(Parthenope seated at her workbench, Bacigalupo in an easy chair by the fireplace.)
Bacigalupo: ‘May I speak?’
Parthenope: ‘One moment. Counting.’ (pause)
Bacigalupo: ‘Is this one of the very tiny ones?’
The Masked Ball rapidly approaches and I thought that you may like to know a little about the friendship that is the foundation of the ball.
I am mesmered and this is the blog I set up in late November of last year, ostensibly to talk writing, my books and the dream of publication. When The Stumpwork Robe was published in Dec of 2008, I had contacted Bo Press to buy a tiny book called The Silk Road for a friend of mine who had just turned 60. I talked briefly via email to the artist because in a previous life I had created artists’ books including a couple of miniatures of my own. As we communicated initially, I told her that I had just been published in the UK, whereupon she immediately bought my book and reviewed it on Amazon. This was Pat Sweet.
I am quite over the dramas of the moment. I am sick and tired of my heart flipping back and forth like a fish on the hook every time the door opens. I am seeking out Parthenope and Sarina because when we are together the three of us, we have many laughs and besides I want their advice on my gown. My dressmaker has completed it and it is divine. I was a little concerned that the white wouldn’t become me, but as my hair is chestnut coloured and my maid has streaked it with lemon juice to provide highlights, I am confident that this at least, I can pull off. As to the confidence of having de Fleury as my partner and having Blakeney stalking him like a hunter stalks deer . . . well that is a whole other thing.
Niccolo sighed and lifted the decanter on my writing table to pour a wine, handing me a goblet and beginning to talk. At first all I could do was stare at his magnificent profile, the aquiline nose, the hair that he had cut fractionally but which was clean and touched his shoulders. ‘Lucia, I tell you this in the belief it will go no further than these walls and that if it does, I shall have to mesmer you. Or worse.’
This is the next Patricia Sweet instalment of The Masked Ball. (Pat, Rebecca and myself are the joint authors of the official Masked Ball story) Pat runs the studio www.bopressminiaturebooks.com
To my most esteemed Friend and Mentor Samuel North or Della Nord as you are known by the Venichese, from one now calling himself Rodolfo West in Veniche:
As I continue to write The Shifu Cloth, my share of the blog posts for The Masked Ball, the short story for The Masked Ball miniature book and the edits to Paperweights, I am finding my mind has to compartmentalise. To be frank it isn’t easy and when I return to both Shifu Cloth and Paperweights, I find I have to read a significant amount of the previous chapters to ground myself in the flow of that particular work. Which is probably why I choose to make the story posts I contribute here, fairly light, spoofish and V.V. short. So here we go with my next contribution, with the help of the wicked face of Guy of Gisborne alias Niccolo de Fleury.
Before I add another chapter to The Masked Ball, this time from myself, I must tell you that my Niccolo de Fleury is a mere caricature, a light pencil sketch, even a cartoon. He was loosely inspired by the real Nicholas van der Poele, alias Niccolo de Fleury, who is one of the most extraordinary creations in the world of Historical Fiction. Nicholas van der Poele, (de Fleury) is a blonde Renaissance man from Bruges with a stupendous intellect that enables him to range across all the political, economic and cultural demesnes of Europe in his time. Dorothy Dunnett wrote 8 books about him and I love every single one of them and would like to say without fear of correction that I believe she is the greatest historical fiction writer the world has ever seen. Equally my Sir Percy is a caricature of the most excellent Sir Percy Blakeney of The Scarlet Pimpernel and if either of my characters prompt you as reader to dash off and read of the real characters in the afore-mentioned books then I will, quite simply, have done my job. Having said that, if ever there was a movie made of The House of Niccolo, I can actually imagine Richard Armitage in the role as he has proved himself time and again through North and South, Robin Hood, Spooks and no doubt with his upcoming and more contemporary TV dramas that he could pull off the convoluted and intricate character that is Nicholas van der Poele. I must also add, if anything has really inspired me in this whole Masked Ball story, it’s the perfect creations from Bo Press Miniature Books