Monthly Archives: September 2015

What a Ride!

Is it seriously Friday already? Well, color me flummoxed.

So, I have two things to share with you today in honor of both #FirstLineFriday and #FiveLineFriday.

First of all, if I have not mentioned it (checking…) Nope, I told you here, just yesterday in fact. We have ditched the Regency in favor of the Victorian era. Sarah has decided it’s not a romance, although that will be a subplot…

Anyway, the changes that sneaky little Diva wrestled out of me mean that I can return to the world of Olivia – Bluefell. I am quite excited, to be honest. Something I’ve not been for my romance writings in a while. I was, in fact, on the verge of giving up.

So, in Olivia, the queen is broken, caged – and a usurper has taken over. But how did we get there? Well… The Clockwork Queen will address that. Here is the first line –

Young Victoria stood naked before the long Cheval mirror, Albert’s fingers entwining through the dark curls tumbling over her pale flesh.

Yes. Queen Victoria. And mirrors. And someone who stole her Throne.

But Olivia, she is not Snow. No, she is Cinderella. And it isn’t time for The Clockwork Queen. Not yet. So, the precursors to Olivia, they are all Cinderella’s. And here, for #FiveLineFriday, is how Sarah starts her tale.

“I want the girl wed and bed by Tuesday next, Mycroft, and I do not care about the particulars of the event.” Lady Rickings spoke to her son, command carrying clearly to Sarah, three rooms over, dusting the bric-a-brac of the formal morning room.

Mycroft, the oiliest snake Sarah had the misfortune to have ever met, mumbled something in response. Sarah lifted a brow; he never could enunciate his words. It was an endless frustration as she was supposed to interpret his slurred bits into something comprehensible.

“I do not care if she is not to your liking. That foolish brother of mine left that horrid girl everything.” Lady Rickings paused, and Sarah thought the conversation was at an end, but she quickly forged ahead. “Do you understand what that means? Everything.”

More mumbling from the snake, though Sarah was certain she heard a grumble about her tongue. She chuckled.

“Yes, exactly. Wed her, bed her, and dispose of her by Christmas. There’s a good darling.”

OK. I admit. It’s more than five lines. How about #FiveParagraphFriday? Yes, we shall go with that. Thank you for your consideration. No, I am not entirely sold on Mycroft. But, he is not connected to our Victorian darling, Holmes, and I will have to see if it was a name much in use at the time.

I am still planning on attempting NaNoWriMo this year, with this particular story, in fact. And I am going to try to plan the shit out of it, to be honest. Will I see you there?

Fractious

It’s Thursday still, right? Lordy. There is a reason I try to get these written while on my lunch – especially on Thursdays, when it can be after 9 pm that I get home. And it was. Again. See, I pick up Mr. Laura, I mean BoyWonder, on Thursday nights – he sells beer at the local Farmer’s Market and that’s over at 7, then we haul the kegs back to his place of employment, then its dinner…then home. Ugh.

But I promised, so here I am. YAY.

So, #ThesaurusThursday rolls around, once again. The words this week were ensure and fractious. Pretty easy, are they not? Well, this is off the cuff – completely spur of the moment, so let’s see what we can come up with…

“The Agency, you say? Not a name that instills much confidence, is it?” Sarah looked Westerfell straight in the eye as she said this. Her hands were bound with rough oakum, a spell ensuring she could not wriggle her way loose.

Those cold, grey eyes pierced her once more. “I assure you, Miss – ?”

“Patterson,” she supplied, spine stiffening almost imperceptibly. The flash of recognition in his eyes was quickly replaced with the cold facade, but she noticed it. “My name is Sarah Grace Patterson, your grace.”

If he was shocked that she knew his name, he allowed no sign to show. “Yes, well, Miss Patterson,” his gaze swept over her dismissively. “I assure you that we remain unencumbered with concern regarding the affect the name of our… agency has on the general public. We provide a service that cannot be found elsewhere.”

“I believe you remain unencumbered by anything as burdensome as concern regarding anything, Westerfell.” She blinked, cursing the tears that threatened. After ten years, it should have been easier. “But most especially for something as human as emotions. Even when orphans are involved. Why surely, the mighty Duke of Westerfell is an automaton, so lacking in regard is he.”

Satisfaction surged through her as he sucked in a breath, the air whistling quietly between his teeth. “You, Miss Patterson, are a fractious individual, and someone needs to bring you to heel.”

“Perhaps,” she conceded, “but it shall not be you.”

YAY! That was fun. And I might even keep it. Because Sarah, bless her soulless little self, decided she was having none of this romance stuff, none of this Regency stuff. So, she is now writing herself a rather fun Victorian era steampunk/gaslamp/something.

I have lost all control, frankly. And I rather like it.

By the way – Today I learned that “huh” has been around since the 1600’s as a ‘representation of a grunting exclamation’. No, really. Etymology Online. Check that stuff out. I dare you.

Setting Time & Place

lordy. I said I was going to start posting again, then gave you nothing but radio silence. Rude.

So today, I sat down and planned out posting ideas for 4 days a week. That’s right – new material from Laura 4 days a week. The other three days? I don’t know yet.

Today is, of course, Tidbit Tuesday over in my writing group. But I don’t want to drop some lines on you and run. I want interactions. I crave our interactions. So what I propose, is that I share these beautiful ten (or so) lines that have been cut – and the inspiration/research/resources behind them.

First, the lines:

Well, that didn’t go as planned. I realized, as I am digging through all my links and files, that I never actually wrote the scene I wanted to talk about today. How embarrassing. See, I had this half-decent outline and a BRILLIANT character sketch going, one where I really got to know Sarah and Stratford. Then I sat down to write, and Sarah was like, nope. So, we threw all that out. And started over. I tossed the Little Red Riding Hood theme because she refused to play along. And between you and I, I much prefer the Sarah she revealed herself to be.

Here, by the way, is the outline section I wanted to share:

  1. Open Image: Dooley Cottage, Portsmouth – drawing room – April 3, 1812
  2. Sarah is reading a paper, specifically about an event which will seal time/place
  3. Mention of Lord Byron’s first two Cantos of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, which sold out in 5 days – she looks to her copy, lying atop RHoD
  4. Flippant remark to her companion, a mangy looking cat that she rescued from a hunting trap
  5. Toss a comment to maid about setting up a basket for that nice Mrs. Dickens
  6. Little Charlie must be close to two months now, Mary.
  7. Perhaps I shall drop in, deliver the basket myself.
  8. Mourning attire mentioned casually
  9. Her lavender muslin was not enough to ward off the chill, even with the fire built up
  10. 10. Fingering the small keepsake from Nan

As you can see, I was going to talk about specific events which happened prior to, or around, the time this scene took place – the birth of Charles Dickens and the publication of Lord Byron. And with those two (relatively) minor occurrences, I would have been able to fully ground the reader in the time and place.

If you are familiar with Regency Era mourning clothing, you might have known what the significance of the lavender gown was. Perhaps not.

By the way, please forgive the formatting. I assure you that in Word, it is a properly formatted outline. It just didn’t translate well to WordPress, lol.

So, that is how I prefer to ground readers in time and place – by subtly planted clues. I’ve also been known to just plant a date at the top of a scene, but sometimes, that feels like cheating to me.

(And I even managed 10 lines that have been cut, just not what you were expecting, lol).

How do you ground readers into the time and place of your novel?

Tempted By A Rogue

★•**•.★ Release Blitz & #Giveaway ★•**•.★
Tempted by a Rogue
by Lauren Smith
Genre: Historical/ Regency Romance
Cover Designer: Aleta Rafton
Release Date: September 21, 2015
Hosted by: Book Partners In Crime Promotions

Blurb:
The rogue’s temptation would be her undoing…

Gemma Haverford knows exactly who she will marry: James Randolph, the man she’s had a secret understanding with for the last eleven years. With every letter written between them while he’s been off at sea, their love has grown. Now they will be reunited with his return to England.

There’s just one problem. The man whose words she’d fallen in love with isn’t James at all…

Jasper Holland, a gentleman rogue of the first order, is trapped. Talked into a scheme by his best friend, he pretended to be James for eleven years as he wrote to Gemma, even though he’d promised James he’d break it off. But now with his return to England, his secret will come out—and he’ll lose the one woman he can’t live without.

What began as a game of words, now becomes a game of hearts, and Jasper will pay any price to call Gemma his.

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Add the book to your Goodreads Shelf: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25815401-tempted-by-a-rogue

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Meet the author:
Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. Lauren loves hearing from readers and can be reached through her website http://www.laurensmithbooks.com.

Social Links:
-Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenDianaSmith
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-Twitter: https://twitter.com/LSmithAuthor
-Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/111597093120774957030/posts
-Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lauren-Smith/e/B009L54KTC
-Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6553241.Lauren_Smith
-Website: http://www.laurensmithbooks.com/
-Blog: http://theleagueofrogues.blogspot.com/
-Email: ldsmith1818@gmail.com
-Newsletter Sign-up: http://www.laurensmithbooks.com/
-Join Lauren’s Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/400377546765661/

Excerpt –

Turn around James, I want to see you, she silently begged. Let me put a face to the dreams I’ve had for years. Let me see the lips that brought forth such passion last night.

Lady Greenley’s screech jerked Gemma out of her thoughts.

“You, Haverford! Come here at once!” Lady Edith Greenley’s bonneted head bobbed up and down when she waved at Gemma and demanded she come to her like a general in His Majesty’s army. The ancient yet formidable Lady Greenley stood near the two men, who both turned at Lady Greenley’s shout, in order to see Gemma.

Her heart stopped and she sucked air into her burning lungs after what seemed like ages of being frozen in time. Funny, she’d never had this happen before in her life, but seeing the faces of James Randolph and Jasper Holland after eleven years… Her world spun on its axis, as though she were a celestial planet shifting in its orbit, thrown into a spin by seeing these men. Side by side, they stood, almost an equal height, proud and strong in looks and demeanor. And both of them stared directly at her, equally curious to see her as she was to see them.

The resemblance of the two men to each other was startling. Only her childhood memories dared to find differences between the manly faces turned toward her. James had a fuller mouth, quicker to smile, but Jasper, quiet, calm, Jasper had eyes like liquid caramel that smoldered so powerfully when he stared at her that her mind simply blanked of all thought.

A rapid play of inscrutable emotions danced across his eyes, touched lightly upon his mouth as though he nearly smiled, but caught himself. Why on earth would Jasper smile at her? When he’d been a boy he’d always avoided her and had shouted rudely at her more than once that she was a nuisance and ought to go home and practice her needlepoint and sketching rather than gallivant off into the wooded glens after him and James.

Not that I ever listened to him. She almost smiled back at Jasper. She had the strangest urge to needle him, challenge him for daring to smile at her.

“Now Haverford! I could keel over and die waiting for you to grace me with your presence,” Lady Greenley snapped, prodding the ground with the tip of her closed parasol. Gemma excused herself from Lily and Arabella and walked quickly toward Lady Greenley. She tried not to stare at the men when she reached them.

“What can I do for you, Lady Greenley?” Gemma asked.

“Can I depend upon you to rescue me from these unruly young bucks? Take them about the garden, and see that they don’t scandalize my party, won’t you?” Lady Greenley demanded of Gemma, a wicked glint in the older lady’s gray eyes. With her crafty mannerisms and being rather boisterous for her age, no one dared to cross her.

“Of course, Lady Greenley,” Gemma answered politely.

Both men grinned at her. The direct attention from both James and Jasper heated her skin with an embarrassing blush. There was nothing decent in either of their gazes. She could understand a look like that from James, after what they had shared, but Jasper? He should not be eyeing her form with such a bold look of appreciation like he did at that exact moment.

Lady Greenley watched this odd triangle of looks with an arched brow of interest, and Gemma thought she saw the old woman hide the beginnings of a smile beneath her ridiculously foppish bonnet. Where James’s gaze seemed to outline every curve of her body with speculation, Jasper’s gaze had the deep sensual sweep of such force that she almost felt his hands stroking her rather than his eyes…it was a knowing gaze, like he knew just how the flesh of her breasts would tighten, her legs tremble and her breath quicken beneath his touch…

“Why, is that really you, Miss Haverford?” James exclaimed with a broad smile and a deep bow. It did little to dispel the ensnaring enchantment of Jasper’s heated gaze which distracted her from James.

Gemma forced a soft laugh, letting James take her hand and kiss it, but the tingling rush of contact she expected did not come. His voice did not seem quite the same as the night before, perhaps because it was disguised by his whispering tone…

“Mr. Randolph, Mr. Holland, I’m so glad to see you both returned to Midhurst in good health.” Her gaze was strangely drawn back to Jasper, who watched her in deep concentration and she didn’t know what to make of his scrutiny. She nibbled her bottom lip, studying Jasper intensely. His shoulders were wide…a little wider than James’s now that she compared them so diligently.

James dropped her hand and glanced between her and Jasper, one brow raised.

“Er…we’re quite glad to be home, Miss Haverford,” James added, trying to draw her attention again. “I see Midhurst has treated you well over the years, Gemma.” His voice deepened, but still Gemma didn’t tear her gaze away from Jasper.

Was it possible to have a battle between a man and woman based on eye contact alone? She did feel as though she were battling this man, what she couldn’t understand was why. His lips twitched, her eyes narrowed and her heart gave a strange little flip in her chest when his gaze lowered, inch by inch to focus on her lips.

We’re strangers, after all these years. I should not be fascinated by him.

When he spoke to her, however, her body responded with a terrifying thrill of recognition.

“You are looking well, Gemma.” The way he caressed her name…she went suddenly pale. That voice! Jasper’s voice was the voice in the garden, the voice that belonged to the body which had…

No, no! He could not be the man I… Gemma wavered on her feet when a cloud seemed to cover her mind and she couldn’t quite control her legs enough to stay standing.

#8Sunday Number the Three

Welcome back! I’m really enjoying this new challenge – 8 to 10 lines each Sunday. I just discovered I can put them out as early as Saturday. How did I miss this?

Anyway. This week I bring you 9 lines that have been cut from With This Kiss. I enjoyed writing this scene, and it might sneak it’s way back in, but for now it is out. Which means I can safely share it with you!

As always, I invite you to visit my co-bloggers via the Weekend Warriors blog.

Sarah Grace Patterson angled her favorite winged chair to face the bank of windows looking over Berkeley Square. Once the chair was positioned correctly, she tucked long legs underneath her skirts, settling deep into the leather cushions of the winged chair situated in the front corner of the library. A bite of cold seeped through the bank of windows directly to her right.

Come spring, she would be able to curl up, and watch the flittering hummingbirds sip at the nectar of Mama’s petunias. Today, however, felt like the coldest day of her short life, and she could only watch from inside as snow fell to blanket the slumbering grass.

She turned the page of her newest purchase slowly, savoring the build-up of spine-tingling terror, and putting off the romantic save which would end The Right Hand of Darkness. M. Rakoczy was a new author, but the thick gothic romance had yet to disappoint. The stooped clerk at Hatchards had promised a read similar to The Romance of the Forest or The Castle of Otranto. He had been correct.

Getting My Thoughts in Order

Have I mentioned before that I like to handwrite everything prior to typing it out? Yes, even these blog posts – I’m transcribing from my writing notebook right now, as a matter of fact. It allows me to gather my thoughts prior to sharing them with the world. Because if I don’t, I tend to wander aimlessly, including actually getting up and wandering away which results in a very confused Laura upon return to the keyboard…

Now, I am trying to break the habit when it comes to my actual writing so that I can reduce the number of things I carry with me. I bought a Samsung Tab A8 but it was too small and caused eye strain… So, I returned it and purchased a refurbished Nextbook Flexx 10. Both fit in my purse easily. And I liked both of them. In my personal opinion, the Flexx far surpassed the Samsung, especially with the Windows 8. Unfortunately, it stopped working after less than a week, and will be returned on Monday. I’m not sure what I’ll get next, but for now it’s back to the writing notebook and my Lamy Fountain Pen.

And let’s be honest – free writing by hand is a great tool when the brain stalls. Or even when you’re just trying to figure something out. As I said, that is especially true for the blog. Even if I do not stick to the script verbatim, it’s a rather lovely guide.

So, I know I’ve talked recently about the stuff I am publishing over on Channillo.com. Well, I have two whole subscribers now, which is exciting. And terrifying. Because what if I disappoint them? And if I’m being honest with myself, I admit that I will disappoint eventually. The site is still relatively new, but I hope to grow with it.

I have also been developing a new idea to open another channel for subscriptions through Channillo. One which might widen my audience as it would be short stories featuring vignettes of the lives of my characters. I am not rushing this new channel – I want to build up an arsenal of shorts that are polished before I even apply for it. That gives me some wiggle room.

By the way, if you do not subscribe to the Bluestocking Belle’s, you should. I will be guest-hosting the blog 23 December, so come check me out. I am still tossing around the ideas for that adventure, but I know it will be Christmas related.

So tell me – what are you working on right now? Are you following me on Twitter yet? @BeautifulSadist. I tweet frequently, but almost exclusively about writing. I’m boring!

My Return

Happy Tuesday. I feel like it is time to get back to the blog – not because of how long I’ve been gone, but rather because it just feels right. I have dearly missed my readers, and our interactions, sporadic though they might be.

So drop me a line – tell me how you’ve been. I’ve been trying my hand at new things. Mostly just writerly things, but I am transitioning to the Low Carb High Fat way of eating. I seem to still be getting too much protein, so that’s what I’m watching carefully. I have a handle on the low carb portion. And I still eat good – tomorrow, I’m taking homemade buffalo wings. Two servings is like 4 carbs. I have to lose weight and bring my blood glucose numbers down so that I’m actually around to bring to fruition the other new thing I’m working on…

I joined Channillo recently, where I journal about my darkest fears and doubts several times a week. Stop by, check it out – subscribe. Support a writer (or ten)… Anyway, I am also developing a story to publish in serial form there. I debuted a bit of it yesterday, if you missed the post. Although, I am also tantalized by the idea of just publishing an introductory short story because he is begging for an entire freaking series. Cheeky wench.

I am mad for her already. As you should be, too.

But neither have I forgotten about my darlings, Sarah and Stratford. Much is afoot in the Circle K… No wait, I don’t work there anymore and (don’t shoot me) I did not actually care for the movie. Also, pretty sure I quoted it wrong. You’re awesome. You shall correct me in due time.

That aside, changes have been made. Maybe they will work, maybe they will not. Enjoy your Tidbit!

Sarah entered Ewan’s office on Beatrice’s heels, but still her sister-in-law turned and scolded her for taking too long. This was followed by a rather nasty insult, though not the nastiest which had been hurled at her. There were times, she acknowledged, when reading lips was wholly unbeneficial. Knowing it would irritate the marchioness to no end, she mumbled an apology, signing the same as she did.

Seated behind the large desk that once held her father’s papers, Ewan did his best to ignore the spat. Prior to his marriage, she would not have called her brother weak – far from it. He was quite the Corinthian still, but he refused to interfere when his wife railed against his sister. To be fair, he also refused to retaliate when she fought back.

His lips quirked upward as he caught the hastily signed insult she directed toward Beatrice’s back, but it quickly disappeared, and he said nothing. She cast a glance to her left. Beatrice reclined regally in the high-backed chair, one hand tracing the knotted pattern of the embroidered posies on the pale blue silk dress she wore. Her own gown, of serviceable sage muslin, did not compare favorably.