Friday, February 28, 2014

With a Little Help From JeRoWriMo

I finished the JeRoWriMo Challenge last night, typing across the finish line with 30,000 words.

The book is not complete. I have another major, climatic scene to write. However, the progress I made this month was considerable and I know it wouldn't have happened without a little help from my friends at the New Jersey Romance Writers, and especially from Nancy Herkness who hosted the event. Whether an author wrote 160 words or 3,000 words in one day, she cheered them on and offered encouragement. Nancy was also writing her own book at the time, so my kudos go to her for all her efforts.

I could not have taken on this writing challenge without help from my family. They understood the importance of it. So I thank my nearest and dearest for cutting me a bit of slack this month.  The gourmet meals will soon be returning to our table. :-)

For those who haven't tried a writing challenge, I recommend it. I have never tried the NaNoWriMo challenge and I probably never will. To finish in that one, a writer must log in 50,000 words in the month of November--a month which includes Thanksgiving and holiday preparation for Christmas. I knew that would be impossible for me, but 30,000 words in the month of February is more realistic.

Now I must get back to the manuscript and write that final scene. Then I will have to go all the way back to the beginning and start the editing process. Watch for Patriot's Pride to be released in a year or so. :-)

Meanwhile, read Patriot's Heart, which is available now. Patriot's Pride will be the sequel to that story.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Precious Family Portrait

I love this one. It's such a precious moment in time. It must have been taken in Belford where my father's family had a summer bungalow. You can see the marsh in the background. On the left is my father's brother (he died in World War II), next to him is my grandfather, wearing suspenders as he always did. My father is on the right holding his baby brother. My grandmother must have snapped the photo.

The older boys are no longer wearing knickers as they did in photos when they were younger.

Do you have old family photos? Which are your favorites?

Friday, February 21, 2014

It Takes Courage

Writing takes courage. Writing a book takes a lot of courage--along with commitment. In the beginning, it is doubtful whether any writer will actually sell books. The process of getting to the end is long. Once the end is reached, it is necessary to go back to the beginning to revise and edit.

I write romantic fiction. I make it up but it still has to approximate reality. It must make sense and that's not easy.

This month, I joined the New Jersey Romance Writers' writing challenge, JeRoWriMo. I am attempting to add 30,000 words to a novel in which I had already had 20,000 words. I did the same thing last year and finished Patriot's Heart. I received a contract from Prism Book Group for that book and it is now available everywhere (with a gorgeous cover). :-)

A blank page is a scary thing. To compose the book, it helps to turn off the internal editor that questions every word, every comma, and every plot twist. A writer has to just let it go and write. The book can be fixed later--but there has to be something to fix.

Being a member of this challenge pushes me to throw the words down without quibbling over which word is exactly the right one. In the end, I will have a rough draft and it will need fixing. I'll turn my internal editor back on for that.

I've more than doubled what I started with on this project. The plot took a few unexpected turns, but that's fine. A few surprises can be fun.

My house is dusty and meals are usually leftover leftovers, but with one week to go, I am on target to reach 30,000 words. Wish me luck. :-)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Don't Be Shy!

If you're going to sell books, you have to let everyone know you have books to sell. You cannot be shy about it. You don't have to put on a grass skirt and dance, but you can hand out postcards or brochures to those you meet.

I feel comfortable on the internet. I send out tweets and status messages. I post to this blog on a regular basis. Connecting with people online is often easier for those of us who are bookish.

But yesterday, I was reminded how important it can be to connect in person. I took my father for his regular checkup at the podiatrist's office. We were there for a longer time than usual. The doctor asked how things were as she worked on my father's toes. I couldn't think of much new other than the amount of snow we've gotten and my writing. I bolstered my courage with a deep breath and quietly mentioned the fact that I have a new book out with a great cover. Unfortunately, I didn't have a postcard of the new book with me, but I did have a photo of it on my cellphone. I showed it to her. She glanced at it, then she went back to my father's toes.

"Nice," she said. "How many books have you written?"

"Thirteen," I answered.

That got her attention. So I told her what kinds of books I wrote. The odds of her buying one of my books are practically nil, but there was an assistant in the room as well. In fact, there are quite a few people who work in that office. I've been taking my father to the office for a long time. Why didn't I let them all know I was a writer with books they could read? Maybe because it seems a lot like boasting. Maybe because it seems inappropriate in the setting.

Maybe because it's easier to talk about all the snow than to announce you're a bit crazier than you look. :-)

Writing is fun. Promotion is a tough job, but all writers have to work at it.

The next time I go to that office, I'm bringing brochures with me.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

These are the flowers hubby gave to me upon our engagement. Hubby proposed in a telephone conversation the night before he gave me the flowers. No bended knee stuff. Since he worked for Ma Bell at the time, his technique seemed appropriate. We were engaged on the night before St. Patrick's Day--so we always celebrate St. Patrick's Day as the anniversary of our engagement. It's easy to remember.

He bought the engagement ring the weekend after he asked me to marry him. We went to NYC's Diamond District. He had instructions from a friend of his at work on the ins and outs of buying a diamond there. We ate lunch at McDonald's after the ring was purchased.

I have written thirteen books--all romances. In every book, the hero and heroine fall in love. None of the books have the hero proposing in a phone conversation. In some the hero does propose on bended knee, which is nice. In some, there is a marriage of convenience where the heroine falls in love with the hero after they are legally wedded.

How did your husband propose to you? Was it a romantic proposal--a well-choreographed surprise? Or was it simple, but sweet?

Shop Amazon - Top Valentine's Day Gifts

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Avoid Getting Lost in Research

I've written several historical romances. PATRIOT'S HEART is my latest and set in one of my favorite time periods--the Revolutionary War, 1778, right here in New Jersey. Historical sites are all around me, as I noted in my last post. However, in addition to visiting historical sites and watching re-enactments, I have read many books focused on that specific time period. To me, it's fascinating stuff and I find it very easy to get lost in the research.

But if I spend all my time reading research books, my book will never be written. I once listened to Nora Roberts suggest that reading children's books is a good way for a romance writer to glean the facts, but not become immersed in the research. Her recommendation has been extremely helpful. Yes, I also read big, fat volumes of history, but most often when I want something specific, I'll search for it in a child's book.

In PATRIOT'S HEART, the heroine is a blacksmith. Her father taught her the trade, but while he is away fighting with the Continental Army, she is in charge of the blacksmith shop. I found--quite by chance, in a used book sale--Colonial Craftmen, by Edwin Tunis, which describes not only the work of a blacksmith, but many other specific trades. The illustrations are fantastic. Colonial Living is another Edwin Tunis book which has been very helpful to me. A picture is worth a thousand words, and Edwin Tunis had a gift for drawing accurate illustrations.

If you want to see what it must have been like in early America, pick up a book by Edwin Tunis.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Where did the idea for PATRIOT'S HEART originate?

There are signs like these in along the road in my town. I pass by them all the time.

There's a re-enactment of the Battle of Monmouth every year at the site of the actual battle.

There's the Old Tennent Church, which was used as a hospital during the battle. Bloodstains remain on the pews. The headstones outside the church mark the graves of Revolutionary War heroes--like Joshua Huddy.

PATRIOT'S HEART is fiction. It is not a true story. I made it up, but in the context of what was happening in June of 1778, it is something that could have happened. It was a pivotal point in the history of our country and it happened right here in Monmouth County, which is really rather awesome. :-)

You can read the beginning of PATRIOT'S HEART at AMAZON!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Release Date--Wednesday, February 5, 2014

This is the print cover of PATRIOT'S HEART, my Inspirational Historical Romance set in 1778, on the day following the Battle of Monmouth. Tomorrow it will be released by Prism Book Group.

I hope you'll check it out!