My favourite Soprano in the whole world is not merely a fabulous singer, but a wonderful person. In the past, she has brought Opera to children who are deaf &/or hard of hearing.
Charlotte – “For several years now, I have had a deep desire to create an Opera Production which can be enjoyed across the full hearing spectrum. The idea for the Opera is developed from my album “Down The Rabbit Hole”.”
She has worked diligently for several years, and has now received a grant.
Charlotte – “Two weeks ago, I got the news that they were willing to provide key funding for my project if I could raise the rest. So before I could share the news with you, I had to hit the phones, write emails and send off applications to try and raise the shortfall.”
Charlotte has raised the shortfall. She will do a small tour of primary schools next Spring, which will include both D/Deaf specialist schools and primary schools from socially deprived areas.
Charlotte – “If I can raise an extra £600.00 it will give me enough money to print a learning aid booklet for each of the 800 children we perform for. If I can raise an additional £3000.00 it will allow me to add the two schools that I have as reserves so that none of the children miss out.”
If you live in the U.K., there is a way to help Charlotte raise the money by simply shopping.
Visit Charlotte’s Blog, where there is a button to donate to this project on the side bar. I just donated £ 10.00 with PayPal!
If you have never had the delight of hearing Charlotte sing, click on the image below and visit her YouTube Channel.
I have Charlotte’s permission to reblog. However, as there is no reblog button on her blog, I have made this semi-repost.
To visit the full original post, click on the pic below.
I’ve decided to close comments. Many of you might want to say something to Charlotte, however Akismet won’t allow her to comment on this blog. Crazy! We communicate through comments on her blog. So, go visit!
Announcement: An Art Gown for Charlotte. A few years ago, I was gifted some sequin fabric left over from a TV production. This was the beginning. It will be sent to Charlotte, with help from ❦ Timothy Price ❦
Jade has been called by Chinese poets “the concentrated essence of love”.
Well, all that sounds like a Historical Romance novel to me, andShehanne Moore writes the best .
Art Gown, Jade, is lovingly dedicated to Shehanne.
If anyone knows the twists and turns of romance, it is she.
It all began with 2 vintage decorator pillow shams. My friend, Kat, found them in Wiarton’s Goodwill – 220 km. north of Toronto. She sent them to me.
I wasted no time pinning one onto Judy. It was a natural. Last year Kat sent me 40 pounds of fabrics, much of it stored for up to 25 years. In the poundage was a generous yardage of 60″ wide green polyester faux silk.
That was cut on bias and hung for 2 weeks. I harvested miles of ribbon from an old gown. It was marked with needle holes, so I gathered it to hide the flaws.
The faux silk had been cut without blunting the bottom for a hem. The points were picked up, and attached onto the bodice. This meant no fabric was wasted, and I sewed (by hand) 420 inches of seams & 660 inches of hem.
540 inches of ruffled salvaged ribbon was sewn onto the hem. The decals from the 2nd pillow sham were cut out, and positioned strategically onto the gown. Then began the fun of designing the bustle.
Jade is a dream to drape. That polyester faux silk is like fabric butter. However, it does not biodegrade like butter.
Front lit or backlit, she shines.
I’m a huge fan of Shehanne’s books. I’ve read all but one, so far. These are just 5 of her titles. Click on the banner to go to her Amazon page!
However, you can read it NOW! Just click on the book cover!
I read if you hit a piece of jade, it rings like a bell. Whether for pleasant listening or for ritual practices, chimes, xylophones, and gongs have been created from melodically resonant jade.
I kept hearing this song while doing the post. Maybe because Sade looks like Jade, but an “s” instead of a “j”. When I learned about jade being resonant, I put it in.
On top of it all, Timothy Price – Off Center Not Evensent me a gift of LED lights with 4 filters: red, orange, yellow and blue. Jade is the first Art Gown learning lesson. I experimented in night, and day.
As Jade retires to the plant room, I’m mini Jade here to say thank you for popping by & come again!
Dahlings, do you just love my hair done as red sails? I feel like I could fly. It makes me think of songs like: Sailing by Christoper Cross, Beyond the Sea by Bobby Darin & Come Sail Away by Styx. This brings me to the theme of our Tribute today, Music!
Take it away, Rebecca!
Thank you Rene! We’ve decided to have a bit of fun with “A Tangle of Music”. Each AGM is presented with 2 or 3 bars of 12, that are the instrumental opening to a famous song. There are other clues, as well.
There is an obvious theme running though each AGM’s gown, that pertains to the opening lyrics. Also, as you can see, I am surrounded by the chords in the song. Note: I am holding an A minor in my right hand.
First out on the Catwalk, with the first 2 bars, is AGM Marina in a stunning 1 shoulder, ultra fitted gown with a fish tail hem.
In order to make sure our presentation is sound, we consulted with Trent, & sent him the pic of Marina.
Trent’s reply: “My piano is way off to the side, and I was trying to play it off of the dress, which has the left hand (on the right side) and the right hand (on the left side) with a woman in between. It took a minute.”
Trent’s advice: “It is easier to see if the two parts (called staves) are together. If you can have the line and bracket joining them, a player knows they are played at the same time.”
As you can see AGM Shey holds the next 2 bars, with the staves joined, in one hand. She shows off the full skirt of the drop waist slip style gown in her other hand.
AGigiM is brilliant in pinch tucked trim accentuating a deep v décolletage. Off the shoulder ruffles make for an innocent (don’t be fooled) effect, while a generous side seam insert of pleats adds drama to her every move. Her right gloved hand holds the 5th, 6th & 7th bars.
Dale, our AGM of Thunder feels easy and breezy, as she leans on a fence of the 8th & 9th bars. Inspired by a gypsy’s dance, her gown is full of romance.
Avant Garde is the term for AGM Holly’s asymmetric gown. She stands nonchalantly by the last 3 bars to the intro.
The theme running through the gowns is gold. “There’s a lady who’s sure All that glitters is gold”.
This is an historic tribute performance of the answer!
Now, back to Rene!
Thank you, Rebecca! This is the gown that started it all. It’s a scribble gown, drawn to live music from under Resa’s bed.
Okay, the fun isn’t over yet! Someone’s past boyfriend found them online & sent her the song he wrote for her back when. Perhaps you can guess who? The answer will be on Holly’s blog.
Finally we have many blog pals who make great music. What would a great Tangle be without throwing a few into the snarl!
Click on the cards to visit their Youtube channels!
Check out the music of MK-O – Marina Kanavaki & Oannes (click on above)
I know I look amazing. I can’t help it! I’ve been heavily filtered. Unfortunately, the colours are not as Resa meant them.
When supply chain issues affected the stock of art supplies in Toronto, Tim & Holly – House of Heart started a swear jar to buy a gift of art supplies, & mail them to Resa. If she is not home, she can later pick it up at her post office.
I hear you RR! She can’t order on line, because if she’s not home, the delivery guys just leave the package on the step. Never mind porch pirates, Resa lives by a busy streetcar transfer stop. Hundreds of people are out there every day.
“That’s true, Marina! Recently, she couldn’t find paper in the weight & size she uses. So she did this pencil & smudges drawing of me around old paint blots.”
“Still, none of us get new gowns without drawing paper. Here comes the dream! It’s Drawing paper, a REAM of it, seen here posing beside the new Art Gown (for Shey). It’s about 60% done. AGM Dale, what do you think about that?”
“Holly, I’m feeling 100% wicked about it!”
“Especially when you factor in a roll of Resa’s fave paper, two pads of the same paper, two dozen HB pencils, scads of water colour pencils and two kneadable erasers!”
“On top of it all, Tim threw in a gift of LED lights, so Resa can try getting the colours more how she means them.”
AGM Shey was thrilled, as she had just got a Lamé gown. She insisted on being photographed in it.
The lights are fabulous, dahling, but we need a new make-up artist. The one from the Coop knows how to work with my face. Can we make that happen?
Of course dahling! Only the best, now that we have lights.
Ribbons of sand run through her red hair. The moon streaks the sky with flecks of gold. – based on words from a poem by Holly.
You’ve gone beyond the call. I can’t thank you enough! I’ve been taking pics for days. I want everything to be perfect for this thank you, but there’s so much to learn. We will have to settle for perfectly imperfect. XOXOXO
Tim, RB here via Skype. I wanted to be here and celebrate with Resa, RR and the AGMs. I have no idea where I am, but I am art directing a fashion show for Live Nitoop Network, apparently. If you see PBH, can you pass this on for me?
Ever wonder how to capture mother nature in an Art Gown? After all, there are many aspects to her.
To name a few, she’s Dogmatic & Powerful
Cloudy & Moody
Sunshine & Sunsets
Seasons & Storms.
Then let me introduce you to Tim, to whom Belle Grâce is dedicated. Tim shares all that mystic with us, via photographs from his magic tree sanctuary.
Belle Grâce is constructed from yards & yards of liquidation curtain sheers. At $0.50/yd. the fabric was an Art Gown in waiting. Acetate lining scraps sent to the Art Gowns fabric bin, by a long time friend, were paired with the sheers.
First a full skirt liner was fashioned to fit over the Art Gowns Crinoline. The same Crinoline is used for all full skirted Art Gowns. Then a bodice was draped on the Judy.
Using tailor’s tacks, the drape was opened up, creating a pattern. Again using tailor’s tacks the shape was repeated on a stiff under lining. The goal was to create a corset look, without using boning.
The sheers were gathered and and attached to the over skirt. A diamond of beaded self satin was added to the bodice.
The result – Belle Grâce
Belle Grâce loves all lighting.
The diaphanous layers of sheer over satin solids make for a lot of opportunities.
The natural light this time of year is glorious, as it pours through the windows. A DOP once pointed out to me, you can’t replace the sun.
A gluttony of Outtakes
Here are some of Tim’s spectacular, Art Gowns inspiring photos.
All trees featured in the slideshow have been dedicated to someone. I am pleased to say that all of the AGMs & AG Art Director, Rebecca Budd, have a magic tree of their own.
Magic Hour Back Light
If you click on the Thank you, you’ll visit Holly.
Art Gown Belle Grâcedesigned and handmade by Resa McConaghy – 2021
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.
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.
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!
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!
Well, we can with Art Gowns and imagination. I choose the 1920’s! What a decade of influences to inspire an Art Gown! King Tut’s Tomb was discovered. Art Deco was the movement. Chanel and Vionnet eschewed the corset, flattening the chest and dropping the waistline.
In 1920 women’s right to vote was ratified in the U.S.A. – Cafe Society lead to the Jazz Age, and the Fitzgeralds were all the rage. Flappers were making their mark, and Zelda Fitzgerald was the most famous flapper of them all.
Cleopatra Capriccio is dedicated to Elizabeth Gracen, a 21st century Flapper. Twenty some years ago, she was the star, and I was her designer. We have remained good friends, since.
As a matter of fact, she gave me the Mini-Me I dress up to go with the Art Gowns.
It began with the gift of a sequin fabric, a leftover from a TV series.
I paired the sequin fabric with a table runner I’d hung onto since my teen years, and yardage of: a soft grey, heavy weight, acetate satin curtain lining, purchased at a liquidation sale for $0.75/yd (120 ” wide).
The dark blue Dupioni silk table runner is embroidered with actual silver metal thread. It was already a vintage piece back when I was gifted it. I cut the diamond shapes and zig-zag bordeur out of the runner.
Finally, some dark royal blue silk that had been stored for 25 years in musty storage, also gifted, rounded out the fabrics. I harvested sequins off of the scraps, and sewed them onto the silk.
I pinned CleopatraCapriccio up, but she still wasn’t as short as a Flapper dress. Still, the sequins did a fun bit.
Elizabeth Gracen arrived in NYC from a small town in Arkansas a year after traveling the world as Miss America 1982. She used her scholarship prize money to study acting at HB Studios and photography at the New School. She later moved to Los Angeles where she has worked as an actress for over twenty years, most notably as ‘Amanda’ on the long-running HIGHLANDER: THE SERIES and HIGHLANDER: THE RAVEN.
In 2012, Elizabeth formed FLAPPER FILMS, a production company devoted to developing inspiring, informational content for multi-generational men and women. Her films have met with great success on the international film festival circuit and on streaming media platforms.
In 2016, Elizabeth formed FLAPPER PRESS and published her first YA novel, Shalilly.
High, Boogapony Holly here, and it’s a total freak out to be your host in this Art Gowns extravaganza tribute to the one and only Jimi Hendrix.
I’m not a gown kinda gal, but Resa promised to fusion Boogapony/Jimi/& Art Gowns. I’m thrilled with the results. Also, all my live performances have been cancelled, the Boogapony tour van need$ an overhaul, and I get to keep the gowns.
Did you know Jimi started out in the coffee houses of NYC? Yeah, the Folk scene evolved from the Beat scene. Here was Dylan amongst many, and Jimi did record some of Dylan’s songs.
Above is what I might have l looked like in an Art Gown…back in the early 60’s hip Coffee House days. So cool, right?
Dig this! Resa designed the costumes for a film about Hendrix. I mean he’s not just like this amazing guitar player, but his style of clothing is so Art Gowns! I wonder if he got flashy fashion ideas from playing in Little Richards Band?
Below is a study she did of Jimi in ballpoint pen on Xerox paper. This was done for the interview.
A water colour Resa did for the interview.
Here’s the official trailer for the DVD release of the movie.
Love this psychedelic, Flower Power gown! The worlds really came together in this one!
We want to share these pics of Jimi from a LIFE magazine article; October, 1969. (Resa just happens to have one in her library)
“An Infinity of Jimis”
Original photos by Raymundo de Larrain – 1935 – 1977
We were listening to Electric Ladyland when Resa designed this Art Gown for me.
It made us think of the video of Denny Dent painting Hendrix on a wall at Monterey Pop Festival. He set a style still used by many of today’s street artists! This 3 min. vid is a must view!
Besides the fact we love Watchtower, this is a proper licensed video; Sony to YouTube, apparently.
Jimi was an “outasight” poet, in his own right. We can’t find a decent version of “Little Wing” on YouTube, but the words stand on their own.
Well she’s walking through the clouds
With a circus mind
That’s running wild
Butterflies and zebras and moonbeams
And fairly tales
That’s all she ever thinks about
Riding the wind
When I’m sad she comes to me
With a thousand smiles
She gives to me free
It’s alright, she says
Take anything you want from me
Fly on, little wing
On May 3, 1969 – Jimi was busted for heroin at the Toronto International Airport. After posting $10,000.00 bail, he went directly from the police station to Maple Leaf Gardens. He played to a full house.
This pic was shot from the audience. Taken by Resa’s bbf’s mom’s boyfriend, it is 51 years old, 16″ x 20″, cracked & peeling and Resa adores it.
In above slide show are some of the pieces Resa bought after the movie came out. Below is a little vid Resa did of the original SHOWTIME movie, for portfolio purposes, only.
Jimi was in the 101st Airborne. He enlisted in 1961, when the draft was in full swing in the USA. He was given a choice; the army or 2 years in jail.
While serving at Fort Dixon, Kentucky, he met bass guitar player Bill Cox. Later, after the Experience disbanded, Jimi, Billy & Buddy Miles (drums) recorded an LP, “Band Of Gypsys” in January, 1970.
Jimi died on September 18, 1970. He was 27 years old.
Feel free to leave a Jimi song/vid in your comment. Please insert it so that it is a link, not the actual video. Put a space between your comment and the link. Add an x or any character at the end of the link.
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.
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