Monday, June 29, 2009

AnticipationImage by Alexandre Lemieux via Flickr

Worldcon Bound

Made our reservations last night for flying to Montreal, so it looks like we'll be at Anticipation (Worldcon) barring hurricanes and airline hassles. I hope I'll be seeing some of you there!
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

DSC06740, Petit St. Vincent (PSV), Winward Isl...Image by lyng883 via Flickr

Did it! Ended the day at over 50,000 words on Castaway Dreams. Now that I've hit the halfway mark, I can't tell myself I can set it aside and work on a different book. This one's half done, I have to finish it. And that's a good thing, because I go through this mental game with every book I write.
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Helen Island, Helen Reef, Palau. Original desc...Image via Wikipedia

I'm glad I'm going to hit the 50K mark (50,000 words) on Castaway Dreams today, because something is happening that I was afraid would happen. The characters from my next novel are pushing their way into my brain, having conversations.

But this happens with every book. So I've started a new file (working title: Hot Pirate Book) and I'm stashing the snippets of dialog and scenes in there until I'm done with Castaway Dreams. I know how to deal with obstreperous characters!
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Thursday, June 11, 2009


Pirates and Heaving Bosoms, Ahoy!

If you have not yet gotten your copy of the hysterical Beyond Heaving Bosoms--The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels, get yourself to the nearest bookstore and settle in for some fun reading.

Not only is it a snigger fest analyzing the modern romance novel, the novel that dare not bare its cover, but it's also wildly entertaining and has some home truths about the genre that we love.

The Smart Bitches are Candy Tan and Sarah Wendell, who along with their followers (and I'm proud to count myself in that group) take aim at the worst and praise the best at their website, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

And most squeeworthy of all, there's this on page 108:

"Special Buttpirate Mention: In Darlene Marshall's Pirate's Price, the heroine is a cross-dresser, and her pirate ship is staffed entirely by gay pirates [italics theirs] (plus a gunner with an unhealthy attachment to his pet goose)."

One small correction though: I think Dr. Brown on the Tigress is straight. I'm not sure, because we have a firm "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Plant with ripe datil peppersImage via Wikipedia

It's odd the things you notice once you become a professional writer. I'm reading a fantasy novel, a very good one, but I realized that in a description of two characters on the run days go by and there's no mention of them eating a meal.

One thing there's plenty of in my novels is food. Whether it's possum (Smuggler's Bride), almond cakes (Captain Sinister's Lady) or datil peppers (Pirate's Price), I like my characters to be well fed. I've spent the morning writing a scene in Castaway Dreams where my hero and heroine are newly cast ashore and have to scrounge a meal. They manage to cook some yams and crabs ("Needs butter", the heroine says). How they get their food, their need to cooperate, the drive of hunger, reveals a great deal about them and their personalities.

For some reason, and maybe it's just me, when I'm really stuck in a scene I find that if I can get my characters to eat a meal together it can open up dialog and even reveal information about them that I didn't know. I don't know if this works for other authors, but it's part of my writing.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get out the fresh grilled vegetables I made last night for my own lunch because nothing spurs my muse like good food.
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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Rig of topsail schooner Shenandoah without sailsImage via Wikipedia

I went back and re-read my early chapters of Castaway Dreams to do a fact check. As I was reading I was thinking to myself, "Hey! This isn't half-bad!"

I needed that.
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Monday, June 01, 2009

US ConstitutionImage by Thorne Enterprises via Flickr

I had jury duty today. This is the fourth time I've been called to the voir dire, and I've never been seated. I think it comes from knowing so many attorneys. In today's session I knew the state's attorney, the two lead defense attorneys, and the judge. And I'm married to an attorney who's active in the Bar, so I'm known in those circles.

But I'm more than willing to serve. I'd want bright people on the jury if I ever had to face one. I was especially impressed by the diversity of the jury pool in our North Florida court. We had university professors and retirees, students and homemakers, business people and laborers, all colors, all backgrounds. Oh, and an attorney in the pool, who not surprisingly, wasn't seated either.

During the down times I made notes on Castaway Dreams. One of the best things about being a writer is all I need is a pen and paper, and I can be working. I normally write directly at the computer, but I always have pen and paper with me in case I have a plot breakthrough. And when you're a writer, it's all grist for the mill, even spending a morning in the voir dire. While I've been called but never served, it's always an educational experience. And frankly, I feel good doing my civic duty.
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