In the shade.
It’s been a hot beginning to summer here in SoCal. Perfect time to write . . . or maybe not. It’s hard to think when you’ve got a cold pack on your head, but it’s even harder when you’re writing about Christmas.
Oh, is it. I keep forgetting to put a coat on my heroine or remind her not to forget her gloves. One good thing. The year I’m writing about — 1943 — there was little if any snow in my heroine’s part of the world. Pennsylvania Dutch country. But it was cold. 17 degrees at night. So I fill her up with hot soup — and thank God, coffee wasn’t rationed as much by ’43, but there’ s no hot cocoa. Chocolate went to the servicemen in the form of a D Ration bar — chocolate and filled with vitamins.
The best part about writing this story about a second chance at love via time travel is the love scenes.
Plenty of hot kisses to go around.
So the morale of my little tale is: whether you’re writing about summer or winter, make sure the love scenes are hot!!
Speaking of hot, reenacting the Civil War during the summer months can raise the temps, too, especially if you’re thrust back in time to the Battle of Antietam in 1862.
Like my heroine in LOVE ME FOREVER.
Love Me Forever is a big family saga with lots of angst and sexy heroes…if you like Civil War time travel, two wild, feisty heroines and the men they love, it’s on sale through today, July 11th, for 99 cents!
I’ve worked on this book for a long time…in between other books, always hearing no publisher wants a Civil War book, but I didn’t want to give up on my two feisty heroines and the military men they love…a story that spotlights the women of the Civil War.
I didn’t give up and Love Me Forever was selected as a Kindle Scout Winner!
Family is the theme of LOVE ME FOREVER. Two very different women, Liberty Jordan and Pauletta Sue Buckingham, with different ideas are thrown together in a mad, crazy scheme of spying, lost love, and passionate desire for what they can’t have.
The men they love.
Do they get their men?
Well, it is a romance, but it’s also a wild dramatic journey based on actual events in the Civil War. Liberty and Pauletta Sue will make you cheer, then cry, then hold your breath when it looks like all is lost…
Ends at midnight!
After being sleepless in SoCal all weekend, I checked before I powered down tonight and there she is! Excited that I did it right and fulfilled all the requirements.
It wasn’t easy to enter – writing the book was only the beginning. Formatting it and also doing a print version, getting them linked, right keywords, did both covers myself. Crazy, but I’m just happy to have a chance.
****UPDATED**** Saturday May 20, 2017
That was the deadline looming for the Kindle Storyteller UK 2017 contest (see below for the scoop). I was almost finished with editing, formatting, etc. CRYSTAL GIRL, a prom queen wannabe sells her soul to the devil to get thin, watching the clock. You have to upload a print book as well as an e-book. Formatting an e-book I can do.
The print book.
Well, let’s say I used up a pot of coffee stressing on that one. However, I’m pleased to say that Amazon has made it exceptionally doable for authors to turn their e-books into print. Kudos to them. It takes some studying, a few trial runs, but I did it.
So . . . I uploaded everything before the deadline. I’m all set, right?
No. My entry isn’t there.
At least I can’t find it.
So I emailed Amazon support and they’re helping me figure out what’s happening. So, that’s my update. I did what I set out to do and that in itself is a win. But I’m hoping, really hoping, that my book will show up in the contest. It may take a few days to show up, but I know in my heart I’ve done everything I can.
I love to wish on the stars.
Big ones, little twinkling ones. I’ve always been the type to jump headfirst into a challenge and then wonder later how I’m going to do it. Like the time I was a freshman in high school and I was a newbie on the Speech and Debate Team. The team was entered in a big speech contest over the weekend where each contestant performed a piece in front of judges.
At the last minute, somebody dropped out. I raised my hand and said, “Yeah, I’ll go!” Eyebrows raised. Throats cleared. Obviously, I was not their first choice. Far from it. But I wanted it so bad, the teacher must have seen the stars in my eyes. I was so eager to get out into the world and try out my wings. They had no one else, so I went. This was a Thursday. I needed my speech ready by Saturday.
Too green to know everybody thought I’d freeze up.
Hey, I was fourteen.
By Saturday, I had the speech down. Kinda. Not perfect. But okay, I couldn’t back out now. I’ll never forget the snickers, the whispers when I got up in front of the judges and jumped into my speech. It was a speech about life and its many roads and the choices you make. A bit too mature for me, but what the heck, I forged ahead like I was on a mission to Mars.
Then reality set in. I forgot a line . . . then two. I stopped, grinned like a puppet with its strings cut. Now what?
Thank God I have a bit of blarney in me. I filled in with personal anecdotes about roads my family took. Literally. I talked about our wild adventures living in different places from coast to coast. No one breathed. Or made nasty comments. They just listened.
When I was done, I left the room as fast as my ballet flats could take me. Went to the girls’ restroom and cried.
I messed up.
Or did I?
I don’t believe I did. Even now as I write this, I never forgot the feeling of taking that risk and getting through it even if I wasn’t successful. Just putting myself out there made me grow up.
And in case you’re wondering, here’s how I scored: 4 judges = 2 third places; 1 honorable mention; and 1 second place.
Not bad for a kid at her first speech contest.
So, why am I telling you this?
Because I’m wishing on the stars again. This time it’s the Amazon Kindle Storyteller contest. (Get all the info HERE). A writing contest and the deadline is fast approaching. I have to wrap up my YA Novel entry asap.
God help me, I’ve seen the sun come up the past few days. Did you know the birds start chirping outside my window at 4:30 a.m.?
I’ll fill you in more later about my story with updates here. Post the cover, etc. It’s called CRYSTAL GIRL and it’s the story of a prom queen wannabe who sells her soul to the devil to get thin.
So that’s it for now.
But you know what’s funny to me? I don’t feel any different than I did at fourteen when I jumped into the speech contest and did the best I could. I love the challenge and I trust the storyteller in me to accomplish my goal.
I hope I never lose that feeling.
And I hope I never run out of stars . . .
High school can be such a pain, remember? I do.
Here’s a very short story I wrote about that first kiss.
You can find me on social media at:
Once upon a Story blog
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001IU2P8G
Every room in my house, including all the bathrooms and the basement, has books. My mother and three sisters have similar decorating tastes. A family acquaintance once commented, rather snidely, that it was like we lived in a library. We didn’t keep her around long because who wouldn’t want to live in a library?
If you push me, I will admit to believing that heaven looks a lot like the Huntington Library; a lovely old mansion, seriously great books on the shelves, beautiful art on the walls all surrounded by a stunning garden. Since it’s my heaven, I would include the chamber orchestra playing Mozart that happened to be performing the very first time I visited the Huntington Library, and a Starbucks-free, of course.
I love books. I love the way they look. I love the way they feel in my hands. I love the way they smell–especially old books.
Not just novels, either, although I have tons of those. I also adore math books, especially geometry. I’m mad about all sorts of children’s books from Pat the Bunny and The Spooky Old Tree to The Bridge to Terabithia and Nancy Drew. And knitting books. I have a collection of tiny old books, all about the size of my hand.
But, if I had to pick just three books for my keeper-shelf . . .
Cold Sassy Tree is the story of fourteen-year-old Will Tweedy, his Grandpa Rucker and Grandpa’s scandalous new wife, Miss Love all set in turn-of-the-twentieth-century small town Georgia. This book made me laugh out loud, Will Tweedy’s tall tale about his aunt inflatable bosom. And cry until I couldn’t see to read, Grandpa Rucker and Will Tweedy lining Grandma’s grave with a blanket of roses.
THE END OF ETERNITY by Isaac Asimov
The End of Eternity is a love story. I know. I know. It’s science fiction. But trust me, it is a love story. Andrew Harlan is an Eternal whose job it is to “adjust” time for the greater good of humanity. But every modification has a price –some people’s timelines are changed out of existence. Harlan and other Eternals live in Eternity a place outside of time, so these adjustments have no consequences in their lives. On one of his assignments Harlan meets and falls in love with Noÿs Lambent, who is not an Eternal. If Harlan completes his modification of time, Noÿs will cease to exist. Yet, if he saves her, the resulting paradox will destroy all of Eternity.
THE CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK by Elizabeth Peters
The Crocodile on the Sandbank is the first book in Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody mystery series. Amelia Peabody is a forceful English Victorian spinster with a passion for Egypt, cleaning, and issuing orders. Her match is Radcliffe Emerson who has a passion for Egypt, issuing orders, and as it turns out Amelia. (He doesn’t care so much about cleaning.) This novel has everything I love about traditional mysteries. The setting is historical. The POV is first person. Peabody and Emerson are tons of fun.
So, if you had to pick three novels for your keeper shelf what would they be?
Marianne H Donley
It’s been a rough week.
Make that year.
A lot of stuff going on in my life that sometimes makes me crumble in a heap and ask myself why I keep going.
But I do.
Because I like I what I do. Writing. Some days I love it, other days . . . well, you know the drill.
Recently, I’ve taken on a deadline to write a new book for a Kindle Worlds series (there’s nothing more gratifying than when you’re asked to write for a line), but it’s a short deadline and it’s a genre that’s different than what I’ve been doing (vampires as opposed to princesses — more about that as we hit that March deadline).
But I’m also in a box set with a novella I wrote that releases next week. Now, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with the PBS Civil War series, Mercy Street. It’s simple. After a grueling week of staying up as late as 6 a.m. every night to write my novel and make videos (I do it all — from the voiceovers to the production of the videos with music and graphics), I finally got to watch Episode 3 of Mercy Street.
But not until I uploaded video #18 tonight — yes, I made 18 + 2 more videos in the past week to promote the box set (a 60 second video for each author). Yes, 20 videos in all.
I was bleary-eyed, slumped over, sick of listening to myself on the videos, and crazed over trying to make them perfect little gems (they’re not, but I try).
Then I watched Mercy Street.
***Spoiler alert — if you haven’t seen Episode 3 of Mercy Street, you may want to come back when you have.
Now I love Dr. Foster, the hero. He’s a lot like the hero in my Kindle Scout winner, Love Me Forever (a Civil War time travel romance) and Nurse Mary is like my time traveling heroine. Mary is sick — and the new meanie on the show, a Union officer whose name I don’t want to remember, is sending her away from the hospital (and Dr. Foster).
This is where the resident female rival comes into play. You just can’t help but want to kick Nurse Hastings in the petticoats most of the time, but on this episode she’s a true romance heroine. We find out she lost her soldier love in another war and she has a change of heart about messing up the lives of our doctor and nurse. She sends Dr. Foster back to the hospital hotel in time for him to go to the docks to see Nurse Mary.
Here’s the moment that made my week:
When Dr. Foster jumps onto the steamboat taking our Mary away, he claims her as his patient and comforts her. When he takes her hand and their eyes meet, I wanted to cry. Then he gives her a book. Ulysses. As they quote from the Tennyson tome about not giving up, you know they love each other. He kisses her on the forehead and their hands try to hold onto to each other, but they’re forced to break away. But in spite of the war and the mean old Union major, we know somehow these two will be together again.
Made me proud to write romance.
Because love endures. In spite of everything.
And ain’t that grand.
Thanks for listening! And in case you’re wondering about all those videos I made, here’s the promo for our Facebook Party next Wednesday, Feb 15th 7:30-11 p.m. (CLICK here to see the vids)
See you next time!
PS — I’m worried about Nurse Mary. She may be sicker than we thought. Tune in next week to find out. I know I’ll be watching . . .
PPS — if you’re curious about the Kindle Scout program: