Archive for 'on writing'

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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Word of the day: Hackle

I like this word a lot; it’s a fun way to illuminate a character’s hostility. Graphic: "hackle" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster

I used it in You May Kiss the Bride, in a scene during which my protagonists, Livia Stuart and Gabriel Penhallow, are discussing his high-handed decision that theirs is to be a marriage in name only. Livia says:

“You’re supposed to be marrying in order to—how did your grandmother put it in her letter to Lady Glanville?—oh yes, to ensure the succession. How will you do that now, I wonder?”

He took his time responding, for he was analyzing her tone. It wasn’t one he heard often. It was—impudence. Brazen impudence. If he had hackles, he thought, they’d be rising right now. Coolly he said, “That’s my problem, isn’t it, Miss Stuart? Not yours.”

This scene takes place in Chapter 5, but if you like, you can read all of Chapter 1 here.

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Word of the day: Besmirch

An excellent word for a writer of historical romance, especially if you’re writing books set in an era during which one’s reputation is everything. Graphic: "besmirch" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster

I utilized it in You May Kiss the Bride, which takes place in 1811, in the scene in which my protagonists, Livia and Gabriel, have been discovered in a rather scandalous situation. Things are heating up among the various characters, and Livia’s uncle crudely says to Gabriel’s grandmother:

“Isn’t it obvious your grandson has been dallying with her? He’s compromised her—we’re all witnesses to it!—and he’ll have to pay the piper.”

Scornfully the old lady said: “If you are suggesting financial remuneration—”

“Dallying?” Cecily cried. “Oh, Mr. Penhallow!”

“Money, ma’am?” Uncle Charles’s face was a livid scarlet. “He’s got to do the honorable thing and marry her! I won’t have the family reputation besmirched!”

This snippet appears in Chapter 3, but if you like, you can read all of Chapter 1 here. And if you’d like to preorder You May Kiss the Bride, which releases on March 28 (soon!), click here for ordering info for print, ebook, and audio formats.

 

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Shop talk: unusual happy-ever-afters

Really enjoyed this thought-provoking post by Lorraine Heath, “When the HEA Isn’t Quite What We Expect,” on Heroes and Heartbreakers. “The value in unusual Happily-Ever-Afters is that they can dare us to believe in the possibility of so much more, change our perspective, or elicit a profound emotion,” says Lorraine. “They can help to keep the genre fresh, broaden its horizons, and allow authors to step out of their comfort zone. . . . if reading romance teaches us anything at all, it’s that there are rewards to be found in taking risks.”

Also — Lorraine’s latest was released yesterday! Check out this amazing cover!

Click here to read Lorraine’s post in full. And here for info on how to order When the Marquess Falls.

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Shop talk: Meredith Duran & Sabrina Jeffries

RT Book Reviews recently posted a fascinating conversation between Sabrina Jeffries and Meredith Duran. My favorite snippet is this from Meredith:

“Our genre is often derided as ‘escapist,’ but I think there’s a great and potentially agentive power in escapism if it enables us to realize and articulate our core values. . . . I like to think that the romance genre, by celebrating the importance of human connection, also helps us embrace and defend the qualities that engender human connection in the world.”

Meredith Duran

Sabrina Jeffries

Click here to read the full post, “Historical Chat: Meredith Duran and Sabrina Jeffries Talk Books.”

 

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On arranged marriages

Really enjoyed Madeline Hunter’s thoughtful and wide-ranging post in USA Today‘s Happy Ever After blog, “Romance Unlaced: Authors Explore Beloved Arranged-marriage Trope in Recent Historicals.” Among the authors sharing their perspective are Julia London, Elisabeth Hobbes, and Blythe Gifford.

Graphic for USA Today's Happy Ever After blog

It’s a trope I like a lot too. Obviously. I utilized it in my own You May Kiss the Bride and The Laird Takes a Bride:)

You can read the post here.

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