Tag Archives: #amwriting

WRITERS’ CONFERENCE & BOOK EXPO, 2017! ~ #RRBC

RRBC-Expo-2017

(Reblogged from: RRBC Writer’s Conference)

Welcome!!!

Last year’s conference proved that RRBC is home to some of the greatest writers, most knowledgeable authors and avid readers from around the world! We are all coming together again, to fellowship (Gather), have fun (Enjoy) and become enlightened! (Learn!). This year’s theme is: When you know better, you produce better and in our year of BETTER at RRBC, this quote hits the nail right on the head! Newbie authors, seasoned authors, and readers of all stages and interests, in one arena…teaching, learning and growing! What an amazing opportunity to be part of an event such as this!

THIS EVENT WILL HELP YOU:
*Get inspired and get to writing
*Market your work to avid readers
*Strengthen your craft of writing
*Network with like-minded individuals
*…and so much more!

This conference and expo will have something grand in store for everyone! We will have sessions on many topics that are of interest to today’s Authors. This will be your time to learn all that you can about the literary playing field, and brush up on things that you thought you knew well.

There will be *Author booths for RRBC members to showcase, promote and sell their books, and Vendor booths for those who wish to showcase and sell their services. No event is ever complete without giveaways, so allow me to mention that our plan for our RAFFLE this year, will be even bigger and better than before, and made fully possible by our SPONSORS! Yes, all this learning, camaraderie and fun, in one place!

Fun…did you just hear me say fun, or did you hear me say FUNNNNNNN? Well, you don’t want to miss our foray into “book” Scavenger Hunting! Stay tuned for more details on this event!

**NEW** this year: FREE ‘RIGHT ON THE SPOT’ CRITIQUING SESSIONS! Bring your manuscript and we’ll let you know what we think, right on the spot! (More specific details to come!)

This event will be held for one full week, beginning October 22nd and running thru October 28th, 2017! If you are an author and have books releasing this year or around this time, this event will be a great venue to debut them!

By now, who hasn’t heard of those amazing sessions presented at our conference last year? If you haven’t, where have you been hiding? You don’t want to miss out on the 2017 sessions and you can register for them by simply clicking HERE! If you are an Author/Vendor, and would like your very own Author and/or Vendor Booth on display during the conference, we invite you to register, as well!

GET READY! WE CERTAINLY ARE!

(Author booths are available to members of RRBC only! If you’d like to JOIN US, we welcome you!)

***This event is open to the general public!***

REGISTER NOW! Registration General Info

RRBC Website: Join here

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What inspires the setting of a story? #bookworm #booklovers

Sichartshof, eine verschwundene Ortschaft

At the base of the low mountain range Steigerwald, in a fertile little hollow called the Edelgraben, there once stood a sheep farm. The first inkling of this farm appears in the Dachsbach registry in 1450 as ‘Sigartzhoffe’ belonging to a man named Peter Sighart. The good man paid a chicken and some grain to settle his taxes.

Over the years, thorough searches in the archives have produced a few registry entries, a sentence here, a mere crumb of information there, regarding this mysterious farm: Sigartshoff, Sycharczhoff, Sichartshof. According to an undated entry in the Dachsbach registry that is believed to be before the Thirty Years War, around the year 1600, the little farm had grown into an accumulation of acreage of farmed fields, grasslands, and ponds for farming fish.

A patrician from Nuremberg named Sebald Tucher is then documented as having owned Sichartshof in 1629. He bought the farm from the widow Margarethe Hansen and had acquired more land to work. By this time, Sichartshof lay unprotected in the Aisch River Valley, the valley a well-travelled route for mercenary troops involved in the Thirty Years War.

Why would Sebald Tucher leave Nuremberg, a city protected behind massive, impenetrable walls, and move out to a country manor amid this time of agitation? Did he want to hunt? Did he want to drink? Did he need the products that the farm could yield for his family in Nuremberg? How did he live? Who lived there with him?

This forgotten hamlet is the inspiration for the farm named Sichardtshof in the historical novel series Heaven’s Pond. For the answer to these questions and more, read the historical novel The Master and the Maid. The forgotten hamlet comes alive again, its story just waiting to be told!

 

#booktrailer The Master and the Maid #historicalfiction

 

The Thirty Years War. Known as The Great War in Germany up until the 20th century. Still regarded as the most devastating era in Germany history. We know what the history books say. We know what the church fathers say. But what really happened?

Imagine life in the 17th century, through this revolutionary time in history:
1600 years after the dawn of Christianity, 200 years after the invention of the printing press. 100 years after the protests of Martin Luther. Nuremberg, Germany was the center of European trade in the middle ages. A flourishing city built on the strength of diverse and superior craftsman. A free city state. Independent of the Holy Roman Empire. Imagine the year 1616. Mankind had made leaps in terms of science, humanities, language, learning. The Renissance was giving birth to the early modern age, but there was a dark side to this period. Not everyone wanted this revolution of thought and practice. Some forces were fighting to keep progress down. A war was brewing.

But people were trying to live their lives as they saw fit. Women wanted to live their lives. A young woman named Andra-Angela refuses to obey. She is executed for witchcraft and leaves a newborn baby behind. Another young woman named Katarina is traded to a rich patrician in order to pay her fiancé’s debts. Katarina is forced to relocate to the patrician’s country manor. There she meets the newborn baby’s father, a crazed archer who forces the care of the child on her at sword point.

Protecting the child puts Katarina at risk. She could fall into disfavor with her master. She could be hunted by the zealots who killed the archer’s beloved. She could be executed herself. Can Katarina’s love for the baby and Sebald Tucher’s desire for her keep the wrath of the zealots at bay?

 The Master and the Maid is the first book in the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy. So begins the saga of Isabeau, how she came to be and the events that formed the beginning of her life.

RECONSTRUCTING HISTORY #MondayBlogs

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THE THIRTY YEARS WAR

Judging by the images and the books that are popular today, can you imagine how someone 400 years from now will view our society? How will they reconstruct our day in age based on the records we leave behind? That is, if they can even access our information. What impressions will they have of our culture?

I take this into consideration as I research and write my 17th century historical novels. I have a good idea of what the time period looked like from paintings like those from the Dutch Golden Age. Objects and artifacts that survived the passing of time help illustrate how people lived their daily lives. But what people thought, what they felt, can only be taken from the work of those who wrote down their experiences. Even then, we only get the point of view of individuals with a certain standing in the community. We are subject to see history based on their beliefs and more importantly, what they wanted the reader to believe.

So, as I reconstruct the Thirty Years War and the impact the war had on the Aisch Valley in Franconia, Germany, I choose sources that give me a more realistic version of the world I am recreating. These include local historical almanacs, autobiographical accounts that survived over the years and current research of the Early Modern Period. I’d like to tell you about my most important ones.

The Thirty Years War was considered The Great War by the Germans up until WWI. The devastation it left behind was up until that time unmatched. The population was reduced by a third, some believe by half. Great tracks of land were left untouched by the war but other areas were set back 100 years in their development. Some of the villages in my area died out completely for more than two generations. And a surprising number of events that transpired there were written down and collected.

Germans call them Heimatbücher; village historical almanacs, written by local residents, village officials and clergy. Many small communities have them. Full of church records, local weather chronicles, tax records, marriage, birth and death registers, maps and photographs, you’ll find one on almost every bookshelf in Germany. They recorded everything from the Hussiten Wars to the Little Ice Age, the natural catastrophe believed to help fuel the Thirty Years War. Many of the troop movements that stain Germany’s war-torn history and the damage left behind can be found in these books. They tend to be overlooked by ‘real’ historians but they are a wealth of knowledge and now our little secret.

Around the time of the Thirty Years War, the early 1700’s, literacy in Germany was supposedly 2% to 4% of the population, without taking into consideration the difference between those who read regularly and those who could read at all. The reported literates were either of a high standing or involved in the church. More Protestants were known to be able to read than Catholics. Yes, there were those women who were learned but the majority of these were men. And some of these people felt the need to write their memoirs.

A local hero from the town of Uehlfeld in Franconia, Veit von Berg was a young Protestant pastor who was in the city of Neustadt an der Aisch when it was sacked in July 1632. After the war, in 1648, he was commissioned to serve the Evangelical parish in Uehlfeld. Thirty-five people survived the horrors that left this village in ash and rubble, a village that once had population of over 600. Veit von Berg spent his free time rebuilding Uehlfeld, teaching the savaged farmers how to sow seed and live life and writing his autobiography. This is a touching, explicit, insightful story of his fight to live through an unjust war.

A more famous story is Simplicius Simplicissimus by Grimmelshausen, considered to be the first German novel. It is the story of a peasant boy torn away from his family by marauding mercenaries. We follow him from the abduction, to the life with a hermit, to military service, to wealth and excess back to the life of a hermit. The adventures he experienced are considered to be the autobiographical account of Grimmelshausen’s life.

In 1988, Jan Peters, a German historian, found a hand-written document in the Berliner Staatsbibliotek, the Berlin Library. Peters set out to decipher the writings and search for the author, whose name is nowhere in the writings to be found. After much detective work, the writer is believed to the mercenary soldier, Peter Hagendorf. Hagendorf recorded his 25-year career as a mercenary and the 22,500 km travels that took him from Italy to Germany, to the Spanish Netherlands and France. He also took part in the famous Sack of Magdeburg in 1631.

Now, most of my reference books are in German and most of them are written by men. But I want to recreate this time period for an English-speaking audience and keep the language contemporary. I want to get close to the characters, inside their heads, and I also want to do this from the viewpoint of a woman. And I want to stay true to the events documented in my sources.

American historian, Joel Harrington, http://as.vanderbilt.edu/history/bio/joel-harrington professor at the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, specializes in the Early Modern Period in Germany and has written numerous books concerning this time period in the English language. In 2009, he published The Unwanted Child: The Fate of Foundlings, Orphans, and Juvenile Criminals in Early Modern Germany (University of Chicago Press, 2009). Harrington studies the situation of abandoned children in Nuremberg, Germany, their mothers and the role society played in all of this in the early modern world.

Over the years, the more information I searched for, the more I found. This is only a small outtake from all the sources I have collected. For me, the love of research equals the love of writing historical fiction. And as I reconstruct the Thirty Years War, these books and documents are as instrumental to my writing as my computer and a pad and paper. The stage is set and I can bring in the actors and raise the curtain.

 

 

 

 

#RRBC ’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour @_MarlenaSmith_

Today I’d like to welcome Marlene Smith on the last day of her Spotlight Blog Tour:

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A final hello!

Welcome to Day 7 of my RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour! This tour has been an absolute blast, a wonderful experience. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have! A huge THANKS to RRBC, my host, and all of those that have joined us along the way.

Since today is the final day of my tour, I would like to take this opportunity to shine the light elsewhere.

If you have been following along my blog tour, you know that writing has always been a big part of my life. Words have been my passion from a very young age. It has been in the recent years that I decided to take my writing to the next level.

The biggest step came in February, 2014. Only a short time after RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB was formed, I was invited to take on the role as Secretary. I had already developed a Twitter-ship with Nonnie Jules, the President of RRBC. With her encouragement (and impossible-to-refuse offer), I accepted the “job.” Little did I know then that I would gain a new family.

Trust me when I say that this is a one-of-a-kind organization. The members are incredible! The Board is amazing! And there’s a great deal that goes on behind the scenes… time, hard work, sweat, and tears. Our hearts go into this club, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

During my time in this book club, I have received the most incredible support and encouragement for my writing. Because of that support, I finally put my words out there. In December, the same year as that first step, I became a published Author in RAVE SOUP FOR THE WRITER’S SOUL Anthology. (RRBC’s members made this book. It’s incredible and a must read!) Three poems are in this book… poems where I spill my heart, where I offer encouragement, where I speak my words.

Fast forward a couple of years… I now have the most wonderful family in RRBC, and I’m not just referring to the Governing Board. Yes, the Board is a family on its own and I absolutely adore my Board Family, BUT, this book club is such a big part of my life, such an important part of my life, that they can’t be anything but family. RRBC is the most supportive, most encouraging, most awesome-tastic family in the world!

With all of that being said, I owe many, many thanks to the people of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, including this blog tour. Seriously… being selected as a “SPOTLIGHT” Author is a HUGE honor and I am beyond touched for the opportunity.

Even more than that, I owe thanks to Nonnie Jules, for she’s the reason I took that first initial step. I firmly believe that she’s the reason I am now a published author. She was the push I needed when I didn’t know I needed a push.

Since that first step in December, 2014, my life has been forever changed. I owe a lot to this woman because she has been my mentor, my friend, my “other mother.” She inspires me daily, makes me want to be a better person, and encourages me like no other. I am truly blessed to have her in my life and I could never find the proper words, or enough words, to show her the appreciation that she so deserves.

Thank you to my RRBC family. I adore each of you, more than you know.

ty

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Book Blurb:

All she wanted was a fresh start.

Eight months ago, Scarlet made the choice to leave the prison she called home, and to escape the man that put her there. She had made a new home for herself in the small town of Belmont, Montana. The abandoned apartment was far from luxury, but she was better off, away from her past life.

She never expected to meet Lucas, the local hero and town’s only doctor. She didn’t expect to enjoy the small town life. She didn’t expect her past to catch up to her.

Will she risk it all? Risk revealing her secrets at a chance of love? Will she be forced back into the life she hated? Will she gain control of her own destiny?

Available Spring 2017!!

Author Bio:

Author Marlena Smith is a true Southern Belle at heart. Her home has always been in Alabama and she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Growing up as a preacher’s daughter, faith and family played a large part in her life.

Her earliest memory of writing was that of 2nd grade when she was selected to attend the Young Author’s Conference in her home state. Little did she know then that her future was being mapped out.

Today, Marlena is an Author, Freelancer, Book Reviewer, Researcher and Secretary of Rave Reviews Book Club. She may wear many hats, but her passion remains with writing. That’s where her heart is and that’s where she feels she belongs. She has several works in progress, including an upcoming short romance, THE POWER OF LOVE, expected to be out in Spring 2017.

Until then, you can check out some of Marlena’s writing in the RAVE SOUP FOR THE WRITER’S SOUL ANTHOLOGY, available on Amazon.

***

Find Marlena online:

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#Fantasy #FlashFiction-2 Minute Read

Deer Mouse

          Protective Plague

     From the overlord’s house came a quiet but vicious argument. The other houses circling the town square stood quiet: my sister’s red wooden house built up on stilts after that last flood; the iron workers’ blue housing complex and their adjoining workshop also built on stilts; the dark-brown community building, windows tightly shuttered.
     The fountain in the square bubbled behind me. A mouse scurried around its stone base. The door of the overlord’s house slid upwards. He appeared on the step of the stately, tiered structure decorated with ornate wooden carvings. A woman’s sobs came from inside the house. He raised his nose to the sky and sniffed at the air, his wiry hair standing on end. He approached me by the fountain.
     “The weather has changed,” the overlord said. His heavy black cape fluttered behind him.
     “You notice such things, Master? Today is the Turn of the Season. Coupled with the full moon,” I said.
     “Oh, that’s why you tie those wreaths of herbs. Silly old traditions,” he said.
     “We will burn them at sunset on the Field of Fruition. These old traditions give the people comfort.”
     “This year we will initiate my new ritual,” he said. “Your traditions have no power. A deity is not appeased with burning herbs.”
     “With what then, Master? Burning flesh?”
     I heard a door slide open and turned suddenly. My sister appeared in her doorway, carrying a spray of reeds. Her two daughters, one head redder than the other, followed behind her. They carried baskets overloaded with sage and wormwood. Their door slid shut.
     “Good day, Master,” she said, dropping her reeds at my feet.
     I gathered three in my hands and began to braid their stalks. Her daughters set the baskets down on the stone steps of the fountain. My sister pulled both girls to her side.
     “Why is the workshop so still?” I asked her.
     “The men have crossed the ford to the settlement beyond the Never-Dying Forest. They’ve taken our surplus of food and hope to trade. Years ago the forest villagers made fabrics.”
     The overlord chuckled. “Those foolish men. No one lives beyond the water and the forest but barbarians. They don’t trade, they take.”
     “Then that will be our petition tonight at the bonfire,” I said. “The safety of all villagers involved, whether they come from Forest Village or Field Village.”
     “There will be no bonfire tonight.”
     By silent command, the double doors on the community building slid upwards. A group of leather-clad men, heavily armed with glinting steel, took two steps forward. Five young woman draped with dirty white shifts, hands and mouths bound, knelt behind their ranks.
     “My new Turn of the Season tradition starts today.” The overlord nodded to the troop. The men grabbed each of the young women under the arms and dragged them into the square. They were forced to kneel on the stone steps by the fountain. The overlord’s daughter was among them.
     “These women will be taken against their will on the Field of Fruition. The Mighty Deity will come and take the eggs as soon as they are fertilized. They belong to him. I will summon him. He will raise them in his glorious mountain realm.”
     I threw my reeds aside. “Our traditions and petitions are based on protecting our villagers, not sacrificing them.”
     “These women are ripe. We have prodded them all. The One True Deity will have his sacrifice.”
     “Men cannot enter the Field of Fruition at the Turn of the Season. It could bring us harm so close to the coming winter.”
     “Your foolish traditions cannot keep the furies of winter at bay. Harm will only come if one of these women becomes pregnant. She will be executed.”
     The midwife let out a shriek behind her gag. The barrel maker’s wife sniffed. The overlord stroked his daughter’s matted hair. 
     “If she becomes pregnant,” he said, “we will know she enjoyed the act. She will have defied the Mighty Deity. Women cannot become pregnant when taken against their will.”
     He took two steps forward, his face a breath away from mine. “These women can be saved. You give me the names of four others to take their places. You will be the fifth.” 
     He turned with a swish of his cape and, followed by his armed mob, disappeared into the community house. 
     My sister and I gathered our wreaths and we walked out of the square towards the fields. The sky was overcast and the rains threatened. Two women and their children bundled straw and had piled it neatly on a cart. Two other women whacked the lazy ox and the cart jerked into movement.
     In the middle of the Field of Fruition, wooden planks leaned on each other like an inverted cone. They came from the old demolished barn. In its place stood a new one. Since the great flood, our village had prospered. Mice scurried under my feet. We had enough grain that even the mice could multiply.  
     “The moon is coming up over the trees. We will start the fire now.” I said.
     My sister scraped her knife on her stone and sparks flew into a pile of straw. She convinced the fire to burn and we fed the flames until the dried planks ignited as well. I raised my wreath of braided reeds over my head. Mice scurried out from under the burning planks.
     My peaceful but protective petition rang silent in my thoughts. I threw the reeds on the fire. Sparks flew into the low storm clouds.  Mice scurried over my feet. I looked down and the Field of Fruition was no longer autumn-green, but mouse-grey. A layer of mice had formed, completely covering the Field. Well, this was not what I had in mind, but it would do. No one would enter this field tonight. 
 
 

#FlashFiction Friday

Year 299
Flash Fiction by Laura Libricz

The wind blew the massive oak door open and the page struggled to keep it from shattering against the stone wall. The snow blew vertically into the hall as the king stomped in, shaking the ice from his long black braid. Together, the king and the page forced the door closed, defying the anger of the raging storm.
     The page relieved the king of his saturated fur coat and threw the coat to the awaiting maid. The king sat down on the low bench and two other maids pulled his boots off. He winced as if this pained him. Suddenly, all five of them looked up into the darkness of the high ceiling; the wind whipped and the tower moaned.
     “We must move on into the next chamber, master,” the page said. “The tower is no longer stable. It could crash under the weight of the snow.”
     “Then this portion of the castle will be uninhabitable, too, my boy. We cannot build a-new, not in these conditions. If we are to believe their books, the snow should stop this year. If we are to believe that those men existed at all.”
     The king stood and the page ushered him through a low door into a warm, intimate chamber. A fire crackled under a large iron tank and two maids stood at the ready, their faces warm in the fire’s glow.
     “Have you heard the latest theory?” the page said. “That the world began 299 years ago and all the stories of a society before ours cannot be proven. They say, we are the only intelligent beings to have ever roamed this frozen planet.” He unsnapped the king’s black tarnished armor, removed the breastplate, the backplate and the legplates. “Flora, run the bath,” he said.
     The young blonde maid tapped the iron tank and hot water spilled into the copper bath tub. The somewhat older, dark-haired maid sprinkled handfuls of lavender into the steaming water.
     “Fauna, take these.” The dark-haired maid came to the page’s side and carried the armor away, into the shadows.
     “I do not believe this new theory,” said the king. “No king would have led his people to inhabit such a barren, frozen land.”
     The page poured two mugs of steaming spiced wine, handed one to the king and sipped cautiously at his own. “But surely no intelligent beings would devour and decay a civilization to the point of ruin and an eternal blizzard? I believe this new theory.”
     The king handed his mug to Flora. She set the mug aside, unfastened his shirt string and pulled the soiled and soaked fabric over his head. Three deep welts adorned his waist. She ran her finger over his wounds. Fauna produced a small pot of salve from the fold of her apron and gently doctored his split skin.
     “And what do your theories say about the ice tigers? Are we maybe decendants from their kind? By the way, our hunting party brought back three. We now have meat for a few weeks.”
     Fauna stripped the king’s torn trousers away and led him to the bath. The two women helped him climb up and over the edge and descend the ladder into the tub. He let out a growl of relief as he settled into the aromatic, healing water. 
     “One more thing, master,” the page said.
     “Can it wait until I am finished here?”
     “We need to discuss this tonight.”
     “Leave me with my maids. We will talk in the morning.”
     “There may be no morning, master.”
     “All the more reason to leave me with my maids, page.”
     “We only have enough fuel for the generators to get us through the night. If that. Then we are on our own. Our last bit of peace and comfort will be gone.”
     “Who was to secure our fuel?”
     “The last of the Morixen, master. They contracted the sickness after you left for the hunt and died while you were away.”
     “Page, go. Now.”
     The page bowed low and disappeared noiselessly behind a curtain. Fauna approached the king and undid his braided hair. Anointing his hair with soothing oil, she worked it into a lather and Flora rinsed his hair with warm, scented water. Both women took a brush each and scrubbed the hunt from the king’s soiled and scratched hands. His feet were sore and blistered and he let no one touch them.
     He pulled Fauna to his side and kissed her generously on the mouth. “Undress her,” he said and pointed to Flora.
     Fauna approached the petite blonde, pulled on her apron and unbuttoned her blouse.
     “Slowly,” the king said.
     The maid did as she was told.
     “Kiss her.”
     Fauna kissed Flora on the mouth, pulled her into an embrace and undid her pinned-up hair. Golden curls cascaded down the naked girl’s back.
     “Help me out of here,” the king said, his taught muscles gone to mush in the warm water.
     Zzzzzzzt. Zzt. Zt.
     Winds howled and that familiar snow-white blindness pierced the king’s protective goggles.
     Zzzzt. The warmth of the fire.
     Zzzzzt. The cold of the snow.
     The warmth of the fire.
     Ice. Snow. Cold.
     The king pulled off his goggles and looked up into blocks of ice; the domed ceiling of his igloo lit by the midnight sun. His snow pants restricted his massive erection.
     The page threw a handful of snow into a pot simmering over a pathetic blue flame. “I’m sorry, master. The generator’s out. I have a party out searching for fuel. Your dream date will have to wait!”