Saturday, August 27, 2016

It's Saturday. Have an excerpt.


After effectively getting some creative juices re-flowing because, after I bitched and moaned about this latest writing project to my best friend, she broke out into song: "Chapter 18/I hate Chapter 18/That's two thousand words/ I gotta delete," I have decided to re-read said Chapter 18 and figure out why I hate it quite so much. (Upon reading it over, I see that it's actually not so bad. Why is writing so annoying like that sometimes?)

Also, I need to figure out where the heck the pacing went in this section of the novel, because it's taking a bit to get to the frickin' point already.

In the meantime, have an excerpt from about thirty pages ago.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

5 Things I Learned About Colonial India

My main character, one Miss Victoria Ponsonby-Courtney, was born in India in 1873. Although my story takes place in England and Victoria was sent to England to live at age six, she carries a few memories of her Indian childhood and they help illustrate her insecurity--in herself and her familial and social position. It's not a huge portion of the story, but it's important to the character and the era.

Queen Victoria wasn't the Empress of India for nothing, after all, and the 1890s, when Victoria lives, was very much a time of the British Empire.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Authenticity vs. Accuracy

Among historical fiction writers, the authenticity vs. accuracy debate is a thing. That is, depending on the kind of historical fiction you're writing, you are going to have to balance historical accuracy, the absolute facts: the year of certain Big Events, the layout of cities and towns in whatever era you are writing, the politics and social conventions of the time, the clothing, attitudes, maybe even language.

I guess I'd say authenticity is integrating all the factual things with the elements of fiction--characters, a plot, atmosphere, dialogue--and making the history work in the context of the story (and with your perspective of the history)--and to make sure all of that is readable and entertaining.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

An Interview With Author Emily Steers

Emily Steers and I both went to Emerson College and I remember sharing at least one writing class--there may have been more. Emily just released her first novel, Collecting The Constellations, a mystery-action-adventure story. So naturally, I had to interview her for the blog.

Charlotte Daly is goal-oriented, inquisitive, and tireless— ideal for her role as a researcher at a prestigious museum. She’s celebrated as an up-and-coming talent. She just never expected her greatest find to come from her great aunt’s basement.

It’s dazzlingly unique—a dagger made entirely of blue sapphire, flawless except for a few specks in the handle. To determine its secrets, Charlotte convinces her boss to let her re-trace her aunt’s travels to its source– with the accompaniment of her longtime friend and co-worker, Rory Hobbs.

Charlotte’s clues take her to Kathmandu, where they discover Charlotte’s aunt may not have been the noble adventurer she imagined. Conspicuous wealth, violent attacks, and grand myths plague the pair as they jump into a world of secret societies and treasure hunters they never knew existed.

The book is available in paperback and on Kindle. I've read it and I can assure you that it is a well written, entertaining ride of a story.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG: My First Pieces

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a large group of writers--and we post on the first Wednesday of every month. Thanks to August's co-hosts: Tamara Narayan, Tonja Drecker, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Lauren @ Pensuasion, Stephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders! 

What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

I started writing when I was 9. I wanted to be a "writer" by the time I was 12. To say that I have a backlog of childhood scribblings is not an understatement.  Cheekily, I started calling it my "Juvenilia" because that's what Jane Austen called her childhood scribblings. 

I mean, none of it's good. Oh, except for a snarky poem that got published in the elementary school magazine; that one was pretty fun. I have some of these pieces in a folder, on yellowing pieces of looseleaf. I have some things from high school and more from college, too. It's the college stuff where I can really trace the things I'm interested in now, though---stories with diverse characters, engrossing characters. 

But as an actual, dead-serious aspiring author, what is my first piece?  It might be Book the First, which is on this blog, though I had no intention of publishing that thing beyond the blog. But it's the first thing I wrote post-grad with the intention of finishing it and making sure it was book-length, so I suppose we can consider that my first piece as an aspiring writer. 

It's collecting digital dust and always will be. The reason I keep Book the First linked under its own Page is that I can really trace my writing abilities the past few years by reading it and then comparing it to anything I've written more recently. 

Or can we consider the first incarnation of my fictional Keegan family the first piece I wrote as an aspiring writer? I wrote that first version--a Regency-era romance--with the intention of revising it up to scratch so I could, possibly, submit it. I sent it in to a contest run by a chapter of the Romance Writers of America. 

At which I point I realized that while I like reading romance, particularly historical romance, I can't write it. Also, that family had too much backstory to fit into a 250 page manuscript. 
Speaking of that family...
PEARL is an off-shoot of the Keegan family stories and she is on Kindle Countdown this week! 
Amazon UK

I also want to tell you about a college friend who just published her first novel, Collecting The Constellations. I'm almost finished with this smart, action-mystery-thriller and will be reviewing it and hopefully interviewing the author, Emily Steers, on the blog soon--but I thought I'd ask if anyone out there would be interested in hosting Emily as a guest on your blogs as well. You can check out her Twitter @EmilySteers. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Real Historical Figure Alert

I knew going in to this Victorian project that I wanted my characters to come across a few cameo appearances by real historical figures. They're not just popping in and out of the woodwork for no reason, but the truth is, Victoria, Ursula, and to a lesser extent Beatrice, would and could have met various people, both famous and not famous, of the 1890s because they move in high circles.

None of them are major or even minor characters, but they will be interacting with my fictional characters. I've never written people who actually existed into a historical story of mine before. They only got name-dropped before, you know?

And the first Real Historical Person walked into a scene on page 115.

Prince Victor Duleep Singh from

His name is Prince Victor Duleep Singh, an acquaintance of Victoria's, and in real life, he was the son of Maharaja Duleep Singh of the Punjab. Born and raised in England, Victor was a godson of Queen Victoria's, brother to Sophia Duleep Singh (she who later became a suffragette), captain in the British Army, inveterate gambler, friend to Edward the Prince of Wales and the Earl of Carnarvon who financed and explored the Valley of the Kings with Howard Carter, leading to the discovery of King Tut's tomb.

Prince Victor and Victoria have a little chat after a small musical evening they've both been invited to, wherein the prince has invited Victoria to call on his sisters, who are now living in Hampton Court Palace, and he introduces an old army comrade, Captain Chambers, to her.

Will Captain Chambers be a suitable suitor for Victoria?
Will Victoria call on the princesses at Kensington?
How much does Victoria remember about her formative childhood years living in India?