No, this isn’t a post about the holidays. It’s just that I recently realized my WIP (aka GOTH, FYI) now features both a partridge and a pear tree. Although the partridge is not in said pear tree, thankfully. Well, perhaps not thankfully. The partridge is dead.

Egads, this gets worse and worse, doesn’t it? You are all going to be dying to read this thing by the time I finish it, just for the laughs.

Anyway, I hit a bit of a block around the 30,000-word mark, possibly because I couldn’t figure out a way to set my lords a-leaping and my ladies dancing, and I decided to – *gasp* – SKIP AHEAD. Actually, I was inspired by CM to do so.

Really, when I read a romance novel, there always comes a point where I just can’t take the suspense and the angst and the misunderstandings or intrigue or whathaveyou – and then I flip to the end, to reassure myself that everything comes out fine. Why should writing one be any different?… Read More »

But I am going to be guest-blogging on Romance by the Blog on January 8th, as the chapter grand prize winner of Avon FanLit. Sara Dennis is scheduled for the 12th, I think.

I’m still not sure when I’ll be going to New York – with a three-month-old baby, I’m not in a real rush, either to take him along or leave him behind. As soon as a date is set, I’ll let you all know.

So speaking of quotes, CM’s blog brought to mind one of my favorite writing quotes, shared with me by a journalism professor eons ago:

“It’s hell writing and it’s hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.” —Robert Hass.

I love that quote, because it lets me know that I am not alone in having a contentious relationship with my keyboard. When people say they “love to write,” I really don’t know what they mean. For me, writing is like picking a scab. It’s slow and messy and painful, but just irresistible in some grotesque, masochistic way.

What are your favorite quotes on writing?… Read More »

OK, so I occasionally have a useful thought on a Monday morning. Only on rainy Monday mornings in California, on odd-numbered days in November.

Here was mine today – I should not be trying to avoid making mistakes with this novel. I should be making all the mistakes on purpose, just to get them out of the way. And I’m doing a great job of it so far. Here are is the story of all my mistakes, thus far.

  • Prologue: I have a prologue (see previous post).
  • Chapter 1: I began this book without having a clue how it would end. I know some writers thrive on that. I am not one of them.
  • Chapter 2: The h/h both begin the book (convinced that they are) in love with other people. *smacks forehead* It’s way too late to change it now.
  • Chapter 3: My hero defies definition. He is alpha outside, beta inside, with a fudge torture ripple. He’s a torbelpha. And despite all of that (or perhaps because of it) he’s far from the most interesting character in the book. Right now, he’s coming in at about fourth.
  • Chapter 4: As mentioned in a previous post, my plot involves hunting, fishing, and riding — none of which I have ever done. Write what you know? Hah!
  • I know there are other mistakes I’m forgetting, others I haven’t yet realized I’ve made, and still more I haven’t gotten around to making yet.

    Help me round out the list. What other … Read More »

    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 »