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A Review of Neanderthal Seeks Duchess by Laney Hatcher

May 16, 2022 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Book Reviews tagged as , , , , ,

Neanderthal Seeks Duchess

Laney Hatcher

978-1949202977

Released wide May 3, 2022, and to Kindle Unlimited May 5, 2022.

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/33Yj8cQ

Neanderthal Seeks Duchess A Review by Marianne H. Donley

Holly cow. What could be better than Neanderthal Seeks Human but set in Regency England?

Three things you need to know about me:

  1. I may have squealed with delight when I heard about this book.
  2. 2. I one clicked bought it way back in March.
  3. 3. I still signed up for a digital ARC so I could review it before its release. (Yes, I will have two copies of this book.)

If you enjoyed Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City series, you’re going to love reading Laney Hatcher’s Neanderthal Seeks Duchess.

Neanderthal Seeks Duchess absolutely lived up to my expectations. While the heroine and hero, Lady Jane and Q, are similar to Janie and Quinn, they are very much their own quirky characters.

Lady Jane is smart and a wizard with numbers, but not so great with people or social situations. She sometimes panics and gets herself into even more trouble—all the while trying to avoid gossip.

The enigmatic Q, also called Lord Dashing by Lady Jane’s friends, is direct but worried his identity will send Lady Jane running. Not an unreasonable fear. Associating with Lord Dashing will invite all manners of gossip.

So, what could be better than Neanderthal Seeks Human but set in Regency England?

Turns out—not much. This book was great fun, with a bit of a mystery, some nefarious characters, and a wonderful group of friends. I’m happily looking forward to the release of London Ladies Embroidery series, Book #2—Eliza’s story.

I received an ARC from the publisher for an honest review, but I bought the book, anyway.

About the book

“Full of all the swoons, a dash of mystery, and punches of humor, you are going to fall head over heels with Neanderthal Seeks Duchess.” – Catherine Cowles, author of Tattered Stars

Neanderthal Seeks Duchess, an all-new charming historical romance from debut author Laney Hatcher, is coming May 5th to Kindle Unlimited! Laney introduces readers to Smartypants Romance’s new and exciting Out of This World imprint.

There are three things you need to know about Lady Jane Morrison:

1. She frequently finds herself the talk of the ton and for all the wrong reasons.
2. A dashingly mysterious gentleman has caught her attention and even more dangerous…she has caught his. 
3. She’s rubbish at embroidery. 

After scandalous events during the London season, Lady Jane is attracting the wrong kind of attention. Her reputation is at risk as well as all her carefully laid plans for the future. And for better or worse, a chance encounter with a mysterious lord sets forth a series of events that will change their lives forever.  

‘Neanderthal Seeks Duchess’, a Penny Reid Universe Reimagining, is a full-length historical romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #1 in the London Ladies Embroidery series, Smartypants Romance Out of this World, Penny Reid Book Universe. 

Grab your copy today!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3h0HoOb

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3ByTl7t

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3I0hWo6

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3H4csre

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/33Yj8cQ

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Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger Featured Authors

May 14, 2022 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Featured Author of the Month, Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , , , ,

Janet Elizabeth Lynn was born in Queens and raised in Long Island, New York. She is the author of murder mysteries, cozy mysteries and with her husband Will Zeilinger, 1950s hard-boiled detective mysteries.

Will Zeilinger has lived and traveled the world and has been writing for over ten years. His novels range from mystery to romantic comedy and those 1950s hard-boiled detective mysteries with his wife Janet.

Partners in Crime

Together Janet and Will write the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood in 1955. They have an E-book How it Began: The Skylar Drake Mysteries available from Smashwords.

Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. In their next adventure, they will team up using the penname E.J. Williams for a new mystery series set in the 1960s. Their first novel in the International Crime Files, Stone Pub is in the works.

Chatting With Authors

In addition to writing novels, Janet and Will have a YouTube Channel, Chatting with Authors featuring informal Zoom interviews with authors of various genres. We encourage readers to check out all their videos.

This creative couple lives in Southern California . . . and yes, they are still married, and they even blog together at The Married Authors.

The Skylar Drake Mystery Series

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS
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Spring Has Finally Sprung

May 13, 2022 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , , ,

Spring has finally sprung. The sun shines brighter for longer, birds serenade us, and the very air is scented by a myriad of petals on the wind. I adore spring because of the anticipation it stirs in me. Spring means photoshoots and hikes with my children and husband. It means school is almost over and three months of sleeping in and lazy days are within view. It’s a time that is full of possibilities and potential, a time before expectations are either disappointed or surpassed.

New Challenges

It’s a time to start new things and to accept new challenges. I started a garden despite my morbid talent for notoriously killing all things green and pretty. Seriously, do you have any idea how neglectful you need to be to kill a cactus? I do. However, placing those little veggie seeds into newly tilled soil, carefully covering them up, and simply hoping for the best has been an exercise in mindfulness for me. I have no idea if I’ll reap any noteworthy bounty of parsnips, carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes, but I’m enjoying the process. My little seeds have been given good soil, plenty of room, and the right amount of sun and water according to their individual needs. The important lesson is that I can’t control the outcome beyond the work I’ve done and will continue to do. In the end, my little seeds will either grow or they won’t.

Applying my Philosophy

I’m finding that this new-to-me philosophy can be applied to various aspects of my life: I exercise and eat responsibly most of the time, but I’m in my late 40’s. The extra weight is going to come off as easily as I want or it won’t. At work, I treat my colleagues and students with respect and compassion, but that will either be fully returned, or it won’t. I can only control what I put in. I can be proud of what I put in. Sometimes that work will reap great rewards, but sometimes that end result that should be assured just won’t grow to fruition.

Should Publication Be Your Goal

The same goes for writing. Publication is most people’s end goal, but should it be? Because, let’s face it, the odds are not always in everyone’s favor. After all, authors have complete control over what they pour onto the page, but not how others receive it. So, wouldn’t completing a manuscript that you are insanely proud of–something that is honest, raw, funny, cathartic, captivating, and memorable–be a better goal? This way, no matter what happens, whether you reap the rewards your hard work should guarantee, you know that you are a success.

So, here are the things you can control:

  • Pay attention to the mechanics of writing: I’d love to say that grammar mistakes don’t matter, but that just isn’t the case. Learn the rules for subject/verb agreement, avoid dangling modifiers, keep tenses consistent, and (please, God) don’t confuse homophones.
  • Learn your craft: It would be wonderful if desire alone equaled success, but you have a much better chance of finishing a manuscript if you know how to construct a story and keep it interesting as you are writing it. If you lose your focus or interest while writing, your readers aren’t very likely to read your work to the end.
  • Experiment and find your niche: You probably have your favorite genres to read. Maybe you gobble up horror novels and short stories, or maybe romance is where your preferences lie. Perhaps you only enjoy memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies. Whatever your favs are to read, don’t limit yourself to that literary niche when it comes to writing. Experiment and have fun. Who knows? Maybe the reason you can’t seem to finish that mystery manuscript is because it needs a few lovelorn werewolves.
  • Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite: Although finishing your first draft is an important accomplishment, it probably won’t be your best draft. It’s much more likely that your first draft will be nothing more than your final story’s shadow once you finish this not-for-the-faint-of-heart step. I know I’ve fallen in love with paragraphs and bits of dialogue that I’ve realized don’t work upon a second or third rewrite. I’ve had to fight the urge to make it all fit, take a deep breath, and hit the delete button ad nauseam. I’ve even realized that I’d been telling the story from the less interesting character’s point of view all along because, it turned out, my villain was much more fun and had more to say (and, yeah, that required a complete do over).
  • Share your work: Join a writing group, set up a website or a blog. Don’t get tricked into thinking that there is only one road to getting your work out into the world.
  • Get over yourself: Be open to criticism and don’t take any of it personally. I’ve been a member of BWG for years and I’m proud of my fellow writers who have listened to group critiques with humility and open minds because those are the ones who get better. As a matter of fact, this column was started by such a writer, Sally Paradysz.

Publication is a worthy goal, but it doesn’t need to be the only one. Dig deep, be adventurous, tell the story you can’t get out of your head, and tell it well. This way, whether your words feed the souls of many or just your own, you can be proud of what you’ve planted.

Happy writing.

Courtney Annicchiarico grew up in New Jersey, where she was a high school teacher and a conflict resolution curriculum writer and facilitator. She moved to Pennsylvania with her husband and two children to be a stay-at-home mom—the best career move yet. Her story “Mis-conceptions” appears in A Christmas Sampler, and is her first published piece. Her stories also appear in Once Around the Sun, A Readable Feast, Untethered, and Fur, Feathers, and Scales

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You Can Read Courtney’s Stories in the Following Books

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Mental Reset for Writers After Receiving Contest Results

May 12, 2022 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

I always have to pause and reset after receiving contest results. Am I the only one who experiences this?

blog post title graphic with picture of a blank journal with hand ready to write and words underneath that say mental reset for writers after receiving contest results

Contests are wonderful ways to get feedback, get in front of agents or publishers, and stretch yourself as a writer. I have entered many and have grown as a writer because of the them. 

But every time when the contest results are out, I’m so afraid of opening up the email and reading the comments. And this year was no different. 

Last week I received my contest results email from the 2022 ACFW Genesis Contest. I did not semi-final like I did back in 2019. For a brief moment, that right there makes it hard. Did I go backwards? Shouldn’t I have not made the changes that were in the suggestions?

But alas, I can’t do that to myself.

Contest Results Do Not Tell The Entire Story

I’ve had many pairs of eyes look over my entry and the overall feedback has been positive. And as I look at the scores from the three judges, two loved it and had very little comments (one even scored it a 99 out of 100, which is something to celebrate). But the third judge. It was obvious, my style of book is not their cup of tea. And even though two out of the three were positive, it’s still such a hard pill to swallow.

Is this what it feels like to read reviews of your work?

It probably is, and maybe you have to have a mental reset after reading those too.

But keep in mind some things. What’s being judged is such a small snippet (for me it was 15 pages). Not everyone will have the same opinion (which is why there are so many different authors and books available).

So What Do You Do To Move Forward?

I’m still figuring that out. For me, I needed to give myself a few days. Then dive right back into my manuscript. Keep editing, keep writing, and work toward the next opportunity when it presents itself. Pay attention to the things where multiple people gave similar feedback. And remember the positive comments (and the fact I earned a 99 from someone!).

I even wore this shirt to help me get back into a good frame of mind.

T-shirt with the words write on

I think it’s also important to relook at the comments and feedback a few times over a period of time. Each time they sink in more. They are not as personal. And there’s something in there that you can use. After a little while, you are ready to figure out how to adapt the feedback you want to include into your manuscript.

If any of you are struggling, I encourage you. You are not the only one. And as a seasoned contest results receiver, it is never easy. But putting our work out there is never easy. Yet we trail on, because our stories are more than our feelings. They are our work (my word for the year!). And it takes work (lots and lots of work) to get them into the best shape possible before we release them.

Hang in there. Keep writing. Write On!

Denise

Denise M. Colby loves to write words that encourage, enrich, & engage. Every year, she chooses a word to focus on. Her 2021 word was Wisdom and her 2022 word is Work. She talks about how one turned into the other in her blog at denisemcolby.com. If you’d like to see more of Denise’s posts on this blog, you can check out her archives.

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Mothers and daughters… theme of my next Paris WW2 book and why I wrote it by Jina Bacarr

May 11, 2022 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, women's fiction, Writing tagged as , , , ,

On this Mother’s Day past, I was looking for a pretty graphic of flowers or chocolate or a cute puppy

to post but how to personalize it?

Hmm…

I ate all the chocolate during my marathon writing week finishing my manuscript.

I could buy red roses… or pink… I like yellow…. I couldn’t make up my mind.

And if I went puppy shopping, I’d come home with as many cute puppies as my arms could hold.

Back to square one… how to personalize Mother’s Day?

Especially since my next Boldwood Books novel is about Paris WW 2 is about mothers and daughters. How two daughters (Irish-American and German Jewish) — my heroines — and their relationships with their moms are affected by war.

A topic dear to my heart since I lost my mother many years ago. I had such a wonderful relationship with her. We were so close and, growing up, I adored her. When we lived in Kentucky, she was a model on live TV commercials and I used to race home from grade school to watch her on TV modeling fashion from a local dress shop.

I’ll never forget the day I was watching TV with my sitter and we were waiting to see my mom when we had a major thunderstorm. Powerful winds and a drenching downpour. I was around eleven when lightning struck the tall TV tower and it fell on the TV station… the television went black… pouring rain outside. Telephone lines down. Where was Mom? I panicked when she didn’t come home. My dad came rushing home from work to check on us… what, Mom isn’t here?

He grabbed me and we jammed to the TV station in our old blue Dodge, braving the pouring rain and deep puddles. When we got there, we saw….

Firetrucks… police cars… reporters.

Then someone said a woman had been killed when she was struck by falling debris.

I was a kid, but I never felt such panic cut through me, such anguish that something could happen to my beautiful mom. She was always there for me… we baked cookies together, sewed dresses together… I couldn’t grasp the idea of losing her. It pained me more than anything in my young life.

I turned to see my dad’s face so pale, his jaw clenched… he told me to wait with the police officer while he checked to see–

He left the words hanging…

It was the longest time in my life, waiting….

Then the news.

No, it wasn’t Mom. She came racing back with my father in tow, holding her tight around the waist. I ran into her arms and she hugged me tight… I could feel her trembling. She was wearing a red satin shirtwaist dress she was modeling that day and she was in the makeup room waiting for her cue when the tower fell. She was shaken up, but okay.

A woman who worked there lost her life that day and we cried and said prayers for her and her family. I never forgot it.

The pain and anguish of seeing how quickly you can lose someone so dear to you stayed with me. When I thought about what I wanted to write about for this next book. I decided to explore mothers and daughters during wartime… I begin my story back in 1934 when we meet my two heroines and their mothers and see their relationships grow over the years… the joys, frustrations… growing pains… then war is declared…

I hope you’ll come with me on my journey to publication of this unique World War 2 mothers and daughters story!

And for Mother’s Day?

I decided to post this short video of Mom and me when I was ten. Enjoy!!

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