Tag Archives: novels

Snow Day


When one is snowed in, what does one do? Read up on the Middle Ages of course (a medieval novel idea is percolating). And I am dying laughing: Charlemagne’s mother was called Big-Foot Bertha! Poor thing. I’m sure she didn’t mind after her son became one of the most famous monarchs in history. Getting the last laugh and all that.

I wonder what other gems I’ll discover today…


It’s a Beautiful Day


Because within the past 24 hours I’ve had ideas for not one, not two, but THREE new novels. Say what? Please excuse me while I go take a million mental curtain calls and congratulate myself. 😄🎉🍸

Now I’ve just got to get the already completed novels published…


Guest Post


I’m super excited to announce that today I am guest posting about some books I’ve recently read at New York Times best selling author Lauren Willig‘s website. Willig authored the deliciously entertaining Pink Carnation series, which have been favorites of mine for many years. Thanks, Lauren for this opportunity!

Read my post on wifely books here.


Reading Slump


I find I write better when I’m reading good books. But lately I haven’t encountered any of those Magical Things.
I recently finished Kate Morton’s The Distant Hours which had a compelling plot line, but didn’t suck me in like her other novels The Forgotten Garden and The House at Riverton did. Too much unnecessary flowery prose and character sketches, and it took forever to get to the point. I’ve started a few other novels but never felt compelled enough by any of them to invest in finishing them.

Any suggestions? I like historical (but if it takes place in the 1960s onward I won’t touch it) novels with romantic elements. Also since I’m marrying a Spaniard in 4 months and 23 days, I’m interested in reading ones set in Spain. I just picked up The Queen’s Vow by C. W. Gortner and I’m thinking some Carlos Ruiz Zafron would be good since he’s pretty highly acclaimed.

So yea, what do you say?


Go Me


Writing the somewhat sequel to The Apartment on Parker Street and have a good idea to recycle an old short story, make a few tweaks to dates and add a whole lot to bring it up to novel length, and turn it into the third installment. So far so good. Strong characters are developing, I’m intermittently reading several books for research purposes that I’m enjoying, and I have solid titles for both. I’m liking these developments. 😀


What Have I Done?


Omg. Just signed up for NaNoWriMo. I’ve tried for two years and never made it. But I’m going really try to write every day during my lunch break this month. The novel I started is going to be WAY longer than the target 50k but since I plan on breaking it up into three sections anyway, I’m aiming to finish Book One by the end of the month.

And yes, I know I signed up four days late. But I’m going to try.


That Horrible Moment…


…when you read the second novel from an author you loved years ago and hate said second novel. Gahahdmrockwndcsndaaa!!

I read Anne Easter Smith’s A Rose for the Crown when I was about fifteen and could not put it down. Now being twenty-two I’m reading her second novel Daughter of York and am seriously struggling. I don’t know if it’s my changed/older perspective, the writing itself, the slow character and plot development, or the fact that I have a cold and am pumped full of NyQuil at the moment (which is undoubtedly playing a huge role. Btw, please attribute any spelling errors in this post to that fact) but I’m not into this novel. The age-old conundrum: Too much telling where I would enjoy more showing.

Example: A sentence reads “Edward reacted angrily,” and then launches into a description of his actions. So my question is, why include that sentence at all? His table-hurling, mug-smashing and insult-throwing would inform me of such an angry reaction without spelling it out so simply.

I also seriously dislike her overuse of the word “was.” It’s a fluff word and she’s got it printed about five times per page. “Margaret was perplexed.” “Margaret was elated.” “Margaret was devastated.” It points back to what I lamented in the previous paragraph: telling too much. I once had a writing instructor tell me that if you used “was” more than four times in a chapter, you used it too much and you had better think of more inventive descriptions of actions.

I’m not saying telling is an ineffective method of writing. At times it’s extremely useful, like of you’re relating backstory or action that took place far away from the central characters. But if you’re smack in the middle of the book where everything is happening to the characters at that moment, readers want to see it go down.

I guess all this ranting means I’ve been in the publishing world long enough to never be able to read without overly critical examinations ever again.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and if any of you have read this book or this author, please share your sentiments.

NyQuil kicking in. Good night.


Pumped!!


Woot woot!

I’ve reached a milestone in editing what was formerly Ensnared and is now The Apartment on Parker Street. I bumped the 32,000 word novella up to 50,001, granting it official novel status. Boo and yah.

Plus I still have a few scenes left to write. The grand old thing will eventually be over 50,001!!

Miss Rosemary pats self on the back.


Major Changes and a Big-Ass Book


So I  know my last few posts have not necessarily concerned writing per se, and the reason for that being, I have not written much in the past week. I’m working on that, but I’ve been stuck in a bit of a dry spell which is ironic since New York decided to honor all its residents of Irish decent and rain like freaking hell for two weeks straight. Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the green becoming greener since it really is my best color, however all the Yankee games have been messed up resulting in a 4 hour rain delay on the ONE DAY ALL SEASON I GOT TICKETS FOR MY WHOLE FAMILY!

Sorry, this event occurred a few days ago, but I’m still a bit bitter if you couldn’t tell.

Moving on the Relevant Topics, I believe I have discovered the Reason behind the Writing Rut: I’m sick of my story.

GASP! What did you say, Miss Rosemary? You are tired of Laura’s Letters, the one novel that has been with you the longest and features the imaginary man with whom you are passionately in love?

I am actually in love with this Real Man, but it brings back Horrid Memories of Embarrassment and I don't want to talk about it. Dear Friend Megan understands. Oh nights in Piccadilly ...

Well, yes quite frankly, I am. I’ve been focused on trying to finish this damn novel for so long that it’s all coming out forced. I’m forcing the story out, not letting it  force me to stay awake until four in the morning because it so desperately wants to be written. My slight affliction with OCD doesn’t help; it prevents me from skipping little not so exciting scenes in the middle and jumping to the very exciting scenes in the end which is turning all scenes into forced scenes. This thing would be finished if I wrote what popped into my head when it popped into my head. I also think my plots would not change as much if I just wrote them down already instead of waiting for them to come chronologically in the story. But no, I cannot allow myself to do that, that would make sense.

So, due to this … let’s call it a Predicament … I have decided that Major Changes must be implemented.

The First Change

Laura’s Letters is being put aside for the Time Being. This Time Being may last one day, it may last one month, it may last one year. The conclusion is, I have to stop thinking about it and let other characters steer me for a while. I have three novels complete which are in desperate need of Revision.

As soon as I get home from work today, I will take up the task of finishing typing Damn Brits (a title which I hate but cannot think of a replacement for at the moment). This novel I began exactly two years ago, started revising and never finished. It is set in London, a place I do love despite their Snow Inadequacies (I’m sorry British readers. I will never be over it. Never) but I had only visited for three days when I wrote the original manuscript. Two years later I have lived  in London. I know the great places. I know specific streets. I know the Underground lines. I’ve walked around the dodgy areas at night both completely clueless and completely pissed (both meanings of the term apply). What seems fake in the novel now, I can alter and authenticate.

The Second Change

When I do return to Laura’s Letters, I’m tackling it with a different approach. One of the other reasons this thing is not complete is that I have so much going on within it: two (possibly three) romances, brotherly tensions, mother-in-law problems, WWII, court intrigue, wealth vs. poverty, religious conflict, father/daughter struggles (for five different characters), kidnappings, maybe a death, 20th Century royalty, villains, heroes and ex-girlfriends to name a few. I’ve come to realize that this is going to be a Big-Ass Book. Like Margaret Mitchell or Diana Gabaldon big. I can’t decide if I want to cut it in pieces or leave it. The problem with breaking it up is, there’s no good place to cut it. The plots are very continuous and build too much to be fragmented. Big-Ass Book it is.

See? Big-Ass Book

This means that I have to keep my storylines straight. Since I don’t write first drafts on the computer, but rather in journals, this presents a problem when one storyline is progressing more than another. Fortunately, in addition to OCD, I am afflicted also with a disease known as Impulse Buying. Many of you may suffer from it as well, and you will know that once you see THE pair of shoes you just HAVE to have them. For me, it’s not shoes. It’s journals. I believe I bought over ten journals in three and a half months while traipsing around Europe. I had to ship them home so my bags would not be overweight (they were overweight anyway, but that fact is irrelevant).

So I have plenty of journals. The New Plan is to devote one journal to a specific storyline and combine them all later, rather than attempt to write the whole thing as it will appear in novel form. Thomas and Laura’s romance is the crux of it all, hence I will write their story first. This also includes her conflicting emotions about the family who abandoned her, trying to live peaceably with Thomas’s mother, adjusting to his wealthy circle and recovering from abuse she suffered as a child. That could possibly be enough for two journals of itself so Nathan’s struggle to best his brother and eventual romance with Gemma will be a separate one. Lance’s battle to stay alive on the battlefield and battle his as of yet unnamed ex for custody of their daughter gets one too. And the bad guys just get thrown in everywhere.

There you have it. Major Changes and a Big-Ass Book.

What do you do when you want to finish a story but just can’t? How do you keep your intertwining storylines straight?


Behold, Chapter One


First let me rant on the fact that even though I am not yet published I know for a fact that I write better than a Number One UK bestseller. I just finished Stolen by Lesley Pearse, and honestly wouldn’t have if I hadn’t paid nine pounds equals fourteen dollars for it.

Plot = decent. Intriguing at parts but predictable all the way through. No surprises.

Characters = awful. Completely flat with nothing interesting about them. Readers know what kind of people they are from the first page which I HATE. People change, make characters change a little, jeeze Louise. And on top of that, they weren’t even likable. Protagonist, way to sappy. Protagonist’s best friend, total bitch, right down to no sympathy for 9/11 victims. Oh and by the way, Lesley, gay best friends are more than people who care about girls and want to take them shopping and fix their hair and say “honey.” The main man also, when trying to be sincere, told the protag something along the lines of “it’s all about you, babe.” How insincere is that!?!?! It’s just a line!!!! Guys use it to pick up chicks and it gets thrown in trashy romance novels you read as a guilty pleasure!!!!! It doesn’t belong in a work of literature about a woman trying to rebuild her life after an abduction!!!!! I literally rolled my eyes when I read it.

Dialogue = good when it wasn’t being preachy, which was 73% of the time.

Writing in general = I’m livid. All telling and no showing. Like at all. Every crucial bit of information was exposed by characters remembering what happened. “And then she recalled being chased by a shark and feeling terribly scared. It was a horrifying thing to go through. She felt he wasn’t being sincere and was completely put off by his nature. She just felt he wasn’t really a good person.” – Disclaimer, not a real quote, I’m angrily paraphrasing.

GARAADFHSGHASJDJSFGH!

If you want a good book about a woman rebuilding her life after an abduction, check out Chevy Steven’s Still Missing. And no, I’m not a weirdo obssessed with abductions, I’m doing a little research for a story of my own.

Speaking of stories of my own, how about the excerpt I promised?

Well, here you are dear readers. Thank you for giving me over 10,000 hits. Remember I’m still trying to get on freshly pressed and gain a few more subscribers, so please pass me on!

Behold, a portion Chapter One of my favorite novel.

Taneia, 1943

He had a knife at her throat.
“Not a sound,” he hissed in her ear.
Laura clenched her jaw and nodded, heart hammering. She couldn’t see him. He stood behind her, one arm wrapped around her torso, pinning her arms to her sides, the other pressing the cool, sharp blade to her neck.
Shouting – Schelt shouting – replaced the awful gunfire outside. Moonlight peeked through the cracks in the wooden barn walls, casting eerie shadows on the walls. Voices and heavy footfalls approached. Her captor swore.
It was that profanity that triggered something in her brain. She understood him. He spoke Taneian, her language, not Schelt, the enemy’s tongue. He was a Taneian soldier left behind during the retreat.
He’d be killed if the Schelts found him.
“Trap door,” she rasped.
“I said be quiet!” His grip on her tightened.
“There’s a trap door under Bessie.”
“What?”
“The cow on the left. There’s a trap door under her stall. Opens to an extra storage room. You can hide.”
The barn doors creaked. A sliver of light spilled in and grew. Laura’s stomach plummeted. She had no desire to meet an armed Schelt soldier face to face.
Neither did her captor. He darted into Bessie’s stall, dragging her with him and groped around on the floor for the door. The prickly animal complied with people for once and shifted over. Before Laura had a chance to clamber down, he tossed her into the pitch darkness, leapt after her and closed them in. Bessie stomped above them. Her clunking almost drowned out the Schelts. Almost.
Barely able to see anything, Laura scooted back into a corner and hugged her knees to her chest. How had she gotten tangled into this mess? She’d been trudging home from the butcher’s when the fighting broke out. The Taneians – people who called the small island nation off the southwest coast of Ireland home – evidently unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow chuck the Schelts out of her small town, Titusville. Terrified a stray bullet would make her its target, she sprinted into the barn only to be grabbed from behind and threatened with a knife. Could she not have one moment of peace?
“Oh damn,” the man breathed.
“What?”
“They saw you come in.”
“So? I’m nothing to them, did they see you?”
“I don’t think so, but they’re looking for …” His sentence hung incomplete, straining the little room with whatever he refrained from saying.
“Looking for what?”
She heard him swallow his discomfort. “Female … companionship.”
He blood iced. She dug her fingernails into her elbows, willing herself to relax. They wouldn’t find her here. They wouldn’t.
“I will not let them touch you.”
The intense sincerity in his voice surprised her. What was she to him? Nothing. They did not know each other. For all she knew, he could be after the same thing the Schelts were. Yet the way he promised to protect her … the fervor in his voice made it sound like he’d known her all his life and would die before he allowed anyone near her.
That one sentence wholly comforted her. She knew she was safe with him. Now that he had dropped the knife of course.
***
“I think they’re gone,” Thomas told the girl a few minutes later. He could hardly see the slip of a thing, but he heard her breathing in the corner. Even breaths now, not ragged and sporadic ones like before.
“Good,” she replied. “Is it safe to come out, do you think?”
“No. They could be just outside.” He’d be staying in this blessed secret sanctuary for as long as possible to avoid capture. If the Schelts found him, the heir to the Taneian throne, cowering like the cornered rabbit he was they’d have a field day.
Then they’d kill him.
He leaned against the wall, heat from the woman warming his chilled body even though she sat as far away from him as the tiny space allowed. He closed his eyes, despair crashing over him like waves at his favorite ocean-side summer palace. He’d failed. His meticulously planned mission to liberate the occupied southern tip of his nation failed. He’d lost men. Too many good men had died for nothing; and now he, the embodiment of their hope, huddled in a spare storage room, abandoned on his own order to save more lives, only alive himself because of … of … he didn’t know her name.
“Thank you. You didn’t have to risk this for me.”
“I hardly had a choice with a knife pressed to my throat.”
“Touché. I’m Thomas.” Best omit the Crown Prince of Taneia that customarily accompanied his name. The less conspicuous he remained the better.
Besides, people in this town probably wouldn’t recognize him as the prince anyway. They isolated themselves, following many of their own laws, none of which contradicted royal law naturally, under their religious leader, the Shepherd. They paid their taxes and preferred to be left alone. No reports of abuse reached Rhocent, the capital city, save for Thomas’s mother’s accounts. All in all, they caused no trouble, content in their separateness.
But they were still his people. They were just as Taneian as he. That was what spurred his botched mission. He had a duty to protect all his citizens, especially from bloodthirsty Schelts who had thrown in their lot with that psychopath Hitler and his maniacal Germans …
“I’m Laura.”
“Thank you, Laura.”
“You’re on our side.”
He chuckled. “Yes, I’m on your side.”
They lapsed into uncomfortable silence. What else could he say? They’d be down here for at least another ten minutes; he refused to lift the trap door before then. He’d never realized how awkward it was to get to know someone in the dark.
As if she’d been thinking the same thing, he heard her shuffling around, hay swishing across the dirt floor and finally a metallic clank.
“Do you have a match? I found the oil lamp the Shepherd keeps down here.”
“I think so.” He fumbled in his pockets. No, the matchbook was in his pack. He shrugged it off and cried out, surprised at the searing pain in his side.
“Are you all right?”
Ears ringing and side burning, he grunted some kind of response. The pain brought back memory of a hand-to-hand combat. He’d won but not before the bastard got a good swipe at him with his bayonet. He grimaced. That’s why he was so cold. It had nothing to do with the chill in the air; he’d probably lost a great deal of blood by now. As if on cue, stars danced before his eyes like the ballerina he’d secretly been seeing after he found out about Maureen and the sailor. He leaned back against the wall, praying he wouldn’t pass out.
Warm hands cupped his face and guided him to the ground. “Relax,” a silky voice soothed. “You’ll be all right. Tell me where the matches are.”
Laura. That’s right, he was with the new woman Laura. And she needed matches for the lamp.
“Front pocket. First aid on … top in … the large one.”
In a few seconds she had the lamp lit. Thomas shut his eyes against the headache it triggered.
“Good Lord!” she exclaimed. “You need a doctor!”
“No doctor. They’ll find me. Stitch me.”
“But I can’t –”
“You have to.”
“I’m not a nurse.”
“You’re all I’ve got.”
“You need stitches.”
“There’s … sewing stuff for uniforms. It has to do.”
“Thomas –”
“Please, Laura.”
She hesitated, strangely quiet. Thomas almost thought something had happened to her until he heard her rustling in his pack.
“Thank you.”
“Don’t thank me yet. It’s going to hurt.”
“I’m a big boy.”

More next week!


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