Let’s all send good-luck vibes with my dear friends India and Darcy, as they travel to the Moonlight and Magnolias conference this weekend, where they will wow the publishing populace, pick up their Maggie accolades, and drink very sweet iced tea.

Have a wonderful time, ladies! I can’t wait to hear all about it, and I so wish I could be there at the Maggie ceremony to stand up and cheer.

Anyone else going? Bev? Others?… Read More »

Sorry it’s been a whole week! For a few days there, I decided hijacking Lacey’s blog was more fun than doing mine, I guess.

Okay, so here’s today’s exercise in Tessa Validation – Tell me about your weird dreams and nightmares. Because I seem to be under a wee bit of stress at the moment (which may or may not have to do with my book being out on submission), and it’s manifesting itself in some pretty gnarly dreams.

I’ve been having most of those standard under-stress dreams – showing up for the final exam after skipping class all semester, freaking out because I couldn’t remember who was taking care of my baby. But then some of them are just … incomprehensible.

For example, the other night, I had a dream that I ate Crazy Glue. Don’t ask me why I ate the Crazy Glue. But in my dream, I vividly remember making lines of it and licking them up. (And no – never in my life have I done lines of Crazy Glue or any other substance.) Then, about three seconds later, it hits me that this may not have been such a brilliant idea, to eat the Crazy Glue. I start feeling a bit sick. So I turn over the tube, and – wouldn’t you know it! – right there it says, “DO NOT INGEST.” Okay, so in my dream I’m trying to decide whether or not to go to the hospital. I read a little … Read More »

I read a lot of children’s books. To me, an excellent children’s book is just plain an excellent book, and one that readers of all ages can enjoy. Right now I’m reading this absolutely marvelous story.

I looked up the book’s website, and found an interview with the author. I particularly appreciated this bit:

Q: How can I become a writer when I get older?
A: Write a lot—every day, if possible—read a lot (including a few reputable books on the craft of writing), and stubbornly refuse to be discouraged. If you like to tell stories and compose sentences, and if you work hard at being good at these things, then you are a writer even if you haven’t published anything. And if you keep at it long enough you very well might publish something. I know a lot of excellent writers who haven’t been published, though, because there is a certain amount of luck involved in finding publishers who appreciate your particular kind of writing. So if you want to be a published writer, you should also try very hard—every day, if possible—to be lucky.

That is how I would describe the last year of my life. Trying very hard – almost every day – to be lucky.

NOTE: I’ve edited the post to remove the book title, because I realized little children might google it, find my blog, and fall into sin.… Read More »

We’re eating a lot of peaches in my house these days. Both of the Darelings like them, which is a rare thing in and of itself, and they’re yummy and in season. And every time I start slicing up a peach for them, I reflexively recite,

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.
(attribution here)

I can’t help it. It’s a reflex. My children give me blank stares. I really ought to learn a different poem about peaches.

When the phone rings, a common refrain in my house is, “It’s nobody!” (Caller ID is the bestest invention evah!)

To which I must respond:

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

(attribution here)

Honestly, I don’t have that many poems memorized, but the few I do know by heart are firmly embedded in my gray matter and come out at the weirdest moments. Am I the only one? Anyone else have poems, quotes, song lyrics, etc. they … Read More »

Elizabeth Hoyt is blogging over on Romance Vagabonds today, and if you haven’t read The Serpent Prince yet – go do so. Yeah, now. I’ll wait.

Seriously, it’s that good. Simon, the hero, is just to die for. And when I try to understand why this book affected me the most viscerally of the trilogy – apart from the copious amounts of actual viscera spilled (it’s a tad violent) – I have to conclude that it’s because I’m just a sucker for a tortured hero.

What is it about this theme that is so lasting, from Beauty and the Beast to modern romance? That the love of a good woman can negate all manner of pain, suffering, inhumanity (figurative or literal) and heal a broken man? Rationally, I know it’s never so simple, but the fantasy is so powerful.

Like in high school, I knew this guy who cut himself. He was a nice, smart, funny guy, and his arms were a crosshatch of razorblade scars. Aside from government class, we had almost nothing in common. But oh how I loved to imagine that if I was his girlfriend, I would love him so good that all his problems would go away and all his wounds would be healed. Of course that wouldn’t have been the case. He had a girlfriend, a perfectly sweet one, and obviously she wasn’t the answer. He probably needed therapy and medication and who-knows-what. I hope he eventually got it.

I knew all this then, … Read More »

I was reminded of this recently while reading a chapter for a CP…

Back in my first draft of GOTH, I had a variation on the phrase, “Her mouth formed a stunned O.”

And a very wise person very kindly said to me, “I think you should rethink that phrase. Does one’s mouth ever really make an O? Go to the mirror, and make your mouth into an O, and then tell me what you think.”

Yeah. I did that. I looked ridiculous. I’ve never used that phrase again.

Try it at home, kids!… Read More »

Shameless self-promotion alert! (It may be the last of its kind, so indulge me.)

I just learned today that the “wardrobe scene” from Goddess of the Hunt is a finalist in the MRWA “Reveal Your Inner Vixen” contest. Yay! (And no, the finalists aren’t posted yet. They said it might take a while.)

This was especially exciting, because this is a contest expressly for sexual tension scenes. And I really do love that wardrobe scene. I vividly remember the weekend I wrote it – all they were supposed to do was kiss! Heh. Jeremy had other ideas. And they were gooood ideas, I guess. I still think of that as the defining scene of my book.

Overall, I entered GOTH in 5 contests. In one, I placed just about dead last. In another, I just missed the finals cut, but I made a great networking contact. In the other three, I made the finals. No final results yet. So I can’t complain. But am I entering another contest again?

No way. Argh, the tension! I can’t take it!

What else have I learned? Assuming you have a generally decent manuscript, finaling or not finaling in contests seems largely a matter of which judges you draw. Some of my most helpful feedback has come from my harshest judges. And even when I completely tanked in the one contest, it helped me learn to deal with criticism and rejection. But–oh, the energy and time and postage I’ve spent! I’m glad I entered … Read More »

This isn’t really TMI, but – well, on second thought, it could qualify. By all means, let’s strive to make it qualify.

When I was at RWA in Dallas, I attended a panel discussion on “Hot Historicals.” One of the panelists was the delightful Janet Mullany, whose recent release The Rules of Gentility is getting rave reviews. At the end of her highly diverting presentation, Ms. Mullany declared war on the phrase “pebbled nub” – or “nubs” of any variety, for that matter. She’s on a personal crusade, she says, to strike that cliched euphemism from romance novel vocabulary.

I got to thinking about this while reading the entries on Maggie’s highly diverting contest this week, and wondering…

If you could strike one word from the Love-Scene Lexicon, which would it be? Which noun or verb or adjective could you happily read a lifetime without encountering again?

For example, I remember reading a comment on some blog somewhere, where the commenter avowed a passionate distaste for the word “splayed.” (Erm, I kinda like that one myself, but oh well.)

My word, you ask?
Juices.

No explanation necessary or desired, I’m sure. Just makes me cringe every time.… Read More »

I have finally updated the excerpt on my website. Once upon a time, that excerpt was part of chapter one. Not the actual beginning of the book – that was a prologue. Not the beginning of chapter one – that was two pages of infodump. No, the excerpt began a solid two pages into chapter one.

This should have been a warning sign. Now GOTH has no prologue and a much better chapter one, and I think the excerpt is much stronger for it. (The book is stronger for it, too.)

But this has been an important lesson. I think all writers should ask themselves, when selecting excerpts – which scene in my book is the most intriguing? Which scene does the best job of introducing the characters, foreshadowing the coming conflict, and raising questions that will compel people to read on?

And if the answer to that question isn’t “the first scene of the book” – you should rethink the first scene of your book.

Have a gander at the new excerpt if you wish…
And if you want to compare with the old one, it can still be found here.Read More »

Well, I’ve finally gotten around to cleaning up this place a bit. Added a few links. Updated my website in a few tiny ways. Nothing big. I did finally push that page-meter a bit … you’ll notice it no longer says Goddess of Beauty. Yeah, I’m no longer sure what I’m calling that book. But in order to keep the same acronym, I’ve started referring to it as “Goats on a Boat.” Because, you see, they’re on a boat… and there are goats. It may have a new title soon.

And of course, there’s an allusion there to Snakes on a Plane. Which I haven’t seen. It’s not a conscious oversight – I can count on one hand the number of movies I’ve seen in the past year or two. Mr. Dare and I have really got to get a date-night sitter for the Darelings more often. When I’m in the mood for a movie, I usually find myself popping in the same DVDs over and over again.

And so I ask you this Tuesday, what movie have you watched a truly embarrassing amount of times?
And now you can’t say Casablanca or Gone With The Wind or something good. In order to be TMI, it must be an embarrassing movie.

Back in ye olde days of the VCR (remember Beta?) and before the days of Nintendo, my brother and I had a very few movies on tape and lots of time on our hands. Did we go outside … Read More »