As I grow older and realize life is growing shorter, I give in to my impulses far more often than I should. Of course, when I was young, I was poor and didn’t have the money or time to buy that pretty pillow or the stack of books on Mayan history. I was forced to stop and consider alternatives, thus saving me from a lot of bad decisions. Those pillows really don’t match the cushion. I knew it at the time, but they were pretty.
But how does one differentiate impulse from instinct? I fell in love with my husband at first sight, and we’ve been together since we were teenagers. That had to be instinct, didn’t it? Knowing I needed to write was definitely instinct, growing out of my need to be heard even though I was ignored by all around me.
Impulses are often defined as bad—they’re an instantaneous urge that distracts, diverts, and wastes time and money. Instincts are defined as coming from experience: emotional, intellectual, even physical knowledge. Very often, we resist instinct because it’s telling us to do something that won’t be fun and will very likely be hard work—like writing a book which will eat up a year of my time.
But when I see something pretty that I really want, I still tell myself it’s instinct, that someday in the future that pillow/book/shirt will be just what I need. And because I’m a goal-driven, creative person, I almost always make that happen and regret it if I don’t follow the impulse. So how in heck do I differentiate?
How about you? Do you give in or resist impulse? (and googling dream houses when you’re supposed to be working is an impulse—I’m here to tell you!)
I believe I’ve mentioned once or twice that I am an introvert. I sit at my desk the better part of the day, writing what’s in my head, oblivious to the outside world. To avoid disappearing entirely inside my head, I have learned to go out and meet readers at conferences or book signings, and more recently, on social media like Facebook and in newsletters to my readers.
But I keep forgetting that readers who don’t follow my newsletter and Facebook may come here to learn more about me. To you, I owe an apology. I so seldom receive responses here that I forget this blog exists. Like most people (except those who enjoy talking to the wind, as one reader put it!), I need reaction to keep a conversation going.
I will be happy to just post about upcoming releases (NO PERFECT MAGIC, June 27!), but if you’d like to read about other topics, tell me what you’d like me to write about. It’s a source of constant amazement that people actually want to hear what I have to say, but cooped up without a sounding board all day, I’m always happy to chat.
For those who don’t receive my newsletter—I broke my wrist falling off a bike a couple of weeks ago. So I’m essentially typing this one hand. But I’m excited about the release of CHEMISTRY OF MAGIC and wanted everyone to know the book is on pre-order everywhere and releases 4/25/2017. The advance reviews have been fantastic. There’s just something about a dying hero. . . <G>
You can read an excerpt while you’re here
There are buy links to follow here
And for this week only, MAGIC IN THE STARS is on sale for 99c—through Friday 4/28/2017. If you haven’t had a taste of MAGIC yet, try a sample!
I’ve worked all winter to produce the next three Unexpected Magic books and I’m still not really ready to let the first one go! But I need to start pulling all the strings and pushing all the buttons and send Pascoe Ives–the bastard diplomat of the family–and Brighid, the Countess of Carstairs into the world.
Coming March 14, 2017
Here’s the short version of their story:
Widowed after years of a loveless marriage, the Countess of Carstairs rebelliously embraces her dream of establishing a forbidden school for midwives—until the crown’s envoy intervenes. Caught between his mystifyingly incorrigible children and the king’s demand that he end the riots in the countess’s village, Pascoe Ives needs help, but asking the aid of the irresistible countess only adds ghosts and assassins to his woes.
You can read the excerpt here
And let me know if you’re enjoying the series, please!
Afraid of ghosts?
Fear is part of human nature—witness the fight or flight instinct in all of us. I am cautious by nature and would easily become agoraphobic if I hadn’t realized at a very early age that I would never accomplish my dreams unless I stepped out into the unknown. Constantly pushing my boundaries keeps my mind active and allows me to follow a career I love. But I’m a reader, and books have opened my mind to possibilities I would never have envisioned without them.
I am spinning wheels on the current Unexpected Magic work in process, which means I’m diving deep into research mode, looking for a way out of the corner I’ve written myself into. Having started my career by driving librarians crazy with inter-library loans attempting to dig out esoteric information, I am always amazed by the enormous amount of material to be found on-line today. I treasure a map I bought in London back before internet days showing me when particular areas were built and giving me all the lovely street names. Today, I can go online and get an interactive map like this http://tinyurl.com/hwnzr8a where I can zoom up on any area for street names, then broaden to see how my characters will travel from Mayfair to Battersea. And I can find famous paintings of the bridge itself, which was reported to be extremely rickety at the time I’m writing about. (see painting above)
And then I can dive into detailed descriptions of 18th century Battersea and learn things like this: On the site of Bolingbroke-house was erected, about two years ago (1797), a horizontal air-mill of a new construction, and of very large dimensions: the shape of the dome or case which contains the moveable machine (fn. 45), is that of a truncated cone; …having just space to turn round within it: the extremities of this machine are called floats, as in the wheel of a water-mill; …there are ninety-six floats, and the same number of shutters in the dome, which, when open, admit, even when there is little wind, a sufficient current of air to turn the machine, and, by a particular contrivance, shut when the wind is so violent as to endanger the structure. This mill, at its first erection, was used for preparing of oil; it is now used as a corn-mill, and is occupied by Messrs. Hodgson and Co. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-environs/vol1/pp26-48
Recognize the Hodgson? I refuse to dive down the bunny trail to see if it’s any relation to the items we find in our grocery store now. I need to get back to work. I’m so easily distracted! If anyone else hunts down that history, let me know, will you?
PS: Okay, I dived deeper and found this absolutely fabulous visual map of the Thames riverbank in 1829! Have fun!
I thought you might enjoy a quick holiday read to get you into the spirit. Heaven only knows, I’m ready for a warm and fuzzy escape from the newspapers. So I found a way to tell Lady Bell’s backstory (from Rebellious Sons) through the eyes of star-crossed lovers. INCOMPARABLE LORD MEATH’s novella will be out November 1! Let me know if you want more novella sized stories. Not all tales work in a longer length, and I’d enjoy hunting for more short ones.
I love writing this series. It has all the fun things I enjoy writing about: family, money, humor, romance, adventure, and danger. Since it’s a mystery, it also has a murder or two, and the romance is in the background, which makes a refreshing break from my usual historical romances.
Above all, it’s the characters in this series who keep me endlessly fascinated. Ana, the eldest sibling who once ran away from responsibility, is now learning to deal with her large family, their fortune, and the mysterious spy inhabiting her attic. She might not actually appreciate the duty, but with the help of the rest of her family, Mallard the Butler, and Graham, spy extraordinaire, she’s managing to keep up with them! Continue reading
I finally buckled down and did it—edited and prepared LORD ROGUE and CHEYENNE’S LADY for an e-book edition. These books were nearly 150,000 words originally, written back in the day when books were books and men were men. <G> LORD ROGUE holds a place in my heart because it was written about St. Louis and the Mississippi River, an area I lived in off and on for over twenty years. The period of 1812, the year after the Great Comet, was particularly lively with the war with Britain, Indian unrest, a chieftain who could predict the future, the first steamboat down the river, and an earthquake that made the river run backward. And because I had all those lovely words to play in, I used all those incidents! The hero of this book is such a contradiction in so many ways, that I’ve loved him for years. Take a quick look at the first pages and see what you think.
To celebrate my finally finishing these books, I’ve repackaged my other Americana: my Rita nominee, DENIM AND LACE, my sagas SHELTER FROM THE STORM, MOONLIGHT MISTRESS, and WAYWARD ANGEL, plus CHEYENNE’S LADY, my one and only gunfighter story, into a six book series.
If you want to just taste the western waters first, LORD ROGUE will be 99c for this month only.
I’m not entirely certain why historical romance has abandoned our fascinating American history for England and the Regency era. We had lovely fashions, wealthy mansions, and noble heroes as often or more so than England. But for some reason, we seem to think of that era in our country as prairies and covered wagons. Take a walk on the wild side and see if you don’t develop a taste for a hero who can hold his own in any company!
I regard politics as a necessary evil, and when the warfare grows too rank, I like to fight back with the compassion, imagination, and humor politicians apparently lack. On Facebook, we’ve been talking about what makes America Great, and the responses have been wonderful. Here’s a very brief overview of what people have mentioned so far:
Small Towns Continue reading