Monthly Archives: April 2014

Musing About Conflict

I was going to sit down and write a book review this afternoon, but instead, my thoughts about the YA book in question are prompting a semi-philosophical post about conflict in fiction.

Let me give you a brief scenario. In the novel in question, the heroine doesn’t want the life that is proscribed for girls in her time period. She runs away and basically achieves her goal of an alternate life by masquerading as a boy in the very first chapter. The rest of the story is filled with interesting characters (some of whom have conflicts with the protagonist), exotic locations, and once-in-a lifetime adventures. In spite of all that, the first half of the book felt flat to me because there was no overarching tension, no big goal or conflict driving the story from episode to episode. The protagonist got what she wanted in the first chapter and she keeps telling herself how lucky she is.

Am I being too critical? Do you think it’s necessary to have a big conflict driving the story if there are a plenty of little conflicts and adventures along the way?

I should mention that eventually the overarching narrative does develop a big-picture conflict because the heroine begins to fear that her secret will be discovered—an event that would be doubly disastrous because she has fallen in love with one of her companions and knows he will feel betrayed when he learns that she has deceived him for so long. Once I got to the second half of the book, I was much more invested.

I just wonder if my expectations for the beginning were reasonable. I promised the author I’d write a review on Amazon (and I’ve told her of my concerns), but then I began to wonder if I were being too harsh. I’d love to hear what you all think either as readers or writers or both.



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Status Report

Here’s what’s going on in my little corner of the world. I finished radiation five weeks ago. And after a couple of weeks, I realized that I wasn’t getting my strength back. When you’re undergoing radiation, your immune system puts all its efforts into dealing with the damage and it can’t always keep up with the other issues in your life. That’s what happened to me. My asthma got out of control, and I was coughing about two hours a day. It’s hard to build up energy under those conditions.

So I went to see the doctor who treats my asthma, and he gave me a whole slew of stuff, and about the middle of last week, the coughing finally subsided to manageable levels.

Since I was feeling better last week, I started to follow a more normal schedule. I worked half time, did a little bit in my garden, and did some research for the new novel. Next week, I’ll increase my work hours from 20 to 25, a workload that is going to be my new normal for the next few months. Then in late summer, I’ll evaluate whether it’s time to work full time again.

I suspect that I will start blogging again soon, perhaps at the rate of two or three posts a week. Right now, the bigger priority is to put in some regular hours on the new novel, which basically got shelved the whole time I was in treatment.

I hope you’re all doing well. What’s going on in your lives?


Filed under Life

Special Giveaway!

France Book Tours Banner 1st anniversary

France Book Tours is celebrating
its first anniversary
on April 18!


France Book Tours has been thrilled to present amazing books related to France for a year.
To thank the authors who submitted their books and the bloggers who read and reviewed them, France Book Tours organizes a mega giveaway from April 18-25!
Depending on the number of entries in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this page, they may give away up to 10 books, so spread the word!
The winners will be chosen on April 26.

Here are all the books available to win! Click on each cover to know more about it.

Please note what format the book is available in.
Note also that some books are only available for US/Canada residents.
If nothing is specified, it means you can receive the ebook or the print copy where ever you live.

Historical fiction

Spirit of Lost Angels Wolfsangel_CoverFinal Becoming Josephine

Spirit of Angels = print + ecopy
Wolfsangel = print + ecopy
Becoming Josephine = print for US/Canada only

Unravelled Ambitious Madame Bonap

Unravelled = print
The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte = print for US/Canada only


The Paris Lawyer The Mona Lisa Speaks

The Paris Lawyer = print for US/Canada only + ecopy
The Mona Lisa Speaks = print for US/Canada only + ecopy


I see London cover Paris Rue des Martyrs - cover final

I See London I See France = print for US/Canada only
Paris, Rue Des Martyrs = ecopy


The Paris Game Moonlight & LoveSongs City of Jasmine

The Paris Game = ebook
Moonlight & Love Songs = ebook
City of Jasmine = signed print copy for US/Canada only

Promise of Provence

The Promise of Provence = ecopy

Nonfiction – memoir

Confessions of a Paris Party Girl - cover

Confessions of a Paris Party Girl = ecopy


April 23 at 5pm Central Time

Spread the word!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Writing Process Blog Tour #3

Michelle at The Sunflower’s Scribbles is one of the three writers who agreed to carry on the Writing Process Blog Tour. You can read her post here.

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My Writing Process Blog Hop!

Krystal Jane is one of the three writers who agreed to carry on the Writing Process Blog Hop.

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Marc Royston is one of the three writers who agreed to carry on the Writer’s Process Blog Tour I took part in last week.



Q: What are you working on?

A: I am in the rewrite and editing stage of the first four volumes of Part One (The Flame Ignites) of my serialized novel, A Wizard’s Life.

A Wizard’s Life is an adult, epic fantasy intended for those readers who grew up on J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling and Robert Jordan but who now seek fantasy with adult themes and content. The series is the autobiographical account of a master wizard, Götling Hans Velsing, beginning with his discovery of his talents and extending through his apprenticeship. In the midst of a global war against an army of undead and the threat of the return of an ancient evil, young Götling becomes the last hope of the Empire. As the Inquisition takes over his home after he is accused of being a witch, Götling must also deal with the consequences to a…

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Reviews to Start the Week

My blog tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours is winding down, and I have two more reviews to post. There should be one more to come, but the blogger was delayed by illness, so I’m not sure when it will post. Given my own recent history, I certainly how important it is to get one’s strength back!

You can read a review at Let Them Read Books here.

You can read a review at The True Book Addict here.

Many thanks to Amy Bruno for her hard work organizing this tour.

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Goodreads Giveaway of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte

I’d be very appreciative if any of you would publicize this:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte

by Ruth Hull Chatlien

Giveaway ends April 30, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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Bonanza Thursday

Today, the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour is offering up two reviews of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte, plus an interview and giveaway.

The reviews can be found at:

Ageless Pages Reviews

Historical Fiction Obsession

The interview and giveaway can be found at:

Let Them Read Books

Only one more day to go on this latest whirlwind tour!

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An Interview, a Review, and a Giveaway

Lots going on today in the Blog-o-Sphere.

First up, I have an interview up at Reading Lives. The blogger, Mel U, asks wide-ranging, extremely thought provoking questions that were a lot of fun to answer. Check it out!

Second, there is a review and giveaway going on over at Peeking Between the Pages. If you don’t have your copy of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte, here’s your chance to win one!

And don’t forget. From now till Easter I’m donating a quarter of my proceeds from any Amazon paperback sales to the Cancer Wellness Center in Northbrook, Illinois.

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