Saturday, March 28, 2015

Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the Hidden Pearls giveaway is....


Hannah Barta!

Congratulations! I've already emailed Hannah and she should be getting her book and bookmark soon.

Thank you to all of you who entered the contest and participated in Hidden Pearls giveaway week! :D

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hidden Pearls Release Party Day 5: The Pinterest Board

I love getting inspiration from pinterest. As a little girl I was always cutting magazines and pasting the clippings into scrapbooks, and the habit never died- it's just made it's way into the modern age. Here are some selections I've found from Pinterest that remind me of Hidden Pearls.

GREEN HOUSE | Mark D. Sikes: Chic People, Glamorous Places, Stylish Things

Jane and Elizabeth -- Pride and Prejudice (I can see Elinor fixing Connie's hair like this)

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

pirate ship deck in Battle


you can click below to see the whole board.

Follow Hayden's board Hidden Pearls on Pinterest.

Remember, it's the last day to enter the giveaway!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hidden Pearls Release Party Day 4: The Soundtrack

It's time for this week's next Hidden Pearls bonus! While I freely admit to being musically challenged, that certainly doesn't mean I don't appreciate the sound of a finely performed song. In fact, I love music and often have a "soundtrack" for my stories that are usually a mix of instrumental and period pieces that belong in the context of the plot, as well as one or two more contemporary songs with lyrics that describe certain characters or themes.

While many authors enjoy listening to music while they are writing, I find that a little distracting for me. Still, music does play a large part in my writing- I get a lot of story ideas and planning done while listening to my "novel soundtrack," and I also like listening to it before I begin writing, to get in the mood of the story. :)

Hidden Pearls was mostly a mix of nautical soundtracks (such as those from Master and Commander and Pirates of the Caribbean) and classic Regency films (such as Emma and Pride and Prejudice). I haven't seen all of the films these musical scores are from, nor do I endorse them all, but the each of the selected tracks evoke a certain feeling that reminds me of this novel.

In addition, I have a couple contemporary songs with lyrics that remind me of different themes and/or characters from the book. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hidden Pearls Release Party Day 3: The Questions

As I mentioned last month, I opened up the table to you all and told you to ask away. I did get a few questions, and Goodreads supplied some good ones as well, so here are my answers!

Where did you get the idea for [Hidden Pearls]?

I was thirteen and had really gotten into Jane Austen movie adaptations. I'd already read many of her books by this time, but something about seeing the movies sparked some inspiration about writing my own story set in the Regency era. This is also about the time I read Treasure Island and watched The Curse of the Black Pearl, so everything just sort of met in the middle. I wrote the first twenty thousand words of Hidden Pearls when I was fourteen and worked on and off it for a while during my high school years. It wasn't until the year after I graduated high school, though, that I actually was able to devote my time to finish it. After two years of editing, it's finally published!

How do you deal with writer's block?

When I get writer's block, it's not often that I just can't write anything at all; I usually just have problems with a particular story. So...I work on something else. I have a good five or so books that I rotate working on, so if I have trouble with one, I just move on to the next.

If I'm completely overworked, drawing a blank, or my mind is just total mush, I find something else to do for a while. Walking really helps clear my head, and I also enjoy working with my hands on something like embroidery. And despite its reputation as pure distraction, Pinterest has actually gotten me out of several plot messes/holes before.

What was the hardest thing about writing "Hidden Pearls"? Do you feel the outcome was worth the effort? What is your own personal, favorite aspect of "Hidden Pearls"?

The hardest part was, without a doubt, the editing. I hate editing because, since I've already finished the writing, I'm not in the mood to really work. Editing is also a time when you have to view your book without partiality.... so a bit of the "magic" of the story is lost to you. The outcome is definitely worth the effort, though.

My favorite aspect of Hidden Pearls is the variety of characters. There are people with all sorts of personalities, from all sorts of different backgrounds, and they were all fun to write about. I especially have a weakness for grumpy old people, so....

What was your favorite scene to write?

Hmmm...probably anything with Aunt Georgia, although I also ended up really loving writing about Meredith Breckenridge. And Jack. Jack is awesome, in my own humble author's opinion :)

Were any characters inspired by real people?
Of course! Not that any one character is supposed to be any particular person, but there are definitely flashes of people that I know.

Is there anything that you wish you could change about Hidden Pearls?
One thing I do regret is that I didn't have any British beta readers. I tried to avoid Americanisms in my writing, but it's awfully hard to avoid them when you're so used to them you don't even know what's American and what's basic English! Anyway, I do fear that my characters may act too "American" at times. British readers, forgive me!

If you could choose one long-term impact for your book to make on readers, what would it be?

There's a tattered, worn copy of Louisa May Alcott's An Old Fashioned Girl on my bookshelf right now. It's not worn because it's so old, but rather because I loved it so much that I read it all the time. I related to the characters because they seemed to understand my own problems and I found that encouraging. If someone finds Hidden Pearls- or any of my books- encouraging in that way through life's physical and spiritual problems, then I think that's the highest thing I can aspire to.

What are you currently working on? 

There are four stories that I'm really focusing my time on. The first is my novella "The Wulver's Rose," which is going to be included in Rooglewood Press's Five Enchanted Roses collection. The other three are upcoming novel projects- two historical, one science fiction- that I am hoping to finish this year.

Why did you use the British spellings for words like "favorite/favourite" and "color/colour?"
Because it's in England! 

Will there be a sequel to Hidden Pearls?
haha. Not for several years, at least. But yes, I do have ideas for one.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hidden Pearls Release Party Day 2: The Characters

Who doesn't love illustrations?  Though Hidden Pearls doesn't have any within its pages, by sister was kind enough to take her drawing skills and sketch some of the main characters. I directed her to certain actors and actresses I thought my characters resembled, so you might recognize glimpses of several familiar faces! Here they are:

Constance Steele
Margaret Steele
Felicity Steele
Jack Steele
Arthur Breckenridge
Grayson Howe
Louisa Breckenridge
Yancy Berkleep
Meredith Breckenridge
Jim Stanley
Ana Maria Montoya
Edward Hartley and Georgia Blackwell
Captain Marc Antony

We then used these sketches to make a bookmark! They're available here on Etsy for $3.50. Don't forget to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a free one along with a copy of Hidden Pearls!

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