Books, Characters, Recountings

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.

Image result for happy gif
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 //

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Books

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

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

smirking

“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.

Books, Characters, On Writing

Beautiful Books – Destiny, Rewrites and Rotten Apples

PAPERFURYI’ve decided to join the Beautiful Books link up, hosted by Cait and Skye.

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

Oh it was yonks ago. My youngest brother wanted a book written for him, about a man snatching bloody vengeance. I took the idea, chopped it into a trilogy, made the protagonist a pacifist and gave the first volume to my brother for his birthday. Believe it or not, I think he enjoyed it.

Since then, years have passed and now it is time to revisit and rewrite it.

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?

Because I’ll be revisiting and revamping the first book I ever truly finished. The characters – oh the characters! I love them to death and treat them rather horribly. Robert – the protagonist – is rather battered, bruised and broken during the course of the tale, poor thing.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?

What’s it about? Like a house of falling cards, his life collapses about him. He seeks vengeance and finds an adventure – one which will change the course of his life.

knightofdestiny
Yes, this is what it looked like. No, I have no regrets. Yes, it was worth it.  No, you may not laugh.

There are conquering kingdoms, near hangings, spies, missing princes, friendships – wonderful, glorious friendships – sword fights, plots and the ever-present storm cloud of potential death and dastardly danger.

And the title?

Very well, I’ll admit it: it was entitled Knight of Destiny, and the story I’ll be rewriting was called Knight of Destiny: Beginnings. It had burgeoning prose and somewhat overtly dramatic moments.

Now, for reference I’ve somewhat tongue in cheek called it: The Many Trials of a Blacksmith: Part 1. (Because Robert becomes a blacksmith and he has many trials. I know, I’m a genius.)

4. Sum up your characters in one word each.

Oof. That’s hard. Er … Robert: solid. Timothy: loyal. Custer: fierce.

5. Which characters do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!

Robert. Something awful happens to him in the beginning and his world is turned upside down. He has one thought: vengeance. As he grew up on a farm, he uses plenty of farming analogies which drives the people about him to distraction.

The Duke of Fordio – who is one of my favourite villains. I might change his name. It might be too poetic to be evil. Or perhaps it suits him. He’s evil but not for the sake of it, he has goals and woe betide any who get in his way – he will crush you with his booted foot and sip the finest wine whilst doing it.

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?

Robert wants vengeance. But soon he sees the bigger picture – why cut out a piece of a rotten apple when you can throw it away all together? Naturally, the government, the ruling nobility and the powerful army of his nation’s oppressors have a little to say about this.

7. Where is your novel set?

In the green land of Cade, in large cities and narrow alleyways, in dark inns and a blacksmith’s forge, in palaces and forests, in healer’s huts and along winding lanes.

research
It is my ambition to read/re-read all of these books before November. I might be a wee bit overambitious.

8. What is the most important relationship your character has?

At the beginning? His brother. Their parents have long since passed and Ethan has practically raised him BUT THEN … [dun dun dunnn]

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

He is older, more mature, more weathered. The protective bubble of his boyhood has burst and at the end of this tale, he’s learned that the world is a bigger, harsher place then he ever realised. Also, he has finally accepted that he is awful at using a bow and arrow. Awful I tell you!

10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?

Hmmm … triumphantly wistful?

11. BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

  • If you set boundaries in your mind and tell yourself you can’t get passed them – you won’t. So be positive. Disgustingly, sickeningly positive. It’s the only way.
  • Don’t be frightened or in awe of the story you are going to tell. They are just words and it is just a story and you can do it. You are a writer and therefore you write.
  • Take it one step, one hundred words at a time. You can do it.

////

My profile on NaNoWriMo // Pinterest board for TMTOAB:PO ( 🙂 ) // Instagram

Characters, On Writing

The Tale of a Story Told (Part Two)

Click here for Part One. In which Ness takes a past tale and tells its story.

My favouritest Robin Hood

Now, whenever I pick up the threads of this story, I time-travel – two years forwards, two years backwards. Spoiled and less spoiled.

The story still isn’t finished, in fact, it isn’t all that long. But ‘They Call Me Marian’ gradually moves forwards – like a glacier. Or a snail. Or anything terribly slow, really – and I am enjoying it.

If you read it you can see my growth as a writer. You can see when I decided to utilize the magnificent things known as ‘Paragraphs’ (it really was quite the discovery for me).

You can see that my grammar has somewhat improved. (The key word being somewhat).

True, the story has changed with the character. It even had a story spiral off from it (in this tale the sheriff was the hero, Robin the rogue and Sir Guy of Gisbourn had a rough exterior but a heart of gruff softness).

Joan Rice as Maid Marian

Whilst I continue to write and edit various projects, I sometimes drift back to a word document which has waited patiently for my input; for new words; for the story to continue in the telling.

Who knows – one day it may be published. One very, very distant day.

But for now, Maid Marian has just been shockingly kidnapped and two years ago, Allan a’Dale is singing a singularly uncomplimentary song with the subject matter of a certain maid.

Favourite Quotes (in no chronological order):

“A most insincere apology with less meaning than a traitor’s promise.” He smiled, charm dripping off him along with the raindrops.

—-

“It, well,” I would rather be locked in a field with an angry bull. Ten angry balls. With a hundred jousting knights galloping towards me, their lances lowered. “I needed to …”

—-

“Marian,” he said, savouring it, “a most beautiful name.” He looked me up and down – took in my faded dress, patched apron, and wet hair plastered to my crown. “It is too bad that the bearer of the name does not live up to its promise.”

—-

Lines which I (perhaps) have a facial seizure when reading:

I related to her my whole history in my childish way inserting unconscious pathos as my lonely, motherless heart cried out for love.

… Sir Guy’s smooth voice replied, “Ah, well, I am gratified that I have finally caught this barbaric half breed Saxon fox…”

Sir Tomas was, according to Lady Anne, handsome and good looking, but in my private opinion his spirit – ugh! It was small, mean and cold AND he has a huge wart on his nose.

Characters, On Writing

The Tale of a Story Told (Part One)

In which Ness takes a past tale and tells its story.

Feel up to a story of improvement and facial seizures? Grab a cup of tea (or a beverage of your choice) and settle in as I tell you the tale of a young girl who had no idea that a single paragraph shouldn’t cover an entire A4 sheet of paper …

Oh Robin!

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was seized by a desire to write a story based around my childhood hero – Robin Hood.

So I began one.

It was appalling.

The main character was, well, she was – and here I must put it quite frankly – a bit of a brat; a pallid shadow of the Maid Marian of Legend. Of course I didn’t intend to write her as such – I was writing a story and accidentally conjured up a proud and arrogant girl with my words.

These things do happen, you know.

The plot itself was rather, well, it had wonderful coincidences. Robin Hood – whose eyes were perpetually twinkling – was easily rescued from the dungeon. It was a strong alcoholic liquid that helped him, you see; administered to the guards, constantly diluted yet always very potent, it was originally owned by our heroine. Why she possessed such a liquid in the first place, I never explained.

Another marvelous coincidence was when poor Little John was imprisoned in the dungeon. He was soon to die. Hanging, I believe. But no fear! Lady Mary Adeney was informed by her beloved maid that there was a secret tunnel:

“It leads to the dungeon, the deepest one at that, no one knows of this tunnel for Sir Guy killed the original owner off it…..and with him, the secret tunnel.”

[How one kills off a secret tunnel is not explained].

By amazing chance, Little John is rescued. By even more amazing chance, Little John – the biggest, tallest and strongest ironically named outlaw about – fits through the tunnel opening. Which is two foot wide.

Lady Mary Adeney – after a showdown with the Sheriff (the dialogue of which contained a perfect storm of exclamation marks) – decided to become a commoner, shunning both the life of a noblewoman and living with the outlaws in Sherwood Forest.

“Minstrel’s songs and heroic tales were one thing, but how could I know what his band were like?”

[Quite right, m’dear. They might be heavy metal or – even worse! – a folk band]

A quick Bible verse was inserted as she released her horse (Bravebrow was his name, if you are wondering) and left her companions in a not at all melodramatic way.  Off to the Fletcher’s in Nottingham she was going, with a new name …

[Drum roll please]

Maid Marian!

… and then the plot dribbled off like water in a cracked jug. Like my spirit when faced with a pile of procrastinated work. Like my strength when accosted with a much too long walk in England’s countryside. (Did you know, I once accidentally stepped on a dead sheep? It was rather an experience). Like- well, I’m sure you understand.

In my story folder that story stayed – gathering metaphorical dust between ‘A Father Tells’ (a father telling a story about his smuggler days. It won me a price for the most gore. I was eight) and ‘Mountain Air’ (in which the heroine was awesome, witty and in no way shape or form resembled me. Cough).

But then I returned to it. I blame Robin Hood and my love for his tales.

Lady Mary was obviously spoiled. Hmm … how to rescue her? A light bulb dawned in my fogged brain. It consisted of two words: character development.

What if she … grew? I could keep the beginning of her story and skip forward two years and show how her character grew.

What an excellent idea!

Yes.

Well, the thing is … I overdid it.

She was suddenly perfect. She was mature. She was delicate and sweet. She could show remorse with the best of ‘em. She could swoon like a pro, cry (but delicately) and was an all-round paragon of maddening perfection.

It was going off to Bristol to be a maid, you see. That was the making of her; the Forming of the Paragon. (Note to self: go to Bristol as a maid, will come back perfect. Probably).

Again the story trailed off, gathering dust particles as I turned away to different tales, different projects.

But then I came back, I still loved Robin Hood and this story I had worked on. I didn’t much like it but it was mine and I had worked on it on and off for more than a couple of years.

Another light bulb – instead of skipping two years I could actually write the transition from spoiled to perfection more, well, human. I gave myself permission to write (on purpose, this time) a thoroughly unlikable character.

Everyone should give themselves permission to write thoroughly unlikable main characters at one time or another.

This Tale of a Tale continues later, in Part Two. Naturally.