In my last newsletter I mentioned the opportunity that has come my way to write again for “Meridian Magazine.” Thank you, thank you to those who contributed to my June article, regarding grandfathers.
My May article was regrettably bumped so I posted the entire article on my website.
Years ago, I wrote two columns for “Meridian”—one on grandparenting and one on recovering from betrayal. They were popular columns, and I heard from readers around the world. Feel free to comment on the “Meridian” website on my new articles as they become published, or you are welcome to email me. Unfortunately I cannot be sure “Meridian” will publish each month’s article (like what happened in May). If an article is bumped, I will publish it on my website.
The June article had a cute gift box you could print and share with grandchildren. I also posted the gift box on my website.
BYU Women’s Conference
Have you been to the BYU Women’s Conference in Provo, Utah? I never tire of being invited there to sign my books. When you enter the bookstore, it is true sensory overload—so many colors, wonderful books and artwork, and thousands of beautiful women! Always a thrill to participate there.
Here I am with Holly Wood, another featured author at the bookstore.
Many of you took advantage of my offer to get copies of We Are Strong! by the case. Well, Grandparents’ Day is coming up on September 13th. So I thought I’d give you another amazing offer at below-author pricing.
I Am Strong! I Am Smart! was a 2014 USA Best Book Finalist in the children’s religious category. Extremely well endorsed, I offer to you copies at $5.00 each when purchased by the case. Your children and grandchildren will love this book. Mothers, grandmothers, all seem to enjoy this book—a fantastic gift for Grandparents’ Day or any day.
You can go to the “Books” menu on this website to read many endorsements and comments regarding I Am Strong! I Am Smart!
June 19–20 I participated in the IndieAuthorHub Publishing Conference. It was a very hectic couple of days (well, actually, weeks in preparation). Those who attended received instruction from some of the best in the publishing field.
I enjoyed working with a couple of my favorite authors—Rachel Ann Nunes and Connie Sokol.
Me with Rachel Ann Nunes.
Me with Connie Sokol.
I’m grateful to everyone who has taken the time to post reviews for my books on Amazon or Goodreads, especially if they have chosen to be honest and lift me up in the process.
Three months ago, in my newsletter, I reviewed a book by Sarah M. Eden—Longing for Home, Book 1. The title for Book 2 is Longing for Home Hope Springs. I really enjoyed Book 1 of this series, but this one (Book 2), oh my goodness, it was wonderful! Ms. Eden taught sooooooooooo many valuable lessons in those two books. She did a marvelous job of making me want to be just like the main character, Katie. I learned from Katie, greatly. The story, the characters, the shared love, the music, everything was just absolutely beautiful!
Here is my interview with Sarah M. Eden.
I see your writing is primarily in the romance genre. Have you written in any other genre?
Romance is my thing. It’s what I most enjoy reading and what I find myself constantly pulled to as a writer. On a few occasions I have attempted to write in other genres but those attempts always either puttered out or ended up being romances. In the end, I have simply come to embrace that I am a romance writer at heart.
Tell me about Katie Macauley, your main character in Longing for Home. How did you come to “find” her?
The first inklings of these books and Katie Macauley began forming in my mind a little over twelve years ago as I was reading up on my own Irish ancestors. In reading about the history of the Irish people, I was drawn to the idea of writing a story that realistically portrayed their experiences both in Ireland and as immigrants. The more I read about Irish women, in particular, the more strongly I felt about crafting a heroine who really exemplified these amazing women, one who was strong and determined, as well as stubborn and flawed and vulnerable. Katie grew out of the accounts I read of Irish women at this time (as well as others) and, of course, is a product of the story itself.
What kind of research do you do in writing your novels to make them realistic and come to life?
I do a ton of research. It’s an ongoing, never-ending part of writing historical fiction. Because all of my other novels take place in a different country during a different era, writing these two books required a lot of new research. I read stacks of historical accounts from this era, newspaper articles published at that time, letters, journal entries, government records, oral histories, and on and on and on.
Outside of researching the historical context for a book, writing itself requires a lot of its own kind of research. Studying characterization, plot arcs, description, setting, etc., is also an ongoing effort. No matter how many books an author has written, she always has room to improve and things to learn. For me, studying history and studying writing are equally crucial, and I spend a lot of time doing both.
What has been the most rewarding thing for you in your writing career?
The most rewarding thing for me, hands down, is the people I’ve met through my writing. So many of my closest friends are people I would never have met otherwise—fellow authors, bloggers, reviewers, readers, etc. This career has allowed me to interact with some truly incredible people, and that has enriched my life in ways I would never have imagined.
I am new to your writing. Your two-book series Longing for Home was compelling! What would you recommend (of your work) I should read next?
The rest of my currently published novels take place in the Regency era of English history (approximately the first two decades of the 19th Century), so it’s a different language style, characters with different kinds of struggles, etc., but with the same overcoming-the-odds type of happy ending that Longing for Home had. While all of my titles except for the two Longing for Home books can, technically, be read in any order, there is a chronological order to most of them and some readers prefer reading them that way. I have a graphic on my website under “Bookshelf” that gives the chronological order of books. But, a good place to start is with either Seeking Persephone, a retelling of the Greek myth of Hades & Persephone, featuring one of the most endearingly grumpy heroes you are likely to ever encounter, or The Kiss of a Stranger, a case of mistaken identity that spirals very quickly and hilariously out of control. These two books each introduce a family, whose members then go on to have their own stories, so they are a good place to get your feet wet before diving in to the rest of the books.
In case you missed it on my website, here is the link to my review of Crooked House by Marlene Bateman. If you follow her mystery series, you will enjoy this newest work.
The following book is quite different than the ones I usually review for you. But there is value in its pages so I am including it here—Survive the Unthinkable, A Total Guide to Women’s Self-Protection by Tim Larkin.
In my online review, I wanted to give this book only two stars, and I’d like to explain why. It is a short book. There are only 140 pages, but at least the first 70 pages were one repeat after another, just different words and phrase choices. Perhaps the author thought that necessary—to make his point over and over—but for me, I was ready to stop reading and wondered when he would get to the “tools” he said were in the book.
Now to clarify, if I were rating what I felt I ultimately learned from the book, I’d give it four stars, because I think he did teach some good self-protection concepts, just way, way, way late in the book, and way, way, too little. That is where the repeats with different wording should have been placed. So I averaged my final rating out to three stars!
However, as the weeks have gone by, I must admit as I have interacted with people, watched television shows or movies, and observed the materials taught in this book have come to my mind many, many times. So perhaps Larkin’s repeats were necessary to teach these valuable lessons.
Thank you to those who support and share my writing. My success has only come about because of you.