Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Castaway Dreams at Fictionwise--On Sale!

It's here, it's on sale, it's 15% off.  Can't beat that with a stick! Head over to Fictionwise to get a copy of Castaway Dreams at a great price.



Monday, August 27, 2012

My Worldcon Schedule

I'm off this week to attend Chicon 7, the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago. I'm moderating a panel on Friday at noon:

Beyond the First Two Pages

We’ve all heard how important it is to hook a reader’s attention quickly. But let’s say you’ve already done that. Your story’s opening dramatic, ingenious, and free of typos. Your first two pages have been polished to near oblivion. Now what?
Darlene Marshall (M), Pat Rothfuss, John Berlyne, Nick Mamatas, Carol Berg


There will also be signed copies of Castaway Dreams available in the Dealers Room, at Old Earth Books. Beyond that, I'm looking forward to attending program items, checking out the Art Show, meeting with friends and, of course, watching the Hugo Awards.

If you spot me at Chicon 7, be sure to say hi!



Friday, August 24, 2012

Anniversary of Burning of Washington

The next afternoon Captain Fletcher told Mr. Bryant to muster the crew and Charley joined them, standing apart from the ranks of seamen.
When they were all assembled, he looked out over the assortment of Yankee privateers and their British doctor and said, "Men, I have news from home."
He waited for the murmurs to die down.
"I received correspondence on St. Martin that I wish to share with you. Last August, while we were at sea fighting for the rights of sailors and free Americans, the British burned our nation's capitol, Washington City."
Now the mutters from the men were angry as they shifted their feet and looked at one another. The Americans had burned York in Canada, and Great Britain might be justified in saying it's tit for tat to burn the Americans' capitol, but Charley just scratched her ear and wisely refrained from pointing that out.
Plus, Captain Fletcher was still speaking.
"But take heart, men, just as your countrymen did! America cannot be frightened into submission!" He waved a paper. "I have here the account of the battle of Baltimore and the glorious defense of Fort McHenry! The nation still stands strong, boys, and will never bow to tyrants! A cheer for the United States of America, and an extra ration of rum tonight for its gallant heroes!"
The men threw their hats into the air while cheering, "Huzzah for the United States!"
--Sea Change

This is the day when the British burned the buildings of our fledgling country's capitol city.  We rebuilt, and if the end of the war left the belligerents at antebellum status, it also left Europe and Britain with an understanding that the USA was here to stay. 


Monday, August 20, 2012

The Coast Guard and the War of 1812

A simple plan, but one that worked all too well given the poor state of the Revenue Marine. The revenue cutters couldn’t begin to cover all of the coast, not when the ships were spread thin with surveying, rescue operations, and winter cruising between Charleston and Key West. Underfunded, understaffed, looked down on by the regular navy, despised by the merchants who paid the tariffs, the Revenue Marine was no one’s darling.
Well, except maybe Alexander Hamilton, he’d loved his revenue cutters that brought money into the Treasury, but look what happened to him, Washburn thought. Irritate the wrong people and there you are, worm food.
--Smuggler's Bride

When writing histories of the United States, including histories of the War of 1812, one of the most overlooked branches of the US armed forces is the USCG. Here reenactors from the Coast Guard demonstrate their vital role, and what life aboard a Revenue Cutter was like during the war.



Dear Brain...

...I know I give you a hard time, especially when you screw-up. I mean, really, did you have to forget the name of my second cousin by marriage's daughter when I saw her at the department store?  What is it with you and remembering names, anyway?

But today you came through like a champ. There I was, taking my daily walk, and you handed me the plot twist I needed because unlike real life, fiction has to make sense.  I thank you and my WIP thanks you.

As a special treat, I'm going to turn off the TV tonight, brew a cup of green tea to give you some extra antioxidants and pick up that copy of A Tale of Two Cities. You deserve a reward.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Book Review--Seraphina


Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So many of the best books I've read this year are YA novels, and I'm pleased to add Seraphina to the list. The dragons are fascinating, the world building is intense, and the characters come alive on the page. I'm looking forward to the next in this series.


View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Castaway Dreams giveaway ends Friday!

Friday's the last day to enter the Goodreads Giveaway of Castaway Dreams. Enter now, and three winners will be chosen to get a signed copy of the book All About Romance labeled a "Desert Island Keeper (DIK)"



 
 


    Goodreads Book Giveaway
 

   

        Castaway Dreams by Darlene Marshall
   

   

     


          Castaway Dreams
     
     


          by Darlene Marshall
     

     

         
            Giveaway ends August 17, 2012.
         
         
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.
         
     
   
   


      Enter to win



.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Have you hugged your librarian today?

Castaway Dreams is now in the catalog at the Alachua County (FL) Library District, which means it's available through ILL (Interlibrary Loan). If you have a library card but you haven't used ILL, ask your librarian to show you how you can access books from any library. I find ILL invaluable when I'm doing research, but I also use it to obtain novels my library may not have.

Of course, Castaway Dreams, like all my books, is still available in print and ebook so you can have it for your very own. You can read reviews and excerpts at the link.



Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Getting Lost in a Good Book

I paused yesterday in my writing to check some notes, and pulled one of my research books off the shelf. It was Aristocracy and People--Britain, 1815-1865. When I looked up from my desk, two hours had gone by.

You can say what you like about the ease of research via Google and Wikipedia (and I do appreciate having those services at my fingertips), but there's nothing like a good book to get in-depth information for research. Sometimes it's information I don't even realize I needed, or can use, until I'm three or four pages beyond the facts I was checking.

I love my job. I get to combine my enjoyment of history with playing with my imaginary friends, like my new buddies, pirate captain Robert St. Armand and governess Lydia Burke:

[working title] THE HOT PIRATE'S SECRET BABY

            “I am so tired,” she said, looking down at her worn shoes. “Just kill me, or ravish me, or throw me out the window onto the street. I don’t care anymore.”
            He put his hand beneath her chin and tilted it up, studying her face in the moonlight, and then he sighed, releasing her.
            “Sit. Do not move until I return, otherwise I will do at least one of those things to you.” He paused as he turned for the door. “Maybe two.”

Thursday, August 02, 2012

It's Tu B'Av! Party like it's 1999(BCE)!


“I am so beautiful, and you are so smart. We will make wonderful
children together, querida.”
A smile quirked her cool lips as she adjusted her spectacles. “Let us
hope they inherit a bit of modesty from me, Mr. Lopez. Why do you
say I am smart?”
He leaned forward and placed his lips just below her ear, a soft kiss
that wouldn’t disarrange the lace or be noticed later.
“You are smart because you agreed to marry me. Which makes me
not only beautiful, but muy mazaloso,” he added in Ladino. “An
extremely fortunate man.
--Captain Sinister's Lady


Today (Thursday night/Friday) is Tu B'Av, "Chag HaAhava" in Hebrew, the Jewish Day of Love.  What?  You didn't know there was a Jewish holiday celebrating romantic love?  There is, and has been since before the Common Era.

On Tu B'Av (the 15th day of the month of Av) in ancient Israel, young women would go to the vineyards and dance in white dresses, singing "Young man, consider whom you choose (to be your wife)". The girls would exchange white dresses prior to the dancing, so the rich girls weren't dressed finer than the poor girls. Tu B'Av is also always a night of the full moon, an excellent time for romance.

The holiday fell off the radar for about 2,000 years, but has had a resurgence in Israel where it's become akin to Valentine's Day. So when you look up at that full moon tonight with your honey, you'll be sharing in a holiday that goes back centuries and is being carried on today, because there's nothing like celebrating romance.