Sunday, August 23, 2015

Not Quite The Summer I Planned...

This hasn't been the summer I envisioned.  Or the summer I wanted, with plenty of time to write and relax and enjoy the warm weather. 

Not only did my husband have unforeseen open-heart surgery, two months to the day later, my father wound up in the emergency department.  He had surgery the same day.  There aren't many circumstances where a ninety-year-old gets surgery, unless it's operate or die, so his condition was grave.  He made it through the surgery, but the next morning, the surgeon was not, shall we say, optimistic.

Just to really up the tension during this crisis (something this writer much prefers in her fiction, not in real life), two of my siblings were out of the country.

Fortunately, my parents apparently exist to confound the medical profession.  The surgeon later admitted the odds of Dad even getting out of ICU were about 10,000 to 1.  Not only did he get out of ICU, he's home and doing well, all things considered.  

So this summer has been quite the emotional roller-coaster for me and my family.  However, it seems the worst is over, at least for now, so I can relax enough to enjoy the summer, at least for a bit.



Thursday, August 06, 2015

Poldark Vs. The Crimson Field: It's Crimson Field by a backstory

Two shows arrived on PBS at about the same time.  Both are historical.  Poldark was given much hype, The Crimson Field not so much.  In fact, I only found The Crimson Field because it was on after Poldark.

Poldark is a remake of a popular series and features a comely young actor who's been in The Hobbit movies.  It's historical, so it should be right up my alley.   Cornwall has some spectacular scenery and an interesting history.  There's romance, thwarted and discovered, there's family drama, labor strife and financial troubles.

The Crimson Field is about nurses in a field hospital during World War I.  I recognized three of the actors: the young woman who played Robb Stark's wife in Game of Thrones, the man in charge of the hospital who's the rather meek footman/butler in Downton Abbey and an actor who seems to specialize in wastrels who was in Rome.  There are a couple of other comely young doctors, including one with a Scottish accent (always a bonus), several other nurses and many young wounded men.  There's romance, there's drama, heart-break and, of course, the war.

Poldark got the hype, but I enjoyed The Crimson Field more, and I've decided it's all because of the women.  I care about them a lot more than I care about any of the female characters in Poldark.

The female characters on Poldark just seem so...dull.  Even Demelza, who should be very interesting indeed.  Why is that?  After some thought on the subject, I decided it's because we get more of the history, or backstory, of the women on The Crimson Field.  Not a whole ton, mind you, but certainly more than in Poldark.  For instance, we find out about the very proper head nurse's past love.  It took only a couple of small scenes, but what a difference in how we see her!  We find out about the main character's past, and it's heart-breaking -- and explains her reaction to the handsome Scottish doctor.  To compare, Poldark was wounded during the American Revolution and was presumed dead.  He was in love with a woman who got engaged to someone else and she marries him after Poldark returns.  But we never really saw her deal with that presumed loss.  I don't recall that we got any real explanation for why she felt she had to go through with the marriage, something that should have been at the top of the list since her husband is such a loser compared to Poldark.  

Presumably there's a lot of story to get through with Poldark, so perhaps that's why the past history of the characters is pretty much ignored.  But if I'm not invested in the characters because I'm not getting to know their history, I'm not going to enjoy the series, half-naked, handsome male actors notwithstanding.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Best-laid Plans....

My free novella, "Kind Eyes and A Lion's Heart," is now available in its entirety on my website.

I had originally planned to release it in installments, finishing just before attending before the Romance Writers of America's national conference in New York City.  I thought that would be a good lead-in to the conference. 

And then my athletic, multi-sports-playing husband was found to have a major blockage in the coronary artery,  among others.  He had an unexpected quadruple bypass, fortunately before he had a heart attack.  I'm very grateful to the astute medical resident who recommended a stress test just to cover all the bases, the surgeon who performed the surgery, the cardiologists, the nurses, the physiotherapists, our family doctor, all the other many outstanding medical professionals who saw us through this experience, as well as our family, friends, my editor and agent, who were all so understanding and supportive. 

My husband's recovery has been excellent, in no small part because he's a multi-sports-playing guy.  But boy oh boy, if people ask me if I wish I lived in the past?  OH, HECK NO!  Like to write about it, wouldn't want to live there, or I'd be a widow.

And that's why I won't be at the RWA conference this year. 
 




Monday, July 20, 2015

FREE Novella - The Epilogue



 KIND EYES AND A LION’S HEART
EPILOGUE



Thus it was that in the year of our Lord 1204, Sir Melvin de Courcellet and Lady Viola de Langbourgh were married. 
Many who attended the feast did so because they were curious to see the young man who had managed to win the hand of Lord Percival’s niece.  Those who hadn’t met Melvin before were shocked when they did, despite Lady Sylvia’s assertion that the marriage was a true love match.  They found it easier to believe the rumors that the bride had been seduced, although it was difficult to fathom how a dunderhead like Sir Melvin had succeeded.  It just went to show that even supposedly clever women could be tricked.  They would have to be wary of even apparently harmless young men.
Other decided Sir Melvin must be a more shrewd, ambitious fellow than they guessed and they paid greater heed to his opinions. 
          Lord Barengar did attend the wedding, with his nose still swollen.  That caused many sighs among the ladies, for they feared his good looks would never be the same.  No doubt that explained why he was so serious, too.
          Viola and Melvin didn’t care if people believed they married for love or not.  They had, and they stayed in love as the years passed and their family grew.  In time, they became known for their happy marriage, as well as their kindness and generosity.
          And, it must be confessed, for Sir Melvin’s tendency to talk.

This work is protected by copyright.  See sidebar for notice.

Note:  This novella is PG13.  With the exception of GWYNETH ANDTHE THIEF and THE WASTREL, my books are usually steamier.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

FREE Novella - Chapter Seven, Part Five



KIND EYES AND A LION’S HEART
CHAPTER SEVEN
PART FIVE

 “I can’t believe you’re so pleased,” Lady Sylvia said to Viola later than same day as they strolled in the rose garden. “I know you like him, but still!  He’s not rich or handsome or…or anything!”
Viola slipped her arm through the younger woman’s and led her to a more secluded corner of the garden. 
“He is most definitely something,” she said significantly.  She looked around to make certain no one else was nearby.  “There is nothing lacking about him when it comes to other qualities one would wish in a husband.”
“What do you mean?  Generosity?”
Viola laughed softly.  “I suppose one could call it that.  Let me just say, he doesn’t lack for passion.  I have never felt so wonderful as I did in his arms.”
Lady Sylvia’s eyes grew as round as a millwheel.  “You don’t mean to say you’ve...?”
Viola didn’t want to shock Sylvia too much.  On the other hand, it wouldn’t be long before Emil would let the secret out, even if he’d been paid to keep it.  The man was a born tattle-tale.  “Yes.”
Sylvia gasped, then frowned and bit her lip before she intently whispered, “What was it like?  Really like?”
“When you’re with a man who cares as much for your pleasure as his own, absolutely wonderful,” Viola answered without hesitation. “Find a good, kind man who loves you, Sylvia, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.” 
The gate opened and Melvin stuck his head inside, then grinned and entered.  “There you are.  Mind if I interrupt?”
“I was, um, just leaving,” Sylvia said, blushing as she hurried away. 
“I hope I wasn’t interrupting anything important.  I didn’t mean to make her run off,” Melvin said as he gathered Viola in his arms.  “Much as I want to be with you, I could have waited a little while.”
“It’s all right,” Viola said, resting her head on Melvin’s broad shoulder.  “I think I gave her something to think about when it comes to men and marriage.”
“Speaking of men, Barengar’s gone.  Rode off a little while ago.  Says he’ll come back for the wedding.  I doubt it.  His nose might still be swollen and he won’t want a lot of people to see him that way.”
Viola sighed so heavily, Melvin frowned.  “What’s the matter?” 
“I fear Sylvia won’t be happy if he doesn’t return.”
Melvin’s frown deepened.  “I’m not sure he’s the right fellow for her.  I’m not sure he’s the right fellow for any lady.  Maybe he will be in a few years when he’s had time to realize what’s really important.  At least, I hope he waits a few years and doesn’t go rushing into marriage with some pretty girl who’s got a large fortune.”
“Although I’m not pretty, you’re rushing into marriage with a girl who’s got a large fortune,” Viola said softly.  “My dowry is twenty-five thousand marks.”
“You are the most beautiful woman in the – wait!” Melvin stopped smiling.  “What did you say?”
Melvin looked so startled, Viola had to smile. “I said, you’re marrying a girl with a dowry of twenty-five thousand marks.” 
“I had no notion,” Melvin incredulously replied.  “No wonder your uncle was so angry this morning.  I suppose he thought I was after your money.  Maybe I should refuse it.  After all, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference to me if you were a pauper.”
Viola knew he was speaking the absolute truth and embraced him tightly.  “Melvin de Courcellet, I do love you! You truly are the most wonderful man I’ve ever met.”
“As you are the most wonderful woman, Viola.  I love you with all my heart,” he said before he kissed her with all the passion and love in his kind, courageous heart.

The story isn't over!  Come back on Monday for the Epilogue!

This work is protected by copyright.  See sidebar for notice.

Note:  This novella is PG13.  With the exception of GWYNETH ANDTHE THIEF and THE WASTREL, my books are usually steamier.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

FREE Novella - Chapter Seven, Part Four

KIND EYES AND A LION’S HEART
CHAPTER SEVEN
PART FOUR



Lord Percival’s announcement that his niece was to be wed to Sir Melvin de Courcellet caused quite a sensation later that day, even though he waited until many of the remaining guests had already departed.  Those who were still at Lord Percival’s castle might have supposed that the nobleman was not in earnest, except that a beaming Sir Melvin stood at his right hand.  Even more astonishing, Lady Viola looked equally delighted. 
          Any remained doubts the guests might have had about the marriage disappeared as they watched the newly betrothed couple dine together.  It was clear that Lady Viola genuinely liked the young man who appeared to prefer looking at the lady to eating or talking, something a few wags considered a miracle equal to the betrothal.
Some of the older lords began to wonder if they’d been mistaken to dismiss Sir Melvin as a fool.  If Lord Percival agreed to the marriage, there might be more to the young fellow than they supposed.  More than one took Lord Percival aside to congratulate him and his family on the alliance, and to make it clear they would consider it an honor to be invited to the wedding.
Lord Barengar waited until the hall was nearly empty before approaching his cousin and his future bride. 
“Melvin!” he said a bit louder than necessary to get their attention, which seemed to be focused solely on each other. 
“Oh, Barengar, there you are,” Melvin said.  “How’s the nose?  Not too painful, I hope.  I’m truly sorry about that, coz.  I hope you’ll forgive me.  You’ll come to the wedding, won’t you?  It’s to be in a fortnight.  Here, of course, home of the bride and all that.”
“It’s really true then?” Barengar asked.  “You’re really betrothed?”
“Yes, it’s really true,” Viola replied.
Melvin and Viola exchanged smiles before Viola leaned closer and spoke in a conspiratorial whisper.  “Since you saw us in my bedchamber, it would be useless to lie, so I won’t.  My aunt and uncle are insisting that we marry.  But I must admit that it was a most satisfactory night, in every way.  Your cousin is a veritable lion, Lord Barengar.”
Barengar reared back, his brows raised, his mouth agape, while Viola took her future husband’s arm in hers and regarded him with calm serenity.
While Melvin merely smiled.


This work is protected by copyright.  See sidebar for notice.

Note:  This novella is PG13.  With the exception of GWYNETH ANDTHE THIEF and THE WASTREL, my books are usually steamier.