Sunday, September 28, 2008

Blog Chain Blatherskite

H.L. Dyer started this blog chain, to follow it start here: .

Elana Johnson posted before me, here's her link: .

The question this time is:
How do you as an author choose or create your story-world and give that setting authenticity?

Now, when this chain started, I thought, "Cool! this will be easy."
Uh, not so much now. After following all of the wonderful writers that are members of the "chain gang" (listed to the left on my blog), I realize it's true....YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE THAT ARE SMARTER AND BETTER THAN YOURSELF.

Boy have I done that, and now the pressure is on. These writers are all further along than I am (good for me, huh?), in both the writing process, and the understanding of how that process works. Okay, I suppose I should quit procrastinating and answer the dang question, so here goes.

I didn't choose Scotland. I simply SAW a location that my character stood in. I saw the surroundings, the green sloping hills, the steep cliffs that led to a sea inlet. Waves capped in white foam crashing against the rocks. The constant wind blowing inland. And of course the castle to her left. I saw how it seemed to balance on the edge of those cliffs, looking rugged and weathered. The one tower rose above the structure, a winding staircase visible through the dilapidated walls. I knew this had been the home of Margaret, although it was merely ruins now. The crescent shaped cove that it over-looked became the name for her home, Crescent Cove.

Then started the research. I looked and looked at castles. All over Europe. I found some of the most beautiful, fairy tale castles in Germany and Austria, but that was not what she had showed me. I searched Ireland, knowing it had been on the coast. I looked at castles in England, and still no luck. Then I moved to Scotland. I found a few that were close, but just not right.This went on for weeks. Then I found it...Girnigoe Castle.

Now, if I had had any doubts, which I really didn't, as to whether this had been the home of Margaret Sinclair, my "fictional" character, those doubts would have been thrown from the high cliffs onto the sharp jagged rocks below as soon as I found the history on the castle.

The castle was built by a Sinclair, and had remained a Sinclair holding, even to this day. Since Margaret was a Sinclair, I knew I had found my location.

In the last three years, I have bought and read any books, fiction or other-wise, that I could on Scotland. I have fallen in love with the land and people there. Their history is a troubled one, but yet they remain a proud people. The Scots even helped form a lot of traditions here in the states, some good, some not so good.

Now, as far as my book, I couldn't make my time period work if I had used Girnigoe Castle, seeing as how it was destroyed BEFORE the 1700's. I know, I know, creative license and all...but when writing historical romance, you can only use that license every so often, and it better not be too far off the truth. Therefore, Crescent Cove was born (but it's really Girnigoe Castle).

I will also admit that I am forever learning Scottish terms (see my post about Scottish curse words), and descriptions of the locale. My goal is to one day visit Scotland, so that I can do research on a whole new level. There is a lighthouse about a mile from Girnigoe that houses a Sinclair genealogy cool would that be????

I suppose that I have rambled on enough for now. Leah Clifford is next, you can find her blog here:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Open Apology to the Vodou Priestess

I want to take a moment to publicly apologize. It was recently brought to my attention that I may have offended some people (specifically Mambo M.B.) and perhaps even a few deities.

I'm sure most of you reading this are wondering if I have lost my mind. Let me back up a bit. I received a comment on an older post about my 2nd published Gede story. I'll just paste the comment, along with my response below.

mambo m.b. has left a new comment on your post "Gerard the Gede, Guardian of the Veil Part 2":

As a Vodou priestess, I'm offended by your marginalization of the Gede. The fact that you would imagine a character based on an actor to have the power of Baron Samedi, and not know anything about what the Gede represent or their power, is something I suppose should be expected from the ignorant masses... but it is still offensive.

Your writing also lacks description, plot, and forethought. There's a distinct reason why writers say: stick with what you know. Might I suggest you read more history and religion so that your writing will at least have depth?

I channel the Gede on a daily basis. They are not at all pleased with this gross misrepresentation at a 6th grade level. Not at all pleased is an understatement.

Even in fantasy, if you are going to reference religion, at least get your facts right and don't misuse terms and concepts from spirits of the dead who have been crossing into this world for 6,000 years.

Posted by mambo m.b. to Terri Rainer Published Author at September 14, 2008 12:16 PM

Here is my response:

TerriRainer has left a new comment on your post "Gerard the Gede, Guardian of the Veil Part 2":

mambo m.b.

I am very sorry if I offended you, it was certainly not my intention to do so. As for the name "Gerard", while reading about the Gede, Saint Gerard was mentioned, so I incorporated the two names of the Saint, and the Gede.

In my defense, these are short stories that I spent very little time on for a fledgling magazine. I have since decided that the Gede would make a wonderful full length novel.

I would much appreciate any information that you would like to provide about the Gede. I would love it if you emailed me.

I will most certainly do more research on the Gede, but you must understand that a bit of creative license is needed. I would also like to write it without being offensive to your religion.

Thanks so much!
:) Terri

by TerriRainer to
Terri Rainer Published Author at September 14, 2008 1:26 PM

Now, as you can all see, I have unintentionally pissed off not only a Vodou Priestess, but the Gede as well. I honestly meant no disrespect to anyone or their religion, and would TRULY love to hear from any out there who practice Haitian Vodou, ESPECIALLY if they channel the Gede.

It would be great to get first hand knowledge about them, what they may or may not find offensive and I really don't want any bad juju headed my way if I write a novel about the Gede!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rest in Peace Uncle Gary

My Uncle, Gary Reece Rainer, passed away today. He was sixty-one years old. I have walked around in a daze most of the day. The way that you do when a loved one is taken away from you.

You have all of these random thoughts...

*a NASCAR commercial comes on during the OU game and I think of him (he scheduled visits around NASCAR races)

*Hurricane Ike coverage comes on and I think of him (2 of my 3 trips to the ocean were with him)

*a commercial for the Rodeo comes on and I think of him (I missed the trip to the rodeo with him because I had the chicken pox, and have never been to one)

My husband tells amusing stories to our youngest daughters today about sending them to the Algerian Alps to have dwarves teach them to snow ski with Himalayan Monkeys, but I know it was to try and make me laugh (thank you honey, I love you).

I loved my Uncle Gary. He was funny, honest, put his family first, stubborn, and a smart-ass. Pretty much everything that I have become as an adult (okay, I've always been a smart-ass, and I think I'm funny, but often no one else does).

I often wished that he had been my father, or that my father was more like him. My father was the oldest of 7. Uncle Gary was the second, and quite the rebel. He joined the Navy right after high school. He left the Navy as a Sr. Chief, which is what my husband, also a Navy man, always referred to my Uncle as..."Sr. Chief".

I wished I had spent more time with him, also a regret that I'm sure most people have when a loved one dies. My heart goes out to my cousins, Lori and Danny, and my Aunt Kim. As much as I hurt, I know their pain must be almost unbearable.

Rest in peace, Sr. Chief, I'll miss you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My First Blog Chain Post!

I was lucky enough to be invited to become a member of a blog chain. This blog chain is made up of WRITERS!

These wonderful, like-minded individuals (yeah, I know I'm sucking up regular blogger friends just keep a lid on it) are members of QueryTracker and also RallyStorm. They have several forums set up, (a romance writers critique group, blog chain group, and a general romance writers forum) that are by invitation only.

How cool is that????

If you are anything like me, you have no idea how a blog chain works. From what I understand so far, I will link to the last person in the chain who posted, Senshi....and then to the next person to post Brimfire. GypsyGurl started this chain.

Kiddoc, will pick the next topic and be posting soon, so go check her out!

Speaking of topics, this one is, "How real are your characters?". So here we go:

I have heard many writers can see/hear, sometimes even smell their characters (never smelled mine). When I started writing TCH, it wasn't to become published, or to write a book, it just evolved into the historical romance that it is now.

Originally, it was just to tell a story. A story that Margaret, my main character, was telling and showing me. Sounds a bit schizophrenic, huh? All of my characters speak to me, some more than others, of course.

One of my favorite characters was a complete surprise to me when he showed up. I was writing a scene towards the end of TCH, and Margaret sat in the garden, on a bench, alone. It was early morning, and I could see the swirl of fog covering the ground. Footsteps could be heard coming down the path, and a figure emerged from the wall of mist.

I typed as he made his way toward Margaret, describing the boots, the long overcoat, that swirled about him. Upward to the long dark blonde hair, chiseled jaw, intense stare...I was expecting Patrick, but instead it was one Duncan McCue (picture Fabio, add a Scottish accent, and NEVER EVER think of the word BUTTER....that's pretty darn close!) .

He will be my MC in the third book, and I so can't wait! I wanted him to be a pirate, but he had other ideas. He was a bit too honorable for that, but not quite so honorable that he wouldn't smuggle Scottish Whiskey to France, so the Brits couldn't tax it. So we both ended up happy over his chosen vocation.

Um, I guess, as you can see, my characters are very real to me. That is also a problem when you write. YOU know so much about them, that often while writing, you neglect to point things out that the reader may not know.

That's where crit groups come in! If they don't know your characters, or your story, it's easy for them to question the why, when, where, or how that you already know, but perhaps didn't convey well.

Okay, now I can't wait for my next topic! Be sure to check out the blog chain members, they are all great!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Unexcused Absence

I received an email today from one of my favorite blogger friends. She hadn't seen me around in a while, both here and on other's blogs that I normally post daily on. I think she thought I had fallen off the face of the earth!

The truth is, I've been so very busy! I joined two new writer's crit groups, which I LOVE! I have also joined a blog chain of writers (more on that later).

I started back on revisions for TCH (yes, AGAIN). I also started a ....drum roll please....DIET!

In 38 plus years, I have never been on a diet! It's not that I haven't needed to, I just never really cared. I earned every hail damage mark on my thighs I tell ya! And so what if I won't wear a bathing suit...EVER. But then my husband, Mr. I've had two heart attacks, decided to lose the extra weight. I know from experience that it's really hard to stick to ANYTHING without support. And....since he always supports me when I write, instead of cleaning or doing laundry (as long as I don't make a habit of it, mind you), then I decided to support him.

Now, you might think this is an easy thing to do. Let me tell you....IT'S SO NOT! I had to give up my Pepsi (which I drank a 2 liter a day), and NO CHOCOLATE! That's right, I love my husband enough to give up the two things that keep me up all hours of the night doing what I love....writing!

So, now I am cranky, tired as hell, but I have only cheated the first night (ate a cold piece of pizza at midnight, cause I was STARVING). Today marks one full week. I get a slice of cheese and a slice of lunch meat (yummy Cajun turkey) at lunch and at dinner. THAT'S IT! Well, I can have pickles and mustard with it, and certain veggies. But NO CARBS....

I hope he knows how much I am sacrificing for him...Mounds, with it's creamy coconut, Reese's with the mixture of peanut butter and chocolate mmmm, chocolate covered peanuts, chocolate covered cherries....OMG this SUCKS!

Okay, on top of food deprivation, and a VERY active writing life, we also have the start of not only high school and jr. high school football (which both oldest daughters have to attend, one being on the pom squad, the other a football manager), but we have SOONER FOOTBALL!

For those of you who don't follow NCAA football, OU (the University of Oklahoma) is going to have a banner year. My husband predicts (and I do concur), that we will play for the National Title this year. Yes, people, OU is just THAT good!

On that note, I will end this, as I have work to catch up on, and a Diet Pepsi Max (ick) calling my name.