Friday, December 31, 2010

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31:  The annual N...Goodbye to all that

2010 saw steady sales of The Bride and the Buccaneer, and winning the Beacon Award was the cherry on top.  More people have been checking out my backlist as they load up their Kindles and Nooks.  I finished Castaway Dreams and started writing (working title) The Hot Pirate's Secret Baby [alternate working title: The Naughty Pirate and the Very Strict Governess].  I went to Aussiecon4, toured Australia, saw friends and enjoyed myself immensely.

I expect to sell at least one book in 2011 and hope for more.  I'm looking forward to attending Boskone, and Renovation (Wordcon 2011) and maybe Epicon.  I'm doing a talk next week and my son will be in town, and I may be able to drag him along if I promise him dinner and drinks after.

Life is good.  I hope your New Year's celebrations are safe, enjoyable, and that you begin a new year with all that you need even if it's not all that you want.

Now it's time to stir the black-eyed peas and greens and fire up the grill as I prepare for our Florida-style end of year supper.  Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Went to see The King's Speech last night.  What an amazing movie.  Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush were both astoundingly good in their roles, Firth in particular.

I'm often asked if I have Hollywood actors or actresses in mind when I'm envisioning my characters.  The answer is generally "no", until I've finished the novel.  For example, Firefly started airing after I'd written Smuggler's Bride, but as soon as I saw Nathan Fillion as Captain Tightpants Mal I knew who I'd cast as Rand Washburn, the hero of Smuggler's Bride.  I'm still waiting for Hollywood to call.

Anyway, the exception to this is my recently finished manuscript, Castaway Dreams.  As I was writing the character of my grizzled, world-weary British naval surgeon, Alexander Murray, I kept seeing Colin Firth in my mind's eye. 

So now my job in 2011 (in addition to writing my next novel) is to get Castaway Dreams published, and wait for that call from Hollywood.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Boxing Day!  No, I'm not celebrating it, but this is the day I would be giving my live-in servants their new uniforms, if I had such minions.  I'm still hoping for Raul the Cabana Boy after I hit the bestseller list.  I'd even get a cabana.  And his uniform wouldn't have much fabric at all...Mmmmm...

Where was I? Oh yeah, it's the day after Christmas.  If you were fortunate enough to receive a new Nook, Kindle, iPad or other device suitable for reading ebooks, now's the time to stock up on digital editions.  Don't you need some relaxing reading now that the holidays are over? What could be better than a tale of naughty guys and gals in a nautical setting?  All my editions are available in a variety of electronic formats to suit your needs.  You can purchase them from the publisher (links at my website) or from your favorite bookseller, and kick-back with a good romantic tale!

Enjoy your Boxing Day, and have a happy and healthy New Year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Outline or Organic?  Kind of a "Paper or plastic?" question since different writers have different methods that work for them. I'm organic, or a "seat of the pants" writer.  I spent yesterday morning trying to outline my new novel, and realized at lunchtime that I'd pretty much wasted a morning when I could have been writing. 

I do find sometimes that if I pause midway through my first draft and then try to outline, that can work.  I need to get some structure down on paper and look at it to determine where the plot holes are and how I'm going to reach that all important Happily Ever After (or at least, reasonably happy and optimistic about the future) ending.

We'll see.  As usual, I've got a vague idea in my head of where I want to go with my naughty pirate hero and my stern and disapproving heroine, the plot moppet the hero isn't aware he fathered, the missing heir, the murder plot and so on and so on.  I know though that eventually, if I just slog along, I'll get to the point where I can write "The End".

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I was at the monthly GAWN (Gainesville Area Women's Network) luncheon today where we heard more about our signature project, support of the Displaced Homemakers Program.  DHP is funded through Florida's fees for marriage licenses and divorce filings--most appropriate for this group, because DHP helps women enter or get back into the workforce when they're middle-aged or older.

Interestingly, monies for DHP are down because the economy is down.  People both marry and divorce less in tough economic times.  Our group supports our local DHP with donations, job referrals, acting as employers in fake interviews to prepare the women for real job interviews and more.  I'm glad to be a small part of the effort, and it was wonderful today to hear from two of the program's graduates talk about how having employment has made a difference in their lives.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sometimes the bread lands jelly side up.  This morning I opened up the box to change the battery for our home alarm, an every 3-4 year procedure, and the box had some animal droppings inside.  I was horrified, thinking it was mouse poop.  Fortunately, our pest control tech (a Florida necessity) was scheduled to come by today, so I left it as is for him to pronounce judgment.

Turned out they were lizard droppings, not mouse droppings.  He showed me how to tell the difference, but I don't want to burden you with TMI.  Now, you may ask yourselves, "Why is she pleased about lizard sh*t in her house?"  The answer is, lizards don't carry the same diseases or breed like mice, and most importantly, they eat insects in the house.  In Florida, having lizards running around is a good thing because they're a natural form of pest control.

Life in Florida--it's just one damn thing after another, but sometimes it's not as bad as it could be.

Monday, December 06, 2010

It's winter in North Florida and the only one who seems thrilled by this turn of events is the dog.  For an animal who loves to spend the entire day sleeping under the covers, she's enjoying these temps in the 40s and her brisk morning walk.  

As for me, I'm taking advantage of these days indoors to upgrade to a new computer system.  It's a bit of a hassle, as always, but I know I'll be glad when everything is transferred over and I'm able to find what I'm looking for.  I do have a jumpstart on getting it all together because my brother, the family's computer whiz and resident tech dude, helped me migrate my most important files--my writing and my online presence.

I expect to have this done within a day or so and be left with just minor tweaks, and I'll have more time to work on the new novel.

Later, gators! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Feasting With Friends, Florida Style

Before we celebrated US style Thanksgiving in Florida (the Spaniards celebrated Thanksgiving at St. Augustine long before those latecomer Pilgrims set foot aboard ship) we had cane grinding in the autumn to share the work and feast with friends:


     As the shadows lengthened, the men began gathering around the tables like wasps drawn to sweet fruit, cozying up to their women, and trying to talk them out of some of the food before the feast officially began. Ma Ivey ruled her dirt yard like an empress and wasn't above slapping a reaching hand with a wooden spoon when they drew too close. Finally though, the last of the cane was put through the mill and the syrup cooked down, and as the night sky filled with stars the feast began to a chorus of tree frogs and crickets serenading the workers. They lined up before the platters of roast pig and venison, quails, turkey, and doves. Even a possum or two joined the potatoes in the smoldering coals.
     There was fish stew and slow-cooked turtle, gator tail and fresh bass, and plenty of home-brewed ale and scuppernong wine to wash it down. The ever present corn was there, too, as meal, mush, bread, pone, grits, and "roasenears," cooked in the hot coals. Julia grinned to herself. There would be plenty of cobs for the privies after tonight's feast.
     The children and old folks were served first, then the men, then the women took for themselves, the fires from the pits and fat pine torches lighting up the yard. By the time Julia had her plate filled--and Rand had gotten his second serving--the men were rosining their fiddle bows and bringing out the banjos and whistles.
Rand made room for Julia to sit beside him, and held up an object in his hand.
     "Look, darlin', I got the wishbone!"
     "And that means...what?"
     "It means you and me got to make a wish."
     He showed her how to grasp the bone, and warned her it would take some strength to make it snap since it hadn't dried out yet.
     "So give it a good tug, and make a wish."

Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving, with plenty of feasting with family and friends.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I have often heard other writers say that thinking about writing is not writing, researching is not writing, complaining about how your book is progressing is not writing.  Only writing is writing.

Having said that, I freely admit that with the visit of my best friend (all the way from Australia!), Thanksgiving, and a family friend's son's wedding coming up, I'm not writing much this week.

I am doing some thinking about writing my next book, researching the next book, and trying not to complain that I need to get started on my next book so I can talk about its progress.

Once Thanksgiving and the weekend is behind us, I will be doing some writing.  I've done enough research to this point that I feel like I can gather my notes and get cranking.  In the meantime, if I don't get back to this blog sooner, have a lovely Thankgiving with plenty of good food and good times.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Taken in Madison, Wisconsin during Veteran's D...Image via WikipediaToday is Veteran's Day, and Armistice Day.  I want to thank the men in my family who served, and fought, at Pearl Harbor, in the South Pacific, in Viet Nam.  I want to thank the ones who were in the Air Force, the Army National Guard, the Naval Reserves.  I want to thank the young man next door who baby-sat my boys, and when he was grown enlisted in the Marines and served in Iraq.  I tell my now-grown sons, "When your kids whine, say, 'You think you have it tough?  My babysitter was a Marine!'."

So thank you, all of you who fight and serve for our country.  Our job now is to fight for you and ensure you get the benefits and help that are your due.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

“I am not sure I should have to always do what you tell me to do, or not to do, Dr. Murray. I know you are a natural philosopher and learned, but in America they let men vote equally, the stupid ones as well as the clever. Not that I am stupid, I am just not as learned as you are. While we are here on this island, just the two of us, we should be voting as equals, don’t you think?”

He looked at her in astonishment, setting down the gourd.

“I am amazed, Miss Farnham, that a properly brought up Englishwoman would take the riff-raff in America as her model for appropriate behavior."

--Castaway Dreams, Darlene Marshall (WIP)

Be like Daphne.  Do the American thing and vote today.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I haven't been blogging as much recently because I realized my TBR (To Be Read) shelf had morphed into a TBR bookcase that was overflowing.  That doesn't even count what's on my ereader.  So I've been trying to spend less time online and more time reading all those books I've purchased or borrowed from the library.

Some of what I've been reading is for research.  Right now I've got Amanda Vickery's Behind Closed Doors--At Home in Georgian England and I'm enjoying it very much.  I  also have on Inter-Library Loan The Republic's Private Navy: The American Privateering Business as Practiced by Baltimore During the War of 1812 by Jerome Garitee and Men of Marque: A History of Private Armed Vessels Out of Baltimore During the War of 1812 by John Phillips Cranwell.

The ILL books have a short check-out period so I need to get those two wrapped up, and that will keep me offline, reading and note-taking for a while.  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It was a busy evening at the riverside tavern called Ganymede’s Cup, a tavern with a
reputation up and down the coast. It was that reputation that had earned the tavern its better
known name, The Greek Boy, for the sign swinging over the door featured a young man in a
skimpy chiton.
Simpkins, the innkeeper, stopped wiping a dirty rag over a dirtier mug, staring at the man
stooping under the doorway.
“Why, Julius Davies, as I live and breathe! I’d heard you was hung!”
Julius smirked and rolled his eyes heavenward. “La, my dear, you don’t know the half of it!”
His companion coughed delicately into his fist.
“Who’s your friend?” Simpkins nodded in their direction.
Julius put his arm around the man’s shoulder. “Allow me to present Captain Christopher
Daniels. He’s new to the area and I’m showing him the, uh, local sights.”

--Pirate's Price, Darlene Marshall

Someone asked me about the references to "Ganymede's Cup" in a conversation at another site.  Ganymede's Cup is the fictitious North Florida tavern that shows up in many of my novels, either as a scene setting or in passing references by characters.  It first appeared in Pirate's Price, but I liked the Cup so much it seemed to keep showing up and almost took on a character of its own.  You can read scenes set at the Cup in Pirate's Price, Smuggler's Bride and Captain Sinister's Lady, and meet the men who gather at this site known for its good food and the discretion of the staff and clientele.

Friday, October 15, 2010

“There are alligators in this creek?”
“Not now that you’ve screamed your head off there ain’t. Ooowee, I
thought a bobcat could screech, but you got them beat all to hell and
back! I imagine there’s not a gator within twenty miles of here now, but
it’s no problem, I’ll stay here ’til you’re all done and protect you. You
take your time, darlin’.”

--Smuggler's Bride

There are plenty of Gators around here today.  It's Homecoming at the University of Florida and as a proud member of the Gator Nation I wanted to share with you a bit of Florida sunshine and my favorite Gator orange cover. Have a super weekend, and Go Gators!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saw a woman reading a Kindle at an outdoor cafe, stopped to admire her sweet little bichon, and I gave her (the reader, not the dog) one of my bookmarks.  I know a marketing opportunity when it slaps me upside the head.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

If I've been absent from the blogosphere these past few days it's because I'm deep into edits of Castaway Dreams so I can get it ready to be sold.  Later, gators!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A very unhappy possumImage by State Library and Archives of Florida via Flickr"Miss Deford, your value to me just keeps increasing by the hour. That gentleman wanted to make a trade, all right. He wanted to trade for you."
"He wanted to trade the deer for me?"
Now Jack's grin looked like it would split his cheeks.
"No, he acknowledged you were too small to be worth a full deer. He wanted to trade two possums for you."
And with that he started laughing so hard he had to sit down in the sand. Sophia resisted the urge to kick him.
"Opossums? Aren't they some sort of rodent?"
"Oh, Miss Deford, I would not trade you for just any kind of rodent! Possums are ugly rodents!" And it set him off into a fresh round of laughter.
 --The Bride and the Buccaneer,  Darlene Marshall    

My elderly, but intrepid, dachshund treed a 'possum last night.  Well, OK, "treed" is an exaggeration.  She kept him at bay in the woodpile.  I recognized her "OMG, I've caught something!" bark and ran outside armed with a broom and flashlight.  The last time this happened she'd grabbed an armadillo in her powerful little jaws and was holding on for dear life.  Now, many years and fewer teeth later, I feared more for her than the 'possum.
But the critter dashed off of the woodpile and made his escape.  I praised my fierce little hunter (for that's what dachshunds are, hunting dogs) and gave her an anti-inflammatory pill so she'd sleep well and have dreams of good hunting.
Possums are a part of Florida life, and Cracker living.  In Smuggler's Bride I offer up recipes on how to cook your possum, should you be fortunate enough to have a hunting dachshund who brings you treasures.  Just don't send your possums my way, please.  I've got enough of my own, thank you.
Smuggler's Bride
The Bride And The Buccaneer

Monday, September 20, 2010

Joint color guard showing the organizational c...Image via Wikipedia
I was interviewed by the wonderful Kim Adams over at SOS Aloha for "International Talk Like a Pirate Day".  Kim is a SOS Military Liaison in Hawaii, helping families while their loved ones are serving our country.  Kim's a veteran and a military spouse herself, and knows how important this work is.

Hats off to Kim and all the other hard working men and women offering support to our armed forces and their families!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

 It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  My plans include pillaging some heavily laden merchant vessel and perhaps taking the handsome first mate captive.  But I have to wait until after the ACLD Library Foundation Annual meeting tonight, darn it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Here's a recap of what's been happening in my life these past weeks:

I returned only mildly jetlagged from an amazing trip to Australia.  Did the usual tourist things with my husband, but didn't see nearly enough of the country.  This was my second trip and it was wonderful to revisit.  I don't know when I'll return, but I'd love to go back again.

My panels at Aussiecon4 (World SF Convention) in Melbourne went quite well.  I was tapped to be moderator on both of them.  The first one was "Girl meets boy meets dragon: Romance in fantasy".  The other panelists were Tracey O’Hara, Fiona McIntosh and Nicole R. Murphy and part of the fun of attending a Worldcon outside North America is meeting writers who I might not otherwise get to spend time talking to.  This was a lively group to have discussing romance and fantasy, and the program item was well attended.  Plus, I have some new books on my "To Be Read" list, thanks to the other panelists.

My second panel was "Monster Mash-up" about the current trend toward publishing books like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea-Monsters and so on.  The other panelists were Scott Edelman, Chuck McKenzie, and Damien White.

This one was more of a stretch for me since it was the horror track of the program, and I don't write horror (though I do read it on occasion).  We talked about homage vs. parody, why certain books get picked for "mash-ups" (being a public domain book helps--a lot) and whether this is a brief blip on the publishing radar, or if it can still be mined for gold.  An interesting group to have discussing these trends, and again I picked up recommendations for new reading.

I have to say though that one of my favorite parts of Aussiecon4 was managing the Green Room.  I've been Green Room manager at other worldcons, and each one is different, presenting its own issues and joys.  This time I had the blessing of a capable and experienced staff, and an amazing coffee machine that churned out espresso, lattes, hot tea and more at the push of a button.  We all came away with enough barista skills to get another job if the writing isn't paying off for us.

Monday, September 13, 2010

From Sea Change, a work in progress:

            “I know that tune–I heard it in the inn where I waited to board the Lady Jane.  It is ‘To Anacreon in Heaven’, is it not?  I recall the people who attempted to navigate its melody often failed miserably.”
            “Maybe it’s a song best attempted while drinking for the full effect.  But I’m told it is now popular in Baltimore with lyrics based on Mr. Key’s poem–‘And the rockets’ red glare...’ .”
            Charley snickered as his voice strained through the notes. 
            “That tune will never catch on, Captain.  Certainly not the way you sing!  Best you stick to sailing your ship.”

Today is the anniversary of the bombardment of Ft. McHenry, during what some historians refer to as "The second war of American independence". Francis Scott Key was a lawyer who'd come to negotiate a prisoner's release, and saw the action from a nearby ship.

From Wikipedia:

"When Key saw the flag emerge intact in the dawn of September 14, he was so moved that he began that morning to compose the poem "The Defence of Fort McHenry" which would later be renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner" and become America's national anthem."

So raise a glass, struggle through the high notes, and remember how that poem helped rally a nation during a dark time.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

White Collar: Season One
I am so channeling Matt Bomer (White Collar) for my pirate hero in the next novel.  I don't like the TV show that much, but he's yummy!

Oh, and thanks to SBTB I've added "plot moppets" to my writer's vocabulary for (working title) The Hot Pirate's Secret Baby .

That is all.  Now, back to watching "White Collar" episodes on DVR.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm in Melbourne, doing a bit of sightseeing before Aussiecon4.  I love this city!  Not only is there great public transit, but I could spend years exploring all the little arcades and side streets filled with all kinds of intriguing shops and restaurants.  It's unusual to find a Central Business District as vibrant and bustling as this one. 

The weather's also been cooperating.  Some cool and wet days, but most of them have been cool and partly sunny, and I can live with that. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Traveling through Australia, having an amazing time.  Limited internet opportunities, which, quite frankly, I don't regret at all.[g]  I'll post more when Worldcon (Aussiecon 4) starts.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Aussiecon 4 Schedule:

Girl meets boy meets dragon: Romance in fantasy
Fantasy and romance have always seemed natural bedfellows. What can
romance bring to the fantasy story, and what do fantasy elements
provide to the romance? What are the challenges of writing a story
that combines both genres - neither of which seem to get the critical
respect that they deserve? Is there a common element between the two
genres that makes their combination work so effectively?
Tracey O’Hara, Darlene Marshall, Fiona McIntosh, Nicole R. Murphy
Saturday 1000 Room 219

Monster mash-ups
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Sense and Sensibility and
Sea-Monsters. Little Vampire Women. Jane Slayre—it’s open season on
the classics as well as the undead. Just what is going on here and
where did it all start?
Scott Edelman, Darlene Marshall, Chuck McKenzie, Faye Ringel, Damien White
Saturday 1500 Room 207

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I was at a review site today updating my info, and realized they were showing OOP editions of my books from my last publisher. Those novels have since been re-released by Amber Quill Press, but have the same covers.  If any readers search for my books and come up empty, please let me know.  All four of my published novels--Pirate's Price, Smuggler's Bride, Captain Sinister's Lady and The Bride and the Buccaneer are very much in print and available in paper and ebook editions.

Thanks for your interest!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bartholomew Roberts with his ship and captured...Image via Wikipedia
Wow, what a great shower!  I had ideas, plot points and dialog for [working title] The Hot Pirate's Secret Baby popping out all over the place!

Clearly, I need to wash up more often.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm often asked which of my books is my favorite.  Naturally, that's like asking me which of my sons I love the best (I prefer not to say, to keep them on their toes).

I love each of my books for different reasons, but I always have mixed feelings about a book as I'm finishing writing it.  Is it good enough?  Pretty enough? Will the editors love it?  I once heard a writer say that sending off your manuscript is like shoving your baby in the mailbox.

If you're going to be a serious writer, you have to be able to listen to people say, "I'm sorry, but this baby's so ugly you'd have to tie a pork chop 'round his neck to get a hound to play with him."  Then if they're the helpful people you need to listen to--your beta readers, critique partners and your agent and editor--they'll help you pretty up your baby so you can hear other people "Ooooh!" and "Aaaah!" over him too.

It's a business, I keep telling myself, not a lovefest.  And so, I return to a manuscript that's been sitting on my hard drive for a year while I wrote Castaway Dreams.   I'm going to give it a good, hard look and see if I can pretty it up some before I shove this baby in the mailbox.

More on this as it develops.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I checked the other day on Kindle editions of my books in the UK, and was pleased to see them all available.  It seems like each week we're moving faster into the 21st century of publishing.  I don't know where it will end, if it ever does, but having more people able to easily  access my books around the world is a good thing for readers, and for me.
I love to get fan email from far away.  Knowing someone in Brazil or Germany is reading my books is exciting, and something that wouldn't have likely happened just a decade ago.  We live in fascinating times.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

EPIC Awards now open

EPIC™ is currently open for eBook entries for their 2011 eBook Awards
Competition until August 15, 2010. If you have works that meets this year’s
criteria, I encourage you to enter! You can check out the current
Competition Guidelines at:

Monday, August 02, 2010

The Bride and the Buccaneer wins Beacon Award!

The Beacon is awarded by FCRW, the First Coast Romance Writers. I won in the historicals category.

This Monday is off to a good start.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

PC World Calls New Kindle "Most Enticing Yet"

If you've been thinking of buying a Kindle, the new models may be what you want. Affordable, more lightweight, smaller footprint. Check out this article.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Business Travel Plans

I won't be attending the Romance Writers of America annual conference this week because I'm attending the World SF Convention in Melbourne, Australia in a couple months. Trying to do both this summer was too much of a financial and personal hassle. So I hope all my peers at RWA have a splendid time in Orlando (wear sunscreen and stay hydrated!) and I'm looking forward to seeing some of my SF friends Down Under in September.

KoalaImage by ausemade via Flickr

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blogging from the Beach

I've been away from my desk for nearly a week, down at Sand Key at Clearwater, Florida. My husband's at a conference and I'm at work, fixing Castaway Dreams. Sometimes getting away from my regular routine helps me focus in a new way, finding errors, thinking a touch differently.

And being at the beach is always a great way to recharge my batteries. Incidentally, the Gulf beaches on Florida's southwest coast are lovely and undamaged. Come on down, the water's fine!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Journal EntryImage by Zoohouse via Flickr

I'm celebrating finishing the first draft of Castaway Dreams by buying [another] fountain pen. It's on sale! It's a business expense! I'm going to fill it with red ink and use it for editing!

I'm not addicted, I can stop buying fountain pens whenever I want.

Monday, July 05, 2010

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

Castaway Dreams First Draft Completed!

It weighed in at 127K, which officially makes it my longest manuscript to date. Now the real work begins, but I'm excited. It's a book! And I know how it ends![g]

Sunday, June 27, 2010

European Mojito with crushed ice.Image via Wikipedia
I haven't been blogging much lately 'cause I've been on the road.  And I'm writing.  Lots and lots of writing.    Just because I'm at the pool doesn't mean I'm not a serious writer.  Ignore those empty mojito glasses around my feet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thinking about ereaders?

Now's a good time to get that ereader you've been wanting.  You can take plenty of books on vacation withough taking up room in your luggage, and Amazon and Barnes and Noble are in a price war.  And don't forget, Darlene Marshall novels are the perfect summer getaway read!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An assortment of Belgian chocolatesImage via Wikipedia
My Kindle numbers took a jump this morning!  I love you all for buying my books, and if you were here, I'd give you chocolates.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

'The Brilliant Achievement of the Shannon... i...Image via Wikipedia
"She remembered well the boisterous celebration in the city’s streets when news arrived that the Shannon had defeated the Chesapeake. After a string of Royal Navy defeats at the hands of the Americans—the Americans, of all upstart nations!— Captain Broke’s victory put wind back in the sails of the despondent English."--The Bride and the Buccaneer

From The Royal Navy Sail and Steam Yahoo group: 

"HMS Shannon captures USS Chesapeake - 1813
Tuesday June 1, 2010
Location: Just outside Boston Harbor

HMS Shannon (38), under Capt. Philip Broke, defeats and captures the USS Chesapeake (36) commanded by Capt. James Lawrence. In a battle lasting only 13 minutes, Capt. Lawrence was killed in action. His last command to his crew was "Don't give up the ship!". They were, however, unable to honour the order, and were forced to surrender".

We had the last laugh.  We're still here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm finally getting some substantial writing done after a month mostly absent from the keyboard.  Castaway Dreams is chugging toward its conclusion within a chapter or two, and I'm feeling good about how it's going.  It helps that I have much of the climactic scene and dialogue already written, and I'll be able to drop it into the framework of the story.

Now I have to stop thinking about the next book and stay focused on this one.  It's an occupational hazard that I hear about from other writers.  The work you're doing doesn't feel as exciting as the work you'll do next. But this happens with every novel I've written, so I'm used to it by now and know there's only one cure--finish this book before I start the next one.  Otherwise, I'll have a file drawer full of unfinished manuscripts, which wouldn't help anyone.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A typical Snellen chart. Originally developed ...Image via Wikipedia

I had an eye exam today and it took longer than usual because the doc and I were discussing a research question I had. I'd asked him at one point about giving my heroine an interesting vision problem, but ended up not using it in my novel. However, he was enthused at the concept and was very forthcoming with information and ideas.

I find that generally when I ask people for research help in their particular areas they're excited to help. No one says, "Euuuwww...I don't want to help write one of those books!" (My math teacher son did refuse to look at my sex & geometry scene, which I fully understood, but he was kind enough to put me in touch with another math teacher who was most helpful.)

People like to be called on to discuss their areas of interest. The MDs, RNs, EMTs and other medical professionals who've read scenes in Castaway Dreams were all great and as my manuscript nears the finish line I owe them all a debt.

I feel bad sometimes when I ask someone for help and I end up not using the information in my novel. Yes, I'm looking at you, USGS hydrologists! But I never discard the research. What doesn't make it into one novel may very well make it into another, or be a springboard for further research.

So thanks, all of you who help to make my novels a little more accurate and interesting. And as always, any mistakes are mine and mine alone.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

"Julia blinked away the sudden moisture in her eyes.
'Oh, Mama, I wanted to be more like you. Bold and adventurous, not afraid of anything!'
Christine set her cup down with a click and stared at her daughter. 'My dear child, there is so much I am afraid of! Every mother has constant fears for her children's safety, and their happiness! But you were the daughter I dreamed of. You sparkled and shone. I would watch you at parties with all your friends, filling your dance card and laughing, and I was so proud of you and so happy for you. I did not want you to be like me when I was young, sitting on the sidelines watching the other girls have fun!'

--Smuggler's Bride

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers who worry and fret, and are proud and happy too.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I was offline for the past 10 days or so and it's amazing in hindsight how soothing that can be. It's not that I don't love all of you bunches and bunches, but sometimes not being connected all of the time to the world outside is a good thing. I had more time to think, to be with my family, to let my mind go down other avenues.

On the other hand, it's also good to be back and to pick up the threads of my normal life. Today's been a catch-up day, but tomorrow I expect to be back at work writing.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Just a quick note to say I'll be offline for about a week or so, catch y'all later.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Amazon Kindle 2Image by Yupa1 via Flickr

Kindle's coming to Target!

Just like peanut butter and chocolate, and fine wine with a good cheese (must be lunchtime with all these food similes), two of my favorite things are coming together. Target stores are going to be selling Kindles in the near future. It's starting with stores in Minneapolis ('natch) and South Florida (Yay!). This makes me happy as a Kindle author, and as someone who's been a loyal Target (or as my pretentious friends say, "Tar-zhey") fan for many, many years.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Orange blossom and oranges. Taken by Ellen Lev...Image via Wikipedia

Back from visiting the family in Minnesota. I want to thank the North Star state for having excellent and warmer than average weather while I was there, especially after I warned my Florida native husband it could snow in April in Minneapolis. He was not excited by this news.

While I was gone my yard man planted the orange tree I bought. When I went out to check on it today and give it a drink, it was covered in fragrant flowers! I'm so looking forward to eating fresh oranges from my own tree next year.

Didn't get much writing done while dealing with family business, but I did tweak a couple of scenes to my satisfaction. Tomorrow it will be back to my regular schedule, and I'm looking forward to finishing this first draft soon.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

"Johnson’s Books might not be the first stop a sailor made in Portsmouth–the brothels likely had a better claim to that distinction–but it was popular among the officers and seamen who could read. A good book, like music or games, helped to make the voyages pass more easily. She’d seen men who were seamed and scarred by flying shot and timber caress a book of poetry in anticipation of long nights and little to do." --The Bride and the Buccaneer

I sent some books off yesterday to Operation Paperback, an organization where volunteers mail gently used books to soldiers serving overseas. I was sorry I couldn't send more. There were quite a few requests for military histories and biographies, but I'm still holding on to all my research books so I couldn't send those. I could fill a request for paranormal romances, and I'm thinking I need to catch up on my suspense reading so I can send those paperbacks along.

I still find books that end up on my keeper shelves, but I've gotten better about "recycling" other purchases. They either go to the Friends of the Library for their book sale or they go to the Books for Soldiers bin at the library, or now I send them directly to soldiers through Operation Paperback.

There's also SOS America, which recently was sent a set of my books to be distributed through their program. All of these are great organizations, so the next time you're thinking of cleaning out some of your non-"keepers", you might consider donating to organizations which pass books along to our men and women serving in the military.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I know I haven't posted much lately--life interferes. I'll try to blog on something weighty and substantial soon--and I'm not talking about my love for dark chocolate.
I'm blogging on life, birthdays and ziplining at the HEA Cafe today. Check it out!

Monday, March 22, 2010

If you missed me on "Conner Calling" this past Friday you can still listen to the show, online, here. I love the Internet!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The DA BWAHA is still going on and people are voting, well, passionately for their favorite romance books and authors. I'm no longer in the brackets, but you can still play along and win acclaim and prizes.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

No Pink Plume for Me

Ah well. Like my Gators, I was eliminated early on. I won't be winning the coveted pink plume in the DA BWAHA, but I can say "Wait 'til next year!"

And the radio show went very well. We had quite a few callers on "Conner Calling" and I think we could easily have gone another hour. It was great fun, and I look forward to returning on a future show.

Friday, March 19, 2010


The Bride & the Buccaneer is in this morning's round of the DA BWAHA! My Gators didn't make it, but maybe my book will if you vote for me! Voting in this round closes at noon EDT.

Thank you for your support!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Radio Daze Reminder!

Listen for me at 1 p.m. EDT on "Conner Calling" on Friday, and you can catch the show on streaming audio here.

It's WUFT/WJUF's phone-in/email-in talk show about books and authors. The North Florida NPR station reaches from Lake City down to nearly the middle of the state, so you can hear me live or on your computer. We'll be talking about The Bride and the Buccaneer, ebooks, Florida history and more, so tune in!


Voting is now open in the DA BWAHA tournament and it's going to be moving fast. Follow the link and record your votes, and help my pirates trounce those bad boy billionaires and rakish Regency types!

Monday, March 15, 2010


"64 books. 1 champion. Get your game on."

It's time for the March Madness of the DA BWAHA. As one wag said it so well, the annual competition is "where romance fans stomp all over their favorite authors' hearts to get to the finish line and a shiny new iPad!"

You can sign-in and fill your brackets until Wednesday, and then the voting and elimination begins. The Bride and the Buccaneer is in the Historicals category and I'm flummoxed to have been chosen given the array of talent alongside my book. Nonetheless, I would appreciate your stomping all over those other authors' hearts and voting for me.

Want to buy some of the books in the tournament? Go to All Romance DA BWAHA store for the ebooks, or follow the Amazon link at the tourney site for the paper editions.

Read great books! Win wonderful prizes! Does it get any better than that?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I attended a Foundation meeting yesterday and heard some great things about awards our library is winning, ones we're nominated for, and perhaps most importantly, the work we're doing at the county jail. We believe our public library may be the only one in the nation with a full branch of the library housed in the jail. It has much of the material you'd find at any library branch, with a few differences. For example, all the books are paperbacks so they cannot be used as weapons. Only the librarians have internet access on the branch computers, though the patrons can use CDs such as the Florida Statutes to do research.

But here's the surprising part. The sheriff's office pays half of the expense to maintain the library, and has for years through administrations of sherriffs both Republican and Democrat. I've known all the sherriffs in the 30 years since the jail library opened, and none of those men and women were bleeding-heart liberals coddling criminals. Far from it. But they knew that inmates who earn GEDs through library programs have a lower recidivism rate. The studies bear this out and offering GED classes is an important part of what the library can do.

In addition, the library staff worked with inmates last year to help them make recordings of them (the inmates) reading story books. These recordings were sent to the inmates' children at Christmastime. There are book clubs at the jail, though I wasn't surprised to find they're more popular with the female than the male inmates.

There are other library systems that have services to county inmate populations, but we have not found another branch library such as ours that's open four days a week as part of the jail complex. Our Jail Service branch has grown much larger over the 30+ years it's been open, wins awards and is still going strong. It is a credit to the people who believe in the power of public libraries as a necessary component of a thriving community, and I'm proud of the ACLD staff who continually come up with new and innovative methods to work with a challenging and underserved population.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Radio Daze!

I'm going to be on "Conner Calling", WUFT/WJUF's phone-in/email-in talk show about books and authors. It's our North Florida NPR station, with a signal reaching from Lake City down to nearly the middle of the state. Listen for me on Friday, March 19 at 1 p.m. ET, and you can catch the show on streaming audio here.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Amazon Kindle 2Image by goXunuReviews via Flickr

Another Blast from the Past

Found this link to a Boskone 45 panel, asking "Will 2008 Be the Year When Ebooks Make It?"
We were only off by a year. Based on record sales, I would have to say that 2009 was when ebooks "made it".

"The Neverending Panel" and Boskone 47

I like Dani Kollin's title "Darlene Marshall Talks About Sex!" but I was afraid the spambots would shoot it down. Here's a link to the Kollin Brothers' interview with me at Boskone, from their site, "Where the Conversations Continue".

Friday, February 26, 2010

We Have Kindle!

My thanks to all of you who've been patiently awaiting the Kindle edition of The Bride and the Buccaneer. It's now available, and it's on sale! Follow the link, and enjoy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Congratulations to Goodreads Winners!

Three people will receive signed copies of The Bride and the Buccaneer in the mail this week, and nearly 1,000 entered the Goodreads contest. Thanks to all of you who entered! If you've purchased a copy of The Bride and the Buccaneer or any other Darlene Marshall novel and would like a signed bookplate, email me at darlenemarshall[at]darlenemarshall[dot]com.