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fall 2001

It's ole Jim again.

Shirl is off to Washington D.C. visiting her ailing brother. I think Carol is off with Ken visiting Cancun. I am just off, so I have to write the newsletter.

Of course, I do not have the luxury of restful solitude. For company, I have the two geriatric tom cats, Panther and Leopard, and our son's brute of a cat Max, and our brute of a son Matt. Matt is a casualty of our more-productive economy. After World Com made its latest telecom acquisition it laid off about 11,000 workers. One of these was Matt, who having now exhausted his severance pay, his bank account, and his credit, has moved back with dear old mom and dad. Quite truthfully, I think the real reason that Shirl has gone to visit her brother is to grab some R&R by retreating from the “battle zone.”

Instead of Generation X, Matt's ought to be called the “Hemorrhoid Generation.” They produce intense pain in the same part of your anatomy, and they are difficult to get rid of. Three years ago, Matt stayed with us for about six months when he got out of the USAF. He landed a nice tech job at MCI World Com, paid off debt, and saved money to rent and furnish a nice apartment. Three years later, however, he has returned to us after having spent the past years ordering his own living environment. Now, he wants to order ours. Seems I have been shopping at the wrong supermarket chain and, of course, buying all the wrong brands. Even the toilet paper I used to buy was wrong. I cannot be trusted with the VCR, and he has warned his mother not to let me tamper with her computer because “every time I think dad has learned a little about PCs he does something dumb and screws up.” I even overheard him caution her, “Mom, don't let dad rake the leaves. You know he's getting pretty feeble.”

I suppose in the ripeness of time this tribulation, too, shall pass--hopefully before I strangle my son. He's found what appears to be another good job. For the immediate future, though, the situation is eerie. (And the following is a true story.) One time when Matt was about four, he and I were strolling along somewhere, and I was holding his hand. He, suddenly, stopped and looked up at me and said, “Dad, what will it be like when I grow big and become the dad and you grow small and become the son?” God, I laughed and laughed at what I thought was the incredible imagination of my child. I'm not laughing now. That wasn't imagination. That was a plan.

Okay, we are still looking for help for a trilogy title for a three-book series that Shirl is currently writing. The individual books will be titled Yankee Earl, Rebel Baron, Texas Viscount. The three works will span the Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian eras. The common theme will be an American male inheriting an English title and unwillingly marrying an English woman.

Shirl's original working trilogy title was “Hands Across the Water,” which we and Carol thought was a bummer. From our last call for help we got a few possible replacements. I liked Beth's suggestion of “Love Over Troubled Waters,” although Paul Simon might sue. I also liked Maria's “The American Royalty Series.” Shirl's pick so far is one from Daniela, all the way from Germany. Danny came up with “The American Lords.” We are still looking for suggestions. Help! For an excerpt of Yankee Earl, click here.

Watch for Wanton Angel coming from Leisure in March. As with Wicked Angel that came out last April, this story deals with one of wild Blackthorne brood whose parents you first met in Love a Rebel, Love a Rogue. Beth Blackthorne, a stunning redheaded Amazon, runs away from her parents Quintin and Madelyne and travels to Naples. She wants to pursue her passion, painting. Very soon she encounters another passion in the form of the darkly handsome Derrick Jamison, the younger son of the Earl of Lynden. Derrick, a British spy in the war against Napoleon, has been branded a disgrace by his family, who are unaware of his activities. Beth wants no husband to forbid her to ply her art. Jamison most certainly cannot afford to be “leg-shackled.” Yet the two are drawn irresistably together. And when that happens they are “helped” by an unlikely cupid, the Honourable Alvin Francis Edward Drummond, the amusing little dandy whose acquaintance you made in Wicked Angel.

Oh well, the two can live an unconventional married life in Naples. But what would happen in the unlikely event that Derrick would inherit and become the 9th Earl of Lyden? Unthinkable! An American wife who earns money painting? A woman who has posed nude for fellow artists? An escapee from an Algerine hareem? Egad! Such a countess would scandalize the ton! Even the unflappable Lord Byron would be titillated. Well....they are and he is.

Okay, click to Upcoming, and you will find an excerpt from Wanton Angel. About the middle of each month, from now until Wanton, is published in March, another excerpt will be added. And don't forget to offer a title for the new trilogy that will start with Yankee Earl. The one chosen will win autographed copies of the books.

Take care, Don't forget to visit http://www.dorchesterpub.com.


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