The writings of Heather Lynn Rigaud

Welcome to Austen Nights, the home of author Heather Lynn Rigaud. Heather's writing is focused on updating the classic works of Jane Austen, taking these classic characters where they've never gone before. She welcomes you to enjoy 'Sweet Austen days and Hot Austen nights!'

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Writing is a strange profession

It is. It's part make-believe. It's part confession. It's art. It's science. It's a mis-mash of skills and talents what you wouldn't immediately think of.

And on top of that, like so many things, it looks easy until you try it.

When I tell people that I have a book coming out, some people come back with, "I've always wanted to write a book." My answer is always 'You should try it!'

It's an answer that fits many different situations. There are some people who have wonderful books inside of themselves, and sometimes encouragement is what they need. On the other hand, there are people who think writing is simple, until they stare at a blank screen (or page). And finally, there are people who have no trouble starting really good stories, but can't for the life of them end them. My mantra on this is 'land the plane'.

And I'm not alone in this observation. There was plenty of people who've been burned, who won't even read 'works-in-progress' on fan fiction pages because too many really good starts that never finish.

I'm thinking about writing because I'm deep in the writing trenches right now. Longborne & Pemberley Go To War, my first novel, is in the process of a major update/re-write. And it's going really well. (Crossing my fingers and knocking on wood) I don't want to jinx myself, but the words are flowing and I have a very good feeling about this.

And you'll be able to read it! I'll be posting, probably starting next week, at AHA and B&Q. I hope you will join me, and leave plenty of comments.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's for research, really!

Okay, I've got to fess up. I've become totally addicted to (sob) a video game. Yes, I'm appalled too. 

It's Dragon Age Origins, which is a D&D fantasy thing, where you are a hero working with a small group of companions to save the kingdom from an oncoming horde of demons. Sounds pretty standard, but a couple of things make this interesting. It's really well done. The plots leave some freedom for you to choose what you're going to do and you have to face the consequences of those choices. The writing is really strong and it picks a theme an doesn't let go no matter what. The theme is 'Victory through sacrifice', and man, they don't skimp on the pain.

But the part that's really got me sucked in (and it's not just me) is the Paladin character, Alistair,  who's with you from the start. He's funny, he's vulnerable, he's got a noble heart (in more ways than one) and you can have a romance with him. 

Read that last part again. Yup. This isn't your Daddy's D&D game.  If you play your cards right, he'll fall in love with you.  I have to admit some tender feelings on my part. But he's no push over. If you say or do the wrong things, he'll leave you high & dry. No romance for you. I know this because my first character completely struck out with him by making a joke when he was being all 'tender'. 

My second character succeeded and we're 'playing though' if you know what I mean. 

And it's not just me. There are essays and Facebook fan clubs. He's become quite the sensation. 

Now, it's not all just fantasy sex with a bunch of cute pixels. As a writer, I'm thinking about what makes him so attractive to women? (And it's just women. Men unanimously find him annoying and whiney) What the key to his attraction? How can I use that in my writing?

Well, one thing is he's got the brave and strong thing down. The man can wield a sword like nobody's business and he's totally fearless in battle. But he's not just a thick-necked slayer of beasts. He's very funny, and he's shy. You would think a man who can run down an ogre twice his height wouldn't blush when it comes to talking about sex, but he does. 

He was raised in a monastery, so he's a virgin, and that explains some of the shyness, but really, he's just such a little boy lost, its ridiculous. Plus, he *needs* you. He has some good reasons for not wanting to be a leader, and he's perfectly okay with you giving the orders. Which, really just proves that this is a fantasy. 

I think there is probably more to his appeal, but I've got to do some more research. ;-) What about you? Have you ever fallen for a video game character?


Yeah Baby!!! That's my book, with my name on it!!! Woot!

Over at Sourcebooks there is a poll going on over the cover art for my book.

Check it out!

I don't know why he's wearing a shirt, but Woot!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Greetings from Snow Central

Hey there. We're having a snow day here. There's about a foot  of the white stuff on the ground, and more is expected. My beautiful sons are off of school and even my husband called in, and we're all home together.

You might think, on a day like this, with the beautiful snow falling, and the house warm and cosy, it's be highly conducive to writing. 

And you'd be so, so very wrong. Really, blogging is about all I can manage right now.  I've discovered or maybe re-discovered that I need privacy for writing. Too many distractions and the magic ain't happening. In a crisis, deadline-y situation, I can do edits as long as I'm tucked into a corner and have my headphones, but real, creative writing? not so much. I still need to train my family that when I'm writing, it might look like I'm just fooling around on the internet, but really, I'm working, so Stop. Bugging. Me.

Speaking of deadlines and edits, I got a line from Sourcebooks that they're happy with my edits for Slurry and we're into typesetting. YAY! That means my goal for this week is to write up a pitch for L&PGTW and get that in. (I know that was my goal for last week, but, well, stuff happens)

So, I can be serious here, or I can be funny. If I'm really good, I'll be both.

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. She died three years ago, and of course, I miss her a whole lot. This week's been all about life and death for me. I've been having very depressing dreams where I have to get my final messages to my children. (Son1: get a girlfriend, Son2: Learn to write an essay)  I'm just feeling very mortal. There is a local man who's gone missing, prompting a massive effort from the community to find him, but its been two weeks, and things are not looking too good. One of my cousins has a son who received an organ transplant 6 years ago today; the same type of organ transplant that failed and was the immediate cause of my mother's death. Lots of little things that on their own wouldn't mean too much, but taken together seem overwhelming.  It's all very wearying and I have to accept that I'm doing a bit of grieving today, and that's alright. 

This all ties into my writing in that in the last decade of my life, my mom's failing health meant that her main form of recreation was romance novels. She loved them. She was go to the used bookstore and buy them by the shopping bag full. And while mom was always proud of what her children did, she did seem to be particularly proud of my books. She found them on the internet by herself (which for mom was huge. She wasn't exactly computer friendly) and printed them out and read everything. She would also share them with anyone she thought would enjoy them, which one one level is very sweet, and on another level is really embarrassing. It's a truly special moment when you discover your mom's been sharing your sexually explicit writings with her church ladies. 


So, I think I'm not going to be too hard on myself today. I'll do some laundry and play some Dragon Age (greatest time suck ever!) and the pitch will keep until tomorrow, when I'm alone and can think. 

I'm sorry this blog entry isn't very light or funny, but in it's defence, it's very real. Thanks for reading and stay warm.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year!!

I wanted to wish everyone a Very Happy New year. I had an excellent week off with the family, during which time I completed my next (and hopefully last?) set of edits for Slurry.  If all goes well, it will go into typesetting next week for publication in September. My little book! I'm so proud.

I also had a great brainstorming session yesterday on my next book, Longbourne & Pemberley Go to War. You know that title will be changed. I like to amuse myself by thinking about what it might get changed too: Sir Fitzwilliam Darcy, Knight, or maybe or Mr. Darcy goes to War (which would be so wrong) or Fitzwilliam Darcy: Lizzy's boy-toy?
So many possibilities.

There are not many advantages to getting up at 5:45 each morning to get my high school students-sons up. Not many at all. But this morning I got to enjoy one, shining brightly in the South-East, I spied Venus this morning. I found it inspirational.

Have a great week, my friends!