It’s been years — literally years — since I attempted to bake bread. (Banana bread does not count, as that’s really more cake in loaf form.) Growing up, there were days when I’d come home from school and as I headed up the driveway to the back door, there would come the delicious smell of fresh baked bread, with two loves cooling on the back porch, covered with a dish towel. Mom always cooled them on the back porch because we had a marauding Siamese who a) loved bread and b) was clever enough to get at cooling loaves if she left them on the stove or counter. This was the same Siamese cat who would lick the honey off toast, and then start nibbling on the slice.
The topic this week for Romance Writers Weekly is, “What do you find most difficult about writing what you write? It could have to do with certain scenes, plotting, dialogue, whatever trips you up.”
At the moment, my answer is “All of it.”
Let me clarify that I just finished the read-through of my first draft of To Lure a Lord, which I’m planning to publish at the end of the summer. During this process, I realized my hero and his best friend have confusingly similar names, I have the same scene in at least two places, and there are several places where I need to write connecting tissue between scenese (the joys of writing out of order).
The real fun was finding the holes. In at least one case, I’m not talking a plot hole. Oh, no. This is a plot sinkhole ready to eat SUVs in a single gulp.
One tradition I have for myself on Memorial Day is returning to the letter written by Major Sullivan Ballou of the Union Army, dated July 14, 1861. If you’ve seen Ken Burn’s superb documentary sereies, The Civil War, you’ve heard the letter read at the end of the first episode.
Memorial Day is a time to remember those who put duty above life and personal happiness, who sacrificed themselves for the sake of others.
I’ve knitted since I was a child and my mother taught me how to create fabric by making loops with sticks and yarns. As one might expect, those early efforts, executed in whatever scraps Mom was willing to sacrifice, were lumpy, off-kilter, and praised because I’d gotten through them, not because they were more than learning exercises.
Most of my adult life, I have not had the luxury of a dedicated work space at home. I’d carve out a small corner of my bedroom when I had roommates, and shared both desk and computer with the husband for quite a number of years. Even when I got a laptop, followed by an iPad, there still wasn’t anywhere I could call “mine.” I worked at my lunch place, in bookstore cafes when I had a Barnes & Noble and Borders near me. (Remember Borders?) My local Starbucks is a real favorite, even if it’s not available to me at the moment.
True confession time: my favorite dinner recipe is the menu at one of my local restaurants, where our favorite waiters bring us food which we don’t have to prepare or clean up after.
Did you know there are 548 episodes in the CW’s Arrowverse series? I didn’t — until my husband and I decided we’d watch everything in order while we’re under shelter in place orders. With five different series and multiple crossovers between them, I created a spreadsheet, so we’d know which episode to watch next. Yes, we are going a little stir crazy.
The question being asked this week is “Other than the genre you write, what books do you love to read and why?”
My reaction is just about everything. Okay, there are a few genres I don’t favor, but from the first moment I could recognize words on the page, I reached for any printed material I could get my hands on.
The topic for today’s Romance Writers Weekly is “Teaser Tuesday.” In that spirit, I’m offering up a small slice from the project I’m currently drafting, tentatively titled To Lure a Lord. This is Book Two in my Just a Touch of Scandal series, set a few months after the events of The Accidental Viscountess.
Some weeks, that pretty much describes it all.
What are you going to get done this week?
From the Archives
As you might guess, this week for Romance Writers Weekly, I’m talking about how I choose my character names. Since I write Regency Historicals, name picking is not quite so easy as dropping by a baby name page or search what were the most common names 20-25 years ago. Add to that the fact the three most common names in England from the Middle Ages up to some point in the 19th Century were Catherine, Anne, Jane, and Mary. This means I have to digging.
Let’s face it. 2020 has not been the easiest of years. And even if we’re in a place where we’re secure in the roof over our heads and our loved ones are well, it’s hard not to have moments when everything feels as if it’s closing in and we just want to curl into a ball. That’s when I turn to my comfort reading and viewing.
Tropes so often get a bad rap, dismissed by some as “formulaic” or a thing writers should avoid. And if you write to a trope, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of giving the reader something they’ve read time and again. This can be good, but doesn’t help if that reader is looking for a fresh take.