This blog follows how a romance novel set in the Borders of medieval Scotland is researched, written and hopefully *hopefully* published.

Join me on the writing journey and get inspired to try writing a little romance into your own life!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Too Little Time for Love...

Ugh, I've gotten remarkably little done recently. Okay, sure, I'm getting more ideas to weave into this tale of mine (little details--the minutia of everyday life), but I haven't had time to actually do any more writing and it's driving me nuts.

I do have my reasons, of course. This summer is chock full of travel (including but not limited to the midwest and Europe). And it's full of little tragedies, too. We had to put our dog down about a week ago now because of cancer. I'm still adjusting to the fact that he's gone after only about 7 years.

I'm not having to pick my way as carefully through the halls at night so I don't step on him (he curled up between our room and my child's to sleep and guard), and for a while I kept thinking I saw him out of the corner of my eye, you know, like a shadow hound sitting or sleeping. My husband says he keeps thinking he's just at the kennel and he'll pick him up and bring him home soon. In a way he's right. We should be getting a wooden box filled with his ashes back before next week.

Before we had to deal with the death of our proud protector (who started as a rescued stray from a "dangerous breed" by the way), we also found out that my husband's grandmother was hospitalized. It took the hospital 4 days to determine she had a stroke, not congestive heart failure. When pressed about their inadequacies, a doctor told my mother-in-law, "We've been very busy this week." Well then, this all must be quite understandable, right?

My husband's grandmother has always been a remarkable woman (to me and him especially). She spent her childhood summers working at a family-owned hotel in Pennsylvania and knew at an early age that her father had a regular lover, although he was still married and living with her mother. He even had the audacity to move the family so they would be closer to his lover and he often visited her after work, but before dinner (because a good family man at least eats at home, right?). Grandmom remembers watching her school-age peers ride sleds in a line (they hooked onto each other) that linked to a slow moving car in order to get home from school. She remembers caring for her sister's children (born from different men's wordly contributions to a girl too young to be responsible and really care for them ). She remembers her first kiss and her first apartment in Boston. She remembers her disappointment when her husband led her into a house he claimed he was "considering" and although he knew she didn't like it as much as another prettier house on the same block, he informed her frankly that this would be their home. Or at least she did remember all those things. I haven't seen her since the stroke. I get mixed reports on her health. Someone says it's the meds messing her up, someone says it's underlying dementia. I don't know if seeing her would help, either. Either of us.

She's 87 and I still think I haven't known her nearly long enough. I think that her spirit's still young (like that of my departed dog) and so why shouldn't her body still be? I wonder if no matter how long you live you ever really get your fill of love. My dog wagged his tail at my touch until the injection took affect, and I wonder if I loved him enough for him to glimpse my real feelings for all he brought us as a young family. And I know Grandmom remembers the pain as much as the joy in life. Has she been loved enough? Does she feel fulfilled?

Can you ever truly love and be loved long enough to be satisfied?

Much LOVE,

Friday, June 02, 2006

Brainstorming with Collaboration

Two heads are better than one, right?

So I spent a couple more hours doing some research related to setting last night, and as I was reading about crime and punishment in the Middle Ages I found two intriguing facts. At that point I stopped typing and looked at my husband. "Hey, I think there's an idea for a new romance book in this--Listen." I told him what I had read and what connection I thought could link a couple of characters.

He nodded and added to it verbally (by this point I was jotting down notes). His thoughts sparked new situations in my own mind and then he threw out what quickly shaped into a potential subplot and we wove it all together. Right now the whole thing's hashed out in a simple chronological (and skeletal) format with nothing hidden from the reader (totally not how the final text would be). Characters' names? Man A, Man B, Woman A, Priest, Captain of the Guard, Marauders. All the basics, right?

In short, I enjoy tossing ideas around with my husband for anything longer than a general short story. And he's a pretty good litmus test. He reads voraciously (okay, so they're audio books because he drives an absurd distance to and from work each day) but he knows what he likes and what seems to work in several genres. My point is this, if you have someone you trust to do some brainstorming with, embrace the opportunity.

Just remember this key to brainstorming: No idea is wrong or bad in a brainstorm. All you're really doing is dumping out the contents of your brain to sift through later. No criticism allowed!

Well, back to researching and writing Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Problems and Pushing Through

So, my great new tool (see previous post, please) has a major snag. In making me sort stuff out, I've discovered an issue that creates contradiction in my setting. Yep, it's organized me just enough to point out my own imperfections (I knew there were bound to be problems, but I thought this one was covered).

What's the snare? All this time I've been thinking medievally (more or less) about this story, and the castles and grand homes in the region where the story should be set (in my humble opinion, and that of Sir Walter Scott) are almost all of a later (Renaissance or Edwardian) period. Aaargh! And, the few buildings that ARE appropriate time-wise are either nothing but shabby ruins with little info on the original/early structures or were held (almost continuously) by royalty (or in one case an abusive husband and father of 13 or so kids). No room for my characters to squeeze in there!

This all raises a question in my mind, then. How much history should there be in a rollicking romance?

Think on THAT. I will.


What is the most interesting city or setting to you?

Woo-hoo! Didn't You Know It!

Which ancient leader are you most akin to?
created with
You scored as Ghengis Khan

you scored ghengis khan! He was a Mongol political and military leader or Khan (posthumously Khagan) who united the Mongol tribes and founded the Mongol Empire (�� �онгол Ул�), (1206�1368), the largest contiguous empire in world history.

Ghengis Khan


Julius Caesar


Henry V (England)






Napoleon Bonaparte


Alexander the Great


Pride and Prejudice

Which Pride and Prejudice Girl Are You?
created with You scored as Elizabeth

I am Elizabeth. I am headstrong and intelligent. I love to be myself, and am very loyal to my family. I can sometimes be prideful and "prejudiced," but I try to remain open minded and I usually regret past mistakes.







Mrs. Bennet








Super Me!

Which Superheroine are you?
created with
You scored as Huntress

You are the Huntress... No matter how many times you try and prove yourself to be good, you always seem to be stuck in the same rut, with the reputation as a "bad girl". Guys love to hang around you because you're easy to talk too.



Black Canary