Archive for August, 2022

Gray Lace, Part 43

Egad! I wish publishing was as easy as this. Slowly, dear reader, Gary Lace, my 4th novel, is reappearing. Trevor Coffman is worried about Catherine Randolph while acting the part of The Earl of Warrenwood to Charleston, SC in 1908.

To Trevor’s surprise, he did handle the evening at the Charleston Society League Ball. He mustered his strength into his frozen smile. His sore facial muscles and his aching back returned with him to his rooms later that evening.

He shut the door from the hall, leaned his back against it, and closed his eyes. Shaking his head from side to side with each comma he declared, “Ladies and Gentlemen, if I have to bow over the hands of a powdered, over-endowed, over-exposed, self-righteous, female, hypocrite, one more evening, I’ll kiss all the alligators in your swamp!” He opened his eyes, looked around the sitting room and slowly raised his eyebrows. “Where’s Catherine? It’s after midnight for God’s sake!”

“She’s gone.” Ross bravely answered and held up his hand to stop Trevor’s expected tirade. “She’s taken a position at the Staffords’ and yes, before you ask, they live next door to Pettigrews. They are new to Charleston, so they don’t know her.”

“Doing what, precisely?” Trevor tried not to yell, but the tightening of his throat was aiding his panic. He pushed away from his supporting door and glared at his friends.

“She’s a maid,” Joann had her hands folded in front of her, but her proud grin gave her attitude center stage.

“What’s her plan?”

“She wants to observe the Pettigrew’s schedule and get inside.”

“Oh, God,” Trevor marched through the room to the bay windows and peered down the street to the harbor. “She’s going after the proof, the trust fund papers, isn’t she?”

“Yup,” Ross replied.

“Why didn’t you stop her?”

“Trevor, Catherine’s her own person and she needs to do this,” Ross stood up and joined his friend at the view as they silently prayed for her safety. “She’ll be fine. She’s not stupid.”

“No, she isn’t,” Trevor softly agreed.

Enough! (for now)

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Gray Lace, Part 42

Egad!

Yes, it has been too long, however, I do have a list of excuses: overnight guests, Covid, and procrastination brought on by ‘who-done-it-titist-mystery-reading’. Need more specificity? British historical mysteries by CS Harris (17) and DM Quincy (3). Oh, I’ve read them all, but I have an odd appreciation of re-reads and re-views. During a ‘re-do’, I notice more character traits, plot intrigue, and setting details. I’ve been known to watch a movie without the sound. I’m amazed at the details I had missed earlier.

In my own novels and manuscripts, I find more and more details, not mistakes. Not really. ; )

In Gray Lace, Trevor is lost. He’s in Charleston, in 1908, but he is expected to play the part of an aristocrat without the support of his Catherine. She has disappeared. Ross and Joann keep up the appearances of a valet and parlor maid while Jacob runs interference with the overly observant hotel management.

Chapter Eight, page 79

“I don’t know why you bothered to drag me back here. She won’t even speak to me,” Trevor squirmed under the clothing brush Ross swept across his shoulders.

“Stand still, my lord,” Ross spit out the title like a sour bit of collards, “while I attempt to get through your thick British skull.” He put down the brush onto the dressing table and walked around to stand between Trevor and the mirror. “She won’t speak to you because of that stubborn mule attitude that won’t allow you to satisfactorily answer her questions.” He concluded his lecture by gently slapping Trevor’s black velvet lapels.

“I’ve been measured, pushed, pulled, and attacked by the tailors with their scissors and pins and uncomfortable common questions and now you expect me to be kind?” He fortified his oxygen supply and frustration levels by inhaling, holding it, and then slowly exhaling. “Oh, Ross”, he whispered, “I think I love her.”

A short, thick, and sweet silence settled between the two friends. “Think or know?” Ross handed him the new evening top hat and cane.

They stared at the ornately carved wooden door as a gentle scratching announcement preceded Joann, “I knocked,” she declared after opening and hurrying inside.

“No, you didn’t,” laughed Ross. “But we love you anyway.”

“Shush. Quiet!” she closed the door and whispered, “There’s a Mr. and Mrs. Harold Winston and their daughter, Daphne, downstairs in the hotel tearoom. They sent their servant up to remain us about your appointment with them. Jacob went back downstairs with him to announce that you’d be there soon.”

“Oh, no, where’s Catherine?” he started his lordly pacing. He headed out of his room in a fierce march. “Why can’t she be here? She needs to be here!”

“Jacob’s doing a fine job, I’m sure.” Joann stole a glance at Ross, and she nearly fell over in surprise at his pleased grin behind Trevor’s back. He leaned closer to her face and whispered, “All will be well.”

Really?

Enough! (for now)

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