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 »

So….. I now have a date for my trip to NYC for my big “Day with Avon”!!

It’s Friday, April 13th.

Yep.
Friday the 13th.

But that’s okay, because – the day I won Round 4 of FanLit with “Forget Me Not” was Friday, October 13th. So superstition be damned.

I fixed a few links to the right and added a few – if I’m still missing you or another FanLit Friend, let me know.

I realize that it’s been a while since I gave you another reason to read my book. Hmmm. I’ll see what I can come up with for tomorrow or Friday.… Read More »

Did anyone else watch the new BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre, shown on PBS Masterpiece Theatre the last few Sundays? It stars Toby Stephens as Rochester and Ruth Wilson as Jane Eyre.

Now, I adore Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre, Pride & Predjudice, and Little Women – I’ve read each of those books more times than I can count. And I’m not quite sure what to make of this new adaptation. I enjoyed it immensely – both they’re both so darned attractive, it just hardly feels like Jane and Rochester! Toby Stephens … gah, he’s gorgeous. And Ruth Wilson hardly seems like “poor, plain, obscure, little” Jane. The chemistry between them is smokin’ – as evidenced by this scene after she’s saved him from being burnt alive in his own bed. And the ending – oh, the ending was lovely. And as opposed to what is typically said of the book’s conclusion – that by being blinded and crippled, Rochester is symbolically castrated – the Wilson/Stephens pairing remains sensual and full of life. You don’t imagine this Jane looking after this Rochester like a nursemaid tends an invalid.

I was always fond of the 1997 A&E adaptation with Ciaran Hinds and Samantha Morton. They physically matched my vision of the characters – Rochester is big, dark, brooding, intimidating. Jane is petite, plain, very young.
So maybe Ciaran Hinds is still my Rochester. But Toby Stephens can come set my bed on fire any day.
Did any of you watch
Read More »

Over on Salon.com, Cary Tennis writes this magnificent “advice” column called Since You Asked. The “advice” he gives is seldom really advice, and it seldom has much to do with whatever superficial concern the original letter addressed. He’s the kind of hero I blogged about yesterday – someone who sees the divine in the mundane. He takes a question about laundry as an invitation to discuss the soul.

So earlier this week, he answered a letter from a woman who couldn’t understand why men weren’t falling all over themselves to marry her gorgeous, successful, perfect self. Now Dr. Phil or that “He’s Just Not Into You” guy would probably give her some pointers about how to dress, where to meet men, or just tell her to get over herself. You can read the letter and Mr. Tennis’ whole answer here, but my favorite bit was this:

We men are filled with longing and things that don’t fit — guilt about
blunders and lies we have told and failures we have brought about. Most of us
are a mess is what I’m saying. And we’re looking for a home for our messed-up
selves.

Everybody is happy to house our goodness. That’s no problem. … But
who will house our darkness? Some homes are too shiny and they scare us; we
don’t know where to put our feet.

…It is our dark selves for which we seek a home in a relationship.

And thank you, thank you Cary Tennis … Read More »

I sent in my registration for the RWA Conference in Dallas! I can’t wait to meet up with all of you there. We should schedule a FanLit Fiesta.… Read More »

I consider the novel I’m writing to be a comedy of manners. The reason I love comedies of manners (the novels of Jane Austen being a perfect case in point) is that they do not neglect or gloss over the big, dramatic concepts of Life and Love and Heroism and Truth, etc. Quite the opposite. A comedy of manners takes those big, capital-letter issues and forces them into small, everyday gestures. The result is that seemingly innocuous acts are imbued with profound meaning – and I can relate to that so much more than sweeping gallantry or fights to the death.

Take my own personal hero, Mr. Dare.

(Let me say first that I require a large amount of caffeine to continue existing in this world. And my beverage of choice after 11AM is diet Pepsi. Mr. Dare, of course, does not drink diet anything. Ugh. How unmanly that would be.)

So last night, I took the last diet Pepsi out of the fridge to drink with dinner. I didn’t put more cans in. Yes, yes. I am one of those people. You can all feel free to hate me now. So lunchtime rolls around today, and I’m jonesing for a diet Pepsi fix. And as I swing open the door of the fridge, I remember that there will be no chilled diet Pepsi awaiting my lazy-girl self, who did not put more cans in last night. But lo and behold – there they were. Six perfectly lined-up cans of … Read More »

So I’ve been thinking about age.
Lately, I’ve read a number of excellent historicals with heroines that are near my own age
(28-30ish). Okay, I’m 31, but you know. Close enough. Be they spinsters or widows, they’re old enough to have a better-developed sense of themselves and their own sensuality, which adds to the complexity of the romance. I love reading about “older” (that being a very relative term, of course) heroines.

But I don’t know that I could write one yet.

My own heroine (Lucy, as you know) turns 20 during the course of the novel. Her hero is 29. So are all the other men in the novel . In fact, there’s only one character in the book over 30, and she’s the senile great-aunt. It’s like an episode of Friends set in the Regency – everyone’s 20-something, witty, and good-looking.

I guess I just feel like, being 31, I can write about what it’s like to be a woman under the age of … 25 or so. Beyond that, I feel less confident. I’m still processing what it’s like to be a woman in my late 20s or early 30s. With the men, all bets are off anyways – I’ve never been a man of any age.

How about you? What age of characters do you prefer to read about? Are there certain ages you feel more or less comfortable writing? Would you put my book back on the rack because all the characters are so young?… Read More »