Showing posts from 2009
Image by Getty Images via DaylifeHave a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year! May your dreams come true in 2010.
Persimmon recipes were mentioned today over on Twitter. Here's one of my favorites:

Julia Cooper, aka Lady Julia Delerue, is the heroine of SMUGGLER'S BRIDE, a follow-up to PIRATE'S PRICE. One of the ways Julia keeps smuggler Rand Washburn content is through her cooking skills, including a mighty tasty persimmon cake. I buy my persimmons at the Gainesville Farmers Market in the autumn. I love to see them on the kitchen counter, their bright orange color brightening everything around them.

Julia Cooper’s Persimmon Cake

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup margarine
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 cup persimmon pulp--approx. six Florida persimmons
½ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325F

To get persimmon pulp: Take very ripe persimmons, cut in half, scoop pulp out. Remove pithy seed area, pulse a few times in food processor. Cream sugar and margarine, add eggs, add dry…
The Bride and the Buccaneer, Now in Paper!

Just in time for you to order yourself some post-holiday relaxation! The Bride and the Buccaneer is available in paper as well as *ebook editions. Click on the link to order, or go to

*Kindle editions coming soon
Image by c r i s via FlickrHappy Holidays!

Odds are, you're celebrating something this time of year. I just wanted to take a moment to thank all my readers, and wish them a happy holiday and a wonderful new year. There are days when I stare at my computer wondering why I ever thought I could write novels. Then I get a note from a fan, or read a review, and it's like my batteries have been recharged to "full".

Thank you all very much for reading my books and for letting me know you enjoyed them. It means the world to me.

Want Paper? Or Kindle?

If you'd like to be notified when the paper or the Kindle editions of The Bride and the Buccaneer are available, drop me a line at darlenemarshallATdarlenemarshallDOTcom and I'll put you on my list.

I got the paper cover jpg today, which means paper editions are coming soon. I'm very excited! While I love my ebooks, I know some readers want their books in a more traditional package, and I'm happy to be able to accommodate them.
The Bride and the Buccaneer ebook now available!

Just in time for the holidays, The Bride and the Buccaneer is now available in a variety of digital formats from Amber Quill Press, and it's on sale! Can't beat that with a stick!

You can read an excerpt at my website, but here's the teaser:

A beautiful thief...
A bold privateer...
Two enemies united by a love for gold may find an event greater treasure in
The Bride and the Buccaneer

Soon there will be print and Kindle editions as well. Watch this space!
Image via WikipediaHoliday shopping!

If you have not yet purchased a gift for the reader in your life (maybe yourself), consider getting an ebook reader. There's a range of possibilities and prices this year, and some dealers are offering specials. For example, Sony was offering discounted accessories last week for the PRS 300 (Pocket) with purchase of the reader.

Ereaders are truly the gift that keeps on giving. They can carry a library's worth of reading material, so you could be reading The Bride and the Buccaneer when when you're stuck in traffic or waiting in line to return that sweater with the reindeer from Aunt Mabel that just wasn't you.
Image via WikipediaFloridians know where the real First Thanksgiving was. And wouldn't you be more thankful someplace warm and sunny? I know I would.
Image by Old Shoe Woman via FlickrChocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Some of you have asked for my recipe for Chocolate Bourbon Pecan pie, so here it is. The secret to success is the quality of the ingredients. Having said that, I use a frozen pie shell because "quality" and my efforts at pie crust making do not go hand-in-hand. However, if you're skilled in that area, go for it.

This recipe is in two steps. The pecans bathe in the bourbon overnight. Otherwise it's fairly quick and simple.

About 1 cup of good bourbon
1.5 cups pecan halves (fresh shelled are best)
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup dark corn syrup (I'm told you can use pecan syrup, but I haven't tried that yet)
4 oz. top quality bittersweet cooking chocolate, melted and cooled (I love Scharffen Berger for this recipe)
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted (I use margarine to keep it non-dairy, but butter would be better)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 unbaked 9" pastry shell

Soak pecans in b…
Image by h-bomb via FlickrThanksgiving Prep

Pies are done, most of the groceries are purchase, picking up son tonight, farmers market tomorrow. Must be almost Thanksgiving!

Image via WikipediaO Canada!

Good news for romance readers north of the border! Kindle editions are now available in Canada. When the nights grow long this winter and the north winds howl, what could be better than a hot pirate romance set in the Sunshine State?

I'm very pleased to have another international market open up for my ebooks, and I hope to hear back from Canadian Kindle users. Oh, and Smuggler's Bride has a bit of Canadian/US history in it. I haven't been ignoring you all these years.

Image by atmasphere via FlickrNow that I'm a proud ebook reader owner I've noticed that we owners like to compare our units when we see other people reading digitally.

Gosh, that almost sounds obscene.

Anyway, I was at the fabulous Downtown Arts Festival yesterday and I noticed a vendor had her Kindle out, and was reading Virginia Woolf. I whipped out one of my new The Bride and the Buccaneer bookmarks and gave it to her, saying "All of Darlene Marshall's novels are available in Kindle editions, and there's a new one coming out in December." Then I pulled out my Sony Pocket and displayed its spiffy lime-green MEdge jacket, and how it displays so well on a small screen.

I also bought a beautiful black and red table from her, but hey, it's for my office!

Image via WikipediaI was at the farmers market yesterday (briefly, it started raining again) and managed to score some of the first crop of China Honey oranges and pecans. The China Honeys tend to sell out very quickly, but I got there early enough to get a 1/4 bushel. Mmmm...sweet, easy to skin, juicy China Honeys.

But the real prize was the pecans. I'd been a bit nervous because Leo didn't have his pecans in at the beginning of November because of the unusually warm weather. Now I can shell them to make my pecan pies for Thanksgiving.

Normally my dear husband shells the pecans, but he's having a busy month so I'm giving him a break. That custom of him doing the shelling goes back to early in our marriage. We were broke, and the packaged, shelled pecans in the supermarket were too expensive for my budget. He needed to go to Tallahassee on business and on the way back passed a roadside pecan stand. Knowing how much I love pecan pie, he bought a bag, brought them …
So long, and thanks for all the rain!

We got brushed with the edge of Ida, which dumped some much needed water over our part of the state. A couple of inches of precipitation, spread gently through the afternoon and evening, was just right for rehydrating some extremely parched areas of North Central Florida.

The excellent weekend forecast (rain chance 5%, temps topping out at 80F) makes me feel even better because I'm looking forward to attending the Downtown Arts Festival, one of my favorite fall events!
Image by ayustety via FlickrI've got my galleys for The Bride and the Buccaneer! Now I need to gather my red pens, my manuscript, and my lip balm.

Why lip balm? I do the final read-through of the manuscript aloud, and this chaps my lips. In the old, pre-Bluetooth days it would also garner frightened looks from people around me in the coffeeshop. They would see this woman talking to herself, gesticulating wildly, and move to another table. But I've learned that reading the manuscript aloud is a good way to catch typos. Your mind tends to fill in the blanks while you're reading. That's why you can look at a sentence like "Hr ns ws rd frm cryng" and figure out it means "Her nose was read from crying" without too much difficulty. Your mind fills in the missing vowels.

The other thing that happens is I'll take a break from reading the manuscript, read my daily paper over lunch, and find myself reading it aloud with my lips moving. Sure catch a lot of …
Image via WikipediaHad a library foundation meeting this afternoon, and the news is encouraging. Our library use is at an all time high and our endowment fund portfolio is starting to recover from its swan dive last year.

I'm not surprised the library usage is up. In tough times people depend on their public libraries more than in good times. All the more reason to work hard at ensuring public libraries stay open, vibrant and available to the people.

We also heard who our author is going to be for our next Gala. Can't say who it is yet, but it's another NYT bestselling author who I know will be a crowd pleaser. Stay tuned!
Image by Felix42 contra la censura via FlickrI'm reviewing the University of Florida's Zombie Attack Preparedness Plan. You just can't take chances this weekend.
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I was writing away earlier and discovered my pirate villain is allergic to cats.

I know writers, excellent writers, who make elaborate profiles of their characters before they start writing: "He's got hair like golden wheat, ice blue eyes, hates beets, and was beaten by his tutor for not being able to grasp the intricacies of French verbs..."

Me, I'm a seat of the pants writer. Though I prefer the more elegant term "organic" writer. I sometimes start with a notion of what my characters look like, but I let them reveal information to me as we go along.

For example, In Castaway Dreams the hero and heroine, and the heroine's small dog are rescued by pirates. There's a conversation between the pirate captain and the hero over rats in the hold, and the hero asks why there's no ship's cat? The answer is because the captain's allergic to cats.

A small plot device, but one that could loom large later. Maybe I'll have the …
Image by dcruzin via FlickrI've been noticing I don't blog very often compared to some others. Y'all can thank me later.
My new book cover is here! Thank you, Trace Edward Zaber and the fabulous crew at Amber Quill Press!!!
Image via WikipediaEvery day I have to psych myself up to exercise. I have a set routine of a 2.5 mile walk carrying 10 lbs. of weights, and each time I hear a little voice in my head saying "It's too's way too're too tired...the weights'll do it tomorrow..." and when I leave the house it's with the mental carrot dangling in front of me that if I get tired, I'll do a shorter walk and come home.

So I'm always a little surprised when I find my footsteps turning back in at my driveway at the end of the walk. I think it helps that I let my mind wander so freely while I'm walking. For example, today I realized that when the villain kidnaps Daphne, the heroine of my WIP, she's going to have to leave her little bichon Pompom behind, and that will be a massive piece of cluecake for the hero. He might fear Daphne would leave him, but he knows she'd never leave Pompom!

I was still thinking about how I was going…
Image via WikipediaGood News Today

I learned Kindle editions of my books will soon be available to more non-US consumers, which makes me happy. I've always felt one of the advantages of being published in ebook format was the ability to make more writers (like me) available to international audiences.

I also learned that Barnes & Noble is now carrying Darlene Marshall's ebooks, which is also good news. The timing is excellent since The Bride and the Buccaneer will be coming out at the end of the year.
Related articles by ZemantaAmazon slashes Kindle price, launches international version (
Image by juhansonin via FlickrI had one of those "down the rabbit hole" moments this evening. I went online to buy the ebook edition of Jocelynn Drake's Dawnbreaker (I'm enjoying her Dark Days urban fantasy series, check it out). Anyway, I saw the mass market paperback in the store today, retailing for $7.99. I went to buy the ebook edition, and it was retailing for $14.99.

I absolutely, positively do not understand why a publisher thinks I'm going to pay twice as much for a digital edition that costs less to produce, and lacks color cover art, as well as having limited portability--I can only read it on my ereader, not save it for 20 years on my bookshelf or loan it to a friend. For me, the whole idea of ebooks is that they should cost less to encourage the use of ereaders and save wear and tear on the environment.

This isn't the first time I've seen this happen. There's a discussion going on right now at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books about this i…
Image by Getty Images via DaylifeI bought a dedicated ereader last week, the Sony Pocket 300 (the one in the illustration isn't mine, but I do have the passionate purple model). So far it's working as promised--a bare bones, small, lightweight device that reads ebooks and related files. I'm liking it. It won't replace print books altogether in my house, but I do feel better about buying books I know I'm not going to keep. No trees are killed to produce ebooks, and with as many books as I buy each month that's a green move I can support.

It doesn't read every single format but it reads enough of them that I've only found two works on my computer--one is a novella--in non-Pocket formats.

Some of the reasons I went with the ebook reader now: 1. the price was right, under $200. 2. I'm reading more ebooks 3. some authors are producing only e-works, such as novellas or short stories you can't find in print. 4. With luggage restrictions I'd rath…
Image by ForestForTrees via FlickrSeptember 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. It's also Rosh Hashanna. This could make the tropes of the holy day much more interesting: "Repent, ye scurvy dog, or it's walkin' the plank for ye!"
I hate it when that happens!

I spent all morning working on a scene--one of those scenes if you must know--and when I just looked at it again I thought, "It's too soon. They need to wait."

But it wasn't wasted. I clipped the scene and put it in a file to be used later. It's like those Viagra commercials: You want to be ready when the time's right. But you also don't want to rush into something when the time's not yet right. And for these two fictional characters, the time's not yet right (no matter that the heroine keeps insisting she's more than ready for some hanky-panky).
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Bombing of Ft. McHenry, Sept. 13, 1814

“But take heart, men, just as your countrymen did! America cannot be frightened into submission! 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 sailors!”--Sea Change, c. 2009 (unpublished manuscript)

Today's the anniversary of another attack on American soil. This one led to an amateur poet putting pen to paper and writing verses about the "rockets' red glare" that live on, 195 years later.

One could wish it had been set to an easier to sing melody, but so it goes.
I've given in. Allowed myself to be assimilated by the Borg. I realize now resistance was futile.

I installed Word on my computer.

I am a WordPerfect user, have been since I plinked away at my first word processor. Ah, the days of WP 5.1! How I loved thee! But I've had too many problems in the past years with people who demand Word files. When I'd save my files as RTF, there were always some format glitches (and before you all rush in and tell me how I could have avoided that if only I'd been a little less ignorant, save it. It's too late). I tried that Open source thing that's an alternative to Word, and I couldn't stand it. It too never did what I wanted it to, and it was slowing down my edits on The Bride and the Buccaneer.

So yesterday after hashing it over with my editor again, I decided it wasn't worth it, and I embraced the Evil Empire. Not completely though. I'll still write my first drafts in WordPerfect,
where my comfort level is h…
It's a plot. The words "farther" and "further" are waiting to entrap me in a morass of misuse. When they find my body, Strunk and White clutched in my hand, they'll know I went down fighting the good fight.
Image via WikipediaI've been waiting until I had the edits in hand to make this announcement:

The Bride and the Buccaneer, a new Darlene Marshall historical romance, is set for December 2009 publication in ebook and print from Amber Quill Press.

Some of you may recall snippets from way back, when its working title was "A Pirate's Treasure". Here's the short blurb:

A beautiful thief. . .
A bold privateer. . .
Two enemies united by a love for gold may find an even greater treasure in

I'm excited to have a new book coming out, and will post a notice when I have an exact release date.

Image by Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr

Happy Labor Day to all you hard working folks! I realized today that not only do I love my new career as an author, but I haven't had to wear a suit, stockings and pumps to work in ages! Yay for flamingo shirts and running shorts!
I tweeted earlier that I was going to shower to figure out what I'd be blogging today. Yes, Twitter can be that lame. But it worked. While I was showering I realized I could blog about...showering.

I'll spare you the damp details of my shower. It's not about my fabulous remodeled bathroom with its two shower heads, it's about why showering boosts your creativity. Yes, being clean and smelling sweet is wonderful, even when you're the only one in your house staring at your screen and keyboard, but it's not about that either. It's about how boring, repetitive tasks can free up your mind.

I hear this all the time from other writers--"I get my best ideas in the shower." Think about it: You're in a box without anything exciting catching your eye. You probably wash yourself using the same pattern of movements almost every day. This repetitive mindless activity may be just what your muse needs to wake up and give you that plot breakthrough yo…
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Now 75K words into Castaway Dreams and I've barely started with the pirates! This could be my longest book to date!
Image via WikipediaGot a lovely phone call from a lady looking for a speaker for her organization. They'd be meeting in St. Augustine some time over the next couple months. I'm always up for a trip to St. Augustine to do a little research, and by the time this is scheduled it should be ideal weather for putting the top down on the convertible and calling it "work".

I love my job!