All posts by theadevine

IT TAKES A VILLAGE …

Thea here today wondering if you’ve ever had to name a town. You know, the kind of small town where everyone knows your name, and where its name needs to reflect its geography, or its picturesqueness, or its values, or perhaps some salient historical incident.

i mean, I keep lists of names. Don’t you? Including town names, but also estate names, male names, female names, hero/heroine names (vastly different than every day names), villain names, ethnic names among other things. Names are important. They have to have the right rhythm, vowels and syllables.

And your town has to be located in a correct geographical location — for me, at least, having now lived in 3 very different small towns: rural, suburban rural, and suburban bedroom.

How do you choose a name? How do you decide if Is the town a Shady Dale? (Too suburban development) An Ambleside? (Too cute) A Sugar Bush (too snow country), a Valley View (too suburban bedroom), a Centerville (too bland), a Jericho Springs (too gold rush country)? Or none of the above?

Is it a Hawk Cove (too made up), an Angel Oaks (too over 55 senior community), a Blooming Grove (too title of a play), a Red Creek (too unsubstantial)?

See what I mean? Your town is a character in your book. It has to have the right name.

I have spent months collecting names and ruminating on The Right Small Town Name. Not sure I have it yet, but I offer below a list of suffix/descriptives that might help you in your hunt for the perfect small town name.

lake
dale
cliff
bend
shoals
grove
brook
view
oaks
meadows
junction
line
landing
hill
vale
creek
bush
gate
cove
town
summit
shores
bay
woods
bayou
crest
falls
way
hollow
bush
pines
corner
mile
valley
side
summit
springs
ville
trace
shoals
mile
plains
vista
view
green

So, are you looking for the perfect small town name? Help! How do you choose?d

Thea Devine is the author of 27 erotic historical and contemporary romances, the latest of which, Beyond the Night, the sequel to The Darkest Heart, is available now as a Pocket Star eBook.

PIECES OF ME

Today is my younger son’s birthday. I’m away at a conference in Florida and so won’t celebrate with him this day.

Yesterday, someone said to me that he ought to write his memoirs.

Shouldn’t we all?

Or, as writers, don’t we, already?

How many times have you written an incident that’s happened to you? Or used a trait of a relative to define a character? Or made the neighbor next door a peripheral character in a book?

Come on, confess. I’ll start. I made my in-laws major characters in one of my early books. Here’s the thing. Members of my family read the book and nobody recognized them.

Really. There was also a cousin, a neighbor, people I’d worked with — not so you’d recognize them, but I’d written to their personalities or family history, or something in their current livesused

My husband and sons — I won’t go there. Maybe, maybe not. But the cat — I featured our Calico cat in one of my books because I promised her, before she died.

And aunts and uncles — fair game, where I could reorder life with them to my taste and say what I should have said thirty years ago.

Writing, as it were, pieces of my biography entwined with fictionalizing them.

I shouldn’t write my memoirs. I should say, read my books. There, you’ll learn all about me.

Beyond the Night, the sequel to The Darkest Heart is available now as a Pocket Star eBbook.

You Talkin’ To Me?

Okay, people. Confession time. This is a biggie in my house. So maybe if I say it out loud, I’ll be more conscious of it.

I talk to myself. A lot.

Oh, you’re not surprised? You do too, don’t you? And it drives your husband crazy, right? Mine too. He never knows if I’m talking to him, my son, the cat, the tv or the wall.

Well, why should he? I ask myself. But then, we’re always talking to each other, even about the most mundane things, like “I’m taking out the garbage.” So, John reasons, how is he supposed to know that I’m not talking to him?

People, I hate it when he uses logic. So I did what any self-respecting author would do: I wrote a lyric.

I live in my imagination
conversations are ongoing there
you don’t have a prayer
are you talking to me
no, I’m talking to me
well, how would I know
your voice is so low
so what if I do
what’s my talking to you?
at least give me a clue
if the conversation’s here
or it’s somewhere over there
please signal with a bell
so at least I can tell
if you’re talking to me
or still talking to you.

There, that solves the problem altogether. Want to confess? DO you talk to yourself?

Thea Devine’s books defined erotic historical romance. “Beyond the Night,” the sequel to “The Darkest Heart” will be an October 2014 eBook release from Pocket Star.

You’ve Got To Have Friends

Hi everyone. Thea, home from National where I didn’t attend as many workshops as I should have. But that gave me the opportunity to catch up with several old friends whom I only see once a year, briefly, and on the run between workshops.

I’m still trying to figure out this friendship phenomenon: that there are people you meet and connect with at conference, and you only see them once a year, and yet, it’s like you’ve seen them often and so only need five minutes or fifteen or a half hour to get updated, and off you go, looking forward to seeing them again next year.

And then there are the more profound friendships that last for decades, friends you depend on in moments of author and personal crisis. Friends in whom you confide your problems and your deepest dreams. Friends you talk to every week, or every other day because you bolster each other, lift each other’s spirits, push each other to go further, do more, not quit, and ultimately succeed.

Each of those friendships is treasured and nurtured because we’re a part of this amazing community of romance authors and the comfort of that cocoon of others, whom we’ve grown to love, sharing that experience sustains us and pushes us to keep moving, keep hoping, keep reaching.

It’s beyond a blessing. I can’t imagine my life without my friends, without their counsel, support, friendship and love, and seeing them yearly at conference, monthly at RWA meetings, talking weekly on the phone carries me forward in ways impossible to define, but which enriches my life beyond any other friendships I’ve ever known.

What about your writer friendships? Are they fresh and new, or of long-standing and can’t-live-without?

Thea Devine is the author of more than two dozen historical and contemporary erotic romances. Beyond the Night, the sequel to The Darkest Heart will be an October 2014 Pocket Star release.

What Do You Watch?

It’s late, it’s raining, thundering and lightning. The house is dark except for the TV and the pendant lights in the kitchen. It’s kind of eerie — the silence, the TV, the dark, the sudden crack of thunder now and again, the flick of a brown-out.

I’m watching the news for want of something to watch since none of my favorite shows are on tonight. I wonder what other people are watching in this summer season when we are being peppered with a barrage of next-new-must-see TV shows. I wonder what our choices say about us, and especially because we’re writers, I think it’s necessary we do watch TV for all these shows can teach us about story, arcs and characterization.

I get teased in my house for watching Pretty Little Liars, but I’m fascinated by the continuing mystery and the peeling away layer after layer as the Liars cope with all the consequences of their lies. Vampire Diaries lost me after a while. I’m watching Arrow, The Hundred, The Last Ship, The Leftovers, Under the Dome. I will watch Extant, and Newsroom, Downtown Abbey and Homeland (when they return).

I wish I’d watched Revolution and Falling Skies. I will catch up on NY Med and Turn. Ongoing favorites include Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Criminal Minds. I peek into Undercover Boss now and again. We don’t subscribe to Netflix. Yet.

I love shows whose characters are “family” — you could argue most shows have a core “family,” even if there is no family. I love mystery and suspense. I love ghost stories and gothics, but most of all, I love romance. So you can find me on weekends glued to the Hallmark Channel (especially during Christmas).

You will notice I’m not watching comedies (exception: Big Bang Theory). Or any of the major reality shows. Dramas are enough reality for me these days. And my own life. I’m just excited there are so many good new shows with such terrific writing. It takes nothing away from my own
writing to spend time watching these. I constantly look to find lessons there for us all.

What do you watch on TV? Do you think it reflects who you are? Any guilty pleasures?

Thea Devine is the author of more than two dozen novels. Beyond the Night, the sequel to The Darkest Heart, will be published October 2014 as a Pocket Star eBook.

Let It Go

Thea here in this season of graduations, retirements and tag sales, sitting in my house that looks like we’re perennially moving in.  This is the first time I’ve ever thought, everything’s got to go.  The big stuff, the stuff we’ve collected or inherited from our parents.  The stuff I’m not sure my sons will really want.  Things I want them to keep forever.

Because everything has story:  my husband grew up with this item; his parents collected that stuff on the Cape in the 1950’s;  they bought that painting from a local artist there; and brass bed at an auction in Maine.  Things that my husband is loath to let go.   On my side, there wasn’t quite as much of value, but  among the things I kept were the living room lamps from my parent’s first apartment. I remember that apartment vividly even though I was only four or five at the time.

The lamps sat on two tall side tables flanking a camelback sofa.  There was a large framed print over the sofa of a medieval farm scene, and the lamps, perhaps hand-painted, echo that theme.  They’re tall and urn-shaped, with a little curly-cue on each side.  Those curls reminded me of my mother’s very curly hair.  I remember playing with those curly-cues when I was very young.  And because of that I can’t bear to get rid of the lamps even though they don’t fit anywhere in our house.

Or maybe there’s a different reason for my reluctance, and that is in letting go of those objects we are in some respect erasing our story, our past and our present both.  Because what will our sons do with all we’ve assiduously collected?  The books and paintings we’ve loved.  The Eastlake dresser that was one of first things we bought after we got married.  The painted sleigh bed.  The antique dishes.

There’s a memory. a story behind each of those things.  And in them, the story of our lives together.  We’ll be married 48 years this month, and will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the night we met in September.  How do I let it go?

And how do I let go the memory of that little girl playing with the decorations on those lamps because they looked so much like her mother’s curly hair?

Are you clearing out and paring down?  How do you handle it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Procrastinator

Thea here, confessing I’m a world class procrastinator. I am distracted at the drop of a syllable, generally by bright and glittery things — like the tv screen.. I don’t know how I get things done.

I only know I have this interior war everyday about what NEEDS to be done, which is: do I write vs do I clean, and since writing is so much fun and I feel so guilty, I lean toward cleaning. But then, cleaning is such a chore and takes me away from writing … so I find reasons to avoid doing that.

Generally, when I’m on deadline, I can with good conscience clear the decks and drive everyone nuts in service of my finishing The Book. I recognize that this is NOt a healthy work habit. I’ve been analyzing my incessant complaints about how I never have time to do anything.

My Mom always used to ask, who’s stopping you?

There’s a rock hard question to stop you in your tracks. How do you explain to a not-writer? The dishes are piling up. The laundry needs to be done. I have to write. Mom would then say, so — load the dishwasher, do the laundry and write.

She just didn’t understand.

I need that time not to do dishes, laundry, writing. And I haven’t read a book in months. I watch too much tv. I’ve become an expert at manipulating my husband and son into the kitchen to make dinner. The day doesn’t have enough hours for me to avoid chores and writing.

Right now, I’m working on revisions for Beyond the Night, the long-awaited sequel to The Darkest Heart.. I promise you, I’m doing them in a timely manner. After I watch Kathie Lee and Hoda. After I procrastinate a couple of hours over this post … By noon. After lunch. Promise.

Anyone else a procrastinator? What’s your excuse?

Thea Devine is the author of over two dozen erotic historical and contemporary romances. Beyond the Night, the sequel to The Darkest Heart will be a September 2014 eBook release from Pocket Star.