Saturday, March 12, 2016
Once, I couldn’t imagine writing about anything but 17th Century England. I immersed myself in the history, how the court went about its daily business, the clothes, habits, manners and sometimes even the speech. How they moved from place to place, what they ate, the subjects they talked about over the dinner table and the place they occupied in society.
Five years ago, the English Civil War was not the most popular era for historical novel readers, so to increase my readership, who were small but loyal and very appreciative, I started to write novels based in the Edwardian era. The more I researched, the more I grew to love the atmosphere of the ‘Belle Époque’ age until I can visualise the environment of that time; its smells, the objects used every day and how people moved around, spoke and the ideas which shaped their lives.
No problem so far then? Maybe not, however, I was then asked to revert back to my roots and write a story for a 17th Century anthology being published by a group of authors. How hard could it be? After all I had written four books in it so all I had to do is switch heads again into a time I know well.
Several times over the last few weeks I have set out my notes on the main characters of that era, and with my fingers poised over the keyboard, arranged my characters within my chosen scene and waited. And waited.
These characters are the darlings of the Carolean Court. Colourful, flamboyant, outrageous, irreverent, immoral and decadent – whose lives were dominated by their wits and their main weapon was the spoken word - but they had nothing to say. Not one of them - Well that’s not quite true, they do, but in 20th Century voices. They don’t even move right!
I feel as if I am being punished for having betrayed them and their time, and they would not let me in again. What I did was go back to my 17th C books and read them through to climb back into the era and my heroine’s head.
I got there in the end, but it wasn’t easy.
Anita's Author Page
Friday, March 11, 2016
Wind out of the south, whitecaps washing over the floating bridges, the ferry system shut down—a Pacific Northwest storm. And one post-storm spring morning while driving to work and listening to NPR, I heard that the previous night’s gully washer caused another problem: squirrel’s nests knocked out of trees leaving a surfeit of orphaned babies. An animal welfare organization who shall remain nameless put out a call for foster parents.
Wow! That sounded like fun, I thought. I could do that. I loved squirrels. I wrote the organization’s phone number down.
At work, I found a place where a box of the family Sciuridae could sleep while I worked, and where I could retreat to give them little bottles of food and some TLC. Then I called the rescue group.
“I heard about your need for squirrel baby foster parents,” I said, “and I’m really interested.”
“Well now, isn’t that nice, but before adoption can be considered, I have a few questions.”
“You understand that you have to be preapproved.”
Uh oh. I hoped she wasn’t going to run a background check on me. The first time I went back east to meet my in-laws, one of my husband’s aunts was living in a pre-Civil War house near Holmes Hollow and cooking squirrel pot pie on a wood burning stove that came with the home I’d try and keep that in the down-low. After all, what happens in Holmes Hollow stays in Holmes Hollow.
“What’s your name?”
“Where do you live?”
“In Parkland which is just south of Tacoma, Washington.”
“Oh, now, that’s a bit of a problem.”
“Well, the babies were orphaned in Seattle.”
“I can drive there to pick some up.”
“And there are their physicals.”
“Well, who administers the physicals?”
“We have lots of vets in Tacoma, and running water and everything. My husband and I have gone to the same vet for years.”
Levity wasn’t her strong suit.
“Yes, but it has to be a wild animal vet.”
I sensed roadblocks—the result of animosity and distain Seattle feels for Tacoma.
“Well, I’ll ask our vet if he can give them their physicals,” I said.
“No can do, I’m afraid. We already have an approved wildlife vet ready to take them on.”
“Maybe I can drive to your vet, then. Where is he?”
Lynwood! That’s a hundred miles away.
Still, I persevered. “I could do that.”
“Every week. The orphaned babies have to be checked and weighed weekly. We want to make sure they’re getting the best possible care.”
“Are they vaccinated for hanta virus and Lyme’s disease?” I asked. “Do they need Frontline?”
Perhaps she sensed my sarcasm.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “but we have strict rules and regulations about who qualifies to adopt our orphans and how they are to be raised.”
“They’re rodents, for gosh sakes.”
“You see, that statement shows a flippant attitude. I’m sorry but you don’t qualify.”
Jeez! Take it down a notch, lady.
About a week later, someone knocked on my front door. It was two little boys with three squirrel babies in a box. “Here,” one boy said, “Mom said we should give them to you.”
I didn’t know who the kids were, who their mom was, or why she thought I should have the care and responsibility of three hostile-looking rodents. Their unattractiveness knocked the romance of foster moming squirrels right out of the ring. Nevertheless, I took the box and carried it to the garage. Then I tried to put dishes of water and sunflower seeds—shelled, I might add—in the box. Nasty little buggers. Their only interest was in trying to bite the hand that was attempting to feed them.
After a few days, when it didn’t look as if they were eating, I decided to turn them loose among the apple, cherry, pear and filbert nut trees in our backyard. They scampered for safety.
And ever since, we’ve had squirrel families eating the filberts, biting holes into the fruit and, digging up my bulbs.
All without physicals, flea medicine or mailed reminders for booster shots.
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Hello, my name is Troy Seate and I am new to the BWL family.
After reading a few of my stories, my parents booted me out of the house, but it didn’t stop me.
I’ve been offered this opportunity to share a few ramblings with all of you. Many writers don't want to be bothered by the real world. It doesn't fit with the world of their words, a world they would rather to be in. I don’t go to this extreme, but I do believe when it comes to the future or the past, everyone writes fiction.
I like to think of fiction as a mirror version of reality set to a greater or lesser degree of distortion depending on what genre a story is cast. Make-believe can be a great healer. Sometimes it can even save us. Turning words into people and places, and then mining the trivia of daily life to uncover the emotions beneath can sometimes be a difficult task, but it is the essence of what keeps us at it. So I say, wherever your dividing line between fiction and reality falls, keep at it.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Romance and Song
Unveiling The Emperor’s Concubine Song.
For those who have not read my latest release, The Emperor’s Concubine, my post-apocalyptic romance, you might be wondering what music has to do with the story. As a romance author music inspires me. When I am writing I always have a song in mind which fits with the theme of my book. For the Emperor’s Concubine my end theme song was, ‘Incredible’ by fellow Canadian Celine Dion and Ne-Yo. It is a very inspiring song and, I must confess, I am a HUGE Celine Dion fan. Alas I have yet to see her in concert, which makes me sad. There is another song that inspired the flowers on the rooftop love scene between my hero Sol and my heroine Ocean that not only inspired it, but made it into the actual book. The song is called A Story Forever and is written and sung by a friend of mine from California, Mike Peralta. Mike is an amazing young up and coming performer and when I heard his song I just had to have it in my book. I am thrilled to say Mike very generously allowed me to use the song. What a sweetheart right? It isn’t the first time I have had a singer/song writer loan me a ballad. Back in Gowan, a 2011 Canadian Juno winner and now lead singer of STYX, loaned me his ballad, ‘Love Makes You Believe’, for my Guilty Kisses’ debut. *Note the book is now republished as The Cracksman’s Kiss.
Anyway, I don’t normally do book trailers anymore, but I felt ‘A Story Forever’ really deserved one as the theme in The Emperor’s Concubine. Check it out. And if you like the song, please give Mike Peralta a little love! Thank you!
Monday, March 7, 2016
Hi, my name is Joanie MacNeil and I’m an Australian contemporary romance author. You can find me at http://www.bookswelove.com/authors/macneil-joanie/
While most of my novels are set in Australia, two of my earlier books are set in Scotland. My novels are a blend of sweet and sexy heart-warming stories about new love and second chances. I hope that some of my stories will make you smile.
As home, family and friends are important to me, I have blended these elements into some of my novels.
Story locations are usually places I’ve visited. I love to travel with my own romantic hero and later this year we plan to spend some time visiting countries we haven’t travelled to before. Maybe I will be inspired to set future stories in these new and interesting places.
While my introduction to romance reading began with historical romances, I was drawn to write shorter contemporary stories.
Three of my Books We Love novels, all contemporary romance and set in Australia:
The Trouble with Natalie
The Trouble with Natalie
Natalie Harrigan knows from past experience that men are trouble, and having a man in her life is not on her agenda. She'd much rather focus on her career. Success in her new appointment to the coveted position of CEO in the recently established Training Advisory Council is her number one priority and she intends to prove she will be the best CEO ever.
Enter Luke DeMarco: newly appointed Director of Public Affairs in the Training Advisory Council, and her young brother’s best friend. Luke DeMarco has always loved Natalie from the moment he first set eyes on her at eight years old. Now, twenty years later, she’s more woman than ever, and Luke’s not too worried about the twelve years difference in their ages. Surely his gentle wooing will convince Natalie that age is no barrier to love? But Natalie is his boss. Will she allow him to move from their boardroom to her bedroom?
Attractive Paige Delaney is more woman than Jack Shannon wants in his life, though he's in serious need of her award winning skills in web design. Paige believes her sexy new boss thinks he's God's gift to woman. Both are single parents with shattered dreams and damaged hearts, having suffered betrayals of trust in previous relationships. Each desires to love and be loved, but they are afraid to trust the opposite sex again.
When Jack moves into his new house and discovers Paige is his next door neighbor, their protective barriers and personal goals are threatened. Is it fate or their teenage children conspiring to push them together?
Following the death of her husband, Nicolette Oliver concentrates on re-establishing her career as a dancer, though still dealing with emotional issues relating to her life with Mark. When his friend appears on her doorstep, Nicolette honors her late husband’s invitation and invites Jake to stay.
Jake Harrigan has always been attracted to Nic and sees her as untouchable, even though she is now on her own. They are opposites, their lives and expectations literally worlds apart. Drawn into a romantic interlude, the parting is difficult when Jake returns to Europe to resume his career as TV news journalist and Nic moves to Sydney to begin rehearsals for the show that will resurrect her career.
Jake returns to Australia to see Nic again and also to finalize details with his network to sail around the world making documentaries. Will Jake follow his heart and ask Nic to give up all that she’s worked for and sail away with him?
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