This book is mindbogglingly detailed, so much so that my eyes cross slightly whenever I reference something from it. Don’t get me wrong. I love how every page is filled with minutiae that can keep my brain swimming for hours and hours, but there’s a limit to how many details about dentils, modillions, and other classical moldings found in Neoclassical and Italian Renaissance architecture that the mind can safely absorb without flatlining. Unless, of course, you’re an architect and adore such things. I, for one, am not and do not, and so I like to limit myself with such descriptions. Less is more, as they say, but a few such details nicely sprinkled throughout can certainly add some rich texture to one’s writing.
A Field Guide to American Houses truly is a lot of bang for your buck, especially if you’re a historical writer and find yourself in need of such information. The sections are vast and varied: Spanish Colonial, Dutch Colonial, Georgian, Creek Revival, Gothic Revival, Tutor, Neoclassical…you get the idea. There’s even a pictorial key that you can reference roof lines, walls, windows, chimneys, porch supports, and other decorative details. If you’re writing a novel that takes place in 1828, and you want to describe the residential street in which your heroine is jauntily strolling down, you certainly don’t want to make the blunder of describing spindlework that would be found on Queen Anne houses built from 1880-1910. That’s just sloppy research right there!
Interested in learning about cantilevered porches or pediment windows to add authenticity to your next novel? A Field Guide to American Houses is still available for sale on Amazon by clicking here.
I’m a scrapper. I always have been. The more times I fall and embarrassingly land on my butt, the more determined I am to spring right back up and try again. I think I might even have a little Oppositional Defiance Disorder in me, because I seem to get more mulish with each rejection—at least, that’s proven true with my writing career. As I mentioned in my very first blog post, I tried to get my manuscripts published for nearly two decades before finally moving on and self-publishing, and I must say that decision has proven to be a happy one. But up until that point, each rejection letter from a publishing house or literary agent only got me more determined to spring right back up again, my little scrapper fists a-flyin’ everywhere.
Recently, I started thinking about my entry into the 2017 RITA contest but how I didn’t place, and I belatedly realized, Hey! I’m a scrapper! Scrappers don’t quit after one little contest! I quickly referred to the Romance Writers of America chapter websites and found several contests still open for entries. The contest winners will be announced anywhere from June to October, and I entered Clingstone into five contests total. The one thing that’s proven the most difficult in self-publishing is advertising and exposure in general, but if I can place in just one contest, that’s instant publicity I didn’t have before.
That said, scrappers unite! I know I’m not the only self-published author out there who struggles with advertising, and so here is the link to the current contests still open on the RWA website. I think you need to be a current member to participate in any of them, but if so then go for it!
Here's the book blurb for my upcoming release! Look for Watermark in summer 2017!
Whom could you trust if you were stranded fifteen hundred miles from home?
Misfortune has plagued Juno Brock for months. Recently widowed, a chance encounter with a dangerous criminal in St. Louis exposes her to information that can see her branded. Or worse, hanged. When a pirate attack on the Mississippi River maroons her in the wilds of Michigan Territory, she has but one choice: use her wits to secure passage on a boat traveling downriver and reunite with her family fifteen hundred miles away.
An arrogant mistake in his youth has set flatboat pilot Malcolm Moreau on a forked path of redemption and revenge. His successful livelihood transporting goods to New Orleans revolves around cargo, not passengers, but Juno’s recent encounter with his longtime enemy makes her the exception. A bargain is struck: safe passage to Natchez, Mississippi, in exchange for the information she unwittingly discovered.
What follows is a month-long journey where mistrust and resentment unfolds into an unexpected friendship filled with secret confidences and before long, attraction. Sometimes dangerous, often humorous, their voyage down America’s most infamous river and the outlandish characters they meet along the way will ultimately inspire a destination neither expected: love.
Spring is my catnip. At the first hint of it, I go slightly nuts. It’s what happens from living in the Midwest, I suppose. My hardy soul shrivels down to a stunted little nub in the wintertime, and so it’s really no surprise when I turn slightly schizophrenic upon sighting that first blade of green grass. My brain immediately explodes with wondrous outdoor project after outdoor project, with little attention left over for anything else: Mowing! Pruning! Mulching! Weeding! The ideas shoot off like pinwheels and Roman candles that demand my complete and utter devotion.
After about a month of this self-inflicted joy/torture, I get my fill of catnip and everything returns to normal again. But until that time, all of my good intentions suffer. This year’s spring victim? My writing. I have approximately six chapters left to write in my second book, and then some editing revisions to follow. If I’m diligent, I should be able to finish in about eight weeks, and yet…my concentration has already wandered to the Great Outdoors. I’ve already returned my goldfish to their pond, mulched and pruned about half my flowerbeds and shrubs, and next week I’ll need to wrestle my lawnmower from its shed to annihilate the dandelion army that is slowly overtaking my yard. Even the dogs are encouraging me to be off-task. They’ve lured me down to the river already to dig in the sand and frolic in the water (them, not me, I swear). I tend to be a bit of a procrastinator anyway and am often distracted by bright and shiny things…so maybe I’m part crow? That would explain quite a lot.
It’s times like these that I find myself grateful I’m not under a publishing house contract. Yes, I have my own deadlines and like to stick to them as closely as possible, but it alleviates some of the pressure to know that my pace is still my own. If I become a victim to spring’s off-task charms, so be it. Luckily, it’s always a temporary madness anyway.
That said, next week I plan on posting the book blurb for Watermark, my upcoming release, which now looks like it will occur closer to summer 2017 than spring. Stay tuned for more details! Until then, rest assured: The catnip will run its course, folks, I promise.
Copyright © 2016-2017 Marti Ziegler