Monday, January 31, 2011

Writing Only

I loved this article about writing and publishing. I've referred back to it quite a lot in the last few weeks. And since today I'm very much "under the weather" today, I'm going to leave this link as my words of wisdom for all you writers out there.
I'm going to take some Nyquil, and it's only 8am.
The rest of you, get back to that manuscript. :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Life Happens by Barbara Fleming

"Life is what happens while we are making plans," the saying goes. You are just going along in your routine-filled days, thinking you have things more or less under control, when life happens and your world is turned upside down. All your carefully laid out plans, your schedules, your appointment and commitments, your tasks must be set aside so you can deal with the crisis, be it illness, death, loss, divorce or some other major upheaval. You do what you have to do.

We are remarkably adaptable creatures, we humans. We shift priorities, rearrange schedules and appointments, set aside tasks so we can function within the newly arranged parameters. For however long the crisis lasts, we manage.

For writers, this can be especially had. We rely on having uninterrupted hours when the ideas and words that float around in our heads can be turned into the next pages of our latest creation. We rely on a relatively peaceful, ordered life to allow the ideas to flow onto the page. When life happens, as it inevitably does, we have to carve time out of a now even busier day--or set aside writing altogether until the crisis has passed. Setting it saide is hard for creative people, writers, artists, musicians, whatever, because the juices are always flowing; the ideas continue to pop into the brain; the itch to turn them into something concrete never really goes away.

Nonetheless, life happens, and we have to adapt. During the crisis, we optimistically look to the day when daily life will again take on a semblance of order, when we will again have some control, and we continue to believe this will happen, some golden day in the future. For some, the crisis might someday blend into a story, shaped to fit the story's needs. For others, it becomes a profound part of who and what we are, affecting decisions and priorities.

However it works for anyone else, I know that for me, life will keep happening. I will keep adjusting accordingly. And somehow, some way, I will fit writing into my life again.

Friday, January 21, 2011


To celebrate the Thorndike Press large print publication of my historical romance TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS, I will be giving away another print copy of the novel.

You have until Monday January 31, 2011 to post a comment along with an email address where you can be reached if you wish to be entered. Drawing of the winner will be done at random by an impartial third party who doesn’t know any of the writers or readers.

TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS is a sensual historical romance set in the Regency era. Warning: this book sizzles! Maeve, part gypsy, has psychic abilities. Adam, the Marquess of Huntingdon, a world weary cynic, would like to make the mysterious Maeve his mistress. Maeve leads him a merry chase. The novel has elements of mystery, the paranormal, romantic suspense and humor.

Here are some comments from reviewers:

"Jacqueline Seewald's Tea Leaves and Tarot Cards delivers an unusual and intriguing heroine together with fast-paced historical romantic-suspense. Seewald is very much at home in her early 19th century setting."- Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick) New York Times Bestselling Author

“It is clear that Seewald's goal is to offer a deeply felt, emotional romance.” Library Journal

“TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS is rich in secondary characters across the spectrum of society...TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS has a lot to offer with its original characters and imaginative plot.” Romance Reviews Today

“This is a delightful lighthearted regency frolic.” Genre Go Round Reviews

What do you as a reader look for in romance novels? What most satisfies you as a reader?
All comments and discussion most welcome!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Say What??

Recently, I've started working on a new story, set in 1905. Previously, my books have been set in the 1870s, a time which was very familiar to me. I'd spent years researching that era to develop a living history character and knew it intimately. But, 1905 brought a whole new set of slang to the plate.

I promptly secured the Dictionary of American Slang for my reference library and dove in. And discovered several surprises!

The first concerned the word "okay." As a writer of historical romance, I've always been told that "okay" is an anachronism and advised to use "all right" instead. Critique partners, contest judges, and editors were all in agreement on this.

Now, though, I was in 1905. It seemed to me that my characters might very well say "okay." Just to be sure, I opened up the dictionary and checked only to discover "okay" (both as a form of agreement and as an adjective meaning "acceptable") has been in general usage since 1839! New York and Boston area writers began using "OK" in the early 1800s to mock local bumpkins who said "all korrect."

The new book has a child and it seemed natural for other characters to refer to her as a "kid." Yet, critique partners weren't sure so it was back to the dictionary. "Kid" has been used as a noun meaning "child" since 1599 and as an adjective for "younger" since 1884.

My partners also questioned "confetti." Of course, this isn't a slang word, so I had to refer to a different dictionary. The word comes from the Italian word "confetto" which was a small candy traditionally tossed at Italian carnivals. The custom was adopted into the throwing of symbolic paper at weddings in England. Another website revealed the candy represented fertility.

Yet another area of concern centered around "con". My trusty disctionary revealed "con game" has been used to mean "swindle" since the 1880s and "con" meaning "scam" since the early 1900s. "Confidence man" began usage by 1889 and "con man" by the early 1900s.

My dictionary revealed a host of other surprising slang use dates, noted as I paged through looking for other words. I've been surprised and delighted by many of them. Some old terms, no longer in use, have brought smiles to my face. Some terms I have always thought of as having originated post-1950 have actually been around for much longer.

I invite you to take a look yourselves. See The Dictionary of American Slang, the Online Etymology Dictionary, or The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. If you have your own favorites, let me know so I can add them to my library. I'd also love to hear about any surprises you've encountered.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Last chance to see Museum Mysteries

For those of you interested in history, this next Tuesday, January 11th, on the Travel Channel, the last of the Mysteries at the Museum episodes will be aired, beginning at 8 p.m.  E/P. This is a special showing, with back-to-back episodes to end the season's series. Here's a taste of what you'll see Tuesday night.

Sterling Memorial Library: An old letter, accidentally discovered in Yale University’s Sterling Memorial Library, describes a crime of horrendous sacrilege, purportedly carried out by a group of Yale students in the days of World War One. What unspeakable scandal does this letter describe and did the members of this Nation’s most powerful secret society actually pull it off?

Museum of Science and Industry: Inside the Museum of Science, a mechanical relic is also at the center of a shocking story. It’s a prototype of an early electric motor and it sparked a war between two of the world’s greatest inventors, each racing to become the FIRST to distribute electricity to millions of homes across America. Who won “the war of the currents”? And how did this motor utterly transform our world?

National Automobile Museum: One of the coolest cars at the National Automobile Museum of America, is an ultramodern sports car best remembered for its starring role in the 1985 Hollywood blockbuster, Back to the Future. But the real-life story of the DeLorean is more dramatic than any movie. How did one of the most anticipated, most hyped become one of the biggest blunders in automotive history?

Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum: The most interesting exhibits inside The Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum are related to this legendary warships own service at sea. In its collection are 4 mysterious objects. At first glance, they look like mere mechanical debris, but these are actually the twisted remains of one of the most dreaded weapons of World War Two -- one that nearly destroyed this very ship.

Museum of History and Industry: The Museum of History and Industry tells the story of Seattle’s rise to prominence. Of the numerous items on display, a simple 120 year-old pot played a bigger role in shaping Seattle’s history than any other -- but, in doing so, it had to destroy the city first.

The Henry Ford Museum: In Dearborn, Michigan, the Henry Ford Museum specializes in trains, planes and automobiles of all kinds. But one of the most important machines on display is an old wooden airplane called a Curtiss JN4. How did this primitive plane launch one of the most bizarre chapters in aviation history and help revolutionize air transportation along the way?
     and here are the final apisodes for Tuesday, beginning at 9 E/P:
USGA Museum: Among the trophies and memorabilia at the USGA is an amazing artifact that took the sport of golf into a whole new orbit. A forty year old, one-of-a-kind club went on a fantastic voyage. Why did a NASA astronaut decide to pull off an extraterrestrial tee shot and how did a simple stunt become one of the defining moments for a space program in crisis?

National Museum of Crime and Punishment: A holster that once belonged to America’s best known outlaw, Jesse James, is in the Museum of Crime and Punishment. It is made of hand stitched leather and harkens back to a time of when gunslingers and desperados ruled the wild west.

National World War I Museum: In a desperate bid to end the deadlock in WWI, British engineers developed a revolutionary new kind of weapon – the armored tank. With the help of modern forensics, the museum can finally reveal the truth behind their star artifact: a battered tank which fought and fell in one of the most important battles in modern military history.

Museum of Flight: Amidst the legends of the air at the Museum of Flight, one plane soars above all the rest. The world’s first and only supersonic commercial jet, capable of transporting passengers at twice the speed of a standard aircraft is here. So what turned the aircraft of the future into an artifact from the past?

Fort East Martello Museum: Since his arrival at the Fort East Martello Museum in 1994, Robert has been associated with some very spooky phenomena and the strangest of these stories are from people who insist that this antique, inanimate doll is actually - alive!

Newseum: A sleek, high-tech facility chronicles the nation’s important headlines, yet one bizarre artifact on display here speaks of a story in which the news media itself played a critical role. A one room cabin, outfitted with a collection of shelves and cubby holes, is stained with the soot and grime from years of habitation. How did the occupant of this rundown shack strike terror into the hearts of an entire nation?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year/Old Me :-(

Hope all of you readng this are having better luck than I am in the new year. I haven't even finished all the list of things I need to do First! - like yesterday! The weather man says we're going to have snow for the next two days so I'm going to shakle one ankle to a chair in front of my computer...

Oh, well, enough fuss. I'm starting right now, by updating my blog. There's some good news to report too. I've had some books on Kindle for a year now and finally, sales are beginning to grow - slowly, but growing. Also, a few months ago when we were able to, I put my things on the UK too and had just about given up ever getting any sales - but in December I had a few and the first week there was another so I hope these two readers talk to a lot of their friends LOL.

Among other things and different fiction genres I've got two cozy mystery series live and selling now. The Maryvale series: The Devil in Maryvale; The Nelson Scandal; Recipe for Trouble; Mardi Gras Murder; and An Unpopular Corpse. Also the Maggie and Joe series: Dead on Arrival; The Snafued Snatch; and my work in prgress, Good and Dead - a crime with absolutely NO motive so Joe Driver has his work cut out for him. There are two of the Chris and Duff Insurance Series live now: Once Burned; and Varmint.

I hope you're still reading, please go to my list on to see the whole list now available, Kindles and all-with loglines; thumbnails; and some reviews too to let you know more about them.

More Good News: The 'gift' prices I put on just before Christmas are going to stay, since people are buying them :-) There are none priced more than $2.99 and a good variety to choose from.

I'm hoping some readers and writers will come by and visit and please leave a comlment so I'll know you came. I love meeting new people :-)

Back to work, break's over! Happy New year!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Changes Happen

First, a very happy new year to everyone. I hope 2011 brings you everything you wish for.

The publishing industry has seen a lot of changes, and they're happening almost faster than we can keep up with. Aspiring authors would dream of being published, and figured once they crossed that hurdle, they had it made. Not so. In my own case, one of my Five Star Expressions books was remaindered, so it's out of print. Then the publisher canceled the entire imprint. So, Five Star Expressions will cease to exist at the end of 2011. Another, Cerridwen Press, is now branded as "Blush," and is part of the Ellora's Cave line. So, how does an author deal with these setbacks. The world of e-publishing has offered another venue.

What's in a Name? had garnered some recognition. It was a Daphne du Maurier Finalist, A Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist. 2nd Place, Volusia County Laurel Wreath 3rd Place, Aspen Gold Romantic Suspense. A Top Pick from Night Owl Reviews, Four Stars from RT Magazine. So, it seemed a good choice for re-publishing, and I requested the rights back.

The flip side to owning all rights to the publishing process is that you're responsible for everything. Editing, cover design, marketing…it's all on your shoulders. Thanks to my son, I managed to get a new cover at very little expense. (More about that here). I followed all the formatting guidelines required by the various venues. And I re-read the book, editing and updating it—cell phones instead of pagers, flash drives instead of CD ROMs. And a lot of reworking the names—I couldn't believe I had 3 characters named Henry! (More about that here).

What's in a Name? is now live at Smashwords and the Kindle Store. (The end of this post gives a discount code for Smashwords.) Here's a sample: