Just in time for Christmas, I’m giving away four signed copies of “A Golden Life!”
Please check this out, and sign up to win!
Just in time for Christmas, I’m giving away four signed copies of “A Golden Life!”
Please check this out, and sign up to win!
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
A beautiful Christmas tree!
For years I went to the tree lot and got a ‘real’ tree. I never ventured into the woods like they did on “Christmas Vacation,” but I think that’s probably a good thing. I don’t like the cold that much! Still, I love the way a natural tree smells. It was fun picking out a tree until the time came that money was exceptionally tight and trees seemed to get higher and higher in price.
About seventeen years ago I succumbed to an artificial tree and loved it! Putting it together was always enjoyable and I knew I could bend the wires to make it look just right. Hanging ornaments was easy, too! This year, I passed the tree on to my son and enjoyed helping him and my grandson put it together. It’s amazing that the tree has held up for so long. Guess I picked a good one! What I loved most about putting up the tree was reminiscing over every ornament. I was happy to pass on that tradition to my son and hopefully that tree will give him another seventeen years of enjoyment.
Today I’m very happy to introduce you to a friend of mine, and fellow author, Sophia Kimble!
Protect Her by Sophia Kimble
Golden Alexander is trapped in a nightmare.
Trying to flee her hallucination of a demon, she runs heart first into the brooding alpha male she’s been dreaming about for years, and then her nightmare really begins.
Kris Pietka is done with women…he’s broken. But when he meets Golden, an overwhelming need to protect her tests everything he thought he knew about himself, and the paranormal.
A bond forged centuries ago thrusts them together as they search for a way to break an ancient Druid curse prophesying their demise. Racing against the clock, they travel from Vermont, to the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, and the Scottish Highlands in search of answers and a way to break the curse.
But something evil watches—it covets, and time is running out.
Will fate allow love to prevail against unbeatable odds, or will Golden wake to find it was all a delusion?
Pick up a copy today from Amazon.
As part of The 12 Days of Christmas celebration, Sophia donated a $5 Amazon card, paired with a set of hand-painted ceramic penguin holiday mugs from Ryan Jo Summers to the prize list. Click HERE for this and many more random drawings. To follow the celebration, find a new recipe, pick up a holiday decorating or shopping tip, click HERE.
Sophia Kimble has always wanted to be an author, but for years, life got in the way. She wouldn’t change a thing about how her life turned out, though. Her family keeps her laughing and loving. Her wonderful husband and two extraordinary children stand beside her every step of the way and make this journey called life worth living.
Sophia has worked as a nurse for twenty years, but has put that career path aside to devote her time and imagination to writing down the stories that keep her up nights.
She takes her love of the paranormal, history, and genealogy, and weaves them into tales of family, fated love, and supernatural occurrences.
How many of you collect things?
I’ve often wondered what it is that prompts us to latch onto certain things.
I’ve known people who collect trading cards, figurines, Disney items, etc. My brother will tell you about how our mother threw away his baseball cards when he was a kid. Those cards from the 60’s would probably be worth a fortune now! I guess that anything will increase in value the longer you keep it. Just wander through an antique mall and you’ll see all kinds of memories that will cost you a great deal to own again.
My collection is something I can’t bring myself to part with and will one day be passed on to my son. I assume he’ll probably turn around and sell it, but it won’t matter to me any longer. I’ll be long gone.
When I was in the first grade I was given my first Liddle Kiddle doll. Liddle Riddle Riding Hood. And believe it or not, all these years later she’s still wearing her original removable plastic shoes. And these things are tiny! The doll herself is only 3 1/2″ tall. She came with a bendable wolf. A fluffy little guy with wires inside.
Eventually I added more dolls to my collection. More storybook Kiddles, followed by a variety of other kinds. Jewelry Kiddles that were barely an inch tall and came inside rings and necklaces, Skediddle Kiddles that had little walkers that snapped into their backs to make them walk, Lucky Locket Kiddles that came inside framed ‘lockets,’ and others that came inside pretend soda bottles. There were Kiddles that were dressed like animals, and even holiday Kiddles. I could go on and on, but don’t want you yawning. Unless you’re a fellow Kiddle Kollector, you won’t understand my passion for these tiny, plastic dolls.
Every time I look at them, I’m reminded of wonderful times with my friends. Playing, collecting, and eventually talking them out of theirs! For a while I had my dolls displayed on a “Kiddle Land” that I made out of a piece of 6×6 plywood. I covered it in fake grass and rock pathways. It had a paper mache mountain, a beautiful castle made out of rocks that I pasted onto a cardboard box, a lake complete with plastic ducks, and multiple fake trees. It was pretty cool! But eventually, dust overcame it, and I had to disassemble it. Now I have some of my favorites displayed in a wooden frame on my wall.
Memories make us who we are, and I think there will always be that little girl inside of me who inspires the things I do as well as what I write. These dolls make me happy, and maybe someday they’ll make someone else happy, too.
I’ve often dreamed that I find more of them in some remote place. eBay has a bunch, and I’ve made my share of eBay purchases. But there’s something really thrilling about finding one where I’d least expect it. Like finding hidden treasure! But, what’s a treasure to me is probably a piece of junk to someone else. A silly little plastic doll with very little value. Well–that person doesn’t understand the value of a memory. Or I should say, the value of my memories. We’re all different. That same person might find value in a rock. And that’s okay. At one time, someone made a fortune selling ‘pet rocks!’
I’d love to hear about what you collect. And if you’re a fellow Kiddle Kollector, be sure to drop me a line! We’re a rare breed!!
So you’re looking at a blank page, and you ask yourself, “what do I put on it?”
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my first book was inspired by a dream. It felt like something I had to write. To transfer all of my thoughts (and dreams) onto paper. And as I’ve moved forward, I find that I continue to enjoy writing historical romance, but I’ve also branched out into a few other categories. One book is medieval fantasy, and the newest one is contemporary with a paranormal twist. That one was really fun to write.
Granted, I enjoy writing, period. But what should I be writing?
At a recent retreat, our guest speaker gave a workshop on finding what inspires us and discovering what we’re suited to write. She had us compile a list of things we truly love, (detailed), and then also had us make lists of favorite movies, and books that we read when we were young. Once the list was compiled she was able to pinpoint our interests. Some of the writers in our group were very family oriented, and the things they loved centered around them. Those kind of writers are excellent candidates for writing small town stories that have strong family ties. Makes sense.
On the other hand, writers who liked quirky science fiction, or perhaps spent their youth pinning dead bugs to boards and framing them, or taking apart appliances and figuring out how they work, might be inclined to write sci-fi or steampunk.
For me, family is important, but when it came to my movie and book list I was definitely into fantasy and time travel. The importance of family and the time travel element is probably why I like writing historical. When I started writing my medieval fantasy I thought I was going far away from my ‘norm.’ But since I’m a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, and some of my other favorite reading when I was in high school was Mary Stewart’s Arthurian Legend books, then it made sense to me. I fell in love with Merlin through her writing. Honestly, that was probably the first ‘romance’ I ever read. Not typical romance by any means, but it had a lasting effect.
So, my suggestion to you if you’re having a hard time figuring out what to write, is– Make a list.
But most importantly, write. Write what moves you, but if you truly love the things you’re writing about, you’ll write a much better book.
Rules, rules, and more rules…
Why can’t we just write and not worry about them?
Well, in today’s market, with so much competition, I highly suggest that you polish your manuscript to a shine before submitting it to an agent or publisher. So, that being said, it’s important to understand grammatical rules.
I will say right now, that I’m still learning them. This goes right along with everything else I keep learning. You think you know it all, them BAM!, you find out you’re still doing something wrong.
So, today, I’d like to talk about capitalization. I’ve mastered the “mom, dad, father, mother” rule. That one is pretty easy. Here are some examples: “I love my mom.” (not capitalized). On the other hand, “Hey, Mom, I love you!” (capitalized). The difference is that in the second sentence I’m using “Mom” as her name or identity. Here is another example. “Have you seen your dad lately?” (general, not capitalized). “Have you seen Dad lately?” (by removing ‘your’ and making the sentence more specific, the word now needs to be capitalized).
It gets a little more complicated when you start writing stories about kings and queens. I’ve recently discovered this and had to do some research. But again it goes back to the “in general” or “specific” rule. It’s easy when you put king or queen with a name following. Such as “I’m off to see King Richard.” If you simply write, “I’m off to see the king,” the capital letter goes away.
I’m certain that I’ll still make mistakes, and all I can say to that is: “Thank God for editors!” It’s their job to find all those little nit-picky things that your readers will be happy to point out when they review your book. You’ve probably read books with typos that jump out at you, and halt your reading. They happen, but you should always try to keep them to a minimum. And if you self-publish, this is more crucial than ever. Before sending your work for publication, hire a reputable editor. It will be worth the money, and save you from embarrassment.
So now, I’m off to write about Prince Sebastian!
December is a blur. Unfortunately, I spent a good part of the month in bed, sick. And it carried over into January. This has been a bad winter for flu bugs, and all kinds of “icky” illness. But, just in time for my birthday, I recovered and am more appreciative of good health than I’ve ever been!
The frustrating part of feeling poorly was that I was at home, with plenty of time on my hands, but I didn’t have the energy to do much of anything. And, my imagination seemed to dry up, unlike my sinuses. I think I may have improved the Kleenex stock. So, if you have shares…”You’re welcome!”
And now, a year older and feeling spunky again, I’ve begun my newest writing venture. Still with a romantic theme, I’ve veered from Southern Historical and am writing a fairy tale entitled, “An Island in the Forest.” It’s actually a book I first wrote about twenty-five years ago as a children’s story. I submitted it for publication and got some real nice feedback from a publishing house, but they passed on the book and I never pursued it further. And then, about ten years ago, I scripted the story as a musical production complete with twelve songs. The music is still being scored, (something I’m unable to do myself), and sooner or later I’ll get it up on stage somewhere. But now that I’ve started writing novels, the same story haunts me. I’ve dug in and am bringing the story to new heights. My characters are more complex, and I’m able to get further into their feelings and emotions. It’s becoming a real love story rather than a fluffy fairy tale. I would still give it a PG rating, but it’s definitely no longer a children’s book.
I’m excited for this new year and what lies ahead. I pray that this will be my year to achieve publication. It’s a long process, but one that I’m willing to keep plugging away at until it happens.
I hope that you have exciting plans for 2014. Reach for the stars, follow your dreams, and…
That which we call a rose, by any other name would still smell as sweet…
My favorite version of “Romeo and Juliet” is Franco Zeffirelli’s version. I think I was once madly in love with Leonard Whiting. (Side note…I couldn’t understand why as an “older” woman I found Zac Efron so attractive, until I realized just how much he looks like Leonard Whiting!) I’ll never forget sitting in the movie theater when I was in the ninth grade, bawling my eyes out even before either of the star-crossed lovers had taken their lives. However, I knew what was coming and couldn’t help myself! I got a lot of strange looks in that theater. I still wish Juliet would have woken up before Romeo took the poison! (Can’t help myself. I like happy endings!)
Another favorite movie of mine is “Shakespeare in Love.” Again, about the writing of Romeo and Juliet. However, at one point, William was calling his play, Romeo and Ethel the Pirate King’s Daughter. (Or something like that!) I’m not sure about you, but “Ethel” completely changed the “ring” of her name. Took away some of the romantic feeling. I hope I’m not offending anyone in the blog world named “Ethel”. (Not my intent).
What I’m getting at is that your character names are very important. You may think that just pulling a name out of the sky, or creating something “cute” and “original” is the right answer. Sometimes it is. In fact, I’ve been known to close my eyes, point a finger to my keyboard, and then choose a name based on whatever letter my finger touches. Most of the time, I choose my names carefully.
If you’re creating fantasy or new worlds, then you have more freedom. However, if you are doing historical fiction, you need to do a little more research. What names were popular during the time period you’re writing about? Also, depending on the nationality of the character you’re writing, that will also play a big part in your name choice.
I was recently writing a character who I described as having dark, curly hair that stuck out beneath his hat. He was a big man with dark skin, and a bad temper. So, in order to give him a proper name, I researched what nationality of people had those characteristics. Then, I searched for surnames in that nationality and found one I liked. (At that point the ‘point the finger at the keyboard game’ came in handy!)
How differently would you think of “Gone with the Wind” if the hero and heroine were Gertrude and Hector? Frankly my dear…
If you’re a writer of romance, then you should easily be able to answer that question.
When I began writing, I didn’t understand the difference between “women’s fiction” and “romance.” I read a blog that explained it quite well, and though I won’t go into as much detail, here it is in a nutshell: Women’s fiction may or may not have a happy ending. Romance must! Any woman who picks up a novel that is placed in the romance genre, believes that what she is reading is safe. That no matter what trials and tribulations the hero and heroine go through in the course of the story, it will have a happy ending and they will be together. This is not necessarily the case for your supporting characters, but the main characters need to have their “happily ever after.”
I’ll never forget when I was plotting out one of my first stories, and had decided on an ending. I was in my car, driving to work, and when I arrived there I had swollen, red eyes, and a horrible headache! Reason: I had intended to have my heroine die in the end. It all made sense. It was how the story was progressing. But then, after talking to my sister, (who is one of those readers who reads the last few pages of a book before she reads the entire thing), I decided it was best to keep my heroine alive and well. Great choice! And, it opened up the opportunity for a sequel. Hard to do when your characters are dead.
I also had a revelation when plotting another book. A secondary character was doomed to die. After writing the scene I had a migraine from sobbing so hard! I had a wise young man, (who happened upon the conversation I was having about it with my co-workers), ask me why I was writing it that way if it made me so sad? He kind of shrugged and said, “It’s not in print yet, is it?” When I said, “no,” then his comment was, “So what’s the problem? Change it.” Such simple logic! So, I changed it, and it resulted in a much better story, and a sequel!
You may think that if a reader knows that the characters are going to end up together, then what’s the fun of reading the story? The fun is the journey. If you can make their journey fun, exciting, gut-wrenching, and let’s not forget, romantic, then your readers will love you and your books.
I remember the days when I was sick as a child, and had to stay home from school. To pass the time, I would read. Reading took me away from home on adventure after adventure, and the hours flew by. I think there may have been times that I probably wasn’t sick enough to warrant staying home, but the books called to me, and I managed to convince my mother that I was “very” sick.
One of my favorite series of books to read was “The Chronicles of Narnia.” I could polish off one of those books easily in a day’s time. And then, as I got older, I read “The Hobbit” followed by “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Other favorites included “Watership Down” and “Christy.” As an adult, I continued reading fantasy and went on the adventures in “Dune” and the “Thomas Covenant” books. And I can’t leave out the books about Merlin and Arthurian Legend by Mary Stewart; “The Crystal Cave,” “The Hollow Hills,” and “The Last Enchantment.”
All of those books have stayed with me through the years, and I enjoy reading them over and over again. When I began reading romance, I was drawn to “The Thorn Birds” which is not your typical romance. Maybe that’s what has made my writing far from “typical.”
I know there are many more books that I’ve not mentioned, but what I want to say is that to me, all of the books I mentioned rated five stars. They took me away to other places, captured my heart, and made me feel like I was a part of them. Any author who can achieve that in their writing is gifted. I hope that I will achieve that goal with my stories, and if at first I don’t succeed, I will keep at it until I do. I pray that I’ve been blessed with that gift.
My goal is to touch the heart of my readers, and maybe even give them something to think about. Perhaps even take them to places that they’ll want to journey to time and time again. I want my characters to feel like brand new friends, whose lives are being shared.
So what are some of your “Five-Star” books, and what makes them rate so high for you? And…if you don’t mind sharing…what is the first thing that turns you off from a book and makes you put it away without ever finishing it?