27 June 2012

Lucky Seven?

Home again!  It's bittersweet....

Darling Daughter #2 is off at the Naval Academy, Plebe summer is underway.  She was a bundle of nervous energy, excitement warring with nerves as she crossed the concrete expanse that would separate her from us until August.  I know, I know...she's grown and off on her own life adventures, but honestly, all I could think of as I watched her go was how she still was my little girl.  I've a touch of melancholy.  I'm bursting with pride.  I'm ... missing her.

She treated me to my first pedicure during her visit.  Oh!  What fun that was.  I'm sure I'll want to go again now that I've experienced that wonderfulness.  We also ordered in, watched Lost, and simply sat quietly, commenting here and there.  She's a lot like me in that she enjoys solitude and quiet.  The boys all went camping, so we had the weekend to ourselves.  Darling Daughter #1 came by Friday night - and took me for drinks!  We had so much fun.  It's rare that I get to spend such alone time with my girls and I drank in every minute. 

The drive to Annapolis was pleasant, and the city was gorgeous.  The roundabout in city central offered shops galore, eateries, and scenery of the water.  The Naval Academy grounds were equally beautiful, and a peaceful quiet enveloped the campus.  Of course, I had to have crabcakes!  One cannot go to Maryland and not enjoy crab...THAT would be a crime.  Ha!

Claudia Lefeve tagged me in her Lucky Seven post, so below I'll offer something from my current WIP.  Here's the rules: (although my selection goes a bit beyond what is required)
Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
Go to line 7
Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences exactly as they are
Tag 7 other authors

Page 7, A Practical Arrangement (Tentative Title) © Nadja Notariani, 2012

Jonathan exchanged pleasantries with mother and auburn haired daughter leaving Thomas directly under the steady gaze of Miss Grey.  The very steady gaze.
'It has been quite some time, Miss Grey,' Thomas addressed her, ending the silent stand off.  'I trust you are well.'
Those brown eyes regarded him curiously a long moment.
'Quite,' she made her reply, adding nothing more.
Thomas studied the plain Miss Grey, weighing how best to proceed.  Ramrod straight spine, shoulders squared smartly, head high, the woman projected a confident air.  At least most would coddle such nonsense.  Thomas pegged it as uptight, inhibited.  Intriguing perhaps.
'Are you active in Mrs. Castille's bid to clothe the needy?'
Again, that assessing gaze pinned him to the fringes of awkwardness.  Her eyes brightened ever so slightly then.
'Yes, I am.  I do hope you will consider doing your part.  Outfitting the farmer's children will greatly ease the burden on their families and make their work more bearable during the cold winter.'
It was the most Thomas had ever heard her speak at once.  Of course, a few years had passed since he'd spoken with her at all.
'Your hope is not in vain, Miss Grey.  I shall aid your worthy cause just to please you.'  Thomas flashed his most charming grin at the small creature before him, confident of receiving a flirtatious smile in return.
Dash it all!  No smile seemed forthcoming.
'Mr. Masterson, think not of pleasing me nor any other.  It is our duty to help others less fortunate than ourselves without thought of reward.'
Plain Evangeline Grey did not make it easy to keep things lighthearted, he mused.
'Yes.  Of course you are correct.  Now, if you will excuse me, Miss Grey, I must seek my aunt.'
'Oh, certainly!  Give my regards to Mrs. Platte.'
Was that a smile that kissed the corners of her mouth?
'It was pleasant to speak with you.  Good evening.' 
With that, Miss Grey turned to seek her sister and Thomas found himself dismissed.  How it had come about remained a muddle.  Hadn't he, Thomas Masterson, sought to escape what proved a tiresome conversation?  Yet here he stood, staring after an empty spot, vacated without a backward glance - or even a pause for him to make his reply. 
How unexpected.

I'm not much for tagging...so I'll invite any interested to join in!  Happy Writing.

 ~ Nadja

17 June 2012

Two Fathers...Twice The Love And Learning

It's Father's Day.  I lived a different life than many who will make tribute to fathers this day, for two very different men fulfill the role of father in my life.

Stella Chess quotes

I was quite young when my parents divorced.  Cultural differences and family issues raged throughout their lives - and therefore - through my own.  My father is a good man, upright and very, very German.  He is possibly the most intelligent person I've ever known.  His demand for excellence motivated me, but I struggled to live up to his expectations.

Jean De La Fontaine quotes

My father was my teacher, instilling in me a love for G-d, his law, for justice.  He read to me almost daily.  G-d's law was ever discussed, examined, explained.  Never allowing me to take the easy way out, my father insisted I confront myself in all areas of life.  A master logician, he rebuffed any faulty argument, shaping my worldview and igniting in me a thirst, a quest for knowledge, truth, and wisdom.  I can not fully express my gratitude.  His example laid the foundation for my love affair with words.  English words, root words, Hebrew words, Greek words - all were defined, compared, and discussed.  My father studied continuously, he does so to this day.  My father taught me the beauty of ritual and worship. I respect him highly, and his opinion is one I value dearly.  I will get the harsh truth when I ask for it (and sometimes when I don't ask for it); this comforts me.  It's a stable rock to stand on, to spring from as I pursue new adventures.

Toni Morrison quotes

In stark contrast, my step father hailed from the Mediterranean.  He is a man of love, a man of hugs, of praise and openly expressed emotion.  Large family gatherings, boisterous conversation, gentle guidance, and a world where everything revolved around the family table - a life where connection held top billing - this was his gift to me.  He taught me every bit as much as my father, but his lessons focused on building strong family ties and offered a sense of belonging.  While he held very high expectations, his love was never in question.  Praise was given when I succeeded, and maybe lavished even more when I put myself out there and failed.  I never wondered if he was proud of me.  There was never a time I could not share my joys, my fears, my anything.  He suffered through the teen years like a trooper, schlepping through malls and Deb Shop like a pro!  He spent countless hours schooling me in Cribbage - we still play...and he still wins.  Chiller Theatre on Friday nights around a large bowl of popcorn, motorcycle rides to get a frozen custard, noodle making day, yard work, laundry, after dinner dishes...he spent time with me - and still does.  We have tea.  We talk about life.  We laugh over the kids. 

Unknown quotes

In some ways, I count myself luckier than most.  Two very different men stepped up to the plate to raise a daughter in two very different ways.  The benefit is all mine.  I gained the ability to view the world and all that goes on in it through two lenses - at times complimentary, and at others opposing - and because of that, I have the richness of both perspectives.

To both of my dads...Thank You.  I love you. 

Garrison Keillor quotes

Researching For Romance ~ A Peek Into Riding Habits

Astride Or Aside: A Romance Writer's Investigation...

Welcome back to Researching For Romance, a weekly series revealing my fabulous finds for use in writing.  Please feel free to share any great sites that offer greater information on whatever topic is featured.  :} 

Wife Of Bath
The narrow cut of Victorian era gowns prevented riding astride, as did social dictates of the day.  But farther back in history, it seems riding astride - alone, and certainly in front of a man in the saddle or pillion - was fairly common.  Wife of Bath is one example of a woman depicted riding astride. 

We can thank, or curse, Anne Of Bohemia for introducing the side-saddle to England around the year 1392.  Over the following centuries, ladies riding astride became less and less common and finally scandalous.  The side-saddle evolved over time under the hands of women such as Catherine DeMidici, who improved matters around 1580 by daring to hook her leg over the pommel, setting her in a more front facing position and giving her better control over her horse.  Improvements by the mid 1600's were such that Queen Christine of Sweden was thought to have ridden astride, so erect and straight was her posture.  But she was, in fact, riding side-saddle.

By the eighteen hundreds, no woman who gave a whit about her reputation would ride astride, even though split riding habits were in circulation!  Woman in a Riding Habit (L'Amazone), 1856
is one such example my research returned to again and again (Victorian Amazon being the title for ladies wearing such a get-up and riding astride), but I would note that the split skirt is not clearly depicted and, therefore, not reportable as such.

Richard Almond, writing for History Today has trawled medieval and Renaissance sources for insights about ladies’ riding habits in the Middle Ages and what they reveal about a woman’s place in that society.
'I suspect that most of us rather vaguely assume that medieval and Renaissance courtly ladies rode side-saddle and the rest of female society walked. But research reveals that there were four different riding styles and whether and when women rode astride, pillion, on-the-side or true side-saddle has never been fully investigated by historians. Did how women rode indicate class or role, or did it depend upon what activity they were doing? Relevant supportive textual evidence on the subject is scant and what exists can be vague or ambiguous, while images of the period can be difficult to ‘read’. Fortunately there is a good deal of varied iconographical evidence to interpret. Yet there is also the added difficulty of differentiating between imaginative pictures depicting myth and romance and those illustrating everyday life...'

This was an informative read, broadening my understanding on the subject.  In the end, romance writers have a small bit of leeway when opting to have their heroine ride aside or astride as long as not writing a Regency (say... 1810 onward) or during the overlapping Victorian Era (1837 - 1900), unless you want to write about an absolute hoyden!

In my own historical novella, my heroine rides astride in front of the hero and later on her own.  In the remote setting of Northumberland, England, 1640, I imagine 'country-grown' girls from the lowest ranks of nobility enjoyed freedoms not enjoyed by those of a higher station or living amongst courtly officials.  Aside-or-Astride was not a favorite research topic for a few reasons.  First of all, the information to be gathered was almost exclusively about higher ranking nobility.  Secondly, there are some conflicting articles and information amongst history sites.  And third, I simply hold no great passion over/on/about the issue.  But I did learn a great deal and have filed it all away for future use. 

 ~ Nadja

16 June 2012

Enjoying Meine Madchen and Announcing Winners!

  I'll be on vacation for the week!  I'll be visiting around next week...see you then.  I've a daughter home on leave, and I want to squeeze in every moment I've got with her.  Her next stop is Annapolis, and her first year as a plebe will not allow for much visiting! 

Here are the winners from the Shameless Summer Giveaway Hop!  I'll be sending emails! 

First Prize - Amazon E-Book The Third Fate and $10.00 Amazon Gift Card:  Holly Wright

Second Prize - Amazon E-Book (one each) The Third Fate and Her Dark Baron:  Diane

Third Prize - Amazon E-Book of The Third Fate:  Rose Hariston

Thank you to everyone who stopped by during the hop.  :}

Medeia Sharif gifted me this awesome award earlier this week!  What a fun post. 

The rules for this award:
This award is for book bloggers only. To receive this award the blog must be at least 50% about books (reading or writing is okay)

Along with receiving this award, you must also share your top five favorite books you have ever read. (More than five is okay) You must give this award to 5-10 other lucky book blogs you adore.
Here are my top five books (I reserve the right to change my mind at any time...I've so many books to love and gush over, tomorrow's list may be completely different!  Ha!)  I've stuck to fiction, and listed five books that I would read again and again.
Pride and Prejudice (Dover Thrift Editions)
*  Pride And Prejudice, Jane Austen is my all time favorite book. This romance makes any list ...every day.  :} 
A Thousand Splendid Suns
*  A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
The Flame and the Flower *  The Flame and The Flower, Kathleen Woodiwiss
Red Storm Rising *  Red Storm Rising, Tom Clancy
Zoya *  Zoya, Danielle Steel
Have a great week!  ~ Nadja

13 June 2012

Summer Abandon, Tall Fences, And Naval Academy Adventues

June is a busy month filled with distractions.  In the northeastern states, June is the month we finally shake off the chill of spring and see temperatures rise into something resembling honest to goodness warmth; you know... that need-a-fan-kind-of-warmth where bare feet and bare arms are comfortably exposed.  It's glorious!  The early days of summer lure us to set aside work and simply enjoy the nice weather.  On the side is Killer Rock, Nay Aug Park, Scranton, PA.  Here's one brave soul!  It's great to see teens rejoicing in summer abandon.

I indulge the welcome heat and sunshine, as I long for these days during the cold and harsh winters of the North-Atlantic states.  All the while, those goals are waiting.  In an effort to maintain my progress, I've learned to combine my loves.  Ha. 

I've a lovely new canopy (one day I'll post pics, it's raining today.  Sigh) and comfortable chairs around my patio table.  Plants decorate my newly secluded side yard after the privacy fencing went up {now if I can only get the back of the yard privacy fenced in the next month...I've a neighbor who has me steamed!  Steamed, I tell you! Er, more on that some other time after my current 'fotch' wears off. :{  And no...it's not over my dog, I simply liked the cartoon.  My dog, however, holds no affection for said neighbor...I think he bears a grudge on my behalf. Lol.  Ah!  Such a gut Schutzhund.  :} 

Last spring

My husband landscaped a beautiful little section outside my writing nook window with my favorite - marble rocks.  It looks so neat and clean.  He added a basket-hanging post and two small flowering hanging baskets.  It's lovely.  I can enjoy it from my patio while outside and from my writing chair when inside.

My fountain cracked over the winter despite draining and winterizing.  I probably won't replace it this year with all that fencing to purchase, but my next door neighbors put in a large pond at the base of their sloped backyard and a beautiful man-made 'babbling-brook' which keeps the water cycling.  We're already separated by 6' fencing on that side (and they are the nicest neighbors ever!), but the sound of all that water carries nicely!

It's a peaceful setting, and I plan to utilize the space for some serious writing and reading!  Do you have a favorite outdoor writing space?   An oasis of sorts where you can enjoy the great-outdoors and still strive to hit those writing goals?

On The Writing and Goals Front...

*  Chapter Seven complete.  Check.

*  Evangeline is in store for a few surprises in Chapter Eight.  Oh!  The writing bliss! 

*  Exercise:  Gillian's Ripped in 90 (or 30, for I cannot remember which it is...lol) is great.  We're alternating between those workouts and her abdominal series.  I've become fairly comfortable with eight pound weights for most of the workout, although my triceps want to revolt and string me up alive.  I found a new hated exercise.  It's a side plank position, top arm extended toward the ceiling, where you must pull up and in with the bottom leg.  The strength needed to maintain balance while attempting such a feat is proving a difficult challenge for me.  A few weeks and I'll be a pro.  For now...I'm just happy my workout partner isn't laughing-her-unmentionables-off at my shaking arm!

WanaTribe (link is to my home page) is a fantastic site.  Thanks so much Elizabeth Mitchell for inviting me!  This is a great platform building site.  Established authors are sharing information and writing tips, marketing helps, and just plain old and much needed encouragement.  Creator, Kristen Lamb has done a fabulous job laying out the site for easy navigation!  Check it out.

*  My new weekly series, Researching For Romance Writing, is generating some great comments!  I love the little tidbits I've picked up in addition to my own research.  My goal is to stay three to four weeks ahead of myself here and to sprinkle different themes over the weeks.  A little historical, a bit of contemporary, a dash of paranormal - mix up the older research with the new to keep it interesting. 

*  Social goals are a continuing area of enjoyment and success.  Keep those interesting posts coming, everyone!  I love reading!

*  DD#2 will arrive home over the upcoming weekend!  It will be a two-week-visit before she packs it up and we deposit her on the U.S. Naval Academy doorstep!  She's a mixture of nervous anticipation and anxiety.  She, like me, tends toward over analysis.  Can she cut it?  Will she make the grades?  Is the additional nine year commitment the 'right' decision?  It's so difficult to have grown children.  You see them struggle with life-changing decisions and then remember going through those times yourself.  I'm so proud of her!  I know she's got what it takes, and deep down, so does she.  But it pleases me that she takes time to reflect and contemplate, to consider carefully and weigh her options. 

Check in with fellow ROW80 writers!

 ~ Nadja

Indie Author Giveaway Hop

Indie Author Giveaway Hop

June 13th-19th

Welcome To The Indie Author Giveaway Hop Here At Nadja Notariani ~ An Author's Adventures! 

I'm offering two copies of my paranormal romance, The Third Fate, along with two copies of my historical romance novella, Her Dark Baron!  I'll also gift one winner of The Third Fate a $10.00 Amazon gift card for a little extra Indie Author book buying help! 

Thank you so much for stopping by and supporting Indie Authors...We ♥ readers!

The Third Fate     Blurb ~ The Third Fate
~ 'One Fate be granted mortal man, used for evil or good as the inner voice directs. Alas, the divine spark draws the eyes of the Fates, the Second Fate sparingly gifted by their hands. Be warned offspring of the gods, guard your gifting well. For if the Third Fate be unleashed, the soul lays bare before one so touched by the gods.' ~

Cautious and quiet by nature, Paige Kinnell watches life unfold from the sidelines, maintaining her simple existence as a shield to hide behind. But underneath her shy, careful ways, Paige senses a disconnect with the world around her, indulging instead her ever curious interest in the legend and lore of time nearly forgotten.

One chance encounter with an ancient of the undead begins an unraveling of reality as Paige knows it, leaving her to sort through dreams and enchantments, discovering along the way that one's Fate can be mere illusion, and that the consequences of opening her heart to another may cost dearly.

Cael Maccinnis, the handsome Highlander she's met, seems the answer to every unspoken longing of her heart, even as he awakens dark, secret desires buried within her soul. As strange and unnerving changes begin occurring in her mind and body, Paige has no choice but to face her life's unnatural turn and confront the frightening implications. For within Paige's past a secret lay dormant, hidden even from her. This truth, guarded well and wielded by the Fates themselves, becomes the catalyst invoking the power of The Third Fate.

Her Dark Baron ~ Romance, Historical Romance
Her Dark Baron, by Nadja Notariani © 05/23/2011Meet The Heroine........

Northumberland, 1640

Wild wind lashed the black curls around her face, stinging her cheeks as she surveyed the rolling landscape. Standing defiantly in its biting path, Lady Mariel Hayes contemplated her next move.
"Oh, Father, I wish you were here", she sighed aloud, but the wind stole the words from her lips, just as Scottish raiders had stolen her father's life, leaving her alone in the world.
Edith, her old childhood nurse, was the only soul remaining from her former life, for her mother had passed away when she was only a child. Her situation was bleak, for every land hungry Lord in Northumberland knew she must marry, and time was running out. Dread filled her at the thought of being wed to any of the noblemen who sought her hand. Especially the cruel, aging Baron Harold Flanders.
He was more than twice her twenty years and thrice her girth easily. Even now, he sat in her father's great hall squandering the diminishing supplies, feasting upon the little she had at her disposal. He meant to wait her out, for he knew as well as she that her father's wealth would only pass to her once she married, and then, her husband would control her fortune, her lands, and her life.
Baron Flanders' influential hand reached far and wide across the moorlands, and Mariel was certain no one would interfere on her behalf now that his intentions were known. Refusing to accept his offer would only incite him to cruelty once he snared her, but Mariel determined to resist, praying for a miracle.......

The Dark Baron........(His companion, a knight, is in this scene and referenced near the end but not named.)

"It would appear that I have arrived just in time, Flanders, to protect my husbandly rights."
All three heads snapped around to stare at the imposing figure leaning casually against the doorway's supporting beam.
"Take a final look at her if you must, for if ever your eyes alight upon what is mine after this day, know that I will disembowel you where you stand. You will die watching the birds feast upon your flesh."
The foreboding man straightened to his full height, a smile playing on his lips.
"You may unhand the girl."
Mariel, free from her tormentors yet still terrified, sought to hide beneath the table; but the tall, dark stranger gently halted her retreat.
"Are you unharmed?" his baritone voice questioned as he turned her face, checking for injury.
"He...They...You saved me, Sir," she stammered before Harold Flanders broke in.
"By what authority do you claim the girl as your property? I've already made my intention to wed her plain," Flanders challenged boldly, but his ashen face and tremulous speech betrayed his fear.
"By your sovereign's, King Charles," came the flat reply.
"You mercenary bastard!" Flanders spat. "What murderous deed did the Devil of Daltrey - Hell's own Hound - perform to warrant such favor!"
Gervase Daltrey, the Baron of Ayleshind, laughed sardonically.
"Temper, temper, man. My blood lust has not been sated this day. Take your leave and live another day."
Making his way out of the great hall, Harold Flanders paused between the two men, not daring to face Lady Mariel but addressing her.
"It's the devil's wife you'll be, girl. I'll take my pleasure knowing you'll curse the day your so called savior kept you from my bed.....If ever you live so long."
Mariel froze as the identity of the man who claimed to be her betrothed registered in her mind.
The Hound of Hell.
Heaven help her! She had prayed for a miracle, but the devil had come instead.

I hope you enjoyed the selections posted. ~ Nadja

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 June 2012

Researching For Romance Writing: The Claymore

Today, I continue my new post series: Researching For Romance.  Tune in as I share the interesting tidbits I've discovered during the writing process! 

The Claymore:  Popular Battle Weapon And Oft Wielded Sword Of Romance Heroes...

In Depth Info , a great research site, explains that the claymore was a Scottish weapon used in the late medieval period (1300-1700's).  Heavy (a good five pounds), the claymore was wielded with two hands and was an offensive weapon.  With a reach up to sixty inches, this weapon was brutal when employed, but could also be disadvantageous if an attacker broke inside the swordsman's stroke arc.  Thrusts, swings, and downward hacks were deadly; the combined weight of the sword and body momentum easily penetrated English armor and could even break shields. 

The use of the term Claymore can be deceiving as the true sword has definite properties.  William Wallace was said to utilize this weapon, but his sword had a more narrow point and lacked the leather wrapping around the ricasso; so in the strictest of terms, it was not a 'true' Claymore.  I've read the sword used in the movie was.

Medieval Storm The Castle , another interesting site, tells that while the sword gained greater notoriety during its use against the English during the 1700's, it had been long in use by that time.  It remains part of the uniform of the British Highland Division to this day. 

The claymore, in its loose interpretation of the name, was used extensively in the back and forth border battles between England and Scotland between the 1400's and 1700's.  The Battle of Killiecrankie (1689) was the last documented instance of the sword's use in significant numbers. (wikipedia ) 

The Claymore seems to have developed from the cross-hilted sword and has been depicted on graves as far back as 1539, although the Claymore widely described in novels is often the Lowland Claymore.  No more precise dating can be determined beyond late 16th century for the exact time when the sword came into common use.  I was extremely interested in the evolution of the Claymore and discovered that this sword is of German origin.  My Armoury offers a more thorough vetting than I will go into.

In my novella, Her Dark Baron, the hero has a Claymore strapped to his back as he rides to his home.  Living on the English/Scottish border in the mid 1600's, a time of vicious border raids between the Scots and English, and secretly crossing the border to seek and eliminate key rebels, Baron Gervase Daltrey may well have employed this deadly weapon.  Researching the Claymore was definitely an educational experience, growing my knowledge in heaps.

What have you researched recently?  Have any great finds to share?

 ~ Nadja

08 June 2012

Shameless Summer Giveaway Hop!

Happy To Be Joined Up For The Shameless Summer Giveaway Hop...

Hosted by --Jen (Red Hot Books), Brie (Romance Around the Corner) & Michelle (Michelle's Book Blog)

The Shameless Summer Hop is coming up in June. Like last time, there aren't a lot of rules. We just ask that you have your post up by 12:00am EST on Friday, June 8th and keep it up through 11:59pm on Friday, June 15th. Please include the button & the link to the full list of participating blogs. That's it.

Hello fellow Shameless Ones!  Welcome to my giveaway...Here are the prizes!

First Prize - Amazon ebook of my paranormal romance, The Third Fate and a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.

Second Prize - Amazon ebook of my paranormal romance, The Third Fate, and an Amazon ebook of my historical romance novella, Her Dark Baron.

Third Prize - Amazon ebook of my paranormal romance, The Third Fate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Have a great day - and best of everything to you!

~ Nadja

The other participant blogs are:
Visit all the great blogs participating in the hop!
1. Red Hot Books (Int.) 60. Sorcha Mowbray
2. Romance Around the Corner (Int) 61. Dara Young
3. Michelle's Book Blog (Int) 62. Lucy Felthouse (INT)
4. Cocktails and Books (int) 63. Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
5. Herding Cats & Burning Soup (INT) 64. Dani Harper, Paranormal Author (INT)
6. HEA-Reads (US/CAN) 65. Dianne Duvall, PNR Author (INT)
7. Pants Off Reviews (INT) 66. Carly Fall - Where Fantasy Meets Romance (INT)
8. Natasha Blackthorne (Int) 67. Elise Marion
9. Book Flame (INT) 68. Bookwhore (INT)
10. Miss Vains Paranormal Fantasy (Int) 69. Dark Haven Book Reviews (Int)
11. maldivianbookreviewer (INT) 70. H.B. Pattskyn (INT)
12. The Bookaholic Cat (INT) 71. Sandra Bunino (INT)
13. The Jeep Diva (US & INT) 72. Sara Daniel Romance Author (INT)
14. Attacking The Page (US/Can) 73. Addictive Passions
15. Gabrielle Bisset (INT) 74. Jessica E. Subject (INT)
16. Delighted Reader (INT) 75. Nix @ Scorching Book Reviews
17. Grace@LivreDeAmour-BooksofLove 76. Full Moon Bites
18. Ink Spots and Roses (INT) 77. Michelle Clay
19. Cecile Smutty Hussy (Int.) 78. Kimberly @ Turning The Pages (INT)
20. Mary @SweepingMe (INT) 79. Rhys Astason (INT)
21. That's What I'm Talking About (US/CAN) 80. Holley Trent (INT)
22. Another Look Book Reviews (CAN/US) 81. Leila Brown
23. Jess resides here ( US ) 82. Little Read Riding Hood (INT)
24. Wendi Zwaduk 83. K.E. Saxon
25. Megan Slayer 84. Pagan Spirits (INT)
26. The Book Nympho (Int) 85. Minding Spot (US)
27. Obscured Vixen 86. Kat Halstead
28. Lucy V. Morgan (INT) 87. Sarah Mäkelä (Int)
29. Goldilox and the Three Weres (INT) 88. Diane Thorne - Erotic Romance
30. Joyfully Jay 89. Cassandra Dean (INT)
31. Addicted2Heroines (Int) 90. Narcisse Navarre - Khajj.com (INT)
32. Tiffany Snow (US) 91. Naomi Bellina (INT)
33. Anna's Book Blog (US) 92. Nadja Notariani (US/Can)
34. Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks (Intl) 93. Lola Dodge (INT)
35. Steph / Fangs, Wands, & Fairy Dust 94. Crystals Random Thoughts (US)
36. A Bookworm's Treasure Trove (Int) 95. Talk Supe (INT)
37. Frankie Blooding 96. Day Dreaming (INT)
38. My Book Chatter (INT) 97. The Book Tart (INT)
39. AwesomeSauce Book Club (INT) 98. CarI Bella
40. Pearls Cast Before a McPig (INT) 99. Malia Mallory (INT)
41. Mary Abshire-Paranormal Rom/UF (Int) 100. SalaciousReads (INT)
42. Riverina Romantics (INT) 101. Diva Jefferson (US/INT)
43. Tyra's Book Addiction (INT) 102. Blackraven's Erotic Cafe (INT)
44. Nite Lite (INT) 103. Fictional Candy (INT)
45. FOR THE LOVE OF READING! (INT) 104. Proserpine Craving Books (INT)
46. Nocturne Romance Reads (US/CAN) 105. Mimmi
47. Felicity Heaton, PNR author (INT) 106. Dominique Eastwick (INT)
48. Damaris @ Good Choice Reading 107. The Wiccan Haus
49. Jessica Scott 108. Erato GLBT (INT)
50. Urban Girl Reader (INT) 109. Kayla @ Reading On The Wild Side (INT)
51. Candace Blevins 110. Brenda Woody and Steve Tindle
52. Hannah Fielding 111. Tonya Kinzer
53. Jennifer DeLucy - Paranormal Author 112. KH LeMoyne (US/CAN)
54. Hot Listens (US/INT) 113. Reading Romances (INT)
55. My Secret Romance 114. Eden Connor (INT)
56. Samantha @ SRBS (INT) 115. Heather for Rebecca Sinclair (INT)
57. Mad @ RR@H Novel Thoughts (Int) 116. Annie Walls (INT)
58. Lee @shewolfreads (INT) 117. K. Williams M/M (INT)
59. Book Monster Reviews (INT) 118. Love To Read For Fun (US)

06 June 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group: A Yiddish Assessment

Hosted by Alex J. CavanaughWelcome, fellow IWSG writers!  Another month has rolled on by.  If you can bear to hear it, we'll mark the half-way point in 2012 at June's conclusion. 


You heard me!  Half-way.  This meshugga-time-stealing-Meyven devouring my days is stealthy and slinky, slurping minutes, hours, weeks, and months in insatiable greed. Feh! I've never gotten a good look at this schmutzy abomination, no, but sure as G-d made little green apples, he's a schmendrick if ever there was!   I nearly plotzed upon realizing how much time had gone by - and the helping of gornisht I had to show for it!

On closer examination, this Yiddisher Kop has enjoyed a bisl, say a nosh, of success.  All my mensch friends, the shikses included, have been schmaltzing and kibitzing with me like a kosher mishpoche of good natured yente

Nope!  You won't hear any more kvetching here! I've no real tsuris to speak of.  My friends schlep and schmooze me toward shalom with expert spiels.  I'm reminded to take up my rightful place, a baleboste with chutzpah enough for three!

Nu?  My shtick is finished.  Mazel Tov!

This Yiddish Assessment was provided in light of Julie Glover's wonderful post, Adding A Little Yiddish To Your English.  It was quite funny.

On The Writing And Goals Front...

*  Chapter Six is finito.  Chapter Seven is underway.

*    Stopping by one of my favorite 'writerly-advice-blogs' I happened upon K.M. Weiland's post, The Two Conflicting Needs Of Every Character. It was just what I needed after combing through my six chapters and wondering if writing two seemingly exclusive needs into my heroine was a wise move. Providence intervened, blessedly! Take a few minutes to enjoy a great post on creating  delicious inner conflict that will spill over throughout your novel.

*  Exercise.  Oy Vey!  I began the second series in Jillian's 'Ripped in Thirty' (I believe that's what it's called...and ripped is an appropriate word, although I mean ripped as in ripped to shreds like a destroyed rag.  Ouuuuch.)  It hurts so good.  :)  I must make mention - I deplore burpees.  They are a loathsome exercise.  Unfortunately/Fortunately (for I really cannot decide), they produce the results I like. 

*It has been an amazing  couple of weeks!  I connected with an established author, sparking what promises to be a fun-filled-bout of encouragement and friendship!  Her sense of humor and experience are welcome additions in my life!

*  I completed my first professional edit.  Critiquing is a skill I've been honing as I plod along with my own works, and I've critiqued as a beta reader a number of times.  This is the next step, and I'm thrilled. 

*  A local friend and author and I have been hitting the notebooks together!  Wow!  What an encouraging thing.  We've twice now met up for a few writing sprints - and engaged in some fantastic brainstorming.  She's a gifted and motivated writer, two qualities I admire and appreciate.  Having that camaraderie has spurred me onward, and I hope to offer her the same as we continue our friendship.  Best of all, she's an avid exerciser (is that even a word...lol?...I'm going with it for the sake of a laugh), so it's a double win.  Ha!

Have a wonderful mid-year month, IWSG members.  Also, I'm adding the link-up to ROW80.  Check out every one's progress and cheer them on!

 ~ Nadja

03 June 2012

Researching For Romance ~ Action Sequences

Welcome back to another peek into my research files!  This Sunday, I'll talk about my plentiful research into the action scenes from Claiming The Prize. 

Longtime readers made introduction to the world of MMA during my writing and editing of Claiming The Prize, if that is, they hadn't already.  My sons participate in the sport of wrestling, and my oldest son has also trained in jujitsu, boxing, CrossFit, along with dabbling in judo and kick-boxing.  George St. Pierre mentions Royce Gracie in his commentary and trains with Renzo Gracie, a brother of the MMA legend.  My son was able to train with the jujitsu specialist, Royce Gracie, last summer!  It was a dream come true for him. 

Many people incorrectly assume that MMA fighters are unintelligent.  This couldn't be farther from the truth.  This sport requires not only a well conditioned body, it requires the ability to constantly adapt, to gain in knowledge and skill, to mesh together and utilize multiple facets of martial arts, boxing, wrestling, kick-boxing, and the plethora of others into an ever evolving game of strategy.  All of the trainers my son has worked with are highly intelligent individuals, concerned not only with my son's physical training, but with his character, his motivation, his education, his soul.  Knowing and understanding the body's physiology, proper eating habits, business sense, selecting the right team to take a fighter where he needs and wants to go - these are paramount to success. 

Wrestling technique is a must in the world of mixed-martial-arts, the body awareness learned on the mat an invaluable asset when grappling, but it is only one piece of an intricate web of skills needed to compete in this brutal sport.  The intense cardio fitness needed to compete for a minimum of three rounds, each lasting five minutes is mind boggling!  Daily two - three hour practices are commonplace during wrestling season, and that is only to compete for three periods of two minutes!  Sprints, hammer drills, grass-rolls, and PT (physical training aptly named 'pain-and-torture' by the wrestlers) are daily drills - loved and hated all at once - by those dedicated souls committed enough to stick out the grueling practices.


It all pays off in the ring, or cage!  MMA is about more than fighting.  It's about honing one's body into the best it can be.  It's about channeling energy, achieving, and dedication to a lifetime of work for a fifteen minute window to prove yourself.

As stated in the back cover of my first novel, I gained valuable knowledge sitting in countless gymnasiums across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Observing from the bleachers, I watched my son practice these skills until he could barely stand another minute.  Each roll of wrist, shift of hip, or angle of head holds purpose and meaning.  Every strike thrown, takedown attempted, sprawl employed, or arm-bar locked up leads him closer to those sublime moments of seeing his name on top of a winners bracket.  Over the years, I've picked up wrestling jargon, jujitsu moves, and the like.  At one jujitsu tournament, a man laughed after my son's match, shaking his head with a smile.  I had been coaching from the edge of the mat, unaware of anything around me as I instructed, 'Heavy with those hips!  Now, go!  Squeeze it!  Tight!'
'You must be a wrestling mom,' he laughed. 
I smiled sheepishly.  'Yep.  I guess I am.' 
'Wrestlers usually do well in jujitsu,' he informed, as if the news would be new to me.  'They've got great hips.'
I only nodded.  My son took first place that day not only in his own weight bracket, but in the combined brackets of 100-200 pounds, teen division.  It was all thanks to those great hips.  Ha!  (And I'd like to believe maybe from that little bit of coaching I dared to offer...lol)

 ~ Nadja

02 June 2012

Writing Links Worth Perusing...

Today, I'm linking back to a post by Juliana Haygart .  This writer shared a lengthy collection of wonderful writing links, and I wanted to pass them along.  There are a few I've featured in the past, but that's okay.  Enjoy!

Twelve writers woes and the books to cure them.
Developmental and Structural editing.
Writing toward your midpoint.
Save the Snyder: The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet.
Making depressing character likable.
Ten things you should know about endings.
Reasons agents stop.
25 Reasons I hate your main character.
Writing advice from C.S. Lewis.
Stress Less, Write More.
Man up! Writing male POV.
What about characters who don’t match stereotypical male and female qualities.
Women are from Venus, Men are annoying.
Male POV.
What if our story idea has already been done.
What’s my motivation tips on showing.
Re-write Wednesday: First look at first.
Basics dorky dialogue.
Show don’t tell, what the hell!
Why show don’t tell.
Standing on my skyscraper.
Editing Tips on Tightening.
That’s so annoying: Adding small problems to the plot.
What’s at stake? Who do you make readers care for your story?
Using 12 stages of physical intimacy to build tension.
12 steps of Intimacy.
How to wow the editor with your first 3 chapters.
Common query problem, also Kung Fu Panda.
Before fingers touch Keyboard, my 6 pre-writing steps.
Save the cat!
Screenplay structure.
4 ways to hook your readers and keep them.
5 ways novelists can benefit from watching movies and tv-shows.
Does every scene need a goal?
Delete, delete, delete!
Oh, what now? Fixing a stalled scene.
How to dish out backstory in digestible bites.
How to write a perfect first draft.
9 squares to plotting fiction.
How to write a 1 page synopsis.
The hero’s journey.
Katy’s Upperman writing process.
On passive voice.
Secret trick.
4 tips on plotting your novel.
25 things to know about writing the first chapter.
Query Series: April Tucholke and Joanna Volpe.

 ~ Nadja