What ever happened to that actress and the prince?


Wildlife scene
Wolves and Deer: A Tale Based on Fact (No, this isn’t the cover.)

You’ve heard the news. Here’s the Royal announcement:


A prince is engaged to an actress! Why would an American like me have any interest in such news at all? Actually, I do have interest and an announcement of my own.

I have interest because there was another time –200 years ago– when an actress took up with a prince who was third in line for the throne. Her name was Dora Jordan. She was Great Britain’s most famous comic, and I’ve written a novel about her. I just signed a contract for it with Rouge Phoenix Press. The e-book will be published in September, 2018 with paper backs available a little later.

Here’s the synopsis:

In 1832,Grace Clare works at the Royal Institution under the direction of the well-known chemist Michael Faraday. But science isn’t all she has on her mind. She learns that her birth mother was famous comic actress Dora Jordan. Grace is dangerously drawn into the tale of Dora’s mysterious, unjust death after her twenty-year relationship with the prince who now occupies the throne–a man who betrayed his life partner and mother of his children. As the only child free to do so, Grace travels to Paris for work and to view her mother’s lonely grave. Awash with the injustice of the cruel betrayal, will Grace be doomed to a tragic life of seeking revenge for her mother or like her mother will she be laughing in the end?


This novel is different from my others in that it’s written in third person –an appropriate point of view for the British Empire. The protagonist is more emotional and more vulnerable than my others. And, in keeping with the times–1832–the book is less absurd. The science is 100% realistic–based in 1832.

It’s filled with historical name dropping. Have you heard of any of these people?

Charles Babbage

Evariste Galios

Samuel Finley Breeze Morse

William IV and Queen Adelaide

Ching Shih

They’re all in Wolves and Deer: A Tale Based On Fact.

My previous novels had two-word titles. How did I get this long title for my third one? Here’s the story: Dora Jordan and Prince William lived on an estate in Bushy Park, famous for its fine deer. There was no retiring or resting for this actress. She worked to support the prince’s lavish tastes. She spent lots of her hard-earned cash fixing up the dilapidated estate, only to be tossed to the wolves and the house given to the Queen who replaced her. Dora’s not the only one thrown to the wolves in this novel. My heart bled all over the pages as I read about the betrayals suffered by the lower classes during this era. There were lots of “deer” and fewer but more powerful “wolves”.

How much of this book is based on fact? I did plenty of research on Dora’s life and times. I read letters she wrote (the best I could, her handwriting was difficult to decipher). I read plays she was in. Some such as Twelfth Night and As You Like It are old favorites. Others such as She Would and She Would Not are still published with the long S, (This was used at the beginning and middle of words but rarely at the end and can be found in typography before 1803.) Try reading that.

I became an amateur expert on Dora Jordan. I even found a sketch of her that her biographer had never seen. I have a Pinterest Board dedicated to herI’ve written about her before. I purchased old newspaper clippings about Dora and even have one of her theater handbooks. I discovered that she was prone to telling tall tales. She was skilled at her own PR. Her lover, the Prince, acted as her agent and manager. It was difficult to tell truth from the fiction surrounding her. I put all of my data together and came up with the best story I could. Due to gaps and inconsistencies in history, I was compelled to fill in the blanks. I made up my own theories about her, logical and in keeping with how theater folk were expected to act at the time. As they said in the 1800s, it’s “a tale based on fact”, but it is, indeed, a tall tale of my own–a logical one created from the information gathered, but still, a tale. And it goes against the historical record, which I considered highly fabricated.

I also did research on Michael Faraday that included reading his biography and some of his letters. He took a trip to Paris and that helped me create the Paris of 1832. So did a British guide to Paris dated 1831.

For William IV, I read his biography and that of Queen Adelaide. The Diaries of Charles Greville provided some upper crust gossip–describing William as “something of a blackguard and something more of a buffoon.” And forgive me, mathematicians Babbage and Galios, I researched you too,  and I’ve painted you as eccentric.

Wolves and Deer: A Tale Based on Fact is an 85,000-word historical novel that re-examines history and provides a happy ending along with tongue-in-cheek fun, early 19th century-science, and mild social commentary. I hope you’ll love it.








What is love?

I got a request to write a post about love, but when I asked what it was, I didn’t get a good answer.How about this for a theory: love is connection.dogs in love

Mammals begin life connected. Even before birth the connection between mother and child influences our brains, making nerve fibers that will affect our temperament. Some of the way we perceive love and what it means to us, begins before we even take a breath. Motherhood drug use,  exposure to toxic chemicals, or stress will affect our development and our ability to love in the future.

The mother-infant bond sets the stage for the offspring to be able to take and give love and to handle stress. The mother and baby need to look at each other, work together to establish mutual rewards, and generate oxytocin and cortisol (the first to relax us, the second to create vigilance). Believe it or not, the development of a form of ambivalence is a part of the bond. Babies are exhausting. Motherhood is tiring. Our very first experience with love is that it’s too much to maintain intensely. Such is the tragedy of love, but if we are healthy, we can love and do so with some autonomy.

Of course, one can’t talk of love without mentioning erotic love. Kissing boosts the immune system and increases our sense of well-being.  It makes us invincible even though the search for erotic love can bring us to some crazy places of insecurity about our worth and appearance and rightly so, erotic love is stimulated by visuals. Yes, it’s shallow and also wonderful. Even just having a crush releases some feel good chemicals.

Attachment is a phase of love and it is just as chemical as erotic love. As the song goes, “be careful who you love.” There are those who don’t think twice about doing another in emotionally. People who treat others poorly, who fail to attach, have a chemical imbalance. Break ups or “love rejections” are chemically harmful. They might take up to two years to recover from. But it’s better than casting your lot with someone who can’t attach.

Alcohol and love do similar things to the brain: they take away fear, make us feel better about ourselves but also, surprisingly make us more judgmental of people outside our social sphere, creating a special connection with the one you love, be it a person or a bottle.

I personally get a strong sense of connection working beside someone and I’m not alone. This is why a person can love their job or a group they are a part of. It’s no accident that I became a laboratory scientist. Working in lab on an experiment is a delicious form of connection and ever since fictional Victor Frankenstein worked in secret on his creation and subsequently abandoned the hapless creature, the message has been clear: don’t work alone in lab. To be a scientist is to never work alone. It’s true that if you love your job, you don’t have to work.

We love our pets and they can love us. The owner-pet bond is real, healthy, and less dependent on visual cues than erotic love. It’s as true as any love.

The other day I was visiting my dad. My mom, died almost three years ago. He was telling me how much he missed her. I asked him what I could do. He said, “Just listen.” It turns out that feeling listened to is one way that people feel loved.A person will feel loved if they know that you understand what they are going through and that you share the same emotions about it.I was glad and surprised that loving him was so simple as that.I didn’t have to fix anything or make a grand display.  Guess I had a thing or two to learn about love.





The Unbearable Lightness of Romance

There’s plenty of lighthearted science in Natural Attraction. As I wrote it, I had a hard time deciding if it should become scifi or romance. Both include passion, mystery, discovery. I went with romance because the romance industry is a nice place. As Emma Teitel points out, in romance the female always wins. And the man always wins. What’s not to love?  Have you read about all the fighting over the scifi Hugo Awards? I’m glad to have made the decision to go with a happy genre where women support each other. Romance can be clever, fun, and funny. The first romance novel I ever read was The Changeling Bride by Lisa Cach. It was creative, informative, sexy, and it made me laugh–and think. Almost like the ideal partner. Almost like science itself. And as someone who was once part of a Shakespeare festival, I can tell you that those romantic happy endings are a lot more challenging than the sad ones.  As Malia Wollan points out, romance springs from “a desire to see goodness in the world.” Glad to be a part of the romance industry! There can’t be too much love in the world.