I've got a lot going on right now. Not only am I finishing the third book of my Awakening Series, but I'm knee deep in prepping for promotion for Extreme Love and The Awakening: Aidan.
I'd like to take this moment to thank my publicists at Entangled. I've already learned so much from them in the week and half since our conference call than I have in trying to do promotion on my own over the last few years. I'm amazed at the wealth of knowledge the entire publicity team has, and feel very fortunate they are sharing it with me.
Seriously, I had a conference call last Saturday. I was on the phone with Morgan, Babs and Dani and most of the time what they were saying was like Greek to me. I just listened as they tossed around these ideas, and couldn't help but smile because I knew I was in great hands. I might not have understand a dang thing they were saying, but I was confident they knew what the hell they were doing.
So thank you Morgan, Babs and Dani for being as excited about my releases as I am. You guys rock!!!
I'm sorta participating in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop. I say sorta because I didn't really get anyone else to participate. I'm breaking the rules! :)
I'd like to thank my friend, Elizabeth Delisi, who tagged me to do this. Elizabeth is a multi-published, award-winning author of romance, mystery and suspense. Her time-travel romance set in ancient Egypt, Lady of the Two Lands, won a Bloody Dagger Award and was a Golden Rose Award nominee. Her romantic suspense novel, Since All is Passing was an EPPIE Award finalist and Bloody Dagger Award finalist. Fatal Fortune was a Word Museum Reviewer’s Choice Masterpiece. Elizabeth's contemporary romance novella The Heart of the Matter is featured in the Valentine's Day-themed anthology Cupid's Capers and was an EPPIE Award finalist. A Carol of Love is part of Holiday Hearts anthology and an EPPIE Award finalist. A Cup of Christmas Charm is part of Holiday Hearts 2 anthology and was also an EPPIE Award finalist. Please visit Elizabeth's website and blog.
I'm answering 10 questions about my upcoming release.
1) What is the title of your book? My Daring Highlander
2) Where did the idea come from for this book? The hero and heroine, Keegan MacKay and Seona Murray, were secondary characters in the previous book in the series, My Brave Highlander. There was an instant but forbidden attraction between them. Seona's father insists she marry a chief or titled laird. Keegan is the cousin of a chief. He has no title or property. I find forbidden love to be intriguing and I wanted to explore this difficult situation. I must find a way for the forbidden lovers to be together despite the impossible circumstances!
3) What genre is your book? Scottish historical romance. It is set in 1619.
6) Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency? I'm choosing to self-publish it instead of submitting it to any publishers or agents.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? The first draft took about a month to write. I'm still working on the final draft.
8) What other books would you compare your story to in this genre? Any of the Highland historical romance novels with lots of romance and adventure.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? I love Highlander books and I love writing my Highland Adventure series. There have been three stories prior to this one, My Fierce Highlander, My Wild Highlander and My Brave Highlander. Each book inspires me to write the next one. Secondary characters then become main characters as I discover their story and write it. I get emails and reader reviews telling me they want the next book. I'm more than happy to provide that for them! :) Also, the beautiful landscapes, scenery and castles of Scotland inspire me on the settings and locations where the stories take place. This story is set from Assynt to Dornie to the area near Inverness. Sutherland and the Western Highlands have some of the most spectacular and memorable views. Part of the story is set at Eilean Donan Castle, but I've given my castle at Dornie a fictional name.
|Eilean Donan Castle|
|the Assynt area of Sutherland|
Here is the beginning of My Daring Highlander:
My friend Lacey Savage started sharing quotations on Facebook and Twitter and it got me thinking that this was a perfect time - the beginning of my life as a full time writer - to check out my collection of quotations and share some of them with you on this last Monday morning of January 2013.
My favorite - pinned to the wall & looked at every day:
"I'm not telling you it's going to be easy. I'm telling you it's going to be worth it."
- Art Williams
Not much in this life come easy, and those things we need to strive for are that much more special when we achieve them. Think of the characters in our stories and what they need to overcome.
Others on my cork board wall:
"Don't Stop Believing!" - and it's okay if it makes you think of Journey. Or Glee. Go ahead and sing along. And don't stop believing in your dreams.
"What can I do TODAY to help me reach my goal?"
This came from a goal setting workshop I took once upon a time and I'm sorry to say I never wrote down who gave that to me. Sometimes as we look down the road, the destination we're headed for seems so far away. The number of steps we need to take so many that it's easy to give up. But if you just focus on what you can do today, eg. Write 100 words. Come up with new, exciting blurb. Read a chapter in a craft book. Something. Anything to bring you one step closer. And then tomorrow it may be easier to do even more.
And a couple from the massive list I have saved to my hard drive:
"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
We're not going to make it every time we try. Rejections will keep coming. Your editor may leave. Your publisher may fold. That book you fell in love with may not do as well as you hoped in sales. Keep going. Keep trying.
"Jump into the middle of things, get your hands dirty, fall flat on your
face, and then reach for the stars."
- Joan Curcio
As the first month of the new year draws to an end, what quotes inspire you to keep going? Keep trying? Keep believing?
Silken Canvas - available now
- Keep your characters, locations, and plot to a minimum. Remember, a novella is a simple story, simply told. In my novella THE BET (Secrets, Volume 27, Red Sage Publishing) the entire story takes place over one weekend at a Victorian country house. Besides the hero and heroine, I’ve included only one other character -- the heroine’s brother, who is the antagonist and the catalyst for the story. He sets the entire tale in motion when he manipulates the hero into an outrageous wager. THE BET has one setting, one major conflict, two main characters, and one antagonist. The perfect recipe for a novella.
- Include an absolute minimum of back story. Tell your readers only what they need to know to make them understand your characters’ motivations. For example, in THE DISCIPLINARIAN, my hero Jared, the shadowy legend of the title, has never failed to turn a difficult wife into a dutiful spouse -- but not in the way their husbands expect. Years ago, Jared’s sister had been beaten to death by her spouse, so Jared now feels an obligation to help other women avoid the same fate. Clarissa, in this story, is that woman. So you see how I’ve used a tiny bit of back story to explain Jared’s altruistic motivation. That’s all you need.
Leonidas Danae Vorenus, commander of Rome’s prestigious Sixth legion, is ordered to establish a strategic outpost in Gaul after its surrender to Julius Caesar. But on the way to his new post, Leonidas is seriously wounded in an ambush. Only one person can save his life, and she’s his sworn enemy.
However, the relationship between conqueror and conquered soon evolves into much more. Solange and Leo’s forced intimacy ignites an unexpected attraction, and prompts the two enemies to look beyond the reason for their hatred to explore the equally powerful emotion simmering underneath.
So. As you can see, I’ve used one major
conflict, two main characters, and one antagonist to create the ideal structure
for a novella. Once you’ve learned the formula, the stories practically write
themselves. Your job is simply to come up with an interesting idea!
A couple of weeks ago we hiked to Crabtree Falls, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC (MP 339.5). It's about 15 miles north of Mount Mitchell, which we've visited a few times. Even though it was January, it was a warm cloudy day, in the 60s. The restaurant and campground were closed because it’s the offseason. We parked at the restaurant and walked the extra distance to reach the trailhead.
This strenuous hike is a 2 1/2 mile loop, but if you have to park further away as we did the length is increased. I think we walked about three miles total. The trail winds down a mountain to the falls, and then back up on the return. There were at least three long sets of stone steps that looked as if they belonged in a medieval castle.
The tree above in the center of the stream is a crabtree and this is where the waterfall gets it's current name. In the past, before it was part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, it was called Murphy's Falls. There used to be a small community nearby. The name was changed to Crabtree falls by the National Park Service.
I hope you enjoyed this virtual trip to Crabtree Falls. :)
1. Everyone I talk to asks me how I like retirement - like I'm going to say, oh no! I changed my mind, I WANT to go back to all that stress I've been complaining about for years! My mother actually said I might feel differently in a year. Really? I don't see that happening.
2. I don't really consider myself retired. I'm still working. Just at a different job. A job I love. Doing what I've always wanted to do.
3. I LOVE waking up without the alarm clock. One of the BEST things as far as I'm concerned. I'm still usually awake around 6 am anyway, but that's okay. I don't want to sleep my whole morning away.
4. I've been getting a lot of writing done. Yay! I love writing in the mornings and am so afraid I could fritter away this precious time I've been given. I dove into a new story and I'm loving it. Only one day last week did I not get my minimum word count done, and that was because my daughter and the little guy came over. Yeah, I figure I'm allowed cuddle time.
5. I've been thinking a lot about the way my career is headed. Where I want it to go. What changes I might want to make. What opportunities I might want to explore. It's exciting. A little scary. One of those crystal balls might be nice, to make sure I make the right decisions, but I guess I'll just have to do the best I can.
6. I've also worked to organize and clean up my office space. It's still a work in progress, but it is nice to work with less clutter.
7. The Internet, and social media especially, are tempting distractions. I tell myself to shut down my internet access until I get my words done, but I haven't quite been able to do that. I figure as long as I DO get my words done, I'm not going to worry about it right now.
8. I'm fitting exercise into each day. I've let that slide for the past few years and it feels great to be moving again.
9. I don't dread Mondays anymore!
10. I'm happy.
Have a great week!
Silken Canvas - available now