Thursday, December 31, 2009

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31:  People toast...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Have a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year! May your dreams come true in 2010.

Monday, December 28, 2009

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 ingredients, pulp and nuts. Pour mixture into standard loaf pan (grease and flour pan, if not nonstick model), bake1.25 hours. Let cool ten minutes, remove from pan. Freezes well, and if you have a decorative loaf pan, it looks good, too!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

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

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Years's Eve FireworksImage by c r i s via Flickr

Happy 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.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

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.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

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!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The front of the Kindle 1 (Left) and Kindle 2 ...Image via Wikipedia

Holiday 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.Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Map of St.Image via Wikipedia

Floridians know where the real First Thanksgiving was. And wouldn't you be more thankful someplace warm and sunny? I know I would.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Elliott Pecan HalvesImage by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr

Chocolate 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 bourbon overnight in a covered bowl. Use enough bourbon to nearly cover nuts, a little more or less won't hurt. Stir them if you think of it. Next day, drain pecans, set aside. What you do with the bourbon is up to you.

Stir together in large bowl eggs, corn syrup, chocolate, butter, sugar, and vanilla. When well mixed, stir in pecans. Pour into pastry shell, bake in 350F oven 50-60 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serves eight

Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

pecan pieImage by h-bomb via Flickr

Thanksgiving Prep

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

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Canadian flag flying at the Maritime Museu...Image via Wikipedia

O 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.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

M-Edge Executive JacketImage by atmasphere via Flickr

Now 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!

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

A slice of pecan pieImage via Wikipedia

I 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 home, and shelled them all for me so I could have pie.

There have been many romantic gestures from that man over the 30+ years since that time, but I'll always remember those shelled pecans as one of the most meaningful and heartfelt. And that's what Thanksgiving is all about, isn't it? Remembering our true blessings and giving thanks.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

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!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

burt's bee lip balmImage by ayustety via Flickr

I'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 their typos that way.

But I'm excited because galleys = book. It's the last step before publication, and now I'm really looking forward to holding my own copy of The Bride and the Buccaneer in December.
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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Dsg Alachua County Library District Headquarte...Image via Wikipedia

Had 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!
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Friday, October 30, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This image is in the public domain. It is of m...Image via Wikipedia

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 villain end up trapped in a room full of long-haired kitties after the heroine escapes. I'm still working on it. But I'm glad Captain St. Armand told me he's allergic to cats. Makes my life more interesting. And my writing more organic.
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

carmel beach sunsetImage by dcruzin via Flickr

I've been noticing I don't blog very often compared to some others. Y'all can thank me later.
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

My new book cover is here! Thank you, Trace Edward Zaber and the fabulous crew at Amber Quill Press!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A 7-week old Bichon.Image via Wikipedia

Every 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 to write the scene when I saw my mailbox. I'd walked the full route thinking about dialogue, and the kidnapping, and how Pompom helps save the day , and not thinking about how tired I was. My writing routine is bad for my butt with all that sitting, but good for my exercise program because I can distract myself with plotting.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Amazon Kindle e-book reader being held by my g...Image via Wikipedia

Good 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.
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sony eReaderImage by juhansonin via Flickr

I 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 issue involving another mass market paperbook that costs twice as much in ebook.

If someone has an explanation, I'd like to hear it.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BERLIN - SEPTEMBER 03:  The Sony Reader for di...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I 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 rather fill my ereader than my suitcase with books.

We haven't quite hit the Holy Grail of ereaders, one that can be dropped from six feet onto the concrete or into your bathtub without harm, one that work in all light conditions, and one that costs under $100, but we're getting closer.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Apples and HoneyImage by ForestForTrees via Flickr

September 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!"
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

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).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

One of two surviving copies of the 1812 broads...Image via Wikipedia

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.
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Friday, September 11, 2009

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 high, and then save that completed draft as a Word document for editing. That should keep everyone happy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

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.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The flag of 18th century pirate Calico Jack.Image via Wikipedia

I'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.

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Monday, September 07, 2009

windy labor dayImage 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!
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Friday, September 04, 2009

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 you've needed. It's happened to me more times than I can count. I used to think I needed a waterproof board and crayon with me to write things down, but fortunately that hasn't been necessary. I do, however, keep a notepad and pen in my bathroom drawer, just in case.

The other place where my muse comes awake is on my daily dog walk. I very purposefully do not take a phone or music player with me. Sure, it's more boring that way, but that's the point--the very boring nature of the task opens up parts of my mind that aren't coming into play when I'm focusing on my driving or listening to a phone conversation.

However, there are times when music can do the trick. Ask any writer what she listens to while writing and you'll get a range of responses about the playlist. For me, it's epic movie soundtracks: Braveheart, Rob Roy, Gladiator, Lord of the Rings and of course, all of the Pirates of the Caribbean scores. When that music kicks in, it's a signal to my brain that it's time to write and I'm much more focused without being distracted.

So, if you're doing something different but it works for you, what is it? I'm always looking for new ways to wake up my muse, and one of you may have just the thing that's needed!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Helen Island, Helen Reef, Palau. Original desc...Image via Wikipedia

Now 75K words into Castaway Dreams and I've barely started with the pirates! This could be my longest book to date!
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

October 27: St. Augustine.Image via Wikipedia

Got 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!
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