Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Musings: March 29 2015

My Partner in Crime?

Hello, Musers!

Well, this is our last March Sunday. The famous 'they' say we're now into Spring, but I think someone better tell the weather. Still, it is nice to know we've reached the end of the long winter tunnel.

Everything is starting to bud and feel new. New energies...spring cleaning, anyone? Maybe even new stories. Which is the lead into this week's musings:

If you could write with any author...famous or not, living or dead...who would you team up with?

Now, Lea would tell you I would probably write with the author(s) of Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. The hubby might say Louis L'Amour. But I there's something about Mickey Spillane. Hey, why not all of them...and toss Shakespeare in there, too.  Homer? 

I can think of three without even having to ponder:

J.R.R. Tolkien
C.S. Lewis
Andre Norton -- I've written in her universes but I never had the privilege of collaborating with her.

LESLEY FIELD, new HOT author

If I could team up with an author on a historical novel I would love that to be "Sarah MacLean."  If it was a contemporary novel then I would choose "Susan Mallery," "Sarah Morgan," or "Debbie Macomber."

Good idea, Chris, but not for me. I tried it once and it was a chore and I didn't really like the result, although my team mate was an excellent writer.

Without a doubt, I’d love to team up with Robert Jordan. Imagine the discussions we could have about how create a world as in-depth and interesting as the one he created for the Wheel of Time series.

I had to think about this one a little bit. Probably the author I would like to team up to write with would be Judy Blume. She and I write YA and I have always liked her writing style. But also I might want to write with Paula Danziger, who also wrote with Judy Blume and who was my mentor.

I’d choose Georgette Heyer. I’d love to examine her copious shelf of reference books and, with her help of course, to have a go at setting a historical romance in the regency period.

I would like to meet Georgette Heyer, I fell in love with her historical fiction as a teenager when I borrowed her novels from a next door neighbor, who subscribed to a book club. From time to time, I re-read them. They give me as much pleasure now as they did in the past.

DAWN KNOX, author

The author I would have loved to have teamed up with is Terry Pratchett, who sadly died a short while ago. He is my favourite author and I am in awe of his imagination and the characters and worlds he brings to life. My current work in progress is set in an absurd world where garden gnomes run riot and I would have loved some input and advice from the man who I consider the master.

J.Q. ROSE, author

I'd like to team up with Janet Evanovich. She writes the best characters and has such a great sense of humor in her stories. We'd probably laugh through every word we put on the page.


Which author would I want to pair up with? The authors I would choose would eat me up whole! Stephen King would be fun. James Patterson would make me rich. Louise Penny would challenge me--heck, they ALL would challenge me. But it would be so fun. (My fourth novel, the one I’m currently immersed in, is the first novel I am working on with a partner. My wife is contributing strongly to the plot and character elements.)

I would like to team up with Grace Livingston Hill.  I enjoy her portrayals of the best that is in people, the way we ought to live—more evident, of course, because of some of the worst in people e.  Maybe that’s why they linger so long in my memory.  And such a prolific writer!  I have read…and reread…many, many books from a young age on.  Yet I remember very few of the authors’ names.  Some of my books I reread just because the book is there and I feel like reading.  But when I choose one I really want to reread, it’s usually hers.

Thanks for joining us and see you next week!
 If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at

Saturday, March 28, 2015

False Pretences, Traditional Regency Romance, Back Cover

False Pretences

By Rosemary Morris

Traditional Regency Romance


Five-year-old Annabelle arrived at boarding school fluent in French and English. Separated from her nurse, a dismal shadow blights Annabelle’s life because she does not know who her parents are.

Although high-spirited, Annabelle is financially dependent on her unknown guardian. She refuses to marry a French baron more than twice her age. 

Her life in danger, Annabelle is saved by a gentleman, who says he will help her to discover her identity. Yet, from then on nothing is as it seems, and she is forced to run away for the second time to protect her rescuer.

Even more determined to discover her parents’ identity, in spite of many false pretences, Annabelle must learn who to trust. Her attempts to unravel the mystery of her birth, lead to further danger, despair, unbearable heartache and even more false pretences until the only person who has ever wanted to cherish her, reveals the startling truth, and all’s well that ends well. and False PretencesB009YK1MFO, Nook and other online retailers.



Friday, March 27, 2015

Revision and Adverb

Amongst other things, I revised the final chapter of my mediaeval novel set in Edward II's reign. I am now asking myself whether 'He laughed drunkenly,' or 'His drunken laughter rang out,' reads best. I chose the latter because I prefer to get rid of adverbs.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Planning My New Novel, Tuesday's Child

The heroine of my new traditional Regency romance, Tuesday's Child, will be a character from Monday's Child. She is Lady Harriet, a widow, and mother of a young son. Lady Harriet is not beautiful but she is full of grace, both inner and outer.

After reading a chapter in a non-fiction book, I know where the novel will begin.

So, I have answered the question who about the heroine and two questions when and where. I know have to answer the questions what and how. In other words, what happens in the first chapter and how does it happen.

I am now looking forward to meeting the hero.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Musings: March 22, 2015

Hey, hey, Musers...Family and Friends!

Hope you've had a great week and weekend and have even better plans for today.

On a personal note, I'd like to wish my mom and brother two very Happy B-days!

With birthdays on my mind, I had to ask my Musing family - what was the best book ever given to you?  Fiction or non-fiction, any age. Cause you know us writers love reading, too.

All right, ya know I have to go first, Lea. Mine would been Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. Yes, there's a joke there between Lea and I, LOL.  But, I have to send a shout out to my grade 4 teacher Miss Ainsworth. She was an interesting teacher...just ask my mom...but every Friday she would read The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. Fell in love with that series and while in Scotland at age 18, I picked up everyone I could in the series.

And let's not blame television too badly, it was there I discovered Louis L'Amour. And Mickey Spillane.

But, my very first? Of course, Green Eggs and Ham.

My Aunt Mollie gave me a beautiful edition of Grimms' Fairy Tales for my fifth birthday.  I devoured it in fairly short order, and it opened my mind to the realms of fantasy, fairy, and folk tales where it has remained ever since.  It has surprisingly little competition as a "best gift book" since I've bought or borrowed most of my favorites over the years.

When I was about eight I had a long bout of sickness and I wound up staying in bed for days. I had exhausted the jigsaw puzzles and my other toys and books. I remember getting a gift of Alice in Wonderland and it was so long ago I don’t remember who gave it to me. That book changed my life. I read it cover to cover and then again and maybe once again. It kept me occupied while I got over the measles and it brought me to places I had never known existed even in the mind. It has always been and will remain my favorite book. I went on to read Through the Looking Glass too.

SJ SMITH, HOT author

The earliest book I remember was a hardback children's novel called Day of the Dingo; it was beautifully illustrated and told the story of a red setter who got lost and ended up in an Australian billabong, where all the other animals initially mistook him for the feared dingo. It blended nature and mythology, with all the wild creatures ruled over by a deity called the Bunyip (I think).
I loved that book. Brings back very warm memories.

LESLEY FIELD, new HOT author

I'm going to go way back in time on this one.  I read many classical books when I was growing up but the one that seems to always stick in  my mind is "The Children of the New Forest," by Captain Frederick Marryat. A tale set during the English Civil War and how the children of a cavalier officer killed at the battle of Naseby managed to survive and remain hidden until the monarchy was restored.


The best book ever given to me was Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. I was fourteen and just beginning to write. I didn't have any writer role models and hadn't yet grasped the notion writers need their own style.

But here was a novelist whose personal style was to write the simplest, most truthful sentence he could possibly eke out, and he ended up writing an epic battle of man against the elements (including age). I was reading The Lord of the Rings at the same time, and saw how two writers could tackle epic battles in a completely different way.

That sense of unique style forged by writers lasted years, and to this day, I try to pare down any extraneous sentences in my writing. It's hard! But if I am to be true to my writing, I have to do it.

The best book ever given to me...that's a tricky one! Most good books I have are ones I've found myself, at used book sales and such. But for a book given to me, I'd have to say it was The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (and the next two books in the Merlin series, but this was the first one I read). They were my mom's books when she was my age or a bit younger, and she gave them to me when we were looking through her old books. Wow, I am so glad that I found this series! It is such a beautifully written and haunting story, all told from the point of view of Merlin throughout his life. There isn't even that much magic in the stories, but the magic that is there is sort of an ancient power that fits so well in the tale. I think I might even like this series better than The Lord of the Rings. And that's saying something!

I'm with you Mary-Jean. I'll never forget the first time I read Mary Stewart's Merlin series. The day I finished the last page was the same day I started reading it all over again. They were all good, but the first one was...magical

I'm with you both. I still own that series in hardcover. Part of the attraction for me is my love of all things Roman. Roman Britain must have been a fascinating outpost of the Empire. The tribes weren't particularly enamored of the whole thing. However the fact remains when the Legion's were recalled to Rome, civilized life in Britain disappeared a couple of decades later. The historical Arthur was the one to lead them out of the darkness. Mary Stewart did an outstanding job of retelling "the matter of Britain." I think I'll read the series again when I finish my current wip.

I think the best book ever given to me was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of literature.

DAWN KNOX, author

The best book ever given to me was Enid Blyton's 'The Magic Faraway Tree'. It was read to us in infants school and I was completely enthralled in the magical world. I then received the book and read it to myself many times. Since then, I've read it to my son when he was young and he loved it too.

This is hard because I’ve bought most of my books, but thinking hard on it, I believe the best book ever given to me came from my husband and children. It was actually four books, part of the Star Wars Universe, the first four books of the Young Jedi Knights sub-series. I really enjoyed reading about Han and Leia’s children coming of age as Jedi Knights on their own.

I began reading at age 4. My mum said that when my dad was off work with a back injury, I climbed up on the bed and read him a romance story from Chatelaine. I have no memory of that event but I have been surrounded by books for as long as I can remember. 

 My favourite books as a child was a 22 volume collection called 'The Children's Hour. These were designed to 'grow' with the young reader and began with fairy tales and progressed through to more literary short fiction pieces.

Of all of those tales, my favourite was 'The Velveteen Rabbit' by Margery Williams. When my son was born, I bought the version illustrated by Donna Green (ISBN 10-1883746167). It is truly one of the most beautifully illustrated children's books I have ever seen. I still love the magical transformation of the little bunny brought about by the love of a child.

What an interesting question, Chris! I had to think hard about this one, actually.

My family wasn’t readers, so, try as I might, I can’t remember anyone giving me a book as a child. I mostly played outside until bedtime. We had about 3 PBs, bought for my big brother, but that was it. I’d rather be outside, anyway! I was a free-range kid before the government put a stop to such, but a non-reader, like my family.

SO…the first book ever given to me, for me, was Phillip’s paraphrase of the New Testament. I read it and highlighted it until the pages fell out.  Wow. I was thinking about ALL the thousands of books in our home library, and that was the book. Hmm.

Thanks for joining us and see you next week!
 If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at