Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Back in print!

Whoo hoo! They're back! Two of the medieval romances I wrote for Avon Books are now available again - in print and on sale!



From the back cover:

Everyone knows that red-haired women are nothing but trouble, so when enchanting, flame-haired Fiona MacDougal rides into his castle courtyard announcing that she is willing to become his bride, Caradoc of Wales knows to be wary -- even of such a beautiful Scottish lass bearing gifts. He has no desire to take himself a wife, but her kisses are so tempting that the idea of an intimate -- and permanent -- union becomes most appealing indeed.

The thought of marrying this bold, handsome warrior sends shivers of delight down Fiona's spine. She wants nothing more than to tell him the entire truth -- that in his strong embrace she is certain to be safe from the despicable blackguard who would marry her for his own selfish gain. Fiona loves Caradoc dearly, but can she ever win her passionate husband's trust -- or gain his love -- if he discovers the real reason she sought him out?

"Tempt Me With Kisses was an absolute pleasure to read. I enjoyed meeting the characters, and felt a kinship with them even after the last page was turned."
-- The Romance Reader

"Ms. Moore has written a fantastic story of love, betrayal and forgiveness....a definite must read for those who enjoy stories of secrets, inner turmoil and creative resolutions to difficult situations. Kudos for a perfect story."
--Romance Reviews Today

Read An Excerpt



From the back cover:

His Every Desire

Seeking vengeance on the lord who robbed him of his birthright, Sir Alexander DeFrouchette set out to steal his enemy's bride...and, in his haste,carried of the wrong lady! Now it would be far too dangerous to release the exquisite Lady Isabelle -- whose sister was the true captive he sought. The bold, spirited hellion has enchanted him, and Alexander longs to tame her and taste the sweetness of her kiss. But she is related to his hated foe, and the noble knight will never know Isabelle's love until she offers it willingly -- and this she dares never do.

All Her Dreams

Gallant knights are supposed to protect fair maidens -- not kidnap them! Yet here is Lady Isabelle, a prisoner of Sir Alexander, who is strong, virile, handsome, everything she ever dreamed of in a man. But proud, fiery Isabelle will never succumb to force -- no matter how powerfully he inflames her passion...or how quickly her heart beats when he's near...

"Readers will enjoy the antics and especially the debates between the brooding sexy hero and the intelligent captive who knows where her safety lies. As usual the audience gets more from a novelist who always provides an inviting tale."
-- The Best Reviews

Read An Excerpt

HarperCollins has several links to purchase. I note that while both are available from Amazon.com, it appears the reprint of TEMPT ME WITH KISSES is not yet available from Amazon.ca. Hopefully this is just a temporary delay. Both are available for ordering in Canada from Indigo online.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Scenic Seattle

We're back from visiting Seattle. We managed to see lots of sights, and had one day of quite good weather. Here are some of our pictures from scenic Seattle taken from the Space Needle:





We also got to the aquarium. I don't know who this little girl is, but I see a future in marine biology.




Here I am at the Pike Place Market. We had a great lunch at the Steelhead Diner. I heartily recommend the baked macaroni and cheese and coleslaw, which was out of this world.



And finally, because it's nearly Christmas - I spotted these shaped holly bushes outside a building. I have a holly bush, and I've cut it back at times, but I confess it never occurred to me that you could prune them into such a nice shape.



Next on my agenda - Christmas preparations, although I hope to be able to do a little manuscript revising, too.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

So now what?

Now that I've finished the first draft of my current project for My Own NaNo, what have I been doing?

Not doing more work on the book...yet.

I've been doing a lot of other things that got a bit sidetracked, including updating/revising some of my webpages, like the one for my Warrior Series. When you've got a series that has fourteen books and a novella, it takes a while to make changes.

We also did a maintenance run to the cottage. And we've been getting ready for our trip to visit our son next week.

If I feel I have time, I may print up a chapter or two of the My Own NaNo manuscript. The first chapter is surely a mess in need of drastic revisions. However, unless I have at least two hours to spare, I'll leave it until we're home, when I can go through the entire manuscript, hopefully at least once, before Christmas.

Since I'll be away next week, let me take the time now to wish everyone who's on the road next week a safe and happy holiday!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

My Own NaNo - Done!

Whoo hooo! I have made My Own NaNo goal and finished my first draft - a day early, too.

Here are the details:

Total Word Count - 58,405
Total Days - 28
Average Word Count Per Day - 2085
Total Number of Chapters - 20

So now what do I do?

I'll print up a hard copy that I'll read and make copious notes upon. (I am old school that way.) I'll be revising and editing, and noting where I need "more", including whole new scenes. I'll be moving scenes and deleting others entirely. I'll be adding back story and a lot of description (because right now, there is pretty much none). I need to research some historical details, and I really need to make a map of the village and surrounding area, so those details are consistent. In other words, I have a lot more work ahead of me.

But here's the thing - I now have the journey all mapped out. To be sure, there may yet be some twists in the road and I will do at least two more complete drafts (if not 4 or 5), but I know who these people are, where they're going and how they're going to get there. I know who's important and who's not. And I have a couple of sequel possibilities to either work on more, or let die on the vine.

Somebody asked me how long the finished book will be. At this point, I'm thinking about 80,000 words, but I don't know for certain. I'll see when I get there.

Most important of all, though, I've proven to myself that even after a very long break with no writing at all, my imagination is still capable of creating a story and characters. I've experienced that rush of excitement when something unexpected happens as I'm writing, something that takes a character or a story to a whole new level.

If My Own NaNo had done nothing more than that, it would have been totally worth it.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

My Own NaNo - the end is nigh!

On October 13 I started My Own NaNo. My goal was to jump start a writing project after a long break and finish a first draft. I hadn't really considered a date for the deadline; however, National Novel Writing Month uses a deadline of - obviously - a month, so my deadline for a finished first draft should be November 10.

I think I'm gonna make it!

I'm in the final chapters of my first draft. I've written a total of 51,464 words and figure I'll have another few thousand before I'm done.

This novel actually started out as a 20,000 word novella. Of that novella, I have used the same names for the hero and heroine, the same setting, some of the original set-up and approximate two paragraphs of text.

Yep, tossed out most of the novella and started fresh. There were major changes to the plot and the heroine's situation and background so rather than struggle to use what I'd already written, it was easier to just forget it and write fresh material.

What happens after the first draft is done?

I tear it apart, cut it down, revise and rewrite, adding new material as necessary. I expect to lose at least 10,000 words from the first draft and probably a lot more.

On the plus side, I've figured out the basic emotional arc of the main characters, as well as their backstories. I've decided on the basic plot - what happens to who, if not precisely the best order. I know which secondary characters are more important than others, and created some that come in at the end that are going to have to be added earlier. I've discovered what I need to spend time researching, and what I don't.

All of this means I still have a whole lot of work to do. But I'm not feeling my way in the dark anymore. I have lighting and a path to follow, even if the journey is far from over.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

New Excerpts!

I've uploaded new excerpts from the two books Avon is reprinting onto my website.

Here are the links:




Read An Excerpt from TEMPT ME WITH KISSES

This is the second book in the medieval series, and features the brother of the hero of the first, THE MAIDEN AND HER KNIGHT.

The other book Avon is reprinting is



Read An Excerpt from ALL MY DESIRE.

ALL MY DESIRE is the third book in the trilogy and features the sister of the heroine of THE MAIDEN AND HER KNIGHT and the son of the villain from that book.


I didn't have an excerpt for the first book in this medieval series, which is already available in digital format, so I've added one for it, too.

Read An Excerpt from THE MAIDEN AND HER KNIGHT.

I never assume people have read previous books in a series, so if you don't have an ereader and can't read the first book, you shouldn't feel lost if you start with the second.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Whoo Hoo! BIG News!


Avon is reprinting two of my medievals!

Yes, that's right - reprinting, as in, available in print again. They are TEMPT ME WITH KISSES and ALL MY DESIRE. I don't have a firm release date, but hopefully in December. It's my understanding that the covers will be the same.



These are the second and third books in a trilogy. The first book, THE MAIDEN AND HER KNIGHT, is currently available in ebook form or used. As far as I'm aware, there are no plans to print it again. However, as with any of my series, I assumed that the readers of the later books wouldn't necessarily have read the ones preceding it, so you shouldn't feel lost if you haven't.

TEMPT ME WITH KISSES and ALL MY DESIRE are not currently available in digital form. There are plans to do that, but there are some details yet to be worked out.

I've noted how the stories are connected on my website.

As soon as I know more, you can bet I'll let you know!

(Just FYI, my newsletter subscribers heard about this first.)


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Goal revising - again

I've decided it would make more sense for me to use my computer word count for my daily goal for My Own NaNo.

For one thing, that's how publishers determine length these days.

For another, it was starting to feel like I was cheating if I was counting one paragraph at the top of a page as a full page. And I've changed fonts, so I was actually getting more done than I thought, which is a good thing. However, I think it would be better to have a more accurate sense of what I'm accomplishing on a daily basis. So word count it is!

That's the thing about doing My Own NaNo. I can change things as I go, if need be.

Something to note: This is a very lean draft, as my first drafts tend to be. I'm not worrying about description. I'm not concerned with much historical detail. I'm thinking primarily of the emotional arc of my characters. How their relationship is changing. How they're changing. How other people are impacting that relationship, and how they're changing, too. At this point, other plot elements are less important, so I'll leave them for later drafts.

And hooray! My story and characters are beginning to take on a life of their own. That means I no longer feel like I'm inching my way through a dark tunnel. There are shafts of light and parts where I can scamper. Yippee!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A word about words....

Today, a quick blog post about writing historicals and language. One of the things I try really hard to do is avoid obvious anachronisms, especially in dialogue. I vividly remember being ripped right out of a historical novel by an author's choice of the word "ego" in a story set in the Regency. That word was tecnically correct, as in, it was in use at that time, yet it struck me as too modern. I also thought that "pride" would have meant much the same in the context and would have been a lot less distracting.

Avoiding anachronisms isn't always possible when writing historicals, but I do try to avoid words that might yank the reader out of the world of the story. To give you an example from the book I'm writing now: I needed a word that meant "spoil" as in "You spoil that boy." I chose "indulge." Both are too modern for a medieval (well, so is most language my readers and I would understand!), but "indulge" sounds less anachronistic to me than "spoil," so indulge it is.

And now, back to it!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Doing Better Than I Thought....

When I started My Own NaNo, I set myself the goal of 12 pages a day. Realizing that was too ambitious after such a long break from writing, I switched to 8 pages.

The fact that I'm using page count instead of word count indicates I'm old school. When I started, novel length was determined by page count and average number of words per page. The standard formula was number of pages times 250 words, no matter if the page had extra space at the bottom or top or not (beginnings and ends of chapters, for instance). These days it's done by computer word count.

Now, I've been getting pages done, although I haven't always made my goal, and I certainly haven't filled every single page. I've also changed the font I used and the size.

Today I decided to do a comparison between the amount I've written based on the old formula vs. computer word count.

By traditional count: 77 pages x 250 words = 19,250 words
Computer word count: 25,966

Either way you look at it, I've written what could constitute a novella in one week - if I weren't aware that probably a third of it is going to wind up on the cutting room floor.

Nevertheless, I confess I'm pretty thrilled. If I'm aiming for an 85,000 word first draft, I'm nearly a third of the way there, and in one week. That means I could have this draft nearly competed in another two weeks.

Even I am having a hard time believing that.

On the other hand, and as tough as first draft is, there will be plenty more hard work revising and rewriting before I'd have something ready to submit.

But to quote Mr. Kennedy from Gone With The Wind, "I'm mighty encouraged."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Own NaNo - re-evaluating the goal

So I'm three days into My Own NaNo and have come to some conclusions:

1. My daily goal was too ambitious. I haven't been writing for several weeks, and that means the ol' writing muscles are out of shape. Twelve pages a day is just too many when I'm trying to get going again, so I'm changing my goal to a more manageable 8 pages.

This is why people say you should write every day - so the writing muscles don't get stiff. That said, I don't regret taking that time off. I needed it, so if I have to pay a price now, so be it.

2. Just when I thought I'd be free of major distractions, my son ran into some issues. Some writers are able to close out such distractions and concentrate on the writing. They even find it helps to focus on the work in tough times.

I am not of that ilk. I find it very difficult to concentrate on a job that requires so much creativity when I'm worried. And no, I cannot stop worrying if something is out of my control. I can certainly do things like revising, update my website or other administrative tasks, but writing a first draft? That's another story. So the first two days of My Own NaNo were kinda sunk before I started. Still, I did get more done than if I hadn't set myself a goal.

So what have I accomplished? I got 8 pages done on Day 1 and 7 pages on Day 2. So far today, the count is 7 pages. I may do more, I may not. Tomorrow I'm getting together with friends, so I may not get anything written.

Am I going to beat myself over missing a daily goal, or a few of them? Oh, heck no. By my own choice, I don't have an official deadline, so this goal is just for me, and it was never to get a first draft finished in a month. My main goal is simply to get back to the computer on a consistent basis.

Still, I'm hopeful I'll be more successful meeting my 8-page-a-day goal, especially since my son's issue was successfully straightened out yesterday.

Onward!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Own NaNo

I've come to a conclusion. I need some kind of external motivator to get a first draft of my current project finished before the Christmas festivities. Many people now know about National Novel Writing Month. It's even mentioned in the November issue of "O" magazine.

However, I've decided I can't wait for November to get going. So I'm going to start today, with what I'm dubbing "My Own NaNo" aka MONaNo. My goal will be 12 pages a day. However, I already have some obligations so I know I won't make that every day. Some days will be Five Page days. One or two will be Zero Page days. If we go to visit my son, there may very well be a Zero Page Week. But I'm okay with that. The point is to get up to speed and get the first draft written.

I'll be tweeting my daily page count (I'm WriterMargMoore on Twitter), and posting the results weekly on this blog.

In other news, my daughter has gotten engaged to a great guy and my front garden at the cottage has gone bananas in the unexpectedly warm weather.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The What and The How

I've decided to go back to school.

Well, it's a sort of do-it-yourself course. I'm working my way through WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Maass. Not that I think it'll mean sudden bestseller-dom, but because I've been a long time away from the computer, and I think I could use a "refresher course".

Maass is very good at telling you what makes a bestseller, although it eventually seems that it's more quotes from novels than actual concrete information. The reviewer on Amazon who mentions "valuable nuggets of advice" is right. However, the exercises are interesting and will, I'm fairly sure, prove to be valuable.

I did find one instance where it was easy to suggest a way to improve a story (more tension!) but no really clear direction on how to do it. For that, I went to my bookcase and pulled out BEYOND STYLE by Gary Provost. There I found not just the "what to do" but "how to do it."

So often an agent, or reviewer, or reader can say what needs to be done to improve a story, but it can take a writer to really tell you how to do it.

I've finished the Maass book, although not all the exercises because I need to write more of the actual novel first. Today, I start going through what I've already written. I suspect much of it is going to wind up "on the cutting room floor." That won't be the first time I've had to toss a lot to wind up with some valuable nuggets of my own.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Research: the hunt for more than facts

Many times I've heard people they wouldn't want to write a historical romance because of all the research. I gather they envision historical authors in the dim recesses of a library, or hunched over the computer, looking up obscure information like how to make medieval beer or the names of the parts of the inner workings of a mill just to be able to shoehorn that information into a story. And possibly because they don't have a life.

Well, yes, we generally do have a life. And I don't research just for the bare facts. I'm hunting potential plot complications, things that are going to cause trouble, tension and drama for my characters. And ways to make to my setting more vivid. And ways to make my character seem more real, more human, and "of their time".

For instance, I learned about medieval beer because I wanted a medieval heroine who was unusual for both the time and readers. So I made Mair, the heroine of A WARRIOR'S KISS an alewife, a self-employed brewer of beer. Not exactly a modern occupation, so right away she's of a different time. Instant complication ensued because the hero is a knight, so definitely of a different rank. The brewery made for an unusual and hopefully interesting setting. I found appropriate terms so readers would believe she knew what she was doing.

Here's how I used some of that research (slightly abridged):

"Mair...added more wood to the fire in the hearth of the small house...within the encircling walls of the brewery bequeathed to her by her father.
Other buildings thus enclosed included the malt house, the brewery proper, the storehouse and the stable where she kept her horse and wagon. Her business was a prosperous one, because she was very good at her work. And because it was so prosperous, Mair was beholden to no one, and dependent on no man, and she liked it that way."

Notice I don't stop to explain what a "malt house" is (boring and not necessary here). Notice I don't go into any details here about her father's death. It's implied that her father taught her how to make beer; I don't need to say so. The mention of the horse and wagon, as well as the implied size of her brewery, backs up the assertion that her business is prosperous, and so it becomes believable that she can be an independent woman in a medieval town.

Now, some people will say much of this is "telling, not showing." Yep. That's the way I roll sometimes. I didn't want to have a whole scene of, say, people talking about Mair and how good her beer is and what an independent woman she is, although one could certainly do that. And it might be better. But by doing it this way, I can keep the focus strictly on Mair, and not the people talking about her.

To use another example, the mill:
Once you learn the importance of the mill to a medieval town, you know a destroyed mill can be a major complication, and it's destruction can make for a dramatic scene. Such an incident became a key plot point in THE UNWILLING BRIDE.

"When the timbers were well ablaze, the wind picked up more sparks and sent them spinning in the air toward the mill and the sluice channeling the water from the leat to the wheel. The great wooden wheel itself and the main shaft of white oak were too wet to catch fire, but cinders blew into the wheel pit. There fire found more to feed on - tallow around the lantern gear, and the dry wood of the inner shaft and spindle.
Like capering children the flames raced up the spindle to the rap, the shoe and the hopper, onward to the floor above. The millstone casing caught fire. And the garners storing the grain to be ground. Eventually the entire inner workings of the mill, the beams and the floors were all aflame."

Again, I don't stop to explain what some of these things are, although it took me the better part of an afternoon to finally find the names for the interior working parts of a mill, like "spindle". So why do that research? Why bother? All the reader really needs to know is that the inside of the mill is burning. I bother because by using the proper terms, by showing how the fire spread, I hope to make the scene more dramatic and vivid and real. This fire isn't consuming some sort of movie set, but a building made of individual parts.

A scene like that then allows me to have a bit like this, describing the hero who's been helping fight the fire:

"He stood near the huge millstones that had fallen to the ground and cracked in two. His hands on his hips, he was black with soot from head to toe, his chest and arms and face streaked where the sweat had run down in rivulets.
He looked the way Vulcan might have, before he'd been thrown from Olympus - a powerful, dark god, and one burning with a righteous wrath she shared."

What have I got here? Well, we know the mill's in really bad shape from those cracked stones. We know the hero was very much involved in the physical activity of fighting the fire. We know he looks like a Greek god (hubba), and that he's furious - this is a man of powerful emotions. And we know that at this moment, the hero and heroine are in the same emotional place - a link in their relationship has been forged by this fire. (And lest you think I'm that much of an intellectual writer or one who plans these things out, I just got that notion of the link in their relationship forged by fire RIGHT NOW. The things one's subconscious does....)

So you see, I'm not doing all the research just for the bare facts. I'm hunting for ways to make my characters and my settings more vivid, more interesting, more dramatic. And when I find 'em? Oh baby, that's exciting!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back To Basics

During this past spring and summer of much work and excitement (including the recent discovery that the pipe to our house from the water main had become disconnected - hey, at least we didn't have to pay for that repair!), I have actually found myself saying, "I don't know how I ever found the time to write."

Well, summer is over and the cooler air has arrived - and hopefully less maintenance and no minor, time-sucking catastrophes.

More importantly, I finally feel ready to get back to writing after my long spring/summer break. Believe me, it's been a little weird not writing for several weeks after twenty years as a professional writer, but I needed the break for many reasons, so I have no regrets.

I do need to prime the pump, though, so I've decided to do some writing exercises with an eye to revising a project I was working on before my hiatus. Some exercises I'm doing are listed on my website here and some are from Donald Maass's Writing The Breakout Novel Workbook.

So far, I'm enjoying them and discovering lots of things to add and change and fix in my work-in-progress. Yeah!

Now if only I can lose the five pounds I put on eating too much junk, as well....

Thursday, September 08, 2011

He's baaaack....

Turns out I spoke prematurely. Shawshank is back, with a new bigger, better tunnel. Time to try the bright lights, to see if that makes him relocate.

And in other news, we apparently have a break in the join from the water main to our water line. Many guys, trucks, etc. out front as it gets fixed. Then we have to drain our water heater in case there's sand in it.

Not a good day to concentrate on anything except what's going on with the water pipes.

At least we have electricity. For now. Apparently thunderstorms are forecast for later today. This could be one doozy of a day.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Where have I been?

Egad, has it really been over a month since I last wrote a blog post? What the devil have I been up?

Well, not writing, I must confess. I've been busy with home and cottage maintenance and renovations.

After the Night of the Bat - when I discovered a bat flying around inside the cottage, much to my dismay - the fixing of the chimney moved up the List of Renovation Priority. There's a picture of the scaffold. You can also see the overgrown wisteria on the trellis on the deck, above the Giant Hosta. I spent hours cutting that wisteria back this summer, and some ivy, too.



We had already arranged to have work done on the foundation. One of the supports was rotting, and it was a little shaky in another. There's a few dollars, let me tell ya, but after watching all those home renovation shows, I've learned structure is too important to ignore.

Those workmen discovered a leaking pipe, so that meant a call to the plumber, as well. Who knows how long it might have been had they not? We have now instigated a "Check the Crawl Space At Least Twice a Year" policy.

New heating and cooling vents were added upstairs. Unfortunately, one of the workmen put his foot where he shouldn't, so I had some ceiling paint touch-ups added to the list.



I had some other paint touch-ups outside as well, on the railing of the sliding Door to Nowhere (that's it beside the chimney on the second floor). That was a treat (not). As those of you with bi-focals can attest, when working at something above eye level, you have to lean your head back to see up close. This is not fun to do when one is on the highest step of a step-ladder.

I've also had to clean up the back garden at the cottage, which got left until this week because of the many mosquitoes in residence.

Back in the city for a week, I had to deal with the back garden there, which meant a lot of pruning. Oh, and they tore up our street for repaving, which meant removing and replacing our driveway paving stones. That wasn't done quite properly, necessitating a call to the city and an inspector's visit.

I've also been keeping track of Shawshank, the skunk living under our shed. Or at least something was, and we're assuming, based on the evidence of our nostrils, that it was a skunk. Last time I put a wee barrier of twigs and leaves (easily moved) over the hole, it was undisturbed. On the other hand, the folks next door - my folks, in fact - have been having incursions under their shed, so I fear Shawshank (and/or children of Shawshank) may simply have moved next door.



As you can see, despite my efforts, the skunk burrowed beneath the shed. Hence the name "Shawshank."

Has it been all work and no play here in the Land That Time Forgot? No. I've been doing lots of reading and I now have an awesome sea glass collection, thanks to many walks along the beach.



What does one do with all that? At a local arts fair, an artist had made mosaics from sea glass. I have the materials here, including frame, but haven't found the time to get to that. Just like my manuscript.

However, now that the cooler weather is here and once my garden is finally cleaned up, I'll be getting back to writing.

Or at least, that's the plan.

Or maybe I'll wind up taking a little bit of a break from gardening, etc. and have a nap.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Now at eHarlequin!

After a bit of a wait, all of my older titles that Harlequin has recently reissued (see blog post below) are now available at eHarlequin. Here's a link to the list of my books available in digital format at eHarlequin.

You can save an extra 10% with code SAVE10EHQN at checkout.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

They're Baaaack!

I'm delighted to announce that Harlequin has made several of my older books available again in digital format, including many of my Warrior Series. Also now available are all three books of my Victorian "Most Unsuitable Men" Series.

I've been busy adding excerpts for those books to my site, as well.

The books from my Warrior Series now available are:


THE NORMAN'S HEART

Read An Excerpt

I've had two heroes who leapt into my mind virtually fully formed, which made their books a joy to write. Roger de Montmorency was one of them. The other was the hero of THE OVERLORD'S BRIDE", also a Warrior book available now in digital.






THE BARON'S QUEST

Read An Excerpt

I don't know how many people are familiar with the TV series The Highlander, but they did an episode about a romance writer. Imagine my surprise when I realized they had used this cover for her novel, although they gave the hero longer hair on the TV show.






A WARRIOR'S BRIDE

Read An Excerpt

I confess I usually remember my heroes better than my heroines. However, I'll also confess that the bold, tom-boyish Aileas is one of my personal favorites.






A WARRIOR'S HONOR

Read An Excerpt

The hero of this book is the brother of the heroine of THE BARON'S QUEST.








A WARRIOR'S PASSION

Read An Excerpt

This is the first book featuring the second generation of DeLanyeas, the children of the hero and heroine of my very first book and the start of the Warrior Series, A WARRIOR'S HEART.







THE WELSHMAN'S BRIDE

Read An Excerpt

Another book featuring the second generation of DeLanyeas.







Here are the books now available in my "Most Unsuitable Men" series, set in Victorian England:


THE WASTREL

Read An Excerpt














THE DARK DUKE

Read An Excerpt














THE ROGUE'S RETURN

Read An Excerpt












Mine aren't the only books Harlequin has reissued in digital lately. On July 15, they released many other titles from the nineties - 2500 titles altogether, or so I understand. While I appreciate not everyone has an ereader, I'm very grateful Harlequin has gone to the time and trouble of reissuing these older titles in the new format. Otherwise, my older books would only be available as used books.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

More Excerpts Posted!

I've been busy adding new excerpts to my website for books that are now available in digital format.

Now up on my site are excerpts from my Restoration Series from Avon Books.

The first book is A SCOUNDREL'S KISS.



Read the excerpt.


Order







The second book is A ROGUE'S EMBRACE.



Read the excerpt.


Order







The final book in the series is HIS FORBIDDEN KISS.


Read the excerpt.



Order




Happy Canada Day and Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Books and Bats


But first, when I spoke about having visitors to the cottage, I did not include bats! So when one showed up, flying around upstairs, I, to be honest, completely and utterly lost it. It didn't help that it was just me and the cats, my husband being in Prague on business. Or that it was after 10 p.m. I finally found somebody to come out and catch and release the creature. It wasn't cheap, but it was worth it, because the wonderful Marcel also checked the attic to make sure there wasn't a colony (!!) inside the house. Unfortunately, though, that means the how and why of the Lone Bat's arrival remains a mystery. Here's hoping it was just a fluke, because that's one experience I really don't care to repeat.

In other, more happily exiting news, Harlequin has reissued the fifth and final book in my medieval Brothers-in-Arms series, HERS TO DESIRE. I'm thrilled not just because it means the entire series is now available, but also because I really like the couple in this book. Of all my heroines, "little Lady Bea" is probably the one most like me. She talks a lot. :-)

And there's more to come! Harlequin is making even more of my (and other author's) backlists available in digital format. I'm working away on excerpts for those titles - and I do mean work. My new computer can't read my old diskettes (remember them?), so it means I have to type in the whole excerpt. Nevertheless, it's a labor of love, because I'm delighted that those books will be available again. I'll be posting an announcement in my newsletter, tweeting and of course blogging when the books and excerpts are ready, about the middle of next month.



In the meantime, let's hope I'm not distracted by more unwelcome intruders!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Back to the Beach

I'm heading back to the Land That Time Forgot, where the beach is warm and the internet is dial-up. This time, I have no large projects, like painting walls. Just a few small ones that I hope to blog about. And this time, I'll have the cats to keep me company, at least at first, with family and friends to join me as time goes on.

Here's hoping for a warm, wonderful, happy summer for us all!


Monday, June 06, 2011

Going for the gold for 36 years and counting....

When I was going to high school, my friends and I would play euchre at lunch. The year after we graduated, our friend David hosted what was modestly called the Euchre Championship of the Entire World. The tournament began Friday night, continued most of Saturday (with dancing) and concluded on Sunday.

Every year since then, for an amazing thirty-six years, our group of friends has had an annual euchre party. David hosted for the first ten years. Since then, the hosting duties have rotated. Spouses and significant others have joined the ranks. Children have been born and nursed while mom played cards; the kids have grown up and moved out. The length of the event has shrunk from an all-weekend affair to Saturday noon to approximately 11 p.m. The medals have gotten fancier, and our skills a little rustier.

It has been and continues to be, one of the highlights of my year.

This year, after a looooong drought, through a combination of my partner's skill and good luck, I was able to take home a gold medal. It was an exciting conclusion to a wonderful day of fun and friendship.

Here's my medal. Ain't it purty??



Anybody else have an annual get-together with high school friends?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Flora and Fauna and Paint, oh my!

I'm back from the Land that Time Forgot. Like other parts of southern Ontario, it's had a cold, wet spring but summer has finally arrived! And my wisteria is blooming! Isn't it lovely?



We've also had visits from the local bunny couple. Here they are, and they let me get pretty close (although I was up on the deck).



One unfortunate thing about the cottage is lack of internet access. I only have dial-up at present, so it means not a lot of time to blog and as for Twitter, forget it. Just won't work.

I do have plenty of other things to do. I went down with great plans to paint some walls and also do some writing. Oh, the gods laughed! And laughed and laughed and laughed. Have you ever painted paneling? It is one tough job and not just because it's not a smooth surface. For one thing, I needed two coats of primer. I did two top coats on the smaller room, but only did one top coat in the largest room. I did use better paint for the single top coat, though, and frankly, if I'd had to do two, I think I would have given up at the primer stage. I don't remember when I've ever been more physically tired! Now that it's all done, it looks good, but oh, baby, what a job!

In other news, my son's coming home for a short visit next week!!!! We've been watching that new show, The Killing, on A & E and every time it shows a long shot of downtown Seattle, we shout out a hello to him.

Why, yes, I'm sure he can hear us. Why do you ask? ;-)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Couldn't wait...


Harlequin has reissued some of my older books in ebook format (yeah!) and I realized I didn't have excerpts from them on my website. I decided to correct that. However, since I'd saved the manuscripts on those quaint devices known as "diskettes" that my new computer couldn't read, I had to type them all in. I've also been updating other web pages.

I was going to wait and announce when all was done, but I just can't wait to let folks know about the new excerpt to one of my personal favorites, THE OVERLORD'S BRIDE. The hero of this book was incredibly vivid to me, and so was the heroine. Trust me, that's not the case with every book. Some characters have to be grown, bit by bit. Sometimes, albeit rarely, they leap into my imagination fully formed.

Such was the case with Raymond D'Estienne, although to me is forever and always "the Voice." The excerpt will give you a clue why.

So, with no further ado, here ya go!


Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Necessary Break

I have to take a break from blogging for a while. I've given myself a "classic" rotator cuff injury and my wrist is also starting to protest if I'm at the computer too long.

Until later, then, and in the meantime, I hope everyone has a great summer, full of lazy days and lots of reading!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Mother's Day - always learning

Happy Mother's Day! Best wishes and good luck to all mothers out there as we continue learning how to parent, even when our children have grown up and left home.

Or at least I am. I recently discovered I've been making a huge mistake. While I felt terrible when the problem was brought to my attention, I'm very glad it was. I've seen what resentment can do to a parent/child relationship, and it is one bitter poison. I would rather feel lousy today than realize months or years later that this issue had been festering, and I was too blind or caught up on my own drama to see it.

So, lesson learned, and I'm sure there'll be more, even though I've been a mother for nearly thirty years.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Back to the Shore

I'm just back from two weeks at the cottage. And let me tell ya, it was a pretty cold, damp time. Nevertheless, I managed to get some painting done (of walls) and various other small projects.

I did go for walks, although most of the time, it was windy, cold and wet. How windy? Here's a video I took at the beach.

video


This is what the shore looks like most of the time. It's hard to tell from the video, but the waves were coming right up to the grass at the left.




Yep, it was windy, all right!

Monday, April 25, 2011

More About Moore

I'm interviewed at Get Lost In A Story today. They asked some really interesting questions, so come on by. Feel free to ask more questions, too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's with all the lawyers?


Readers familiar with my non-medieval books may have noticed that I've written a few books with lawyers for heroes, including Gordon McHeath in my latest release, HIGHLAND HEIRESS. I've had two solicitor heroes (Gordon and Robert Harding, of HIS FORBIDDEN KISS) and one barrister, Sir Douglas Drury of A LOVER'S KISS. (Unlike American attorneys, British lawyers fall into two categories: barristers and solicitors.)

As far as I'm aware, not too many other historical romance authors have legal eagles for heroes. Why do I?

Blame Perry Mason. I used to watch those shows when I was a very young, obviously impressionable child.

In fact, at one time, I thought about pursuing a career in the law, to the point of taking the LSAT. I'll never forget how some of the candidates paced the hall before going in, as if their entire lives depended on that test.

Me, not so much, so obviously not being a lawyer wasn't going to be a heart-breaker. Later I realized I could be so calm about it because being a stay-at-home mom was much more important to me, and I would have found it difficult to leave or take a hiatus from a legal career after all the work and effort necessary to succeed in that field.

Writing about lawyers, though, lets me play lawyer a little, and - even better - without the work and stress.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why I've Been AWOL

As I've mentioned, my son has moved to Seattle. However, he has a house to sell here, so while he's been working in Seattle, his wife and I have spent hours cleaning, painting and staging it to sell. It was hard work, but I enjoyed it, in part because unlike, say, writing, when you're done a project like that, you know you're done. I'm rarely sure I'm "done" with a writing project.

A couple of observations from my recent home decorating/prepping experience:

On the advice of the realtor, Bride wanted to paint the kitchen cupboards. I confess I was sceptical. I thought it would be a huge task and might turn out looking, well, like a couple of amateurs had done it. But they turned out great, in no small part, I'm sure, because of the paint Bride chose - Behr's Paint and Primer in One. It went on really well and there was absolutely no odor! When you're doing twenty-three (!!) cupboard doors, plus trim, those two qualities make a huge difference.

I discovered a great product for cleaning hardwood floors - Eco Mist Hardwood and Laminate Floor Cleaner. It's unscented, non-toxic, non-allergenic, and made with plant-based ingredients. And it, too, worked like a dream.

My cleaning lady (believe me, I know how fortunate I am to have this luxury) gave me a secret weapon - a product to clean chrome and porcelain she uses that she gets at a janitorial supply store. It made the bathrooms sparkle.

Best of all, our hard work paid off. The realtor, bless his heart, came by on one of the first cleaning days. You know how your bedroom looks when you decide to clean out your closet and you start by taking everything out? That's what the house looked like, because Bride was also de-cluttering. He didn't say anything, but I gather the look on his face said, "Bride thinks this is going to be ready in four days????"

However, when he arrived after we had finished, he was apparently rendered speechless. We got everything done and then some (Bride had even restained the grout in the kitchen). Never estimate the power of two determined women!

I only wish we had before-and-after pictures, but alas, we didn't think to take any. We were too busy working!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Twenty Years since "The Call"

Twenty years ago today, I received the phone call that would change my life. I'd been helping in my daughter's kindergarten class that afternoon. At four o'clock, the phone rang. I picked it up and heard "This is Tracy Farrell from Harlequin Historicals. We love your book and we want to buy it."

I did not scream. I tried to sound professional, although fire works were exploding in my brain and I'm sure my voice was both higher pitched and louder than normal. I don't remember what I said.

I do remember phoning my husband at work and giving him the news. His answer was "Holy expletive!" Given that he doesn't usually use words of the expletive nature, this suggested a level of excitement on par with my own.

So it was that my life changed - but not only my life. My daughter who was in kindergarten that day? She now works in publishing, helping to decide who's going to get a call that will change his or her life.

And yes, that boggles my mind. :-)



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why Jane endures

I saw the latest movie version of Jane Eyre on the weekend. It was okay but I prefer the version with George C. Scott, because I think he's a good Rochester. The new Rochester is a little too pretty. On the other hand, nobody would ever call Susannah York unattractive, and she was a bit long in the tooth to play Jane opposite Scott.

It's been noted that Jane Eyre's been filmed and remade many times, because it's a true classic. Why? Here's my take on what elevates Jane Eyre above a simple gothic romance - and also where too many versions miss the boat.

In the scene where Jane tells Rochester she needs to find a new job because he's getting married, Rochester realizes she's upset because she's fallen in love with him. Nevertheless, he lets her twist in the wind for what seems a cruelly long time before, basically, telling her he's going to marry her. At this point, as happy as Jane may be, Rochester is very much in the power position.

But the story doesn't end there. Jane flees, inherits money and returns to find that Rochester's home is in ruins and he's disabled. She doesn't care about his state; she's still passionately in love with him, and it's immediately clear he's still distraught over losing her. Yet notice that not only does Jane not pity him, she lets him twist in the wind for a while, just as he did her. In one way, this is showing him that she doesn't pity him; to her, he's the same as he ever was. But in another way, this shows that Jane's much more his equal now. This is, to me, the reason Jane Eyre is a classic. It's about a heroine who finds love and becomes an equal to the hero.

There's one other character who's key to Jane Eyre, though, and it's one that most film versions get wrong. St. John Rivers is supposed to be very handsome - movie idol handsome, in a way Rochester is not. And he's a minister - quite the catch for a Victorian woman without home or family. However, he's also got a huge martyr complex and sense of self-righteousness that stands in contrast to Jane's steadfast, but quiet, determination to do what is right. Think about what St. John Rivers would have said to Rochester if he'd been at the ruined wedding, and you see the difference between Jane and the future missionary. She's quietly firm, but forgiving. St. John? Oh, baby! I can just imagine him denouncing Rochester as Satan's minion and calling for the wrath of God to descend upon him.

Note, also, the difference in the men's reactions to Jane's strength of purpose when she rejects them. Rochester is distraught and does his best to change her mind through persuasion. St. John reacts as if she's stupid for not agreeing to marry him - poving exactly why she shouldn't. One man is a hero, the other is not.

Charlotte Bronte apparently didn't think much of Jane Austen's work - she wondered where the passion was. Fair enough - Austen tends to pull back from the major emotional moments between the hero and heroine. On the other hand, Austen would probably say Jane Eyre was "over the top" and too melodramatic. But I think Austen did create a character that was, in some ways, very much like Jane Eyre - the much-maligned Fanny Price in Mansfield Park. Fanny stands quietly firm in her decision not to marry a man everyone agrees would be a brilliant match for her, much like St. John could be seen to be a brilliant match for Jane Eyre. Fanny may be physically weak, as Jane is "little", but she, too, has an inner strength that doesn't yield. That's why Fanny, like Jane, is a heroine.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Keeping The Dog Dry

Son o' Mine has moved to Seattle where, as you may know, they get a lot of rain. Unfortunately, Son's pooch is not enamored of the rain, so I've made Bud a raincoat. Well, two, actually, because the fabric was wide and on sale. Hope blue's his color!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Frugal Bathroom Redo - Before, Part Two

In my previous blog post, I talked about what wasn't going to change as I redecorate the bathroom. Today I'm going to talk about what is changing.

We aren't changing the sink, but I do want to get a more vintage look for the handles. Here's what we have:



I want "cross handles" like this and I discovered that I can order a set of just the handles at Lowe's. Everywhere else I went, I was going to have to order the faucet, too, which makes switching a much more costly proposition.

To the left of the sink is the toilet, and above the toilet are a towel rack and shelf. The sides of the towel rack have yellowed, so I've purchased a new chrome towel rack. I bought the least expensive, reasoning that it will be covered by towels most of the time and I liked the sides of it as much as the more expensive ones.



This shelf was originally in my daughter's room, and this is the way it came from Ikea. When she moved out, I moved it to the bathroom. I found some leftover white furniture paint, so was planning to paint it and put it back. However, when I removed it, I was struck by how much roomier that part of the bathroom seemed, so now I'm thinking it may be destined for the cottage instead.



Currently, the linen closet door is a plain bi-fold. We bought a French door at the local Habitat for Humanity Restore, picked up the hardware at the local hardware store and the painters are going to hang it for us (and paint it). I have some leftover vinyl covering you put on like wallpaper that will make the glass look frosted. The porcelain door knob was $3 at the Restore.



Which brings me to the new shower curtain. I planned to make a fabric one, as I had a pretty specific idea of what I wanted - white background, with a not-too-bold black and red pattern. After a trip to the fabric store didn't yield anything suitable, I remembered some fabric I've had in the cupboard for years. Yes, it would work, but there was one problem. I wanted the curtain to reach to the floor because I think it looks better and also because the front panel of the Jacuzzi tub has yellowed a bit on the end that gets the most sun. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough fabric. But lo! I had purchased a remnant of plain white fabric of the same type and weight that would add the necessary length. I also needed something for the top edge that would give the fabric the necessary stiffness. I had some leftover heading tape for making pleated curtains that worked perfectly. So total cost of new materials for the shower curtain? Zero.

(But thus I may have given hoarders evidence that "I can use that someday" may indeed be a valid excuse to keep unused/extra materials for years.)



The painters are coming at the start of April. I'll update the progress of the Frugal Bathroom Redo sometime after that.

In the meantime, I've discovered my April book, HIGHLAND HEIRESS is going to be out in India!