Friday, August 17, 2007

Major Revisions Ahead!

I'm diligently working on my second novel, A Tempered Rogue. That's the wonderful part now that I've forced myself to stop tweaking AHR (okay, I admit, I do tweak a little more every time I get a new request for a partial or a full). So getting back to ATR, I'm trying to finish the novel when I'm struck completely dumb. I handled their first meeting in the book all wrong. This of course will cause a ripple effect throughout much of the book I've already written. Big revisions are not my idea of fun. But the fact was staring me right in the face, I had to give ATR a facelift. Okay, not so overwhelming that I was tempted to put the book down...forever, but enough to make me wince. The change is a must for the story though. It will give my h/h the kind of meeting that the gossipy ton will chit chat about in parlors and drawing rooms from daybreak to sundown. In other words, I expect to make it quite memorable. I'll find out after several critiques if I did.

I also came across a startling fact about my writing. I was convinced I really only liked to write the dark and thoroughly conflicted stories of tortured/unrequited/passionate love. I was so wrong. Don't get me wrong though, I do like those plot aspects but I write with much more sarcasm and dry humor I would ever have imagined. Which when I think about it is silly. I can be a very sarcastic (the people who know me well right now are clutching their chests and saying, "Really Bev?" in, of course, those dry, sarcastic tones) and my humor tends to be the kind of arid desert dry (I like to use that phrase in my books). So it really shouldn't come as a surprise that that particular personality trait seeps into my writing--okay, forgets seeps, overflows into my writing.

What kind of personality do you have? Do you find yourself infusing your characters with your personal traits? Or do you find you write your characters with personalities complete opposite of yours?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

My Voice

I'm back after quite a spell. I've been revising and revising and sending out requested partials and one requested full. I'm tickled pleased that apparently I have a query that is really working. The feedback I've received from everyone who has read it, is terribly encouraging, so after eight months of rewriting it, I'm done.

When I came back from Nationals I had such an epiphany. It was about my voice. This is a concept I've struggled with. I didn't know what my voice was. I didn't know what made it different and unique. And I realized why. The beginning of my first book didn't have the voice I wanted. My real voice was peppered in the book struggling to come out, and it was in those passages I was completely pleased with. So I had this big overhaul to the first part of my book. I needed my voice to come through loud and clear right away. I needed to draw the reader, and of course the agents and editors. Did I do it? Lord, I hope so 'cause I've officially put AHR down. The only way I will revise now is if an agent or editor requests changes. Am I happy with it. Absolutely. Is it perfect. No way but you know, right now it's the best and most that I want to do with it. I still have ATR 3/4 done and need to wrap up the first draft on that in August. Then of course I have Alex's story drumming a beat in my brain saying 'do me'. And believe, everyone woman would want to do Alex, who will soon be the heir to the Duke of Hastings (or is of Kent).

Excerpt of ATR coming.... As usual things must be revised. My whole life is so full of revisions. Oh the joy of writing.

Okay, after some revisions (which is my life), here's the first couple pages of ATR.

London, 1859

“You want me to what?” Lord Thomas Armstrong’s question had the deafening effect of a bomb exploding amid the quiet of Lord Harold Bertram’s grand study at his townhouse on St. John’s Street.

Surprisingly, the newly upholstered leather armchairs, several plush side chairs, and the massive mahogany desk survived the blast. But how the fine crystal decanters holding some of the most expensive port in England, and the leather-bound volumes housed in teak bookshelves which ran unimpeded from floor-to-ceiling, managed to remain upright, was a small miracle.

Flummoxed. Flabbergasted. Appalled. Those words could not come adequately close to describing his knee jerk reaction to Lord Bertram’s request. For a brief moment, his head felt disjointed from his body, as if he’d been woolgathering far too long. Though not a light-headedness that sent a fragile female or expectant mother crumpling to ground in a swoon. He was, after all, a man.

“Take, um, my d–daughter under your care for—” Harold Bertram stopped to clear his throat, before forging on. “The du–duration of my stay in America.”

Thomas suffered through the request a second time, this one even more painful than the last.

The prior day, Lord Dassel, a peer in the House of Lords, had presented him with the kind of offer that sent honest men hurtling full tilt down the unsavory road to perdition. He hadn’t thought it could possibly get more unseemly than that.

He was wrong.

What Harold Bertram spoke of was not about politics and one thousand pound bribes; this was one hundred times worse.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I'm back and I had a fabulous time. How do I count thee ways I enjoyed myself? I don't.

Things to keep in mind when you go to conventions:

1. Authors are like everybody else. They don't like it when you genuflect to them. They can give you tips but they can't get you published.
2. Talk to everyone. Interesting people are everywhere. If you stick to a small group you miss out on the diversity of the conference.
3. Don't ask editors and agents what plotline or theme catches their eye or what they are looking for in a book. They will give you the same answer: 'a great voice and a great story'.
4. Don't expect to sleep. You won't.
5. Book signings lines can get very long. If you don't like big time authors, you might be fine. Their lines are more manageable.

I was able to put 'real' faces to names and blogs, which was great (Avon Fanlitters). I got the ARC for Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas and thoroughly enjoyed it.

So if you went to Dallas, did you come away with what you expected? Perhaps even more? Less? If you didn't go and intend to attend one at some point, what are you expecting to get from it?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Dallas !

Exciting times are near. Nationals, for me, begins next Wednesday morning (very early). I was on Sara Lindsey's blog and saw her beautiful business card. I knew right then I was wholly behind. I know I should have something when I go, but I just haven't taken the time to order any. So today I was looking at only 4 days to get something together. Well, not only must I say a sincere thanks to Sara (for reminding me, showing me how, and inspiring to do so) but I have to say thank goodness for Avery Dennison. I ran out today and bought your standard Avery business cards, and combined with my American Greeting card software, and free images from a bunch of Victorian sites I cruised today, this is what I came up with. I think it turned out pretty decent for a do-it-yourself-job. I used the hook from my query (for those who remember my query from way back in January, when Lacey and Jacqueline posted the before and after on their blogs).

Does everyone going to Dallas have business cards to hand out? If you've been to Nationals before, do they come in handy or did I just stress myself for nothing?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Does this ever happen to you?

I am almost 3/4 complete with my second novel ATR (A Tempered Rogue). This, of course, is the point where I came up with this wonderful (at least in my humble opinion) idea for my next novel. My next novel was supposed to be the last of my Rogue trilogy. I still hadn't come with with a working title for it--'The something Rogue,' I imagine. It is the final story of my three delicious rogues. The darkest of the three books. Well now I have to put Lord Alexander Cartwright's story on hold. This new idea caught me by my throat and now consumes my thoughts (to some degree). I'm so excited about it I want to start writing it this moment. I do jot down ideas about it the minute it strikes (must do that). I even have the hook for the query figured out. I've tentatively titled this book 'The Goose and the Gander' (yes, I know, it will never survive the revision process) because it precisely describes the plot.

I'm also excited about next week. Yes, Nationals. I'll be there with bells on, camera and one of my favorite historical novels in hand (It Happened One Autumn, which I hope Lisa Kleypas will sign for me).

If anyone is looking for a wonderful historical, pick up Julia Quinn's latest book, The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever. It reminded me of her book, When He Was Wicked. More emotional and sexier than the majority of her other books.

Getting back to my original point, does that happen to you? Do you ever get an idea so powerful for your next book, you literally want to put your current book aside and start on it immediately? What stops you (if you don't). And what would make you put aside the novel you're currently working on, to start another one?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

This arose as a quotation by Lord Acton in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887:

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

This post is about politics.

I've been watching our government very closely lately. Why? To keep informed. I want to know who is governing me (us), know what they're doing, what laws they are passing. But every time I read an article or watch a news program I find myself thinking this more and more: When is enough money enough; when is enough power enough; and why do so many people have this insatiable appetite for bottomless amounts for both.

I'm up to my ears (no pun intended) in earmarks, and lobbyists, and corporate corruption. But even though at times I feel helpless to DO anything about what's going on in our government, I religiously email my congressmen and Senators stating my position on every issue I care about (which is pretty much everything). Doing nothing is not an option. There is strength in the masses.

Is there anyone else out there who is passionate about politics? Or do you feel mostly apathetic about the whole thing?

Monday, June 04, 2007

I'm a PRO

I'm happy to tell you I have been upgraded to PRO status in RWA. Now I can attend the PRO retreat in Dallas at Nationals. Yippee!!!

What I would really like to know for you PRO and PAN members out there is how advantageous is being a PRO really? Will it mean anything to editors and agents when I query? Will there be an overwhelming amount of information I will get that will help me in my quest for publication?

Can anyone tell me the advantages as they have experienced?