Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Over on Manuscript Mavens, Erica has a great blog today about creating sexual tension with effective use of details. And Lacey suggested I blog about this, too. Well, okay! Actually, I’ve been looking for an excuse to post a some kind of excerpt from Goddess of Beauty, so this works well.

Details are everything, aren’t they? I’m still learning how to incorporate them smoothly – historical details, physical details, backstory details – but I know this is something I’m doing much better in GOB than I did in GOTH. This is in large part because I did much more research before beginning this book. So I have more details at the ready. I’ve also given my characters qualities that make them keen observers – the heroine is an artist, so she has an eye for color, line, beauty. The hero is accustomed to sizing up the quality and worth of things – and people – in a glance. So one lesson I’ve learned is, give your characters a unique look on the world. That way, the details they notice can be different from what anyone around them notices, and therefore A) worthy of mention, and B) revealing, in terms of characterization.

Specifically regarding sexual tension – I just love it when the hero notices details about the heroine that no one else does, and vice versa. There’s a lot of that going on in GOB.

Another thought – when you want to describe a scene vividly for the … Read More »

I have come to a conclusion, in my continued quest for self-knowledge.

I don’t do quick transitions.

I’m not referring to the transitions in my prose. Actually, I’m pretty proud of those. I try to keep my chapter and scene transitions snappy and full of momentum. I just wish ‘snappy’ and ‘full of momentum’ were words I could apply to myself.

I once had a roommate who was like a light switch. When she went to bed, she fell asleep. When her alarm went off in the morning, she was awake. End of story. Me? It takes me a half-hour of thinking/processing/obsessing about anything and nothing before I can ever drift off to sleep, and in the morning – oh man. Multiple swats at the snooze button and some serious caffeine intake are required before I can be called remotely ‘awake.’

I’m similarly sluggish when it comes to transitioning from “doing anything else” to “writing.” I have to sit in front of my computer for an hour sometimes, just puttering and waiting for my brain to shift into writing gear. Or maybe it’s more like I’m waiting to get out of my head and into the character’s. It takes forever. And once I’m in the zone … if you interrupt me when I’m writing, don’t expect a relevant or articulate response. I’m not home.

And now, I’ve aggravated the problem by alternating back and forth between writing new stuff (Goddess o’Beauty) and revising old stuff (Goddess o’da Hunt), and coaxing … Read More »

Sorry for yet another week of flaky blogging. That page-counter over there has been frozen for a while, which probably looks like I’ve been slacking off. But no, I’ve just gone back to concentrating on GOTH for a while. I’ve been working like a fiend to get some submissions in. Plus, I had a sick kid.

Okay, enough excuses. I’ll make rounds later today, promise.

In the meantime, I want to put together a master list of everyone who’s going to be at RWA in Dallas. (Can you believe it’s less than a month away? Yikes!) So please tag the comment trail here, or send me an email. I want to make sure I get to meet everyone in person! Those of you who frequent Fanlit Forever, are there any plans afoot for a get-together?

Those of you who are going, what event or workship are you most looking forward to attending?

Oh, and congrats to Lacey, Erica, Darcy, and Jacqueline for starting the fab Manuscript Mavens blog (which I have just now crawled out from under my rock to find)!… Read More »

Here’s something I’m curious about.

What makes you cry?

Tears are important in both of my books thus far. I’m not sure how that happened – I didn’t exactly set out for it to be a theme. Lucy almost never cries and Sophia bursts into tears at the drop of a hat, so they’re quite different at least. Crying is cathartic, it’s raw, it’s intimate. It can be a sign of vulnerability or a sign of trust. It fascinates me, so I write about it.

Maybe it’s because the weirdest things make me cry. Although I was devastated, I barely shed a tear when I had to put my poor, very sick kitty to sleep (not recently – no condolences necessary). But then I’ll burst into tears at the doctor’s office for no apparent reason. Perhaps India can explain this to me. For some reason, talking about the inner workings of my body to a stranger – even the most benign, unemotional stuff – always makes me tear up.

The one time I tried to give blood in a college blood drive – after like, 50 personal questions about everything from my travel habits to my sex partners, then two student phlebotomists and finally their supervisor poking about in both of my arms to find a good vein, then lying there for twenty minutes squeezing the ball while I sobbed uncontrollably, only to be told my veins were ‘bad’ and they hadn’t collected enough blood and I’d failed – FAILED … Read More »

Okay, I’ve been putting this off for a week or so now. I’m supposed to tell you eight interesting things about me. Huh. I feel like you all know my more interesting qualities – the stuff you don’t know is pretty boring, really. Or it’s something I’m just not gonna share. 🙂

But here goes:

  1. I don’t collect anything. I am vehemently anti-collecting. Once you tell one person you collect things with owls or pansies or whatnot, that is all you will ever receive for Christmas gifts, EVER. And then you must find places for all your owl-shaped salt-and-pepper shakers and pansy-emblazoned tea trays. Which brings me to a corollary…
  2. I abhor tchotchkes. Of all kinds. So far as I am concerned, their only function is to collect dust and look creepy.
  3. That all said, let it be known that my bookshelf is crowned with a Jane Austen action figure, and my baby was wearing his “Future Mr. Darcy” onesie today. Both gifts, of course. But I will always make an exception to points 1 and 2 (and probably 7 or 8 of the 10 commandments) for Darcy.
  4. But I like it when other people collect things, because I hate to shop and it makes my Christmas list quite easy – just gotta find those fuzzy aardvark slippers for Aunt Whatsit.
  5. Oh, and that reminds me – I have a deep and abiding adoration of Madeleine L’Engle. And Giotto. Which means I absolutely looooove this book.
  6. I rarely read
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This is not a titillating TMI Tuesday, sorry. I’m thinking about giving my hero a phobia. Phobia may be the wrong word, because it’s not exactly an irrational fear. But a strong fear of something in particular.

This can be hot when done well, right? I mean – I’m thinking Indiana Jones. “Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes.”

Or even the OCD extreme, like Jack Nicholson’s character in As Good As it Gets, or Tony Shaloub on Monk.

Why is it that we love strong heroes, but a phobia can be dead-on sexy?

And now for the TMI. What’s your biggest, most irrational fear?

Me? I’m horribly afraid of suffocation and drowning, which usually manifests as a fear of being more than a few feet underwater. Love swimming, love snorkeling. But I tried scuba once, and it was not pretty. I can’t tolerate watching movies that take place underwater, or in outer-space, or anywhere where the people have a limited air supply. Literally cannot watch.… Read More »

Just a note to say I have nothing to say.

Seriously, I have to catch up on some stuff in my life outside of writing, so I’m going easy on the blogging this next week. I will make sure to post on Tuesday, though. No cause to worry, no cause to celebrate … I’m just trying to do some delayed spring cleaning, yardwork, etc.

I leave you with this link for your amusement:
The Dialectizer

Try translating a paragraph of your WIP to Cockney, Jive, or Redneck! Post the results in the comment trail if you’re so inclined.

Here’s a bit of GOTH, translated to Swedish Chef (If you don’t remember the Muppet Show, this won’t be funny).

The original:

The dogs reached her first, pressing their wet, sniffing noses to her face, hands, belly.

“Shoo, Farthing!” Lucy whispered. “Sixpence! Off!” Blasted hounds. How was a girl supposed to play dead with one dog nuzzling her neck and another gnawing her boot?

“Lucy!” Henry hauled her to her feet. He performed a quick survey of her head and limbs. Finding her unharmed, he grabbed her by the shoulders and gave her a shake that rattled her teeth. “What the devil do you think you’re doing?”

Lucy was tempted to conveniently swoon, but she and Henry both knew she wasn’t the swooning sort.

Henry shook her again. “Of all the damn fool things to do!You could have been killed!”

“Not likely. The lot of you haven’t hit a thing all day.”

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One of the best books I’ve read in recent months is Laura Lee Gurhke’s And Then He Kissed Her. I was thinking about it again just the other day (and if I’m thinking about it two months after I read it, it must be a great book!) and it has at least two marvelous scenes that involve food. One is a seduction scene, where the hero eats a chocolate from his lady’s hand (and it is finger-lickin’ good, let me tell you!) and the other scene takes place after they’ve been lovers for a while, and they can’t decide between having dinner and making love, so they decide to multi-task.

All this got me thinking about food and sex and how deliciously well they go together. The wicked indulgence, the added senses of touch and smell and taste …. ever since Eve handed Adam that apple, it seems these two basic human appetites have been intertwined. I have more theories, but I’d rather hear yours first.

So, why do you think food and sex go so well together? Or maybe you don’t think so – perhaps you find it all just a bit too sticky?

Any favorite scenes from published novels? Have you written any tasty tidbits in your own books? And it wouldn’t be TMI Tuesday if I didn’t invite you to share your own favorite toppings. *evil grin*

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You know, I’m sure I’m not the only one who wonders quite frequently, “Tell me again – why exactly am I doing this?”

And I don’t mean that in a self-defeatist, ‘writing is sooo danged HARD’ way, although I certainly have those moments occasionally. What I mean is, I like to step back and imagine the end result of all this work I’m doing. Not daydreaming about seeing my book in print and climbing the bestseller list – although that’s plenty fun, too – I mean, thinking about the people who will eventually buy it and read it and what it will mean to them.

In the grand scheme of things, it might not mean much to them at all – and I’m okay with that.

I don’t know, sometimes I feel there’s an assumption that a writer must want to impart some Grand Message to the world. What if I don’t? What if I just want to tell a good story and entertain? Make a reader laugh, sigh, and occasionally blush? If my book entertains someone through a transoceanic plane flight, or keeps her mind pleasantly occupied while she’s in a hospital waiting room, or just makes her feel like cuddling up to her significant other – I’ll feel like all my work was worthwhile.

That doesn’t mean I’m out to write pure fluff. (Or impure fluff, for that matter. *g*) A compelling story has to have real drama and go for the gut. As I keep writing and … Read More »

So first, today I’m guestblogging over at Romance Vagabonds, so puh-leeze come stop by! My post over there is all about my continuing quest to craft the perfect one-sentence hook – and I need some help. Writing the blog made me realize that the GOTH blurb on my website was long overdue for a change.

The blurb I used to have up there was my first attempt at writing a hook. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. It went like this:

As a girl, Lucy Waltham wanted to be ‘one of the boys.’ Now Lucy’s grown into a woman, and she wants … one of the boys.

Orphaned at the age of eleven and left in her brother Henry’s care, Lucy refused to languish in the schoolroom while the men had their fun. She’s spent eight autumns in their company, hunting, fishing, and worshipping Sir Toby, her brother’s rakishly charming friend.

Now Toby’s about to become engaged to the angelic Sophia Hathaway, and Lucy is desperate. Seduction is her weapon; Toby, her target. All she needs is practice. She turns to another of her brother’s friends – Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall. Jeremy taught her to angle for trout and snare a grouse. Who better to give her lessons on trapping a man?

Against his better judgment, Jeremy agrees to her scheme. He reasons he can distract Lucy long enough to save Toby’s engagement and Lucy’s reputation. But what starts with a kiss (Or two. All right, three.)

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