A Gentleman and a Rogue

Friday, June 19, 2009

Nocturnal Hunter/ Why I write Supernatural stories

I thought I'd share a poem I wrote recently called "Nocturnal Hunter."

Author's Note:There are 10 lines in an etheree.
As you go up in lines, you go up in syllables.
For example:Line 1 - 1 syllable
Line 2 - 2 syllableand so on.
Line 10 will have 10 syllables.
You can also reverse the ethree starting with 10 syllables and going down to 1.
A double etheree has 2 verses with an inverted syllable count starting after line 10.

Nocturnal Hunter
Dark,
he walks
among blackfields
and shadows,creeping,
stalking prey.Obsidian eye
cool,mercurial to the touch.
Fear all around; heart pumping loud.
Prey jumps, bolts toward hoped freedom close.
Dark pounces, hands cold, firm, kill without mercy.

***

Of course the evokes thoughts of a supernatural creature. That leads me into the next part of this blog...

Why I write Paranormal/Supernatural stories.

I think the supernatural is cool. I grew up watching "Creature Double Feature" in the 1970's and getting my butt scared off. But I always thought Dracula was cool. He only came out at night, he liked to bite his victims in the neck. Holy water freaked him out. Even Godzilla was cool. There were mummy stories, zombie stories, and Frankenstein stories. I don't remember too many werewolf stories growing up.

I got older and graviated toward comics. Comics and the supernatural have something in common though: An extra ability. Wolverine has super healing. A werewolf does too. They've got to have very good powers of healing considering what their bodies go through.

The past couple of years, I've tackled stories that are supernatural/paranormal in nature. I like exploring that aspect. I can go in an original creative direction and have fun with it. And that's the challenge. After Anne Rice, vampires got popular. And overdone. Finding a new take on vampires hasn't been east. I appauld Stephenie Meyer for her Twilight series, because she did find a new spin on her vamps that was original, creative, and had mass appeal.

I hope that's what I've done with my story, "The Wolf's Torment."

Of course people say, werewolves - gross. Who wants to read about werewolves and them having sex? How can a werewolf story possiblity rock like a vampire story.

I'll tell you: Because a werewolf is a man 26 days out of a 28 day lunar cycle. And it's how the man deals with being a wolf that's fascinating. It's pyschological.


Here's an excerpt from "The Wolf's Torment," which deal with witches & werewolves and has a vampire subplot. Enjoy

****

The Set up: Mihai puts his friend, Viktor in a dungeon during his werewolf transformation to keep him safe.

***

Viktor looked through the iron bars, darkness shading over him. “Lock the door.”

His friend’s breathing was very labored. Mihai made sure the door was shut and withdrew the keys, slowly backing away. He sat down against the opposite wall, looking into the cell. Faint light from the night sky peered in through a small rectangular window at the very top of Viktor’s self-imposed cage.

“What is that smell?” Viktor asked.

“Daciana saw me in the kitchen and made me a plate. It’s pork,” Mihai said.

He spied drool dripping out of his friend’s mouth through the dim candlelight.

“Viktor?” Mihai questioned.

A fierce growl pierced the air. Hair grew on Viktor’s body. His legs became shorter. Viktor’s face extended and contorted, and a snout replaced his nostrils. Clothes ripped off his body. His legs grew sinewy with slender muscles. Hair sprouted quickly, becoming a coat of fur all over his body. Viktor got down on all fours. The transformation now complete, the wolf looked at Mihai with feral, amber eyes.

Mihai hugged the wall as the wolf’s snout shot out between the thick iron bars, smelling the air. A sliver of sympathy grew in Mihai’s heart for his friend. The beast pulled back and tried to rush the iron gate with his body, but it held firm. When the wolf realized he was there for the night, he started pacing the cell, drooling and snarling at Mihai. Finally, after an hour, the beast lay down. Mihai said nothing, only noting how Viktor’s human expression of thanks had been replaced with a feral expression of hate.

It was hard to imagine this beast was Viktor. What a contrast to how his mother would use light, making ornaments sparkle and shine in the palm of her hand at Christmastime. Her soul was good. Only time would tell how Viktor’s soul would react to this change. Mihai lay down on the uncomfortable stone floor and fell asleep.

Hours seemed to pass. Mihai awoke to the terrible howls of the wolf in the cell. The candle had burnt down to a stub next to him. Mihai didn’t know what to do to calm Viktor down, but if anyone in the castle heard these cries, Viktor’s secret would be out. His father had no such compassion for such creatures and would surely slay Viktor if he found his friend in this state.

“What can I do?”

The wolf stopped and glared at him, then looked over at Mihai’s plate.

“You want this?”

The wolf nodded his head.

Mihai threw the pork into the cell. The beast that was his friend devoured it. After he had consumed the meal, the wolf began to transform and Viktor, now naked, lay on the floor. The faintest hint of sunlight peered through the small window.

Mihai sat there for the longest time, staring at his friend. Viktor gasped for breath. “Mihai?”

“Yes?”

“Thank you for the pork. It helps me deal with the hunger.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Overview of the Romance Genre


I thought I'd post this article, which I composed for my official newsletter a couple of months ago.
Romance is a popular genre. In fact, it's the #1 selling book genre right now. Why? Because they have a happy, hopeful ending. It's a good counterpoint to the depressing downturn in our economy.
I love a good romance. I prefer more gothic romance, historical/regancy romance, and paranormal.
Speaking of romance, my picture is Roger Howarth, an actor on the soap opera, "As The World Turns." Roger plays the character "Paul Ryan." Ah, he embodies my idea of a romantic leading man.... melting... mush...
Anyone have a good romance they'd like to share? Books? DVD? Movie?
****
The romance genre continues to be one of the most popular fiction genres to date. Romances of all sub-genres have two aspects of plot that are consistent throughout. First, the love story is the center point of the story, and second, the ending is emotionally satisfying. The genre was given life in 1740 with Pamela or Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson who wrote about a courtship from the woman's perspective. Jane Austen helped to further the genre with Pride and Prejudice, a book that made her a "master" of romance.

Romance continued to be popular into the 20th Century and shows no sign of slowing down in the 21st. Popular sub-genres of romance include historical, paranormal, contemporary, erotica, regency, category, and romantic suspense.

Historical

Georgette Heyer was the first to explore this sub-genre in 1921 with a romance set in the Regency period. (See Regency a little further down.) Historical romance explores romance that are set in the past. History is used in varying degrees - from setting to becoming an intrigual part of the plot. When writing historical romance, its important to do a lot of research to remain authentic and true to the romance.

Contemporary

A contemporary romance takes place in a modern day setting. Currently, its the most written about sub-genre. This also includes the recent popular trend known as "chick-lit." Contemporary isn't afraid to tackle modern issues such as a woman balancing a career and love. Keep in mind endings must be emotionally satisfying. If a contemporary novel or story ends with a principal dying or a sad ending, then its published as women's fiction, not romance.

Regency

A Regency romance takes place during a set historical time frame. It is usually in England between 1811-1820 when Prince George (the future George IV) ruled as regent during his father's (George III) illness. An interesting note: Jane Austen wrote regency romance, but remember - to her it was contemporary romance. She was writing during these years. Regencies focus on society and dialogue over action and sex to capture the essence of the time period.

Paranormal

Paranormal is a sub-genre that is trending well right now. The biggest aspect of this sub-genre is that the romance takes place in a fantasy type world. This included werewolves, vampires, and more fantasy type beings such as pixies and nymphs. The focus here is romance first, fantasy second.

Category

These are serial romances, mainly released by Harlequin and Silhouette. They tend to be much shorter than most romances. An interesting note: Nora Roberts cut her teeth writing in his sub-genre.

Romantic Suspense

This is known as the cousin to Gothic Romance. (I discussed Gothic Romance in my January Newsletter.) The sub-genre currently trend toward stories involving drug dealers, smugglers and such. Windswept Moors and spooky houses are yesterday's trends. Romantic suspense is seen as a good bridge from the romantic genre to the mainstream, best selling market.

Other sub-genres include time travel, gothic, and erotica. Whatever sub-genre you choose to explore, just remember research gives your story the authenticity the tale craves.
A good time traveling romance I just read which involves a belief in karma is called "Anam Cara" by Keena Kincaid. You can find it on Amazon.com.
All the best
Steph

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Trip to Solvang, California



When one thinks of California the first thing that comes to mind is Los Angeles, Hollywood. California is progressive, liberal. Next, San Franscisco might come to mind, the Golden Gate Bridge and wine country - Napa Valley. San Diego might also pop up.





Aside from the major metro areas, there is a lot of rural land in California. Solvang, California is about 1 hour north of Santa Barbara on US Route 101 and it's truly a treasure in the middle of California's rural beauty.
(Picture is my son, Andrew by a wooden shoe
in downtown Solvang.)




Heck, just last week I went camping up in the Solvang area. The weather was mild, the sun was out and the land was green. I couldn't ask for more. Solvang isn't far from the Santa Ynez wine country either. The wine from this area is comparable to Napa Valley wines. There are several wineries in Los Olivios, our favorite being Alexander & Wayne. The merlot from them is great. Heck, wine pimp that I am, I was heaven trolling the wineries in the area.





So what's the allure about Solvang?





It's Danish themed. The downtown area is full of buildings that will make you feel like you've escaped to Denmark.





There are windmills and wooden shoes (which are more reminicent of the Dutch in the Netherlands) , but for the most part, the town captures a quaint ambience and gives the visitor a little taste of Denmark.





Here's the opening blurb from Solvang's Website:


The gentle rolling hills, windmills, quiet streets, horse drawn carriages, family bicycles, golf courses, horse ranches, wineries, Danish bakeries, authentic Danish costumes worn by some shop keepers, Danish smorgaasbord restaurants, museums of racing and Solvang history, in the Danish atmosphere and architecture are waiting for you.





Sounds about right. The Danish bakeries rock by the way. Nice and fluffy little pastries. Totally yum.

I really don't have any cool stories about going to Solvang. I went for my birthday last week. I go, walk around, enjoy the ambience, and troll the stores looking for posters on Denmark. If anything, Solvang reminds me of Denmark and I have fond memories of Denmark.

I do! I was married in Denmark. Nov 14th, 1991 in Nykobig, Denmark I got married. Denmark is the "Vegas" of Europe (if you want to get married.) 4 days in Denmark and a JP can marry you. My marriage certificate is in 5 different languages.

For my honeymoon I visited Copenhagen and the original Legoland. The Danes were cool people, laid back, relax and most had a good command of English.

If you're planning a trip to Europe, Denmark is cool place to go.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

An Excerpt - The Count's Lair

Well, I spent the week talking about some of my favorite authors and what I like to read, so I thought I'd do a little something different and post an excerpt from a short story I recently wrote.

****

This is an excerpt from a recent short story which will be the basis for the novel of the same length. This short story is about 10,000 words long, too long for competions, but I do have a 3980 word short story by the same name for competions.

This is about Anton and Amelia. Anton is a werewolf. He's attracted to Amelia, but he has no idea how to tell her about his condition. I hope you like this little sample.

In this scene, Anton has recently taken in a gypsy witch family that helps him deal with his condition. (lycanthropy) Georg is the father and Esme is his daughter.

**********

Esmé was a godsend. No, he couldn’t say that, convinced that God didn’t exist. No, she was amazing. The last full moon was tolerable due to her ministrations. It pained him to set her up as a housekeeper, a task she found demeaning. She deserved better, but there was no other position he could give her without raising suspicions.

Before leaving Sopran, he bought a carriage for them to travel to Budapest, and outfitted them in with a servant’s wardrobe. Upon their arrival at his castle in Budapest, Ravenwind, he personally showed them to their quarters and introduced them to his day staff. The daytime servants were a little jealous of the new attendants, but Anton made it clear he would not tolerate any misbehavior. His new staff settled into their roles, leaving him to retire to his study. He attended to his affairs which had been neglected for the past two weeks.

At midnight, there was a knock on the door. Anton answered it himself. “Georg?”

The old man walked in holding two shots of brandy. “You’re up late, wolf. I thought you could use a break.”

Anton took the glass, motioning for Georg to come in. “Have a seat.”

Georg sat down on a chair in front of Anton’s desk. “Probst.”

“Probst,” said Anton. Both men took a gingerly sip. “So, old man, is everything to your liking here at Ravenwind?”

“I’m impressed, Count Varga, but surprised.”

“How?”

“For a nobleman you do too much.”

“I’m a hard worker.”

“Well, if you want to delegate some of your responsibilities, you can trust me.”

Anton chuckled. “Are you soft on me, you grizzled old bear?”

“You’re not bad for a wolf. I’ve never met one with as much honor as you have.”

Anton sobered. “I would not use the word honor to describe me.”

Georg pointed to a small black and white photograph on Anton’s desk. “A lady?”

“Yes. Lady Amelia Andrássy. I’m going to take her to the Christmas markets tomorrow.”

“Ah.”

There was an awkward pause. The picture was taken out of a newspaper clipping. Anton felt his cheeks redden as he looked at her picture.

“Does she know what you are?”

Anxious, Anton pursed his lips. “A wolf?”

Georg nodded.

“No, she doesn’t.”

“And you care for her?”

Anton took a deep breath. He did not trust lightly, but perhaps now he could try. “Yes, I care for her very much, but I have no idea how to begin to tell her.”

“You have to build up to it.”

“What do you know about such things, old man?”

“I know the only way she’ll believe what you are is if she’s completely in love with you. Love transcends everything.”

Anton leaned forward on his desk, bracing his elbows. “Do I even have the right to make her fall in love with me?”

“If she’s your soulmate, then yes, you do.”

“Soulmate?” Anton raised an eyebrow.

“We gypsies believe in soulmates – that one person who compliments us completely.”

“How do you know if you’ve met your soulmate, old man?” Anton’s voice was serious.

“It’s in your first look, your first kiss. Two souls, crafted in the fire of life, man and woman, born to experience life together – soulmates. This is healthy. It feels perfect. You just know you crave this person with an intensity that can’t be explained, only accepted. It’s destiny, really.”

“And your wife? She was yours?”

“Yes.”

Anton leaned back. His relationship with Amelia had always felt right. Healthy. The two months they were apart, there wasn’t a day he thought of her. The week before he left to attend her performance, he’d worked up such a craving for her, it scared him a little. But destiny? The old gypsy might have sipped too much brandy tonight.

“How do I tell her?”

“Leave clues.”

“Clues? And just what do you suggest the first clue be?”

“The moon, of course.”

Anton chuckled.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Online Newsletter

I just wanted to let everyone know that I put out an online newsletter once a month. The focus is on writing and news that's happening in the publishing world. Here are some of the things I look at when I put my newsletter together:

The Writing Genre Corner
This corner takes a look at genre writing, usually giving a broad overview of the genre topic.

Editing Corner
This corner discusses editing tips.

The Publishing World Shelf
This shelf takes a look at publishing trends in the publishing world. Information is usually drawn from the online verision of "Publisher's Weekly."

Agent/Blog Nook
This nook highlights an agent or editor who is interesting and offers up-to-date information about the industry.

Publishing Press Cranny
This cranny takes a look at a small press publishing company.

WIP Excerpt Table
On the table, you'll find excerpts of my writing.

Reading/Writing Poll
A place to leave feedback.

I'd like to think there's a nice variety and there's a little something for everyone. If you'd like to subscribe to my newsletter, go to:

http://sgcardin.tripod.com
That's my official online website. At the bottom of the front page is a link where you can sign up for the newsletter.

This month, I'll be talking about fantasy subgenres and Desert Breeze Publishing. If you've got something you'd like to share, drop me a line.

Smiles,
Steph

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's all about Reading

Well, I thought I'd continue talking about the books and genres I like to read. One of the earliest authors I discovered was Victoria Holt. (My friend Idgy turned me on to her.) But another author I discovered early on was VC Andrews.

I discovered VC Andrews when I was in high school. The first book I read of hers was "Flowers in the Attic." "FLOWERS" had a very Gothic feel to it, but Andrews added a twist - a secret that was unbearable. Uncomfortable. Taboo.

From Wikipedia, VC Andrews was born on 6 JUN 1923 (Hey, June 6 is my birthday, too!) and she died on 19 DEC 1986, due to breast cancer. She was 63.

Contining from Wikipedia...

Andrews' novels combine gothic horror and family saga revolving around family secrets and forbidden love (frequently involving themes of consensual incest, most often between siblings), and they often include a rags-to-riches story. Her best-known novel is the infamous bestseller Flowers in the Attic (1979), a tale of four children locked in the attic of a wealthy Virginia family by their estranged religious grandmother for over three years.

Today, work under her name continues to be published, but it is a ghost writer that is writing the stories. The novels that are contributed to her are the Dollanger (Flowers) series.

What was the appeal of Flowers in the Attic?

For me, I loved that it was "readable." I kept turning the pages. I didn't want to put the story down. Not only was her style highly readable, but her characterization was spot on. I wanted to get to know her characters. Through her writing, she made her unspeakable acts almost bearable, sympathic even.

So that's where I was in 1986. Hooked on VC Andrews and Victoria Holt. Both of them had Gothic writing in common.

After that, I joined the army and reading took a back seat. I read a bunch of comic books while in the army. I enjoyed such titles as the X-Men and Legion of Superheroes. About the only author I read while in the army and developed a passion for was Anne Rice.

I read Rice's Lestat Vampire series and enjoyed them. My favorite Anne Rice book is "The Witching Hour." (At one point I wanted to name my daughter Rowan, but my husband would never go for it.)

Again, from Wikipedia:

Anne Rice (born Howard Allen O'Brien on Oct. 4th, 1941) is a best-selling American author of gothic and religious-themed books. She was married to poet and painter Stan Rice for 41 years until his death in 2002. Her books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history.

There's that word - gothic again.

Surprisingly, I also discovered Victoria Holt again - as Jean Plaidy. I read "Queen in Waiting" in 1988 about Caroline, the wife of George II and I felt in love with Plaidy and British royality.

I got out of the army in 1997, but I didn't really read. I continued with my comics until about 2000. It's only been recently that I've taken to reading again. Why?

Because reading everything you can get your hands on helps you expand as a writer.

I've always enjoyed a good romance. Romance writers I enjoy include:
Jillian Hunter
Judith McNaught
Lisa Kleypas

I LOVE historical fiction. This goes hand-in-hand with my love for Jean Plaidy.
Alison Weir is my go-to author when it comes to royality.
I also enjoy Phillipa Gregory.

I enjoy a good biography. Some of my auto/biographies include:
Julie Andrews
Cynthia Lennon
Charles Schultz
Barak Obama

Some recent books I've read which I've enjoyed:
Push Not the River & Against A Crimson Sky by James Conyrod Martin
The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer. What I like about Meyer is how "readable" she is. I find myself flipping pages and before I know it, I'm 200 pages into the novel.
The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling. Again, she's very "readable."
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostov.
The 13th Tale by Diane Setterfield

Do you see a bit of a "gothic" theme going on here? (grin) Surprisingly, I have yet to tackle a gothic tale in my own writing.

Anyway, I'd love to hear some of your favorite authors. Share.
Smiles,
Steph

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Genres I enjoy

Well, today I thought I'd tackle a genre I enjoy - romance. I'm a sucker for a good romance. Who isn't? I love seeing a rough, tough guy sort of tender up around a smart girl. I love reading about the rogue and rakehell who is tamed by the love of a good woman.

The thing with the romance genre is that it usually leaves the reader with a good feeling. There's hope yet for us true romantics.

My first introduction to romance was probably Victoria Holt back in high school in the 1980's. I loved Holt's writing. Her books though mostly fit into a category known as Gothic Romance, where elements from the Goth and Romance are combined. There's a woman in distress, a castle, a man who intially appears to be "the bad guy" but turns out to be the romantic hero. I remember reading "The India Fan," and "The Captive." Holt has also written historical fiction about the kings and queens of England that I enjoyed.

This blurb from the NY Times dated 21 JAN 1993, sadly, ends Holt's story.

"Eleanor Hibbert, a prolific and popular novelist whose books, written under the pen names Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr, sold more than 100 million copies, died on Monday aboard a Mediterranean cruise ship. She was believed to be in her 80's.

She died on the Sea Princess between Athens and Port Said, Egypt, while on her annual winter trip, said Julie Fallowfield, her agent in the United States. The cause of death was not disclosed.
Mrs. Hibbert, a Londoner, was secretive about her life. She never revealed her maiden name or age. Two of her publishers listed conflicting birth years, 1906 and 1910.

For years the true identity of the writer behind the three pseudonyms was a tightly guarded secret in the publishing world.

In all, Mrs. Hibbert wrote about 200 novels. They were romantic tales, often filled with rich historical detail, that regularly featured young women living in castles and country manors. She said she focused on "women of integrity and strong character" who were "struggling for liberation, fighting for their own survival."

Her books, which were translated into 20 languages, were especially popular in her native England, the United States and Australia. Although some critics dismissed her books, others found them well-done works of their type.

Her first published novel was "Beyond the Blue Mountains" (1947), under the Plaidy name. Eventually she wrote 90 Plaidy books, many of which were historical novels about royalty.
In 1960 she tried a new name and a new genre. At the suggestion of an agent, Patricia Schartle Myrer, Mrs. Hibbert wrote a romantic suspense novel set in Cornwall and published under the Victoria Holt pen name. The result, "Mistress of Mellyn," was an instant international best seller.
Thirty more Holt novels followed, establishing Mrs. Hibbert as a pioneer in the romantic suspense or Gothic genre. Her last Holt book, "The Black Opal," is scheduled for publication this year.

In 1972 she began a third series, writing as Philippa Carr, in which she followed the fortunes of an English family through several generations. The last of the 19 Carr books, "We'll Meet Again," is due next year.

Early in her career, Mrs. Hibbert also used the pen names Eleanor Burford, Elbur Ford and Ellalice Tate. She wrote short stories for British publications before trying novels.
Ms. Hibbert's husband, George, a businessman, died in the 1960's. There are no immediate survivors."

I also read alot of her queen series under her Jean Plaidy name which I enjoyed. Heck, now that I think about it, Diane Setterfield's recluse writer in her story "The 13th Tale" reminds me of how Holt guarded her name. Maybe some inspiration?

This is what I loved about her the most: She wrote about women of strong character. For me, a woman, I like reading about women with strong character.

After Holt, I read a bunch of other stuff with romantic elements, but I didn't really come back to fully appreciate the romance genre until I picked up "Whitney, My Love" by Judith McNaught, back in 2007 I believe. Oh, Miss Whitney Stone was a carefree one with plenty of gumption who fell in love with the man she didn't expect to. Set in historical, regency England, it was a story that totally entertained me. I also enjoyed "Once and Always," and I'll share that book review with you shortly.

Recently, I've discovered Lisa Kleypas and Jillian Hunter. (But those are stories for another day.)

I'd love to hear who your first romantic writer was and how they inspired you.

Smiles,
Steph

Here's my book review for "Once and Always" by Judith McNaught.

By: Judith McNaught
ISBN: 978-1-4165-3073-2
Simon & Shuster
$4.99
5 Stars


Best selling author Judith McNaught engages her readers with another riveting romance, “Once and Always.” Published in 1898, this classic is hard to put down. It captures the reader’s attention immediately with an interesting twist on the heroine’s heritage and dives into the story with somber, yet revealing scenes regarding the main characters, Victoria and Jason.

The story first shows us American daughters, Victoria and Dorothy Seaton who are orphaned as young adults and sent to live with their English relatives. Set in 1815, “Once and Always” focuses on Victoria’s adventures in England when she goes to live with Charles, Due of Atherton, who she affectionately calls her uncle. While Charles has no real relationship to Victoria, her own great-grandmother won’t take her in because Victoria reminds the old woman of her mother, Katherine. Surprisingly, Victoria is a Scottish countess, a title she has inherited from her mother. Charles, who harbored a deep seated love for Victoria’s mother takes the young girl into his care and rather boldly places an announcement in “The Times” announcing Victoria’s engagement to his heir, Jason Fielding.

Jason, while handsome, has a cold, distant heart, a product of his upbringing. He’s rather abrupt with Victoria, but she holds her own against him, surprising him when he least expects it. Slowly, Victoria starts to chip away at the stone which ha hardened Jason’s heart. The couple procrastinate regarding an actual wedding, as both try to find a way to break the engagement honorably. Victoria is introduced to London society in which she’s well received. Charles forces their hands with a feigned sickness when he fears a man from America which Victoria was sweet on might come to find her, and the two finally marry. Unfortunately, a series of misunderstandings between the pair may derail their chance at true happiness.

McNaught’s writing is sharp, fast-paced, and accurate. She paints vivid scenes and evokes heartfelt emotion from the reader with ease. Her heroine, Victoria, is one of the most likeable heroines I’ve read. Jason is also a dynamic character and it is delightful to see the positive change that Victoria and her love have on him.

“Once and Always” is well paced and hard to let go with it’s breath taking descriptions and enticing characters. It is written with shifting points of view, jumping from Victoria to Jason and other characters without breaks. With a historical backdrop, this is a must for romance readers.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Why Moldavia?

First, let me welcome you to my blog here on Blog Spot. I've got some fun blogs planned for the future, but I wanted to talk about Moldavia.



First, let me tell you a little about myself. I love to write. I've been writing since I was six. Back then I drew little Spiderman comic books. As I grew into a young teenager, I developed a passionate for comic books. I prefered the team or group comics like X-Men, Teen Titans, and the Legion of Superheroes. I loved an ensemble cast. In fact, I have the original comic where Kitty Pryde is introduced to the X-Men. John Byrne was the artist. Am I dating myself?



I wrote all throughout high school and while I was in the military. In fact, my novel, Destination: Berlin was born out of my trip on the Berlin Orientation Tour back in 1988. (But that's another post for another time.)



I started seriously writing about 10 years ago. "All That Remains" and "Are Your Dirty Little Secrets" are two of my earlier works and contemporary romances. "Are Your Dirty Little Secrets" was an Editor's Choice for IUniverse. Destination: Berlin in a military action/adventure story. "Across The Fickle Winds of History," is a time traveling story with romantic elements. ForeWord Clarion gave it a 3 star review. "The Wolf's Torment," is a fantasy with romantic elements. All of my works are self published.



Recently, I started entering the Writer's Digest Contests to hone my storytelling skill. Several of my short stories have received "Honorable Mentions," for which I'm very proud of, and I'll be sharing my short stories more in the future.



Writing is something I've found requires a lot of patience. There's writing, editing, 2nd and 3rd drafts of your manuscript. There's character bios, maps, and plot outline. I'm constantly reading books about writing and I have a subscription to Writer's Digest. I figure it helps to know as much about your craft - the actual writing aspect of it, and the way to get your work out there.



My pen name is SG Cardin and that's what my books are listed under. I've listed my books here on the side of my blog. If you click on the covers they will take you to Amazon or Lulu where you can buy my books.



So why name my blog "Adventures in Moldavia?"



Well, the writing world is one big adventure. I try to look at it as a big, fun adventure. Learning can be fun and I've learned not to take things, especially in the writing too seriously. Let learning be fun, be serious when you need to, but learning, getting feedback, and taking it all constructively is important if one wants to improve.



So writing is an adventure. It can take you to the heart of America or to the far off coasts of Africa. It can take you back in time or the far flung future. Writing is the biggest adventure of all.

My book, "The Wolf's Torment" takes place in the 1860's in Constanta. Currently, Constanta is a city in Romania on the coast of the Black Sea. In my novel, Constanta falls under the principality of Moldavia (which was united with Wallachia to make the present day state of Romania), but I took creative license with it, to tell the story I do in "The Wolf's Torment." In the novel, Constanta is Moldavia's capital, but in reality, it never was. Iasi was. Still, I wanted the novel set in Romania. Eastern Europe is steeped in supernatural lore and I wanted that underlying tone in the story.

Moldavia has a rich history. Stephen the Great help to fight the Turks in the 1400's.

While I've never been, I envision the lush green forests of my own native New England. Moldavia was the best adventure I've had yet in my writing.