"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas to All!

From Me

And Jewel & Ruth

And Diana the Duchess

It has been quite a long time since the last blog post. I've been extremely busy, as usual, with book-related activities, volunteer work with the diocese, and travel to the UK. While there I returned to Berkeley Castle, which I've visited numerous times in the past.

 On this occasion my purpose was very specific. The family very generously allowed me to view and photograph these portraits of the First Duke and Duchess of St. Albans, the primary characters in A Pledge of Better Times, painted slightly later than the action of the novel.

We had a few days in lovely, familiar Clifton and Bristol, then on to Bath to meet a historian friend and see two Georgian-themed exhibits--one on naughty ladies of the era, the other on costume.

From there we headed to Windsor, to re-visit sites connected with the Beauclerks. I was granted permission to enter the private chapel in which the Duchess is buried, in St. George's Chapel, pictured here. It was an emotional and wonderful experience.

 On to London, for the usual round of visits with friends, Christmas shopping, excellent dinners, a play (Shakespeare in Love, adapted from the film for stage performance), and museums. I did some research in the Manuscripts Room at the British Library and spent an afternoon at Kensington Palace, which features in the novel. I had some wonderful strolls through the parks--the weather was excellent!

At the Ritz

London was looking very Christmas-y. 

The staircase at Fortnum & Mason.

Looking up and down from the mezzanine.

Santa in one of Selfridges' windows.

A Britain-themed Christmas Tree in the Selfridges Christmas Department.

And back at home, our own tree, which we cut at a local farm the weekend after Thanksgiving. (After a huge snowstorm!)

2015 will bring the publication of a novel, quite a lot of travel, plenty of writing, and I sincerely hope more blogging than I've managed in the past 12 months!