Category Archives: Monday Musings

Where did my GMC go?

 

Or rather, what not to do, writer edition.

If you’re a writer, I’ll bet you’ve had Debra Dixon’s GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict** recommended to you as a necessary read. I mean, I know I have. As of right now, I’ve not yet made the jump and purchased it. And for the last few years I’ve – Well, I’ve not actually finished anything, have I, so perhaps that hasn’t mattered.

But now? Well, I’ve set myself a challenge – I don’t get to work on anything else until I finish the first draft of my current project. I mean, I’ll never be a published author if I don’t finish anything, will I?

And I’ve managed some really good scenes – scenes that started from a sentence or a thought or an impression, but weren’t mapped out before hand. Some of those, I’ve shared here; some I have kept to myself.

Today is about what not to do, however. Yes?

Yes. And this scene I’m sharing with you today? A great big rambling word vomit. I knew I wanted to introduce my character and hint at her problems, but I didn’t achieve any of that. Never mind that this meek girl does not exemplify my Heroine at all. It’s more than that. At least, that’s the impression I was left with upon a read through.

I’m sharing this with you because (a) I’ve completely scrapped it and (b) I think it’s a great lesson on why we need to learn and understand GMC.

What do you think?

* Of note, that is a straight link to Amazon – I am making no money on sales if you decide to purchase that book 🙂

Stokesbridge Manor
Mayfair
1812

“The music room must be opened and cleared, of course.” Lady Stokesbridge swept gracefully from the library. In the large entry hall, she glanced to the room in question, but did not enter it. The double doors, imposingly large (type of wood) and carved by hand, were flung open to air the room, but the few remaining contents were shrouded beneath (holland?) sheets.
Trailing behind her, Mary Frances recited the instructions as she noted them upon a stray bit of paper rescued from the mess that passed for Papa’s desk. “Open the music -” She stopped just short of stumbling into her mother’s back, looking up for the first time. “You cannot mean that, Mama. You cannot open the music room.”

“Why ever not, child?”

Fanny blinked rapidly as her brain fought to retrieve a plausible excuse, for she surely could not admit the truth. When she could find none, she said simply, “Must we really clear it out, Mama? The drawing room has served us well for our balls, even the magnificent crushes when Thomas was searching for a bride. ”

Where would she hide her music sheets if the room were cleared and used, she wondered. She cleared her throat. Perhaps she could bribe one of the maids to tuck the case of sheets under the bottom layer of her wardrobe. Mama hadn’t looked there yet.

Lady Stokesbridge, for her part, ignored the odd behavior of her eldest daughter. After six years of such outbursts, one became used to it. Waving away Jenkins, the butler who had come running at the outburst of voices in his silent domain, she said, “Do not be daft Fanny. Where else would we hold the ball to announce your sister’s betrothal to Braithwaite?”
Fanny blinked. Had she not already suggested the perfect location? “The drawing room, Mama,” she said, as if speaking to a small child. “Surely it is to be a small affair, after all.”
Lady Stokesbridge paused, one foot slipping down to the third step of the polished staircase that wound around the corner of hall. From that great height of three steps, she actually towered over daughter, something she had not done for ten years. She steeled her spine, as if gearing up for an argument. One dark brow quirked up, and she said, “A small affair?”
“The Duchess of Malham is having a ball that night, Mama. I told you to choose a different night.’ Her mother’s eyes narrowed, and she immediately regretted the words.

“Yes, you did, but I did not imagine that you…” Lady Stokesbridge trailed off, words failing her for the first time in many years. She tried again, but still came up with nothing more than, “That is, I -”

“I know, Mama. Justin is back in town for the season, and her grace wishes to find him another wife.” The list, long since forgotten, fell from her numb hands. Even just saying his name hurt. After six years, one would expect a girl to get over the boy who broke her heart, but Fanny had not.

“But how did you -”

“The invitation, Mama. You left it in the morning room, and Eliza showed it to me. She was quite excited to be invited to the Malham ball.”

“Yes, so she said. And when I explained we would not be attending, she was so crestfallen that I suggested we hold her betrothal ball the same night. Braithwaite might not have much of a title, but the family is well connected.”

Fanny felt a chill slither down her spine. Despite the actions of six years prior, she counted the duchess a good friend, as did Mama. And regardless of Braithwaite’s connections or her father’s money, they were not a well-connected family. She set to pacing the width of the stairs, forward seven steps, then back. “We cannot be seen as slighting your oldest friend, Mama. This will not do.”

“You’re being daft again, my dear. Charlotte will be here for the first hour, and then everyone will make their way to the Malham townhouse for her grand to-do.” Lady Stokesbridge pointed to the fallen list. “You’re much too agitated for my nerves today, girl. Take that list and get started. “

With a disdainful glare through the open doors, she added, “And do get that wonderful artist who chalked up the floors of Tindall House last week.”

From the corner of her eye, Fanny caught the barest glimpse of pale pink. That would be Mary Elizabeth, in from the garden and hoping to escape the attention of another never-ending lecture. She said the first thing that popped into her head as distraction. “I am not certain we can afford that particular artist, Mama.”

A pale blond head poked around the drawing room door, well out of sight of their mother, and tossed her a wink.

Lady Stokesbridge stilled, her rigid spine inching further erect, thought Fanny could not say how that was possible, and turned her full attention to her eldest daughter. “Not afford him? Don’t be daft. It doesn’t become you. If the Tindall’s can afford him, so can we.”
Quite true, of course. And irrelevant. Her mother would go into debt to give her younger daughter anything she desired. There was no arguing it. “Yes, Mama.”

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Whistle While You Work

Can you whistle? I can sometimes whistle, but not with my fingers like some people can. I have always wanted to do that, though. I mean, who wouldn’t? It’s loud and fun. And no matter how common it actually is, people are always like, WOAH.

Well, my heroine Sarah can whistle like that. Since I don’t know how to do it, I had to actually look up a how-to. No really, it exists. Here. I had no idea there were so many different ways to whistle with your fingers.

Sarah whistles with her pinky fingers. I am going to keep practicing, but likely with the first method as I seemed to get the best (almost) results out of that one tonight.

My poor husband, on the other hand, cannot whistle at all. It’s actually rather comical. And cute. I love him dearly.

So I spent a few minutes researching how to whistle all to write one little line. But I wrote it.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched this week?

Sarah recognized the truth in that statement. Forming an A with her pinky fingers, she pushed the tip of her tongue back and let out a shrill whistle.

The Art of the Fan

Today, I researched fans. What are the parts called, how are they used?

If you are familiar with historical fiction, then you know there is a Language of the Fan, just as there is a Language of Flowers. According to the Jane Austen’s World blog, the rules were rather rigid in the Victorian era, but not necessarily before that. Alas, I write in the Regency period.

That will not stop me learning something new about fans, however! Perhaps one of my lovely ladies will have to bring the language of the fans to Regency England from a far away exotic locale.

Perhaps.

So, what did we learn on our journey into the past today?

1. The fan goes way, way back. At least as far back as 1235 B.C. according to this article. Wow.
2. The first folding fan is still pretty damn old – over 1000 years old as it was first adopted in China somewhere between 900 and 960. Same article as #1.
3. The language of the fan, if it actually exists (apparently, there is debate on that) was not universal.

I leave you with two links – both of which share some hidden meanings. What about your historicals? Do you use the art of the fan in yours?

http://www.donnamacmeans.com/the-secret-language-of-fans/

https://myhandfan.com/language.htm

 

Music For the Soul…

Boy, time has really flown today. Well, that or it has something to do with sleeping in until almost 11 am. I love days like that.

The luxury of sleeping in aside, today has not been a productive day for me. I am working on the timeline for my newest project, A Lady’s Wager. Sarah and Stratford are two very complex characters. I have actually worked quite a bit on them to ensure this, and I know there is still more to be done. Because I have made them so complex, they are being very difficult with sharing their story.

To counteract this stubbornness, a trait they share by the way, I am attempting to hammer down the timeline for this novel. There are some things I would love to include in the story – historical events, that is. Princess Charlotte was married May 2, 1816. She had such a short life so I am choosing to celebrate it via inclusion. The Duke of Milan, a Jacobean era stage play by Philip Massinger opened at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Another inclusion. Unfortunately, I know very little about the play – and cannot seem to find a performance of it anywhere online to view. Perhaps I can find it somewhere to read. I was hoping for some actual social events to send my couple to, but I seem to be running into a roadblock there.

Music. Right. I was going to talk about music. There was a discussion on Twitter recently about what we listen to while writing. Because I’m having so much trouble with planning out this book, I thought I would try some period music. So I am listening to the Romantic Classical station on Spotify.

What’s in your playlist this week?

What Is She Thinking?

I had to put the historical romance to the side because… Well, to be quite honest – I’ve never been to England and I’m not sure why I want to write this. While I love reading Regency (and other English set) Romance, I kind of want my romances to be more “local”…

That, plus that week I had to take off while I was sick really did a number on me, and I’m just not able to get my head back in it – not right now anyway.

So what am I working on? Well, I had that dragon fantasy thing I was doing for the contest. Except now, I cannot find the contest link. But I am having FUN exploring 3rd Omni, and trying to create a fantasy world that is still a little more English than local (no queens and kings in Illinois, folks – sorry). I never thought I would write fantasy, but when I first learned of Gaslamp Fantasy, I fell in love.

So, this is what I’ve been working on lately. This is my serial project. I’m aiming for pieces that are 10,000 words each – ones that I can then package as larger pieces for selling, perhaps? Who knows.

A great while ago, when the world was full of wonders, dragons roamed the earth. When the humans became humans and shifters, the dragons adapted. When humans and shifters became humans, shifters, and vampires, the dragons retreated. Abandoning their great cities, fortresses, and castles to the humans, they escaped back to the impenetrable forests, mountains, and oceans from whence they came.

The humans moved in to the abandoned territories, savagely protecting what they claimed was theirs by right, by birth. Vampires were sent to hunt in the dead of night, shifters by light of the sun. The mighty beasts dwindled. Too soon, only a handful remained. When the Great Mother passed into Eternal Night, she foretold of a future in which dragons no longer have to hide. One in which the healing waters of Hydros mingle with the rebirthing flames of Hephaestus to bring forth a new generation.

These few remaining dragons soon abandoned their forests, mountains, and ocean floors for the cold mountainous regions known as Devil’s Back. There, they lost hope, relinquished their fleeting humanity – to await the birth of the prophesied child. Craving the touch of man, the lone water dragon slipped away one night. Nine months later, she birthed a daughter of fire, blind at birth. The choice is presented: abandon the crippled girl to the humans, or they could both die outcast and alone. Unable to condemn her child to death, or relinquish the company of dragons, Emmaline abandons her only daughter to the Children of Prometheus, hoping she will learn empathy, love, and kindness. Hoping that she will save them all.

That daughter is now twenty-one, and this is her story.

Update

So, who caught this stupid cold making the rounds right now? If you guessed me, you win. I’ve been trying to get back to this blog for weeks. But there just isn’t any motivation. I set myself too grueling a task and I failed. It was really frustrating.

And frustration leads to… More failure? Ugh. Depression. Feelings of not being good enough. Bet you know the drill.

11150617_10205646100368148_8483514894847707659_n This is my cat, Parker. You can call him Prks – I do. Pretty stinking cute, right? He has three legs – he’s missing a hind leg. That puts him at a disadvantage because his jump skills aren’t on par with other cats. He climbs really well – digging in claws and pulling himself up. He never gives up, either. Never doubts himself, even if he is scared of everything.

Would that I could be as strong as my cat, eh?

Well, I recently made a decision to stop dwelling on the negative. I am (almost) forty damned years old. Why the hell am I letting negativity and shame or hate rule my life, by allowing them to sway my feelings? You know what that does, right? Turns you bitter, builds knots in your innards that will (not so) slowly kill you.

I’m not ready to die. Not in the slightest. In fact, as I face the barrel of 40, I find a renewed interest in life. Specifically, island life. While I would certainly love to pick up and move to the U.S. Virgin Islands tonight, as an adult I have responsibilities. Specifically, responsibilities to my husband. We’ve come up with a compromise – Hawaii. And I want to make sure we enjoy the time we have there to the fullest, so we’re saving as much as we can for 10 years – and getting as healthy as we can, too.

Anyway, I’ve sort of lost my train of thought. See, here’s the thing – I started my Serial Sunday with the intent of developing the back story for my male lead, Duncan. But it wasn’t necessary. Not only did I change the background story so that his parents have a happy marriage (if not a happy ending), but there’s that whole Dragon Horde and whatnot. It had zero business being in my historical romance.

A Gaslamp Fantasy, on the other hand? Yes. Especially one centered around dragons.

No, I have not abandoned Midnight Garnets. Absolutely not. I’ve just realized where all that other stuff belongs.

That said, there are going to be some changes going forward.

One, I am dropping the Serial Sundays – for now. I love the idea of serializing a story, whether here on my blog for free or on a site where people pay to read it, but it has to be an actual story. One with at least a theme and an idea of a plot. I love the idea of audience participation guiding the story. What about you? Interested?

Two, The pieces I share going forward are going to be from stalled projects or something I am reading. Something that I own. And even then, just tidbits – ten lines or less. Perhaps my favorite line of a story or one I think readers will enjoy. Something to get you involved in what I’m reading.

Three, I am definitely going to be sharing more from blogs I follow through reblogging or pressing – or whatever we are calling it these days. There’s so much good stuff out there right now. It needs to reach everyone.

So there you have it. Also, I need to find a legit way to bring in extra cash to put into my savings account. Any tips?

Yellow Cake Batter Gelato

One of our local gas stations sells frozen yogurts and gelato under the name The Creamery. I mean it’s a Shell station. Perhaps you’ve seen them in your neck of the woods? This yellow cake batter gelato is just ridiculous. Yum.

Anywho….

I vacillate between blue and black ink the way I stoically refuse to adhere to one single style of hand writing. What fun is it to choose something then stick with it forever? At least, when it comes to ink color and handwriting style, that is?

I can stick with certain decisions – I chose one husband, and to him I shall cleave. Or some other such fustian nonsense that means I love my husband. For me, there is no other.

Not so for Thomas and Celeste. He is fixated on Esther as some sort of prize. She, of course, is mesmerized by Baldwin. Is it love? Infatuation?

I intended to write yesterday’s scene from the perspective of both Thomas and Celeste. In the end, I think only his was necessary. For some reason, Celeste hasn’t yet thrown in the towel. To this man, she intends to cleave.

Thomas though? Well, he’s pretty damn broken. Can she be far behind?

I know, I promised you some discussion of villains. Soon. Soon.