Splendor – by Shehanne Moore

 “Never judge a book by its cover, unless there’s a gown on it.”

Genre: Historical Romance.

Much like a game of chess; this tale has moves, and counter moves. Is it checkmate, or stalemate? Read the book to experience the final play!

Although a woman in days when women were mostly property, Splendor finds a self chosen path. She will marry Gabe, the man of her breast’s heart. He will become a man of the cloth. Together they will help the poor.

Enter: the Earl of Stillmore, a chessboard, two Kings, two Queens, four Bishops, four Rooks, four Knights and sixteen Pawns.

Shehanne’s characters are vivid, interesting and all with purpose. I particularly adore the settings she recreates of time and place. I’m amused by the very appropriate, and humorously creative names Shehanne has given her characters. All throughout the novel her wry sense of humour prevails, but never assails nor assuages.

The thing is, it is romance. It’s romance with all the ardour lovers find in love’s wake. The main scene of passion is quite worth the reading and waiting for. It reaches just a tad deliciously beyond cutting to waves crashing on rocks, fireworks or a volcano erupting.

Furthermore, the Art Gown in me feels a hearty prick of the needle at the main peril Splendor puts herself in. Drawn like a moth to the flame of fine silk every time she passes Madame Renare’s shop and without means, Splendor finds herself sinking deeper into debt. T’is dire! The turnkey of the debtor’s prison workhouse  is upon her doorstep.

“In italicized quotations” are excerpts from the book.

“Mrs. Ferret set the beribboned hair comb Splendor had found impossible to resist, the robin’s egg blue one with the tiny cream rosettes attached,”

A bill is presented:

“She had spent a little money, it was true. She hadn’t meant to, but now she was back in credit again. Why shouldn’t she have the odd this and that?”

Splendor is a Fashionista:

“she had perhaps gone a little far with the silk parasol and the shoes to match, but if she hadn’t, Topaz would have stolen them and ended up in Newgate. Then there was the matter of just how respectful Madame Renare had been when she’d seen the address and the name, the new one she’d furnished herself with. Lady Winterborne, Countess of Stillmore.”

Although unrequited, Splendor retains her arrogant impudence:

“And that comb, this peignoir, the new day dress with the lace insert in the bodice, were all very nice. Too nice to leave feeling neglected in the shop. And the comb had been reduced by half a guinea. She had saved him half a guinea by buying it.”

❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦

I needed to ask Shehanne, whose blog runs the tagline “Smexy Historical Romance”,  a few questions.

1.  What does SMEXY mean?

A…an easy one this. It means smart and sexy which I like to think my heroines are even though they can behave incredibly stupidly at times.

2.  Where does the historical location inspiration come from… the castles and halls near where you live?

I squirrel. I find locations and ideas everywhere. With Loving Lady Lazuli– another book in the series–it was from visiting Mount Grace Priory, especially the monk’s cell there. It’s in Yorkshire actually and not what we’d know as a cell either. Catterton House in Splendor was based on a Georgian cottage where I then lived in Newport-On-Tay, except it wasn’t a cottage. It was a mansion build down the cliff face.

 3.  London Jewel Thieves – Where will I be able to read the ongoing serial?

As we speak Loving Lady Lazuli  which features Sapphire as the heroine and Ruby and Pearl as her sidekicks, is being formatted for kindle.. Now I have my rights back to this series I will be giving you the stories of Diamond, Jade and Amber. I may even yet turn Ruby into a heroine. I have an idea there.

Shehanne Moore is an author who writes historical romance novels. If you visit her Home Page , you will find out about all of her books.

Click on pic for better view

Take some time to visit Shehanne’s Blog Pageand you will realize that a very cute Pack of  Hamsters have hijacked her book reviews, interviews and other relevant endeavours. If you haven’t visited her blog, you should. You will enjoy the Hamsters & get to read a fab post! As crazy as it seems, I was inspired to draw a Hamster in a hamster gown, Hamstor Splendor. I hope Shehanne & all of her Hamster pals enjoy it!

You can pre-order “Splendor” in ebook format, on Amazon! It comes out October 1, 2018, with a hard copy following soon after.

Click on “Splendor”  to pre- order!

 

Art Gowns Art Update

LADY ANNE, aka “Lady Rene Anne” modelled by Holly – House Of Heart.

⭐️ Thank You, Holly! ⭐️

Lady Anne was created for a lover, a musician & composer. He gave me his old leather coat & studded pants. I added Chantilly lace.

Below: I did a fantasy gown for “Gasperilla Pirate Festival”

Held almost every year since 1904 in Tampa, Florida, my creation (on paper only) is nostalgic of the festival’s Early days.

I adore this poem, which is definitely an Art Gowns poem.

                                                                         by: Leonard Durso ©

remembering
the way your gown fell
to the floor
as you almost shyly
stepped away
leaving it forlornly
abandoned
like my heart
this night

⭐️Big Thank You to Leonard for letting me use his poem!⭐️

Thank you to editor Louise White! She did an article in Asset Intelligence Newspaper  on me & Athena ⭐️Graffiti Goddess ⭐️, which was a tandem project with  Aquileana of La Audacia de Aquiles. She also gets a credit in the article.

Click on image if you want to read the article.

🦄 Big hugs & thank you’s are on their way to Aquileana in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

She has inspired me greatly with her posts on Mythology, Tarot and more. 🦄

I’ve sketched her in 2 of the goddesses we did together, Artemis & Mnemosyne, and am excited to sketch her in Athena in the near future.

Click on the sketch to the left to visit the post.

All Sketches & Art Gowns © Resa McConaghy

Visit any Art Gown by clicking on her pic on the side bar!

Jennifer in La Esencia deTitania – Classique

Climb into the crystals of one hundred chandeliers,

Spread a wing

Think of love

The light it brings

Then your heart’s

Strings sing.

Art Gown “La Esencia de Titania” © Resa McConaghy

Photos © Resa McConaghy – November 28, 2017

Even fairies can wear lipstick.

My heartfelt thanks to Jennifer Choy for modeling“La Esencia de Titania”

Jennifer is an upcoming Costume Designer in Canada, who I am mentoring. You can check out her work on Jennifer’s Website or  Jennifer on Instagram

YES, she can really play the cello!

La Esencia de Titania

Did you ever think to yourself,  I’d like to meet an Art Gown fairy?

She would look like the sun shining on rippling pink water and her tail would be made from the forest’s leaves.

Her wings would fold behind her, in many wonderful different ways.

Well, you’ve come to the right place. We make fairies here. This may be the first fairy, but it will not be the last.

And who better to dedicate the first fairy Art Gown to than Brenda Davis Harsham from Friendly Fairy Tales.

Okay, a few notes on the making of La Esencia de Titania

It began with leftovers from “O Royal Treasure”. As I was cutting the circles out of  white voile to make her flowers, I noticed the long scraps were fairy airy and romantic feeling.

Using up old things is very Art Gowns apropos.

Shimmering pink stretch cut velvet was draped on Judy, with the white voile scriffles. It was too, pale.

Using metallic bronze and copper acrylic paint with fabric medium, the scraps were painted. A ladder was used for hang drying the pieces.

The result is what I call autumn leaves. After I draped the leaves around the gown, I brought my cat, Jeep, in for consultation

Once she was made, it was a lot of fun folding her wings in different ways.

Of course spreading them for flight was very important, as well!

OUTTAKES

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La Esencia de Titania heads to the dining room to plan a dinner party for the Art Gowns.

Apparently, the Art Gowns want to move to a place with a larger dining room, more the size of a ballroom, so their tails will fit in better.

La Esencia de Titania and Mini-Me discuss changing Mini-Me’s name to “Mini-Muse”.

Art Gown La Esencia de Titania designed by Resa McConaghy – 2017

© Photos taken by Resa – November, 2017

Brenda Davis Harsham lives in New England. Her site, Friendly Fairy Tales, is for kids of all ages. Her poetry and prose have been published at the places listed in the “Publications” Page on her blog. Fine art prints are available to purchase on  Society6

Brenda wants to pen a Fairy Tale based on Art Gown La Esencia de Titania sometime in the future! Would love it!

La Esencia de Titania takes off for a special midnight mission.

La Esencia de Titania & Mini- Me (Muse?) dream of running away to Hollywood to become stars in black and white movies.

Shaping It Up

I designed #TheShape, drafted a pattern, made 2 mini coats & want to know what you think!

AGCoat #2

Using my Judy to fit them on, I did one out of a stiff cotton Spanish drapery fabric.

An Art Gowns Original Design

The other was made out of a thin, crisp shirt weight Italian velvet flocked cotton.

AGCoat #14

Next up was a model. I wanted a mature woman,  40 years +. I couldn’t find one I could afford, except me. So, oh well!

AGCoat #10

The flocked velvet coat was finished first, so I started there. Here I paired it with leggings from Marina Kanavaki’s S6 Shop & a ceramic Green Leaf Pin designed by Belén Soto.

AGCoat #8

The print on the leggings is from an original work of art by Marina, Paths of Color [Turquoise, Blue And Green] The purse is a sustainable fashion piece made from cork bought at Chartreuse Style in Toronto.

AGCoat #9

The curtain coat was finished in time to go out for a dinner.

AGCoat 1c

Dressier than the last outfit, I put the coat together with a little black dress & heavy black tights. It was accessorized with a hand-made black rubber & copper wire necklace.

AGCoat #6

#TheShape is flattering, & can be cut longer. It can be made from all types of fabrics. Sleeves & collars can change, & the front closure become buttons. A solid front with zip in the back turns it into a dress. The sky’s the limit!

AGCoat #7

What do you think of #TheShape?

OR

Should I call it #TheResa?

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

All photos of Resa © Norman Orenstien – September 19 & 27, 2015

Coats designed & made by Resa – August – September, 2015

AGCoat #5

La Vie en Rosé

Were you ever inspired to embellish an Art Gown with 300  wine corks?

Shot in natural diffused daylight
Shot in natural diffused daylight

Tip #1 – Do not attempt to drink 300 bottles of wine all in one night. Spread them out over a few days.

OR

Shot in Magic Hour with Incandescent lighting
Shot in late afternoon with Incandescent lighting

Tip #2 – Share them with friends.

OR

Shot in Magic Hour with a Flash
Shot in Magic Hour with a Flash

Tip #3 – Read a romance novel by Imelda Evans while you sip luxuriously

La Vie en Rosé is inspired by and dedicated to Imelda and her latest novel “Playing By The Rules”

 

Imelda2- k

OF course I would have to attach all the corks somehow so I bought 110 meters of old gold soutache. It was easy getting else wise creative with that soutache.

Imelda2- fImelda2- gI wanted more creative fuel for  so I asked Imelda,

“If you could put 1 color to Kate & 1 color to Josh what are those 2 colors? Not that I will use them, but what would they be?”

Imelda’s answer:

“Okay, this was a mind-bender for me, as I don’t think this way normally (although I’m going to do it for all my characters now).

Imela2-?Imelda2-iKate is a rich, autumn brown. If it were shiny it would be burnished bronze. Josh is a bright, apple-y green. I have no idea why!”

I couldn’t resist buying some new yardage

I found this gorgeous tie-dyed (the pattern does not repeat)  stretch velvet.

In the warm lighting of the store the colors were a perfect  bronze/brown with a kind of apple green coming though.

As I was paying for it, my eyes caught the most enchanting brown/bronze organza ribbon so I grabbed 20 meters of that.

Imelda2- nImelda2-m

When I set up in the”Art Gown” room which is filled with natural light the colors appeared to be burgundy and teal. When shot with a flash the green magically appeared.

The gown is a chameleon!

This is why I opened with 3 similar shots of La Vie en Rosé I was completely at a loss for what was more beautiful.

Imelda2- o

destiny_playingbytherules_cvr-smallI loved Imelda’s first book, “Rules Are For Breaking” 

As “Playing By The Rules” is a prequel. I just had to ask,

“Was it easier to write the second book having already developed the
characters in the first book?”

Imelda’s answer:

“That’s a bit of a tricky one, as this book was actually written first!   I did rewrite a lot of it after I published the other one though, so I guess I can still answer that.

Yes, knowing the characters first makes it much easier to write their stories. But I get to know the characters by writing their stories, so it’s a bit of a catch 22! Not sure what comes first, sometimes, the story or the people!”

Imelda2- j

Both of Imelda’s books are available on Amazon.

imelda2-e123

Playing By The Rules

and

Rules Are For Breaking

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Oh! If you want to know how the French title and wine corks tie in, you’ll have to read the book. I hope you do!

La Fin

Imelda2- p

“Art Gown” La Vie en Rosé designed by Resa McConaghy _ January – 2014

All photos of La Vie en Rosé © Resa McConaghy – January – 2014

Imelda2- d

Atlantis Mermaid Love-in

Did you ever get the urge to design an “Art Gown” who could swim the oceans & seas spreading love and peace?

HM #1Well, then you know she’d have to be a mermaid, and speak a lot of languages.

Le Drake Noir, as you speak 8 languages (reading and writing in 4), and are constantly posting pics of or from oceans and seas, This “Art Gown” is for you.

HM #2bMy personal challenge with this “Art Gown” was that I could only use what I had in stock. I was not allowed to buy anything.

HM #20I found:

Blue Crushed Velvet yardage

3 white T-shirts, of my design, and 2 boxes of purple dye. I immediately tie-dyed 2 of the t-shirts, thinking of hippies in their tie-dyes and velvet bell-bottoms.

When it comes to “Love &Peace”, the Hippies were full of it.

HM #22Scraps of $200.00/yd. French Lace

Blue and purple acrylic paint.

I soaked the lace in watered down acrylic paint.

When it dried it had become plastic-like, and looked like fan seaweed.

I found I could cut around the lace patterns and it didn’t run. What fun!

I also found a bottle of glue, which I used to adhere the cut out seaweed pieces to her.

The thing about mermaids is, if you were under the water and saw one, she might be swimming under you, or over you.

As I don’t have a glass floor, I climbed a ladder.

HM #6b

It looks like she’s swimming up at me.

HM #5bWhat a beauty!

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I usually do a Black & White here, but this “Art Gown” has a lush glamor that precedes the glamor of the 1940’s, so I antiqued it!

HM #26Le Drake Noir, I enjoy your blog, and I know you’ll look great in this gown!

HM #25

Dream of Love

Did you ever design a gown about falling in love, and dreams of romance?

Mango #6

Well I did, because “love rules”!

So it makes total sense that my “Art Gown” #5 has been inspired  by Imelda Evans of  Wine, Women and Wordplay.  Imelda is an author, and her first novel out is an EBook romance, “Rules Are For Breaking”on the “destiny Romance” label.

Mango #2

Having read the book, the first thing I was inspired to do was make 4 dozen silk organza flowers in shades of Mango.

Mangoflower #1 To prevent fraying, I cut strips of true bias in five widths (2-6 inches) then made squares.

I fan layered 4 squares of the same size, ran a large hand stitch through the center to give me a point from which to pince, twist and secure with a few hand stitches.

Each flower came out different. I used a wired organza ribbon in green to mock leaves.

I saw the flowers on a black velvet gown with a cut silk velvet asymmetrically draped, creating subtle lines.

When the gown was finished, I had to ask it a question about Imelda.

Mango #1b

 “How did Imelda feel when she found out she was a 2012 finalist in Australian Romance Reader Awards”?

Of course Dream Of Love had a direct quote.

“In answer to your question, my initial reaction to being a finalist was shock.  I truly got chills.  It honestly had never occurred to me that I would be on the list.  So when I came across my name and my book, at first, I hardly believed it.

Mango #3

I closed my eyes and opened them again.  Then I scrolled up to the top of the page to make sure that I was really reading the list of finalists.  Then I went back and looked again.

Mango #4

Then I went back onto facebook and found someone I knew who was online (it was quite late) and got them to confirm that I wasn’t hallucinating.  And through it all, my skin was clammy with the shock.

Mango #5

Since then, whenever I think about it, it has made me so happy.

ARRAImelda #2

I know my book isn’t the best book of 2012, but to be someone’s – anyone’s – favourite anything is so humbling and delightful.  It is so encouraging!  I can’t please all of the people all of the time, but if I have pleased even one person that much, I’m very, very happy.”

Well, I’ve read Rules Are For Breaking and if you love love the way I love love, you might want to read it, too.

IMG_33411234Mango #10

 

Love,

Resa

♥♥♥

 

“Art Gown” Dream of Love designed by Resa McConaghy – March, 2013

All photos taken by Resa McConaghy – March 2013

Test shot of "Dream of Love before she was finished.
Test shot of “Dream of Love before she was finished.

AS “LIKES” DID NOT TRANSFER TO MY NEW BLOG, I TOOK A PIC OF THEM.

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