The Marathon of Novel-Writing

I’m guest-posting on A Writer’s Path today, sharing my experiences as a novelist.

Come on over for a visit and check it out!

The Marathon of Novel-Writing

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Reflections on a Good Week

As anyone who follows me regularly can attest, I don’t use this blog too often for shameless self-promotion of my novels.

Please allow me to make an exception for today.

I am on Cloud Nine since Wednesday, when my debut book Calmer Girls peaked at Number One on the Amazon Canada Bestseller list for Teen Fiction, specifically in the Kindle Store categories of Teen Pregnancy, as well as a peak at Number Two for Dating & Intimacy.

Yay! 😀

What a nice feeling to hit those numbers.
Thank you, Canada.

Calmer Girls Series

***end of self-promo***

I now return you to regularly scheduled programming.
See you on Sunday!

Guest Post: Connie Lacy

“From a novelist’s perspective, the Sixties, itself, is like a character – so rich was that period as a decade of change.” ~ Connie Lacy

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Connie Lacy to my blog as a special guest. I hope, dear friends and followers, those of you who read or write fiction would kindly say hi or leave a comment for her below.

Connie writes speculative fiction, climate fiction and magical realism, all with a dollop of romance. Having worked for many years as a radio reporter and news anchor, her experience as a journalist shows up in some of her novels.

Connie’s post today is about 1960s music, stemming from her research for her latest novel due out this fall. I am a huge fan of the music from that era, so I jumped at the chance to share it with you. Take it away, Connie!

The 1960s – when social consciousness hit the airwaves

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When you think of music of the 1960s, what pops into your mind? The Twist by Chubby Checker? Ricky Nelson’s Hello, Mary Lou? Maybe it’s Come Together by the Beatles, or Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone. All of those songs were popular in the 1960s. But the first two were in the early sixties. Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone hit the charts in 1965 and Come Together was released in 1969. Needless to say, the volatile decade of the 1960s saw a huge transformation in the music everyone heard on the radio. Looking back, the first few years of that decade seem like a continuation of the 1950s, while the middle and late sixties come across as a new era with a more complex sensibility.

I’ve been re-listening to some of those songs as I write my latest novel which comes out this fall. The story is set in 1966-67 as musical tastes underwent a tectonic shift. It’s surprising now to think that the actual top forty playlist as my novel opens in September of 1966 included such varied songs as: Sunshine Superman by Donovan, Summer in the City by The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, Land of 1000 Dances by Wilson Pickett and Stevie Wonder’s version of Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind, all in the top ten. Then at #11 was Wouldn’t it Be Nice by The Beach Boys and #12 was Lil Red Riding Hood by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.

The Sixties, of course, was a time of great social upheaval, with opposition mounting to the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement gaining momentum, growing demands by women for equal opportunities, and the gay rights movement picking up steam. The music we listened to incorporated or reflected growing social consciousness. Some popular songs were overt political statements. It’s amazing when you realize we went from Brian Hyland’s 1960 hit, Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, to James Brown’s Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud in 1968… and from 1961’s My Boomerang Won’t Come Back by Charlie Drake to Barry McGuire’s 1965 anti-war anthem, Eve of Destruction.

This musical evolution took us from silly novelty songs like 1962’s Monster Mash to 1965’s My Generation by The Who – a teen rebellion anthem if there ever was one. But the airwaves were also filled with anti-war songs. Think Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Peace Train by Cat Stevens, Universal Soldier by Donovan and the very powerful War by Edwin Starr – “War, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.” There were songs calling for equal treatment of black Americans such as A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke and Southern Man by Neil Young. There were also songs that became anthems for women, like Aretha Franklin’s Respect, Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me, and on the Country and Western side, there was Dolly Parton’s 1968 hit, Just Because I’m a Woman.

From a novelist’s perspective, the Sixties, itself, is like a character – so rich was that period as a decade of change. Our country was undergoing a dramatic transformation and our music was changing as well. What a gift for me as a writer. And I make use of popular songs the characters listen to in my novel to help create that Sixties vibe.

If you’d like to be notified when my new book comes out, you can sign up for occasional, brief author updates here. And you can find my other novels on my Amazon author page or my website www.connielacy.com.

This article was originally posted on the author’s website here.

Thanks so much for visiting, Connie!

Readers and Writers, did you live through the Sixties?
Have you ever written a story set in that decade?
What are some of your favourite songs from the era?

Hello, August. Here So Soon?

July is over! Whaaa?
Can you believe how quickly it whizzed by?

This month is shaping up to be
another busy one for yours truly.
First, there’s this:

I am honoured to be making three appearances during this Author Tour.

Getting to rub shoulders with the literary talent in our fair province is a huge part of the fun. Do drop by our libraries if you’re in Gander or Clarenville on these above dates, or if you’re in St. John’s for the Grand Finale. (More about the finale later)

I will also be busy with my two grandkids + one little friend, who are coming tomorrow for a week-long stay here on Perry’s Point.

And then there’s work on the new novel in between all of this, not to mention all those chances to soak up more summer.

FYI:
I’m running an Amazon Countdown Deal
for 
Calmer Secrets from
August 2nd to August 9th.
Score a Kindle copy
of this sequel to Calmer Girls
at a discount on Amazon.com
and Amazon.co.uk.

What are your plans for August?
Do tell!

Blogger Bouquet #46

D. Wallace Peach (aka Diana) is a delightful blogger and fantasy writer that I’ve discovered only recently and am now following.

From her Myths of the Mirror blog About page:

“I didn’t care for reading as a child – I preferred Bonanza and Beverly Hillbillies reruns, Saturday morning cartoons and the Ed Sullivan show.
Then one day, I opened a book titled The Hobbit.

Tolkien … literally changed my life.”

Seeing as I’m taking a short break from my own blog for the next couple of weeks, I’m highlighting a timely post of Diana’s today where she asks: “How does anyone keep up with blogging and not burn out?” Check out the useful tips and tricks she shares in the link below.

The Benefits of a Blogging Break

Comments are closed here but you can leave a comment on the blogger’s page.

Have a restful weekend, everyone.
See you all in August!
❤

Completing My First Draft: Three Things I’ve Learned*

Besides being featured on Jill Weatherholt’s blog yesterday, I also guest posted on The Writer’s Path to share one of my articles on writing fiction.

It was interesting to look back on this post because I wrote it before either of my books were published. Still, I believe the concepts hold true and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Completing My First Draft: Three Things I’ve Learned

*Originally posted on Sept. 6, 2013 on jenniferkellandperry.com

Summer Spotlight & End of Sale

Happy Friday, everyone.

Come visit me over at Jill Weatherholt’s blog today. Jill is a friend and a fellow author/blogger who writes delightful stories about love, friendship and forgiveness, and she has graciously invited me to take part in her Summer Spotlight series.

As it happens, there are just a few days left to snap up Calmer Girls on Kindle for only 99¢, and you can get the link at Jill’s place. Please drop by with a comment when you get a chance, and I will chat with you later this afternoon when I get home. I look forward to seeing you there.

Have a great weekend!

❤

I Dream*

Always in my heart – Happy Father’s Day, Dad
❤

 

*Poem originally published here on Sept. 25, 2013

A Life That Matters

 “It doesn’t matter who we are, what we are doing and what our station in life is, we all have the ability to contribute to something beyond ourselves and (to find) purpose in doing so.” – Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters.

According to Smith’s research, it isn’t happiness that makes life worth living – it is meaning. It is rising each day with a purpose. As simple and as uncomplicated as that sounds, I wonder how many of us have been chasing the wrong thing.

Is developing a “meaning mindset” the only true answer to achieving fulfillment?

Living on auto-pilot, or chasing mostly what brings you pleasure, or working long and crazy hours, driving yourself to exhaustion to conform to someone else’s definition of success – do any of these pursuits sound like happiness to you?

Or have you already figured this out?

Have you found your meaning?

Author Blog Hop: Twenty-Four Days

Fellow blogger, author, and e-friend Jacqui Murray has a new book out:
Twenty-Four Days.

It’s the exciting sequel to her first novel, To Hunt a Sub.
Here’s the scoop on it, as well as my review.

Short Synopsis of Twenty-four Days:

A former SEAL, a brilliant scientist, a love-besotted nerd, and a quirky AI have twenty-four days to stop a terrorist attack. The problems: They don’t know what it is, where it is, or who’s involved.

Long Synopsis of Twenty-four Days:

What sets this story apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the sentient artificial intelligence who thinks he’s human:

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

World-renowned paleoanthropologist, Dr. Zeke Rowe is surprised when a friend from his SEAL past shows up in his Columbia lab and asks for help: Two submarines have been hijacked and Rowe might be the only man who can find them.

At first he refuses, fearing a return to his former life will end a sputtering romance with fellow scientist and love of his life, Kali Delamagente, but when one of his closest friends is killed by the hijackers, he changes his mind. He asks Delamagente for the use of her one-of-a-kind AI Otto who possesses the unique skill of being able to follow anything with a digital trail.

In a matter of hours, Otto finds one of the subs and it is neutralized.
But the second, Otto can’t locate.

Piece by piece, Rowe uncovers a bizarre nexus between Salah Al-Zahrawi–the world’s most dangerous terrorist and a man Rowe thought he had killed a year ago, a North Korean communications satellite America believes is a nuclear-tipped weapon, an ideologue that cares only about revenge, and the USS Bunker Hill (a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser) tasked with supervising the satellite launch.

And a deadline that expires in twenty-four days.

As America teeters on the brink of destruction, Zeke finally realizes that Al-Zahrawi’s goal isn’t nuclear war, but payback against the country that cost him so much.

My Review:

5 out of 5 stars: Fast-paced suspense in this page-turning sequel
Format: Kindle Edition
What a wild ride! This was an enthralling followup to To Hunt a Sub, which I also read; I loved the characters, including Otto the AI (I actually would have liked to read more about him), and the edge-of-your-seat suspense as the book built to a riveting climax. I also appreciated how strong and capable the female characters in the story were drawn, especially LT Paloma Chacone. Refreshing to read of this brand of heroism from both genders.
It boggles my mind to think of the research it must have required to tell this tale. I’m sure fans of the thriller and military genres would enjoy it.

Kirkus Review:

A blistering pace is set from the beginning: dates open each new chapter/section, generating a countdown that intensifies the title’s time limit. Murray skillfully bounces from scene to scene, handling numerous characters, from hijackers to MI6 special agent Haster.
… A steady tempo and indelible menace form a stirring nautical tale.

Book information:

Title and author: Twenty-four Days by J. Murray
Genre: Thriller, military thriller
Cover by: Paper and Sage Design
Available at: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular
Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and  Twenty-four Days. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.
You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

Social Media contacts:

http://twitter.com/worddreams
http://facebook.com/kali.delamagente
http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher
http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray
https://plus.google.com/u/0/102387213454808379775/posts