About the Author
I discovered Georgette Heyer when I was thirteen, and wrote my first historical romance a few years later. My writing has improved since then, but my fascination with all things Regency hasn’t changed. When not reading, writing, or researching, I enjoy cooking and marathoning old TV shows. I live in Philadelphia.
So you can get to know me a bit better, I’ve given myself a little quiz below.
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Sweet or savory?
Sweet! I have had a sweet tooth for as long as I can remember, and when I rip recipes out of magazines they are almost always for desserts. The interesting thing, though, is that while sweets catch my eye, and I find myself daydreaming about them, I usually actually enjoy a really good savory dish more. It’s easy for me to get sweet fatigue—if I eat more than a few bites of something intensely sugary, I start craving salt. But of course, this problem can be solved by salted caramels, or by eating a piece of cheesecake and a bag of potato chips at the same time. Yum!
Honey or vinegar?
Well, what I can tell you for sure is that the expression “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” really really annoys me. I always feel that when it’s actually used, it is just code for “Stop standing up for yourself!” Of course, the truth is somewhere between this and “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” In my experience, no one is going to spontaneously give me what I need, so I have to ask for it firmly. But if I’m rude or obviously unreasonable, people will have a good excuse not to give it to me. As Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”
Also, I’ll let you in on a very valuable secret: this saying doesn’t even make sense on a literal level because flies love vinegar. To make the world’s best fruit-fly trap, take a small, see-through plastic cup (so you can watch the magic happen!) and pour in an inch or two of apple cider vinegar and a squirt of dish soap. Stretch plastic wrap across the top and hold it in place with a rubber band. Now poke small holes in the plastic wrap big enough for fruit flies to go into. Ta-da!
I had a forgotten banana problem this summer and within a DAY every last fly was drowned in my trap. How it works: the vinegar smells like turned fruit, attracting the flies, and the dish soap breaks the surface tension of the liquid so they sink to the bottom.
Uptown girl and backstreet guy, or the billionaire and the secretary?
Cross-class romance is one of my favorite things. They’re from different worlds! How can they ever understand each other? And yet…sometimes it seems as if they’re the only ones who do.
I love lots of stories where the girl is the rich one: Dan/Blair, Dirty Dancing, and Han/Leia, to name just a few. But my very favorite flavor of this, one of my favorite tropes, is the woman who works for a living, who knows how the world works and how to get things done, and the naive rich boy who flutters his beautiful white hands and says things like “I have to carry my own suitcase?” (Notable examples: Howl’s Moving Castle, The Princess and the Frog, Blossom Culp and Alexander Armsworth. And Draco Malfoy in a lot of fanfiction.)
If you ever want to see this behavior in real life, check out the reality show Secret Princes in which actual rich guys (not usually actual princes though) go undercover as average Joes in the American South and spend a lot of time saying things like “I’ve never carried my own suitcase before” and “how do you use the washing machine?” It’s amazing to me how into that I am fictionally, yet what an incredible, absolute turn-off it is to me in a real human being. Ick!
Russell Crowe or Paul Bettany?
Noooo I love Aubrey and Maturin!
I will be honest though, I love Russell Crowe more. He fills me with a somewhat startling but extremely intense fondness. I have watched his episode of “Inside the Actors Studio.” I own his album My Hand, My Heart and while it started out as a bit of a joke I now very sincerely love it and have listened to it many, many times. I love that when asked what 3:10 to Yuma should win an Oscar for, he gave a glowingly detailed analysis of the production design. I love his acting and his face, I love that he tweets in character as Javert and that he also tweets his exercise regimen in case I’m curious (I’m curious). I love Gladiator. I love that he has his own costumer (Michael Castellano, who should win EVERY Oscar) who is also his friend that he goes biking with. I love that he constantly tells stories about his kids.
If you want to change your life, watch his music video “The Weight of a Man“. The chorus is “Your strong heart won’t break / Are you ready to take / The weight of a man?” There is a small child dressed as a matador to represent inner manpain. There is unbelievably awkward dancing and snapping of fingers. Russell Crowe gently places a rose petal on the camera lens. There are, inexplicably, wizarding photographs. There is a moment so jaw-dropping it is best experienced unspoiled. And yet, after I’ve watched it, somehow against all odds, I am ready to take the weight of a man, if that man is Russell Crowe. Do yourself a favor. Watch it.
Beauty and the Beast, or Cinderella?
Beauty and the Beast. The transformative, saving power of love is my jam. I’m not sure how healthy it is: reduced to its worst aspects, this is a narrative designed to make putting up with a guy’s bullshit actually emotionally appealing to women, and it’s really effective at it, or at least, it is with me. The things I have put up with because I thought that patience, understanding, and love could change someone! It was a hard, late realization that patience, understanding and love can only help someone change who ALREADY WANTS TO. Plus, I think this narrative encourages me to displace all of my own problems onto other people (especially men) and empathize with them there (“he’s so hurt, he’s so lonely, he’s so misunderstood, but I understand him” rather than “I’m hurt” or “I’m lonely” or “I don’t feel understood”), while continuing to imagine myself as “the one who’s okay,” which makes it hard to actually tackle my own issues and deal with them directly. It creates a dichotomy between women and monsters when actually there is overlap there!
But wow, it’s a deeply satisfying fantasy every time.
(And yes, I adore Handsome and the Beast, too.)
Iron Man and Pepper Potts, or Clark Kent and Lois Lane?
This is a tough one because these are both top-tier romances for me. Rarely (if ever?) have two people been more perfect for each other! But I have loved Clark and Lois since childhood. She’s a pushy, abrasive, fearless girl reporter with tunnel vision when it comes to working on a story! And he adores that about her! That meant so much to me as a rather pushy, abrasive girl (and still does). I just love that neither of them has anything to prove to the other (which isn’t to say they don’t get competitive, but in my favorite interpretations, it never feels truly hostile, more like a fun game they play together—which I also love).
Now that’s romance.
I’ll be reading from “Promised Land” as part of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s VIRTUAL Local Author Series, sharing the stage with Tina Cambra!
Fri, June 12, 2020
I’ll be giving this workshop via Zoom to NECRWA members on Sunday 6/14 at 1PM Eastern time!
Our work shapes us.
Whether your heroine is a scientist, a homemaker, a fast food worker, or a demon hunter, she spends countless hours every week working and thinking about work, and she has for most of her life. If you take the time to really think about how your protagonist’s profession affects her personality and worldview, you’ll see the results in the added depth, naturalism, and uniqueness of your characterization.
In this workshop, each participant creates a character (or uses one from a WIP). Then I guide the group through a series of interactive exercises and brainstorming sessions, using the character’s job as a lense to build characterization, covering everything from job skills and the economic nitty-gritty to deep POV and story structure.
Would you like to book me for a speaking engagement or workshop?
You can learn more about my workshops here.