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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Last week, when I had every reason to be delayed in posting (red-eye flight), I was here bright and early.

Today? Not so much.

I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things, the swing of things including writing on my WIP every day. And, I realized yesterday when I was reviewing it, I start no fewer than four chapters with a sentence containing the word ‘fuck.’ In fact, sometimes the sentence is just the word ‘fuck.’ Like this: “Fuck.” I went through the document, and I use it at least 53 times.

I am not writing a historical.

Since I had my son, I don’t swear hardly at all; I do say ‘shoot’ and ‘darn’ a lot, but not much beyond that (ask my son, however, what I yell about in the car, can he’ll tell you everyone else on the road is a Big Jerk). But in my writing, in this case a contemporary, I do swear. It’s of the time, it suits the character(s), even though I don’t say it much myself anymore. Oddly enough, I don’t say or write ‘shit’ nearly as much, mostly because I’m not a big fan of the scatalogical.

Of course, when we write historical, we can fall into the making-it-authentic trap by making it sound too dated, as though we were channeling Jane Austen, only not the spirit of her (for the time) contemporary voice. Reading Georgette Heyer‘s Venetia for the read-along, for example, I was struck by how Heyer defines our genre through her dialogue. Many historical authors have incorporated some of her common usage (mushroom, Corinthian, lightskirt), but hopefully not used it has heavyhandedly as she did; when she did it, she was blazing a genre trail. When people do it now, it’s just lazy writing.

So if you ever read any of my contemporaries, don’t be shocked at the language; I write as the characters would speak, hopefully, and yes, they would swear. Some of them, at least. And some of my historicals also use the word, albeit not as plentifully. It was true to the time, and the characters.


PS: Cameo‘s “Word Up!” was one of my favorite songs back in the day. Does it really pertain to the topic? No. Do I care? Also no.

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How can someone who reads or writes romance have not read Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice?

Particularly writers. Not because these books are the “first romances ever written” (questionable on so many levels, and Jane Eyre was actually the first Gothic Regency, but never mind that) but because they are part of our cultural heritage. And by our I mean the community and mindset of romance readers and writers. And by of I mean…

And no, the movies do not count. There are specific areas of the brain that deal with language and hence with reading and writing. Movies are something else entirely besides being a collaboration of people other than the author pooling their talents and vision and creating something that is (if they’re lucky) another work of art.

To play devil’s advocate to myself, does anyone actually need to read the books? Popular culture has given us all the clues. We all know what they’re about, so why is reading them so important? You read, you absorb, you stow bits and pieces away in your writer’s toolbox, and it seeps out in a good sort of way in your work. I firmly believe that reading well written books is the only way to become a writer.

And you’ll enjoy them, which is why we read what we read, isn’t it?

So what do you consider essential reading?–outside of romance as well as within the genre.

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We have some prizes to give away in celebration of our first Heyer Read Along, but I confess that I’ve been so slammed with revisions that I haven’t picked winners yet. The revisions are done. I think. And now I’m a wee bit behind on the next book and I have to hit the ground sprinting on that. I will pick winners this week, so do please watch this space.

Thank you to everyone who participated, whether you commented or just read the book. Venetia love was in the air! Major kudos to everyone who commented. The discussions of this book were lovely. You guys are really awesome! I really enjoyed reading about that people thought and going over the varied analyses. There were even a few side discussions on Twitter that were quite interesting.

I had such great fun with this. As you may know, I had resisted reading Heyer for ages and ages, because I am stupidly stubborn that way, but broke down a while back and read Regency Buck which I like a lot. Venetia was my second Heyer. I now have two more Heyers in my TBR,

I have a few thoughts for next time, since I think there should be a next time, so any opinions would be welcome. I’m wondering if we should in future read the whole book first, rather than dividing by chapters. I think many of us read the book very quickly and I know my thoughts were much fresher soon after reading. Thoughts on this? Suggestions for improvement?  One idea would be to have a Twitter hash tag for the next Read Along.

Anyway, prize winners To Be Announced soon!

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I’m in the midst of packing for a few days away (yay!), so this will be a bit of a jumbled/housekeep-y sort of post…

First of all, on Saturday at 2:00 I’ll be doing a booksigning at the Uptown Borders in Albuquerque (2240 Q Street NE) along with authors Celeste Bradley (who was our guest here at Riskies just a few weeks ago!) and Sarah Storme. If you’re in the area come by and say hi! I’ll be wearing my Laurel and Amanda hats, signing copies of Countess of Scandal and To Catch a Rogue (which has a nice new review here! And I also spotted copies in my local Wal Mart last week…). Also on the 10th I’ll be guest blogging at the Pink Heart Society.

If you’re in the UK, I have a release there this month as well! A Sinful Alliance, set at the Court of Henry VIII, is out in the Super Historicals line, and can be ordered here. (I actually like the cover better in this close-up view!)

And I have two new re-issue covers from Signet! Rogue Grooms will be out in June, and Improper Ladies doesn’t yet have a firm release date, but I do love the heroine’s hair!

What else I’ve been thinking about this week: dresses! I went shopping last weekend to find some clothes for the RWA conference this summer. I found a couple of cute little cocktail-type dresses (on sale!) for publisher’s parties and things like that, but couldn’t find just the right thing for the awards ceremony (except for one dress that cost about 3 times more than I wanted to spend). I was whining to my mother about it, and she said “Why don’t you wear one of the fifty or so dresses you have hanging in your closet?” Because that would be no fun, of course! (She also refused to make me a new gown on the grounds that she is still working on my costume for the Beau Monde Soiree. Modistes these days! LOL). But I did start sorting through my closets and found a dress that would work perfectly and which hasn’t seen the light of day in a billion years because it happens to be my gown from the senior prom. (Quick note: this is a very classic ballgown-style dress, with an off-the-shoulder black velvet bodice and big black satin skirt, not an early-90s shiny monstrosity with giant sleeves!). The problem–it will only zip up to just below my shoulder blades. So it is now in my mother’s sewing room getting surgery performed on its seams. Stay tuned…

What else I’m thinking about–books that come out in a series. As you know, my “Muses” books are coming out in April, May, and June, and while I’m very happy about this it’s posed a bit of a “doing promo” confusion. I asked Nicola Cornick (whose new trilogy is coming out in consecutive months at the end of this year. I’m so excited about this!) and Michelle Willingham (whose “Accidental” books just came out in two consecutive months) how to let people know about these books without boring them to death. I am still pondering this, but I have to say as a reader I do love this practice of a series coming out close together. I tend to avoid the Massive Series (where there are approximately 253 relatives who all need their own stories) because I am very easily confused and then spend the whole book trying desperately to remember what happened in the previous books. But I love series of 3 or 4 books, because it feels like there’s more time for a whole world to be built and explored. When the books come out months apart, I tend to collect them all before I start reading (to avoid that confusion) so it’s nice to get them quickly.

I was also thinking about this as I watched Vampire Diaries last week. (Yes, I know, another CW show I have grown obsessed with! I have a problem…). This show recently went on a hiatus of more than a month after a slam-bang episode where many plot threads came together. The vampire tomb was opened at last–and Catherine wasn’t in it!!! Stefan almost got trapped in the tomb, and Elena’s brother almost got killed! Bonnie’s grandmother died from opening the tomb! Elena felt sorry for Damon, who actually looked a bit sympathetic for once, having lost his one true love! But then there were no shows for weeks, and when I watched the new episode last week I had completely lost the thread of the plot and had no clue what was going on or who half the characters were who were running around doing–well, not much of anything. I think jumping right back into the series without even showing us a re-run of the tomb-opening episode was a mistake.

Also, the two new episodes have kind of been–dull (despite numerous near-stakings). The spectacle of a drunken, lovelorn Damon in a bachelor auction was hilarious, as was the thought of going on a double-date with your high school friends and a 150 year old vampire boyfriend, but other than that it feels like things have stalled a bit. One of the things I’ve liked about Vampire Diaries is that each episode has something important or unexpected happen and the story leaps forward accordingly. I also like how the characters are actually rather complex (for a CW show anyway) and don’t always act in the ways we expect. So I hope things pick up next week. But I have learned an important lesson from this show–keep the series moving, don’t confuse readers with big info dumps and unfamiliar characters popping up all over (especially when the characters who are already there are interesting enough!), do the unexpected whenever possible, and it’s great when the bad-boy hero is undone by an even badder girl.

So watching TV is not wasted time after all! It’s Very Important Research.

What are you thinking about this week? Are you going to RWA and if so do you have your clothes all planned? What did you wear to your prom? And what’s your favorite TV show right now–have you learned anything important from watching it? (So many questions today!)

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