular kerchief worn around the neck, ends crossed or otherwise brought together over the bosom

Guimpe/chemisette/jabot/tucker – woman’s neck ornament of lace etc.; worn with a dress having a low-cut neckline or openwork bodice

Man’s neck tie – cravat, kerchief, neckcloth, neckerchief, ascot, foulard, four-in-hand (tied in a slip knot with the ends hanging), Windsor tie (silk tied in a loose double bow or tight double knot

Muffler – scarf worn about the neck by men and women for winter warmth

Peter pan collar – short collar with rounded ends on a woman’s dress, blouse, etc.

 

Ruff – collar of gathered material, popular in the 16th century; wearer appeared to have no neck

Stock – collar fitting the neck like a band

Gloves

Elbow gloves – women’s full glove reaching from hand to elbow; worn with formal attire

Gauntlet – long glove that partially covers the forearm; medieval armored glove

Kid glove made of leather from goat skin

Mitt – long glove, worn by women, covering the forearm and main part of the hand and extending, sometimes, over part of the fingers

Mitten – glove with special space for the thumb only

Mousquetaire – glove with long closed wrist

Trousers

Bell bottom – slacks fitting the thigh closely and flaring at the bottom reminiscent of the old sailor uniforms; popular teen fashion in the 1960s and 70s

Blue jeans – denim trousers with rivets, snaps and zippers

Bermuda shorts – thigh length pants worn by men and women

Capri pants or clam diggers or see pedal pushers – ending just below the knees, usually for women and girls; enjoyed wide popularity in 1940s and 50s and regained popularity in the late 90s

Chinos – khaki-colored sporty slacks worn by men at first and later by women as well

Cords – trousers made of corduroy

Culottes – feminine shorts that give the appearance of a short skirt in the front

Cutoffs – trousers, usually jeans, cut off at or above the knee to make shorts

Ducks – made of ducking material

Hip-huggers – women’s bell-bottom pants or shorts designed to fit below the waist line; popular in the 1960s

Jodhpurs – for riding; wide through the thigh, decreasing to a narrow calf

Knickers, knee breeches – young boys pants, wide through the thigh and ending at or just below the knee; usually worn with tall stockings; worn in 19th century through the 1930s

Overalls – trousers with a bib attached at the front, held up with straps that extend from the back waist up and over the shoulder

Pantaloons – wide at the thigh and ending at the knee or just below

Peg tops – wide at the hip, narrow at the ankle

Plus fours – wide knickers worn for sports

Rompers, jumpers – worn by toddler; often resemble men’s overallys or are a one-piece outfit with pant legs and sleeves, sometimes the feet too

Shorts – casual summer wear for men and women, ending from just below the underwear to below the knee depending on style (short-shorts, brumudas, walking shorts, etc)

Slacks – generic term for trousers for men and women

Ski pants or sitrrup pants – stretch pants with straps or loops that fit around the instep or the feet to keep them from riding up; worn by both sexes

Stovepipe – long pants with close fitting straight legs

Tights – tight leggings with the foot sewn into them

Toreador – Spanish bullfighter’s pants, fitting snugly below the knees; often used as a variation on the modern capri pants

Underwear

Bodystocking -one piece, form-fitting underwear resembling long johns only made with see-through and or stretch material; also called a cat suit or a type of leotard

Bloomers -underpants worn by women; loose and gather at the knee; 19th century version had an open crotch area

Body suit – stretch material that hugs the torso; snap crotch; sometimes the top half is used as a blouse while the bottom is covered by slacks or a skirt; usually worn by women; sometimes by male dancers

Boxers – male underwear that looks like shorts and are worn under trousers

Brassier, bra – in present-day fashion, a band of material with cups for supporting a women’s breasts, some with underwiring; in the 1920s it was very tight to compress the breasts for the shapeless fashions; by 1932 it was designed to separate and support the breasts. Term bra was used by 1937

Briefs – male or female underwear that hugs the crotch and usually elastic at legs and waist; BVD’s is a popular brand name that has become synonymous with briefs

Bust bodice – introduced in 1889; device to support the breasts and worn above the corset; usually made of white coutil, with side boning and laced front and back; some made of cambric, nainsook, longcloth, surah or woven silk or lisle

Bust improvers – about 1883-1896; worn under the camisole; by 1887 they were in the form of cups with wire structure; in early 1890s pads could be worn to enhance the size of the bustline

Bustle – wire framework, cushion, etc to make a woman’s skirt stand out in the rear; popular during the antebellum and Civil war period;framework was collapsible so a woman could sit

Camisole – loose underbodice; under blouse; appeared in the 1840s and worn over the corset

Chemise – a kind of slip or long undershirt worn by women in different styles and lengths through the centuries

 

Combination union suit – one-piece undergarment (top and trousers); long underwear worn by men

Corset cover – worn over the corset, sometimes as a waist

Corset, foundation girdle, stays -supports and forms women’s figure in different styles throughout the times; term corset used referring to undergarment since the 1500s

Crinoline – petticoat of stiff material worn under a full skirt (before, during and slightly after the Civil War)

Drawers, underdrawers – undergarment in style of short trousers; at first, two legs sewn to a waist band, the front crotch area left open for convenience; worn by most women by 1830s;in modern times a generic term for male or female underwear

Farthingale – appeared about 1545 in Spain (verdingale); a petticoat reinforced by graduated hoops of cane, whalebone or wire; cone shape resembling that of the Victorian cage-crinoline

Garters – elastic leg bands used to hold up stockings at the thigh

Girdle – woman’s foundation garment used to smooth and shape the figure; comes in different styles and lengths

Long johns – warm, men’s underwear; sometimes one piece, sometimes two

Pantalettes/pantalets – another term for women’s drawers; worn in the 1800s

Petty pants – much like pantalettes but cut narrower and crotch was not left open; worn during the 1960s in place of a slip; could be worn under slacks and dresses

Shift – old fashion term for chemise

Shimmy – colloquial for chemise

Slip – worn under woman’s dress for modesty

Teddy – one piece undergarment, combining top and loose drawers; snap or hook crotch, sometimes worn as night time garment in place of a nightgown.

Under shirt – worn by men and women, with or without sleeves under clothing for modesty and warmth

Unmentionables – slang; woman’s undergarments

Skirts

Culottes – skirt made with trouser-like separation; a front panel over the gives the look of a skirt

Crinoline – hoop skirt popular in the Ante-bellum South

Dirndl – full skirt that has a tight waist

Gored – skirt with multiple flaring panels

Hip-hugger – low slung waistline usually found on a mini skirt (skirt worn above the knees) during the 1960s

Hobble skirt – long skirt narrowing at the bottom as to impede walking

Hoop skirt – crinoline; civil War fashion; a hoop was often sewn into the hem to hold the skirt out from the body

Kilt – short, plaited skirt worn by men in Scottish Highlands

Lava-lava – short skirt of printed calico worn in Samoa etc

Maxie – ankle-length skirt, full or straight-lined; became popular in the 1960s

Midi -claf length skirt, usually straight line; became popular in the 60s

Pannier – puffed skirt; cage used to give a wide hipped look

Peplum – short skirts attached to a jacket at waist

Sarong – wrap skirt; Hawaiian native style skirt; may be long or short

Wrap-around – skirt that wraps around the body, overlapping in front and tying or buttoning at the waist

Hats

 Balloon – parachute or the Lunardi (after the French balloonist); worn in late 1700s; large and elaborately trimmed with layers of lace and ruching; made of straw, beaver and felt with trimmings in ribbons, bows and feathers

Beanie – brimless, round skullcap worn by children and college freshmen; those worn by children sometimes sported a whirlie fan on top

Beret – small, round hat of cloth, usually worn at a jaunty angle on the head by men or women

Bowler – English term for derby; stiff felt with round crown

Breton – woman’s hat; brim turned up all around

Busby – high fur hat worn by hussars, artillery men etc in British army

Calash – woman’s bonnet or hood; calache or calash was popularized in 1772; lightweight and stiffened with cane or whalebone; constructed with ribbon, it could hide the face; bowl shape with a ruffle around the neck that touched the shoulders; usually worn for walking parties; revived in the 1830s and finally disappeared in the 1850s

Chapeau – man’s top hat introduced in 19th century in Paris; tall crowned, it was worn for formal occasions; made of silk

Cloche – introduced 1920s; silk hat with small brim that fit down over the head and low on forehead

Coif – worn under a veil by nuns, kind of a skullcap

Coolie – Chinese hat of straw or bamboo; wide brimmed and coming to a point at the top; worn mostly by peasantry

Coonskin cap – comprised of raccoon fur and the raccoon’s tail; Davy Crockett hat

Derby, bowler – (slang—kelly) First worn in Britain;small round man’s hat with narrow brim and sported hard round crown; in US known as derby; became fashionable about 1862 for town wear

Dunce cap – cone shaped hat worn by misbehaving student

Fedora -mman’s felt hat with a creased crown and snap brim

Fez – Turkish felt cap in shape of cone; introdced in 1930s

Homburg – man’s felt dress hat with a creased crown and stiff, ribbon-bound rolled brim; first worn about 1901

Madcap – created a stir in the 1930s; knitted tube that could be molded into differing shapes

Mantilla – velvet, lace or the like or a kind of veil covering the head and falling down upon the shoulders

Mobcap – frilled cap formerly worn by women of the 19th century; merely a length of cloth, usually tulle, that covered the hair

Panama – man’s hat fashionable at end of 19th century and beginning ot the 20th; made at first of exotic leaves; later of finely-worked poplar wood; soft straw hats with rounded crowns

Pillbox – woman’s hat introduced in 1930s; Halston created a pill box for Jackie Kennedy

Pork pie – man’s felt hat with round, flat crown and nap brim

Sombrero – Mexican straw or felt hat with high crown and broad, upturned brim

Sou’wester – new England fisherman’s hat with high crown and broad brim that is longer in the back to keep rain off the neck

Snood – woman’s hat in form of netlike bag and worn on the back of the head to hold up the hair

Sum-o’shanter, tam – cap of Scottish orgin with a top that extends over the headband; often decorated with a center tassel

Tarboosh – Mohammedan man’s cap of red cloth or felt, decorated with a long tassel; similar to a fez

Toque – woman’s hat with a soft crown and either very small brim or none at all

Tuque – Canadian knit cap

Wimple – woman’s head covering hidding the entire head, the chin and the neck formerly in general use (Medieval), now used by nuns

Footwear

Boat – canvas shoe with rubber sole that won’t slip on wet slippery surfaces; sometimes a man’s casual loafer type shoe with a rubber sole

Blucher – a kind of half boot

Brogan – strong, heavy or coarse low or high shoe

Buskin – high shoe reaching the calf or beyond; half boot

Clog – shoe with a thick, usually wooden, sole

Cowboy boot – leather boot with high or low shaft to protect the leg; square or pointed toes

Espadrille – rope-soled canvas shoe; sometimes lacing around the ankles; sometimes appearing as a sandal

Flats – woman’s low-heeled shoe; can be casual or dressy

Gaiter – old fashion shoe with elastic on the sides instead of laces or buttons; a kind of high shoe

Galoshes – waterproof boots pulled over shoes

Go-go boots – a short boot with shaft reaching a few inches above the ankle; usually were white color with the mini skirt; enjoyed popularity in the 1960s

Hobnail boot or shoe – soles protected by short nails with large heads

Loafer, shuffler – slip on shoe, slipper; another name is penny loafer

Moccasin – leather slip-on shoe with no heel; often with fringe and beads and originally worn by American Indians

Mule – woman’s house slipper that leaves the back of the heel exposed

Oxford – low shoe with laces or buttons

Pump – mlight low shoe original worn by dancers

Sabot – wooden shoe worn in France, Holland, Belgium etc.

Saddle shoe – light-colored oxford style shoe of leather with darker saddle over the top

Scuff – slipper without a heel; for house wear (see mule)

Sling backs – woman’s shoe with an open heel, held on foot with an ankle strap

Sneaker – soft shoe made for sports; usually made of canvas and rubber, sometimes with leather upper; often called running shoe (tennis shoe)

Thongs – open foot rubber or leather sandals held onto foot with a small strap between the big and second toes.

Wellington boot – man’s boot with a loose top, the front of which is higher than the back; similar boot worn under the trouser leg

Miscellaneous

Aigrette – a spray of feathers or gems worn on a hat or as hair ornament

Alb – white garment for church service worn by a clergyman

Applique – cutting out designs on fabrics and embroidering or sewing them onto a garment for decorative purposes

Bandbox – box holds collars, hats

Bandeau – a band or fillet for the hair

Basque – woman’s blouse with a tight-fitting waist, with or without short skirt or peplum attached (19th century)

Batiste – semi-sheer lightweight cotton fabric with silky texture and a silky look

Bertha – wide collar often made of lace

Bombazine – fine twilled fabric of silk and worsted or cotton; often dyed black for mourning dress

Calico – inexpensive coarse cotton fabric with a plain wave and usually a printed pattern

Cambric – close weave; stiff cotton fabric; slightly glossy

Canonicals, clericals – clergyman’s official dress

Cashmere – soft, light-weight, smooth material in a twill weave; wool or cotton or silk warp; usually plain colors (often used for winter dress in 19th century)

Cassock – close-fitting garment extending to the ground, worn by certain members of the clerby

Chambray – a cotton material always made with a colored and a white filling which produces a grayed effect (like a man’s blue work shirt)

Chantilly lace – delicate lace of silk or linen having scrolled or floral design

Chatelaine – ornamental hook, clasp or brooch worn at a woman’s waist having a chain or ribbon etc attached for keys, trinkets, purse, watch or sewing needs (medieval women wore chatelaines with castle keys attached)

Crepe De Chine – fine soft crepe fabric

Cummerbund – broad pleated sash worn on a dress with drop waistline in the 19th century; pleated fabric belt worn by men with formal attire

Damasse silk – brocaded silk material

Dandify – dressing of male in excessively neat and foppish manner; dapper, well-groomed, spruced up, dapper Dan, decked-out, dressed in high arrogance

Décolletélow neckline on woman’s garb

Dimity – fine, sheer cotton fabric with mall cords or groups of small cords arranged in stripes or cross bars

Dolman – long robe worn by Turks

Dolman sleeves -wide at the armhole and tight at the wrist

Dropped fly – flap on the front of men’s trousers popular up to the 1840s when a standard front fly replaced it.

Ensemble – woman’s outfit of clothing and parts of which go together or harmonize

Epaulette – shoulder ornament (as often seen on a soldier’s uniform)

Faille – ribbed silk fabric; resembling taffeta in look and stiffness

Garibaldi – full-bodied shirtwaist or blouse worn by women and often cinched with a belt

Haberdashery – men’s clothing; suits; sometimes men’s stores were called a haberdashery

Henrietta – fine woolen cloth

Invest – dress or cloth in the badges and decorations of office, rank etc.

Kimono – characteristic of Japanese; wide-sleeved outer garment like a wrap robe, often flowing to the floor

Lambrequin – scarf worn over a hat to protect against rain, wind and sun

Linsey-woolsey – wool and linen fabric

Livery – uniform of a male servant

Man who pays inordinate attention to his person – Beau Brummell, coxcomb, dandy, dude, fop, jack-a-dandy, popinjay, toff, buck

Negligee – informal dress of a female, usually night gown and matching robe (peignoir)

Organdy – sheer, stiff, very lightweight cotton, transparent and not durable

Pagoda sleeve – bell-shaped sleeve

Panniers – underskirts stretched over metal hoops; round at first then dome; appeared about 1718-20 and remained in fashion under various forms until French Revolution; middle of century the one-piece pannier was replaced by two pieces, one on each hip; by 1750 only half-panniers were worn

Panoply – complete suit of armor; comlete and magnificent ornamental dress

Percale – cotton fabric with a plain weave; firm construction, dull finish

Pinafore – female child’s apron covering most of the dress, sleeveless, and often with ruffles around armholes and a sash that ties at the back

Ramie – cloth similar to linen, made of ramie fiber; strong, fine and durable

Sackcloth – clothing worn in token penitence

Sari – chief outer garment of Hindu women; made of single long piece of material, usually silk or cotton and wound around the body with one end loose to cover the head.

Sateen – heavy mercerized cotton fabric; not as soft as silk

Swiss – a fine thin cotton fabric of loose weave; dotted swigs, Swiss muslin with dots of heavier yarn

Taffeta -mplain closely woen, rahter stiff silk fabric with dull luster

Tarlatan – cotton, loose construction; used for fancy dress costumes and decorative purposes and for petticoats

Toga – loose garment of ancient Romans’ material is clasped on one shoulder while the other goes bared; long and flowing

Toilette – female bathing and combing of hair (grooming); articles used for purposes of grooming

Trousseau – bride’s outfits of clothing and other personal possessions as jewelry, linens etc.

Vestment – cover the body as clothing

Vestry – room in a church where church garments are kept

Voile – cotton, silk and wool, a fabric made of fine, hard-twisted yarns with a plain weave and open mesh; sheer; used for summer clothing

Wardrobe – the sum of one’s clothing; a cabinet where clothing is kept (closet)

Weeds – mourning clothing

Wraps – out-door clothing; cold weathe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day, Night and In Between – Descriptions For Time of Day

Sunrise with duck by Sharla

Yeah, writers could just tell readers what time of day it is and sometimes it’s more expedient. But! It “is” telling and one of the first rules of writing is “show” don’t tell.

When it comes to time of the day, it’s as easy to show as it is to tell, so why not show?

Over the years I’ve collected words and phrases to inspire “showing” over telling. And sure, I have a thesaurus and a synonym finder too. But there’s times when showing the time of day isn’t enough. Sometimes writers  

Sunset on the lake by Sharla

need descriptions to do double duty, like conveying a mood/atmosphere. In the list below, you’ll find a few phrases that convey a mood. Find more ideas by using a synonym finder.

I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs but it bares repeating: Definitions can be helpful with descriptions too. Take a look at my list of definitions below and you’ll see what I mean.

Think Poetic!

Remember poetry is an excellent source of descriptive ideas too. You’ve heard of waxing poetic. <g> All jokes aside poets have a talent for description on a totally different level.

PICTURES!

Web in dewy holly bush early morning – by sharla

This may seem like a no-brainer but I’ve written these list blogs before and this is the first time it dawned on me! Pictures!

While I’ve left my photography by the way side the past few years, it is still a love of mine, especially nature. And whether or not you take photos, there are plenty to find in books and on the Internet. Find pictures that convey, morning, daytime, evening, etc. Study them and let the fiction writer inside of you visualize descriptive words. 

[The picture above shows dew on a spider web. Since dew appears in the early mornings using a description of this can convey time of day.]

So here are the lists. I hope they inspires your own great ideas. If you have other suggestions please share them with all of us. 

A palette of pinks and purples

Afternoon grew chilly and gray

Awash with the russet glow of sunrise

Balmy spring morning

Bathed in the warmth of the promised daylight

Black texture of the night thinned fractionally

Breath of the morning breeze

Chilly April drizzle

Curled up in the spots of warmth where the morning sunshine dolloped the carpet

Darkness overtook the woodlands

Daybreak, day-peep, sunrise, sunup, aurora, cocklight, crack of dawn, early light, wee hours of the morning.

Deep melon streaked the dusky marine sky

Dim shadows

Down in the copse and owl hooted

Drowsy July day

Face set aglow in the eerie yellow glow of the lantern’s light

Fiery/flaming arrows of crimson shot around the edges of the clouds

Forenoon, foreday, noon, noonday, midday, midmorning

Gas light cast a hazy sulfur circle over the cobblestones

Golden glow of the aging sun

Iridescent rainbow over the water

Mantle of gray

Mist hung around the gas light

Moonbeams walk the night

Moonlight dusted the forest, lending a fairyland quality

Moonlight shimmered on the glazed streets

Morning crept over the land in tones of pewter blue

Mountains appear as jagged bruises against the clair de lune sky.

Mystical moist night air

Night crept up the valley

Night gradually gave way/surrendered to morning

Nightfall, sunset, eventide, vesper, dusk gloaming (gloam/twilight) impending night

Nocturnal creatures took to daytime hideaways

One by one stars winked out

Prairie turned a sullen red

Rainbows over the devastation left below

Shadows slyly creep as I keep vigil

Shank of the afternoon

Sky a smoke color and scented with rain

Sky sagged overhead, so heavy with blue

Soft gray light spilled through

Soon it too surrendered to the night

Stomach growled, signaling lunchtime

Stygian gloom of the late hour

Sun faded into the gray of day’s end

Sun set, leaving behind a gold-touched glow to stain the clouds

Sunlight filtered through the gauzy curtains

The hour that troubled souls wonder the Earth

The hour when courage and strength often lose to fear

Time for the prowling of evil thoughts and the encroachment of nightmares

Tiny dew droplets beaded the grass and glistened like diamonds

Twilight

Twilight settled on the hills

Under a fat, full moon

Wake-up calls of [a bird perhaps]

Warm and lazy in the sun, a big bumble buzzed flatly among the leaves

Water danced with moonlight

When faceless, shapeless nothings tremble crouch and leer

Wind rose in the uppermost boughs of the

Witching hour

Descriptive Definitions

Crescent moon – in its first or last quarter

Equinox – when night and day are of the same length; the sun crosses the plane of the equator, happens twice a year

Gibbous moon – seen with more than half but not all of the disk illuminated

Greek god of the sun – Apollo

Greek goddess of the dawn – Eos

Greek goddess of the moon – Artemis, Cynthia or Phoebe

Half moon – half illuminated

Harvest moon – full moon about September 22 or 23, the autumnal equinox

Lunar month – about 29 ½ days

Moon on the wane – degrees after a full moon

Old moon – waning moon

Roman goddess of moon – Diana

Roman goddess of the dawn or sunrise – Auroa

Solstice – time twice a year when the sun is farthest North or south of the equator

Summer solstice – beginning of summer, about June 21st

Vernal equinox – beginning of Spring, about March 21st

Waxing moon – increase before the full moon

Winter solstice – beginning of winter about December 22nd

 

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