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I’m working away at The Next Historical and I’m making progress. The story is starting to gel which, you know; :::Sigh of Relief::: This writing gig is hard work. Yesterday when I was reading through my current chapter one, I thought to myself, hey! This is pretty good! :::runs around cheering::::

I’ve hit the first third of the story when typically things are slightly less sucky and slightly more focused. It’s a good feeling.

I think I might have mentioned already that at first the book was set in London. I was reading a lot of my Epicure’s Almanack that the dog chewed on and I was all ready to start using some of that great research. But then I ended up moving the story to the country and so far no one is showing any sign of wanting—

omg, I just had a great idea! ROAD TRIP!!!!! They will travel somewhere…. and do something…. and exciting stuff will happen!!! And there will be hotel rooms and possibly shenanigans.

—to leave the country.

That does not mean my research was wasted because, as it turns out, this whole section I read on a totally wild, extravagant party that Ryder made up (it NEEDS to be TRUE!!!) has turned into this backstory-ish thing based on that and it’s working out well.

Next Week

Next week is RWA and some of the Riskies will be there, including yours truly. I will do my best to post.

What are your plans for next week?

ldmaudioPart of me wishes I could be at RWA. It’s been years since I’ve seen many of my writing friends. However, the logistics involved in leaving my disabled husband for that many days make it complicated. Not impossible, but complicated.

This year, I’ve actually been too busy to pine (much).

After mulling the top two auditions, both very good, I picked a narrator, Robin Rowan, for the audio book version of Lady Dearing’s Masquerade (cover shown here). I look forward to working with her, because she makes my story sound so good!

I’m continuing to edit Fly with a Rogue to address comments received through critique. Last week I compared being critiqued to sitting in the dentist’s chair. This week it’s more like therapeutic massage. It takes some pressure to work out the knots, but it feels so good afterwards!

I’m also excited to hear that the RITAs will now be open to-self published books. This is partly on a personal note, as I will be able to enter Fly with a Rogue this year. The opportunity for peer recognition is not critical for me—I had already decided, for business reasons, to self-publish this book—but it is nice to know I have the option.

On an organizational level, I think it’s very important. If the purpose of the RITAs is to “promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas”, it doesn’t make sense to exclude self-published romances, many of which have already hit the New York Times, USA Today, and other bestseller lists. As I understand it, entrants will have to be eligible for RWA’s Published Authors Network, which means the contest will be open only to authors with a proven record of sales.

There will also be a new category for erotic romance, which many authors of erotic romance have been asking for. I know there are others who say erotic romance should just be entered in whichever category fits otherwise (paranormal, historical, etc…) I understand their point, but I also know that there are judges whose reaction to extremes of sexuality in a book can impair their ability to judge fairly. Allowing those judges to choose not to opt in for the erotic romance category should help ensure better judging.

I haven’t read enough erotic romance to know for sure if this is always true, but in the ones I’ve read, sexual awakening or healing is an important part of the characters’ journey. This is in addition to being part of the relationship development, as it would be in sexy romances in other categories. The special role of sexuality in an erotic romance is also another argument for a unique category.

What do you all think of the RITA changes?

I hope everyone is having a great time in Atlanta and I’m looking forward to seeing pictures here!


Posted in Risky Book Talk, Writing | Tagged , | 4 Replies

Today I am leaving for RWA, the one week a year I get to talk nothing but books and writing with far-flung friends, wear my prettiest shoes, and hang out a lot at the bar.  (ok, the shoes and bar thing I do here too….)  I look forward to this all year, and thanks to some health disasters I haven’t been since Orlando 3 years ago this is extra special.  Look for me there, I will have books to give away!  (once I get past the terrifying plane ride, that is…at least I have something Regency travelers did not have.  Xanax)

But this week also marks the anniversary of the sinking of the ship the Mary Rose.  Built in 1510 and supposedly named after Henry’s favorite sister, it sank in the Solent in 1545 in sight of Henry VIII and his horrified court, with loss of all hands.  Discovered in 1971 and raised in 1982, it was a rare time capsule and  it has spent all this time under painstaking restoration.  Thousands of fascinating artifacts (including skeletons, whose features have been hauntingly recreated) are now on display at the stunning-looking new museum, which also included the remains of the ship.  This is definitely on my Must See list next time I go to London.  Here are a few of the pics from their website (which has a treasure trove of information)

Here are a few pics of the ship and its artifacts (including, most sadly, the ship’s dog):

mary-rose1 mary-rose2 mary-rose3 mary-rose4

Has anyone been to this museum yet?  What did you think??  And will you be at RWA???

Posted in Research | Tagged , | 1 Reply

This week some of us will be doing Announcements. Nice things have been happening to the Riskies and we want to share our good news with all of you.

Last Monday, I broke some of the good news from the RWA conference, but that really didn’t give it the attention it deserved, so we are going to toot our own horns just a little this week.

Of course, I’ve had lots to toot about. My A Reputable Rake winning the RITA for Best Regency Romance, brought me lots of emails from friends happy for my good fortune. This is truly a great honor and I am overwhelmed at receiving a RITA in only my second year of eligibility. My Rake was a truly a risky regency- a lady running a courtesan school right in the heart of Mayfair- but it won!

I’m also so happy that The Mysterious Miss M won the National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency. Before Mills & Boon bought Miss M through the Golden Heart contest, editor after editor from other publishing houses rejected the book, saying that readers would not accept my prostitute heroine. I always believed readers would love Maddie as I did and I felt the NRCA, judged by readers, finally proved it!

Life has a way of bringing a person back down to earth, however. As soon as I got home from the conference, there was a little family stuff to deal with. Nothing serious, but it needed me to rise from my laurels and do something! Then Melanie, my Warner editor phoned me about my revisions. LOTS of them. Major rewrite of Blake’s story, now titled Desire in His Eyes and slated for release sometime in 2007. And, of course, there is the next Mills & Boon/Harlequin Historical to write by the end of October. And the persistent congestion I was experiencing was a little sinus infection (much better now).

Last week blogger wouldn’t let me post photos, but this week is kinder, and I wanted to show off the real joy in this business – the people. The friends. So here are some photos from the conference.

Me, accepting the RITA. (for more on this moment, see my Wet Noodle Posse blog)

And the awards themselves, with lovely flowers sent by my friends.

Right after the RITA ceremony, the Mills & Boon folks took me in search of champagne for a toast to our good fortune. Here we are after our long and arduous search for bubbly. From Left to Right: Sheila Hodgson, Karin Stoeker (editorial director), Jenny Hutton, me, Joanne Carr

While we were on our search for champagne, I missed the annual Wet Noodle Posse photo with other WNP RITA winners Stef Feagan and Dianna Love Snell (The WNP are the Golden Heart finalists from 2003. We’re still together–except me, I’m still looking for champagne)

This is a photo of me with Kathy Caskie and Sophia Nash–now both Avon authors and my friends from Washington Romance Writers. In 2003 Kathy awarded me the Golden Heart for what became The Mysterious Miss M. This year Sophia awarded me the RITA!

Here am I with my dear friend Julie Halperson. Years ago, Julie and I met in a creative writing class at our local community college. She’s been a writing friend and critique partner ever since, with me through this whole journey.

Two more great friends from WRW. Mary Blayney (Poppy’s Coin in J.D. Robb’s anthology Bump in the Night)and Lavinia Klein, a double Golden Heart finalist in Long Historical this year.

And my wonderful Sisters of the Moon, my critique group including (R to L) Karen Anders, Blaze author; me and RITA; Darlene Gardner, Superromance (A Time to Forgive, July 2006); Lisa Dyson, about to break in at any moment!

And finally, three friends who came to the Literacy Booksigning. These are my high school classmates, Wayne, Sandy, and Peggy, who were surprised to learn at our high school reunion in June that the shy, studious Diane became a Romance Author. They were dear enough to come see me at the signing and were so happy for me. It was very touching.

The friends are the greatest reward! I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

I meant to have a carefully written and hopefully interesting post up today but there are painters in the house today, sprucing up our hall, kitchen and the master bathroom. Yesterday, as I was preparing for them, we had to scoot to the basement because of a tornado warning (fortunately one did not touch down in our neighborhood, though it wrought massive havoc in the town of Elmira, not too far away).  Then our power was out for hours, so I couldn’t write the post nor could I properly prepare for the painters.

So today I’m scrambling. They’re in the house now and although they are good guys who have done good work for us before, it is still chaos.  I wish this could be done by magic wand instead!

So anyway, I wish I were at RWA. The last time I went was in 2008 (see Risky picture above). However, I will soon have a nicer-looking house and I am looking forward to going to the New Jersey conference in October, so I have both of those to look forward to!

So how are you spending your weekend?  Those of you at RWA, please take lots of pics and be ready to tell us all about it!


Posted in Writing | Tagged | 3 Replies
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