Ears and Eyes: Important Equipment for Writers

I devote one post every month to health issues for writers, but I certainly hope you take time to be healthy every day. A quick tip on ways to not sit for too long: I’ll set a timer for 30 minutes and write whatever comes to mind. Doesn’t matter the grammar or the sentence structure or worry about ‘will the reader get what I’m trying to say here.’ Then when the timer goes off, I’ll set another timer for 10 minutes and go wash dishes or pick up toys, or vacuum; anything that gets me away from the computer. But, once the 10 minutes are up, even if I’m right in the middle of X activity, I stop and go write for another half hour. – Bren K. from Scribophile. Continue reading “Ears and Eyes: Important Equipment for Writers”

I See What You’re Saying

Whenever someone says, I see what you’re saying, I look for the speech balloon. Or the puff of vapor shaped like words. It’s funny, but as a writer, it’s exactly what I am trying to achieve.

The person who sees isn’t using their eyes. They are using their mind’s eye. They can visualize what the words on paper mean. It’s a pretty awesome connection to make with someone. And many writers never get the full impact of how they connected with someone. Continue reading “I See What You’re Saying”

The Candy Dish

In my Scribophile romance writers group, Writers Who Love Romance, we have a thread in the group forum called The Candy Dish. Because, as you can expect, we are predominantly female, this thread is full of male eye candy. We do have eclectic tastes, and we do post females now and again.

Recently a new member admitted she hadn’t looked at the thread because she thought it was a visual writing prompt involving a delicate crystal bowl and designer sweets. When she took the plunge and looked at the contents, she was hooked.

We have our favorites, and recently I devoted a post on a group blog I write for to David Gandy. He’s one of the writer’s inspiration for her main male character, and that’s exactly how the Candy Dish started. We posted our muse for whatever story we were writing.

I’ll just share a few of the links to these delightful gentlemen. You can thank me later.

We do like showers and pools.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/456271005972041254/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/399413060672666934/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/8092474303661319/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/458030224575008921/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/432908582904231086/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/374854368958154237/

We appreciate smiles. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/103090278943020361/ We can get into that serious gaze. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/255086766364001776/ And we know we need to embrace a healthier life style. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/107734616059563638/

Who doesn’t like a man in uniform? http://www.pinterest.com/pin/553379872935841458/ http://www.pinterest.com/pin/430938258064110186/ http://www.pinterest.com/pin/170996117075106547/ http://www.pinterest.com/pin/181621797443731279/

Just ask, we’ll take one for the team. http://www.dirtyandthirty.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/football1.jpg https://windr0se.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/e1255-jed2bhill2bfootball.jpg

Heaven help the working man. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/574279389958240098/ http://www.pinterest.com/pin/44050902575564709/ http://www.pinterest.com/pin/509258670335847401/

I could do an entire post on the fascination for men in kilts. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/99782947969074490/

We try to keep the pictures to a PG17 rating, but this one might be pushing that some. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/233765036882927064/

Enjoy the candy, and I’ll be back on Sunday.

Creative Writing is Like Surfing

No, I didn’t hit my head or fall through a rabbit hole. I was looking for a photo of someone waxing a surfboard, for a presentation at my place of employment. And I found Surf Science. The first thing I noticed was the similarity in articles there to those at help for writers web pages.

Avoid Surfing Mistakes for Beginners, the 10,000 Hour Rule, How To Turtle Roll: http://www.surfscience.com/topics/surfing-tips/beginner-tips/

Eleven Tips for Beginning Writers: http://www.magicalwords.net/david-b-coe/eleven-tips-for-beginning-writers/

The 10,000 Hour Rule: http://www.wisdomgroup.com/blog/10000-hours-of-practice/

How to submit a query letter: http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx

There are a few things on the surf page that SHOULD be on the writers’ pages, like good nutrition: http://www.surfscience.com/topics/surfing-lifestyle/life-as-a-surfer/surf-nutrition and exercise: http://www.surfscience.com/topics/surfing-tips/advanced-tips/indo-board-workouts-for-surfers/

I searched good nutrition for writers, and got places to submit articles on nutrition. Sigh. Exercises for writers just brings up prompts and writing exercises.

Currently, people who need to lose weight want meals with high protein and low fat, and very light on the carbs. http://www.activebeat.com/health-news/9-benefits-of-a-high-protein-diet/?PageSpeed=noscript Well, that should go for writers, too. But wait, athletes burn lots of calories, so they can get away with more carbs! http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/nutrition-tips-athletes So the key isn’t just what you eat, it’s also what you do for the day.

Sitting in front of a computer like I am doing now has been linked to many serious health issues. http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20140407/sitting-disease-faq My nutritionist says that sitting is the new smoking, it will cause the deaths of more and more inactive people. Luckily there’s no such thing as second-hand sitting. But I do have a load of writing to complete, some of it with deadlines. Look what I found: http://www.wikihow.com/Exercise-While-Sitting-at-Your-Computer The key here is that if you drink lots of water as well as do these exercises, you’ll be up and walking to the restroom every half hour or so. Here are more, slightly advanced exercises to try: http://www.theactivetimes.com/best-seated-exercises?slide=7

The tip on that last page about tightening your abs and glutes and holding it for a time throughout the day, that’s going to strengthen your core muscles, and make an improvement in many things you do. Did you know that muscles are fat-burning factories? The reason athletes can load up on carbs is that they have muscles that will burn those off. You can exercise and build your muscles, and lose weight from ramping up your fat-burning capabilities.

While you have been reading this, did you get any ideas for stories? Maybe a hero who needs to get back into shape, and meets a physical trainer who puts him through the wringer for his own good? Maybe a restaurant owner who wants to improve the quality of food in her establishment, and hires a whole foods consultant who also happens to be a surfer? Taking a break from your regular routine is always good for the brain, as well as the body.
And guess what? Regular activity is good for your creativity! How cool is that? You can become a healthier person and finally figure out the plot twist you need to become a best-selling author! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/09/exercise-creativity-physical-activity_n_4394310.html

Well, I think that’s my weekly quota of exclamation points. I’ll be back on Sunday.

I See London, I See France

I located an amazing board on Pinterest where corsets and stays and chemises are shown in real life. I love this one of a chemise. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/217298750742808383/

And more pretty things to go under the actual gown: http://www.koshka-the-cat.com/regency_underthings.html

And another statement that the drawers were just not the thing: http://www.janeausten.co.uk/corsets-and-drawers-a-look-at-regency-underwear/

So we pretty much see how women got on for most of the month, but what about when Aunt Flo came to visit? You know, that time of the month. LONG before maxi-pads and tampons. I have found a place where this seems to be the conclusion: They used nothing. http://www.mum.org/pastgerm.htm I am not sure that works for Regency women, but for rural and lower classes, it could be just part of life.

However, some interesting points there include that women began menstruation much later than today, used no contraceptive, so were pregnant and not menstruating most of the time, and also breastfed so again, they put a stop to it. Plus many had no idea of good nutrition, and were malnourished or overweight or sick most of the time. So when they did have their monthly courses, they uses pads that were held in place by a belt of some sort. This is speculations, but not a bad guess.

Everyday stockings would be similar to the ones on this page: http://www.fugawee.com/Stockings/stockings.htm but they would not do for a fancy dress ball. http://twonerdyhistorygirls.blogspot.com/2012/03/wearing-right-shoes-stockings-in-1811.html Most of the history of stockings and hose skip right over the Regency period http://www.stockingirl.com/hosieryhistory.html which probably means nothing much changed during that time. Finally, someone mentioned the garters! http://uffnervintage.blogspot.com/2010/01/hose-me-down-so-where-are-my-garters.html

Now to shoes, the finishing touch. The women could pick dancing slippers, boots, and heels, according to this wonderful site: http://www.american-duchess.com/shoes-18th-century Here’s a complete history of the shoe: http://all-that-is-interesting.com/fascinating-history-footwear

The final package: http://www.wemakehistory.com/Fashion/Regency/RegencyLadies/RegencyLadies.htm
http://www.kristenkoster.com/2011/11/a-primer-on-regency-era-womens-fashion/

And just for fun, I leave you with this until Sunday.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/tanyachen/wow-the-history-of-womens-shoes-is-really-insane-and-patriar

Interview with Lila Auclair

Some weeks ago, I posted three photos of models who were in the running for the basis of my heroine in a Regency naval-based Romance. I had long ago picked my hero, thinking he would be a pirate, but he’s turned into Captain Christopher “Kit” Dash. Here’s his Pinterest image: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/514606694893848864/

In the story, Kit is a tall man with broad shoulders and long legs who has some issues living on a ship that uses very little space for any one thing. So I felt that the woman who wins his heart will be a sturdy woman, beautiful and curved, but also taller than the norm, who feels solid in his arms and in his bed. This is Lila Auclair: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/514606694894666796/

I’m getting to know Lila, even though actually writing this story isn’t in the forecast, so I decided to get what I know about her written out and saved for the time to come.

Novel Approach: Miss Auclair, welcome. Would you tell us a little about your childhood?

Lila Auclair: My younger days passed tediously, I wouldn’t dwell on them. Suffice to say that my father is a French fisherman, my mother was Scottish, from Stonehaven. They met when his fleet blew in during a storm. He stayed a while, as some of the boats were damaged. Then he went back to France. Mama didn’t speak French, but she thought he meant to come back. Well, in the course of things, I entered the world. We lived with her parents on a small farm, and she died when I turned twelve.

NA: That’s very touching. How did you end up in France? Boulogne-sur-mer, was it?

LA: Yes, I went to find my father, and found instead his family. Mostly fishermen, but some farmers too. I stayed with an aunt and helped my cousins run the farm. I have learned to make the very best goat cheese in the whole world. Would you like to try it?

NA: Oh, maybe later. Thank you. I read somewhere that Boulogne-sur-mer hosted a fleet of smugglers. Are you sure your father fished for a living?

LA: Having never met the man, I can only tell you the stories my mother told me. I have been reassured by my aunt that he did indeed fish at some time in his life. He has gone to fight Napoleon, so we do not know if he will return to the farm.

NA: Your father still does not know of your existence? How does that make you feel?

LA: How should it make me feel? I have no claims on him, and want only to live in France with the Auclair family. My aunt wrote a letter to him, to tell him about me, but I do not know if he received it. There has been no reply.

NA: What was your mother’s family name?

LA: MacFarlane. Hannah MacFarlane, daughter and only child of Edward and Mary Gordon MacFarlane.

NA: How did you happen to meet Captain Dash?

LA: My cousin Pierre took fresh vegetables, flour, and chickens to the British ships that patrol the channel. The captain asked him to bring more, everything we could spare. So we took two boats out, with goats and wine and honey, and much more. Just as we had off-loaded our boats, and Pierre started back in his, a French ship appeared, and the captain ordered his crew to attack. I could not get to my boat safely, so he sent me below. To his cabin.

NA: Well, that’s all the time we have today! Thanks for your candid answers, Miss Auclair. And thanks to everyone for reading. I’ll be back on Thursday with more about ladies’ clothing.

LA: Oh, I’d like to read that one.

NA: I don’t think the ship has WiFi.

Slip of the Tongue – Or – The Foundation Series – Or – The Stays the Thing.

I may have mentioned that I write Regency Romances. Published nothing so far, but come pretty close a time or two. Under and assumed name so my sister won’t be ashamed to acknowledge me in public, I am writing erotica. I have a fun scene where the hero dances the heroine outside and into a hedge maze, and does unspeakable things to her. That’s why I wrote it down, instead of making a recording.

One reader was amazed that the hero could simply pull her sleeves down her arms a bit, and all her glorious bounty lay exposed before him. “Didn’t they have bras?” she asked. No. No, they did not.

I’ll let Uncle Wiki fill you in on the history of the brassiere. Suffice to say bras were not used until the late 1800s, and the Regency era really slipped into the Victorian era about 1820. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_brassieres

What did the women do to keep the “girls” in line? There were several options. Much depended on the social status of the woman. Regency women dressed like an onion, in layers. First there was the chemise, also called a shift. Often this was the nightgown, too. Over this light and easily washed shift, would go the stays. https://mantua-maker.com/Corset_Patterns.html The breasts were lovingly placed into the stiff cotton twill garment, and a wooden (usually) busk (yardstick) is inserted in the front, in a pocket designed just for that use. The stays were expected to flatten the stomach, but lift and separate the bosom. This is more flattering than the Georgian flat from neck to toes style, and much more comfortable than the Victorian corset.

The shoulder straps, as you can see here: http://www.songsmyth.com/underthings.html can be undone from the front and tucked in the back, if your ball gown had a wide neckline. So my hero could easily have pulled the stays down the slender heroine, with no impediment.

Shall we finish dressing our Regency Heroine? Why not! Over the stays, her ‘tiring woman or abigail places the petticoat. The bodice of the petticoat would be of a cheap, coarse fabric, and the had open sides for eas of dressing. Strips of fabric tape tied it all closed. The chemise would not be ankle length, but the petticoat was designed to fill out the shape of the dress, so that the wearer’s legs could not be easily perceived under her gown. It went to the hem and had at least one ruffle, properly called a flounce. http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/why-petticoats-and-chemises-were-worn-under-regency-gowns-jane-austens-world/

Drawers, you ask? Oh, no. Only fast women and prostitutes would wear drawers! http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/ladies-underdrawers-in-regency-times/

But that’s a step backward. Here are a few more wonderful links on the subject, and next Thursday we’ll look at the outer layers, and that wonderful hobby, laundry! Have a good week.

http://wordwenches.typepad.com/word_wenches/2007/10/undressing-your.html

http://www.kristenkoster.com/2011/11/a-primer-on-regency-era-womens-fashion/