Monday, February 25, 2013

Work in Progress #research

I've been attending an event at one of my local libraries, "Making Sense of the American Civil War."  This program is a series of five discussions about the Civil War.  The American Library Association designed the program to converge with the 150th year mark of the Civil War.

As a part of the program, they've selected several books to accompany the discussions.
-"March" by Geraldine Brooks
-"America's War" an anthology
-"Crossroads of Freedom" by James M. McPherson

These materials pull us into the world of the Civil War through historical fiction, speeches, and journals.

I have been amazed at the stories.  Until I began the research for my WIP, I'd never read some of the selected materials.

I don't know if there are any history buffs out there, but if there are I would suggest reading America's War.  It's really been a truly eye opening piece for me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

#BookReview - Archangel's Consort by @NaliniSingh

You guys already know that I caught onto this series late, and I love it.  And I still have two more books to read, and another one will release in 2013!

Just to catch you up.  Archangel's Consort is the third book in the series.  The series follows the love and relationship between Elena and Raphael.  Elena is hunter-born, and in the world Nalini Singh has created that  means Elena hunts and returns rogue vampires to their owners, angels.  Raphael is an archangel who rules over the territory that includes New York which is where Elena lives and works.

At this point in the series, Elena and Raphael are a couple.  But, no one respects the immortal newly-Made.  This is something that constantly places Elena in danger, and maybe Raphael.

Because there may be other late-comers out there like me, I will breeze over some of the story because it would be a complete spoiler if you haven't read Archangel's Kiss.

In this book, the reader is re-introduced to an old nemesis, as well as, the possibility of a new one, Raphael's mother--Caliane.

Immortality sounds like it would be wonderful until you have people losing their minds, bringing people back from the dead, or killing everything they see.  And let's not forget that you outlive every one you love.

The ending left me wanting a little more.  I'm anxious to know more about everything.  There were no pretty little ribbons wrapped around the end of this book.  At it's conclusion, we have the reappearance of an old nemesis, and another who we can't quite figure out, yet.  And by the book's end, Raphael is sitting beside one of them as if nothing ever happened.  Not me!  I'd still be trying to shoot her full of angelfire.

Guess, that's just me :-)

Anyway, still loving the series, and looking forward to Dmitri's story, next.  I think it'll be fun to watch him fall in love after all the trouble he causes Elena.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Great Expectations

Recently, I had a conversation with my brother about "great expectations."  Not the book, but about our expectations for ourselves as compared to what our parents hoped for us, and what he hopes for his children.

We don't come from any sort of traditional family of any kind.  No long line of doctors, teachers, firemen, or policemen.  Our family is a mixture of it all.  We have everything from military men and women to nurses.  But, we wondered what did our parents expect.

In this time of Black History Month, I guess we wondered with all of the opportunities now afforded to us, are we taking full advantage of them.  Did we make our parents happy?

My brother--married with children--has a degree and is one of the most dedicated and hardest working men (people) I know.  Although I'm not married, I do have a few degrees hanging on my wall. But, is that what our parents dreamed of for us?

Of course, I had to ask my parents.  Their response was simple.  They wanted us to be happy.

Now, what does that mean :-)  So, if we lived in cardboard boxes underneath the Memphis/Arkansas bridge, would that be okay? According to my parents, maybe.  Maybe we'd pitch tents in their backyard instead.

Early February, I spoke on a panel at a local library for Black History Month.  And looking into the audience to see my mother quiet and smiling.  It definitely reassured me that I chose the right path.  I'm much happier writing and not living in a cardboard box underneath a bridge, or in a tent in my parents' backyard.  And I think, just maybe my brother and I may have met their hopeful expectations :-)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

#GuestAuthor Christy Gissendaner

The title of this book intrigued me from the moment that I read it :-) "A Hot Mess"

I've been to Vegas several times, and I love it!  It's definitely not a city for the faint of heart!

Visit Romancing the Pen, this week my guest is Christy Gissendaner.  She'll discuss her book "A Hot Mess," and it's inspiration -- Vegas!

A Hot Mess Blurb:
Caitlyn Myers elopes to Vegas on a spur of the moment decision, but once there she is abandoned by her heartless fiancé. With no money, and her luggage lost at the airport, she calls the one person she knows will help her.

Dylan Russell has known Caitlyn since she was a scruffy tomboy. He’s watched her mature into a ravishing woman and has kept his desire for her a secret … until now. Valentine’s Day in Vegas provides the dazzling backdrop for seduction as Dylan shows Caitlyn that not all loves are messy.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Work in Progress #research

I wanted to share some more of the research I've been reviewing for my current WIP. Because this is the 150th year anniversary of the Civil War, the Smithsonian has an exhibit of Civil War paintings.  I stumbled upon this exhibit flipping through the channels.  I caught the last half of a broadcast discussing the exhibit and how the paintings were selected.

I think, after watching the documentary, I had a greater appreciation for the exhibit.  A lot of the imagery in the paintings would've been lost on me had I not seen it.

Take a look at the pieces included and let me know what you think. (There's also a book to accompany the exhibit.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

#GuestAuthor @KatePatrick1 visits Angela Kay Austin

Join me at Romancing the Pen with my guest Kate Patrick.  She shares and excerpt with us for her book "Love Beyond the Curve."

Blurb:  Charlotte is shocked to find her new landlord, Reed Jackson, is tall, dark, and gorgeous.  The two become fast friends, enjoying times spent together, more than times apart. Charlotte can’t believe that Reed finds her curvaceous figure incredibly sexy.  Can Reed convince her he wants to be more than just “friends with benefits”?

Will Charlotte and Reed find… Love Beyond the Curve?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Rules for writing fiction

As written for The Guardian by Jeanette Winterson, novelist.

1 Turn up for work. Discipline allows creative freedom. No discipline equals no freedom.

2 Never stop when you are stuck. You may not be able to solve the problem, but turn aside and write something else. Do not stop altogether.

3 Love what you do.

4 Be honest with yourself. If you are no good, accept it. If the work you are ­doing is no good, accept it.

5 Don't hold on to poor work. If it was bad when it went in the drawer it will be just as bad when it comes out.

6 Take no notice of anyone you don't respect.

7 Take no notice of anyone with a ­gender agenda. A lot of men still think that women lack imagination of the fiery kind.

8 Be ambitious for the work and not for the reward.

9 Trust your creativity.

10 Enjoy this work!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

#GuestAuthor - @TessaStockton

Tessa Stockton is at Romancing the Pen with an excerpt from her latest release "Wind's Aria."


Elected as the Songstress, Aria takes her place on the sacred platform to sing before every dawn. As long as she does so, peace and abundant life belong to her people. One morning, amidst a strange wind that brings with it a curse in its eerie howl, Aria loses her ability to make music. But the encroaching death that transpires isn’t her biggest tragedy. It’s that she adores the cause of her blunder, for he’s a magnificent winged creature who’s stolen more than her voice.

Drop by Romancing the Pen and read an excerpt from "Wind's Aria."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Men don't they?

Recently, I wrote a scene into one of my WIPs that involved my hero crying.  Not falling to the floor trembling from the power of his sobs.  But, crying as he asked the woman he loved to forgive him for not being there when she needed him.

It's a true turning point in my story.

But, when I actually thought about the men in my life and the number of times that I've seen them cry the number was small.  My father cried when his mother passed.  My brother cried when our mother's parents died.  An ex cried when his friend committed suicide.

I don't think of myself as any kind of a tender heart, but I must admit I do cry at commercials, hallmark cards, and sometimes romantic movies :-)

For me, it doesn't damage a man's manhood if he cries.  But, then, why do we tell little boys big boys don't cry?

I do love the strong alpha male, but admittedly I am probably equally, if not more so, attracted to a man's intelligence.  If you put Sherlock Holmes' mind into the body of Brad Pitt or Shemar Moore, I'd be an insanely happy woman.

How do men see it?  I asked this question of my friends, and it seems that they don't agree with me.  My male friends that is.  My female friends don't have any huge objection.  But, they all admit, in confidence, that they don't want to have the men in their lives curl up on the couch beside them with a handkerchief as he sobs while watching "Steel Magnolias."

I don't know.  I guess I think it's kind of sad that we train young boys at such an early age not to cry.  In essence, we're telling them to mask their feelings.