Dear Reader

Dear Reader #181

Dear Reader,

In early September 2022, I started Tula, my novel set in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Today, 420 pages and 77,000 words later, I completed the story. Four months of editing to go before publication on July 1, 2023. If you are interested, here are the details

Clara Bow’s twentieth movie was The Scarlet West, an ambitious silent film about the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The movie was produced in the spring of 1925, with location shooting in Colorado, and released on July 26, 1925. Clara played Miriam. Sadly, no copies of the film survive.

A transcribed page from my 9 x great grandfather John Bevan’s journal. In 1704, after twenty-one years in Pennsylvania, along with his wife Barbara and their youngest daughter Barbara, he returned to his estate in Wales. Sadly, daughter Barbara died. John wrote of her: “Her innocence and sweet behaviour preached truth wherever she came.”

A life-long love.

A transcribed page from my 9 x great grandfather John Bevan’s journal, c1720. Here, he writes of his wife Barbara Aubrey’s passing. 

She was very careful and open-hearted to help the poor and the weak both amongst us and others. In her last sickness, she was sensible she was not likely to recover out of it and she was satisfied and contented therein to submit to the Lord’s will. Speaking to me, she said, “I take it as a great mercy that I am to go before thee, we are upward of 45 years married, and our love is rather more now towards each other than at the beginning.”


Died on this day, 19 February 1894, aged 41 my ancestor Hopkin Howe. Hopkin died due to an infection of his spinal cord.

In 1871, Hopkin left the family home in Glamorgan to live with a Welsh family in Stockton, Durham. There, he plied his trade as a blacksmith, serving the burgeoning railway industry.

On his return to Wales, Hopkin became a Methodist minister. In 1884, he married Elizabeth Jones. This event brought great joy and tragedy. Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth May Gwendoline Howe, on 27 November 1885, but died in childbirth. Deprived of her mother, baby Elizabeth died in infancy. One can only imagine how these events tested Hopkin’s faith.

In December 1890. Hopkin married Sarah Ann Jones. When he died in 1894 he left Sarah Ann £119, the equivalent of a year’s wages. He left his Bible to his brother, my 2 x great grandfather, William Howe, a Methodist deacon. The Bible, with Welsh text and lavish illustrations captioned in English, is now in my possession. It’s a huge tome, and a treasured heirloom.

“As the ‘Brooklyn Bonfire’ Clara Bow blasted her way to fame. As the ‘It’ girl her name became synonymous with sex appeal the world over. Clara’s screen career became a succession of labels – all of them descriptive and not a few of them libellous.” – Dora Albert, c1933.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 36 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian.

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂

Dear Reader

Dear Reader #161

Dear Reader,

Some exciting news about Tula. The eBook version is now available to pre-order for the special price of £/$ 0.99. We’ll be doing a major promotional blitz on publication, and after that the price will go up. So, don’t delay, pre-order today 🙂

Chapters 16 – 19 of Tula. To enter an acting competition, Tula needs photographs of herself, but she can’t afford a professional photographer. Her father arranges a card game, and a con, to raise funds for the photographs.

📸 “I’ve Got Him Hooked!”, Colleen Moore, fishing, 1921. Taken by Frank B. Howe (no relation).

From the Lima News, Ohio, October 1928, Clara Bow in The Fleet’s In, a silent comedy. Clara played Trixie Deane, a ‘taxi dancer’. The movie was shot in San Pedro and San Francisco, June 18 – July 16, 1928, and released on September 15, 1928. Most 1920s movies were shot in a month.

The Syracuse Herald, 18 January 1931. A sensational trial that seriously damaged Clara Bow’s health and career. Clara’s secretary was accused of stealing thousands of dollars from her. Clara’s fans didn’t like any of it, and their ‘betrayal’ badly damaged her fragile self-esteem.

November 1924, Clara Bow, 19, second on the bill to Thunder the Marvel Dog in Black Lightning. Clara played Martha Larned, Thunder played himself. Later in her career, Clara wrestled with a huge dog in Call Her Savage. The dog was obviously well trained, but that scene took some courage.

“She was beautiful, but especially she was without mercy.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and the Damned, 1932.

In 1923, aged 18, Clara Bow appeared in Grit, a movie based on a story by Fitzgerald. Clara played Orchid McGonigle. As with all her movies, Clara stole the show.

Grit was Clara Bow’s fifth film. Based on a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Grit was filmed during June and July 1923 and released on January 7, 1924. A silent crime drama with a romantic subplot, Grit offered Clara a tomboy role, a role that, at that stage of her career, she excelled at. 

With no copies available from any archive, Grit is considered a lost film. In 1925 the British Board of Censors banned the movie for an undisclosed reason.

📸 Clara Bow in a still from Grit

Continuing my research into Eva Marie Saint’s ancestry using public records. I’m looking to answer two questions: was Eva’s talent the result of nurture, or nature? And why am I drawn to her as an actress? Can I find the answers to these questions in her roots?

Eva’s great grandfather was Jonathan Saint. This US Find a Grave Index links three generations of the family. I have no idea where this trail will lead, but so far it’s not going cold.

Jonathan E. Saint
Birth Date:3 Jan 1822
Birth Place:Wayne County, Indiana, United States of America
Death Date:18 Sep 1855
Death Place:Henry County, Indiana, United States of America
Cemetery:Greensboro Friends Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place:Greensboro, Henry County, Indiana, United States of America
Has Bio?:N
Father:William Saint
Mother:Ashah Saint
Spouse:Emily Grace Johnson
Children:Exelina Cain, Martha A Saint, John Quincy Saint, Mary Ella Baker

I discovered this Quaker marriage record for Jonathan Saint and Emily Grace Johnson, but no other details about the family’s Quaker connections. My next task is to see if I can learn more about the Saint’s association with the Quakers through Jonathan’s father, William.

Counter Gambit, Series 1, Episode 16 of The Rockford Files is a cool caper involving stolen pearls. This episode was written by Howard Berk and Juanita Bartlett. As the series progressed Roy Huggins’ (aka John Thomas James) influence as writer and producer faded. To fill the void the writing duties were shared by a network of writers.

In this episode, Eddie Fontaine made his third appearance as a villain, playing a different character each time. He would reappear as yet another villain in a later series.

The highlight of this episode is Stuart Margolin’s portrayal of Angel, his first appearance since the pilot episode. In total, Margolin portrayed Angel on 32 occasions, winning two Emmy Awards in the process. Rockford observes of Angel, “You make a great informer.” Angel’s response, “It’s a gift.”

Joe Santos also features as Sergeant Becker. The series is now taking shape and developing a pattern for future episodes. Interesting to note that another great TV series of this era, M*A*S*H, also took about sixteen episodes before the producers realised how best to portray their characters and the storylines that flowed from them.

Highest grossing film of 1921: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

A silent epic war film, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is widely regarded as the first true anti-war movie. The film catapulted Rudolph Valentino to superstardom. It also inspired a tango craze and a fashion for gaucho pants.

Based on a 1916 novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, the film-script was written by June Mathis. The movie’s success ensured that she became one of the most powerful women in 1920s Hollywood.

🖼 Lobby card for The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Clara Bow Quotes: “Sitting there alone in the darkened theatre, I studied the movements of my favourites. I did not know good acting from bad, but instinctively something within me revolted at portrayals which, to my mind, were off-key. Alone in my bedroom at night, I would re-act the portrayal, according to my own interpretation, in front of my mirror.”

When you get intertitles like this in silent movies, who needs talkies?

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian.

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂

Dear Reader

Dear Reader #160

Dear Reader,

Fonts can suggest an atmosphere and sense of time. With Tula, my novel about an actress, I’m looking to invoke the 1920s, so I’m experimenting with Snell Roundhand and American Typewriter.

Brooklyn Bridge is a location in chapter two of Tula. She goes there to deliver a parcel for her father and notices a cameraman filming. While she’s engrossed in the filming, someone steals the parcel.

At the time of its opening, on May 24, 1883, Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world with a span of 1,595.5 feet.

🖼 Chromolithography of the “Great East River Suspension Bridge” by Currier and Ives, 1883.

Was Clara Bow a good actress? On a human level, this question is irrelevant – Clara dragged herself out of abject poverty and pursued her dream; that’s all that matters. On an artistic level, it would be nice to answer the question, so here’s my opinion.

First, what other people said about Clara’s acting ability. Fellow actress Louise Brooks: “She was absolutely sensational in the United States … in Dancing Mothers … she just swept the country … I know I saw her … and I thought … wonderful.”

In 1981, producer Budd Schulberg described Clara as “an easy winner of the dumbbell award” who “couldn’t act.” Furthermore, he compared her to a puppy that his father B. P. Schulberg had trained to become Lassie.

Director Victor Fleming compared Clara to a Stradivarius violin: “Touch her, and she responded with genius.” Another director, William Wellman said, “Movie stardom isn’t acting ability – it’s personality and temperament … I once directed Clara Bow (Wings). She was mad and crazy, but WHAT a personality!”

While Grace Kingsley of the Los Angeles Times said; “Don’t miss Wine. It’s a thoroughly refreshing draught … there are only about five actresses who give me a real thrill on the screen – and Clara is nearly five of them.”

Clara Bow in Stars of the Photoplay, 1924

Clara Bow didn’t require direction: she required background about a particular scene, then a wise director would light the set and allow her to go with the flow. She understood character, and how to convey that character to an audience, not en block, but with subtle asides that would convey different messages to males and females, to those who would love her character, and to those who would disapprove. The net result: (nearly) everyone loved her performances.

Brought up in the silent era, Clara knew how to convey emotions through facial expressions, particularly through her eyes. Her glances were worth a page of dialogue, while her ability to cry on demand was legendary.

My opinion: Clara Bow was a great emotional actress. She knew how to get inside a character, how to portray a character, and how to connect with an audience. I agree with Victor Fleming – on the silver screen, Clara Bow responded with genius.


Continuing my research into Eva Marie Saint’s ancestry using public records. I’m looking to answer two questions: was Eva’s talent the result of nurture, or nature? And why am I drawn to her as an actress? Can I find the answers to these questions in her roots?

Eva Marie’s grandfather was John Q Saint, a postmaster from Indiana, living in Iowa in 1900. What did the Q stand for? This document provides the answer, and a whole lot more.

The Q in John’s name stood for Quincy. Furthermore, his parents were Jonathan and Emily, and they were Quakers.

John Quincy Saint
Event Type:Birth
Birth Date:19 Dec 1847
Birth Date on Image:19 1847 Twelfth
Birth Place:Henry, Indiana
Father:Jonathan Saint
Mother:Emily Saint
Monthly Meeting:Duck Creek Monthly Meeting
Yearly Meeting:Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
Meeting State:Indiana
Meeting County:Henry

So, my next task is to discover more about Jonathan and identify when his family became Quakers – did they join a Quaker community in America, or were they persecuted Quakers in Britain, seeking a new home?


Sleight of Hand, Series 1, Episode 15 of The Rockford Files is different to all previous episodes. The main reason for the difference is Sleight of Hand was based on a novel, Thin Air by Howard Browne. 

This episode is Rockford noir with little in the way of humour. Rockford becomes seriously aggressive on a couple of occasions too, both justified. 

In long-running series, writers are always looking for new angles for their characters, so it’s easy to understand why the Rockford writers were drawn to this story, but did it work as an episode of The Rockford Files?

I reckon the radical nature of this story would divide fans. Some would recognise that the story was built on an interesting premise – a baffling disappearance – while others would appreciate that the story was written for a different main character, a married man.

Georgian London established itself as a place for fashionable living with new streets and squares in Westminster, plus plush palaces for entrepreneurs and aristocrats. It fashioned a society based on exploitation and profit. It became a city without a soul.

Through the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and a network of coffee houses, fortunes were made – and lost. Money, stocks and shares were king. However, the financial pie is of limited size, and for every big time winner there were scores of big time losers. For every palace, scores of slums blighted the city, and ruined peoples’ lives.

Two new bridges across the Thames linked the north and south of London. The city spread into the countryside. Houses sprang up. The landscape altered beyond all recognition. 

Workshops and manufacturing centres fed the need for essentials, and luxury goods. Breweries quenched thirsts – alcohol was safer to drink than London water – while artisans displayed their skills in pottery and porcelain production, in clock and watchmaking, in furniture making, and in silk weaving.

London was a cosmopolitan place. But, as someone might have said at the time, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Westminster Bridge, depicted by Joseph Farrington, 1789. 🖼 Wikipedia.

Roy Clarke was born on 1 June 1925. A winger, he played professional football for Cardiff City, Manchester City, Stockport County and Wales.

A natural sportsman at school, Roy served his country during the Second World War as a coal miner, digging the ‘black gold’ that kept British industry going, which in turn kept the war effort alive.

In 1942, Roy signed for Cardiff City as an amateur. When league football resumed in 1945, he turned professional. 

Cardiff City won promotion from Division Three (South) in 1946 – 47. In May of 1947, Roy signed for Second Division Manchester City for a fee £12,000. 

At that time, Manchester City secured promotion to the First Division. This meant that Roy achieved the unusual feat of playing in three different divisions in consecutive matches.

Roy secured a regular place in the Manchester City team. Over the next decade he made 349 league appearances scoring 73 goals. He was also an FA Cup winner in 1956. During that match his friend, Manchester City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann, broke his neck, but played on.

In 1958, Roy wound down his professional career at Stockport County. On the international stage, he won 22 caps for Wales.

After his retirement from football, Roy became the manager of the Manchester City social club. Along with his wife, Kathleen, he provided an environment for fans, management and players to forge closer bonds. The club ran for nearly 25 years.


Independent Press-Telegram, Long Beach, California, October 21, 1950. “Lady Stars Gain Height.”

Highest grossing film of 1920: Way Down East.

A silent romantic drama, directed by D.W. Griffith and starring Lilian Gish, Way Down East is best remembered for its climatic scene in which Lillian Gish’s character, Anna, is rescued from doom on an icy river (pictured).

Way Down East was heavy censored. The Pennsylvania film board demanded over sixty cuts, rendering the story meaningless. The mock marriage and honeymoon between Lennox and Anna had to go, along with any hints of her pregnancy. Other cuts included scenes where society women smoked cigarettes and an intertitle, which featured the words “wild oats”.

Clara Bow Quotes: “When I was ten years old I knew what I wanted – to be a screen star was my idea of heaven. But what chance had I? My family was poor. We lived in a not too pleasing section of Brooklyn, and my only contact with the screen was an occasional visit to a neighbourhood theatre, paying my admission with pennies and nickels earned by taking care of neighbours’ children when not looking after my (sick) mother.”

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian.

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂