Archive for 'on writing'


This photo recently crossed my newsfeed. And boy, do I want to write a romance novel with this guy as my hero. ♥

Photo: Patrick Dempsey


What do you think? Click here to comment.
Word of the day: gargantuan

An excellent word! I used it with pleasure in The Laird Takes a Brideand in one of my very favorite bits in the whole book.

Graphic: "gargantuan" and its definition

In this passage, my heroine Fiona Douglass is attending her 71st wedding, and thinking about some of her experiences as an observer. Here’s one of them:

Seven years ago, old Mrs. Gibbs, aged ninety-eight and heartily disliked by nearly everyone in the entire clan, had loudly expired just before the vows were spoken. The general agreement was that she’d done it deliberately in a last triumphant bid for attention, and that she was likely chuckling up in heaven (or down below in the other place) because afterwards, as her corpse was being removed, her pet ferret had crawled out from a pocket in her skirt and dashed up the towering headdress of a haughty dowager from Glasgow, from which vantage point it had leaped gracefully onto the shoulder of Fiona’s own mother, who had screamed and then fainted, sending the bride into hysterics and several small boys into par­oxysms of noisy laughter, thereby provoking Fiona’s father, the mighty chieftain of clan Douglass, into a fury so awful that the wedding was quietly called off and no one dared to partake of the gargantuan feast laid out in the Great Hall, resulting, of course, in a great deal of secret rejoicing in the servants’ hall for at least three days after that. The ferret was never seen again.Graphic: "A bright, intelligent, heart-tugging romance": Kirkus review for The Laird Takes a Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

This snippet appears in the first chapter of The Laird Takes a Bride. Would you like to read the entire chapter? Click here. And to see some of the nice things people have been saying about it, click here.

What do you think? Click here to comment.
Plot bunny!

The caption, via @moodvintage on Twitter: “Late Victorian mountaineers, including a lady fully dressed and corseted, cross a crevasse in the Alps, 1900.”

Photo: "Late Victorian mountaineers" via @moodvintage

What do you think? Click here to comment.
Newsletter alert!

Coming soon in my next newsletter . . . an exclusive (and very fun!) interview with one of my favorite authors, the super-talented Anna J. Stewart. Anna writes sweet to sexy romance for Harlequin’s Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense lines, is an RWA Golden Heart nominee and Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence finalist, and a USA Today and national bestselling author.

Graphic: Interview with Anna J. Stewart and a giveaway. Via Lisa BerneHere are some of the questions I’m asking Anna:


  • If you weren’t a romance author, what else would you be doing?
  • Do you have an all-time favorite book in the world?
  • Can you tell us about your upcoming books?
  • Any advice for an aspiring writer?
  • Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
  • Who or what are your literary influences?

I’m also giving away three print copies of Anna’s The Rancher’s Homecoming. (Don’t you just love the gorgeous cover?!?) Subscribers to my newsletter are automatically entered into the giveaway.

If you aren’t a subscriber yet, would you like to be? There’s an easy-peasy form on my website as well as on my Facebook page.

Want to learn more about Anna and her books? Visit her at her website.


What do you think? Click here to comment.
“How to take a great author photo”

A behind-the-scenes look at the writing life. ;)

Graphic: "How to take a great author photo"

What do you think? Click here to comment.
Word of the day: blench

A word I love! I used it with pleasure in You May Kiss the Bride, in a scene in which we learn how my hero’s haughty grandmother has triedGraphic: "blench" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster very hard to find him a suitable wife.

Some months ago she had left Bath—where she’d been ensconced for many years—and made her way to London. There she had taken occupancy of the family townhouse in Berkeley Square and proceeded to spend the Season looking for a worthy young lady. Invited everywhere and universally fawned upon, she attended breakfasts, teas, dinner parties, assemblies, balls, Almack’s; indefatigably had she searched, interviewed, investigated. Her letters came to him bristling with detailed reports.

Angrily, she wrote that this earl’s daughter was already affianced, and that duke’s girl had just gotten married; their available sisters were too young, or too old, or had a squint, or teeth that made one blench. The girls of a fine old family from the North would have been considered if not for their abject lack of fortune.

One otherwise promising young lady, Grandmama had learned to her fury, had been concealing the ugly fact of an uncle in the fishmongering trade. The granddaughter of an old friend, whom she had long thought to be a possibility, looked decidedly consumptive. Another girl who had seemed likely at first came from a family in which the women were notoriously poor breeders. And, naturally, there were whole swathes of young ladies who could be ignored—no matter how wealthy or pleasing in appearance—as their bloodlines were pitifully inferior.

On and on it went, until at last the Season had come to an end, and Grandmama returned to Bath in defeat.Cover for You May Kiss the Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

This is a snippet from Chapter 1, but if you like, you can read all of the chapter here. Would you like to order You May Kiss the Bride? Click here for more info.

What do you think? Click here to comment.
“A letter for you from Mr. Hastings”

Seems legit.

"A letter for you from Mr. Hastings": a comic by Tom Gauld

What do you think? Click here to comment.
A chat with ‘Happy Ever After’

Such a pleasure to be interviewed by Joyce Lamb for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog! In which I dish about The Laird Takes a Bride, inspiration, writer’s block, my next book, a fave TV show, and more . . .

Click here to read the interview. And for more about my books, click here.

Image: cover for The Laird Takes a Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)Photo: Amy Adams and Matthew Goode in "Leap Year"Photo: Grantchester star James NortonAvon Books logo

What do you think? Click here to comment.
Word of the day: akimbo

An excellent word! Infographic: "akimbo" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster

I used it in a scene in Chapter 3 of The Laird Takes a Bride, not long after my hero, Alasdair Penhallow, has met the four candidates for his favor in a Bachelor-esque scenario — one of whom he must choose as his bride, or suffer dire consequences.

Later, much later that evening, Alasdair lay with his head resting on interlaced fingers and his elbows akimbo. He was a big man, but even so his own self took up but little space within the great laird’s bed. Four massive oaken posts, carved long ago, upheld a canopy and looped hangings of rich cream-­colored linen, upon which had been skillfully embroidered figures of falcons, hawks, eagles, does and stags, foxes and wildcats. At this canopy Alasdair gazed unsee­ingly, for he was thinking about the four women.

About Wynda of the extraordinary bosom, so gen­erously displayed, he could only wonder what exactly was the jewel on her pendant necklace, it having disap­peared like a climber descending between two close­-set boulders. He supposed she had talked to him in the drawing-­room, but for better or for worse he retained nothing, as he had primarily exerted himself not to stare at her deeply fascinating balconniere.

Little Mairi had told him, in considerable detail, about her dog: where he slept (on his very own pillow, right next to hers), what he ate, when he evacuated his bowels, his fear of squirrels, his hatred of baths, his love for a nice marrow-­bone.Image: cover for The Laird Takes a Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

Green eyes sparkling, Janet was full of enthusiasm for the morrow’s outing. “An ancient monastery!” she’d cried, clapping her hands. “What fun! I simply adore old ruins, the more ramshackle the better! Oh, I do hope there are ghosts. Or a hermit at the very least!”

He had been obliged to inform her that the keep was entirely free of hermits, and as for ghosts, he had yet to encounter one there.

Janet had been only temporarily daunted, and smil­ingly said: “Still, it sounds wonderfully romantic! So Gothic! How I look forward to exploring every inch of it! Now! I want to hear all about you, laird!”

Now that was the right sort of lass, positive and friendly, excited about visiting a local landmark, a good conversationalist, and all soft and plump and round, like a ripe hothouse peach.

As opposed to the prickly, sharp­-tongued, aloof Miss Fiona Douglass. Her eyes, when they spoke, had been suddenly, strikingly blue against the drabber blue of her gown — and practically crackling with fiery intelligence.

She was not uninteresting.

But God’s blood, she’d be a handful for a man. Some other man. Not him.

He liked his private life to be easy, predictable, as smooth as silk. And nothing about Fiona Douglass suggested smooth, easy predictability.

Besides, she’d made it clear she didn’t want him, either.

He wondered again why she was still unmarried. Was there, perhaps, a swain anxiously waiting for her back in Wick Bay?

Oh well, it wasn’t his problem.

So now there was one lass crossed off his list. Still, there was no point in saying anything to her about it. No use in sending her home early, under a cloud of humiliation.

He thought again about Janet, and Mairi, and Wynda. Good God — Wynda. He spent a few mo­ments imagining himself spending the rest of his life, the rest of his nights, with his face buried between those prodigious, those delicious, yielding breasts.

His last thought, before sleep claimed him, was of Fiona Douglass, and the recollection that her breasts weren’t prodigious at all.

For more about The Laird Takes a Bride, including ordering info, a special gift with purchase, and a first-chapter excerpt, click here. Would you like to save it on Goodreads? Click here

What do you think? Click here to comment.
Word of the day: pandemonium

An excellent word! I used it with pleasure in The Bride Takes a Groom, the third book in my Penhallow Dynasty series, coming your way next spring.Graphic: "pandemonium" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster

It appears toward the end of Chapter 1, in a scene in which my hero, Captain Hugo Penhallow, has just returned home, unannounced, after an eight-year absence during which he’s served in the Army. In the entry-hall he says to the servant Eliza:

“Tell Robinson to set another place for me, would you? I’ll go in directly.”

“Oh, sir, but Mr. Robinson’s not here.”

“Egad, not dead, is he?” Hugo hoped not, as he had been very fond of their old butler; he’d loyally stayed on after Father had died, despite having his wages drastically reduced.

“Oh no, sir, he’s alive, but his palsy got so bad that the mistress pensioned him off, you see, and he’s living with his daughter Nancy and her family, up on Roper Street. Very happy he is, sir. Takes a pint every day at the pub, and sings in the choir on Sundays.”

Hugo was pulling off his greatcoat and hanging it on a peg. “Well, that’s excellent news. I’ll go see him later this week. See here, Eliza, I’m hungry as a bear. Can you set a place for me?”

“To be sure I can, sir! But — but — if you’ll forgive me asking — who are you, sir?”

“Good God, didn’t my mother tell any of you I was coming? No wonder poor old Hoyt looked as if he’d seen a ghost.” He laughed. “Never mind. I’m the prodigal son, Eliza! The eldest, you know — Hugo.”

Eliza looked astonished. “Oh! Sir! You’re Mr. Hugo? We was all afeared you was dead!”

“Dead! Why?”

“Because the mistress said you’d been shot by a Frenchy, Mr. Hugo, and that you was laid up in your cousin’s house — and then there wasn’t any more letters from you! Cook says them French bullets have a special poison in them, sir, that drains the life right out of a person!”

Blast it all, he’d deliberately trivialized the nature of his illness when writing home, not wishing to worry them — and why hadn’t Mama gotten the letter he’d written from Gabriel’s house a fortnight ago, informing her that he was fine, and would soon be on his way? Well, he could allay their anxieties right now.

“I was shot,” he said to Eliza, “but it would take more than some beastly Frenchman to kill me, that’s for certain! Go on, now, and bring me some supper, that’s a good girl.”

She bobbed a curtsy and Hugo, favoring his left leg ever so slightly, went down the long, familiar hallway, the dogs trotting behind with the same pliant obedience the children of Hamelin might well have displayed while following the Pied Piper. He came to a pair of oak-framed double doors, brought them open, and strolled into the dining-parlor. “I say, I’m home.”

Five golden-blond heads swiveled in his direction, five pairs of wide blue eyes displayed shocked surprise, and then pandemonium erupted.        

Would you like to preorder The Bride Takes a Groom? Click here. If you’d like to save it on Goodreads, click here.

What do you think? Click here to comment.