Monday, October 31, 2011

All Hallows Eve

A very happy All Hallow' Eve to everyone!  I think I mentioned this last year, but I've always preferred "All Hallows Eve" to "Halloween".  It has such a mysterious ring.  It is reminiscent of wood smoke and moonlit fields, and I like the old tradition of it being a night to remember the dead.  "Halloween" is reminiscent of candy and latex, and has become too much of a platform for selling rubber outfits and horror films.  I do enjoy dressing up, and won the local costume contest two years ago for my costume, "Going Postal", which involved a tutu I made out of electric blue bubble wrap, decorated with many postage stamps and postal stickers.  In any case, I enjoy the holiday, and tonight I shall light a few candles, hand out candy to the adorable midgets who come to my door, and spend some time thinking of those who have gone before me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Word On Henry VIII...or several

Okay, I realized several days ago that I've been all business lately, getting Ashford out, setting up a launch, formatting for Kindle, etc...  I need a break from this, and my blog most certainly does.  In any case, Ashford is set at the moment.  It's up on,, it's available on Kindle, posters are up for the launch, postcards sent out, "event" set up on facebook.  It will take care of itself for a day, and I will emerge from my recent wild-haired, crazy-eyed, hermit persona to take a walk on this lovely autumn day, write on the new novel, and finish off the day by getting dressed up to go to the ballet with my husband and friends.

But first I shall begin my day by devoting a word or several to a man who is accidentally responsible for a great deal of my education: King Henry VIII.

I was about twelve years old when my obsession began.  It really started with his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.  It seemed to me at the time that everyone knew he had six wives, but nobody seemed to know much about the wives themselves besides the litany: Divorced, Beheaded, Died in Childbirth, Divorced, Beheaded, Outlived Henry.  Of course, as is probably inevitable with a solitary, literary-minded, nerdish child, I decided that I would write an epic novel about Catherine's life.  (I know, not very original, but I must state here that this was, at least, before Phillipa Gregory.)  As a novel, it never developed into more than a few lines here and there, but the research phase went on for over a year, and became much more than a history lesson.  So here is my list of Lessons From Henry:

1.  Henry is proof that things haven't really changed much. To quote Community, "Men are monsters who crave young flesh."  Power still corrupts.  Henry began his reign as a handsome, idealistic young man, and look what he turned into.  I must admit I'm not sure how Hugh Hefner started out, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't as a prunish, withered lecher.

2.  Henry established my earliest Catholic sympathies.  I liked Sir Thomas More from the beginning.  He was loyal, kind, devout, brilliant, and he had pet monkeys.  Henry had his head cut off.  One can argue reasonably for problems within any church system, but breaking with a church and setting up a new one with yourself as its sole head because you want a younger, hotter wife...?

3.  Henry is responsible for a great deal of my sex education.  I remember many wide-eyed moments spent in the perusal of Antonia Fraser's The Wives of Henry VIII (a thorough, engrossing, and very honest historical work).  The Tudors were not exactly subtle.  And all of Henry's wives are, in the end, examples of women who used their sexuality or whose sexuality was used by others (either well or poorly depending on their fate) to gain power.  All women use their sexuality for power in some way or other, as far as I can see.  It goes back to the old idea of working with the tools you've been given.  But some people like to use chainsaws for things that could be taken care of with a pair of pruning shears.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It has been a very busy week here, full of new things for me as I explore new territory in the realm of self-promotion.  I find myself grateful that the golf season is over, even though that means I'm currently unemployed, because it's been giving me time and energy to devote to Ashford which I would not have otherwise.  Yesterday was probably the most frustrating, as I spent the morning re-formatting the novel for Kindle.  I nearly threw my computer out the window in a violent rage.  However, it is now available on Kindle, and it is also available on as a paperback.  I'm attaching the link below, for the paperback version.  So far the one for Kindle is easier to find in a search for some reason.  I've also been setting up a book launch at the local coffeehouse where I used to work.  This is more my thing.  I'm not a Kindle person.  Never will be, I fear.  I like the feel of paper, and the book smell.  And the launch combines two of my favorite things.  Books, and coffee.  My husband will also be providing live music for the launch.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just a quick post to let everyone know that Ashford is officially available online at the link below. is currently pending, but it should be available there shortly, also available by request in your local bookstores and libraries.  Anyone who requests it shall have my undying gratitude, and if you come to Chewelah I'll make you fresh-brewed espresso and home-made tiramisu.  Tired now.  It has been a very long but productive day, and I intend to leave my book-launch preparations for tomorrow and go downstairs to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and somebody else's brilliant prose.