Cover Reveal! My Super Sweet 16th Century by Rachel Harris

Cover Reveal Alert!

I was one of the lucky ones who was chosen to reveal My Super Sweet 16th Century by Rachel Harris. I cannot tell you how excited I am to read this as it combines several components I love in literature! YA, check. Historical Fiction, check. Romance, check! From what I can gather it kind of seems like Anna and the French Kiss meets Philippa Gregory, in my opinion. Without further adieu, here is the smashing cover!

And if that didn’t captivate your attention (and it should!) here is an excerpt!

I hear their muffled whispers and understand every Italian word. Every witty comment made at my expense.
It’s like my brain is automatically translating.
I bunch the soft fabric of the dress in my hand and then reach up to feel the ribbon in my hair. I lightly skim my fingers over my chin and feel my lack of zit. I take in the costumes of the crowd, the stench of the animals, and the Italian I can now speak and understand. And suddenly it hits me.
Reyna must have pulled some kind of gypsy mojo.
Maybe this is one of those nifty “change your life” magic scenarios like in the movies. I mean, mostly I’m still expecting to blink and be right back in the midst of overpriced, gaudy tourism, but for now, the gypsy-time-warp explanation is infinitely better than thinking I’ve lost my mind. As I decide to go with that option, I feel my frantic tension melt away.
The growing crowd seems to notice my change in demeanor and begins shooting one another amused looks, but I don’t care anymore. A smile stretches across my face. Evidently, I was wrong earlier; Reyna is a psychic mind reader, because if this is her special brand of bibbity-bobbity-boo, then she made my exact daydream from earlier in the courtyard come to life.
The long red gown, the braided hair, the Italian merchant’s daughter, the time period. I am in Renaissance Florence.
I stare dumbly at the ground, the words and reality sinking in.
I’m in Renaissance Florence!

 

My Super Sweet 16th Century will be published on September 11, 2012. You can preorder it at the links below:

My Super Sweet 16th Century, by Rachel Harris is available for pre-order on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble Be sure to add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads

 

Be sure to connect with Rachel at:

www.RachelHarrisWrites.com
www.twitter.com/@RachelHarrisYA
www.facebook.com/RachelHarrisYA
www.goodreads.com/RachelHarris

Returning to Writing After a Hiatus

This blog has focused a lot on Literature and not as  much on Creative Writing thus far so I thought I would blog about an issue I’ve recently dealt with in my writing. During my undergraduate years I took every Creative Writing course offered, save for Screenwriting and Novel Writing. I really should have declared an emphasis in it-oh well. Writing has always been my passion but due to extenuating circumstances I had to stop shortly after I graduated. At that time I had started what my professor called “a marketable” novel in a fiction seminar during the Spring of my senior year. Then after some time passed I entered graduate school and my focus was solely academic papers. Had I not been accepted to a Master’s Program in English I would have promptly turned my focus to MFA programs. Toward the end of my graduate tenure I longed for my own fiction again. And thus the “can I still do it?’, “where would I begin” nagging inundated my mind. I was filled with a lot of anxiety thinking that maybe my brain wouldn’t think the same way or that my skills had rusted to a pile of mediocrity never to be honed again. That is silly but it truly is what I thought.

I then turned to my prior creative writing professors. One gave me a book title of exercises that I could to do retrain my creative brain into writing fiction again. I already own a copy of Rebel Yell, sitting at the bottom of my nightstand drawer still in shrink wrap-oops.

One professor answered my query of “how to restart a novel where you left off(two chapters and several chapter synopses only) with this wonderful advice:

“Sit with the characters a while, let them talk to you, see where they go…etc”

I really like this idea because even if you can’t get a page out perhaps you can get a character profile out or a scene plotted that you previously were stuck on.

I recently contacted her again about a different matter(ripe for another blog topic) and I actually have yet to put her advice in practice. This is due to the fact that I didn’t have to sit with the characters-they started screaming at me!

It never fails, in the most inopportune places, the most inappropriate times, I’ll get a name, or a vision of a house, or a synopsis of a chapter. Many times I don’t have anything to write or record with. This is especially problematic when I am at the gym-where my head is blissfully cleared and ready for creative inundation haha.

One of the things that has been invaluable to me in my return to writing is the fact that I have had a few very successful writing dates with a friend of mine. This was my first test of the creative waters. I came with ideas for children’s books and I had only wanted to write one story that day to start out slow. I ended up writing three and then plotting out four more.

My advice to those with writer’s block or who have taken a years-long hiatus as I did and had to do is this:

1. Start small!!!  If you only get a line out  you can build upon that later. One line leads to another and then there is lineage of ideas to build on.

2. Let things come to you. If you try to force the issue you will become increasingly frustrated and fruitless. One day you might be prolific on one cup of coffee at a local coffeehouse, and others you will be on your fourth cup with scarcely a line.

3. Take visual inspiration along with you in order to job your creative memory. My children’s books are based on my cat so I simply would stare at a picture of him to conjure up what I wanted to write about and how I wanted to capture him on the page.

4. Start reading magazines for inspiration and advice. A lot of my anxiety was eased just by reading accounts of how other writer’s struggled to write and what ended up working for them.

5. Read. Arundhati Roy and Michael Cox are two main reasons why I want to write again. They way they play with words, plots, and characters opened my brain up and set it on fire in ways I never thought possible. If you read good writing you will maybe find something you want to play with that was featured in what you read and that can be a great jumping off point,

6. And if all that fails-write pure utter nonsense about your day and then usually when you clear that out of your head…you can write whatever you wanted to in the first place.

I am happy to report I now have seven possible children’s picture books manuscripts all in a first draft form. I am cobbling together ideas for other projects and compiling them for future use this summer when I will return to writing on a more permanent basis.

Do any of you have advice for someone who has not written in a while and would like to?

Who is the Most Romantic [Male] Character in Literature?

I came across the article whose link and full text appear below back in October with the full intent to blog about it once I launched a blog. This article raises deliciously loaded questions and the answers and arguments are limitless. I’ll post my own thoughts about this list at the bottom of the article text.

article link: http://shelf-life.ew.com/2009/10/19/whos-the-most-romantic-character-in-literature/

Who’s the most romantic character in literature?
by Tina Jordan
Categories: Fiction, Publishing Biz, Romance Novels
So, in a recent British Poll on the most romantic literary character of all time (men, that is; they dealt with women in an earlier poll), top honors went to Rochester, the brooding hunk at the heart of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Though I’m a huge fan of Jane Eyre — I reread my well-thumbed copy at least once a year — I’m not enamored of Rochester, who, let’s face it, wasn’t very nice to poor Jane. (For those who you who haven’t read the book, or who read it so long ago it’s a distant blur, let’s just say Rochester was alternately cold, imperious, and withholding, and he proposed to Jane — and was going through with the wedding — without disclosing that he was already married to a madwoman he kept imprisoned in the attic). But am I possibility in the minority here? British best-selling novelist Penny Vincenzi wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “From that very first meeting [age 13, when she read the book for the first time], when Rochester’s horse slipped on the ice, and he was unseated, and I was confronted by his dark, unsmiling presence, his ‘stern features, and heavy brow… his considerable breadth of chest,’ I was completely in his thrall.”
So here’s the British poll in full:

1. Edward Rochester of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
2. Richard Sharpe of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series.
3. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
4. Heathcliff of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
5. Rhett Butler of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind
6. Mark Darcy, of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary
7. Captain Corelli of Louis de Berniere’s Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
8. Henry DeTamble of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife
9. Gabriel Oak of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd
10. Rupert Campbell Black of Jilly Cooper’s The Rutshire Chronicles

Several thoughts here. Maybe it’s because I’m a Southern, but Rhett Butler — the dashing Charleston-born blockade runner who lusted after Scarlett O’Hara — is tops with me. (I took umbrage at Vincenzi when she said Butler lacked Rochester’s “complexity.” Excuse me — lacked complexity?) And what’s with No. 2, Richard Sharpe? Didn’t every single woman he romanced die in childbirth? (It’s been awhile since I read the books, so I could be wrong.) And who in their right mind could truly love the unutterable snob Fitzwilliam Darcy? (Oh. Wait. This is a British survey.)

I’m still mulling over my final list, but I think both Max de Winter from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Benedick from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing belong on it. Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series. George Emerson from E.M. Forster’s A Room With A View.

When I canvassed my friends, I got some surprising answers. “Definitely, it’s Garp,” said one. “I go for the tortured, suicidal, depressed Westchester types. Or maybe I just sorta get him confused with John Irving.” “Are you kidding? It’s Father Ralph de Bricassart,” said another, mentioning the swoon-worthy priest of Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds. My colleagues had a lot to say on the subject too. Marc Bernardin nominated ”Gollum. His love for the Ring, for his Precious, knows no bounds, sends him on a quest across his known world, brings him into conflict with those who would do him great harm, and finally seals his fate.” Jeff Labrecque said, “He’s not dashing, but I always had a soft spot for Sydney Carton [from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities].” Alynda Wheat was partial to Richard Carstone from Bleak House (”a man who’ll marry you when you’ve been altered by illness — lovely”), to all the Austen men, and to William Dobbin from Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. A fellow staffer who wished to remain anonymous mentioned both Logan Bruno from The Babysitters Club books and Rob Gordon from Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity.

Who’s on your list?

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And now for Bellicose Blackcat’s Thoughts:

My first thought was utter outrage at the ommision of Persuasion’s Captain Frederick Wentworth-why on earth is he missing! That last letter to Anne was worthy of a place on this list alone. I am surprised that Mr. Rochester is at the top of the list, I prefer Heathcliff myself but I am shocked that Mr. Darcy did not take top honors. I am unfamiliar with some of the more contemporary males on this list but I see some other glaring omissions. For one- Gilbert Blythe of the Anne of Green Gables series-is there anyone more noble, more pining, more loveable and good than he? Almanzo Wilder of the Little House series who drove miles every Friday, blizzard or sunshine to pick up Laura and bring her home to her family while they were courting! Yes I know he is based on a living person but in my opinion he still counts. I am a little put off by Tina Jordan’s colleague’s suggestion of Logan Bruno from The Babysitter’s Club series-egads that would mean Todd Wilkins of Sweet Valley High would be a sure contender. Also missing from the list: I would like to add Dr. Woodcourt from Bleak House as well second the mention as Sydney Carton. I’d also like to add Edward Glapthorn/Gorst/Dupont/Tansor from A Meaning of Night/The Glass of Time by Michael Cox(more on him later) and Gilbert Markham from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë.  I am sure there are many more worthy romantic males that I am omitting but I believe that is my personal list.

Do you agree with the list? Or my list? Who would you add?

Also if you find the prior poll Tina Jordan mentions early in her article that deals with romantic females-PLEASE leave it in a Comment, Twitter me, or Email me! I’ve  been searching for it for three months without avail!