Monday, April 23, 2007

So There I Was In Ireland...

Now, take a look at the picture on the left and tell me it doesn't look like a fairy glade. In fact, it's the home of the fairies who live in my next book. Okay, I don't have the name yet. Silhouette is still holding it in some vault somewhere. When I do, I promise I'll let us know. For now, I thought I'd talk a bit about putting a book like this together. My next post will be on the research I"m doing right now for my next suspense(no, I haven't forgotten those. I'm working hard on both genres at the moment).

So here I am with the third of my Daughters of Myth books to write for Silhouette. Number two, Sorcha's book(yeah. No title yet on that one, either) is in, is being edited, and I hope published this year. I'll let you know about that, too. Anyway, as I'd planned all along, the third book will be Orla's book, she of the rather surly disposition and the overwhelming desire for the fairy throne. I admit I love doing a book in which the bad person in one book is the heroine of the next. And poor Orla was certainly a bad girl. Not only was she the leannan sidhe (lyanan shee), which is the fairy who seduces and makes sexual slaves out of mortals, she went behind the queen's back to let some bad guys into the realm in an effort to prevent her sister from ascending the fairy throne.

Well, Nuala, that sister, is off in the land of mortal having babies. Sorcha, who was the next one the queen tapped to inherit the title, refused and is being punished by her mother, who sends her to a place her mother said was so terrible it would shrivel the very soul of a fairy--Yorkshire--to recover one of the lost Filial Stones--and okay, fall in love with a very uncooperative mortal named Harry. That leaves Orla to face whatever her punishment is for not only letting the bad guys in, but inadvertently letting them get away with the other Filial Stone(which brings power to the world of fairy). So her mother the queen has decided that she's going to offer Orla up to the enemy: she's wedding Orla to the prince of the Dubhlainn Sidhe.

Well, on the good side, I love a good marriage-of-convenience book. I also plan on doing a bit of a riff on Lysistrata with Orla's story, since the very masculine Dubhlainn Sidhe need to be taught to temper their testosterone a bit. I can't wait to see what trouble we're going to stir up.

On the not so good side, I realized that for the first time I had to set an entire book completely in the world of fairy. No characters peeking in with dry observations. No human intervention. Just fairies. And this is a fairy world I've kind of completely made up. So I have to flesh it out a bit more, especially since it will be with a completely different fairy clan than the one I've already introduced. It'll be like that Star Trek where they ended up in an alternate universe. Everything looks familiar, but not the same.

So I've spent the last few days doing a family tree of the royal family of the Dubhlainn Sidhe and how it connects to the mortal line of the second book, and the family of Orla, who is a princess of the Tuatha de Dannan clan. It's amazing how internecine that all can be. Because the king, Cathal, has a relationship with the mortal in the second book, and a relationship with Orla herself. But I didn't want to make it too close. Even fairies have consanguination rules. At least in my world of fairies.I can't begin to tell you how much trouble I had with all those cousins and grandkids. I might put the whole tree up on my website, once I figure out how to do it.

Then I had to give the fairies who populate this clan names. Not easy names, like Declan and Connor. Fairies aren't named after soccer players. They have Gaelic names with lots of silent consonants. And they each have a meaning, which is important. Because the women of the Dubhlainn Sidhe have become very passive and put-upon by their men. Until Orla shows up and points out the error of their ways--and their names. "With names like 'peace' and 'soft' and 'melodic,' how can you think to stand up for yourself? Couldn't one of your sires have named you 'warrior' or invincible? Goddess, I'd even settle for 'fiery one.'"

And, of course, I've been pouring over the pictures I took on my last trip to Ireland. I knew that the Tuatha de Dannan had their seat in the fields of Sligo. I'd been there and scouted out the area. Well, the Dubhlainn Sidhe couldn't be there, too. Very territorial, those Dubhlainn Sidhe. So I thought it might be a good idea to send them farther south. And when I went to look, I found the perfect place in Killarney. The picture on the left is in a valley called Gleann Fia, or glen of the deer, or fairy. It really looks like a fairy glade. But it's very close to another place called the Gap of Dunloe, which is bare, windswept and rugged. That's the picture on the right. And that's where the Dubhlainn Sidhe rule, too, because I've decided they control the wild places. And I had to know that before I could really get a handle on Orla's story. I had to have it all to really know who the hero is, even though I'd introduced him in Dangerous Temptation. He is Liam the Avenger. And with a name like that, don't you think he belongs in those mountains?
Now that I know a little bit more about him, I can't wait to see what he does there.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Not That I Feel Strongly About That....

That's what I'm thinking of titling my blog. I told one of my friends and she almost had a hernia. "Who, you?" she demanded. "Have opinions?" Yeah, okay. You know I do. It's a fine old tradition in our house. My mother was notorious. My dad couldn't get through a meal without staring a debate on something; anything. My brother and I get into shouting matches. And if we begin to agree, we switch positions and play devil's advocate, just to keep the debate going(once one of my son's friends came in while my brother and I were leaning across my kitchen counter finger-waving and shouting at each other over...oh, I don't know. Gun control. Nuclear disarmament. Exactly what part John Wayne played in the psyches of the males in the US. "Good grief," he said to my son. "Do they always do that?" Kevin shook his head sadly and said, "You should see what happens when her sister shows up.")

I was raised in a family that's lousy with Jesuits. We were steeped in the tradition of debate and discussion. And, yeah, I hit my formative years in the 60s, when anything was fair game for a good round of argument. There's nothing I love better. It is not only a learning experience, but the best exercise I can think of for the brain--certainly better than soduko, which makes my eyes bleed. I think debates clear the air. They open the door to new ideas and demand a person defend a position with tenacity, all the while allowing her (or him) to remain open to the discovery of new ideas. They sharpen a person's verbal skills and teach her to crystallize concepts.

My last post evidently started a very active debate. Passionate in some quarters. It ended up fitting into a dandy discussion going on over at Laura Vivanco's blog, Teach Me Tonight(the post on Elizabeth Thornton's Fallen Angel). I didn't agree with everything said, and I certainly wasn't agreed with by everyone. But I couldn't be more delighted. I think the idea of violence against women in the romance genre is one that should continually be examined. And I think that the discussions I read have been passionate, thoughtful, insightful, and intelligent. Should we label romance to indicate issues that might disturb? Would limiting content be censorship, if the same book can be published elsewhere? Is the observation being made in CTC valid? I still feel strongly about my position, but I can see valid points in many of the dissenting views.

I don't like censorship any better than anybody else. But I do believe that genres, by definition, have boundaries. I'm intrigued by the labeling idea. Some think it would be demeaning. I'm not sure. Nobody considers Harlequin to be patronizing by clearly marking their lines and what the parameters are for each. It's not censorship so much as marketing. It's something to think about I wouldn't have considered if there hadn't been a debate at all.

Which is why they're so much fun. Just ask any Jesuit. Or my mother.

eileen\kathleen, the evil twins.