Beta Reading?

Amelia and I are looking for a beta-reader (e.g. someone willing to read and comment, but not in a lot of detail – not an editor) for the art of deception.

For that matter, Illegal aliens and A formulaic romance could use one as well.

“What’s in it for me?” you ask.

In truth, not much, a free copy of the book when it’s complete and pride in helping it to be better than it would have been.

If you’re interested, you can drop either Amelia or me a line (amelia.treader at gmail or rharrison.author at the same place).

the_art_of_deception4cover_0

Advertisements

The Art of Deception 36

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

12241791_735836876546522_6197947469406170479_n

This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar. Last week, after Alice was unable to worm anything interesting out of General Dumouriez, disaster struck. Her best friend from Easterly and her fiance – the real Mr Mapleton – corner her at the assembly. Alice tries, and fails, to bluff this one out.


“Do I know you?”

“I should hope so; um… Mr Mapleton and I… well, we’re engaged.”

“Goody for you, still Miss, what was your name?”

“Miss Willis, Miss Elizabeth Willis, your friend Sally.”

Roderick made his presence known, “Miss Mapleton, would you introduce me to your friends?”

“Miss Mapleton,” Sally’s fiancé spat, “Miss Mapleton, what Miss Mapleton, she’s Miss Alice Green; dashed unfriendly, considering we were almost.”

Sally nudged him in the ribs, “You weren’t, and please have some consideration for my feelings.”

“Got you,” Roderick shouted, “Edward, I’ve got her; I knew she was an imposter.” The queue for supper stopped and everyone stared at him, and her – it seemed as if accusing faces filled the room.

Now that you’ve read my hackery, please see the talented writers in Weekend Writing Warriors.


My apologies for creative punctuation.

Roderick is being a bit of a “puppy” here. I can’t completely blame him because Alice has lead him on a merry chase. The action in Bath is almost complete, setting up a surprise for when it resumes in “Part Trois.”

Puppy is an interesting insult. To call a man a puppy was to use fighting words. Why was that?

dsc_0227

Inquiring minds want to know – what’s wrong with being a puppy?

From the 1811 “Dictionary of the vulgar tongue” Complied originally by Captain Grose and now considerably altered and enlarged, with the modern changes and improvements, by a member of The Whip Club. Assisted by Hell-Fire Dick, and James Gordon, Esqrs. of Cambridge; and William Soames, Esq. of the Hon. Society of Newman’s Hotel. Mr Soames, Esq. was most likely an actor.

DOG LATIN. Barbarous Latin, such as was formerly used
  by the lawyers in their pleadings.
DOGGESS, DOG'S WIFE or LADY, PUPPY'S MAMMA.
  Jocular ways of calling a woman a bitch.
PUPPY. An affected or conceited coxcomb.

Evidently dogs weren’t as popular as today. It adds a layer of complexity to the rather interesting dandy known as “Poodle Bynge.”

Like poor Cecelia, ” The Curious Profession of Dr Craven” is back from the dead.

I’ve released a sweet regency romance, Miss DeVere Miss_devere_1 This is a fun read.

Frankenkitty is available.
Frankenkitty What happens when teenagers get to play with Dr Frankenstien’s lab notebooks, a few odd chemicals and a great big whopping coil? Mayhem, and possibly an invitation to the Transylvanian Neuroscience Summer School.

Get Free Stuff and try out my landing page. There are three free complete short stories (including an ARC for Frankenkitty) available after you’ve gone through the hoops.

The Art of Deception 35

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

12241791_735836876546522_6197947469406170479_n

This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar.  Last week, General Dumouriez managed to corner Alice. He looking for one thing, she another. Neither succeeds in this week’s snippet.


Mr King rose and addressed them, “Signora Catalani must rest her voice, she will return after the supper break.”

As the hum of voices rose to a loud babble, Alice asked the General again, “What can you tell me about Mr Stanton?”

“You are most interested in him, are you not?”

“I have my reasons.”

“Then he can,” the general switched back to English, “Plow his own row; I think that’s the idiom.” He bowed his leave and went in search of more compliant companionship.

Alice shrugged, it had been a long shot, but worth the candle; she walked to the room where supper was laid.

On her way in, someone accosted her, “Miss Green, Alice!”

Alice turned; there was her best friend from back home in Easterly, Sally Willis; Mr Mapleton, Alice’s erstwhile fiancé, or at least fiancé want-to-be, stood next to her.

 

Now that you’ve read my hackery, please see the talented writers in Weekend Writing Warriors.


My apologies for creative punctuation.

mg0977

 

Assembly’s usually had a supper break. All important for socializing. This picture, from the national trust, shows the inside of the assembly r00m (after it was restored from a movie theater). As Miss Austen would say, there are too many women. Unfortunately for Alice, her past catches up with her at this one.

Like poor Cecelia, “The Curious Profession of Dr Craven” is back from the dead.

I’ve released a sweet regency romance, Miss DeVere Miss_devere_1 This is a fun read.

Frankenkitty is available.
Frankenkitty What happens when teenagers get to play with Dr Frankenstien’s lab notebooks, a few odd chemicals and a great big whopping coil? Mayhem, and possibly an invitation to the Transylvanian Neuroscience Summer School.

Get Free Stuff and try out my landing page. There are three free complete short stories (including an ARC for Frankenkitty) available after you’ve gone through the hoops.

Sunday Snippet, A Formulaic Romance, another installment.

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. Her carriage is a wreck, the thoroughbrace, a leather strap that holds the cabin up, broke. When the cabin fell, it broke the axle. It’s snowing and they’re in trouble.

They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane. At least it wasn’t full of “slough” – a wonderful and now disused word for that unique mixture of horse apples, mud, and muck that so characterized roads in the days before the automobile.

An Interruption, continued.


Shortly after that, Rachel and her maid stood in front of the front door.  The hall was an ancient building that some recent owner had tried to refit into the Georgian style, with mixed success. It was a far more impressive building than it had appeared from the main road.

Lucinda said, “It looks bigger than when we started.”

“They all do. Will you knock or shall I?”

“I couldn’t.”

Rachel quailed at the thought of knocking on the door. Then she steeled herself and said, “Ready?”

Lucinda nodded, and Rachel pulled the bell. A dull ring echoed from the depths of the hall. It finished echoing and yet was no response. Rachel pulled on it again. This time the door opened almost immediately. What had been a dull ring became unpleasantly loud.

A tall, gaunt man answered the door. He examined them, from head to foot, and then from foot to head, taking in the details of their dress and its apparent cleanliness or lack thereof. Finally having decided that they were less than genteel, he said, “Yes, Miss? We do not make donations or give alms from this house. The servants’ entrance is in the back if you are desirous of employment. Though we do not need a scullery maid at present.”

“I am Rachel, Lady Hayforth and this is my companion, Miss Holloway. My, our carriage broke on the main road and we wondered if we could find some shelter from this inclement weather. Common manners would suggest that we should be welcome.”

The man slowly nodded, and then said, “As you say, Ma’am. If you will accompany me, I shall see what the master says.”

He opened the door and lead the two women into the dark hall, and then into a side parlour. One lined with books, and unlike many country houses, someone had actually read the books.  A plethora, a veritable ark of stuffed animals decorated the room. This only added to its melancholy. A melancholy that the stale odour of musty disuse did little to abate. After saying, “Please wait here,” he turned and slowly made his way off into the dim recesses of the building.

Lucinda turned to her mistress and said, “This is just like a Gothic romance. I’d not be surprised to find a skeleton behind that curtain.” Behind her water streaked down the windows. The storm had decided that rain was in order and now the heavens had opened. The darkening skies made the room grow ever more dim and full of shadows. Rachel did not fail to notice how Lucinda shook from the cold, her teeth chattering as her body tried to warm itself.

“Nonsense Lucinda. It is 1817. This is England, and not some strange foreign land.” Rachel strode to the curtain, looked at her maid, and pulled the curtain aside. “What did I tell you?”

Lucinda gasped. Rachel turned and looked behind her. A skeleton stood and grinned back at them, gap-toothed with age; a human skeleton mounted as an anatomical display. She quickly pulled the curtain closed with a snap.

“Ah well. Interesting that. Wonder what else we’ll find.”

Lucy said, “Something to eat would be good.”

“I’m so famished that I’d gnaw on these bones.”

“Let’s hope they have a good laundress. Your gown, Miss.”

“Not to mention my face. At least we’re out of the rain and the cold.”


A library was a necessary feature of every genteel dwelling. Since books were expensive, it was a way to puff off wealth as well as demonstrate the culture and erudition of the owners. Actually though, it was not necessary to read the books, and all sorts of interesting things have been found when the libraries were finally cataloged.

The Art of Deception 34

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

12241791_735836876546522_6197947469406170479_n

This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar. Last week Roderick and Alice had a chance to talk. Both dodged around the questions they truly wanted to ask. This week’s snippet takes up at the Wednesday concert. Mr King, the “King of Bath,” has called the crowd to order and announced that Signora Catalani will begin her performance shortly.


 

General Dumouriez expertly culled Alice from the herd, “Mademoiselle, would you care to honour me with your company?”

Alice glanced at Miss Aldershot, who nodded her agreement, “Why certainly, I’m not sure I caught your name when we met several days ago.”

“General Charles Dumouriez, a votre service,” He bowed, keeping his eyes on hers, except when he glanced lower and smiled; he liked what he saw, and anticipated a better view later in the evening.

“That’s what I remembered,” Alice curtsied, “Shall we find seats?”

Roderick watched them, trying to stay within earshot, and hoping that she would betray herself in an unguarded moment; they found a pair of seats midway to the front; he sat several rows behind, just within earshot, and what he heard was disquieting.

“Mademoiselle, I must say that you have ankles, très charmant.”

Alice involuntarily clenched her knees together but replied, in French, “Thank you, but I was wondering how well you knew Mr Stanton?”

“Monsieur Stanton, who?”

“Monsieur Roderick Stanton.”

“Oh Roddy, a good man, but enough about him; has anyone told you that you have beautiful eyes; almost as pretty as those luscious lips or that-”

Now that you’ve read my hackery, please see the talented writers in Weekend Writing Warriors.


My apologies for creative punctuation.

First, many excellent and one so-so author are featured in this:

 

patty_oct

Signora Angelica Catalani (whose head adorns the post) was an exceedingly gifted singer. She somehow escaped Napoleon’s clutches to sing at the King’s theater in London in 1804. After that she went on farewell tours. Eventually she did return to Europe. While I can’t definitively place her in Bath at this time, she certainly could have been there. In any case the money was right and Wednesday night was concert night. As opposed to dress balls on Monday and fancy balls on Thursday.

I also get the impression, from looking at etchings of the time (thank you Google image search) that she was something of a pin-up girl and adorned many a college room – although decently clothed.

The Mr King I refer to was the master of ceremonies at the Bath Assembly. First the lower assembly and eventually the upper one. In true English fashion, the upper assembly was uphill from the lower one.

 

Like poor Cecelia, “The Curious Profession of Dr Craven” is back from the dead.

I’ve released a sweet regency romance, Miss DeVere Miss_devere_1 This is a fun read.

Frankenkitty is available.
Frankenkitty What happens when teenagers get to play with Dr Frankenstien’s lab notebooks, a few odd chemicals and a great big whopping coil? Mayhem, and possibly an invitation to the Transylvanian Neuroscience Summer School.

Get Free Stuff and try out my landing page. There are three free complete short stories (including an ARC for Frankenkitty) available after you’ve gone through the hoops.

The Art of Deception 33

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

12241791_735836876546522_6197947469406170479_n

This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar. Last week, the Alice and Lucy discussed the Roderick and Edward with Lucy’s “Aunt Heather.” Roderick and Edward arrived to escort the women to dinner at the York. They are too early, and in the meantime Roderick (Mr Stanton) takes Alice for a walk to inspect the preparations.


Alice brightened, “Yes, there is that; shall we?” Mr Stanton offered his arm to support her, and she gladly took it.

“Thank you for stopping my horse; I hope I wasn’t ungracious.”

“Not at all; a bolting horse is always a shock; I’m just glad I was there in time.”

Yes, how did you know to be there, I thought you were ill.  “I’m not sure that having you and Mr Spode host our dinner is exactly the best way to say thank you.”

“It was Edward’s idea; To impress Miss Haytor,” my feelings had nothing to do with it; nothing!

Alice stopped, disengaged her arm from his and turned to face him, “Are you sure, Monsieur, that there is nothing you want to tell me.”

Yes, no, “Nothing other than to ask you what wine you would prefer with your meal.”

Now that you’ve read my hackery, please see the talented writers in Weekend Writing Warriors.


My apologies for creative punctuation.

The York still exists. Unfortunately, it’s been bought by an American chain – Travelodge. So the famous “York Family Hotel” is now run by the same company as Motel 6.

I may be a little late at replying to comments this weekend. Taking my Motorcycle Safety Foundation “Basic Rider Course.” Uneasy Rider strikes again. Serious accident rates with motorcycles are more than ten times lower than just riding horses and about a thousand times lower than horse racing (and the training cuts the accident rate even further).

Like poor Cecelia, “The Curious Profession of Dr Craven” is back from the dead.

I’ve released a sweet regency romance, Miss DeVere Miss_devere_1 This is a fun read.

Frankenkitty is available.
Frankenkitty What happens when teenagers get to play with Dr Frankenstien’s lab notebooks, a few odd chemicals and a great big whopping coil? Mayhem, and possibly an invitation to the Transylvanian Neuroscience Summer School.

Get Free Stuff and try out my landing page. There are three free complete short stories (including an ARC for Frankenkitty) available after you’ve gone through the hoops.

Sunday Snippet, A Formulaic Romance.

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. Her carriage is a wreck, the thoroughbrace, a leather strap that holds the cabin up, broke. When the cabin fell, it broke the axle. It’s snowing and they’re in trouble.

An Interruption.

“That’s bloody torn it!” Miss Rachel Heppleworth, the youngest and only surviving daughter of Lord Hayforth, rarely used such rough language, but her ancient carriage finally failed on her way to London.

On her one chance to join society and find a suitable, rich, and hopefully reasonably good-looking or at least good mannered, husband. Preferably, not vicious, a non-smoker, though she approved of snuff, at most a moderate gambler, and willing to squire her to the occasional assembly. It would be an extra benefit if he were discreet in his affairs and sensible in his conversation.

She and her maid stood while the rain soaked through their pelisses and trickled down their backs. They surveyed the wreck of their carriage. One postilion had ridden ahead to find help. The other had simply ridden off.

Lucinda, her maid, companion, and confidant replied, “Miss?”

“The weather … raining, almost snowing, the thoroughbrace broke and the weight of the carriage body snapped the rear axle. We’re stuck, here in the middle of nowhere, and worst of all we were due in London by the end of the week.”

“Miss Rachel, we can always send a letter. Lord Bromley would understand.”

“If the post runs out here.”

Lucinda shivered; the cold and damp had already penetrated her pelisse. Miss Rachel did not fail to feel the chill, nor did she ignore her maid and companion’s discomfort. She pointed to a massive pile of bricks and spires in the distance. “We could look if anyone is living in that pile of stones. There seems to be a fire and lights.”

 

 


The experience of riding in a carriage is one that modern people, most of them at least, don’t really appreciate. One good reference for this is Mark Twain’s “Roughing It.” The first half of the book describes his journey with his brother Orion to the Nevada territory. (Orion really was Twain’s brother.) They had the thoroughbrace fail, but the carriage didn’t fail as severely as Rachel’s does.