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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: Scrote
lou harper

scrotenounBrit. informal a contemptible person.

ORIGIN 1970s: from scrotum.

The Brits have all the good slang.

Release Day!
lou harper

Let the banging of Pots and Pans commence!

Secrets and Bow Ties is officially out today. This is the third in the Secrets series, but like all the others it's a standalone. It's also the zanies and zingiest of the series so far, take my word for it.

The story's heroif you can use the term for someone like Dylanis a self-confessed gold digger. Unfortunately for him, his biggest talent lies in getting into trouble. Enter Simon, the nerdy, fashion-challenged college professor. Add a trip to Las Vegas, a handful of bad guys, and you have a heaping dose of screwball comedy-romance-suspense.

You can enter to win a copy of the entire series on Diverse Reader.

Vintage Monday: Books
lou harper

This is me these days, except instead of mobile library, I borrow audiobooks from the public library. I have woefully little time for actual reading, and my eyes get tired too fast, but I can listen while doing cover designs. It makes the tedious parts of Photoshopping—and there are many—much more bearable.

Back in my late-teens, early-twenties I used to knit, but it was so boring, I could only stand it while watching TV. Listening to a book can take the dull the dullness of creating Photoshop masks.

Wednesday Word: Gobbet
lou harper

gobbet |ˈgäbit| nouna piece or lump of flesh, food, or other matter: they lobbed gobbets offresh bonito off the side of the boat.

ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French gobet, diminutive of gobe

I don't know how the dictionary writers come up with their examples, but immediately this scene from JAWS came to mind:

You know, before this happens:

Writing and Rambling
lou harper

Even the big stories grow from tiny seeds of ideas.

I keep a notebook to jot down random bits of dialogue, character ideas, and other flotsam and jetsam of my brain. Not unlike a squirrel hides his nuts.

Recently, when looking for idea for a short story, I came across comic take on a comic take on an old trope. You know, the one where the protagonist looks into the mirror and describes himself.

In my version the hero looks into the mirror, describes what he sees, but it's not him. So far it was just a joke, but I started exploring the premise. Who's visage is in the mirror? How did it get there and why? And from this a story emerged.

I'm not 15,000 words into this yet untitled urban fantasy story and I'm rather giddy about it. I already know it'll need a sequel.

On an unrelated note, my other creative project, the quest for the perfect, or at least pretty good sourdough bread is so far a bust.

Wednesday Word: Vestiture
lou harper

vestiture |ˈvestiCHər, -ˌCHo͝or| noun archaic clothing.

ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: based on Latin vestire clothe.

Why do we keep changing the words we use for certain things. If only the spelling altered over time I'd understand. But hopping from one word to another? Why? It's so wasteful.

The Mystery of Mysteries
lou harper

It has occurred to me that I should occasionally blog about writing, since readers might be interested. I don’t like talking much of works on progress in fear on jinxing them, but I’m trying to overcome this superstition.

I’m currently doing preproduction on a paranormal short story. This consists of making up names for fictional people and places, inventing or repurposing terms for supernatural phenomena and such. Also, since this will be a mystery of sorts, making up the back story.

I’ve written a few paranormal mysteries and romances with elements of mystery and suspense, but I’m reluctant to call myself a mystery writer. However, I believe I’ve figured out one of the tenets of the genre: know the crime before you start solving it. Who did what to whom, when, where, how, and most of all why? It’s like drawing the maze through which your detective will have to find his way through.

Okay, so it’s more of a no-brainer than a mystery, but there you have it.

Wednesday Word: Zephyr
lou harper

("Summer Breeze" by Lyn Evans)

zephyr |ˈzefər| noun1 literary a soft gentle breeze.2 historical a fine cotton gingham.a very light article of clothing.

ORIGIN late Old English zefferus, denoting a personification of the westwind, via Latin from Greek zephuros (god of) the west wind. Sense 1 datesfrom the late 17th cent.

I was looking for synonyms for wind.

Vintage Monday: The Feline Edition
lou harper

The cat isn't vintage but her surroundings are, as she's the guardian spirit of a vintage clothing store. She's not chubby, just full of love.

I've fallen into a vortex of store cats lately, and came to marvel at all the different feline personalities. The bookstore kitties are young and playful. One of them tried to chew my ear off. Twice. The hardware store cats treat customers with friendly disinterest. They condescend to be petted for a second or two before walking away.

Meanwhile, the cat above is the friendliest of her kind. When I first stepped into the store she came right up to me and swathed me with her affections, leaving generous amount of fur on my clothes in the process. The other day I stopped by only to bask in her love.

Wednesday Word: Gasconade
lou harper

gasconade |ˌgaskəˈnād|

noun literary extravagant boasting.
ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from French gasconnade, from gasconner talk like a Gascon, brag.

I've been reading and listening to a lot of old mysteries by Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy L. Sayers lately, and I must've picked up the word them. Funny how when immersed in a book my internal dialogue starts sounding like that particular writer's prose. Right now I'm on Death at the Bar (Marsh, audiobook) and Murder Must Advertise (Sayers, ebook). It's riveting to me--and hopefully educational--how each of these authors constructed their stories.

In contrast with contemporary conventions, Marsh doesn't jump straight into action. No, she sets out leisurely leisurely introducing the principal, i.e. the soon-to-be murder victim and chief suspects. The motives for the inevitable dastardly deed become clearer by each page.

Murder Must Advertise, on the other hand, starts with the detective arriving on the scene in disguise. Sayers cleverly doesn't spell out the true identity of Mr. Bredon, but drops enough hints for anyone familiar with Lord Peter Wimsey to recognize him behind the alias. But she too takes her time to introduce participants, and much period prattle ensues.

Right-ho! So where I'm going with this? I have no idea, just musing.

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