I was a shy kid growing up… glasses, pigtails, my nose in a book, but I came alive on stage. I think that’s because there I could be someone else who wasn’t always the ‘new kid’.
You see, I went to fifteen schools growing up.
But there was one thing constant in my life on every birthday no matter in which state we lived.
My mother’s butter vanilla cake.
Every birthday Mom made me a cake from scratch. Sometimes milk chocolate icing, or lemon or coconut , but always that soul-melty butter cake. Sweet but not too sweet, smooth, silky cake and dollops and gobs of yummy buttercream frosting.
So this year when my publisher BOLDWOOD BOOKS asked us authors to do a video to celebrate the phenomenal success of the company on their 3rd birthday, I so wanted to make Mom’s butter vanilla cake but–
For the past three weeks, I’ve been obsessed with finishing my next Paris/Berlin WW2 novel (many all-nighters) — handing in the manuscript, then working on the edits from the best editor a writer could ever have. Amazing lady who challenges me to write the best books I can. I’ve been with Nia Beynon from the beginning of my Boldwood Books’ journey and she’s the best.
I’m proud to say I’m the first American author they signed in 2019.
On this fab occasion, I want to wish Team Boldwood a very happy 3rd birthday!!
I hope you enjoy my birthday video — I shot the vid at my local fancy bakery…
And if you look close enough, you’ll see that little girl in an insert in the video… with glasses and pigtails wound on top of her head.
The Lost Girl in Paris
My heroine, Angeline de Cadieux, is a Roma girl in WW2 Paris… she’s strong, fights in the Resistance… makes exquisite perfumes and comes up with an amazing marketing campaign during the war to boost morale in France.
The Resistance Girl
Juliana discovers her grandmamma was a famous French film star in Occupied Paris & her shocking secret…
The Runaway Girl
HER LOST LOVE
Downton Abbey is but a memory… but it will be forever in our hearts.
Do you remember that first scene when a messenger on a bicycle brought a telegram to the Crawley family that would forever change their lives?
A telegram about two male relatives lost at sea.
On the Titanic.
Hard to believe it’s 110 years ago today the grand ship Titanic left Ireland.
So in honor of the souls who perished that night and those who survived, here is a lesser known story about the Titanic.
And the pig.
According to the New York Herald on April 19, 1912: Five women saved their pet dogs and another woman saved a little pig, which she said was her mascot.
The reporter goes on to say that she didn’t know how the woman cared for her pig aboard the Titanic, but she carried it up the side of the ship [the Carpathia, rescue ship] in a big bag.
How did the pig get into the lifeboat?
Was the little pig traveling first class?
In a word, yes.
More about this intrepid little piggy and the important part it played in the sinking of the Titanic later. First, it seems you can’t get away from pigs and the Titanic.
In the Julian Fellowes’ mini-series Titanic, a passenger in third class isn’t happy about traveling steerage to New York. She tells her husband that her daughter said their Irish Catholic family is like six little pigs packed into that cabin, all trussed and bound for market.
They’re not the only Irish aboard the ship with pigs on their mind.
Ava O’Reilly, the heroine in my historical romance, THE RUNAWAY GIRL nearly doesn’t make it on board the ship because of a pig.
Katie runs away from the grand house where she is in service after she is wrongly accused of stealing a diamond bracelet. The law is after her, but she has one chance to escape.
Will Ava make it on board the Titanic before she sails? Only by the skin of her teeth.
Does she see the pig during the crossing?
Few passengers did because the cute little pig with the curly tail was the lucky mascot of Miss Edith Russell.
She loved to wind up its tail and it would play a lively musical tune similar to a two-step called Maxixe.
You see, the pig was musical pig.
The reporter on the Carpathia didn’t know the real story behind Miss Russell’s pig. How it was given to her after she survived a horrific motorcar crash. She promised her mother it would never be out of her sight. When she realized the Titanic was sinking and she’d left her mascot in her cabin, she sent the steward to retrieve her lucky pig.
Still, Edith was hesitant to get into a lifeboat. When a seaman tossed her pig into a boat (believing it was a baby wrapped up in a bag), Edith insisted on getting into the boat, too. Its nose was gone and its legs broken, but Edith and her little pig escaped in lifeboat no. 11.
Overcrowded with sixty-eight passengers (nearly one-third were children), Edith realized her little pig could comfort others as it had her. She wound up its tail so it would play music for the children. Most of the little ones stopped crying as the pig’s sparkling musical notes calmed their fears.
Its furry, white-gray body wet with sea spray.
Its cute grin giving them hope they would be saved.
It was the little Titanic pig that could.
Thanks for stopping by!
The Runaway Girl
I’m exhausted. I stayed up till 10 a.m. PDT this morning promoting Christmas Once Again on my pub date. It was a blast. My publisher, my editor were right there with me, along with bloggers and fans.
We tweeted, I facebood’d, created Instagram stories. It was wild.
I have to admit, I was nervous. Will readers embrace a time when life was so different? I’ve poured my heart into this story about a time when there were no cell phones, so social media. Kate’s family (the heroine in my story), has a phone, but back then they had party lines. Everybody on the block shared the same phone line.
Neighbors Facebook’d over the fence while hanging out laundry to dry on the clothesline.
Newspapers were the 24-hour TV channels, coming out with Special Editions when important war news broke.
Soldiers and their girls wrote letters to each other. On paper. Words poured out by a lonely serviceman on an atoll in the Pacific or the cold, damp woods of the Ardennes in France. Girls sealed their letters with a kiss with Victory Red lipstick.
That is what I miss most about that time. Letters. Ink may fade, but the words are more powerful today than ever. There’s something cold and distant about an email. A digital fingerprint with printed words that look the same no matter who types them.
But a letter…now that has the personal signature.
The bold writing…looping letters…your sweetheart’s familiar scrawl that tugs your heart when he signs, ‘All my love.’
The smudge of dirty fingerprints that held a rifle and trudged over the beaches of Normandy to protect our country.
Coffee stains spilled from a tin cup when an enemy sniper surprised a young corporal.
Dried blood smeared on the envelope rushed into the mail pouch at the Red Cross camp by a wounded Marine.
And to the soldier, the most important signature of all: the scent of his sweetheart’s perfume. Every tired bone in his body, every aching muscle melt away. He can’t erase the horrors of war, but the lovely scent that is so distinctly hers takes him back home, if only for a few seconds. But it’s enough for him to keep fighting.
And promise he’ll come home to her.
It’s that world I write about in Christmas Once Again.
A journey you won’t forget.
I’m back with another Quarter Days’ post about Michaelmas
True Janeites (fans of Jane Austen) might be interested in a fun website I stumbled across while researching a story I have in the works.
The “Chronology of Pride and Prejudice, according to MacKinnon and Chapman” takes us through the detailed timeline of P&P’s events. (Oh, to be such a renowned author that fans prepare a chronology for your novel.) I don’t know about my fellow A Slice of Orange authors, but I always have to check and double-check that I have the story days correct.
Pride and Prejudice begins when Mr. Bingley takes the lease to Netherfield Manor and moves in.
As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, Quarter Days might be occasions for feasting and parties, but they also had a commercial significance. Contracts were entered into or terminated, property was leased, and rents and wages were paid. Thus, as the story begins, a wealthy bachelor in need of a wife kicks off the story by becoming a neighbor of Mr. Bennet, a man with five unmarried daughters.
And Mr. Bingley has been kind enough to bring along an even richer bachelor friend! Well of course; late summer/early autumn was also the start of hunting season, when a man might welcome parties of friends to tramp through his fields and shoot birds. Mr. Bingley would want to show off his new domain to his influential friend, Mr. Darcy.
Bird season began a bit later, in September running through October. Hunting in Britain was very much dominated by the elites, even during periods of economic downturn and food scarcity. Ownership of weapons and even dogs was restricted, and penalties for poaching might include transportation. (See my post about this topic.)
Autumn was prime house party season also because families had shipped off their young males to boarding school in time for the Michaelmas term. No young boys would be running about distracting the shooters or worse, accidentally shooting themselves in the foot. They’d be back home though for the next Quarter Day, Christmas, which is when I’ll return to A Slice of Orange. See you then!
Even Sleeping Beauty wouldn’t have gotten a wink of sleep at the RWA 2012 Conference in Anaheim near Disneyland. I didn’t. I was as busy as the Mad Hatter running from workshop to workshop and shooting video. Lots of video. 12 GB worth. That’s 12 billion bytes as in billion.
This week I’m going to spotlight three of my favorite RITA award winners, beginning with OCC’s own TESSA DARE!! Super congrats, Tessa, well deserved.
Tessa Dare, winner of the RITA for “A Night to Surrender” — her thank you to her hubby is beautiful.
Joanna Bourne’s wonderful tribute to teachers everywhere in her RITA speech for “The Black Hawk”
And here is the video everyone is talking about…
Ann Aguirreâ€™s RITA speech for YA “Enclave” including her now infamous “interpretive dance.”
Now if you’ll excuse me, like Snow White’s dwarf, Sleepy, I’m…going to…take a nap…zzzzzzzzzzz
A Slice of Orange is an affiliate with some of the booksellers listed on this website, including Barnes & Nobel, Books A Million, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords. This means A Slice of Orange may earn a small advertising fee from sales made through the links used on this website. There are reminders of these affiliate links on the pages for individual books.
Bailey Devlin believes in fate. . .and luck. . .and fortune telling.More info →
While he’s haunting Miss Fenwick, Miss Fenwick haunts him.More info →
One October morning in 1932, Vicente Sorolla entered the white house on the hill and was never seen again. Now, Detective Dori Orihuela witnesses his brutal murder in her nightmares.More info →