Saturday, June 24, 2017


I'm not a big podcast person; this is my preface. I don't even like being read aloud to, so I'm not going to listen to a podcast just to have droning noise on in the background or something. I certainly can't listen to podcasts while writing and listening to them on the subway can be hit or miss, depending on how noisy the subway feels like being that commute.

But I've found two that I really like, so figured I'd share!

The first is a podcast from the women behind the website Smart Bitches, Trashy Books called Smart Bitches, Trashy Podcast. It's about romance novels and the romance genre and occasionally, episodes of squeeing all about Outlander. I've listened to the episodes featuring author interviews, because on a podcast, an interview can go as long as two hours and it's totally awesome to hear authors like Sherry Thomas, Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole, Beverley Jenkins and others talk about their work, what they're reading, their latest release, what odd bits of research they've picked up along the way (since all of the authors I just named write historical romance).

The other podcast I've really enjoyed is History Extra, which is a podcast from BBC History Extra magazine. They tend to interview historians and authors about their latest book or TV broadcast. The last one I listened to was historian Lucy Worsley talking about her new biography of Jane Austen. The other day, I listened to an older episode where Phillipa Gregory talked about writing historical fiction (I was listening to it on my walk to the bus stop and nodding along with a lot of what she had to say). The other half of that episode was an interview with a writer who researched, wrote, and released a book called Killing the Flower Moon, which is about these 1920s murders in Oklahoma of Osage tribal members, who were murdered for their inheritance of headrights--that is, mineral rights to oil-rich lands which made the Osage hella rich, but they had court-appointed white guardians to manage the money.

Also, honorable mention goes to Living the Dream with Rory O'Malley. Rory is a Broadway actor and he interviews theater people on his podcast. I've only listened to one episode so far, but it was a good one, touched on a lot of issues and topics and was as open and gushy as you expect theater people to be.

So, yeah. Clearly, this is my brand: romance and women's fiction and history, with some theater thrown in.

I think I'd like to be on a podcast someday.

Do you listen to podcasts?

Also, Happy Pride weekend, NYC!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Author Tag

Last week, my writing friend Krystal Jane Ruin posted an Author Tag video on her YouTube channel.  The questions were fun, so I've decided to answer the author tag here on ze blog because I ain't about to film myself. Because clearly, as the pretty quote below says:

Here is Krystal's cute video:

Friday, June 9, 2017

Passing Books On

As a budding history nerd and confirmed bookworm, little Sunflower Michelle read (in this relative order):

--a series of paperback (I remember the covers were blue) biographies of historical figures. There was JFK, from boy to man. Abraham Lincoln. Washington. Martin Luther King, Jr. Benjamin Franklin. What the hell was the name of that series anyway? And where did these books go in my life?

--The Baby-Sitters' Club. Oh, my, but I was really into the Baby-Sitters' Club. (These either went to my younger cousin or to someone in Japan)

-The American Girls books. They were the first ones I read with historical notes in the back matter and it made my little nerdy heart sing. (These definitely went to someone in Japan)

And then, The Joy Luck Club. And then something from Harlequin. And then something from Readers' Digest that I think was true crime and was probably not meant for me to read at age eleven...

-And the Dear America series, which I think I started reading around 11 or 12 years old. They were hardcover books and the idea was that they were the diaries of (usually) young girls who were supposed to be around that preteen to adolescent age.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG: June

It's time for June's IWSG post! The IWSG posts every first Wednesday of the month. June's co-hosts are: JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

Did you ever say "I quit"? If so, what made you come back to writing?

When I graduated college, although I was exhilarated to be a college graduate, I was also feeling pretty burnt out. I was a writing major. My school believed in that academic writing program thing of workshops and literary fiction, trying to channel their writing majors into Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees and MFA programs.

That was not me. I didn't think I was a particularly good fiction writer, to be honest. It was the only kind of writing I'd ever wanted to do but I came out of college thinking I didn't have the chops. I didn't have a particular genre I was drawn to write (I had a few I was very drawn to, reading-wise). I was hardly the most talented, most praised, most encouraged, or most anything of my fellow writing majors.

But I didn't actually say, "I'm never creatively writing ever again. I quit."

I think I decided that trying to finish up a story I'd been writing and rewriting since college was the way to go, for some reason. I'd been wanting to write a real book since I was 12. I had time, after graduating grad school. I might as well write that book now.

Thus, Book the First. It's terrible, by the way, but it represents that last gasp of the stuff I was writing as a relaxer in college. It was never meant to be submitted in writing workshops.

I eventually came around to realizing that my entire personality is just..."writer." Storytelling is compulsive. The incremental improvements, the nuggets of info and technicalities, the satisfying (or not satisfying) shape of a story coming together and doing what it's supposed to...

There's no coming back from that sort of thing.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Snippet Time!

This is a scene from my current mess-in-progess, The New Bride of Banner's Edge.

            The Serpentine was a river in Hyde Park. Well, that is, it was called a river, when in reality it was simply an odd-shaped lake. But on a clear, blue-skied afternoon where the May weather was fully a warm enough spring and not the drizzly, smoggy remnants of winter, Hyde Park looked like the ultimate English garden: leafy trees, thick green grass, flowers in bloom, and ducks gliding around the lake.
            Alex and Mady walked a few steps ahead of him. It was crowded today in the park. Carriages drove by on the wide carriage roads, flutters of parasols and skirts within them. Riders on their horses clip-clopped by. People strolled. Nursemaids ushered their charges along.
            In such a crowd, they were one family among many, practically anonymous. Except, of course, whenever a pair of eyes would flick towards Mady for just a second too long. Or when that flick of the eyes took in Alex, striding with purpose beside her sister, and then sometimes, the look would come to him as well.
            Miles was used to it, but that didn't mean he liked the judgment or the speculation behind the darting looks.