Archive for 'on writing'

The gift you give yourself

I got some new writerly stuff. All very practical, and even though I bought these items myself, it still feels like I just got a really nice present.Photo: office suppliesOh, and if you happened to read my interview for Tasty Book Tours, you already know how I feel about Post-it Notes. :)

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Word of the day: Tatterdemalion

A fantastic word for an author of historical romance.

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

I used it with pleasure in You May Kiss the Bride, in a scene in which my hero’s haughty, exacting grandmother is busy orchestrating my heroine Livia Stuart’s metamorphosis from a rustic country miss into an elegant diamond of the first water.

Still smarting from a recent encounter with my hero Gabriel, Livia thinks:

She could hardly wait to show herself off to Gabriel Penhallow, and flaunt her transformation in his face. . . . But for this pleasure she had to wait. Two, then three weeks went by, and still he absented himself from his grandmother’s home. Mrs. Penhallow grumbled about his undutiful attitude, then in the very next breath added that it was just as well, for she would, she announced, forbid his presence anyway, until Miss Stuart was no longer a half-savage, unlettered, ill-spoken, maladroit, freckled tatterdemalion.

“I’m not freckled, ma’am,” was all Livia could think to answer, and then promptly felt like a fool.

“Not freckled, you say? You are free to delude yourself, Miss Stuart, if you choose,” frostily replied Mrs. Penhallow. “The Penhallows never have freckles. Have Flye apply the Milk of Almonds twice today. Now! Suppose you have just been introduced to — let us say — the Duke of Egremont. How do you greet him?”

This snippet appears in Chapter 5, but you can read all of Chapter 1 here.

Would you like to order your copy of You May Kiss the Bride? Click here to see your various options in print, ebook, and audio, as well as the gift-with-purchase option offered through my local indie bookstore Auntie’s.

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On visual images for Livia & Gabriel

I’ve been asked if I had a visual impression of my protagonists while writing You May Kiss the Bride. I was pretty clear about Gabriel Penhallow. I was sure that he’s really good-looking, but not perfectly handsome. I had in mind somebody rather like the dashing singer Justin Currie:Photo: singer Justin Currie

As for Livia Stuart, I was less sure. I knew she would have a fiery personality, and because I had recently finished rereading Anne of Green Gables, I may have had an image like this in my head (at least in terms of hair color):

Photo: Anne of Green Gables

And here’s what the brilliant art department at Avon Books came up with:

Cover for YOU MAY KISS THE BRIDE by Lisa Berne (Avon/HarperCollins)

And I couldn’t be any happier. Aren’t my Gabriel and Livia a georgeous couple?

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Jane Austen, inspiration for romance authors

I had a blast writing this little think-piece for Bookish on how Jane Austen continues to inspire romance novelists everywhere. Please enjoy. Graphic: "How Jane Austen Continues to Inspire Romance Novelists," a think-piece for Bookish by Lisa Berne, author of You May Kiss the Bride (Avon Books)

Want to read this post on Bookish? Click here.

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Word of the day: Sarcasm

An excellent word for a writer. It can be a lot of fun having one (or more) of your characters be sarcastic.

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

 

I used it in You May Kiss the Bride, when my hero, Gabriel Penhallow, is discussing travel plans with his strong-willed grandmother. Although on the surface they’re rather tetchy, there’s a quiet little subtext here which shows how they’ve moved beyond the cool formality which for many years has kept them all too detached from each other. My heroine, Livia, perceives this with joy.

Grandmama jumped again into the fray. “I suppose,” she said to Gabriel, “you wish to stay at the Swan.”

“As it’s the only other establishment in Wells where I’d even consider stabling the horses, yes.”

“The sheets are always damp.”

“And how would you know that? You’ve just said you exclusively patronize the Royal Hart.”

“It is the common report,” answered Grandmama coldly.

“Fine! You stay at the Royal Hart, and I’ll stay at the Swan.”

“Don’t be absurd.”

“It’s not absurd. It seems to me an eminently practical plan.”

“Need I remind you that we travel under your protection?” Grandmama smiled triumphantly, and it was to be seen that she had clinched the argument, for Gabriel glared but added:

“Don’t blame me when we all emerge from the Hart infested with fleas.”

“We shan’t,” she answered, with maddening serenity. “I won’t allow it. Dear me, you’re quite peevish today! Go and ride your horse until your temper cools. That’s what Richard always did. Not that he was ever as snappish as you are.”

“It grieves me to inform you that it’s raining today. Again.”

“Have you no other occupation? Surely you have something better to do than badger a helpless old woman.”

He visibly ground his teeth, his eyes flashing even more magnificently. “Yes,” he said with heavy sarcasm, “extremely helpless.”

There was, Livia mused, something vivifying about a good brangle. Grandmama had a nice healthy flush of color in her cheeks. And Gabriel looked so handsome that she wished she could go over and take hold of him in a brazen way and kiss him for a good long time.

This snippet appears in Chapter 12, but if you like, you can read all of Chapter 1 here.

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Romance panel at the Get Lit! festival

Will you be in the Spokane, WA, area next Saturday afternoon? If so, perhaps you might like to join me as I moderate a Get Lit! panel featuring fellow romance authors Asa Maria Bradley, Tamara Morgan, Katee Robert, and Rebecca Zanetti. We’ll be talking about what it’s like to write romance, how they go about it, their advice for aspiring authors, and more. Plus, I hear there’s going to be door prizes. :)

More info about the “What’s in a Kiss?” panel here.

 

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“Keep calm and brandish the quill”

My motto, as a witer of historical romance. :)Graphic: KEEP CALM AND BRANDISH THE QUILL

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My Tasty Q&A

The virtual blog tour celebrating the publication of You May Kiss the Bride has just ended — congratulations to the lucky winner of the gift card! — and I thought I’d share with you my Q&A if you hadn’t already seen it.

Graphic: Avon Books and Tasty Book Tours' Q&A with Lisa Berne, author of You May Kiss the Bride

Here’s a little more about me here, too.

 

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Word of the day: Ignoble

A useful word for a writer of historical romance, as there’s often a great deal of play as to what constitutes noble behavior among our characters.Graphic: "ignoble" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster

It came in handy, in fact, while writing You May Kiss the Bride. The day after my hero, Gabriel Penhallow, has been forced into agreeing to marry my heroine Livia, he dutifully calls upon her uncle to codify the arrangement. Still smarting at this unexpected turn of events, he declines her uncle’s offer to summon Livia downstairs:

It would give Miss Livia Stuart her own little taste of the Penhallow way.

He knew it was petty, yet still it gave him a small sense of control in a situation which had spun wildly into chaos. “You may inform Miss Stuart that we’ll come for her tomorrow morning. We go to Bath, where she is to reside with my grandmother and be taught all that she needs to know to properly enter Society as the future Mrs. Penhallow. And you need not worry, sir,” Gabriel concluded with a slight, ironic smile. “The proprieties are to be observed. Naturally I shall be elsewhere.”

And with that, conscious of an ignoble feeling of triumph as he pictured Livia Stuart’s mortification (having put on her best day-dress, no doubt, and carefully done up her hair), he returned to the Glanville mansion, where it would have been difficult to imagine a scene of greater awkwardness.

This snippet appears in Chapter 4, but if you like, you can read all of Chapter 1 here.

 

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Word of the day: Nightmare

As a writer I’m very interested in the interplay between characters’ daytime reality and their dreams — specifically what they might reveal about their deepest thoughts and emotions. A nightmare can be an especially vivid clue. Graphic: "nightmare" and its definition, via Merriam-WebsterHere’s an example from You May Kiss the Bride. It takes place during a dark moment in the story when my heroine, Livia Stuart, is becoming increasingly conflicted about her betrothal to Gabriel Penhallow. She’s also had an unpleasant dinner-party encounter with a so-called gentleman named Sir Edward Brinkley. (But don’t worry! All will be well!)

In her dream Livia put a foot forward and saw on it an extraordinary slipper made of transparent crystal. It fit her perfectly in a way she did not question in the least. Curious, she pulled back her heavy, jewel-encrusted gown to see what was on her other foot, and was horrified to see that it was bare.

All at once she felt a dreadful slithering sensation around her ankles. Something cold and clammy, and infinitely disgusting, was there, and frantically Livia clawed at the heavy folds of silk and damask, the sapphires and emeralds and diamonds glowing and sparkling and nearly blinding her. At last she pulled up her gown, wretchedly aware that everyone in the church could see what she was doing, and despising her for being such a disgrace, and then she realized that a snake—its coils as big around as her own wrist—was twisting around her feet, and it had tiny beady blue eyes and, horribly, a red human mouth, and it said, very distinctly, in the smooth, patronizing voice of Sir Edward Brinkley:

“And now I’m going to kiss the bride.”

Frozen like a little creature of prey, unable to move, Livia screamed.

And woke up, gasping, in the familiar dark quiet of her luxurious room in Upper Camden Place.

This snippet takes place in Chapter 9, but if you like, you can read all of Chapter 1 here.

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