Introducing René Lalique from Magician of Light by J. Fremont

Magician of Light touches on the truth of Lalique’s illustrious life, the people most important to him, and the anguish of some of those personal relationships, creating a unique view of his real life and a compelling storybook love story.

In your formative years, what inspired you to become a jeweler?

I loved to draw and paint, winning competitions early on. Louis Aucoc, a goldsmith, adopted me at age sixteen after my father suddenly died. He gave me an apprenticeship in his jewelry business and taught me the tricks of the trade. This introduced me to professional life as a jeweler and encouraged my passion for the decorative arts. I wanted to take my art from drawings to miniature jewelry paintings, creating sculptural forms from stones, gems, enamel and precious metals.

It’s a rarity when someone becomes an international success in one genre, but an anomaly when it happens in two different fields. What drove you to redirect your focus on glass in the second half of your career?

I was interested in glass very early in my career, beginning with using enamel in my jewelry. My favorite enameling technique is called plique-à-jour. This is a style of enameling, where transparent enamels are fused into metal cells and then acid is used to remove the back of the cell, leaving just a metal filigree and the glass. This is an extremely difficult, time-consuming process, but it produces the most extraordinary effect suggestive of stained glass. One of my largest pieces ever created by employing this method was Femme Libellule, Dragonfly Woman, commissioned by mon bon ami, my good friend, Calouste Gulbenkian. Over time, I incorporated more glass into my jewelry designs before moving onto fabricating larger items, such as perfume bottles. Francois Coty, a perfumer, asked me to design flacons for his fragrances. These items were the impetus of my pursuit of strictly glassmaking. Everything grew from there: my production, the number of clients and employees, my factories and my works. At the end of my career, I focused a great deal on architectural glass projects.

Why has Lalique-designed art stood the test of time?

My art is my passion. Drawing inspiration from three of my favorite loves: flora, fauna, and women. Excellent craftsmanship is important to me and I strive to create distinguished works by using my imagination and my hands. Employing many methods, I sculpted extra dimension into my objets d’art. Utilizing the organic colors of nature, toying with unique materials and contemplating the interplay of light in transparency and opacity of atypical gemstones and glass, I attempted to create something never seen before. 

What advice would you give a young entrepreneurial-designer today?

Study nature, and bygone styles for sources of inspiration. Instead of mimicking, use the ideas and techniques of other eras and people to create your own unique brand. Use experimentation and reinvent aspects, qualities but combine them into new configurations. Create novel constructions from your perspective. Most of all, use your imagination and be true to your artful self.

Who were the people most influential on your success?

So many people were integral to my success. Foremost, my mother. She inspired me with her love, creativity and work ethic, but she also helped me financially by paying for my schooling in France and at the Sydenham College in the Crystal Palace in England. Artistic friends, including my father-in-law, Auguste Ledru, sculptor, and, of course, Francois Coty, all contributed to my eminence. My most influential promoter and patron was Sarah Bernhardt. She introduced me to many clients, including Calouste Gulbenkian, one of my most important clients.

Did building your company in France and Paris impact the Lalique brand?

I love my city, my country and would live nowhere else. The Lalique brand is luxury and style. Paris has been the fashion capital of the Western world since the seventeenth century. As a Frenchman, of course, my company could only be based in France.

Do you have professional and personal regrets when looking back on your life?

I succumbed to my passions and sometimes got consumed by them. Perhaps I was a workaholic and should have spent more time with my loved ones. 

You mentioned education at the Sydenham College. Why did you choose this institution? 

I wanted to travel and explore unknown places. Sydenham College focused on aspects of art and business that I wanted to master. William Morris, Japonisme, the aesthetic movement, were a few of the influences that I wanted to absorb and it was an excellent school for draughtsman to improve my illustration. The school also provided knowledge of modern engineering, improved manufacturing techniques, innovative industrial methods and exposure to British design reforms regarding the decorative arts. Plus, I wanted to improve my English. I also met a young lady, Mademoiselle Haliburton. Elle était belle à croquer, a beautiful, desirous woman.

You met a pretty woman, Miss Haliburton, in England. Can you tell us more about her and your relationship?

Non. Please read my story, Magician of Light, to find out that information.


Photo by Marc Glassman

J. Fremont is an author and veterinarian. For more than twenty-five years, she practiced small animal veterinary medicine in addition to serving as an adjunct professor at a local university and community college. The mother of two adult sons, she lives in Southern California with her husband of thirty years. Retired from veterinary medicine, J now spends her time developing her artistic side. In addition to writing, she is a passionate practitioner of the decorative arts, including jewelry making, glass fusing, sewing, and creating mixed media for fun. She enjoys photography, gardening, and posting on Instagram, as well as building gorgeous Pinterest boards. You can find her on her website: https://drjfremont.com/
Facebook: @jfremont | Instagram: @insidetheegg

Meet Calla from Ann H. Gabhart’s new novel, When the Meadow Blooms

Welcome to Novel PASTimes, Calla! We are pleased you stopped by today.

I am so glad to be here to talk about what’s been happening in my life and that of my sister, Sienhttp://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/when-the-meadow-blooms/399000/affiliatesna, and my mother, Rose. They said I should be the one to come talk to you since I’m the older sister at 15. Sienna is only nine. And too much talking sometimes is difficult for my mother, Rose, since she had tuberculosis.

So introduce yourself, dear. Is there anything special about your name? Why do you think you were given that name?

My name is Calla Rose Meadows, and yes, there is definitely something very special about my name. My second name is after my mother, Rose. Since her name is a flower, she wanted flower names for Sienna and me. She chose Calla for me because her mother loved calla lilies. She had some bulbs she dug up each fall and planted again in the spring. While I never saw them, Mama said the flowers were white and seemed to represent peace to her mother. When her mother died, Mama planted the bulbs on her grave. I like to imagine them still blooming there, but Mama says the bulbs wouldn’t have survived our cold Kentucky winters. But I can still imagine them there.

I’m so sorry to hear that your mother had tuberculosis. I’m sure that was a very difficult time for her and for you. Can you tell us about it?

Oh yes, it was terrible. Mama had to go to a sanitarium since the best treatment according to the doctors is fresh air, sunshine and good food. My father died during the flu epidemic in 1918 and we didn’t have any other family to take in Sienna and me while Mama was getting treatment there. I couldn’t take care of Sienna myself since I was only twelve when Mama got sick. So, Mama had to take us to an orphanage. She thought it would just be for a few weeks, maybe a couple of months, until she would be better and able to come back for us. But sadly, the treatment wasn’t that quick and we were at the Home for Girls for almost two years. That was very difficult for my sister. 

You sound as if that was only difficult for her and not you. Why is that?

Sienna has always been a little different. Mama says she simply thinks about things in unique ways. Sienna loves anything to do with nature–flowers, birds, animals. She even loves spiders and snakes. I cannot understand that. Anyway, while I had no trouble following the many rules of behavior in the orphanage, Sienna’s mind would wander to those spiders and birds. She would forget about the rules and constantly get in trouble. I hated it when I knew she was going to be punished, but I could never seem to keep it from happening.

Poor child. I am so sorry.

Well, things are better now. 

What made things better for you? Did your mother get well?

Mama says she will never be as healthy as she was before the tuberculosis. She did get well enough to leave the sanitarium but her doctor said she wouldn’t be well enough to work making hats as she did before. Without that income, we couldn’t rent a place to live. Something, perhaps the Lord’s nudging, made me remember that my father had a brother. While my uncle had long lived a reclusive life and I had never met him, I took a chance and wrote him. I begged him to let us come to his farm, Meadowland. I was that sure a farm with lots of fresh air and sunshine would be the perfect place for Mama and for Sienna too. Don’t you think a place called Meadowland would be like that?

It does make one think of blue skies and fields of flowers. So did you get to go and was it as nice as you imagined?

Yes, Uncle Dirk didn’t just send for us. He came to the orphanage himself. And Meadowland was even more beautiful than I had imagined. Wide fields. Butterflies and flowers. A river flowing past it. I could not have wished a better place for Sienna.

But weren’t you a little nervous going to live with an uncle you had never met? One who had been, as you said earlier, a reclusive person?

Maybe a little at first because of the way he looked. The scars on his face and all. But Sienna wasn’t bothered at all. At first sight, she surprised him with a hug as though she’d known him forever.

Scars?  Oh my. I think you need to tell me more about your uncle. 

When he was a young man he was badly burned in a barn fire. Mama said he would have probably died if my father, only fourteen at the time, hadn’t pulled him out of the fire. Uncle Dirk was trying to save his one true love, Anneliese. He believed she was in the barn. Mama says nobody thought he would survive except his mother who sent up many prayers for him while nursing him back to health. But Uncle Dirk has many scars from that battle.

Did he save Anneliese? 

It turned out she wasn’t in the barn. It’s a long story and one better told by Uncle Dirk. While I’ve always been very curious about it, Mama forbade me to ask my uncle anything about Anneliese. Don’t you just love that name? Anyway, all I know is that she disappeared and Uncle Dirk could never find her. I think his broken heart even more than his scarred face is what caused him to hide away from people on his farm.   

That does sound like a story worth hearing. 

Perhaps you can get the full story from him someday. I do know she was beautiful and Uncle Dirk loved her very much.

All right. Let’s think about you and your sister again. Tell me about Sienna.

 Oh, that’s much easier to answer. I would do anything for Sienna. She is such a special girl. Mama says she’s a pure soul. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but Sienna does have a loving heart for any and all living creatures. She wanted to make friends with a mouse while we were still at the Home for Girls and couldn’t wait to get to the farm to meet some farm mice. It turns out that mice are shyer than she thought. So, she made friends with some crows first. She even named them, and those crows were amazing. Almost as amazing as my little sister. 

She does sound like someone we would all like to get to know better. While I’m intrigued by all your troubles and adventures, it’s time to wrap up our interview. What is something you have wanted more than anything? 

A forever home. Even before Mama got sick and Sienna and I had to go to the Home for Girls, we continually had to move to cheaper rooms because Mama couldn’t make enough money making her hats. And then we had no home at all while we were separated from Mama. So we, all of us, dreamed of having a forever home together. We hoped Meadowland might be that, but then something happened to upset Uncle Dirk. Something I did and I thought I had ruined it all. And then there was a storm and… But I can’t tell it all. You’ll just have to read our story to find out what happened. 

We certainly want to do that to find out more about your story. Thanks for coming to talk to us, Calla, and sharing about your family and Meadowland. 


After a tragic fire and the loss of his one true love, Dirk Meadows has lived a reclusive life,
but when his late brother’s family needs a place to stay, he opens up his home even as he
intends to keep his heart closed. Rose has known much loss in her life, but the hardest thing
she ever had to do was leave her daughters at an orphanage while she is treated at a
tuberculosis sanatorium. So she is happy to accept Dirk’s offer of shelter once she is well
enough to reclaim her children. Calla and Sienna have difficult experiences at the orphanage
but feel rescued when they go to Meadowland, their uncle’s farm. Sienna, nine, has a special
feel for animals and birds. Her friendship with a couple of crows, who bring her gifts, cause
a crisis threatening the happiness Rose and her daughters have found at Meadowland. But
then the crows’ gifts open a door to the past to help Dirk find healing as he faces the truth
of what happened years before. His nieces’ love breaks through the shield around his heart
and opens him up to love again.


Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Along a Storied Trail,
An Appalachian Summer, River to Redemption, These Healing Hills, and
Angel Sister, along with several Shaker novels—The Refuge, The
Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed
, and The Gifted. She and
her husband live on a farm a mile from where she was born in
rural Kentucky. Ann enjoys discovering the everyday wonders of
nature while hiking in her farm’s fields and woods with her
grandchildren and her dogs, Frankie and Marley. Learn more at
www.annhgabhart.com.

Meet Marion Davies as seen in the novel THE BLUE BUTTERFLY by Leslie Johansen Nack

Ann Leonard: Thank you for doing this. I know you don’t do many interviews. Your life has been iconic in so many ways. Will you look back with me and answer a few questions about William Randolph Hearst – or WR as you like to call him – and Norman Kerry and of course, Charlie Chaplin? And I hope we can talk about your daughter Patricia, and your sisters, and of course Orson Welles and Citizen Kane. 

Marion Davies: Thank you for having me. It’s nice to be able to talk openly about subjects that were taboo when I lived them. 

Ann Leonard: Well, then let’s dive in. When you think of WR now, what do you think of? 

MD: Love. His uncompromising devotion and love for me. WR adored me and though he had his ideas about how to show me and how to protect me, his love was like a big bear hug, it sometimes smothered me. 

AL: There were rumors about WR hiring private detectives to follow you so he could keep an eye on you. Is that true?

MD: It’s true. He started doing that while we were still in New York. He’d have to leave town for work or whatever he did when he wasn’t with me, and he wanted to know where I was every single minute. He was so jealous. It made me so mad but he would never stop it, no matter how much I begged. 

AL: Later it must have been hard, after you moved to Hollywood, and he hosted Millicent and his four sons at San Simeon while the Castle was being built. 

MD: Please don’t call it that. WR hated when people called it a Castle. Please call it the Ranch. Thank you. [She pauses and looks out the window.] Yes, it was hard to be hidden from sight when Millicent came to town. It broke my heart. I knew WR didn’t love her, but he had to be a father to his boys and they always travelled with her when they were young. Those were tough years after we moved west. 

AL: But isn’t that when you and Charlie Chaplin began your affair? 

MD: Charlie was a sweetheart. I loved him dearly and the chemistry we had was undeniable and incomprehensible to me. The air crackled when we were together. We enjoyed ourselves immensely during those early years. I know you have details that I won’t go into here. Suffice it to say I’ve read parts of the book coming out – THE BLUE BUTTERFLY – and I don’t object to anything. 

AL: That’s quite an endorsement Ms. Davies. I’m sure the world will love hearing that. Can we talk about your movies? Which one was your favorite?

MD: So many were my favorites. My first, Runaway Romany will always be my favorite even though it was a horrible little film. But I wrote the script, starred in it, and found financing myself at age 20. WR didn’t help me at all. Some of my other favorites are Buried Treasure, When Knighthood Was in Flower and Show People. It’s hard to pick favorites.

AL: Can we talk about Patricia? You and WR have denied that she’s your daughter for your entire life. Can you please answer once and for all, is Patricia Van Cleve Lake your daughter? 

MD: [She stares at her hands and folds them together, placing them on her lap and then looks up.] Yes, Patricia is our daughter. Why is the world so obsessed with this fact? Why does it matter? Yes, Patricia is my lovely daughter, and I am so proud of her and my grandchildren and Arthur of course. He was such a good father. Now, let me ask YOU this: what will you do with this knowledge? 

AL: Breaking the news of one of the best kept secrets in a hundred years will be wonderful. Finally we can lay it to rest. Can I ask about another rumor? Did WR kill Thomas Ince aboard his boat that fateful weekend? 

MD: Let’s get all the dirty laundry out, shall we? No! WR couldn’t kill a fly. He was jealous of Charlie and me and yes, Thomas and his girlfriend Margaret were aboard that weekend, but Thomas had a bleeding ulcer that an infection caused his demise – not WR! 

AL: Of all the theories about what happened that weekend, your explanation is the most boring of them all. 

MD: That’s how you know it’s true. WR was a lover of animals and a tender soul who wouldn’t hurt anything. I loved WR more than anything even though he bugged me so much. He lectured me and everybody about history, and about artifacts, and about doing the right thing, and being a good citizen. It made us all crazy. It bored me to tears sometimes, but I loved him more than I can explain. We were meant to be together, him and I. 

AL: Do you wish you had been able to marry?

MD: Of course I do. I wish we could have been like everybody else, instead of a circus show. But it wasn’t meant to be. Millicent refused to give WR a divorce, and when she did get close to agreeing to the divorce, she always had second thoughts and demanded some outrageous thing be added to the terms of the divorce. She was a greedy, small, and spiteful woman. And she won in the end. 

AL: I hate to end on such a sour note, but thank you for the interview. You are most gracious and kind. I thank you for telling the truth. 

MD: Of course, you are welcome. 


Leslie Johansen Nack’s debut, Fourteen, received five indie awards, including the 2016 Finalist in Memoir at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Before she started writing, she raised two children, ran a mechanical engineering business with her husband, took care of her aging mother, and dreamed of retirement when she could write full-time. She did everything late in life, including getting her degree in English Literature from UCLA at age thirty-one, only two years after she married for the second time. If you want to know when her next book is coming out, please visit her website www.lesliejohansennack.com and sign up to receive an email when she has her next release. She lives in sunny San Diego and enjoys sailing, hiking and reading.