Friday, December 18, 2015
THE CHRISTMAS DOLL
One Christmas, a long time ago, I was a little girl who loved her dolls. I had clothes for them, accessories, and some even had their own little beds in my room. I always thought every little girl had a doll. Never dreamed anything different.
It was the Sunday before Christmas and my father took me to church service after Sunday School to see a special choir of children from an orphanage in Rome. They were in the US to visit and perform at several churches along the East Coast.
Some of the families like mine volunteered to take a child home for dinner. The week before, my mother asked to see a photo of the young lady because she wanted to buy some clothes for her to take home. When I looked at the photo, I saw a skinny eight year named Marianna. We were the same age and the same height. We both had dark curly hair and dark brown eyes. Except for where and how we lived, and the fact that I was chubby, we could have been sisters.
I was excited to have Marianna come for dinner and happy that my mother bought her clothes. After we ate Sunday lunch, I took her into my bedroom to see and play with my toys. Her eyes grew huge and began to tear up. I understood a little Italian enough to get the just of a conversation. She walked over to my window bench where my dolls "lived" and picked one up and hugged it.
The doll named Anna was one of my favorites. Dressed in a pink and white gingham dress, she had blonde hair I could comb. Marianna hugged Anna and refused to let her go. She said she never had a doll before, let alone one as "bella" as this one.
Well I was not a happy camper. I yelled at her, "Let let Anna go. That doll is mine." She refused and asked me to please give Anna to her. That made me more upset. Enough so my father heard me and came in to see what was wrong.
I told him about Anna and how she was not going anywhere. He walked over to Marianna and had her give him the doll. He then said in Italian that he knew I would be happy to give it to her. After all, I had so much...a good home, loving parents, and many other dolls. He handed it back to her and she hugged him like he just gave her the world.
I watched in silence thinking I never realized how lucky I was. I too went over and hugged Marianna. She taught me a a most important lesson about giving and love I will never forget. This holiday season we should all care about those less fortunate and try to help in whatever manner we can.
Best wishes for a happy holiday season. I hope you spend it with family and friends.
SHADOWS ACROSS TIME
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Ever daydream about being kidnapped? You’re swept away by a total stranger to a romantic place, leaving behind those dirty dishes, your new puppy throwing up on your best decorative rug, and the insurmountable to-do list. Where would you like to be taken?
France? Paris, perhaps? Chenonceau Castle has always been my dream. About ten years ago, after watching an episode of the Travel Channel featuring three castles in the Loire Valley, Chambord, Cheverny, and Chenonceau, I was hooked. My husband entered the family room reading a newspaper when I pointed to the TV. “We’re going there.” And so we did. All three royal residences were magnificent, but there was something extra special about Chenonceau.
Perhaps it was the imposing gray white structure with blue turreted roofs, or the rose colored bedroom with its canopied bed and carved fireplace, maybe it was the manicured gardens, or best yet how the waters of the River Cher flowed underneath the castle. The “Chambre de Secrets”, rumored to be Catherine de Medici’s secret hiding place for poisons, true or not, peaked my writer’s imagination.
In my newest novel, SHADOWS ACROSS TIME, my strong-willed heroine, present day antique dealer Danielle deForet, is tricked into completing an appraisal on a rare French piece, when her client, a sinister wizard, whisks her back to 16th century France and you guessed it, Chenonceau. Danielle is held captive in a room resembling the rose bedroom awaiting her dismal fate as a crucial link in a spell for the queen. The wizard selects a brave young knight, Sir Aidan, to guard her. A most handsome knight, Aidan and Danielle soon fall in love and he plans a risky escape.
Chenonceau is known as the “Chateau de Dames”, because three strong women contributed to its longevity. Built in 1513 by Katherine Briconnet, King Henry II purchased it after her death from her son and gifted the castle to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. (Why is it always the mistress?) She added the arched bridge that crossed the river as well as the gardens that still surround the structure. To her misfortune, she made the castle so beautiful that when the king died, Catherine de Medici, his widow with the alleged poison room, desired to own the chateau forcing Diane out. Madame Dupin later protected Chenonceau from being destroyed during the French Revolution. With all these formidable women in mind, I knew Danielle had to be just as strong and just as resolute if she hoped to foil the powerful wizard’s plan.
My heroine is beautiful, smart, and determined. The more I imagined her story, the more I knew Chenonceau was the perfect backdrop. I visualized Danielle traveling up the exterior staircase, visiting the opulent throne room, and meeting the wizard in a fictionalized version of the poison room. She was brave as she walked in disguise eager to escape off the arched bridge to meet her lover on horseback. Their swashbuckling adventure, the journey of their lives through the thick forests to be sheltered by resisters, begins here.
Now, it’s your turn. Danielle, and Aidan, along with a sinister wizard and cunning gypsy seer await your visit to Chenonceau in SHADOWS ACROSS TIME available in print and e-book.
Romance That Transcends Time
Sunday, October 18, 2015
HALLOWEEN WITH FRANKENSTEIN
(copyright 2015 Mariah Lynne)
Halloween! That special day when a frog can become a prince and I, a shy sixth grader donning a pink sparkly tulle gown and tiara, caught the eye of the cutest boy in my class. One year later, it was a different man who stole my heart! Our first adventure trick or treating alone, my friends and I wanted to visit the more affluent part of town. We convinced ourselves that the elegant homes with manicured lawns gave away the best candy. One such home, decorated to the hilt, peaked our curiosity. The more spider webs, Halloween wreaths, and witches’ broomsticks we saw, the more excited we became! We quickly juggled around the candy in our bag to make more room before walking up to the front door and ringing the bell.
Spooky music greeted us through a speaker near the front door as if on queue. Plastic spiders shot down from the front door- frame. We stood there looking at each other wondering what would happen next. The large wooden door creaked opened slowly, very slowly. We gasped! Standing in front of us was a tall thin man. He was so tall we were eye to eye with his belt buckle. As our eyes shot upwards, we recognized him as Frankenstein. Dressed in a tuxedo and carrying a large oval silver bowl, he bent down to welcome us in a low deep voice.
“Greetings, my little trick or treaters. You may each reach in the bowl and take as much as you can in one handful. Remember I’m watching, so no tricks.”
Well, who on earth would want to trick that guy! He leaned down a little more putting the bowl where we could see its contents. My eyes popped! It was filled with hundreds of brand new pennies. All shiny, they glistened all the brighter in the subdued lighting of the entryway. I took a deep breath, opened my chubby hand as wide as I could and grabbed as many of those magical coins as would fit. My excited friends did the same. What a magical night! To this day, my memory of Frankenstein is as vivid as that night. Imagine how much time and effort a family I didn’t know put into making my Halloween so extraordinary!
Fast forward forty years. I now live and work on a beautiful Florida Gulf Coast island. No chill in the air, no falling leaves but our islanders celebrate Halloween in a big way. At the time, I owned a video store on the island. About eighteen years ago, some standing water and pesky mosquitoes caused the county to cancel trick or treating! How could they do that? I understood it was for everyone’s safety, but I saw a lot of disappointed little faces coming into my store after the news. With that magical memory of Frankenstein still in my heart, I along with some friends rolled up our sleeves and transformed my store into a Howling Halloween Haunting for kids of all ages on the island. We constructed a big black tent out of extra huge lawn bags in which one of my friends, an amateur magician, performed. Kids were greeted at the entrance by one of my adult customers dressed like the Wicked Witch, green face and all. There were gooey spider webs and scary movie standees like Freddy Kruger. Domino’s who occupied the building next door delivered pizza throughout the party. The manager, another friend, made a special appearance as the Noid. I bought tons of candy and apples. We had games, photos and costume judging for six great hours of Halloween fun. The kids had a blast. They wore their newest costumes and their parents came as well. I have since sold my business but occasionally run into those kids now all grown up. They always tell me how magical that Halloween was for them. Maybe in some small way, I was able to pass the spirit and love I felt on my memorable Halloween with Frankenstein forward!
NINE DEADLY LIVES: An Anthology of Feline Fiction
Released in time for Halloween reading