Hello, visitors! Thanks for stopping by. :) Well, as many of you know, and maybe some don't know, I have a sideline with my dear husband Eric co-writing fantasy novels for kids together under the pen name, E.G. Foley. These books have been doing very nicely for us, and I thought you might be curious to read this little report Eric and I wrote up for our kidlit blog about our very exciting children's author trip to New York City last month for a round table discussion hosted by Amazon.
And because the good folks at the Bryant Park Hotel, we suspect, felt sorry for us after our hours of delays, they upgraded our room to a sweet, sweet SUITE. It was amaze-balls and I don't even want to think about how much that must've cost for the night. (Thank you, Amazon.)
High up on the 14th floor, we had our own private terrace balcony with a gorgeous view of the ice-skating rink, towering Christmas tree and German-style holiday market set up in the park across the street. Very festive atmosphere. The night was ominous and quite hazy, but luckily, fairly warm. So after a quick dinner in our room (we were much too late to meet our hosts from Amazon) we went for a walk around Midtown Manhattan and of course, Times Square. We saw Captain America (he was looking a little chubby, I'm afraid), Batman, and all the other usual characters milling around.
Gael said our 3-year old niece would've freaked out to see a life-sized Hello Kitty walk by in costume. Little Teagan's all about the Hello Kitty.
The next morning we were up bright and early to attend the event. First we got to meet and chat with the excellent folks from Amazon, as well as the publicists who set it all up, and two other authors, as well, Ally Nathaniel and Carole P. Roman. They were both terrific, but I wanted to mention that if you're looking to try self-publishing a children's book, Ally offers a course on how to do it, so check out her website.
Anyway, we were a little nervous as the attendees started arriving and enjoying the beautiful catered brunch that was served. The audience was made up of people who are involved in some way with the children's book world.
For about an hour, we endeavored to be interesting as the moderator, Natalia, asked us questions like: What do you find most rewarding about being a children's author? Any advice for aspiring children's authors? Tell us about your publishing journey? That sort of thing. Afterwards, we fielded questions from the audience of journalists, who were very interested in how it all worked. Of course, it was inevitable that the ever-popular question that every author dreads would eventually pop up: "How much money do you make?" Ummm... (Sheesh! lol)
So after the event, we touristed around the local area for another 2 hours before it was time to go. You know where book nerds go as tourists, right? We strolled straight into the magnificent NYC Public Library. It was a strange thing, though!
We went all over this enormous, beautiful, grand building in search of, what else, books. Would you believe we walked around for about 30 minutes and couldn't find a single book anywhere? This was quite puzzling, since, y'know, it being a library and all. We finally sidled over to one of the security guards and said, "Psst, fella, where do you guys keep the books?" LOL. He laughed and informed us we were in the Research Library, where all the rare books are hidden away and can only be read on-site strictly by appointment!
We laughed so hard at our rube tourist mistake that we nearly got shushed by every librarian there. We did find a wonderful display case full of Charles Dickens' writing and memorabilia, however, and Gael went nuts. She's a major Charles Dickens fangirl.
Next we bought souvenirs in some of the charming, old-timey wooden market stalls set up in Bryant Park. Then we checked out the Christmas decorations in the department store windows. I gotta admit, it was pretty romantic doing this together at the height of what they call the Sparkle Season in New York. Finally we got limo'ed back to the airport where we had...wait for it!!!...another 3 hour delay.
I KID YOU NOT. Ack!
Finally landing in the 'Burgh (Pittsburgh) at 7:00 pm which got us home around 8:00 pm. There was one mighty happy Bichon waiting for us at the door. So all-in-all, a great trip, even with the airport delays. Thanks, Amazon! We had a blast. :)
Eric & Gael
Now here's a fun thing! I was recently doing research for a Regency historical romance that will take place in 1816, and I was struck by all the similarities I kept noticing to our current time. I am personally of the belief that, for good or ill, humanity never really changes. Tell me below if you agree or if not, why not? :)
PS: Please let me know if you have any trouble with these flip cards! They were fun to make, but it's my first time making them on Playbuzz. :) These are really just for fun, but if you're looking for an in-depth article on, say, economic conditions of early 19th c. England, this one from the Peel Web will knock you off your chair with the stunning similarities between 1816 and 2016. History may not repeat itself, but as Twain allegedly said, it does rhyme.
Also, I'd like to give a tip of the hat to Nancy Meyer, Regency researcher extraordinaire, who inspired me to do this blog when she shared her list of big events of 1816 with the Beau Monde Regency specialty chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America). If you love learning about the Regency, definitely bookmark Nancy's site, www.RegencyResearcher.com! This Lady of Distinction knows her stuff! She is THE most knowledge person I know on all things Regency, and her site is a treasure trove.
So here they are ~ a few tidbits from current events of 200 years ago that do seem strangely familiar...
So... What are YOUR Predictions for What 2016 Will Bring?
This video kicks off a new series I'll be doing this year, consisting of informal chats about some of the fundamentals of writing fiction. I could've talked about this subject for hours but managed to keep it under 12 min. If you have any questions, feel free to put them in the comments below and I'll be happy to take a crack at them.
Along with the video, here is a free download of my Character Profile Worksheet for you to use. (It's a Word doc. Right-click and save if you want a copy.) This is the very same worksheet I use in designing major characters for my books. (For secondary characters, I merely pare it down by skipping some of the steps.) It's the accumulation of many years of study, sifted out from several bookshelves full of reference books on writing. Hope you find it helpful!
Likes & shares of the video appreciated. More vids to come as the year unfolds. Next up, I think, will be Conflict & Plot Structure or something along those lines. Hopefully, I'll get smoother at this as I continue doing more of them. If I looked a little nervous getting started, that's because I was! lol. Enjoy. :)
“ ‘Heard of the Twelfth Night merry-making in Tom Shakeshaft’s barn, of course? Twelfth-cake — spiced ale — fiddling — dancing — all kinds of fun and frolic.’ ”
(from: William Harrison Ainsworth, The Life and Adventures of Mervyn Clitheroe, 1858 / Illustration by Hablot Knight Brown via Wiki Commons)
On January 6, Christians celebrate Epiphany, the arrival of the Three Magi (or Three Wise Men or Three Kings) with presents for Baby Jesus (though what a baby is supposed to do with myrhh and frankincense is anybody’s guess). In the English tradition, the evening before is referred to as Twelfth Night and marks the end of the 12 Days of Christmas.
For centuries, it was a fun, festive day, and even though by the Regency period, festivities had become much tamer than they were in, say, the Middle Ages, there was still plenty of fun and partying.
But what would a party be without cake? And not just any cake! (Click "Read More" below picture to continue.)