I strive to include sensory detail in my writing, to evoke that sense of time and place that is so important when writing historicals, but I think I have the most difficulty incorporating period-appropriate sounds.

Visual detail is fairly simple to come by. We have period paintings and illustrations to study, current photographs of the landscape.

Smell is always easy to evoke, because it’s so basic and strong a sense. If I write, “he approached a pine tree,” one hundred readers will picture one hundred different pine trees. If I say, “he smelled pine,” one hundred readers will all know exactly the scent I mean.

As for taste and touch… information on 19th-century cookery and fabrics is readily available. And many essentials – like skin and hair and rain and grass – feel pretty much the same now as they did then.

But it’s difficult to find descriptions of how the Regency sounded. Compared to our modern society, I’d imagine I’d find it unbearably noisy at times, and uncomfortably silent at others. But that would be my modern perspective. One of the things I love about my town is the lovely variety of ambient sounds. As I sit and listen to the sounds that filter through my open window throughout the day, I will hear freight trains passing, small airplanes headed for our local airport, the bells from the church downtown, even the dull pop-popping of a nightly fireworks show at the nearby theme park. All this in addition to … Read More »

I sent the Smart Bitches a Banned Book review, and they posted it today… I hereby excuse myself from writing a post of my own.

Check it out.

What’s everyone up to this weekend? Just another quiet few days around the Dare household…… Read More »

This is the American Librarian Association’s annual Banned Books Week, and as an American librarian, I feel duty-bound to make note of the occasion. Boo on censorship!

Although, I must admit, I’d be rather pleased to one day become a banned author…. what cachet! Is that terribly hypocritical of me?

In Goddess of the Hunt, Lucy (like many a historical romance heroine) has a naughty book. In the course of the novel, she discovers some limitations of book learning and she passes The Book to her friend, who is the heroine of my novel-in-progress.

Isn’t this how a lot of us learned about the facts of life – passing dogeared books from friend to friend? I know I learned a lot more from novels than from health class or “the talk.” (Actually, now that I think about it, I’m not sure I ever got “the talk.”)

I’ve been trying to remember my first naughty book. I think it must have been Wifey, by Judy Blume, which I’d imagine many of us stumbled across accidentally while looking for the sequel to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. But at the time I read it – probably 10 or 11 – I had no clue what any of it meant. It all went right over my head. From there, I think I graduated to the VC Andrews books in 7th grade. I remember reading a passage that went something like, “She put her hand where she thought it … Read More »

This just in from Moonlight and Magnolias…

India received Honorable Mention in Single Title category, and Darcy got 2nd place in Historical!!!

Way to go, ladies! I’m so proud of you both. *wipes tear*

Can’t wait to hear all the juicy details.… Read More »

Hey, this sounds like fun:

Starting Oct. 1 over at RNTV Kathryn Caskie is hosting a Scary Story contest! Each week will be a new contest with a new theme. 2 prizes per week. Box of halloween chocolates to one winner AND a 10 page critique by a published author for aspiring authors entering! Each week will be a new author offering the critique.

I wonder if I could use my Crazy Glue dream…..
I got to meet Kathy Caskie several times in Dallas – she was tall, gorgeous and completely gracious when I made a nitwit of myself in the elevator.

And speaking of contests, the finalists were finally posted for the Reveal Your Inner Vixen contest. You know, in case you thought I was making it up.

Have a great weekend, everyone!… Read More »

Let’s all send good-luck vibes with my dear friends India and Darcy, as they travel to the Moonlight and Magnolias conference this weekend, where they will wow the publishing populace, pick up their Maggie accolades, and drink very sweet iced tea.

Have a wonderful time, ladies! I can’t wait to hear all about it, and I so wish I could be there at the Maggie ceremony to stand up and cheer.

Anyone else going? Bev? Others?… Read More »

Sorry it’s been a whole week! For a few days there, I decided hijacking Lacey’s blog was more fun than doing mine, I guess.

Okay, so here’s today’s exercise in Tessa Validation – Tell me about your weird dreams and nightmares. Because I seem to be under a wee bit of stress at the moment (which may or may not have to do with my book being out on submission), and it’s manifesting itself in some pretty gnarly dreams.

I’ve been having most of those standard under-stress dreams – showing up for the final exam after skipping class all semester, freaking out because I couldn’t remember who was taking care of my baby. But then some of them are just … incomprehensible.

For example, the other night, I had a dream that I ate Crazy Glue. Don’t ask me why I ate the Crazy Glue. But in my dream, I vividly remember making lines of it and licking them up. (And no – never in my life have I done lines of Crazy Glue or any other substance.) Then, about three seconds later, it hits me that this may not have been such a brilliant idea, to eat the Crazy Glue. I start feeling a bit sick. So I turn over the tube, and – wouldn’t you know it! – right there it says, “DO NOT INGEST.” Okay, so in my dream I’m trying to decide whether or not to go to the hospital. I read a little … Read More »

I read a lot of children’s books. To me, an excellent children’s book is just plain an excellent book, and one that readers of all ages can enjoy. Right now I’m reading this absolutely marvelous story.

I looked up the book’s website, and found an interview with the author. I particularly appreciated this bit:

Q: How can I become a writer when I get older?
A: Write a lot—every day, if possible—read a lot (including a few reputable books on the craft of writing), and stubbornly refuse to be discouraged. If you like to tell stories and compose sentences, and if you work hard at being good at these things, then you are a writer even if you haven’t published anything. And if you keep at it long enough you very well might publish something. I know a lot of excellent writers who haven’t been published, though, because there is a certain amount of luck involved in finding publishers who appreciate your particular kind of writing. So if you want to be a published writer, you should also try very hard—every day, if possible—to be lucky.

That is how I would describe the last year of my life. Trying very hard – almost every day – to be lucky.

NOTE: I’ve edited the post to remove the book title, because I realized little children might google it, find my blog, and fall into sin.… Read More »

We’re eating a lot of peaches in my house these days. Both of the Darelings like them, which is a rare thing in and of itself, and they’re yummy and in season. And every time I start slicing up a peach for them, I reflexively recite,

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.
(attribution here)

I can’t help it. It’s a reflex. My children give me blank stares. I really ought to learn a different poem about peaches.

When the phone rings, a common refrain in my house is, “It’s nobody!” (Caller ID is the bestest invention evah!)

To which I must respond:

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

(attribution here)

Honestly, I don’t have that many poems memorized, but the few I do know by heart are firmly embedded in my gray matter and come out at the weirdest moments. Am I the only one? Anyone else have poems, quotes, song lyrics, etc. they … Read More »

Elizabeth Hoyt is blogging over on Romance Vagabonds today, and if you haven’t read The Serpent Prince yet – go do so. Yeah, now. I’ll wait.

Seriously, it’s that good. Simon, the hero, is just to die for. And when I try to understand why this book affected me the most viscerally of the trilogy – apart from the copious amounts of actual viscera spilled (it’s a tad violent) – I have to conclude that it’s because I’m just a sucker for a tortured hero.

What is it about this theme that is so lasting, from Beauty and the Beast to modern romance? That the love of a good woman can negate all manner of pain, suffering, inhumanity (figurative or literal) and heal a broken man? Rationally, I know it’s never so simple, but the fantasy is so powerful.

Like in high school, I knew this guy who cut himself. He was a nice, smart, funny guy, and his arms were a crosshatch of razorblade scars. Aside from government class, we had almost nothing in common. But oh how I loved to imagine that if I was his girlfriend, I would love him so good that all his problems would go away and all his wounds would be healed. Of course that wouldn’t have been the case. He had a girlfriend, a perfectly sweet one, and obviously she wasn’t the answer. He probably needed therapy and medication and who-knows-what. I hope he eventually got it.

I knew all this then, … Read More »