Monday, April 23, 2012

Write Like Shakespeare, part deux

Shakespeare's Birthplace

Last April, I wrote a blog post on how to write like Shakespeare. I never thought it would garner the interest it has, but even now, two months after I started my new website, that post still gets multiple hits a week.

It's Shakespeare's birthday again, and I've written another post with tips on how to write like Shakespeare. Come on over to my new blog and take a look!

Monday, April 9, 2012

His Good Opinion Free + Giveaway

Yes, His Good Opinion is free again today in the Kindle store. I'm adding a little bit of fun into the day this time around--if you tweet/Facebook/blog about my free day, you'll be entered into a giveaway for a paperback copy of His Good Opinion.

Come over to my new website for the details!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

His Good Opinion FREE Today!

If you always thought Mr. Darcy was outside your price range, today is your lucky day. His Good Opinion is free in the Kindle store--get him while he's hot!

And don't forget, the giveaway for a Kindle Fire is open until the end of March. Have you entered yet?

I hope to see all of you over at my new website.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Website + Kindle Fire Giveaway

That's right, friends. After using the Blogger platform for a year, I decided it was time to have my own domain name. With a little help from my talented friends and family, I put together a great looking site over at

I migrated all the old Blogger posts over, and most of the comments. (Wordpress glitched on that halfway through.) There's a page for His Good Opinion and room for more books as they come. *cough*

During my opening months, there will be several giveaways. I'll finally be giving away copies of my book, of course, and some of my talented author-friends will do guest blogs and giveaways.

I believe in starting with a bang, so my first giveaway is for a Kindle Fire. The giveaway is open through March 31st and there are several ways to enter--so why are you still hanging around here? Go on, enter!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Keeping Personal Things Private

There's a challenge in our modern life that's been building since the moment the internet was created. How do we keep our private lives--things we don't want to share with the world at large--from bleeding into the public world? Some people go the route of not creating a virtual identity at all, but for writers, that's not a choice.

It's been drilled into my head for the last two years that in order to promote my book, I need to be accessible online. I need to blog, I need to be on Twitter, I need...

But sometimes, we have to draw a line in the sand. Even an author needs a place where she can be a person, where she can just be herself, not accountable to the general reading public.

For me, Facebook is that place online. My Twitter account is public, my Facebook account is private. On Twitter, I'll follow pretty much anyone if they interest me. On Facebook, I'm far, far more selective.

This makes Facebook the one place I talk about work, or ramble about Doctor Who, or share my plans for the weekend. Some of that bleeds into Twitter, but only selective things. Very little of it bleeds onto my blog, which I try to keep mostly professional.

So you understand why I've struggled the last few months with the idea of creating a Facebook page for me as an author. Even though it would be completely separate from my personal account, it would still be business intruding in my home life, and that was a line I wasn't sure I wanted to cross.

I finally decided to do it. After all, I'm launching a new website next month (Have I mentioned that? keep an eye out for awesome giveaways!), and that's just a good time to get everything out of the way. Do it all at once, like ripping off a Band-aid.

That little analogy should tell you how I felt about the idea. Finally, Saturday night I realized that I just couldn't do it. It would be so easy to accidentally muddy the waters between the private account and the public page. Post something from the wrong account or... Who knows? I would just rather not go there.

This is me, drawing the line.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hero Love

First, I have a confession to make: Darcy did not immediately win me over when I first read Pride and Prejudice as a teenager. His first proposal was disastrous and though his second was better, there just didn't seem to be much to swoon over. I was much more taken by Elizabeth's strength and wit. I wanted to be Elizabeth, rather than be with Darcy. 

That didn't really change until I decided to tell Darcy's story. To gain a better understanding of him, I read the novel once more with I had two questions in mind: 1) What made him so reluctant to give his good opinion to others, and 2) How did Elizabeth so easily gain it, almost against his own will? The answer completely won me over. 

Darcy prizes honesty above all else. As a man of position and wealth, he is accustomed to being used and pursued. Men want to be known as his friend and women want to be courted by him. His disdain of this is clear in his response to Miss Bingley in Chapter Eight: "Undoubtedly," replied Darcy, to whom this remark was chiefly addressed, "there is a meanness in all the arts which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for captivation. Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable." Caroline catches enough of his point to drop the subject.

Elizabeth never fawns over Darcy, and thus he cannot help but fall in love with her. Unfortunately, it does not occur to him that if she shows him the barest civility, she actually might not like him. This he discovers in his proposal, when that same admirable honest streak leads him to say things he perhaps ought to have kept to himself.

However, Darcy is not just honest with others, he is also honest with himself. After the immediate sting of Elizabeth's rebuke dulls, he sees the truth in her words and he resolves to change. He respects her opinion enough to trust her insight, even when her words hurt.

An honest man who wants nothing more than to be deserving of an honest woman? Swoon. Then he takes Lydia's rescue upon himself to save Elizabeth the pain of having a fallen woman for a sister and his character is fixed as the noblest man in Derbyshire. I could not help but fall in love with him, as generations of women before me have done.

When I started writing His Good Opinion, that honesty and disdain of falsehood drove the opening chapter of the story. Listen to the conversation between Bingley and Darcy:

"I will never understand, Darcy, why you insist on going out in Society only to be displeased with everyone you meet."

Fitzwilliam Darcy poured two glasses of brandy and handed one to his friend before he took the chair opposite him. "I go out because it is expected of me, Bingley. You know that."

Charles Bingley pointed at him. "Ah, but that does not answer the question, does it?"

Darcy conceded the point with the barest shrug of his shoulders. Here, in the comfort of his own study, there was no need to pretend. "I admit that I find little in Society of which to approve."

"Only because you are determined to disapprove!" Bingley protested. "What of the young lady you sat out with tonight? Let me hear your opinion of her."

Darcy ran his fingers down the side of his glass. "Her aunt approached me and said her niece had sprained her ankle, and would I be willing to keep her company? Courtesy forbade I refuse, though you know how little I enjoy making conversation with someone I am not intimately acquainted with. I have not your ease of speaking on subjects in which I have little or no interest." His lips curled in disdain, and he took a sip of brandy to wash the sour taste from his mouth.

"That is a commentary on your own character, not the lady's."

He ignored the familiar needling. "After two minutes of idle chatter, I inquired after her injury."

Satisfaction gleamed in Bingley's blue eyes. "Ah, you are capable courtesy after all!"

Darcy leaned forward, his forehead creased in a frown. "Perhaps you will not be so victorious, Bingley, when you hear the rest of the story. She did not understand what I spoke of. When she returned to her aunt shortly thereafter, she did not have a limp. The entire incident was manufactured so she could gain my attention. No doubt they have heard that I do not dance often —"

"Or ever."

The leather chair creaked in protest when Darcy stood. He took Bingley's glass and strode to the table, glad to have something to do, even if it was only refilling their drinks. This topic never failed to rile him, and he could not sit still. He poured the amber liquid and found a measure of calm in the action.

"They sought a way to get time with me, and they found it. You wish to know why I so seldom give my good opinion to those I meet; it is this dishonesty, this deception of which I cannot approve. I cannot — I will not — marry a woman I do not trust."

And there you have it: Fitzwilliam Darcy, an honest gentleman searching for an honest lady. Might I volunteer, sir?

His Good Opinion can be purchased in e-book format from AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwordsAmazon UKAmazon DE, Amazon FR, Amazon.IT, and Amazon.ES. The paperback is available from Amazon.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How Editing Is Like Car Repair

I took my car to the shop last Monday to have the turn signal fixed. Three hours later, they called with The List. You know what List I mean--the one with every possible thing that's wrong with your car, with a horrendously scary price tag attached.

The turn signal was an easy fix, but in their diagnostic test, they discovered my brakes are leaking (knew that) and my oil is leaking (knew that). When they went to fix the door, the realized it wasn't just a quick "reattach the pieces" but the handle was actually broken (didn't know that).

Grand total? $955.

I hesitated for a moment, until I realized that I have the money right now and I had planned to get it all done anyway. If I'm going to fix something, I might as well do a complete job of it.

When I started editing Col. Fitzwilliam, I thought I had one minor problem, but when I dug into it, I quickly realized that my lack of direction was symptomatic of larger problems. I axed an entire plot line, and because of that I had bring in some other elements and completely rearrange the novel. I went from my post-NaNo word count of 51,000 to 34,000 is the space of an evening.

I could have chosen to only  handle one issue at a time. It might have been less intimidating. However, I'd rather cut everything that needs to be cut and move forward with a solid draft. As long as I'm working on it, I might as well do a complete job of it.