Have you read PRUE BATTEN's guest post last week? Have you visited her intriguing blog? Are you ready for the Masked Ball she's organizing ? Don'tmiss it.  It's on May 1st. Now it is time to discover who the lucky winners of her two first novels are! Here is the list of the commenters who entered the giveaway:

1. Alexa Adams
2. Roberta
3. CLM
4. etirv
5. lunarossa
6. Patricia
7. vvb32
8. Theresa N.

And here is the number of the first lucky winner!


And now the second winner ...




A full immersion into the world of libertinism. I don't know whether to worry or not: I went on and on with  my sudden -  recent but intense -  interest in libertines.
Yesterday morning I woke up as early as 7 but I didn't feel like getting up so soon, since it was Sunday. So I remembered I had just got  VALMONT DVD (1989) from my " fairy Merryweather", who had suggested me to watch it  after she heard I had appreciated Lord Damerel (G. Heyer, VENETIA) and am appreciating what Richard Armitage is doing with his Lovelace (Richardson, CLARISSA, BBC4 radiodrama ). And there I was. 7 o'clock in the morning:  coffee, laptop ... in bed with the first libertine of the day: Vicomte Colin Valmont.

A very young ( and incredibly gorgeous ) Colin Firth, performs as the Vicomte in 1989 Milos Forman's film version of Les Liaisons dangereuses, the French epistolary  novel by P. C. de Laclos .
The 1782 four -volume novel is the story of the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, two rivals (ex lovers) who use sex as a weapon to humiliate and degrade others, all the while enjoying their cruel games. Milos Forman's made it a comedy cleaning it from the tragic and cruel details.He created a charming portrayal of the French society at the end of the 18th century with wonderful costumes and locations but brought the human comedy of loving, seducing, betraying, competing, winning and losing beyond time and context.

Colin Firth's Valmont is smart, disenchanted, joking, handsome and charming, daring and cheeky, amoral but smiling and tender. What he lacks is the devilish perversity, the tragic calculation and cruelty of the other
 Valmonts. Forman's protagonist plays the libertine as a joyous game of extreme freedom and his seductive schemes are often depicted as comic. Even his final death in a duel becomes comedy.
I simply found it delightful and loved watching this movie though I noticed some little flaws and  a "hole" in the script: why does Valmont accept to seduce 15-year-old Cecile when he refused at first? (the book explains)

I unwillingly slipped off  the blankets  at 9.30 . There was a huge  ... no, not a huge carriage... a huge ... no, not a huge 18th century palace... just a huge pile of laundry to be ironed waiting for me! Could I lose all the previous  magic atmosphere like that? Not at all. So, I played on the first two episodes of BBC4 Clarissa (The Pursuit, and The Flight) to get ready to listen to episode 3 in the afternoon. Ironing in such company became less boring.
Then after lunch, at 4 p.m here in Italy, live on BBC4 episode 3. The Imprisonment. Soon after that,  BBC 4 Open Book in which Mariella Frostrup interviewed the director of Clarissa, Marilyn Imrie, about the dramatisation.  

 The libertine in Clarissa by Samuel Richardson ( epistolary novel published in1748 so  earlier than the French Liaisons) , is Robert Lovelace. His stubborness at seducing good -hearted,  innocent Clarissa resembles Valmont's persistent attempts to win Madam de Tourvel, who is very young and naive, very religious and good-principled and , especially married and faithful to her husband. But Lovelace owns a histrionic duplicity of behaviour which Forman's Valmont does not have:  wicked Lovelace is stubbornly persuing his aim of ruining Clarissa's honour taking her virginity, he's cunningly planning a false marriage to trick her and overcome her refusal, but he plays the convincing passionate / tender lover and ... what is more he is really convinced that he IS in love with "his charmer, his angel" , that he is HELPING her to escape her unfair family's grasp.
Richard Armitage gave another brilliant sample of how talented he is at using his wonderful voice: he whispered seducing "please" or "I love you" and  threatening "you must", parodized an elderly gentleman, played the drunk boasting rascal and a post boy, was the patient unrequited husband in tears, the tender lover expecting his reward and,  finally,  the devilish rapist convinced of making love instead ... and all that impeccably.
At the end of the episode I was so thrilled and anxious that I found it difficult to calm down and listen to the following interview. The final scene, the rape, had been different from the one I had read in Richardson and even from the BBC miniseries,  but so disquieting. Despicable rake! I needed a break. Stop with libertines. At least for a while ...
After dinner out,  at my mother's,  and some chat with the whole family before the fire, I was back home. 11 a.m. I didn't feel like reading nor sleeping. A movie? From my costume drama collection? Which one?
Just the  right one to complete the route : Stephen Frears, Dangerous Liaisons (1988) . And I was again in bed with a libertine: Vicomte John Valmont.

A curiosity: Milos Forman had alredy started working at his Valmont and was still filming it when Stephen Frears's movie came out in 1988. Forman was such a perfectionist that ... it took him too long! So, when his Valmont was released, it was either ignored or criticized for repeating the same plot of a widely popular and appreciated film that had just come out one year earlier
Anyhow, Frears's Dangerous Liaisons  is astonishingly beautiful!  John Malkovich 's Valmont is cold and fiendish , and the decadence, the tragicality, the perversity of the original text are all there  to an extremity. Like in the book,  the fragile victims are sacrificed and suffer much:  in this movie , young Cecile (Uma Turman) gets pregnant and suffers a miscarriage, she doesn't end in marriage to an important man and in the Royal Chapel like  in Forman's movie; madame De Turvel (Michelle Pfeiffer) suffers Valmont's violent rejection and consumes herself to death, she isn't forgiven and helped by her old husband like in  Forman's film; the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont are trecherous, perfidious, cold, greedy, devilish. There is no joy in their being out of any rule and completely free to break them. The whole film is rather  dark and tragic, in fact. But it is definitely  a great costume movie. An excellent one.
P.S. Chevalier Darceney, Cecile's young music teacher and lover, is Keanu Reeves in this film.



I've been definitely seduced by two libertines. Two, not one. And , more or less, at the same time. They are expert in the art of seduction so I think I must be forgiven. These two are... tall , dark and handsome and these are already features I  can hardly  resist. Then they've got piercing blue eyes  and a deep velvety caressing voice ... who could have resisted their subtle tricks?
I couldn't. So I surrendered to  the two of them.... yes, even to the devilish one. Well, yes, I forgot to say that one is more like Casanova knowing his "victims" weaknesses and likings and trying to win them on those.The other one is more a wicked Don Juan , achieving victory over innocent naive victims. The more naive and resisting they are the more he wants to have them. But he , even in his devilish nature has got his charm. 
Here I am again. The usual silly ramblings when starting an RA Friday post. But any time  Richard is involved , my self - control is hardly proved.
Maybe you have already understood I 'm talking  about Damerel, the hero in Georgette Heyer's Venetia and Robert Lovelace the rascal male protagonist in Richardson's Clarissa. I've just finished reading /listening Venetia last night. And I loved episode two of BBC4 radio drama Clarissa so much that I re- listened to it several times. Richard and all the cast gave amazing performances. Have you listened to Richard singing? What a stunning baritone voice! Is there anything this talented actor cannot do well? Nothing so far.

Georgette Heyer's VENETIA - A short review

An inescapable wish for escapism has characterized this latest period of my life. A recurrent attempt to find a virtual place to forget my stressful  days. I've turned to delightful , amusing readings /listenings and I’m so glad I did! I read Heyer’s Venetia and listened to an abridged audiobook just released by Naxos narrated by a brilliant Richard Armitage.
Georgette Heyer with her Regency romances full of witty comedy can be a perfect remedy to stress and distress. And an intelligent one. Her fascinating characters, her humorous portrayals, her witty style, her passionate romances can make your night even after an awful day!
Venetia is an enchanting young lady, bold, independent, well-read and learned and extremely beautiful who manages to catch and tame a notorious libertine, handsome “wicked baron” Damerel.
He’s a libertine with an infamous reputation but his love for Venetia gives him a new outlook on life. He’s ready to sacrifice his love for Venetia’s happiness and social welfare.
Literary quotations in their verbal interactions are what I liked the most. Since their first (un)fortunate meeting at the Priory Lord Damerel and Miss Venetia Lanyon use a very informal, intelligent, spicy exchange of speech based on literature: Shakespeare, Thomas Campion, Ben Jonson.
Their ability at communicating in this way indicates the affinity and understanding between them.
My favourite moments in the novel are the Venetia /Damerel ones. Especially the first meeting at the Priory, the scene of the barn, the proposal, Damerel explaining what was wrong in young Oswald's attempt to kiss Venetia.  Well, what can I do? I know. I’m an incurable  romantic.


Both Lord Jasper Damerel in Venetia and Robert Lovelace in Richardson’s Clarissa are libertines.
But who exactly is a Libertine? The term is usually considered a synonym of rascal or rake. And that is correct. But a libertine was both a real fashionable gentleman and literary type, a figure who embodied the desire to react and contrast the Puritan period (1647-1660) with an extreme desire for freedom (liberty).
In fact, the rise of Libertininsm dates back to the period of the Restoration of the Monarchy by Charles II Stuart (1660).The phylosophy of the Libertines went beyond simply living a life of pleasure. Libertinism was in many ways a disruptive social force. The aim of the Libertines was to experiment with the limits of individual freedom; to do the unthinkable and say the unspeakable; to reject the moral framework of the social order that supported their privileges. Defiantly irreligious and aceptical about the claims of rationalism, the Libertines wanted to see how far they could go in disrupting the norms that governed the rest of society. Pastimes included casual adultery and seduction, gambling and fighting duels.
Libertine ideas not only form an important part of literature and drama in the Restoration, but they also provide a cultural framework for the subsequent rise of the novel.
Libertines were both male and female. They did as they felt but, in literature, they are too clever to be punished for their sins.
This is not the case of Richardon’s Lovelace, though. He ruins the model puritan heroine, Clarissa, and he can’t escape his fate in the end. He even seeks his own death as an act of atonement. He is also a tragic hero, not only the villain in the novel, and this is totally different from libertines in the Restoration comedy and literature.

See you next Sunday, then.
 3 p.m Greenwich time, on line to follow CLARISSA episode 3 on BB4.
(thank you Annette !)



Have you seen the lovely invitation to  a Masked Ball on May 1st on my sidebar? The invitation comes from Prue Batten, a very kind and talented Australian lady, a fantasy writer, who is one of my latest interesting acquaintances in the blogoworld. I asked her to be my guest on Fly High and to tell us about her love for writing and whatever she wanted about herself and her interests.
 Read till the end : there is a double giveaway open worldwide. Just leave a comment under this post and don't forget your e-mail address!
Now it's time to meet Ms Prue Batten

I’m Prue Batten, an Australian writer of fantasy and I’m delighted to be Maria Grazia’s guest on Fly High. Maria Grazia  asked me to guest-blog after she’d become a regular commentator on Mesmered's Blog , my site. We both have a love of historical fiction, of the great writers through the centuries, of costume dramas and of course, an interest in the work of Mr.Richard Armitage.

As a writer of Fantasy, the contemporary take on Robin Hood delighted me. I loved the language, the in-jokes, the costuming and the storyline. Having not yet seen Series 3, and shattered at the death of Marion, I firmly believe the writers took a wrong turn, but that’s a personal and very uninformed opinion. The thing with writing is that it takes U-turns when a writer least expects. In writing each of my books, I had a carefully detailed plot and an idea of how I wanted the plot to unfold. The reality was another thing altogether. In that first draft, as the characters grew so the story changed and I had to be mindful of controlling the characters with an iron fist in a velvet glove so they didn’t gallop away too often with the plot in their saddle-bags.

My world is the fantasy world of Eirie, a world no different from our own. There are the misty, wooded vales of Trevallyn, the cultural jewel of the canal province of Veniche, the sun-baked exotic province of the Raj and the disparate and eclectic islands that make up the Pymm Archipelago. In my world, Others exist – those enchanted immortals who drift from our own myth and legend to enhance and trouble the lives of mortals with whom they share Eirie

Over a series of books, the same family is written about – through successive generations. And yes, in looking for qualities on which to base my various male protagonists, Richard Armitage’s alter-egos have helped build my character profiles. (Read my post Dark and Dangerous)
My stories are romance, adventure, tragedy, endurance and revenge and since 2008/2009, have begun to build a niche following. It’s all I want, all any writer wants, to have loyal readers who love and hate the characters as much as the author both loves and hates them herself.
Most recently, it was deemed suitable in terms of marketing, to create and upload a book-trailer to Utube for my first novel The Stumpwork Robe, which was an exercise in fun of the highest order.

After that, it was decided to increase the books’ profiles by having a blog event. So here am I, the world’s greatest Luddite, with two e-friends from America, hosting a ‘virtual’ Masked Ball in May and quite honestly having more enjoyment than I thought possible. We have created our own far-fetched and fantastic back-stories (something we hope everyone who joins us will do). We have researched costumes, food, dance, music and will introduce a bit of each and some of the fantasy world of Eirie as the weeks progress toward the Ball. We shall have competitions with delightful prizes like miniature books and handmade silk reticules, prizes to please the discerning eye.

And after it’s over, I shall return to my world and my characters and push on through the generations and see where it takes me. I have travelled with Liam, Finnian, Lalita and Phelim to Trevallyn, Veniche and the Raj. With Nicholas and Isabella I am currently in the Han, an Asian inspired and hitherto undiscovered province. And in the future, Gervais the Cartographer shall sail with me across seas that were believed to have a finite end. In each you will find women of highly charged emotion and daring, some will be mad, clever, even attractive and their men, both mortal and immortal, shall be beautiful, tragic and vengeful.

In the meantime, I invite you all to join Maria Grazia, and Pat, Rebecca and myself on May 1St. We’d love to meet you at the Ball.


Win a signed copy of Prue's
THE STUMPWORK ROBE ( one lucky winner )

or a copy of her second novel , THE LAST STITCH ( another lucky winner).

Open worldwide.
Just  leave your comment and e-mail address.
Winners will be announced on Wednesday March 31st




Henry James said that Trollope's greatest and undeniable merit was his utter understanding of the ordinary. He succeded in feeling any little thing in everyday life not only in seeing it. He felt them simply and directly in their sadness and in their gaiety, in  their appeal and in their comical aspects and in their most obvious but sensible meanings. This introduction of an amazingly prolific writer made by another terrific author made me  feel guilty and sorry for not knowing him more and deeply. I decided I had to read one of Trollope's novels. Isn't he one of the Victorian writers , I'm so intrested in? He is,  but I'm ashamed to say I had never read one of his novels.
So, strangely enough , I happened to start from his latest achievement, written in the final years of his life and only published posthumously in 1884: AN OLD MAN'S LOVE. It was one of my tasks for the Wish I'd read That Challenge 2010 hosted at Royal Reviews.

WILLIAM WHITTLESTAFF, having lost the woman he loved to a richer, more lively rival many years before, lives alone at Croker Hall in Hampshire, looked after by his loyal, odd housekeeper Mrs Baggett. Mr Whittlestaff impulsively takes in as his ward the orphaned daughter of an old friend, nineteen year-old Mary Lawrie, much to Mrs Baggett's disapproval. She — rightly — suspects that Mary's arrival will eventually lead to her master falling in love with the girl, who will supplant her as head of the household. The reserved, unworldly Mary gradually warms towards the lonely bachelor, and he eventually asks her to be his wife. Mary has only briefly experienced love three years before, with John Gordon, a penniless Oxford student who was sent away by her step-mother as a bad prospect. Mary accepts Mr Whittlestaff, but not before making him aware of the history of her short and painful dealings with John Gordon. He dismisses this knowledge, allowing that Mary 'may think of him' from time to time, but privately presuming the young man to be safely out of her life.
But John Gordon unexpectedly arrives at Croker Hall. Fresh from the diamond fields of South Africa where he has made a considerable fortune in order to make himself worthy of Mary, he has come to renew his suit, and she finds herself caught in an impossible situation, feeling incapable of jilting the man whose proposal she has so recently accepted. Mr Whittlestaff, though well aware who it is that Mary really loves, is unwilling to be rejected himself once again, and reluctant to release her from her promise. John Gordon, unable quite to give up hope, goes to stay for a few days with an old university friend, Montagu Blake, a curate who lives nearby. The battle is on for the hand of Mary Lawrie.

The story is rather paradoxical and extremely pleasant: Trollope's irony and wit, his attention to simple ordinary aspects of life, to very simple and ordinary people, his bitter/sweet approach to the theme of old age versus youth made this last of his works a very good, entertaining read.
 Maybe some of you have already noticed I've got a professional tendency to find connections and links -   a pedantic mania ? - and  also on this occasion ... here we go!
Trollope & Austen: Mr Hall vs Mr Bennet

Introducing Mr. Hall, Trollope directly reflects on Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice and, especially, on Mr Bennet. Mr Hall , who has an entailed estate (which cannot be left to his female offspring), lives frugally — in fact in a style well beneath what one expect — precisely because he does not want to have his daughters end up in the world of Pride and Prejudice; that is, unlike Austen's Mr. Bennett, who retreats to his library and proclaims he can do nothing to help his  daughters, Trollope's Mr. Hall changes his life, sacrificing much because chosen not "to leave his children paupers",  so dependent on marriage for their economic survival. Trollope's character obviously criticizes Austen's as weak and self-indulgent.

Trollope & Dickens-Mr Sentiment

Trollope parodies Dickens calling him Mr Sentiment (seeTrollope, Anthony. "Tom Towers, Dr. Anticant, and Mr. Sentiment." The Warden. World Classics. Oxford: Oxford UP). Reading this novella, An Old Man's Love,  and after reading several of Dickens's novels their different approach to story-telling and characterization is evident.
Dickens's exaggerations often make his characters like caritures: both positive and negative aspects in their personalities are stressed and seen as through a magnifying glass. Trollope's characterization is more realistic, his humoristic portrayals are not based on exaggeration and his sense of human drama not approached with sensationalism. You smile and you are sorrowful at the different situations he describes, but you never laugh out loud or are never moved to tears. (Just in brackets, I do love Dickens!)



On occasion of my weekly event, My Blogger Buddies, truly enchanting Ms Lucy offered two wonderful Austen books to my readers (and hers!)   last week:

These are the commenters who entered the giveaway

1. Mel U
2. Margay
3. Roberta
4. Librarypat
5. Mystica
6. Ms. K @ Write On Thyme
7. Buddyt
8. Nancy
9. Alexa Adams
10. Lunarossa
11. Bianca riot
12. Haleyknitz
13. Merriel
14. stephanie

and the winner is ...

P.S. I've been  quite absorbed by my job these days and I forgot (sigh!) that FLY HIGH turned ONE YEAR OLD two days ago! On March 20th 2009 I ...  took off for this pleasant venture on blogspot. Thanks to you all for making it such a gratifying enriching experience!



June is one of my youngest blogger buddies, she is couple of years older than my elder son and my eldest students. She's a  girl full of energy, plans and dreams with a great passion for writing. You can find her at her site, June's Blog . These days she's waiting for  a very important response from a publisher in order to make her dream come true. Listen to what she kindly answered to my questions.

So, June, before I start with my questions I’ll let you introduce yourself to all the other friends of Fly High!

My name is June Hur (the relative of Ben Hur, the Jewish Prince....just kidding), and I'm a twenty-one year old currently studying English literature and history at the University of Toronto. I was born in South Korea but was raised in Canada. I love writing and I’m working on a novel called “The Runaway Courtesan”. I’m in terrible want of a … publisher!

So young and so full of plans, I just envy you! When did you start wishing to become a writer? And, when did you start writing?

The usual response to this question would be: I’ve always wanted to become a writer, ever since I was young. But that would be a lie. During my younger years, I actually hated English, hated reading, and especially hated writing. This all changed, however, after I watched and read Pride & Prejudice. So obssessed with this story, I would write several sequels to this novel, always testing out new ways in which P&P might have continued from day one of their marriage. After writing P&P fanfiction for well over a year I decided to branch out into original fiction. For the next eight years I wrote (and am still writing) historical romances set in the Regency era (1790-1820). It was then that I discovered my passion for writing and my ambition to one day become published.

2. Tell us about the novel you are writing …

The Runaway Courtesan? Here's a synopsis of the novel
Gambled away by one man, sold to a brothel by another, Amanda Hollingworth knows she is ruined in the eyes of Regency society. All that changes, however, when the cool-mannered Viscount Candover purchases her freedom. To repay a debt to Amanda’s dead brother, Candover takes her into his protection, and brings her to his London townhouse. A year spent working as a brothel maid has taught her the dangers of exposing her heart, so she is set on disliking him, even when she discovers that he is capable of great kindness. The last thing Amanda wants is to put her heart in peril by falling for a man who has a wake of discarded mistresses behind him.

Nothing goes as planned. While her growing attraction for Candover becomes hard to suppress, even more challenging is winning the acceptance of the ton. Yet Amanda is set on regaining her respectability, even if it means masquerading as a debutante from America. But she soon learns that behind the glamour, London society can be deadlier and more corrupt than a backstreet brothel. She'll need all of her wits and charm to navigate its stormy waters intact.
The secret of her past resurfaces when she becomes ensnared in a web of jealousy and betrayal, and she finds herself fighting not only for her reputation, but also for Candover's heart. Would he dare love the woman all of society shuns? Amanda is left with two choices: to trust in the rakish Viscount who blindsides her with overwhelming passion, or to give herself to another man she does not love, but who promises her the one thing she desires: respectability.

3. How close are you to publication?

I’m still pretty far away. But I like to think I’m getting there. In mid-November I sent out my first batch of query letters to twenty agents, hoping that one of them would be interested enough to offer representation....But in flooded the rejection letters. The first one left me depressed for hours. Each time I checked my inbox and read RE: QUERY my hands would tremble. And each time I found it to be a rejection letter a bit of my writerly confidence chipped. By the time I grew a stronger backbone, two agents responded, requesting a partial (first 50 pages) of my work. The first ended up rejecting me. The second agent told me that she’d be interested in rereading my partial if I did a rewrite. I did the rewrite and sent it to her. A month later she contacted me again and said she’d be interested in the full manuscript! So I sent it to her and am now waiting for her response. I am trying not to get my hopes up to high!

4. But you must hold on! Fingers crossed and self-confidence, please. Now, apart from writing, what are you favourite hobbies and passtimes?
I love watching movies with my younger sister. We usually buy a bunch of junk food, borrow a DVD, and watch it late into the night. But movie nights only occur once every two weeks because school leaves me little time. I also enjoy spending my time at bookstores. I love wandering down the aisles, examining book covers, and reading a few chapters.

5. What kind of reader are you, June? Have you got any favourite genres or writers?

While I am, and will likely always be, an avid reader of historical romances, the genre that inspires me most are biographies and literature written in the 18th/19th century. My all-time favourite books would be Amanda Foreman’s The Duchess (a bio), Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, all of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Emily’s Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Fanny Burney’s Evelina, Theodore Dreier’s Cousin Kate, and Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair. I do read contemporary literature from time to time—but rarely is it for personal pleasure, as I am having contemporary lit crammed down my throat everyday at university.

6. Your latest page turner?
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. I read this for my English course at school and have read it a second time because the story wouldn’t let me alone. I didn’t like it at first, actually. But it’s one of those stories that grows on you as you read on.

7. I know you also love period drama and movies. What are your favourite series or films?
My favourite period dramas would be North and South (2004), Jane Eyre (2006), Pride and Prejudice (1995), Tess of D’Uberville (2008). And my favourite period movie would me...ehm...I actually can’t think of one off the top of my head. So I’m guessing they didn’t make too much of an impression on me.

8. Your blog is a sort of a journal towards the publication of your first novel. What else do you post about?
Besides my updates on my journey to publication, I also enjoy interviewing authors, or anyone connected to the publishing world. I especially love interacting with other readers, aspiring writers, and Regency/Victorian era fanatics by posting entries that might spark a discussion among them.

9. Do you remember how/when and where we met online?
Hmmmm good question. I believe I found your blog while googling Richard Armitage (ain’t that how everyone else found you? Haha. I at first thought your blog to be the official Richard Armitage fanblog). Then, reading through your articles, I discovered that you had written reviews for several books I was also interested in reading. So I believe I left a comment here and there. Saved you on my blogroll. And then you dropped by my blog and began following too.

10. Incredible. It's impossible to keep my promise to blog about HIM on Friday only. He's a mesmerizing haunting presence in my life.  What can I do ?  But tell me, June, what do you like about blogging?
I love that I can network with other readers and writers. I’ve met so many interesting people, like yourself. Blogging also ended up becoming somewhat therapeutic for me. Before I began blogging, I had readers on FictionPress (an online literary community) to interact with. I had to quit this website after my work was plagiarized by some silly girl (the case was easily resolved by the administrator of the website Silly Girl posted my work up on and claimed as hers). But, no longer having readers, I just couldn’t bear the feeling of NOT being read. I felt so disconnected. And then my cousin forced me to start a blog. I was hesitant at first. But it ended up saving me in the end from turning into a nutcase.

11. Now, I’d like to show our readers the Book Trailer you prepared for your novel. Interesting choice. I’ve recognized again that certain dark, tall, handsome presence in it… Let’s have a look together!

Great, June. I like it so much. Incredible soundtrack and ... You chose  Mr Armitage as your hero!

Ehm. Haha. A few of my readers asked me how my hero, Lord Candover, looked like. They asked me to choose an actor. It was while I was writting the latter half of my book that I was introduced to North & South, the BBC adaptation with Richard Armitage. I fell madly in love. And ever since it was Armitage in my head as I wrote. So when I decided to create the trailer of my book for fun, I chose Armitage as my hero. I had no second thoughts. His chiselled features, his brows, always settling like a scowl over his eyes, and his overall dark and brooding mien embodied my Viscount so well. The seemingly cold-looking man who actually has a heart of gold.

Thanks June! You've been very kind to answer my questions. I wish you the best with your studies and, especially, fingers crossed for the publication of The Runaway Courtesan. I'll wait for you back here then, for a new guest post with ... giveaway! And of course I hope I'll have the chance to review your first published novel.


1. Great blogoevent I had to skip

I really wanted to be part of it but  I had to renounce for several reasons. First of all , I can't stick to a fixed schedule as for times and days. Sometimes I happen to blog from midnight to one a.m. when I'm very busy with real life. This week is frantic,  frenzy time! For instance, it is almost Saturday and I'm trying to post something for my RA Friday!
Anyhow, even without me, the ladies who joined The RA Fanstravaganza are having a great time. Just have a look at their joint efforts and vote in the polls they prepared.

1. Ragtag at Reviewerama
2. Avalon at Avalon's blog.
3. Skully at The Spooks Fan Blog
4. Traxy at The Squeee
5. Susan at Me+Richard
6. Nat at The RA Fan Blog
7. Mulubinba at An RA viewer's perspective from 33°0'S of the equator
2. Collateral damages of  Strike Back Promo : its sudden appearance, and even more sudden disappearance, provoked several victims!

In my Wednesday post I broke one of my blogging rules: RA only on Friday. OMG, my one weakness led me to that. But I had to show all of you the brand new 2-minute promo of Strike Back I had just found online and, also,  my caps from it.
The release of the terrific promo  provoked many collateral damages among my RA enthusiast friends. Just one quote for all: M. Gray,  "Richard looks like he's going to do some serious damage to someone in the last pic" (the one above) . Read the  other comments under my post here.
 Now there will be more and more damages , since the terrific promo has suddenly disappeared from the blog which had posted it. Why, Mr Damian Knight? Why isn't any longer possible to admire your excellent work? At least, I've got my stills from it.
3. Libertines and rascals from the 18th century in my dreams
My dreams are haunted  by handsome unscrupolous libertines , namely, Robert Lovelace (Clarissa) and Lord Damerel (Venetia).  How can I resist their charm and seductive tricks if they’ve got Richard’s voice and tall dark blue-eyed handsomness in my mind? I know one is going to reveal himself as devilishly wicked and the other one as a romantic hero but ... So far they are both extremely fascinating.
Last Sunday, I listened to The Persuit, episode 1 of BBC 4 Radio Drama Clarissa,  in which Richard is Robert Lovelace, who is passionately wooing young innocent Clarissa. Will she accept to elope with handsome Lovelace in order to avoid her marriage with disgusting old Mr Solmes? 
I've also re-listened to it enough times to be able to appreciate any nuance of the excellent performances the cast gave . Richard was impeccable.  This is my favourite moment.

Then , I've also started Venetia by Georgette Heyer both as a book and as an audiobook. I'm in fact reading the novel and listening to Richard's narration of the  Naxos abridged version of it. I'm only at p. 34, end of chapter 2, of  the book and at file 6 part 1 of the audiobook .  Lord Damerel has already conquered my heart. His first meeting with Venetia in the woods at Priory is unforgettable.
Listen to a sample excerpt and to Richard's interview about recording Venetia HERE



This is an event hosted by Jenny at TakeMeAway . It is a weekly corner to write about good reads from the past. Those books we so much loved and we don't want to forget.
 This week one of my favourite British contemporary novelists, someone who knows how to make me smile and think at the same time while reading, all through his witty, humorous  novels: Nick Hornby. The first of his works I read was ABOUT A BOY (1998) and it is another of those book I like to read to/with my students. They are teenagers like one of the protagonsists of the novel, Marcus. Instead,  I'm an adult -  well I hope a more responsible and less shallow one - like the other main character, Will Freeman.  We can compare ourselves on the same story, which is both emotional and utterly entertaining. About a boy is really about the  embarassing, hilarious, awful grounds where adults and kids can meet.

Will is  36 but acts like a teenager. Single, child-free and still feeling cool, he reads the right magazines, goes to the right clubs and knows which trainers to wear. He's also discovered a great way to score with women at single parents' groups, full of grateful available mothers, all looking for Mr Nice Guy.
That's when Will meets Marcus, 12. The oldest 12-year-old in the world. Marcus is odd, bizzarre, especially to Will. He listens to Mozart and likes Joni Mitchell! He takes care of his mother and does his best to make her happy and proud of him. Maybe Will can teach Marcus how to be a kid , but, of course Marcus will help Will to grow up. In the end both learn to act their age.

ABOUT A BOY is  also a movie  I love . I hit it off with the story when I saw it at the cinema (2002)  and  it was one of those rare occasions in which I first saw the film then bought the book.  Hugh Grant is Will, Nicholas Hoult is Marcus, Toni Collette is Fiona - Marcus's mother and Rachel Weisz is Rachel.