Showing posts from 2006
Why Book #4 isn't done yet

I was thinking about this during a discussion over at Compuserve's Books and Writers Forum, and other than sheer laziness, I'm sure a small part of it is fear. I'm about 2/3 through the first draft, but it's a slog. One of the things I miss is my innocence. Back when I was writing Pirate's Price I didn't know how badly I could screw up my writing, so I just wrote. Now I wrestle with demons while writing because I know more about the craft than I did three books ago.

But I'm hanging in there. I know when I finish the first draft it will be a lot easier. I love revisions, because I'm working with a framework, whereas with the first draft I feel like I'm flying through the air without a net.

An extremely mixed metaphor, but I rather like it.

Happy New Year, one and all. Here's to more writing and great reading in 2007!
I got a call from an acquaintance last night, a 93 year old gentleman. He wants to publish a book about his life, and wants me to write it for him. He's sure it will be a bestseller.

I gently explained that I'm a novelist--people pay me to lie to them--and I wouldn't be the right person to collaborate on his autobiography. But I also have no doubt that his story is interesting. How can you live for most of the 20th century and into the 21st and not have some great stories to share?

He did say he was thinking of using a tape recorder to make an oral journal and I strongly endorsed this idea. The University of Florida has an oral history project, and even if he can't find a home for his memoir there, it's still the easiest way for him to tell his life's story.

I was sorry I couldn't help him. As more and more of our elders pass on, I know we're losing a treasure trove of history. Perhaps our blogs will become the journals of our generation, preservin…
From the SB site:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Grand Duchess Darlene the Antediluvian of Old Throcking in the Hole
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title
I'm an Eppie Finalist!

Two of my books, Captain Sinister's Lady and Pirate's Price are finalists in the Historical Romance category for the 2007 Eppie awards. The Eppies are awarded by EPIC, the organization for electronic authors and publishers.

There are only three finalists in this category, so I'm thinking I better make plans to attend Epicon, the annual convention where the awards are given out. It's March, in Virginia Beach. More on this as it develops.
Thanks to my BFF Janice, I was able to snort coffee through my nose this morning while reading this cover model's lament from The Onion.
Today the Baltics, tomorrow, the NYT Bestseller list!

I got a payment for my Estonia sale yesterday, which made me want to break out into my usual "A royalty check arrived!" dance. It's not enough to pay off the mortgage, but it's a start. And it's just cool to be able to drop into conversation that I'm romancing Estonia (with a nod to "The Daily Show" for that pun) and who knows where my pirates and smugglers will travel next?
We had a good time at Jonesberry Books last night in the Tioga Town Center. It was one of those evenings when all my brain synapses were firing and I could call up a host of piratical trivia during my talk. I signed all their Darlene Marshall stock, so if you didn't get out there and you're in the Gainesville area, stop by. The Tioga Town Center is 3 miles west of I-75 at the Newberry Rd. (SR 26) exit, and if you're traveling south for the holidays it's a great opportunity to get off, stretch your legs and do a little holiday shopping in a clean, well-lit space.
Book Signing Tuesday, Dec. 5

I'll be at Jonesberry Books, in the Tioga Town Center, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5. I'll do a talk about Florida pirates and sign books. I'll have a booty chest full of chocolate coins on hand! Tell your friends and bring the family, 'cause pirate romance novels make great holiday gifts!
Go Gators!

It's Great to Be A Florida Gator! Woo Woo! On to the National Championship!
Hey! I'm 20 years younger than it says on my driver's license!

This was an accurate reflection of how I feel mentally, despite the bad knee and sagging bits:

You Are 31 Years Old
Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.What Age Do You Act?

I'm thankful that I have both my boys in for the holiday, even if the elder son's plane was delayed by three hours and involved a late night drive to Orlando. That's a small upset in the universe compared to being with your family. I'm grateful that the younger son's enjoying his college days at UF. I'm grateful that my husband turns 60 this year, having survived cancer and a heart attack. I'm also grateful to my husband for the long hours he works to make sure we're taken care of, and for many years ago being smarter than most of his peers and planning well for retirement.

I'm thankful that my hardworking agent snagged contracts overseas, and I'm thankful that that muse of mine who keeps falling asleep on the job is finally getting her act together.

I'm grateful for my good health and the continued health of my family.

I'm glad that I hate shopping and have zero desire to go out tomorrow to see what's on sale.

And as u…
Is it just what I'm reading, or has the entire concept of writing a scene in one POV flown out the window?

I admit that in one or two scenes of mine, usually when couples are making love, I might switch point of view at the end, but I avoid going back and forth jumping inside heads. To me that's just lazy writing. If you don't have the skill to convey all you need to say while within one character's POV, maybe you should re-write the scene. The mistress of this skill was the late Dorothy Dunnett. She wrote her classic Lymond Chronicles, six books, never showing anything from the hero's POV except for one sentence when the hero realizes he's in love with the heroine.

That's it. Everything you know about Francis Lymond is from other people's impressions of him, yet if you ask any fan he or she tell you that Lymond is one of the most fully fleshed out characters in modern lit. And a great romantic hero.

There's an exception to every rule, of course.…
Got some writing done on the 4th book yesterday, but not enough. Part of the problem--and this has happened before--is the next book I'm thinking about writing keeps intruding. When that happens I jot down the ideas and dialogue from what's tentatively book #5, but I get frustrated with myself because I don't want to think about those nameless characters just yet, I want to stay focused on Jack and Sophia, the characters in my WIP.

On the other hand, I did uncover the dialogue where Sophia finally tells Jack she loves him, right after she shoots him. Now all I need to do is fill in the 200 or so pages in between where I am now and where that happens and I'm done.
4 Stars from Romatic Times for Captain Sinister's Lady!

RT Rating: 4 Stars
Category: HISTORICAL Setting: 1820 High Seas and Florida Publisher: Amber Quill Press Published: December 2006 Buy Now at Amazon $13.26
Marshall's third book showcases the author's growth and increasing talent. The not-so-young hero will appeal to over-30 readers as well as any woman who yearns for a man to sweep her off her feet. The romance and sensuality are hot enough to fire a ship and tender enough to bring tears to a romantic's eyes.
Summary: Widow Amanda Stephenson is on her way to America to take her place as a semi-servant in a relative's household before starting her own business. Her marriage had been a good one, based on friendship, but now she wonders if there could be more.
Her curiosity is stretched to the limit when she meets Morgan Roberts, aka Captain Sinister, after the ship she's traveling on goes aground. An injury places her abo…
Ah, the glamorous writing life!

Today was a good writing day. I got a lot done on my WIP, and it's moving along, which makes me feel great. The words were flowing, the ideas were popping out, and all in all, it was a day well spent.

Now, this also means I look like something the dachshund dragged in. It's nearly suppertime and I haven't showered or changed out of the t-shirt and running shorts I threw on this morning to take the dog for her walk. I also didn't get done any of the errands I had on my calendar, but they can wait until tomorrow.

I may not always have the muse at my beck and call, but when she shows up, I know enough to hogtie the little twit and sit on her until I'm done for the day.
George Elliot is not the kind of writer who usually makes me laugh out loud, but thanks to Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels, I followed this link and read Elliot's essay "Silly Novels by Lady Novelists".

Gosh, I've read way too many books that match these descriptions. And most of them were written in the last 50 years.

Barbara Cartland, anyone?
Fun, but weird

What Is Your Battle Cry?Lo! Who is that, running amidst the fields! It is Darlene, hands clutching a jeweled meat hammer! And with a spectacular howl, her voice cometh:"This one's for you, mom! I slice through beating hearts like a four-year-old on a sugar rampage!!!"Find out!
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L.A. con photos

Here's a photo of me from the 2006 Hugo Awards ceremony at L.A. con IV. This is likely the closest I'll ever come to owning a Hugo, holding it for someone else, but it's a nice one.
Romance readers respond
The Washington Post and The New York Times responded to complaints by romance readers and writers that The Greater Washington Initiative, a DC business group devoted to attracting investment to the area, put up posters on the metro system that dissed romance readers.

We are tired of being treated like the readheaded stepchild of genre literature, and we're speaking out. Getting coverage in major papers, even snarky coverage like this, helps spread the word that our work has value.

And much of the credit for leading the charge goes to Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels, who live up to their name.
Dog, 1, Armadillo, 0

The dachshund of doom took on an armadillo last night. Around 11 p.m. I heard frantic, high pitched growling and barking from the back yard and ran out there. Sure enough, the 13 lb. dog had grabbed an amadillo by the tail and was holding on for dear life. The armadillo looked resigned, but then, that may be its normal expression.

While I was trying to separate Yofi from her prey with a broom (I'm no dummy--dogs bite and armadillos scratch), I was reminded that dachshunds are serious hunting dogs. Really. They're called "badger hounds" for a reason. Her front haunches were bulging with muscle and force as she dug herself in, not letting that evil critter escape.

I finally got them separated and kept Yofi at bay with the broom until the 'dillo could hightail it under the gate. Then I wrapped the shaking dog in a towel and carried her inside. There was blood in her mouth, but I think it wasn't hers, and some nasty but not deep scratches…
Romance in Germany

Seems there's a romance convention in Germany, and it's at a time I could go. Hmmmm...I'm not going to Worldcon in Japan this year, so I could probably justify the expense. Somehow.

It will all depend on when Heyne is publishing my German edition novels. I'll know more when I hear back from my agent.
You may recall that I won third place in the Lories competition for best Single Title, and this is the banner they sent me for posting at my blog.

So here it is. I know 3rd isn't as spectacular as 1st place, but when I remind myself that I won out of my category (historical) and was competing against some really fine books, I feel better about it.
More Reviews
I must have done something right this week, 'cause this is the second review I've come across:
All About Romance gives Smuggler's Bride a "B": "The story is full of gentle humour and affection... with a number of secondary characters that play their part well....To slip into some context-appropriate jargon, Smuggler’s Bride is a darned good yarn."-- Kate Cuthbert

Read the full review here:
4 Stars for Captain Sinister's Lady
In honor of International Talk Like A Pirate Day, here's a snippet of a new review of Captain Sinister's Lady:

Historical Romance Club Reviews
4 Stars--"A Must Read"

"Captain Sinister’s Lady is a wonderful, fast read with an endearing couple who want nothing more than to find a “safe harbor” in each other’s arms while braving the most dangerous adventures and villains that have graced the pages of a novel since Jewel of the Nile."

To read the full review, go here.
Have you hugged a pirate today?

It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day and I'm taking my cue from Jean Lafitte, who according to his biographers was eloquent, funny, charming and bright. Winston Grooms in his excellent Patriotic Fire--Andrew Jackson and Jean Lafitte at the Battle of New Orleans, offers this example: Lafitte was visiting various plantations, whose owners hosted him while he was avoiding Louisiana Gov. Claiborne, who'd issued a warrant for Lafitte's arrest. While visiting at Elmwood, a carriage pulled up with another guest--Gov. Claiborne's lovely wife:

"The horrified mistress of the manor sent away all of her servants except for one who was 'told to address Monsieur Lafitte as Monsieur Clement'. Lafitte was much amused by this ruse and entered into it 'with all his ease and natural grace.' Throughout the afternoon and evening Mrs. Claiborne was charmed and coquettish, never realizing that the man she was flirting with and…
I got a fan email today. I loooooooove getting fan emails. They just make me want to do a Snoopy dance all over the office and scare the dog.

I hope this never changes, and I don't become one of those highly successful, rich, jaded authors who forgets the little people...

OK, I'll take the highly successful and rich part, but I promise never to become jaded about it. Honest. Keep buying the books, and keep those cards and letters coming, folks.
Aaarh! It's that time again!

Tuesday, Sept. 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. If you feel unprepared, here's a video to help teach you in easy lessons how to convince your friends you're one salty scoundrel.
I've entered Captain Sinister's Lady and Pirate's Price in the historical romance category for the 2007 Eppies. The Eppies are awarded by EPIC, the professional organization for ebook writers, editors and publishers.

I didn't enter Pirate's Price when it was first published, and since a new edition came out this year from Amber Quill, I could enter it for the 2007 awards.

The competition for these awards is tough, but winning would be sweet. I'll update this as we get into the finals.
Worldcon was great fun and I spent time with friends old and new. I believe my two panels went well, based on the audience response and the feedback afterwards.

Guilty Pleasures was enhanced by the last minute addition of NESFA megafan and editor Priscilla Olson, who admitted to being a Yankees fan in Red Sox territory, and if that's not a guilty pleasure, I don't know what is! Eric Hoffman talked about his love of cheesy monster flicks, and Fiona Avery added to the mix as we kept a lively discussion going over what does or doesn't constitute guilty pleasures in fandom and in general society. I was quoted in the con newsletter the next day for opining that celebrity slash isn't as squicky as it sounds 'cause it's not about real people, just celebrities.

Our Paranormal Romance panel generated discussion about inroads being made in sf by readers and writers who value a good relationship at the core of the story, and whether the "happily ever after" en…
Florida Politics

Rod Smith ran a great race but didn't make it in the Florida primary. However, there were articles in today's paper saying he was a person to watch in Florida politics.

A reporter from the Gainesville Sun was at the Smith party Tuesday night and I was quoted in the paper talking about why we were part of the "Rod Squad". If he runs again, I would definitely support him.

I entered copies of Pirate's Price and Captain Sinister's Lady in the 2007 Eppies competition today. The Eppies are for best ebook, and are giving out by EPIC, the organization for ebook writers. Since both books came out in the Amber Quill Press edition this year, both qualify for the contest.

Smuggler's Bride placed 3rd in the RWA Lories earlier this year, and it's always an added bonus to be able to add "award winning author" after your name.[g]
Translation tales
My German translator says she's started working on Captain Sinister's Lady and added this lovely aside: "I'm having tons of fun with it. And enjoying the bliss of translating something I don't have to rewrite in my head before turning it into another language."

Worldcon report later....
Just a reminder that I'm off to Worldcon--If you're there, say "hi!"

My Program Schedule:
Panel 1: Thu 8/24 2:30 PM, 60-90 minutes.
Participants: Fiona Avery,Eric L. Hoffman,Darlene Marshall(M)
Precis: Here are activities that give us great personal pleasure
but somehow, down deep inside, we're just a bit ashamed to
admit that we like the Smurfs... or bowling... or mud
wrestling. Hear people reveal their Guilty Pleasures and
why they indulge.

Panel 2: Thu 8/24 5:30 PM, 60-90 minutes.
Participants: Paula Guran, Barbara Hambly,Nancy Holder,Darlene Marshall(M),Sharon Shinn
Precis: It used to be easy. This book was in that genre; this book
was in this other genre. Now the lines aren't so clear.
There seems to be a boom in romance novels and stories
involving the paranormal, fantasy, and SF. Why is this area
booming? Are romance readers looking for mor…
Best fan letter ever about Smuggler's Bride:

In fact, I'm reading about Rand and Julia now. Just before bed last night I got to the scene where they do it for the first time and she pukes. That was awesome!"

Hey, I know what the readers want!

Pirate's Price continues to climb the charts

It's now at #5 at Fictionwise, and I thank all of you who take the time to rate the ebooks you read. It means a lot to authors, and we appreciate it.
Pirate's Price scores high

When I was cruising through Fictionwise today I found Pirate's Price at #9 on their "highest rated ebooks--recent" list. Seeing the caliber of authors in the top 20, I was pleased and humbled to be in their group.

You Are a Phoenix
Driven and ambitious, you tend to acquire material success easily.
You have grand schemes - both for your own life and for changing the whole world.
You are a great leader, and you have no problem taking the reigns.
However, you aren't all business. You also have great talents for performing and visual arts.What Mythological Creature Are You?
My Worldcon Program Schedule

Panel 1: Thu 8/24 2:30 PM, 60-90 minutes.
Participants: Fiona Avery,Eric L. Hoffman,Darlene Marshall(M),Fiona Patton
Precis: Here are activities that give us great personal pleasure
but somehow, down deep inside, we're just a bit ashamed to
admit that we like the Smurfs... or bowling... or mud
wrestling. Hear people reveal their Guilty Pleasures and
why they indulge.

Panel 2: Thu 8/24 5:30 PM, 60-90 minutes.
Participants: Paula Guran, Barbara Hambly,Nancy Holder,Darlene Marshall(M),Sharon Shinn
Precis: It used to be easy. This book was in that genre; this book
was in this other genre. Now the lines aren't so clear.
There seems to be a boom in romance novels and stories
involving the paranormal, fantasy, and SF. Why is this area
booming? Are romance readers looking for more? Or are the
SF fans looking for romance? Or are …
And now, for something different...

JMCarr wrote a review of Smuggler's Bride. I can tell it's a good review, 'cause she gave it a B+. However, the review is in Spanish. I'm struggling along trying to call on my minimal Spanish from 40 years ago to decipher it, which was kind of a fun exercise.

If your Spanish is better than mine (and almost everyone's is), please check it out.
A beach getaway

I've just returned from a beach weekend with friends at St. George's Island on the Panhandle, an area that calls itself "The Forgotten Coast". And that's a darn good thing. SGI has strict zoning laws so all of the beachfront homes are moderately sized, not 20 story condos. Our spot was a delightful waterside retreat, a narrow house with four split levels, offering all of us privacy. We didn't go anywhere except out into the water to swim, and I was reminded again why I love the Gulf of Mexico. On the Florida side it's calm, serene, warm and inviting. The sand is like white sugar up past the Big Bend, and the entire experience was a soothing getaway. Our hosts even did all the cooking, which made me feel wonderfully pampered and lazy.

We took the convertible to drive top down and stayed to back roads--US 19, Alternate 27, not the Interstate. Yes, it was a longer trip, but it was infinitely more enjoyable, rolling through Old Town and F…
I dropped by Goerings Books today and was thrilled to see their display of pirate literature for young and old, including three novels by Darlene Marshall. I also got to spend some quality time discussing sf and fantasy books with Mary Ann Evans, who's been working at Goerings 'bout as long as I've lived in town.

Independent bookstores offer so much, and a well educated and well read staff is near the top of the list of those offerings.

I also got over to the Children's Home Society of Florida to drop off a box of well loved, but now sadly neglected children's books from when my boys were small. I'm not giving away all their books, after all, someday I may have grandchildren come to visit, but I felt these would do better in a new home. The books will be distributed to children within the Society's programs, and I'm sure they'll be appreciated all over again.
Gainesville Magazine dropped by to interview me for a piece they're doing on fans of Patrick O'Brian. It's for their October issue, and I'm looking forward to seeing the entire article. We talked about O'Brian's writing, how he captures that "sense of place" so well, and how, in my opinion, one of the reasons women are such fans of the novels is because essentially it's about a relationship--the relationship between Jack and Stephen--and women enjoy books about relationships (like a good romance novel).

I also visited with a jeweler who specializes in nautical and piratical designs. I decided I wanted to reward myself for my overseas sales, and asked Bernie Reller to design a pirate ship for my charm bracelet. You can see examples of his work here, and he's expanding his pirate jewelry line.

If you're looking for the perfect accessory for the pirate, privateer or smuggler in your life, check out Reller Online.
Today was a good writing day. I did mostly research, with the occasional break to type up stray thoughts as they came to me, and it must have jarred something loose in my head 'cause I figured out the ending to my WIP. Yay!

So let me ask all of you a question: Do you like seeing characters from an author's earlier books make cameo appearances in subsequent books? I've got a couple characters I'm thinking of having a walk-on in my WIP, but I'm curious as to how others feel about this.

Oh, and unlike Pirate's Price, Captain Sinister's Lady and Smuggler's Bride, it's unlikely Richard Cooper and Robin will be in this one. Although...I did say in Pirate's Price that Richard and Robin knew each other in St. Augustine before they got back together. Hmmm...Pirate's Price is 1821, the WIP is 1817, yeah, this could work.

I'll have to see where this goes.[g]
Well, we never made it to That Pirate Movie tonight. Got to the theater at 5:30 thinking we'd buy tickets for the 7:45 show.

Nope. No tickets were available until the 10:30 show. So instead we went out to supper with the couple that was going to join us at the film. Bob and Connie are two of my Florida sailors, people who can look over my books and let me know if I've made an error. Just in case you've spotted an error, they haven't been my beta readers yet--I asked them one or two specific questions, but they won't read the full manuscript until the next book.

Dinner was delightful, a veritable feast from the sea while we talked about travel plans, Patrick O'Brian, our kids (my son may have found an apartment today, their daughter's getting married next year) and SF books.

After supper we came back to the house to play "Dread Pirate", a board game where you try to amass all the booty while skirmishing and raiding your opponents. Aarrrgh! Fuel…
Is it self serving to post reviews of my own books here? Yes. Do I care? Not really.

Four Moons!--"The characterization is wonderful; you will cheer with the entire pirate crew as you wait to see if love will conquer all. PIRATE'S PRICE is a laugh-out-loud romance starring two stubborn lovers and a host of eccentric sidekicks. You won’t be able to put it down!"--Erin Brown, Mystique Books
How I Spent the 4th of July

“It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.” John Adams in a letter to Abigail on how to mark Independence Day, July 3, 1776.

There was pomp and parade, there were shows, games, sports and illuminations, and I’m sure there were guns and bells and bonfires somewhere.

July 4th in North Central Florida still has a small town feel to it. Part of that feel in Gainesville is because the town is nearly empty with the University of Florida on summer session, and so many of our residents are off to cooler climes. But for those of us who stay there’s Fanfares and Fireworks, our annual celebration of the 4th on the 3rd, sponsored by our public radio and public tv station, WUFT. It’s become a tradition now to do it on the 3rd, but a lot of folks are unaware that it started out that way because the station couldn’t a…
Your Virtual Book Bag Pistols At DawnMichele Ann Young
Pistols at Dawn
Five Star Expressions
ISBN: 1-59414-460-5 Available from and
A fatal duel leaves Victoria Torrington destitute and at the mercy of a well-known rake, Simon St. John, Earl of Travis, known as Satan to the ton, has a past shadowed by secrets and a reputation for the luck of the devil. To Victoria’s surprise, he declares she must select a bridegroom by the end of the London Season or accept one of his choosing.
Tired of irresponsible males dictating her life, Victoria refuses to acknowledge the earl’s high-handed edict and disputes his authority. Thrown into close proximity in London’ season, the couple denies their growing attraction.
Beneath the earl’s chilly exterior, Victoria senses an honorable and caring spirit. She can’t resist his sensual allure when he drops his guard. For all Victoria’s seeming innocence, Simon knows the full extent of feminine wiles. No woman will eve…
The Simple Life
I noticed as I was walking around Clearwater Beach yesterday that there was a little cafe not too far from our hotel, a cafe that specialized in down home breakfasts. Since we were both up early this morning, I suggested a walk to the cafe rather than risking the hotel food. Plus the fresh air and exercise would do us good.

It was the right choice. The Sunrise Cafe had a breakfast that was absolute Southern heaven for a fraction of the hotel costs. A waitress whose "Mornin', Honey"' greeted you as soon as you walked in, good fresh coffee without any frou-frou venti nonsense about it, and a deft hand with the basics: eggs, biscuits, grits and home fries. I have no doubt their locally cured ham and bacon was every bit as good as everything else.

Now, all that sounds like simple food, but sometimes simple is the hardest to get right. For instance, about a month ago I was in Atlanta--Atlanta, by all that's holy--and I had the worst grits I'd…
From Mrs. Giggles, an 80 for Captain Sinister's Lady:

Captain Sinister's Lady
by Darlene Marshall, historical (2006)
Amber Quill, $5.25, ISBN 1-59279-500-5

"...I really like Amanda as a heroine. She wins me over from the first page when it's clear that she has a workable plan when she sets out to America. She's a refreshing change from those stupid nitwits that board a ship after they spent the last of their money on the fare only to wander around like witless fools on a distant shore with no plan and no money. For a long time, she keeps her wits around her and acts like an intelligent, sensible heroine. Morgan can be high-handed at times but his bluster hides the fact that he is socially inept when it comes to women that he wants to woo and marry. He's an adorable mix of the arrogant alpha-male and the mushy beta-hero."
Raiding the Baltics!

I got an email from my agent the other day letting me know he'd sold my books to a publisher in Estonia.

They want hot pirate romance in Estonia! Who knew?

OK, my agent knew. That's why he pulls down his paycheck. Anyway, I'm looking forward to breaking into a new market. It makes sense that Estonians want romance novels. Those long nights in winter give you a lot of reading time. And I'm looking forward to styling myself "Amastama Jumalanna", which a friend assures me is Estonian for "Love Goddess."

Knowing her, it more likely means "She Who Steps in Dog Doo". If any of you out there speak Estonian and can verify the meaning of "Amastama Jumalanna", I'd be grateful.

UPDATE 7/3--I heard back from an Estonian, and he says "Love Goddess" is "Armastusjumalanna". From now on I expect to be addressed with respect, people!
Captain Sinister’s Lady Darlene Marshall
Historical romance
Available from Amber Quill Press
ISBN: 1- 59279-500-5
March 2006
Amanda Stephenson travels on the merchantman ‘Penelope’ on her way to join her husband’s relatives in America. Now a widow, she hopes to start a new life in a world of opportunity. The Penelope is found stranded on a reef by Captain Morgan Roberts also known as Captain Sinister. Morgan has decided to end his life as a privateer and settle down on his farm but he cannot pass up such an opportunity. Once he sees Amanda he decides he needs a wife on his farm and she will do nicely. Using all his skills as a pirate, not knowing anything about romancing and courting a lady, he goes about trying to convince Amanda to marry him. Captain Sinister’s Lady is another wonderful story from Darlene Marshall. Some of the characters from her books “Pirate’s Price” and “The Smuggler’s Bride” make an appearance in this story. Her stories offer a blend of adventure, romance, and humor.…
Review--from BooksForum at ForumsAmerica:

© 2006 All Rights Reserved Readers & Writers Ink ReviewsCAPTAIN SINISTER'S LADY
By Darlene Marshall
Historical romance (19th century Florida)
March 2006
Amber Quill Press
ISBN: 1-59279-744-XAnyone who has despaired of the current state of romance can rejoice that Darlene Marshall has written of pirates -- um, privateers, courageous women, dastardly villians and a happy ever after that readers can believe in.Young widow Amanda Stephenson is en route from Yorkshire to her late husband's relatives in Charleston, where she hopes they will give her a home and a place to make her soaps and lotions. Sailing through the Florida Straits proves the unmaking of her plans when her ship is grounded and Captain Morgan Roberts takes it over.Morgan is about ready to leave the privateering life and settle down, renouncing his other name, Captain Sinister. He has loved life on the sea but he's getting to be an old sea dog rather than a young pup. That…
I had a lovely time tonight kicking off the Friends of the Library Summer Seminar series with a talk on Florida Piracy in the 19th C. There was a much larger turnout than I expected and we packed the little airconditioned office at the "bookhouse", the warehouse where the FoL has their twice a year booksales to raise extra funds for the Alachua County Library District.

The crowd was enthusiastic though, and I enjoyed myself thoroughly, talking about researching pirates, sharing Florida history, and the joy of a profession where it's "work" to drive to St. Augustine for the day and walk the streets to get a feel for how life was in the 18th C. town.

I played it smart and didn't drink the offered wine during my program. I made the mistake last year at Worldcon in Scotland of taking advantage of my free drink chit before my program. Not a pretty sight.

I also had some sales after the talk, and while that was helpful, the best part was just getting out there a…
Last night was the annual Bar Association dinner and we were there, not only 'cause my dear husband's on the local Bar's board, but because these events are entertaining. Really. I love hanging out with attorneys. They have great stories and most of them are smart and fun to be with.

I gave away a signed copy of Captain Sinister's Lady as a door prize, and much to my delight, the winner was a judge who's also a sailor! I personalized it for him, and made him promise to let me know how he liked it. He, in turn, invited me out for a sail and said anytime I needed info on sailing I could call him. So since I had him right there for research, I posed a question that's been going back and forth at a couple sites I frequent:

"The opening into a cabin, is it a hatch or a door?"
"Abovedecks or below?"
"It's a door. A hatch goes into the deck or is an entrance to a hold."
"Aaaargh!" I said. "I d…
The Storm Passes

It's now 4 p.m., and it looks like the worst is behind us, and it wasn't that bad. There's still a chance of more storms tonight, but we're no longer under a tornado watch nor do we have any flooding concerns unless something changes.

It's breezy and still spitting rain outside, but here in North Central Florida, inland, all we got was a good and much needed soaking.

We're all very grateful.
So Far, So Good

It's 11:30 a.m. and the rain just started again. It rained through the night, but when I woke this morning it had mostly stopped. I knew the storm hadn't even hit the coast yet and now the advance rain and wind has returned, but I'm optimistic based on the latest reports.

One of the first things I looked for this morning was whether there was water sitting on the ground, on top of the grass. That would have indicated the soil was so saturated it couldn't hold any more, an early sign to prepare for flooding. In past hurricanes I've seen the water rise up on the lawn, creeping over the patio and heading for the house, but so far, so good.

In a few minutes I'll break for lunch and turn on the Weather Channel to get the noon report and the latest on Alberto.
Hunkerin' down

Only 12 days into the hurricane season, and Alberto comes calling. We're right in its path, though we're 60 miles inland. I know from hurricanes Frances and Irene that doesn't necessarily mean much. You can still have tornadoes, backed-up sewers, flooding and wind damage. So, we did our hurricane prep just as we're supposed to. I've got plenty of batteries, water, a full tank of gas in my car and on my gas grill, a freezer full of ice, canned food, a camp stove, lamps and lanterns.

My biggest concern is that one of the trees I love so much will crash into the house. Otherwise, I'm prepared for just about anything else, and we'll ride this one out.

More on the storm later...
Conner Calling

I had a grand time on Hank's show yesterday, and if you're one of the fine folks who phoned in, thanks! The time passed way too quickly, and we want to do it again soon. If you came here looking for my books, they're available in signed editions at Goerings Bookstore in Gainesville on W. University Avenue and 34th Street at the Westgate Plaza. They're also available through Amazon and my publisher, and I hope if you buy them you'll write and let me know how you liked my stories!
From Your Virtual Book Bag


Celia May Hart

Kensington Aphrodisia, 0-7582-1464-2
Erotic Regency Historical The Barrington library is unique…and Miss Portia Carew just peeked into a tempting tale of desire–forbidden, lusty, and desperately erotic desire. She wants more. Much more. How fortunate that she is alone and hidden… well, almost hidden. That handsome rake Mark Knightson has witnessed her session of secret pleasure and he knows she’s ready to experience what only he can give her. Delicious, unmentionable, carnal delight. is currently running a contest, where two winners will take home some delicious chocolate! Check out her website for details!
On the Air!

I'll be the guest today from 1-2 p.m. on "Conner Calling"a phone-in/email-in radio show on WUFT-FM/WJUF-FM, Classic 89, the public radio station for North Central Florida.

We'll likely be discussing pirate romance, Florida history, ebooks and more!

Today's Wednesday, which means the Farmers' Market will be set up downtown on the Sun Plaza. It's one of the highlights of my work week, to go downtown as the sun's sinking lower in the west and check out the goodies. I've become quite the seasonal cook, basing my menus around what's fresh and available from local vendors. Now that the summer's full on us in Florida, the salads are gone. Lettuce is a winter crop here, but it can't tolerate the high heat and humidity of our summer months. Instead, we get corn, collards, squash, peppers, eggplant, onions and leeks, melons--lots of melons, luscious and dripping with juice--and for another month or so, blueberries. I usually buy three or four pints of blueberries, and they never make it into pies or cobblers. Instead, I wash them and put them out on the counter in my berry bowl, and people in the house snack on them through the day.

You get a totally different feel for food when you're eating fre…
Florida Politics

I attended a fundraiser for "Women for Rod Smith" today, and I'm going to use this post to encourage all of you who are Florida voters to support Rod Smith for governor. I've known Rod for over 20 years, and he would bring a wealth of experience, common sense and compassion to the governor's mansion in Tallahassee. And it's a two-fer. Rod's wife Dee-Dee is an long time activist for children, especially teenage girls, through her work with the Girls Club and other programs. Florida's children and families need an advocate who can work with the legislature and who cares, and Rod is that person.

Our state needs fresh leadership for the 21st century. Check out Rod's website to learn more at
Smuggler's Bride places in the Lories Contest!

Smuggler's Bride, my newly re-released historical, placed third in the single title category in the 2006 From the Heart Romance Writers Lories Best Published Contest.

In Smuggler's Bride, Julia Cooper has a secret that could cost her her life. She's really Lady Julia Anne Sanders Delerue, and she's investigating who's using Delerue-Sanders Shipping to smuggle contraband into frontier Florida. But when her disguise as a cleaning woman at her uncle's tavern gets her kidnapped and taken deep into the pine woods, she has to think fast to stay alive--while asking herself, who would kidnap a cleaning woman?

Rand Washburn has a secret that could cost Julia Cooper her life. When two pea-brains dump an Englishwoman at his farm while he's recovering from yellow fever, he has to figure out how to get rid of her before she finds out he's sitting on top of the biggest smuggling operation ever seen in Territorial Florid…
I was inteviewed over at Novelspot. Read all about it here.
On the air, again!

I'll be making two public appearances in June: On June 9, 1-2 p.m. EDT, I'll be the guest on "Conner Calling", a phone in radio show on WUFT/WJUF FM public radio covering all of North Florida. This will be my third appearance on Hank's show, and I'll be discussing Captain Sinister's Lady and researching Florida pirates. Go to hear the show online

I'll also be speaking to the Alachua County (Florida) Friends of the Library on June 19, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bookhouse on North Main Street. The FOL talk will focus on Florida pirates and using the public library for researching historicals.

Finally, while I'm not scheduled to speak, I'll be attending the Florida Bar Convention in Boca Raton on June 21-23, and the FAIFA convention in Clearwater on June 25-27, as a spouse/guest. As always though, I'll have books available if any of you lawyer or insurance professionals will be there an…
Now Playing At Amazon

Today Amazon posted the print edition of Smuggler's Bride, so all three books are once again not only back in print, but widely available.

Yes, this is shameless self promotion, but people have been asking when they'd be available at Amazon, so I'm just giving the people what they want. Do be aware that there's still an old edition of Pirate's Price being offered for $20.00. Don't buy it--you can get the new edition for under $10 at Amazon.

And as always, I appreciate your support, and I encourage you to write and let me know how you liked my novels.
Back from Boston

I was off for a few days attending my son's graduation from university, where he got his bachelor's degree in Politics magna cum laude, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and received departmental honors for his thesis.

Honestly, neither his father nor I know where he gets it from.

But I can say that it was one of the happiest days of my life, watching my son finish his schooling and prepare to join the adult world. With a job, no less!

I didn't take my laptop with me, which was good 'cause I didn't have time to do any writing. I did take some Smuggler's Bride and Captain Sinister's Lady bookmarks, and as usual my dear husband was my best salesman. When I get on a plane, I tend to put in my earplugs, pull on an eyeshade and zone out until the end of the flight. He likes to meet everyone around him and chat them up. Since we usually fly seated separately (we both like aisle seats), this gives us both an opportunity to fly the way we like, a…
I received word today that Smuggler's Brideis back in print, so once again all of my books can be purchased in ebook or in paper.


Smuggler's Bride is going to be the greatest challenge to my German translator, I believe. So much of the dialogue is set in the Cracker backwoods that it's going to take a delicate hand to strike a balance between dialect and a good translation, but I have faith it can be done.

In the meantime, you can now purchase paper copies of Pirate's Price, its sequel, Smuggler's Bride, and the newest release, Captain Sinister's Lady from Amber Quill Press or through your favorite bookdealer.
And now, a recommendation:

I luuuuuurve Evil Editor, whose subheading is "Why You Don't Get Published". I want to have his babies.

No, not really. I don't want to have anybody's babies now that my nest is empty, but you get the idea.

The point is, Evil Editor is funny, but there's more than humor at his site. Sure, Evil Editor is saving us from bad novels and that's a valuable public service. Evil Editor is also a nice enough person that he re-writes the godawful queries that make us howl, showing Constant Reader how it ought to be done.

And that's value added in the blogging world. Lots of people snark their way through bad synopses and worse query letters, but Evil Editor offers real advice.

If you're serious about wanting to get published, check out Evil Editor's blog.
OK, the turning into an evil robot part is kinda cool:

Your Deadly SinsWrath: 60%Lust: 40%Envy: 0%Gluttony: 0%Greed: 0%Pride: 0%Sloth: 0%Chance You'll Go to Hell: 14%You will die, but first you will turn into an evil robot.How Sinful Are You?
When I go more than a week without writing something in my blog I start to panic, thinking that I'm not fulfilling my end of this non-existent contract, the one in the blogging world that says "What I have to say is important, and I need to write about my life every day!"

Well, sometimes it just isn't that important. Let's see--in the last week my younger boy came home from college, which is nice, and shared with me today that he got a 3.54 GPA this past semester which is also nice, even if he got it by dropping one of his classes a month ago so he could concentrate on those classes where he was doing well, and we'll have to eat the tuition on that one, but hey, he got an A in Philosophy and an A in Literature because he could devote more time to those classes, so it's OK, isn't it?

Or so the story went that I heard.

The older son graduates in two weeks, and that will also be special. Having him employed next year will be even more special, but we&#…
How do you say "I write hot pirate romances!" in German?

The novels of Darlene Marshall are going international! I've received an offer from an overseas publisher for German language editions of my books Pirate's Price, Smuggler's Bride and Captain Sinister's Lady, and I'm very excited at the prospect.

At first I thought the email making the offer was some kind of weird spam scam, but I checked it out with a friend who does German translations, and who I hope will be doing my books, and she assured me it was legit. So now I have a foreign rights agent, which makes me feel all hoity-toity. Believe me, I'm going to dine out on this one for a while.

And my family is quite impressed. As my eldest son said, "Mom! You're going to be the David Hasselhoff of pirate porn!"

Your Virtual Book Bag

Love is All You Need--Lori Devoti

When Del Montgomery’s boss sends her to the Missouri Ozarks in search of a legendary pottery pig, her mission seems simple: figure out which of the clueless locals has the pig, convince them to sell it for peanuts, and then hightail it back to Chicago. Local auctioneer, Sam Samson, could be the perfect secret weapon in her search– as long as he never figures out what she’s really after. But is it possible to resist a tall, dark, gorgeous guy who’s as sly as he is sexy?

Everything about Del turns Sam on, from her city sass to her delicious cleavage to her habit of twitching her nose when she’s about to tell a whopper. And she’s been telling a lot of them. Still, Sam knows a true babe when he sees one, and he’s not about to let Del slip away…
Read an Excerpt Order from Amazon


Five Stars from

“Lori Devoti has burst out on the romance scene with her second hilariously entertaining book LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED.

I knew it all along.

A Pirate Raider
You scored 2 Honor, 2 Justice, 7 Adventure, and 12 Individuality! More than just the usual swabbie, you demand not only the life at sea, free from landlubbers and their rules, but also you require adventure and excitement. You're happiest when the guns are blazing, the risk high, the outcome uncertain, but the chance for reward substansial. Your kind are welcomed as allies and feared as enemies.Put on your wooden leg and hook. You'll do just fine!

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:You scored higher than 0% on NinjinuityYou scored higher than 0% on KnightlynessYou scored higher than 65% on CowboiosityYou scored higher than 99% on Piratical Bent
On the air

I was on WUFT/WJUF "Classic 89/Nature Coast 90" this morning, doing the Spring Membership Campaign for public radio. And I'll be back on the air Friday morning, so if you want to catch me in the act, it's, from 6-9 a.m. EDT.

Anyway, one of the things we did was offer a special premium of a signed Darlene Marshall set--Captain Sinister's Lady and Pirate's Price, for a "dollar-a-day" pledge, $365. And we got it in the first 30 minutes of the offer!

But the really, really cool thing was when I went to personalize it: "To Mary, Happy 90th Birthday". How cool is that? A woman bought the set for her mom's 90th.

I just hope the lady is up to that much piratical excitement.

From The Road to Romance:
Amanda Stephenson boarded the ship bound for America with high hopes in her heart. Recently widowed, and impoverished, Amanda had decided to travel from Yorkshire to America to live with some of her former husband’s relatives. She hoped that she’d be able to eke out a living making scented soaps and creams for the American ladies using the coveted recipes passed down to her by her famed Brooke ancestress.

However, fate has other plans for Amanda, and adventure shows up to claim her in the form of a pirate-turned-privateer, Captain Sinister.

Morgan Roberts, a. k. a. the notorious Captain Sinister, finds Amanda’s ship foundering, and, since his new profession as a wrecker and privateer allow it, goes in to offer ‘assistance’. Captain Sinister’s assistance, however, includes making the crew row to shore and taking everything that’s not bolted down - which is, of course, what any other good wrecker would have done.…
Spring is here

Remember the bird building the nest in my impatiens? The eggs have hatched, and I've enjoyed watching the little mother house sparrow flying back and forth to the hanging basket, bringing worms to her babies. Usually they're quiet, but when she shows up they go nuts, cheeping frantically to get their share of the goodies. I startled her the other day when I carefully tipped a little water into the impatiens pot to help the poor plant survive, but she didn't abandon the nest.

I know it's a house sparrow 'cause I looked in my Audubon Field Guide to Florida. Let me make a pitch here for having a good field guide when you're writing, even if you're writing about your own back yard. You may think you know an area, but a field guide will not only help you broaden the range of plants and wildlife you're writing about, it can also help "color" a scene by adding details. I'd be lost without my Nature of Florida and Audubon guides…
Vote Early! Vote Often! No, don't do that, Vote Once!

My historical Smuggler's Bride has been nominated for the first annual BWAHA Awards - Bitchery Writing Award for Hellagood Authors over at, of course, Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels.

I'm honored to be in such fine company, and a list of the nominees follows. And it goes without saying, I would appreciate your vote!

Best Contemporary
Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Hot Tamara by Mary Castillo
Breaking Point by Suzanne Brockmann
Black Ice by Anne Stuart
Wedding Survivor by Julia London
Ex and the Single Girl by Lani Diane Rich
Mouth to Mouth by Erin McCarthy
Best Historical
Smuggler’s Bride by Darlene Marshall
Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase
Siren by Cheryl Sawyer
It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation Lauren Willig
The Veil of the Night by Lydia Joyce Best Series/Contemporary
Ultra Violet by Ellen Henderson
Her Body of Work by Marie Donovan
The Orchid Hunter by Sandra K. Moo…
I just finished a fantasy novel that's been getting lots of advance buzz, and for once the novel delivered on the promise. His Majesty's Dragon, by Naomi Novik (British title: Temeraire) is part O'Brien, part MacCaffrey, part Forrester, but all done well.

During the Napoleonic Wars, HMS Reliant takes a French prize carrying a secret cargo, a dragon's egg. Since fighting dragons were used by both sides during the war, and since England expects every man to do his duty, an officer on the Reliant has to step forward to partner with the dragon when it hatches, but the dragon hatchling insists on bonding with the Reliant's captain, Will Laurence. This is the end of Laurence's naval career, as he'll have to transfer to the Aerial Corps with his dragon, Temeraire. It's also the end of any hope of a normal life--Aerial Corps officers cannot split their loyalties, and normally don't marry or own land, but devote themselves to their flying partners.

For the Pirate Who's Pillaged Everything

Like me, you probably scratch your head and wonder, "What do I get for the gal who's already sent countless hapless sailors to Davy Jones' Locker?" For the pirate or privateer on your gift list, a museum quality replica of a brigantine similar to that used in Pirates of The Caribbean. You even have a choice of white or black sails. And it's on sale! But you have to find your own swashbuckler.
Your Virtual Book Bag 2nd in Lucy’s Historical Trilogy is Out NowTEMPT ME by Lucy Monroe
ISBN 0-4252-0922-9
Berkley Sensation
Sexy Historical Mass Market PaperbackHumiliated by his family’s indiscretions, Lucas, Lord Ashton-nicknamed “The Saint” - wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with the prim and proper bride of his choice. And if the innocent young lady in question gives him some decidedly devilish urges, he is determined to control himself-much to her dismay.Lady Irisa Langley is at her wit’s end. Much as she loves her exasperatingly perfect fiancé, she’s starting to think it would be wrong of her to marry him. For Irisa has a secret that would shock even the world-weary denizens of the Ton, and someone-who doesn’t want her anywhere near Lucas-knows it.Lucas never knew that he could desire more in a bride than impeccable manners and an unblemished pedigree. But even as scandal looms, a loyal little spitfire with heated kisses and silken skin is making him forget every rule …