Under a prickly, cynical surface Lou Harper is an incorrigible romantic. Her love affair with the written word started at a tender age. There was never a time when stories weren't romping around in her head. She is currently embroiled in a ruinous romance with adjectives. In her free time Lou stalks deviant words and feral narratives.

Lou's favorite animal is the hedgehog. She likes nature, books, movies, photography, and good food. She has a temper and mood swings.

Lou has misspent most of her life in parts of Europe and the US, but is now firmly settled in Los Angeles and worships the sun. However, she thinks the ocean smells funny. Lou is a loner, a misfit, and a happy drunk.

The Romance Reviews

Wednesday Word: Celerity
lou harper

celerity |səˈleritē| noun archaic or literary swiftness of movement.

ORIGIN late 15th cent.: from Old French celerite, from Latin celeritas, from celer swift.

Sometimes I wonder how and why word usage changes. I can understand "landau" going out of fashion, but what was wrong with "celerity"? Aside from sounding like a root vegetable.

Wednesday Word: Brumous
lou harper

brumous |ˈbrəməs| adjective literary foggy; wintry.

ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from French brumeux, from late Latin brumosus (from bruma winter).

That's the local scene from about a month ago—it gets foggy in my 'hood once in a few years. Currently it's summer in LA with sunny skies and temperatures in the eighties. Not a drop of rain in sight. El Niño has been a big disappointment so far.

lou harper

Jordan Castillo Price is one of the first m/m authors I read, and she is part of the reason I started writing in the genre. So not surprisingly, I was a tad nervous meeting her in person at the Atlanta GRL, even though we had interacted only plenty times before. Fortunately, she was cool, and a little crazy, and we hit it off.

Jordan and I both design book covers too, and it's nice to have someone to talk shop with. It was her idea to do a design-off—both of us coming up with an original book cover using the same basic elements. These are the final result. Guess who did which one.


See the whole creative process in action on JCP's web page.

Wednesday Word: Tiffin
lou harper

tiffin |ˈtifin| nounIndian or dated a light meal, especially lunch.

ORIGIN early 19th cent.: apparently from dialect tiffing sipping, of unknown origin.

So very British. I think I spotted it in a Ngaio Marsh novel.

EPIC Cover
lou harper

I'm usually terrible at entering competitions—too clueless to know about them, and lazy to do something about the few I know—but for once got my shit together enough to enter a couple of my cover designs to EPIC. One of them was chosen to be a finalist. This is the full print version of the cover:

The book's not m/m but straight-up mystery. Most of the covers I design are not even romance, and I like the variety. The concept came from the author, as it's generally the case. It has more individual elements than any cover I've done so far. This is where it begun:

Yes, it was a bit of work putting it all together. :P

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Wednesday Word: Propinquity
lou harper

propinquity |prəˈpiNGkwətē| noun1 the state of being close to someone or something; proximity: he kept his distance as though afraid propinquity might lead him into temptation.2 technical close kinship.

ORIGIN late Middle English: from Old French propinquité, from Latin propinquitas, from propinquus near, from prope near to.

I acquired this word curtesy of P.G. Wodehouse. Propinquity, desired and otherwise, is a major theme of his books. And pigs.

Characters in British books have such great names. Like Gussy Fink-Nottle. American books suffer from a shortage of Fink-Nottles and the like. Somebody much more assiduous than me could do a scholarly research about the relationship between national character and naming of fictional characters. I've often wondered how Terry Pratchett named the denizens of Discworld.

Wednesday Word: Pawl
lou harper

pawl |pôl| nouna pivoted curved bar or lever whose free end engages with the teeth of a cogwheel or ratchet so that the wheel or ratchet can only turn or move one way.each of a set of short stout bars that engagewith the whelps and prevent a capstan, windlass, or winch from recoiling.

ORIGIN early 17th cent.: perhaps from Low German and Dutch pal (related to pal fixed).

One of those things you never knew what they were—like the metal bit at the end of shoestrings. The things for which the words thingamajig and whatchamacallit were invented.

Wednesday Word: Theurgy
lou harper

theurgy |ˈTHēərjē| nounthe operation or effect of a supernatural or divine agency in human affairs.a system of white magic practiced by the early Neoplatonists.

theurgic |THēˈərjik| adjective.
theurgical adjective.
theurgist noun

ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: via late Latin from Greek theourgia sorcery, from theos god + -ergos working.

I nicked this word straight from Grand-Wizard Terry Pratchett to use in my own story. Magic is all fine and well for common use, but institutional purposes—like police reports—you need a more officious-sounding term.

Stuff About World Building
lou harper

Charmed and Dangerous finally hit the shelves today, and I figured I’d blather about world building a little. Not because I’m an expert, but reading the other stories in the anthology I kept going oh, that’s brilliant, I wish I thought of it! And it started me thinking about world building. So much of what makes a speculative fiction story solid is behind the scenes.

One Hex Too Many centered on magic, the fae only got a mention, but they were already in the background, waiting for their chance to step out. They’ll get that chance in the sequel. Here are a few tidbits about them.

In this world magic is real and paranormal creatures share it with humans. The history if this reality was much similar to ours up till the industrial revolution. At that junction the encroachment of human technology forced a portion of fae kind deeper into hiding, some withdrew completely—they might have even gone extinct, though one never knows for sure. Others responded to the challenge by stepping out of the shadows, make their presence known beyond all doubt.

As you might expect, humankind had a mixed reaction to the arrival of these emigrants of another dimension. Preternatural Beings (official term) still haven’t fully integrated into human society, but the Fae Rights League is working hard to change this. Some fae do better than others.

The strength and resilience made ogres perfect for strong-arm jobs from body guards to mob enforcers. The drawback of employing ogres is that you can buy only their services, not their loyalty. That belongs only to their clans. Ogres are also smarter than they look, and are staring up their own businesses—something not all humans find agreeable.

Trolls are as strong, if not stronger, than ogres, but their solitary nature and idiosyncratic ways keep their interactions with humans minimal. They are masters of adaptation a can seamlessly blend into their environment. Griffin Park, across from the river from New Sky is the home of sever rock trolls and forest trolls. There’s at least one city troll living in Faetown, but he spends the daylight hours looking just another brick wall.

Well, that’s it for now. I might prattle on about goblins and pixies at some other time.

Charmed and Dangerous is available on Amazon - BN - iTunes - Kobo - Smashwords (ePub) - Payhip (multiformat, accepts PayPal)

Wednesday Word: Balaclava
lou harper

I was listening to Star Trap by Simon Brett when the word came up, and left me puzzled. So I stopped the audiobook, opened the dictionary app, and got a mini history lesson.

balaclava |ˌbaləˈklävə| (also balaclava helmet) nouna close-fitting garment covering the whole head and neck except for parts of the face, typically made of wool.

ORIGIN late 19th cent.(denoting a garment worn originally by soldiers serving in the Crimean War): named after the village of Balaclavain the Crimea (see Balaclava, Battle of).

Balaclava, Battle of |ˌbaləˈklävə| a battle of the Crimean War, fought between Russia and an alliance of British, French, and Turkish forces in and around the port of Balaclava (now Balaklava) in the southern Crimea in 1854. The battle ended inconclusively; and is chiefly remembered as the scene of the Charge of the Light Brigade.
Charge of the Light Brigadea British cavalry charge in 1854 during the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War. A misunderstanding between the commander of the Light Brigade and his superiors led to the British cavalry being destroyed. The charge was immortalized in verse by Tennyson.

Most I recall of my high school history classes is boredom and the recitation on names and dates. All I actually know of history is from books, films, and television.

The Charge of the Light Brigade sounds like humongous military fuck-up worthy of Black Adder. Although George McDonald Frasier gave it a good go too in Flashman at the Charge. Sir Harry Flashman is the perfect anti-hero, an unabashed coward who constantly finds himself in the heat of the battle, despite his best efforts to avoid them.

My favorite though is Astrid Amara's Devil Lancer. Probably because it's full of dark paranormal mystery and steamy m/m goodness.

As I was searching for images on Pinterest, I discovered that the Crimean War was also Florence Nightingale's first big job.


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