Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mini-Excerpt from Confessions From An Arranged Marriage

This brief snippet has already appeared on my Facebook page. It's a glimpse of the first meeting between Minerva and Blake in the book. (They already know each other quite well, to their mutual disgust.)
A gentleman staggered through the double doors and skidded on the polished parquetry floor. At a distance of twenty feet, Minerva saw the newcomer preserve his balance by grabbing the shoulders of a large-bosomed, open-mouthed matron. Swinging her aside, his backward slide was arrested by the wall. Without a hint of embarrassment he slouched against a pilaster and scowled at the assembly.

He was as gorgeous as ever. A lock of dark blond hair with glints of gold flopped over a noble brow. No nose had ever been more perfectly carved, no jaw as firmly etched. The shapely mouth was full, sensuous and sulky, matching the expression in his dusky blue eyes.

He’d always been a handsome devil but the sight of him filled Minerva with disgust.

Lord Blakeney had arrived.

Surveying the room, his glance came to rest on her. His lips twisted into a derisive half smile and their eyes met in mutual displeasure. He shoved his back away from the wall and ambled over to her

“Our dance, I believe, Miss Montrose.” He hadn’t changed a bit.

Minerva felt a strong desire to slap his arrogant face. “Lord Blakeney,” she said with the merest hint of a curtsey. “I believe our dance was over half an hour ago.”

“This one will do just as well.”
Confessions from an Arranged Marriage releases March 27, 2012.  I will post a longer excerpt in about a month.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A "Bold Piece"

The book I'm writing now involves a lot of research into the art of the period, something I enjoy very much. I thought I'd share this pair of Goya portraits from the Prado Museum: The Naked Maja (c. 1797-1800) and The Clothed Maja (ca. 1803). The model may have been the Duchess of Alba, rumored to be the artist's lover. She certainly looks like a very sexy woman.  By the way, I love the lace-trimmed pillows, but doesn't the nude appear to be occupying a Lazy-Boy recliner?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How I Name Characters

I’m doing a lot of it these days. I’m well into my next book and it’s the first of a brand new series. Each character–major or minor, hero or butler–has to be named. So does every village, house, and street. It’s exhausting. I have a lot of ??? in the manuscript, indicating a name to be named later.

When I name a character, the first thing I consider is his/her parents. Who were they and what were they thinking come christening time? I try and come up with something period appropriate, but if I was being realistic the odds are most characters would be named John or George, Jane or Mary. So I branch out a bit and search for names that were in use during the period and are suitable for the character’s background. And of course the name must suit the character. The heroine of The Dangerous Viscount was originally named Marianne. But she just wasn’t a Marianne. Half way through the writing process I sat down with a yellow pad and wrote down names until I hit on Diana. Her younger sister had been Arabella, but I decided her father had a thing for goddesses and Arabella became Minerva.

If a name is unusual, I usually explain it in the book. The heroine of my first book, Never Resist Temptation, was named Jacobin. Her English mother named her for King James I, the founder of her family fortune. Her French father, a moderate revolutionary, appreciated the irony that she was named for the extreme party.

But I don’t believe I ever explained how Tarquin Compton, hero of The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton, got his name. The truth is, I’m not sure. I know how I settled on his surname (not an interesting story) but Tarquin? WTF? Tarquin has been with me for a long time. He was the hero’s best friend in my first book, a work of genius that will remain forever unpublished. When I jettisoned the book and the hero, I kept Tarquin. By the time I wrote his book he was so real to me I didn’t worry about his name. There was no way I would change it. I could say his father had a passion for Roman history, but it doesn’t seem right. Besides, the Roman Tarquin was a bit of a rapist (see picture above). What I now know about the older Mr. Compton is much more down to earth. Since hindsight is 20-20 I shall now disclose that his mother had a futuristic dream about Lawrence Olivier and decided to name her son after his son. No? Never mind.