Saturday, July 24, 2010
My August release, Spirit of the Mountain is available already in print format at my publisher. The Wild Rose Press. It's my first attempt at a paranormal, but to me it feels like a historical. I did major research into the Nez Perce or Nimiipuu tribe to be able to write this story about the daughter of a chief who is asked for in marriage by a warrior of the Blackfeet(Blackleg) tribe which at the time of the story were according to the words of a current Nimiipuu "considered the same as how you considered the Huns". I used this fear and hatred throughout the story when the heroine is talking and thinking about living with the Blackleg(the name the Nimiipuu called the Blackfeet).
I not only researched books on their day to day living conditions, their society, and their beliefs, I also read as much as I could in their own words. Myths and legends books and any snippet I could get that was in English but translated directly from their words. It helped me to get a feel for their speaking and cadence to their dialogue.
Here is a Nimiipuu story that I copied from the Nez Perce loop I'm on. As you can see by reading the story all of the stories handed down through the generations were like our fables. They taught a lesson.
Nez Perce boy legend
A long time ago there lived in our Blue Mountains a boy who was an only child. His parents had pampered and spoiled him until he was quite selfish and disagreeable.
His parents died and he was obliged to live with the rest of the tribe as an orphan. Because of his selfishness he was not well liked and the other children did not like to play with him. Some of the children learned that the camp was to be moved and made plans to get rid of the spoiled boy.
No one told him that they were moving and that morning they took him out to the high cattails to play hide-and-seek. They would hide and then call, "Who! Who!" Part of the time the boy was following his own echo. The children slipped away and hurried back to the camp in time to go.
The boy wandered about listening to his own echo for some time before he decided that the others had left. When he found his way back to camp it was deserted.
He was hungry and by rummaging about he found some roots that had been left. Still hungry, he decided to try some fishing. With a thorn on an improvised string he made from fibers and hair left at the camp, he placed a worm on the thorn and fished. Thus he secured fish.
Not wishing to eat it raw, his mind turned to fire, and investigation proved that someone had banked a bed of coals and he soon had a camp fire going.
Night was approaching. Where would he sleep? At last he remembered the little stone and mud igloo down by the stream where the people had taken their sweat baths. He crawled into the igloo and slept quite comfortably.
In the morning, he decided to try fishing, but this time a strange thing happened. When he felt something on his line he pulled steady and hard. Slowly it came, but it was not a fish. It was a boat loaded with many provisions and an extremely homely old lady. The old lady spoke to him, "Don't be afraid little boy, I will not hurt you. I am your Grandmother Experience. I have come to help you."
Grandmother Experience lived with him, after that and helped him do many things - make bows and arrows to kill game, gather food, build shelters, and many other things.
Time went on and the boy lived with the grandmother and grew up big and strong, but wondered where his people were. He commenced traveling about in hopes of finding them. One day he did find them and they marveled at the change he had undergone. He was no longer a spoiled selfish boy. Grandmother Experience had made a self-reliant, pleasant young man of him.
If you'd like to read an excerpt of my book Spirit of the Mountain you can visit my website: www.patyjager.net and click on paranormal. While you're there enter my website contest.
I'll be blogging for six days straight at Seriously Reviewed starting tomorrow, Sunday July 25th. Come on by and read about my hero and heroines from my last two releases. The last day I’m giving away a pdf of Doctor in Petticoats my historical western that released in June. And starting on Sunday August 8th I'm doing a six day blog tour with a contest. Check out my blog to learn more.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Despite modern-day beliefs, working women in medieval times were not just relegated to going into unpaid domestic service or running a household. Many skilled tasks were carried out in craftsman’s house or workshop. Wives and daughters were often called upon to assist in the tasks at hand. Though the regulations of many guilds expressly forbade entrance by women, exceptions were made for female family members of a guild member. By the late middle ages there were many cases of widows continuing to run the business after their spouse’s death. Many times men expected their wives to carry on even to the point of providing in their wills that any apprentices must serve out their term under the tutelage of the widow.
Trades carried on by such widows ranged from small crafts to large merchants trading in all kinds of goods. To manage such large businesses, these women had to be knowledgeable and hearty. One such was Alice de Hortsford whose ship was confiscated as the property of someone else by the marshal. Alice stood before the crown justice and proved title to the ship. The court ordered the vessel and goods returned. After the death of her wealthy merchant husband, Rose of Burford petitioned the royal court at least five times to recover a loan made to the King. When it became apparent that the crown was either unwilling or unable to repay the debt, Rose came up with the suggestion that the loan might be settled by removing the tax levy on the import of her goods. The crown felt that was more than reasonable and Rose brought her goods in tax free for several years.
However, widows were not the only female business owners. Married women many times had occupations distinct from those of their husbands. Many unmarried women supported themselves as shopkeepers. Especially in major cities, girls were often apprenticed to a trade just like boys. Whereas a nobleman might leave a dower in his will so his daughter might be married or put in a nunnery, an urban craftsman or merchant would leave a sum so that his daughter might be married or apprenticed to a trade. Women so apprenticed could ply the learned trade so long as they remained unmarried, as femme soles. Even though most guilds had rules regarding women other than wives and daughters, there is hardly a trade that women did not ply. There are records of women ironmongers, butchers, net-makers, chandlers, glovers, cobblers, haberdashers, purse-makers, bookbinders, spinners, smiths and many others.
Though their wages were sub-standard and many times men were loath to admit it, women were an important part of the labor market in medieval times.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
But what about the woman who inspires a bad boy to be a man? What makes a heroine who tames a bad boy, and does it in a way that doesn’t make me go, “Yeah, right, that would happen…what was the author thinking?”
A bad boy’s heroine is just as sexual a creature as he is. Often, though, she doesn’t know it yet. Grease’s heroine, Sandy, certainly wasn’t attracted to Danny Zuko for his brains. She may have been innocent, but there was an inner Rizzo, waiting to get out – in fact, Sandy might have been more sexual than Rizzo, the outwardly worldly character. She certainly seemed to know what she wanted with more clarity than the bedhopping leader of the Pink Ladies. In my novel, Destiny, Emma is a romance-loving innocent, longing to be swept away by a brooding lover like Heathcliff or Mr. Rochester. Her abduction changes all that. Her captor, Jack Travis, soon teaches her that an alpha-male with a heart is hard to resist, and that surrender to her heart can be very satisfying.
A bad boy’s heroine might have buried her desire, but it’s still there, presenting a challenge to the hero to bring it to the surface. In Claiming the Courtesan, the heroine, Verity, is noted as the most desirable courtesan in her circles, but she’s actually turned off her own responses. For Verity, sex is a skill, not a pleasure. Until Kylemore unleashes the power of love and with it, the pleasure of her sexual interactions with the hero.
Bad boys love challenges. Physical challenges. And intellectual challenges. Even Danny Zuko, who certainly wasn’t known for his brains, fell for the smart girl. At their ideal, the bad boy is as proficient mentally as he is physically. In Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey, Jr. essays a character who’s athletic and brilliant, so it comes as no surprise that the love of his life, Irene Adler, is as brilliant as he is. The fact that she’s chosen to put her brains to use as a thief rather than a crime-solver seems a natural pairing of opposites. A bad boy wants a girl who will match wits with him and spar with him, not simply nod in meek agreement.
To be believable, a bad boy’s heroine has to be strong, gutsy, and ultimately devoted to the hero. In Destiny, Emma Davenport, a powerful senator’s daughter, has lived a sheltered life, but that doesn’t stop her from running away to a forbidden marriage, matching wits with the arrogant captor who snatches her from a train, and ultimately, saving his life. Emma’s strong will, keen intelligence, ingenuity, and guts are irresistible to the alpha hero. Like Emma, Marion in Raiders of the Lost Ark is courageous, strong willed enough to challenge the swashbuckling Indiana Jones, and smart enough to challenge his intellect when he’s morphed back into Dr. Henry Jones, the professor. She doesn’t rely on her beauty or flaunting her sexuality, but there’s no doubt of the chemistry between the hero and heroine.
Romance is filled with feisty heroines and the bad boys who love them. One of my favorite new heroines is Catherine Marks, Leo’s love in Lisa Kleypas’ wonderful Married by Morning. Her sharp wit intrigues bad boy Leo long before he realizes she’s actually a beauty who’s taken great pains to drab down her looks. Catriona Kincaid in Teresa Medeiros’ Some Like It Wicked is a perfect heroine for dissolute former war hero Simon as she challenges him and inspires him to be the man he’s meant to be.
Who are some of your favorite women who tame bad boys from romance and film? What do you love most about them? I’ll choose a random commenter to win a pdf of Destiny.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Artemisia Gentileschi was born to the Italian painter Orazio Gentileschi who took her under his wing after her mother died when Artemisia was twelve. She shied away from landscapes and portraits as the female painters of her time often painted. Instead, Artemisia crafted religious and historical paintings.
In an effort to enhance her training, her father hired his friend, Agostino Tassi to help train Artemisia. Tassi, however, proved to be a lecher and lout when he tried to seduce her. When his efforts failed, he resorted to raping his young student. After she reported the rape, Tassi offered marriage (!), however, he remained a lout when he reneged on the promise. Orazito sued on behalf of his daughter for breach of contract.
Tassi was eventually found guilty of the rape and sentenced to serve a one-year jail term. However, during the seven month trial, “Artemisia was tortured to make sure that she wasn’t fabricating her allegations.” (113)
Just a month after the trial ended, Orazio married Artemisia off to another artist in an effort to restore his daughter’s honor. The couple had several children, but only one, a daughter, survived to adulthood. Artemisia eventually left her husband.
She moved about Italy the next few years, living in Rome, Genoa and Venice. In 1630, she settled in Naples, where “her patrons included all the crowed heads of Europe at the time.” (113)
In 1638, King Charles I requested she come to England and Artemisia traveled to London, meeting up with her father, who was already painting for the king. Orazio died before finishing his work on the ceiling of Queen’s House in Greenwich, London and it is speculated that Artemisia finished the job in honor of her father. (115)
She returned to Naples in 1642 and remained there until her death in 1653.
Ignoble of the art world, her works were often attributed not to her, but her father. Recent interest in her works are rectifying this matter. It should not be overlooked that Artemisia Gentileschi was the first female to become a member of the Accademia dell’Arte del Disegno in Florence.
Anna Kathryn Lanier
Where Tumbleweeds Hang Their Hats
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I'm in the middle of making a video for my upcoming release, Love's Fortress, Book Seven in my Regency series Brothers In Arms. Well, I'm not making the video. Creations by Kendra is making it. But we're going back and forth about images and such.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Being a history teacher, i like stories to be as accurate as possible. At our tea we generally agreed that as long as the plot doesn't turn on a historical inaccuracy, error or anachronism, then it was acceptable. What I strive for is authenenticity for the time period I'm writing.
But again, because of the teacher background, I include Author's Notes in to explain anything Imight have changed or altered that the reader might question.
All this is easier to show by example, so here are the notes from
Colorado Silver, Colorado Gold.
Writing fiction can be difficult for the historian. The fiction half of me says 'what if' when the historian half of me says 'but it happened this way'. So I have compromised, bending history ro fit my story and hope these notes will be of insterst to those readers who want to know the factual history.
Although the Pinkerton Agency is more wll know, the Wells Fargo Company did, in fact, have its own detective force. Among these notables wer Fred Dodge and James Hume. dodge once held down a job as a deputy in Tucson while working undercover for Wells Fargo. James Hume, the cheif of detectives, was one of the pioneers in the field of scientific investigations, catching the notorious stagecoach bandit Balck Bart, by tracing a laundry mark on the bandit's handkerchief. Wells Fargo also employed a corps of young boys to ride messages around San Francisco at twenty-five cents a message.
In the 1880s thre were no laws rstricting the conduct of a law enforcement officer. A detective of that era wasn't constricted by such concepts of forcible entry, illegal search and seizure or jurisdictions. Wes's activities in pursuit of his job would have benn considered legal and acceptable.
For the purpose of my story Ihave made some changes and additons to Durango's fire. The fire actually started on July 1st, but Ihave moved it ot several weeks later. A stiff wind fanned the blaze which burned over seven blocks. Half a million dollars in business and residential property went up in smoke as the residents tried everything, including dynamite to stop the fire. The actual cause of the fire was never determined, so I have supplied one out of my 'what if'.
The two major smelters that operated in Durango eventually consolidated due to the business climate in the late 1890s. The way Wes shows Julie to refine gold using quicksilver was one of the standard small scale methods used at the time. Today more is known abaout the hazards of mercury poisoning.
For events in Philadelphia, those familiar with histry will recognize that I have anticipatd history by a few years, and have borrowed the concept of Hull House in Chicago which opened in 1889 as a model for the Bradley Center. I similarly borrowed the idea of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1910 for he scandal involving Julie's sister.
And last, condoms make from latex rubber haave benn available since the 1840s and were called, appropriately enought, 'rubbers'. The primary prupose was for the prevention of sexually transmitted disease with the side benefit of contraception.
So, how do you feel about historical accuracy in your work? As a reader, how much do you care about historical accuracy and authenticity?
Monday, July 12, 2010
But the next step she’ll want to know is if I have any title suggestions. And with that my brain screeches to an undignified halt and gets mired in mud. (Some call it “creative constipation” but I’d rather not go there.) But oh, the agony and the ecstasy of it—wonderful to finish a manuscript and send it off, and … well, you know the ugly truth now. (I know—just had to throw those titles in
The story takes place in the 1880s in San Diego, California. It involves a dispute over prime grazing land, a treasure, a woman on a mission and a man trying to keep her from getting killed in the process. Not enough info? Well, then I’ll add that along the trail, they fall in love. (This is a romance, after all
If you need a little more inspiration, these are two pictures that remind me of my hero and heroine--Kate Hudson and Brendan Frazier.
So, the proposal is this…(I know, I know. I’ll stop now.)
Leave your title suggestion(s) here in lieu of a comment. I’ll pick the top two and those “winners” will get an autographed copy of my most recent book, Texas Wedding for their Baby’s Sake. This in no way promises use of the title upon publication (alas, authors have only minimal input on such things), but it should be fun, seeing what suggestions come up.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I’ve done it before, when In Sunshine or in Shadow, my first novel, came out. I thought nothing of it at first. Get up and read in front of an audience? Sure, I'd love to, I replied. And at that moment, an inner trembling seized my entire body. What have I gotten myself into?
And now I’m feeling those butterflies all over again.
I'm sure other authors have felt the same way in similar situations. Many writers shy away from the limelight. But I was luckier than most, because I was able to consult an expert. A friend of mine, who is also an actor, had been advising me about writing an actor hero, so it seemed natural to ask him about stage fright and what to do about it.
Here's what he told me:
There is no magical formula for dealing with stage fright. Anyone can suffer from it, from the actor stepping onstage for the first time, to the greatest actors. And if you forget a line, you try to improvise.
As far as my reading was concerned, my friend suggested I practice reading in front of family, people I know and trust. That was the key: imagining I was reading to one person I love and trust. He also advised me to take deep breaths, and to take my time.
Everyone has their own way of dealing with stage fright. I made sure I brought my lucky (stuffed) leprechaun, Seamus O’Reagan, to my signing that day, just for an extra confidence booster. But the tips worked. My reading went off without a hitch.
I also sold every book.
Here’s hoping my next signing will be as successful!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Having had TB years ago, I was impressed and amazed at Dr. Chase’s advice on the disease. At a time when most TB patients were shut up in darkened rooms with no exercise or fresh air, Dr. Chase suggested a walk outside in a clear environment, beginning with a few yeards and working up to a half mile or so each day. He also suggested a diet which made total sense today. Let me share some other quotes with you:
Page 77 and 78 list several treatments for Ague. One is "Ague Medicine Without Quinine. Mrs. Wadsworth, a few miles south of this city, has been using the following Ague mixture over twenty years curing, she says, more than forty cases without a failure. She takes Mandrake root, fresh dug, and pounds it; then squeezes out the juice to obtain 1 ½ tablespoons, with which she mixes the same quantity of molasses, is divided into three equal doses of 1 tablespoon each to be given two hours apart, commencing so as to take all an hour before the chill."
I have no idea how you know the chill is coming an hour before it arrives.
Page 116 lists treatment for "Burns—Salve for Burns, Frost-bites, Cracked Nipples, Chapped Lips, etc. Equal parts of turpenine, sweet oil, and beeswax; melt the oil and wax together, and when a little cool, add the turpentine and stir until cold, which keeps them evenly mixed. Apply by spreading upon a thin cloth—linen is best."
Dr. Chase’s book contains food recipes, substitutions, calculating interest, tanning, dyes, training a horse, and building furniture. Some of his treatments sound worse than the disease. Others treat incurable diseases of the times, and I wonder if they merely offered hope to the hopeless. However, if one could only take one or two books on the trip West, I think this one would have been a good choice.
If any authors need a remedy from this book, just email me and I’ll check out what Dr. Chase says. My email is email@example.com and I'll be happy to explore for you.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
July 4th was one day that we always closed the shop and took off from work in our family business. On this national holiday we have always had a family get-together. There's something about the 4th. There are so many great ways to celebrate. Some places have parades during the day. In other communities there are softball games, picnics at the park, music under the stars, to name a few activities, followed by fireworks displays.
When I was young we would have a family picnic out in the desert sand hills. Where I live that was a very big deal back then. My grandparents did the same when my mom was little. Some families still like to do that. We'd have a campfire and fix hamburgers. After dinner we'd use the hot coals to light a punk, and use the punk to light the fireworks. I vividly remember one time when my sister was holding a Roman Candle in her hands and it started to shoot balls of flame in all directions. My dad dove for the ground as one went right for him. If I remember correctly that was the end of holding Roman Candles in our family. A good thing. We always cleaned up the area so no trash was left behind, including those used sparklers.
Did you ever step on a spent sparkler in your bare feet? Not a good thing. These days, we watch the fireworks displays from my mom's house or the foothills on the church grounds. There's always a neighbor nearby shooting off small rockets. It makes for an exciting if noisy backyard party. We follow up by watching the celebrations on TV that are taking place in D.C. and Boston. It's amazing what they can do with music and fireworks.
The 4th always begins as a day of taking it easy and ends with rousing celebrations of our national heritage.
How do you celebrate the 4th? Leave your story in a comment. I'd love to read about it. And have a safe and happy 4th of July.
Friday, July 2, 2010
One of the most important parts of writing most fiction is bringing your setting to life for the reader. Even if you’ve never been to a place and you’re writing about it, you must find a way to bring in specific detail to transport the reader. You can do this through research, reading detailed travelogues of people who have visited the place and looking at photos. But the best way remains to visit the place.
In my historical paranormal erotic romance novella, Beast in a Kilt, the heroine lives on the west coast of the Scottish mainland, one of the most breathtaking places in Scotland (there are many, of course, but this is one of my favorites.)
My visit to Isle of Skye, especially the northwestern portion of the Trotternish Peninsula, is actually the inspiration for the heroine’s home. To show what it's like, I want to share photos and an excerpt from my novella. In this scene, the heroine is searching for her shape-shifting selkie older brother. (A selkie is a seal shape-shifter.)
Gazing first north, then south along the jagged shoreline, she saw naught but gray boulders and seawater reflecting gray sky. Mist wreathed the mountains and islands in the distance. Nothing moved but the white-capping waves, thundering against the crags, and the screeching birds, darting this way and that. No seals to be found lounging on rocks.
“Brodie!” She picked her way among the large stones and called out again. Nothing. “Blast!” He was no doubt having a grand old time. And she was being bartered off to a barbaric beast. She stumbled along the narrow trail to the cave her brother sometimes used and stepped inside.
“Brodie?” Her voice echoed, but no response. Empty, dark and dank. Less appealing than the unfriendly weather. She returned outside. “Brodie, get your arse back here, damn you! And take responsibility for the clan. I need your help!” Wind tore at her clothing and chilled her to the bone. The rain fell harder, stinging her eyes. It was turning into a gale.
Nicole North - Beast in a Kilt, Secrets Volume 29 Indulge Your Fantasies
What I tried to do here is put the reader into the setting (the landscape and weather) via the heroine. As the heroine experiences the setting, so does the reader. One of my favorite things about this setting is the islands in the distance, the Outer Hebrides, including Isle of Lewis, and the way the mist lurks about them. It is very enchanting and mystical.