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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 »

OK, so I have a WIP. And it is the reason I’ve woefully neglected this blog for almost a week. It’s a historical set in the Regency, and its working title is Goddess of the Hunt – which I like primarily because it has a wicked-cool acronym. I’m a little off the word count for NaNoWriMo, but that’s okay. I’m trundling along best I can.

I’ve come across two major obstacles thus far.

A) Names. I suck at naming characters. Not to mention villages and estates. Jane Austen had it right – give everyone nice simple English names, like Jane, Elizabeth, George, John, Elinor, Anne, Frederick. Anyone who’s not important to the tale can simply be Lord B_____, who lives in the village of M_______, located in _____shire.

Since I suppose this technique will not fly with modern editors, I am forced to pull names out of the ether. Thank God for the Internet. There are two sites I found invaluable in coming up with names for my eight(!) characters:


Guppy’s List of English Local Surnames
This is a huge alphabetical list of surnames, with a notation as to the county of origin. Very helpful if you particularly want a Devonshire-ish name, for example. Click on “Distribution” in the top menu, and then “The study of English Local Surnames.”

My second issue:
B) I have foolishly devised a plot that involves hunting, fishing, and horseback riding, in large amounts. Have I ever been hunting? Nope. Have I ever … Read More »

So, I have been told by various and sundry friends that the name “Tessa Dare” brings to mind:

A)An intrepid 40’s girl reporter
B)An exotic dancer
C)A celebrity baby; more particularly, a child named by Bruce Willis and Demi Moore.

I have decided that I vastly prefer the (A) interpretation. Furthermore, intrepid girl-reporter and chronicler-of-romance Tessa Dare needs a theme song. I take a lot of inspiration from music, and I’m looking for that perfect song (or songs) that combine moxie and sultriness. U2’s Mysterious Ways is one that sprang to mind.

Suggestions?… Read More »

I am convinced that the (lovely, brilliant) people who conceived NaNoWriMo were not parents of small children. Because any parent of small children knows that November 1st – the day after Halloween – is an inauspicious day to embark on any grand enterprise.

Surely, were they parents of small children, they would know that one’s toddler, coming off a sugar high like a junkie comes off smack, will spend the day growling and spitting and writhing and refusing to eat anything that is not wrapped in cellophane. Certainly, had they young children, they would have understood that one’s spouse would have to pay for coming home a few hours early on Halloween by staying late every day for the rest of the week and working on Saturday. Of course, if they were parents, they would understand that the best you can hope for on the day after Halloween is to scout around your house for unwrapped, once-licked lollipops before the ants find them for you.

I wrote an 1800-word synopsis today. Does that count? Please tell me it counts.… Read More »

So this morning, this greeted me in my inbox:

Congratulations Eve!

You’ve won the Chapter Winner Grand Prize:

A Day with Avon
Awarded by random drawing to one (1) of the six previous chapter winners, this prize package includes travel, hotel, and a day at HarperCollins. You’ll meet with an editor, get an introduction to our art department, and learn about the promotion of a title. Plus, you’ll receive a $250 shopping spree.

Thank God for that Saks card, because I have absolutely nothing to wear!

Shortly after receiving that email, I sent another one to my employer. I quit my job. Well, one of my jobs.

Sure, it’s just a little part-time, independent contractor gig that brings in about $1000 a month. But I’ve been working with this woman for over 2 years, and I really like her. It’s a very scary move, to quit a paying job to devote my time to writing. Especially when I have two very young children who are quickly filling the world’s landfills with disposable diapers.

This day at Avon is a golden opportunity, however, and I don’t want to live the rest of my life wondering what could have been, if only I’d been better prepared. I have to believe that I’m doing the right thing. Fortunately, my husband is A) fairly well-paid at his own job, and B) very supportive.… Read More »

Wow! I won the random drawing of the six chapter winners! I get to go to New York for a day at Avon! ***insert squeals of joy here***

Congratulations to Sarah/Sienna, who won the Fox Studios deal!
And to Sara_Lindsey, who won chapter 6!
And to Gillian, who won the weekly chapter bonus!

So now I will have something to actually blog about, other than the life in Mommyland and my brief escapes into the world of Romance. Watch this space!… Read More »

Hey, everyone!

I felt like I needed some way to stay in touch with all of you after the madness that was FanLit!

I’m gearing up to try NaNoWriMo for the first time, and I’m looking forward to seeing many of you over there in the AFL Nano’ers group.

I suppose for my first blog post, it might be mildly interesting to share how I adopted this name, “Tessa Dare.” The day I learned about FanLit was September 16, the Saturday before submissions closed for Round 1. I read about the contest in a nifty WSJ article that featured our very own ErvinA. The article was passed on to me through a group of friends I’ve made in the Jane Austen fandom. On the recommendation of the same friends, I had just started reading Middlemarch by George Eliot – one of the many classics I am embarrassed to admit I have not read.

So there I was, reading the Prologue and chapter 1 of Middlemarch, in which the heroine, Dorothea Brooke, is introduced and her fascination with mystic and writer St. Teresa de Avila is mentioned. I put down the book, checked my email, read the WSJ article, and logged on to FanLit immediately. I was so enraptured with the beginning of Middlemarch, I almost chose Dorothea as my screen name – but I decided it sounded a bit old. So I took my inspiration from St. Teresa (who has always fascinated me, as well) and changed it … Read More »