Logan Mosby

Some thoughts on grandfather's this father's day

A shout out to a special man this Father's Day


“Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.”


— Alex Haley


Late last year, I got quite the scare. I've suffered my fair share of family illness of late, but this one hit a little harder than expected.


I've been especially lucky in my nearly three decades on this earth to have the great opportunity to know and love Harold Ray Mosby — my grandfather — better known to us grandkids as Nandad.


The news came swiftly, suddenly and painfully — Nandad had been diagnosed with cancer.


When I heard the news, all I wanted to do was scream. Yet all I did was sit and cry, silent rivers streaming down my face.


You see, the news didn't come at the greatest of times (but then again, when is a good time to discover you're favorite grandfather has cancer?)


Some of my earliest memories of my Nandad involve him creeping into my room at the crack of dawn, standing over my bed and letting out a squawk loud enough to wake the recently, and some not so recently, departed that are planted in the family plot just down the road. Each time, I’d jump a foot off the bed, my heart in my throat, breathing like I'd just run a marathon. Nandad would just kiss me on my forehead, tell me breakfast was ready and cackle all the way back to the kitchen.


My father swears Nandad did the same to him when he was growing up, and sometimes I wonder if that man just ain’t quite right.


While I had the distinct honor of “suffering” in the sanctity of my bedroom, some members of my family have not been so lucky.


A much-told family story has evolved involving Nandad, my very pregnant Aunt Lisa, and a very interesting trip to a Memphis-area Stein Mart.


According to family lore, Nandad accompanied my aunt, my Uncle Paul and my grandmother shopping, when at some point, the men-folk and the women-folk got separated. After several minutes of searching, Nandad got frustrated and did what only comes natural to him — he started crowing in the middle of Stein Mart.


That’s right, folks. My grandaddy crows — you know, like the bird.


Like the Red Sea, the crowd parted as Nandad and my uncle, who was at this point walking several paces behind his father-in-law, made their way to my utterly mortified aunt and grandmother.


Sensing the little men in white coats were imminent, the Mosbys made a hasty retreat.


And that, ladies and gents, is just the tip of the iceberg. Woe be to anyone who dares to fall asleep when Nandad is around. I can’t count the times I’ve woken up with knots in my hair and my shoes tied together, assuming of course the infernal man hasn’t hidden them. Folks, that man can find the most peculiar places to hide my shoes —under furniture, outside in the bushes, even in the deep freezer. After a visit to Coahoma, I never know if I’m going to go home with cold feet or bare feet.


Although he can never be considered a normal fella, my Nandad is most defiantly one of the bravest. Because, you see, my Nandad taught me how to drive. No easy task for the faint of heart, but Nandad survived my learning curve, which included a close call with a farm butane tank and the misguided notion that it was okay to drive with both feet at the same time.


And now he'd been diagnosed with  cancer. Granted, it was Stage I and his chances of a full recovery are very high. But the man is in his 80s for heaven’s sake.


To say I was concerned would qualify as the understatement of the year.


But sometimes prayers do get answered and if there is a higher power up there somewhere, he or she certainly granted mine.


A few months later, we got the good news — Nandad was cancer-free. A fairly new procedure had rendered his body free from the dreaded big C.


So on this Father's Day, as I sit in my home, hundreds of miles from his home — that same home where he awakened me with crowings, tied my hair in knots, hid my shoes and taught me what uncompromising love is — I will pick up the phone and give him a call, all the while, thanking my lucky stars I still have that rare and oh so precious chance to do so.


Because you see my dear readers, he is my Nandad, and I do love him so.


Logan Mosby is Content Editor for Writerspace.com.


 

Appreciating the gift of Mother's Day

Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime.
— William Shakespeare

I have not been a good daughter.

This truth occurred to me last year as I made a far too infrequent trek home to my hometown to make an surprise trip to see my parents.

And that knowledge deeply troubles me. I have always prided myself on being family-oriented. And perhaps in the past that was true. 

I suppose I could blame my lack of presence in the lives of the ones I hold the most dear — my parents and my brother — on an increasingly heavy workload, conflicting schedules, the economy and rising gas prices.

The fact is, I have.

But truth be told, none of those reasons were why I found myself looking for excuses not to make the drive home.

During a trip to the dentist’s office a few years back, my doctor asked me if I was allergic to anything. When I told him I had an impressive allergy to pain, we all had a good chuckle. Only thing was, I wasn’t kidding. I have a very low threshold for pain; physical in particular, but more often of late, emotional as well.

Which is why I don’t make the trek home as often as I should. You see, these days, it hurts to be at home.

Some years ago, my mom was diagnosed with dementia. A very broad term, in most cases dementia is the precursor to a truly insidious disease — Alzheimer’s. Several years ago, Mom was diagnosed with a very rare form of Alzheimer’s — early on-set. It affects people decades earlier than most, leaving in its wake a devestation of an immeasurable magnitude.

The diagnosis came as a shock to us, as my mother, in her early 50s, was relatively young. At the time of her diagnosis, my grandmother  was living with my folks, having herself been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years previously.

I watched as my grandmother, once a strong, independent woman possessing a keen intellect and a razor sharp wit, evolve into a stranger caught in perpetual stasis; stuck in a world that no longer existed. I watched as she slowly forgot me; the memory of her granddaughter stored in synapses that failed to fire any longer.

So when the doctors said Mom was, in effect, heading down the same road, I slowly began the process of distancing myself from her. No more phone calls home in the middle of the week just to say hi, no more impromptu shopping trips, no more late night conversations that only mothers and daughters seem to share.

Mind you, I honestly don’t think any of this was intentional on my part. It was just easier that way, at least for me, the resident coward. Any guilt I felt at the virtual abandonment of my mother I shoved away deep in the recesses of my mind, much like I would hide dirty clothes in a closet if company were to drop in unexpectedly. I ignored any twinge of conscience that would arise, undermining it with assertions to myself that I was an important person, with an important job — I was making tracks, making a name for myself. Surely Mom would understand

So, during this time, I watched from af far as my father watched his wife of 30 years slowly, then increasingly, decline, and I turned a blind eye to it.

I watched from a far as my brother suffered daily what I, his senior by 11 years, could barely withstand during occasional and begrudging trips home.
My distance did not go unnoticed and my father slowly stopped filling me in on the harsher aspects of life in the Mosby household. I told myself it was a trick of light and not tears that would well in my mother’s eyes, when on infrequent trips home, she would embrace me and tell me she missed me.

I did nothing short of packing up, moving off and forgetting to write home. And that is a truth, in retrospect, of which I am deeply ashamed.

So, ultimately, when I was asked to come home and help take care Mom, I packed up the life I was so comfortable with and headed home to a rather uncertain one.

And while it hasn't been an easy life this past year, I'll never regret coming home. 

So, today, as children across the nation recognize the role of mother, I think maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to appreciate it a little more this year than I did last year. Because now, I recognize the precious gift I have been given —  the opportunity to love my Mom as she has loved me and the chance to say things that need to be said before it’s too late.

And there isn't any gift better than that.

Logan Mosby is Content Editor for Writerspace.com.

Take a load off and pick up a book!

Reading is an effective means to combat daily stress

Stress is one of life's most common, and in many cases, most undefinable factors. 

The term "stress" as it is currently used was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as "the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change."

A National Health Interview Survey recently revealed that more than 75 percent of the general population experiences some level of stress on a daily basis.

So that means that at some point in life, the majority of Americans will experience some form of stress — whether it is work-related or in their personal lives.

There are two major types of stress. 

Eustress is a helpful type of stress. It comes into play when a person's fight or flight response kicks in. It mostly occurs prior to having to exert physical force.

Distress is a negative type of stress. This usually occurs when the mind and body undergoes a change in routine. There are two types of distress — acute stress, which comes in quickly in response to immediate change, and chronic stress, which occurs when a person experiences constant change for weeks.

Stress Facts:

  • Stress contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and other illnesses in many individuals.
  • Stress also affects the immune system, which protects us from many serious diseases.
  • Stress also contributes to the development of alcoholism, obesity, suicide, drug addiction, cigarette addiction, and other harmful behaviors.
  • Stress in society is so prevalent that the U.S. Public Health Service has made reducing stress one of its major health promotion goals.
  • Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
  • Seventy-five percent to 90 percent of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50 percent, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions. 
  • While it may be difficult to avoid stress, there are many ways to combat it. One such weapon in your arsenal is the simple act of picking up a book.
  • Reading provides a wonderful escape from stress and flexes your mental muscles.

 

In a 2009 study conducted at the Mindlab International at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, research revealed that reading a book works better and faster than other methods to cure stress. Reading slows the heart beat eases muscles tension, the study found, reducing stress levels by 68 percent.

So, the next time you've had a rough day at work or your much-beloved family members are jumping up and down on your last nerve, just take a deep breath, find a quiet corner, curl up with your favorite book and escape the world for a little while. 

After all, it's doctor's orders!

 

Logan Mosby is Content Editor for Writerspace.com.

 

Paula Graves: Southern Romance with a mysterious twist

At the ripe old age of six years, Paula Graves discovered her life’s passion. 

Now, some moons and a lot of hard work later, Graves is a nationally best-selling author of romance and mystery novels.

Born and reared in Birmingham, Ala., Graves started writing pretty early in her career.

“I was enthralled by books and reading as a child, and I know that as far back as the age of six, I wrote a short book featuring the kids in my neighborhood and me, solving a mystery,” Graves said. “I continued to write all through elementary school, high school and college, although I’d heard all the stories about how difficult it was to get published in fiction.”

After high school, Graves attended college at Samford University, a small private university in Birmingham. Majoring in journalism at first, Graves said the major just wasn’t for her. 

“I wanted to tell stories about fictional people doing neat and exciting things,” Graves said. “So, eventually, I got serious with myself about what I wanted and what fears and doubts were keeping me from reaching my goal of being a published writer. It took years, but here I am, doing what I’ve always wanted to do.”

Graves credits her mom and fellow aspiring authors for giving her the push she needed to get her writing career in gear.

“My mother had always wanted to be a writer growing up, and for a variety of reasons, she never got to do it. So she was pretty supportive of my desire to write.”

Graves joined a writing group where she founds many other writers struggling to get published. One of them was romance author Kristen Robinette.

“She talked me into trying my hand at romance and introduced me to Romance Writers of America,” Graves said. “After meeting so many fabulous writers here in Alabama who were writing and selling and making big successes of their careers, I decided I could do it, too, and I set about to educate myself and do the hard work to get published.”

And what’s the backbone of any good, publishable book? It’s characters. Graves said she channels her emotions and experiences into the development of her characters, thus making them more realistic and relatable to readers.

“I think in some ways, I’m playing out my fears and desires through my characters, even the bad ones,” Graves said. “Sometimes a certain trait will inspire me — I’d read a friend’s book that had a very appealing character who had the bad habit of being a chain smoker, a trait you probably couldn’t get away with in a romance hero. 

“But what if he was a guy who’d just quit smoking and was having a terrible time with withdrawal?” she continued. “Or what if you had a character who still had a habit he hadn’t been able to kick, something not as bad as cigarettes, such as popping antacids. But why would he pop antacids? Well, because he was a cop on a terribly wrenching case that messed with his head and his eating habits. And what if he’d been popping antacids for a while now because the case he’s on is a reminder of an even worse, more personal loss of his own? Out of that one idea was born the character of J. McBride in my first book, Forbidden Territory, a cop with a tragic past who was investigating a child abduction that was tearing him apart.”

Growing up in the South, and particularly in Alabama, has greatly influenced Graves’ writing and her depiction of strong and determined characters.

“I love living in Birmingham,” Graves said. “It gets a terrible rap, because of its shameful history in the Civil Rights era. But the city is so different now. The metro area is vibrant, diverse and a really nice place to live.

“Birmingham has a long, somewhat dark and troubled history,” she continued. “Personally, I’ve seen the effects of crime among people I grew up with. When I was very little, there were a couple of incidents in my neighborhood that brought police and rescue with the sirens blazing. After that, for a long time, any time I heard a siren, I got very upset and had to run home to make sure everyone was okay. I think I started reading mysteries as a result of that--I found comfort in the idea that when bad things happened, there were people who could make them right, or at least, make sure the bad guys paid and didn’t hurt anyone else.”

“I still write about righting wrongs, and it probably goes back to that. 

“As for my style of writing, I definitely have a bias toward writing about the south and southern characters. There’s a richness and depth of literary history in the South that has influenced me greatly. There are a lot of wonderful raconteurs here, because we do so love our stories. And our crazy characters, many of whom are relatives.”

Graves resides in a suburb north of Birmingham with her mother, sister and two nieces and works advertising agency as a copy editor. When not working or writing, she enjoys fishing, reading and spending time with her family.

To learn more about Paula, check out her website at http://www.paulagraves.com.

Logan Mosby is Content Editor for Writerspace.com




 

Hometowns: The backbone of a writer's past.

“For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people…”

— The Book of Ruth

There is a old, often repeated saying, that paraphrased, reads: That to know where you are going, you have to know where you’ve been.

Where and how one grows up carves, for better or worse, who and what we will one day be.

And that is never more true than with writers. Writers must drawn from the well-spring of past experiences to help mold and shape not only characters, but context and setting as well.

Some of Writerspace.com’s favorite authors recently reflected on their hometown, or hometowns in some cases, and the influence their past has had on their present.

 

Erin Quinn

HAUNTING DESIRE (Trade Paperback)

Mists of Ireland Series #3

EQ: My family moved around a lot when I was a kid. No, my dad wasn’t in the military — he just liked to explore. I was born in Independence, Missouri, home of Harry S. Truman, lived in Illinois, Maryland and Denver. Denver seemed to stick and we stayed there for awhile before moving to California. Moving and starting over taught me how to deal with new situations, but it also kept me from making lifelong friends. When I meet people who have known each other since childhood, I’m always jealous. I wonder what it would have been like to have been born and raised in the same place, to know everyone in my town, and to be connected to a specific place. I’ve moved so much that I couldn’t even tell you where I’d want to be buried when I die — not that I'm dwelling much on that, but it's a strange thing not knowing exactly where home is. On the flip side, I’m very independent and a bit fearless about taking on new situations and challenges. I think that comes from early learning— plus, living in the west for as long as I have. The wild frontier, though tamed and citified now, is different. Things are more spread out, life is less about society and norms and more about the wild spirit of things. It took a certain breed to settle out west and the character traits of the wild west have lingered even though the wild is long gone.

 

Francis Ray

BREAK EVERY RULE (reissue)

A Falcon Novel

FR: I grew up in a very small town, Corsicana, Texas. I think small towns are very close knit and family oriented. I've enjoyed writing series about families that go to the mat for the other. Whether in a small town or big city, for the lucky ones, family will always come first.

 

Susan Wiggs

THE GOODBYE QUILT (Hardcover)

SW: I was born in a tiny, picturesque town in upstate New York. It had a fantastic Greek Revival style library which I immortalized in LAKESHORE CHRISTMAS. My family moved overseas during the 70s and I lived in Brussels and then Versailles (near Paris). I have a love of big, sweeping stories and also a charming, nostalgic setting. Maybe it came from that juxtaposition of small town and big metropolitan cities.

 

Jaymie Holland

THE TOUCH (e-book)

JH: I grew up on a ranch outside of Bisbee, Arizona. Growing up there influenced the “Armed & Dangerous” series (formerly the “Wild” series) as well as the single-title, Chosen Prey. The A&D series is set present day on and around ranches and features “cowboy lawmen.” Chosen Prey was set mostly in Bisbee.

 

Carly Phillips

MORE THAN WORDS, VOLUME 7 (anthology)

HOT ITEM (reissue)

Hot Zone #3

Carly Phillips and others

CP: I grew up in Spring Valley, NY. I never considered where I live small town but I would say the neighborhoods, the houses and ability to play outside, hang out, have moms stick their heads out and yell for their kids to come home for dinner all play into the small town life I love to write about in my books! I usually create fictional upstate NY towns and I do believe that places I’ve lived and experienced always come into play. In September, I'll begin the Serendipity series about ... you guessed it, a fictional upstate NY town not far from Manhattan, called Serendipity.  I hope I can do justice and bring the town to life!

 

Marie Ferrarella

FORTUNE’S JUST DESSERTS (Harlequin Special Edition® #2107)

The Fortunes of Texas: Lost...and Found miniseries

MF: I grew up in New York City and while I don’t really think that living in New York influenced my style, it did influence me to do everything quickly. The pace in New York is quick, you hang back, you're lost, or get trampled. At any given moment, there are more people crossing the street in Manhattan than actually live in a lot of the small towns scattered through the United States. As much as I love California and wouldn’t move for the world, I have to admit that there's an energy in New York that infuses you. Had I grown up in a charming, sleepy little town, I might only have 100 books under my belt instead of 234.

 

Anya Bast

DARK ENCHANTMENT

A Dark Magick Novel #3

AB: I grew up in a rich suburb of Minneapolis. It was a great place to live and go to school. However, as in many schools, there were wealthy kids who had everything. They were very cliquey and judgmental, the way kids can sometimes be. If you didn’t dress the way they dressed or you were different in any way, you were ‘culled’ from the social herd. This, along with other influences in my life, taught me the emptiness in trying to fit into a box. I learned the value and richness in being myself, though the lesson was painful sometimes. I think these experiences helped me go against the flow and write paranormal romance when paranormal romance wasn’t cool. It also gave me the strength to write erotica back when many people judged that sub-genre incredibly harshly. If I hadn't had the strength to do these things, I wouldn't be where I’m at in my career today.

 

Paula Graves

HITCHED AND HUNTED (Harlequin Intrigue® #1272)

Cooper Justice: Cold Case Investigation miniseries

PG: I was born and grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. About nine years ago, I moved to a small suburb north of Birmingham, where I live now.  I love living in Birmingham. It gets a terrible rap, because of its shameful history in the Civil Rights era. But the city is so different now. The metro area is vibrant, diverse and a really nice place to live. Birmingham has a long, somewhat dark and troubled history. Personally, I’ve seen the effects of crime among people I grew up with.  When I was very little, there were a couple of incidents in my neighborhood that brought police and rescue with the sirens blazing. After that, for a long time, any time I heard a siren, I got very upset and had to run home to make sure everyone was okay. I think I started reading mysteries as a result of that — I found comfort in the idea that when bad things happened, there were people who could make them right, or at least, make sure the bad guys paid and didn’t hurt anyone else.

Other authors with April releases include:

TAKEN BY THE PRINCE

The Governess Brides #9

Christina Dodd

 

QUICKSILVER (Hardcover)

Book Two of the Looking Glass Trilogy

An Arcane Society Novel #11

BURNING LAMP

Book Two of the Dreamlight Trilogy

An Arcane Society Novel #8

First Time in Paperback

Amanda Quick

 

SHATTERED

First Time in Paperback

Karen Robards

 

SHIVER OF FEAR

A Guardian Angelinos Novel #2

Roxanne St. Claire

 

ALMOST HOME

The Chesapeake Diaries #3

Mariah Stewart

 

DRIFTWOOD COTTAGE

A Chesapeake Shores Novel #5

Sherryl Woods

 

ALWAYS A HERO (Harlequin® Romantic Suspense #1651)

Justine Davis

 

BENEATH THE COVERS (Kimani Romance® #232)

Ladies of the Pen #3 miniseries

Dara Girard

 

HOW TO LASSO A COWBOY (Harlequin Romance® #4233)

The Fun Factor miniseries

Shirley Jump

 

FOX AND FERAL (e-book)

Protect and Serve series

Angela Knight

 

A TALE OF TWO VIKINGS (reissue)

Sandra Hill

 

THE BARGAIN (reissue)

Mary Jo Putney

 

Logan Mosby is Content Editor for Writerspace.com

Tell us about your hometown. Comment below or email me at logan@writerspacemail.com


 

 

 

The local library: Where authors learn to love books

I absolutely adore books.

My passion for the written word began before I could even read. One of my earliest memories as a little girl was going to the library every week with my grandmother (whom I called Mymama). My grandparents lived out in the country, about 10 miles or so out of town, and Mymama would make a weekly pilgrimage into town to go to the beauty shop and to the local library to stock up a week's worth of books (which for her was quite a few books). I often got to go along for the ride with Mymama — but only if I were on my best behavior.

And boy was I! Library day was THE day of the week to which I looked forward to the most.

You see, even as a toddler, I loved the way books smelled and felt. The slightly musty odor, the clean, smooth texture of the pages.

I put a whole new spin on walking around with my nose in a book — not only was I reading, I was smelling.

I remember walking down what seemed to be at the time impossibly tall rows of books, getting lost in a maze of words, thoughts and pictures.

At the end of the day, we would return to my grandparents, where my grandfather would teasingly ask Mymama why she hadn't been waiting on at the beauty shop and complain about the massive bag of books he would heft in from the car — a tradition I can quite proudly say continues to this day.

Mymama and I would sit down on the front porch, and we would each, respectively, open up our favorite book and dig in. We would only surface around dinner time when my grandaddy, NanDad, would start grumbling about supper.

I look back on those days now and long to sit on the front porch with Mymama and a good book and the only care of the day be what we were going to eat for supper.

Those really were the days.

By the time I was in kindergarten, I was armed with my very own library card, which to me at the time, was like manna from heaven.

In high school, I worked as the student librarian and during my summer breaks from college, I worked as an assistant librarian for my hometown library. I must say, during that time, I developed an entirely new respect for the role a library plays in one's community.

A library doesn't just provide books — it provides education, empowerment, knowledge, and for some, a safe haven, a respite from the day's worries.

And that's why I'm proud to help celebrate National Library Week, which kicked off on Monday.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries —school, public, academic and special — participate.

In today's society, technology reigns supreme. With the advent of Kindles, Book Nooks and other e-book devices, to many it has become blase to visit the library.

But y'all, as techno-savy as I am inclined to be, nothing to me beats the feeling of a book in hand, the smell of the pages and the ability to curl up on the couch and savor a new and exciting story.

Show your support for your local library today by stopping in and checking out your favorite book.

For some, it may be a trip down memory lane, and for others, it may be the beginning of a whole new world.

Either way, I can guarantee you this — you won't regret it.

Logan Mosby is Content Editor for Writerspace.com

Do you have a favorite library memory? If so, comment below or email me at logan@writerspacemail.com.

 

No joking matter — Happy April Fool's Day

Today is April 1, and spring is in full bloom, as are no doubt countless practical jokes as thousands around the world celebrate April Fool’s Day.

The unofficial holiday recognizes the innate prankster that resides in most of the population. Sometimes called “All Fool’s Day,” today is the day when jokesters and mischief-makers alike are given free reign to enjoy some lighthearted frivolity at the expense of family, friends, neighbors and/or co-workers.

While not everyone appreciates April Fool’s Day, most people who’ve either played a trick or had a trick played on them, aren’t likely to forget the unofficial holiday.

Several Writerspace.com authors, who all have releases this month, took the time recount some of their fondest April Fool’s Day moments and were brave enough to share them with you, our readers.

 

Erin Quinn

HAUNTING DESIRE (Trade Paperback)

Mists of Ireland Series #3

EQ: I used to live in a very tight-knit neighborhood where everyone knew everyone else. The couple across the street liked to play jokes on all the neighbors so one April Fool’s day we played a joke on them. We’d just installed new toilets in our house and so we took the old ones, planted tulips in the bowls and left them in their front yard the night before. When they woke up and went out to get their newspaper, they discovered two toilets with tulips sprouting on their lawn. The looks on their faces was worth the midnight hour of planting and smuggling. They had no idea who’d played the joke on them until we finally confessed. Of course, then they returned the favor by leaving them there so we had to see flowering toilets whenever we went outside for weeks after, ha ha.

 

Francis Ray

BREAK EVERY RULE (reissue)

A Falcon Novel

FR: I couldn’t find my cell phone and called the number on another phone to locate it. A strange voice answered. I was speechless for a couple of seconds, then said, “Who is this?” The voice replied,  “Who wants to know?” I spluttered and said, “You have my phone.” To which the voice replied, “So.” It wasn’t until the “so” that I recognized my daughter’s voice. That and her laughing. She really got me that April Fool’s Day.  

 

Susan Wiggs

THE GOODBYE QUILT (Hardcover)

SW: When I was little, my brother took me snipe hunting. He had me wait for the longest time, shivering in the cold, waiting for the “snipes” to come racing down a hill in the woods so I could trap them in a burlap bag. I had to “call” them by banging a rock on a stick. I went home snipeless, that day....

 

Jaymie Holland

THE TOUCH (e-book)

JH:The best April Fool’s Day joke I played was in high school, back in the days when we hand wrote letters. I mailed a letter to one of my best friends, Cindy, and had written the entire letter in my right hand (I’m left handed). I told a very long, very wild story about how I broke my arm. At the very end of the long letter I wrote April Fool’s! From what she told me, I totally had her.

 

Kylie Brant

DEADLY DREAMS

The Mindhunters #5

KB: I teach full-time in addition to writing and the teachers always have an April Fools Stunt to play on the students. One year we all wore fake mustaches to work. Last year we made a big deal telling the kids there was going to be a track and field day just for teachers the evening before April Fools Day. The next day we all came with crutches, bandages, walkers, wheelchairs etc., and proceeded to give individual stories about our “mishaps” — Mine was about tripping over a hurdle just before the finish line. Which is probably exactly what would have happened if I’d attempted it!

 

Anya Bast

DARK ENCHANTMENT

A Dark Magick Novel #3

AB: Once my husband and I flew to Belgium without telling his mother. He called her from her doorstep as if he were still in the U.S., then lured her to the front door where she found us. There was a whole lot of screaming, crying, surprise, and happiness. That was a great April Fool’s Day “joke.”

 

Other authors with April releases include:

TAKEN BY THE PRINCE

The Governess Brides #9

Christina Dodd

 

QUICKSILVER (Hardcover)

Book Two of the Looking Glass Trilogy

An Arcane Society Novel #11

BURNING LAMP

Book Two of the Dreamlight Trilogy

An Arcane Society Novel #8

First Time in Paperback

Amanda Quick

 

MORE THAN WORDS, VOLUME 7 (anthology)

HOT ITEM (reissue)

Hot Zone #3

Carly Phillips and others

 

SHATTERED

First Time in Paperback

Karen Robards

 

SHIVER OF FEAR

A Guardian Angelinos Novel #2

Roxanne St. Claire

 

ALMOST HOME

The Chesapeake Diaries #3

Mariah Stewart

 

DRIFTWOOD COTTAGE

A Chesapeake Shores Novel #5

Sherryl Woods

 

ALWAYS A HERO (Harlequin® Romantic Suspense #1651)

Justine Davis

 

FORTUNE’S JUST DESSERTS (Harlequin Special Edition® #2107)

The Fortunes of Texas: Lost...and Found miniseries

Marie Ferrarella

 

BENEATH THE COVERS (Kimani Romance® #232)

Ladies of the Pen #3 miniseries

Dara Girard

 

HITCHED AND HUNTED (Harlequin Intrigue® #1272)

Cooper Justice: Cold Case Investigation miniseries

Paula Graves

 

HOW TO LASSO A COWBOY (Harlequin Romance® #4233)

The Fun Factor miniseries

Shirley Jump

 

FOX AND FERAL (e-book)

Protect and Serve series

Angela Knight

 

A TALE OF TWO VIKINGS (reissue)

Sandra Hill

 

THE BARGAIN (reissue)

Mary Jo Putney

 

Be sure to check back next week to read about the hometowns of some of your favorite Writerspace.com authors.

Logan Mosby is Content Editor for Writerspace.com.

 

Women Writers — A Literary History of Success

“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” — Virginia Wolfe

Reading has always been a passion of mine. Since the age of four, I’ve been attracted to the written word. 

Even before I could read myself, I was constantly badgering anyone and everyone around to read to me. My mother used to tell me that by the time I was five-years-old, she had every sentence of Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who etched into memory.

As I grew up, I took reading and my joy of it for granted. I had a library card by the time I started kindergarten and as my parents were both in the newspaper business and my grandmother an English teacher,  I was blessed to have a cornucopia of authors, texts and stories from which to choose at any given time. 

March marks National Women’s History Month and there is almost no area richer and more diverse in that history than the field of female authors.

Believe it or not, there was once a time when the idea of women authors was not only preposterous, but highly frowned upon. It simply was not something genteel young women were supposed to do. 

As American author Virginia Wolfe once famously said, “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”

In an effort to help celebrate Women’s History Month, I thought I’d take the opportunity to take a trip down my own personal literary memory lane, and pinpoint some of the women authors and their works that helped to shape my life and my vision of the world.

Where to begin? I suppose at the beginning — with the classics. 

Jane Austen 

An English novelist, Jane Austen set the standard for romantic fiction in her day. To be honest, that standard continues to this day. 

Considered a bluestocking (an unmarried, educated woman concerned with trivial things such as politics, ethics and the world around her), Austen’s realist portrayal of the state of marriage and her bold commentary on the society of her day in novels such as Pride and Prejudice; Sense and Sensibility, was spot on.

She received very little critical acclaim during her lifetime. It was not, in fact, until the early- to mid-20th century that the genius of her writing was truly appreciated.

Charlotte Bronte

Bronte was the third sister in a trio of authors that would one day help to define the standard of English literature.

Along with her sisters, Emily and Anne, Charlotte helped to establish the “tortured romance.” Her novel, Jane Eyre, epitomized this genre. Published in 1847 under the the pen name Currer Bell, Jane Eyre shows readers the darker side of romance; the more visceral emotions — in short, the true, in some cases, nature of love.

Mary Shelley

The mother of The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley was at her best in the gothic genre. And she, in fact, took it where no man had dared to go before.

The daughter of a political philosopher and a feminist, the world was open to Shelley, and she grabbed it with both arms. 

In 1818, she published her most well-known work, Frankenstein, at the ripe age of 21. It, in my opinion, marks the beginning of the horror genre and set a standard that few authors — male or female— have managed to reach.

Now, onto early 20th century literature.

Perhaps I am biased, having been reared in the South and and as I have continued to live here on into adulthood, but two authors who top my all-time favorites lists share the same heritage as I do.

Margaret Mitchell

Mitchell had one major publication, which was, of course, Gone with the Wind. The epic novel, which has sold millions of copies worldwide, won the much coveted Pulitzer Prize in 1937 and was shortly after made into one of the most well-loved motion pictures in history.

I can recall the first time I read Gone with the Wind. I was in the sixth grade and I remember this so vividly because the elementary school librarian had to send me to the high school library to check it out. 

I was completely engrossed within just a few pages. Of course, I didn’t understand all the nuances and subtexts to her writing (as I would discover in later readings many years later), but I was instantly hooked.

Gone with the Wind is full of vivid characters, none more than the spoiled, selfish, yet charming Scarlett O’Hara, and is rich in history. It tells the story of rebellion, (reflected in both the South’s secession from the United States, as well as in the character of Scarlett herself), failure and the search for redemption.

Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird is unequivocally my favorite book of all time. There, I said it. No takesy-backsies.

I am a daughter of Harper Lee’s South and the mark that her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel has left on me is palatable. 

Based in the Depression plagued Maycomb County, Ala., To Kill A Mockingbird is a tale of racism and morality, all wrapped up in the silk gauze of a Southern Gothic, seen and experienced through the eyes of a child — Scout.

As a child, I wanted to be Scout Finch. I already lived in a sleepy Southern town and detested all things girly. I rode my bike and I climbed trees and I absolutely hated wearing dresses.

Harper Lee created in Jean Louise Finch a character that I could not only relate to, but someone I aspired to be like.

As an adult, I still feel that kinship. I still feel that yearning to be like Scout, running down the street each evening to meet her father Atticus, struggling to keep up with her brother Jem, and learning the value of a friend next door like Boo Radley.

And that’s what good writing is all about, isn’t it? Authors creating relationships on the page that reach out and grab their readers, take hold of them and never let them go.

The above authors were all able to create unforgettable characters and tell the stories that left a mark on the world around them.

And really, as an author or a reader, can you ask for anything more?

Agree or disagree? Do you have a favorite female author? Let me know. E-mail me at logan@writerspacemail.com.

 

Erin Go Braugh — The Joy of Ireland

Today, millions will go green as they gather to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day all across the globe.

The day is in honor of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. At a young age, Patrick was kidnapped by a Irish raiders and taken from Wales to Ireland, where he would work as a captive shepherd. He managed to escape six years later, only to return 14 years later after having a vision from God, who instructed him to spread the Christian faith — something he did for the next 30 years.


St. Patrick’s Feast Day, as it was originally known, was traditionally a religious holiday, but over the centuries has matured into more of a secular celebration for the Irish people and those of Irish descent. It’s on this day that many display their heritage with the Irish shamrock. It is said to have been adopted by St. Patrick himself as a means to explain the concept of The Holy Trinity – The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit — and how they could all exist as separate elements of the same entity.

I had the fantastic opportunity a few years back to visit Ireland. I went to do research on the troubles that have plagued much of Northern Ireland for the last 30 or so years, while working on my graduate thesis.

While there, I was introduced to a plethora of experiences, some pertaining to my studies, some not. I met with political leaders on all sides of the divide, I enjoyed the beauty and quaint charm of the Emerald Isle and experienced the awesome occasion of St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin.

Along my journey, I picked up a few tidbits of knowledge, that if I may, I would share with you now:

  • Ireland is a darn cold place in March. Not to mention wet. That notwithstanding, Ireland is perhaps one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever had the good fortune to visit.
  • Airplane bathrooms aren’t quite as unpleasant as I had anticipated. They aren’t great, mind you, but they will make your bladder gladder on an eight hour flight.
  • Much to my surprise, Irish food was not the travesty I had feared. Rather, it is quite tasty. I’ve found that I have developed a taste for strong English tea in the mornings and have yearning for a good healthy heaping of fish and chips. (Of course, that being said, I must admit the first thing I did when we landed in Atlanta was to find and consume the largest, greasiest cheeseburger I could. You can take the kid out of America, but not the America out of the kid.)
  • Traveling for 23 hours straight is not my idea of a good time. Although, I have learned, given the right circumstances and a high enough level of exhaustion, I can sleep just about anywhere, in just about any position — on a plane, on a bus, on a train, in a chair, in a cab, sitting up, standing up, laying down, upside down - you name it. Sleep, I’ve discovered, is a powerful drug. 
  • You think you’ve experienced St. Patrick’s Day? You haven’t experienced it until you’ve been in Dublin to celebrate the event. Folks, let me tell you, it was something I’ll never forget. Imagine Mardi Gras, only on a slightly smaller scale, and being swept away in a sea of shamrock, surrounded by drunken Irish folk decked out in green to the nines. Y’all, it was quite simply, wondrous.
  • And on that note, green beer is exceptionally gross.
  • I’m grateful for Irish bartenders, who can’t always understand what you are saying, but manage to give you what you want anyway.
  • The Giant’s Causeway is absolutely, undeniably, the most breathtaking wonder I have ever behold. I can’t begin to describe to you how encompassing an experience it was to visit. I highly recommend it to any who visit Ireland.
  • I was perhaps most surprised to learn that Northern Ireland is one of the most segregated societies I’ve ever come across. Imagine Mississippi (my home state), circa 1965, only the civil rights battle isn’t between black and white, but between Protestant and Catholic and unionists and loyalists. In the last few years, political leaders of Northern Ireland have made great strides in the name of peace, but the road is rocky and both sides have a long way to go. 
  • Standing next to men who are responsible for the deaths of countless individuals is somewhat disconcerting. As a part of our research, the group met two individuals, David Ervine, leader of the Progressive Unionist Party and Danny Morrison, public relations officer of the Sien Fien, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, who both openly admitted to having killed for their respective causes and who both have served time for political crimes. The most unsettling aspect? I actually found myself liking both men a great deal. 


And that my friends, made me stop and do something that many
avoid at all costs — I had to stop and think, and then re-evaluate my own morals and values. I found myself uncomfortable with the fact that I could empathize with men who did not kill in self-defense, but men who killed countless,  many innocent, people in the name of a political cause.

But, sometimes I suppose, uncomfortable is necessary. I’ve learned that in life, not everything is black and white, but rather tinted by shades of gray. It is a hard lesson to learn, but a necessary one.

So, while I gloried in the beauty and awe that is Ireland, I brought back much more than aesthetic pleasantries and memories. I brought back a different view of the world. And that’s much more than I ever expected to gleam from the Emerald Isle.

Erin Go Braugh, indeed.

Logan Mosby is Content Editor for Writerspace.com.

Have you ever visited Ireland? And if so, what impact did it have on your life? Let me know. Comment below or email me at logan@writerspacemail.com.

 

Empowerment through writing

March is Feminine Empowerment Month, established to celebrate
and highlight the strides women have made all across the world in establishing themselves as not only equal counterparts to men, but as forces with which to be reckoned.

In keeping with that theme, two Writerspace.com authors took time out of their busy schedules to discuss the impact and influence female writers have played in their lives and their writing.

Susan Wiggs, who has reissued THE YOU I NEVER KNEW this month, and Marie Ferrarella, who offers readers a new release with THE DOCTOR'S FOREVER FAMILY, a part of the FOREVER, TEXAS series, were influenced by different authors and genres, but both said strong female authors who created dynamic characters shaped and continue to shape the way they write each day.


1. Who is your favorite female author and why?

SW: Susan Wiggs, because she feeds my family and pays my taxes. After that, j'adore Anjali Banerjee, Kate Breslin, Carol Cassella, Lois Faye Dyer, Sheila Roberts, Suzanne Selfors and Elsa Watson, aka my writers’ group, because they give so generously of their time and creativity. Moving on to those no longer with us, I have to give a shout out to Charlotte Bronte. In JANE EYRE, she created the kind of defiant, emotion-driven and unflagging heroine I love to read about. She’s no goody two-shoes but a lusty woman with a big story. I just bought Barnes & Noble's classic edition of JANE, and it reads beautifully, as expected.

MF: In our genre, it's Nora Roberts because her characters are engrossing and she consistently writes entertaining, well-plotted books.

2. Why is it important to create strong, dynamic female characters in your books?

SW: See above. To drive the plot of a lengthy novel, the female lead has a big job to do. She needs strength (even if it’s subtle) and a dynamic personality to pull it off.


MF:
I have always liked strong female heroines, even when I was a child. I relate to a strong female and I feel that the readers see themselves in the characters I write. I try very hard to project a good self-image in the female characters I fashion. (I call it the Barbara Stanwyck syndrome.)

3. Who is your favorite female character in a work of fiction not of your own?

SW: It's a tie: Scout in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (of course!) and
Harriet in HARRIET THE SPY by Louise Fitzhugh. I beg you not to watch the movie. Just read the book. Harriet, like Scout, is intrepid, impulsive, emotional, strong and dynamic.

MF: This might seem trite, but for me it’s Scarlet O’Hara. She’s not a nice person and I would have hated to have been related to her, but she refused to be beaten down or to give up and there is something admirable about all that strength.

If you are looking for strong, dynamic female characters created by some of the world’s leading female authors today, be sure to check out Writerspace.com’s March releases:

SURRENDER TO ME (Trade Paperback)

Wicked Lovers, Book 4

Shayla Black

 

HARVEST MOON

A Virgin River Novel #15

Robyn Carr

 

MOON CURSED

A Nightcreature Novel #10

Lori Handeland

 

A LOT LIKE LOVE

Julie James

 

TO DESIRE A WICKED DUKE

The Courtship Wars #6

Nicole Jordan

 

DEADLY VOWS

A Francesca Cahill Novel #9

Brenda Joyce

 

A LIGHT AT WINTER’S END

Julia London

 

DARK MIRROR (Trade Paperback)

M. J. Putney

 

BLACKOUT

A Cal Leandros Novel #6

Rob Thurman

 

THE DOCTOR’S FOREVER FAMILY (Harlequin® American Romance® #1346)

Forever, Texas miniseries

Marie Ferrarella

 

ALL REVVED UP (e-book)

Sylvia Day

 

THE BLUE VIKING (reissue)

Sandra Hill

 

THE SHEIKH’S BARTERED BRIDE (reissue)

Lucy Monroe

 

THE YOU I NEVER KNEW (reissue)

Susan Wiggs

 

MISS LIZ’S PASSION (reissue)

Bestselling Author Collection

Sherryl Woods


Do you have a favorite author or character? If so, let us know. E-mail your answers to logan@writerspacemail.com or comment below.

 


 

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