Wednesday, July 16, 2014


A lesson and a present from Auntie T
   "This is a sort of late name day present for you.  Now," she went on, taking the locket in hand.  "I'm going to show you a secret.  Pay close attention, Caterina Maria Brigitte!"
     Those old, rough fingers pressed one of the wooden rosettes that ornamented the case.  Cat was surprised when the locket popped open again, this time in the back.

     "See how it opens?  See?"

     Cat examined the newly revealed second compartment.  Inside was a gleam.

     "It's a Protector for you now that you are growing to be a woman.  Take it out, but be very careful."

     It took Cat a moment to extract the object.  It turned out to be an extremely thin blade, almost a needle, set on a small section of horn.

     "If anyone ever tries to harm you, just fetch it out.  Keep it in your hand like this," Auntie T demonstrated, palming the blade so that it disappeared.  "Then take it like so," she said, her fingers moving deftly, "and do this!"

     In a flash the gleaming point was against Cat's neck.  She sat still, hoping that Auntie T would be very, very careful.

     "There, where the big vein swells!  Don't hesitate, just jab it in.  If you cut that vein, they won't trouble you for much longer."

~~ Juliet Waldron
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

~~~A summer time piece from my post-Civil War romance, Hand-me-Down Bride

~~On the way to the hayfields, Karl and Sophie marvel at the beauty of a blooming field of Buckwheat.

Karl watched her.  She had walked into the field, delighting in the moment, in the sun, in the sea-froth-over-sage color of the buckwheat.  He'd caught a flash of her joy; joy in the splendor of this land!

After the long and terrible war, after his illness, it had been hard to find joy in his heart at anything.   Today, Karl felt free as a swallow, flashing over the rising corn.

Sophie was framed against the light, her plain apron lifted by a firm young bosom, her dark hair wound beneath the bonnet.  Above, great clouds sailed in shattering blue, and the buzz of those thousands of bees echoed some dream space he'd been to before, the white hum of eternity.

He tied the reins to a sapling and got down. He had wanted to put his arms around her, to mold her breasts against his chest, to catch the scent of her, to drink from those rosy, undoubtedly sweet lips.  Now, he waded into the field after her, wanting even more to share her moment of happiness. 

A simple gift. . .

"Das ist schon!" Face radiant, she turned.  "It is beautiful!”

~~Juliet Waldron
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

ROAN ROSE ~~ An excerpt

Rosalba's Tale begins:


"Little Witch!" A slap always followed the malediction.  "Dost thou stare?"

            This was my father. He did not like children whose opinions showed in their eyes. Large dark eyes I had—my mother's eyes—and when I displeased him, he was not slow to punish the unbroken will he saw.

            I was born at the village of Aysgarth in the house of a stark yeoman farmer, Master Whitby. He was not pleased when my mother gave him a daughter, and then another and another, as if by the force of her own contrary will.

            Master Whitby acknowledged me, however, as he acknowledged my sisters. I was written down in the book at the Church of Our Lady as "Rosalba Whitby, legitimate, born to Master Raymond Whitby and his espoused wife, Roseanne."

            When I was old enough to hear the tale, my mother very kindly let me know matters stood otherwise. To learn I had been conceived in liberty and was not the get of that humorless, ham-fisted tyrant fills me, to this day, with satisfaction.
 Aysgarth lies on Wenslydale, north and west of the great Keep of Middleham. Here our peasant houses grew from the ground like mushrooms. The poorest were of turf, but the best homes, like the one in which I was born, rose upon a costly timber frame.
            Those hard packed earthen floors! In the East Wind time, rain slanted through the central smoke hole and pelted the fire of our hearth. I remember huddling close, thinking how the flames were like serpents, lowering their fiery heads and hissing whenever the drops landed. During the worst weather, the entire family, including Master Whitby's curly-pelted white cattle, sheltered with us...

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Juliet Waldron

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ANGEL'S FLIGHT/the quilt


Quilting had always given Angelica a feeling of strength and purpose. It was as if in the process of using scraps to create a whole cloth she was reborn, renewed. In the midst of this village of the damned, the familiar, beloved activity was like an anchor of purpose, of meaning.

It was all such a muddle. Beyond the immediate danger, there was Jack, his kisses and his passionate, insistent courting. No matter how she examined this development, and from whatever angle, there seemed to be no resolution. He was a Tory; she was a Patriot. To do this, to do that--or, more pointedly--not to do this or not to do that, seemed beyond her ability to reason.

"How is it, she muttered to herself, "that I could get into this mess, but not out?"

Her fingers, with minds of their own restlessly sorted through the heap of scraps and patches. What to do?

As she picked and sorted the pieces a vague shape began to form. A star! Rough, to be sure, but a star nonetheless. Here, a point in velvet, there, a center in the wool of an old cloak.

Ah! There was enough of the velvet to make the other points. Her fingers moved faster, coaxing out stray bits of burgundy velvet, arranging them around the small bottle green wool square.

Yes, she thought. It comes together, a piece at a time...

~~Juliet Waldron
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

BLACK MAGIC, an excerpt

From the beginning of BLACK MAGIC, a creature-filled sequel to RED MAGIC. Red Caterina's twins are all grown now, and this is the first of their stories, coming soon from Books We Love.


...Veronique of the golden eyes! How often he’d imaged her delight at the natural wonders along the way, the waterfalls, the tall, whispering pines, the black-tailed deer and golden meadows! How often he’d imagined her, warm and yielding in his arms...


Around his military companions, where news of her defection was already public property, he’d tried on a pose: “It’s only a woman! Plenty more of those in Vienna!” He’d hoped to bully himself out of lovesickness, but it didn’t seem to be working.


Goran remounted. Reining around, he started down the gravel lane which ran between a avenue of trees leading to the front entry of the manor. The von Hagen family might be a bit threadbare after the long decade of war, but he would have felt almost naked riding in on anything less than this fine stallion.


It was quiet, even when he passed the barn and open paddocks which had once bustled with activity, either with his father’s military company or farm business. During the war, through the terrible years of shortages, famine and plague, Heldenburg lodge had been short-staffed. Goran noticed the shuttered cottages behind the trees, one of them beginning a lonely collapse. How much needed to be tended to here, on the estate!


            He and Mina—twins--had spent much of their childhood happily in this secluded house. Today, however, instead of beauty, the snow-capped mountain leaning over the place now seemed a malicious presence. Looking up at the still icy peaks, he wondered if the evil had always been lurking there. His old sense of security and familiarity were lost. The mountain, whose moody beauty his parents had both loved so greatly, now seemed a sinister, violent presence. 


            A gray rubble scar sprawled across the upper pasture, clearly visible. Beneath tons of gray rock lay the body of his mother, Caterina. She and three others had been moving cattle out of the upper pastures when the rock and mud avalanche had caught them. It was the first time he’d been back since the tragedy, and he was surprised by the pain he felt--pain on top of pain--as old loss and grief combined with the new. Goran, although a brave and much decorated soldier, felt exhausted, defeated—finished before he’d even begun to live.
~~Juliet Waldron

Thursday, June 5, 2014



Riding to find her estranged husband who is at war in the East, Caterina is betrayed, captured and sold into a harem.

She still couldn't believe what she saw when she opened her eyes.


There was the same morning light, the same sun that shone on her at home, shining through the bars of a room that had become her cage.


Her past, the wild Heldenberg, her freedom—all of it, gone!


Lost to a chimera, a dream that she would ride to find her man, that this would prove her true, true love, this facing danger for him…and what had it brought? Nothing but death and destruction to those who had bent to the folly of her desire and will.


And Rossmann—that traitor!
He was everything Cvitjeto had said and more--who had encouraged her, who had ridden with her knee to knee, who had smiled and taught her from his store of knowledge, who had so completely gained her trust all through the lonely, fatal summer...  


~~Juliet Waldron
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Thursday, May 29, 2014


Klara sings at an afternoon salon filled with aristocrats, although she doesn't feel well. She is accompanied by Akos Almassy, a pianist and servant to one of the titled guests. She feels strangely drawn to him. 
Whenever there was pain in Klara's life, she ran to Music, let it carry her to a world of calm, grace and balance.
Music could heal any wound, dry any tear. Music was her tender Mother, the only one Klara had ever known.

She filled her lungs, felt the muscular pleasure of response in throat and diaphragm, heard the rich glory of her voice. As Almassy's strong fingers moved upon the black keys, his amber eyes stayed upon her. He was utterly focused on her every move, her every breath.

When the first song was done, Klara curtsied and smiled at the heart-felt applause. On the walls of this elegant reception room, ornamental details flowed up supporting columns and from these, onto the vaulted, painted ceilings, where angels and cherubs flew into clouds. She turned to include Akos in the applause, but she didn't quite dare to look into his eyes now that there was no music between them. Her heart raced, and not entirely from the exertion of song.

Perhaps if I translate this sensation into something recognizable, I can dismiss these queer, disturbing feelings...

Klara was accustomed to the games men played, either because they imagined it politic to feed her vanity, or for the very masculine reason that they had to feed their own. She had learned to flirt lightly, meaning nothing.

After all, who would dare to challenge Maximilian, the man who owned her, the man whose perverse desire had pierced her, a butterfly struggling on the jeweled pin of his passion?

~~~~Juliet Waldron

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