Telling time

“How do you tell time?”

This was one of the questions in a workshop I attended. Of course, my mind went to images of a clock, both digital and analog, a calendar, the usual. But that wasn’t what the presenter meant. It was about memories associated with a time in our lives.

Then I started thinking about it. One incident was when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. I don’t automatically say “January, 1986″.  No, my mind instantly says “Mr. Moyer’s science class, eighth grade”.  Same as when President Nixon passed away. My mind doesn’t think “April 1994″, it recalls “That happened three month’s after Mom died.”

See what I’m getting at? I never really thought about it when writing until that point. I’ve tried to work things into my writing, but it’s sometimes difficult because I don’t want to date my novels and have them only be relevant to the here and now. And I’m trying to convey time when the reader is just getting to know the characters.

What made me think about this was the audiobook I’m listening to. A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon. It’s set in North Carolina in the early 1770′s. The American Revolution is in its infancy. The instance that got me thinking about time was the start of the battle at Lexington. Gabaldon doesn’t just give the reader the date and current events. It’s more involved than that.

Paul Revere's Ride - Source

Paul Revere’s Ride – Source

The character, Brianna Randall MacKenzie, wakes and realizes what day it is. She nudges her husband and says “Yesterday was the eighteenth of April.” She then begins to recite the Longfellow poem about Paul Revere’s ride warning that the British Regulars are planning an attack on the Colonist rebel militia. What makes the entire passage fascinating is the fact that Brianna was born in 1948, went to school in Boston during the 1950′s and 60′s and learned about the history of how the nation came to be as a child. During her recitation of the poem, the reader is subtly reminded of not only the current time (1775) but of Longfellow’s time when the poem was written (1855) and Brianna’s childhood (1950′s/60′s) and how the current events are literal history for Brianna and her husband Roger, a historian born in 1940.

What brought it even more to life for me this time around reading it was having been to Boston and seen both Old North Church and walked through Paul Revere’s house in the North End of Boston. Now that I’ve visited where these events happened, they come to life a bit easier for me.

Gabaldon’s illustration definitely gives the reader a fuller appreciate of the time and what is happening to the characters. And, I admit, as Brianna (voiced by Davina Porter) began reciting the poem, I found myself chiming in.

"Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere"

What instances of time telling have you read that made you stop and think about how you tell time?

Have a great week everyone!

OH! Don’t forget to check out the Goodreads giveaway for Renaissance Wench. Open until 7-27-14, click on the cover on the right side at the top of the page. It will take you straight to the giveaway!!

Melanie

Old North Church (and other Freedom Trail sites in Boston) – http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/freedom-trail/old-north-church.shtml

Renaissance Wench is available now!!

ebook_cover

That’s right, folks. Renaissance Wench is out there in the world, ready for you all to read! Here’s where you can get your copy. Don’t forget to share. I really love how this story turned out. Maybe this year, I’ll see if Simon or Callie are hanging out at the Renaissance Festival ;)

Here are the links!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Renaissance-Wench-Melanie-Macek-ebook/dp/B00LS61CSE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405559097&sr=1-1&keywords=melanie+macek

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/457651

I’m still working on the Barnes and Noble formatting. Paperback will be available through Amazon or you can order one through the blog and I’ll send you an autographed copy.

Hope you feel moved to purchase a copy. If you do, I would appreciate if you left a review.

Melanie

Cover Reveal!! Renaissance Wench

I apologize to my readers. I feel like I’m spamming you lately. I’m really excited about this new release. I feel like I’ve been working on it forever, and now it’s finally ready to be out in the world.

With no further ado…

BookCover6x9_BW_270b_web

I LOVE this cover. Thanks to Cindy Whitney for designing this cover. She captured the essence of what I wanted from just a few online conversations. The release is set for July 15th. The book will be abailable in both print and ebook formats. Amazon of course, and will hopefully have it up on the other ebook sites as well. I will give you all the links when I have them.

So, what do you think?

Melanie

Torn Canvas by Donna K. Weaver Blog Tour

TORN CANVAS Blog Tour: HTML Code


Title: TORN CANVAS(Safe Harbors, #2)
Author: Donna K. Weaver
Release Date: May 28, 2014
Pages: 376
Find it: Amazon | B&NGoodreads
Genre: Fiction | Adventure | Contemporary Romance
Modern-day pirates took more than Jori Virtanen’s friends; they stole his face. Not only does the twenty-four-year-old former model have to confront months of reconstructive surgery, he discovers his previous life was as superficial as his looks. Jori struggles to make a new life for himself as an artist while evading the press. They expect a hero, but he knows the truth. His beauty masks a beast.
Olivia Howard’s given up a normal life for her job, and the sacrifices are finally paying off. The twenty-six-year-old talk-show host’s ratings are heading to the top of the charts. Her dream is to make a difference in people’s lives, but the studio wants mind fluff—like interviewing hot model Jori Virtanen. When Olivia learns the guy helped rescue passengers on a cruise excursion from kidnappers, she knows this is the story she needs to make her case. The only problem is the hero was injured, and now he’s disappeared.
The more Olivia learns about the man behind the scar, the more intrigued she becomes. But Jori is no girl’s happily ever after. Once she finds him, Olivia has to free his heart and heal the beast.

My review: I will admit, it took me a little bit to get into. Not due to any fault of the author, but because it was like coming back to visit with friends you haven’t seen in a while. I was too busy trying to see what was different from the last time we met. After getting over that initial hurdle in my mind, the story just took over. I finished it one day. It was nice to see what happened to Jori after the cruise. I wish there’d been a bit more delving into Olivia’s history. I know it’s Jori’s story, but I want to know if this woman is good enough for him. Once again, Donna has knocked it out of the park with this second installment to the Safe Harbor series.

Donna K. Weaver is a Navy brat who joined the Army and has lived in Asia and Europe. Because she sailed the Pacific three times as a child, she loves cruising and wishes she could accrue enough vacation time to do more of it with her husband. 

Donna and her husband have six children and eight grandchildren who live all over the world. 

At fifty, Donna decided to study karate and earned her black belt in Shorei Kempo.  

After recording city council minutes for twenty years, Donna decided to write something a little longer and with a lot more emotion–and kissing.

Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Website 
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June 16th Sweetly Clean Romance– Review/Excerpt
 June 16thGamila’s Review  – Review
 June 16hCindy M. Hogan– Review/Playlist
 June 17thPeering Into– Review
 June 17th Krista Wayment– Guest Post
 June 17thLaura D. Bastian – Review
 June 17thChristy Dorrity Author – Interview
 June 18thLeigh Covington– Interview/Highlight
 June 18thCanda’s Ink Blast – Review
 June 18thDiann T. Read– Spotlight
 June 18thMeetings With My Muse– Spotlight
 June 18thMedeia Sharif– Top Ten/ Spotlight
 June 18thBookish – Playlist/Top Ten
 June 19thLucinda Whitney – Review/Interview
 June 19thYA Author Elana Johnson– Interview
 June 19thWhy Not? Because I Said So – Review
 June 19thJordan McCollum – Spotlight/GP
 June 20thFeather Pens, Tartan Dreams – Review/Guest Post
 June 20thLindzee Armstrong/Lydia Winters– Review
 June 20thAuthor Brooke Williams– GP/Spotlight
 June 20thWordpaintings Unlimited– Spotlight
 June 20thMins Reads and Reviews– Review
 June 20thMeredith Mansfield – Review



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Renaissance Wench – Simon English

We’re getting closer…

One week away from the cover reveal for Renaissance Wench. Until then, let me introduce you to Simon.

Well, Simon. A name I’ve loved for three decades. And now I get to use it in a book! Simon English. Thirty year old investor. He works for a firm out of New Orleans. Oldest of two siblings, his sister Angelique helps run their mother’s design house. He’s good at what he does and has worked his way up the ladder and is now one of the go to investigators when their firm is looking for either new investors or new clients. Broussard Financial handles both personal and corporate investment funds.

While Simon isn’t involved in the daily workings of his mother’s design house, he understands what she’s looking for. When he falls for Callie upon meeting her, he’s thrown for a romantic loop when it turns out his latest potential investor could potentially ruin his budding relationship with Callie but also shed light on some underhanded dealings her family may be involved with.

Simon get his Cajun from his mother’s side. Gabrielle was born and raised in the Crescent City, and her family can just about trace their family back to the Acadians who traveled from France via Canada. Simon’s father, Nathaniel, is from the east coast. His father traveled to New Orleans on business and never looked back. Simon and his sister speak fluent French and have been known to insult each other in several languages at once.

The man has the heart of a true gentleman. He knows how to take care of his family and his woman, but has been known to get a little crazy if the occasion calls for it. In Callie, he finds a balance. Now, will everything work out so they can be together? Guess you’ll just have to see…

Isn’t he the dreamy one. Can you see him in a suit, looking cool and collected despite the blazing New Orleans heat? Oh, yeah. I know I can! You can check out the Renaissance Wench Pinterest board here.

 

Have a great week everyone!

Melanie

Just for fun:

http://texrenfest.com/

http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/

http://www.oakalleyplantation.com/

Little tips and tricks

This year has been about finding the balance between real life (and it’s responsibilities) and my book world – writing, editing, and eventually publishing the finished product. I did the 40 bags in 40 days challenge. While I didn’t quite do something all 40 days it did start a better habit of keeping things clean and organized.

Here are the things that have worked for our household this year.

Weekly Menu – Sometimes made that week, sometimes a week in advance. Items for dinner get put on the grocery list, along with everything else we may need or replenish. I can hear you moaning and groaning already, but hear me out. Yes, there are just the two of us. Yes, my husband works shift work, so I don’t cook a full dinner every night of the week. But when I do cook, I have to make sure there are enough left overs that the hubby has enough food for the days he’s at work. After two months, the menu is still in full swing. And we keep it flexible. We make the meals with more perishable items at the beginning of the week and those with more hearty veggies or frozen veggies at the end of the week.  I decided to write the menus in a spiral notebook, that way if it was a recipe I found online, I can either write down the website or if it was a recipe book, I note the page that way I can go back and find it.

Over 9 weeks, our total grocery bill averages out to $90 a week. Yes, that includes buying meat. Yes there are some weeks I need to run and get a few things, but it’s usually less than $20 per extra trip, if that.

*Bonus 1 – spending less on groceries

*Bonus 2 – less spoiled food, less wasted food

*Bonus 3 – no afternoon stress about what to cook for dinner

Organizing – I’m still struggling with this one. Receipts and mail do still pile up on the counter. My cousin sent me a link to a post about how to break the cycle of procrastination. When I think about it, that applies to my house cleaning. The stuff that piles up is usually stuff that would have taken a very short time to take care of the day it happened. It’s a 2-minute rule. If you can complete the task in two minutes or less, don’t put it off.

http://jamesclear.com/how-to-stop-procrastinating

This also goes along with the recent UT graduation speech about making your bed in the morning because it’s a completed task which will help lead to more completed tasks and a day of successes that work toward a larger goal.

http://blogs.militarytimes.com/scoopdeck/2014/05/19/top-seals-life-advice-make-your-bed/

*Bonus – no looking around berating myself that I really should clean (insert surface, room, counter here) while completely avoiding it because it’s gotten out of control. Do it, done, on to the next thing or relaxing – guilt free.

Completing every task – This is a toughy. I have so many unfinished craft projects it’s embarrassing. I looked at them this past weekend and thought I really need to finish those. Then the book called to me. Yeah, I love writing books, but being self-published (practically a full time job in itself) and working full time, I have a hard time pulling myself away from writing to work on those other tasks now.  I enjoy writing and connecting with other authors whether online or in person, so stepping away from that to work on a craft project is something I don’t want to do. But I need to finish everything I start. I know some of you just drifted to a post floating around recently that said walking away from a project is okay. And it is. But not the projects I need to finish. A blanket, a sampler quilt, a cross stitch and a bit of random sewing to repair things. Oh, and the unfinished apron and placemats sitting on my sewing table. Those need to be finished.

*Bonus – No more scraps hanging around every where

*Bonus – the feeling of having made something from scratch

The whole thing is a work in progress. Life gets in the way, allergies take over, family obligations prevail. But they’re tools that are making life a bit simpler, and right now, that’s a plus.

What tips, tricks, or shortcuts have you found that make life easier?

Melanie

 

fun with flowers

I know today isn’t a normal post day, but I decided to go outside and play with my camera. Something to get me moving around after being chained to my desk all day at the EDJ. Mosquitoes were bad but they didn’t get me too badly. I sprayed Cutter around, trying to keep it off me so the kittehs wouldn’t accidentally rub against my legs and get it on their fur.

So here a few flowers for you. Now back to editing Renaissance Wench.

Have a great rest of the week and weekend. Keep your blood, y’all.

Melanie

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