AAW: Out My Window

Pat Rice here: Today, we’re going to play a little game called Looking Out My Window. The idea originally came from https://www.window-swap.com/Window at the start of Covid. Anne Gracie blogged about it.

We’ll turn the idea about a bit. Each of us has written a short piece about what we see from the window of our writing space—but I won’t name who wrote the piece. Instead, I have labeled them A, B, C, etc. Let’s have a little fun guessing who wrote which piece, and it would be lovely if you add what you see out your window!


garden and wallThis is a bit tough. I can’t actually see out my office window unless I stand up. I can see the flash of raven shadows as they stop by for a drink from our birdbath. Locating my desk this way is deliberate. I’d never get anything done elsewise. But here’s what I see if I stand and look out. We’re going on vacation shortly, and our daughter is leaving at the same time, and consequently, we have no one to hand water the potted plants. So this is not the usual view. Most of the pretty plants have been moved to a corner where they’re not visible from this angle. We’ve set up a sprinkler to rain on that corner. The hardy geranium is the main pot you see, and the irrigation system should take care of it. There is no tomato in the tomato cage yet, but that’s a small corner of my husband’s vegetable garden. The orange tree is covered with oranges, although they’re hard to see from here. We’ve grown that immense staghorn fern on the fence since it was a little fella. Had to divide it at one point because it got too heavy. The clivia is getting way too much sun now that the carrotwood tree has been trimmed. I can’t see the blooms on the camellia, but I know they’re there. I’ll have to hope that back corner survives while we’re gone!

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For Readers in the UK

Anne Gracie here. I just wanted to remind readers in the UK that my novella, THE LAIRD’S Bride is on special at 99p for another two days — but only on amazon.co.uk
The special promotion finishes on 16th April.

This is a Scottish story, but it’s not a medieval. It’s set in the Regency-era and is a fun little marriage of convenience story.
A hot-headed vow to marry the first woman he sees, a meeting in a muddy bog, a hasty marriage between strangers, and a bride who demands to be courted — after the wedding.

Rereading a book

Anne here, and today I’m talking about rereading my own books. I’m doing copyedits of my newest book (The Secret Daughter) at the moment. That means going through the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb, looking at where the copyeditor has flagged a problem or a question and deciding what to do with each little thing.

Mainly it’s to do with deleting commas, correcting spelling where I’ve used the English/Australian spelling instead of US spelling, and the occasional repetition of a word that the copyeditor thinks might jar on readers. It’s generally the same word used in one paragraph, or perhaps two consecutive ones. Sometimes I change the word but in other cases I want it there for emphasis.

And sometimes they flag a glitch where I have confused the reader, or changed some character’s eye color, or even name. Copy editors are very nit-picky, and I’m grateful for that, as I want my books to be as error-free as we can make it. But I can only do an hour or so at a time, as that very nit-pickiness also does my head in.

After that’s all done, and the editor has approved the changes I’ve made, it will be laid out in book format, and then go to a proofreader — and back to me for a final check. Reading through the final proofs of a book is usually the last time I read the book. Once it’s published I don’t touch it again, I think because I worry that I’ll spot something terrible or want to change something.

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“Ordinary” Wedding Dresses

Christina here. Some of the other Wenches have talked about wedding dresses in previous posts – see for example Anne’s visit to a wedding dress exhibition in 2014 with some magnificent gowns! (Link here). Recently I was asked to lend my own wedding dress to a small local exhibition and I thought it could be fun to take a look at some more “ordinary” wedding dresses from the last century. The exhibition in my local village consisted only of outfits worn by people living around here, so no couture gowns or specially designed specimens. They show the eclectic tastes of brides and many of them were of their decade – mine included.

The majority were white or cream, as is the custom these days, but there were a few examples in other colours, notably red. I’ve always felt that red wedding dresses are utterly suitable for winter weddings, and it’s such a cheerful colour too. If I’d been married in winter, I would definitely have considered that. As it happened, I was married in August 1985, and my dress was typical of that decade – the Laura Ashley-inspired leg-of-mutton sleeves and big bustle at the back exactly what I wanted. To tell the truth, I would have chosen this design if I was to get married now as well simply because it’s my favourite type, but it was definitely fashionable back then. I dug it out of a cupboard where it had languished for nearly 40 years in its original box and was pleased and surprised to see that it was still intact. I lent it to the exhibition, together with the accessories – a long veil, white fingerless lace gloves and a little reticule. The shoes I wore are sadly long gone.

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Unseen Magic!

I love both reading and writing novellas. A well written novella can provide romance, drama, danger, family issues, and a happy ending in one swift reading bite.  And I like writing novellas because one can go through all the stages of any writing project–enthusiasm, anxiety, panic, and finally satisfaction that it’s done in a much shorter period of time than for a novel.  My theory is a novella has a beginning and an end. and not much in between, which is good because it avoids the dread Saggy Middle.

Since I like novellas, I’ve written a fair number of them, but because they’re usually part of a larger anthology, sometimes readers don’t find them. That’s why it’s nice to reissue novellas as standalone ebooks once I have the rights back.

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