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Become a better writer today! Today? Yes, today! How? By reading my book full of writing tips and tricks. Get your copy. My best to...

Friday, December 22, 2017

Over 50% on Amazon for paperbacks of my first three novels!

Great news! My first three novels: Flight Before Dawn, What Edward Heard, and North Star Home are currently more than half off in paperback on Amazon

Monday, December 11, 2017

Have a Fairytale Perfect Holiday Season!

Make Christmas a little more magical this year...

While Aurora Slept, the best-selling ebook trilogy, is now available as a single bound volume in hardcover and paperback! 

Aurora and her sister are inseparable, until dreams divide them. Literally.

"On the night of my sixteenth birthday, I fell asleep. When morning came, I didn't wake up. It's been a month and I'm still sleeping, but this isn't the story that you think it is." -Aurora

"People think my name is Maleficent but that isn't true. And as for crimes, all that I am guilty of is loving my sister. My sister is the dawn, Aurora." - Midnight 

On Aurora's sixteenth birthday, she makes a selfless wish to save her sister, Midnight, from a curse that began in their childhood. Aurora falls asleep, but she doesn't wake up. Months later, she's still asleep. Now the sisters must find their way back to each other. What good is sleeping peacefully, when Midnight's days without her beloved sister have become a nightmare?

Barnes & Noble
Books are available via Ingram and are coming to more retailers soon.

(And, of course, the trilogy is available in ebook still at Amazon, where you can read it for free with Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime through the lending library.)

My best to you all,

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Great News! What Edward Heard is now available in Audio Book!


I'm very excited to share with you something that has been in the works over the past few months...

My narrator Robert Anderson has done a marvelous job of bringing the story to life!

My best to you all,

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

It's launch day!

It's launch day for my 7th historical novel today: The Collectors!

The Collectors begins in 1872 and, in a way, it's my love letter to London. I love London, the museums, the thrill of the city, the history. There is so much to London, so many moments of courage and mystery. Some of those secrets are held by the Collectors. The story is fiction, but the backdrop is historic and rooted in reality. The streets of London that they walk and the sights that they see could really have been visited by Victorian Londoners. 

Here is chapter one:

November 1, 1872 

Revenge was sealed in a red-stamped envelope. It festered there, like the piles of molding cheeses— Roqueforts and Stilton, which the cook sealed away into the basement pantry. The delicate preserve of curds and whey were secure there, for the expansive shadows and clambering spiders kept out unwanted passersby, keen to procure a wedge for their own savoring. Surveying the cheeses, like a ship-master at the helm, the cook smiled. 

Upstairs, paintings clustered as watchful guardians of the Borchardts' domestic events. There was Uncle Bartholomew, framed in oak, and looking even sterner than his name sounded. Prudence, a grandmother of several greats, looked on in earnest, her nose pinched as though she were just about to sneeze. Whether anyone would bless her if she did so was beyond the knowledge of the maid. She had only to contend with the gatherings of dust, accumulating in the corners, keen on collecting themselves into unwanted heaps.

Across town, Madam Hidgens would just be opening the millinery shop. She expected a quiet morning after last night's festivities. Hats and feathered masks had been hoarded by the town for weeks, the especially fine ones tucked away behind displays by the younger clientele until enough tuppence had been collected to purchase them. The Halloween masquerade was beloved, a height of fashion and of society that would not be matched again until the heads were bedecked in their Christmas finery. With a little sigh of relief, she relaxed into the prospect of a slower month ahead and turned her attention to the memories of last night. Truth be told, Madam Hidgens had preferred watching her hats dance across the ballroom last night, the crowning jewels atop the shimmering silks and taffeta that waltzed over the floor, to taking her own turn with a partner. There had been several gentleman kind enough to offer, not merely out of polite London manners, but because even at forty, Madam Hidgens turned more heads than a girl half her age. Those who were jealous might have suggested that it had more to do with her bank account, burgeoning under the benefit of society's well-dressed always looking their finest. To say so, though, would have been more than unkind and far from true. And as for Madam Hidgens herself, she always spoke the truth. It was more than could be said for some people.

George Patrick for one. He was young, walked with his hands in his pockets as though always clutching his money, and had the faint aroma of cornbread on him. He must have eaten pounds of it when he'd lived in America, for his pores still clung to it, emanating his roots. But, perhaps, that was only Madam Hidgens's uncharitable opinion, for George Patrick was fond only of his hat that he brought from home and never had occasion to dally in her shop looking for a companion for it or, at the very least, a replacement. It was with a sort of begrudging reluctance that she admired the craftsmanship of his hat. Just how had the silk managed to retain its rigidity for all of these years? It was five at least. Yes, she first remembered seeing him arrive in London five years ago. Even if his hat had been perfectly new then, it still seemed an oddity that he'd not had occasion to frequent her shop. And what was more, it hadn't been new. For, Madam Hidgens, to her chagrin, remembered when she'd first seen that hat and she noted that it'd looked a bit tired. A tingle of excitement thrilled through her at the thought of a new hat, for she loved to see a new hat on another's head even better than on her own. He'd not entered her store though, not on any occasion, for these past five years and he'd been to no other milliner either. George Patrick was a traitor to her cause. With time, there had been no new hats and, if anything, with age it had improved. 

Millicent Brown would appreciate that. Her cheeses were the finest, the ones that the Borchardts' cook so admired and stored with such precision. Cooks who bustled through the fully-stocked shop, their lists so long they nearly trailed behind them, were welcomed of course. But, Millicent delighted in the picnickers. If there were one thing that years of sales had taught her it was that everything, especially cheese, tasted a hundred times better when eaten outside in the fresh air. Elias Penbrooke, in particular, consumed the Brie and Camembert, alongside the Wensleydale and Cheddar in epic proportions certain to be memorialized in the great works of Chaucer, Shakespeare or the more contemporary Dickens. Elias would chuckle prodigiously at Millicent’s insistence of the cheddar sonnet now, if not for one simple fact. Elias Penbrooke was not at the corner store on that morning. He was with the lions.

Continue reading.

My best to you all,

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Introducing... The Collectors


I'm thrilled to say that my seventh historical novel, The Collectors, debuts on November 21st!
Here's the trailer:

About the Book:
Inheriting a secret was just the beginning... 

In London in 1872, Amelia Borchardt inherits a seat among a secret society. They call themselves "The Collectors". 

For centuries, they have kept secrets to protect their way of life, their ideals, and England itself. Now someone is watching them, an interloper rises from among the group and Amelia's life is thrown into chaos when everything she thought she knew is challenged and secrets are exposed, which she never knew she held. 

As Amelia spends time with her inherited collection of friends, she learns all is not as it seems and that even united guardians of secrets withhold the past from each other. 

Where did Madam Hidgens disappear to for years? Centuries ago revenge was sealed into a letter, but by whom? And more importantly, how does this affect the Collectors? Amelia must fight for the truth or the Collectors, and all that she thinks is true, will evaporate.

It's now available for pre-order on Amazon. It will also be available in print, in paperback and hardcover. 

I can't wait to share the secrets of the The Collectors with you!

My best to you all,

Friday, November 10, 2017

Veterans Day: Dealing with the Return


Veterans day: A day to remember those who fought. It comes with yellow ribbons, free menu items, a lot of "thank you for your service" mentions. At least in the USA, it does. In the UK, it's poppies pressed into buttonholes by news' presenters and laying of wreaths to honor the sacrifices. In Ireland, it's --like so much of Irish history-- a complicated mix of acknowledging those who fought, while also recognizing that Irish men were called up to serve the British Empire right in the midst of renewed hopes for home rule. That war that interrupted millions of lives also paused Irish home rule. It was supposed to be enacted at the beginning of the war, but it was suspended until the end of the war. In a way, it was like the colonists wanting representation and the right to govern themselves during the American Revolution. In fact, in the late 1700s, Ireland did attempt to gain its independence, inspired by the American Revolution and French Revolution. In the midst of war, in 1916, the Easter Uprising forever changed Irish history.

1916 is also the year in which What Edward Heard, my second historical novel, begins.

The ebook cover reflects the beginnings of the book's setting: Venice.

The printed covers, though, depict the silhouette of soldiers. It's purposeful in that it shows the lingering shadow of war on veterans, especially Edward in this instance. I once heard someone say, "thank you for your service" is the end of a conversation, when it should be the beginning. There are many stages of returning to normal life and grief that accompany the soldier's journey. That return to normal life, when nothing is normal any longer is part of the story of What Edward Heard. He's trying to be strong for those around him, while crumbling on the inside. A moment of that is captured in this passage:

Agnes, haunted by her own ghosts of war, born of her suppositions and worries rather than experience as Edward's were, attempted to draw him from his solitude whenever possible.
“Let's go to the pictures,” she had suggested one recent Saturday afternoon. The suggestion caught Edward off guard and no reason to decline was readily forthcoming, so he had no choice but to oblige her. As they sat there side-by-side, newsreels began to flash onto the screen. Music played somberly in accompaniment from the young girl seated at the piano, as Edward sat transfixed by the sterile black and white of war. Many in the audience gasped in horror, but for Edward it was merely a shadow of truth like Plato's in the allegorical cave. The public had first been exposed to such images this past summer during the earliest weeks of Edward's own Battle of the Somme.
Agnes reached across to slip her small ivory hand into his larger calloused hand.
“Is that how it is?” she whispered, not wanting to arouse pain but unable to silence her internal screams and pleadings for information on George and John.
No, it's a hundred thousand times worse. Everything is in color—vital red turned to deathly crimson, blue skies turned to impending gray. No melodic notes accompany the scene, only the piercing cries, agonizing screams, and thunderous explosions. The air does not smell of the delicate rosewater worn by the women around you. It reeks of mud, mold, and putrid flesh. And it's personal, so painfully heart-wrenchingly personal. They are not strangers; they are the men you eat with, sleep with, fight with. They are James. 
The thoughts erupted in his head like molten lava, which had bubbled uneasily to the top, but Edward, stoic and steady, swallowed them all, dismissing them from duty and from reality.
“Yes, it's like that,” he said, simply.
Agnes's fingers clenched around his own, as she squeezed his hand, half to comfort him and half to console herself. She reached into her pocket and retrieved a lace-edged handkerchief to dab at her moistening eyes. For her, this version of reality, diluted and cheapened, was difficult enough to bear.
(Chapter 6, What Edward Heard)

My best to you all,

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

It's Launch Day!

In October 1884, the world united to decide on a single Prime Meridian. Twenty-six nations gathered in Washington D.C. in order to unify the map system and the time system.

As a student of historical International Relations, I was delighted to learn more about this period of history. A precursor to the United Nations and the League of Nations, this showed promise for international cooperation.

My sixth historical novel, Meridian, debuts around the world today. The International Meridian Conference serves as the backdrop for the story. Just as the conference brought together nations from around the world, Meridian unites characters from Africa, France, China, England, San Francisco, Germany, and New York City in intertwining stories in Washington D.C. Suffragettes, diamond miners, journalists, tea merchants, ship captains, and architects. It may seem as if they have little in common, but their lives will soon cross in unexpected ways.

Discover their stories at your favorite online retailer today!

My best to you all,

Friday, October 13, 2017

Historical Cartography Prior to the United Nations


My sixth historical novel, Meridian, launches around the world on Tuesday, October 17th. Its name is derived from the Prime Meridian. In 1884, the nations of the world united to decide upon a single Prime Meridian.

Today, it's something that we take for granted. The Prime Meridian runs through Greenwich, England and is the origin of zero from which longitude is counted on maps. Before there was a single meridian, though, different maps used different points as zero.

At times, this caused confusion and even shipping accidents. One of the characters in Meridian is a tea merchant. English by birth, he and his wife have moved to China to plant tea. He then commands the ships for his business dealings. The opening of Meridian sees him at sea, desperately lost, because of confusion surrounding a map. He is thus one of the characters immensely interested in the idea of a single meridian.

The International Meridian Conference was particularly interesting because it was a forerunner to the United Nations and it saw the United States become a global leader, since it was held in Washington D.C. Another component of the conference dealt with the unity of time zones. Already the United States and Canada had unified their time zones for the railroads. Now the conference extended that unification.

Prior to the advent of the telegraph, trains, and steamships, the individual times set by nations and even towns were not as important or noticeable. The distances between places were too far to really matter. As the world grew ever closer, though, there was a greater need, for convenience and safety, for unification in times and cartography.

This true conference provides the backdrop for Meridian. Whenever new growth is seen, there are some who hold it in contention. That division often runs deep and it courses through Meridian.

Pre-order your copy of Meridian as an ebook today.
It will also be available via hardcover and paperback.

My best to you all,

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Meridian Trailer

Hello! I am thrilled to announce that my sixth historical novel, MERIDIAN, launches around the world on October 17th! It's currently for pre-sale in ebook and will also launch in hardcover and paperback. 

About the Novel:
In 1884, the world unites but division runs deep...

Eliot Story, a journalist from San Francisco, thought that she was traveling to Washington D.C. to cover the International Meridian Conference. Instead, she becomes embroiled in a plot stickier than the humidity of the east. From Africa to France, New York City to secrets buried deep in the past, there is much that Eliot will have to uncover. 

The people that she meets, who have journeyed to Washington D.C. on family obligation, on business, or to participate in the world’s attempt to bring safety to cartography, will leave Eliot having to put together their intertwining pieces. 

How could a tea merchant be linked to a suffragette? What does a father’s Civil War legacy have to do with an eager architect’s work on the Statue of Liberty? What do working conditions of diamond miners in Africa have to do with the Prime Meridian? 

Journalism turns to investigation, as Eliot is up against the clock to save both her new friends and a city itself. Amidst the gathering hopes for cooperation, division and deception threaten the capital. Sometimes knowing where to go and just what to do requires a lot more than a map.

My best to you all,

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Talk Like a Pirate


Did you know that it's Talk Like a Pirate Day?

For Rebecca, in Across the River, she must not only talk the talk but walk the walk. That's right, as a pirate! Just why does the daughter of a lord, more accustomed to silk dancing slippers and sneaking out of her home to visit her beloved Caleb end up on the high seas and entangled with pirates? Rebecca finds herself at the center of a round-the-world adventure. It's 1774, both sides of the Atlantic are poised for Revolution, and anything can happen Across the River.

My best to you all,

Friday, September 15, 2017

Autumn Magic


This week While Aurora Slept, my Sleeping Beauty retelling trilogy released in ebook. In case you missed it, the story is told in three parts: The Power of a Dream, Glass Slippers, and Beast Seeking Beauty. You can pick up your copy of The Power of a Dream.

Here is the trailer.

Autumn is beautiful, a time of new awakenings, and vibrant color. The chill in the air whispers with promise, the crackle of leaves tingle with magic. That, at least, is how it feels to me. It is why I find myself turning to fairy tales in September. I like to begin my autumn with a bit of magic, before turning to the classics of Halloween in October. (More about those and my novel Painted Faces here.). If you think about it, this time of the year provides the perfect context for familiar fairy tale allusions. Cinderella rides in a giant pumpkin. To find out why this is, read Glass Slippers(Book Two in While Aurora Slept). Harvest celebrates a bounty. While this is primarily thought of as food, learning naturally finds itself into this as well. Autumn, after all, is when school begins (at least in the northern hemisphere). With learning comes books. If you're anything like me, a beautiful harvest of books sounds just about perfect. Edora, new to the kingdom and to being human, discovers that magical wonder in Beast Seeking Beauty. Hint. There's a library. Hint. It's amazing. At least, she certainly thinks so! She's never seen anything like it before.

Wishing you an abundant beginning of autumn, full of all the best harvest, including books!

My best to you all,

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

While Aurora Slept debuts as a bestseller and launches around the world today!

It's launch day! While Aurora Slept, an exciting new Fairytale Relling trilogy launches in ebook around the world today! Even more exciting, it's already a bestseller in three categories! 

This trilogy retells Sleeping Beauty, but other favorite fairytales will also appear. 

About Book One:

Aurora and her sister are inseparable, until dreams divide them.

“On the night of my sixteenth birthday, I fell asleep. When morning came, I didn’t wake up. It’s been a month and I’m still sleeping, but this isn’t the story that you think it is.”

“People think my name is Maleficent but that isn’t true. And as for crimes, all that I am guilty of is loving my sister. My sister is the dawn, Aurora.”
— Midnight

On Aurora’s sixteenth birthday, she makes a selfless wish to save her sister, Midnight, from a curse that began in their childhood. Aurora falls asleep, but she doesn’t wake up. Months later, she’s still asleep. Now the sisters must find their way back to each other. What good is sleeping peacefully, when Midnight’s days without her beloved sister have become a nightmare?

Why I wrote the books:

Sleeping Beauty was my favorite Disney movie when I was younger. I loved it mainly for two reasons: the dress that changed from pink to blue and the song about meeting once upon a dream. When I rewatched the movie as an adult, I realized that, sadly, Aurora had very little agency. In fact, she had very little to say at all. Did she dream while she slept? What really happened? These questions and more, including why Cinderella's slippers are made of glass, and what happens when a beast seeks beauty are answered in the trilogy. 

Have I mentioned the best part yet? Book One: The Power of a Dream is free and available here.

Even better, all three parts have released today, so you don't have to wait a moment to enjoy the journey and partake in the adventure. 

Another aspect of the stories is the heritage of Aurora and her sister. Their father's ancestors came from a starving land, while their mother's people were native to the lands. The story loosely combines a Native American heritage with European royalty in a high north setting. As I have previously written about in other posts, my own heritage often finds its way into my stories. Unlike my previously published novels, this is not historical fiction and so more fictional liberty is taken. Part of a fairytale's appeal is its sparkling magic. I do have centuries old royalty in me, though, and have been recently learning about some Native American ancestors. I hope that you will enjoy the story and discovering what happened While Aurora Slept.

My best to you all,

Friday, September 1, 2017

Exciting New Sleeping Beauty YA Fairytale Retelling Coming in Ebook Trilogy!


I'm very excited to tell you about While Aurora Slept, an exciting new ebook trilogy that retells Sleeping Beauty in an entirely new way. All three books will release on September 12th, which means you don't have to wait to uncover the rest of the story! Once you begin reading, you can unlock all of its secrets.
Once upon a time just got a whole lot more interesting! Be sure to preorder your free copy of book one: The Power of a Dream!

My best to you all,

Monday, August 28, 2017

Have you heard the good news? Flight Before Dawn is now available as an audiobook!


Have you heard the good news? Flight Before Dawn, my bestselling debut novel is now an audiobook! 
Narrator Paula Faye Leinweber did an amazing job of bringing Victoire, Leal, Rainier, Voleta, Father Pierre, and the others to life. Feel the suspense, uncover the mystery, and live through the occupation of France and the struggle for liberation, in the build up to D-Day, in an all new way.

The audiobooks are available at AudibleAmazon, and Itunes
If you prefer to read instead of listen, Flight Before Dawn is available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. For information about all of my books, including many retailers where they are available visit my website.

My best to you all,

Friday, August 25, 2017

Five For Friday: Five Questions to Ask yourself to Make Your Writing Stronger

Today I'd like to share another excerpt of my writing tips book with you. This comes from Chapter Seven: Easy Ways to Improve your Writing.

Five Questions to Ask Yourself to Make Your Writing Stronger

1. Have I engaged all senses?
Many authors write what can be seen. Have you included taste, touch, sound and smell as well?

2. Are characters speaking in dialogue or monologue?
For realistic conversation, make sure that your characters are speaking to each other, not at each other. Speaking at each other = series of monologues and not conversation.

3. Have my characters changed in some measurable way?
Plot builds character in books. It's important to show how the plot has changed your characters and how they have grown or developed by the end. If your character is static, this is a problem.

4. Is there enough suspense?
Even if you are not writing suspense, thriller or mystery, you don't want the plotting, pacing, and outcomes to be obvious. Good writing leads to the reader thinking. Make sure that you offer enough questions, twists and variety to let your readers think.

5. Is this in the best shape possible?
Yes, agents and publishers may change aspects of your story. But, don't wait for others to strengthen your writing. Make it as strong as it can be. If you know that it still needs work, that can hinder you getting the attention you need. Be willing to receive help from others, but get your work in the absolute best shape possible. If you need professional help, contact me. I've helped other authors secure publishing contracts, get agent attention, and strengthen their work. I'd be honored to help you with your writing!

My best to you all,

P.S. Did you hear the exciting news?
Flight Before Dawn, my first novel and a bestseller, is now an audiobook! My narrator did an amazing job and it's available on Amazon and Audible. Itunes coming soon! 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Liberation of Paris and Remembering the Past

August 24, 1944, the day that Paris was liberated, plays an important role in Flight Before Dawn.

Here, I share a behind the scenes commentary of one of its passages.

My best to you all,

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Candle in the Dark: Creation in a time of Destruction


Can we be real? Really real? It can be tempting in a time of seeming destruction to wonder at the possibilities of creation. I see many writers disillusioned by the process, knowing the power of the written word, and yet wondering what difference they can make in the face of hatred, in the shadow of a world that could be, and yet tantalizingly remains adrift.

Photo by Megan Easley-Walsh
But... and this but is important... creation is all the more important when things seem bleak. Take your cue from nature. Out of the darkness and snows of the winter bursts the buds of spring. The birds begin to sing until the choruses grow and swell in the harmonies of summer that surround us now, as they flit from bloom to bloom in the garden.

All metaphor aside and put simply, your words matter. Each person who dares to voice truth, peace, love, acceptance, equality, freedom, each voice adds to the conversation until at last the hatred will be too drowned out to matter. Have you noticed that? Hatred has to scream. It has to disrupt our lives in unthinkable ways. Do you know why? Because love is loud. Always. Peace roars in its serenity. And hatred is forced to try to compete. And so we must not let it win. We must not be silent in its wake. We must love louder. Practice peace louder. Dream louder. Live our freedom louder.

I've mentioned how my first novel, Flight Before Dawn, is about resisting the Nazis and how it's supposed to be about the past. My most recent release, Painted Faces, addresses not the end of the second world war, but the beginning. It takes place in 1938, as the storm clouds begin to gather on the horizon. Again, I've noticed many parallels with events now. It too was supposed to be about the past. Unfortunately, lately, I'm feeling like my historical fiction is not consigned to the pages of history. It often feels more like I have become a contemporary fiction author. But, historical fiction at its best, while artful and imaginative and full of interesting characters and imagined lives, has at its heart, jewels of truth about the past. It stands to warn, to caution, and to prevent the past from repeating.
And sometimes, as in these words from Painted Faces, it serves to offer hope in the face of difficulty.
 Across Europe, Hitler's gathering the fragments of death in the guise of disappointment, fear and oppression. When assembled, they will undoubtedly give rise to a monster more terrifying than any that has roared to life on Universal's screens. But just as Frankenstein's monster was scared by fire, each light kindled by a sincere desire to help another is helping to stomp out the beast.
In life, it is difficult to guarantee happily ever after. I no longer see only stardust. I came to be a part of fiction and have learned that reality can be far more horrific. Every event that has happened is not laced in happiness, just like the movies that I love, but even after living through such events, in the end, the monsters can still be put to rest and dreams can still be realized.

Excerpt from Painted Faces.

My best to you all,

Friday, August 18, 2017

Five for Friday: Dynamic Conflict for Fiction Writers

Today, I'd like to share with you a section of my writing tips book on conflict. This comes from Chapter One: Essential tools for the Writer. Plot is essentially what happens in the story. Conflict is what propels the plot. In the excerpt below, I've outlined the five major types of conflict for you. It can be tempting to think of an evil villain to set your hero up against. There's nothing wrong with that, but stories can be richer, more dynamic, and more fulfilling when conflict arises in unexpected ways. It can also make your characters seem more true to life.
Courtesy of Giphy


Conflict is an important bridge between plot and characters. Each novel, no matter the genre, contains some sort of conflict. Many contain more than one. You can layer conflicts to create more interesting plots and more dynamic characters.

Internal vs. External

External conflict is easy to spot. A firefighter battling the raging flames, a son arguing with his father, or a battle ensuing between two armies are all examples of external conflict. It is a strong component in commercial fiction, fantasy, action, adventure, mystery, crime, and some historical fiction. Internal conflict is about the issues under the surface. This may be conflicting thoughts, emotions, feelings, or interpersonal relationships that are simmering.

Five major types of conflicts

Here are some of the major conflict varieties.

Man vs. Man

This is what most people think of when conflict is mentioned. Basically, a character opposes another character. This may be as dramatic as through a battle or in a more benign way like funny sibling rivalry.

Man vs. Self

While man vs. man is external conflict, man vs. self is internal. Self-doubt, health crises, and overcoming personal obstacles are all examples of this type of conflict.

Man vs. Society

Man vs. society may be external, if the character acts against the injustice. Or it may be internal, if the character is affected by the margniazlation of society, or some other aspect of it, that has been internalized.

Man vs. Nature

This is a frequent favorite of action adventure stories. Vicious animals, bad weather, and surviving in the wilderness are all examples of man vs. nature.

Man vs. God

This may be external, such as a Greek mythology story where a character encounters a god and has some sort of interaction. Or, it may be an internal struggle, such as a character having a crisis of faith.

Need an editor or a professional proofreading of your novel? Email me at [email protected]. Full manuscripts are only $1.50 per page.

My best to you all,

Monday, August 7, 2017

Origins of Writing and Exciting Things Ahead!

Here I am, beside the papyrus plant at the botanical gardens. Hooray for papyrus, paper, and books! I have been working on some surprises and have some very exciting upcoming things to tell you about soon, with my books. I hope you're enjoying Vivian's story in Painted Faces.
All the best,

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Happy Birthday, Vivian!


It's August 1st and that means it's Vivian Harris's birthday.
Who's Vivian Harris? She's one of the central characters in my newest release, Painted Faces. Longing to exchange farm dust for stardust, she seeks out the bright lights of Hollywood! The year is 1938 and anything is possible... even encountering a new worldview, encompassing somewhere as far away as Budapest.

Here's the opening page from Painted Faces...

August 1, 1938
There's nothing wrong with Kansas. I should know. I lived there my whole life. The only thing is, I have dreams that are gigantic and in Kansas my dreams just don't fit. You know how Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz books, (By the way, MGM's filming that this year) is lifted out of Kansas into an extraordinary world and suddenly there's magical creatures and new friends but also dangers she never could have imagined? That's me. Except that, I'm not a fictional character, even though I love them, particularly those on the silver screen. I'm real.
I'm Vivian Blanche Harris and less than a year ago, I would have thought that The Wizard of Oz was only a book. I also would have never thought that somewhere as far away as Budapest could have any bearing on my life. Europe existed as a foggy, over there place. It might have been Camelot for all I knew about it.
But, that was then. That was before. Before what you ask? Before everything. Before I disappointed my family and friends. Before I dared to dream bigger than I ever have. Before I learned that the horror of the films in the theater pales in comparison to the reality that can be encountered in the world and is often far from obvious. After all, the movies are in black and white and we live in color. Each day, I'm discovering another facet of that color. The twenty candles on my cake today remind me of all those possibilities, as I pause to reflect on all that I've wished for and all that's happened.

My best to you all,

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Monsters behind Painted Faces


Next week, Painted Faces, my fifth novel debuts around the world!
Yesterday, I spoke about one of the important settings in the story: Budapest, Hungary.

Hungary is also a land associated with iconic horror figures. To me, horror as a genre, always alludes to classics of literature and the classic monsters of 1930s and 1940s Hollywood, specifically those of Universal.

I also hinted at one of Hungary's most famous exports, who might just scare you out of your wits...
I can now lift the curtain and reveal that it's Bela Lugosi.who portrayed Dracula in 1931.

Pumpkin and lantern on a doorstep in Budapest

It's a tradition for me to revisit the classic figures each Halloween. Visiting Budapest just a couple of days before Halloween, and seeing the beautiful ripe pumpkins sitting on the steps, brought these figures to life.

So, how exactly do Universal monsters fit into Painted Faces? Without giving too much away, I'll say that one event is based in an interesting historical detail that I uncovered in my research. In 1938, several movie theaters ran a promotion to attract attention to the Universal monsters. Sequels were in the works and the original movies of Dracula and Frankenstein were shown as double features. The promotion went further than this, though. It offered any lady brave enough to watch by herself $10!
At the time, people were fainting from the horror.

The classic monster movies are more than just a scare or a thrill, though. Their creation, in the decades following WWI, tried to interpret the horror that the world saw and the grisly injuries that men returned from the trenches with. Exploring the appeal and the ramifications of the horror genre is a component of Painted Faces.

As an interesting side note, Bram Stoker, who wrote Dracula was from Dublin and I have visited the museum about him.

Never fear. Though these allusions do fit well with Halloween, Painted Faces runs from March to August, 1938 and tells the story of a summer. We'll explore one of those summer experiences tomorrow.

Pre-order to take advantage of the special $1.99 ebook price.

My best to you all,

The Circus is in Town!


Step right up! Step right up! Be prepared for the a-maze-ing show!

The smell of sawdust. The texture of the canvas under your hand as you peek inside the tent. Your heart catches. There. It's amazing! Beautiful!

There's nothing like it. The circus is in town!

I've been discussing various elements of my upcoming novel, Painted Faces, and I promised a summer delight in this post.

Although the circus is by no means exclusive to the summer, the idea of the circus transforming a field with its color and joy is quintessentially summer to me.

In elementary school, I lived in California. I have fond memories of the circus coming to town. These were the circuses where the elephants hoisted the tents and the three rings emerged from the dust of the land. The sequins of the costumes glistened in the sun and the acts competed for attention. It was difficult to decide where to look when three engaging acts were trying to be the best spectacle.

Vivian has never been to the circus before. In the pages of Painted Faces, she encounters a traveling circus. More than just an afternoon of entertainment, the circus changes her life in a way that she won't be able to forget. While there, she'll have to face some of the biggest decisions of her life and she might just meet her biggest friend.

Vivian knows a good deal when she sees one and is sure to take advantage of it! You should too.

Yes! I want to pre-order my ebook today.

My best to you all,

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Beautiful Budapest: A Photographic Journey through an Author's Inspiration


Next week, on the 18th of July, Painted Faces, my fifth novel launches around the world! To celebrate its release, I'll be doing a number of posts on various themes and settings from the book. We begin in the east!

The banks of the Danube from Buda Castle 
Part of the story takes place in Budapest.

Budapest, Hungary, on the Danube River is an inspiring place of history, intrigue, and beauty. After visiting it in 2010, I knew that it would find itself into a story. Painted Faces became that book.
Several real locations that I visited are sprinkled throughout the story.
I'll give you a sneak peek at some of the scenes, taken from my own photographs.

Fisherman's Bastion
Matthias Church

Café Gerbeaud Exterior
The deliciousness of the iconic Café Gerbeaud is also represented. It is a favorite spot for the Strigosi siblings, Márkus and his sister Eszter. Café Gerbeaud is beautiful, with its red velvet drapes and crystal chandeliers.The cake is from one of the original recipes. The confections have been dazzling the appetites of Budapest since the mid-nineteenth century. 

Café Gerbeaud Interior

Delicious Cake at Café Gerbeaud

Inside a Private Box at the Opera House

The Opera House sets Eszter's heart racing. Just like their author did, the Strigosi siblings see a ballet there together.

Come back tomorrow, to discover a very famous Hungarian's role in Painted Faces! He might just scare you out of your wits...

Pre-order to take advantage of the special $1.99 ebook price.

And remember to claim your free preview.

My best to you all,

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sneak Peek at the Opening Chapters of Painted Faces


What's better than a new book coming out in less than two weeks?
Getting it at a very special pre-order price, of course!
And what's even better than that?
Not having to wait any longer to read the opening chapters!
That's right. You can claim an .ebook, in whatever format you prefer, for free and get a sneak peak at the opening chapters of Painted Faces. Don't have a Kindle or an e-reader? No problem! You can claim a .pdf and read it right off the screen.

Yes, I want to start reading Painted Faces right now! Take me there. 

I'm very excited for you to discover Vivian's dreams and the secrets that lurk through Budapest and all the way to Hollywood!

My best to you all,

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Writer Wednesday: Clues into the Plot of Painted Faces


In yesterday's post, I mentioned the exciting news that Painted Faces, my fifth novel, is launching around the world on July 18th!

Would you like some clues into the plot? Check out my Pinterest board for a sneak peek behind the scenes!

Have you pre-ordered your ebook? They're available at the very special pre-order price of $1.99.

My best to you all,

Join the fun by subscribing to my newsletter! 
*The latest newsletter features a connection to the Fourth of July in Painted Faces, in a behind the scenes sneak preview.*

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Thrilled to Announce my Fifth Novel!

Happy Fourth of July to you! To celebrate the day, I'm announcing my fifth novel: Painted Faces. I've been hinting at it for awhile now and mentioned it in a previous interview. Now, I'm thrilled to officially announce that Painted Faces is launching around the world on July 18th!

The Fourth of July is an especially fitting day to announce Painted Faces, as it is a story about dreaming big and chasing freedom. For nineteen-year-old Vivian Harris that means trading in the farm dust of Kansas for stardust. That, at least, is her deepest hope. For two siblings in Budapest, that means seeking sanctuary and safety away from the rising tide of anti-Semitism. The year is 1938. Mystery lurks from the canvas flaps of circus tents, through the shadowy streets of Budapest, and from the silver screen. When running to her future and away from their past, only one place will do. Destination? Hollywood!

I have more exciting news! For the first time ever, the pre-order price for the ebook is only $1.99! Please note that this is a pre-order special. You can pre-order your copy here and be one of the first to read Painted Faces! As always, paperback and hardcover will also be available.


Here's the trailer!

Have a wonderful Fourth of July! Whether you're American or not, may the day encourage you to follow your dreams.

My best to you all,

Join the fun by subscribing to my newsletter! 
*The latest newsletter features another connection to the Fourth of July in Painted Faces, in a behind the scenes sneak preview.*

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