Tag Archives: Betrayal

Random Observations

When making interesting, thought-provoking additions to your manuscript by hand, make sure you’ll able to decipher your own handwriting later on ….

Hmph.

I mean, “[…] his flut-grey eyes lit by smile […]”?????

Rambling Thoughts on Flashbacks and the Like

As you know I’m currently fleshing out BETRAYAL. And as you also know the story is a bit of an unusual romance as the hero and heroine don’t meet in the first few chapters. To make up for this fact I’ve added some flashbacks — not fully developed scenes but snatches of memories that are haunting Georgina.

They were inspired by a scene from BRITISH ISLES – A NATURAL HISTORY: Alan Titchmarsh watches a barn owl hunt at dusk and muses that it must have appeared to our ancestors like a ghost. And —bingo! English field + typical British bird + ghost = haunting memory:

Once the floodgate had been opened, there was no escape from the memories that rose to the surface of her mind as giant seamonsters rose from the depths of the ocean to swallow up the unwary seafarer.

Being surrounded by all those dead birds did not help. They seemed to swirl around her in a grotesque roundelay, intertwining past and present. There was the white face of the barn owl, its smooth outlines destroyed by moths, the eyes two jetblack, dull marbles. Yet in front of Georgina’s inner eye it spread its wings and flew away, over wide, open fields, a noiseless ghost in the soft, grey light of dusk. How often had she stood and watched its brethren fly across the gently rolling hills before she had walked towards the golden lights of the ancient mansion at the edge of the lake, where water lilies bloomed, white and pure.

And then she would enter his study, and he would look up, a smile spreading across his face until he seemed to glow from within. “How I missed you,” he would say. “Do you know how much?”

“No, I’m not sure,” she would answer. “How much?”

And he would rise and walk towards her with slow, measured steps, so self-assured as if he were Apollo himself, while delicious warmth would spread through her and make all of her limbs tingle with anticipation. He would stop in front of her, so close she could smell him, the starch of his shirt, the [flowery? woodsy?]* cologne he preferred, and underneath — the dark, alluring scent of the man himself. He would lower his head until his breath tickled over her cheek, until he could whisper into her ear with a voice softer than velvet, “Then allow me to show you …”

It’s a nice challenge to find ways to describe this blurring of the present into the past and to find suitable triggers for those flashbacks that also move the story along and show some of Georgina and Ash’s former attachment. Hmmm ….

Chapter 14 of BETRAYAL is now online. This podcast episode also includes even more ramblings on the subject of 19th-century guidebooks, for example, why Baedeker’s guides are a better choice than Murray’s HANDBOOKS FOR TRAVELLERS, and what you’ve always wanted to ask a hackney-coachman. (In addition, I make lots of funny noises, which should add to the general entertainment value. *g*)

Enjoy! 🙂

Anatomy of a Scene

Today I typed the scene which I had scribbled on some sheets of paper yesterday, into the computer. Normally, while I thus copy passages or whole scenes, I tend to revise them yet again. And this is what I did today, too:

Once the floodgate had been opened, there was no escape from the memories that rose to the surface of her mind as giant sea monsters rose from the depths of the oceans to swallow up the unwary seafarer.

Being surrounded by all the dead birds did not help. They seemed to swirl around her in a grotesque roundelay, intertwining her past and present. There was the white face of a barn owl, its smooth outlines destroyed by moths, the eyes two jetblack, lifeless dull marbles. Yet in front of Georgina’s inner eye, it spread its wings and flew away, far away over wide, open fields, a noiseless ghost in the soft, grey light of dusk. How often had she stood and watched it its brethren fly across the gently rolling hills before she had walked back towards the golden lights of the ancient sprawling mansion at the edge of the lake where water lilies bloomed, white and pure.

Hmm. I’m still not quite happy with this passage, especially with the first sentences of the second paragraph. I see my books as films (and, I suspect, animated films on top of that!) and sometimes it can be difficult to catch those images on paper.

Take the beginning of this whole birds-and-rising-memories passage: what I wrote yesterday reads:

Only the discovery of a lifeless puffin among the birds had sent a chill down Georgina’s back as she had been transported back to the windy cliffs of Cornwall, where she had once stood to watch puffins play. She could almost taste the salty air again, feel the soft, thin layer of grass under her feet while overhead the seagulls cried, alarmed at the sight of the two human intruders. Yet all that was eclipsed by the feeling of the hard male hand engulfing hers, skin to skin, his thumb drawing lazy circles over her wrist. And the joy, the giddy joy which had filled her and had mixed with the languid stirring of desire. She remembered how she had surprised him by slipping a hand around his neck and drawing his head down for a kiss which had quickly turned wild and hot.

What I want to achieve here is a blending of past and present, or rather the superimposing of the memories on the present, which is triggered by the sight of the stuffed puffin. And I want to keep it all a bit vague in order to convey Georgina’s surreal feeling of being in two places at the same time (if that makes sense). But when I typed this paragraph this morning, it occurred to me there was too much telling at the beginning of the passage. It didn’t manage to capture that sense of being bombarded out of the blue by memories. Therefore the paragraph was transformed into:

Only the discovery of a lifeless puffin among the birds had sent a chill down Georgina’s back It was the discovery of a lifeless puffin among the other birds that sent a chill down Georgina’s spine. The call of the seagulls echoed in her head as she was transported back to the windy cliffs of Cornwall, where she had once stood and watched puffins play. She could almost taste the salty air again, feel the soft, thin layer of grass under her feet while overhead the seagulls cried, alarmed at the sight of the two human intruders. Yet all that was eclipsed by Her hand tingled from the feeling of the hard male hand fingers engulfing hers, skin to skin, his thumb drawing lazy circles over her wrist. And With bittersweet pain she remembered the joy, the giddy joy which had filled her and had mixed mingled with the languid stirring of renewed desire. She remembered How she had surprised him by slipping a hand around his neck and drawing to draw his head down for a kiss which had quickly turned wild and hot and quite indecent.

When I just read through this again, it struck me that the beginning was still not immediate enough. And so I’ve changed it into:

The sight of the lifeless puffin caught Georgina by surprise. A sliver of ice slithered down her spine while the call of the seagulls echoed in her head. All at once she stood again on the windy cliffs of Cornwall, where she had watched the puffins play so long ago.

Hmm. Of course, I now have the problem that the sentence before this passage also contains the word “sight”. Duh.

Writers of Historicals Need to Know about Birds

Remember the book on birds I bought when I was in Newcastle? Not only are the English names for birds terribly cute (I mean, little ringed plover? coot? capercaillie? shoveler? tree pipit? yellow wagtail? chiffchaff?), but I also made good use of the book today (see? I told you writers of historicals need to know about birds!) and combined it with a scene from THE BRITISH ISLES: A NATURAL HISTORY:

[set up: Georgina and Martin Renner have driven to Frankfurt and are shown a collection of stuffed birds which the new naturalist society of Frankfurt* has just acquired.]

Once the floodgate had been opened, there was no escape from the memories that rose to the surface of her mind as giant sea monsters rose from the depths of the oceans to swallow up the unwary seafarer.

There was the white face of a barn owl, its smooth outlines destroyed by moths, the eyes two jetblack, lifeless marbles. Yet in front of Georgina’s inner eye it spread its wings and flew away, far away over wide, open fields, a noiseless ghost in the soft, grey light of dusk. How often had she stood and watched it fly across the rolling hills before she had walked back towards the golden lights of the ancient, sprawling mansion at the edge of the lake where water lilies bloomed, white and pure.

Oh, yes, the Muse has finally returned. Tee-hee! 🙂

* the Senckenbergische naturforschende Gesellschaft

A Beautiful Day

Today it was simply beautiful outside so I decided I’d need to visit the Villa under the Linden Trees again in order to find out what it looks like in autumn, which would also provide a good opportunity for a nice walk along the river Main. Here are a few impressions …


Isn’t that a beautiful blue sky?

And here it is: the Villa under the Linden Trees 🙂

And just when I stepped through the gates into the park, the wind whispered through the tree tops and red and golden leaves were raining down on me.


The coachman’s house — do these windows belong to Georgina’s room?

The entrance to the icehouse:

New Podcast Episode!!!!!

I’ve finally managed to put together a new episode of Sandy’s Podchatter, and to make up for lost time, I’m reading Chapter 9 and 10 of “Betrayal” (it’s like “Buy 1 Get 1 Free!” *g*), in which we meet Miss Simmerly again (whose musicale was so rudely interrupted when Ash dashed away) and the hero is presented with a new mystery, while another mystery is solved for us readers.

I hope you’re going to enjoy the episode!

~*~

In addition, some more reviews went online this week: at Dear Author and at Rosario’s Reading Journal. At both blogs, CASTLE OF THE WOLF got a B. Yay! They wrote such lovely things as:

The characterizations are deft. . . . There is a certain fairy tale quality to the story, even above and beyond the obvious theme of beauty and the beast. Perhaps it is the setting, deep in the black forest. Perhaps it is the hint of otherworldly elements embedded in the castle walls. Perhaps it is just the story itself of a poor and plain young woman taming the angry beast of a hurt young man.

on Dear Author and,

I had a lovely time reading COTW, and not just because of the yummy setting. Cissy is great. She’s such a sensible, determined woman, ready to go after what (and who) she wants.

and,

As it should be in a good gothic, the setting is almost another character in the story. Schwab really makes the Black Forest come alive with her vivid, colourful descriptions, and I loved that it isn’t a gratuitous “exotic” setting, but really plays a role in the story. And the atmosphere! That was excellently done.

Added to this wonderful atmosphere is a very intriguing touch of the paranormal.

on Rosario’s Reading Journal. Is it any wonder then, that I walked around this week feeling totally giddy with joy? In addition, I found the May issue of the LoveLetter in my mailbox yesterday. And there’s my ad, the lovely interview, and the even lovlier review:

Von Beginn an sehr präsent ist . . . eine ansteckende Heiterkeit, die einen ausgleichenden Gegenpol zur Verschlossenheit des gequälten Helden bildet. Entstanden ist ein wonniger und zugleich ergreifender Historical mit märchenhaften Anklängen in einem zauberhaften Ambiente.

Seufz. Ist das schööön!