Friday Favorite: 30 Great Opening Lines in Literature

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Our Favorite this weeks features Jane Austen, but includes literature from several eras. The UK’s Telegraph has put together a slide show they’re calling the 30 great opening lines in literature. Which one is your favorite?

austen_2458291k

 

My Writing Process Blog Hop

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I was invited by Courtney Hall to participate in this continuous blog hop. You can check out her post (and other fun articles) here. The idea is for each author on the hop to answer the same four questions about his/her work in progress and they way in which s/he writes. Readers can then get insight into their favorite authors’ minds, and even compare the thoughts of different authors.

Pretty cool, right? Here’s my contribution:

Photo Credit: Antonio Litterio

Photo Credit: Antonio Litterio

1. What am I working on? I have several stories going, but at the moment two are getting the most attention: the Christmas novella you lovely readers helped me out with earlier this year, and the second chance romance I’ve been slowly writing for the past two years now. They’re both Regency romances, tangentially related to each other, but not in the same series.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? There are all kinds of Regencies out there, and both of mine seem to take a little from a couple of categories. They’re a little bit sweet (lighter on the sex content) and a little bit traditional (no spies or kidnappings or mysteries here, but lots of good character development). But romances tend to stick to two points of view (the hero’s and the heroine’s), which gives you a certain feel that’s common to them all. My two stories are still told from two points of view, but I grew up reading so many third-person novels that some of that style creeps in. That’s what makes me unique–you get a solid, lovely Regency atmosphere but it doesn’t feel like every other Regency you’ve read :-)

3. Why do I write what I do? I write because I have to. Literally. I’ve tried to stop several times, because my life would be so much less complicated if I could just stick to teaching. But every time I put writing aside, I find myself going a little crazy–the characters and stories start piling up in my head, and I write to get them out. I started writing romance because I read quite a few bad ones and thought I could do better. Luckily I also found a multitude of great ones, so I have lots of wonderful role models as I work!

Title_page_of_OUR_HOME_CYCLOPEDIA,_printed_18894. How does my writing process work? It’s strange because my writing process is a lot like my lesson planning process when I’m teaching. Once I get an idea in my head (for a story, a chapter, a scene, a character), I throw myself headfirst into research. No matter how much I know about the Regency period (or any other era in history), there is always a bucket of details I need to figure out. When I can start imagining the story/chapter/scene in my mind, I write notes down in my trusty 3-ring binder (yes, I like plain notebook paper for notes and scribbles–I can draw arrows, use different colors, underline/circle/box certain words or phrases much faster than on a computer). When the outline feels solid, the words usually start to flow and I park myself in front of the computer. When I get stuck, I have found that housework actually helps me work out issues in the manuscript. Keeping my hands occupied while I talk out a problem has helped me untangle many a fictional knot over the years!

There you go–that’s my writer’s life in a nutshell. Minus all the complications, of course…those are a different story for a different post ;-)

So You Think You Know St. George’s

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I’m having some migraine issues and my computer time is pretty limited for a while, so I thought I’d share an article I wrote a while back when I was blogging for Teatime Romance. It’s one of my favorites!

Many a Regency romance ends with a great society wedding at St. George’s in Hanover Square…but how much do you know about the famed church?

St. George's

1. The Parish Church of St. George was completed in what year?

    1. 1711
    2. 1716
    3. 1725
    4. 1731

Answer: C  St. George’s was part of the Fifty New Churches Act passed in 1711, but wasn’t until 1720 that a location was approved and a design was chosen.  The first stone was laid in 1721 and the building was certified complete on March 20, 1725. Three days later it was consecrated by the Bishop of London.

2. What denomination is St. George’s?

    1. Catholic
    2. Anglican
    3. Lutheran
    4. Presbyterian

Answer: B  St. George’s is an Anglican (Church of England) church, part of the Diocese of London. It is the parish church of Mayfair.

3. Which American president was married at St. George’s?

    1. Teddy Roosevelt
    2. Franklin Roosevelt
    3. Woodrow Wilson
    4. Andrew Jackson

Answer: A  Teddy Roosevelt married his childhood sweetheart Edith Kermit Carow in 1886. He took a room at Brown’s Hotel in Dover Street to meet the residency requirement, and remains the only American president to be married at St. George’s. His wedding also inspired many other Americans to marry at the church.

St. George's organ4. According to tradition, St. George was a native of Asia Minor.  When did he become the patron saint of England?

    1. The sixth century
    2. The ninth century
    3. The eleventh century
    4. The thirteenth century

Answer: C  A vision of St. George (along with St. Demetrius) spurred on the Norman troops at the battle of Antioch during the First Crusade in 1098. The Normans won the battle, and adopted St. George as their patron.

5. Which famous composer was a regular worshiper at St. George’s?

    1. Handel
    2. Brahms
    3. Bach
    4. Purcell

Answer: A  George Friderick Handel emigrated to London from his native Germany in 1724, purchasing a house in Brook Street just as the church was nearing completion. His opinion was sought on the suitability of the organ when it was being installed, and he provided the music for the testing of candidates to play it. In 1726 he became a naturalized British citizen, attending services at St. George’s until he died in 1759.

So how did you do? What fact surprised you most?

Want to learn more about St. George’s? Visit their website at http://www.stgeorgeshanoversquare.org/Default.aspx

 

Book Covers: The Good, The Bad, The Imaginary

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Every unpublished author dreams about what his or her book cover will look like (maybe the published ones do too!). Something that sums up the story, of course. Perhaps the model(s) should resemble the main character(s) a little. If it’s a historical novel, any people pictured should be dressed in clothing appropriate for that period (though I’ve seen that thought ignored enough times).

But what else?

Bright colors or muted ones? Lots of skin or something more demure? Detailed or simple?

When I imagine my future book cover, I see something like this:

nearly-a-lady

There are a lot of covers out there with sweeping scenery and heroines in vibrant flowing gowns, and they’re beautiful. But the uncluttered simplicity of this one appeals to me. I like the softness of the lavender, and the fact that it looks easy yet professional. The models are even wearing clothing that invokes a Regency frame of mind.

But my favorite part about this cover is the way the models are interacting with each other. I’ve always been more fond of beta heroes than alphas, so I like that he’s holding her gently instead of bending her over or pinning her against a tree. I also adore the expression on his face, eyes nearly closed as if he’s drinking her in with his other senses. That she is wearing a similar expression–and caressing him sweetly–seals the deal for me. In fact, it was part of the reason I bought the book :-)

What are your favorite covers? Have you ever bought a book because of the cover? Have you ever not bought a book because of the cover? Is there anything special you look for in a book cover?

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