First Day of Summer


“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance” –Jane Austen

So, today is the first day of summer, and that JA quote is just all too apt. 95+ degree weather, along with thunderstorms and sticky humidity, makes things most inelegant indeed. Thank goodness that, unlike Jane, I can wear cotton sundresses and flipflops to work! I’m also grateful for iced tea, that plastic kiddie pool I bought for my dogs, and good books to read.

This summer is turning into a busy one, what with planning for RWA and working on the WIP (Book 3 of “The Muses of Mayfair”–page 121 written last night!). I also have a brand new and challenging project–a short story for the Harlequin “Historical Briefs” line of ebooks (available on eHarlequin!) This story will be connected to Balthazar’s as-yet untitled Caribbean book, out in January ’09, and will be available in November. Stay tuned…

I’m also planning for a much-needed little getaway next weekend, which hopefully will go better than another summer jaunt of June 21, 1791–the flight to Varennes. This escape attempt by Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, their two children, Louis’s sister Madame Elisabeth, and various servants should actually be called the flight that ended at Varennes, as their goal was the Royalist stronghold of Montmedy in northeast France.

After the storming of Versailles in October 1789, the royal family was moved to the ramshackle Tuileries in Paris, where life became increasingly restricted and uncomfortable for them. By the summer of 1791, the queen had had enough. Along with her rumored lover Count Axel Von Fersen and the Baron de Breteuil, she planned an escape. The little dauphin’s governess, the Marquise de Tourzel, would play a Russian baroness, with the royal children her daughters (even the boy!) and the others her servants. They took off on the night of June 20, but various blunders and misfortunes (including the fact that Marie Antoinette was reluctant to leave all her stuff behind) doomed them. They were recognized and captured at the town of Varennes.

Some good sources for this incident are Stanley Loomis’s The Fatal Friendship and Timothy Tackett’s When the King Took Flight. I also like the first-hand account in Madame Royale’s memoirs, plus the good new biography by Susan Nagal, Marie-Therese: Child of Terror.

What are your summer plans? (Not fleeing from revolutionaries, I hope!). And who will be at RWA???

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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Louisa Cornell
14 years ago

I will definitely be at RWA – my very first time! I am so excited and cannot wait to see everyone there. If I can just survive the preparations AND revision hell!

I am spending the last of my vacation days for the trip to San Francisco so my only other relaxation will be in the wonderful resort of MY BACK YARD!

Elena Greene
14 years ago

I’m looking forward to RWA, too. It’s been a while and though blogging and email are great, there’s nothing like meeting or reconnecting in person!

After RWA my husband and I are going on a short cruise to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

And I’m also trying to figure out how to get at least a little writing done this summer. My current plan is to start writing right after I exercize, at around 7, and tell the kids to leave me alone until 9. By now they can pour cereal and milk with a reasonable probability of it not ending up all over the floor. πŸ™‚

Janet Mullany
14 years ago

I’m going too, and promise myself I will be taller, blonder, and thinner by then.
Congrats on the (almost) 20 years, Elena!

Julia Justiss
14 years ago

Summer is always risky in TX; generally have to do your outside things before noon altho this year we have avoided 100 + temps thus far. Did enjoy May 21 in Norway, which had nothing to do with MA but everything to do with MidSummer’s Night and holdovers from long-ago pagan celebrations. Many of the villages have huge bonfires on the hilltops to mark the shortest day of the year–even in the Oslo area the sun is out until after 10 PM, shining brightly by 4 AM and it never really gets totally dark. I LOVED summers there–one seemed to have so much energy! (Winters where it was dark until 10 AM and dark again by 3 PM were another story)

Now I have another book to look for–the one on Marie-Therese. Have you read the recent Marie Antoinette bio? I liked that and Sophia Coppella’s movie, tho I also have and love the old, old Norma Shearer one in B&W. Am currently reading Abundance, Sena Jeter Naslund’s novel about MA that is very like the Coppella move, in first person but using many of the letters exchanged between Marie and her mother the empress to try to pick up the flavor of her mind and thoughts. Tho I assume she’s reading the letters in translation which would ruin the “feel” of MA’s word choice.

Talk about alternative history: I always thought poor MA got a bad rap, blamed by a rabid press for things she never did or said. What would have happened had the flight to Varennes succeeded? If Louis XVI had escaped execution, the royal pair living on to reason with the revolution, moderate its excesses and establish something more like the constitutional monarchy of England. No Napoleon?
No Europe-wide wars of conquest? No empire? No Code Napoleon? Ah, the possibilties.

Yes to RWA, one of my favorite events of the year. Diane, hope your wip is sent in and you can relax and enjoy by then! I’ll look forward to seeing many of you at the Beau Monde conference.

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

We’ve had a beautiful week in Virginia, nothing over 80 degrees.

Diane, hope your wip is sent in and you can relax and enjoy by then!

I’m working on it, Julia!!!! Has to be done by Friday.

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

“Ah, the possibilties.”

Julia, I wonder the same thing! Every time I read the story I wish for a better ending.

I can’t WAIT for RWA! I think I have my wardrobe planned out, which is of course the most important thing. πŸ™‚ And I hope everyone will stop by the workshop Megan and I are doing for the Beau Monde conference on Wednesday…

Santa
14 years ago

Yes to RWA! I hope I get to see many of you there. It’s too bad I don’t belong to the Beau Monde. I’d love to attend your workshop.

Other than that – Lake George and the backyard or as I like to call it ‘Mordor’.

Todd
14 years ago

Definitely summer here–it’s been over a hundred the last couple of days, and it’s pretty warm even at night. Makes me glad I’m not wearing a Napoleonic uniform. πŸ™‚

My wife is going off to the RWA conference and leaving me all by myself. But afterwards we’re going to World Con in Denver, where Lois McMaster Bujold is the guest of honor, so that will be cool.

Todd-who-must-finish-the-Hugo-books-and-reread-all-Bujold

Lois
14 years ago

RWA, oh, definitely not me, alas. . . but as for the summer, hoping it’ll be moving time, but that of course will depend on just about everything, but hey, gotta try! πŸ™‚

Lois

Cara King
14 years ago

I’ll be at National, too! And I’ll be teaching Regency card games at the soiree…

It’s been horrid hot here, too, Amanda, but at least we don’t have the humidity!

the backyard or as I like to call it ‘Mordor’

Why do you call it that, Santa? Is it staffed by Orcs? Surrounded by giant spiders? Full of unspeakable evil??? πŸ™‚

Cara

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

“Why do you call it that, Santa? Is it staffed by Orcs? Surrounded by giant spiders? Full of unspeakable evil??? :-)”

LOL! I was wondering the same thing. We may have to come over and see what’s going on in your yard, Santa. πŸ™‚

Louisa Cornell
14 years ago

If we are going to someplace called Mordor do you think we can recruit Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen to go with us?

Cara King
14 years ago

I call dibs on Viggo!

Cara

janegeorge
14 years ago

Yes, I’ll be at RWA. Even though it’s in my ‘hood this year I’ll be staying at the hotel. It’s a tough enough commute from bar to hotel room at the end of a conference day. (Just kidding, sort of.)

I’m sending Diane *manuscript-finishing power!*

Santa
14 years ago

LOL, if we had Orcs at least we could get them to do some landscaping. The unspeakable evil is our Boxer who’s feels its her duty to dig up any and all root systems throughout the yard.

Viggo can come and use his broadsword to cut through the overgrown bushes on the sides. Then he can do a little role playing: ruggedly handsome groundskeeper to the lonely chatelain…

What?

Todd
14 years ago

Cara wrote:

I call dibs on Viggo!

Hmph! Aside from his rugged good looks, movie star career, and lethality with a broadsword, what has he got that I don’t have?

Todd-whose-department-is-staffed-by-orcs

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Todd those aren’t just orcs, they’re your cow-orkers. πŸ™‚

National, Ammanda. Yes.

Todd
14 years ago

Keira wrote:

Todd those aren’t just orcs, they’re your cow-orkers. πŸ™‚

As Dr. Smith used to say: “Oh, the pain! The pain!”

Todd-who-thinks-this-conversation-is-spiraling-out-of-con-troll