Posted by: Author | July 27, 2015

Tuesday Tales- July 28, 2015 – Bloom

This week’s word prompt for Tuesday Tales is bloom. I am about 25,000 words in on the regency story I’m working on and sharing a bit more of it this week. The heroine is Amelia and she has an odious cousin who makes her life miserable. Miss Vonda Van Eisenga makes the hero’s life hard and this scene is where the three ladies are all in one place for the first time.  I hope you enjoy. Remember, it’s not edited. Here’s the link to the other tales for the week using the same prompt.

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The next few days went by fast. Amelia had fallen into a routine of visiting the duke’s home in the mornings and leaving the girls with certain tasks to perform in the afternoon. Susan, of course, accompanied her each time but they only saw the duke on occasion and from a distance. It was as if he were deliberately avoiding them. Amelia didn’t blame him at all. If she could live her life away from Susan, she would do so in an instant.

Amelia did sometimes notice the duke around and usually it was when his sisters were practicing with their trains. She would see him peeking in at them as if intrigued by the process. They walked around the ballroom frontwards and backwards for what seemed like hours. Susan even deigned to join in herself on occasion.

They practiced the curtsy over and over as well with the Lady Saffron and Lady Jonquil practicing the queen’s kiss on their brow and Susan practicing kissing the queen’s hand. Amelia played the part of the queen and made sure they knew their parts as they differed slightly as the sisters were daughters of a duke.

On the Monday of the second week they’d worked together, the week that the girls’ court presentation gowns would be ready on Friday and the day Amelia planned to add the feathers to their practice sessions, there was a visitor when Amelia and Susan arrived at the front door.

The woman was tall, dark-haired and reminded her of some of the statues she’d seen at the British Museum. Very stately, but cold. And as some people might say, the first bloom of youth was off her cheeks.

Amelia pushed that uncharitable thought away. She herself, although only nineteen years old now, was most likely to end up a spinster with no dowry and no title. She might be young at the moment but one day she would be pitied by someone and it wouldn’t be pleasant.

“Come in, Miss Amelia. This is Miss Vonda Van Eizenga. She’s here to see Basil.” Saffron stood in the hallway behind the butler as he let Amelia and Susan inside.

The older woman inclined her head and with something that Amelia presumed was supposed to be a smile but was more like a grimace, said, “How do you do?”

Susan stepped in front of Amelia and introduced herself. “You’re here to see the duke?”

“I am indeed. We’re old friends and neighbors. My family’s estate abuts the duke’s country seat.” The lady’s face continued to hold an expression of distaste. “And what brings you here?”

“My cousin is assisting the duke’s sisters in their coming out.”

“And that necessitates your presence how?” Miss Van Eizenga asked Susan.

“I hardly think my relationship with the duke is any of your concern,” Susan said.

“You have no relationship with my brother, Miss Mandeville. Why pretend to something that isn’t?” Saffron asked as she showed the ladies into the parlor. “We’ll leave the two of you here to wait for Basil while we go up and practice with the feathers that I see Miss Amelia has in her hands.”

Posted by: Author | July 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday 

  

Posted by: Author | July 20, 2015

Tuesday Tales – July 21, 2015- Tiger

I’ve been tied up with life too much lately to be involved in Tuesday Tales but I am back now. With a different story. I kind of hit a dead end on the one I was sharing and am mulling over how to raise the stakes in it to make it better. In the meantime, I have started a new Regency story. The word of the week is tiger. Be sure to read the other great stories by clicking here. 

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Taking a deep breath before entering, Basil made the expression on his face into a semblance of welcome. “Good morning, Miss Van Eizenga. How are you today?”

“I am well and am here to invite you to a soiree.”

“Invite me?”

“Why act so shocked? Do you think no one would desire your company?”

“It’s not that. I am still very busy getting myself used to the duties of my title and have no time for such diversions. But should you choose to invite my sisters who are coming out this year, I would be quite grateful.”

“I’m afraid I cannot do so for you see, I am here to find myself an escort and I’d rather hoped that you would say yes.”

“Isn’t it normally the gentleman who seeks out the lady in these circumstances?” Basil knew he was being too direct but he needed to make clear to this young woman that he was never going to be inclined to be her escort. Wouldn’t it be better for her to face that now rather than later?

“You’re being difficult, your grace. You men are all alike.”

“What do you mean? Have you asked other men to escort you who have declined?”

“Of course not. I’ve only come to you because you are the only one I want.”

“Then I am exceedingly sorry.” Basil bowed but was firm in his denial of the lady’s request. He was not going to become embroiled in some relationship with a woman who he had no doubt would try to entrap him if she could.

“You sir, are the one who is exceedingly unkind.” She turned as if to sit on the settee but let out a screech instead.

Archimedes let out a screech of his own and bowed his back up. He hissed at Miss Van Eizenga and ears flat, didn’t seem about to cede his ground to her.

Basil bit back a laugh. Never would he have thought the creature would give him such pleasure. The cat had made his opinion clear of their visitor and would that a duke could do the same.

“Get that awful animal out of here.” Miss Van Eizenga pointed at Archimedes with an index finger that shook. Basil wasn’t sure if it was with rage or with fright but either way, he had no intention of making the cat leave.

“I’m sorry, that’s Saffron and Jonquil’s pet. He’s harmless.”

“He is not. He’s like a wild tiger or something.”

“Oh no. Tigers are much larger and more dangerous.”

“I don’t agree. This animal is wild. He must go.”

“I’m afraid not. I cannot disappoint my sisters by being unkind to their pet.”

“Then I must take my leave, sir.” Miss Van Eizenga turned on her heel and strode out of the room.

Once she was gone, Basil picked up Archimedes and cuddled him. “You were wonderful. I owe you a debt of gratitude.”

Posted by: Author | July 15, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Garnier Opera House- Rhett Chancellor, creative commons license

Garnier Opera House- Rhett Chancellor, creative commons license

Rhett Chancellor, creative commons license

Rhett Chancellor, creative commons license

Posted by: Author | July 8, 2015

No Wordless Wednesday

I’m still on the planet but my computer crashed last week. I have a new one but am slowly recovering my data and photos so I am, at the moment, stuck with the photos that come on the computer. BOO!   Hoping I can get my pics back and have something for next week.

I have long been a fan of James Grippando. He’s a Florida lawyer and was admitted to the Bar about 9 months before I was. When his first book came out, The Pardon, I grabbed it because it was based in Florida and was written by a Florida lawyer. He’s an awesome story-teller and I was hooked with that first book. I’ve read them all and he has always, always met my reader expectations.

Until now. 22 books in. I never, ever would’ve believed I’d be so upset over a book by an author I adore. But here it is, I am there. Hate, hate the book I just read. It’s called Cane and Abe. It starts out great and in the style I am accustomed to with Mr. Grippando’s signature élan. For a while, it rocks on in a satisfactory way.

Eventually, less than half-way through, it goes off the rails. Utterly. Now, I know this man, who’s books are in hardback and sell outrageously well, has heard of the mythic story structure of The Hero’s Journey. I also am sure he’s heard that the hero should grow over the course of the book- I know he has because I’ve read his work for years and this happens.  Until now.

The main character in this book basically does the Hero’s Journey in reverse. He starts out strong, likable and no-nonsense. During the course of the book, he’s treated like crap by an FBI agent (Who has been in another of Mr. Grippando’s books- and I liked the character in that book). This FBI agent starts out as the character she was in the long-ago book she was in but as the story progresses, she oversteps her bounds, tries to entrap the main character, and becomes something of a rogue. I hated her by the second half of the book and kept waiting for her to get her comeuppance.

Not only did we not get to see her get what was coming to her, Mr. Grippando drops clues in the book that he never goes back to address and leaves us hanging there. By close to the end of the book, the main character is half the man he was at the beginning. He gives in to the pressure put on him by the FBI witch and even lets them conduct a strip-search. The man at the beginning of the book would have NEVER stood for that.

The ending was horrible. The main character ends up living in the worst situation he could be in. The hero’s journey is over and the man is a shell of who he used to be and this is not cool. NOT COOL AT ALL.

My reader expectation from this author is for the hero to come out on top. Didn’t happen. I’m angry. I feel abused as a reader.

Reading the author note at the end of the book gave me some insight. It seems this book is a revamped version of the first book the man ever wrote. That didn’t sell.  I see why it didn’t sell- It isn’t a satisfying read. BUT since he’s now got this massive following, did he insist on having it in his newest contract? Was this published merely because the author wanted it to be?

I feel used, manipulated and unhappy.

Posted by: Author | July 1, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

peaches

Posted by: Author | June 30, 2015

The Scary Place That is a Writer’s Mind

My son is in France for a semester abroad program. He left yesterday and I wanted to arrange a car service to be waiting for him when he got to Paris since that is what I usually do for  myself when I travel internationally. I always know I will be tired and probably hungry and don’t want to deal with the stress of finding a cab. I like having someone standing there with my name on a piece of paper. They take my bag, escort me through the throng and to a waiting car. It’s already paid for and then I am whisked away to my hotel/destination. Easy-peasy.

I offered to do this for my son- he is used to it as he has traveled with me over the years – I wanted to do it for his safety as well. BUT NO!! “Mom,” he says, “I’ll take the train. It’s only 10 Euros”-  Rather than follow my gut and do it anyway, I let him make that decision.

He landed in Paris at 1:40 am Central USA time and 8:40 Paris time. Texted me to say he was there. About thirty minutes later, he texted that his luggage didn’t arrive. So, as I was telling him what to do, he finally found it- but not after a lot of panic about what he was going to do with no clothes.  LOL! I was trying to settle him down as they would’ve delivered his luggage.

Once that issue was solved, he couldn’t find the train station. (I personally think he was still too spun up about that whole luggage thing- added to grouchy, tired and hungry- because he won’t eat airline food).  He decided to take a cab. He texted me about it. I told him to ask about the fare before getting in. Of course, he didn’t. So then it became a constant texting session to me about the meter and how fast it was clocking up. He wanted to blame the cabby for letting him get in when he clearly didn’t know what he was doing (!)  – I told him to tell the guy to let him out at a Metro station since son does know how to navigate that but he didn’t ask to be let out.

Then everything went silent. The boy had texted me for almost two hours now and then nada. Nothing. Zilch. So, I am frantically texting him to let me know he’s okay. No response.  So, I call.  It rings like 5 times, goes to voice mail. My husband is up by now since he’s heard all the text sounds. We are both frantic and I am saying the cabby has seen he’s a young man on his own, has pulled over and robbed him and left his body in the gutter. How do we call the police? We don’t even know what cab company he was using, etc, and on and on.

Husband texts kid and says, “Respond to your mother right now.”

Son texts, “As soon as I pay, I will.” SO he answers his dad and not me????!!!??

In a few minutes, he called and I told him my whole scenario that was flashing in my head. He said, “Mom, that is not the way it works.”  in this voice as if I am an idiot. This from the kid who now has paid 74 euro for a cab ride. AND yes, it could’ve happened.  Didn’t he see all those abduction movies??

Anyway, I told him he should know by now my imagination runs rampant.

I need a nap.  Texting from 1:40 am to almost 5:00 am is draining. He texted like 3 more times once he got to his destination. All I wanted at that point was a pillow, a blanket and some shut-eye.

EDITED TO ADD:  It seems my text messages were going to iMessage and my son hadn’t gotten any of them until he arrived at his room and hooked up his wi-fi and then he got 40 messages, boom, boom, boom.  So, he solved all his issues himself. I feel sick to my stomach though as I thought I was helping him and he thought I was asleep and didn’t see his messages. What a nightmare. I hate that he thought he was alone when he wasn’t. I told him I was in the airport and cab with him and he said he sees that now but it still makes me ill to think he thought he was all alone in a foreign country,

Posted by: Author | June 24, 2015

Wordless Wednesday 

  

Posted by: Author | June 22, 2015

Tuesday Tales- June 23, 2015- Old

This week’s word is old.  For more stories using the word old as a word prompt, otherwise known as Tuesday Tales, click here. Link to other tales.

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“Nonsense. You had no way of knowing how I felt. Don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s merely a personal quirk.” He pointed at her plate with the tines of his fork and, as if to change the subject, said, “But you don’t like the broccoli?”

“How could you tell?”

“The little mound of it on the edge of your plate.” He poked his fork into the vegetables. “May I?”

“Of course.” She slid her plate closer to him. “You may have every stalk of it on the planet as far as I’m concerned.”

“That’s a lot of hatred there, lady.” Ian smiled as he chewed the broccoli in an exaggerated manner.

“You know it.” Lanett kept her head down as she ate, trying to think of something to discuss. After the nut comment, she sure didn’t want to ask about Nancy and if he’d heard anything about her getting out of the mental ward. Lanett was dreading that but hoping the woman would go straight to jail after being released since the charges against her were so severe.

Ian looked up from his food. “You seem quiet tonight. Are you more at ease now that you’ve had a chance to have some down time after Nancy attacked you?”

“I actually do.” Lanett nodded. So much for not bringing up the subject. “It’s amazing what a nap can do for the psyche.”

“I’m really sorry that happened and I hope you’re not blaming yourself. Or me for that matter.”

“Oh no. One thing I learned a while back—and it wasn’t a pleasant way I learned it—is that that you can’t control anyone else’s behavior. No matter how much you may want to. So, to blame either of us for what she did makes no sense.”

“That’s a good attitude to have. Most people aren’t that smart. At least most people our age.”

“Are you saying I’m old before my time?” Lanett chuckled.

“I would never say such a thing.”

“Because you value your life?”

“You know it.” Ian stood. “Let me help with the clearing up.”

“What are we going to do with all these leftovers?” Lanett eyed the containers with trepidation. She was not a fan of reheated food.

“I can leave them for you or I can take them in to work tomorrow. Those people will be happy to have it.”

“Please do take it. It’s way too much food to leave here.”

“Remind me when I leave.” He picked up the bottle of wine. “Let’s finish this by the fire.”

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