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My wonderfully talented and just-plain-wonderful critique partner, Courtney Milan, is a finalist in the NTRWA Great Expectations contest! I’m so proud of her. And last year, India was a finalist in the same contest, so clearly North Texans have excellent taste. :0)

I have my monthly chapter meeting tomorrow, where someone from Toastmasters is going to coach us on speaking in public – something I dearly need to learn. Also, my new friend and fellow romance writer, Debra Mullins, will be signing her new Avon release, The Night Before the Wedding. I just picked up my copy at Borders today. (Did you know it’s buy 4, get one free time in the Romance section?) Can’t wait to read it!

One of the things I admire about Deb is her ability to just talk about her books. No, really. It sounds easy, but I have the most absurdly hard time doing it. This is an experience I relived many times last weekend, at my grandparents’ 60th anniversary party. If someone asks me what my book’s about, first I blush. Then I look wildly around the room for an escape route. What eventually comes out is something like, “Well…there’s this guy…and this girl.. and ooh, look, is that cake?” *dashing away* But if you ask Deb what her book’s about, she tells you. And it makes sense. It sounds like a story. It’s such a mystery to me, how she does it. Hopefully the Toastmasters guy can sort me … Read More »

Hey hey – it’s Super Tuesday, which means here in Cali (and in numerous other states – perhaps even yours) we’re off to the polls. Happy voting, everyone.

And while we’re making weighty decisions…

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?

I’m torn. I know which ones I wouldn’t want – no psychic ability, no seeing the future. I really don’t want to know. Definitely no pyro-generative qualities. X-Ray vision is definitely out. Flying probably sounds cooler than it is. Maybe the ability to slow time? Or mind control! I can think of a hundred ways I would love to use mind control, nearly all of them involving housework.

And do you remember UnderRoos? I had the Wonder Woman ones when I was seven. How’s that for TMI?

Those gold bracelets she had were pretty groovy, the way they deflected bullets. But that’s not precisely a superpower, now is it? Hmmm… still thinking….… Read More »

Since I signed my contract with Ballantine, I’ve been blessed to connect with some other debut authors who’ll be going through the same stress joy in the coming year.

Watch for these names!

Christy Reece sold a romantic suspense trilogy to Ballantine that is currently scheduled to release in Spring 2009. We actually have the same editor! She’s part of the Romance Magicians group blog (which I’ve added to my sidebar links). It’s been a real relief to connect with another debut author going through the same process, only Christy is one step ahead. Which means I get to benefit from all her experience and not ask our editor quite so many stupid questions. *g*

Jennifer Haymore/Dawn Halliday is a fellow SoCal resident and historical romance author who recently landed not one, but two (!!!) NY contracts. As Jennifer Haymore, she has a three-book deal with Grand Central, and under her erotic romance pen name, Dawn Halliday, she has a two-book deal with NAL Heat. This woman is on fire!! In fact, this very day she has a new release with Ellora’s Cave – Sins of the Knight. And I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her in person, and she’s just about the sweetest thing going. Dawn blogs with Passion’s Muses – also added to the sidebar.

The Class of 2009 is looking for more members – speak up, if you’re out there. I’d lay good odds that several of you loyal readers will be joining the class … Read More »

Argh. I seem to be turning into a weekly blogger. I apologize. I will try to start posting a late-week blog now and again, but thanks for always popping by on Tuesdays!

Just a note on last week’s topic – I’ve learned that having a soundtrack for one’s book is very helpful when one must go back to revise said book, months later. Yep, I got my first edits on GOTH — tres exciting. And going back and listening to all those songs I had on heavy rotation while I wrote it is really helping me get back into the book.

So here is a TMI Tuesday topic generously donated by our dear friend, Vagabond Lindsey.

Prostitution.

Often called the “world’s oldest profession”, prostitution shows up a lot in historical romance. Lately we’ve had some romances with prostitute heroines, most notably Anna Campbell’s (amazing and powerful) Claiming the Courtesan. In Elizabeth Hoyt’s (delicious and witty) The Raven Prince, the heroine goes to a brothel and pretends to be a prostitute. And then those rakish Alpha heroes we love so well often have a number of prostitutes in their past. High-class ones, of course — you know, the elite courtesan, the kept mistress.

Both of my heroes thus far (Jeremy in GOTH and Gray in SOAS) have some pay-for-play dalliances in their pasts. Although Hero #3 doesn’t. In Gray’s case, because he was a sailor traveling from port to port… ’nuff said. And in Jeremy’s case, because i wanted … Read More »

I have been a bad girl. I have not blogged in a week. I promised you sailing pictures, and I did not deliver. Bad, bad Tessa.

Okay, here is one of our ship firing on the brig Lady Washington. That’s our captain, giving the order.

I’ll post more another day, promise!

Then, Alice Audrey tagged me last week, and I have not yet responded. I was supposed to tell you seven interesting things about myself. Well, if you’ve been reading this blog for the past year or so, you know just about everything interesting there is to know about me. The rest of it is quite boring, indeed.

One other thing I’ve done in the last few weeks is acquired a spiffy new Zen MP3 player, which Mr. Dare has been industriously filling up with songs. I’ve discovered that I have rather embarrassing tastes in music.

And somehow it has rolled around to Tuesday again, and time for TMI. So I’m trying to kill a few goats with one stone here. (And no, Lindsey, I have not forgotten all your marvelous topic suggestions. I’m hoarding them. *g*)

I often listen to music to pump myself up to write a scene. Now, I’d love to say that I’m listening to Mahler and Barber and Puccini and the like, but I’m not. I’m mostly listening to a rather embarrassing mix of alt/pop/rock/emo music that completely shows my age. And the more emotionally manipulative the song, the better.

For example, when Fanlit was … Read More »

I’ve been busy. Over the weekend, I:
*Went to my chapter meeting, where our speaker, Carly Phillips, confessed to having a writing process almost as messy as mine. I love her for it.
*Went sailing. And I promise, I will post more about it and some pictures later this week.
*Finished the draft of SOAS. Yay!!!

I actually have a lot to blog about, and I am just now getting the time to do it. But today is Tuesday, so all that other stuff will just have to wait.

Before my friend contacted me last week with her hair-removal emergency, I got to thinking about sleeping arrangements.

In old movies and TV shows, you see the couples sleeping in twin beds. Supposedly, Mike and Carol Brady were the first couple allowed to share a bed on-screen. (I meant to find some pictures, but I couldn’t! Let me know if you do.)

Those who read historicals know that, among the aristocracy, the husband and wife would have separate bedrooms. Separate suites of rooms, even. And this is often a point of romance and intimacy in a historical – when they have that, “I know most couples sleep in separate rooms, but we’re going to share” discussion. The idea of separate chambers just being the antithesis of romance.

But as I’ve … ahem… matured, I’ve come to know a lot of very loving couples who sleep in separate beds, or even separate rooms, for a variety of reasons. Maybe one snores. Maybe … Read More »

Still breathing, still writing… I’ve given up on updating that page meter, because I passed the 400 page/100K word mark long ago, and now my heart sinks with every page I write, knowing that it means I’ll need to cut a page somewhere else. But the end is in sight.

And this weekend, I’m going for a cruise on this ship so I can hopefully go through and fix all the highlighted lines that read, “Do something something with the sail!”

It’s a battle cruise with four ships and cannons and everything. And we’re allowed to bring booze. How cool is that?… Read More »

Okay, so I’m the last person in America to see this movie. But I’m so glad I finally did – and NOT because I look anything like Amy Adams, as Sara Lindsey seems to think (although perhaps I share her character’s goofiness), but because it was the cinematic equivalent of what I’m trying to do when I write romance.

My books are silly. They’re filled with cliche’d phrases and plot elements, and (in)conveniently timed interruptions. It’s a self-conscious silliness. As a genre, romance asks the reader to accept a lot of improbable situations. It makes me think of the White Queen telling Alice that she too could believe six impossible things before breakfast, if only she practiced. Some writers are able to sketch such vivid pictures of their world and characters, that I can believe those six impossible things. With other books, I simply skim past my disbelief and try to enjoy the story for what it is: a modern fairy tale.

I’m not such an accomplished historian or student of human nature that I could fall into the first category. So my goal is never to ask the reader to suspend disbelief. You’re encouraged to disbelieve the absurdity of the situations in my books – my characters can hardly believe it themselves. Laugh with my books, laugh at my books – I don’t really care. But while you’re laughing, I’m going to sneak some real emotion in there.

This is why Enchanted makes even the most jaded hearts melt … Read More »

You know that feeling you get when you’re **thiisss** close to winning at chess, or to untangling a very large, very uncooperative knot? Sort of itchy and excited and tense all at once – you can see the nine or ten moves it will take to get there, but in order to complete them you’ve got to concentrate and shush those around you and frown really hard, or else you’ll lose the sequence and that way lies much weeping and gnashing of teeth?

This is pretty much where I’m at with Surrender of a Siren. **Thiiisss** close to finishing the draft and terrified to break my concentration. What little of it I can gather, at any rate.

To that end, I’m going to be a bad blogger and commenter over the next few weeks. Uh, just like I have been for the past few weeks. Sorry!

Goals for the new year?
*Maintain tenuous hold on sanity.
*Walk more to prevent brain atrophy (I read this in an in-flight magazine). And my brain is atrophying at an alarming rate. I shake my head and things rattle in there.
*Go to England.

That’s all I can muster the concentration for right now.… Read More »

The Dare family is off for our Christmas holiday in sunny Florida, by way of a Caribbean cruise. Wheee! Now there’s just the matter of that frantic last-second packing…

This blog will be on vacay until New Year-ish. Hope you all have fun with your loved ones, dishing TMI the old fashioned way… over eggnog and Yahtzee.… Read More »