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Showing posts from 2005
I was going to say that Walk the Line is the most romantic movie I've seen this season, but King Kong could give it a run for the money in the romance department. And I don't mean Adrien Brody and Naomi Watts. No, it's the girl and the big monkey. What chemistry! What pathos!

OK, all kidding aside, Walk the Line is clearly the most romantic movie with two humans in it, but King Kong is also well worth seeing for the way it deals with difficult relationships.
It's been a while since I posted 'cause life has interfered with writing, as it so often does. My younger son is home from college and got his wisdom teeth extracted, which has put me back into "mommy mode". To be honest, I hadn't missed preparing meals for large young men who consume massive amounts of food and still manage to look like they ought to be on the cover of one of my novels. There most definitely is a jealousy factor at work here. When you're scrambling eight eggs with heavy cream and a side of mashed potatoes while listening to an 18-year-old whine about how he's losing weight, it takes a lot of effort not to lose it and bash him upside the head with the frying pan.

But I'm sympathetic over the teeth. I don't have wisdom teeth, nor does my older son. My husband, who still remembers getting his out, and the kid sitting with hot compresses on his face don't appreciate my reminding them that it's a good example of evolution…
Owl finds new meaning in "holiday baking". From the Gainesville Sun

Book Reviews--Dearly Devoted Dexter
Dearly Devoted Dexter
Jeff Lindsay
2005, Doubleday

Dexter Morgan, the serial killer who only takes out the trash, is back in a novel that picks up where Darkly Dreaming Dexter ended. In that first novel we learned how Dexter’s foster father saw early what the boy was and channeled his social quirks into a more acceptable outlet. Oh, Dexter still likes to torture people to death–that will never change–but thanks to his cop dad Dexter has a mission–to only use his talents on really, really bad people. Specifically, other serial killers.

Dexter works for the Miami PD as a blood spatter specialist and he cheerfully goes through his life, as he puts it, pretending to be human and letting his dark friend come out to play every now and then. Dexter’s sister is a Miami cop and while she has a pretty good idea what he’s up to, she leaves him alone to do his thing.

The problem is, Dexter’s doing a little too good a job of passing for human. So much so that the wom…
Why do I love this job? Partly because the job description includes being able to sit and read books I enjoy, like C.S. Forester's Age of Fighting Sail, a classic history of the war of 1812. There are all these little moments when your eye scans something that at first glance appears perfectly pedestrian, then you have this "Whoa! I can really use that!" moment and suddenly you're rushing back to the computer to tweak your text.

Which leads into my real rant for the day, "Why Books Are Better Than The Internet". I hang out in a writers' group where we're often asked to recommend this website or that for information. Primary information. I'm old fashioned enough to wave my cane in the direction of the person posting the query and say "You young whippersnappers! The best information still comes from books! You should make books your primary source and the 'net your secondary source!"

Why? Because if you're reading a book you can pi…
Tonight was the last class of the first part of tai chi. We've learned the first third of the simple form, and my instructor says it takes about 30 years to be proficient at it.

I always wanted a goal for when I'm 80--beyond surviving--now I have one.

Anyway, I am going to continue. As difficult as it is, and it is difficult, I can see improvement in myself. Some of us talked about repeating the first session again, but our instructor recommended we move on. Now my hard task will be continuing to practice each day, even though I know half the time I'm still not doing it correctly. Our instructor, who's 57, showed us the full tai chi form, which takes about 8 minutes to run through. That's all. 30 years of study for an 8 minute exercise. But to see it done correctly, that was a treat. His movements were fluid, his form supple, his posture perfect.

Man, when I'm 80, people are going to be stunned by my agility!
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Your Virtual Book Bag Bound By Destiny by Rayka Mennen Rayka Mennen - www.RaykaMennen.com
When Katherine Ricetti brushes against civil engineer, Jacob Taggert, and sees a vision of the accident about to befall him, she saves him from certain death. But the Ricetti women are witches and have their first vision about the men they are destined to marry. Try explaining that to a die-hard skeptic like Jake. When he isn’t running scared, he’s looking for the loop hole in this witch theory. Too bad, because her pretty face and long legs had captured his attention before the accident. Besides, he can’t allow a witch to raise his son! But the signs are clear and he is unable to deny Kat has powerful talents that can’t be explained in earthly scientific terms. Kat, a reluctant witch to begin with, may have to renounce her heritage to be with the man she loves. Which will she chose, when both seem to be her destiny? ISBN: 1-897261-00-4
5 Cups from Coffee Time Romance; 5 Hearts from The Romance…
Today's a perfect writing day in normally sunny Florida. Too often I'll be sitting on the back porch and get distracted by flowers that need trimming, compost that needs turning, anything to get me away from what I should be doing, making up people in my head.

Today though is dank and rainy as a cold front comes through, so short of crawling back into bed with a good book and pulling the covers up (my second--no, third-- favorite rainy day activity), it's a good writing day. I'm sitting under a darkened skylight as the drops ping off the roof and the occasional bit of thunder rolls through. The stereo still has my Thanksgiving line-up on the CD changer, a mixture of Ralph Vaughn Williams, Bach, Yo-Yo Ma and Mark Conner, and I'm making progress on the next book, working title of The Privateer. That's not going to be its final title. I think I'll work treasure in there somehow, but for now, it's good enough for saving files.

In a little bit though it will b…
My Thanksgiving was hectic, but delightful. The boys are home from college, so there's a lot of arm-punching and name calling going on, but that's normal. It warms the cockles of my heart to hear the philosophy major tell the politics/economics major he's a butthead who smells bad. Yes, this is why we scrimp and save to send them off to be educated and sophisticated men of the world.

The food was a quite tasty, if I do say so myself, and my recipes both old and new all worked out well. My best friend is in town and it was wonderful going to see "Pride and Prejudice" with someone who's not only a fellow Austen fan, but could snark and chuckle with me through all the tidbits most people (like my dear husband) just wouldn't get--questions about why so many of the men are running around without gloves, why Lady Catherine shows up in the middle of the night, and why the screenwriter seemed to be channeling Charlotte Bronte rather than Jane Austen?

So I hope your…
When my dear husband says "I don't know what to buy you!" I always try to keep it easy for him. I tell him he can buy me expensive jewelry or book gift certificates. And can there be anything more tempting than a book sale for a good cause? Where you're spending money on something you want anyway, probably more money than you should, because you know a percentage goes to charity? It almost takes the guilt out of guilty pleasures.

Goerings Books in Gainesville, Florida, is an independent bookstore that not only has the good taste to carry signed copies of Darlene Marshall's books, but also donates a percentage of proceeds to charity through most of November and December. You buy during certain weeks depending on who you wish to be the recipient--Women's Studies at UF, various children's programs, etc.

So when Goerings was hosting one of these events yesterday, with wine to help lubricate sales, I ended up walking out with a slew of books. Two of them a…
Like most of you, I have a slew of books on my TBR shelves. Some of them are library books, and the library gets snippy about them not being returned on time.

So why did I spend the day rereading THE GRAND SOPHY?

Maybe because when I read Georgette Heyer I can study her craft, to try and learn how she makes secondary characters leap off the page with every bit as much life as primary characters. Maybe it's because I love how she milks the English language for all it's worth, expecting the reader to rise to her level, and not dumbing down.

Maybe because it's just a damned entertaining read that still makes me grin at key passages.

Whatever the reason, I'm glad Heyer's books are being reissued, and I hope a new generation comes to love her writing as much as my generation of romance readers and writers did.

Oh, and if you haven't read it, THE GRAND SOPHY was written in 1950 and is the story of a strong willed young woman in Regency England who sets out to make sure p…
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What's in a name? Figure out yours on the Sexy Name Decoder.

Mine is wonderfully appropriate:


The tai chi classes are progressing, though at this point I feel like a centipede--I can walk just fine until I stop to think about what all those feet are doing. Our instructor tries to soothe our frazzled spirits by assuring us that it takes at least three classes along with daily repetition to learn the most basic of moves, but I still feel like an idiot each time I look up and everyone else has their hand in a perfect bird's beak, while my hand is somewhere off in the ozone.

*sigh* But I'm not giving up! It's good for me, I do feel better afterwards, and it's improving my balance already. I can feel myself shifting positions when I'm just standing around, straightening my back, relaxing my spine, centering my feet. And it is good for research. When I'm blocking out a fight scene, I'll be better able to describe how someone wards off a blow or shifts away from attack.


Oddly enough, I joked about "wax on, wax off", but there's a lot …
I got involved in a discussion at another site today where a reader wanted the author of a bestselling novel to go back and write a scene that took place off-stage, because the reader thought this would enhance her enjoyment of the novel.

It's an issue that's been bothering me more and more lately--readers who want all the blanks filled in. I don't want to see drawings of Jamie and Claire or have missing scenes drawn out for me. The author didn't write a graphic novel, and I prefer the pictures in my head based on her character descriptions.

The best compliment I ever got on my own writing was from a friend who read Smuggler's Bride and told me I'd described his grandma's farmhouse out in the piney woods, all the way down to the detached kitchen. His vision of my cabin was to see his grandma's house, and that was fine with me. It meant I'd given him enough detail that he could use his imagination to fill in the blanks, even if the house he saw wa…
Publisher slashes prices! Hot pirate romance makes great holiday gift!

Those fine folks at LTDBooks are having a huge sale and all Darlene Marshall books are 40 per cent off, which gets you trade paperbacks at mass market prices.

And anyone wanting an autographed bookplate has only to write me and it will be done.
One of the things I do in the real world is serve on the board of our public library foundation. The Foundation gathers supplemental funding for our library, primarily through bequests and large gifts. One of my proudest moments was helping some 20 years back to promote a referendum that created a separate taxing district for the public library. This meant that library funding was no longer at the whim of elected officials who saw a library as nice, but not as important as roads.

It worked, and our library system has been steadily growing and expanding ever since.

Anyway, I've been put in charge of a project to turn one of the plain vanilla meeting rooms in our headquarters library into more of an executive board room, which will serve as a meeting room for the foundation and trustees, but also be used as a high tech training site for the library staff. The architect is showing me Arts and Crafts style chandeliers to drool over, beautiful wood cabinetry, plush carpet, and I ge…
So today was an interesting research day. I was typing away at my Regency era WIP when suddenly the heroine refers to herself as being like Robin Hood. That set off the anachronism alarm bells in my head, but a quick side trip to the Beaumonde, the Regency chapter of RWA, confirmed that the Robin Hood legend was alive, and best of all, well known in Regency England.

Now I just need to get the damn song from the Richard Greene TV show out of my head. If you'd like to hear the theme song for your ownself, and I swear, Mel Brooks did not write these lyrics, go to this site and listen to it yourself.

And if you're old enough to remember watching this on TV, you're really getting on up there.
Time to put in another plug for the Smart Bitches.

Go view today's post, "The Man Titty Hall of Fame, Vol. 1", but do not read these at work, with coffee in your mouth, or in any location where your laughing will scare the dog.

You've been warned.
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Your Virtual Book Bag Loving MirandaAuthor: Teresa Bodwell
Title: Loving Miranda
ISBN: 0-8217-7816-1
Publisher: Kensington, Zebra Historical Romance
Release: October 2005Teresa Bodwell announces the release of her second western historical novel, a sequel to her debut, Loving Mercy.Benjamin Lansing is on his way to paradise with a short detour to nowhere. His brother left some unfinished business when he died. Ben aims to set things right and get out. He has no intention of allowing a pretty little distraction like Miranda to keep him from his goal. Even if that spark of life in her eyes threatens to melt the layers of reserve he’s taken a lifetime to build . . . Miranda Chase knows exactly what she wants–a settled life with a steady man who will treat her right. She has no time for a smooth talkin’ city slicker who makes her heart race like a wild stallion when he touches her. Only a fool would try to lasso and break a man like Ben. Or a woman reckless enough to follow her heart . . .Rev…
The Gators are playing tonight, and even though my eldest has a sticker on his computer that says "A quality university needs a football team like a fish needs a bicycle", we love our Gators in Gainesville! Heck, when the Gators lose I'm tempted to sue the coach for loss of consortium, 'cause my poor dear husband is so despondent.

But this cooler fall weather reminds me too that it's time to get on the road and do some research. This time, I think it will be a day trip to St. Marys, Fernandina and St. Augustine. One of the best parts of setting stories in 19th C. Florida is having a good excuse to put the top down on the Sebring and hit those back roads, looking for local color. After all, the trip to the Cracker Museum in St. Augustine helped with Smuggler's Bride, so I'm hopeful that visiting the haunts of privateers on both sides of the war will be a plus for my WIP.

And besides, any excuse to hit some of the fine eateries in St. Augustine is a good…
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In other news, I've sent off my edits of Captain Sinister's Lady to Amber Quill Press and the release date is now March, 2006. I'm excited to find a home for this novel, which for a long time was feeling neglected while I worked on other projects. CSL is a bit different, with a hero who's not your usual pirate or privateer. Other men dream of ditching their humdrum lives and running off to sea. Morgan Roberts wants to leave the sea and be a farmer. But when you're very good at what you do, and you have a moniker like "Captain Sinister", it's hard to quit the day job.

So look for Captain Sinister's Lady this spring, a bit delayed but worth the wait!
There's a new group in town, Your Virtual Book Bag, featuring some of today's top Romance writers. Including your ever humble servant. We discuss each other's books at the site and it's a great place to pick up the latest buzz on what's hot across all Romance genres and publishers. Check it out!
I took my first tai chi class last night, and I think I've found the right martial art for someone like me--no blurring fists of fury, but rather a discipline that's supposed to help keep you from falling on your ass as you age. I enjoyed it and while I've got a long way to go, it looks like a good investment of my time.

Now I want to get a cool outfit to go with the program, and I was disappointed when the instructor said "Naw, all you need are loose clothes and cloth shoes."

Me, I still want the silk pj's.
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My SB title!
I've been spending the morning on a total revamping of my WIP. For a while there I felt like I had two different novels going--and that may very well have been the case--as I bounced back and forth between alternate versions of the same chapter. But I think I've finally nailed where I want to go with this. The original file title was "Gambler", now it's "Privateer". The gambling story will come later.

And maybe I'll run out to Vegas and do some research and see if I can claim it as a legitimate tax deduction since I'll be working, I swear!
Wow, there's so much empty space here! I can hear my voice echoing...

This is my first entry in my shameless self promotion blog, the one where I flog my own writing. That's "flog" as in "to push towards unsuspecting buyers" as opposed to the type of flogging you read about at either naval historical sites or sites you have to be over 21 to enter.

So feel free to ask about my historical romances set in Territorial Florida, or if you're one of the discerning romance readers who have already read my books, please let me know if you liked 'em!