Thursday, June 30, 2011

FRIDAY FREE FOR ALL - Meet Author Lilly Gayle!

I'm so excited that LILLY GAYLE is here with us today and she's brought her brand new release, SLIGHTLY TARNISHED. Love that title, Lilly!
You can find out about SLIGHTLY TARNISHED and all of Lilly's work at her website

But come on back, grab a cup of coffee -  and a clothespin for your nose - because Lilly is addressing a very stinky subject.

Thanks for being here, Lilly. Take it away.............

What a Stink!
My first published historical, Slightly Tarnished, is set mostly in England during the time of The Great Stink, a time during the spring and summer of 1858 when the smell of untreated waste in London became so intolerable people fled the city in droves. 
Prior to the Great Stink, homeowners dumped chamber pots and slop jars directly into the streets where open drains carried the waste to the Thames. That was also around the same time flushing toilets became more prevalent in the home.
Thomas Crapper didn’t invent the flush toilet, but he did increase the popularity of the toilet and gave us a new slang word for poop. And poop was flowing freely by the summer of 1858. By that time, many Londoners had flushing toilets, which dramatically increased the volume of wastewater pouring into cesspits. In most cases, these cesspits were open pits dug out under the house and as they filled, sludge and mold often seeped into the walls on the lower floors.
If not properly maintained, the cesspits would overflow into the streets, clogging the already overused sewage drains. Even when the drains didn’t clog, all wastewater from homes, factories, and slaughter houses dumped into the River Thames.   
By the summer of 1858 the river was overflowing with sewage. The stench was so bad Parliament ceased functioning. And quickly ordered an overhaul of London's sewerage system.
Prior to the completion of the new sewer system,  some interesting occupations emerged, all of which were considered low-class and menial jobs and many of these jobs were held by children as young as ten.
Toshers, also called grubbers, scavenged through the sewers looking for valuables, such as an accidentally flushed ring or coins. A nasty job, but digging through the solid waste helped keep the sewers flowing by removing small obstructions. Whole families often dug through the poop together and one of the added benefits was some sort of odd immunity to sewage-related diseases.
Mudlarks scavenged along the muddy banks of the River Thames and its tributaries, searching for small items of value missed by the Toshers.
Nightsoil Harvesters removed waste from London’s sewers to farms outside the city for use as manure. Some enterprising homeowners even hired children as young as ten to remove the waste from the cesspits beneath their homes to keep them from overflowing.  Of course, there was always the possibility a buildup of methane gas would cause an explosion, killing the child. Children often asphyxiated or drowned in the sewers as well. Then the homeowners had to pay extra to remove the corpses, but small bodies cost less to extract, hence, the hiring of children.
Flushermen flushed away waste and anything that might block the flow of water in the new sewer system after it was constructed.
And finally, there were the Rat-Catchers, hired by the city to catch rats and prevent the spread of disease.
Makes you glad technology has come as far as it has. Doesn’t it?


Victorian romance laced with danger.

When a brooding English earl with a SLIGHTLY TARNISHED reputation marries his dead wife’s American cousin to save her from her uncle’s vengeful schemes, the sea captain’s daughter with a taste for adventure sparks desires he thought long dead.

Nicole Keller has always been headstrong and independent, but after a failed business venture and a sinking ship take her father, her home, and her childhood sweetheart, Nikki must support herself and her mother. But moving to England and marrying Chadwick Masters, Earl of Gilchrest isn’t what she has in mind. And falling in love with the mysterious earl could endanger both their lives.

“This will be your room.” He opened the door and stood to one side so she could enter. “I’m afraid you will have to continue to make do without a lady’s maid. The only household staff I employ are Mrs. Lomax, Dickens, Cook, and my groom. My driver lives in the village as do the few maids I hire on occasion to help Mrs. Lomax with the laundry and heavier cleaning.”
Nikki smiled. “That’s quite all right, Lord Masters. I’m used to doing for myself, and it’s only for a week.”
He returned her smile and leaned forward, his warm breath fanning her cheek. “What happened to Chad? Surely we’ve gone beyond such formalities now, Nicole.”
Gooseflesh rippled over her skin. Her body quivered. “I don’t think it would be proper for me to call you by your given name.” She risked a glance at his face and wished she hadn’t. His eyes no longer looked worried. They were hot—almost feverish. Her skin heated.
“It didn’t stop you before,” he said, his deep voice a husky rumble. Despite the heat, Nikki shivered.
Oh my!
“I don’t think this is proper either,” she stammered when he brushed his lips against her temple. A delicious tingle skittered down her spine.
“No, probably not,” he said, nibbling her neck.
A strange tension rippled through her muscles, tightening them with pleasure. She arched her neck, granting him access as he slid his lips along the column of her throat. Her hands bunched the skirt of her plain, serviceable dress. Her stomach quivered.
“What are you doing?” she asked, breathless and giddy.
He pulled his hands from his pockets and pulled her closer. “I’m seducing you, I think.”
“Seducing me?” Her heart hammered against her ribs.
“Hmm. You’re doing it again.” Then he lowered his mouth and kissed her.


  1. Thanks for having me on this morning, Jennifer!

  2. I remember watching a TV special about London's sewers and what an amazing architectural/engineering triumph they were. Now I see the human side. Eeyulch! Glad I'd finished breakfast. :^D

    PS: I was rather hoping the excerpt would deal with the Great Stink. Does romance blossom even more spectacularly when planted in such great amounts of manure?

  3. Great post, Lilly! And I loved the excerpt. Sounds like you've got another winner on your hands. The only thing I can compare to this is when I was a kid and we used to go in the "out house" at my grandfather's cabin. It was spidery in there. I usually went as fast as humanly possible! LOL!

  4. Lilly, I don't know whether to be fascinated by your post on poop, or perturbed that I'm fascinated by your post on poop. I always know I'm going to get a history lesson when I read your blog posts! Love it!

  5. Thanks ladies! Carol, the poop doesn't inspire romance, it triggers an astham attack for the heroine so she escapes. And of course, the hero is there to help her get out of town! AJ, I remember outhouses at the lake and I still get creeped out when I have to use a port-a-john. Andris, you know how much I love history and the odd or the weird. Guess that's why I enjoy writing/reading historicals and paranormals...

  6. What an excerpt! Whew! (and I mean that in a GOOD way - not a stinky one) ;-)

  7. Hi Lily and Jennifer!

    Wow, love the excerpt! Congratulations on your new release! : )

    And yes, I am so glad technology has improved. As a child we lived in several places with only an outhouse... nope. I'm a city girl now. : )

  8. Hello ladies,

    Great excerpt, Lily, and congratulations on your first published historical! Boy, I'm so glad I didn't live back then...modern society has it's perks indeed. Thanks for sharing your day with us. :)

  9. Maeve, You crack me up! And thanks so much for stopping by JD & Lynne. Yep, gotta love a modern bathroom! I just wish the states had toilets like the ones in German reststops. When the toilet flushes, the toilet seat spins and an "arm" drops to spray disinfectant and clean the seat. I wonder if the same thing happened in the men's room? Installing one of those potties in the house would certainly end the whole toilet seat debate. lol~!

  10. Hi Lilly,
    Really liked the excerpt--and the history. (One reason I love historicals--always something new to learn.)

    And, wow, that German innovation. I'm moved to tears of joy when a U.S. reststop has paper toiletseat liners. LOL

    Good luck with the book. I look forward to reading it.

  11. Thanks for stopping by Barbara. Restrooms at US reststops might be free, but they're kind of nasty. It was worth the .50 Eruo we had to pay to use the German restrooms, esp. since you got a voucher for .50 Euro that could be used in the store and/or on-site restaurant. We used it at the German Burger King...that just happened to have an awesome view of the mountains from the plate glass window overlooking the valley. OUr Burger King here at home has a view of the Micky D's next door. lol!

  12. Hi Lilly,
    Ooh, that stinky revelation was very interesting, glad I didn't live there then. Outside toilets now I know all about them. As a child we had one, positioned down the end of the back yard. The slang term for a toilet here in Australia is "dunny," well at least it is for older Australians who remember, their outside dunny, often with fondness. Great place to read the paper or a magazine.



  13. I love the excerpt and your cover is amazing. And...EWWWW! lmao