Back to Top

Author Archives: Mary Blayney

About Mary Blayney

I have been writing both contemporary and regency romances since 1986, first with contemporary romances for Silhouette and later with historicals set in the Regency period. Family will always play a strong part in my books since, for me, family relationships are as fundamental as the love between a man and a woman.

Blogs are one of the best developments of the Internet. They have given inividuals a chance to share their interests in everything from Period fashion to Type II Diabetes. But I think that blogs are fading in popularity. Be warned most of my evidence is anecdotal.

First and foremost time is a factor. We all seem to have less of it. I can’t be the only one who never quite finishes the ‘to do’ list and rarely has (or makes) time to go back to the blogs I’ve saved for a few free minutes Honesty compels me to admit that I usually use those free minutes to watch TV, read or play games. There is a point where the last thing I want is something else that will make me think. So TIME is the big factor in my lessening interest in blogs.

Facebook figures in the equation. It’s easy to share an idea there. Reddit has a generational following that is significant and you can pursue or introduce categories that interest you and hopefully find an audience who feels the same.. Pinterest is ideal for those who love a visual representation of their favorite subjects. And Twitter makes the sharing quick and pointed.

How can blogs bear up against all those other ways to share what intrigues us?

That said I bet we all have blogs we still follow. One of my favorites is Mimi Matthews whose field is social history:

So I have three questions for you. Do YOU think blogs are losing ground? Why (whether you answer yes or no.)? And finally, what blogs do you still follow and want to share? Answer one or two or all three. Thanks!

RARMDid you know that August is Read A Romance month? it’s a growing movement started by romance advocate Bobbi Dumas who reviews for NPR, the New York Times and Kirkus.  Click on this link for details on RARM:

This year I am participating along with 92 other authors including, among others Regency authors, Joanna Bourne, Lauren Wittig, Cathy Maxwell, Caroline Linden and Jade Lee. There are 93 authors in all, three each day of the month. Authors answer questions based on this year’s theme, books they recommend and more personal recollections of romantic moments in their own lives.

Take a minute to check out the calendar, make a copy and be sure to share the details with your friends See if some of your favorite authors are interviewed, come by on their day, read and comment.

MY DATE is Monday August 21. PARM2I’ll remind you more than once so you WILL remember.

I read, write and love romance! Have you heard of Read A Romance Month before this post? Do you have any other favorite sites that celebrate romance?

For many readers I suspect that one of the most appealing aspects of Regency life is its simplicity. In fact the day-to-day life of the well born may have been annoyingly busy but, in the fantasy world that most of us write, the characters live a life at a leisure pace the 21st century reader can only dream about. Or maybe enjoy on a solo vacation or a religious retreat.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I try to find a way to simplify a life that involves a lot of travel, mentoring some promising writers, welcoming spring with gardening, taking care of the endless threatening health issues and, oh yes, trying to work in writing and exercise

Believing in baby steps I no longer answer the phone and rely on people to leave messages which I can return at my convenience. Dinner is on the table as a finished meal only two or three nights a week thanks to a spouse who is okay with peanut butter and crackers (or occasionally will cook for both of us)

But I need to simplify not just eliminate. I could cancel our cable. That would end the distraction of TV but would not be fair to the rest of the household who depend on it for evening entertainment. Maybe I could reduce email to twice a day. But even that would take a good bit of time. Move to a less convivial neighborhood where neighbors do not stop in? Not an option if I want to stay married.

As I typed this I remembered the solution. I read it in the Washington Post years ago. A woman came to a therapist asking what she could do about a life that was out of control. His answer is THE ANSWER and I’m relieved that writing this post reminded me: IF YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR INNER LIFE YOUR OUTER LIFE WILL TAKE CARE OF ITSLEF.

Did that advice work for the patient? I have no idea but I will tell you it has always worked for me. Until I lose sight of it.  So it’s back to evening meditation and extra time at church to just sit and absorb the silence. I KNOW it will work because it has in the past.

Tell me what is the beas advice you ever absorbed, acted on and discovered was the truth?

*In the pursuit of simplicity I have no pictures. Far from home and access to my photos!

How many of you have read and worked with Julia Cameron’s THE ARTISTS WAY? I was introduced to it a long time ago — before I sold my third book (I’m up to twenty) and found it an amazing resource. My writing pal Judy Yoder and I worked our way through it together, meeting once a month to discuss the previous chapter (or “week” as Cameron calls her sections.) It was an enriching experience and helped me regain my focus and head towards the success that was coming my way.

Now I am taking that ride again with a new writing friend, Linda. I am at the end of my career, if only because of my age, and Linda is just beginning. Her enthusiasm is contagious plus I find that after twenty years Cameron’s words still ring true. I resolved many of the issues that held me back then (all conveniently written in the white space of my original copy) but now there are new ones that need to be addressed.

With Linda’s enthusiasm and the proven value of the exercise, I wonder why I am finding it a challenge to recommit to two elements that Cameron considers essential: morning pages and artist’s dates.

Here is what I have decided. As I age I find that without the time pressure of deadlines my whole life is an artist’s date. I take time every day to enjoy nature, read about a subject that interests me and talk to people who I seek out.

Writing at my own pace, telling the story I have to tell is the greatest treat in the world. If there is no editorial interest then I can consider independent publishing. I wonder what Cameron thinks of that game changing aspect of publishing?

As for Morning Pages, I am not at all sure why I do not make the time to do them. I do make time for yoga most days and I am thinking that the time I spend in meditation, after yoga has taken the place of morning pages.

No matter if those details do not work for me any more there are elements of her work that are in my head everyday when I sit down and have been for all these years. “It’s easier to do the work than to worry about doing the work,” and “It is my job to do the work, not judge the work.”

THE ARTISTS WAY is the single most useful writer’s self-help book I have ever used. Where does it rank on your list? What earns high praise from you, as a reader or a writer? (If we’re talking self-help in general for me it’s a contest between DANCE OF ANGER and SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE. Am I dating myself with those two? )In any case I want to know what works for you . Or if you think the self-help process is pointless. The road to creativity is different for all of us so there are no wrong answers here.

Posted in Writing | 6 Replies

Over organized. That is one way that I describe myself. Sometimes that’s good (I do know where almost everything is in our house) and sometimes that’s bad (I really do try my best not to fiddle with Paul’s stacks of stuff.)

So it may be that only over-organized types like me who see the value in a Book Diary.FullSizeRender (2) I first started keeping one in 1972 but stopped in 1974 when child #1 made all but the basics impossible. I came across it recently (while tidying, of course) and was intrigued by how much more literary my reading tastes were then. It was well before I discovered the pure joy of reading romance. That happended after child #2 was born in 1975.

It’s interesting (to me at least) that I started a book diary again when Paul retired and our life slowed down considerably, giving me more time to read and more time to keep track of what I read.

Most people complain that they do not have time for a book diary but anyone has time for the sort that I keep. It is nothing more than Date/Title/Author and one or two words about the book that will jog my memory if necessary. If it’s great I give it a star. I do one book per page in a small 5 x 7 notebook (see photo above for current edition) and if I do not finish the book I draw a diagonal line through the page with Date/Title/Author and one or two words describing why I tossed it across the room.

Once or twice I’ve thought about doing a spread sheet so I could look at the diary in different ways — by name of author or by date read but that begins to feel like work. Heaven knows I don’t need to find more ways to spend time at the computer. So it’s still the old-fashioned paper and ink method for me.

51QTjDIChNL._AA160_My last starred entry is THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE – juvenile fiction. It’s the story of a girl and her brother who are evacuated from London at the beginning of WWII. Loved it, laughed and cried. My last literary entry is THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER by Junot Daiz (for my book club) My note says great writing, unlikable characters but I did not need my notes to remind me. It is a fascinating look at the Dominican 51+lomECJPL._AA160_immigrant culture and filled with bad language and sex which would not have bothered me a bit if I had actually liked any of the characters. My last unread entry is THE NEW YORK TIMES PRESENTS SMARTER BY SUNDAY which defines itself as “fifty two weekends of essential knowledge for the curious mind.” I can tell you the topics were not ones that I was curious about. My most recent romance is Lavinia Klein’s latest 51X1LLJ4vaL._AA160_RAVISHING RUBY. Erotic is not my favorite romance subgenre but Lavinia’s are so clever and endearing that I enjoy every word.

So why keep a Book Diary? So you can remind yourself of books you’ve read. (Oh, yeah, I loved that book) So you know where to look when someone asks for a good book to read and you draw a blank. (Better than “Uhm.”)So you can congratulate yourself on how much you read.

What about you? Do you keep a Book Diary and if not can you tell me what was the last fabulous book you read, or the last literary book or the last one you did not finish. Oh and the last romance!

Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By