In with the new...
Out with the old!
The fourth book in my Unconventional Series, JOY'S RETURN, begins in 1920. Joy is the daughter of Jake and Jennie Ryder from book three, RYDER'S SALVATION...and yes, I purposely named my heroine Joy Ryder. It's catchy, but also fits well with the story, as reader's will discover.
So...what's so special about the year 1920? For history buffs, it was the year of the ratification of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. It was also a time when prohibition, governed by the Volstead Act, came into being. AND, just to spice up the already turbulent times, a loosening of social mores extinguished life as it had been known in the Victorian age. The new breed of women were called flappers and they discarded what they considered to be outdated social customs. Their clothing revealed ankles, legs, and knees! They even wore trousers! They listened to Jazz music and danced outrageously. They drank, smoked, and voted. They painted their faces with makeup. They were ready to take on the male-dominated society.
Although the heroine in my story is not a flapper in the fullest sense of the word, she is on a journey that twenty years earlier would have been impossible for an unchaperoned lady. I consider Joy to be a "transition woman"--not turning her back on all past customs, and not fully embracing the "new woman." She is finding that happy medium within herself.
I was so intrigued by this era, that I started a pinterest board dedicated to JOY'S RETURN. To see the board, all you have to do is click on the icon at the top of any page on my website. Also, an excerpt from the book can be read on the "home page" or the "excerpts page."
As for the hero in this romance, he is a widower. After meeting Joy, he begins to wonder if perhaps he unknowingly stifled the dreams of his dear departed wife. Just as the women in this era were in transition, so were the men. The feminine gender they had known in the past no longer existed and they had to come to grips with the equality women demanded!
I expect the story will be published in September, 2014.
As I write this blog, it's a beautiful, sunny afternoon. Before starting the blog, however, I was lying on my bed enjoying a breeze through the slider and open windows, and feeling good about having uploaded the second book in my Oasis series, Branded in Oasis. I was also thinking I should really take a week off because the final two weeks before release of a book are intense and time consuming. I spend on average, probably, eight to ten hours a day rereading the story for editing and formatting errors. Sometimes a few of those "pests" make it through, but fortunately, being self published, I can easily correct and update my books on Amazon and other sites.
Anyway, getting back to my nap (or nap that didn't happen); while lying there I started thinking about using my blog to layout ideas for books for the remainder of 2014 and into 2015. My current series (Oasis) has at least one more story to be written (a mystery romance titled Crashed in Oasis), but I've also been thinking about writing a novella in the same series of maybe fifty pages. It would be the story of two characters introduced in book one and expanded on in book two, namely, Bertram Babcock (the wicked step brother) and Cowgirl Kitty (I haven't given her a last name yet). I so love these characters that I want to know their story, but I have to put fingers to keyboard to find it out. As for the novella's lineup in the series, it would be book 0.5 and I would make it free as a lead in to the series.The title that keeps coming to mind is Bertram's Kitty.
So...that's two stories I need to write.
I've also been feeling drawn back to my Romance on the Ranch Series a.k.a. Kisses Series. I really want to write a romance between "mature" characters that are in their late fifties or early sixties, and I have a tentative title of Forever Kisses. But another book in that series that keeps begging to be written would be titled Rock Star Kisses, and it's the story between Tessa Branigan and Sean Barfield, teenagers in Christmas Kisses, who are now in their early twenties. Sean is a gifted musician who became a rock star. He met Tessa when they were teenagers. Tessa has always battled a weight problem. At school she was teased by the class bully who called her "Tubby Tessa." I really want to write their story, but it probably won't happen until early 2015.
Reflecting back, It has now been six years since I started writing and three years since I was able to quit my "day job." Writing full time is now my day job, and I treat it as such with timelines, goals, and deadlines. I work about six hours a day until, as mentioned above, two weeks before release of a book, and then I spend hours (overtime) on final edits.
Okay, now that I've set some goals on "paper" I might try that nap again.
I'm thrilled to have Sarah Schofield visiting my blog. Sarah's latest release, Duo, the sequel to her popular book, Solo, is now available, and I can personally recommend it. The story was so engrossing that I felt like I was living in Myrtle Creek, Oregon and attending South Umpqua High with a cast of unforgettable characters. There were so many twists and turns that I didn't want to put the book down.
GIVEAWAY: Sarah is giving away three Smashwords coupons for a free download of Duo. Smashwords is a great site that allows for downloads in many formats. To enter the drawing, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog. Three winners will be randomly selected on April 2, 2014! Don't forget to leave your email address. Your privacy will be respected. Your email address will not show up publicly and you will not be placed on any mailing lists. If you want to be on Sarah's mailing list, please go to her website and sign up.
Now I'd like to welcome Sarah.
Verna: Hello, Sarah. Thanks for joining us. This is going to be fun.
Sarah: Hi, Verna. It’s really nice to be here. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about Duo.
Verna: I know Solo fans have been waiting for the release of Duo, and I understand that Duo was longer in the making than you had anticipated. Would you like to expand on that?
Sarah: I began writing Duo before Solo was released. However, a few months after Solo was released my personal life became hectic. I’m a mom of two wonderful children and I also work fulltime outside the home. Compounding the stress from my job was knowing that I had readers waiting for Duo. I guess you could say I hit overload. Because of that, I wasn’t able to put my heart into Eliana’s story the way it deserved. It was then that I knew I had to take a break. I can’t apologize enough for the lengthy delay in releasing Duo, but I can honestly say that without the downtime, Duo wouldn’t be exactly what I wanted for Eliana’s story. But now it is.
Verna: For new readers, why don't you give a synopsis of Solo.
Sarah: Solo begins with sixteen year old Eliana Davis' father deploying overseas with the military. Her parents decide it would be best if she and her mother move to the small town of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, and live with her grandparents for awhile. Eliana is not happy about the move in the middle of her sophomore year in California, but she really doesn't have a choice. Because her father is in the military, she moves often, so she struggles with the decision of whether to make friends at her new high school, or keep to herself. Lucas Andrews makes that decision even more difficult.
Verna: Now back to Duo. What can you tell us about Eliana's life since Solo.
Sarah: Duo begins with Eliana returning from a short vacation to California. She’s in a good place and looking forward to starting the new school year with the friends she's made. However, her life changes when she receives some shocking news. I don’t want to give anything away, but Eliana definitely experiences a roller-coaster ride of emotions throughout the book.
Verna: I'd like to make mention of your book covers. I thought the Solo cover was beautiful, colorful, and perfect for the story, but I have to say, I love, love, the Duo cover. Did you use a designer for your covers or did you create them yourself? What made you choose the picture you used for Duo?
Sarah: I designed both covers myself. The picture for Solo was easy to find. It was one of the first ones I looked at. Duo, on the other hand, was difficult. I had a vision of what I wanted and searched several sites for the perfect image to visually represent the chemistry between Eliana and Lucas. My search ended when I finally found the picture on Dreamstime. It fit the story in so many ways.
Verna: Now that you have two books published, what are your plans for future books? Will you continue Eliana and Lucas’ story or move on to something else?
Sarah: As much as I love Eliana and Lucas, I feel that it’s time to release some of the other stories I’ve been working on. I’m not saying there isn’t a possibility of another story with Eliana and Lucas, but it won’t be any time soon. I think my readers will fall in love with my new projects just as they did with Solo and, hopefully Duo.
Verna: Before you leave, here are a couple of fun questions.
Question: Other than the present, tell us about an era you would like to visit, and why.
Sarah: I think I would like the Victorian era. I love the idea of being courted by a suitor while wearing one of those elegant gowns with a corset and a parasol.
Question: What is your favorite frou-frou drink.
Sarah: Oh, that’s an easy one. Most of the time I prefer Starbucks Iced Chai Lattes. I’m not a fan of hot beverages, but during the holidays I love Starbucks Egg Nog Lattes.
Verna: Sarah, thank you for stopping by. I wish you much success with Solo and Duo and look forward with anticipation to reading more of your books.
Sarah: Thanks so much for having me, Verna.
Verna: For anyone interested in reading Solo and Duo, they can be purchased from most online retailers. Listed below are some links. Solo is also available in paperback and Duo will be in paperback soon.
Thank you, readers, for visiting my blog. Here is Sarah's contact information.
After staring at the ceiling for an hour tonight, I climbed out of my warm and cozy bed because, honestly, staring at the ceiling is boring. Hopefully, writing this update will exhaust me (probably not gonna happen). Anyway, forging onward, I do have some exciting news. My latest release, Stranded in Oasis, has a brand new cover. The person to thank is the awesome Elaina Lee (For the Muse). She's designed several of my book covers and I love every one of them. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy designing my own covers, but my ability is hit-and-miss. Thank you Elaina for this beautiful cover!
I've uploaded the new look to Amazon, but it may take a couple of days to change over from the old one. In the business of writing books, there's a lot of waiting...waiting...waiting. You wait for the book to be published, you wait for someone to buy your book, you wait for reviews, you wait for inspiration for another story...wait...wait...wait. But it's all worth it.
Okay, now to continue with more news...
Fragile Hearts is set to be released in February. Oh, do I like this story! It's my first attempt at writing a Young Adult novel and I decided to use the pen name of Colleen Clay, so as not to confuse readers who are used to my books in the western and historical genres.
Originally, I had titled this story "Scorched," but then thought about naming it "Scorched Hearts," and then "Fragile," and finally settled on Fragile Hearts. Because I like writing romances between the most unlikely heroes and heroines, I had a lot of fun with this one. The heroine, Morgan Wheeler, is a young woman being forced by loving parents to become independent of them. She's attending her first year of college and living in a dorm for the physically challenged. A car accident when she was a teenager crippled her.
As for the hero, he is young man in his last year of college. He's the campus "hottie" who's always pursued by adoring females. He and Morgan become friends, and then more than friends. However, both are harboring secrets that began on that fateful day of Morgan's car accident.
And yes, I designed this cover. So far, I like it, but if that changes, I know who to turn to...Elaina Lee.
Onward for more news...
The books in the Unconventional Series, Abby; Broken Angel; and Ryder's Salvation, have previously only been available through Amazon. I decided to place these books with other retailers and used Smashwords to do so. The stories can now be purchased from Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and lots of other places. Links to Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Smashwords can be found on the Unconventional Series page of this website.
That seems to be all the news I have for now, except that I'm well into the writing of the second book in the Oasis Series, Branded in Oasis. I expect the book to be released in April or May.
Yawn...maybe I am getting tired.
THE RUSE, Andrews Brothers, Book One