Every Keyboard Tells a Story

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That’s the keyboard on my actual laptop right there.  Note the missing H key, multiple keys where the markings were rubbed off, fingernail marks carved into the key that used to say “N.” We won’t discuss things periodically cleaned out from in between the actual keys, or things spilled on them and hastily wiped away, usually accompanied by fervent prayer.

This keyboard (and the laptop it’s attached to) has seen three different states, two different homes, been my companion through three distinct phases of my life (before, during and after the bottom dropped out of my world and I went from writer to caregiver to last family member standing to writer once again.) It’s been dropped, fallen from improvised “desks” made from overturned wastebaskets, balanced on knees sweating in summer heat or swaddled in hand-knit afghans (or my special snoflake fleece blankey nobody else is allowed to touch) and seen a plethora of libraries and coffee shops.

It’s seen the starts of novels, completion of a few, fiery deaths of others, while still others slipped into quiet comas. Some of those will come back, some will sail off into the sunset without me, and I am okay with all of that.  Yet more stories are still to come, and I am looking forward to meeting them all. How many more get to be on this particular keyboard or laptop, I’m not sure, but I’m looking forward to the adventure.

There have been games played on this computer; three different iterations of The Sims franchise, four if we count the Sims 4 demo, and a couple of forays into Second Life. Movies watched, countless YouTube videos, episodes of favorite TV shows, pictures composed and edited. New friends met, final farewells said, willingly or not, when certain chapters closed. New hellos yet to say to what’s still ahead of me.

It’s been a wild ride these last few years, and, in a way, it’s fitting to see the machine that saw me through that much coming to the end of its own journey. Not there yet, but the time is coming, and I’m okay with that.  New adventures are ahead.

One of which is blogging. I’ve had this blog for a while, in various incarnations, but I’m still getting the hang of it. While I do blog elsewhere, it’s easier to write about an external topic. Writing about me, about my own writing, that’s a whole different story, pun intended, but I’m here, and I have a brand new keyboard, so we’re good to go, this old friend and me.

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Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition

Inspired by Zeee at Buried Under Romance, my historical romance offering for Throwback Thursday: Lovesong by Valerie Sherwood

The year was 1985. The place was Montpelier, Vermont. The book was Lovesong by Valerie Sherwood, and my friend, Karen, had chased me across campus to physically put the book in my hand. When I asked her why she’d gone to all that trouble when we lived in the same dorm and she could have waited for me to come down the hall, she replied she wanted to be the one to give it to me, as it was going to be my new favorite book.

She was right. After many years and many books, the story of Carolina Lightfoot, the Tidewater planter’s daughter who became the fabled Silver Wench of the seas, and the dashing privateer, Kells, aka Rye Evistock, still remains a strong favorite. There were two more books, Windsong and Nightsong, about Carolina and Kells, and through this book, I found one of my all time favorite authors in Valerie Sherwood, aka Jeanne Hines, aka Rosamund Royal, and fell head over heels in love with the seventeenth century as well as the illustrations of cover artist Elaine Duillo. 

So, Karen, wherever you are, thanks. It was worth the chase. Seriously. 

Books in the mail

Today, three books came in the mail. In The Shadow of the Crown, The Divided Heart and Touched By Thorns, all by Susan Bowden, comprising her Radcliffe series, which I would more properly term a saga, as it covers several generations of the same family. 

Sagas like this are my favorite kind of series, following the lives and loves of a remarkable family through the generations -at least three- and the changing circumstances of history. We don’t see many of these in the romance genre these days, and I think that may be a mistake. Some readers will cite that they don’t want to see beloved characters grow old and die -which does happen in some sagas, especially those more in the realm of historical fiction- but then we also lose the chance to see those characters, and their love, grow through the different seasons of life. 

To see a hero and heroine I have followed through their courtship and early days become parents, not only to infants but older children, teens and young adults, eventually to become grandparents and watch the second and third generation embark on their own love affairs. Often enough, such second generation heroes and heroines only see their parents as their parents, and don’t take into account that the older generation does very much understand what it’s like to be young and in love. What’s more, they know what it’s like to be older and in love, to see that love last and grow even stronger. 

Once in a while, we’d see a couple have difficulties. There could be a separation, willingly or not, the loss of a child, change in social status, either upward or downward, or any other host of things. Difficult for some readers, yes, but also a part of life, and in the romance genre, we know that all will be well in the end, so it’s the perfect place to take some dramatic risks. If there’s a separation, there is a reunion, and if a couple stumbles, they find their stride once more. 

It’s not for everyone, and for those who require a specific setting, notably the ever-popular Regency, there isn’t time to sweep through the generations (perhaps why series featuring groups of friends or siblings prevail in this setting) but for settings with a broader scope -medieval comes to mind, or the early days of America, any revolution that changes the social and political landscape- it’s a rich field waiting to be mined, and for those who wonder how the children of a favorite hero and heroine turned out as adults, it’s a perfect fit. 

There’s at least one of these percolating in my mind, and another WIP has the love story of the heroine’s parents as a subplot, part of that playing paralell with her love story with the hero. Didn’t plan that particular story that way, but that’s the way it wants to happen, so who am I to get in its way? 

For now, though, the Radcliffes have the prime spot on my TBR shelf, and they are calling. How about you, readers and writers? What’s your take on multigenerational stories within romance?