I just wrote the wedding night scene. It's awesome. Not because they're having sex all over the place, but because the wedding guests sweep them from the great hall up to the master bedroom, and then the single male guests demand Margarethe's garters, because that's a thing that never actually happened in the middle ages, but I will perpetuate myths if I want to, meh*.

Anyway, the crowd is all, "We wants the garteressesssss," and Luc is all, "You shall not pass! Begone from here!" because his new wife is all freaked out because she's been plunged from the convent into the midst of this ravening crowd, who want her underwearohmigod. And Luc is all protective and finally not a stiff back proper gentleman, thank god. Prior to this, he had about all the personality of a dishrag with a picture of a knight stamped on it.

It is probably the most "romance novel" thing to happen in my story. May there be no bodice ripping to top it.

Must scurry like a little mouse and WRITE MOAR!

*Please don't hurt me for my ahistoricity.
30 November 2008 @ 10:21 pm
I am totally stress eating my way through my last few thousand words with pickles and diet pop. And crudites and Catalina dressing!

In related news, crudites is a way better word for raw vegetables than raw vegetables. Which is why I use it all the time. Crudites, crudites, crudites. Crudités, crudités, crudités. See, the spell checker in Firefox totally thinks that the é is pretentious, because it doesn't recognize that spelling.

In further related news, the knights in my novel have become these sort of terribly crude frat boys. Whenever I need the heroine to feel frustrated or distanced from the hero, the knights show up and fart and burp their way into her ire. Like, I just wrote this:

[Context: Their manor house is all beat up and in pieces, the only bedrooms that are really liveable are their bedroom and the soldiers' barracks, and the hero's parents have just shown up for an unexpected visit. So, ring the doom bells, her in-laws are on her stoop.]

"We cannot put your mother in the barracks. Your father perhaps would not find it such a hardship, but we cannot house a countess with those . . ."

"Those what?" he asked.

"Those men you call knights!" she practically shouted, gesturing toward them.

Luc looked at them and saw what she was on about. The men were currently engaged in a game of . . . well, he was not sure what, but he supposed it could be called wrestling, though a less astute observer might assume they were beating each other.

I have been spending way too much time with my brothers and their friends, who are not knights, but who do stuff like that all the time. So, they'll be talking to each other, one of them will fart, the other one will fart louder, and it spontaneously turns into a brawl -- only they're laughing.

I think I gave up any pretense that I'm writing a romance novel about five thousand words ago, and it's now more of a Judd Apatow film set in the middle ages.

My despair, she is deep! My sense of humor, she is weird! I think I'm a little punch drunk.
Current Music: Tristan -- Patrick Wolf
17 November 2008 @ 02:33 am
So, going over what I wrote today, I have on major observation:

When the hell did I start rewriting Cinderella/Beauty and the Beast?

Summary of events: Margarethe's mother dies when she is very little. Her father remarries to Lady Mairwen* and Mairwen sends her away to a place where she works in the kitchen garden. Her father arranges her marriage to a guy she imagines as beastly but whom she eventually falls in love with. And then, and THEN! Because Margarethe had been in the nunnery for so long with no funding for clothes or anything, she comes to them in a shabby brown cotte, and Mairwen gives her a cast-off gown of hers, which is ripped and frayed all to hell and back. A good fairy servant at the manor tells Margarethe not to worry about it, because she and the other good fairies and mice servants will mend it good as new. Only they make it better than it was before.

I know I keep saying that romances have to be fairy tales to some extent, but I didn't mean it that literally, folks.

*The overwhelming winner in the poll.
Current Music: Another Bites the Dust -- Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Queen
16 November 2008 @ 02:34 am
Which name do you guys prefer as a replacement for Lady Maisry's name? Given that Maisry appears to be from the 18th century and Scottish, I don't want to use it in 13th century Wales.

I'd really prefer it if I could find something that still sounded pretty but actually meant "horrible person with a black heart", but girls don't tend to get named things like that.

So, the two choices I've discovered are sound-alikes, but Welsh. They might not be 13th century or even medieval, but they're a heck of a lot closer than Maisry and also avoid that whole "Isn't that a ballad?" thing.

Mairwen -- Combination of Welsh form of Mary (Mair) with gwen, which means "white, fair, blessed". I guess it could mean anything from "blessed virgin" to "white sea of bitterness", so there's a range of meanings there.

Meinwen -- Means "slender and white", from the Welsh main, meaning "slender", and gwen. I'm sort of imagining Lady not-Maisry as a sort of cross between Lady Macbeth and Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. Ambitious and social climbing, but tall and slender and fair. Also a mega-bitch.

[Poll #1298278]
15 November 2008 @ 11:41 pm
Somebody in one of the Yuletide comms linked to this, and it is so perfect for me I feel like the person who made was communing with my spirit.

Write or Die: Dr. Wicked's Writing Lab

Basically, it's an application where you have to constantly write or there are repercussions. To quote the guy who made it:

Write or Die is a web application that encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing. Start typing in the box. As long as you keep typing, you're fine, but once you stop typing, you have a grace period of a certain number of seconds and then there are consequences. . . .

A tangible consequence is more effective than an intangible reward. . . .

The idea is to separate the writing process and the editing process as much as possible. . . .

This is aimed at anyone who wants to get writing done. It requires only that you recognize your own tendency towards self-sabotage and be willing to do something about it. If you're sick of saccharine writing advice that no one could honestly follow and you want a real method to getting work done.

Um, hello, writing difficulties! Just don't try to use it while eating dinner, because your dinner will go cold.
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Current Music: Another Bites the Dust -- Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Queen
15 November 2008 @ 09:53 pm
First things first: [ profile] koshka_the_cat, I got the taffeta the other day in the mail and it is MAGIC! It's draped on my dummy like a plastron right now, and I cannot wait to finish NaNo and start sewing. (After I make my little cousin's steeple hennin for Christmas, of course!) There will be pictures.

Next things next:

I've decided that I can't read anymore about Welsh/English history, because it just makes me feel bad for having the hero of my novel be English and the heroine be Welsh. I mean, how the hell can you fall in love with someone who is the oppressor of your people? Who have been oppressed since long before you were born?

It really just means that Not-Luc has to be the most amazing man to ever walk this earth, but also realistically flawed and thoroughly medieval. But not too alpha male, because alpha males leave me feeling kind of icky. And he can't be too touchy-feely, because then he's a girl walking about in a man-suit*.

That's not what I intend to write about here, though. All this reading about oppressed Wales has got me thinking about how political I am. Except I've suddenly decided I don't want to go into too much soul-searching right now, so short version:

Oppression of people is wrong. I kind of feel like I'm writing a story where a slave falls in love with her owner in the antebellum South. I believe in democracy. Bowing to nobles/royalty at SCA events makes me slightly uncomfortable, because I realize that the system that the group is based upon comes from a system of government that's based on divine right and warfare, and I'm not big on either of those things. You guys, I am too liberal for the SCA. (And, yeah, I'm probably being a trifle too serious about it, but still.)

What I need is a reenactment organization that focuses on the lives of non-nobles. There's another thing that makes me uncomfortable: the classism and sexism inherent in a lot of history and historical research. But nobody wants to play at being oppressed.

I think the reasons I'm having so much trouble with this is that a large part of me is idealist, and I want my writing to reflect that, but then there's also a large part of me that is a realist, and kind of sneers at the idealism. I can't bend to the "fantasy" part of literature, because fantasy is by its nature unrealistic, but I really, really want this thing I'm working on to be both realistic and have a happy ending with decisive resolution. Unfortunately, comedies must have happy endings, the villains must be punished, and the problems must be resolved. There can't be any plot "hangnails" bumming around to irritate the reader. And realism, by its nature, is inconsistent and irritating. Unpleasant. It points out the disadvantages of a situation.

Can individuals overcome social boundaries? Overcome them happily?

You guys. Perfectionists shouldn't do anything.

OK, writing for word count now. I swear!

*Dude. Please don't anyone start the "sensitive men are still real men" argument with me. I'm writing a romance novel, here, and . . . agh. I am brain-melty enough right now. Let's just say that I'm trying to write something medieval that doesn't offend my modern sensibilities overmuch, OK? This novel is just not the right forum for that argument.
Current Music: The Gypsy King -- Patrick Wolf
12 November 2008 @ 05:58 am
I'm going out to do chores in an hour, but I want to break 14,000 words before I do. (It's not a habit; it's cool.)

My quandary of the morning:

Is "St. George's blessed ballsack" too graphic a curse for romantic fiction?

Because the likelihood of me using this are really high. I can only say "odso!" so many times, folks. And "corpus christe" screams "city in Texas" anymore.

I need more antiquated swears.
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12 November 2008 @ 12:32 am
So, I kinda spent a lot of my writing time tonight doing something data entry-ish, and it was incredibly soothing. Like, there was no pressure to follow a plot or characterization, and I just go to type. I enjoyed it. But then it got boring.

I think I might be eerily OK with a data entry job.

And now I'm going to write 500 more words so I can break 13,000 words. I'm guessing this is going to take me a half an hour. And tomorrow afternoon, all I'm going to do is do laundry and type, because I have to work on Thursday and Friday, and will probably not be motivated enough to write those days.

Ha ha. I've no idea if I'll hit 50,000 words or not. Probably not.
Current Music: Another Bites the Dust -- Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Queen
10 November 2008 @ 01:25 am
For reasons I'm not sure of, I have just arranged it so my heroine's stepmother started rumors that she is either horribly deformed or a witch while the heroine was locked away tight in the convent. And that is why they sent her away!

What should it be though? Witch or clubfoot? Missing an arm? Horrible lazy eye? Or should I go in the other direction and have her say that the heroine started having holy visions?

I'm not sure why Lady Maisry would do any of this, though.

Oh, yes. Because Lady Maisry is Teh Evol, who only cares about Teh Moneys.

And she totally needs a new name. "Lady Maisry" is a Scottish folk ballad, and I don't think it goes back any further than to the 18th century.

Also, Rhys WELSH GUY (that'd be the heroine's father, who has actually been named Rhys ap Owain now) is apparently a really neglectful landlord, because he takes all his tenants crops and sells them before they get a chance to, so they don't have any money. And then he doesn't put any money back into the land/buildings, so they're all rundown. The hero is SHOCKED by this, because it's bad form. He would never do it.

The only problem is that I'm not sure if that kind of feudalism happened in 13th century Wales or not. I know I've read that feudalism never really took hold in Wales like it did in England and France.
Current Music: We Are the Champions -- Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Queen
So, I've got an hour and a half to get out 1500 words, which I think might be doable. Unfortunately, I no longer have malted milk balls, which really did work well as a motivator. Apparently getting me to sit down and write is exactly like potty-training a toddler. Only I generally don't go running out into the living room with my pants down, screaming, "I wrote! I wrote on the 'puter! Gimme candy!"

You guys know how I arranged all those medieval-ish songs to put me in a medieval-ish mood? Well, apparently what puts me in a medieval-ish mood is Patrick Wolf and the Vitamin String Quartet covering Red Hot Chili Peppers. I am not even joking. I cranked out 2000 words last night, listening to that. I wrote about nuns.

There is something about "Dani California" and "Tristan" that just does not say "nuns" to me.

Whatever! I'm not going to question it. I'm just going to crank it and make like a monkey with a typewriter.

I'm also trying this thing where I write longhand on the cheapest paper I can find, because what I write on there doesn't count at all. I can illustrate a scene with stick figures, and it doesn't matter. I'm just writing. It's about breaking expectations and getting out of the habit of always writing with a certain pen on a certain kind of paper or needing a computer to get the thoughts out. By changing your environment, it's supposed to make you less fearful of what you're tossing up on the page. In theory. I might just feel silly for writing a romance novel in a notepad that features an anthropomorphic bear wearing a shirt but no pants on the cover. Writing that in blue scrapbooking pen, no less. I'm shaking it up!

AND! FURTHERMORE! I've been outlining a scene that happens way in the future of where I'm writing right now, and I cannot get the lines that Benedick speaks to Claudio in "Much Ado About Nothing" when the former confronts the latter about Hero's death. Something like, "You have wronged a fair and gentle lady," except I can't find that scene in my version of the play. Maybe it's just in the Kenneth Branagh version, because it is his delivery on it that's stuck in my head.
Current Music: Good Advice -- Matson Jones
08 November 2008 @ 02:59 am
I really need to be asleep, but I have tomorrow afternoon to nap all I want. Also, I am totally engrossed in reading about the fall of Llywellyn the Last (which I will never be able to spell right more than once).

I'm having difficulty summoning up sympathetic feelings for the English, which is Big Trouble, because my hero and his entire family are English, and I need to make the heroine's Welsh family into the bad guys. But Longshanks is really showing his ass here, so I'm having trouble doing anything but go, "Oh, the poor oppressed Welsh!"

Did you know that in 1275, Longshanks hired pirates to kidnap Llywellyn's betrothed/wife, Eleanor de Montfort when she sailed from France to go to Llywellyn in Wales? (Freaking pirates! And I always thought that section of "Hamlet" was really far-fetched.) He did! And then he held her hostage until Llywellyn met his demands. And then, in 1283, after Llywellyn had been killed/murdered, his infant daughter Gwenllian was captured by the English, and held in a convent her entire life. She died without issue, natch. And then Longshanks basically ransacked Wales, and appropriated a lot of the most symbolic objects of Gwynedd and scattered them to the wind. Quoting the Wikipedia article on Llywellyn, "Commenting on this [the appropriation of Gwenyedd's treasures] a contemporary chronicler is said to have declared 'and then all Wales was cast to the ground.'" It wasn't just a military defeat, but a political and spiritual one.

So, basically Longshanks is coming off as a big, tall bastard to me. How can I make the Welsh the bad guys after learning all that? I kind of want to rewrite history and make the Welsh victors. I could right now be typing this in Welsh, and you wouldn't even notice because it would be the same as English to us.

But I can't end the story with my hero and heroine living under the threat of the hero being executed for being a Welsh noble and the heroine being locked away as a prisoner until she dies. That's just not the Romance Way.

Another thing I discovered: Everybody in Welsh history appears to have been named Owain, Gruffydd, or Llywellyn. Toss a Rhys and a Rhodri in there, and you've got like 95-percent of 13th-century Welsh males. I can only imagine that you'd walk into a bar, shout Owain!, and everybody would turn around.
Current Music: Dani California -- Vitamin String Quartet
I'm sitting here, typing up what I wrote on my breaks at work today, and my rough draft is cracking me up.

I haven't decided on a lot of the names for characters and places in the story. I don't even really know what part of Wales it's set in, other than that it's somewhere in the southeast*. Why the southeast? It's what seemed right when I thought about it. My heartsong told me! *tear* I'll probably end up changing my mind.

Anyway, I haven't decided what a lot of the castles are called and what the "last names" of any of the characters are. So there's a lot of "Margarethe, daughter of Rhys WELSH GUY" in my writing. Or "Gwillym has promised his niece UNCLE GWILLYM'S CASTLE as a dowry. You will marry at RHYS WELSH GUY'S PLACE. But first you need to find your brother Nicholas to act as a witness. He's in WELSH TOWN WITH A WHOREHOUSE OR AN INN WITH WHORES." All this all-caps, no name stuff is making me giggle. I get bizarrely detailed with it, and it often acts as a placeholder for plot ideas and intentions.

That last one isn't a direct quote, by the way, though it is paraphrased from actual occurrences in the writing. Which is really goddamn bad writing, by the way. Reading what I've written is a little bit like dragging your face against a cheese grater -- it's a relief when you stop, but the pain lingers.

So, I need to figure out what Welsh town, with a whorehouse or possessing an inn with whores, Nicholas can be kicking his heels up at. I already have a scene where Luc discovers him at the inn (whorehouse?), and is all, "You know, Nick, you're going to use yourself up on these prostitutes, and you're not going to be able to do your knightly best, because you'll have the ladies on your mind instead of hacking your foes into tiny bits." Nicholas's response is basically, "She's got a tongue like an electric eel, and she likes the taste of a man's tonsils. Woof!" And Luc is all, "Oh, Jesus. Don't make me get the hose, little brother."

Oh, god. Nicholas might be a more interesting/entertaining character than Luc. He's totally not based on Hal in "Henry IV, Part 1", by the way. Or Lord Flasheart. Trouble!

What I'm trying to do with the characters is set up Luc as the responsible, dependable brother, though he doesn't always like having to do that. His older brother, Benedick** has hared it off to a monastery where he spends all his time rooting in a garden, though Benedick was intended to be their father's heir. Nicholas is free to whore and drink and be wild, and Luc never got that opportunity because when he was Nicholas's age, he was getting a crash course in lordship after Benedick "defected". Both Benedick and Nicholas are free to follow their own whims, and Luc is saddled with responsibility and duty. The marriage and babies for politics thing is only the latest and most extreme manifestation.

*I've been Googling up a lot of pictures of Wales lately, because I don't really know what Wales looks like, as I've never been there. I know it's not arctic or desert or tundra, but I don't know much apart from it being hilly, stony with little mountains, and green. So it's coming as a big surprise to me that a lot of the pictures look a lot like southwestern Wisconsin. A lot of the pictures on this page could have been taken in our pasture or a little bit farther north, where it's hillier. (Apart from the fact that most of our hills are all-natural, and not mottes.) I'm considering making a "Wales or Wisconsin?" post, but I'm not sure if the similarity extends much past that temperate climates start to look the same when they've been farmed continuously for 100+ years.

A friend of mine from Gays Mills mentioned the same thing when she got home from a walking tour of Ireland, England and France, though, so maybe it's not just me.

**I still need to find a new name for Luc, as he's the odd man out. Benedick, Nicholas and . . . Luc. It doesn't really fit, does it?
Current Music: O Frondens Virga -- Garmarna
03 November 2008 @ 02:09 am

Second day of NaNo already and I'm going:

What were you thinking, dummy? This is such a dumb idea! You don't know the first thing about medieval knights and ladies and anything. This is going to be a big fat failure of a novel. Just like last year. You're going to get through the first four chapters, then lose momentum. Or you'll skip to the end, to write that, and then forget to write anything that happens in between. You suck, Sarah! You're a lousy writer! Way lame.


Flargen bargen blah grah. I've been resorting to the all-caps a lot lately. I need to stop.

Today I made cinnamon rolls, and didn't write a word. The cinnamon rolls are pretty awesome. The writing not so much. Wait, I wrote a lot for my Yuletide recs, which I did tonight simply to avoid writing about Margarethe and her prayers in the unnamed nunnery.

Man. I never put myself through this sort of angst when I wrote things for the paper. It was all, "Well, here's the facts. Let's make them intelligible." And then I did it.

I've got the facts. I have two reluctant people, who are being forced to get married, for the sake of money, politics, and peace. Luc (which is not his name anymore, but I don't know what his name is) doesn't want to get married because he thinks it will cut in on his freedom to go and smash people with a sword and saddle him with responsibility. He'll have to stop being a bachelor and set up house with this woman he doesn't know, and then they'll have kids, and he'll be responsible for them. His father, Roger, is all, "I'm old, I want to stop fighting, Longshanks told me I could retire, so get hitched and knock this chick up already. Oh, and pick up your brother Christopher to act as a witness, because I'm going home to your mother." And Luc is all, "Fine. I'll do it." And then we switch to Margarethe, who is praying, "Please, God, let my father send word about my future. Don't let me hang in limbo here as a not-a-nun!" And God kind of answers her prayers, because her brother Owain shows up and is all, "Surprise! Uncle Gwilliam arranged a marriage for you!" And then Margarethe has to leave her beloved nunnery to go home to her neglectful father and horrible stepmother.

And my brain won't let me communicate that through prose. Can I just write a really detailed summary for NaNo? Or can I write it snarky blog post style? Like the IM messages of two 14-year-old girls?

~*~lamb_o_god~*~ omg, mel, did u here bout maggie + luc?
melisande no wut
~*~lamb_o_god~*~ like luc's father maed a deal w/ maggie's uncle Gwilliam, and now their all 'maggie marry luc, luc marry maggie, it'll make the king happy'
melisande oooh, longshanks hes hott
~*~lamb_o_god~*~ ya, he's pretty dreamy, for an old guy lol
melisande how many times do i have to tell u hes not old hes sofistikatd
~*~lamb_o_god~*~ i dont even know what ur tryin to say
melisande hes cultured and stuff
~*~lamb_o_god~*~ ask the saracens lollollol
~*~lamb_o_god~*~ annyway, maggie's stepmom Maisry told her that shes kinda fugly, so she's luck to be getting married
~*~lamb_o_god~*~ and maggie was all, 'i dont even wanna get married, so tell this dude to go away'
~*~lamb_o_god~*~ and maisry said that she didn't care, she was gettin married anyway
~*~lamb_o_god~*~ n then maggie's freind Nest came in and spilt wine all over maisry and maisry hit her with a shoe
melisande o no she dint!
~*~lamb_o_god~*~ it's totally ture. i heard it from luc's brother christopher, who is all friendly with the ladies
melisande oh christoperh's really hott he looked at me at mass n i thought i was gonna swoon and stuff
~*~lamb_o_god~*~ hes got a thing for nest
melisande omg eva, y do u got to be so meen to me? is it because im fat?

I predict that it will be a bestseller.

I have absolutely no documentation for Maisry as a medieval name, so that's probably going to have to change. Unless, does it strike anyone as overtly modern?
Current Music: Wind in the Wires -- Patrick Wolf
30 October 2008 @ 07:35 am
Given the goodness and glory of Wikipedia, I have just discovered the Welsh marcher lords. And a little light in my head went ping! Could my hero's family be marcher lords?

The only thing is, I feel kind of weird creating a marcher lord that never existed (though I'm apparently all right with creating a family of knights that never existed, and not all right with inserting historical figures outright into my story as principal characters; my brain isn't just a gray area because it's my brain). Would I be more OK with it if the marcher lord family weren't earls?

I dunno. But at least I can start reading up on motte and bailey castles!

Random interjection: Have just remembered that I own a Welsh/English pocket dictionary! On the off chance I should ever find somebody wandering through southwestern Wisconsin who speaks only Welsh, I guess.

Am still searching for a source that will tell me about convents in and around Wales, or really about convents anywhere in England. I have lots of sources for monks and monasteries, but apparently nuns are boring or something. Of course, I have all these books about the sex lives of nuns (and monks), but that doesn't tell me anything about the rest of the lives of these half-nuns I just read about. Half-nuns? Yeah, apparently if your family wanted you to become a religious, but you didn't want to, you could become a half-a-nun, meaning you didn't take the full vows of poverty and chastity and whatever else was required of an all-the-way nun (or monk). And the convent still got all the land and money your parents would have given them if you'd become an all-the-way nun! And you still got to eat cakes and drink wine and maybe sleep with somebody without feeling so guilty about it.

Unfortunately, my heroine wants to be an all-the-way nun, and the only reason she hasn't is because her father is too negligent to give the go-ahead and sign away her dowry. He's all, "Oh, I'm too busy doing stuff . . . with my awesome second wife. Like, we hunt and go for long walks on the beach and I kind of forgot I had a daughter until she became useful as a bargaining chip with this English guy who is seiging her uncle's castle and needs to marry off his son. So, my bad!" Margarethe (er, Welsh-girl -- Cymraeg bachgennes?) is basically in the convent, waiting for her father to send permission and moneys, without which she cannot transition into . . . nunnity. The other option is for her father to send someone to fetch her home, but he hasn't done that either. Because her mother died when she was born, and she wasn't male, to provide a failsafe in case her older brother kicks it. So he's got the second wife, who is basically a doormat. Good firm baby bucket, but still a doormat.

Re-reading the way I have written the father's bit of character, I think I might be re-writing Clueless here.

AGH. I have to do so much research. Is it possible to write a riveting story about textiles? With only the knowledge I already have in my head?

"And then the fuller collected the jars of stale urine from the villagers, to the eternal disappointment of his daughters, who would be forced to dance across the wool until the fibers had drawn together. But they were not so unlucky as the dyer's daughters, whose hands were always blue and who smelled faintly of rotting leaves."

It will be like "The Song of the Shirt" but without the social commentary and with more bad smells.
27 October 2008 @ 03:20 am
I really want this book: Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe by Richard W. Kaeuper.

The only problem is that it's $150. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS! For a single book? At least the shipping is free!

Oh, wait. That's the hardcover. The paperback is only $60. That's more reasonable. According to the paperback page, 76-percent of customers go on to buy the hardcover edition. Uh-huh. I totally believe that.

Anybody want to buy it for me? I can offer you . . . three rutabagas, grown by yours truly with lots of love. They are all the size of softballs. And they were grown with love.

You can read a lot of it on Google Books. I scrolled all the way down to page 80 without hitting a break. It's a very pleasant read, too.

ETA: OMG! Brainstorm! In reading the above Google book, I was reminded that knights didn't have to be from different countries to wage war. What if in my NaNo novel, instead of having it set against the Welsh wars, I just have it be about two families duking it out? I would lose a plotline I was thinking about -- how to communicate when you don't speak the other's language? -- but I think I can deal with it. Hmmm.
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24 October 2008 @ 06:52 pm
Today has been sort of pathetic. It's raining and cold and I slept on my hip all weird so it hurts and Dad broke a lightbulb in the bathroom and I got to spend half an hour picking up glass off all the soft things in the bathroom and BLARGH. And my sister is still not returning my emails, which leads me to believe that she changed email addresses, because the one I'm sending the emails to is her maiden name. And she's simultaneously absentminded and Type A enough to forget to tell anyone that. (We are not exactly alike! Shut up!) Otherwise, she's pissed at me about something. And I have no idea what that could be.

So, yeah. Today has been a day.

Random: Does it bug anyone else that Mediaeval Baebes say their name "Medieval Babes" instead of "Meh-dee-eh-vahl Behbs"? Because it's starting to bug me a little.

On the NaNoWriMo front, I have come to a decision. Since the poll was absolutely inconsequential, because everything was tied everywhere (which might have been my fault for setting it up the way I did -- who knows!), I made the decision in the face of everything everyone told me. In other words, I used golf scoring, and will be writing a tale of love and war and jokes about boobs on the Welsh border.

Yes, I will be writing the novel I tentatively titled Smells Like the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, it will probably be a lot more serious than the title implies, but it is a working title.

And there might be ninjas. I don't know yet.

I've been trying to harness Google for my nefarious research needs, but to no avail. I tried the library, but some monster got there before me and checked out all the books on the middle ages. Of course, there were only two, but I still felt thwarted. So I'm going into this blind, really. I know next to nothing about medieval Wales, unless we want to go counting what happens in "Henry IV, Part 1". And Glyndwr is pretty hocusy-pocusy, mystical, magical in that. Fairly confident the Henry plays are not an accurate reflection of 14th century Wales, to say nothing of the English bias.

Stupid toaster burnt my bagel! Blargh.

Anyway, why medieval Wales? Let me tell you, and some stuff about 'historical' novels )

In closing, my soundtrack for the next month will be Mediaeval Baebes (Mirabilis and Undrentide) and Garmarna's Hildegard von Bingen, which is, yes, a recording of plainsong written by Hildegard von Bingen in the 12th century, set against some subtle electronic stuff. I also have Love's Illusion by Anonymous 4, for that authentic touch.

The Garmarna album is excellent, and I recommend it to people who like Delerium and other similar groups. Maybe Mediaeval Baebes, though the Baebes have a more medieval sound, really. Emma Hardelin, Garmarna's vocalist, has an absolutely haunting voice.
Current Music: Isabella -- Mediaeval Baebes
17 October 2008 @ 01:46 am
Uh-oh. People there is a problem with the NaNoWriMo poll. Namely, there's a big fat tie. Like everywhere.

Witness the perturbation )

You need to vote in this if you haven't. Vote early, vote often!

OK, so a post or so ago, I said that I was thinking about CC28, which is in 2010* in Milwaukee. That is so much more accessible than either of the coasts for me. Which means the only way I will not be there is if something sudden and horrible happens, like the appearance of Cthulu. Tentacled doom. That's the only thing that will stop me.

So, of course, I'm already thinking of what I'd like to make and wear there. What centuries? What silken insanity? Why am I planning so far ahead? We'll probably never know the answer to that one. (Actually, I do know the answer. So I can save money and sew things.)

What are my ideas? Click and behold!

There are no bad ideas in brainstorming, Lemon. )

In other news, I made dinner tonight and it was total fail. I don't know what went wrong. Well, I do for one part, but the other two are a little wha-? huh?

I made sweet and sour chicken from a boxed kit and garlic sesame chicken from scratch. So I had a wok and a cast-iron skillet going at the same time, both with chicken in them. I was supposed to add a half-cup of water to the sweet and sour, and 1 1/2 cups to the garlic chicken, and oops! I mixed that up. So the sweet and sour chicken was a little bland because the sauce was way watered down. And then I followed Mom's recipe for the garlic chicken, with 1/4 cup of cornstarch to 1 1/2 cups of water, but that turned out so thick. Like a gel instead of a sauce. I've no idea why. I measured right, I cooked it right, and it just turned out as a gel instead of a sauce. I ended up adding another cup of water to thin it to the right consistency.

And then the rice. I don't know what happened to the rice. I brought it to a boil, put a cover on it, and turned off the heat, which should have resulted in delicious fluffy rice. But instead I got rice that was perfectly cooked on top and still crunchy on the bottom. I don't know . . . That shouldn't happen.

I'm a better cook than that. A way better cook. I just wasn't on my game and I don't know why. It's edible, but not as good as it could have been. *sigh*

*In the year 2525, if man is still alive . . .
Current Music: Ghost Song -- Patrick Wolf
15 October 2008 @ 11:40 pm
I'm William John Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott, the Fifth Duke of Portland!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

You guys, this is so me. )

And now for some info about my three possible NaNoWriMo novel ideas. I really don't know which one to go with, which may be a good or bad thing. It might just be that I find all three equally interesting or that they're all equally uninteresting. We'll see.

The ideas in detail )

I will admit that the medieval romance novel was born out of the fact that all the other medieval romance novels are so poorly written. I'm not even joking. So anachronistic it's disgusting and very cliché. I mean, I can get the desire to have medieval romances be fairy tales, but there's also a lot to be said for medieval people acting like medieval people and not storybook characters in trews. I'd like some recognition of the fact that these knights had their squires scouring out their armor with urine and sand, you know?

So, now the poll.

[Poll #1279562]

When I started writing this entry, it was supposed to be about costume plans for CC28, which is going to be in Milwaukee. I can do Milwaukee! But somehow NaNo took over. So, another post? Maybe. I think I might actually go to sleep at a reasonable time tonight.

*Did you guys know that Edward I had in excess of fifteen children? Seriously, like 19 kids, 16 of which were with Eleanor of Castile.
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Current Music: Land's End -- Patrick Wolf
30 November 2007 @ 03:44 am
I am admitting to you today that writing does funny things to me in the middle of the night. It impels me to do things like eat a handful of chocolate chips, drink a glass of milk, and then go looking for dill pickles. I suppose in that respect, it isn't unlike a rather clichéed pregnancy -- at the end, after all, I will have a roughly five pound stack of papers that I will defend by tooth and claw. (Or not. You can't print a new, identical baby, of course.)

It's also similar to pregnancy in that now, having woken up an hour ago because I was hungry and had to pee, I am wearing a strange collection of clothing because it is absolutely freezing, and I decided the best way to not sleep was to write. Maternity clothes range from the utterly bizarre to regular clothes with expanding waists. And I think my collection of garments here is pretty weird.

Why is it weird? Because I say so, pretty much.

From top to toe:
  • Handknit cloche hat, in darkdarkdark blue tweed (I have lots of pictures of this to upload, but haven't gotten to yet.)
  • Crazy coral/blue/green/yellow print sleeping camisole; ugly-cute
  • Bright pink long sleeve t-shirt
  • Black wrap sweater in a mohair/wool blend, which has had one of the interior ties replaced with i-cord knit with powder blue worsted weight wool
  • One pink lace mitt (only one because I haven't finished the other one yet)
  • Black cotton/Lycra exercise pants, calf length, but intended to be knee length on a person of normal height
  • Pale pink bamboo knee socks

And I just topped this all off with another black cotton, zippered cardigan. I look like a roasted Stay Puft Marshmallow man.

Awwww, somebody just posted this about my excerpt on the NaNo boards:

"Oh my, Miss Purl! I loved your excerpt so much! It was so refreshing of a read :D I felt like I was reading real literature!"

How tremendous is that! Yay.
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Current Music: I Dream of You -- Heidi Talbot
29 November 2007 @ 07:26 am
I am extremely disgruntled that I just wrote a scene straight out of a romance novel for my NaNo. Two thousand words worth of scene.

It's a good scene, too, just for a romance novel, not for a mid-19th century romance. Totally different bagels, people. Like garlic'n'onion versus poppy seed.

Where is my head?

What's a goddamn surtout?
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Current Music: Pie Jesu -- Anuna