Blog tour

My Lily blog tour got off to a great start at History Hoydens last week, where I talked about chemistry during the Regency period.

Coming up, here’s the schedule (I’ll still be adding a couple more dates but this is what I’ve got scheduled at the moment):

10/2: A Q&A at Susanna Fraser’s blog about beta heroes, research, titles, and Avatar: the Last Airbender.
10/7: A post about personal growth in romance novels at Musetracks.
10/12: A post about protagonists who work at Cecilia Grant’s blog.
10/13: A Q&A with Solomon and Serena at Bookworm2bookworm.
10/19: A Q&A at Smexybooks.
10/24: A post about writing accents at Kat Latham’s blog.
11/1: The Book Smugglers.

The Season: Date TBA

I’ll be giving away signed books at all of these, so stop by! Oh, and guess what? The In for a Penny Kindle edition is on sale for $3.99 through 10/3! Get it while you can!

You Need A Thneed!

I was skimming my tumblr dashboard and saw someone had posted this, from The Lorax:

CAPTION: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not."

I…sometimes cry at this part of the show. But if I’m being honest, the Onceler is still my favorite character.

Two panels from the Lorax: the once-ler waves his arms at the Lorax and makes a phonecall.

He’s got a fairly complex characterization and arc, doesn’t he? He’s motivated by a genuine love for the Truffula trees, but he still destroys them and everything else in his quest to be rich. There’s the scene where he rationalizes his behavior (while lounging fabulously in an armchair and smoking a cigar) with “If I didn’t do it, then someone else would!” And of course he repents in the end.

Sometimes I am astonished at the continuity in types of characters I have loved over the course of my life. Smooth-talking, ruthless businessman/hustler who makes it big? Check.

Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor

Ever noticed how all Lex Luthor’s plans are classic real estate scams…that somehow require the death of millions?

"Newsies still: Robert Duvall as Joe Pulitzer and Christian Bale as Jack.
"When I created the world..."

I don’t understand why Robert Duvall didn’t win an Oscar for this performance. But then, I don’t understand why Newsies didn’t sweep the Oscars that year, generally.

Badger from Firefly with his old-fashioned apple corer.

MAL: Wheel always keeps on turning, Badger.
BADGER: That only matters to people on the rim.

In a similar vein, I recently read a historical novel I read as a kid (Rebecca’s War, about the British occupation of Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War). I remembered having a crush on the male lead, but when I reread it I was completely astonished to realize that he’s still exactly my type:

Aristocratic young British officer, snarky, clever, good at worming his way into your good graces, particular about his clothes and a little vain, but he’s someone you can rely on in a crisis, too—and he’s always endlessly impressed by the plucky middle-class heroine. Cf. Chuck Bass, Logan Echolls, Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle, Peter Wimsey, and any number of historical romance heroes.

Is there a type of character you’ve always loved? Rewatched any cartoons recently and been surprised by how little your taste has changed?

"A Lily Among Thorns" discussion post

lily coverHi everyone! This is the discussion and questions post for A Lily Among Thorns. Tell me what you thought! If there’s anything you want to know (about the book, about writing the book, about characters in the book, about what happens next, anything really), this is the place to ask! And thanks so much to everyone who’s already e-mailed me about the book, you guys bring the light into my life.


Melodramatic phrases comfort the soul

I saw someone on Tumblr talking about John Wilkes Booth’s death today, and his last words were so melodramatic I was fascinated. Here’s the whole story, from his Wikipedia article:

Before dawn on April 26, the soldiers caught up with the fugitives, who were hiding in Garrett’s tobacco barn. David Herold surrendered, but Booth refused Conger’s demand to surrender, saying “I prefer to come out and fight”; the soldiers then set the barn on fire. As Booth moved about inside the blazing barn, Sergeant Boston Corbett shot him. According to Corbett’s later account, he fired at Booth because the fugitive “raised his pistol to shoot” at them. Conger’s report to Stanton, however, stated that Corbett shot Booth “without order, pretext or excuse”, and recommended that Corbett be punished for disobeying orders to take Booth alive. Booth, fatally wounded in the neck, was dragged from the barn to the porch of Garrett’s farmhouse, where he died three hours later, aged 26. The bullet had pierced three vertebrae and partially severed his spinal cord, paralyzing him.

In his dying moments, he reportedly whispered, “Tell my mother I died for my country”. Asking that his hands be raised to his face so he could see them, Booth uttered his last words, “Useless, useless,” and died as dawn was breaking. In Booth’s pockets were found a compass, a candle, pictures of five women, including his fiancée Lucy Hale, and his diary, where he had written of Lincoln’s death, “Our country owed all her troubles to him, and God simply made me the instrument of his punishment.”

Who were the other four women?? Also, “Useless, useless”! It reminds me of two other really dramatic life-and-death stories: Henry II muttering “Shame, shame on a conquered king” before dying, and this one about the robber baron Henry Clay Frick (anarchist Alexander Berkman tried to assassinate him after Frick’s Pinkertons attacked striking steelworkers, killing 7):

The bullet hit Frick in the left earlobe, penetrated his neck near the base of the skull, and lodged in his back. The impact hurled Frick off his feet, and Berkman fired again, again striking Frick in the neck and causing him to bleed profusely. Carnegie Steel vice-president (later, president) John George Alexander Leishman, who was with Frick, was then able to grab Berkman’s arm and deflect a third shot, saving Frick’s life.

Frick was seriously wounded, but rose and (with the assistance of Leishman) tackled his assailant. All three men crashed to the floor, where Berkman managed to stab Frick four times in the leg with the pointed steel file before finally being subdued by other employees, who had rushed into the office. As the police entered the room, guns drawn, Frick reportedly yelled, “Don’t shoot! Leave him to the law, but raise his head and let me see his face.”

“Raise his head and let me see his face”! It’s like something out of a movie. Do people naturally behave like this in times of crisis? Or do they do it out of a sense of what’s expected of them because they’ve read a lot of books and seen a lot of theater/movies? And is that even a meaningful distinction? Speech, being communication aimed at someone else, inherently has an element of “for effect” in it. And raising a child without ever telling him a story isn’t “natural” either (well, I guess especially if you were doing it to find out how he reacted when you shot him). It’s fascinating.