CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations to Alison (agboss) who won Susanne Dietze's The Reluctant Guardian!


Congratulations to Elise Jehan who won a copy of The Secret Admirer Romance Collection!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Release Party! Bloom and Doom by Beverly Allen

April 1st marks the official release date of author Beverly Allen's debut, Bloom and Doom, Book One of the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery series from Berkeley Prime Crime.Here, you may know Beverly as our own Barbara Early! (add a comment to be in our drawing- going on all week; leave your email address 'safely')


I hope you don't mind the smell of fresh cut flowers. (We'll leave a window open.) The weather today in Ramble, Virginia is very spring-like despite some recent chilly weather.


We'll be gathering in the local party house, the Ashbury, where so many of Ramble's brides celebrate their receptions.

First, say hi to Beverly -



Our heroine is  Audrey Bloom. Audrey is co-owner of the Rose In Bloom flower shop with her cousin Liv.

Audrey is in charge of their very busy wedding flower department and is known far and wide for an amazing knowledge of the meaning of flowers and choosing combinations that not only are beautiful, but reflect the personalities of the bride and groom.
Oh, yes, please allow our waiters to bring you a treat. Pastries today are courtesy of Nick at the Baby Cakes Bakery. (if you get the impression Nick is a bit sweet on Audrey, you're right!)

Audrey and Liv have always loved flowers and the shop is a legacy to their beloved Grandma Mae.

All this week, we'll be celebrating Bloom and Doom so come back often (we can't promise the danish will be fresh from the oven though...)


Beverly is giving away a copy this week so please mention in your comments if you'd like to be in our drawing.  A name will be drawn at the end of the day on Sunday April 6th.  Leave your email address safely - example CuteWaiter (at) zowee.com.  Yes, I believe our waiter, Nathan, will be drawing the name...




Amazon link to Bloom and Doom
Here's more on Beverly. For more chances, go to her author page and find out where she is on her blog tour!
http://www.barbaraearly.com/

Congratulations, Beverly!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

Burning Sky by Lori Benton. Books We Love





I heard about Lori Benton’s debut novel long before it came out in August of 2013 from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. A friend of mine, Pat Iacuzzi, mentioned this incredible manuscript she’d had the pleasure to read. Pat has a lot of knowledge of the time period and setting. Knowing Burning Sky was set in New York State after the Revolutionary War certainly got my attention!

I consider this historical fiction with romantic elements. I’ll say right up front, it’s an incredible book. One of those ‘I wish I wrote it’ stories that I will always want to promote. 

Burning Sky is the name given to young Willa Obenchain when she is taken from her frontier home and adopted into the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk people. The novel starts when Burning Sky returns as a broken-hearted adult to the place of her childhood. Lori Benton has such depth in Willa’s story—the things she’s been through, their effect on her as she heals, and her focus on making a new life—that it’s difficult to put down.
 
Upon her return, Willa hopes to reclaim her family home and land. She must face the fact that her old neighbors suffered losses and deaths from the same ‘savages’ Willa left behind and considers her adopted family.  Not only does she have to deal the devastating grief that sent her back to the white world, she has to fight to prove her parents weren’t Tories before her home is auctioned off.  Her relationship with a Scots doctor, her Mohawk clan-brother, and the neighbor who loved her and searched for her after her kidnapping makes for a very compelling read. If that wasn’t enough, Ms. Benton has included two children who will steal your heart.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, historical romance, stories set in the colonial period—or are a fan of authors like Laura Frantz or Sara Donati, I’d strongly recommend Burning Sky.  Good news – Lori’s second book is coming out this spring! The Pursuit of Tamsen LittleJohn.

I wish I was much better at book reviews; I don’t like to tell you too much about what happens (you will find plenty of hints and spoilers in the over 100 Five Star reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads), but I had to post about this book.   

Unforgettable characters, spot-on historical detail, and incredible prose!

Congratulations to author Lori Benton for the nomination of Burning Sky as one of the TOP FIVE Fiction Books of the Year by the EPCA, as well as being a finalist in the the Grace Awards historical fiction category.
 


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lessons from the Editor's Desk - Take Me for a Ride

 by Dina Sleiman

In the first lesson of this series, I explained that I am a part-time, often volunteer editor for WhiteFire Publishing. However, I have been reviewing manuscripts for three years now, and I've learned a few things along the way that I think would be helpful to the writers among us. Today's lesson: take me for a ride!

Once I make it through the first chapter or two of a novel submission and feel confident that the book is off to a good start and a reasonable fit for my company's needs, I like to download it to my kindle. From that point on, I try to turn off my inner editor and experience the book like a reader. If it keeps me engaged and I read until the end, I might ask for some improvements, but chances are, I will recommend the book to our publishing committee.

So here's the big question: Why would I stop reading???

One of two reasons: the book bored me or the book wasn't well constructed. When we read a book we want to be taken for a ride, on a journey. It should be exciting, yet it should feel reliable. We want highs and lows, twists and turns, even upside down loops, much like a roller coaster. But...we want to feel like the roller coaster is structurally sound and the safety equipment is trustworthy. We want that assurance that we'll get off in one piece on the other side. Editors end up reading a lot of bad books, but when we find a novel that allows us to relax and enjoy the ride, we are ecstatic! Now, let's look at this in more detail.

Boring:
If I'm bored and don't desire to pick your book back up and keep reading, I won't. Plain as that. If it's not holding my interest, it won't hold the interest of many regular readers either. Here are some issues that can lead to a boring book:

Overused Storyline
Flat Characters
Weak Dialogue
Weak Voice
Lack of Motivation
Lack of Conflict
Lack of Escalation
Lack of Emotional Intensity
Pointless Scenes
Slow Pacing
Too Much Telling
Lengthy Chunks of Description
Lengthy Chunks of Narration

The most important element to keep in mind in this area is that unlike authors from the 1800s, you are competing with television, youtube, blockbuster movies, and netflix for people's attention. You need to keep your stories quick paced, present moment, multi-sensory, full of conflict, and downright exhilarating. Even a quiet, literary novel must keep these issues in mind. While you might be able to replace some conflict and action with beautiful language and deep observations about the human condition, you must still provide that engaging ride for your reader. So maybe this sort of novel would be more of a sky tram than a roller coaster, but it still needs to provide a strong story arc for a worthwhile and memorable journey.

Faulty Construction:
The other reason I might put a novel down is because I don't feel confident that it will safely get me where I need to go. A reader needs to believe that the story/author is trustworthy and will fulfill the requirements of the genre in a satisfying manner. If the reader feels jolted or confused, chances are he or she will give up on the book. And I will too. Here are some typical issues in this category:

Faulty Plot Structure
Inconsistent Character Motivations
Poor Characterization
Unclear Setting
Continuity Issues
Poor Pacing
Poor Scene Choice
Point of View Issues
Jolting through Time
Jolting in and out of Scenes
Missing Information
Far-Fetched Plot

No one wants to take a ride like that. I for one love a good roller coaster, but at a reliable theme park, not one tossed up by a couple of traveling carnival workers. You can't perfect one element of a novel while letting another fall into disrepair or go missing entirely. Writing a novel is a huge and elaborate undertaking. There's a lot to get right, and if even one element is weak, the entire thing can fall apart. I mean, what if one single piece of track was missing from a roller coaster? Or the pulley to get you to the top was weak or jolting? Or what if the brakes were just so so? In order to have a fulfilling ride, every piece needs to be working well and in conjunction with the others.

Don't get too discouraged. Most books have a few minor weaknesses. That's what editors are for. But again remember, I need to want to read your book until the end before we even get to that point. So make it impossible for me to put down. Take me on a journey that I'll want to finish, and you just might find yourself in print.

What makes you give up on a book? Even better, what makes you want to throw it against the wall?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




Dina Sleiman writes lyrical stories that dance with light. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Check out her novels Dance from Deep Within, Dance of the Dandelion, and Love in Three-Quarter time. And please join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace. For more info visit her at http://dinasleiman.com/

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

You Speak Viking!


by Susanne "a bit Danish" Dietze

Look around, and chances are, you’ll see a Viking or two—the second season of Vikings is showing right now on the History Channel. Or perhaps you've seen the article in March's Smithsonian Magazine, which focuses on "the bad boys of the North" after years of scholarship focused on their gentler natures.
 Nice "gentler nature" on that bloody blade there, Ragnar!
http://collider.com/wp-content/uploads/history-vikings.jpg
What do Vikings have to do with how we speak? Well, let's go back 1200 years when the Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, and Gauls set sail across the Baltic Sea searching for plunder and slaves. In 793, they first raided England.
 
File:Wikinger.jpg
Contemporary representation from 9th or 10th century
*
I’m 1/8th Danish, so I’ve always wondered if I have a bit of Viking in me. Actually, some of the other 7/8ths may be Viking, too, considering how many Nordic invaders assimilated into Britain.

Perhaps because Scandinavian resources were stretched, many Nordic seafarers settled in lands they’d previously invaded. It turns out, they didn’t just incorporate themselves into their new cultures: they also influenced them.

Nowhere is this more apparent in our modern culture than in our language. You might be surprised by how many loanwords English inherited from Old Norse.

Such basic verbs as are, talk, get, guess, give, die, tip, wag, scowl, rap, box, blab, jabber, irk, slaughter, ransack, and rock (as in rock a cradle) are all from Old Norse. 

Here are a few more vocabulary words that came with the Vikings:

  • anger
  • bairn (child)
  • bag
  • berserk
  • big
  • bug
  • bylaw
  • cake
  • club
  • crook (hook shaped weapon or tool)
  • daughter
  • dregs
  • egg (as in to “egg someone on”)
  • fellow
  • fog
  • flush (to blush)
  • freckle
  • gift
  • glove
  • guest
  • happy
  • heathen
  • hell (Hel is the ruler of the underworld in Norse mythology)
  • husband
  • ken (to know)
  • knife
  • low, lowly
  • mistake
  • oaf
  • outlaw
  • ransack
  • rape (ick--little wonder this word was associated with Viking raids.)
  • root
  • saga
  • seat
  • skull
  • sky
  • Thursday (Thor's Day. Friday is possibly Old Norse, too, for the goddess Freja, but it could also be Old English, honoring the goddess Frigg. Most of the days of the week honor pagan gods.)
  • though
  • trust
  • ugly
  • wicker
  • window (wind-eye)
  • wing
  • wrong
  • Yule (jul, a winter feast, and the origin of the Yule log)

There are dozens more. Are you surprised by any of these words? Do you find etymology interesting?

***

 Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. She won first place in the Historical category of the 2011-2012 Phoenix Rattler, and her work has finaled in the Genesis, Gotcha!, and Touched By Love Contests. Susanne is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com.

* {{PD-1923}} – published before 1923 and public domain in the US.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Gap

If you're the creative type, you've probably noticed that there's a gap between what you want to create and what you end up creating.  Since none of us is God, there will always be a gap between our imaginations and our abilities, but we can narrow that gap if we keep on trying.

Watch this Ira Glass video and see if at least some of your self-doubt fades away.









DeAnna Julie Dodson has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. She is the author of In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances, as well as Letters in the Attic, The Key in the Attic, The Diary in the Attic and The Legacy in the Attic, contemporary mysteries. Her new series of Drew Farthering Mysteries debuted in the Summer of 2013 with Rules of Murder, to be followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado in 2014 from Bethany House. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Encouragement for the Journey. St. Brendan's Prayer

by Susanne Dietze  (resposted from 3/18/2010

One of my favorite saints, Thérèse of Lisieux, once said that if the saints in heaven came back to earth and read what had been written about them, they wouldn’t recognize themselves. I think St. Brendan would agree with her, as the legend surrounding his ministry has overshadowed his personal history.

Book illustration Manuscriptum translationis g...Image via Wikipedia
I first heard of Brendan as a newlywed. My husband had been called into ministry, and we prepared for a cross-country move for three years of seminary. We were young, but not naive enough to think that we could succeed without God's help. As two kids fresh out of college, we did not feel spiritually equipped for the life to which we’d been called.

At least we were financially set, or so we thought. But right after our honeymoon, we both became ill from a rare respiratory ailment. Neither of us could work for almost a month. Though we were blessed that our parents could help us with our expenses during that time, the cost of our medical treatments and other needs ate away the savings we’d intended to pay for our moving van and ultilities once we arrived.

As we stood on the verge of an adventure we still felt called to undertake, we were completely humbled. Through prayer, we held confidence in God’s plan for us, but we wondered how He expected us to manage the move, emotionally, physically and financially. Would He really provide for us?

We had no other choice but to trust Him.

One afternoon, the Christian radio station broadcast a song I’d never heard before. It was by rock band Iona, and (in a gleeful, carefully-planned splurge) we bought the CD. It turns out that the majority of the songs on this particular disk were inspired by the ministry of a Celtic saint named Brendan. The last song on the CD struck me:

Beyond these shores, into the darkness
Beyond these shores this boat may sail
And if this is the way then there will be
A path across the sea*


I knew nothing about Brendan, but in Iona's interpretation, this guy was unsure what would happen when he climbed into his boat. Despite his fear, he believed there'd be a "path across the sea" if he was following the Lord. I needed the reminder that if God had called us to seminary, He’d get us there. And we’d never succeed without His provision, His knowledge, and His help every step of the way.

Disused CurrachImage via Wikipedia
I know a bit more about Brendan now. Here are the basics: he was born around 484 in what is now County Kerry, Ireland, he became a priest, and he founded monasteries. In the course of his ministry, he discerned God's call to step into a currach – an open-air boat made of wood and animal hides – and set sail, preaching the Gospel beyond his native land.

Brendan obeyed, climbing into a currach more than once in the course of his ministry. His largest voyage lasted seven years and took him into unknown territory. He returned home and died peacefully after a long life of service to God, already revered for his legendary journeys.

Those facts say nothing of how he may have felt stepping into the boat. And that unknown land I mentioned? Well, it’s said that Brendan crossed the Atlantic Ocean and visited North America one thousand years before Christopher Columbus.

Amazing stuff, isn’t it? Many folks have dismissed the account of his great journey as religious allegory (and yes, just as the above icon shows, there are tales aplenty which describe Brendan celebrating Eucharist atop whales, or engaging in adventures which sound like other immram, or Irish voyage stories.) And the idea is ridiculous anyway: he couldn’t really have sailed across the Atlantic in a little leather boat, right?

In 1978, a writer and historian named Tim Severin proved the possibility of Brendan’s voyage when he successfully sailed a currach from Ireland to Newfoundland.

To me, however, Brendan's visit to North America isn't the point of his story. What humbled me to my core is that Brendan, a guy just like you and me, heard a call from God, and despite the huge and scary element of the unknown involved in that call, he obeyed.

Before his great voyage, Brendan offered a prayer, and it’s one that I love:

Shall I abandon, O King of mysteries, the soft comforts of home?
Shall I turn my back on my native land, and turn my face towards the sea?

Shall I put myself wholly at your mercy,
without silver, without a horse,
without fame, without honor?
Shall I throw myself wholly upon You,
without sword and shield, without food and drink,
without a bed to lie on?
Shall I say farewell to my beautiful land, placing myself under Your yoke?

Shall I pour out my heart to You, confessing my manifold sins and begging forgiveness,
tears streaming down my cheeks?
Shall I leave the prints of my knees on the sandy beach,
a record of my final prayer in my native land?

Shall I then suffer every kind of wound that the sea can inflict?
Shall I take my tiny boat across the wide sparkling ocean?
O King of the Glorious Heaven, shall I go of my own choice upon the sea?

O Christ, will You help me on the wild waves?

I have struggled with placing myself under God’s yoke, wondering if Christ is with me in the unknown. I have begged for His help as I sailed wild waves, and I've sat awake and afraid on nights far darker than those I spent fretting about God’s provision before and during seminary. (I should take this opportunity to praise Him, because of course, He did provide for us in every way, even financially. Someone whom I still have not met sent us a check to cover our rent for one month while we were sick. Our next-door neighbors suddenly moved away, leaving us the food in their freezer, and the sale of my husband's truck exactly covered the cost of a moving van.)

The Iona song concludes,

Wherever I may go Your love surrounds me,
For You have been before beyond these shores.*


Romans 8:39 tells us, “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There is no unknown place to Him; He has been everywhere we can possibly go. He created the air beneath the wings our airplane, the watery depths below our ship, the crevice of every cave and the innermost parts of our bodies, and He is and has been and will be wherever we go or need Him. When we face the unknown, we would do well to follow Brendan’s example and throw ourselves wholly upon the God who made us and loves us. Like Brendan, as we leave the “prints of (our) knees on the sandy beach” before we shove off from shore, may we trust that God is with us in the boat, and trust that He waits at our destination, too.

Have you ever been asked by God to get into a boat, and you didn’t know where it would sail? How did it work out? I’d love to hear any testimonies of God’s faithfulness.

To hear Iona's "Beyond These Shores" just hit play.


*"Beyond These Shores," music and lyrics by Iona, 1993, copyright SGO Music.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Jane Austen is for Babies!


Shopping with Susanne Dietze


Jane Austen is now for babies.

I'd seen Jennifer Adams' Pride and Prejudice in the form of a board book, suitable for infants, several months back (illustrated by Allison Oliver), and since then I've secretly coveting it for myself. True, I seem to have mastered the book's challenge of counting to ten, but can you blame me for wanting it?
 null
It's a baby book. Of Jane Austen. The illustration of the number 2 is Two Rich Gentlemen, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. Come on!

And now, there's a whole play set.
null
Yes, I will play this with you!
 Here's the description:

With 7 punch-out cards featuring the characters and scenes from Pride & amp; Prejudice: A BabyLit Counting Primer and a box to use as a stage set, you can turn Jane Austen's classic into hours of fun! Stroll in an English village with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, act out four marriage proposals, march the soldiers in uniform, or set up a lovely English village with Pemberley, Longbourn, and Netherfield. Introduce your little lit-o-phile into the world of drama by setting the stage with Jane Austen's classic storyline. Includes sturdy box for storage and play.

But wait (I say in true infomercial spirit), there's more! Pride and Prejudice isn't the only classic for your toddler. There's a whole line of BabyLit. Sense and Sensibility is about opposites, of course. But there's also Jane Eyre. A Christmas Carol. Dracula. Wuthering Heights. And so much more!

Too cool!

And there are dolls, too. Behold Mr. Darcy.
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 Isn't he cuddly?

Personally, I may also have to order the I Heart Mr. Darcy tote. Just like in Austenland.
I Love Mr. Darcy Tote Bag
From Café Press


All product photos, except for the tote, were taken from the BabyLit site (click here to shop). And enjoy hugging your Mr. Darcy!

***
Susanne Dietze likes Mr. Darcy. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mazo de la Roche Part 2

by Anita Mae Draper


Back at the end of January, I posted about Mazo de la Roche, the writer of the Jalna series, and how I had recently discovered that she had spent vacations close to where my genealogy research had taken me in York County, Ontario. I included mention of her autobiography, Ringing the Changes, and forewarned about a post where I wanted to relay her first steps into publishing. This post will be of interest to writers who I'm sure can relate to Mazo's struggles, and also to readers who like to know details of how books are created.



Mazo was twelve years old when she first became inspired to write. "I had the idea that I must work myself up into a state of excitement before I could write of what was in my mind." So she'd lie rigid on her sofa and imagine the scene. Then she'd get up and write it down, not type it although she had access to a typewriter, but write it long-hand. Back to the sofa to imagine the next part, and so on until she had her story finished. She caught herself in the mirror once, flushed cheeks and eyes glittering from the excitement of her story, and then in later years admitted how ridiculous it sounded.

When her first story was done, she sent it to Munsey's Magazine without return postage - something that came later with experience. After weeks of waiting for the postman, she received a small envelope from the magazine with an acceptance letter and the promise of a $50 payment. Although she doesn't say which story this was, my research shows that her first published story was The Thief of St. Loo published in Munsey's Magazine in November 1902. (Click the link to read it.)

Munsey's Magazine, November 1902


After selling several more short stories, she submitted what she considered her best effort...and then waited and waited... It didn't help that on a return trip to the post office the girl at the wicket said someone had found a stamp on the floor just after Mazo had left. She had put so much hope in this story, that depression hit hard and it was followed with a physical decline in her health. She doesn't really give it a name except to refer to her nerves and that she was ill for months before she received an acceptance letter and accompanying check for the story she feared was lost in the postal system. By that time, she was too weak to walk and was sure she was dying and would never write again.

It was three long years before she could bring herself to write a creative paragraph, and so it was slow going, a little each day. One day while on a vacation she had an incident with her travelling stove which was heated by methylated spirits. She wrote, "A blaze shot ceilingward. I screamed, but only the spiders heard me...When I had somehow quenched the flames, I peered into the looking-glass. My eyebrows and the fringe of hair on my forehead were gone!"

Several days later with her manuscript completed, she joined her family at a Lake Simcoe cottage in York County and although her family were happy to see Mazo looking so healthy, her mother's first words were, "But darling, where are your eyebrows?"

This story was also quickly accepted and published in Smart Set magazine. Mazo once wrote, "I always was surprised when my stories were accepted. I was equally surprised when they were not."

After the war ended, Mazo said she sold second rights to ten of her short stories which had previously been published in American magazines. An editor at the Canadian Home Journal bought them for $1000. To put it into perspective, in 1920, a loaf of bread costs 12 cents, a pound of bacon 42 cents, and a pound of coffee was 47 cents, with a few cents higher costs in New York and Washington.

I find it interesting that Mazo's next literary projects were one-act plays which she submitted to contests. Yes, contests, just like many of the Inkies have submitted to the Genesis and other writing contests. Mazo submitted her one-act play, Low Life for an I.O.D.E (Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire) writing contest and also for an Authors' Association of Montreal writing contest. She won $100 for each and did a happy dance throughout the house.

However, her happiness was short-lived when she received a letter from the Montreal Authors' Association questioning the validity of entering the same play in two contests, and requesting their prize money back. Mazo didn't return the money because she'd already spent it. The upshot of this incident was that she received an apology from the Canadian Authors' Association.


Courtesy of www.yesterdaysgallery.com 

Mazo's story of her first meeting with a publisher reached out to me as a kindred spirit. Wanting to look her best, she dressed with great care and then put on an old sweater before checking to ensure the furnace had enough coal to last until her return. She didn't realize until she was in the publisher's office and went to take her coat off that she'd forgotten to remove her shabby sweater, holes and all. The room was too hot to continue wearing her coat, but she had to endure until her host stepped out for a moment. Moving quickly, she removed her coat and sweater before tossing the sweater out an open window. However, she was left with the expectation that her sweater would suddenly re-appear at any moment.

She thought her second novel would be better since she had moved to a beautiful setting in Nova Scotia and proceeded to fill her novel with all sorts of interesting details. Upon reading it, though, she thought it sounded "guidebookish", but that it would make a great film. Her publisher thought otherwise. He said he would publish it, but he really didn't think it was worthy. The valuable lesson learned here is to write what you know.

Mazo's first three novels brought acclaim abroad, but mixed reactions - mostly negative - from Canadian reviewers. She wrote, "One Toronto critic in particular was so violent that his review was almost a classic in abuse." She went on to say, "The reviews...meant a great deal to me. At that time reviews had the power to depress me or to give me confidence. They helped to bring out the mettle in me -- to give  me heart of grace in the writing of my next novel."

The reviews changed in 1927 when Jalna won the $10,000 prize from the American magazine, Atlantic Monthly The Canadian Forum said, "Jalna opened the eyes of Canadians to the fact that Mazo de la Roche possesses distinctive qualities as a writer... de la Roche was writing just as well a year ago as now, but only now are her countrymen commencing to realize that she has style..."


The picture has inscribed on the back “‘Benares’ Clarkson, Ontario, Jalna of the Whiteoaks, by Mazo de la Roche, about 1900, Captain Harris, India”.  From the Museums of Mississauga Exhibits

Suddenly, Mazo was popular, but speaking engagements and parties were demanding on her nerves. Instead of working on Whiteoaks, she was struck by migraines which her doctor blamed on overstrain. He prescribed a series of electric treatments, but they only seemed to make her headaches worse. One day a well-meaning nurse advised her to quit the treatment, which Mazo did.

With only a couple chapters of Whiteoaks written, it was time to work. With her paper, pencil, penknife for sharpening her pencil, and dictionary ready, she sat down prepared to write. She says, "Only a writer who has suffered an attack of nerves, such as I had passed through, can quite understand the effort of beginning, the tremendous eagerness to put down the first words, the fear of defeat, of breakdown. I knew what I wanted to write. The words were at my hand. But could I write them? One line I wrote. Then a strange rigidity struck my nerves. The pencil would not move. I could not budge it. Helpless I stared at the paper. One line! One line of ten words! And I could not - not to save my life - write another."

It would be too sad if I ended this post here because that one line of writing energized Mazo. It may have been just one line, but it was one line and it encouraged her to try again the next day. From one one, to one paragraph, to a full page by the end of the week and she was on her way once again...


The Whiteoaks of Jalna series contains 16 books. There are 17 here, but the series came out in several issues with different cover themes. 

Can you imagine what would have happened if Mazo hadn't attempted one or more lines the next day? You don't need to be a writer to try one more line. Mazo inspires me because of what she accomplished despite her problems.

What about you? Is it time for you to try one more line, one day at a time?
Is there something in this post that inspires you? 

--------------------------------

Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and the youngest of their 4 kids. She writes cowboy stories set in the Old West, and Edwardian stories set in the East.  Anita Mae  semi-finaled in the ACFW's 2011 Genesis contest, and finaled in the Daphne du Maurier, Fool for Love, Duel on the Delta and the Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests.  Anita Mae's short story, Riding on a Christmas Wish is published in A Christmas Cup of Cheer, Guideposts Books, October 2013.  Anita Mae is represented by Mary Keeley of Books & Such Literary Agency. You can find Anita at   http://www.anitamaedraper.com/



Monday, March 10, 2014

Release Party for CURTAIN CALL Lisa Karon Richardson and Jennifer AlLee


Following on the success of  A Diamond in the Rough and Vanishing Act,  we're celebrating  the release of Curtain Call, the third book in the Charm and Deceit Series from Whitaker House Publishing.

We also love the fact it's written by our own dynamic duo: Jennifer AlLee and Lisa Karon Richardson!


Welcome to the Curtain Call release party  and the famous (historic) Delmonico's Restaurant in Manhattan. We have a private room reserved and you are our specials guests.  Jen and Lisa have covered the bill so the sky's the limit!

Don't forget to join us for some entertainment similar what you'll find inside the pages of this story!
The original Delmonico's in Manhattan, site of today's festivities and some memorable scenes in Curtain Call
After our meal we'll be escorted (horse and carriage, of course) to  gather at the glorious Academy of Music  to hear:




Contralto Joyce DiDonato singing Tanti Affetti, the final aria in La Donnal del Lago--the vocal role performed by our heroine Emily!

Emily Forbes has worked hard to make a name for herself as a world class mezzo soprano
After the loss of her right leg from the knee down, Emily Forbes has focused on becoming a renowned opera singer. When at last it seems her dream is within reach, she ignores the concern of her detective brother and heads off to New York City, where she lands the lead role in a performance. While promoting the production, she hears a familiar name: DeKlerk. Soon she's digging through the only case her brother never closed.

Samuel DeKlerk is a respected physician. After serving in the Civil War and witnessing the devastating effects of privation and war on fellow soldiers' physical and mental well–being, he shifts his clinical interests to diseases of the mind. He's now an alienist—a doctor to the mad—with little time for frivolity. He agrees to invest in the opera, in the memory of his sister, Sarah, who was murdered by a yet nameless killer. When he catches Emily Forbes prying into the past, his life is upended again.

As they work to solve a case gone cold, determined to bring Sarah's killer to justice, tolerance for each other turns to mutual respect. Might love be waiting for them in the final act?
Samuel DeKlerk, wealthy, disillusioned Civil War physician how now studies diseases of the mind.
links you'll love:
Whitaker House  
Amazon Kindle Link
Lisa's Pinterest Page
Jen's Pinterest Page
Christianbook.com - buy single or the complete series!

 Our Guests of Honor, Authors Lisa Karon Richardson and Jennifer AlLee!
Another hero from the Charm and Deceit Series, Grant Diamond!  
Carter Forbes returns to see that there is no trouble. But we expect all sorts of trouble with his sister Emily and a certain doctor, the 'alienist" Samual DeKlerk


Thanks so much for stopping in to celebrate with us. 
Congratulations Lisa and Jen!

Please leave a comment and let us know if you'd like 
to be in the drawing for CURTAIN CALL!