Tuesday Book Review: “The Marriage of True Minds”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

The Marriage of True Minds ll field

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IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards – Silver Medal in Romance Fiction

The Marriage of True Minds: Experience the World of 18th Century England during the Reign of George III

by L.L. Field

ISBN: 9781478728733

Synopsis*:

Journey through 18th-century Georgian England with the Earl of Stoneleigh as he struggles to secure the future of Harcroft Hall by producing an heir with his beautiful wife, Anne of Sudley Manor.  Discover his father’s secret past and meet his mother, the indomitable Dowager Countess of Stoneleigh who will have suitors of her own as one of the liveliest characters in the book.  L. L. Field captures all the details of the period with characters and settings so well-drawn you will not want to put the book down.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Field’s debut historical novel takes a look at upper-class life in 18th-century England.

Viewers of the hit television show Downton Abbey and fans of modern-day British royalty are certainly familiar with the pressure on aristocrats to produce an heir. Geoffrey and his wife, Anne, Lord and Lady Stoneleigh, adore their five daughters yet worry over the future of their estate, due to their failure to produce a male child as an heir to the family fortune. The story of Geoffrey and Anne’s marriage and daily life introduces readers to their social circle of wealthy men and women, all living on prosperous estates in the English countryside. As Geoffrey and Anne struggle over questions of the future, Geoffrey’s widowed mother delves into her dead husband’s past to find answers regarding the existence of his former lover. The dowager must also decide how she feels about the present-day attentions of her old friend and neighbor, Lord Wortham. Meanwhile, Wortham’s son, Lord Lynnhurst, attempts to win back the affections of his childhood love, Miss Compton, despite her lower social status. These personal conflicts whirl amid a plethora of fancy dinners and extravagant balls, and Field does a marvelous job of sketching out her characters and settings. She beautifully captures the intimacy and mutual respect of Geoffrey and Anne’s relationship and realistically presents the complicated dowager’s many facets and motivations. There are vivid descriptions of sumptuous feasts (“silver trays laden with venison, sirloin of beef…and bowls of steaming buttered potatoes”), and the author revels in bringing ladies’ fashion to life, detailing frocks of “iridescent silk” or a “taffeta brocaded gown interwoven with lace.” In addition, she touches on broader politics and societal trends—such as the controversial Enclosure Acts, which wrested land rights from poor farmers—and the vicious gossip and whims of London society. The work even crosses genres: Field’s detailed research offers a fine contribution to historical fiction, and her passionate love scenes will satisfy those seeking a titillating romance.

A feast for readers looking to taste the luxurious lifestyle of the English upper crust.

– reviewed on Kirkus

Other Reviews

What a wonderful read! Like another reader, I read it on a friend’s recommendation, and was completely captivated. Field masterfully has created a great story line and an extraordinarily well-crafted view of all aspects of upper class England in the mid-to-late 18th century. The pacing is perfect, the characters are developed thoroughly, with humor and wit, and it leaves me hungry for the sequel, which is in the works. It’s particularly skillful at conveying how women found their place, and power, in such a society. I heartily recommend it!

 – reviewed on Amazon by Sharon Hope

This novel is what I’d call a genre-buster. Looking for a bodice-ripper? You’ll be more than satisfied, as Field’s sure hand delivers one of the best you’ll ever read. But if you crave something beyond the thousand you’ve read, here’s your unexpected treat. “True Minds” is true literature; not the stiff stuff you were made to read in school, but rather what you love to read, elevated to a sophistication and a level of intelligence lesser writers deny their readers. Field confidently ascribes to her audience the capability to understand and appreciate her keen sense of history, place, custom, and — most of all — human relationships, complete with their squalor and splendor, their tragedy and fulfillment, their public and private, the frailties and the sinew we all share. The reader is transported convincingly to another time, but vividly recognizes on every page her own regrets, elations, dreams both dreadful and uplifting, and finally, the triumph of the human will and of the human spirit. Celebrate and enjoy this blessedly non-mass-produced work. And Encore!

 – reviewed on Amazon by David C. Bender

Author Website

http://llfield.com/books/the-marriage-of-true-minds/overview/

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

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Self-Publishing News: 7.25.2016

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

“Authors of thrillers and mysteries who have endured the woes of traditional publishing may find that the indie route is the best way to go,” declares Nicole Audrey Spector in this July 22 article for Publisher’s Weekly.  The phenomenon of genre fiction authors finding success within the liberations of self-publishing is nothing new: romance and fantasy/science fiction writers have a long and storied relationship with going rogue in order to escape both the stigmas and the constraints unfairly imposed by the gatekeepers of Western literary canon.  And while crime fiction may come as a surprise to some, but Spector writes that “crime fiction lends itself well to self-publishing, in part because authors can pump out a ton of books in a relatively short time while building and engaging with an active audience online.”  Of course, it’s not without its challenges, Spector notes: “It’s a lot of work, but well worth it for those crime authors whose careers have taken off as a result.”  And those ranks are expanding, as more indie crime writers navigate the muddy waters of self-marketing to become “authorpreneurs.”  For the full story, check out Spector’s article at the link!

Anything with “Maverick women writers” in the title is bound to catch my eye!  Self-publishing has long provided refuge for the marginalized and the oppressed, given voice to those who have no means of their own and no access to the traditional publishing model, so it should come as no surprise that indie publishing has come to attract its fair share of women cut from a different cloth.  Says Maria Corte for Quartz in this July 22 article, chronicling the successes of authors like H.M. Ward, whose nice-guy Damaged series was too “weird” to fit comfortably within the bounds of traditional publishing.  Forced into self-publishing by the nature of her books, Ward met almost immediate (and overwhelming) success–books in the NYT bestseller list, massive sales–all while turning down offers from traditional publishers who wanted to capitalize on her now-proven success.

“Romance novels, home of heavy lids, hot breaths, and grabbed wrists, have long been the embarrassing secret money-maker of the book industry,” writes Corte, “But today, a renegade generation of self-published authors like Ward are redefining the romance novel, adapting to digital in a way that has long-lasting lessons for the book industry.”  The average American reads just 12 books a year, notes Corte, but those who fall in love with the romance genre tend to read far more (including one reader who owns up to reading 5 romance novels a week).  However you look at it, good news for the mavericks turns out to be good news for everyone–the more books a reader consumes, the more they support the publishing industry as a whole, traditional  and indie.  For more of Corte’s article, follow the link.

This week’s last big piece of news comes from Publisher’s Weekly, in Mark Coker’s annual list of trends to watch published on July 22.  “The future of publishing is fraught with opportunity and peril,” Coker warns before launching into his list; making note of the fact that many authors (self-publishing and otherwise) lack a complete understanding of market trends (past and present) and that these trends play a large hand in shaping the success or failure of a book’s sales.

But there’s plenty of good news in store for self-publishing authors, too, says Coker.  One of his ten trends centers on the democratization of publishing and distribution as a direct result of self-publishing: “Ten years ago, agents and publishers were the bouncers at the pearly gates of authordom,” writes Coker.  “Publishers controlled the printing press and the access to retail distribution. Today, thanks to free e-book publishing platforms, writers enjoy democratized access to e-book retailers and readers.”  That’s a rather rousing endorsement if ever I saw one!  And indie authors keep raking in the good news; three more of the ten trends include “The rise of indie authorship,” “Indie authors are taking market share,” and (happily) “The stigma of self-publishing is disappearing.”  It’s also worth noting that Coker closes with one final bit of good news: “Indie authors are writing the next chapter of their industry’s story,” he says.  It’s not all fun and games, however, and Coker warns against the continued power Amazon plays in undermining the individual self-publishing authors’ potential.  For more information, check out the original article here.


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As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 02/13/15

redeeming loveLOVE CAN BE MESSY

Someone once told me that “being in love…is like marching through knee-deep mud.”  “Wow!” I answered (with compassion), “that’s a great piece of dialogue for a Romance novel!”  As you might imagine, my friend rolled his eyes at me and shook his head.  However, he didn’t “march away” mad.  Instead, we spent the next couple of hours weeding through his reactions to his girlfriend’s actions in an attempt to clearly understand what was happening.  I won’t delve into that specific situation here; however, I will say that my opening statement, “Love can be messy” is not an understatement.

There is also a parallel statement that must be recognized when writing love storiesLIFE CAN BE MESSY.  In dramatic fashion, my friend’s parting words that day were, “I don’t know if I can live without her.”  Oh, that’s cliché you say?  Maybe.  However, it is also the way many people feel when experiencing a messy relationship.  In steps, the Romance Writer who develops characters, scenes/settings, plots/actions demonstrating how “real” (fictional) people can not only survive rocky relationships, they can become stronger and mentally/emotionally healthier.

I was introduced to one of my favorite Romance and Historical Fiction authors Francine Rivers when a student of mine gave me a copy of REDEEMING LOVE.  It is set in the California Gold Rush days.  The heroine, Angel, becomes a woman in the midst of “life’s” messiest of circumstances—sold into prostitution at the age of eight.  The cruelty of men (basically all the men) in her life is heart-wrenching. Then Michael comes into the story and falls in love with Angel.  This author moves readers through realistic bitter/sweet, happy/sad, emotions that speak the truth of how sincere, honest, real love conquers all ills.

I’ve included an illustration of this book to point out the statement highlighted in the beige inset: ONE MILLION COPIES SOLD!  And, it’s still selling!  What are some of her creative writing secrets?  Here are a few of the best interview excerpts I’ve found.

  • Research! Research! Research! Details about time periods and events are crucial.
  • It rarely works to develop a fictional character using all the specifics about a “real” person. Trying to bend actions/events around them will keep you from developing enough drama and conflict to make the story interesting to readers.
  • Imagination NOT “speculation” shapes and develops characters and events. Some readers think it strange to say that fiction characters take on a life of their own. But they do—in our imaginations. When their stories begin to move in unexpected ways, that’s when writing becomes really exciting!
  • Don’t be afraid to TELL the TRUTH. Bad things happen. Ugly things. Sad and malicious things. There is also the TRUTH that good people make a difference. Their concepts of love, Faith, values, and doing what is right because it is right will make a difference in the plot, too.

SO…I leave you today with these encouragements.  This author is an excellent example of what you can do, too.  If you’re not already deep into typing your novel, BEGIN TODAY!

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 02/06/15

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

Last week I wrote about creating a personal Motivation Diary.  One primary purpose for a writer to do this is to keep grounded and focused on the real reason for writing what we write.  In the process, many of us discover that our resolve centers on the desire to pass forward the best of who we are to those we love.

Some genres naturally lend themselves to writing for those we care about.  Children’s books, from toddler to young adult, are mostly written to encourage and inspire young minds as they grow.  Nature books, magazines and blogs are written to share the beauty that surrounds us and draw others into “loving” nature.  Comedy, in stage and screenplays, novels and short stories, allows both writer and reader to see the humor in “love relationships” that have their ups and downs and sideways moments.  The epic Family Sagas create a timeline that demonstrates how “love conquers many things.” However, the mainstay of sharing concepts of love is still the Romance novel, which includes Historical Fiction, Western/Pioneer Fiction, Science Fiction/Fantasy Romance and Inspirational Romance.

The successful Romance writers I know develop the backbone of their plot on true stories—actually a collection of true stories that they can “clip” from depending on what is needed in their current “love scenario.”  The list below is what they look for in research material.

  • Hero/Protagonist (male) types who 1) holds women in high esteem/respect;” 2) doesn’t hesitate to chase the purse thief; 3) almost always speaks with a positive attitude; 4) isn’t afraid to take a risk in relationships and looking for a lifetime commitment.
  • Hero/Protagonist (female) types who share the same characteristic as those listed above with the additional elements of: 1) needs evidence that her hero is actually who he presents himself to be; 2) speaks her mind freely; 3) has developed a strong set of values that she plans to stick to and/or develop further in her FOREVER relationship and in her children.
  • Main Antagonist (male) types who 1) disrespect women; 2) enjoy “using” a woman’s position or intelligence for their own benefit; 3) always points out the impossibility of a situation; 4) has a string of broken relationships, always blaming the woman for the breakup.
  • Main Antagonist (female) types who again demonstrate many of the above antagonist characteristics with the additional elements of: 1) greater levels of deception to obtain selfish goals; 2) speaks before thinking—often causing harm to others; 3) demonstrates the definitions of “ego” and selfishness.

SO HOW (you ask) do the successful Romance writers blend such opposite characters into novels that fly off the bookstore shelves?  They AIM for happy endings—or if not totally happy then realistically happy endings.  Romance Readers—more than in any other genre—picture themselves IN the scenarios they read about.  No one wants to find themselves in hopeless and/or helpless circumstances.  In fact, they want to learn how to GET OUT of those kinds of situations.  They pick up a Romance Novel and see the hero/heroine conquer “life” (all the messy stuff) and build healthy relationships—all based on LOVE.

Yes, love is a great motivator for both readers and writers.  It is also the stimulus that moves writers to their computers, completes the novels and gets those novels PUBLISHED!

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

Top 3 Articles for Romance Writers

It is the month of love and what better way to celebrate than by trying your hand at romance writing? If you want to write novels that make people’s toes curl and hearts melt, check out these great articles for romance writers.

How to Write a Romance Novel: The Keys to Conflict

When writing romance, there needs to be a believable conflict, or series of conflicts, that is sustainable throughout the novel. While conflict is important in all fiction writing, it is especially essential in romance writing because the ending is often predictable. This article offers great advice on how to write amazing conflict.

3 Ways to Know When to End a Chapter

Another way to keep readers interested is by ending chapters at a spot that makes them want to keep reading. While there aren’t specific rules for breaking up chapters, this article discusses three different techniques you can use to determine when you should end your chapters.

The 7 Tools of Dialogue

Every great romance novel needs great dialogue. However, believable and interesting dialogue can be one of the most difficult things to write. This article offers wonderful tips on how to write compelling dialogue.

I’d love to know, what made you want to self publish a romance novel?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.