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The Great Exhibition Series: “The Lost Prologue”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I’ve had a bunch of people contact me to ask if there will be a third book in the Great Exhibition series. As of right now, the answer is, unfortunately, no.

But here is the “lost” prologue—part of what I’d written before my contact was canceled. Click the image to bring up the full PDF version.

The Lost Prologue

What I Have in Common with George R.R. Martin

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I discovered today that I’m not alone in how I feel about writing a first draft vs. rewriting/editing:

“I enjoy rewriting much more than I do first drafts. Rewriting, at least you have something to work with. I find writing first drafts extremely difficult.”
– George R.R. Martin

Read more about what the inimitable Mr. Martin, along with fantasy author Robin Hobb, have to say about writing here: These Writing Tips From George R.R. Martin And Robin Hobb Are Just Epic on BuzzFeed.

George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb | Image via Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb | Image via Daniel Dalton / BuzzFeed

What are you reading? (August 2014)

Sunday, August 3, 2014
Open Book by Dave Dugdale

Open Book by Dave Dugdale

It’s the first Monday of the month, and you know what that means . . .

Book Reports!

Tell us what you’ve finished over the last month, what you’re currently reading, and what’s on your To Be Read stack/list. (And if you’ve reviewed the books you’ve read somewhere, please include links!)

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  • What book(s) did you finish reading (or listening to) since the last update?

  • What are you currently reading and/or listening to?

  • What’s the next book on your To Be Read stack/list?

EVERYWHERE is a good place to brainstorm a story!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I’ve told the story in workshops and writers’ groups before, but I don’t know if I’ve ever shared it here.

When I was first working on the germ of the idea for what would become the Ransome Trilogy, I wasn’t sure exactly where the story was going, who would be involved, or even how long the story would be.

Back in May 2005, most of my extended family were in Baton Rouge for a family wedding. We’d all gone up to the Saturday Night “Southern Gospel Service” at my grandmother’s church for supper and to hear one of my cousins and his wife sing, along with my aunt who was part of the group who sang every week.

After dinner (on long banquet tables covered with butcher paper), they lowered the lights and the music started. Now, anyone who knows me knows I love music. So it’s not that I wasn’t enjoying myself. But, being a visual person, I start to get restless when just sitting and listening to music (even when I can see the people singing). I’d already written the first chapter of Ransome’s Honor (most of it has since been cut) for a workshop at grad school the next month. So I’d been playing with the story idea for a while.

At that point, I had two conflicting ideas running through my head of how to (a) get William and Julia together and (b) get Julia back to Jamaica and away from her scheming relatives. The first idea was to have her stow away on William’s ship disguised as a boy; the second was to have her propose a “marriage in name only” which could later be annulled if he wanted. If you’ve read Ransome’s Honor and Ransome’s Crossing, you know how I ended up using both of those scenarios.

Because I’m a writer, I always carry at least one writing utensil with me. And there I was, sitting at a table with a HUGE expanse of blank paper in front of me. So I started jotting down notes. It started with an A/B list—Stow Away on one side, Marriage of Convenience on the other. And it just grew from there.

Well, in the past nine years, I thought maybe I’d lost it or accidentally thrown it away. But tonight, in digging through my files for something else, I found it. So here it is in all its glory!

Ransome Brainstorming

What Are You Reading? (July 2014)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Open Book by Dave Dugdale

Open Book by Dave Dugdale

It’s the first Monday of the month, and you know what that means . . .

Book Reports!

Tell us what you’ve finished over the last month, what you’re currently reading, and what’s on your To Be Read stack/list. (And if you’ve reviewed the books you’ve read somewhere, please include links!)

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  • What book(s) did you finish reading (or listening to) since the last update?

  • What are you currently reading and/or listening to?

  • What’s the next book on your To Be Read stack/list?

What Are You Reading? (May and June 2014)

Monday, June 2, 2014
Open Book by Dave Dugdale

Open Book by Dave Dugdale

It’s the first Monday of the month, and you know what that means . . .

Book Reports!

And I just realized that I forgot to do this post in May, so we’ve got two months’ worth of books to catch up on!

If you’ve challenged yourself to—or even officially signed up for—a reading challenge in 2014, now’s as good a time as any to start reporting your successes. Tell us what you’ve finished over the last month, what you’re currently reading, and what’s on your To Be Read stack/list. (And if you’ve reviewed the books you’ve read somewhere, please include links!)

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  • What book(s) did you finish reading (or listening to) since the April update?

  • What are you currently reading and/or listening to?

  • What’s the next book on your To Be Read stack/list?

Fun Friday–Can You Guess the Theme?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fun Friday 2013

I just started reading this book:

The RangerChosen to help Robert the Bruce in his quest to free Scotland from English rule and claim his crown, the legendary team of warriors known as the Highland Guard battles on.

Embedded deep behind enemy lines, Arthur “Ranger” Campbell is prized for his razor-sharp senses and his ability to blend into the shadows. But when Arthur infiltrates the clan of the chieftain who murdered his father, his heart is locked on revenge. Inside he faces unexpected resistance from the sweetest of obstacles—a honey-haired siren who is his enemy’s daughter.

Intrigued by this ruggedly handsome newcomer to her father’s forces, the vivacious, enchanting Anna MacDougall is a woman whose skill at uncovering deception rivals Arthur’s own. Though yearning for a quiet life with a good man to love, Anna is drawn to this mysterious knight whose eyes devour her but whose words push her away. As danger, treachery, and the threat of looming war draw them closer into each other’s arms, a warrior made of steel must make a choice from the heart: love or revenge.

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I just picked this book up at the library and hope to read it while I’m off work next week:
The Forest LairdIn the pre-dawn hours of August 24, 1305 a.d., in London’s Smithfield Prison, the outlaw William Wallace, who is to be executed at dawn, is visited by a Scottish priest who has come to hear his last Confession. So begins The Forest Laird, the first book in Jack Whyte’s masterful new trilogy.

Wallace’s story leads us through his many lives—as an outlaw and a fugitive, a hero and a patriot, a rebel and a kingmaker. He is the first heroic figure from the Scottish Wars of Independence brought blazingly to life in Jack Whyte’s new trilogy, the Guardians, and will be followed by his two compatriots Robert the Bruce, King of Scots; and Sir James Douglas, known as The Black Douglas. Their exploits and escapades, desperate struggles and medieval savagery, high ideals and fierce patriotism are the stuff of legends, and the soul and substance of these epic novels.

(I actually wanted the one about Robert the Bruce, but it was checked out and had a long waiting list.)

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I recently downloaded these books to my Kindle:
HighlandersGet swept away by the romance of the Highlands in three historical romance novellas from Harlequin!

Brenda Joyce – The Warrior And The Rose

    Lady Juliana MacDougall prays for her loved ones to survive battle against Robert Bruce… but the battle comes to her when her lands are attacked by a band of Highlanders, including a man wearing the colors of her clan’s worst enemy. Taken hostage by Alasdair Og, Juliana quickly learns he’s as exceptional a lover as he is a ruthless warrior. But how can she ever love Alasdair when he’s her blood enemy?

Terri Brisbin – The Forbidden Highlander (The MacLeries #6.5)

    Honor-bound by an arranged betrothal, James Murray never anticipated falling in love with his intended bride’s dearest friend instead. The passion between James and Elizabeth MacLerie is undeniable, but they are torn between love and loyalty to their clans…

Michelle Willingham – Rescued By The Highland Warrior (MacKinloch Clan #3.5)

    Celeste de Laurent is determined to never again live in poverty. After sacrificing love for a secure marriage, she now stands to lose everything as a widow. Her only hope is to bear an heir – and what better man to father her child, and save her from a terrible fate, than Dougal MacKinloch, the only man she ever loved?

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In Freedom's CauseAt the end of the 13th century, the people of Scotland suffered cruelty under the heavy hand of their English ruler, Edward Longshanks. This stirring tale recounts their valiant struggle for freedom under the legendary leadership of William Wallace and Robert Bruce. Time has burnished the feats of these great Scots heroes to mythic proportions, but both were real people, and this gripping tale of courage, loyalty, and ingenuity places its fictional protagonist alongside Wallace and Bruce within an accurate historical context.

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And I recently posted this image on the blog:
Sexy Scotsmen

Yes, there are seven of them (though they are not all “tall as church steeples”). Aside from all of them being terribly good looking, they have something else important in common.

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Anyone care to venture a guess as to why I seem to be stuck on a certain theme at the moment?

(A few people already know from participating in the comments-conversation that happened when I posted the Sexy Scotsmen image a couple of weeks ago, so I know this isn’t completely unknown to everyone out there.)

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