Thursday, April 30, 2015

10 Helpful Blogging Tips

Over the past few years, I've had people ask me if I can offer blogging tips.

Whether you've been blogging for a while, you're just starting to blog, or if you're thinking about starting, I hope these tips will help.

1. Be consistent with the days you blog. If it's once a week, or once a month, etc., be consistent. You'll get more visitors if they know when to expect a blog post.

2. Always share your posts on Facebook and/or Twitter, Pinterest, etc. You will get more site visits when you post on a social media outlet. Find groups on Facebook that would be interested in what you're posting, and share your post link there.

3. Offer giveaways if you want people to comment and share your post. You'll get more traffic to your posts if you're giving something away.

4. Try to keep the posts between 600-800 words.

5. Share lots of pictures and images.

6. Use bullet points and numbered lists, when applicable. As in: 6 Ways to Get the Most Out of..., or 10 Things You Should Know About..., or 10 Helpful Blogging Tips, etc. :)

7. Offer people something they can take away from reading your post. Make it entertaining and educational.

8. On your blog homepage, have tabs for people who want to learn more about you, or about what you're blogging theme is. Offer resources for your readers. 

9. Visit blogs similar to yours to get ideas, and also to make yourself known in the blogosphere.

10. Have fun! :)

Your Turn: What would you add to this list?

Gabrielle Meyer:
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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Spanish Military Hospital in St. Augustine, Florida

Erica Here: Anyone who knows me knows how much I love history. I love old things, and I love the stories that accompany old things. So when I had a chance to spend a few days in St. Augustine, Florida, I grabbed the opportunity.

One of the places I wanted to visit in St. Augustine was the Spanish Military Hospital Museum. 

The museum is built on the footprint of the original, but the building is a reconstruction. It is on a narrow, mostly pedestrian street that full of old houses and buildings. Patrons of the museum were encouraged to take pictures and ask we did lots of both!

This is the room where a soldier was placed when the doctors feared there was no hope for the patient. He was given a private room, and provided every possible comfort.

 This bell hung outside the hospital and was used to summon the priest to minister to the dying soldier.

 The table of surgical tools in an era where the most common treatment for a catastrophic injury was amputation. We received a detailed description of the process. Whew!

This little gem was a pill roller. Often the medicinal treatment given to a soldier was an herb or plant he was quite familiar with. In order to make it see more 'pharmacological' the apothecary would mash the plant, mix it with a colorant and some beeswax, and using this device, roll it into long, slender cylinders. Then he'd place a cylinder on a marble tablet marked with fractions of inches, and cut the medicine into doses. This is where we get the term 'tablet' for a pill. Cool, huh?

Another interesting thing I learned was that the hospital was scrubbed several times per day with a solution of water and lavender. The Spanish believed that lavender had good properties for cleanliness and medicinal value. Long before they understood germs, the Spanish were using an herb with antiseptic properties to clean the hospital. Lavender also has a calming affect, something that would've been a nice byproduct for sick and injured soldiers.

Not to mention the hospital would smell lovely.

Have you ever visited St. Augustine? Have you heard of using lavender to scrub a hospital?

Here's a short video about the museum. 

Erica Vetsch:
Executive Assistant
Earl Grey Aficionado
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pray for #Nepal

I ransacked my storage closet this morning trying to find pictures of my trip to Nepal. This country holds a special place in my heart, and the very places deeply affected by the earthquake are also the very places I spent two weeks of my life.

I went to Nepal in 1999 when I was just a young thang pretty much straight out of high school. I had just begun to date my husband (he stayed home). But I traveled across the ocean to land in Thailand and Nepal. The rundown, dirty airport in Kathmandu, the air clouded with pot-smokers in the dirt alleyways, Mount Everest and Annapurna in the foreground of every morning's sunrise, and the people.

The people of Nepal are beautiful, warm, inviting, and I love them.

I don't really even feel like sharing stories this morning. I think of the ones I met and pray they are still safe, their children are alive, their families aren't buried beneath the rubble of the earthquake. I contemplate the young girl who trailed behind us as we hiked the foothills of the mountains. The girl I shared a banana with. She would probably be in her twenties now. Is she alive? Is she dead?

These are the questions inspired by the haunting realization that Nepal will never be the same. And yet, somehow, in tragedy, God whispers ...

May they hear His voice.

Monday, April 27, 2015

My Neck o' the Woods

Springtime is a time of promise and new life. 
In Indiana we enjoy amazing spring woodland flowers.
My daughter is studying abroad in Ireland for this semester. 
This is one of her favorite things, watching "the woods flowers".
I hope you enjoy them!

"Bleeding Heart"
(not really a native woodland flower, but lovely nevertheless!)
"Spring Beauty"

"Dutchman's Britches"

"Trout Lilly"


My daughter's favorite is Trillium. But they won't bloom until early May around her birthday.

Luke 12:27-28

"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. "But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!

What are your favorite Springtime blooms?

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Friday, April 24, 2015

Interview & Book #Giveaway - Peter Leavell

We are so happy to host Peter Leavell on our blog today! He is an author new to Coffee Cups and Camisoles, but for those of you who enjoy a good Inspirational Western, this is for you!  And, he has delighted us here at the CCC Blog to bring us a great interview and a wonderful book giveaway!

So Peter ...

1. What inspired your latest story idea?
Deep inside a diary, the cowboy confessed he had a conversation with an elderly man. “I want to raise horses in the Dakota Territory,” the cowboy said. “No,” the old man replied. “Ain’t no money in it.” So the cowboy went to Texas and became a cowhand. West for the Black Hills is the story of the cowboy, only in my novel, he decides to follow his dreams and raise Arabian horses.

2. What is your favorite characteristic about your story’s hero and heroine?

My favorite characteristic of Philip is his capacity for love. He deeply feels for his horses and the heroine, Anna. Anna’s greatest characteristic is her self-dependency. We view cowboys as knights on the range, chivalrously protecting fair maidens—even so, Anna carries her own gun. I love that.

3. Please tell us about the spiritual theme of your story you hope every reader is challenged by:

God can control every aspect of our lives, as well as the hearts of those who love us or hate us. So why allow evil that will force us to take action against villains and sin? Why must Philip pick up a gun to protect Anna, when God could stop the bad men? What repulsive things must we do to protect the ones we love, and how will that change us for the better?

4. Jaime & I are coffee addicts. Erica & Gabrielle are tea lovers. What about you? Coffee or Tea?

I’m a social coffee drinker, but tea is my baby. I love a brew called ‘monk’s blend’ sold in downtown Boise, ID. Love love it.

5. Favorite historical movie? Or mini-series?
Into the West always caught my imagination, mostly because of the costumes. The Conspirator and Glory are very high on my list, but make me cry. Every time. Talking period pieces, though, on the whole, I hinge on every world of the Michael Redgrave 1952 version of The Importance of Being Earnest.

6. While Jaime loves to take selfies, and Erica loves museums, I love Pinterest and food pics. Share a food pic, a favorite family recipe, or link us to your latest pin on Pinterest.
Because of allergy dietary restrictions in our family, our daily fare looks like this. But everyone wants our plates! No. You can’t have them.

7. Always wanted to be an author? Or surprised your path led you to publish?

My grandmother challenged me to have a novel published by age 16. It just took 20 years longer. Yes, an author has always been my dream.

8. Favorite century to read? To write? To watch on TV or in a movie?

I love all centuries to read and write, but I hate working the same century twice in a row. Variety!

9. Favorite heroine of all time, and why?

My favorite heroine is you, the reader. You take the time to study, to better your minds through reading and research. In a culture that many feel your body is your only asset, you’re a tutor to yourself, you devour any book you can get your hands on—and we both know being smart is sexy and interesting. And most of all, useful. You’re a hero.

Thanks Peter! and Readers ... don't forget to enter the giveaway for Peter's latest novel!

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Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots.
Nurse Practitioner by day.
Wife, mother, writer by night.
Coffee drinker--any time.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Three of My Favorite Pictures

I have many priceless pictures, but here are three that are very special to me.

On the Big Hill at the Betsy-Tacy Homes in Mankato, Minnesota
Maud Hart Lovelace's Home ~ August 2013

On the banks of Plum Creek in Walnut Grove, Minnesota
Laura Ingalls Wilder's Childhood Home ~ July 2014

In the gardens at Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia
George Washington's Home ~ April 2015
These three pictures represent something very important to me: sharing my passion with my daughters. I love history, and I'm passionate about real stories, people, and events that inspire multiple generations.

Every year I plan a trip (or multiple trips) with my children to see where history happened.

Two years ago I read the Betsy-Tacy series to my girls and then we took a trip to Mankato, Minnesota where the stories really happened over a hundred years ago. I can honestly say there's nothing quite like eating a picnic where Maud Hart Lovelace ate with her best friend Bick Kenney (a.k.a. Betsy & Tacy) on the Big Hill in Mankato, Minnesota (you can see a crumb of chocolate cake on my daughter's face from lunch!).

Last year I read the Little House on the Prairie series to my daughters and then we took a trip to Walnut Grove, Minnesota and visited the town that inspired Laura's story, On the Banks of Plum Creek. I will never forget splashing in the waters of Plum Creek where Laura played as a girl.

And last week I took my girls to Washington, D.C. and showed them our nation's capital. We had so much fun, and took hundreds of pictures, but there's one that stands out to me from all the others: the one with my girls in the garden at Mount Vernon.

None of these pictures have anything important in the background to indicate where we were at the moment--but the smiles on our faces, and the wonderful memories they invoke, make them some of my favorite pictures.

Your Turn: What passion do you love sharing with your children? What are some of your favorite pictures? Where do you take people you love?

Gabrielle Meyer:
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

3 Things I Discovered about Pinterest

I have had an up and down relationship with Pinterest, the image-based social network that has captured the attention of creative types around the globe.

At first, I thought, what's the big deal? All I see are recipes for food I will never make and clothes I will never fit into and actors I don't even recognize.

But everyone was telling everyone that anyone who is anyone is on Pinterest.

So I joined.

And I had no clue what I was doing. I didn't know how to find people I knew, or people who were posting pictures of things I might like. I didn't know how to create a board or how or what I should pin to it.

So my profile just sat there with a few pictures and a couple of boards that not even I was interested in.

Then I attended a webinar offered by my literary agency Books & Such (Also the literary agency of Jaime and Gabrielle as it turns out. :) I love that we're 'Bookies' together!) The webinar was given by the generous, funny, and knowledgeable Erin MacPherson.

And it opened my eyes to some of the possibilities of Pinterest.

So, here are three things I have learned about Pinterest:

1. If you want to connect with people, be active. You can't over-pin. I was afraid of over-pinning the way some people over-share or over-post on Facebook. But on Pinterest, the more pins, the better! And re-pinning somebody's pin isn't stealing. They want you to re-pin!

2. If you want people to find your pins, then give your boards succinct titles that people would search for. Don't call your only board "Stuff I like." That's too generic. Be specific, and create boards that are specific. If you like red teapots, name your board "Red Teapots." That way, when someone else is searching for red teapots, your board will come up.

3. If you are looking for something, you can find it on Pinterest. I've created more than 40 boards now, some with some fairly obscure and random contents, because I've been researching or creating boards that pertain to my fiction writing. I've found pins on chuck wagons and vintage jewelry and parasols and Winston Churchill. All things I'm interested in...and others are too.

4. Bonus thing I've learned: Pinterest can be addictive and time sucking. It's easy to get lost in searching and scrolling through fabulous pictures. I've given myself the task of creating one new board per week, but I often find myself making more than one.

Question for you? Are you on Pinterest?

Here is the link to my Pinterest boards. Have a scroll through and tell me which one intrigues you the most.

rica Vetsch:
Executive Assistant
Earl Grey Aficionado 
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Gift of Sisterhood

This is my sister.

Let me share our story with you.

We never grew up with sisters. In fact, we grew up miles apart both with an older brother, both homeschooled at one point in our lives, both often feeling ... sort of like the odd one out.

And then one day, we met. Pushed together by the sheer force of God and no other credit is due because it truly was that miraculous.

Have you ever looked back in your life and realized you were living a miracle and never knew it? I love the quiet miracles that sneak up on you.

Halee is one of my quiet miracles.

She is my sister in crime. We will ALWAYS help each other bury dead bodies if necessary (the need hasn't arisen yet, but you never know). She is my sister in soul. We experience that hollowness when we're apart. Something neither of us never knew existed in this world. Not until we finally met our sister.

Have you ever watched Steel Magnolias? Me neither. Well, not until last week when perched on a memory foam mattress, Halee and I settled in with fried okra and she forced me to drink water instead of coffee, and we turned on this Southern classic. Halee had been intent on inducting me into her Southern roots. She kept saying "it's like the SisterChucks".

You see, the SisterChucks is the extended version of Halee and myself. There are four other
delightful sisters that have also been a part of this quiet miracle that we call sisterhood. So, as we began to indulge in Steel Magnolias, it became very clear ... each sister was a Steel Magnolia. Six of them, six of us. Very diverse personalities and yet bound by a tie so much stronger and deeper than blood. Forged by life.

As Halee and I watched, we laughed how each SisterChucks really was identified by a Steel Magnolia. Until I finally looked at Halee and admitted, "I'm Ouiser, aren't I?" Halee laughs. "Well, I sort of thought it'd be safer if you figured that out for yourself."

I'm all right being "Ouiser". Because Halee is "Clairee". She is the class to my country, the sass to my snark, the brain to my emotion. That balance which is why we both feel incomplete without the other.

I am learning about the gift of sisterhood. I could write a blog tribute to each sister of the SisterChucks (and maybe I will!), because each of them fulfill a different part of me, and I in return. Without them, my family is ... missing something. Even our husbands have learned to accept the sisters intrusions ;) into each other's lives. So often I am conversing via phone text/messaging with a sister and Nathan will look at me and with a slight smile and a stern raise of his brow remark, "put the sisters down, it's time to eat".

But he grew up with sisters. Four of them. So he knows something that I never did. Sisters are
inseparable. Sisters are impenetrable. Sisters are remarkable. 

Today, I have returned home to my husband and children. I love them so much. But today, I also have this melancholy ache, right here (*Jaime taps heart), because I left Halee miles away with our Steel Magnolia dvd and container of Okra chips.

Sometimes the gift of sisterhood hurts. But it's a pain I'm more than willing to endure. Because sisters will never, ever break free from my heart.

Do you have a sister?

Winner of last week's book drawing "The Creole Princess" is: Linsey Adair

Professional coffee drinker Jaime Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Her day job finds her a Director of Associate

Sales, Development & Relations. She’s wife to a rock climbing, bow-hunting youth pastor, mom to a coffee-drinking little girl and a Sippy cup-drinking little boy, and completes her persona by being an admitted Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Blogspot junkie.

Coming March 2016: The Cowgirl's Lasso, from the Cowboy Brides Novella Collection - Barbour

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Tribute to Gilbert Blythe, by Anne

Thank you Jonathan Crombie, for the gift of portraying Gilbert Blythe for all the Anne's of the world.
Your role as Gil, the quintessential "boy next door" hero, is ever imprinted on our hearts as a gift first graced upon L.M. Montgomery's wide scope of imagination in Anne of Green Gables.

Though tragic your loss, we celebrate the wonderful delight of remembering your ability to capture Gilbert Blythe's essence and his chemistry with Anne Shirley.

If there's a movie I've watched a hundred times, it's Anne of Green Gables. For me if there's ever been a favorite heroine and hero pair, it's been Anne and Gil.

We all know it when we see it, that chemistry between Anne and Gil. But what made us all love them so much? Jonathan Crombie, Megan Follows, Anne & Gil, and most of all L.M. Montgomery have created a "Gil" phenomenon...
What makes the Anne's of the world wait for "their Gil"? 
What qualities must a man possess to rival Gil's ability to win Anne's heart? Can any man hope to compete with Gil? Would insulting a girl for the color of her hair do the trick? He'd probably just get called a bully. Would teasing her incessently win her heart? I've never known a girl to fall head over heals in love just because she was irritated to death! Was it his persistence with Anne? Hmm, could just get tiresome--not really a formula for success and might just get him labeled, stalker. Ick. Would sacrificing a job for her do it? That could appear as if he was throwing himself desparately at her feet. Eww. Stand up man.

But Gil did all those things and we still love him. Why? Because, first he was her best chum. They were friends. Both smart and competitive, they were each other's intellectual equals. Second, he was her worthy adversary because he cared enough to learn all about what made her tick. He knew her passion, her talent, her dreams, her hair, her freckles, her wild imagination--and he loved her in spite of all her imperfections. His competition with her brought him a thrill because it pushed them both to be better people, not because he was out to conquer her. Gil knew his pursuit of Anne, just made her become more "Anne"--a woman he not only loved, but respected. We love Gil because her rejection of him doesn't seem to twist him into a desperate pathetic chap. He knows himself, and he's invested enough with Anne to know when to give her space and when to push her.

Of course, it helps that Gil is kind, smart, handsome, intelligent, and patient.

Sure, Gil makes it pretty tough on the common man. But being Anne's Gil is not impossible. I found mine in 1985. It wasn't until 1988, engaged to be married, separated by an ocean and a slow postal system, that I learned I was partially named after Gil's Anne. Mom packed this copy of Anne of Green Gables into my suitcase for my three month culture term in East Germany.
I'd never read it before, never heard the story before. Between the pages, every evening while sitting under my light summer duvet, I met my kindred spirit and knew the ring on my finger was from "my Gil".

Twenty-six years later, he's still my worthy adversary--not a common man. I love you Teddy!

So what do you think readers? 
Are we merely in love with the idea of Gilbert Blythe? 
Does every Anne have a Gil? 
If so, what should she look for in Gil?
What are your favorite Gil-moments?

Fun parallels: I'm named Anne with an "e" and my dad is actually Gil. Our daughter is Emily, her dad is Teddy, like Emily of New Moon and her Teddy.
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Friday, April 17, 2015

Book Report & Giveaway: The Creole Princess, by Beth White

I read a new (to me) author this past week. I thought the premise was very unique and worth highlighting.

Set in the Colonial Gulf Coast during the American Revolutionary War, this novel highlights many historical features that are far less familiar to the story of the war for freedom.

For those of you who love dashing and flamboyant heroes, you will find Rafael, a Spanish merchant, a rogue of the Latin sort. Who knew Spain was an active part of the Revolutionary War? I sure didn't. But, here you go! A questionable casanova who may not be who he truly seems.

Our heroine, Lyse, is a mishmash of heritage and embodies the Creole world. Spunky and adventurous, her verbal sparring with Rafael provides the reader with much entertainment.

Wrapped around and in between their love/hate story, is also more romance and intrigue as the reader meets characters Simon, Daisy, Scarlett and nefarious characters steeped in the espionage from "a little-known slice" of the American Revolutionary War.

Want an opportunity to read it?

Enter here to win your copy!

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Writing, Reading, Editing, Oh My!

A writer's life is never boring. I know Jaime, Anne, and Erica can attest to that. I thought it would be fun to give you a sneak peek into some of the things I'm currently working on.

My first published story, Four Brides and a Bachelor, will release on May 1st from Barbour Publishers. The story will appear in The Most Eligible Bachelor Collection, along with The Archaeologist's Find, by Erica. My story is set in 1852 near my hometown in central Minnesota, and it's inspired by a true story.

For my new release, I'm planning my very first book signing! It will be held on Saturday, May 9th, a week after the story releases. I plan to give away fun prizes and bring yummy treats to share. I'm already overwhelmed with the support I'm receiving from my community! I can't wait for the party to start!

I'm also in the process of finishing up edits for my latest trade-length novel, yet to be named. I'm reading through it one more time and then it's off to my critique partners for their feedback. When I send them my manuscript, they will send me theirs. I'm looking forward to reading their stories, as well.

I also just received a galley copy of my next novella, A Groom for Josette, releasing July 1, 2015 in The Convenient Bride Collection. I need to read through the story one more time and make last-minute changes. This story is set in 1856 in three locations along the Mississippi River, and part of it takes place on a steamboat. I'll share more later!

Amidst all of that, I also decided to enter a writing contest! It's a unique contest, in so much that the story is not yet written. You submit a story blurb and first page, and if it's chosen, you write the first three chapters and synopsis--and if that's chosen, you write the full manuscript. I sent in my blurb and first page, and now I'm waiting to hear if I make the first cut!

Add in a writer's retreat in May (Erica will be there!) and a fun trip to Washington, D.C. with my mom, mother-in-law, and daughters, and you have a very full (but exciting) schedule.

Your Turn: If you're a writer, what are you currently working on? If you're a reader, what are you reading right now? It's interesting to think about the writer behind the story, and all that she does to get the book into your hands!

Gabrielle Meyer:
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

10 Ways to Seduce a Writer

Erica here; This last...hmmm...four months? Yeah, about four months. I've been under one deadline or another for weeks and weeks and weeks. Which is YAY for a writer, because it means you have something in the publishing pipeline. 

But it's also stressful, and not just on the writer but on their family as well. So when I found this list on Facebook yesterday, I knew my beloved family was due for a shout-out. You see, as I read this list of ten ways to get to a writer's heart, I realized that my family...particularly my husband...well, they do all of these things. 

It's been a rocky haul this past few months, with scraped-together meals, odd sleep schedules, a lot of my time taken with writing, editing, proofing, marketing, webinars, blog tours, etc. I am blessed to have a supportive family that pulls together when I need them.

Do you have a writer in the family? Are you a writer? Does this list resonate with you? And if you're not a writer, what sorts of things could your family do that would speak love into your heart?

Oh, and happy tax day...yeah...I had to pay in taxes this year. Blah. 

Erica Vetsch:
Executive Assistant
Earl Grey Aficionado 
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Finding Your Voice

I love The Voice. One of the big reasons why is the coaches. They really learn their team and the different styles and the push and urge the singers to really step out, to take challenges, and then they cheer them on...and give them constructive criticism.

I'm always reminded when I watch it that I want to find my voice. As writers, did you know we have distinct voices? Readers, this might be a new term for you, but I know you what I mean. Voice. It's the style in which a specific author writes that draws you in, hooks you, and wins your loyalty to each new release. It's not just a good story and great characters, it's the language in which the author writes.

I love the voice of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Didn't know I read the classics, did you? LOL. So, Hawthorne is known for "The Scarlett Letter". But, my favorite is "The House of Seven Gables". His voice is haunting, spooky, and nostalgic. Hawthorne brings together a story with the voice of someone who breathes mystery. Though the classics are often known for wordy prose and descriptions, every word he penned told a part of the story. It is his voice that speaks to me. It might not to you. This is the beauty of the written word. It resonates with different people across the span of time.

So, while I work on my novella--my first published work (SQUUUUUEEEEEEEEEEE!!!)--one of the things I wonder (worry) about, is my voice. I know my voice. But my readers don't. Not yet--at least not in story form. Will they like it? Will it resonate with them? Will they yawn by page two?

THESE are the questions that riddle my brain as I write! A lot of you have mentioned you want to know the process in writing a book. LOL Well, over coffee this morning, in our little blog chat, this is what's been on my mind as I tackle edits on my novella. Voice.

EEEK!!! It's an exciting journey.

What author resonates with you? Who's author voice do you find appealing and why? 


Professional coffee drinker Jaime Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Her day job finds her a Director of Associate
Sales, Development & Relations. She’s wife to a rock climbing, bow-hunting youth pastor, mom to a coffee-drinking little girl and a Sippy cup-drinking little boy, and completes her persona by being an admitted Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Blogspot junkie.

Coming March 2016: The Cowgirl's Lasso, from the Cowboy Brides Novella Collection - Barbour

Connect with her:

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Monday, April 13, 2015

What Writers Really Do

Help: I need a distraction!
After a weekend of rolling edits on a long draft of my novel, my eyes will no longer focus!
Especially after staring at a screen like this all day. Or yes, staring out the window in a daze waiting for my muse...

Even though my mind is full of my heroine's story world that looks like this: (I still need a break!)

I find that a diversion into reality (or history) helps refocus. What better fun than diving into some historical research to get those creative juices flowing? I've had a family Bible handed down to me through a great aunt, and it's been begging me to do some research. It's an 1849 English/German print.

I tried to find the ancestors on a few years ago and came up empty-handed. But this time, I finally hit a cache of documentation! Eeeee! As I search, I'm not only looking for family history, but ideas for another novel, or some secondary characters. So, as I open the cover the fun begins with the names. I imagine the lives lived and the hands that have held this book. I have to admit a certain glee that I might be creating my very own Who-Do-I-Think-I-Am? episode, since I an a WDYTYA addict.

Who's ever heard of a name like Emma Laverza? Do you think she loved her unique name, or kept it on the down low? I wonder what her quill and ink bottle looked like--check out that scrolling! And could that really be gold leafing between the pages?? Where on earth might that have originated?

As I researched through the early history of Berks County, Pennsylvania, I found ancestors who were wheelwrights, printers, and indigo dyers. Did you know that in 1827 Philadelphia indigo dyers made $5 a week, while spoolers and bobbin winders only made $1 a week? I also learned that a rolling mill made sheets of steel or metal. I shot off an email to a fellow researcher of the family names in the Bible. I may just have to plan a road trip to PA with Erica and Gabrielle for a museum hop! Jaime, are you ready to brainstorm a story!? 

This German script note is pinned between the pages. I know German, but can't decipher this old hand written message. Was it a secret message? A wedding date? A sweet remembrance? I may have to hire an expert!

Many readers love to read Historical Romance because they get to learn about history through the eyes of the heroine and hero. 

What are your favorite historical things to read about in fiction?
What is the most interesting historical fact you've learned from fiction? Do you have favorite centuries or decades to read about? 
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Represented by Sarah Freese, WordServe Literary