Before I give you biblical bloopers, here's a book meme...
On your nightstand now:
Three issues of partially read Romance Writers' Report and Make Me a Match by Diana Holquist, in addition to, the requisite alarm clock, phone, and calendar.
Favorite book when you were a child:
The Twins at St Clare's by Enid Blyton.
Your top five, dead, authors:
Jane Austen, Enid Blyton, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas, Charlotte Brontë.
Book you've faked reading:
Crime & Punishment by Dostoevsky, a yawner from the first page. I started and stopped this book many, many times; perhaps one my first did-not-finish books. Oh, the guilt!
Current book you're an evangelist for:
Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter, hits every sweet spot I have and knowing that it closely parallels her real life just made it that much more endearing.
Last book you bought for the cover:
Mills & Boon: The Art of Romance, a picture book of book covers (how can you beat that?), highlighting Mills & Boon's 100-year publishing history.
Book that changed your life:
These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer, my first unforgettable introduction to historicals. I still have the book, now in a zipped plastic bag, because the spine's come unglued, a couple pages are missing, and most pages have nicks and are yellowed.
Book you bought because it was stand-in-the-bookstore-chuckling funny:
A Lion Called Christian, a true story of two pink bell-bottomed Australians who within months of their moving to London bought a lion cub from Harrods (yes, Knightsbridge), raised him in a flat in Chelsea, set this fifth-generation English lion free in the wild in Kenya, and had an exhuberant meeting him a year later.
Favorite line from a book:
"I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew I had begun," Darcy to Lizzie in Pride & Prejudice. Totally sigh-worthy!
I'm going to cheat and quote a second favorite line, and I'm going to cheat further by saying that it's best as uttered by Thornton to Margaret Hale in North & South, "Look at me. Look back at me."
(Here's an absolutely hilarious fictitious conversation between Darcy and Thoronton.)
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Ransom by Julie Garwood, started my love affair with all things medieval.
And here's the promised list...
On Thursday, March 19, 1517, the Church forbade the printing of any book—particularly the Bible—without permission. Since then, printings of the Bible have contained curious errors. A 1632 edition called the Wicked Bible omitted not in the Seventh Commandment, leaving, "Thou shalt commit adultery." A 1652 Cambridge Press undertaking, dubbing the Unrighteous Bible, posed the rhetorical question in 1 Corinthians 6:9, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the Kingdom of God?" The 1551 Bug Biblewas so named after an erroneous translation of bogies to bugges in Psalm 91:15, yeilding, "Thou shalt not be afraid of bugges by nighte." Perhaps the most famous biblical variant was one published in 1579. It became known as the Breeches Bible because in Genesis 3:7 breeches was substituted for aprons in describing how Adam and Eve, "sewed figge-tree leaves together and made themselves breeches." In 1833, fine, upstanding gentleman, Noah Webster, published a sanitized Bible, replacing such libertine terms as give suck with nourish.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Before I give you biblical bloopers, here's a book meme...
Thursday, March 19, 2009
The door bell pealed. I opened the door and squealed as I reached out both hands to grab the box. The mailman slowly backed away. My keys were in my hand ripping the tape open as I balanced the box in my left. I snatched the top tissue papers away. Then, reverently almost, I set the box down. With two gentle hands, now, I lifted the gown out of the box.
And started crying. Noisily.
The gown was gorgeous. My chest hurt. All I could whisper was, "Oh my God. It's so beautiful." We always remember Him when moments are too sublime for other words.
Then the gown went over one arm as I Twittered frantically: "It.Is.Here." The inanity of that announcement. Back to earth with a thud.
Like all creative ventures, this gown, too, has a story. It started when I was vacationing in India. One day, historical novelist Amanda McCabe (also writing as Laurel McKee) sent me an e-mail with two photos attached, of a gown she'd seen at the Jane Austen Center in Bath, England during her fall trip. She said that she'd taken those photographs because she thought that the gown would look really nice on me, and... And... her mother would like to sew me one like that.
A whole day went by. I read that note dozens of times, yet I couldn't frame a suitable reply. Overwhelmed doesn't come close to describing what I felt. A hand-sewn authentic Regency gown for me by a dear friend's mother whom I had not even met. What generosity!
Then the e-mails went back-n-forth across thousands of miles. My measurements, types of fabrics, petticoat or lining, stripes or patterns, which embellishments, a train... I consulted with all the femal relatives in vicinity. My cousin sister-in-law patiently came with me to store after fabric store as we gawked and I turned up my nose at the offerings. Too pink, too busy, too colorless, too too. Then came the ingruous part. The length and width of the fabric arrived in inches. Eh? Father-in-law had to be consulted. Calculators came out as we converted to the metric system to yards. Eventually, we bought six yards. (For comparison purposes, a cricket pitch is 22 yards; so six yards is a lot of fabric.)
After my return home, I mailed off the fabric. Two months later—It.Was.Here.
I cried because not only was it beyond anything I'd ever imagined wearing, but also because every bit of the round gown was painstakingly executed. Self-fabric-covered buttons, antique ornamentation, delicate frothy lace, and piping matching the fabric pattern. Take a look at the exquisite detailing of the inner seams and button placket. All period-perfect. (Thank goodness, there's no watch pocket though, which would've been a slit under the right boob. I can just see the looks I'd get groping to check the time at the Beau Monde Soiree at DC in July.)
At the bottom of the dress box was a little surprise. A precious little reticule with lace and matching ornament. Now, the only question remains: Should I be an Elinor, a Lizzy, or a Maria? I'm talking about bonnets from Austentation here, of course.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
With credit to J Louise Larson on Facebook and inspired by Michael Ian Black's list on Twitter.
"Basically, this list is the opposite of the all-inclusive rah-rah Bucket Lists that have been making their rounds of Facebook lately. This here is a list of things you DON'T CARE about doing before you die, instead of things you do want to do."
1. Get a pet, even a baby earthworm or a snail.
2. Build a house from the ground up, while I mentally break down.
3. Dance in the rain and sing about its glory.
4. Wear heels that are taller than my foot is long.
5. Huff and puff (and probably expire) on my way to a six-pack of abs. Pudgy's in.
6. Ski, skate, or do anything slippery.
7. Give up chocolate for Lent, because spring isn't here, or any other harebrained reason.
8. Cram my self into a bathing suit and assault other people's eyes with the view.
9. Ride roller coasters, whether of the amusement park or emotional variety.
10. Read depressing books with no hope, no joy, no second chances.
11. Avoid writing.
12. Avoid writing.
13. Avoid writing.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Victoria Dahl started 2009 with two historical romances under her belt. Most authors would've continued on with writing one to two historicals a year for a few years. Not so with Victoria. With a slate of seven releases this year, in a variety of sub-genres and many firsts, she's completely redefined herself in her readers' minds. And left one fan in particular, moi, in awe!
January 2009: Talk Me Down, first rom-com contemp.
February 2009: "Lessons in Pleasure" in the Lords of Desire, first novella in a historical anthology.
June 2009: The Wicked West is the erotic novella written by Molly from Talk Me Down, first romantica and first e-book.
July 2009: Start Me Up, second contemp.
August 2009: One Week as Lovers, third historical.
September 2009: "Laird of Midnight" in Highland Beast, first higlander medieval and first paranormal anthology.
January 2010: Lead Me On, third contemp.
Victoria is a writing talent readers will most certainly not want to miss!!!
It was duly brought to my recent attention that my informing them of my regular blog posts was in fact spamming them. For that, I'm truly sorry. I hate junk mail as much as the next person. The list of folks the message went out to was a small subset of folks I'm in contact with daily and have been for years. Little did I realize that what I had to say might not have been as momentuous to them as I'd assumed it was. My mistake. I should've vetted the list far more carefully. The blog settings have been corrected since, with appropriate apologies tendered.
Returning to regularly scheduled program in a few hours...
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Thanks to Facebook tagging by Susan Wilbanks, here's my list of 35 historical figures I admire (in no particular order)....
Martin Luther King Jr.
Robert the Bruce
Hans Christian Anderson
Alfred the Great
Hildegaard von Bingen
James Murray (OED)
Alexander the Great
Darius the Great
Vyas Muni (Vedas)
Who are on your list?
Friday, March 13, 2009
This was so cute. I read this on Angela James's blog. Ask your kid(s) the questions, and write them down exactly how they respond.
1. What is something Mama always says to you?
2. What makes Mama happy?
"Going to bed on time."
3. What makes Mama sad?
"Eating too late."
4. How does Mama make you laugh?
“Make funny faces and many funny things out of Lego.”
5. What was Mama like as a girl?
“Liked funny things.”
6. How old is she?
7. How tall is she?
(hand on head) “This tall, Mama, this tall.”
8. What is her favorite thing to do?
“Read a book.”
9. What do she do when you’re not around?
“You work on the computer.”
10. If Mama becomes famous, what will it be for?
“Nothing.” (Oh, man...)
11. What is Mama really good at?
“Reading books to me.”
12. What is Mama not very good at?
13. What does Mama do for work?
“Work on the computer.”
14. What is Mama’s favorite food?
“Bananas. You like, bananas, don't you? I think so. You do.”
15. What makes you proud of your mama?
“Seeing your friend dance on the stage.”
16. If Mama were a cartoon character, who would she be?
“A silly goose.”
17. What do you and Mama do together?
18. How are you and your mama the same?
“We have the same colored skin.”
19. How are you and Mama different?
“You have brown hair and I have black hair.”
20. How do you know Mama loves you?
“Because we're family.” (Aw!)
22. Where is your mama's favorite place to go?
“Shopping.” (Er, really? More like displacement from my VS girl.)
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I read this note on Barabara Samuel's blog, and it seemed like something fun to play with here, too. It was great thinking of these albums and remembering events related to them all afternoon. Post your favorites in the comments, and let’s reminisce together.
Think of albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at life. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotion.
Here's my list...
1. "Funkytown" from Mouth to Mouth by Lipps, Inc (my first intro to pop music)
2. Please Please Me by The Beatles (high school)
3. Moving Pictures by Rush (college, first love)
4. Wolf Tracks by Los Lobos (summer of 1988)
5. Achtung Baby by U2 (early '90s summers with my brother)
6. Best of Kodo (graduate school)
7. Spirituals in Concert by Kathleen Battle and Jesseye Norman (#6, start of choral singing)
8. Requiem by Mozart (#6, choral concert, second love)
9. Carmina Burana by Carl Orff (#6, symphony summer sings)
10. Time and Tide by Basia (software engineering career)
11. The Rhythm of the Saints by Paul Simon (#10)
12. The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd (#10)
13. The Best of Sting (#10)
14. Queen Greatest Hits (#10)
15. Gipsy Kings Live (#10)
16. Memory of Trees by Enya (#10)
17. Music of the Andes by Indian Mountain Folks (street musicians at Pike Place Market)
18. Live at Carnegie Hall by Mikhail Pletnev of Moscow Virtuosi (an orchestra could be sublime)
19. Sound Magic by Afro Celt Sound System (friend who passed away)
20. Pride & Prejudice, soundtrack by Dario Marianelli (start of love affair with the Regency)
21. The Book of Secrets by Loreena McKennitt (WOMAD, adoration of world music)
22. A Toda Cuba le Gusta by Afro-Cuban All Stars (#21)
23. Missing You by Baaba Maal (#21)
24. Edda, Myths from Medieval Iceland by Sequentia (#21)
25. Vengeance by Garmarna (#21)
26. Rimfaxe by Gjallarhorn (#21, new friendship)
27. La Kahena by Cheb i Sabbah (#21)
28. Singing Bowls of Shangri-la by Thea Surasu (difficult summer of 2006)
29. Music as Medicine by Nawang Khechog (#22)
30. "Nessun Dorma" from The Best of Luciano Pavarotti (when Pavarotti passed away)
31. Come Away With Me by Norah Jones (the difficult summer and fall of 2008)
Let’s hear your favorites, too. It’s so much fun to remember!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Finish the thought by replacing the blogger's comments after the ellipsis with your own. Thanks to photojournalist Theresa Klisz for this fun meme.
1. I've come to realize that my last kiss... was fun.
2. I am listening to.... father-daughter argue over lunch.
3. I talk... a lot.
4. I love... sitting by the window watching it snow.
5. My best friend... is in Africa right now.
6. My first REAL kiss.... happened in the foyer of a rented student apartment with an "older" boy.
7. Love is... where you least expect it.
8. Marriage is... work.
9. Somewhere, someone is thinking... "Boy, do I hate the bright sun."
10. I'll always be grateful for... friendships.
11. The last time I really cried was because... I was watching Cranford.
13. When I wake up in the morning... my first thought is how soon can I be sitting on the porcelain?
14. Before I go to bed... I snuggle into the bedclothes.
15. Right now I am thinking about... dressing in warm clothes to go grocery shopping for Purim goodies, like the hamentaschen cookies.
16. Babies are... cute, hence they survive.
17. I get on Facebook... because I am nosey.
18. Today I... took advice from Emily Cottler and scheduled a few posts.
19. Tomorrow I will be... still here in the same house in the same city.
20. I really want to be... on a beach in Hawaii.
21. Someone that will most likely re-post this... will be much wittier.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Fans of Candice Hern, listen up.
She's celebrating a birthday on Wednesday, March 11. To help her celebrate, I'm urging you to change your avatars and signatures to images that say "Happy Birthday, Candice!" Post short blogs with those images, wishing her happy. Let your friends, who're her fans also know. You may also use these images...
An Old-English custom: If a man is caught sleeping on Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) and is kissed by a woman, he is obliged to present her with a pair of gloves.
Gardyloo is the warning cry about dirty water thrown from windows onto London streets, according to Tobias Smollett's "Expedition of Humphry Clinker" (1771).
According to Iona and Peter Opie's "Lore and Language of Schoolchildren" (1959), British youngsters commonly invoked rabbits for good fortune. 'On the first morning of the month,' notes a typical informant, 'before speaking to anyone else, one must say white rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits, for luck.' Subject to minor modifications, the utterance of this spell appears to be accepted routine throughout Britian.
Vagitus is the distressing cry of persons under surgical operations, from Robert Hoopers's "Compendious Medical Dictionary" (1798).
A Coney-Catch is a swindler, the coney or the rabbit being considered a very simple animal.
Gwethall is the word used to denote an entire collection of household stuff, like 'bag and baggage,' according to G.C. Lewis's "Glossary of Provincial Words used in Herefordshire" (1839).
A Diurnalist is a journalist writing about the happenings of the day every day, according to Rev. John Boag's "Imperial Lexicon of the English Language" (1850).
To Treacle Up isn't akin to buttering up, but rather, to rub or polish. In the early 1900s, furniture was polishex with a mixture of beer, treacle, and vinegar, according to Edward Gepp's "Essex Dialect Dictionary" (1923).
In the 1881 census, these were some of the doozies entered for occupation: egg cracker, teacher of wax flowers, gymnast to house painter, turnip shepherd, emasculator, colourist of artificial fish, and rust attendant at lavatory.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Mastering the Marquess is Vanessa Kelly's debut Regency historical set in 1815 London, available from Kensington on April 7, 2009.
Mastering the Marquess is a first-class historical romance, dripping with sophisticated sensuality and passionate characterizations. A rare gem. Vanessa Kelly is an amazing talent who will capture the hearts of readers everywhere," declares Julianne Maclean.
I'm half-way through Meredith Burnley and the Marquess of Silverton's story, and I agree wholeheartedly. Look for a review of Mastering the Marquess next week and a guest appearance by author Vanessa Kelly on Wednesday, May 20. Stop by to comment for a gift of awesomeness to one of the posters.
Here's a tasty excerpt. Go here to pre-order your copy today.
I sat by the window watching it rain in sheets as my fingers froze and my backside numbed over. I was dutifully dispensing my civic duty by warming the chair in the juror waiting room of the courthouse three towns over for two whole days last week.
Physical discomfort aside though, this was an excellent reading opportunity. I caught up with my Romance Writers Reports and was thoroughly entertained by this witty, light-suspenseful story by Kate Carlisle, titled Homicide in Hardcover. (Isn't the cover delicious?) If there is anyone, I mean any one person who has not read this yet, please put down your current book and pick this one up. It's that good.
After finishing up my quota of magazines and books that I'd brought with me, I was at loose ends. And then serendipity hit straight on the third eye chakra. The January issue of Real Simple was an issue of lists. New tools to learn to organize and reorganize. My OCD heart was overjoyed.
Here's an idea I picked up from the magazine. Even famous people need to get stuff done. Here are the imagined to-do lists of six iconic figures.
–Have right shoulder sewn after a battle.
–Run two horses into the ground.
–Make a billion.
–Romance woman working for me.
–"Borrow" the Mouse from Apple.
–Wear mismatched socks.
–"Borrow" Windows from Apple.
–Build McMansion that fuels gossip for years.
Eric the Red
–Have helmet made with two horns.
–Construct longship for long ocean voyage.
–Grow beard to impressive length.
–Eat maggoty meat and weevil-flavored bread.
–Persevere in believing in the Nordic gods and their proclivities.
–Giggle and flirt irrepressibly.
–Drink a bottle of wine.
–Shred Salieri's piece by improvising on it continuously on the spot.
–Obsess over father.
–Play for babies. They seem to love it.
–Laugh to yourself.
–Scribble some more.
–Scrub ink-stained fingers. Give up.
–Go dancing at the Assembly.
–Ogle backside of young man swimming as God meant him to.
–Secretly learn girly dance as a tween.
–In six years, win gazillion awards and become a professional dancer.
–Wash tights in sink. Hang near stove to dry.
–Defect in twenties.
–At sixty, dance a title role.
–Comment: "It doesn't matter how high you lift your leg."
Sunday, March 8, 2009
If you believe Typealyzer, the answer is: Yes, your blog does have a Meyer-Briggs personality type.
According to Typealyzer's FAQ, this is how their analyses work: "For a long period of time, we have been training our system to recognize texts that characterize the different types. The system, typealyzer, can now by itself find features that distinguishes one type from another. When all features, words and sentences, are statistically analyzed, Typealyzer is able to guess which personality type the text represents."
My blog is an ESTP — The Doers.
"The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities. The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time." (Well!!)
Interestingly, my personal journal is an ESFP — The Performers.
"The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead, they are always in risk of exhausting themselves. The Performers enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation, qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions."
The difference between the two being that the professional blog is more thinking (intuitive, mathematical), whereas the personal one is more feeling (spirituality, rhythm, harmony). This is completely logical, since I blather on about angsty things on my personal blog, but not so much here, where I try to be more cogent and coherent.
The other parts of the code are extraversion (draw energy from the outer world of people and things), sensing (paying attention to physical reality), and perceiving (flexible and adaptable with the outer world).
What personality type is your blog?
Friday, March 6, 2009
Before I discovered the joys of Google Reader, yesterday, I either manually typed in all the sites I visited, or I had a Windows batch file that ran consecutive instances of Internet Explorer, launching one site after another. Prohibitively time-consuming for me and virtual memory crashing for my nine-year-old computer.
"Google Reader is a tool for gathering, reading, and sharing all the blogs and websites you read on the web." If you follow more than one or two blogs, this is the best way to organize them. At a glance, I can tell which sites were updated since I last logged on, so I don't waste time going every day over to a blog that updates infrequently.
There's only the one-time hit of subscribing, i.e., adding, your blog feed addresses to your reader one-by-one. Then every time from any where, all you have to do is type Google Reader into the address bar, and you have access to all the blogs.
So far, the ones I haven't been able to aggregate into the Google Reader are:
5. Message Bulletin Boards
But other than that, I'm golden.
As Elizabeth Wiggs, Susan Wiggs's daughter, says in her blog Figs and Wigs, "Why didn’t I start using this earlier?"
So, Romanistas, are you fans of aggregators and blog readers? If so, which one(s) do you use? If you've never tried one before, would you be willing to give it a go after reading this post?
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Fantabulous blogger and supporter of romance novels is celebrated her second anniversary blogging for Publishers Weekly at Beyond Her Book. At the week-long event, starting Monday, March 9, over 200 authors, publishers, agents, editors, bookstores, bloggers, and publicists will come together to help Barbara celebrate. Everyone is pitching in to bring cyber food, drinks, decorations, and entertainment for the big, week-long bash. There will be hundreds of prizes just for stopping by and posting a "hello."
Here's the party schedule...
Monday, March 9
Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Urban Fantasy
Tuesday, March 10
Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Adventure
Wednesday, March 11
Publishers, Agents, Publicists, Editors, Bloggers, Booksellers, Librarians
Thursday, March 12
Inspirational, YA, Graphic Novels, Nonfiction
Friday, March 13
Contemporary, Historical, Erotica, E-books, Audio Books
Saturday, March 14th
Romance Blow Out — Everyone is Welcome!
There's still time to get in on the action, but the deadline for donations is Saturday, midnight, CST; no further donations will be taken after that time. Email Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interesting in participating.
Monday, March 2, 2009
I'm not talking here about a Book of Days aka a journal, but rather holidays in celebration of books.
World Book Day on Thursday, March 5 is the biggest annual celebration of books and reading in the UK and Ireland. April 23 is World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days). This is UNESCO's symbolic tribute for world literature, for on this date in 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died.
Here are all the other days of the year that books are celebrated on...
January — National Book Month
January 16 — Book Publishers Day
January — National Book Week (third full week of January)
January — Celebrity Read a Book Week (last full week of January)
February 23 — Printed Book Day
March 28 — Children's Picture Book Day
April 2 — International Children's Book Day
April 16 — Book-of-the-Month Club Birthday
April 22 — Instant Book Day
April 25 — Book Day and Lover's Day (Spain)
April 25 — World Book and Copyright Day (Shakespeare's Birthday)
May — Book Buddy Day (1st Wednesday in May)
May — National Family Reading Week (first week in May)
May — National Feminist Bookstore Week (week of Mother's Day)
June — Audiobook Month
June 11 — Dirty Book Day
June — National Black Bookstore Week (week of June 19th)
June 19 — Mass Market Paperback Book Day
July — National Independent Bookstore Week (week of third and fourth Saturdays in July)
September 17 — Bestselling Books Day
September — Banned Books Week (last Saturday in September to next Saturday)
October 1 — National Book It! Day (first weekday in October)
October 12 — Cookbook Launch Day
November 5 — Book Editors Day
November — Book Lover's Day (first Saturday in November)
November 12 — One Million Books Day
November — National Children's Book Week (third week of November)
November 30 — Steal This Book Day
December is Read a New Book Month