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Writing Historical Novels

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Daughter's Walk: A Novel by Jane Kirkpatrick
Well I'm all excited, thanks to Jane Kirkpatrick, who has introduced me to a new website about Writing Historical Novels. "In 2013, Writing Historical Novels features monthly contributing authors from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, India and Morocco, including numerous New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling novelists."

When I discover new sites like this I have a hard time getting anything done because I can't pull myself away from the experiences and suggestions of other authors writing about books set during historical time frames. For instance, I loved hearing what Anne Perry had to say in her post titled, Medicine in Historical Novels. And Adrian Goldsworthy's post, Starting to Write Historical Novels is sure to intrigue. He says, "The advantage of the past is that it provides such a varied canvas and a host of situations ripe for drama." I couldn't agree more. That's one of the many reasons I love writing historical romance. All of us who research for our historical novels know how fascinating and addicting it can become.

I searched through some of my own posts that I thought might fit this category. My first one is titled, Escape Into Medical History: Smallpox and another favorite is The Assassination of Spencer Perceval. It's so much fun exploring what other writers are doing all over the world. I think all of you will be interested in this next post from an editor. This is a post by Jane Johnson What Editors are Looking for in Historical Fiction. Jane is an editor with HarperCollins UK and just happens to write historical fiction as well. "Mix together one book and one reader and every time the chemical reaction will be different: it is an experiment that can never be replicated, since both reader and author are unique individuals."

I had to go looking for some of these novels and it was this line from Jane Johnson's novel, The Sultan's Wife, that captured my attention immediately.  Meanwhile, a young Englishwoman named Alys Swann has been taken prisoner by Barbary corsairs and brought to the court . She faces a simple choice: renounce her faith and join the Sultan's harem; or die.

So when was the last time you were captivated by a historical novel?

What Does Downton Abbey and Mystery of the Heart have in Common?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I was imagining my Ravensmoore Chronicles as a television series. What writer hasn’t imagined such a thing from time to time? A reader at a recent book said, “This sounds like a series for Hallmark.” (From your lips to God’s ear as the saying goes, I thought.) And call me delusional if you want but the front of The Writer this month made me dwell on this thought even more.  At the very top of the page, just above Mr. Carson’s bowler covered head, you’ll read the sentence, THE RISE OF FAITH-BASED SCREENWRITING.

So you see, I’m not delusional. It is possible. Faith-based screen writing is on the rise. Even though Julian Fellowes has a little bit of experience on me, I’m not above praying BIG! I’m convinced God loves that about me because I make HIM smile on a daily basis with the size of my prayer requests.

You may be thinking what does this have to do with the title of this post? Let me show you.

  1. Downton has Lady Mary Crawley and Matthew Crawley. Mystery of the Heart has Lady Mercy Grayson and Vincent St. Lyons, Lord Eden.
  2. Downton and Ravensmoore are both located in the English countryside. However, most of Mystery of the Heart takes place in London. Downton also has scenes in London.
  3. Downton is True to the Period (post Edwardian and 1st World War era) and so is Mystery of the Heart (Regency era).
  4. Dialogue is accurate and true to the time period.
  5. Downton and Mystery have their valets, cooks, maids, and butlers.
Now I just need some financial help and Julian Fellowes to write the screen play and . . .  "Hello, Mr. Fellowes, are you looking for a new project? I was imagining."   
I love this newest release of mine. Of course I like all my books but I think because this is the last in the series I have a special appreciation for it. I call it my Indiana Jones novel. It’s based in part on the legend of the Holy Lance, the lance that the Roman soldier used to pierce the side of Christ to be certain he was dead. The Bible doesn’t go into detail about this but it’s been very interesting to research and see why there is so much interest and speculation about this lance. Today, to the best of my knowledge based on extensive research, Austria, The Vatican, and Armenia believe they have pieces of the original Lance of Longinus or The Spear of Destiny as it is also known. Hitler was obsessed with the lance and there are thoughts that it resides in Antarctica. 

The novel centers around the youngest of Lord Ravensmoore's sisters, Mercy, who wants to be a doctor like her big brother, but in the time of the regency that is an impossibility, or is it? She meets Vincent St. Lyons who is returning from a secret quest for the Prince Regent. Unfortunately for Mercy she’s washed up on the shore of Northumberland.
As creatives we must remember our most powerful words. I was imagining.

Bookfest at Icefest a Precursor to Mad Anthony

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jillian, Penny and Heather

Bob Hostetler and Jillian
Saturday was my first experience meeting readers at the now popular Icefest in Hamilton, OH. My friend, Victoria Ryan who is a co-owner of Ryan's Tavern wanted to give other writers and opportunity to sell their books at no cost to the writer. Ryan's Tavern provides the space, set up, clean up, and a wonderful ambiance. I can't believe I didn't get a picture of Vickie and me together. Bummer. We hadn't seen each other in years. However, you can find

her book here.When Your Grandparent Dies: A Child's Guide to Good Grief (Elf-Help Books for Kids)

I had the pleasure of meeting other authors like Bob Hostetler. You can find out more about Bob at here. I think I may have influenced him into reading my Ravensmoore Chronicle series.  He has some great books out including The Bone Box, which I'm holding here. He also has a catchy title you'll love, "Quit Going to Church." It's not what you think.

Jillian, Marjorie, and Donna MacMeans
Donna MacMeans and I are becoming good buddies and seem to show up at more and more signings together. We even taught a class together and shared our experiences with new writers. Great fun. You can always find Donna wearing her super cute hat and giving away peacock feathers. She's holding her novel, Redeeming the Rogue and you can find the novel here. That's another wonderful reader we met at Bookfest.

Duffy Brown teaching at Bookfest

You never quit learning when you become a writer. If you do that's not a good sign. So think of this as a post about the courage to market your work. It's more difficult to get noticed these days so you have to make an effort to get out there and talk about what you love and that's your books. And you also help other writers along the way, whether they be newbies or seasoned authors. And if you're blessed you might sell a few books and make new friends along the way.

 Here's my entire series available all together for the first time. It was great fun sharing a table with Donna MacMeans and Duffy Brown. I wish I'd got a better shot of Duffy who was selling her Cozy Mystery Iced Chiffon. Really cute. Duffy is wearing a crime scene scarf that her daughter bought her. We all love it!

Here's a picturee of my new t-shirt I'll be wearing to help publicize The Mad Anthony Conference.

Never heard of it? Check it below.

Sharon M. Draper 2013 Keynote Speaker at Mad Anthony Conference.

 Register by Feb. 1, 2013 to get the Early Bird Special—all three days for just $199!

When: Friday-Sunday, April 12-14, 2013
Where: Historic Hamilton, Ohio, “The City of Sculpture”
10 minutes west of I-75 on Route 129 (exit 24) between Cincinnati and Dayton
Overview: DAY 1: Murder & Mayhem • Keynote speaker, Sharon M. Draper
DAY 2: Write Like Mad workshops • One-on-One Appointments
DAY 3: Master Classes
Get to it!: REGISTER before February 1, 2013 for Early Bird discounts.
HOTEL accommodations are available at Hamilton’s Marriott Courtyard Inn.
Mention ‘Mad Anthony’ to receive our special group discount!
Questions?: Check our Frequently Asked Questions first. Still need answers?
Contact for assistance.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I'm the kind of person who is always looking into the future (no crystal ball) and looking forward to something. This makes getting out of bed every day a lot more fun.

I do this in all areas of my life. For instance, I want our family to take a vacation together this year. We haven't done this for some time because of one thing and another. So I'm spending some time online looking for places to stay in the area we plan to visit. This is fun for me. I like to shop for the best price for what I can get and make it a game. The family and I add in things we'd like to do in the area and make a list of the best places we can afford. I'm not a last minute planner so having vision is important.

I've got vision right now for the next book and possible series I want to write. I've been busy researching and as I discover different information I catalog it and am in the process of learning to use Scrivener to write this next project. In that way I am learning a new skill while I explore my next book(s). I have to see the ideas for my story up close, which means looking through the correct end of the binoculars. If you've ever looked through the other end you know that everything looks far away.

"Vision is the art of seeing the invisible."  Jonathan Swift

Now pick up your binoculars and look through the side that brings objects up close. What do you want to see? Start imagining it now.

Here is a link that might help your vision become crystal clear.  I love vision boards.

How to Make a Vision Board

Find your vision.

 If you are in the business of creating, what do you do to find your vision?


The Winners of My Birthday Giveaway

Monday, January 14, 2013

Thanks to each and everyone of you who came to visit and help me celebrate my birthday week and the new release of Mystery of the Heart. It was great fun to see who picked which characters to interact with for a walk on scene.  Here are the winners and their prizes as chosen by the random number generator at

1) Susanne Dietz- $15.00 Gift Certificate for Amazon.   
2) Joy Avery Melville - $15.00 Gift Certificate for Amazon. 
3) Cara Putman- a copy of Mystery of the Heart.
4) Amy C.- a copy of Mystery of the Heart.
5) Janella -  a copy of Mystery of the Heart.
6) Mel - the entire Ravensmoore series.
7) Jaime Wright - the entire Ravensmoore series.
8) Kay M. - the entire Ravensmoore series.

I will contact you soon and make arrangements to have your gifts delivered. If you see this please contact me and give me your address.

I hope you all enjoy your gifts and for everyone who reads any of The Ravensmoore Chronicles Series I pray you enjoy the experience. Thanks again to all who participated.

Smiles and Blessings, 

Downton Abbey! My Birthday! Books! Prizes!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


It's time to celebrate with me.This has become an annual fun thing for me to do. I celebrate and give you a chance to win my books and a gift card. Even more outstanding this year is that my third book in The Ravensmoore Chronicles Series, Mystery of the Heart officially releases today, January 8th. So I'm giving away three sets of my entire series, plus three copies of Mystery of the Heart, and (2) $15.00 gift certificates from Amazon as a way of celebrating.

So you have a chance to win all three books which you can find on my books page here. Feel free to browse, read the first chapters, sign up for my newsletter if you're interested. Tell your friends to drop by and participate. To be entered to win a chance at the books and the gift cards I want you to IMAGINE that you've won an opportunity for a walk on part with your favorite character on Downton Abbey.

Now I want to know which character it is that you would want to act with in a short scene and why. :) If you have no idea what I'm talking about then go here  or here. You may want to review characters anyway before you decide who you would choose. And please tell me what state you live in and leave an email addy in this format to prevent spam (name [at] aol [dot] com)  so that I may reach you if you are one of the winners. The contest is open until midnight PST on the 13th and I will announce winners sometime January 14th. Void where prohibited and I'm afraid it will have to be limited to the USA.

 Because I write Regency novels I would love to have used this picture on my blog for the best Jane Austen Cake I've ever seen but couldn't very well just grab it. Take a look at this baby.

Let the party begin!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013


THE ONE THING  Need some motivation. Here it is. I listened to Andy Stanley on YOUR MOVE this past week. It's just what we all need to hear and think about for this new year. I think you'll find your one thing or maybe more. :)  Don't miss this.

Then mark your calendars for January 8th. My new book, Mystery of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book Three releases that day. And you might remember that every year on my birthday, January 11th, I like to give things away. So I will be giving away three sets of my complete series that week. Drop in for a chance to win. That's January 8th!

You will also find me visiting and doing a give away over at Kathy Harris's blog Divine Detour on January 8th. A very busy day! Hope to see you there and many other places the month of January including Step Susan's Blogspot on January 11th and The Inkslinger Blog also on the 11th! So there will be opportunities to win my books all over the place in celebration of my new release, a new year, and another birthday for moi.

So help me ring in the New Year with lots of fun! And if you still need more encouragement you can pop over to The Christian Fiction Online Magazine for the month of January and look up The Well Writer Column where you will find an article from me to you titled, A Fresh Start Every Day.

Also, more fun if you live near Hamilton, Ohio. I'll be at Bookfest all day with many other writer friends and will available for an informal workshop (11:00-noon titled, Idea to Book) along with Donna Macmeans and organized by Victoria Ryan who will be leading two additional sessions. Here's where you can find us. Bookfest.

May 2013 be filled with joyous blessings and fun surprises to knock your socks off!

What are you looking forward to this year?