The first of my excerpts for Magic in the Stars have been going out, and I’m receiving a deluge of lovely mail pointing out that my hero doesn’t know the name of his own dog. Well, people have been a little politer than that.
What can I say? When I write, names change. It just happens. It’s part of the process, and at some point, I hope I catch all the changes and settle on a final name. (Although the heroine of current WIP has probably gone through a hundred name changes by now!)
But my real fault was in letting the excerpt go up before it was proofed. We organize so much of this in advance that sometimes it’s impossible to remember what I did when, and this is one of those cases. I apologize.
And in case you’re wondering, his dog’s name is Hog. And that’s not him in the picture. <G>
Maybe the reason I add magic/odd/psychic elements to my book is because in my search for escapism, I’m hoping to warp time–must try that some day! But in writing historical romance, time is still relevant, unfortunately. I have just written myself into a nasty corner on this Magical Malcolm trilogy I’m drafting. The final book ends on a particular day in history and even my powerful characters can’t take back time. Which means I must go back through the whole book and figure out what they’re doing on which day of the week. Really, when will I learn organization?
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I’m in the nail-biting process of deciding on the “look” for the next Malcolm/Ives historical romance series. Do I want naked lady backs? Not particularly, but I do like Mary Balogh’s lady/landscape covers. But I’m writing as much about the Ives men as the Malcolm ladies (and by 1830, they’re pretty intermixed, magic wise). So a hot guy on the cover, maybe? But how does one differentiate between one 1830 fashion model and another? Wouldn’t they all look alike? What do you think?
Prince Charming by Elliott James—urban fantasy
I can’t remember who told me about this book, but thank you! It’s fantasy on a level with Patricia Briggs. The characterization is amazing. The hero is an outcast from an ancient group of Knights Templar who are under a geas to protect the veil between humans and the supernatural. Because the hero’s mother was bitten by a werewolf, he has unnatural tendencies and is despised and hunted by his father’s knights. His conflicts are manifold but his sarcasm is hilarious. Like Briggs, this is not a bloodfest nor erotica, but a strong contemporary fantasy with a fascinating stage of characters on a vampire hunt. The action scenes are beautifully choreographed and hard to skim, even though I usually skim violence the same way I do sex scenes. If you can handle another vampire hunter, check this one out.
How often do you skip the sex and violence scenes in genre fiction?
Because I’ve been out playing this weekend–finally saw Lion King live with the family among other things–I played hooky from the computer. It’s hard to come back from the awesomeness of that music to words that must be pulled from my cranium. So today, I refer you to my Word Wench post on historical world building. Do you have favorite book worlds that you visit?
My historical romances tend to be set in rural areas, because it’s so much simpler to push the characters together with limited surroundings–and besides, I love the sprawling estates! Until I actually went to London and visited some of the town houses, I had images of spacious London homes too. Reality isn’t as fun.
The image here is actually Dublin because I couldn’t ferret one out of my files for London that didn’t contain shopping on the bottom floor. But this is what the older sections of London would look like. Mayfair–where most of our Regency character reside in the new houses–might have larger residences, but only for the wealthy.
Now imagine my busy marquess entertaining his political friends, housing his brothers and his sons, and throwing a new wife into the mix. Can we say “crowded”? What’s the smallest house you’ve ever lived in?
I’m slowly realizing that it’s the little things that add up when writing. So much of my writing is intuitive that I don’t always understand what I’ve done until I go back and read the book. Take, for instance, my current heroine’s perfume. I usually give my characters scents, and normally they’re just convenient additions to the sensory build-up of love scenes.
But in the case of the current unnamed WIP (See the Magic? Magic at a Glance?), I have a blind hero. So the heroine’s scent becomes a very important part of the book layering. If she’s not wearing it, he can’t know where she is unless he hears her voice or recognizes her footsteps. So he needs to notice if she’s not wearing it and wonder why.
That kind of detail—as simple and silly as it sounds—adds the depth and texture that makes a book seem “real.” Yes, I love a fast-paced, witty, dialogue-filled book, but if the author gives me details in one place, I want them to fill in the background elsewhere. The hero can’t stop limping in the middle of the book. (Note to myself <G>) If he does stop limping—then there must be an extra layer to explain it, and as a reader, I’m eager to find out what it is.
Do you enjoy, or even notice, the small details that play out in the books you read?
Ack, I’ve just discovered I’ve used the word “thru” in my manuscript! It’s a short cut I often use in texting and tweets and it spilled so unconsciously into my writing that I didn’t even notice until I started editing. Worse yet, Word and Webster accept it as a real word! Ack, ack, one more spelling usage bites the dust!
Pretty soon, we’ll be typing “U” for “you” and “R” for “are.” If you think books as we know them have come to an end, just wait until our pages read “Thru gr8t buks, UR able to lern wizeness.”
At least we’d wipe out that difficult “your” and “you’re” problem !
I spend my days writing new books and working on promoting them. In the evenings, I work on old back list titles. I edit scans (I can trim 20k words from 150k word books simply by deleting excess verbiage–source of another blog!), choose images for covers, and most dreaded of all–write descriptive blurbs. I defy you to reduce a 150k book to a 300 word summary!
The description on the old covers are copyrighted and can’t be used again. The question, of course, is who would want to? Just for fun, here’s the one from a 1980’s book:
Her heart pounded as his lips closed over hers. Never before had she been kissed like this…never before had she been so willing to surrender to love’s passionate promise.
Daughter of a New Mexico cattle baron and an enchantingly lovely Mexican aristocrat, Maria Connolly had inherited her father’s courage and strength and her mother’s pride and beauty. But with both her parents dead, she found herself alone and vulnerable as her person and her property came under siege by the local landowner who wanted to possess both. That was when Cheyenne Walker rode into her life, guns glittering on his hips, offering Maria the help and strength she so desperately needed… and the passionate embraces she so hungrily desired…
Does that make you want to run out and buy the book? I can guarantee I can’t write a blurb like that!