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Saturday, December 26, 2015

YORKSHIRE WINTER--From Roan Rose-Sunday Snippet

Rose obeys Richard and Anne's command and marries Hugh. Now she's back at Middleham

Castle, but the Lord and Lady she loves more than any husband are not at home...

"It was odd to find myself at chores that for years had seemed the province of servants lower than I. I swept and hauled wood and water. Hugh was also out of practice at domestic tasks, and I heard him cursing like a madman as he worked on the broken shutters, but he did the heaviest lifting and was resourceful and good with his hands—far better than I. The bedstead and the trunks made their way upstairs to the dark, warm loft by the chimney. Hugh lifted me while I strung hanks of Sweet Annie, rosemary and lavender from the dusty rafters to sweeten the air.

            Out of doors it snowed. Wind howled. The towers of Middleham Castle appeared and disappeared magically behind slashing white. I was home again, but not in the way I had so long imagined.

            It was bitter to stand in the shadow of the great keep and find myself reduced to a humble cottager in the sparse northern village of a lord who was not presently at home.

            "Do not grieve," Hugh said, catching me at it one day. He patted me on the back.

            My first instinct was to pull away.

            "Oh, Rosie!" he scolded, gathering me patiently against the heat of his big chest. "That is no life for the likes of you and me, running like dogs whenever they call. We can make something of our own now. I tell you, lass, he said," rubbing my shoulders and settling me warmly against his gut, "for years I imagined I had a good life, but what does a young fool know? This is contentment, to be well-settled, to know where I'll rest my head at night, and who will rest beside me."
~~Juliet Waldron
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Middleham Castle, present day, by Bumblekite


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Saturday, December 19, 2015


Black Magic is the second part of a fantasy/historical series about an Austrian noble family. This book is about an Alpine Krampus and how he came to be "blessed" with the shape.  (This was not quite the "Welcome Home" he was expecting...

It truly was heaven, this high place! The Milky Way spread above, those shining rivulets of stars, cutting channels through the delta of night…

But Goran was freezing, too, so he pulled the greasy, odorous blanket closer. Alaric spared him an amused glance as he sat shivering.

“Unlike me, you have no need to ever be cold again, My Lord.”

The suggestion instantly took effect. Goran, looking down at his body, saw a shaggy pelt sprouting. Warmer, almost at once, he released the blanket.

“Ah! I see.”

“You will learn, My Lord. You will learn. Here, on Heldenberg, you can be any creature you desire or any shape you can imagine. You may even pick and choose.”

“You mean that this—thing—with the horns and the claws and fangs…” Goran raised his hand. Sure enough, as well as fur, it now sported a fine set of talons.

“Oh, yes, old Krampus! He has always been about these mountains, one way or another, so the old folks told me very long ago when I was a babe in arms. But what I mean is that you might choose to wear horns while still retaining the form of a handsome man. Do you understand?”


“So is Krampus the shape Zigmond preferred?”

“Yes. Zig purely loved terrifying folks, you know, and Krampus certainly is a fright. But you don’t have to do that.”

“It was —interesting—today, to be the steinbock. It—just happened.”


“Sometimes Krampus will come to you, now, because he’s a winter spirit, but not always.”

“Not always. Well, that's one good thing, at least.”


Saturday, December 12, 2015

An Unwanted Proposal~~ Genesee


     "Captain Dunbar," she whispered, gazing into his eyes, "Jean Desbrosses has proposed marriage."

     His breath drew in, hard and sharp, as if she'd struck a knife between his ribs.

     "Oh, Jenny," he whispered.

     "Cornelia says I would be a fool not to – and – and – I'm sure my Uncle Stephen will be very angry, maybe Grandfather van Cortlandt, too – if I refuse."

     "Do as your heart tells you, not your head. Don't let them force you, Jenny." He spoke softly, but she heard it loud and clear--a plea from his young heart.

     She lifted a hand, and, yearning, trembling, caressed his thin cheek. He caught her wrist, pressed his lips against the pulse beating there.

~~Juliet Waldron

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

GENESEE~~View from an Apple Tree

An excerpt from the opening chapter of Genesee, in which Jenny hides in the apple tree and sees Captain Dunbar for the first time: 


Jenny, peering down through the branches, saw a perfectly erect and slender young man of medium height. His fair skin and rosy cheeks gave him a china doll beauty.

     Many young officers defied regulation with flowing locks, but in this case the cut was military, shorn close to the head. Alexander Dunbar's coppery hair was curly, doing its best to defy the extremity that had been worked upon it. There was only one nod to fashion, a thin braided queue which made a bright rat's tail down the back of his neat blue jacket.

     "I would love to make your acquaintance further, Miss Cornelia, myself and Captain Troup," he gestured at his tall friend, who smiled and inclined his head. "For tales, not only of your beauty, but the charm of your conversation have reached our ears."

     "Get to it, Alex," the other man urged.

     "Miss Cornelia, I have been entrusted by a mutual friend with billets doux."

     At this, Cornelia bounced like a puppy and clapped her smooth hands together. Both of the young men grinned, and theatrically raised fingers to their lips.

     Jenny was praying that they would keep their eyes on Cornelia and not look into her tree. Beneath her shift was nothing at all. The faint breeze of this warm spring day was gently tickling bare flesh.

     "Are you a good catch, Miss?" curly headed Dunbar inquired.

     “Saucy!" Cornelia was merry, choosing to misinterpret. She tossed her curls. "What do you think?" She had missed flirtation dreadfully ever since she had been locked up.

~~ Juliet Waldron

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Monday, November 30, 2015

QUILT PIECES ~ Angel's Flight

Angelica and Jack change identities every day during their flight up the Hudson from British held NYC. Angelica still carries pieces of the quilt she'd begun before her abduction, a few patches stored in her capacious dress pocket, and added to along the way, picked up in the unlikeliest places...


“Oh! Goodness! Thank-you, Jenneke! I must’ve bundled it up with the shift and skirt, and never even thought about it yesterday.” Angelica reached for her pocket, the straps now dangling from Jenneke’s hand. “What was I thinking?”

“I hope you don’t mind,” the young wife said, “but I looked at your patches. I adore the calico bluebirds! And that bit of Chinese silk is like a spring sky!”

“Yes.” Angelica smiled as she remembered.

Pieces from sophisticated New York, unexpected silk from a jumble at Tarrytown, pieces from some unfortunate person’s trunk in the middle of the uncertainty, terror and passion at the Clove! This quilt, if I live to finish it, will chronicle a time of danger-a time of newborn love.

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

First Turkey, 1964

The first turkey I ever cooked myself was in the year of 1964. I was a young married, an ex- student, as was my husband. We were living in a dismal basement apartment in NYC, with a front window whose view was the back of the building’s garbage cans. Needless to say, we kept the blinds closed. We shared a bathroom with some elder ladies who we never saw, but who, no matter how loudly I scrubbed the tub after using it, would come in as soon as I’d left and wash the entire bathroom all over again. I suppose I can’t blame them, for lots of poor people in the city lived in fear of all manner of dangerous unknowns.

We’d managed to buy the turkey, a small one, although it took some financial planning to get the cash together, as I didn’t have a job. Only my husband, Chris, did.  As a nineteen year old with zero skills, as expected, that didn’t pay much and rent took most of that. As for me, I’d left the hospital I’d been working in back in Philadelphia and come to NYC in order to be with him. Plus, I was violently morning sick—to the 9th degree. I mean, Rosemary, in “Rosemary’s Baby,” had nothing on me. The only things I could reliably keep down were weird cravings: green pea soup, white bread, grapefruit and sardines. Anything else—upchuck! Maybe that’s why the invisible ladies next door were so diligent about scrubbing our shared bathroom.

On the big day we cleaned up our turkey as I’d seen my parents do, slapped it in a big bakeware pan that we’d found in the kitchen, turned the oven to 350 and then walked over to Broadway to see a little of the Thanksgiving Day parade. We were so far uptown that there wasn’t much to see, but there were bands and high school kids from out of town feeling really proud of themselves, and people wrestling with a couple of balloons—my favorite, Dino the dinosaur—being dragged about in the gusty wind. The other big event for me was seeing Fess Parker of Davy Crocket fame, waving and smiling from the back of an open car. Like a zillion children from my generation, he’d been my hero back in the fourth grade.  I’d wept while watching the Walt Disney show the night “Davy” died at the Alamo.



Now that child’s life seemed incredibly distant. Chris and I looked at each other. We were married, pregnant and close to broke. Whether one or either of us would ever get back to college—and how the heck we would manage it--was still up in the air. Nobody's parents were happy. With all this drama swirling through our minds, the parade, so very pointedly an event for little kids, got old fast.  


We turned and walked back through the wind, weak November sun, and grimy uptown streets to our little pad. When we got there, the place was redolent with roast turkey and baked potatoes. The bird made snapping noises as the juice splattered about inside the oven, casting a kind of smoky pall around the kitchen. We decided that this must mean it was cooked. Chris fetched it out, and lo and behold, it was done, all crispy, juices running clear.  I was a little surprised that I was, for the first time in months and all of a sudden—genuinely hungry. It was quite a fine meal, our first Thanksgiving—meat, potatoes, squishy store bread and a freshly opened can of cranberry sauce. Who knew I’d be remembering it fifty-one years later?

~~Juliet Waldron
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