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Wareeze Woodson: A Lady’s Vanishing Choices

This is a tidbit of recent history, all of 60 years ago. This is a true incident, not of historical value, but interesting.

This spark stayed in the recesses of my mind for years. When I was a young child, a friend of my dad’s stopped by our house. No one thinks a child of five or so is paying any attention, but I had my antenna up. The friend was vastly upset and his story came pouring out. Seems this friend and two or three other guys along with a few women were camped out on the beach at Galveston. They drank and caroused for a few days, nearly a week of heavy drinking. Earlier on the last morning, the campers woke only to discover one of the women had died during the night. They buried her body there on the beach and scuttled away like so many crabs rushing back into the sea.

My dad tried to talk his friend into going to the police, but the fellow was afraid he’d be blamed for the incident. He was the one that brought the women with him to the party. He wouldn’t report the incident. When hurricane, IKE, hit Galveston, so much was destroyed. During the rebuilding, a skeleton of a female was discovered and reported on the news. It was believed the remains had been in the ground for fifty years or better. I thought it must have been the same woman. I remembered! SPARK, SPARK.

When Bethany Littleton was a child, she wrote several letters not included in the novel, A Lady’s Vanishing Choices. Here is a little peek at the first one.

Dearest Mummy,

I don’t know how to send this letter to Heaven, but it makes me feel better to write to you. I’ll keep it in a box until I can find a way. I miss you so much. My tenth year is nearly here, my first birthday without you and father. There is a kind lady in the village and I like her. She has a shop and lets me visit her. She gives me tea and cake, too. Not just for my birthday either.

Uncle Arthur and Aunt Gertrude are so mean. Eleanor isn’t nice either, except sometimes. I wish father had named someone else to take care of me. I don’t like this new place near Chatham either. I have a small room under the roof and I can hear the rain at night. I’m afraid of storms where wind rattles the windows and lightning flashes in the sky. Sometimes, the cat visits my room. I like animals.

Me and my dog ran away yesterday, but the vicar found us and brought us back. Aunt Gertrude said I was a wicked, bad girl, wild and as plain as a pudding. I have no dowry either. I don’t know what that all means, but it sounds dreadful. She took my dog away. I cried and cried, but my dog is still gone. I’ll never let Aunt Gertrude see me cry again. No matter what. I’ll wash my face and learn to keep everything inside.

I shall leave here when I reach one and twenty years and never, never come back. I didn’t mean to let tears fall on this page. Still, no one shall ever, ever read it, so it don’t matter. When I have time, I’ll write again.

Love,

Bethany

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About A Lady’s Vanishing Choices

Vexed with her aunt, Bethany takes the gig without permission. She pulls up to master her temper and wanders into the woods. From her sheltered position, she watches a man bury a long bundle large enough to hold a corpse. She thinks she has escaped undetected, but danger follows her. In her reckless handling of the ribbons, she nearly runs Lord Royce Rivton off the lane.

Lord Rivton is in search of a spy and must investigate her family, his closest neighbor. Both at cross purposes, the sparks fly and when he rescues her, he places her in a compromising position. They marry as expected, but their road is not smooth. She is still in mortal danger. He must find and capture the killer/spy while trying to save his wife. A tattered string weaves together this tale of murder, abduction and espionage.

Amazon

Excerpt

The clatter of a thud and scrape against the ground reached Bethany’s ears. What on earth? Alert now, she strained to listen. Again the thud and scrape echoed in a steady rhythm. She recognized the noise of a shovel being plied. Such a sound deep in the forest instantly announced something unusual, even sinister and dangerous. The hairs on back of her neck stood on end and she froze in place. She was alone, vulnerable. Discovery of her presence could herald a ruined reputation perhaps even sending her into actual peril. She shivered. Why had she allowed vexation and self-pity to drive her to act on such a reckless impulse?

Holding her breath, she inched forward ever so quietly and crouched behind a screen of bushes. Alarm curled down her spine, but the urge to discover the source of the sound pushed her forward. Peeking through the foliage, she viewed a small clearing with a mound of freshly turned dirt piled in the center. A man flung another scoop full onto the heap and continued to dig. What could possibly be his purpose? The odor of moist soil reached Bethany, reminding her of her situation, alone and deep in the woods. She recalled the old adage about curiosity and the cat. She caught her breath. The cat died. Nevertheless, she couldn’t drag herself away.

About the Author

001 copyI am a native of Texas and still live in this great state. I write period romance tangled with suspense. I married my high school sweetheart, years and years ago. We raised four children and have eight grandchildren, and grandchildren are Grand. At the moment, all my children and my grandchildren live within seventy miles of our home, lots of visits. My husband and I still love each other after all these years the stuff romance is made of, Happy Ever After!

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Wareeze Woodson: An Enduring Love

Blog commenters qualify to enter to win Susana’s September Giveaway, a lovely necklace from London’s National Gallery (see photo at right). Don’t forget to include your email address!

Interview with Wareeze Woodson

Susana: Tell us about your writing journey and what it took to get published.

Wareeze: I’ve been an avid reader for years and have always rearranged the ending of the story to suit myself, especially if it didn’t end in the proper manner. Only happy ever-after endings are allowed, and even those do not always end as I would like.

Years ago, I forgot how many, I attended a seminar on writing. We were encouraged to submit a few pages for the agents to review. When my turn arrived to talk to an agent, he told me I was too fat and unattractive to continue writing. He suggested I give up. In his opinion, it was a waste of my time as I’d never make it.

That was certainly discouraging, but after attending writing classes and growing much older, I joined the group Romance Writers of America. One would say, I am a glutton for punishment and stubborn to boot. I joined a critique group in my local chapter of RWA and polished my craft. I met a publisher at The Lone Star convention who decided to take a chance on me. Now I’m a published author. A long and sometimes very hard journey, but I made it.

6376129 copySusana: What inspired you to write An Enduring Love?

Wareeze: A neighbor lost her husband during the war, but he returned. Instead of going their separate ways, they worked to build a life together again. I admire that effort.

Susana: What’s the most interesting fact/tidbit you learned while researching your book?

Wareeze: Most of us realize how few rights women had in the 1800s, but tons of readers still expect the heroine to act as women do today. Fat chance! A husband had total rights of ownership of the children, crudely put, but true. He could forbid his wife the privilege of even seeing her children if he decided to do so. When a woman married, even a wealthy woman, every dime became her husband’s. He could spend it on anything he so desired, even gamble it away and deny her a new gown at his whim. A family could arrange a trust fund for her children, but her wealth passed from her father’s or brother’s hands to her husband.

Susana: What do you like most about your hero?

Wareeze: I admire a man who does the honorable thing regardless of the cost to himself. Rhys thought his wife was dead, and he moved on. He struggled to find his love for her again, a man of strength and conviction.

Susana: What do you like most about your heroine?

Wareeze: I admire her ability to live through the pain of rejection with pride and dignity. She made the very best of a bad situation.

Susana: What are you working on next?

Wareeze: A Lady’s Vanishing Choices is my work in progress, my 4th period romance set in the Regency era.

This one is a romantic thriller, complete with a serial killer/spy all rolled into one. Taking the gig without her uncle’s permission, she views a man burying a body. In her haste to escape, she nearly runs over the hero. He’s trying to find a traitor, and her family is under suspicion. Is she innocence, a mere dupe, or is she involved? Can he save her or should he even try? Will she let him?

About An Enduring Love

Born and raised in Latvia, Rebecca Balodis marries Rhys Sudduth, an English diplomat. Shortly thereafter, he is summoned home to attend his father’s deathbed. Rebecca cannot accompany him at the time and becomes trapped in the turmoil plaguing her country. He is informed she died in the upheaval.

Final-An-Enduring-Love-(med) copyNearly four years later, she escapes and arrives in London with their son in tow. Arriving in the middle of his sister’s ball is very awkward, especially since Rhys plans to announce his betrothal to a young debutante later in the evening.

Trouble, tangled in suspense and danger, follow her from Latvia. Can this pair ever find or even recognize an enduring love? Is it worth keeping?

Amazon

Excerpt

The gangplank of the Dragon’s Stirr had been lowered ready for Latvian passengers to board. The creak of the ropes tying the vessel to the dock rasped Rebecca’s nerves, reminding her that soon Rhys would sail back to England without her. Devastated by the thought of such a loss and at such a time, she swallowed hard. How can I bear to let him leave me behind?

Standing on the dock in the mid-day sun, she tried to hold back her sobs and for a moment, she feared her knees might give way beneath her. She clinched her jaw, trying to hold steady and caught the lapels of Rhys’s finely tailored jacket with trembling fingers. A rising ocean breeze stirred his dark hair and swirled her skirts about her ankles as he placed his hand over hers.

When Rebecca gazed into Rhys’ deep blue eyes, Gorgi Weister’s words intruded. Sudduth is almost believable when he claims undying devotion. I admire his talent. Her chest burned with apprehension and she gulped a deep breath. What if Weister is correct? Does Rhys wish to abandon me as Weister implied?  

Weister’s sly innuendoes and the sound of his mocking laughter circled in her mind, but she pushed such negative views aside. Guilt for allowing a moment of doubt to fester filled her with shame, but that too, she brushed aside. Ne! I refuse to believe Rhys would desert me. Although we have only been married a few months his love is strong and will endure forever, as will mine. Nevertheless, doubt crawled into her head, impossible to completely deny. Still, why would a government official such as Gorgi Weister attempt to stir trouble with lies? It made no sense!

About the Author

I am a native of Texas and still live in this great state. I married my high school sweetheart, years and years ago. We raised four children and have eight grandchildren, and grandchildren are Grand. At the moment, all my children and my grandchildren live within seventy miles of our home, lots of visits. My husband and I still love each other after all these years the stuff romance is made of, Happy Ever After!

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Regency Dressmakers and Their Fabrics

By Wareeze Woodson

Dressmakers, historically known as mantua-makers or a modiste fashioned custom garments for her clientele. Sewing everything by hand took several hours of labor, and the more elaborate the gown, the higher the price. Many times these women sewed well into the night to finish a gown for a special client. A modiste or dressmaker sewed a fine seam. A straight stitch is hard to make, but the best dressmaker’s of the day sewed twelve straight stitches in an inch of fabric. What an artist!

Fabric, available and most often used during the Regency period, were varied. Silk, satin, wool, velvet and cotton each had its place in the construction of a garment. Satin weaves, twill weaves, and plain weaves are the three basic types of weaving by which the majority of woven products are formed.

Some of the names of these fabrics in the finished state are as follows:

Silk, the most favored for the soft feel and the easily draping properties of the fabric, was much in demand. Satin and velvet were woven from silk. The differences rest with the weave of the threads.

Satin was much in demand as well. There are several types of satin made in different ways. Satin is usually a warp-faced weaving technique in which warp yarns are “floated” over weft yarns, although there are also weft-faced satins.

Baronet or baronette has a cotton back and a silk front, similar to georgette.

Charmeuse is a lightweight, draping satin-weave fabric with a dull reverse.

Double faced satin is woven with a glossy surface on both sides. It is possible for both sides to have a different pattern, albeit using the same colors.

Duchess satin is a particularly luxurious, heavy, stiff satin.

Faconne is jacquard woven satin.

Farmer’s satin or Venetian cloth is made from mercerised cotton.

Gattar is satin made with a silk warp and a cotton weft.

Messaline is lightweight and loosely woven.

Georgette is a sheer, lightweight, dull-finished crape fabric named after the early 20th century French dressmaker Georgette de la Plante. Originally made from silk, georgette is made with highly twisted yarns. Its characteristic crinkly surface is created by alternating S- and Z-twist yarns in both warp and weft. Georgette is made in solid colors and prints and is used for blouses, dresses, evening gowns, and trimmings.

Crêpe or crape is a silk or wool fabric with a distinctively crisp, crimped appearance.

Cambric or batiste, one of the finest and most dense kinds of cloth is a lightweight plain-weave fabric woven in greige, then bleached, piece-dyed and often glazed or calendered. Initially, in the 19th century, it was made of linen, then cotton. Cambric is used for linens, shirtings, handkerchieves and as fabric for lace and needlework. Cambric was originally a kind of fine white plain-weave linen cloth made at or near Cambrai. White linen cambric was used to fashion fine shirts, underwear, shirt frills, cravats, collars and cuffs, handkerchiefs, and infant wear.

Nainsook is a fine, soft muslin fabric. (cotton)

Lawn cloth or lawn is a plain weave textile, originally of linen but now chiefly cotton. Lawn is designed using fine, high count yarns, which results in a silky, untextured feel. The fabric is made using either combed or carded yarns. When lawn is made using combed yarns, with a soft feel and slight luster, it is known as “nainsook”. The term lawn is also used in the textile industry to refer to a type of starched crisp finish given to a cloth product. The finish can be applied to a variety of fine fabrics, prints or plain

Lawn is a lightweight, sheer cloth, crisper than voile but not as crisp as organdy. Lawn is known for its semi-transparency, which can range from gauzy or sheer to an almost opaque effect, known as lining or utility lawn. The finish used on lawn ranges from soft to semi-crisp to crisp, but the fabric is never completely stiff. Lawn can be white, or may be dyed or printed.

Batiste is a fine cloth made from cotton or wool or a blend, and the softest of the lightweight opaque fabrics.

Kerseymere is a fine woolen cloth with a fancy twill weave.

Trims used for decoration: Ruffle, frill, or furbelow is a strip of fabric, lace or ribbon tightly gathered or pleated on one edge to add as trim to a garment or bedding and such.

The term flounce is a particular type of fabric manipulation that creates a similar look but with less bulk than a ruffle. A flounce is created by cutting a curved strip of fabric and applying the inner or shorter edge to the garment. The depth of the curve as well as the width of the fabric determines the depth of the flounce. A godet is a circle wedge that can be inserted into a flounce to further deepen the outer floating wave without adding additional bulk at the point of attachment to the body of the garment, such as at the hemline, collar or sleeve.

Fringe is an ornamental textile trim applied to an edge of an item, such as drapery, a flag, epaulettes, or decorative tassel.

French bead edgings, worked muslin jaconet, embroidery, knotted ribbons and pearl rosettes were also used to enhance a creation.

Terms for apparel: Gowns, day dresses, walking-dresses were all dresses and includes a ball-gowns, riding apparel along with travel garments.

A pelisse was a short cape, shawls and cloaks, many fur-lined were worn to protect the wearer from a chill in the air or on occasion to display a new purchase.

A caraco was a jacket like bodice worn with a petticoat and had sleeves to the elbow, a popular style.

Panniers were side hoops worn under the petticoat with a caraco.

A redingote was a gown with a tight bodice and long sleeves with a collar much like a man’s jacket. The petticoat formed the front of the gown with an overskirt to match the bodice.

Gloves, some short to above the wrist and some covered the elbow, were always worn in public or gathering outside the home.

Hats and bonnets of every description were also worn for any outing. Dressmakers often made hats as well.

Wareeze Woodson and “An Enduring Love”

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Wareeze will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and an ebook of An Enduring Love Worth Keeping will be awarded to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour. Click on the banner to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

About An Enduring Love

Born and raised in Latvia, Rebecca Balodis marries Rhys Sudduth, an English diplomat. Shortly thereafter, he is summoned home to attend his father’s death-bed. Rebecca cannot accompany him at the time and becomes trapped in the turmoil plaguing her country. He is informed she died in the upheaval.

Nearly four years later, she escapes and arrives in London with their son in tow. Arriving in the middle of his sister’s ball is very awkward, especially since Rhys plans to announce his betrothal to a young debutante later in the evening.

Trouble, tangled in suspense and danger, follow her from Latvia. Can this pair ever find or even recognize an enduring love? Is it worth keeping?

Excerpt

Cover_An Enduring LoveThe gangplank of the Dragon’s Stirr had been lowered ready for Latvian passengers to board. The creak of the ropes tying the vessel to the dock rasped Rebecca’s nerves, reminding her that soon Rhys would sail back to England without her. Devastated by the thought of such a loss and at such a time, she swallowed hard. How can I bare to let him leave me behind?

Standing on the dock in the mid-day sun, she tried to hold back her sobs and for a moment, she feared her knees might give way beneath her. She clinched her jaw, trying to hold steady and caught the lapels of Rhys’s finely tailored jacket with trembling fingers. A rising ocean breeze stirred his dark hair and swirled her skirts about her ankles as he placed his hand over hers.

When Rebecca gazed into Rhys’ deep blue eyes, Gorgi Weister’s words intruded. Sudduth is almost believable when he claims undying devotion. I admire his talent. Her chest burned with apprehension and she gulped a deep breath. What if Weister is correct? Does Rhys wish to abandon me as Weister implied?

Weister’s sly innuendoes and the sound of his mocking laughter circled in her mind, but she pushed such negative views aside. Guilt for allowing a moment of doubt to fester filled her with shame, but that too, she brushed aside. Ne! I refuse to believe Rhys would desert me. Although we have only been married a few months his love is strong and will endure forever, as will mine. Nevertheless, doubt crawled into her head, impossible to completely deny. Still, why would a government official such as Gorgi Weister attempt to stir trouble with lies? It made no sense!

About the Author

AuthorpicI am a native of Texas and still live in this great state. I married my high school sweetheart, years and years ago. We raised four children and have eight grandchildren, and grandchildren are Grand. At the moment, all my children and my grandchildren live within seventy miles of our home, lots of visits. My husband and I still love each other after all these years the stuff romance is made of, Happy Ever After!

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Wareeze Woodson and “Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman”

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Wareeze will be awarding one eBook to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour, and one $50 GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

Dearest Lady Bromsworth,

Because of my deepest concern for the Laningham family, I write to ask you for the truth of the dreadful incident involving Lady Laurel Laningham. The late Lord Laningham served in the Peninsula you understand.  How sad he succumbed to his wounds leaving a young wife and son behind.  His grieving twin sister nearly went into a decline, or so I heard. All due to that little Corsican upstart, Bonaparte, thinking to fight all of England and our brave soldiers dying by his order.   

 I don’t hold with gossip as you know, but I seek the truth to still the old tabbies’ tongues about the matter. Listening to rumors is a vulgar habit, and I try to always gather the facts of a situation instead. The facts, as I understand them, are incredible, scarcely believable, thus my inquiry.

My butler informed me that dear Lady Laurel Laningham survived when a carriage over turned with her and her little son inside.  She was on her way to Sussex to visit her aunt, or so it was supposed. Tis a great shame what with her being so recently bereaved and so lovely. She is not your average silly, pea-goose, either to undertake such a trip without cause. I asked myself if such could be true, and what with the condition of the roads along with the less than trust-worthy coachmen handling the ribbons, I concluded the account could be accurate.   

Alarmed, I sat down at once with pen and paper to hand. He told a tale of a stranger riding off with the young Lord Laningham leaving the widow stranded in an over-turned coach. The tale becomes even more incredible at that point.  You can imagine my horror and concern.

The abductor is rumored to be Lord Gladrey himself, the boy’s own guardian. That cannot be possible. I know Lord Gladrey. He is such a fine gentleman, gracious and always mindful of his family, such a dear, kind gentleman.  If he did take charge of his ward, I’m certain he had a perfectly sound reason for serving Lady Laningham such a turn. It is quite natural for his cousin to appoint Lord Gladrey as guardian to his son. He and the twins are rumored to have been very close.

Please enlighten me of the facts of the situation so I’ll be able to ward off any unwelcome comments from the Ton. I dare say, you are aware of how vicious some of their tongues can become. I am more than willing to promote the proper happenings for dear Lady Laningham’s sake. I anxiously await word from you, a dear friend and neighbor of the family.

Truly Yours,

Lady Pickering

Reporter: Lord Adron Gladrey, I work for the Tribute. My editor is interested in the happenings involving an overturned coach. We understand you rode by and took charge of your ward, Lord Laningham. Why at such at time did you ride away with him before you?

 Lord Adron Gladrey: I felt it necessary to protect my ward. Due to a misunderstanding, I thought he was being taken to France. The war- torn country is hardly a safe environment for my ward. I understood, his mother was careless and she wouldn’t understand the danger to my ward.

Reporter: Why didn’t you talk to her?

Lord Adron Gladrey: She left Landings as I arrived back in England. There was no time. I felt the need to rescue my ward before something dreadful happened to him. The entire incident was merely a misunderstanding. I would appreciate it if you people would let the subject alone. 

About Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman

Recently widowed Lady Laurel Laningham flees Landings to escape her untenable position. Alone now and at the mercy of her sister-in-law, she decides to nestle under her aunt’s wings for a spell. To add to her burdens, her young son’s new guardian, Lord Adron Gladrey, has announced his intentions to take complete charge of his ward. The killer is stalking her and a devious jewel thief is stealing the family jewels. Can she convince her son’s guardian she is not a dangerous lunatic and is perfectly capable of raising her son or will he always consider her untrustworthy as a mother to his ward? Will his stubborn blindness send her straight into the path of the murderer, or will he relent in time to save her from following her husband into the grave?

Available

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Excerpt

His voice floated down to her. “Are you or the child injured?”

Cover_Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman“I think several scrapes and bruises at most.” Laurel trembled and brushed her bonnet out of her face. She heard his quick intake of breath.

“You’re positive? You must have taken quite a tumble when the coach overturned. Possibly you’re more injured than you know.”

“Only a little shaken.” She took a deep, calming breath then continued with more force. “I’m certain we’re both fine.”

He hesitated and exhaled deeply. “A damsel in distress then. Do you perhaps have a name?”

Authority rang in his voice. She clutched Jamie a little tighter and offered him a tremulous smile. “Laurel Jane Laningham. Thank you for coming to our rescue.” She shaded her eyes with one hand, waiting for him to return the introduction.

“Let’s get you out of there. Hand me the boy first.”

He reached down into the overturned coach and Laurel lifted Jamie above her head into the waiting arms of the stranger. Her rescuer leapt to the ground with her son. A chill of foreboding curled around her. He’d said the boy. An unknown man shouldn’t know the child was a male. With every one of her senses alert, she listened intently for the stranger to return. Saddle leather squeaked and the thunder of hooves struck the ground in retreat.

Laurel screamed, “Bring my son back. I’ll see you hanged for this, you blackguard. Come back here. Help. Driver, help me.”

About the Author

Author PicI am a native Texan and still live in the Houston area. I married by high school sweetheart, and after raising 4 children, they blessed up with 8 grandchildren. AND after all these years, we still love each other. True romance is happy ever after.

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