Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let us Talk of Many Things; of Books and Queens and Pirates, of History and Kings...: Meet My Main Character

Now here's a great pirate story for you to enjoy

Let us Talk of Many Things; of Books and Queens and Pirates, of History and Kings...: Meet My Main Character: Author M.M. Bennetts has passed the baton on to me for a series of posts by historical fiction authors in which we introduce the main char...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

'Beggars Can't Be Choosier'...or can they

Today we are fortunate to have David  William Wilkin  a prolific writer of.Regency, Fantasy, Contemporary Romance... so many that is is hard to chose where to start. So we will start with his newest release Beggars Cant Be Choosiers even if it  isn't that ancient. It is, after all, historical and set in a very regal period so many love to read-Regency.

David, I love your picture. What moved you to become an author? I like to tell storie, of course. I had a great many inside my head, good dreams that just need to have more plot and a happy ending, and as I worked on them, they became good stories. Putting them down on paper was the natural next step.
I had not been thinking of myself as an artist until recently. Then I realized that these stories and tales are art. And that while I have fun with them, they are as much art as some of those writers I read. Then there is craft to this as well. Knowing how to string words together. But to weave in plot points and subplots so the characters become more than one dimensional. That has taken time to learn and develop.So so be successful at storytelling, I have become both. But it is a kick to be an artist.

So how did you land in the Regency period? I have written elsewhere about how Southern California at one time started a craze in Regency Reenactment. With that craze came the locals running a monthly dance practice so all would be ready for the two big events each year that are held. A Regency Ball held in Fall called the Autumn Ball, and then A Regency Assembly where the group would go to a hotel and take it over for a full weekend of activities, dancing, and another Ball.  A friend, thinking they had a woman to introduce me to, urged that I go to this dance practice, and though I did date the young lady once, I went back to the practice at various times because others knew of it. It was a good way for my friends and I to have fun doing these dances, and as time went on I became quite good and taught them, as I also did the dances I had mastered in my Medieval/Renaissance reenactment group. 
I became hooked on reading Regencies when one of my closest friends told me to read Georgette Heyer’s Frederica. Once into that and Heyer’s use of language, I devoured a dozen more. (Well I didn’t eat them, but you understand.) Then I met Cheryl at the Autumn Ball. I had been writing in other forms, so as we maintained a long distance romance for a few months, I began to write her a Regency Story/Novel a few pages every few days until we were together. My writing group thought that it was some of my best work and better than the Science Fiction I was sharing at the time, so I grew into Regency Romance.

 Beggars Can’t Be Choosier, a Regency Romance of course, is the story of a titled and poor lord and a rich heiress who has been snubbed. Together, the fortune and the title can do good. But they are not united by love. 

 When a fortune purchases a title, love shall never flourish, for a heart that is bought, can never be won.The Earl of Aftlake has struggled since coming into his inheritance. Terrible decisions by his father has left him with an income of only 100 pounds a year. For a Peer, living on such a sum is near impossible. Into his life comes the charming and beautiful Katherine Chandler. She has a fortune her father made in the India trade. 
Together, a title and a fortune can be a thing that can achieve great things for all of England. Together the two can start a family and restore the Aftlake fortunes. Together they form an alliance.But a partnership of this nature is not one of love. And terms of the partnership will allow both to one day seek a love that they both deserve for all that they do. But will Brian Forbes Pangentier find the loves he desires or the love he deserves? 
And Katherine, now Countess Aftlake, will she learn to appreciate the difference between happiness and wealth? Can love and the admiration of the TON combine or are the two mutually exclusive?

Tell us, how this story developed? Beggars Can’t Be Choosier starts with a very common practice in the Regency, and later Victorian times. Money used to secure an ancient family title. In this instance we have a woman who is a little independent. A Regency Romance has the main characters falling in love with each other. It is the journey that is always unique to the tale. For mine, I proposed the idea of allowing the couple to separate or divorce once they had children to secure the title and line. Not exactly a Regency concept, since it needed an act of Parliament. But go live in Scotland for a few weeks, and you could easily get a divorce. (So historically, the problem was solved.)
Is there an excerpt to share,a  favorite scene, a part of your life that you put into the work that you would like to share?  My Heroine, Katherine Chandler, travelling with her aunt Jenny, is making her way to London for the very first time ever.

London was big. It was clearly big. It was so much bigger than Pyrford that one could not compare the two. Pyrford was not all that far from London, though far enough. Certainly walking would take two days to reach the city, though a carriage trip was a matter of hours. Katherine wisely chose to stay at the port for two weeks while arrangements were made for her arrival in Town.
She had new clothes made before she left England, and when she had arrived in Calcutta, most were unwearable for the climate was so different. These, with some modification were now usable if a year out of fashion. Who was going to say? No one who thought that they could gain an advantage with Miss Chandler. For her fortune, rumors said was twenty a year, more. She had over a hundred to place into the funds if she chose, and could buy estates so large, the king would be envious.
The king had other concerns, but Katherine had learned the value of a rumor, and how to spread one. A few of the papers needed a line, an anonymous line, and soon all would be talking of what they had no business of. What a paper didn’t print still had a way of being spread. So too did information and misinformation about Miss Chandler and her aunt. That they arrived in a coach, all black lacquered wood that gleamed as well as a prince’s and was only missing a coat of arms, in front of the Millers Hotel. Liveried footman, perhaps unschooled to their trade, jumped from the back of the carriage, and the driver and a groomsman with more experience, brought four matching chestnut bays to rest.
Just as the first came to rest, one could see another carriage with additional men in livery coming up the street, and here was a cart, no two, behind. Each cart loaded with trunks of what must have been clothing. The second carriage with maids and abigails. Why who had heard of so much commotion for someone who was not a great peer? The last time the Duke of Suffolk, or the Duchess of Devonshire came to Town for the Season earlier in the year, they had not arrived in such style. Not with such an entourage.
 Surely the lady must be someone special. How else to explain all that those who stood near the Millers Hotel saw that afternoon. And they saw a great deal. One who counted said that sixty-three trunks had been removed from the two carts that had followed the carriages. Another said his count was sixty-seven. And that there had been smaller chests taken from the carriage with the servants.
The first said that one must not count those small trunks as they were the property of the servants. No, one had to count only the major pieces. Sixty-three. Even so, the second man said, he had not counted the small articles and his number was still sixty-seven. That they came to blows, and the Bow Street runner broke them apart and threatened to take them in, did not resolve the issue. It was either sixty-three or sixty-seven and every drawing room in Town would report on this.
Some wit at Whites wished to put his name down in the betting book to determine which it was. Taking the high number, and then desiring to pay two of the servants at the hotel to find out. He had no takers though, for he had overplayed his wager. It was not worth a hundred pounds to find out. 

What did you find most challenging about this story? Of course, as a man, it was the woman’s perspective. I threw in several challenges to the couple achieving a love between them and writing what a woman would feel was difficult. I consulted with a dozen ladies on if I had done this well, or adequately and I am sure that there will be those who read my stories andwill still fault me for getting it wrong.
But remember, I’m a man writing Regency Romances. That has to be a little different. 

Who do you think you write like? Well Jane Austen of course. For Regencies I am also influenced by Georgette Heyer. I have a few modern day writers of Regency Mysteries. The Beau Brummel and Jane Austen Mysteries. The late Kate Ross. If you love Regencies, run, don’t walk to find these 4 gems. (Oh and now, Galen Beckett but this series is got Fantasy elements, the prose is dynamite though.)  After that, I think Robert Heinlein and Charles Dickens helped to form me as a writer.  The late Brian Daley, the Late Robert Asprin, the Late Robert Jordan (There really isn’t a theme. I am just younger than the writers I read and whom I like and return to reading. For those who take a look at my Fantasy work and other work, they may see how I am influenced.
Aside from my influences, this last year I have read Burt Golden who has a mystery dealing with the March Madness tournaments. Burt was a former College Basketball coach so knows that area pretty well. Nathan Lowell who has written a science fiction series reminiscent of playing the Traveller role-playing game, Patrick Rothfuss whose second book is not nearly as strong as his first book.

Dave Poyer who is a delight in Modern Naval fiction, ER Burroughs who I thought had written better when I read him as a teenager, and Michael J. Sullivan whose first two books were much better crafted than the third where he through in traditional fantasy elements without regard to logic.

Do you have a writing routine to get all this done?I spend way too much time in front of my computer writing. Somedays I will sit and come up with well over 30 pages. I have sprints where I want to work on 100 pages a week. And then I have distractions where I have to take breaks and work on the website, or the blog.

It takes a good hour to come up with 3 pages in first draft, an about an hour to edit ten pages. In a three hundred page work then, that is about 100 hours to write the first draft. Thirty more to go through my edit. Then I enter the edits. At least another thirty and about a week of prep. About 200 hours? That seems low. If I sat here and was not distracted and got paid for that time, could I do a book every five weeks? 10 a year? Well probably. But then how much should I get back for each book? Is $8 worth your time to read for two to three hours what took me 200 to write and polish and work on? I hope so.   

I noticed you have been published traditionally and as an Indie.   Yes. I have been traditionally published and self-published. I like the immediacy of being self-published with my Regencies. I feel that I have been doing a rather nice job with Regency Assembly Press. I encourage everyone to stop by and take a look. Not only do we discuss the books, but the history of the era as well at the Press.

 What's next for you? I have been working on a trilogy concept for Xchyler Publishing to continue the work of Wilkins Micawber III and Midshipman Daniel Copperfield, a steampunk series. But right at the moment I am working on Lord Bennington’s Marriage Bed. Another Regency Romance

Where should we find you and your work. I can be found at the iBookstore, and Amazon, Nook and other online places for eBooks as well as physical books. I have created one webpage that sums it all up which I humbly (proudly, arrogantly, annoyingly) titled David’s books:

And I can be followed at:

I hope you will want to venture into the regal world of Regency and escape the barbarians and legionaries for a while. Be sure to enjoy David's stories.  And as always if you do enjoy his work or any other author's work be sure to leave a review on the book sites and share. We love that when you do. We love you even more. 
 And as icing on this cake...please share your thoughts. Why do you enjoy this period of history?


Friday, December 20, 2013

God Bless Us Everyone!!!

Something shot through the small window and hit the sleeping girl, waking her with a start. On the meager blanket lay a bag that had burst open and spilled coins over her arms--more than enough for the dowry that would allow her to marry the young man she adored.
"Mama! Look!  I can marry now!"
The girl's mother rose from her cot. "Let me see, child."
 The girl's young brother, more bone than boy, raced back through the doorway with a cloth bag. When he dropped it on the small table, it burst open  and blocks of cheese, loaves of bread and a  partridge fell out.
"And we can eat!" The boy dug through the food stuffs and lifted a small wooden soldier. "This is for me!"
The mother came to the table, drawn as much by the fragrance as the hunger in her belly. "Yes,  a toy for you," the mother whispered. "And, food until your father's ship returns." 
The girl drew the cloth from beneath the items. A smile slid across her lips. "And, Mama, you can use this as a shawl to keep you warm."
The three gazed at each other, but only the little boy asked the question. "Who left these for us?"
On December 6, in the city of Myra in Turkey during the fourth century AD, a young man began tossing bags of money into the houses of girls who had no dowry so they could avoid ending up on the streets as prostitutes  or sold into slavery.  His name was Nicholas, the son of a wealthy family who continued seeing to the unfortunate until he  too had no inheritance left. But his generosity was not forgotten or ignored. The church deemed him a bishop, and after his death he became know as St. Nicolas, patron saint of sailors and children. 
The tradition of gift giving of course had spread throughout history and the world. Romans, as we know, enjoyed giving gifts to one another and often shared with the poor.  Yes they did.  
By the 13th century, this generosity changed to giving  to those less fortunate but without recognition, as St Nicholas and those who assisted him had done. By the time of the Reformation, Protestants changed the gift-giver to the Christ Child or  Christkindle, later corrupted to Kris Kringle.  However, in Holland, St. Nicholas became known as Sinter Klaas and then was corrupted to  Santa Claus.
America was thriving by this time and the Dutch had brought this gift-giving tradition to New Amsterdam ( later known as New York City)
Over time St Nick had changed not only his name but his appearance. He was seen as a tall gaunt man or a spooky-looking elf, as a tall lean man wearing bishop robes or Norse huntsman wearing animal hide  in colors from green, to white, to purple as well as red.  With or without a beard.
  Washington Irvin described Santa Claus as a jolly ol' gent in his short stories based on the Old English countryside tradition that he cherished.  This was captured by a an artist, Thomas Nast, who also drew Santa as a small elflike figure who supported the Union during the Civil War. Nast continued to draw Santa for the next 30 years, changing the color of Santa's clothes from various colors including red.  
In 1920 the Coca Cola company wanted  a wholesome happy Santa for their ads and commissioned Haddon Sundblom to develop images they could use to sell their beverage in magazines as the Saturday Evening Post and the Lady's Home Journal.  Sundblom used a live model to make his Santa... a friend and retired salesman named Lu Prentiss. When Prentiss passed away, Sundblom used himself by looking in a mirror.  He also used neighborhood children or pet poodles for his artwork for Coca Cola.
By this time, Clement Clark Moore's poem 'A Visit from St Nicolas' had  become extremely popular and had made St Nick into a warm friendly pleasantly plump Santa. We know this poem now as 'Twas the Night before Christmas" 
 In 1931, the world's largest soda fountain was in Famous Barr Co in St. Louis, MO, where  one of  Fred Mizen's first drawing of Santa enjoying a Coke was posted. I wish it was still there. From 1931 to 1964, Coca Cola signature color became red and thus  Santa's signature color   (and I would say it still is)
In 1942, Coca Cola introduced 'Sprite Boy' who appeared as a sprite or an elf with Santa. Together, from 1940-1950, these two  gave out gifts and Cokes in  Sundblom's ads.  The beverage known as Sprite didn't appear until 1960's

Now we already know that elves help St Nick, St. Nicolas, Kris Kringle, Krista Klaas, or Santa Claus deliver his gifts. 
But what about the chimney, reindeer and the North Pole?  From Moore's poem, of course. 
But where did he get the  flying reindeer? ...The Saami people of  northern Scandinavia and Finland harnessed heavy reindeer to their sleighs during the winter. 
Or it is said that from Oden's flying horse  with eight legs. And that fits because Oden was a model for Santa. He kinda does don't you think?
Thomas Nast  drew Santa living at the North Pole and gave him the  workshop and a  infamous book of names of good boys and girls.  
Then along comes Norman Rockwell and the popular image of Santa was all but etched in stone.
So today, this gift-giving time has not changed as so many sstill gather to wish
so many a happy, healthy, blessed, wonderful Christmas holiday. So, be sure to help give a family, a child, someone a smile this year and give a gift to make their season bright too.
But to many of us, the best gift of all is, was, and always will be...

Just for  the holidays all my books and stories are $.99. (Amazon wouldn't let me post them for free.) So be sure to snap them up before the new year. My gift to you.
Blessings to you and yours and have a wonderful new year,