Archive for 'on writing'

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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Word of the day: Mayhap

Here’s a lovely word for a writer of historical romance. By way of example, Merriam-Webster quotes from Sir Walter Scott’s Waverly: “The very footmen sometimes grinned too broadly, the maidservants giggled mayhap too loud . . .”

Infographic: "mayhap" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster

Waverly was published in 1814, which would clearly make it acceptable for me to use “mayhap” in one of my Regency-era books. I haven’t so far, though now, as I’m writing the third book in the Penhallow Dynasty series, it occurs to me that there’s a character who could very well utter it. Stay tuned . . .

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Word of the day: Fastidious

“Difficult to please,” says Merriam-Webster; also “having complex nutritional requirements.” It’s a wonderfully accurate description of my hero’s grandmother in You May Kiss the Bride.Infographic: a definition of "fastidious" by Merriam-Webster

Here’s a snippet from Chapter 5, in which my heroine discovers just how fastidious her hostess is.

Livia stared dismally at her plate. On it was a mashed turnip cake, three limp mushrooms over which had been spooned a lumpy gray sauce, and half a raw artichoke bottom. Not only did Mrs. Penhallow follow a most peculiar culinary regimen, so were she and Miss Cott forced to endure it as well. It was all because of that repulsive Dr. Wendeburgen, one of Bath’s most eminent physicians and a particular favorite of Mrs. Penhallow. No meat, no fish, no poultry, no milk, no cream, no butter, no eggs, no bread, declared Dr. Wendeburgen. Above all, no desserts! What could be more injurious to the human alimentary tract?

Want to read more? Click here to read Chapter 1.

If you’d like to preorder in advance of the March 27th release, click here.

Plus, Avon Books is hosting two giveaways! Ten print advance reader’s copies are up for grabs on Goodreads. And there’s a sweepstakes, too. Good luck!

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About that cloak in Chapter 4 . . .

The other day I drifted up from sleep in the wintry early-morning darkness, and the first thing that came to mind — very clearly and distinctly — was the cloak a secondary character in The Laird Takes a Bride wears in Chapter 4

My brain had just served up the realization that it was unlikely that this character would choose this particular cloak, and that I really should change it.

So I did. With satisfaction.

Cartoon via Someecards: "Writer Hard at Work"

It’s true.

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Word of the day: Uncouth

Here’s a useful word I employed in You May Kiss the Bride. Infographic: "uncouth" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster

 

My heroine, Livia, betrothed to Gabriel Penhallow, hears the name Alasdair Penhallow mentioned, and asks who that is. Gabriel’s haughty, cantankerous grandmother replies with a sniff:

“He is Gabriel’s cousin, and the head of the Scottish branch of the Penhallows — we here in England have nothing to do with them as they are a backward, uncouth lot. This Alasdair is evidently an utter wastrel and is known, among our own intimate circle, as the black sheep of the family. A highly appropriate term, given the Clans’ apparent obsession with their sheep. For myself, I have never cared for mutton, but Dr. Wendeburgen says under extreme circumstances, such as a fit of sneezing that lasts more than an hour, consuming it in pureed form is of the utmost urgency.”

You’ll meet Alasdair in my next book, The Laird Takes a Bride. You’ll have to decide for yourself if old Mrs. Penhallow is correct in her estimation of him . . .

In the meantime, if you’d like to read an excerpt from You May Kiss the Bride, click here. You can also enter Avon Books’ Goodreads giveaway for 10 print advance reader copies; click here to enter. Good luck!

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“Stories yet to be written”

Oh my gosh, do I love this image. Tales not yet told; characters not yet conjured into existence; love not yet found, fought for, and won . . .

Photo: an old-fashioned pen and an inkpot labeled STORIES YET TO BE WRITTEN

via Farah Ghuznavi on Twitter

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The Wedding Dress

What a sad image! Still, it would make a wonderful illustration for an opening chapter in a romance novel, wouldn’t it? Things look bad for the heroine. But we know — for sure — that it will all end up OK. No, more than OK: it’ll be great.

"The Wedding Dress" by Frederick William Elwell, 1911.

“The Wedding Dress” by Frederick William Elwell, 1911

Which is just one reason why I love reading (and writing!) romance.

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You’ve got questions? I’ve got answers!

If you happen to be wondering what I’m currently working on, my strategy for dealing with writer’s block, where I got my idea(s) for You May Kiss the Bride, how I get inspired to write, and if I have any advice for aspiring writers, hop on over to my Goodreads page!

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

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Word of the day: Cantankerous

In You May Kiss the Bride, my hero’s grandmother, Henrietta Penhallow, is definitely cantankerous: she’s arrogant, domineering, and critical.

Infographic: "cantankerous," via Merriam-Webster

 

Here’s a little snippet from Chapter 5, during which my heroine, the penniless orphan Livia Stuart, has begun — under the aegis of old Mrs. Penhallow — her transformation into an elegant Society miss.

One morning, after several new items had arrived (including, to Livia’s intense gratification, a pair of kid slippers with ravishing pink rosettes), she said impulsively to Mrs. Penhallow:

“All this, ma’am, for me? I must thank you.”

The old lady had somehow managed despite her inferior height to look down her nose at Livia. “It is not for, or about, you, young lady,” she replied with her usual hauteur. “Never think that for a moment. It is merely that you are to represent the Penhallows, and standards must be upheld.”

Temporarily cowed by this frigid set-down, Livia submitted to successive applications of Lotion of Ladies of Denmark, Milk of Almonds, and the distilled water from green pineapples, her complexion having been pronounced shockingly brown, and also to the rose oil and white wax for lips deemed repulsively dry and chapped.

Poor Livia!

Want to read a longer excerpt from You May Kiss the Bride? Click here for Chapter 1.

 

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Dragon bed

This image floated across my Twitter feed, and I had to stop and stare at it in admiration.

Photo: a miniature dragon bed made by Michael Reynolds.

Via Traceyanne McCartney on Twitter

Of course, I spent some time wondering if I could somehow write in a bed like this into one of my books. Nothing immediately springs to mind, but you never know . . .

Then I had to learn more. This is an amazingly teeny-tiny little bed, the artist is Michael Reynolds, and he is evidently a member of the International Guild of Miniature Artisans which has a bewitchingly fascinating Instagram. Enjoy!

 

 

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