Thursday, December 31, 2009


Time Is

by Henry Van Dyke
Time is Too Slow for those who Wait,Too Swift for those who Fear,Too Long for those who Grieve,Too Short for those who Rejoice;But for those who Love,Time is not.
And now our wishes for you in the New Year...

William-Adolphe Bouguereau's 'Charity'

William-Adolphe Bouguereau's 'Art and Literature'

William-Adolphe Bouguereau's 'Love Takes Flight'

William-Adolphe Bouguereau's 'Not Too Much To Carry'

Caravaggio's Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy
'And an angel to keep watch over you.'

Happy New Year

All our love,
Claire and Simone.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Beautiful Blogger Award Compliments of Linda at Book girl of Mur-y-Castell

Thank you so very much Linda. I love your blog so this means all the more. I encourage you all to stop by Linda's brilliant site and say hello.

The rule is nominate seven other bloggers for this and then tell everybody seven things about yourself.

Here now are my seven nominees...

Anca's bolgs is stunning and creative as is evident from her work above.

St. Ainolopa's blog is nothing short of whimsical.

Naomi's blog is design at it's best.

Mary's Detroit Photoblog
You will absolutely love Mary's take on Detroit. She has a very good eye.

Read. Read. Read
Milka's blog is book review at its best. She is thoughtful and well read.

Mimi's blog reads like a chic LifeStyle magazine.

Elle's blog is wicked fun and super finds. You won't be sorry you visited.

...And now seven things about me.

I want to be as elegant as Lena Horne is when I'm 90 years old.

Pearls are my birthstone.

I wear Chanel Gardenia.

I love silk slips.

This is summer dream spot.

 This is a shot from my favorite tv show, Recreating Eden.

And this is my obsession, the rosemary plant.
Happy New Year's Eve eve,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Two Roberts

Or those slightly defective gentlemen from the regency era.

Lord Castlereagh, Robert Stewart 2nd Marquess of Londonderry if Brougham was my ideal then Castlereagh would have built in me the sort of anxiety that only has precedence in the weary heroines in the earliest gothic romance novels. He was a misguided, narrow-minded, inflexible and hard-working fellow who devoted himself entirely to the wrong side of every major issue in his age. Castlereagh was also Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House. This was written of him by Lord Bryon and accepted by all but his party as truth.

‘Oh Castlereagh! Thou art a patriot now;
Cato died for his country, so didst thou;
He perished rather than see Rome enslaved,
Thou cutt’st thy throat that Britain may be saved.’

Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool a kindred of sorts to the unfortunate Castlereagh, he was named Prime Minister by the incompetent Prince Regent. Liverpool was a dutiful, pious High Tory and something of a halfwit who at the high of his ineptness in loyalty to the Prinny by then King George IV drew up ‘The Bill of Pains and Penalties,’ against Queen Caroline. The bill was meant to deprive her Majesty of the title, prerogatives, rights, privileges and pretensions of queen consort of the realm and to dissolve the marriage between her and her philandering husband our fat regent-turned-king. The bill failed because Caroline had, as her advocate, my ideal Lord Henry Brougham.

I hope you are all having a lovely week,

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Patronesses of Almack’s

The high hotesses of the era in which my novels are set, something of their temperament and the power the swayed.

…And this from Henry Luttrell of Almack’s
‘All on that magic LIST depends;
Fame, fortune, fashion, lovers, friends;
’Tis that which gratifies or vexes’
All ranks, all ages, and both sexes.
If once to Almack’s you belong,
Like monarchs, you can do no wrong;
But banished thence on Wednesday night,
By Jove, you can do nothing right.

Dorothea Benckendorff Countess Lieven, a diplomatic woman, and the first foreigner to be honoured as one of the matrons at Almack’s. She is credited with having introduced the German Waltz to Almack’s and was as politically influential as her ambassador husband.

Sarah Sophia Fane, Sally the Countess Jersey was said to have introduced the first quadrille to Almack’s social club. She was said to be so consumed with not being likened to her husband’s mother (who had an affaire with our fat Prince of Pleasure) that she frequently made an ass of herself trying to sow her good morals.

Amelia Anne Stewart Viscountess Castlereagh, later the Marchioness Londonderry, and quite possibly the fussiest of the grand ladies, she is credited with instituting the 'no entrance to Almack’s after eleven o’clock' rule. She is rumoured to have turned away the Duke of Wellington from the doors of Almack's for not wearing proper evening attire.

Emily Mary, Countess Cowper, later Lady Palmerston, was the best of the patronesses and quite possibly the most well-connected. She was mother to a Prime Minister, cousin to Caroline Lamb, the daughter of Lady Melbourne and dear friends with every person of interest.

Princess Esterhazy as the youngest of the patronesses, this spiteful child was no different from any attention-starved little sibling.

Maria Margaret Craven, Countess Sefton is the oldest of the patronesses to reign during the Regency. Of brilliant connections and birth, she sponsored the Prince Regent’s mistress Mrs. Fotzherbert’s outing in to London society.
Clementine Drummond-Burrell, something of a fusspot, she got her sense of entitlement from her father. Her greatest distinction is that she married the greatest dandy of all the ladies.
Have a lovely week my dears,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Deconstruction of my Process

For sometimes, a rival is necessary in order for there to be a proper conflict.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau's Dante and Virgil in Hell

I often read novels in which the hero or heroine is set to marry or believes themself in love with some poor rotten-to-the-core one-dimensional character who will later be dismissed as unworthy for the lead. This works quite well and is an accepted standard but I have to write what I know and I simply am not able to write that.

Especially, not when I know for certain that most people are governed by a core that leans towards complexities and that no one person is just one thing. We are, all of us, layers carved out of our life's experiences and I’m mindful of this when I create all my characters particularly the rival.

I want it believed that my sensible hero/heroine, before the lead comes along and lays claim to their heart, made sense as a part of their life. I put forth an honest effort to make this person is made relevant and though they are set firmly aside for the lead, they are properly fleshed out for the reader to experience.

Whether they be a dull country gentleman, a villainous fiend or decent fellow I make it a point to spell out their core and motivation without them having takeover the role of the primary characters.
It's Christmas Eve and you have my very best wishes,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

For the True Romantics and Simple Visitor Alike

Season's Greetings from the Romantic Query Letter.

Bernini’s Ecstasy of St Theresa

A devout immortalized by a sinner seeking redemption. Now if that isn’t the light of the season I don’t know what is.

I was brought up by parents who were searching for a truth greater than that of their Catholic-Protestant parents and their Jewish-Agnostic grandparent so naturally I’m studying Buddhism, my sister is a Heretic and my brother is a Quaker with some Hare Khrishna affiliation.

Still, it as thought me a degree of sensitive, so for the season a warm blissful holiday to each of you and every happiness to those you hold dear. You have my love and friendship.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Official Kissing Day

I'm participating in the kissing blogfest hosted by Sherrinda over at A Writer Wannabe Making A Dream Become Reality if you want in just followed the link and sign up.
Waterhouse's My Sweet Rose

One morning in April
London 1813

Miss Claire Maxwell made the relatively short trip from her late papa’s employee’s estate in Regents Park to her first position as ladies companion in Portman Square with near relief coursing through her veins. All had been strained after her papa’s will was read thought there was no surprise revelation.

Her bothers were given the bulk of his small estate to purchase promotions and secure their futures in the military. What remained was meant to see her mother into her old age and so it was decided that she would accept a lady’s position there in London, while her sister Eleanor would endeavour to make an advantageous match during Bath’s little season.

A month after all was settled arrangements where made for her to take a position assisting Viscountess Westmorland present her twin daughters to the ton for one season then follow her mother and sister to Bath.

Needless to say, things did not go as planned. Her sister, a year her senior and of beauty unparalleled, was meant to partake of Bath’s little season in a sort of limited capacity due to required mourning observation for their father and the family’s meagre income with the hope that she could lure a husband wealthy enough to allow for Claire’s introduction to society.

Only Eleanor fell in love and married the modest second son of a lowly baron, which, as it turned, out was just fine with Claire for she too had fallen in love.

She arrived at the Viscountess’ elegant townhouse shortly after nine o’clock and was place in a stunning French style salon done in delicate blues, dove-grays and a tastefully restrained gilded wall. It was in that room that she met the man of her life, Lord Henry St John the new Viscount Westmorland.

He too was reeling from the loss of his father and had, the moment after her arrival, returned from a night of debauchery with two his rowdy friends in tow. She could hear the little butler’s horrified ‘My Lords,’ as he censured the young men who called for food in loud bellows, then receding footstep and laughing voices.

Then he was inside the door with a disarming smile and the slow measured words of one who had clearly had too much to drink.

“Are you an angel?” he asked after rudely staring.

“I am not,” she had replied with an amused smile, her hazel eyes sparking more green than amber.

“And still your halo blinds me.”

“It’s but the effect of my offensive hair by the mornings light,” she assured him and he stepped forward with a steady, serious expression then he kneeled down before her as devout worshipper.

He stayed thus, then with hand so gentle, he brushed a stray curl from her face and rested it behind her ear his words an insistent hush, “Celestial light goddess. Your hair is no less than heavenly and you are as Aphrodite swept from the ocean to make light this lowly mortal’s existence.”

He had seen her as beautiful where most all since the onset of puberty had viewed her as wanton, due largely to her preposterously furious tresses and overly voluptuous body.

She had, until that moment, felt akin to a gigantic girl with a too pretty face made undesirable for her vulgar excesses. She stood a daunting five foot seven inches and weighed somewhere between ten and eleven stones which made her feel more like Norman Conqueror than gentile a miss.

It meant everything to her that this smiling elegant gentleman thought her a beautiful goddess, even if he was foxed out of his mind and had yet to see her rise to her full height. His hand was still on her face, his clear blue eyes sparkling from beneath ridiculously long lashes as his stare turned from observant to sensual.

“I should like to kiss you goddess,” he said with fermented whisper, “Will you allow it?”

She did not see how she could deny it of him when he had in one instant transformed her. She had been strangely calm in her giving. Touching her fingertips to the hard lines of his jaw before resting her cheek against the soft waves of his ash-blonde hair. He smelled warm, clean and potently masculine.

He was so close then, his face buried at her bosom, one of his hands wrapped around her waist the other still on her face. The atmosphere around them was charged with intent, intimacy and a sort of reverent hush that seemed to mark the moment as sacred.

Claire could no more stop her fingers exploring the contours of his face than she could slow the frantic beating of her heart. He had set her aflame and was pouring fuel upon her burning flesh with his hot breath and the sweet friction of his lips pulled tortuously slow from her bosom to column of her neck where he lingered.

Both their breaths rushing over anticipation as he kissed his way from neck over chin and onto her soft welcoming lips. His sure strong hand holding her close gripping hungrily in order to deepen their kiss. His lips on hers light as a whisper, then persistent, coaxing and blissfully probing.

It was at once ache and elation, them moulded together as tender lips parted to encourage the uninhibited licking and arousing suckling of tongues.

Then he pulled his lips from her held her eyes with solemn vow and said, “I am yours goddess.”

Claire put her hand on his cheek, her heart in her eyes and he turned his head to bury his face in her palm. His eyes closed as he pressed his lips to the inside of her hand before crumpling in a content sleeping ball at her feet. Claire leapt up, her still frantically beating heart suddenly in her throat.

She stooped down next to him with gentle hands that were only successful in pulling from him a content sigh and then she was set upon by his two companions followed closely by his irritated butler. He was lifted away by two footmen as his intoxicated friends laughed a round the mouthful of food they stole from the kitchen.

Then his mother entered the salon and shooing the two drunken louts to a waiting carriage and took her in hand with sincere apology for the conduct of her son. She was shown to her room in the family quarters with instruction to join them for tea.

She arrived in the salon early and sat quietly waiting with her back to the door when he entered sober, washed and impeccably dress with no recollection of the kiss they shared. He looked at her with polite curiosity and she prattled on nervously about the absurd colour of her hair that he had but hours before called divine light.

He would never sleep in residence again while she was there. He moved out that very afternoon back to the bachelor apartments he had occupied until his father’s death had made it necessary for him to come home.

They fell into easy conversation relating as old friends. They would remain thus nearly a full decade, she falling deeper in love with him with each passing day while he in a state of wounded suspension kept her just in his grasp, taking with him a bit more of her heart each time he called.
In their decade long friendship, she became a sort of unholy priest to his scandalous confessor. Listening without judgement to his descent into depravity feeling the whole time he would find his way to her. He was suffering from the loss of his Viola.

His sisters told her how Viola had after a lifetime of friendship and an entire season of courtship refused his offer of marriage to marry some dashing Spanish aristocrat. She separated from her husband only a year later and took Henry as a lover only to abandon him a week after his father’s death in order to give her marriage a second chance.

It had nearly killed him and he had been feeling the effect ever since. Not even Viola migrating to Spain had eased his despair. And then, last Christmas out of nowhere he invited the Winchilsea’s with their beautiful daughter Constance home for the holidays. They had all expected him to offer for her and that had nearly killed Claire.

When he didn’t Claire resolved to settle all with him and move forward with or without him.

Chapter One Here
A lovely week to all,
Simone Ogilvie.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I woke with this and I’m now convinced it is a brilliant idea for a Harlequin Undone

Portrait of Anne-Marie-Louise by Jacques-Louis David

As we get better acquainted you will learn that I get most my ideas from a good night's sleep and a long hot bath. I cook when I’m stuck and I go on long walks to cure rejections from agents, but that I’ll tell you about some other time for now I’m motivated. Here is the idea or rather the words.
Here now on the verge of her new discovery she remembers those occasions on which her charges – those dear sweet girls that she had seen through their first season while their mamas entertained themselves – in those finial hours before their wedding, turned to their mothers while she is banished from the room and rightfully so. For here, their mothers are better able to instruct them on what to expect of their wedding nights. Now here on this afternoon, long before the hour of her wedding she, without counsel has decided to brave it with but heart and desire for this man she has so quickly devoted love.

She is Helena Alexander, a governess of sorts, that specializes in launching young women into society and he is Dominic Emanuel Montgomery the Earl Strange. I’ve decided that they will marry after she saves him from a compromising fall set in motion by her desperate cousins and I will call it Strange.
It is Sunday, glorious Sunday and I pray you enjoy it,

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Alternative

This came from a conversation with an old friend over coffee.

And this is a photo of Thandie Newton, for here she is the very image of my friend ‘B.B’ now happily remarried at forty. She still worries she did not do what was best for her boys. I’m certain she did for this is as far as I concern the only alternative if she had stayed.

‘Throw your precious gifts into the air. Watch them fall down’
Cynthia was the sort of woman that could wrangle two little boys, prepare a four-course meal and see her five spring brides each have worry-free sleep all without soiling her pristine silk blouse. Cynthia was never late and always immaculate, but more than these things, Cynthia is the perfect wife for Dr. Jackson Churchill.

Cynthia met Jack in high school, she at St Clements and he at St Michaels. And though it was not love at first sight, they were fast friends who moved in the same circles. Jack was two years older than she was with a sharp mind and a likable enough personality.

They married a month after she graduated from the University of Toronto with a BA in English and settled in the charming, centuries old Arts and Crafts off Mount Pleasant. She worked as junior copy editor for Canada’s number two interior design magazine until their twins came along.

Then she was a devoted stay-at-home mother to Alfie and Olly until the boys were off to school and her days became aimless. But our Cynthia, not the sort to wallow, started a wedding planning firm. She found success almost immediately because of her ability to make order out of chaos while making certain dinner was on the table each night at six sharp.

Their lives went on thus, without incident, the boys at St. Mike’s like their father before them and Jack was a now-flourishing plastic surgeon with discreet offices on Avenue Road just around the corner from her tiny boutique on Davenport. Now, it’s possible that any other woman in this blissful existence would fret at its perfection but our Cynthia thought things were precisely as they should be.

After all, she did all the right things.

She dated plenty before settling on a dear friend, she kept her figure and she made a point of keeping the sex as frequent as when they were dating. They had, ever since the boys entered high school two years ago, started taking off alone together a few days each year.

So, you can’t imagine how utterly surprised she was when she stepped out of the new pastry shop in the Beaches with her April bride after a morning of cake-tasting to find her husband hand-in-arm with some unkempt woman. Her bride had driven away completely oblivious to her plight and that was because Cynthia had kept her composure.

She had smiled with her usual calm while her husband stood but a breath away with his hand around the clown of a woman, the two of them acting for all the world as if they were awaiting an executioner. Cynthia looked to Jack for his explanation, which came in, but one phrase, ‘I’m happy, Cynthia.’

Can you imagine it? Him standing there on Queen Street East, telling her after twenty-four years of friendship and seventeen year of marriage that he was happy, as if it were some kind of grand revelation, when she knew he was happy because she made him so. The untidy woman was looking at Jack with something like quiet pride that made Cynthia want to murder her.

Only our Cynthia is not the type for unguided passion or anything that would involve her abandoning her boys for prison. Nor would she discuss it any further in the middle of the street, so the three took Cynthia's little devastation to a near by coffee shop where she, with a hushed but firm voice laid out the facts for Jack and his companion.

‘His life does not work without me and all the easy charm he now boasts is due to my efforts. I’ve made him the man you have taken ownership of and I will not fight you for him. I will be remarried a year from this day to someone far more worthy and the two of you will fall apart inside of a month. Not because I say so but because you do not fit with Jackson’s life.’

The awful little woman took umbrage and went on a rant about how she was a psychoanalyst and more than capable of taking care of Jack adding in the end how she would fit better in his life because they were both doctors.

Cynthia had laughed for she knew Jack’s mother would never tolerate this woman and that his sisters who had gone to school with her would never forgive him. Besides, Jack did not know what his suit size was or where his favourite shirts were purchased. Nor did he know where to find his brand of cereal or any of the birthdays of anyone in his family.

Connie will represent her, she was sure and she would get the house, the cottage, and everything else she desires for Connie is ruthless. It’s her boys that she worries for now and it’s for them that she will endure this for the month it will take for Jack to see what an unmitigated mistake this will no doubt be.

For them she will pack up his belongings and bear in silence while he sets up house with this woman. For them she will bear while he introduces her to their family and friends before coming finally to the realization that she will not do and beg forgiveness. For her sons she will take him back and for herself she will forgive him this one indiscretion.

After all, that is the sort of woman our Cynthia is and will continue to be.
And here now the weekend. I hope yours is lovely,
Simone Ogilvie.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Some more of the Gentlemen of the Regency

I have a soft spot for these two.

Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex by Guy Head

Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex was the sixth son of George III. He was mild man who suffered from asthma. He met Lady Augusta Murray while travelling in Italy and the two marry without consent from the king. A year later, the marriage was deemed illegal under the Royal Marriages Act 1772 and annulled in the Prerogative Court but the two continued living together for nearly decade despite it. They had two children whom she retained custody of when they seperated. A year after Augusta's death he married in accordance to Royal Marriages Act, to Lady Cecilia Letitia Buggin. They had no children and he died without a legitimate heir.

Sussex was firm in his liberal opinions, he was a scientist, patron of the arts and collector of books. He was also Queen Victoria's favourite uncle and the one who gave her away at her wedding to Prince Albert.

Henry Brougham painted by James Lonsdale

Henry Peter Brougham. First Baron Brougham and Vaux, he was one the most astonishing figures of the regency or any era. A brilliant lawyer, an unrelenting and dazzling contributor to the Edinburgh Review, a Lord Chancellor but primarily he was a passionate advocate of popular education. For education, he did more that any other man of his era and this is my favourite thing attested to Henry. He may be said to have created the French Riviera when he built a house there when it was naught but a house in Cannes, a then small fishing village. Henry is my ideal so know if I was certain of his temperament and knew without doubt we would fit well I would move all heaven and earth to make him my own.
Oh and welcome to the middle of the week,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday's Tea for Two

I've been invited to a tea party at The Plumed Pen and you are welcome to join me.

You need only follow the link directly below and voilà.

There is no need to be shy. I'm new too so we'll keep each other's company.

I'm taking my tea on holiday. In some exotic land but with all the usual fare so come alone for I've poured you a cup.

Isn't the table charming? I've settled on a restrained androgynie in order not to alienate those unaccustomed to the pomp and circumstance of high tea.

Now, if your mother is anything like my crazy Jamaican mother, you are by now well convinced that a cup of tea is the 'cure-all' for whatever ails you from complex heartache to simple upset stomach. I swear no matter what my complaint she would have a tea to suggest.

Rooibos/red tea to cure insomnia. Camomile as a muscle relaxant. Green tea to say young. White tea for healthy skin, Ginger and peppermint tea aids in digestion, Jasmine tea for aroma therapy and on and on. I'm telling you the woman is relentless but I digress, we are for tea you and I.

Here I've chosen the centerpiece, delightful gardenias. They are my favorite so I do hope you like them.

As promised traditional fare. Elegant cucumber sandwiches.

Scrumptious Finger Food

A little of the sweet for those so inclined

And what tea is complete with out a decadent scone.

All right tell me have I convinced you to part take? Or would you have much rather a more English setup or maybe even a Japanese or Russian?
My Warmest Regards,

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Women of a certain distinction

Two of the infamous uncompromising mistress of the regency era.

Mrs Dorothea Jordan she gave the Duke of Clarence ten illegitimate children and though she was a scandalous creature, she was praised enthusiastically by all the great romantic writers of her time from Byron to Lamb. She was a mistress generous to fault, returning to the stage between pregnancies in order to support herself, the children and her royal duke. The poor dear died a pauper in France while her duke went on to marry then later he became King William IV.

Harriette Wilson was a brilliant courtesan who, according to Sir Walter Scott, was ‘far from beautiful …but a smart, saucy girl with good eyes and dark hair and the manners of a wild schoolboy.’ Harriette was popular until she wrote her memoirs, but to be fair she did, ahead of the publication date of the scandalous manuscript, write everyone who could be incriminated making it clear that they would still save face for a mere £200. The Duke of Wellington, stupidly refused and she in turn wrote this by his name in the published text, “sighed over me and groaned over me by the hour,” but then she never thought much of Wellington who, she was quoted as saying, looked like a ‘Rat-catcher.’

Have a lovely week,