Forbidden River

Hi, I'm Jo, and I like to put words together oddly. *G*

I'm not actually blogging about a forbidden river, though the two words do begin to conjure stories…..That's an interesting way to spark the imagination, actually.

Odd word pairings.

Randomly pick a noun and adjective and see what new ideas it sparks. Even "random spark" takes my mind somewhere. Or write a noun and then add an adjective that doesn't fit. "gruesome garden" "perfumed tractor" "leisurely labour"

I know, let's make this your challenge, should you choose to accept it. Do as I said — pick a noun, then an adjective that doesn't fit, and then share what story idea comes up. Don't worry, you don't have to write the story; only a sentence or so. For example, gruesome garden leads easily to a garden in which someone has been burying corpses, but it could be a garden where all the plants are poisonous. A perfumed tractor could belong to a Legally Blond sort of farmer, or perhaps it's used in the lavender fields of Provence.

Go for it. There's a prize for the one that delights me most — a copy of the reissue of Forbidden. Or, if you are willing to wait a few months, the reissue of Dragon's Bride or An Unwilling Bride. They're all books from my Company of Rogues world.

Forbidden For2011

The title still bugs me! I had a number in mind, though I can't remember what they were, but in 1994 single word titles were the rage and they insisted. I should have stood firm for Scandalous, even though there'd been a couple, but I let the publisher go with Forbidden because it hadn't been used. And found my book one of three Forbiddens that year!

I suppose it was "forbidden" for Serena to rape Francis — for that's what it amounts to — but the rest was pure scandal and social chaos.

Serena had been sold into marriage at fifteen, and to "Randy" Riverton, a disgusting older man who kept her at his country estate and used her as a sexual plaything. Now Riverton's dead, her brothers are planning a second sale, so Serena runs, determined never to stay free, even if it means becoming a courtesan. Far better than a married slave.

Ubnew On the road, she's helped by the gallant, and virginal, Francis Lord Middlethorpe, who's on the point of proposing marriage to the sadly crippled daughter of a duke…..

I have mixed feelings about the new cover. That does look like Serena, but she'd never be looking so provocatively at anyone. I like to think it portrays a time after the end of the book, when she and Francis are enjoying a provocative game. After all, why else would she be naked under her gown?

This is the cover for the new issue of An Unwilling Bride. I suppose it's runaway bride! And a very modern wedding dress with a zip down the back. But it's pretty, and there's plenty of white space for my name and the title.

Going Up The River Somewhere

I'm writing A Scandalous Countess at the moment (out next February) and Georgia, Dowager Countess of Maybury, aged twenty, is disgusted when her father forbids her to remove to London. She's dutifully spent her mourning year in rural Worcestershire, and she wants to get back to life. It's 1765, however, and to use the old phrase, the peasants are revolting — too complex a story for here — and so the best he'll offer is a visit to her dull sister, Winifred, who lives out of town, in Hammersmith.

A modern reader might say "Hammersmith!" in the same tone of disbelief as Georgia did, but for different reasons. Nowadays, Hammersmith isn't a particularly elegant place. Back in 1765 it was an acceptable retreat from the dirty city, but favoured by scholars and clergy. Before her husband's death, their retreat by the river had been in fashionable Chelsea.

Hofparl So when we had reason to go up to London, we took a boat trip from Westminster, right by the Houses of Parliament, to Kew, where the famous Kew Gardens are. (Click on any picture to see the full size view.)

Once out of central London, it's surprising how much green there is, and the Thames now is very clean and healthy. There is a wide range of birds living on its edges. I'll have a better idea of what Georgia sees when she travels by river from Hammersmith into Town, to the York Steps, near St. James's, where the completely ineligible but surprisingly appealing Lord Dracy awaits to escort her.

Here's Hammersmith today at the river side, where we can still see the Georgian houses. Hammersmith I'm  adding a couple of other pictures we took along the way.

But don't forget the contest. Put together those two jarring words and say what the phrase brings to mind.

I've created a couple of Amazon stores just for my books. If you want to see them all in one place, this is the American one.

And this is the British one.

All best wishes from Devon, where we're ready to start the rain dance. We haven't had rain for months. This is England?????


But it's good for getting into the mood of 1765, which was an unusually hot summer, perhaps inflaming tempers.