Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Guest Post: Nancy S. Brandt, Author of PIGSTY PRINCESS



I met Nancy S. Brandt a long time ago when she was a member of the New Jersey Romance Writers, but then she moved.  :-( She now has a terrific new book with an awesome cover and I am thrilled to present her as my guest today. Please welcome her to my blog!

Nancy S. Brandt is a stay-at-home mother of two children, a daughter, 25, who is an appointment's clerk at an orthopedic clinic and an editor and book reviewer; and a son, 12, who studies karate, and wants to be either an historian or an artist. Nancy's husband, Steven, is also an author and an adjunct professor of computer science at Louisiana State University.

In about sixth grade, an English teacher gave an assignment to write a descriptive essay. Nancy's was all about a wonderful cave filled with diamonds, emeralds and other precious gems. From that experience, she walked into every English class hoping to get to write something, and she learned three things:

1. The difference between stalactite and stalagmite,
2. That fantasy was probably the genre she should concentrate on, and
3. Never end a story with "It was all a dream."

Nancy is a kidney transplant recipient (her husband was her living donor), a thyroid cancer survivor, and an Army veteran. She is currently working on the sequel to Pigsty Princess, called Questionable Queen. 

The Back Cover Blurb for Pigsty Princess

In a country where Elemental Sensitivities determine a person's place in society, Mariana, fourth child of King Jonathan and Queen Alexandria, was born an Insensitive. She is given the made up title of Progenna, because she can't be in line for the throne and therefore, can't be a Princess. All her life, she is reminded that she isn't quite good enough. When her father decides she is to marry Pir Leo Valentine, an eighty-four year old man with a scar across his face that took his eye and only one hand, she runs away from the palace.

Orlando of Talla is a pig farmer and former soldier who served the King until he watched his Sovereign burn an entire harbor town rather than lose a battle. Now he tries to live a quiet life while leading a band of rebels who steal from the nobility to bring prisoners home from that war.

Orlando is also the bastard son of a nobleman, and therefore, he has a Sensitivity, one of Blood that allows him to feel the Sensitivities of others.

He finds the injured Progenna in the forest and immediately realizes that the stories about Mariana aren't true. Rather than being an Insensitive, Mariana may be the most powerful Sensitive in Valborough.

Excerpt:

Mariana sniffled. “He said I was a commoner, and that I’m not Father’s daughter by blood.”

Ramone sighed and shook his head. “Gossip only. Not even worthy of the servants, and for it to come out of the mouth of a Rieravo and a Presumptive…I am surprised he would suggest that  out loud to you.”

She adjusted herself so she was off her brother’s lap and faced him. “Ramone, what if what Darius said is right? What if Father isn’t…my father? No nobleman will ever want to marry me if that’s true.”

“First of all, it’s not true, and second, even if it were, Father has claimed you as his daughter. He will take care of you.”

It didn’t make her feel any better.

“You mean he’ll force someone into marrying me.” She got off the loveseat and went over to sit at her mother’s writing desk. Picking up one of the quills, she glanced at her brother in the mirror.

“It might not be like that,” he said after a moment of silence. “There must be some man who doesn’t care about bonding. Someone who will be content with having only his own magic.”

She spun around to stare at him. “Name one person you have ever heard of, male or female, who was willing to throw away the potential power of their Sensitivities to bond to someone with nothing. What do your history and peerage books say about that?”

He said nothing, but he didn’t meet her eyes.

Mariana nodded. “Just as I thought. I was stupid to think being a Proge…the daughter of the King would be enough. No one with any Sensitivities wants to wed someone they can’t bond with. I wish Mother and Father would have prepared me for this.”

“What could they have done, Mariana?” He walked over to her and, taking her hands, brought her to her feet. “You are special, one of a kind. You are my beautiful baby sister.”

“But I’m not like the rest of you. Father and Mother are strong Sensitives. By definition, Father is the strongest in the kingdom. You, Liliana, and Ursula have sensitivities in three areas. Me? You know what the Abilities Master said when I finished my testing.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Do you remember? Father came out of his meeting with Kylan and said, ‘It is as we thought.’ Mother cried.”

He took her in his arms. “She loves you. She was crying because she knew your life would be harder because of this.”

“Was that it?” she asked. “Did Mother cry because I don’t have any Sensitivities or because Father found out about my true parentage? I have to know if I am a Princess in truth or just the result of some mistake Mother made."

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

You can find out more about Nancy if you visit her Social Media Links:

Twitter:  @NancySBrandt
Instagram: nancysbrandt
Pinterest:  nancy_s_brandt

Buy Links:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Getting Back My Rights


In eleven more days, on March 31st, 2015, the rights for my three Crescent Moon Press books will be returned to me. I intend to reissue the books on my own and charge $.99 for each of them. (Big bargains coming your way!) I bought the covers for The Company You Keep and Kiss of Blarney, but plan to work on a different cover for Irons in the Fire, which is too dark. Book covers which are too dark don't get noticed--especially if they are one-inch high on Amazon.
I plan to reissue the books in the same manner I handled Prince of the Mist. First I'll upload them to Kindle, and then to Smashwords, so they'll also be available at Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and basically the rest of the world.

I am debating whether it's worth it to get print copies. I did print for Prince of the Mist, and a few of them have sold--at a rock bottom price, of course, but it is a short book. The other books are longer and would cost more. Paper is not cheap.

It may take a while for me to get the books online again. I have to gear up for the release of Patriot's Pride in June and I am seeking a publisher for Outside Blessings, the YA story I just finished writing.  Nevertheless, I will do my best to make the books available as soon as possible.

The other authors at Crescent Moon Press have been fun to work with. We ran blog tours. I read their books and they read mine. I wish them all success in their future endeavors, because they are all wonderful authors and really know how to tell stories.

Selling books is a tough business, but having authors for friends--even if I've only met them online--is great!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Irish Soda Bread

I love St. Patrick's Day. I love corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots all boiled together in one pot--and not just because it's easy. :^) As a writer, I love quick and easy meals, but I am fussy. The food has to taste good.

I always serve my corned beef with Irish Soda Bread. I especially love soda bread fresh from the oven and slathered with butter.

At an Irish festival many, many years ago I got this recipe from two, sweet Irish ladies--so you know it's genuine. Try it. It is so easy and much, much better than anything you can buy in the store.

Irish Soda Bread



4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup raisins
1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients together. Rub in butter with fingers. Make a well in center and add enough buttermilk to make a soft but firm dough. Knead on a floured surface for 2 to 3 minutes until dough is smooth. Form into a round loaf. Cut a deep cross in the center of the loaf.
Put into a cake tin that has been sprayed with no-stick cooking spray.
Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.
YUM!



Friday, March 13, 2015

The Book Lady


These are my books on the shelf in the Middletown Township Public Library. Over the years, I have donated other books to the library, but those books aren't there. Such is life. Sea of Hope is looking a bit ragged, so I assume it's been read a few times. I understand that libraries have rules and regulations about books and I'm not complaining because I've been invited to speak at the library on several occasions. Not many people came to those talks. The ones who did were mostly interested in learning how to publish their own books. (Sigh.)

Middletown has a huge population, more than 66,000 people according to the 2010 census. The township is made up of several smaller communities, like the one in which I live. There are lots of famous people living in Middletown. You can see a list on Wikipedia. I'm not on the list. So I was quite happy when I walked into the library the other day and the AARP volunteers, who were helping my mother-in-law with her tax forms, recognized me. They waved and called me "the book lady." 

It would be nice if they remembered me as an author and recalled my name, but that's okay. I'm happy with being known as the book lady. It's a start. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Professional Daydreamer


I am a professional daydreamer. I started young. In the photo above, I am sitting on the dock in Keyport imagining what I would do if I owned one of those boats in the background. Where would I go? What would it be like with the boat slicing through the water and me at the helm? My family owned a rowboat. It was fun, but I thought a motorboat would be more exciting. When I was all grown up I met a man who owned a motorboat. He took me out on the boat and the ride was definitely more thrilling than a ride in a rowboat. I married the man. 

Everyone daydreams, but what makes me a professional daydreamer is the fact that I write my daydreams down. You can purchase my daydreams and enter into my fantasy when you read the book. 

Sigmund Freud had some interesting things to say about daydreaming and creative writers. You can read a summary of his thoughts at http://html.rincondelvago.com/creative-writers-and-day-dreaming_sigmund-freud.html. I don't necessarily agree with everything he wrote, but I do think in this particular instance, he is close to the mark.  (Hint: I never really grew up.)

So check out somebody else's daydreams today. Buy a book. If not mine, buy someone else's book. Then start reading it. It's good for your brain. :-)

Friday, March 06, 2015

The Leprechaun in Me


My last name is Marzec because I married a man from Brooklyn whose parents came from Poland. So while he is definitely an American, he grew up in Greenpoint—which is a lot like being in Poland. He went to a Catholic bilingual school (English and Polish). Marzec translates into the month of March in Polish. You can find it on a Polish calendar.

I’m not Polish. On my mother’s side I’m Czech and Slovak. At the time my mother’s parents left their home country it was part of the Austrian Empire. However, my grandfather said he lived near Prague. I don’t know what town my grandmother’s family came from. My grandparents met in this country and had seven children. My mother was Daughter #2.

My paternal grandparents were Irish and German. This makes me a mere one quarter Irish, but as luck would have it, I resemble the Irish side of the family—except for my height which undoubtedly came from the German genes because my father’s relatives were all rather slight leprechauns.

With the exception of my German grandmother, all my predecessors were Catholic. Unfortunately, my Irish Catholic grandfather could not marry my German Protestant grandmother in the church. They were married in the vestibule. (That was a long time ago. Catholics can now marry non-Catholics in the church.) My Irish Catholic great aunts were responsible for making sure my father and his siblings received the sacraments.

Genetically, I’m a mongrel. My daughters are even more homogenized since they are half Polish.

Yet, somehow it is the Irish part of me that I feel most at home with—the Irish wit, songs, legends, and myths. That’s why I’ve written three books with Irish themes, Irons in the Fire, Prince of the Mist, and Kiss of Blarney.

Hubby asked me to marry him on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day. Daughter #3’s birthday comes close to St. Patrick’s Day.

Good reasons to celebrate! That’s why we always enjoy corned beef and soda bread at this time of year, but no kielbasi. :-)

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

An Interview



Twelve years ago one of my daughter's friends asked if he could conduct an interview with me about romance books--my favorite topic. He recorded the session, posted it online, and I forgot about it. Yesterday, I stumbled upon the interview, surprised it was still there.

If you listen to it at the link below, you'll hear my views on romance books. You can disagree with me if you like. :-)

http://www.disiterate.com/archive/art/newwork/rinterview/rinterview.htm#