Every week or so I comment on my writing, how it's going, the frequent frustrations, the occasional successes. This is your invitation to watch a writer at work - and sometimes find out what I'm cooking for dinner.
My Writer's Journal
August 31, 2010
Queen Victoria, that is. She was the clear favorite among the dozens of you who responded to my request for suggestions for my next subject. I've already started my research.
This has been an amazing experience. On August 9th, on my regular morning walk, I got the idea of contacting some of the readers who've contacted me and asking for suggestions. After breakfast, I sent out about 100 e-mails, promising to dedicate the book to the first three people to nominate the subject I'd eventually choose. I had scarcely hit the SEND button until the responses started to come in.
Some of you had a clear favorite, but some of you had lots of ideas, and those ideas were fascinating! There was a great deal of interest in English royalty (Lady Jane Grey; Anne of Cleves), but there were also nominations of queens from China and India; mentions of some non-royal Americans (Thomas Edison; Pocahontas; Amelia Earhart); ancient history (Boudica); Joan of Arc got a number of votes; and the one that made me laugh (Queen Latifah).
In the end, though, Queen Victoria carried the day. Leah N., Vankelia T., and Sidney V. were the first to suggest it, and so their names will be on the dedication page when the book is published, probably in 2012.
And to the rest of you who were so generous with your ideas and suggestions: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
August 24, 2010
The Versailles Glide: I've been promising for weeks that I'd write about the way ladies of the French court were talk to walk. This is how Marie-Antoinette was instructed by her dancing teacher:
It is necessary to walk gracefully in high-heeled slippers and the heavy robe Ó la franšaise, with its wide skirts and long train. You must not walk heel to toe, as one does normally, but with many tiny steps made quickly while balancing forward on one's toes, so that one gives the impression of skimming just above the surface of the ground without touching it, as though one weighs no more than a cloud.
This has not been a summer of skimming above the surface of the ground. More like crawling through mud. I had no sooner finished a first draft of THE WILD QUEEN and sent it off than the copyedited manuscript of CLEOPATRA CONFESSES arrived by UPS with about a million little changes and corrections. Most of them I approved, but on a few I just had to stand and FIGHT! We'll see what happens now.
For those of you who asked, CLEOPATRA CONFESSES will be published next summer, 2011. THE WILD QUEEN: MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS will come out a few months later, fall 2011.
Now I'm going to sit and think about what comes next.
August 8, 2010
I know, I know - I said I'd post a blog once a week, no matter what. And I've failed. I've been blogging about THE BAD QUEEN, because that's the book that's out there, but I've been working on CLEOPATRA CONFESSES and then fell behind on THE WILD QUEEN, about Mary Queen of Scots, which was due June 1st. When I realized I couldn't make that and finish up a rewrite of CLEOPATRA, I asked for an extension to July 1st. then it became obvious that I couldn't make that one either and begged for another month.
Something had to give. I started getting up at 5 am. I worked in the evenings after dinner. I cut my M-W-F hour at the gym to just twice a week. No lunches with friends. I made my husband miserable.
But having to work that steadily does help to focus the mind. The manuscript was on Editor Julie's computer by Thursday morning, August 5th. The house, I realized, was a mess. The backyard, always my pride and joy, was a disaster. But the first draft was finished!
Is it any good? I don't know. We'll see. Editor Julie will get back to me. Meanwhile, I can pull some weeds. Maybe even see a movie. And next week I'll write about The Versailles Glide. For sure.