"This Hans Christian Andersen tale is one of the most moving, to me. The Steadfast Tin Soldier stays devoted to his ballerina even to fire and death. I thought it would be interesting to convert that steadfastness to an unexpected place--high Regency society. A wealthy earl falls in love with the ultimate misalliance, Chantal. She's a penniless French ballerina. His stern mother does everything within her considerable power to stop the match when she learns he intends to marry the girl. She's successful for many years, totally unaware that in banishing Chantal, she's banishing her own grandson. Telling neither of them she's with child, Chantal flees to the continent to become a world class, celebrated ballerina. When she meets the earl again years later, she pretends not to know him. To protect herself, yes, because she never quit loving him, but most of all, to protect the son he doesn't realize exists. As is customary with me, I love to create powerful secondary characters, and Chantal herself isn't aware she has a formidable ally--her own real father, one of the wealthiest men in England, whom never knew."
You can read the original tale here.
Just for fun, celebrities who wanted to be ballerinas.
Foster Justice was a strange creation for me, among many such creations such as Sherlock Holmes characters who happen to be werewolves. I moved to LA for over 10 years, and while there I was often cited for parking violations, among them parking outside the hash marks, street-sweeping day, etc. I was also homesick for Texas, including the macho males who populate the state with huge pickups, quarter horses and big ol' pointy-toed boots. LOL.
One of my favorite chick flicks was Pretty Woman, and one of my favorite funny action comedies was Beverly Hills Cop. So when I was writing a script for UCLA's Advanced Professional Screenwriting program, Chad Foster was born. I wanted to combine the touching romance of Pretty Woman with the action, suspense and humor of Beverly Hills Cop, and that led to the "what if" of a Texas Ranger (one of whom is among my actual ancestors, and my Texas family tree includes a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence) forced to come to LA to track down his irresponsible younger brother.
"If Regency readers are familiar with the real Hellfire Club, the secret society formed by roues and cads in London of the early 1800's, they'll know the seeds for the inspiration for this book. Devon attends the dissolute club because he's curious about the legendary beauty being auctioned off that night. The minute he claps eyes on Katrina, he recognizes her as the only woman who's ever scorned his advances. He duels to win her. Again, be warned as it is old fashioned in that it has a very forceful seduction scene early in the book, but the hero thinks she's a kept woman, and does not realize she's innocent until too late. Because he's an earl and she's a baker's granddaughter, he will only keep her as his mistress. While he seduces her into his arms and steals into her heart, she has a spine of iron and too much pride to remain his kept woman, especially when she finds out she's pregnant. Knowing this will tie her to him forever and she could even lose the child to him, she flees into a very uncertain future. It is his selfish treatment of her that will be his making because when she leaves, he realizes too late that not only does he passionately love her, he faces a very lonely future without her. He moves heaven and earth to find her...and will go through hell to win her back."
"In this final time travel of the trilogy, which is as yet unpublished, the action ends as it should, with Nick and Isabella's descendant fighting her own battles in the third millennium for human kind. Rafe, the cynical ex SEAL who is featured in both of the above novels, has done enough killing and vows never to fight again. However, he finds that working with Nick in security makes him restless. When he visits Ernie one day, the magic mirror calls to him and shows him where humankind will be a thousand years from now: a world far away in the solar system. Human kind has evolved into empaths who are brilliant artists, engineers and inventors but abhor any kind of violence. They're invaded by a ruthless race and about to be annihilated or absorbed by forced breeding. Without hesitation, Rafe steps through to their time to teach them again to fight. In the process, he falls in love with Nick and Isabella's descendant and while he doesn't know it, their children will unite the warring galaxy into one strong coalition. A fitting legacy for the descendants of Michelangelo's David."
Interesting article about David's descendants
The rigor of Navy SEAL training
“Based on the Frog Prince fairy tale, this story of two mismatched characters, an ice princess and a Frenchman (or in British parlance, any Frenchman is a Frog) who is the unacknowledged son of Sir Cecil Rhodes, the famous British explorer and exploiter of Africa, African diamonds in particular because he started the de Beers company. He also endowed the famous Rhodes Scholarship named for him. So I decided to use as fodder for this tale one of my other interests, jewelry design. I made the heroine heiress to a famous jewelry studio somewhat like Tiffany’s today, and she has the jeweled book passed down from Kimball to Kimball as her inspiration. However, she claims she’ll never wed and has a distaste for men. Devlin literally climbs into her life through a window because he’s out to steal her jewels. It was fun trying to sustain romantic conflict without him being able to kiss her, because he will transform in her eyes when he kisses her. Cecil Rhodes appears briefly. ”
Read the original fairy tale by the Grimm Brothers.
Read about the real Cecil Rhodes here.
" Back in the dark ages when Reagan was president, I followed with interest his conflict with Libya and Gaddafi. For awhile, Gaddafi exacted what amounted to tribute from various nations.. I've always been a student of history and I remembered from early American history that we've had problems with countries in that area of the Middle East since we formed our first Navy back in the late 1700's. In fact the famous warship, the USS Constitution, participated in battles against the Barbary States. The debate was the same then: tribute and armed peace or outright war? The famous Marine Corps hymn even mentions this area, "to the shores of Tripoli..." So I got the idea of having an American sailor agitating with other newly American conservatives over the need for a navy. He voluntarily goes undercover as a Barbary pirate to prove the dey of Algiers is behind much of the piracy going on in the area and to find his sister who has been kidnapped and put in a harem. In the process, he comes across the yacht of a willful British heiress. She takes him at face value at first, as a golden barbarian who has divested himself of any attachment to king or country in the quest for power and riches. She doesn't remember him as the awkward American heir come to London for some polish, or that he admired her and she cut him short with contempt. The roles will be reversed now as she's his captive. He remembers her well, however, and at first, at least, not fondly: He plays his own games with her, but cannot break her spirit and admires her for it. He finds he still loves her and no matter whether she wears chains at his feet, it's he who is her captive. I bring in many historical aspects here such as the debate against a strong federal government and a navy, Washington's death, the details of xebecs (the Barbary pirate preferred sailing ship) and the famous battle of the USS Constitution in the Mediterranean. While this book is a bit more flowery and detailed than what I'd write today, I am proud of the way I brought an interesting slice of history to life against the emotional backdrop of star crossed lovers fighting their love for one another while they fight for freedom."
My description: "I was taking a long road trip west with my family in 1999. The news was full of what it meant to human kind to actually live to see a new millennium. As we were viewing the wonders of Yosemite, Seattle, San Francisco and the like, I grew contemplative about the subject while we drove and I read (I never go anywhere without a book including short trips around town). I thought it would be cool to capture where we've been and where we might be headed given how profound the subject was. But could I make it fun? So I wondered what could really capture the humanity of man through the ages. Michelangelo's David was the best example of human kind's hubris and humility. So I thought--what if he came to life in modern times? Would he be an ideal or a flawed human? And everything in the trilogy devolved from there. These have been my only published time travels so far but I much enjoyed writing them and hope my readers enjoy reading them half as much. Naturally I wanted to be as accurate as possible so I did a great deal of research on the period, particularly Michelangelo and Da Vinci. I've shared some links below I hope you'll find interesting."
Enjoy this 3D virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel
Free BBC documentary about Michelangelo, part one
"I've always loved archaeology and in fact my BA from UT Austin is in that field. The painstaking detail, the dangers of working in the jungle or the desert, especially for early archaeologists, are great fodder for fiction writers. My two favorite eras of study were Egyptian and Mayan history. I chose Mayan history here and loosely based events on the discovery of the tomb of Pacal, the King of Palenque in the Yucatan. So I combined two loves in this story of the daughter of a famous archaeologist who goes on expedition to investigate the mysterious builders of amazing New World pyramids. As she excavates, she has to learn too the rigors of the human heart in her attraction to their rugged guide Jeremy. He has to save her numerous times from her own headstrong acts and combines his own time between wanting to tie her up or kiss her..."
"In this sequel to Heaven's Rogue, two of the secondary characters from the first book have their own story. Hard bitten, cynical cop Nick has to follow his younger brother Ernie through the magic mirror into the Renaissance to save him from being skewered by a knight. In the process, he finds the best part of himself again and learns that despite his bitterness against the cops who cashiered him from the force, there are still battles to be won and lives to save. In the process he brings home the female knight, Isabella, who steals his heart and unites with Leonardo da Vinci to fight their common enemy."
Free BBC documentary about Leonardo da Vinci
A tour of the Mona Lisa
"I've always loved fairy tales. While they're obviously fantasy, the best ones carry a core of human truth. Good and evil, joy and sadness, gallantry and cowardice. They almost always have a moral. And of them all, The Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites. How could a story's moral be more moving than a callous, vain rich man who is brought low by his own unkindness? He earns freedom from his ugliness only when he loves enough to let go. So I went back to one of my favorite periods in England, the Georgian era, and thought how fun it would be to create a story about a family who pass down this legacy of devotion in each of their own personal tales, engraved in a jeweled book that is the tangible proof of the power of love. I wanted to make the heroine worthy of the ruthless beast. So I gave her her own spirit and abilities, and while the beast begins with vengeance in his heart against her and her stepfather, whom he blames for his own father's death (and rightly so) it's only when he's willing to turn the other cheek and let her go that he wins her. And at the end of the book he gives her the jeweled legacy to give to their children. In this way I loosely tie together all three tales though they're set in different periods with different characters. I had a lot of fun bringing to life one of my favorite subjects--British history. The details I wove in about John Wilkes and his quest for Parliamentary reform and Samuel Johnson's staunch opposition are as accurate as I know how to make them. In fact, Johnson uses dialogue in the book that stems mostly (probably close to 50%) from his historically direct quotes. I just wove them into the story."
Learn more about John Wilkes and his campaign to limit the crown's power. Thomas Paine in his Rights of Man is partially inspired by Wilkes.
This link includes details on Jean Cocteau's 1946 version of the classic French fairy tale. While it's limited obviously in the effects area it has a gorgeous and lyrical fantasy yet reality that few stories later have matched.
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