“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.”
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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.
Take some time to visit Shehanne’s Blog Page, and 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.
🌹Thank you🌹to Georgiann Carlson. She made 10 “Art of Glamorous Fantasy” business cards for me. I chose the one below.
“Not so fast! As one of your very first Art Gowns, first to get to 175 likes, dedicated to your niece, Sherrie, and first post after the Art Gowns were evicted from Queen’s end,”
“I think I, Flora Blanca, am entitled to a say in this! I’ve picked out the card below, as I see it embraces us, the Art Gowns, and Resa.”
“Don’t be absurd Flora Blanca! Resa would never run around naked, not since that incident when she was 22. She makes the Art Gowns, and we are all very elegant.”
“Something sophisticated, like the Fitzgerald’s “Romantic Egoists” is in more order. The card below is the way to go. I’m sure Zelda would approve!”
“Mystic lake, I adore you and Flora Blanca, but really, the two of you are so pretentious! As the Empress d’Amore, I am highly educated, and qualified to be royally opinionated.”
“Resa’s card should express the fact that we, the Art Gowns, are a collection. That she makes us from scratch, by herself. She is, after all, classically trained.”
“I treasure the Empress’ opinion. Her taste in fantasy business cards is impeccable.”
“All due respect Empress D and O Royal T, you may both be royalty, but you are not from Fairy! Magic only happens in Fairy.”
“Resa’s card should express the coming of glyphs, a name askew & the bottom line. Simple, fun and to the point of magic is the way to go. As a 5 thousand year resident of Fairy, I say this card delivers that message!”
“Hello! I might be standing in the dark over here, but I can see you all clearly in the moonlight. However, I just don’t see your logic.”
“The card should enforce the fact that Resa’s work is original, unique and glamorous! Voilà “
“I expected this cacophony from all of you Art Gowns, especially Artemis. You are always over analyzing the situation.”
“Simply put, the card should be of contemporary street art style and pointed at the brand. May I present the only obvious option!”
“I’m sorry Mnenosyne, I just don’t see the brilliance in that. Where’s the gleam and glow of the Art Gowns?”
“I have no choice but to insist on the card below. It’s simple, yet emphasizes Resa’s ability, which results in us, the Art Gowns.”
“Wow! That is just not sexy enough. Lady Anne and I discussed this last night, and believe we have the perfect selection. Lady Anne!”
“Thank you, Cecilia Lionheart!”
“We now introduce, to all of you, the perfect card!”
“Look, you’re all right, and all wrong. Why can’t she just use the one she wants? Why can’t we all just get along, instead of bickering about the minutia of Resa’s life?”
Hey! How did all of you gowns get out here? I thought I locked the door to the back yard?
“You left your keys laying around one day. I found them and sent Mini-Me out to have copies made for all of us.”
“Having explained that, I’d like to put my two cents in! This card is a modern classic, and really the one for Resa.”
As you can see,Georgiann, I’m being bossed around by a bunch of Art Gowns.
Well, they are my girls, so I love them. AND I adore you! How fabulous & generous you are to have made these cards for me. Thank you x all the cats and flowers in the world!
Aquileana from ⚡️ La Audacia de Aquiles ⚡️ has taken all of the symbols from my last Art Gown – Athena ⭐️ Graffiti Goddess ⭐️ – and put them into a relatable mystic perspective.
Aquileana places the symbol beside the Tarot Card it references, which aids enormously in understanding the interpretation. Here is one example.
Other symbols and meanings are presented equally.
Athena, Goddess of Knowledge seems to me to be much like Aquileana in many ways. It is within knowledge and sharing of it, beauty, appreciation of the arts and crafts, essentially urbanized and civilized and a feminine figure of wisdom that I speak of.
Many thank you’s to Aquileana for this fabulous collaboration, from me, and it appears that Leo’s and Scorpios can see a lot between them.
Aquileana from “La Audacia de Aquiles”, (where I’ve learned a lot about mythology) and myself are Scorpio and Leo. Including both symbols was a must. Yes, they are Astrology symbols. Tarot incorporates them all.
On 120 ” wide silver satin, intended for curtains, I painted ATHENA in graffiti writing style. Acrylic paint mixed with a fabric medium was used, and heat set.
Then, the symbols were painted: Venus/Woman, Leo, Libra, Scorpio, Pisces, Third Eye, The Queens of Wands and Swords, an Owl, Infinity, The Star & stars and Nine Pentacles on Mini-me.
To find out how all of these symbols relate to Athena, you’ll want to read Aquileana’s next post in her series on Tarot, which will be out in the near future.
The entire gown is stitched together by hand.
The paint had made the satin extra heavy, altering the drape.
A petticoat was in order. It added a mere 3 weeks onto the project.
The next point of construction interest was the blue spandex bodice.
Athena is oft depicted in armor, as she is a warrior.
I basted pleats into a strip of the satin. An ancient Greek motif was painted on it.
When done, I picked out the basting and opened the motif. I draped her armor over the spandex, then did a final press.
Even without her petticoat and back lit, she is marvelous!
Scorpio & Leo, a Third Eye lurks between.
Athena ponders the menu for her first dinner party.
Mini-me advises Athena not to hold back on the courses. After all, Resa will be doing the shopping, cooking and dishes.
Athena contemplates the possibility of a sommelier for the event.
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.
Were you ever impassioned to make an Art Gown from 150 O’s?
Yes! Then you probably know this year is Canada’s 150th birthday.
In 1967, Canada was 100 years old. Our national anthem is “O Canada”. In celebration, Joyce Wieland created a famous lithograph of O’s formed by her red painted lips.
Yet, this is the Art Gown dedicated to Ralph from Bluefish Way, and Ralph lives in Spain. Ah, but he lives in Cañada del Real Tesoro, Spain. Canada/Cañada – it was a thrilling discovery.
According to Mini-Me, Ralph, and what Belen Soto told me, it means Path to the Royal Treasure.
Turned out the path to O Royal Treasure was a 4 month trek.
150 flowers were created. Using a dinner plate, and 2 different sized saucers. I cut out 150 circles, gathered the edges, & drew them into flowers. I painted my lips red, formed an O, and implanted an O on each of the flowers.
The bodice was hell to shape, as it is made from a bargain bin stretch poplin.
To sew on the skirt, I removed the bodice from Judy. When I put it back on Judy, the poplin had grown a size bigger. More shaping was required.
A giant bow was stuffed with net. Perfect for sewing on 22 flowers!
O Royal Treasure outtakes.
There’s a final twist!
Ralph is engaged! Click n the banner below to read the post!
⭐ An Art Gowns Heritage Moment ⭐
Mini-Me educates O Royal Treasure on how to fit in with Art Gowns. “Never do dishes, vacuum or any housework. Make sure to plan a dinner party for all of the girls, as soon as possible!”
In a a dream-like state, O Royal Treasure heads to the dining room to plan her first dinner.
You see, I did a post on my Graffiti blog about how an artist named Tensoe spray painted a gown for me. Georgian said you should model it! I said I was too, old to do that.
I expressed how bad I felt about aging, and didn’t want my picture taken, anymore.
One thing lead to another, and now I am challenging my own perception. It is an idea that has been marketed to me my entire life, and brainwashed me to believe.
I didn’t think I could go through with it, but I’m glad I did. I thought about Photoshop airbrushing, but decided to be honest, and just pick the best photos.
⭐ ⭐ Presenting: Tenesa – Honorary Art Gown ⭐ ⭐
Although she’s my idea, I did not make Tenesa. I’ve made all of the other Art Gowns by hand, sewing, painting decorating, but not Tenesa. Yet, Tenesa is so marvelous, I say she’s an “Honorary Art Gown”.
However, Tenesa wasn’t always this beautiful. She started out as an ordinary custom made De$igner wedding gown who found her way into the alley, one day.
Here she met Tensoe, an artist with many cans of spray paint. He fell in love with her, and spent all of his paint on her.
Go Tensoe! I love you forever for doing this!
I was breath taken when I saw her. We named her Tenesa, and I took her home to live with the Art Gowns.
I figured, as she was an alley rescue, she wouldn’t be as spoiled as the other gowns and pull her weight around the apartment. Not… she’s already swooping around with the other gowns, planning her first dinner party, not cooking, not doing dishes nor vacuuming.
It’s amazing how fast Art Gowns catch on.
Anyway, I decked up in Tenesa, checked in the mirror and head out to the fire escape.