New background! You like?
I have a few pieces of news. First, I'll be hosting Sharon Bayliss as she goes on a blog tour to promote her book The Charge. She'll write a guest post on querying March 22nd.
Second, I'll be attending the OK Writing Conference May 3-4. It's only $150 for the two main days, which includes a one-on-one chat with an agent. I have three months to finish tidying up my book, The Complete Guide to Being Evil, before then. I'm really excited and impatient!
Third, my husband and I are building ourselves custom desks designed to fit our specific needs. I'll post pictures when this project is done.
And for our Friday vignette, I used the prompt "Rewrite a scene from a fairy tale from the perspective of a minor character." I apologize, it's a little longer than I like to post on my blog, but I think it's worth it.
“They say some woman arrived at the palace doors in the night, and she says she's a princess!”
“In all my years in Her Majesty's service, I've never before heard of a real princess wandering about in the middle of the night without an escort. Especially not in the rain.”
“It seems the queen was quite taken in, though. She had her set up in a room with twenty mattresses to sleep on!”
I wiped the sleep from my eyes and looked over at Henrietta and Margret, who were whispering in our dimly-lit room. “Twenty mattresses? How absurd,” I said, then rolled off of my pallet and began to dress for the day. “Not even the queen herself sleeps on more than five at once.”
Henrietta smiled wryly. “They say the prince finds her charming.”
I blushed. “That's excellent news. He's been searching for a princess to marry long enough.”
Mrs. Landers, the housekeeper, had me set an extra place at the table. As I laid out the three forks, two knives, and two spoons at each seat, I wondered about the woman who'd shown up in the night. She was probably gorgeous--full, red lips, thick, long hair, and deep, blue eyes. I envied her. I felt a churning of loathing in my stomach the whole time I went about my chores. Then came time for the family to eat.
Three royally dressed people came into the breakfast room, attendants trailing in their wake. The queen had a heavily-powdered face, with her head tossed back at such an angle it was almost painful to look at her. The prince was smiling, as usual, the shine from his teeth lighting up the room. The woman (their guest princess I assumed) surprised me in how plain she looked. Her lips, hair, and eyes were all thin, and her head was tilted back almost as much as the queen's.
The queen's attendants looked haggard, so as we went into the kitchens to bring out the first course, I asked one of them, Sheila, why she looked so worn out.
“The queen had us up in the middle of the night to prepare her guest's room,” she said. “She had us place a pea under her twenty mattresses. Twenty mattresses! And every one of them we had to pull up from a storage room and stack on top of the others. You'd be tired, too.”
“Why a pea?”
Sheila glanced around and lowered her voice. “The queen doesn't believe she's a princess. It's a test.”
Before I could ask how a pea would test if she were a princess, we were walking back into the breakfast room, laying three chilled bowls of cucumber soup on the table. After Her Majesty's food taster had sipped a small amount from the queen's bowl, the three persons of royalty took up their spoons.
“Lydia, darling,” said the queen, “I hope you slept well.” Her lips attempted a smile while she sipped from her spoon, but her eyes didn't cooperate.
“Actually,” the princess said, “and I mean no offense to your hospitality, I really don't. It's not at all your fault if a servant gets lazy in their bed-making. However, there was a hard spot on the bed, and no matter how I tossed or turned, I couldn't quite get comfortable. I hardly slept a wink.”
The queen's eyes lit up. “I say, you should do well to teach my servants some vigilance were you to stay. I would find it a great honor for you to marry my son.”
My eyes shot to the prince, who was smiling as broadly as ever, smiling at Lydia. Just then his smile didn't seem so bright. In fact, he must be quite dim to look forward to marrying such an absurdly dainty, repulsive woman. The attendants and I went back into the kitchen to fetch out the next course.
“Are you alright?” Sheila asked me. “You look pale.”
“I'm fine. It's just a shock to me to find how much they value blood over plain old good taste.”