Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday Alexandre Dumas and Mary Balogh

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“I have always had more dread of a pen, a bottle of ink, and a sheet of paper than of a sword or pistol.”
― Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Historical romance quote

“If there were no illusions, there would bo no disillusionment. But then one would have no fond memories either, with which fortify oneself against the pain of the reality.”
― Mary Balogh, No Man's Mistress

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday Isaac Asimov and Lynsay Sands

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist.”
― Isaac Asimov

Historical romance quote

“Husband?" Averill's voice was growing shrill with worry as she asked, "Have you swooned?"
I'm a warrior, wife. Warriors do no' swoon," Kade growled, forcing away the faintness trying to lay claim to him.
Oh," she said, sounding doubtful. "It's just that your eyes were closed."
I was resting them," he snapped.
I see," she murmured, and for some reason that irritated the hell out of him.”
― Lynsay Sands, The Hellion and the Highlander 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday George Gordon (Lord Byron) and Cecilia Grant

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“If I do not write to empty my mind, I go mad.”
― George Gordon Byron

Historical romance quote

“I've never asked you to give the least considerations to my feelings."
He could picture her holding the word with fingertips at arm's length, like a scullery maid disposing of a dead rat.”
― Cecilia Grant, A Gentleman Undone

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday John Green and Charlotte Featherstone

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote (this one is for the Nerdfighters among us)

“The funny thing about writing is that whether you're doing well or doing it poorly, it looks the exact same. That's actually one of the main ways that writing is different from ballet dancing.”
― John Green

Historical romance quote

 I’ll come back to you,” he whispered, not meaning to say it out loud. “And I will ravish you over breakfast, and I will never leave you alone another night of my life.”
― Charlotte Featherstone, Pride & Passion

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday Ann Patchett and Meredith Duran

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“Writing is a job, a talent, but it's also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.”
― Ann Patchett, Truth and Beauty

Historical romance quote

“Manners come down to a single principle, talk of nothing that might actually prove interesting.”
― Meredith Duran, A Lady's Lesson in Scandal 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Weekend Quotes - Abigail Adams and Stephanie Laurens

Weekend Quotes
Writing quote

“My bursting heart must find vent at my pen.”
― Abigail Adams

Historical romance quote

"Love wasn't a happening one decided on--to indulge or not, to partake or not. To feel or not. When it came, when it struck, the only decision left to make was how to respond--whether you embraced it, took it in, and made it a part of you, or whether you turned your back and let it die.”
― Stephanie Laurens, The Truth About Love 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Is your computer dirty? (Hey, stop thinking naughty thoughts.)

Learn how to clean your laptop and keyboard. Really, it will extend the life of your computer by quite a bit.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Weekend Quotes Harper Lee and Lisa DiPasqua

Weekend Quotes
Writing quote

“Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself...It's a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.”
― Harper Lee

Historical romance quote

 "Don't let it swell your arrogant head. I was young. And I erred in the name. I shouldn't have called you "the Dark Prince.' 'The Prince of Darkness' suits you better."
 ―Lisa DiPasqua, A Midnight Dance

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Breaking for RWA Nationals 2013

I won't be blogging or vlogging this week because of the convention. I'll see you this weekend with a new set of quotes and next week with blogs and vlogs. Until then, happy writing and reading.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Weekend Quotes Eudora Welty and Gaelen Foley

Weekend Quotes
Writing quote

"...writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.”
― Eudora Welty, On Writing

Historical romance quote

(Max) "...Do me a favor, if the constable comes knocking, tell him I was here all morning, will you?"
(Dodsley)"Killed someone again, did we?"
(Max) "Never before luncheon, Dodsley. It's still early yet.”
― Gaelen Foley, My Wicked Marquess 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Weekend Quotes - C.S. Lewis and Maya Rodale

Weekend Quotes
Writing quote

"I never exactly made a book. It's rather like taking dictation. I was given things to say. ”
― C.S. Lewis

Historical romance quote

"I take it back. You're not stupid. But damn, you are insane.”
― Maya Rodale, Seducing Mr. Knightly

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Villain for Every Story - Mr. Wickham

I've spoken about some of the heroes, now let's discuss what I love about some of the Austin villains and how they have inspired my writing. Mr. Wickham is a pretty clear cut villain, but realistic as well.

Why Mr. Wickham is on my list of great villains?

He is a reasonable, attractive, and charming man who knows he must marry to better himself. Still, the methods he is willing to use make him a perfect villain. He breaks the heart of one young girl because he won't get her money. He tries to impress the women around him, but when he isn't able to quickly draw in a woman with money, he moves to seducing a young and innocent girl with a flirtatious nature. It's a despicable thing to do. Even more despicable is, he refuses to marry her (which will ruin the entire family) unless he receives money. Now that is a villain.

My villains are a little like Mr. Wickham. They are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their ends--even when that is beyond the realm of decency. One of my villains in particular is progressively more villainous as the story goes along. This is how I imagine Wickham would have been, had they not paid him to marry Lydia. He would have continued to do worse and worse things until he degenerated into a criminal. That is what greed can do.

Who is your favorite villain and why?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Weekend Quotes Natalie Goldberg and William Goldman

Weekend Quotes
Writing quote

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”
― Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Historical romance (sort of) quote

 “Love is many things none of them logical.”
― William Goldman, The Princess Bride 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Convention Prep - Getting Ready for Nationals

Check out this video to see how to save time getting ready for a writers convention.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Weekend Quotes - William Wordsworth and Isobel Carr

Weekend Quotes
Writing quote

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
― William Wordsworth

Historical romance quote

(Devere)  “If good, honest lust is not enough, I could make you fall in love with me.”
“And I could make you wish you were dead,” Livy ground out from between clenched teeth.
― Isobel Carr, Ripe for Seduction

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Writing Dialects

Want to write dialects, but not sure you can. Watch this video for help.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

1837 Friedrich von Amerling -
Rudolf von Arthaber with his Children



Happy Father's Day!

To all the men out there that are heroes not only to their wives, but to their kids as well.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Weekend Quotes - Dr. Seuss and Sabrina Jeffries

Weekend Quotes
Writing quote

"The writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore
for the reader who reads."
― Dr. Seuss

Historical romance quote

"Angels didn't sit on the lap of wicked scoundrels-not unless they were the fallen kind.”
― Sabrina Jeffries, The Truth About Lord Stoneville

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Showing Emotion - Buffy The Vampire Slayer

How can Buffy the Vampire Slayer teach us about showing emotion?
Watch the video to find out.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Blogging and an announcement

Hi everyone. I wanted to let you all know that I'm blogging over at Ladyscribes today. I hope you will come and visit with me as I discuss life, romance, and children.
Also, stay tuned for tomorrow. I've got a fun little announcement to make and I hope you'll join me for it.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday Carl Sagan and Shana Galen

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

"Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.”
― Carl Sagan

Historical romance quote

"How could his breath on her skin feel so good? And wouldn't he find her utterly ridiculous if she were to ask him to simply breathe all over her?"
 ― Shana Galen, Lord and Lady Spy

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday Thomas Jefferson and Samantha Grace

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
― Thomas Jefferson

Historical romance quote

“He had become the proper gentleman she’d sought all along, except, drat it, she liked the scoundrel he had been and mistrusted his newly acquired manners.”
 ―Samantha Grace, Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday Julia Quinn and Erin Knightley

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“You always get more respect when you don't have a happy ending.”
― Julia Quinn

Historical romance quote

 True love is a rare and precious thing- don't let anything stand in its way.
 ―Erin Knightley, A Taste for Scandal

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Boy, have I been missing

I'm sorry for being MIA. I just realized I hadn't been around with a substantial blog for a while. (insert chirping crickets here.)
I've been busy with a novel, a potty training two-year-old, a family visit, and a final check over for a requested manuscript. Fear not, gentle reader, I'll be back with a new blog idea in a week or so. I'm going to try to do one subject focused on writers and one focused on readers, with both being focused on fun. I might also have a wildcard. We'll see how we go. Look forward to future blogs. Hopefully they will be fun.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday Joseph Conrad and Sherry Thomas

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

"My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see.”
― Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

Historical romance quote

 Her Leo, so bright, so beautiful. And in the end, so catastrophically flawed. ― Sherry Thomas, Not Quite a usband

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday Franz Kafka and Julia Quinn

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.”
― Franz Kafka

Historical romance quote

 “To say that men can be bullheaded would be insulting to the bull.”
― Julia Quinn, The Duke And I

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday Eleanor Roosevelt and Sally MacKenzie

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell the truth without humiliating himself.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

Historical romance quote
"Frankly, I hope to see you and Ned married this summer."

Ellie Choked--and made the unpleasant discovery that it was possible to snort tea out of one's nose.  
―Sally MacKenzie, Bedding Lord Ned

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday F. Scott Fitzgerald and Julie Anne Long

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

"Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

Historical romance quote

"Mmm. Use more words like that, please. Schoolmistress words. Long, impressive ones." He'd made the last three words sound like an innuendo.
― Julie Anne Long, How the Marquess Was Won

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday Jack London and Karen Hawkins

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote
“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
― Jack London
Historical romance quote

 “I wish we hadn’t kissed at all,” he snapped.
“So do I, but we can’t unkiss, so we must deal with it as best as we can.”
― Karen Hawkins, The Taming of a Scottish Princess

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday James Michener and Lauren Willig

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”
― James A. Michener

Historical romance quote

 “Tell them I have the headache--no, the plague! I need something nice and contagious.”
― Lauren Willig, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday Stephen King and Tessa Dare

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them -- words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”
― Stephen King, Different Seasons

Historical romance quote

 “Your breasts are alabaster orbs.' "What?" Rufus objected. "That's stupid. I'm not saying that."
"Do you have some better suggestion?"
"Why can't you just say she's got a fair set of titties?”
― Tessa Dare, A Night to Surrender

Monday, April 1, 2013

Finalist in the Utah RWA Great Beginnings Contest

Exciting news . . . I'm a finalist in the Utah RWA Great Beginnings contest! I'm trying to lose the baby weight from having my daughter. She is 2, so I figure I can't really call it "baby weight" much longer. ;)
Anyhow, I got the call while I was out running, which I was a little sad about because I've always wanted to get a call rather than an email, but I was so excited when I checked my voicemail this morning. I should find out where I placed at the end of April.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday - Joss Whedon and Sophie Jordan

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of. ”
― Joss Whedon

Historical romance quote

 Convinced he slept, she whispered, "You should have been my first." A small ache pinched her heart.
His chest vibrated beneath her hand, sending a thrilling shiver up her spine as his deep voice rumbled through the air, "I'll be your last.”
― Sophie Jordan, One Night With You

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Night of the Hunter - how to create mood

I thought it might be fun to study a few movies, starring with one of my all time favorites, Night of the Hunter. (One of the greatest movies where Robert Mitchum is a bad guy, and what a bad guy he is.)

I'm going to try not to give too much away, in case you want to view the movie, but I'll give you the IMDB description:

A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

The director, Charles Laughton, is amazing, as are the writers, Davis Grubb and James Agee. They use so many different things to bring across the emotion of each scene, and none are expected. This is a great thing for writers/screenwriters to do. (For example, instead of having a character cry when discovering the death of a loved one, have them laugh, beg, or talk about something important to them or the deceased person.)

Most writers know an important element to conveying emotion is:


The director's brilliant use of contrasts creates an eerie mood that every writer should appreciate. Contrasts can heighten drama. The use of light and shadow gives the movie a dreary and creepy quality. The director uses unusual angles to give the viewer a sense of things being wrong or unnatural, like the scene pictured above. He also uses the angles and the lighting behind the headboard as a twisted sort of religious imagery.
Another scene, features a cobweb in front of the boat holding the two children as they run for their lives. Which is a great example of the movie's:


Instead of the old stand by of a clock or calendar, these men chose a shot of a turtle to show the slow passing of time during their flight. And frightened rabits are used to suggest the children's fear. Probably my favorite symbol would be the preacher's switchblade knife, which pops out of his pocket whenever he feels unwanted desire.

The first half of the movie becomes more and more claustrophobic as use of light and shadow, as well as the size of the house, makes the children's world feel smaller and smaller. This is part of the wonderful:

Sensory detail

The story, while by no means a musical, does have a lot of music in it. The songs convey all we've talked about so far. The little girl sings a song as they run about a fly who flew away, and his wife flew away, and his two pretty children flew away. The symbolism of death and loss is written all over that song, from the words and melody to the scenery (as seen above.)
Then there's the contrast of the scene where the evil preacher sings, "Leaning, leaning," and the good lady sings along, "Lean on Jesus, lean on Jesus, " and then they go on to sing together, "safe and secure from all harm." The creators add little sensory details to capture our attention and make us feel emotions we might not normally feel. They keep us uncomfortable and unsure by their choice of music, ambient sound, interesting shapes and angles as well as suggestive scenes, like the dead woman whose hair waves in the water like the weeds (below). Long scenes pass where little action happens, yet the viewer is never bored because of the eerie details.

From something as obvious as the flaming torches suggesting an evil firebrand preacher, to something as small as how the son's hairstyle denotes his feelings toward his father and the secret he must keep, these little details make up the feeling of each scene and keep the viewer riveted throughout.
As writers we can all take something away from this movie. The details are everything. No matter how small a detail, it can convey meaning to the reader/viewer.

And I'll leave you with the final way this movie can help you enhance your story, with:

Clever and witty quotes

Icey Spoon: (thoughts on sex) When you've been married to a man for forty years you know all that  don't amount to a hill of beans. I've been married to Walt that long and I swear in all that time I just lie there thinkin' about my canning.
Ben Harper: What religion do you profess, preacher?
Reverend Powell: The religion the Almighty and me worked out betwixt us.

Rachel Cooper: I'm a strong tree with branches for many birds. I'm good for something in this world and I know it too.

Rachel Cooper: She'll be losing her mind to a tricky mouth and a full moon, and like as not, I'll be saddled with the consequences.

Rachel Cooper: (After watching an owl carry off a rabbit) It's a hard world for the little things.

That last fabulous line is repeated (in homage, I assume) in Raising Arizona--which is a great movie to study for comedic timing.
I hope you enjoyed my study of this movie, and I'd suggest you rent it, if you haven't seen it. It's a great film.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday - Kurt Vonnegut and Caroline Linden

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

"Do not use semicolons . . . All they do is show you've been to college.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Historical romance quote

 “My intentions . . .” His slow smile acted like a torch held to her skin. She felt prickly with heat and yet transfixed by the glowing allure of it. “I intend to have you, Maggie, in every way a man can have a woman. I want your hand in mine while we dance. I want you laughing beside me in the theater. I want you lying naked in my arms at night. And I want you standing beside me in church, saying ‘I will.’ ”
― Caroline Linden, I Love the Earl

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Young Man's Fancy - Character Development

It's been a while since I've posted a personal writing post, so I figured now was a good time. I also wanted to discuss what we can learn from the movies, so I'm going to spend a few posts discussing what I've learned from television and movies I've watched recently.

I occasionally watch a show with my husband called Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). It's a funny show that riffs old movies and shorts (you know, the kind shown in health class.) While watching a short lately (called A Young Man's Fancy) I decided to look up a slang term used by the mother. When I did, I realized there was more to the short than the MST3K episode showed. I'd like to share what this episode taught me about writing characters and how one little action or scene can change your outlook on the characters.

  • The MST3K version
The story is about a young girl, Judy, who is boy crazy. When her brother brings home a college buddy, Alexander Phipps, who is "Serious and studious minded," she isn't interested. But when he shows up with dimples and a strong jaw, all that changes. She's gaga for him. She tries to invite him swimming and uses all her teen wiles to tempt him, but he has a mushroom seminar to attend. Then her mother comes up with the idea Judy should make him dinner, which will, of course, make him fall in love with her and forget all about the seminar.
Judy tricks Alex into coming in to talk to her about electrical devices and time theory while they wait for dinner. After the fine meal, Alex can think of nothing more than going out dancing with Judy.

It's a sweet, though sexist and electrical-device-focused, little love story. Because she likes him so much, when she gets him, we're cheering.

  • The original
When watching the original, there are two short added scenes. Right after she tries to tempt him to swim, there's a scene where she's in the living room with Alex, and she asks him to put on some music. She's ready to dance, but he puts on Beethoven. Our dear Judy is naturally disappointed, and makes a square with her fingers, then sits with a magazine and slaps at the pages, rolling her eyes and saying, "Oh, this is my favorite song."
Alex laughs, then we go to a scene where she's asking her mother if she can go to a dance with another boy because Alex is an intellectual bore. Since Judy has already agreed to go to the mushroom seminar with Alex, her mother says she has to go to the seminar. Then we go to a scene where Judy is visiting a friend and talking about how much of a loser Alex is while they do laundry, and this leads into the scene about her mother having the idea for Judy to make him dinner.

With the new scenes, the feel of the character is entirely changed. Instead of rooting for Judy while Alex talks to her about the electric devices, the audience is imagining her boredom. And at the end, when he chooses to forget the lecture to go dancing with her, it seems less like he is choosing her than that he's just changing the venue. It seems like less of a win, and she seems less worthy of the win. The audience winds up wondering how long the two will stay together, instead of imagining a lasting romance.

  • What this taught me.
A little thing can change a whole story. Even something as small as a word can make a good scene turn ugly. For instance, I recall reading a blog from a historical romance novelist who was talking about a back-list novel she'd put out. Her original story apparently had a forced seduction that was more force than seduction, a common trope for older romances. Since times have changed, she wanted to update the story and alter the rape scene. When she re-released it, readers were complaining that the hero raped the heroine. She couldn't figure out why, until she discovered a single reference toward the end of the book. A friend of the hero censures him for raping the heroine. So the actual love scene, and everything that came after, changed because of the one reference.

If you're interested in watching the MST3K and unedited Jam Handy version, you can find them both with Google. So tell me, has a character ever done something that made you completely change your mind about them?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday - Stephen King and Pamela Clare

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
― Stephen King, On Writing

Historical romance quote

 "Don't be thinkin' you can deceive this old man. I've been makin' a fool of myself over women since before you were born.”
― Pamela Clare, Defiant

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Guest - Erin Knightley

Today I'd like to welcome one of my talented and wonderful critique partners, Erin Knightley. Her sweet historical romances are full of charming characters and beautiful prose. Her newest novel, A Taste For Scandal, is not only fabulous, but a book I am proud to say I had a hand in (however few my suggestions were. Lol) Though I have to say, I was sorry to see the howling monkeys and stampeding elephants go. ;)

Things have always fallen into place for Richard Moore, Earl of Raleigh. His good looks, abundance of charm, and the small matter of being heir to a marquisate make him quite the catch. So when a delectable young woman wants nothing to do with him, he can’t help but seize the irresistible challenge.

Jane Bunting knows all about responsibility—she has managed to support herself and her brother with their bakery—but she knows nothing of excitement or passion. When dashing Lord Raleigh crosses the threshold of her shop, she has no idea of the potential danger to her reputation…or to her heart.

Neither imagined things would go so far—until the night their worlds collide, irrevocably changing both their lives. But when duty calls for Richard, and with everything Jane's worked for suddenly at stake, will their taste for scandal be their downfall?
Tell us about you're most recent release 

Since your story is about a baker, please tantalize us with a taste of your story. (AKA an Excerpt)

First of all, I can’t believe you still remember the stampeding elephants, lol (aka, Richard’s sisters).  Secondly, thanks so much for letting me join you today :) 

Below is one of my favorite scenes, where they’ve already had their disastrous introduction. Jane is gritting her teeth at the need to apologize to the arrogant Lord Raleigh, while Richard is still smarting from being humiliated by a lowly baker:

It was time to discover what the girl wanted. Richard didn’t believe her Little Miss Meek act one bit. Had she discovered his family’s wealth and decided to try to get a piece of the pie, so to speak? It wouldn’t be the first time someone tried to take advantage of his family. He cleared his throat and stepped forward. “Yes, what brings you to our home, Miss Bunting?”
She glanced up from the basket she had lifted from the floor and set on a side table. “A guilty conscience, my lord.”
He might have been encouraged had it not been for the clear reluctance coloring her tone. One would think someone held a pistol to her back, for heaven’s sake. He already knew how she truly felt about him; there was no call for her to come to his home and further demonstrate the fact. “Is that so? I can’t imagine what you would have to feel guilty about. Surely you are not referring to the small matter of attempting to have a well-intentioned, innocent man arrested and thrown in gaol.”
His sister pressed her lips together and glared icy blue daggers at him, but Jane simply lifted her chin and replied briskly, “Actually, I believe that is precisely the cause. Despite the utter havoc you wreaked in my shop and the pain you caused my cousin, I realize now it was your intention to help. I apologize for misconstruing your intentions.”
If this was her apology, he’d hate to see her insults. “I can’t imagine why it would be hard to believe someone would try to help you, what with your sunny disposition and forgiving nature. Your mother must be very proud, I’m sure.”
Fire flashed in her eyes, fierce and nearly instantaneous. Her nostrils flared like a riled stallion, and she pinned him with her almost emerald glare. “How dare you? You can hardly attest to my disposition as the very moment we first met, you were destroying my entire morning’s work, not to mention all the broken dishes and damaged cabinetry—none of which, I should point out, you have apologized for.”
He had no doubt “apologizing” in her mind meant offering compensation. It may not have been spoken, but it hung in the air between them. “Perhaps I would have been more inclined to apologize for the mess in your store if you had been less inclined to call me a lunatic and besmirch my character.”
“Perhaps if I had not been so shocked at the violent intrusion, I would have been in a more reasonable state of mind. As it was, you can hardly blame me for becoming upset.”
How was it she possessed the unique ability to look at him as though he were a steaming pile of horse dung on the street? Benedict and Evie, who had observed the exchange much as one observed a tennis match, stood with identical looks of wide-eyed, surprised interest. This was not the time or place for any of this—they had a ball to prepare for, for God’s sake. “Did you really come all the way to St. James merely to argue with me, Miss Bunting?”
She pressed her eyes closed and breathed out a long breath. Setting her flashing green gaze on him once more, she lifted the top of the basket, pulled out a napkin-wrapped bundle, and shoved them toward him. “These are for you. Please accept my sincere apology for the misunderstanding this morning.”
Sincere apology his arse. If not for the sweet, rich aroma of chocolate making his mouth water, he wouldn’t be surprised if the bundle contained a coiled snake. “Arsenic laced biscuits, I presume?”
“A baker never reveals her secret ingredients,” she replied with a straight face, looking him right in the eye. “However, I would never ruin a perfectly delicious chocolate biscuit.”
Richard was caught off guard by her response and surprised himself by almost laughing. He had not expected a sense of humor from the shrew. “Well, that’s a relief.”

That's a tasty tidbit. Thanks. If you can't tell by my chosen vernacular, I'm on a diet. Since all I can do is imagine chocolaty treats right now, can you share some of the delicious foods she makes in the story?

Speaking of diets, I gained almost 10 pounds writing this novel! All the yummy foods she makes and all the smells I describe – it all had me reaching for the sweets again and again! Plus I made every recipe Jane does in the book, so of course I couldn’t let the final product go to waste!
Let’s see—you’ll find chocolate puffs, chocolate biscuits, scones (honey walnut, orange poppy seed) tea biscuits, shortbread…. The list goes one if you include all the items actually in the bakery! For a tongue-in-cheek video of me demonstrating how to make the chocolate puffs, click here

Okay, that looks too delicious, I'd best change the subject. Tell me, what was the funnest part of writing this novel?

Letting Richard make a fool of himself was great fun, and even better when he redeems himself toward the end. The scene with the shortbread? I fell in love with him all over again!

Love it! There's nothing better than when a hero makes the reader fall in love, but writing can't be all beauty. Share . . . What was the hardest thing about writing in this novel?

Ensuring that the reader could suspend their of disbelief that a baker could be matched with an earl. I hope that I accomplished it!

 You certainly did. A Taste for Scandal is excellent.

Writing historical romance

Why did you choose to write historical romance?

Write what you love, right? Historical romance has always been my favorite, and I read it almost exclusively for a decade. For me, that world is the ultimate escape, one that makes my heart flutter each time I enter it.

I agree. There's something about historical romance that can't be matched, and the research is just plain fun. What is the most interesting or obscure historical fact you've ever come across while researching?

Hmm – good question! When I researched recipes and cookbooks, I stumbled across Elizabeth Raffald. What a woman! She wrote one of the most successful cookbooks ever written at the time, was an entrepreneur, supported a spendthrift husband, and still found the time to have something like 16 daughters!

Wow. That's a heck of a woman. I love reading about amazing women in history.

Now for a little fun

Favorite color?
Favorite drink?
Ginger Ale – but it is a very rare treat since oft drinks are a big no-no in my mind.
Favorite song?
Colorful by The Verve. It’s the song Mark Walberg sings at the end of ROCKSTAR, and he reminds me so powerfully of my husband when we were in college—his hair and clothes—that it gives me butterflies :)
Favorite movie?
Love, Actually – hands down!
To be fair to everyone, I'll ask what is your favorite classic novel?
Oh Lord, don’t lynch me, but I don’t have one. I like the movie interpretations of many—particularly Pride and Prejudice—but I find reading the old classics dreadfully tedious. *ducks to avoid rotten vegetables*

That's okay. No lynching today or I'd be ducking too. I haven't read nearly enough of the classics myself.
Tell us what's coming next

You've just signed on for two new books, can you give us a taste of what's in store for us?

Sure! I signed for 2 books, but they are only the first 2 of a 3 book series set in Bath during a summer music festival. All three of the heroines will be talented musicians (anyone remember Charity from A TASTE FOR SCANDAL?) who meet and decide to form an unusual trio. One character I am particularly excited about is the daughter of an Englishman, but was raised in the Far East. She is so richly formed in my imagination, I can’t wait to flesh her out on the page!

Ooh, sounds like a lot of fun and excitement. Is there anything else you'd like to share with readers?

I always love hearing from and interacting with readers. I hope you’ll ‘friend’ me, ‘like’ me, and/or ‘follow’ me!

Where can readers find you?

Either my website, my email, my Facebook page, or my Twitter account. Let’s chat!      

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today.

Thank you for having me!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday - Sylvia Plath and Tessa Dare

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath

Historical romance quote

 “I'm not going to accept your challenge. There will be no duel."
"Why not? Because I'm a woman?"
"No, because I've seen the way you spinsters handle a pistol. You'd shoot me dead where I stood.”
― Tessa Dare, A Night to Surrender

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Heores - Mr Darcy

And so, we've come to Mr. Darcy. He is arguably the penultimate Jane Austen hero.

Why love Mr Darcy?

At first it seems he's arrogant and proud, but when we see more of his actions, we see that he is only trying to do what he feels is best for those he cares about, no matter how misguided his judgement, and when Elizabeth points out his faulty logic, he's man enough to accept her judgement and try to rectify his mistakes.

My heroes have a bit of Mr. Darcy in them. My heroes often have deeper thoughts than they speak aloud. They also can be guarded with their feelings and emotions, until the right heroine comes along to drive them into admitting their feelings and looking at themselves honestly.

Do you love Darcy? Why?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday - Robert Frost and Lorraine Heath

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
― Robert Frost

Historical romance quote

 “I would rather be a cripple and have your love for all of a single moment than to live as I am without ever having it.”
― Lorraine Heath, Waking Up With the Duke

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Hero for Every Heroine - Mr. Bingley

Jane Austen had a wonderful grasp on men--what made them great and what made them terrible. We've already discussed Mr Knightley, my personal favorite. Let us continue our discussion of the Jane Austen heroes by discussing Mr. Bingley.

What makes Mr. Bingley a great hero?

Mr Bingley is not only handsome and rich,  he's open and honest with his feelings. He's amiable and kind, with little of the darkness or mystery that some men have. I for one love that about him. I love that he dotes on Jane, and though he is easily persuaded, in the end, he comes to claim her.

My heroes have a little of Mr. Bingley in them. I write heroes who may not be as open as he is with their feelings, but they certainly work to charm their heroines. (Particularly once they realize how much she means to them.)

Writers: Feel free to share how your heroes are like or unlike Mr. Bingley.
Readers: I'd love to hear why you love or don't love Mr. Bingley.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday - Anaïs Nin and Courtney Milan

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
― Anaïs Nin

Historical romance quote

 “Her lips found his and a stab of exquisite desire shot through him. This is what he's been waiting for all this time. Not a stolen embrace. A gift, freely given. One that he would keep forever in some small part of his soul.”
― Courtney Milan, Unveiled

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Hero For Every Woman - Mr Knightley

I know most women love Mr. Darcy, and he is great, but I admit I am partial to Mr. Knightley, and not just because he's been played by such handsome actors as Jeremy Northam and Jonny Lee Miller.

Why Mr.. Knightley is awesome. 
He is not only the perfect opposite to Emma's flawed and somewhat childish personality, but he's also a wonderful man.
Kindness, compassion, and maturity are amongst his greatest qualities, but his best quality for me is his fearlessness. He's never cowed into silence. Even with the woman he loves, he's not afraid to call it like he sees it. He is not timid or reserved when he tells Emma she was not living up to her own kind nature.
All my heroes are in some way inspired by him. Every book I have ever written includes a hero who is fearless in some way. Even though my heroes can have huge fears (like a fear of guns or the fear of being alone), they are never afraid to do what they must when it really matters--whether that be facing down their demons or facing down their heroines.

So share;
Readers: which hero do you love most and why?
Writers: is there a hero who inspires your writing? Who and why?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Weekly Quote Wednesday - Oscar Wilde and Christina Dodd

Weekly Quote Wednesday
Writing quote

“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Historical romance quote

 “I intend to marry Michael, and squander all his money and run his life, and make sure he never again consorts with wicked women or gambles with licentious men. I promise I will henpeck him until he has no life beyond what I allow him, and when we die, I will lie in his arms through all eternity.”
― Christina Dodd, In Bed with the Duke

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Daily Life 1770-1830 - Undergarments

Elégante à sa toilette, 1796

This post is about the basic undergarments a lady wore (and didn't wear) during the late 18th and early 19th century. Starting from the skin and working my way out. 

Stockings and Garters

  1.  As you can see in the picture above, women wore stockings that came just above the knee. Ribbons and other ties were used as garters to secure the stockings in place.


  1. First, for most of the 18th and well into the 19th century, women did not wear panties, often called drawers, pantaloons, or pantalettes, depending on the year and style. Drawers slowly gained popularity in the 19th century, but for quite some time, they were considered a garment for prostitutes and men. 
  2. Even when they were worn, they were not like what we wear today. They were almost like shorts and they tied around the waist. They had a large opening between the legs. I found this great pic that illustrates what I'm talking about on the Jane's World blog.

  1. The chemise (called a shift for most of the late Georgian and early Regency periods) was a simple, loose dress that women wore beneath a dress to prevent chaffing. It often came to the knee or mid calf. Sleeve length varied from 1/2 to 3/4 or full length, depending upon the dress worn. 
  2. Chemises could have decorative sleeves or collars, if the wearer thought they might be seen, but first and foremost was comfort, because it was going to run against the skin all day.


  1. Corsets, called stays during this time,  changed greatly. Late 18th century stays were conical and rigid. They had boning that ran along the front and back to keep the posture straight, and the torso in a pleasing shape. They ranged from adorned, for stays that would be seen, to rather plain, for stays that would be beneath a stomacher.
  2. Whereas early 19th century stays (as seen in the shift image above) were softer and more natural, in going with the softer style of dress. They varied in length as well, from shorter and almost bra-like, to full length stays.

 Pockets, hoops, paniers, bumrolls, ect...

  1. These things went in and out of fashion. Women used to wear pockets tied beneath their skirts, but these faded from use with the rise in popularity of the lithe silhouette. Soon the reticule became the popular way to hold your necessities.
  2. Paniers and pocket hoops, which gave the 18th century the famous I-have-hips-wide-enough-to-birth-a-elephant look tapered off toward the end of the 18th century. Bum rolls, which gave the skirts a full look, also went out of fashion as the 19th century ushered in the era of slim figures. This gave way to a petticoat or two. Women sometimes wet down the few petticoats they wore in order to show their figure to best advantage. 
  3. In 19th century France, a few unusual fashion trends (most of which I'll blog about separately) came into use. Bare breasts and see thru clothing became popular for a time, but these trends never made it to England in any real way.

After the woman had put on all these things, she was finally ready to put on her dress. Are you as exhausted as I am?

So tell me, what parts of historical dress do you like most? Least? I'd love to hear what you think.