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Debut Author: Mia Epsilon

From Christina: Today I’d like to welcome Mia Epsilon to Time for Love. She’s recently released Wedding Belle Blues, a delicious romance novel.  She’s here today to talk a bit about writing and becoming a published author.

AS ESSENTIAL AS BREATHING

 

Writing is as essential to me as breathing. Sometimes it’s easy and I don’t have to think about it. Sometimes it’s like having broncritis and every word, like every breath, is a struggle. Being a published writer is a long held dream come true. And it’s a long road.

nanowrimo_calendar___2013_by_spooneh21-d6ooljkFor Wedding Belle Blues, several friends on Face Book gently (read that as ‘you do this or we’re coming after you’) encouraged me to participate in NaNo. If you’ve never heard of this, it’s a group to encourage writers to complete at least 50,000 words in a month, usually in November. I’ve tried NaNo before and failed miserably with dozens of excuses and reasons, some of them valid. 2013 NaNo was different though: I receive a newsletter from Breathless Press and they offered a 5 page critique of your NaNo efforts. So the FB friends and I made each other post every day how many words we wrote, what the plot was, etc I decided to send in my first five pages for the critique and less than a day later received it back. The BP editor made some wonderfully valid points, gave encouraging comments, and asked to see the entire manuscript once finished. So I had another reason to keep writing the novel.

Anna and Robin whole heartedly jumped on the wild thirty day NaNo ride with me. They told me their story, what they said, what they did, and all I had to do was type it in the computer. That’s all. Every night after ‘real’ work I dutifully typed. When November ended, I had 58,000 words to send to the BP editor. But… It was Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s and winter so the finished manuscript simply sat patiently on my hard drive. My husband asked me one day why I waited. With sweat, prayers and shaking fingers, I sent Anna and Robin off to hopefully charm the BP editor named Jen Bradlee. This was late February, a Saturday. Jen sent back an email five days later saying she loved it and BP wanted to publish it. Yes, that was me the world heard jumping up and down screaming. Hubby and I reviewed the contract word by word, I signed four days later, and began the edit rounds.

Let me say Editors have a hard job. They get blamed for being tough and not knowing ‘good’ stuff. But a good editor makes the writer better. I got blessed with an extremely good editor. Not only does she help me improve my writing, she pushes me to go beyond what I think I can do and how I can write. Take, for example, how she highlighted the word ‘she’ in a paragraph (I used it eight times), told me to change some of them, and not just to Anna’s name. I struggled with that paragraph for three hours. When I returned it, with only two ‘she’ in it, all the sentences were stronger. The paragraph was stronger and so was the chapter. She made me better by challenging me. Sure, I muttered some probably not nice things but I’m so glad she pushes me. She believes in me. That’s the best thing any writer can ask for in an Editor.

Then came Cover Art requests and more edits and line edits and promo and a whirlwind of helping find readers for Anna and Robin’s story who will love them almost as much as I do. Oh, and Jen’s request for more submissions and setting up Good Reads, Amazon, Face Book, Twitter, all the things to get Wedding Belle Blues out there to be read. Breathless Press is amazing to work for; everyone is eager to help in the ‘business end’ of writing.

Because writing IS a business; we writers sometimes forget it’s a job like any other, easy at times, hard at others and always, always subjective. Not everyone will like your work; not everyone has to like it. Writing is as essential to me as breathing.

 * * * *

Mia Epsilon lives with her enduring soul mate hubby in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, USA. She’s an avid reader of almost anything but particularly romance, a never-miss-an-episode viewer of Doctor Who and Sherlock, and happily suffers a coffee and chocolate addiction. She can most often be found at her computer, spinning new stories, or in a quiet padded nook with her e reader. Look for more stories in the ‘Weddings by C & C’ line including ‘That Night’ featuring more of Anna & Robin and ‘Take a Chance on Me’, Christine and Charlie’s story.

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Valentine’s Day Musings by Tea Cooper

From Christina: I loved this post from Australian author, Tea Cooper. I’m always excited when someone loves Valentine’s Day as much as I do, and it is with great pleasure I present Tea’s “Valentine’s Day Musings”.

Valentine’s Day Musings …

 by Tea Cooper

While I was doing some research for a historical romance, I stumbled across the ultimate Valentine … Australian love tokens or leaden hearts as they were also known. I’d never heard of them before. They weren’t solely reserved for Valentine’s Day but they belong as surely as any Valentine’s Day card, poem or love letter.

Musing1

 When This You See

Remember Me 

When  I am Far

    From Thee

 

 

 

Coins were used to create love tokens in England as early as the 1400s. At first, the coins were simply bent out of shape, usually twice, so that they could not be used as money. They were then given to a lover as a token or amulet.

When prisoners were sentenced to transportation to Australia between 1788 and 1868 it was seen as a one-way trip. Often they were imprisoned in Newgate or the hulks, rotting ships on the Thames, to await passage and during that time many of them fashioned love tokens as a memento to leave behind with their loved ones.

The National Museum in Canberra and the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney both have collections. I can’t look at them without tearing up. The messages on them tell so many stories of love.

There were also the more sophisticated leaden hearts that probably cost the poor convict his last remaining pennies…

Musing2

The engraved side shows a female figure with an anchor leaning on a rectangular structure, with two crossed hearts and a bird flying above, a ship sailing in the distance, and the text:

I love till death shall stop my breath

1802

 

And finally my two favourites because I am fascinated by the stories behind them…

A Token 

of Respect 

Given to S K. 

By J D her 

Brother in law 

April 3rd 

1816

The other side features a design of an ornate pot with crossed hearts below a border and flowers. I can’t help wonder about SK’s story and her relationship with her brother-in –law!

Willm. 

 Powell 

Manchester

1799

(with a heart engraved to one side.)

On the other side the text ‘

W.P. 

Mary Fin

 I’ve left you here for 

To complain til I 

Return to Old 

England, again.

So many untold stories!

By then I was bitten by the bug and went in search of other Australian ‘love tokens’ and I was sidetracked yet again. I found this Valentine’s Day card at the Powerhouse Museum.

Musing3

Apparently picture postcards first appeared around 1869 and marked the beginning of Valentine’s Day cards in Australia then around 1910 there was an outbreak of “vulgar” postcards and the straight-laced Australian society threatened to make the “Valentine’s Day card extinct…” Surely this couldn’t be the case!

Off I went again…. and discovered this….from the Brisbane Courier on 15th February in 1928

“Who’ll be My Valentine?”

Time was when St. Valentine’s Day brought to many a young maiden a sheaf of artistically designed missives from anonymous donors each expressing, per medium of a white dove, or the conventional heart pierced with Cupid’s dart, or, the true lover’s knot, the tenderest devotion. Yesterday was St. Valentine’s day, but the postman was not overloaded.

Alas! The patron saint of true lovers has fallen upon evil days … he is cast out from the ecclesiastical calendar … the advent of the picture post-card and the degeneration to vulgar humour dealt the custom its death blow … and this year it is safe to say that there were few of these messengers of sweet prevailment passing through the post.

Last year a determined attempt to resurrect the custom was made in England, but it is likely that the next generation will see its complete extinction.

Well, The Brisbane Courier certainly got it wrong or perhaps they just ahead of their time?  Maybe love letters, love tokens, even Valentine’s Day cards are finally destined to “complete extinction”.

How do people send their messages of love today? I can’t see a museum keeping a collection of emails, text messages, even Facebook posts. Something definitely gets lost in translation. Perhaps I’m a sentimental fool searching for immortality—I’d rather have a letter or a card or better still a love token, in the hope one day someone will look at it and tear up knowing my love truly was eternal.

This Valentine’s Day I will be sending my message handwritten with a fountain pen (yes, I still have one) on a piece of recycled paper in the hope that it will live on down the ages and the next generations will not “see its complete extinction.”

Musing4How about you? Cyber Valentine or old-fashioned romance?

About Tea Cooper: 

Téa Cooper lives in a stone cottage on one hundred acres of bushland, in the Hunter Valley. When she isn’t writing, Téa can be found haunting the local museum or chatting to the locals, who provide her with a never-ending source of inspiration. The settings for her stories range from the glittering beachside city of Sydney to small country towns and the harsh outback. Here first three contemporary romances will be available in print in February and March 2014.

Please visit her website, Tea Cooper Author. You’ll find links to her blog, and an opportunity to sign up for her author newsletter.

Falling in Love and Loving the Fall by Lena Hart

From Christina: Like Lena, I was born in November, so I certainly share her feelings about this incredibly beautiful and thought-provoking time of year. Please welcome Lena to Time for Love.

FALLING IN LOVE AND LOVING THE FALL

I love the fall. Not only because my birthday is in November (which makes me a self-proclaimed Fall Baby through and through) and certainly not because all my favorite TV shows start back up around this season (countdown to SCANDAL, Supernatural, and Walking Dead begins now!).

No, I love the fall mainly for its cool, crisp air and the warm, toasty colors that decorate our earth. From the pale brown to the rustic red and burnt orange, they all blend together to create a tapestry that is beautifully breathtaking.

Fall has always given me a sense of… newness. Yes, it is technically the beginning of the end of the calendar year, but I’ve always felt more revived and transformed at the start of fall. It’s always as if things that were not so clear, gain sharp clarity and things that were aimless suddenly come into reach.

A perfect time for hot cocoa and sweet memories

More than anything, I love the fall for its intimacy. I feel closer to all the important people in my life during this season. We spend most of our time with our family around this season and the time spent with my family is like chicken soup for my soul. Actually, it’s better. It’s like a cup of sweet, hot cocoa that glides down my center and spread along my limbs. I love being with my family and the fall affords me more opportunities to spend with them.

Who couldn’t love that?

The list of reason why I love this season is exhaustive. But ultimately it’s a season that does and I hope continues to bring in new things for me to fall in love with. Whether it’s a new TV show, or a new dessert, a new author or book, or simply an aspect of myself that I have finally come to accept and love, I hope this season holds back nothing because that’s what this season is all about.

There is no room for regrets or judgment or even resentment. It’s an opportunity for second chances, for new beginnings, for happy endings, and for those small, quiet moments where you just snuggle up with that favorite person/pet/thing, sip on your hot cocoa, and just breathe.♥

 

Lena Hart writes sensual romances with a hint of mystery and suspense. Her debut novel, BECAUSE THIS IS FOREVER, is scheduled for release in Fall 2013. Her two novellas in the series are currently available. To learn more about Lena and her work, visit Lena Hart Site or find her rambling at Scat Blogging. You can also friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

You might enjoy:

Autumn and Childhood by D’Ann Lindun

From Christina: I’d like to welcome author D’Ann Lindun to Time for Love. I loved learning about her childhood in Colorado, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know D’Ann, too. 

Childhood and fall.

A lot of people probably think of school days, Halloween and the coming winter.

Not me.

Childhood memories of fall bring back one overwhelming memory—hunting camp. My dad was an outfitter. He made his living by packing in and guiding big game hunters in the Colorado Mountains. And we as a family helped him. My mom, me and my two younger sisters.

Photo from: Colorado Outfitters

One day after school, usually on a Friday, Mom would pick us up and we’d go to the barn. My sister Sherry and I would scurry around, catching and tacking up the saddle horses. My dad would load the packhorses with sleeping bags, grub boxes and tents.

The ride into camp was long, and it was cold, weaving high into the mountains, through dark pines and aspens shedding their orange and gold leaves. The scent of leaves on the damp ground and warm horses filled the air. Inevitably, it would be snowing, bitter wind blowing cold flakes into our faces. Our hands and feet felt like blocks of ice no matter how warm the gloves and socks.

Camp was heavy canvas sheepherder tents. The edges flapped in the cold wind, but dad always had a fire going in the camp stoves, and it was cozy inside. The horses were hobbled and the lead mare, Polly, wore a bell around her neck, the sound mournful in the night.

We three sisters snuggled in one sleeping bag with our Australian shepherd, Lobo, on our feet, although he wasn’t supposed to come inside. Dad would be by the door and Mom on the inside, always fretting about bears and other wildlife coming into the tents.

Daylight brought a skiff of snow on the ground and Dad calling the horses. In the clear air, the sound of their hooves across the frozen ground was thrilling. My sister Sherry and I poured grain on the ground for each, caught them and tied them to trees. Dad chopped wood, the sound of his axe splitting wood ringing out. Mom went to the water hole and carried buckets of water to the fire, to heat and do dishes. After two days of stacking wood, setting up cots for the hunters and scouting game, we’d head home.

It’s been more than 30 years since those days, but I can still smell the aspen leaves, see the camp in my mind’s eye and feel the love of a family who worked together every fall.

About D’Ann Lindun

D'Ann Lindun

Author D’Ann Lindun

Falling in love with romance novels the summer before sixth grade, D’Ann Lindun never thought about writing one until many years later when she took a how-to class at her local college. She was hooked! She began writing and never looked back. Romance appeals to her because there’s just something so satisfying about writing a book guaranteed to have a happy ending. D’Ann’s particular favorites usually feature cowboys and the women who love them. This is probably because she draws inspiration from the area where she lives, Western Colorado, her husband of twenty-nine years and their daughter. Composites of their small farm, herd of horses, five Australian shepherds, a Queensland heeler, two ducks and cats of every shape and color often show up in her stories!

From Christina: D’Ann loves to hear from readers. You can reach her through email at dldauthor@frontier.net. You’ll also find her blogging at D’Ann Lindun, and on Facebook at DLindunAuthor

Her latest romance, The Cowboy’s Baby, from Crimson Press, is now available at Amazon.