Sir Francis Drake

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE ON AMAZON

The following is an excerpt from my historical adventure/romance Melaynie’s Masquerade. To purchase as an Ebook or as a softcover, go to Amazon: http:Melaynie’s Masquerade

Sir Francis Drake, me and Melaynie

Sir Francis Drake, me and Melaynie, the heroine

My “actors” for a teleplay on a local Westlake Village TV station

*****

Diego had seen Melaynie leave by herself that morning, her cheeks rosy, a distant but peaceful look in her eyes. He was pleased his young friend was taking some time to be by herself; she had worked as hard as the men in building the fort. His contented thoughts were jarred a short time later when he saw Jerome saunter out the stockade gate, a lascivious look upon his scarred face.

The merry little stream washed over Melaynie’s dappled sunlit body, caressing her erect nipples, flowing through her legs, cleansing the sounds from her ears. It was so soothing she failed to hear the snap of wood or the rough sigh.

Jerome stood on the stream bank, his good eye riveted by the sight of tiny breasts floating on the water, glistening in the flashes of sunshine. The curly blond pubic hair clearly hid no male genitalia. It was a surprise he would never have imagined. The boy had always seemed just a bit too feminine, but no matter. He’d just as soon stick his cock in one hole as another. It would provide excitement of a sort he hadn’t bargained for, and this time she didn’t have her knife on her. Perhaps he could frighten her into giving it up to him whenever he wanted, especially if he threatened to divulge her secret. His mouth hung open as if he were contemplating a meal to be devoured, as he quickly slid out of his breeches.

The sucking sounds of a foot in mud and the splash of a body entering water finally alerted Melaynie. She righted herself and let go of the branch, but it was too late. Jerome was in the water and reaching for her breasts.

“So, this is what ye’ve been hiding from me, Christopher,” Jerome sneered as he grabbed her, twisting her nipples. His breath was foul and his jagged teeth looked rotten.

She grimaced in outraged anger as she tried to hit him, but he laughed at her efforts. Although the water was not deep, the soft, slippery stream bottom kept her off balance. He pinned her arms as his wet open mouth clamped down on a nipple. She opened her mouth and lowered her head to bite at his thinning dirty hair, and when she had some in her mouth, pulled back as strongly as she could. Her feet found a solid place, and she drew her knee up and slammed it into him quickly. He stumbled backwards to protect his genitals, and the knee caught him on the chin.

“Ye want a fight, do ye?” he laughed derisively rubbing his hairy chin, his walleye askew while the other glared in lust. He had not lost his balance and lunged at her again, this time firmly catching her pubis with his long-fingered hand.

She shuddered with revulsion and twisted her body around and out of his grasp, throwing him off-balance. Neither of them heard the first ominous sounds of something heavy sliding into the water from the opposite bank.

SELLING A SCRIPT IN HOLLYWOOD

Before I wrote my novel, Melaynie’s Masquerade, I wrote a movie script. My screenplay, simply called Drake, went through many incarnations. Eight rewrites that I can recall. It got so good I had several people in the business (not any recognizable names) compliment me on the writing. But I couldn’t take that to the bank.

Portrait of Sir Francis Drake

Portrait of Sir Francis Drake

My friend and partner in the adventure to get a project on film was Dudley Hood, an Australian musician and writer. We had a wonderful time exploring all the possibilities—it even felt legitimate. For a time we went to monthly parties held at a fancy home in the exclusive hills of Brentwood to meet lots of aspiring actors, directors, etc. We were looked on as potential employers and were offered a buffet and drinks (all contributed by the hopefuls). A few days later I’d get a huge envelope of head shots in the mail. I held onto these photographs for a long time before I tossed them. The attendees didn’t know, but might have guessed, we had no money but plenty of hopes, no different from any of them.

We shopped our project, which we called Caribbean Kaleidoscope (historical tales of the Caribbean made for TV), created brochures—thanks to a very talented artist named Jon Wincek, had countless budgets put together by Fred Culbertson on a program called Movie Magic, if my memory serves me. Fred, luckily, had his own transportation business, Hollywood Studio Vehicles. We attended various industry events like the American Film Market in Santa Monica. Searching for funding can be lively and frustrating—Dudley traveled to the Virgin Islands and New York City—but there’s no guaranteed pot of gold or happy ending. As is frequently said: Life is the journey, not the goal.

The Film Market was fun, however. Located at a couple of well-known hotels on the beach, it was full of aspiring players in the independent film world from everywhere (8,000 or more attended). Hundreds of films, from the expensive to the low-low budget, are shown and shopped from all over the world during this week-long event. What a place for people watching! I saw Roger Corman, king of low budget movies, and various star impersonators, like Michael Jackson (while he was still alive) and John Travolta.

Francis Drake miniature

Francis Drake miniature

 

We met Stan Lazan, a friendly guy who had been a cinematographer for TV’s “Bonanza” years before. He was looking for work and was happy to offer his advice. He had lots of fascinating tales to tell of his years in the industry, not to mention some pointers on industry terminology. I hadn’t learned yet what P&A was, but it was the talk around the hotel bar. Prints and Advertising is a vital part of a movie budget: without prints of the film and advertising to sell the movie, nothing would move forward. I kept up with Stan and enjoyed his company for years afterward. He has since passed on. But “Bonanza” still plays on TV.

Dudley was very tireless and enterprising. He managed to get us a meeting with a CAA (Creative Artists Agency) agent at their posh headquarters in Beverly Hills. The agent and his younger associate listened to our project pitch (I think we were “selling” Drake at that point) and seemed interested but there were too many pieces of the puzzle missing to make any kind of commitments. The two of us, however, were ecstatic and felt like real wheeler-dealers! Ha! CAA has moved from its unique modern building in Beverly Hills, probably to something more spectacular. That was then and this is now!

Not long after CAA, we managed a meeting with the VP of IMax Pictures. Dudley played his guitar to show him we were planning music for our huge production. It’s hilarious and a little bittersweet to think of all the gallivanting and all the hopes. You’ve got to be starry-eyed and innocent to a great extent to make your dreams come true in Tinsel Town. To make it happen, you must never give up. To paraphrase a current ad, we may not have made any money but the experience was priceless.

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE – AN ADVENTUROUS READ

I’m taking a short detour from Tripoli stories and other subjects to advertise my own books, available on Amazon. I’ve written and published:  Melaynie’s Masquerade, An Army Brat in Libya, Colonels Don’t Apologize, Pink Glasses, Weird Dates & Strange Fates, Angels in Uniform, and Discovering the Victor in Victoria.  (http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud). They are all based on true stories, but fictitious names are used in many of them.

I’ve included an excerpt  of my historical fiction novel, Melaynie’s Masquerade below; it’s part of a love scene. I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction and became enchanted with the 16th century some years ago when I attended Southern California Renaissance Faires. My fictional character, Melaynie Morgan, lives in Plymouth, England, and when she decides to turn her traditional world upside down, she embarks on a sailing adventure with Francis Drake, a daring Plymouth captain, later famous for sailing around the world and for bringing home Spanish gold for Queen Elizabeth I of England. Drake is sailing to the Caribbean to plunder Spanish treasure; thinking he has met an enthusiastic young boy, he hires Melaynie as his cabin boy. What a masquerade she accomplishes before Drake and his crew sail back to England a year later!

Mel book cover #1

The following is a preview of one of the love scenes between Melaynie and Bernardino from the book. Bernardino is a dashing Spanish envoy come to negotiate with Spain’s English enemy, Francis Drake. Young Melaynie, dressed as Drake’s cabin boy, has successfully hidden her sex from all the English sailors, including Drake, but Bernardino discovered the secret.  She is guiding the Spanish visitor, who recently became her lover,  to his guest tent on the Caribbean island beach where he will spend the night:

Bernardino leaned upon her once more in case someone spotted them, and they walked quickly but stealthily the short distance to the tent.

“No need for a candle or lantern, sweeting, there’s a bit of moonlight through the opening. I have memorized your face and I know where all your important parts are,” Bernardino said, desire heating up his words, making them expand and surround her.

“Mmm…you have all the perfect words for me, my heart,” Melaynie answered as she lovingly touched the dimples of his smile and pulled his head down to meet her eager lips. She could feel his excitement now, heightened by her forward moves. She liked the feeling of taking charge that pretending to be a male gave her; it would enhance her lovemaking. She was not as innocent as the first time, and the power of knowledge created a white heat that coursed through her body.

Through open lips, her tongue explored his mouth. When she withdrew it, she kissed his cheeks as she ran her fingers through his thick dark hair. Her fingers caressed his neck and the short beard on his strong chin before finding their way to his chest and the nipples through the open neck of the loose shirt. She remembered the extreme pleasure he had given her and excited herself by being the aggressor. Tugging at his shirt, she pulled it out from his breeches. Sensing her mood, he opened his arms to allow her to remove the shirt.

She stepped back, appraising him. “Hmm…a fine specimen of manhood we have here.” A step forward and she was unfastening his breeches and undergarment and running her hands slowly down his hips. The hands moved softly and tenderly toward his engorged member.

Sir Francis Drake -- my hero!

Sir Francis Drake — my hero!

To find out what happens next, you will have to read the book, which can be ordered from Amazon.

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE – On Film or TV?

Mel book cover #1

Because the Academy Awards are taking place this Sunday, my mind is buzzing with thoughts of screenplays and movies. I’ve always thought my historical fiction novel would make an excellent adventure film and create a marvelous role for a spunky female who could play a teenage lead.

Shortly after I published Melaynie’s Masquerade, I was exploring ways of promoting the book. One of my most unique ideas was to create a teleplay and film it at a local TV channel in Westlake Village, near my home at that time. I was no expert in filming but luckily I had plenty of help from a volunteer camera crew. My best ally was John Kilpatrick, Director of Theater at Agoura High School who became Francis Drake. He had no problem with costumes since he had been a part of a vocal ensemble for the annual Renaissance Faire. He even wrote a song about the book and accompanied himself on his mandolin. I found my Melaynie through the Young Artists group in Thousand Oaks. Pardon the inconsistencies in the formatting. The dialog is in 16th century style.

Sir Francis Drake, me and Melaynie

Sir Francis Drake, me and Melaynie

John Kilpatrick as Drake, Me, the Author, and Genna Allen as Christopher/Melaynie

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE TELEPLAY

Camera focuses on blown-up copy of book artwork to the sound of John Kilpatrick as Francis Drake playing and singing Renaissance song on mandolin as title sequence rolls – 10-15 SECONDS

CAMERA CLOSE-UPS:

BOOK ON DESK – 10 SEC.

SHIP ON DESK – 10 SEC.

AUTHOR’S HAND ON DESK AS SHE TAKES PEN AND STARTS WRITING – 10 SEC.

YOUNG CHRISTOPHER SITTING AT EDGE OF STAGE – 10 SEC.

The author starts to read and camera focuses on AUTHOR for 10-15 Sec. Camera then focuses back on CHRISTOPHER at edge of stage.

AUTHOR reads:

“She awoke abruptly, her heart pounding, her upper body drenched in sweat. It was the same dream, one that she had had since childhood. Strangely though, it was repeating this spring every few nights. She sat up and shook her head to dispel the vision as she lifted the heavy blond tresses off her sweating shoulders. A bare hint of daylight filtered through the bed curtains. She looked down at the curls that cascaded over the pale, cambric night-raile that hid her small breasts. The sight of her thick and wavy hair brought back a flash of the dream…..”

Hmm, I do like the way I started this. What an adventure she had….

Camera focuses on: Francis Drake as he walks onto the set and looks around, puzzled.

DRAKE

Start what? Are you talking of my adventure?

Camera focuses on Author

I’m talking about the beginning of the novel I wrote, which is an adventure, that’s what. But who are you?

Camera focuses on Drake

DRAKE

Francis Drake, at your service. (He bows down with a flourish, then he looks around again with a quizzical look)

Where am I?

(He walks to the desk and picks up the author’s book)

Is this one of the latest books from the printing press? I haven’t seen anything like it before, but the ship appeals to me.(He looks around again as he puts the book back). What the devil is keeping my captain’s boy? I sent him for the compendium, and he hasn’t returned. This doesn’t look like my cabin.

Camera on Author

AUTHOR

Slow down, Sir Francis. I can’t believe it’s you. I must be dreaming. It isn’t even time for you to appear in my book yet.

Camera on Drake

DRAKE

Sir Francis? Would that I were. Are you a witch, prophesying my future? Is that why you’ve called me here? (He keeps looking around, shaking his head to clear up his vision)

AUTHOR

Well, you could say I’m a witch. I must have conjured you up. Or did you wander over from some Renaissance Faire?

DRAKE

A faire? Be you daft, Madame? I’m aboard my ship, the Pasco, and ye may be assured there are no women there! So you must be a witch.

AUTHOR

No women… well, none that you’d know of. You do play a prominent part in my book, MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE.

DRAKE

God’s Faith! Now you’ve got me all a-puzzle. Who is Melaynie, pray tell? And where is Christopher, my captain’s boy?I sent him on an errand, before you so rudely called me here.

AUTHOR

(with mischievious smile) Christopher, you say… hmm. Now Christopher has an important relationship to Melaynie.But that’s my secret, and hers.

DRAKE

(loudly in exasperation)

God’s Eyeballs! The minds of women! What has one to do with another? Christopher lad, where is my compendium? I must check our course. We may be nearer the Caribbean than I thought.

Camera on CHRISTOPHER as she rushes in, out of breath.

CHRISTOPHER

Captain, Captain. Here tis.  (She hands him a compass).

DRAKE

This is no compendium! I’ve never seen such a thing. (He looks hard at the Author). Is this another of your trickeries?

AUTHOR

It’s only a modern-day compass. It should get you to the Caribbean.

Camera on Christopher and Drake

CHRISTOPHER

(She catches sight of the Author, smiles as if she knows the secret of why she’s here, easily accepting the Author’s presence. She turns back to Drake) Aye Captain. I’ve never seen such as that, not even in the print shop.

DRAKE

The print shop? Tis a strange dream I’m having. Books, print shops. I’m trying to sail a ship and keep my men alive and healthy.

CHRISTOPHER

(She looks dreamy, remembering).

Captain Drake, ‘tis my father’s print shop I was speaking of. The Odyssey, ‘twas the book I was reading that must have inspired this masquerade. ‘Tis the male sex that have all the adventures. What’s a poor girl to do but dream? Of course I did do something about it.

DRAKE

Child, what are you prattling on about?

AUTHOR

Melaynie… Oops, I mean Christopher, just because I’m here, don’t get carried away. Your captain never finds out your secret.

CHRISTOPHER

(saucily, betraying girlish ways)

Of course not. Men can be dull creatures! Not Francis Drake, mind you, but he had too much affection for me to see past my disguise.

(She does a little dance)

DRAKE

(He turns to Author and in a very self-assured manner proclaims…)

If ‘tis you, Good Lady, bedeviling me with this dream. reverse it back, I implore ye, afore I lose my mind and bearings. Let me awaken from this business. The Carib Sea awaits, where I am determined upon taking Spanish treasure. Twill be full of danger, but the rewards will be great. I mean to make my fortune, with aplenty for my men as well. (He gently taps Christopher on the shoulder) Even for young Christopher.

CHRISTOPHER

(she looks at him with imploring look)

Prithee, Good Captain, am I to be part of these perilous sports?

DRAKE

Young Christopher, upon that I shall ponder. Beguile us no longer Good Witch. My duty calls.

Camera on Author

AUTHOR

Farewell, I bid thee be gone.

(she waves her hands and the two disappear).

What an incredible imagination I must have. Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes,

She turns back to her pen and paper.

“Her hair wasn’t blond in her dream; it was very definitely red. Cherry red.. And plenty of it. It was her hair, she was positive of that. But there was a full and equally red mustache and beard. On her chin. She touched the soft flesh of her full cheeks and slightly pointed chin. Her stubborn chin, as her beloved brother David called it. Why was she continually dreaming that she was a man? And such a man! In her horned metal helmet she towered over her companions.”

Camera focuses on Drake playing mandolin and singing and then credits roll

MELAYNIE’S LAMENT

A fair young maid in a house of men

Three brothers and a father dear

On whom she waited both hand and foot

All seasons of the year.

Yet none could know that in her dreams

Another life did call

Where lives were sold for Spanish gold

And a boy ain’t what he seems

The fair young lass had had enough

And signed on with a crew

With ringlets shorn, on a cold gray morn

She bid her world adieu

As cabin boy to Capt. Drake

For adventure she set sail

Her comfort sold for Spanish gold

And therein hangs a tale.

Shipboard Life in the 16 Century

Mel bookw:compass 0

Writing Melaynie’s Masquerade was a multi-level challenge. I’d always been fascinated with the changing roles of men and women through the ages.   I decided to play with the concept of a female disguised as a man almost as soon as I decided to turn “Drake,” my screenplay, into a book. How close are men and women in preferences and personality, not to mention looks? History is peppered with sexual “masquerades” and lately sex change operations have gained acceptance as those who believe they were born the wrong sex take action to change it.

Since my heroine, Melaynie, plays both female and male roles, I had plenty of research to do. I had somewhat of an advantage since I’d spent a few years attending Renaissance Pleasure Faires and had some idea of life in England during the 1500s. The era of Queen Elizabeth I has been a major topic of movies, plays and books.

I wanted to start at the basics underneath all the layers of clothing—what did people wear? What was the requirement for underwear for both men and women: clothing or lack of it that we take for granted these days? Since modern women consider underwear a priority, that was one of my first research topics. I even found a fascinating little book called The History of Underclothes. Doing laundry wasn’t a major undertaking in the 16th century since the undergarments, made from various grades of linen, were seldom washed, even for the wealthy. To make them smell better, sweet spices were added on the few occasions they were laundered. It probably made little difference since everybody smelled bad anyway, and the nose is a forgiving orifice once it gets used to certain smells.

Englishwomen wore at least three layers of petticoats but no “drawers” (underpants) before the end of the 18th century. Corsets, like girdles or Spanx of more modern times, were and are punishing to wear. Oddly, men did wear drawers, which were loose fitting, gathered at the waist, ended at the knee, and were sometimes fancied up with embroidery

I used to wonder how men “had their way” with women so easily in some movies depicting Elizabethan times, but if they weren’t wearing underwear, all a man had to do was to lift a woman’s triple-layered skirt. One of the petticoats usually had hoops, so it lifted fairly easily.

Deciding where Melaynie was going to sleep on Drake’s ship in order to keep her sex secret was a challenge. From what I’d read about him, Drake truly cared about his crew. I wrote him as ignorant of Melaynie’s true sex, of course. For Drake, Melaynie was a young man named Christopher. Concerned that Christopher wouldn’t have an easy time sleeping on a hammock below decks with the rest of the rowdy sailors, Drake would have decided she’d be perfect sleeping at his cabin door, a protected area. Melaynie had extra help aboard ship because her brother had also signed on as a seaman.

If you’re curious about the entire adventure story, which is based on a true voyage to the Caribbean by Francis Drake and his crew, check out Melaynie’s Masquerade on Amazon.  Check out the book at:  http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

 

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE TELEPLAY

Shortly after I published my historical fiction novel, Melaynie’s Masquerade, I was exploring ways of promoting the book. One of my most unique ideas was to create a teleplay and film it at a local TV channel in Westlake Village, near my home at that time.  I was no expert in filming but luckily I had plenty of help with a volunteer camera crew. My best ally was John Kilpatrick, Director of Theater at Agoura High School who became Francis Drake. He had no problem with costumes since he had been a part of a vocal ensemble for the annual Renaissance Faire. He even wrote a song about the book and accompanied himself on his mandolin. I found my Melaynie through the Young Artists group in Thousand Oaks.  Pardon the inconsistencies in the formatting. The dialog is in 16th century style.

John Kilpatrick, Me, and

John Kilpatrick as Drake, Me, the Author, and Genna Allen as Christopher/Melaynie

 

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE TELEPLAY 

Camera focuses on blown-up copy of book artwork to the sound of John Kilpatrick as Francis Drake playing and singing Renaissance song on mandolin as title sequence rolls – 10-15 SEC..

CAMERA CLOSE-UPS:

BOOK ON DESK – 10 SEC,   Mel book cover 2

SHIP ON DESK – 10 SEC.,

AUTHOR’S HAND ON DESK AS SHE TAKES PEN AND STARTS WRITING – 10 SEC.

YOUNG CHRISTOPHER SITTING AT EDGE OF STAGE – 10 SEC.

The author starts to read and camera focuses on AUTHOR for 10-15 Sec. Camera then focuses back on CHRISTOPHER at edge of stage.

AUTHOR reads:

“She awoke abruptly, her heart pounding, her upper body drenched in sweat. It was the same dream, one that she had had since childhood. Strangely though, it was repeating this spring every few nights. She sat up and shook her head to dispel the vision as she lifted the heavy blond tresses off her sweating shoulders. A bare hint of daylight filtered through the bed curtains. She looked down at the curls that cascaded over the pale, cambric night-raile that hid her small breasts. The sight of her thick and wavy hair brought back a flash of the dream…..”

Hmm, I do like the way I started this. What an adventure she had….

Camera focuses on:   Francis Drake as he walks onto the set and looks around, puzzled.

DRAKE

Start what? Are you talking of my adventure?

Camera focuses on Author .

I’m talking about the beginning of the novel I wrote, which is an adventure, that’s what. But who are you?

Camera focuses on Drake

DRAKE

Francis Drake, at your service.

(He bows down with a flourish, then he looks around again with a quizzical look)

Where am I?

(He walks to the desk and picks up the author’s book)

Is this one of the latest books from the printing press? I haven’t seen anything like it before, but the ship appeals to me.

(He looks around again as he puts the book back).

What the devil is keeping my captain’s boy? I sent him for the compendium, and he hasn’t returned. This doesn’t look like my cabin.

Camera on Author

AUTHOR

Slow down, Sir Francis. I can’t believe it’s you. I must be dreaming. It isn’t even time for you to appear in my book yet.

Camera on Drake

DRAKE

Sir Francis? Would that I were. Are you a witch, prophesying my future? Is that why you’ve called me here?

(He keeps looking around,  shaking his head to clear up his vision)

AUTHOR

Well, you could say I’m a witch. I must have conjured you up. Or did you wander over from some Renaissance Faire?

DRAKE

A faire? Be you daft, Madame? I’m aboard my ship, the Pasco, and ye may be assured there are no women there! So you must be a witch.

AUTHOR

No women… well, none that you’d know of. You do play a prominent part in my book, MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE. 

DRAKE

God’s Faith! Now you’ve got me all a-puzzle. Who is Melaynie, pray tell? And where is Christopher, my captain’s boy?

I sent him on an errand, before you so rudely called me here.

 AUTHOR

(with mischievious smile)   Christopher, you say… hmm. Now Christopher has an important relationship to Melaynie.

But that’s my secret, and hers.

 DRAKE

(loudly in exasperation)

God’s Eyeballs! The minds of women! What has one to do with another? Christopher lad, where is my compendium?

I must check our course. We may be nearer the Caribbean than I thought.

Camera on CHRISTOPHER as she rushes in, out of breath.

CHRISTOPHER

Captain, Captain. Here tis.

(She hands him a compass).

DRAKE

This is no compendium! I’ve never seen such a thing. (He looks hard at the Author). Is this another of your trickeries?

AUTHOR

It’s only a modern-day compass. It should get you to the Caribbean.

Camera on Christopher and Drake

CHRISTOPHER
(She catches sight of the Author, smiles as if she knows the secret of why she’s here, easily accepting the Author’s presence. She turns back to Drake)          Aye Captain. I’ve never seen such as that, not even in the print shop.

DRAKE

The print shop? Tis a strange dream I’m having. Books, print shops. I’m trying to sail a ship and keep my men alive and healthy.

CHRISTOPHER         

(She looks dreamy, remembering).

Captain Drake, ‘tis my father’s print shop I was speaking of. The Odyssey, ‘twas the book I was reading that must have inspired this masquerade. ‘Tis the male sex that have all the adventures. What’s a poor girl to do but dream? Of course I did do something about it.

DRAKE

Child, what are you prattling on about?

AUTHOR

Melaynie… Oops, I mean Christopher, just because I’m here, don’t get carried away. Your captain never finds out your secret.

CHRISTOPHER

(saucily, betraying girlish ways)

Of course not. Men can be dull creatures! Not Francis Drake, mind you, but he had too much affection for me to see past my disguise.

(She does a little dance).

DRAKE

(He turns to Author and in a  very self-assured manner proclaims…)

If ‘tis you, Good Lady, bedeviling me with this dream. reverse it back, I implore ye, afore I lose my mind and bearings. Let me awaken from this business. The Carib Sea awaits, where I am determined upon taking Spanish treasure. Twill be full of danger, but the rewards will be great. I mean to make my fortune, with aplenty for my men as well. (He gently taps Christopher on the shoulder)   Even for young Christopher.

CHRISTOPHER

(she looks at him with imploring look)

Prithee, Good Captain, am I to be part of these perilous sports?

DRAKE

Young Christopher, upon that I shall ponder. Beguile us no longer Good Witch. My duty calls.

Camera on Author

AUTHOR

Farewell, I bid thee be gone.

(she waves her hands and the two disappear).

What an incredible imagination I must have. Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes,

She turns back to her pen and paper.

Her hair wasn’t blond in her dream; it was very definitely red. Cherry red.. And plenty of it. It was her hair, she was positive of that. But there was a full and equally red mustache and beard. On her chin. She touched the soft flesh of her full cheeks and slightly pointed chin. Her stubborn chin, as her beloved brother David called it. Why was she continually dreaming that she was a man? And such a man! In her horned metal helmet she towered over her companions.”

Camera focuses on Drake playing mandolin and singing and then credits roll

MELAYNIE’S LAMENT

A fair young maid in a house of men

Three brothers and a father dear

On whom she waited both hand and foot

All seasons of the year.

 

Yet none could know that in her dreams

Another life did call

Where lives were sold for Spanish gold

And a boy ain’t what he seems

 

The fair young lass had had enough

And signed on with a crew

With ringlets shorn, on a cold gray morn

She bid her world adieu

 

As cabin boy to Capt. Drake

For adventure she set sail

Her comfort sold for Spanish gold

And therein hangs a tale.

 

 

 

 

 

THE RENAISSANCE – A PLEASURE FAIRE in CALIF

All the world’s a stage said Shakespeare. Couldn’t be truer than at a Renaissance Faire! Renaissance Faires are held all over the US these days, but the idea originated in Southern California and was created by an LA schoolteacher, Phyllis Patterson, and her husband Ron in 1963. Phyllis Patterson, alas, departed the Earthly Realm on May 18, and traveled to the Spirit Faire in another dimension. There was a lovely obituary in the LA Times today.

The Faire was first held in her Laurel Canyon backyard as a weekend fundraiser. Because it attracted so many people, the Patterson’s soon found a larger venue and it eventually became a thriving yearly enterprise.

I spent many entertaining Spring Saturdays at the Faire when it was set up in the Santa Monica Mountains on the Paramount Ranch, a popular movie and TV location (lots of Westerns and “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman” TV series). Rolling hills, streams and old oak trees provided the perfect country setting; thousands of participants (both hired entertainment and paying customers) in 16th century costume escaped the 20th century for a day or two. Years afterward I would remember the Faire and be inspired to write my historical novel of the 16th century, Melaynie’s Masquerade.

Eat, drink and be merry was never more evident than at the Faire. We would wander the dirt pathways among the hills; it wasn’t difficult to imagine an English village of long ago. Visitors got in a party mood quickly: tents sold hundreds of paper cups filled with wine and beer, and food stands that resembled English shops offered turkey legs, toad-in-the-hole, corn on the cob, sausage and cheese, and some California treats like artichokes, and strawberry crepes. There were a variety of beautifully made crafts to buy, like pottery, jewelry, leather goods and Renaissance costumes. I held onto my purple cotton Renaissance blouse and long full skirt for years (it had been dyed and hung to dry right at the Faire), and I still have a few pieces of artisan-made pottery.

Entertainers, all appropriately dressed in colorful costumes (lots of cleavage displayed in women’s garb), wandered through the crowd performing skits here and there, and a variety of stages were set up for Shakespearean drama and outrageous comedy. Bales of dry hay provided the seating. I heard many a man say, “There’s plenty of boobs and beer here!” The humor and entertainment was not designed for prudery; it was as bawdy as the Renaissance had been. With easy access to beer and wine, how could anyone stay sober, or polite?

Sir Francis Drake & Faire Guests

Sir Francis Drake, a yearly participant  & Faire Guest

I took this photo at the wine/beer stand of the actor portraying Sir Francis Drake long before I wrote a screenplay and novel about his historic exploits. My friend Ray isn’t interested in history, it seems, he just wants to know how much longer he has to endure the Faire! Or perhaps he’s wondering where his wife was since he’s holding two cups of wine.

Actors portraying lords and ladies of the era in all their finery would assemble in a special area of the Faire and visitors could listen in on their jokes and clever conversation, all in 16th century jargon. At 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Progress, with musical accompaniment, and the Queen’s lords and ladies, would wind its way through the Faire with the Queen carried in a litter. The actress would wave to her subjects until the entire party would end up in the Royal Court or at the Royal Stage for some kind of appropriate presentation.

I was lucky: for several years I had free admission. I took my camera and covered the Faire for the Acorn, the newspaper for which I was the editor.

Fare thee well, Phyllis Patterson, I bid ye a fond adieu.

 

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE – An Excerpt

Adventures on the sea are always popular–I sure had fun writing my historical fiction novel. Two fairly recent films–“Captain Philips” with Tom Hanks and “All is Lost” with Robert Redford captured lots of interest. I’ve always enjoyed that genre in movies and books, just as I enjoyed my own adventures on a US Navy ship sailing in the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic Ocean back in the 1950s.

My book on Melaynie needs a new look. I love the drawing of the ships, but it doesn’t convey the romance in the story. I think a combined portrayal of Melaynie, Francis Drake, Bernardino–the handsome Spaniard love interest, and the loyal Diego are possibilities for a new cover. A reasonably priced cover artist is needed. In case someone is intrigued, get in touch. Perhaps we can do some kind of trade.

Writing a novel, especially in the historical fiction genre, is a daunting task. A few years ago I took on the challenge. I had always loved history and for many years had attended Renaissance Pleasure Faires in Southern California. I knew something about Shakespeare since I was an English major in college and had seen many Shakespeare plays and films. It seemed liked a natural thing to do. Besides, I’d already written a screenplay about Francis Drake, the English sea captain who was known for his pirate activities against the Spanish in the Caribbean in the 16th century. Since it was damn difficult to finance a movie, especially a sea epic, I had the brilliant idea of taking the elements of the script, add a fictional heroine and, presto, I’d have a book. A lot of effort went into more historical research and almost five years later I had a book. After all that time and no luck finding an agent right away, I was impatient to have it published. I chose the self-publishing route when the idea was fairly new and easy. Since then I’ve also published it on Amazon as an Ebook. The link to Amazon is in the upper right of this page or follow the link: http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

My book is full of true adventure (Essentially, only my heroine and her family are fictional) and romance. I’ve even written a couple of sex scenes. After all the 50 Shades books are all the rage! See below for a teaser about the romance that develops:

 

With Drake’s humorous admonition to be careful with their guest, Melaynie carried a lantern to show Bernardino to his private tent at evening’s end.

In the light of a bright moon, whose rays poured through the wide opening of the small quarters, Bernardino found and immediately sat down on the portable cot. Tired from the day’s excitement and mellowed to the point of sleepiness by the wine, he languidly watched as the young captain’s boy placed the lantern on an empty cask, thinking as he watched of his young sister. Why was he thinking of his sister; was it the way this young boy moved, or simply the beauty of youth?

He leaned back and began to remove his doublet, welcoming the cooler night air on his skin. Remembering the music and the caress of the night breeze, he felt relaxed and sensual. Melaynie’s body and face were profiled in the moonlight. What a lovely young boy, Bernardino reflected as he studied the fine facial features and golden hair. He lazily watched the lantern’s flickering light, his feelings of arousal fanned by its glow. How agreeable it would have been to have a woman to love, an appropriate climax to a congenial evening.

Framed by the moonlight, the boy continued to stand, leaning toward the lantern, like a moth to the flame, his eyes mesmerized by the flame. From his angle lounging on the cot, Bernardino noticed the boy’s cream-colored shirt had flared outward as he stood there. The material was diaphanous enough that the lantern’s light revealed his naked chest. Bernardino smiled at the pretty picture it made, and then narrowed his eyes, looking again closely, as he sat up slowly, uncertain that what he saw was true.

The lantern had highlighted a pair of delicate breasts, whose outline was clear enough through the linen shirt. This was no boy; he saw the evidence. The breasts were small, but they were present. Had no one else in this English company noticed? Men could be dense; he had seen how she had been treated as her costume defined her. A turmoil of feelings assaulted him at this revelation, the excitement of the mystery of her only heightening his stimulated senses. He struggled to compose himself, to dampen his growing ardor, to quiet his racing mind.

Had he been intrigued because some instinct told him of her true gender? Whatever the mystical reasons, she must not guess he had seen her secret. Searching his mind for clues, he quickly surmised her subterfuge had been well hidden until now and that she was probably older than he had supposed. What had caused this young woman to carry off this masquerade; was she possessed by some unusual traits, a woman who felt herself truly a man? Or was it simply an adventure she sought, a desire to break from the traditional female role in her society? Did she feel he was a threat; was that why she had spilled the wine earlier? These turbulent thoughts raced through his mind in mere seconds.

Mel book cover 2

 

CREATING A SCREENPLAY

I have probably seen thousands of movies in my life; it’s a passion of mine. And I’ve always liked historical stories. I must have learned something from all that watching and absorbing. I knew it would be challenging, but I was up to writing a script, I thought.

Before I sat down to write my screenplay on 16th century English sea captain, Sir Francis Drake, I needed to do some historical research. And how the heck would I write a screenplay? In the 1990s I’d never seen a script before or even been curious about how to create one.

Relying on CARIBBEAN, the book that had excited me to begin with, I was disappointed to discover that James Michener’s sagas weren’t entirely accurate: all those huge tomes about Hawaii, the Middle East, Alaska, Texas, Colorado, etc. Since he didn’t call them histories, he felt free to fictionalize. It made for a simpler story since real life is never tidy, although reel life is! James Michener didn’t even work as hard as I had presumed: he had his own research team.

Michener’s story about Drake was so tidy he created a neat rivalry between Drake, the English privateer, and a Spanish official of some high rank. In the 16th century, Spain was the ruler of the Old World and the New World: my story of Drake’s saga took place some years before England’s defeat of the Spanish Armada. The Michener story was entertaining and neatly handled even though the Spanish enemy didn’t exist (he was a conglomerate of many Spanish ship captains, officials, etc.). Drake made lots of Spanish enemies before he was through robbing their gold, jewels, and various battleships.

After I’d been lent a few sample screenplays, and a book about creating them, I was soon happily engaged in writing–lots of instructions about NIGHT, DAY, FADE IN, FADE OUT and what sort of emotion was on whose face, not to mention setting the scene. Aiming for a standard page count (at least then) of 120 pages, I was confident and joyful.

My creative partner, Dudley Hood, and I had met more than a few people industriously working or aspiring to work in the entertainment industry. It was relatively easy to interest people in helping to create a potential movie, TV program, etc. In LA, many of us live on dreams of stardom and success, and there are always a few who do realize their dreams, even in spectacular fashion.

I can no longer remember if Jan, our associate, was involved with costumes, set dressing or what, but she had been in the film industry for a few years and was making a living at it. She was an encouraging, enthusiastic kind of person as well as intelligent. Our project must have sounded feasible.

I could hardly wait for her to take a look at my creative efforts. I’d put a lot of work into my script and I was brimming with pride.

When we met after she’d read it, I eagerly awaited her verdict. I was sure I had a good beginning and I even liked my dialog.

“Where’s the conflict?” she asked me gently. “Every film has a conflict.”

“It’s got plenty of conflict,” I replied, defensively. “Drake’s always fighting this battle or that one.”

“It’s a dramatic technique to keep the audience interested. The work has to focus on a primary conflict of some kind as it builds to a climax and the conflict is resolved, one way or another,” she told me gently. “You also don’t want to lose your viewer in all sorts of unnecessary details.”

My screenplay was just history with a few flourishes.  Maybe Michener was more right than I gave him credit for.

Back to the drawing board, I thought ruefully. It wasn’t so simple after all. In the next couple of years, I rewrote my screenplay eight times. I even received encouraging reviews!

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE — A TEASER

Adventures on the sea are always popular. Two new films–“Captain Philips” with Tom Hanks and “All is Lost” with Robert Redford are bound to capture lots of interest. I’ve always enjoyed that genre in movies and books, just as I enjoyed my own adventures on a US Navy ship in the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic Ocean back in the 1950s.

Writing a novel, especially in the historical fiction genre, is a daunting task. A few years ago I took on the challenge. I had always loved history and for many years had attended Renaissance Pleasure Faires in Southern California. I knew something about Shakespeare since I was an English major in college and had seen many Shakespeare plays and films. It seemed liked a natural thing to do. Besides, I’d already written a screenplay about Francis Drake, the English sea captain who was known for his pirate activities against the Spanish in the Caribbean in the 16th century. Since it was damn difficult to finance a movie, especially a sea epic, I had the brilliant idea of taking the elements of the script, add a fictional heroine and, presto, I’d have a book. A lot of effort went into more historical research and almost five years later I had a book. After all that time and no luck finding an agent right away, I was impatient to have it published. I chose the self-publishing route when the idea was fairly new and easy. Since then I’ve also published it on Amazon as an Ebook. The link to Amazon is in the upper right of this page or follow the link: http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

My book is full of true adventure (Essentially, only my heroine and her family are fictional) and romance. I’ve even written a couple of sex scenes. After all the 50 Shades books are all the rage!  See below for a teaser about the romance that develops:

 

With Drake’s humorous admonition to be careful with their guest, Melaynie carried a lantern to show Bernardino to his private tent at evening’s end.

In the light of a bright moon, whose rays poured through the wide opening of the small quarters, Bernardino found and immediately sat down on the portable cot. Tired from the day’s excitement and mellowed to the point of sleepiness by the wine, he languidly watched as the young captain’s boy placed the lantern on an empty cask, thinking as he watched of his young sister.  Why was he thinking of his sister; was it the way this young boy moved, or simply the beauty of youth?

He leaned back and began to remove his doublet, welcoming the cooler night air on his skin.  Remembering the music and the caress of the night breeze, he felt relaxed and sensual. Melaynie’s body and face were profiled in the moonlight.  What a lovely young boy, Bernardino reflected  as he studied the fine facial features and golden hair. He lazily watched the lantern’s flickering light, his feelings of arousal fanned by its glow. How agreeable it would have been to have a woman to love, an appropriate climax to a congenial evening.

Framed by the moonlight, the boy continued to stand, leaning toward the lantern, like a moth to the flame, his eyes mesmerized by the flame. From his angle lounging on the cot, Bernardino noticed the boy’s cream-colored shirt had flared outward as he stood there. The material was diaphanous enough that the lantern’s light revealed his naked chest. Bernardino smiled at the pretty picture it made, and then narrowed his eyes, looking again closely, as he sat up slowly, uncertain that what he saw was true.

The lantern had highlighted a pair of delicate breasts, whose outline was clear enough through the linen shirt. This was no boy; he saw the evidence. The breasts were small, but they were present. Had no one else in this English company noticed?  Men could be dense; he had seen how she had been treated as her costume defined her.  A turmoil of feelings assaulted him at this revelation, the excitement of the mystery of her only heightening his stimulated senses. He struggled to compose himself, to dampen his growing ardor, to quiet his racing mind.

Had he been intrigued because some instinct told him of her true gender?  Whatever the mystical reasons, she must not guess he had seen her secret. Searching his mind for clues, he quickly surmised her subterfuge had been well hidden until now and that she was probably older than he had supposed. What had caused this young woman to carry off this masquerade; was she possessed by some unusual traits, a woman who felt herself truly a man? Or was it simply an adventure she sought, a desire to break from the traditional female role in her society?  Did she feel he was a threat; was that why she had spilled the wine earlier? These turbulent thoughts raced through his mind in mere seconds.

Mel book cover 0

 

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