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, February 28, 2007

What Gets You Writing?

I did the math and noticed that my in-the-works novel "Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills" is approximately at the halfway point (in regards to word count).

The plot's at about the right spot, too. Now if I can just get myself "together" enough to push through the rest of it, I plan on sending it out (after rewrites and revisions, of course) this year. I'd like it sent out before July 4th (I'm a sucker for symbolism and wouldn't mind it being my "independence day" for many reasons).

Eh, it's a deadline. I work better with deadlines and expectations. Most of my college papers were written the night before they were due (and earned me great grades), so maybe that all added up to the mess I am today... ;-)

Other than the obvious answer of "inspiration," what gets you writing?

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 2/28/07

Today's "Romance Writer's Word of the Day" is...

Wanton [won-tn] is a noun meaning "a lustful/lusty or lascivious person" (back in the 16 and 1700s it referred to characters like "a sporting Jenny"); a verb meaning "to behave in a lusty manner"; and an adjective meaning "unrestrained, without motive, and even lawless".

Here's a sentence:
She laughed at him, proclaiming he was surely a wanton since he wanted so badly to kiss and caress her before their wedding night.*

*Of course that's a poor example as it includes passive voice and "tells" instead of "showing." Anyhow... Non-examples can be handy, too (as can wanton men ;-) .

Have a great day and practice your writing--good, bad or indifferent! Don't be scared of the bad--It can always get better (but only with practice).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Merits of Writing Romance

I'm just getting whapped by some rolled up cosmic newspaper recently. I checked an e-mail account and found out that my first contest entry was rejected. Bummer.

Then my mom called and let me know that the results from her last x-ray/scan were back. She's got tumors in her lungs now. Writing--especially romance--suddenly seemed like such a trite endeavor. Getting a single story rejection was suddenly not important at all.

So, as I'm trying to get myself together for a phone-conference meeting (with a non-profit group I play an integral role in) that I have today during my son's nap, and trying to figure out how I can spend more time 5 hours to the south with my mom, I did some soul-searching.

During my "retreat" I discussed with Morgan the potential implications of me writing romance and someone judging my son based on his mother's actions years down the road ("sins of the fathers" and all that). Morgan assured me my fears were simply the rumblings of my puritanical upbringing and that I should pursue my muse. I questioned the literary merit of romance, knowing my other writing is a bit more acceptable as "worthwhile" to the literatti ;-). Morgan shrugged, romance never having been something he cared to spend much time contemplating.

So last night (after Mom called) I thought harder about the merit of writing romance. Here are my conclusions...
1.) Writing romance may never achieve the literary "nod" that essayists get--or fine poets. But as a wouldbe author, do I need that?
2.) Romances may always seem "too alike" in some ways: boy meets girl, conflict, boy loses girl, resolution, happy ending-- or --heroine tames the rake -- or-- hero shows his true self and heroine learns to love him anyhow--or--Eh, you get the idea. As we all know: "The devil is in the details." So what if there are trends and similarities? Good authors will always sepaprate their work through stylistic and character-based differences.
3.) Romances may not bring about world peace or cultural understanding of our political differences. They may not lead us to true "nirvana." But if they cause a reader to break away from a dull or troubled existence--even briefly--do they not deserve some credit as being more than just economically vaible?
4.) Isn't the true merit of literature and the arts to temporarily remove us from the everyday (through suspension of disbelief), allow us to examine life from a fresh perspective and send us back to the humdrum invigorated and ready to try new approaches? Shouldn't good literature and art give us some touch of happiness? If so...Romance is a winner.

I enjoy writing it, I generally enjoy reading it and I hope someday others will enjoy reading what I've written. Will readers close my novel and go off to save the world? Probably not. But will they be happier for a brief while knowing that love DOES overcome obstacles, and maybe they'll feel richer knowing that.

And that, I think, is the real merit of writing romance novels. Giving a little hope.

Much LOVE!

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 2/27/07

Today's "Romance Writer's Word of the Day" is...

Ardent [ahr-dint] is an adjective meaning "having or expressing an intense or passionate feeling; fiercely devoted or impassioned."

Here's a sentence:
Glimpsing the golden flesh she barely obscured with her towel, his heart beat with such ardent desire he feared his chest might burst.

What might one of your characters have ardent feelings about?

Spread a little LOVE today!

Monday, February 26, 2007



Starting last Thursday and going through noon today, I was supposed to have my "retreat." Finances had caused myself and my writing pal to decide to "hole up" in a special room in my home that was supposed to be child- and dog-free. I had made an agreement with my husband that he'd handle the child, the dog and all of my normal chores around here (just like he would have if I were actually at a retreat). I, in turn, would disappear into the basement/studio room and write and do related (and overdue) things for about 8 hours each day.

But alas and alack, it was not to be!

My writing pal ran late. My husband reinterpreted our "deal" and became frustrated when I didn't do my normal chores and make all the meals and take care of our son. Worse still, my writing buddy was undergoing some very stressful personal issues and every time I turned around, there was some reason to discuss the situations surrounding that mess. My stress level shot up. My writing wasn't getting done, my creativity was stifled.

So, what lesson have I learned from all this? Next year, I will be going somewhere away from my child, my dog and my husband (maybe away from my writing buddy, too ;-) to get a much-needed break and time to write. I'll scrape together some cash (hey, I have a year to plan now, right?) and maybe go to some beach-like place in the "off season."

Perhaps by then I'll even have a few new writing pals to join me and we'll actually critique some things and be able to part ways feeling things were truly accomplished.

Dare to dream...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

6 Weird Things...Hmm...

Ok, let me give this a try. Some of these are weird things about me, some are just weird things surrounding me. Fact is, in High School we used to say if you aren't weird, you're bound to be dull...

1.) While pregnant I had such an attack of claustrophobia that I had to race past the in-laws at the table and just stand outside and breathe. It helped, generally, except that--

2.) I can make myself claustrophobic standing in an open field. Just think about the limits of atmosphere, the statistics of pollution, the destruction of the rainforests and the hole in the ozone and see if your throat doesn't constrict a bit.

3.) At age 12 I was a winner in a national shooting competition.

4.) I caught lances for a tremendous jouster (full contact jousting company) at a briefly-lived Renaissance Faire. I was invited to go on a US tour with the company. I turned them down, saying I was engaged. They offered to pay his way, too. I turned them down again because I was just finishing my pro sem and headed into student teaching.

5.) I have petted a Siberian Tiger in the midst of passing rain showers. Yes, tiger fur sticks to your hand when it's damp.

6.) I have had my sneakers chewed on by wolf pups (while the sneakers were on my feet);

7.) I learned rapier and dagger at age sixteen;

8.) I was once trapped in an elevator with a boy who liked me. For 8 hellish minutes he sang "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds;"

9.) When invited out by a would-be date, I rejected him saying "I have to rearrange my sock drawer." See #8 if you're not sure why I'd do such a cruel thing;

10.) I am very familiar with the traditional Oriental saying "He who chases 2 rabbits catches neither" and yet I write for two vastly different genres (under two different names);

11.) In highschool I was driven from location to location by friends to tell people about the ghosts living in old houses and was strangely accurate with what they had found historically;

12.) My father suggested I should become a medium and work for someone like Hans Holzer.

13.) I can lose myself for days on writing or art. It is like therapy (but cheaper, I'd wager).

14.) I helped rescue a wounded owl that middle schoolers brought me on the sly in a VCR box;

15.) I was in Heathrow Airport immediately following last summer's plane bombing scares. What a mess!

16.) I was once rejected for a Tarot card reading by a psychic who said "Something dark is following you closely" and refused to tell me more other than to read Edgar Cayce's books and train in the way he suggested;

17.) Vitamin C tends to make me sick;

18.) Mixing Advil and Coca Cola has made me giddy more than once;

19.) I intended to lead a lonely life with writing, art and teaching until I fell in love because of a misunderstanding on the phone and blatant honesty afterwards.

Wow, there are so many more... Hope that fulfills my part of the "tagged" thing, Wandering Author ;-) . Apologies, but I'm not the type to tag others--although I'll gladly play the other part of the game :-)


Happy Valentine's Day

I've been absent from my blog recently and I apologize. Other obligations have kept my attention focused on other things...Few as pleasant as writing.

But as everything goes, today I will get a little time in since I'm in the deepest projected region of the eastern seaboard's big snow.

If we get more than 21 inches in less than 24 hours, we break the record that's stood since before my birth. I'm all about being competitive, but seeing how deceptively flat our rolling hills are starting to look, I'm thinking that an excess of snow is not what I really wanted on Valentine's Day. I mean, the hubby stayed home (snow day) so that's great, but we're having some snow-related issues around the house already. I'm glad I'm not getting the "Lake Effect Snow," but there's plenty in spite of it.

Anyhow, here's an interesting article in the spirit of the day--
Valentines, A History.

Have a great day--spread the love!

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