Meet Francisco Cordoba

Every once in a while, someone pops into a group and makes everything sparkle with fun and laughter. Francisco Cordoba is a gifted writer with imagination to spare, and he also takes time out from a busy life and career to tease and encourage other writers in the Scribophile groups. Continue reading “Meet Francisco Cordoba”

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How Do You Like It?

These days, it’s really difficult to read a romance novel without the folks involved getting, well, involved. And because I write lots of sex scenes myself (to the point where I am lamenting writing another one), I am always interested in how the author approaches the subject. I thought I would review some of the books I have read recently, because there seems to be a style for each reader’s preferences.

Before I start, I remember a woman I knew from church 40 years ago or so. She would give me Romance novels to read, but being a good woman, if there was any sex in the book, she threw it in the trash. Today, she would have to request extra bins for the project. Times have indeed changed.

I love Sue Seabury’s Miss series, Miss Understanding being the first one I read. http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/390185 These are Young Adult books, and so the sex is simple. Attraction and kissing, and thinking about what else might happen, but nothing overt.

Brenda Novak’ s The Heart of Christmas surprised me. The heat level went way up, but she didn’t provide a lot of detail. Simple fades to the next morning were used, and it worked very well. http://www.amazon.com/The-Heart-Christmas-Whiskey-Creek/dp/0778316394#

If you have read along in this blog for a while, you know I love Regency romances. I could hardly wait to read Rescued from Ruin by Georgie Lee, a close, personal, fellow member of RWA. I was not disappointed. The plot brings together two old flames who have gone their separate ways for a decade or so. The desire flares between them, but their history keeps them apart. When they do, finally, give in to that desire, the moments are magical. http://www.amazon.com/Rescued-Ruin-Georgie-Lee-ebook/dp/B00FTQUQ5O Georgie uses a nice blend of terms for the parts of the body involved, very much in keeping with the historical tone, and explicit details of who is doing what to whom.

Another friend and Regency author, Sally Orr, has one of the most drool-worth covers imaginable. That alone tells the reader that The Rake’s Handbook {including Field Guide} will be hot. The plot is an interesting look at the changes in an agrarian society at the dawning of the Industrial Age. The heroine has a lot of concerns with her handsome neighbor who is fighting his reputation as a rake. She wants to be sure the factory he plans doesn’t harm the water or her beloved home, and that no children will be used, or rather, misused, in the labor there. Neither expects a romance to happen between them, but neither can stop the fire when it starts to burn. There are some humorous uses of farm terms that allows them to talk about their sexual encounters. Again, not too graphic, but hot enough to curl the pages. http://www.amazon.com/The-Rakes-Handbook-Including-Field/dp/1492602116

These books are all romances, not erotica, so the story includes sexual activity between the main characters (except for Sue Seabury’s books, of course) and only at opportune moments that move the story along. The good thing is, romances these days come in many heat levels, and you can find the ones you like easily enough. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

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.

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/

My Life in Books

Every writer I know is also a great reader. I don’t think I would be driven to tell stories if I hadn’t lost myself in the pages of some great adventure. I might have pursued another creative outlet, but in “the autumn of my years” I have no regrets.

I can actually look back at my life through the books I read at different times. My sister read to me, and I loved it then, and still do. If you want a job as book reader, look me up when I’m rich and famous. In Kindergarten, my teacher handed out mimeographed (inhale! Can you still smell it?) pictures of a “bookworm” so cute you would gladly let him eat your library. For every book we read out loud to the class, we could color in one segment of his long body. I read a little story book about The Three Little Pigs. Later, with classmates, we would act out that classic tale of thinking things through and killing wolves.

A few years later, I had one illness or another, and my mother bought me a glossy hard covered book, Black Beauty. My sister was also horse-mad, and I picked up some of it from her, but never had quite the opportunity she had to be around actual horses. A wide variety of pets did embroider my life, and I have always been a fan of the various creatures we humans live with. And so it will come as no surprise that I picked up books like The Yearling, The Black Stallion, Big Red, and Lad: A Dog. And any and all sequels to these. We lived in a rural section of a small town, with no sidewalks, and no parks very close. I went to a private school so I knew none of the kids in the neighborhood, if there were any. These books and the characters in them were my best friends.

In high school, I got into some serious literature. Shakespeare, of course, and many assigned books I had already read when they were handed down from my sister or brother. I remember being excited by the pirate novel, The Silver Oar by Howard Breslin https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17316760-the-silver-oar?ac=1 due to the comparatively mild sexual scenes. But I never knew you could write about that stuff!

I got in with friends who were fans of TV shows about World War II, and read The Great Escape, Where Eagles Dare, The Guns of Navarone, and Von Ryan’s Express. I read a bunch of non-fiction, too, doing my first ever research for my writing. I wrote fan fiction, and I am not ashamed of it. But no, you will probably never see any of it.

Before I graduated, my group of friends had morphed into Star Trek fans, and I was reading Asimov’s Foundation series and wondering why I just didn’t like much of Robert Heinlein. And I was writing fan fiction for Star Trek. I had a good time, but I lamented the fact I couldn’t write original stories. I would love to go back and tell myself, be patient. This is just part of the learning experience.

Some years later, my sister (she really is my guardian angel, and I love her dearly!) shared a book with me. An historical romance by Kathleen Woodiwiss. The Flame and the Flower is credited as the first modern romance novel, and my sister and I devoured everything she wrote, and subsequently Rosemary Rogers added fuel to our burning pasisons. I wandered off the track to explore Barbara Cartland, Edith Layton, and Georgette Heyer. I found my perfect writing model in Mary Balogh, and Regency romances.

I’ve spend the years exploring lots of humor, science fiction, and historical novels. But my writing heart first and foremost is in the Regency period. That whole “universe” is open to any writer, to create and play and populate. It’s my home and my spirit is happy there.
This is my last Wednesday post. I’ll be back on Sunday to wrap up (finally!) the world tour, and then next week I’ll post on Thursday. My schedule is such that Wednesday is too much of a push for getting a good post up, most of the time. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful week.