September Wrap Up

This month life threw me a few curve balls, just to keep me on my toes. The day before Labor Day, Mom fell and cracked her hip and had to have surgery. She’s making a slow recovery at home in East Texas. A long-planned trip to the beach to celebrate Ron’s birthday was canceled by the arrival of the Red Tide….and my revision notes arrived from my editor with requests for a few new scenes. Still, I had time for a few of my usual pursuits,  to wit:

Movies watched: I’m on a biographical kick at present and this month I had time for two bio  movies—Wild, the story of Cheryl Strayed’s hike along the Pacific Coast Trail, and Unbroken, the story of Olympian Louis Zamperini’s survival of a Japanese prison camp. Both movies depict the extraordinary strength of a single person pushed to the limits of human endurance. I could have done without the graphic scenes in Wild, and I wished for more of Zamperini’s story after the war. The ending felt abrupt and unsatisfying. But both of these movies reminded me that real life is more fascinating than anything Hollywood can dream up.

I-love-deadlines-I-likeBooks Read: I finally had time to read Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun, a bio novel of the horse trainer and aviatrix Beryl Markham. If you have read Out of Africa ( or seen the movie) you will recognize many of the characters in this novel. Beryl Markham was Karen Blixen’s rival for the heart of Denys Finch Hatton, portrayed in Out of Africa by Robert Redford. McLain’s descriptions of Africa in the 1920’s are lush and evocative. I loved this story of a brave and independent woman abandoned by her mother and disappointed by lovers and husbands, whose heart never quite found its true home.

Writing Stuff:  The aforementioned revisions on next year’s biographical novel, MRS LEE AND MRS GRAY  are keeping me very busy as I hurtle toward an October 21st deadline. I’ve seen the preliminary ideas for the cover and I’m excited to share the final result with you–I hope next time. Meantime,A RESPECTABLE ACTRESS which officially releases Oct 13, received a glowing 4.5 star review and was named a TOP PICK at Romantic Times Reviews.I’m thrilled with the early reception for this book, which combines suspense, a murder mystery and romance set against the backdrop of postbellum Savannah and St Simons Island.

Wishing you all a lovely autumn.

Readers Circle Is Full

Wow, I am amazed at the overwhelming response to my Readers Circle for A Respectable Actress. The circle is now full. The books are going out to members this week, along with info on the fun challenges for this book launch. THANK YOU to all who joined here and through social media. I’m delighted to share this book with you and I hope you love it!

imagesMeantime, here is a Happy First Day of Fall picture for you. I love this season of crisp apples and crisp weather, jeans, boots, hot cocoa and crunching leaves. Enjoy!!

Be a Part Of My Launch Week Readers Circle

A Respectable Actress, a Romantic Times TOP PICK  will be published on October 13! I’m looking for a few avid readers to be a part of my Launch Week Readers Circle to help spread the word about this new book. By completing a few fun and super easy challenges, you’ll not only be among the first to read the book, but you will also receive a special thank you gift from me.

I will be sending out the books to the Circle members very soon because the challenges must be completed by October 30. I have only a certain number of books available so let me know right away if you are interested.

Why the hurry? More than 300,000 new books are published every year just in the US alone.  For every space on a bookstore shelf, there are over 100 books vying for that exposure. So it’s easy for books by newer authors to be overlooked. That’s why I’m asking for your help in drawing readers’ attention to this book, and why I’m willing to say thank you for your help  with a special gift I know you will enjoy.

If you are interested in history, mystery, and romance I’d love to have you join the circle. Just click on “contact” here on this website and send me your email address AND your mailing address so I will know where to send the book…and your thank you gift.. I will send you the book and the five quick challenges right away!

August Wrap Up

I’m trying something new here on the blog–posting a monthly round up of all that has been going on. I hope you enjoy this peek into my world.

Books Read:  I’m writing biographical fiction these days so I’ve been reading as many other writers of bio fiction as I can. The great standout this month was Alice Hoffman’s new novel, The Marriage of Opposites, about the woman who gave birth to Camille Pissaro, who became one of the world’s most influential Impressionist painters. The story is set on the lush island of St Thomas and in Paris and the descriptions are  breathtaking. I adored everything about this novel, and learned something, too.

It wouldn’t be summer without a beach book from Dorothea Benton Frank. I am always a year behind. This month I read The Hurricane Sisters, which features her trademark humor, quirky characters and that wonderful Lowcountry setting.This one carries a message about abuse that makes it a cut above some of her other titles.

I also read Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things, and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. Cathy Gohlke’s new WW2 novel, Secrets She Kept is a standout. All of her books are good, but this one is exceptional.

Meals Consumed: The summer veggies were at their peak here in August and I made a veggie plate nearly every week consisting of corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes, fried okra, silver skin peas, and watermelon. A new little Italian restaurant called Napa Flats has opened in the neighborhood and we have become regulars there for the pizza and their wonderful fish tacos. Oh, and the fabulous gelato.

Movies Watched:  The Theory of Everything, a bio pic about Stephen Hawking. It was very well done, but strangely unsatisfying.

Writing stuff: I finished MRS LEE AND MRS GRAY on August 5 and turned it in to my editor. Now I am waiting for her revision notes and VERY excitedly waiting to see the first ideas for the cover. Meantime I had some lovely news about A RESPECTABLE ACTRESS–Romantic Times gave it a glowing review, and named it a TOP PICK. I’m excited for the release of this book next month.

I’m getting some very nice letters from readers of the Fair Magnolias novella collection. Four stories just the right length for the beach I think.

The most fun came from a letter from a reader who shares the same name as one of my characters from BEYOND ALL MEASURE. I love getting reader mail, and this one was especially enjoyable.

Last week I had a chance to catch up with my good friend and writer extraordinaire, Pamela Morsi. We don’t have time to get together often, but when we do, we make an afternoon of it. I’m thrilled that she is re releasing SIMPLE JESS, one my favorites.

So I’ll see you at the end of September. Meantime, may you be blessed beyond your wildest dreams.