Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Now that's what I call a nice review!

I just found a lovely review for MY LORD'S DESIRE. It was written by Wendy Keel at The Romance Readers Connection. To quote,
"MY LORD’S DESIRE is a story that is hard to put down. Readers will find themselves drawn into the story of Adelaide and Armand from page one. Fans of historicals will be thrilled with the detail of Ms. Moore’s story and characterization, as well as the many secondary characters I can only hope will lead to future stories. Ms. Moore’s story has a little of it all, romance, mystery, fun, and action. This is one book that those seeking a great historical romance should pick up today, especially if you love the Medieval era as much as this reviewer does! I am eager to see what is next from this author, it’s sure to be just a wonderful!"

Thank you, Wendy!!!

To read the entire review, click here.

While you're wandering the internet, you might want to check out Stephen King's speech at the National Book Awards in 2003. Yes, it's old, but it's lovely, particularly when he talks about his wife.

Now it's back to proofreading for me!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Academy Awards Post Mortems

So the TV writers (the writers who write about what's on TV, I mean) are now weighing in on the Academy Awards telecast. Boring, bland, mundane, seems to be the verdict.

I agree that it wasn't the most exciting TV I've ever watched (that would be the episode of 24 where Jack had to execute that co-worker guy as part of the bad guy's demands), but nowhere did I read what I believe to be the explanation for this, probably because it has nothing to do with the telecast itself, and I don't believe it's anything that the Academy folks themselves can correct.

My explanation for the blah-ness of the Academy Awards telecast? By the time the Oscars roll around now, there have been so many "predicting" awards (Golden Globes, etc) that there's no real suspense come awards night. We already have a good idea who's going to win.

Also, in the olden days before stylists were rampant, there was always the chance of a huge wardrobe boo-boo. And the appeal of that? Being able to think, "That person is fabulously wealthy and that's what they chose?" In addition, there are so many TV magazine shows about TV and movies and actors, print magazines like People, not to mention the internet, that you no longer have to watch the Academy Awards to see the clothes at all. And no, I don't need somebody to explain to me why a dress "works" and why it doesn't.

Like American Idol, people watch award shows for the chance to see raw emotion. They want to see "the stars" acting excited and happy and grateful, like, say, real people. Again, when the awards have already been largely pre-determined, you're not going to get that (contrast Forest Whitaker at the Golden Globes to Forest Whitaker on Oscar night).

So the question becomes, why should I watch when there's almost no suspense/excitement involved? To confirm what I've already read/heard about?

What can the Academy do about this? Probably not a lot, because now that all these other awards are televised/publicized, too, the suspense simply cannot return. I do think they can cut down on the "extras" that lengthen the show, though, and that includes some of the banter that is actually painful to watch.

Monday, February 26, 2007


The recreation center where I take my exercise classes always has a table of used books for sale in the foyer. I think the money goes to the seniors who use the center. Sometimes I take a quick glance at what's available.

This weekend, picture me doing the classic double take, because there, on the top of the table, was a hardover edition of THE WOLF AND THE DOVE by Kathleen Woodiwiss, the first historical romance I ever read, and the reason I eventually became a historical romance writer myself. It wasn't a case of thinking I could do better; it was a case of realizing that was the kind of story I wanted to tell once I got the notion I might like to try my hand at writing. When I first read Ms. Woodiwiss's story, though, that was not even a dim bulb of an idea in my mind. I just really, really enjoyed it.

Needless to say, I grabbed that book and clutched it breathlessly to my bosum. (Did I mention I'd been to exercise class?) Then I realized I had no money. Not a coin. So I went into the office to ask them to hold the book for me while I went home and got the pittance required.

Oh, no problem. I can pay them next week.

I tell ya, it was like somebody just walking up to me on the street and offering me $100. Actually, because the way my mind works, I'd be thinking the $100 was the profit of crime, or some such thing, so this was even better.

Friday, February 23, 2007

It's a conspiracy, I tells ya....

First, thanks to all who offered birthday wishes to my daughter. She got much chocolate for her birthday, which she promises to share. Also, a cell phone that, I swear, ought to be able to do her homework. It seems to do everything else.

But oh, woe is me! I often reward myself after getting a lot of writing done by a visit to Television Without Pity, especially on Fridays (post Survivor), but lo! Today the forums are down. For maintenance. I understand this is necessary, but I also believe it's a conspiracy to make me write more.

Which is okay. I'm in a happy place with my manuscript at the moment. But you can be sure I'll be checking out TWoP tomorrow!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Day to Remember

This is my daughter's birthday. Here are a few of the things I remember from the day of her debut into the world.

Realized at 11 a.m. that something might be happening, but that it might be some time yet. She was our second child, and I was in labor a while with our first, so I figured I had plenty of time.

Nevertheless, I phoned the folks who'd be looking after my son, just in case.

Had lunch, then -- miraculously -- a nap with my son, who was two and a half at the time. Miraculously, because this lad believed naps were for other (presumably less exciting and/or interesting) children.

Woke up from the nap at about 2 p.m. to realize, yep, this was it. No doubt about it. (Labor pains are like really bad menstrual cramps, at least in my experience.)

Phoned the hubby, who was going to be wallpapering the baby's nursery that weekend (she was due the 25th), at work. His reaction? "NO!" Mine, "Yes! Come home NOW!"

Phoned the folks again. My mom had been practically sitting by the phone since 11 a.m. They're on the way!

Hubby arrives home about 4. With a take-out dinner of KFC. Because when we had my son? He didn't get dinner. A second child might come quicker, but he wasn't taking any chances.

The folks arrive. Bid adieu to them and my son. We get in the car, with the KFC, to drive to the hospital.

Arrive at the hospital at 6 p.m. -- the same time I arrived when I gave birth to my son, who was born at 1 am the following morning.

I walk in pretty much calling for an epidural, STAT! Pain is not my friend. Now, I had never seen one of these, or I might have reconsidered. However, I had not, so...give me the epidural! I am making with the jokes, because this is my reaction to stress. "You must have a low pain threshold," I'm told. Okaaaaay, but give me the epidural anyway, okay?

Then comes the labor room, which was decorated as such rooms were many years ago. In other words, not decorated. Institutional green, blinds, machines. Cozy as an operating theater.

When things reach a certain stage, I'm wheeled to the delivery room. In transit, my water breaks. I -- and I kid you not -- apologize profusely for this.

The rest is kind of a blur, until the baby arrives and my husband announces, "It's a boy!"

My doctor immediately says, "No, it's not. It's a girl!"

It was 8 p.m. and there was much joy in that room. Not only was our daughter here safe and sound, she was the first granddaughter for my folks, who had three grandsons at that time (they have 9 grandchildren now).

My folks let my son stay up so his dad could come home and tell him the news. Good thing he'd had that nap.

My mother thought I'd have a lovely night's sleep. I didn't sleep a wink. Too excited and happy.

Yep, truly a day to remember!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Risk from another perspective

In another serendipitous coincidence, after I blogged about risk yesterday, today on Romancing the Blog, agent Kristin Nelson writes about the same thing. As she sees it, a reluctance to take the big gamble is what keeps midlist authors from breaking out, and that when it comes to taking risks, an unpublished author may be better off.

I don't disagree with this. Indeed, I've said it before and I'll say it again, you're never as free to write what you want as you are before you're published.

I'd also like to point out, though, that unpublished writers have nothing to lose. They can afford to take the big risks because it's not going to cost them anything other than time and paper. They don't have readers to lose and editors to dismay.

Ms. Nelson then goes on to say, "And I’d like to propose that this is what the top bestsellers in the romance field do all the time. They throw out all their previous notions of what works. What was their former success and they pretend like it’s brand new and for the very first time. They mimic the world and creative space of an unpublished, debut writer and the results can be stunning.

They reinvent themselves by avoiding the tried and true and taking risks. Time and time again."

Maybe some do, but I can think of examples where the opposite certainly seems to apply, at least with historicals. Off the top of my head I can think of two bestselling historical romance authors who, as far as I can tell, stay pretty true to the elements that brought them to the bestseller lists in the first place.

I will agree that sometimes, we authors fear going too far away from what we've done before. As I said, we have readers to lose. And as somebody who's felt the sting of readers' disappointment, that's not something you can easily discount, either.

But since it's my career and my income I'd be gambling with, let me decide how much I want to risk. It's easy for somebody to say you ought to take risks, because they aren't the ones actually doing the risking. They aren't the ones who'll be spending hours at the computer, on what may pay off big-time, or what may be a huge waste of time and effort -- because you can't tell whether you're taking a big gamble that will pay off, or a big gamble that will get you zilch. Nobody can.

At this point, I'm not willing to throw all the readers I've earned out the window and hope for the best.

And what may seem to be a "comfort zone" is simply what the writer most enjoys writing. I write mostly medievals not because I'm afraid to try something else. I write mostly medievals because I enjoy writing them. And for me, that enjoyment is truly vital to my writing.

Now, there may come a time when I can't sell a historical romance anymore. That's when I'll take the really big gamble, because all bets are off anyway.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Risky Business

As anybody who's ever tried to sell their writing can tell you, writing is a risky business. And I'm not just talking about the intermittent, unstable income. (I once tried to explain to a financial planner that I had no idea how much I was going to make in any given year. The poor man may still be shaking his head.)

But there are other risks, too.

First and foremost, and what can be an insurmountable hurdle for some people, is what I call "personal risk." Whatever you write, the choices you make as you tell your story are revealing, whether you plan it that way or not. You are, in one sense, exposing yourself. And that can be a scary thought.

If you've gotten over that hurdle, there are other risks as you choose your story and the way you want to tell it.

There's what I call the Big Risk, where you come up with a story that's not just pushing the envelope, it's tearing it to shreds. You love it and you don't care if it's marketable. But you send it out into the world anyway, hoping that somebody else (in a position to buy it) will love it, too.

This may work, and it may sell gazillions and get everybody talking.

Big Risk = Big Gamble that may = Big Pay-off. Or maybe not.

See, we only hear the big gambles that paid off. Articles are written, interviews conducted, buzz buzzes. We don't hear about the books that got rejected 200 times and never sold, or how much time and effort the author spent working on what turned out to be a dead end. I believe that for every Big Risk that succeeded, there are at least hundred more that didn't (and that's probably a conservative estimate). We just don't hear about the failures. For obvious reasons, authors aren't keen to talk about the books that didn't work.

Unfortunately, nobody can tell you what's going to work as you're writing the Big Risk book. It really is a huge gamble.

However, there's also the Calculated Risk, which is more common and, I think, more generally successful (that is, more successful for more people). That's where the author puts a new twist on something familiar, or has a unique take on the tried and true.

This can be even trickier than the Big Risk, though, because the writer risks thwarting reader expectations and incurring their wrath. If you decide to take the Big Risk and blow the envelope, you're freed of the constraints of the envelope. If you're still writing within the envelope, there can be a fine line between being different enough to be interesting, and alienating readers.

Whether you want to take the Big Risk or the Calculated Risk, one thing's for certain: There isn't any "no risk" writing. No set of rules or guidelines or formula will ever ensure you sell. It takes time, persistence, trying new things until you find what works, and yes, it takes talent.

It also requires a willingness to run risks. And to put your work, and therefore yourself, on stage.

Monday, February 19, 2007

TAR Comments

Okay, first, I am really, really, really tired of Rob and Amber. Enough already!! Can they PLEASE be eliminated next? Even if they come first?

Kevin and Drew -- was Drew not feeling well? I mean, whooo. Wha' happened? He wasn't his usual self. I was cringing for their car.

Terri and Ian -- I was surprised to learn about his undercover background. Interesting, and likewise enough with the "hoo-yahs!"

The Chas -- ah, still charming! So glad they're friends again.

Mary and David -- Mary lied. Flat-out lied! I was shocked. And also, appalled. And the timing! First leg of the race and at the counter with the ticket clerks right there? And then scurrying off to warn Terri and Ian where the Beauty Queens can see you? Yikes!

What the heck happened between them and the Beauty Queens last season? I saw signs of a motive -- the mocking in the airport -- but I was unprepared for that level of bitterness/rivalry from Mary.

Eric and Danielle -- the nipple rings. Gah! My eyes! Do what you will with your body, but I really don't want to see it.

The Guidos -- they seem to have a solid sense of themselves and how they're perceived. Might be an age thing. They stole the Gutsy Grannies name, but with a smile on their faces.

Uchenna and Joyce -- not much to say about them, as they were pretty much in the background. Although I like them, I do think past winners should have been excluded. I would much rather have had Momily (Emily and Mom) back instead. Or the Clowns. Or Ken and Gerard. Or the Cho Bros.

Mirna and Charla -- It was painful to watch the usually steady Charla panic, but I would have been freaking out, too. (Not that you'd get me on The Amazing Race. The sleeping on cots under a tent would be enough to prevent me, not to mention jetlag and sensitive stomach issues.)

And last...oh woe, last!!! Jon Vito and Jill. I really, really wanted to see them do well. I would have been delighted if they won. I would much, much rather watch them than Rob and Amber. Still, the hope of a rekindled relationship did this romance writer's heart good.

And now, off to write about a boar hunt. (Bet you don't see that too often!)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Whoooo hoooo!

All-Star Amazing Race!! Starts tonight!


Have I ever mentioned Phil's aftershave? I don't know what it is, but my oh my, it's as nice as he is!

And fingers crossed that neither the Frats, the Chas or David and Mary are first out!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Funniest Stargate EVAH!

Yesterday was one wild, wacky TV day! First, Survivor. Dreamz manages to redeem himself, Sylvia survives another day (Will she be named Fearless Leader? She seems to want it.), Earl amuses, Yau Man impresses and Boo has boo-boos.

Then, The Office. Oh, Pam, say it ain't so! You're back with Roy? And Jim didn't go to the art show? Sob. My heart, it breaks. Also, cries "Noooooooooo!"

My Name is Earl manages to make me smile again.

But then, oh, then, by pure serendipity, while flipping around the dial we come upon the most hilarious Stargate self-parody episode EVER! Now, I must admit I haven't really watched since Ben Browder replaced Richard Dean Anderson. I loved BB in Farscape, but I missed Jack O'Neil too much.

But lo! For their 200th episode, they did another self-parody episode (who can forget Wormhole X-treme?) and Jack was back. Even better, they had a series of self-parodies that had me literally applauding with glee. Seriously, clapping my hands and laughing out loud. Teen-gate! Supermarionation! Also Star Trek! And Farscape! There's a long, detailed description of the episode on Wikipedia here. I tell ya, I loved every minute of it!

And on Sunday, All-Star Amazing Race!! I've got my chips and dip ready. I can hardly wait!

Oh, yes, I'm writing, too. I had to take some time to just think and make notes yesterday because I had reached one of those places in the synopsis in which I cover a lot of ground in a sentence or two. Easy enough to say in short form, tougher to actually show/describe with dialogue and action when you're writing the book.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Me on TV and other TV related items

So there I was on the Canadian verson of Entertainment Tonight last night (that's me in the middle).

Why didn't I blog about this earlier, you may ask. Well, I'm never sure just what the TV folks are going to do when they edit a piece, so I tend not to tell people I know about things like this. I figure they already know that I write, and if it goes badly? I don't want people I know to see it. Fortunately, this experience went well, but it was a good thing they showed my cover with my (large font) name, because otherwise? Me, and Kate Bridges (on the left) and Kayla Perrin (on the right) would have simply been three Harlequin romance authors. As it is, the only way people are going to know I'm the author of the Margaret Moore books is if they look at my picture in the back.

However, and fortunately, the piece was non-patronizing, so yeah! And as I said, they showed my cover(s), so double yeah!

Then I watched Lost. For the last time. I thought it was going to be about Hurley and maybe Charlie. Possibly Claire. Instead...DESMOND? Why are they showing so much of the new folks? What about the ones we came to care about before? I don't care about Desmond. I don't care about that blond Other woman. I want Hurley and Sayid, and I'm getting almost nothing. I also think the writers don't have a Plan. They're just throwing out anything. So never mind, Lost. I've got other things I can do with that hour.

Tonight, Survivor. How 'bout that Dreamz guy? Or as one of the clever folks at TWoP dubbed him, Screamz? Has he never watched the show? Because yes, that's a good way to earn the million -- keep talking loudly while everyone else is trying to sleep. Yeesh. I hope Yau Man lasts! Loved his bit with the box. Simple physics it may be, but I didn't like physics so missed that lesson. As well as many, many others.

Also, The Office. I tell ya, when I'm screaming, "No, Pam! Oh, Jim!" at my TV, that's some good TV. But NO, Pam! Oh, Jim!!

Then My Name is Earl. That's always a hoot, and I think the sweet relationship between Earl and Randy really makes that show extra-special.

We also tape Ugly Betty. Henry is the very definition of "cute nerd" to me. And ya wanna know cliff-hanger endings? Oh. My. Word.

Thursday should be probably be dubbed Couch Potato Day at my house.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's and Me

Once again, it's Valentine's Day. Or St. Valentine's Day. Or, as I sometimes hear it, "Valentime's."

At any rate, this is the one time of the year when other media pays a lot of attention to romance. And sometimes, romance writers. Apparently I'm supposed to just go nuts for the hearts and flowers and candy.

Um, sorry. I must confess that Valentine's Day really doesn't float my boat. I find it too manufactured. I think it's a lot more important to be treated well, with love and affection and appreciation 365 days of the year than to get flowers or candy on one day of the year.

I write romance because I can have two equally strong protagonists, a man and a woman. I love the battle of the sexes element. The key word here is "battle" -- as in, lots of conflict. Conflict = drama, and that's what makes writing romance interesting and exciting for me. I don't write romance because I go all mushy at the thought of a candlelight dinner or long walks on an exotic beach.

You wanna know what day really does get me excited? The first day of Daylight Savings. Whooo hooo, more sun in the evenings!

I'm thinking I should come up with a suitable celebratory expression for Day One of Daylight Savings in the form of food, although I could always fall back on chocolate.
Heck, every day's a good day for chocolate!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Medieval Historical Romances: Alive and kicking!

In the musical Spamalot, which we were fortunate to see with the original (fantastic) cast in New York, there's a jaunty little tune sung by a guy whose family is trying to get him taken away in a plague cart. The gist is that he's not dead yet.

I often feel like singing that when I read yet another post that claims that medieval historical romances are dead and gone. Since I'm here and I'm still writing them, this is more than a tad frustrating.

But what's even more frustrating, so are a lot of other authors. Here's a list of some Harlequin writers who also write medieval historical romances:
Helen Kirkman
Sharon Schulze
Denise Lynn
Blythe Gifford
Anne Herries
Joanne Rock

Here are two new authors who write medievals (both coincidentally named Michelle):
Michelle Styles (who also does ancient Rome!)
Michelle Willingham

So cue the chorus, 'cause the medieval's obviously not dead yet!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Vampires and Me

Masterpiece Theater is going to show yet another version of Dracula tonight. I understand the appeal of the story and the whole blood-sucking as a substitute for sexual desire in those supposedly repressed Victorian times. (My research has told me that, despite what we've been led to believe, there were plenty of sexual hijinks going on then as now, and always.)

I also understand this version has more actual, you know, sex. So we get the substitute sex and the real deal, which explains, at least to me, part of the appeal of paranormal romances, which are hugely popular at the moment. I also think the appeal has a great deal to do with the fear of the unknown evil walking among us. He looks like a regular man, but he's out to get you. Explains the interest in serial killers, too.

I myself really enjoyed Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I particularly enjoyed the stories that deal with real-life issues via the supernatural. The one about the invisible girl really sticks in my mind.

Then I became fascinated by Spike as played by James Marsters, who -- as you can see -- has great cheekbones. I am a sucker (no pun intended!) for great cheekbones. So when I had an idea to go to England for more research (yeah!), I scheduled our visit to include a Buffy convention, which is how I got to meet James Marsters in the flesh. Nice guy, by the way. And yes, that is his hand on my neck. Excuse me a moment while I fan myself at the memory.

However, despite my interest in Buffy and Spike's relationship, I have no particular interest myself in writing a paranormal romance. For one thing, I have learned the folly of chasing what's hot. There are plenty of authors who can do this and are very successful as a result. Me, not so much. I have to really enjoy what I'm writing, and writing to the market saps that joy. Also, in my case, it wasn't particularly effective in terms of sales, as far as I can tell. Chicken and egg? Maybe.

Why don't I want to write paranormal romance if I enjoyed Buffy so much? Because I think people are infinitely fascinating just being people. Villains don't have to be the undead or demons to be evil walking among us. Heroes can be brooding and have serious issues without being immortal or supernaturally cursed.

As I said, I understand the appeal of those stories, but for me, I just don't "feel" it. And without that? There's no point in me trying to write one.

Which is not to say I never will. It may be that a paranormal character will ambush me someday and want a story. But for now, I'll leave those stories to the people who do feel that enthusiasm for supernatural things that go bump in the night.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Make-up and Me

Yesterday, I was reminded once again as to why I can't/shouldn't write contemporaries. There is just so much of modern life I don't quite "get," and I'm not just talking dating, either.

Take make-up. I had occasion to purchase some yesterday. Buying make-up is usually something I do when I have a conference to attend (approximately every three or four years). Otherwise, I don't wear make-up most of the time, and when I do, it's usually concealer (dark eye circles that have nothing to do with lack of sleep), powder and lip balm (not lipstick or even colored). So I pay little heed to the make-up aisle of the local drugstore.

But yesterday there I was, standing staring at the wall of make-up, agog. The colors, the choices, the fancy names, the incredients, the way it was going to make me look years younger.

And the prices! Oh, my word. The prices.

Nope, I just don't get the whole make-up thing.

No wonder I write about (mostly) cosmetic-free time periods.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

24, Lost, Prison Break, Heroes, New Survivor

Quick post because I'm going to be too busy to blog the next couple of days (probably):

So, Jack's Dad is EEEEVILLL! Really evil. Yikes! Now that's one dysfunctional family! And I say again, where is Aaron????

Lost -- might watch, might not. It's gotten too weird and there are too many loose ends. Even Sawyer and Sayid are not enough....

Prison Break -- that was the largest train washroom I've ever seen! I couldn't get over it. Until the kiss. Nice one, Michael. But Lance is cute, too. Sadly, though, evil. Probably.

Heroes -- Hiro is so cute and Ando...ahhh. I don't like the Nikki/Jessica storyline, though. At all.

New Survivor. Yes, I'll be there. It's no Amazing Race, yet I'll watch. I've watched every season. I'm skeptical about the big twist, though. They've led me down that garden path before....

In writing news, after having one of those days where I thought I was going to get a lot or writing done and then didn't because all sorts of other stuff happened...I was able to salvage a scene from the Second Beginning. Yeah! So I can pretend I got 14 pages written today, after all. Ah, the motivational tricks I play on myself!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

New Cover!

Kaloo, Kalay! I just received the cover flats (that would be covers with no book inside) for my book that's coming out in June of this year, THE NOTORIOUS KNIGHT and boy, oh, boy, the art department at Harlequin has given me a nice one! (For those not familiar with how the whole cover thing works, I fill in a form with hair color, suggested clothing, etc. and then I don't see a thing until I get the cover flats, so...always a surprise!)

How do I like this one? Let me count the ways.

I like the pose of the couple. It's interesting, it's different, it's not weirdly contorted. I like how they're a little larger than the other couples I've had on my HQN books. The cover look is still similar, but the larger people makes this one unique.

I like the clothes on the couple. Historically accurate -- or at least not obviously a costume.

I like the setting. Now, I don't think I have a bridge in the book, per se, and that castle is kinda huge and fancy, but...I like it. It's interesting and it's one of those things that announces, in no uncertain terms, that this book is a medieval.

I like the heroine. I think it might be the same model as on the book that's out now, MY LORD'S DESIRE,, but that works, because the heroine of THE NOTORIOUS KNIGHT is her sister. I like that her hairstyle is simple, and straight -- just the way Gillian's hair ought to look.

I like that my name is in a large font. I've worked hard, and for a long time, for name recognition. Ditto the "USA Today bestselling author" above my name.

And most of all, I love the hero. My man Bayard looks goooood. I've got a larger version on my website here, but sadly, my scanner does not do him justice. I like the length of his hair, which is pretty much exactly how I described it. I like his hand. I like the way he's looking at her. I like how he seems masculine and yet gentle, not overbearing, probably because it looks like she's bringing him to her to kiss.... What's not to like about that?

Yep, all in all, it's a good one!

Monday, February 05, 2007

You know you're on the right track when....

you write eleven brand-new pages to your new brand-new Chapter One in just over an hour and it feels good when you're done and you know what's coming next and....whew! Back in the saddle again!

I also found a wonderful review for MY LORD'S DESIRE, which says, in part, "Conspiracy, betrayal and bold knights sparring to win the hand of a beautiful lady, all fill My Lord’s Desire to make it a must read for any medieval historical lover!" You can read the whole review here. Thank you, Bonnie, at A Romance Review.

I made rice pudding yesterday, which I alone of all those who inhabit my domicile enjoy, so I had it for lunch today - bonus! (Without raisins, though. Some day I shall have to tell The Tale of The Cooking Raisins, and why I don't enjoy them.) I use a variation of the one in The Joy of Cooking, based on suggestions from my sister. I use vanilla soya milk instead of water, no salt and this time, I tried half the sugar. Not quite sweet enough, but certainly acceptable.

And later, Lt. Sulu is Hiro's dad on Heroes? I can hardly wait!

Yep, turning out to be a very good day!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Chapter One, Scene One again -- hooray!

I had to take last week off from the wip to proofread the previous book. Perhaps because I wasn't trying to actually write the wip, I was forced to just think about the troublesome beginning of the book in the odd moments when I wasn't proofreading.

And then -- oh happy day! I thought of a different way to start the book. A good way. A much better way! The fog has lifted! The light has come on! The road is clear!!!

So tomorrow, and despite having already written 72 pages, I'll be starting again at Chapter One, Scene One.

And this is exciting why? you may be wondering. What about those 72 pages? Are they just...gone?

Not exactly. Today I'm going to take a look and see if there's anything I can salvage that I've already written. I think there will be. But I'm excited because I feel like I know what I'm doing with this beginning now. That it's going to be a more fun, more interesting, entertaining beginning that will do everything I need it to do, and even more than I originally planned.

And that's exciting!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Support Systems

There was a column in the local paper today written by a woman who phoned her mother every day. I could really relate to this because I do, too. When she talked about trying to adjust to the loss of the daily phone call after her mother's death...well, let's just say my eyes were not dry.

I started calling my Mom every day after I had my first child. I was the first of my friends to have a baby, so none of them were home during the day. Mom was. None of them knew what having a baby was like. Mom did.

Why do I still call her everyday?

First, because I enjoy it. Talking to my mom always makes me feel good, and we usually wind up having a few laughs.

No matter what else is happening in the wacky business of writing, she always makes me feel that I know what I'm doing, and that I'm good at what I do. Well, so do my husband and my kids, but she's also full of life wisdom, able to give me a broader perspective.

I owe a good chunk of my writing career to her, too. When I was upset about something somebody had done at school, she'd often ask me, "Why do you think they did that?" In other words, what was their motivation? A good part of my job now is figuring out my characters' motivations, so thanks, Mom!

She also always used to say, because I got teased a lot, that I had to learn to deal with it, because everywhere I went, there would be people like that -- a piece of advice that's seen me through some bad reviews. Well, that and her peeved sighs, and assurances that that reviewer just had an ax to grind or some other comforting thing.

Friends are wonderful, but they have busy lives, too. Sometimes, it's not easy to explain why you're discouraged about something, because to really get the angst across, you have to give a little seminar on how publishing works. My mother knows as much about publishing as I do. She's been learning right along with me.

Other writers can empathize, but I'm going to confess here that some of the most mean-spirited and hurtful comments I've ever had about my career have come from other writers. My mom has never hurt my feelings, or insulted me.

That's another reason I call her every day, but what it all boils down to is, I like it. And because, for the reasons I've stated and more, I love her.

Friday, February 02, 2007

FIGWIT and another "Who is that???" moment

Once upon a time, in a movie entitled Lord of the Rings, there was a council. The Council of Elrond. An Important Decision was made at that council, concerning a ring and a hobbit and a bunch of other folks.

At one point during this Major Event, the camera was on our hobbit hero, Frodo. Then it panned to an elf. No, not Legolas. Another one, with dark hair, prompting certain folks to exclaim, "Frodo is great... WHO IS THAT???" Thus, Figwit was born. And so great and numerous became his fans, that Peter Jackson actually called him back to appear in The Return of the King.

Why am I telling you all this, besides the fact I think it's really neat?

I had a sort of Figwit moment tonight. I was sitting down after dinner, idly flipping around the TV dial, when I came upon the start of Judgment at Nuremburg, made in 1961. I've seen parts of this many times, but have never actually seen the whole movie (still haven't -- my viewing pleasure was interrupted by other duties), but when I saw the lead German defense attorney (after noting the very young William Shatner, looking pretty spiffy I must say), I just about had the vapors, because! Man is gorgeous!

Who was it? Maximilian Schell. If you want to see what I mean, look here, although it doesn't do him justice.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bayard baby!

I'm in the middle of proofreading (ugh) but I just got the cover for my August '07 book, which is about the half brother of the hero of current release, MY LORD'S DESIRE. Even I didn't know Bayard looked that good!

In a word, hubba.

The rest of the cover is lovely, too. And the people are a little bigger. And I like the heroine's dress.

I'll be sending a sneak peek link to my email newsletter subscribers first, then posting it here, in case of any of you want to get a gander at Bayard. And also 'cause I like it. :-)