talking about the book… The Greatest Knight

The Greatest Knight (William Marshal, #2)The Greatest Knight
by Elizabeth Chadwick

A tidbit about the author
Elizabeth participates in the medieval reenactment group Regia Anglorum, who explore the life and times of people of Britain from the Viking Days through the times of Richard the Lionheart.

The scene that made you laugh out loud or cheer
The young Prince Henry ‘borrows’ William Marshal’s spirited destrier and is thrown from the horse. I had to LOL at his younger brother’s response to this warning:

“You saw what happened to your brother,” he warned, shaking him like a terrier with a rat. “Don’t ever think of doing the same.”

“I won’t.” Richard put his hands together like an angel. However as soon as Salisbury released him he added cheekily, “For a start, I wouldn’t fall off.”

If you aren’t familiar with this era, Henry and Richard are 2 of the sons of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. (Remember The Lion in Winter?) And Richard, of course, will one day be known as the Lionheart.

I also love that William, who was a voracious eater, was known as ‘Guzzleguts’ when he served as a young hearth knight.

The place where you wanted to throw the book across the room
William is accused of committing adultery with young King Henry’s wife. He’s banished from the Court. He has been loyal to the kings he serves; to have them doubt his honesty is heartbreaking.

A memorable line
William visits Queen Eleanor while she is held in captivity by King Henry. I love Chadwick’s spirited Eleanor:

“…Jesu, even nuns have more freedom than I do. My gaolers think it a great concession to allow me to dine in the great hall or receive a visitor every once in a while.” She glanced towards the castellan who had followed William into the room. He was looking uncomfortably at the ceiling, but still standing close enough to hear every word.

“I am deeply sorry, madam.”

“Hah, so am I… to be caged at least. For the rest, not even the pincers of hell will wring a confession of remorse from my lips.” She clapped her hand at a maid and gestured her to pour wine. “From Poitou,” she said. “Henry may have given me cracked old cups to drink from, but at least I’m granted the boon of wine from my own province.” Her eyes narrowed. “I would not drink his even if I were dying of thirst.”

A quote from someone about the topic of the book
“This is a great peek into the world of the Angevin Empire established by Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and passed on to his sons Richard and John (of Magna Carta fame). William is portrayed as a talented man of strong character whose integrity and loyalty win him the trust and patronage of powerful people in a time of constant wars and political maneuvering that will shape the future of Europe.” –a GoodReads reviewer

This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. 5 stars for The Greatest Knight.

talking about the book… Tales of the Fiction House

book cover - Tales of the Fiction HouseTALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE
by Raji Singh

A tidbit about the author: Raji has a brilliant imagination. Kids from from 3 to 90 will get whisked away into the worlds he creates and may not want to come back to reality. Discover this yourself as you follow the adventures of his colorful characters in his Tales.

The scene that made you laugh out loud or cheer:
Turt frees Captain Polly! He’s climbed atop her and she’s strafing the pirates! Go, Polly, go! Turt is trumpeting, blaring into their ears. It’s a fantastic scene that will have you cheering.

The place where you wanted to throw the book across the room:
There are any number of scenes with a character named Laza Bones Thibidioux. He’s mean, scary, and down right nasty. Do you remember scenes in a movie where you want to close your eyes, pull the blanket up over head? Well, Laza Bones does that to me.

A memorable line:
Charles Darwin (yes, of the HMS Beagle!) writes the tale of his first ‘meeting’ with Turt:

“Ah Turt. You will probably be around long after I have departed this world. The wonderful adventures you will have that never will I see.”

Then, Charles Darwin drifts to sleep and dreams of crossing the Atlantic, blissfully riding atop Turt’s shell. And Charles is naked, and loving it.

A quote from someone about the topic of the book:
“Imagine Mark Twain writing “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and you’ll be ready to fly with Raji Singh.” –a Goodreads reviewer

Raji is spinning more tales every week on his blog. Go visit him. Now. Drift away into a magical world. You won’t regret it.

All we want is Family Peace

Huge announcement!

Keeping the Family Peace
is now available at Amazon!

book cover for Family Peace

I really hate the hard sell, so I won’t beat you over the head with it. It’s there. It was a lot of work, a fantastic journey with many friends – including my Thursday night writers group – encouraging me along the way.

I’d love to see you “like” the book on Amazon (if you do), write a review if you’re so inclined, pass the link on to your Facebook friends, your relatives, and ask them to spread the word. Promotion and marketing are tough in this brave new publishing world when there are nearly 3,000,000 books available.

In my friend Marie’s immortal words:

Go buy it. Right now. Then read it.

By the end of the week, Keeping the Family Peace will also be available for Nook & other eReaders. Don’t have an eReader? You can download FREE ereaders to your computer, your tablet, even to your smart phone! Amazon & Nook for PC & Nook for Mac. Or, if you’re willing to wait a few more weeks, I hope to have the print version of the book available from Amazon by late January.

Coffee mugs & Family Peace teaser #5

My mug collection

My kids* and friends who visit open my cabinets and gawk. Wow. Lots of coffee mugs. I like to have a souvenir from places I visit, so why not something useful? Mugs can be so much more than containers for coffee and tea. They are great for ice cream – hold the handle and your hand won’t get cold! Hot soup or cold. Loose change bucket. Flower vase. Marble holder. Pencil/pen cup.

Jack, patriarch of the family Peace, is a mug collector. I’m sure he got that from me. He found another use for his. I imagine my kids will be grateful that I never thought of this until I was writing the book…

Keeping the Family Peace – teaser #5

Nick stared into the kitchen just in time to catch Emma’s scorching glare. His stomach knotted. She turned away quickly and tried to extricate herself unsuccessfully from Taylor’s grip. Nick dug his fingers deeper into the carpet.

Sam threw a questioning look toward Anne. “New York?”

“I’m going to live there one day. It’s my favorite city.” Anne’s green eyes sparkled. “Haven’t you seen the captain’s coffee mugs?”

“Ah.”  Sam nodded, glancing toward the kitchen. The line-up of cups hanging beneath the cupboards wasn’t easy to ignore. “I know he’s a collector. Are they in alphabetical order?”

“Order of admittance to the Union,” Taylor said. “Great way to learn a bit of U.S. history.”

“Don’t laugh,” Jack called out. “It worked, didn’t it?”

Jo quartered a tomato for the salad she was preparing and slid it into a bowl. She leaned against the counter. “New York, 1788. Ohio?”

“Eighteen-oh-three,” Taylor said. “Iowa?”

“Eighteen-forty-six.” Jack pointed to Emma. “Wyoming?”

Emma, with her stiff upper lip, finally detached herself from Taylor and stalked into the kitchen. Jack clipped her chin playfully as she walked by and Jamie offered her a bite of his cookie. Her face softened for a moment then she leaned across the counter. “Eighteen-ninety,” she said, eyes fiery and once again fixated on Nick. “South Carolina?”

Jo snickered at her choice of the first state to secede from the Union, earning her own glare from Emma.

Secession. Betrayal. They went hand in hand. “Seventeen eighty-eight,” Nick said, knowing she felt that he’d betrayed his faith in her judgment. “Emma—”

David and Sam started clapping, interrupting Nick but catching themselves when Emma whirled away. Nick smacked his fist against his thigh and exhaled deeply.

*  *  *  *  *

JW Manus has my notes from my review of the Kindle-version proof of the novel. Wait until you see the wonderful formatting she’s done. When, you ask? Getting closer…unless Jaye spots something really horrific as she makes one final sweep.

Do you have other uses for your coffee mugs? Do you have a collecting obsess–er, I mean, passion?

* My kids don’t gawk now. They’re used to my collecting. They’ve even added to it. Oh – that reminds me, I haven’t bought a new reindeer for the Christmas tree this year.

Keeping the Family Peace – teaser #4

book cover for Family PeaceFinal revisions are humming along & truly, the end is near!

Here’s another snippet from the novel. It’s Christmas time, 1995. Jack is the patriarch of the family Peace. Holidays are usually celebrated with the whole family, but not this year…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Jack wondered if quiet holidays would be the new norm for him. Seeing Jamie had been one bright spot. Actually, that hadn’t been so quiet. David was deployed to the Mediterranean and David’s parents had taken on Jamie’s care. After three awkward days with them in Massachusetts, Jack was on a train to New York City to meet Chuck and Anne. Chuck tried to convince him to stay to ring in the New Year, but he just wanted to go home.

He turned the key in the door of the house back in Arnold at five in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve.

By six, the suitcase was unpacked. Toiletries put away. Laundry in the washer.

At seven he rummaged through the freezer and found some leftover meatloaf, microwaved it, and sat down to eat.

At eight, the dishes were done, the kitchen spotless. He turned the tree lights on and lit a couple of the pine-scented candles that Jo sent with some other Christmas goodies while water boiled for his tea. He treated himself to an extra dollop of cream after the tea brewed, and then sat down.

He dozed off a bit around nine listening to the Boston Pops.

At ten he poked around the video cabinet and pulled out A Few Good Men. Right where he’d expected it, shelved alphabetically in the drama section. He made another cup of tea and sat back to enjoy the movie then promptly fell asleep again in his recliner.

The clock struck twelve. Jack blinked his eyes open.

Happy New Year.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I probably shouldn’t be depressing you this way, should I? Believe me, this will be a roller coaster of emotions, both happy and sad. I hope you’ll be intrigued enough to pick up a copy of the book and see how things turn out for Jack and the family Peace.

Cover reveal for: Keeping the Family Peace

Ladies & gentlemen, the time draws near! I’m working on the final revisions of my mainstream family drama novel, Keeping the Family Peace. Its initial release will be on  Amazon in December. Keep your eyes on my rambling here for that announcement.

But today, I give you the book cover, created by Travis Pennington at

book cover for Keeping the Family Peace

There. I did it! Now I better finish those revisions so you have an opportunity to meet the Peace family.

The book blurb

How do you distill a 93,000 word manuscript down to 2 paragraphs? While my novel is off in beta hands, I’ve been writing, editing, scrapping, and re-writing my book blurb, or as it’s called on Amazon, the “product description”. That’s not very romantic, is it? If I was buying a blender or a new laptop, sure, “product description” seems to fit. But for a book?

I suppose that in the online environment our books don’t really have a book jacket or a back cover. Will kids in the future even know those terms? Most will be introduced to the smart phone, iPAD or Kindle before they start kindergarten. Will the touch and feel of a paperback (or hardcover), the smell of old paper, be foreign to them?

But I procrastinate. Product description. Why not  something as simple as “about this book”? Too boring I suppose.

But boring is NOT what the book blurb can be. It has to grab the reader immediately. A voice in their head says I must take a closer look at this book, which leads to “Buy now with 1-click” and makes us writer-ly types happy.

The advice about writing the book blurb here and here makes it sound like it should be  simple. Writers know that this is not a piece of cake. Think of all the plots and subplots in a novel. I know what the most important thing is; I can tell you what’s at stake for my protagonist. But keeping it short, punchy, and to the point without revealing the details – that’s the trick.

I posted my 4th attempt at the blurb for my upcoming novel here. I’ve already worked up 2 different versions, including one that went over really well at my writers group last week.

I’d love to hear from you and I know my non-writer readership would be interested in your tales! How many rewrites did it take you to finalize your own book blurb? Feedback on my current blurb is welcome, too!