Spring Rhapsody

Ever dream of making an Art Gown that burst forth from the drab of winter?

Then, it blooms into the brilliance of spring!

Surely that Art Gown would be a flower garden.

Which is why I dedicate  Spring Rhapsody to Amy Rose. Amy takes superlative photos of flowers, and she grows the most beautiful roses. She takes fabulous, magic photos all year long. Yet, her flowers, especially roses are stand out.

Her photography was recently featured on another post focusing on spring. Frank’s Beach Walk Reflections on Spring.

The Making Of:

It all began when a friend sent me about 40 pounds of old fabrics. There was a damask pillow case, that worked with a shiny coppery brown fabric. It seemed a bit earthy coloured for a gown. I thought: earth, garden, Amy’s flowers.

The shiny coppery fabric is odd: rubbery, perhaps used for upholstery, annoying to work with and exceptionally lustrous.

The box also included many scraps of colourful acetate linings, and scriffles of a delicate net embroidered with gold and pearls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The colourful acetates picked nicely into the subtleties of the Damask. Shapes were cut out of the net scraps, overlaid onto the acetates and stitched on.

Gold buttons, from another friend’s buckets of buttons, were used as centres to gather the flowers around. Then began the biggest mess ever made, in the making of an Art Gown.

The mess was worth it!

I couldn’t take enough pics.

OUTTAKES

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This girl was a joy, from morning…

….until night.

Art Gown Spring Rhapsody © Resa McConaghy – 2021

I send my best to all of you, my blog pals. I adore you all, please take care and have the best spring ever!

An Evening with Picasso-esque

“Dahlings! Welcome to An Evening with Picasso-esque“.

“Rene Rosso here, and I’m thrilled to announce that this Art Gowns show is being broadcast across the globe. So, without further ado, let me hand the mike over to our esteemed Art Director, Rebecca Budd.”

“Welcome, welcome! Tonight, we are on  fascinating journey through the esque-art of Picasso. So, let’s not waste anytime, and bring on the Art Gowns Models!”

“First out on the catwalk is Gigi. Gigi and her gown sure know how to make a point!”

“Next out is AGM Shey. Shey showers us with a fun kooky rendition of romance.”

“Marina is a show stopper in this cubist creation.”

“Our darling Dale takes on a dozen dimensions in this daring design.”

“Holly is a dream in this flowing full length frock with matching hair.”

Tired of her Picasso-esque gown, Ms. Rosso did an unexpected costume change into a Van Gogh-esque gown, inspired by “Starry Night”.

She also changed the song she would sing. The orchestra scrambled to pull out the sheet music. After all, this was no ordinary Torch Song.

All of the AGMs were in the wings listening to Rene’s beautiful rendition of Nicole Scherzinger’s rendition of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina. Then suddenly, as the last note floated away, AGM Shey started turning greenish.

The AGMs and Rebecca watched in horror as the transformation continued, until

Shey had become a Goth Gown Model of her former self. The Sheygoth slowly faded away into black.

At that exact moment, every leaf on Shey’s Cottonwood, at Tim’s Magic Tree Sanctuary fell off. In the next second, all the other Magic Trees shed their leaves in solidarity.

One-Eye screamed, “Someone save Shey! We’re booked in Manchester in 3 days”!

Rene Rosso character © Resa McConaghy & Holly Rene Hunter

Prior to the defoliation of Tim’s Magic Trees, the trees whipped up a storm and a rainbow, that went all the way to Manchester, UK.

‘Oron’s head on a stick was placed on the rainbow, whereupon he slid all the way to Manchester. He landed on the doorstep of an umbrella factory, where he was cobbled back together.

Click on Umbrella ‘Oron to visit his blog.

All magic trees © Timothy Price from Off Center Not Even

Marina, Gigi, Holly, Dale, & Shey

Their names are hot! I assure you!

Lala LaSwirl (aka Charlotte Hoather) has been invited to perform in Rene Rosso’s new show opening soon, in Manchester UK.

As the proud owner of Charlotte & George’s new album, “Songs From Our Balcony” I must say I just can’t listen to it enough! In the meantime, here is the link to buy the new album, and other of her recordings.  https://music.apple.com/us/artist/charlotte-hoather/853884334

A Bouquet of Holly

Holly, as Rene Rosso; drawn to 3 hours of Janis Joplin.

Good evening! Welcome to A Bouquet of Holly. I’m AGM Marina, your host for this Art Gowns Special.

It all began when Resa wanted to say Thank you to Holly for posting a Cheetah Girls video. Click on the pic of my new gown (above) and visit the post!

Resa (One-Eye) is ever thankful to Holly – House of Heart for all the inspiration over the years, and quite frankly it’s about time that a gala event was held in her honour.

Yes, Resa wrote that poem, for Holly. Not quite the same as a Holly poem, but still delivers a heartfelt message.

When I was asked to host, I immediately thought of two gifts, two paintings for Holly.

“One for the ocean during sunset or dawn [Holly time 🥰]
Atom Sea No18 Watercolour”
We will get into my second gift shortly, but first I’d like to share some of the gowns of Rene Rosso. Resa loves to draw this talented, sexy and gown wearing Diva of a Torch Singer.

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Ahh, such beauty, however let me back up to the beginning of all this gluttony of drawing. One day Holly & Resa were cutting up in the comments on GLAM, Resa’s street art blog. They came up with some idea that there should be Go-Go dancers to dance in front of street art found in the alleys.

Boogapony Holly was born. 

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Then there was a Free Comic Book Day on Resa’s street. Within an hour of attending the event, she found Marvel super hero art on a wall. A post was made out of that. Again in comments, Holly and Resa came up with Princess Blue Holly.

You know some heroes were raised by wolves, or born of a lab accident. Our Blue Holly was abandoned in a patch of holly, and raised by the plant. I jest not here! Blue Princess Holly is a real plant.

A beautiful member of the popular Blue Holly series, Blue Princess (Ilex x meservae) is a female plant that produces tiny flowers and knockout red berries. 

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After Princess Blue Holly, came the Art Gowns Models, which led into adventures where Princess Blue Holly could be her super hero self. Here is Art gowns Model Holly in her Gown Of Wildflowers.
Here is AGM Holly’s sister Chicklet, Wildflower © Georgiann Carlson
As we near the end of “A Bouquet of Holly”, I’d like to present my second gift to her.
I think of her standing in the middle of an ocean painting the sea with her passionate words.
In Limbo – Cinnabar
Rene Rosso was invented to be Princess Blue Holly’s alter ego in real life.
Timothy Price from Off Center Not Even gave PBH & RR a special Tangle-Heart tree to guide them. Hyperion brought in his Dragons to aid Blue Holly.
Soon after, Rene Rosso hired Rebecca Budd to Art Direct all of her shows with the Art Gowns Models. Insider tip: a new character will appear in the next adventure of PBH & the Art Gowns Models!
It’s been a whirlwind of drawing, and it all began simply as some fun between Holly and Resa.
Holly, Resa has asked me to make sure this song is dedicated to you!

Rene Rosso, Princess Blue Holly, and Boogapony Holly © Resa McConaghy & Holly Rene Hunter.
January 2018 – present February 2021

Princess Blue Holly’s Mystic Owls

Princess Blue Holly was at a stalemate battling with Etamilc. She knew Hyperion could lay a final blow, if he arrived in time!

My unease for days has troubled me, when in my study the eyes of my Black Dragon statue begin to glow. From his mouth came the pleas for help from Princess Blue Holly.

Enraged that she may be in immortal danger, I transform to the Ancient Black Dragon of the North and follow the current trails of Blue Holly’s urgent plea back to the scene where Etamilc has enslaved the Art Gown Models and My Lady.

Etamilc has chosen my element of water to battle me. Pity there is no chance of success. I dive to the depths and exhale a mighty flame that roils the water in a tornadic blast. The water turns to steam. My Lady, and the Art Gowns Models begin to rise from their hapless imprisonment. I remain to ensure there is no repeat of Etamilc’s pitiful shenanigans.

As Hyperion converted the massive amount of water into steam, they became humungous clouds. Princess Blue Holly’s mermaid outfit became too, heavy. She morphed into a new outfit she had designed especially for riding clouds.

With help from Resa & Dale’s trees; she gently guided Etamilc, now a phenomenal pink clouds formation to Tim’s magic tree sanctuary.

After being placed between Resa’s Cottonwood and Dale’s Peach tree, the clouds contracted, leaving Etamilc as a soft fluffy cloud. She was renamed Lil’ Eta, and would live in harmony with the magic trees.

With utmost urgency, PBH looked into her Tangle-Heart. Using it as a beacon, she called the Master Mystic Owl to it.

As Princess Blue Holly transformed into Rene Rosso’s spirit form, all Mystic Owls were sent out via the Tangle-Heart. Their mission: fly the Art Gowns Models back to Chicago.

As Rene Rosso flew on her owl back to Chicago, she realized the Art Gowns Models’ gowns would be too, heavy for the Mystic Owls. Further, now that the AGMs’ feet were unplanted, Dale’s Peach tree was no longer confused.

Working in tandem with Resa’s Cottonwood, the 2 magic trees managed to transform all of the AGMs into spirit forms, wearing all new spirit gowns.

The Art Gowns Models were oblivious to their reconstitutions. All they heard was music. Dale heard “live, solo, electric guitar stylings”.

 Shey heard The Stones “Jumping Jack Flash”, and Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”.

Gigi  was surrounded by Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”.

Holly  was immersed in Candy Dulfer and Dave Stewart jamming on “Lily Was Here”.

Marina swelled to the heartbreak of “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue”, by Bob Dylan.

Although it was about to storm, each Mystic Owl put an AGM on its back and flew away.

Suddenly, a very dangerous lightening storm broke out.  Rene Rosso sent her rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine” (based on Melody Gardot’s version) out to the AGMs to protect them on their flight back to Chicago.

Meanwhile, back in Chicago, One-Eye was quite stressed. Ms. Rosso had had Rebecca Budd art direct an all out extravaganza, for the last night’s performance in Chicago. Tickets were sold out!

The show was set to start in less than 2 hours. Would Rene Rosso & the Art Gowns Models get back in time? Stay tuned for the next episode to find out!

Princess Blue Holly & Rene Rosso Characters © Resa McConaghy & Holly Rene Hunter

Their names are hot under their Spirit Gown drawings, so visit away!

FYI – The Spirit Gowns were drawn all, or in most part to the songs named under their sketches. {“live, solo, electric guitar stylings”, “Baby Blue”, “Jumping Jack Flash”, & “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”} were played by the Band Under Resa’s Bed.

All Magic Trees & Mystic Owls courtesy of & ©: Timothy Price from Off Center Not Even

Voice of Hyperion courtesy of Dan from: Return of Dragons

This has been episode 3 of of the latest Princess Blue Holly/Rene Rosso adventure. In case you missed the first 2 episodes : Episode 1 Episode 2

Soprano Charlotte Hoather 🌹 An Art Gowns Interview

Welcome Charlotte!

You are my only fave soprano, ever! Thank you so much for this interview! Just so everyone knows, I put my questions/voice in regular type. I put Charlotte’s answers/voice  in italics. So, let’s get rolling!

Resa: – Charlotte, have you ever worn an expensive costume, and spilled something on it, torn it or otherwise perhaps even ruined it?

Charlotte: I can remember two occasions with costumes/dresses that I was performing in that I owned. However, stage costume wise no mishaps happily. Touch wood! I’m always really careful.

I was at Edvard Grieg’s house in Troldhaugen, Norway. I was about to perform in the composer’s home. It’s a converted living museum, with his original piano and lots of important antiques around. It has a beautiful concert hall.

In the green room in the basement of the house, I was with the other singers from the workshop. Another person had just made herself a fresh hot red berry tea. She spun around and spilt it down my tight-fitting, gold sequin  evening dress. She was horrified and pregnant, so I spent a minute telling her it was fine.

The boiling hot liquid was all over the tops of my thighs in a huge red berry puddle. When I felt the heat, I ran to the toilet. The dress’s tight fit made the dress cling, and taking it off was a nightmare. I ripped it off over my head and quickly, with everyone’s help, put cold water on my thighs. They rescheduled my songs till later in the programme. I washed the liquid out under the tap and tried to dry it as best I could. It was the only performance dress I had with me, so just before the performance I put it back on. It was like a wet suit, but I wasn’t not going to perform or sing in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. I still have the dress. The dry cleaners managed to get the stain out.

The other costume mishap was at the Llangollen Eisteddfod last year. I was going to be performing with the World-renowned tenor Rolando Villazon and was very excited about it. I’d always wanted a Sherri Hill dress, and this was a perfect excuse to invest in a beautiful ball gown stage dress. I was so excited about wearing it. It was a princess line, in pale lilac satin. I’d bought a new strong roll-on deodorant; one of those that last 48 hours. I put my deodorant on, then put my dress on. I normally put my shoes on first, and step into a dress like this carefully. But this deodorant was still wet. I leant forward to tie my shoe buckles, and I then had two perfect wet circles on the front skirt of the dress with no time to do anything about it.
Perhaps I should be more careful with gowns I own!

Resa: Speaking of gowns, I only wish I could have been around to supply you with Balcony Gowns, during the lockdown. I watched and listened to ALL of your balcony performances with George. I’m thrilled that “Je Veux Vivre” will be among the songs on your upcoming CD!

Resa: Have you ever had to wear a costume that fit you like….umm… a ship? Did it affect your vocal performance, or your acting performance?

Charlotte: So far, I’ve worn everything without complaint. The worst for me are shoes that are uncomfortable because most costume people will just adjust wrong fitting items.

I do remember two awkward costumes, but they were from my childhood. I had a costume as ‘Pumba’ in the Lion King. In order to give me more girth, the costume department attached a hula hoop to my trousers. It was fun, and the costume was light. However, it did impact on my spacial awareness. I had to be careful not to bump into the other dancers, and it was awkward to roll around in.

The next one was when I performed as King Louis, from The Jungle Book. The costume department wanted to elongate my arms so they attached mop poles within my costume arms. At the end of the poles, they attached huge purple hands. The costumers put orange/red fur sleeves over my arms and hands, to disguise the added length. I had to make orangutan gestures with those arms. It was really fun, but challenging.  I took care not to hit anyone else. Yet, there was a hood that came over my eyes, which made taking care more difficult 😊. I’d love to do something like that again in an opera.

Resa: Oh, Charlotte! thank you so much for sending in these photos of when you were that cute Orangutan! Everyone will love how cute you are in the slideshow!

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Resa:  As an Opera Soprano, who are your 3 fave female Rock Singers (living or not)? What song from each would you like to sing?

Charlotte: Annie Lennox –  I love her views on singing. She really believes “Singing a song is one thing, but expressing a song is another. It’s deep. There is magic, an alchemic quality. Everyone should feel free to sing. Singing is uplifting and freeing of your spirit. There are no rules”. I’m not sure which song I could manage because I think she’s a contralto/mezzo but I love ‘Walking on Broken Glass’.

I grew up listening to female singers like Blondie [Heart of Glass or Call Me].  Is Kate Bush considered rock? Some of her tracks sound it to me; perhaps Babooshka. Gwen Stefani I loved her songs in No Doubt like Don’t Speak.

Resa: I’d say Kate is in an Art Rock category. She really is an independent artist.

Resa: I’d love to see you and George do a set of Rock Classics – Any songs between 1968 – 1998! What songs would your set include?

Female rock singers I like are usually in the mezzo-soprano middle voice range. Maybe one of Taylor Swifts songs, a Bjork song or Evanescence’s Wake me Up Inside. My Dad loves Queen so something adapted from them maybe. Are Prince, Alicia Keys and Blondie considered rock? Perhaps you could give me some suggestions Resa, I asked my Mum and she said perhaps something by Stevie Nicks.

Resa: Those all sound like great options. Yes, Prince, Alicia Keys and Blondie are all in rock categories. I would love to hear you do a Stevie Nicks song! Of course Freddie Mercury had a great set of pipes, and you are a very colourful singer. I’m sure something could be adapted for you. Just thinking about it gives me shivers!

Resa: Who is your fave male Opera Singer? Which would you pick to do a duet with?

Charlotte: My favourite is tricky. I really enjoyed singing with Rolando Villazon. I also like listening to Joseph Calleja. I met Piotr Beczala, and he was just lovely and friendly. All of them, anybody! I’ve had some great male singers in all my performances.

Resa: Would you ever do a Rock Opera; say the role of Nora played by Anne Margaret in “Tommy” by the Who, or how about Janet Vice in the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”?

Charlotte: Definitely. I absolutely love being on the stage and I like trying out different genres it keeps me on my toes. I was a dancer in The Rocky Horror Picture Show when I was younger so I know Janet’s songs inside out and would love to do it. I’ve never heard of The Who’s rock opera but I’ll have a listen now, yes, bring it on.

Resa: Charlotte and I began this journey over a year ago. I began by drawing her face, to get a feel.

Resa: I needed to loosen up, so binge listened to Weber  -Kommt Ein Schlanker Bursch Gengangen and did Crazy Free Art to Music. The abstract of Charlotte’s face, below the video, was the result.

Resa: I did some gown sketches, and asked Charlotte what operas they might be appropriate for. I tried so hard to do my best drawings, that they came out stiff/out of proportion. Although I quite like all of the designs, this is the only one I still like the drawing of. I will redo the others.

Charlotte: The white dress reminds me of wedding dresses, so Suzanna in ‘La Nozze di Figaro’ or Zerlina in Don Giovanni, or Elvira in the mad scene in ‘il Puritani’. Another new aria I’ve learned is Qui La Voce.

Resa: Here’s another design I did for Charlotte, during the loosening up period. She adores the colours!

Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=Charlotte+Hoather&i=digital-music

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/charlotte-hoather/id853884334?fbclid=IwAR0ZGK-f0Oqoo09ER8rM1-Q8kVi7XFqjCrMyfa9OvpjQ2mXgqk1YS9NEUjM

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/artist/3ymVzeeFpusYCTqPqjFUco

Deezer http://www.deezer.com/us/artist/6887897

My Website http://www.charlotte-hoather.com/music/

✨ Charlotte and George’s Album! Songs From our Balcony” is now available on above links!✨

Drawings by & © Resa McConaghy – 2019 – 2020

Princess Blue Holly vs Etamilc Egnahc

It was a very serious situation!

The moment Rene Rosso felt Rebecca Budd’s estranged & frantic energy, she instinctively morphed into Princess Blue Holly.

Princess Blue Holly looked into her Tangle-Heart. The signal was weak.

Her Tangle-Heart managed to connect via the moon to a magic orb from Dale’s Peach tree.

It led Blue Holly to a wind farm outside of Chicago. It was here she found the Art Gowns Models planted firmly into the good earth.

She also found the tornado that had captured them. It was Etamilc Egnahc.  Poor thing had once been Blue Holly’s friend; a gentle, soothing summer breeze. Then climate change turned her into a PBH nemesis.

“Blue Holly, welcome to my Art Gowns Models Plantation! Seems whenever the Art Gowns Models are in jeopardy, you come to the rescue. Well, you’re too late! They’re already growing roots, and once they go to seed I’ll be planting Art Gowns aplenty.”

“I’m sick and tired of wearing doors, chairs, trees, birdbaths and whatnot. From now on it’s nothing but Art Gowns in my crown, and I’ll be beautiful.”

Suddenly, cries of “help me” were heard. It was the scarecrow.

 “His name’s ‘Oron. He’s from Manchester. I picked him up while on a whirlwind tour of the U.K. Thought he’d make a good scarecrow, which is what you’ll be when I finish with you!”.

With that, Etamilc became very aggressive, growing until she finally sucked up Princess Blue Holly.  Unfortunately, she also sucked up the scarecrow. Etamilc began winding her way to Lake Michigan, where she intended to dump Blue Holly.

We interrupt this currently scheduled blogcast with Breaking News! The AIDASAssociation of International Divas And Singershas just revealed that renown Torch Singer Rene Rosso, previous to her most recent concert, had hired One-Eye for the position of Personal Manager.

Lala Laswirl, Spokes-Singer for the AIDAS, sang out harshly against the move. She also chastised Ms. Rosso for copying Veronica Lake, accusing her of trying to suck up to One-Eye. “It’s outrageous, and unheard of! No one has ever hired a One-Eye blog mascot for anything!” 

” This is the most outlandish move Rene Rosso has made since she incorporated a rendition of a Stevie Nicks Rock’n’Roll song into her Torch repertoire!  I wouldn’t be surprised if One-Eye put her up to it.”

As they approached Lake Michigan, PBH was whipping her spiked leaves and poison berries at the walls of Etamilc’s vortex. ‘Oron’s head snapped off the scarecrow’s pole, and  whirlpooled into the exact centre of Etamilc Egnahc, causing her to go off balance and plunge into the massive lake, taking Blue Holly and ‘Oron with her.

Using her cyclone power, Etamilc arose from the lake as a waterspout. No matter how hard PBH tried to climb out of the swirling water, Etamilc managed to keep her prisoner.

Using her Tangle-Heart as a conduit, she called upon her Inner Dragon. Hyperion heard, and roared loudly.

It was at that exact moment that Art Gowns Model Dale connected to her Peach Tree. The magic tree was confused. It was above and below. What did it all mean?

Rene Rosso & Princess Blue Holly Characters © Resa McConaghy & Holly Rene Hunter

All magic tree photos © Timothy Price from Off Center Not Even

Centre tree inspired by Marina Kanavaki’s art series – As Above So Below

You can visit all of the AGMs on their respective blogs. Just click on their names!

Dale / Gigi / Holly / Shey / Marina

How will Hyperion – Return of Dragons help PBH? The next episode will tell!

Visit Rebecca at Lady Budd

Visit Alex aka ‘Oron at Professional Moron

In case you missed Episode One- Check it out by clicking on the pic below!

Jennifer in Velvet Tango

It’s a gluttony of beauty.

In the middle of a Pandemic, Jennifer, who is not a professional model, modelled an Art Gown. Why? Well, I helped mentor her into the Costume department in the film biz. This was her idea of a payback.

It was a first class thrill to see Velvet Tango on Jennifer. I only took around 1200 pics. It’s taken me weeks to choose the best 130, then pare that down to the ones you see in this post.

It was an overcast day. The above shot was taken when the sun came out briefly, but I don’t understand why it is so very different. There were about 6 shots that came out like this.

Bewitched by all the choices, I decided to post them in the location order that they were taken. We started on the fire escape.

Above is the only gust of wind during the entire shoot.

Then we were at the bottom of the fire escape.

From there we moved into the alley. I adore alleys. There’s almost never anyone else. We shot for a half hour. Not one person walked by. One guy did sit on his fire escape to watch.

It was a wonderful day! Jen looks amazing, and she wore no make-up; just lipstick and sunglasses.

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The Covid numbers were down in Toronto. Jen and I took all required precautions.

Velvet Tango © Resa McConaghy was dedicated to & inspired by the poetry of Holly – House of Heart

The Smexy Pen of Shehanne Moore

Please meet Shehanne Moore: writer, author, publisher, wife, mother and one of the official Art Gowns models.

SMART + SEXY = SMEXY

I just finished reading “Loving Lady Lazuli”

Cassidy Armstrong has had an unfortunate life, that has scarred her in more ways than one. Cast off from family as a baby, and her brother dead from beatings, she is pressed into being a jewel thief. Nonetheless, she has managed to hoard her virginity like it was a massive collection of fine Waterford Crystal worth more florins than any working class person would see in a lifetime.

Now, she has returned to claim her birthright. As a fake widow, Lady Cassidy Armstrong can move around more freely, searching for her proof of heritage. Yet, even after 10 years of aging, donned in a widow’s “Crow Black” and with a new name; Devorlane Hawley (fifth Duke of Chessington) recognizes her.

I asked Shehanne: Devorlane Hawley – Fifth Duke of Chessington, was off at war for 10 years. Was it the Napoleonic Wars? If not, which war was he in, and can you give a bit of history of the war and/or London around the time of this story?

Answer: It was the Napoleonic Wars but he was in the military a little before they actually started in 1803, as an unwilling recruit shall we say?  And obviously since the book is set in 1810 and the wars didn’t end for another five years, he’s no longer a soldier, having been badly wounded and invalided out. The Wars came out of chaos that was the French Revolution and for some time, a long time, it looked as if Napoleon Bonaparte could become master of Europe, until he was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo and exiled to Saint Helena. I imagine that life for people in London and indeed elsewhere, would–as  ever, even as we’re seeing today– depend on your wealth.  Whatever your class, most people had a relative in the army or navy and  would be anxious about that but that’s roughly where any kind of things in common would end.  For the rich there was the chance to make more money, for the women to adopt new fashions, go to charitable balls and see some wonderful re-enactments of battles etc onstage. For the poor–the usual struggle for survival. All the English counties had a militia, there to protect the county  and of course there was espionage, the suggestion of which the heroine of this book uses to her advantage at one point.

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

I came up with that exceptionally memorable saying, after reading “Splendor”. It was the first book by Shehanne that I read. I pair it here with “Loving Lady Lazuli”, as they are both part of a series about London Jewel Thieves.

You can read my review, and mini interview with Shehanne by clicking on the drawing of “Splendor”, above.

I read “The Viking and the Courtesan” quite recently. It is definitely a bit of a departure from the other stories.

Malice Mallender is quite the piece of work. For the right price “Strictly Business” will destroy any marriage, usually by dealing with the wife nuisance. The right price; enough to buy the latest pair of shoes she covets in Madame Faro’s window. So, what happens when “Strictly Business” is inadvertently hired to destroy Malice’s own marriage to Lord Cyril Hepworth?

I asked Shehanne: In “The Viking and the Courtesan” – How did you come up with the idea of “time displacement” ?

Answer: My dearest, lovely Resa, first let me thank for all your kindness and especially for the gowns and asking me here today. You may know I must be amongst your biggest fans, not just as a mega admirer of your work but the fact you make gowns to be used for charity.

Okay, so to answer your question, I had a flash moment.  I never ever set out to write a time displacement  story.  Just like I never ever set out to write any book.  But I had written the first few chapters of this book exactly as they stand now, to the bit where she goes to her husband, Cyril’s flat. The story was to be a second chance love story between them but one day as I was belting away at the keyboard, I thought that idea was a bit  too similar to the Lady Fury book. Then the little voice whispered… you know that Viking idea you have where you have the hero’s story but not the heroine’s? Hmm?? Well … why don’t you just bung that in here?  Quite understandably I thought, no way. Are you serious????  I mean, come on. Then I went and thought about it for a moment. And I thought, okaaaay. Maybe I should just give it a try for a chapter or so, no more? What have I got to lose really? And that was it. That’s the truth. It just popped into my head.

The moment I saw the new cover of Shehanne’s re-released tale of Lady Fury (Genoa 1820), I fell in love with the gown. I read chapter one on Shehanne’s blog.  Then I read the book.

“Rule One: There will be no kissing. Rule two: You will be fully clothed at all times… Widowed Lady Fury Shelton hasn’t lost everything—yet. As long as she produces the heir to the Beaumont dukedom, she just might be able to keep her position.” 

Perhaps ex-privateer Flint Blackmoore (a man she’d rather see rotting in hell than sleeping in her bed) has never been good at following the rules, still she decides to use him to produce an heir.

I asked Shehanne: In “Lady Fury” – What was your impetus for coming up with “the rules”? Did you have a reason for making Blackmoore a privateer… ie: a love of ships, a port you have been stimulated historically by?

Answer: Ooh, I have always loved pirate stories since I read Treasure Island as a kid. I was reared on all the old films and one of my fav board games was buccaneer.  I was gutted to learn it just wasn’t possible to pursue my chosen choice of career actually. But I did always want to write a book about a pirate or a privateer. As for  ‘the rules’, well, once again I had written first few chapters and I thought, now what? You can tell by now I never ever think anything out. And I thought, well, he’s got her cornered which she’s er…not going to take lying down. So what would she do here to pay him back and keep any feelings which she sees she sort of still might have, under wraps Then I thought I could maybe have a little fun dissecting a certain activity shall we say? I am a great believer in having fun especially with rules on anything. Let’s face it, I dunno about you but over here in Scotland right now, and England, well .. I never saw so many that were badly thought through.

This is my favourite book by Shehanne. It is her most recent, and proves that she gets better with time. As the ending demands a sequel, I am hoping there is one in progress!

You can read my review, some Q&A with Shehanne and see the gown drawings by clicking on my above rendition of Destiny.

Shehanne’s titles are available worldwide on Amazon, Ingram Books & Barnes and Noble. If you click on the above banner, you will go to Amazon’s universal “select a country” page. Once there, select “Books”. In “Books” search “Shehanne Moore. It will take you to all of her titles.

LOVE!

😻 Thank You, Tim 😻

Marina & Holly are at it again! Love could be their middle names!

Feline Matchmaking
Music & Lyrics by Timothy Price
Inspired by Holly and Marina
Collaboration between Resa and Timothy

Intro
Can we have long-distance love
For kitties locked down, locked in, Zoomed?

Verse
Jeep’s up north to the east
Spunk’s down south to the west

Jeep says meuw, not meow
Spunk says mew followed by a growl

Jeep is four dimensions in three
Spunk’s dimensions? Egyptian eyes
Jeep is a sweet girly whirly
Spunk has his destructive manly ways

Bridge
Girly/Manly ways attract
Equals
Virtual romance for a matter-of-fact

Chorus
Feline matchmaking during Covid cooties
Long-distance love-making, feline beauties
Purring, growling, rubbing screens
Jeep and Spunk have hit the scene

Bridge
Virtual love and Covid Cooties
Modern romance oh so beauti…
Full of screen-time Zoom Zoom Zoomed

Chorus
Feline matchmaking, Covid cooties
Long-distance love-making, feline beauties
Purring, growling, rubbing screens
Jeep and Spunk have hit the scene

Tim, from Off Centre & Not Even, purveyor of magic trees (including Holly’s Tangle-Heart & Marina’s incognito Pear Tree), has written a fun and lovely song for the 2 love cats, Jeep & Spunk.

You’ve got to see & hear it! So click on the pic below, and go there!

Holly is a poétesse spéciale. She is the first model I ever drew. She is the model for Boogapony Holly, Princess Blue Holly, Rene Rosso and is also an Art Gowns model. Above she models Lady Anne, a gown dedicated to my BBF! I look forward to drawing her in Velvet Tango, which is dedicated to her.

Marina, an original Art Gowns model, is shown here in Cecilia Lionheart. This Art Gown is a tribute to Cecil the Lion who was murdered by a dentist. It was dedicated to Marina, an amazing artist and ardent animal activist.

Spunk and Jeep say if you want to see any of Resa’s Art Gowns, just scroll down the sidebar, and click on the pic of the Art Gown you want to visit!

❤️ Big Thank you’s all around: Tim, Jeep, Spunk, Holly & Marina! ❤️

LOVE & PEACE

Art Gowns ~ Femme Finale

While waiting for Hyperion to answer the call that she sent out via Resa’s Tree, Princess Blue Holly (aka PBH, Blue Holly & Princess Blue) morphed into her Cheetah outfit!

“Princess Blue, you’re so cool, NOT,  with all your magic changes. HA! cough … hiss … cough! PBH is Peanut Butter Holly to me. You’re nothing but mush… cough!”

No wonder Hyperion wasn’t answering! Princess Blue Holly remembered that Resa’s Tree had been frozen by Evilomlap, into an artificial winter. She couldn’t use her Tangle Heart, he was onto it, and had used it to lead her to his lair.

Blue Holly suddenly heard Marina’s invisible whisper. “Use my Pear Tree! It’s incognito, hiding between Dr. Huey and Melody Parfumee rose bushes. Pruned to a point, it should get through to Hyperion.  Evil can’t find it!

Evilomlap wound his length around Princess Blue, squeezing harder and harder. Princess Blue surrounded Evilomlap with her spiked leaves and poison berries. Stalemate!

This was the moment of truth. Princess Blue Holly could not last forever in a stalemate. With all the might of her telekinesis she could muster, she called out to Hyperion and felt him finally answer. She could feel her inner dragon welling up as Hyperion calmly guided her Special Claw Glove to pierce deeply into Evilomlap’s scaly flesh. In desperation, Evilomlap buried his fangs into her ankle, and injected his virus venom.

Princess Blue Holly winched in pain and held on as her inner dragon forced the virus through her and into her Claw Glove, injecting Evilomlap with his own viral poison.

As the virus coursed through Evilomlap Etagloc, he turned blue, was frozen by his own venom and rendered into the very frame he had intended to imprison Princess Blue Holly within. Checkmate!

Once Evilomlap was imprisoned, Resa’s tree was freed into a new magic realm.

The distorted path upon which PBH’s Tangle-Heart had beaconed from far away, straightened out. Her Tangle-Heart was back in focus.

Tangle-Heart led Blue Holly through the Paris night, back to the Moulin Rouge. With the Art Gowns models restored and dressed for the next number, PBH segued into Rene Rosso.

Rene Rosso and the Art Gowns models: Shey, Dale, Gigi, Marina, and Holly dazzled the audience with their special chorus line number.

During thunderous applause, Rene Rosso switched gowns for her solo song, a torch to Annie Lennox and the song “WHY”.

Princess Blue Holly & Rene Rosso characters © Resa McConaghy & Holly Rene Hunter

Visit Tim, Art Gowns special photographer & official Magic Tree curator at: Off Centre & Not Even

Visit Dan, Art Gowns official Dragon consultant at: Return of Dragons

Rene Rosso & the Art Gowns Models will be back! In the next adventure Princess Blue Holly will save them from double trouble in Chicago!

In the meantime, you can visit all of the Art Gowns Models on their blogs. Their names are 🔥 HOT 🔥 under their Chorus Line Number!

FYI: Melody Parfumee is a purple Floribunda, Grandiflora rose growing in Tim’s Magic Trees garden.