Getting ready for The 1940s… are you?

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Well, the MC4 girls are working hard on their Martini Club 4 – The 1940s stories. I have about 3 more scenes to complete. I am very excited about this story. You see, Lady Margaret and her only child, Audra, are not so close. Why is that, you ask?

Well, she overheard an argument between her mother and father when she was only ten and it skewed her whole perspective.

In any event, I suppose that is all I should say. I can tell you that most of the stories have titles…

Pampered

“Provoked” (hmm, I don’t believe Alicia Dean has completely decided yet)

Perilous

Priceless

I’m also playing around with covers. What do you think of this?

Beautiful young woman retro style studio portrait

Or this?Fashion in retro style. WW2 reenacting

Still just mulling thing over. Anyway, there should be a pre-order link up before long. In the meantime, if you haven’t read the Martini Club 4 – The 1920s, you might start with these:

Rebellious ~ Ruined ~ Reckless ~ Runaway

Or you can have all four in a print copy.

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Happy Reading! ~Kathy L Wheeler

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Resolutions and Such…

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Well 2016 has rolled in and it is not off to a good start. David Bowie and Alan Rickman died and shock descended around the world. To be honest, I am probably more of a Rickman fan than Bowie. I always liked Bowie’s music but have never owned an album. What’s up with that? Note to self: buy a David Bowie album this year. Now I’ve seen many of Alan Rickman’s movies from Die Hard (my personal favorite), Prince of Thieves (Rickman was amazing in this film. If you haven’t seen it rent it immediately), Galaxy Quest to Sense and Sensibility.  On the day he died, I watched Sense and Sensibility. Colonel Brandon rocks! Too top it off, some of my friends have lost loved ones. They departed the Earth at too young an age. That’s a very shabby beginning 2016.

So I sit here thinking about how short life is and how I need to make better use of my time. Those who know me best can tell you I’m a good talker. I plan to spend more time writing. I come up with grandiose ways to accomplish my tasks. Somehow, they fall to the wayside as I navigate my way through all those distractions that throw me off track. Well, enough! This year is going to be different.

At the beginning of each year, my writing organization OKRWA has us write down our goals for the year. We then seal them in an envelope and open them at our annual Christmas party. Last year I wrote down one goal that went unaccomplished. This year I wrote down eight. Hopefully, by the end of the year I will be able to say I accomplished them all. I’m not going to list them but I will let you know how it went at the end of the year. As I left the meeting, I realized more things I needed to concentrate on this year. These are the things I need to declare out loud.

I’ve been struggling with my website. Setting it up has not been easy and it still doesn’t look great. In the end, I can fix those things as the year progresses. What I can’t fix is not being active on my site. So this year, I plan on posting and updating regularly.

Last year I received excellent news. My first novel, Shadow Dancer was contracted by the Wild Rose Press. As excited as I was, it hit me that I haven’t been treating my writing as a job. Maybe it’s because I have a day job. One that requires me to go to work every day. There’s structure, obligations and rules I must adhere to. At first, writing isn’t like that. Any deadlines are set by the author. The only obligation the writer has is to herself. If the twenty or so pages you promised to write aren’t written, no one will yell at you. Not the best career for someone who is a champion procrastinator.  So I plan to treat writing like my day job. I will set specific goals and sit in my office until it gets done.  It’s the only way I can accomplish everything I need to get done this year.

I also haven’t been good about posting every third Sunday on the Martini Club Four blog. Although I can blame the holidays for interfering with my writing, there really is no excuse. I will be better this year. I will post every third Sunday by noon. This year I will not fail to achieve my goals.

That’s all I have for now. Thank you for reading my post.

Krysta Scott

Runaway: Martini Club 4 the 1920’s available on Amazon

Priceless: Martini Club 4 the 1940’s coming soon.

Shadow Dancer coming soon from The Wild Rose Press

Facebook: www.facebook.com/krysta.scott.9

Website: www.krystascottauthor.com

Twitter:@Krysta_Scott

A New LITTLE Hobby ~ Kathy L Wheeler

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Like I have time for anything else. After all, there was Halloween, two trips to Seattle for a family emergency, an arts festival, an author signing, coordinating the NRCA, the Regency Reader and Novel Notes newsletters—-and what do I decide to add?

Painting. Yes, art. And it is fun!

Here are some of my efforts:

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A pathetic attempt of the Eiffel Tower

Another sad try, but hey, I'm new at this.

Another sad try, but hey, I’m new at this.

eeh

eeh

better. I do like this.

better. I do like this.

One of my favs so far.

One of my favs so far.

Yes, this I like.

Yes, this I like.

So, this is my new hobby. My husband thinks I’m painting to avoid writing. I think I’m painting to clear my mind…

I certainly won’t quit writing. After all, KOCO’s morning anchor said she loves reading so I sent her a copy of The Price of Scorn: Cinderella’s Evil Stepmother. She posted a great picture on her Facebook page.

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And!!!! The Mapmaker’s Wife – my little civil war novella, won 1st place in the Historical Short of the International Digital Awards. I’m so happy, that I joined NaNo this year.

First up, is Pampered – Martini Club 4 – The 1940s.

Have a good Sunday, all.

Kathy L Wheeler

It’s a musical-Suspend your disbelief

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I love to go see musicals. Ever since I was a little kid I was enthralled by the music and dancing as the story evolved between two acts. That’s not true for everyone.  I have a friend who doesn’t like musicals because he can’t suspend his disbelief. He would tell me that people just don’t break out in song at key moments in their life. It’s just not believable. My reply is always. It’s a musical. Of course people sing and dance. If you go knowing what you’re about to see, you should have no problem enjoying the show. Alas, we won’t ever resolve this issue. He really can’t accept the singing and dancing aspect of this sort of show. That is really a shame because he will miss out on fabulous shows like the one I saw last night.

Ragtime.

When I was in college, the movie Ragtime was released in 1981. I saw it but didn’t remember a lot about it. What I did recall was a bit vague. Mary Steenburgen was in the movie. It was a period piece in the early 1900’s. It focused on the trials of a wealthy family and I remembered the final image of the movie. Apart from that everything else was a blank. So I was not prepared for the impact this musical had on me. I’m used to musicals like Cinderella, My Fair Lady and Gigi. Sure they reflect the belief systems of the time. At the conclusion of the show, the audience might leave learning a lesson. But for the most part, they are light airy and happy.

Ragtime is not that kind of show. After a quarter of the first half, I had the same feeling I had when I saw Chicago. About the time Roxy Hart lands in Jail, I thought ‘Isn’t this a musical? What have I gotten myself into?’ Well it happened again. Ragtime follows the lives of a privileged family as they wrestle with the influx of immigrants and racial stereotypes in 1906. The show does an excellent job of highlighting all points of views with these issues as it rushes to a stunning conclusion. Few musicals are capable of having this type of impact on social unrest. Even the issues dealt with in the early 1900’s have relevance to debates occurring in our country now.  This show is thought provoking and well worth seeing.

That’s all I have for now. Thank you for reading my post.

Krysta

The Gang’s All Here…

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As you’ve probably heard, since we whine about it frequently, one of our MC4 members, Amanda McCabe moved to New Mexico earlier this year. We miss her a great deal, whether it’s during our weekly Friday MC4 gatherings, our weekend writing retreats, or various other get-togethers. She’s happy there, so I’m happy for her, but I don’t have to like it!

Fortunately, she is in town for a few days and we met last night at Boulevard Steakhouse in Edmond for dinner and drinking and brainstorming.(Our 501 Martini Club Lounge is a part of the steakhouse, so we didn’t stray far from our favorite hangout. We were even served by Evan, one of our favorites of the waitstaff, who Amanda tried to convince to move to New Mexico…we put the kabash on that immediately!)

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It was so nice to catch up with one another and to chat about what’s been happening in our lives. And, it was awesome to brainstorm about our 1940’s Martini Club 4 stories. Amanda was struggling a bit, thinking she needed to make sure her story worked in with ours. We told her the best thing to do is just to write her story as it comes to her, and we’ll make sure they all fit together in the end. We learned with our 1920’s stories that, while some of our scenes connect and overlap, not all of them need to be shown in each story. If my girl, Nina, appears in one of the scenes in Kathy’s story, unless that scene is also critical to my story, I don’t necessarily have to show it.

Most importantly, we have to make sure the time line works and that our scenes don’t contradict one another. For example, if my girl twists her ankle, Krysta can’t show a scene with her girl and my girl running a footrace. (Admittedly, that’s not likely, but you have to cover all eventualities) And let’s say Amanda shows a party scene in her book on a Friday night with my girl in attendance, I have to make sure that, on that Friday night, my girl wasn’t elsewhere, like being attacked by a vicious killer or something. 🙂

I’m looking forward to digging into our 40’s stories. I have a plot pretty much worked out, but I have a few other projects to complete before I can actually begin writing.

Collaborating is hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun. Especially when you get to collaborate with your BAFFs!

The NRCA Contest that is strictly for Readers! Are YOU in?

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This post will be a little different. And while I’m directing this to readers, primarily, I will also include the author information too.

This year (2016) marks the official beginning in my career as the

 Winner - 2013 Contemporary Single Title

Winner – 2013 Contemporary Single Title

“complete” coordinator (last year I was the figurehead!) for the Annual National Readers’ Choice Awards. In other words, I’m in charge of the whole chi-bang!

This is a huge undertaking, but an exciting opportunity. I will be gathering contest coordinators and readers for the different categories of which there are 12.

What is truly exciting about this year, is that it is the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America’s 25th year to host this prestigious contest.

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Winner – 2013 Historical

The NRCA is the only RWA contest where, not just the author is celebrated, but their editor and agent as well. Also, I would like to point out (for authors) our contests still includes a category for Romantic Elements.

If you love to read, consider signing up. You, as a judge, are mailed 4 books that you read and rank within approximately a 3 month time period. The books from well-recognized romance authors are yours to keep. Your only obligation is to return your scores to your assigned category coordinator within the specified time frame.

As you can imagine after 24 years, this process is streamlined pretty flawlessly, thanks to the previous overseers: Terri Schaefer and Silver James.

So, if you want more information on judging, check the OKRWA website.

And if you are ready to dive straight in and register as a reader/judge, click here.

Now for you fabulous authors, I think you know this is a well-received and well-renowned award. Just ask past winners like Brenda Novak, Tracy Ann Warren, Susan Mallory, Margaret Mallory, Roxanne St. Clair, Julie James, Candice Hern, Jodi Thomas…well, the list goes on and on and on…I mean, really, there are 24 years worth of winners. Just saying.

So, check the rules regarding the publishing copyright date of your book here and enter your book!

I want this 25th year to be spectacular, and I aim to make it so.kathylwheeler

Your humble Contest Coordinator for the 25th annual NRCA and Martini Club 4 member, Kathy L Wheeler

Charleston and Cigarettes

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BeadedMaskHappy Sunday, everyone!  It’s been a while since I’ve visited the Martini Club, but I’m so happy to be here now.  I’ve been settling into a new home in Santa Fe, working on several projects, and enjoying all the new martini clubs here (if you’re ever in Santa Fe, Secreto is great!)  Today, I am reposting an old article from my other blog (Risky Regencies) about an earlier 1920s story I wrote, which served as the launching place for Rebellious.  The Girl in the Beaded Mask starred Jessica’s older sister Lulu, and in that story I just pictured Jess like one of the mischevious younger cousins in Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love (one of my favorite books ever).  She turned out to be so much more!

If you’d like to read Girl, it’s available here–and I will also give a free download to one commenter on today’s post!

“There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars” –The Great Gatsby

Ever since I read my first F. Scott Fitzgerald story in school (A Diamond As Big As The Ritz) I’ve been in love with this era. I love the gorgeous clothes, the music, the fancy cars, the cocktails, the sense of wild new freedom. But the 1920s were also so much more than that, a period of extreme and swift change after the horrors of World War I (which wiped out almost a whole generation of young men, and changed the way society worked in Europe forever). There is so much scope for drama and beauty in a story, not to mention beaded gowns and t-strap high heels. So I was practically jumping up and down when Harlequin gave me the go-ahead to write Lulu and David’s story.

Another thing I love is a good friends-to-lovers story, which Girl sort of is. Lady Louisa “Lulu” Hatton has been in love with David Carlisle for as long as she can remember. He was friends with her older brother and often visited the Hatton home, and he always loaned her books, took her swimming–and then danced all night with other girls. Until the war. Her brother was killed and David horribly injured. He’s turned into a recluse, never leaving his country manor, but she’s heard he will attend the infamous Granley masquerade ball, a wild, debauched spectacle beloved by all the “Bright Young Things.” So of course Lulu devises a way to sneak off to the party and find him, make him see how much she loves him, how much he has to live for–from behind her beaded mask.

Since I switch up time periods in my writing, I always try to immerse myself in whatever the setting of the next WIP will be, even for a short story like this one. Reading books of the era (non-fiction, primary stuff like diaries, even novels), watching movies set in the era and digging around on-line for images gets me in the right mood for Elizabethan, Regency, Georgian, whatever, and I had so much fun with the 1920s. (Did you know there was a version of Gatsby with Toby Stephens aka Mr. Rochester as Gatsby?? And Baz Luhrman’s newer, er, colorful version with Leonardo DeCaprio and Carey Mulligan…). Here are a few of the books I found really useful, if you’d like to look into the era more closely yourself:

Ronald L. Davis, ed: The Social and Cultural Life of the 1920s
Stuart A. Kallen, ed: The Roaring Twenties
Nathan Miller: New World Coming: The 1920s and the Making of Modern America
DJ Taylor: Bright Young People
Humphrey Carpenter: The Brideshead Generation
Mary S. Lovell: The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family (often a bit later than the 1920s, but very useful for seeing how a certain segment of English society lived in the period; also lots of fun!)