Sunday, June 30, 2019


I don't know about you, but I can tell a lot about a person by their choice of footwear. I'm currently working on a novel that takes place during the Revolutionary War in America. My heroine is a former courtesan from London, and during her time there, she was given gifts from her paramours in the form of fancy footwear, among other things. So she came to America with a truckload full of fine shoes. It's turning out to be a theme in the book.

I recently got back the rights to my contemporary, Blame It On The Brontes. I argued for years with the publisher to put three pairs of shoes on the cover that depicted the personalities of the three women who tell the story, but I could never convince them of my vision. Now that I had the rights back, I could create my own cover exactly the way I wanted it. There's the hippie, the practical one, and the starlet. And my guess is you can tell exactly whose shoes belong to whom on the cover.

As I write this from my Carolina room in sweltering North Carolina, I am barefooted. For someone who writes about women with shoe fetishes, I am coming up woefully short myself. But it's summer in the south, so bare feet are acceptable.

So, grab your flip flops and head to the beach or the pool with the Bronte book. It's a great beach read. Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Cleaning House

I had a relative move out this week after living here for six months. Another will be moving into the revolving door my house has become soon, so I have a lot of cleaning and laundry to get done in a short amount of time. In the past few days I've been doing mounds of laundry and bedding, and, since a lot of clothing got left behind, I had to decide what to take to Goodwill and what to take to the trash. Sorting through what's good enough to keep and what to toss.

And, after the laundry gets done, I can start getting down to details. Vacuuming, scrubbing, picking up empty peanut butter cups, etc. All those details that happened during his tenure here need to be assessed and a decision made as to whether it's worth hanging onto.

And, of course, this all reminded me of editing a manuscript once you type "The End." First, you clean up the glaring errors, or fill in the gaping holes in your story line. Then, you get down to the details. You can vacuum up a lot of them quickly, such as changing out straight quotes with curly ones. But then there are those details that have become so ingrained in the story that it's really hard to scrub the story clean. Lots of elbow grease is going to be needed to have the end product be clean as a whistle.

So, in between loads of laundry and vacuuming this weekend, I'll be cleaning off my laptop in preparation for getting serious writing time in next week on my new story. I've got the story line planned, just like I have a plan for cleaning the upstairs. But, as is always the case, the story has a tendency to go its own way, regardless of the amount of planning I have done. I only hope there are no surprises when it comes to cleaning the second floor.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Accepting The Inevitable

I wrote a post for another blog recently where I talked about my collection of fashion prints. And I blamed my mother for getting me started on this mad obsession of mine. She was helping another sister fix up her home in Maine and unearthed a fashion print still in its frame, under a porch. Then, since Mom was never one to throw a perfectly good item away, she washed the dirt off it and gave it to me as a housewarming gift when I bought my first home.

Now, years later, I'm writing historical romances and I spend a lot of time discussing gowns–shabby ones, off the shoulder ones, gowns the same exact shade as the woman's lover's eyes, etc. I even went so far as to make one of my characters the owner of a dressmaking shop.

My current work in progress features a young woman who masqueraded as a boy while stowing away on a ship bound for America. When she arrived, she needed to borrow a gown in order to be properly presented to her aunt, and the only gown available was a faded blue serviceable dress which belonged to the hero's dead wife and is the only thing of hers that he kept, since it was his favorite dress. The aunt made some rather caustic remarks about the inferior quality of the gown, but the heroine knew how much it meant to the hero and takes care to properly clean and return it.

Mom may have started me down this path years ago, but if my first Godey print was the catalyst for my choice of genre, then I should be thanking her every day that I write. Not being one who likes being told what to do, it took me several experiments in writing before I settled in on American historical romance. I have accepted the inevitable and will continue to write about the clever, dedicated, brave men and women who made us a free nation.

Thanks, Mom.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Emancipation Day

Since February, when a character from a manuscript I was working on, appeared on the scene and wouldn't leave me alone, I've been working on her story. The aforementioned manuscript, from whence she emerged, has been pushed under the bed. At least something good came out of that whole experience.

The story takes place during the Revolutionary War in America. I wasn't that well versed in Revolutionary history before, other than knowing the basics, so I had a huge learning curve. And the story begins in England, where my character sails from, so I had to familiarize myself with sailing vessels used in the late 1700s. And then, there was Boston. Other than the Tea Party and the Common, I didn't know much about that place, either. But I love historicals where I take two normal people who happen to be living through perilous times and sink them into the history. Think Rose and Jack on the Titanic and you'll understand.

Boston Tea Party

Anyway, in the course of my research I learned Bostonians celebrate something called "Evacuation Day" every March, even to this day. That's the day the British ships left the harbor for good, having been intimidated by the large number of cannons pointed at the harbor from Dorchester Heights. The Brits didn't know there was no ammunition to back up the bold presence. They also didn't know some of the cannons were simply painted logs, made to resemble a cannon. The Brits couldn't take the chance, so they ended their blockade and evacuated the area.
Cannons being moved to Boston from upstate New York. 

My main character has been fighting her own battle. She's desperate to escape the rule of her father, who wants to marry her off to a man with great wealth. She'd rather marry for love. As she stands in the harbor watching the ships leave and hearing it referred to as Evacuation Day, she thinks instead it should be called Emancipation Day. Because she's found love and her father can no longer run her life.

The manuscript is now finished, except for writing a synopsis. So in a way, this is my Emancipation Day. These characters, and this story line, have been a daily part of my life since February, and I'm ready to move on. My next idea also sprang from one of those manuscripts taking up residence under the bed. A high-priced English courtesan decides to migrate to America. What could go wrong?

Stick a pin in that for a couple months.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

On To The Next

I am pleased to say I finished the second read-through of my current WIP. This "fingers off the keyboard" reading went fairly well, and the book that has consumed my days and my time in the pool where I like to think about the next scene, is done. At least this phase of it is done. It's now in the hands of my beta readers. I'll wait for their comments, make their suggested changes, and send it off to my publishers of choice to see what they have to say about it. Fingers crossed!

Besides meeting that milestone, I worked with Prairie Rose on the new cover for the next book in the Cotillion Ball series to be released--A Widow's Salvation. What do you think of it?

And the last major event of the week happened by accident. I noticed one of my books was missing on my Amazon page and queried the publisher. They told me they had reverted rights to the book two weeks ago, but sent the reversion letter to an old email address that I have requested be changed three times. How hard can it be? Anyway, I have the rights back to Blame It On The Brontes, and can republish it, which I will probably do on my own. I need a new cover, and am looking forward to it. I'm thinking a beach, flip flops and sea glass jewelry.

June is upon us, and in the south that means hot, sweltering weather. I'll leave the golf to others and spend my days in my Carolina Room, taking care of business. And when I do manage to get to the pool, I'll dream up the next book to fill my creative space for the next four months.