Monthly Archives: May 2014

Beach Book Promotion!

Monday, May 26, is Memorial Day, which means that beach reading season is upon us. Personally, I think that you couldn’t do better than read The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte as you loll around in a beach chair, but maybe you’ve already read it. Besides, I don’t want to be as dictatorial as Betsy’s brother-in-law Napoleon! So I’ve put together a little giveaway that I hope will be to everyone’s mutual satisfaction and delight.

I am sponsoring a Rafflecopter giveaway of $20.00 Amazon gift certificates to help three lucky winners buy some summer reads. What do you need to do to enter? Help me promote my book.

There are several types of entries with varying points rewarded. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you earn one entry in the contest.

If you send out a tweet promoting my book or this giveaway (I’ve provided a couple of different options for what you can say), you earn two entries in the contest for EACH tweet. Plus, these entries can be earned once a day over the life of the promotion, so you can really rack up the entries! NOTE: To read what the tweets say, press the tweet button. You’ll be able to see what they are before you hit send. Remember that there are three different ones and you get credit for sending all three.

If you promote the book on a blog with a new post that contains the synopsis, the link to the book trailer, and the link to buy the book on Amazon, you earn a whopping five entries in the contest.

Here’s the synopsis:

As a clever girl in stodgy, mercantile Baltimore, Betsy Patterson dreams of a marriage that will transport her to cultured Europe. When she falls in love with and marries Jerome Bonaparte, she believes her dream has come true—until Jerome’s older brother Napoleon becomes an implacable enemy.

Based on a true story, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is a historical novel that portrays this woman’s tumultuous life. Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, known to history as Betsy Bonaparte, scandalized Washington with her daring French fashions; visited Niagara Falls when it was an unsettled wilderness; survived a shipwreck and run-ins with British and French warships; dined with presidents and danced with dukes; and lived through the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Yet through it all, Betsy never lost sight of her primary goal—to win recognition of her marriage.

Here’s the trailer:

Here’s the link to the book on Amazon:

Click here to go to my Rafflecopter giveaway

and start entering! The giveaway starts today (Sunday, May 18) and will end at 6:00 PM Central time on Memorial Day.

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Wanted: Blocks of Time

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, it occurs to me that part of my problem is how much time I’m actually spending working on the new novel right now. As most of you know, I’m trying to get back to a semi-normal schedule after my bout with cancer. I’m working only about 60% time right now, so you’d think I would have lots of time for the novel. But three things are working against me:

1. I have a lot of new health-related things added to my daily routine, and those aren’t ever going to go away.
2. I’m really behind on household and garden chores, and I’m trying to gradually, oh so slowly, catch up.
3. It’s important that I don’t overdo my work hours for a while.

The upshot of all of this is that I’m working on the new book only about five hours a week. I plan to increase that over the course of the next few months because it’s really a pitiful amount. How can I get inside my characters’ heads when I spend so little time with them?

But it can’t be helped. I’m still in the situation that my health has to come first. It will get better when I can work at the writing at least 10-12 hours a week. I’m just not there yet.

Have you ever gone through a period in which you have so little time for your writing? What do you do to keep your excitement about the project alive?


Filed under Writing

Getting to Know Our Characters

I’ve been reading a lot of books to research the new novel, but I’ve also been feeling frustrated. I don’t really have a handle on the woman who’s my main character yet, and how can I start writing until I have a strong sense of who she is? I keep measuring my lack of certainty about this character against my understanding of Betsy Bonaparte, and really there’s no comparison.

Yesterday, however, I began to think that perhaps it is my memory that is failing me, not my creativity. I’m comparing how well I know Sarah, the new character, at the beginning of the writing process to how well I knew Betsy at the end of the writing process. I wish I could remember how strongly Betsy felt present to me when I was first reading her biographies, but I can’t. It seems to be a bit like what mothers say about labor; once you fall in love with that baby as a real physical person, you start to forget the pain of labor. I can’t really remember much about the early uncertainties and doubts I had about telling Betsy’s story.

As a result of that insight, I’m trying to ratchet down my expectations for this stage a bit. Once I finish reading and start developing the chapter outline and character biographies, I think things will improve. I’m sure I will get to a point where Sarah feels present to me. Plus, the real knowledge often comes in the actual writing. That’s where the characters usually start to come alive for me. That’s certainly how it worked with Betsy’s son and even with Jerome.

In some ways, I think I’m worried because I fear I won’t be able to pull off the feat of writing a novel again. But that fear is probably normal too.

If you’re a writer, what is this stage of the writing process like for you?


Filed under Writing