To the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns

The Immortal Memory

50 Shades of Robert Burns!

Painted portrait of Scottish Poet Robert Burns
Robert Burns, Scotland’s Immortal Bard

Turns out that Scotland’s hot, sexy 18th Century Rock Star poet penned sheaves of bawdy poetry. Apparently, some of his poems were soooo ribald that, following his death at the age of 37, his most explicit pieces were “tucked away” by the censors for over a century. Even after these were later discovered, they were banned in the UK until 1965!

If you enjoy Scotch and haggis, poetry, song and bagpipes as much as my husband and I do, find yourself one of the thousands of traditional Burns Night Suppers held across the globe where you can celebrate Robbie’s birthday on January 25th, or thereabouts.

Green Sleeves is quite mild compared to some of the other poetry in the “Merry Muses of Caledonia”, a book that was quietly yanked out of print the moment it was published around 1800.

 

Green sleeves an tartan ties
Mark my true love whare she lies:
I’ll be at her or she rise,
My fiddle an I thegither. (together)

Be it by the chrystal burn,
Be it by the milkwhite thorn;
I shall rouse her in the morn,
My fiddle an I thegither.

My kind of poetry! Quite lovely and romantic!

Do you have a favorite poet? Or a poem you’ve memorized? Maybe a couplet or verse that inspires you?

Cartoon of Walt Disney's Goofy character illustrating the poem, Casey at the Bat
Walt Disney’s Goofy, in Casey at the Bat

Confession — the first poem I memorized was “Casey at the Bat” — I still remember (most of) it!

Slangevar! (Health!)

Castles and Romance and Sex, oh, my!

 

B/W photo of little girl standing on the bridge in front of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty's Castle
Linda on her first visit to Disneyland, in 1955

Mine was a storybook childhood, spent just a few leagues from an Enchanted Castle, set in a Magical Kingdom that was ruled by a benevolent wizard whose powerful spells captured my imagination every time my parents took me for a visit.

The moment I walked through the gates of this magical land, I would be greeted by beautiful princesses and their handsome princes, despicable villains and terrifying dragons, fairies and pirates and a talking mouse named Mickey.  Yes, I grew up 10 miles from Disneyland, the original Magic Kingdom.

The photo is my almost 5-year old self on the draw-bridge of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in January,1956. 

Cover of Her Secret Guardian, by Linda Needham

 

The seeds of my passion for writing stories of powerful lords contending with their fierce-hearted ladies were planted in that enchanted soil long before I even knew how to read, let alone, write.  The magic is plain: that little girl on the castle drawbridge grew up believing in Happily Ever After, because Romance is Timeless, Storytelling has No Age and True Love is Forever.

 

 

Surprising New Tools for the Working Romance Writer

I never would have guessed, back in the dark ages of the mid-1990s when my first romance was published, that the list of tools for the 21st Century working romance writer would include a Canon Rebel T3i DSLR camera with all the bells and whistles.

But, here’s the new truth: working writers are no longer allowed to hide out behind their screens and bang out stories.  We gotta get out there and engage our romance readers with images and adventures.  And that’s all good, by my lights.
Extreme Close Up

New Tools, New Lessons

New tools, new camera, new lessons in how to work all those buttons and gears. Remembering what f-stop means, how to read the exposure meter, which lens does what, shooting video and timed photos, etc.  Above is an image from my homework in preparation of my research trip to the UK — trying out a lens extension tube.

Funky results and soooo much fun to see the world through a new set of lenses!

Better Images

Since I base all of my historical romance novels in the UK, castles and manor houses are my bread and butter–uhm, make that my tea and crumpets.  I’ve used digital point-and-shoot cameras during my previous research trips, snapping tons and tons of photos of details of door hinges and landscapes and mine shafts and rugged coastlines.  Good, but not great.

Smart phones and P&S cameras capture lovely memories, but in this new Age of the Image, as a working romance writer I need more sophisticated tools for sharing my experiences with my readers.

Legal Landscape

A working romance writer can’t just grab any old image off the net and share it on the web or slap it onto their indy cover.  Someone owns the copyright on that image and might (should) object.  With that threat uppermost in my mind, my camera becomes another surprising tool of the trade, allowing me to snap my own images — after first receiving permission from the “snap-ee” — making my work legal and above-board.

Working Romance Writer

I keeping thinking there’s no more room in my writer’s toolbox.  But there’s always something new and exciting coming at me around the corner.  Next time, I won’t be surprised; I’ll be ready with my DSLR camera!  Snap!  Right.