Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday 56: Julianne MacLean

Happy Friday!

1) Grab the book nearest to you.  Right now.  Don't dig for your favorite, the coolest, or most intellectual book.  Use the closest book to you.

2) Turn to page 56.

3) Post any sentence from that page (plus 1 or 2 others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog.  If you don't have your own blog, feel free to post in the comments section of this blog.


Captured by the Highlander
Author: Julianne MacLean
Genre: Historical Romance

"Amelia wanted to run but felt as if her muscles had turned to stone.  She was so terrified, she couldn't move or speak or breathe.  Angus, the blond one, stood in front of her, feet braced apart, his face a mere inch from hers - so close, she could feel the rapid beat of his breath on her cheeks.  A sudden breeze gusted across the treetops and swirled around the glade, and her heart drummed against her ribcage.  Ridiculously, she said a silent prayer that the Butcher would return and stand between her and these three wild Highlanders."
Thursday, September 29, 2011

All Dolled Up

How did a lady know what was in vogue before the first issue of Vogue or any other fashion magazine was available?  French designers issued dolls dressed in miniature versions of their latest creations.

Circa 1780

When a group of 17th century Georgetown nuns decided to form a convent they wanted every detail to be right - so they wrote to France for a description of what to wear.  They were sent a doll, dressed in black robe, guimpe, cap and veil.  When the doll arrived in New York en route to Georgetown, customs officials placed it in solitary - claiming it looked like the work of the devil.  Fortunately for well-dressed nuns everywhere, the doll was released and sent on to the convent.

During the 18th century, French fashion dolls dubbed Big and Little Pandoras were sent all over Europe, displaying the exact clothing to wear at formal functions (Big Pandora) and at more informal gatherings (Little Pandora).  The dolls were exact replicas of fashionable French ladies, down to the hair style, jewelry, and makeup. 

Circa 1740 and 1750

 Circa 1785 and 1790

Circa 1787

Circa 1820

Circa 1750 and 1740

Circa 1750

The Pandoras became so popular that, during Napoleon's blockade, safe passage was given to the fashion dolls to London, Rome, and the rest of western Europe.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday

A Creative Funk

These past two weeks I didn’t write a single word.  I couldn’t focus.  Truth is I didn’t even want to try.   My muse was on strike, and I didn’t care.  It didn’t even seem worth the effort to drag myself to my office, to place my fingers on the keyboard and start typing. 

So what was my problem?  Simply put: I was in a creative funk. 

It wasn’t a case of writer’s block; I had no loss of ideas.  Rather, I had a lack of motivation to write.  I needed a break, just a few days in which to recharge my mental batteries.  A gal deserves a respite every now and again, right? 

But I’m a writer!  I’m supposed to write! 

Well, yes, that’s true.  However, the words weren’t coming easily and I didn’t have the energy to force them onto the page.  It happens, even to the best of writers.  Just ask Stephen King.

Instead of trudging through sentences and scenes, I gave myself permission to relax.  Instead of writing during my free time, I chose to do something else.

I watched  a movie on the Lifetime channel and listened to lots of music. 

  David Charvet + no shirt = yummy goodness

I read a few books and painted my nails. 

 Isn't that a gorgeous color?!  Makes me wish that was my hand.

 I took the dogs for long walks and reorganized my closet. 

Yeah, I felt slightly guilty that I wasn’t using every possible free moment to write.  I hate to waste valuable time and I don’t like to be called lazy.  Still, I realize how important it is to take small breaks to stay recharged.  That said, I'm happy to report my funk ended yesterday.  All of a sudden, I got the urge to write.  So I did – and wrote 2,355 words on my novella!  Apparently all I needed was a little “me” time to get back into the writing groove.

Have you ever been in a creative funk?  What did you do?  Did you force yourself to write, or wait for your muse to return?
Sunday, September 25, 2011

In My Mailbox (14)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

I was lucky enough to win a $20 Barnes & Noble gift card from Fresh Fiction.  I stopped by the bookstore this weekend, right after I attended a $1 book sale in Seattle, sponsored by the Friends of the Seattle Public Library.


I added Jeannie Lin to my must-read list after I read her debut romance, Butterfly Swords, set in Tang Dynasty, China.  I'm anxious to read this sequel. 

I'm a huge fan of the Jax Series by Ann Aguirre.  It's an awesome epic save-the-universe collection of well-told stories.  Aftermath is the 5th installment in the series, which began with Grimspace.  If Aftermath is as good as the other books in the series, I'm going to love it.



What did you receive in your mailbox this week?
Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday 56: Alison Sinclair

Happy Friday!
Time to play Friday 56, a meme created by Freda's Voice.

1) Grab the book nearest to you.  Right now.  Don't dig for your favorite, the coolest, or most intellectual book.  Use the closest book to you.

2) Turn to page 56.

3) Post any sentence from that page (plus 1 or 2 others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog.  If you don't have your own blog, feel free to post in the comments section of this blog.


Author: Alison Sinclair
Genre: Fantasy

"Telmaine heard a crunch of gravel to her left as the man hurried out of the maze, tripping in his haste.  The woman growled softly under her breath, a sound almost animal in its timbre.  She did not move, did not sonn after him, waiting as the crunch, crunch of feet on gravel faded.  Telmaine remained unmoving, pressed against the hedge; she was not even sure she was breathing; she was so dreadfully cold and light-headed."
Thursday, September 22, 2011


There was no Tiffany's during the Renaissance, but who needed it, when jewelry was being designed by some of the greatest artists of the day?  Botticelli and Ghirlandaio started out as goldsmiths; and if you wanted gems, you could pick up a bauble from Holbein or Cellini.

Favorite Renaissance gems were pearls, rubies, and emeralds.  Stones were often engraved or backed with colored foil to intensify their hue.  Cameos were a special love.  And if you couldn't afford the real thing, you could find some excellent fakes, or look for some glorious enamels. 


Pendants were worn on sleeves, around necks, or dangling from a chain.  There were dragons, sea monsters, mermaids, and ships to celebrate the age of exploration.  For more classic tastes, there were animals, birds, insects, lizards, crosses, or initials.

 A young Princess Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

With or without a pendant, long, heavy gold chains decorated with filigree or studded with jewels adorned all in the Tudor court.  The king often wore an entire collar of links strewn with fabulous gems.

 King Henry VIII
Gold Chain of Office with Tudor Rose.
Created for Sir Edward Montagu, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 1546

These old standbys of course, never go out of style, and if there was a gem left over, they were often set in aglets, small brooches that were pinned on clothes. 

 Locket Ring worn by Queen Elizabeth I

With the ruff so big it swallowed up necklaces, jewels were worn as a belt instead.

In the early sixteenth century, ladies wore a chaplet of pearls or a hairnet studded with gems.  

As the century progressed, and hairdos became upswept, jewels were worn in elaborate diadems.

Men wore hat badges: handsome jeweled brooches tacked boldly to an upturned brim.  They featured pictures form Scriptures, animals, and even portraits of the king.

 Mary Tudor with Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk 1515

During the Renaissance, it was anything goes.  Jewels were displayed everywhere - on bodices, on the edge of robes, and even encrusted on shoes.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: Alix Rickloff

Waiting On Wednesday is weekly bookish meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released.

Here's my can't-wait-to-read selection:

Heirs of Kilronan Trilogy, Book 3
Author: Alix Rickloff
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
Expected Pub Date: January 2012

Abandoned at the altar, Elisabeth Fitzgerald has spent the last seven years dodging matrimony. Now engaged to the entirely suitable Mr. Shaw, she’s justifiably appalled when one of her wedding guests reveals himself as none other than the man who jilted her years ago. 

Brendan Douglas has kept one step ahead of his enemies. After seven years of running, he’s finally returned to Ireland, bent on retrieving a treasure he hid with Elisabeth—a treasure that could spell the violent overthrow of the Mortal world. 

Now days before her wedding, Elisabeth’s got a houseful of relatives and a heart full of trouble. And knowing Brendan, things can only go from bad to worse.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (15)

It's teaser time!  Anyone can play.  

1) Grab your current read.

2) Open to a random page.

3) Share 2 "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.  Be careful not to include spoilers - make sure what you share doesn't give too much away.  You don't want to ruin the book for others!

4) Share the title and author, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser.


"She would not tolerate an untoward mortal man thinking he could seduce a lone woman this evening - that was an engagement she always controlled.  However, if it be a cutthroat, then do follow; she would lure him to an unfortunate result." 
~ page 66 of Seducing the Vampire by Michele Hauf