The Romance Reviews Anniversary Party~

Don’t forget to stop by The Romance Reviews for their Anniversary Party.  Lots of fun trivia and games and free books.  Did I mention the “free books”?  The Romance Reviews Anniversary Party

They made me a banner~

Now, isn’t that pretty?  My book released yesterday and I must say the excitement of first sales is pretty heady.  The nice folks at Bookstrand give you a sales tracker that lets you know how many books you sell every hour.  For new authors here is a tip… “you check it a lot.”   *smiling wink*

Upon opening my email this morning I was thrilled to see the banner that was created for my first book.  I love that the blue shawl got added to this one.  It’s definitely part of the story and it pleases me to know that whoever made the banner actually read the cover questionnaire I filled out way back in February.  I’m telling you, Siren-Bookstrand has done me good and I couldn’t be happier with my first publishing experience.

Excitement is good and motivating to most people, BUT like most things, needs tempering.  You’ve all heard the saying~ Too much of good thing…

So, it’s pretty simple really…if I can just restrain myself from returning to my Sales Report, oh, every 10 minutes or so, I might actually get my word count in for the book I’m writing now. 


Contracts, Covers, and Blurbs…

How I see Marianne

My contract for, His Perfect Passion came and with it, some Homework assignments.  First, I had to describe my characters in specific detail, height, weight, physical characteristics, etc. along with other elements key to the storyfor a cover questionnaire.  I was invited to provide a link to a photograph of a person I could “see” as my character.  This part was fun.  I have found inspiration in paintings several times for my writing and it  was a John William Waterhouse painting of Boreas that inspired my vision of the heroine, Marianne.  The hero of my book, Darius Rourke, was just as fun to imagine.  Darius is half English, half Italian, and a cultured but domineering gentleman.  I found the perfect man one day in a cologne ad from a magazine.  From the moment I spotted the photo I could not picture anyone else as my Darius.  He is him, in my vision at least.  Actually, ‘he’ is a Spanish model named, Oriol Elacho.   I love his hands in the picture.  You can feel the ‘cultured elegance’ just by looking at his hands.  Delicioso

Oriol Elacho as Darius Rourke

The less fun part was writing three separate book blurbs.  The first: 25 words or less for use on ads.  The second: 50 word blurb for use on the website.  The third: 150 words or less for the back of the book.  Now, this was rather hard to do in my opinion, and the hardest blurb, by far, was the 25-word one.  I did it, but it took me several hours to get it right.  Condensing a novel down to just two sentences and conveying the essence of your story is a challenge.  As a writer you have to make your book sound interesting enough that people will want to read it.  That’s the tricky part…but also the beauty of writing–the part that keeps me typing away.


Vintage Valentines…sharing the love

Heavy cardboard, movable eyes, circa 1930. From my grandmother's box.

I hate the Valentines for sale these days.  Let’s see, there’s Scooby Doo, Barbie, Transformers, Bratz, and anything that’s trending now like…Justin Bieber.  Ick!  In my opinion it’s just plain wrong!  Valentines used to be cute, with kids or animal images on them and some sort of poem or greeting.  They came in shapes already cut and possibly adorned with moving or embossed parts, glitter and/or flocked highlights.  You gave the best, “coolest” Valentine to the boy you liked, and the less cool ones to the boys you couldn’t stand.  The box always had a special teacher card that you reverently addressed in your best writing.  For some really beautiful examples check out Vintage Valentine Museum and be amazed:

My grandmother was a teacher in Orange County, California from the late 1920’s until 1955, and I was lucky to find a box of cards she had saved from students over the years.  Many of them were Valentines and a collection I hold very dear to this day.  As I read the messages and admired the art, I realized how far removed the Valentines of today are from those of eighty years ago.  It got me started on collecting more vintage Valentines and then that wasn’t enough.  I found I needed to share this lost art with others who might never know what Valentines used to look like.

I began printing out color copies of vintage examples and bringing them in to my class of 1st graders.  I passed them out and we read the poems and solgans together.  I let the kids cut the copies out and decorate their Valentine holders with the vintage images.  I had parents start asking about them and other teachers asking for copies to share with their students.  Now it’s a tradition to bring them out every year and teach the kids about how Valentines used to be.  The kids love learning about this lost art and I feel a little better about sharing the love of these special sentiments from times past.


Even the Titantic is pretty cute!


Love the play on words in this one!