Thirty Reasons to be Thankful, Part Two.

Continuing from last Sunday with number 16 through 30. And you do realize, I don’t really live on Facebook, right? Continue reading “Thirty Reasons to be Thankful, Part Two.”

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More About Names, Less About Something Else.

I want to write a series of Regency Romances based on the fledgling spy systems and all the fun and danger involved. I want to call it House of Cards, because the agents will all be identified with a particular Card. Guess what? There are already a stuff-load of books by that name. There’s even a TV show by that name. Who knew?

None of that really bothers me, but there is a Regency romance series called House of Cards by the lovely and talented Barbara Metzger. http://www.barbarametzger.com/about_barbara.htm Looking at the summary of the books’ plots, however, I don’t think there would be much chance of confusion if I went with it.

Of course, I need to get going on research on the espionage that flowed back and forth across the Channel at the time. These look like a few good books to start with: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1777550.Secret_Service?ac=1
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3264184-first-respectable-spy?ac=1
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1221773.Sir_James_Mc_Grigor?ac=1

And there are some really impressive blogs on the subject.
http://www.thedearsurprise.com/espionage-during-the-napoleonic-wars/
http://www.ospreypublishing.com/articles/napoleonic/the_hidden_hand_espionage_and_napoleon/
http://wordwenches.typepad.com/word_wenches/2010/03/spies-in-regency-england.html
http://www.napoleon-series.org/reviews/biographies/c_haswell.html

I was so afraid I wouldn’t have anything to do in my spare time. 8) But back to names, maybe authors should follow some naming rules when it comes to series. Like the ones that govern race horses.
http://horseracing.about.com/od/breeding/a/aanameingtb.htm

Naming Pure Bred Dogs is less formal, the name just needs to be unique. http://www.canismajor.com/dog/names1.html http://www.dogchannel.com/dogsinreview/choosing-akc-dog-name.aspx

And cats are no different. http://www.bengalpedigrees.com/showone.php?search=yes&ticanum=SBT090410068

If you are ever stuck for a book title, here’s a fun Romance Title Generator. I got the following titles from it: The Stone and the Diary, Lace Shores, The Prized Desire, Harps of Time, The Lips’s Guard, The Force of the Mists, Silence in the Voyagers, and the enigmatic The Worlds of the Legato Flying.
http://novelistvmd.awardspace.com/RomanceTitleGenerator2.htm

A couple more, just in case. http://www.kitt.net/php/title-romance.php
http://fantasynamegenerators.com/book-title-generator.php#.VAuThGN0_nk
The last one gave me this list of titles: Man with Black Hair, Servant of My Imagination, Honeys with Blond Hair, Ladyloves of Yesterday, Angels and Wives, Sweeties and Assistants, Chase of the Evening, Perfection of My Imagination, Talk About My Dreams, and Scared of My Girl. I have to stop now, I’m getting ideas to go with each of these titles!

There are character name generators, so it’s no surprise that there are plot generators as well. http://www.plot-generator.org.uk/create.php?type=1 The following is the result. I didn’t put in any items, I clicked the suggest button each time. I even got reviews with the plot!

Weak Annabelle
– a splendid romance
by Lottie Lust (okay, I did come up with the silly author’s name)
Clarke Ferguson is a weak, fat and charming scout from the city. His life is going nowhere until he meets Annabelle Gump, a flabby, beautiful woman with a passion for cats.
Clarke takes an instant disliking to Annabelle and the cowardly and sinister ways she learnt during her years in the seaside.
However, when a mugger tries to shoot Clarke, Annabelle springs to the rescue. Clarke begins to notices that Annabelle is actually rather considerate at heart.
But, the pressures of Annabelle’s job as a housekeeper leave her blind to Clarke’s affections and Clarke takes up boxing to try and distract himself.
Finally, when forgetful nurse, Mavis Butterscotch, threatens to come between them, Annabelle has to act fast. But will they ever find the splendid love that they deserve?
Praise for Weak Annabelle
“I fell in love with the intelligent Annabelle Gump. Last night I dreamed that she was in my teapot.”
– The Daily Tale
“About as enjoyable as being slapped with a dead fish, but Weak Annabelle does deliver a strong social lesson.”
– Enid Kibbler
“I love the bit where a mugger tries to shoot Clarke – nearly fell off my seat.”
– Hit the Spoof
“I could do better.”
– Zob Gloop

Maybe book names are the least of my worries. Here’s the link to my “Friend”’s book. See you on Thursday.

Nom de Plume: The Writer’s Protection Program

We in the United States live in a society where, as has often been pointed out, sex is bad and violence is thrilling. I am not one to blame shootings on movies, TV, or video games. The blame in shooting sprees belongs on our treatment for folks with mental health issues.

But I still have to be careful about who knows that I write erotic romance. Retirement is just around the corner, and I plan to avoid any trips on the way to the finish line. So I have this “friend” who published a Regency erotic Romance which is available from Amazon. I’ll put the link at the end of the blog.

My close, personal friends on Scribophile have revealed to me the fact that many who consider themselves writers do not share that with anyone. Not with parents or other families. Sometimes not with significant others. Not with coworkers. Not on social media.

That’s why there are cutesy names used by really intelligent writers there. You would not believe the angst we vent in the forums about not finding the right name, or someone else already writes under that name, or why can’t I use Jane Austen, she’s done with it?

Speaking of Jane Austin, and female writers of her time period, women just didn’t write novels. Page one in the Ladies Book of Unspoken and Unwritten Etiquette clearly stated, journals, okay; letters, of course; poems, maybe; a novel, are you insane?

Uncle Wiki has some great nuts and bolts details if you are interested in pseudonyms and the whys.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudonym

But in the modern world, you would think it not that necessary to have a writing name. Here’s how 8 famous writers (which appears to be fast and loose with the definition of famous) picked their names.
http://mentalfloss.com/article/51195/how-8-famous-writers-chose-their-pen-names

Thanks to the internet, we now have wonderful methods for generating a name of our very own. Here’s a nice one.
http://www.namegenerator.biz/pseudonym-generator.php

Maybe, just maybe, you are writing steampunk or Victorian romance or something like that. Well, here’s a generator for the Victorian in you.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/31/pen-name-generator_n_5045267.html

And how could I resist this great name, Nom-de-plume-o-matic?
http://arockinmypocket.blogspot.com/2010/11/nom-de-plume-o-matic.html

So, back to the fact that I could keep my job if I wrote blood and violence stories, but have to keep it hush hush if I should decide to do what my “friend” Roxanna Haley did and publish erotica. What a world, what a world. Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N7T79FA

See you on Sunday.

Crowded Virtual House

At any time, I have multitudes of characters inhabiting my head. I carry story ideas that have been waiting their turn for 25 years or more. All romances, some erotica, some also science fiction, but the majority are Regency.

While I am working on the story, they come closer to the surface. I finished my Regency erotica Book 1, and the characters in Book 2 are clamoring for my attention. But I have a deadline for a story that will be part of an anthology, with a bartender and his boss lady. Also there’s a regular Regency romance with an agent, while the second book in that series has started but is waiting these other priorities.

That second Regency is at an interesting point, and I feel the characters glare at me now and then. I’ve talked about both characters in previous blogs. The main male character is a dandy, whom I interviewed, and the main female character is a Regency nerd, deeply engrossed in Roman antiquities.

I have a SciFi Romance that ground to a halt when critiques on Scibophile had more questions than comments about the planet that I had no answers for. I’m waiting for a chance to do some world building to figure out how the ecological disaster came about. Then I can get the MCs back on track for a happily ever after.

Eventually, thanks to my love of the Master and Commander, Aubrey and Maturin, books by Patrick O’Brien, I will deal with an inspiration involving a captain in the British Navy in 1801. I finally fixed on his name, something gallant but not already in use. Now the FMC needs to be discovered. She is an English woman who has relatives in France, living along the channel, who stayed after a visit to help out her relatives. What will bring them together? What will keep them apart philosophically/ What will each of them have to sacrifice for a HEA?

The best way to keep all those characters separated is through character sheets, especially very detailed ones. But on the fly, I just need a reminder of the basics, eye color, hair color and length, height, build, physical condition, obvious things people notice about the person. I need to find a way on-line to pull up a character card with basics and in-depth details available with one more click. Here’s my favorite character sheet so far: http://www.uncleanarts.com/writing/tutorial/tutorialcharacter.htm

Lately, I have developed a great collection of models and such on whom I base my characters or who resemble what I had in mind for the character. Pinterest is the best ever in this regard. Not only do I find characters but also houses or towns or whatever! Here’s the captain: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/514606694893848864/

Here’s the hero in the sequel to The Viscount’s Mouse: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/514606694894257684/

And his love interest, my Regency nerd:

I could spend more time looking through Pinterest than writing, so I have to put limits on that activity. And if I haven’t completed my imagining of this character, it could be a choice between one model and another. So here’s your chance to help.

The love interest for the captain is a mid-twenties English woman of French heritage, in 1801. Vote for Link 1: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/514606694894666716/
Link 2: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/514606694894666730/
Link 3: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/514606694894666796/

I’ll shared the winner next Wednesday. And Sunday, we’re back to travel by book!

Name That Time Period!

Can you tell how much I like to use this blog to grumble about critiques and so on? Today’s Issue-I-Need-to-Get-Off-My-Chest regards the use of names. I use the name Harris as a first name for a Regency Lord. Someone commented that Harris wasn’t used as a first name at that time. Oh, really?

Let us consult the Peerage. http://www.thepeerage.com/index_custom.htm (I know I could have used Burke’s, but I found the one above first. Here’s Burke’s:http://www.burkespeerage.com/) (Oh, funny little thing, you have to have a subscription to use Burke’s.) I went to the Custom Index for the Napoleonic Wars, because that’s the time period I want. Here are some of the names listed and the years of the battles. I believe the named person was mentioned in dispatches or some such.

Spencer Minchin, 1801. Stapleton Stapleton-Cotton, 1812. Israel Pellew. 1805. Hercules Robinson, 1805. Connell Scanlan, 1813. Adderly Beamish-Bernard, 1815. Whitwell Butler, 1815. Beaumont Hotham, 1815. Fletcher Norton, 1815. Watkin Owen Pell, 1813. Wroth Palmer Acland, 1809. Galbraith Lowry Cole, 1809. Prosper Aime Victor Combe, 1809. Chichester William Crookshank, 1809. Rowland Hill, 1813. Hardress Robert Saunderson, 1809. Baldwin Layton, 1814.

Harris Butterfield was born in London in 1835.

So, you are asking yourself, what’s my point? That a lot of typical surnames were used as first names, along with some pretty strange names. Come on, Wroth? Hardress? Anyway, at least person received the first name of Harris, even though it was later than the Regency. My point is, there’s every chance that at least one person in the Regency period could have had that name. At least I didn’t go with Throatwarbler-Mangrove.

In looking for the names of the period, I discovered a great site, Almanac, that had a great article on how names wax and wan in popularity: http://www.almanac.com/content/name-game And this site shows which names were the most popular in which decade: http://www.galbithink.org/names.htm

Mary and John were the ruling names for babies in the early 1800s, with boys giving way to William in 1840, and girls getting Elizabeth for a change in 1900. That’s pretty impressive. And no wonder by the time George M. Cohan came along. Mary was an old name, even if a grand one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmzxTtAe6bA&feature=kp

Want to find popular names in more recent times? Baby Center has the information: http://www.babycenter.com/babyNameYears.htm and so does the Social Security Administration. http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/decades/

Have fun looking up all your friends and family. See you on Sunday.

Thirty Reasons to be Thankful, Part 2.

Continuing from last week with number 16 through 30. And you do realize, I don’t really live on Facebook, right?

16. Research – As a life-long nerd, I love computers, I love research. Being a writer allows me to spend countless hours looking for maps of England and France in the 1800s, or looking at English Manor Houses that were around centuries ago but maybe not now. This time would otherwise be wasted in mowing lawns or scrubbing floors. Nobody wants that.
17. Sexual Tension – I find I like to write the sex scenes. But what I really like, what I’m trying to improve, is the tension between two people in my story who want to have sex but for whatever reasons believe it will never be. Or it will be, but not forever. It’s so much fun coming up with reasons to not put Tab A into Slot B.
18. Thickening the Plot – Yeah, sometimes I know where I am going with the story, but other times something seems off. For instance, in my work in progress, my villain is coming off too aimless, too little motivated to do what I need for him to do later in the book. So I am changing his name, adjusting his background, and salting the earth with his foul doings. How cool is that!
19. Alligators to start – A teacher I had once said the point of a story is to get your Main Characters (MC) up to their eyeballs in alligators, then throw problems at them. I think I throw the problems first, and have to look for the alligators later. But so it goes, and it’s more fun every day.
20. Share what I know – Thanks to Scribophile, I can share what I have learned and what I continue to learn with new writers, published authors, curious friends, and so on. I love teaching, I would have been a teacher if my high school guidance counselor hadn’t told me the Zero Population Growth movement would remove the need for new teachers by the time I graduated from college. Pfft!
21. Blogs – Yes, like this one. Or my bird blog. Because writing is fun, no matter what the subject. I like to read blogs as well, and find lots of things to share. (See reason 20)
22. On-line Classes – Okay, maybe not limited to writers, but I am vastly impressed as well as thankful for all the classes out there, for really small fees, that can be completed in the comfort and privacy of my own home. No wardrobe malfunctions here!
23. Dream of conventions and conferences – Due to financial difficulties, I can’t even plan to attend a conference or convention, let alone try to book a flight or make other travel arrangements. I know one of the Romance Writers of American conventions in the near future will be held in Texas, which is closer to San Diego than Georgia, but until someone realizes what a genius my husband is and hires him, or realizes my potential as an author and buys a book or seven, it’s just a dream.
24. Happy Ever After? – For me, it’s not a romance without the HEA. So in my romances, that will be the ultimate conclusion. But I have discovered the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, where Happily For Now is the best one can hope for. Do I want to write a series where my MCs meet and part and get back together? Where it takes three books for HEA? Hmm. Thankfully, I don’t have to decide just yet.
25. Books about anything! – I am one of those writers who have more ideas than I will get down on paper in one lifetime. Once science figures out how to download my personality and memories into a longer-lasting body, I may get the time I need. And I love the ideas I get that take place in the future or on another planet. I can write about ecology issues, social issues, history repeating itself, and so much more.
26. Chance to diversify – Which means pretty much I can write Regency Romance, Sci-Fi Romance, Thrillers, blogs, articles, speeches, and the occasional sketch for work. All because I love to write, and various people like what I do.
27. Understanding – Because I do research, I come to understand how events happened, which chain led to which moment in history, and why certain groups of folks believe what they do. For instance, I have always loved music and dancing, and couldn’t understand why some religions condemned these two things. I came to understand, through reading and researching, that the focus of life for these believers is to be close to God, to be praying and doing good works. Spending any time in things that were frivolous or didn’t focus on God’s Holy Plan, wasted the time one is given to make the best use of life. An awesome knowledge to add to my collection.
28. Appreciate Romance in My Life – I spent the first 40 years of my life alone and lonely, not usually happy with what I was doing and where I was going. And then I met a man who fell in love with me before we met in person. Who found me beautiful when we did meet, and who wanted to share the rest of his life with me. We’ve been together for 18 years, happily married for 16 of those years. I love him as much today as the day I said yes to spending my life with him. Okay, really, I love him more because we’ve been through so much and it’s gotten so much better. Really, he is what I am most thankful for. But appreciating the romance he brings to me is still on this list.
29. Use of Past Experiences – Not everything in my life has been enjoyable. I think that’s true of just about every person on the planet. I have learned to not focus on those things, and to keep my attitude uplifted. However, some of my past experiences are good fodder for story ideas and evolutions. It’s all good!
30. Some Day I will Have Fans! – Does that seem an odd thing to be thankful for? Well, fans can be such a great force for good in the world. I’ve been a fan of things from history, to Star Trek, to Regency Romances, to Outlander stories. It’s fun to think about having a street team to help me put out more titles, and to be invited to talk to people. What more could a writer ask for?