“Mama, I’m as concerned about Diana as you are. If she truly needs me, I will always be there to help her.”
“Of course.” She poked her elegant finger among the brooches and earrings in the ornate box. “You’ve managed everything quite well up to now, have you not? But beware, my darling. We have only just arrived in London. Inevitably, Diana is bound to choose another improper friend.
Archive for March, 2012
From the first page, William Holland had me hooked with his diary. His daily notations are not erudite. He does not wax eloquently about politics, philosophy, religion, or science, but with observations like these, who cares? Our parson has a way of planting us right in the middle of his little village:
Friday November 1 The Clerk in the yard wheeling dung and Robert looking about him and moving like a snail.
I rarely take a break from writing, but when a sailing race gives me an opportunity to be on the race committee, I take it. So from Friday through Sunday, I was on Signal 1 for the International Rolex Regatta, checking in boats from all over the world, manning the class flags and helping take protests. We had the good fortune to be hosted this year on a Privilege 44 catamaran. We got rained on the first day, but after that it was sunny.
What do you do to take a break?
Song of the Day: Save Yourself by Stabbing Westward
In A Kiss in the Wind (release date March 26th!), pirate captain Blade Tyburn engages in not one, but two sea battles. Really, what’s a pirate adventure without some live action? However, did you know that pirates often avoided going into battle?
Sure, pirates are known for their pillaging, plundering and rioting.
This has been a week of ups and downs. It has also been a week when I found who my true friends are. A couple of them I knew I could count on, but there were even more that I didn’t really know about until I received their notes of support. Tell me, when did you discover who your real friends were?
Here is an excerpt from the first draft of my MS, LADY CARO’S ACCIDENTAL MARRIAGE. Although, Horatia is helping Caro, I don’t think either Caro or Huntley are going to appreciate it.
“My lady.” La Valle, his aunt’s majordomo bowed. “The Duca di Venier is here to see you.”
Horatia took a breath. “Did he say what it was about?”
“No, my lady.”
Rising, she shook out her skirts. “Very well, show him into my study. Place two footmen inside the door.”
He bowed again. “Yes, my lady.”
Horatia turned to Caro and Huntley, her face tight with worry. “Make your plans. Caro, you may have run out of time.”
His aunt left the room and when Huntley turned back to Caro, her countenance was alive with tension. “What could he want?”
“Lady Caro, let me take you back to England.”
Her eyes flew open like a wild animal ready to flee.
That was obviously not a good suggestion. Very well then, not England. He rapidly reviewed the places he could take her and not cause a scandal. Where? “Paris. I have friends who have houses there. Two houses.”
Her lips curled. “Really, who are these friends?”
He kept his eyes on her and wished she’d let him take her hand. “You have a choice, either Lord and Lady Evesham’s residence or Lord and Lady Rutherford’s residence. The Evesham’s house is larger, but they are both well situated.”
The hand over her eyes pressed in. “Phoebe and Anna?”
Of course she would have met them both when she came out. “Yes. Both of them will help you.”
Caro crossed her arms over her stomach and rocked. Tears glistened in her eyes. “I don’t have a choice, do I?”
He bit the inside of his lip. “You have a choice now. Leave or …”
Her shattered gaze was fixed straight ahead, but her voice firmed. “Very well. When would you like to leave?”
Horatia came on to the balcony. “You’d better leave as soon as possible. The Marquis has made a formal offer for your hand.” She took a breath. “I told him you were already betrothed to Huntley.”
Jane Austen fans are familiar with the high-waisted muslin dresses popular during her adulthood. How many are aware that machine-made net or gauze became a "hot" item from 1810 and on?
"Net dresses were very fashionable and their popularity was spurred by new inventions. The development of machine-made net in the late 18th and early 19th centuries meant that gauzy lace effects were increasingly affordable either as trimmings or garments.
Photo: Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, Malmaison France.
A few years ago, I made the trip out of Paris to visit Malmaison, the beautiful former home of the Empress Joséphine. It was an amazing, magical day because the château is simply exquisite and still full of the Empress' personal belongings and much of her art collection. I adored wandering through the rooms, admiring Joséphine's wonderful taste and then pottering around the famous gardens, where her rose trees can still be seen, filling the Summer air with their heady fragrance.
My current WIP, Lady Caro’s Accidental Marriage, starts in Venice. From there, my hero, Lord Huntley and my heroine, Caro, travel up through the Brenner Pass to Innsbruck, then through the Fernpass to Ulm and onto Nancy and Dijon, France. The other character, Horatia, travels to Genoa and takes a ship to Marseille, planning to meet up with Huntley and Caro in Nancy.
I lived in Europe for the better part of eighteen years and have traveled through northern Italy, France, Germany and Austria extensively. So in my 21st century mind, I had my characters visiting sights such as the Dom in Ulm and the Palais des Papes in the wonderful city of Avignon. So imagine my disappointment when I discovered that in 1816, the work on the Ulm Minster, which had begun in 1377 was, due to various economic problems and a few wars, was not completed until later in the 19th century, too late for my characters to visit. Likewise, the Palais des Papes was not the grand palace one sees today, but instead a crumbling building used as a stable. On the other hand, I found hotels, restaurants and cafés from the time that are still in existence today. Innsbruck was a bustling city and many of the attractions are the same now as in 1816. The Fernpass has a new road, but the old one remains, albeit mostly for wanders and bicyclists. And the Schloss and Hotel Fernsteinsee, a wonderful old castle with amazing views of the Zugspitze, as been a hotel since the late 18th century. Since I like to feed my characters, I pleased to discover many of the same dishes I’ve eaten were popular over two hundred years ago.
The problem with all this research is resisting the temptation to use all of it and risk the book reading more like a travel guide than a romance novel. Fortunately, I have very good critique partners who will haul me up short when I start getting into the weeds.
Excerpt – Huntley and Caro in Verona
After a large meal they spent an hour or so walking through the ancient city and touring the Basilica di San Zeno. As they were admiring it the ornate black roof, English voices intruded on them. Huntley turned and stifled a curse. He recognized the prelate bear-leading a young man around the church.
Before he could hide them, the prelate turned. “Huntley, is that you?”
He thought about trying to at least hide Caro, but it wouldn’t work. “Yes, yes indeed.” He held out his hand. “You’re the last person I expected to see here.”
His cousin glanced at Caro. Huntley patted her hand, now clutched tightly to his jacket sleeve. “Lady Caroline Martindale, may I present the Right Reverend, Bishop Everard Wingate?”
Caroline smiled politely and curtseyed. The grip she had on his arm tightened even more. He smiled at his cousin. “Everard, what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be in Canterbury or something?”
Richard Sharp (1759 - 1835), born in Newfoundland, was a hatter and later prominent merchant in London. He was also a Dissenter, becoming the champion of adult education. His powers of persuasion were responsible for establishing the forerunner of the University of London, the London Institution, open to scientific scholars who were denied entrance to Cambridge and Oxford because of their unorthodox religious beliefs.
Though it was nice to go on vacation, the lack of internet really threw me. It appears that some people in Europe think that having internet flowing through the guest rooms is unhealthy. So while I was skiing and visiting my husband and friends, my muse decided to take a semi-vacation as well. But the minute I arrived back home, she started jumping all over the place.
I am a liner writer. I don’t like to write scenes out of order. I also research as I go along. So while I’m researching Innsbruck, Austria and the best route for my H/H to get to Nancy, France. My muse skipped a head to Nancy and insisted I write a scene that happens there. This caused some consternation on my part and digging in of the heels on the part of my muse.
So now I’ve written my hero’s black moment, (yes, I gave in) but I have no idea what he did to make everyone so angry with him. Things are going so well in Innsbruck. Oh, and somewhere along the line, his groom got married.
What do you do when your muse starts acting up?
Here is an excerpt. Huntley’s aunt, Horatia, has decided to take a hand in his romantic problems.
Shaking her head, Risher went to the wardrobe and took out one of the dressing gowns. “I hope you know what you’re doing.”
Horatia smiled wryly. “So do I.”
Several minutes later, she heard a door down the hall open and close again. Booted feet ran down the stairs and the muted sounds of people getting out of the way drifted up. Risher glanced at her and Horatia nodded. “It won’t be long now.” Taking a seat at her dressing table, she waited.
Horatia turned at the loud and insistent banging on her parlor door. She raised a brow at Risher and tried to keep her lips from twitching.
“Where is my wife?” Huntley roared.
Good Lord, he sounded just like his grandfather. “You may as well come in. I have no intention of holding a conversation with you through the door.”
The door slammed open and bounced against the wall. He stood in the door. Anger and concern warred in his darkened face. “Where is Caro? I searched all over the inn. She wouldn’t go anywhere without telling you.”
She raised a brow. “Caro has left.”
His jaw clenched. “When?”
Horatia glanced away from him and back into the mirror, signaling Risher to continue dressing her hair. “A few moments ago.”
He groaned and the sound of his boots echoed in the hall. “Well, maybe he’ll finally realize what he needs to do.”
“I certainly hope so, my lady,” Risher agreed. “I would like to see them settled before we leave for Paris.”