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A Month of Happily Ever After

July 12, 2024 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

Writing a romance is all about the happy ever after. As a reader, I love the “ah” at the end when the two characters are finally together. Where they learned something new about themselves, opened their heart, and found the one that completes them.

That said, a happily ever after at the end of our novels doesn’t necessarily mean the hero and heroine get married at the end of the book. They could be newly engaged. The couple could decide they are now in a committed relationship. Or they could say I love you for the first time. There are so many options, that it really is the character journey that determines what fits best for our endings.

Personally this past month has been filled with happily ever afters. One fiction, one real life.

The Fiction Happily Every After

The first one was my debut novel, When Plans Go Awry, released in early June. Luke and Olivia’s story is not so much a will they/won’t they (although they didn’t know they would, we did). But the how were they going to figure it out and end up together. 

I won’t give away what happens to them at the end, but it’s been so well received and I have found it so much fun to talk with readers about the characters and the town of Washton, like they were real people. Having these discussions has made me feel the happily ever after my characters feel, and that has been so motivating for me as a writer.

Here are several review statements. Also last month I shared information about the launch activities and launch party held in my honor.

The Real Happily Every After

The second example and the real life one, is that my middle son found his happily ever after and married his sweetheart the last weekend of June. A beautiful ceremony, beautiful couple, and a wonderful day filled with love, laughter, family, and friends. With lots of planning before hand, everything came together perfectly.

And I now have a daughter in the family. It’s been so fun to have a front row seat watching them grow and bond as a couple and plan their future life together.

The Magic of Cinderella

As a little girl the story of Cinderella was my favorite. She has a fairy Godmother, she finds her prince (or the prince finds her), and they all live happily ever after. I now know that life is not as simple as that and that those endings are a moment in time where the couple is happy together. But they are still my favorite stories to read.

A story has to end somewhere, why not have it end happy. We all want that hope, love, and joyful feeling when we realize we are in a committed relationship and someone loves us just as much as we love them. 

There’s something about escaping in a story where the ending is just that. And that is what I love to read and love to write.

Here’s to many more stories of happily ever afters in our lives. Both fiction and real life.

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Sisters At War: You ain’t seen nothing yet… the sequel is coming! by Jina Bacarr

October 11, 2023 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , ,

@jinabacarrauthor

the surprising thing that happened to me when I was writing Sisters At War #books #booksthatmakeyoucry #womensfiction #authorlife #history #booktok #historicalbooklover @Bold Book Club 📚 Boldwood

♬ original sound – Jina Bacarr Historical Author♥
Sisters At War — new release Paris WW2

When I was a little girl, I loved sitting at the feet of my grandmum coloring in my ballet books while she twisted tiny pieces of wire and blue or green beads into rosaries and spun tales about Ireland. How my English great-grandmum, a grand lady, ran away from her overbearng, stuffy father to marry her Irish rogue.

I used to pretend she became a ballet dancer like the drawings I colored in Degas pastels.

She didn’t.

But I spent hours coloring and cutting out the dancers. I discovered I had an artistic bent like my grandpop but I also loved telling stories like my grandmum. So at times in my life, I used my artistic talents to get the job done; other times, I wrote stories.

Both require intense concentration as well as precious time. (I swear there’s a watch that can stop time with its golden hands, but I haven’t found it on Amazon). And sometimes you have to make a choice.

Which brings me to my current dilemma.

I had an intense year writing SISTERS AT WAR with ‘life’ getting in the way numerous times as well as reliving diffucult past experiences to capture the emotions of the story. Then the book came out and I loved making the pretty graphics, the videos, the everything you get to do that’s artsy and fun…

But here’s the rub.

Readers are waiting for the sequel called SISTERS OF THE RESISTANCE… some want to read it now.

Oh, my, I’m still writing the sequel.

Which means I need to take a deep dive and put away my coloring book and crayons. Write, write, write. I know where the story is going, new characters to add to the tension between the Beaufort Sisters in my story, a life-altering experience for Eve and a heartbreak for Justine, but there are no shortcuts on this journey. Writing about WW2 requires maddening research as well as intense, emotional dialogue.

So, mes amis, I have pull back for a while on social media while I finish writing Sisters of the Resistance.

I’ll be here once a month, but not so much on other venues.

Alas, I’m going to close now. I’ve got research to do and a chapter to write tonight. I hope you enjoy my short video about what’s going on with Sisters At War.

See you soon.

Jina

Sisters At War:

US https://a.co/d/eZ25gZb      

UK https://amzn.eu/d/0LEWy2z

Who are the Beaufort Sisters?

They’re beautiful

They’re smart

They’re dangerous

They’re at war with the Nazis… and each other.

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Titanic Trivia Quiz: How many can you get right? by Jina Bacarr

April 11, 2023 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

Meet Ava O’Reilly, the Irish heroine in ‘The Runaway Girl’ who boards the Titanic at Queenstown

THE RUNAWAY GIRL. was a special challenge to write because of the importance to ‘get it right’ re: every moment aboard the ship since the ship of dreams set sail on April 10, 1912.

It’s all in the details, they say…

But how many details do you know about the TITANIC?

Check your Titanic knowledge with:

A Titanic Trivia Quiz

We’ve seen the films, read the books, but what do you know about the Titanic, really?

Take the quiz and find out!

(answers at the bottom of the page)

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 Titanic Trivia Questions:

  1. You’ve just spent your honeymoon in Paris with your handsome husband and it’s time to return to America. He surprises you with first class tickets on the Titanic. From what French port do you sail?
  1. Marseilles
  2. Cherbourg
  3. Calais
  1. The Titanic has just arrived in Queenstown  and you see several bumboats with vendors hawking their wares. They come aboard ship with their Irish souvenirs. When John Jacob Astor buys his new bride a souvenir, your husband buys you one, too. What did Colonel Astor buy his bride?
  1. a set of china
  2. a Celtic brooch
  3. a lace shawl
  1. You’re thrilled to find fresh flowers in your cabin when you and your new hubby come on board the ship of dreams. You’re also excited to find out you’re one of several honeymoon couples sailing to New York. According to reliable sources, how many honeymoon couples were there on the Titanic?
  1. 8
  2. 11
  3. 13
  1. You hear heated whispers in the first class dining saloon when American millionaire Benjamin Guggenheim arrives with his latest mistress. Everyone’s curious, who is she? And where is she from?
  1. Mlle. Aubart, a Parisian entertainer
  2. Madame de Villiers, a Belgian cabaret singer
  3. Miss Annabelle Pearl, a British fashion designer
  1. You’re late for dinner in the first class dining saloon and lost in the maze of dead end corridors when you run into that handsome gentleman you met last night. He shows you the way to the dining room, then sneaks a kiss in the elevator. How many first class elevators are there on Titanic?
  1. one
  2. two
  3. three
  1. While you were waiting to board the ship at Queenstown, Ireland, you couldn’t resist flirting with the handsome lad who helped you carry your traveling bag. He whispered in your ear he’ll sneak into the single women’s 3rd class quarters to see you later. Where are the women’s steerage cabins on the ship?
  1. fore
  2. aft
  3. amidships
  1. You want to look alluring when you meet that handsome gentleman for dinner later in the first class dining saloon on D deck, so you pamper yourself in the Turkish baths. The bath stewardess insists you try out the latest beauty treatment:
  1. an electric bath which tans your skin with ultraviolet lights
  2. a face peel
  3. an exercise machine where you walk in one place
  1. Tonight you’re dining in the exclusive À La Carte Restaurant some first class passengers call the Ritz when you hear the ship’s musicians playing a lovely waltz. Later you hear them playing that same musical piece when you’re getting into a lifeboat. Some say it may have been the last song the musicians played as the Titanic foundered. What was the name of that waltz?
  1. Autumn
  2. Emperor
  3. Vienna
  1. It’s 10 p.m. on Sunday night, April 14th, and you can’t resist a stroll up on deck with your husband. It’s misty and getting colder. Even with his strong arms wrapped around you, you can’t stop shivering. How cold is it?
  1. 45 degrees F
  2. 29 degrees F
  3. 32 degrees F
  1. It’s 11:40 p.m. and you’re in bed with your husband enjoying a night of wedded bliss when the ship hits an iceberg. You want to cuddle up next to him in your warm bed, but he insists you get dressed and get into a lifeboat. How long do you have before the ship sinks?
  1. 1 hour and 45 minutes
  2. 2 hours and 40 minutes
  3. 2 hours and 10 minutes

Answers:

  1. (Answer: B Cherbourg)
  1. (Answer: C a lace shawl)
  1. (Answer: C 13)
  1. (Answer: A Mlle Aubart)
  1. (Answer: C three)
  1. (Answer: B aft)
  1. (Answer: A an electric bath)
  1. (Answer: A Autumn)
  1. (Answer: C 32 degrees F)
  1. (Answer: B 2 hours and 40 minutes)           

 

THE RUNAWAY GIRL:

US Amazon

UK Amazon

———–

US:

Barnes & Noble

Kobo.

Apple Books

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Love & Romance Disney Couples Style

February 12, 2023 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

I’m a Disney nerd. I love everything Disney, from the movies, the characters, to the parks. A few years ago I wrote a February post titled Dating Lessons from Wall-E. It was one of my funnest posts to write. I decided this February to try and find some other Disney couples to write about.

Blog Post Header reads Love & Romance Disney Couples Style by Denise M. Colby with black Mickey heads and white hearts on a red background

But first, I googled Disney Couples

Did you know there are a lot of Disney couples? I found two lists with vastly different names on them. Some had duplicates, but some did not. So I decided to create my own list. How many of these couples are you familiar with? Do you know their love story?

  • Aurora & Phillip
  • Snow White & the Prince
  • Belle & Beast
  • Wall-E and Eve
  • Rapunzel & Eugene
  • Anna and Kristoff
  • Lady and the Tramp
  • Jack Skellington and Sally
  • Ella and Kit (from Cinderalla 2015)
  • Meg and Hercules
  • Mulan and Shang
  • Ariel and Eric

Of course there are these main Disney couples

  • Mickey & Minnie
  • Donald & Daisy

Do you have favorites? Can you can identify which movies these couples are from? Do you know other Disney couples I need to add to my list?

Thanks for playing along with me today. If you are interested in some other Disney-related blog posts on my website, check out my Disney mugs are fun post, or my Christmas & Disney post.

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Debut Author Barb DeLong–writing the magic of love and laughter and happily ever after!

February 2, 2023 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

Barb loves reading, writing and animals, not necessarily in that order. She writes contemporary and paranormal stories of love, laughter and magic, and you’re going to know there’ll be a feature creature in there somewhere. Her short stories appear in several anthologies, including Secrets of Moonlight Cove, Love for Christmas, The Truth That Can’t Be Told, and The Truth That Can’t Be Told 2. She is currently working on a paranormal romance series called Keepers of Magic, about a society of witches desperate to keep their existence a secret. The first in the series, The Witch Whisperer, is currently under contract with The Wild Rose Press. A transplant from the Canadian cold, she enjoys sunny Mission Viejo, California, with her husband and a pampered, blue-eyed, ragdoll cat.

Today is a day I’ve been waiting for—to interview my close friend, author Barb DeLong, about her debut novel. So, let’s get started.

Jann: When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer? Barb: I loved creative writing classes in elementary and high school and won a few writing contests. I was in ninth grade when the writing bug really bit. My favorite TV shows were westerns, so I decided I’d write a historical western. It wasn’t until years later that I realized it was a romance. I still have those pages, typed on an old typewriter with a faulty ribbon that tinted the bottom of all the letters red. I’ve been writing one thing or another ever since (my letters are all black now).

Jann: Tell us about your journey to publication.

Barb: I’m self-published with short stories in a number of anthologies, but my dream was to sell or contract one of my books to a publisher. I’ve started and abandoned many stories, some of which I pitched to editors at conferences in years past but never submitted. Lost opportunities. Had a bite from Harlequin on an early completed novel. My stories have won or finaled in several contests. I decided in 2019 that it was now or never to fulfill my dream, so I knuckled down during NaNoWriMo that year and by May 2020, completed a rough draft of my first fantasy romance, The Witch Whisperer. Since one of my problems is letting go of my work, I took way too many months editing and revising. Finally, by early March 2022, I put a pin in it and sent out my first round of query letters with the first three chapters to publishers that didn’t need you to be agented. Within a week, The Wild Rose Press, a small but popular e-publisher, asked for the full manuscript. By April I had my first publishing contract. I was over the moon! My editor is anxious to see book 2 in my series, which I’m more than half way through.

Jann: Is Fantasy/Paranormal your preferred genre to write?

Barb:  I’m romance through and through, whether it’s contemporary romance or fantasy/paranormal, I love to write both.

Jann: Why Witches?

Barb: Out of all the paranormal/fantasy beings, like vampires, shifters, fairies and the like, witches appealed to me more with their magical powers, and the fact that people who were believed to be witches were persecuted through the ages. Visit Salem, Massachusetts today to see the modern appeal of witches.

Jann: January 30th your first novel, The Witch Whisperer, book one in the Keepers of Magic series made its debut. How exciting for you! What inspired you to write this novel and series?

Barb: I’d been writing paranormal romance for a few years, witches in particular, trying to get a handle on the genre while reading extensively. Oddly enough, the title came to me after rewatching The Horse Whisperer. I thought, huh, The Witch Whisperer. Just the title. No plot. I usually let an idea (in this case, a title) roll around in my brain for weeks, even months before putting much down on paper. Then I started jotting copious notes while still editing a story that was proving difficult. Finally, the story of the Witch Whisperer became my focus. Difficult story went in the drawer. Soon into The WW, I recognized it was more fantasy than paranormal, and that I’d have to make it a series. Fantasy series sell better than standalones, I was told. Yikes! Three books. I named the series Keepers of Magic. Book two, The Keeper’s Code, is a work in progress.

Jann: What sort of research did you do for the book?

Barb: I read a lot of fantasy and paranormal romance. I researched conventional witch lore and covens and wiccans. I decided that my secret, pacifist witch society, having come from another realm to this modern world, would worship a goddess of nature and have their own form of governance and ritual. I did keep some conventions, like magical powers, elemental magic, herbs and potions, and other details. No magic wands. I took world building and fantasy workshops, read every blog I came across about writing fantasy and series writing. I have a giant book of spells that I refer to frequently. I went down so many rabbit holes. Ended up in Wonderland a few times.

Jann: Your main characters, Willow Gladstone and Never Ravenwood are fabulous. What challenges did you set for them to overcome? Will they achieve their HEA?

Barb: Willow seeks perfection in all things, especially herself. She already feels flawed because she has weak magical powers, so not in keeping with her magically Elite, over-achieving and judgmental family. When her already weak magic becomes glitchy, she must seek a cure or risk incarceration in the secret witch society’s dreaded Haven. The legendary Witch Whisperer, the one person she’d like to avoid, is her only other option. He’s messy, undisciplined, frustrating and way too sexy.

Never Ravenwood, The Witch Whisperer, likes his solitary existence. He’s happy to live out his sentence for past misdeeds on a secluded estate while treating witches with magic problems through his on-line forum. Then along comes beautiful Willow for a rehab residency to disrupt, beguile and baffle him. She forces him to confront his greatest fears, and to question a guilt so heavy that living without love seems an apt penance.

As for achieving their HEA? The Witch Whisperer is first and foremost, a romance, so…

Jann: Did anything about your characters surprise you when you were writing?

Barb: Yes. I began to realize during the editing stage how much I identified with Willow and her need for perfection, to never feeling good enough. I became quite attached to her. Never Ravenwood’s love for his blood brother Blaise became much deeper than I’d first imagined. Nev demanded I add emphasis to their relationship throughout the story.

Jann: When starting this series, did you think of character, plot or theme first?

Barb: As I mentioned above, the title came to me first, then the character Never Ravenwood as the WW himself. I did extensive character analyses in One Stop for Writers’ Character Builder on the main characters and major secondary characters. Once I had an idea of their goals, motivations, and conflicts, I could work on an outline to achieve their character arcs and story ending. Theme is almost always something I discover after a first draft.

Jann:  How many books do you have planned for this series? Are you working on Book Two? Can you tell us about the characters and their story?

 Barb: I mentioned that I’ve planned three books in the Keepers of Magic series. I’m working on the first draft of book two, The Keeper’s Code. I took a secondary character from the WW, powerful witch Ash Hunter, and made him the protagonist of book two. He’s a Keeper of magic in their secret witch society that is desperate to remain secret, an ever-more difficult task in this contemporary world of cameras on every corner, cell phones, and social media. He’s adept at lying, can mesmerize with a touch, and wipe memories. Who to pair him with? Why not a beautiful Reg (a person with no magic—think Muggle), who’s an award-winning investigative journalist with major trust issues and a killer witch stalking her.

Jann: What do you hope readers will take away from this series?

Barb: I hope they will be entertained, chuckle here and there, and wonder if that weird next-door neighbor is actually a witch. Seriously, books one and two have underlying themes, like perfection is unattainable (accept yourself for who you are), and something like learning to trust and trust in love. Still working on that one for book two.

Jann: Do you plan to stay with fantasy/paranormal genre?

Barb: For the foreseeable future. I need to finish the Keepers of Magic series in some kind of timely manner because I have so many other witchy stories I want to write.

Jann: The Great Leaving is an origin short story you wrote for the Keepers of Magic series. What is it about? Is it available to purchase?

Barb: I wanted to tell the emotional tale of the witch society’s forced abandonment of their homeland, the fantasy realm of Tae-wen, back in our time of 1690. For this snapshot in time, I chose the point of view of immortal witch Aris, whose adopted name in our world is Elizabeth Trowbridge. In The Witch Whisperer, she’s still alive, living in the society’s Haven and the owner of Trowbridge House, the secluded estate where The Witch Whisperer is incarcerated, and where Willow comes to have her broken magic fixed. She plays a much bigger role in book 2. I plan to use the short story The Great Leaving, a small e-booklet that is available through BookFunnel, as a free promo item at various events and for an eventual sign-up bonus when I start my newsletter.

Jann: I see that you have also written several short stories that are published in several anthologies. Would you share a bit about those stories?

Barb: I like writing short stories in between longer novels. Secrets of Moonlight Cove anthology was a fun one because all the authors got together and mapped out a fictional coastal town and set up a Google doc so we could share the details of our stories. In our own stories, we referenced characters in other stories and their businesses. Mine was a contemporary romance called Maggie’s Mystery Man.

Love for Christmas anthology was a labor of love with my critique group. I wrote a paranormal romance called Love for Christmas, about a cursed witch with a Christmas deadline.

In both volumes of The Truth That Can’t Be Told anthologies, I wrote a darker fantasy in two parts about cursed witches, plus a couple of contemporary pieces. All are available on Amazon.

Jann: Barb—Wishing you all the best on your debut novel, The Witch Whisperer and the Keepers of Magic series.

Barb’s Books

(Hover over the cover for buy links. Click on the cover for more information.)

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