Bring Out the Flying Monkeys

Hi, all!

Sorry to have disappeared for a few days. I’ve been off in Cloud-Cuckooland with Book VI. For whatever reason, the first fews chapters of a new book are always the hardest for me, probably because I’m still getting to know the characters, their modes of speech, their motivations. At least, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Over the past few books, I’ve noticed a pattern emerging. When I get stressed out, small animals start to appear. Or sometimes not so small animals.

In the deleted versions of the early chapters of nearly all the Pink books so far lurks a secret menagerie. Book V, The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, originally had a large section about an opinionated parrot (bet you didn’t know Charlotte had a parrot as a childhood pet!). Book IV, The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, contained a deleted tussle between Lord Vaughn and a small, yippy dog. Lord Vaughn was very happy when that scene was deleted. Book III, The Deception of the Emerald Ring, involved a cow. There was also a monkey, but we don’t need to go into that. It’s all rather akin to that old joke about sitcom producers bringing on a monkey to keep a dying show alive. Fortunately, the parrot went the way of the dodo, the cow went back to the barn, and the small yippy dog retreated into my lost files folder.

I knew it was business as usual the other day when I found myself inventing a completely unnecessary comic dog in the first chapter of Pink VI. So, for your amusement, here’s the very first outtake from Pink VI:

“Think nothing of it,” said Mrs. Palmer brusquely. “I only host these little soirees because Sophie does enjoy them so.”

“Sophie?” inquired Freddy, with an experienced eye out for an attractive young daughter.

One would have thought he would have learned his lesson. On the other hand, thought Penelope philosophically, one couldn’t very well force him into marriage twice.

“Yes, Sophie,” said Mrs. Palmer, looking lovingly at the dog wedged into the crook of her arm. “Isn’t Sophronia mummy’s little darling?” she crooned to the appalling ball of fur.

Mummy’s little darling bared her teeth in response.

“Lord Frederick positively dotes on dogs,” said Penelope innocently. “Especially lapdogs.”

Freddy’s face adopted an expression remarkably similar to Sophie’s.

Mrs. Palmer hastily clamped a gloved hand over little Sophie’s ears. The glove showed signs of gnawing around the ends. “Oh, we don’t like to think of Sophie as a dog. She is part of the family.”

“Its most attractive member,” commented a cheerful voice behind them.

“Did you hear that, Sophie, darling?” crooned Mrs. Palmer. “Begum Johnson thinks you’re lovely.”

And that, I can promise you, is the very last you’re going to hear of Mrs. Palmer and her amusing little dog.

It could have been worse, I suppose. It could have been a monkey.


  1. Camille la Flamme on June 11, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Mrs. Palmer reminds me of Mrs. Jenning’s daughter, another Mrs. Palmer, from Sense and Sensibility. (Is she only in the movie and not the book? I can not remember.)

  2. Jessica on June 11, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    I would have loved to read about Lord Vaughn and a yippy little dog.

    As an ailurophile, I would also love to see a very smart cat…oh, wait, that’s another series 🙂

    Probably best to stick to humans. And a Turnip.

  3. Lauren on June 12, 2008 at 12:07 am

    One can never have too much Turnip. : )

    You know, I hadn’t thought about this before, but there are sheep ALL OVER the beginning of Pink I. I guess I really have had this animal issue since day one (or Book I, as the case may be). And they didn’t get edited out….

    I was reminded of the sheep because my sister and I once had a very long discussion about which animals/vegetables are inherently funny and came to the conclusion that turnips are inherently funny vegetables, while sheep are to the animal world what turnips are to the vegetable in terms of instrinsic comedy value.

    Yes, we are very strange people. I blame Blackadder.

  4. Angie on June 12, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Right you are 🙂

  5. Lois on June 14, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Well, come to think of it, in the end, there isn’t anything wrong with an occasional dog or cat. 🙂 But I guess it’s the same in books as it is in movies — never want to act with animals and small children, they steal the show. Guess you wouldn’t want an amusing little dog taking over Pink VI. 😉


  6. Vera on June 14, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Anything with Lord Vaughn is worth reading! Even if he’s having a tussle with a tipsy sheep.
    I have to ask. Will we see him–Vaughn, not the sheep–in Pink V & VI?
    (Please say yes; else I will jump off the Santa Monica pier!)

  7. Denise on June 15, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    My money is on Lord Vaughn vs a lap dog. Although the encounter wouldn’t be something that he could easily forget — such a scar that marred his hand… ? I’ll leave the writing to Lauren, thank goodness. Throughout England’s history, wool has been a viable unit of export for merchants. Poor bleaters, I guess they really are as silly as their reputation has it.

  8. Amy N on June 16, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Well, your horses have always behaved. Thanks for the snippet!

  9. Sarah on June 16, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    Oh come on that outtake is priceless. Very amusing I thought and it would have been good in the book but i guess it didnt fit with what you were writing, hence why you removed it.

  10. rachel on June 17, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I for one would’ve enjoyed another animal scene–loved the random sheep in Pink I. (Although I can’t imagine Charlotte with a parrot…)

  11. Gemma on July 3, 2008 at 1:31 am

    Oh, I just love your writing!

  12. Adele on February 17, 2009 at 1:31 am

    I can’t wait for Pink VI! I just absolutely love your books….I have to ask though, I’ve noticed less of the “passionate” scenes in these last two books…are they going to reappear in Pink VI?

  13. Jessica on May 13, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Speaking of Turnip … don’t you think he dserves a ladylove? He’s just to sweet (and turnip-like) to leave alone for too long.

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