Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WIP Wednesday


Normally I enjoy revisions. I especially love them when I have endless pages of notes. That wasn't the case this past week. I had so many notes to sort through, I felt like I was doing a 2,000 plus jigsaw puzzle and couldn't find the crucial corner piece. Why, oh why, did I have so many notes for one chapter?


I was overwhelmed by my notes. So what did I do? I worked on a different chapter.


Days passed. I made great progress on that other chapter. Unfortunately, the one my CP is waiting to read just sat there gathering dust...until I forced myself to sit down and tackle my notes. 

Of course, that's when my laptop decided to get an attitude and wouldn't let me open Word.


Apparently some updates were corrupted. Or the laptop was possessed. I'm still not sure which one is the truth. Anyway, my hubby fixed the problem. It took him an entire night to figure out what was wrong, but in the end he saved the day. Hooray for hubbies who can fix computers, even though they don't work for Google.


The very next day I got to work on my revisions. I started with a plan: to organize my notes. I didn't worry about dialogue tags or pretty prose. Instead I cut and pasted until my notes were in order, and then I began to flesh out the scenes. And you know what? It worked.



The moral of my story: Ignore the big picture if it scares you. Focus on smaller goals instead -- whatever helps you hurdle the obstacles in your path. Also, never give up. No matter where you are in your process, just keep moving forward. It's the only way to get ahead and reach your goals. 
Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cold Cause


From the time of Louis XIV, the French court was a magnet and a model for nobles from all over Europe and even as far away as Russia.

Marie Antoinette (2006)
In fact, Elizabeth Petrovna, Empress of Russia from 1741 to 1762, imported all her clothes from France, shunning the homegrown finery. Her court soon followed suit, and from mid-century on, grew immersed in French language and culture, as well as dress. Her successor, Catherine II, disgusted with the extravagance of French dress, attempted to turn the tide -- but to no avail.

Marie Antoinette (2006)

Other European rulers passed similar edicts to curb yearnings of their glamor-hungry subjects. The most successful was King Gustav III Sweden, who designed a national dress and decreed that nobles must wear it, instead of lavish French style.

Gustav III:s äktenskap, a Swedish mini-series (2001)
He won out only because the climate was on his side. Vast panniers, garlanded silks, and fine leather shoes could not withstand the snowbound Swedish winters.

Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day in the Middle Ages


Valentine's Day gained popularity during the Middle Ages. Lovers celebrated the day by exchanging love notes and simple gifts such as flowers. The idea of linking Valentine's Day with love in the Middle Ages was strengthened by the notion that birds began to look for a mate during this time.

Adelaide Kane and Toby Regbo, Reign (2013-)

In fourteenth and fifteenth century France and England, poets further promoted the concept of linking Valentine's Day with romantic love. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote in the 14th century Parlement of Foules:

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day'
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

The first known Valentine is said to have been written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.

Max Irons and Rebecca Ferguson, The White Queen (2013)

Historians also say that Saint Valentine of Rome sent a letter signed "From your Valentine" to his sweetheart, who was the jailer's daughter, a day before he was executed on February 14, 498 AD. This phrase is still popular among lovers.

One very popular legend of Valentine's Day states that the festival originated from the Feast of Lupercalia -- a fertility festival celebrated in mid February by ancient Roman during pagan times. The festival paired young boys and girls through a lottery system who would fall in love and marry.

Courtesy of stvalentinesday.org
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

WIP Wednesday

Sometimes I doubt myself and wonder if I should give up my dream of becoming a published author.


Today is NOT one of those days. =)
Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WIP Wednesday


Monday is a hard day for me to get into "Writing Mode". There always seems to be a lot of things I need to accomplish on the first day of the week, and I struggle to open my WIP.


 I need to spread out my chores throughout the week. I think it'll help me squeeze in some writing time.
Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Releases


  HISTORICAL ROMANCE
 
EARLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN
Covent Garden Cubs, Book One
By Shana Galen
February 3, 2015


A master thief...
Marlowe runs with the Covent Garden Cubs, a gang of thieves living in the slums of Seven Dials. It's a fierce life, and Marlowe has a hard outer shell. But when she's alone, she allows herself to remember a forbidden time and name.

A lord suffering from ennui...
Maxwell, Lord Dane, is bored with the same balls, the same debutantes, and the same demands from his mother. When an investigator locates the lost daughter of the Marquess of Lyndon, Dane is intrigued. He agrees to introduce the girl to Society and assist in tutoring her in etiquette, but the lady is a less than agreeable pupil.

Descent into a criminal underworld...
Marlowe knows she'll never escape the Covent Garden Cubs. She's not safe, even among the diamonds and silks gracing the new King's ballroom. Satin, the gang's leader, plans a major racket and needs Marlowe's talents to succeed. When Dane stands in Satin's way, the earl enters a world of danger and violence, where the student has become the teacher and love is the greatest danger of all.

I love the premise of this book.



  PARANORMAL HISTORICAL ROMANCE
 
THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE
Electric Empire, Book One
By Viola Carr
February 10, 2015


In an electric-powered Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with inventive new technological gadgets. Now, a new killer is splattering London in blood, drugging beautiful women and slicing off their limbs. Catching the Chopper will make Eliza’s career - or get her burned. Because Eliza has a dark secret. A seductive second self, set free by her father’s forbidden magical elixir: wild, impulsive Lizzie Hyde.

 When the Royal Society sends their Enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she’s a sorcerer, Eliza must resist the elixir with all her power. But as the Chopper case draws her into London’s luminous magical underworld, Eliza will need all the help she can get. Even if it means getting close to Lafayette, who harbors an evil curse of his own.
Even if it means risking everything and setting vengeful Lizzie free …

 I'm not a huge Steampunk fan, but I'm intrigued by the premise of this debut book.


SOULBOUND
Darkest London, Book Six
Kristen Callihan
February 24, 2015


When Adam's soul mate rejected him, there was more at stake than his heart. After seven hundred years of searching, his true match would have ended the curse that keeps his spirit in chains. But beautiful, stubborn Eliza May fled-and now Adam is doomed to an eternity of anguish, his only hope for salvation gone . . .

No matter how devilishly irresistible Adam was, Eliza couldn't stand the thought of relinquishing her freedom forever. So she escaped. But she soon discovers she is being hunted-by someone far more dangerous. The only man who can help is the one man she vowed never to see again. Now Adam's kindness is an unexpected refuge, and Eliza finds that some vows are made to be broken . . .

I love this series!!



  NEW ADULT

SAVING QUINTON
Breaking Nova, Book Two
By Jessica Sorensen
February 4, 2015


Nova Reed can't forget him -- Quinton Carter, the boy with the honey-brown eyes who made her realize she deserved more than an empty life. His pain was so similar to her own. But Nova has been coming to terms with her past and healing, while Quinton is out there somewhere, sinking deeper. She's determined to find him and help him...before it's too late.

Nova has haunted his dreams for nearly a year -- but Quinton never thought a sweet, kind person like her would care enough about a person like him. To Quinton, a dark, dangerous life is exactly what he deserves. And Nova has no place in it. But Nova has followed him to Las Vegas, and now he must do whatever it takes to keep her away, to maintain his self-imposed punishment for the unforgivable things he's done. But there's one flaw in his plan: Nova isn't going anywhere...

I have the first book in this series on my Kindle. I need to read it this year, now that the sequel is out.

What's on your must-read list this month? Do share!

Book blurbs from authors' website.
Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Wrap-Up


It's the last day of January and time for a monthly wrap-up post.

January was a decent month in spite of the cold weather. I may not have crossed everything off my must-do list, but I did something.


Writing

1) Revise All the Words. I revised another chapter. Five times. And then I sent it off to my CP, Natalie.


She gave me a lot of helpful feedback, which made me rethink my action sequences.



I revised the chapter again, sent it off to Nat, and got her seal of approval. Only a few teeny tiny tweaks were required to make the chapter everything I wanted.



2) All the Pretty Photos. I updated the photos on my blog. Want to see? Click here, here, and here

3) Craft Attack. I got crafty and created some promo images for my WIP.

4) Show Me the Money. I renewed my RTBookReviews subscription.

Personal


 1) Sweet Tooth Treats. I indulged in pizza and a cupcake at my mom's birthday celebration.


2) Movie Marathon. My BFF and I saw four movies in one weekend.


3) Books, Glorious Books! I read 3.5 books.

How was your month? Did you do anything fun or noteworthy? Do share!
Friday, January 23, 2015

My Friday Love


Things I loved this past week...

The White Queen. I finally got around to watching, The White Queen. It's been on my DVR for-evah. God only knows what took me so long to hit the "play" button on this Starz miniseries, since I liked Philippa Gregory's book very much. Anyway, I'm glad I started watching the show this week. OMGILOVEIT!


The royal wardrobe make this period drama geekette drool like Pavlov's dog.


Rebecca Ferguson, who I adored in The Red Tent, is freakin' fabulous as Elizabeth Woodville.


And Good Glory, Max Irons! *swoon* He's oh-so-sexy and excellent as King Edward IV.


Of course, now I really need to read the entire Cousins' War series by Philippa Gregory. It's been on my must-read list for far too long.

Seattle Seahawks. We did it!! We're going to the Super Bowl!! Again!!



GO HAWKS!!!!!!

What are you loving this week? Do share!
Monday, January 12, 2015

Treasure Hunt


Medieval Angelican law decreed that a mother must bequeath land, slaves, and money to her sons -- the only things she could pull a King Lear on with her daughters were rings, bracelets, and necklaces. So one of the unsung heroes of the Middle Ages was the jeweler.

Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
A badgers tooth ring guaranteed to bring wealth.

A toadstone ring with the ability to change color in the presence of poison in food or drink wasn't a bad thing to have around if you had a large inheritance and didn't trust your relatives.

A cameo embossed with your portrait was suitable for sealing letters.

A wolf's tooth on a chain acted as a charm against assault.

Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
Thursday, January 1, 2015

January Releases

  HISTORICAL ROMANCE
 
THE MILLIONAIRE ROGUE
The Hope Diamond Trilogy, Book Two
By Jessica Peterson
January 6, 2015


Though not of noble birth, Thomas Hope has a skill in banking that’s made him one of the richest, most trusted men in London. Still, he keeps his dubious past hidden. So when an old acquaintance calls on Hope to help acquire the infamous French Blue Diamond, he’s desperate to be discreet. He never expects that his biggest concern shouldn’t be losing his reputation, but his heart…

Sophia Blaise is determined to make a brilliant match with this season’s most eligible, most titled bachelor, but her true passion has been ignited by the incredible stories she hears while secretly transcribing the memoirs of a notorious Madam. After a night of clandestine writing ends with Sophia caught up in a scandalous adventure of her own—with an alluring banker—she begins to question whether she’s suited to the proper life she’s always known…

Caught up in a thrilling exploit and unexpected romance, Sophia must make a choice between what her head knows is safe and what her heart desperately desires, before both slip from her grasp forever...

 I look forward to reading this historical romance. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series.


PLAYING THE RAKE'S GAME
Rakes of the Caribbean, Book One

By Bronwyn Scott
January 1, 2015


Emma Ward is in trouble. The devilishly handsome part-owner of her beloved Caribbean sugar plantation has arrived, and clearly he doesn't trust her. But his eyes promise pleasures she can only imagine. Maybe there's a way to get him onside…

Ren Dryden may be fresh off the boat from London, but he knows when a woman is playing him—and when she's as intriguing as the alluring Emma, he's more than happy to play back!

But several sultry nights and secrets shared later, Ren realizes just how high the stakes are in this game of seduction!

I've never read this author before, but I'm intrigued by the unusual setting.



What's on your must-read list this month? Do share!

Book blurbs from authors' website.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year End Wrap-Up




Goodbye 2014. Hello 2015!

Another shiny new year is upon us, and I'm ready for a fresh start. 2014 wasn't such a bad year, but I'm looking forward to 2015. It's a new beginning and anything is possible. 

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions. I prefer to set small goals throughout the year. While I can't claim complete success, I'm not disappointed by my efforts to reach my goals this year. I crushed my self-doubt -- my biggest weakness -- and continued to write.

Here are my 2014 goals and how I fared:  
 

1. Finish Wild Highland Bride. Write the synopsis and query. This is my top priority. I will do it!

Well, that didn't happen. *le sigh*




My life changed drastically when my new puppy joined my little family in June. Milla required all of my attention, and I'm afraid my writing suffered. It took a long while before I found a writing schedule that worked. 

2. Write detailed outlines for the next two novellas in the Wild Highlands trilogy.

I realized this trilogy should only be two books. 



So I created a rough outline and first page for
Wild Highland Hero, which is Liam's story.


3. Start writing another novella.

Does an idea for a new novella count?



4. Write every day. One of my biggest weakness -- besides self-doubt -- is my inability to write every day. I need to do this in 2014. I don't even care how many words I write. Seriously. I'm not one to go crazy over daily word count goals. I just need to write every day.

I didn't tackle this goal until November, when I challenged myself to write every day or else. It went swimmingly.



I learned that writing every day does wonders for my motivation, word count, and creativity. Amazing insights bubbled up. My confidence soared. Accomplished writers are not wrong when they advise newbies to write every day. It makes a huge difference, IMO.

5. Earn RWA Pro status.

I obviously did not meet this goal, since I didn't finish my story.



6. Finish first draft of my medieval -- either Her Heart's Desire or A Warrior's Crusade.

This didn't happen either.


On the bright side, I decided which story to work on next.


7. Revamp my blog and create a website.

I revamped my blog. I love the fleur-de-lis design. It's so me.



8. Come up with a tagline.

With the help of my CP, I chose a tagline: History Made Sexy.



9. Continue to critique for my CP, Natalie Murphy.

Done. I can't wait to critique more in January.



11. Research Marie Antoinette and the Elizabethan era.

I bought two research books on both eras. I need to read them soon.


12. Buy more cool research books.

I added three new research books and one craft book to my library.


13. Continue to network with writers and readers on Facebook and Twitter.

I did, and I enjoyed it very much. I'm also now on Tsu, though Facebook and Twitter are still my favorite ways to connect with other writers and readers.


"No Excuses. No Regrets. Never give up. Never surrender."
-Natalie Murphy & Jena Lang


I didn't reach my goal to read 50 books in 2014. I fell short by 14. *shakes fist at sky* I need to read more. Period.

My main goal for 2015 is to accomplish what I didn't accomplish in 2014. I can do it, I know I can. I'm very close to finishing my story. I feel more focused than ever. I will not give up.


How was your year? Did you achieve your goals?
Friday, December 19, 2014

My Friday Love


Things I loved this past week...


Hart of Dixie.
Good news Bluebell fans...Hart of Dixie returned on Tuesday. Squeeee! This is the best early Christmas gift ever! I adore this show, it's cast, and Zade (aka Zoey and Wade).


I can't wait to see what's in store for these kooky characters. They make me smile, laugh, cry, ooo, and aww every week.

Gift Wrapping.
I spent all Sunday morning wrapping Christmas gifts. It put me in a holiday mood.



A Sweet Treat.
My hubby bought me a Christmas cupcake from our favorite bakery.



Blue Labyrinth.
I'm currently reading Blue Labyrinth, the fourteenth book in the Special Agent Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

I don't usually read a lot of thrillers, but I never miss a Pendergast novel. I love this series and the entire cast of characters. The plots are always engaging, and Pendergast is one of my all-time favorite characters.

The first book, Relic, was made into a movie sans Pendergast. I'd love to see all of the books made into a TV mini series. I've always thought Paul Bettany would make the perfect Pendergast.

Hallmark Christmas Movies. I serious have a problem. I'm addicted to Hallmark Christmas movies. I've been watching them since Halloween.


Sure, the plots and characters in these movies are predictable and formulaic, but I don't care. I love 'em. The guys are adorable. The girlfriends are cool. The stories are all about hope, love, romance, second chances, and new beginnings. And they put me in the holiday mood. What's not to love?

What are you loving this week? Do share!