22 June 2011

Joanne Tropello Is Guest Blogging Today!

Welcome Joanne! 

In Mr. Shipley's Governess, Sophie Baird is looking for a way to escape the painful reality of her parents' deaths. Unable to live in their home any longer, she takes a job as a live-in tutor to Anastasia Shipley to remove herself from her painful memories and the feeling that God has abandoned her. Anastasia has an illness that has prevented her from ever attending school and makes her father, Sebastian, over protective. When Sophie first meets Sebastian, she cannot deny the intense attraction she feels toward him. When an unexpected romance begins between them, she starts to rebuild her relationship with God, with the help of a certain little girl.  

Will Sophie find peace from her past at the Shipley mansion? For Jane Austen enthusiasts, this is the story you just have to read.

Conveying a Romance of the Heart: What makes a love affair great?

Joanne Troppello

Plain and simple, the formula for a romance novel is man meets woman and they fall in love. Of course, they run into various obstacles along the way, but there is always a happy ending. However, what sets a romance novel apart and makes it irrefutably memorable?
Think about one of the most dramatic love stories through the ages—Romeo & Juliet, young love of the forever kind. Yes, this story ended tragically, but it shows the ingredients of a great love affair. Even death could not keep them apart.

Let’s look at a more contemporary example, The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks. Two young people experience a passionate summer romance and life threatens to pull them apart. The heroine goes away to college while the hero enlists in the army. The hero wrote to her but she never received his letters and she thinks he doesn’t want to be with her. She gets engaged to a man from an affluent family and finally, circumstances bring the hero and his heroine together again. They marry and have a family, living a good life. Eventually the heroine has dementia and her loving husband stands by her, trying to help her remember the happy life they had. Even when she has lost her mental capacity, he stands by his wife. They die together in their sleep. Now that is a true testament of an everlasting love affair.

So how do you create such an unforgettable love affair that breaches the limits of the run of the mill romance novel? You start by thinking outside the box. The formula is the same, but you need to make the plot your own. I write inspirational romance, so I bring an element of faith into my stories. In my opinion, that adds the cement to hold the romance together. If a couple wants to weather the storms of life, they need a higher power to give them the foundation to succeed. I believe that foundation is God at the center of their relationship.

Now, I don’t want to get too preachy here—and I never do in my books either because I believe in real life. Not everyone believes the same way or has a strong faith in God, yet many people experience a great love affair in their lives. So, even if you don’t add an element of faith to your novels, you too, can write a memorable love story.

Your hero and heroine need to love each other unconditionally. That is real love. They love body, soul and spirit, every part of each other. A great love affair is one that begins in the realm of friendship or at least intellectual or emotional connection, before any inkling of physical intimacy enters the picture. Passionate connections are wonderful, but passion eventually fades. When it lessens, what remains? That agape, unconditional, love remains. It’s a love that knows no bounds. They overcome hurts and offenses and learn to forgive. It’s not about winning, but learning to compromise and serve one another’s needs first. A great love affair turns from friendship into a passionate love with your best friend. Physical intimacy obviously comes into play, but depending on the type of genre you write in, will determine the amount you show the readers.

Your novel may not span the length of your hero and heroine’s years like in The Notebook, but you need to convey the same sense of long-term commitment. Your readers must get the sense that your characters are in it forever. However, if you write a sappy romance novel, most readers won’t appreciate that and it won’t be a memorable love affair. In real life, we face problems. Make your novel real and add reality to your story. If you do that, it will be believable and readers will relate. Own your own story. If you believe the love affair you are creating, your readers will believe it too.

Thank you Joanne for taking the time to visit my blog today.  Your post is lovely, and I wish you all the success you can handle!    ~ Nadja

My thoughts on Mr. Shipley's Governess........

Sophie Baird struggles with the grief of losing her parents in a tragic accident and in her ensuing distant relationship with God.  But her floundering leads her to the place the Lord intended for her all along - as governess to Anastasia Shipley. 

Tutoring her young charge, who also knows the sting of loss, Sophie slowly comes to terms with her pain, learning from her pupil even as she endeavors to instruct. 
As Sophie grows anew in her faith, love begins to bloom in her heart for Anastasia's father, Sebastian.  Afraid of her growing affection for her employer, Sophie must decide whether she will trust God with her future or continue to lock her heart away.

Mr. Shipley's Governess is a simple story affirming the belief that faith conquers all.  The hero, Sebastian, and his daughter, Anastasia, display their trust in God throughout the four hundred-eleven pages, and of course, the heroine joins them by the story's end.  Troppello's message is conveyed clearly, sprinkled within the characters' thoughts, words, and deeds.  This novel is quite sweet in that regard. 

Interestingly, the most amusing character in Troppello's novel is Sebastian's brother, David Shipley.  The author's employment of witty and cagey dialogue with this particular character absolutely stole the scenes in which he figured, and I wonder if she may comtemplate writing a story about him!

I would rate the novel three stars out of five for the following reasons.  I craved more meaningful conversation between Sophie and Anastasia as well as between Sophie and Sebastian. The couple never openly discuss weighty matters, for as soon as an uncomfortable topic is breached, one or the other either flees the situation or changes the subject.  Anastasia, at times, came across as too 'pollyanna-ish'. I would have also enjoyed it if the author had delved more deeply into the family relationships.   Besides the wants I've listed, I also have praise.  It was nice to read about a well adjusted child who was respectful toward adults and  who loved learning.  Love between Sophie and this  young girl was nicely written, and I liked the fact that the heroine fell in love with Anastasia before falling for her father. The lack of a truly nasty villian was also refreshing.  Troppello writes about issues that people actually face, such as fear, loss, fear of man, bitterness, and hope.  Add in a wealthy hero that jets the heroine across the pond and, voila!, we have a romance afoot. 

Joanne Troppello writes an inspiring tale.  The stars I would award were well earned!  I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a sweet, easy read that is wholesome and PG rated.


17 June 2011

Spring Into Summer Book Blog Giveaway Hop

Welcome!  This is the first annual Spring Into Summer Book Blog Giveaway Hop, and I'm so happy to be participating........

The Spring Into Summer Hop, co-hosted by Coffee & Romance and Release Notes will be held starting at 12:00 a.m. on June 17, 2011 and will continue through 11:59 p.m. on June 21, 2011.

A great way to kick off the sweet summer season is winning something to enjoy while sitting on the patio, and what's better than a great romance?  I'm sure I couldn't say, so one winner will receive two from my vast collection of romance adventures. ** (My giveaway is open to the continental United States and Canada)**

I've just completed my first novel, Claiming The Prize, and am currently typing and editing before it goes into the hands of my wonderful critique partner/editor and beta readers.  Hopeful that all will go smoothly, I intend to publish in early September.  I'd love to see another blog hop hosted by the great girls at Coffee & Romance and Release Notes so I can offer my book in the next giveaway!
Product DetailsThe Inheritance, Joan Johnston

Product DetailsHellion, Bertrice Small

How To Enter.......

1.  Follow My Blog ~ This earns one chance to win and is mandatory.  Also, don't forget to leave me a comment with your email address so I can contact you should you win!  Old followers, leave me a comment with your follow name and your email and I'll add you in, too!

That's it!  But if you'd like to earn extra entries .......

2.  Follow Me On Facebook ~ Nadja Notariani, Author ~ This will earn another chance in my giveaway.
3.  Read My Book Excerpts And Comment ~ This will earn two entries in the giveaway.  (The tabs for my books, Claiming The Prize, which is my first novel, due out in September, and Her Dark Baron, which is a novella due out around the same time can be found at the top of my page)

Be sure to hop around all the great blogs for chances to win their giveaways!  Thanks for 'hopping' by!
~ Nadja

16 June 2011


Author Julius Cicero tagged me! 

TAGGED: Being tagged requires that I answer these short questions.
Do you think you're hot?
Smokin'.  (Seriously? Is this a trick question.....am I supposed to actually answer?  Or is there any other answer I can give here?  No, I don't think so..... Ha!)

Upload a picture or wallpaper you are using.

When was the last time you ate chicken?
Why today, in fact.  Chicken is my favorite meat.  Chicken on a salad, chicken seared in garlic, chicken soup, chicken kabobs, chicken roasted, baked, grilled.......  (Is this another trick question?  I mean, who cares when I last ate the flesh of a fowl?)

What were you thinking while doing this?

I refer you to the comments in parenthesis......

What song/songs have you listened to recently?
April 29th, 1992, Pawn Shop, Get Ready, Doin' Time ~ Sublime - (Teen-aged son brought out stereo to play Cd's while painting the house.  I enjoyed them all.)

Let Me Take You Home ~ Boston

Angry Young Man ~ Styx

Good ~ Better Than Ezra

Do you have any nicknames? What are they?
As I mentioned before in my Sweet Blogger Award post, one of my sisters calls me Schultz.  The only other nickname I can remember being called comes from the fact that my husband calls me 'hun' instead of my given name.  Because of this, our oldest son, who is now a teenager, didn't call me mommy when he was little, he too called me 'hun' to the amusement of everyone we encountered.......
Imagine a three year old calling....,"Hey Hun, watch this!", as he performed some feat that made my hair turn gray......or, "Come on Hun, let's go to the pool."  Ridiculous.

Tag 5 Blogger friends.

 I just tagged some friends with the Sweet Blogger Award, so I'm going to be a party pooper here......

~ Nadja

12 June 2011

Blogging Award..........Sweet!

The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award.....For Me??

Gabrielle Bisset passed on this great blog award.  Here we go......

The rules of this award are:

1. You link to the person who sent it to you.
2.  List seven random facts about yourself

I have four brothers & four sisters.  This makes me remember not only having a constant cohort in mischief, but lifelong friends......
I'm currently learning to speak German.
I have zero skills when it comes to video games, encouraging my husband and sons to make sport of me when they convince me to 'play zombies'.......really, it's that bad.
I've always been overly observant, prompting my mother to say to me countless times, "You could spot a zit on a tick's ass....."
I'm an excellent marks woman with my Hi-Point 9mm Carbine rifle.
My favorite Disney villain(ess) is Eezma, from The Emperor's New Grove.
My sister calls me Schultz.  How or why this started, I cannot say, but the name stuck, and Schultz I remain to this day. 
3) Pass the award on to other awesome blog buddies.  Please take some time to visit these fantastic bloggers.
Whether these great bloggers choose to participate or not, please stop by and check out a few of my favorite pages to visit.
~ Nadja

Sunday Check-In With My Round Of Words Progress.....

The Type Characters Add Up Over The Week.......

Well, I have typed nearly four chapters in Claiming The Prize this week.  My fingers are so tied up that I constantly reverse d & k, e & i, and for some reason, I put w's where s's should be.....( ??  s's ??  I'm not sure I've ever had to contemplate how to type that before...lol).  All in all, it's been a productive week.  The typing isn't really as bad as I imagined, but the re-reading......and more re-reading ...to find all the little errors (like typing his for him...etc.) take a great deal of time and patience, slowing my progress.  But, I'd rather do it in short bursts throughout than to have to tackle it all once.  I'm hoping that by completing numerous glance backs, the final edit (before sending it to my critique partner) won't be quite so painful.  Well, a girl can hope, can't she?

News On The MMA Front........

Yesterday, I completed absolutely zero work.  Why?  My son competed in his first jujitsu tournament.  It was a fabulous (if long) day, ending with two first-place medals and a first place belt.  Photos are below for any interested. 

Absolute Champion - 100-200 pound Teen Division - All Belts

Scranton MMA Kid's Team Division Champions
Scranton MMA coach Kevin sneaks in a smile with his Absolute Teen Champion.

First Place - Adult Beginner Division 130-140 pounds.

Team Scranton MMA with the Team Champion Trohpy!
It was an exciting day, and team Sranton MMA dominated thanks to great coaches and hard working team members. 

Inspiration For My Followers......

Darrell stopped by this week, leaving me a comment asking about inspiration for the menfolk that follow my blogpage.....HHmmmmm...  I'm not sure I can appreciate what might constitute inspiration, but here goes.....
 Maybe this is what you mean?  (It sure is what my husband would consider inspiration....)

But my son thinks this is truly inspiration.......

Perhaps this is what you had in mind??
                                                                                       Anyway, Darrell, Julius, this is just for you!  Thanks for hanging around through all the inspiration that isn't very inspiring to you...........

And I Can't Forget Us Ladies......

Some Eastern Promises whispered by this scroundrel....Ooooo LaLa!
...Or maybe a guardian of this kind.....

Perhaps just a bad boy.....
Whichever you prefer......enjoy!
Now, I'm off to type some more..... Have a great week everyone.  Round of Words is still going on...check out what others are up to this Sunday!
~ Nadja

07 June 2011

And The Task Begins......

Typing, Typing, Oh, The Typing........

Okay, so I'm being, perhaps, a bit meladromatic.  Yesterday, I finally began typing Claiming The Prize, and in all honesty, it wasn't that bad.  We'll see how much moaning I've worked up to in a few weeks. 

This will be a very short post ( I'm saving my fingers for the novel), but I wanted to add a little diversionary delight....

Imagine this dark, handsome specimen with a bit more musle

...or this one......

Doing this......And catch a glimpse of
Claiming The Prize........

Stuffing the takedown....
These are beautiful legs.......
The power of a straight right
Amir is just nice to look at.....even when he's not in the cage.

I'm pretty sure those are thighs that could crack a walnut.....


When that lands flush, it's gonna hurt.....
Side control set up for taking the back...
A little ground and pound.....
Submission work.....
Guillotine Choke

Sweeping the legs....
Rear Naked Choke.....
Great Knockout by Shogun Rua......

Alright, alright.....the show's over.  Now, back to work.  (But first visit fellow Round Of Words pages....)
~ Nadja

05 June 2011

It's Official!

This is one happy Nadja..........

Hello to everyone from A Round of Words !  I am quite pleased to say that Claiming The Prize, my first novel is finished!  Finished I say!  (I'd say it again in all capital letters if that wouldn't be just going too far.....)  Almost nine months after beginning, I look upon three notebooks full of the lives of characters I imagined and articulated into the written word.  It's damn satisfying. 

A new chapter in my world begins, as I now start preparation for publishing.  Within six weeks, I plan to deliver the work to my critique partner to begin the process of editing. I happen to have a terrific critique partner whose judgement I value highly, and her skills with the English language and eye for the well written story are an invaluable asset to this project's success.   My beta readers will be helpful as well in offering thoughts and impressions as they sink their teeth into the novel for the first time. Better finally get typing...a goal I left in the dust back at this round's genesis.....Oh the shame!  Well, not really.  If I had truly been ashamed, I would have remedied the situation long ago.  But it's all water under the bridge, so to speak,  and  I'm actually looking forward to getting it done now that it is the next hurdle in the path to publication. 

Her Dark Baron, my novella, is such a delight to write, that I want to set a goal for it's completion.  I'm thinking I'll set the deadline for six weeks from today.  That will allow me a week for each chapter's writing....(I'll be typing like a madwoman, so I don't want to over do it with the writing goals)  It's always better - for me- to set a very realistic goal that I outshine than to set a goal that I struggle to accomplish.  It's really all about enjoyment for me, and I am loathe to turn a practice I so enjoy into a monkey on my back.  So, a goal it is, but an easier one. 

Hope everyone is racing toward the finish line of goals and deadlines as we approach the end of this Round of Words. ~ Nadja 

02 June 2011

Something Worth Sharing........

As I made my weekly rounds visiting fellow writers this evening, I stopped by Pavarti Devi's page.  I hadn't been by in a few weeks, and frankly, I was curious as to what she had been posting.  I've been following her in her quest to publish her newest book, Shadow On The Wall

Now, she and writer David Beem have teamed up to offer information and community to indie authors at Escapist Press.  It's a new site, and few articles are up, but what I read was informative and clearly explained.  Check it out, especially if you are considering indie publishing as an option.  As I approach my own novel's conclusion and prepare to navigate the world of self-publishing, I appreciate their efforts to gather and discuss the options available to Indie Writers. 
~ Nadja

Escapist Press Home Page Header.........

ep logo
An Author Co-OpEscapistpress is an artist's co-op where you can find the village it takes to write a successful book. We believe that the landscape of the publishing world is fundamentally changing. These changes afford the opportunity for like-minded professionals to strengthen promotional activities as never before.

Escapistpress fosters relationships and promotes members both within our organization and in the publishing world at large by banding together and sharing resources.

Poised to champion Indie Writers and encourage professionalism and excellence in all we do, Escapistpress is the place to find well-researched, immersible books that entertain, period.

01 June 2011

Checking In On The First Of June, 2011

Today marks the first of June, and I'm thankful that the summer months are finally here.  We actually have been able to use our patio set for eating dinner outside and sitting around after the sun's intensity has faded in the evening... (it's been in the 90's for most of this week, but I'm NOT complaining).  My umbrella had an awful encounter with a mighty gust of wind this spring, and it ended up in my fencing, torn and ruined.  So.....I've been shopping for a canopy, but haven't purchased one yet.  This may be the week for it.....

I have surpassed the 300 page mark this week, bringing Claiming The Prize within two scenes of its conclusion.  My goal for finishing my first novel is June 23, 2011, and I see no reason why I won't be ahead of schedule, barring some fantastic occurrence.  The past few days have been slow progress in writing.  My boys have all been infected with a bug, striking them down with fever and stomach aches.  With that going on, of course, we had an important appointment that could not be changed.  Why is it that no one gets sick when I have nowhere to go?  And why did the dog get sick right along with them?  It's a conspiracy, I tell you!!! 

One new development on the writing front is that I'm considering an open ended scene for the novel's final page.  There is something about leaving the reader to decide what they think happens in the future that seems to hold a certain appeal to me at this moment.  It's kind of like one of my favorite lines from a movie, "It's not in my nature to be mysterious, but I can't talk about it."  Fun stuff to stew on over the next week.....

Her Dark Baron continues to be an indulgence I sneak in around pages in the novel.  I've not added more than 600 words since Sunday's check in, but those 600.....they've been a delightful diversion - so has planting my yard with summer blooms.  I'm an impatient girl....What I mean is I like impatiens....


They continue to be beautiful well into the autumn weather, and you cannot kill them.  Even when wilted and half dead looking a splash of water will revive these hardy blooms in no time.  This is the flower for me.  My husband may have a green thumb, but that is one gift I do not possess. 

Hope everyone from A Round of Words  is having a terrific week and enjoying the beautiful weather. 
~ Nadja