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 »

Check one:


Okay, I finally got a MySpace page. If you’re on MySpace, please come friend me! And tell me what you think of my gorgeous-looking page. Manda (of Romance Vagabonds) got me started. I love the look and colors, and this has been a great experiment as I start working with my web designer to redo my tessadare.com site. Till now, I’ve been a fan of the red/parchment/sepia look, as there’s no doubt it looks “historical”…but now I’m thinking a bold, energetic, colorful look might suit my books better. Any thoughts? Which do you prefer?

In other news, today is my wedding anniversary. On an unseasonably warm February day (mumble) years ago, Mr. Dare and I tied the knot. Several years, two kids, three pets, one house, and countless viewings of P&P later, that knot is tighter than ever. (Gee, that sounds kinda kinky. I didn’t mean it that way, swear.) We will celebrate by going to our first movie alone together since before dareling #2 was born…a year and a half ago. Seriously.

Mr. Dare, you’re my real-life romantic hero. I love you!

As many of you know, I am allergic to storyboards, character worksheets, index cards, multi-tabbed notebooks and all examples of an organized writing process. I’ve tried to do them all, I really have. They make me break out in hives. I think they’re wonderful–for other people. But for me, they feel like forcing a square peg into a round hole…where the square peg is my brain, and the round hole is one of those gnawing little mouths on a cheese grater. Just. Can’t.

But a few weeks ago, I was reading a wonderful new historical, The Wicked Ways of a Duke by Laura Lee Guhrke, and something kind of cool happened. I had to put it down. No, that’s not the cool part…hang on. When I came back to it, of course I had not marked my place with a bookmark (that would smack of organization! *sigh* how I became a librarian is beyond me). So I thumbed through the scene I’d been reading to find my place. It was a looooong scene. A loooong conversation, in fact, between the hero and heroine, and it went on for pages and pages and pages. But I realized that…when I was reading, it hadn’t felt long at all. LLG had me so caught up in the scene, it could have gone on for fifty pages, and I would have been delighted.

Which made me think about Goats on a Boat Surrender of a Siren. You see, in Goddess of the Hunt, … Read More »

I’m sorry, guys. I am really under the weather – have been ever since Saturday. I’d describe it more detail, but that would really be TMI of the not-amusing sort. It’s a flu-ish thing, I guess. I promise to be back just as soon as I’m feeling better. If anyone has a fun topic to dish about, please go ahead and post in the comments and talk amongst yourselves!… Read More »

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.


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 »