Morse’s Oxford: The city that inspired Colin Dexter – BBC News

Of the main players in the Inspector Morse stories by Colin Dexter, one remains – the city of Oxford. The character died in The Remorseful Day, published in 1999. John Thaw, the actor synonymous with the role of the curmudgeonly detective, died in 2002. And Dexter himself died earlier this week.

As the Lord Mayor of Oxford once said: “In his novels Colin Dexter has shown our city as having a distinct and separate identity from its famous university.”

The “dreaming spires” and attendant well-to-do academics and eccentrics were important factors in the books, but so were the lanes round the city centre, the arterial Iffley and Cowley roads, the north Oxford suburbs of Jericho and Summertown, and the railway station.

Dexter himself was well aware of the city’s allure for readers and viewers. When the first episode of the television series was broadcast in 1987, he said: “The huge value for me as a writer is that, even if people haven’t been to Oxford, they would love to be in the city.

“I think if the story had been set in Rotherham or Rochdale no-one would be particularly interested to see the streets and side streets, but so many people outside Oxford are delighted to see the High Street, St Giles and the colleges.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption John Thaw, who played Inspector Morse in the television adaptation, pictured with Colin Dexter in 1999

The Randolph Hotel featured prominently in both Dexter’s and Morse’s lives. Morse was often to be found pondering cases while enjoying a real ale or red wine there, while Dexter’s favoured drink in later life – he gave up alcohol for medical reasons – was tonic water.

Staff at the hotel said the writer would often visit various rooms around the hotel to help him get details for a storyline.

“He continued to be a regular at the hotel bar and was so loved by staff, that we renamed the bar after his most famous character – Morse. He was very much part of this hotel and we will miss seeing him perched at the end of the bar or reading a book by the fireside, sipping his drink.”

Image copyright Randolph Hotel
Image caption Colin Dexter poses with some of the staff at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford, where a bar is named after Inspector Morse

Famous haunts from the books and television series, such as the Ashmolean museum and the Bodleian library, have expressed sorrow at his death. But, perhaps more significantly, so have lesser-known Oxford institutions, demonstrating Dexter was very much a man of the people – and a man of the real city.

The writer shared his hero’s affection for good beer, classical music and cryptic crossword puzzles, but by all accounts lacked his spiky nature.

Alcock’s Butcher and Fishmonger in the Summertown area has a blackboard outside saying “Mr Dexter, you will be sadly missed”.

Paul England from the shop said: “He was a lovely guy. Always used to see him early in the morning.

“He used to walk down and get his paper and then he always used to come in for a pork pie and a chat. He used to tell us some good stories and jokes, which I think we’ll always remember. We just knew him as Mr Dexter who bought his pork pie from the butcher.”

Christiane Fagan fondly remembers him “sitting quietly in the The Dew Drop Inn in Summertown. Such a lovely man”, while Carol Maling remembers chatting to him on a bench outside the old Radcliffe infirmary when he was waiting for his wife Dorothy to finish work.

“We used to share biscuits and chocolate,” Ms Maling said.

Although he claimed to know very little about actual police procedure, Dexter was a welcome visitor at Oxford CID. Former police officer Dermot Norridge was a detective in the city between 1986 and 2003.

He said whenever he and his colleagues were investigating any incident related to one of the university colleges, they would say they were “having a Morse moment”.

Mr Norridge claims the irascible character even had an influence on the sounds heard floating through the corridors of the police station: “There were certain offices where the radio was retuned to Radio 3 or Classic FM. The officers involved may well have been aware of classical music before Morse, but I’m completely convinced this listening to it was down to the influence of the programme.

“I met Colin a few times – he used to come with the crew to the station, and once he was invited to our annual dinner to give a talk. If I had to sum up my memory of him, it would be ‘a complete gentleman'”.

Image copyright PA

Sue Howlett remembers the author hopping on the bus from Summertown, and always saying hello, while Sue Parsons said she “used to know him years ago when he would to come in to order stationery from Colegroves in Turl Street. Such a lovely man always having a laugh and a joke”.

Bob Price, the leader of Oxford Council, says the city will always feel the impact of Dexter’s work: “The television programmes, and the way they were filmed, made a huge difference. They really drew people to Oxford.”

In his 13th – and final – book Dexter says:

“Morse had never enrolled in the itchy-footed regiment of adventurous souls, feeling little temptation to explore the remoter corners even of his native land; and this principally because he could imagine few if any places closer to his heart than Oxford – the city which, though not his natural mother, had for so many years performed the duties of a loving foster-parent.”

He said of that paragraph: “For ‘Morse,’ read me”.

Image copyright Getty Images

Colin Dexter is not the only author to have a strong link with a specific city. Here are a few more literary locations and their fictional dwellers

Ian Rankin: Edinburgh

The The Inspector Rebus novels are mostly based in and around Edinburgh and take in such landmarks as Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Palace, as well as Rebus’ flat.

The novels are characterised by the stark and dark depiction of a city characterised by corruption, poverty, and organised crime. Rebus bends the rules and ignores his superiors while battling his own personal issues. But he does solve the mysteries.

You can explore the key locations online.

James Joyce: Dublin

Joyce once claimed of his book Ulysses that if Dublin “suddenly disappeared from the Earth, it could be reconstructed from my book”.

Published in 1922, Ulysses focuses on the stream-of-consciousness wanderings through Dublin of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom. Ulysses has been summarised as: “Man goes for a walk around Dublin. Nothing happens.” The novel is seen by many as one of the most influential works of the 20th Century.

Jane Austen: Bath

The Assembly Rooms are the setting for many of the evening balls depicted in social satire Northanger Abbey and melancholic love story Persuasion, while the Pump Rooms were the place to mingle with during the day to give off a fashionable air of importance.

Milsom Street, Bond Street (now New Bond Street), George Street and Edgar Buildings are all mentioned in the books.

Related Topics

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Texas Police Ask The State Not To Crack Down On Sanctuary Cities

A parade of Texas law enforcement officials once again registered their opposition Wednesday to a Republican-backed effort to crack down on sanctuary jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with immigration authorities.

But conservative lawmakers seem poised to ignore them.

SB 4, which would fine local officials that refuse to comply with detainer requests to hold undocumented immigrants on behalf of the federal government, has already passed the full state Senate. The House State Affairs hearing Wednesday marked the bills first step on its way through the legislatures lower house. Most of the states Republican lawmakers view it as a commonsensical effort to enforce the immigration laws already on the books.

But several police officials from the states largest cities have cautioned that the law would make their jobs more difficult by alienating immigrants and making law enforcement vulnerable to liability for increased racial profiling that they say will likely accompany the bills implementation criticisms widely shared by legal experts and immigrant families.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said pressing his officers to help enforce immigration law would distract them from their core responsibilities. Its going to pull my officers away from their more important duties of combating crime, Manley said.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said passing the bill would alienate immigrants, as the police would begin taking on a greater role in federal immigration enforcement.

Its imperative that we maintain trust with the communities we serve, Salazar told the committee. We risk driving this segment of the population into the shadows. I have seen examples where victims of domestic violence are told by their abuser, Go ahead and call the cops. You know where youre going.

Ed Gonzalez, the sheriff of Harris County, which includes Houston, said he suspected the bill would make the state less safe by making unauthorized immigrants fearful of calling the police if they see a crime.

I think that inherently when someone witnesses something traumatic, theres already going to be fear, Gonzalez said, let alone when they fear they themselves will be deported.

One woman described suffering precisely that experience. She told the committee that it took three years for her to find the courage to call the police to report an abusive partner even after he held a gun toward her, threatening to shoot her and then himself if she left him.

I was worried that if I called the police, I would be asked about my immigration status and then deported, she said. You will be empowering the abusers and giving them another tool to carry out their abuse [if you pass SB 4].

Legal experts also cautioned that letting police play a greater role in federal immigration enforcement would open the state up to lawsuits.

Lets be clear, Celina Moreno, an attorney with the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said. Racial profiling is a foreseeable consequence of SB 4.

Kali Cohn, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, added that jurisdictions that honor all requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold undocumented immigrants can be sued for violating the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees protection from unlawful searches and detention.

An ICE detainer asks a local law enforcement agency to hold someone for 48 hours, Cohn said. But when those additional 48 hours begin, local law enforcement still need probable cause to make that detention. The problem is they cant point to probable cause because ICE detainers are not supported by probable cause.

Several Texans who either have undocumented family members or were undocumented themselves said the bill would threaten their safety. My dad isnt an alien, one young girl said through tears. Hes a human being and he should be treated like one.

The vast majority of those who testified asked the legislature to abandon the bill. Of 638 who registered, only 11 urged lawmakers to pass the bill, according to Texas state Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas). The hearing continued well into the evening.

Opposition from law enforcement notwithstanding, Texas lawmakers are likely to pass the measure against sanctuary cities.

Republicans have tried to ban sanctuary cities for years, despite the fact that the vast majority of local officials honor virtually all federal requests to hold undocumented immigrants in local jails on behalf of ICE. But conservative efforts to pass such legislation have failed in the past because Democrats had enough votes to block floor debate in the state Senate.

Last year, Republicans loosened the century-long tradition of requiring the votes of two-thirds of the state Senate to make it easier to pass a conservative agenda, in a state where they control all three branches of government.

Despite conservative emphasis on ridding the state of cities with liberal immigration policies, currently the only jurisdiction to limit its cooperation with ICE is Travis County, where Austin is. In January, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez adopted a policy of declining to hold immigrants for ICE if they qualify for release or bond, unless they are convicted or charged with one of a short list of crimes including murder, sexual assault and human trafficking.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) responded by stripping the county of $1.5 million in state grants and threatening to find a way to remove Hernandez from office.

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What Is Catfishing? Scary Signs Youre The Target Of An Online Scam

Dating has changed alot in the past few decades, for better and for worse. It’s great that meeting someone new is so easy now, but the rise of online dating has also opened the door for a peculiar new scam called ‘catfishing.’

Catfishing is an online con where someone assumes a new identity in order to seduce a stranger on the internet. Some people do this for companionship, because they feel like their own identity isn’t good enough. Others do it in order to trap people into handing over money or services.

Like the “Can you hear me?” phone scam, there are lots of telltale signs that you can use to spot a scammer early on.

These con artists love to operate in shady corners of the internet, but might also approach you on totally trustworthy sites, like online dating platformsor social media.

The only way you can really protect yourself from these tricksters is to know the signs and catch the catfish at his or her own game.

Photo Credit: Flickr / See-ming Lee

What Is Catfishing?


Laura Caseley for LittleThings

“Catfishing” is theterm used for a particularly cruel kind of online scam.

In a catfishing scam, a person on the internet will create a fake identity and try to romance or seduce their target.

The term firstfell into common usage after a documentary called Catfish, which follows the story of a lovelorn young man trying to find a girl he met online.

Dr. Phil’s website explains it like this: “A ‘catfish’ is a person who creates a false online identity in the hopes of luring people into romantic relationships.”

Sometimes the perpetrator is just a lonely person hoping to find happinessina new identity. More often, they are online criminals using proclamations of love to part innocent people from their money.

But how do you know if a person you met online is the real deal or a sleazy scammer?

Scroll through to learn the red flags you should never ignore.

Sign #1: No Friends Or Followers


Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you meet someone on a dating website or on social media, scroll to their Facebook profile right away.

Most scam artists have fake profiles that are doctored to look real. It can be hard to spot a fake, unless you know what you’re looking for.

Check their friends list first. If they have fewer than 10 friends, that’s a major red flag that might indicate it’s just facade.

Also check when they created their profile. If their internet presence began just days before you met, you should probably be seriously suspicious of their motives.

In this day and age, most real people have established social media accounts with more than a few followers or friends.

Sign #2: Avoids Meetings And Skype Sessions


Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you’ve been chatting with an online flame for a while, it’s natural that you would eventually want to get together in person for drinks or coffee. At the very least, you might want to plan an online video chat to see each other in real time!

However, if your beau seems to be dodging you at every turn, you should start to consider the possibility that they aren’t who they seemto be.

A catfish will do everything they can to avoid a face-t0-face encounter, because it might expose their lies.

A signature move is to agree to a face-to-face meeting or video call, and then bail out at the last minute, claiming a work emergency or an internet connection issue.

Sign #3: Their Picture Is Too Good To Be True


Laura Caseley for LittleThings

You could hardly believe your luck when you logged onto your dating app and saw this super-hottie pursuingyou, but now you’re getting suspicious.

After all, there is definitely such a thing as “too good to be true.”

If your online friend is exceptionally beautiful or handsome, it’s possible that the real person behind the account is stealing photos from a modeling or body-building website.

Also, be cautious about extremely professional photos or images that look like glamor shots; a real person will usually use a profile photo snapped by a friend on their smartphone, not a professional portrait complete with airbrushing.

Sign #4: They Claim Youre Neighbors


Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Another common ploy catfish love to use? Pretending that the two of you are neighbors.

You might get a pop-up chat or email saying, “so-and-so lives 5 miles away,” or a more specific, targeted message saying something like “I think we went to high school together in [town!] What’s up?

It’s not unusual to respond, thinking you’re catching up with an old classmate or neighbor.

But when you get to talking, you quickly discover they seem to have no idea what the neighborhood is like, and that you have no friends or acquaintances in common.

This is a classic sign that they are faking the shared geographical connection to make you feel more comfortable with them.

Sign #5: They Get Serious Way Too Fast


Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Maybe you meet someone on an online dating site and think that the two of you have hit it off, except, within a few days or weeks, your casual flirtation has gotten way too serious, way too quickly.

You haven’t even gone out to dinner yet, but your new online friend is sending you undying declarations of love, passionate love letters or yikes proposals of marriage.

Be very, very cautious here. The over-the-topattention might feel good, but people who say “I love you” after two weeks of chatting should not be trusted.

They may be trying to create a romantic bond as quickly as possible to manipulate you into giving them money or some other advantage.

Sign #6: They Always Seem To Need Help


Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you establish a back-and-forth with someone online, be very cautious of requests for money.

It’s one thing to lend cash to a trusted friend, but it’s entirely another to send it to someone you have just met, especially if they just keep asking and trying to convince you.

A catfish will always have excellent excuses lined up: “My car broke down.” “I can’t afford my internet bill to talk to you.” “I have a life-threatening illness.”

They will try to manipulate and guilt-trip you into wiring them money or buying them expensive gifts.

They may also ask you to send them money in strange formats, like Visa gift cards, money orders, or cashier’s checks.

Sign #7: Their Stories Seem Far-Fetched Or Too Vague


Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you’re talking to someone online or via the phone, listen hard to what they say or write.

A catfish will often try to get their target to do most of the talking to avoid too much attention, so ask specific questions.

Watch out for answers that seem extremely outlandish “I’m a fighter pilot and doctor who rescues puppies and is also fabulously wealthy” or unusually vague “I just like to party and have fun and have a good time with friends.”

If your online fling seems to be living an extremely unusual life, you may want to grill them a bit and see whether they switch their answers or get evasive.

What To Do?


Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you suspect that someone you have met online is actually a catfish, do a little background checking to confirm your suspicions.

You can also use an online service to verify the identity of the person you are chatting with.

Once you have determined you are dealing with a catfish, immediately cut off communication. Don’t give the catfishthe chance to try to charm you back or convince you; simply stop responding.

Next, save any incriminating messages they may have sent you, andblock their account.Report their bad behavior to the dating site or social media service that you are using, and do your best to prevent future targets from the same cruel scam.

You can alsoSHAREthis list far and wide to make sure that everyone knows the red flags to watch out for!

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How music is being used to treat autism

Clinicians in Detroit have seen that for people with autism, music speaks louder than words and improvised music can help them express emotion effectively

On a Wednesday afternoon at Beaumont hospital in Royal Oak, on the outskirts of Detroit, a blind 25-year-old man with autism plays piano near the hospital entrance. Doctors, patients, nurses and families crowd around Lance Vardon, who is seated at a grand piano playing Bachs Prelude in C Major.

Three days a week, the same group gathers around the grand piano during their lunch hour. Vardon launches into Journeys Dont Stop Believing with his music therapist Lisa Barnett, who has worked with the young man for 16 years. Seated together at the grand piano, Vardon plays one hand of keys and Barnett, who sings, plays the other. The small crowd soon doubles in size.

For Vardon, who was born to deaf parents, music speaks louder than words. Diagnosed with autism at age seven, he has a severe case with limited verbal communication. He can answer yes or no, but he cant verbalize his feelings. Barnett has worked with him to increase his ability to socialize and be more independent. Thats the aim of music therapy: to reach goals, which can be physical, emotional or cognitive, for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which leads to difficulty communicating and forming relationships.

Clinicians have observed that people with autism can use improvised music to express emotion effectively. According to preliminary research not yet published, Edward Roth, director and professor of music therapy at Western Michigan University, says children who were put into a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner while improvising or listening to someone improvise music showed activity in the parts of the brain involved with communication.

If you were to look at those brains, you couldnt tell the difference between people who were interacting through music and people who were interacting verbally, he says. Theyre having a nonverbal discussion through music and these arent musicians, these are musically naive children.

Another test involved taking blood from college students before and after singing both improvised and composed music. Results for composed music showed a decrease in stress hormones, and results for improvised music showed a decrease in stress hormones and an increase in oxytocin, which is thought to be a marker of bonding and trust. According to the study, which was published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, the results indicate that group singing reduces stress and arousal and induces social flow in participants.

The social aspect of creative arts therapies such as music are highly beneficial for disabled children and young adults. At Michigan State University, 4th Wall Theatre Company which has classes all over the state puts on theater programs that include singing, dancing and acting.

One participant, 21-year-old Christopher Hibbs, has pervasive developmental disorder on the autism spectrum and wants to be a professional actor. His mother Martha says the class has helped him come out of his shell. It brings kids joy and shows them what they can do, she says. It gives them a sense of accomplishment. Now several programs in, Hibbs has become more aware of other people and their disabilities, which has helped him learn empathy. (Areas of the brain associated with empathy showed activity in the fMRI tests, too.)

Katie Mann, co-founder of 4th Wall, leads a theater class at Michigan State University. Photograph: David Quang Pham

Like Hibbs, Vardon has come a long way. The teaching process is long and laborious, according to Barnett: she sings into a cassette tape recorder, which Vardon then plays back, learning through imitation. Songs can take months to learn. He wont respond to MP3s, either: only cassette tapes recorded via an old-fashioned karaoke machine. His favorite music to play is new age, baroque and Disney. Recently, he learned City of Stars from La La Land, but his go-to is Leonard Cohens Hallelujah. The strongest suit for children with autism is visual, so Vardon learns with braille books that have instructions; step-by-step structure is essential for those with autism.

Hes a role model for other kids, says Barnett, who received a degree in music therapy from Michigan State University and has a company called Songs to Grow On that works with clients from the age of seven through their late 50s, both disabled and able-bodied. Hes one of the reasons I keep doing this every day, because hes a remarkable human being. In high school, Vardon played with his school orchestra before playing the prestigious Carnegie Hall.

Vardon communicates with his parents through finger spelling, which is signing letters into the palms of hands. Judy and Larry cant hear the music their son plays, but they can see it and feel it. I see people who love music and theyre my ear and my sound, says Judy Vardon, who speaks in sign language translated by her 27-year-old son, Stefan. People used to walk away and now they come up to us. Were different, but were not going to bite you.

In 2005, a year after the family appeared on ABCs Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Stevie Wonder came knocking on their door. Wonder had a unique connection with Vardon: he gave him a guitar and they hung out for hours. I know Lance isnt a world-famous musician, but I feel proud, Judy says. Stevie is Motown.

It was clear early on that Vardon loved music. At eight months old, Vardon played with a toy piano in the bathtub. He then became fascinated with wind chimes. He was so drawn to the sound that he began to wander outside looking for them. One day, at the age of six, he got extremely upset and his parents couldnt figure out why. It turns out one of the wind chimes was missing and he could sense its absence.

I remember we were in a restaurant when we were little everyone was looking at us: Lance was copying Bing Cosbys voice and singing along to White Christmas, recalls Stefan Vardon. I realized he had some sort of talent with music, and we encouraged him. Vardon also knows three languages English, sign language and Spanish and is an avid reader. He understands so much, Barnett says. He just cant verbalize it.

Vardon is considered to be in an adult transition program, which helps prepare young adults for independent lives. His volunteer work at Beaumont is part of that program. But when he turns 26, hell no longer qualify for special needs services provided by the state of Michigan, which is the only state in the country to provide services up to that age. With cuts and constant changes in funding for music therapy, Barnett isnt sure what will happen because shell no longer be funded through the school district to be at the hospital. Vardons musical future will rest in the hands of his parents and outside organizations.

This should be his theme song, jokes Barnett, nearing the end of Dont Stop Believing. You guys like Journey? she asks the crowd, urging them to sing along. Were gonna rock out now!

Vardon, face scrunched up in concentration, brings the song to a close except for the very last note. Finish the song, Lance! Barnett exclaims. His fingers hover over the keys for a brief moment before dropping them down in a grand conclusion. Vardon smiles, leans back and gets ready to shake hands with the line of admirers waiting to tell him: Thank you.

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11 Royal Family Scandals That Rocked Great Britain Back In The Day

It’s no surprise to find members of the British royal family in the gossip magazines stacked along grocery store checkout aisles. However, the modern royals are hardly the first to shock the world with their “scandalous” actions.

In fact, some of theBritish royal scandals from way back in the day would likely make the princes and princesses of today blush harder than any of their own stories. Sure, we think of Prince Charles and Princess Diana off the bat, but the examples below are so much more surprising, especially considering the time periods involved.

Despite their lofty titles andshiny crowns, they are still humans after all. It can be difficult to imagine those carefully posed portraits from history being anything but personifications of perfection, but hey we all have our flaws.

Unfortunately for the names listed below, their flaws happen to have been broadcast out to thewhole wide world and then stuck in the history books for good.

Take a look to see what shocking scandals the royals cooked up for themselves decades (and even centuries) in the past.

Let us know in the comments if we missed any particularly juicy tales from way back in the day, and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

[H/T: BBC America, Mental Floss]

1. King Edward VIII’s Brief Time On The Throne


Following the death of his father, George V, Edward reigned as king for less than a year (just 326 days) beforegivingupthe throne to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American woman.

He was named Duke of Windsor while his younger brother Albert took over as King George VI. Edwardand Wallis remained together until his death, retiring to France after World War II.

2. Princess Margaret’s Eyes For A Married Man


Captain Peter Townsend was a member of the British Royal Navy who acted as an attendant for the royal family, known as an equerry. That’s how he met and fell in love with Margaret, daughter of George VI and sister of the future Queen Elizabeth II.

Peter divorced his wife and the two went as far as getting engaged, thoughfamily pressure ultimately convinced Margaret to call the whole thing off.

3. Queen Victoria’s Boudoir Painting


The “shocking” painting was unheard of for someone of her stature and deemed so indecent that it waskept hidden in Prince Albert’s office.

Of course by modern standards, the Prince’s favorite photo of his wife is actually quite modest.

4. Princess Margaret’s Historical Divorce


After suffering the heartbreak with Peter, Margaret married a photographer named Antony Armstrong-Jones, shownabove with President Lyndon B. Johnson and wife. However, the couple had a notoriously rocky marriage.

In 1978, Margaretbecame the first royal to geta divorce since Henry VIII in the 1500s.

5. Prince George’s Wild Lifestyle


The Duke of Kent hadmany affairs behind his wife’s back,Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. The “forgotten son” of British monarchy also reportedly had a problem with drug abuse, particularlymorphine and cocaine.

His death also sparked controversy, with many speculating whether the plane crash that killed him was orchestrated by his embarrassed family.

6. Queen Victoria’s Scottish Affection


After she was widowed, the Queensecluded herself in a Scottish country estate where she grew close to one of the servants, John Brown.

A priest admitted on his death bed that he performed a secret marriage ceremony for the two. Supposedly, Victoria was so devastated when John passed away that she erected a statue in his image. Upon her own death, she allegedly requested to be buried with a lock of his hair, his photograph, and a ring he had given her.

7. Princess Anne Following In Her Aunt’s Footsteps


She was married to an Olympic athlete, Mark Phillips, but they were apparently never really that fond of each other. Like her aunt Margaret, she also fell for a member of the royalequerry,Timothy Laurence.

However, Anne had much better luck and was able to divorce her husband and marry Timothy. The pair remain happily together today.

8. King Henry VIII’s Many, Many Wives


Henry infamously went through six different wives throughout his reign. First, there was Catherine of Aragon, whom he cheated on with his soon-to-be second wifes sister, Mary Boleyn, and likely had two sons from the affair. After breaking from the Catholic church in order to obtain an annulment and marry Anne Boleyn, he had Anne executed after she miscarried three potential male heirs and was accused of several affairs.

Jane Seymour, one of Anne’s ladies in waiting, was next and died after a difficult childbirth that finally supplied him a male heir. His fifth wife, Catherine Howard, was executed after he accused her of affairs with two men.

His last wife, Catherine Parr, luckily outlived him.

9. King George IV’s Indecent Proposals


Though many think of his father, George III, as the tyrant of the family, it was his son who not only had a notorious gambling habit but also attempted to woo women by offering them copious amounts of money, only to deny them the cash after they relented.

George IV was apparentlyvery lacking in the looks department. He also threatened to kill himself in a 42-page suicide note whenhis main mistress,Maria Fitzherbert, refused him. She eventually agreed to be with him, but only if they were married.

Because she was Catholic and a commoner, the pair were married in secret until he was forced to abandon her (and their children)for a political marriage. However, his reputation remained forever tarnished.

10. King Edward VII’s Sneaky Military Escapades


As the son of the famously prudish Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Edward VII made up for their modesty by reportedly bedding thousands of women in his time.

It was his first foray into the frisky lifestyle, however, that causedhis parents to be taken aback. At 19, they had sent him to a military camp where he was happy to be introduced to the “camp prostitute.”

Though he had many chaperones watching his every move, Edward managed to make his way to the woman three times before being caught. Victoria and Albert were so shocked and ashamed that when Albert became sick and died shortly after, Victoria blamed her son for her loss.

11. King Charles II’s Feuding Mistresses


Apparently, restoring the monarchy after ousting Oliver Cromwell didn’t keep the king too busy, as he was known to have dozens ofmistresses and to have fathered several illegitimate children.

It was the women themselves, though, who caused a ruckus when they warred for Charles’ affection. Actress Nell Gwynn and the Duchess of Portsmouth, Louise de Krouaille, were known to get especially snippy with each other.

Did we miss any not-so-modern royal scandals from back in the day that you’ve heard about? Let us know below, and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

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City Book Review Shows You Why You Should Get Your Book Reviewed (cool video)

The folks at City Book Review have been doing book reviews since 2008, more than 20,000 reviews over the years. If you’re an author and need a review, give them a try.

Now that your wrote and published your book, next up is how to get your book reviewed by a professional organization. Many bookstores won’t carry a book that hasn’t been reviewed by someone, and there are fewer and fewer local newspapers that review books any more. So your chances to get reviewed are harder each year. Luckily places like San Francisco Book Review and their sister publications have stepped up to help authors with book reviews, marketing, cover design and SEO.

Anchor Pays Favorite Childhood Teacher Surprise Visit, Then Finds Books With Her Handwriting

For most of us, our childhoods were abit of a blur. But there are a few moments and people who stand out. For many of us, there’s at least one teacher who made a difference in our lives, and whom we remember well. I certainly remember mine!

Anchor Lisa Wilkinson of TODAY also remembers hers: her teacher,Ms. West. Although it’d been years, perhaps decades since they’d last seenone another, Lisa decided to pay the teacher a visit.

The two women were happily reunited, and Lisa was glad to see that some things had not changed: Ms.West, unmarried and childless, has always considered her students to be her children, and kept their exercise books, including a few of Lisa’s.

That was a few months ago. Unfortunately, since then, Ms.West passed away after a brave battle with cancer. Lisa posted on Facebook about how glad she was to be able to reconnect with Ms.West and thank her for changing her life, despite her sudden departure.


Lisa Wilkinson wrote:

We all have a school teacher we’ll never forget – one whose dedication to their students and the wider school community goes well beyond anything ever written in the job description.


For me, that was Miss West, my teacher in 4th & 5th class at Campbelltown Primary School. She was all about the three R’s…and so much more beyond, from getting us to learn all the classic Australian poems (I can still recite them all now), good handwriting, choir, impeccable manners.


Miss West never married because as she told me years later, “How would I find the time? My students keep me so busy.” Late last year I went to visit her at home, at 81, still living a few blocks from the school she taught at for more than four decades (even teaching three generations in some families), and still in possession of some of my old exercise books, which, she reminded me she had kept.


But that day she gave those exercise books back to me, and for some reason we both got quite emotional.


Well I’m so glad I made that trip, because Miss West died on Friday after a short but courageous battle with cancer.


I will treasure these pics you see above. That’s me as one of her happy, smiling charges in 4th class (bottom left), the proud woman I remember (top left), and our recent reunion on the right.

Vale Miss West. And thank you. You shaped countless lives – well beyond our school years – and you will be missed.

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Ever wonder how to get a book reviewed

Ever wonder “How to get my book reviewed”?

So you’ve published your book. Its been edited and published, and now you’re trying to figure out how to get to your potential readers. While starting your marketing campaign usually happens well before your book is finished, getting your first reviews can’t happen until your book is done or in a final draft status.

Many stores won’t carry a small press or self-published book that doesn’t have reviews from a recognizable publication. So how do you get someone to pay attention to your book among all of the hundreds, if not thousands, of submissions they see every month?

City Book Review, publishers of the San Francisco Book Review, Manhattan Book Review, Seattle Book Review and Kids’ BookBuzz all have programs to help you. Kids BookBuzz is only for children, tweens and young adult books, but the other three will take almost any book you have (including children’s books).

So how do you get your book reviewed by one of the City Book Review publications?

If your book is within 90 days of the release date, you can submit it for general review (at no cost). The closer you are to the 90 days, the less of a chance it will have to be reviewed, but you can still start there. City Book Review gets more than 1000 book submissions each month, and only reviews 300 or less, so your likelihood of getting your book reviewed in this way is less than 33%. But you can give it a try and see if it gets reviewed.

City Book Review Book Review Submission Guidelines

If your book is more than 90 days past its publication date, or you really want to have it reviewed and don’t want to just hope it’ll get picked up through the general review, you can go through the Sponsored Review program. While there is some dispute about paying for a review, San Francisco, Manhattan and Seattle Book Reviews are respected outlets like Kirkus or Foreward Reviews and do not offer vanity reviews for payment. You can expect the same level of professionalism from their standard reviews. And they don’t mark sponsored reviews any different than the other reviews.

Get My Book Reviewed from the San Francisco, Manhattan or Seattle Book Reviews

There are a lot of different options for getting your book reviewed, mostly around how long it takes to get your review back, and if you want more than one or an interview as well.

Standard Reviews Take 8-10 weeks for turnaround from the time they receive your book Start at

Expedited Reviews Take 3-5 weeks for turnaround from the time they receive your book Start at

Get more than one review for the same book you’ll get a discount on the normal cost of 2 or 3 reviews. Reviews range in price from $150 to $299.

Getting a podcast interview for Audible Authors to promote yourself and your book, and you can add an interview to a review package at a discount.

And if you really like your review, you can have it posted on the other publication’s website for $99, or get a new review from a different reviewer. Both can help with your marketing and search engine optimization.

So how do you get your book reviewed by children in Kids’ BookBuzz or find great children’s book reviews?

First thing, all of the reviews for Kids’ BookBuzz are done by children. They are select age appropriate books, but the children read them and write the reviews themselves. The younger children have some help from their parents, but the words are all theirs. Don’t expect any easy reviews either. These kids see a lot of novels, so they know good books when they read them.

General Submission Guidelines for Kids’ BookBuzz -

Sponsored Review Submission Guidelines for Kids’ BookBuzz -

Darcy and Fitzwilliam – Synopsis, Excerpt

Darcy and Fitzwilliam: Synopsis

Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A tale of a gentleman and an officer. A sequel to Jane Austen’s magnificent ‘Pride and Prejudice’ this humorous story is of two romances, one involving the handsome Fitzwilliam Darcy, the other his cousin, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam. Darcy is handsome, elegant, proud and a besotted newlywed to his beloved Elizabeth Bennet. Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam is his older cousin, a veteran of Waterloo, fun loving, charismatic, and about to fall head over heels with a beautiful American widow. A charming tale of love, of great friendship, of children and of an irritable old aunt, Lady Catherine deBourgh.

Darcy and Fitzwilliam: Excerpt


It was when they approached the footman who would announce them that he saw her, her simple presence outstand¬ing amidst a multitude of inbred and odd-looking individuals gushing and fawning over each other. Wearing an outmoded, drab gown meant for someone much larger and much, much older, she was tenderly patting stray locks of a young girl’s hair, adjusting the bow on the back of the girl’s dress, in short, fussing about the girl like a mother hen with her lone chick. He was thunderstruck. Even without the feathers, paint, lace, and jewelry, she far outshone the posturing aristocratic ladies surrounding her, who competed in vain for attention.

At this distance, the youth she tended to appeared to Fitzwilliam as little more than an infant—small, frightened, and frail. However, it was not the anxious-looking girl who was causing him concern, drawing his offense. It was the activity surrounding the two that began to fuel his indignation, the admiration of the many men milling about ogling his Beauty, commenting upon her shimmering blonde hair. Fellow soldiers gaping and drooling over his Beauty’s eyes as they sparkled with amusement within a perfect, heart-shaped face, long, dark lashes lowered now to her task and shadowing his Beauty’s cheeks.

It was a testament to her good looks that those who circled overlooked the other grander, more-opulently gowned women, to be drawn instead by a loveliness that appeared both alien and delicate at once.

The young girl nervously whispered something, and the Brown-Eyed Beauty laughed gently, her face softening as it tilted to the side, lighting up with open joy, her eyes twinkling in devilish delight. Deadly dimples suddenly appeared.

Instead of being charmed, Fitzwilliam was furious.

“Why do you look as if you’ve just gotten your foot caught in your stirrups?” As he followed Richard’s rapt gaze, looking across the ballroom in the same general direction, Darcy discovered the object of his interest. “Ah. Well, well, well…” he muttered.

“What?” Fitzwilliam turned momentarily toward his cousin.

“I take it that is the woman about whom all your fuss has been?”

After one or two tense moments, Richard responded. “Yes, Darcy,” he bit back icily. “That is the woman about whom, as you so haughtily say, all my fuss has been. What of it?!”

“Nothing. Nothing at all.” Still he hesitated, staring.

Seeing Darcy’s reaction, Fitzwilliam bristled. “You wish to make some sort of observation, brat? Yes, that is the woman, and please do not stare at her like some sort of bedlamite.”

“Well, pardon me, Your Worship. She’s just not what I had expected.”

“What do you mean by that?” Fitzwilliam glared. “She is the most beautiful woman in this room, if not the whole city.”

“Jesu, calm yourself, Richard. I didn’t say she wasn’t. It’s just that she’s so… so…”

“So… what?”

“Well…” Darcy’s eyes made a quick appraisal of the woman in the distance. “Well, for one thing, she is rather plainly dressed for such a grand assembly, and she does appear rather foreign-looking with those cheekbones. Here’s an aside. Whatever happened to your dream of a deathly pale, full-bodied, and terminally ill English Rose due to inherit an estate the size of Kent? Hmm? In case you had not noticed, this young woman is very healthy and quite slender and apparently poor. At the very least, you must admit that she doesn’t have the usual voluptuousness of which you are known to be so fond.” Without even looking at his cousin, he could feel his eyes boring into him. He sighed.

“She is not that slender,” Fitzwilliam said coolly. “And you are still staring at her. I don’t like it, I tell you.”

Darcy rolled his eyes in exasperation. “Please try and behave as an adult. I’m sure you’ve seen them about—emulate.” The air crackled between them. “All I am saying is that she has a leaner frame than the average woman you prefer. She is tall and slim and, well, frankly, she appears small-busted.” Darcy eyed her critically and then turned to look at a furious Fitzwilliam. “Maybe it is just that the dress is so huge. Stop scowling at me!”

He sipped calmly from a glass of wine he had just been handed by a footman. “Merciful heaven, aren’t you suddenly the sensitive one! I have nothing against the woman at all. She is quite as lovely as you say, perhaps more so.” Fitzwilliam’s green-eyed rage was turning boiling red from his struggle for control. “And she is definitely not your type.”

Fitzwilliam stiffened. “Aside from your previous gibberish, what is it about her, exactly, that you do not consider my type?”

Darcy hesitated for a few tension-filled moments before proceeding at his peril. “Truthfully? All right. Well, she’s not at all fussy or overly made-up. She’s naïve-looking, soft, elegant, and pleasant. None of those are your usual requirements—in fact, quite the opposite.” Darcy and Fitzwilliam stood glaring at each other before Darcy finally broke rank and turned back. He then gestured toward the woman under discussion. “I mean, she really is quite beautiful, to be sure. Oh, and my goodness, what an exquisite smile she has, such luscious, full lips. And dimples, too? Good God!” He chuckled and shook his head. “No, she’s definitely not your type at all.”

“All right, that does it. I should call you out.”

“Well, think about it. You could actually grow to love this woman, then where would you be?”

“Never mind about all that. I don’t care for the way you are looking at her, brat, with your insolent eyes. And how dare you comment upon her lips, goddamn it. You’re almost drooling.”

Darcy turned to coolly assess his cousin. “You should be medicated.”

“You were leering at her.”

“I was not leering, you apelike menace! I was asked my opinion.”

“Aha! Well…you are the demented one—you were never asked for your opinion, and I, above all people, know a leer when I see one, and I certainly don’t need your approval. I was merely pointing her out to you.”

“What’s going on, gentlemen?” Georgiana returned to their side after freshening herself. The carriage ride had been long and blustery, a frigid winter storm approaching with snow and sleet threatening to descend upon London at any moment.

“Oh, Fitzwilliam has finally lost what little was left of his mind. He is annoyed with me for glancing at his newest obses¬sion,” Darcy whispered loudly. “He is also exceedingly upset because I have been pointing out to him the many ways in which she would not suit him at all.”

“Really? What fun! May I take a stab? Where is she?” Darcy indicated the far corner where the beauty was standing.

Fitzwilliam threw up his hands and turned his back on them. “I am leaving you both. I know neither of you. Good-bye.”

“Oh, how charming she is and how different are her features! Truly a paragon!” Georgiana gushed. A slightly mol¬lified Fitzwilliam waited. “And not your type at all, Richard. Definitely not!” Georgiana’s clear assessing gaze darted from the beauty to Fitzwilliam and then back to the beauty. He turned slowly around and faced her.

“Et tu, Judas?” He crossed his arms over his chest.

“Heavens, Richard, just look at the color in your face! Are you feeling all right?” She regarded him with great concern.






Darcy and Fitzwilliam Book Reviews

“Laugh until your sides ache and then laugh some more…Delicious…” – Linda Banche Reviews

“It is absorbing. It is intoxicating. It is excellent.” – Jane Austen’s World


Orange County Register

This sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” focuses on the friendship between Darcy and his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam. Wasylowski delves deeper into why Caroline Bingley continues to pursue Darcy and how Lady Catherine de Bourgh grows to accept Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage …



Married life is bliss. At least that is what Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam’s cousin Fitzwilliam Darcy would have him believe. But Richard has no intention of stepping into the parson’s mousetrap until he encounters America widow Amanda Penrod at one of London’s innumerous balls …


Historical Novel Reviews – Feb. 2011

Karen V. Wasylowski has turned out one of the former, a charming and believable rendering that offers the reader a look at the men in Pride and Prejudice. Austen would no doubt welcome Darcy and Fitzwilliam, an amusing and witty interpretation …


Jane Austen’s World and Jane Austen Today

A soldier stands in the background, far away from the shaded beauty of the stairs directly below you. You can barely see the red-backed, leather-booted militia man but you can tell he walks with purpose, conviction. He’s looking to the right as if he’s about to turn into the lane and boldly move off into the next phase of life with his head held high, confident in his poise and precise in his footfalls…

Kelly Yalke Deltener – Jane Austen Sequel Examiner

Karen Wasylowski’s first novel, Darcy and Fitzwilliam, is a foray into the Austen adaptation world that focuses on what could be considered the world’s first modern bromance….

Jessica Hastings –

Completely unique and never seen before, Karen V. Wasylowski has continued the Pride and Prejudice tale Jane Austen began, but with a focused look at Mr. Darcy and his cousin, best friend and confidant; Colonel Fitzwilliam. This intriguing novel had me guessing right from the cover, as to the contents of its literary prose, and I was quickly assured…


Austen Sequels

Darcy and Fitzwilliam, Karen Wasylowski’s debut novel, chronicles the lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam, cousins and best friends. At 481 pages, Wasylowski isn’t playing around. She divides the novel into three parts: one focuses on Darcy, the second on Fitzwilliam, and the third on “family.” Darcy and Lizzy are happily married, and expecting their first child. Darcy is the proud, tall…


Calico Critic

From Goodreads: A gentleman cannot survive without his best friend…Fitzwilliam Darcy and colonel Fitzwilliam couldn’t be more different. Darcy is quiet and reserved, and carries the weight of his responsibilities on his shoulders. His affable and vivacious cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam is a confirmed bachelor whose military feats have made him a hero…