Introductory post

Julian Griffith, after years of writing for her own amusement and that of her friends, will soon have her first novel, Love Continuance and Increasing, released by Storm Moon Press. It's an unconventional romance between two men and one woman set in England during the Napoleonic Wars. It's slated to come out in August of 2013. Her Christmas story, "Therefore Be Merry, Set Sorrow Aside," featuring the same characters, will be released by Storm Moon Press in December of 2013. "Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant", a story about a naval captain and a woman Barbary pirate, will appear in Storm Moon's forthcoming anthology Turning the Tables.

She's waiting to hear back on two more stories: "Cherish the Ladies", a lesbian Regency romance, and "Lost and Found", a romance between two soldiers in the Pacific theater of WWII.

The next projects she's contemplating include a novel about a musketeer and a Jewish woman playwright in Louis XIII's France, another about a "passing woman" soldier (who identifies as male) in the Peninsular War, and a series about what happens to the WWII soldiers after they get home. The eighteenth-century naval captain and the Barbary pirate are also asking for a sequel.

This journal will likely contain musings on the writing process, research notes, and the occasional excerpt. Also tea blogging and the occasional knitting project.

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New review!

 lunasariel just read Love Continuance and Increasing, and she couldn't have said nicer things about it:

Anyway, I'm almost definitely biased in favor of LCI, because I watched it get written, at least via tumblr and LJ - I can vouch for the amount of research that went into it (a well-researched historical novel is the way straight to my heart, let me tell you), and reading about all the food she cooked to make sure that she was Doing It Right made me pretty consistently hungry. But it had everything I look for and love in a Regency romance - obsessive strategic analysis of who danced with who and how many times, a peppery old grandmama, escapes into the garden for private conversations, and plenty of dudes in (and occasionally out of) uniforms. ;) And boy howdy, these were some nice uniforms, and some nice dudes filling them! But then again, I have a well-documented and long-standing Uniform Problem, so I guess it's more of a surprise that I liked the F in this particular M/M/F, but I did. Caroline felt very eighteen to me, but a sensible and not at all shrieky eighteen - I was pleased beyond words when she and Rockingham actually, y'know, talked to each other like rational adults about things like a marriage based on affection rather than OMG ILU 5EVA, instead of the usual parade of misunderstandings and "dammit, you wouldn't be having any of these problems if you talked to each other for five seconds" that usually have me chucking romances across the room in rage. But, wonder of wonders, they managed to get everything sorted out to the satisfaction of all involved, with the only significant capital-M Misunderstanding coming from a third party, and even then, they actually did talk to each other for five seconds (and some change), so yay for acting like rational adults! :D

There's more at Amazon. But I had to brag!

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Late to the party, or, That "Are You A Professional Writer?" nonsense

So, the idea that THIS is the ONLY WAY to be a professional writer has been pretty thoroughly debunked. Scalzi said it best: "Did you write something? Did you get paid for it? Congratulations, you're a professional writer!"

Nevertheless, I wanted to take a whack at these questions anyway, just to show you all my life.

1. Is your home/work place messy because that time you’d put into cleaning it is better spent writing?
My home is messy because I'm a messy person. Blame it on the ADHD-inattentive that took 40 years to diagnose. If I weren't writing, I'd be knitting, or surfing tumblr, or reading, or baking Victoria sandwich cake, or making a vampire hunting kit in a vintage train case, or, well, ANYTHING but cleaning. 

This is not necessarily a good thing. Actually, it is DEFINITELY not a good thing. It's easier to write in a clean, organized environment. I'm just rubbish at creating one. Out of my own stuff, anyway. I'm a demon at cleaning and organizing other people's places! SERIOUSLY. WE JUST ALL NEED TO FORM A CIRCLE AND MOVE ONE PLACE TO THE RIGHT TO GET A CLEAN CUP.

2. Do you routinely turn down evenings out with friends because you need to be home writing instead?

I have spent around 20 years living two hours away from my core friend group. I am working toward changing this. It's closer than it's been in a long time. Next question.
3. Do you turn off the television in order to write?

I don't spend that much time with the television anyway? On average I care about one show per season. If my housemate is watching something I don't care about, I put on my big over-the-ear headphones and tune Pandora to "Corelli". Works a treat.
4. Would you rather receive useful criticism than praise?

Why is this an either-or question? Useful criticism is great! That's what I have [personal profile] mswyrr for - she knows how to spot the places that need fixing. But I have the standard-issue Fragile Writer Ego - I also need a lot of praise. Luckily, I have a solid group of friends who genuinely seem to like my stuff.
5. Do you plan vacations around writing opportunities (either research or networking potential)?

Part of me wants to say "what vacations?" because I'm broke, and have been for decades. However, to engage with the spirit of the question: I write historical romance. I write it because history fascinates me, and has for most of my life. When my parents planned our amazing trip to the UK when I was 16, do you know how we planned it? Around BOOKS WE HAD READ and HISTORICAL THINGS WE WANTED TO SEE. Because these were the things we loved. We saw Sherlock Holmes' Baker Street and Jack the Ripper's Whitechapel. We saw James Herriot's Yorkshire. We saw Stonehenge and Avebury and Lindisfarne and the Lake District and SO MANY THINGS because we'd read about them, and we WANTED TO SEE THEM.

Why on earth would I do things differently NOW?

So I go to Mystic Seaport and to the USS Constitution and to Plimoth Plantation and to stare at genre paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and tapestries in the Cloisters and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has the most amazing dressing cases with silver fittings and...

I do this stuff because I love it. If I wanted to go spend a week at the beach, I could, because my parents have a summer cottage, but I get bored. Bring on the history!

Or amusement parks. Because roller coasters. I also have a deep, geek-level love of roller coasters. Like, rattling off the names of the different sorts of loops, the manufacturers, and the design engineers. That level of nerd-love.

Not everything is about the writing.
6. Would you rather be chatting about the business of writing with another writer than exchanging small talk with a good friend?

Um. Not really? Sometimes they're the same thing because a lot of my friends are also writers, and as a brand-new pro I am eager for advice and reassurance, but I'm also just as happy to be chatting about their dog, or Pacific Rim, or cosplay ideas, or how [personal profile] gehayi 's sun porch would look fantastic if we just spray-painted the metal furniture white and got some new cushions for it.
7. Have you ever taken a day job that paid less money because it would give you more time/energy/material to write?

Ask me this question when I've been offered that hypothetical day job that pays more money, okay?
8. Are you willing to give up the nice home you know you could have if you devoted that time you spend writing to a more lucrative career?

Once again, we're in Does Not Apply territory. At one point I owned a 6-bedroom Victorian house. I wasn't trying to earn a living as a writer. I couldn't afford it THEN, not before my divorce, not after. I miss the tiled fireplace and the carved newel post and the giant claw foot tub and all the other architectural details. I do NOT miss trying to HEAT that monster, or knowing that I couldn't afford any of the structural maintenance.

Also, I was rubbish at cleaning it. See question 1.

I'm currently working out a house-sharing plan that will lower expenses for everyone involved, so there's a better possibility that we can all have a nice home AND not have to worry so much about lucrative careers. Because, sadly, I don't think I'm up to the demands of a lucrative day job. Years of under-treated mental health issues have taken a toll. I'm hoping I can get the medical billing and coding certification and get part-time, from-home work that will pay me enough to cover my minimized expenses in a nice home shared with friends.

This wouldn't be possible if a friend didn't already HAVE a home with sufficient space in it. Expense-sharing will help, and "nice" is an ongoing project that involves at least as much labor as money, and labor I've got. It's amazing what proper deployment of existing bookshelves will do.

But yeah. "Nice home" in the traditional nuclear-family, solid-salary, home-improvement-loan way is just never going to be on the table for me. That possibility went out the window years ago, though I didn't know it at the time. So I have to be resourceful and creative. Whether I write or not.
9. Have you done all these things for at least five years?

Really? There's a minimum time served clause or something? This isn't even worthy of engaging with.
10. Are you willing to live knowing that you will likely never meet your ambitions, but you hold to those ambitions nonetheless?

...I think this is called the human condition. And I'm DONE.
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Book Tour - and two giveaways!

Here's where I've been appearing the past few days:

Joyfully Jay, August 7, 2013 : Why Historical Romance?

Pants Off Reviews, August 7, 2013 : Bisexual Men in Regency Romance

Alex BeecroftGiveaway! August 8, 2013 : The Role of Women in MMF Historical Romance

M. A. Church, August 9, 2013: another take on why I write historical romance

Mary’s Ménage Whispers, Friday, August 9th2013: Ménage à Trois relationships in late Georgian England 

Elisa Rolle’s Reviews and RamblingsGiveaway! August 10, 2013

All you have to do to be entered to win an e-book copy of Love Continuance and Increasing is to leave a comment at either Alex Beecroft's or Elisa Rolle's posts (you can leave one on each)! Alex Beecroft's giveaway runs through 11:59 PM Eastern Time, Sunday, August 11th, so there's still time!

In other news... I haven't got much other news. I spent a few days at [personal profile] anne 's and came back to find my side of the sofa taken up by [personal profile] eternaleponine 's newly-created Pacific Rim Kaidanovsky plushies. She's currently sitting on the floor cutting out Russian letters that she drew on my failed bookplate labels so she can stick them to an old Army field coat my friend mhaille gave me a while back, so that it will say "Cherno Alpha" around a red star, and the Cyrillic for her name on the front where a mechanic's name patch would go.

And my kid is doing ALL THE LAUNDRY in preparation for heading off to college at the end of the month.

I should be doing ALL THE DISHES. 

As soon as I finish blogging, I will.
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The book tour continues!

 I'm over at World of Diversity today, talking about bringing same-sex relationships and working-class characters into the upper-class, marriage-minded world of the Regency romance.

Meanwhile, my visit with [personal profile] anne is going wonderfully - she's still getting to know her neighborhood, so we checked out a nearby diner, and discovered that it offers Irish as well as American breakfast goodies, so I got to have Irish sausage and white pudding with my eggs and home fries. And then we stopped in at a thrift store that was about two doors down, and my thrift-fu reasserted itself: a sleeveless dress in a small black-and-white houndstooth check for $8. And a pair of black low-heeled shoes, too. I am not going to tell you the size on the dress label, because I'm convinced it's outrageous vanity sizing, even if I have lost some weight recently. 

And we're meeting up with [personal profile] heavenscalyx for dinner at Redbones. Because Anne is originally from Texas, and she requires barbecue, and I have to see if Redbones passes muster.
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the little pleasures of a writer's life

 Sitting on the sofa next to a good friend and listening while she reads the manuscript of your latest short story.

If you can arrange to have had terrific Indian food right before that, so much the better.

I'm at [personal profile] anne 's place for today and tomorrow, keeping her company while she deals with bureaucracy, and probably going to be the one who drives to Target, as she didn't learn to drive as part of the Boston Hivemind.

Fear us, for I brought the box sets of Hornblower and Pride & Prejudice, and we're watching them with Fangirl Commentary.
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My writing and my family

Even though I knew my parents weren't going to read my book - at my request, I might add, because I am much too embarrassed to know that my mother might read explicit sex scenes that I wrote - I dedicated my book to them, which made them very happy.

My mother said, "Now we have a book dedicated to us by each of our children. Not very many parents can say that!"

My brother isn't a novelist. But back in college he collaborated with one of his professors on a book about baseball. Check it out:

In the Ballpark, on Goodreads

My brother did the lion's share of the fieldwork. I've always loved the interview with the Philly Phanatic.

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I now begin to understand the true breadth and depth of "catwaxing".

 That is, stuff you start doing to avoid doing OTHER things you need to do.

I've been working on stuff for my upcoming blog tour to promote Love Continuance and Increasing. I've got a partial list of where I'll be appearing up at my website , if you're curious, though of course I'll be announcing them here as they go up.

Speaking of my website, it has an operational Follow button now, so you should all go over there and follow it. I promise it won't be identical content to what's here - I'll be hosting a lot of guest bloggers, too, and probably other things.

That Follow button? I spent several hours last night getting it to work. It took installing a different plugin that alerted me about what I was doing wrong, and I fixed that, but I couldn't just keep that later plugin because IT didn't want to work as a sidebar widget.

If you don't use Wordpress this is probably very boring. I'm just learning now how to use it. The learning curve is kinda steep.

But the point is, I spent several hours on that last night. And I wrote a blog post for it today in order to have new content and in order to teach myself how to wrap text around an image. I got that part, at least.

Meanwhile, I have SEVEN "guest blog post" essays that I need to be working on for the tour. (At least I have the first turned in and a couple of interviews in the can already.)

And what am I about to do?

Unload the dish drainer.

Fine, that really does need to get done.

But I'm catwaxing.

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 Two head cleanings and a head alignment check later, my printer is cooperating with me again. So I'm able to print bookplates on 3⅓"x4" matte labels, customized with the beautiful logo that [personal profile] mswyrr made for me:

The name "Julian Griffith" in dark red script, on a bisque-colored background, with a compass rose and a portion of a globe showing England and Europe at the right side.

So, if anyone is getting a print copy of my book, and would like a bookplate inscribed to you, drop me a line at juliangriffith1801 at gmail dot com, and I'll mail one out to you.
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Thoughts on story length and romantic realism

 This began as a comment in [personal profile] unbroken_halo 's journal. She was complaining about being asked to show her characters falling in Insta-Love. She felt that it was more realistic for them to start from a place of lust and only develop their emotional connection and desire for long-term commitment after they'd acted on the physical attraction - that men especially think "yeah, I'd tap that" before any feelings of "omg I want to spend the rest of my life with you" develop, if they ever do.

There's a discussion that could happen about the gendered assumptions there, but this is not that discussion. Leaving that entirely aside, I agreed that physical attraction coming before romantic connection is both plausible and frequent, but romance-as-a-genre isn't necessarily about that - it's about the emotional payoff of the HEA, and sometimes that means making the story about having ALL THE FEELS. And so we kicked it around a little, and here is my comment that I want to share with you:

Oh, and you've got the constraints of a short story! It's definitely harder to move your couple to their HEA without insta-love if you've only got limited space to do it in.

For the one m/m short story I've sold, (ed.: "Lost and Found in the Pacific", coming out from Torquere in September) I didn't start the men at their initial meeting. I introduced them as established BFFs and the story arc went through crisis situation, to reveal of desire/declaration of love, to the consummating sex scene, and wound up with a promise of commitment. I don't think I consciously planned this -- these two were, for all practical purposes, AUs of a fannish OTP of mine and their romance arc has always been friends-to-lovers, so I just set them in their AU and figured out where their friends-to-lovers turning point was in their new life stories, and wrote about that. If I'd been doing it at a longer length, I could have followed them back to their initial meeting, or even to the POV character's story before he met his other half, and I could have extended it beyond their promise through the obstacles they have to overcome before they can settle down and make a life together -- these are TOTALLY novel-length boys, and they want me to write them a detective series AFTER they settle down so that I can keep writing about them without making their relationship the source of all drama and peril. It's like photography, in a way, where the most important part is composition: deciding what to show.

In the novel, the men's relationship arc as a couple, from meeting to what they thought was an end, took up the entire first half of the book -- fourteen chapters. Mildly antagonistic meeting in the first chapter resolving into mutual respect, attraction developing in the second and third chapters (one from each of the men's POVs), chapters four and five pursuing the acquaintance to where they could establish that the attraction was mutual and take it to the bedroom, and then the next nine showing the relationship growing beyond the physical as the emotional connection deepened, even as they knew that they couldn't expect forever, until the point where they always knew they'd had to break it off. That's nearly 40,000 words. The next 40,000 follows Guy #1 with the girl, brings #2 back and creates HIS relationship with the girl, and finally brings them all together.

I don't think you can do an arc like that in a short story, any more than you could take my M/M couple from the short story through their first meeting, to their declaration of love over a year later, and then through about three more years of obstacles until they reach a settled-down HEA in the space of under 20,000 words. Okay, MAYBE in 20,000 words if I compressed it pretty heavily, but it would be uneven. It'd flow a lot better if I started before their meeting and gave them plenty of detail and gave them, oh, 65,000 words to show it all.

First meeting to HEA in a short story? It's GOING to be stylized and artificial.

This is a thing that I did not know until I wrote it down, so I wanted to put it here so I'd remember it.
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