25 December 2008
Christmas is a time for friends and family. They ARE the holiday. It draws families together, and makes friends appreciate just how lucky they are to have these special people in our lives. It’s a manic time, rushing to get presents, wrap them, decorate, parties and dinners. But it’s a happy time, for giving is what makes it rare, special. It’s giving love, and that always warms the heart, so much more than getting.
As we age, the kids grow, then it’s a little harder to hold onto that magic of childhood Christmases. Why I love watching A Christmas Story and Ralphie’s quest for a Red Rider BB gun. Times were simpler then. It must affect Ted Turner the same way, since TNT runs twenty-four hours of the movie every Christmas.
I cherish images from Christmases past. Those memories live bright and shining in my mind.
Times change. Christmas is no more the hunt for a Barbie Doll, a bike or a BB gun. Kids want their own computers, cell phones, I-phones, MP3 players…lol, stuff that was only seen in Bond Films when we were kids. And this Christmas is harder than most for so many. I have so many dear friends going through troubled times. Several have had surgery, others face surgery come the first of the year, and too many of our sons and daughters are still overseas fighting in a war that is coming to parallel Vietnam. We little understood that war; we little understand this one. We just know our precious children are dying in some foreign place and have no real idea why. BRING THEM HOME. American needs to take care of America. The billions spent on this war could do so much good at home.
Recently they extended unemployment because of the recession. Recession. It’s been a long time since we have heard that word, but that’s what the US economy is seeing. While the US government is wasting billions in fighting a war with no end, people on unemployment were seeing it run out. Families face a bleak Christmas this year because our government would rather send billions overseas, than millions at home for the people who are in need.
Some of you are asking me how Diane Thompson is doing. She is the sister of Dawn Thompson and lost her job while nursing Dawn in her final hours and hasn’t been able to find a job since. Diane “Candy” has a hard time walking, has no car and is far from a bus line, so it’s really made it hard. One job was perfect for her, but they took one look at her wobbling gate and turned her down. The world is just not accessible to someone who cannot get around good, who cannot stand for eight hours at a cash register. Her unemployment was extended 7 weeks, not 14 like most of the nation. New Yorkers didn’t get the full extension. It’s allowed her to stay in her apartment until January, at which time she faces an eviction notice. She is 61 ½ years old, not old enough yet for Social Security. So she is facing a very dismal start of the New Year. She won’t get Social Security until she is 62 (July). She needs medical help bad, but the government won’t give it to her until the unemployment runs out. So she is getting by…just barely. Christmas is very bleak for her. I sent her a small gift, a music box to cheer her. Not too expensive as I knew she could use the money to make ends meet. I used the rest to pay her phone bill so they wouldn’t cut it off. I found a wonderful place that makes delicious meals, which are sealed and can be delivered, so she will have a good Christmas dinner. It’s so sad that Dawn had such a struggle the last year of her life, and now her sister is going through the same thing.
Why friends and families are so important. They are there in hard times. It’s a Christian duty to help, and truly, giving makes you feel so good.
So treasure those precious friends and family…we lose too many of them.
Then it’s too late to say I love you.
My Best for you in 2009,
22 December 2008
Covers front and back from Romance Upon a Midnight Clear I did the covers, so that it was Best Book of the Week at LASR was double special!
My novella "Detour to Love"
LASR Award Winner 2007 for Best Print Story
Cata-Network Favourite Novella 2007
The Readers Lounge - Best Novella 2008
Romance Upon a Midnight Clear
Best Book of the week at Long and Short Reviews.
Romance Upon a Midnight Clear
19 December 2008
16 December 2008
Romance Upon a Midnight Clear (an anthology)
Publisher: Highland Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Historical
Length: Full -- Anthology
Heat Level: Sensual
Review by Camellia
Holidays bring magical memories and open the heart to all things bright and beautiful...especially romance. There's no season like it...no better time to find Love Under the Mistletoe. Deborah MacGillivray, Leanne Burroughs, Patty Howell, Rebecca Andrews, Isabel Mere, Amber Dawn Bell, Erin E.M. Hatton and Jill and Julia offer up eight tales of romance designed to please every taste.
ROMANCE UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, a Christmas treasure for one's library, is a treat to curl up with and escape from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. This anthology has a diverse group of stories that touch a wealth of emotions.
"Johnny Fortune" by Leanne Burroughs
"Hey, doll, wanna dance?" sets a romance in motion that takes the reader into the customs and mores of 1968 in Milwaukee and America in general. The reader gets to see and feel the courtship of Johnny Fortunato, "the bad boy", who has grown into a man and Rosemary Traviata, "the good girl" who had been off limits in his school days. A precious love, that started way back in the fifth grade, begins to unfold with bumps along the way but finally blooms into a love to stand the test of time.
"The Way Home" by Rebecca Andrews
One foggy night with black ice on the highway, both Brady Justin and Abby Montgomery are each alone in their vehicles running to escape emotional pain that has taken away all normalcy of life and left only despair.
A wreck that leaves Abby with amnesia brings them together. In a cabin high in the mountains of northern New Mexico, Brady and Abby struggle to keep pain and anger from eating them alive. Nightmares bring the past to light helping them to reach out to each other.
From very different, heartbreaking experiences in the past, Abby and Brady save each other and find a happy-ever-after that leaves the reader sure that the spirit of Christmas is still alive and well.
"Heartfelt" by Patty Howell
"A little child shall lead them" works magic in this heartwarming story. Little Essie meets Cela Donovan in the library and says that they know each other. Cela, a psychologist, has all kinds of explanations about why Essie thinks this is true.
Cela's mother's wisdom and unshakable faith in God is a golden thread woven through this poignant story. They have seen Cela through years of sickness and a heart transplant and continue to support as Cela finds love with Essie's widowed father – a love that has some very special meanings.
"Window Wonderland" by Isabel Mere
This paranormal love story is enchanting. Ben Lightson, a park ranger in Coronado National Park USA, struggles to cope with his misery the first Christmas after his wife's death. As he looks at the Christmas cards his friends have sent, he sees an old English manor on the front of one. As he looks, a light begins to shine is a window of the manor and the light moves from window to window. He feels a tug!
Ben finds himself in Bremington Manor in Nasley England, on December 22, l644. Here he meets Lady Vania Dahl who is in hiding from King Charles and Prince Rupert. This is a section of the story to be savored and I wouldn't dream of ruining it by telling too much.
While Vania and her lady attendants make good their escape, Ben steps through the door to detain the soldiers seeking Lady Vania for the king.
He finds himself back in Coronado National Park giving a tour lecture for tourists. One of the tourist, Viviana Dahl, asks him a question about "sky islands". The question brings Ben a revealing flashback.
"I'll Be Home For Christmas" by Amber Dawn Bell
Ms. Bell mixes the supernatural and firm Faith in God together to create a story about Mitch Ferguson, a soldier in Iraq in the summer of 2005 and his fiancé Annie who lives in Round Rock, Texas. Mitch and Annie seem to have a perfect love with a bright future ahead until Mitch is wounded.
Wounded and bitter Mitch comes to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. His interaction with his family and with Annie makes the reader doubt that he will ever be able to truly "Be Home For Christmas". This story seems so real it makes the heart ache.
"Counterpoint" by Erin E. M. Hatton
Counterpoint, a method of combining melodies, seemed to be what Eve and Pete had done when they married twelve years ago. They had blended to make beautiful music. Now, Eve sits by Pete's bed at the hospital. He is unconscious from a car wreck that he had while with another woman.
Gabe, the man who introduces himself as the hospital chaplain, reaches out to Eve as she sorts through the past and wonders about what the future may hold. He listen and hugs her with compassion then tells her that Pete is at fault but it is up to her to decide what to do with it – does she let go of the pain and forgive or does she walk away. The choice is hers to make.
When Pete regains consciousness, can "counterpoint" return or has there been to much discord?
"Light of Hope" by Jill & Julia
In 1872, winter came early to Wyoming and Jacob Richards almost froze to death before he found the house of the Matthias where Hope and her son Caleb live with her in-laws.
Little Caleb, has lost his faith in Santa but his little elf friend Lola Lewinsky assures him that Santa is going to make his mother happy this year just like Caleb asked him. Caleb can't see how with "sir" and "ma'am" being so mean to his "ma". But, with the arrival of Jacob, things begin to change and Caleb begins to hope again.
"Light of Hope" is a delight even though it has some dark spots when Hope and Caleb are so poorly treated and all under false pretense. Gooding reading!
"Detour to Love" by Deborah MacGillivray
LASR Award Winner 2007 for Best Print Story; Cata-Network Favorite Novella 2007; The Readers Lounge - Best Novella 2007
Kaelyn Reynolds returns to the hills of Kentucky near Pandora's Landing. She had recently inherited the cabin from her aunt and uncle where she had spent many happy summers during her youth. She finds herself snowed in at Christmas time with lots of time to reflect on "back when" which gives the reader some poignant reading.
Morgan Galloway, the man she adored when she was a teenager, is also back in Pandora's Landing. He had been too old and too rich – out of her reach back then. When he and WT show up at her cabin as the "Welcome Wagon" the present becomes even more interesting than the past.
This is a "Second Chance" love story, a page-turner, with a couple of secondary characters that add a special touch of delight to the happenings -- Wiggie and WT or not to be missed.
This story makes a wonderful ending for this Christmas anthology that is a keeper –one to be enjoyed year after year.
29 November 2008
Rowena Cherry's Crazy Tuesday show - Men in Shorts (and Kilts)
You can join panelists: Rowena Cherry, Diane Davis White, Jacquie Rogers,
Emily Bryant (Diana Groe), Jade Lee and me - December 2nd, where we will
be discussion such a weighty top on Voices of the Internet Radio.
20 November 2008
Event: Contest with Deborah MacGillivray
What: Informational Meeting
Host: Book Talk with J & J
Start Time: 22 November at 09:00
End Time: 22 November at 17:00
Where: online athttp://booksbypickles.blogspot.com/2008/11/contest-with-deborah-macgillivray.html
To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below:
The Facebook Team
17 November 2008
A Restless Knight by Deborah MacGillivray
Posted by Jen Turner Okay...so I don't have anything for Thursdays yet, and I got busy running errands and other crazy stuff yesterday and didn't make it here. I apologize. :)
But today...today is Pimp-A-Book Friday! What is PABF? It's when I review a book I've recently read and tell you all about it. Now, you should know upfront that I'm extremely hard to impress. Being a writer and all, I tend to pick on things I never would've before I started writing. Sometimes this newly acquired set of traits ruins a book for me, sometimes I wish I could go back to when I wasn't a writer and was oblivious to grammar, plots and pacing...but I digress.
So here we go, the first ever PABF!
A Restless Knight by Deborah MacGillivray
First, you need to know this is THE FIRST Historical Romance I've read since I was 12 and stole one from my mom. :)
But this book was awesome!
It's the story of Julian Challon, an English Knight, and Tamlyn MacShane, the youngest daughter of a Scottish nobel. Mind you, Julian (a.k.a the Black Dragon) is rumored to be the meanest, most dangerous man around...and Tamlyn isn't about to be told by anyone what she should or shouldn't be doing in her father's absence.
I will admit, it took me a little bit to get into this book. But let me say right now: it wasn't because of the writing. Deborah MacGillivray most certainly has a way with words...and she paints the scenes so darn vivid you can see them in your mind. My hesitation was solely because this genre is new for me. The idea of a badass English Knight and fiery Scottish Lass isn't exactly new, but this book tells the tale in such a fresh yet aged way...it made me want to set one of my own stories back in Scotland circa 1296 A.D.
And that means it left me feeling inspired, which is exactly the way I want to feel when I finish a book...
As a reader, I want to be sad that there isn't another page to turn, but completely content and happy that the hero and heroine are with each other, exactly where they should be. I want my brain to be lost in the world I just spent the last few hours in, wishing I was standing on a grassy knoll in a country I've never been to, but now want to spend two weeks in (no matter what it costs me). And last but not least, as a writer/reader, I want to be so captivated, so utterly in love with the sights, smells and feelings I just experienced...that I want to go write my heart out and try to find a way to make my own readers feel the way I do right now.
I can't give this book any more praise than that.
Oh, wait. I can...BECAUSE I HAVE THE SECOND BOOK, TOO! :D
Mu-whahahhaah. Yes, A Restless Knight, happens to be the first book in a series, The Dragons of Challon. Book two, In Her Bed, is just as damn good - and I know because I read that one, too. Right after I finished the first one. And I haven't been inclined to read books of a series back to back for quite some time, especially when it means staying up until the wee hours. (FYI - the last time this happend to me, it was because of this author named Sherrilyn Kenyon...when a little book called Night Play first came out.)
Now, I should tell you there are no dragons in the Challon series...but there is a slight paranormal element running in the books. After all, how can you write about Scotland and ancient Celts without there being some mention of the Fey? I'm convinced ya just can't!
Here's all the skinny on A Restless Knight, a book I would recommend to anyone...even if they think there's nothing appealing about Historical Romance, because boy was I wrong! Which means you could be, too. :P
Title/Author: A Restless Knight by Deborah MacGillivray
Publisher: Zebra Historical Romance, Kensington Publishing
Publisher website: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/
Author website: http://www.deborahmacgillivray.co.uk/
Added note: I bought both A Restless Knight and In Her Bed from the Kensington website for less than $11.00, and that included shipping. Also, I ordered the books on a Friday night and had them in my hands on Wednesday morning.
And that, my friends, is the end of the very first Pimp-A-Book Friday! I hope you enjoyed it!
Have a great weekend!
For a cover explosion check out
Purple Rain Designs
Monika Wolmarans is my proofreader, as we have owned
and operated Purple Rain Designs for nearly seven years.
Monika recently retired and has redesigned the whole site
and had started offering our covers for sales, as well as
bookmarks, postcard and more....check out her reasonable
We just started loading new covers, as well as a display
of the nearly 150 I have done over the last two years.
06 November 2008
Give Your Thanksgiving Tribute Gift Today
Click here to donate online and pay tribute to a special cat in your life.
As cat lovers, we all know the joy that a cat can bring into our lives. As loyal companions, our feline friends add richness to our days as they play at our feet and snuggle in our beds. We often find ourselves talking about our cats with our friends and laughing at their many zany moments. These wonderful cats are surely something to be thankful for.
And even more, we should be thankful for the feral cats who provide richness to their caregivers - those who visit them daily to provide food, shelter, and care. These cats, who never snuggle at our feet or sleep in our beds, still bring joy to us each and every day as they frolic and thrive in their outdoor homes.
This Thanksgiving, please give a gift of $15, $30, or even more to pay tribute to the special cats in your life – and to the dedicated citizens who work every day to protect our nation’s cats. We will put your donation to work to end the killing of cats in our nation’s pounds and shelters and lead the movement for their humane care.
With a gift of $15 or more, you can post a special tribute to the cats in your life for all to see at the Alley Cat Allies’ Thanksgiving Gallery. The gallery is a unique way for you to express appreciation for the cats in your life – and to help protect cats across the nation at the same time.
Please consider this special way to pay thanks to the cats in your life this Thanksgiving. With your support, Alley Cat Allies can end the killing of cats nationwide.
One half of all royalties earned by sales of Cat O' Nine Tales are donated to Alley Cat.org. This tradesize book, is a perfect Christmas gift for that cat lover you know, and you will be helping a worthy cause when you give a copy.
25 October 2008
Secrets and Lies by Rebecca Andrews
Ella Peterson’s brother is being blackmailed, so he calls in a favor to an old friend to protect his sister. When Wess McKade shows up on his Harley all the old memories she had long tucked away came flooding back. Wess thought Ella looked better than ever, but he needed to not mix business with pleasure; the moment she was seated behind him on his Harley, all that changed. A ten year secret is about to be revealed, and Wess must do everything in his power to keep this nerd to knockout, winner of his heart safe. He must also tell her the reason he left 10 years ago without so much as a goodbye.
Leader of the Pack by Debi Farr
Charlie Fox was all decked out in her hooker gear when she had a flat tire. Falling down in a ditch was mortifying enough, let alone having a sexy cop help her out and flirt with her the whole time. Charlie was on her way to a “Come-As-You-Aren’t” party, and she was definitely not the hooker type. Derek Eiken was dressed as a cop, on his way to the same party when he found Charlie in the ditch, trying to explain that he was really not a police officer, he figured he might as well let her figure things out the hard way. Charlie wasn’t a big fan of motorcycle riders after one killed her dog Max, hopefully her feelings would change once she climbed on the back of one with Derek.
Hitting Paydirt by Billie Warren Chai
MaryVictoria Abbot was a beauty, she was strong, dependable and an oil driller. Covered from head to toe with mud, she was late for her brothers wedding rehearsal and really had no plans of leaving the job site… that is until the Major showed up. Craig Ferguson had eyes for MaryVic for years but with an over protective brother, he never acted upon his feelings. The night she stepped out of her room in a micro mini and lace-up heels, he couldn’t hold back those feelings any longer. Craig would forever protect MaryVic, but when someone kidnaps her, he is out of his mind with anger and grief. a love that had never let itself be known is now stronger than ever… he must now find a way to break it to MaryVic’s overprotective brother, and his best friend. Wedding anyone?
Teaching Love by Patricia Frank
Jennifer Marlowe was on her way home from some much needed skiing when she hit a patch of black ice throwing her car off the road. To her rescue came a man on a chrome beast, she wasn’t so sure of either, the man or his ride… she really had no choice. Trust was an issue for her, Jen’s husband had been dead for about 3 years and she still blamed herself, although the more time she spent with her rescuer, Tree Surgeon Dan Giovanni she thought of her late husband less and less. Dan Giovanni also had a heartbreaking past, leaving him afraid to become too close to Jen. one day he abruptly leaves because there are things he must sort out. Jen is hurt, angry, and understanding, when he walks back in her life, she will help him heal the best way she knows how… with love and he’ll give her something a little different as an engagement gift.
The Man Rides A Harley by Diane Davis White
Susannah Davis could kill her twin sister for talking her into riding on a Harley in the parade with a man she doesn’t even know, especially one that is so rude to her! After a little accident Duke Mansfield, none to nicely takes her to his mother’s home so that she can change before he takes her home. He has not been the most gracious host, but he feels such a connection to this timid little mouse that has been accused of embezzlement. Duke knows Susannah’s situation and will get her out of this mess, being a roughneck biker has its advantages but he is much more than that. Susannah finds out that Duke blames himself for his sisters death and that is the reason for his attitude, I mean he isn’t even her type. The first kiss will surely not be the last, and hopefully her new lawyer has more brains than the brawn he has shown her since they first met.
Bad to the Bone by Deborah MacGillivray
After 20 years, Gabriel Sinclair returns back to his childhood home, he’s not sure why Kentucky beckons him but he is soon to find out. The girl he secretly loved as a child is no longer in town, but he finds a way to make her come home again… by buying her old house. Jocelyn Bouchard was always attracted to Gabriel, but her grandmother said he was white trash and warned her to stay away. Wanting to please the Bouchard woman she complied and regretted every moment. Gabriel is now back in her life as a potential buyer for the home she can’t keep up, but he wants more than just to show her how far he’s come in life. He wants her heart. A night of tornado’s, a cramped cellar, and a searing kiss sparks up the hidden old flame. The Windmill restaurant’s Wurlitzer is kicking up some music, and Gabriel shows Jocelyn what she’s been missing out in all of these years. Gabriel is still the Angel of Sin that he was in high school, he even has the same motorcycle, Jocelyn is still afraid to throw caution to the wind but she’s about to learn what it’s like to let loose for once.
Love on a Harley, is an amazing romantic anthology featuring six amazing stories by six very talented ladies. Each story was heart warming, tear jerking, and so perfect. I got tied to each one wanting them to continue on forever. Lost love, rekindling love, and learning to love are all expressed within these pages beautifully. I couldn’t ask for a better romance anthology, each author brings that sensual, longing sort of love that every woman dreams of.
17 October 2008
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar.
Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.
To Make Glaze:
10 October 2008
When it's still warm...there is nothing like it on an autumn evening.
Makes 1 - 9 x 13 inch cake
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup molasses
1 cup beer
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup diced candied orange peel
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
Stir together the flours, spices, and baking soda.
In a large bowl, cream the butter or margarine with the sugar and molasses. Beat in the eggs, then the beer. Beat the flour mixture into the creamed mixture.
Stir in the raisins, orange peel, and almonds.
Turn the batter into a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 40 minutes, or until done.
Transfer to a rack to cool.
08 October 2008
What you need :
- an old sheet
- an old basketball, soccer ball or beach ball (not to big)
- a broomstick handle or stick about four foot long
This is a cheep outside decoration, and quickly made. You take the sheet and make a very small pinpoint hole at the very center. Then take a small size ball (about the size of your head works best). An old one that isn't inflated hard. Wrap string around it in several directions and tie it so the ball is in a "net."
Take a second piece of string and attach one end to the top of the ball's "net". Tie it securely. Run the other end through the hole in the sheet (this you will
hang from a tree limb).
Taking the broom handle or stick, slide that through the netting under the bottom of the ball, so the "ghost" will have shoulders.
Tie in a tree high enough so it gets wind. This is a simple cheat decoration
that can really spook people!!
~ Deborah Macgillivray
07 October 2008
Top 10 reasons your husband wouldn't want you to read
Riding the Thunder :
10. He will catch you doing "The Monster Mash"
9. He will get ticked when you carp, "Jago doesn't have to suck in his tum."
8. You will have a craving to go to a Drive-in and make-out (do you know how few Drive-Ins are left?)
7. You scare the beejesus out of him playing "Fire!" by Crazy Would of Arthur Brown at full volume
6. He comes home to find you purchased a Wurlitzer and have stocked it with songs from 1960s
5. You will suddenly start sentences with "Y'all", or saying "Sure thing, Sugar."
4 You get ready to go out for a night on the town and he finds you dressed like Elvira
3. You stalled calling him "Ooo-it"
2. You will have this crying need to tell Laurie I love her!!!!!!
And the number one reason he won't want you to read Riding the Thunder??
1. You will wake him up in the middle of the night, demanding in a passion gasp that he teach you how to "Count" to fifteen!!!!!!!!
05 October 2008
Top 10 Reasons your husband will not want you to read The Invasion of Falgannon Isle
10. You will want him to wear a kilt!
9. You will want to book a trip to the remote parts of Scotland (and want him to wear a kilt!)
8. You will suddenly start serving short bread cookies when he asks for biscuits!
7. You suddenly start saying "Och" a lot!
6. You want him to wear leather pants (when he is not wearing a kilt!)
5. You will start teaching the cat how to play poker
4. You will want him to waltz with you (leather pants or kilt is not optional)
3. You will start tilting you head to "What is Love" like the Roxbury Boys
2. You will want to quit your jobs, sell your house, buy him leather pants and a kilt, and move to a wee isle in Scotland
1. You will be laughing your head off and he won't know why!!!!!!!!!!!
(thanks to author Rowena Cherry for prodding me to do this!)
28 September 2008
While this article was written to address historical do and don't questions, it could apply with any form of fictional world-building.
Historical authors really love history. We can easily obsess over details that are endlessly fascinating―at least to us. However, do readers really want that deep of an understanding of the past? After all, you are not writing a non-fiction, historical book, not even a historical fiction novel. It’s Historical Romance. As when you pronounce a word, certain syllables are spoken softly while one is accented; when you say Historical Romance always put the stress on ROMANCE. Never lose sight of that. My wonderful editor at Kensington Books, Hilary Sares, says readers are tired of “clanking swords, that history is stale, cold, while romance is timeless.” In this, she touches on the heart of what historical romance is―history is the lesser of the ingredients in the mix, while love carries the story.
Once a romance author accepts these boundaries then they are left with just how much history do you add? History is a background for the tapestry you weave. It should give the reader a sense of period, but never intrude upon the romance, never stall the story out pausing to explain historical details or to give a history lesson. After the author reaches that level of what will be good threads and elements to craft into the story, they next face a final hurdle―to weigh the importance of details, the minutiae that draws the historical authors to share their love of the past.
Only here is where it can get tricky. Sometimes, what readers believe is accurate often is not. “Bad” history, incorrect word usage, or even how time has changed the meaning of words can stymie the author. Take the word acquaintance. Noun – “a person known to one, but usually not a close friend.” That is how it is accepted in today’s usage. However, years and years ago the word meant something different. Surprisingly, when a man was “acquainted” with a woman, he was saying he had been physically intimate with her. See the problem? If you are going for historical accuracy and you say “Mr. Overton was acquainted with Miss Marple.” in the historical sense you would be saying Mr. Overton had indulged in sex with Miss Marple! Will today’s reader understand without you having to stop the story and TELL them that? Will a reader, lacking this crumb of knowledge, understand what you said, or will they just believe you are saying Mr. Overton has met Miss Marple, but they are not good friends? If the author puts that sentence out there and wants the reader to comprehend what they are saying, then they must stop the flow of the plot and the scene and say, “Of course, we know acquainted means he has had sex with her.” Even then, the reader might scratch their heads and go, hum, it does? In that instant, you have taken them out of the story simply by using a word correctly, but not “right” in today’s eyes. Right is wrong. Rarely is one single word ever that important to risk using, when it can pull their reader away from the imagery to ponder if you are correct or not.
If a historical romance came along and used Irish Gaelic spellings instead of Scots Gaelic, and this book using the wrong form of the language was a bestseller, then people often assume that book to be correct. Then other authors come along using the correct form and people automatically presume they are incorrect. So when readers hit the difference they often believe the right spellings to be wrong! Okay, what then? Do you knowingly use the wrong spellings of words to conform to what the readers have accepted as correct, or do you go ahead and be accurate and have readers think you are wrong?
Another complexity in to be or not be historically accurate―authors who set their novels in real places, such as the castles of Scotland. Often, instead of world-building and creating their own castles, some pick out a very famous castle for the setting of their stories, even put the wrong clan living there, totally disregarding most castles have a very detailed historical record. For someone not familiar with Scotland’s past that might not be a problem. However, the author runs into the sticky wicket of having readers who do, and once more, are taken out of the story because they know the true history. We must remember it is fiction. Authors are allowed to bend history a wee bit if it serves to make the story stronger. I won’t go as far as Randall Wallace did when speaking of the many historical inaccuracies of his screenplay for the movie “Braveheart” and say history should never get in the way of a good story. Still, authors should be able to present a romping tale without worrying about being 100% accurate on every single detail.
Another is nationality. It can come into play in perceptions of what is wrong and right. Take the simple way you name the floors of a building. In Britain and Europe, even today, the first floor of a building is the ground floor. In America, you work on the first floor in New York, while in London you are working on the ground floor. The first floor in Europe is actually the second level. When Regency and Victorian periods were in flourish and they had their Seasons in London, they lived in fancy townhouses. The first floor (second floor to Yanks!) was where they did most of their entertaining. So if a woman entered the front door, and went “upstairs to the first floor” many Americans would assume the author is making a booboo, despite her being entirely correct!
These are just a few of the bumps facing historical authors when trying to keep the faith with history, yet also do a balancing act with the readers and just how accurate does readers truly want their historical romances to be.
© Deborah Macgillivray, September 2008
has a lovely yahoo group called The Haunt. A few weeks back they asked me to be Stephanie McGrath's co-host, and I agreed, very honoured they wanted me. It's a wonderful site and Stephanie and I had a great time working together. However, her new job as editor was taking more and more of her time, she
so stepped down a couple days ago. They asked me to take over as hostess there and I agree.
They gave me two co-hostesses to help me out, Jacquie Rogers and Kristy Bock. Both very delightful ladies who will round out a great team.
So come by and join the fun! Promo days are Thursdays and on the Weekends. Covers are on parade every Monday.
17 September 2008
213 SINGLE SCOTSMEN There was something about the Brigadoon-like Falgannon, something that kept most of its male inhabitants unwed. From Michael the Story to Callum the Bicycle—and we mustn’t forget The Cat Dudley, the slyest poker-playing moggie in the Outer Hebrides—every male of the Isle had happiness dependent upon that of its Lady. So things had been since Pictish times, and so they would be long after the present day.
Despite her machinations, to this point B.A. Montgomerie had been unable to make her men happy. Her first marriage had been against their advice; her husband had been an Irishman, true, but he had failed to meet other necessary requirements...and things had ended badly. Now, another Irishman had come—and was making the natives restless. Yes, the men of Falgannon could sense Desmond Mershan’s conquering Viking spirit and his desire for B.A.—which B.A. could sense herself. And while her men would never let anything happen that she didn’t want, this Irishman had come to pillage and loot, and nothing was going to stop him. Staring into his vibrant green eyes, B.A. anticipated the battles to come.
To enter for your chance at an autographed copy of today’s Book of the Day, check out the Contemporary authors on AuthorIsland to find out who is the happy mother of four kids. Email your guess to AuthorIsland at yahoo.com, along with your name and address and please put "Book of the Day" in the subject line. Good luck!
06 September 2008
Asha Montgomerie is the proprietor of the Windmill, which consists of a motel, swim club, restaurant, laundromat, and drive-in. She has tried to keep it in it’s original state ever since she became the owner, especially since the place is haunted from ghosts that refuse to leave. Jago Luxovius Fitzgerald Mershan is the head man for the Trident Ventures, the huge investor that wishes to purchase Asha’s horse farm and Windmill. He is the one sent to Kentucky to try to convince Asha to sell to them. When Asha first meets Jago, she considers brushing him off like most other men who eased passed her no trespass sign. Then she gets a glimpse into his green eyes, and something inside her can’t say no. Jago and Asha share some moments together as he tries his best to persuade her to sell the property. No matter how hard he pushes, she stands firm against selling. The Windmill is too rich in memories especially with the ghost residents of Tommy, Laura and the simultaneously playing jukebox. As flashbacks of Tommy and Laura creep into the life of Asha, it appears Asha and Jago are linked somehow with the young couple that was killed, and if that is the truth, they could be the next ones in line.