Regency

Regency proposals gone wrong

I happened to be looking for paintings and drawings of Regency-era weddings, and I stumbled upon some proposal pictures. This led me down a fascinating rabbit hole, as there is apparently a whole body of artwork depicting men proposing and women seeming uninterested or unhappy. Behold!

Edmund Leighton, “Yes or No?”

In this painting, I’m just going to assume that the answer to the question “Yes or no?” is “No.” I’m neither a flower expert nor an art historian, but I believe the blue flowers in her hand are forget-me-nots, which leads me to speculate that she is remembering a different lover. In any case, she seems more interested in the flowers than in her suitor.

Unfortunately, I haven’t found the artist for the painting above. But again, though the suitor seems anxious, the woman looks like she’s wishing he would leave her alone. Take a hint, buddy: she’s not that into you.

Leighton “The Proposal”

Another Leighton work. The gentleman suitor here gets credit for not looking desperate, unlike some of the other paintings. But the lady can’t be bothered to look up from her fancywork. True, that could be shyness (Christina, from one of my works in progress, frequently looks down at her needlework due to shyness), but to me it looks like disinterest.

“The Proposal.” Frederic Soulacroix

On Twitter, we speculated that this poor gentleman just picked the wrong time to propose. His inamorata looks overheated. “Ugh, it’s too HOT for this nonsense!” I hear you, unknown lady. Make your suitor get a cold drink for you. He might as well be useful, am I right?

Soulacroix

Shout out to MJ Lloyd, who found this painting by Soulacroix. This is the first Regency proposal picture I’ve seen where the prospective bride seems happy. Note, too, how physically close the couple are. In many proposal paintings, there is a large space between the two people. In a few, the bride is actually leaning away, like in the painting below.

What caught my attention about this image was the way the woman leans away from her suitor, as if trying to get as physically distant from him as she can without falling off the sofa. But then I found myself asking “What is going on with the dead animal under her feet?” Followed by “Why did he tie his cravat as if he were a present? Does he think he’s God’s gift to women?” So many questions, really.

Finally, for further viewing pleasure, check out this article from The Toast. And I’ll end with a satirical engraving from 1805, in which the woman might be happy to be courted.

Published by Laurie & Whittle. Image from the Library of Congress.
Book Announcements, Picture Book Journey

Coming soon: A IS FOR ANTHONY

I can finally announce that one of my picture book manuscripts found a home with Aquinas Press, and is scheduled for publication this fall.

A is for Anthony: An Alphabet of Saints and Animals will be published as a booklet, similar in format to other books from the Lives of the Saints series. It’s an alpabethical collection of mini-stories about saints and their interactions with animals. Some of the saints are ones everyone has heard of (St. Francis, of course), while others are more obscure.

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MAGECRAFT AND MURDER: complete!

Last spring, I began experimenting with Amazon’s new serial format, Kindle Vella, trying to see how it might work for a young adult novella that I had completed. The work in question wasn’t really publishable in a traditional format because of its short word count, but I wondered how it might do in bite-size formats. So, I published Magecraft and Murder in 32 installments under the pen name of T.A. Rollins.

Did it work? I’m not sure. Because the story wasn’t really written with the serial format in mind, I don’t know that it maintained tension the way an ideal serial story would do. You really need to master the art of the cliff hanger when you’re writing serials, and I don’t think I captured that in this work. Ultimately, I’m not sure that Vella is the right format for me, and I may stick to writing traditional novels in the future.

But, success or failure, the novella is now complete on Kindle Vella, so you can follow the mystery through to its end!

Challenges

50 Precious Words: Kitten to Owl

It’s officially time for Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Precious Words contest, in which kidlit writers try to compose a complete story (beginning, middle, and end) 50 words or less in length. This is, in my opinion, the most challenging of the blog-based writing contests I know, because of the brevity. Here’s my entry! This year, I’ve gone for humor.

Kitten to Owl

“Today I’ll be an owl,” said Kitten. He climbed a tree and perched on a branch.

“Hoo! Hoo!” He hooted. But it sounded more like “Mew! Mew!”

Passersby panicked. “Help! There’s a kitten stuck in a tree!”

The fire department rescued him.

“Tomorrow I’ll be an ostrich instead,” he decided.

an owl perched on a tree stump, depicting what kitten is pretending to be
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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October Wedding

Note: This is my entry for the 2021 Fall Writing Frenzy. Check out the contest page to read other fabulous stories!

The sun set over the little church in the woods. At last, the bridesmaids could begin to decorate. Cobwebs, autumn leaves, and withered daises festooned the walls.

The organ began to play “The Dead March.” The doors to the church flew open, and in floated the bride, her tattered white dress flying behind her in the breeze. A veil covered her from head to toe.

Where was the groom? A groan ran through the congregation. Heads turned. Eyes peered. Would the wedding be canceled? The mother of the groom rattled her bones nervously.

But wait! Col. Hampton’s carriage rattled up to church, surrounded by a cloud of grave dust.

“Sorry we’re late,” the coachman gasped. Col. Hampton tipped his tricorn hat at the congregation and strode towards the altar, as confident in death as he had been in life.

“By the power invested in me,” creaked the clergyman. “I now pronounce you ghost and fright. You may kiss.”

When the groom lifted his bride’s veil, some of the audience fainted at the sight, but the colonel just smiled. “As gruesome as the day we met!” he said, as he beheld his bride. And they all (un)lived happily ever after.

Fall- Credit: Julia Solonina / Unsplash