The Circulating Library ~ Regency England

Did you know that in 1815 a 3-volume novel cost the equivalent of $100 today? Such a price placed a novel beyond the reach of most people. Then, as now, circulating libraries provided a place to gather, relax, and engage in leisurely pursuits.

That being said, I’m headed to the library to return the T’ai-Chi For Dummies book I’ve checked out and renewed three times. I just have far too much writing to get done!

You can read more about the circulating libraries in Regency England [here]. read more

Anatomy of a Regency Letter

Long gone are the days when handwritten letters were all the rage. Truly, it is a lost art, or perhaps craft is the better word.

We have learned to condense our lives into a mere 140 characters and share it with the entire world in short bursts of self-disclosure.

AAMOF, I GTM when I realize we now communicate with IM’s, tweets, and Facebook status updates. Though, IRNCOT in depth. I will say, our FTC with glorious written words is quite sad. ISSYGTI. Hope you enjoy the post. BBFN!

[English translation]: As a matter of fact, I giggle to myself when I realize we now communicate with instant messages, tweets, and Facebook status updates. Though, I’d rather not comment on that in depth. I will say, our failure to communicate with glorious written words is quite sad. I’m so sure you get the idea. Hope you enjoy the post. Bye bye for now! read more

Little Britain

This is the time of year I spend a teensy bit too much time looking for fabulous garden ideas.
(Shhhh. . .that’s just between you and me;-)

I stumbled over this AMAZING retired builder, Lowsen Robinson, and his scaled down buildings.

Can you believe the phenomenal attention to detail that goes into each and every one of his creations?

Read more [here]. Enjoy!

“I Thee Wed” is Now Available

I’m so excited! Today is release day for Book 4 in The Worthington series, I Thee Wed. I hope you enjoy it!

Intelligent and driven, Orion Worthington aspired to be like his mentor, the acclaimed scientist Sir Geoffrey Blayne. Logically, Sir Geoffrey’s daughter would be Orion’s perfect match. So why can’t he keep his mind off the unruly girl who works in Sir Geoffrey’s lab? 

Orphaned fire-cracker Francesca Penrose hopes that London is modern enough to accept her brilliant mind despite her womanhood. But she can’t help noticing Orion’s mind…or his body. read more

How To Make #Regency Diadems

Greetings! Are you ready to follow me down the rabbit hole of shiny objects? It’s not for the timid – these tiaras bite. I’ll let you know now, they’re vicious little creatures. My hands are cut, burned, and scratched from creating just a few of these, so if you don’t have much experience working with or soldering metal, you may want to try a few smaller projects before you start in on this. That being said, here’s a list of supplies you’ll need to create your own Regency diadem: [continue reading] read more

On the art of the Roomba and writing through paralysis…

Like many creative people, I do not truly understand my own brain.

Case in point: My backyard had gone to the dogs over the summer–quite literally. My two bored dogs had trashed my container garden, pooped copiously and torn up various pilfered items.
The mess was so daunting that I stopped going outside. Deadlines loomed, negotiations distracted, family drama boiled over.
On National Dog Day, I decided to do something about the problem. I hired a poop service.
Then miracles happened. By the simple act of having a SINGLE chore removed from my life, I found myself able to attack the dead plants, the litter, and exercise my poor bored fuzzy ones.
I could have done those things at any time during the last two months. Bathing a dog takes 20 minutes, max. Replanting a pot takes 10. A game of ball will have a dog panting in 5.
But I suffered from Overwhelm. When matters degraded past a certain point, my brain and will and inborn compulsiveness melted down and I was paralyzed by the simple act of THINKING about the back yard.
I felt like a glitchy Roomba, repeatedly butting against the wall, forgetting how to turn and tackle things from another angle.
Now, the way in which this tale of poop and vacuuming robots pertains to writing a novel:
I have written 20 full novels and some other stuff, too. However, it never fails that in the beginning of a book, at some point I will stare in terror at that blinking cursor and think, “500 pages. 500 EMPTY pages. I can’t fill that! That’s a whole goddam ream of paper! NOBODY can fill that!”
“Who the hell do I think I am???”
Paralysis.
Fortunately, I am neurotic, but teachable. I have learned over the years to do a few basic things. I back up and come at things from a different angle. I plot. I make notes. I draw characters. I daydream (so glad to get my pretty patio back!). And then, slowly, tentatively, I begin to write. I try to do so without judgment or editing. After all, it’s just “practice.” I probably won’t use any of it, I tell myself. If I don’t like it I can toss it.
Sometimes, in the depths of the deepest paralysis (which has only happened a few times, thank heaven!) I write longhand–just to prove to myself that it doesn’t matter. Crayon is very convincing in this instance. Or chalk on a chalkboard might do well. I will keep that in mind. The ephemeral nature of paper and pen convinces my panicked consciousness that it doesn’t “matter.” If it doesn’t matter, it can’t fail, right? Or worse, perhaps, succeed?
Then I warm up. The characters start to show up. The settings become real rooms, real landscapes in my mind. The movie starts to play.
Suddenly, I am impatient with the plotting and the notes and the pen and paper. Words are pouring out and the only way to get them down efficiently is to sit down at the computer and make that damned cursor my bitch. I often don’t even realize that I’m doing it until I finish and look around and realize that I am in my office–remember that place of dread and fear and imminent, hideous public failure?–and my hands are tired and I have to pee. And there, filling page upon page that shrink the blinking cursor into pallid insignificance is Chapter One. Or maybe the climactic end scene. It doesn’t matter. I never write in order.
I write because that is who I think I am! read more

Simplicity in good writing

via GIPHY

The Geek God and I are finally watching The Wire. Yes, I know, a decade behind the rest of you. At any rate, we recently watched that famous moment in “Old Cases” where McNulty and his partner, Bunk, are investigating an old crime scene. It takes place in an apartment that has since been cleaned and repaired. They crack the case with nothing to go on but a few crime scene photos and the F word. Seriously, the dialogue of the entire scene consists of them conversing in Vulgar Dude. The F word, and only the F word, for a solid 5 minutes. It is offensive, gripping, and absolute genius. read more