On Facebook recently, I was asked to post about a different sort of visual inspiration: my heroine’s clothing. Emma, the heroine of The Garden Intrigue, is at the forefront of the Paris fashion scene. Like her role model, Josephine Bonaparte, her chosen color is white.
The white dress was to 1804 Paris what the little black dress is to modern New York. In this painting of a frolic in the gardens of Malmaison, you can see the overwhelming preponderance of white dresses among the ladies:
In Paris, unlike London, diaphanous and clingy were in. Emma’s dresses would have looked much like the one being modeled in this 1804 portrait of the wife of Napoleon’s foreign minister, Talleyrand:
To get a sense of just how fine the fabric was– and how beautiful the detail– you can click here to see a close-up of Betsy Patterson’s 1804 dress now in the Metropolitan Museum’s costume collection. (Personal side note: as a high school student, I interned in the Met’s costume collection and got to play with dresses very much like this one. The level of detail and the delicacy of the fabric are incredible. It amazes me that they’ve survived.)
Here’s the whole dress:
Emma doesn’t always wear all white. Sometimes, she wears a colored tunic over an embroidered underdress, as in this picture of her frenemy, Caroline Murat:
Being a small person, Emma likes to build up her height with feathered headdresses, like the one in this picture. And, like Josephine in this 1805 portrait, Emma is very fond of sparkly accessories:
The jewelry of the period tended to be large and gaudy– and Emma was all about that. This set of blue pressed glass cameos is exactly the sort of thing I could imagine her wearing for a weekend at Malmaison:
Although I searched, sadly, I couldn’t find a good picture of the scandalous French fashion for open sandals and diamond or cameo toe-rings. But I’m sure you can picture it!
Huge congrats to Rosemary, whose new on-line magazine, Laptop Lit Mag, has just launched!
Here’s the magazine’s mission statement:
The laptop is a universal symbol of the up and coming generation. It is extremely rare to find a twenty-something without one. We used to go to the library to quench our thirst for a good story, we now power up our laptops.
Laptop Lit Mag is a place for young readers and writers to share their love of words from their laptops. We are a one of a kind generational publication, meaning we feature work written by people of the Millennials Generation for people of the Millennials Generation. Our authors are the up and coming writers of tomorrow, writing about what is important to them now. Their writing, from contemporary lit to fantasy, exemplifies what it means to be a part of the twenty-first century.
Our content speaks to a fresh audience. We are dedicated to giving emerging writers a voice and to providing young readers with a place to read work that is relevant to them. There is nothing more frustrating to a young writer than being unable to find somewhere that is open to your new style. There is nothing more aggravating to a young reader than drowning among stories that do not interest you. Laptop Lit Mag satisfies both these needs.
Head over there and check it out! All the content is entirely free.
If you’re a short story or poetry writer looking for a place to publish, you can find their submissions guidelines here.
I know, I know, I’m only the last person in the continental U.S. to get around to reading the rest of the Hunger Games trilogy. There was a bit of deja vu in seeing the Games all over again, but it was still a compelling book.
I am so very lucky to be joined on book tour by two of my favorite author friends, Deanna Raybourn and Tasha Alexander.
Come see Deanna at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale on Thursday, February 16th– we’ll have champagne and chocolates and lots of copies of both of our books. (If you can’t be there, you can order signed books here.)
Then Tasha Alexander and I will reprise our “oh my goodness, how caffeinated can two authors get?” routine on Wednesday, February 22nd at the Barrington Area Library in Illinois. There’ll be tea and cookies and two ridiculously perky authors. (Things got a little silly in Houston back in November when Tasha and I took the stage after consuming a few liters of Diet Coke. It took us about thirty minutes to pause for breath. There may have been some discussion of doing an interpretive dance routine on the table.)
In addition to the new contest on the Contest page (check it out!), there are some other new features up on the website:
— You can find some of the background works that went into creating The Garden Intrigue on the Bibliography page;
— the Book Club page has been updated with discussion questions for Night Jasmine, Blood Lily, Orchid Affair, and Garden Intrigue, as well as Q&A and some little essays for all those books and Mistletoe (as always, if you’d like me to phone in to your book club meeting, just email and let me know!);
— and reviews have been added to the Reviews section of the Garden Intrigue page.
If there are other things you’d like to see on the website, just let me know!
— Some of my favorite novels come out of Tor Books’ long ago Fairy Tale Series, in which contemporary authors were invited to revisit old stories. My two top picks of the series were Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin, set on a college campus in the 1970s, and Patricia C. Wrede’s Elizabethan-set Snow White and Rose Red.
— Beauty and the Beast appears to be a popular theme. Elizabeth Hoyt’s To Beguile A Beast and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’ A Rose in Winter (a book I adored as a teenager) both make use of the Beauty and the Beast frame.
— I’ve always liked the fairy tales less traveled. Kate Holmes’ The Wild Swans does a great job with that tale (I’d wondered how someone would cope with a heroine who isn’t allowed to speak for the bulk of the story) and features a rather Miles-like hero.
— There was a novel that came out last year or thereabouts based on the Twelve Dancing Princesses– and it’s driving me nuts that I can’t recall the title (especially since I’d meant to read it, then never got around to it). Anyone else remember?