So how does this blog look to you? I tried changing the blogskin, and I’ve realized it looks different in different browsers. It looks perfect in Opera, OK in one version of Explorer, wonky in another version, and completely stupid in Firefox.

What are you seeing in the header? It should be a swooshy red thing.

Sigh. I should leave this stuff to the professionals.

EDIT: Red swooshy begone. Let’s try this for awhile. It’s romancey and goddessy – just what I need.… Read More »

Happy 2007, everyone!

So in my last post, I swore that this year I was going to give you all reasons to read my book. All right, here goes.

Reason #1 – You will love my heroine
I know, I know. Totally backwards. I’m supposed to make you fall in love with the hero. Well, I’m aiming to do that, too. But first you have to love the heroine and want to see her happy, right? And Lucy is a very loveable heroine, if I do say it myself. She’s an orphan, raised by her clueless older brother Henry, with little in the way of ladylike accomplishments and no dowry at all – but pity her at your own risk. She does not take pity kindly, and she does not take no for an answer.

Every autumn, Henry invites three friends — Felix, Toby, and Jeremy — to enjoy the fine fishing and hunting at his country estate, Waltham Manor. Each year, Lucy attaches herself to their group like a tick on a hound, learning to ride, shoot, and angle under their tutelage. She’s a highly accomplished young woman, but not in the usual way. Other young ladies embroider cushions; Lucy makes fishing lures. Other young ladies speak French or Italian fluently; Lucy is proficient in swearing. When they sit down to the piano, other young ladies play Mozart; Lucy knows only drinking songs.

Lucy has never aspired to be an elegant lady – until now. Because, as a girl, … Read More »

I hope you all had a pleasant holiday. My Christmas present to myself was pushing that little progress bar to your right over the 50,000-word mark. I’m more than halfway done! (um, with my first draft.)

Actually, I’m very excited, because I’m hitting a great section in my manuscript. For the past 45K words or so, I’ve been carefully setting up for a sequence of events. And now it’s finally time for the events! It’s a whole different game. Instead of maneuvering People into Places so that Things can happen, I can finally just … let things happen.

I have also made a New Year’s resolution, one week early. I need to start talking up this book.

I’ve kept up an excessively self-deprecating attitude about it, both on- and off-line. But I know that needs to change. I have to eventually (ulp) promote myself. And although I’m not at the point where I’ve got a decent hook or high concept or sacred question to share, I’m pretty sure that the first step goes something like this…

(Fair warning: Stuart Smalley moment ahead)
It shouldn’t be so hard to type this, but oddly enough it is:

I like my book.

Ack. There, I said it.

No, seriously, that was hard. Perhaps I need to say it again, for practice.

I like my book. And I think other people will like it. It’s true that it’s not a textbook-perfect romance novel — I’m learning a lot by making mistakes. But I … Read More »

There’s a reason this blog is subtitled “A Study in Sleep Deprivation.” Here’s a transcript of a conversation between my brain and my fingers at 1 AM this morning:

(typing, of course.
They don’t start actually start speaking to me in sock-puppet fashion until about 2 AM)

“Oh,” said Sophia, pressing her lips together. “Shall I tell you about Gervais?”

Um, full stop. How the heck does someone say “Oh” while pressing her lips together?
“Hmm,” said Sophia, pressing her lips together. “Shall I tell you about Gervais?”
Well, yes, that would be how one says “hmm.” Pressing one’s lips together. Perhaps I should follow with,

“Yes,” Lucy nodded, moving her head up and down. “Tell me all about Gervais.”

Aren’t you just dying to hear about Gervais? You should be.… Read More »

I’ve just discovered something about myself, as a romance reader. I can’t bring myself to care about the missing whatnots.

I have tried three times now to get into a certain novel. The writing is fantastic. The characters are wonderful. But the whole plot hinges on the hero and heroine teaming up to search for a missing whatnot – and I just can’t bring myself to care.

It’s odd, because I love a good mystery novel, too. But when the point of the story is romance, any plot that involves the missing scrolls/jewels/sibling/invention is, to this reader, a great temptation to skim.

How about you? Are there certain plot devices that categorically do or don’t work for you? Do tell … I’ll bet every last one of them is in my novel.… Read More »

What helps you think?

Before I can write something, I have to see it. And if I just can’t see it, I go either:
a) take a shower, or
b) wash dishes.

Yes, my house was built in 1922, and I still wash dishes with Palmolive and everything. But no rubber gloves.

For whatever reason, running water helps me think. It’s grease for my brain.

What works for you?… Read More »

Four jobs I’ve had:

  • Calling up alumni and asking them to pledge $2000 to my college’s sorry-ass football team.
  • Hefting 40-pound crates of milk into cafeteria dispensers.
  • Transcribing ER reports on injuries like bat bites and penis fractures.
  • Shopgirl.

Four favorite foods:

  • Chocolate-covered anything.
  • Peanut butter-filled anything.
  • Coffee-flavored anything.
  • Olives.

Four movies I could (and do) watch over and over

  • Pride and Prejudice (any version)
  • North and South (the recent BBC miniseries, NOT the Patrick Swayze 80s mini)
  • Little Women
  • Moonstruck

Four TV shows I enjoy watching:

  • Project Runway
  • The Amazing Race
  • The Daily Show/Colbert Report
  • WonderPets

Four places I’ve traveled:

Four websites I visit (almost) daily:

Four people I’m tagging to do this:

  • Courtney Milan
  • Lenora Bell
  • Pam Skochinski
  • Sara Dennis

Muahahaha. Let it be known, this is the first chain-letter type thing I have EVER completed.… Read More »

So there I was, sandwiched inbetween two other mommies on a bench at the park. Mommy #1 began talking about her book group, and how they were going to be discussing Pride and Prejudice this month.

“I just can’t get into it at all,” she says. “It’s so cheesy! It’s … it’s just a romance novel!” She shudders.

I shudder.

Mommy #2 chimes in with, “Oh, my mother used to read all those trashy novels, with those ridiculous covers. OH. MY. GOD.”

So in the space of one minute, these two women have managed to insult my literary hero (the great Jane), my favorite book, my reading tastes, and my would-be profession. Had one of them said, “Your children are so ugly!”, the effect would have been complete.

And what did I say? Did I stand up and retort, “Pride and Prejudice is not cheesy, it is a work of elegant wit and literary genius, and while it contains a beautiful love story, it is not ‘just a romance novel.’ And by the way, what is so wrong with romance novels? I happen to read them. I happen to be writing one.”?

Of course I didn’t. I am timid and lame. But what would you have said?… Read More »

Check it out:

I am a HarperCollins author!

These Wicked Games is officially an e-book. And thank goodness they fixed the typo in my chapter. That was the first thing I checked!… Read More »

I am a woefully inconsistent blogger. Sorry. But just so you know, the less frequently I’m blogging, the more writing I’m getting done.

But I’m quite proud of myself for figuring out how to insert that widget to the right.

I attended my first-ever meeting of the local RWA chapter last weekend. My local chapter seems very big and well-organized, and when the published authors left the room for their private pow-wow, about 1/3 of the people got up, which is very cool. At the meeting, I basically learned about 10 more things that I could add to the list of mistakes below. As such, it was a tad depressing. However, that’s entirely my fault for being so clueless to begin with. I keep telling myself that my next novel will be fabulous!

Those of you who are RWA members, what have you found most useful/educational/fun about membership? Local chapters? Conference? Contests? Subgenre-specific divisions? Other?

Advise the newbie.… Read More »