Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Why of Stories

Today, we welcome Claudia Dain back to the lair. Using her wonderful Courtesan Chronicles as a framework, Claudia will chat with us about writer inspiration and advice. Welcome, Claudia!

So many people want to know where a writer gets her ideas and most writers I know have no idea how to answer that. Ideas just come. They come in a rush; they come in a trickle; they come in the dead of night; they come while stirring the cheese into the macaroni. They just come.

A better question is why tell that story? Why create that character? That’s a question I know how to answer.

As an author contemplating the idea for a new book, there is something that I want to say, some point I want to make in the strongest way I can. What I need is a character that can make that point for me, logically and organically within the framework of the story.

Thus was Sophia, the central character in The Courtesan Chronicles, born. I needed a character who was worldly-wise, who knew everyone worth knowing and knew where all the bodies were buried. A courtesan.

She had to be able to move in the right circles, to be both feared and admired. A courtesan who married an earl.

She had to be free of the rigid social standards of the Regency. She had to be able to think like a British aristocrat yet think beyond their views, their prejudices, their training. She had to be a rebel, but an acceptable rebel. A child of an Iroquois father who spent her first ten years in the forests of America.

Sophia’s backstory is complex, but creating complicated characters is my meat and drink. Her backstory is also shrouded in mystery. Bit by bit, book by book, Sophia is revealed. It’s like working a jigsaw puzzle. Piece by piece, the reader learns more about her. I’m having a lot of fun with that, teasing you with tidbits, luring you deeper into the fascinating woman Sophia is.

You have to be careful when reading about her. Sophia is not going to lay herself out for you to examine. She doesn’t actually lie, but if you have a misconception, she’s not going to jump in and correct it. She has conversations in the books where she allows someone to think the wrong thing. She’ll make a quick quip, a throwaway line, yet it’s a gigantic window into who she really is. You have to put it all together yourself. Discard some things as inaccurate and realize other things, things she’d rather you didn’t know, are true.

I know. It’s not usual romance novel fare since most of the time any secrets about a character or the plot are revealed within the pages of that book, and many times before the halfway mark. I can’t help it. Now that I’ve created her, she can only be who she is. Look at her backstory! Would an Iroquois/courtesan/countess let you dig through her life with a shovel? Of course not. She knows she’s a mystery to you, and she delights in that.

The one thing that is no secret is what she’s telling you about yourself. She was created to do this very thing. I created her to say these words, and she says them often in each and every book.

You have the right to ask for what you want. You have the right to get what you want. You deserve to be loved. You are incredibly valuable; never forget that.

That’s the idea behind The Courtesan Chronicles. That was the idea I had to voice. That is the purpose in each of the books in the series. Too many women, too often, behave as if asking for what you want is a cheat.

If I have to remind him it’s our anniversary then it won’t count when he remembers it.

If I have to tell him I want a gift for my birthday then it doesn’t count when I get it.

If I have to ask him to open the door for me or take out the trash or change the oil in my car then it doesn’t count. He doesn’t love me because he didn’t think of it all by himself.

Huh? When did asking for what you want, and then getting it, become a losing scenario? To take the passive role is to take the victim role. You wait silently, hoping, and you don’t get. Who’s to blame? You or him?


You have the right to ask for what you want. You have the right to get it. You deserve to be loved. ASK to be loved. Demand to be loved, cherished, valued. This is what Sophia does daily, even hourly, and she gets everything she wants, on her own terms. She does it with a smile, and leaves you smiling.

From The Courtesan’s Secret:

“…I should not enjoy causing Lord Dutton any…unpleasantness.”

Sophia’s left eyebrow rose fractionally. “Surely Lord Dutton can tolerate some unpleasantness in his life. He is a man, after all, and men are rather good at tolerating unpleasant things. The same should never be said of women. We may occasionally be required to endure unpleasantness, but we should, at all costs, avoid becoming adept at it”

Louisa could only gape. She had never in her life been exposed to such a philosophy.

As philosophies went, this was by a wide margin the most sensible and appealing one she had ever heard. She planned to adopt it immediately.

Sophia is speaking. Are you listening?

What is the best advice you ever received? Did you follow it?

Claudia's giving a signed copy of The Courtesan's Secret to one commenter today.


mariska said...

Hi Claudia :)

PinkPeony said...

Hi Claudia!

My mother's advice about one of my boyfriends when I was twenty-three...

"Do you love him or do you just feel sorry for him?"

My husband's advice while we were house hunting...

"A a ton of paint won't fix ugly."

My former boss as we observed a co-worker receive delivery of an expensive golf club which he hoped would improve his game...

"It's not the arrow, it's the Indian."

Congrats, Mariska!

Lynz Pickles said...

Hi, Claudia! I am in love with the cover of The Courtesan's Secret. That hair! It's so gorgeous! (Oh yeah, the rest of the cover's pretty nice to. But really, who could notice anything else once they'd seen that hair?)

The best advice I ever received? "It doesn't matter what grade you get, as long as you do your best." My parents said that over and over again throughout my school years.

Of course, it wasn't usually said to encourage me. It was usually said because I'd gotten a great mark on a project I did at the last minute and they were mad at me about the procrastination. But the point is that is was good advice!

Congrats on the GR, mariska!

mariska said...

The best advice ever : 'Never give up'
and i've been following that advice till now. As i won't give up to get my chance to win some signed copies from fabulous Authors on this site ^_*
One Advice when i was at worked couple years ago :' when you want someone to do a thing for you, you just have to wait till they'd finished their own things. It's better for you to do it by yourself so you can get it done faster'.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Claudia! Fantastic to see you back in the lair. And wow to the Courtesan books! As you know, I have quite a fondness for courtesan books ;-) And what a moving post! I'm thinking about the advice...

flchen1 said...

Hi, Claudia! I recently finished The Courtesan's Secret and enjoyed every word! I've just started Wager and have to go get How to Dazzle a Duke pronto! Sophia is such a character!!

As for best advice? Hmm... There are all sorts of useful snippets--It's not just about you. Speak up if there's something you want. Work hard and play hard. I think if I were better at taking advice, I might not still need so much of it!

Congrats on the GR, Mariska!

Blodeuedd said...

Hi Claudia,
Lovely looking books.

Best advice, hard one, dunno if I have gotten some advice. Nope I guess I have never followed any advice

Helen said...

Congrats Mariska is this your first time with the GR have fun with him

Fantastic blog and advice I must get the rest of this series I am dying to read it I have How To Dazzle A duke time to get the rest I think the more I hear about this series the more I want it.

As for advice my Mother always told me to treat people the way you would like to be treated yourself and if there is something you really want to do you can do it.

Have Fun

Linda Henderson said...

I'm kind of a homebody. I had a friend tell me once that I needed to get out and live my life. That I was just getting by and I needed to grab the bull by the horns and start living. Over the years I have strived to accomplish that.

Pissenlit said...

One that comes to mind is the relationship advice one of my first cousins once removed gave me once when I mentioned I was feeling conflicted about my then boyfriend. I was already headed in that direction but I guess I needed to hear it put differently from someone else at the time. :)

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I still want Sophia to come live with me, I am sure she could straighten me and mine out in a hurry.

What is the best advice you ever received? Did you follow it?
The best advice was don't marry him! (3 times) Did I listen, uh no......(3 times)

I am a slow learner but I think I got it now.

Laurie said...

I heard an inspirational speaker awhile back. He was an ex-football player for Lou Holtz.

He said to be a WINNER in life...Whatever Is Necessary Never Ever Regret, meaning that your actions shouldn't hurt others. I try to live by this. I could never be ruthless.

Claudia, I love Sophie!

Again the Golden Rule!

Deb Marlowe said...

Peeking my head out of the deadline cave to say that I LOVE Sophia, and her advice.

And her books!

Nancy said...

Mariska, congrats on taking home the Golden Rooster!

Claudia, the best advice I ever got was from a doctor who said, "Someone your age, with your health history, shouldn't be sick so much, but stress will cause that. You need to quit this job." And I took it. And my health improved immediately.

Nancy said...

PinkPeony, these are great! Did you take any of this sage advice?

Nancy said...

Lynz, there is a wonderful line early in The Courtesan's Secret about what men tend to like. I don't want to spoil the effect by sharing here, but I not only laughed out loud at it but read it to the dh. He didn't relate to it in quite the same way. :-)

Nancy said...

Mariska, "never give up" is great advice in a lot of areas and certainly for aspiring writers. And sometimes it really is faster to just do something ourselves.

Nancy said...

Fedora wrote: I think if I were better at taking advice, I might not still need so much of it!

Isn't that the truth? I could say that, too!

Nancy said...

Hi, Blodeuedd--

If you've never taken any advice, you're way better at steering your ship than I am at steering mine. I'm envious that you've managed so well on your own.

Nancy said...

Helen wrote: Mother always told me to treat people the way you would like to be treated yourself

I think if more people subscribed to this theory, we'd be a less abrasive world, though that's maybe idealistic. People seem to have forgotten it's possible to disagree without vilifying those with different opinions.

Nancy said...

Hi, Linda--

You wrote: grab the bull by the horns

Sometimes that's the only way, isn't it? Just to dive in. I'm going to talk to my class today about Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel. The distance across is 21 miles, but the current in the Channel forced her to swam more like 35, yet she just went and did it despite having failed once.

Nancy said...

Pissenlit, sometimes we just need to hear someone confirm what we're thinking. At least, I do. Especially if I'm not sure I'm right and need encouragement to take a jump.

Nancy said...

Dianna wrote: I am a slow learner but I think I got it now.

I think many of us have been there, done that, with ignoring advice we later wish we'd taken.

Nancy said...

Laurie, another vote for the Golden Rule! I also think the not regretting necessity point makes a lot of sense. If we make the best decisions we can based on the info we have at the time, then beating ourselves up about it doesn't really serve a purpose.

Nancy said...

Hey, Deb--

Thanks for poking your nose out of the cave! Good luck with the book.

Kirsten said...

Hi Claudia! Great to have you back with the Banditas! You know I'm a sucker for your Courtesan covers. Truly outstanding. I would have them framed in my living room if I were you. :-)

The advice you render is fantastic, especially when it is delivered by such a character as Sophia. I don't know if I've ever been given such good advice. My grandmother just fed me crappy boiled chicken and cabbage. No soft-lit sessions where she gave important life advice. ;-)

Maybe that's why I read romance novels...they're filled with great advice!

Joan said...

Good morning TICD! Welcome back!

My best advice was demonstrated to me rather than told or given by my Mom.

By example she showed and taught me to: Don't give up. Don't ever give up.

And I haven't.

Claudia Dain said...

Kirsten, I have to agree. Romance novels can be full of great life lessons. It's so easy to slip in the message, mostly because it's so much easier to see what's right for another person to do (the character) while being blind to the same situation in your own life. We wear blinders when looking at ourselves! Natural, since we must keep our sanity.

Claudia Dain said...

Pink Peony, oh my! Your mother gave you great advice! Wow. What a perceptive comment.

Claudia Dain said...

Lynz, my parents said the same thing to me all through school! It usually involved math class. I remain deeply appreciative that they didn't require me to be an Einstein.

Claudia Dain said...

Mariska, Big D's (my husband) motto is Never Give Up. My kids have adopted it, since he -is- their dad, and it's become the family motto.

Since I married in and am not one of -them- by blood, I'm not sure it's -my- motto. In fact, I know it's not! (Don't tell the kids.)

I think my motto is Pursue Your Passion. I believe in knowing what you do best and pouring all your energy into that, not worrying about all the stuff you can't do well.

Yup, that's my motto.

Claudia Dain said...

Fichen, I'm so glad you're enjoying the courtesan books! That makes me so happy.

I'm great at working hard, but playing hard? Not so much. Big D and I realized years ago that we're very good at work, but not at play. When we're not working at our 'real' jobs, we relax by working at other jobs! I think this is seriously twisted but have no idea how to do it differently. We just don't have any fun doing play.

Claudia Dain said...

Helen, my mother gave me advice in the same vein. More of "How do you think she felt when none of the kids would play with her? Maybe you could ask her to sit with you at lunch."
Lots of that growing up. I think it's why I'm so fascinated with understanding how people think and why they think that way. It's my favorite thing to explore not only in real life but in the life of my characters.

Claudia Dain said...

Linda, I'm a homebody too! I give you credit for trying to break out. I'm still a homebody, not even repentant about it.

Claudia Dain said...

Oh, Diana!! You did need a good advice counselor! Glad you figured it out and can lay that to rest. (Not that I think he's dead or anything!)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Mariska! You got the golden rooster! Wooot!

Hey, TICD is in the Lair! It's a red-letter day. Grins.

I love your philosphy in the books and I adore the dialogue snippet. I especially liked the "...she planned to adopt it immediately." bit. Grins.

Let's see, advice....two good ones:

"You can make a living or create a life, it's up to you. Which one do you want and what are you going to do about it?" - Tony Robbins to me when I tried to explain that I couldn't leave my job, it was soooo safffffeeeee. Snork. I left the job, one of the best moves I ever made.

And, "Before you trust anyone else, trust yourself. If you trust yourself, your gut, your feelings, they'll never let you down. Then you'll recognize who to trust out there in the world."
- an old friend who set me straight.

Now, like Deb, I'm going to have to go back to the cave...Grins. Great to have you with us again!

limecello said...

Hi Claudia, thanks for visiting with us today! Hmm... good advice, eh? :X Very simple - but I think it was important. I can be pretty high strung, and always stretch myself too thin - so some of my friends would grab me and say "Stop. Breathe." I think it really helps.

Congrats on the GR, mariska!

Claudia Dain said...

limecello, I'm pretty high strung myself, and I've gotten the same advice! I can only remember to take it when someone is staring me in the face commanding me to STOP. BREATHE. I can't remember it on my own. Too complicated. *G*

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Claudia!

The most valuable advice I ever got? Hmmmm. Well, it wasn't advice, it was more of a lesson learned after a year or two of trying to teach really difficult, oppositional kids.

I learned that I can't control other people, only myself. And this means that, regardless of what anybody else said, didn't say, did or didn't do, every little thing that comes out of my mouth must be something I approve of.

Which means that, despite grave & flagrant provocation, it is never okay for me to return rudeness with rudeness, anger with anger, hurt with hurt. Being my best self means never indulging my nasty streak then excusing myself because somebody else did it first. I am responsible for my own behavior at all times.

I am endeavoring to impress this lesson on my children but it's (predictably) slow going. This might be one every person has to learn for herself. :-)

Thanks again for stopping by, Claudia. And thank, Nancy, for inviting Claudia. And Sophia. I do love Sophia.

Donna MacMeans said...

Mariska - congrats on the GR!

Hi Claudia - Great to have you back with us. My husband's advice to the kids is always "do the right thing." I'm afraid they're at the age where doing the wrong thing is just so tempting.

For me it's "Everyone has a passion. Make sure it's a part of your life."

jo robertson said...

Great post, Claudia. Welcome back to the Lair.

Sophia is a complex, complicated, multi-layered character and I enjoy the evolution of her character through others' stories.

Best advice? Hmmm, how about if it's something I've given, over and over through the years.

It involved children, but could apply nicely to others: If you want it more than they do, the battle's lost. I see parents pushing their children all the time, trying to get them to do something or want something.

For example, if you want your kid to get into Harvard more than they do, it really doesn't count LOL.

Claudia Dain said...

Susan, that's the Golden Rule, right? Treat others as you want to be treated, no matter the provocation to do otherwise! Tough to do, tough to teach, but teaching by example is the best way so I'm sure your kids will get it. You're fighting the good fight!

Claudia Dain said...

Donna, great advice, and so pithy! Covers everything so neatly.

Claudia Dain said...

Jo, my gosh, that is so true! It would make for much more relaxed parenting if the kids were driving the "I want to--" train. Isn't it true that most (all?) sports stars were self-motivated?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Claudia said: Isn't it true that most (all?) sports stars were self-motivated?

I think the best ones are. Look at Tiger Woods. He said he'd go out and practice twice as much as his father recommended. :>

I've got one of those kids. He's going to be the first baseman for the Chicago Cubs one day. He's "seen" it in his own mind and every day he goes out and practies and "lives" it. I think he'll make it come true. :> Totally self motivated.

Claudia Dain said...

Wow, Jeanne, that would be so cool! I hope he makes it! How many motivational speakers talk about visualization? All of them, right? There must be something to it.

CrystalGB said...

Best advice I ever received was: You have to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with another person.

Nancy said...

Kirsten, if you can eat boiled chicken and cabbage, you are a strong woman. :-)

Nancy said...

Joan, your mom's advice not to give up is great. Especially for writers. There's always another hurdle.

You looked fabulous on Saturday at the Maggie ceremony, BTW, and congrats on your HM.

Don't know why you covet Posh's jacket, lovely though it is, when you own that black one. Which my bracelet would NOT go with. *g*

Nancy said...

Claudia wrote: I think my motto is Pursue Your Passion. I believe in knowing what you do best and pouring all your energy into that, not worrying about all the stuff you can't do well.

That sounds like great advice. I'm personally into obsessing about what I can't do well and need to learn to just let it go.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, thanks for popping out of the cave. I hope the book is going well.

Isn't the Tony Robbins seminar the one where you had to jump off a pole? While I think the "trust your gut" sentiment generally is wise, my gut would've been objecting mightily to that concept.

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Claudia! Welcome back! Great, as always, to see you! (Did you get the pic I sent you?)

I've had lots of great advice - sometimes I've taken it and sometimes I haven't.

My mum once told me that if I wanted to see how my husband would treat me, look at how his father treated his mother. Boy, was that ever true (in both mariages!). Sadly, I didn't pay attention until the second marriage!

Another wasn't advice as such, but someone asked a group what they would do if they had one week to live. Then he turned around and said "How do you know you haven't?" While some could see that as carte blanche to do as they pleased, I saw it as living this life the best I can - after all life isn't a dress rehearsal!

'No regrets' is another saying that I live by.

And my hubby's favourite "You can't fight gravity". This one has destressed me so much over the last few years.

Nancy said...

Jo wrote: If you want it more than they do, the battle's lost.

So true. And I'm trying hard to bear it in mind as the boy starts his college search. He's the one who has to live with his choice, so it really needs to be just that, his choice.

Nancy said...

Hi, Limecello. "Stop and breathe" is probably something I need to do more often.

Nancy said...

Hi, Susan--

Not controlling other people is sometimes a hard thing to accept. And I see people who're always victims; nothing is ever their fault. They're not responsible for the choices they made. They're difficult to be around at times.

Nancy said...

Donna, I agree that doing the right thing sometimes requires strong resistance to temptation. It goes well, though, with the golden rule and of the other guidelines people have shared today.

Nancy said...

Hi, Crystal--Being happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else is so important. I've seen people transfer responsiblity for their happiness to others, but they're never satisfied because they don't take ownership of their own situations.

Nancy said...

Anna S. wrote: someone asked a group what they would do if they had one week to live. Then he turned around and said "How do you know you haven't?"

Oooh, I like it!

MsHellion said...

Best advice? "Shut up and write." Or the variation: "Sit down and write." and "Go write already."

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy said: Isn't the Tony Robbins seminar the one where you had to jump off a pole? While I think the "trust your gut" sentiment generally is wise, my gut would've been objecting mightily to that concept.

Snork. Yep, that's the one. I didn't worry about the 40' firewalk because I was too panicked over the pole-climb which I figured would kill me. Hahaha! I managed both. And believe me, when you've walked on 40' of coals? Not much scares you anymore and Go For It takes on a whole new meaning.

Christie Kelley said...

Great to see you back, Claudia!

One of the best pieces of advice I received was from a critique partner who told me not to give up on a certain manuscript. I took her advice. It turned out to be my first published book.

Claudia Dain said...

Anna, huh. Wow. Look at the dad to see how the husband will treat you...I would never have thought of that, or not in those terms. I suppose it works in reverse and for the opposite sex...so my boys will marry a girl who will treat them the way I treat my husband? I know my daughter wants a husband who is like her dad. Lots of responsibility to set a good example!

Beth said...

Welcome back, Claudia! I love hearing about how you came up with Sophia and The Courtesan Chronicles *g*

The best advice I ever received was to enjoy my kids - no matter what stage/age they're at - because time goes by so quickly. Since my son will turn 18 in a few weeks and is looking at colleges, it's advice I fully believe in :-)

Claudia Dain said...

Beth, I got the same advice and took it to heart. It's great advice. Time really does fly.

Congrats on the next big phase of both your lives!

Nancy said...

Jeanne, I can see how walking across 40 feet of hot coals would alter a person's outlook on danger.

Nancy said...

Christie, I'm glad you took that advice. It's a wonderful book!

Nancy said...

Beth wrote: The best advice I ever received was to enjoy my kids - no matter what stage/age they're at - because time goes by so quickly.

That's certainly true! We're a year behind you, and it's already hard to think about.

Maureen said...

Hi Claudia,
I have to agree with Sophia's advice, because if you don't speak up nobody can hear you. I think the best advice I received was to follow through with whatever you start.

Pat Cochran said...

After dating for two years, I went
with Honey when he asked my Dad for
my hand in marriage. Dad gave us his blessing and then advised me to "be good to him and take good care of him." We both took Dad's words to heart and still follow them now. Our next anniversary will be the forty-ninth!

Pat Cochran

Cassondra said...

Claudia, Welcome back to the lair!

I'm only cruising through, unfortunately, but I couldn't pass by without saying hello. It's always so good to see you here.

I LOVE your courtesan series. It's one of my must-reads. I think you've channelled something here...something we all need to hear more often. Maybe you were her in a past life and you've come away with all that wisdom and created her as a device by which to impart it.

You're right. I've felt guilty for wanting something and asking for it before.

Some of my best advice has come from writer friends.

The advice which changed my writing and immediately allowed me to start finaling in and winning contests...."Your heroine standing around drinking coffee and feeling sorry for herself is not the equivalent of a scene"~~Anne DeStefano.

"Never stop putting your work in front of them. NEVER." ~~Dianna Love

"Your job is to collect rejections."~~Annie Solomon

Life advice...lessee....my first grade teacher, Mrs. Sandusky told me, "You can do anything you want to do if you believe you can do it."

An old friend (and adept performer) who saw me backstage, at age 15, scared of performing in front of a big audience--"Walk out there and pretend you own this place." (It worked.)

"Transparency is what makes any art actually work."~~Karen Taylor Good, who taught me that you have to be naked in front of people/on the page to make it actually work.

Claudia Dain said...

Maureen, we have a saying in our family that's very similar: let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. (I think it's from the Bible.) Stick to your word. Don't be indecisive. Good advice!

Claudia Dain said...

Oh, man, Cassondra! Naked on the page. Now there's a very scary image, and so true! The best fiction has that quality.

Virginia said...

My mother told me when I got married that I was making my bed and sometimes that bed gets mighty hard. She was right and we have been through some pretty hard times but we made it through them!

Also never give up on something you really want or believe in. There is so much truth in this statement.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hey Claudia, welcome back to the Lair! Great post as usual, and your covers are beautiful!

Hmm, best advice? Well, I'm not sure this counts as advice exactly, but these are the words I live by:

"If you can't be chic, be odd."

Works for me. ;-)

Congrats on snagging the bird, Mariska!! I'm sure he's full of advice ... or full of something, anyway ...

catslady said...

I learned early on to Never say Never. It bites you in the @ss everytime :) and Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. I believe I got that one from Dr. Phil lol.

Nancy said...

Maureen, I like the emphasis on following through. A lot of writers start a lot of manuscripts but never finish any, and that's a shame.

Nancy said...

Hi, Pat--what great advice! Congratulations on that upcoming 49th.

Nancy said...

Hey, Cassondra--glad you could cruise through! That's great writing advice, all of it. I occasionally critique scenes that are just a slice of life, nothing happening--like the coffee scene you described--and the authors don't understand what the problem is, even after it's explained. Frustrating.

"Pretend you own this place" is great. Next time I'm teaching oral presentations, I intend to use it.

A quote I've heard attributed to Dorothy L. Sayers but haven't been able to substantiate is that you have to tell the truth in fiction or nobody will believe it.

Nancy said...

Ms. Hellion--the "go write already" reminded me of the New Yorker magazine profile of Nora Roberts, in which she said the secret to her success is "Ass in the chair."

It's a great profile, starting on page 60 of the June 22, 2009, issue.

Nancy said...

Virginia, congratulations on your long-running union!

Nancy said...

Kate--"If you can't be chic, be odd." I love it!

Of course, sometimes the people deemed chic on Project Runway also look odd to me. :-)

Nancy said...

Hi, Catslady--

"Never say never." Ain't it the truth!

Claudia Dain said...

Nancy, I was thinking the same thing! What passes for chic can be very, very strange!

Nancy said...

Claudia, I sometimes look at the fashion pictures in newspapers and magazines and think "Who wears that?"

Caren Crane said...

Ack! I have missed The Claudia! The best advice I ever received was from my mother. "No one - especially not your husband - is a mind reader. Just tell him what you want."

There you go. My mother is my Sophia. *g* She is a wise woman who tolerates no bull at all, but can charm the birds out of the trees.

Hm...no wonder I love Sophia so!

Congrats, Mariska. Hope you showed the GR a good time!

Caren Crane said...

If anyone hasn't read "How To Dazzle a Duke" you must do so at once! But really, start at the beginning of the series and treat yourself. *g*

Nancy said...

Caren, I have How to Dazzle A Duke and am looking forward to reading it. I'm rolling through the other Courtesan books now.

Nancy said...

Of course, rolling through the TBR pile doesn't really help, considering the book signing and the FREE books at M&M. I never go to those free book things at National because I don't like crowds and because I'm already bringing enough books home. But I use the crowds to enforce the "enough" part.

Becke Davis said...

Late again! So many people are talking about Claudia's books -- her name seems to crop up wherever I go!

The best advice I ever got was to persevere, although I don't remember who said it. Maybe I was talking to myself . . .

Nancy said...

Hey, Becke--

Perseverance is sometimes the only thing that gets a person through. If you had the sense to say that to yourself at a tough time, you probably didn't need anyone else's advice.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Claudia, I'm so sorry I'm late to the party but just wanted to welcome you to the lair. Thanks for hosting TICD, Nancy:)

I love to read about self-assured women--they are such a mystery and a delight to me, even though, as Caren knows, I *am* a hard faced beyotch most of the time:) Sophia is a fascinating character and I'm not surprised your Courtesan Chronicles are so popular. She gives great advice!

Eric Maisel gives wonderful advice about handling literary criticism--temporize and refuse to let it in, then examine to see if some is warranted and reject the rest. I realized that's how I've always handled crits, reviews, etc.

Thanks for visiting with us today, TICD.

Yay, Mariska scored our feathered friend!