Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A Visit to Another World


Discovering a new author to read is always enjoyable, and it's even more fun to find one who is just starting out in the publishing world because it brings the promise of new stories or books on the horizon. My guest today in My Writing Corner is Jennifer Ivy Walker whose first book has just been released this fall. 


She says she was always enthralled with legends of medieval knights and ladies, dark fairy tales and fantasies about Druids, wizards and magic.  Jennifer tells us she always dreamed of becoming a writer. She fell in love with French in junior high school, continuing her study of the language throughout college and eventually becoming a high school teacher and college professor of French.

As a high school teacher, she took her students every year to the annual French competition, where they performed a play she had written, "Yseult la Belle et Tristan la Bête"--an imaginative blend of the medieval French legend of "Tristan et Yseult" and the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast", enhanced with fantasy elements of a Celtic fairy and a wicked witch.

Her debut novel, The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven--the first of a trilogy-- is a blend of her love for medieval legends, the romantic French language, and paranormal fantasy. It is a retelling of the medieval French romance of "Tristan et Yseult", interwoven with Arthurian myth, dark fairy tales from the enchanted Forest of Brocéliande, and otherworldly elements such as Avalonian Elves, Druids, forest fairies and magic. Let's find out more about Jennifer.

What do you find is the most challenging part of being an author? 


I find book promotion through social media to be the most challenging aspect of being an author. It requires perseverance, dedication, and creativity—but takes away the time necessary to continue writing.


How do you come up with your plots? 


The plot of my trilogy is a retelling of the medieval French legend of “Tristan et Yseult”,  interwoven with dark fairy tales from the Breton Forest of Brocéliande and Arthurian myth related to mystical, medieval  French lore.


Tell us about your road to publication. 


As a high school French teacher, my advanced students always read the medieval French legend of “Tristan et Yseult” as part of our study of the Middle Ages in France. I took my students to the state French competition each year, where they performed a play I had written, “Yseult la Belle et Tristan la Bête”, a blend of the medieval legend and the French fairy tale, “Beauty and the Beast”.  Last summer, I had an epiphany—to transform my French I play into a trilogy.  The result is a paranormal fantasy adaptation of the medieval French legend, interwoven with Arthurian myth and dark fairy tales from the enchanted Forest of Brocéliande, birthplace of Merlin, Lancelot, and the Lady of the Lake.


My debut novel is entitled, “The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven”, so when I discovered The Wild Rose Press, I knew I had found the right publishing company!


How about a blurb for “The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven”?




In this dark fairy tale adaptation of a medieval French legend, Issylte must flee the wicked queen, finding shelter with a fairy witch who teaches her the verdant magic of the forest. Fate leads her to the otherworldly realm of the Lady of the Lake and the Elves of Avalon, where she must choose between her life as a healer or fight to save her ravaged kingdom. 


Tristan of Lyonesse is a Knight of the Round Table who must overcome the horrors of his past and defend his king or lose everything. When he becomes a warrior of the Tribe of Dana, a gift of Druidic magic might hold the key he seeks.


Haunted and hunted. Entwined by fate. Can their passion and power prevail?




Let's get an excerpt:

Taking another gulp of ale, Tristan turned to Lancelot and searched his knowing eyes. “I don’t know if she even exists, Lancelot, but I want a woman who makes me feel alive! I want her kisses to arouse my passion, her heart to sing to mine. I want a muse to inspire my song, a lady to whom I would pledge my sword—and my life.” Tristan shook his head and sighed. “Is such a love even possible?”

The First Knight of Camelot responded with a sad smile. “It is indeed possible, Tristan.” Lancelot turned his pensive gaze to the vast expanse of sea. “In French, we call such a love l’amour fou—a passion so intense… it can drive you mad.”


Lancelot glanced back at Tristan, a forlorn smile reaching his intense blue eyes. “When you find such a woman, Tristan, the love she gives you fills every empty hollow in your soul. She completes you; she invigorates you; she thrills you. And, when you consummate such a love, the exquisite blend of the spiritual and physical realm will satisfy you more than the finest wine or the greatest victory in battle. The love she gives you with her body will transport you to the stars, and you will never experience a greater joy.” 


And, though he smiled, Tristan saw that the First Knight emanated loneliness, suffering, and sorrow. As Lancelot returned his gaze across the faraway sea, Tristan knew that the White Knight of Avalon longed for the beautiful blond queen of Camelot.


What is your next book and how did you come up with the idea to write it? 

My latest book, “The Lady of the Mirrored Lake”, is book 2 of “The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven” trilogy. I came up with the idea by researching French myths and dark fairy tales from the enchanted Forest of Brocéliande.

What are you working on now?


I have completed “The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven” trilogy.  Book 3, “The Emerald Fairy and the Dragon Knight”, will be published soon by The Wild Rose Press. I am currently writing “Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle”, the story of a French Viking princess who faces a forced marriage to a man she loathes and the chivalrous knight who vows to win her hand by triumphing in the perilous Yuletide Joust.


How do you develop characters?


When I was a high school French teacher, I won a prestigious scholarship from the National Endowment of the Humanities to travel to the south of France and participate in Le Festival d’ Avignon —the world’s largest Festival of Theater, which attracts 500,000 performers each summer to the Provençal city.


As a result of my month-long immersion in French theater, I performed in plays, observed classical tragedies, outlandish comedies, puppet shows, musicals, comédy-ballets—every type of theatrical genre.


Since I had always taken my students to compete in the state French competition-- where we performed French plays--I implemented the acting and theatrical skills learned through Le Festival de Théâtre as I taught them to interpret roles in French literary classics such as Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme and Corneille’s Le Cid.

That same theatrical creativity is the inspiration for the characters in my novels.  I envision my story from the perspective of that personnage and develop his or her feelings, actions, and thoughts in the same way I learned to interpret characters through theatrical performance from Le Festival d’ Avignon.

Thank you ,Jennifer, for being my guest today on My Writing Corner. If you'd like to know more about her books, you can explore Jennifer Ivy Walker’s realm of Medieval French Fantasy at the links below. She says she hopes her novels will enchant you.


Buy Links:


Amazon link:  https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B0B91R2MJZ

Barnes and Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-wild-rose-and-the-sea-raven-jennifer-ivy-walker/1141977954?ean=2940186736387&fbclid=IwAR3DwraRnElU-XxxDXI-iVIItQ4X3HPeHlx7sS3l8fugfrthoIsfftXRUpk

Goodreads Author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22671046.Jennifer_Ivy_Walker

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-wild-rose-and-the-sea-raven-by-jennifer-ivy-walker

Social contacts:

Website:  https://jenniferivywalker.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferIvyWalker

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/bohemienneivy

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jenniferivywalkerauthor/


Any comments or questions for Jennifer?


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

A Trip to the Past

We're getting to the beginning of the Holiday Season, and to me that is a perfect opportunity to do some holiday book shopping. It's also a good time to look for that new author to read or even try reading in a new genre. What better way to spend those long winter nights than curled up with a good book in front of the fireplace or sitting by the window watching the snow fall?


To me that means looking for new authors or going back and re-visiting some authors whose books always entertain. Today's guest in My Writing Corner, L. B. Griffin, has visited with us in the past, but her books are great to keep in mind as you either select books as gifts or to read during your own holiday vacation.  


L.B. Griffin was born and raised in Bath UK, and she says she absolutely loves writing fiction. She is happily married and surrounded by her family in Wiltshire. She has always written around the full-time paid job and pays tribute to everyone she has taught and met. They have been her inspiration to write.


Whilst her stories are a complete work of fiction, they touch upon social issues, the reality of life. They are filled with gentle hints of romance. Her women are strong, courageous, they are survivors. Though they don't necessarily see themselves that way, they certainly are. Her debut novel, Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox was released world-wide mid-2021. It immediately received rave reviews. The sequel, The Twenty-One-Year Contract, also a standalone, also continues to receive excellent reviews. These are complete works of fiction. 


Tell us about your road to publication.


I don’t think it’s that unusual to find authors writing around the full-time paid job. This is what I did, for years. I’d get up at silly o’clock, before flying out the door to do the work that paid the bills. Then I retired.  


I’d never been confident enough to submit my work, However, I continued to write as my imaginary friends always start yammering away when I’m trying to sleep. They tell me what to write, what to say, and how important their stories are.  I have to listen, and I have to share their stories, after all, who am I to argue? 😊


Then one day, not so long ago, a friend, who turned out to be an editor in our critiquing group, suggested I should get my story out there before ‘I popped my clogs.’ Yes, that blunt! I think it was the push I needed. Three months later and I was offered a contract! I’m still stunned. Of course, there is more to this than I can share right here, but all I’m saying is if I can do it, then I urge you to try before it’s too late!  


How do you come up with your plots?


My imaginary friends are to blame for the plots. I just write what they tell me to write.


How do you develop characters?


I have a characterization sheet. It’s on my blog. www.wifeinthewest.com but I guess you can find one on the net easily enough.


I used to use this as a starting point to get to know them better. To know what’s in their fridge maybe, even though I might not use it in the story. I want to know what makes them tick. Now it feels more natural just to go for it as I’ve had a bit of practice. If I’m stuck I will check the list and see what I might have missed.

 

What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?


My latest book is called The Twenty-One-Year Contract and although standalone, it is the sequel to Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox. 


My books reflect all the layers of life. It comes from a lifetime of experience, and working with all walks of life, from cleaning to teaching. Each person I have met has taught me to listen, not to judge, but then I carefully reconstruct those stories into fiction. They are my inspiration.  I write about the survivors. They are my hero’s. I admire them the most. However, it never fails to surprise me how my bullies tend to shine, because they are the people you love to hate.

I also encapsulate coincidence because life is full of it. Ask yourself, have you ever walked down a street and bumped into someone you haven’t seen for years and would never have expected to meet again? I’m sure you can think of a strange coincidence of your own. It has happened to me, so many times, and in so many extraordinary ways. 


BLURB:


1950s London. Who would have guessed a contract, a friend, and a simple shoebox would hold life changing secrets…


Kathleen Gray—talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular—has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family.


Suddenly, they are gone, everything is changed, and she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her—he has a business to run and his own life to manage.


Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.


EXCERPT:


The more Kate understood, she didn’t like, and a niggle of doubt grew. Then one evening everything seemed to slot into place. Girls came and went. It hadn’t been obvious, at first, but why she’d missed it to begin with she couldn’t understand. One party they were there, the next they had vanished, and new girls replaced them. Kate couldn’t work out who they were, where they came from, or why they disappeared. Forever curious, she just had to find out, and tonight was the perfect time. A young girl caught her attention. She was on a much older man’s arm. It wasn’t an unusual occurrence, but soon after a few drinks she looked wobbly on her feet, and slightly distressed.  He could have just been helping her to the bathroom, but Kate doubted it. She decided to follow them at a discreet distance, stopping when necessary, looking at paintings hung on the wall, still watching the girl who, by her walk appeared inebriated. Before long, the couple arrived at a door marked private. They went in. Worried, more for the girl than her own safety, she turned the knob.


What are you working on now?


Work in progress. Contemporary romance with lots of tongue in cheek humour. Maybe, dare I say, a more rounded Brigit Jones. No more on that subject. Lots of work to be done. 😊


What advice do you have for beginning writers?


There is no right or wrong way to begin writing. The best bit of advice I can give is write whatever comes into your head, fact, or fiction. Ask yourself what makes you tick? What gives you that buzz when you think about it? 


This is what you should start writing about. It will give you the motivation, the drive to keep you going because it is something you know and love.


I would also suggest you join a critique group and/or a creative writing course. Writing is a lonely occupation. It is important and good to have the support of like-minded people around you.


Here are the Buy links for her books:

mybook.to/twentyone

http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781509239733

Amazon

Barnes and Noble


Here are her Social Contacts:

LBGriffinAuthoruk

mybook.to/twentyone

Where silence turns to courage, survival and happiness

https://fb.watch/b3c2bZPyRF/

www.instagram.com/lynngriffinauthoruk 

www.Facebook.com/lynngriffinauthor/

www.twitter.com/lbgriffinauthor

www.wifeinthewest.com 

#WorldLiterature #fiction #womens #British #romance #mystery #historical #suspense #mystery 

@kindlestore @kindle ebooks @LBGriffinAuthor #wrpbks mybook.to/twentyone

mybook.to/twentyone

Blackwell Press

Waterstones

WH Smith

And all good bookstores

Thank you, Lynn for being my guest today. Any comments or questions for Lynn?


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

A Visit to the Wild Wylder West

The world of journalism is a fascinating place, and that is why I can really relate to today's guest in My Writing Corner. As someone who dreamed of joining that special world from the time I was in grade school, until I got my first job at a college newspaper, and through later years as a broadcast journalist, I've always been partial to people in that profession. Today's guest in My Writing Corner is not only someone I can readily relate to, but I am also excited about her latest work that is set in my area of the country.

Barbara Bettis is a multi-award-winning author who says she can't recall a time she didn't love the adventures of daring heroes and plucky heroines. She is a retired journalist and college English and Journalism teacher, She lives in Missouri where she tries to keep her grandchildren supplied with cookies. When she's not editing for others, she's working on her own stories with heroines to die for-- and heroes to live for. 

Barbara, tell us about your road to publication.


I began writing fiction late—after I’d retired from teaching and after my husband died. I had wonderful friends and crit partners and from one of those good friends, I learned about The Wild Rose Press, which she published through. So when I was looking for a publisher for my first medieval, I contacted it. I was thrilled to be accepted and I’m still happily publishing with TWRP. 

How do you come up with your plots?


I pick out a general time frame and location, know the political situation in the country (usually England) at the time, and come up with a hero and/or heroine. My heroes are almost always mercenaries looking for their own holding. Then I do some brainstorming on paper, some freewriting, and a lot of staring into space as my mind tries out various situations and conflicts. I have been known to get up in the middle of the night to record an idea, because I’ve learned that no matter how clear it might seem at midnight, it might be gone by 8 a.m. 


I have published five medieval novels and one short story that have formed a series with characters introduced in or connected to those from the first book. I’m hoping to set up a series like that with the story I’m plotting now.


How do you develop characters?


Technically, I figure out their physical characteristics, their backgrounds—what brought them to the point where the story begins. Then when writing starts, they seem to develop themselves. I know, that sounds vague, but it’s rather accurate. My writing is a combination of plotting and pantsing, (plotser?) so the characters round out as they go. Their personalities are pinned down in a general way at the start, and as the story grows, so do the characters. Sometimes one takes an unexpected turn as the storyline unfolds, which sends me back to revise. And, yes, characteristics of people I know or have observed sometimes turn up in my books. Mostly good. Mostly. 


What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?


My latest title is Last Stop, Wylder, an historical Western. A fun change for this medieval gal. LOL. TWRP put out a call to its authors for stories set in 1878 and centered around a fictitious Wyoming town called Wylder. (The series has opened up to non-historical stories set around the town.) I did a bit of reading about early Wyoming Territory and was fascinated by the fact that it was the first place in the country or territories to allow women to vote. That and my interest in frontier newspapers formed parts of the story.


Let's find out more about your book:


A gunman’s word is his bond, and a lady’s trust can shatter.


Gunman Morgan Dodd is headed to a new life in California, where no one knows his name. Or his reputation. Just one last job to raise money for his fresh start—gunhand for a railroad agent in Wyoming. Easy enough. Until he meets the woman who could change everything.


After ending her engagement, Emily Martin longs for independence. She sets out for Wylder, Wyoming, to help her brother with his newspaper. But when she arrives, she finds he’s off investigating a story. Well, then! She’ll simply publish the paper herself until he returns. Emily’s prepared to face challenges, but not the dangerous stranger who ambushes her heart. The same man hired to destroy her livelihood.


When a common enemy threatens, Morgan and Emily must find a way to defeat danger and save their budding love. But a gunman’s word is his bond, and a lady’s trust can shatter.

How about an excerpt?

From the crest of a bluff east of Denver, Morgan Dodd considered his future. 


A new start where no one knew his name. A new life.  


West to California? Beyond the snow-flecked mountains to his left, barely visible in the early evening haze.  A land of opportunity with booming cities, wide valleys to ranch. 


He shifted in the saddle, his gaze drifting northwest. Oregon, maybe. Word of rich, fertile land sounded mighty appealing. He could settle down there, farm a little. If he remembered how to farm. God knew, it’d been long enough.


He settled back into his familiar saddle. First, though, north to Cheyenne. Where one last job awaited—and the money for that new start, wherever it lay.


Morgan glanced again at the blue-shrouded foothills to his left. The unknown. Deep in 

his chest, a hitch of anticipation had him straightening. If he rode hard, he could reach Denver by dark. Then at first light, off to start over.  Perhaps…


Something moved. His attention focused on the edge of a clearing just below. In the light dusk, three antelope ventured from a clot of trees to sample the tall, lush grass of late July, tender again after last night’s rain. 


His brief reflections forgotten, Morgan brought up his Winchester and sighted. For a moment he hesitated. The three animals were beautiful. Young, their lives ahead of them. He hated for a gun to change one forever. Nostalgia hit him, as unexpected as it was unwelcome. He swallowed it.


He had a duty and he’d best get it done. One shot brought down the biggest of the trio, sending the other two leaping for cover. 


A breeze carried the distant murmur of cattle settling in for the night on rich grazing ground to the east. Morgan dismounted and strode to collect his kill. Tomorrow his fellows on the drive would dine on something other than beans and rabbit. 


Then they’d head out for the rail head in Cheyenne. 


Cheyenne. 


His path had always been set. A new job.  Gunhand for a Union Pacific agent. 


He threw one last glance toward the mountains. 


Maybe next year. 


                                                         *****


Sounds interesting and here are the buy links to keep on reading Last Stop, Wylder:


Are you working on a new project?


I’ve  started plotting a new medieval and hope to begin on the writing in a few days.


That sounds like you will be very busy.   To learn more about Barbara and her other books, her author links follow:
Thank you for being my guest today on My Writing Corner. Any questions or comments for Barbara?

A Visit to Another World

Discovering a new author to read is always enjoyable, and it's even more fun to find one who is just starting out in the publishing worl...