Snippet Sunday: The General’s Wife: Sebastian

I missed last Sunday’s Snippet Sunday because I was indulging my love of things Roman by visiting the Getty Villa in Malibu to see the exhibition “Sicily: Art and Invention between Greece and Rome,” as well as to just experience the villa, one of my favorite places to visit when I was a child. The idea of an ancient Roman villa in Southern California is simultaneously awesome and crazy. My traveling companion had already been to Italy once this year, but I haven’t been for quite a while and really want to go back. It was a very pleasant day. And, heck, while we were in the area, we went to the Getty Center as well. A day full of art!

So, back to Snippet Sunday*, my revision of The General’s Wife, and the introduction of a new character. Today we meet our tertiary hero, Lieutenant Sebastian Hawkins, who, despite his being a minor character, plays an important role in our heroine Clara‘s life. Sebastian is General Strathmore‘s aide-de-camp, so he’s a redcoat in our American Revolutionary story. In this scene he has to liaise with the Americans for a particular reason (which I won’t divulge). While this is not the first time we meet him, this is the first time one of our American heroes meets him. The scene is from Patrick Hamilton‘s point of view.

(Full disclosure: I had to do a lot of editing to get the excerpt to ten sentences, including deleting a plot point I didn’t want to reveal.)

*Snippet Sunday: promoted on Twitter as #SnipSun, #SnipSunday, or #SnippetSunday, and on Facebook, as well as on various blogs (just type Snippet Sunday in your favorite search engine and see what comes up!). Authors post just a snippet — six to ten sentences — of a recently released novel, a WIP (work in progress), or an older manuscript that’s being revived. Lots of different genres are represented — romance, mystery, thriller, sci fi, fantasy, erotica, and more.

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Patrick stopped on a knoll to look down on the meadow where a British soldier stood next to a horse, his gun topped with a scrap of white fabric indicating the present truce. The redcoat kicked the ground with his foot, turned his gun upside down to scratch the frozen earth with the blade of his bayonet, then knelt and picked up a handful of the cold dirt, weighing and sifting it in his palm. The man looked up and around, his breath hanging momentarily in a cloud, nodding his head as if some thought were agreeable to him.

Pat rode down the hill and pulled his horse to a slow canter as he reached the British soldier. “Hullo there,” he called out.

The man looked up and took hold of his horse’s reins. “First Lieutenant Patrick Hamilton, I presume?”

His voice held a twinge of excitement beneath the British accent. Pat dismounted and walked to the center of the clearing. “Yes,” he said once he stood before the redcoat, “and you are Lieutenant Sebastian Hawkins?”

15 thoughts on “Snippet Sunday: The General’s Wife: Sebastian

  1. So many questions!

    Is Patrick a farmer? Is he loyal to the British cause? Why? Is he simply that young and adorable?

    And how is there possibly a Roman villa in California?

    • Ah-ha! The farming angle is important to Sebastian’s character. So glad you could pick that out with such a short snippet! Seriously, how is there a Roman villa in California?!

    • Yeah, um, I had to leave out what it is they are talking about…I think? I thought it might give too much away. This is pretty late in the story.

  2. Two strangers meet in the midst of a truce. Interesting premise. Hmm. Why does he scratch the earth and pick up some? You make me curious. And what are these two men going to talk about?

  3. Intriguing snippet.

    Just a note, though — you might want to look into a horse’s gaits. (For one thing, it’s a cantEr, not a cantOr… Unless, of course, it’s a musical and the horse is singing as he goes.) (Sorry… I was up for 39 hours straight yesterday and am still a little loopy.)

    Still, I want to know more about these two men.

    • Ooh! Thanks for that correction! I’m going to change it right now. The ms hasn’t been to the copyeditor yet.

  4. Hi Regina,

    I chanced on your blog through a trackback on POV editing (Beth Hill). I was instantly curious about historical fiction erotica since I write historical fiction. love research and, well, you know…erotica…

    Reading this snippet–and I respect that it’s only that–I wanted to point out a couple of things. Someone else has already mentioned the gaits of the horse. If he GALLOPED down the hill, he would slow to a canter (not cantor, of course, that’s someone who sings in a synagogue, I believe). He might go to a slow canter; I’m ok with that if you want him going down two gears.

    However, if this is only a “knoll” (or hill). Unless it’s a long, gradual slope, it wouldn’t be likely he’d even have time to gallop down it, much less, change to a slow canter and have time to downshift to a trot and then come to a stop. I fear the Redcoat (it wants to be capitalised), white flag or not, might pick up his *musket* and shoot our Patrick.

    Gun: you might look at a few sources. I don’t think the weapon you’re calling a gun is likely anything but a “musket”–and you can give it so much more historical interest by naming it so. Whether it’s a Springfield or a Flintlock musket or the French Minié rifle (not musket), it probably wasn’t called a gun. And handguns (as we call them) seem to be ‘pistols’. Mind you, I’m no expert–but in writing about the Crimean War (1852-1855) I found out lots from just online sources.

    Finally, as my British husband pointed out, it’s likely that ALL “Americans” had British accents. After all, they WERE British subjects! Just read the Declaration of Independence, etc, and you’ll see that they were English, through and through. At the time of the American Revolution, it’s my understanding (again, I am no expert) that the British and American (aside from native speakers or French settlers, etc) were the same. You’ll find lots of sources on that, too.

    I hope this is of use to you. Naturally, if this sub-genre doesn’t look for the added luxury of historical detail, then I understand. As I said, it’s new to me. And I love the concept you’ve got! I’m not trying to be critical, believe me. Just helpful. I wanted to much to find historical erotica I could dive into from time to time.

    I confess, though, that it would really distract me to try and read so many things that could be sorted out with just a little Googling and Wikipedia-ing to give your erotic tale that extra bit of polish and accuracy. Oh, I’ll have some of that!

    All the best,
    cynthia

    • Hi Cynthia,

      Thanks so much for your comments! My Snippet Sunday excerpts are often from works-in-progress. General’s Wife has been through a few rounds of edits since I posted this excerpt, including by a copyeditor who knows way more about horses than I!

      Concerning the developing American accent in the 18th century (something I find fascinating), this link might be of interest to you:
      http://scratchofthequill.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/what-did-george-washingtons-voice-sound-like/
      There are differing theories of what American English sounded like in the colonies. I chose to go with the theory that accents already had acquired distinct sounds (patterns of speech, lilt, rhotacism, etc.) to be recognizable as “American”, especially since (some parts of) the colonies had been settled for 150 years or so. For me, this works well as a plot device. I’m using accents-as-distinguishing-characteristics in my upcoming series with Ellora’s Cave set in Victorian England, as well.

      [On a side note, in dealing with historical fiction one often has a choice of theories to go with. Some are supported by concrete evidence; some supported by conjecture; some are just really convenient for a plot! And the further back in time, the greater the number of theories. For my Hadrian book I had quite a plethora to choose from.]

      And, yes, in terms of balancing historical accuracy with eroticism, I will most likely fall on the side of eroticism. In General’s Wife there is probably way more bed hopping than one might have encountered in 1777.

      Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you’ll return!

      -Regina

  5. Pingback: Snippet Sunday: The General’s Wife: Sam and Pat - Regina Kammer

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