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Archive for August, 2010

This is it.  Butt in chair, hands on keyboard, pedal to the metal.  No more blogging, and no more than 20 minutes per day reading other people’s blogs, until this book is finished and handed in.

Topics hover around, though, stacking up like MD80’s over O’Hare, and I need to at least radio out and let them know they haven’t been forgotten.  So here are ten things I wish I could be blogging about:

  1. This item I got for a quarter from the closeout bin at my supermarket:

    "New Moon" themed Sweethearts candyIn case it’s not clear from the photo, the candy hearts pictured on the box say:

    • “I ♥ JB”
    • “Howl”
    • “Save me”
  2. The fabulousness of Sherry Thomas.  I read His at Night a few months back, and spent some time trying to put my finger on just what it is that makes this author’s books work so well for me.  I have some thoughts I hope to whip into essay form.

    Also I can tell about my ignominious moment of meeting Thomas at RWA Nationals (same publisher; same publisher party).  Basically, I said Hi and then clammed up for fear that even a simple “I really like your books” might cascade into such effusive gushing as could make the Deepwater Horizon look like a pinhole leak in a garden hose.

  3. More about my family’s trip through the South, including our visit to Colonial St. Augustine where I annoyed all the costumed colonial tradesmen by asking whether a woman might ever conceivably have done that job.  Don’t give me that look, Sir!  I happen to know there were female silversmiths in 18th-century London!

  4. “You mean those books were free?” How I made it to the last day of the RWA conference without grasping why people would miss workshops to stand in those long lines for the author signings.  And other incidences of my stupidity at Nationals.
  5. Business cards collected at Nationals, featuring…

    Mini business cardsMini-cards!  Aren’t they adorable?  They kinda remind me of those mini supermarket club cards that go on your keychain instead of in your wallet.

  6. My resolution to broaden my reading horizons beyond my current narrow diet of historicals set in the Georgian, Regency, or Victorian periods.

    Because every writer I met at Nationals, YA or erotica or romantic suspense, said, “Oh, I love Regency” when I told them what I wrote, and I felt like a total jerk not being able to reciprocate.

    At least I had sufficient wits about me to ask for recommendations in their genre(s), and now I’ve got myself a reading list to work through.

  7. Cool people met at Nationals, starting with the awesome Molly O’Keefe, a Harlequin author who’s expanding into single titles with Bantam and who won the Rita for her novella The Christmas Eve Promise while I went quietly nuts at my table.  (“Omigod I know her!  I know her!  I had lunch with her just today!”)
  8. A promo giveaway so inspired, I may have to steal the idea.  Historical author & promo whiz Jeannie Lin is leveraging social networks in an impressively organized way to promote her upcoming debut, Butterfly Swords.

    The whole scheme sounds pretty brilliant, with prizes for her promo elves, but the part that really caught my eye is that one of the prizes is an annotated manuscript of Butterfly Swords!

    Sez Lin:

    Think of it as the DVD commentary, book version. It will include discussion about story elements, reflections, how parts of the story evolved. Thought it might be fun to do.

    Am I the only reader geeky enough to get chills at the thought of an annotated manuscript?

  9. On my genre’s right to respect, and how I think it’s getting closer.  This is a big and perennial topic for me.  Most recently I read Jon Meacham’s editorial in Newsweek‘s Books issue (Aug. 9) asserting the merits of the mystery and thriller genres.  As usual with this sort of piece, I read through his various arguments thinking, yep, you could say that about romance too.

    And then I came to this part:

    The narrative [of a mystery/thriller, just like any other work of fiction] gives us a glimpse, however fleeting, of what William Faulkner called the “old verities and truths of the heart…love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.”

    Deja vu!  I’d cited that exact same Faulkner quote in a “Why do you read/write romance?” discussion on the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood blog just a few weeks earlier.  Kind of a tingly, zeitgeisty moment.

  10. I did have a #10 but I forgot it.  So instead, another look at the New Moon candy:

    Box of New Moon Sweethearts candy

    See where it says “You’ve felt the flame…Now catch the chill”? There’s an Edward version of these too, but the closeout bin didn’t have any of those. Make of that what you will.

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Report from the Road

I am in a small town in southern Georgia.  The entourage and I have spent the week since RWA Nationals tooling around through Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, just to see what’s there.  We’ve toured historic houses, eaten local food, and loitered around gas stations just to listen to people’s accents.

Touring nineteenth-century houses is kind of a sensory overload for a writer of historical romance.  Nineteenth-century paint schemes!  Nineteenth-century playing cards!  (Hmm, no numbers; you have to count the pips to know what you’re holding.)  Nineteenth-century furniture imported from England!

We toured a house in Charleston where a glass-and-silver cruet set was displayed; the little card credited it to “Hester Bateman, 1709-1794, one of London’s most prominent female silversmiths.”   I think my brain nearly exploded.   There were female silversmiths in 18th-century London?  There were enough female silversmiths that some could be identified as prominent?  As MOST PROMINENT? Maybe this is something everyone else already knew, but it was news to me.  If I’d read a romance featuring a female silversmith, I would have considered it anachronistic.

I have more thoughts about the conference, and will pull them together (I hope) when my brain has recovered from this trip.  To tide you over, here is a random list of wildlife I’ve seen here that I don’t see in my own part of the country:

  1. Rust-colored hummingbirds the size of my thumb (these were outside our room at the Disney hotel)
  2. Armadillos (unfortunately only seen as roadkill)
  3. Cicadas (seen a little; heard a lot)
  4. Squirrels with skinnier tails than Pacific Northwest squirrels
  5. Small lizards, various colors, that hang out on the stone sides of buildings
  6. White waterfowl… egrets?
  7. Spiny Softshell Turtle, aka “pancake turtle”

That’s it for now!

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