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Getting Dressed in 1665

There’s a growing collection of videos being made showing how women —and sometimes men— got dressed in various time periods.

Here’s a link to one, showing how a woman got dressed —all the various layers and the whys and wherefores — in 1665.

That’s the same period as the painting on the left —  Vermeer’s famous painting called Girl with a Pearl Earring.

If you’re interested in the painting, you can read more about it here. I’ve always thought that pearl was exceptionally large to be worn by an unknown artist’s model. In those days all pearls were natural and therefore accidental, and one that size would have been exceptionally rare and the kind of thing that only a queen could afford. I was interested to see that the authenticity of the pearl was questioned in recent times, and thought by some to be polished tin. That sounds much more likely to me. But who cares? It’s a very beautiful and evocative painting, and the pearl adds beauty and mystique. 

The clothing video is here:

When the hero arrives

I love the moment in a story when the hero arrives. When I’m writing it, I sometimes have a clear idea of what the hero looks like, and other times I find a photo on line that hits the spot. Often it’s not the physical appearance that is my hero, but something else that strikes me, a tone, an expression, a feeling that the image gives me.

In MARRY IN SECRET, the hero, Thomas appears in a dramatic stop-the-wedding moment.

Here’s a short excerpt — and here’s the image I thought was quite Thomas-ish. You can see that it’s not an exact description of this image of Viggo Mortensen—no broken nose, a beard, but not a really heavy one, and so on  — but it’s an evocative image and it suggested the feeling of my Thomas to me.
What do you think?

The stranger stood in stark contrast to the smoothly groomed and elegant congregation. He was tall and gaunt-looking, but his shoulders were broad—a laborer’s shoulders. His clothes were ill-fitting, coarse, the trousers ragged and patched in places. He wore no coat. His shirt was too flimsy for the season and his shoes were of laced canvas, dirty and with visible holes.

If he knew he was grossly out of place in this, the most fashionable church in London, interrupting the most fashionable wedding of the season, he showed no sign, no self-consciousness.

He was heavily bearded. Thick hair rioted past his shoulders, wild and sunbleached. The face above the beard—what she could see of it—was lean and deeply tanned, the skin stretched tight over prominent cheekbones. His nose looked as if it had been broken at least once. The tattered shirt sleeves revealed tanned, powerful-looking muscles.


Austen heroes

I blogged today on the Word Wenches about a panel I was on the other day, part of the Melbourne Writers Festival.

We discussed Jane Austen and whether her books were romances or not. And we talked about heroes, and why some of her leading men were heroes, why some, we felt, were not and others could never be. The post is here, if you’re interested.

And since so many of you enjoyed my link to the “It’s Raining Men” video, here’s another little visual treat, a video of the scene where this took place—click on this link to watch it.