Crimson Secret wins IPPY award!

Just announced April 18th!  Crimson Secret, my novel set during the War of the Roses, won the bronze award in the Best eBook Romance category!

IPPY Awards identify the best books independently published in the U.S, Canada, All 3 medals cropped 1.5 inAustralia/New Zealand, and Europe.
 
I haven’t received the award yet, but it looks like the larger award to the right in the photo.
Thanks to my critique friends, my beta readers, editors, and my cover designer and daughter, Jalena Penaligon!

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Go to it! (Pursue what makes you come alive!)

I read the most touching article last week. Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, a well known children’s author and filmmaker. It was titled, “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” It was written along the lines of a match.com profile, and it described the charms, kindnesses, and deep expressions of love her husband had shown her over their 26-year marriage.

Eight days later, Amy, 51, would pass away from ovarian cancer.

Tragic, yes, but what I discovered about Amy after reading the article made me think of my RMFW friends, and the joys and challenges inherent with the creative path we’ve all chosen.

One of Amy’s tenets was included in her obituary. “I tend to believe whatever you decide to look for you will find, whatever you beckon will eventually beckon you,” she said during a 2012 TED talk.

I watched that TED talk and her message inspired me, so I am sharing it with you.

Amy begins by talking about coincidences such as the proliferation of “7” in our lives—seven days in the week, seven colors in the rainbow, seven wonders of the world. Seven music notes. Her TED talk is called “Seven Notes on Life.”

She mentioned walking the beach with her mother-in-law, when she discovered a heart-shaped pebble. Once she had seen that first one, she looked for another, and found many heart-shaped pebbles. Her mother-in-law was astonished, but Amy was not. She had observed many times that we find that which we seek out. “When our eyes are open, there is a subtle shifting of awareness.”

To demonstrate, she told the TED audience that she would imagine that she was speaking to a totally red audience, and once she focused on that, she would see instantly all the red clothing there.

She went through the seven musical notes. “F” stood for, “Figure it out as you go.” We don’t have to have it all mapped out before we embark on something new. Get a good idea, invest in it, and learn and adjust as we go.

These thoughts and others inspired me, but what left the lasting impression—the one that made me feel connected to you, my RMFW friends, was this: All the cell phones, iPads, laptops, and other technical devices create a huge amount of technical “noise” in our lives. All that modern noise demands something from us—a reaction.  Once we turn off the cell phones and all the technical “noise” in our lives, we become disconnected from the chatter, and are left with empty space. And what do we find in that newly empty space?

It is no coincidence, she pointed out, that with the individual letters rearranged, another important word emerges from “reaction.”

REACTION {changes to} ….. CREATION.

She ended the talk with a quote from Howard Thurman:

Ask not what the world needs.

            Ask what makes you come alive.

            And go to it.

What we need is people who have come alive. What, Amy asked, makes you come alive?

Go to it. Move toward what makes you come alive.

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A Chicago native and longtime resident, Rosenthal completed more than 30 books, including journals, memoirs and the best-selling picture stories “Uni the Unicorn” and “Duck! Rabbit!” She made short films and YouTube videos, gave TED talks and provided radio commentary for NPR, among others. Her loving optimism will be missed.

Read more: http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.777097

The TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxWgIccldh4

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Goodreads reviewer lists me as favorite new author of 2016

 

Am so happy to share! A Goodreads reviewer named the Coin Forest series in her 2016 review, and listed me as one of her favorite new authors of 2016! She wrote, “Her heroines are of strong character and strength, her heroes are honorable and she adds wonderful history into the tale. The themes she writes about are unique and daring.”

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FREE Novel, FREE Kindle Fire! Huge Medieval Romance Giveaway!

Over 20 authors participating – win a copy of CRIMSON SECRET, and/or win a Kindle Fire!booksweeps-medieval-10-31-2016-11-06-2016-logo

 I’m sharing news of  this fun giveaway with my  medieval romance friends.

To enter just click here:  http://bit.ly/medieval-rom

Thanks for dropping by, and good luck!

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Chapter One of Etti’s Love

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This is Etti’s view when she looks outside her gypsy wagon. When the story begins, eleven-year-old Etti and her kumpania of fifty relatives and friends are traveling to the horse fair in France. The year is 1401. (Photo compliments of pixabay.com.)

I’ve started writing my new novel! The working title is Etti’s Love. I always find the title to be as much of an adventure as the story, and I know there will be many attempts until the perfect title finally comes to me.

Etti’s Love is a prequel novella in my Coin Forest series. It’s Etti’s story, and she is a fascinating character. She has chosen a most unusual pet, and it’s causing conflict and ill feelings among her family members.

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Quick escape from Writers Block

My BFF is my key to new ideas

Dear Pam,

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To escape writer’s block, first douse the raging fears and find a route to fresh thinking. To do this, I write to my friend, Pam, and explain what’s blocking my writing.

 

 

Here I am again, writing to you because of writer’s block.  Have I ever told you what magic it is, tapping your powers to   unblock my thoughts and words?

When I have overwhelming doubts about my writing, the blank page stares at me. The curser blinks, taunting me, and I can’t move forward.

What works for me, every time, is to start writing to you, just as if we were on the phone, only on paper. I know I can joke with you, confess my fears and stumble along, and something happens. It’s like the doubts and fears that have been plaguing me vanish. My pen and paper melt away and I am in tune with my novel.

It’s been a long, successful habit of mine, spanning decades.

It started in high school during study hall. I’d be procrastinating, avoiding work on an essay or report, unable to decide on a theme or position despite the looming deadline. In lieu of disaster, I stumbled upon this method of turning to you, and you have never failed me.

Let me count the ways you have helped me.

#1. Reassurance.

Dear Pam, I have discovered fiction, and am so excited I’m paralyzed. I’m writing my first novel. It’s a time travel. I know the setting is England, but I can’t decide on which time period I’d like to visit. What makes me think I can write a novel?

#2. Making decisions. Dear Pam, On the advice of a literary agent who loves my writing but doesn’t represent my genre, I’m leaving the time travel genre to write a straight historical romance. I’m agonizing over dialogue. If I try to be accurate to the fifteenth century, only a few people will understand it. If I write with contractions will I be a laughingstock?

#3. Finding focus. Dear Pam, I’m writing a contemporary women’s fiction novel loosely based on my mother’s trauma with Alzheimer’s. I’m scared, so scared I can’t plot the darned thing. What I’m sure of is …

#4. Trusting my vision. Dear Pam, my first book released! I’m writing about Gypsies, in a non-arm-candy way that’s never been done before in historical romance. I want to make it a character-related series, but this second novel just sits there, frozen after the first chapter. I worry that the hero is too bigoted to be likable.

#5. Moving forward. Dear Pam, I’m in the saggy middle and sinking fast. I think I’ve written myself into a corner, and I’m trying to find the way out. I can trash all I’ve written and start over. There has to be another option. Let me see. I could…

So, you get the idea. It’s a simple strategy that works. I’ve heard of other ways to break writer’s block that may also work for you. One friend of mine relies on showers to get the thoughts flowing. Works almost every time, she says.

Another has a special tea she brews and places on her desk with three lit candles.

Another walks in the park. Yet another meditates.

Many of my friends believe in the power of BIC (butt in chair), not budging until the words flow and if desperation sets in, writing stream of consciousness or drivel until ideas are nudged into motion.

 

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Crimson Secret Releases Tomorrow!

What a morning! Just 24 hours until Crimson Secret releases! This is the fourth novel in my Coin Forest historical romance series set during the War of the Roses! I’m fascinated by Queen Margaret of Anjou and King Henry VI, her long-suffering king. Too mentally addled to rule, he was pushed aside by his queen. Clever Margaret stepped in and took the reins of power, creating chaos, financial disaster and a civil war that lasted over thirty years.3DCrimsonSecret200x236

My hero and heroine are polarized–she and her family are deeply devoted to Margaret, and he carries secret plans and provides financial support to the Duke of York, who wants to take the throne and power from King Henry and return order and fiscal responsibility to England.

To their dismay, the hero and heroine meet and experience an electrifying attraction to each other. Nothing is sweeter–or more forbidden for them, but they are smitten and can’t control themselves.

I loved exploring the marvelous push and pull of their relationship, and they surprised me at several critical times.

Now, they’re poised to go out into the world of readers. The suspense is unbearable!

FREE GOODREADS GIVEAWAY!

FREE NEWSLETTER GIVEAWAY!  I’m giving ten signed copies to ten lucky winners of my Goodreads Giveaway! Sign up for that giveaway.

AND, I’m giving away another three free copies to those who join my newsletter (see the form to the right, above), so you’ll have several chances to win!

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