podcast // a more realistic ever after

This episode is late because a) I decided to reread A Civil Contract and b) I have a bad habit of playing chicken with deadlines.


She’s not a beauty, he’s not a rake. She’s in love with him, he’s in love with someone else. What on earth will happen? [A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer]

goodreads // podcast site

this bookish thing

This is a ramble. There is no other way of putting it. And worse – it’s a rambling ramble. I’m not sure what the difference is, but you have been warned.

// the lift of the book ban, the rise of my bills //

georgetteheyeronstairsI gave up buying books for the entire month of September. My bank account thanked me, but ohhhh white chocolate it was hard.

It’s now October. And the book buying ban has been lifted. Amazon is sending me books. Can I refuse them? No. No, I can’t. It would be rude.

Thus far, three books have arrived through the post box: a biography about Georgette Heyer, Simon The Coldheart by Georgette Heyer, and a look at the Regency world found in the books of … Georgette Heyer.

I’m starting to suspect that I might be a fan of hers.

// ‘anything you can polite, I can polite betterrrrr’ //

At work recently, I served a customer. This is not an unusual thing. I serve customers all the time. However, this customer chucked me headfirst into the most excruciating battle of ‘Who Can Out Polite The Other’ I’ve ever accidentally been in.

We thanked each other for every. little. thing. I was quite exhausted by the end of it. He won. For certain. He was the most determinedly polite person I’ve ever met.

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it was this, in verbal form … but worse

// words and words and words //

Due to one thing or another, I’ve been struggling to write. But no more! This autumn, I am finishing the rewrite of The Dragons We Hunt. Bring on the murderers! Throw in the dragons! Let the adventure and blood and sweat and late nights and tears begin!

25930798// … and he used an axe. AN AXE! //

At the moment, I’m reading Joan of Arc by Helen Castor. (Let’s not talk about how many times I’ve had to renew it at the library.) And it’s really good –it’s a bit of history that I’m not too familiar with, from a perspective that I’ve never really considered. It’s quite gripping.

I mean … plot twist I wasn’t expecting what happened to John of Burgundy to happen.

My jaw dropped and I wanted to grab a nearby co-worker and rant about it but:

  1. I didn’t want to go down in modern history as ‘The Mad Woman In The Staff Canteen’
  2. The co-worker wouldn’t have appreciated being grabbed and told ‘so, there was this bridge and this Dauphin and this duke and ohmergosh THEY ACTUALLY DIDN’T HAVE PEACEFUL INTENTIONS AT ALL!’
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Alas, I don’t think they would’ve shared my shock

have a great weekend!

podcast // wishes, crusaders, and gardens

If you marry a man for his bank account, you’re called a gold digger. So what do you call it if you’re marrying a man for a rose garden … a garden digger? … a gardener? No? Okay. [The Rose-Garden Husband by Margaret Widdemer]

And Phyllis Braithwaite, the little Liberry Teacher who had been living in a hall bedroom on much less money than she needed, found herself alone, sole mistress of the great Harrington house, a corps of servants, a husband passive enough to satisfy the most militant suffragette, a check-book, a wistful wolfhound, and five hundred dollars, cash, for current expenses

 ebook // podcast site // audiobook

i have excellent pronunciation

WordPress tells me that it and I have been friends for three years. Before that, I was aquantinces with blogger and I feel as though it would probably be more appropriate to talk about the differences between the two platforms. BUT! That’s not what tonight’s post is about …

My friends, I am quite delighted to announce that I am officially launching a podcast show. (Series. Season? Wut iz de lingo?)ofwordsandbookspodcover

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It is creatively called of words and books (because I thought ‘i blame myshelf’ could sound negative and my brain, though begged, refused to give up anything that was a) better, b) not taken up or c) wasn’t a level 1 bad, awful, no-good pun.) It will be:

  • a weekly podcast – a new episode either Monday or Tuesday
  • full of book chats – I love talking about books and want to talk with you about them. The written word is brilliant. The spoken word is too. With this blog and this podcast? Best of both worlds.
  • have a few interesting pronunciations.
  • be (hopefully) increasing in quality with every episode.

The first episode is entitled How Do You Reform a Rake? and should show up in a nice media box beneath this paragraph. If it doesn’t … WordPress? After three years? This is how you repay me?!


[Edit: The box refuses to show. I have begged youtube for aid. Aid has been granted.]

Fear not, it shall not all be rehashed blog posts. I have authors and books aplenty that I want to share with you. The Rose Garden Husband is next week’s book, and after that I intend to persuade you that A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer is one of the best things since tea was invented.

The future is bright and bookish, my friends!

my podcasting site // post i used as inspiration // this episode

Recountings: Eloping Sisters and Replacement Brides

A long time ago, I discovered something wonderous … free books! And so I dived into that marvelous place known as Project Gutenberg. Many adventures did I have, and here is one of them …

Marcia Schuyler

by Grace Livingston Hill

First, a confession: for an obscenely long time, I had no idea how to pronounce ‘Schuyler’. I ignored it, pretending it was a sort of ‘Marcia S-silentletters-ler’. I only knew that I enjoyed reading this book.

Now – let’s not dawdle, let’s plunge in and see if I can convince you that you will enjoy it too.

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Our story opens with fresh-faced and innocent Marcia leaving her home to pick berries. She will sell these and use the money to buy some fabric for a dress she wants to make. In a few days her sister is getting married to David. David is a Man. A Good Man. A Worthy Man.

Only … Kate, her sister, is a flighty thing. A selfish flighty thing. Marcia doesn’t see this – she loves her sister, after all. But the facts are there and Kate is a Piece of Work.

Things Happen. A small (not an enormous amount) of drama ensues: Kate is being a little too friendly with a Captain What’s-His-Face, David arrives home in darkness, mistakes Marcia for Kate and kisses her. Over the garden gate. ON THE LIPZ!!!

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In a gentle and pleasant way, David brushes this off like he does his teeth every morning*. Kate is still a Piece of Work and Marcia is gradually growing to wish that she had her own Good ManTM.

And then … and then the morning of the wedding dawns. But Kate isn’t there! Her bedroom is empty. Empty! Rather thoughtfully, she’s left a note. But a note doesn’t really replace a bride.

Poor David – the woman he loves has eloped with dashing Captain Thingybob. Poor Kate and Marcia’s father – he’s shamed, shamed!

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Something must be done. But what?!

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And it is here that Marcia’s life changes. Because her father speaks:

“It is terrible!” he murmured, “terrible! How could she bear to inflict such sorrow! She might have saved us the scorn of all of our friends. David, you must not go back alone. It must not be. You must not bear that. There are lovely girls in plenty elsewhere. Find another one and marry her. Take your bride home with you, and no one in your home need be the wiser. Don’t sorrow for that cruel girl of mine. Give her not the satisfaction of feeling that your life is broken. Take another. Any girl might be proud to go with you for the asking. Had I a dozen other daughters you should have your pick of them, and one should go with you, if you would condescend to choose another from the home where you have been so treacherously dealt with. But I have only this one little girl. She is but a child as yet and cannot compare with what you thought you had. I blame you not if you do not wish to wed another Schuyler, but if you will she is yours. And she is a good girl. David, though she is but a child. Speak up, child, and say if you will make amends for the wrong your sister has done!

Yup! You read that right – seventeen year old Marcia is offered to David. As a replacement bride. To stop the scorn, right a wrong and save the family name.

As you do.

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And Marcia, pitying David and feeling so very sorry for him says …

“If David wishes I will go.”

(This is just chapter five, by the way.)

So she marries him.

And the equation of:

heart-broken man + innocent young girl + marriage

goes just about as well as you could expect. And this is just the start, folks. There’s Miranda (who’s brilliant) and a Dangerous Man and Betrayal and Anguish and Moral Peril and Bonnet Buying and a satisfactory Villain Is Found Out scene and … it’s clean, dramatic perfection.

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// … and you can enjoy it too, right here //

Happy Reading!

*this metaphor may not make much sense, but I feel quite proud of it. Actually, this begs the question – would David brush his teeth every morning? Because … time period and history and hygiene. Hmmm …

The Coolest Dude to Ever Dude

If you’ve hung around my blog long enough, you may have noticed that I quite like Georgette Heyer’s books. (If you haven’t noticed, I give you the evidence of: How do you reform a rake? Deathbeds and [plenty of] Adventure, and A Dash of Heyer.)

Ah-hem. Moving on. The time has come to discuss one of her side-characters. He’s long been a favourite of mine. I have decided to share him with you.

311165It is my firm opinion that Lord Legerwood – found in Cotillion – is the best thing since sliced bread, second-hand book shops and a hundred bars of white chocolate.

book summary // to set the scene

Kitty Charing can inherit a fortune from her irascible great-uncle Matthew when she marries one of her cousins. Kitty is not wholly averse, if the right nephew proposes. Unfortunately, Kitty has set her heart on Jack Westruther, a confirmed rake.

To make him jealous and to see a little more of the world, Kitty convinces cousin Freddy Standen to pose as her fiance. In London with his family, she hopes to render the elusive Jack madly jealous.

New friends embroil her in their romantic troubles, sprinkling witty banter with Parisian phrases. Her French cousin, Camille, a professional gambler, has won the heart of Olivia, in turn the object of Jack’s dishonorable intentions. Doltish cousin Lord Dolphinton has fallen for a merchant’s daughter in conflict with his mother. Kitty herself wonders who is really right for her.

Freddy is not known for his initiative, nor for his intelligence. His father – Lord Legerwood – is aware of this. His father is awesome. What follows is a beautiful journey in a blossoming father-son relationship.

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bear with me and lemme show you

‘I shall have to hatch a scheme or other,’ [Freddy] decided.

‘Do you think you will?’ enquired Lord Legerwood, regarding him with a fascinated eye.

Slowly, over the course of the book (and with far too few scenes for my liking) Lord Legerwood’s attitude towards his son changes.

‘Offended you, sir?’ asked Freddy intelligently.

‘Not at all. How came such an idea as that into your head?’

‘Notice more than you think,’ said Freddy, with simple pride. ‘Never call me Frederick except when I’ve vexed you.’

‘Almost you encourage me to look forward to a brilliant career for you!’ said his lordship, impressed.

He realises that his son has:georgetteheyerbooks

‘… depths hitherto unsuspected by me, my dear boy.’

Freddy has a sister, Meg by name, who is quite flighty.

‘Oblige me, Freddy, by telling me if Jack Westruther is often to be found in Berkeley Square?’

Freddy’s brow darkened. ‘Too dashed often, for my taste. No need for you to trouble yourself though. Keeping my eye on Meg!’

Lord Legerwood, sustaining yet another shock, said faintly: ‘You are?’

‘To be sure I am. What’s more, got my own notion of what’s in the wind.’ He nodded portentously, but added: ‘Don’t mean to say anything about that: not my affair! Trouble is – beginning to think he’s too damned loose in the haft!’

‘I have thought that any time these past seven years,’ said Lord Legerwood.

‘You have?’ said Freddy, regarding him with affectionate pride. ‘Always say you’re the downiest man I know, sir! Up to every rig and row in town!’

‘Freddy, you unman me!’ said his father, profoundly moved.

I could harp on about Freddy or the Twist of Pure Wonderousness that can be found in this novel. But I won’t. I will restrain myself. Because this post is dedicated to Lord Legerwood. An epic father. The Coolest Dude to Ever Dude.

I wish to commission someone to:

  1. create a time machine
  2. beseech Georgette Heyer to write a book for Lord Legerwood. (Scenes of him getting pleasantly surprised by his children, his wife or even a multitude of wildlife would be brilliant.)

Thank you and good night.

// if the quotations haven’t convinced you that Lord Legerwood IS the Coolest Dude to Ever Dude, I would suggest checking the book out right here //

death of a bookworm

paintroom.JPGIt’s late and I’m tired. I’ve spent most of the day painting. It’s going … all right. I can’t say I’m wonderful at it, but I manage. My jeans are covered in white finger prints. My bedroom is jammed like a bad game of Tetris.

Two bookshelves have been emptied, their contents piled in corners and stacked along the radiator. Apparently, I own quite a few books. A third of which I haven’t read. (I’m pulling that figure out of thin air. It could be half. I’m not sayin’.)

What on earth is she rambling on about? you wonder. (Yes. I can hear you.) Get to the point already.

I have a book buying habit. It doesn’t matter if it’s an ebook, a second-hand book or a brand new book … all come into my possession with a quiet frequency. And so my shelves grow more packed and my to-read pile grows up and up until they’ll be using it in basic astronomy:

Question: How far is to the moon? Answer: Ness’s to-read pile.

But … that isn’t the reason of this post. (Ha. I haz mizlead you. Maniacal Laugh.) I don’t feel guilty about my to-read pile. In fact, I’m comforted by it – the books are there for me when I need them. I can pick them up right now, next week or next year. They aren’t – to my knowledge – going anywhere.

I love owning books. Love having a personal library that I can gloat over occasionally. I love being rich in words and stories.

And yet, I’ve come to a decision. It doesn’t really have much of a reason behind it. (Other than self-induced torture. Obviously.) As with most of my decisions, it is impulsive and will not be immediately regretted.


I feel as if I need a drumroll.

I – Ness Kingsley – have decided …

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… that I am not going to buy a single book in the month of September.

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Wish me well, my friends – already do I hear the siren’s call of kindle offers, charity shops and the marvel of Amazon’s one penny books.

he just had to go and smirk, didn’t he?

All bookworms have pet peeves. Here are a few of mine:


“So you love me, do you?” said Tom with a smirk.

When a character smirks, I assume that a) they are probably telling an off colour joke or b) they are a villain. You’ll forgive me for getting a little annoyed at a hero who has the downright gall to smirk his line. It is my firm belief that there is nothing attractive about smirking.

There is, however, a great deal of satisfaction to be had imagining a hearty slap to a smirking face.

love triangles

It was hard on the poor girl. She loved Harry with all of her heart. This was odd, for only last Saturday she had told Jonny the same thing. We were forced to conclude that she was a Time  Lord.*

A human being can love more than one person. This is a simple truth. I understand it. What I don’t understand is: a) how a heroine can be selfish enough to keep dithering between who she really, really loves (keeping both unfortunates hanging there, hoping that they will be picked. Gosh, it’s as if this is some literary form of The Bachelorette) and b) the two love interests actually put up with it.

Love conquers all, it seems – including self-respect.

sweet children who are surely born for plot devices

Toni ran up to the tortured stranger. She flung her arms about his knees and declared in a beautiful, innocent voice: “Wuv heals all dos nasty wounds. Wanna marry my mummy?”

You know what I’m talking about. The children who are unnatural in their sweetness, who are always good-tempered, who react to complete strangers (most always the hero/heroine) as if they’ve known them for yonks.

When this happens, I find myself quite puzzled and doubt my experience with all small children. I mean, this isn’t natural behaviour. Is it?

*For those not enamoured with Doctor Who: a Time Lord has two hearts. Personally, I thought the reference was brilliant. *cough* I am, of course, magnificently humble.

an afternoon writing

Last week-end, I indulged myself by keeping a written log of an afternoon of writing. I aimed to reach the lofty heights of 5,000 words. Did I? you ask.

Ha. Haha. Hahahaha.

3:21pm Today is beautiful; the sun is shining, it’s not too hot nor too cold. I’ve been out on my walk to the shops, have spent some time outside and have now sat myself down with apple juice and water. I’ve selected music but I’m listening to ‘Still Alive’ on YouTube (Portal, anyone? I’ve never played it nor realised it had music like this).

3:43pm I got trapped on YouTube. Have now extracted myself. Peter Hollins … I blame you.

4:16pm (Word count: 723) Short break. K is yelling at S and he’s like ‘wow, what’s this, woman?’ It’s all very dramatic AND I DIDN’T PLAN THIS AT ALL. As a side-note, I’m really enjoying listening to the Legend of Tarzan music.

4:20pm There is a chair over there. When I hit … something on my word count, I’m going over there. Right. Back to the writing. Listening to: Tarzan and RainyMood.

4:36pm (Word count: 1,071) Moving to the chair. One fifth of the way towards my goal. K and S are staring murder at each other. Not sure if the Tarzan music is distracting or helping.

5:27pm (Word count: 2,263) Right, I’m going for a break. My right eye is protesting, RainyMood is confusing me because it’s beautifully sunny outside and yet I hear rain in my ears. My wrists are aching.

5:55pm (Came back from break) I’m outside. My eye is threatening to make my brain ache BUT WE WILL FORGE ONWARDS! Music? Play. Fingers? Type. Brain? Please, please, please work.

6:40pm (Word count: 3,263) I’m moving back indoors; my laptop battery needs charging and I think small beasties might be climbing into my shorts. NOOOOOO! Where’s a knight in battered armour and a fly swatter when you need one?

OWWWW! Tried to get up. Tried to take my earbuds out. Yanked at my earring instead of my earbud. IT HURT! IT REALLLY HURT!

7:00pm (Break is over.)

7:36pm (Word count: 3654) Oh, it’s getting a wee bit harder. I typed something to the effect of ‘green moss covered moss of the stones’. What? Whyyy! Having a small break because my brain no functioning. I think I’m going to stick K in a landslide. Not sure if I’m going to have her followed by Psycho Man BECAUSE I HAVEN’T INTRODUCED EVEN THE THOUGHT OF HIM.

I need tea.

11:25pm Oops. I fell into the massive trap of ‘Soldiers Coming Home’ videos and had to use some facial wipes as tissues because I was blubbering like a baby.

I think, as it’s so late, that I may as well call it a night. Sleep and books are calling.

final word count: 3,654

tenses: a conversation with myself

I sit at my desk, frowning at my laptop screen. (Contrary to my imagination’s offering, my laptop does not glare back at me.)

“Which tense,” I ask the room, “is best for this tale?”

No one replies. I am alone. (‘Forever and ever and ever,’ chants my Muse.) My sorrows are drowned in a gulp of cold tea.

I look at my nails (the paint is chipping yet I have vast hopes that it makes me look professional and efficient. I am delusional. It does neither.) “First-person, present tense is more intimate. You really get into the character’s head. However, it’s very constrictive. At least, it is when I do it.”

(A moment is spent in resenting writers who breeze through life with marvelous ease and appalling grace.)

“What about the third-person, past tense?” Ness lent back in her chair and sent a questioning look at her soft toys. They did not answer. Ness knew crushing disappointment.

She tapped her fingers on her desk. “It’s more freeing but it can seem … dry?”

“And yet, I like using first-person point of view,” I admitted, feeling a strange mixture of guilt and pride. “But it can occasionally seem immature and childish. And yet I’ve got to choose something or this Writing Stalemate will last forever and ever and then flop horribly and die.”

(‘Like your dreams,’ said my Muse in my head.)

“All right,” Ness says, brightening. “What about a compromise? What about third-person, present tense? The best of both worlds!”

She thinks about it for a moment, but soon enough, the glorious vision collapses in on itself and she sees a stark future, trapped in a tense she doesn’t want, with a story that tramps along like a lame dog with halitosis.

“That’s it,” you say with malice and a terrible look at all your books with all their smug, perfectly written tenses. “I’m doing second-person, present tense.”

You make a cup of tea. The tea brings clarity. You frown. You flounder. “Bother!” you exclaim. “But third-person is so … and first-person could be … and … and …”

“I should just write poems,” you say, staring at the gloomy wasteland of your decaying future.

“Please don’t,” your Muse pleads.

You don’t listen. “Or to-do lists. Or telephone books. Or obituaries – it would be impossible to choose the wrong tense with those.”

Your Muse snorts. “Actually, knowing you …”

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.
– William Faulkner