Monthly Archives: March 2012

Come to Oakton Library for a reading of THWARTED QUEEN!

This afternoon I’m doing a reading of TQ at Oakton Library: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/branches/ok/

 

I’m on at 1pm. Come and meet Lady Cecylee and her family!

 

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The winner of my fourth Goodreads Giveaway is…Hsa De of New York!

Everyone,

I want to thank you all for your support during my recent giveaway. Over SEVEN HUNDRED of you requested TWO MURDERS REAPED!!

The winner of this giveaway is Hsa De of New York, who will get a SIGNED COPY of MURDERS.

Enjoy & have a great weekend!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Two Murders Reaped by Cynthia Sally Haggard

Two Murders Reaped

by Cynthia Sally Haggard

Giveaway ends March 25, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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My interview with Morgen Bailey is up!

Everyone,

Just to let you know I was recently interviewed by Morgen Bailey about THWARTED QUEEN. If interested in reading more about Cecylee and her family, and my life as a novelist, please point your browser to: http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/blog-interview-no-321-with-writer-cynthia-haggard/

Have a great day!

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Cecelia Holland’s GREAT MARIA

I started GREAT MARIA by Cecelia Holland, but couldn’t get on with it. The story was curiously lacking in shape and the pacing was off. This is what happens at the beginning:

Maria is visiting a shrine, when suddenly her servant Elena is killed.

This happens just after the opening of the novel, so we don’t know enough about Elena to connect with her.  It might have been more powerful if it had been rendered as interior monologue, rather than shown baldly as it was. In this instance, it is less the tragic incident that matters. Rather it is its effect on the protagonist.

Maria returns home and develops a sudden crush on Roger. But she is to be betrothed to the other brother Richard. She doesn’t want it. He talks to her. She accepts.
The men go out and return home. Her father is furious. Richard wanted to kill him. She goes upstairs. She tells Richard she’s expecting a baby. He is unemotional.

At that point, I threw the book down because I couldn’t connect with the characters. What is missing here is the glue of interior monolog, a certain degree of foreshadowing (not too much), internal physical reactions, and external displays of emotion, sometimes done subtly. Without these elements, the plot just becomes a series of events that don’t pluck at the reader’s heartstrings. After all, why should we care about Maria, Roger or Richard if their story is told to us in such a dry-as-dust fashion?

The New York Times describes Cecelia Holland as a literary phenomenon. Unfortunately, in this novel, she didn’t display her gifts. One star.

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Welcome to my fifth Goodreads Giveaway!

Everyone,

Here is another chance to win a FREE AUTOGRAPHED paperback of THE GILDED CAGE.

What would you do if your husband got locked into a struggle with the King of England? Would you lie to the Queen of England, and beg for an income of one thousand marks a year on behalf of yourself and your children? Even if you knew your husband was a traitor?

Giveaway ends tomorrow, so head on over to Goodreads to sign up! And Good Luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Gilded Cage by Cynthia Sally Haggard

The Gilded Cage

by Cynthia Sally Haggard

Giveaway ends March 28, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Tidbits from the Internet: Fleshing out your characters, and how to sell books online

Here are a couple of things that might interest you:

I just came upon this recently.

G. Hugh Bodell launched a website dedicated to bringing his characters alive. The basic idea is that you put your character into a difficult situation, then ask your readers to help you solve that problem.

But I thought it would be a very interesting writing exercise to try the following. How about taking your character out of context and seeing what they do? This works very well for historical fiction, because all you have to do is change time period.

So what would your Roman centurion do in another time period?

The reason why I think this is a valuable exercise is because it will help you to get to know your character better. Why not try it and let me know what you think?

To read G. Hugh Bodell’s blog, go to: http://whatwouldsoroshdo.blogspot.com/

For those of you who want to know more about marketing your novel and don’t mind paying $21 for it, here is the link to Joanna Penn’s “21 ways to sell more books online.”

Have a great week!

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Welcome to my fourth Goodreads Giveaway!

Everyone,

Here is another chance to win a FREE AUTOGRAPHED paperback of TWO MURDERS REAPED, the story of the last 35 years of Cecylee’s life. Find out what Cecylee got up to after the death of her husband. Giveaway ends tomorrow, so head on over to Goodreads to sign up! And Good Luck!

 

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Two Murders Reaped by Cynthia Sally Haggard

Two Murders Reaped

by Cynthia Sally Haggard

Giveaway ends March 25, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Upton Sinclair’s THE JUNGLE

Upton Sinclair’s THE JUNGLE is a wonderful novel that is not for the faint of heart.

This powerful indictment of the meat-packing industry in Chicago at the turn of the century contains relentlessly explicit details about the working conditions that poor immigrants were forced to endure, with writing that is so vivid it is positively nauseating.

This is a wonderful book that is very much of its time. However, I do not recommend reading it while eating.  Five stars.

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THWARTED QUEEN nominated for the Global e-book awards!

Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that THWARTED QUEEN has been nominated for the Global e-book awards in the Historical Fiction  Medieval Novels category.  This means that it advances to the next round where the finalists are judged. Finalists will be announced on July 9. Winners will be announced on August 18 at the Global e-book awards ceremony in Santa Barbara CA. Stay tuned!

 

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Monday Tips: How much should you write a day?

Many writers recommend that you complete a certain number of words each day to get to the goal of finishing your novel.

I am sure this advice works for many people, but strangely enough it doesn’t work for me. Instead, I try to carve out 2 to 3 hours each day to focus on my writing by using a timer. I plug in the number of hours and set to work.

I don’t predetermine exactly how much of the manuscript I’m going to cover, because that just seems to focus on quantity at the expense of quality.

Instead, I do my time and then stop, knowing that I have really focused on trying to make the novel better.

Do you have any writing tips you’d care to share? If so, feel free to drop a comment in the box below. And have a great week!

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