Romance Novel Covers

Rebel DreamsI’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 balogh_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?

Historical World Building

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 Magic man 640awesomeness 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?

More About Town Homes

I’d mean to post a floor plan of a typical narrow London townhouse from the Georgian era–which would include the home I’m writing about for my current Malcolm/Ives story. I couldn’t find anything copyright free. So I’m giving you this fabulous blog link with cut-outs and floor plans for a slightly larger house than I’m writing about. The photo is of Sion Road, because the area I’m writing about is now far too commercial to show what connected houses look like.

The St James area in 1830 was mostly old Georgian homes surrounded by palaces, a very mixed residential area. It’s fun poking through the house descriptions. But my marquess is having a tough time fitting his huge household into a house this narrow!



Magical Gardens

It’s a shame I don’t really have a supernatural ability to grow everything like my Magical Malcolms, but here in SoCal, things just spring miraculously from the dry ground to bloom and bloom and bloom. fallflowersClose enough to magic for me. My photo ability is pathetic, probably because I’m trying to get all these gorgeous flowers in at once. That’s a towering hot pink hibiscus in the background–taller than I am. There’s a shorter orange one next to it. Roses in pots in the  background. The foreground is my fall pot. The pretty yellow-and-blue daisy-like flower (Osteospermun) isn’t showing up well but that combined with the purple spiky Lobelia Speciosa make me happy when planted together. (Unfortunately, one likes moist and the other is drought tolerant, but it’s a pot. They’ll work it out.)

The succulents on the ground just toddle along without any help from me. So my fall color is pink, purple, yellow, and orange. Who needs maples? How does your garden grow?


webSelf indulgent procrastinating moment here… I’m sitting in my garden, writing… well, staring at the cobwebs. It’s autumn and the spiders must be preparing for winter. There isn’t a twig, leaf, or armchair not covered by webs.

But in this photo, what the spider caught is a seed. Why on earth he’s spinning webs between my porch and my eccentric art table made of stone is beyond me. It’s not exactly food territory. But the little seed was capturing the sunlight and obviously, I needed distraction! And of course, when I tried to capture a spiraling web, a leaf caught in it and I forgot to hunt for more.

So it’s back to the Magical Malcolms and revisions and real work. How do you keep from being distracted by what you really need to be doing?

Character Names

this-magic-momentI am playing with a character’s name in the current Magic  book I’m drafting. Character names are always a hazard when I start writing. I create names that sound good, and with luck, work with the family I’m writing about. I’m currently writing about a descendant of Harry and Christina, Duke and Duchess of Sommersville.

My heroine is an only child, and has serious self-esteem issues, so I thought I’d call her Harriet, just to give her another burden to work under. (Okay, I probably torture my heroines more than the heroes!) I couldn’t use Christina because I already had too many other “C” names in the series. I decided to give her a secondary name of Lenore so she’d have a pretty one to aspire to. And the first thing she did was break loose and decide she didn’t want to be Harriet anymore, she wanted to be a bold Lenore. So I was suddenly working with a character with two names. And this is driving me bananas.

I think what I really need is a name that can be combined into one. Harriet Lenore is not that name! Anyone want to make suggestions of two names–one ugly and one pretty–that can be merged into a single name for a heroine who will be a goddess to others by book’s end?

(and Sourcebooks has this title on sale–This Magic Moment for only $1.99 for another day or two! )

Romance Magic–Part 2

51LBGwKh02LAs I mentioned the other day, I’m on a “magic” title search. Even though I vowed never to do magic titles again, I really needed to know how the descendants of my historical romance characters from the Georgian era fared in the age of Industrial Revolution. Silly me. The men play with steam of course, and get involved with witchy women who spin their heads around, and combat rioters and master politics by joining forces. I have so much material that I could leave out the romance and still fill the pages—except, of course, romance is the essential factor in bringing these hardheaded characters together.

So here I am, looking for magical romantic titles because everyone insists I need to keep the “magic” in the title to recognize the series. I’m so desperate I’m considering stealing titles from other books and adding “magic.” I have no dukes or duchesses but how about Four Magical Nights with the Marquess? “The Taming of the Magical Malcolm”? Garden of Magic? Magically Ravished?

And the truly insane part is that there really is no “magic” in this series. The characters have unusual “gifts” like empathy or a touch of ESP with their astrology, and yeah, they have a few Druidic rituals to make the guys crazy, but no newts die for their sins. Throw ideas at me, please! And if I actually use your idea—there are no guarantees since I invent dozens of these titles and throw most of them out—I’ll give the winner a selection of prizes to choose from. Do you want a character named after you, perhaps? A sneak peek at the new book? Just help me, please! (and I already have some seriously excellent suggestions after my earlier plea!)

Dancing at the Desk

Not Only Magic

Not Only Magic

Play Celebration Time! and dance with me around the desk! (Dancing in the streets would be a little dangerous at my house.) I finished the book. I finished the book!

Well, I wrote the last word of the first draft of Not Only Magic. I never actually finish a book. I can write quickly, but it takes me months to edit. And I edit and edit, even as I’m writing the final chapters. And after. And for more months before I send a book to my critiquers.

When I’m first cogitating ideas for a romance story, I write in longhand. It forces me to slow down and think.

Just for your amusement, I’m including an example of the opening of this new Magic book. (Note: even I can’t read this scribbling when I go to type it, and this is a better example than usual.) This scene that originally started the book is now three pages in and reads like this:

Lord Theophilus Ives, heir presumptive to the 3rd Marquess of Ashford, teetered dangerously on a once-elegant Louis XIV parlor chair to adjust the settings on his latest telescope. The chair rested on top of a table that slanted on uneven marble tiles, balanced by several volumes from the library. The leaning tower of pieces tilted as he leaned over to check the ocular.

The downpour that had driven him out of his roof aerie also obscured any view through the three-story foyer dome.

“I need a tower,” he muttered to whichever of his layabout brothers followed the pack of spaniel puppies racing from the corridor, headed for his uneven perch.

“If you want a tower, go to Wystan.” Erran grunted under the burden of the table he was carrying.

A black-haired Ives two years younger than Theo, his barrister brother had the build of a young ox. This occasionally irritated Theo, who was taller but lankier and possessed mouse-brown hair instead of the distinctive Ives black. But Erran was the more social and civilized of his brothers, while Theo preferred his quiet library, so he supposed Erran needed his handsome looks.

“Wystan is filled with expectant females,” Theo grumbled, “Or I would.”

I’m still dancing! And plotting the next book.