Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tips for NaNoWriMo

A few quick tips for those of you participating in NaNoWriMo this year:

1. Commit and sign up

2. Outline

3. Divide up your daily word count for the month

4. Write in small time increments

5. When you hit your word count goal for the day stop writing

6. Sprint

7. Get support from fellow writers and the people in your home

8. Let some things slide

9. Trim your nails

10. It's okay if you fall short of the 50,000 words in 30 days!

Good luck! I'm cheering for all of you!!!


If you loved Edenbrooke, then you won't be disappointed by Blackmoore and will love it just as much, perhaps even more.

As a romance writer, I bow in admiration to Julianne Donaldson's mastery of her craft. I don't know what her past history as a writer is, but I know few writers who can knock it out of the park with their first book like she did with Edenbrooke. I was curious if she could do the same with Blackmoore. She totally did.

Blackmoore has a different voice and tone than Edenbrooke. Where Edenbrooke was playful with lurking danger, Blackmoore is more serious and wild. The writing of the book takes on the flavor of it's moor environment: bleak, windswept but undeniably beautiful in it's own way. I'm not doing justice to the writing. I'm not sure I can. I think reading it is your best option to understand the point I'm trying so unsuccessfully to illustrate.

I loved the heroine. Kate wants to flee her family and with serious good reasons. She has locked up her heart to spare another pain. If I was still a nail biter, I'd have chewed them off in the first few chapters. Ms. Donaldson sweeps us into the book and into Kate's heart with seeming little effort. Another mark of a great writer. Plus her descriptions of eyes are incredible. I don't know how she came up with so many ways to describe them. A master class.

My heart ached all the way through the book for Kate and Henry, but I couldn't put it down. I had to know how it would end, which I wouldn't dream of spoiling for you.

Look, if you can't guess from my gushing. I loved it. It easily goes on your 'must read' list for 2013.

What will this brilliant woman write next? And will we have to wait 2 years for the next one? Did you find Blackmoore equal to Edenbrooke?

 Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never to marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain sooner rather than later and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Big Announcement!

I've been looking forward all year to participating in NaNoWriMo and deciding between two books I want to write, but sadly I won't be writing my 50,000 words in 30 days this year. There are two reasons why:

1. I'll be gone to Florida for 10 days for Thanksgiving. That combined with not writing on weekends only left me 16 days to write, and while I managed it in 22 days last year, even I'm not that crazy!

2. I've decided to launch my first novel FALLEN ANGEL on FRIDAY, FEB 7th, 2014!

The best time to launch a romance novel is February when we celebrate Valentine's Day, right?

So, I need the month of Nov to make one final pass at the manuscript and get it ready to load, set up a blog tour, and finalize the art work so I can be ready to send out ARCs in Dec to those on the blog tour, etc.

It's a big undertaking that I'm both nervous and excited for!

I've paid close attention the past 3-4 years to all my writer friends who have published both traditionally and indie and have seen the pros and cons of both. I drafted query letters and prepped manuscripts and even got rejections all of which I felt brought me that much closer to being a 'published' author.

What really put my goals in perspective last month were two things:

1. Just before I left for Midwest Storymakers my hubby and I had lunch. He asked me (paraphrased): "You've got 3 finished novels. What are you going to do with them? When are you going to get them published?"

2. I spent the Midwest Storymakers conference pondering: What are my goals with my novels? To be an international bestseller? (not likely) national bestseller? (again not likely) land a movie deal? (my fave fantasy), fame and fortune? (no thanks) to write and produce a good product? BINGO!

Plus, I realized, even if I landed an agent/publisher today, my book likely wouldn't come out for another year or two. Fallen Angel has already languished on my computer for far too long. Ring on Her Finger is almost ready to go. The Make-Out Artist needs editing and then it's ready too.

Self publishing fits my goals. Write a good story, edit it to within an inch of both our lives, then deliver a clean and beautiful copy for the world to read.

Make $10 bucks to celebrate with ice cream paired with an incredible brownie and fudge sauce. LOL!

I applaud and support my fellow authors who publish traditional and indie. I hope they'll be just as  supportive of my decision and my work.

So, here's to big decisions and big announcements!

Is anyone out there excited too?

Fallen Angel Blurb

When her angelic beauty, famous voice and precious memories are wiped out by one a motorcycle accident, a rising opera star must choose between the fiancé she cannot remember and the man who fell in love with her at first sight.

 In Fallen Angel, Antonio Tonon does not believe in love at first sight until he sees her fall into a street in Milan and get hit by a motorcycle. Compelled to know who she is and if she can return his affection, he becomes her hospital volunteer only to learn that the accident erased her memory. But the road to love is obstructed by her tyrannical mother, Renatta’s fiancé (Marcello), and Antonio’s own lower social status. Forced to redefine his ideas of honor, love, and family, Antonio must find a way to marry Renatta before she bends to the will of her mother and resumes her place on the opera stage. If he fails, Renatta will wed Marcello and sentence Antonio to a lifetime of loneliness, for love at first sight never happens twice.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Total Recall

This is the remake of the 1980's version and stars Colin Ferrell, Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale. I watched it off TV so if the original was more than PG-13 I only watched a PG-13 version of it.

It's rated that way for violence, language and a few shirts left off.

It has an Inception vibe to it and I was never totally sure whether the entire thing was made up and inside his head or some of it was real and some was made up. Totally mind boggling that way.

My previous exposure to Colin Ferrell is total villain so seeing him play the underdog was a nice change. Good to see that the has more than one mode of acting.

In a fight, I'd always pick Kate Beckinsale over Jessica Biel. That girl has some moves!

The graphics and action are over the top non stop with very few breathers in between so be ready. That's not a bad thing.

Storyline is plausible, minus being able to pass through the core of the earth. I think if we could do that we'd just be able to leave the planet.

Also a nice cameo by the guy who plays Sulu in the new Star Trek franchise.

Worth a view: Yes.

Worth a buy: No. It's not one I'd watch over and over again but a good way to pass a weekend night.

Did you see it? What is your opinion?

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Sovay by Celia Rees is a different adventure entirely than Pirates!

Sovay, raised by a father who believes in the equality of all in a time when such an opinion wasn't popular, dons the disguise of a highway man to test the heart of her fiancée. He fails and that is the first domino that sets the rest tumbling and her flying across England and France for the love of her family.

This book has a strong beginning and I spent most of my time cheering on the various men who cross her path to be the hero/love interest and while many of them temporarily take turns in this role the man who wins her heart is only revealed toward the end, which left me a little disappointed as there was little time to build their 'true love' relationship.

I got a little disenchanted with the time spent in Paris during the Reign of Terror. It helped me understand better what life was like then, but I felt like the story slowed to a limping pace. I think the Reign of Terror killed it.

A good read? Yes. A great read? No. A terrible read? No. A reread? Not for me. I only read books multiple times that I really love. This won't make the list. But, then, neither did Pirates!

Loved the cover though!

Can anyone recommend a great romance book set near 1800?

In 1794 England, the beautiful Sovay dons a man's cloak and holds up stagecoaches in broad daylight. Posing as a highway robber began as a lark to test a suitor's devotion. But when she lifts the wallet of one of England's most dangerous men, Sovay begins to unravel a web of deceit and duplicity. Acclaimed author Celia Rees' talent for romance and intrigue are sure to thrill a paperback audience.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

X Men First Class

So, it's not a new movie, but I hadn't seen it yet. We don't own it. We own all the others and Wolverine flicks but not this one.

It was fun to see how the X Men team evolved and tied it into the Cuban missile crisis in this prequel to the franchise. We see certain characters beginnings and others we never hear from again. Shame, because some of the mutants' powers were really cool and worth having show up again in the franchise, like Havoc for example.

While I could easily identify some actors, James McAvoy, others I'm sorry to say took me longer. It took me a good 20 minutes to identify Jennifer Lawrence. The blond hair threw me. Same with the guy playing Hank. I've been seeing his movie career in reverse it seems: Warm Bodies, Jack the Giant Slayer and now this. I know I've seen the Darwin kid somewhere too.

I applaud the way the cinematographer made the film look like it was shot in the 1970s. It has this pseudo grainy quality. You'll also find a typical X Men storyline (including a Hugh Jackman cameo of 2 words) and special effects. A fun action flick for a weekend.

Worth a watch: Yes.

Worth a buy: I can line without owning it.

I have trouble picking one, but what's your favorite XMen movie?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Good Ground

Good Ground is my first exposure to Tracy Winegar's writing. Although it seems it isn't her first book. Keeping Keller is listed as another work by her on Amazon.

This is  a good solid read from beginning to end. She employs this beautiful allegory/metaphor of planting a seed and watching it grow that runs throughout her story. The pacing is steady, quietly compelling you to continue reading, flowing smoothly to a tranquil end.

Set in the rural Tennessee mountains, we follow the lives of Jim and Ellis Hooper, the women they love and the land they work to grow tobacco. This is a story of struggle and relationships, how they handle life when things go wrong and experience joy when they go right as well as their internal struggles. Not to mention our strong heroine, Clairey, who is tender and fragile at the same time.

I felt well connected to the characters and she moves from one character's thoughts to another without jumping me out of the story. In fact, I was often awed by her ability in this regard and worked to analyze how she managed it so seamlessly to try and imitate it in my own work. Beautifully done.

I also appreciated the art/graphics. Simple but beautifully rendered.

I would certainly add this to your list of books to read. I am grateful it passed through my hands.

Do you have a 'down to earth' book to recommend?

Devastated after the sudden death of his cherished wife during childbirth in the fall of 1908, Jim Hooper loses the will to continue. But God plants the seeds of hope, and a new life begins to take root following the unconventional adoption of Ellis, an orphan baby. As a result of Jim's love, nurturing, and care, Ellis grows into a fine man, the spitting image--inwardly--of his daddy.

Decades later tragedy strikes again, this time for Ellis, and he finds his life turned completely upside-down after rescuing a young woman, Clairey, from a dangerous blizzard and an even more threatening existence. If their relationship ever stands a chance at thriving, it will have to survive ghosts from their respective pasts, endure the many hardships of running a tobacco farm in the rural Tennessee mountains, and Ellis will finally have to face the truth of his controversial origins.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

On the Way Home

On the Way Home by Stephanie Wells Mason is her debut novel, I think. At least that's what I gathered from Amazon. If, I'm wrong, correct me and forgive please.

I'm not the biggest reader of LDS romance. I think because sometimes it can be a bit over the top with the emphasis on religion. But this book has a nice balance.

London's a widowed mother surviving from one day to the next until her life takes an expected turn and she makes two new friends. The story rolls out from there with credible dialogue and emotion. In fact, I kept making mental notes on how I could be a better writer from her example. The characters are lovable and take you right along with their emotional struggles, sorrows and joys.

A very enjoyable light read that may even have you reaching for the tissues once or twice.

Do you need to be LDS to read this book? No. You just need to be someone who likes clean romance and stories of the heart.

Ms. Mason should treat herself to a hot lava sundae for a job well done.

Do you have a good LDS romance to recommend?

Here's the blurb:

As a young widow and devoted mother, London Elliott is determined to support her two children however she can—even if it’s just by delivering newspapers. So when London hears a call for help early one morning, she rushes to Elsie Moffat’s aid, an elderly LDS woman who has suffered a heart attack in her home. That selfless act introduces London to new beliefs and new people, including fireman Brad Stevenson. It also raises a number of questions: Can London reconcile the painful parts of her past and find love again? Why do warmth and kindness seem to emanate from Elsie, who treats London like a loving mother? And why is London so drawn to the photograph of Elsie’s son, Ammon? An unexpected inheritance leads London on a cross-country journey and even more questions. By saving another’s life, will London actually find her own?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Steamy vs. Clean

You'll notice today isn't a movie review. Quite simply, I haven't seen anything new lately to comment on. It's a low point for film. It'll start picking up here soon as we get into holiday season.

So . . .

I really appreciate Free Friday Nook Books. I don't whine about the variety of genres offered. It's a free book. I don't understand the complainers out there. I often try out a book outside of my usual preference because it's free.

Recently a romance novel was being offered by an author I wasn't familiar with. The premise looked good, really good. So, I followed my usual protocol of reading the reviews, skipping the lengthy ones that were likely to be full of spoilers. I was looking for two things: foul language and sexy scenes. Several reviewers commented on the steamy scenes that got their hearts racing and how much they enjoyed them.

I sat there with a decision on my hands. Click to buy or click to close the link and there appeared the little romance angel and devil on my shoulders.

The devil rationalized I could just skip over those parts and that the rest of the book would probably be quite good. It certainly didn't sound as steamy as Fifty Shades of Grey, which I didn't read btw.

The angel then had her say. Do you really want to spend precious minutes of your life reading something 'unclean' aka 'with the bedroom door open'? Aren't there better things you could read? There are plenty of writers who write clean romance like you that you could read instead. If you're going to write clean romance, then you should stick to reading clean romance. Follow the For the Strength of Youth standards. Be an example to your children and the young women you teach.

You see, once I read something it tends to stick with me.

I closed the browser window and left the steamy romance to those who enjoy them. I'll stick to clean.

Thanks anyways Barnes and Noble. I'll check back with you next week.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James is another winner for me, but just below her novel The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen that I reviewed earlier this year.

We all wonder if Jane had a secret unfulfilled romance on which she based her novels. Ms. James gives us a possible scenario of what may have happened. Complete with bits from Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, and Northanger Abbey.

It's well told in the period style, lively characters and lovely descriptions. Plus, I just love the cover!

It just didn't ring as true for me as Missing Manuscript. Maybe I'm just hung up on being that inside Jane's head.

If you love Jane Austen, this is a must read! Even if you don't, it's still worth a look.

Why do you like or not like Jane Austen?

Here's the blurb:

Many rumors abound about a mysterious gentleman said to be the love of Jane's life—finally, the truth may have been found. . . .
What if, hidden in an old attic chest, Jane Austen's memoirs were discovered after hundreds of years? What if those pages revealed the untold story of a life-changing love affair? That's the premise behind this spellbinding novel, which delves into the secrets of Jane Austen's life, giving us untold insights into her mind and heart.
Jane Austen has given up her writing when, on a fateful trip to Lyme, she meets the well-read and charming Mr. Ashford, a man who is her equal in intellect and temperament. Inspired by the people and places around her, and encouraged by his faith in her, Jane begins revising Sense and Sensibility, a book she began years earlier, hoping to be published at last.
Deft and witty, written in a style that echoes Austen's own, this unforgettable novel offers a delightfully possible scenario for the inspiration behind this beloved author's romantic tales. It's a remarkable book, irresistible to anyone who loves Jane Austen—and to anyone who loves a great story.