Archive for 'on writing'

It’s done . . .

And now the manuscript for The Bride Takes a Groom, the third book in the Penhallow Dynasty series, is off to my editor!Photograph: the manuscript for The Bride Takes a Groom by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

Plus, here’s an advance preview of the back cover!

Lisa Berne’s Penhallow Dynasty continues with a pair of star-crossed childhood friends who meet again years later—and find love where they least expect it . . .

Katherine Brooke may be a fabulously wealthy heiress, but she’s trapped, a pawn in her parents’ ruthless game to marry her into the nobility. Then Captain Hugo Penhallow—so charming, as handsome as a Greek god—comes into her life once more, and suddenly she sees a chance to be free.

As a Penhallow, his is one of the highest names in the land, but still his family is facing ruin. So Katherine boldly proposes an exchange: his name for her money. But only if Hugo understands it’s merely a practical arrangement, and that she’s not surrendering herself entirely.

Back from eight years in America and determined to give his younger siblings a better life, Hugo agrees. He’s never fallen in love, so why not? Yet neither of them guesses that this marriage will become far, far more than they ever dreamed of . . .

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

 

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Word of the day: Onerous

A suitable word for Monday, don’t you think?

Graphic: "onerous" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster

 

I also used it in The Laird Takes a Bride, in a scene in which one of the “contestants” in a Bachelor-esque scenario receives the news that she’s been summoned to the castle of my hero Alasdair Penhallow:

When Miss Janet Reid, of the Lowlands, got her letter, she had only an hour before returned from a stroll in the manicured gardens to the back of her house, and in the company of a young man who had for the past months been courting her most ardently. (Her governess, Miss Sad Shovel as she liked to call her, had been discreetly trailing behind, her face just as dreary and spade-­like as ever.) Janet had been in­clined to encourage this young man over her other suitors, for he was terribly good-­looking, came from a fine family, and stood to inherit a handsome fortune from his father. Oh, and she liked him well enough.

But having read the letter, she changed her mind. And she laughed, and clapped her hands with joy.

A marriage to the laird of Castle Tadgh would be a far better arrangement — quite a coup, in fact. Besides, she’d heard a few things about Alasdair Penhallow, and he did sound like fun. And she was quite partial to fun herself. Not for her the staid life of your average miss, always sitting around sewing samplers, or plucking dolefully at harps, or poring over dull books. No, she was cut from a very differ­ent sort of cloth. Which reminded her. She went with her light tread to the drawing­-room, and announced:

“I’m going to Castle Tadgh. We need Miss Cowden to come in right away, and bring all her assistants, and plan to stay as long as necessary. I need a new wardrobe, and we haven’t much time.”

Her mother — seated across from Parson Tidwell, who had no doubt come on behalf of his tedious orphanage or his seemingly endless supply of poor people — at once lost her look of thinly disguised boredom and turned to Janet in astonishment. “You’re going to Castle Tadgh? Why?”

“So I can marry Alasdair Penhallow, of course.”

“The Penhallow? He’s offered for you?”

Janet Reid smiled. “No. But he will.”

Instantly her mother grasped the salient facts. “I’ll send a note to Miss Cowden right away,” she said, and with a nod to Parson Tidwell she rose, indicating that his presence was now, well, more than a little onerous.

Image: cover for The Laird Takes a Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)As I mentioned in my recent interview with Lenora Bell, Janet Reid, a secondary but important character in The Laird Takes a Bride, was inspired by the indelible Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

This scene appears in Chapter 2, but if you like, you can read all of Chapter 1 here.

 

 

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Interview and giveaway!

I’m delighted to be featured on the blog of the wonderful Lenora Bell, with an interview and a giveaway celebrating the release of my latest book!

What was the favorite part of your research for the book?

My hero, Alasdair Penhallow, lives in an ancient castle — renovated to state-of-the-art elegance and comfort circa 1811, but still, it’s a castle. Très romantique! I spent quite a few happy hours on the web studying Scottish castles and estates.

Authors often have all kinds of influences and allusions in their stories. What about in The Laird Takes a Bride?The cover for The Laird Takes a Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

Yes, they’re definitely in there! Here are a few examples.

  • My heroine Fiona’s first (and lost) love was based on the charming, fascinatingly slippery Morris Townsend in Washington Square.
  • A strong-willed secondary character, one of the “contestants” for Alasdair’s favor, was modeled after Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a movie I saw ages ago and which — obviously — made a deep impression on me!
  • The work of Stephen King inspired a scene in which Fiona is frightened by memories of being told bloodcurdling tales about a ghastly creature called the Sack Man.
  • In Chapter 12 you’ll find a tiny tip of the hat to Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, and in Chapter 16, a bit informed by Little Women — specifically, the scene in which Amy and Laurie confess their love, a passage I found thrilling as a kid. (And still do.) Look for Fiona saying, “It fits,” and Alasdair’s reply.

What’s the funniest/strangest thing a reader or a relative has said to you about your books or your writing career?

Romance writers everywhere know the look — a little sheepish, a little roguish — and the question that inevitably follows: “So, uh, did you do your own research for the, uh, racy parts?” I love the response Beverly Jenkins shared during a speech she gave at last year’s Romance Writers of America conference. When people ask this question, she told us, she’ll reply, with exquisite and tantalizing brevity: “Yes.” And we all cracked up laughing.

What’s up next for you? What are you working on right now?

I’m finishing the third book in the Penhallow Dynasty series, The Bride Takes a Groom, which releases next spring. It features Captain Hugo Penhallow, who appears toward the end of my first book, You May Kiss the Bride. He marries a childhood friend, Katherine Brooke, a brilliant and complicated heiress — and their marriage is quite complicated also!

* * *

Would you like to enter the giveaway for a signed print copy of The Laird Takes a Bride? Stop by Lenora’s blog or her Facebook page and say hi!

For more info about The Laird Takes a Bride, click here.

 

 

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Inside scoop: Katherine and Hugo

I’m looking forward to sharing with you the cover for The Bride Takes a Groom, the third book in the Penhallow Dynasty series — it’s gorgeous! In the meantime, I thought you might like to see the visual inspirations for my heroine and hero.

Here’s how I originally envisioned Captain Hugo Penhallow:

Photo: the visual inspiration for Captain Hugo Penhallow in Lisa Berne's The Bride Takes a Groom (Avon Books)

And these two actresses together are a composite of Katherine Brooke:

Photo: Andie MacDowellPhoto: Shirley Henderson

 

The Bride Takes a Groom releases next spring. Would you like to save it on Goodreads? Click here.

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Word of the day: Arbitrary

An excellent word for a writer.

Graphic: "arbitrary" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster

 

Here it is in Chapter 2 of The Laird Takes a Bride, in a scene in which my hero, Alasdair Penhallow, cheerfully reflects on the state of his existence, unaware of the fact that it’s about to be upended . . . and that my heroine, Fiona Douglass, will soon be entering it.

So now he was thirty-five. He wondered if he should feel a little different. But why would he? A birthday merely represented, in an arbitrary way, the passage of time. Here he was, in the vigorous prime of his life, healthy as a horse, strong as an ox, rich as a king — enjoying an uninterrupted spate of years in which he did exactly as he pleased, whenever and wherever he liked.

Yes, life was good.

Want to learn more about The Laird Takes a Bride? Click here.

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“Scandalous dance moves”

Tom Gauld’s playful speculation about Jane Austen’s creative process in writing Pride and Prejudice. 

Illustration: Tom Gauld's playful speculation about Jane Austen's creative process in writing Pride and Prejudice

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Word of the day: Melee

A delightfully evocative word.Graphic: "melee" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster. www.Lisa Berne.com

I used it with pleasure in The Laird Takes a Bride, in a scene in which my heroine, Fiona Douglass, is recalling some of the various weddings she’s attended:

Two years ago, in this very church, a spectacular brawl had erupted at the altar when the bridegroom’s twin brother (already roaring drunk) had lunged for­ward, seized the hapless bride, and tried to carry her off. A wild melee ensued as several other men (also already drunk) had, with joyful shouts, joined in. Forty­-five minutes later, the combatants subdued by brute force and the bride’s veil hastily repaired, the ceremony had proceeded without further incident, the chastened, bloodied twin the very first to warmly shake his brother’s hand.

For more about The Laird Takes a Bride, coming your way August 29th — soon! — click here.

 

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Word of the day: Ominous

What a delightful word for a writer. I was glad to utilize it in The Laird Takes a Bride. 

Graphic: "ominous" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster. Blog post via Lisa Berne, author of historical romance.

In this snippet, which appears in Chapter 2, my hero, Alasdair Penhallow, is just about to learn about an arcane clan law which dictates that he must marry, or face dreadful consequences.

As Dame Margery drew near, she noisily banged her stick on the marble floor, causing people nearby to stir, moan, rouse. She passed by Uncle Duff, insen­sate, draped sideways on a chair and his long beard dangling perpendicularly, and muttered audibly, “Ach, the old wastrel!” before turning her piercing and un­blinking stare to Alasdair. Finally she stopped before the dais on which the two great chairs — one for the laird, one (long unoccupied) for his lady — stood. Her silence, Alasdair noticed, had a heavy, expectant, rather ominous sort of quality, and he groaned under his breath. He wasn’t in the mood for drama. Still, he was the laird, and one must be polite, so he cleared his throat and said:

“Good day to you, madam.”

The Laird Takes a Bride releases on August 29th. Want to learn more about it? Click here.

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“She became a butterfly”

My heroine’s journey in The Bride Takes a Groom. Coming your way in spring 2018.
Graphic: "Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, she became a butterfly."

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Enlightened Bride

As an author of historical romance, naturally I LOVE THIS.

"Enlightened Bride," an image by @KHandozo on Twitter

via @KHandozo on Twitter

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