Pat here: In today’s episode of Ask A Wench, Beth Reimer asks: Any ideas for fighting the winter blues? (Beth, you’ve won a free book! I’ll be in touch) It’s the middle of winter in the upper hemisphere, when the days seem darkest and coldest, and the wenches thought this would be a good time to throw in their suggestions!
Susan here, with some adventures in research. Many of my books–-historical romance and mainstream historical fiction too—are based on actual historical events, real people and real places interwoven with fiction. I’m grateful to have had some great research luck over the years—deep research, luck, and synchronicity can help bring various elements together to strengthen a story.
My latest release is The Hawk Laird—now available for preorder in a gorgeous new edition from Dragonblade Publishing. It’s the newly revised and updated edition of my award-winning, USAToday-bestselling Laird of the Wind (originally published by Penguin). In revising the book, I made no changes to the story, but it is way less wordy (truly) and has lots more punch. I like this update very much, and I hope you will too.
In 14th century Scotland, a Scottish outlaw and falconer must undo the grim destiny foretold by a beautiful prophetess–while dealing with that stubborn lady and a bratty goshawk . . . James Lindsay was wrongly accused of betraying his friend, William Wallace. Then he discovers that Lady Isobel Seton, a beautiful young prophetess, made a dire prediction that implicated him, and he must act to prevent that. James has a secret to protect, and so does Isobel. The story grows from there …
“A complex, mesmerizing story of betrayal, retribution, and healing . . . a lyrical, compelling love story.” – Library Journal
Here’s wishing that 2024 is the year we’ve all been waiting for — a year of peace and harmony in homes and communities, of healing and happiness, love and kindness. We wish you dreams come true and wonderful luck.
We’re looking forward to a great year of blogging, giveaways, great new books, and the fun of connecting with readers. Thank you for your support of our blog and our books!
Anne here, with this month's ask-a-wench question, a thought-provoking question from Janice (and for which she'll receive a free book). Thanks, Janice.
With the popularity of audiobooks and the increasing ease of obtaining them, I am seeing more comments and reviews from readers talking about books they listened to rather than read in print. Has this affected your writing process at all? I know when I have to compose something I hear the words in my head and then I put them on the paper. I know some people put the words on the paper and then read them aloud or in their heads. The sound and the rhythm are very important – but I don't have to think about how they will sound if someone else says them. Is this a consideration for you?
Christina said: I don’t listen to audiobooks myself – I’m a very visual person and don’t like having things read out to me as I need to see the words. I don’t usually read my work out loud to myself either, except occasionally a bit of dialogue. Therefore, I never used to take them into consideration at all when writing my own stories. They were just something my publisher had done, and I never even listened to the author copies they sent me when audiobooks used to be on CDs. I received two and kept one for my shelf, while sending the other to a second cousin of mine who was blind. A couple of times, I had to provide a pronunciation list for the narrator as some of my books contained Japanese words, but I had no direct contact with anyone and never checked whether they got it right.
Then I changed publisher, and to my surprise they asked for my opinion on the person who was to record my first book for them. I listened to a few different narrators and agreed one of them was the best. As far as I was concerned, my input was over, but that turned out not to be the case. Again, I was asked about pronunciations, since I had included a whole bunch of words and phrases in Old Norse. When adding those, it never occurred to me that some poor soul would have to read them out loud. In my head, I’d pronounced them the way I thought might be right, using Swedish as my guide. However, for the purposes of the audiobook, guessing wasn’t good enough. So I had to consult with the kind lady who had helped me find the right words in the first place – she has a PhD in Old Norse and speaks Icelandic too. Then I had to learn to pronounce the words myself, before teaching the narrator how to do it. We had a session via Skype, which was great fun, both of us tripping over the unfamiliar sounds and laughing. There’s a lot of guttural stuff in Old Norse, and sometimes you sound like you’re just clearing your throat <g>. For every book since, I’ve had those sessions with the narrator and we are both getting used to Norse words and phrases. I’m even tempted to use them in real life sometimes! Doesn’t þegi þú! (pronounced THEY-ghi THOO – the TH as in the word ‘three’ and then a throaty ‘g’ as in the Scottish word “loch”) ) sound much better than ‘shut up!’ for example? So yes, these days I do think a little bit about what I’m adding to my stories, but if the words need to be in there, my reader and I will simply have to learn how to pronounce them.
Choose a Word for 2023:
by Mary Jo
Since 2022 is drawing to a close (already?!), it's time to think ahead about what we'd like in 2023. I've done this before here and in another group, but I think it's an interesting and mindful exercise to choose a word that can be a keyword or inspiration or talisman for the year ahead.
Do you want to EXPERIMENT and try something new? Learn to RELAX and let go of as much stress as you can? How about learning to FOCUS better? (That's a word I've claimed in the past!) Do you want to CLARIFY relationships or other elements in your life? Worth thinking about!
And the Wenches have been thinking about this! Pat Rice is first:
I fear I very much live in the moment. Thinking or planning for a year doesn’t happen. Worse yet, I’m not inclined to meditation, inspiration, or reflecting on the past or future, possibly because I don’t believe I have much control over the events that most shape our lives. So I am hopeless at questions like these.
At best, I can plan for the events I want, and hope that eventually, the Fates will offer me opportunity. Does that constitute a keyword—opportunity? Once upon a time, I practiced writing, taught myself craft, wrote thousands of pages, and eventually, after years of sending out books, a new publisher decided to start a historical romance line and bought my book. I am not entirely certain opportunity encompasses all that.
So I’ll simply choose the word ENJOY. While I’m wishing and hoping and plotting, I mean to enjoy the moment I’m in. If an opportunity to go out to lunch with friends interferes with my deadline, I’ll forget the deadline and enjoy the lunch because the chance might not come again.