I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, January 25, 2016

Novelist Angela Bell Visits!

by Teri Smith

Novelist Angela Bell is a 21st century lady with 19th century sensibilities. Her activities consist of reading, drinking tea, and writing letters with a fountain pen. She resides in Texas with pup Mr. Darcy and kitties Lizzie Bennett and Lord Sterling. Angela’s Victorian Era novella, The Substitute Bride, just released in The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection. Pop over to her website, http://authorangelabell.com, to learn more and connect with Angela on social media.

I caught up with this 19th century-loving author recently and asked her a few questions!

What was it like to hold your book in your hands for the first time?
      Surreal. There was so much excitement and anticipation, waiting for the package of my advance copies to arrive. Yet when the moment came and I actually opened the box, I just went still. No tears, screaming, or jumping up and down. Only a quiet, blissful state of amazement. Too much happiness for my brain to process, I think. Aside from finally holding the book in my hand, the best part was giving copies to my beaming father, sobbing mother, and ecstatic siblings.

How many years did it take to be published after someone told you to forget it because it was too hard?
·         I was sixteen at the time, so it’s been nine years now. After that remark, I took a break from writing, so only seven of those years were spent pursuing a career as an author.

Those seven years, I readily admit, were quite difficult. I experienced harsh critiques, rejections, a physical injury, delay due to said injury, losses, more rejections, and countless hours of hard work. And being published has only added another level of difficulty in the form of deadlines and marketing, which push me far from my comfort zone.

But it did happen! My dream came true. I found an amazing agent who said yes. Published one novella and have another coming out this summer. Yes, getting published is very difficult. But it is not impossible. Yes, a writing career is hard work. But if that's your heart's God-given dream, it is so worth it!

What are you working on now?

    At the moment, marketing and learning as I go! Guest Posts, Facebook, Pinterest. Plus, I was privileged to take part in a special, virtual event. For 9 weeks, through March 14th, on Monday evenings, the authors of The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection are presenting chats for a book club at The Vine Bookstore in Dyer, IN. If you're in the area, you can attend in person. But anyone else can watch LIVE via Google Hangouts! My chat was first up on January 18th and can now be viewed on Youtubehttps://youtu.be/niRkalokhkU?list=PLflsX7062eroexqwsCfrdAju3yxphLfN5

In February I plan to get back to work on a full-length novel, and I will also soon be working on edits and galleys for my second novella, which releases this summer in another compilation from Barbour Publishing.

You began writing in a different genre. What made the change?
·        I’ve switched genres several times, which I think was part of the process of finding and developing my individual writing voice. My genre odyssey went like this: Children’s Stories, YA Contemporary, YA Science Fiction, NA (New Adult) Steampunk, and now Historical Romance (with a Steampunk twist).

Most of these changes happened as a trial and error learning curve, but the transition to romance required a push—um gentle nudge—from my agent. A nudge for which I am now rather grateful as it resulted in my first publication, The Substitute Bride, and the creation of my brand—Victorian History and Steampunk Whimsy in a Romantic Blend.

What kind of research did you do for the genre, setting, etc.
·        The Substitute Bride is set during the Victorian Era in 1865 and takes place in England, starting in London and then moving to a country manor in Essex. The majority of my historical research consists of simply reading books (fiction and non-fiction), articles, etc. about the period and from the period—every single day—in small quantities. That way I am constantly learning new things and maintaining a connection to the style of the Victorian Era. Then I conduct more story scene specific research as it’s needed during the writing process. One of my favorite modern resources is What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool.

With The Substitute Bride, I did specific research on book-binding for my heroine Gwen who is a self-taught bookbinder, automata for my hero Elliot who is an inventive Baron, and Victorian wedding traditions. Here are examples of the latter: Queen Victoria sparked the tradition of brides wearing white when she wed Prince Albert in 1840. Weddings were required by law to be morning affairs until the late 1880s, which is why marriages were celebrated with a wedding breakfast.  

Please join me in congratulating Angela for her newest novella, and jump on over to this link to purchase it: http://www.amazon.com/Lassoed-Marriage-Romance-Collection-Historical-ebook/dp/B0194D71KU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1453781006&sr=8-2&keywords=Angela+Bell

Angela will be around today. Ask her any question you would like!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Heads up—the scoop on Leap Year

Delores E. Topliff

I have a retired friend about to turn 18. No, she was she not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, nor is she the long-awaited heiress of a family with millions. Instead, she was born February 29th, that Leap Year day added every four years to balance our calendar. 

And Leap Years permit special fun. Research says the tradition allowing women to propose marriage during Leap Year began  in 5th century Ireland  with Saint Patrick or Brigid of Kildare (bless them). In 1288, Queen Margaret of Scotland (then age five) passed a law requiring payment if men rejected marriage proposals. Their penalty was paying a pair of leather gloves, a single rose, £1 cash.
American comic strip originator, Al Capp, spoofed that tradition by creating Sadie Hawkin’s Day, a fictional folk-holiday in his great hillbilly strip, Li'l Abner where unattractive but fast-running Sadie could get a bridegroom by outrunning one in a foot race. This inspired frequent Leap Year Sadie Hawkin's dances where girls ask boys out—and possibly start great romances. I remember one I went to . . . 
It’s not romantic tradition for girls to drop to one knee and offer marriage. But one of the happiest Christian marriages I know was where the woman did basically that. Her intended was extremely handsome and capable but shy. She was fairly plain but had a wonderful personality and was an excellent homemaker. She proposed, he accepted, they wed, raised a lovely family, and truly lived happily ever after.
Leap Year is here again. Romance writers can create endless fictional or real-life scenarios. Girls, enjoy February 29th and this whole year. If you’re not married, consider setting your sites on your quarry. Grab your running shoes. Lay out your racetrack. Take a deep breath. Ready, set, go—and tell us about it.
If you’re married, how did your proposal take place? 
Do you know a great marriage where the woman initiated the proposal? (Truthfully, most proposals are initiated with the proposer being fairly sure their intended will accept.) Here’s wishing everyone success in finding (or capturing) their perfect mate!