Guest Post: Why I write Historical Romance by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Elizabeth Ellen Carter has been a guest on my blog before, and it’s always lovely to have her back. She’s witty, fun and very informative. I always EECarter400hlearn something from EEC, and she has a new book out, Warrior’s Surrender.

So take it away Elizabeth:

Lily has asked me why I write historical romance. Well, I have a confession to make. I’m lazy.

True!

One of the most incredible genres for exploring the heights and depths of human nature is in science-fiction and fantasy and I’m too lazy to create richly detailed universes with people and language, customs and laws, so I raid history instead. Everything is done for me!

Strange customs? Check (“The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there” – The Go-Between).

The same desire to live, laugh and love? Check (“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” – Ecclesiastes 3)

In all seriousness though, Edmund Burke, the 18th century political philosopher observed “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it”. Well that’s right too.

In actuality, the past gives shape to our future. I’ve written a large number of blog posts related to Moonstone Obsession discussing how the Englightenment philosophy of the 18th century gives rise to the best (universal franchise and the abolition of slavery) and worst (Communist & Nazi pogroms) of the 20th century. Without those issues being discussed and canvassed, we would have no framework for what we consider right and wrong today.

History also provides escapism from our modern world. We can identify with the hero and heroine’s struggles without having to worry about stress of the every day world and conveniently ignore the lack of refrigeration or indoor plumbing. It’s a compromise, but one we’re happy to make for a few hours of reading pleasure.

WarriorsSurrender-ByElizabethEllenCarter-300x450-300dpiWarrior’s Surrender goes back nearly 1000 years before the present – 1077AD – and even so, medieval times are filled with events which shape our world today – the origins of modern universities and the concept of the ‘hospital’ as a place for medical treatment, the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 which codifies limits on governmental powers.

My deepest privilege and fondest wish is that I reacquaint readers with these important times with characters they fall in love and situations they can relate to. The author who did that for me was an American writer by the name of Rebecca Brandewyne. Her novel, Rose of Rapture (1982), set just prior to the War of the Roses opened my 17-year-old eyes to the world of Plantagenet England and provided a more sympathetic portrayal of Richard III than I had been exposed to in school.

Tell me in comments below, what is your favourite historical period and what influenced your choice?

 

Warrior’s Surrender Blurb
A shared secret from their past could destroy their future…

Northumbria, 1077. In the years following William the Conqueror’s harrying of the North, Lady Alfreya of Tyrswick returns to her family home after seven years in exile. But instead of returning victorious as her dead father had promised, she returns defeated by Baron Sebastian de la Croix, the Norman who rules her lands.

To save her gravely ill brother’s life, Alfreya offers herself hostage to her enemy. As Alfreya gets to know her new husband, she finds he’s not the monster she feared, and their marriage of convenience soon becomes a bond of passion. But Sebastian is a man with a secret—one that could destroy him.

As a series of brutal murders haunt their nights, the man who betrayed Alfreya’s father returns claiming to be her betrothed. He has learned Sebastian’s secret and will use it to further his own ambition—using Sebastian’s own family—which will destroy Sebastian and mark him a traitor, and plunge an unprepared England into war with the Scots…

Warrior’s Surrender Excerpt

Sebastian regarded her. Lady Alfreya thought like a man. No, like a warrior. Reluctantly, he found himself impressed and suddenly considering her manner and appearance.

Despite her fiery temper, which she seemed to work hard to control, Earl Alfred’s daughter had grown comely, although a little on the thin side. Her figure might best be described as willowy, but her outstanding features were her hair, the color of newly harvested hay, and her bright blue eyes, which examined him with caution.

“Then what do you bring to this truce?” Sebastian finally asked.

“Our band now numbers but thirteen, all of whom are good men and loyal to my father. They accompanied us to Scotland when William the Bas—” Frey corrected herself, “…when the king harried the north.

“They are local men and without my father to lead them, all they wish now is to go home to the families they haven’t seen in four years. They will cause no further trouble; you have my word on that.”

The baron shook his head.

“Your little rebellion has gone on for months even after the death of Earl Alfred,” responded Sebastian, “and you yourself speak of their abiding loyalty to your late father. So forgive me, my lady, if I require more than just your word.”

Frey nodded. It seemed his objection was not unexpected.

“Then I offer myself as surety,” she said simply.

“A hostage,” Sebastian stated blandly.

Not an unusual offer, he thought. King Malcolm of Scotland’s eldest son, Duncan, had technically been a hostage of King William for the past two years, yet by all accounts the lad was well treated and, indeed, educated alongside William’s own sons.

So, Lady Alfreya was taking a gamble on what kind of man he was. Interesting.
Buy links:
Look for Warriors Surrender, and Elizabeth’s debut book, Moonstone Obsession at all good bookstores.

To find out more about this treasure trove of historical authors, catch up with her below:

Author links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethEllenCarter
Web: http://eecarter.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EECarterAuthor

Forget the Facts, Go for Fantasy… Guest Post by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Elizabeth Ellen Carter celebrates her debut release, Moonstone Obsession, on October 18. It’s my EECarter400hpleasure to get in early and welcome her here.

Like me, Elizabeth Ellen Carter has a journalism, PR, and media background, and when we were talking about article ideas, this one kept recurring: as journalists trained to gather and report the facts, how do we write creatively? I know from personal experience how much I struggled! Please take a look at her wonderful thoughts on the subject below!

How We Write by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

There’s an old saying that every journalist is a frustrated novelist at heart. This may or may not be true.

What does seem to be true, is that when any child is discovered with a gift for creative writing at school, teachers and guidance officers promote journalism as a career option.

Creative writing versus fact gathering. Hmmmm – that might go a long way to explaining why you can’t believe everything you see (or read) in the media.

When Lily Malone asked me to pen a post about what being a professional writer has taught me about being a romance writer, I found it to be an excellent opportunity to take stock of how many different styles of writing there are – technical manuals, research papers, advertising copywriting, web site content, media release writing, news and feature article writing – and all of that before we get to individual styles one finds in writing novels!

So before your wildly talented would-be junior novelist gets shoved down the road of career opportunity, making a left turn down the nearest wordsmithing gig before taking a wrong turn through the dodgy part of town in Mediaville, then making a U-turn at PR Road and then back on to the career freeway towards Novel Town, let’s take a look at each of these writing professions to see whether any of them can help you pen a best seller:

Technical Writing

The Good: It will teach you how to share ideas succinctly.
The Bad: You’re stuck developing a linear narrative with no opportunities to surprise the reader.

Example:

“In some cases monetary limits apply to contents cover benefits provided under the Insured events defined above,” she breathed in ecstasy.

“Where no specific limit is mentioned,” he moaned thrusting in her again and again, “the maximum amount payable under contents cover is the sum insured noted on your policy schedule.’”

Research Papers

The Good: It will teach you how to thoroughly research for authenticity.
The Bad: Your story may get bogged down.

Example:

He grasped her hand as they ran across the sand, staying close to the sandstone mesas to evade their pursuers. Sweat soaked their skin, but the warmth of his hand in hers was a lifeline.

“Oh no!” she cried, tripping over a stunted cactus bush.

He turned and with his finger, lifted her trembling chin tenderly as she picked the dislodged needles from her bleeding thigh.

“Darling,” he said. “Needles are arguably the most important part of all cacti and are without a doubt the most obvious sign that a plant is in fact a succulent. The reason needles are so vital to cactus survival is because they protect the plant’s stem, where photosynthesis is performed and water is stored. Without this protection, cacti would still be suited for desert living because of their unique methods of surviving the extreme temperatures, but they would also be an incredibly popular source of food and water for desert animals.”

Advertising Copywriting

The Good: You can get to the heart of the emotion quickly.
The Bad: There’s not a lot of character development.

Example:

Freda eyed off the young tanned Greek bar man. She had only been in Thessalonica for three days, but she was sure he was flirting with her.

Feeling a buzzing at her side, she broke off eye contact and rummaged through her handbag for the phone.

At last the elusive lump of plastic came to hand. The screen was blank.

“Dammit! I’ve accidentally hung up on Guido again!”

An equally middle-aged woman seated across from her looked up and handed her the Alcatel One Touch 668.

“That’s why all my friends end up borrowing my Alcatel phone when they need to make a call,” she said. “Thanks to Southern Phone, I now have a mobile that has great features and is easy to use!”

Journalism

The Good: You learn what a deadline is. There’s nothing like having a subeditor scream in your ear that your 500 word story has to be filed in 15 minutes.

The Bad: As a journalist you’re supposed to giving the readers all the facts from multiple points of view in the shortest length available. POV shifts happen within two paragraphs.

So, what is good preparation for authors?

Life – No matter what your day job, look for opportunities to talk to people and develop an understanding of human nature then you are well on your way to being able to tell a gripping story.

Read – If you want to be a great author, then read great writing in the genre that most interests you. Develop an understanding of why your favourite author is compelling.

Write – The story in your head is a block of fine marble, your words are chisels and hammer that you can wield forcefully or gently to create a sculptural masterpiece. But it will never happen until you pick up that tool.

See! That was fun wasn’t it! Love those examples. Thanks so much for visiting Elizabeth Ellen Carter Moonstone-Obsession400wand huge big wishes for the release of your new book! You can find more information about Moonstone Obsession below.

Elizabeth Ellen Carter is that writer who went through that dodgy part of town into Mediaville before making that U-turn into PR Road (by way of Marketing & Communications Street) and she is now on her way to Novel Town.

Her debut novel, a historical romance, Moonstone Obsession will be published on October 18 by Etopia Press.

Web: www.eecarter.com

Facebook: facebook.com/ElizabethEllenCarter

Publisher: www.etopiapress.com

Avon Summer Reads – Lily Pad hop!

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Lily Malone – author of two books that came together SO much easier than my not-playing-ball WIP!

If you’re reading this, I’m still alive, and you’ve fallen into the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!

This one started with Avon Romance, and the sport-loving (and wonderful) Iris Blobel invited me to be part of it.

A little bit about my WIP (Work In Progress)

My current WIP is very much a babe in the woods. It doesn’t even have its name yet, because the original name I’ve now decided I don’t like. It was called Fringe Benefits (it’s been that for 2 years). Now I’m leaning to Taking Me Slow or Taking It Slow… It is a reunion romance (contemporary romance) set between the two places of Australia that have been ‘home’ for me: Margaret River, and the Adelaide Hills. Once again, it has a loose wine industry background tying my characters’ lives together. My hero is Seth (he’s based on Timothy Oliphant’s character of Seth Bullock in Deadwood) and my heroine is Quin (don’t ask me why/how she got her name, I just like it).

This book is being DANG difficult to write, and isn’t playing ball. It started out in third person, and currently I’m rewriting a new draft in first person. It is just giving me all sorts of trouble and if it doesn’t pull its act together, I will NEVER write it! (Please, may my threat work, you bloody book, you!). *mutters & glares darkly at keyboard*…

The blog hop questions:

1) When writing are you a snacker? If so, sweet or salty?

Salty. Kettle sea salt chips are my vice (along with champagne). But that said, I don’t snack when I write. It’s impossible to type and snack and I can’t stand a greasy keyboard. (See this post here for more about greasy keyboards and food in my writing!)

2) Are you an outliner or someone who flies by the seat of their pants? Are they real pants or jammies?

Absolute seat of the pants, and they’re not jammies. I’m a nightie kind of girl and my nighties have patterns of icecream cones; champagne glasses clinking; and multicoloured hearts.

3) When cooking or baking, do you follow the recipe exactly or wing it?

I cook like I write. One of the reasons I make muffins that my husband says “are like hockey pucks” is that I refuse to follow a recipe. I like cooking but I don’t like getting so pedantic about following a recipe that if I don’t have an ingredient I won’t try the recipe. I think like ‘good writing,’ ‘good cooking’ comes with experience. Years ago I’d be more inclined to follow a recipe to the letter. Now I’m more confident in my kitchen and I can wing it. Luckily I have more success than failure (except with muffins).

4) What is next for you after this book?

Gad. This book is such a pup. Right now I don’t know what’s next. ‘Next’ is years away… but I think it may not be romance, and it may not be wine (like my two current releases His Brand Of Beautiful and The Goodbye Ride). And it may not have a HEA. We shall have to see!

5) Last Question…on a level of one being slightly naughty to ten being whoo whoo steamy, where does your book land?

It won’t be erotica, but it will be steamy. It involves a lot of fantasy sex. So I’d say 8-9.

What is the recipe you’ll be cooking this summer!?

Last year great friends of mine introduced me to a new potato salad, and I made this heaps in summer 2012-13. I love it because it uses heaps of parsley. So it’s a potato salad with steamed potatoes, 2 or 3 hard-boiled eggs, sour-cream/mayo/natural yoghurt (I use whatever dressing base I have); olive oil, a wisp of balsamic vinegar, maybe some shallots if I have them, and lots (like a really big bunch) of parsley from the garden.

I’d serve this with steaks that hubby would do on the barbecue; or freshly caught fish.

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I have invited Jennie Jones, Juanita Kees, Alissa Callen, Cate Ellink and Elizabeth Ellen Carter to join in the hop, and once they get their recipes up, you’ll be able to click on their names to see what they’ve got cooking!

Thanks Iris Blobel for the invitation!

The Lovely Bog oops, Blog Award

Historical romance author, Elizabeth Ellen Carter, thinks my blog is worthy of a nomination for the One Lovely Blog Award! Thank you Elizabeth!

Now, some time last year, there was a blog going around called The Next Big Thing, which I was part of with three other writing friends, Kerrie Paterson, Cate Ellink and Allison Tait, and we were invited by Jenn J McLeod. I had a great time with The Next Big Thing, but one of the main reasons I loved doing The Next Big Thing, is that for one swift moment in time, I was almost part of The Next Bog Thing. (You can read about it here – a lot of us had heaps of very dirty fun that day and this remains my most popular post in terms of hits on my blog. I’m not sure what that tells me about the motley crew of people who follow and visit my blog!).

So I couldn’t help but have a little chuckle to myself when I saw Elizabeth Ellen Carter’s invitation to the One Lovely Blog Award, because it could so very easily become, One Lovely BOG Award.

But first, a little bit about Elizabeth Ellen Carter. She has just had her debut historical romance, Moonstone Obsession, picked up by Etopia Press. Every Friday night, EEC blogs about movies, particularly, old movies, and this segment of her blog is called Friday Night Flicks. If you like your movies, I’d encourage you to visit. It’s amazing what a fount of knowledge EEC is. Quite frankly, she staggers me!

So, as part of this One Lovely Blog Award, Elizabeth has asked me to nominate 7 other outstanding bloggers and share 7 facts about myself. Because our writing community overlaps, I am sure many of the writers I might nominate will have been previously asked. So all I’d say is, if you want to pick up this invitation to become part of One Lovely Blog, please be my guest.

And for 7 interesting facts about myself? Well… here we go. These might be a bit ‘BOGanish’.

  1. I have always been a Shane Warne fan. I remember where I was the day he bowled the Ball Of The Century. I love Warnie. But I like the ‘old’ Warnie more than the new 2013 version. 
  2. My favourite line in a movie comes from Gladiator: “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius… Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”
  3. We named our dog Jarman, in honour of Darren Jarman. (Adelaide Crows footballer going back a few years). 
  4. I once cooked trout at a dinner party for four (including a man I was trying to impress). I had no idea what I was doing and all the trouts’ heads’ fell off. I served the headless fish with lightly steamed beans and a nice Chianti. (I made that last bit up).
  5. I named my bikes as a kid. They were called R1, and Gar2. R1 was fastest. I was actually quite reasonable at BMX at one stage of my life.
  6. My first car was a Datsun 200B. (The colour of… bog)
  7. The most memorable piece of writing I’ve read recently, was Cate Ellink’s ‘fish sex’ post, The Virgin Whiting at her blog.

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I hope you enjoyed my 7 facts.

On my Facebook page, I plan to share more ‘little known facts’ about Lily Malone in the weeks ahead. You’re welcome to like my page if you’d like more crazy bits such as these above! (Dear reader, you have been warned).

I also recently entered the Twittersphere… there’s a link at the side of the page if you’d like to see what I do there. 

Look for the author in the Boganish Pink Beanie!