Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Traitor Earl

If you like reading Regency-set historicals, you have probably picked up a lot about titles and heredity. The history behind titles is endlessly fascinating. Some were old by the Regency, some newly created. Some were earned nobly for services to Crown and Country, or in battle, like Wellington's dukedom, others by being in the right place at the right time, being the bastard son or even the mistress of Charles II, currying favour with the monarch of the day, or managing to turn your coat at the right time.

You have probably read about families who 'came over with the Conqueror'. But did you know that only one English family today can show clear descent from a pre-conquest Englishman? It's the Arden Family, whose ancestor was Thorkell of Arden in Warwick, a Saxon Earl.

Thorkell refused to fight with King Harold against the Norman invasion, so William the Conqueror (above) allowed him to keep his lordship and his holdings. He was the only Saxon allowed to remain a lord, while the rest of the incumbent nobility had their titles and lands confiscated. Sadly for Thorkell (dubbed the Traitor Earl), William's son, William Rufus, created the earldom of Warwick for a Norman noble and gave him Thorkell's land. Thus, the betrayer was betrayed. But the title 'Earl of Warwick' survives to this day.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Stealing Time

I've just risen from the bed of killer flu, so I hope this is coherent. Actually, I feel better than I have for months, because for once, there was no choice between sleep or writing, sleep or writing, I just had to sleep, fairly solidly, for two days while my mother (superwoman, extraordinaire) took care of everything else. I'm actually happy with the beginning of my new book now, which is something like a landmark event if you know me (EEYORE!), so things are looking up.

It's pretty sad when you have to get to a state of total collapse before you're granted a good night's sleep, but I have only myself to blame. I don't tend to let other people do things for me, I have taken on far too much work for others and put it ahead of my own and I haven't been efficient enough with the time I do have at the computer.

When I decided to write and have children in tandem, I didn't bargain for how hard it would be. Not just finding the time to sit down by yourself at the computer--sitting by yourself on the toilet is often too much to ask!--but getting back into the zone, that magical place where your story lives, after dealing with children all day can be difficult, especially when you feel as if you could sleep for the next fortnight, given the chance.

I don't think I could live without writing and I definitely wouldn't give back my beautiful boys, so I just have to get on with things the best way I can. Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. And sneaking off with my Neo when I'm supposed to be grocery shopping. An extra half hour here or there isn't going to be noticed, is it?

So what about you? If you have children, spouse, pets, gardens, other responsibilities, how do you get into the zone? How do you steal time to write?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I thought this meme from Kelly Boyce's blog was fun, so I tagged myself!

Contemporary, Historical, or Paranormal?
Historical, but when I'm writing the first draft of my own historicals I often switch to contemporary, if I read romance at all.

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?
MMP--easier to take with me everywhere. I hate wasting time on trains, in doctors' waiting rooms, etc, so I always take a book. Mass market paperbacks can be jammed into my handbag.

Heyer or Austen?
That is a tough one! I'd probably have to say Heyer, since I've read her books so many times I've lost count, while I've probably read my favourite Austens fewer than 10 times.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar?
Brick and Mortar. I love leafing through books, holding them in my hands, picking up ones that catch my eye. And shipping to Australia is expensive! Amazon is fabulous for research books, though.

Woodiwiss or Lindsay?
Um, I think I'd have to say Lindsay, although I haven't read enough of either of their books to judge.

Alphabetize by author Alphabetize by title or random?
I keep authors' books together on the shelf, but otherwise tend to arrange by the tone of the book and subject matter. Is that weird? I'm not an organised person but I can usually find what I want.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell?
Keep. Or give away to good homes!

Read with dustjacket or remove it?
Remove. Can't stand them. They get in the way.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
Stop reading when fall asleep or more often due to some interruption or other. Rarely at chapter breaks.

It was a dark and stormy night or Once upon a time?
Can I be corny and say Once upon a time? I adore fairytales, as long as they don't involve doves pecking people's eyes out. That image stayed with me for years after I read The Brothers Grimm's Cinderella. Grimm is right!

Crusie or SEP?
Impossible to answer. Love them both. Why do I have to choose? Who thought of this meme anyway? OK, Crusie by a whisker.

Buy or Borrow?
Buy if I can.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger?
Tidy ending. I love romance, after all.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?
If only it could be all of the above! But it tends to be Nighttime these days.

Series or standalone?
Series, if the series community is interesting enough to make me want to revisit them. Not if series means every book is the same.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
Wideacre, by Philippa Gregory. I've enjoyed her original fiction more than her books about real historical figures. I'm sure Wideacre well-known, just not as popular as her more recent books.

Monday, February 05, 2007

It's Here!!!

Isn't it beautiful? I love it!