Sunday, June 9, 2019

Emancipation Day

Since February, when a character from a manuscript I was working on, appeared on the scene and wouldn't leave me alone, I've been working on her story. The aforementioned manuscript, from whence she emerged, has been pushed under the bed. At least something good came out of that whole experience.

The story takes place during the Revolutionary War in America. I wasn't that well versed in Revolutionary history before, other than knowing the basics, so I had a huge learning curve. And the story begins in England, where my character sails from, so I had to familiarize myself with sailing vessels used in the late 1700s. And then, there was Boston. Other than the Tea Party and the Common, I didn't know much about that place, either. But I love historicals where I take two normal people who happen to be living through perilous times and sink them into the history. Think Rose and Jack on the Titanic and you'll understand.

Boston Tea Party

Anyway, in the course of my research I learned Bostonians celebrate something called "Evacuation Day" every March, even to this day. That's the day the British ships left the harbor for good, having been intimidated by the large number of cannons pointed at the harbor from Dorchester Heights. The Brits didn't know there was no ammunition to back up the bold presence. They also didn't know some of the cannons were simply painted logs, made to resemble a cannon. The Brits couldn't take the chance, so they ended their blockade and evacuated the area.
Cannons being moved to Boston from upstate New York. 

My main character has been fighting her own battle. She's desperate to escape the rule of her father, who wants to marry her off to a man with great wealth. She'd rather marry for love. As she stands in the harbor watching the ships leave and hearing it referred to as Evacuation Day, she thinks instead it should be called Emancipation Day. Because she's found love and her father can no longer run her life.

The manuscript is now finished, except for writing a synopsis. So in a way, this is my Emancipation Day. These characters, and this story line, have been a daily part of my life since February, and I'm ready to move on. My next idea also sprang from one of those manuscripts taking up residence under the bed. A high-priced English courtesan decides to migrate to America. What could go wrong?

Stick a pin in that for a couple months.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

On To The Next

I am pleased to say I finished the second read-through of my current WIP. This "fingers off the keyboard" reading went fairly well, and the book that has consumed my days and my time in the pool where I like to think about the next scene, is done. At least this phase of it is done. It's now in the hands of my beta readers. I'll wait for their comments, make their suggested changes, and send it off to my publishers of choice to see what they have to say about it. Fingers crossed!










Besides meeting that milestone, I worked with Prairie Rose on the new cover for the next book in the Cotillion Ball series to be released--A Widow's Salvation. What do you think of it?






And the last major event of the week happened by accident. I noticed one of my books was missing on my Amazon page and queried the publisher. They told me they had reverted rights to the book two weeks ago, but sent the reversion letter to an old email address that I have requested be changed three times. How hard can it be? Anyway, I have the rights back to Blame It On The Brontes, and can republish it, which I will probably do on my own. I need a new cover, and am looking forward to it. I'm thinking a beach, flip flops and sea glass jewelry.



June is upon us, and in the south that means hot, sweltering weather. I'll leave the golf to others and spend my days in my Carolina Room, taking care of business. And when I do manage to get to the pool, I'll dream up the next book to fill my creative space for the next four months.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Contest Season

A lot of people ask me why I still enter writing contests. After all, I've published 19 books, and written plenty more that will never come out from under the bed. Am I a glutton for punishment or what?

It takes a great amount of courage to enter a contest.After all, you're asking for people to tear into the story you've poured yourself into for months and find things wrong with it.  I'm not a trophy collector and don't really care if I win. But I would like to be a finalist, since that means my work gets read by someone in the industry. However, even if I don't make it into the top three, I can count on getting some really helpful feedback about my entry. That's the real reason I enter contests. Since I moved to North Carolina, I lost my critique group. And it doesn't matter how many books you've written, another set of eyes on your work is always a good idea. Often the author is too close to the work, knows exactly what the story is about, even though it hasn't translated entirely to the page.


Such is the case with my current WIP. The idea sprouted from a scene in another book I was working on and I decided to run with it. But, while I was running, I kept one of the characters from the original manuscript and he kind of was like the headless horseman in this instance. I didn't really think about him in this manuscript, since it worked in the other book, but the contest judges were left scratching their heads. Needless to say, the man is gone now. He hit the cutting room floor with a resounding thud.

I've taken the comments from the first contest and improved the opening scenes of the book. And I have even more ideas on how to improve it further. Since a book is never done, even after it's published, I'll keep working on this one.

Watch this space.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

It's Re-Release Time!

As most of you know, I have decided to re-release all nine books in the Cotillion Ball Series, plus the novella prequel, as I regained the rights to this landmark series. Book 7 in the series, Expressly Yours, Samantha, is available for pre-orders now and will be released on May 30. It contains one of my favorite tropes–a girl who disguises herself as a boy or man. In this case, Samantha, or Sam, decides to sign on with the Pony Express until she can reach her 18th birthday and legally be free of her uncle. Here's the cover of this tale that has fast horses, duplicity and intrigue. There's even a reference to my favorite explorer, Jedediah Smith.



The novella prequel, An Unconventional Courtship, is still available at no charge. If you'd like to read about how George and Charlotte met and fell in love, this sweet little tale will help you understand how they raised such unique children. Here's the link for the free download: https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/wPvUwkuJ


Happy Reading! Load up your Kindle and get ready for the beach.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Mother's Day, the time when we all pause for a moment and think about the woman who gave us birth. My own mother has been gone for more than twenty years, but my best friend has willingly allowed me to share her mother, and two of my sisters, and my nieces are mothers, so I do have cause to celebrate. In fact, if you count a four-legged offspring, I guess I'm a mother, too.


I certainly write enough about women who, if they aren't mothers already, they will be by the time the book is finished. In fact, Charlotte and George Fitzpatrick had nine children before they stopped reproducing. Nine children wasn't as unusual 150 years ago as it is now, but George wanted to stop at three or four. Charlotte's wish was for a large family. And we see who won that battle.

I can think of no better way to celebrate the day than to offer up Charlotte and George's story to everyone, free of charge. Here's the link to download your copy: https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/wPvUwkuJ


And to all the selfless mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day! I hope you get to prop your feet up for a little while, anyway, and read about Charlotte and George.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

It's Giveaway Time!

It's my birthday month, and I'm celebrating. I think birthdays shouldn't be limited to a specific day, but rather should encompass the entire month. So, you might ask, what am I doing to celebrate?

Glad you asked.

I recently got the rights back to the final two books I had with Crimson Romance/Simon & Schuster. One of these was the sweet romance novella that encapsulated the meeting and romance of Charlotte and George Fitzpatrick, the heads of the Fitzpatrick household, and parents to the nine children who have their own individual stories in the Cotillion Ball books. Charlotte and George most certainly did have An Unconventional Courtship. 


So, to celebrate the re-release of this sweet book, I'm offering it up for free, all this month. Here's the link to download your free copy :https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/wPvUwkuJ

Your free copy will be available from now until the end of May. Thanks for sharing my birthday month with me. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Roses

Anyone who has spent any time around me knows I love roses. I've had them as an integral part of my landscape and in my writing, for years. When I was in Austin, I found the Antique Rose Emporium, who specializes in (you'll never guess) antique roses. Their website even breaks down the various varieties into the type of fragrance they offer. When I moved to North Carolina, my little patch of yard had two rose bushes, leggy, spindly things. I pruned them back, fed them with my favorite rose food, and was rewarded with only one rose. One bloom for the entire season.

Sadly, it didn't even have much of a scent.

A few days ago, I was at a major home improvement store, in their outdoor section, which was bustling with folks. The woman behind me in line had a rose bush in her basket and I asked if she'd ever heard of the Antique Rose Emporium. She said she only grew Knockout roses, which have heavy blooms, but alas, no heavy scent. No scent at all.


So which way do you lean? Do you want show or do you want substance? Because roses are as much a part of me as my writing is, I favor substance. I want heavy fragrance, and continual blooms all season. I even wrote about roses in the first of the Flower Girl series. My heroine spent her days in the greenhouse, talking to her roses. I admit to doing the same.


My rose from the Antique Rose Emporium arrived yesterday. I passed on the one that smelled like pineapples in favor of an old-time musky scent. My new rose is called The Beverly. I just planted Bev in the back yard along with a huge gulp of water and some of my famous rose food. All she needs is some sunlight and she'll hopefully spread her toes in the sandy soil of North Carolina and take off.
Here's Beverly!
My conversation with the stranger with the Knockout did yield something good, though. She told me of a place in Vancouver, Canada, where they have acre after acre of roses that perfume the air. I'm going to have to check it out.