Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sailing Away

My River Cruise got cancelled. It was probably the only time I'd ever get to use my passport. I've always wanted to explore other countries, but it never quite materialized for me. I have been to 46 of the 50 states and have lived in 7 of them, but I've never 'crossed the pond.'

I would probably be more disappointed had I not just begun working on a new story line. I sorted out the details last week and put together a beat sheet. My heroine is 'crossing the pond,' in reverse of what I would have done. She's sailing from England to America at the height of the Revolutionary War. Not on a luxury liner, but on a small clipper ship loaded with supplies for the British troops in America.

Once I figured out the hook of the story, I got really excited about writing it. The Revolutionary War is one of my favorite time periods. Even though I spent much of my adult life in Virginia and toured numerous Civil War battlefields, the Civil War never held the same appeal as the Revolutionary period does. I can't wait to have my heroine land in unruly America and try to make her way.

Right now, she's masquerading as a boy, stowed away on the ship bound for Boston. So, in my own way, I'm sailing along even without my River Cruise. I may throw in a storm at sea just to keep things lively during their trip, especially since my heroine has never learned to swim. We'll see. I'm sailing away with my idea.

So, what story line are you working on, either in your WIP or in your life? Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, February 3, 2019


I've been thinking a lot about electricity lately. Maybe it's because my furnace has been blasting 24/7 for days now. Or maybe it's because most of the midwest had to experience record cold temps this past week. Fortunately, things are about to heat up for all of us, as the polar vortex recedes. My latest History Imagined blog tells of a big freeze that took place in Europe in 1709. Just think how much harder our polar vortex would have been without electricity and you can understand how so many lost their lives during the freeze, either from hypothermia or starvation. Here's a link to the whole story:

I've been working on the next book in my Regency series, too, while I wait for spring to come. There's electricity there, too, between my hero and heroine. A different kind of electricity, to be sure, but the current is there, even though both of them try to fight it. All it takes is a glance, a touch, and the spark is ignited.

While I wait, somewhat impatiently, for my hands to thaw so I can type better, I can get lost in my story and feel the electricity as my couple falls in love.

Stay warm, everyone!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Telling A Story

Last week, I took a break from my writing and did the more mundane things in life, like housework. A couple loads of laundry later and I was wrestling with my mattress, trying to put the fitted sheet back on the bed. I was at an awkward angle, and my shoulder let me know I'd tried to turn it in a way it was never meant to go. I relayed what had happened to one of my writing buddies and there was dead silence on the phone. Then she said, "That's it? You're a writer, Becky, and that's the best you could come up with? How about you were practicing your trapeze act and Hans didn't catch you properly?"

We shared a laugh about it, I put a heating pad on my shoulder, and took a couple days off from the gym. A few days later, I was back at the gym, going through the Easy Line weight circuit. When I got to the Fly machine, I couldn't go through the whole 90 seconds. My arm, not my shoulder, but the inside of my arm, began to hurt. The next day, I noticed a bit of a bruise on my arm, and I was experiencing pain. So, when the bruising got worse I went to the walk-in clinic. The nurse who took my vitals asked me what happened, so I told her the truth. When she didn't react, I told her the embellished version my friend had come up with and the nurse began laughing. When she finished her note taking, she stood and said "We'll get you back on that trapeze in no time!"

The diagnosis was a slightly torn bicep and the recommendation was to skip the weight circuit for a few days and then ease back into things. But the moral of the story is: When life throws you a setback, rewrite the script and find a way to laugh about it. You'll get back on your own trapeze faster.

So, what have you laughed about lately?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Buying Daydreams

People sometimes ask me why I write. My usual response is to quiet the voices in my head, but I like this quote from John Dos Passos better.

"A novel is a commodity that fulfills a certain need; people need to buy daydreams like they need to buy ice cream or aspirin or gin. They even need to buy a pinch of intellectual catnip now and then to liven up their thoughts, a few drops of poetry to stimulate their feelings."

The thought of providing daydreams for people appeals to me.
It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to write a novel. In fact, studies have shown that 97% of those who start a novel never finish. Some of the best authors I've bumped up against are still working on their first book, which will probably never see the light of day. Such a shame that those daydreams will only ever exist in the minds of the writers.

If writing a novel is a daunting challenge, knowing how to market it, how to reach new readers, is a slippery slope and the ground keeps shifting. So, next time you're at the grocery and are reaching for the aspirin or gin, stroll by the paperback book section and pick up a novel by a new-to-you author instead. As for ice cream? Well, everyone needs that in their cart.

My new-to-me author is Callie Hutton. I've known of her for quite some time, since she's another historical author, but have never taken the time to read her work. I'm now into her mail-order bride series and wonder why I waited so long to get acquainted with Ms. Hutton.

Who is your next new-to-me author?

Sunday, January 13, 2019


With each new year, one of the ideas that gets tossed around is, instead of making resolutions, to pick a word the embodies what you want to accomplish in the coming twelve months and figure out how to accomplish it. So, in the spirit of things, I've selected my word–GROWTH–and have begun to set things in motion.

The first item to take care of was to take inventory of what I want to apply the word to. Certainly not to my body. We don't need any more growth there. I'm continuing my three-times-a-week workouts at the health club to keep growth from happening. No, what I want to apply the word to is my writing career. I took a workshop last week that helps in that regard and am wrapping up the filling in the blanks and gaining perspective on where the career has been. Now, I need to implement a plan for where the career is headed.

To help with my forward progress, I hired an author coach to help me strategize. Already, I can see a way forward. When I regain the rights to Winning Violet, the first book in my Regency Flower Girl series, I will have books two and three finished and be able to present them as a package to a publisher. And, as a kind of offshoot on these stories, I am working on another story that takes place in the same time period, but in America. I'd like to work in some of the culture of my new home state, North Carolina. If for no other reason than an excuse to take some road trips.

And speaking of road trips–providing things move forward during the year, I am poised to take my first-ever European vacation late in the year. Can't believe it's taken me this long to cross the pond, but fingers crossed, this will be just the beginning of my growth there. You can do all the research you want, but nothing will add spice to your story line more than actually walking the streets you are describing, visiting the battlefields, or, for that matter, being on a ship in the middle of a vast ocean.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Friends Keep You Grounded

I complained last week to a friend about having to manually clean my oven and how much bother it was. She asked if I didn't have a self-cleaning feature on the oven, and I said the oven was older than I am. She pointed out that it would have to have been a pot bellied stove in that case! Leave it to a friend to tell it like it is.

But sometimes friends aren't the only ones to keep you grounded. I got a review from a stranger to me of Dance With Destiny, one of my books that was released a couple years ago. Here's a bit of the review:  "My advice: Ignore the cheesy stock-picture cover (the same that appears on half the Native American romance books out there!) and make the plunge. You won't regret it." I appreciate every review I get, but this one made me laugh, and I love it.

It's a new year with new opportunities, and I'm eager to get started with everything. And I'm counting on my friends (and acquaintances who have taken the time to read one of my books) to keep me grounded. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Matter of Perspective

As part of my new life here in North Carolina, I get to spend time with a sweet lady every other weekend. My duties involve giving her something to eat before she takes her pills and then we get to go to lunch. Shortly after I took over this duty, I devised a way for her to take her pills without complaining too much. We play rummy and each time she loses a hand, she has to take a pill. Sometimes that works like a charm. But she's still sharp with her card playing skills and there are times when she wins more than she loses. So I revise the rules and tell her as payment for being such a good player she has to take a pill. She rolls with my flexible rules just fine.

Today we were talking about someone we both know who recently celebrated a life-changing event. My sweet lady had been told about the event months ago and was thrilled by the news, but today she said she was crossing her fingers that things would work out with this person. I love the fact that my sweet lady keeps getting excited about the same events time and again. Which brings me to my point.

I'm about to pick new covers for the re-release of two of my books in the Cotillion series which will come out early in 2019. I spoke to an author friend about this the other night as we talked about covers and we both were feeling as if it were a chore instead of the excitement we felt with our first book covers. Even though these books are not new, they are being spiffed up and presented to a new audience and need the same kind of care and dedication I put into the covers the first time around. I can get excited about the same events all over again, just like my friend. It's all a matter of perspective.

Be on the lookout for the new covers of Blinded By Grace and The Duplicitous Debutante, coming your way soon.