So there I was, sandwiched inbetween two other mommies on a bench at the park. Mommy #1 began talking about her book group, and how they were going to be discussing Pride and Prejudice this month.

“I just can’t get into it at all,” she says. “It’s so cheesy! It’s … it’s just a romance novel!” She shudders.

I shudder.

Mommy #2 chimes in with, “Oh, my mother used to read all those trashy novels, with those ridiculous covers. OH. MY. GOD.”

So in the space of one minute, these two women have managed to insult my literary hero (the great Jane), my favorite book, my reading tastes, and my would-be profession. Had one of them said, “Your children are so ugly!”, the effect would have been complete.

And what did I say? Did I stand up and retort, “Pride and Prejudice is not cheesy, it is a work of elegant wit and literary genius, and while it contains a beautiful love story, it is not ‘just a romance novel.’ And by the way, what is so wrong with romance novels? I happen to read them. I happen to be writing one.”?

Of course I didn’t. I am timid and lame. But what would you have said?… Read More »

Check it out:

I am a HarperCollins author!

These Wicked Games is officially an e-book. And thank goodness they fixed the typo in my chapter. That was the first thing I checked!… Read More »

I am a woefully inconsistent blogger. Sorry. But just so you know, the less frequently I’m blogging, the more writing I’m getting done.

But I’m quite proud of myself for figuring out how to insert that widget to the right.

I attended my first-ever meeting of the local RWA chapter last weekend. My local chapter seems very big and well-organized, and when the published authors left the room for their private pow-wow, about 1/3 of the people got up, which is very cool. At the meeting, I basically learned about 10 more things that I could add to the list of mistakes below. As such, it was a tad depressing. However, that’s entirely my fault for being so clueless to begin with. I keep telling myself that my next novel will be fabulous!

Those of you who are RWA members, what have you found most useful/educational/fun about membership? Local chapters? Conference? Contests? Subgenre-specific divisions? Other?

Advise the newbie.… Read More »

No, this isn’t a post about the holidays. It’s just that I recently realized my WIP (aka GOTH, FYI) now features both a partridge and a pear tree. Although the partridge is not in said pear tree, thankfully. Well, perhaps not thankfully. The partridge is dead.

Egads, this gets worse and worse, doesn’t it? You are all going to be dying to read this thing by the time I finish it, just for the laughs.

Anyway, I hit a bit of a block around the 30,000-word mark, possibly because I couldn’t figure out a way to set my lords a-leaping and my ladies dancing, and I decided to – *gasp* – SKIP AHEAD. Actually, I was inspired by CM to do so.

Really, when I read a romance novel, there always comes a point where I just can’t take the suspense and the angst and the misunderstandings or intrigue or whathaveyou – and then I flip to the end, to reassure myself that everything comes out fine. Why should writing one be any different?… Read More »

But I am going to be guest-blogging on Romance by the Blog on January 8th, as the chapter grand prize winner of Avon FanLit. Sara Dennis is scheduled for the 12th, I think.

I’m still not sure when I’ll be going to New York – with a three-month-old baby, I’m not in a real rush, either to take him along or leave him behind. As soon as a date is set, I’ll let you all know.

So speaking of quotes, CM’s blog brought to mind one of my favorite writing quotes, shared with me by a journalism professor eons ago:

“It’s hell writing and it’s hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.” —Robert Hass.

I love that quote, because it lets me know that I am not alone in having a contentious relationship with my keyboard. When people say they “love to write,” I really don’t know what they mean. For me, writing is like picking a scab. It’s slow and messy and painful, but just irresistible in some grotesque, masochistic way.

What are your favorite quotes on writing?… Read More »

OK, so I occasionally have a useful thought on a Monday morning. Only on rainy Monday mornings in California, on odd-numbered days in November.

Here was mine today – I should not be trying to avoid making mistakes with this novel. I should be making all the mistakes on purpose, just to get them out of the way. And I’m doing a great job of it so far. Here are is the story of all my mistakes, thus far.

  • Prologue: I have a prologue (see previous post).
  • Chapter 1: I began this book without having a clue how it would end. I know some writers thrive on that. I am not one of them.
  • Chapter 2: The h/h both begin the book (convinced that they are) in love with other people. *smacks forehead* It’s way too late to change it now.
  • Chapter 3: My hero defies definition. He is alpha outside, beta inside, with a fudge torture ripple. He’s a torbelpha. And despite all of that (or perhaps because of it) he’s far from the most interesting character in the book. Right now, he’s coming in at about fourth.
  • Chapter 4: As mentioned in a previous post, my plot involves hunting, fishing, and riding — none of which I have ever done. Write what you know? Hah!
  • I know there are other mistakes I’m forgetting, others I haven’t yet realized I’ve made, and still more I haven’t gotten around to making yet.

    Help me round out the list. What other … Read More »

    My WIP has a prologue. Is this a Very Bad Thing?

    I mean, it isn’t a long biblical series of begats. It’s a scene, and (I humor myself) amusing, and the hero and heroine are both in it. The action just takes place eight years before the rest of the book. And the heroine is still a child. It’s rather important background for the rest of the story, and I’ve tried to think my way around it – so far with no success.

    Do an editor’s eyes glaze over when she sees the word “prologue”? Will she just throw me back on the slush pile?

    Show of hands, please.… Read More »

    And not just because I’ve neglected my blog for so long!

    Because I am a huge fan of the book Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies. It does an excellent job of demystifying the romance-writing process. Other resources I couldn’t live without as I slog on through my historical romance WIP:

    What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew
    The Prince of Pleasure and His Regency
    The Georgian Index

    Speaking of the WIP, it’s coming along. I will completely miss the NaNo goal of 50,000 words, but I’m cool with that. I’m at about 25,000 as of now. Writing 30,000-35,000 words in one month is a huge accomplishment for me, so I’ll consider myself a winner no matter what.

    In other news, huge congratulations to Mary Danielson, who WON the HarperTeenFanLit chapter this week, after placing 4th in Round 1 and second in Round 2. Way to go, MerryDay!!!… Read More »

    I received a package from Avon FanLit today, full of my prizes for winning the chapter in week 4. Six lovely signed books – one of which is an ARC of Pleasure for Pleasure!!

    How much do you hate me?

    No spoilers, though, I promise.

    The Victoria Alexander is an ARC, too – A Little Bit Wicked.
    I am more than a little bit thrilled!… Read More »

    It used to be, if you googled my name you’d just get a bunch of book reviews I’ve written. I guess Avon FanLit sent out a flurry of press releases this week, and my googlability has definitely increased as a result! Kinda cool.

    Sara Dennis, the winner of the Fox development prize, has been in touch with the Fox people already. Good luck, Sara!

    In other news, I turned 31 yesterday. For the longest time, I’ve been waiting to mature into a “real” writer. I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I was a child, and I have always written, in one little scribbly way or another. But unlike the wunderkinder Sara Lindsey and Mary Danielson, I just always felt like I was lacking the depth of life experience, the discipline – perhaps the desperation – to really dive into writing as a way of life. Is 31 the magic number? I do believe it is.… Read More »