We all have a history. Some people have lives that seem more tantalizing than others. We watch in awe and sometimes envy, as they go out to conquer the world. But underneath the veneer we are all made of the same ‘stuff’. We all have memories of these experiences that make us smile or make us frown- simple experiences of life that bring us pure joy or the exceptional memories which cause hurt and even physical pain. So the big question is ‘Why?’ http://niccimayne.myfreesites.net/blog/inspirations-of-an-aspiring-author
From award winning author Nicci Mayne
"Kept me glued until the last page"
"Regency era with something more" ★★★★★
Extract for your reading pleasure:
Stafford heard Gracie taunting her brother and decided to enter the study before he murdered her. If Beatrice spoke to him in such a manner, all hell would be unleashed. He knocked once and opened the door, but was halted by the simmering sight before him. Marcus stood on the far end of the room facing the door. His hands were clenched by his side and his face was contorted with anger. He looked ready to explode. Defeated, Lady Bromley sat collapsed in the chair between her warring children. Gracie stood with her back to the door. At least, Stafford assumed it was Gracie. She appeared so changed that he hardly recognised her. She wore a deep red dress with translucent white over-layers. The silk bodice was held in place by pleated straps spanning no more than an inch each, leaving the expanse of her creamy shoulders exposed. The bodice was daringly low, allowing for a generous vista of Gracie’s delicate back and drawing Stafford’s eye to her petite waist and heart-shaped hips. Layer upon layer of red and white chiffon fell gloriously to the floor. The dress was both shocking and wholly inappropriate. The effect was stunning.
Stafford's reverie was broken by a low growl. Marcus was not impressed by Stafford’s gawking reaction and instructed him to have the sense to enter and close the door, lest he expose the family to further derision. Gracie turned slightly to determine who had provoked such an outburst from her brother.
Stafford inhaled sharply. Gracie was more beautiful than he remembered. Her rich black hair was pulled into a single side tress which rested elegantly over a creamy shoulder. A gentle dimple accentuated a deceptively angelic face and the depth of her green eyes framed in dark kohl spoke of determination and a mischievous nature. A gentle blush extended over the apples of her cheeks betraying her emotions, but not deterring a wicked grin. Her bodice pushed at her breasts as her breathing deepened, revealing the rise of perfect flesh. Stafford lost all sense of purpose, except one. In less than a minute, he was wholly unable to account for his thought processes and the thundering of his heart told him what his mind was failing to comprehend- he was a lost cause.
“Stafford!” hollered Marcus, in abject rage. It appeared that he could not even rely on his best friend’s good breeding and discretion. He wanted to bundle Gracie up in the Persian carpet and smuggle her out the house to prevent further ogling of her feminine attributes.
Gracie gurgled. She was delighted by the effect she had on Stafford.
Stafford reassembled his dignity and closed the door to position himself behind his friend. ‘Get a grip, man!’ he scolded himself, silently.Read more..
Leviticus – Abomination, they name is Percy
“Stop this, Percy, please,” begged Georgina, “We agreed that we would move forward and not wallow in the murky depths of societies fickle values.”
“It is only that I know you are not happy,” replied Percy, gripping the arms of the chair so hard that his knuckles turned white and taking deep, pained breaths as if the air had been sucked from the room.
Georgina rose from the dining table like a graceful swan to crouch beside her husband’s chair and gazed into his gentle eyes. Percy had wealth, was titled, angelic looks and he was blessed with a sweet temperament. To the unknowing eyes, it would appear that Percy had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but Georgina knew the truth of the matter. His shoulders bowed under the strain of self-loathing, guilt and fear. He certainly did not need the added pressure of her emotional wellbeing.
“Percy, I love you and want this for you. I would never have agreed to marry you if I was not convinced it was moral and right to do so.”
“Georgie, our situation is neither moral nor legal. I should never have allowed you to sacrifice yourself for me. Now, we have both been consigned to hell.”
Georgina stood to place a kiss on Percy’s cheek. “I welcome purgatory in the next life if it means that you have experienced the wonder of true love in this one. You have the blessing of being loved by two people. Besides, so many of our peers marry for duty and where has it gotten them? A loveless marriage is purgatory and we will never have to know that pain. I live with my best friend and I have come to love and your lover, as if he were my brother. These are gifts from God.”
“Sh, Georgie, someone may hear you,” hushed Percy, his face stricken with panic. He had long since ordered the servants out of the room, but like so many noble homes, the walls had ears. Percy ran his hands through his hair and shook his head before responding to her romantic, but misguided view of their situation. “No, Georgie, the feelings we have for each other are not gifts. They are punishments- Leviticus, Georgie, Leviticus! Moreover, Horace and I, we are a constant reminder of the life you should have had.”
You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it is an abomination.
Georgie knew that verse by heart. Percy kept a Bible hidden in the otherwise empty draw in the little table next to his bed, permanently turned to one page with one powerful line circled in bleeding ink. Ten and seven fading words swung over Percy’s head. Threatening 18:12 Threatening. Georgie imagined Percy reading that text at night, alone in his room, his finger dragging over the words, as if to obliterate them from existence. However, it was too late. The condemnation was branded to his soul, tainting the purity of the love he felt for Horace and condemning their relationship to lurk in the shadows of society. It was a small sacrifice on her part to be his wife by law, if not in body. At least she could shield him from certain death. The turn of the century had seen many men prosecuted for sodomy and too many executed. Every one of those men was probably as sweet and flamboyant as her dear Percy. Georgina’s dreams were haunted by the prospect of swaying bodies, turning slowly to reveal the pained and twisted face of her best friend, his hands pulling desperately at chord at his neck and his colourful breeches soiled by terror. This was not a deserved or dignified farewell for any person whose only sin was to love the wrong person.
“A lot of fuss and nonsense has polluted your head, my love. You know I do not believe that God will punish us in this life or when we beg entry at the Pearly Gates. He will see at once that our hearts are pure. No, my prayers are not for forgiveness but that God sees to protect you and the very special relationship you have with Horace. What kind of God would our Saviour be if he did not have room in his heart for love, of any kind? There is enough hate and unhappiness in this world without condemning the truly beautiful. Besides which, it would not surprise me if parts of the bible were written by priggish old men with dusty grey wigs.”
Percy rose from the table to gaze into his beautiful wife’s eyes. “Be careful, Georgie, those wigs are some of the most powerful men in England.”
Georgie sniffed and raised her nose. She did not believe that the aristocracy had a right to be appointed to the upper court judiciary on the basis of their birth rite. It was also entirely possible that she had way too much time on her hands and should spend more time with dress makers and less time in the legal repository of her brother’s library.
“Alright, let us consider this from another angle, what about you, Georgie?”
“What about me? I told you only minutes before that I am perfectly happy with my decision.”
Percy shook his head, his golden locks falling over his forehead and his blue eyes filled with tears. “Stop this, Georgie! I see what is happening to you and I cannot bear it anymore. You bury yourself in dusty books to avoid anything that reminds you of the life you should have had. Marrying you was selfish and…”
“Percy, there is no other way that you and Horace can be together without risking your necks.”
Percy placed his hands either side of Georgie’s face. “You were the most beautiful woman to grace the halls of Almacks for two years and you would be now if you only chose to return to the routs. You once had the power to enslave men and, if my memory serves me correctly, you caused quite a few to behave in the most outrageous ways to gain your affection, but instead of flowers and poetry, kisses and romance- you were forced into a life of servitude.”
“You know I do not see our marriage like that! Did you know that only last month the Marquis of Custine was beaten and left for dead after propositioning a soldier at Saint-Denis?” Georgie snapped, trying to turn her face to hide the threatening tears.
“There is no other way to see it. By marrying me you rescued me from a life of cruel disdain and saved my life. What did you get in return, Georgie?”
“I want for nothing more than what I have, Percy. Your friendship means the world to me. I was very young when those men were arrested from the White Swan for sodomy, but I remember your face when you recounted the story to Oliver. You were terrified. You were there that night, at the Swan, were you not?” Percy nodded. He had been in the White Swan, cosseted away in the farthest, darkest corner with Horace when the Bow Street Runners stormed the pub, wooden truncheons in hand. The deafening chaos had given Percy enough time to dive under the table and pull Horace alongside him. They had cowered on the dirt strewn floor like animals for most of the night, too afraid to raise their faces in fear of detection.
“You were listening that night I sought your brother’s help? You must have been very young. I am sorry you heard that story,” Georgie nodded and rested her head on her husband’s chest.
“I was so scared that the Runners were going to take you away that I would have married you right there and then if Oliver had asked me to.” A tear slipped down Georgie’s pink cheek and her lip trembled. “You are very good to me and you love me, I am most blessed.”
“I do not love you like a man should love a wife and we will never have children. These are not blessings, Georgie.”
“I know you have tried. It is not your fault that…”
“Stop defending me, it is my fault. I should have taken responsibility and publically owned what I am, instead of allowing you to bear the yoke. You have set me free and in return, I have sentenced you to a life devoid of the very blessings that are at a core of being a woman.”
“Percy, please, it is not as if you did not try and I do understand. I too would not want to lay with a person I am not attracted to.”
“Georgie!” exclaimed Percy in frustration. He sat back down and run his long, thin fingers through his tumble of curls again. “You deserve to be loved, passionately. You need romance in your life. You should have children to cosset. I want you to have those experiences.”
“Oh, Percy, you are upsetting me by rehashing this so often. I chose you, we love each other and that is all there is to be said about this matter,” cried Georgina, seating herself in the window seat looking out over Eaton Square and dabbing at her eyes. She refused to dwell on what she could not have rather than celebrate the opulence of her life- Percy’s generosity knew no bounds, although she suspected her unrestricted spending allowance sprung from guilt rather than his sizable income; her eight homes were obscenely large and well decorated; her title brought her respect and her beauty envy. Moreover, she and Percy were the best of friends and she loved him dearly. No matter what he said, all of these things were blessings. Still, she knew he would not relent. Percy wanted more for her and she could see his dramatic flair would persist until such time as she found herself a playmate or worse, a lover. Right on que, Percy drove his point home, determined to force her into a life of promiscuity. Although, she doubted she could be labelled licentious when she had never been bedded before. Perhaps there was another word for taking a lover to your virginal bed?
“Georgina, are you even listening to me? I was trying to make the point that you did not have a choice when it came to marrying me. I was desperate for rescue and if I recall correctly, your brother was most insistent that it was your duty to protect me. You were but ten and seven years of age and hardly in a position to reject the force of your brother’s argument or to understand the consequences of marrying me. I tell you what, my love, I will stop scratching at this wound if you will just try. What do you say, my love? Will you try?”
“Firstly, I am no longer ten and seventeen. At twenty and five, I am well able to make independent decisions. Secondly, It is not in my nature to proposition men,” she asserted, turning her molten eyes to consider her husband. The poor man was fairy-tale prince beautiful and even though he was married, he attracted the devotion of both married and supposedly chaste woman. She could only imagine this sort of female attention to be a sore trial to a man who was almost wholly preoccupied by thoughts of one very special man.
“Presumably, by virtue of my choice, having an affair is well within my nature!” defended Percy, wounded by the implication of Georgina’s words.
“For goodness sake, Percy, falling in love with Horace was not a choice and had very little to do with your nature, unless you are referring to your turn for the dramatic. Horace is a miracle and I am thrilled to have both of you in my life.”
Percy tapped the prongs of the fork against the china plate and stared blindly across the large, polished mahogany table laden with the finest of everything. Even the pretty free flowing Rococo-style sauceboat no longer brought him joy. His possessions and wealth had become a splinter in his side, causing him pain at every turn- a man who has everything but cannot bring his wife the happiness she deserves, is not a man.
“Georgie, I cannot live like this anymore,” stated Percy, deflating before Georgie’s eyes. What kind of man would he be if he lived life to the fullest at his wife’s bequest whilst she languished before his very eyes?
“What do you mean?”
“We are living a lie,” Percy started, leaving his position at the head of the table to sit next to her at the window. He took Georgie’s hand in his and caressed the soft skin beneath her wrist. She was such a dear and he did not really know what he had done to deserve her company and friendship. He did know that the world deserved to experience the sweet and beautiful Georgina Harper-Crew, Countess of Harrington and in turn she needed the world to rekindle the fire that had once caused her eyes to burn bright and her cheeks to glow. “Is it not obvious to you that I cannot be happy unless you are happy? I cannot even enjoy Horace’s company because I know you spend the nights alone in one of my echoing, pointless homes or in your brother’s sombre library as if it holds the judicial key to our freedom.”
“No! It is about time you found your miracle.”Read more..
Less than a year ago I self-published my first book and trust me when I say that being an author is not a creative bed of roses. It’s a mammoth amount of work- editing, editing and editing again, getting my author name out ‘there’, learning about #ing, scheduling and how to create a book cover and of course, encouraging reviews!
I have received positive feedback from readers through e-mails, FB and Twitter messages, I have been stopped in the street to be gushed over and I even received a charming note through the door but none of these equate to the Holy Grail: A review on an internet retailer like Amazon.
It led me to wonder: how can I best support fellow authors? Hence, my decision to offer my free of charge review services to self-published authors.Book review exchange - http://niccimayne.myfreesites.net/ask%20for%20a%20book%20re… Read more..
This is the weekend romance read you can't afford to miss:
Insanely Romantic*Deeply Sexual*Soul-touchingly Haunting MUST READ OUT NOW FULL CIRCLE - A DUKE LOST @AmazonKindleUK:
Reviewer's thoughts *****
'Just finished reading Full Circle, the debut book by new author Nicci Mayne. It was beautifully written, using few words from ancient times that only added more passion to the plot. The characters were brilliantly explored especially the depth of a woman with a disability that did not hold her back. A delightful story with twists and turns that kept me utterly captivated till the final page.'Read more..
Music to an author's ears: "I am totally absorbed in your first book" THANK YOU
@NicciMayne http://readersgazette.com/world/moreinfo/B011Z3UZF0/… …
Beneath every surface is a story waiting to be written- yesterday it was furnaces and kilns, today I'm chasing windmills. My future holds tin mines and monasteries. What will tomorrow bring you?Read more..
Thinking back over the years - what a journey it has been, but really, will we ever be able to beat this experience!!?
As a young, naïve newlywed, I joined my husband to live in the 'Lullies' (hills) of Umtata, the Transkei- Homeland of the great Nelson Mandela. Never in my wildest dreams did it ever occur to me that I would have the privilege of meeting the great Madiba, not once, but twice.
Nelson Mandela is world famous for the years he spent in jail and for liberating his people through taking a peaceful stand- one that cost decades of his life. An enormous personal sacrifice. Years later, after his release from prison, he became known for his humble nature, kind spirit and love of children.
My husband worked for Coca-Cola during our time in Umtata. The company supported Nelson Mandela's love of children and, in doing so, sponsored the annual Children's Christmas Party held at Nelson Mandela's home, Qunu. Surrounded by hills, the prospect was truly beautiful and never more so than on my first visit to Qunu. With the African trumpet sounds issuing a welcome call from the Coca-Cola music-wagon, I watched in amazement as thousands of children walked, unescorted, over the hills to join their great-father’s home-children of all shapes and sizes, many barefoot and all excited and smiling. The music thumped through the afternoon, the big black three-legged pots of miellies (corn on the cob) boiled away in tune with the rhythm and the queue to meet Madiba seemed unending. I can only describe the feeling of being at such a tremendous event as electrifying.
My daughter, Zimkitha meaning charming in Xhosa, was not even a month old when we visited Qunu for the second time. When he took her into his frail hands, supported by his wife Graça Machel, I knew that no moment in my life or that of my daughter's, would have as much meaning. Because of one man’s unfailing faith in the face of the worst hardship and adversity, the world was shown the enormity of a pure spirit.Read more..