Two years ago I began a journey.
I traveled from the battlefields of Virginia to the ice-capped mountains of the mythical principality of Monterra. I met generals and princes, fell in love, time-traveled, and learned that even Cinderella needs a second chance.
It all began with Kindle Scout. (My Kindle Scout journey begins with this post HERE.)
Now I’m taking a new turn in the road with my Kindle Scout winner, LOVE ME FOREVER. A prequel to my novel will appear in an anthology SUMMER SOLSTICE with stories from other Kindle Scout winners. It’s FREE and will be available around June 18, 2017.
Why a prequel?
Love Me Forever opens in 1862 with my secondary heroine, Pauletta Sue Buckingham, escaping from the Yankees and then segues to the present day. There we find Liberty wearing a Confederate officer’s uniform. She’s about to get her head blown off in the midst of a reenactment of the Battle of Antietam.
The bloodiest day of the Civil War.
How on earth did Liberty find herself in such a predicament?
In the prequel, you’ll find out what happened that morning before Liberty joined in the reenactment battle.
And what she saw that changed her life.
Forever . . .
I’ll be entering another novel in the Kindle Scout campaign soon — and yes, it’s a time travel and it takes place during wartime, but that’s all I can say for now! I’m excited to enter it and I’ll post when my campaign is up.
Any questions about the KS program, please ask!
Not only is my KS winner part of Kindle Press, but I was invited to write for Kindle Worlds “The Royal of Monterra” by Sariah Wilson, another Kindle Scout winner. And what a ride that has been.
Here’s a preview.
That’s it for this month! See you soon.
Once upon a Story blog
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001IU2P8G
Mmmrrh … Book Boyfriends. For most of my life, I have been dreaming about boys and men who’ve reached right out from the pages and stolen my heart. It all started with Jim Frayne from the Trixie Belden Mysteries. Then came the unforgettable Nat Eaton from Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond. And Rapheal Sabatini’s Dr. Peter Blood (Some call him Captain). Agatha Christie’s Anthony Cade from The Secret of Chimneys. Mary Stewart’s Rob Granger from Touch Not the Cat. Mmmrrh … the list goes on.
I’m still falling in love with book boyfriends. And even better, I’m creating heroes that readers tell me they adore. This May, Arlen Black, the hero of my romantic comedy Queen of the Universe, is one of 30 candidates up for Chick Lit Book Boyfriend 2017. Meet Arlen …
attraction, too. Seriously? After that “audition” kiss on the very first day … and then everything that happened on her patio? Man, it’s a good thing I walked out – well, stormed out – when I did.
But I came back. Just to do the show. Nothing else. Because now I know that Lola is a liar and a manipulator and … God, why can’t I stop thinking about her? And why does it keep happening? Every time I’m near her, she makes me feel … God! Even knowing what I know about her – even after everything I lost … Damn it!
She makes me feel alive again.
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
I spent a couple of post retirement years writing full time and I had a blast. 5 books on parenting and 4 of my first fiction series – The Witches Of The New Moon Beach later, I felt fulfilled. However, I never anticipated how quickly I would gain weight and at the same time stiffen up from lack of movement. Oh sure, my fingers were regularly flying across the keyboard but my butt remained stationary for hours on end.
All three years I focused my energies on my writing. During that time I religiously avoided visiting my bathroom scale until one day when my doctor asked me to “step on up” and I froze. Yikes, I had gained ten, twenty… uh oh more pounds! What had happened? After all, I wasn’t a total slug. I had actually taken an occasional yoga class or two.
I knew that I had to make a change so I altered my eating habits, upped my yoga classes and increased my walking time. I poured myself into my black stretch pants and promised to stay faithful to my yoga master and my new found routine.
But wait! My weight gain was not my moment of enlightenment; at least not the one I want to talk about today.
Almost anyone can do yoga and I am surely an example of that. Moving from Mountain Poses to Yoga Backbends has taken some time, but I have actually started to enjoy it. I find myself centered and calmer as I leave the studio and that certainly has helped me with my writing focus. It was during one of my recent yoga sessions that I had this revelation of which I now speak.
Here it is – Practicing yoga and writing a book have a lot in common. I truly believe that as a byproduct of my self imposed, yoga packed, body limbering routine, I simultaneously improved both my body and my writing abilities!
According to the latest YOGA Journal the three segments that every yoga class should have include a slow warm up, a recognized theme and a slow cool down. Hmm, sounds similar to the elements of writing an article, story or book.
Slow Warm Up– Just as a yoga master warms up their students through challenging stretches so do writers warm up their readers by introducing characters and locations to engage and stretch the imagination. While yoga teachers struggle to keep their students fully involved in their yoga practices – so do writers toil to keep readers connected to their story line. It’s important to mix up yoga poses and some sessions need to be more impactful than others. This is also true when writing a book. A good writer builds from scratch, keeping the action moving and creating momentum while making some passages more action packed than others. A solid warm up is critical to the success of yoga students and writers as they learn to stretch both body and mind.
Recognized Theme – While a yoga class may focus on leg stretches or balance enhancement a book must have an equally identifiable focus or theme. The writer must be able to clearly articulate a storyline. Whether completing a challenging yoga experience or typing the last words of a book, the benefits can be similar. Both can bring satisfaction -physical and mental.
Slow Cool Down – One can find a parallel between a yoga cool down session and the completion of a well written conclusion. A passionate yoga practitioner might expect to feel more limber, relaxed and properly aligned – both mentally and physically – upon completion of their workout. Upon creating a final passage, a writer could anticipate feeling mentally stretched, emotionally fulfilled and totally in tune with their thoughts. Of course, throughout the process, both activities can be potentially filled with frustration and challenge.
I found a couple of other similarities between yoga and writing. I have to work hard at both to achieve any success and neither come naturally to me. Upon completing a satisfying chapter or a fulfilling yoga class I experience a sense of calmness, mental clarity and satisfaction. Usually exhausted at the end of either, I quickly recharge. I am now fully committed to both as they bring me joy. And some of my best storyline twists and turns have actually come to me in the calm of my yoga studio.
Surely you too can add a bit of magic to your day. I would encourage anyone to take a yoga class and if your heart so desires – try writing. Over time, you are sure to find satisfaction in either or both. For me a side benefit is that the scale numbers are going down; something we can always talk about later.
The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. While I miss those enchanting moments with kids, I have always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I seek out my own magic and write about it. When I retired, I started to write my first books, a series called The Witches of New Moon Beach and inspiration wasn’t hard to find.
I have lived in Redondo Beach all my life, and New Moon might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot my next book.
I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I’m not writing or walking on the beach, you’ll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.