Well hello, February! The shortest month of the year is packed with famous days to celebrate. February 2nd is Groundhog Day ( the good news is that Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow, leading to the prediction of six more weeks of winter for those of us who love this time of year); the 12th is the start of the Chinese New Year (Year of the Ox); the 14th is the day of romance and chocolates, Valentine's Day; the 15th is President's Day; February 16th is Mardi Gras ( laissez les bon temps rouler--let the good times roll); and for me, February 18th is the day I celebrate the 3rd year anniversary for publishing/releasing The Crown for Castlewood Manor! Our red twinkle lights are up and although we are still in the midst of a, ahem, global pandemic, might as well celebrate when we can!
Despite the never ending viral news, this month I'm tickled pink, crowns spinning, that I have Twins in the City in editing! Whew, it was tough at times to stay focused, but what a start to the new year---for the next month or two we'll be in revision and correction mode, but I'm very pleased with how this new adventure panned out. Pictures today are from Kensington Palace and the surrounding areas (and jewels), all of which are featured prominently in the new story. This one has new thrills and conundrums in the palatial neighborhood, with a few unexpected twists and turns, family ties and new characters to meet. Stay tuned for updates as we get closer to release!
Today, the 'queen' is very happy, indeed.💖👑 Wishing you all a great week and a month where all your February wishes come true! It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:
Double Trouble: Showtime at Castlewood Manor Update
One of the things I like to do is share different aspects of my writing journey to exchange ideas and experiences with the #WritingCommunity. Last September, I entered Double Trouble into a Writer's Digest competition that had opened up for Indie published eBooks. I entered this book in the Mystery/Thriller category. Winners of each category and runners up were announced on December 31st.
I did not place, unfortunately, but I was pleasantly surprised to receive notes and scores from the judge who read my book this past week. I thought I'd share the scores (1, is needs improvement to 5, for outstanding) and a few of the comments (there were spoilers for specific scenes in the write-up that were meant for my use, I'm not going to include those). In case you're wondering or are considering submitting your books, the entry fee for the contest last year was $125, so get those budgets primed! Here's the scores/ and extracts from the review:
Structure, Organization, and Pacing: Reviewer 1 4
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: Reviewer 1 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: Reviewer 1 5
Plot and Story Appeal: Reviewer 1 4
Character Appeal and Development: Reviewer 1 5
Voice and Writing Style: Reviewer 1 5
What did you like best about this book and what might be improved? Reviewer 1 I enjoyed the world you created – a world most of us will never be a part of, much less glimpse. I especially like how you placed an American into a world that is pretty alien to us... I love the mystery you created...
“Judge, 8th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards.”
I'm all in all very pleased with the scores and comments, and now I have a better understanding of how the entries are judged. This was my first submission to a Writer's Digest contest. I'm going to enter again this year, you just never know...if you'd like more information, send me a comment and I'll get back to you.
A family inheritance of the spiritual kind from the writers of Twitter this week...
Author Cathleen Maza, Inherited, 5 ⭐
For sisters Elise and Sarah, the topic of a family inheritance is not what you expect. An unexpected ability has been handed down through generations, cursing some to be seen as mad, and causing family angst for many as they try to adjust to the family phenomenon of being able to help earthbound spirits cross over.
Elise has a spirit that is breaking up her family and slowly driving her to question her gift and sanity. When she and Sarah return to her home to confront the spirit, events proceed that are totally unexpected as we learn the history of the spirit and the course of events that have fractured Elise's family.
Author Maza weaves an eerie tale, taking us through the generations of a family and the ones blessed, or cursed with the inherited ability. It's a chilling journey through time--will the 'gift' continue, or be the end of Elise? A page turner to the end, highly recommended!
Next up in the #reading queue:
Aloha! Join us later today on the #BOOKEM YouTube channel!
Amy Reade's on deck today talking all things books and perhaps a bit about a tropical adventure! See you soon!
Crowns and Kisses,
P.S. A bit of sad news yesterday with the passing of Captain (Sir) Tom Moore, the 100 year old British gent who inspired many with his 100 laps around his garden. He raised over $33M for the NHS charities, who I am sure are extremely grateful. Most importantly, his story was a light in a time of darkness. #RIP Captain Tom...💖👑