Monday, November 2, 2020

Whatcha' Reading?

 Hello hello!

Reporting from my blanket fort with a question. What's on your reading list lately? I'm hitting up some favorites like Katherine Addison's The Goblin Emperor and the first four novellas in Martha Wells' excellent Murderbot Diaries. The latest offering in the series is a full length novel, Network Effect and it's just as amazing as the preceding novellas. I absolutely LOVE Murderbot. Recently in a Smart Bitches podcast, I was able to pass along a question to the author about the title character's growth from robotic unit to an individual with all the flaws and feeling subsequent. If you get a chance to read them, you definitely should.

I've been listening to audiobooks and although I originally thought hearing someone else read to me would be distracting, I'm finding it soothing instead. My favorites are The Goblin Emperor, both of Madeline Miller's books--Circe and Song of Achilles as well as N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Kingdom. When the narrators imbue so much nuance and feeling into the different characters, it really adds to the enjoyment of the text for me.

Enough about me. I hope you're all well and hope you'll answer my question. What are you reading?

Friday, February 23, 2018

When your hopes and schemes go sideways

So, I'm always apologizing for not being here more often and I'll skip that now but know that I am sorry. Life gets in the way but I'm trying to make sure that I keep up with things, no matter what else is going on. All a part of self-care :)

My first effort is to share a snippet of my historical. This scene shows what happens to Ned when his fake engagement scheme turns into something else. Take a look at the top bar, click on the tab and let me know what you think of the Hidden Depths snippet.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Post RWA and a Daphne Update

So, this happened:

Early pages of my Historical romance, HIDDEN DEPTHS, earned third place in the unpublished Daphne contest this year. YAY!! Cue the confetti cannon :) I'm pretty thrilled that a story I started fiddling around with just to get my writing brain engaged once again, while trying to get past Hashimoto's brain (and I've got the oversized face to prove it), won a prize. Any prize. As you can see, I got a spiffy certificate, a voucher for a Coffin class offered through the Kiss of Death chapter and even a check that will buy me more than a few cups of coffee. On top of all that, the competition in the Historical category was serious. I mean, the talented lady who won the category has either been in the finals or won a bunch of other contests, so...Good on me for even making a showing. Progress my friends, progress.

The rest of the conference was also pretty awesome and once I've had a chance to decompress, I'll come out and share some of the highlights.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

GOOD NEWS and a month of Sundays

Hello friends!

I know, it's been too long since I came out to update you on any happenings and for that I apologize. I hope you can forgive me.

I've been writing pretty steadily thanks to a spate of good health and the Panera weekend writing club of Shannyn, Julie, and Kelly. It's nice to have people who keep each other on track and provide a sounding board for plot ideas and issues.

 My historical spinoff that started as a novella with a character who was only mentioned in my time slip series now has a full novel devoted to him and his POC lady love and their happily ever after. Who knew? Does anyone else have characters that go in directions that you never planned? Only me? Okay. Well, this wastrel second son decides that a wealthy and titled young lady who doesn't want to get married, just like he doesn't, is the perfect partner for his scheme to evade getting the banns read. Of course, things don't go as planned. Actually, there are full on shenanigans and did I mention that the charming, beautiful aristocratic lady was a woman of color? Yep. And to be clear, there were PLENTY of non-white people in Regency England because they were there long before then. Anyway, you didn't come out for a history lesson. Feel free to enjoy the photo of Queen Charlotte Sofia, reputed to be mixed-raced. I named another character in this book Sofia as an homage to her majesty.

The good news I wanted to share is that early pages of this tale have landed me in the Historical finalist category for the Kiss of Death RWA chapter's Daphne Du Maurier contest for Unpublished writers. So, yay for me and yay for Ned and Cecile! Wish us luck :-)

RWA Kiss of Death/Daphne

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

My new favorite show on TNT, GOOD BEHAVIOR, closed with this moody Rhianna piece and I loved it. Fit the scene perfectly.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


In Deanna Raybourn’s A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING, intrepid butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell (I’ve finally stopped smirking everytime I read her name) and her crime-solving partner, natural historian Revelstoke Templeton-Vane aka Stoker, are thrown into a mystery that completely lives up to the book’s title.
This second adventure with Veronica and Stoker doesn’t suffer from a sophomore slump and if anything, it rachets up the tension and stakes for our protagonists.  We learned of Veronica’s unknown parentage in the first book and that fact is now a guarded secret in certain vaunted circles of society. Veronica, however, is unconcerned and mostly unbothered by this new information. I say mostly unbothered because Veronica is naturally a curious person. At the behest of esteemed persons who might or might not be connected to her, she agrees to look into the case of an artist who’s been murdered with the intent of clearing the artist’s married lover, wrongly accused and literally steps away from the gallows. On their way to uncovering the culprit, Veronica and Stoker encounter a truly chilling adversary who has committed a heinous murder and is intent on escaping punishment as well as seeing an innocent man hanged in his stead.
This is a masterful telling and the layers of the mystery and other interesting items are peeled back in a manner that keeps you on the edge of your seat.  Personally, I love books that impart knowledge along with a healthy dose of entertainment and this is a feast for the senses, especially for those with an interest in art and natural history. Raybourn’s already proven her deft hand at keeping the tension of a story at a high level while also holding readers in thrall with desire for a romance with the first book in this series. Patience darlings, patience. Perhaps we’ll get that molten hot Stoker scene we’re all clamoring for if we just can hold out.
We also find out a bit more about Stoker and his status as the black sheep of his aristocratic family when yet another Templeton-Vane shows up. I like to movie cast my reading and I kept picturing Adrian Turner at his best Ross Poldark, as Stoker. I waffle between Eva Green and a dark-haired, young Helen Mirren as Veronica. And when I grow up, I want to be Lady Wellie, who’s enjoying all the privileges of riches and has lived her entire life to suit herself. All of the characters leap off the page with depth and nuance.
             This book has everything a good Gothic Victorian mystery should have—compelling characters, a gripping murder mystery and rich detail and description that drops the reader right into the period, giving the book weight and teeth. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and can’t wait for the next one.  
I received this book from Berkley through Netgalley.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Another installment of Listening While Writing, brought to you by the Slowest Writer in the World

Hello friends!!

It's me, the original Layabout Jones, here after an extended absence. Thanks to the help of some good friends from my Chicago-North RWA chapter, I've been writing steadily (waves at Shannyn, Julie, Maribeth, Ryann and Nina!) and I'm making progress on adding new words to my latest manuscript and cutting excess ones from my old WIP.

Now, I've always found listening to music fuels my creativity, especially when the song might inspire some bit of the story or feels like a good fit for the overall theme. I read an interview with the ultra-talented writer, C.S. Pacat, where she mentioned using noise-cancelling headphones and having to leave her house to get any work done because otherwise, she faffs about and accomplishes nothing (OH MY GOD JUST LIKE ME). She also said that instead of listening to a playlist, she tends to stick to a single song on repeat to keep her in the headspace for the story. I'm not one to scoff at new ideas, so I thought I'd try it and lo and behold, it does work. I can't say that I'll give up on playlists forever, but focusing on one song, is helping me to FOCUS. See what I did there? I know, I crack myself up too ;)

Anyway, here is the Alessia Cara song that's been getting a workout for my Belle meets Emma WIP. My latest work opens with my mixed-race aristocratic heroine, Lady Cecile, hiding behind the drapes in an alcove at a Regency house party:

So, what about you? Playlist, single song, silence? What helps fuel your creativity?