Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We Have A Winner!!!


Congratulations to Ladette, the winner of A Hope Undaunted. She has been contacted and her book will be mailed to her shortly.

Thanks so much to all who entered!!!!


Happy Writing,

Amanda

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Regency Remedies


Regency medicine was worrisome at best, dangerous at worst. It’s a wonder our dashing heroes and beautiful heroines managed to stay alive, especially if they made use of some popular remedies from the era.
Let’s peer into the apothecary’s workroom, perhaps the apothecary of Meryton and see what sort of cures he might be dishing out. Some are similar to things used today and some…well, are just plain strange. 
For a headache: This unpleasant pain may be prevented by wearing the hair short, and by washing the head daily with cold water; then rub the hair dry, and expose it to the air.
For a fever: Boil three ounces of currants, two of raisins carefully stoned, and an ounce and a half of tamarinds, in three pints of water, till it is reduced to a quart, strain it, throw in a bit of lemon-peel, and let it stand an hour.
For a sore throat: Soak in water a small piece of bread and mix it with a pinch of cayenne pepper; roll it up in the form of a pill and swallow it. Usually in three hours the patient will be relieved of all pain. In aggravated cases, a second dose may be requisite.
For a sprained ankle: Shower a sprained ankle with hot water, poured from a height of three feet. It will be cured in an hour.
For a nosebleed: Snuff up the nose vinegar or ice water.
For a toothache: A drop of oil of peppermint applied to the cavity of an aching tooth, and confined there with a pellet of cotton, will arrest the pain.
For a wound: Without waiting for it to stop bleeding, press the edges of the lacerated flesh together, and apply immediately a plaster made of soot and cream, binding it firmly on. This is not to be removed till healed.
For a burn: Nothing is more soothing than the white of an egg, which may be poured over the wound. It is the contact with the air which gives the extreme discomfort experienced from the ordinary accident of this kind, and anything which excludes the air and prevents inflammation is the thing to be applied.
For bruises: The best treatment of bruises is the application of water, of such temperature as is most agreeable. The degree of temperature varies with the temperature of the weather and the vigor of the circulation. In a hot day, use cool or cold water. If the circulation is low, use warm water. The bruised parts may be immersed in a pail of water, and gently pressed or manipulated with the hand or soft cloth for ten minutes, or even longer in severe cases. Then wrap up the parts in cloths wet with cold water, and keep quiet. This treatment keeps down the inflammation, and in nine cases out of ten proves a speedy cure.
And last but not least,
For insomnia: On retiring to bed, eat three or four small onions.
So there you have it. After reading and researching this topic, I’m certainly glad I live in the 21st century and don’t have to resort to drastic measures like these. I wonder how many of them did any good and how many actually made the problem worse. Oh, my poor characters! J
Happy Researching,
Amanda

Friday, October 26, 2012

We Have A Winner!!!!!


 Congratulations to Lori, the winner of A Necessary Deception. She has been contacted and her book will be mailed to her shortly.

Thanks so much to all who entered and a BIG thank you to Laurie for doing the interview!!!

Happy Writing,



Amanda

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Prequel We’ve All Been Waiting For!


Anyone who’s read even one of Julie Lessman’s novels knows that the characters instantly become like family. Especially Marcy and Patrick, the mother and father with a wonderful marriage, despite its many up’s and down’s.
But we’ve never gotten to read their love story. Until now.





Thankfully, Julie Lessman has penned a tale worth the wait. While not as lengthy as her previous novels, A Light in the Window is full of all the elements we’ve come to know and love about Julie’s books. A sigh worthy romance with a sweet and likable heroine, and a roguish but redeemable hero. Plus, some great dialog and romantic tension between the two resulting in some very swoon-worthy kisses. J Lastly, loveable secondary characters that will make you smile and stay in your heart long after you’ve turned the last page.

With a bit of family drama, a sprinkle of humor, and a hefty dose of romance, A Light in the Window has all the elements required for my favorite kind of story. I could go on and on but I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just let you dive into the pages yourself. You won’t be disappointed!

One Woman. Two Men.
One stirs her pulse and the other her faith.
But who will win her heart?

Marceline Murphy is a gentle beauty with a well-founded aversion to rogues. But when two of Boston's most notorious pursue her, she encounters a tug-of-war of the heart she isn’t expecting. Sam O’Rourke is the childhood hero she’s pined for, the brother of her best friend and a member of the large, boisterous family to which she longs to be a part. So when his best friend Patrick O’Connor joins in pursuit of her affections, the choice seems all too clear. Sam is from a family of faith and Patrick is not, two rogues whose wild ways clash head-on with Marcy’s—both in her faith and in her heart.

While overseeing the Christmas play fundraiser for the St. Mary’s parish soup kitchen—A Light in the Window—Marcy not only wrestles with her attraction to both men, but with her concern for their spiritual welfare. The play is based on the Irish custom of placing a candle in the window on Christmas Eve to welcome the Holy Family, and for Marcy, its message becomes deeply personal. Her grandmother Mima cautions her to guard her heart for the type of man who will respond to the "light in the window," meaning the message of Christ in her heart. But when disaster strikes during the play, Marcy is destined to discover the truth of the play’s message first-hand when it becomes clear that although two men have professed their undying love, only one has truly responded to “the light in the window.”


RELEASING SOON! PLUS CONTESTS! .......             
If that whets your appetite you won't want to miss reading this awesome book which releases on November 9th. You can reserve your copy through Amazon today.

Want a free Kindle Fire? Julie is running some cool contests along with the release of this book. Check them out here:   http://www.julielessman.com/contest/    
 
 
 
 
READ A COPY OF ONE OF JULIE'S BOOKS NOW--FOR FREE! 
 GIVEAWAY! I’m giving away a copy of A Hope Undaunted, one of my favorite Julie Lessman novels. Leave a comment and your email address to be entered into the drawing which ends October 31st. This would make a great read or even a present for that special someone for Christmas!

 

LASTLY......
Wow! Things are really happening this week on the blog. First Laurie Alice Eakes now Julie Lessman! Don't forget to leave a comment on each of these posts to win one of these great books!

Don't forget to sign up to receive all my posts about writing, historical eras in which I write, and more great interviews and giveaways in the weeks to come.

Happy Writing (and reading),
Amanda

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Introducing---The amazing Laurie Alice Eakes!

What do romance, mystery, intrigue, and elegance have in common? All of them could be used to describe a novel by our guest this week.....Laurie Alice Eakes. I was privileged to meet Laurie at the ACFW conference in Dallas and am so blessed she decided to do this interview for all of us. Getting to know the "real" person behind the "writers" who write the delicious books we read is a real treat. So without futher ado, I will hand the stage over to Laurie so we can learn more about her and her writing. Don't foget to sign up for the giveaway at the end, Laurie's wonderful book A Necessary Deception, the first in her "The Daughter's of Bainbridge House" series.

WELCOME LAURIE!!

1 – Laurie, what’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever done for research?

            I went sailing on an eighteen century frigate, the same vessel used in the movie Master and Commander. Climbing the rigging was a little scary, and I had to know what the roll of the ship felt like above the deck. And a body needs some muscles to haul lines.

Wow, how fun! I would love to tour a sailing vessel!

 2 – If you could have dinner with one of your characters, who would you chose and why?

            Dominick would probably be my choice. He’s someone who would be a good conversationalist no matter what the circumstances and would know how to put even a shy person at ease over the poached salmon or roast beef, or whatever the meal.

Oh, Dominick would be my pick too! I can imagine him sprinkling the conversation with well-chosen antidotes! And of course, Tabitha would have to come along.

3 – How did you come up with the idea for The Midwifes series?

            I was studying the history of medicine in graduate school and ran across information on midwives. Unlike other women, they had a great deal of power and respect, and even fear of them, in society. Midwives, for example, were among the few women who were allowed to testify in a court of law. Their wisdom and ideas of cleanliness—new to doctors—and other ethical principles fired my imagination.

That is interesting! Makes me think of the new British drama "Call the Midwife".

4 – If you could pick one character and live the life of that character, who would it be?

            I can’t decide between Phoebe from Heart’s Safe Passage and Cassandra from A Flight of Fancy. Phoebe gets to live in the mountains of Virginia, one of my favorite places, yet in a town, so civilized, and is married to Rafe, but then, Cassandra gets Whittaker and gets to do fun things like mix dangerous chemicals and fly in balloons while living in an English country manor.

Oh, definitely Cassandra! English country manors hands down!

 5 – You’ve been contracted for a three book Regency series with Zondervan, plus many of your other novels have a Regency theme. Thus, I assume you love Jane Austen. Which of her novels is your favorite and why?

            I’ll answer the last question before making my confession. Emma is my favorite austen novel because I like Emma’s personality and the way she grows in the story. Now for the confession—I never read Jane Austen until a few years ago and have still never read Sense and Sensibility and didn’t finish Mansfield Park. You see, Georgette Heyer and Patricia Veryan, Jo Beverley and Clare Darcy, 20th century writers, got me interested in the Regency. After them, Ms. Austen’s books are a little slow for my taste, though I won’t deny her wonderful portrayals of human nature.

Emma is one of my top favorites too! And Georgette Heyer is soo good! I read and reread her novels!

 6 – Do you listen to music when you write? Have you ever been inspired by a particular movie soundtrack?

            Music is important to me, and I listen to it a great deal. . .but not when I write. I find it distracting. Being the historian and romantic that I am, I simply adore old movies with actors like Humphrey Bogart and either Hepburn lady. That said, “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s has a fascination for me. My characters are like the characters in the song—two people drifting, trying to find their ways in the world in one way or another, and needing one another to make life’s journey together. Can’t you tell I spend much of my brain power in the past? I love a number of more contemporary movies, and they don’t seem to work well for my historical fiction inspiration.

Love old movies too! Anything with Gregory Peck or Clark Gable is a winner!

 7 – In doing your research about the Regency era, what research or fiction books have you found most helpful?

            Google Books has been an invaluable source. I use it constantly, especially in researching A Flight of Fancy and the history of ballooning. I also love Social Life Under the Regency and A Regency Companion. And I could go on and on with the wonderful books I have uncovered in used bookstores and at garage sales and. . .

I’d never heard of either of these, but got A Regency Companion from the library and it’s a definite gem!

 8 – Have you ever taken a trip to England? If so, what did you enjoy the most about it?

            Alas, although I have been to the continent three times, I have never gotten to England. Portugal may be my favorite country I’ve visited so far.

Sounds as if you are very well traveled! Would love to visit the continent, although England would probably be my first stop. J

9 – If you could go back in time to any era, which era would you choose and why?

            This one always stumps me, but I think I would go back to Colonial Williamsburg. The collective minds that gathered there absolutely must have been amazing to listen to speak, and I love eighteenth century fashions.

Sigh…eighteenth century fashion!

 10 - Tell us a little about your newest release?

A Flight of Fancy, the second book in the Daughters of Bainbridge House series, just released. It is the story of Cassandra, who makes some bad choices and suffers the consequences that cost her her fiancĂ© and nearly her life. Choices of the Heart, the third of the midwives books, releases in January. This is the story of Esther, who is Dominick and Tabitha’s daughter. A tragedy sends her running away to the mountains, where she ends up in the middle of a family feud. Don’t worry. I don’t kill off Tabitha or Dominick.

 
Whew! Having Tabitha or Dominick die would be just too much!
 
THANKS FOR STOPPING BY, LAURIE!!
Well, ladies and gentleman, there you have it, some of our curiosity satisfied finding out more about Laurie and the in's and out's of her writing life. Thanks so much for stopping by Laurie and giving us all those juicy tidbits about yourself and your books!  For all you regency fans, I have a special GIVEAWAY this week, Laurie's first book in her recent series, A Necessary Deception. You will love this book as much as much as I did as it is wonderful! Leave your comment along with your email address and I will pick a winner this Friday. Don't forget to also get Laurie's newest book, Flight of Fancy, which has just been released and is available right now on amazon, CBD, Barnes and Noble.com, and in your local Christian book store. You can also find out more about Laurie at her website: http://www.lauriealiceeakes.com/
 
 
 
***This is going to be a busy week here! While we are enjoying having Laurie here with us this whole week, on Wednesday, we will also be taking a sneak peak at my friend Julie Lessman's newest book coming out on November 9th, called "A Light In The Window". This is a prequel to Julie's first book "A Passion Most Pure", Book 1 in her Daughters of Boston series. So stop by Wednesday as I let you readers in on the details all about this soon to be released (in Kindle format) book by Julie!
 
 
As always, happy writing and reading!
Amanda


Friday, October 19, 2012

We have a Winner!!!


Congratulations to Merry, the winner of the Over the Edge. She has been contacted and her book will be mailed to her shortly.

Thanks so much to all who entered and a BIG thank you to Mary for doing the interview!!!

Happy Writing,

Amanda

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Say hello to Mary Connealy!!


I’ve been soo looking forward to this week!!! Why, you ask? Because I’m hosting the amazingly talented, cowboy romance extraordinaire, Mary Connealy! I had a chance to chat with Mary at the ACFW conference and she is SUCH a sweet lady, as I’m sure you’ll soon see from reading her interview!

 
So without further ado, lets say a big howdy to our guest today, Mary Connealy!
 
1 – What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever done for research? Almost all my research is done online, Amanda. I really wish I had some great story of how I did something dare-devilish to get a book right. I have played around a little with rifles to get a feel for how heavy they are, my husband likes guns, but not me so much. I did recently sit on a long horn bull and while it made me feel very western rodeo-ish, honestly, when is anyone in one of my books gonna ride a COW? HUH???

I do most of my research online and through Amazon books too Mary.  And ya never know about the cow. Might come in handy someday. J

2 – If you could have dinner with one of your characters, who would you chose and why? Wow, most of my characters are a little scary. Who? Hmmm….okay this is taking a long time. I’m going to go with…Seth Kincaid. He’s crazy but he’d be fun and, since I created him, I understand him and can put up with a bit of nonsense.

A bit of nonsense. J Well, since you created him you could always tell him to be good or you’ll let something very, very bad happen to him!!
3 – How did you come up with the idea for the Kincaid Brides series? The Kincaid Brides series was inspired by a visit to Carlsbad Cavern. (we can call that the most unusual thing I’ve ever done for research if you like, but I had no idea when I walked into that cavern I’d be coming out with a book idea!) That cavern just transported me. It was amazing. I could just BE the first man who ever went in there. I could so completely imagine that place with only a lantern to light your way. There are drop offs. There were pits that looked bottomless. There were places that looked like the floor had broken like glass and there was a big hole under it. It was terrifying and it was so stunningly beautiful. I could imagine the fear and the lure. You’d want to see more. You’d risk your life with every step. I just loved it. And out of that visit, The Kincaid Brides were born.

Wow, how cool! I would love to visit a cavern like that! And that is definitely an exciting thing you did for research.
4 – Why do you write romance? It’s what I love to read so it’s what I write. I love a book with the hero and heroine sassing each other and falling in love while they’re running for their lives. And that’s what I try to do with every book.

And you do a great job with every book!
5 – What’s the worst judges’ feedback you’ve ever received when entering a contest and how did you handle it? Well, worst, hummm…I know the experience of being emotionally battered made me tough. I know I can get revision notes from an editor telling me a beloved part of my book doesn’t work and just cut that part with minimal pain. I can get ugly reviews on Amazon and, much as they hurt, it’s a familiar kind of hurt that doesn’t devastate me or stop me. (at least not for long!)

Wow, cut that part with minimal pain! Good for you! I don’t think I could be so tough. J
6 – If you could cast actors and actresses to play Callie and Seth, who would you chose? I don’t really like doing that because I have my own vision of my characters and I don’t like giving those up. But, Callie looks like Elisabetta Gregoraci only with thicker, curlier hair, and I guess Seth looks like the guy on the cover of the book, huh?

Great choices! Elisabetta would make a fantastic Callie!


6– Do you have a particular movie/TV series you watch for inspiration during the writing process?  You know what I’ve been watching lately? Longmire. It’s through for the year but it’s about a sheriff in a small town in Wyoming and he’s a really great, kind of crusty old cowboy, not too old, but not a kid either. I love the way he talks and moves and thinks. I don’t suppose I exactly watch it for the writing process. I just watch it because I love cowboys and there aren’t many on TV or movies these days.

How cool! Sounds like a fun show!
7– What’s your favorite cover out of all your novels? (You have some great covers with some really good looking guys, so picking just one might be toughJ) This is HARD. You are asking HARD questions, Amanda, shame on you!!! I’ve really loved these cowboy covers for the Kincaid Brides series. But I used to really like NOT having people on my book covers, too. Leave that up to the reader’s imagination. Honestly, I think I like the guy on the cover of Swept Away. My book releasing next spring, the best. But this is a choice between four great covers so it’s not like anyone else choosing will be a bad choice!!!

I love the Swept Away cover too!
8– Tell us a little about your next upcoming release? We start a new series in spring 2013. Trouble in Texas. Book one is Swept Away.

Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn't all that upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they've ever done is work her to the bone. She prayed for a chance to get away, and then came the raging flood. Alive but disoriented, she's rescued by Luke Stone...so unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.

Luke is heading home to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men who killed his father are working hard to ensure Luke doesn't make it alive. He has no choice but to keep moving. Still, he can't just abandon Ruthy, so she'll have to come along.

His friends--a ragtag group of former Civil War soldiers--take a fast interest in the pretty gal. Luke thinks that's rather rude--he's the one who found her. And the more time he spends around the hard-working young woman who is a mighty good cook, the more he finds himself thinking beyond revenge and toward a different future. For the first time in a long time, Luke is tempted to turn from his destructive path and be swept away by love.

I’ll be lining up to buy that book! Sounds amazing!!! Being a mighty good cook always helps to catch a man, doesn’t it? J
 
THE GRAND FINALE!!


Wow, it was so much fun finding out some juicy details about Mary. She is an amazing author and I grateful to her for doing this interview. Don't forget to check out Mary's website at: www.maryconnealy.com where she has lots of exciting giveaways and other cool things!! Plus, don't forget to get her newest book Swept Away in March 2013. As a treat, I am giving away some special Mary goodies. One blessed reader will receive a copy of Mary's latest release, Over The Edge. And along with that I am giving away a matching Over The Edge pen and lip balms. So leave a comment along with your email address and I will pick a winner this Friday, October 19th.

 
STAY TUNED:
Next week we have author Laurie Alice Eakes! So come back for that interview and giveaway!
 
As always,
Happy Writing!
--Amanda

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Commas 101



Confession. I’m terrible with commas. And even worse with putting them in their proper places while I’m writing. I type at the speed of Secretariat, so often commas just don’t get added. Until the editingprocess that is.
Then I get out my red pen and punctuation handbook, and start adding and deleting that little pest known as the comma.

Here are a few basic comma rules that I see get broken regularly.

Commas Separating Items in a Series
When three or more items are listed in a series, each of these items should be separated by a comma. This applies to single words, phrases, and clauses.

Example – There were hats, dresses, and umbrellas displayed in the shop window.
Example – The guests enjoyed taking walks through the garden, rowing on the lake, sitting by the campfire, and taking the horses for a ride.

Commas with Coordinating Conjunctions (FANBOYS)
There are seven coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. I like to refer to these as FANBOYS. These connect two clauses in a sentence. Knowing whether or not you need a comma is simple. If the words on both sides of the conjunction form a complete sentence, you need a comma.

Example – Everyone attended the ball, and we all had a fine time.
Because “Everyone attended the ball” and “we all had a fine time” could both stand alone as complete sentences, a comma is needed.

Example – Everyone attended the ball but the Duke of Wellington.
Although “Everyone attended the ball” is a complete sentence, “the Duke of Wellington” is not. Therefore, a comma is not needed.

Commas Following Direct Address
This is not a comma rule, but one I learned from a writer friend after continually making the same mistake. Whenever you have a person’s name in dialog, you always set their name off with commas.

Example – “Yes, Mr. Barton, I will look out for a new housekeeper.”
Or, “You, my dear lady, are above being pleased.”

 Commas Between Coordinating Adjectives
If adjectives can be joined with an “and”, they are coordinate, or if the adjectives can be mixed up and still keep the same meaning. Commas are needed between coordinate adjectives.  

Example – Lady Louise is an elegant, accomplished, and beautiful young debutante.
These can be mixed and keep the same meaning as in,

Lady Louise is an accomplished, elegant, and beautiful young debutante.

These can also be joined with “and” and the meaning still stays the same.

 
So there you have it. Commas in a nutshell. Learn them well and whatever you do, avoid mistakes like this one, in your novels, and in your correspondence.


 
 






Hopefully not. J

 
Happy Writing,
Amanda

 

EXCITING ANNOUCEMENT!!!

I’m thrilled to announce that over these next two weeks, I will be hosting two amazing authors on this blog. I’ll be doing an interview with the fabulous Mary Connealy on October 15th and giving away her most recent novel, Over the Edge. Stop by to learn about which of her characters she would pick to have dinner with and some news about her upcoming release.

Then, (drumroll please) on the 23rd, I’ll be hosting the incomparable Regency writer, Laurie Alice Eakes, where she’ll talk about the most interesting thing she did for research and how she comes up with ideas for her novels. I’ll also be giving away, A Necessary Deception.

Stop by and join the party!!