Listen With Your Heart & Interview w/ Barbara Scott
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'm talking to Barbara Scott about her historical romance which is partially set in Ireland. Barbara, please tell us about yourself and your books.

BS: I grew up wanting to be a writer, but wound up earning a living in my "fall back" career, teaching. Still, when I finally finished the novel I began in high school, I found I couldn't quit until I'd written a trilogy. It took me twenty years to write that first one and three months each to write the other two. Now, I'm retired from teaching and am in the educational consulting and textbook writing business with two friends and fellow retirees. My first published novel, TUG OF WAR, a YA historical, was a Golden Heart winner. HAUNTS OF THE HEART, the first of that trilogy, is a Civil War ghost story. LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART is my Irish historical. And CAST A PALE SHADOW, a romantic suspense, will be out in June from Triskelion Publishing. I'm working on a Western historical now. I know I should specialize in one subgenre or another, but I continue to follow my heart.

VS: You've had several books published. Please tell us about your Irish set historical.

BS: LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART begins in 1871 at the Chicago fire, moves to the streets of New York and finally to the wild, dangerous coast of Ireland. It tells the story of Daniel Connolly, a popular Irish tenor, and Morgan Gable. She first loves him from afar then, in a twist of fate, agrees to a marriage of convenience. Daniel needs her to save him from deportation or worse, the treacherous political legacy of his late wife, a supporter of The Fenian Brotherhood, an early version of the IRA.

VS: Do you have a review you could share with us?

BS: "A rousing tale... impeccably researched" Shirl Henke, author of The Texas Viscount.
"The talented Barbara Scott has crafted an engaging, heartwarming romance in Listen With Your Heart. If you love a story with a charming Irish hero, an intrepid heroine and a wee bit of mystery, don't miss this one!" Carol Carson, author of Fortune's Treasure.

A CAPTIVATING MUST READ
Reviewer: A reader on Amazon.com
"Listen With Your Heart pulled me in by the end of the first page. I was unable to set the book down until I was done with it and now I'm ready to read it again. I was captivated by the poetic writing and descriptive language. I became the character in the story! It is one of the best romantic books that I have read in a long time. I can't wait to read more about these characters!"

VS: What is it about Ireland that draws you to want to write about it's landscape and people?

BS: I'm of Irish heritage and my father was born on St. Patrick's Day. So I grew up with a romantic yearning for all things Irish. I'm inspired by their history and their struggle and by the incredibly beautiful land so many of them were forced to abandon. While writing, I surrounded myself with photos and travel posters and regularly visited websites such as http://sneem.com/skelligs/skelligsmain.html

VS: Who is your favorite character in the book and why? How does he/she grow and change over the course of the story?

BS: Though I loved my hero and heroine, I had to be careful that Brian Falkner, a defrocked priest, Fenian, and murder suspect, didn't take over too much of the plot. When we first meet him he is in hiding as a footman for the villainess. He does some terrible things that wind up forcing Morgan into Daniel's protection. But, in the end, he puts himself in danger to rescue Morgan and Daniel. I may wind up with a sequel for Falkner someday to complete his redemption.

VS: Sounds fantastic! Barbara, thanks for being my guest here! Please visit Barbara Scott's website at http://www.barbarascottink.com/ for excerpts of her books and more.
A Sale & Lost Update
I sold another short story! Woohoo! "Choosing a Dad" will be in the June issue of True Romance. As the name implies, it's a Father's Day story. A boy plays matchmaker between his single mom and a cool new neighbor he wants for a dad. Now if only his mom will go along with his plan and marry this man, the boy will have a father like the other kids at his school.

As for Lost, I didn't talk about it last week because, well... I wasn't really inspired to. Things happened but not fantastic, phenomenal things. This week a couple secrets and surprises were revealed. The most interesting of which was that two of the Lost regulars are half-brother and sister. If you didn't watch last night, can you guess which two? If you did watch, wasn't that a surprise? Another surprise is that apparently Jack is enjoying living with the Others. Maybe they have him brainwashed?? Kate is certainly shocked to see him playing football and laughing with "Zeke" or whatever his name is (the one with the fake beard.) And Desmond supposedly saves Charlie's life again. Hmm. A Scotsman with second sight. Okay, I'll buy that.
Aidan's Chance & Interview w/Judi Lynne
Today I have the pleasure of talking with fellow Celtic Hearts member Judi Lynne about her new book, Aidan's Chance, an intriguing romance set in medieval Scotland.
Judi Lynne always loved to read. Excited by romance novels and the emotions they elicited, Judi decided to think seriously about writing. Her first attempt occurred in twelfth grade when she wrote a short story about her first love.

Now a school librarian, she helps students become excited about reading. She feels fortunate to have the time after work to weave tales for other romance readers and create a place where there is a happily-ever-after.

Ms. Lynne is a member of the Phi Kappa Delta Honor Society, Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, and a founding member of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. She received a BA in English and Library Science from Shepherd University and a MA in Communications from West Virginia University. She lives two miles from where she grew up with her husband of twenty-seven years.

Please tell us about your latest release.


JL: Aidan’s Chance is book one of the Rothirforde Trilogy which will transport readers into the world of lairds, castles, knights, and romance. Romance readers will enter the world of medieval Scotland and enjoy the stories of the Rothirfordes as it spans three generations from Laird Nicholas at Castile Manor to Kylee at Asberry Castle. Encounter the mysterious evil Dark Knight and relive his tale of revenge. Suffer along with Aidan as he learns to love again. Cheer for Kylee as she fights for the Scottish cause. Help Erin discover the Scottish highlands. Most of all, enjoy!

In Aidan’s Chance, a regular visit for beautiful, strong-willed Kaitlin Wakefield from her English manor to her grandmother’s turns dangerous when she leaves her home unescorted and is caught trespassing on Scottish soil. Nothing has prepared Kaitlin for her punishment—being a nursemaid for a young baby—the daughter of not only her family’s neighbors but also their enemy.

Laird Aidan Rothirforde, widower and single parent, was not pleased when ordered by his brother to house the daughter of the man accused of killing his father. Besides worrying for his child, he is forced to reckon with the woman who is as stubborn and willful as he is.

Despite their spirited clash of wills, they put past feuds aside for the child’s welfare. The hatred they should feel is replaced by a forbidden passion burning inside and drawing them together. However, secrets, family loyalty, and a mysterious evil known only as the Dark Knight endanger them both, and they risk everything for the one chance of glorious love.

Please tell us about your favorite character in the book.


JL: Aidan, the hero in the book, in my favorite character. He reminds me of what I would love to see in a husband. He is not afraid to show his love and concern for his daughter while still exhibiting the strength of body and character. He allows Kaitlin to speak her mind, and though he may not agree with her, he still listens. He is loyal to family and friends, and stands up for what he believes, no matter who it offends. He does not allow emotions to control his actions. He would champion his love and would die trying to protect her from anything he perceives as evil, even at the risk of his own life. I consider him the ideal knight in shining armor.

What do you wish you’d known before becoming published?

JL: I wish I would have known how long it actually takes to see a book in print. From the time an author gets the call and signs the contract, a year to 18 months may pass. Waiting for the day the book is released from the printer is almost unbearable, but it is definitely worth it.
Thank you for being a guest on my blog! Ms. Lynne always enjoys hearing from her readers at judilynne@judilynne.com Also please visit her website at www.judilynne.com
Edinburgh
I've scheduled a trip to Scotland for June! Woohoo!! I'm so excited! Here is where we'll start our journey.

"Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since 1437. The origin of the city's name is said to come from the Brythonic Din Eidyn (Fort of Eidyn) from the time when it was a Gododdin hillfort. In the census of 2001, Edinburgh had a total resident population of 448,624, making it the 7th largest city in the United Kingdom. "

"Edinburgh Castle (above) is an ancient fortress which, from its position atop Castle Rock, dominates the sky-line of the city of Edinburgh, and is Scotland's most famous (and most visited) landmark. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC. As it stands today though, few of the castle's structures pre-date the 16th century.

The Castle stands upon the basalt plug of an extinct volcano which is estimated to have risen some 340 million years ago during the lower Carboniferous age. Standing 121.92 metres (400 feet) above sea level, the Castle Rock is a classic example of a crag and tail formation.
In the 1st century the Romans recorded the Votadini as a Brythonic tribe in the area, and about 600 the poem Y Gododdin, using the Brythonic form of that name, describes warriors feasting "in Eidin's great hall".
The city is affectionately nicknamed Auld Reekie, Scots for Old Smoky. This is because when the only fuels available were coal and wood, all the chimneys would spew lots of smoke into the air. "

"The Scott Monument (above) is a Victorian gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. It stands in Princes Street Gardens. It is built from Binnie shale quarried in nearby Livingston; the oil which continues to leech from its matrix has helped to glue the notoriously filthy atmosphere of Victorian Edinburgh to the tower, leaving it an unintended sooty-black color. It is often noted for looking like a "gothic rocket ship."


"The Palace of Holyroodhouse (aka Holyrood Palace) (above) has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scotland since the 15th century. After James VI became King of England in 1603 and moved to London, the palace was no longer the seat of a permanent royal court. James visited it again in 1617 as did Charles I in 1633, when he was crowned as King of Scotland in Holyrood Abbey. In modern times, monarchs have spent at least one week every year formally holding court in the Palace in Edinburgh. The present Queen still uses it when she is in Scotland for State occasions."

Check out Edinburgh at night. In summer, it doesn't get dark here until about midnight, then the sun rises a couple hours later, around 2 or 3 am.

"Famous people from Edinburgh:
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was born in the city's New Town
J. K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, wrote her first book in Edinburgh coffee shop, Nicolson's Cafe
Sir Sean Connery, actor, famed as the first James Bond
Shirley Manson, lead singer for the band Garbage "
(Historical Information quoted from Wikipedia)
Point of View

A writing topic recently discussed in two of my chapter email loops is point of view (POV). This is a subject that causes a lot of controversy among writers because everyone does it differently. In the world of romance writing there are certain "rules," though I'm not even sure who came up with these rules. Bestselling authors get away with writing the way they want and ask, "Rules? What rules? When I started, I switched POV anytime I wanted and still do." Some switch POV five or ten times in one page, even within one sentence. New or unpublished authors are stuck in the trap of having to follow the rules of one POV per scene (or no more than one switch in POV per scene) or get terrible contest scores back and rejections from editors and agents. Neither method is wrong, just a preference. And your placement in the publishing world dictates which rules you can break.

Words associated with different kinds of POV are...
head-hopping: switching multiple times from heroine's head to hero's head to secondary character's head within a page.
omniscient POV: viewing the scene from a God-like perspective where you know all.
deep POV: being deep inside one person's psyche for a long stretch. Knowing only what that person knows and taking in info from their perceptions. Having their thoughts and filtering everything through their mind.
first person: when the POV character is from the "I" perspective.
third person: when the POV character is a he or she.

There is no right or wrong way to do POV so long as you do it well. I am a POV purist up to a point. When I'm in one POV, I stay there for a while, like say, half a scene. I don't head-hop nor enjoy reading books that head-hop every paragraph because it's distracting and I'm always conscious I'm reading. It prevents me from getting that fantasy escape, probably because I know the "rules". Before I started writing, head-hopping didn't bother me.


I used to put a scene break anytime I changed pov, mid-scene or whatever because other writers told me I had to. Well, I stopped doing that (probably because someone said I should, ack, rules!) and I like the way I do the pov changes now much better with no scene break. I try to use the Suzanne Brockman method of switching. I think she's the one who teaches it. Wondering what this is? She can explain it much better than I can, but basically it's where you have a section deep in one character's pov, then you write a line or two of almost omniscient POV, or neutral POV, (you're in no one's head.) This can feature a setting detail or something, describing what a secondary character or walk-on is doing, then you slip into the other character's head with the next sentence while the reader was distracted. And use the character's name with the first sentence in his/her head. So it's like taking a camera from one person's shoulder, lifting it up and placing it on the other person's shoulder, except going deeper than a camera because you know the character's thoughts.

I love doing hero POV. I think it's a lot of fun and I've been told it's one of my strengths. My books are about 50/50 with hero/heroine. I also do villain POV in my last two novel manuscripts, and that has been an interesting learning experience. My short stories are first person from one POV only, usually the heroine.

To decide when to switch POV or whose POV to use in a scene, I use gut instinct. Whichever seems more interesting and fitting. Whoever has the most at stake. If a scene isn't working from one character's POV, I'll go back and rewrite the scene in the other character's POV. I find this often fixes scenes that just feel wrong, especially if it's a big conflict scene and both characters need strong motivation. Sometimes in order for a certain character to remain sympathetic, it needs to be in their POV so their motivation is clear to the reader.

How do you feel about POV?
Introverts & Extroverts
I found this cool quiz and took it. I've always thought of myself as fairly introverted and even scored this way on the Myers-Briggs. Most writers are. But I'm not a total hermit. :-) I also love to spend time with good friends, talking, or email them a lot. And this quiz picked up on that. I'm taking a great workshop right now called "Introverts and Extroverts: Creating a Career Plan Built on Your Strengths," with Gwen Shuster-Haynes. So far, it's wonderful and I'm already getting neat ideas of things I can do for promo and marketing once I'm published.

You Are An Intro-Extrovert!

Sometimes you're social - sometimes you're shy
You've got a bit of an Introvert / Extrovert split going on
You enjoy all sorts of situations. Parties, small groups, and alone time.
Too much of one, and you'll long for the other. You need varity!
Chances are, you've got both serious and fun friends - and they don't get along.


If you take this quiz, please post your results here and how you feel about them.
Lines & Lost
Not to sound repetative but I've made it to the next round of the First Line contest. Woohoo!!! You can find my lines posted on the Feb 26 entry on Karin Tabke's blog
Comment # 42.

Time to chime in about Lost again! (Sorry, can't get enough.) :-) I loved last night's show. It had a lot of humor but also those weird things only Lost can deliver, like the dog, Vincent, finding an arm with a key chain attached. This show featured Hurley and more of his backstory. He won the lottery with "the numbers" (as we already know) and was supposedly cursed after that because lots of terrible things happened to those around him. So Vincent leads him to a VW van which appears to have wrecked on the island 20+ years ago while making a beer run. The skeleton inside is named Roger. Hurley is looking for hope and feels if he can get the van cranked the curse will be lifted and he'll have hope again. The conflict between Kate and Sawyer is again raised because apparently Sawyer is afraid of intimacy, argh! (typical male) and is thrilled to find beer in the van. When Hurley wants to push the van off a steep mountain with him and Charlie inside in order to jump it off, everyone thinks he's crazy. So Sawyer says "It's your funeral," and helps push him off. The ride down the mountain was scary as a rollercoaster ride, but miracle of miracles they get it cranked before they crash into the rocks. As for Kate, she searched out the French chick (what was her name?) so she'll lead her to the Others so she can rescue Jack. She then tells her she believes she's found her daughter, taken from her 16 years ago. Finally!
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