Monthly Archives: August 2015

Happy Sunday

It’s been a lazy, lazy day here in Nopelandia. Either I am not sleeping enough, or the depression has its claws in deep. Right now, I cannot be sure. I’ve that foggy-headed thing going on. And yeah, it’s been like that pretty much since getting the call about my Dad.

Speaking of… It has been almost a month, and it still doesn’t feel real to me. When does i sink in that someone is really gone? When does the depression and anger and pain leave?

And don’t get me started on how this has affected my writing. Slowest writer in the world, right now.

But I’m doing it. Every day, I write at least 500 words. Crap words. Complete and utter crap. But write them I must, so I do.

I just installed the Blogger app on my new Samsung tablet. I had completely forgotten about my blog there. It’s my book review site, but I haven’t used it in 5 years. Oops. So, now I have to remember to do that, lol. No fears, readers  – if it is posted there, it is also going to be posted here. I love 😉

So, there’s a bit of Catch Up with your favorite non-author. I do hope to be back to regular posting soon. Today has been a big do-nothing day, which means I’ll be up at dawn tomorrow to compensate.

Enjoy your Sunday!

A Review, The Duplicitous Debutante

Title:   The Duplicitous Debutante

By: Becky Lower

Publisher: Crimson Romance

Published: 1 September, 2014

Reviewer: Laura Michaela Banse

Date: 21 August, 2015

Timeperiod:   Historical (Prior to 1950 or Primitive Setting)

Genre: Romance

Content: Use this section only for Erotic Romances – Keep all that apply:  M/F

Length: Novel – 228 pages

Heat Level: Spicy (Typical sex scenes in detail, but not explicit)

Rating: 2 Hearts – Not quite my cup of tea.  Others may enjoy it, but it was not for me


The Duplicitous Debutante by Becky Lower is the sixth installment in the Cotillion Ball series.

This particular installment features Rosemary Fitzpatrick, author of the Harry Hawk dime novels and the new owner of her publishing company, Henry Cooper. Being 1859, Rosemary writes under the pen name of F. P. Elliott, and it is generally assumed she is actually he.  

Henry starts the conflict off by letting his current stable of authors know he expects to meet them in person prior to renewing their contracts. I honestly believe the contracts referenced here are more akin to the author contracts of today than the three styles available in the 1850’s, but I readily admit I could be wrong. And with this one action, the Big Lie starts with Rosemary trying to conceal her true identity while still getting that contract renewed.  

I have to be honest here. I had a hard time finishing this novel because Rosemary is not likable at all. Not to me, at least – and I fully understand that I might be in the minority here. It isn’t just that she tries so hard to keep her identity secret – that could be brushed aside considering the background of 1859 New York City, but something deeper that just really irked me.  

As an aspiring author myself, I desperately tried to relate to Rosemary, to find even a smidge of redemption worthy behavior in her. I could not. I feel like the author could have done better research when it comes to several terms used, although it appears she did some research into the world of Dime Novels. I will add that I am one of those annoying people who has a thing for etymology and word usage.  

Let me state that the sparks between these two was good – believable, even. It was, in fact, the one redeeming feature of an otherwise dragging read. I think this could be a lighthearted read for many, many other people. Just not me.


I’ve just cut a swathe through the few pages of With This Kiss that I’ve managed to write. By huge swathe, I do mean I completely rewrote the first scene. It remains familiar, but I think it has been improved upon tenfold. Now, since it is Wednesday, and I do not really have a blog for you – just those niggling feelings of guilt for not posting…


3 March, 1811

Sarah Grace Patterson tucked her long legs underneath her skirts, settling into the deep leather seat of her father’s favored leather chair. She turned the page of her newest purchase slowly, savoring the build-up of spine-tingling terror, and putting off the romantic save which would end The Right Hand of Darkness. M. Rakoczy was a new author, but the thick gothick romance had yet to disappoint.

A fire burned in the grate behind her, the flames licking at logs and kindling. Sarah, as she was known to family, allowed the warmth to envelope her rather than pile on more blankets to ward off the winter chill. She turned to the next page and reached for her tea cup. She grimaced when a sip of tea told her it had long since passed over tepid, coming to a full stop at stone cold.

Rather than put the book down to top off her cup, however, she set the cup back down. It would be ignored for another half hour anyway, she rationalized.

“Did you hear about Elyza Joy?”

The words, spoken in Livvie Stenson’s breathy voice, broke into her concentration. Sarah looked up, blinking away the words of her novel. Confused as to when her cousin had arrived, she asked just that.

“Oh, I’ve been in here for ages,” Livvie said. She flung herself into the chair opposite Sarah with a loud sigh. “I’ve been waiting for you to acknowledge me, but you’ve been stuck in that silly book the entire time. ‘Tis a dreadful bore, all this reading you do.”

Unable to politely ignore the unspoken message, Sarah reluctantly closed the leather bound tome, and set it to the side. Lord Diego would be there when she returned, after all.

“I must admit, Livvie dearest, that I am surprised you sought me out,” she said. Or that you could even find the library, she thought. Remorse immediately swept through her. Olivia Stenson was her best friend, even if not the most intellectual person.

Livvie turned to stare out the uncurtained window that looked over the snow-blanketed terrace to the south of their Berkeley Square manor, but Sarah could see that her gaze remained unfocused.

  She suppressed a sigh. Each week, their families met at Marylebone Old Church for service. After service, everyone returned to Preston House. Tea and gossip could be found in the morning room, cigars and port in Lord Preston’s office. The relaxing day of familial joviality would be completed with an informal dinner. For Sarah, the library brought solitude, escape from the trivial discussions her female relatives so favored.

Livvie spoke in that childish voice she had perfected at the command of her mother, once again breaking into Sarah’s thoughts. “Our mothers are talking the marriage mart again,” she said, “and I overheard the most delicious gossip regarding Elyza Joy.”

A maid brought in a fresh tea cart in response to a tug upon the bell pull. Both girls held their tongues until she had gently shut the library doors behind her.

Sarah poured new tea for herself, but Livvie declined with a brief shake of her golden curls. Instead, Livvie shoved away from her seated position to pace the length of worn carpet set before the fireplace. Her movements were agitated, restless even. The air was thick with… a sadness almost palatable, Sarah decided. She regretted her annoyance at the intrusion, and stood to offer comfort.

“We are hardly friends with Elyza Joy,” she said. “What news could have upset you so?”

Livvie rebuked the embrace. Anger shone in her eyes. “Have you – have you ever thought your world so shattered it could never be put right?”

“Here, drink this.” Sarah thrust a cup of steaming tea into Livvie’s hands. She was not sure how to answer the question. Melodrama was Livvie’s secret weapon, not hers.

Livvie swallowed the tea quickly. “I – I know I sound silly, but this news has sent my mind swirling in new directions. It has been very thought provoking.”

“And we know how little you like that,” teased Sarah.

“Most women do, Sarah. It is only you ape-leaders who wish to indulge in serious thoughts.”

Sarah ignored the barb. Livvie had not meant it as an insult. She never did. “Tell me what has you so upset that you would seek my counsel, Livvie.”

“Elyza Joy seems to have gotten herself into trouble,” said Livvie. “And the dreadful creature has placed the blame at Banleighton’s feet.”

Silence stretched between them. There had been rumors about an alliance between the Preston family and the Banleighton clan for several years, but Sarah never took it seriously. Her parents would force her into nothing. And yet, learning that the man she might have sought happiness with had seduced a rather shy debutante gave her pause.

‘Perhaps it is a love match, and they anticipated the vows,” she finally said to break the silence.

Livvie dismissed the idea with the wave of a hand. “Love? Bah.”

“It is not unheard of.”

“You are such a provincial girl with your odd notions of true love and happily ever afters, are you not? Especially for one raised in London.”

“What else is there if not love, Livvie? How can I believe in anything but?” Sarah picked up her new book, caressing the soft leather cover. Lord Diego, he believed in love – even if he had trouble expressing it.

“Power. Wealth. Those are what matters in marriage, Sarah. Not love,” replied Livvie. “Like your shy little Elyza Joy, I shall marry where I am told. I will do anything to keep my position in society.”

“How sad that is Livvie,” Sarah said. A thought crossed her mind. “Do not tell me you have feelings for Banleighton. Had you hopes of catching him? I would not have minded, you know.”

Again, she was dismissed with the wave of a hand and a scolding glare. “Of course you would have minded,” said Livvie. “His grace is not only wealthy and powerful, but extremely good looking.”

“So you do hold him in regard?”

Ignoring the question, Livvie said, “Perhaps she just wanted to avoid another pointless season. Last year was what, her fourth?” She shuddered delicately at the thought.

“If the season is as bad as all that, why have one? Especially if you are so bent upon marrying where told?”

Livvie offered no reply, so Sarah allowed the silence to grow between them before picking her novel up from the low table next to her chair. She still did not know why Livvie was so bothered by this news, but she accepted her cousin would reveal all in her own time.

The Captive by Grace Burrowes ***** 5 Roses from Lady Blue

A wonderful review for a wonderful Author. I look forward to adding this title to my TBR room.

Yes, room. You know you’re the same.

captive 3

The Duke of Mercia (Christian) was captured by the French, and against protocol, he was not treated as a nobleman, but was tortured and starved for several months. The only thing that keeps him going is the thought of revenge on his captors. He is eventually freed, and makes his way home, a shadow of his former self. He is scarred physically and mentally, he suffers nightmares, and he barely eats enough to stay alive. Christian also finds out that in his absence, his wife and young son have died.

Gilly is cousin to Christian’s late wife. She is widowed, and has been looking after Christian’s surviving child, Lucy, who has stopped speaking, and desperately needs her father. Gilly nervously approaches Christian, and tells him how much Lucy needs him, and urges him to return to his country home to be with her. Having only been free a short time…

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Writing Prompt 

Here’s a good prompt for the day: 

Introduce me to Harriet the Spy, the adult. 

What is she doing with her life? Does she still eat tomato sandwiches for lunch everyday, and cake and milk at 3:45? 

Who did she marry? Who are her friends? Has she been arrested. Tell me all. 

The Scab of Grief

Today, I share the light at the end of the tunnel.

A Pict in PA

Six years ago today, I gave birth to my fourth son.  It was one of the worst days of my life.

Today is my baby boy’s sixth birthday.  As he was stillborn, today is also the sixth anniversary of his death.

In the immediate aftermath of his loss, I wondered how I could ever face moving forward, aching with emptiness as I was.  But life does go on.  As much as I felt an overwhelming compulsion to never leave home ever again, the weight of grief sitting so heavily on me, I had three other children to take care of.  I had to pick up and get on with it.  I had to keep going for them.  My living children were the life that goes on.  Life is to be lived for the living and that is what we do.  Our lost baby is very much a part of our family:…

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Not There Yet

No, not quite yet. It has been 9 days since we said good-bye. Nine days too many. I find myself uninterested in much of anything. Even food, and I’m a fat girl who likes to eat. I do eat, by the way, but nothing tastes good. Nothing even sounds good.

My step-mom said we just have to Fake It Till We Make it. I try, but it’s too damned hard. I know this isn’t what my father would want. He was so full of life and love. I know I should do better in his memory, but I cannot.

I’m not there yet.

I am, however, writing. Just a smidge. It’s hard. I love writing, but all the joy is gone from it.

Truth be told, the joy is gone from everything. I hope the pain recedes soon. We will bury his ashes next week. Maybe then I can forge ahead.

Until then, I write and pretend it is as joyful today as it was before getting the call. I also pretend it means anything.

All that aside, I do intend to get back to more regular writing. It’s just… I’m not there yet. I appreciate your understanding.

I do, however, have some words to share since it is, once again, #FirstLineFriday and #FiveLineFriday

Stratford Clarion noticed the air of uncertainty hanging over the men in the dining area of White’s the moment he stepped into the room. The already weak sun was obscured further by shuttered windows and hazy clouds of smoke, for which he was grateful. The stirrings of a hangover clawed at his temples, setting his mood to match that of the others present.

Winding his way through the smoke-filled room, he picked up bits of the conversation. No one would meet his eye, but that was nothing new.