Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Trip To Glimmerglass

I just returned from a mini vacation/research trip to New York's Finger Lakes. My newest contemporary features a couple who meet at a lake in upstate New York, and I thought the Finger Lakes would be perfect. So, my sister, Pat, and I drove first to Rochester, to meet up with my cousins, whom I've corresponded with but have never met. So here we are, clockwise from the upper left: cousin Sharon, me, cousin Melanie, and Pat.

The following day, we went on to the heart of  Finger Lakes country. We saw wonderful lake views, sampled some of the famous Finger Lakes wines, visited in charming small towns and took way too many pictures of beautiful Victorian homes.

But, beautiful as they were, the Finger Lakes didn't mesh with my story. They were too commercial for my story line. In my mind I had pictured a much smaller lake in a very wooded area, surrounded by homes that had been there for generations.





We studied the map, and decided to continue on further east, to the area of New York where James Fenimore Cooper grew up and wrote his wonderful Leatherstocking Tales and The Last of The Mohicans. To the lake he referred to as "Glimmerglass."

Glimmerglass turned out to be a perfect setting for my fictional lakeside retreat. I'll follow Mr. Cooper's lead and set my story a bit further east into New York state than I had originally thought. The foothills of the Catskills and Adirondacks on the opposite side of the lake, the old docks, the weathered small houses dotting the shore...it all works.

There's still time to enter the drawing at The Romance Reviews' site. You may win some valuable prizes. Try out the matching game, where you match the covers of various books. It's fun and can be addictive. And you can win big! Simply click on the badge on the right side of the page to go to the main page of the blog tour. Visit other authors' websites, build up points for the drawing, play the game, have a ball. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Excerpt time!

On September 19th, I'll be asking a question on The Romance Reviews. If you answer the question correctly, you'll be entered into a drawing for all kinds of great prizes. Here's the excerpt from The Duplicitous Debutante in which you will find the answer:

“So you still want me to play the part of Mr. Elliott for you? I could free myself up for a portion of the afternoon.”
Rosemary smiled the tiniest bit. “Do you think you could pull it off, Papa?”
“I will be the first to admit your mother is better at making people see things her way, but I believe I could pass for Mr. Elliott. After all, you had me check over the contracts before you signed them over the years, so I’m familiar with the legal end of your business. But you’ll have to tell me about your story line. What’s the hero’s name again? Henry? Henry Eagle?”
Rosemary groaned. “No, Papa. Henry is the villain in this case. That’s the name of the new publisher. Henry Cooper. My hero is Harry Hawk, a half-breed.” She placed a hand on either side of her face and shook her head. “Perhaps my plan won’t work after all. Henry Eagle. Indeed.”
Her father smiled and took one of her hands. “I was close, wasn’t I?”
“I’ve molded Harry Hawk after Joseph, and the stories I write are all based on tidbits I get from the letters sent to us from Ginger, Basil, and Heather.”
“I can pull it off then, since I read the same letters. Your sisters and brother do lead exciting lives on the wild frontier, don’t they?”
“And someday, I’ll get to join them in St. Louis. But for now, my source of income is about to dry up unless you can remember our hero’s name.”
“I got it. Harry Hawk. Now, tell me something about Mr. Cooper. Is he an old ogre with a hunchback?”
Rosemary smiled for the first time since she sat, as she pictured Henry’s face on a stooped-over body. “No, Papa, Mr. Cooper is a man in his mid-twenties, I would guess. Tall, dark, and handsome.”
Her father’s quick glance was not lost on her.
“And no, don’t get any ideas. You’re as bad as Mother. I have no interest in him, other than business.”
“All right then, daughter. What time is your meeting with the handsome Mr. Cooper?”
“It’s at two o’clock. I thought I’d come by the bank first and go with you to the meeting.”
“You have this all thought out, don’t you?”
Rosemary smiled, a true smile, finally. “Well, I have had an overnight to come up with a plan. And I am a writer. When someone says to find the man and bring him to them, I can usually figure out a plot device, given enough notice.”
“All right then. I must get to work and get my day started. I’ll see you at the bank around half past one then?”
“I’ll be there. Thank, you, Papa. Mr. Cooper will now have no reason to cancel my contract.”
Click on the Fall Blog Hop banner on the right to be taken to The Romance Reviews' site. Have fun and visit often! 



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Special Saturday Post!

I just finished reading this remarkable historical romance, Dangerous Works, and couldn't wait to share it with everyone. On second thought, I'll let the author share it. Take it away, Caroline!


What is so dangerous about poetry? Nothing! But in 1816 a woman who aspired to scholarship faced a wall of prejudice.   Objections ranged from “women can’t, their brains don’t work that way” to “women who overwork their minds cause their female parts to wither and they can’t perform their ‘natural function.’” Seriously.

In the case of Georgiana in Dangerous Works, she also took on some touchy subject matter. What exactly were these poems the heroine of Dangerous Works was so determined to translate?   They were poems written by women in ancient Greece.  While some were innocent enough, many dealt with mythology, metaphors, and double entendre that a respectable lady would not have been expected to know in 1816.

Georgiana found them hidden in plain sight as quotations in the works of men or as fragments in the Anthologia Graeca, a massive compendium of Greek literature.  They had simply been neglected. Their works fell into obscurity by the end of the Roman Empire. Today you can find the poems online by searching the poets’ names: 

Nossis—who lived in Locri in “Magna Graecia” or southern Italy where a women’s religious cult thrived. She wrote epigrams greatly praised by other Greek poets.
Moero—a lyric poet from 300BC Byzantium.  She was a wife and mother who wrote epics, lyrics and epigrams. Little survives.
Korinna—who taught Pindar and was his rival. She lived in the 6th century BC.
Praxilla—who, while highly regarded in her time, was later made fun because of a poem in which she used ‘cucumbers’ along side ‘the sun and moon’ in a description of losses one might suffer.
And of course Sappho—who is probably the best known. She was born and lived most of her life on the Greek island Lesbos. Her poems full of passion and love for both sexes would have been scandalous in Georgiana’s day.

Georgiana hired a tutor to help her give context to the words. Learning a little Greek is one thing, but the art of love is another, she discovered.  Here’s an excerpt:

The Greek word “Erotos” she knew meant love, certainly, and romantic love at that. How should I translate this line? she wondered.

“‘Nothing is sweeter than love.’”

“‘Nothing is sweeter than Eros.’” In English the meaning tilted slightly with the change of wording. The next phrase appeared to be about delight or pleasure.

“Definitely Eros,” she said to the empty room. Whatever it is, Nossis prefers it to honey. Yesterday, Georgiana wouldn’t have understood. Love has a taste; she knew that now. She recalled the feel of Andrew’s mouth on hers, and the taste when he opened and let her explore. The taste was sweeter than honey, indeed. She felt warmth rise again deep within her. Heat colored her neck and pooled deep in her belly.

The words of Nossis hadn’t changed since yesterday, but Georgiana had.

This wonderful book is available in e-book form on Amazon. I encourage you to buy your own copy. It's not only a great read, but it's educational as well. http://amzn.to/1qNOqqk


Friday, September 12, 2014

Cover Reveal--A Case For Calamity


 With the nip of fall in the Ohio air, all thoughts turn to the upcoming holidays. To put you in the mood, here's the new cover for: 

A Case for Calamity, a Christmas novella and part of the Twelve Brides of Christmas series from The Wild Rose Press. 
Release date: 11/10/14
Blurb:
For Jane Whitmore, agreeing to switch identities with her best friend seems like innocent fun, but spending a romantic night in Paris with a man who doesn't know her real name turns out to be a lark gone bad. When their one night of passion proves to have lasting results, tracking down Gabe Sutton and telling him he’s about to be the father of her child is just another calamity Jane would rather avoid. After years of avoiding long-term romantic entanglements, Gabe has found a woman he might just be able to build a life with, only to have her disappear. When he finally finds her, his belief in happily-ever-after staggers under the weight of deception, and looming fatherhood leaves him with two choices: fight her for custody of his future child or cling to the promise of true love.
Mac’s links:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Civil War Repercussions With Linda Pennell

The Blog Tour rolls along this week, lineup is at the right. Also, play along on The Romance Reviews  site all month long for fabulous prizes and a good time.

But before you head off to visit the blogs, pull up a chair and get to know Linda.

My good friend Linda Pennell is visiting me today, all the way from Texas. Linda's a fellow Soul Mate author, and another historic author. Her book, Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel, was released July, 2013 and her most recent, Confederado do Norte, came out in July of this year. It is set after the Civil War, and is based on an actual event--a repercussion I did not know about until reading her book. I had a few questions to ask this lovely lady. Here we go!




   What is your current project about?


I’m so glad you asked! My recently released historical is entitled Confederado do Norte. Here’s a taste of what it’s about.

Set during the aftermath of the American Civil War, Confederado do Norte tells the story of Mary Catherine MacDonald Dias Oliveira Atwell, a child torn from her war devastated home in Georgia and thrust into the primitive Brazilian interior where the young woman she becomes must learn to recreate herself in order to survive.  

October, 1866.
Mary Catherine is devastated when her family emigrates from Georgia to Brazil because her father and maternal uncle refuse to accept the terms of Reconstruction following the Confederacy’s defeat. Shortly after arrival in their new country, she is orphaned, leaving her in Uncle Nathan’s care. He hates Mary Catherine, blaming her for his sister’s death. She despises him because she believes Nathan murdered her father. When Mary Catherine discovers Nathan’s plan to be rid of her as well, she flees into the mountain wilderness filled with jaguars and equally dangerous men. Finding refuge among kind peasants, she grows into a beauty, ultimately marrying the scion of a wealthy Portuguese family. Happiness and security seem assured until civil unrest brings armed marauders who have an inexplicable connection to Mary Catherine. Recreating herself has protected Mary Catherine in the past, but this new crisis will demand all of the courage, intelligence, and creativity she possesses simply to survive.   


 What’s next for your readers?

Great question! I have a World War II novel out on submission. It’s entitled Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn. Here is a taste of it, too.
Casablanca, 1943 – a viper’s nest of double agents and spies where OSS Officer Kurt Heinz finds his skill in covert operations pushed to the limit. Allied success in North Africa, perhaps the outcome of the war, may hang on Kurt’s next mission. The nature of his work makes relationships impossible; nonetheless, he is increasingly torn between duty and the beautiful girl who desperately needs his help.

Sarah Barrett, U.S. Army R.N., is finished with wartime romance. Determined to protect her recently broken heart, she throws all of her time and energy into caring for her patients, but when she is given a coded message by a mysterious dying civilian, she is sucked into a vortex of danger and intrigue that threatens her very survival. The one person who can help Sarah is Kurt Heinz, a man with too many secrets to be trusted.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that it gets picked up soon!  

  What’s your favorite part about writing? Least favorite?

My favorite part of writing is the creative process that comes with getting to play “let’s pretend” and then seeing the product of my imagination appear on the page. As a child, I had a big imagination and loved to take on new personas and characters during play. Writing is my adult version of that.

 Why do you write in the genre you do?

I love history – pure and simple!

 Have you ever written a character based on someone you know?

Having grown up in the Deep South where storytelling has a long and honored tradition, the people and places I’ve known and the experiences I’ve had cannot help but creep into my writing. Sometimes this is a conscious choice, other times I don’t realize the similarities until the work sits for a while.

 Where do you rank in the family hierarchy? First child? Only child? Baby? Somewhere in between?

I’m an only child who has always longed for siblings. Since I don’t have any, I create my own brothers and sisters through friendships and connections with cousins.

 Are you a dog or cat person?
Both! A pet parent, just like a mom to human children, isn’t supposed to have favorites!


 Sun or fog?

I love both. There is something lovely and ethereal about a foggy day spent curled up with a good book or by the fire. Since I live in Texas, I better like sun or move to a cooler climate!

Bio, Social Media, Buy Links, etc.:

I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother's porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the American South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.

As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to her or himself, "Let's pretend." 

I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl.

Twitter:  @LindaPennell

Buy link for Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel:  http://amzn.to/16qq3k5
Buy link for Confederado do Norte:  http://amzn.com/B00LMN5OMI







Sunday, August 31, 2014

And, We're Here!

September 1 is the release day for The Duplicitous Debutante, the sixth book in the Cotillion Ball Series. And I'm celebrating with a virtual book tour this week.





Be sure to follow the tour and leave a comment. I'll be giving away an ebook at each stop on the Fire & Ice tour, and would love to have everyone along for the ride. I've added in a few more stops on my own, too. The stops are all listed to the right, with links for each.

Now, here's an excerpt from the book. Hope you enjoy it.


Harry Hawk and the Tycoon’s Daughter—Book Six in the Harry Hawk Series
Harry Hawk stared down the barrel of his Colt .45. A huge Sioux Indian was in his sights, but was holding the girl in front of him as a shield. Her eyes were as big as saucers as she struggled against the man, and she trembled as she kept her eyes on the end of Harry’s gun.

New York City, March 1859
Rosemary Fitzpatrick laid her fountain pen on the paper, oblivious to the blob of ink that fell from its tip and damaged the page. She picked up the letter she had received earlier in the day.
It was her own gun, and she was staring down the barrel. 

See you on the tour! 



Sunday, August 24, 2014

On The Cutting Edge

My latest entry into the Cotillion Ball Series will be unveiled on September 1. That's only one week away!

The Duplicitous Debutante is the sixth book in the Fitzpatrick family saga. And it features some
goodies that don't appear anywhere else. What, you might ask? How about a family tree? On the advice of my good friend, I used my own genealogy software to create a family tree for the Fitzpatricks. I was having problems remembering who among the children was having babies and when, so laying it all out on paper was a good exercise. And the tree looked quite impressive. I sent it to my publisher, who thought the idea had merit. So, the first version of the family tree will appear in The Duplicitous Debutante, and will be updated in each of the remaining books in the series.

While we were piecing together the tree, the publisher asked if I had titles yet for the remaining three books. I had a title for the next book in the series, and synopses for the two after that, but no titles yet.  A quick check in with the brain trust (me, my best friend, my sister, and my writing partner) and I had my titles. Book 7--Expressly Yours, Samantha, is about the Pony Express and will make its appearance in March, 2015. It features the last boy in the family, Valerian. Book 8 is The Widow's Salvation, due out in October, 2015. It takes place a year after the Civil War begins and features Pepper. Her husband has been killed at Ft. Sumter, leaving her alone with three young boys. She volunteers at an Army hospital and meets a doctor. Book 9 will finish off the series by featuring Saffron, the youngest Fitzpatrick. She's entered her teenage years during the Civil War, and all the men who would have been suitors are off fighting the war. She's The Forgotten Debutante. It is scheduled for release in March, 2016. My publisher and I also realized we were missing the story of Charlotte and George's courtship, so I wrote a novella, Charlotte's Unconventional Courtship, as a prequel to the series. No release date yet on that one.

I'm also trying some new things to promote the book. I've got two blog tours lined up--one for September and one in October, something I've never tried before. I've got ads scheduled for September in Eye On Romance and The Romance Reviews. I'm also a participant in The Romance Review's blog hop during September, and appearing on several other blogs as a guest. I'll try to keep everyone informed on when and where I'll be. I'm also attempting something new, using social media. It's called Thunderclap. I need to line up 100 volunteers to join me in putting a message out on social media on September 1. You don't even need to think about it beyond offering your support by signing up here: http://thndr.it/1lXOcXX Thunderclap does the work on September 1.

Will all this effort work? I'm hoping it will, but there are a lot of things being tried for the first time, so I don't know. I want to always be shaking things up with my promotional efforts, and trying new things. I've been looking for the magic bullet that will vault my books to the tops of Amazon's charts, but, just when I think I'm starting to get a handle on things, the floor shifts once again.

I'll keep trying.