Tag Archives: What Elise Wrote

What Elise Wrote-Castle of Dreams

Here is the link to Goodreads giveaway for Castle of Dreams:


I hope you win a copy!

Elise cropped-castle-of-dreams-facebook2.jpg

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What Elise Wrote-Edith Bouvier Beale


I write a series called forgotten women but Edith Bouvier Beale is not forgotten and so I’ll call this post ‘Edith Bouvier Beale – A Memorable Woman’.

Edith Bouvier Beale was born in New York City, the only daughter of Phelan Beale, a lawyer, and the former Edith Ewing Bouvier (known as ‘Big Edie’). She had two brothers, Phelan Beale, Jr. and Bouvier Beale, and had a privileged upbringing and gilded youth. Edie  attended The Spence School and graduated from Miss Porter’s School in 1935. She had her debut at the Pierre Hotel on New Year’s Day 1936. The New York Times reported on the event, where she wore a gown of white net appliqued in silver and a wreath of gardenias in her hair.

It is such a lovely description of Edie’s gown that I’m sure a character in Book 2 that I’m in the midst of writing will wear this gown.

In her youth, Little Edie was a clothes model at Macy’s in New Yorkand Palm Beach, Florida. She later claimed to have dated J. Paul Getty and to have once been engaged to Joe Kennedy, Jr. (although in reality she only met him once). During the 1961 inauguration of John F. Kennedy, she told Joe Kennedy, Sr. that, if young Joe had lived, she would have been First Lady instead of Jackie.

Edie felt that she was on the verge of a big break into films in 1952 when she was 35. She said she had offers from MGM and Paramount, and that her dance career was set to take off.

According to Edie Beale’s diaries and letters that she left to the executor of her estate, her nephew Bouvier, she had an affair in the late 1940s with Julius Albert Krug, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, who was married. The relationship is depicted in the 2009 HBO bio film Grey Gardens. Her mother alludes to ‘that married man’ during an argument with her daughter in the documentary in which she says, ‘That married man was not going to give you any chance at all.’

When she was in her late 30s, Edie developed alopecia universalis which caused her body hair to fall out and prompted her to wear her signature turbans. According to a relative, she once climbed a tree at the house and set her hair on fire.

Grey Gardens
Sickly, alone, and with no money, Edie’s mother begged her daughter to return to the East Hampton estate in March of 1952. On July 29, 1952, Edie returned to live with her mother in the East Hampton estate Grey Gardens (at 3 West End Road). The home had been purchased for Big Edie in 1923 when it still had one of the finest gardens on the East Coast.

After the 1963 death of the Beales’ caretaker and handyman Tom ‘Tex’ Logan, and a burglary in 1968, the women lived in near isolation and, eventually, poverty.

On October 22, 1971, inspectors from the Suffolk County Health Department raided the house and discovered that it violated every known building regulation. The story became a national scandal. Health Department officials said they would evict the women unless the house was cleaned. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis came to the rescue, paying $32,000 to clean the house, install a new furnace and plumbing system, and cart away 1,000 bags of garbage.

The Beales then rose to fame as a result of the Maysles brothers’ 1975 direct cinema documentary film Grey Gardens. The film revealed the strong and dysfunctional ties between Mrs. Beale and Little Edie, as well as showcasing the reclusive pair’s daily rituals of song, recollections, arguments, and reconciliations. Edie and her mother were each paid $5,000 for the documentary, which featured their daily lives, songs and dances included.

After her mother’s death in February 1977, Edie moved to a small rental cottage in Southampton, New York, and then to a studio apartment on East 62nd Street in New York City, where she lived from 1980 to 1983 before moving to the Roney Plaza Apartments in Miami Beach, Florida. She lived briefly in Montreal in the mid-1990s (to master speaking French, a skill she mentions in Grey Gardens), and then with relatives in Oakland, California, in 1997. She returned to Bal Harbour, Florida, in the fall of 1997, where she remained in quiet isolation, writing poetry and corresponding with friends and fans. She reportedly swam every day until close to her death at the age of 84.

Edie Beale was discovered dead in her apartment on January 14, 2002, after a concerned fan could not reach her on the phone. She had been dead about five days from a presumed heart attack.  She was survived by three nephews and one niece.

She reportedly did not wish to be buried alongside her mother in East Hampton, and had requested having her ashes scattered in or near the Atlantic. Her remains are interred in Long Island’s Locust Valley Cemetery, next to the grave of her brother Bouvier “Buddy” Beale Sr.

Edie was a free spirit.

Have a lovely Easter Sunday,  Elise





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What Elise Wrote-World Poetry Day

I have long loved poetry and wrote a few lines from the  The Highwayman in my novel Castle of Dreams. It is a poem that Stella and Jack loved when they were teenagers and quoted to each other as they walked home together from the school bus. It’s about Bess the landlords daughter who is doomed to plait a blood-red love knot in her hair forever. Very dramatic and romantic!  I’m writing Book 2 now and it is set in WW1 and its aftermath. My protagonist is, as most country boys were in that era, a wonderful horseman. His horse is named Midnight. I have done an outline for Book 2(which changes now and again) and while I can’t share the story with you I can say it has the backdrop of WW, a mystery and romance. Just the type of novel I like to read.

Today is World Poetry Day and I have shared a video curtesy of Shakespeare and Company.

For World Poetry Day, Macedonian poet Nikola Madzirov reads his work first in his native language, then in English translation. I shared this reading from Shakespeare and Company. Nikola’s poems are exquisite.




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What Elise Wrote-Castle of Dreams

Castle of Dreams has done so well in the  Goodreads competition that Allen & Unwin will soon do another giveaway.  If you missed out in the first giveaway you have another chance to win a copy.



Have a lovely day,


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What Elise Wrote-Ricky learning English

As a writer I just had to share this video.


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What Elise Wrote-Goodreads Giveaway

I would like to thank every one who has entered the Goodreads competition. There is still  1 day and 12 hours to enter and win a copy of Castle of Dreams. 141 people have now entered! It is a figure that compares favourably with other Allen & Unwin authors (well not Kate Morton who is an inspiration to so many writers) in the Goodreads Giveaway. If you go to my home page there is a link to my Goodreads page.

It is only seven weeks now until Allen & Unwin publish Castle of Dreams so I don’t have to wait long until my novel is in bookshops and other retail outlets all over Australia.

I have had great support from writer friends and also my family. A friend from my time working at the Museum of Western Australia got in touch via Facebook to let me know she now manages a bookshop in the south of the state and has ordered copies of Castle of Dreams and my own local bookshops have already been visited by an Allen & Unwin representative and ordered books!

I find my writer friends are generous and sharing in spreading the word about  Castle of Dreams  and most of them are not Allen & Unwin authors but happy to support a fellow writer.

I followed the guidelines on Allen & Unwin’s innovative Friday Pitch (which is now everyday) and eventually after some rewriting I got ‘the call’! I was in the midst of moving house, literally waving off the removalists (the Kelly boys who do come from Ned Kelly country and one of the boys looks like Ned!)  when Louise Thurtell my publisher rang me. I had a new home and a publishing contract! I have not been through the publishing process with a big publisher before and found every single person I dealt with to be supportive and understanding but their guidance was done with a firm and professional hand.

I have been invited to do author talks and I can see a busy period coming up. I have started book 2 and I  am also editing a friend’s manuscript. I want to have the first draft done of book 2 by my birthday which is 8th August. Last night I worked out how many words I would need to do (100,000 word manuscript) each week to achieve this: either 1000 words for five days of the week or 750 words per day for 7 days.

Being an organised person I need to set gaols and when a project is broken down it doesn’t seem so daunting. I also do a check-in each day via email with two writer friends and we all find this very helpful. It is hard sometimes to keep to a writing schedule but necessary. I love to research and find if I’m  not careful I spend too much time doing it so with book 2  (I work in ‘Pages’) I make a note on screen and come back to it later. (Thank you to my writer friend who told me about this feature as I use it all the time.)

Enjoy your weekend and good writing to all,




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What Elise Wrote-The Doomsday Vault

I knew about this but when I came across this video I thought I would share it as a post on my blog.

For all my writer friends (Morgan perhaps?) I can see a novel and a film being made about the vault; perhaps rogue nations trying to invade the vault? Endless posibilities . Not sure if it has already been done.

Cheers Elise


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What Elise Wrote-Jon Blake

I am researching a new novel set during the First World War, or as it was known at the time, the Great War. I came across this wonderful tribute to Jon Blake and thought I’d share it with you.


It is a poignant video that shows Jon, who has passed away, as he will always be remembered. Dustin is a wonderful son.








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What Elise Wrote-Castle of Dreams

There are ten copies of Castle of Dreams on Goodreads in a giveaway. The offer ends on 19th March, 2016 so still plenty of time to enter the competition. There is a link on the first page of my blog.

Good writing to all,

Cheers Elise

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What Elise Wrote-Joan Marsh


This is the fourth in my series of forgotten women.

Joan Marsh (July 10, 1913 – August 10, 2000), born Nancy Ann Rosher in Porterville, California, and briefly known as Dorothy D. Rosher, was an American film actress. Her father was Charles Rosher, an award-winning cinematographer and a favourite of Mary Pickford.

Promoted by her father, Dorothy Rosher, as she was billed, moved easily into child roles in several of Pickford’s silents.

Luckily for Joan she had a lovely voice and with the introduction of talkies she had no trouble making the transition from silent movies.

Married to and divorced from screenwriter Charles Belden, Marsh largely retired from the screen after her marriage to John D.W. Morrill in late 1943. Her last film was 1944’s ‘Follow the Leader.’


For many years Joan owned and operated a successful stationery business in Los Angeles, Paper Unlimited.

It is always good to read about an actress from any era who went on to have a happy and successful life after they finished working in movies or on the stage. Except for owning and running a bookshop a stationery shop in the 40’s would have been the next best thing and a lovely place to spend time.

Enjoy your day,





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