Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Book Trailer

Well, a friend of mine asked me if I knew how to make a book trailer, and I said no. But I knew someone who did and she sent me a mini-tutorial, so I sent it to my friend. And we got to bandy back and forth, and somehow I managed to make a book trailer. It took me 10 tries (which I thought was pretty good, at least it wasn't 100), and it's uploaded now to You Tube.

I realize it's late in coming, but it's for THE LADY'S FATE. I don't know why I chose this one to do a trailer for, it just seemed easiest I guess.

Anyway, it's here if you want to take a look.

We'll wait for another day to discuss whether or not they sell books.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What I'm Working on Now

For the last forever, it seems, I've been working on my latest short story ROMANCING LADY RYDER. However, what I thought was a short story, is slowly turning into a novella. I just can't seem to stop writing it. Perhaps it's because I don't write along any strict outline, but rather let my characters do the talking. And they love to talk.

ROMANCING LADY RYDER is a departure from all my other books, in that, I've taken several real life people from the anals of time and placed them directly in this story. The Marquess of Wellesley, The Earl of Harrowby, his brother, Sir Richard Ryder, and the Tsar Alexander's top man, Mikhail Novosiltsov. I wanted to somehow encapsulate them all into a tale of spies and espionage -- please do not ask me why, I really couldn't tell you.

All in all, it's turning out rather well, slowly but surely. The Russians and the French are still vying for control of the upper Continent; Bonaparte has seduced Tsar Alexander into his machinations to conquer the world, but Alexander (after realizing Napoleon is a bit of a lunatic) is trying to get out of his clutches. And the only way to do that is to ally with the British.

Which is where the Earl of Greenleigh, the hero in ROMANCING LADY RYDER, comes in. It seems he is a brilliant operative for the Foreign Office, his boss, Secretary Wellesley. The only problem is, Lady Ryder is also playing a part in this deadly game of secrets. Her father (Earl of Harrowby), the third most powerful man in the British government, a right hand to William Pitt, is a Secretary without portfolio. (Which means he can give orders to whomever and whenever he chooses.) And when he gives the order for Greenleigh to deal with Novosiltsov first hand, the stakes are raised. Why, you may ask?

Because Lady Ryder is also playing by her own set of rules, to avenge the death of her intended -- Cheval (the Marquis de Chevallion) a French operative trying to overthrow Bonaparte's rule from inside the French domination. Lady Ryder wants to know who killed Cheval -- was it really the French, trying to thwart the Russian alliance with England, or the Russians, thinking Cheval was a double agent? Then again, could the order have been given by an English Duke whom no one suspects save Lady Ryder? It's handy when your dad is so powerful. Lady Ryder knows how to pick locks and no paperwork on his desk, or anyone else's for that matter, is safe from her prying eyes.

So, that's what I've been working on. And now you know why it's taking me so long to write it. Espionage is not as clear cut as it seems.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Regency Research

I've always loved the Regency period in England, and growing up that was nearly all I ever read. I've found over the years, the same historical figures time and again, and that made it somewhat easier for me to do research into the genre. I felt I knew them already. From the Prince Regent to Lady Crowper.

In this modern day and age, you're only one click away from whatever it is you may be looking for. But that does have its drawbacks. Yes, you can get an overview of the Napoleonic Wars, or what Prince George did in his first four months of the Regency, but those are generally bare bones factoids.

As a connoisseur of all things Jane Austen, I've found her books to be fonts of knowledge. The Bronte sisters, and Lord Byron as well. Some modern day authors have set about to recreate the era, Georgette Heyer for one, and there is also a smaller more select group that has taken on Jane Austen's lesser characters and created books for them in the same kind of style -- my favorites Julia Barrett (Margaret Dashwood) and Joan Aiken (Jane Fairfax). There is also C.S. Forrester who wrote the Horatio Hornblower series, but those titles talk of ships and the war, which is not a bad thing, however, not necessarily light reading.

Not only do I read, I also watch movies. There are some great films which deal with the era, (Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, This Charming Man, Vanity Fair, Master & Commander, Becoming Jane, The Duchess) However, I've found that although these films have fabulous costumes and unbelievable cinematography, they do not all use dialogue from the era, which to me, lessens the film considerably.

I, for one, am a stickler for dialogue. Certain contractions were not in use in the early part of the 19th century, hence, cannot, do not, would not. I have an etomylogical dictionary for that purpose and I try and stay as close to the word choices of the day that I can.

Some writers also go so far as to include reams of description of food and clothing, which is nice, but I don't necessarily do that. On occasion I will mention a nice kidney pie, or a glass of port, but I know how I feel when I read something that contains four paragraphs of what was on the dinner table. To me, that just takes away from the reading of the book. And I don't necessarily care that the morning gown the heroine wore was made of yards of imported silk, capped with an organza overlay with enbroidered flowers around the hem and neckline. I'd rather just know the color. But that's just me.

Readers have their quirks, and some don't mind the endless reams of description. However, as a character driven writer, I'd rather spend time developing the interiority and emotion responses of the characters than delving into a blow by blow of the architecture of the house on Grosvenor Square.

Now that's not to say I don't research all this. I have a set of instructions in how to load and fire a flintlock, as well as a manual on surgeon's tools and what each do. I have (at last count) 187 pages in folders dedicated to the Regency era, Ranging from How to Address a Peer, to a Map of England (with street names and buildings) from 1813, to even a page concerning the weather events in England during that time.

Yes, research is important, there is nothing worse for a dedicated reader of the Regency to find a mistake, which is why I take the time to do the research in the first place, however I don't necessarily use it.

Tell me -- Do you feel cheated if the author hasn't done enough research? Can you tell the difference between an author who does, and one who doesn't?