So I entered GOTH in a contest. The Hearts Through History contest, to be exact. I’m also planning to enter it in The Beau Monde’s Royal Ascot and Orange Rose contests within the month. And I think that will about do it.

I hear such mixed things about what contests can do for you. There are inspiring success stories, like Diane Gaston’s guestblog the other day on Romance Vagabonds (and if you haven’t been over to the new RV site yet, it’s gorgeous! Great job, gypsy girls!) And then there are people who say contests are a waste of time, energy, and money that could be put to better use.

I figure I might as well try a few, see if I get some helpful feedback out of them.
How about you? Yay or Nay on contests?… Read More »

It bugs me when women don’t eat. I like to eat. Whether in real life or in books – I’m suspicious of girls who never seem to eat, or just nibble.

I remember reading something about Drew Barrymore, when she was co-producing Charlie’s Angels. There’s a scene in the movie where the Angels go through the drive-thru and order burgers and milkshakes, because she wanted it to be clear that these women do eat, when they’re not busy kicking Crispin Glover’s ass.

So when I started writing this book, I knew I wanted to write a heroine who enjoys food. And a hero who delights in her enjoyment of food. Because I think a lot of women read their first romance novels as teens, at that “trying age” when they are trying to figure out their developing bodies and sexuality. I try to think about a teenage girl reading my book for clues, and I want to build in affirming messages about body image and sexual awakening — without being heavy-handed, of course.

So, Lucy likes to eat. A lot. And she never once feels guilty or apologetic about it.

Lucy Waltham’s appetite was insatiable.

Henry liked to jest that when she married, he would provide her a dowry of two cows, six pigs, and two dozen chickens – just so her husband could keep her fed. It was only a joke, of course. In all likelihood, her dowry would be worth far less.

But no one would be jesting

Read More »

So you all know by now that I’m writing a relatively light, humorous book.

Wait – I have written a relatively light, humorous book. (Must give myself credit there.)

The trickiest parts of the whole novel for me (and the sections I’m revising heavily) involve sex. First, I’ve never written sex before – so that in and of itself is new. Second, I’ve found it difficult to balance the light humor in most of the book with sensuality. I mean, I’m not out to write erotic romance, but a sex scene should be sexy, or else it’s just a waste of pages, right?

So, how to write a humorous sex scene while keeping some bigger emotions in play? I don’t know. I’m still figuring it out. I’ve unfortunately learned how to write a sex scene that is unintentionally hilarious. But that wasn’t exactly what I was going for. I’ve also learned how to write sex scenes that take themselves far too seriously and just take too darn long. Thank heaven for brutally honest CPs, is all I can say.

My questions to you: Do you try to, um, insert humor into your love scenes? Can you think of published authors/books that do this well? Or does it bug you to giggle in the middle of a sexy sequence?… Read More »

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

Genesis 1, RSV

Ok, so “Goddess of Romance” I’m not. Because somewhere last week (after many more than six days), I sat back and realized I’d finished drafting my novel. And, behold it was …

Welllll…. Not horrible.

But certainly not as good as it could be.

So we’re into revisions. Ideally, this is where I would set the whole mess aside for about a month and goof around with researching and outlining my next book (tentatively titled Goddess of Beauty, or perhaps Siren of the Sea. Dunno. GOB and SOTS are both fun acronyms.) and then come back to my manuscript with fresh eyes and a ruthless red pen. But I can’t take a month off.

It’s at about 105K now, which means I’m playing a zero-sum game. If I add somewhere, I have to subtract an equal amount somewhere else. There’s plenty of fat to be trimmed, but I also need to write two extra scenes and finish the epilogue.

My motto these days: Ack.… Read More »

Sorry I haven’t posted in a week. I’m just writing as much as I can. I’m at the 102K mark, but the little wordcount widget site seems to have crashed. Just a few scenes to go, and then I’m into revisions. Yay!

And RitaSV – OMG, it was so exciting to see your comment! Please, please – send me an email from my website. I wanted to PM you from HG, but you know what’s going on there. 🙁… Read More »

Okay, so last night I was supposed to sit down at the computer and write my book’s “black moment” – or, as I am calling it in this relatively light romance, the “gray chapter.”

Instead, what I did was mess around surfing the internet for a few hours. Then I went to bed.

It’s like I just don’t want to go there. I don’t want to put my characters through despair, and I don’t want to feel it with them. (And I’m being completely overdramatic, because as I said, their black moment is really more of a dark gray.) Intellectually, I know that letting them suffer makes for a more emotionally-satisfying ending. Still, I have this – I don’t know, I suppose the word for it is fear – about actually writing it.

Why is this so hard? Those of you who have gotten to this point before and written through it, what advice can you give?… Read More »

Well, I have officially changed my target word count to 105K words – because there is no way my book is getting wrapped up in the next 4,000. I’ll eventually have to cut some stuff to make it fit 105K, I’m sure.

And even when I reach that 105K mark – oh, I am so far from finished. I have to go back and revise several early chapters to layer in backstory that I only figured out halfway through the book. Those are the major revisions. Then there’s the subtle tweaking of the whole thing – tightening loose sentences, weeding out lame adverbs, layering in description.

The end of February is my goal. I started November 1st. Writing a novel from scratch in 4 months isn’t bad, right? I feel pretty good about that.

Thanks you guys, for tracking my progress and holding my hand through it all.… Read More »

So I was just over on Romance By the Blog, and the guest-blogger today is a professional love-letter writer. And I got to thinking about how I owe Mr. Dare an amazing love letter.

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and so is our 5th anniversary – and he has been so good to me this year, supporting my writing and just supporting me.

So, give me some suggestions. Tell me about the best love letters you’ve received or written. Any ideas for thoughtful little touches or gifts to accompany it?

Or, are any of you writing books that include love letters? I wish I could work one into my book, but the h/h are almost always together. Are there some great examples of love letters in romance novels I should read for “research”? Of course, loyal Janeite that I am, I think instantly of those wonderful letters from P&P and Persuasion.

“You pierce my soul.” Siiiiiiigh.Read More »

(Blame Kelly.)

Contemporary, Historical, or Paranormal?
Historical, almost exclusively.

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?
A bit of everything

Heyer or Austen?
Ha ha. Like anyone reading this blog needs to ask. Let me just say, my son’s middle name isn’t “Heyer.”

Amazon or Brick and Mortar?
Both

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Borders, usually. I once worked at a B&N and haven’t quite recovered.

Woodiwiss or Lindsay?
OK, here’s where you all get to find out what a huge fraud I am. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book by either one.

First romance novel you ever remember reading?
I don’t remember, honestly. I remember reading some of the Julie Garwood Scottish romances in high school, so probably one of those.

Alphabetize by author, Alphabetize by title or random?
I’m a librarian – and I keep work at work. At home, it’s complete chaos.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell?
Keep until destroyed by child or pet.

Read with dustjacket or remove it?
Remove it. (Or take it to work and get it covered in shiny library plastic!)

Sookie Stackhouse or Anita Blake?
Once again, I’m a poser. Neither.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
When I get bored, I start skimming. I often read romances completely out of order. If I make it more than 50 pages in without flipping to the last chapter, it’s the mark of a really captivating read. (Even if I skip to the end, I do usually go back. … Read More »

Gee. I really wish I could tell you why in 25 words or less. I have to work on that.

You see, the problem is, I’m not even sure of all the reasons yet.
But do I know there are many reasons!

Jeremy, the hero of GotH, is a bit of an enigma. When I started the book, his character was not very fully formed. His body … always been nicely formed. But his character has taken quite a bit of work. It’s basically taking me just as long to figure him out as it takes Lucy. She may even be a step ahead of me at times.

Part of my problem is that I have trouble shoving him into one of those hero categories.

  • He’s titled, wealthy, in control, hard to crack – but he’s not a total alpha jerk.
  • His childhood was marked by tragedy – but he’s not really tortured. (Unless Lucy pestering him counts as torture, in which case he’s very tortured.)
  • He’s had his share of women – but he’s not a jaded rake.
  • He’s (gasp!) a decent guy at heart – so he has some beta leanings.

The fact that he refuses to be neatly labeled doesn’t bother me so much – it means he’s complex. Lucy deserves more than a label, anyway. But it does worry me in terms of marketing and pitching my book. I suppose I should sell him as an alpha, because alpha heroes sell, right? And he definitely has … Read More »