Posted tagged ‘Soul String Saga’

A Thoughtful Critique

October 28, 2013

Bountiful Woman

Bountiful Woman

Last week I had the good fortune to find a few free hours in my hectic schedule. I used them to have lunch with a writer friend and colleague who lives maybe 10 miles away from me. We chose a fabulous spot, one actually pretty much surrounded by the waters of Lake Michigan and a marina, rather empty this time of year as owners are putting their boats into storage for the coming winter.

But the day was a lovely autumn day. The food was fantastic and so were the Bloody Marys.

As for the conversation? Lengthy, thoughtful, stimulating, and writing oriented. She brought up my most recent releases, the novellas comprising Soul String Saga. And she raved about the whole series and what it meant to her as she read it. After listening to her enthusiasm, I commented that I wished more readers were finding this book. I carried the essence of its theme, plot and characters in my heart for more than twenty years.

Well, she blogged about her thoughts regarding Soul String. I’m humbled by her comparison and her feelings regarding this work. Somehow her words became more powerful once she put them in print. So with her permission, I share them with you. Perhaps, you might find this series interesting too.

Feminism

by Anne Parent

Posted on October 27, 2013
Free to Fly

Free to Fly

I am a feminist. I read Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystic and my life was forever changed. I’m also a romantic and a traditionalist. I know these seem at odds, but I learned that a woman is a product of her many desires. I love a happily ever after ending to a story, my love of romantic fiction. I love powerful women that I find in fiction and I especially love it when they come together.

In the early ‘80s I read Barbara Taylor Bradford’sWoman of Substance and discovered Emma Harte. I was enthralled with the entire Emma Harte saga. I can still see her struggles in building her empire. Emma Harte is symbolic of the feminist movement, but she was more about the costs for a powerful woman.

I have recently discovered another series that has reawakened my past, Casey Clifford’s Soul String Saga. B.J. Kelly spoke to me, as did Emma Harte. B.J. was of my generation, a woman of the ‘70s. Clifford reminded me of what life was like as we opened opportunities for women who came after us. She has so perfectly depicted the choices women were faced with and what they had to give up to step into a man’s world.

However, this is also the story of B.J.’s soul mate and the struggles each of them faced in finding their paths. Every woman should read this series of books to understand why she has the opportunities of today and what women before her endured.

This is the ultimate book of feminism. It is also the ultimate love story.

Feminism is a word that carries strong emotional baggage. Throughout the years it has evolved, sometimes for the good, but not always. For me, it’s about having choices, not having it all. What does it mean to you?

Serene Harbor

Serene Harbor

Stay-at-home Vacation

June 25, 2013

A soft sunrise with a very calm lake.

A soft sunrise with a very calm lake.

I’m posting a few photos of sunrises I’ve taken from my balcony over the past several days. I pulled my camera out because the colors were so amazing or the hues of the clouds as the sun rose.

Yes, this is what I see as long as we have a sunny day. Sunrises are one of the many reasons I love living in this particular spot.

But summer has definitely arrived and you know what topic people think about come summer. I knew you would have the answer. You didn’t disappoint.

Vacations.

Many of the blog sites I check on regularly as “taking a vacation” to enjoy the weather or get a break to renew their creative energy or perhaps just because what is summer without a vacation…

Well, while I can’t go away from this spot I call home because we can’t find any help to care for our disabled son, I’ve decided to relive prior vacations. I’ll do this through pulling out my photo books and scanning the best of my photos of places I’ve been to and sights that still inspire me.

I’m also starting a new novel. Those first few chapters are always the hardest to get going and most often the ones that get pitched or significantly revised. If I’m really energetic and in a writing quagmire, I might even be forced into organizing a few kitchen cabinets. (Oh, please don’t let me get that desperate!)

Another day, another hue, always glorious.

Another day, another hue, always glorious.

Anyway, I’m stepping away from blogging until mid-July. Oh, I may post a photo or two or a quick update for important items I want to share, but think of me sitting on my balcony or in my office, watching the birds, the eagles, the sunrises and moonrises.

And best of all, I won’t have to pack, put up with the hassles of air travel, or fume about the price of gas. 😉

See you in mid-July.

P.S. I’ve been working on putting my novella series, Soul StringSaga, into print for readers who love to read print books. Books 1, 2 & 3 will be in Volume 1. Books 4 & 5 will be in Volume 2. Here’s the print cover for Soul String Saga: Volume 1.

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June 3, 2013

Ahh, a red rose...

Ahh, a red rose…

I guess I know how Meryl Streep feels when she’s up for an award, or two or three, and finals but doesn’t win. So my 3 books that finaled in the Write Touch Readers Award didn’t win in their categories. But my books DID final–and with some best-selling, well-known, wonderful writers who’ve been around far longer than I have.

As a writer, that is.

So I’m still very proud of my books–an my accomplishment.

And because I’m such a generous soul, have I got an offer for you, dear readers.

Last week, before I left for the conference, my boxed set of all the Soul String novellas went live on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. The introductory price for the bundled set of 5 (sold individually for $2.99) is $5.99.

That’s a savings of $8.96.

A mini series in the making

A mini series in the making

Here are a couple of reviews for the series.

From Amazon:

These five books about B.J. Kelley are amazing. I read the first one and couldn’t wait for Book 2. Now all the books are out. This is a saga you shouldn’t miss. The main character, B. J. Kelley, is smart, interesting, and wonderful. This is a woman you can relate to and love. You only want the best for her. The men in her life are also exceptional from her father to her boyfriends. Finally, she grows up and the love of her life is hers. The plot moves right along including the mystery aspect. You will not want to put these books down. They are perfect summer reading.  5 stars

~~###~~

This series is well worth the wait for each section, and Clifford is good at portraying life as a wavy line, not straight up–or down, either. I liked all the books in this series, and if this is the end of Brenna & Company’s story, then I’m okay with it. But Clifford left open the possibility that Brenna’s story could continue, and I’ll want to read it if we follow these characters into new adventures. One of the things I like best about Soul String is the complete cast of great characters that show up in these books, plus all the different locales. The whole gang is back in Full Circle, too, including the creepy, dangerous guy, so in a way, there are many endings. I’ve read other books by Casey Clifford, and I’m looking forward to whatever book comes out next!  5 stars

Amazon:

Nook:

Kobo:

Apple:

I hope you’ll take advantage of this introductory offer.

Have a great week and I’ll see you next week.  Keep smiling and reading… 🙂

Weeping Weather and Time Outs

April 21, 2013

My favorite palm tree

My favorite palm tree

I went AWOL last week. Some of my regulars here even noticed.

Let’s just say I needed a day off. Actually, I rarely take one of those. But I desperately needed a break.

But I finally heeded my own advice and took one. Good thing I did that as this past week was not very pleasant in the weather department here in Wisconsin. Frankly, disgusting would be a complimentary descriptive for the weather. If I’d been cranky and exhausted, the week would have really been tough to handle because the weather was enough to make a saint cranky as my mother used to say.

Let’s see Sunday and Monday were seasonably pleasant. I think it was Monday the temperature actually hit 60 degrees. Then Tuesday arrived. The temps dropped, the skies turned leaden, and it rained. And rained. And. Then. Rained. More. For. Days.

Closeup of Hana waterfall

Closeup of Hana waterfall

Then came the rising waters and flooding in many areas. People began to bail out basements or sandbag their homes as they watched streets disappear into riverbeds.

Friday it snowed. Then sleeted. Then snowed again. The winds were ferocious, and the weather forecasters were talking about wind chills again, not pollen counts.

Saturday the sun came out from behind the clouds. The winds died down. Temps scooched up a tiny bit. However, that much needed orb is showing its shy side again today. But rain isn’t predicted and slightly warmer temps are :-).

Welcome to Spring in Wisconsin.

I think the weather this past week was weeping for the victims of the Boston bombings. And their families. Most of us felt exactly like the weather, mourning yet another senseless act of violence. Some of us shed tears just like the clouds.

CRW Romantic Suspense FinalistMidst the sadness and chaos of the week, I did manage to get Book 5 of my Soul String Saga finished, and it’s now being prepared for publication.

More good news to life the sadness was learning my book, An Island No More has finaled in two readers’ choice contests. Those two notification phone calls definitely lifted my spirits.

This past week could have been a disaster for me—if I’d allowed it. I was very tired. I had many tasks that needed accomplishing. My husband and I were constantly solving one problem or issue only to be faced with two or three more popping up and demanding attention. Now…

Looking toward Diamond Head

Looking toward Diamond Head

Life can be like that. Then add to it weather which promotes moodiness, along with an onslaught of news and currents events which are depressing, well, let’s say, that’s a sure-fire provocation to increase stress and potentially give a person a reason to say “the heck with it all.”

I guess at heart I’m someone who prefers to be realistic but see life as a glass half full in difficult time, rather than describing it more pessimistically as “half empty.” In that sense I’m not only an author who determines the fates and issues my characters face within my books, but I can choose to do the same with my life.

Board sailing like butterflies on the ocean

Board sailing like butterflies on the ocean

So I do. It’s easier that way for me.

And it allows me to determine if I need a time-out. If I do, I figure out how to take one. Like last Sunday. It rejuvenates my psyche and my soul.

Do you need a time out this week? If so, you have my permission to take one.

See you next week…

Banyan tree Lahaina

Banyan tree Lahaina

Anniversary Trip Inspiration

April 7, 2013

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

On our eleventh anniversary, my husband and I celebrated the event by taking a three week trip to Hawaii.

Now you might ask…why we chose that particular year and not 5, 10 or 20? You wouldn’t be the first. We got asked that a lot from people we met on the trip who were celebrating those anniversaries. When we told them why, they smiled and understood.

Well, take heart. I’ll tell you now. This marriage was a second one for both of us. I was divorced after 10 years of misery, well except for the wonderful 3 sons. My husband was a widower. He’d been married 10 years when his wife died. So we decided since we both knew we could manage 10 years, we should celebrate 11.

It was a great trip. We spent time on all the major islands–Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Kauai, Molokai. However, we spent a week in Maui. We left Wisconsin in a May snowstorm but spent the next 21 days in paradise. When we returned to Wisconsin, late spring had finally arrived.

Coastline

Coastline

That trip and that anniversary was very special for us. We’re still racking up numbers with the years but none of our anniversaries have been celebrated like our 11th.

Life and all its challenges have intervened.

So as I was writing the original draft of my Soul String Saga, that trip was much on my mind. As I’ve been going through edits with recently published Soul String: Passport and the last one in the series which I’m editing now. Both have several chapters set in Hawaii. Critical chapters.

Loved this view

Loved this view

So I pulled out my photo books to help me remember vividly ambiance and photographic flavor of Hawaii. They were very helpful. At time they inspired new bits and pieces of details. I think these photograph inspired details have enhanced my original book.

I thought I’d share some of them I took in Maui. After looking them over, maybe you’ll want to read the books. Or take a trip to Hawaii? 🙂

Have a great week…

Great waterfalls

Great waterfalls

Winter Doldrums

March 24, 2013

This was snow. Now it's solid ice and just outside my front door.

This was snow. Now it’s solid ice and just outside my front door.

Isn’t it odd to have a title such as this at the end of March in a northern clime?

I vote YES!

Okay, I’m sick of winter. Dreary days, dirty snow now morphed to filthy ice, dark skies when the sun should be shining.

Where is spring?

I want it here—not now—but last week would have been good.

Where's the green grass? The dandelions?

Where’s the green grass? The dandelions?

I want to see song birds, butterflies, dragonflies, spring flowers. I’ll even settle for seeing dandelions. I’m just so darn tired of wearing warm clothes, heavy shoes instead of sandals, thinking piping hot soup instead of cold salads or a hunk of salmon or a great burger fresh off OUR grill.

Easter is next Sunday but who can think of Easter bunnies, much less new pretty shoes or outfit looking all bright and cheerful when the temps refuse to hit 30 degrees for a high, much less 50 or higher.

Today’s paper had all these add for bright colored, sleeveless sheath dresses. I’m old enough to remember wearing them when Jackie Kennedy set the style trend. And I’ve seen the style return at least twice since then. But I won’t rush out and buy one this year. Maybe instead more warm sweaters, long-sleeved and high-necked. And did you read that word warm? No little cropped numbers with short sleeves or lacy light cotton for me.

Microsoft Clip art image. My trees are bare.

Microsoft Clip art image. My trees are bare.

I took all those lovely bright ads and threw them in the trash.

I guess we’re lucky we aren’t getting a blizzard today and some places are. Oh, that nasty weather forecaster is saying some snow—couldn’t possible change that script because the Spring season did officially start last Wednesday.

And since I’m ranting why should we have lost an hour’s sleep in early March just to see one hour more each day of dreary skies?

Last year this time we were enjoying our balcony in the evening while watching the moon rise over the water or just enjoy being outside on a lovely spring evening.

Microsoft Clipart image. What do we have? Geese...

Microsoft Clipart image. What do we have? Geese…

Not this year. Our balcony still has some ice patches.

I know some of you who stop by are in warmer climes. Please tell me one lovely thing you’re enjoying with your spring weather. That should help to keep my hope alive that maybe we will get a bit of warmth coming our way.

Have a great week, despite the weather if you’re enduring winter yet, or for those who really know about warmth, enjoy it twice as much for those of us stuck in winter.

Soul String: Passport, Book 4. Available now.

Soul String: Passport, Book 4. Available now.

P.S. Oh, and last week Book 4 of my Soul String Saga, Soul String: Passport became available for Kindle, Nook and KOBO. Apple still has it in review.  My editor exclaimed this was the best of the series. Check it out. Links are here. Just scroll down to the end of the page for Soul String: Passport.

Right now I’m working on the final edits of book 5 which will complete this series. I hope to have my editor right after Easter and ready for publication by the end of April. I’ve loved revising and updating this book.

Ice Floes and Writing

March 3, 2013

Lake Michigan creates

Lake Michigan creates

This past week our huge Lake Michigan played at being an ice sculptor.

Like most artists, who knows where this inspiration comes from, but all artists require tools or materials to accomplish their art.

For the Lake, one day this past week, the tools were wind and water. Frigid temperatures also helped. The materials were the ice floes on the horizon of the lake, some debris, mostly from tree limbs, and sand and stones churned up from the lake’s bottom.

Like most artists I know, the lake was never satisfied so for a full 24 hours the sculptures changed. I would have spent far too many hours recounting how these shoreline pieces of art changed. The materials didn’t change.

However, the tools did. Not it what they were but their size, strength, amount, you get my drift. It’s somewhat similar to my husband who must have 27 different kinds of pliers, same name but all different sizes or functions.

Wave action helps.

Wave action helps.

Or perhaps it’s like me. I might have several pair of slacks but what I wear them for is entirely different.

Or as a writer, my tools are pretty much the same. I use a computer, but I have 3, one small laptop, one much larger and a desk top. They all produce my work. My materials words are available on all of them.

And last Tuesday because I was also enthused about finishing the work I was creating, I didn’t take the time to watch Lake Michigan create, destroy and recreate those shoreline ice sculptures.

But I was doing something similar, in that I took what I created, destroyed parts of it and recreated it in a better way.

Ahh, but here’s the difference. Today my creation still is in existence and finished. I sent Soul String: Passport, Book 4, off to my editor. She may have suggestions for more destruction and recreation.

Let's change this shoreline's look.

Let’s change this shoreline’s look.

Oh, and the ice sculptures Lake Michigan created while I created on my computer?

Well, those sculptures are pretty much gone. The winds changed and tore them apart. For a few hours, the geese and ducks used them as resting spots, but no more. I suspect those pieces of ice are now being remolded on Michigan’s shoreline. Don’t get me wrong. We still got ice on the piers, but no longer do I look out and see these huge drifts and pillars of ice.

I think I’m very glad I write instead of using Mother Nature’s tools and materials to be a creative soul.

And here’s a glimpse of my next cover because my cover artist, Elle J. Rossi, was being creative also this week.

Soul String: Passport, Book 4

Soul String: Passport, Book 4

Are you happy to be doing what you do in a creative sense?