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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Hope your Christmas is wonderful and full of friends, family, and books.

Exploring the Regency with Guest Blogger: Sara King

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jillian and Sara
I recently attended a book signing at Barnes and Noble in Westchester, Ohio where I met Sara King who works there part-time. I've talked her into visiting once in awhile and sharing some of her expertise in history. Sara attended Northern Kentucky University where she majored in Biology, History and Anthropology. She loves out door activities and camping including horseback riding, hiking and walking trails.  She's an animal lover and activist.(Sara's favorite animals are horses, cats and wolves. But says she loves almost all animals except for insects). Here's Sara.

As a history major I love to explore cultures and societies that came before our time.  My hope in writing as part of my friend Jillian Kent’s blog is that we can enlighten each other in the history and culture of the Regency Era of Great Britain.  My goal is to give you as a fellow reader an insight into aspects of the time period that Jillian may not write about, but aspects we both are passionate about.  To begin my first post for Jillian and to everyone one of her friends that read her blog, I wanted to start small and just give an introduction into the Regency Era.  As we progress through our time together and become friends my hope is to focus on specific topics for each post whether it be a place, a person, a landmark or a tradition.

As many of you know the Regency Era of British society was a time of cultural expansion and nourishment, one that flourished.  It was characterized for its distinctive architecture, literature, fashion and politics.  Unfortunately it was also a time of great concern for the middle class due to the rampant over indulgence of the aristocracy and rising poverty levels in the cities.  Despite the concerns, the Regency Era was a period of refinement and cultural achievement that would change the social structure of Great Britain for years to come.

The Prince Regent/Wikipedia site
I don’t know about you, but when I look at the Regency Era no matter if it’s from a historical standpoint or just a love of reading a historical novel, the first people that I think about are the Prince Regent, George IV and Jane Austen. One is well known for his overindulgence and lack of better judgment while the other showed a romantic side to British society through her writing.  The Prince Regent was a man who cared little for anything that did not benefit him in some way; however, he was one of the greatest patrons of the arts and architecture.  At the time, society saw it as overindulgence and the whimsy of royalty to refurbish and build lavish structures, but today, many are thankful for his over indulgence because he has given us the pleasure of seeing Brighton Pavilion and Carlton House over 200 years later.

As well, Jane Austen first published Pride and Prejudice in 1813.  Today her books are considered classic literature and give modern readers an insight into a society that was flourishing.  Through her we as readers can take a step back in time and relive the daily life and gossip of Regency Britain.

There have been many amazing discoveries of the Regency Era such as the adaptation of steam printing which increased the demand of books, pamphlets and newspapers.  Steam printing made it possible to print over 1,100 sheets and hour compared to the previous count of 200 sheets per hour.  This greatly increased the popularity of novels and gossip sheets that spread the rumors of the royal and aristocratic. Koenig's Steam Press was purchased by the Times of London in 1814.

Koenig's Steam Press

I hope you will join me in discovering the delights of the Regency Era.

Jill here again. Doesn't that machine remind you of something? I can't put my finger on it but I see two big eyes and robot like head. Maybe something from the movie Transformers?

The Twin Demons of Perfectionism and Procrastination

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

 I'm being stalked by the demons of perfectionism and procrastination. I knew something was wrong when I couldn't quite move forward with my next ideas for writing projects. My mind kept repeating the phrase, "Not good enough."

I found some answers in a number of places this past week and wanted to share them with you in case you're being stalked by similar serpents of Perfectionism and Procrastination.

The first place I was led for help was when I looked up James Scott Bell's weekly Sunday post at the Kill Zone. Ten Ways to Sabotage Your Writing,

I also tuned in to Charles Stanley this week and God answered with the sermon on Solving Problems Through Prayer. I had caught myself trying to solve my problem through my personal abilities. Always a mistake for me. Start with prayer, seek wise counsel, and move forward. I am a person of deep, personal faith and still after all these years I can be duped by The Serpent. The big one. But that's all it takes is recognition and reminder that the villain of all villains is out there. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour."

 For me, the issue of what do next isn't writers block. It's fear of moving forward. Of making a mistake of choosing the wrong direction that will result in some major error. Here's the comment I wrote in response to Jim Bell's post:

Thought provoking post, Jim. I think somewhere between numbers 6 & 7 resides a region of paralysis, for me anyway. Book three in my series comes out next month. I'm thrilled that I've written three of the best books that I was capable of writing. But now I've found I've entered this limbo region where I'm scared. What comes next? and I'm caught in "what if land?"

What if? is filled with all kind of ridiculous horrors of my writing demise that may be somewhat related to number one on your list, Jim. But it's different. It's not unhappiness, it kind of feels like Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade where he has to get through the obstacle course to get to the Holy Grail and save his father. One wrong step and that's all she wrote so to speak. :)

Any one ever feel like that? I think it's because I don't know what I want to write next and afraid of somehow choosing the wrong path. Don't know if any of this makes sense, but that's my current struggle which could easily turn into self-sabotage and I've got to snap out of it, which probably means I need to write. Maybe for awhile it doesn't matter what it is. 

And then later in response to Elizabeth Poole's statement is how I start to work through it.

 Elizabeth, thanks for the thoughts on perfectionism. I've convinced myself over the years that I'm not a perfectionist. I know how dangerous that can be and yet maybe that's what it really is. I think perfectionism leads to procrastination and those are double demons for our writing and our daily lives. Perhaps it's a matter of letting go and enjoying the process rather than fearing it. This is what I like about these kinds of posts. It gives us opportunity to work through the hard stuff that we might otherwise ignore.

Read the comments section too. You'll find a lot of self-discovery, self-awareness, and plain old good advice.

I felt like I should know better. I chose 2nd Timothy 1:7 as my life verse a long time ago. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." This is the reason I write. Somehow I had drifted away from that knowledge and needed to be reminded.

Have you ever been there? What got you back on track?

Book Clubs, Book Talk, Book Signings

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Janeen Coyle and Jillian
Janeen Coyle of  WGRR 103.5 invited me to speak about my novels at her local book club on November 28th. WGRR is our oldies station and my favorite. I'm still listening to Jackson Brown, The Beatles, The Eagles, Heart, and on and on.

I didn't really know what to expect. We met at a Starbucks inside Kroger's in Montgomery, Ohio and what a fun time. Janeen and group were discussing Patricia Cornwell's latest book, The Bone Bed. Some loved it and some not so much. Great discussion. I loved hearing their comments, very enlightning for a writer.

What a great bunch of women!

After discussing Cornwell's new novel we discussed other books that readers were currently enjoying. Many of the participants assured me they owned e-readers.

Later Janeen asked me questions about my books and I filled everyone in on a bit of the writing life and my stories. I felt like one of the gang with this book club. Everyone was very relaxed and interested and asked lots of good questions.

It's always fun to sign a book!

I gave a couple of books away to introduce to new readers to the Regency. I encouraged others to read my first chapters on my website and the online stores that allow you to read a sample. Below are a few more pictures of that evening with my new book club pals.



Then on Saturday, December 1st I kicked off the month signing books with other author friends at Barnes and Noble in Westcheseter, Ohio. 

Shelley Shepard Gray and Jillian
Shelley has been a great encourager for me for many years. You can find out more about her books here. If you like Amish fiction I know you'll enjoy Shelley's books.
Donna McMeans, Me, and Gail 
 Donna McMeans and I seem to be showing up everywhere together. You can read more about Donna and her novels at here. Donna never runs out of peacock feathers. Gail is the manager at the B&N in Westchester, Ohio and does a phenomenal job and is a wonderful supporter our novels.

Jillian and Sara 

Sara King is incredibly gifted with three degrees: Biology, History, and Anthropology. She works at B&N whenever she gets the chance and is also employed within the health care community of Cincinnati. I hope to make her a regular guest blogger.

Me, Gwen Williams, and Donna
You've got to have friends. Friends are what make the tough days easier and the good days great!  So what are you reading? Are you in a book club? What's the club reading?