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Thanks, Gillian, for letting me know the RWR article was already available! I’d been planning to post on my blog about it. They really got the issue out early this month!

For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, I have an article in the April issue of Romance Writers Report about fan fiction and the romance community. It’s a very general overview of fan fiction for those who may be unfamiliar with the topic, and I also write about how I and several other authors wrote fanfic before getting published.

So yes, before I wrote historical romance, I wrote Pride and Prejudice fan fiction. And I guess it’s only fair to give you all some links to it. With caveats, of course.

First, by writing and enjoying P&P fanfic, in no way did I ever mean to insinuate that Austen’s original novel could be improved, equaled, matched, lengthened, enriched, etc. Admittedly, there’s a certain amount of hubris inherent to writing JAFF (Jane Austen fan fiction), and I enjoyed challenging myself to come up with scenes and dialogue that might be worthy of her magnificent characters. Of course, I didn’t – but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun trying.

Second, there are many, many instances in the stories where I use Austen’s lines verbatim–this is not plagiarism, it’s intentional allusion to the original work. In the places I posted these stories, the readers are all very familiar with the original text, and re-using (or tweaking or reattributing) lines from P&P was … Read More »

Pop quiz: What do these things have in common?

Latin conjugations
Cranial Nerves
Millipedes and other creepy-crawlies
Snow and other things that are cold
Multiples of seven

No, they’re not the categories on Jeopardy tonight. They’re all mental cold showers – the topics that heroes in either my or my CPs’ books think about when they’re trying not to think about ravishing the heroine.

Now, I love to write and read these little bits, where the hero is heroically reining in his desire by reciting the Gettysburg Address backwards or whatnot…they’re actually great ways to work in characterization and backstory. But I’m wondering, do guys really do this stuff in real life? Do girls? How do your favorite heroes (in RL, your own books, or others’) divert their attention?… Read More »

Here’s another Tuesday topic Vagabond Lindsey suggested a while back.

In my second book, Surrender of a Siren, there’s a scene where the hero, Gray, fesses up to a slew of misdeeds in an effort to discourage imprudent affection on the heroine’s part. You know, he’s your typical bad-boy hero–plenty of pleasure-seeking and profit-seeking in his past. So part of this confession involves his sexual history. Which is considerable.

When I originally wrote the scene, I had him estimate the number of his lovers. I wanted it to be a reasonably shocking number, because his entire purpose in saying it was to shock the heroine. He’s not bragging, he’s not proud of it. He’s rather squicked by his own pattern of behavior.

However, my CPs, in their infinite wisdom, counseled against actual quantification. We argued it back and forth, but I eventually came around to their side. They thought a number might be too effective in squicking not only the heroine, but the readers, and they wouldn’t be able to get past it and fall in love with the hero. So I revised the scene to make it more vague, along the lines of “a lot”. (BTW, when I read this chapter on Ervin’s blog, it seemed to confirm that I’d made the right call.)

But then I keep thinking of that scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral, where Andie MacDowell’s character rattles off the details of all her thirty-some lovers over lunch with Hugh Grant. The … Read More »

Last night, Mr. Dare and I (and like a billion other screaming people) rocked out with the Foo-Fighters at The Forum, and it was amazing. So today, I’m all about the rockstars. Here’s a little Friday footage for your viewing pleasure. (I like to do these fangirl photo spreads in black-and-white, ’cause it all feels a bit classier and less adolescent that way. Yeah, that’s what I tell myself.)

Here we have the one-man foo-fighting force that is Dave Grohl. (I think he wore that shirt last night!)

And here, a new addition to my crush collection – the Florida punk power of Against Me! (They played the first set last night and were flippin’ awesome.)

My current pretty-boy altrock obsession would be Brandon Boyd of Incubus. (And he’s really not that much younger than me, I swear!)

But before all these, there was Bruce. I sigh for Bruce. He’s still the hottest of them all.

I’ve heard that you can’t sell a contemporary romance with a rockstar hero? Why the heck not? Are there any out there anyhow?
Who’s your rockstar crush, past or present?
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Toby, the hero of my current book (oh, and right now I think I’m leaning toward A Lady of Persuasion as a working title, in case you’re wondering) has something most romance heroes don’t – a mother. And she’s a mother who isn’t vindictive, backstabbing, jealous, drug-addicted, murderous, manipulative or otherwise evil… she’s just a very strong, intelligent woman who cares deeply for all her children, and she and Toby have a very close, affectionate relationship.

So be honest – is this an automatic turn-off?

I mean, there are reasons I need my hero to have this relationship, both for his characterization and plot. And he’s not overly dependent on her–she doesn’t meddle in his romantic attachments or ever come between him and the heroine. I want to make sure I walk the line without crossing it, though. So I’m trying to think of other romances where the heroes have strong-yet-affectionate mothers who actually play a role in their lives…and I’m coming up kinda empty. There are the Bridgertons, of course. And the Carsingtons have both parents living, right? Any others?

And what do you prefer? Do you love a RL guy who’s close to his mom, or does it make you suspicious he’ll always put you second? Any particular incidents that crossed the line from Responsible Son territory to Relationship Reject? I’m looking back on my own relationships, and I’m realizing all my bf’s have always been pretty close to their moms…interesting.Read More »

Here’s my life lately:

Dareling One: Knock knock.
Me: Who’s there?
Dareling One: Banana.
Me: Banana who?
Dareling One: Banana apple. Hahahahaha!!! Laugh, Mommy, laugh!
Me: (laughing feebly) Okay…
Dareling One: Knock knock.
Me: Who’s there?
Dareling One: Apple.
Me: Apple who?
Dareling One: Apple orange. Hahahahahahahahhah!! Laugh, Mommy!
Me: Sigh…
Dareling One: Knock knock. Knock knock. KNOCK KNOCK!!!

Yes, Dareling One has entered that golden age of child development where she can grasp the structure of the knock-knock joke, but not the humor. When do kids figure that part out?

Please say soon.… Read More »

So here I go – all this week I’ve been researching and outlining book three. (Yes, I am actually a plotter, despite my aversion to storyboards and worksheets and notecards. I just write it all out in narrative form in one big file.) I’m so excited about this book. It brings all the characters from my previous books back into the mix: Lucy, Jeremy, Sophia, and Gray all have minor parts to play. There’s going to be a secondary romance, which is a new challenge for me. Therefore, this one requires a bit more plotting and (erp) organization before I even begin.

What it’s missing is a working title.
To recap, the titles of books one and two are:
Goddess of the Hunt
Surrender of a Siren

So from this pattern, the third should ideally include:
a) The word “of”
b) Some sort of mythological or divine reference.

Here’s the blurb:

All Isabel Grayson wants is to save the world. Is that too much to ask? Ashamed of inheriting her family’s ill-gotten wealth and her mother’s exotic, sensual beauty, Bel has decided to redeem both by trading them for influence. She’s come to London to marry a nobleman—ideally one who shares her passion for social justice, but any gentleman with a seat in the House of Lords will do. She’s looking for Lord Honorable; she’ll settle for Lord Malleable. But she falls in love with Sir Toby.

Sir Toby Aldridge just wants his life back. Before his fiancé jilted him

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So way back before I got really ill the other week, I blogged about my difficulty talking about my books and how this Toastmasters guy was coming to my chapter meeting. And I did go to that meeting, even though I was running a fever and hoarse from coughing. After his talk, I asked him – if I’m a nervous speaker, what should I tell myself to get over that? I was expecting one of those “picture the audience in their underwear” type things. But what he said was, “Remind yourself that you have something important to share, something that will have meaning to the people you’re addressing.”

Well. That was sort of a light-bulb moment for me. Because I realized that a lot of my shyness in talking about my books probably stems from insecurity – my fear that what I have to say isn’timportant to the listener, especially if s/he doesn’t read romance novels. And yeah, that’s something I need to get over.

Because this genre is important, to a lot of people. If you attended RWA National Conference in Dallas last year, you heard Lisa Kleypas give that great speech about how she and her mother went to buy “essentials” at Wal-Mart after her home was devastated by a flood…and how, for each of them, a romance novel counted as an essential. My friend Deb Mullins told me that she’d had a fan letter from a reader whose husband was deployed with the armed forces. The … Read More »

Just a note to say, Goats on a Boat Surrender of a Siren is now revised and complete and sent in to my editor.

I’m going to Disneyland!

More on book three this coming week…it’s in desperate need of a title.… Read More »

I think it was Keira Soleore who asked in the comment trail the other day what movie Mr. Dare and I went to see for our annual outing – we went to see Juno. Which is wonderful, if you haven’t seen it, and the end made me cry and cry. I’m not even sure why…It was a happy sort of ending, for the most part. But in a way, I guess I felt that the movie captured something essential of my 16-year-old self and my 32-year-old self and then smashed them together with a bunch of pregnancy hormones, and it was just about impossible not to cry. But I didn’t notice anyone else getting weepy. I guess sometimes a book or movie just hits me in exactly the right way (or wrong way) at the right time (or wrong time) and turns on the faucet. And of course, it would usually happen when I’m in public.

The best example I can remember of this was reading Summer of My German Soldier in eighth grade life science class. I often read through science class. I often read through a lot of my classes, but it was particularly easy to read through science. My science textbook was big enough to swallow a paperback whole, I sat in the very last row, and I had a particularly oblivious teacher–this big, round jolly guy named Mr. Ploof. Really.

So on this particular day, I was nearing the end of SOMGS and could not … Read More »