A Visit with Naomi Musch

Today I’m featuring author Naomi Musch. Like me she discovered her calling to write novels later in life. Welcome, Naomi, have a seat and let’s get started. Tell my readers a little about your writing journey.

Author Naomi Musch-6

I’ve been writing since I announced to the world at ten years old that it was my intention to become an author. While I pursued that diligently and wrote in various venues over the years, publishing news articles, essays, and blog posts, it wasn’t until I was in my forties that my first novel was published. In the twelve years since, I’ve been blessed to see eleven of my novels find publishing homes.

How exciting for you to see your dream materialize. Sounds like for every year you waited you’ll soon have an equal number of books published. Tell us about your upcoming twelfth project.

I’m SUPER EXCITED to tell you that my current work is just a few days’ shy of release! On October 10th, Mist O’er the Voyageur launches, a true novel of my heart. The story is a romance set during the fur trade era among the voyageurs and fur traders of the Great Lakes, primarily between Quebec and the head of Lake Superior.  (Be sure to check out the Rafflecopter prize drawing at the end of the post!) Here’s the cover blurb:

After her aunt’s death, Métis woman Brigitte Marchal finds herself alone in Montreal. Uninterested in the convent and desperate to flee a loathsome suitor, she disguises herself as a young man to travel west by voyageurs’ brigade in search of her long-absent, fur-trader father. But her inexperience and disguise don’t hide her for long.

René Dufour yields to the unwelcome position of shielding Brigitte, but he cannot hide her identity forever. Keeping her safe while meeting his North West Company obligations and honoring his family promises may prove to be more disquieting to his heart than he imagined.

As Brigitte adjusts to the voyageur life on Lake Superior, she struggles to justify the faith she grew up in with the mysticism around her, but greater still is the conflict her heart must settle over who to trust in this rugged, unfamiliar country. 

Can’t wait to read it. As a history geek and a writer of historicals I want to know how you did research for your book?

I live in the Lake Superior region, and I’ve known some history of the voyageurs and area forts and fur trade history for a long, long time. Years ago, I read a YA novel called Song of the Voyageur written in the 1950s by Wisconsin author Beverly Butler, and I started falling more in love with the period. It was such a beautiful story.  I wish I could get my hands on that book again! Then about twenty years ago, we took our children to visit Fort William near Thunder Bay in Canada, and took part in that “living history” experience. Something spoke to even me then about setting scenes of a story there someday. As someone who loves research, I found more information in library books and online than I could ever use, and I had to figure out what would be important to leave in the story and what wouldn’t. Besides researching the route of the voyageurs from Montreal to the forts at the head of Lake Superior, I also used Google earth (of all things!) to help me map the journey (realizing, of course, that some topography has changed since the early 1800s).

Sounds like you had fun researching. Now, I love to learn what inspires writers. So, Naomi what inspired you to write your book?

I think it was my love of the period combined with having written a different novel that sort of related. My first novel was called The Casket Girl, a tale about the “King’s Girls” who were sent by King Louis of France to encourage population of New France (Canada & Louisiana in the 1700s). I had planned to write a sequel set in Canada, but as I continued my research, the story began to morph into something else entirely. I can’t tell you just where the idea came from, but it was seeded sometime back then. A lot of the plotting took place from a cold deer stand one snowy November.

A deer stand…well, I’ve never heard that before. How interesting. Writers do get their inspiration at odd times and unusual places. When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

As I mentioned before, I was ten years old. I’d already ruled out becoming a ballerina or an architect. Writing stories allowed me to become anything I wanted to be. (And I’m humming “In my own little corner, in my own little room, I can be whatever I want to be” as I write that. –Cinderella, Rogers & Hammerstein) LOL! Love it.

Obviously, you love music, do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Oh… so many! Psalm 40:1-3 sums up my life’s testimony — and I think it has subconsciously summed up the lives of some of my characters as well:

“I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.”

Let’s take another turn in this interview. If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

There are probably many things I wish I’d known about writing and doing the work of a writer when I was younger, but most importantly, I would tell myself, “Do not procrastinate! Submit, submit, and submit again!” I think there were too many times I stopped too soon.

I can so relate.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on    your writing?

My best support system is my family. My husband Jeff allows me as much room as I want to pursue my love for writing. He knows that no matter what becomes of it, it’s what God gave me to do. I believe God is pleased when I practice the gift He’s given. My five adult kids, too, are very supportive. They don’t even like to ask for babysitting if they know I’m in the throes of a work-in-progress. They’re all very sweet and encouraging. I also belong to a fantastic writers group called the Upper St. Croix Writers.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

My heart beats strongest for historical fiction with a strong romantic thread. The more realistic and rugged the story, the better I like it.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I write from an easy chair in my living room. I gave up working at a desk in 2007 when I hurt my back. However, when the weather holds, my very favorite place to write is in my vintage camper. The atmosphere is cozy and quaint, and though it still needs some work, I find it a very peaceful place to hole up and let my imagination fly while a story takes focus. While I’m in there, I manage to stay free of the distractions of housework that always beckon.

Sounds wonderful. Thanks so much for stopping by. Tell us what coool gift we get fro signing up for your newsletter and your drawing and how my readers can sign up for a chance to win.

Those who sign up for Naomi’s newsletter will receive her award-winning short story Ellie Hollis Gets Her Man in the November issue.

OFFICIAL Mist Cover (2)

DRAWING!

Naomi will give away THREE eCopies of Mist O’er the Voyageur in October, one each on the 10th, 17th, and 24th of the month. On the 31st she’ll give away a Grand Prize Package which includes: a Signed Paperback Copy of Mist O’er the Voyageur, 8×10 watercolor print “Estuary” by northland artist Viola LaBounty, Philippians 4:13 Blue Soul Scrips Flex-Cover Journal, Flowered Note Card Set, and Miscellaneous Swag.

Use the Rafflecopter to enter, and follow her blog hop for repeat chances to enter: Click on blog names to read more about Naomi and enter again.

Oct. 5: Colonial Quills

Oct. 10: More Reason to Write

Oct. 16: Stitches Thru Time

Oct. 17: Linda Brooks Davis

Oct. 27: The Over 50 Writer

Oct. 29: Linda Yezak

Oct. 30: Winner announced at naomimusch.com

Here is your first chance to enter click the link below.

[Rafflecopter]

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NDIzMGJhZDAyZDExN2NlM2UzZmZmMDgzNDFkYzcwOjI=/?

 

More about Naomi Musch

Naomi is an award-winning author who crafts her stories from the pristine north woods of Wisconsin, where she and her husband Jeff live as epically as God allows near the families of their five adult children. She enjoys roaming around on the farm, snacking out of the garden, relaxing in her vintage camper, and loving on her passel of thirteen grandchildren. Naomi is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Wisconsin Writers’ Association, and the Lake Superior Writers. She is a new contributor to the Colonial Quills blog. Though she has written in a variety of venues, her great love is historical fiction. Her new novel, Mist O’er the Voyageur, releases from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in October 2018 and is available for pre-order. Naomi would love to connect with you around the web. Visit her at naomimusch.com

FB: Naomi Musch – Author

Twitter: @NMusch

Instagram: Naomi Musch

Goodreads: Naomi Dawn Musch

Pinterest: Naomi Musch

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/naomimusch

 

 

If you enjoy writer interviews don’t forget to subscribe to Jubilee Writer and receive updates in your email.

Advertisements

J’nell Ciesielski stopped by to share her debut novel success and her writing journey

J'nell Ciesielski official

LPC, Smitten Historical Author J’nell Ciesielski is my special guest. Her novel Among The Poppies is a wonderful tale set in World War I. I’m so excited to learn more about this talented author and how her debut novel stayed on the top of Amazon ratings on release day.

J’nell, let’s start with a little about your writing journey.

From an early age I was creating stories, but it wasn’t until college when it became serious. My first novel was riddled with beginner’s mistakes and will probably never see the light of day, but I kept at it. Kept writing, taking classes, studying the craft, and entering contests. Years later, after my third finished manuscript, I landed my wonderful agent. Another four years later and I got The Call on Palm Sunday. My first contract! Now life is a bit of a whirlwind, but at the heart of it I just want to write good stories.

I love your commitment to writing good stories. That is truly the key.

What is your latest published project.

My debut novel, Among the Poppies, was published only last month! It tells the story of a female ambulance driver who falls in love with a duty-bound army captain on the front lines of France during WWI.

I love historical romance, I find few set in World War I. Tell us how you did research for your book?

Since I was tackling an era somewhat unknown to me, I had to do a ton of research. No problem for me because I love research! It’s my favorite part of the writing process. I read every book I could get my hands on: fiction and non, biographies, diaries, first-hand accounts. I watched every movie pertaining to the period, listened to music of the age, and even spent a day watching videos on how to change a model-T tire. There’s nothing I won’t do to be as accurate as possible. Though I do leave room for fiction flourishes J

Research is always fascinating to me as well. What inspired you to write your book?

Like many people the world over, I got swept up in the whirlwind that was Downton Abbey. The elegance, the estates, the manners, and, of course, the clothes. Oh, to wear fancy hats again! Season two plunged the audience into WWI and there I saw it, Lady Sybil the nurse and her world-changing chauffeur love of a man, Branson. I had to be a part of this world! Gwyn Ruthers became a chauffeur’s daughter longing for adventure beyond the garage doors, and William Crawford is an army captain who, above all, desires order. But Gwyn is anything but orderly J

I have to  ask when did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

Like most writers, I grew up with a passion for books. I’d gobble them up as fast as I could then sit down to pen my own. My first novel was in kindergarten where I wrote a love story between an apple core and a trash can. It wasn’t until I read Kathleen Morgan’s Embrace the Dawn where I finally thought yes, I can do this! No surprise the book was about Scotland J It was a turning point because I wanted to create stories and characters for myself and have it play out in a way that satisfied my imagination instead of waiting around for someone else to do it for me.

I love your honest answer. We’re shifting gears a bit now. Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Romans 8:28 We know that all things work together for good to those who love God.

It reminds me that God is still in control.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

Don’t stress so much. I’m a notorious worrier which I think lends itself from my being a planner. Things will work out exactly how and when they’re supposed to because God’s got this.

Amen, sister!

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

My husband. He gives me all the time I need to sequester myself in my office while he keeps our daughter occupied (which is a full-time job J ) and never ever complains. I bounce ideas off him, and he gives great advice on battle scenes and the inner workings of the male mind. He helps me remember why I love writing.

 You’re are truly a blessed woman.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Historical romance is my favorite! I can’t get enough of it. Highlanders, pirates, world wars, and once in a while a revolutionary tale. I’ve read a few contemporaries, but I’m really picky about those. When I read I want to escape, and modern-day life that I see every day is not an escape for me.

Where is your favorite place to write?

Since I don’t live on the water I have to say the second best place is my office. It’s pink, dotted with flowers, black and white pictures, and over the top girly. I love it!

The thing I am super interested in knowing is what steps did you take before your book was released to get your book at the top of Amazon ratings?

Let me just say that I am not business minded. Me and numbers make about as much sense as toothpaste and orange juice so when my publishing house started asking me about a marketing plan I froze like a deer in headlights. That being said, let me tell you what I did in hopes of helping others out there like me J

First, I wrote the best book I could. Without that nothing else matters. Long before that elusive contract fell into my lap, I joined writing groups and started mingling with people on social media. As an introvert I really had to push myself out of my comfort zone, but you know what? Writers are a pretty friendly group who are more than happy to help and lend advice. Here’s the important thing: I didn’t go into social media with the intent to advertise myself as a writer or my work. I simply talked to people, sometimes about writing, sometimes about what crazy thing my daughter did at school, or the latest book I’d just read, or favorite movies. It didn’t matter because the point was to get my name out there and make connections on a personal level. I can’t stress this enough because when it came time for release day, all the people that I had made connections with in the months prior were more than happy to help me out with.
Months before release day, I set up interviews and requested endorsements from other writers that I had become friends with via social media. Then, I set up a launch team to help get the word around about Poppies with Advanced Readers Copies. I’m blessed enough to have a very talented husband who happens to be a whiz on the computer so he designed a few graphics for me to share on social media, and gave a facelift to my website.

That’s basically it. I don’t have a big secret that I was just waiting to reveal on release day. The preparation started years before. First, by writing the best book possible, and then getting to know people, writers, bloggers, reviewers, and readers who could help put my book and name in front of an audience much larger and farther reaching than I could ever accomplish on my own.

I can see why that makes a difference. These are all musts for a successful launch but what was the key action on release day that made the difference?

I think this goes back to laying that foundation of personal contacts and making sincere connections. Other writers, bloggers, reviewers, and readers are some of the nicest people you could meet. They genuinely want to help and see you succeed and they were instrumental in promoting Poppies when release day came. Word of mouth spread like wildfire, so much that it took me by complete surprise! Poppies sold out twice within two days of release!! I believe that you can have all the fancy graphics and ads you want, but it’s word of mouth from fellow readers that gets books into the hands of readers.

Great tip J’nell and it definitely worked like gangbusters for you. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your story with my readers.

Who is J’nell?

Believing she was born in the wrong era, J’nell Ciesielski spends her days writing heart-stopping heroes, brave heroines, and adventurous exploits in times gone by. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages contest and Maggie Award, J’nell can often be found dreaming of a second home in Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Born a Florida girl, she now calls Virginia home, along with her very understanding husband, young daughter, and one lazy beagle.

Among the Poppies FINAL cover

Among the Poppies blurb:

Gwyn Ruthers longs for adventure far beyond the stifled life society restricts her to as a chauffeur’s daughter. With the war to end all wars exploding across the Channel, Gwyn signs up to drive ambulances on the Front. Rambling over bomb blasted roads and living in mud bogged trenches is far from the exotic travels she had in mind. A simpler life doesn’t look quite as bad as she once thought. Especially when a handsome captain has her rethinking her objections to settling down.

Links for J’nell.

Social Media links:

http://www.jnellciesielski.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jnellciesielski

https://twitter.com/JnellCiesielski
https://www.goodreads.com/jnellciesielski

https://www.pinterest.com/jnellciesielski/

Order link:

https://tinyurl.com/ybg76f66

 

Grab this inspiring book and if you want to encourage J’nell in her writing journey leave a review.

Did you enjoy this interview? Would you like to read more? Subscribe before leaving this page and you’ll receive this blog in your e-mail every time there is a new post.

 

A Visit with Meghan Kelly Audiobook Narrator

Meghan Kelly hsI am so excited to welcome the narrator of my audio version of Secrets and Charades to Jubilee Writer. I had a great time working with Meghan Kelly. She is a wonderful professional. I thought it would be fun and interesting for all of you to get a behind the scenes look at the creation of an audiobook and the life of a narrator.

  • How long have you been recording Audio books? And how did you get started?

I started doing audiobooks almost 5 years ago.  I had been doing Voice over work for several years and was always a voracious reader so when I came across the platform ACX I was thrilled.  And also hooked!  I was lucky enough to get work immediately and I haven’t stopped!

  • How long does it take to record a book?

It’s much more time consuming than most people think.  You can’t just walk into the booth and give a perfect read…unfortunately that just doesn’t happen.  Each finished hour of audio takes approximately 6 hours to produce.  That includes initial read, prep, recording, editing, proofing, pacing and mastering.

  • What’s your favorite genre to record?

I love Love LOVE Historical Romance!  I do a lot of Romance in general but I have a soft spot for Historical fiction.  My Mom loved it and I think that’s where I got it from.

  • How do you find your projects?

I work primarily through ACX and submit auditions to projects I’m interested in.  I also work with a few of the smaller publishing houses.  Although I’m working toward transitioning to the bigger ones.  With over 200+ audiobooks under my belt I think I feel ready!

  • Do you need special equipment?

Yes, I have a custom home studio at home that my wonderful husband built.

  • Walk us through a typical recording day.

I do most of my promotional work, answer emails, read auditions in the mornings.  Then I record usually everyday from 12-5 and edit in the evenings (if I have not been fortunate enough to be able to bring on an editor).

  • How is a narrator compensated for their work?

With ACX I do a mix of Royalty Share books and Per Finished hour projects (paid for work no royalties).  Publishing houses are straight PFH projects. 

  • What is the most difficult part about your job?

Lack of promotion and support on the sales of RS audiobooks.

  • Tell us what lead you to embraced audiobook narration.

I was that girl in HS who was totally into Drama and Choir.  I was lucky enough to sing at every function (shows, concerts, games, graduation) and then I went off to college to study musical theatre and Opera.  The Opera part was a mistake…I wasn’t as suited as I thought.  I did not fare well in competition. I also was not getting the acting roles I had always been able to get back home.

 Crushed, I switched schools and majors and didn’t sing again for 12 years.  After college I still wanted to work in the Entertainment business some how…so I moved to NYC and managed to get a job in Casting/Talent Agenting.  

After 2 years there I moved back to Detroit area and became a Franchised Talent Agent for 6 years.  That’s when I fell in love with Voice Over work.  Burning out from the hard work of a talent agent. And being requested by clients to audition for commercials, industrial work etc.  I gave it a shot and did pretty well.  Also, from the urging of a very dear friend I auditioned for ONE Rock band on a NYE resolution and got it which lead me to singing in bars, restaurants and festivals for 15 years.  

  • I have to know why you auditioned to narrate Secrets & Charades?

Because I LOVE Historical Romance and the Book cover was beautiful!  Once I read the book and realized how talented you are I was absolutely Thrilled!!

secret-charades-front-cover

Well, I’m blushing. Thank you do much for a peek into your world, Meghan.

My audiobook is available  on Amazon audibles  and iTunes. Those who prefer disks can find those on Amazon as well.  Meghan Kelly does great work and I’m honored she chose my novel to audition for and I’m glad I chose her.  If you love to listen to audios, grab a copy. There’s a free sample to listen too. You’ll be hooked.

51d8pzaoBSL._AA300_

 

If you’d like to continue to follow this blog and learn more interesting things about the writing business, and read fun interviews please subscribe before you exit. You will recieve new blogs as I post them right in your e-mail.

Catherine Brakefield shares her writing journey

 

Cathy holding Destiny's Whirlwind Never, never give up! I am living my dream-come-true in my Destiny saga! Swept into Destiny was published in May 2017, and this is Destiny’s Whirlwind debut! Destiny of Heart is scheduled for late 2018, with Waltz with Destiny for spring of 2019.

Looking back, I can see the hand of God orchestrating the events leading up to this Destiny saga, and the people who helped make my dream come true.

 

I grew up with free technical apparatuses: black and white television set, no computers, no internet, and, would you believe—no cell phones. If I wanted three dimensional characters, I read a book. The rhyming sonnet of words and flowing musical notes of the written language captivated me, but I never dreamt I’d become a writer!

Swept-Cover small

I entered the job force after high school and went to night-school for college, focusing on business. I acquired a secretarial position and worked my way up the corporate ladder to purchasing director. Meanwhile, I wrote stories. I was an avid Jesus follower. I never missed Billy Graham on television.

I married a wonderful man. Then three years later, became pregnant. While reading Decision Magazine one day, I noted a writing competition. I entered and won a trip to the Billy Graham headquarters, which was then in Minneapolis, MN., for the Billy Graham School for Christian Writers. My daughter was born four months later. I left my job to be a stay-at-home mom, planning to write the great American novel!

Then my grandmother came to live with us. Gran had severe rheumatoid arthritis. Later, she had a stroke, shingles, an amputation, and another stroke. My writing took a detour into the inner recesses of my file cabinet. Baby bottles, diapers, special care for Gran, and doctor visits took over.

Little did I know I was now enrolled in God’s School of Christian Learning. From those twelve years Gran lived with my family, the inspiration of this Destiny saga evolved, and the idea of writing a faith-based epic historical romance formed.

Destiny's Whirlwind Final (1)

Beginning in the Antebellum Era this four book saga transports readers into the Civil War, Gibson Era, Spanish-American War, World War I, Great Depression, the Big Band Era, and through World War II.

My books did not arrive without conflict. I would often pray, arguing with God! I wanted my characters to be the perfect individuals like I wanted in myself, my husband, and my children. God let me know—that was not His plan.

Take courage! We serve an awesome God who carries my imperfect characters through their mishaps into a heart-wrenching climax!

What has been the outcome so far for Destiny’s Whirlwind?

Some of my readers have bought more than one book. One reader, when purchasing Destiny’s Whirlwind told me that her teenage son is reading Swept into Destiny for his history and literature class. She asked me if my publisher would consider making two different covers. Her teenager wanted to take it with him to class,but didn’t want to carry around a book that had a girl on the cover.

My readers are as diverse as my characters. And come back each time for my next book, like my Amish friend.

I am blessed by my publisher, Tamara Clymer; editor, Debra L. Butterfield; and agent, Cyle Young who have stood by me in this adventure to do God’s will. Yes, my characters are flawed, some more than others. I obeyed God and by writing of my characters’ constant failures, I witnessed—the love of an unfailing God!

  Destiny’s Whirlwind, Book 2: Bound by her words… Collina McConnell promises her dying father to uphold the legacy of their Kentucky estate. Rough Rider Franklin Long offers his help. War is declared and he leaves for Cuba. He holds the key to her heart, but will he return? As Collina fights to keep her promise to her father, the words of Esther 8:6 ring in her thoughts. “How can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people?” https://www.amazon.com/Destinys-Whirlwind-Destiny-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07C6NSCSZ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1524488271&sr=8-2&keywords=catherine+ulrich+brakefield

Swept into Destiny Book 1: One brave decision leads to serious consequences. Maggie Gatlan is secretly educating the slaves at Spirit Wind Manor when she meets Ben McConnell, an Irish immigrant. Civil War erupts and Maggie must choose. Does she care more for Ben or for her beloved South? https://www.amazon.com/Swept-Destiny-Catherine-Ulrich-Brakefield-ebook/dp/B0719RRHXG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524488327&sr=8-1&keywords=catherine+ulrich+brakefield

 

Wilted Dandelions The story begins in 1837. Rachael Rothburn is a high-spirited woman who feels she doesn’t need a husband. She wants to become a missionary and travel out west to share the salvation message with Native Americans. Jonathan Wheaton desires the same. They agree on a marriage of convenience and in the process of co-existing, they discover God doesn’t create coincidences—He designs possibilities. https://www.amazon.com/Wilted-Dandelions-Catherine-Ulrich-Brakefield-ebook/dp/B01349SZKA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1524488327&sr=8-4&keywords=catherine+ulrich+brakefield

Bio:

Catherine says, “My readers inspire my writing!”

Catherine is an award-winning author of faith-based historical romance Wilted Dandelions. Her new Destiny series begins with Swept into Destiny. The second of her four-book Destiny series Destiny’s Whirlwind has just been released.

She has written two pictorial history books: Images of America: The Lapeer Area, and Images of America: Eastern Lapeer County.

Her short stories have been published in Guidepost Books True Stories of Extraordinary Answers to Prayer,  Unexpected Answers and Desires of Your Heart; Baker Books, Revell, The Dog Next Door, Horse of my Heart, and Dogs/Rescue scheduled for October, 2018 publication; CrossRiver Media Publishers, The Benefit Package and Abba’s Promise; Bethany House Publishers, Jesus Talked to me Today.

Catherine Brakefield

She is a longtime Michigan resident; she enjoys horseback riding, swimming, traveling the byroads across America, and spoiling her two handsome grandsons and two beautiful granddaughters! She lives with her husband of 45 years and their Arabian horses in the picturesque hills of Addison Township.  Visit her at CatherineUlrichBrakefield.com; Facebook.com/CatherineUlrichBrakefield; and her blog; Hopes, Hearts and Hoofbeats.

www.CatherineUlrichBrakefield.com

Download a free bonus chapter from my publisher, CrossRiver Media.

Blog:  www.Hopes,HeartsandHoofbeats

Author Facebook:  www.Facebook.com/CatherineUlrichBrakefield

Twitter: www.cubrakefield.com

Linkedln:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherine-brakefield-4710b315/

I very much enjoy Catherine’s books and look forward to the next installment. 

If you love learning about authors journeys and other writerly stuff please subscribe. You’ll receive the latest blog post in your email.

Tips for Writing a Stellar Novella Part 2

PeggThomasHeadshot2017-resized

Peg Thomas is back today to continue her tips for novella writing. Last week she talked about word count and having a complete story. There is a link at the bottom for part one if you missed it.

Timeline

Another simplification is the timeline. Where a novel may span a year or more, a novella needs to be shorter. This creates some issues with romance, since the characters won’t know each other very long. This is where the writer gets creative. In Her Redcoat, Laurette and Henry meet several times in the forest and that’s enough for them to fall in love. How is that possible? They are lonely people on the frontier. I used the time and place make it feasible.

A Pinch of historic flavor

Simplify the history and the setting. They should be a flavoring like a pinch of salt and not an all-you-can-eat buffet. If you’re writing historical you must have some history, but you’ve room for just a touch. It’s easy in a novel to let history overtake the story, and that’s a bigger danger in a novella. Your setting should be minimal, not portrayed with long, drawn out paragraphs of the sunrise or someone’s ancestral home. In some novels, the setting is almost another character, but you can’t do that in a novella.

Which scenes to cut

In any story, you should cut scenes that don’t move the story forward, but that’s critical in a novella. Even if it’s a great scene with stellar writing. Even if it’s your favorite scene. Even if your mother loves it. If it doesn’t move the story forward, it’s got to go.

51KJqE9zISL._AC_US218_

Click her to order this collect that contains Her Redcoat

Pegg has a few more tips to share so tune in for Part 3 next Tuesday and if you missed part one check it out.

 

Pegg Thomas lives on a hobby farm in Northern Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. A life-long history geek, she writes “History with a Touch of Humor.” When not working or writing, Pegg can be found in her barn, her garden, her kitchen, or sitting at her spinning wheel creating yarn to turn into her signature wool shawls.

Visit Pegg Thomas on social media

Facebook 

Twitter

Goodreads

Google+

PeggThomas.com

Amazon

ColonialQuills

If you’re finding posts on Jubileewriter helpful subscribe before you leave and you’ll get teh latest post in your email.

Tips for Writing a Stellar Novella, Part 1

Novella Tips

Have you ever read a novella that felt like the story stopped with the word count? All of a sudden your at the last page and you felt cheated. Today I welcome Pegg Thomas, editor, author, Managing editor of Smitten an imprint of LPC to share the formula for writing a successful novella.  A novella that keeps you reading and gives the reader a sigh-worthy ending. Today and the next two Tuesdays Pegg will be giving us the tools we need to nail down a great novella.

When Cindy asked me to do a guest post on how writing a novella is different than writing a novel, I thought it would be simple. The answer is obvious—use fewer words. But the real knack for novella writing is learning how to use fewer words.

In my genre, historical romance, full-length novels average 85,000 words. Novellas average 25,000 words. If you’re any good at math, and I’m not, this means you have roughly 30% of the words in a novella that you have in a novel.

Let’s first consider what we can’t leave out.

A novella must be a complete story. That means it must have a hook, a 1st plot point, a mid-point shift, a 2nd plot point, and a climax—a full story structure. Along with that, it must have fleshed-out characters with their own goals, motivations, and conflicts that build their character arcs. You still need to use all the senses as you write. Bring a bit of smell, taste, touch, sound, and sight into your novella to make it real. And in my genre, there needs to be both history and romance.

So what can we leave out?

It’s not so much leaving out as it is simplifying. Novellas typically have fewer secondary characters, for instance. There isn’t the word space to develop any character that isn’t necessary. Even if the character is oh-so-cute and lovable—axe it if he or she isn’t essential to the story. If the heroine is one of fourteen siblings, at least ten of them need to remain off-screen.

Subplots, which are essential to a good novel, get squeezed out of the novella. There may be one, but it won’t get the full attention that it would in a novel. It’ll be more of a mini-subplot. For instance, in Embattled Hearts, the main plot is Alannah escaping her abusive stepfather, and Stewart helping her as they fall in love. The subplot is the end of the Pony Express. I didn’t spend much time expounding on it, but it’s mentioned a few times and things are happening that the reader sees. In a full-length novel, I’d have explored that subplot more.

51cl5dry9nL._SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_

Click here to buy this collection with Pegg’s novella Embattled Hearts

Next Tuesday Part 2:  Trimming the timeline, history backgroound and setting.

Pegg Thomas lives on a hobby farm in Northern Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. A life-long history geek, she writes “History with a Touch of Humor.” When not working or writing, Pegg can be found in her barn, her garden, her kitchen, or sitting at her spinning wheel creating yarn to turn into her signature wool shawls.

PeggThomasHeadshot2017-resized

Facebook 

Twitter

Goodreads

Google+

PeggThomas.com

Amazon

ColonialQuills

 

Cozy up with three of My Favorite New Releases

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you all know I am a verocious reader. As such I am on occasion given an ARC copy and asked to post a review. I am happy to do it. Recently I reviewed two new releases and Michelle Shocklee and Jennifer Lemont Leo are now on my favorite author list. The third book I read was a novella collection with one of my favorite novella authors Pegg Thomas. Below you’ find my reviews, the back cover blurb and a buy link.

The Widow of Rosehill

I received an Advanced Readers Copy of the Widow of Rosehill. I am under no obligation to give it a good review. Which made me feel comfortable checking it out. I loved the first book in the series The Planter’s Daughter. But I didn’t care for the secondary character of Natalie. She was spoiled and spineless. She is the main character in the Widow of Rosehill. Six years later with the Civil War just ended and her horrible husband dead Natalie has grown up a lot. Her focus is raising her son. Being informed by an official decree that the south has lost the war and her slaves are free was an awakening for this southern belle. I loved Natalie’s willingness to change, work alongside the slaves who decided to stay and help her. Enter an abolitionist Colonel and the sparks fly between Natalie and Levi. Each learning that the other is not the enemy. It was fun to envision the hero with a full beard. Very much in keeping with the era. Michelle Shocklee has a gift with words. And her historical accuracy brought the story to life. I stayed up too late reading it and the plot haunted my dreams until I finished it. I look forward to more books by this author.

51eJKAynrML._AC_US218_

Widowed during the war, Natalie Ellis finds herself solely responsible for Rose Hill plantation. When Union troops arrive with a proclamation freeing the slaves, all seems lost. How can she run the plantation without slaves? In order to save her son’s inheritance she strikes a deal with the arrogant, albeit handsome, Colonel Maish. In exchange for use of her family s property, the army will provide workers to bring in her cotton crop. But as her admiration for the colonel grows, a shocking secret is uncovered. Can she trust him with her heart and her young, fatherless son?

Natalie Ellis is everything Colonel Levi Maish loathes: a Southern slave owner. When he and his men arrived in Texas with the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves still in bondage despite the war having ended, he feels little concern for the trail of plantation owners left in its wake without workers. But the plight of the beautiful Widow Ellis stirs to life his compassion and the heart he’d thought cold as stone after witnessing the carnage of war. While the army camps on her land, Levi finds himself contemplating a future with Natalie and Samuel. But when he learns where her husband perished during the war, he knows a life with Natalie is impossible. How could she ever forgive him for what he’d done in battle on the banks of the Bull Run?

Buy links:

 

Ain’t Misbehavin’ is the sequel to You’re the Cream in My Coffee. Sequels are not always easy to write, and they need to be every bit as good as the first one. I found Ain’t Misbehavin’ as engaging as the first book. I loved looking back to a by gone era. Jennifer Lemont Leo has sprinkled tidbits of culture, inventions and history throughout the story of Charlie Corrigan and Dot Rogers. We were introduced to them in You’re the Cream in My Coffee.

The characters struggle with their own versions of low self-esteem. Charlie was injured in World War I, feeling unworthy of any woman’s love.  Dot had a father who verbal abused her and she’s made some bad decisions leaving her convinced she is unworthy of true love. Many of the characters from the first book help frame Charlie and Dot’s story. Some giving great advice, others causing trouble. At one point I found myself saying “Oh no, Dot don’t do it.” When I’m talking to the characters then I’m totally hooked on the story.  The setting may be 1929 but the heart of the story is timeless.

I was given an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for my honest opinion. I can honestly say this well-written, well-researched novel is well-worth the reader’s time.

 

51-Vxh1OgbL._AC_US218_

In Jazz Age Chicago, Dot Rodgers sells hats at Marshall Field while struggling to get her singing career off the ground. Independent and feisty, she’s the life of the party. But underneath the glitter, she doesn’t believe she’s worth the love of a good man. Why would a strong, upstanding man want to build a future with a shallow, good-time girl like her?

Small-town businessman Charlie Corrigan carries scars from the Great War. After all he’s been through, he wants nothing more than to marry and start a family. But the woman he loves is a flamboyant flapper with no intention of settling down. She’s used to a more glamorous life than he can offer. As his fortunes climb with the stock market, it seems he’s finally going to win her love. But what happens when it all comes crashing down?

Buy link

Bouquet of Brides.

This novella collection spans from colonial times to the early 1900s. Every heroine has a flower name. Every hero has to win his flower. The backdrops of each story is very different. But the basic dilemma remains the same—finding love and declaring it amidst what appears to the characters to be insurmountable odds. Nice historical research and characters to root for.

Cvr_BouquetofBrides.indd

Meet seven American women who were named for various flowers but struggle to bloom where God planted them. Can love help them grow to their full potential?

Holly and Ivy by Mary Davis (1890, Washington State)
At Christmastime, Holly Harrison accompanies her impetuous younger sister on her trip across the country to be a mail-order bride. But even as she tries to persuade her sister that loving a stranger is foolhardy, Holly loses her own heart to a fellow traveler.

Periwinkle in the Park by Kathleen Kovach (1910, Colorado)
Periwinkle Winfield is a hiking guide helping to commission a national park. But a run-in with a mountain man who is determined to keep the government off his land may place her in great danger.

At Home with Daffodils by Paula Moldenhauer (1909, Oklahoma)
When her childhood sweetheart returns to town, will Dilly Douglas accept the worthy heart he offers, or will the old wound he opens keep them apart?

A Song for Rose by Suzanne Norquist (1882, Rockledge, Colorado)
Can Patrick O’Donnell, a tenor disillusioned by the performance industry, convince Rose Miller that that there is more to music than her dream of joining an opera company?

Beauty in a Tansy? by Donita K. Paul (1918, South Dakota)
Tansy Terrell was named after a weed. When she opens shop next door, Arthur Blake recognizes Tansy’s need to be valued as a beautiful flower but fails to see his own worth as a maker of instruments and music.

A Prickly Affair by Donna Schlachter (1885, Arizona)
A rough-and-tumble cowgirl, “Cactus” Lil Duncan longs for true love, but is afraid to let down her prickly exterior when a city slicker from New York City, with less-than-honorable intentions, tries to win her heart and her hand.

In Sheep’s Clothing by Pegg Thomas (1702, Connecticut)
Peter Maltby might be all good looks and charm, working in the new mill fulling wool, but Yarrow Fenn fears he is the Crown’s agent in disguise who will destroy the only livelihood she has.
Buy link

I obviously love Historical romance. But I do read in other genres. And I will be blogging about those in the future. If you’d love to read more reviews don’t forget to subscribe so you can receive each new post in your email.