Sunday, February 14, 2016

More Best Books

In my last home, I had a room that I had transformed into a library. Well, then I relocated to a different state and regretted that I had a library. Books are about the most difficult thing to box and move. Bulky. Heavy. A total pain.

So, I decided recently to go through the books and make some hard decisions about what I had to get rid off - keep the hardbacks, get rid of the paperbacks. I just don't have the room anymore (and I don't ever want to move that many books again). Some went to a garage sale, some were given away and I think what I have left is the best of the best. I ended up touching each of the books-around 3,000-as I sorted through my paper friends.

What I have is the majority of those works by: Stephanie Laurens, Victoria Alexander, Virginia Henley, Eloisa James, Edith Layton, Lorraine Heath, Loretta Chase, Liz Carlyle, Lisa Kleypas, Jess Michaels, Julia Quinn, Amanda Quick, Sherry Thomas, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Madeline Hunter, Karen Ranney, Karen Hawkins, Julia Justiss, Rosemary Rogers, Diana Gabaldon, Mary Balogh, Elizabeth Hoyt... Should I take a breath and go on? Well, you get the idea.

There were several excellent books that I set aside to reread and I wanted to share those titles with you, in case you haven't read them or are looking for something new. Many of them are heavy on the sex, so be prepared.

I found that I have several "twin" stories that I really loved:

Tracey Anne Warren: The Husband Trap
Which sister really married the Duke of Raeburn

Virginia Henley: Ravished
The Hatton brothers-one good, one bad

Virginia Henley: Seduced
Antonia finds a way into Adam's life, disguised as a boy

And stories about the difficulties of marriage:

Sherry Thomas: Not Quite a Husband (Victorian)
A Victorian era woman doctor reconciles with her husband...the hard way, climbing mountains in India

Mary Balogh: The Secret Pearl
Denying love because of honor, Adam pines for Fluer while his wife scorns him

Eloisa James: This Duchess of Mine
Jemma wants a baby...only she must reconcile with her husband first, who is jealous of her chess partner Villiers.

And of course, rogues and hellions:

Loretta Chase: Lord of Scoundrels
Troubled Dain does all he can to prove he's bad only she doesn't believe him

Johanna Bourne: The Spy Master's Lady
The best British spymaster finds France's most alluring woman, the spy Fox Cub

Nan Ryan: Because You're Mine (Western)
He stole her family's ranch; she's determined to get it back and more

Susan Johnson: To Love Somebody
The wicked Darley seduces a married innocent

Kathleen Woodiwiss: The Wolf and The Dove (Medieval)
William the Conqueror rewards his favorite soldier of fortune with a castle, complete with fiery red head. 

By no means is this a complete list. I'm just looking forward to rereading each of these books again. As I said, they are like my friends. I hope you get to read some of them. Oh, and if you have read them, which ones and what did you like about them?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Writer's Dream

I’m feeling philosophical today. Perhaps it is because of the new year. Perhaps it is because I have indigestion from eating a rare cheeseburger wrap instead of a medium.
Right now, at this very moment, I am under the tightest deadline of my career. What do I want to do? Write a blog post. Shoot me.
So what am I feeling philosophical about? Writing, of course.
You’ve all heard it said that writing is a lonely business. It is. The fact I’m sitting in my favorite burger joint alone is proof of that. I’ve also had to decline a family invitation from my sister because of the aforementioned writing deadline. Truly, it is FIVE-ALARM writing until January 20th. (Update: I did meet my deadline but forgot to post this blog!)
So why do we do it?
Personal reward
I’m sure any artistic person will tell you that creating is one of the most gratifying experiences out there. I imagine most inventors will tell that to you as well. I’m no wuss when it comes to judging myself. I know when I’ve written something average, something good and something great. The averages are far and few between anymore; the goods are becoming easier and the greats are within reach.
I love controlling my life. Writing was always a hazy dream for me – something I wanted to do but no real ability, plan or purpose. One winter my husband had to spend an extended period of time away with his family so I broke out a pad and pencil, set up at my desktop computer - Dr. Pepper at hand - and started typing. LOL. The story was a sweeping saga, ala Kathleen Woodiwiss, except with a crappy plot, weak characters and an implausible finish. It will not see the light of day.
It isn’t possible for me to write full time yet. Think health insurance. However, I do see the distant light in the tunnel. I will be able to someday. The other thing that makes this possible is that so many tens of thousands of writers no longer have to wait for approval from a New York house. Isn’t that awesome? I love that I can put a good book together, have an artist bring my vision to life on a cover and publish it overnight. To have this much control makes me so happy.
My characters speak to me
Hard to explain this one. All of my main characters want to say something to me, and for sure, say something about me.
Imogene, my hard luck London orphan, is a study in perseverance and nerve. Nothing gets her down.
Dr. Keefe Pearson, my world famous archaeologist, is the woman I’d be if I were rich, beautiful and intelligent. Plus, I have always dreamed of archeology and discovery. It gives me a thrill to think about unearthing the Terracotta Army. Or sunken treasure ships.
This probably doesn’t describe every author, maybe just this one, but I don’t want to write emotions and thoughts that are impossible to believe. Yes, I may put them in odd situations but the genuineness must speak to me with a loud voice.
Will I die if I don’t write? No.
I’ve heard writers say they would die if they didn’t. I’m not so cursed. As long as I find joy in what I’m doing, I’ll keep doing it. I might even do it longer than that if I have readers continue to say they like my writing, laugh at my characters and cry once in a while. I suspect this is a lifetime vocation, though.
But if one day you hear I’m no longer writing, you'll find me on the water, looking for treasure. The moral of this story: Dream and DREAM BIG! And the other moral of the story is order prime rib next time.