Alice’s Restaurant

July 31, 2007

The Tudor Follies: Marital Bliss with Henry

Filed under: Henry VIII, History, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 12:59 am

When we left off last week, Henry and Katherine Parr had just gotten married, and Henry was in the mood to celebrate.  Now, back to the words of Mr. Al.****

Henry decided on a celebration that would combine business with pleasure.  Accordingly, during a visit to Windsor Castle, Henry had three Protestant heretics burned at the stake on the front lawn. Yes, all was well in the Tudor household. Katherine had prevailed upon Henry to be nice to Mary and Elizabeth. With Edward brought in from the royal bubble Henry kept him in, all three half-siblings were finally spending quality time together. Edward loved it! He didn’t get to socialize much, and it showed. Unfortunately, not everyone was happy.

Lord Chancellor Wriothesley was a political ally of the Bishop of Winchester, Stephen Gardiner, whom we met earlier in a public house in Essex. Mister Gardiner’s career had come along nicely, thank you very much. Wriothesley and Gardiner hated Protestants every bit as much as Henry. They also suspected the Queen of being one. Which she was. Very, VERY secretly. Katherine was aware of the danger and conducted herself accordingly. Unfortunately, she began to feel a little bulletproof, being the Queen and all. What she didn’t realize was that being Queen made it even more imperative that she be careful. Especially since she didn’t know who her enemies were.

When the heretics were burned at Windsor, she didn’t bat an eyelash. She did nothing to intervene. She was aware that she was being watched for her reaction. She couldn’t fool Wriothesley. He wanted to bring her down the way he had brought down Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. One gets the impression that he did not approve of queens.

Poor Henry, every time he set out to find the perfect wife, somebody had to jam the spokes of the wheels of the wagon of wedded bliss with the triple monkey wrenches of adultery, heresy and more adultery. Wroithesley and Gardiner decided to bide their time. Henry wasn’t going to live forever, or even much longer. They fully expected to be appointed to Edward’s Regency Council. Then they would make their move.

In the meantime, all Katherine could do was try to keep to herself. That, and indulge one of her great passions, female education. To say Katherine Parr was ahead of her time on the issue would be putting it mildly. She was centuries ahead of her time. Not just for girls of Good Family, but the poor as well. Educate the poor?! Men of the court were horrified. Katherine used her position to champion these causes and more.

She took money from her household fund to provide scholarships for academically worthy boys from modest homes. And she practiced what she preached close to home. Under her guidance Mary, Elizabeth and Edward excelled at their studies. Granted, Elizabeth and Edward were prodigies, but Mary was not. She was very intelligent, but not on the level of her half-siblings. Adding to that the treatment she had received at the hands of her father, she had the self-esteem of a clam. Katherine made sure she did her best. Which turned out to be pretty damned good. Edward remembered those days as the happiest of his life. Elizabeth thought she’d died and gone to heaven.

Both Mary and Elizabeth produced translations of French philosophical texts that were good enough to publish. These works received a wide reading and were praised by academics across England. Edward’s grasp of foreign languages astounded his tutors. Not yet in his teens, he could, and did, argue points of theology and law with university professors. Katherine was the toast of the university community. And not just because she had money for them.

Mary and Katherine were very close in age. The two of them got on wonderfully, as long as they didn’t discuss religion. This must have been hard for both of them. Mary as a devote Roman Catholic and Katherine as a closet Lutheran. It couldn’t be any other way. With Henry’s reforms, they were both skating on thin ice. Katherine was about to find out how thin.


Thank you Mr. Al.  It’s amazing how Henry’s least little mood swing makes me cringe.  I’m so glad I’m not living in his times.


July 28, 2007

Building a Web Site

Filed under: writing, Writing Craft, Writing Life — aliceaudrey @ 12:50 am

As an unpublished author, what do you put on your web site?  I feel so silly pushing myself this way, but want to do something.  Everyone says it’s important to have an Internet presence, and it’s never too soon to get started, but really, I’m not so sure.  If editors and agents don’t bother to look at a writer’s web site, then it seems like a lot of work.

On the other hand, I think it helps other writers see where I’m coming from when I say some of the things I say about writing process.  I’m not a flash in the pan.  I have completed several books.  You can even see whether or not one of them is any good because I put a link to the first chapter on the web site.

Yet I have run into a lot of technical problems, and each time a link fails to work no matter what I do, I have to ask the question, is this really necessary?  Do I really need to set up an individual link to each Suzie’s House episode?  Do I really need the link to the first chapter of Zackly Right?  Do I want to hide the fact I’ve write so many books, or that Zackly Right hasn’t won a contest since 2005.  Actually, it wasn’t official until 2006, but how can I say that when the name of the contest includes the 2005 date?  Should I bother to say I’ve only entered it in two contests since that win, and one of them was the Golden Heart?

I love blogging.  Do I highlight it?  Should I make that the second page, or leave it the last one listed?  Does it matter?

So many questions.

Do you have a web site?  What’s the URL?  What do you recommend to someone who isn’t published yet?


July 25, 2007

Potter Mania

Filed under: What Are You Reading? — aliceaudrey @ 12:21 am

Has everyone read the book already?  Do you have your copy yet? 

I don’t!  I didn’t get caught up in the media blitz because I don’t get much in the way of media.  Now it’s catching up with me because everyone is blogging about it!  I’m going to have to hurry up and get my copy ASAP because I’m terrified someone will let something important slip before I can read it.  Meanwhile everyone is emailing behind the scenes to discuss it, and you know by the time I read it everyone will have already said everything they want to.

All I can say is “wait for me!!!”


July 23, 2007

Tudor Follies: Courtship, Henry Style

Filed under: Henry VIII, History, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 11:42 pm

Welcome back to Mr. Al’s take on the many wives of Henry the XIII. When we left off the sweet, young, but not so innocent Katherine * had lost her head. Wouldn’t you know Henry would turn his attention to another Katherine. And now, without further ado, Mr. Al:
Yes, Katherine Parr was already married. But the hubby, Lord Latimer, was much older and sick with some long-term disease that would carry him off before too long. And a good thing too, because Henry was no spring chicken. He didn’t have time for lengthy courtships. Hell, he didn’t need no stink’n courtship at all! Wasn’t he king? The scullery maids never said “no”, why should Katherine? He began sending her little ‘tokens’ of his esteem. Katherine wanted to send them back, but she didn’t dare..
Her resolve was put to the test in March of 1543. Lord Latimer died, leaving Katherine a couple of manor houses, some cash and the usual knick-knacks. Family silver, ect. At 31, Katherine Parr was an independent woman of means. And an attractive one. With deep auburn hair, blue eyes and fashionably pale skin, more guys than Henry considered her a prize.

Being newly widowed and all, Henry decided to keep a low profile for the time being. One fellow wasn’t going to wait. Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen, was six years older than Katherine, handsome to a fault and as ambitious as his sister. In Katherine he saw looks, money and connections to the oldest families in the kingdom. Sir Thomas Seymore was…a scoundrel!

Katherine was flattered by all the attention from this dashing fellow. Respectable enough to be employed by Henry as an ambassador, but not TOO respectable. She found him very exciting. There is no indication that Sir Thomas and Henry knew about each other in the beginning. It’s not likely that Katherine would have mentioned the gifts from Henry. You just naturally forget to mention things like that when an exciting non-Henry type guy comes calling.

It wasn’t long before they were discussing marriage. They might as well have been discussing a trip to the Moon for all the reality of it. Henry had his eye on Katherine. And when he found out about Sir Thomas, he had his eye on him as well…But not for the same reason…obviously…Anyway… Henry moved swiftly to nip the Seymour/Parr romance in the bud. Sir Thomas was sent on an embassy to the Regent of the Netherlands. An important post and an indication of Henry’s regard for Sir Thomas’s diplomatic abilities. Alas, the posting would last until Henry told him to come home.

No doubt Henry gave him some lovely parting gifts. With Sir Thomas gone, Henry turned up the heat on Katherine. She was not happy, but Henry being king and all, she had to go along. In July of 1543, Henry concluded a treaty with Scotland for the future marriage of his son, Edward, to Mary, Queen of Scots. This arrangement was entirely to Henry’s advantage. It left him in such high spirits that, dang it, he couldn’t help himself, he asked Katherine to marry him.

Katherine was appalled. She did NOT want to marry Henry. She tried to beg off. Henry asked again.  He let her know that there was only one acceptable answer. She said yes. While Henry may not have been Katherine’s first choice for a husband, she quickly decided to make the best of it. She had no more love of sports or gambling than Anne of Cleves did, but at 52, neither did Henry. Henry was an old man by the standards of the day, and he felt it.

Not willing to give up the rich foods and wine that gave him so much pleasure, Henry had put on a great deal of weight. The weight gain seems to have brought on impotence. This apparently didn’t bother Henry either. Not at first, anyway. Katherine possessed an unusually keen intellect. One of her favorite subjects for debate was theology. Oh boy! Not only was it one of Henry’s favorite topics, but it endeared her to Archbishop Cranmer immediately. She was absolutely committed to church reform.

That same July, Cranmer issued a special license for the lovebugs to get married wherever and whenever they felt like it. Two days after receiving it, Henry and Katherine were married, are you ready for this? In a small, quiet ceremony at Hampton Court. Everything was going as well as Katherine could hope. The new Queen organized her new household. Relatives and friends were given cushy jobs. Henry was feeling better than he had in years! In fact, he felt that a special celebration was in order.


Oh boy. When Henry feels like celebrating I cringe.

Many of you have expressed concern that the Tudor Follies could not continue indefinitely, and indeed they can’t. There will be four more episodes, and then, alas, we will have to lay Henry and all his wives to rest. (I can hear Mr. Al’s voice in my head as I type this. Dear, there is such a thing as too much togetherness.)

There will be a short intermission for Mr. Al while he changes gears. He is boning up on his Georgian history, or at least that’s what the books scattered around the kitchen seem to be on. He is threatening to go backwards on me – starting with the Prince Regent from whom we get the term “The Regency Period” and working his way back in time to George the First. Sigh. If you must, dear. If you must.

July 21, 2007

Shoe Bonding

Filed under: Day to Day Life — aliceaudrey @ 8:00 pm

I don’t get this thing about women bonding while shopping.  I’ve seen it in a variety of Romance novels, and I still don’t get it.  I don’t bond with friends while shopping.  I lose them.

Seriously, I don’t like hitting the department stores and boutiques have a tendency to snob me out.  Unless you’re talking second-hand, and I’m talking Goodwill here, not Retro Fashions, you aren’t going to catch me buying clothing let alone shoes.

Yet I have managed to bond with my mother over shoes.  So has my daughter.  Not from BUYING them with her, from stealing them from her.

I don’t generally have nice shoes around.  I live in my crocs, clogs, running shoes, and hiking boots.  What more could a girl need?  Someone to borrow from on New Years Eve.

Mom gave me a ton of shoes she no longer wears.  I’m thinking I need to give a couple pair back, just so I can steal them next time I visit.

What about you?  Do you bond over shopping?  What is that about, anyway?


Send This “Email” on to All Your Friends…

Filed under: From the Mail Bag — aliceaudrey @ 10:37 am

… or else.

Don’t you hate the garbage some people insist on putting at the bottom of an otherwise cute email in which they say dire things will happen if you don’t send it on?  I do.  Which is why I get a kick out of this one:


July 17, 2007

Tudor Follies: Teaching the Howards a Lesson

Filed under: Henry VIII, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 11:13 pm

My sincere apologies for the delay in posting Tudor Tuesday this week.  It’s been a rough few days around here.  But my computer is back out of the shop and here’s Mr. Al’s history lesson for the week.


Because so little of what Katherine was doing was of her own choice, the hand of the Duke was much more in evidence. Cranmer saw it plain as day. Yessiree, he saw through the Duke’s plans and he was going to teach the Duke a lesson. A Bill of Attainder against Katherine was submitted to Parliament in January 1542. With Henry’s help, it was rammed through both houses so that Katherine could be judicially murdered ASAP. That would show that o’l Duke! Henry went to the Commons to thank those gentlemen for being so concerned for his happiness. I swear to God I’m not making this up. Henry went to the Commons to thank them for giving him the green light to murder his illiterate teenage wife.

Katherine seemed resigned to her fate. She blamed herself for everything and repeatedly stated that she deserved to die. That is, until members of the Privy Council, including her uncle, arrived at Syon Abbey, where she had been confined, to take her to the Tower. It was then that she fully realized that Henry really would kill her. She lost it. She had to be restrained and hauled to the waiting barge.

The barge was closed so she wouldn’t be gawked at by the crowds. This was just as well because she could hardly have missed the heads of Dereham and Culpeper on London Bridge as they passed under it. She was in a semi-hysterical state until the night before her execution. At that point she calmed down enough to request the chopping block be brought to her room. So she could practice setting her head into it. She wanted to make a good impression on the crowd.

On Monday morning, February 13, 1542, Katherine Howard went to the block. After a short speech in which she said that she deserved to die because of all the sinful, slutty things she had done in her life, the executioner removed her head with one chop of his ax. She was seventeen. Lady Rochford followed immediately after.  Because she remained utterly panic stricken, Henry had to pass a special law allowing for the execution of crazy people.

It took Henry two whole weeks to get over Katherine. To make sure there would be no more Katherine’s, a law was passed making it a capital offense not to tell the king of any naughty behavior on the part of a potential wife that involved persons might be aware of. During this time the good Duke of Norfolk remembered he had business on some land far, far from London. He was ordered to return. He begged off on the grounds that he had a tummy-ache. Oh well, at least there were some Howards near London that were not so fleet of foot.

Every Howard Cranmer could get his hands on went to the Tower. Including some that were out of the country during the whole affair. The Governor of Calais was just such a fellow. He had never even met Katherine. Cranmer ordered him to return to London. Once there, he was stripped of his titles, money, property and arrested. Even the Duchess went into the Tower. Eventually, they were all released, but not before all of their property had been confiscated.

And the Duke? He kept his title, his properties, his money, everything. He was even allowed to return to court. Henry never did trust him again, but hey, it was just business. Yes, and a sad business at that. What Henry needed to buck up his flagging spirits was another wife! Maybe, God willing, one who could keep her mouth shut and her legs together. Except, of course, when royal duty called.

The Council brought the matter up from time to time. Henry agreed with the logic of it. It was good for the Tudor line after all. But poor Henry was feeling decidedly ill-used by the institution of Holy Matrimony. Still, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. The wife hunt began again. The Council faced the same problem it had before. A very acute shortage of princesses willing to marry Henry.

Fortunately for them, Henry himself had found the girl of his dreams! She wasn’t as young as the others had been, but she wasn’t that old either. She was good looking, apparently acceptable in the hooter department and astoundingly intelligent. Her background was without blemish. Not a whiff of untoward behavior and…She was a stylish dresser, an accomplished dancer of some note and…A firm supporter of Henry’s church reforms! Too bad she was already married. She was also horrified to discover that Henry had his eye on her. Her name was Katherine Parr.


Thank you Mr. Al.  We even managed to post this on a Tuesday.  Just the wrong end of Tuesday. 


July 14, 2007

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Filed under: writing, Writing Craft, Writing Life — aliceaudrey @ 9:17 am

How do you make yourself write?  I don’t need to know for myself.  At this late stage in the game I’m pretty comfortable with writer’s block and getting around it.  I need to know so I have something worth saying to those who are suffering.

When you have something to write about, but it may not be real clear yet, and you have the time, and the word processor is launched with a blank page waiting, how do you get over the lets-sharpen-the-pencil-one-more-time hurdle?

I do it by mentally kissing the Blarney stone.  Not that I imagine myself held by my ankles over a castle wall.  Knowing my imagination the next thing I’d visualize is the landing when the people holding my ankles gave out.

What I do is think about the way it feels to be chatty.  I spent most of my childhood as a chatterbox.  It’s easy to remember the pleasant vibration in my chest, the joy of forming words with lips and tongue, and the strange other-space my mind would occupy while going on and on about the metaphysics of bubble gum.

I visualize it, then wish for it, then channel it through my fingers.  Suddenly coming up with words isn’t so hard anymore.

I’m sure not everyone is so talkative.  So what do you do to get through that odd little barrier between about to write and writing?


July 12, 2007

Vote for Newcomb

Filed under: Linkyness — aliceaudrey @ 8:01 pm

You all know that ChrisJournal is an alumnus of Newcomb College, right?  Well Newcomb needs some help, and you can be a part of it. 

Right now there is a news station doing a feature on an historic site that WE chose.  Anyone can vote.  Just click on the “survey” link in the middle of the web page here.  Then vote for Newcomb.

It means a lot to ChrisJournal.


More Jackson

Filed under: Day to Day Life, Travel — aliceaudrey @ 12:38 am

For some reason I have travel on my mind.  So why not throw a few more pictures of my recent travels on my blog?
Looks Like I finally figured out what was wrong with the pictures I tried to post last week.  I can thank Donna for guiding me the right direction, all be it unintentionally.  I was doing exactly the same thing that gave her problems on her blog.

Jackson MT is in a place called the Big Hole.  Around here we say it “the-Bighole.”  Normally this time of year it could be looking a bit dry.  Not this year.  Check it out.

pasture passing at speed
Why do they call it the Big Hole?  Because it’s a big, flat, high plateau with mountains all around.  We’re talking 7,000 feet above sea level at the lower elevations.  Could be up to 11,000 around the peaks.

I know.  It doesn't do it justice.
And this picture?

After the windshield wipers ran.
It wasn’t raining when I went through Jackson Montana.  It was bug-splattering.


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