Monday, May 25, 2009

The House in Grosvenor Square

From the talented author who brought you Before the Season Ends, Harvest House announces the release of Book Two in the series, The House in Grosvenor Square.

Readers who loved Before the Season Ends will delight in this charming sequel set in Regency London.

As Ariana Forsythe plans her wedding, she must adjust to the realization that she will soon become the wife of an extremely wealthy man. She wonders if it's wrong to rejoice that her future husband is rich. But, she promises herself to use her new position to do what she can to aid the numerous street waifs she sees all too often in London.

During a tour of her future home-the house in Grosvenor Square-Ariana impulsively makes plans to redecorate (just a little) according to
her tastes . But when Philip arrives home later, he is informed that an expensive silver candlestick and a miniature portrait of George III have gone missing. Moreover, each time Ariana visits the house, another item disappears.

When Ariana suffers an abduction attempt by two villains, and other mysterious goings-on are unexplained, Mr. Mornay must unravel the
mystery of who is after her, and why. He knows he has to prevent any harm from befalling his future bride, even if it means he must keep her
under lock and key in his own house!

Romance, suspense, and a deft touch of humor are part of the wonderful story of Philip Mornay and Ariana Forsythe's march to the altar. Fans of Linore's first book, Before the Season Ends, will love this delightful addition to the Regency Inspirational Series, as will all readers of historical romance.

Linore, welcome to Joy in the Journey. Can you tell us what drew you to writing Regency Romance novels?
Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen books gave me a love for the period, and there weren't any Christian regencies to be found. I wanted to change that.

Where did you find your inspiration for Ariana and Phillip?
I'm not sure. I think they're both amalgamations of people I've read about and known.

What do you think we could learn today from how society operated in the Regency period?
England in the 1800s is a world away from the 21st century. Times have changed, but people haven't. Men and women of the time were concerned with their appearances, their finances, their futures, finding the right spouse, and so on, just as we are, today. How they went about pursuing these ends is where all the difference lies, however, and this is precisely where the interest and adventure opens up for writers. Bringing to life the means and methods of everyday life and timeless concerns from the regency. It is fun and enlightening as a glimpse into the past, but readers can also identify with the basic human need to be genuinely loved for oneself, no matter the setting or time period, and to be certain of one's convictions concerning life, eternity, and faith. Having said that, it is good to remind modern readers that valuing one's purity can be mainstream, as it was then; or that the struggle to find a true love and a sense that one's life has value, has always been a human issue.

What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
I hope my readers will feel as though they've been transported to the Regency for a good, satisfying visit; While they're visiting, they'll be reminded that God is involved in their life, and that happy endings are possible for everyone.

Any Regency romance is going to be compared to Jane Austen's novels ~ how are your books similar / different?
I don't think most regencies are written with this comparison in mind at all. However, other people say my book is "Austen-like." That is a huge compliment, and one I would love to live up to.

Do you have more Regency novels planned?
My editor and I are tossing around ideas right now. I do have a few more regencies in mind.

What are you working on at the moment? A sneak peek, please.
I'm exploring whether to do a third book in the Regency Series, which at present is comprised of Before the Season Ends, and The House in Grosvenor Square. Book three would begin about five years later (about 1818) and follow the lives of a number of people who were introduced in the first two books. I would also probably introduce one new couple.

Do you ever bang your head against the wall from the dreaded writer's block? If so, how do you overcome it?
I do something else. If I can't write a scene for a book, I can always write an article. I can update my blog. I can't really force a scene when it isn't coming; I find that getting busy and doing something else is the best thing I can do for the book and for me (rather than beat myself up). One thing about having an online presence today is that there is never a shortage of tasks to be done, including a great many writing tasks. Since I write historical (regency) romance, there are always tons of subjects I can research and write about, putting them into articles for my ezine, or out there on the web.

Novelists sometimes dig themselves into a hole over implausible plots, flat characters, or a host of other problems. What's the most difficult part of writing for you (or was when you first started on your novel journey)?
I think for me the biggest challenge was to believe that I could write a novel in small increments. As a mom of five, four of whom are still home year-round (one is in college), having frequent interruptions is a fact of life. Writing takes a concentration so deep so that when I first started doing scenes, I would find myself getting woozy after standing up. I was shocked at the level of exertion it took to use my brain that hard, I guess! It happens less now--I guess I've grown accustomed to it. And I've learned to appreciate those small blocks of time. Ten minutes in a waiting room can yield a part of a scene I couldn't get done at home. Every little bit counts. I don't despise small beginnings. There are times when I'm in a deep level of involvement with a story or a character, and then getting interrupted can break the mood; but I'm getting better all the time at picking up where I left off, no matter how deeply I've got to dive to get back into the character or situation. For people like me with busy households, this is a must-have ability. I believe it can be the difference between making that deadline or not.

How did (or do) you climb out (overcome it)?
If I do get stuck at some point in the plot, I let it simmer in my mind. I also exercise--for some reason, when I am physically active, my brain gets going in a way that doesn't always happen when I'm sitting with my laptop before me. Swimming and doing the treadmill (walking) almost always result in wonderful new ideas I just can 't wait to get on paper. Sometimes, I've even had to stop walking and run to the pc just to get the idea down so I don't forget. By the way, I always pray for the right idea, too. There is no better writer than God.
The second "nifty" way to solve a plot (or other) problem in a book is to let it sit awhile without reading it. When you come back to it after a long enough interval (as long as you can give it) solutions just present themselves. I find the same thing happens to me with crossword puzzles--if I'm stuck, I put it down and when I come back to it--even an hour later--the word is there. So the key is, give yourself permission to take a break.

Some authors report writing 5-10 thousand words a day. Do scenes flow freely from your veins, or do you have to tweeze each word out?
In general, I write more than I need and later have to cut back. I don't use a word count, but I may set a goal of one chapter a day or two chapters for a busy week. Other times, I don't think in terms of chapters at all, just events. I may break an event down into four scenes, say, and so my goal for that day will be to get the whole event on paper. In other words, finish the four scenes. Life changes so rapidly with the children, that for me, a hard and fast writing goal just wouldn't work. And, I focus on results, not time spent. Instead of, "Now I'll write for three hours," I say, "Now I'll have this or that happen to a character, or, 'I'll show a different side to this person." When I have accomplished that goal, no matter how long it took, I feel satisfied, and only then.

Thanks so much, Linore for sharing with my readers. I wish you much success for your writing ministry, and for a less hectic writing schedule as the kids get older.

Linore Rose Burkard creates Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul. Her characters take you back in time to experience life and love during the era of Regency England (circa 1800 - 1830). Fans of classic romances, such as Pride & Prejudice, Emma, and Sense & Sensibility, will enjoy meeting Ariana Forsythe, a feisty heroine who finds her heart and beliefs tested by high-society London.

Ms. Burkard's novels include Before the Seasons Ends and The House in Grosvenor Square (coming April, 2009). Her stories blend Christian faith and romance with well-researched details from the Regency period. Her books and monthly newsletter captivate readers with little-known facts, exciting stories, and historical insights. Experience a romantic age, where timeless lessons still apply to modern life. And, enjoy romance that reminds us happy endings are possible for everyone.

Publisher's Weekly affirms, "Ms. Burkard's command of period detail is impressive, evident in material details, but also in dialogue. Her novels even help non-Regencyphiles learn the difference between ladies' pelisses and spencers...On the whole, it's a tasty confection."

Ms. Burkard began writing when she couldn't find a Regency romance with an inspirational twist. "There were Christian books that approached the genre," she says, "But, they fell short of being a genuine Regency. I knew that many women like me want stories that are historically authentic and offer glimpses of God's involvement in our lives. So, I finally gave up looking and decided to write one myself."

Ms. Burkard was raised in New York, where she graduated magna cum laude from the City University of New York with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature. She lives with her husband and five children in a town full of antique stores and gift shops in southwestern Ohio. Her hobbies include working on four new Regency novels, family movie nights, swimming, and gardening.

For more on Linore and her books, visit her website.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Word on Speaking & Promoting

All across the country school board presidents, elected officials, and nearly any other local celebrity are fine tuning speeches to be given at commencement ceremonies. After sitting through more than my share of these speeches, I’ve learned a thing or two about what not to do when someone puts a microphone in your hand.

I think it goes without saying that we shouldn't bore our audience into a semi-unconscious state. You would never do that because you have something interesting to say that people want to hear. After all, you got a book published. Something most of the world only dreams about.

I’ve given plenty of presentations, speeches, and workshops for readers and writers since the publication of my first book in 2004. The first few dozen times I got sick to my stomach. But over time I got used to telling others what I'd learned and even came to enjoy doing it. I'm afraid many public speakers enjoy speaking so much on any chosen topic, they don’t know when to sit down so we can all go home and eat cake.

On behalf of your listeners let me assure you less is indeed more.

It is tempting to overdo it when we have the opportunity to talk about our passion. Remember a little goes a long way when it comes to promotion. If your audience is truly interested, asking questions, participating in the discussion, then by all means, give them what they want. But know when to say when.

When you began approaching agents and editors with your query and proposal, you knew you only had a few moments to dazzle your audience. Think of speaking in the same way. We are all busy. There are so many demands and options vying for our time. If we bothered to show up to your event, we are at least moderately interested in what you have to say. Make it worth our while. Entertain us, pique our interest in your story, and don't forget to give us the chance to interact afterward.

Be yourself. Don't apologize for not being a better known author. Have fun and your audience will too.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Breaking Bad Habits... my case, not posting regularly to this blog and procrastinating with other writing goals.

Read this article from the Chicago Tribune and thought it bore repeating here.

Breaking bad habits
They're a hassle. Here are 12 ways to break them.

By Karen Ravn | Tribune Newspapers
May 3, 2009

Maybe you chew your fingernails when you're nervous. Or scarf down chocolate when you're sad. Or take home a stray kitty whenever you see one, until the local animal control has to come rescue them all and have you arrested for being a hoarder.

Chances are you have a few habits you wish you didn't have, and possibly you've tried (and tried) to break them. Scientists are learning why you may have failed (and failed and failed). In fact, they now know that once you have a habit, you can never really unlearn it.

"Once it's there, it's there," says Ann Graybiel, the Walter A. Rosenblith professor of neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.

But even though you can never simply delete habits from your brain, you can stop indulging in them if you really want to. Here's how:

1 Eliminate whatever payoff the habit gives. If you have a habit of eating ice cream every night before bed, get rid of all the ice cream in your freezer. You might still head to the kitchen for a few nights, only to find the freezer bare. But after a while, you'll stop making the trip.

2 Don't leave a hole where a bad habit used to be. Substitute new, improved behaviors for old, bad ones. Try bringing your lunch instead of buying it, or eat a piece of fruit before bed instead of a bowl of ice cream.

3 Choose wisely. If you try to replace a bad, old habit with a good, new one, make sure the new one isn't too unpleasant. If you try to replace ice cream before bed with cod liver oil, you're probably doomed to fail.

4 Be risk averse. Suppose you can't go into a shoe store without buying three pairs. Stay out of shoe stores. Figure out which situations are most tempting and avoid them.

5 Get down to specifics. Sometimes you can identify triggers that are most likely to bring out your bad habit. These can involve people, locations or preceding actions. Maybe it's safe for you to go into shoe stores to look around -- just don't do it with the friend who's dying to buy a pair, but only if you do too.

6 Practice. Practice. Practice. Suppose you want to stop gossiping. You practice not gossiping at work with friend X, and you get very good at it. Then one day you go shopping with X. Watch out! You're at risk for a relapse. Plus -- if you break your gossip habit at work with X, you may still keep gossiping with W, Y and Z. A habit can be associated with different places, people and activities.

If you're trying to break one, practice in as many situations as you can.

7 Use cues and rewards. Maybe you want to save money for a trip to Hawaii, but you have an unfortunate habit of maxing out your credit cards. Try taping a picture of Waikiki Beach to your billfold to remind yourself not to splurge on non-necessities.

8 Try a simple "if-then" plan -- it helps. In one study, having such a plan helped one group achieve its goal of eating less of a particular snack food and helped another group achieve its goal of performing well in a tennis match.

Participants in the eating-less group were given this line: "If I think about my chosen food, then I will ignore that thought!" and were told to say it to themselves three times and to commit themselves to acting on it. The tennis group was told to compose four "if-then" statements of their own, in the form: "If I feel angry, then I will calm myself and tell myself, 'I will win!' "

9 Show how highly evolved you are. Suppose you procrastinate whenever you ought to be doing something you don't want to do. Procrastination provides instant gratification, and even though you will pay, that doesn't come till later. Remind yourself of the future cost when you're tempted to work on your tan instead of doing the housework.

10 Tap into your willpower. It's easy to succumb to old, familiar habits. But a 2007 study found that we can resist temptation more successfully if we consider it a test of will. Undergraduates were asked to squeeze a dynamometer, or handgrip, as hard and for as long as they could. Those who considered the task a test of willpower squeezed the device longer than those who didn't.

11 Don't believe everything you read. You may have found precise numbers stated about how often you need to do something to make a new, good habit -- and how often you need to not do something to break an old bad habit. Some say three weeks! Some say 30 days!

"There is no data on this," says Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Md.

12 If you fall off the wagon, don't quit trying. Studies (in rats, admittedly) suggest that occasional lapses don't make you more likely to fail. If you're trying to stop chewing your nails, just one little nibble won't condemn you to eternal onychophagia. (And if you're trying to forgo your habit of using showoff-y long words -- that would be hippopotomonstrosesquipedalianism -- one use of a word like "onychophagia" isn't the end of the world either.)

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Samson Effect

A Note from my friend Tony Eldridge, creator of Marketing Tips For Authors

First off, I want to thank Teresa for letting me share something I am very excited about! In October of 1997, I published my first novel, The Samson Effect. I was able to get it into the hands of the "Grand Master" of the American Action/Adventure novel, Clive Cussler, who said The Samson Effect is a "first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure."

In the same month that The Samson Effect was published, I was contacted by a major Hollywood producer who acquired the film rights to the novel.

As a former minister, I did detailed study in the Old Testament, especially focusing on the Old Testament Characters. I still believe that God is the best Action/Adventure writer of all-time. The Samson Effect looks at the story of Samson and brings it into a modern day "treasure hunt" of archeology and the search for an ancient secret.

Recently, I made the decision to release the entire book as a serial release for free, a chapter a week. You can read about this at the blog I created to host the serial release. I did this in part to increase the exposure of the book for the physical books that are for sell as well as well as to increase its presence as the film producer works to find a home for it on the silver screen. Here is the link where you can read more about the serial release.

I look forward to seeing you all on this journey with me. The serial release starts on Monday, May 4th, but you can jump in anytime to find the link back to Chapter 1 and get caught up. I will be monitoring the comments, and I look forward to actively participating and answering any questions you may have. The only limitations that I place on the questions is that I won't provide spoilers and I may edit comments that include spoilers.

About The Samson Effect:
Since discovering an ancient scroll in a cave in Hebron, Israel, American biblical archeologist Thomas Hamilton and his trusted friend and colleague, Israeli biblical linguist Michael Sieff, have been consumed with the notion of the Samson Effect—the idea that a long-lost elixir can allow an ordinary person to perform superhuman feats. When they happen upon a worn Hebrew parchment that not only confirms the existence of the Samson Effect but could potentially lead them to its source, the scholars embark on an impassioned crusade for the truth behind the myth.

But Hamilton and Sieff aren’t the only ones intent on uncovering the secret of Samson’s strength. An unrelenting sect of Jewish protectors will let no one stand in the way of their mission to reclaim what they had hidden nearly three thousand years ago, and a brilliant but ruthless Palestinian leader will stop at nothing to find and use the Samson Effect to empower his army of soldiers for a jihad against the world in the name of Allah.

It isn’t long before their joint pursuit becomes a deadly one, and Hamilton and Sieff come to the grim realization that the Samson Effect is more powerful and far-reaching than they ever anticipated. In the wrong hands, it could trigger a worldwide catastrophe.

A chilling and suspenseful tale of political and religious intrigue set in the unforgiving landscape of the Middle East, The Samson Effect wanders the boundaries of obsession and love, betrayal and allegiance, and vengeance and justice.

Thanks for reading and for more marketing tips for writers, visit me at marketing tips for