I’m sitting here at my computer with thoughts of sugar plum fairies dancing in my head…
Hearing jingle bells as I type.
And drinking hot coffee with a cinnamon stick.
No, I’m not lost in the Twilight Zone. I’m traveling back in time to the holiday season during WW 2…
I can’t reveal all…yet.
More as it happens…
PS I’ll update the page as I get more news.
UPDATE: Tuesday June 18, 2019 is the day the publisher will be making a formal announcement re: their upcoming books!!
I’ll be able to reveal my story then…stay tuned.
2nd UPDATE:***************June 18, 2019 PDT
I’ve been on London Time for days and this is my first chance to update my post…Yes, London. Like in William and Kate, Harry and Megan — because I feel like an American royal! My new publisher is London-based BOLDWOOD Books.
It’s so exciting to be a part of this new adventure.
So hold tight and I’ll give you all the fab details.
My first book with Boldwood is a WW 2 Christmas story about love lost and time travel…what if you could go back in time and save the man you love from being killed on a secret mission in France?
My heroine, Kate Arden, gets that chance.’
More on “Christmas Once Again” and the amazing Boldwood Books next month!
I just returned from a long, wonderfully exhausting trip to Europe with my husband. All along the way I faithfully jotted down interesting locations, names and legends in my Book O’ Names – hoping to include a few in one of my future books. I fell in love with shop names like, Thistle Do Nicely and A Spinkle of Kiltness and enjoyed meeting interesting people like Killian the kilt maker and Hamish the sweater weaver.
Throughout England, Ireland, Scotland and Norway we met charming, welcoming people all happy to share their stories. Beautiful old ghost filled castles and open green fields filled with cattle, sheep and Shetland ponies made the trip even better. And, of course, a trip down Strawberry Lane was just too cool to pass up.
Near the end of our travels we came upon the quaint village of Hoswick, Scotland. Venturing down the exceptionally narrow main street, we parked in the one spot big enough to house our massive tour bus; a bus that was half the length of the main street.
The town of Hoswick was tiny but beautiful, situated near a body of clear blue water with rock filled shorelines and lush hills of green. Although I hadn’t noticed it when we drove in, I soon discovered that the village consisted of only two shops and a neighborhood Welcome Center. A dozen or so houses were clustered nearby. Clothes freely flapped on yard clotheslines and the town taxi cab driver chatted up visitors as she waited for her next fare.
We visited the two shops that sold beautiful hand knit sweaters. Although the sweaters were quite lovely, they were made for cold Scottish winters and were far too heavy for either of us to wear on the beaches of California, so we decided to take a walk.
It was in this small Scottish village that I came upon an unexpected tiny treasure; a shop the likes of which I had never experienced before.
Adjacent to the Welcome Center a petite hand painted sign directed us towards Emma’s Cake Corner. As both my husband and I love cake, we couldn’t pass up the possibility of enjoying a late afternoon sweet treat before returning to our ship. Following the sign, we walked up a stone pathway, that ended unexpectedly at a private driveway. I was certain that we had missed the cake shop, although I wasn’t sure how.
Disappointed, we turned around to retrace our steps and stumbled upon a turquoise and yellow painted shed with a sign Emma’s Cake Corner tacked to the front of it. We had not discovered a traditional bakery at all, but rather something quite different. As I tentatively reached to open the shed door, I heard a child’s voice yell, “Mum, there’s someone in the Honesty Box!”
Not discouraged by the warning, my husband opened the turquoise doors and was surprised to find a plethora of treats. Cupcakes, brownies, cookies and more were all individually wrapped just waiting to be discovered. And on the bottom shelf were all sorts of tantalizing local candies. A simple hand scripted sign thanked visitors for coming to Emma’s, encouraged them to help themselves and asked shoppers to please write down what they took and the cost. There was a metal box to place coins in and a plastic container that held any change that might be needed. The Honesty Box held the most incredible looking treats ever and all that was asked in return was for us to be honest and pay the required coins.
We were the first to discover Emma’s but certainly not the last. Before long, it looked like our entire tour bus was loading up on the sweets, happy to pay the very reasonable fare. My husband and I had started a trend and one that seemed to make at least one very small child happy. We could still hear her giggling as we headed back towards the bus.
Since coming home, I have shared our discovery with my friends only to learn that Honesty Boxes are nothing new. They can be found just about everywhere. While baked delights might not be as common, eggs, fruit and vegetables are apparently available in countryside Honesty Boxes throughout the U.S.
I share my story with you because Honesty Boxes were new to me and just might be new to you too. I thought you might like to create your own Honesty Box or maybe even include one in one of your own upcoming stories – that’s what I plan to do!
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
“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass—a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.”
The quote above is generally attributed to Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, published serially 1837-39, per Bartleby though Dickens may have copied it from a 17th century play, Revenge for Honour by George Chapman. (See http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-law-is-an-ass.html) Whatever the origin of the phrase, it makes a fair point. (The word ass, of course, refers to a donkey.)
Nineteenth-century women were likely to agree with Mr. Bumble, when one considers the treatment of women under the laws of the period. I covered a bit of this during my recent talk on Herstory at Orange County RWA in August, though women weren’t the only people treated badly by the law. The nineteenth century saw a number of reform movements, from abolitionism to the fight for women’s suffrage. The latter was kicked off in July 19-20, 1848 in Seneca Falls, N.Y. The first two resolutions passed at the convention concern legal matters:
Resolved, That such laws as conflict, in any way, with the true and substantial happiness of woman, are contrary to the great precept of nature, and of no validity; for this is “superior in obligation to any other.
Resolved, That all laws which prevent woman from occupying such a station in society as her conscience shall dictate, or which place her in a position inferior to that of man, are contrary to the great precept of nature, and therefore of no force or authority.
It wasn’t just that women weren’t allowed to vote, though that was a primary focus for reform. For several centuries, a legal practice called coverture was in place in England and the U.S. whereby a woman gave up all rights when she married. Her husband controlled any money or property she brought to the union. Single women, including widows, could own property and enter into contracts without male approval. Thanks to suffragist activism, laws were passed abolishing this practice in the late 19th century.
Current law is confusing enough, but when you’re writing historical romance, the law can be a veritable minefield of potential blunders. Research your time period and location if legal matters play a part in your plot. What kind of legal system was in place at the time? English common law, the Napoleonic Code, church canonical law? In the U.S., laws vary from state to state, but that isn’t always the case in other countries.
British laws were enforced throughout England and Wales, but didn’t necessarily apply to Scotland. For instance, in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the age of consent for marriage was substantially lower in Scotland than the one-and-twenty years required in England, encouraging couples without parental approval to elope across the border. The Gretna Green marriage is common plot device in Regency romances. The 1753 Marriage Act was also the first law to require a formal ceremony. It also required weddings to take place in the morning, hence the wedding breakfast to follow.
Getting out of a marriage was even more difficult. Prior to the mid-19th century when judicial divorce was authorized, it was extremely difficult if not impossible to get a divorce in Britain. In Regency times, one had to petition Parliament for a divorce. Can you imagine having to ask Congress to agree to let someone divorce? Yikes! Even then it was more like a legal separation than a true divorce. Annulments weren’t necessarily easy to obtain either. A law permitting judicial divorce, the Matrimonial Causes Act, finally passed in 1857.
More information on marriage and divorce laws can be found at these sites:
Winter…the days are getting shorter and have you noticed how we communicate is also getting shorter?
We live in a world of texting (“hw r u?”) and Twitter madness that forces us to express ourselves in 140 characters or less. (God help Tolstoy…)
Not to mention acronyms — we plop onto the couch, turn on the DVR or watch a DVD while drinking our OJ, then check out this week’s episode of NCIS.
Now a UK newsletter has come up with “hundred word fiction.”
Indie Book Bargains UK-based Daily Kindle Book Deals
Everyday they publish Kindle deals and a short story with no more than a hundred words.
I thought it would be fun to take up the challenge so I put together a story in less than 100 words. Since it’s Christmas, I wrote a holiday story for the UK newsletter: “Santas, Soldiers, and Orphans, oh, my!”
Here’s how it appears on their website:
Check out my Naughty Christmas Carol book video with my voice-over and the Sugar Plum fairy music along with a very sexy excerpt on my website at: http://jinabacarr.com/anaughtychristmascarol.html
Jax and Mindy have to put aside their overwhelming attraction, but if they live through this, all bets are off…More info →
Enjoy historical fiction? Like short stories? Then dive into this collection of historical shorts by an award-winning author.More info →
Can a gentleman be too charming? The ladies of Upper Upton think so.More info →