Posts Tagged ‘Arts’



The horned helmet of Henry VIII

The horned helmet of Henry VIII


Hello ,

I have been doing quite a bit of research for my manuscript on those nutty Tudors, and I thought I’d ask for your feedback.  If you know the history, you generally have pretty strong feelings about this subject.  I know I do, so please share yours here. Thanks, Janet B Taylor


It is a shame that  Henry VIII is mostly known for killing his wives. He was a brilliant man. Like Bill Clinton, who will ever be remembered for a stained blue dress and a cigar, Henry VIII’s legacy is his matrimonial disaster.

I am not going to go into his positive contributions here, although I would like to in another blog. You can check this out: http://www.the-tudors.org.uk/henry-viii-accomplishments.htm It is no scholarly work, but interesting, nonetheless.

I would like to talk to you today about Henry VIII’s wives. In case you are not familiar with them- here is a list:

Catherine of Aragon– Spanish princess and first wife-and mother of Mary I.  Henry divorced her- and she died alone and heartbroken.

Anne BoleynSecond wife– and some (like me) say – a husband poacher. She gave us the great Elizabeth I, but paid for her sins with her head.

Jane SeymourThird Wife– and the only one to give him his one true wish.. A son, Edward.  Sadly, she died of infection after giving birth.

Anne of ClevesFourth Wife– Sister of a German duke, Henry married her for her connections. When he laid eyes on her, days before the wedding- he was appalled. He claimed she was ugly, stank, and was stupid. They married, but did not consummate. He implemented annulment proceedings almost immediately. Of all his wives-she made out the best, with a nice settlement and the title “Beloved sister of the King.” She outlived Henry.

Catherine Howard- Fifth Wife and Henry’s teenage hottie. Catherine was between fifteen and twenty when she married the aging king. It did not take the promiscuous Catherine long to take lovers behind the king’s back. She was the second wife to lose her head on the block.

Katherine Parr– Henry’s sixth and final wife. She was a mature, educated woman who acted as more of a  nursemaid than a bed partner to the old, ill king.  She ended her reign as a widow.

If you want to read more details about this fascinating period of history- check this out. http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/tudor.htm


Now… Here is my question:

I am a first (and only) wife- lucky enough to marry–and stay married to– my high school sweetheart.  My sympathies have always lain with poor Catherine of Aragon.  Catherine and Henry married when they were young and beautiful.  He was nuts about her and even trusted her enough to let her rule his country when he was away. She adored him beyond all things. They were happily married for over twenty years and I believe that Henry always loved Catherine.

Then things went wrong… I think if she had produced a son, instead of one living daughter and a number of heart-rending still-births, he would never have divorced her, Anne Boleyn or no Anne Boleyn.

My mom has a phrase for a woman like Anne- who seems to get all the men she wants with a simple snap of a finger.  “She has a golden snapper.”  I will leave you to interpret that any way you wish, but.. I believe that Anne Boleyn is one of the aforementioned ladies.  {ahem}..

I want to know what you ladies (or guys) think..  To whom do you most relate?

Are you a Catherine, an Anne, a Jane, an Anne, a Catherine or a Katherine???

Who is your favorite Tudor Wife?

As you know,(those three of you who read this blog)… I am working on my first manuscript. I am past the 70,000 word count, now.  I’m getting very close to finishing the first draft. Fingers crossed!!


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While the purpose of most blogs on writing is to inform, I have created this blog to gather information. There are a lot of us “Aspiring Authors” out there, who are trying to learn as we go.

When I began this journey, the only thing that came to  mind when someone mentioned “craft” to me, were Popsicle sticks and Elmer’s glue.

That was a beautiful time of innocence, when I wrote simply for the joy it gave me.  In fact, it made me a little sad to learn how much of “art” is actually  “business.”

Once I  committed to taking this journey, however, I determined to give it my all.  So,  I began to do research. The one word that was invariably near the top of the important issues  of nearly every website, tweet or book jacket on writing…. CRAFT.

The problem that I am facing at the present is that there is simply TOO much.  Too  many books.  Too many websites. Too many classes. How do newbies like me EVER make the right decisions?

That may sound ridiculous to any experts, who are used to weeding through the chaff of  information.  We poor little lost “aspirings” flounder.  We helplessly bounce from one site to another, not certain whom to trust.

Who is right?  What is wrong?

It can be a bit overwhelming.  I have already spent WAY too much on books, online workshops, and plan to spend a lot more as soon as I figure out how to choose.

… That is the question…..


Where do  YOU turn for craft advice?

If there are any more Aspiree’s out there, which would like to link to this, I figure we are better off together.  Welcome. 🙂

Thank you and have a beautiful day.


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I got some really good news Saturday. I submitted my first short story to an e-zine and it was accepted for publication. I know it is not that big of a deal to most people, but to me, it proved that at least my writing doesn’t completely suck.

I think that is important…  not sucking.

I am an “aspiring” author. Hmm.. What does that mean exactly?

The dictionary says:


http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/d/g/speaker.swf [uh-spahyuhr]

to long, aim, or seek ambitiously; be eagerly desirous, esp. for something great or of high value (usually fol. by to, after,or an infinitive): to aspire after literary immortality;

Ahhh… Part of the dictionary’s definition… To aspire after literary immortality.. Immortality???    Woowee! THAT is a BIG aspiration!

I think I will shoot a little lower.

I want people  to read what I write. I want them to sink themselves into the world that I create. I want them to hide from their children in the bathroom, so they can finish one of my chapters.

There are an awful lot of us “aspirings” out there. The question is, how to I rise out of the obscure pack?

Obviously, the writing has to be good. Or actually, more than good. It has to be phenomenal.

I have mentioned how naïve I was when I started this journey. I thought if you wrote a good book, you got published. Well, apparently, there is a lot more to it. You must also build a “social platform”, have lots of followers on Twitter and have a large Facebook page. I wonder how large of a Twitter  following Dickens would have? Or how many Facebook friends Tolstoy could cultivate?  What would have been their social media strategy ?

I am a toddler in the Twitter world. As an (ahem) forty-something, I feel awkward trying to break into that world. It seems too hip, too cool for an old broad like me. When I announced to my teenagers that I now “twittered”, they first gagged a little, then informed me, acidly, that it was “Tweeting, Mom. Duh..”

So, here I go. I will face this electronic world. I am going to jump in with both feet, and just hope that I don’t embarrass myself by being a ginormous nerd.

Except.. aren’t nerds cool, now?

Here is a tiny excerpt from my Manuscript.  What do you guys think????

This time I dreamed of Alex. Only the dreams were not of our time together, but strange, disjointed images.

He stood across from me, near a wide, flat river. Palm trees swayed in a hot breeze; and behind him, a huge pyramid rose out of the desert.
He wore a bronze breastplate and the plumed helmet of a Roman soldier. The gritty wind whipped my long, white robes and black braids around me. Alex grinned and held out his hand. In his palm rested a huge opal.
As I reached for it, the scene changed to winter. Snow covered a hilly landscape and we were clothed in plush, smooth furs. He tried to push the stone toward me again, but as I stretched out my hand to grasp it; he melted away to be replaced by Lucien. Dressed in the dandified clothes of a French aristocrat, he threw his head back in a cruel laugh. His unnaturally red lips were clownish against his white, powdered cheeks and black beauty mark. I turned to run, but my wide skirts wouldn’t allow me to turn quickly. My head was so heavy under the tall, white wig.
Only a few feet away, Alex struggled, his arms pinned behind him. Scratches covered his chest, where his white-frilled shirt gaped open. His autumn brown hair had escaped the low ponytail and hung in straggles around his blood-covered face. Someone grabbed me from behind, pulling me away as he screamed my name.
I sat up, panting and sweating, and then wished I hadn’t.

BTW>> I added on some of my favorite blog sites, and also some of the books I have read in the last year. With working on my own book, I’ve had less time to read, which is SO not cool! I LOVE “literature”, but sometimes you have to concentrate too hard. All these books are pure pleasure.

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Well, I am going to do it. I am going to eat a big old bowl of crow, feathers and all.

The other day, I submitted a very succinct and well-thought out post regarding the lack of writers and/or conferences held in our glorious South. Some might say I was just whining, being a big titty-baby, but to you I say….. pttttthhhh. :p.

In any case, today I was moping around on the net, my bottom lip thrust out like a toddler. I was perusing next year’s list of writers’ conferences ,which I can’t  attend because they are all too dang-blasted far away!

Then, it happened. It was like the angels smiled down on me, sending this link straight to my broken heart. (I know, sugar.. If you need a little Kleenex. It’s okay.)


I discovered a writers’ conference in Dallas/Ft.Worth in February!!  My joy knew no bounds. Then…… disaster struck.

The dates.. February the 26th and 27th. One of which just happens to by my 23rd wedding anniversary. {sigh}. What were the chances that my husband would want to drive six hours, only to sit in a hotel while I go to classes, lectures and meetings?

With little hope, I sent a quick email, with a link to the site. He knows how much becoming a published author means to me, but I had no idea how he would take doing something like this on our anniversary.  He already loses a lot of me when I am writing.

The ding of the inbox chimed, and I clicked on  it…..

The only thing it said in return…. Of Course.  I love you.

Now, I already knew my husband was Grade A, 24-Carat, 100% etc….He and I are high-school sweethearts and have been together for twenty-six years. A more loving and giving man does not exist in the world, and I should not have doubted it for a millisecond.

Now… you can pull out your Kleenex box.

(of course, I will not mention the little side deal I had to make… But..it IS our anniversary, after all.. )

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I went to my first book signing this weekend. I know, I know.. What?! You say to yourself. How is this possible? All she does is talk about books. How is it that she has never been to a book signing?

I live in the South. That’s how. In particular, I live in Arkansas. We couldn’t be any further from New York or L.A. in either geography or lifestyle. We are slow ’bout things ’round here. Could that be the reason we don’t draw any big name authors to our state? I had to drive seven hours, to Kansas City,  just to attend an hour-long lecture and book signing.  I wouldn’t drive seven hours to meet a movie star, but I will to meet an author whose work I admire. Is that lame?

The population of Kansas City is around a half-million, including its suburban areas. My city, Little Rock, is not much smaller. Yet, we have little to no literary events. Oh, we can throw a hell of a watermelon festival, duck calling competition, or even a festival called Toad Suck Days (not even kidding). But try to get an author down here. Not happening.

So.. my question is… What’s wrong with the South? We’ll feed the heck out of anyone who wants to visit. Our mamas raised us to say yes ma’ am, and feed the company. Aren’t the  Black-eyed peas and peach cobbler alone worth the trip?

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I had a good day today.

I don’t think we know how precious that is, in this time. We are always so scheduled, so rushed, so planned.

I know that most of my time is spent trying to figure out what I have to do next or what I didn’t get done.

Today, I devoted to writing. And it was one of the most pleasurable days I have spent in a long time.

Sometimes I allow myself to daydream that I am one of the lucky few who write for a living. I realize that is a far-fetched fantasy, but hey.. A girl is allowed to dream. When I drift off into this world, I have a little office, with a pretty view. There is a lovely antique desk and a huge, fat cat to keep me company. Of course, no husband or kids will be allowed into “the author’s” inner sanctum.

Now, I know the chances of this ever happening is remote at best. But, I hit a hot streak in my work today and I felt so good about it, that I said to myself.

“Janet. I am going to allow you to have the author daydream today. Sit there and enjoy yourself. You go girl.”


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