Saturday, February 27, 2010

Arms of Joy

For my dear friend Bunny - heartbroken and in love with an agony of her own making. We are so alike you and I. Here is to stupid mistakes, a bottle of Cava, a long bath and a nice coze with an old friend. I love you something awful pet but you know that.
Edmund Tarbell's painting of Mrs. Lawrence

The Error
Hidden in the arm of the fleeting are hours of aimless wonder
So familiar is the touch of this stranger whose hands lingers in comfortable places
Stimulating the voluptuary’s desire while entertaining future agony by going too far
The loss is never regained and one is never the same
Still time passes
The agony subsides and the pleasure found in the arms of joy, well it remains.
Everything looks awful on Saturdays but come Monday Sweetheart, you will get back in the swing of things, I swear it on my Nan's high luster South Sea pearls. You know the one's I'm certain she'll give me the instant I admit I was wrong.
A brighter Saturday to all.
My love, my care,

Friday, February 26, 2010

Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from Elba on February 26, 1815

One of the Romantics

Bonaparte on the Bridge of Arcole here by Antoine-Jean Gros

The little Emperor was a romantic in an uncomplimentary sense, for he by defying calm judgment and ignoring a reasonable view of things squander his ideal chasing God only know what.

And here again by Antoine-Jean Gros

He was the first and most famous of the romantic self-deceivers of the Regency era. He had almost all of Western Europe safely in his grasp when he allowed Supreme Power and his restless insatiable ambitions to clouding his judgment. Still, by then he was already more sluggish in mind and body than he had been but a decade before when he came to power.

Napoleon Bonaparte Crossing the Alps by Delaroche

One of his oldest friends, Marmont, said of him: ‘Napoleon was at this period living in a non-existent world, created by his own imagination. He built structures in the air, he took his desires for realities, and gave his orders as if he was ignorant of the true state of affairs and as if the actual facts had been hidden from him on purpose.’

NAPOLEON painted by Horace Vernet

Had he been attending to the realities of his situation, before attempting anything else he would have gone down into Spain himself, collected 200,000 of his veterans, and swept Wellington and his British Expeditionary Force into the sea. As it was, now half in dreamland, he pulled out some of his best troops from Spain in order to take Russia.

We all know now how it would end but we don't think any less of the little dear now do we?

A lovely weekend to all,


Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Gluttony of Want Defeats the Havoc Caused by Desire Too Often in My Incapable Hands

Or my panic at not having written a word of my latest manuscript in a fortnight.

The Balance of the Zodiac by Luis Ricardo Falero

All I ever truly want is to write well the initial idea brought to me by my fantastic muse, only the instant there is promise on the page, I panic. I get in my own way and soon I’m consumed by fear that I don’t have what it takes to see, to the end, the brilliant beginning.

And now it has happened to me with my fourth novel Lancaster. My muse sent me a line of dialogue from which four brilliant chapters formed in no time at all only now, at the beginning of the fifth, I’m paralyzed. I haven’t written a word of Lancaster in well over two weeks and the terror of defeat is starting to affect my equilibrium.

I keep telling myself to simply sit down and write, then if it is rotten, at least I would have made the attempt. It’s that, or go on holiday. Build a hut on some distant shore with my man Friday and chart the tide by day and the stars by night.

There is, of course, that alternative that no writer really wants to admit publicly to needing but secretly accepts they should have on speed dial. The dreaded therapist, or rather my salvation and the one who will get me to understand why I can’t write past my insecurities.

That and why it is that I keep having a dream where I share a taxi with George Clooney riding west as the sun rises behind us only to be distracted by the driver whom I’m convinced is the Dalai Lama... And all this because his name tag asks, ‘Do you know the meaning of life?’

You know, I think all this is due in large part, to the fact that Mercury and not Venus rules my sign.

Thursdays and I are always at odds.
I hope you are all happy and well,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Eunice Kathleen Waymon better known as Nina Simone and One of My 100 Women that Inspires

I was named in part for her and have relished this tiny link to her for as long as I can remember.

Nina Simone's regal bearing and commanding stage presence earned her the title "High Priestess of Soul". Her live performances were regarded not as mere concerts, but as happenings. In a single concert she could be a singer, pianist, dancer, actress, or activist, all simultaneously.

After the success of her debut album Little Girl Blue, Simone signed a contract with Colpix Records, after a string of studio and live albums. Colpix relinquished all creative control, including the choice of material that would be recorded, to her in exchange for her contracting with them. Simone, who at this point only performed popular music to make money to continue her classical music studies, was bold with her demand for control over her music because she was indifferent about having a recording contract. She would keep this attitude towards the record industry for most of her career. I admire this about her almost as much as her musical talent.

Follow this link and experience her here

And this link to listen to her genius here

She is for me a sentimental favorite and I do hope you will embrace her with some affection.
And just like that we have arrived at the middle of the week.
My love, my care,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Today I Mourn John Keats

He died in the evening on February 23, 1821 at his friend Severn's home in Rome. He had been slowly dying and was bitterly disappointed each day to find himself still alive, in a world to which he had long said his goodbyes.
John Keats, in 1814, was a proper surgeon’s apprentice when he was driven out of his mind by provocative young women in muslin so sheer they offered glimpses of breasts that had him rhapsodising.

He wrote more and more and more verses, though he felt these were too much like other men's verses and when he realised this, he was almost suicidal. He even declared that unless he could turn himself into a real poet, life would not be worth living.

To a Friend who sent me some Roses
by John Keats

AS late I rambled in the happy fields,
What time the sky-lark shakes the tremulous dew
From his lush clover covert; - when anew
Adventurous knights take up their dinted shields:
I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields,
A fresh-blown musk-rose; ’twas the first that threw
Its sweets upon the summer: graceful it grew
As is the wand that queen Titania wields.
And, as I feasted on its fragrancy,
I thought the garden-rose it far excell’d:
But when, O Wells! thy roses came to me
My sense with their deliciousness was spell’d:
Soft voices had they, that with tender plea
Whisper’d of peace, and truth, and friendliness unquell’d.

Keats painted here by his friend Joseph Severn

Keats was the first of the romantic poets to go, next was Shelley and two years later was Byron. This left poor Wordsworth who years later wrote:

Fast has brother followed brother,
From sunshine to the sunless land!

Warm regards,

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Root of all Freedoms

Today I participating in the 1k Words/a picture is worth a thousand words BlogFest hosted by Ralfast.

My Picture
My story

On a desperate whim, Evie saved $64,000, the equivalent of a full year’s salary in eighteen months by moving back home with her parents, teaching summer school, night school and offering private tutorial atop her regular teaching job.
She was still not sure where she had first heard about the gypsy that would, for the mere sacrifice of a year’s salary, tell you the course of your true happiness, but there she was with her hard-earned money in a shoe box standing in a Zen garden, around the corner from the China Town at Spadina.
Though, the truth of the matter is she had pretty much been heading here since her break up with Mr. Merrill Lynch two years ago. He kept telling her in a voice reminiscent of that movie Wall Street, that she "wouldn’t amount to much if she did not play hard ball.” His saying so, always made her defensive and she would end up mocking his firm’s cult-like conduct.
Poor guy. It hadn’t been his fault and she knew two months in that they hadn’t a future. She had gone for drinks with him, a few of his colleagues and their dates, all of them in their Brooks Brothers suits, efficient haircuts and Blackberries looking like grown-up Children of the Corn. Each gave her pitied looks, when she told them she taught English at an all-girl's private high school before one of them simply declared that he did not see the point of that since, ‘nobody reads anymore.’
Scarily enough, they all agreed.
They broke up a few weeks later and the thing is that she missed him for a long time though not for the reasons one aught to. He was very efficient and goal-oriented in all aspects of life - even in bed. She missed his eager, downright determined approach to seeing her cum every time. Hell, she even missed his happy little self-congratulatory cheer at the end.
Though why he should be the catalyst to her gripping a small, self-earned fortune to her chest in some stranger's yard when her life until him had been just as tragic she would never know. Maybe she should leave and try to remember first how she had heard of the gypsy. It was too late. She’d been spotted by someone who was looking at her as if he was expecting her.
The gypsy was not at all, as she had expected. She'd thought maybe an old woman with a European accent, kind of like the ones you see on television but instead he was a soulful twenty-something.
He resembled one of those guys that sold hemp and cannabis paraphernalia on Queen Street West except for his eyes. They seemed a thousand years old. That and he had a voice that did not at all fit with his appearance. It was steady, humble and sure.
After scolding her for walking around with that amount of cash, he had her put one thousand dollars of the money in an ugly clay urn. “That,” he told her, “Will be my fee. The rest, you and I will decide on together once you have told me why you came.”
Can you imagine it? She there with her year's salary, hoping for guidance only to have him ask her ‘why she has come.’ Surly he was the worst gypsy in the history of the world and still she had spent the entire Saturday afternoon with him making homemade pasta and sauce with tomatoes from his garden in the backyard.
She couldn’t remember having said anything of herself or her life but she must have for sometime after they had eaten and watched several episodes from the Faulty Towers marathon on BBC Canada he made a pot of tea and said, “You have said enough and now we must decide where you go from here.”
He poured her a cup of the sweet red tea, which he had her drink while he put, in front of her a compass, three business cards and a pendant bearing the likeness of St Anne. Then he said, “Those are for you. The cards are for a real estate agent, a money manager and travel agent. You are to go Argentina for ten days next winter. The compass, you will need on the third day you’re in Argentina. On that day you are to rise with the sun and head north for three hours starting at seven o’clock the rest will reveal itself to you. Oh and the pendant is of the patron saint of childbirth. It is to help you through your first pregnancy.”
Evie had a million questions following this but the gypsy would say no more than, “Trust yourself and those I’ve sent you to. Now leave one of your cards in place of one of mine on the table by the door and give it to one you feel deserving of my guidance."
My love, my care,

Saturday, February 20, 2010

An Excerpt From What Is To Be David and Margaret's Story

The initial musings are here and now I have the first few pages but I still don't know if there is enough original material there for a full novel.

William McGregor Paxton's The Sisters

This bit is a little advice from Collette a once brilliant courtesan turn respectable lady as offered to our dear Margaret.

“To get your husband to look at you for a second time takes no more than practiced slide of hand. You want him engaged, so we start with your skin. We’ll bathe you in milk and perfume your skin with a whisper of scandal. Only the merest hint mind you. This will feed his senses and nurture in him interest anew but we must be mindful to always make certain your natural essence linger just beneath the surface. After all what we have set out to do is remind him of the you he fell in love with. Are you alright Countess?”

“I’m somewhat overwhelmed by all the to dos but please go on I’ll adapt.”

Collette smiled in the way of one who knew all too well, what was at stake before proceeding with, “You’ll want to layer your mystique.”

“But I haven’t any mystique.”

“Nonsense, now be a Dear and don’t interrupt there is much we must cover and I’m expected elsewhere outside of this hour.”

“My apologies,” Margaret said with humbleness well beyond her own nature and Collette continued as before.

“And even in this we must always be mindful to keep you centre, we don’t want you replaced by the things I’m imparting. We want him always well aware at day’s end that at the core of his desire is his want for you. The frocks, perfume and the new approach is to be ornamental for the last thing you want is to employ it as occupation you’ll have to maintain when your focus aught to be your happy marriage.”

“How will I do that?”

“You are interrupting again my dear.”

“Forgive it, my anxiety precedes me.”

“Nerves aren’t permitted my Dear for they lead to folly and I simply cannot abide an unsteady female.”

“It is conquered, I guarantee it,” Margaret said with regal rise of chin, “You have all my full attention.”

“Your attire must always hint at your desire for him and because you are fair of hair I suggest we introduce a few pieces of red to your wardrobe. This too is to be done sparingly. We move forward boldly but we do so in inches so long before you ever lay hand on your unsuspecting husband you would have touched him in away that both engaged and aroused. Now we have you dress for purpose and him rapt in want we cultivate in him urgency.” Collette held a moment when Margaret appeared to pale then she said. “My Dear Countess, you are the very image of a beset heroine.”

“I’ll admit to feeling set upon but I shall persevere,” Margaret said with all the confidence she could muster. It was enough to convince Collette to proceed even if she was little more watchful of her companion this time round. She also thoughtfully interjected a measure of comfort in her instructions when she spoke next.

“All right now this bit is critical and I’ll tell you ahead of time that it will seem daunting but I’m confident you’ll see it through.”

To say Margaret was made frantic at Collette’s attempt at comfort would be akin to saying deep is the ocean relative to my cup of tea but she bore it well, for a moment at any rate.

“You are going to have to look half aroused yourself whenever you are in company with your husband. It may seem an ordeal but you are to make an effort to appear as flush as lust fulfilled.”

“Here pray tell how do you propose I manage that feat?” Margaret all but yelled.

“As naturally as possible,” Collette said without falter. “We pitch your cheek to blush, rub your lips to plump and see you look him directly in the eyes oh also if you could manage erect nipples-”

“I beg your pardon,” Margaret said above a gasp.

“That will take no more than practiced fingers and the proper garment to show it to advantage,” Collette said before demonstrating with dexterous show of hand to an instantly awed Margaret. “There you see and now the stage is set for your reveal. Oh and this is to remain paramount for though you have placed yourself in my capable hands the task is yours and yours alone, so fearless you must be.”

A brilliant weekend to you all,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What Does It Say To You?

The 1k words BlogFest hosted by Ralfast and brought to my attention by the brilliant Carol from RandomWriterlyThoughts . It is precisely the sort of thing that appeals to me for art and writing is involved.

Yes, one thousand words, as in a picture is worth a thousand words.

Or is it?

That’s is the question and it is up you to answer it as part of the 1K Words BlogFest. Take a picture, any picture (preferably one you own or is in the public domain) and post it to your blog. Then write a short story/account based on the picture you posted. The story must be a thousand words or less (hence the name). Once posted, link back to this post.

Please enter the name of your blog in the Mister Linky widget or post it on the reply section. I will update this post daily with new links as they appear (if they are not in the Mr. Linky).The

BlogFest kicks off on February 22nd.

I've already signed up and I think you should too. Why? Because it's going to be lots of fun, that's why!

The piece above is Evelyn de Morgan's Angel of Death.

Also, I'm taking part in Fiona Robyn's Blogsplash on March first

Fiona Robyn is going to blog her next novel, Thaw (Snowbooks), starting on the 1st of March 2010. The novel follows 32 year old Ruth’s diary over three months as she decides whether or not to carry on living. To help spread the word she’s organising a Blogsplash, where blogs will publish the first page of Ruth’s diary simultaneously (and a link to the blog). She’s aiming to get 1000 blogs involved – if you’d be interested in joining in, email her at or find out more information here.

Warm regards,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writing About Love for the AWWC Blog Chain

We are the 6th in the chain before us are Aimeelaine, Charlotte49ers, AuburnAssassin, Breddings and *RomanceWriter*. The rest of the participants are listed below I encourage you to follow the provided links so you may see what they have written. Here now our contribution this time written by Simone for Claire is grading exams.
L'Infranchissable Obstacle by Wojtek Siudmak

I'm for the most part a character writer, so I find my lead [hero/heroine] then my story flows from my understanding of who he or she is. This works well for a romance if the protagonist cooperates, only they don't always. Hence...

The Spectacle or The Absurdity of Courtship in Print When Your Heroine is a Wise-ass

Let me set the stage. England 1820. It's early morning and first light is consuming the last of the remaining night. A tortured young woman, unable to sleep, emerges from the side door of an ideal Dover cottage and descends the cliffs through a familiar path for the beach where she will watch the sunrise.

In the distance is a man, running on the beach barefoot with his magnificent horse at his side. He is beautiful, golden mane flowing in the wind, his Greek-god body moving effortless towards her and the presence of the animal there obediently at his side adds irresistibility to his mystique.

The female lead all but swoons when he stops in front of her and offers up a slow charming smile. They are old friends. She is, of course, well out of her mind in love with him, and how could she not be for Christ’s sakes? The man is a beast of a romantic ideal. There with his horse, smile and body.

We have arrived at the spectacle bit to which I was referring to in the title.

The two share a meaningful exchange on the state of the world, literature, art or whatever it takes for the reader to get their sigh on, then he kisses her. It is soft, passionate, tender and masterful… in a word, perfect.

Now, my dilemma for this is about the time when my heroine mocks him for falling victim to the romance of the setting.

Absurd, yes, I see that for I write romance and having my heroine be a cynical wise-ass does not serve my end or hers for he gets irritated then rides away on his magnificent horse leaving both of us in a lurch. Now, I’m swearing to anyone who will listen that I’m going to drown her in the icy waters off the coast of Dover if she doesn’t shut up.

My love, my care,

Collectonian -
FreshHell -
David Zahir -
Harri3tspy -
Sneaky Devil -
Frodo -
Upsidedowngrl -

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Over the Top for You

I was give this lovely award by Emma Michaels. My thanks to you Emma. I'm grateful. Now I pass it on to 5 the most talented Ladies. Each will delight I promise.

The super cool award.

Some rules are attached to the award and here they are: Answer the following questions using single word answers. Then pass the award to 5 other people and let them know.
My 5 Brilliant Naminees:


The list:

Your cell phone? HEAVENLY

Your hair? SIGH

Your mother? DIVINE

Your father? Extraterrestrial

Your favorite food? HMM

Your dream last night? Nirvana

Your favorite drink? Ambrosia

Your dream/goal? PUBLICATION

What room are you in? Temple

Your hobby? Leisure

Your fear? monotony

Where do you want to be in 6 years? Paradise/ St Barts

Where were you last night? OUT

Something that you aren’t? sanctimonious

Muffins? heavenly

Wish list item? PUBLICATION

Where did you grow up? Earth

Last thing you did? Bliss

What are you wearing? Halo

Your TV? FoodnetworkCanada

Your Pets? PLANT

Friends? ANGEL

Your life? BlissfulYour mood? agreeable

Missing someone? Angel

Vehicle? Bentley Ha ha!

Something you’re not wearing? Diamonds

Your favorite store? ST. Lawrence Market

Your favorite color? Grey

When was the last time you laughed? Now

Last time you cried? Now

Your best friend? Sister/Angel

One place that you go to over and over? St Barts

Facebook? no

Favorite place to eat? PARADISE.
My thanks to you all,

Monday, February 15, 2010

Character Development

What I do when I'm not able to write.

Right. So far I've always know who the main character is before I put pen to paper and then I come to who the other is based on the sort of person I feel would fit well with him or her. To get to this, I’ve used astrology charts, social compatibility and every available socio-psychological mating data in the book.

If he’s a fixed sign then I make her mutable and I never make it so they are from two different worlds for I think it’s imperative for them to relate with one another. I’ll give you an example: in my novelette Westmorland for Harlequin, the hero marries his mother’s companion and though they may sound worlds apart, I made it so they share a decade long friendship.

Common ground, chemistry and proximity. Those are my characters' foundation. I’ve tried writing those opposites attract stories but they always read as rubbish in my hands so I leave them to those more able.

Happy Monday my angels,


Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Love of Art is Due to the Influence of this Woman

For that reason Evelyn de Morgan is One of my 100

Mary Evelyn Pickering De Morgan, was a late-Victorian artist. Born mid-century in an England ruled over by Queen Victoria. She came to maturity during the unrest of 1914 and it was at this time she developed her personal and artistic philosophies. Throughout her career as a painter, she used literary allusion and allegory to express her strongly held views on contemporary spiritual, social and moral issues.


Evelyn first exhibited her work at the Dudley Gallery in 1876 with her painting St. Catherine of Alexandria. Following this, she was one of the few female artists invited to be an exhibitor at the new Grosvenor Gallery in 1877 where her painting Ariadne in Naxos was displayed in the company of works by Spencer Stanhope, Edward Burne-Jones and George Frederick Watts.

Boreas and Orietyia
In the early 1880s, Evelyn moved her studio from her family home in Bryanston Square to the popular Trafalgar Studios in Manresa Road, Chelsea. During this period, she lived as a professional artist in London with periodic trips to Italy where she would absorb the influences of the early Italian masters.

Some time during the mid 1880s she met the ceramic designer William De Morgan (1839-1917) and his family. This introduction to the bohemian and intellectual De Morgan family was clearly a turning point in her life. Her future mother-in-law, the spiritualist and social activist Sophia Frend De Morgan (1809-1892) became her informal mentor, helping to further develop the younger woman’s interest in spiritualist practices and in social reform.
In 1887 Evelyn married William De Morgan. Despite the age difference theirs was a harmonious and mutually supportive marriage. In addition to their artistic pursuits, they shared a well-documented sense of humour and an idealistic spirit.

The Love Potion
During her lifetime Evelyn De Morgan produced approximately 102 oil paintings and over 300 drawings. At first glance, works like Harmonia and Eos appear to be that of a typical mid-century literary painter influenced by the work of Spencer Stanhope, Watts and Burne-Jones. Consequently, this was the way in which most contemporary critics assessed her paintings: Many do reflect the usual conventions and literary subjects of late Victorian art with its Pre-Raphaelite traces and neo-classical tendencies. However, looking closer, one discovers Symbolist works that employ the language of Christian allegory to reveal the artist’s engagement with the contemporary issues of her time.

The nexus between spiritualism and feminism during the late Victorian era influenced Evelyn, as well as her fellow female artists. She sought new heroines with which to construct her own images of Victorian womanhood. Hence, she painted portraits of strong-minded biblical and classical women such as Ruth and Naomi, the Virgin Mary, Medea, Ariadne, Cassandra and Helen of Troy.
In addition to these portrayals, Evelyn sought a new heroic female type, which could embody spiritual empowerment. As a result, she discovered the early Christian saints, especially virgin martyrs, drawn from books such as Anna Brownell Jameson’s The Poetry of Sacred and Legendary Art (1848-1864).
For Evelyn, who had struggled to overcome the limitations of gender and class to find fulfillment, the figure of the female martyr seems to have become a particularly apt symbol of feminine spiritual power and social responsibility. Consequently, she created paintings such as St. Catherine of Alexandria, A Christian Martyr, and St. Christina Giving Her Father’s Jewels to the Poor, which tell stories of heroic female resistance, struggle and triumph.
Evelyn was not content to merely illustrate the lives of the saints: Using the virgin-martyr as a kind of personal icon for spiritual and artistic freedom, she devised other more personally expressive allegories such as The World’s Wealth, The Thorny Path, and The Gilded Cage, which feature women at moments of existential crisis.
Evelyn and her art is worth knowing. I love her dearly and hope my post here today introduces her to at least one who has never had the pleasure.
A Romantic Saint Valentine's Day to All.
All my love,

Friday, February 12, 2010

“Funny How a Broken Heart …”

A sort of troublesome thought to have here but days from Saint Valentine's Day.

Matthew is the absolute worst sort of husband for he, you see, is a romantic who has allowed is ideal to be overrun by tidy expectation. The poor dear is an involved doting parent of three, and a faithful, devoted partner for what is going on twenty years, but that is all. Matthew is not and never has been in love. He adores his Kate and would never do anything to upset his comfortable existence. Why even now, as he stands in front the charming smiling children’s librarian asking after his wife and children, he does not even entertain the thought.

He never bothers anymore to wonder if love was possible for him. Kate had gotten pregnant when he was twenty-five and though he had not been a man in the way, say his father had been at that age, he was no longer a boy. He had been moving in the world of the adult male for three full years by then, working full-time as a junior executive in a promising commercial development firm and dating aggressively.

Kate had been the pretty girl who helped him pick out a smart brooch for his mother’s birthday at Tiffany’s on Bloor then spent ten minutes teaching him to tie a regulation Tiffany-bow before giving him her number. They hadn’t been exclusive when their Christopher was conceived but neither was there some woman to whom he felt a strong connection. Not to mention that she fit well into his life so marriage.

He rambled on to the charming librarian about how their eldest was at McMaster University and how the middle boy would follow him there in autumn. Then he flushed red with embarrassment when the librarian confessed how she and the girls at the reference desk used to look forward to seeing him all those years ago when he used to bring the boys in on Saturday mornings for the story hour.

It was the thing present in his mind when Kate sat him down later on that very evening and informed him that she was not happy and wanted out. Not because he thought he could pop over to the library and drown his misery in the charms of the children’s librarian, but because this was another thing he never bothered wondering about anymore. He always assumed that Kate at least was happy with his sacrifice.

Yet there she was, wanting more.

Their youngest would graduate from high school in less than two years and Kate wanted for there to be accord in their parting. That and she wanted it done by the time all three boys were settled in university. It struck him then how she kept talking about them as if their life together was already in her past. Still more than that was the way she kept saying that one of them should keep the house for when the boys come home for holidays, as if she wanted him to volunteer to be the one who stayed under the burden.

Then quite suddenly, it was all too much for him to bear. She was leaving him to search for happiness. There wasn’t someone else. There was nothing but her desire for something neither of them had experienced in a loving enough twenty-year marriage. She wanted a love that transformed and delighted, but more than that, she was willing to give up comfortable contentment to get it.

Was she being arrogant?

Absolutely, and Matthew told her so. She fired back with some nonsense about there having to be more to marriage than gratitude to the fellow that had grace enough to offer her marriage after he had knocked you up and how she wish it hadn’t taken her two decades to realize it.

Matthew rose in the midst of her telling with disbelief on his face not really understanding why he was taking it so badly. Then he was yelling something about how marriage was meant to last until death, hoping in futility to reminding Kate - in some desperate attempt at God only knows what - that there was no mention of 'until the children are old enough for college' in their vows. She laughed then with real compassion before saying, “You are a good man Matthew, and you deserve more than what we are able to give each other.”

A lovely weekend to all,

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Chapter One, Two, Three, Four and Five my thanks to each of you for your continued support.
The Painter's Honeymoon by Frederic Leighton

Chapter Six

Jaclyn woke an hour later, Eli still asleep in her arms, Tessa at the side of her bed with whispered hush.

“You must rise at once. Lady Charlotte is here to see you.”

“Have I been very indiscreet?” Jaclyn asked with a gentle hand over Eli’s sleeping hair.

“I’ve seen to you,” Tessa assured her. “No one but I know that you’re here but you must hurry if you want it to remain thus. I’ve put his clothes there. You come to the dressing room once you have roused him and I’ll make quick work of your appearance.”


“I know pet, now hurry,” her old friend said with understanding smile before hurrying off to the serviceable little room pulling up the door discreetly as she went.

Jaclyn pressed her lips to Eli’s ear and whispered his name over endearment, “Eli it’s time we rose.”

He stirred, but only to nestle his body closer to hers and sigh his contentment. She increased the octave of her call to action while dragging her lips over his brow and shaking him with sure hand. Then he with eyes still shut, tightened his hold on her, his voice a sweet rumble as he said, “Have mercy, my love, I’m bone weary.”

Jaclyn’s heart took flight at the endearment though she knew he more than likely did not mean his love in the sense in which she felt it in fact, she would be surprised if he was dreaming of someone else altogether. Then he snapped open his eyes as if suddenly aware of where he was and said, “What’s the matter my sweetheart?”

“Charlotte is awaiting an audience.”

“You’ll have to send her away,” he purred and kissed her deeply before lifting his lips to add, “You’ve melted all my bones and rising is now an impossibility.”

“But you must,” Jaclyn said frantically, “For I do not trust myself to face her alone. Besides, we have been very reckless and my parents have already found us here in this bed together. Another time will more than likely kill them.”

“And that because of Charlotte for whom you want me to rise.”

“Be reasonable, sweetheart. Besides, I’m very nearly happy and she has done it.”

“As am I and she won’t like being surprised,” he said with devilish grin.

“Yes, I know,” Jaclyn with a wicked smile all her own. “Shall we go give her treacherous little heart a start?”

“After you.”

A quarter of an hour later, the two re-entered the little salon via the secret passage before exiting for the hallway leading to the grand salon at the front of the house. When they entered, Charlotte was perched prettily on one of the sofas at the centre of the room. Dressed to advantage in her signature pink, her pale locks in intricate coiffure atop her beautiful head looking for all the world the perfect lady.

She smiled in the way of one without a day’s worry then said, “I will not be chastised when I’ve done so great a service to you both so I’ll thank you to smile at present.”

“She has nerve, I’ll give her that,” Jaclyn said to Eli.

“Now, my dear,” Eli said with accommodating smile, “We should at the very least sit and allow her the opportune to tell us the service she has preformed on our behalf.”

“So long as you entertain no hope of my repentant tears,” Charlotte said as the two sat on an identical sofa facing her.

“Your rueful tears, I have no doubt, will come once you settle into marriage with my now scorned dependant,” Eli said with matter-of-factly.

“Is his presence here entirely necessary?” Charlotte demanded of Jaclyn.

“You, my lady, are a guest in my home and his grace is your better,” Jaclyn said with bite, “And you would do well to conduct yourself in accordance.”

“So I’m to be made to suffer your temper now I’ve made you a duchess,” said an undaunted Charlotte.

“Why are you here Charlotte?” Jaclyn asked bluntly.

“To secure my future and that of my family, which will now incidentally include you both once we’ve all married our intended others.”

“The devil you say?” Eli said with easy menace.

“You will mind your language with me, your grace, for in spite of it all I’m the daughter of an earl and will in two days marry the grandson of a duke so I’ll thank you to remember it when next you address me,” Charlotte said with dignity.

“She goes too far,” Eli said with murderous calm.

He had had his fill of the proceedings and was fully ready to demand that Charlotte leave when Jaclyn took charge of the interview.

“Now Charlotte, I encourage you to say what it is you intended and I ask you to measure you words with care not to provoke overmuch.”

“I did not come here to mind your feelings but to make clear to you the hardship I’ve been made to suffer on your behalf,” Charlotte said irritably.

“You suffer?” Jaclyn asked incredulously.

“Yes, me, and all for your lack of propriety, have you any idea what I’ve had to endure while you were off gallivanting in France?”

“You see here –”

“I’ll have my say,” Charlotte said with a staying hand. “I’ve loved Brian my entire life and would have long ago married him had you not allowed that silly painting to fall into this one’s hands. Do you know how Ravensworth and I came to be engaged?”

“I had no more control over that instant than you,” Eli said defensively. “Besides we were both aware of all the facts going in so for you to now use it as justification for what you’ve done here is disingenuous.”

“I owe you no explanation so I’ll thank you not to pretend injury me,” Charlotte countered. “You have fault here and well you know it. You put that portrait on display and then goaded your grandfather into cutting off your own parents by insisting you would marry her.”

“Is that true?” asked a bewildered Jaclyn.

“Oh, it is, but his grandfather got wind of it and forced him into offering for me by throwing their entire family into chaos. Tell her how he cut you off and when it did not work how he extended the punishment to your parents and all the cousins.”

“I couldn’t believe he would continue to hold then prison to his will in order to punish me but they became desperate and then the pressure had been tremendous,” Eli offered.

“Yes, and you convinced me to go along until you found a solution only to leave me in wait while you went off to God only know where to make your own fortune. You squandered my youth without care or thought and had your father not died heaven only knows what would have become of me,” Charlotte charged.

“But I’ve been home nearly two years and I’ve given you full leave to marry where you choose.”

“My parents expected me to marry you and not even rumours that you murdered the old duke had deterred their want so you see I had to take action to facilitate my own end.”

“We were friends a lifetime Charlotte, you could have come to me,” Eli said.

“I did come to you but you were reeling from the death of your father then your grandfather died so suddenly and it became impossible. You kept talking about doing what was best for the family.”

“Alright, you didn’t feel you were getting through to Eli so why didn’t you come to me?”

“Eli is it?” Charlotte all but yelled. “A hundred years our families have been acquainted and for five of that I’ve been engaged to you yet you have always been Hastings or Ravensworth to me. It says something to me that after but a day’s acquaintance you should allow her such a liberty.”

“It comes from having shared an ordeal,” Jaclyn said defensively.

“For you perhaps but it’s been long held knowledge in his set that you are his ideal and have been since he came upon that cursed painting,” Charlotte said with bane.

Jaclyn looked to Eli and he without meeting her eyes said to Charlotte, “You and Brian have my support. Now go.”

Charlotte rose gleefully her attention squarely on Jaclyn and said, “You’ll forgive me won’t you Jack?”

“I’ll need time,” Jaclyn said her mind elsewhere as the petite woman rushed forth and kissed her cheek.

“I love you both and in spite the seemingly selfish nature of my conduct you must both know that I only meant what was best for us all,” Charlotte said before offering Eli her hand so he could see her out.

Eli rose and saw the troublesome lady out the door where she whispered to him, “Be patient with her and in time she will come to love you.”

“Goodbye Charlotte,” was all Eli could manage without strangling the smug little agitator before closing the door in her face and returning to Jaclyn’s side.

The two sat by side without word for a few heartbeats then Jaclyn took hold his hand and asked, “Would you like to talk about it?”

“I haven’t the words.”

“So the things she said…”

“Are all true,” he said with sad vulnerable smile his face straight ahead terrified to look at her and see disgust or worse pity.

“You loved me without having known me?”

“I saw you as you intended, you know. It wasn’t just that you were beautiful it was the certainty and answer in your eyes that made me question. I wanted to know what it was you were looking at that made you smile so.”

“Could it not simply be an infatuation,” Jaclyn asked desperately. “A sort of fascination with a naked stranger...”

“I understand there is a degree of distress to be had in hearing that someone you only just met believes himself in love with you but to presume I don’t know my own heart,” Eli said with injury.

“It was not my intent to wound, you know,” she said turning to face him. “It’s only I worry I won’t be able to live up to the image of me you have conjured from my idealized painting of self.”

“Impossible,” Eli said turning now to face her, his heart in his eyes, “For you have from the very first moments of our acquaintance exceeded every expectation.”

“Yes but those were extraordinary circumstances,” she said fretfully, “And it’s only natural for you to feel gratitude.”

“What of our clear attraction and the easy way with which we relate?”

“You’re very handsome. What woman would not be full of lust at the sight of you? Besides, we share an affliction which makes commiseration appear deeper than it may actually be,” Jaclyn offered reasonably.

“The idea of loving me is new to you and I don’t expect it to be on par with what I feel for you but I would hope you could respect what it is I feel for it is after all genuine and long won.”

“You are not afraid I’ll disappoint you?”

“I can’t see the point in it with you here fretting about my wellbeing. Not to mention that I’m convinced you’re already in love with me,” he said with a confident smirk.

“Oh, is that right?”

“Do you deny it?” he asked his voice holding a challenge.

“It terrifies me.”

“You know I believe it aught to,” he said with gentle hand on her face, “If only to stop us being reckless where we love, but I will take care. You have my word.”

Jaclyn swallowed over the emotion forming in her throat then said, “Spend the day with me.”

“Gladly,” Eli said with a suggestively raised brow and kissed her passionately. Jaclyn kissed him back with a happy smile.


The two spent the afternoon in a private upstairs salon exchanging stories of their childhood while she, with charcoal and sketchpad, made a study of his face in between bouts of passionate kisses. By the time the sun had set outside, her parents’ home in St James she and Eli were well in love.
They had supper with her parents then they played together at the pianoforte until her parents said their goodnights and then they stole away to her chamber and made love until the sun rose on their wedding day.

On their tenth wedding anniversary, the two, in homage to their lovely beginning, recreated that very day at her parents home in St James Square.
The very best to you all,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Men of Letters, This Time a Romantic Poet and a Brilliant Satirst

I have a tendre for dear Percy and a great admiration for the clever Peacock.

Percy Bysshe Shelley by Alfred Clint

Percy Bysshe Shelley is for me, the truest of romantics. His works are ripe with his talent and spoke of a genius born out his search for elusive ideal. The silly thing could have been said to be in love with being in love but his misery made for stunning poems. He was meant for a different time, perhaps 1969 when free love reigned for our dear Percy did not understand sexual possessiveness. He eloped with Harriet Westbrook when he was nineteen and she sixteen only to elope with Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin while still married to Harriet. He was a fellow plagued with bad judgement who came to a tragic end shortly before his thirtieth birthday. Percy's work is worth knowing.

To a Skylark
by Shelley

...Like a glow-worm golden

In a dell of dew,

Scattering unbeholden
Its aërial hue
Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view:
Like a rose embower'd
In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflower'd,
Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet those heavy
wingèd thieves...

Thomas Love Peacock by Henry Wallis

Thomas Love Peacock who satirized both Byron and Shelley in his brilliant Nightmare Abbey, his style of writing is so gorgeous and highly original I often pray he was still alive so I could badger him into revealing his secrets. His novel was written as conversation set around a large dining table in a country house. The text is loaded with humour, witticisms, and near genial satire. He had a great deal of affection for Shelley. That much was evident even in the roasting/lampooning nature of the text. In fact, Peacock counted on Shelley’s good nature for support once the novel was published. Shelley did not disappoint. No such kindness was extended to Byron to the point he was damn near cruel. These words he credited to Byron, whom he cast as Mr Cypress in his manuscript and there is no doubt it was meant to sting.

“Sir, I have quarrelled with my wife; and a man who has quarrelled with his wife is absolved from all duty to his country. I have written an ode to tell the people as much, and they may take it as they list.”

My love, my care,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A lovely turn of phrase or simply pretty words without a story?

Only a weak man and a woman who has never had to rely on another for her livelihood are able to find contemptible a woman who seeks to better her lot by marrying well.

This seems the sort of thing my grandmother would say, only I can’t remember her saying it and I don’t feel I have the right to it, but it’s with me so I aught to do something with it.

There is a practical widow in my first novel Ellesmere that I feel is well suited to these words, only I don’t know if she is the sort to give into the folly of love after burying two husbands. Besides, she has three little girls and a teenaged sister she must launch into society.

Maybe, I’ll have a man say it. Only what sort of creature would he be, to have such a statement assigned to him besides, progressive and quite possibly, my absolute favourite person in the world?

I like the idea that a man would be the one to say these words. It even has a base in my line of consciousness for it makes me think of a Sydney Pollack film or that hybrid fellow George Clooney made of the good men in his Goodnight and Good Luck.

You know, the sort of male to whom I’m referring... Someone reminiscent of Robert Redford in Three Days of the Condor. A man who is well aware of his role and the weight of words. I’ll make a genuine attempt now to cast the parts and see if I can’t flush out a story worthy of these words.

I hope you're having a lovely week,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Please bear with me and my rash of good fortune

Another award from the Charming Corra, this time the Lovely Blog award. Corra is truly a supportive fellow writer and you will simply love her delightful blog so do follow the link. You'll be better for having done so. Thank you ever so much Corra my dear, it mean a lot that you think my blog lovely.

According to the rules posted at her site, I'm to pass on the award to five blogs that have newly caught my interest.

Here now are my Five, each truly lovely and worthy of awe.


A lovely week to all,

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lady Thatcher, One More of the 100 Women that Inspire Me

For though she had her failings HOLDING her ground was not one of the.

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, because despite our often conflicting political views she was instramental in my development as young citizen of the world. She had an iron-will which made it essential for all females following in her wake to apply thought to the value of their vote.

She was born 13 October 1925, married once in 1951 to a man she counted as friend and brilliant husband until his death in June 2003. She is mother to two and though one get the feeling she is held to a degree in contempt by her daughter Carol she seems no more unnatural a mother then most.

Here in interview with Douglas Keay from Woman's Own Magazine in 1987 Prime Minister Thatcher said this.
"If children have a problem, it is society that is at fault. There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate. And the worst things we have in life, in my view, are where children who are a great privilege and a trust—they are the fundamental great trust, but they do not ask to come into the world, we bring them into the world, they are a miracle, there is nothing like the miracle of life—we have these little innocents and the worst crime in life is when those children, who would naturally have the right to look to their parents for help, for comfort, not only just for the food and shelter but for the time, for the understanding, turn round and not only is that help not forthcoming, but they get either neglect or worse than that, cruelty."

Thatcher's tenure as Prime Minister was the longest since that of Lord Salisbury and the longest continuous period in office since Lord Liverpool in the early 19th century. She was the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom, and the first of only three women to hold any of the four great offices of state. She holds a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire, which entitles her to sit in the House of Lords.
My love, my care,

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Birth of England's Romantic Regency

The Prince of Wales became England's Prince Regent on 5 th January 1811 but was not sworn in by the Privy Council until February 6. 1811. As the eldest son of King George III, George IV the then Prince of Wales acted as Regent between 1811 and 1820 due to his father's insanity. An extravagant and dissolute man, the Prince Regent was also one of the greatest royal collectors and patrons of art and architecture.
John Singleton Copley

Our fat little Regent playing at what I can only assume is defender of the land and conqueror of France. Here is some of him in his own words.

"I have done extravagant things and I'm not ashamed of it; but I've always had my principles, and my principles have always been the same – gallant to every woman, but faithful to one!"

Prince George, as reported by Princess Dorothea Lieven, wife of the Russian ambassador to Britain. What a romantic thing it would have been if the woman was his long-suffering albeit unhygienic wife.

Painted here by Sir Thomas Lawrence
I have a soft spot for the Regent in the way one does for a rotten nephew or a silly cousin.

"He cried by the hour … he testified to the sincerity and violence of his passion and his despair by the most extravagant expressions and actions, rolling on the floor, striking his forehead, tearing his hair, falling into hysterics and swearing that he would abandon the country, forego the crown, sell his jewels and plate and scrape together a competence to fly with the object of his affections to America."

This from Lord Holland, Memoirs of the Whig Party, commenting on the prince's histrionic technique for wooing the Catholic widow Maria Fitzherbert, c 1785. They were secretly married on 21 December 1785, but the marriage was void according to the Royal Marriage Act.

Another by Lawrence

No one could accuse the silly little thing of being without passion, spite or of having very good judgment.

"[Maria Fitzherbert] the wife of my heart & soul etc etc … I wish to be buried with her picture round my neck, and so on … from my beloved parents, I ask forgiveness for any faults I may have ignorantly or unguardedly been guilty of … she who is called the Princess of Wales, the mother of my daughter, should in no way be concerned in the education or care of the child, or have possession of her person … to my daughter I leave my jewels, which are mine having been bought with my own money – and to her who is called the princess of Wales I leave one shilling …"
Prince George's 'will', written on 9 January 1796, two days after his wife gave birth to their daughter Charlotte.

And here by Sir David Wilkie

He was concerned by all the wrong things and was often unable to make up his mind but he was genuinely made ill with worry at the thought of being an inadequate Regent. I sympathize with the cross he had to bear but I do wish he had done some for those living in object poverty.

And again by Lawrence

Still, he would be king and for all is fault he did give us his Pavillion and the decadence that cultivated one the greatest romantic age. Under is frivolous reign Byron, Shelley, Austen, Blake, Turner, Scott, Nash, Keat, Brougham, Wordsworth, Coleridge and a hundred more brilliant artist prospered. For that he'll forever have my gratitude.

A lovely weekend to all,