Risky Book Talk

What Elena’s up to now

When Santa asked for an update on our projects, I had mixed feelings. I love that someone cares enough to ask, don’t get me wrong! But I also have to admit something: I’ve been wandering for a while.

After completing LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, I started work on a historical romance with a Regency balloonist as the hero. I thought it would be fun, but instead it soon felt like pushing a boulder uphill. I switched gears to work on a different story that I believed was more “high concept”, only to find the going slow on that one, too. Then not long ago the market seemed to call for something darker than what I was writing. Then sexier–plot setups where the sex starts from the get-go, whereas most of my couples would take about half the book to get to that point.

After desperately mulling around the 15-20 story germs in my idea file, I realized I’d allowed fears about marketability to suck the joy out of the writing. By some wonderful serendipity, around the same time the Smart Bitches blog posted some words of wisdom from Laura Kinsale. And many of her words resonated with me.

“I began to write because I loved to write. That is still the only way.”

I realized this was true for me as well. So I went into Deep Think Mode, looked back over my list of story ideas and asked myself which one I really wanted to write. And I got not one but two answers, so here’s what I’m working on now.

Project #1: Completing the balloonist story. I guess I like closure and having looked back over the partial draft I wonder why I thought it was so bad. Galloping lack of self-confidence, I guess.

Project #2: Character and plot brainstorming on a story I don’t feel comfortable describing yet. In my rational mind, I know perfectly well that the Riskies and our guests would probably say, “Go ahead and write this story” but my insecure inner artist will assume you’re just being nice.

Anyway, the mojo is back. I am enjoying the process of writing again, even if it will take a bit longer for me to get another book completed.

Thanks again for asking about this, Santa!

LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, Romantic Times Best Regency Romance of 2005

P.S. The image above is a cartoon published by McCleary, A Balloon Tete-a-tete, c. 1820. Since the speech bubbles aren’t clear in this picture, I’ll let you know that the lady is exclaiming “How it rises!” and the gentleman, “It ascends exquisitely!!”

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Megan Frampton
16 years ago

“Just being nice?!?”

I’ve got to work on my snarkiness more if you think that.

Good luck with your projects, Elena. Is your ballooning story called “Up, Up And Away?”

And isn’t all writing like pushing a boulder uphill? Maybe I’m doing it wrong?

Cara King
16 years ago

Hurray on getting your mojo back, Elena — and I love the picture, BTW!

Pushing a boulder uphill? Yep, I’ve been there. Though the metaphor I use more often is pulling teeth. (Why??? Not sure. Something to do with PAIN, I think.)


16 years ago

Thanks Elena for letting me/us in on what you have been up to! I am so glad to hear your mojo is back and you are writing for the joy of it. The market is so demanding sometimes that I think it sets up false expectations of what folks really want to read! Glad to hear more folks are thinking and writing outside of the box and opening up to their muses!!

Diane Perkins
16 years ago

Boy, that comment from Santa about false expectations and writing outside the box was so very reassuring. Thank you, Santa!
Elena, I love the balloon idea! I was going to put a balloon in my last book but it just would never fit. So I put in a submarine instead (g).

I LOVE those lines, “How it rises!” and, “It ascends exquisitely!!” Who said Regency people couldn’t talk dirty???

Anyway, hooray on getting the mojo back! And for piquing our curiosity about that story #2!


16 years ago

Quick, slightly off topic question:

YA fiction – what’s the age group that’s geared towards? My daughter is nine but reads two grade levels above. So, how do I find reading to hold her interest without it being too “interesting”.

Geez, I did it again….asking another off topic question. No rush on this one. I still want to hear from the rest of you and my other beloved Regency writers! Thanks!!

Cara King
16 years ago

Santa — as the Tuesday post was (partly, anyway) on young adult fiction, I’ll answer your question there, if you don’t mind!


Janet Mullany
16 years ago

uh, they are talking about the balloon, aren’t they?
Good luck with boulders and hot air, the writer’s tools…

Elena Greene
16 years ago

Re the boulder, well, writing has never been easy for me, but it became unbearably difficult when ideas no longer come to me in the shower, while driving, in the swimming pool… My muse had checked out on me, and it felt like a passionate love affair gone awry. I am going to be much more careful from now on, I promise!

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