Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Crazy Days

My apologies, loyal readers, for being lax in my blogging of late. Unfortunately, it's only going to get worse before it gets better.

I'm in the middle of crunch time with school. The last day of classes is today, and final exams start next week. I'm also completing my ALWR this semester (Advanced Legal Writing Requirement, think of it like a law school thesis).

I'll do my best to pop in every week, but don't hold your breath.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Family Dinner

While writing THE VIOLIN, I used many of the traditions and activities from daily life with my family. Familial dinners in THE VIOLIN were a place of family communication, news exchange and happy conversation. It was easy to write these scenes because this sort of activity was a daily occurrence all the years I spent growing up at home.
Since we had no television because my dad thought it was a deleterious invention that stole our creativity and resourcefulness, dinner time became a major entertainment for us. Long after dinner was finished and the main course was cold, we would talk on and on. It was a chance to tell our parents what was happening in our lives and get them to help us solve problems we were confronting.
Occasionally, it was lecture time like the time my sister wrecked the family car and the time I went on a date with a boy I knew my dad disapproved of.
We found out things about the world and the universe. We talked politics, religion, etiquette, what color we wanted to paint our rooms--everything and anything.
When I married my high school sweetheart and moved to Texas, I asked my parents to record dinner conversations to keep me from being homesick. I have to laugh here because we used reel to reel tape recorders. I don't even know if anything like that exists anymore. The sound and speed weren't always consistent but that didn't matter to me.
Now, long after my parents have died and my sisters and I have moved away from home, I still have those tapes. A couple of them have been recorded on Cd's.
So I wonder, do families still have conversations around the dinner table? Do parents learn what their children are doing and what problems are coming up for them? Do children ask their parents about the things they wonder about or fear? Do families play board games or cards as an after dinner entertainment?
What are family dinners like at your house? How would you like them to be? What would you change about dinnertime? Do you have great mealtimes at your house? What makes them great?
I'm ready to listen to your views and your memories on dinner time conversations where you live.
All good things to you and yours in your corner of the universe.
Sarah McNeal

Friday, April 25, 2008

What a pretty description, doesn't it completely make the story?

I was having a positive conversation with a friend of mine about this old description in an as yet, woefully... foolishly? unfinished story that was started almost a year ago.

Con lifted her head, shifting the blonde bangs from her eyes. Her walk, she had down to a fine art. Even her mother could not fault it.

From behind, she appeared as a boy. Thick, platform Mary Jane shoes covered her feet, and were covered over by straight black suit pants of a boy’s cut. With that combination, Con looked as tall as many of the boys who walked the halls, and a little taller than some. That her blonde hair cropped up against the back of her head, and only a scant amount of fringe flopped over her eyes, was exactly the look she was going for. She knew she could dip her head and smile at any of the first year girls, and they in turn would smile, and blush, before finding their friends to talk about the very effeminate boy who had just flirted with them.

Con had met up with a Swedish student by the name of Kjell a little bit into her first year at uni. Brunette where she was blonde, Kjell’s walk was nothing like her own, for all that he was a member of the male species. His hair was tied back in a ponytail to the length of his shoulder blades.

‘Trying to impress the newbies?’

His deep voice made her smile, and look up into his kind green eyes.

‘Whatever would make you think that?’

‘The poets shirt. You always wear that when you’re trying to impress someone.'

It got me to thinking of other descriptions that I have used for characters over the last few years, and I was looking at a small book that I had stopped using until recently.

It's only large enough to jot disjointed ideas down in note form when I'm nowhere near a computer or completely in the mind track of doing something else, like sleeping, or being on rickety PT, or having a conversation with someone. But these were some I found, and some characters that I want recreate just based on the fractured descriptions.

Her usually bright eyes were bloodshot above high cheekbones.

Blonde hair that he'd forgotten to tie up that morning framed jaw line and compassionate blue eyes in a disheveled mess.

Chocolate brown eyes asked her a silent question as his dark fringe fell into his eyes, again.

The line of his nose and mouth were thinner, perfect for the look of distaste he pulled when he was displeased.

It seemed like she was only moving to stop herself from curling in a corner and crying the rims around her eyes even redder.

His eyes were watchful, even when his attention seemed to be elsewhere.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Letters From Home

The world is changing and I find myself having difficulty sometimes adjusting to the "new world." I have always loved getting letters and cards in the mail--you know--the real paper kind. There is something so special about the thought and contemplation that other person went to in order to send me that card or that letter. When we were young and in college, my husband and I wrote faithfully to one another almost every day. My letters often contained little momentos like pressed flowers and trinkets from gumball machines. He even wrote poetry--for real. My letters had sealing wax on the envelope and pressed into the wax would be little symbols of love like a double heart or a rose. These letters lifted my spirits especially when I was homesick.
I sent a friend a letter recently with special ink in sea blue and sealing wax on the envelope. Because of modern mechinery at the post office, the seal was snapped right off. It was very disappointing. Still, it was my handwriting. Remember when you could recognize the handwriting of your friends and family? Do you think that still happens?
It's great to get instant messages and email. I can even talk to my friend in Australia using a headset and my computer. But I miss handwritten letters, seeing the handing writing of the people I love and the time and effort that they put into "Real" letters.
Sarah McNeal

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Drive by posting...

I'm in the midst of revising my futuristic fantasy, Psychic Chains, but I thought I'd do a drive by blog post and wish everyone a magical weekend! It's finally warming up here in my part of the world, and it looks like Spring is officially here!


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Exerpt from Chateau Despair by Linda Sole!

Linda Sole
Romance, saga, crime!

Coming soon to Red Rose Publishing
Chateau Despair/Linda Sole

A big WW11 saga!

Madame Fanchot watched in triumph as the child entered the world in a mess of slime and blood. However, her feeling was short-lived as she turned to its mother. She was dying. Her labour had been long and hard, and the months of carrying had taken their toll. No one would care what became of her or her child. She’d been foolish and careless and her behaviour had brought shame to her family. For herself, she could have little reason left to live, but Madame Fanchot knew that she feared for her child.

"Where is she?" The woman’s voice was barely more than a whisper. The blood drained out from between her thighs, sluggish and thick. Madame Fanchot gave up any attempt to staunch it. She believed nothing more could be done to help the woman, or perhaps she was either too indifferent or too ignorant to try to save her. "Let me see her…just once."

"She is beautiful, Madame," Madame Fanchot said. She laid the small bundle in the mother’s arms. The child was wrapped in nothing but the shawl the woman had been wearing when they’d found her wandering in the woods some hours earlier. "You have a lovely daughter."

"I want to call her Elena," the mother said. "Her name is Elen…"

The rattle of death caught in her throat, causing her head to fall back against the pillows.

"She has gone," a man said from the doorway. He spat on the floor of the filthy cottage. "So perish all such whores as they deserve."

"You are too harsh, Jean," his wife said. She took the squalling child from its mother and held it to her breast to quiet it. "How can you know who or what the poor woman was? She has scarcely spoken a word since we found her wandering."

"No decent woman would be alone in a wood in her condition," he muttered sourly. "If she came of good family they threw her out – and she isn’t wearing a wedding ring."

"That doesn’t mean she was a bad woman," Madame Fanchot gave the dead woman a pitying look. "What are we to do with her now?"

"I’ll bury her in the wood. I’ve no money to pay the priest for a proper burial for a stranger?"

"But shouldn’t we tell someone? Supposing someone comes looking for her or the child one day?"

"We never saw her."

"What of the child?" she cried in horror at his callous words.

"Get rid of it…" He growled deep in his throat . "I don’t mean kill it – take it to the church. Leave it near the altar. The priest will know what to do. It won’t be the first time he’s had to deal with an abandoned bastard I’ll swear. I don’t care what you do with it, just get it out of the house."

"The shawl is hers. Was there nothing else – no ring or trinket of any kind that might help them to trace who the child’s mother was?"

"Nothing," he muttered in a way that immediately told her he was lying. "Nothing at all."

She scowled at him. If he’d stolen something from the woman, he would likely keep it until he thought it was safe to sell. She would not receive the smallest part of his ill-gotten gains, even though she was the one who’d gone through the trouble of attending the woman.

"I’m going to take the child," she told him. She hated his brutality; she hated the poverty of her life. She wished she dared to leave him and take the child with her. It was impossible. Poor as her life is, it was still better than starving on the streets. "If you mean to bury the woman, Jean, be careful. If anyone sees you there could be trouble."

"No one will see," he shrugged. "No one ever comes to the woods these days. Not after what happened up at the chateau."

Madame Fanchot crossed herself as she hurried out into the bleakness of a cold winter evening. The chateau remained empty for the past five years, save from the crazy old woman that owned it. The last of her family, she had lived there alone, hardly seeing anyone since the tragedy. Madame Fanchot’s mind shied away from what had happened all those years ago.

Indeed, she did not truly know for sure what had happened at the chateau. She’d only heard the rumours, but it was certain three people were brutally murdered there.

Shivering, she ran all the way to the church. She looked about her, but could see no one. Hurriedly, she deposited her bundle behind the priest’s pulpit. He would surely see it there when he came to take evening confession.

Afraid and guilty for leaving the child, Madame Fanchot made the sign of the cross over her heart and then ran from the church hastily. In her anxiety to get away, Madame Fanchot failed to notice the figure sitting quietly in the shadows. Nor did she ever know what happened after she’d left, though there would be times over the years when she wondered what had become of the child. Times when she believed she knew…

(c) 2008 by Linda Sole. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Cafe Press stores...

Most of you know by now that I love to create art in Poser, and I have in fact created book covers in Poser. In addition I've added some of my art to items at Cafe Press. So, if you like the cover for Getting Out Alive, you should take a look at my store for items with the cover. You can check it out here. I also have a store called All Things Fairy that has items with at the moment only one of the pieces of fairy art hat I've created. I plan to add more once this temp assignment has ended. You can check those things out here.

Stay tuned for more information on Doomed to Be Charmed, and Destiny's Decisions coming to an online bookstore in the near future!

Chateau Despair/Linda Sole

I have at last finished the edits for this book. It seems ages since my first editor started and then abandoned it to go elsewhere. Thank goodness it is now finished and will hopefully be published in April sometime.

I do not have a cover for either of these so I am putting up a different one. Regina is posting for me this time as I am having a break. Linda

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Svetkavista Now in Print!


Kayleigh Jamison

Tease Publishing

ISBN: 987-1-934678-42-8 (ebook)

ISBN: 9781934678435 (print)



Trapped within a life where she has always been an outsider, Karina dutifully follows the wishes of her father by day, and secretly pursues her dreams by night. Raised within the strict, patriarchal society of the Rom at a time when discrimination and fear are at their peak, she is forced to hide both her love of music and her passion for those who encourage her dreams.

She seeks comfort in the arms of her dearest friend and mentor, who shows her that love and lust rarely confine themselves to the ill-conceived notions of normalcy.

When a lie, spoken in a moment of desperation, threatens to shatter everything Karina holds dear, she must choose between those she loves and her own reputation. Will the truth set her free or destroy her? Does she have the courage to follow her own heart?

If you are looking for a lyrical voice, superb characters that draw you in, and fascinating out of the ordinary historical adventure with an erotic twist, I cannot recommend Kayleigh Jamison enough.

-Emma Wildes, #1 bestselling author and 2007 Eppie winner

Ms. Jamison has penned an absolutely stunning and adventure tale that drew me in from page one, to the point that I forgot everything but the story unfolding before me.

-Caro, Coffee Time Romance, 5 cups

Svetkavista…is a wonderful novel of love and revenge…grabbed me at the start and wouldn’t let go.

-Amelia, Joyfully Reviewed

Rarely does a novel come along with the ability to capture passion and pain, honesty and love so completely. Sensuous, heartfelt and truly beautiful, Svetkavista is one of the best romance reads of the year.

-Kelly, AORAOG Reviews

…a riveting story; I couldn’t stop reading it and really didn’t want it to end.

-Julianne, TwoLips Reviews, 4 stars

Wow, just one extraordinary, unique story!

-Cathie, Euro Reviews, 5 stars

I don't hesitate to recommend this complex story; it thrilled me with its involved plot lines and kept me reading late into the night.

-Chamomile, Whipped Cream Reviews, 5 Cherries


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Good News for THE VIOLIN

Since I'm not feeling my very best today, I'm going to forgo the blog I was going to write and just give you some good news I got this past week. Romance Junkies have given THE VIOLIN the reviewers' blue ribbon favorite for the month of February.
It made my week.
I hope you are all well and happy today. Now back to my bed. LOL
Sarah McNeal

PNR reviewed The Witch and the Wolf!!!

Hey everyone,
PNR has reviewed my paranormal historical, The Witch and the Wolf!
Here is a snippet of the review!
Ms. Matthews has written a perfect blend of history, danger, mystery, and the magic of true love. Christopher and Arabella butt heads at every turn. Their lively banter will make you chuckle as you wonder who will win the battle of wits. They make a perfect match. Both are brave, loyal, and passionate. You'll want these two to find a way to conquer the one who threatens their future so they may find the happiness they both deserve.

Reviewed by: Karen Michelle Nutt

And here is the link to the full review, please check it out!
  • PNR review of The Witch and the Wolf!

  • Have a great Sunday!


    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    500 Miles

    Here's 500 Miles by the Proclaimers set against clips from the movie, Benny and Joon. Benny and Joon is one of my favorite movies, and whenever I hear 500 Miles I think of it.
    If you haven't done so already, don't forget to go over to Erin Aislinn's website and vote for the cover for Doorway to the Stars which is up for cover of the month! Voting ends April 30th!
  • Doorway to the Stars-book cover of the month

  • Have a happy Thursday, everyone!


    Tuesday, April 8, 2008

    On Writing

    I'm blogging today at Ecata about writing historical romance. Stop by and check it out.

    Monday, April 7, 2008

    Tease Tarot Acceptance!!

    I just found out the best news in the most bizarre of ways! My novel submission for the Tease Tarot line with Tease Publishing has been accepted! Unfortunately for me, the acceptance letter was caught up in my spam folder, but I found it anyway but accidentally putting something else there and having to dig it out!

    Color this the face of someone who's very excited! And luckily for me, this letter doesn't seem to be dated more than a day ago. Phew!

    See this post from a little under a month ago for more information about the story: Unity - by Nikki Watson

    Sunday, April 6, 2008

    Communication: Now And Then

    Today's communication is often done indirectly. We have cell phones, television, automated answering systems for businesses that send us through button pushing hell, and answering machines that we often edit before we decide whether or not to answer the caller. We listen to our IPOD's and MP3's while we navigate through crowds of people. If all else fails in avoiding direct contact with others, we have the movies where we can sit and watch someone else's life unfold.
    Cell phones in particular make me crazy. I noticed a girl in a checkout line at the store holding her cell phone to her ear. Once in a while she would look at the screen before placing it back to her ear. She seemed nervous, shifting her weight from one foot to another while her eyes darted around as if to see if anyone noticed that no one was talking to her on her cell phone. What was that about? While I was visiting a friend in the hospital, a nurse tech. came into the room talking to someone on her cell phone. She never greeted my friend or looked her in the eyes. She continued talking on the phone eliminating all contact with my sick friend.
    What has become of us? There seems to be no tolerance for anything that isn't instant. A handwritten card is so worth the wait for the joy it brings me. On the Internet, my handwriting is like anyone else's but, the handwriting of a friend or dear relative is recognizable on sight.
    When I wrote THE VIOLIN, besides my own experiences in life before computers, cell phones and IPODS, I researched what it was like in 1927 when not every home even had a radio or a phone. People connected face to face. They planned activities where they enjoyed each other's company. Writing letters was an art form with care and planning and careful use of pen and ink. There was personal interaction and all of this created a feeling of well being and belonging. It's wonderful to have technology. I'm using it right now to write this blog. But I never forget to visit my friends and send them handwritten cards and letters. It makes me feel closer to them. It makes me feel a part of the human race and I am reminded that I am not alone.
    Sarah McNeal

    Saturday, April 5, 2008

    New books from Linda....

    My book Too Hot To Handle came out with Triskelion at about the time they closed the website. I am happy to say that it is now being republished with Eternal Press. It should come out in June. I’ve done the edits and now have only galley proofs to check.

    Chateau Despair/Linda Sole

    I have at last finished the edits for this book. It seems ages since my first editor started and then abandoned it to go elsewhere. Thank goodness it is now finished and will hopefully be published in April sometime.

    I do not have a cover for either of these so I am putting up a different one. Regina is posting for me this time as I am having a break. Linda

    Friday, April 4, 2008

    Journey's End is now FOR SALE!

    PhotobucketJourney's End [Legacy Of The Celtic Brooch 13]
    Soul mates separated for over one thousand years… Faerie Princess, Lily Fairchild, is on a quest to find her husband, Leo. Guided by her pledge to love him for all eternity, she travels to the human realm of Earth, to seek him out and guide him home. When she discovers him in his prison, she realizes that only her true love can set him free from the evil curse that has trapped him for so many years.
    Will their combined love for each other be enough to break the curse and set him free, proving that love really is the greatest magic of all?

    Go and get your copy today! LOL Please? :)

    Here is the link for you to purchase Journey's End!
  • Journey's End

  • ~Marly

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    Tune In to Books Beyond the Boundaries

    I'll be giving my first radio interview tomorrow, at 11:00 am on Stella Price's radio show, Books Beyond the Boundaries. You can listen online here. Stella tells me I'll be talking about my books, my research, Scotland, and my three insane pets.

    Doorway to the Stars has been 'Cornered'

    Doorway to the Stars is being featured on Kathy's Review Corner for the month of April! Whoo-hoo! Thank you so much, Kathy!

    Check it out by following the links below!

  • Doorway to the Stars "Cornered"

  • Link to contest!

  • Kathy's Contest for April

  • Scroll down past the March contest, as it will be up for a few more days. The April contest will run until the 30th.


    Doorway to the Stars up for book cover of the month!!!

    Photobucket Big news! Doorway to the Stars is up for book cover of the month over at Erin Aislinn's website! But I need your help! In order to win book cover of the month, Doorway to the Stars requires your votes! Please follow the link below and vote for Doorway to the Stars! I would really appreciate it! :)

  • Doorway to the Stars up for book cover of the Month!

  • Thank you!