Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Word Bank

For a stretch in the 90s, my family was like Walton’s Mountain without the mountain. We had all our four kids at home, a Danish foreign exchange student who was addicted to Internet porn, my father, who was a double amputee, and my husband’s mother, who had senile dementia. We built a huge house with a wheelchair ramp and grab bars in the shower, went shopping at BJ’s Warehouse and stocked up on cases of adult diapers and Ensure. I used to love opening my pantry door to see rows and rows of canned goods and paper towels. I was pretty much prepared for any emergency---maybe even the Apocalypse---or at least prepared for dinner. We all pitched in and I’ll always be grateful to my children who gave their time so unselfishly to their grandparents. They tell me they’ll take care of me too when the time comes, but I’ve already told them to just set me off on the ice floe. Maybe with my laptop if I can get a wireless connection.

Now when I open my cupboards, I’m not sure we could survive till the weekend. I hate to grocery shop. The only things I want to stock up on are words. When I wake up in the middle of the night with a crazy idea, I jot it down. Sometimes I can even read what I wrote in the morning. I have many, many fragments of things that will never make it onto a bookshelf near you. I wish I’d started earlier, but as you’ve read above, I was kind of busy.

I started “sort of” writing a few summers ago, so happy anniversary to me! When I reread the novellas I wrote, I’m struck with both the grace and gross stupidity of them. I’d fix them, but I’ve moved on to a cuter boyfriend. But there are a few things I’ve plagiarized from myself, one of which is Mrs. Brown’s Pantheon of Pleasure, appearing originally in my very first unnamed novella (the one with the amnesiac bluestocking,* snort*) and now featured prominently in the full-length current WIP, Paradise. Yes, folks, it is a bawdy house. The best, most bootylicious bawdy house in London. Each of the girls bears the name of a Greek or Roman goddess.

As Iris Brown says right on page 121, “Did you not know? All my girls assume a new name and identity when they come to me. My benefactor considered himself to be a scholar of the classics. It was his fancy to install Greek and Roman goddesses right here in the heart of ton instead of Mt. Olympus or some looted temple. And drive his toplofty neighbors mad in the bargain.”

Just to let you all know I was into courtesans before reading Anna Campbell!

Do you have recurring themes in your writing? If you’re a reader, does a particular plot resonate with you? What are you storing in your bank?

Psyche Opening the Golden Box-Waterhouse


Hellie Sinclair said...

Yes. The book that will not die features Lucifer...and I have a book about Adam & Eve as well. I was going to have a book about Gabriel, too, to round it out as a "trilogy" but that's pushing it.

I also considered doing a series of the 7 Deadly Sins--and Luc is like the Head, and he basically "rehabilitates" purgatory guys back into real life by having them fall in love. (The gruffy old sap.) However, that seemed too much like every other series I've I've abandoned it. Kinda. But I had some really hot heroes for that series, let me say.

So my THEMES revolve around basically "What can I write about that would totally torque my father, the deacon elder? I know! Lucifer!" I don't do it on purpose, really.

My themes also seem to be poking fun at what a hero is supposed to be, if that makes sense. I have a hero was married a couple times and a "known womanizer"; I have Lucy; I have the cowboy who doesn't know how to cowboy--so it's like City Slickers meets Lonesome Dove. I like the "anti-hero", I guess.

Terri Osburn said...

I don't know that I have written enough to have a theme but I would say my stories are about normal people who have baggage and have those silly life moments but that seemed to somehow find happiness.

And lots of angst. Even I can see that. Not sure why that is. I think my life must be more angsty than most. Which would explain why I work so hard at being funny. It's a diversion...LOL!

Keira Soleore said...

Maggie, your family is hats-off amazing. How did you personally manage to do it all and keep your sanity? You worked, too, then. My jaw simply fell to floor as I was reading your post.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Keira, you're kidding about the sanity part, right? I sold real estate then, and was fortunate to be able to set a schedule that worked around everybody...and eventually we sent the kid back to Denmark, LOL.

Hellion, have you considered taking holy orders? I really think your 7 deadly sins would be so different. Do it!

Terri, there's a huge market for you ahead. Nora can wiggle over and make room for you.

Atherley said...

A good question, Maggie! Right now I'm having too much fun reading this blog. Your honesty is so refreshing--and funny! Where on earth IS Paradise? Will you give it its own blog???

On the matter of recurring themes, I haven't written that much to notice any in my own work. On the other hand, there's my sister, who started writing a large science fiction novel too many years ago and swears it's turning into her personal equivalent of Faust, which, she tells me, Goethe obsessed over throughout his life.

MsHellion, I hope you're doing something about that 7 Deadly Sins series. I'd like to place the first pre-order for the first book!

Terrio, I'm sorry to say I'm not familiar with your work. Where are you "hiding" it? Do you have it online in a blog? I'd like to give it a read, largely because I enjoy reading "new" contemporary voices after I've spent hours wringing out my brain for a Regency.

RevMelinda said...

OMG, I am such a slut for books about masquerades. . . women masquerading as men, men masquerading as women, heiresses pretending to be governesses, dukes pretending to be highwaymen, governesses pretending to be courtesans, women who only have sex wearing a mask, mysterious no-name lovers, etc etc etc.

Oh my, WWJT (what would Jesus think?)

Someday when I have more emotional energy (like never, lol) maybe I'll have some therapy and figure out why.

(It couldn't possibly be my first romance novel and my Favorite Ever, Heyer's The Masqueraders, could it? HMMM.)

Terri Osburn said...

Anne, thanks for asking. I actually haven't put any of my work on the net. Unless you count the little snippet that is on the Eloisa James/Julia Quinn Bulletin Board. But that's so old I'm not sure how much it has changed since then. I do have a blog but I haven't posted any snippets. Perhaps I should do that tomorrow...LOL!

Thanks for the interest though. I appreciate anyone that is willing to read it.

Beverley Kendall said...

I definitely think I have a recurring theme. Heroes finding the love of thyself. Men finding out they shouldn't be selfish pigs. (Okay, the last one was for fun!!!) I still love men, no matter how horrible the marriage was!

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

RevM, you've given me a great idea for a blog! I'll let you know when I write it. Love Heyer.

Beverley, yes, smarten up those self-absorbed men. Make them know they can't live without us!

Anne, right now Paradise's prologue exists on the Begin As You Mean to Go On blog, but I've been advised it should be ditched. It's pretty creepy, but it's supposed to be. Tortured heroine, uptight hero. 68,000+ words done but I'm taking a little tiny break from it.

Elyssa Papa said...

Maggie, don't you DARE ditch that prologue! *evil look*

Hellion pointed it out to me but most of my writing is about acceptance and coming into one's own. I love the Beauty and the Beast storylines and the Cinderella/My Fair Lady ones, too. I love makeover stories as some of you know. *g*

Atherley said...

Maggie, I knew I had seen Paradise somewhere! WHO had the gall to advise you to dith it? Who on earth is the individual who thinks they've cornered the market with their opinion? Pleeeeeaaase don't ditch anything. Harking back to an earlier blog (cough, cough, LOL!): if the Brontes could find a publisher for their dark stuff, you should have no problem finding a publisher--and an audience--for yours! I want to see more, and I know that so many others do, too. ;)

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Ely and Anne, thanks for the votes of confidence! I'm not going to do anything until I finish the little bugger. Since my light/funny stuff is going nowhere, I might as well go to the other extreme, LOL. I never could make my mind up...comes of being a Libra, I expect. But it's fun to "try on" different stuff.

Keira Soleore said...

Terri and Maggie: One of the chapter was selling a ribbon at the Moonlight Madness Bazaar in Dallas with the words "Watch Out Nora". I'm sure they'll sell it in SF, too. You could add that to your: first timer and first sale ribbons. :)

irisheyes said...

Kinda late to the game here, but I like a lot of the fairytale themed stories. I love Cinderella, The Ugly Duckling/Bluestocking, Beauty and the Beast, etc.

I like any story where the heroine doesn't feel she has much worth and finds a hero that finds a lot to love about her. It's especially great if the hero is the "Big Man On Campus," so to speak.

I also love the damaged hero/heroine finding love unexpectedly. I guess that's why I love all those regencies with the wounded war heroes.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Irish, you're not late! I'm on a vacation and this darn post will be up for a while, unless I get ambitions and check my pen drive! I've got a fairy tale themed post coming up at some point, too, so you'll have to check back *g*.

Keira, I think those Nora things are hilarious. How flattering for her that she's the number 1 target. I think she has nothing to worry about though...hard to imagine anyone equaling her success.

Voni said...

Ooh - I love any kind of story that deals with redemption of some kind that is brought about by this great love that they've found. Yah - I know --- I'm pitiful, LOL! Like Irish - I love the stories where the heroine is undervalued so to speak by those around her but it takes the hero who sees that special something. I also like stories where the hero/heroine are opposites so they're either combative and even competitive with each other. I find this always adds a little something extra to the mix. (If that makes any sense! LOL).

Santa said...

I guess if I had a theme going it would be finding your one true love with your unrequited one....if that makes any sense at all.

I seem to have themes in my writing that pop out everywhere I turn. See the trailer for 'No Reservations'? I can't right now, it would just screw with my head.

I also love stories that feature exact opposites and bluestockings. I have one I've been sketching for a while we'll see where it flies.

And Maggie, hang onto that prologue! You know I think it rocks! It's sounds creepy because it is creepy and that's the beauty of it!

Tessa Dare said...

Well, I'm only half-way thru my second book, but if there's a pattern developing, it seems that I write characters (male and female) who are project an image of strength and self-confidence but have deep-seated insecurities and doubt.

*Sigh* Probably plenty of therapy-fodder there.

BernardL said...

I enjoy reading about the common man or woman who steps up to the plate in a crisis, or finds a way to count their blessings when things fall apart around them. The characters in my own writing tend to do this, and I project on them a more black and white vision of right and wrong too.

I have a deal with my daughter since we don’t have any ice floes around here. When I feel like I’m losing it, she has agreed to take me up to my favorite Caribou Wilderness trailhead. I’ll just walk in, and keep on going. If I get better, I’ll come back out and give her a call, or… not. :)

Lenora Bell said...

Mrs. Brown’s Pantheon of Pleasure sounds sublime! What a great idea. I want to hear more!

Tiffany Clare said...

Don't know if I've written enough to say I have a theme...but my heroes all see dark and brooding types...

There is a market for Eden and Hart...there has to be...the snippets I've read are wonderful!

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

MWG- I think "redemption" would be the one-word pitch for Paradise as well.

Santa, I'm a sucker for second chances, too. The one that got away...

Bernard, let's hope the floes and trail are far into our futures...:)

Tessa, we'll all get on that couch together.

Lenora, the Pantheon is tons of fun. Mrs. Brown is quite a character.

Tiff, love the dark and brooding books, anyway!