Thursday, May 26, 2011

Character ruminations

I don't identify at all with the "modern woman" or the career woman or any of that. As a consequence I really struggle with making my heroines believable. Everything that a woman was expected to be in the 19th century (and in most cases actually wanted), is my ideal of the perfect life for a woman.

The seeds of how I need to create my heroines were planted last fall in a mentor appointment with Tracie Peterson at the ACFW conference.  At first I was running with the whole "fish out of water" thing and just not fitting in.

This week I've discovered that wasn't quite right. I've been having lots of troubles with the heroine in my current WIP, The Color of Love, set in 1857 central Louisiana. Turns out I've been trying to create her based on the wrong components of my personality!

So I've totally redrafted her, chunked everything I thought I knew, and started over. Now I'm going with intelligence that threatens men, a desire to learn all she can and share that with the generation behind her, while still desiring all of the things that make the typical 19th century woman.

A historical heroine doesn't have to be a suffragete or a royal pain or a journalist or a college graduate to be forward thinking. That's a huge revelation for me. She can be forward thinking simply in the way she views the world and the books she reads and daring to have an opinion on anything and everything.

That I can relate to.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Guest post from Michelle Griep

Today I have Michelle Griep here to us about her new Viking time travel, Undercurrent.

Top 5 Reasons to Admire a Viking

Guest Blog by Michelle Griep

1. Sweet Texting Skills
The Viking alphabet, the Futhark, is a series of straight lines. Super easy to carve into a stick, a skull, what-have-you. Much of their communication has been unearthed by archeologists, down to shopping lists, threats, and love notes.

2. Viking Men Put Metrosexuals to Shame
Contrary to popular belief, Vikings were a meticulously clean and well-dressed people group. Unlike the English, they didn’t hold any ridiculous superstitions about bathing opening the door to demon possession. Once a week they soaked in their bubble bath and daily combed out their hair. Clothing was bright and fashionable, often incorporating imported silks and furs.

3. Debt Free Living
These people paid their debts and paid them fast—or were kicked out of the country. Everything had a monetary value, even a life. If you killed someone, you had to reimburse the deceased’s family (called wergild).

4. CEO Determination
They knew what they wanted and went after it. Gold and silver, mostly, though land was high on their list as well. And if a Viking showed up on your doorstep, you’d probably better cooperate. They employed ruthless practices such as the ‘blood eagle’ (I won’t go into detail to spare the squeamish at heart, but let’s just say this activity involved surgical skill, bone cracking, and organ removal).

5. Packers Suck
Enough said.

Now that your appetite is whetted for big, beefy Vikings, there’s a book you really shouldn’t pass up. Take a trip back in time and experience these wild and winsome people in UNDERCURRENT…

People go missing every day. Many meet with foul play, some leave the social grid by choice, but others are never accounted for. Such is the fate of successful linguistics professor Cassie Larson. She leads a life her undergrad students hope to attain, until she tumbles into the North Sea and is sucked into a swirling vortex…and a different century.

Alarik, son of a Viking chieftain, is blamed for a murder he didn’t commit—or did he? He can’t remember. On the run, saving a half-drowned foreign woman wasn’t in his plans.

Ragnar is a converted pagan shunned by many but determined to prove his Cousin Alarik’s innocence. He didn’t count on falling in love with Cassie or the deadly presence of evil that threatens his village in Alarik’s absence.

UNDERCURRENT…dare to be swept away. Available now at Amazon or Risen Books

Michelle's been writing since she first discovered Crayolas and blank wall space. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota with 5 other mammals (both human and canine). And don't forget to check out her debut novel, GALLIMORE...a Wizard of Oz tale with a Medieval Twist, available at Amazon or Black Lyon Publishing.