Sunday, July 27, 2014

Coming to Amazon in September

"London tea merchant, Marc Garneau faces bankruptcy and debtor’s prison unless he can retrieve his inheritance from war-torn France. 

Marc’s brother, a secret Huguenot still living in their small French village, agrees to help him spirit the money into a Dutch bank account. In spite of the dangers to both of them, they agree to meet in Holland. 

Travel in 18th century Europe entails perils enough without having an attractive, young daughter of marriageable age in tow. Nevertheless, when an unscrupulous London moneylender threatens his wife and children, Marc decides to take them along on his quest. As the tea merchant and his family set off for Europe, both father and daughter face challenges that will change their lives forever.

Part historical adventure and part coming-of-age, “Night of the Gypsies” brings to life the next generation in this French Huguenot family saga." 

Monday, July 21, 2014

English History Novalist, Maria Grace was kind enough to do her blog on me this week. I have reposted it here.

Writing superheroes: Liz Kales

  A superhero in purple velvet?  Read on and find out more…

superhero copy
 If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing what would be the most important scenes?
When I was about nine my mother, who had been a teacher, introduced me to Anne of Green Gables. I was immediately hooked and begged for all the other L.M. Montgomery books. By age twelve, I was so into reading that in a two-month period when I was home a lot with a terrible flu, I went through seventy-five books.
All sorts of characters started coming to life in my mind and I thought I would tackle something myself. After listening to an episode of my favorite radio show, Fibber McGee and Molly (is there anyone who still remembers that) I decided to sit down and write a play myself.

What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?
As I recall now, I don’t think the play was very long—maybe about fifteen minutes. But apparently, it was quite funny because the school principal decided to produce it and we performed it on stage at a PTA meeting. The audience howled most of the way through it and for about a week, I was the “toast of the town.” Heady stuff for a twelve year old.
Looking back through the mists of time, I’m not sure what happened to our copy of the script and perhaps it is fortunate that my mother didn’t keep it.liz kales

All super heroes have their mild-mannered secret identity, what is yours? I promise we won’t tell.
She’s a little old lady, closer to eighty than seventy. Back in her “Clark Kent” days she wrote television and radio commercials for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; then moved on to the travel industry where she often wrote articles about her flying trips for newspapers and travel trade journals. It wasn’t until she toured France and the areas where her Huguenot ancestors came from that she discovered the latent talent that could bring them to life.

What kind of training do you do to keep your superpowers in world-saving form?
I read what other writers write. I constantly have books in a variety of genres “on the go.” In fact, I’m an Amazon Vine reviewer, so I have to read every day to keep up with the books they send me. I also read a lot of “How to…” writing books. Because it was late in my life that I recognized I had this embryonic super power, I still need guidance on how to handle it.

Granted, you probably don’t get to wear your superhero costume a lot, but if you did, what would it look like?
Oh, I wear it a lot. Sometimes far into the afternoon. It’s a purple velvet bathrobe that I’ve had for many years. It’s completely loose and allows all the creative juices to flow.

What is your kryptonite? What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?
I think it’s my age. In the past, I was always able to think on my feet and words came to me with ease. Now I often have to wait for the right word to pop into my head. When my mind goes blank like that, I just tell myself to relax and stop thinking so hard. In a moment or two, the word will come to me. But this method definitely slows down the flow. That’s why I can only write a book every two years, so I do suggest that you start writing while you’re still young.

What was the super villain that threatened to stop your latest project and how did you vanquish it?
Fatigue. I was born tired anyhow and that hasn’t improved with age. I have to be totally rested before the voices in my head will wake up. However since I like to write at night between ten and midnight, that means a nice long nap in the afternoon. Since I’m retired, I don’t have to get up very early.

What important lessons have you learned along the way?
I think it’s important to learn the so-called rules of writing fiction and then figure out which ones it is safe to break. Just as an example, when I was taking on-line writing courses, both students and teachers kept repeating the mantra “show don’t tell.” I thought to myself, must you never tell? Seems impossible. I finally found a realistic writing book entitled “Showing & Telling: Learn How to Show & When to Tell.” I learned that there is a place for both and that “telling” is often necessary to speed up the plot.

What has been your most memorable experience along the way?
Two years ago, the city where I lived opened a big, brand new, beautiful library in the center of town. My cousin’s daughter is a librarian there and we got a special invitation to explore it before the actual opening. Imagine my delight and surprise when she showed us the “historical fiction” section and there was my novel, in living colour, on the top shelf. She had convinced her superiors to order the book since they like to spotlight the writing of local authors. I didn’t expect it and it was a great experience.

If you did this, again what would you do differently and what would you not change?
I’d definitely start writing seriously at a much younger age. It takes so many years to get really good at it, and unfortunately, I don’t think that I have that much time left.
I wouldn’t change my chosen genre. I love history and would always want to write about a different time than the one we live in.

What is the best (writing or otherwise) advice you have ever gotten and why.
Don’t write only what you know. Thankfully, my life has been fairly free of conflict and cliff hanging moments, so it wouldn’t make a very interesting book.

Tell us about your new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.
The new book is the sequel to The Silk Weaver’s Daughter and is probably going to be called “Night of the Gypsies.” **
Although Marc Garneau wasn’t the hero of the first book, many of my readers were fascinated by the handsome Frenchman and wanted to follow his further adventures. When Marc and his family set out to Europe to try to recover the fortune he left behind in France, they run into a band of gypsies. The strange woman they meet in that gypsy camp more or less changes the future of every one of the main characters.
It does stand-alone but I think it might be more interesting if one reads “The Silk Weaver’s Daughter” first.

What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?
I have an idea in my mind for a prequel to “The Silk Weaver’s Daughter” about one of the silk weaver’s ancestors who is mentioned in that novel. However, it will take a tremendous amount of research and I’m not young anymore. I always have to face that fact that I could run out of steam. Even superheroes sometimes fade away.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Wikimedia Commons" Bremmerton_and_Port_Orchard_Foot_Ferries.Bremmerton and Port Orchard Foot Ferries

With television and the newspapers being constantly full of sorrowful  and frightening events and television so full of sex and violence, every so often I need to read one of Debbie Macomber’s books.
Macomber lives in Washington State in the beautiful Kitsap Peninsula. By ferry, it’s an easy ride from Seattle and is an area of great beauty. Many of her novels are set in and around Seattle and her latest novels called The Rose Harbor series are truly balm to the soul.   

I had never read a Debbie Macomber book when I picked up the second book in this series titled, “The Inn at Rose Harbour,” but I had noted that she is a very popular author. I chose this book for a summer read a couple of years ago and enjoyed it so much I’ve been following Debbie ever since.

The premise for “The Inn at Rose Harbour” was that after less than a year of marriage, Jo Marie Rose lost the love of her life in a tragic accident in Afghanistan. To try to cure her heartbreak she decides to embark on a new life, using the insurance money to buy a Bed and Breakfast. She finds the perfect spot in the small town of Cedar Cove on the Kitsap Peninsula. The town is probably modeled to some extent after the town of Port Orchard, Washington where Macomber actually lives.

Jo Marie loves her new home and soon makes friends with many of the welcoming residents. When her first two guests arrive with profound problems of their own, Jo Marie throws herself into providing them with a happy sojourn, and in so doing, finds solace for herself.

It's not a page-turner but Ms. Macomber's writing is lovely and descriptive. I found it easy to imagine myself in the setting. It's a soothing sort of read and I'm sure many people would find it enjoyable. So I was happy when this summer, Amazon Vine offered me a copy of her latest novel in the series titled, “Love Letters.”

Since I was already familiar with the setting and the protagonist, Jo Marie Rose, I was happy to see her coming to terms with her new life. Her B&B is in full swing and this book deals with two romances that need the encouragement that a stay at the Rose Inn seems to offer.

Also in this volume, Jo Marie's handyman, Mark Taylor is still in the picture and we are beginning to learn a little more about him. From the ending, it does seem, as though there will be a sequel. So, looking forward to that. Although it helps to have read the earlier ones, the first time reader will still enjoy this novel

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Two Novellas for Pool Side Reading.

A little late, this week but here are two books that are easy beach or pool side reads. Both of them fairly short. Not awe inspiring but fun reads if you are an armchair traveler.

One takes you to the Cote d’Azur of France and the other to the mountains of Colorado. Enjoy

A Rocky Road by Glen Ebisch

After the death of her father, Susan Cantwell hopes to make a new life for herself away from her demanding brothers in New Jersey. Leaving her job as a schoolteacher in the east, she takes a job as a guide with a tour company in Denver, Colorado. She likes the thought of the freedom living in the Wild West hopefully will give her.

However, when one of her guests dies in a mysterious fall down a hotel staircase on the second night of the tour, she wonders if she has taken on more than she bargained for. Especially when the one young handsome passenger on the tour turns out to be a private detective, the company has hired to look out for fraudulent passengers.

Rather a nice little mystery plus a hint of romance all against the gorgeous background of Mesa Verde and Rocky Mountain Park. I always like a book that takes me travelling and this one provides a nice tour through the wonders of Colorado. This is a few pages too long to be considered a novella but it is definitely an easy summer read.

Cliff Palace-Colorado-Mesa Verde NP

By Tobi 87 (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 

The Corsican Caper by Peter Mayle

Although this short novel is written in Peter Mayle's light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek style and chock full of good food and excellent wines, there's really not much to this book. At around 160 pages, it really is a novella.  

A wealthy Russian named Vronsky, who modus operandi is generally to have those who stand in the way of what he wants put out of business. In other words, killed. He never is caught because he's always far away when these murders happen. He is now determined that he must have for himself an impressive Riviera mansion owned by a Monsieur Francis Reboul, who refuses to sell. Enter Mayle’s master sleuth, Sam Levitt, who just happens to be vacationing on the Riviera. (Who wouldn’t if they could?)  

Even though it's a mystery, there's very little in the way of suspense or cliff hanging moments. Just enough of a plot to whet your appetite for a substantial meal. A little disappointing compared to his other books.

Cannes port rotonde

Cannes Harbor by Guy Lebègue (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons