For one point: describe your absolute ‘must have’ in your Ball reticule.
Building a Mask, Part Two by Pat Sweet, my inimitable guest blogger . . .
A letter from Signora Neroni!
“….my niece Vittoria, whose first season in Society was not the success her mother could have wished. Vittoria is an amiable child, but still hobbledehoy, and one of those girls who cannot dance a single quadrille without looking as though she has been pulled backwards through a hedge. Annietta has persuaded me to give her a season here in Veniche. We hope it will be like a greengrocer who pulls off the battered outer leaves of a cabbage to give it a crisper look. Vittoria is determined to appear at the masquerade costumed as a unicorn, a delicate compliment, as she sees it, to a youth in whose family coat of arms it figures, and with whom she is besotted. The mask she has ordered would instill a hearty respect in the bravest hero, for the horn’s an ell if it’s an inch, and the end of the animal’s nose extends a good two feet from her own.
Sometimes the oddest things inspire, arriving in one’s life at just the right time. I’m working on the first draft of a fantasy fiction at the moment, entitled The Shifu Cloth. Part of it takes place in a Far Eastern inspired country called The Han. My female protagonist, Isabella, meets a character at the time of the Lantern Festival which heralds Spring. And I wondered what this character should look like . . . clothes, mannerisms etc. I had done much research on China and Japan but the research pressed no buttons. And then my dearest embroidery friend gave me a notebook (see left) and suddenly my dilemma was solved. This was my character . . . except in the story, I have given him glasses. He needed to appear myopic and studious, as well as inscrutable and I’ve always liked the way occasionally light shines on rimless spectacles, effectively blocking out eye expression.
If I wasn’t a fantasy writer, I should dearly love to write historical fiction. And as a reader, this year I have tried to read mostly hist.fict. which includes those I listed in my shopping spree last night as well as a re-visit of the unparalleled Dorothy Dunnett. To me, these top rated authors are paying an enormous compliment to time past, to our ancestors, to the breadth of experience that has brought us to this point in our existence. None more so than those who write of ancient Rome. I have read Marius’ Mules this year and below is my review of it for Amazon.com:
My favourite bookshop had their pre-Christmas sale tonight with wine and cheeses and lots of laughs. I went with the best intentions to shop for others and I did . . . truly. I bought my brother the latest Michael Connolly and I bought my daughter two wonderful books as well. But then there was The Complete Annotated Book of Fairytales and Felicity Pulman’s Rosemary for Remembrance Rue for Repentance, Kim Wilkin’s The Autumn Castle and Sharon Penman’s Time and Chance. And most specially Mr.Bliss . . . beautifully printed and in a dark green cloth-covered slip cover. My altruism went out the window. I had shopped for myself. Hardly the spirit of giving. But then I paid for it all with my mother’s birthday gift to me, so guilt doesn’t weigh quite so heavily.