Monthly Archives: August 2016

Drilling for deeper meaning

Drilling below the surface.jpgI hate writing book descriptions. I have a really hard time writing them. However, writing a book description is a great way at discovering what your book is really about.

Yes, I have just spent the past 3-4 months writing the book, but I was focusing on characters—making sure they are well-rounded three-dimensional people who grow and change and learn. I need to make sure that they’re likeable. That readers will connect with them. I spend a lot of time on this. I get to know these people—how they think, how they react, how they speak, what’s important to them, even down to what they notice when they walk into a new place.

I spend a lot of time on my plot as well. I need to make sure it’s got all the ups and downs, twists and turns that a good, exciting plot needs to have to keep readers turning pages. I need to make sure that there are good times and bad. That the conflict is strong, but not overwhelming. And I need to make sure I give readers what my husband calls “gifts” – those moments in a romance when you just sit back and smile and relax, or laugh out loud because what your character is doing or saying is just so wonderful or funny. I work hard to make sure all of this is there in the story.

As I write my books, what I don’t think about is theme—the over-arching, deeper meaning. It’s there, I just don’t think about it. I don’t put it in deliberately. I leave that to my subconscious mind.

All books have this deeper meaning whether we put it in deliberately or not. We all have some deeper idea or concept that we’re inadvertently or subconsciously teaching to readers. Most writers have one theme that is repeated in all of their work—mine is “fish out of water”. In every book I write, there is someone who is out of their element trying to fit in. It’s something that I feel deeply about and have experienced, personally, throughout my life.

But frequently, it’s when I finish my book and start to think about the book’s description, that’s when I realize what the book is really about. Usually, this is discovered bit by bit, piece by piece; a sentence here, an idea there, as I analyze what my characters’ goals really are.

In my upcoming Regency romance, My Lord Ghost, which I’m still editing and getting ready to send out to my beta readers (as soon as I get it back from my editor, those who signed up to beta read will get their copies), I know that my heroine’s goal is help the ghost she discovers when she’s sent to Yorkshire as punishment for being too bold and introducing herself to people, well, men, in particular—okay, to handsome men. Her goal, which she, herself, states in the book, is to help this ghost move on to his greater reward, to heaven. That is what she wants to do. It is her external goal.

Her internal goal is to somehow figure out how to grow and mature so that her father allows her to return to London—at least that’s what she thinks it is. That’s what I had in mind as I wrote the book. However, after I finished writing and started trying to write my book description I realized what really happens to her. In one inadvertent sentence, I summarized her entire journey: Laia grows from a young woman concerned only with her own pleasures (meeting handsome men and flirting with them) to someone concerned with the happiness of another (the ghost).

There it was. The summary of the entire book! She grows from being self-centered to thinking of someone else. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But I didn’t see it! And the amazing thing is that it’s the theme of the entire book because the same can be said of my hero.

When I dug into him and what he really wanted and how he grew in the story, I realized his growth was exactly the same as hers! He too grows from someone who is thinking only of himself (in his case it’s his grief and despair caused by horrific events in his recent past) to someone who begins to think and care about someone else (the heroine).

I didn’t do that on purpose! I didn’t even know it was there. I was so focused on writing my story, on making sure my characters grew and were likeable, I never even saw that there was a deeper meaning there; a deeper story. It’s only when I needed to summarize the book for the description that I discovered this.

So here it is… the book description for My Lord Ghost:

She only wanted to save his soul. He needed to save her life.  

Irrepressible Laia Grace, raised far from proper Regency society, is delighting in being amidst the ton. But when she naively falls foul of a notorious gossip, her father decides that she needs to grow up – and banishes her from society. If only he knew that he was sending her into much greater danger – and not from the ghost that is rumored to be in residence at the country manor!

Marcus, Lord Bolingbrook, is haunting his own home. Hidden in the secret passages and priest holes of the mansion, he is trying to cope with the tragedies in his past. But his gloom is dispelled by the unexpected arrival of a bright and enchanting companion, and his chivalry revived by the urgent need to rescue her from peril.

Will he risk his life – and his heart – to save her?

As soon as I have a firm publication date, I will be sure to share it with you—it’ll probably be around mid-September.

New Highlander Time Travel Release: Just Wait For Me by Dawn Marie Hamilton

 

Black Friesian Unicorn

I’m very excited to announce the release of the most recent book in the Highland Gardens time travel series—Just Wait For Me. This book is the third novel in the Highland Gardens series and the fourth story rife with faeries and brownies and other fae creatures causing mischief. One such individual is the enigmatic auburn-haired Caitrina—a halfling faerie challenged by the Queen of the Fae to complete three unlikely matches uniting mortal couples separated by the veil of time. During one scene in Just Wait For Me, she glimpses something totally unexpected on a ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Unicorn. Is the magnificent beast real or illusion?

 

About Just Wait For Me

Just Wait 200 by 300

Available at Amazon.

The third match in the Fae Queen’s challenge is in play. Will fae magic change Stephen and Jillian’s destiny?

In the chaotic aftermath of the battle of Flodden, an injured Highland warrior makes a vow to a twenty-first century lass cast back in time by a meddling, matchmaking faerie. Stephen MacEwen promises to find a way to send her forward to her own time. But is that an oath he’ll want to keep after finding love in Jillian O’Donnell’s arms? And after saving Stephen’s life, will Jillian want to go?

No matter what the lovers decide, Stephen’s wife—a woman who acquired the title through deceit—and an old enemy attempt to destroy the couple’s chance for happiness. Only with the help of Fae allies can Stephen and Jillian overcome and earn their reward—everlasting love.

 

Sneak Peek

The peregrine falcon rose on thermals and soared out of sight. Caitrina crossed her arms in a self-hug, already feeling the loss. ’Twas best he fly wild and free until spring when he would head for northern climes. She was needed in Scotland past.

As she wandered toward the trail heading down the mountain, alarm hummed over her skin. Someone watched. Unnerved, she thought to vanish, but then she wouldn’t learn who or what flaunted such intent interest. Trying to appear nonchalant, she scanned the meadow, the rocks, the forest edge, and froze in awe. What the…

She closed a gaping mouth and stared.

The silky black stallion reared up on hind legs then galloped away, disappearing into the forest, though not before Caitrina glimpsed the single horn protruding magnificently from the center of the animal’s broad forehead. Couldn’t be. Wasn’t possible. Unicorns only existed in Tir-nan-Og. Faerieland. Land o’ heart’s desire. There were rumors, of course. Stories made up by the local storyteller, Mr. MacNaughton, more than likely. Faerie tales meant to amuse children.

Caitrina rubbed tired eyes, feeling deflated. Dealing with the queen’s matchmaking challenge made her daft. Made her see things that didn’t exist. She needed to complete this match and win the game. If only Jillian and Stephen would cooperate.

A large hand clamping on her shoulder made her jump. As she partially faded into the vanishing, a unique scent of earth and wind and animal musk invaded her nostrils. Ah. Said hand belonged to Douglas, the proprietor of the Celtic Image shop in the Village of Anderson Creek, and her sometimes lover. The grip tightened on her shoulder, and she jerked back to solid form. She didn’t dare bring him along to the past, which would have happened if he touched her.

 

The Highland Garden Series

Poster_Small_Highland_Gardens_300

Visit Dawn Marie Hamilton’s Author Page at Amazon.

~Dawn Marie

The Smell of Death

I asked another author to share a supernaturally-flavored event in their life, which I will call musings with author Ria Cantrell. Since she and I both have lived on New York state’s Long Island, this story made me shiver.
Celtic PerilRia: When I was about five years old, I attended a church on Long Island. When my mom led me up the steps, I started pulling away and crying. I said I did not want to go in that church…that witches were burned there and that I could still smell it. I kept crying, “Can’t you smell it? Can’t you smell it?” My mom thought I was just having an “active imagination” day, except, I don’t know many five year olds that know about burning of witches.
That memory stayed with me all my life and when I got older, I researched the history of that place and the grounds. It turns out that there were no DOCUMENTED cases of “witches” being burnt on Long Island. There were several hangings in colonial times, but no burnings. I was very definite about that; because of the smell. Well, after doing some further research, in Rouen France, there was a church in the 14th century with a similar name (which I do not want to mention, by the way). There, many people were tried and convicted for witchcraft and you guessed it…burnt for their crimes. Hundreds to be exact.
That’s my little creepy story.
RIA CantrellRia grew up in the suburbs of Long Island, New York. Her family has promoted her love for the arts, especially music. She learned to read music at a very early age and started singing at the age of four. Ria has enjoyed some very exciting endeavors in the past including competing as a figure skater, dancing professionally as a belly dancer and singing as a classically trained vocalist with auditioned chorales. She also enjoys working as a soloist. Ria began writing at a very young age and even had some of her early poems published in local literary magazines. Frequently, she would be seen carrying notebooks to scribble many of her stories and poems. With a love of the past, Ria was fascinated with Medieval and Renaissance history and found herself drawn to participate with a reenactment group, The Society for Creative Anachronism, which re-creates the Middle Ages. Since fostering her love of all things medieval, Ria’s stories soon became flavored with Medieval and Renaissance themes. Ria is a hopeless romantic. She married the love of her life after a long-distance courtship, spanning two continents. She now lives in the sunny tropical paradise of Southwest Florida with her English rock-star husband. The two share their love for music and writing. They perform together locally and they collaborate on writing endeavors. Her husband’s first full length novel, Reflections of Love, is being released simultaneously as Morag’s Tears. Connect to Ria:  Facebook Twitter

Ria joined me in the release ofWhen Love Conquers Time - 400

When Love Conquers Time

4-Author Boxed set available at AMAZON

Don’t miss her latest release

Available HERE