Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Reading (and writing) It Old School, part one

I came of age as a romance reader in the time of the big epic historicals that spanned years and continents and hero and heroine might even have to go through (at least) a spouse each before they were free to have their well earned HEA. I remember once thinking that I especially liked when the heroine had the couple's first child, because that meant we were in for the meat of the story with lots more still to come. It wasn't that uncommon to see the little sproglets grow through the book and have actual bearings on plot and character development. Neither were they automatically being set up for their own books.

These were the days of Small, Woodiwiss, Brandewyne, Busbee, McBain and Sherwood, to name only a few. Single titles rather than series were the norm, though there were exceptions. Jennifer Wilde's character, Marietta Danvers, was the heroine of three books, and not all with the same hero. Valerie Sherwood's Kells and Carolina swashed their buckle from colonial Virginia to the island of Tortuga through three big, thick books, and the same author's Imogene and VanRyker (not related to Kells and Carolina) had two and a half books, the other book and a half devoted to Imogene's presumed-dead-in-infancy daughter and her hero. Rosemary Rogers' Steve and Ginny had them all beat, with a whopping four books to their relationship before their daughter had a turn in the spotlight. Depending on how much one wants to quibble through a saga, Aola Vandergriff's Dan and Tamsen may well be the king and queen of the continuing stooooory, having lead or at least central roles in no less than six books of her Daughters series, following the tempestuous Tamsen and her sisters from late teens to old age and final days. Dan and Tamsen didn't have children, either.

Books of this era could often be termed heroine-centric, which suits me fine. A heroine might be beautiful, corageous and strong (none of those bad things) but by no means perfect in the Mary Sue sense. Shanna, from Kathleen Woodiwiss' novel of the same name, started out as a selfish spoiled brat, but there was room for change, and boy, did she. Plus she got Ruark. No bluebirds doing the hair of these gals, and I think it's high time they had a shot at the center stage once more. At least that's what I'm trying to do, and it's what comes most natural to me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


My all purpose question these days is, "can I put gesso on it?" Usually, the answer is "yes." Seeing as how I only have white gesso right now, this may mean that as soon as I get black gesso I may not be seen again for another long time. Hopefully, though, I'm back. Writing, digital art, regular art, reading about ballroom dancing (the joys of research) and what I promised myself I wouldn't do -- start brewing the idea soup for a new historical before I've finished one of the current projects. Sometimes these things happen, and I really truly am not going to start actual writing on the new project until I finish the first full draft of Endless Summer. Seeing as how the half draft is done, saved and I'm rapidly approaching the midpoint of the first full draft ::ducking floundersmack from Vicki, who will tell me I am working on my second draft and the half draft is the first draft:: that shouldn't be too long. So I am okay with starting the idea soup.

Currently stuck on Blake Lewis' "Meet Me At the End of the World," which may have some influence on the new project. Still on a pretty good run of reading historicals; not every one is a gem, but keeping a steady stream of reading helps keep a steady stream of writing.

Did not see American Idol last night, as our cable was wonky and unless is was "Only make sound every other syllable" night, I don't have that kind of patience. Watched the real life hero tinker with tv and cable box for two hours while attempting to talk to a human being at the cable place and was thankful I had a book with me.

Doing good, feeling good, would say looking good but not yet ready to attempt self portraiture with digicam. Ask me again after shampoo and makeup, but the joy of new fitted tshirts means I can get rid of the schlubby old sizes too big ones that procreate in my tshirt drawer.

Conference coming in a month, huzzah. Time to mingle with other romance writers and beg agents/editors to recognize my genius. Making mini cds with promo stuff on them, so if you hear a voice that sounds like mine saying Very Bad Words, you know I'm trying to print something new.

The point of it all is, I am here, really I am. (edited to add appropriate icon I'd forgotten I made)