Welcome the Christmas Naughty or Nice Blog Hop!
I hope you enjoy this character interview with a dog named Earnest in a
Regency romance called A Beastly Scandal.
Anyone who comments will be entered to WIN an ecopy of A Beastly Scandal.
A Dog’s Christmas
This is Godfrey Plowright from The Chronicle News, the best news team in all of North Cheshire, UK. Today, we are privileged to have visiting with us Earnest, a six month old, large, fawn-colored, Irish Wolfhound puppy. He’s come a long way, time traveled 201 years in fact, to discuss his most troublesome event during Christmas 1812. With him is his handler, um…author, Shereen Vedam. Let's give them both a hearty Cheshire welcome this holiday season.
[Shereen nods and Earnest lays down and rolls over for belly rub.]
GP: Good Morning, Earnest!
E: [Sits up] Woof!
GP: I see you’re a gent of few words. Much like your master, I hear. Though, I hope you’re more approachable than Lord Terrance is reputed to be?
E: Woof, Woof!
S: That’s a “Yes.”
GP: You’re a terse lot, you are. I have my work cut out, but I came prepared. [shuffles some papers] First question to you, Earnest. I have a report here from Felton, your master’s butler that says what began the troubles in Clearview Manor was a spot of, shall we say, “spillage,” on a gentleman’s greatcoat. How do you respond to that charge, sir?
E: Ghost. Ghost Ghost. Ghost Ghost Ghost.
GP: A ghost you say. I shall take it that the spillage wasn’t ghostly ectoplasm, but rather your reaction to the alleged presence of otherworldly phenomenon in your home. Accepted. Might be my exact reaction if I had your excellent sense of smell and audible range and detected an inexplicable intrusion into the upper reaches of my home. But it’s reported, Earnest, that after you notified your master of your findings with said spillage, you then ran away into a fierce winter storm. A dangerous turn of events indeed. Felton reports that your master was so worried about you that he came looking for you and was run down by a carriage. Do you have any remorse for putting him through such a trial that fearful night?
E: Frightened. Cold. Found friend. Smelled bird. Want to eat bird but friend says, no. Wants to return to bad house. [Earnest lays down, covers his head with his paws and whines]
GP: I completely understand. I wouldn’t want to return to Clearview. But speaking ghosts and Christmas, was it the spirit of Christmas past, present or future?
E: Friend’s past. Earnest’s Present. Master’s Future.
S: All will be made plain in Earnest’s current book, A Beastly Scandal.
E: Play now. Woof. Woof Woof. [And Earnest runs away].
GP: But we’re not finished!
S: I’m terrible sorry. Despite his large size, he’s still a pup…[Shereen dashes out the door in Earnest’s wake.]
GP: Well, friends, that must be the shortest interview on record. Perhaps we will be able to convince Earnest to return for a longer spell soon. [Shakes head and makes note to bring a doggy bone next time.]
About the Author
Shereen Vedam writes heartwarming historical romances that have a healthy dollop of mystery with a pinch of magic.
For a chance to win prizes (including an ecopy of A Beastly Scandal and meet Earnest again), enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, as well as
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- Current Mood: cheerful
Drop by Wednesday though Monday this coming week, for a chance to win a free ecopy (Kindle or pdf) of A Beastly Scandal!
- Current Mood: amused
- Current Mood: cheerful
"A twist on the Snow White fairy tale that is set in 1920s Seville and centered on a female bullfighter."
Watching this movie was an emotional experience! One I would not wish to repeat. That said, the movie was definitely memorable, which I believe is the aim of most literary fiction. So, on that basis, the filmmakers succeeded.
I'll begin by mentioning what worked for me about this movie:
- Good acting
- Solid, emotional story
- Cinematography was beautiful
- Loved the Spanish musical score
- Learned a lot about bullfighting
Next, I'll explain why I called this movie a "tragedy," instead of a drama, or a romance. I didn't do it to be funny, or ironic, or clever, but rather to be factual. Below are good definitions of these 3 types of story telling techniques which explain, better than I can, why this movie is a tragedy.
Romance: (from http://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=578
Drama: (from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/drama
Tragedy: (from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/traged
A drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances.
Onto what disappointed me:
- The movie-makers weren't up front. If I had known ahead of time that this was a tragedy, I might have still gone, because I like fairy tales, even twisted ones, but I may not have laughed quite so hysterically at the end. The responses from people around me were milder, ranging from "yuck" to, "that was quirky." At the end, I was ready to leave the theater, still laughing, except the people on either side were glued to their seats with stunned looks. What stopped my laughing was the idea that I might be trapped there and have to sit through the next 9pm showing,
- It was a tragedy on every front. Not just for the main characters, but so many of the side characters, and the animals until I felt lost by the time the credits rolled. The movie description I read before going said no bulls were hurt in the making of this film, but they should have included no chickens were hurt, too, nor rabbits, nor chauffeurs, nor any other poor minions who had the misfortune to be cast in secondary roles.
- Twist at the end did not work for me. It might work for others, but it left me determined to never sit through a film like this ever again. Reminded me why I normally avoid reading tragedies, why I hated being forced to read Lord of the Flies at school, why I normally avoid literary fiction that's touted as excellent by "the learned crowd," why I love romances with their guaranteed happy endings, why when Hollywood says they have a new romance movie coming out, I invariable view that proclamation with suspicion (because Hollywood has no clue what a romance really is). I hate stories that end badly and I have no interest in wallowing in human frailties for the sake of wallowing in muck. It's just not my cup of tea.
My rating for BLANCANIEVES is one broken fairy godmother wand. Seems fitting to give this tragedy a tragic rating.
Other, more generous, reviews for BLANCANIEVES:
DEFINITION: (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goya_Award
The Goya Awards, known in Spanish as los Premios Goya, are Spain's main national film awards. Considered by many in Spain, and internationally, to be the Spanish equivalent of the American Academy Awards.
- Current Mood: disappointed
Welcome to the History Lovers Grand Tour & Scavenger Hunt!
As the name implies, we’re a group of readers and authors who love both history and romance, especially when they’re combined in a delightful story. If you feel the same, you’re welcome to join us on our Facebook page and converse with us about historical romance fiction.
Below you’ll find authors of historical romances set in a wide variety of time periods. Perhaps by participating in our Grand Tour you’ll discover some new authors for your future reading pleasure. Hop around to your heart’s content, feel free to comment on the posts, hunt for answers to the authors’ questions, and perhaps you’ll be one of our 25 lucky prize winners (see contest details below)…although you’re already a winner if you find a new story to read, do you not agree?
The theme for this tour is Courting Rituals, and for my post, I’ve chosen to talk about skating.
by Shereen Vedam
The Regency period in England introduced some significant changes from the preceding Georgian era in:
- fashion (high waist gowns overtook hoop skirts)
- technology (steam engines was chugging though their experimental stage)
- behavior (gone were the sexually promiscuous Georgians, but the stricter Victorian era had yet to kick in)
- crime and punishment (Bow Street runners took a hold of crime by the throat while duels to settle scores were frowned upon)
This incredibly exciting time in history is best known for its elegance and extravagance. Grecian inspired flowing gowns became popular among women while men abandoned their powdered wigs and long embroidered coats in favor of the more austere tail coats and waistcoats favored by the Prince Regent and Beau Brummell.
Behavior, too, became more restrictive for women by the Regency era. A well brought up young lady in society was strictly chaperoned and her parents often arranged a socially acceptable marriage on her behalf. So when was there time to flirt, to arrange secret assignations, or steal a kiss or two?
Opportunities for couples to interact privately were rare and happened mainly during the official Season. Even then, greetings involved curtseys and bows, so rarely any touching. It was customary to wear gloves on almost every occasion. And during dances, a proper young lady could agree to no more than two dances with the same gentleman during an evening’s entertainment. And note, most of the dances were line dances where there would have been little opportunity for any physical contact between men and women, even through gloves.
So, how does skating come into this intriguing mixture of rigid behavioral codes but looser, sumptuous clothing? Well, when the normal courting rituals involved no contact between men and women except for the occasional hand holding during a short portion of a dance set, skating offered a rare opportunity for much more thrilling, perhaps even full body, physical contact. After all, one might need a gentleman’s assistance while crossing that slippery ice. And if a lady needed some steadying by a strong pair of arms, a bit of cuddling even, to keep her safe and upright on the ice, what chaperone would deny such necessary assistance?
There were many places to skate in winter, such as rivers and ponds that froze over. The most exciting place to skate, however, must have been in London when the River Thames froze to a safe ice thickness. This could happen in tidal flat areas. This is where Frost fairs have traditionally been held in London for centuries. The very last frost fair occurred in February 1812 (the weather warmed too much after that for the ice to freeze over). But when a frost fair was on, people from all walks of life came out to enjoy what was on offer on the ice.
Vendors would set up stalls and street booths to sell brandy, tobacco, meat pastries, gin-beer and fruit, as well as mouth watering sweets like brandy balls and gingerbread. Couples could put on their curved skates and head out onto the ice where they could twirl and cuddle for much longer than one country-dance set.(1)
This form of entertainment allowed for more than hand-holding and would have also given couples the chance to have intimate conversations and some fun! No wonder skating, despite the danger of falling and spraining an ankle, remained popular during the Regency era.
In the countryside, especially in the fens area of England where farmhands found little work in the winter, local squires sometimes held races over frozen ponds and allowed their workers to compete to win loaves of fresh baked bread. This sport gave a man a chance to show off his prowess to a special woman among the many spectators. Since most of the common farmhands could not afford the pricier metal skates, they oft times strapped on animal bones to their boots to use in place of skates.(2)
All in all, skating offered a chance for couples in all walks of life during the Regency period to take courtship to a much more intimate, physical level.
(1) Frost Fairs (http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.c
(2) Skating in the Fens (http://www.fenskating.co.uk/)
History Lovers Tour Prize
The prize I am offering for participating in this History Lovers Grand Tour and visiting my blog is a free ebook (pdf or Kindle) of A Beastly Scandal - this is how you qualify for a chance to win a copy of this fairytale-inspired Regency romance:
CLICK THE LINK BELOW FOR A CHANCE TO ENTER
Scavenger Hunt Question (Grand Prize Contest)
Here’s my question for the scavenger hunt: What did local farmhands use in place of skates?
Click on the History Lovers Grand Tour page to fill in the answer, and you may continue on from there. Enjoy!
A Beastly Scandal
A little about me and my writing:
I am the author of fairytale-inspired Regency romances that are heartwarming historical romances with a healthy dollop of mystery and a pinch of magic. My debut novel, A Beastly Scandal, inspired by the beloved Beauty and the Beast tale, is set in the winter of 1812 in Cheshire, England. This is the 1st of 4 of my novels that will be released by my publisher, ImaJinn Books . I am also currently working on a novella called Just Right for Christmas, also set in the winter months of 1812 in London, England.
A BELLE OF THE BALL…
Lady Annabelle Marchant was a belle of the ball in London until she used her psychical senses to save a man’s life. She failed miserably, leaving him dead and her disgraced. All she wants now is a chance to comfort his widow by cleansing the woman’s home of her husband’s restless spirit. But the widow’s son, the beastly Lord of the Manor, accuses her of coming to the wilds of Cheshire to snag him as a husband. Thoroughly disgusted, she is bent on proving him wrong.
…BECOMES PERSONA NON-GRATA…
Lord Rufus Marlesbury, the Earl of Terrance, is suspected of murdering his father. He has come home to clear his name by finding the real killer before the new year or the king has promised that Rufus will be called in front of the House of Lords to answer for the crime. He does not have time to waste fending off a marriage-minded miss who has inveigled an invitation to his home by playing on his grief-stricken mother’s worst fears.
…WHEN A MURDERER IS ON THE RAMPAGE
With an unruly manor ghost terrorizing the occupants and corpses piling up in the village, Belle must find a way to see the man beneath the beast and Rufus must learn to believe in the love of a woman who has no reason to trust him. Only by working together can they stop a vengeful ghost before it torments the guests or before the killer strikes again.
Lord Terrance may have forbid her from coming to his manor house, but she was determined to clear his country home of its resident ghost.
“That is a desolate looking house, is it not?” Winfield said. “I would have it torn down and rebuilt in a more flattering style, but Terrance seems fond of this monstrosity. So what brings you so far north, my lady?”
She faced the gentleman. “I have come for a visit with Lady Terrance. She is my grandfather’s friend.”
“I had heard the countess still wore dark colors.”
Before she could respond, a loud crack sounded. She sensed danger stab from above. With a shouted warning, she pulled Mr. Winfield out of harm’s way just as an icicle crashed and shattered where they had stood. She protected her face as splinters flew in all directions.
Mendal screamed. The owl fluttered its one good wing and screeched. The dog barked ferociously.
Mr. MacBride spoke first, his voice quivering and eyes wide with terror. “It is an omen, ah tell ye.”
“He is right,” Mendal said, sounding unusually timorous as she crossed herself. “We should leave. Bad luck comes from going where we are not wanted.”
The front doors opened then, and a footman descended. Immediately, the dog raced up the stairs and inside.
“Dog!” Belle called out in alarm. The animal might wreck the place. This was not how she had hoped to introduce herself to the countess.
An older woman, dressed in black, moved to the open doorway. Belle recognized her from a drawing her grandfather had shown her. This was Lady Terrance. She gave off waves of fear as she looked toward the roofline.
Belle’s worries drowned beneath the lady’s emotional assault, leaving her head pounding with a headache. Through that onslaught, Belle’s purpose became crystal clear. This is why she had come here. Lady Terrance needed her.
ImaJinn Books: http://www.imajinnbooks.com/mm5/merchan
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/A-Beastly-Sca
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-beast
Where to find me:
FB Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/ShereenVed
These are the other scavenger hunt participating authors!
Rue Allyn • Amylynn Bright • Collette Cameron • Téa Cooper • Beverley Eikli • Susana Ellis • Aileen Fish • Debra Glass • Amy Hearst • Evangeline Holland • Piper Huguley • Eliza Knight • Kristen Koster • Cora Lee • Georgie Lee • Suzi Love • Denise Lynn • Deborah Macgillivray • Barbara Monajem • Shelly Munro • Ella Quinn • Eva Scott • Shereen Vedam • Elaine Violette
1. Each author will offer a prize for a contest, the specifics of which is set up entirely by her. The contest will be open to all participants, regardless of geographic location. For logistical purposes, authors may substitute a digital prize (gift card, etc.) of equal value for another prize that might prove difficult to mail to a distant location.
2. The Grand Prize for the Scavenger Hunt will be awarded to the participant with the most correct answers to the authors’ scavenger hunt questions. In case of a tie, the winner will be chosen randomly.
3. The winners will be posted on the History Lovers Grand Tour page the following week.
Scavenger Hunt Instructions!
- Click on the above links to each author’s blog. The blog tour entry can be identified by the graphic in the upper right corner of the post. If it is not the top post, look for the graphic in a prominent location on the sidebar, and click on it to find the blog tour entry.
- Read the blog post and the author’s short answer question at the end. Locate the answer to the question, then click on the link to the History Lovers Grand Tour page and type in the answer next to the author’s name. Be sure to fill in the your name and email address!
- You may go back to same page and read more of the author’s post (excerpt, etc.) or you may click on another author’s name on the answer sheet and repeat the process.
- When you are finished, check to make sure the spaces for your name and email address are filled in correctly, and submit your answer sheet to the tour coordinator. If you submit an incomplete answer sheet, you may come back later and make another submission with the remaining answers when you have more time.
- Any questions about the scavenger hunt should be directed to the tour coordinator.
- Current Mood: excited
What reminded me of this story was my joining the History Lovers Grand Tour & Scavenger Hunt that runs from July 22-26, 2013. The tour's cover image (posted below) looked very Indian.
So...in honor of the upcoming tour, I'm posting a link to this Indian fantasy short story as a --- FREE read ---
by Shereen Vedam
Too bad Heramba hadn’t seen fit to take away his father’s ability to speak when he turned him into a bird for insulting him. Now, that would have been a magnificent spell worthy of a great magician like Haramba.
“You’re going the wrong way,” Manu said, eyes tightly shut and head stuck into his feathery back.
Nirad ignored his father’s cutting comment. Heramba had been born in Nelgira and it was his favoured haunt. It was also rumored the mage had headed this way not two days ago. So he was sure to find him here. And inside Nirad’s pack was the emperor’s writ ordering Haramba to turn Manu back into a human. The moment Nirad delivered the writ he would be free of his father. Free from slaving away at innumerable never-ending chores. Free of his constant criticisms.
“Starlings have short life spans, a mere twenty years.” Manu fluffed his feathers and looked around. “You’ve now cut that by twenty-four sunrises with this aimless wandering. Anyway, you’re running out of time. Take my advice and give up. As long as you have me, you have no need to win Ishani’s hand in marriage. If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times, women are but a boulder strapped to a man’s ankle as he attempts to swim upstream.”
Daylight loomed and the day lightened. On either side of the road, tall Sal trees bordered the pathway toward a seaside village. A rabbit, startled by Nirad’s sudden appearance, scampered down a warren. Thankful the rainy season hadn’t started yet, and unable to repress a bubbling happiness that accompanied his every step, Nirad slid his way down the dry gravely ground.
The first sight of perfectly aligned rows of squat brick houses to his right took Nirad by surprise. Where were the gargantuan gold columns bordering the streets? The mage’s palace surrounded by high walls with enormous statues of lions and elephants guarding the gates?
Not a single multi-tiered building dared to kiss the clouds. None shouted, Come, travelers, to the home of the great and revered mage Heramba, Most-Beloved-of-God.
Could his father be right?
. . . read on
- Current Mood: cheerful
Warning: This review of Merlin's series finale contains "NO" spoilers. There are lots of reviews out on the web that can give you the full storyline. I'm glad I didn't read any of those before I saw this episode.
Here's the first line from the IMDB site describing the episode, I clipped the rest since it gave too many details:
With Arthur's forces outnumbered Merlin arrives in his guise as the aged sorcerer to defeat Morgana's army with magic...
I'll start by saying, I LOVE fantasy! This episode reminded me why I love fantasy, likely above all other genres. This particular episode had an epic battle (never been a huge fan of those, but they are a conventional fantasy element, so I put up with them), magic (beautifully done here), a story (really! There was a well written one here), romance (thank you!), and most important of all, believable relationships between characters, with emotion served by the barrel.
That last, the "emotion," was what makes this final episode a complete success and a fitting end to this wonderful TV series. It did not disappoint me on any level, no loose ends and no rushing through the core relationship between Arthur (Bradley James) and Merlin (Colin Morgan). After stringing us along for 5 seasons, the show's producers took...their...time to deal with the Merlin/Arthur dynamic. Made me proud to have been a fan from the very beginning, and having kept the faith that this series would not let me down. With this last episode, they kept their compact with me, their viewer, to give me a thoroughly satisfactory ending.
After I watched it, I thought about the difference between a SF tale and a fantasy tale. In SF, the "lesson" is usually related to our present lives. To show us a better way to handle our present-day conflicts. Star Trek does that exceptionally well. In fantasy, the "lesson" is usually related to our spiritual selves, to be the best we can be, and this episode also delivered on that vital ingredient of a good fantasy.
So, I'm giving Merlin, The Diamond of the Day, (Part 2), 5 out of 5 fairy godmother wands.
- Current Mood: content