Thursday, April 30, 2009


So, have you ever wanted to read (or re-read) Middlemarch? (You really should--it's one of my mostest favorite books ever!) Now is your chance. The "Fill in the Gaps: 100 Project" is hosting "Middlemay," a virtual book club reading MM through May and part of June. I have a lot on my plate this summer, but the chance to discuss this book with other readers is very tempting....

And I'm also at Kwana's Blog today, talking about the anthology!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Costume Con

I really, really wish I could be at this Costume Con this weekend! It must be amazing to see that many gorgeous costumes all in one place. But I'm afraid my mother would revolt if I asked her to make, er, say 5 new costumes for an event...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Also at Vagabonds

And I'm also at Romance Vagabonds with Diane and Deb, talking about the new anthology (and giving away a copy!)

Risky Tuesday

Over at Risky Regencies today, talking about teh sexiness...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hottie Monday--Clive Edition

This week's Hottie Monday is dedicated to Megan! (And, let's face it, it's also for myself...)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm Back!

I'm finally back home, with full computer access and 400 emails to wade through! I missed my email and blogs soooo much, but once in a while it's essential to have a break. Keeps my creativity from drying up (not a good thing when I have 3 projects on my plate and more in waiting!), and keeps me from going crazy (not to mention freezing in that "poised over computer with clawed hands" pose).

I was at a mineral spa up in the mountains, not far from Abiqiu, called Ojo Caliente. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous place, perfect for those times when what's needed most is peace and quiet (and the unknotting of muscles). Then there were a few days in Santa Fe, with some very un-spiritual shopping! Found a great dress for RWA this summer...

And, of course, there was reading. As usual, I hauled about a bajillion books with me (must get a Kindle soon!), but once I was there none of them appealed. The tiny bookstore had many spiritual-meditation type books, two romances, a few Southwestern-theme mysteries, and (for some reason) lots of YA. So I read Breaking Dawn (I know, I am wayyyy behind the curve there), and a very fairy-tale-ish book called The Amaranth Enchantment, which (I admit it) I bought for the beautiful cover, but which proved to be sweet and fun and just fantasy enough.

A great trip. But now I have piles of laundry to attend to...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hottie Monday--Twilight Edition

Okay, see my post below about supervising my friend's daughter's slumber party last weekend, and finally stupefying all the noisy, crazy 11 and 12 year-olds into blessed silence with a watching of Twilight. Tough job to look at Robert Pattinson for 2 hours, but someone has to do it. Plus the soundtrack is awesome.

Then this happened.
Friend's daughter: "He is so hawt. I wish he was my boyfriend."
Me: "Um-hmmmm. You and me both." (where is my wine???)
FD: (sternly) "Aunt Manda! Edward is much too young for you."

Hmph. Well, considering "Edward" is like 120 years old, I would have to say he is not too young for me (I hope). Also considering my real-life on-off-on-off sweetie is, er, only about 2 years older than Robert Pattinson, I guess I am just a dirty old woman. Ah well--there are worse things to be. :)

Plus, there is just something about those sensitive, artistic, intense, self-deprecating, slightly strange Brits that gets me every time (especially when they're also musicians)...

(BTW, when I went on a search for pics for this post, I got more Google results than from anything else I've searched, ever! Whoa, this guy has a vast fanbase on the web, and they have LOTS of free time for making websites and tribute videos, LOL. I read way more about his sanitary habits, or lack thereof, than I need to. I'm just saying. I am sure I had my own tween-er crushes when I was a kid, but I don't remember wanting to know if they use deodorant and wash their hair, let alone getting hysterical about it. Did you?? Besides, it's not like the pics are scratch-and-sniff...)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Gone For a Few Days

I am off to a yoga retreat for a few days! But don't worry--I've left a post for Hottie Monday, be sure to check in then. In the meantime, don't have too much fun without me!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What I'm Reading Today

Research for a glimmer of a story idea...

Agent for a Day

Nathan Bransford has "Be An Agent For A Day" going on his blog until Saturday (here)! Give it a try. I always thought it must be tough to be an agent (or editor), with so very much work on your plate, and so many queries and proposals pouring in every day. After reading through these, I see it's even harder than I thought! I think I'll stick to writing (though it's no walk in the park, either...)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hottie Monday--DWTS Edition

In honor of this season's Dancing With the Stars, Hottie Monday features...Gilles Marini! (He dances, he does martial arts, he looks great nekkid!)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone! Even though it's cold and rainy here today, I love Easter. It feels like spring has really started, with all the girls in their fancy dresses and white shoes, the thought of green grass and pastel eggs. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Red Lipstick Help!

Slumber party update--all went well! There was much running, shrieking, gossiping, Wii-playing, then settling down to watch Twilight. (We watched the whole movie, then there were various requests to re-watch some scenes, so that took up a good 3-4 hours. It's tough to gawk at Robert Pattinson that long, but I'm a good godmother and did it for the kids...)

So, something else that's been vexing me. I've been in a lipstick rut for a long time. I'm addicted to pinky-rosy-beigey lippies, and clear-pinky glosses and balms (like Bobbi Brown balm in Petal--love that stuff). But lately I've decided to branch out, try something that's scared me for a long time. Red lipstick.

Now, I have heard many times that there is the right red out there for everyone, we just have to be patient and persevere (sounds like dating, huh?). I haven't yet found the right red, maybe because I try one or two, they don't work out, and I give up in exhaustion (also like dating!). But I want to be old-school glamorous sometimes, like Dita Von Teese or something, so I'm trying again.

I am trying three right now. MAC Russian Red, Clinique Angel Red, and Chanel Fire (I have heard good things about Poppy King's Medieval and Saint Red, but this line isn't available anywhere near where I live!). The MAC is pretty good. I am very pale, with pinky skin, dark hair, blue eyes, and I have a hard time drawing "inside the lines" when applying lipstick (maybe why I stick to pink glosses?). Any suggestions needed!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Slumber Party Madness

So, I'm crazy. I agreed to help a friend supervise a slumber party tonight for her daughter's birthday. A bunch of 11-year-olds, stuffed full of sugar, oh noes!

I don't have any kids, of course, and have not had a slumber party since I was in high school. I have no idea what good activities might be. But I have a cunning stand-by plan (to paraphrase Blackadder). They can watch Twilight (again), which I know my friend's daughter loves. Then we're all happy and (hopefully) quiet. :)

Any advice for me???

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Another Fabulous Exhibit

Another reason I need a trip to Europe right now! An exhibit of costumes from The Duchess at Chiswick (see info about it here). I've been lucky enough to visit Chiswick, it's a beautiful place with lovely gardens, a perfect party house and a great place to view these costumes. Wish I was there. Waaah! (surely I could just pop over the Atlantic for a few days, see the Versailles exhibit, hop on the Eurostar...anyone with me?)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Hottie Monday

Because I had so much fun with Hottie Monday last week, I decided to try it again! Who doesn't need a bit of cheering up on Mondays??? And, because I was watching Australia over the weekend, this week's featured hottie is Hugh Jackman...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Little Dorrit Part Two

Tonight is Part Two of the BBC's Little Dorrit! I was really enthralled by part one last week, despite the fact that this is definitely not fun escapism, a la Northanger Abbey. In fact, it's almost painfully prescient in the way it reflects this country's own current circumstances (massive debt, ponzi schemes, double-talking, unfeeling politicians!). The atmosphere is bleak and dark, characters solemn and secretive. And the cast is huge and complicated, even for Dickens (top-natch casting all around, too--but I can't help wondering where is Judi Dench, LOL). Yet I can't stop watching, and wondering what will happen next even I already know (nothing good!)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Another Great Exhibit

And yet another reason I must get to Europe ASAP! The Court Pomp and Royal Ceremony exhibit at Versailles. It sounds amazing.

I'm also playing around with the images on the blog, adding as many Versailles-ish things as possible! It's definitely a WIP. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Henry VIII Anniversary

I wish I could take a trip to England this year! There's so many amazing events planned for the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII's accession to the throne. Now, I don't much like King Henry (though I do like several of his wives!), but there is no denying this period was fascinating. Some highlights of the anniversary include:

An exhibit at Windsor Castle

"Henry VIII Remembered"
at the National Portrait Gallery

An exhibit and related events (including films) about Henry VII and VIII in Richmond at the Museum of Richmond

"Henry VIII: Romance and Intrigue" at Sudeley Castle (the last home of his last wife, Katherine Parr)

Exhibits and events at Hever Castle (family home of wife two, Anne Boleyn! This one looks like a big, fun Renaissance Faire)

"Dressed to Kill"
at the Tower

Living History Weekend and Tudor Water Pageant, June 20-21 (I really, really wish I could see this!)

And much more. (Closer to home, I think the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC is having an exhibit in the fall...)

Anyone planning to attend any of these???