Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Workshop Wednesday: Richard the Lionheart and the Crusades

Medieval fans, this is the course for you! 

Celtic Hearts Romance Writers

This online workshop will focus on the High Middle Ages, in particular the fifty years before and after the Third Crusade.

Date: Sept. 3-28, 2012
Instructor: Sharron Gunn
Fee: $20 for non-members; Free to all members

Click here for workshop details, instructor bio, and to register.

~ Courtesy of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers website.
Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cover Swoon Sunday: Clockwork Princess

All of the YA novels written by Cassandra Clare have lovely covers.  
The artwork for Clockwork Princess is stunning.

Are you a fan?
Thursday, August 23, 2012


Like everything in the Middle Ages, there was a hierarchy to the hides people wore.  
Fourteenth-century peasants caught beavers, sheep, badgers, cats, and goats.

 Game of Thrones, HBO

 Game of Thrones, HBO

Nobles demanded rarer ermines and sables.  Kings and emperors opted for vair, the designer fur of the day - a classy combination of gray and white squirrels.

 Game of Thrones, HBO

If you were Henry I, in the 1100's, you'd like sable in your mantle.


If you were King Edward III, you would spend 24.2% of your 1342 budget on furs.

You would also like black-tipped ermine so much that you'd restrict it to your personal use. 
Thereafter, ermine will be thought of as a symbol of royalty.

~ Source: Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Venom

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released.  This week I choose...

Fiona Paul
Genre: YA Historical
Publisher: Penguin/Philomel
Release Date: October 30, 2012

~ Blurb from Fiona Paul website ~

Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice's privileged elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady's maid, and a wealthy fiance, she has everything a girl could desire.  Yet ever since her parents' death, Cass has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.  When she stumbled upon a murdered woman - practically in her own backyard - she's drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies.  Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin, and a spectacular skill for trouble.  Can Cass find the murder before he finds her?  And will she stay true to her fiance, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

I'm really looking forward to reading this debut, the first book in the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy.
Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cover Swoon Sunday: Fury

Fury, the YA debut by Shirley Marr, sounds like a definite must-read.  
The cover is certainly captivating.  

If I spied this novel on the bookstore shelf, I'd pick it up to read the back cover blurb.  Would you? 
Friday, August 17, 2012

First Line Friday: The Scorpio Races

I finally got around to reading The Scorpio Races.  It was far and away the best book I've read by Maggie Stiefvater.  I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.  It was an awesome read: Gorgeous plot.  Fabulous characters.  Beautiful story.  Brilliant first line.

"It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die."

This is going down as one of my all-time favorite hooks.  It sets up the story so perfectly.   Most importantly, it grabbed my attention and made me want to keep reading.

What do you think?  Do you like this hook?  Does the first line make you want to read more of the story?         
Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Workshop Wednesday: Marketing Your Series

Celtic Hearts Romance Writers

A good series drives the market, opening up many opportunities for authors.  This online workshop will cover lucrative ways to get the most bang for your promo buck without investing too much of your heard-earned cash and keep your readers coming back for more.

Date: August 20 - 31, 2012
Instructor: Misty Evans
Fee:  $20 for non-members; Free to all members

Click here for complete workshop description, author bio, and to register.

~ Workshop info courtesy of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers
Monday, August 13, 2012

First Foundations

The first bra was seen around 1500 B. C. on a young Greek's "maiden form", although it was hardly form fitting.

Worn over her robes, the ribbons that made up the bandolette were loosely wrapped across the shoulders and underneath the breasts. But when a Greek woman put on her zone, a band of linen tightly wrapped around her waist and lower torso, it flattened her stomach in a zip.

Women continued to worry about their bustlines, however.  In 400 B. C., the Greek physician Hippocrates, famed for his code of medical ethics, was moved to offer advice to women who wanted to develop their breasts.  Sing at the top of your lungs, he recommended.

Since his method was less than sure-fire, Greek women often resorted to a more time-honored solution - the padded bra, formed by crinkling their robes around their bodices.

~ Source: Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Friday, August 10, 2012

First Line Friday: Heart of Brass


Do you love Fridays?  I do!  There's just something about Friday that makes me smile, whether or not I have fun plans in place for the weekend.  In my house, Friday means it's time to stay up late and watch movies.  The last day of the work week also means it's time for First Line Friday.

Today I've selected a first line that is dialogue.  I've taken several writing workshops on killer openings and, though I can't remember exactly where I've heard it, I've been told that it's not a good idea to open your story with dialogue.  Is this a set in stone sort of rule?  I'm not so sure.  What do you think?

Here's the first line from Heart of Brass, the first novel of the Clockwork Agents, a steampunk romance by Kate Cross.

"You shouldn't go in there, ma'am.  'Tis no place for a lady."    

I, for one, think a first line of dialogue can work if it makes me want to read the rest of the paragraph.  And this first line does exactly that: it makes me want to read more.  And isn't that what a first line is supposed to do?

What do you think about this first line?  Do you like it?  Does it make you want to keep reading?  Do like first lines that are straight dialogue?
Thursday, August 9, 2012

Carmen Gear

Platform shoes elevated sultry songstress Carmen Miranda.  
She in turn elevated these chunky shoes to new heights of popularity.

By 1939 when Vogue paradoxically declared that "Nothing is dowdier than a dainty foot," millions of women jumped onto the clunky platform - and they stayed there until the end of World War II.

But like old soldiers, the shoes refused to die.  
They simply faded away until 1975, when platforms were back, bigger and thicker than ever.

A pair of original 70's platform shoes shown A Celebration of Shoes by Linda O'Keeffe.

~ Source: Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Workshop Wednesday: BDSM for Writers

Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Want to spice up your writing? 
Learn the basics for writing this hot erotic sub-genre.

Registration Deadline: August 14, 2012
Class Dates: August 10 - 31, 2012
Instructor: Cassandra Carr
Fee: $10/HHRW members; $20/others

Click here for complete workshop description, author bio, and to register.

~ Workshop info and photo courtesy of Hearts Through History.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cover Swoon Sunday: The Highlander's Reward

Ashley, the Zombie Queen, over at The Bookish Brunette spotlights YA covers that make her swoon.  I thought it was a great idea, and have decided to do my own Cover Swoon posts on Sundays.  Thanks for the idea, Ashley!

The cover I'm swooning over this week is The Highlander's Reward.  It's the first book in the Stolen Bride series by my Celtic Hearts chapter mate, Eliza Knight.  The cover, designed by Kim Killion at Hot Damn Designs, is freaking GORGEOUS!  You can bet I'll be featuring her work quite often on Cover Swoon Sunday.

I can't wait to read this book!!!
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Releases

So many good books, so little time...

Sweet Deception by Heather Snow ~ Aug. 7
Historical Romance

Forever a Lady by Delilah Marvelle ~ July 24
Historical Romance

A Lady Never Lies by Juliana Gray ~ Aug. 7
Historical Romance

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas ~ Aug. 7
Young Adult Fantasy

Endgame by Ann Aguirre ~ Aug. 28

The Raft by S. A. Bodeen ~ Aug. 21
Young Adult

I'm back to work at my day job today.  UGH!  I find no joy in waking up at 4:00 am and going to a job I cannot stand.  With any luck I'll find something better soon.  In the meantime, I won't have as much time to read as I did in July.  However, I still plan to get these books when I can.  I'm especially anxious to read the YA novel, The Raft, as well as Endgame, the sixth - and I believe final - book in Ann Aguirre's awesome Jax series.  

What's on your must-read list this month?