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!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Off for a Couple Weeks...

Hey... I've got a bunch of writing and other things to get done (as well as travel) over the next couple weeks. Everything from seeing the Tut exhibit in Philly to getting my dog's rabies shots updated and prepping for Highland cattle and preparing for a big event in October.

So, as I'll be on the road and back and forth A LOT during that time, I'll apologize now for my temporary absence.

I'll be back in the swing of things by August 24, so please check back around then.

Take care!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Visual Thesaurus online...

Cool site to mess with! You only get to do five things on it (as the "try it"), but this is totally mental-mapping of vocabulary. Neat-o!

Fun, huh?

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/30/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Undulate [uhn-zhuh-layt] is a verb meaning "to move in a wave-like or rippling motion; an alternating movement from side to side or up and down."

Here's a sentence (or three):
His eyes widened slightly when she turned on the music. Surely he had made it clear that he didn't dance... She turned back to him with promise glinting in her eyes and she slid her shirt's hem up to reveal her slowly undulating stomach. "I didn't want you to think that the middle eastern dance class you paid for wasn't going to pay off," she giggled, rolling her hips forward and landing on his lap.

Where might you use "undulate" in your writing?

Have a great day!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Few Intriguing Titles...

Prowling through Romantic Times Book Reviews, I found a bunch of titles that intrigued me. Will I read all these books? Not a chance. Most? Eh. probably not.

But, they did catch the eye of a busy mom fresh in from weeding her garden and soon to be starting lunch...

Blood Ties Book 3: Ashes to Ashes by J. Armintrout
Edge of Midnight by S. McKenna
Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA by E. Meister
Prey for a Miracle by A. & D. Thurlo
The Bride of the Unicorn by K. Michaels
The Huntress by S. Carroll
Nappily Married by T. Thomas
'Scuse Me While I Kill this Guy by L. Langtry
Ceremony of Seduction by C. Ryan
Lords of Avalon by K. MacGregor
Marquis in a Minute by R. Denholtz
Royal Harlot by S. H. Scott
Wednesday Night Witches by L. Nichols
The Accidental Time Machine by J. Haldeman
Tougher than Diamonds by D. Carnell
Dead Right by B. Novak
Scots on the Rocks by M. Daheim
Kilt Dead by K. Dunnett
Her Royal Spyness by R. Bowen
Tangled Up in You by R. Gibson
You Had Me at Halo by A. Ashby
Lucinda, Darkly by Sunny
Georgia on His Mind by A. Defee
Old Flame, New Sparks by D. Leclaire
High-Stakes Honeymoon by R. Thayne
The Polyamorous Princess by M. Aaron

Hmm...So what titles have you run across that grabbed your attention?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/27/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Susurrus [soo-suhr-uhs] is noun meaning "a soft sound, like a murmur, a whisper or a rustle."*This one reminds me of the swishing of fabrics like taffetta or satin...

Here's a sentence:
The sound of her skirt as she brushed past him created a sweet susurrus that assaulted his mind and made his nerves burn with desire.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/26/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Riposte [rih-pohst] is a noun that means "a quick jab or thrust with a sword given after parrying an opponent's move; a quick reply in word or deed."

Here's a sentence:
"If you were my husband, I would poison your tea," the lady said, eyes glinting at her unintentional dinner companion.
"If I were your husband, I would gladly drink it," he replied as a riposte.

Have a great night,
PS--My father's been here these past two days, so little writing's being done, but lots of good talking.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Romance Writer's Word for the Day 7/25/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Braies [braze] is a noun meaning "a man's undergarment of linen, generally knee-length and gathered at the waist and baggy in the crotch; undergarment over which hose are worn."

Think about "boxers" but longer ;-) This is mainly a medieval term, though I've seen it used in later period stories referring to Scottish undergarments.

Here's a sentence:
He stood before his new wife in nothing but his braies as she struggled to control her laughter.

Have a great night!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Daily Word Count

610 words today. I switched things up and wrote a potential query letter for Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills. It makes me re-examine things and revisit the overview I'm trying for. In short, it makes me think. ;-)

Have a great night!

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/24/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Brazen [bray-zuhn] is an adjective meaning "bold, impudent, "brassy"."

Here's a sentence:
The way she stuck out her lower lip spoke volumes about her brazen attitude.

Have a great night!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Word Count

I wrote only 338 words tonight. I'm tired, I'm cold, still gotta' put stuff away and bring in the dog. Ugh. Well, 338 doesn't make me proud, but it's something.


Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/23/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Toothsome [tooth-suhm] is an adjective meaning, "sweet, luscious, attractive, wonderful, delicious." The subtext that accompanies this definition is usually something that makes you think "tasty and delectable" thoughts, but often (today at least--though it's used relatively rarely) those words reflect a more lustful and sexual connotation.

...Like in this sentence:
With her soft curves and sweet smile, she was a toothsome temptation he wished to try.

Have a great night!

Tonight I Write...

So the weekend flew by. Honestly, I was kicking myself because I didn't get caught up in any of the Harry Potter madness. I mean, there were bookstore parties all around and it never even occurred to me to go and people-watch. It was like the end of an era (in a way) in writing and publishing and I missed it. Ugh.

Me? I'll be writing later tonight.

But we did go to the local drive-in theater (yes, there's actually one two "towns" over). I hadn't been to a drive-in since I was five or six (from what I recall of the event). It was AWESOME. The night was clear, cool enough to keep bugs at bay and the place was utterly rustic. Bathrooms like when I was a Campfire Girl at Camp Adahi (before the upgrades ;-). But really, there's nothing quite like snacking on popcorn and M&Ms (and Jelly Babies during Harry Potter) while curled in your car with a three-year old leaning against you and the hubby making sure you don't fall asleep because you're just so darned warm and full and comfy. :-) The double feature was Transformers and Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix. My son fell asleep early on (he had played with some kids on the communal play set and tired himself out).

But it was truly lovely. We're thinking about returning when the features change. It's a seasonal theater and it's for sale. Sad, really. Some developer will probably snap it up and put in a gas station that'll overcharge us all for the convenience of overcharging us all more locally. ;-)

Take care!

Friday, July 20, 2007

No Words Today...

I didn't get to type a single word in Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills yet today! Ugh. My attention's been so split the only time I'm typing is if it only takes a moment to accomplish the task--not long enough to get into "the zone" and complete a real section of anything.

SIL and BIL are coming over tomorrow and I'll be at the gallery all day--and I have to pick up baby supplies for them after my 8+ hours at the gallery. And yes, they're convinced that their presence will make my life easier somehow... And they sprang this grand idea on me TODAY. I'm learning I don't like surprises as much as I thought I did. Okay, the surprise of a nice card, a phone call, flowers or candy--all very nice. But saying you'll be dropping in AND bringing lunch (as I'm readying the next day's food)...Ugh.

Anyhow--have a great weekend!

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/20/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:

verjuice. *

Verjuice [vur-zhoos] is a noun which means "an acidic liquor made from unripe grapes or tart apples (used in cooking); sour or acidic attitude."

Here's a sentence:
She took a swill of the evil stuff, the verjuice burning an acidic path down her throat which seemed only matched by the sour attitude of the friend who dared her to do it.

*This is an oldie. Verjuice is really only used in medieval stuff (from what I've found).

Have a great night!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Wicked

This week's prompt was "wicked." I realized what I was working on today would fit my heroine, Jennet's, concept of wicked pretty well. So here's a snippet from my w.i.p. novel "Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills." It's still rough, so be kind ;-) .

Jennet’s eyes strayed back to the pair of them. The lass who now had her legs wrapped around Sirius’ waist was older than Jennet had supposed. Far beyond the gleam of maidenhood, Jennet smirked, but strangely lovely, nonetheless. Red hair streaked equally with gold and silver strands, and fine lines edging her slanting eyes like the tiny toes of some bird’s foot; the woman was most likely in her forties. Old enough to be Jennet’s mother. Still Jennet eyed her with envy. She would never be allowed to leap into her husband’s arms with such abandon. Such behavior was unseemly at best.

As if he heard her thoughts, Sirius cleared his throat and tugged Desdemona off of him. He set her down firmly, scowling a reprimand.

“Oh,” she whispered, dipping in a curtsy designed to hide the less than fashionable aspects of her dress. “My lady, I did not expect—did not see--” she corrected, “you here.”

Jennet nodded, a smile curling the corner of her lips. “Far be it from me to interrupt two loving spouses.” She made to leave, but Desdemona was laughing so hard she held her sides.

Sirius, too, smiled loosely.

“Yes?” Jennet asked, raising an eyebrow in an expression that usually warned the help at home.

“Beggin’ your pardon milady, but Sirius and me—we aren’t spouses...”

“You’re not married?”

“Well, surely not to each other,” Dezdie whooped and slapped her thigh in a most unladylike display.

Jennet’s raised eyebrow was now so high she thought she might lose it in her hairline. “You called him lover.”

“I call everyone lover,” Dezdie chuckled. “Leaves my options open by creating an air of invitation,” she winked wickedly.

So there's the "wickedness" of the commoners. Of course, Jennet soon learns life's not as comfortable as it would be if things were merely black and white. And yes, Dezdie is based on someone I know. She's fun at parties, but not the type to leave alone too long with your spouse... ;-)

Oh, I did also think about quoting lyrics from the Broadway musical "Wicked," too. Loved it.

Daily Word Count

I only got 1,098 words done today in Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills. It seemed I was backtracking a little. I found a spot that felt like it needed a little more "umph" to it, so I pulled Dezdie (a tertiary character who first shows up in the prologue) back in to illustrate an important social point that causes Jennet to question a few things back home.

I also recalled something important in the initial ballad that I think I want to keep, too. So I patched it in.

I also came up with a fun writing exercise (with the hubby's help). I'll try and share it here pretty soon...

Have a great night!

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/19/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Nettlesome [net-uhl-sum] is an adjective meaning "causing trouble or annoyance; easily annoyed or irritated."

Here's a sentence:
She smiled in the most innocent of ways and yet he knew instinctively she was working on perfecting some nettlesome plan to upstage his engagement to Margery.

Today, my shopping and dinner plans were nettlesome--nothing went smoothly! Ah well! ;-)

Just Found Out About a Contest...

Just read a bit about the Brava Novella contest going on over at . In a nutshell, you get to choose 750 words out of you approximately 25-30k novella (in which lovers reunite) and you can submit them (on the forum, not via e-mail nor through snail-mail) between midnight July 31 and midnight September 1.

I'll be honest, I know remarkably little about this group, but if you're up for it (and willing to post a chunk of your work online "Aye, there's the rub...") you might want to try it out.

I'll be running some possibilities through my head, don't know if I'll finally act on any of them...


Writing Methods

When I write I keep my outline or summary at my page's bottom. It moves as I type and I delete sections of it as I accomplish them in the story's body. It helps keep me (relatively) on task. So I was perturbed when I needed recently to fill in some additional "blanks."

See, my tale (Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills) has a certain dark and dangerous quality to it because (if you're familiar) the faeries of yore weren't the cute frilly little Amy Brown sprites of today. The traditional tale of Tam Lin is a story of kidnapping, seduction, a frighteningly possibility of sacrifice after a lengthy stay with immortals, and the hope that salvation will come just in time because of a maiden's pure love.

But, as we know, sometimes sacrifice (which comes in many forms) is the only way to reach a happy ending, and maidens can be tremendously fickle (as can their counterparts). And in those same ways, the fae of old (dark, dangerous and often cruel with their entertainments) are the most fitting fae to use because they illustrate that raw beauty can still hide tremendous danger and that sometimes in life the little "tests" we face will change our life in the biggest ways.

So, there's a lot of subtext that gets folded into my story (hopefully seamlessly, but I'll keep editing until I'm convinced), and some very dark moments. My characters are evolving (as I think good characters should), but making sure I keep up with their growth feels like more responsibility than pure pleasure some days.

But, I'm continuing to map out the newer details of the story as it emerges. How much will I write today? Not sure. I mapped out three key details early this morning. But it's not like I wrote any of my actual "words" yet.

So how do you stay on task when you're writing?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Daily Word Count

Did 1,523 words so far today on Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills. Jennet's confronting her past and doing what most of us do initially when we realize something distasteful about ourselves--she's running away from it.

I also wrote 3,092 words on an alternate project I'll put a word counter for in my sidebar. It blends in with this site and other things I've done, hopefully building a publishable bridge.

It's lacking a title (I'll label it WIP II)--I wrote a good one on a scrap of paper just before I raced down to visit my family most recently... Who knows where it is now? I need to get back into the habit of carrying a notebook everywhere. I used to do that all the time and now have about a half dozen tiny notebooks filled with notes, sketches and ideas.

Take care!
PS--Have you taken the poll at the page's bottom?

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/18/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Inamorata [in-ah-muh-rah-tuh] is a noun meaning "a woman who is loved or is a lover or an intimate."

Here's a sentence:
Seeing her across the room, he immediately wished to add her to his lengthy list of inamoratas.

Have a great night!

Writing Early (Again)

I've gotten 477 words typed before breakfast (which also means before my son woke up and decided Pepperidge Farm "Goldfish" made a suitable breakfast). Ah well. The hubby's off to work for part of his summer hours (yes, ladies and gentlemen, many teachers actually have summer requirements to meet, too--seldom do you find any with the summer truly "off").

It's rainy and (relatively) cold today, so I won't be spending much time outside. This all means that I'll have more time to write today... I just hope I can stay "in the zone."

For now--must make breakfast: fresh eggs from our hens, cottage bacon from McRey Farms' Tamworth hogs and English muffins. And coffee...must make coffee(even though I'm out of my medium Serena Organic Blend from Starbucks and back to Maxwell House "Original"...

So what are you attempting with your writing?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Today's Word Count

I got 2,607 words typed today. Are they all perfect, pretty even? Nope. Editing's coming soon, but right now I'm trying to push through the rest of the groundwork. I fleshed out the confrontation scene and allowed Jennet to think back to the day of the disappearance. We learn why she's been the way she's been for the past seven years and bring her to the moment where she wonders what weight the past will carry now.

So, not quite 3k, but close.

Have a great night!

Thought for the Day 7/17/07

Here's a quote by James Russell Lowell to consider...

"A weed is no more than a flower in disguise,
Which is seen through at once, if love give a man eyes."

I think this speaks also to the way many heroes in romances are written. Initially most of them don't recognize the value of the heroine. She's mousy, she's trouble, she's got a temper on her... She's the "weed."

But, once that initial perception has passed (and of course, usually it seems that the heroine's "issues" are what throw her inadvertently into the hero's path) the hero's eyes are opened and he has feelings for her (which often he fights).

So here's the question--Does your tale's hero or heroine need their eyes opened to recognize the "flower" before him/her? What sort of event might bring about a heroic epiphany?


Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/17/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Fête [fet] is a noun meaning "a party, a feast, a holiday or special occasion."

Here's a sentence:
After months of planning, she was assured that her event would be the fête of the season--if only the caterer would arrive on time...

Have you enjoyed a fête recently? Is there such an event planned for your characters in your story, or perhaps for your own eventual book signing...?
PS--Try the poll, try the poll, try the poll please ;-) It's at the bottom of the page... :-)

Rising Early to Write

I did it. This morning I got up at 5:45 am, made coffee and started to write. Of course my son also got up early (which pretty much negated the reason I rose so early).

But I got 1,110 words of Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills typed in, nonetheless. The scene was Jennet's first confrontation with Tam Lin. It's a key scene, but I had been dreading it, wanting it to be perfect. But now it's done (well, it's strongly drafted, at least). I figured out that I really need to do about 3k every day in order to plow through this story at a pace I now think is "respectable." I guess I'll see what happens.

Coffee cake's in the oven (a new recipe), and I need to get the rest of breakfast put together before doing the other necessary chores.

Have a great day!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/16/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Insipid [in-sip-id] is an adjective meaning "bland, uninteresting; vapid or vacuous; dull."

Here's a quick sentence:
Although relatively pretty, everything from the dull sheen of her eyes to last year's rosettes on her shoes showed her to be an insipid counterfeit of her twin, the stunning Lady Grey.

Keep writing!
Try the poll at the bottom of the page...

Over the 30% Mark...

Yep, another hard won 712 words in Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills squeezed out between my many other obligations. Not enough to make me proud, but progress is progress.


Romance Writer's Word of the Day...Coming Later...

Ok, so I haven't chosen my word yet for today. I know, I know--Slacker! ;-) But between trying to save the garden from something munching down on my cantelope plants, getting a "house" ready for the froggy my 3 year old son caught at the pond this morning, haying the sheep (their pasture's on its last legs) and feeding and watering the chickens and turkeys...Well, you get the idea. Ah, yes--my life's romantic! :p

I also did some writing, but I'm rereading and tweaking as I go, too. I threw down a new storyline (all this talk of Harry Potter's got my brain itching with possibilities) and fleshed it out a touch, too. In about an hour I start work. I hope it's a slow day. If so, I get a little more time to consider my writing.

This weekend a visitor was over twice, mainly helping my hubby run the new electric fence (Highland cattle coming soon). I will preface this next part by saying--I am extremely grateful for his assistance. However, I served him two meals and each time was struck by the differences between my family and my his family.

My family's always big on the idea that you DON'T ask for special treatment. If you sit down to a table and the hostess serves you carrots, you don't make a face and say, "I don't like carrots." You simply take a very tiny helping or see if you can get "skipped" when they're passed. When you have dessert and realize it's very tasty, you DON'T ask to have some to take home to your wife (chances are good that a generous hostess will provide some anyhow, and if so, act surprised and gracious). When you pick up the dessert to take home to your wife, don't ask, "Is there enough for both of us?" and get caught COUNTING the slices of pound cake (a generous hostess will provide for both of you, and if she doesn't--well, buck up, buddy, because you already had one serving yourself ;-). Do NOT bemoan the fact that you can't also take home any ice cream because your drive is too long, instead, smile and say, "I liked what you did with this dessert so much, I'm going to stop by my local market and pick up a pint of ice cream. What flavors might you suggest I look for?"

Perhaps this all sounds like I'm a bit peeved about all this. Well, I am. I may not be the most graceful gal. I may not always get my thank you notes done in time, but I still have certain expectations.

So what things irk you about guests? Do you have a character you've styled based on your pet peeves?

Continually curious (and with dishes to wash...)--
PS--Don't forget the POLL at the page's bottom...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

THIS Week's "Sunday Scribblings"

This week's "Sunday Scribblings" prompt was: hair. Again, I looked through what I already had because I'm doing rewrites and additions currently. This is from Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills and is at the onset of Jack's confrontation with his daughter, my heroine, Jennet.

Jennet’s mousy blonde hair was piled sensibly atop her head. Demur in color within the drafty confines of the household, it streaked with sudden golden highlights in direct sun. It neither was strewn with ribbons as Catriona's nor intricately braided as Finella's. Jennet was nothing if not a practical girl, not falling into the trappings and habits of most her age. Jack rubbed the top of his bald head and replaced the cap. That was part of the trouble. Jennet was unlike the many girls who had suitors slathering for their attention. She was practical to a fault.
And yet, she was so much like her mother, but in the raw. The one physical trait Jack had seen of himself in Jennet was the slight curve to her nose. Not nearly a hook, he thought it made her appear regal; but he knew her younger siblings told her she looked hawkish. She certainly did not get her hair, or lack thereof, he thought sadly, from him. Silently Jack wondered if his daughter regretted him for that nose being his only recognizable gift to her. He chewed the inside of his cheek, wondering if she regretted him for many reasons.

Well, it at least includes something about hair, right?
Take care!

PS--Poll at the page's bottom...

A "Sunday Scribblings" Prompt: Slippery

Sunday Scribblings had a post last week that prompted writers to write something "slippery." I haven't had much time to write anything new (other than working through a touch more of Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills), but I realized this morning I had something I had written recently (relatively speaking) that had that "slippery" sort of feel about it... So this is a brief excerpt from something I've been playing with...

Something tugged at her line and she sat straight up. She felt the string grow taut. The rod vibrated and danced, and with a shout of joy that was totally inappropriate for a young woman avoiding church service on the Sabbath, she tightened her grip on the rod's end and gave it a determined snap. The hook set, and she tugged to pull the fish to shore. But try as she did, the fish seemed heavy as lead--nearly immovable.

She gritted her teeth, dug in her heels and began to sing a sea chantey she had heard sailors working to once. The fish began to move towards her, first at a creep and then at a crawl... She scurried further up the bank, dragging the pole with her. It must be a huge one, she thought with excitement. She froze. And what will I do with a giant fish if I catch it? Surely then mother will catch me in a lie! She gulped at the thought of it, but then she dug in her heels again and yanked with all her might. All good things must come to an end, she thought, and, What a tale I’ll have to tell! So she grunted and pulled still harder.

There was a snapping sound as the line tossed off a spray of water and quivered, arrow straight before her.

Something raised from the lake's depths then, something with a dorsal fin that split the line's wake in two and grew larger as it sped towards the shore, and the stunned girl.

Astridr stood transfixed as the thing continued on its rigid path towards her. The song died on her lips and as desperately as instinct told her to run, still her feet were like lead, holding her still as a statue. Breath caught in her throat, she watched a monstrous head emerge from the now-foaming water and she fell backwards as it rose up on a serpentine neck and peered down at her with great, unblinking eyes.

Water flowed down its scaled and shimmering back in great rivulets, dropping like falling stars into the rippling lake. Soft spines extended from its face like an awkward mustache, and it tilted its ox-sized head to one side as if considering her for dinner.

That was when Asta screamed and found her feet again.

She scrambled backwards up the slippery bank, dropping the rod. She flopped onto her back for a moment, hands grappling for purchase on the yet dewy grass.

The beast looked at her, its mouth opening, long streaks of drool falling with thick-sounding splashes into the water at the lake's edge. The great maw widened and Asta was certain an entire horse could fit between its slathering jaws. It peeled back its rubbery lips and showed row after row of sharply serrated teeth, each one the size of Asta's quivering hand.

Surely the Devil himself was before her, coming to make her pay for her indiscretion by escorting her immediately to the immortal realm. Feet flailing as she kicked and tugged her way up the brief incline, she found her voice again and let loose with a scream so shrill and loud that the beast snapped its mouth shut and tilted its head to look at her quizzically.

Mounting the hillock, she got her feet beneath her and spun around, glimpsing the small village and just beyond that, the promised safety of her family's estate. With a focus born of terror, she raced away from the creature as fast as she could.

The beast lumbered out of the water, parting its mouth with a "mew" of surprise. With only its clumsy flippers, it pushed its body up the hill to follow the fleeing girl. It undulated along, face close to the ground, eagerly whuffling up her scent through flaps that vibrated open and then trembled shut over mist-blowing nostrils.

Astridr’s fear gave her feet wings. It wasn’t long before she was far from the lumbering wyrm.

The beast stopped in the midst of its own slick trail, head swinging from side to side. It could no longer smell its quarry, and she had stopped her bawdy song well before her scent had faded. No sound, no scent... It swung back around and slipped and slithered its way back to the lake, finally sliding into the water’s blue depths. And so it disappeared, only a set of rippling circles and a long slick trail showed anything had passed that way.

Maybe that gives a "slippery" sort of sensation... There are so many more clever
ways I might have written something slippery (like a criminal evading the law,
or a half-dozen sensually-based scenes...;-) but I've had no time!

Hope you're writing!


Friday, July 13, 2007

A Tourist in My Own Town

I only recently moved to where I currently live in rural New York. I thought I was starting to be familiar with the setting until the pal I mentioned earlier (Deb Blake, author of "Circle, Coven & Grove") asked if I'd been to a certain local cafe. I didn't even know where it was (Main Street). She laughed and said, "It's where we send all the tourists!"

So today for lunch, I was a tourist and Deb was dining-buddy tour guide.

I mention this because I think, as humans, we tend to take "our own backyards" for granted. It's that whole "the grass is always greener on the other side" mentality. My neighbors mentioned going on vacation to a site in the state I grew up in. I (sadly) had to admit I had never been to that location (though it's supposed to be one of the top places to see and wasn't too far from my home).

I taught in a state where, although nearly surrounded by beach, many of my students had never been to a beach in their lives. Heck, the school was only an hour from the beach! I was stunned. But, it appears I'm also guilty of the same sin.

So here's an odd thought--What might a character in one of your stories suddenly discover about their everyday surroundings that reveals something about their personality because they initially overlooked it? How might they react when they finally realize it's always been right "under their nose" (so to speak)?

Constantly curious...
*PS--Try the poll at the page's bottom and express yourself!

Romance Writer'sWord of the Day 7/13/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Modiste [mah-deest] is a noun meaning "a maker of women's clothing and designer of women's fashions."

*It is used in romances of the Georgian and Regency periods (there may be others, too). Currently, author Eloisa James is sponsoring a creative writing contest for a description of a modiste's creation. It's for Godiva chocolates (and getting the description in an upcoming book in her series). Check out her site and give it a whirl!

Here's a brief sentence...
The young lady wondered about the similarities between the two words, because although Madam Serafina was a "modiste," there was absolutely nothing "modest" about her revealing creations!

Okay, not so brief... ;-)
Have a great one!
*Try the poll at the page's bottom, please...

Poll at the Bottom of the Page

Take a moment to take the poll at the page's bottom about what makes a book worth reading. I'll be trying to post new polls whenever the old ones "run out...."

Back in a few minutes with the Romance Writer's Word of the Day!


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/12/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Bodice [bah-dihs] is a noun meaning EITHER "a lace-up vest or lace-up girdle worn over a blouse or chemise" OR "the part of a woman's clothing between neck and waist, often form-fitting."

The term is found in usage in 1566 (according to my Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymolgy--no household complete without one ;-) and at that point refers to the 2nd usage I listed. The first usage is a bit more specific (and seems to be later) but the whole concept (and spelling) doesn't get firmed up until the 1800s.

The inspiration for this Word of the Day came from the Word Wenches' discussion of "bodice-rippers" as an "urban myth" or reality. Check out their site for more info. :-)

Here's a sentence (or three):
He fumbled with the ties, snarling with frustration as his lover watched his sad lack of progress. With a sigh, she reached across to the bedpost and pulled a dagger off the belt he had left hanging there.

"Oh, Hell," she muttered, pushing him back with a firm hand and slitting the top lace of her bodice so that her breasts seemed to leap free from their fabric confines. She would make him replace the lacing later...

Eh, I'd want to check the bedpost thing to see if it'd jive with the time of bodices (vesty-type) being popular, but it's a sample, nonetheless. ;-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/11/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Kismet [kiz-meht] is a noun meaning "something that is "meant to be"; fate; destiny."

Here's a simple sentence:

Every time she turned around, he was there, eyes sparkling with the promise that this was surely kismet.

Have a great day!


Yesterday was sort of haphazard. We spent some hours "in town."

A pal told me about the publishing of her second book through a major publisher. They loved her edits. I mentioned having "dropped her name." She chortled, not thinking her name was "droppable." I assured her it was, and could become even moreso. Frankly, she rocks. She doesn't write in this genre, but she's considering giving it a try.

Anyhow, I took my writing mags with me, but only got to flip through them briefly. I had one of those "Man, that's a good idea!" moments. Luckily it was about "Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills."

I jotted it down and tried to get some writing-related stuff done.

I promised myself I'd get to bed at a respectable hour and wake up nice and early. Yeah. My son had a different idea. He woke up at midnight. Then 2:30am. 3:00. 3:30. 5. I jolted into wakefulness each time. I slinked into his room, patted his shoulder, petted his head, readjusted pillows and the sheet and said loving words into his ear. He'd sigh and sort of "settle in" again, then wake up soon again. And again.

So this morning, when I finally convinced myself to wake up and make coffee, I was already weary. I wrote, though. Not much. Nothing stunning. But it was writing, nonetheless.

Woo hoo.

So the word meter shall move again. ;-)

Hope you're writing. Even if it's not your best, just the exercise of writing something will help.

You can always edit later, right?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/10/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Blackguard [blagh-hrard] is a noun (for my purposes) meaning "a low and awful person; a horrible person; scoundrel; rogue; rapscallion; troublemaker" and it used to mean "a servant of the military; camp follower." So, anyway you slice it, it's not good. ;-)

Here's a sentence:
He was the worst among them--a blatant liar when she asked his whereabouts, a thief of hearts--an utter blackguard!

Since this is a word that gets tossed around alot in historical romances as an insult (often aimed at the hero), the natural question might be:

Can you write a sentence or two when someone's accused of being a blackguard?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Peaceful Lives?

The Word Wenches have a cool competition (they're calling it a "treasure hunt") going on. Pretty thought-provoking, actually.

They are asking for you to consider history and think about a 60 + year period in which the characters you write might live and die peacefully. In other words, is there a period of 60 + years in which there was no war, no devestating famine, no plague? When and where?

I'm thinking about it and frankly, there's not any good stretch related to us in the USA, certainly.

We start at 1607 (soon after Eliz. I's death in '03--and she was embroiled with the Spanish, the Irish, the Scots), jump from all sorts of problems with the indigenous peoples to the American Revolutionary War (1776-1783), get into the War of 1812 (while Europe's still having issues with that ego-maniac, Napoleon), have our Civil War (1861-1865), war with Spain (1898), WWI (1914-1918), WWII (1939-1945), Korea (1950-53), Vietnam (a mess from about 1954-1973), Persian Gulf War (1991), Afghanistan mess (2001...), Iraq (2003...)...

Thank goodness we're a relatively "young" country! And there were quite a few conflicts I left out!

Hmm...So the American colonies and USA can't qualify for the 60 + year stretch... I studied Russian history, too, and I think they'd be hardpressed to qualify, too. Africa--a mess of tribal wars and revolutions. South America also had its issues (but they might make it...hmm--I don't know enough, frankly). Japan and China are out (I'm pretty certain).

Yikes! Now I'm curious about who and when (other than in Switzerland possibly) might qualify... I'll have to read the replies to their posts.

What do you think? Anybody able to die in their beds without ever having fear of war or plague?

Hot Outside? Working Indoors...

It's too hot (like nasty, sweaty hot) to do the weeding my garden is hoping for. So, instead, I will do some blog weeding-- a little pruning and updating so the "Word of the Day" master list actually links to the words... That sort of "upkeep." Not fun for me, but better for you. ;-)

I'll get to do some writing later this evening. I need to write a page or two tonight in Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills so I feel better about my progress. Frankly, I'm looking forward to it.

Have a great day and stay cool!

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/9/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Frisson [free-sawhn] is a noun meaning "a sudden shiver or shudder; a brief moment of intense excitement or thrill."

Here's a sentence:
In the silence of his bedchamber she held his empty shirt to her face and inhaled deeply, a frisson passing over her as she was wrapped in the musky scent of him.

What might cause a "frisson" for one of your characters?


Thought for the Day 7/9/07

Yesterday I attended a christening for a niece of mine. I was initially excited because not only was it for my niece, but also because it was going to be a Catholic ceremony.

See, I attended Catholic school for a few years during my childhood (although I was never officially Catholic) and I have a great reverence for that particular Christian sect. I think it comes from being exposed to the pomp and circumstance of Catholic ritual, and the mysterious (at that age) language of Latin. The Catholic school I went to was all about the people bending to the will of God. I was never a very "bendy" kid ;-) and my stubborness was put in check by Catholicism (and a healthy fear of nuns, specifically). So, yesterday, I approached the church with great reverence and humility.

Then it began.

We all waited for a parent of one child to show up. Yes, a man dared make a Catholic Father wait.

I became frustrated. People talked while the priest was speaking (where were the nuns with their rulers in hand, I wondered ;-). They didn't really agree and speak the appropriate "I do's". There was no strength to their conviction.

And I know that my SIL and BIL had to "shop around" to find a church to do the ceremony for them because he's not Catholic (and had a divorce) and she hasn't attended church since the church refused to marry them because he tried to lie to the priest so he could give her the beautiful church wedding she wanted. Ah, what a tangled web we weave, right?

So they shopped around, got an almost all-English ceremony from a Priest who said their responses for them (like a broken man) and explained every single step of the ceremony before performing it so it was all as understandable as possible. There was no pomp and circumstance.

No mystery and regality. No strong commitment to a way of life or religion. It all left me feeling hollow, as if the catholic church was pandering and "dumbing it down." Where was MY Catholic church?

So here's the thought. What might one of your characters discover about something or someone that will leave them feeling disillusioned? How will it impact their behavior during the course of the story, or is it part of the backstory?

Always curious,

Friday, July 06, 2007

Tam Lin and the Fairy/Faery Queen

So, in Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills (which somewhat follows the traditional tale/ballad of Tam Lin (which in turn is similar to the tale of True Thomas and Burd Janet)) one of the living obstacles is the Fairy (or Faery or Faerie) Queen.

Here is a scratchboard piece that shows a potential Fairy Queen.

*Right: Faery Queen Scratchboard (copyright Shannon Reinbold-Gee, 2007)

It is posted here as a courtesy of the copyright holder, Shannon Reinbold-Gee. Please respect all copyrights (as writers, it matters, right?). Oh, and visit Shannon's site:

Have a great night and sweet dreams! I'll be back on Monday with more words and thoughts!

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/6/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Dilettante [dil-eh-taunt] is a noun meaning "one who pursues things for amusement, a dabbler in things, a person who pursues things in a superficial way, a lover of art and science."

Here's a sentence:
Although quite serious when it came to the running of his vast estates, in love he was nothing but a dilettante.

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Your Eyes Aren't Deceiving You...

Yes, it's true, friends--My word meter for Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills has moved a bit!

It's a humble shimmy forward, but progress is progress! Today's writing also included a bit of editing. I realized a few points may have seemed clear to me, but would have felt awkward to a reader, so I clarified and polished. Added a little, subtracted some, too.

All in all, I'm edging forward again. Feels pretty good.

Hope you all are moving forward, too!

Thought for the Day 7/5/07

Thought for the Day 7/5/07:

I recently heard a quote about the "cruelty of pirates" by Lowell (which I instantly adored). So I thought I'd use it here (another will be used tomorrow) with a thought...

"There is nothing so desperately monotonous as the sea, and I no longer wonder at the cruelty of pirates."
~James Russell Lowell

Now, whereas I disagree about the monotony of the sea, it got me thinking, nonetheless. How often is our environment reflected in our daily attitudes? For me, changing a tablecloth can brighten my day (depending on fabric/design).

So here's a question for ya'--How do the environments (settings) that your characters live in reflect in their attitudes (and vice versa for those "chicken or the egg"-type people ;-) ?

My Jennet in Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills has a simple room of her own. Spartan, really, because Jennet is relatively practical and would rather see other family members with the "niceties" and "frills" instead of "wasting them" on herself. She's not quite a martyr, but she could be pushed because of her tendency to put others first. It's something she learns to temper, though. ;-)

What about you? What do your characters' rooms /gardens/stables/solars look like?

Curious as always,

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/5/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Recherché [reh-schair-shay] is an adjective which means "rare, exotic, to the point of being pretentious and overblown; sought out."

Here's a sample sentence:

Although she was well-read and educated by the finest tutors, it was her startling beauty that made her so very

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Woo-Hoo! Survived the 4th!

No fireworks (bummer), and the rain pretty much hung around all day, but the temperature was quite tolerable for all the pre-guest work. I kicked a couch (sneaky thing ;-) and now have taped one toe to the other. It hurts like heck.

The meal (marinated chicken, grilled zucchini, carrot and raisin salad, whole wheat rolls) was met with approval (my sister-in-law even had seconds and wanted the recipe for the dessert ("Pudding Eclair"). My homemade rolls were scarfed down with gusto and everyone (except the children, of course, were lubed with decent white wine(Duckhorn)). Grilling was poorly timed (the rain got worse), but the guests were late (their normal M.O.) and so everything worked out well.

Tomorrow I rush off to town for rearranging art in the shop and I need to pick up seafood and corn for Friday's guests (neighbors who REALLY helped out on the farm when I had to be away with my Mom).

Sunday I'll be rushing off to a christening --man, I need a gift! Better do that tomorrow, too.

And yes, sometime tomorrow I'll post a new word-- Hope you all had a very happy 4th of July and moved closer to achieving personal independence somehow.

Much love!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Back on the 5th with More Romance Writer's Words of the Day!

Sorry--Guests coming tomorrow...Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!


Monday, July 02, 2007

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/2/07

Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:


Appease [uh-peez] is a verb meaning "to satisfy, relieve, soothe or calm."

Here's a sentence:

Regardless of his questionable motives, she found herself doggedly trying to appease him.

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Tangent Alert: 101 Facts Meme: 1-21

Occasionally it's good to do a self-assessment, right? I was over at another writer's blog (I'll post a link when I get an additional moment) and saw the 101 Facts thingee. I had seen it before on a friend's site (and promptly forgot about it). But I thought: What the heck? Surely I can come up with 101 facts about myself.

So, lest I bore you with such trivial things, just look at the title and if it says "Tangent Alert" be forewarned. It will not be educational, nor will it be directly related to my romance writing. :p

1. I was raised in the "Fitzgerald House" (which all the locals still call the blasted thing, regardless of the fact that my parents have owned it for more than 35 years, doubled its size and fixed the entire interior and exterior to the point I doubt a Fitzgerald would recognize it now).
2. My father's family was Pennsylvania Dutch, my mother's was Southern (Scotch-Irish). I think this means I should be far tighter with money than I am ;-)
3. My mother inspired me to draw and pursue art at an early age when I asked her to draw a person for me and she insisted all she could do was draw a wonky little stick figure (which she demonstrated on the back of an envelope). She empowered me when I was only in Kindergarten.
4. I still write and draw on the backs of envelopes as a result of that moment (drives my husband crazy ;-).
5. I love chocolate and even worked part of one summer at a Godiva factory (yeah, that packed on some pounds--but it made me popular at Christmas--company discounts rule! :-).
6. I worked at a belt factory, counting belts one summer (good Lord, you never know how bad leather can smell until you've done that).
7. The best tip I ever got was $100 for leading a tour through a cave.
8. The best money I ever earned (for the least effort) was $600 for about 4 hours' work doing pencil sketches for an author's book.
9. I was a national level champ in shooting as a child and went out to the Olympic Training Center several times for competition and training.
10. I own 7 Jacob sheep, 8 Barred Rock hens, 8 Barred Rock chicks, 5 baby turkeys, 1 Polish chicken (a freebie), 4 Ameracaunas, 10 Cornish-Rock Crosses and one dog of questionable parentage :-) .
11. Soon I will have a fold of 3 Scottish Highland Cattle (the 4th is something we're still in talks about).
12. I have been the leader of an international art/craft guild.
13. I have organized and helped to fundraise significant quantities of money to help fight cancer.
14. I was first published in the 8th grade (a story I didn't like but that fit the length requirement).
15. I have earned money as a storyteller at a historical festival as a child (I used puppets, too).
16. I am more frightened of speaking and demostrating things to my direct peers than unruly and "dangerous" teens.
17. My pregnancy was a very taxing event, during which I was threatened with hospitalization more than twice.
18. When I am truly focused on a task, I become downright unfriendly (but luckily for most, I also become antisocial so they don't see it).
19. I think every gal should own a strand of real pearls.
20. I believe society could improve drastically if we supported more positive ways of children demonstrating their "coming of age."
21. I write here with a pseudonym as respect for my mother and her people who would be scandalized if they knew I was attempting romances.

Ugh. Ok, that's 1/5 of the total... Time to sleep!

How often do you do some vague form of self-assessment?

Romance Writer's Word of the Day 7/1/07

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


Highwayman [hie-wae-man] is a noun meaning "a man who robs travelers along public roads (highways)." The term shows up in the middle of the 16oo's, although men of this ilk existed long before, lying in wait near the junction of the tamewood and wildwood (and deeper still into the wild). Sometimes they rode in on horses, sometimes they just ambushed individuals on foot. They were some of the early "rogues."

A small sample of what might be done with a highwayman:

"Who are you?" she demanded.

"Truly?" he asked. "Do you really wish to know?"

She nodded, but he read apprehension in her eyes.

He sighed, promising himself to only share what he thought she could handle. Slowly he reached his right hand between his navy blue coat and his perfectly starched white shirt. He knew he looked every part the gentleman. That was what allowed him to succeed. The lies.

He withdrew the hand, cradling a matchlock pistol in it. He laid it on the table before her, his eyes never leaving her own.

She didn't even flinch, just balled her fists and rested them on her hips.

She was made of stronger stuff than he expected. He reached his left hand under his coat and withdrew another gun. He set it on the table beside the first. They were a matched pair.

It was then she realized. She swallowed, blinking at him. "Matching mother of pearl handles..." Her eyes closed and his heart raced in response.

No longer could he read her emotions.

"So you are the one," she whispered. "The legendary highwayman of the Roman Road."

It's raw, but I wanted to play around with it a little tonight. :-)

Have a great one!

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