Monday, November 24, 2008
Posted by Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe at 12:00 AM
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The calendar may not yet mark winter, but I live in Maine, and I'm cold. It's supposed to snow this week. Ugh. I'm in my red LL Bean 3-in-1 jacket, gloves in the pocket.
Years ago I had a silver fox fur jacket that I bought at a vintage clothing store in Greenwich Village, but I wouldn't dream of buying a fur coat now---not only because of the money, but because of the ickiness of it all. Yes, I eat meat and wear leather shoes. But somehow the idea of wearing dead little woodland creatures has lost its appeal.
My husband tried to buy me a mink coat once. We lived in Connecticut, and every single woman in our circle of friends had one. He sat back in a plush chair in the store as a saleswoman brought out coat after coat. As glam as I felt in chocolate brown fur that matched my eyes (that's the saleswoman talking), I couldn't do it.
My mother had one of those hideous snapping mink stoles that scared the bejesus out of me when I was little. Full bodies. Beady little eyes. Jaws biting onto tails and paws. Shudder.
Yet I've dressed my historical heroines in fur-lined cloaks. They've had fur hats and tippets and muffs. There was no PETA then. Nobody was throwing buckets of red paint around in protest. Fur is fine in fiction. Historicals give you a little leeway in the political correctness department.
What have you run across reading that would be icky in real life but that's just ducky to read about? How do you feel about fur?
No one in the world needs a mink coat but a mink. ~Murray Banks
Book giveaway! The utterly fabulous, desperately delightful Eloisa James guest blogs tomorrow, November 20 on Vauxhall Vixens! Be sure to visit!
Posted by Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe at 12:00 AM
Thursday, November 13, 2008
We all know that the Internet has enhanced the romance community in a fabulous way. When I first started to write, I knew absolutely nothing about anything. I'd even stopped reading romances. So I gingerly clicked for advice, finding Jenna Peterson's Passionate Pen, which is a great, generous place for aspiring writers. In the intervening years I've had online and e-mail contact with some of the best names in the business. It never ceases to amaze me that Eloisa James wrote back to me about flawed heroes or that Karen Hawkins complimented me on a snippet I wrote or that Christine Merrill appreciated a comment I left about her. She's even sent me her latest, Miss Winthorpe's Elopement. A couple of the things she said really resonated:
So if you’ve got an agent to love you, don’t worry too much on what’s ahead. Really, I think that editor rejections are much easier to take than criticism from the unpublished, who can be unmerciful. Editors tend to break things down into “will make money” or “won’t make money”. Good or bad doesn’t enter into it as often as it should. And nothing works for everyone, so don’t worry on that account. The stronger your voice, the more likely you are to get off the wall criticism. So the out of left field, sand-bagging can be written off as ‘not your reader’.
In another e-mail she writes:
In my experience, you are in the worst stage of the writing/publishing process. The spot right before you sell is a lot harder than anything, IMHO. And it feels like it goes on forever, while everyone around you gets a call.
There’s the learning curve, where you have to figure out how to write, and you suck but don’t know it, and get a bunch of rejections.
And there’s all the stuff that published people whine about, like reviews and sales numbers.
But in between there’s the point where you reach a level of competence sufficient to write a good saleable book, but the rejections are still coming. It’s not like your craft won’t continue to improve as long as you write. But I think the style can mature years before the market is ready to buy. Or maybe it all happens over night. There’s really no telling. And it’s hard because you won’t be able to make the changes that some of the editors will be looking for, because they either won’t serve you story, or they will be just plain crazy. If you have an agent who gets your work, that is half the battle.
But welcome to limbo. When it feels crazy, remember, it’s not your fault.
Word to live by! I knew I was innocent, LOL! In my ivory tower, AKA writing room, I'm apt to forget writing is a business as well as an art.(*snort*...forgive my hubris...I know I'm not Jane Austen) In this iffy economy, there might not be an HEA for every writer. But I'm willing to keep trying and typing until "The End."
Here's hoping there's an HEA for Vauxhall Vixen Tiffany Chalmers, who just signed with the Cornerstone Literary Agency! Yay, Tiff! Welcome to limbo!
And here's a chance to give kudos to your real-life writer heroines who inspire you. What have you read lately that you love? Go read Christine Merrill's books right this instant! I can't wait to dive into Miss Winthorpe's Elopement. But first---I am finally reading Outlander. I know, where have I been? Only 410 pages to go....
Posted by Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe at 3:13 AM
Saturday, November 8, 2008
(M.R.:Ouch. Edging into the cave. Whimpering.)
Judge #2:The author has a WONDERFUL voice. I enjoyed this story very much. At first, I was a little confused as to exactly what was going on, and not entirely clear as to why the H & H couldn’t be together, but better understood the conflict as the tale unfolded. There are a few places where the author gives quite a lot of back story, which slows the pace in those parts. Some judicious tightening would help. Overall, she does such an excellent job of description that I was quite intrigued. The young H&H are delightful and reminded me of Heathcliff and Catherine before she was made to be a lady. This author has amazing descriptive ability. What areas do you feel need improvement? Not a thing. This entry is ready for publication!
(M.R.: peeking out of cave to catch the ray of sunlight.)
(M.R.: Frankly, I’m not going to enter any more contests!)
Posted by Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe at 12:28 AM
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Posted by Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe at 8:11 PM
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I'm wearing my fat pants. After a rainy summer spent indoors on my protuberant posterior writing (and apparently eating) like a fiend, I have discovered the 10s and 12s of yesteryear do not fit. Oh, I can get them on. Barely. The question is, do I want to spend six hours in the library in them, afraid to bend down to put a book on the bottom shelf? Rrrrip.
Coincidentally, my current heroine Charlotte Fallon is on the fluffy side. The painting to the right was my inspiration for her. She's short and very curvy. Her hero, a frustrated artist, loves nothing better than to get her naked and sketch her. Well, actually, he loves nothing better than to get her naked. The sketching comes after, or before, depending on the scene. I've noticed heftier heroines in several books, and I'm so glad. I've been fluffy all my life, save for three years in my early twenties when I didn't ever eat potatoes and weighed 125 for about a week and a half. Pass the home fries, please.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What are your characters' physical "flaws?" Do you want to smack down those perfect heroines in fiction and RL? Are you currently on a diet? Any tips for me?
Posted by Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe at 1:09 AM