Confession of an Evil Twin

Since this is a blog where history reigns, I’ll offer a hearty “huzzah” for our launch (instead of the Rocky-influenced “Yo!” favored down here in Philadelphia.) I hope you come back often.

Like every true Gemini, I’m not just one writer, but two. Since 1992, I’ve written historical romances under the name Miranda Jarrett, while this summer I’ll be publishing my first book of historical fiction as Susan Holloway Scott.

Having a psuedonym/alter-ego/evil twin can be strange. When my son was in elementary school, he was fascinated by the idea that his mother had more than one name. (Actually three names, since for him the other two came in a distant second and third behind Mom.) It made me different from the other mothers. It made me exotic, or at least what passes for exotic to six-year-old boys.

But such adulation has its peril. One afternoon we were standing in the line of a crowded grocery store, inching along behind the loaded cart. My son was getting antsy. He was, at least, until I pulled my checkbook and pen out of my purse. That made him brighten up right away.

“Hey, Mom!” he called in that piercing little-boy voice. “What name are you going to sign today?”

Meeting readers, other writers, grocery store managers — yes, it’s all part of the glamourous life of a writer….


Mood and Ideas

The theory is that we introduce ourselves today and then take turns posting each day.  Theory and actuality tend to have a wide divide, but let the experiment begin!

I’m Patricia Rice, and I managed to be published in full-length historicals before I wrote my first Regencies, so you realize right up front I tend to do things backwards.  And inside-out.  And in circles, whenever possible. Mary Jo is the linear personality.  I’m just screwed up.  And Jo is our educator.  (loved the post on Canadian holidays, Jo!) We all have very distinct personalities, so it could be entertaining to see how we squabble…discuss life and writing among us and our readers.

Mary Jo asked: "Do you want to know where we get ideas?  Would you like a scholarly dissertation on childbirth in the early 19th century?  On the history of contraceptives?  Or how crazed writers sound when they’re on deadline and the !#$%&* computer crashes? "

And I’d like an answer to that "where do you get your ideas" question because I’ve hunted high and low for mine today and they’ve apparently hidden under the desk where I can’t get at them.

So I’ll ask–where or what was the most unusual place you found an idea?  And this doesn’t just have to apply to authors–I’ve had ideas about my garden, about inventions, about making the kitchen an easier place to work.  everyone can contribute.

I don’t think it’s my most unusual idea or my most unusual place, but the combination was weird enough–when we were traveling through a forest in France with a busload of teenagers (don’t ask, the answer is painful), I suddenly had the image of a silver-haired waif floating silently between the trees, unable to speak but searching for something elusive.  That idea became one of my first books–Silver Enchantress.  I think mood speaks to me as much as anything else.


Happy Victoria Day, Canada

Word Wenches has created a monster. I promise, I won’t be posting this much normally, but having mentioned Victoria Day below, I can’t leave it at that.

I’ve copied this from the tourism site of Victoria, British Columbia, but this is a national holiday, not a local one*.

“Victoria Day is celebrated in Canada on a Monday on or prior to May 24th. It is the official celebration of the birthdays of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India, was born on May 24th, 1819. She ascended the throne after the death of her uncle George IV, in 1837, when she was only 18. She ruled until her death in 1901, when her son Edward VII became king of England.

Victoria Day was established as a holiday in Canada West (now Ontario) in 1845, and became a national holiday in 1901. Before Victoria Day became a national holiday, people celebrated Empire Day, beginning in the 1890’s as Victoria approached her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The City of Victoria celebrates its namesake with an annual Victoria Day parade. The Victoria Day Parade is one of the largest parades in the Pacific Northwest and features floats and marching bands from across British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Afterwards, family picnics or afternoon teas are common.”

Unfortunately, after a week of glorious weather, it’s absolutely chucking it down here.

*When we came to Canada in 1976, we were living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Just after we’d arrived, the papers were full of plans for Natal Day. Now I was befuddled as to why Halifax should be making such a fuss about a small part of South Africa.

I quote from Wikipedia.
“KwaZulu-Natal, often referred to as “KZN”, is a province of South Africa. Prior to 1994 the territory now known as KwaZulu-Natal was made up of the province of Natal and the Bantustan of KwaZulu. Early on the region was called Natalia and later named the Natal Colony. It is called the garden province and is the home of the Zulu nation. It extends from the borders with Swaziland and Mozambique to the Eastern Cape in the south. Inland it is bound by the Kingdom of Lesotho, and the Free State and Mpumalanga provinces.”
Read the whole article here.

It was, of course, the birthday celebration of Halifax and adjointing Dartmouth. A good time was had by all.

That’s one of the joys of language, isn’t it? Nuance and expectation can change everything.

Jo, who really is going to work now, holiday or no holiday.

Sherrie wields a sharp whip. But that’s why I need an editor. 🙂

I typed bif sky country in the post below, not big sky, and she kindly fixed it for me.

I really am lousy at proofreading. My eye-brain connection just doesn’t do that thing. I do generally get most things right first time, thank heavens, but I’m also deeply grateful for spellcheck, critique friends, and good copy editors. Spellchecking e-mail, however, feels like cheating. (I didn’t say that made sense did I? Are blogs supposed to make sense?)

Is it cheating to spell check a blog? I’m not sure yet. And it wouldn’t have helped if I’d typed bit sky, bib sky, or perhaps even bic sky. Feel free to catch the typos every time I post. I won’t do it deliberately, I promise. But I won’t spellcheck, either.

For all Canadians, happy Victoria day!



Let’s crack some virtual champagne!

It’s exciting to see this get underway. With such great company, this should be fun.

I’m Jo Beverley, an English word wench, though I’ve lived in Canada for decades. I’m just back from a trip to England, visiting friends and relatives and doing research. I love to write and talk about English history.

The thing that always astonishes me about England is that there’s still a lot of open space, even though it’s a densely populated country. What’s more, because anywhere fertile has been intensively farmed for centuries if not millennia, there isn’t that much woodland to obscure views. At times it really is big sky country.

I’ll post pictures now and then, but for now, here is a picture from one of London’s famous parks — Hyde Park.


Jo Beverley