Friday, April 29, 2011

Another 4 Star review for Past Destinies!!

The Romance Studio Reviews
Overall rating:  
Reviewer: Wendy Mitchell

"It was unique and highly entertaining.This story ran the gamut from achingly sweet to heart wrenchingly sad and I enjoyed every second of it."

I can't tell you how honored and thrilled I am to see another reviewer love my book! You can read the full review at  The Romance Studio . I have to pinch myself to make sure it's all real. 

The best part of the review for me was seeing her request for more of Agatha's story! There is more to come and I can't wait to finish telling it so you can read it! 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Last Day of the Royal Engagement!

So call me a foolish romantic but somehow I have been drawn into the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton in spite of myself. It isn't every day that a Prince marries a commoner. As a romance author I feel compelled to sit up and take note. How many books have I read depicting this very thing but only in fiction. Now, here is the story happening in real life and it almost makes all those fairy tales we've all read seem real. Handsome Prince meets beautiful maiden and falls in love, despite her humble background and makes her his princess. Their story captures the imagination of every schoolgirl who still believes she'll find her own Prince Charming and of every woman who grew up thinking it wasn't possible. Such things only happened in children stories, not in real life. The reason two billion people will be watching this wedding is because they have proven such things can be real after all and we all want to believe again.

I remember watching the wedding of Prince Williams parents, Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles when I was a child. I thought the way she arrived at the church in the glass coach magical. I watched her exit with her frothy wedding dress that never seemed to end and thought how lucky she was to have caught the eye of the Prince. I was 6, but I was old enough to know the wedding was the most romantic thing I'd ever see. As the years went by I watched with the rest of the world as the fairy tale crumbled and the Prince tarnished his crown. So the fairy tale Princess didn't get her happy ending but it looks like her son just might.  

I'd like to wish the happy couple all the best. As so many have said, their marriage has a great chance of being a long and happy one. They've already got a great foundation built by having known each other and been a couple for so many years. They look comfortable together, not stiff and awkward. And I think it's the sweetest thing in the world that the Prince gave Kate his mother's engagement ring.  As a romance author I don't think I could have come up with a better story in fiction as the Royal Romance that happened over the past decade in real life.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rally for the Norlands!

I'm posting this announcement on my blog because I want to do everything I can to support and bring attention to this wonderful organization. The Washburn - Norlands Living History Museum was an important part of the creation of my book, Past Destinies. I dare say that without the time I spent at the Norlands, doing reinactments of lives lived in the past, as well as taking part in live-in's, I might not have come up with the idea for the book at all. A live-in is where you go for a weekend and take the name of someone from the late 1870's who lived in the Livermore area and pretend to live in the past.Since I was a volunteer and staff member, I had a the privilege of choosing a name that stayed with me for the years I spent there. My Norlands name was Sarah Rose. 

Going to the Norlands during a Reenactment weekend is almost like stepping into the past and is well worth the trip. I'm posting here some of the pictures I took during the last time I attended to show just how realistic everything is. Even the smells of campfires and gunpowder linger in the air, lending a realism difficult to find anywhere else.

      As you can see from the pictures, it truly is like taking a trip to the past! The big yellow mansion, pictured here, is what I based the mansion in my book on.
      The next reenactment weekend is June 4-5, 2011. Following is information from their website about the planned events and ticket prices. Come support a great cause!

Admission: $8 adults; $6 children under 12 y.o.  $14 for weekend pass/$8 children. 

Gates open at 9 am daily.
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Grounds Open to the Public
Saturday: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Smoked Brisket and Fixins' for Supper followed by Contra Dance (extra$)

Sunday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Grounds Open to the Public
Sunday: 3 p.m. Closing Concert (tentative)
Food booths, free parking, family fun.
The 6th Maine Battery will fire their cannon, a Parrott Rifle.  Battles commemorating the Spring 1861 campaign of the Civil War will be staged on both days in the early afternoon.  Civil War musicians, temperance marchers and calvary units will give demonstrations.

Saturday and Sunday, historian and author Kerck Kelsey will give talks about the Washburn brother's roles in the Civil War.  Kelsey's book "Israel Washburn Jr.: Maine's Little Known Giant of the Civil War" and other books by the author will be on sale.

Tophats Sutlery , JR Robinson Merchantile , Fifth Maine Museum , basket makers, historians and authors will be exhibiting and/or selling their period wares.

Monday, April 18, 2011

First Review in for Past Destinies - 4 STARS!!!!

Manic Readers Review gave me a 4 Star Review on my book, Past Destinies, which is due out May 2, 2011. Did I say that already? Gosh I was nervous! I mean it's one thing when your friends, family and critique partners tell you your book is good, its quite another to hear that someone who's never heard of you likes it! It is only the first review, but from what she said, she really "got" the story. Wow. Now I really feel like an author! Phew! You can click on the link on the name above to see the review and order my book, but for those of you who might not be as technically savvy, (hello mom) I"ll post the review here. Link to buy will be up as soon as it's active - trust me!

MR Review PARTIAL - to read full review please click on the link for Manic Readers above.
Reviewer: Patrizia Murray
All in all, it’s a very good story, with predictable problems between the permissive attitudes of the 21stcentury vs. the Victorian social mores of post Civil War times. If you like time travel, this one is a winner.

Back in the Saddle . . . .

It’s been a rough week all around. Last Monday my husband left for business for two weeks, leaving me alone with two small children. (ages 4 and 2 months) He’s done this before, so this time wasn’t really very different from the last time with a huge exception. My daughter (the 4 yr old) decided it was test mommy week. Thank goodness she is in school during the week or I would have been pulling my hair out by the roots! Silly me, I thought I might get some writing done this week but nope, nada. There was just no way I could concentrate and Jane and Nick had to go on the back burner.
Thankfully my writing stalemate has come to an end. My dear cousin Shelley came for a visit on Sunday and brought with her a whole basket full of great ideas. So after a lovely visit, where my daughter had fun bossing her daughter around (still feel bad about that – I don’t know where she gets that from!) my writing brain is back on fire. Last night I pounded out 11 pages before I stopped. That’s the most I’ve done in a day in a very long, long time! My daily goal has been 5 pages. Aren’t you proud of me?
Now I need to decide how I want to spell Jane’s name. Should it be Jane or Jayne? Which one sounds like a top model to you?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Contest Judging

Well here's another new experience - judging a contest. As a member of ESPAN RWA all members have the opportunity to judge the page one contest entries all the way through to the last five. I've been a critique partner several times over, and entered a few contests myself, but never judged anything like this. It is an experience, to say the least. I realized right away that anything with improper grammar or misspelled words wouldn't be getting my vote. I mean if you've taken the time and spent the money to enter a contest, you should have at least made sure you've used spell-check and read your own sentences a few times to make sure the grammar is correct. Otherwise what's the point? Then I realized that while some may have been written well, they just don't ring any bells for me. So I put those in the 'maybe' pile. My favorites are the ones that make me laugh out loud and want to read more.

Tonight starts round two of the contest and I can hardly wait to see which entries have made it through. I've been impatiently waiting all week, and I wish there was a way to see which entries are getting the most votes, but to be fair we judges won't know that until the votes are counted and we see which entries move forward. There are no names on any of them so I don't know how many are entries from fellow members. I also submitted an entry and I'm anxious to see how it did.

There is a $25 first prize, $15 second prize and $5 third prize. The highest I've placed in a writing contest so far is 4th. That was in the Darkest Moments contest held by the Alaska chapter of RWA. I used an excerpt from my book Past Destinies before it had been accepted for publication. The comments I received from the judges were most helpful with my writing and gave me the confidence I needed to pursue publication. I'm so glad I entered and will be entering more contests through the summer. Let's see how this one does first!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Starting Over

There's nothing so frustrating as working on a book that you suddenly realize is crap. I'm more than half finished with my next novel and I've had to rip out the entire beginning and start over. My heroine was unlikeable, the kiss of death really for a romance novel, and the hero seemed more wimpy than hunky. I guess it's better that I figure this out now than later when I can't figure out why no one loves my story. My critique partner helped open my eyes and, while I wanted to scratch out hers for a while, now I'm grateful she did.  Of course now I want to hole up somewhere for a month and finish it, but let's face it, that's just not gonna happen. I have a newborn baby, a 4 year old daughter and a husband who has to leave on business for weeks at a time. Somehow I have to squeeze writing into the time I have left. Not an excuse but there we are.

Btw the cover pictured here isn't the actual cover for my book. It's just something I threw together to represent it. So I've changed the whole beginning and am waiting for my CP to read and like/dislike. Anyone else want to help? How do you make a superstar model trying to impress a guy, without admitting that's what she's doing, not sound like a witch with a capital B? That's my problem. I think I've figured it out, but don't want to give it to an editor until I'm sure. I'm not sure Romantic Suspense is my strong suit, but I love shows like "The Closer" and "CSI". Doesn't make me an expert but then again I've never met a Greek god (okay maybe one) and traveled through time (although it did seem like it at the time) either, and I manged to write about that. I guess if you're passionate about what you write about, no matter what it is, someone else will be too.