Her Grace in Disgrace Book Trailer

22 Oct

Her Grace in Disgrace CS FRONTSM

Short post today. I just finished my book trailer and I wanted to share it with you. It only takes a minute…literally. So take a gander and let me know what you think.

The Romance and Reality of the Regency

4 Oct


I’m a writer. It’s kind of new for me so I like to say it out loud. I write historical romance novels. Actually, I’ve written one, a romance novel called Her Grace in Disgrace that takes place in England’s Regency period. What, you may ask, is the Regency? I’m glad you asked. I’ll do my best to answer your impromptu question.

The Regency period in England technically spans from 1811-1820, the exact period that Prince George was Regent (which basically means “stand-in king”) in England during his father’s battle with mental illness. More commonly, however, the era is thought to encompass 1795-1830, the dates that the man who would be George IV influenced British society.  And influence society he did. Prinnie, as he was commonly called behind his back, was larger than life. Literally, the man’s girth grew to match his many excesses. From his passionate romantic entanglements, to his love of food and grand architecture, the future George IV’s passions and pursuits eased their way into the mainstream life of the elite as the 18th century  gave way to the 19th. And it is due to this extravagance and opulence, which defined the upper classes of the Regency, that it is one of the most romanticized eras in history. And why not? The exquisite clothes, the palatial mansions, the lavish balls and the heart stopping romance. Sigh! It’s enough to make a girl’s heart flutter. But, once the fluttering has passed, this modern woman takes a breath and thinks about what it would really be like to live in Regency England. Let’s take a look at just a few things that might not be as romantic as they sound.


Transportation in the Regency was quite simple. On land, it either involved a horse or using your own two feet. Since self-powered transportation is notoriously slow, most likely you would have to succumb sooner or later to the “horse-powered” variety. Why you could achieve such staggering speeds as 16-18 mph on a fast horse in good conditions!  

It’s not all about speed of course. Horses are beautiful creatures and have always had an aura of romance about them…until you get up close to one. Oh, they are still beautiful, graceful creatures, but they smell! And if you find a pleasant one that would enjoy a good nose rub, you’ll find that those kidskin gloves that you are wearing will be a different shade than before said nose rub. For those of you who are not inclined to getting up close and personal with your transportation, then a carriage would be your best bet. Carriages were as varied as cars are today and went from the stripped down version to the sporty variety to the luxury model. However, being removed from the “horse power” of your vehicle would not make the smells go away. Picture London or any large city and visualize the fumes emanating from the thousands of cars on the road. Now think of that as horse poop. Enough said.



Humans of every generation are slaves to fashion in some way or other. Women don’t totter around on 3-inch heels because they are comfortable! The Regency, of course, was no different. The elite of the Regency period, called the ton, dictated the fashion dos and don’ts. They were the “What Not to Wear” of British society.  There were very strict rules about what to wear and when. Morning gowns were worn at home in the mornings and afternoons. If you went out for a ride in the carriage, there were carriage dresses or if you got about on foot, there were walking dresses. If you felt like a ride in the park on your favorite horse, you would don a riding habit. In the evening, you would change for dinner and wear an evening dress, unless you were to attend a ball and in that case, you would wear a ball gown. The well-born Regency elite found themselves changing 3, 4 or even 5 times a day!

And it wasn’t just the women. Men, too, changed frequently, depending on their activities and their clothing was probably more restrictive than their female counterparts. They wore skin tight pants, starched collars turned upwards, the points often touching their cheeks and cravats that were so intricately and tightly tied that the looked like a fancy neck brace and giving them about as much mobility as one. And the jackets! They were so form fitting that they could not put them on without the assistance a valet!

The gowns of the Regency were much less restrictive than the previous few decades. However, with four layers of underclothes, most of which were fastened by hooks and eyes in the back, and stays (a variation of a corset, but used as a sort of push-up bra), the sheer difficulty of getting in and out of these clothes made getting dressed a challenge. Enter the lady’s maid. It was nearly impossible, unless clothes were specifically altered, to get dressed on your own. Oh, it sounds nice to have a lady’s maid to pamper you, but day in day out with little to no privacy. I think it might drive me crazier than I already am.

Parties and balls:

Imagine it! You are dressed to the nines, you can hardly breathe because the whalebone of your stays is cutting into your rib cage, your hair is stiff with curls and ribbons and you are freezing standing in the huge ballroom in your flimsy dress with short puff sleeves and a daring low neckline. But that is nothing to you. You behold an elegant room, of huge proportions filled with hot house flowers and lit by scores of candles gracing the three elegant crystal chandeliers in the room. The ballroom is filled to the brim with ladies and gentleman, all in their finery (thanks to their maids and valets). You enter shyly, hopeful that your dance card will be full, that some handsome man will take a fancy to you and ultimately want to marry you. As the evening progresses, to your delight, your card is indeed full and you dance and make polite conversation and drink lemonade, because despite your thin dress, the dancing has made you quite warm. Finally, long after midnight, the ball is over and you go home to dream of all that has occurred this magical night.  You fall asleep wondering which of your dance partner will be your future husband. You wake the next morning, have a few visitors, go out for a carriage ride in the afternoon and then – do it all again. Rinse and repeat. Ad infinitum. And all with the same people; nearly identical conversations and in similar ballrooms. I don’t know about you, but to me it sounds like way too much of a good thing! I love a party, but a party every night with the same crowd would get tedious.

Did I just burst your romantic bubble?  Never fear! Just do what I do; ignore the reality of it all and enjoy the romance. If I’m honest with myself and with you, I confess I would not be the lovely debutante who meets the dashing lord, but one of the crotchety matrons, confined to sit and gossip on the sidelines of the ball, while watching the youngsters cut up the dance floor. But, in fiction…well, in between the pages of a book, I can imagine that I am the heroine and dance the night away in my primrose shot silk ball gown that is just a trifle too low in the bodice and shimmers in the flickering light of a thousand candles. So, here’s to romance with a touch of reality for authenticity sake.

What about you? What would bother you if you were suddenly transported back in time to Regency England?

Nameless Blog Contest Winner

3 Oct


Thanks to all the entrants in my blog naming contest. There were lots of great ones to choose from, but this one resonated with me the most. I added my own little subtitle for the search engines to find me better.  So check in soon for my first post on Tipping Back the Hourglass: Historical Musings”. 

Nameless Blog Contest!

30 Sep


What’s in a name? A lot; especially for a blog. So I’m asking you to help me name my REVAMPED blog.

In an earlier post, I spoke of Blog Laryngitis (I couldn’t find my blogging voice). I am happy to tell you that I have found my voice. I will be blogging about all things historical…not dry, dusty facts, but interesting tidbits about the periods of history surrounding my books.

As you may be aware, I’ve only published one book, Her Grace in Disgrace. It’s a Regency romance, meaning it takes place in early 19th century England. So, to begin with my posts will be about that indulgent era of British history. But, I have other books in mind (after I finish the series I am currently working on) that will encompass other eras and countries. But, for now, it’s all about Regency England.

Here’s where you come in. I need a name. I’ve thrown a couple of ideas around: “Particulars and Peculiarities of the Preceding Eras” and “Tidbits from the Past”. I’m just not sold on anything I’ve come up with so far. I could use your help.

The blog will be informative, but chatty and will likely include some humor along with factual information. Let your imagination soar!

What’s in it for you? If I choose your blog name, you will receive:

 ***** A copy of my book, Her Grace in Disgrace (eBook or paperback)




***** My undying gratitude!!!!

So, what are you waiting for. Get those creative juices flowing and send along as many ideas as you like.

I look forward to hearing from you!

A September Saga: A Co-operative Story

2 Sep


A September Saga

I’ll start and you add on. The only rules are to try to follow the story so it makes some sense. No naughty words, please. Otherwise, have fun and we’ll see what happens. Check out the August Tale from…you guessed it…August!


The waning Autumn sun shone on the dewy leaves strewn about the park, causing them to sparkle, though they were dead. The park was deserted, but signs of life remained. Three roses lay on the empty bench as if waiting for someone…waiting for a clandestine lover.

“I hope he arrives soon,” the red rose sighed. “It looks a bit like rain.”

“Whatever are you on about?” snapped the pink rose. “We’re waiting for a she, not a he.”

“Ssshhh! someone’s coming,” whispered the white rose, as a young woman came into view. They all watched as she came nearer, hoping that she was the one. Although the red rose was disappointed by her gender.

Rebecca stopped by the bench and smiled. ‘One red, one pink and one white’ she thought, ‘He kept his word, now…..what am I going to do?’

Red is for Romance, White is for Innocence and Pink is for Admiration she thought as she glanced around to see if anyone was watching.

Rebecca walked this route through the park every day. It was part of her routine. Yesterday, she had run into a handsome young gentleman who asked her to dinner. She declined due to the fact that he was a complete stranger. She also had a distrust of good looking men. They always seemed so full of themselves.

He had continued walking with her, asking how he could change her mind. Rebecca had simply said that he would have to take time to get to know her. Disappointed, but encouraged, he had walked away quietly, turning only to tell her to look for a gift on the bench the next day.

“Why is she staring at us,” whispered the red rose. “Is she the one?”

“Perhaps,” the white rose answered. “Let her prick her finger upon my thorn and we shall see.”

“Upon my thorn? Who talks like that?” Asked the pink rose with a sniff.

“You know Whitey,” answered Red. “Thinks she lives in some medieval fantasy world.”

“Whitey is a she?” remarked Pink in surprise.

“I’ve always felt deep inside I am,” sighed the white rose.

Rebecca peered up and down the path. No one else seemed to be around, yet she was certain she’d heard whispering. “Must have been the wind.”

She returned her attention to the roses; “So romantic. Perhaps…” She reached to pick them up, but the sharp sting of a thorn caused her to draw back her hand. A single drop of blood beaded on her forefinger. Instinctively, she put her finger in her mouth to soothe the pain.

“Oh no…is THIS a sign?” she thought. Just then she heard the sound of footsteps approaching…

“Hello poppety mop! I’m Hall,” The little person squeaked in the loudest squeak she could possibly muster. “Are you Rebecca?” The young woman gazed about her person. Unable to determine whether she’d finally lost her mind, she started to sob.

“Well, this little creature has done it now!” exclaimed the pink rose. “With all this weeping, no one will want to play!”

“So sad,” muttered the red rose. “And such a pleasant Autumn day it was looking to be.”

“Stop twittering, you two!” interjected the white rose. “Gregor is coming.”

He walked up to the bench and gazed down at Rebecca. He noticed tear tracks and the roses, silent now, in her lap. “Hello Rebecca,” he smiled. “You came. I’m so glad you did.” Slowly, he crouched down bedside the bench. He gently took her hand and closed his own around it…

“Who are you?” Rebecca shrieked, yanking her hand away from his. “I’ve never seen you before in my life.”

“Ah, but yesterday we did  meet,” answered the short, swarthy, trollish little man. “Do you not remember? I told you I would leave something for you on this bench.”

“But that wasn’t you,” Rebecca whispered. “It couldn’t have been you.”

Gregor looked away, a great sadness in his eyes. “It was I, my dear. Yet much has transpired since then, I fear.”

“Poppery moppery, don’t you know it, he’s a poet,” Hall sang, dancing and hopping about.

“That little person is so annoying,” muttered the white rose.

“Which one?” asked the red.

“Both,” giggled the pink rose.

Rebecca looked as if she was ready to bolt when Gregor’s words stopped her.

“Don’t try and leave, my dear. It’s the roses you see. They are enchanted. They forced me to lure you here. And now you, too are trapped in their little game.”

“Ooohh! I love games,” squeaked Hall as she twirled and hopped around. Rebecca was motionless, stunned and afraid. Gregor raised his chubby troll hand to his face to wipe away the tears that began to stream down his ugly face.

‘Bewitched roses’ repeated Rebecca, ‘An annoying little person who keeps saying poppety mop, talking roses and an ugly ogre……..mmmmm we could do with someone like JP Lane to sort this one out otherwise I can see it ending as a dream – again!’

“Cor! I’ll have you know missy, it was NOT me shouting poppety mop, it was an imposter!” Hall’s eyes sparkled and shone, raven black. “AND they didn’t actually shout poppety mop either.. Although they DID swirl rather well..” Hall stamped her little foot and glanced over at Rebecca and Gregor. She felt sad, distressed for them both. What was to become of them and could Ruby help…

The clock in the park struck twelve, Rebecca gasped as she looked at Greogor, she recognised the handsome face from the day before…..(oh perlease!)

And while the roses conspired, and the humans twittered, the trees gave up their precious autumn leaves, swirling ’bout the couple in their deceitfully warm hues.

“You look chilled, luv,” Gregor said with that self-assured smile. “Perhaps away somewhere we should go, beyond the roses, beyond the park, beyond the gaze of passers-by?”

“You see,” said Gregor, “I am again transformed!” His renewed face shone under Rebecca’s adoring gaze.

“Time to work your magic now, Whitey,” whispered the red rose.

“Yes, indeed!” the white rose replied.

A shadow fell over the bench. Gregor gasped in horror as Rebecca’s eyes became dark, her cheeks gray. She opened her mouth to speak, revealing a sharp set of fangs.

Gregor’s uncontrollable yearning for Rebecca fought hard and fiercely with the fear that had suddenly gripped his heart. Rebecca flinched and growled quietly, as he very slowly leaned in to whisper to her. She held his gaze in an attempt to pre-empt his next move, but became calm and receptive as he then stroked her left cheek with the back of his right hand.

“I feel cold,” she muttered deeply. Rebecca pressed her fist to her chest. “In here,” she continued, still pushing her face into Gregor’s hand, as he continued to caress her cheekbone. She took her other hand up to her face and touched her lips…stroking her newly-grown fangs. “What have I become?” she asked weakly.

Gregor placed his hand over Rebecca’s as her fingertips reluctantly studied the rest of her face. “You are still you, Rebecca, and my compulsion to make love to you is still as strong as it ever was,” he replied. His eyes remained focused on her pupils as they pulsated between red and black. He was not about to let the roses take Rebecca from him and prayed the love he felt for her, enchanted or otherwise, would be enough to break their spell.

Rebecca took Gregor’s hands and held them firmly. “Why would you want me like this? I could end you…break you”

“If it was the only way to be close to you, I would gladly be broken and damned to Hell for all eternity,” he said. “Never to have felt you move lustfully and needfully beneath me would be punishment enough. My life is already broken without you. If death be the consequence for it to be temporarily mended for just those precious moments, then so be it”

Rebecca pulled her hands away from Gregor’s as her attention was drawn to the white rose and grasped it firmly around the stem.

“Noooo!” the other two roses protested, but it was too late.

She lifted the rose to her face delicately, wanting to smell purity one final time. The thorns were unable to pierce her now accursed skin, and each of the petals fell away from the stem, like ivory tears.

“See what you’ve done to me?” Rebecca said as a single blood-red tear streamed down her ashen skin, anger, sorrow and hunger brewing in the cauldron of her heart. “You have taken my innocence for your own gain. I should kill you right now. It was not your decision to make.”

She bared her newly grown fangs, her eyes glowing red.

REBECCA! What have I told you! Gregor is MINE! <He sweeps Gregor onto the back of his steed and rides off into the sunset leaving Rebecca standing alone looking extremely silly with her fangs gnashing into thin air……….

Rebecca stood there, mouth agape for a few moments, then she felt something odd occur. She looked down at the ground where the stem of the white rose once laid, and in its place, a black rose had taken its place.

She narrowed her eyes towards the sunset, grabbed the black rose, and bat-like wings sprung painfully from her back.

“I have an imp to consume, and a charlatan to reckon with” she growled, ignoring the pain of the new transformation, and leaped into the air, chasing the twilight.

“That was unexpected,” exclaimed the red rose.

“But not entirely undeserved, I think,” the pink rose commented.

“Gloppery foppery,” chanted Hall, twirling and hopping. “Gregor spirited away, Rebecca flying off on bat wings. What do we do now?”

“But what about Whitey…I mean Blackey?” cried the red rose. “We must have all three of us together for our magic to hold.”

“Mwmfmp,” muttered Hall as she gnawed on a stick.

“Did no one ever tell you not to speak with your mouth full?” reprimanded the pink rose full of hauteur.

“Wmfpfnd,” answered Hall, blackberry juice dripping down her chin.

“Never mind her, this is serious!” The red rose’s voice was shrill with panic.

“Indeed it is, but what do you suggest we do? Fly off to apprehend Rebecca and rescue Whitey…ah, Blackey? How long before the magic begins to weaken?”  asked the pink rose.

“I don’t know. It’s never been tested. Days, hours, minutes?” Just as the red rose finished speaking, they glimpsed a black object hurtling to earth. It was Rebecca.

Rebecca landed with a loud thump. “Who’d have thought flying could be so complicated?” she muttered.

Rebecca narrowed her eyes at the setting sun, Gongle and Gregor fading fast into the sunset. She took off again once more, a sense of rage fueling her ascent.

Now accustomed to her wings and the difficulty of flying, she quickly caught up to the imp and the charlatan.

“Uh oh,” Gregor said to Gongle who, as usual, was oblivious to the impending danger, already celebrating his victory. “She’s –”

But he was cut off as Rebecca slammed headlong into the two, knocking both to the ground.

She tossed Gongle to the side, “I’ll deal with you later, Imp”

She picked up Gregor by the throat, and raised him up enough so that his feet were dangling mere inches from the ground.

“Now,” she said to Gregor, tucking the black rose behind his ear, the thorns tearing his flesh allowing blood to flow down the side of his neck. “Where were we, Lover?”

Gregor looked sideways at Gongle. “I think he’s unconscious. Is he dead?”

“Why? You want him to join in?” teased Rebecca. “Like a bit of pixie play, do you, Gregor?

“Not really, Rebecca, I just worry about murder. It bothers me just a little”

Rebecca lowered Gregor until his feet touched the ground and, still gripping him tightly around the throat, licked her lips hungrily. “You said you wanted to make love to me, Gregor. Yet you seem less inclined. Have I changed that much you now find me unattractive?” Rebecca looked closer into Gregor’s eyes, wanting to see a glimmer of the love he had spoken about. “Where is this lust you speak of now? Where?”

Gregor tried his hardest to push a reply out as best he could. “I think…a good idea…would be…for you…to stop…strangling me…I’m dying…actually…to death…Rebecca…your hand…my throat…let go…please”

Rebecca loosened her grip, but held Gregor firmly as she brought his lips to hers. She brushed his mouth briefly with hers and then with her cheek, before burying her face into his neck. Gregor, now able to breathe a little easier, was still filled with the compulsion to take Rebecca sexually. The curse the roses had put upon him left him no alternative, but to give in. He let his head fall to one side as Rebecca inhaled his scent and opened her mouth to consume as much of it as she possibly could. Her eyes glowed red as ruby as she ran her sharp fangs down his neck and to his shoulder. Her nails, now the sharpest of claws, stroked a neat rip in his shirt, from the collar right down to the button of his jeans.

Gregor sighed. “Don’t kill me yet…please. Whatever you do, make that the last thing you do”

Rebecca looked up at him and with a quick flick of her wrist, his fly button was off. Gregor gulped as he watched it rolling on the ground away from them. Rebecca placed her forefinger on Gregor’s lips. “I will take you right to the point of death and to a level of euphoria you will never forget”

“Thank you,” Gregor wimpered.

Rebecca let out a playful laugh. “Thank you? Aww…Gregor…you are SO polite, even in the face of potential death by rampant sex! Thank you? Well that’s just SO sweet!” She traced a line with her clawed forefinger from Gregor’s bottom lip, down and under his chin. She continued to trace a neat straight line downwards and Gregor became aware of a mild stinging pain as she went. He looked down and realized her scalpal-like finger was making a bright red shallow incision that was about to disappear into the crotch of his pants.

“Ewwww! Poppety moppets! Can anyone say Sadomasochist?” Hall shrieked in disgust. She hopped up and down, higher and higher until she was able to reach out and grab the black rose from behind Gregor’s ear. She threw the bewitched flower onto the ground and continued her hopping frenzy, grinding the rose into pulp.

“No!” cried Rebecca and the remaining two roses in unison. Rebecca lunged at Hall with her deadly claws, but even as she did so, the claws began to disappear and Rebecca’s graceful hands took their place. The red and pink roses began to whimper.

The spell was broken.

“That horrid little creature ruined our fun!” the pink rose cried out in anguish.

“Not to mention that she killed Whitey…er Blackie and we can never curse anyone again!” The red rose wept in frustration.

Hall grinned, satisfied, and began chewing on a particularly tasty stick.

Oh hello Sketch:-) I must have fallen asleep on the grass, my neck feels a bit stiff. It’s lovely and peaceful in this park isn’t it………….

“Mwmfbd” mumbled Hall, without looking at Gongle and continued to chew happily on her branch. Gongle took her garbled reply as agreement.

The setting sun was showing off, displaying improbable colors that cast a rosy glow over the now peaceful park.

Rebecca lovingly tended to Gregor’s wounds, the wounds she had unwittingly inflicted. The roses continued to whimper, but no one paid them any heed. Rebecca and Gregor would always think of them fondly, for despite their wicked intent, the magical roses had brought them together.

“Yes, indeed”, exclaimed Gongle, rising to his hands,  “a lovely September Day!”



Let’s Play a Game!

21 Aug


Let’s play a little game, shall we?

August is vacation month. It’s time for squeezing in the last vestiges of summer before the chaos of the Fall begins. And of course, vacations often mean long car rides. And long car rides mean car games such as “I Spy”, “Who Can Find the Most License Plates” and the like. Now, I know nowadays everyone has their portable media of choice to occupy the ride, but I’d like to hearken back to simpler, less technically advanced times. Times where the kids whined about being bored and one heard the oft repeated phrase: “Are we there yet?” And so we would play a game. My favorite game was the Progressive Story game. You know the one.  One person would start the story and each person would take a turn and add a sentence or two to enhance (or distort in many cases) the tale.

So, to honor the last hoorah of summer I’ve decided to recreate this classic game. Okay? I’ll start using the picture above for inspiration and you go next. Simply write a sentence or two in the comment section and I’ll  add it to the post. Let’s see what kind of story we come up with. There are a few rules. Keep it clean, don’t go off the deep end and try to maintain the essence the story so it makes sense. What do you say? C’mon give it a try. It’ll be fun!

An August Tale

She awoke to a throbbing head and a sense that she was not at home in her bed. In fact, she knew she wasn’t in her bed, because she was lying on a hard surface.

 “Not again! I am so over getting into these snafu’s with Claudia”, said Ann as she massaged her temples.

“This isn’t a ‘snafu’, Ann,” echoed a voice in the room. Ann looked around, hoping to catch a glimpse of who had spoken. Seeing nothing but a dim-lit room and a corner of it blanketed in a blocky shadow, she squinted her eyes as she continued to massage her temples. Gasping out loud, she lurched back. Something or someone had just moved in the depth of the shadows. A moment later, it came into view.

“Mwahahahaha!!! It’s me” Hall popped out, covered in an old striped sheet, flapping her stubby arms, swirling around on one leg. “I thought I’d make you jump if I pretended to be a ghost! I’ve been shut up in that cupboard all night and have run out of blackberry juice”.. She promptly fell over a stuffed monkey. “What IS this place”??

‘Oh no, not YOU Hall!, I came here for a bit of peace and quiet! and WATCH what you’re doing to that monkey! It’s no ordinary stuffed monkey you know…

That monkey is from Transylvania. What? You don’t know where Transylvania is? Have you never read a book? It was once part of Romania. Spooky stories have come out of Transylvania. Just ask that monkey. Ask him about Count Dracula. That’s where he was from, wasn’t it?

You don’t want to wake him though, he’ll bite you! Nasty wee wounds they are! And your blood will turn to faerie dust and bats’ wings, because that’s what he’s stuffed with. I know, I made that mistake once.

As if on cue, the monkey began to move. At first it was only his eyes, moving slowly to take in the old striped sheet and the grand piano covered in years of dust, and then slowly he began to speak.

Before he could utter a word, however, he was interrupted by another voice…a much more human voice.

“Excuse me…” came wafting through the open kitchen window. Realizing I had awakened lying on my kitchen floor, I stood up a peeked outside. A man’s face–an oddly handsome, upside-down face–stared back at me. “I seem to have misplaced my drawing.”

The man was smiling but behind the twinkling eyes were hidden tracks of sadness. ‘Have you seen it? It’s a very unusual drawing, it talks to me., quite a novelty! I’m on my way to Branham’s circus to sell it to the highest bidder.

Seemingly out of thin air, Minnie arrived with the drawing in hand. “Is this the drawing you’re looking for?”

Everyone turned as one toward her; confusion etched on their faces.

Where did she come from and how did she get the drawing?

Minnie was most amused by the confusion on their faces. She loved catching humans off guard like that. She was one of the faerie folk and could appear and disappear with just a thought. She held tight to the drawing though, it had power. She liked power….

“Never mind a talking drawing!” screamed the monkey! “I am much more interesting. I am a talking stuffed monkey from Transylvania and if you don’t listen to me you’ll be sorry. I bite!”

‘Minnie, if it’s power you’re looking for take the stuffed monkey. The drawing is not worth the paper it’s sketched on. What’s more nobody realizes yet just how powerful the monkey is, you can walk out swinging him above your head and nobody will bat an eyelid. Now…….hand over the drawing please, don’t make me angry, you won’t like me when I’m angry……..

“And yet,” Minnie interjected rather sharply, “you claim this drawing can speak. Perhaps we should ask it what it wants, to come with me to faerie land or to be auctioned off to one of your circus performers.”

The silence was deafening and dread curtained the room. “No answer from the lot of you! Why am I not surprised?” Angry now, she slowly spun on her heel; scanning everyone’s face — getting a bead on their aura in order to determine who knew what.

It was almost imperceptible to the human eye, but she saw the quick look shot by the monkey at the man who then lowered his eyes in order to keep the secret safe.

‘I think you’ll find she wants to join the circus, she speaks of it often, yes Minnie do ask her……..’

When a tiny, almost imperceptible voice squeaked, seemingly from the sketch in Minnie’s hand; “Are there blackberries in faerie land? Do imps there walk on there hands? Is there, perhaps, a market for contraband?”

The monkey leapt  up and began to dance, a slow….mesmerizing… Everyone in the room watched silently……seemingly unable to avert their eyes from the strange, impromptu performance….

The anger had vanished from Minnie’s eyes and a smile spread slowly across her face. The drawing slipped from her fingers and fluttered to the floor. The inverted man saw his chance, picked up the paper, folded it neatly and slipped it into his pocket, unnoticed by the crowd who could not take their eyes off the dancing monkey.

Even the muffled Help me! coming from the sketch inside of the man’s pocket went unheeded by the group watching the gyrating monkey.

“What is going on?” said an annoyed voice from the doorway. “What are you all doing in my house? And what on earth is that?” asked Claudia pointing at the monkey. “It looks like some kind of freak stuffed monkey! Dancing! Out! Out! Everybody out!”

A hush fell over the room as all eyes focused on Claudia. Seeing his chance, the inverted man hand-walked silently toward the door, only to find his path blocked by a large brute. “Hold it right there, imp.” The beast of a man grabbed the invert’s ankles, lifted him and shook him vigorously until the drawing fell to the floor. “Just as I suspected.”

The imp sat on the floor looking dazed and rubbed his ankles vigorously. ‘So it’s true’ he said looking up at the ugly brute….’It was true all along and I stuck up for you!’

The brute suddenly seemed uncomfortable, eyes glancing nervously around the room. “What do you mean by that, imp? That drawing’s mine and you know it!” He leaned down to pick up the sketch. And then a faint howl emanated from the folded paper, growing loudly into a piercing shriek.

“Eeeaaarghhhh!! Will you STOP folding me up all the time!” Shrieked Hall, flapping herself into full shape. “I’m more than a piece of paper! You should all know it by now.” Her pea-like eyes glistened as she took in the form of this ogre attempting to paper rustle her. ” And just WHO are you, trying to kidnap a poor defenseless little-person-occasionally-confused-with-a piece-of-paper..?”

Hall do you not recognize this…..brute then? He says he owns you. Would you like to tell everyone whose drawing you are? Let’s settle this once and for all!

The brute’s countenance softened. A single tear glistened on his cheek. “Sketch…I am your father.”

SO! The rumours are true! and does your wife know you’ve had an affair with a cartoon character??

“Ah, yet once I was but a portrait, a rendering of handsomeness in its ideal, hanging in a magical gallery with an extended family of artwork.” The brute stared sadly into some distance only he could see. “But pride was my undoing. I wished to walk the earth in human form, a wish fulfilled by a wizard. And yet he made me this beast of a man in recompense. Ah, twisted are the ways of wizards; warped, indeed, their sense of humour.”

‘Well…..yes I would have to agree with that… was a warped wizard who condemned me to walk on my hands!’The excruciatingly handsome, inverted man paused and glanced around the room hoping to catch sight of a mirror. ‘So, Hall…….did she come from the same gallery as you?’

“That magical gallery where much were wrought in, Hall a sketch from art begotten.”


The room was silent. Evidently the brute had an affinity for poetry. Sadly, they all thought as if in unison of mind, he had not the talent for it.

At last Claudia spoke. “This must be resolved at once! After all, it is now September and this is an August tale!” There was a murmuring of agreement among the motley crew assembled.

“‘Eh’ indeed! “Whispered Hall. “How can this be concluded just because it happens to be September?” I say we all hop off out of Claudia’s kitchen. We can go back to my toadstool and discuss it there. It’s all news to me.. ” Hall looked at the brute and down at herself. “You would have had to give me your goaty beard wouldn’t you?” Wafting herself into she shape, she scowled and hopped through the door.. “last one out, remember to bring the monkey.”

The brute followed, muttering sullenly, “Everyone’s a critic…”

And so, the strange menagerie walked on, down the sidewalk, around the house and into the forest beyond. Claudia let out a sigh of relief. “This morning calls for some rest on the couch, a good book and some tea.”

While Claudia tried to relax and unwind from her very strange morning. the heated discussion continued at Hall’s toadstool. Though Hall and the brute were content to get reacquainted with each other, the monkey seemed determined to continue his dance and the clever man on his hands still wanted to whisk Hall away for his own gain.

Suddenly, Ann sat up, gratefully in her own bed. “Wow”, she said aloud. “That was a bizarre dream”.

“It certainly was,” agreed the imp.

“What was bizarre about it?” asked the brute.

Ann looked at the peculiar group assembled in her bedroom. They all had made themselves quite comfortable. Her heart pounding, her head swimming she did the only thing that made sense. She let go a bloodcurdling scream that sent the group scurrying from the room, back to wherever it was that they came from. Ann smiled, locked all the doors and windows and went back to bed to sleep the dreamless sleep of the innocent.

THE END!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANKS FOR PLAYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Blog Laryngitis

16 Aug


I have Blog Laryngitis. What, you ask is that? Why, thank you for asking. Let me explain.

Two months ago, I became a writer. I published my first novel, a Regency romance. After decades of dreaming about being an author, I actually became one. Amazing.

But, then I discovered that writing the book was the easy part. What came after was promoting the book. The word marketing has too many letters. To me, it’s a four letter word. It is very time consuming and overwhelming. So, I joined forums and groups and chatted and twittered about the twists and turns of book promotion to other authors. And I learned some things. One thing I learned, was that writers need to have a blog. I was hesitant, even resistant, but finally I started a blog. This blog.

And then I discovered something else. As an author, I have a voice; a way of expressing myself in writing that is unique to me, but as a blogger…not so much. I have no voice. I have things to say. I know I do, but as I contemplate the vast number of blogs out there and the overload of information in cyberspace, I am mute. I have blogger laryngitis.

I need your help. What should I blog about? Can you help me? I am interested in a lot of things, however, what would you like to hear about. What kind of information, tidbits of trivia or random thoughts are YOU interested in reading?

Here are some ideas:

1. Regency History

2. Regency trivia

3. Books I have read

4. My writing/publishing journey

5 ____________________ Fill in the blank

You may read this and think: I don’t really care or that’s all we need is another blog floating out there on the cloud! You can express that opinion as well. I have wrestled with this by myself for a while, but me, being me, thought I’d throw it out there to the wonderful readers and authors and anyone else who cares to weigh in.

So, does anyone have a remedy for me? A literary elixir to cure my Blog Laryngitis? I’d appreciate your advice to help me find my voice!

And the Winner is?

14 Aug

This will be a short post to follow up on the last one: Rethinking My Book Cover. Thanks for all your input and thoughts. I have decided to…(drum roll please) stick with the original cover for “Her Grace in Disgrace”. I was sorely tempted to switch to #3 since that received a resounding number of votes, but it tied with #1 and so, as they say: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”



Rethinking the Book Cover for Her Grace in Disgrace

5 Aug

Have you ever second guessed yourself? Well, I have been third, fourth and fifth guessing myself ever since my foray into book publishing. My latest doubt fest is about my book cover for Her Grace in Disgrace. A fabulous feature of self-publishing on Amazon is that you can change your book as often as you like. Granted for the self-doubters and insecure it could become an obsession. I’m not there yet! But it did prompt me to scurry back to Photoshop and try a few more configurations of the cover. So I thought I would ask you to vote for your favorite of these:

NUMBER ONE: This is the current one, but just enlarged the words.


NUMBER TWO: Minimalistic, clean lines


NUMBER THREE: Different font on title, Old London background, a touch of lace


I’d very much appreciate your thoughts and feedback and thanks for joining in on the doubt fest! Please leave your choices in the comment box.

Shih Tzu Pride and Prejudice

18 Jul


Our Shih Tzu, Camden in the stocks at Williamsburg, VA

I have a Shih Tzu named Camden (named for the town in Maine, not New Jersey). He is a small guy, all fluffy and cute, but this little dog has a lot of pride. Because he loves people, he assumes that everyone he meets will want to make a big deal over him. When they do not he is dejected. When they do, he struts off with the aplomb of Napoleon. He is majestic, though miniature.

Now, he also loves other dogs and displays great enthusiasm when he meets one. His whole body wags in excitement…except when he happens upon a Labrador. As soon as he gets a whiff of one of these Retrievers, his fur bristles, his tail droops and he starts to growl.  I don’t understand this at all, because Labradors are fabulous dogs, friendly and gentle. Try to explain that to little Napoleon Shih Tzu. The thing is, my dog is prejudiced!

I used to cringe when I would see a Labrador bounding along with an unsuspecting owner. When said owner sees my fluffy little dog, he or she smiles thinking, “Oh, isn’t he cute. Let’s go meet him” and I’m thinking, “Run, run away as fast as you can.” But I am not one to give in to fear and so the last time we happened upon a sociable Black Lab, I decided to try and work with Cammie, as we call him. At first it was all bristling and growling, but as I began to pet the other dog and reassure the owner, Cammie began to calm down and lo and behold, his tail began to wag. His whole body did not wag as it does with other dogs and humans, but it was a start.

I think it might be a lesson for us humans. We all are cursed and blessed with pride. And we have prejudices, each and every one of us, that are too numerous to name. Sometimes it’s just a prejudice against people who are prejudiced. What would happen if we took ourselves in hand and just did a little sniffing first and found that the other beast we fear/dislike so much is more like us than we thought. Our whole bodies might not wag, but what a change we could make in the world with just a little wag of our tails.