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Showing posts from October, 2014

The Big Reveal!

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Ladies, Gentlemen, and other Creatures of the Night, I give you:



Tyburn


Sally Green is about to die.

She sees Death in the streets. She can taste it in her gin. She can feel it in the very walls of the ramshackle brothel where she is kept to satisfy the perversions of the wealthy. She had come to London as a runaway in search of her Cavalier father. Instead, she found Wrath, a sadistic nobleman determined to use her to fulfill a sinister ambition. As the last of her friends are murdered one by one, survival hinges on escape.

Nick Virtue is a tutor with a secret. By night he operates as a highwayman, relieving nobles of their riches to further his brother’s criminal enterprise. It’s a difficult balance at the best of times, and any day that doesn’t end in a noose is a good one. Saving Sally means risking his reputation, and may end up costing him his life.

As a brutal attack throws them together, Sally finds she has been given a second chance. She is torn between the tutor and the highway…

Contraception in History Part I: Aristotle, Hippocrates, and a Whole Lotta Lead

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There’s a common misconception (no pun intended) that contraception didn’t exist in any real capacity before the twentieth century. Previous generations were able to control themselves, were not as sex-mad as we are today, and only ever engaged in the act after (heterosexual!) marriage and for the sake of procreation. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I have always believed that people haven’t changed at all over the course of human history, and the more I study, the more I believe this to be true. Sure, the way people make sense of their world changes, as does the way they write about it, but people don’t change. This is particularly true when it comes to sex. Our very existence is proof that every generation since the dawn of man has been powerless against it. More than just a biological urge, it’s a desire and an obsession. As long as mankind has understood that sex can lead to pregnancy, we have sought ways to prevent conception. This is nothing new. You want proof? T…

Piece #3: Nick Virtue, an Unconventional Hero

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For day 3 of the cover reveal, I submit for your approval:



Nick Virtue's ear.

I love Nick. Having spent eight years developing him, I ought to. One advantage to spending so long on Tyburn is that I had tons of time to work on the characters. I got to create the perfect man

I created two of them. Nick is the first one. 

Nick is an unconventional hero. He's not a duke, he's not wealthy, and he's not really an alpha-anything. He's not a beta-anything, either; he's not a letter, he's a real man! 

When Tyburn begins, Nick is employed as a private tutor to the Earl of Hereford's children. He had gone to Cambridge for a couple of years to train to be a physician, but had been forced to drop out when his wealthy patron passed away. He's extremely educated by the standard of the time, but being of uncertain birth with no connections and no living family apart from his brother (...the other perfect man. We'll get to Mark later...), his options are limited. H…

Piece #2: A Very Particular Shade of Green. Absinthe in Seventeenth Century England (Sort Of)

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Welcome back!

For Day 2 of the countdown to Halloween, I give you:



A Very Particular Shade of Green.

Here it is, Sally's signature color. I think it's gorgeous, but she hates it. You'd hate it, too, if it was your only dress. Nevertheless, every undesirable in Covent Garden and beyond agrees she looks smashing in it.

On the subject of green, let's talk about another shade I'm particularly fond of: absinthe.

Do you doubt my affection? 
Let's see... oh yes, here it is:



My most recent batch of macarons was flavored with a healthy dash of the Green Fairy. What does all this have to do with Tyburn?

One of the best things about writing historical fiction is the research. Writing the kind of stories that I like, I get to read about all the best stuff. Sex, contraception, venereal diseases, crime, punishment, madness, poisons and other dodgy substances, exciting underwear, and alcohol. I came across an interesting fact this week that ties my favorite heroine with my favorite s…

Halloween Cover Reveal Piece by Piece

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Minions! Tyburn has a cover!

I have just received the final cover back from the Art Department and it is GLORIOUS! 

It is so gorgeous, in fact, that I don't want to waste it on just any old Monday. Oh no! This cover deserves to be saved for a day truly worthy of its wonder. 

Fortunately, Halloween is only four days away!

Having said that, I am not a very patient woman, and I know that some of you might like to see it sooner. That's why I'm going to give a piece of it to you each day leading up until Halloween, with the whole cover being posted on Friday night. 

In the meantime, a lesson on delayed gratification courtesy of Tom Hiddleston and Cookie Monster.



Thanks, guys. Now I just want a cookie.

For your first piece of the glorious new cover, I give you:



A ghostly white hand, a bit of shoulder, and what looks like some spooky ruins in the background.

But what does it all mean?

Tune in tomorrow for another piece and don't forget to stop back on Halloween for a special treat.





Self-Editing: Learn to Love the Red Pen

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After a couple of weeks of final edits, Tyburn is almost ready for you. It's been awesome going through it again, particularly with the help of my amazing editor, and I was surprised by how many things I just spotted myself that needed to be fixed. It just goes to show you that even if you read your own MS two hundred times, you're always going to miss something!

Whether you are lucky enough to have an editor or not, self-editing is a great skill to have, and crucial if you're a writer (of anything!). It's not as hard as you'd think. I was an editor for several years, and although magazines are very different from long fiction, a lot of the same rules apply. Here are a few of mine:

1. Learn to love the red pen. 
The first thing you need to do is to get past the fear of editing, or the idea that the piece couldn't be improved in any way. Even Hemingway had to write the last page of Farewell to Armsthirty-nine times before he was satisfied with it. With any luck, yo…

Behind the Scene: Beaumont's Epic Hangover

In this scene, Beaumont, a young Libertine, is waking up with the world's worst hangover. Rochester has returned to town and he and his friends have embarked on a two-week bender to celebrate. Beaumont wakes up at the crack of noon, unusually early for him, to find his university buddy passed out naked behind his bed. He has very little memory of the previous weeks, and tries to use his physical symptoms and bedraggled appearance to figure out what he got up to.

I think there's a tendency of every generation to imagine that they have invented partying. In my years living in Britain, I went to University and worked in a series of bars -- a sleepy pub in seventeenth-century coach house, a pole dancing club where I was hired to be the curvy red-haired bartender (the owner was working on a set of girls to suit every preference. Not weird at all), and an all-night hipster bar with multiple floors, a "chill out" room, and kindly Rastafarians on the decks. Between these jobs…

Welcome!

Hello everybody, and welcome to my website! I am a writer of historical romantic fiction for Liquid Silver Books. My first book, Tyburn, is due to be released in early December. It is the first book in my new series, The Southwark Saga. Tyburn is set in the London of 1671, eleven years after the Restoration of King Charles II brought the austere Parliamentarian regime and years of Civil War to an end.  The capital has survived plague and fire under Charles and is still in the throes of the gleeful debauchery which accompanied the Merry Monarch’s return. The roads are rife with highwaymen, desperate bandits who rob passing carriages as a means of survival. Foremost among them is Claude Duval, the infamous gentleman highwayman who distinguished himself by his impeccable manners and eschewing of violence, charming the ladies of London in the process. Our story begins at Duval’s execution in January of 1670. Here we meet Claude’s friend, Sally, a young harlot fallen on hard times after fleein…