Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Regency Romance and the Bechdel Test

These Austenacious ladies
passing the Bechdel Test
Do you know how difficult it is for a Regency Romance to pass the Bechdel Test? (Well, at least mine are.)

Regency Romances are all about pursuit of a spouse, usually during the London Season, and all the gossip and on-dits and, of course, the fabulous clothes. Naturally, everyone is talking about everyone else. It is rather difficult for two Regency women to sit down and have a conversation without it turning, sooner or later, to one of the other characters, usually Our Hero.

My characters do talk about other things in between. There's been discussion of mismatched horses, whether or not one should put one's hair up in rags at 3am or collapse to bed in exhaustion and suffer the curling tongs tomorrow, to how awful the negus is and whether something is sufficiently enchanted... to attract a bloke. (Aw man, so close!)

I guess it all comes down to how strict one interprets the conditions of the Bechdel test.

Strict interpretation: discuss ANYTHING except one of the male characters. He can't slip in at all.

Loose interpretation: discuss ANYTHING which has nothing to do with a male character, but the conversation either drifted in to the subject from discussing Our Hero, or segued into a discussion about him. The important part is that we saw our two women discussing something that wasn't Our Hero.

Bechdel failure: our two women never discuss ANYTHING except Our Hero (or another male character).

So where do you draw the line? Do you favour a loose interpretation? After all, women discuss the things in their lives, but also the people in their lives, which includes the men they interact with. Or do you prefer a strict interpretation, because women's lives do not revolve around the lives of the men they know?

I'd like to think my Regencies pass the Bechdel Test, even if only barely, because my women characters do show interest in things other than the male characters. I don't know if I'm the best one to judge.

Do me a favour; next time I release a full-length Regency Romance, someone let me know if it passes the Bechdel Test.

Her Grace favours a looser interpretation, but then, it shouldn't be difficult to pass the Bechdel if the characters are well-rounded and the plot well-constructed.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Back to School

Did I tell you? I've gone back to school, specifically, I'm pursuing a MS. Thought I'd let you know, as this does reduce the amount of time I have to blog. So, what this means for me is this:

Good Things about Going Back to School

  1. Yay, education! I've always been a proponent of education. (Remember my dreams of a scholarship fund? This is part of why.)
  2. My major is such a cooool subject. I've always been fascinated by it since I was a wee tot. Now I get to immerse in it without guilt.
  3. After I finish my degree, I will be Her Grace, Heidi Kneale BAMS! (Amusa)
  4. The nice thing about post-grad work is that you tend to work on cutting-edge projects. As in, we didn't know this info existed three months ago. In fact, everything is turning over so new, my textbook edition was printed this year, and may already be out of date.

Bad Things about Going Back to School

  1. Tuition. Sorry, but Australia doesn't do free education anymore. Alas. However, I am allowed to defer tuition until I make over a certain amount. Meanwhile, I'll have to source some scholarships, crowdfunding or other alternative means for sourcing funds.
  2. Time suck. Yeah. This semester I'm only in one unit, and you won't believe the time it sucks out of my Bucket o' Time. I spend hours on a single assignment.
  3. All the cool stuff I want to talk about is either not of any interest to everyone else around me in RL or so far above their heads they can't keep up. Does add to an air of isolation.
  4. Cuts into my writing time. (Okay, it also cuts into my housecleaning time and my workout time and my sit-around-and-do-nothing time, but I'm not too worried about that.)  At least I'm only committed to a semester's work, and not year-round (like the day job, that mixed blessing of timesuck and moneygiver).
Her Grace had an opportunity to go back to school for a subject she loved and under the conditions that suited her best. So she took it.

Friday, 17 October 2014


NaNoWriMo's coming up in a few weeks and I'm debating whether I should participate this year.

50K in a month? No problem for this Journeyman. Cranking out draft is easy. Coming up with a story? A doddle. I've got three book ideas lurking in the back of my head.

The question is, is now the best time to start a new novel project?

My writerly life is such that I've already got a few projects on the go, stuff I'm hoping will end up in front of an editor's eyes RSN (which, in publishing, means any time in the next five years), which means it needs to be polished now.

I've just finished one ms (barring any editorial comments from an agent), and I've got three more I need to edit--three Really Big Novels--prior to putting them on sub. (They really need to go on sub. You will thank me later down the track.)

As RL demands much time, I don't have a lot of free coin to spend on all the writing projects I'd like to do. Someday this will change, but not next month.

So, if I choose to NaNo, It'll mean a delay in editing. If I opt in, I'll do the second half of last year's project, Currently Unsupervised.

So, your opinion on NaNo: yea or nay?

Her Grace has realised that the writer's garret is not symbolic of the lonely isolation of a writer's life, but a magical escape-to place so writer can get some work done!

Monday, 13 October 2014

No Skeletons in Her Closet

Have you read my short story "The Skeleton in Her Closet"?
la calavera catrina by dantetyler,
a lovely, talented artist.
Go buy a print.

If not, go get it RIGHT NOW, as it's free: Penumbra Magazine, April 2013

All downloaded? Good. Read my story. I'll wait until you get back.


Okay, did you enjoy that?

Aside from having you read a fun little story, I've got another little story of my own.

Today, something very much like "The Skeleton in Her Closet" happened to me.

Last week a friend of someone I know died (peacefully in her sleep of old age). Her husband gave all her clothes to the someone I know. As the clothes didn't fit her, someone I know passed them on to me, as I was of a similar size.

A dead woman's clothes?


Their Ladyships and I had so much fun sorting through and sizing them up. There were bags and bags of some rather nice items. Nothing quite as exciting as the closet Janet inherited, but there were some lovely things I shall enjoy.

There were so many my blouse wardrobe has doubled, and that's me keeping only half of what I was given.

The only disappointment? No skeleton.

Her Grace is sporting a lovely pair of slouch-about-the-house cotton trousers in a gentle pink. So comfy!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Cover Reveal - For Richer For Poorer - out 22 December 2014

My next novella, FOR RICHER FOR POORER will be released on 22 December, 2014, just in time for Christmas!  It will be available through The Wild Rose Press, Inc. store and all external distributors worldwide. You know you want a copy!

The Deveraux line is famous...for a family curse. The rich must marry the poor or lose their prosperity. Peter Baring is the last of the Deveraux and sinking slowly into poverty. But will marriage to his icy business partner save him?

Beatrice Nottham dreams of leaving Earth for a fresh start. But only married couples are allowed to move off-world. Marrying a man she’s unsure she loves will solve that problem...but at what cost?

When Beatrice visits England to research her branch of the Deveraux family tree, she meets Peter and sparks fly. Both question everything they ever believed would fulfill their dreams. If they dare to be together, will the Curse follow them beyond the stars? The answer to breaking its power could lie in the heart of a crumbling tapestry...if they have the courage to try.

I love this book. It's got magical curses, and sci-fi stuff and genealogy and a really good pasty for dinner.

In the book our hero Peter Baring asks, "Other than a rose, what is your favourite flower?"  Feel free to answer in the comments.

Her Grace is fond of any flower she can eat. Have you ever eaten a flower before?

Friday, 3 October 2014

My Contemporary Humour Novel--The Cat Came Back

I outlined but never got more than a chapter or two into this novel. I really like TCCB. I think it has a clever plot and some really good slapstick, but I didn't  l o v e  it enough to complete it. My heart was more into Fantasy and Romance, than contempo comedy. Still, it was a bit of fun.

Desperate for money, college student Sally takes on a cat-sitting job, but not for any old cat. Fluffy was the completely spoiled pet of dying socialite Amanda Harris. Amanda loved Fluffy so much that she left her entire fortune to the cat, much to the chagrin of her grasping relatives.

Can she do that? According to her attorney, absolutely. Also, once Amanda passes on, Sally is guaranteed a job for as long as Fluffy lives--may Fluffy have a very long line, Sally hopes.

Sally's day is shattered when, two days after Amanda's funeral, Fluffy is found dead. In panic she rushes the dead tabby straight to the vet Thomas. Sally's hopes are crushed. But Thomas has a plan: get another cat.  Fluffy was not anything special breed-wise.  Like Sally, Thomas also had a financial interest in Fluffy's long life.

Thus, Fluffy was replaced by Fluffy II. 

Two days later, bailiffs show up to throw Sally out of the house. After all, she can't live there if the cat is dead. "But Fluffy's not dead," she tells the bailiffs, and produces her "proof" in the form of one irate cat. The bailiffs leave, bemused.

It's only then Sally suspects the relatives had killed the original Fluffy. She calls Amanda's attorney with her suspicions. Amanda's attorney, likewise, has a financial interest in a live Fluffy. The attorney doesn't know that this Fluffy is a replacement. He has Thomas the vet ascertain that this is indeed Fluffy, and is satisfied.

A week later, Fluffy II is found dead. Another panicked call to Thomas, who produces Fluffy III. 

Sally grows concerned. Fluffy II was definitely poisoned. She worries that eventually the relatives, eager to get their hands on Fluffy's money, will manage to successfully prove Fluffy's death.

Sally can't exactly go to the police, for that will reveal her complicity in replacing a dead cat. Nevertheless, she ups the security at the house, and does her best to keep Fluffy inside.

For the next few months several more attempts are made on Fluffy's life, some failing, some successful. 

One day, Fluffy goes missing. A window Sally always kept locked is discovered open. Calling upon Thomas once more, she heads out into the neighborhood in hopes of finding Fluffy alive.

Alas, it's too late, in all senses. Sally and Thomas find a dead Fluffy, the victim of a car. The driver had stopped and called the police... because the driver was one of Amanda's relatives. The police are bemused as to why someone called them about a dead cat, until the will is produced.  

Sally is given twenty-four hours to vacate the premises. 

She refuses to back down without a fight. Convinced this is a case of murder she reviews the security footage to discover the relatives entering the house, disarming the alarm and stealing the cat. (They had a key and the alarm code.) To throw Sally off the track, they left a window open. However, they hadn't known about the security cameras, and thus were caught.

Sally and the attorney take the footage to the police, and the relatives are busted. Because Fluffy VIII died under suspicious causes, Amanda's will decreed that all her wealth go to the Thomas the vet's cat shelter. After all, that's where Amanda got the first Fluffy, who had been her most loving companion for the rest of Amanda's life (unlike the rellies).

This clause surprises everyone, including Thomas. As for Sally, Amanda left her enough money to finish school.

Since I may never write this book, I thought I'd share the outline with you so you can enjoy it.

Her Grace has novels she may never write.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Lovely Review of AS GOOD AS GOLD

Orchid from Long and Short Reviews gave a lovely four-and-a-half star review to AS GOOD AS GOLD.

So glad she enjoyed it. This is what she said:
"I enjoyed the book, well written and with well rounded characters.... I enjoyed spending an hour with this story. It caught my interest and held me right to the end. Good book." (read entire review)
Have you had a chance to read AS GOOD AS GOLD yet?

Her Grace loves hearing when readers have enjoyed her books.