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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sweetness of Letters

Hello friends,

That last week has been a writing whirlwind for me. I'm trying to finish up The Vampire Novelist so I have something to pitch to agents at the Spring Intensive at the end April. Everything is flowing beautifully. I'm averaging about 3k words/day, which is AWESOME! In order to meet my goals, I will be keeping the blogging to a minimum.

With that being said, I would like to tell you about a wonderful book I read earlier this month and before I re-entered my writing cave. Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris.


This is a WW2 love story that follows three different ladies lives during that time period. It gives a multifaceted point of view how the war changed these girls lives and that of the men they loved. From the first chapter when Liz, the main character, goes to a USO dance and she meets Morgan, I was sucked into 1944. I felt I was there at the dance listening to the music, smelling the warm July air, feeling the humidity of Chicago, and seeing all those soldiers out having one night of fun before they were shipped off to the trenches. Throughout the whole book, I was drawn into their world and I felt I as experiencing those emotions. I cried. I laughed. And boy was I sad when I read the last few sentences. It wasn't because of the ending, but because it was the END. I reread the last three pages at least five times before finally closing it. With each reread, came the "sigh."

This is a book for both women and men to enjoy. I HIGHLY recommend it. If you like Nicholas Sparks and Kristin Hannah type of books, this one while make your whistle sing. It is pure sweetness that will warm your heart.

Click HERE to purchase your very own copy or visit your local Barnes and Noble.

Kristina McMorris was inspired to write this novel after her grandmother showed her the stack to letters she and her grandfather had exchanged during their courtship while he was in the military and during WW2. Below is a picture of THE letters that Kristina brought to her book signing event. This is her debut novel. I have to say, I'm so honored to belong to the same chapter of fabulous writers that she does. Go Roses! And go Kristina!

Have a wonderful week everyone and Happy Spring!!!

Cheers,
Melania

Friday, March 18, 2011

Vampires, Canadians, and Scandals...Oh my!

Greeting faithful readers! I heart you for taking the time to read my ramblings and mutterings. Hope you all had a fun-filled St Patrick's day. My hubby and I went to our pub. He had a beer and I had a hot toddy made with locally brewed herbal whiskey (AMAZING!!!!). We even had a bagpiper serenade us.

Good times!

In this post I would like to inform you of a fabulous book I read last month and thoroughly enjoyed.

Prelude to a Scandal by Delilah Marvelle is a historical romance based in the 1800's London. The heroine, Justine, is the kind of girl that I hope to have been if I had lived in that time period. She is witty, funny, elegant, and though she plays her role in society well she is not someone to reckon with. Lord Bradford the sexy suave Englishman that girls just swoon over. Despite the wealth, good looks, and personality to match, he has a serious problem- sex addiction. However in that time period, that is not considered a problem and there is not clinical diagnosis or treatment or therapy for such an issue. They marry and it begins. One can imagine the complications that such a situation could bring into a new relationship. Delilah did a spectacular job of walking the reader through the emotions and experiences of characters. She touches all sorts of social issues that we find as common ways of life nowadays, but back then these were serious concerns of society.
I found the book compelling, interesting, and very eye-opening. This is the first traditional romance I've read and first historical as well. This is typically not my choice in reading material, but I picked it up because Delilah is part of my Romance Writer's of America chapter and I wanted to show support. What I didn't expect is to completely be blown away and fall in love with both the time period of the story and the character themselves. Click on the title above to purchase a copy. You'll love it!

Okay, on to Canadians. (Notice I'm working backwards. It's just to keep you on your toes. Wouldn't want you to get bored or find me predictable now, would I?) Last weekend I spent an amazing weekend up in Vancouver, BC. Now I have to tell you that besides Portland, Vancouver could easily be my favorite city. It's like Portland only bigger and it has more European influence, something that I find comforting since I'm European born. Canadians have got to be the friendliest people! The reason for my trip was the I Can Do It! Conference put on by Hay House Publishing. I got to see and hear people like Dr Wayne Dyer (my all time favorite modern day spiritual author), Carolyn Myss, Dr Brian Weiss, Cheryl Richardson, Louise Hay (the founder of Hay House), and many many more. Two days of wonderful self-empowerment workshops was exactly what my creative spirit needed. The last month was kind of poopie when it came to my writing.

I wrote a contemporary Romance in January and I was hoping to revise and edit it in February, but the second part didn't happen so well. Every time I tried to work on it, I found so many other things I could do and would not hesitate on doing them. The guilt I was feeling was impossible to bare. Last month and up till a week ago was probably the lowest point in my writing experience I have every gone through. If it weren't for the fact I joined a professional writing organization and I had a whole chapter of people who are now expecting something from me not to mention of my family and friends, I might have given up on the whole writing thing right then and there. But through my darkest hour, I learned something very valuable about myself and my writing style, which almost made the agony worthwhile. Almost.

The reason I was struggling with my contemporary romance was that it really wasn't me. Yes, it had been a breeze to write, but that really wasn't what I wanted to put out there as my debut novel. No, I needed to go back to what started me down this journey. Freaking VAMPIRES!!! Soul-sucking, blood thirsty, and volatile as they may be when I'm writing, they are what gets my juices flowing and my fingers tapping away. Paranormal/fantasy writing is what I do and I need to be true to myself. It is what brings the joy in my writing. This weekend I listened to Robert Holden talk about happiness. Follow your joy rather the search for it. So this is me following my joy and guess what???? I'm out of my slump and blazing again. Damn it feels good.

The second valuable thing I've learned while in my slump is that I needed to take break from my normal writing and write something different. By writing my contemporary romance I was able to figure out what was wrong with The Vampire Novelist. I finally was able to decipher the plot that needed to go with the story. Technically I'm revising what I've written so far (50%) and know exactly where it will go from there.
So that's where I'm at. Thanks again for reading. Next time I'll be blogging about Kristina McMorris's debut novel "Letters from Home."

Cheers,
Melania

Friday, March 4, 2011

Felines

My dear readers,
You might notice that I changed the title of my blog. It used to say "fangs, fabric, food, fiction, and fun!"
Fangs, well, that's obvious! I'm obsessed with vampires, in case you haven't noticed.
Originally I had included fabric, because I was hoping to include some of my sewing projects occasionally in the blog. But it turns out, I have no time to sew and really that isn't something I'm passionate about. Now don't get me wrong. I'm completely in love with the idea of being a goddess of the textile craft, but when it comes down to it, I'd rather read a book or write.
The food part is that I really like to eat and I love food. Who doesn't? I love to make stuff for people, whether it's cooking, baking, or canning. Last fall I canned sixteen half pints and nine pints of salsa which I gave out as Christmas presents.

This year I'm going to jam blackberries from my parent's property. Canning is a lot of work, but the end result is so well worth the effort. Kind of like writing.

Fiction is also a given. That's what I write!

And fun, because the above elements bring loads of fun into my life.

I now replaced fabric with felines. Felines play an important role in my life. I dedicate this post to the two felines that are at the center of my world. Meet Mitzu:

Mitzu came into my life over ten years ago when I was living in Ohio, going to college, and had just broken up with my first serious boyfriend. He was just a kitten and I hadn't expected him, but that's how cats work. They pick their human. He has been such a faithful companion and eventually helped me find my husband (the only boyfriend, I brought home that he didn't hiss at). Funny, they both have the same personality. In case you are wondering, Mitzu is sort for "mitulica" (pronounced mitzuleeka), which means "kitty-cat" in Romanian. He is definitely mama's boy. :)

Meet Earl:

Yup, that's Earl in his favorite position. He's lazy. He's feisty. He's a sweetheart. He's the devil incarnate. He's the apple of my eye. He's the biggest pain in my ass. He's stubborn as hell. He's the most affectionate cat. He's aggressive. He's playful. He's everything and anything. With Earl, there are no limits or bounds when he sets he's mind to something. He can give you the glare that would make the hairs on your neck stand straight, but he can also make you melt in your tracks with one look. My husband says his personality is quite similar to me. I'd beg to differ, except for he's right.
Earl came to us a few months after our wedding. He chose us and never left. Well, he has made a couple of sly attempts to sneak out and given me several of proper scares. Earl is the best thing that has happened to all of us. Mitzu may disagree with that statement, but even he's more happier, more alive, and WAY more playful now.

So there you have it. My two feline friends. How does this tie into writing? Those two furry beasts are the best friends a writer could ever wish for. When I'm in my writing mode, they like to lay on the couch on either side of me or on my lap if I'm at my desk. It's as if they are trying to hold me down and force me write. They are the loves of my life.

Nothing new to report on the writing front, except for that I'm neck deep into revisions and editing of my untitled romance book. However, I'm taking a day or two a week to work on the The Vampire Novelist. It seems that when I'm working on one, I get inspiration for the other on how to fix certain scenes or chapters. So I've been switching between the two. I'm leaning more towards The Vampire Novelist. That book reflects my style more than the other. How I'm keeping either story straight, I have no idea. I might be driving myself into an insane asylum, but so far it's working. If it ain't broken, I ain't fixin' it.

Cheers,
Melania