Silver moonlight flooded the worn path from the stone terrace, through the beds of hibiscus, and down the manicured lawn, but Sarah had no need of it. She knew the lawns and paths and gardens of Raven’s Nest as well as she knew her own, despite the passing of years. She could walk the land blindfolded, and she would know every step just by the scent hanging in the air. Her bare feet sank into the thick carpet of grass, blades tickling the bottom of her feet, when she veered to the left, heading through the canopy of wisteria, straight for the folly.Built more than a century before she was even born, it was designed to mimic the the great house, down to the ornate door knocker. As children, they often escaped here to hide from the governess the boys allowed her to share. She snorted rather indelicately at the idea of being allowed the education the boys gladly shirked.The snap of a branch close by caught her attention, and her head snapped up, memories forgotten. She froze, heart racing in her chest.Was it a poacher?Carefully she inched toward the stone building, glad to see it looming ahead of her, and not fallen into disrepair and ruin. Rupert had cared for it after all.No, she reminded herself, he is home now. The responsibility lies at his feet.She was just a few short feet shy of the thick door when a flash of movement at the corner of her eye alerted her that someone was close. She sucked in a large breath of air, head swinging to the sides as she sought escape. She needed to hide.Or run. Yes, that would be…Her thoughts trailed off as a figure stepped from the small copse of trees that led to the bond. Stratford. Her heart, that feckless creature within her chest, cried at the sight of him, drinking in every detail. She found herself unable to look away from the rigid muscles of his lean, bare chest; her eyes followed the trail of dark hair to where it disappeared in the falls of his trousers. The moon, full and bright above, cast a silver glow across his bronzed skin, and she swallowed, throat suddenly dry.“Hello, Red.” He tossed her the cheeky grin she remembered so well from their youth.“Do, do not call me that, my lord.” Her heart might be a traitorous beast, but at least her brain was sensible enough to put an icy distance between them.He tsked. “When did we let such formalities grow between us, Red?” He came to a stop before her, cupping her chin with the hand not grasping his boots. She looked into the unfathomable depths of his muddy eyes, calling herself ten times a fool as she wished and hoped and prayed he would lean down and sweep his lips across hers.Wrenching free of his grasp, she twisted away from him. “There is more than just formalities between us, my lord. There is time, and – and…” She trailed off, unable to finish the accusations her brain would fling.“And? Time and – what, Sarah? Surely not time and distance. I am here, in the flesh. In the now.”“You left me, damn you.” She hid her face, lest he think her tears caused by longing or anything akin to it. Lest he think them caused by anything other than the mounting frustration. “We had a deal, my lord. Crossed our hearts, and swore it would be forever.”He closed the distance between them, and she felt the warmth of his flesh through the thin muslin of her nightrail as he enveloped her in his strong arms, crushing her to his chest. The whisper of his lips against her fevered brow sent a frisson of heat through her.“I had no choice, Sarah. Surely you see that now?”“I see nothing but the man who swore he would rather die than leave me. The man who slipped away in the dead of night just hours after leaving my bed. You left me with no one.”“Rupert was -““At war, my lord. Rupert left the next morning, thinking you just sleeping off a hangover, and I was alone again.” She allowed herself the comfort he offered, resting her wet cheek against his chest. In a small voice, one she hoped he did not actually hear, she added, “It was never him anyway. Only you.”
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?
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.
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:
- Open Image: Dooley Cottage, Portsmouth – drawing room – April 3, 1812
- Sarah is reading a paper, specifically about an event which will seal time/place
- 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
- Flippant remark to her companion, a mangy looking cat that she rescued from a hunting trap
- Toss a comment to maid about setting up a basket for that nice Mrs. Dickens
- Little Charlie must be close to two months now, Mary.
- Perhaps I shall drop in, deliver the basket myself.
- Mourning attire mentioned casually
- Her lavender muslin was not enough to ward off the chill, even with the fire built up
- 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?
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.
I have so many ideas floating through my head right now. The current series I am working on involves twenty different stories, although some will occur at the same time. I am still 100% devoted to the story of Sarah and Stratford, but the other Ladies are pounding at the door. I already have an idea of what is going to happen with at least 4 other couples.
So what happens? Clearly, an entirely unrelated idea pops into my head. I mean, seriously Laura? Get your stuff together, woman. And not entirely a romantic idea, either. Ugh. What to do?
Well, there is really only one thing to do isn’t there? Take notes, write several stories at once. Follow the inspiration. Right now, inspiration has me investigating what psychiatric care was like during the Victorian Era. That’s your only hint. Well, there’s another one, but I buried it.
Did you find it? Let me know if you figured it out.
This is really short because I just wanted an excuse to share this:
Or, perhaps a better comparison is pulling away bits of my soul. This newest book is taking its toll on me. I have a very vague idea of what happens at the beginning, and (because I write romance) I know there is a Happy Ever After (HEA). I do not, unfortunately, know the in-betweens. Or frankly, beyond the prologue. It’s killing me because I know this is an idea that works. I know there is a story, a happy ending for Sarah and Stratford.
I love the Regency period, and all that it entails. That is the only era in which this story can take place. They tell me that. And for once, it isn’t even the period giving me problems. I don’t know what’s going on with this.
One thing I do know is that I have shied away from mentions of the Napoleonic Wars that were such a big part of this era. Well, not this time. I have a hero who lost sight in one eye during battle. He injured his foot in another.
I am absolutely still in the discovery stage, but I think I’m getting there. Bits and pieces are revealing themselves as I write. YAY!
Anyway, whine session over. Tis Thursday over here in Nopelandia (yes, still a thing). That means Thesaurus Thursday. Today’s choices were lobotomy and ebullient. Since the former was not coined until the 1930s, I naturally went with ebullient.
Ignoring the ebullient laughter drifting from the dance floor, Sarah contemplated the bubbles of champagne as they tickled her throat.
It might even stay in the writing, lol. Short but sweet today, folks. Have a good night!
An idea popped into my head the other day, and I snatched at the chance to write it. I’ve no plot so far beyond the very basics. Since plotting/planning does not always work for me, I’m going to pants it as far as I can before doing any actual planning. Let’s call this the discovery stage as the characters are still revealing themselves to me.
I did not intend for this to happen, but I have found myself with characters whose names start with S. Who does that? LOL. Me.
First, let me introduce Sarah Grace Patterson. She is 23, and has never been married. She has never even left London. As far as she is concerned, she is firmly on the shelf. But, with her younger cousin having a Come Out this year, she has agreed to act as chaperone.
Now, let me introduce Stratford Clarion, ninth Duke of Westerfell. Now this fine gentleman here was born to a bookshop owner and the daughter of a duke. He joined the military at 18, and he is now 33. Unfortunately for him, his wastrel cousin died in a duel with no offspring, and he had to leave the military. Before leaving, he was elevated as far as Major. He has scars from his time in the army, both visible and not.
Yeah. That’s what I’m saying. I went old school for that one, and I think it really works.
So, it is Tuesday. Here’s my Tidbit. Do enjoy. Is there something you do not like? Let me know.
Near the entrance to the ballroom, Stratford leaned heavily on an ebony cane, careful to keep the pain from his face. Felton said it was not quite the done thing, and who knew better than the third son of the Duke of Whittenslay? He tuned out the inane chatter of Greymoore and the others – this polite nonsense grated. Had they nothing of substance to offer?
His gaze took in the joviality of the guests and their finery. These were not his people, and well he knew it. He spotted several men in uniform, but not a single familiar face. No, these were the officers whose money ensured their safety. Or, they were men hired to wear the uniform, to gain cachet for the hostess. The majority of his men had not returned from Portugal, after all.
That was the old, however, and this, he realized with a shudder, was the new.