What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon (Review)

Occasionally, I read other books but not often.  The reason is that I don’t want to be influenced in my own writing with the words or thoughts of other authors.  With all of the plagiarism going on at the moment, I think that is a safe practice.  It was probably a good thing that I did read it.  It was offered as an Amazon first read so I downloaded.  You can see my reason in the last paragraph below.

What the Wind Knows takes readers back in time to 1920’s Ireland. It’s a time-travel trope where the heroine disappears in the fog on a lake in Ireland while spreading her grandfather’s ashes after his death. No stones like Outlander. No time machine from 2001. No wonky portals. Just a rowboat and fog on the lough.

Anne takes a trip through time and arrives in a rather violent welcome to the time period when her grandfather was a young child. Because of the close resemblance, her family and their friends instantly think that she is her grandfather’s mother, who disappeared years earlier. The book is set in the turbulent times of Ireland, wanting to break free from British rule and is filled with a historical backdrop that may be interesting to read but often takes away from the romance in the story.

Amy Harmon is a well-known writer, whose prose is very wordy. I’m more of a get to the point type of reader and writer, who gets bogged down in unnecessary flowery words. Such prose is beautiful to some readers. Frankly, it’s my personal preference not to drown in letters, so my comment is not meant to be a judgmental rant but rather a personal preference.

With a bit of Irish in me on my fourth-great grandfather’s line, I’ve never immersed myself in Irish history.  I am well aware and have watched other television shows about Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, and what occurred.  Therefore, the backdrop timeline was familiar but of little interest to me. Nevertheless, I found the romance between Anne and Thomas sweet in its own right. The fact that he eventually comes to the realization that she is not of his time is a long journey to acceptance. I guessed the antagonist twist long before the reveal (my author plot brain) and thought the ending probably made for another path to a sequel if that’s the author’s intent.

I will add that nothing is new under the sun in many ways when ideas pop into an author’s head. You’ll find similarities in this story with other time-travel storylines such as Outlander.  Amy Harmon wrote this book because of her Irish heritage.  To my gasping horror, the premise is very similar to an unfinished book of my own, time traveling back to my ancestor’s lives, falling in love with a family character, returning to my time, and my lover eventually following through that mysterious portal to live with me happily ever after.  To add to the problem, my main character is an author as well, just as Amy Harmon made her Anne a best-selling author in What the Wind Knows.  Unfortunately, now I’ll probably need to dump my idea and rethink the plot thanks to Amy who apparently was on the same wavelength with my muse.  Of course, she’s a NY Times bestselling traditionally published author, while I, on the other hand, live in the obscurity of the indie world.

It’s a good read, especially if you’re Irish and love the time-traveling trope.  I recommend it in spite of my slight negativity and disappointment that my own book just got trashed.

Amazon Logo

Can you ever forgive me? Fraud and plagiarism in the publishing industry – Creativindie

For authors and readers alike. Well worth the read.

This is a post about authenticity and craft vs. fraud and plagiarism, but it’s not a moral tirade. You can look elsewhere for that. The reason I don’t want to point fingers or make ulti…

Source: Can you ever forgive me? Fraud and plagiarism in the publishing industry – Creativindie

The Use of Ghostwriters – Have You Been Ghosted?

Do book mills exist?  Do ghostwriters crank out books for people who aren’t authors?  You betcha.  Perhaps you’ve unknowingly read a few from prolific so-called authors releasing works one after another. Frankly, I’ve wondered myself when authors have more than one book a month hitting the stands.

Click the link below to read a good blog post from another author and be informed. It’s all about money.

Because of the recent plagiarism scandal, there is a new cry from authors who actually write their own words.  You’ll probably see this statement cropping up on more author websites and social media pages.

“I write my own f***** books.”

#CopyPasteCris

Source: We’re Missing Something Big in this Cristiane Serruya Story — KILBY BLADES

#CopyPasteCris – Recent Plagiarism in Romance Land

I’m very sorry to report that many authors, some of whom you may have read, are victims of plagiarism.  You can read about Courtney Milan’s horrible experience HERE.

The romance community takes infringement very seriously, and it’s a sad day when authors spend hours writing original works only to have large portions stolen and rewritten in books that are sold to unsuspecting readers.  It’s even worse when the alleged thief makes the USA Today bestseller list, enjoying its fame, with words not written by her hand.

Please read these articles, and do not support the individual involved in this thief of intellectual property.  Some of the historical romance authors who have had their works plagiarized include Courtney Milan,  Christi Caldwell, Tessa Dare, Loretta Chase, and other contemporary romance authors.

Read more in the article below:

 

Your need-to-know information about the #CopyPasteCris hashtag born after romance author Courtney Milan discovered that her work was plagiarized by another.

Source: Romancelandia, Intellectual Property, and Plagiarism: A Round-Up of #CopyPasteCris

Jane Austen: Why do Millennials Love her so Much? Another Good Article

A long dead 19th century author who wrote about the rather limited lives of women, in a time when success was defined by who you married, might seem a strange crush for the modern millennial, yet on Instagram the hashtag ‘#janeausten’ brings up over half a million hits and counting.

                 Source: Jane Austen: Why do Millennials Love her so Much?

10 Years Later, ‘North & South’ Remains the Greatest Period-Drama Miniseries of All Time – Flavorwire

Have you read the book, North & South, by Elizabeth Gaskell? I encourage you to take the opportunity. A few years ago, I had the privilege of visiting Elizabeth’s home in Manchester, United Kingdom. It was the highlight of my trip. To see pictures of her home and life, visit my blog on my author website. I even pushed the doorbell once touched by Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens.  Here’s a good article about the on-screen version.

“It’s one of the most explosive, chemistry-rich misunderstanding-laden romances that’s ever graced the small screen.”

Read More:

Source: 10 Years Later, ‘North & South’ Remains the Greatest Period-Drama Miniseries of All Time – Flavorwire

It’s my Classic reading challenge!  Read North & South.

Meet the Historically Accurate Mr. Darcy |  Smithsonian

Not Colin Firth – Not Matthew Macfayden or any other.  Here’s an interesting take on what Mr. Darcy would have really looked like. Read more below.

Mr. Darcy, Jane Austen’s swoon-worthy, 18th-century aristocratic hero, has a sizzle that transcends time.  A team of experts on fashion and social culture offer their take on Jane Austen’s brooding hero.

Source: Meet the Historically Accurate Mr. Darcy | Smart News | Smithsonian

“Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand [pounds] a year.”

Most Popular Authors in Historical Romance (Amazon January 1, 2019)

It’s a new day; it’s a new year.  So who is holding the top ten spot for historical romance authors?  Well, here’s the list, and interesting enough, there is a lot of crossover at the moment between true historical romance versus historical fiction.

By Diana Gabaldon’s own admission, her books are not historical romance.  Philippa Gregory is in the number two spot, and she’s definitely historical fiction. How do they get there? Well, when books are loaded for sale into Amazon, publishers and authors can choose two categories to list their books.  Most who write historical romance also choose historical fiction and sometimes other categories.

A few of the names are regulars in the top ten, such as Kathyrn Le Veque and Christi Caldwell, but an old favorite has made it this time around – Jane Austen.  I wonder what she would think about being in the top ten over two hundred years later?

Here are your top ten for January 1, 2019.

  1. Diana Gabaldon
  2. Philippa Gregory
  3. Fiona Valpy
  4. Sally Britton
  5. Dragonblade Publishing (Various Authors)
  6. Kathryn Le Veque
  7. Christi Caldwell
  8. Natasha Lester
  9. Jane Austen
  10. Scarlett Scott

Below is a sample of their most popular books.

 

 

The Origin of Clinch Covers on Romance Novels | Book Riot

You may not know the term by name, but you’ve probably seen one. Learn about the origin of clinch covers on romance novels, and why this reader loves them.

 

Source: The Origin of Clinch Covers on Romance Novels | Book Riot

Duchess by Design Charms and Brings Feminism to Romance

Source: Duchess by Design charms and brings feminism to romance

In the first novel of Maya Rodale’s enthralling new series, an English duke vows to make an American seamstress his duchess…

In Gilded Age Manhattan, anything can happen…

Seeking a wealthy American bride who can save his family’s estate, Brandon Fiennes, the duke of Kingston, is a rogue determined to do the right thing. But his search for an heiress goes deliciously awry when an enchanting seamstress tumbles into his arms instead.

…and true love is always in fashion

 

Miss Adeline Black aspires to be a fashionable dressmaker—not a duchess—and not even an impossibly seductive duke will distract her. But Kingston makes an offer she can’t refuse: join him at society events to display her gowns and advise him on which heiresses are duchess material. It’s the perfect plan—as long as they resist temptation, avoid a scandal, and above all do not lose their hearts.

Be Sam Heughan’s Sassenach for the Night in Scotland – Omaze.com 

Don’t be afraid, there’s the two of you now. You and Sam Heughan. And you’re going on an incredible, pinch-me-I’m-dreaming date in Scotland! But you’re not dreaming. In fact you’ve never felt more awake, because the man who plays Jamie Fraser knows how to treat a date and tonight you’re his Sassenach. Sam’s going to pick you up in a horse-drawn carriage and whisk you away to a gorgeous Scotland castle, where you’ll get to know each other over fine whisky (or the drink of your choice) and intimate conversation. After a wee dram or two, Sam will take you… into the ballroom for the annual My Peak Challenge gala to celebrate the night away together. You’ll wake up the next morning with one thought in your head: Claire, who? Flights and hotel included.

Source: Be Sam Heughan’s Sassenach for the Night in Scotland – Omaze.com

16 American Historical Romance Books We Can’t Stop Swooning Over (Per BookBub)

So says BookBub!  Cowboys and mail-order brides. This is their list of the best for 2018.  Do you agree? Click the link below to read their choices.

From passion on the western frontier to the amorous swinging ’20s, this list has it all!

Source: 16 American Historical Romance Books We Can’t Stop Swooning Over

The Top Ten Authors as of October 25, 2018

greatIf you watched PBS’s recent show, The Great American Read, you’re probably aware that Diana Galbaldon came in second with her Outlander series, and To Kill a Mockingbird came in first.  Other historicals that made the top ten were Pride & Prejudice, Gone with the Wind, and Jane Eyre.  Is the Outlander book series truly a great American read compared to its hefty competition of literary classics? Honestly, ladies, just admit you’ve fallen in love with Jamie Fraser as portrayed in the Starz series. Being his lass is all you really want whether it’s a book or film.

Nevertheless, as I check the Amazon author rank just now, I see Diana Galbaldon is now number one in historical romance, even though she doesn’t consider her series a true historical romance. Regardless, her recent win has pushed her to the top…again.

So who else is there?  Since I haven’t checked in a while, there a few regulars but also some new ones have appeared.  Of course, like the shifting sands of the desert, the wind blows and changes appear to the top ten of this genre as authors spend money on advertising or have a hot new release.  If you can show the $$$ in marketing, you can inch your way upward. I once ended up in the top because of a huge sale. Should have taken a screenshot of my one day of glory.

Nevertheless, drum roll, please.

  1.  Diana Gabaldon – The Outlander Series
  2. Kathryn Le Veque
  3. Dragonblade Publishing (Elizabeth Ellen Carter, Maggie Anderson, Violetta Rand, Anna Markland)
  4. Mary Lancaster
  5. Christi Cladwell
  6. Fiona Valpy
  7. Sharon Ihle
  8. Patricia Bracewell
  9. Jane Goodger
  10. Carolyn Brown

Here are some of their works.

10 Gothic Romance Novels That Aren’t ‘Jane Eyre’ Or ‘Wuthering Heights’

It’s Halloween. Pick up a Gothic Romance!

I was named after Charlotte Brontë, so it’s safe to say that I grew up reading Jane Eyre. I loved Jane as a kid. I, too, wanted to go out and seek my fortune as a plain but determined young governess and get swept off my feet by a Mr. Rochester. I…

Source: 10 Gothic Romance Novels That Aren’t ‘Jane Eyre’ Or ‘Wuthering Heights’

11 Historical Romances To Pick Up Instead Of Re-Reading ‘Pride And Prejudice’

Look, everyone loves Jane Austen. The clothing, the tea, the socially awkward and emotionally withdrawn yet extremely wealthy bachelors… it’s all very good. And Austen’s novels have inspired many, many other wonderfully written romances set…

Source: 11 Historical Romances To Pick Up Instead Of Re-Reading ‘Pride And Prejudice’

Taking a Break

cropped-new350logo1.jpgIt’s been difficult getting this blog off the ground in spite of advertising, helping other authors for free, writing posts, and updating daily.

I’ve decided to put it on hold for now because I’m in the middle of another personal four-book project.  For sanity sake, I cannot spread myself thin trying to build another business on the side of book promotion while writing and promoting myself as an author.

The site will stay up and I’ll attempt to update the pre-sales at least.  Perhaps next year when I’m done with my current project, I’ll revive this blog and go from there.

Thank you to those who had recent promotions.

All my best.

In the News – The Amazon Jungle


Nobody knows the trouble we see…except authors.

Here is an informative blog post written by USA Today bestselling author Suzan Tisdale to Jeff Bezos, the head of Amazon.  She makes a startling introductory statement, and I can attest to the fact that I also lost 90% of my income because of Kindle Unlimited.

So what other problems are plaguing authors in Amazon land?  Read it and be informed. It’s really a jungle of survival in a world of scammers and thieves.  The landscape can be discouraging for authors.  It makes you wonder why bother to write when there are snakes slithering through the Amazon jungle.   Nonetheless, when you have the gift and urge of storytelling, it’s difficult to stop in spite of it all.

Readers read and be informed.  As an author, I’m thankful for strong voices such as Suzan’s in the author community who speak for us all.

This is the letter that I have sent to Jeff Bezos regarding the problems with KU Book Stuffers, Scammers, and thieves. Take from it what you will. Dear Mr. Bezos, I am Suzan Tisdale. I began my sel…

Source: An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos

Traditional Publishers’ eBook Sales Drop as Indie Authors & Amazon Take Off

When I began writing in 2009 and released my first independent book, self-publishing was frowned upon.  Only losers went that route – rejects from publishers – would be authors with VANITY written across their foreheads, with an “L” for losers. The prejudice was great, and as an individual, I suffered the pangs myself of scathing reviews, trolls, and one-stars.

Now it’s 2018, nearly ten years later, and the collective landscape has changed dramatically.  Independent authors have hit the NY Times and USA Today bestseller lists.  Some writers are making six figures a year (“Over a thousand independent authors surpassed $100,000 in royalties in 2017 through Kindle Direct Publishing”), while new writers flood the market with 99 cent books and crowd Kindle Unlimited.  As a result, the expensive ebook prices from large publishing houses are beginning to suffer.  Why pay $9.99 for an ebook when for $10 a month you can get plenty more?

Read the latest thoughts below at GeekWire.com

The future of ebook publishing may increasingly belong to the independent author, especially as traditional publishers charge a premium for their traditionally published product.

Source: Traditional publishers’ ebook sales drop as indie authors and Amazon take off.

Is Historical Romance in a Rut?

Ah, the dictionary — it gives me the exact words to describe this post. RUT – “a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change.”  Thank you, Google Dictionary.

Already, I sound a bit snarky. However, historical romance has definitely fallen into a few ruts along the road, and I question whether we need a change.  You may discover that I’m a rebel at heart.

This morning while scanning the bestseller list of Victorian historical romances on Amazon Kindle, I counted 39 out of 50 covers that consisted of one thing – a woman in a flowing dress.  Seven covers added a male alongside the flowing dress.  Two covers had a male and no female. The remainder – one with a ship on the cover and one with multiple women (a box set of brides for historical western).

My question – what is it with dresses?  Why am I finding this trend monotonous?  Like the proliferation of dukes and Regency era stories, historical romance has carved out an obvious ongoing path that doesn’t seem to vary much beyond those boundaries in the top 100.  However, the path must be a popular one because these are the books that are bestsellers.

Historical romance is a far-reaching genre that includes eras, storylines, and cover scenes that can be just as interesting and romantic. Personally,  I would love to see this genre stir the pot a lot more to include anything other than a woman in a flowing dress to attract attention. I suppose we could blame the traditional publishing houses for continuing to proliferate that scene and those who follow to blend into the scenery.

To add to the problem, covers don’t always depict dresses that are historically accurate when it comes to fashions, i.e., Victorian bustles rather than the Regency empire waists. One of the most recent examples is Lisa Kleypas’s, Hello Stranger, in a modern gown released by Avon who is supposedly a physician in the Victorian era.  A bit of buzz has surfaced about the choice, but all of the gowns of that series appear out of place.  Thank goodness for great sites like Period Images that attempts to give more accuracy to fashions when it comes to cover models.

Well, in any event, this morning was a downer as my eyes were accosted by 39 covers of flowing dresses.  Is it just me in a state of perpetual boredom or do others share my views?

I suppose the old adage if it ain’t broken don’t fix it, but something tells me the longer we stay in the ruts we’ve created, the genre will never change as a whole. Hopefully, that doesn’t lead to a slump of interest in historical romance overall as readers burn out over repetitiveness.  We could be doing more damage than good.

Historical Romance Admin

 

The Most Effective Ways To Beat A Reading Slump — According To Reddit Users

In case you’re in a reading slump….

For those of us who are publicly avid readers, burning through books can begin to feel a bit like a competitive sport. One book a week! One book a day! Books and books and stacks of books and wow, it’s crazy, we bleed literature, baby!

Source: The Most Effective Ways To Beat A Reading Slump — According To Reddit Users