Virginia Woolf – Trending on Twitter?

Yesterday I noticed that Virginia Woolf (d. 1941), one of the foremost modernists in English literature, was trending on twitter. What on earth? I was surprised, since I had not heard of a new movie or book coming out about her. It turns out a new audio recording was found of her voice, which kicked off an avalanche of twitter love. Yesterday was also her birthday.

Here is a link to the recording on the BBC: BBC Audio Recording by Virginia Woolf. I love British accents, but other than that, it doesn’t do much for me.

The Indigo Girls wrote a song, “Virginia Woolf” in 1992, as part of the album Rites of Passage. I love this album. 1992 was prime music time for me. I was 24, single, and had all the time in the world to become a writer. Unfortunately, after a disastrous year in the Purdue MFA program in Creative Writing, I was mentally blocked.

Even then, this song spoke to me. Part of the words are below:

They published your diary
And that’s how I got to know you
The key to the room of your own
And a mind without end

And here’s a young girl
On a kind of a telephone line through time
And the voice at the other end
Comes like a long lost friend

So I know I’m alright
Life will come and life will go
Still I feel it’s alright
‘Cause I just got a letter to my soul

And when my whole life is on the tip of my tongue
Empty pages for the no longer young
The apathy of time laughs in my face
You say “Each life has it’s place”

The hatches were battened
The thunder clouds rolled and the critics stormed
The battle surrounded the white flag of your youth
If you need to know that you weathered the storm
Of cruel mortality
A hundred years later I’m sittin’ here living proof

Read more: Indigo Girls – Virginia Woolf Lyrics | MetroLyrics

If you want to watch the video, here is the link:


On one of the Indigo Girls’ live albums, Emily Saliers talks about how her mother sent her a copy of Virginia Woolf’s diary, and that’s how she wrote the song. Emily is a prolific songwriter, and I can imagine that connection. I’ve felt it before from writers who are long gone.

There are so many books published now: ebooks ranging in length from short stories to long tomes, traditionally published books with small print runs giving service to what the New York editors deem is literature these days, and then the blockbuster novels that basically fund the big New York houses. Books can go viral in a heartbeat if they trigger emotion in enough people. Am I that good? I’d like to be. I’m not there yet, but with every book I refine my craft.

Now, Virginia Woolf is not only reaching out to people through her diaries, she is also trending on Twitter. Her story is sad in so many ways, especially considering her battle with mental illness and eventual suicide. She has been an inspiration to many, and yesterday Twitter stood up and paid attention. You go, Virginia.

And how am I doing? Editing the final book in City Lights, Winner Takes All, in a frenzy. Soon, baby soon. This will wind everything up. By the time I get edits back from the editor, I’m thinking early March. Hopefully I will have a pre-order link up soon.

 

Writer Wednesday – Elaine Violette and Regal Reward

This morning as part of my Writer Wednesday feature I’m featuring Elaine Violette and her Regency novel Regal Reward.

If you follow this blog, you know I love romantic stories with a captor/captive plot. Here’s another one that I’ve found. This one has the flavor of a a traditional Regency. If you find yourself skimming racy scenes in other books, you won’t have to worry in this one, because the bedroom door stays closed.

Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

Marielle Henley, privileged and betrothed to Richard Craymore, has a EV Regal Rewardsecure future until her rebellion leads her into the path of the ruggedly handsome highwayman, York Blackstone. York, the first son of an Earl, turned thief, lives to avenge his family’s demise. His captive’s beauty and her sauciness makes it difficult for him to keep his focus on the prize, a hefty ransom for her return; that is, until she reveals the name of her betrothed. He discovers that she can bring him something money can’t buy, his birthright lost to him when his father was falsely accused of treason.

Marielle is unable to dismiss York’s contradictory behavior, one moment a tyrant, the next a gentleman, a much too attractive one. Is York Blackstone a fiendish rogue or the orphaned elder son of a once highly respected aristocrat? York’s cunning and invulnerable nature, hardened by life on the streets, is tested by Marielle’s alluring presence, but he will stop at nothing or allow anyone, including his lovely captive, to divert him from avenging his father’s disgrace.

York and his unlikely conspirators join together to bridge the gap between the power of the privileged and the determination of the discarded in society. York and Marielle’s passion for one another is seemingly lost in the web of conflicts. Could a meddling elderly aunt create the perfect plan to bring the two lovers back together?

I found the story fun, engaging, and full of twists and turns until the very end. You have to grab this book, if for no other reason than there’s also a sweet dog and puppies!

Elaine, tell my readers what appeals to you about the Regency period.

I love stories of aristocratic society, its customs and social seasons so different from our own; yet, the heroes and heroines of Regency novels share the same desires, emotions, virtues and vices that we can easily relate to since human nature rarely changes.  I am fascinated with the fashions, the elegant balls, the carriages, sporting events, and the expectation not only for women of the period but for titled men. The dashing hero, the lowly governess, the scoundrels, dukes and duchesses create a world that still values innocence, respect, and appropriate behavior, on the surface. It’s the novelist who digs deep into the hearts of the well mannered gentility and draws out the secrets, the desires and desperations of the debutantes and lords as well as the villains, the rogues and rapscallions. In my two eBooks, just released by Kindle, Regal Reward and A Convenient Pretense, I try to capture all the above.

What do you like most about these books and their characters?

In Regal Reward, I love the character of York Blackstone. He’s a man who began his life as the privileged first son of an Earl and ends up on the streets of London as a beggar. He turns to thievery to live and to care for his mother and younger brother. But, his inherited aristocratic bearing makes him a leader in his world of thieves. He’s obsessed with clearing his father’s name, reclaiming the title and lands lost, and making the villain who destroyed his family pay for his misdeeds. The younger brother, Martin, has his own story in A Kiss of Promise, Book Two of the Blackstone saga. Marielle, the heroine in Regal Reward, is spunky and defiant and never expects she’ll fall in love with the tyrant, York, who wants to use her as a pawn in his vengeance.

           I really should mention Aunt Cornelia since she was so much fun to write about. In a note to her niece Marielle, she writes, “My dear, I am an avid collector of the myths of the moment, relics of rogues and rapscallions and tales of meek mice, married to old bores, who give extravagant parties then scamper around at night in guest rooms, nipping on the tail of their newest catch.”

I love her perspicacity and her spirit! Regal Reward can be purchased on Amazon at  http://amzn.com/B013TRQ9C8.

 

In A Convenient Pretense, my second Regency, the heroine, Emily Grace, is a poetess, and one of my favorite female characters. I enjoyed being able to include a bit of fun poetry in the story. Emily observed her father and mother’s failed marriage and has chosen a single life much to her father’s dismay. Here’s a snippet of the opening poem which is a self-proclamation of her views on marriage.

Foolish is a maiden who sets her heart a flight   

with dreams of wedded bliss that surely lead to strife.

She might best consider a single life…

When her father forces her to go to London to find a husband, she must obey. That is, until she figures out a way to avoid the marriage mart. She devices a convenient pretense of courtship with the like thinking Lord Marcus Deming, only to fall in love with him.  Little does she know when she escapes London and returns home, a more sinister pretense is afoot, one that will destroy her family.  Only Marcus, the man she’s run from can untangle the deception. Are Emily and Marcus too much alike to realize they belong together?  A Convenient Pretense is available on Amazon at http://amzn.com/B014Q1EKU4

Fortunately, both these books were well received when traditionally published with excellent reviews. Regal Reward was a Golden Leaf finalist. When I chose to regain the rights and self-publish, it was to have more control over my writing and the business of writing.  I can choose better pricing and the covers that suited my characters and stories.  Regal Reward and A Convenient Pretense began my writing career. I will always be grateful to have begun with a traditional publisher. In the end, however, my books are products of my hard work and it’s a nice feeling to be in control of how my writing goes out into the world.

For more information on these and future books, I welcome readers to visit my website at www.elaineviolette.com and sign up for my newsletter, and “like” me on Facebook for more news at www.facebook.com/elaineviolette.author. I appreciate and reply to all comments.

Thank you, Lily, for celebrating with me on my new self-pub journey!

Thanks, Elaine, for stopping by! I wish you the best of luck in your publishing endeavors.

About Elaine

Elaine is a veteran English teacher and holds a BS in English Education from OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe University of CT and an MS in Educational Leadership from Central CT State University.  She presently teaches public speaking part time at a local community college. She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America, CT Romance Writers (CTRWA) and Charter Oak Romance writers (CORW). She resides on the Connecticut shoreline and especially enjoys being a wife, mother, and grandmother.

 

Plotting Versus Pantsing

or Why (my) Novels Take so Long to Write!!

Anywhere novelists gather, you’re sure to find a discussion of plotting versus pantsing. Do you write a detailed plot in advance, or do you wing it? There are shades along each spectrum, from pages and pages of outlines to the plot summarized on a cocktail napkin.

I have a general idea of the plot, including major turning points, but then I wing it. Here’s a better explanation.

For the Win City Lights Book Three__200x300I don’t write short stories, but if I did, envision a trip from Greenville, SC to Atlanta, GA. About 150 miles, or 233 kilometers. Having lived near both cities, I’ve done that drive. It’s fairly easy, without a lot of issues. If you set your GPS, or your phone’s map app, you might find it says it will take you two hours and thirteen minutes with no stops. That’s reasonable. If you choose to stop off halfway at the outlet malls in Commerce, that’s your choice, but it doesn’t change the drive time. You will just get there later. You arrive, short story done, crank out a few edits, and that’s that.

Some writing websites meant to encourage writers try to throw math into the equation. If you sit down and write ten pages a night, you will have three hundred pages in a month. That’s the premise behind National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) in November of each year. Thousands of people are determined to write a novel in a month, and they try to churn out fifty thousand words, no editing, and call it a novel. Some of my writer friends who don’t have day jobs or kids can do that, and their work is still good. I am not that writer.

For the Win, around 105 pages printed, about 39,000 words, took me from August to April, nine months. That was a record time. Its companion, Breaking Even, has 40,000 words and I’m not done with edits. The grand finale, Winner Take All, has about 30,000 words and there are major holes. While I’m not working on them both at the same time, I had to nail some issues down before I could finish Breaking Even.

Right now I’m doing first edits, where I review the book chapter by chapter and send it to my editor. I’m halfway done with that. Ric and Lindsey are living in separate places during a good bit of this book, which makes the writing of a romance difficult. They are also an odd couple, especially considering how they came together.

Going back to my GPS metaphor, things happen during the first round of edits that you wouldn’t expect. If you are traveling from Atlanta to New York City by car, all sorts of things could happen. It’s 880 miles, or 1416 km. One online calculator says 13 hours two minutes. (Two minutes? Really?) Flat tire. Bad traffic. Road construction. Interesting sights that cause delays. Most people would split this trip into two days, so that adds to the time, including meals, bathroom stops…

The same thing happens when writing a novel. Real life gets in the way. Even with a first draft done, for me, things can happen during the first edit. A scene that sounded like a good idea suddenly reads flat. Or when you read it, you think Why on earth would this character do that? Or you left a hole with a note – fill this in with x, but suddenly x is the last thing you can fit there because of some other change. Or you read a scene, realize there’s no point to this particular interaction, and start cutting. This is when the GPS notices you’ve changed routes and you hear that dreaded computer voice Recalculating.

For my fans who want to know when the book will be out, I have committed to a release date of September 7. I’m hoping I can get these characters to stop arguing long enough to finish edits on Breaking Even earlier. If edits are done sooner, I will release it sooner, but I don’t want to rush it and have a bunch of errors either.

If you want to know an exact date, well, all I can say is Recalculating.

 

News:

Check out my new Pinterest board over at https://www.pinterest.com/MissLilyBishop/

I have just started using this to post inspiration and research ideas for my books, particularly with furnishings and that sort of thing.

 

If you are an author, how do you feel about pantsing versus plotting? If you are a reader, would you rather see fewer, longer works, or more frequent and shorter?

For the Win is Live!!!

Ever wondered what happened to Lindsey on the island in the book No Strings Attached?

Laura asked her, but she wouldn’t tell.

Lindsey TodFor the Win City Lights Book Three__200x300d has perfected a system to win at blackjack, but she doesn’t want her sister Laura to know how much she has been gambling on-line. Her sister’s boss threatens to spill her secret if she doesn’t go with him to the Bahamas and play in a blackjack tournament.

Ric Salzana owns The Castle Resort and Casino, and he knows something is up with the beautiful girl who keeps winning at blackjack. When he finds out that she and her partner have been playing with counterfeit chips, he has the man arrested, but he has something else in store for the pretty young graduate student.

Locked in his tower, at his mercy, will she admit that she was cheating? Or will she beat him at his own game?

In For the Win, you’ll find the sweet beginnings of a romance…Find out what really happened on Calliope Island. Steamy will come later.

This book takes place chronologically at the same time as No Strings Attached, Book One of City Lights.

If you’re in Kindle Unlimited or an Amazon Prime Member, you can read this one for free, or only $2.99.

Grab on Amazon at For the Win (City Lights Book 3). This one will pop over to the other retailers at the end of June.

Writer Wednesday – Meet Author Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra

The Coin

Who ever thought a coin could get you killed?TheCoin_small-2

A DANGEROUS FIND

For artist Gabriela Martinez, life has become complicated:  she suspects her mentor and friend wants her as his mistress, her husband is neglecting her, and her latest illustration is ruined.  Seeking peace, she visits her favorite thinking spot in La Marbriére, the mountain overlooking her home in the Côte d’Azur.  Distracted, she winds up in an unfamiliar clearing, where she discovers a 1945 French coin half-buried in the ground.  Delighted with its beauty, she has it set on her favorite bracelet.

TREACHEROUS KNOWLEDGE

Richard Harrison, an American intelligence officer, is livid.  A simple favor for his boss has turned his vacation in the French Riviera into a hellish assignment.  Now, not only does he learn the truth about the coin, but he must also protect Gabriela from a cunning killer who will stop at nothing.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT

Together with Maurice Nôret, from French intelligence, Richard attempts to discover the madman’s identity, except his budding love for the beautiful artist is turning into a dangerous handicap.  Every one of his moves is thwarted with brutal countermoves.  Soon, the psychological games to terrorize Gabriela escalate beyond his control.  If Richard doesn’t find a solution, it may be too late for them both.

Set in the exotic French Riviera, The Coin is a story of hatred, betrayal, love and duty—of terrible and painful choices that, nonetheless, bring about personal triumph.

 The Book of HoursTheBookOfHours-200x300

For artist Gabriela Martinez, psychopaths do hit twice.

A LOVE IN JEOPARDY

In 1993, artist Gabriela Martinez almost lost her life to a sociopath’s twisted vision.  If not for Richard Harrison, the operative sent to protect her, she would have ended up dead.  The dramatic showdown pushed them together, but there were too many obstacles temporarily pulling them apart.

A NEW THREAT

After catching a glimpse of Gabriela’s new work, The Book of Hours, Arnold Wickeham has been like a man possessed.  Now, he will do anything—anything—in order to claim it, and nothing, especially not Gabriela, will stand in his way.

THE PAST IS CATCHING UP

Richard Harrison has never given up his true love, Gabriela.  Now someone new is threatening her life, and he will risk everything to protect her.  But the stakes are now higher, and there is much more to lose.  And, if he doesn’t stay one step ahead of the danger, her life, but especially, their future, may very well go up in flames.

A LOVE TESTED

In The Coin, Gabriela and Richard were cruelly used by fate—and destiny isn’t done.  In the shadow of this new threat, their choices may not just save their lives, but also their love.

The Coin Buy Links

The Book of Hours Buy Links (Pre-order for Feb. 12 release)

Giveaway

Maria was generous enough to offer a rafflecopter giveaway. Just follow the instructions in the box to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet the Author

OMaria Elena Alonso-Sierra is a full-time novelist based in North Carolina. With Cuban roots, she has lived in many countries, including France, the setting for her first novel, The Coin. She speaks English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German, and reads Latin, Middle English, and old French. She holds a Masters in English literature, specializing in medieval romances, and is currently an active member of the Carolina Romance Writers. She loves to hear from her readers, and always hopes to open a dialogue with her fans.

 

 

 

Social Media Links

Interview questions

These blurbs intrigued me, so I thought I would ask the author a few questions.

The Coin is set in the French Riviera. This is definitely a romantic location, steeped in James Bond lore. Tell our readers about your affinity for the Riviera.  (Did you travel there? Live there for a while, etc.)

Funny you should mention James Bond.  I always thought of my character, Richard, in The Coin, as a mixture between James Bond (worldly, sophisticated, drop-dead gorgeous, but with no gadgets) and Rick Blaine in Casablanca (cynical, noble, with a capacity for self-sacrifice).  But to answer your question, my affinity for the Riviera is simple:  I lived there for five years and those years were absolutely wonderful ones (wish I could afford a home there like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt).  Apart from the fact that the area is gorgeous, the architecture magnificent, and you can rub elbows with the rich and famous while walking the streets of Nice, Monaco, or Cannes, the area is also steeped in history–and I am a fan of history, especially ancient and medieval.  What more can a person ask for?

The main character is an artist who gets pulled into a world of spies and international intrigue. What called to you about that profession?

A lifetime of loving art and not being able to draw but stick figures!  I have always wanted to be a Raphael, a Da Vinci, or a Michelangelo.  I have a good amount of art books in my library and, whenever I have the chance, I go to museums.  Why not give my character, Gabriela, that profession?  That would also complement her personality with her career–a woman who creates beauty, but is drawn into a world that is the opposite.  Great conflict point.

What can readers of The Coin expect?  

Thrills, a window into the Riviera not many have seen, a unique love story, and moments of humor.  And did I mention a unique love story?

Does this series end here, or do you envision it continuing into a third book?

The series ends with The Book of Hours, which I set half in Monterey Bay, California and London, England.  I never planned for a third book about Gabriela’s and Richard’s lives. They have come full circle, overcoming everything I threw at them.  They have earned their rest, but you never know.

 


 

I hope you enjoyed this romp around the Riviera with Maria. Follow my blog to meet more romantic suspense authors. I am almost ready to send out my January newsletter, and I’ll be doing a drawing of my subscribers for a $10 gift card, either to Starbucks or Amazon. So sign up for my newsletter today. I send out emails no more than monthly, and usually I have fun recipes, and heads up about my book projects. You can sign up here. The list is run by mailchimp, so no spam ever.

 

Writer Wednesday – Meet Ray Anselmo, Author of The Slave Auction

The Slave Auction

I haven’t been sharing many books lately on the blog. I’ve been busy, and many of the books that I’ve read recently have been just okay, and I haven’t felt like talking about them.

I discovered The Slave Auction on one of my Facebook groups. I had never heard of Ray Anselmo before, but I gave his book a chance. In fact, I enjoyed it enough to take the time to track down the author on his blog and beg to host him here.

If you haven’t bought a book for Christmas break yet, rush out and get this one. Get ready to step into the post apocalyptic future, where the land that was California is now the feudal state of Scotia. There is no electricity, and manual labor is in high demand. The strong conquer the weak and force them to become slave labor. Everything has changed, but human nature remains the same in many ways.

 

First, the Blurb:

Sixty years after the Final War smashed the countries of the world, the remnants of humanity are still working to rebuild civilization. In Scotia village, deep in the forests of what was once northwestern California, that’s taken the form of a return to feudalism, with the warrior descendants of pre-War survivalists forming the nobility. Below them are their tenant farmers, a few independent priests and artisans … and at the bottom of the pyramid, the slaves.

Eliza Cronin is the young head of the most powerful noble house in Scotia, with all the duties that accompany such a station. And as she’s yet to find a suitable consort, one who will treat her as an equal, she’s largely doing it alone. So she goes to the local slave sale, seeking someone who can help her manage her myriad responsibilities. But she quickly finds that Aaron, the slave she purchases, is more than she expected. Physically weak but with a strong mind, Aaron is soon turning her life upside down, and causing her to discover things about herself she never would have guessed, both good and bad.

Nor is all her stress coming from inside her house. There’s also a masked rapist targeting Scotia’s noblewomen (who may have picked Eliza’s cousin as his next victim). A fellow noble, her good friend and closest advisor, is nearing death. On top of that, there are whispers of a conspiracy against not only her, but the entire village. In the midst of all this, plans will have to be formulated, serious choices need to be made, lives will be at stake. And it seems only a lowly slave has what she needs to navigate the crises ahead … and maybe even find love …

A world torn by war. A noblewoman seeking help in a climate of fear. A hero in an unlikely disguise. And a romance for the ages. The Slave Auction is all that and more. Prepare for the future.

 

After I tracked Ray down, and he graciously agreed to visit my blog, I peppered him with questions.

 

This book seems to defy genre and predictability. What gave you the idea to write this book?

The initial idea was just a mental picture – a tall, austere redhead (think Julia Roberts or Keira Knightley) walking through a medieval marketplace in period dress. Other ideas sort of accrued to it, like layers on a pearl, and soon I found myself starting to write it because I couldn’t not write it. Eliza and Aaron, the protagonists, were coming to life, and I couldn’t stand in their way.

 

On your website, you indicate that the book took ten years to write. Was this a continuous ten years? Did it go through many iterations? Or were there long periods when you put it aside to work on something else?

When I finished the original draft in 2004, it was partly out of frustration with my job prospects – I was getting jerked around by temp agencies, bouncing from one clerical job to the next, and was looking for another field to pursue. I kept trying to find “normal” work, but every so often I’d come back to it, tinker with it a little, submit a portion to a publisher only for nothing to happen.

My friend, the novelist Geralyn Beauchamp (aka Kit Morgan) gave me a lot of good advice over the years on how to develop the characters and show their emotional growth. And when I got tired of getting deafening silence from publishers, Geri was the one who urged me to self-publish and showed me how. This year, after publishing a couple of small short-fiction collections as e-books – kind of testing the waters – I gave The Slave Auction one last polishing and sent it on out there. So it’s been quite a journey.

 

Tell us who you think would like your book.

I have an almost visceral reaction to the “muscular boy meets flighty girl, girl swoons” stories that are kind of the stereotype of romance novels – “bodice-rippers,” my grandmother used to call them. I can’t imagine Eliza Cronin swooning unless she’s been severely injured – she’s strong and tough and trained as a warrior, and she doesn’t let anyone push her around. Nor is Aaron the usual bulging-pecs leading man – he’s fairly humble, a gentleman, someone who gets by on brain power rather than muscle. So I think The Slave Auction would have an appeal for people who want something more than just the usual romantic story, who want more depth or a different twist on the concept.

I tend to write “clean,” so I also think The Slave Auction would be a good read for young-adult readers who are fans of post-apocalyptic books like The Hunger Games and The Mount. And science-fiction fans who appreciate a good love story and good characters would enjoy it as well, I believe.

 

Given genre conventions, how do you feel about classifying this book as a romance?

I don’t mind. As one of my heroes, Bill Veeck, put it, I have “the literary digestion of a garbage disposal unit,” so I pull from a lot of genres and styles when I write. I probably write more that could be classified as science fiction than anything else, but romance would be a close second, and a lot of my writing – including The Slave Auction – has elements of both. If you’re going to put a label on it, “romance” is a perfectly good one to use.

 

Are you planning additional stories in this futuristic society showcased in The Slave Auction?

Absolutely – The Slave Auction is book 1 of a saga that I’ve already planned out as at least six books, plus some shorter pieces. The first of the short works, “The View from the Cliff,” will be included in a short-story collection I’m releasing on January 19 entitled Adventures in Time and Place. It will give some background on Aaron and where he came from, and show how the leadership in Scotia is changing in their relations to the people in the surrounding area. If all works out, I hope to have a new Scotia novel out in 2015, and every year through 2019.

Also, I’ve written a novella, The Glory of a King, that takes place in the same universe as The Slave Auction – it’s available now through Amazon. I may do a couple of similar stories in the future, tales from elsewhere in the world Scotia is part of, though none are specifically planned.

 

So you can get a feel for Ray’s writing style, here is a short excerpt of the book. You can also download a sample from Amazon.

Tricia McCarron’s words bubbled through Eliza’s mind like a sulfur spring for the rest of the day. She found herself unable to concentrate at dinner, and kept dwelling on it as she dressed for bed.

When the right fellow comes along … She kept thinking she should be annoyed at yappy Tricia for bringing the subject up, but figured there was no point in that. The tenant’s wife meant well, just as so many other people meant well when they nudged her on the subject of marriage. Or, worse yet, started suggesting that they knew just the man for her, he’s really a prize, a good, strong fella and wouldja like to meet him sometime? They wanted her to be happy, and who could get angry with someone for that?

Eliza sat on the edge of her bed in her cotton pajamas and rubbed her temples. She certainly didn’t have anything against marriage, or any desire for spinsterhood – quite the opposite. And there was the succession issue to think of as well. As head of the house of Cronin, her firstborn would be the logical heir, complete with all the attendant privileges and responsibilities. No marriage meant no heir, which would eventually mean problems for the house. She wasn’t getting any younger, either – she would turn thirty in a few months, rather old for a woman to still be unattached in these times. If she was to produce an heir, time was beginning to run low.

But necessity alone was not going to drive her to the altar. And frankly, she really hadn’t met anyone she wanted to spend the rest of her life around, let alone allow access to her womb. Most of the noblemen in Scotia, at least those who were close to her own age, were too stuck on themselves or too willing to kowtow to her or (Franklin Duritz came to mind, and she made a face) both. When it came to eligible men in the village, the cupboard appeared to be bare.

Frankly, the best of the lot seemed to be Franklin’s brothers Jefferson and Hamilton. But as far as she could tell, Jeff’s devotion was to his father and his father’s house, to the exclusion of all else. He not only hadn’t expressed any interest in Eliza, he hadn’t expressed any interest in marrying anybody, as far as she knew. And Ham? Ham was good-looking and strong, but he was also so timid that Eliza was always afraid of overwhelming him whenever they interacted. Plus, with both Jeff and Ham would come the irritation of having Franklin as a brother-in-law …

She shook her head forcefully. No, that would definitely not do. She knew her father had held a very high opinion of Franklin, though she had no clue why. Thankfully, Robert Cronin had felt strongly about letting his children pick their own mates – probably reflecting his own experience, she mused – so he hadn’t tried to force her into a relationship, with Franklin or anyone else. But leaving her to her own devices, wise though it most likely was, had done nothing to fix her husbandless state.

As she rolled her eyes in exasperation, a children’s song her mother used to sing to her came to mind. Someday my prince will come “Yes, of course he will,” she muttered to herself sarcastically as she sat down on her bed. “And if he doesn’t come soon, he’ll find me a mildewed old husk.” She was about to take that cheery thought and cuddle up under the covers with it when she heard the knock on the door.

Aaron, of course, showed no sign of similar emotional burdens, instead being eager as ever to report on the day’s events and then move on to reading. As spring went on and daytime had begun to lengthen, “an hour after sunset” was moving inexorably later. In consequence Aaron was reading a little less each night before Eliza nodded off. The protagonist of the story had changed – from Samuel the noble priest to Saul, a popular warrior but impatient and presumptuous, and then to David, a nobody infantryman who had worked his way up through the ranks and became the chief noble himself after the self-inflicted collapse of Saul’s house.

As Eliza shifted under the covers, she thought to herself how this David could seemingly do no wrong. Why wasn’t there a man like that around for her to meet?

But as Aaron read, she found she was in for a disappointment …

 

Short Author Bio 

Ray Anselmo lives with his wife, two kids and various neuroses in Stockton, California. The Slave Auction is his first novel, but his fifth e-book – he’s also produced a novella and three small collections of short stories. His first full-sized short-fiction collection, Adventures in Time and Place, releases January 19, and The Irrational War, the second book of the Scotia Saga, is scheduled for later in 2015.

 

Find Ray and Find his books…

To purchase from Amazon (currently only $4.99 – a steal, I promise): The Slave Auction: Book One of the Scotia Saga

Ray’s Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Ray-Anselmo/e/B00KI85EDM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ray.anselmo (personal); https://www.facebook.com/Million.Dreams.Press (publishing)

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/rayanselmo

 

 

New FREE Holiday Anthology

I am featured in a FREE holiday anthology of short stories —
A Holiday Anthology Volume 2 A Collection of Winter Holiday Tales

If you are familiar with my books, you may remember Deena from the first book. She was one of Bonnie’s Assistant Chefs, and she was dating Lee at the time.

In the second book, we learn that Deena has moved to Las Vegas and she and Lee have broken up. But what happened to Deena? This little 1,500 short story gives us an idea.

The anthology is currently free on the website Smashwords, and will be free on the Nook and iTunes soon. At Smashwords, you can download an epub, an Adobe file, or read online, all for free.

You can find the anthology here… https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/498109

The stories range from sweet to Spicy Hot, with mine somewhere in the middle. Check it out, and you may find some new authors you want to explore.

Doughnut Receipts and Book Reviews

 

Doughnut

By Angeldm (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

What do receipts and book reviews have in common?
First, remember the comedy bit about the doughnut receipt?

I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughnut. I don’t need a receipt for the doughnut. I’ll just give you the money, and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction. We don’t need to bring ink and paper into this. I just can’t imagine a scenario where I would have to prove that I bought a doughnut. Some skeptical friend: “Don’t even act like I didn’t get that doughnut! I got the documentation right here…oh, wait it’s at home…in the file…under “D”, for “doughnut.”    Mitch Hedberg (1968 – 2005)

This is how I feel some days about the paperwork at my house. I have too many doughnut receipts, things that I don’t need to save. I’m getting ready to do a big purge.

Have you heard? The spirit of Mitch Hedberg lives on in the receipts of a doughnut shop. His joke involving donuts and receipts is printed right on the receipts. So have a doughnut and a laugh, and remember a comedian  who .

 

Second, I don’t want to do a survey every time I go somewhere.

My grocery store’s receipts always have a survey code at the bottom. As I’m leaving, the employees practically beg me to go complete the survey and give them all fives.

Are we really this desperate for feedback? Let’s think about this again. Self-selection bias. The people more likely to do the survey are the ones who are unhappy, even with a promised entry into a drawing for some gift card. Taking ten or fifteen minutes to go online and do a survey isn’t worth my time. Why bother?

What is the grocery store going to do? Use the results to either encourage or browbeat their employees. My guess is the latter. Because only the irritated customers are going to bother. Hoping results from a biased survey will improve is a pipe dream.

 

So why should you do a review on Amazon?

Having said that, if you really enjoy an indie author’s books, go out and give them a review on Amazon. Reward their efforts with a 4* or 5*. Just write a few words sharing what you liked about the characters, or the setting. Let others know what kept you interested in the book.

Why? What’s in it for you? I firmly believe that in this new world of digital publishing, the good authors will rise to the top if enough readers speak out. If you encourage authors who are publishing things you like, then hopefully they will find the audience that will enable them to continue. While it’s free to publish on Amazon, book covers and editors are not free.

If you pick up a book for free or a cheap 99 cents, think about why that author would sell his or her work so cheaply. They are hoping that, if you like the book, you will buy their next one, and add give them a positive review. Share the love. Tell your friends.

 

Kindle Unlimited Readers beware

There are authors on Amazon who are releasing thousands of books of nothing but garbage. Short novels with 25 pages. Look at author Sam Enrico on Amazon and his “How to” series. Last I checked, he has 11,000 books listed in Kindle Unlimited. I’m hoping that Amazon catches his scam soon, but if someone downloads his books for free and looks at the first 10%, which in his case is usually two or three pages, he gets paid by Amazon around $1.50 a book at last check. Pay attention to the length when you are downloading books. If you don’t want to waste one of your free reads on a short story, don’t. Most of the time Amazon will tell you how long it is. He has probably made thousands because people click on the downloads and don’t even realize it. Be careful out there.

Romance Reader Survey

There are many puzzle pieces to putting together a book, including the genre, the cover, the sex scenes… I thought I would do a quick survey. Please take the time to answer a few questions. Help me get additional people to take the survey by sharing on twitter and facebook using the buttons below.

What type of romances do you like to read? Stand-alone? Connected books

What type of covers catch your eye?

All of these and more are covered in this quick survey. I’d love to hear your opinion, and I will share the results with my fellow writers.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Q9cT1AZAz6EeSp1hRmuxiSGqcH8fudxNMzy0q6z0ODc/viewform?usp=send_form

Thank you!  Did something in the survey strike a nerve? Feel free to tell me in the comments below.

(Don’t forget – I’m still waiting to give away a Starbucks gift card. Sign up for my newsletter here)

Trying Some Short Fiction

Now those are words that I ever thought would come out of my mouth. Short? That’s crazy talk. keyboard

But I’ve been encouraged by a writing group that I’m in to come up with a 1,000 – 2,000 word extra-short story related to a holiday between Thanksgiving and New Year, and it may be chosen fora n anthology. It can’t be a chapter of a longer work, and it has to stand alone.

This is coming from someone who literally dropped out of the Purdue MFA in fiction twenty-five years ago because they wanted me to write short stories. I couldn’t do it then, and frankly, since then I’ve had little interest in short. I don’t read a lot of short fiction, and as such, never had any interest in it.

But, on the other hand, I wanted to be a part of this promotional opportunity. So I brainstormed and brainstormed. How on earth could I have a romance in that few words, and end it? Really? The couple would have to know each other previously, obviously.

So tonight I punched out a first draft of a short involving two characters from my two books, and I really like it. Mark and Deena anyone? It’s tentatively called A Kiss at Midnight and it takes place on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. If I don’t get accepted for the anthology, I’ll probably post it here, but I’m excited about it.