Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Misandry of FROZEN


I'm going to have to take an unpopular stand here and say that Frozen is one of my least favorite Disney films to date.

Wait, keep reading!  You might just agree with me.

I went into this movie with a pretty open mind.  Disney has a history of finding a film the public likes and squeezing every last penny out of it in every possible way until the public can't stand it anymore.  (Start singing "Let It Go" and see how many groans you get these days.)  That said, I was prepared to ignore the marketing-a-thon and see the movie anyway, being a fan of animation in general.

I liked the fresh setting, and the relationship between the sisters was also unconventional - a move away from romance (mostly) and into new territory, showing that girls can have more on their minds than marriage.  The character action read more like a musical or stage performance than a movie, no doubt a deliberate move on Disney's part so they can translate it easily onto Broadway or to other venues.  Very prettily done, I'll admit.  (Disney also upheld their own rule of killing off a character or two in the beginning of the movie, so no disappointments there. *grin*)

Where Disney failed in their "feminist" approach to this film is that it hammered the other end of the spectrum, giving us male characters that really not need be present in the film at all. Most of the males in this movie are either prejudiced, evil, clownish, or entirely silent. I'm all for female empowerment, and I don't think a girl needs a man to feel validated.  However, this film merely perpetuates a gender prejudice I have seen in so many recent films and television shows (particularly sitcoms), where the the man is portrayed as the clueless comic relief to a savvier female.  Rather than fostering gender equality, Frozen reinforces this imbalance, even celebrates it.

As a gender, women used to bemoan the lack of strong female leads in film.  We had - what, Princess Leia?  Now, we are faced with a tipping of the scales in the other direction, an overload of films and television shows that minimize a male's meaningful contribution to story.  One does not have to devalue men in order to be a feminist.  In fact, a strong woman would not feel the need to measure her worth against another's, male or not.  She would simply BE strong, without feeling the need to call attention to the fact. If there must be romance in a movie, I would much rather watch the pair become a team, with their separate talents helping to form a stronger whole.  THAT should be the message we carry to our children: not that one gender is better than another, but that everyone has strengths, and combining them can accomplish some amazing things.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New York State to Ban Hydrofracking


New York State can breathe a sigh of relief for the protection of its environmental health, especially its groundwater. Governor Andrew Cuomo will be banning hydrofracking in our state.

Hydrofracking is variously defined as hydraulic fracturing, hydrofracturing, hydrofracking, fracking, or fraccing, and innocuously alluded to as "drilling for shale oil." What it really does is allow private companies to inject water and a proprietary (and therefore undisclosed) concoction of chemicals into our shale to hydraulically drill for oil. While to the energy-conscious this might seem a good thing, reducing our reliance on foreign oil, it is in fact an untested, unproven, expensive, and hazardous undertaking.

Hydrofracking risks contamination of groundwater, soil, and air, and can also be linked to instability in the ground itself. There have been numerous reports showing the damaging results of hydrofracking. I don't even need to go into them; you can Google it for yourself, including one presentation by Thomas Shelley, a former chemical hygiene officer at Cornell University. Mr. Shelley participated in a 2011 panel discussion on hydrofracking presented by Upstate University.

Cuomo stated that it's our responsibility to find energy alternatives. Bravo to Governor Cuomo for listening to New Yorkers' concerns and for putting the environment and our future health first.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Tree 2014: Silver and Gold!


 This year, our tree is self-explanatory. Everything silver, gold or white went onto the tree, with a few additions of favorite ornaments. I love how this tree shines at night when it's dark in the room and only the tree is lit.

Looking for some ideas and inspiration for your own tree? I put my trees on both my Pinterest page and my Facebook page, so you can check them out in either place.

Happy Holidays to all! Hope you have an enjoyable and peaceful season.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Twelve Days of Writing


The Twelve Days of Writing

It's that time of year again, fellow authors! This year, a tongue-in-cheek version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas!" You know the song, so I'll just go backwards from twelve. Sing along! (I just wish I could write a full book this fast. *grin*)

On the twelfth day of writing my hard work gave to me:

Twelve finished chapters,
Eleven broken pencils,
Ten aching fingers,
Nine crumpled stickies,
Eight crazy plot twists,
Seven garbled E-mails,
Six dead highlighters,
Five killer scenes ....
Four awesome CP's,
Three days of edits,
Two chewed nails,
And a finally-polished manuscript!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Today, I'm posting to wish you all the happiest of holidays.  This has been a wonderful year for me, full of writing, book releases, and goals fulfilled.  HEAVY NETTING and FLASHPOINT were big successes, and there's more to come in 2015.  I hope your year has been just as productive and satisfying!

As the snow begins to fall here in NY, I'm winding down my events for the year and beginning to plan my 2015 calendar.  I'll be making time for some holiday baking and some relaxing hours on the couch with a good book.  (If you have any suggestions, I love historicals!)

Have a peaceful season, and make some time for yourself among all that hustle and bustle!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

My 2015 Calendar is Open!


I can't believe the New Year is so close! I have opened my 2015 calendar to chats, appearances, and workshops! If you're interested in scheduling me for any of those, you can contact me to set it up! I am available most weekends for appearances and workshops. If you would like to schedule an online chat with me, most evenings are available.

Hope your holidays are terrific, and your 2015 is even better!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's holiday time! Happy Thanksgiving, America! I hope you get to share lots of good food and football with your families today. If you aren't able to see your family today, I'm sure you're in their thoughts. Enjoy your day!

~ With warm holiday wishes from Nicki Greenwood

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lobster Cove Chat Winner!


Congratulations Judie S.! Judie won a $25 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press for her participation in last night's Lobster Cove chat at Love Romances Cafe.

We're proud of our stories about this quaint fishing town, and excited to share them with you all. Thank you to everyone who participated in the chat, and we wish you Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Guest Blogging at Comptonplations / Lobster Cove at LRC


I'm guest blogging today at Comptonplations, the blog of author MJ Compton. Visit me today to learn some tidbits about me and you'll get a sneak peek at my newest work in progress, FIRE!


FIRE is the fourth and final book in The Elemental Series.  I'm almost halfway through its first draft, and it doesn't even have its own page on my website yet ... but you can be the first to check it out by going to MJ's website for a mini-preview of the opening scene!


I'm also joining other authors of The Wild Rose Press's Lobster Cove series on Friday, November 21st, 7-11pm EST at Love Romance Cafe to talk about the stories from this awesome series.  We'll be chatting about our characters, sharing excerpts, and offering a $25 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press for one lucky commenter on any of our posts ... just in time for holiday gift-giving!

Happy Autumn, readers!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cover Art for AIR Revealed!


I have a little treat for you today: the cover art for AIR, Book Three in my Elemental Series! AIR is still in edits, but I received this beautiful cover yesterday from the cover artist. The Wild Rose Press's art department is one of the best in the business, if you ask me. They know their stuff!

To read more about AIR, click here to be taken to the book's page on my website. In the meantime, keep checking here to get the latest on my releases. Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day!


 Happy Veterans Day to all veterans, and thank you for your service. Be safe today, and have a good one. I appreciate what you do to keep the rest of us safe and free!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Party in Lobster Cove on November 21st and Win!


Join the "Lobster Cove" authors of The Wild Rose Press at Love Romances Cafe on Friday, November 21st from 7:00 PM -11:00 PM EST for a talk about the wonderful stories of Lobster Cove! There will be book blurbs and excerpts, character interviews and tidbits, and a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press for one lucky person who comments that evening on one of our posts. The winner will be drawn at random and notified on November 22nd. Join the event on November 21st, and comment to win! The event will be held at the Love Romances Cafe loop. See you there!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Please Welcome Author Christy Effinger!



Please join me in welcoming author Christy Effinger today. Christy is the author of the new paranormal romance, SAY NOTHING OF WHAT YOU SEE.


1) How did you get started writing?


I began writing stories as a child. My love of books led me to study English in college, and after grad school I taught for several years at a community college. All the while, my dream was to be an author. I wrote my first published novel, Say Nothing of What You See, at night while my husband was taking MBA classes.


2) What interests or excites you most about your genre(s)?


Say Nothing is a paranormal new adult novel, and it’s the “new adult” part that interests me most. I wrote the book in my twenties, so it seemed natural to focus on a young protagonist who was struggling to find herself against a backdrop of darkness and deception.


3) Who or what is your favorite inspiration when writing?


Music is one of my biggest inspirations. When I wrote Say Nothing, I often listened to chill-out electronic music while I worked. Some of my favorite artists are Moby, The xx, and Little People.


4) Tell me about your latest book or work in progress.


When her aunt steps off a grain elevator into the emptiness of a prairie evening, Mira Piper loses her one protector. Chloe, her flighty mother, impulsively drags her daughter to Bramblewood, an isolated spiritualist retreat in northern Michigan, run by the enigmatic Dr. Virgil Simon.



Chloe plans to train as a medium but it's Mira who discovers she can communicate with the dead. When her mother abandons her, Mira discovers a darker aspect to Bramblewood: the seemingly kind doctor has a sinister side and a strange control over his students.



Then one winter's day Troy Farrington arrives, to fulfill his mother's dying wish and deliver her letter to the doctor. But calamity strikes and he finds himself a captive, tended by a sympathetic Mira. Haunted by her dead aunt and desperate to escape Bramblewood, Mira makes a devil's deal with Dr. Simon. But fulfillment comes with a steep cost...betrayal.




5) Please share with us the first paragraph of your latest work.


This is from Say Nothing of What You See:
  
I remember the way she fell.

I remember, too, the moment just before it happened, when I came home from my summer job at the snow cone stand and found the house empty.



Buy Links:




The Wild Rose Press:




Amazon:




BN.com






Author Links:


















Thank you so much for sharing your work with us today, Christy!

To learn more about Christy or her work, follow the links above. SAY NOTHING OF WHAT YOU SEE is available now at your favorite bookseller.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Book Signing at Liverpool Public Library 11/1/14



What a month it's been already!

I started off November at a book signing featuring authors local to Central New York. The Liverpool Public Library hosted a Local Author Meet & Greet featuring local authors in all genres, from romance to children's books and everything in between.

I had the pleasure of seeing an old friend, Heidy Ramos, who was promoting her new book, ISLAND OF DREAMS, the story of her trials and triumphs, growing up on an island in the Philippines.



I met a very personable and enthusiastic children's book author, Daniel Middleton, whose newest book, NAOMI REDFLOWER, will be released in April 2015. Daniel and I had a wonderful chat on the art of writing and publishing children's books. The story focuses on the central character's journey through the seasons, and features a love of nature that was right up my alley.

I also met Casey Rose Frank, and we talked about flash fiction, which sounds like a great new challenge. I gotta try that! Just on first impressions, I can tell Casey is a gutsy woman, and I liked her right off the bat. We had a great talk, and I think she's convinced me to try my hand at shorter works.

Most authors are introverted, but I don't think I've ever had so much fun at a book signing. The energy in the room jazzed me up for my own work, and I can't wait to do another one. Happy Autumn, everyone!

 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone! Hope you have a safe and happy evening! Be careful out there, and have fun. :)


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Guest Author: J.C. McKenzie!


Good morning!  Please help me welcome guest author J.C. McKenzie to the blog today.  J.C. writes paranormal romance, and she's here today to share with you her newest book, THE SHUCKER'S BOOKTIQUE!  This is a new paranormal short story in The Wild Rose Press's "Lobster Cove" series.

1) How did you get started writing?
I've always loved writing. My mom has an English Major and used to write for a column in the local newspaper. She's always encouraged my creative side (side note: she's also an author - Jo-Ann Carson). When I won a flash fiction contest (The Sands of Time), I started to take my writing more seriously and enrolled in a course to work on the epic fantasy manuscript I'd completed. What I didn't realize was the course really meant a bunch of other inexperienced writers would hack and rip my pride and joy up and almost destroy my delicate writer's soul. Luckily, after that "course" finished, I found the RWA and supportive critique partners. I still can't look at that first manuscript, but I've moved on and I think the experience made me a stronger, thicker-skinned writer.

2) What interests or excites you most about your genre(s)?
I love the dark and twisted elements of paranormal and urban fantasy. I love the idea of the supernatural living among the mundane. I think it's the best form of escapism, and let's face it, sometimes we want to escape our every day lives just for a glimpse of the extraordinary.

3) Who or what is your favorite inspiration when writing?
I really admire Patricia Briggs and her writing style. Her ability to develop characters and a world so effortlessly and in a relatively low word count is inspirational. I'd LOVE to write like her. I'm also a huge fan of Kim Harrison and love how she entwines humour in her writing.

4) Tell me about your latest book or work in progress.
THE SHUCKER'S BOOKTIQUE releases today and is available from online retailers everywhere. I really enjoyed writing this story for several reasons. One, I was born and raised on the west coast of Canada. I am in love with the ocean and to write a story that focuses on the water element really appealed to me. Two, I just moved to southern Saskatchewan (husband's work), so for the first time in my life, I find myself without the deep blue to look upon. This story helped me work through a lot of the initial homesickness. And three, this is my first short story. I really enjoyed writing a simple story arc where I didn't have to constantly put my characters into new conflict. It's not nearly as stressful!

5) Please share with us the first paragraph of your latest work.
Bang! Bang! Bang!

Willa bolted upright in bed. The white sheets clung to her damp tank top and shorts. Her gut clenched, and foreboding trickled down her spine like sweat. The shapes of the furnishings in her aunt’s second floor guest room slowly materialized as her eyes adjusted to the dark night. Rain pounded against the bedroom window, and the birch trees groaned in the gale force winds outside. She closed her eyes and inhaled the lingering smells of sea breeze air with evening primrose and night-blooming cereus.

Must’ve been thunder.



Thank you for joining us today, J.C.!  If you want to know more about J.C. or her books, please check out the following links!
 
Buy THE SHUCKER'S BOOKTIQUE at:
Amazon
Twitter:  @JC_McKenzie

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

FLASHPOINT Now On Sale!


Today's the day!  You can now own a copy of FLASHPOINT, Book Two in the Gifted Series.  If you're looking for an action-packed paranormal romance to heat up your autumn, this is the book for you.


Faith Markham has it all - almost: beauty, paranormal power, and the job of her dreams as an archaeologist. The one thing eluding her is a love that will transcend time. Too bad that when she hires Hakon Ivarsson, the tough-talking trail guide has absolutely no plans to let her tie him down.

To learn more about FLASHPOINT, click the link above to read an excerpt, check out the back cover copy, or view a book trailer.  Happy reading!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Chatting Today at Love Romances Cafe!


Come join me today at Love Romances Cafe, where I'm talking 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST all about FLASHPOINT, my newest paranormal romance, coming October 1st!  You can find excerpts and character interviews, and learn how to win a FREE copy of FLASHPOINT of your very own.

If you'd like to know a bit more about FLASHPOINT, click here for back cover copy, an excerpt, and the book trailer. Hope to see you tonight at Love Romances Cafe!


BLURB:

Faith Markham has it all - almost: beauty, paranormal power, and the job of her dreams as an archaeologist. The one thing eluding her is a love that will transcend time. Too bad that when she hires Hakon Ivarsson, the tough-talking trail guide has absolutely no plans to let her tie him down.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Guest Author: Charlotte Copper!

















Good morning!  Please help me welcome guest author Charlotte Copper to the blog today.  Charlotte writes paranormal romance, and she's here today to share with you her newest book, HEART SHIFTER!

1) How did you get started writing?
When I first got divorced many years ago, I would write stories in my head while driving to work. It would force me to stop thinking about the stuff that was going on in my life at the time. Eventually I decided to put the stories down on paper. (My first story was about my ex husband's funeral - a man who is still very much alive. LOL)

2) What interests or excites you most about your genre(s)?
Every other year or so, the idea that paranormal romance is dead begins to circulate..is circulating right now in fact. But I have always loved the extra twist that paranormal adds to romance. 

3) Who or what is your favorite inspiration when writing?
Coke and chocolate! Also, I've got a 17 year old daughter, and 18 & 20 year old stepdaughters. I think being published shows them that with hard work and perseverance you can achieve your dreams. Of course my daughter likes to tell her friends I write porn, so I'm not sure if this second point is entirely working. But they say any publicity is good publicity.

4) Tell me about your latest book or work in progress.
My second novella, HEART SHIFTER, just released 9/17 from Wild Rose Press. It's a light paranormal romance set in Northern Ontario. 

For widowed teacher Sarah, an invitation to spend the summer up north is the perfect opportunity for her sons to get to know their father’s estranged family better and for Sarah to learn more about why her deceased husband, Ken, left his childhood home at such an early age. Her handsome host, Mitch Mingan, has remained a bachelor because he doesn’t want his wife or children to have to suffer his family’s destiny. Their fate and the reason why his cousin, Ken, left home: the Mingan men turn into wolves! Heart Shifter is the story of how Sarah and Mitch discover that the biggest surprise is their feelings towards each other.

5) Please share with us the first paragraph of your latest work.
First paragraph only? OK here it is:
Naked, twenty-three men gathered in the clearing. And waited.


Thank you for joining us today, Charlotte!  If you want to know more about Charlotte or her books, please check out the following links!

Buy at The Wild Rose Press:  http://bit.ly/XgytwB
 
Buy from Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1pjJZ14




Twitter:  @CharlotteCopper

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hiccup's Armor (or, How to Be Your Geekiest)


Most of you are aware of the Dreamworks hit movie, "How to Train Your Dragon."  The movie now has a hit sequel in which the hero, Hiccup, wears a leather armor flight suit (see above).  My 7-year-old son thinks this armor is The Coolest Thing Ever.

Most of you are also aware that I'm a big, huge geek who's into the Renaissance Faire and leatherworking projects.  The gauntlet had been thrown.

For the past few weeks, Hubby and I have been making a modified version of Hiccup's chest armor for our son.  Modified because, once we built it, our growing-like-a-weed son would have it for five minutes and then be too big to fit in it.  So, we designed this armor to fit him for several years to come, because it can be taken apart and adjusted as he grows.  It's also easy for him to get on and off.

Thus, I give you Modified Hiccup's Armor.  Dragon not included.


It's not film-accurate, but for its purpose, it will do very nicely indeed.  We tried it on our older nephew, so we're reasonably sure that this will fit our son for the next five years or more.  Heck, taken apart, it even fits me!  We watched some pretty amazing video from "Modrenman," who designed the whole flight suit and went to pains to make it accurate.  We then cobbled together a posterboard mockup of the pieces, and made several subsequent trips to Tandy Leather for supplies.


We decided against doing the collar, so it would fit him more comfortably as he grows, and even made a miniature saddle for his stuffed Toothless, who attaches to his left shoulder using the big strap.  (I did mention we're geeky, didn't I?)


Result: one very happy little grade-schooler.  Too bad we don't have a Night Fury handy to send him off on an adventure. :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11

Just taking a moment today to remember and honor those who died in the September 11th attacks.  I continue to hope that someday, the world will recognize our collective similarities rather than our differences, and start on the path to a true and lasting peace.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

FLASHPOINT "Walkabout Wednesdays" Event Begins!

Hungry for some adventure this fall? Head over to my Facebook Events page starting today, and join the "Walkabout Wednesdays" event! You could win a FREE copy of my upcoming book, FLASHPOINT!

There's no cost to participate - just a fun online "treasure hunt!" See you there!

Monday, September 01, 2014

HEAVY NETTING Now on Sale!



The wait is over, and Lobster Cove has new residents! HEAVY NETTING is now on sale, and you can learn more about Bran and Jenna's story by clicking the link!

He's all wrong for Lobster Cove...but he might be just right for her. Fall in love this September with a stay in Lobster Cove!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Contract for AIR!


I received a contract tonight for AIR, Book Three in the Elemental Series!  You can read about AIR by following the link.  This is one of my favorite stories so far, and I hope you'll enjoy reading about their adventures.  Keep an eye on this blog for updates!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cover Reveal and Release Date for HEAVY NETTING!

I have both the cover and the release date for HEAVY NETTING to share with you tonight!


HEAVY NETTING is a short contemporary story available September 1st from The Wild Rose Press!  This book was a joy to write, and I can't wait to share the story of Jenna and Bran with you as they meet in the quaint fictional town of Lobster Cove, Maine.  You can click the link to learn a little more about the book. Happy Summer!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Release of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN by MItzi Pool Bridges


 Today is release day for CATCH ME IF YOU CAN by Mitzi Pool Bridges. This is a new book in the Lobster Cove series, a romantic suspense, and it's at a special introductory price! Check out the details here:

Catch Me if You Can by Mitzi Pool Bridges

Congrats Mitzi!

Monday, July 28, 2014

More News From Lobster Cove

More exciting news from the Lobster Cove series by The Wild Rose Press! This week, we have the cover of Carol Henry's full-length romance, JUELLE'S LEGACY.


We were also informed that the first of the Lobster Cove books will be arriving as early as August - so it's going to be a fabulous summer for beach books! More news as it comes ....  Until then, happy summer, and Happy Reading!

EDIT 8/3/14: JUELLE'S LEGACY arrives TOMORROW, Monday August 4th! To celebrate this awesome release, The Wild Rose Press is giving away one $25.00 Red Lobster Gift Certificate and one $50 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press! Enter here:

The Wild Rose Press Lobster Cove Giveaway

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Flashpoint Book Trailer Released!

I'm excited to present to the trailer for FLASHPOINT, Book Two in the Gifted Series!



FLASHPOINT's release date was announced earlier this week as October 1st. Here's a peek at the book's details:


BLURB from FLASHPOINT:


Faith Markham knows her place in life—paranormal expert and world-traveling archaeologist. She also knows she'll never fall in love again. How can she, when the only man she's ever wanted is a long-dead Viking warrior? She has resigned herself to loneliness, but fate has other ideas.


Hakon Ivarsson has had enough of women. His ex-wife left his life in ruins, and only Australia's Blue Mountains can soothe his empty soul. When Faith shows up needing a trail guide, he regards her with instant suspicion. This enigmatic beauty pulls at him in ways he can't explain. Trusting her is out of the question, but protecting her is absolute.


When they stumble on an artifact-smuggling ring, led by a man poised to bend the world's paranormal power to his own terrible purposes, they must join forces. Will it tear them apart, or has fate finally delivered a second chance?


Excerpt from FLASHPOINT:


Just who was guiding who?


Hakon growled and pulled his own backpack from the Land Rover, locked the vehicle, then stalked down the trail after her.


It took him all of two seconds to decide he should have been the one walking in front. Faith strode ahead of him, dodging ruts and potholes with sure feet. Her hips swayed with each step in a compelling rhythm that drove his body into a riot. He imagined drawing her back against him, kissing that spot behind her ear where tendrils of golden hair had fallen loose....


She stopped dead and turned around with wide eyes. Damn, had he said something out loud? He thought he'd seen a flash in her eyes just before they saw the truck. There it was again, though before, he could have sworn her eyes had been silver...


"Aren't you supposed to be in front of me?" she asked.


Desire and doubt vanished. "I would have been, if you hadn't bolted off in the first place." He stepped around her and went on without pausing. "Next time, let me go first. Clear?"


"Get up on the wrong side of the bed?"


He didn't bother telling her he hadn't slept at all. Her presence had echoed through the walls of the inn like a resonating bell, one moment consuming him with the need to go to her, and the next, driving him away in a fit of resentment.


She was money. His ticket to freedom, nothing more.

Maybe if he kept telling himself that, he might start to believe it.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Release Date for FLASHPOINT Announced!

The release date for FLASHPOINT, Book Two in the Gifted Series, was announced this morning.  FLASHPOINT will be available October 1, 2014 through the Wild Rose Press.  You can purchase a print or digital copy from your favorite bookstore.

To celebrate the upcoming release of FLASHPOINT, I'll be hosting an online treasure hunt called "Walkabout Wednesdays" beginning September 3, and continuing every Wednesday until the release date of October 1st.  Click here for details.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

An Evening With the Barony of Delftwood

The Barony of Delftwood is the Syracuse, NY chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA, an international organization that promotes research and re-creation of the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. The SCA divides our present world into "kingdoms" and smaller landholdings, of which the Barony of Delftwood is one. It provides instruction on many forms of medieval culture, from embroidery and manuscript illumination to cooking and combat. If you're a history buff, you should definitely try this.


Non-members are allowed to attend all BoD meetings, though there is a fee for tournaments and special events.  Last week, the BoD held an event at the Liverpool Public Library to share some of their knowledge with the public. My family and I had the chance to hear a psaltery, a hurdy-gurdy, and a hammered dulcimer - and even to play the instruments! It was a hands-on workshop in which I even learned how to churn butter. You laugh, but it tastes way better than that stuff you get in the store, believe me. *grin*
 

We were also treated to a small combat tournament, including fencing and heavy weapons. Historical writers, you'd love this. Not only did I enjoy watching the combat, I learned a little bit. Did you know you can fence using a cloak as a weapon? Back in the days of the Romans, gladiators used nets to distract and trap an enemy's weapon. That cloak? Same principle, hundreds of years later.


When the tournament was over, the Baron and Baroness of Delftwood presented the champion of the lists with a prize:



My family came home really excited from this event, and we look forward to visiting the Barony of Delftwood again.  Huzzah!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lobster Cove is Growing!

The Wild Rose Press series, Lobster Cove, is coming together. We have been treated this week to the first of the cover reveals.  The first is ANOTHER MAN'S SON, a romantic suspense by Glenys O'Connell:


The second is CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, a romantic suspense by Mitzi Pool Bridges:

 

I can't wait for you to meet the characters in this town.  The authors have all worked hard, and written such amazing stuff.  We should see some release dates soon, and I'll be sure to keep you posted!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

FIRE Work


Wow.  What the heck bit me this year?  I have three books juggling in the air right now: FLASHPOINT, HEAVY NETTING, and AIR, all of which are with my publisher as we speak.  In addition to that, I'm writing FIRE, the fourth and final book in The Elemental Series.  I'm waiting to see if I burn myself out.

But I sure hope I don't. ;)

For the rest of the year, I will be writing in FIRE, and wrapping up FLASHPOINT and HEAVY NETTING for tentative release later this year.  AIR won't make it to press until at least next year, but fear not: that thunder you're hearing is me hammering away at the keyboard!  In the meantime, have a terrific Fourth of July if you're American, and a great day otherwise if you're not! :D

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Contract for HEAVY NETTING!



Received a contract this morning for my short contemporary romance, HEAVY NETTING!  HEAVY NETTING is a story in The Wild Rose Press's "Lobster Cove" series.  All the stories in the series will take place in the small fishing town of Lobster Cove, Maine, and will cross all lines and lengths offered by The Wild Rose Press.  The characters from each story will interact with those from other stories, so it truly is a community project for a fictional community!

Here's a little teaser on HEAVY NETTING while you wait to read it:

About HEAVY NETTING
(A Lobster Cove Story)
Coming Soon from The Wild Rose Press


Branson Cudahy is as southern as it gets, a cyber crime investigator from happily-landlocked Lexington, Kentucky. Bran has been chasing a hacker for three years, and now the trail has led him to Lobster Cove, Maine ... which is a real problem for a guy with a shellfish allergy.

Jenna Sanborn waits tables to pay the bills, but she dreams of opening a quilt shop in the heart of town. She'd never even think of leaving Lobster Cove, but the handsome newcomer is tempting beyond her wildest imaginings.

Bran and Jenna never expect the whirlwind romance that comes out of their meeting. As hard as they fight to control their feelings, their hearts are fighting to push them over that dizzying lover's leap. Will love win out, or will the hacker - and their dreams - slip the net?

Excerpt from HEAVY NETTING

"All right, Jenna," Bran said. "Tell you what. I'm gonna be at the coffee shop about four o'clock. If you want to meet me there and talk Lobster Cove, I'll be all ears. If not, no pressure."

She giggled. Giggled. Like a teenager going to her first concert with a cute boy. Mortified, and now convinced that her cheeks were as red as a stop sign, she backed away. "I'll keep it in mind. See you later, Mister Cudahy."

His grin sent a flutter through her midsection. "Bran."

"Okay. Bran." She waved goodbye, then hurried off down the street with her groceries.

As she walked, she sensed his gaze on her, and she beamed, flattered and flustered and for once, feeling beautiful.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Movie Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2


 
In Hollywood, it's really, really hard to get a sequel to live up to a blockbuster first film in a series.
 
Dreamworks doesn't seem to know that.  In fact, I'd venture to say Dreamworks knows just about nothing regarding how to make a bad animated film.  They're horrible at bad films.  Really really.
 
But I digress.  Let me first say that it's rare that my migraine-prone hubby wants to see a film in 3D ... but he said we were going to see it in 3D, and he didn't care.
 
So.  Worth.  It.
 
Dragon 2 didn't throw stuff at the screen just because they could.  The 3D effects were integrated very nicely into the storyline, while adding a few cool treats for 3D viewers.  Hiccup and Toothless have grown, and Hiccup is dealing with some more grown-up issues in this film, but he's still Hiccup, and it's still a joy to watch him fly Toothless.  Toothless.  Did I mention Toothless?  I loved the dynamic between these characters in the first film, and that between Hiccup and his dragon-riding friends.  You can't have too much of a good thing, and there's more of that in this film.  I laughed out loud in several places.
 
I have only one knock on this film, and that is its length.  It's too short ... and not because I was having so much fun with it.  I did feel a little rushed from one plot point to the next, and there is a very serious, bring-your-tissues moment that needed more screen time to sink in.  While I understand that there are kids watching the film, and you don't want it to be too "heavy," I was still sniffling by the time the action went on to the next thing, and found myself thinking, "Hey, wait!  Back up!  I'm not done crying yet!"  I felt a little cheated out of that moment.
 
Otherwise, it feels like a return visit to people you love, in order to see what they're up to now.  We have the same characters, older now, and a few new faces, including a character voiced by Game of Thrones star Kit Harington.  If you liked How to Train Your Dragon, you're going to adore the sequel.  Way to go, Dreamworks.  We had a ball with this movie, and I think you will, too.
 
SCORE: 4 of 5 stars


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!


Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!  I hope you're doing something fun with your families today.  Be safe, and have a great time!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CNYRW Guest Speaker Susan Meier / Storyboarding Your Book

Susan Meier

Last Saturday, the CNY Romance Writers hosted Susan Meier, author of more than 60 books for Harlequin and Entangled Publishing.  Susan brought a lot of knowledge and humor to our afternoon, and presented, among other things, her method for storyboarding a novel.  For a visual writer like myself, storyboarding is ideal.  Everything is visible in nutshell form.  I've dabbled in storyboarding more and more these days, even as a pantser, because it's the easiest way to make certain I've formed a cohesive story.


What is Storyboarding?

Storyboarding is a concept taken from the film industry, where it's important not to waste time and resources filming something that's only going to be cut later due to pacing constraints.  Your time is money, too, and storyboarding can help you lay out your book's "bones."  This helps you spend your actual writing time in the important places.  For us writers, those are the inciting incident, turning points, climax, black moment, and resolution.  For romance in particular, it means plugging in the first kiss and/or love scenes, too.  Everything is laid out where it's going to happen.  You can use a large sheet of blank paper or, as I do, index cards on a cork board.  Then all you have to do is "knit" your book together, stopping at each point on your road map on the way to The End.

Storyboarding is just a more visual alternative to writing an outline of your book.  It's not written in stone (no pun intended), but it is a guide to help keep your book on track.

Storyboarding for Pantsers

If you're a pantser, and you worry about the excitement of writing being sapped by knowing the end of the book ahead of time, know this: everything you learn about writing a complete story internalizes in your head, the more you study it.  So chances are, if your book isn't expressly mapped out on paper, you're already beginning to do so in your head.  Storyboarding just puts it all out there on a paper or index cards, so you don't lose any of those great ideas, and you have somewhere to plug them when you get them.  The actual scenes are not yet written, so your pantser heart should be appeased.  Plotters could take it a step farther and enter as much about the scene as they like into the chart, so it works that way, too!

Chapter by Chapter

Susan uses the back side of a large monthly calendar - the kind you'd use as a desk blotter.  She divides the blank sheet into squares, one for each chapter, and then inputs all the details and where they need to happen.  It's a brilliant and portable snapshot of her book, and she was kind enough to hand around an actual storyboard for one of her books.

I do this a bit differently, using my trusty index cards and cork board:


This is the blank board for FIRE, Book Four in the Elemental Series.  The two cards in the bottom right corner stick around for every single book I write.  They illustrate Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which every writer should learn. Those are the building blocks for things a human being can't live without.  Take away one of them, and you have instant conflict for your character.

My version of the storyboard is a bit looser, because the cards can be rearranged if necessary.  It's still portable, because I can take the cards with me.  FIRE will probably have about sixteen chapters, so I'll need sixteen cards on my board.

Susan's method of plotting isn't the only way to write your book, of course, but it does help make certain that you can write the entire book, with all its necessary parts.  She had much more to say during this all-day workshop, but her method of storyboarding is one concept that resonated with me.  Susan is knowledgeable and funny, and it was a pleasure to have her at our chapter this month.

"Inspire that spark within yourself that desperately wants to write." - Susan Meier