Monday, October 26, 2009

Life, Love, and the Lottery

Today we have a guest who’s familiar and yet not. Berta Platas, better known in the Lair as half of Gillian Summers, makes her first solo appearance today. We’ll chat about writing and life and her St. Martins release, Lucky Chica, which is about life, love, and winning the lottery. Welcome, Berta!

Thanks for inviting me! I love you guys. Can’t wait to see who gets the rooster this time.

As you know, we love call stories. We’ve had Gillian’s. I think. What’s Berta’s?

I had written a thriller set in Miami, thinking to submit it to Kensington for their multicultural line after talking to Kate Duffy at a conference. She said that they planned to start a Latina fiction line, and it would probably be just like Arabesque, their popular African-American books. So I wrote 90,000 words. Then Kate got back to me – they’d finalized the plans for the line. It would be 50,000 words, because they planned to publish them English/Spanish, back to back. I was stuck with this monster (to me!) book. I was disheartened, to say the least.

Then Nancy Knight, one of the founders of Georgia Romance Writers and a good friend of mine told me to bring the project to our March Workshop and she’d do surgery on it. That was a rare offer – Nancy never reads work outside of judging contests, and I jumped at the chance. In March she took a red pen to my manuscript, slashing out all of the mystery and thrills, and what I had left was a pamphlet – and the basis for a strong love story. I edited, added scenes, and sent it off in August of 1998. Three days after I sent it Fed Ex to Kensington I got a call from the editor with an offer! I was at work, front desk at a small city hall, and everyone was out to lunch. Neither my family or husband answered their phones. This was way before everyone was in constant contact with cell phones, so I ran up and down the halls, yahooing, looking for someone to tell. I ended up telling a mildly shocked paramedic at the fire station next door, and a totally disinterested prostitute who was washing police cars as “community service,” still wearing her working clothes from the night before, when she was arrested. Later, I got a more gratifying response from my family!

How cool. A paramedic and a prostitute--I think that combination may be a "first" for the Lair! You have an unusual background that contributed to your writing for Encanto. Tell us a bit about it.

I was born in Cuba and came to the U.S. with my family in 1961. Yes, that makes me older than dirt. My first book was actually a Regency. I adore historicals, but I wrote it before I joined GRW and had no clue about how to format a manuscript or who to send it to. I did pretty well to get the rejection I got! I should have gotten a Potter-style Howler. By the time I joined GRW and learned everything I was doing wrong, multicultural fiction was getting a lot of attention, so I started writing the thriller that would become Miami Heat, my first published book. Writing a contemporary about a construction company’s female Cuban-American owner was fun. It’s strongly flavored by sights and sounds I experienced in Miami, for which my family has never forgiven me. They bring it up at every family event. With love.

I’ve lived a varied life, and have tons to draw from for stories. For instance, during my college years I would help my father research his dissertation between classes, then go to my work study job in the Foreign Language Department, where the department head (a diva in purple named Dr. Kuntz) would send me back to the library to research her latest book. The research librarians must have thought I had an impossible work load. In the morning, I’d ask for books about Spanish poets of the Golden Age, in the afternoon, it was 14th century Jewish philosophers in France.

And there’s science fiction and fantasy fandom, which I’ve been involved in since my high school years. That’s enough material for a hundred books.

Who are the hero and heroine of Lucky Chica, and what’s their problem?

Lucky Chica is the story of Rosie Caballero, an independent girl who lives and works not far from my old job in Chamblee, Georgia. She’s got a serious crush on movie star Brad Merritt, and she buys a lottery ticket once a week. Just one ticket, at the same place, every week. She gets to meet Brad when her weekly ticket hits the big one, $650 million dollars, and she lives her dream of traveling and spending lots of money. Brad thinks she’s different, and remembers her when they meet again. Unfortunately, the tabloids come between them, and Rosie discovers that a long distance relationship is even harder to maintain when your boyfriend is reportedly getting serious with his costar. Then Rosie and her grandmother and cousin (the only family she has) discover that they’ve been scammed, and have lost everything.

Can we have a peek in side the book?

Sure! This is a scene where Rosie accompanies her crazy cousin Cheeto (nicknamed thusly because of his favorite snack food) to look at houses. She’s sharing her winnings with Cheeto and their grandmother, who they call Abuela, which means Grandmother in Spanish:

“What would you do with this much room?” She craned her head back, looking up at a vaulted ceiling that had to be two stories tall. “Normal furniture would look puny in here.”

No way she’d buy one of these monsters, especially the ones that had just enough grass around each house that it could be mown with a weed eater. Maybe the houses were so close together so that their owners could impress each other with their cars and stuff.

Everyone around here was crazy about golf, too, and she didn’t get it. Hitting a ball with a stick was best done with something meatier, like a baseball bat. Rosie added Braves skybox seats and season tickets to her want list. Heck, she could have season tickets to every major league team. That would make her popular with the guys.

“Why would anyone need a wine room on each floor?” Her voice echoed against the tall ceilings of the sixth house they’d seen.

“Some people really love their wine.”

“Right.” She’d ask Dr. Sloane later. Rosie stared at the anatomically correct cherubs painted on the ceiling. Dave the real estate agent had skipped on to the next room, talking as if they were right behind him. He treated Cheeto and Rosie as if they were his own kids, left over from when he used to be a doorman at the hotel where Abuela worked.

“If you have to have lots of wine bottles on each floor of your house, you have a problem,” Rosie said.

“I can see the wine rooms,” Cheeto answered. “But a remote control for your sock drawer? A dry-cleaning rack? That I don’t understand.”

“Okay, now you’re talking heaven,” Rosie said. “I wanted to live in that closet..”

Dave the real estate agent was starting to look a little worn around the edges. “It’s a good party house.”

“That it is.” Cheeto had discovered the cupids and was craning his head to get a closer view.

“Eight thousand square feet?” Rosie “It’s warehouse huge, and the outside looks like a public library.”

“But in here it’s all shiny.”

He was right. Inside, the place gleamed. Every surface was either black and white polished marble, or gilded.

Cheeto’s mouth hung open as he walked into the next room.

“A ballroom? For what, a big screen TV and stadium seating?” Rosie wished she’d brought sunglasses. It was sunny outside and glare from the the pool and tennis court tour had given her a headache.

“I might want to throw a party.” Cheeto floated through the room, entranced. “I’m picturing one now.”

“The front gate has dual control,” Dave said, sensing a deal. “Excellent for parties, when you have security at the front gate and the valet parking staff needs access.”

It was the mermaid in the basement that clinched it. The basement held a home theater, with a stage and raked floor, a hot tub room and spa, and a huge indoor swimming pool, made to look like a stone grotto. They walked through the poolside collonade.

Rosie could hear water gently splashing. Sort of pleasant, until she turned the corner and saw the source of the water.

A life-sized stone mermaid of voluptuous proportions was frozen in mid-writhe at one end of the pool, her hands holding out Pamela Anderson-sized breasts from which twin streams of water arced and tinkled into the pool.

Rosie finally found her voice. “The lactating fish chick has got to go.”

“I understand,” Dave said, although he looked disappointed. Having a beautiful longhaired girl holding her breasts up for a man’s bathing pleasure was probably high in the pantheon of male wet dream fantasies.

“Maybe you can sell her,” she said. She hoped that she sounded sympathetic and not grossed out.

“Over my dead body.” Cheeto seemed fascinated. “Lactating fish chick stays. Draw up the papers, Dave. This house is so mine.”

Dave grinned and looked around for a place to put down his folder.

Cheeto flipped open his cell phone and dialed. “Rock walls with orchids growing out of it,” he said into it. “And little tiny mosaics like in Roman days, and a naked mermaid at the head of the pool. She is so awesome. Reminds me of you.”

She didn’t know who he was talking to, but she knew one thing. If a photo got out, the tabloids would love the mermaid, too.

No one in the Lair knows (or knew until now, rather) you and I actually met when a friend referred me to you for advice about clothing my historical characters. You’ve competed (internationally) as a costumer. What’s that like?

So. Much. Fun. Geek fun, that is, for the period-clothing-obsessed. Imagine a hotel where the elevator dilemma is not how slow they are, but how many crinolines and towering headgear fit in at one time. (For your info – four 18th century French court panniers, carefully parked, or three squished mid 1860’s hoopskirts.) There are contests where the entries are backed by carefully researched and footnoted papers. Every button and seam, color and thread choice is supported in the paper, and the judges come to your room to root through the costume, turning it inside out and scrutinizing the seams and cut. At night, the second part of the contest is where you wear it (or your model wears it) in a show.

Besides the contests, everyone packs multiple changes of clothing to wear in the halls and to your events. You wear your 1890’s bathing costumes to the hot tub, and it’s not unusual to see ladies at breakfast in nightgowns, wrappers, and lace caps. Showoffs. There’s plenty of opportunity to wear tea gowns, ball gowns with fancy dance slippers and walking ensembles. My friends and I entered a group competition and won our division as well as best in show! It was thrilling. We wore Regency garb, and I made everything, from my slippers to the lace cap I wore under my bonnet. A blue print gown, corded stays, a petticoat and a dark red woolen Spencer. I researched the print pattern on the gown, made the stays from an original pattern which I had to resize beyond belief, and even made the little white buttons on the gown, since the type of threaded white button I needed no longer exists. A lot of work for an evening of fun. I learned a lot from my costuming obsession, but there are only so many hours in the day. These days I prefer to write. Except for that Gibson girl blouse and fitted jacket that I’m making for a steampunk outfit. Oh, and the 16th century Venetian gown that I’m planning for Ren faires in the spring. Hmm… don’t seem to have shed that obsession.

What’s next for you, individually and in your shared alter-ego?

Berta is editing another romantic comedy, this one about a woman who stumbles into running her best friends tarot-reading shop and becomes the (fake) psychic to the stars, although she keeps arguing that tarot cards have nothing to do with psychics.

I’m also writing a paranormal that has no title, although I call it The Werewolf’s Secret Baby. My critique group calls it Booty Call of the Wild. Don’t tell my agent. I’ll be mortified if it ends up on the book shelves with that title.

Gillian is working on book five of the Faire Folk Series. We’re several chapters into it and hope to have a first draft by the end of November before the holiday craziness sets in.

For more about Berta, check out her website.

Berta's giving away two copies of Lucky Chica as well as a copy of her first book, the now-rare Miami Heat, which contains both the English and Spanish versions of the book.

So tell us: What unusual detail in your background would you draw on if you were creating a character? If you were to have a costume from any era, which era would you choose, and why? Do you ever play the lottery? Have you ever won?


p226 said...


Nancy said...

p226, looks like you're taking home the bird today! Congratulations.

Uh, while I believe in keeping him busy, the gladiators would probably be okay with it if you chose not to give him lessons in tactical skills this time. Or maybe he could have lessons the cabana boys would find useful--KP or latrine duty?

p226 said...

I'd draw on a couple of things in my background that are unique, or at least fairly novel. The first of them is my experience at a military high school. The regimen was very similar (though nowhere near as intense) as the academies. The culture is very academy-like, and the academics were quite demanding.

Another option would be some of the training I've gotten since my departure from the military. Most people don't realize that a lot of the guys that do the weapons training for the most elite law enforcement and military units are often private companies. And as such, they're quite capitalistic. And being capitalistic, barring some proficiency pre-requisites, they'll usually train anyone whose money is green.

So I've been able to buy some of the best handgun training in the world. And I might draw on that when creating a character. (There's a pun in there for those in the know.)

As for costume, that's a curious question. Six months ago I probably would've said 1940's. But now, I'm thinking late 1700s. Particularly late 1700s British or American Colonial. I've developed a recent interest in that time period. And that interest extends a little deeper than events, dates, and times. I've been delving into the attitudes, beliefs, and world-view of colonial America. Very very interesting stuff.

As for the lottery, no I haven't won because I don't play. As some of the banditas are aware, it's certainly not that I'm a risk-averse kind of guy. It's not like I've ever been afraid of taking chances. My lack of interest in the lottery's more about my understanding of odds. *g*

p226 said...

Ahh, yes Nancy. I think it's been nearly a year since I've had that soft, slacking, bird in my clutches. He's been avoiding training for quite some time. He's looking soft. Slow. A little pudgy around the middle.

No more.

Yeah, we're going to work on that. Indeed we are. It's currently 0100. I think I'll give him about two hours to sleep before I drag him on a forced march around the wet, slippery, rugged West Virginia hills.

You hear me bird? 0300. Saddled up in all your battle rattle. We're gonna have us some fun tomorrow.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey P226 - long time no see. Cool on the rooster nabbing.

Funny about the lottery. My brother tells me he "almost" won 122 million last week. One number off. He ended up with $10,000 - not bad for a $2 bet. Me? It would help if I actually played (grin). I won $75 once years and years ago.

If I had a costume it would most likely be from the gilded era. Love the silhouette and opulence. What an interesting talent to have!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, P226!!!! I haven't seen you get the chook in a dog's age! Top effort, young man. Now get that rooster workin'!

Nancy, what fabulous guests you bring us in the lair! Berta, welcome! Great to see you here as you solitary self. Hmm, that didn't quite come out right. Love the sound of the new book.

I love the idea of the Venetian gown! Back in the the REALLY old days (I'm old as dirt too!), I wrote medievals and I had this story where the hero runs into his runaway wife in Venice and she's wearing one of THOSE dresses. I used to fantasise about that dress, it was so gorgeous. Crimson and gold velvet! And with one of those wonderful Leonardo da Vinci hairstyles with all those coiling plaits. Wonder where that book is now! The dust bunnies probably ate it!

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Nancy, Anna, Donna, p226,
& the GR,
What's everyone doing up at this
hour? I was finishing up a PR
project for my parish & decided
to swing by before closing up
for the night. I feel sorry for
the rooster! He's really going
to get a workout!

Pat Cochran

Helen said...

Congrats p226 he will probably need some fitness training how is the shoulder going.

What a great interview and excerpt the book sounds wonderful. I don't have anything unusual in my background but I read a lot of rengency romances but I love the fashions from the 40's all the hats and matching handbags and shoes I love them, and as for buying a lottery ticke oh yes every week we enter lotto and buy a lottery ticket we have never won much but you gotta be in it to win and I would love to visit the States and Scotland and England yes well I would love to travel so I really need to win LOL.

Congrats on the release Berta and thanks Nancy for inviting Berta today

Have Fun

Emmanuelle said...

Great interview Berta and Congrats !!
Chica Girl looks like a really nice book too ;-)
What would I use from my background ? Probably the fact that I come from a "girl" family. My dad is the only man in our family : no grandpa, no uncle, no male cousin, no brother... and a lot of girls !!
It's probably why I've never been at ease around boys ;-)

Buffie said...

Great interview!

Congrats to p226 on his catch!

I could pull so much information from the my work that I could easily fill a book or four! LOL! I work with a group of women that live crazy lives. Each of them could star in their own soap opera. said...

p226, there's a military high school near my house and I can hear them drilling when the clouds are low. Not sure why that makes the sound carry. Your handgun training sounds interesting. I'm assuming it's not just shoot the paper target kind of stuff?

Donna: Your brother is so lucky! Most people never hit that kind of cash. What did he do with his loot?

And I agree - Gilded Age is beautiful and opulent.

Anna: You should dust off that historical manuscript! Tell you what, you do that one, I'll redo my Regency, and we can see what come from it.

Hi, Helen! I love the 1940's fashions as well. Traveling is a goal of mine, too. I've been to London, was born in Havana. That's it for me except for travel within the states! A friend of mine recently took a single-malt tour of Scotland to visit all of the famous distilleries. I don't think that would be my main interest, but she had a lot of fun.

Emmanuelle: That really would be a good character! I was shy around boys until I had three of my own. That cured me forever.

Buffie: Work is an everlasting source of great characters and situations. I keep saying that I need to ditch the day job and just write, but really, would I write 8 hours a day? And it's so much fun to see the same wacky crew every day. Is your workplace fun, or is it the Drama of the Day?

EilisFlynn said...

I used the image of the samurai wearing a sword and a long knife in THE SLEEPER AWAKES, but the long knife turned out to be shorter in my story (since he wasn't going to be wearing it to commit suicide if necessary). And Anna, I love the Venetian look too. Gorgeous, sumptuous, rich. Horrible to clean no doubt, but lovely to look at!

Joan said...

Berta, welcome back!

I don't know that I have anything in my background maybe the short stint as an Oakridge Boys groupie :-)

Costumes? That's easy. Rome. Tunics, tunicas, loincloths the whole nine yards (which would be a toga)

And p226? Take it easy on the chook. Be merciful...his drumsticks have been run ragged since he last visited.

Nancy said...

p226, that's interesting about the private training in weaponry.

You wrote: So I've been able to buy some of the best handgun training in the world. And I might draw on that when creating a character. (There's a pun in there for those in the know.)

I think I know what you're referring to, and if I'm right, everyone who has regularly read your posts should know, too.

I love Colonial America. It's a fascinating period, and I hate the current aversion to it in romance publishing. And the men's clothes of the period definitely were more practical than the women's--at least where high fashion was concerned.

Um, the gladiators would just as soon you not impart trouble-making skills to the rooster since he never uses them to, you know, help. But I salute you for being out running him around in the wee hours. It's good for his character.

Nancy said...

Donna, I love your brother's perspective. We don't play the lottery, so I don't guess it'll be sending the boy to college.

I think Georgia's lottery finances in-state education for Georgia college students, which is way cool if I'm right about that.

Nancy said...

Hi, Anna--Glad you liked the interview. I'm always amazed at the many and varied things Berta does well. I finished Lucky Chica last night, and it was a wonderful, fun book. With an action sequence at the end. It was also food for thought since the heroine had a growth arc spurred by coming into all that money.

Your book with the dress sounds fabulous! In my early quasi-medieval fantasy mss. and my Restorations, I initially spent much time detailing the clothes. I did eventually realize all that detail just brought the story to a crashing halt, but it was fun.

The first question I ever asked Berta was "Do you know how men's pants closed in 1674?" And she DID!

Nancy said...

Hi, Pat--I'm up because I wanted to be sure the blog posted (which I didn't, so it's good I checked) and because I had an idea for a ms. I'm working on.

The rooster has gotten snippy lately. I'm hoping his trek with p226 works that, at least, out of him!

Nancy said...

Helen, glad you liked the interview. Those '40s fashions were great--so classic! We recently rented Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day with Amy Adams, Frances McDormand, and Ciaran Hinds. It's set in London just before WWII, and it's a story with a lot of heart. And gorgeous clothes.

Nancy said...

Emmanuelle--my dad was the lone guy at our house, too. I did have uncles and male cousins, but my dad had two daughters. His brother had five daughters and a son. So clearly the Northcotts run to girls. :-)

Lucky Chica is a fun book, as you noted.

Nancy said...

Hi, Buffie--thanks for liking the interview!

Berta's last book, Cinderella Lopez, had a couple of characters that could've been on a soap opera. And I know a few actual people like that.

Nancy said...

Hi, Berta--that's Berta under DirectoCard, everyone. :-)

I noticed you wrote would I write 8 hours a day? I'd like to think I would. And I have when trying to get a ms. done for the GH or something like that. Day in and day out, though, I don't. And I'm beginning to think I should, at least on days I don't teach, make that a goal.

Anyone else want to join in the attempt? For days when you're not doing the DDJ?

The profile of Nora Roberts in The New Yorker this summer (June 22 issue) talks about her work ethic, and it's amazing.

Nancy said...

Hi, Eilis--The samurai armor at the Metropolitan Museum is the boy's favorite. He picked "his" from among the various sets. Did you see the article about samurai (illustrated with armor) in the NYT this weekend?

Nancy said...

Joan--nothing in your background except Oakridge Boys groupie-ness?

I would beg to differ on that. Think Star Trek. Hospital. Been to Ireland Way More Times Than Nancy Has.

Are we getting my drift here? Hmmm?

Togas. Why am I not surprised? *g*

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Berta - welcome back to the Lair. How cool to meet your other identity!

I'm another one for the fashions of the 30's and 40's, though some of the flapper dresses of the 20's are simply stunning. And, oh what gorgeous shoes!

Not sure I have much exciting in my background to use in a story (then again, one never knows). I did use my knowledge of shooting films and TV commercials in my lone Single Title effort, Gay by Day. Sadly, the market has moved on so that won't be published - darn those Queer Eyes!

As for the lottery, I don't do it either *g*.

Anna Sugden said...

Hey P226! Great to see you - how's the shoulder?

Don't listen to the others, be as hard as you like on that pesky rooster! He needs some discipline!

p226 said...

I'm assuming it's not just shoot the paper target kind of stuff?..

Well, some of it's paper target type stuff. A lot of it is, actually. But there's a whole book worth of stuff around how to poke holes in that target. And how quickly. And in what kind of circumstances. Like shooting in the pitch black of a moonless starless night.

And what we call force-on-force training. Simunitions guns. Think turbo-paintballs. They *hurt*.

I would write forever on that stuff.

So, I imagine you guys want an update on that lazy complaining bird. What have you girls done to him? He's just back from his seven hour march over our wonderfully colored autumn hills here. You'd think he'd be happy about the opportunity to view so much beautiful fall scenery from so many different angles. But no, it's all "my talons are caked with mud," and "I fell off a big rock," and "these pack straps are cutting into my wings."

He's gotten soft.

I'm going to run him through the shoot-house here in a few minutes to see if he's forgotten how to handle a carbine.

Nancy said...

Anna, I love the flapper clothes, too. I always enjoy the unit on Chanel in my 1920s class.

And you do, too, have great stuff in your background--like the TV experience, and the teaching, and the different places you've lived. Not to mention hockey.

Nancy said...

p226--carbine? Oh, Demetrius looks very unhappy. I trust you're not going to let the GR actually keep the said weapon?

But I'm glad you're not putting up with his whining. Really, he has an exaggerated sense of entitlement. And we're still finding feathers from some gathering he held here last summer. Not that he ever cleaned up from it.

Joan said...

Nancy, I referenced togas because they are iconic...

It's the LOINCLOTHS you shouldn't be surprised at :-)

And I forgot to say I sure do play the lottery....I've won probably a total of $500 over the years..just THIS shy of being able to quit my job!

I only invest a miserly amount weekly and as they say...Somebody has to win...might as well be me!!

And (stomps foot) be NICE to our boy....because you're giving him fodder for much pampering when another of our ladies gets him. I can hear it now.

"He was mean to me", beak pout, "Chocolate? Oh, thank you. You're the only one who understands me." Nestles comb (no, not gonna say the complete name)against BB.

And it goes on and on.....

Nancy said...

Joan wrote, re: the GR's experiences today: "He was mean to me", beak pout, "Chocolate? Oh, thank you. You're the only one who understands me." Nestles comb (no, not gonna say the complete name)against BB.

Oh, I can hear it now! I really didn't think chicken-kind were very smart, but that is one manipulative bird!

JT, we buy a lottery ticket when we gas up near the dh's folks' house in Colorado. So far, I think, we've won exactly zero. So your $500 is lookin' good from here.

Barbara Monajem said...

Costumes: I'd like something from the English restoration to about 1720 or 30. In theory. In practice, I doubt it. I'm lazy when it comes to clothing.

Lottery: Rarely. Sometimes we have an office pool when the jackpot is high, and then I participate. The only time I win things is when there are only a few people participating and lots of prizes!

Nancy said...

Barbara, I love the Restoration-era gowns. Unlike some of the later ones, they look wearable to me.

Berta Platas said...

Nancy, I loved Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day. It was quirky. Okay, weird's the word I'm looking for - probably because it was based on a short story. It was such fun, though, and had a perfect, nuanced, ending.

Berta Platas said...

I must apologize for my strange email addy today. First comment I made I forgot I was logged in with my work account. Bet you've never had a paycard comment on your post. Then Blogger wouldn't accept any of my logins! Finally I'm back on, as myself. Whew.

Berta Platas said...

Joan: "beak pout" LOL

Berta Platas said...

Barbara: I love English Restoration, too. The men's clothes are almost prettier than the ladies'. As for your laziness regarding the garb, I'm hoping you mean about making it. I went through a few years way back in my 20's when I was in deep love with early Elizabethan (really late Tudor) clothing and needed a person to lace me into the corset, a person to goffer my ruffs, one to dress my hair (your arms only go *so* high in the tight sleeves). Since we were all friends play-acting I had to bring heavy chocolate stores to every event to bribe my dressers. Alcohol wouldn't do, since I wanted them sober when brandishing hot irons around my face. Don't even get me started on how to go to the bathroom in that sumptuous gear.

Nancy said...

Berta, I really have never had a paycard comment. That may be a first for the blog, too. Though we do occasionally get spam comments, which we delete.

Miss Pettigrew didn't last long in theaters, which is a shame. I think it's such a quiet little film, comparatively, that it can kind of get lost in the surrounding and competing boom.

Nancy said...

Berta, didn't you bring that Tudor dress to M&M one year? And the Regency outfit, too?

A menswear look from the Restoration came back a few years ago. We were on a ferry in New York harbor with a high school tour group. A lot of the guys wore wide-leg jeans that ended just below the knee. I kept looking at them and thinking, that's so familiar. Where I have I seen that style? As the ferry docked at Ellis Island, I remembered--Restoration petticoat breeches had similar lines!

But were worn with calf-concealing stockings, which the jeans were not. Some styles just should not be revived.

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy and Berta, I LOVED Miss Pettigrew. Wasn't Ciaran Hinds a lovely world-weary hero. A touch of the Regency rake there, I thought. Actually another little film I recently saw with gorgeous clothes - and another that came and went in the flash of an eye - is Easy Virtue. It's based on a Noel Coward play and stars Jessica Biel and Ben Barnes and Colin Firth and a wonderfully waspish Kristen Scott Thomas. It's about an American (and female) racing car driving in the 1920s who marries into this very upper crust English family and all the shenanigans that follow.

Nancy said...

Anna, that Easy Virtue sounds like fun! I'll look for it.

p226 said...

Well, I had to run that bird through the shoothouse three times because he was being lazy and slow. I may have found a way to motivate him though.

I have him going through it again. This time dressed as a 1770s grenadier, complete with a crimson greatcoat, a musket, and a 16 inch bayonet. Oh... and of course, the giant ridiculous hat.

He seems displeased.

Nancy said...

p226 wrote: He seems displeased.

Does he get to remove the costume if he performs well? He might like it if you let him keep the gun, but please, please don't!

Virginia said...

Congrat p226 WTG on nabbing that rooster!

I don't think I have anything unique from my background, I was just a country girl raise near the river. Some would say I was a river rat!

As far as costumes go I think I will go back to the med 1800 and be a southern girl like Miss Scarlett O'Hara. Although I did love the 30's and 40's.

As far as the lottery goes we rarely play because the odds are so against you. I not saying we never buy a ticket because we every now and then, but no we have never won anything.

Beth said...

Welcome, Berta! What a great post and I loved the excerpt!

I don't play the lottery because I don't like the odds *g* But it sure is fun to think about everything I'd buy if I DID actually play and WON :-)

Count me in as another fan of fashions from the 30s and 40s!

catslady said...

The older you get the more options you have lol. I think stories from my grandparents of their lives in Sicily, stories from my husband and his parents when they traveled the world while the father was in the military, and the many places my husband and I visited for 15 years before we had kids which is a whole 'nother life lol.

I play the lottery all the time but alas I've never won much, same for the slots - but I keep trying lol.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome back to the Lair, Berta!

And BIG THANX to Nancy for inviting you. Lucky Chica sounds like a really fun read! Who hasn't imagined what it would be like to win the lottery? I think the most I ever won was $11. :-P I seldom if ever play any more. When I had a DDJ, we always had a pool going when the jackpot went over $20 million.

I LURVE the look of Elizabethan clothes, but for practical purposes (like getting dressed and undressed and using the loo) I'd rather stick with my jeans and T-shirts, thankyouverymuch!

WTG on snagging the GR, P226! We've missed your smiling face around the Lair and that bird definitely needs a WORK OUT! He will be a good behavior after today, I'm sure. ;-)

whose single claim to fame was attending a Doors concert waaay back in the day.

Joan said...

He seems displeased.

Not as displeased as when Demetrius and the guys dressed him up as Nero and then played "Spin the Emperor Around the Arena"

He had a tic for months after that :-)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Hey, Berta. Good to see you here. I have Lucky Chica and am looking forward to reading it.

That's so cool about the costuming. Are you doing the steampunk outfit for Dragon*Con?

p226 said...

And in the spirit of chance, I'm going to let the bird use his musket as a spinning wheel like those lottery shows. This is his reward for not running the hostage dummy through with the bayonet in the shoothouse. Not enough time to reload that musket in the shoothouse. He had to go to bayonet after the first shot. I'm surprised he could see through all the smoke.

But yeah, he gets to spin his musket on the floor. But the good news is, any direction it stops, he WINS! The very best kind of lottery. He can't lose.

If it points north, he gets to run the assault course. If it points east, he gets to do swim training. (the water's cold this time of year) If it points south, we'll wait 'till dark and let him do land-nav. If it points west, I'll let him dig a few heavy guns emplacements.

It's like win-win-win-win! The very best kind of lottery.

Hmm. He's reading over my shoulder as I type. He smells like wet wool and sulfur from the black powder. He doesn't look very happy.

Nancy said...

Hi, Virginia--I think country girl and river rat are both interesting character backgrounds!

Nancy said...

Beth, it's fun to imagine having all that money, isn't it?

Nancy said...

Hi, AC--We never had big pools at my DDJ. Our state has a lottery now, but we don't play it. We might from time to time if any place near here sold tickets.

Nancy said...

Catslady, all that travel sounds wonderful! My dad won $5 at the slots on a trip to Las Vegas once and gave it to me. So far as I know, that's all anyone in my family ever won on a game of chance.

Nancy said...

Hi, Trish--weren't the steampunk outfits at DragonCon fabulous?

Nancy said...

p226, I'm not sure digging heavy gun emplacements (or anything else involving actual dirt) would be something the GR would see as a "win," but I'm glad you're keeping him busy.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Berta! Climbing out of the cave long enough to wave hello, *waving* and say WELCOME TO THE LAIR!!! :>

And to also say, Oh. My. To P226 getting the chook.

Eeeek! NO telling what that bird will be up to now. EEEK!

Nancy said...

Hi, Jeanne--Glad you could pop out for a minute!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Now...back to our regularly scheduled Cave. Sorry to just pop in, Berta! And out...

Joan said...

Careful there p226....if the Banditas fear their bird is in mortal danger, we may have to come rescue him.

You don't want to mess with the Banditas.


Berta, can you supply us with appropriate disguises?

ddurance said...

Lottery? I've played some scratch off and never won much of anything, so I gave up on that. I was just wasting my money.

I would dress up like the time of Cleopatra, lots of gold, headdresses and black eyeliner. lol

I would draw on my past as a victim of sexual abuse to write nonfiction perhaps or even fiction that would encourage girls to stay out of certain situations and to seek help, regardless of what the bad person says.


p226 said...

I don't fear a bandita rescue attempt. Much. Ok, maybe a bit.

Rest assured I'm not going to harm the bird. Much.

He got lucky with his spin. He won the p226 lottery. He's on his fourth pass of the assault course.

When he's done, he gets a prize.

So, out of curiosity, have any of you ever seen a rooster try to open an MRE? Because, well, that's .... entertaining.

Nancy said...

Deidre, those Egyptian costumes are beautiful.

I'm sorry you have a history of abuse, and I admire you for wanting to help others escape it.

Nancy said...

p226, it's not so much us in a rescue attempt as the gladiators. If you have a supply of firearms, you have an advantage over their swords, nets, tridents, etc. However, they're sneaky.

As for the rooster and the MRE, too bad you don't have video!

Joan said...

So, out of curiosity, have any of you ever seen a rooster try to open an MRE? Because, well, that's .... entertaining.

I've seen him hot wire a car with his beak...

However, they're sneaky.

Skilled. They are skilled not sneaky.

They wonder, p226 if you'd meet them in a challenge...gladius or trident...your choice.

Berta Platas said...

With all the love for 30's and 40's fashion, I'm thinking the next Banditas get together should have a theme. What do you bet Nancy shows up in a trenchcoat and Fedora, a la Ingrid Bergman spy gear? Banditas in the Night

Berta Platas said...

Eilis, I love the look of Samurai armor and weaponry, but have to admit that I know nothing about it.

Joan, had to laugh at the 'whole nine yards'. I dragged my husband to see Caligula, the very raunchy movie, in 1980, because the wigs were period-perfect. He didn't complain too much. My one and only rated x movie experience!

Nancy, you are right. All lottery proceeds in Georgia go towards the general education fund, funding pre-K classes, and teacher education. So I spend a buck on it every now and then, and buy scratch-off tickets to put in greeting cards. I also go to family gatherings with about 15 in my pocket, and hand them out. My brother-in-law won $50 last Thanksgiving!

Joan said...

What do you bet Nancy shows up in a trenchcoat and Fedora, a la Ingrid Bergman spy gear?

I'd recognize her by her bracelet!

Berta Platas said...

Joan, your getaway disguises are taken care of. Hope you like sombreros.

Nancy, I remember those bizarre short pants. All they guys looked like they were about to attack the mizzen mast and eat maggoty hardtack.

Anna S - Hi! I say go for Gay by Day. The title's cool enough to make me pick up the book.

Nancy said...

Joan and Berta, I do actually own a trench coat. It's the hat and gun I need. :-)

Nancy said...

And Joan, I'd have the sense to conceal the bracelet. . . .

Berta Platas said...

Virginia, I'm with Nancy. River rat and country girl have a lot going as far as character building is concerned.

p226, that rooster's going to be either worn thin or buffed up. Can't wait to hear which way it goes. Ditch that hat, though *feathers*. Might hurt his feelings.

Anna C, I went right over to Netflix and saved Easy Virtue to my queue.

Deidre! *hugs* Sounds like you have the makings of a strong AND therapeutic character. And Egyptian is so cool. When I was a very little girl we lived in Manhattan, and hung out at the Metropolitan Museum of Art a lot (free back then!) and always made a beeline for the Egyptian collection. I could go on forever about it.

Nancy said...

Berta wrote: Nancy, I remember those bizarre short pants. All they guys looked like they were about to attack the mizzen mast and eat maggoty hardtack.

An excellent point! Some fashions just should stay dead.

These looked okay (not great) in brocaded satin with stockings and buckled shoes. In denim with boat shoes and no socks, not so much!

Berta Platas said...

Trish, that steampunk outfit is for Stargate Atlanta, and yes, I'll wear it at Dragon*Con, too. If I ever get it done, that is!

Virginia, those mid 1860's outfits are the absolute best. So romantic and flattering! And keep buying those occasional tickets. You always hear about the big winner who says, "Oh I just stopped to gas up and thought I'd buy a ticket. I never play."

Catslady, isn't it funny how your life ends up partitioned into pre and post kids? So nice that you have tons of memories! Definitely fodder for characters and settings.

Nancy said...

Berta, I didn't know you were in Stargate Atlanta! I'm in Stargate Atlanta. Or do you just mean the TimeGate con? They had lots of steampunk, didn't they?

Berta Platas said...

AC - your single claim to fame would be a dream come true for me. Wow! If you like the look of Elizabethan garb, think about getting your face painted into an Elizabethan portrait. All the fun, none of the fuss!

Beth, I totally understand not playing the lottery. I'm just an extreme optimist, I guess. Plus, it's fun. A dollar's worth of hope is what my character Rosie calls it. Dreaming about winning is just as much fun!

Berta Platas said...

Thanks for having me today everyone, it's been a blast! Nancy, thanks for inviting me, you've been a gracious and attentive hostess as always.

Tomorrow I'll sink back into chasing my pregnant girl through the north Georgia mountains, but I'll stop by to see what's happened to poor Demetrius.

In the morning Nancy will post who's won the books. Hugs and kisses, gang! And if you decide to do that 8 hour write-a-thon, count me in!


Pat Cochran said...

Hello to all,

Here it is, almost the same time
as when I last signed in. It has
been a most busy day, but I did
want to read all the comments of
the day. So here I am, laughing
at all the adventures of p226 &
the rooster. And Joan, I'm still
laughing at the possibility of a
Bandita rescue mission. Don't
forget the Bandita Buddies, some
of us might go along just to
enjoy all the fun! Berta, it is
nice to see you here in the Lair!
Come back soon!

Pat Cochran

longge said...

You would become acclaimed in your acquisition just because of accustomed the best superior louis handbag
with you; these louis handbags
are accepting added popularity. Wherever you would go, these vuitton bag
would be taken as a attribute of chic and elegance.

dingdang said...

If you are searching for a hermes
that has its own appearance statement, afresh you charge to own a hermes watch
. It takes about 18 canicule for a Hermes Jewellery
to be created and accomplished afore it.
specification includes advanced features, the possibility of viewing different angles of a video stream and simple computations using built-in registers provided by a GREEN ACRES DVD
mailing list is a good source for further information

ge said...