Friday, August 31, 2012

Your First Love

Who doesn't remember their first love? Maybe it was a crush you never had the guts to speak to, or was it the first time you got asked out, got kissed, or do the dirty? It's different for everyone, and sometimes what one person feels as 'love' means nothing to another. Sometimes, a preconceived notion of 'love' may skew someone's view on whether or not they have ever been in love.
Here are Salome's and Donovan's views on their first loves, in great detail.

Your first love – in great detail
Salome –
I must admit I have never been in love, at least not in the romantic sense. I have loved my family, and my close friends, but I have never met a gentleman who stirred any sort of romantic interest on my part. That is not to say that I do not desire to fall in love, my parents were a great example to me of how wonderful it can be, but I am far too practical to think of finding love.
In choosing a spouse, I am looking for financial security, some common interests, and a decently handsome face. I would not want an ugly husband, because I know what is expected of me in the bedroom, and would not wish for wifely duties to be distasteful. I am under the impression they can be quite pleasurable, in fact. I must admit some curiosity on my part when it comes to this.
Therefore, I would hope for a measure of experience, but I would expect fidelity. I value loyalty and honesty above all things, so a mistress for my husband would be out of the question. It would seem that in the course of my search for a husband, I should practice my charms.
Of course, while searching for eligible bachelors to investigate in my search, I would be remiss if I did not mention more than a passing interest in one Donovan Tremaine, the Earl of Verney. Perhaps it is because he is also an American, or perhaps because his appearance is rather exotic and unique, but when I viewed him from a distance, it struck in me a very great desire of a sort I have never felt before. Having now read his file, I would deem him eminently suitable in every aspect I have described for my future husband, so I think I shall pursue him to see if a mutual interest develops.
Perhaps I am employing too scientific a method in my search, but I do not feel that a wholly romantic entanglement would suit my purposes. Far too often, one is disappointed in love, so I shall not hope for that, merely a companionship that may develop into softer feelings over time.

I can’t say whether I have actually been in love, per se. I can recall the first time I felt a romantic attraction, and certainly I could describe my first physical experience.
Let me start with the first time I found myself attracted to someone. No, take it back farther, when I was a boy, maybe seven years old, there was a girl who lived down the street from us. I remember thinking she was the sweetest thing, she had brown hair that her mother always braided into pigtails, and she had freckles across her nose. Her mother was a fisherman’s wife, as we lived near the ocean, and I can recall her voice even now shouting for her daughter to come inside and tend to chores.
However, this little girl was more interested in playing out of doors, usually tagging along with the boys. She would never admit that she was incapable of doing anything that we boys could do, whether it was climbing trees or daring each other to tease the bull in a farmer’s pasture. She climbed onto a horse once and rode it with her skirts hiked up to her knees, and her mother chastised her for playing so rough and tumble. I always admired her courage.
Her father died at sea, and her mother moved away, so I don’t know what happened to the little girl, but I will never forget her. To this day, I can appreciate a woman who is strong, and unwilling to admit she is any less capable than the men around her.
Which brings me to the first woman I ever experienced the physical side of love with. I had journeyed to Baltimore with my father to look at some new models for ships that he wanted to build, and had some free time to explore the city. I was about seventeen years old, and though I appreciated the female form, I had never had opportunity to engage with a woman.
While wandering through some shops, I overheard a woman arguing with someone. She was a shopkeeper, and she was debating a deal with a customer. The man was being insufferably rude, and the woman was trying to convince the man to leave her shop, which he was refusing to do. I stepped inside, and asked if the woman would like some assistance. She gave me a look and told me to bugger off, that she could handle herself. In no uncertain terms, she gave the man what for, and he threw up his hands and finally left on his own.
At this point, the woman turned to me and apologized for speaking to me so harshly. She explained that she was tired of men who thought she needed saving, when she was quite capable of conducting business herself. She was not the most beautiful woman, though I remember she had beautiful hair. I told her that I had no doubts that she could handle the man, all the same I did not like the way he had been speaking to her, and I was raised to treat others with respect.
She smiled at me, and I could feel something within me change. I looked at her in an entirely different light then, and my youthful urges came to the fore. We talked a little while longer, and I explained that I was in town with my father on business. She was a widow and had gone into business for herself after her husband passed away.
Before I knew what was happening, the woman closed up shop and invited me to her apartments upstairs for a bite to eat, as I had not had luncheon yet. Over the meal, she continued to talk, and she started giving me inviting looks. Her fingers touched my arm at one point, and she proceeded to seduce me in a subtle way. I had no idea what I was doing as she leaned forward and kissed me, I just knew that I was aroused in a way I had never been.
When she took my hand and led me into her bedroom, undressing me as we went, my conscious thoughts fled, and before I knew it, we were on top of the bed, and her breasts were in my hands. I shall not go into further detail, but I left the shop a short while later, a completely different man. I knew what it was my father’s workers were always laughing and joking about, and now saw the world with new eyes. The mysteries beneath a woman’s clothes were now more inviting and intriguing than ever.
Though I never met the shopkeeper that introduced me to the pleasures of the flesh again, I will never forget her for being so strong and forward. She took what she wanted from life, and there is something incredibly appealing about a woman who is comfortable in her own skin and not afraid to display her confidence. All of the quiet, simpering women I have encountered who I am sure will make quite suitable, placating wives are simply not appealing to me.
That is not to say I like a woman who uses her attractions and talents in a devious way. Scheming harlots are not my style, either. I stay away from women of the streets because they share their charms with anyone who has enough coin, and the women of the ton who are likely to invite men to share their beds are always after something.
I took a mistress when I came to London because I needed someone to introduce me to Society. Madeline wanted me for her own purposes, partly for my body, and partly because I was an outlying variable that she could brag about. We used each other, and when I no longer needed her, I dismissed her. It really amounted to a business exchange, though she took it badly, I have no regrets.
My friends have pointed out that I should seek a bride to carry on the family name. I am not sure what to think of that, but I do know that the woman I marry must be my equal. Not as far as status necessarily, but I would like my wife to be my partner in everything. I want her to be strong enough to stand her ground when she believes in something, intelligent enough that I can turn to her for advice, and confident enough that we can enjoy each other in the bedroom without holding back. The same sort of woman who took me in hand when I was seventeen years old and showed me what physical love was all about, and the same sort of woman who never lets the boys get the best of her like the little girl of my youth. Impossible perhaps, but that is what I wish for in my wife, and the woman who can do all of that is the woman I am likely to fall in love with.

Aren't they eminently suited for each other? Whether he knows it or not, Salome is just the kind of woman Donovan is looking for, and he is just the kind of man she needs to wake her up, romantically speaking.
So what about your first love? Any stories?

Monday, August 27, 2012

New Excerpt and Other Thoughts...

The weekly excerpt is now posted here: Chapter Four

This excerpt is likely fated for the chopping block during editing, but I hope to work it in somehow. I think it shows some valuable insight into Salome's character, for a couple of reasons.
1. It highlights her relationships with her employees, she thinks of them as friends and not merely servants; she takes their advice (sometimes), she values their opinions, and she trusts them implicitly. Salome chooses her 'inner circle' very carefully, and she values loyalty and honesty in people. It is one of the reasons Salome falls for Donovan, because he is open, honest, and loyal as well. They also share the opinion that all people, regardless of their station in life, are their equals. They might be members of the ton due to their circumstances, but it is the core values of their American background that has shaped the people that they are.
2. It is a chance to showcase Salome's true love, and that is of horses; their breeding, their training, and most of all their care. It is Salome's dearest wish to be able to return to her home and pursue a future in raising champion racehorses. This is a love shared by our hero, and common ground for them to bond over.

Also, would like to make a note regarding my last posting. The very last image I posted of inspiration for Donovan has stuck like glue in my mind, and I went digging for more photos. They are posted on my Pinterest, which will take you to the photographer's deviantART account. The model in question I think is named Umid, and he is Russian. Best reason ever I've found to want to visit Russia! Just kidding, Russia is a fascinating place. I don't wish to digress, but some of the greatest art, history, and -hot men- hail from Russia, take some time to read about it.
The similarity between many Russian peoples and the Native American tribes here in the US cannot be denied, as clearly seen in this fine specimen- sorry, had to wipe some drool off the keyboard and regroup- ahem...
Anyway, suffice it to say that Umid or whatever his name is, is now my official mental picture of Donovan. The photographer is very talented, check out some of his other work. It has me thinking, when it comes time to put together a cover, if it would not be too uber expensive, of contacting this photographer and perhaps arranging a shoot with that model and a Salome lookalike. Hmmm... Ok, but that's still some time away, but I'm going to start saving my pennies just in case!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Let's Talk Casting

I find it helpful to have images to look at to inspire me, so I thought you would like to see what Salome and Donovan might look like.

Salome has black hair and light green eyes, the closest I have come is Amy Lee of Evanesence.

Other inspirations include Vivien Leigh:

And for a slightly more exotic look, no one is more gorgeous than Aishwarya Rai.

Donovan has a Native American heritage, so he also boasts a darker complexion. He has long black hair and dark eyes.
Time to admit some old crushes here:

Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme

and then I found this guy!

Hope you enjoy the imagery, I know I did!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Donovan Tremaine - Character Bio

As promised, a little more information about my hero in Salome's tale. He is more the silent thinker type than a rakish man of action. He is thoughtful, and has a good sense of humor, but he is a man caught between two worlds, the America of his youth, and his responsibilities to his English title.

Describe yourself- in great detail
My name is Donovan Christopher Tremaine. As of today’s date, March 11, 1811, I am twenty-nine years old. My birthdate is July 12, 1781. I was born in Norfolk, Virginia, which I still consider to be my home, though it has been two years since I have been there.
I am six feet tall, and broadly built, since most of my life I have worked as a ship-builder in my father’s business. This makes for some difficulty when it comes to ‘proper’ fashion, which I have to subscribe to here in London. The jackets are too tight, and cravats are stifling. Luckily, I have a phenomenal butler who sees to these sorts of things. Left to my own devices, I would choose to wear a simple shirt and breeches, but I have appearances to keep up.
I have dark hair that I prefer to keep long, fashions be damned. My eyes are dark as well, and I am naturally tanned. It comes from my mother, who was half Nottoway Indian, one of the indigenous tribes of Virginia, though there aren’t many of them left. The subject of my mother’s heritage has been one of great interest, but I prefer not to discuss it, there are enough rumors about the ‘American Earl’ as it is.
Other than that basic description, I don’t give much thought to my appearance; I’ve been far too busy with matters of business. Speaking of such, I am in London due to my inheritance of an English title. I would have much preferred to stay in America, but upon a great-uncle’s death, I was duly informed that the title carried a number of estates that were in dire need of attention.
I came to England hoping to resolve matters quickly, but the state of affairs here has kept me longer than I anticipated. The strain on the estate dictated that I sell most of the property granted me. I held onto a country estate that showed promise as a horse-breeding facility, and the land is now generating a good profit once I made some improvements and installed a good administrator. I also possess a townhome in London and have made some solid financial investments. I am not considered a ‘catch’, but I am comfortable and have enough to enjoy a modest lifestyle.
The ship-building business has been a bit more difficult to look after from such a great distance. I am hoping to secure a contract with an American shipping firm, Kestrel Shipping, which will do a great deal to keep my employees taken care of and continue to keep my father’s reputation intact. He did well for himself supplying the American Navy (such as it is) during the Revolution, and hope to honor his memory. He was a good, hard-working man.
I have made a few good friends in my time here in England. A few other noblemen of diverse interests and talents, and when I am not working, I spend a good deal of time with them. They enjoy gambling, boxing, fencing, and of course women. One of them in particular is more of a rake than the others, but he is always good for a laugh.
After spending some time squaring away business matters, it became apparent to me that I would need to spend more time socializing amongst the ton if I were to be more successful. To that end, until recently, I have kept a mistress, a widow, who was well-connected socially, and I have been able to establish myself more securely. She was far too demanding, and though she made a decent bed-mate, she has outlived her usefulness. Her petty jealousies and tantrums were just too taxing.
I do not make a habit of frequenting whores, though I do enjoy the company of women, so long as they are well-read and have more thoughts in their heads beyond fashion and gossip. I cannot abide idle women. The women in America are more to my taste. They are not afraid to speak their minds. In England, this is considered ill-bred, but I much prefer good conversation and activity. The ‘fair English roses’ considered to be so attractive are just too bland for me.
My acquaintances have harped on me about the necessity of finding a bride in order to continue the title, however, I would prefer to find a woman more interested in sharing my life as an equal rather than as a brood mare or social connection. Given my circumstances, with ties to both America and England, I think it will be difficult to find a wife that will support both, but I am hopeful. I would desire to have a family some day.
Neither the life of the gentry or as a ship-builder are my true passions. I would prefer I think to live as a country squire, raising horses, and God willing, a family. I never had any brothers or sisters, but I have friends in America with large families, and though children bring their own trials, I think I would enjoy them. Raising sons and daughters with the values of hard work and caring towards their fellow man would be a point of pride with me.
As it is, I am content with my life thus far. I am still young, and will continue to look out for my future. The Season is coming up, and given my mistress-free status, I am looking forward to pursuing feminine companionship. I would be content with a more agreeable mistress, or if an attractive debutante with a mind of her own were to suddenly appear, I would not be amiss to pursuing an engagement. I am not going to keep my fingers crossed on either count however.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to School and New Excerpt

It's that time of year again! That's right, back to school...
Today is the first day of school for my kids. I have three boys: the oldest is 13 and in 8th grade, then I have a  7 year old in 2nd, and my youngest, 5, started kindergarten today. I am proud to say I managed not to cry as I watched them all get on the bus this morning! It is both a relief and a little heart-breaking to have an empty house all day. For starters, I can either work on writing or go back to sleep if I choose (unless I have to work during the day), and the choice is nice, perhaps I can get more done?? At the same time, I am also thinking that I am on my way to being an empty-nester, and that just makes me feel old!
We haven't ruled out the possibility of ever having another child, but we would like to actually plan and prepare for parenthood this time around, the other boys were all 'happy accidents'. There are a lot of things to consider there. I loved being pregnant, enjoyed easy labors (that's a whole series of stories), and there is nothing in the world like holding a little baby in your arms. But what if we don't have another? Will I always wonder 'what-if'? I mean, a little girl would be sweet, but I'd take another boy too, I'm used to that!
Any other parents out there? Are your kids grown? When did you realize or choose not to have more children, and how did that make you feel? Were we made of money, it would not even be a question, I would continue to pop out kids, haha, what does that say about me?
I know this has nothing to do with writing, except that I've been considering getting Salome pregnant during the course of her story, and with the boys gone, it just got me thinking about my own situation.
Speaking of Salome, would like to announce that Chapter Three is now available, so check it out!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Introducing: Salome

As promised, here is a little character information from my work in progress. It is written in Salome's own words.

Introduce yourself, in great detail

My name is Salome Lisette Mercer. As of today’s date, March 1, 1811, I am twenty years old. My birthday is December 28, 1790. I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, at our family home. I am about five and a half feet tall, which is slightly taller than other women, but a little shorter than the average man, so they aren’t too intimidated by my height. (It’s been a problem.)
I have black hair and green eyes, both of which I inherited from my mother. I like to keep my hair long, usually pulled back into a simple braid to keep it out of the way, but it has a mind of its own sometimes. My eyes are an extremely light green, they have been called unsettling or even ghostly, but in some light, they look like a cat’s green eyes. I think they are my best feature. Another thing I inherited from my mother is her olive complexion, being as she was, from Spain. I tend to color in the sun very easily, which I don’t care about, but it isn’t exactly in fashion. I don’t mind that, because my mother was a wonderful person, and I miss her very much. To look like her isn’t the worst sin a person could commit.
I am slender but athletic, since I prefer working outdoors than boring myself to death indoors. I feel like my bosom and hips are too big, but men seem to appreciate them. To me, they just pose a problem finding clothing that fits. I’m not particularly good with a sewing needle, so that doesn’t help there either. When I’m working outside, I prefer to be in breeches, simply because it’s easier to move around in them. At home, I was usually on a horse, and have you actually ever tried to ride sidesaddle? On my ship, breeches just make more sense; if I were to accidentally fall overboard, heavy skirts would send me to the bottom of the ocean in a heartbeat. I have a job to do, either way, and if I don’t have to impress anyone, who cares what I’m wearing?
That is not to say that I don’t like wearing beautiful dresses and looking smart and elegant. I don’t like all the frills and flounces women like to add to their clothes, I’m pretty simple when it comes to my taste. As long as my dresses have clean lines, beautiful colors and fabrics, and are comfortable to wear, I can fit in just fine. However, I really do like nice boots, Hessians preferably.
I like things neat and orderly, and I’ve always been good with numbers. It’s helped me when it comes to taking over the plantation and my brother’s business. I like to read for pleasure when I have time; I even indulge in the silly romances that are so popular. I also love to ride horses, racing them is a huge joy for me. Feeling the wind through my hair and in my face, with the world going by, is one of the greatest experiences a person can have. Sailing on the ocean is like that too, but with a horse, you feel like you have become part of the animal itself, and there’s nothing quite like it.
I know I should probably be good at things like playing the piano, singing, or needlework, but I just can’t sit still for too long for me to appreciate them, so I don’t try. I do enjoy music, and I especially love dancing, though I haven’t had much opportunity for it lately. I don’t have many close friends, and the ones that I do have are mostly men. I have become especially close with the members of my sailing crew, since we have spent so much time together over the last few years. They know how to make me smile, and keep me from getting too serious when I start to think about depressing subjects. They even talked me into getting a tattoo of a mermaid when we were in China! It’s on my ribcage, easily hidden by clothing, and won’t that be difficult to explain should I ever become intimate with a man!
I have one female I am close to, and I trust her with my secrets, I consider her to be a friend, but she’s also my maid, and she always remembers the distinction between the two. It would be nice for a change to have someone to talk to, gossip with, all the normal things women my age do, but I just haven’t had the time. My maid has a son, whom I adore, and I wonder sometimes if I might ever have a child of my own. I do like children very much, but finding the right father for them is another matter.
Which brings me to my biggest problem at the moment. I’ve only recently discovered that my father’s will makes it clear that if neither my parents or my older brother were around when I turned twenty, I have only a year to find a husband, or my family’s plantation will be sold. I guess my father never expected me to run it by myself, though he taught me everything I know, but the profit from the sale will go to provide a house in town, I suppose, as well as funds to see to my needs until I either find a husband or make a career for myself.
Now, I know he was only trying to look out for me, making sure that I would never lack for anything, but it has really put me in a bind. Since my brother’s disappearance, I’ve been more concerned with looking out for his interests than my own. There hasn’t been much opportunity in the last two years to meet any eligible men, since I’ve been pretending to be a man named Hawke Sinclair. Sinclair only exists on paper, and I’ve been running both the plantation through overseers and my brother’s business from aboard ship or behind closed doors in our offices around the world.
Of course, no one thought to enlighten me on the terms of my father’s will before now, probably because there are any number of people in Charlottesville, especially a hideous man named Bertram Candel, who would love to get their hands on my plantation, or even worse, on me! So, I headed for London as quickly as I could so that I might beseech my father’s sister, Alexandra, to honor a promise she made my father when I was just a child.
Aunt Alex (my father used to call her that) promised that if I ever wanted, I could come to London, and she would sponsor me for a Season. It’s a big social thing for London high society, and a lot of young women do it in order to find a husband. I never dreamed that I would be one of them! But I am not going into this unarmed and unprepared. I plan to look into every passably handsome bachelor London has to offer this year, and find out what they are like before I even meet them.
People underestimate things like whether they take care of their properties, if they are financially solvent, if they have nasty or distasteful habits, and that sort of thing. It will also be a requirement for any suitor I agree to, that he allow me to keep my family’s plantation, as well as continue the search for my brother. If I absolutely have to get married, it is not going to be some ugly, old brute of a man, it will be one that I feel I have something genuinely in common with, so that even if I am not marrying for love, perhaps I might find a semblance of it somehow.
Who knows, left to my own devices, I might never have married, and after witnessing my own parents’ happy one, it has been something I have dreamed of. I just never imagined it might be something I would have to make a decision about so suddenly!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Character Development - Salome

Edit: I actually do have a character page for these characters, but it's rather dated, and since I'm using this exercise, I am changing a few things. Feel free to compare the older version against the newer one, hopefully there is a little more connection between my readers and my characters. I think they were a little cold before, I'm hoping this will make them more likable.

So, I realized that I do not have Character charts for Salome and Donovan yet. What are you talking about, you may ask? Well, a way of delving deeper into the main characters, finding out more about what they are like, their motivations, their strengths and weaknesses, all of the things that will make them seem like real people and that readers are going to be more interested in them because I, the writer, have explained all of these things.
Now, I don't really know if I have done a good job so far of describing my heroine and hero as of yet, so I thought I might make a few posts about them.
I found this excellent list via the NaNoWriMo forum (National Novel Writing Month), and I am going to take some time to fill out this little questionnaire for Salome and Donovan, writing from their perspective. Bear with me, it may take awhile, but I hope the exercise comes in handy for re-writes, and oh, yes, I feel certain there will be rewrites.
I am a terrible info-dumper, and I'm even worse at believable dialogue, with the occasional exception for a witty exchange or a brilliant defining moment, that usually comes to me in the shower or a dream. Yeah, I go to bed thinking of my characters, and sometimes they do amazing things, and if I'm lucky I remember to write it down in the morning. Other times, my dreams are vivid, but not anything about what I fell asleep thinking about. Must put notebook by the bed, hubby will think I'm crazy. Wait, he already thinks that, ok, then I'm good!
Tangent aside, here is the list of questions Salome and Donovan are going to have to answer, and I'll be posting their responses over the next little while, hope you like!

01 – Introduce yourself, in great detail
02 – Your first love, in great detail
03 – Your parents, in great detail
04 – What you ate today, in great detail
05 – Your definition of love, in great detail
06 – Your day, in great detail
07 – Your best friend, in great detail
08 – A moment, in great detail
09 – Your beliefs, in great detail
10 – What you wore today, in great detail
11 – Your siblings, in great detail
12 – What’s in your bag, in great detail
13 – This week, in great detail
14 – What you wore today, in great detail
15 – Your dreams, in great detail
16 – Your first kiss, in great detail
17 – Your favorite memory, in great detail
18 – Your favorite birthday, in great detail
19 – Something you regret, in great detail
20 – This month, in great detail
21 – Another moment, in great detail
22 – Something that upsets you, in great detail
23 – Something that makes you feel better, in great detail
24 – Something that makes you cry, in great detail
25 – A first, in great detail
26 – Your fears, in great detail
27 – Your favorite place, in great detail
28 – Something that you miss, in great detail
29 – Your aspirations, in great detail
30 – One last moment, in great detail

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chapter Two Is Up...

Chapter Two of Salome's story is now available, be sure to check it out! Busy with work all this week, but hope to keep up the pace of the story, would be a crying shame to lose momentum now. I'm working on Chapter Ten now, as noted in the previous post, we are still at the Presentation, and Salome has made a new female friend. This is good, because female friends are hard to come by, especially for ladies as focused as Salome is. She knows what she wants and does not want to be distracted by petty jealousies. Plus, this new friend of hers has her own story to tell...
Could this possibly be the start of a series? Well, at least two stories could be derived from this story so far. I know we haven't met Salome's missing brother yet, and won't for some time, but there is a reason she's so devoted to him and won't give him up for lost. Because he's awesome... And who is this mysterious E.J. Lindsay that Salome goes to for her detective work? Hmmm- does bear some thinking, but at the moment I just need to finish this story before I get too far ahead of myself!
So enjoy the new excerpt, and I'll be back soon!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Regency Clothing and the Trials and Tribulations Thereof...

Now I have read many, many Regencies and historical novels in my time, and one of the subjects I have always found fascinating were the descriptions of the clothing characters are wearing. There are many errors made when it comes to this subject, but I think that my reading history has given me quite a lot of basic knowledge to work with.
By the same token, however, I really would like to stick to historical accuracy as much as possible, so I have been trolling the internet for days (since I started this project, really) for ideas, images, and descriptions of what people during this period wore. Thank heavens the world is infatuated with Jane Austen and the Regency in general, as there is a plethora of material out there.
I even started up a Pinterest account to keep a record of inspirational images. Follow me there by using the link button over on your right, by the way.
There's one subject in particular I am working on at the moment that I would like to touch on, and that is the matter of debutantes being Presented at Court. There were all kinds of rules for dress, conduct, and the expected ceremony of the presentation itself, and I am quite mired in the details at the moment, since Salome is about to be presented to the Prince Regent. I am fudging the history here a bit, and will likely be called out on it by someone, but oh well, she needs to be Presented, and it's going to happen in 1811, whether there were Drawing Rooms or not.
There were no Presentations from the time of the King's birthday in 1810 until April of 1812, because the King was quite mad, literally nuts, and the Regent had enough stuff to deal with than watching a bunch of women come and bow before him. The Queen couldn't be bothered either, but that is neither here nor there. If anyone would like to question me on the subject, I'll tell them that yes, I do have my facts straight, I am just choosing to ignore them, so HA! K, nuff ranting.
So, contrary to fashion at the time, Court Dress still required hoops under skirts, a towering headdress of feathers, probably pearls, although there was concession in what colors debutantes could wear. Most chose light, pastel colors, brighter colors being reserved for older, married ladies. Salome will be wearing white, the traditional color you would expect from a debutante.

Contrary to her fellow maidens however, Salome has a loathing for all things super frilly, so there will be no giant flounces of ruffles and lace, she's keeping it simple with a silk and sheer cotton (ecru) confection embroidered and dotted with tiny pearls. Her hair is upswept, of course, with pearls entwined all throughout, and her feathers are ostrich (the usual), and she's breaking out of the box here, but she's going with albino peacock feathers just to be obtuse and different. I am imagining a quite elegant figure here. Something like what you see to the left. That lovely lady is Alexandra Feodorovna, otherwise known as the last Tsarina of Russia. Her gown is more Victorian in design, but I think you get the feel for what I am describing when it comes to Salome's dress. Below is another example of what appropriate Court Dress was like for the time.

As far as her hair, I am picturing something like this, only with entwined pearls, and let's not forget the feathers! Something like this one, only way bigger and over the top!

Let's not forget our hero, now, he has to have special clothes to come calling on royalty of course, so here's a little something Donovan would find himself trussed up in, only I picture him wearing black not red, everything else is pretty spot on:

So that pretty much sums up where I'm at for the moment, hope you've enjoyed the imagery!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Chapter One Available Now

So I just updated my companion blog to include the first full chapter of Salome's story: Chapter One
I have also concluded that I will no longer post stories past Chapter Ten, which is where I had stopped posting my Empress story. This is for a couple of reasons:
1. These are still works in progress, and in much need of revision, so they are by no means complete.
2. The ever present fear of plagiarism. Take my story and I find out about it, my postings are proof of your theft, but why push the envelope?
3. Back to the case of plagiarism. Steal the first bits of my story, fine, but go ahead and make up the rest of the story on your own, I dare you. You have no idea where I was going with it, so best of luck to you. If you had to steal my stuff, then that just proves I'm a better writer than you are, so HA!
4. Let's say you read my stuff and love it. That's awesome, but of course, the ultimate goal is to be a published author, which implies that someday it's going to cost people money. Why buy the cow when the milk is free, right? I love you all for bothering to find me here and appreciating my own form of crazysauce (love that term, courtesy Smart Bitches, Trashy Books) but yeah, if you want to read the rest, it'll cost you. Unless you're like totally my best friend or a bitching editor and I need your help. :)
Anywho, hop on over to my other site to read more of Salome's story and give me some feedback. I am mightily aware I am guilty of what is known as Info Dumping, and could really use some advice on how to fix that issue for a more riveting, cleaner read in final revisions.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What Did You Learn Today?

My brain is filled to overflowing with more undoubtedly useless trivia, except perhaps as it pertains to my current novel. I have been steadily researching to add more accurate detail to my story, and as I continue, I will post about the random things I learn and include in my story. Today, however, I would like to focus on a topic I have always taken an interest in, though never had the means to pursue fully.
I have always loved horses, and what girl doesn't, really? When I was very young, we had a few horses, I couldn't tell you without asking my mother for specific details what breeds they were, but at a very young age, I learned to ride Western. I was astride a horse at the age of two, with my mom's assistance, but could ride by myself before I even started school. I was riding horses before I could ride a bike, and when I learned that, I liked to pretend my bicycle was a racehorse.
All of the women in my family are decidedly short-statured, and it stood to reason that I would be as well. I grew up reading books like Black Beauty, books by Marguerite Henry, and my absolute favorite was Walter Farley, who wrote The Black Stallion series. (Although I always preferred Flame, the Island Stallion, over the Black.) I dreamed of becoming a jockey and riding in the Kentucky Derby.
Alas, by the time I was twelve years old, I was already too tall and too heavy (not fat, just, well, have you SEEN some of those jockeys?). So I decided I would become an equine veterinarian, instead. By this time, my parents had divorced, and we no longer actually owned horses ourselves, but my step-sister showed Arabians all the time, and I thought she was just sooooo cool because she got to ride in such pretty costumes, on such pretty horses, and she even met Patrick Swayze once! Hey, it was the 80's, that was a really big deal.
Then I discovered the length of time it would take to obtain my specialized degree in equine medicine - 8 years. That seemed like a millennia to a pre-teen. Not only that, but did you know that there are only 28 vet schools in the entire US, so the competition is fierce! So that really put a damper on things. I was a smart kid, granted, but I wasn't sure I had that kind of dedication. It was around that same time that I discovered romance novels, and the idea of becoming a writer was born.
Well, needless to say, here I am years later, and nary a degree in vet medicine, nursing, or even assistant do I have. But I still have that love of horses...
Sorry, I know I am getting long winded here, so let me hurry up and get to my rambling point. My heroine has a dream, too. She wants to turn her plantation home in Charlottesville, Virginia into a stud farm and breed champion racehorses. Well, for starters, she's in the right place. Secretariat was from near there, and Virginia is noted for its many, many horse farms. Luckily, my hero also shares the heroine's (and mine) passion for horses.
Which brings me to my research today. One simply cannot broach the subject of racehorses without a look into the pedigree lines that developed today's modern Thoroughbred. Nearly all Thoroughbreds can trace their lineage back to three primary Arabian studs, the Darley, the Byerley, and the Gandolphin. These were horses brought from Turkey and Arabia to England and bred with other horses to develop a fast racer. So of course, this is what I had to look up. I chose to give my heroine a Stallion with Byerley Turk lineage, and added a Mare to her stables of Gandolphin heritage to give her the best fighting chance for developing a prime racing breed. (Note the Gandolphin was the featured star of the Marguerite Henry book, 'King of the Wind'.)
Horse racing was a huge pastime of the Regency Era, which brought together all types of people, especially the ton. One of the biggest events of the Season was the Epsom Derby, which took place in early May or June. The winner of the Derby in 1811 was a fantastic horse by the name of Phantom, who won by a head at the last moment at 5/1 odds. Naturally, my hero and heroine will be attending this particular race, and my plucky lady will have placed bets on the winner. Great excitement and bonding moment between the pair, don't you think?

What's In a Name?

I have probably posted on this subject before, but it bears repeating! Deciding on names for characters is blasted hard. I am the proud owner of quite a few baby name books, which came in handy for deciding on names for my actual children, but the children of my novels require even more effort. Why is it so hard?
Well, for one, you want the name you pick for your main characters to have some kind of deeper meaning, to stand out from the crowd, and in the case of historicals, you don't want to veer so far from the name trends of the time that you alienate yourself. I don't have too many issues with main characters, they seem to come to me with a little name tag on their chest that reads: Hello, my name is:
The real difficulty for me comes in with secondary characters. You can't have a whole story filled up with only your main characters, that would be rather boring, don't you agree? They are bound to come into contact with other people in the course of their adventures. In the case of my latest project, I have to fill up plenty of ballrooms and such with Regency appropriate names, and heaven's mercy, titles. So how delighted am I that I just found this website: Regency Name Generator
Fantastic! Now every time I want to make a random character, voila! I have a name to fit. Hope this resource helps others with my dilemma, you're welcome.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Try Again?

So, I haven't been keeping up with blogging, obviously. And I haven't actually finished any writing projects either. I have been percolating a few new ideas, done a little writing on them, a little research here and there, and thanks to my great hubby, have done LOTS of reading since he got me a Nook color for Christmas 2010.
My Nook has become a great source of entertainment in my house. I read on it, I use the web browser constantly, and my kids play apps on it all the time. However, it has also given me a new avenue to pursue writing, and one I am going to seriously consider, the art of self-publishing.
We've all heard about the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, which I am so NOT going to read, thank you very much. I think it's way too over-hyped, and really not my thing anyway. But not my point. My point is that if not for self-publishing, that kind of success might never have happened.
Now look, I'm not looking for instant fame, or a giant paycheck. Most self-published authors I've found have offered content for free, and rarely do I see a self-published book come in over $5. Most authors could stand a harsh editing session, and there are plenty that are just plain bad.... On the other hand, I have discovered quite a few authors that are self-published that I really enjoy... Insert links later here: :)
Which brings me to the reason I am posting this, nearly 3 years, really? since my last post. I've been reading a lot of Regency romances lately. Quite a large genre, that, and I just don't really get Jane Austen... I've had the idea for a Regency for a long time, and I got an urge to work on it again. VERY irritating I cannot find my notebook that contains the first five or six chapters already, so having to re-write what I can remember and hopefully improve.
At any rate, that is what I am working on at the moment, and if I stick to my guns, will continue posting and hopefully growing the site again.