Dreaming Up and Writing Down

Now that I’ve finished my magnum opus, many people have asked me what I’ll do next. The short answer is “write book two.” In fact, I’ve already started plotting it.

But what happens to book one? As I write, Crossing the Rubicon is safely in the hands of my beta readers—people who are reading my book and giving me feedback before I send it off to agents and publishers in mid-March.

When I started this blog in 2012, I called it “chronicles of a debut novelist” because honestly, the learning curve was enormous. I took a few writing classes, but for the most part I was learning how to write a book by writing a book. Actually, I think I could write a book about everything I learned about writing a book. :)

Ironically, one of the biggest lessons came from this blog—maintaining a social media presence is both difficult and time consuming. Difficult because I didn’t have a finished novel which meant I didn’t have anything really to talk about—no media interviews, public appearances, teaser text to share, trailer videos to post or cover art to reveal. I was just sitting alone in front of my computer. And that’s dull by anyone’s standards.

But it’s also time consuming and that was by far my bigger problem. I found myself spending precious writing hours drafting blog posts, crafting tweets, maintaining Facebook and well, my Goodreads account never did get off the ground the way I’d hoped.

I was increasing my follower numbers, but I wasn’t working on my novel.

So if social media is such a distraction, why spend any time on it at all? Terrific question. I asked a literary agent, a publisher and many authors the same thing. Bottom line? Publishers like writers to have an online presence. I’m not sure why but my theory is that it shows a person who can write consistently and well. It shows discipline, an awareness of marketing and a willingness to be an active participant in the successful realization of a story from initial concept to final ink and paper/digital product.

When a manuscript from a debut author comes across a publisher’s desk, one of the first things he does is a google search. (For the record, if you google “Valerie Francis” this blog should pop up in the top four. There’s a musician in Ireland with the same name and we toggle back and forth for the top spot. Go ahead, try it.)

Personally, I think quality of writing should trump a google rating or follower counter. That’s why last summer, as many of you noticed, I abandoned this blog and social media and spent all my time finishing my book. (Thanks for asking where I’d gone…nice to know people actually read my posts!)

Now though it’s time to revive the online presence, but in a manner that compliments my writing time. Not overshadows it.

I won’t be here everyday but I’ll pop in once a week (or so) to share more lessons learned, and give you a progress report on my novel’s path to publication.

In the meantime, I’ll be dreaming up and writing down worlds of new adventures.

Blog Hop: Writing Process—#thisishowwedo

My good friend and historical romance author, Kate Robbins tagged me in a blog hop last week. So now it’s my turn to answer a few questions – this time about my writing process.

What am I working on?

Funny you should ask … in fact, I just finished the first novel in a nine-book fantasy series for children (middle grade, ages 9-12). So right now I’m in the process of plotting out book two of that series, plus I have at last count, five other stories bouncing around in my head:

  • two literary fiction
  • one medieval (maybe historical, but probably fantasy) fiction
  • one women’s fiction (chick lit – my bestie wants me to finish it post haste)
  • and one regency novel set in Newfoundland

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I’ll focus on the kids’ series for this one. The Nature Knights has been described as a medieval Narnia set in Newfoundland. So, having a Newfoundland setting certainly sets it apart from most other children’s fantasy novels. However, there’s also an important environmental theme running through the book, so I think that also sets it apart. Environmental protection has popped up in all sorts of books—the dystopian worlds of many novels are in effect, depictions of the world after environmental disaster. My story is pre-apocalypse, and although things haven’t fallen apart just yet, the writing is on the wall and it’s up to my four main characters to ensure Armageddon never happens.

Why do I write what I do?

This is an easy one. I’m writing The Nature Knights because this is the story that presented itself to me. I really can’t explain it any better than that. I was actually trying to write a different book entirely, but one character—Clancy Donovan—kept hijacking it and in the end, she browbeat me into writing The Nature Knights. She really isn’t the type of girl who takes no for an answer.

How does your writing process work?

I find this whole business of “writing process” fascinating. I know lots of authors who have a whole ritual set up to help summon the gods of creativity and inspiration. They couldn’t begin to put pen to paper until (and unless) certain elements are in place: they need to sit in a certain chair or have a particular drink in a particular mug. They need the wind to come from the east or the planet Neptune (which rules inspiration) to be in their fifth astrological house of creativity.

I don’t know about any of that stuff. To me, writing is like any other career so I show up every day and punch in the hours. Sometimes I work on computer, sometimes long hand. Nothing more to it than that.

Now I pass the baton on to three other authors, Lesley Richardson, Paul Butler and Jennie Marsland.

Lesley Richardson is a writer from Bangor, Co. Down, who is currently writing her second novel, The Possibilities of Elizabeth. Her first novel, Biddy Weirdo, is yet to be published, but Lesley and her agent, Susan Feldstein, are hopeful that that will soon change. Represented by the Feldstein Agency, Lesley has just received her second grant from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and was also awarded a writing bursary from North Down Borough Council. She launched her blog, Standing Naked at a Bus Stop last year and she tweets.

Paul Butler is the author of several critically acclaimed novels including Titanic Ashes, Cupids, Hero, 1892, NaGeira, Easton’s Gold, Easton, and Stoker’s Shadow. His work has appeared on the judges’ lists for Canada Reads, the Relit Longlist for three consecutive years (2011 for Cupids; 2010 for Hero; and 2009 for 1892), and he was a winner in the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Awards four times between 2003 and 2008 at which time he retired from the competition to be literary representative, and then chair, of the Arts and Letters Committee. A graduate of Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre, Butler has written for the Globe and Mail, Canada’s History Magazine (formerly The Beaver), Books in Canada, Atlantic Books Today, and Canadian Geographic, and has also contributed to CBC Radio, local and national. He lives in St. John’s. His website is http://paulbutlernovelist.wordpress.com.

Jennie Marsland is a teacher, a painter, a musician and, for most of her life, a writer. She fell in love with words at a very early age and the affair has been life-long. She enjoys writing songs and poetry as well as fiction. Jennie is a history buff as well as an unashamed romantic. Glimpses of the past spark her imagination, and she believes in happily ever after. A resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia for the last thirty years, she lives with her husband Everett and their outrageously spoiled Duck-Tolling Retrievers, Chance and Echo. Her website is http://jenniemarsland.com.

Interview with NL Author Kate Robbins

Leave a comment below and enter to win the brooch pin featured on the cover of Bound to the Highlander.

Bound to the Highlander Cover Art
Bound to the Highlander Cover Art

Bound to the Highlander (BTTH) is the best selling, award-winning debut novel of Newfoundland author Kate Robbins. On the eve of publication BTTH won the 2013 Tampa Area Romance Authors (TARA) award and since then, has cracked the top 100 on amazon.com and is listed in the top ten on three of amazon.com’s best seller lists.

BTTH is the kind of book you want to curl up with on a cold, stormy day. Nothing compliments a fuzzy blanket and blazing fire like a historical romance. It’s the story of Aileana Chattan who discovers she is betrothed to James MacIntosh, a man loyal to King James I of Scotland, the man responsible for her father’s death. (click here for a full synopsis and to read a sample of BTTH).

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Kate as part of a month-long blog tour celebrating the launch of her first novel.

Welcome Kate!

First, let’s chat about the cover art for BTTH. Talk about a departure from the traditional romance novel cover! That red tartan pops right off the page. How much input did you have into the design?

From my earliest vision of this series, I saw the book covers reflecting something about the chief the book centered around. So people never fit for me. Each book in the series will feature a clan crest brooch pin from that clan. My publisher, Tirgearr, were fabulous to work with on it. They understood my vision and did their very best to bring it to life. I’m thrilled with it. PLUS I’m giving away that brooch pin after today folks need to leave a comment! That’s how they can enter.

What is the significance of the brooch?

The brooch pin has been used for centuries on both the ancient plaid and modern kilt. Like any functioning piece of jewelry, the brooch pin would have varied depending on the wearer. I had envisioned the one on the cover when I wrote Bound to the Highlander. Can you imagine my surprise when I actually found one like it?

Are these clan brooches that exist outside your novel, or are they specific to your fictional characters?

You can buy these brooches at just about any pipe band or kilt supply shop. Mine came from Gaelic Themes Ltd in Scotland as distributed through License to Kilt. :)

BTTH is the first of three novels in your Highland Chiefs series, which has as its backdrop, the reign and subsequent assassination of King James Stewart I of Scotland. What inspired you to write about (a) Scotland and (b) this period in Scottish history?

I’ve always been fascinated with Scotland, right from my first historical romance when I was about 15. I’ve read Johanna Lindsay‘s A Gentle Feuding so many times over the years and I still love it. Once I knew I was writing a Scottish Historical, I set out to learn more about the political climate during the high middle ages. Once I learned about James Stewart I, I was hooked! From his imprisonment in England to his attempt to unify Scotland and subsequently restricting the noble’s power, James Stewart’s reign was volatile and fascinating.

I know you worked hard to maintain the linguistic integrity of this time in history (using the vernacular rather than modern colloquialisms).  How much of a challenge was that for you when writing BTTH? Why is it important to you, that the language in your novel reflect 15th century Scotland?

That was an interesting balance to strike. Had I chosen words only existing in the 15th century, modern readers would have unlikely taken a chance on it. When was the last time you read a book written in middle-English? You could say I really did choose my words carefully. I decided not to add dialect as well, since as a reader, I find that jarring. Where possible I changed words – aye instead of yes – but I stayed away from including how the words may have been pronounced. Again, this makes for ease of reading. Having said that, words like ‘ok’ would not be acceptable. Every historical fiction writer faces this, and each must find their balance. I couldn’t say the lady thinks the laird cool, that wouldn’t fly. 😉

Keeping with the issue of linguistics, how difficult (or easy!) was it to find the right language when describing the more intimate sex scenes? I mean, the spectrum of words used to describe body parts alone is incredibly broad – from proper, textbook names to street slang and everything in between. 

Writing good sex scenes is all about knowing your characters. If you know how they’d act in other situations, you know how they’d speak and act…and moan in sex scenes. LOL The secret to good sex scenes is the chemistry and anticipation leading up to it.

Tell me, how does it feel to be a best selling, award-winning debut author?

Lordy. Where did I put that wine glass? It’s a bit messed up actually. I had hoped it would do well, but never expected anything like this. I’m so grateful for all the amazing and supportive people I have around me. Our Scribe Wenches group contains some of the best writers I know and I see much more good news coming.

Thank you so much for having me here today Valerie! I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen some of your work and can’t wait until we’re celebrating your debut release. :)

Author Kate Robbins
Author Kate Robbins

Kate Robbins writes historical romance novels out of pure escapism and a love for all things Scottish, not to mention a life-long enjoyment of reading romance. Her journey into storytelling began with a short screenplay she wrote, directed, and produced which was screened at the 2003 Nickel Film Festival in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She has also written and directed several stage plays for youth.

Kate loves the research process and delving into secondary sources in order to give readers the most authentic historical romance possible. She has travelled to Scotland and has visited the sites described in her Highland Chiefs series.

Bound to the Highlander is the first of three books set during the early fifteenth century during the reign of James Stewart, first of his name.

Kate is the pen name of Debbie Robbins who lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada with her hubby, the man-beast, and her two awesome boys, the man-cubs.

Follow Kate on Facebook and Twitter!

Rare Footage of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

YouTube is kind of like the Klondike River of the late 19th century. Lots of noise about it and plenty of people flocking there hoping to make it rich. For the most part though, what you find is fool’s gold (or maybe just fools). But for all the silly videos posted on YouTube, every now and then there’s a nugget of genuine gold – and the thrill of finding it makes panning through pages of junk worth it.

This video is gold. It’s a rare 1927 video interview with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author or the Sherlock Holmes mysteries among other works. In it he talks about his inspiration for Sherlock and his study of the spirit life – including his belief that it is possible to communicate with the dead.

Lobsters, Life & Literature

Last week, my kids and I enjoyed mouth-watering, fresh Atlantic lobster with my parents. The poor little crustaceans were taken out of the water Friday morning, and were on my plate by suppertime. Talk about succulent!

Lobsters boiled to perfection.
Lobsters boiled to perfection.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the great joys of living in a seaport on the east coast. The weather leaves much to be desired, but the food is divine. To all my dear friends and relatives living “on the mainland” … eat your hearts out.

Dad, a true gourmet, has always taken great pride in orchestrating elaborate meals for those with refined and discerning palates. This melt-in-your-mouth lobster is merely the tip of the iceberg. My childhood is filled with memories of stuffed fresh Atlantic salmon (too big to fit in Mom’s oven!), flambé crown pork roast and chocolate éclairs (yes, completely from scratch). There was an octopus in there somewhere too.

Now, nearing the age of 70, Dad has begun to pass on some of his coveted culinary secrets to my son (aged 13 and 51 weeks, but who’s counting?). My young man has inherited his grandfather’s love of cooking and all things food. He stuffed and cooked his first turkey (a whopping 30 pounder) when he was only nine – homemade dressing and all.

Why have I chosen to write about this in a blog that is supposed to be about the trials and tribulations of writing a debut novel? First of all, the lobster really was that good. And yes, I’m fiercely proud of my father and my son and will gush about them both every chance I get. But those aren’t the reasons.

It’s because family – the importance of it, the definition of it and the bonds between generations – is an important theme in my novel, Crossing the Rubicon.

My protagonist’s father is about as far from Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee) as you can get. He’s a guy on the edge. His focus is on accumulating material wealth and he’s at risk of losing it all. He’s become a negligent parent, a disrespectful husband and frankly, a total jerk.

Without an effective father, my character still needs a father figure to guide him through his coming of age. This is pretty standard stuff in literature. Harry Potter had Mr. Weasley and Sirius Black (Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling), Tom Ward had the Spook (The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney), and so on. In my case, Al Archer has his grandfather (Liam Finnegan).

In a way it’s a throw-back to times gone by, when several generations lived under one roof. That was quite common here in Newfoundland, and in many other cultures too of course. It still is in some areas.

Fresh Atlantic Lobster
Fresh Atlantic Lobster

I haven’t included a lobster boil in Crossing the Rubicon, but it’s exactly the kind of scene that would be right at home in my story. The wise grandfather passing on sage advice to the young grandson taking his first tentative steps into manhood. Staging this conversation while the characters are cooking opens up all kids of opportunities for subtext and metaphors.

Oh yeah, a lobster boil will absolutely show up somewhere in one of the other books I have planned for the series. I already have one sandwich-making scene in Crossing the Rubicon, but I foresee many more meal descriptions in the future.

So Dad, son, what’s next? Some jumbo shrimp perhaps? Rotisserie chicken on the bbq? Or maybe a little prime rib …

Save the Apostrophe!

It seems that the humble apostrophe offends and confuses people. So much in fact, that the Mid Devon town council in Tiverton, England has proposed to do away with them in street signs.

When I heard about this on CBC Radio’s The Current, my curiosity was piqued. But when journalist Anna Maria Tremonti said there are websites dedicated to both doing away with, and saving the apostrophe, I laughed. Surely this was some sort of practical joke; a spoof news story like those produced by The Onion.

Nope.

The apostrophe is in very real peril apparently.

Language is a living thing, and as such it evolves. I’m cool with that. I don’t mind texting language in its proper place. Things like “c u l8r” exist to fend off carpal tunnel in our thumbs. There was a time when splitting an infinitive was tantamount to hearsay. Now, thanks to Gene Roddenberry, we’ve learned to boldly go about our business without giving it a second thought.

The apostrophe too exists for a reason. Its job is to clarify messages and enable more effective communication. There’s a very real difference between the words hell and he’ll or were and we’re, for example.

Of course, the real issue here is not the apostrophe at all. It’s literacy.

The modern English-speaking world hasn’t learned how to use apostrophes. We haven’t learned other punctuation, grammar and spelling rules either. Rather than address this issue, we’ve chosen to ignore it. Town councils move to abolish apostrophes in signs. Schools remove grammar from lesson plans. As such, our public institutions are making decisions that effectively promote, if not cause, illiteracy. The socio-economic ramifications of that are heartbreaking.

I don’t lose sleep over an honest grammatical mistake. We all make them. But plummeting literacy rates? That does keep me up at night.

So please, save the apostrophe.

Terrific Summer Read: “Against Her Rules” by Victoria Barbour

Only 8 more sleeps until summer officially begins! Time to break out the frosted drinks, beach chairs and steamy romance novels. No matter how long your summer reading list is, there’s always room for one more book – and do I have a recommendation for you!

Against Her Rules is the debut novel of Newfoundland-born author, Victoria BarbourAgainst Her Rules Cover Art

Set it outport Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada, Against Her Rules chronicles the love affair between B&B owner Elsie Walsh and her hunky guest Campbell Scott. The hero is (you guessed it) Scottish and looks like “someone took a dash of Gerard Butler, added a sprinkle of Daniel Craig, and then spiced it up with a little bit of Colin Farrell.” Yup.  That’ll do.

This book is just plain fun from start to finish. Its sexy, witty and at times, laugh-out-loud funny. Elsie and Cam are of course, beautiful and charismatic, but two of the minor characters stole the show for me – 96-year old Aunt Ida who “religiously permed her hair every six weeks” and Asher (Ted) Corbin, the ne’er-do-well rock star. They’re both so vividly drawn, I’m sure I’ve met them. Barbour’s description of the Inn, a renovated 1880s merchant’s home, the stylish décor and the hearty Newfoundland menu made me wish the place was real.

I met with Victoria Barbour recently to discuss her debut novel.  Here’s a bit of our conversation:

When I think of romantic settings for a novel, outport Newfoundland doesn’t come to mind.  What possessed – I mean, inspired you, to set AHR in an outport?

For me, Newfoundland is the most romantic place on earth. I can name a dozen romantic spots in St. John’s, and I just love our outports. When I say I’m passionate about Newfoundland, I really mean it. I love this place. Our scenery is amazing, and our people are vibrant. That said, I think you can make almost any setting romantic so long as you have the right characters doing romantic things. Romance is in the heart, and the pheromones. If you’re “feelin’ it”, it doesn’t matter where you are.

Newfoundland has some great place names – Heart’s Delight and Little Heart’s Ease to name just two. Is Heart’s Ease in AHR based on either of these communities, or is it completely fictional?

Heart’s Ease is entirely fictional, but the name did come from those communities. I love the place names we have here. And I’ve always been intrigued about three communities in a row—Heart’s Delight, Heart’s Desire, Heart’s Content— and how they got their names. I’d initially thought Little Heart’s Ease was there as well, but then I learned that’s on the other side of Trinity Bay. I chose Heart’s Ease because when I thought about Elsie’s inn, I thought it had a warm feel about it. Kind of the idea that you can go there to rest your heart. So whether you’re going for romance, or as is the case for many of her celebrity guests, a refuge from reality, it made sense to me. It’s a place to ease your heart.

Ida and Asher – talk about scene stealers! I have to know, are they based on anyone you know?

Everyone seems to love them. It’s great when your secondary characters really resonate with people. They are completely fictional. When I write, I have no idea where the story is going, or who is going to make an appearance. I think it’s important to build a personality for your main characters, and I find the best way to show who they are, is to observe them interacting with other people. My secondary characters pop into the story and often I don’t know who they are until they start to develop on the page. Aunt Ida is a mixture of a bunch of people I’ve known. Her age comes from the longevity of the women in my family—I have a great aunt who’s 105 or 106! Ida’s personality is her own, but I can see now that some of the things she says might have come from my grandmother, or my own aunts. As for Asher, he was a big surprise. He wasn’t meant to be likeable. But then the more he developed, the more I liked him. In retrospect, I can look back on his character and think that he might have some Russell Brand elements to him, but he’s his own guy.

The house in AHR is so vividly drawn, it’s actually one of the characters. Have you ever been in a place like this? Do you dream of owning a B&B?

I wish I’d been to a B&B like Heart’s Ease Inn. Owning an Inn or B&B is something my husband and I have talked about for a long time. But it’s a pipe dream. I don’t think a house like that would really exist in an outport, at least to that size. That’s why the story was important to explain why it would exist. The idea of building something and then leaving it behind came from the colony of Avalon (in Ferryland), and the whole Lord Baltimore experiment. Of course, this house was built in the 19th century. I think it would be wonderful if people could come and stay in the Heart’s Ease Inn. But imagine the work, and the money, it would take to make it real! Still, we have some fantastic B&Bs in this province, and if I could get some of my readers to explore those places, I’d think my novel was a real success.

Newfoundland has produced some incredible authors of literary fiction – Wayne Johnston, Lisa Moore, Michael Crummey and Donna Morrissey just to name a few. We’re not so well known for our genre fiction though. Why did you choose to write a romance rather than stay with the tried and true?

You know, you have to write what comes naturally for you. I need to enjoy what I’m producing. You spend a long time with your book, and your characters, and for me, I need to feel the story. I love to read those fantastic literary works that come from here, but it’s not me. I didn’t set out to be a romance writer, and I’m sure in the future I’ll create books that are fantasy, or chick lit, or children’s books—who knows, I might even one day manage something that someone thinks is literary. But first and foremost, I write for enjoyment—mine and my readers. At this stage in my life, romance is what works for me.

My reading tastes were guided by my grand-mother, Elizabeth Barbour. When I was a little girl and teenager, most of what I read was on her recommendation. She introduced me to Catherine Cookson and Jean Plaidy in particular. When I was in my 20s, I really got into fantasy and historical fiction.  She had no time for fantasy, but we shared many historical fiction novels. Then when I was in my 30s, she started handing me some really well-written historical romances, especially those by Julia Quinn and Julia London. Nan got sick almost four years ago with cancer, and she died very quickly. The last book we read together was What Happens in London. She left me all her books! And there were a lot of romances. Hundreds. So I started reading my way out of grief with those. And then I thought, I’m going to write a romance for Nan. I still haven’t finished that one. But a funny thing happened when I started writing that romance. I realized all the novels I’d started and never finished were romances. It was in me all along, I’d just just never really thought about it.

You may have written a genre piece, but these characters are quintessentially Newfoundland – especially Ida. There’s an old joke in this province about how hard it is to give directions since the road are actually developed cow paths and there are few street signs. The punch line is “come to think on it, you can’t get there from here.” This scene captures the essence of that joke beautifully. Will you set it up for us?

Sure. Cam, our Scottish hero, is on his way to the Heart’s Ease Inn, but his GPS keeps bringing him to empty fields. The cell service is terrible, and he’s totally lost. He’s frustrated as all hell. And when he does manage to get though to the inn, he gets Aunt Ida on the line, a 96-year-old woman who’s newest goal is to travel to Scotland.

The ring crackled, like he was dialing 1982, but at least it was ringing.

“Hello?”

The voice on the other end was older than he expected. “Hello. Is this the Heart’s Ease Inn?”

“Oh my. Are you Scottish?” the voice trilled.

“Aye. Have I rung the inn?”

“I’m planning a trip to Scotland. Where abouts are you from?”

“Glasgow. Excuse me but…”

“Oh, a Glaswegian, are you? I was hoping for Edinburgh. I don’t have any plans to go to Glasgow myself. Heard it’s a bit of a rough spot.”

Sweet lord. Even in this godforsaken small corner of the globe people had impressions of Glasgow. “Pardon me, madam, but I’m looking for the Heart’s Ease Inn.”

“Oh yes. This is it. Looking to book a room are you? It’s pretty pricy, you know.”

“I have a room booked. I just can’t seem to find the place.” He was also beginning to wonder if he wanted to if he was going to have to deal with this woman for the duration.

“You didn’t go to Little Heart’s Ease, did you? That’s on the other side of the bay, my son, and you’ll have a good couple of hours drive to get here if that’s the case.”

The woman at the car rental kiosk had warned him of that; at least he knew he wasn’t that far off the mark.

“No, I’m pretty sure I’m nearby. I just can’t find the bloody place.”

“Watch your language, boy. Now where are you then?”

It was just his luck to get a schoolmarm on the line.

“I have no idea. I’m in a field.”

“What field?”

“I don’t know. It’s green. There’s grass and trees.”

“Now don’t go gettin’ snippy. Of course there’s grass and trees. Now, what else?”

Campbell looked around. “I can see water, and…oh, it’s just a field. No fence. No building. No cows. Sheep. Nothing. Just a great big grassy area with some gnarled trees.”

“Oh, that could be a couple of spots. Now we’re getting somewhere.” He could swear she was cackling with glee. “Now, what’s the last sign you saw?”

That Campbell could answer, because he still couldn’t believe his eyes. He’d even taken a picture and texted it to his sister with a terse, “Where the hell have you sent me?”

“It said Worms. Ice. Cold Beer,” Cam told the woman.

“Excellent. We’re getting somewhere now,” the woman intoned. “Was it one of them neon magnetic signs, or was it more homemade?”

“It was attached to a derelict gas station. And it was written on cardboard.”

“Oh, sure you’ve gone too far.”

Against Her Rules is available as an ebook from Amazon (Kindle), Chapters (Kobo) and Barnes & Noble (Nook).

Victoria Barbour
Author Victoria Barbour

About Victoria Barbour:  Victoria lives on the island of Newfoundland, and is fiercely proud of her home. She can imagine no better setting for her works, and hopes that her readers will one day come to witness Newfoundland and Labrador’s rustic beauty for themselves. When she’s not writing, or trying to convince people to visit her home, she’s busy with her day-to-day life as a mother, wife, and marketing communications specialist.

She was born in St. John’s, and raised above her family’s fish and chips restaurant. She has traveled and lived in other parts of Canada, but chose to make her home where her heart has long resided. Victoria has a degree in History from Memorial University of Newfoundland, with a minor in Newfoundland Studies. The only thing that stands between her and a Master’s degree in History from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia is her thesis. She has a background in broadcast journalism, advertising, and marketing. She is a proud member of both the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and their affiliate chapter, Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada (RWAC).

Victoria counts herself lucky to be surrounded by an incredibly supportive family, and thanks her husband daily for his unerring faith in her, and for being a wonderful father to their infant son.

How to Write an Action Scene

Action scenes are devilishly difficult things to write. I struggled with the beginning of my novel for months because of it – writing and rewriting action sequences until they worked. My hard work and perseverance seems to have paid off though, so much in fact that I was recently asked to read one of my action scenes at a local writer’s event, and asked to give a presentation on the topic to my writing group.

Since action scenes are an integral part of fiction – regardless which genre you like to write, or read – I thought I’d pass along what I’ve learned. (more…)

In Praise of Creativity

Here’s what happens when the creative, artistic minds of Newfoundland & Labrador get together to support a great cause.  The Janeway Children’s Hospital Telethon will be held this weekend, June 1-2, 2013.

Please, whatever your name is … support the Janeway.

Winner of Braco copy

A huge thank-you to everyone who participated in our contest to win a signed copy of Lesleyanne Ryan’s award-winning novel, Braco.  And of course, thanks to Lesleyanne for stopping by my blog!

I’m pleased to announce that a signed copy of Braco will be going to Christina Stoffels from the Netherlands!  Congratulations Christina!