Author Archives: cynsitywriting@gmail.com

You’re doing it wrong

Ok. Because I AM A WRITER … and I want to talk about writing and writing related things that are really writing related things not just crap that stirs the pot but doesn’t help writing advance….

I spent this last Saturday in a workshop and in that work shop I heard the presenter say that we need to STOP using words that sexualize skin tone.. She said that using words like mocha, chocolate, coffee make your writing unacceptable and degrading. She said no one does that to other other skin tones (white) unless they are intentionally being degrading?
Now I have thought about this for almost a week and I am not sure I agree… I happen to know that I have read the words “creamy” “milky” “cherry” “peachy” in many popular and good books I know I have used them. So …

Is it wrong? Do we have some “responsibility” to not equate skin tone with things we find enjoyable? And does that extend to hair color, eye color, lips color??? Is it something we need to stop doing? Is it our genre? is it an actual problem we just haven’t heard about that readers might be throwing books across the room over? Or is it just the way people are made to relate to our vision of our characters? I for one do not use a great many physical descriptive words because I don’t want to force my take on what is beauty or sexy I want the ready to imprint that themselves… But I say her hair was like wheat …

Hi-Ho off to work I go… maybe… or more coffee…

Okay I AM A WRITER but I just can’t get it kicked started today with the fiction writing. I keep getting sucked in to research projects … and not any that have anything to do WITH fiction writing… freaking STATS are like my drug of choice right now… so anyway

I was wondering about methods of writing, you know the physical ones. The ways we try to train ourselves to make writing a priority (dare I say it) a JOB. Something you do every day that has a set and reachable goal.

Its about “clocking in” doing work and “clocking out”. We full time writers know this as Butt in Chair, Fingers on Keys… We also know its hard to maintain that discipline even for full time writers.
SO!
Other than having a set word number goal you try to reach every day what other methods do we all employ to get that first draft done start to finish? And do they work well or are you still finding yourself drawn to cute cat videos in the middle of writing a dramatic scene? And too do you find like I do the closer you get to the end of your story the slower you go? For me I am like I am so sick of this script I want to be done but then it takes me a week to write the last chapter (freaking stats bugging me, calling my name)

Crazy, but I like it and I’m in good company

So, I AM A WRITER…. and I am officially again being considered clinically depressed (script written and on its way). Really for me the diagnosis isn’t new or unexpected, it happens every 3-4 years because my body isn’t capable of maintaining that needed chemical balance. what is a bigger deal for me is the WHY I again find myself here and the WHAT am I going to do about it.

Which brings me to the AS A WRITER part of this post today: A few issues back the Romance Writers of America put out an issue of their Romance Writers Report with a HUGE article about how common mental illness, especially depression, is among authors and how it is speculated that because as artists we are simply more “sensitive” than most to external conflicts be they emotional, physical, physiological or chemical and that we just need to accept this about ourselves… okay YES that is how I took the article whether or not that was the intent I don’t know we all read and get thing from the reading differently (as Facebook has scientifically PROVEN without room for doubt). But here was my thing. If as artists we are so prone to depression why doesn’t it come out more in our work product? I mean it certainly might hamper our work PROGRESS, we might sit in the chair at the keyboard all day and not type three words because we don’t “FEEL” it. I am sure depression also adds to the angst we feel when a writing colleague puts out a new book or three, gets invited to be part of an anthology or series or wins an award or ranks placing, while we are still trying to get that fourth word on the page. And still we all know, through our reviews, that what we write makes others “happy” gives them joy or as one reviewer said to me about No Sugar Added it validated them as a real woman/human.

So are artists depressed people? Is it our so called sensitivity, which to me is what makes us capable of doing what we do, causing depression and other mental illness making it an inevitability among us? Are we all suffering even if we don’t know or won’t admit it (And please you do NOT have to actually answer that). And if these types of disorders (I rather dislike that word as it makes me think that some how people with them are not just as perfect as those without) are affecting us what do we need to do to make sure they do not overwhelm us to a point we start dropping off like lemmings at the cliff edge.

I know for me I am going to be put back on medications that have helped and likely be forced back into therapy because that is how the VA works (which because I then have to drive 65 miles to attend that will only add to my angst). And I know that I WILL write. Maybe not as fast or as good but I will write and I will write what I know and make my personal experiences part of a deeper story. But what else? And how do I help someone else who is in the boat with me (Carpathia not the Titanic)? What do we artists need to do, say, to help other artists know that it’s alright if they aren’t the sexy, happy, love winning HEA story they write about.

What might be ways we remind ourselves that its something we can LIVE with. That it might not go away but it can be managed and even used. Anyway, that is my I AM A WRITER post today… hope it didn’t bother anyone too much… TMI and all.

Stuff happens

I AM A WRITER: Had one of those soul sucking pain level migraines last night but being as I force myself to think of anything but the pain I finally thought through the conflict internal and external for the contemporary I am trying to write as a follow up to NSA. I have 3 sort of drafted but there is something lacking in each one. This one now should finish writing itself. Hope because I am a Writer

Yes I am a dependent, needy writer

I AM A WRITER:
I am a writer, I can spin a good tale. That is my only USEFUL superpower (I have a totally useless superpower but…). I am a writer. I am NOT omniscient outside of a poorly written scene. I can’t know the hearts and minds of anyone but myself and my characters who are an extension of me.
I have no status which makes me capable of casting judgements on people. I have not walked their life path or worked through their struggles. And while I might write FICTIONALLY about many things, it is still only fiction and only perceived with my own life experiences.
I personally dislike it when someone who has a platform uses it to try and tell me, TELL NOT PERSUADE, how to think or act. I see this all the time from the Hollywood elite. And to be honest when I see it I “protest” it by NOT paying to see their movies or TV shows. Nothing about their lives reflect mine in reality. I have never made millions for just hours of work. And while I do not begrudge their earnings (if I could act or sing… yeah) I do not think it makes them somehow better able to say how the world should be. They are actors, not Gods, demi-gods, soothsayers or psychics. Anymore than I am. Anymore than any other actor, entertainer or WRITER is.
So when I hear a WRITER telling READERS that if they do not think and act the way the writer demands then they don’t want that reader to buy their books, I freaking loose my mind.
WRITER, do you NOT understand that when you do this you do not just slam a door shut for your own sales but you start a fire that can burn us all down to ashes. READERS talk. As much as publishers, agents and editors talk, maybe more. They tell their friends and families about good and bad books and they tell other readers about Narcissistic Authors. They also tell what that author writes and their critique of that author is passed onto the GENRE in general. People get turned off by, not only the author, but of the genre because they start to think ALL the authors are like this and willing to use their platform to denigrate them.
What reason then, would they have to spend that $5 on anyone who writes the genre? NONE. So if you are an author who doesn’t NEED and WANT people to buy your books then why are you writing them? Why not stop and let other WRITERS who appreciate the READERS, who could spend their hard earned money elsewhere, have those sales.
And if you are a publisher with authors who say such why are you still publishing these people? They will take you down as well.
And if you are a READER, please know, while I can NOT and will not speak for others who do what I do, I DO appreciate you buying, reading, reviewing and sharing my books. I have been from the very first sale humbled and honored you would give me the time and provide me with the chance to actually live my dream and enjoy my labor.
READERS I exist for you. I AM A WRITER.

Can not live on words alone, must eat

I am a writer. So I am making stew because it’s snowing and stew and snow both start with “S”. Okay that isn’t really true. Fact is though I was trying to think of what to make for dinner and the snow really started coming down and I thought today was a comfort food kind of day and biscuits are comfort so what goes with biscuits? Stew. Stew goes with biscuits and it’s also a comfort food so…. yeah I am a write my brain works in mysterious ways so stew and biscuits on a snow day.

Books by Marie Hall

Historical and Costume Dramas

Xavier Brice is a feared man. The king’s own executioner and most loyal servant.  Cover Royal Scold Worship Series Book 2 002Io Desmond is a nobody who has stayed alive being independent and self reliant. She is loyal only to her own needs.

When the king brings these two people together, wills clash and hearts pound. Xavier must first show Io that trust is possible before his demands for obedience can be met. Io must trust that obedience does not mean subjugation. Together they will give and take in the name of pleasure, pain and love.

 

United by a royal contract, Io Desmond has found pleasure and pain under Xavier’s firm and steady hand. But trust is not something Io affords to anyone, and without it she cannot receive the full measure of what Xavier will give her.

Cover Royal Scold Worship Series Book 2 001Bound by love and lust, Xavier Brice would give Io the affection and discipline she requires to feel cared for and safe. But he’s never faced anything like the inner demons holding Io away from the offer of home and stability.

If Io’s doubts and fears prove stronger than Xavier’s promise of protection and devotion, the challenge could tear them apart. If Xavier’s promise of commitment and dependability can rise above, then together, through the pleasure and the pain, they will find love.

    A home with love is heaven. And Xavier Brice thinks it is nothing short of that with his wife Io next to him. After years of warfare in the name of his king, all Xavier wants is a peaceful life with his goddess of a wife whose spirit and beauty fires his lust and sometimes his temper.

 scold house  He knows with the right balance of a firm hand and a gentle love he will be able to live out his life with the perfect woman beside him. That is until his estranged mother arrives with the woman she wants to be Xavier’s wife. With them in his home, heaven quickly becomes like hell. And everything he could ever want could end up as ash under his feet.

   A home with doubt is hell. And Io Brice can not help the doubt she is filled with when her husband is given the chance to take another as his wife. The life of uncertainty and struggle was supposed to be in the past. But as Io watches, Xavier seems to find favor with the fine and well-bred lady his mother so approves of. As much as it hurts, Io is not sure she can stand in the way when Xavier has the chance to have what a man of his status deems he should have… A Lady Wife.

   As everything Io has known is slowly stripped away, can she find the strength and courage to believe in Xavier and hope he will stay true?

   Can Xavier and Io stand together as others try to pull them apart? Will the mysterious goings-on in their home shred all hope of a happy ending? When the line between Heaven and Hell are blurred, all two people can do is hold on to what they feel for each other and pray it is enough.

 

The king has reaffirmed Io Brice’s marriage to Lord Xavier Brice. As much as Io wills their relationship to be one of want and need rather than command and duty, she is not able to fully trust in her husband’s commitment.

As Lady Charlotte, Xavier’s own mother, continues to push for Io to be put out, someone else is pushing for Io’s very end.
Unsure if it is her husband, his mother, or the woman set on replacing her, Io thinks her only chance to stay alive is to run.
But will she leave the dangers in the house only to find worse on the road? And will the memories of everything she left behind even allow her to go on living?

Xavier Brice has tried everything to make his wife know how he feels about her. Still he can not convince her it is neither contract nor duty which binds him to her. And with his mother’s constant and vile meddling, he knows Io is losing trust in his love for her.

To make matters worse, someone has tried to murder Io and he knows she thinks it could be him behind the attempt. When Io runs, Xavier is left with only the hope he will get to her in time to prove he is the one man who will love and protect her.

When two people cannot live without each other, separation can feel like death. But when staying together could end their lives for real, will the risk outweigh the reward, or will love end in tragedy?

A Warrior’s Arms
Xavier Brice has found the woman who holds his heart. All he desires now is to hold her in his arms, keep her safe, and return home with her to prove he is the man she once believed him to be. But his wife is not only resisting his every attempt to show her how much he loves and wants her, she is refusing to stand close enough so he might even speak to her, let alone hold her. The struggle to regain her trust and her love is becoming a fight he isn’t sure he will win. And while Io Brice sometimes appears to want the very same as her husband, it is clear she is holding back secrets.

Can Xavier’s love for Io remain strong enough to see them through the trials they still must face both as they travel home, and once they arrive? Or will the desires of another to destroy what the couple have prove stronger than any sword arm or armored body might withstand?
A Woman’s Heart
Io Brice never expected her husband to come after her. She thought he wanted her dead and forgotten so he might take another as his wife. Now he says he not only wants her to return and take her place in his house as his lady wife but that she is safe with him. Can she trust what he is saying? Can she find the warmth of hope in what she feels for the man? Or will the cold actions taken against her remain as the only truth she knows? As her heart wars with her mind, she must choose a side and make a stand before she can let Xavier take her back. Can she believe he is not the one behind the attempts on her life? And if she cannot, can she bring herself to stop wanting him and everything he has always said could be hers?

When danger looms, the only hope for safety is trusting in the one who stands beside you. As dangers are revealed, Xavier and Io must find away to come together and stand strong. Will the strength in a warrior’s body and the passion in a woman’s heart be enough to face the deadly trials ahead? Can Xavier be the warrior Io will need to win the battle for not only her life but also her love? Can Io find the strength to fight for what she wants more than life – Xavier’s heart? Will they both fall to the enemy, or will they both find victory in the Scold’s Conquest?

 

Contemporary

 

A new beginning isn’t supposed to start with needing to be rescued.

At least JayCee Kray’s new neighbor is a trained public servant. Even better, he’s all male sexy. The only problem is, JayCee knows she’s not the NSA5kind of girl a sexy cop like Andrew MacFarlin would go for.
Hiding behind her profession as a humor columnist, JayCee’s personal life is a mess. She’s allowed the wrong people to have the wrong kind of control over her for too long. Though highly praised in her job, she lacks the confidence and the courage to give Andrew access to the woman she is inside.
Andrew MacFarlin couldn’t have been happier to find his new neighbor on his doorstep needing assistance. The little cutie sparks something in him the moment they meet. Her stand-offish manner isn’t going to deter him. He doesn’t see a woman in need of rescue—he sees a very intelligent, witty, caring woman who’s hiding behind a wall she’s built around her.
Andrew is more than willing to help JayCee settle into a new way of life, and just as willing to give her pert little bottom a sound spanking when she purposely does self-destructive things.
Though JayCee continues to throw up obstacles, finding herself unable to trust that Andrew won’t just walk away, he is not only a man of honor, he is a man on a mission. Thanks to his unfaltering manner and firm hand, they will be able to find what they both need: love.

 

What is a Historical Romance

books1

I’ve been asked, once or twice, “What’s a historical romance”? Quite simply a historical romance is a romance story set in a specific time period (generally accepted as pre 1940). The setting of the story acts as a background, a silent character, adding a “feel” to the story. Making the conflicts and resolutions the characters find slightly more unique for the era in which they are playing out their dramas. The romance genre takes all the “good”, flowery and sparkling parts of the history and intertwine it with characters who will eventually find a “happily ever after” ending to their adventure.
What makes a historical, of any genre, is the history. Factual people, events, codes of conduct, dress, technology and social and religious beliefs of the time add a purer sense to the possibility of the story having actually taken place.

I do want to make sure its understood while “historical fiction” uses facts of time, place, people, events as a “secondary character” in the story, which interact with the main characters to draw out the drama (goal, motivation, conflict), by contrast a “costume drama fiction” really only uses the general idea of the period as a setting and often the real historical facts have little to do with the story over all. In Costume Dramas history is often played fast and loose to fit the characters rather than the characters fitting the history.

For those who read historical romances (or historicals of any genre) the likelihood is some mental picture of the time period already exists (thank you Hollywood). Often readers tend to stick with a specific time frame, say Regency or American Western. Readers do this for the very same reason writers do, because its what is well known to them.

books2As someone who can never decide, day to day, whether to be a writer or a historian first I have a harder time making history something it never was even for the purpose of a sweet story line. So yeah while some oral health care happened people weren’t brushing teeth at least twice a day. Taking liberty with history is a writer’s prerogative and while I do much to avoid this I find even I cannot be purely historically factual and maintain the romantic elements, she would be missing teeth and his breath was going to be gag worthy. Although what I write directly in regards to historical events, people and places are factual for some who may not know or who will question the facts I am adding these blogs to build a better picture of the period in hopes to spark interest and deepen the appreciation for the “love found” aspect of every romance.

Because I write both historical fiction AND costume dramas I will try to be clear in my blogs which I am referring to.  For The Debt (not yet available) I use the standards of Historical Fiction while books3The Worship Series is fully a Costume Drama and I use more of the darker, harsher elements of history which wouldn’t really fit into a typical Romance Genre story.

The reason I mention this is because while I hope you enjoy the story in a pure sense, that the characters make you laugh and cry and feel my true intent is to get you thinking about the history. books4I hope often to give you some fact you may never have known otherwise. To encourage you to revisit a historical place or to seek out confirmation of my facts and find even more facts about the history. I hope to give you a passion for our past. For while history doesn’t have to define us at the time we are currently it does lay the foundations for what we may become in time.

So as a quick reference I want to use a grand Hollywood Historical (Romance, Action, Intrigue,) you put the genre tag on it you want.  I say Romance because that is how I watched it.  I will be using this example off and on throughout my blogs because its an easy reference, not because I “loved” the movie.

books5

We all know the “block buster” movie Titanic with DiCaprip and Winslet playing Jack and Rose (respectively). We all know the “big facts” of the Titanic’s ill-fated maiden voyage. We know from the beginning of the movie it will end with a tragedy, that 1100 people will die and a ship once proclaimed “unsinkable” will end on the bottom of the North Atlantic Sea. But we watched the story unfold all the same.book6 Why? Simply, we want to follow the story of two people who were on the ship. And while we know those two people didn’t really exist we see their drama play out and we hope, we really hope that maybe someone really found what Jack and Rose found before the villain iceberg stole it all away. That we know in our logical minds such a wild, passionate, class-crossing romance probably didn’t happen, the setting of a doomed ship where so many were lost and unaccounted for and the lack of electronic records of passengers and such gives that place in our minds (really our hearts) hope.

In its basic form the Titanic is a historical romance that is POSSIBLE. We couldn’t do the same story really with a modern back drop the technology of the day prevents it, but on a ship in 1912 with only a modest telegraphing system and no finger prints or driver’s licenses or pass ports the story works and we fall in love and we feel all those wonderful feelings a romance is meant to give us.

History is often glorified, in every genre that uses it to create a fictional story.books7  The truth is history was often dark, dangerous, violent and unjust.  What we can all look at though is that enough of the glory, the beautifulbooks8 survived because as humans, as people we strive to find heroes and heroins, bravery and love. People have always done this and most likely always will.
On this blog page I will be giving you more detail of the history of the stories. I will give you sources to find information yourself and I will answer questions, the best I can. Hopefully, this information will bring more of the story alive for you and help you enjoy the romance even more.

READ ON!

books9PS The claim the Titanic was “unsinkable” was a mis-quote of Capt E.J. Smith (RMS Titanic, seated 3rd from left) what he actually said was “I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder… Modern ship-building has gone beyond that.” 1907

Welcome to the Year 1490

For those who have read historical romances before the likelihood is high some mental picture of the time period already exists, thank you Hollywood. Often readers tend to stick with a specific time frame, say Regency or American Western. Readers do this for the very same reason writers do, because its what is well known to them.

What the romance genre does is take all the “good”, flowery and sparkling parts of the history and intertwine this with characters who will eventually find a “happily ever after” ending to their adventure.

As someone who can never decide, day to day, whether to be a writer or a historian first I have a harder time making history something it never was even for the purpose of a sweet story line. So yeah while some oral health care happened people weren’t brushing teeth at least twice a day. Taking liberty with history is a writer’s prerogative and while I do much to avoid this I find even I cannot be purely historically factual and maintain the romantic elements, she would be missing teeth and his breath was going to be gag worthy. Although what I write directly in regards to historical events, people and places are factual for some who may not know or who will question the facts I am adding these blogs to build a better picture of the period in hopes to spark interest and deepen the appreciation for the “love found” aspect of every romance.

I do want to make sure its understood while “historical fiction” uses facts of time, place, people, events as a “secondary character” in the story, which interact with the main characters to draw out the drama (goal, motivation, conflict), by contrast a “costume drama fiction” really only uses the general idea of the period as a setting and often the real historical facts have little to do with the story over all.

Because I write both historical fiction AND costume dramas I will try to be clear in my blogs which I am referring to.  For The Debt I use the standards of Historical Fiction while The Worship Series is fully a Costume Drama.

So, what was happening in 1490? In general not very much. For the British Isles this is still the very beginning of the Renaissance Period which started roughly 1485 and lasted through 1649. The Renaissance was going strong in places such as Italy for more than 100 years but due to the lack of full stability in Great Britain over the same time frame as well as disturbances on the European continent the Cultural Revolution or rebirth was slower to gain ground in England.

From 1327 until 1484 England saw seven different monarchs sit the thrown and each fought to hold both the thrown and the kingdom. The seating of Henry VII was not without controversy and not without troubles, but for the British it was the end of the conflict between the Lancastrians and Yorkists. King Henry VII line would lead England to world superpower status.

However, this did not mean such things as slavery, human chattel and servitude to an over lord disappeared. The practice of indentured servitude which is the premise of “The Debt” was very common and not often was the indentured person treated fairly. wedding4The person would die still owing a debt in some kind of bondage. In all likelihood because “The Debt” deals with a contract and civil matters these would have been approved through either The Court of Sessions or The Court of Baron both of which dealt with civil issues, trespass and debts. However, these two official courts were not established in a formal manner in 1490. Although legal proceedings became more cohesive by this time the intervention of courts would not have happened for the protagonist.

The second main premise is of a “forced” marriage. While less common these did happen and for the very reason given in the story; to advance someone politically.wedding1 Marriages in general during this time period became more “love based” as people were waiting till their early to mid twenties to wed. Nobility still wed slightly younger to protect inheritances but the tradition of marrying children was almost completely ended by this time.  The “marriage contract” was only the first step in a legal marriage and while binding, alone it was not enough to force someone to wed. While never mentioned directly in “The Debt” there is an assumption that the “spousals”, oral promises given in front of witnesses, have been spoken. Legally speaking a marriage didn’t occur until several more steps had taken place but for the Anglican Church a contract of marriage was enough standing. Under English Law a marriage not done by the book but sanctioned by the church committed the couple to each other for life however did not give a guarantee any heirs would be allowed to inherent. In this “The Debt” sets up enough of a quandary for the protagonist to be concerned and thus not want to risk the “marriage” as it stands.

Here now are the historical bases for the premise of the story. I hope this gives you a better perspective on the complex tangles a young woman such as Torlanwedding2 could find herself in. And    gives you an even more clear understanding of how difficult it will be for Torlan and Dark to overcome these legal and social issues.

Enjoy and READ ON!

A Woman’s Work…

We all have these “ideas” about what it must have been like to be a lady living in a castle with a handsome lord. Or even what it would be like to be a knight defending a strategic fief for the king. Well not to bust any bubbles but…

The management of any home in the late middle ages and early renaissance was a feat as complex and time consuming as the management of some of today’s small governments. And for the most part it was the lady of the house whose duty it was to run the house. To find time to “sit and work embroidery” was a rare pleasure for most ladies. One almost never found by a common woman.
On an average day the lady of the house could have to oversee    ladyswork5 everything from the setting of menus, some needing to feed dozens, to the buying of foods, organizing hunts, the care of livestock and directing planting and harvesting. The collection of water the distilling of wines and ales and the heating of cooking fires would be just a few every day duties a lady would see too.

She would also be the one responsible for ensuring such things as weaving, spinning, dying and use of cloth happened productively. The making of things the house would need such as soap, candles and torches. ladyswork3Even with the establishment of guilds for each of these products many homes were self sufficient and didn’t “shop” for basic home items.
All chores, while usually done by others were overseen by the lady of the house and failure for the completion would fall on her shoulders. However, there was more a lady would be responsible for.

The very defense of a home would be the lady’s responsibility if the house fell under attack while the lord was away. Direction of soldiers, knights or just the house staff to defend the gates, the fields and the shires could be a responsibility a “lady” would have to meet.ladyswork4
Then, if there happened to be guests in the home the lady was the one responsible for all the entertainments. This could include hunts or just riding, meals, readings and stories, dance and music, possibly the access to … well to put it politely … sexual pleasures. ladyswork2The lady of the house would also be the one responsible for the bathing and dressing of any “higher” visiting lords, and yes bathing was an important task so much that several descriptive manuscripts existed detailing how a bath should be given. The lady of the house would know these things.

Often in most homes it would be the lady who would be responsible for “education”. In the early English Renaissance period education was making a huge come back. Henry the VII’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, never known as “queen mother” because she never was, was noted during her life for establishing a sort of “public” education system. ladyswork 1Prior many, including nobility could not even read and had to hire ministers from the church to do all their reading and writing. Any lady who could read would be expected to pass on that knowledge to any child born to the house.
I hope these facts do not completely strip the ability to romanticize history just a little bit. Pageantry and intrigue, scandalous affairs and bitter rivalries still existed. Knights and “romantic love” from afar were standards of the time as can be found in the writings.

I only tell you these facts so you have an easier time accepting what skills the sweet protagonist of ‘The Debt’ could actually posses. Women of 1490 were strong, smart, skilled people who had great responsibly; every bit the same as today’s women.

READ ON!