Sunday, December 4, 2016

Love. Fight. Stand Up.

I don't use this blog as a political platform. I don't use Facebook for that reason either, though I do sometimes post about causes I support, such as solidarity with Standing Rock. However, since November 8th, 2016, I have become aware, not only of the hateful acts of racism and xenophobia that are being talked about on the news and social media, but of attacks against people near and dear to me. As a result, I decided I have to use this platform to talk about it.

The first incident occurred just about a week after the election. An old friend of mine, a gentleman of about 70 years of age who used to be the priest at an Episcopal church I attended in NY, a gentleman originally from El Salvador who is small and dark-skinned, and who speaks with a heavy accent, but who has lived as a citizen of the US for about 30 years, has a PhD, and a better English vocabulary than I do, posted this on Facebook: "I was verbally assaulted by a white man who thought I was Mexican. He said, 'F****ing Mexican, trump is going to send you all back!' I said to him, "I am not Mexican, I am American,' and asked him, 'Are you American?' He stammered and went away."

Then today I saw on Facebook that another friend of mine, a lady who is American of Mexican descent, had racial slurs hurled at her at a bar that she regularly frequents with friends. Both incidents made me feel physically ill, and had me in tears. I thought, if this can happen to American citizens, both born and naturalized, how vulnerable are all people of color, and "foreign" origins in our country today?

I know that many of us have vowed to stand up for and protect anyone who is harassed in such a way, and that many US cities, including Portland, where I live, and NYC and Santa Fe, New Mexico, places where I lived for a long time, have declared themselves to be sanctuary cities, and this is good, no mistaking. But it's not enough. I am speaking from an unintentional space of white privilege, but I know that offering to protect others isn't enough. We need to put our bodies on the line to fight for the beautiful, diverse, accepting society that we wish our country to be. Get out there. Protest when you see injustice. Join an activist group. Speak out, and not just on social media. So many people in our country are going to be victimized in a way that they never would have been before because others now feel empowered to do so. We have to send a message, loud and clear, that we will not stand for it. Are you with me?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Chapter One of A Battle of Wills: Elizabeth, Darcy, and Me - Book 2

Here's a sample from A Battle of Wills. Hope you enjoy!

Chapter One


I suppose it is because baby Will has passed one year of age now that Lady Catherine (or That Woman as I call her) has finally decided to acknowledge my existence. You would have thought his birth itself would have been occasion for that, but perhaps she was waiting to see if he were indeed a hale and hearty child and would survive his first year—a valid concern given that her own daughter, Anne, was so sickly that every birthday until her present age was to be greatly celebrated. Oh dear, that was very ungenerous of me. Let me get to the point: Mr. Darcy and I have received notice from Lady Catherine that she wishes to throw a ball at Rosings in order to “Introduce me into polite society,” as she puts it. What a miracle! I am officially a Darcy in her eyes. The truth is, we haven’t heard a peep from her since Fitzwilliam and I married almost three years ago! Oh, we occasionally receive a petulant letter from her lapdog, Mr. Collins, keeping us up-to-date with the latest goings on at Rosings: who has visited; of whom Lady Catherine has approved and whom she hasn’t;  how Miss de Bourgh came close to executing a beautiful painting or piece of needlework, but was too “indisposed” to actually finish it; who has put himself forward as her suitor and been systematically rejected by the mother; and how many times Mr. Collins and Charlotte have been invited to dine since he last wrote. Fortunately, Charlotte’s affectionate letters tell me all I really want to know about their two sweet children, how the chickens are doing, the difficulties in raising prize hogs, and the yield of their garden.
The letter I received from her just today was of a different bent, however, because she hinted to me that Lady Catherine had already spoken to them of the impending ball, assuming, I suppose, that Fitzwilliam and I will attend without objection. The letter from Lady Catherine to Fitzwilliam (of course it wasn’t addressed to me), demanding our attendance at this prodigious event, arrived in the same post as Charlotte’s, but as Fitzwilliam saw it before I did, he came to tell me of it with Charlotte’s letter in his hand. Thus, I knew of That Woman’s plan before I had to undergo the surprise of hearing it from Charlotte.
Fitzwilliam was sweet enough to ask me if would consider attending, given how his aunt had offended me those three years ago. I know he has not been happy about this estrangement from Lady Catherine, and I could see by the look in his eye that he hoped I would assent. I did. He then handed me the letter so I could glance over the lengthy guest list that she included, and merely glance I did as it was so long, and I know very few of the people on it. I did note that Jane and Charles were there, as were, surprisingly, Mother and Father, and Georgiana of course. Colonel Fitzwilliam was included, but named as The Earl of Rochester, his new title. His elder brother passed away around a year ago without leaving an heir, so Colonel Fitzwilliam is now Lord Edward Fitzwilliam, or, of course, Lord Rochester. It was difficult for me to call him anything other than Colonel Fitzwilliam for the longest time, but now he is, affectionately, merely Edward.
At any rate, in the midst of looking the list over, I was called away by Nanny as little Will had awoken from his morning nap, and I wanted to oversee his mealtime. How I adore feeding him with the tiny silver spoon, and watching as his little hands grasp his cup of milk. Fitzwilliam is shocked that I take this task upon myself rather than leaving it to Nanny, but I don’t care. I can’t get enough of my sweet boy, my miniature Fitzwilliam, who is so very like his father.
We went for a walk with the pram around the grounds, after his lunch, just the two of us, no nanny in tow. I lifted him out and let him crawl upon the green—he is very close to walking. He is such a clever boy. He already knows the words, tree, bug, horse, mama, papa, and nana. I don’t like the idea of leaving him for the few days that we will be expected to be at Rosings, but That Woman would never tolerate the noise and mess of a baby, and, besides that, I don’t want to take him away from home at such a young age and expose him to the jostling of road, the terribly long ride, and the contagion we might meet with along the way, so he will stay at Pemberley with Nanny while we are gone. I will miss horribly his little fair head, his big brown eyes, and the tiny lips that I love to kiss. I will suggest to Jane that she bring Eliza to stay at Pemberley with Will while we are all gone so the cousins can keep each other company. Jane is longing for another child but has not yet been blessed. I am content for now with my little man, but if God sees fit to bless us with another, whenever that might occur, I shall welcome it. I hope it is a little girl whom I will name Maryjane. 
Returning to my parlour after relinquishing Will to Nanny, I sat down to peruse the guest list from Lady Catherine with more scrutiny. It was no surprise that Lydia and Wickham were not on it. Kitty was included with Mother and Father, and Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, which was very nice, but then I realized I did not see Mary and her husband Christopher upon the list. Surely this must be an oversight. If Lady Catherine saw fit to include the rest of my family, why not Mary and Christopher? Maybe she does not know of their existence. After all, she has never met them. Yet surely Charlotte and Mr. Collins helped her assemble the list. All of Charlotte’s immediate relations were there.
I summoned Fitzwilliam, who appeared in just a few minutes, to get his opinion.
He came to my side, where I sat before my desk, and bent to kiss me on the lips. “Yes, my darling,” he said to me, with a wry grin. “Do not trouble yourself that I was in the middle of important business correspondences. I am your humble servant.”
“This is important business, too, my love,” I responded with mock strictness. “Your aunt has neglected to invite Mary and Christopher to her ball.”
His aspect clouded. “I wonder if ‘neglect’ is an apt word.”
“Are you saying she might have left them out on purpose? Why would she do such a thing? She must have simply overlooked them.”
“My aunt does nothing by accident. She is most meticulous as you know. I fear she might have thought Christopher’s position too low to mix with her high society friends.”
I bristled at the thought. “Mary is my sister! I will not go where she and her husband are not wanted.”
“Now, now, my dear, do not upset yourself.” He took my hand and kissed it. “I will write to my aunt presently and mention it. I will tell her it is important to you to have your sister and her husband included in the invitation. After all, the ball is in your honor.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Let us not deceive ourselves, darling. It is in your honor. She wants you back in the bosom of her regard. You were always her favorite nephew.”
Still holding my hand, he pulled me to my feet and embraced me. I still feel the same weakness in my knees when Fitzwilliam holds me close as I did the very first time he took me in his arms and kissed me: the day he expressed to me that he had reason to hope I would accept his proposal—the very thing that started this row with his aunt in the first place. I have never been happier to stand up to anyone in my life than the day I told Lady Catherine I would not agree not to marry her nephew.
He pressed his soft lips to mine. On that wonderful day of our engagement those three years ago, with that first kiss, I somehow sensed he was holding back his passion, keeping it in abeyance so as to not overwhelm us both with desire before we could appropriately give into it as man and wife. But today, there was no reason for him to keep his passion in check and did not. We drank each other in fully, our mouths joined hungrily, our bodies pressed together urgently. I ran my hands up his muscular arms and across his broad back.
He broke away for a moment. “Has Nanny taken Will for his afternoon nap?” He whispered into my ear.
“Yes,” I replied breathlessly.
“Then will you accompany me to my bed?”
I gazed into his deep, brown eyes. He is even more handsome to me now than he was the day we married because now I know him fully, and know he is as beautiful a man on the inside as out. I couldn’t possibly be more in love with him.
“Yes,” I repeated in a whisper. I took his offered hand and followed him through the house, and up the stairs. I went into my chamber, and he into his, so we wouldn’t scandalize the servants. Our rooms adjoin by an inner door and so, after removing my gown, I slipped into his chamber in only my chemise, anticipating the delights that awaited me.


When my dearest Christopher is away, doing his duties as Doctor of the Veterinary Arts, I miss him terribly. At the moment, he has been called to Jane and Charles’s home, Waterston, which is twenty miles north of us. A journey of that distance would require him to stay overnight even if it were a simple case he has gone to see about, but this time it is not, and he may be needed for several days. Charles’s beloved mare, Camilla, is about to foal and Christopher has gone in anticipation of the event because he would not want her to begin her labor without his supervision. She is a most valuable animal, and Charles has bred her with a stallion of equally high pedigree, and so the foal that is to come will be as precious as the both the mother and father. Therefore, I must do without him until Camilla is safely through her ordeal and the foal is deemed to be doing well. It could be just a few days, or a fortnight.
I think about how natural it is for animals to reproduce. I am sure no mare, or cow, or sow ever worry about conceiving, yet it is at the forefront of my concerns. Christopher and I have been married more than a year and I am still not with child. I know that it takes some women time, yet all three of my married sisters have been blessed with little ones—why Lydia already has two! True, they have been married longer than I, but having spent as much time with Jane’s and Lizzy’s babies as I have, I want nothing more than to have my own child, and love and nurture it with all my heart. I know Christopher feels the same way though he tells me to be patient and let nature take its course. What choice do I have?
As I sit writing at my desk, I look up at the small, framed portrait of Christopher that he gave me for our first Christmas together. The artist captured his likeness so well, even the hint of mischievousness in his dark eyes. The curve of his lips, the arch of his brow, the strong bones of his face are all there. Even the way his hair tends to hang slightly over one eye. The only thing missing from the picture is the expression of love with which he regards me. I will always be amazed at how I was so lucky as to find the adoration of such a sweet and clever man.
Very well, enough of my musings. I will now spend an hour working on my latest story, and then an hour practicing upon the lovely pianoforte that was a wedding gift from Jane and Charles. After that, a half an hour studying French, a half an hour with German, and then it will be time to feed the chickens, and check on the cows in their stall, once our young cowherd has brought them in for the evening. I love the warmth of the barn, the smell of the hay, and the gentle, kind presence of the cattle. I can feel that they expect me every evening to give them an extra caress, and an assurance of my affection.
After supper, I will read a little for education, and more for pleasure, before I retire to my bed which will be cold without the body of my love, my life. I do not complain though. He told me to be strong while he is gone, and so I will. Yet nothing can stop me from smelling his pillow as I drift off into sleep.


Fitzwilliam has received a response from That Woman about Mary and Christopher. He came to share it with me this morning as soon as the post had arrived, finding me still lingering with my coffee at the breakfast table.
“My beautiful Lizzy!” he cried when he came into the room. He often tells me I’m beautiful, but something about his tone told me he was trying to soften his news.
“My love?” I replied.
“I have got a letter from Aunt Catherine.”
He sat down. “Her neglect of including your sister and her husband in the invitation for the ball was not an oversight. She did it,” he hesitated, “purposefully.”
I could feel my blood start to heat, but I forced myself to stay calm. “Go on.” I pressed my lips together. “What was her reason?”
“She said that when Mr. Collins gave her the list of your family members, it only included Jane, Charles, your parents, and Kitty. She said she remembered you telling her you had three younger sisters. She asked him why only Jane and Kitty were on the list, knowing of course, that Lydia would never be mentioned. He explained Mary and Christopher’s circumstances to her, I suppose never having spoken of them to her before, and she agreed they could not be included among the guests. She said she could not very well introduce an animal doctor and his wife among society.”
Now my blood was boiling. Still, I remained outwardly calm. “Then I shall not attend either.” I rose to go, afraid of really losing my temper.
He took my hand. “Lizzy, don’t be unreasonable. I am sure Mary and Christopher will understand. You know yourself that Mary doesn’t really like balls, nor dancing.”
“That is not the point. The point is, your aunt still does not accept my family for who they are. And as result, she does not accept me.”
“My darling. Aunt Catherine has been this way her entire life. There is nothing we can do to change her.”
“I am not suggesting trying to change her. I simply will not go to the ball. You certainly may if you like.”
He stood now too. “Elizabeth.”
He only calls me that when he’s being very serious.
He continued, “Please, listen to reason. You know that I was very angry with my aunt for coming to you as she did and trying to wrench from you a promise that you would not marry me.” He smiled in spite of himself. “You also know that when I heard from her about your refusal to make that promise, I finally had real reason to hope you would accept me.”
I smiled too. “I have to admit I relish that particular part of our history.”
His face grew serious again. “I was offended by Lady Catherine’s actions too then, and I am still irked that she was so meddlesome and rude. However, I do feel that now she is trying to make amends for her behavior then, and attempting to mend this rift in our family. I feel we should seriously consider taking her offered olive branch.”
“She may be offering an olive branch, but it is rife with thorns. She is doing it with conditions. Conditions she knows would offend me. I do not consider this a genuine attempt to make amends.”
He took a deep breath. “She is my mother’s only sister, Lizzy. She is difficult, yes, but she is among the little that is left of my family. I have her and my cousin Anne, my cousin Edward, and Georgiana. You have a wonderful abundance of sisters, as well as aunts and uncles, little cousins, and, God be praised, both of your parents still alive. I need you to understand that it is important to me that I reestablish this family connection. We have an heir now. It means much to her to be able to bring us back into the fold and honor you as the mother of that heir.”
“Is that all I am to her? William’s mother? A dam to carry on the family bloodline?”
“I feel you are being unreasonable, Lizzy.” His voice had grown stern.
It was my turn to inhale deeply. “Perhaps if it were possible for Mary and Christopher to not be made aware of the ball, so we could attend and not tell them, I would consider that option. I’d feel terrible about it, but I would consider it. But with my mother being invited, and Kitty, it will be impossible to keep it quiet. I feel there is no situation here that does not involve Mary and Christopher being hurt. I beg you to write back and explain that to her.”
“She has made up her mind, Lizzy.” He threw up his hands in frustration. “I cannot change it.”
“Then perhaps I can.” I turned to go to my writing desk in my parlour.
“Lizzy, this is not a good idea,” he said softly to my back. “I beg you not to.”
I felt my resolve begin to wane, and turned to face him once again, but then the thought of That Woman’s superciliousness rekindled my ire. “I will be gentle in my wording.” I moved back to stand directly in front of him and put my hand on his arm. “I will explain to her kindly, and with great respect why I cannot allow my sister to be slighted in this way. I will tell her that I cannot accept her invitation under these conditions. Surely she will understand,” though, in truth, I had little faith she would.
“Very well, Lizzy,” he sighed resignedly. “I will not tell you how to act. Perhaps you can convince her to rethink her position. If anyone can do it, you can. But please tell me that, even if she says no, you will still consider going. It is important to me.” He smiled hopefully.
“Let us cross that bridge when we come to it,” I said. Before he could respond, I kissed him on the cheek and rushed out of the room.

Purchase Book 1, Elizabeth, Darcy and Me, on Amazon
Purchase Book 2, A Battle of Wills, on Amazon

Friday, September 23, 2016

Win a Copy!

Hi Dearest Readers!
I'll be giving away a free e-copy of A Battle of Wills: Elizabeth, Darcy, and Me - Book 2 on it's release date, September 27th. To enter to win, please leave a comment,  even just a word, on this blog post. The winner will be randomly selected on September 27th, but please remember. if I don't personally know you, or if we're not friends on FB, please make sure I can contact you in case you are the winner. Therefore, you might want to leave your twitter handle, tell me how to find you on FB or, if you don't have either of those and you want to remain anonymous on this site, click the Contact Georgina button on the right, and let me know by email that you entered.

If you haven't read book one, Elizabeth, Darcy, and Me, just click this link to find it on Amazon. You don't really have to have read it to follow book 2, but it helps :)
Best of luck!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Everyone Loves a Free Sample! Elizabeth, Darcy, and Me - Chapter One

I thought I'd give everyone a little taste of what all the fuss is about. Please enjoy Chapter One from my first Pride and Prejudice Variation novel, Elizabeth, Darcy, and Me

Chapter One


“How does my lady tonight?” Mr. Charles Bingley asked me, stroking the muzzle of his jet black mare, Camilla. He had come to the stables after an evening out among society. I’ve noticed he sometimes does this as a way of seeking solace, and though I am only his groom, he occasionally speaks to me in confidence.
“She is very well, sir. She only wants you and a little exercise to make her happy.”
“If only the human sort of females were so easy to understand.”
I studied his face. His reddish-blond hair was lit almost like a halo in the glow of the lamp hanging from a rafter above his head, yet it cast a somber shadow over his lowered eyelids. His normally smiling mouth was ever so slightly downturned. “What do you mean, sir?”
He sighed deeply. “Oh, nothing. It is just that…though I do not find it difficult to converse with women, I find that I am not often able to say anything…weighty enough to impress them. My friendships with ladies are unsatisfying to me, and mine to them too, I get the impression. I wish I could find someone who would be contented with a simple fellow such as I.”
“I would hardly call you a simple fellow,” I replied, handing him a carrot from a nearby bucket so that he could feed it to his mare. “You are educated at the highest level.”
He looked at me, and for a moment his expression brightened, then dimmed again. “That does not signify. I do not consider myself the cleverest of fellows, Christopher. There are many men far more intelligent, and able to speak on matters of importance and interest, much more so than I. Such as my friend Darcy, for example.”
“If I may be so bold to say it, sir. Mr. Darcy may be more able to speak on such matters, but he does not seem to be particularly willing. I have been in his acquaintance a long time, and rarely do I see him speak to anyone but you, or his sister, at much length.”
He let forth a slight laugh and his blue eyes twinkled briefly. “You may be right about that, Christopher. As a result, look where Darcy and I are. Both nearly a quarter century old with no wife to show for it.”
“You are both still very young to be much concerned about that.”
“Well, Darcy may be happy with his state of bachelorhood, but I long to find that girl, that perfect girl who would bring me joy for the rest of my life.”
“There is still plenty of time for that.” I took up a brush and began running it across Camilla’s ebony shoulders.
“You speak as a sage, old soul, Christopher, and yet you are getting to be of the age to be considering the same sort of thing.”
Little did he know how I often entertain those very sorts of thoughts. “No sir,” I replied. “Not I. I’m not quite ready to began on that journey.”
“I suppose not.” He sighed again. “Everyone in their own time.”
I put myself forward once more as I continued to groom the mare. “If you cannot find the lady of your dreams outside your immediate circle, perhaps you should look inward. Mr. Darcy’s sister is a most delightful young lady. I have readied a steed for her to ride more than once when she’s come with her brother to visit you here in London.”
“No, Georgiana is nothing more than a little sister to me. I could never see her as anything else.”
“And what about your unmarried sister for Mr. Darcy?”
He stroked the animal’s mane, the blackness of it a contrast with his own fair hair. “I think she would like that very much, Christopher, but between you and I, I would not wish Caroline on him.”
I laughed aloud, and saw his smile return in earnest. “Then perhaps what you need is a change of scenery altogether. Maybe you should leave London for a while, and find a place endowed with clever young ladies with whom you are not yet acquainted. Fish in a different pond, as the saying goes.”
He looked at me for a while as if deep in thought. “You are a smart lad, Christopher,” he finally said. “I am glad that you have remained in my employ for so long. My father was wise to hire your father, and for him to apprentice you as my groom.”
“That is very kind of you to say, sir.”
“And, you, my dearest fellow, have given me an idea.” With a final pat to Camilla, he wished me goodnight and left the stable with a renewed bounce in his step.


Father has been trying Mother’s nerves greatly. She has been imploring him to go to Netherfield and meet the gentleman who has recently taken up residence there, a one Mr. Bingley, who is rumored to have a substantial fortune. It is obvious that she has designs on him for either Elizabeth or Jane, both of whom are still unmarried at the considerable ages of twenty and twenty-two respectively. I, knowing Father’s penchant for teasing Mother horribly, had been suspecting that he had actually made the visit after all. The conversation went ‘round and ‘round, on this particular day, Lizzy trying to reason with Mother that we would meet Mr. Bingley soon enough, for our neighbor Mrs. Long could introduce us at the assemblies, but this only made Mother abuse Mrs. Long for being selfish and hypocritical, suspecting her of keeping Mr. Bingley for her own nieces. She irrationally complained of poor Kitty’s coughing, and became further agitated when Lizzy pointed out that the Longs would be out of town during the next assembly, and therefore, could not introduce us. Father then observed that he would introduce Mr. Bingley to Mrs. Long instead, and the whole conversation became a twisting turning mêlée of miscommunication, a thing Father delights in, until he surprised me by applying to me for my opinion on forms of introduction and whether the stress society lays on them is nonsense or not.
“What say you, Mary,” he said to me, “for you are a young lady of deep reflection, I know, and read great books, and make extracts.”
I had been sitting in the corner with one of these very same great books, and did not know that anyone was aware I was listening. Therefore, I was not prepared to reply, and became flustered, trying to decide if Father were being sarcastic or if he really does consider me a young lady of deep reflection. As I was trying to form a coherent reply, he hurried on.
“While Mary is adjusting her ideas,” he said, effectively dismissing my contribution to the conversation, “let us return to Mr. Bingley.”
“I am sick of Mr. Bingley,” Mother cried, at which point Father finally confessed to having paid the oh-so-important visit, and established the coveted acquaintance. Mother was practically in tears in her exasperation with him.
Thank goodness, I thought to myself, now, perhaps I can have some peace and quiet and return to my book, a particularly dense history of England, which I was enjoying immensely. However, such was not the case because Mother, Kitty, and Lydia all fell into such raptures of delight that it was impossible to get anything done for the rest of the afternoon.
Jane and Elizabeth, in their sensible manners, smiled indulgently at the scene, but I could tell they were pleased. I know Elizabeth would wish the match, if there were one to be made, to go to Jane. I stopped a moment and considered their physical merits, and who might be more likely to attract a man of such consequence as this Mr. Bingley is purported to be. Jane is fair and delicate of feature, while Lizzy has thick, brown hair the color of china tea and darker eyes which so often spark with intensity. Their faces are both well formed, if one observes them objectively, but Jane’s mouth forms a sweet bow, while Lizzy’s is wider, with fuller lips that easily break into a smile. Lizzy’s eyes are a bit deeper set then Jane’s, but her eyelashes are thicker and form a kind of fan across the almond shape of her lid. Yes, Jane is more beautiful but Lizzy’s face holds more character. She may well laugh at the frivolity of the conversation about Mr. Bingley, but she has never had a suitor. I think she doubts there’s a man in this silly society in which we live who could equal her wit and intelligence, and I’m inclined to think she’s right. At any rate, I don’t care about men, or dances, or any of those trivialities. Study and accomplishment are the things that are important in life, and I intend to make the most of myself in that regard.
Still, as the afternoon waned, I found myself returning to the sting of Father’s words. For all my persistence, I fear he does not consider me a serious scholar. Maybe because I am a girl. Dejected, I decided to go for a walk. I marched across the field to a stand of trees hidden from view of the house. One of the trees has a low, bent branch that offers itself to me as a seat. This is my spot. The place I come to contemplate life and to gather ideas for my writing. For what I want to be in life is a writer, a nearly impossible occupation for a woman, but still, there it is. If I do marry someday, my husband will have to understand that this is my priority. That I must be allowed to write or my spirit will wither.
The sun was low in the sky and knew I did not have long to tarry there without Mother sending Kitty or Lydia to look for me. As long as it is daylight, no one cares much where I am, but Mother has at least the sense to gather in her daughters come nightfall. I had been sitting there I knew not how long, contemplating nature in all her glory as the sun was descending toward the horizon, setting the sky ablaze with rose and coral, when I heard the expected footsteps whooshing through the dry, autumn grass.
“Honestly!” I shouted with annoyance, “I’m on my way!”
Imagine my shock when a male voice replied, “Where are you going?”
I jumped up from my seat, ready to run off towards home.
“Oh, pardon me miss,” the interloper offered. “I did not mean to startle you.”
He entered the stand of trees and stood there expectantly as I looked him up and down, too surprised to further contemplate my flight. He seemed to be about my age, but taller than I. His clothes were rough yet not shabby. His brown hair was mussed, and hung almost over his eyes of the same color. His boots were muddy and from him emanated a slight, but not unpleasant, fragrance of manure and hay.
“Who, may I ask, are you?” I finally had the wherewithal to utter.
“I’m Christopher.”
“Christopher. Well, that gives me very little information.”
“I might ask the same of you.”
“I asked first, and you did not answer me satisfactorily.”
“Oh, well, forgive me for that,” he said with some sarcasm. “I am Christopher Jones.”
“Jones. I do not know of a Jones family in the neighborhood. Are you a farmer’s boy?”
“I’m not anybody’s boy, miss, if you must know. I work as a groom in Mr. Bingley’s stable.”
“At Netherfield?” I asked, my interest piqued.
“Yes, at Netherfield.”
“Then you must have very recently arrived. Were you in Mr. Bingley’s employ in London?”
“I was.”
“Well then, it is very nice to meet you.” I turned to go.
“Wait a minute, you haven’t told me your name.”
“I do not believe convention requires me to, you obviously being beneath my station.” I instantly regretted my words as I saw his color rise. “I mean, forgive me,” I hastened to add. Rudeness is acceptable in no circumstance. “I am Mary Bennet. I live at Longbourn, just over the rise there.”
Yes, I met your father when I took his horse to the stable.” His friendly tone had abated much, “A true gentleman.” He looked directly at me. “I heard Mr. Bingley speak to his brother-in-law, Mr. Hurst, kindly of him.”
I felt ashamed of my behavior. “Yes, he is,” I replied. “I am sorry; I did not behave as a lady.”
His face softened. “I forgive you.” He smiled and his face lit from within. “Miss Mary Bennet,” he held his hand out to me, “will you shake?”
This was a true impertinence but I dared not refuse. I placed my hand in his for just a moment.
“’Tis a pleasure,” he declared.
I retrieved my hand. “Delighted,” I replied, unable to think of anything else to say. “And now, I must wish you good evening.”
“Good bye,” he said. “I hope we meet again.”
I did not know what to say to that and so I simply nodded my head and turned to go. Christopher Jones. What an odd fellow. But something about him made me smile.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Azreal's Dissent...A Compelling Short Film by Joyia D. Bradley

Recently, I was privileged to enjoy a sneak preview of the latest short film, Azreal's Dissent, by up-and-coming director Joyia D. Bradley. I read the script about a year ago, and posted about it then, really excited about the idea of the piece coming to life. Well, now it has, surpassing my expectations, which, albeit, were high. Bradley has managed to bring her script to fruition with all its dark edginess intact, cool special effects to boot. 

Here's a summary of the story: Azreal, the Death Angel, is tired of shouldering the world's grief and leaves her position, throwing the whole world off balance. With no deaths taking place for a year, both Michael and Lucifer join forces to fight to save the universe, only to discover an enemy of them both, Lilith, is rising to her destiny. 

Each character in the film has a full and interesting personality that the director makes apparent within the seventeen minutes or so of the film's duration. Lucifer is played by Cherrye J. Davis as a sassy, almost business like woman, while her nemesis. Lilith (Alisa Glembotski), comes across as nurturing at first, menacing later, creating an interesting dilemma for the viewer: who do we trust?  

Azreal, played by Katie Mack, shows true vulnerability. We sense her connection to this world, her desire to be merely a mortal, to have and keep love. It is, however, when she and her boyfriend decide to celebrate "Miracle Day," the one year anniversary of no deaths in the world, with a recreational drug, that her real identity becomes apparent.  

There are some very appealing side characters as well: Lucifer's hound: the three Evils, and the archangel Michael in particular. Costuming adds to each character's appeal, giving a futuristic sway to the movie, while maintaining style and interest. 

Some of the sets were amazing, such as a console that Michael uses to view all the beings of the world. It's clear that, in other scenes, Bradley used her creativity to turn normal locations into some really interesting spaces, something that other directors would be hard pressed to do on a limited budget.

The sound effects were good, the music compelling, and over all, it's clear that a really solid group of professionals were responsible for making Azreal's Dissent into something very special. I think we can expect some positive attention for it at the film festivals, and I, for one, will be paying attention to see where this cool little film ends up. 
Check out the trailer here: 
And follow Azreal's Dissent on Facebook here:

Monday, May 16, 2016

Prince - For Love of a Rock Star

The death of Prince hit me hard. Harder than David Bowie. As hard, I'd say, as John Lennon back in 1980 though the circumstances of their deaths were so different. You see, like many others, I adored Prince, and, like many others, thought I adored him more than anyone else. In 1984, when the album Purple Rain was released, I was 24 (please don't do the math!). Before that, I didn't know that much about Prince. I'd heard the song 1999, maybe even Little Red Corvette, but it was when I heard a bartender at work talking about him and this new album, Purple Rain, that I became intrigued and checked it out. That album, and the movie, changed my life. When I say changed my life, I mean I saw the film twenty times or more, and started dressing like him: leather pants, frilly shirt, lace gloves, hair curly and flung to one side, lots of purple...remember those rubber bracelets we wore during the 80s? I wore a black one and a purple one for years - my own little tribute to the Great One. I bought all his previous albums, listened to them non-stop, and saw him in concert twice in those early years,

Then life went on, I got married in the late 80s and had a kid in '92. I bought every album up until Diamonds and Pearls, and then not another one until Musicology, missing, I now realize, a lot of great music in between. Maybe it was because he was so prolific that it became hard to keep up, and that's why I fell behind. Or maybe it was because he wasn't so much in the spotlight any more. My tastes changed and evolved, and I explored lots of new music, but I never stopped loving him. Now that he's gone, I feel like a bad fan for not having followed his music more faithfully all along.

"Now that he's gone"...I still can't get my mind around that fact. Not only did he die so young - after all, he's just a year older than me - but he left the world bereft of a mighty presence. I may not have thought about him so much anymore, but when I did, it was with a great deal of love and affection. He influenced me at a very influential time in my life. He seemed to speak my language back then, to express the things I was trying to express myself. The 80s, pre-AIDS awareness, were a whole other sexual revolution, and Prince was leading the charge. As a young woman in the heart of the NYC club and dating scene, Prince was my standard bearer.

I've now downloaded most of his music, and again, I see that I've missed so much phenomenal stuff during the last 15 years or so: rock, funk, blues, dance music, name it, he did it all...incredibly well, with a few odd bits thrown in that were just Prince exploring the range of his artistry. As I listen to it, I'm both delighted and incredibly saddened. There's a hole in the world now that no one else can fill. I miss him, though I never knew him in person. I can only imagine the hole for those who did know him, and worked with him over the years. I keep wishing it were all a dream - a publicity stunt - but I know it's not. He's gone, and a part of me went with him. He was a very spiritual person in life, and I hope the afterworld is all he thought it would be. I send my purple tribute up there into the ether to him, and though he surely doesn't need it now any more than he ever did, it makes me feel connected to him in a way that brings me, at least, some comfort. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Winner - Best Time Travel Series Author

I'm so excited to have been named the Best Time Travel Series Author of 2015 by the DD Passion Awards for my Time Mistress Series! This is a huge honor, and I'm so pleased to share it with you, my readers. Thank you, as always for your support and for being such great fans!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Epic Road Trip 2016

It's so hard to share all the photos of an epic, two week road trip on Facebook, or in texts, so I thought I'd post them here, and let anyone take a look who is so inclined. We went from Portland, down through Oregon to Redwood National Forest, down the California coast to San Francisco, east to the desert Southwest, back west through Death Valley to the Sierra Nevadas and Mammoth Lake, then over the mountains to Redding, CA, and home again. We stayed in some places longer than others, visited family, and spent many hours of driving in sheer awe of the magnificent beauty of the Western United States. Truly, except for the time we were forced to drive through Eastern Nevada and some of Central California, we saw scenery so beautiful, and so breathtaking, that we reached a whole new level of appreciation for the immense beauty of this planet. We enjoyed some man-made sights, too. Here are some of the highlights:

Redwood National Forest
Northern California Coast

Golden Gate Bridge from the Moonroof

San Francisco by Night

Desert Flowers

Death Valley

Death Valley

More Death Valley

First Glimpse of the Sierra Nevadas - those aren't clouds, those are mountains.

Sunlight Above the Sierra Nevadas

Convict Lake near Mammoth Lake

Convict Lake, the fog clears

Convict Lake, the fog returns

North of Mammoth Lake

Our Hotel in Redding

Sundial Bridge in Redding, California