Sunday, April 27, 2014

Coming Back


Spring has arrived! Yay!

So I thought this was a good time to resurrect my blog. I took a long hiatus to concentrate on my writing and it's been a productive time. I have finished the first book in a trilogy of historical novels that begins in the Gilded Age in New York City, and I'm working on the second book which is set in a Gilded Age mansion in the Hudson River Valley.

There are lots of fascinating stories and historical tidbits to share with you as I continue my Gilded Age stories, including a field trip to the Vanderbilt mansion in Hyde Park, NY, this summer that is sure to be fascinating. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with all of you!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Book Debut: The Secret History, A Novel of Empress Theodora by my friend Stephanie Thornton!

 Today is the release date for the first historical novel of my friend and amazing critique partner, Stephanie Thornton.

Those of you who are not writers cannot imagine the work that goes into creating, imagining, writing, editing, re-editing, and polishing a manuscript for publication.

Many authors never get to this point. Stephanie has worked very hard for this day, and I'm happy to resurrect my blog to sing her praises.

The following is one writer's blog take on A Secret History.

In sixth century Constantinople, one woman, Theodora, defied every convention and all the odds, and rose from being a common theater tart to become empress of a great kingdom, the most powerful woman the Roman Empire would ever know. But the woman whose image was later immortalized in glittering mosaic was, in fact, a scrappy, clever, conniving, flesh-and-blood woman full of sensuality and spirit whose real story is as surprising as any ever told…

When her father dies suddenly, Theodora and her sisters face starvation on the streets. Determined to survive, Theodora makes a living any way she can—first on her back with every man who will have her, then on the stage of the city’s infamous amphitheater in a scandalous dramatization of her own invention. When her daring performance grants her a back-door entry into the halls of power, she seizes the chance to win a wealthy protector—only to face heartbreak and betrayal.

Ever resilient, Theodora rises above such trials and by a twist of fate, meets her most passionate admirer yet: the Emperor’s nephew. She will thrive as his confidant and courtesan, but many challenges lie ahead. For one day, this man will hand her a crown. And all the empire will wonder—is she bold enough, shrewd enough, and strong enough to keep it?
Stephanie Thornton

If you love a rich historical novel filled with intriguing characters and a strong female protagonist, then you will love A Secret History. 

I am so proud of Stephanie and what she has accomplished that I can't help but toot her horn. Run right out and get this book!

Then tell your friends and get the word out: this is an author to watch!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Unplugged

Too much internal and external noise in my mind and life so I'm going unplugged for a while.

For months I've been blogging and reading blogs, doing Pinterest and Goodreads, etc. to work on my author career. Trying to get my name out there, advertise, market, blah, blah, blah.

I think I need to detach myself from the Internet as much as possible for a bit. Need to get outside more. Smell the coffee. Smell the roses. Stop being attached at the hip to the computer.

So long, internet, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, and all the other myriad sites I travel to nearly every day.

Not sure who even reads this blog actually. And that's OK. I've enjoyed doing it. And I've learned a lot. I'll probably be back.

And now it's time to stop so here I am stopping. This is me stopping.

Good-bye.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Gentle Reminder

I was driving somewhere alone this week. And I was complaining venting to the Lord about the fact that my friend, an acquisitions editor at a Christian publisher, recently told me that they had acquired all the historical romance they needed until 2015. 2015.

I had been preparing my current WIP for this editor, in fact for the last year, everything I've worked on was for this particular editor and her company. (Let me be clear here, we had no contract and she hadn't promised me anything. But she wanted to look at my stuff before I sent it anywhere else.)  I changed my story from straight historical to historical romance (And believe me, that involves some real rewriting.)

And then, just like that. Shot down.

Of course, she had no idea how this bit of news affected me. She didn't know I had targeted October as the month I would have the manuscript finished to turn into her. I simply said, "OK, thanks for the heads up." I moped around for a couple of days, even played around with the idea of quitting the whole writing/author/publication thing.

So I was driving along and moaning praying and I said "Lord, it's just so disappointing...I've been writing this for Vicki and---" before I could even finish the sentence, right out of the blue, the Lord said "You're not writing for Vicki, you're writing for Me."

Oooooh.

I stopped. I gulped. And I said, "Oooh Kaaaayy...that's right. Thank You for reminding me. I'm not writing for Vicki, I'm writing for you."

And just like that, my attitude changed. I was driving along, complaining, almost as if the Lord wasn't really listening. And He was.

Thanks, Lord.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Marketing an Ebook

Isn't that a gorgeous photo of a Japanese maple? Marketing and advertising your own eEbook is something like that tree, with its trunk and many branches.

I'm still on a steep learning curve and learning every day, and a few months ago I discovered Goodreads.

Goodreads is an online group for readers to share reviews, recommendations and discuss favorite books.

A Secret Hope is there too, and I would love if any of you out there who have read it would go to Goodreads and rate it, put it on your to-read list or just "like" it. Also, if you take the time to go through your favorite genre (mine of course is historical fiction) and mark the books you've loved in the past, Goodreads will give you recommendations for other books you may enjoy.

www.goodreads.com

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Does the Lord Have a Sense of Humor? Heck, yes!

I don't know why I thought about this particular incident from my past this morning. Maybe someone out there needs to hear this, or maybe it's because I was reflecting on His goodness and mercy.


And His sense of humor.


Yes, the Lord does have a sense of humor. Just ask any Christian.


This little story happened in 1977. Yep, thirty-five years ago. I was attending Christian Center Church in Brockport, NY, where I first heard the Gospel and was saved.


I was single. There was a divorced man with four little children that wanted me to be his wife. I was flattered by his attention but deep down in my heart I knew this relationship wasn't meant to be. I was still in the process of learning to hear the Lord's voice and had been a Christian for about 2 years at the time.


Slowly I was realizing that the Holy Spirit was urging me to break it off with this man. But I wasn't ready to do it and I questioned whether this was really the Lord's voice I was hearing.


So I decided to test the Lord. My old pastor, Don Riling, used to say "Make it easy on yourself and tough on God." So I told God I was going to do that. A woman by the name of Marilyn Hickey was coming to our church to do a conference on motive gifts. It was to take place at a Holiday Inn in Batavia, NY. At that time I was helping in the sound ministry - helping set up microphones and setting up for events, etc.


I was to assist with the conference at the hotel. So I told the Lord I would ask Marilyn Hickey what she thought about my situation. Whatever she told me to do, I would do and receive it as coming from the Lord.


But then I arranged the "tough" part for the Lord. I stayed as far away from Marilyn Hickey as I could get. If I saw her anywhere near me I would move away. It was a day-long conference and I never got near her once.


The conference finished. Marilyn Hickey left. People went home. We broke down all the equipment, packed the van and were ready to leave. I was smugly congratulating myself that I had managed to never give Marilyn the chance to speak to me.


I needed to make a quick trip to the bathroom before we started back to Brockport, so I went to the Ladies Room. It was empty. I went into a stall to do my business.


Then I heard the door open. Someone walked in and entered the stall next to mine. I looked down at their shoes.


Brown and white leather spectator pumps. Just like the ones Marilyn Hickey was wearing.


I closed my eyes and groaned. 


She finished before me. I could have waited for her to leave but I KNEW the Lord had arranged this. Just as I had asked Him to.


So I left the safety of my stall as she was washing her hands at the sink. I approached her, my heart pounding in my chest. I could barely get the words out.


"I have to ask you a question," I said. I proceeded to give her a quick synopsis of my situation and that I would receive her counsel as coming from the Lord.


"SLICE IT." That's what she said. Two words. I can still remember that moment clear as day. I think I was a little bit in shock at how the Lord had arranged the entire scenario. In the bathroom, for Pete's sake. While I was on the TOILET!


But I knew that I knew that this was definitely the Lord speaking. So I obeyed. I broke the relationship off and moved on. And a year later the Lord brought the man who was to be my husband into my life. Thirty three years later we are still growing in the Lord together. 


Why did I think about this today? Maybe because it demonstrates that the Lord always knows where we live. He can always find a way to speak to us. We can trust that He knows what He's doing. And we can be sure that He WANTS to speak to us and direct us and that He has a PLAN for our lives. 


Whew. I'm sure glad I listened.


Thanks, Lord. On the TOILET, for Pete's sake!



Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Dear Little Mother, the Miracle Girl.

Jean M. Quinn
1929-2102
My dear little mother passed away on June 22. Although she only stood 4'11", she was big in spirit and personality.

Eight of her children gathered at her deathbed in Utica, NY. We took turns comforting each other and remembering all her funny sayings and our growing up years in Tonawanda and East Amherst, NY.

She became the "Miracle Girl" at St. Elizabeth's in 2009, when she survived a major heart attack that would have killed most men. She thought she had the flu and so stayed home for two weeks until pulmonary edema sent her to the hospital.

She recovered and went on to live three more happy years, doing her crafts, cutting her lawn, and visiting her grandchildren.

My heart is sore and aching but I know she wouldn't want me to grieve too hard. So I won't. I will dedicate my next book to her, in memory of all she did to help me flourish in this life.

Rest in peace, Miracle Girl.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

St. Patrick, My Mentor

I'm thinking about self-publishing my second historical novel.


The Fury of Dragons is the second book in my Sword & Spirit Series.

I owe a debt to St. Patrick because he influenced both books.

In A Secret Hope, the first book, one of my inspirations was reading in St. Patrick's Confession that he had led a beautiful Irish princess to faith in Christ.

In the second book, nearly the entire plot is based on Patrick's Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus. In this letter he castigates and condemns the British chieftain who came upon some of Patrick's converts shortly after their baptism. Coroticus abducted the young ones, and according to Patrick, Coroticus "gave girls away like prizes".

My first book, A Secret Hope, is doing fairly well and I have had some requests for the next book in the series. Originally, I self-published the book as an experiment. E-publishing is taking off and with my husband's encouragement to be bold, I went ahead and it out there.

But in the back of my mind, I wanted to keep the second book back, in case I ever managed to procure a "traditional" publishing contract.

Now I think I'm going to do both. I'm continuing to work on a series of stories set in the Gilded Age for a traditional publisher. But my real first love is ancient history and archaeology. That's what gets my pulse thumping and my imagination stirred up!






Monday, May 28, 2012

Freedom Isn't Free


Today please remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our great country.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

First Author Earnings!

Wow! 

This week, after eight years of writing, two research trips, numerous Amazon purchases of research books, domain name costs, blogging expenses, magazine subscriptions, writing software, ACFW membership fees, printing fees, quires of paper, advertising costs, heartache, anxiety, writer's block and contest fees - da da!

This week I made my very first profit as a writer. Are you ready? *trumpet blast*
$36.18

Yep. You read it correctly. The totally amazing sum of $36.18. And you know what? I was thrilled to receive it.

I think writing, at least for me, might be one of those things that you get into and start doing BEFORE you know how difficult it is. Like marriage. And raising children. And maybe that's a good thing and quite possibly the Lord planned it that way. Because if we knew how hard it was to do some of those things, we might never have started. True commitment and true faithfulness only come AFTER you have that watershed moment when it dawns on you just how hard it it really is to do this thing.

There have been several times on this writing journey of mine when I considered giving up. Just chucking the whole thing and going back to the things that normal people do. You know, like housework, making dinner, going to a movie with your husband. Like being outside on a beautiful summer day instead of sitting in front of a computer screen.

And sometimes, knowing how much money I had already invested into this "writing career" of mine was the only thing that kept me going. That, and my critique partner, Stephanie (Check out her blog at www.stephanie-thornton.com) who recently signed a three book deal AT AUCTION!

I could mention the total sum of what I've spent on all those expenses mentioned above. But I hesitate to do that because I wouldn't want to frighten or discourage any would-be writers reading this blog.

I'd rather encourage them.