Review: The Apology, ATP playRites festival

Stars David Beazely (Byron), David Patrick Flanning (Percy), Jamie Konchak (Mary), Ava Jane Markus (Claire), Graham Percy (Tom). Directed by Kate Newby. Written by Darrah Teitel.

Well. (*fans self*)
I’ve always had a bit of a thing for Lord Byron, so I knew I had to go see The Apology. And it didn’t disappoint. The first act was a slightly crazy, amorous yet philosophical romp, with an overabundance of sex. Actually, just make it an abundance, and not one I’d be complaining about. I appreciate that they didn’t shy away from the sexual content. Heck, it’d be hard to have any play about Byron & Shelley (particularly in 1814) that didn’t touch on the sexual antics.

In 1814, Byron, the Shelleys, and Mary’s sister, Claire Clairmont, took off for Switzerland, where they lived and created for several months. Most famously, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. (Also, historically, Polidori wrote ‘The Vampyre’, but that wasn’t dealt with here.) And at that time, the Shelleys were polyamorous.

I found the first act the most interesting and entertaining. The second act was shifted into the 21st century (which took a bit of adjustment after just previously being in 1814), though I suppose it was the chaos and drama of the domestic issues, like Byron demanding custody of his and Claire’s child, that I found a bit tiresome after awhile. For me, this act dragged. It was good, but act 1 was more engaging, had some good comedy and one-liners that garnered strong audience reaction. But all the fun crazy times have to end, and real life crashes in.

It was thought-provoking, and it’s a play that I’m still thinking about several hours afterwards, which means in my book that it was a good one. I wonder what Byron’s life, Shelley’s, Mary’s, and even Claire’s, would have been like without that time in Switzerland? Would Mary Shelley have become the writer she became? And Percy Shelley, would he have written some of the poetry he did without Byron’s influence?

I’ll leave you with poems by Byron and by Shelley, and I highly recommend reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. (She wrote other books too, like ‘The Last Man’.)

My Soul is Dark (Byron – 1815)

My soul is dark — Oh !   Quickly string
The harp I yet can brook to hear;
And let thy gentle fingers fling
Its melting murmurs o’er mine ear.
If in this heart a hope be dear,
That sound shall charm it forth again:
If in these eyes there lurk a tear,
‘T will flow, and cease to burn my brain. 

 But bid the strain be wild and deep,
Nor let thy notes of joy be first:
I tell thee, minstrel, I must weep,
Or else this heavy heart will burst;
For it hath been by sorrow nursed,
And ach’d in sleepless silence long;
And now ’tis doom’d to know the worst,
And break at once — or yield to song.

Ozymandias (Percy Shelley – 1817)

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

Food: Chicken burger with pesto, & roasted sweet potatoes

IMG_20130314_174348This is the first recipe I’ve tried from, a site that provides a full week’s worth of meals and recipes, using 20 in-season fresh ingredients. It’s supposed to help you use up all that you buy, so that you don’t have any wasted food.

So far, I like it, and I like the recipes. My only problem is that I’m usually cooking for one, so I’m having to cut the recipes in half (I plan to take leftovers for lunch). But, it’s a small price to pay for having my whole week’s menu planned out. (Speaking of which, it’s a pretty cheap subscription price, too. And no, I’m not getting paid to say that.)

The chicken burgers had shredded onion, carrot & dijon in them (among other things), and the pesto was just right–tasty, and fresh. I love that there was lots of spinach in it. And, sweet potatoes were roasted with olive oil. Simple, and quick.

Guest Post: Brenda Sinclair’s ‘Love to the Rescue’

eCoverFinalMD-LoveToTheRescue-1-200x300For almost two years, Amy MacArthur has mourned her husband’s untimely death, vowing to never love another. Now, after surviving a burglary, Amy welcomes a new man into her life, the handsome police officer who attended the B and E at her home.

Frightened by the intruder’s ugly threats, Amy adopts an abused rescue dog for companionship and protection while hoping to heal the animal’s damaged spirit. In turn, could her new pet help a depressed child recover from a devastating loss?

The new additions to her life are stirring a renewed desire to fulfill her fondest wish: a family of her own.  But Amy is torn between preserving her husband’s memory and pursuing a new love. Is her heart willing to risk the devastating pain of losing a loved one again?

Or is she just one catastrophe away from losing it all?

ALP: Welcome, Brenda! Please introduce yourself.

BRENDA: Firstly, thank you for having me today, Alyssa. Well, we both live in Calgary, Canada so you know what a great city this is. My husband and a slightly spoiled Bichon Shih Tzu named Kelly live with me. I have two grown sons and three grandchildren. I write contemporary and western historical romance, and I love animals, especially small fluffy dogs.

ALP: You’ve chosen Calgary for the setting of Love To The Rescue.  Was there any particular reason why?

BRENDA: As you know, this is a vibrant city and most of the population of North America has heard of Calgary, Canada due in large part to the world famous Calgary Stampede held every July in our fair city. Calgary is head office to innumerable large corporations and is a hub for business and commerce.  Also there have been several movies starring big name Hollywood actors filmed around Calgary in the foothills of the Rockies. Mostly, my stories have been set in a U.S. location. Montana is a popular setting, and Calgary was a nice change.

ALP: Any other reasons?

BRENDA: I didn’t have far to travel to complete my research for the story. One of the people I interviewed was Tiffany Nelson, owner of four beautiful Irish setters—two adult dogs and two puppies. Those puppies had more energy than Planters has peanuts. But what beautiful dogs! Just like Rover.

Also, Calgary is a great place to live and to work and to write novels.  Several scenes in the story occur outdoors in the summertime—grilling out in the backyard on a hot Friday night and a Labor Day party in the backyard. Of course, there is a devastating fire scene set in mid-December so our snowy season is mentioned as well. In fact, you would probably agree that for the most part Calgary winters are fairly mild. People enjoy skiing and skating and outdoor walks all winter long. And a lot of the fluffy white stuff melts between snowfalls and blizzards. This trail is in beautiful Fish Creek Park in SW Calgary, a favorite place for walks in both summer and winter.

ALP: In Love To The Rescue your heroine is a romance writer. Is there a bit of you in Amy?

BRENDA: A little bit, profession-wise, and Amy and I are not morning people!  We both love the luxury of writing full-time which enables us to eat when we want, write when we want, and sleep when we want. We both love kids and motherhood and entertaining family during the holidays. But she’s a young widow whereas I’ve been married to the same guy for over forty years. Amy is a survivor and she’s overcome two devastating losses to drunk drivers in her lifetime. I can only imagine how difficult that would be.  And we are both quite organized people.

ALP: Organized in what way?

BRENDA: My life must be relatively organized for me to function. I totally admit to being a list maker. In fact, my husband has teased me about this habit for as long as we’ve been together. I make lists for everything: trips to the grocery store, things to pack for a vacation, jobs to do for spring or fall cleaning.  The list of lists is endless. And I firmly believe in goal setting, so every January I make a list of goals for the New Year.

ALP: Are you one of these New Year’s resolutions people?

BRENDA: Not so much resolutions as goals. Resolutions are too easily broken and then they’re done with. But there’s no absolute time limit on a goal. If you don’t attain the goal when you first hoped, revamp the goal with a new timeline. You can spend years reaching a goal if it is meaningful enough.

I believe in setting SMART goals. Something that is Specific, Manageable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. If you haven’t a clue where to start, there is lots of information on SMART goal setting on the internet.

And don’t start only in January or after a huge upheaval in your life. You can sit down and write down goals anytime. In fact, today is as good a day as any if you’re so inclined.

ALP: What’s next for you? Could you share some of the goals you’ve set for yourself in 2013?

BRENDA: Everything I’ve published so far has been contemporary romance. In 2013, I’ll be releasing the first books in my Spirit Creek Series. I’m so excited to be working on my first love—historical western romance. Mind you, I have two more contemporary novels in the works, including Book Three of my Escape to Alaska Series to complete first.

And being a fellow author, you know we’re never finished learning. On May 4, 2013 our writing group CaRWA, the Calgary chapter of Romance Writers of America, is holding a Spring Workshop with the remarkable New York literary agent Donald Maass as our guest. He’ll be speaking on what it takes to be competitive and gain staying power in today’s market. I’m certainly looking forward to attending this event at the retreat-like venue in Redwood Meadows. (Any writers interested can find more details on this event at the CaRWA website And in August I’ll be attending the When Words Collide festival in Calgary. Details for that can be found at I’m certain you’ll agree that we’re very fortunate to live in Calgary where there’s access to so many wonderful events for authors.

ALP: Yes, we are fortunate. It sounds like you have a busy year ahead of you. Thanks for coming today. Where can readers find you, and where can we purchase the book?

BRENDA: Thank you so much for having me. I’ve enjoyed this immensely. And anyone leaving a comment will be entered to win one of ten digital copies of When Dreams Collide, the sequel to A Bandit Creek Miracle. Winners will be drawn at the end of the blog tour on March 15th. And check out the special ‘Irish’ blog post on my website on March 17th.

Love To The Rescue is available exclusively through Amazon in both an ebook format and as a large print version,  and 50% of my author royalties will be donated to Humane Society shelters.

If anyone has rescued a dog or cat, please email me your pet’s story with permission to post it on my website to

Please check out my website to read the rescue story of our family dog, Beau, and other stories at You can also find me on Facebook brendasinclairauthor and on Twitter @bsinclairauthor

Rescue Blog Tour-new Brenda sinclair

On Monday March 11, 2013 I’ll be featured on the Women’s Book Review site  and then on Tuesday March 12, 2013 the next stop on the LOVE TO THE RESCUE BLOG TOUR will be at my website for a second Pit Stop. My heroine, Amy, lost several loved ones, and I’ll post an item on grieving.  I hope you’ll drop by. And make sure to enter the giveaway for a free book, below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Brenda Sinclair is a writer of historical American West and contemporary romance, a member of her local chapter of Romance Writers of America, a healthy lifestyle advocate and past leader of her TOPS weight-loss group, a gardening enthusiast and dog lover.

Brenda was raised on a farm in southern Manitoba and taught school on a semi-remote reservation in northern Manitoba where, during frequent visits to a nearby town, she met her husband, a Treaty Cree member of the local First Nations band. Brenda and her husband have been married for forty years and raised two sons. She is extremely proud of her three wonderful grandchildren.

Brenda worked in the accounting field for over twenty-five years. A few years ago, she retired and traded in numbers for words when she decided to be a writer when she grew up. The latter part of the previous sentence is still up for debate.

Music: The Stars (Are Out Tonight)… new David Bowie.

January 8, 2013 was a great day. A musician I’d just about given up on ever releasing a new album announced his first new album in a decade. Even though the single didn’t set me on fire (a bit too mellow for me), I walked around in a haze of new music.

And then, there was the second single release this past week…

This is the Bowie I remember. The song itself has embedded itself in my brain, and I can’t get it out. And the video. Oh the video. Bowie and Tilda Swinton, directed by Floria Sigismondi. A perfect combination.

The full album ‘The Next Day’ is streaming for free on iTunes right now, and it’s released on March 12 (US/Canada).