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Thursday, February 28, 2013

It's All In The Details, Part 2: Research Tips from Heather B. Moore

I'll have to be honest, I'm not a ancient history type person, so although I knew about Heather and that she was a good writer, I never picked up one of her books -- until the Timeless Romance Anthology came along. Heather's short story, set in New York in 1901 hooked me from the moment I read 1901. I love -- adore -- that era. I've set one book in San Francisco around that time and I'm working on a novella set in 1894.

Heather has just released HEART OF THE OCEAN, available on Amazon for a mere $3.99. So I asked Heather to drop by the blog and give some tips on writing historical fiction:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top Five Novellas You Should Read Now!

Have I mentioned how smitten I am with novellas lately? They are SO perfect for me. I'm now officially off maternity leave and am working on editing projects -- which translates into not a lot of personal reading time. But a novella? I can pound out one of those in between! I love that they're popular. Keep 'em coming people! 

So here's a list of the ones I think you should read:

Okay, is anyone surprised that I'm listing my own first? It's good, people! My mom says so. ;)

After Lord Dersingham spurned her last season, Iris Colburn promises to never allow him back into her heart, despite his excuses, his long-standing connection to her family, or the fact that she once loved him.
But upon her return from Paris, Iris finds it is more difficult than she expected to keep Lord Dersingham at arm's length. His presence at nearly every social function Iris attends reminds her more of their blissful past than the sting of his rejection. Worse, she fears she is falling for him again.
If it wasn't for his outrageous behavior, that is. He asks Iris' father for permission to court her -- again -- but then showers attention on the disreputable Miss Halliday.
Iris doesn't know what kind of game Lord Dersingham is playing, but with her heart and her pride on the line, she will do anything to win.

Read the first chapters!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sometimes Saturday: 30 Day Closet Challenge, Week 1

My Saturday "Sometimes" post is a day late. Sorry, I was watching basketball all weekend. Today's is different. It's not baking or sewing ... it's about my wardrobe, which is why I had to name this post "Sometimes Saturday" and not "Sometimes I ... Get Dressed." That just sounded wrong. 

So let me explain. I have this closet packed full of clothes and, I kid you not, I wear maybe 10% of them. I do this thing where I cycle through my favorite three or four outfits/shirts and then I buy something new. Bad, Ranee. Bad. So I challenged myself. For thirty days I would wear something new from my closet. Maybe something I hadn't worn in months, and in some cases, years.

I'm not holding myself to too strict a standard. Because, I mean, cardigans. (If you don't know me personally, you might not be aware that I have a slight addiction to them.) But I took pictures, okay!

so perfectly cuteFirst off, I have like no clothing creativity. I love to buy stuff, but putting all my stuff together? Aaack. That's why I love pinterest. Monday's outfit, inspired by this pin.

Run down: Top, Gray, from Walmart. (My one saving grace with all my clothes is that I bought most of my shirts on clearance racks in some place or another and rarely paid over $10.) I think this shirt was $3.
Black checked scarf, Walmart.
Belt, Walmart. (I'm sensing a pattern...)
Pants, Old Navy trouser jeans, also on sale. $21

So Tuesday's outfit comes with a shirt makeover. I bought the shirt below from Maurices, probably seven years ago and for the last five years, at least, it has sat, forlorn, in my closet. (I almost never give clothes away. Whenever I do, I think, Man, I should have kept that shirt.)

I'm in love with ruffles, and I figured this shirt definitely had some spunk left in it. It has a pretty, pale pink pattern and is soft and lightweight. So I lopped off the sleeves to create the ruffles on the front and then chopped the top of the collar off -- because I'm not wild about collars. I love the idea, but in execution, on me, not so much. This was the result:

Loved it. This is the outfit it got worn in:

Cardigan - Bella Bird, Walmart. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it.
Shirt - Made-over ruffle top.
Tank - Lace tank in rose pink from Down East Basics.
Bottoms - Maurices wide-leg jeans, bought off ebay.
Skinny belt - Walmart

Wednesday I spent all day in my pajamas, cleaning and doing odds and ends. No picture. :) Thursday's outfit. -->
Cardigan - Old Navy boyfriend cardigan, white
Shirt - Pleated Henley, Walmart, Blue
Lace Cap Sleeve, white, Down East Basics
Bottoms - Old Navy Trouser jeans

Friday! (Left) Me showing off my Bulldog pride to go watch my little brother-in-law and my sister play basketball.
Team t-shirt made-over to fit more femininely. (A while ago!)
Cardigan - Old Navy basic cardigan, blue
Layer - Bella Band, bought when I was pregnant. Best buy ever! It was perfect for extending my wardrobe, and now it's great for layering -- and covering my back when I'm nursing. Love it.
Jeans - Mossimo boot cut jeans from Target.

Saturday (Right) - More Bulldog gear! I designed the T-shirt and used a Groupon to get them for me and my family from Vista Print. Woot! Go Bulldogs!
Undershirt - Black long sleeve from Down East Basics
Bella Band
Jeans - Maurices wide-leg jeans.

Top - White long sleeve from Down East Basics
Vest - Brown from Maurices
Chevron maxi skirt from Walmart. ($12! Who can resist that?!?) - It's SO comfy. And when I got home I ditched the pretties on top and put on a T-shirt my brother made me a while back for a braves game and have been lounging in that all day. I can't wait to pair this with flip-flops and t-shirts this summer. I'm going to be cool in so many ways. ;)

That's all for this week. Come back next week and see what I come up with. :) (Or what Pinterest comes up with ...)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Coming Soon: A LADY AND A SPY

I have to be honest with you guys. After the first few weeks A CONTEMPTIBLE AFFECTION was on sale and I remembered to go check my stats, the number of copies it had sold astounded me. It was awesome to think that so many people wanted to read my novella!

The idea for A LADY AND A SPY had been kicking around in my head for sometime and I thought, "This means it's time to get to work." So I did. With a new baby and all it took me a lot longer than I wanted, but I'm now working on edits and confident that A LADY AND A SPY will be released in Spring 2013. (Way to be specific ... right? I figure that gives me anywhere from March to June -- and the way life is going right now, anything could happen!)

How about a peek at the cover. I'm not absolutely positive this will be final, so how about giving your opinion?

Image (c)  YuriyZhuravov  Cover Design (c) Ranee` S. Clark

As Jolene can attest, I went through a lot of versions before I came to this -- thank heavens for her wisdom! (Though one of the earlier versions might still end up on the paperback ... we'll see!)

And of course, you all need some back-cover love:

Blanche Audley's old-fashioned grandfather cut off her mother after she married Thomas Audley and his millions of "new money," and for the last ten years since her parents' deaths, Blanche has lived under the gloom of his disappointment. So when she recklessly loses a thousand dollars to Etta Channing in a game of baccarat, she will do anything to keep her foolish actions from him. Except he oversees every penny she spends of the wealth her father left her, leaving her no way of paying the debt without his knowledge.

Until Etta offers her a deal. Alexander Whealdon, one of the most eligible bachelors in town, needs a companion to shepherd his younger sister through her first season. Etta wants Blanche to take the position and use it to infiltrate the household and pass along information that will help Etta get her hooks into the reserved Mr. Whealdon. It seems like an easy way to pay off the debt and save face at the same time. But the more Blanche sees of Mr. Whealdon's playful side, not to mention his surprising generosity, the less she wants to help Etta win him over.

Backing out means humiliating herself and disappointing both her grandfather and Mr. Whealdon, not to mention losing Miss Whealdon's trust and friendship, but if she goes through with her promise to Etta, she will lose what might be her last chance for love.

AND that's not all the love I'm giving out. Have you reviewed A CONTEMPTIBLE AFFECTION either on your blog, Amazon, or Goodreads? (Are you going to do it right now...? :) If the answer is yes, comment on this post (with a link) and I'll give you an early-release copy of A LADY AND A SPY. No drawing. No random pick. Just you get one if you've reviewed it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: THE DAISY CHAIN by Heather B. Moore

Mmmmm. Moore romance from Heather? (I'm so clever, right?) Yes, thank you.

From Amazon: Welcome to the Aliso Creek Novella Series...

Liz, Gemma, Arie, Jess, and Drew have been best friends since creating “the Five” at Aliso Creek High School. But that was over ten years ago, and each is still trying to find that perfect someone... if perfect is even possible.

Actually, Jess Giles has found her perfect match, but since Charlie is several years older than she, they never have a moment of harmony from his adult kids who protest the marriage. When Charlie dies in a tragic accident, his kids add insult to injury and sue Jess for her share of the inheritance. The only person Jess trusts for financial advice is Charlie’s financial planner, Preston Michaels. Just talking to Preston on the phone makes Jess feel flustered, yet strangely comfortable at the same time, so she puts off meeting him for as long as possible. When Jess has to attend the formal hearing, she’s about to find out if the man she’s been talking to over the phone for several months lives up to the voice that she’s grown attached to.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Storymakers or BUST!

So poor planning and poor financials last year led to no conferences for me -- except WriteOnCon, which I really liked. This year, with a 3-month-old in tow, I knew Arizona and ANWA conference was out. I've also been dying to go to LDStorymakers for a couple years now and since it's in May and in Provo, I knew this was the one. I have four siblings who live down there (and two nieces too, so big incentive for my mom to join me to watch Baby Boy) -- so somewhere to stay. AND my baby would be all grown up. You know, six-months-old instead of three. :D

Anyway, you've probably heard me blabbering about all the funness I'm going to have, like getting to go to a Jane Austen party with Sarah Eden (and I think they'll be other fun people there too...) and getting to Boot Camp-it with some truly awesome instructors. (I had a TERRIBLE time picking my top three. I went back and forth several times and had to leave some really cool people off the list. It bummed me out big time.) AAAAAND, I'm going to pitch my LDS Contemp romance!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sometimes I Bake: Lazy Lemonade Brownies & Mookies

So the other day I found this pin: 
Lemonade Brownies

And I thought that pretty much looked fabulous. Man I love treats. This week has been SO full of them. Friends for dinner Tuesday night, playgroup at my house Wendesday (cupcakes), drinks for 7-year-old's first grade class Valentine's Day party (raspberry sherbet + Sprite), cookies for a valentine for my husband ... yes, I'm gaining weight just listing all this stuff!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Re-Run!

This month's "what I posted last year" are some fantastic Valentine's Day posts I did for a series called "My Favorite Romance."

First, Sarah Eden melted my heart with her favorite romantic moment.

My Favorite Romance: Sarah M. Eden

And next, because the men in my life always crack me up!

And another because I love how my friend Kristin thinks of the one I never would have thought of.

And one more, because first kisses are fantastic.

Actually, just go read the whole series. There's 14 great posts.

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day guys!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review: WHISPERS IN AUTUMN by Trisha Leigh

Two things:

I'm forever grateful I joined twitter -- and also Goodreads. I love getting notifications about the free promotions for books or looking up some book because I think the cover is awesome.

And I can see why people make their books free -- what they lose in sales, I'm sure they make up for when it's good enough that you want to read the next in the series ...

From TrishaLeigh.com: In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.
Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.
The autumn she meets Lucas, everything changes.
Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.
It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.
And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sometimes I Sew: Another Sweatshirt Make-over

I have this sweatshirt. It's comfy and I love it, but it's also bulky. I know some people like having a bulky sweatshirt around for those days. (You know which days I mean...) But I don't. I want a comfy sweatshirt that flatters me, and if I need one for those days, then I'll borrow one of my husbands.

So this sweatshirt that I love, I've worn it maybe five times -- and two of those times included going to the hospital to have my youngest two. (Yep, that bulky!) After I successfully made-over another sweatshirt, I figured I could make this one adorable too.

(1) Here's my lovely sweatshirt. For those of you who know the relationship between BYU and University of Wyoming, you understand the irony of me having one of each now. (2) Like before, I chopped off the arms again so I could control the shape of the sweatshirt. I also took off the hood. I didn't think it would hang right once I had skinnied the sweatshirt up. (3) I didn't bother with pinning this time, since I'd already made a sweatshirt that fit me. I used it for a guide, although I cut a bit more of a curve in this one. Notice how again, I didn't go all the way to the arm holes yet. I wanted to make sure they matched up. (4) The sides get all trimmed up! (If you want more detail on the next few steps, go back to this post and read about my last sweatshirt make-over. Sewed up the arms, trimmed the sides to match, sewed on the arms -- yay! They matched right again.)

Then, of course, I tried it on. After I took the last picture, I decided to deepen the neckline to give it more of a flirty feel (because I don't say sexy, it embarrasses me. ;) ) Since I'd already sewn one sweatshirt, this one took me under half-an-hour, and definitely worth it. Still comfy but now it flatters me.

...Although I definitely won't be wearing this sweatshirt next time I get pregnant. :D

Thursday, February 7, 2013

It's All In the Details

Once upon a time I loved historical novels but thought I'd never be able to write one. Getting all that stuff straight?!? No way. Not for me. I preferred to set my novels in fantasy worlds based on historical eras. (Because, let's be serious, I have a degree in history ... and I really should use it for something.)

Then I wanted to write this story about a girl who accidentally travels back in time and ends up falling in love -- with two guys, one of them a time-traveler like herself. I figured I could basically cheat, because this world could be seen through modern eyes. And when I was done -- it was hard, don't get me wrong -- I realized, I could write historical fiction. It's just all about the research.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Review: TIDE EVER RISING by Mandi Tucker Slack

One of the perks of being part of an online community of writers is that not only do you get to make fabulous friends, but you get opportunities to help them work on their projects. And that is really fun when you know people like Mandi Tucker Slack. I was lucky enough to get to help her with her latest release TIDE EVER RISING.
How AWESOME is this cover!?!

From www.CederFort.comKadie Reynold loves to explore old ghost towns. So when she and her sister, Maysha, visit Eureka, Utah, it's just another ordinary trip---until they stumble across an ancient journal and a beautiful pendant hidden in the depths of a crumbling house. Little does anyone know, the journal contains secrets that will plunge them into a world filled with mystery, past regrets, and dark unknowns.

About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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