• The St. Charles Hotel In New Orleans

    One of the significant locations in my novel, Painter of Dreams, is the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans, which is where Brandon and Captain Henderson stayed. The hotel figures into my fourth novel as well. In 1851, a fire destroyed the original hotel. It was rebuilt in 1852.  The large illustration above is of the second hotel .The hotel was in business until 1973. This is what the original hotel looked like. The second, as you can see, was similar, but much plainer. It didn’t have the fancy cupola. Here’s a description of the hotel from Benjamin Moore Norman’s, Norman’s New Orleans and Environs, published in 1845. “This magnificent establishment, which,…

  • Belle Creole Music New Orleans 1845

    Historical New Orleans

    I collect old illustrations, paintings, and other ephemera pertaining to New Orleans, Liverpool, and ships of old as such things make me feel closer to my story, to my characters. One of my favorites is the 1845 painting above of New Orleans and the Belle Creole. The painting gives one a sense of the busy riverside back in those long ago days and the majestic beauty of the early steamships that plied the Mississippi. Here’s a description of New Orleans in 1845 from Benjamin Moore Norman’s, Norman’s New Orleans and Environs “During the business season, which continues from the first of November to July, the levee, for an extent of five…

  • Ship on Fire

    Burning of the Margaret

    In Painter of Dreams, the North Star Ship, Margaret, burns while it’s in the Mersey in Liverpool. In book four, this tragedy holds extra significance, but I can’t tell you more about it at this time. This portrait represents Desiree’s painting of the ill-fated vessel.

  • Chester Hawthorn 6th Earl of Drayton

    What’s wrong with this portrait?   Meet Chester Hawthorn 6th Earl of Drayton. Inspiration can come from strange places. Sometimes it comes from an old photo or painting. I came across a vintage portrait and thought about how much it reminded me of Captain Chester Hawthorn, 6th Earl of Drayton, Brandon’s father whom I mention in Painter of Dreams. So I did a little graphic manipulation and composed a biography for him. Here it is along with the family coat of arms. Now, he’s even more alive to me. and I know so much more about him. And isn’t he handsome? .Of course. He would have to be as he’s the hunky…

  • 100 Most Beautiful Words

        Words are like flowers–some are very beautiful. Here are some of my favorite words. What are some of yours?   Ailurophile: A cat-lover. Assemblage: A gathering. Becoming: Attractive. Beleaguer: To exhaust with attacks. Brood: To think alone. Bucolic: In a lovely rural setting. Bungalow: A small, cozy cottage. Chatoyant: Like a cat’s eye. Comely: Attractive. Conflate: To blend together. Cynosure: A focal point of admiration. Dalliance: A brief love affair. Demesne: Dominion, territory. Demure: Shy and reserved. Denouement: The resolution of a mystery. Desuetude: Disuse. Desultory: Slow, sluggish. Diaphanous: Filmy. Dissemble: Deceive. Dulcet: Sweet, sugary. Ebullience: Bubbling enthusiasm. Effervescent: Bubbly. Efflorescence; Flowering, blooming. Elision: Dropping a sound or…