Kissing the Hand

May 24, 2013

The rush, stress, and practicalities of modern life have cost us more than we know. Many of the polite acts of chivalry have been abandoned. I know that a strong, modern woman is fully capable of opening their own restaurant door, but I feel it is my duty as a gentleman to graciously hold it for her. Perhaps she will reward me with a soft smile?

As recently as WWII, it was common among polite society for a gentleman to kiss the back of a lady’s hand when introduced. This fell into disrepute for several reasons. It is way too easy to trade nasty germs when lips meet hands, it requires an extra second or two from a busy day, and too many boorish men used it as an excuse to slobber over pretty ladies.

A knight and fine gentleman in the SCA taught me there is a polite and politically-correct manner with which to bring back this reminder of bygone manners. I would share this technique, now.

Step One: The gentleman takes her proffered hand and turns it slightly so that the back is facing up.

Step Two: He places his thumb over her fingers and bows slightly from the waist.

Step Three: Keeping his eyes on hers (not her breasts), he then lets his lips touch just his thumb.

Step Four: Don’t hold it over long. Just take a second or two at the most.

This simple technique provides the proper intent without drooling and smearing germs on her hand.

Keeping your eyes on hers, serves to hold her attention and let her know that you appreciate her as a person.

As the gentleman straightens up and releases her hand, the lady, in turn, should reward his chivalric display with a smile and a small curtsey.

I have used this technique at SCA events as well as at various conventions.  The only down side is that the gentleman might get a jealous glower from the lady’s companion.

Gentlemen, give it a try the next time you find yourself among polite society. If nothing else, it will start a discussion.


FREE READ – Imbolc

October 21, 2012

This is the tale of young priest who is introduced to a satyr by a beautiful member of his flock. Deep in the Black Forest, they break bread, discuss religion and learn the horror of the burning times.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jumpstart the Muse

May 20, 2012

I am constantly running into news articles on the web that sound like fodder for a story. The stories might be historical fiction, alternate history or just an interesting background to a romance or mystery. Here’s a case in point.

“Now experts have suggested the domestication of dogs, and the benefit it gave to their masters, could have played a key rule in the demise of the Neanderthals and supremacy of humans.”

I find several of these news articles each week and just don’t have the time to follow them up with a story. But I do add the basic concepts to a StoryNotes.txt file for future reference.

What news articles have caught your imagination lately?

Finding Inspiration

November 7, 2011

In case you’ve not noticed, I’m a huge history fan.

One of the reasons is that I’ve constantly finding neat story ideas in news articles on historical items. For example, I just read this little piece:

The first thing that popped into my mind was an urban fantasy tale, based on the idea that a supernatural being had been cursed. When the archaeologist pulls the nail from the lead curse sheets, the supernatural being is free for the first time in two thousand years.

Keep on writing!


Like most authors, I occasionally get asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Many, if not all, of my characters are gestalt figures based on real people I’ve known. As for the situations they find themselves in, there are plenty of historical elements to help the tale. For example, here are a few very interesting links.

The Gentleman’s Directory was sold in New York, back in the 1870s. It cost a buck (a lot of money back then) and was a guide to the brothels around town.

One can even tour the area with a map of some of the famous dens of inequity.

Much more information in a similar vein can be found in this well-researched report:

Now, I would think anyone should be able to glean a story or two from these links.

Crazy Taylor is out!

July 1, 2010

Airships…intrigue…adventure! Just another day in the life of Crazy Taylor.

When Charles Morgan inherits an Australian town from a distant uncle, he never dreams what it will eventually lead to. Along with his wife, best friend, and brother-in-law, they set out on the adventure of a lifetime that will shape their children’s future.

Taylor Morgan is her father’s daughter. Adventurous and obsessed with flying from an early age, she never imagines she’ll find herself helping shape the course of WWII for the Allied forces. Can romance fly in the face of war, or will Nazi forces, a determined spy, and disgruntled government wonks ground “Crazy Taylor” and her Circus?

Contains romance, action, airships, and adventure!

Captiva Press

Let us Capture your imagination!

Old Farts!

March 29, 2010

I’m passing this on as I did not want to be the only old fart receiving it.
Actually, it’s not a bad thing to be called, as you will see. Old Farts are easy to spot at sporting events; during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. Old Farts remove their caps and stand at attention and sing without embarrassment. They know the words and believe in them.
Old Farts remember World War II, Perl Harbor , Guadalcanal , Normandy and Hitler. They remember the Atomic Age, the Korean War, The Cold War , the Jet Age and the Moon Landing. They remember the 50 plus Peacekeeping Missions from 1945 to 2005, not to mention Vietnam
If you bump into an Old Fart on the sidewalk he will apologize. If you pass an Old Fart on the street, he will nod or tip his cap to a lady. Old Farts trust strangers and are courtly to women.
Old Farts hold the door for the next person and always, when walking, make certain the lady is on the inside for protection.
Old Farts get embarrassed if someone curses in front of women and children and they don’t like any filth or dirty language on TV or in movies.
Old Farts have moral courage and personal integrity. They seldom brag unless it’s about their children or grandchildren.
It’s the Old Farts who know our great country is protected, not by politician’s, but by the young men and women in the military?serving their country.
This country needs Old Farts with their work ethic, sense of responsibility, pride in their country and decent values.
We need them now more than ever.
Thank God for Old Farts!
Pass this on to all the Old Farts you know.
I was taught to respect my elders. It’s just getting harder to find them.

Some Interesting Links

March 16, 2010

I’ve been super busy the last couple of weeks and haven’t been able to keep up with the blog as much as I’d like. Here’s a few quick links that I found very interesting:

Standalone genre books vs sequels or series?

The Future of Publishing?

A new social network devoted to the Fen?

And here’s somethings to think about:

Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them. — Samuel Butler (1835-1902)

Robert Jordan once said in an interview something to the essence of “If I could have told my story in a few paragraphs, I would have. I didn’t. I wrote these books. If you want to know what they’re about, read them.”

The Dream King

March 3, 2010

Many, many years ago, when I was a kid of about eight or nine, my folks had this old guy over for dinner. They laughed and joked like adults do and, as soon as possible, I escaped to play outside. We had eaten early and it was still light when he came out by himself and asked me what I was doing. At that point, I was just sitting on the concrete steps feeling bored and told him so.

He walked a few paces out on the sidewalk, turned around and started humming “Me and My Shadow” softly to himself. Then, he started to dance. It was a slow, simple little shuffling kinda dance and I just stared, mesmerized.

Suddenly, he stopped and looked at me. “You know what that is called?”

I shook my head.

“It’s called a soft shoe and this is one of the basic steps.” He proceeded to do a little sliding step. “Come on. Don’t just sit there. Get up here, stand alongside me and do what I’m doing.”

I did and a few minutes later, we were shuffling off to Buffalo in the best vaudeville style. I asked him to show me more, but he said he had to go home. He would give me two little pieces of advice, however.

“Always start out with a dance and always leave them wanting a little more.”

A few days later, we moved back north for the summer and when we returned, that fall, he had passed on.

After reading Tara Newlands’ Dream King, I was reminded of the old man’s advice.

The story opens with a carefully choreographed magical battle where the bad guy appears to win. Our lovely heroine Amanda, is torn from her lover by the wonderfully evil Jonathan.

Despite his best efforts, Octavian loses Amanda and vows to find her, no matter how long it may take. As someone who is effectively immortal, this may be a while.

What happens if part of the curse separating them is the loss of all of Amanda’s memories? And what’s worse, Jonathan can’t seem to hold on to the feisty lass he kidnapped.

The Dream King is the first of a new series and I’ll admit I consumed it in less than two days. It’s a lovely amusement park tunnel-of-love ride, filled with passion and magic that did exactly what the old man had advised… “Always leave them wanting more.” Well done, Tara!

Title: The Dream King – Tales of the Lucnan Magi Book One

Author: Tara Newlands

Publisher: Red Rose Publishing



January 25, 2010

Like everyone who ever spends time surfing the net, I run into things that are really neat and I want to share with my friends. So, I’m going to start adding posts like this one. From now on, when you see the subject line NeatNetNews, the content will be a handful of links that may or may not be related, but which I found interesting. Just remember, your mileage may vary.

A neat idea from NASA:

A model spaceship with history behind it:

Some music and two great short stories by Frederick Pohl and read by Spider Robinson. It is a great way to kick back and enjoy an hour:

Current Energy Prices per Million BTU: