Tuesday, November 10, 2020

A Writer's Rambles

 


Writing – it’s what writers do. If we’re gifted in our craft, diligent, dedicated, and lucky, we manage to get ourselves published. Since the age of eight, it’s what I’ve wanted to do. And even though it didn’t happen overnight, I’ve managed to find myself now as a published author.  Thanks in no small part to my talented and persistent writing partner, Pam, and our “Jamie Tremain” identity.


 

Today I find myself in a reflective mood. Generated in part remembering it’s my Mother’s 107th birthday today, and that tomorrow is Remembrance Day. Remembrance Day is poignant and I’ve posted the reasons why last year.   101 Years

But this year, this roller coaster of a year – 2020! It’s been written to death, and the political circus that has engulfed America has only added to the stew. I’ve been journaling since the virus took off back in March and find that’s been therapeutic, as well as a personal record of the world we’re living in. And I like statistics, so every day I’ve been recording virus numbers. Hey, routine is good, right?

I’ve been trying to avoid social media. It’s exhausting and frustrating. Everyone believes their opinion, and rights, are all that matters. I’m tired of the nastiness and seeing the very ugly side of human nature. Yes, we all know it’s there, but until recently, we’ve managed to be mature and keep it under control. It makes me so sad to see how angry everyone is. I think if I were God, this planet would have been toast quite some time ago!

Aside from the above, on a more personal note, Jamie Tremain’s writing progress has been halted at times this year for various reasons, not the least of which was Pam breaking her arm early in January. A portent of the year to come!  But despite setbacks and detours, the third book in our Dorothy Dennehy Mystery Series - Beholden To None -  is now with our publisher. 

Unfortunately, at times, the publishing process is slow – which is likely an understatement! 

In the meantime, Pam and I have had frequent video meetings with our Genre5 Author group, which have provided support, structure and one or two laughs. We’ve had a writing project on the go for the past few months. Imagine five authors working together on one project!  As if this year wasn’t crazy enough, but in fact it’s been a source of stability, at least for me. Can't say enough about these ladies and so grateful our love of writing has led to a wonderful circle of amazing friends.


Donna Warner   Pam Blance   Gloria Ferris   Liz Lindsay
Donna Houghton

Despite not being able to have in person book launches or book club meetings, writers tap into their creative side to find ways around it.  More online interviews, more video hook ups and chats mean we keep our presence out there. And we continue to write. Will we write with stories around COVID or totally ignore it? Opinion seems evenly divided, but regardless, stories will continue.

And before long, we will say adieu to 2020 and I wonder what the next year will bring? I only ask for the health and safety of my family and friends – this year has shown how terribly important those two elements are. Truly, no man is an island. Family and friends provide a foundation, roots and a fortress at times against the world. 

But for now, another glorious, and highly unusual, November day calls me to get some fresh air. We’ve enjoyed, here in southwestern Ontario, remarkably warm days; 18 - 22 degrees celsius! If not for the barren trees, you could be tricked into thinking early summer. It won’t last, of course, so as with all things, make every day count.

Cheers and thanks for listening!

Liz

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Author Jacqueline Seewald - Highland Heart

 


We are pleased to welcome Jacqueline Seewald to our blog, whose book, Highland Heart is being released today, November 1, by Luminosity Publishing.










Seewald is the author of twenty published novels, including five mysteries in the Kim Reynolds series. The newest release is Blood Family.  A review from Amazon.com  “Ms. Seewald has been known for her strong characterizations and tight plotlines and Blood Family is certainly no exception.”  Lelia Taylor   



              



Multiple award-winning author, Jacqueline Seewald, has taught creative, expository, and technical writing at Rutgers University, as well as high school English. She also worked as both an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Twenty of her books of fiction have been published to critical praise including books for adults, teens and children. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies such as: The WriterLA TimesReader’s DigestPedestalSherlock Holmes Mystery MagazineOver My Dead Body!Gumshoe ReviewLibrary JournalPublishers Weekly, and The Christian Science Monitor.

JT:  It sounds like you’ve had a love of writing all your life! How long did it take for your first book or article to be published?

Jacqueline: My first professionally published work was a short story that appeared in the now defunct London Mystery Selection, a quarterly print publication. By that time, I’d had my first child and taken a leave from teaching. So I was thrilled.

JT: Your market reaches all ages, adults, teens and children.  And not just books but poems, and plays! You are multi-talented and must have ink in your veins. What is your favourite genre to work with?

Jacqueline: Thank you for the compliment! I’d have to say mystery and historical romance for adult readers and picture books and YA novels for children and teens are my favourites, although I read a great variety of fiction and nonfiction and like to write in a diversity of genres. I don’t write as much poetry or nonfiction as I did at one time.

JT: Where do you draw inspiration from for your novels?

Jacqueline: I get many ideas from real life. Listening and observing provides inspiration for writing.

JT: As an author, do you have a favourite character among the many you’ve created?  And if so, why?

Jacqueline: Kim Reynolds, university reference librarian and reluctant sleuth, has been the main character in five of my mystery novels. She and I share that occupation. Of course, my sleuthing is limited to writing.

JT: You also have co-authored a mystery – The Third Eye.   As you know Jamie Tremain is a partnership collaboration and we love to know how others find the process. Is this something you enjoyed, or did you find writing solo works better for you?

Jacqueline: I’ve written two novels with my sons and very much enjoyed the process. They brought a lot to the work that was unique. But mostly I work on my own.

JT: You are a wife and mother and have had a busy career including being a teacher and librarian. How did you ever find the time to write?

Jacqueline: The truth is that I’m now retired. That’s given me time to write.

JT: Speaking of time to write, how has COVID affected you? Do you find it’s given you more time to write, or is it a non-issue as far as being creative? 

Jacqueline: Unfortunately, I’m writing much less these days due to my husband’s continued health issues.

JT: Sorry to hear that, and we wish him well. Your dream was to become a fulltime professional author, which you have achieved. Well done. A good segue now for you to give us a sneak peek at your newest book, Highland Heart. Tell us about it please.

Jacqueline:  Highland Heart is a sensual historical romance set in England and the Scottish Highlands in 1745 at the time of the second Jacobite Rebellion. (Think Tom Jones by Henry Fielding!) The romantic involvement is between a French aristocrat who is part Scottish and a British army officer who finds her as desirable as she finds him. Try as hard as they might, their overwhelming passion for each other cannot be denied. But people and events come between them nearly destroying their relationship since they are politically on opposite sides.

Here’s an excerpt:

“What will you do with him?” Madeleine asked, her face pale, lower lip trembling.

“He’ll be our prisoner until we’re well out of here. I’ll not be hung as a traitor by the English.”

Andrew turned to Gareth. “They say you’re a brave soldier and that your men respect you. We’ll do you no harm. Unlike your people, we’re not butchers.”

But Gareth wasn’t accepting what her cousin said. It took the same four men to subdue him, and finally, the giant, Fergus, rendered Gareth unconscious with a hard blow to the jaw.

“Is he all right?” she asked with a wavering voice.

“He’ll be fine, lassie,” Andrew reassured her.

“There was no other way to get the bonds on him,” Fergus said. “The mon has the strength of a demon.”

She remained in the cave, waiting for Gareth to regain consciousness, unable to bring herself to leave until she knew for certain that he would truly be all right. As he began to moan softly, she brought a cloth and some water to wash the blood from his face.

When his eyes opened, Gareth at first looked puzzled. Then a flicker of memory came into those glittering sapphire eyes and he seemed to recall the circumstances which brought him into his current situation.

“Untie me,” he demanded of her in a soft, urgent voice.

She shook her head. “I cannot do it. They won’t hurt you. Andrew promised.”

“The promise of a barbarian? And what’s that worth?” He sounded bitter and cynical.

“At least as much as yours,” she countered, pressing his bruised face a little too gingerly with the cloth. “My cousin is a man of honor.”

“Careful!” he said, squirming from the pain.

“You’ve nothing to fear.”

“As if I could trust you!” he spat out angrily.

She stared at him in surprise. “You think I betrayed you in some way?”

“Didn’t you? You knew I followed you here and you told them.”

“I did no such thing! I never dreamed you’d follow us. Why would I? And why did you follow us anyway?” She eyed him suspiciously.

“I thought you might be coming to your cousin.”

“How clever you are,” she said.

“Not near clever enough.”

Her heart hurt; she felt a deep sense of regret and disappointment. He obviously held a low opinion of her.

Andrew joined them at that moment. “Madeleine, I think we might try a bit of a ploy. Tell my mother what has happened. Ask her what she thinks about telling the English soldiers that we hold Eriksen. We could promise to return him if they leave here.”

“They have orders, MacCarnan. If I die, the next man in line will take command, and so forth. It will never end until you’re taken into custody or dead. I’m a worthless hostage to you.” Gareth’s voice was quiet and tightly controlled.

“We’ll see,” her cousin said.

Madeleine saw that Andrew’s face had grown paler and he looked very weak. Gently, she helped him to lie down. He pressed his cheek to hers and kissed her affectionately on the lips. She felt Gareth’s accusing eyes upon her and could hardly breathe as if a granite weight were pressed against her chest.

“Someday, there will be a time for us. I promise ye that, my bonnie lass.” Andrew’s smile was warm as the sun on a summer’s day.

“Rest now,” she said. “Grow strong that you may leave this place.”

His hand held hers until he finally slept. Turning away from Andrew, she saw Gareth’s eyes coldly watching her. His expression was so closed, she hardly knew what he was thinking. The extent of the control he could exercise over his emotions truly amazed her. It also frightened her. He gave away nothing.

“Come here,” he said in a voice that was deadly calm. His hooded eyes possessed her own the way a cobra would mesmerize its victim.

She did not want to move, yet her legs seemed to carry her of their own volition.

“Tell my men where I am,” he said quietly. “Help me escape from here.”

“I cannot do that and you know it!”

“I know nothing of the sort. If you care about me at all then you must help me escape.”

She shook her head. “I do care, but what you ask is impossible.”

“Talk softly. They are paying no attention to us at the moment, but if you raise your voice again, you’ll alert them.”

She pressed a compress against his face and then to his lips which were also badly battered. His lips kissed her fingertips, sending queer little quivers through her belly and heat through her blood.

“Help me,” he whispered. “You must.” He began sucking on her fingertips.

She quickly pulled her hand away.

JT: From the except it sounds like Highland Heart will be a favourite of historical romance fans! Future writing projects for you? 

Jacqueline: I’ve been working on a new novel that’s part historical, part mystery. It’s different from my other novels, more literary.

JT:  Before we finish, do you have one piece of advice for anyone who feels they want to be an author. Or what was the best piece of writing advice you ever received.

Jacqueline: I know everyone says this but if you want to be a good writer you first have to read a lot. I’ve always enjoyed reading. Writing is hard work and reading is fun. But reading a variety of written works teaches us about writing well. Also, it’s important to write and re-write. Self-editing is a skill that needs to be developed. First drafts are rarely good.


 

Thank you so much, Jacqueline, for being with us today. We wish you continued success with your writing career and look forward to seeing Highland Heart on the best seller list!


Review for Highland Heart - "I enjoyed this book."  Vicki, reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More


For a full list of Jacqueline's works, please visit her blog.  Jacquelineseewald.blogspot.com

Her books can also be found on Amazon and at her publisher Luminosity Publishing.