Archive for May, 2011

Joy in Early Work

Monday, May 30th, 2011 | The Writing Life | 4 Comments

Though I am completely obsessed with Eleanor of Aquitaine and the early Plantagenets, there are other genres I love to write as well. I have written historical romances, a fantasy novella, and chick lit.

The summer I wrote the first draft of THE QUEEN’S PAWN, after putting down all of the machinations of Eleanor and Henry on paper, and after facing all the things that Princess Alais went through, I was exhausted. It is a policy of mine to leave a finished manuscript untouched for at least six weeks before working on the second draft. (A lovely luxury that I have not always been able to afford since becoming published.)

Though I put THE QUEEN’S PAWN aside, I still needed to be writing something. It’s an obsession, the love of the written word. If I am not working on at least one project, I get very antsy. To be completely honest,  I can not remember the last time I did not have at least three ideas cooking at once…maybe 2000… My fellow writers will know what I mean when I refer to this obsessive need to create. And other artists, too, no doubt.

So in the late summer of 2006, THE QUEEN’S PAWN’s  first draft was in the can, so to speak, and I needed to be doing something. So I took up an old chick lit idea of mine, titled DIAL “L” FOR LOSER after a short play I wrote by the same name, about a young woman’s ridiculous dating adventures. I finished that short novel in a couple of months. Over the years, I have taken it out and revised it a little here and there, tinkered with it the way some people tinker with the old car that still doesn’t run in their garage. Finally, this spring, I decided to do something with it. Because I love Marty, the protagonist of that book, and I love DIAL “L.”  The short play I wrote, the companion piece, is being produced this summer by a theatre group in Wilmington, NC, and I thought, “Well, why not pull out that novel?”

So I have polished it once more, and now it is available on Amazon.

So in honor of all my old projects, and in honor of all the characters we live with and love, who do not always see the light of day, here is Marty Angelo, the opposite of Eleanor. A bit of a nut, a woman who can’t seem to get it right, but I love her anyway.

Between smooth-talking Actor Boy, prim and proper Lawyer Boy, and the illusive Dr. Perfect, Marty can’t catch a break. Will she have to give up on men for good?

In the romantic chick lit novel, DIAL “L” FOR LOSER by Christy English, Marty Angelo has had enough of the wrong men. Then she meets feckless but charming Ben, AKA Actor Boy, who sweeps her off her feet and makes her think that love may not be a four letter word.

But after a dating drought of six months, the gods of love have decreed that one new man is not enough. Enter Brad, AKA Lawyer Boy, the man hand-picked by Marty’s mother so that Marty will not have to go to her cousin’s wedding alone.

Just when the law starts to look better than it ever has, Marty meets Dr. Perfect whose eyes gleam with mischief and whose devilish smile promises more than she ever bargained for. Rich, gorgeous, buttoned up or buttoned down, none of these men seem like the Prince Charming of her dreams. Will Marty ever find love, or will she be destined to date losers for the rest of her life?

Gratitude and Walking the Labyrinth

Monday, May 23rd, 2011 | Gratitude, Labyrinth Walks, The Writing Life | 4 Comments

This Saturday, I had the good fortune to once again walk the labyrinth at the Church of the Servant in Wilmington, NC. I had not taken this walk since the new year. Winter and spring slipped away from me without another visit to that sacred space. But this Saturday, I managed to go.

Usually when walking the labyrinth, I hold some problem in my mind, some burden that I want to put down. But when I arrived at the church and began my walk in the old circular, spiraling pattern, I found my thoughts centered only on joy and gratitude. I am a fortunate woman with a great deal to be thankful for: family, friends, my work, my life. So I left with a profound, deepened sense of all these things, and of my gratitude for them.

I am grateful also for this online community, for the community of readers and writers that I have become a part of.  There is always a continued striving for excellence, for sales, for growing markets. But there is also, in the midst of the daily work that comes with being an author, gratitude for all I have been given. If you’re reading this, you are part of all that I am grateful for.

Location and Inspiration: Writing at the Cloisters

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011 | The Writing Life | 6 Comments

This post was originally written for the lovely blog Peeking Between the Pages Tune in May 31 for a second guest post from me on that site reflecting on the joy of writing TO BE QUEEN and the inspiration I find in the places where I sit and write.

The Cloisters is an extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, a separate branch that holds much of the museum’s medieval collection. It is a place of beautiful art, flowering trees, and square colonnades, or cloisters, where water runs in fountains all through the spring and summer, giving the visitor an oasis of peace in the midst of Manhattan’s constant motion.

The Cloisters is where I first wrote the outline for THE QUEEN’S PAWN. In one of the museum’s three outdoor cloisters, Alais and I settled down to work out the details of the novel. Writing a synopsis can be as much work for me as writing the novel itself, but the soothing, tranquil atmosphere of the museum relaxed me and gave me a feeling for the kind of religious devotion that sustained Alais throughout her childhood and for much of her life.

This statue of the Holy Mother and the Christ child, while from a later period, gives you a good idea of the kind of art Alais loved. The character as she developed on the pages of my novel has a deep devotion to the Church. She is especially drawn to the Virgin Mary, who serves as an aid and comfort to her during the dark, lonely days of her childhood, and later, after the events of THE QUEEN’S PAWN have drawn to a close.

 The Cloisters is full of such beauty, objects of devotion and shaded colonnades of tranquility. As I wrote, I felt as if I was given a window into Alais’ time in her own cloister, when she was able to escape the political tumult of her life, and spend her time in contemplation and prayer. I would have written the book without the Cloisters to shelter me, but the experience would not have been nearly as rewarding. I am grateful to the museum for creating such a place of serenity where, as with THE QUEEN’S PAWN, we can seek a window into the past.

Give Away Winner for BELOVED PILGRIM

Monday, May 2nd, 2011 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Congratulations to Kristie Dean for winning a copy of Nan Hawthorne’s BELOVED PILGRIM!

I just bought my own copy… I am looking forward to going on Crusade with Nan’s heroine, Elisabeth.

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