please mind the gap

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Mercy_FinalSometimes, being a writer of historical romance in the age of the internet almost feels like cheating. Every writer (??) researches, whether it’s by reading enough books in one’s chosen historical period to put together some semblence of knowledge about it, or by spending countless hours in libraries both large and small, trying to gather enough information to portray, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, the way things were.

I began writing GRACE long before I had the ability to access the internet and there are SO many mistakes. It’s impossible for me to read that book without cringing. By the time it was actually published, I did have access to more study material via my cumbersome old PC, but I still managed to miss a lot of little things. Now, a full decade and three and half books later, I feel as though I might finally have my thumb on this research thing.

Now I have sort of a reverse problem, though. Not only do I have my own piles of research available to me, but I have the brain butter of the entire world at my fingertips. Sometimes, I fall down the eRabbitHole of research and end up spending hours perusing the internet warren when I really only intended to fact check one or two things and then get back to the business of stringing words together until somehow a book falls out of my head. It’s a good problem to have. A first world problem, if you will.

My heroes and heroines occupy only the tiniest part of London, but I didn’t really have a handle on where they lived. Sure I knew the street names and even the street numbers of the houses in that very uppercrust world, but I only had word research and modern maps to go on. I had some older maps and some newer maps, so I could get a general idea of what it might have looked like during the Regency period, but it really wasn’t enough, to my way of thinking.

And then, to my utter nerdified happiness, I stumbled on the most wonderful website. If you’re a Regency writer and you haven’t found this, worry not. I’m posting the linkage. For that matter, if you write books set in England during virtually any historical period, I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to find some useful stuff here. Get thee to MAPCO, dear writer : )

What’s wonderful about this site is that all the maps are shown in their entirety, and then they’re broken down into sections so you can narrow in on what’s important to you. And that’s when I got my glorious, splendiferous, wonderful and fabulous idea: I would print out all the pieces of the 1817 Map of London and piece it together, bit by bit.

I’m posting some pictures of the result, because I’m entirely pleased with myself. Between the scans, my printer and my third-grade arts and crafts level of skill with scotch tape and scissors, the edges match up a little wonky and there are some areas where roads just drop off into nowhere (please mind the gap, as they say when you’re boarding a train) but it is rather accurate, for the most part, and this makes me happy. It now graces the wall behind my desk (although some might consider it defiling the wall, given the way it looks.)

For all you readers of Regency romance out there, go to the links and check them out. You might be able to find where one of your favorite scenes took place, or where your favorite character lived, especially if you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting London in person. Enjoy : )

Pieces parts.

Pieces parts.

We all know that river.

We all know that river.

All together now.

All together now.

The most important bit.

The most important bit.

Inspiration.

Inspiration.

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search engine terms

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charityYou are all important to me.  I’m serious about that.  While I don’t write with a particular audience in mind, I do write with gratitude that an audience exists.  You are the reason I am able to continue doing what I love.

Because of that, I very much enjoy interaction with you in whatever form it comes.  If you send me a request, no matter who you are, I am happy to add you as a friend on my Facebook page.  If you prefer Twitter, my account there is open and no follower is ever blocked.  If you post a comment to an entry  on this blog, I respond to it.  My email address is prominently displayed on this blog, and I answer every email I receive.  Seriously … I do.  It might take a couple days, but I get to them, and am grateful for them.

I also follow my statistics on this blog closely.  I know how many of you visit me, and I mostly know how you got here, if you were referred by a link.  The other thing I can see, though I don’t have the ability to see who placed it there, are the search engine terms entered into the various search vehicles available to all of us on the web.  Those terms show up on my stats page in a daily list that looks something like this:

Today’s search engine terms, when I looked at it as of 6am this morning, included three questions.  So, because I don’t have the ability to address the person or people who asked those questions, I’m going to answer them here.  : )

1.  Is Mercy the last book in Deneane Clark’s Virtue Series?  Yes.  It is.  But I’m working on another series starring the ancestors of the heroes in this series, set in the Middle Ages, which takes place in and around the world of Tournament Knights.

2.  When does the next book come out by Deneane ClarkMercy is slated for a March 2012 release.

3.  Will Deneane Clark write more than 4 books in the Virtue Series?  No, and it feels a little bittersweet to me. : )  I wrote this series while my children were growing up.  My youngest is 19 now, and the Ackerly youngest is getting ready to spread her wings, as well.  (I’m a sappy girl, I know.  lol)

As always, thank you to everyone who takes time out of their day to read my books, contact me, visit my blog, or interact with me on my various social networks.  I really do feel like the most fortunate girl in all the world.

Be beautiful, my friends.  : )

writing a novel

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CharityOne of the questions I am most often asked is a very broad one.  ”How do you write a novel?”  And I have two completely contradictory answers to it.

The first answer, of course, is, “I don’t know.”

And honestly, I don’t.  I have no idea what gives me the ability to create a story out of thin air, and then to find all the necessary words to make it come alive in someone else’s head.  I write.  I just do.

The other answer is more complicated.  I’ve blogged about the technical aspects of getting the words on the paper, but not about the stuff that happens inside my head during the creative process.  The same stuff goes on a little during edits, but during the process of getting the rough draft hammered out is when the big stuff happens.

And it’s big stuff indeed.  It really rather takes over my life.  Miraculously, I’ve managed to churn out two and half books without running any red lights or rear-ending anyone, and I (mostly) manage to get to the places I’m supposed to be on time.  Because during this part of creating a novel, I’m really not part of this world.  The storyline is running through my head on a pretty constant basis … in the bath, during my drive to and from work, during conversations, even.  Any of my friends can tell you they’ve experienced times with me when I abruptly stopped paying attention to what they were saying, or, worse, stopped them so I could find something upon which to jot the idea that popped into my head because they said the word “orange.”

Yeah.  Seriously.

And, even with all that thinking, and all that jotting, and stuff … my characters still manage to surprise me while I’m writing it out.  And, sometimes, I even manage to surprise myself.