Monday, January 24, 2011

Love Remembered

Gwaltney Harris has struggled all his life to acquire wealth but still cannot purchase the respectability he desires. Desperate, he weds the shrewish but well-bred Cordelia Ashton, who has concealed a warm nature beneath a spinsterish exterior. Gwaltney, however, has secrets of his own, and he doesn’t dare grow too close to Cordelia. Despite this, they begin to fall in love, but can their relationship survive a mysterious assailant who will stop at nothing to kill Gwaltney?

Reviews (for the original edition):

"I really enjoyed the humor that escapes during the unblunted banter between Cordelia and Gwaltney; at some points the degrading words they toss at each other will bring tears to your eyes. Ms. Fisher keeps the dialogue fresh and engaging as she weaves twists and turns into the romance and mystery of this well written novel." - DeeKay, Romance Reader at Heart

"...a poignant story of love...the gripping story and the journey of two people coming to terms with the love they have for one another and the prejudices they are fighting against....Love Remembered will make you laugh and cry, and will allow you a glimpse into what the lives of some of the early colonists was truly like. Ellen has done a remarkable job... one book you will go back to again and again." - Rose, Romance at Heart

"...a delightful novel of colonial Virginia. Rich in historical detail this is a well-written novel with suspense, mystery and love....Not only was Cordelia and Gwaltney's relationship well developed but the secondary characters were also delightful. The tightly woven plot and wonderful portrait of colonial life makes Love Remembered a memorable reading experience."- Larenda Twigg, The Romance Studio

" entertaining historical romp in pre-Revolutionary America. Intriguing characters and electric chemistry make this one book hard to put down. In fact, this reviewer stayed up most of the night to just read it." - Miriam, Fallen Angel Reviews

The inaccurately named Hero

Hero sleeps in my bathroom, while Impulse prefers to sleep in his crate downstairs. There is a light over the shower in my bathroom which I long ago learned not to turn on. The reason it can't be turned on is that it clicks as it cools off, and Hero becomes convinced there is something terrifying lurking in the shower, and has a tizzy. Tonight some child turned on the shower light for some reason, and ever since I turned it off Hero has been barking endlessly-- not his deep "I am a noble guardian protecting my house" bark, but his yappy, high-pitched "please, please save me from the scary thing!" bark. We're talking two hours of annoying, yappy barking.

I tried everything to get him to calm down-- I let him check out the shower to see that there were no intruders, I patted him, I assured him that everything was fine. I even tried to let him sleep in my room, but he kept pacing and yapping. Finally I brought Impulse upstairs to try to console him, and that seems to have worked. Hero and Impy are pretty much joined at the hip, and in moments of stress they comfort one another.

Still, I need to make sure this doesn't happen again, because it's both annoying to the humans in the house and obviously very stressful and scary for poor dumb Hero. I'm going to put duct tape over that damn lightswitch tomorrow.

The long and rambling tale of my first novel

Today I was thinking about how I wrote my first novel (saddled with the improbably ludicrous name of A Most Vehement Flame), which, thank God, has been lost to the sands of time. I wrote it in college, where we did have access to computers, of a primitive sort. At the time I did my writing in a sort of mishmash-- I tended to write things down longhand, then type them out and fix them later.

At that point I didn't write in order, so I'd scribble down random scenes in class notebooks (in lieu of taking notes), or napkins at lunch, or whatever came to hand. I'd then sneak into the computer lab (where people were trying to do actual college work like, you know, papers) and type madly away, trying to make a coherent whole out of my randomness (and hoping no one who actually needed a computer would realize I wasn't doing real work).

Then I'd print out what I'd done, because the system had a painfully limited capacity to save your work. The printer, of course, was dot matrix (this was the eighties, when dot matrix was the height of awesomeness), and sometimes the pages would be barely readable. I'd pull off the edges of the pages, then shuffle them into some sort of order (I had scenes from one end of the book to the other, with giant gaps in between) and paper clip them into chapters, which I would later scribble all over while editing. Then I'd slither out of the computer room and start all over again. I was so into writing my novel it's a wonder I ever got any papers written.

After college, the novel was finished, but alas, I no longer had access to a computer, not even one with a dot matrix printer. I pulled out my old IBM Selectric and typed up the whole thing, all 400 pages' worth. I then had it copied several times and sent it out into a highly unappreciative world, where it was summarily and curtly rejected.

Despite the four years of love I poured into it, that manuscript was total crap, but it did help me in various ways:

1. My typing speed increased drastically (from maybe fifteen words a minute to at least eighty) over the course of those four years.

2. Writing 400 pages (even of total crap) can't help but make you a better writer. I learned a lot about putting a story together from that book, bad though it was.

3. I discovered that everything I write is not worth reading. Getting rejected stung, but eventually I realized that this particular book was better off in a box beneath a bed somewhere. Or, better yet, shredded into little bitty pieces, then burned into ashes.

4. The hero was redheaded, and I realized I loved redheaded heroes (a rarity in romance for some reason). I eventually got around to another redheaded hero, in In the Mood.

5. The hero and heroine of Flame wound up as secondary characters in the first novel I actually had published. Readers may not have cared, but I did, because it made them "real" and meant to me that all that time I spent creating them wasn't totally wasted.

6. I finally figured out that A Most Vehement Flame was a ridiculous title, and vowed never to use such an absurd title again.