Sharon Lathan celebrating a NEW BOOK! & with a GIVEAWAY too!

Sharon Lathan celebrating a NEW BOOK! & with a GIVEAWAY too!

Yes, you read the title correctly! I have something new on the market. Whoot! This time around (as I continue to work on my novel) I created a non-fiction picture and history book. A “coffee table” book of sorts, simply not as ginormous as the usual tabletop display photo book. Better yet, my book is beautiful and a delightful conversation starter for guest, but won’t take up all the surface space. LOL!

A Ladys Diversions cover med

What did a Regency lady do all day? In between changing her clothing and sitting for her necessary toilette, surely she sought a variety of amusements to relieve the boredom in a world without television or the internet?

Magazines from the period contained colorfully detailed hand-painted prints of women and men wearing the latest fashions. Oftentimes the drawn models displayed the garments while engaged in daily activities or popular entertainments. What a marvelous way to peek into the past and answer the above questions!

REGENCY PRINTS REFINED: A LADY’S DIVERSIONS is a photo book with 36 prints from Costume Parisien, La Belle Assemblée, Ackermann’s Repository, and other magazines published from 1790 to 1825. With the marvels of modern graphic design, each print has been painstakingly freed from the impurities of time, beautifully revealing the original precision and elegant taste. They have been refined!

Gorgeous full-page images from the era of Jane Austen, and a bit of history too. Fabulous! How can one resist?


I hope you won’t resist! 

I am very proud of this book. I know readers are anxious for a new novel from me, specifically the second part of my betrothal period duo. It will come in time! And now I can make that statement with more confidence. Embarking on this non-fiction, graphic book has been wonderfully therapeutic, and restored my passion in a marvelous, surprising way. Rather than delve into that, let me share how this book (and hopefully a series) originated.

As most of you are aware, I am a Pinterest addict. Indeed, I have 71 boards and nearly 12,000 pins!  Sharon’s Pinterest. One of my boards is dedicated to “Regency Fashion Plates & Drawings.” It was this collection, and my skills in digital design, that prompted me to volunteer to tackle a project for the 2015 JASNA Annual General Meeting (AGM) hosted by the Greater Louisville JASNA Region, of which I am a proud member.  (*The conference is scheduled for this October, and it isn’t too late to come. Info here: 2015 JASNA AGM*)   Coordinators Bonny Wise and Alana Gillett wanted to decorate the luncheon and banquet tables with Regency prints specifically depicting people engaged in activities of some sort, as per the AGM theme “Living in Jane Austen’s World.”

I was happy to take on the task, but never dreamed the simple behest to re-size and polish twenty-five plates for 5×7 framed photos would lead where it did. Before I finished the AGM project I had accumulated over 650 prints on my Pinterest board, and refurbished 105 plates so that each table will have a unique print! Plus, I discovered a new passion! 

The bummer, as I saw it, was that the 105 superbly reimagined prints resembling weeks of painstaking work would be seen and enjoyed by no one, other than the JASNA AGM attendees. Oh, the tragedy! That is where the idea of this book came from. How about a full-color photo book? Fabulous idea! To make it extra special I’ve added a bit of history and fashion descriptions for each print. Here is an example–

1815 lady with parrot copy
print before
32- 1815 parrot copy
Print after (5″ x 7″ in book)

The book entry on this plate: A lady in a morning dress holding a parrot. Exotic pets were prized acquisitions. I am not a bird-as-pet lover, but my sister has a feathered menagerie, so I can appreciate the unique bond forged between humans and intelligent bird species, such as parrots.

The description in the magazine is as follows: “A loose robe of line cambric or worked jaconet muslin, over a petticoat of the same, flounced with French trimming; long full sleeve, confined at the wrist with treble drawings and ornamented with corresponding trimming. The robe, negligée, of demi-length is gathered into a Vandyke ruff, and is worn with a coloured silk handkerchief tied carelessly round the neck. A mob cap, composed of net and Brussels lace, decorated with a cluster of flowers and bows of satin ribbon. Slippers or sandals of pale tan-coloured kid.”


There you have it! 36 such prints with descriptions from the magazines (when available), my thoughts, and tidbits of history. I could have easily added more prints and details, but wanted to keep the book at a reasonable price. Full color printing into a fine quality book isn’t cheap! With that in mind, my hope is to continue the Regency Prints Refined series. Each book would have a theme – gentlemen’s fashion, more women, children, couples, playing games, and so on. That will depend on how this first installment fares.

Buy on Kindle[easyazon_infoblock align=”left” identifier=”099161061X” key=”image” locale=”US” tag=”austauth0d-20″]  Buy on Nook   Buy on Kobo

NOTE: This book is designed for perfection as a printed photo book. However, it is available as an eBook at the usual places. Keep in mind that the prints are in color and large. Older devices, or those only in B&W will not look as nice, or may not work at all.

cardAnd, because these refined prints are, IMHO, awesome, I have them available in my Image Gallery for purchase individually. Create greeting cards like the one on the right, and other items (totes, puzzle, playing cards, mugs). Have an image printed for framing and display. Lots of options!

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Giveaway button

FIVE Regency Prints Refined: A Lady’s Diversions (print and signed)
FOUR 5×7 cards from Image Gallery store, each winner’s choice of print
THREE Regency Prints Refined: A Lady’s Diversions (eBook, international or US)
TWO 5×7 photo prints from Image Gallery store, each winner’s choice of print
ONE mug (white or black) with winner’s choice of print.


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35 Responses to Sharon Lathan celebrating a NEW BOOK! & with a GIVEAWAY too!

  1. I find it very interesting and for me, that I am not used to this kind of books, very original.

    I imagine this diversions were also à la mode and where kind of the lady’s accomplisments 😉

  2. So beautiful! Absolutely magical! I love Regency prints, it makes everything so real! The dresses, the places as they used to look like in Jane Austen’s time, before they changed beyond recognition. Thanks for this great new release, Sharon, and congrats, I can’t wait for my own copy!

  3. Love all your picture galleries. Especially in your Darcy & Elizabeth saga… Need to re-read your saga and look at the pictures. Do you have any D&E projects in the works?

  4. I can feel your passion for this project, Sharon, and it’s contagious! The sample print is gorgeous! You can be sure I’ll be checking out that image gallery too! I will, however, stifle the sudden desire to get a parrot. I don’t have time for an exotic bird. 🙂

  5. This looks like a great book. I love the fashions from that time (looking at them, not wearing them!). Thanks for the chance to win.

  6. This is a wonderful idea besides a novel for someone to enjoy. It is a very interesting pinterest board to have and share. I am looking forward to this great idea and the remastering of the prints. Thank you for the giveaway!

  7. Good morning everyone! Thanks for the lovely words of encouragement. Enthusiasm is definitely appreciated. 🙂 I am very excited about this book, and hope to keep the series going. Be sure to answer the poll so I know what you want!

  8. I have to have this book for I look for inspiration when I describe clothing worn by my characters. You have made the drawings come alive and I cannot wait to see the entire collection. Thank you for doing all this work so that I can benefit from it.

  9. Sharon the book looks wonderful and I absolutely love the pics from Ackerman’s Repository. I can’t wait to see all of the pages. Jen

    • Thanks Jen! It’s funny because when I first started collecting fashion plates (long ago now), I didn’t realize just how many Regency Era women’s magazines there were, nor how varied the artistic styles. Now I can detect which magazine a print is from almost immediately.

  10. I’m not surprised considering the sheer volume of fashion pins I see with your name on them! =D One of my favorite parts of my Pinterest home page these days. LOL It’s gorgeous Sharon, congrats!!

    • Thanks Molly. Indeed, there are several artist who have cleaned up old fashion plates. Candace Hern has a nice collection, for one. Also Victoriana and A Thousand Pixels. I did a LOT of looking around, and do think my style is unique in that I played with some textures and added “real” photo images here and there (like the rug in the example above). The colorful background idea I borrowed from A Thousand Pixels, adding the fancy frames and magazine titles, etc. Basically I love playing around with new techniques on my GIMP program!

    • Ah, thanks Barbara, *blush

      It wasn’t easy, as far as the plates themselves. So many are not cataloged, especially in one central place. There are a plethora of websites with fashion plates, but the bulk of them just have the image with no other info. And then when dates or other info is given, it is often wrong. Pinterest is notorious for this, as much as I am addicted to the site. It is kind of like the childhood telephone game – pins get repinned, new comments are added or taken away, and by the time I stumble across it the info is jumbled. LOL!

  11. This will be a beautiful addition to us Austen fans. I always try to imagine what the clothes look like by the descriptions provided in the books.I would truly be honoured to win this wonderful book of reprints.

    • Thanks Mary! It is difficult to imagine what the garments looked like. Fabrics were different than our modern synthetics, for one thing. And of course so many of the fashion plates are in poor condition, or were not colored well at all. I did keep to the original colors as much as possible. But will admit that it was fun to be creative here and there. LOL!

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