Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bear with me


Glad you stumbled in. I know you didn't intend to come here because this is a very new blog and a very new experience for me.

New experiences have been rife since my 2007 Golden Heart final, but the other finalists are such lovely ladies, they just keep herding me along into places I never thought I'd dare tread. Thus, the title for this first entry. I promise to get better once the scope of this new territory doesn't tie my belly into little tiny Gordian knots. Of course, after this comes the dreaded "web page," but not today. As Neil Armstrong said (with a bit of a paraphrase from me), "One small step for chicken kitty, one giant leap for scaredy-cats everywhere."

I called this blog Romancing History because, truth be told, history isn't, in and of itself, romantic. It's dirty, unsanitary, bloody, and a host of other unpalatable adjectives. Learning history in school required memorization of mind-numbing facts, dates, and names.

The names caught my attention.

People make history. Not dates, not battles, not rivers of slops flowing unfettered down horse manure festooned cobbled streets. People who laughed, cried, danced, bled, changed their babies, yelled at the dog. Biographies became my preferred reading.

I wrote my first romance--and I use the term loosely--sitting at a cafeteria table in junior high with a group of friends. I still remember the high-perch phaeton the hero swooped to a halt before my startled, and inappropriately named, heroine. We'd discovered Barbara Cartland, you see. It was all downhill from there---at least for me.

Writing historical romance requires research, and since learning about people still intrigues me, that's no hardship. I am, however, anal about facts. So many books have inaccuracies within that are, despite being SO wrong, accepted. Since when does accepted equate to correct?

I once entered my manuscript in a contest where the judge marked me down because I didn't call the heroine's home a "keep." Duh! Keep, as in fortified holding, donjon, castle, etc., is a Renaissance term and the Renaissance didn't come to England until the 1500s--more than a decade after my story takes place.

Chausses. Ah, yes. Several times now I've read about naked heroes bounding from their beds to don their chausses. Must have hurt. And the succession? Forgeddaboudit. Chausses are made of small metal rings. Webster's defines them as medieval armor of mail for the legs and feet. Chausses were worn atop thick, quilted hose for obvious reasons.

Why am I telling you this? Because there is no way to ascertain exactly--especially in the areas of clothing, armor, and personal items--what things populate a specific segment of time within an era. Folks I know were sporting elephant bells and tie-dyed shirts from the seventies before current fashion went retro. By their very nature, some things overlap. However, if I were to make a glaring mistake, I'd want someone to tell me, or at least caution me to check it out. Thinking of my stories thrown against a wall or into the dust bin---which is where inaccuracies end up in my world---doesn't sit well.

So this is an invitation to gently (I hate qualifiers too, but you know how it goes) correct me if you find an inaccuracy in my work. I will, sometime in the future, post some bits from my current WIP and will welcome your feedback.


Marilyn Brant said...

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Gwynlyn!!

Your paraphrased Armstrong quote cracked me up :-). I'm not going to be the right person to check for historical accuracies--I lurk safely in the pop-culture waters of the 1980s to the present--but I enjoy reading historical works and look forward to yours!

PJ von Detweiler said...

Thanks, Marilyn. I appreciate the support. Poor Neil will probably have a canary if ever he chances to hear of my "paraphrasing" LOL said...

Dear Gwyn,

I can so identify with this!! I have a very boring gereric website and a blog full of good stories, but again, as blogsites go, it's no penthouse!!Even as I get better manipulating the internet, I am way behind my peers. It's crucial to become proficient, espeically for writers trying to promote their books. I an sell more books on the internet than sitting for hours hours in a bookstore I had to drive an hour to and pay gas and tolls. So as I watch you buid your site, there will be questions! :)

Micki Peluso, author of . . . AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG

GwynlynMacKenzie said...

Sighing here seeing my first reply. My Sci-Fi alter ego showed up to make that comment.

Thanks, Mallie. It's nice to know I'm not slogging through this alone. You know, once I was considered proficient with computers, then I took a job with CRTs on a serious mainframe so someone else did all the work. That'll teach me. {{{Hugs}}}

Margaret said...

I've had faith in you for years and I have faith now that you'll succeed in both this blog and a website! If you need help with the website, give my Jenna a call - the girl can work a website!

You go girl! Love ya :o)

Laurie Kellogg said...

Congratulations on your debut on the worldwide web. I also loved your Neil Armstrong reference.

You know my philosophy on mixing history with romance--give me just enough history to explain, not so much as to bore this non-history buff.

I think you'll be great at blogging.

Hugs! said...


I wish one of us was smart enough to know how to link our blogs together. That would be fun, I think. If you ever find out, let me know lol.


Gail Fuller said...

Congrats on your new blog! BTW, I love your sword swinging gal. :)

You won't get any history corrections from me. I'm in awe of anyone who writes historical stories. So, WTG! I have enough trouble with the present. LOL!

All the best,
Gail :)

Gwynlyn MacKenzie said...

Thanks, Gail. I appreciate you stopping by. As for the meez, anyone can get one from They're fun. The one on my other blog looks much the same (shorter hair), but has a parrot on her shoulder and a laser pistol in her hand. Hey, it works for me. LOL

Gail Fuller said...

Thanks for the heads-up on the avatar site. I'll have to dig around and see what I can find. :)

Until the next time!
Gail :)