Monthly Archives: July 2011

Is Fashion, Beauty and Beauty, Fashion?

Or, If clothing is both pretty and functional, does that mean it cannot be fashionable?

In doing research for my 1930s set ongoing fiction project, I’ve come to the startling realization that the decade was not considered, well, all that fashionable.  I am using fashion in a very specific sense here, to mean not merely what is worn but rather what is influential in clothing design beyond the moment at hand. 

I noticed this when thumbing through my historical fashion bible: Fashion: The Collection of the Kyoto Institute (A History from the 18th Century to the 20th Century)

Specifically, the section on the 1930s is about 10 pages while the section on the 1920s is about 50. 

This tells me several things.  First, that clothing in the 1920s was varied, interesting, innovative, and influential.  Second, that clothing in the 1930s was not.  You could give a representative sample and cover the major design developments in a handful of pages.

What this also tells me–perhaps a confirmation bias, since from looking at photographs and design plates from the decade I already considered it as such–is that it was a very WEARABLE time period. The clothes were for the most part simple, underwear was uncomplicated, lengths and styles were practical.  This was the era of the morning dress, the afternoon dress, the cocktail dress, and the evening gown.  A morning dress could last through the afternoon, an afternoon dress through cocktails, a cocktail dress through the evening, if necessary.  The fabrics were practical, the adornments limited. 

This was the era of the beach pyjamas and specific sportswear for riding, tennis, golf, because ladies could do those things freely now.  It was the era of hats and gloves and reasonable heels (2-3″ instead of our ridiculous modern 4-5).

The clothes were beautiful.  They were flattering to the basic shape of women’s bodies.  But they were not that innovative or so over-the-top that they shaped fashion for decades to come.  No wonder I look at all the silhouettes and think, “I want that”–they are so unfashionable as to be timeless.

Yes, please.  More of this.

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Filed under Ramblings, Research

I Mean Eager, You Hear Anger

Or, Primary Definitions in Individual Lexicons of English

I had an interesting exchange about word meaning recently.  Well.  Let me rephrase; I had a rather boring exchange about word meaning that led me to an interesting point of contemplation.

After the contretemps of That Review Which Will Not Be Named, I saw in my blog stats that Thursday (the day the review posted) was my second-busiest day ever–second only to the day two traditionally published romance authors mentioned via Twitter one of my posts.  Feeling like I needed to make something positive out of the situation, I pointed out my increased traffic.  I used the word “furor” in my tweet to describe the flurry of comments on the review, and the reviewer responded with something like “was there furor?” 

I read that, I think correctly, as her wondering if in fact I had been outraged over the review and just hid it well.  That that interpretation of my words was her first reaction made me question my usage.  I immediately checked Dictionary.com, but it reassured me that I understood the word correctly to be enthusiasm, energy, hectic  events, etc.  It also can, apparently, be used to mean outrage, anger, frustration, etc.  My usage was the first (primary) definition; hers was the third definition.  I sent her the link and “see #1,” and all was well.

It got me thinking, though:  how much do our own individual word definitions or associations influence what we read?  The possibility does not occur in person-to-person conversation, because there is tone and expression to offer context.  When I say “furor” with a laugh in my voice, the way I speak tells my listener I didn’t mean outrage.  But in writing?  All a reader has is the words on the page, as they are presented, and sometimes context is not enough to illuminate the author’s meaning.  In the case I am describing, the misreading occured because the word has more than one accepted (and fairly commonly understood) definition, and either could make sense in the context.

More insidious a problem than that, however, is what writers should do with the words it does not occur to us that someone might have a different “first definition” for?  I am not sure where I learned “furor,” for example, Jane Austen or Shakespeare or Georgette Heyer.  Regardless of its origin for me, it has never been a word I associate strongly with its lexicographic cousin, “fury.” 

Thus, the crux of my conundrum.

I mean, if I understand that I am using a non-standard definition of a word, or that it is a word I recognize as having several meanings, I can add cues in the sentence to make my usage unambiguous.  But how am I supposed to anticipate the confusion engendered by someone else’s idea of that word, when I’m not consciously aware of the definition they go to first? 

Clearly, the pitfalls that trap us are the ones we don’t even realize are there.

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Humble Pie Is a Dish Best Served Cold

Or, The Law of Averages Said This Was Bound to Happen

I’ve mentioned that the response to What You Will has, so far, been positive.  I have not been omitting a legion of bad reviews or selectively editing the excerpts or anything like that; there simply haven’t been that many mentions of it.  You can imagine my delight when this morning it showed up at the top of one of one of the best romance blogs out there, Smart Bitches Trashy Books.  This was not a surprise, exactly, since I had approached Sarah about reviewing it, but I didn’t know if she would or if she would have much to say.

She did…and she did.

I do believe I am still blushing.  Apparently I like me some semi-colons like fat kids like cake:  to distracting and destructive excess.  I need to lose 40 pounds of them and view them as special treats.

And my hero was a tool (eh, I can live with that; a lot of people in this world are jerks, including me quite often), and I had some wonky descriptions (this I can’t live with; if I hadn’t already fired my editor for the singular typo which has been pointed out, I would for this egregious blindness in not spotting points of ambiguity or obtuseness or just plain what-does-that-even-mean-osity).

I have no issues with anything Sarah wrote; it was an enlightening perspective for me.  A needed, if embarrassing, reminder that just because I like my style, and just because my friends who haven’t studied writing do, that doesn’t mean it’s not improvable.  I can always, always get better, and I think sometimes I forget to really work to do so, because production is the harder part for me.  And so it is, but that’s no excuse for slacking off on the prose editing end just because it’s mostly okay, or good enough.

In the end the one thing I did have an issue with is the commenter who said the excerpts sounded like the book was written in a foreign language and translated via online translator.  ?!  I may be overly pedantic, but I am quite fluent in English, fuck you very much.  But otherwise, good useful stuff.

And at least one person said she still wanted to read it.  That is called victory.  Even if victory is spelled with a D+. 

You can read the review here (and if you respond with comments please be polite, because I am quite grateful for the advice that was offered!).

As Tobias Funke would put it:  Onward and upward!

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Someone Else Loved What You Will!

I had my first unsolicited review pop up over at Smashwords on What You Will.  It got rated 5 stars and the buyer was kind enough to leave some words of praise:

“This is an enjoyable short Regency romance with a great plot. It’s a quick read and I can’t wait to read the other twin’s story.”

So we’re currently batting two five-star ratings and two “looking forward to the next one” reviews.  I call this…winning. 

Also Twelfth Night has been selling quite well, with almost as many copies picked up in the first few days as What You Will got in its first seven weeks (already in double digits between the two sales avenues!). I have no way to tell if these are repeat buyers and thus all the sales I can expect any time soon, or new people who stumbled ontoTwelfth Night first.

Interestingly, I have sold more copies of Twelfth Night in the UK than in the US on Kindle (which does break out separate reports based on location, since technically it is different stores), which…surprised me.  Not sure why, except that the US romance audience is bigger, so I’d expect the proportion of US sales to be bigger. But maybe Amazon UK is such a smaller pool of independent writers that it’s easier for prospective readers to find me?  Or maybe it has to do with some of my Twitter network being based overseas?  Or maybe the Regency historical market is stronger in the UK than the US, even if the US reads more romance overall?  Hard to say.  But interesting, even if it’s just a coincidence.  Fact is, the numbers I’m talking about are small enough that even a stray sale or two can skew the statistics, so take all of these trend reports with a grain of salt…I do.

The main thing is, response continues positive if not overwhelming, and that is enough.  This is a long-tail game, and I maintain my belief that as long as what I’m writing is quality, it will be read.

Have you read one of my stories?  Let me know what you thought!  You can comment below, of course, or leave me a review on your blog, or Amazon, or Smashwords, or Goodreads, or Twitter…on the bathroom wall at your favorite dive…grateful for it all!

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Hero of the Week: The Painted Woman Blog

Or, Why I Love the Internet

I will start by answering that tease:  I love the internet because it makes authors of us all.

I don’t mean this in a snarky way.  I’m being completely serious. The internet is the world’s greatest publisher, and the greatest platform for crowdsourcing information in human history. All it requires is one person with a passion for some strange, random niche, and the rest of the world can access in a matter of minutes or hours what that person spent days or weeks or years researching.

Most of us are not researchers, in that we are not happy digging through material that may or may not contain the information we need on the vague hope that it will.  Especially for my Generation Google, that is a disgusting waste of time.  Sure, you might learn a few interesting facts along the way, but are they really worth those lost three hours when you could have found what you needed in three minutes on the web?

Most people who blog on very narrow topics share a few things they intentionally set out to find, but vastly more things they just stumbled across along the way. What makes the internet awesome is that it gives people a place to share those snippets instead of shrugging and moving on to the information they were really after. And what makes the internet even more wonderful is that it’s free for the rest of us to find that information–free, in a financial sense, yes, but more importantly free in a more abstract sense, in that the information available is no longer limited by what the gatekeeping institutions of publishers and editors and librarians and archivists judged to be important.  It doesn’t matter if some literatus thinks the information or perspective is worthwhile to publish just for posterity, or likely enough to attract an audience to be profitable to publish; what matters now is if someone, somewhere, was engaged enough by the information to write a few sentences or paragraphs about it. 

Also, of course, the wonderful specificity with which the information can now be searched removes one of the other great inhibitors of free information.  Information now can be parsed quite narrowly with a discerning data matrix so that you find exactly and only what you were looking for.

The specific case that has me thinking about this is my Grand Friday story, which I have rapidly realized will take at least a few brush strokes of research on:

  • clothing
  • accessories
  • modes of travel and times involved
  • luggage
  • automobiles
  • cocktails
  • southwestern England (climate and geography)
  • art deco houses (decor more than architecture but perhaps architecture, too)
  • names

The autos are a simple Google search, the names a US Census Bureau/baby name book search, modes of travel and times from Wikipedia, cocktails from a cocktail revival movement website. 

The luggage, accessories, and clothing I snagged in one place, a fabulous (and sadly, seemingly defunct) blog about life and glamour in the 1930s, The Painted Woman.  There are enough posts and enough words on the site to make a short book, at least, but the writers never got paid for it, never had to worry about whether the topic had a broad enough appeal to be “worth” publishing, never had to see their research consigned to the dusty university library shelves never to be unearthed again because the closest Library of Congress could bring anyone needing the information to their book was “History: America: 1930s: Travel” and “Fashion: History: 1930s.”  Compare those to the Google algorithm search terms of “popular luggage brands in the 1930s” and “what went in a handbag in the 1930s.”

Oh, and the sources the blog references? They link to them, and I can follow the immediate gratification trail to the Metropolitan Museum website for their exhibit of exquisite evening gowns from the era, or the British Museum’s collection of jeweled cigarette and powder cases, and when I’m done perusing those side topics, I can go back to the first site and keep reading.  Or I can save the other pages for when I’m done with the first, depending on how much my ADD is acting up, but what I don’t have to do is leave my seat and go find another book and then physically thumb through it to find the information I need, which may or may not be in more depth in that volume than it is in the one which credited it as a source. With the internet, if the source cited is not yielding anything new, it is a matter of minutes wasted to discover that instead of hours.

I know scholars and professors and researchers will blather about the “unreliability” of information on the internet, but the fact is that most people out there writing about the topics too esoteric to exist in traditionally published books are knowledgable about their topic.  Why there should be an assumption that more people would take the time to talk about something they don’t know well, than something they do, is beyond me.  If you’re spending your time researching a time period becuase you love it, are fascinated by it, secretly wish you’d been born into it, and want to share what you’re learning with someone else who might feel the same way, why would you share misinformation?  You wouldn’t, at least not intentionally, and if you do and find out where you went wrong then you correct it with an open mea culpa.  You share the things you learn, and you share your sources–the 1930s Girls About Town frequently use old dress pattern books and advertisements in their posts–and help make the topic as accessible and transparent as possible to those who are coming to your site, reading your hard work, and benefitting from your passion…which was the entire reason you decided to start the website about it in the first place.

I love that I can find websites like that which have a singular focus and can provide me exactly what I need to know. I do not mind researching or reading widely on a topic if I can see that I’m getting exactly the knowledge I need and other useful knowledge I didn’t even know I needed but can tell that I do need upon seeing it; I have read almost the entire archive of that site, and it took me several hours of fairly intense focus to do it. So when I say I’m not a researcher what I mean is, I don’t have the patience to read 500 pages to distill the useful 50–but I will gladly and attentively read those 50 someone else distilled for me.  I can and will spend hours reading on a topic…but only if I’m finding what I need. What I cannot and will not do is spend hours reading and have only a small fraction of them be useful.

So, Internet, I love you.  Forget all your elitist haters; they’re just mad because you have stripped away their relevance. And 1930s Girls About Town–thank you for your blog.  It was amazing while it lasted, and I, for one, have both enjoyed and been enlightened by your words and your research. My story will be stronger for it, and you enabled me to continue its tight publication schedule because you gave me in one night everything I needed to know to move forward.

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Filed under Digital Revolution, Ramblings, Research

Grand Friday: Chapter 1, Part 2

Ah, here it is, friends, my latest Friday grand free fiction installment.  Miss the opening gambit?  No problem.  Chapter 1 Part 1 is all you need to be caught up!

___________________________________________

I arrived just before noon on a Wednesday, tired and hungry and travel-worn.  I’d left New York on Friday morning, disembarked at Avonyard just after dawn, and taken a taxi right to the station to catch the day’s train to Taunton.  My luggage was by necessity light enough for me to manage on my own; all I carried was my tourobe and my hat bag, and together they were still enough to make me shine with exertion after ten yards or so.  My green tweed suit had seen three days of wear and had acquired at least a couple wrinkles to make that clear, although I fancied it still looked smart at a distance.  I had donned my black cloche that went with everything, and my fashionably short hair peeped around my neck only a little less glossily than it normally did thanks to the sea spray it had accumulated over the past five days.

The Taunton station was small, hardly more than a platform, and only a handful of travelers disengaged from the train on its boards.  I did not see anyone with Aunt Helena’s flair for millinery drama waiting on the platform, but there was a large black luxury car idling just beyond the ticket booth. 

When I began to walk toward it, the driver stepped out and came forward to assist me with my bags.  I will admit it; I stopped walking and let him come to me.  The luggage was that heavy, and I’d barely broken my fast with toast and tea before disembarking, and—well, it was what Aunt Helena paid him for, and she had stressed to me on many occasions the value of letting someone do the job you are paying them to do. 

He greeted me with a respectful “Miss Holling” and collected my bags with no apparent effort.  I preceded him to the car, my step lightening with every pace forward.  Now that my physical burden had been lifted, so too was my metaphysical one.  I was in England for only the second time in my life, with my favorite person in the world; whatever came of the summer, I was determined to enjoy myself while I was here.

Aunt Helena leaned across the seat to open the rear door.  I could see her hand flap at me and then disappear.   

She had settled back into her seat when I stepped into the car.

Perched over her dark curls was a fedora of emerald green with two peacock feathers rising from the right side to accentuate its jaunty angle and a ribbon of turquoise silk banding it.  It clashed wonderfully with Helena’s rose-colored crepe tunic dress, which to my eye was more appropriate to a morning shopping in town than a country drive.  This was what passed as conservative daywear for my aunt.

“You look absolutely peaked my dear,” she greeted me, a half-drunk glass of champagne in her hand and a bucket full of ice and green glass at her feet.  “Have you not had a drink yet?”

A drink was Aunt Helena’s answer to every ill, and, from her perspective, it was a failsafe.  I laughed as she pulled out a second glass from the hamper between us and poured me a restorative bubbly.

“To plans coming to fruition,” she toasted once the glass was in my hand. 

I raised my rim to hers to acknowledge the toast and sipped the effervescent wine.  It tasted like freedom, and that sweetness was irresistible.  I took another mouthful and savored every sour pop across my tongue and under my palate, feeling dashing and insouciant.  I had learned long ago that it was never wise to be cautious in Aunt Helena’s presence—she took any hint of restraint or reticence as a personal challenge to be overcome—but I had always striven to constrain my recklessness to prescribed parameters, to a certain circumspect naughtiness.  But right then, I did not want to play safe.  Perhaps it was the lack of sustenance or the fatigue of having traveled for five and a half days straight or the anger at Geoffrey I didn’t want to acknowledge, or perhaps it was a growing frustration with a course of life that had begun to seem predictable and mundane, or perhaps it was the final frantic rebellion of a young heart preparing to assume the mantle of maturity, but for any of those reasons, or none at all, the freedom Aunt Helena offered me felt beguiling.  It had before, of course; but the difference was, this time I was ripe for seduction.

I took another drink.

“You look well,” I said to my aunt, and meant it.  No reason, of course, that she would not still look in perfect health from where she had been six months prior, but that was not everything.  Helena also exuded a certain satisfaction which implied life was exactly what she wanted it to be at that moment. 

“And you, my dear, look tragically colonial.”  The driver shut up the trunk, having finished stowing my two Hartmanns, and climbed into the front seat.  “I hope you did not bring too much in the way of clothes,” Aunt Helena continued as he shifted the vehicle into driving gear and rolled it forward.  “Since I knew you would be coming, I took the liberty of shopping for you before I left London…there mightn’t be much room left in your armoire for anything you brought from home.”

I smiled.  I had known better than to pack very much, because Aunt Helena was forever buying me clothes.  She loved dressing me, almost like I was a doll to her, but surprisingly, considering her own choices, she used the canvas I presented as a place to exercise her skills at understated good taste.  In her company I was always perfectly put together, never outrageously bedizened either in or against the extremities of the current mode, and I never knew if Aunt Helena made different choices for me because she recognized I was in a different place in my life (and the world) or because she did not want any competition as the best-dressed lady in the room.

“I found some simply dazzling cocktail dresses for you, my dear.  They were much too young for me, but you will quite do them justice, and so I could not pass them by.  That did mean I have had to specifically plan a cocktail party for some of our evenings here, in order to give you reason to show them off.”  She did not sound as though it had been a heavy imposition.  “At least it is the country, where no one will mind if we are a little less formal for dinner.”

“I look forward to wearing them.”  And I did.  “But perhaps you might tell me what kind of house party you have planned?  Is it very large?  And how long will everyone be staying?”

Aunt Helena smirked.  “I am pleased to say that everyone I invited has chosen to attend, so we will have a houseful with twenty guests, and you and I.  The first of them will arrive tomorrow evening, and most will leave on Monday, though I suppose there will ever be a few spoilsports who decide to return home on Sunday.  You and I, of course, will not leave for Ripley until Tuesday, at the earliest.”

“Is there anyone in particular you are looking forward to seeing?” I asked slyly.  Aunt Helena was on the market again after her third husband had divorced her the summer before.  I had never seen her play the role of seductress, and I hoped that she would be doing so this weekend.  I could imagine nothing more enlightening—or entertaining—than seeing how a woman such as her brought her chosen husband to the point of proposing.  And there would, of course, be no question but that Aunt Helena had chosen him long before he chose her.

“Oh, there is someone I’m quite counting on introducing to you,” she replied, and I smiled again.  Oh, yes, this house party was going to be amusing.

I settled back into my seat and admired the view passing by of rolling green hills and the green-gold haze of sunlight off summer grass.  I finished my champagne and held out my glass for more.

“It sounds most diverting,” I replied, and Aunt Helena laughed. 

“Indeed.  I rather expect to find it so.”

It should have been a warning.  But I was too happy to be in her company and too mellowed from the wine to pay any heed to whether my aunt and I were likely to find the same situations amusing.

______________________

Move on to Chapter 1 Part 3

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Twelfth Night – First Scene

Olivia Gardener is the toast of London.  Charismatic and beautiful, she can command the attention of every man in the room—except the one she wants.  But when a risqué wager threatens to end in scandal, will her old friend prove she already has his heart and save her from her own folly?

London, 1818

Miss Olivia Bellatrix Gardener was in the mood to behave badly.  It was a mood she knew well, for she was a fickle creature of mercurial temper.  That was a known fact of her character. 

In fact, it was part of her charm.  And she was quite charming.  Everyone thought so.  With rare exception, none of them notable, people liked Olivia.  Well.  Men liked Olivia.  Some women found her antics amusing and some found them inspiring, while others were jealous of her admirers, her beauty, her confidence, her…impunity. 

Olivia did not much care for the opinions of those women.  They could not control her entrée into the drawing rooms and salons of London so long as she did not step beyond the bounds of acceptably high spirits.  Olivia knew that line within an inch, and she walked it about that closely.  But as long as she was on the right side of it, the women did not matter.  The men mattered.  They had the titles.  They had the power.  They had the right to choose—and they chose her.  They liked her.  They liked the heavy blonde hair she knew how to toss just so, and the green eyes that glowed with enthusiasm or mischief, because Olivia had only two moods:  delight or bedevilment. 

She was never sure what brought about the latter, but it had ruled her since she was a child.  She was helpless to deny it and rarely tried. 

Olivia could not, in point of fact, remember ever trying to resist misbehaving once the mood to make trouble struck her.  Surely there must have been times when, as a child, she had thought better of one or another of her schemes…but she could not recall the occasion now.  What she remembered instead were the innocent capers of a high-spirited girl—taking her father’s hunter for a ride and leading half the grooms he employed on an hour-long chase.  Stealing a jug of hard cider before Twelfth Night and spending her twelfth birthday getting roaring drunk.  “Falling” out of the boat on a lazy lake outing because she’d accidentally seen Viscount Mabry’s son, Francis, swimming the day before and had wanted to try it for herself.

Her punishments had never been severe enough to curb her behavior.  They had taken the form of extra lessons, usually, so Olivia was set to reading books her twin didn’t have to and plunking at the pianoforte for hours more than Viola played her harp.  But their governess had to discuss the books with Olivia to be sure she had read them, and extra music lessons meant extra praise when she played well.  She hadn’t been allowed to ride for three months after the hunter incident, but when the privilege was reinstated it came with a new horse, one energetic enough to keep her busy during a ride so she wouldn’t feel the need to take out one of her father’s horses because her own placid pony “bored” her. 

Between the lack of significant consequences and the almost compulsive grip of her mischievous moods, Olivia had never found a reason to fight them.  Perhaps if she had any real notion of what caused them, even, she might have resisted better.  But the smallest things could cast her into that hell-bent mindset.

Tonight, for example.  Olivia had no idea what had turned her mood.  There she was, on her way downstairs, excited and glowing with enthusiasm for the Twelfth Night masquerade—also her nineteenth birthday celebration—the first one dressed and mad with impatience for the festivities to start.  Then she had heard her father’s voice, and after just a few eavesdropped words she had noticed how much her shoes pinched and how the edge of her domino cloak was scratching her arm and how a pin was digging into her scalp intolerably.  Suddenly she almost hadn’t even wanted to go to her own party.  Her delight in the evening ahead vaporized under the heat of discomfort and petulant dissatisfaction, and it sent her back up the stairs in a pout over her hair.

“What is it, darling?” her mother asked when Olivia burst into her dressing room.  Anne Gardener sat at her vanity while her abigail coiled and twisted her hair into a dozen or more ropey strands.  Mrs. Gardener was masquerading as Medusa, complete with fake snakes that attached to her headband and kohl-darkened lips. 

“There is a pin stabbing into my scalp most distractingly.  Millie will need to re-dress it,” Olivia lied.  Exaggerated.  There really was a pin stuck a bit too hard into her hair.  It was just one that she likely could have adjusted herself without damage to her coif…but if she had done that, then she’d have had to stay downstairs.

“Francis, you know we have discussed this before, and we both thought it best to wait a bit longer.  But I no longer see the need for delay.  Viola has not shown a particular interest in any man this year.  She has not shown a particular interest in men, period.  I see no reason for you to put off your suit any longer.  It is my hope, in fact, that you will make your offer presently.”

Her father’s words of but a few moments past.

Olivia did not want to be downstairs for their consequences.

 “You’ll have to wait until I am dressed,” her mother decreed.  “Arthur was expecting me down—”  She turned her head just slightly, just enough to read the clock out of the corner of her eye.  “—five minutes ago.” 

Olivia sulked, exactly as her mother expected her to for being made to wait.  Anne had no idea, of course, that Olivia had reasons for wanting to wait.  For dragging her feet about attending her own party.

Olivia tried to think about why that was as she watched Millie’s deft hands tie off yet another braid of Anne’s long, light brown hair.  Olivia and Viola’s hair, too—fine and slightly waved, too golden to be a true brown and too dark to be a true blonde.  Perfect English hair, to complement the creamy perfection of their rosy skin.  His English rose garden, Arthur liked to call them.

Why his pronouncement to Viscount Mabry should have soured her mood, Olivia did not know.  It was nothing she hadn’t expected since she and Viola came out last spring.  Francis had been expected to marry Viola for two years or more, after all, waiting only her formal debut and a nominal chance to peruse her options.

Not that Viola had taken the chance.  She was a veritable wallflower, while Olivia was the reigning queen of the debutantes.  In truth, Olivia felt a little bit sorry for her sister.  She hadn’t really become acquainted with any other man, which meant she would marry Francis without knowing if there might be someone else she would prefer.  And Francis was—well, Francis was Francis.  It was a little difficult for Olivia to judge him as the world must, because she had known him her whole life, or close to it.  He was the family friend, older, wiser, and childhood hero to both girls.  Olivia had looked up to him just as Viola had—but he had only ever tried to play that part for Viola.  It was a heroism that came at the cost of painting Olivia as the villain.  In his eyes she had been too reckless, too rash, too headstrong, and Francis had wanted to protect her sister.  From her.

Viola had never complained about where Olivia led her.  Francis was the only one who seemed to mind….

__________________________________________

Want to know more?  Twelfth Night is available now through these fine ebook retailers:

And be sure to check out Viola’s story, What You Will, as well!  (Also available via Smashwords and Amazon.)

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