Grace's Mosaic Moments


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Blair Turning a New Leaf

The grandgirls went back to school this week, an early date even for Florida. (I don't know what Seminole County was thinking. Maybe anticipating more hurricanes this fall?) And as I was searching for a photo to suit Back-to-School week, I recalled the marvelous cartoon that hung on the walls in my family's various homes for as long as I can remember. And which, since my mother's death, I had hanging on my own wall - until I moved to Longwood. Fortunately, I quickly located it in a cardboard container in my office, and here it is. This cartoon was blown up and framed by a friend of my father's back when my father was a high school principal. (Probably c. 1940-41 when we lived in Mansfield, Massachusetts.) So no, that's not a staged "period" cartoon. It's the real thing. The caption reads:  "Run along home, darling. Mother is going to make sure you get promoted this term."







Shopping for School Supplies

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Blair - Turning Over a New Leaf

The recent RWA national convention in Orlando pummeled my mind with myriad new ideas - and some old ones that I'd let pass me by. (I can only plead that I was so busy writing books, blogs, and editing my own work, plus books for other authors, that a lot of promotion for my books simply never happened.) Therefore, before I get back to posts on Writing and Editing, I'm going to listen to the advice I paid all that money to hear and share some of the basic promotional things I've been working on this past week.

For those new to my blog who may not know . . .

Grace's Mosaic Moments is the work of Grace Kone, who writes as Blair Bancroft. And although I stumbled onto a page on Facebook this week that said: "An anonymous source has informed us that Grace Kone is not Blair Bancroft and the page has been deleted," it just ain't so! (On further thought, I suspect I may have been the anonymous source, decrying that the "Grace Kone" in India was not Grace Kone, the author. Or perhaps it was the male Blair Bancroft who's out there somewhere, frantically saying he doesn't write Romance, not even Mystery or Suspense. In any case, after moments of extreme panic, I discovered my brand new Facebook Author Page was alive and well. That, and other links, are listed below.

BLAIR'S NEWSLETTER.
For years I have sent out my Newsletter only when a new book was coming out. And, except for a fairly obscure "button" on my website, I failed to encourage people to become Newsletter members. Mea culpa! That changes now. My web guru has added a short paragraph with a "click" link at the very top of my web front page. A click will take you to my Blair Bancroft group on Yahoo, where you can sign up to receive updates about what I'm working on, what book has just been published, and other tidbits I hope might be of interest.
For Blair's website, please click here.
 
Needed:  ARC readers
I am looking for 4 or 5 people who would be willing to read an Advanced Readers' Copy (digital) of my books and write a review, preferably the day the book comes out.
Anyone who is interested can contact me at blairbancroft@aol.com

Grace note: Just sent out my first ARC tonight (Saturday). Who else would like to join the crew?

FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE.
I now have a Facebook Author Page. Due to the existence of a male Blair Bancroft on Facebook, the tag is: blairbancroftauthor
I will be posting updates on what I'm writing, insights into plots, details on the characters, how the book was born, etc. If you can see your way clear to "liking" my page, I'd be most grateful.
For a link to my Facebook Author Page, click here.

GOODREADS.
I was a last holdout to Goodreads, joining just before the RWA conference and finding myself swimming in a sea of confusion. Oh happy day, one of the workshops I attended was given by a lovely Goodreads librarian who has been struggling to bring me up to speed in the Goodreads world ever since. I'm not quite there, but if you're a member of Goodreads, you are invited to "follow" me or "friend" me. Your support is much appreciated.

TWITTER.
 I've been on Twitter a long time, posting weekly links to Grace's Mosaic Moments, but only recently have I begun to take advantage of its promotional opportunities, attempting catchy or amusing tweets about my books.
You are invited to follow me @blairbancroft.

 LINKEDIN.
 I am on LinkedIn as Grace Ann Kone, where I regularly post a link to Grace's Mosaic Moments.

VENDORS.
Almost all my books are available through both Amazon and Smashwords. (Smashwords offer formats for just about every computer and e-reader in existence.) The exceptions: Tarleton's Wife, which will soon revert from Kindle Unlimited and be available on Smashwords with the other books in the Regency Warrior series. Because of a long-term contract on Rebel Princess, the four books of the Blue Moon Rising series - a SyFy Saga - are available only on Amazon. Books 2 and 3 are:  Sorcerer's Bride and The Bastard Prince (pub date 9/8/17). Royal Rebellion will not be out until 2018.

PRE-ORDER THE BASTARD PRINCE.
To order The Bastard Prince, Book 3 of the Blue Moon Rising series, at a reduced pre-pub price, click here.

Grace Note: if you saw my "Surprise Post" of 7/22/17, you know that K'kadi may be literally a bastard, as in born out of wedlock, but no way does he qualify for the more figurative meaning of the word. In fact, his primary problem is being afflicted with innocence - something that just may change in Book 3. 

BEST FOOT FORWARD - Grace's Editing Service.
To receive a PDF brochure detailing services and prices, please send an email to:
editsbyBFF@aol.com.

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Okay, I suspect even those taskmaster workshop presenters at the Dolphin in Orlando might be impressed with all I've managed this week. Certainly, I'm heaving a sigh of accomplishment. Imagine, entering the world of Promo at this late date!


Next week, I promise, back to Writing & Editing, though I haven't a clue what the topic will be. ("Out of the mist," as always.)


Thanks for stopping by.


Grace

Friday, August 4, 2017

Index to Grace's Writing & Editing Posts



Members of The Citrus Singers practicing for a YouTube video
In a major do-it-yourself project, The Citrus Singers, Director Susie Reale, Technical Director Michael Reale, plus mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, etc., assembled an all pink set - even painting the studio floor pink! And after weeks of effort, rehearsals, and pre-recording "It's all about that Badge!" they video-taped on Tuesday and Wednesday. Believe me, there will be a link posted here when the video finally debuts online.

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As my regular readers know, twice a year I post an index to all my posts on Writing and Editing since I began Grace's Mosaic Moments back in January of 2011. This time around, I spent considerable effort organizing them into what I hope will be helpful groups. You should be able to find all by date in "Archives."


UPDATED INDEX TO GRACE'S WRITING & EDITING BLOGS
Grace's Mosaic Moments, January 2011 - July 2017 


Note: Topics with more than one post are in Bold type.

WRITING

Formatting a Manuscript - 5/9/11
Nuts & Bolts, Part 1 (grammar, punctuation) - 5/16/11
Nuts & Bolts, Part 2 (punctuation, helpful books) - 6/16/11
Tab conversion (from manual to auto) - 8/5/11
Using Italics - 2/15 & 2/22, 2014
Using Capitals - 4/12 & 4/19, 2014
Manuscript Format for the 21st Century - 5/6/12
Writing No-No’s - 5/28/12
Point of View - 5/18/12
Dictionary for Writers (5 parts) - 2/4 - 4/7, 2013
Layering - 6/30/13
Layering, a Writing Technique - 7/16/16
Dangling Participles - 7/7/13
Show vs. Tell - 7/21 & 7/28, 2013
Treacherous Words - 8/11/13
The Difference a Word Makes - 9/1/13
“Modern” Punctuation - 9/15/13
Questions to Ask Yourself - 10/13/13
Third Person vs. First (2 parts) - 5/31 & 6/8/14
Rule-Breaking (3 parts) - 6/21 - 7/5/14
Don’t Be a “Rule” Slave (adverbs) - 5/6/17
To Be or Not to Be (was & were) - 5/27/17
Attitudes Toward Point of View - 2/20/16
Playing with Tags - 3/19/2016
Mystery vs. Gothic - 10/22/16
Telltale Signs of Amateur Writing - 10/1/16
How to Write a Bad Book - 3/12/17
What is Women’s Fiction? - 6/25/17 & 7/1/17

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTERS series:
What you need to discover about your characters - 10/15/2012
More questions about your characters - 10/29/12
The Rest of the Story - 11/5/12

Also:
Character Development (3 parts) - 11/7 & 12/5, 2015 & 2/6/16
Character Development - the Unexpected (2 parts) - 8/20 & 8/27, 2016
What’s in a Name? - 3/18/17
The Nitty Gritty of Names - 4/30/17


WRITING WORKSHOP (9 parts) - 12/6/14 - 6/28/15
[Ideas, Fresh Twists, Research, Title, Names, Opening & Hooks, Plot, Goals, Motivation, Conflict, Setting, Characters, Narration, Dialogue, Pacing, Point of View, Transitions, Mechanics, Self-editing, & Questions to ask yourself before declaring your work “finished.”]

WORLD-BUILDING series (4 parts) - 12/28/13 - 2/1/14
   [a look at the problem of creating a whole new world]

WRITING A SERIES (5 parts) - 1/21/17 - 2/18/17. Why Write a Series? “Single Title,” “Cliff-Hangers,” “Mixed Approach” & Summary


EDITING

I Ran Spell Check, I’m Done, Right? (self-editing) - 7/2/11
The Final Steps (self-editing) - 7/14/11
A Tale of Three Books - 9/24/16
The Difference a Word Makes - 10/15/16
More Thoughts on Final Edits - 11/5/16
Editing & Holiday Musing - 12/ 30/16
Editing Scold - 12/4/13
Misused Words (2 parts) - 10/4 & 10/25, 2014
More on Editing - 5/3/14
Editing Examples (4 parts) -8/8, 8/23, 8/30 & 9/13, 2015
Copyediting Challenges (7 parts) - 8/29/15 - 10/31/15 + 4/3/16


EDIT THE BLASTED BOOK series:
Intro to Self-editing - 4/1/12
Should You Hire Help? - 4/28/12
Anatomy of an Edit - 8/5 & 8/19, 2012


SPECIAL TOPICS

**The Varied Faces of Indie Pub - 1/14/17

Reminiscences of Controversies (3 parts) - 5/13 - 5/26, 2013
     [a look at writing controversies over the past 2 decades]
Guideposts for Critiquing - 1/28/11
Writing Mistakes, Near Misses & Just Plain Strange - 3/4/11
Shortcuts for Writers (ASCII codes) - 3/18/11
Rules for Romance - 9/18/11 & 10/16, 2011
How Not to Write a Book - 12/20/12
How Not to Write a Book - 4/4/15
Branding - Bah, humbug [writing multi-genre] - 1/21/13
How Does Your Novel Grow? - 4/ 28/13
Word Perfect to Indie Pub - 11/27/13
Questions Fiction Writers Should Ask Themselves - 10/13/13
On Being a Writer - 8/22/015
The Tricks to Track Changes - 1/16/16
Running Off at the Keyboard (rant) - 2/13/16
Why I Love E-books (2 parts) - 5/21 & 5/29, 2016
Organizing the Out-of-the-Mist Author - 7/9/16
The Sound of Silence - 7/30/16
Transforming Truth Into Fiction - 9/4/16
What’s the Fascination with Fairy Tales? - 4/1/17
Cultural Confusion - 6/10/17
Twisted Times (the influence of today’s news) - 7/16/17
                                ~ * ~

**the post with links to indie-publishing information


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For a link to Amazon's Pre-order page for The Bastard Princeclick here. 

 
Thanks for stopping by,
Grace

For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.


For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.
 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Surprise Post

I swore I was going to upload The Bastard Prince, Book 3 of the Blue Moon Rising series, before going to the RWA conference this week, and I actually did it. Even though it's only to Pre-order. Pub date: September 9, 2017. Which makes it possible for me to have the cover and blurb up while I'm "vacationing" from Mosaic Moments instead of the rather downbeat post, Twisted Times. The voting on that, by the way, is pretty much 50-50. Add in my own inclination to feel that it's too soon after Pulse, and I'm going to put Florida Wild on the back burner for a while, hoping to retrieve it when - hopefully - our lives are not so drawn in vivid black and white. Limbo Man, however, with its many Russian characters, is going to be re-edited and given a new cover. And hopefully a new lease on life sometime this fall.

So here's the cover, blurb, and Foreword for The Bastard Prince. No, not a Prologue. I felt "Foreword" was the only term for this introduction to a book that is not only about K'kadi and his three sisters, but the continuing saga of a David vs Goliath rebellion against an Evil Empire. The Bastard Prince is a stand-alone story. It's not necessary to have read the previous books, Rebel Princess and Sorcerer's Bride. (At least I think I managed to explain past incidents as they affected K'kadi's story and this portion of the continuing rebellion.)
  


What to do with K’kadi Amund, the youngest of four royal children—the one who doesn’t talk?  The young man of almost twenty-one who can still lose himself in moments of beauty, or moments of disaster. “Unreliable” and “weird” are some of the kinder things said about him. So why does S’sorrokan, leader of the rebellion against the Regulon Empire, consider him one of his most vital assets? And even when K’kadi comes into his own and gets what was once his greatest desire, he discovers that growing up comes with a price.

Readers of the Blue Moon Rising series will encounter old friends in Tal Rigel and his wife Kass and the Sorcerer Prime, Jagan Mondragon, and his wife M’lani. As well as B’aela Flammia, the eldest child of King Ryal of Psyclid. (The four royals, with their significant others, will stand shoulder to shoulder in the final book, Royal Rebellion.) Other major characters who  reappear in The Bastard Prince are: Regulon Admiral Rand Kamal, Captain Alek Rybolt, Captain Jordana Tegge. New on scene are a family of merchant rebels, one of whom (female) throws a monkey wrench into K’kadi’s plans for a conventional happily ever after.



Foreword



In the infancy of the rebellion against the Regulon Empire—when the huntership Orion was thought lost in a battle against the Nyx and the entire planet mourned Captain Tal Rigel and his crew—Ridó Command on Blue Moon, the third moon of an insignificant star system in the Nebulon Sector, made the most dramatic decision in its history. A decision which set a precedent for Regulon ships seeking asylum from the power of the Empire. When Ridó Command’s viewscreens showed an unidentified spacecraft of considerable size being fired upon by a Regulon battlecruiser, it opened the force field protecting Blue Moon just long enough to allow the unknown ship in, before closing it in the face of the pursuing Reg warship. The cruiser, bounced off into space, limped back to Regula Prime with a tale that brought derision at every level of command. You fired on a ship that identified itself as a merchant delivering farming supplies? Omnovah! What else would it be? Everyone knows what fydding cowards the Psyclids are. Strategically, it’s worthless. We only took over their weird planet because we couldn’t let them flout their independence so near our home space. Yet you try to shoot a ship out of the sky just because you thought she looked like a warship. Fyddit! Let tell you, Captain, we have better things to do with our resources!

And so the rebel leader Talryn Rigel—the blond, blue-eyed epitome of a Reg warrior—came back to Veranelle, the summer home of the Psyclid royal family, a place he had visited when his father, Vander Rigel, was the Regulon ambassador to Psyclid. He took the king’s apartments in the palace as his own, and at the imposing desk in the king’s study, what had been little more than a determined gleam in Tal’s eyes became a rebellion against the Empire he had served so faithfully for nearly a decade.

In the coming years Ridó Command welcomed a steadily increasing number of ships to the rebel fleet. None, however, could compare to the spectacular arrival of the battlecruiser Tycho, captained by Tal’s life-long friend, Alek Rybolt. A ship that would double the rebellion’s firepower and begin the life-changing transformation of K’kadi Amund, son of a king, genetic experiment. The boy who could not talk.



For a link to the Pre-order page for The Bastard Prince, please click here.
 

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Thanks for stopping by,


Grace
 
For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.


For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Twisted Times

Don't miss mama, on the right.
Since the houses on the west side of I-4 in Longwood were required to have bear-proof trash cans, there haven't been as many bear sightings. But my daughter took this photo near her house this week. (The houses in this area abut Wekiva Springs State Park and the Wekiva Forest.)

Another photo by Susie, posted to Facebook on Friday, July 14. An excellent illustration of Florida weather daily during the rainy season.

The more I look at this, I more I appreciate it as photo art.




TWISTED TIMES

 Perhaps this rather downbeat blog isn't the best post to leave up for two or three weeks, but between birthday celebrations for Cassidy and myself and four days at the National Conference of the Romance Writers of America, where I will be presenting a workshop on "Creating the Regency 'Feel'" to the historical authors of the Beau Monde group, I'm taking time off from Mosaic Moments for a bit.

When I got the rights back for my books with Ellora's Cave, I planned to re-publish Florida Wild to Amazon Kindle Direct in the fall of 2017. But that was before the world changed so dramatically. Now . . . I'm not sure Florida Wild will ever make it back online. I really liked that book, set in Orlando and featuring cousins of the characters in my Venice-set Orange Blossoms & Mayhem. Yes, it was perhaps a bit whimsical for a Romantic Suspense, but that was the world I discovered when I moved to East Orlando and found myself surrounded by an entirely different set of cultures than I'd known in Venice. Spanish was spoken everywhere. And when I took my then very young grandgirls to soccer skills classes, one of the coaches was a Muslim mother in blue jeans and hijab! The Muslim Center for the Orlando area was a scant mile from my house. A young woman in a hijab clerked at Publix. I even saw two imams and their burka-covered wives walking off the ferry at Disney's Magic Kingdom.

Yes, the World Trade Center loomed large, even after six years, but that was the work of Al Queda, an extremist group. I felt no qualms about writing sympathetic characters based on the Muslims I met in East Orlando. So I took the Central Florida world that was so much more diverse than Venice and put it into a book called Florida Wild. (In the story, Florida Wild is the name of a brand new theme park featuring the more natural, wilder aspects of Florida - and financed by Muslim wealth.) At the time I developed the characters, it seemed only slightly quirky that the hero had a sister married to a Muslim prince. And to avoid any mention of terrorist groups, I invented a rebel group within the prince's own borders. (More of an attempted political coup than terrorism.) For several years after publication, it worked. 

But then came ISIS and Al Shebab, and the Pulse nightclub massacre, and a book like Florida Wild no longer seems viable. For all its thriller moments, the treatment is simply too light for the times we live in. And that's just sad. I ought to be able to write a book that includes an American married to a Muslim from a foreign country and a wise and helpful imam without offending anyone. But I' m afraid that's no longer possible. I'm going to post the cover and blurb for the Ellora's Cave book (which is no longer available), and I would really appreciate hearing your opinions. Perhaps if the setting wasn't Orlando . . . But the truth is, the story revolves around theme-park Orlando, and how can one get over 49 dead and 53 wounded, plus the continuing agony of the First Responders and the staff of Orlando Regional Medical Center? (FYI, ORMC has been questioned so many times about how they managed to respond to the tragedy that happened almost on their doorstep that they have written a book to be distributed as a handbook to other hospitals in the country.) 

Please take a look at the blurb below and tell me what you think. Publish? Or shelve for the foreseeable future?



Cass Wilder is looking for excitement, both on the job and in her personal life, a wish that is more than fulfilled when she saves an Arab child at a theme park and is plunged into international intrigue, her sole companion a man whose motives might be questionable.

Michael Dillon, a here-today, gone-tomorrow government agent, is forced to turn to a fledgling PI for help in a chase that takes them from university campus to the Florida backwoods, where he not only regains his kidnapped sister but loses his heart.






I have a similar problem with Limbo Man. Maybe it's the A-bomb explosion on the cover, but I'm more inclined to think it's because the book has so many Russian characters. Even the hero is Russian. For me this was never a problem because I traveled 10,000 miles in the old USSR way back during the Cold War, and had an opportunity to talk with Russians (in Russian) from Moscow to Bratsk, Siberia, to Samarkand (in what was then Soviet Central Asia). So when writing Limbo Man, I had a pretty good idea of what I was talking about. But to most Americans, it would appear a Russian hero is not acceptable. Nor a thriller with occasional whimsy—most particularly the ending. I still love that book, which I filled with a great many places I've actually been (including Orlando, by the way). I did have to fake Tehran, however. (Thank you Google and Google Earth.)

Please read the blurb below and let me know if you would be put off by a Russian hero and several sympathetic Russian characters (as well as the inevitable Russian villains).


Grace note: Limbo Man is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

FBI Special Agent Vee Frost does not care for Homeland Security's list of job qualifications when they ask to borrow her services. "An experienced agent with a proven track record" is good. "Fluent in Russian" hints of an assignment which is close to her heart. But "Attractive female under thirty-five" sends up red flags. Obviously DHS is asking for services above and beyond the call of duty. But a loan to Homeland Security would look great on her resumé, and it sounds as if they really need her . . .

But when Vee agrees to turn on the charm for Sergei Tokarev, an amnesiac Russian arms dealer with an agenda as hidden as the contents of his past, she never anticipates a chase after two ancient nuclear bombs that will have her hopping around the world from Connecticut to Siberia to Iran. And no matter how strong a bond she and Sergei forge, it seems doubtful either will live long enough for a happy ending.

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Thanks for stopping by,
Grace

For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.


For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.