Archive for 'romance'

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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Book love: Recipe for Redemption

I recently had the pleasure of reading a fantastic contemporary romance novel, Recipe for Redemption, by Anna J. Stewart. Anna’s writing style is so compulsively readable, and her characters so vividly drawn, that I absolutely had to read this in one sitting.


And Anna’s got a new book coming out in May, which I’m super-excited to read. Check out this stunning cover!

 

To learn more about Anna and her other books, click 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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“Prepare to be swept away!”

So happy to share with you these kind words of praise from a fellow writer I admire so much — the wildly talented Lenora Bell, author of the acclaimed How the Duke Was Won and If I Only Had a Duke. Here’s what Lenora has to say about my own You May Kiss the Bride: 

Graphic: Lenora Bell on You May Kiss the Bride (Avon Books, April 2017): "Prepare to be swept away! Lisa Berne's sensuous, richly imaginative debut will delight and satisfy you. I savored every page!"

I’m super-excited to read Lenora’s third book in the Disgraceful Dukes series, Blame It on the Duke, which releases April 17th (soon!). More about Lenora here.

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“Like a riot in the heart”

I thought you might like to see my Twitter header. It has one of my all-time favorite quotes on it. (An especially apt one for a romance writer.)

Graphic: Lisa Berne's Twitter banner: "Unbiddable, ungovernable, like a riot in the heart"

Also, I love the font, even though the commas look sort of like jumbo cashews.

Are you on Twitter also? Let’s connect!

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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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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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