Tag Archives: work in progress

The Writing Process Blog Hop

Best-selling author Patrick Redmond (his latest novel is THE REPLACEMENT) was kind enough to tag me for the Writing Process blog hop. You can visit his blog here: http://patrickredmondbooks.com/blog/2014/04/21/writing-process-blog-hop . He had been tagged by Marie MacPherson, author of THE FIRST BLAST OF THE TRUMPET, (Her blog is HERE http://mariemacpherson.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/writing-process-blog-hop-2 ) who encouraged me to participate. I thank them both!

A few simple rules apply to this blog hop: 1. You publish on a Monday the week after being tagged and answer four questions and 2. Link back to the blogs of the person who tagged you to let him or her know you appreciate it. On to the questions…

Question1: What am I working on right now? I am working on another novel set in the late Georgian/Regency era, a romantic historical novel involving a young woman coming into her own. She is rather shy and uncertain of her place in her world, and is not very trusting of her own abilities and choices. I also have notes for a sequel to my first published work in process, as well as a non-fiction project.

Question 2: How does my work differ from others of its genre? This question is almost impossible to answer. I would like to think that my personal tastes, values and interests influence my characters and their stories. However, since one or another of my characters takes over at some point, other issues and viewpoints can creep in. It is impossible to keep my own feelings out of the story, but sometimes the characters take the story into directions I had not planned initially.

Question 3: Why do I write what I do? I write what I enjoy reading. I have always loved historical novels, whether romantic or otherwise. Historical novels can provide painless doses of historical information that inspire the reader to find out more. They take the reader away to another time and place. They introduce the reader to characters that will hopefully become almost alive, people one would like to befriend or the villain that one loves to hate. Novels explore the human condition, emotions, reactions-characters in a novel sometimes show us something about ourselves. Historical details of time and place can give us parallels to our own time and place-we can see how far we have come in some respects and how some things remain constant in others. Although I love novels that have a grand sweep of stirring events, my favourites tend to involve the personal, the interactions of normal people in their own daily lives and, if possible, a happy ending.

Question 4: How does my writing process work? I must confess that I don’t have a set process. The beginning varies. It may start with a “What if…” question. Sometimes a character wakes up in my mind. Occasionally, scraps of a dream become an inspiration. Once I have the initial idea, I try to identify the characters whose voices will be the main ones for my story. I flesh out those characters first: name, description, likes and dislikes, talents and interests, family background. Research is crucial. Although I tend to focus on the personal lives of my characters, sometimes real people creep in. I also want the place descriptions to fit, the locality to be accurate. While I want my characters to be unique and appealing, I also want them to be true to their time and place. I make a general outline of the plot, and add notes of details I want to include. Then I do more research. Sometimes the writing comes quickly, other times, not so much… Then that little piece fits into the puzzle and I’m off again. I reread and edit as I go along, to make sure that the story line fits together.

Who is next? I would like to tag

Barbara Monajem
Barbara Monajem writes award-winning historical romance and paranormal mysteries, including THE MAJIC OF HIS TOUCH, UNDER A NEW YEAR’S ENCHANTMENT and her most recent BACK TO BITE YOU, due out May 1st! She blogs with the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers HERE http://pinkfuzzyslipperwriters.blogspot.com/ and has her own website HERE http://www.barbaramonajem.com/
Barbara Monajem-Under A New Years Enchantment-Harlequin 2014

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Tasty Summer Blog Hop-Lucinda Brant, Guest Post

Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!

It is my great pleasure to introduce the lovely and talented author Lucinda Brant, who will be posting her Tasty Summer Reads blog as my guest today. Lucinda writes Georgian historical romances with wit and adventure, and crimances (crime with lashings of romance). Her latest release SALT REDUX is the sequel to the internationally best selling SALT BRIDE, and is a 2013 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards Finalist. You can read more about Lucinda on her website http://www.lucindabrant.com And now for Lucinda…

Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!
New release:
SALT REDUX: Sequel to SALT BRIDE
Jane and Salt—four years of Happily Ever After
Sir Antony Templestowe—four years of Exile
Lady Caroline—four years of Heartache
Diana St. John—four years plotting Revenge

The time has come…
How does a brother cope with life knowing his sister is a murderess? How can a nobleman have the life he has always wanted when a lurking evil consumes his thoughts and haunts his dreams? What will it take for good to triumph over evil?
For readers who enjoyed Salt Bride, the story continues…
2013 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards Finalist
http://lucindabrant.com/salt-redux.php

Salt-Redux-Cover-500x750

Now for the Random Tasty Questions:
1) When writing are you a snacker? If so sweet or salty?
I drink coffee; lots of it! Making a cup of coffee gets me up out from in front of the computer screen. I have a Nespresso machine. I take my coffee black with one teaspoon of raw sugar. I usually just drink the coffee but occasionally I will indulge in a snack, usually a piece of the latest cake I’ve made – some faves are Zucchini and Carrot cake, Pear, Raspberry and Pistachio bread, Orange, Almond and Coconut cake.

2) Are you an outliner or someone who writes by the seat of their pants?
I use an A5 20 ring binder full of notes for each WIP. I get dressed for work each day in my writing PJs. I buy my “writing” PJs from http://www.peteralexander.com.au which have funky designs for summer and winter. Ah, the life of the full time writer.

3) When cooking, do you follow a recipe or do you wing it?
I’ve been cooking now for a long time, so don’t follow recipes but my taste buds! But I am new to making cakes. My daughter, who has moved out of home, was the cupcake and sweets maker. So I will follow a recipe when making a cake or dessert.

4) What is next for you after this book?
I’m currently writing book 4 in my Roxton series, DAIR DEVIL, which begins on the night before book 3 ends. It’s about a minor character in book 3 Alisdair (Dair) Fitzstuart, heir to the earl of Strathsay, and Aurora (Rory) Talbot, granddaughter of England’s spymaster general. It should hit the cyber shelves before Christmas.

5) Last question…on a level of one being slightly naughty and ten being whoo hoo steamy, how would you rate your book?
My books have elements of naughty, but if you mean the mechanics of sex, then no. But there is enough sexual tension to get all hot and bothered, that’s for sure!

And now for the really tasty part: the recipe!

Brussels Sprouts, Cranberry and Almond Warm Summer Salad
(sorry, but I don’t use precise measurements – but this is easy to do!)

About 20 Brussels sprouts topped and chopped in half
a quarter of cabbage (any kind) chopped
a big handful of dried ready to eat cranberries
a big handful of slivered almonds
Rice Bran oil to mix

Steam Brussels sprouts in microwave until tender but firm (but not mushy)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat with oil
Place in an ovenproof dish and heat in a moderate oven until Brussels sprouts have caramelized

Serve as an accompaniment to lamb, chicken or beef.

I have tagged author Prue Batten to carry on the hop. Prue Batten writes Historical Fiction and Fantasy. Her fantasy novel A Thousand Glass Flowers received a silver medallion in the 2012 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Her latest book is the second in her Gisborne saga Gisborne: Book of Knights.

I’ll now have you hop on over to Prue Batten’s blog! http://pruebatten.wordpress.com/

Other Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop participants are:
Christy English http://www.christyenglish.com/2013/07/17/tasty-summer-reads-blog-hop/

Anna Belfrage http://www.juditharnoppnovelist.blogspot.com/ or http://www.juditharnopp.com/

Diana Russo Morin http://www.donnarussomorin.com/index.html

Nancy Goodman http://rakesroguesandromance.com/2013/07/11/welcome-to-the-tasty-summer-reads-blog-hop/

Lauren Gilbert https://laurengilbertheyerwood.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/tasty-summer-reads-blog-hop

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Filed under Blog Hop, Cooking, Guest post, recipes, Romance, Writing

Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop

Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!

First, I’d like to thank the lovely Christy English for inviting me to participate.

Here’s how the hop works! Each author invites up to five other authors to answer five questions about their current summer release or WIP and a tasty recipe that ties into it! It gives readers the opportunity to add these awesome treats (and reads) to your to do list 🙂 I have invited the delightful Anna Belfrage and the wonderful Lucinda Brant to join in the hop. Anna will be getting her post and recipe up, so just click on her link below to see what she’s got cooking! Lucinda’s treat will appear here as she will be a guest poster on this blog, so watch this space!
Well, I guess I’ll start us off!

In 2011, my first book HEYERWOOD: A Novel was published. At present, I am completing A RATIONAL ATTACHMENT (working title-I’ve a couple of others in mind as well!), which I expect to be released later this year. Like the first, A RATIONAL ATTACHMENT is a historical novel, set in the late Regency period. My heroine, Anne, is a young woman who falls somewhere between trade and Society, and has to find her way to her own happiness.

Now for the Random Tasty Questions:
1) When writing are you a snacker? Not really. I tend to save my snacking for afterwards. If so sweet or salty? Both! I love chips and dip, nuts, pretzels, and vegetables with bleu cheese dressing. However, I also have a serious fondness for ice cream!

2) Are you an outliner or someone who writes by the seat of their pants? I do some outlining, but mostly I’m a pantser.

And are they real pants or jammies? That depends… If I’m working after I get home from my day job, I’ve got real pants on. However, there are those non-work days, when I may get up and go straight off to write in my jammies. (There have also been the odd middle-of-the-night forays!)

3) When cooking, do you follow a recipe or do you wing it? I used to be religious about making a recipe as written first. Now, I read it and “take it under advisement.” I substitute herbs or other ingredients based on personal taste.

4) What is next for you after this book? My current WIP should be out sometime this year. A RATIONAL ATTACHMENT (working title) is my second novel. When this one is completed, several readers have requested a sequel to HEYERWOOD: A Novel, for which I have a broad outline and some notes already started. I also want to mention that the book CASTLES, CUSTOMS AND KINGS True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors will be out on 9/23/13. This is an anthology of articles posted by some great writers on the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, to which I have the honor to be a contributor.

5) Last question…on a level of one being slightly naughty and ten being whoo hoo steamy, how would you rate your book? HEYERWOOD: A Novel would actually rate a 0-no naughtiness at all. A RATIONAL ATTACHMENT? Well, that’s still in process!

And now for the really tasty part:
Here’s the recipe! (Really two for one…) Parsnips, a root vegetable that resembles a white carrot with a spicy, sweet taste, is popular in England. This is a variation of a parsnip recipe; I have found many people are not that familiar with parsnips. They work well with carrots, which makes it a friendly combination.

Carrots & Parsnips
3 lbs (48 oz) carrots & parsnips, scraped & cut into pieces (approximately the same size)-this would be about 6 large parsnips & 6 large carrots.
Chicken stock or broth to cover, about 3 cups (24 fluid oz)*
1 or 2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced (depending on your liking for garlic)
1 large shallot or ½ small onion , chopped
Salt & pepper to taste.

Put all in saucepan & simmer until tender but still with some body.
These are good as a side dish as is. Be sure to save the broth for soup or gravy.
*This could be vegetable stock or water, depending on personal preference.

Carrots & Parsnips in Rosemary Cream
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take above carrots & parsnips out of broth and place in 13” x 9” baking dish. Pour over about 1½ cups of heavy cream (about 1 inch deep, not quite covering the vegetables). Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary over the top (again to your taste-could be more or less). Sprinkle about ¼ – 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (I prefer the 6 Italian cheeses that come already shredded together) over the top. Sprinkle on about ¼ cup to ½ cup fresh bread crumbs over the top, and drizzle with 1 – 2 Tablespoons of melted butter. Bake approximately 20 minutes until bubbly, thickened & crumbs are golden.
Serves about 6. (Can be increased for more very easily.)
Be sure to save the broth for soup or gravy.

Note that, if you love parsnips, this is fantastic without the carrots-just increase the parsnips. If you’re not fond of parsnips, leave them out and go the other way… A wonderful side dish with chicken or pork; terrific at Thanksgiving!

LINKS TO OTHER TASTY SUMMER BLOG HOPPERS!

Christy English http://www.christyenglish.com/2013/07/17/tasty-summer-reads-blog-hop/
Anna Belfrage http://www.annabelfrage.com/Home/
Diana Russo Morin http://www.donnarussomorin.com/index.html
Nancy Goodman http://rakesroguesandromance.com/2013/07/11/welcome-to-the-tasty-summer-reads-blog-hop/

HEYERWOOD: A Novel available at Amazon.com and other fine book sites!

HEYERWOOD: A Novel available at Amazon.com and other fine book sites!

Castles, Customs, and Kings-coming 9/23/13!

Castles, Customs, and Kings-coming 9/23/13!

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Christmas Dinner Now and Then

Christmas Time Here's The Gobbler by Sophie Anderson

Christmas Time Here’s The Gobbler by Sophie Anderson

      Now that the decorating is finished, and the gifts are wrapped and shipped, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas dinner (if you haven’t already!)  We will be celebrating with dear friends, and I will be taking a particularly decadent vegetable dish, with parsnips, cream and rosemary.  For many of us, the main course will be the traditional favorites: turkey, ham, roast beef, possibly even roast goose.  Stuffing (or dressing, if you prefer) will also be present in some form.  The desserts are usually fairly traditional as well: various pies and cakes, sometimes a version of the old-fashioned Christmas pudding.   It was the parsnips that got me thinking…

          What would have been served at a Christmas dinner in late 18th century, early 19th century England?  What might Jane Austen have eaten?  As always, when confronted with a culinary question, I turned to old cookbooks.  In my facsimile copy of THE COMPLEAT HOUSEWIFE by Eliza Smith, she helpfully included diagrammed dinner services for summer and winter, showing two courses.  The first winter course includes a giblet pie, roast beef with horseradish and pickles and a boiled pudding; the second features a roasted turkey and an apple pie.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Smith did not include vegetable suggestions. 

          I turned to another old friend: The ART OF COOKERY Made Plain and Easy by Mrs. Glasse (a new edition published in Alexandria in 1805).   While Mrs. Glasse did not lay out the settings, she did include”Bills of Fare” for each month of the year.  December’s menu included three courses, again with no vegetable suggestions, except for mushrooms.  One dish in the third course did catch my eye…  Ragooed Palates.  What, I asked myself, could that be?  Surely not what it seems.

          Yes, dear reader, it is exactly what it says.    The palate is, of course, the roof of the ox’s (or cow’s) mouth.   It was apparently considered a form of offal, like kidneys or tripes, and required extra preparation involving blanching and skinning and so forth.   I also learned that a “ragoo” or “ragout” is, essentially a stew, so possibly Mrs. Glasse’s Stewed Palates may have been served as Ragooed Palates for a December dinner.   Fricassee also seems to be very similar to a stew.  Both involve long cooking and a rich, heavily seasoned gravy.   

           Mrs. Smith’s fricassee of Ox-Palates included stewing beef, salt, pepper, onion, eschalot (shallot?), anchovies,  and horseradish to make the gravy: then she stewed the palates until tender, cutting them up, and putting them aside.  Then she cut up chickens, seasoned them with nutmeg, salt and thyme and fried them with butter.   The palates were peeled and cut up, then were combined with the chicken in half of the gravy and stewed.  While the stew was cooking, the rest of the gravy was put in a pan, thickened with egg yolks, white wine added with butter and cream.  When ready to serve, the gravy in the pan was blended into the stewed palates and chickens.  When dished up, a garnish of pickled grapes was recommended.  When all is said and done, this sounds like it could be delicious!  (Please remember that this is one dish of several in a course.)

         Both cookbooks contain instructions for vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, carrots and (of course!) parsnips.  I feel confident that, season permitting, some sort of vegetable dish would have been included.   However, it is interesting to see how heavily the winter menu relied on meat dishes.  It is also a timely reminder that little was wasted in those days.  Somehow, I can see Jane Austen (or the heroine in my work-in-progress!)  sitting down to a festive Christmas dinner of turkey, possibly some parsnips, a Fricasee of Ox-Palates, and a boiled pudding, with great enjoyment. 

Sources:

Glasse, Mrs.  THE ART OF COOKERY Made Plain And Easy.  A New EDITION, with modern Improvements.  Alexandria: Printed by Cottom and Stewart, 1805.  (First American edition.)  In Facsimile, with historical notes by Karen Hess.  Bedford, MA:  Applewood Books, 1997.  P. 59

Smith, Eliza.  THE COMPLEAT HOUSEWIFE: or Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion.  The Sixteenth Edition, with Additions.  London.  (Facsimile)  London: Studio Editions Ltd., 1994.  P. 52.

Web Sources:

CooksInfo.com  “Ox Palate.”  http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/ecco/004826650.0001.000/1:3.5.3.9?rgn=div4;view=fulltext

Eighteenth Century Collections Online.  Mrs. Taylor’s Family Companion… “Of Ragouts”.  http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/ecco/004826650.0001.000/1:3.9?rgn=div2;view=fulltext;q1

Eighteenth Century Collections Online.  Mrs. Taylor’s Family Companion… “To Stew Ox Palates.”  http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/ecco/004826650.0001.000/1:3.5.3.9?rgn=div4;view=fulltext

Food Information.  “Ragout.”  http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~sayyid/culinary/dlist.cgi?food=ragout

Image from Wikimedia Commons: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/08/Anderson_Sophie_Christmas_Time_Heres_The_Gobbler.jpg/450px-Anderson_Sophie_Christmas_Time_Heres_The_Gobbler.jpg

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Bits and Pieces-the work in progress

    

York Minster by John Hunter 1784

For several months, I have been researching for and working on another historical novel.  The setting is in York, England, duirngthe last years of the Georgian era.  Such a fascinating city with a wonderful history!   The research has been challenging and enjoyable-at times, I find myself getting caught up in pursuing  the reading and neglecting the writing.  However, progress has been made!  

     The heroine is Anne Emmons, a young woman of respectable birth.  There is wealth, accumulated in trade.  The novel looks at friendship, the contrasts between the formal, stratified world of London  society and the more flexible society of York, and the possibility of finding happiness on one’s own terms.  Meanwhile, her father was concerned….   I thought I would introduce a few bits and pieces as I work.  Here is the first bit:

He had hoped Anne would settle long before now.  At twenty-five years of age, she had long participated in the social seasons at home in York, and in London.  There was no doubt that Sir Henry and his wife had done their best by Anne, put her in the way of meeting eligible young men, even arranging for her presentation.  Somehow, Anne had just never “taken.”  Even at home in York, acting as his hostess, she had entertained numerous young men, ranging from young fashionables in town for the races to successful young merchants and bankers.  She showed the poise of an older, more experienced hostess, yet never indicated the slightest tendre for any of them.  “Not a one of ’em stirred so much as a flutter, ” he thought gloomily, “and for all the notice she paid, none had the least inclination to pursue it.”  Well, he was going to have to take a hand, as distasteful as he found it.

     I hope you will let me know what you think of this little segment!

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