Saturday, June 20, 2015

When Your Editor Turns Author

It isn't every single day you get the opportunity to return favors for people. It isn't every day your favorite editor's debut novel is released by Whitefire Publishing. And it is for this happy reason that I gather all of you together to throw a little birthday-party interview for my friend and editor, Rachelle Rea. 

ABOUT The Sound of Diamonds

Her only chance of getting home is trusting the man she hates.With the protestant Elizabeth on the throne of England and her family in shambles, Catholic maiden Gwyneth seeks refuge in the Low Countries of Holland, hoping to soothe her aching soul. But when the Iconoclastic Fury descends and bloodshed overtakes her haven, she has no choice but to trust the rogue who arrives, promising to see her safely home to her uncle's castle. She doesn't dare to trust him...and yet doesn't dare to refuse her one chance to preserve her own life and those of the nuns she rescues from the burning convent.Dirk Godfrey is determined to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk knows he has only one chance at redemption, and it lies with the lovely Gwyneth, who hates him for the crimes she thinks he committed. He must see her to safety, prove to the world that he is innocent, prove that her poor eyesight is not the only thing that has blinded her but what is he to do when those goals clash?The home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, the saint and the sinner must either dare to hold to hope...or be overcome.


Rachelle Rea plots her novels while driving around the little town she's lived in all her life in her dream car, a pick-up truck. An Oreo addict, she is also a homeschool graduate and retired gymnast. She wrote the Sound of Diamonds the summer after her sophomore year of college.


Instagram: @RachelleDianeRea

So, loves. Though I missed the official Release Week due to my laptop unexpectedly coming to a heated death (truly, it burned), I have the privilege of interviewing this Southern Dynamo here on The Inkpen Authoress and questioning her all about the first book in her Steadfast Love series, published by Whitefire Publishing. Welcome, Rachelle! Readers: if you want to know how her boyfriend views her career as a romance novelist, what she thought when her dream publisher said yes, and which book Rachelle cannot live without, read on! 

RH: I had the privilege of beta-reading The Sound of Diamonds years ago. How much would you say the story has changed in the interim?

RR: A little. A lot. LOL. Much of the plot has stayed the same; much growth has gone into the details and characters. For example, Gwyneth wears glasses. At one point in the story (no spoilers here!), she loses her glasses. In an early draft (maybe the one you read, Rachel), she conveniently has another pair--so not plausible. Needless to say, she goes without her glasses for a bit in the now-finished novel. ;)

RH: You say this contract was dropped in your lap; how did it feel to know that your dream publisher had said YES?

RR: It felt like sitting at my desk at 10pm and wondering why I had watched that second episode of Arrow that had prevented me from checking my email and discovering the news earlier. A few hours had passed between that lovely bit of news arriving in my inbox and my actually discovering it! It felt like nearly crying, nearly screaming, waking up my parents to tell them, calling my best friends, and sleeping with a smile on my face. :)

RH: What makes the Steadfast Love Series (of which TSD is Book 1) different from other historical romance series?

RR: My series follows the same two main characters throughout all three books--in other series, the trend seems to be to follow a family or set of friend-ish characters.

RH: What would say is your trademark as an author?

RR: My favorite word. Daring. I want to write stories of people who have the choice to be brave--and choose rightly, if not for the first time, then just in time. :)

RH: How do your personal acquaintances view your authorship?

RR: What a fun question! I'll never forget the face a friend made in the kitchen when I told her I had signed a contract. And my boyfriend has mentioned he found it slightly intimidating at first that I'm a romance novelist. :) All in all, though, I'm thrilled and blessed by the support of all those around me--in real life and online. :)

RH: What is the biggest thing you have learned between drafts #1 and the final version of your trilogy?

RR: I'll never think it's finished. I've heard authors mention that before but never had it seemed truer than when I was rereading the final galleys and wanting to make tweaks and changes that were trivial to say the least. But the truth is, this novel is the best book I've ever written. And the next book will be even better. ;)

RH: Mind sharing a favorite quote from The Sound of Diamonds?

What did it matter if I perished here in the convent at the hands of my enraged countrymen? Better that than breathing my last at his hands.
– Gwyn, The Sound of Diamonds
RR: This captures her attitude so well. She would rather die than let Dirk save her in this first chapter--but that soon changes... ;)

RH: One book you cannot live without?

RR: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I love that book. I lend that book out regularly, so I guess I do live without it somewhat, but still. It speaks to my soul. ;)

We at The Inkpen Authoress wish you all the best of luck and happiness with The Sound of Diamonds. Thanks for dropping by for the afternoon and sharing the scoop! :) 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Confession Time: I'm Mad

(PSA: mini York peppermint patties are like little tablets of ambrosia set with the flavor imparted from being served in the Holy Grail.) 
"The British have always been madly overambitious, and from one angle it can seem like bravery, but from another it looks suspiciously like a lack of foresight." -Ben Aaronovitch Whispers Under Ground 
I know nothing about the book from which Goodreads helpfully pulled the quote which towers above your page, but I do know that according to it, I must be British. See, I suffer from a distinct madness called Leaping Before I Look. It's part of my ENFP personality type, I know. The Inspirer: we see potential everywhere, in everything and everyone. We're probably most susceptible to plot bunnies, starting stories we don't finish, and generally sitting, like Daisy March, wearing a benevolent smile and announcing,
"Me wuvs evvybody!"
Thankfully, I've managed to more or less curb that impulse to "abandon stories in favor of a fresher idea". I hope to be a good mother someday. I've got to learn to see things through, right? Just so. But the bug called Inspiration bites me frequently and sometimes I careen past Caution, Sense, Logic, and the street-corner called Informed Consumer and thoroughly embrace an opportunity. It's a loveable failing, but a definite failing.

Last November I felt in a mood to write a short story and, because I don't like to write things that won't see the light of day, I did a quick Google-search on story-writing contests. In my delvings, I found an "essay contest" for an inspirational magazine. The essays requested were something along the lines of a letter from your one-hundred year-old self to yourself now. The idea was odd, struck my fancy, and produced something written in a fit of the writing-wiggles called "The Secret To Red Lipstick". Happily, there was no entry fee for this particular contest and the only thing I had to risk was rejection. If I was accepted, there was a $2,500 prize in view. I sent the thing in and literally forgot it. In January I happened to sort through my Google Drive files and see the essay. I read it over, recalled vaguely that I had entered some contest with it and never heard back, and closed the file and the memory. A few weeks later, I received an email in my inbox from a man of whom I'd never heard. When I read the thing, I was made to understand that the man in question was the editor-in-chief from Fountain Magazine (the contest-host). He wrote to inform me that he had discussed matters with his colleagues and, though my essay had not placed in the contest, they intended to publish "The Secret To Red Lipstick" in the next issue of Fountain. Thinking this was rather an unexpected and curious turn of events (and furthermore, having been reminded of the name of the publication to which I had submitted my piece), I decided to Google the magazine and see what sort of banner my words would fly under.
In a moment I was a puddle of laughter, dismay, tears, and hilarity on my bed while my sister looked on in some small concern. Dear reader, Fountain Magazine is a primarily Islamic publication focusing on science, literature, art, and inspirational fiction. I believe I am probably the only outspokenly-Christian writer who could accidentally land herself a gig in a Muslim magazine. After my initial shock and awe, I sent a few emails back and forth with the editor, discussing whether I was the best match for the magazine's goals, the fact that when I entered, I had accepted the small-print detail (who reads those?) that I had given the magazine permission to publish my story. We also discussed the fact that since my faith was so important to me, I would be given special permission to mention my religious affiliation in my bio-blurb. The editor was fantastically courteous, understanding, easy-going, and respectful and what had initially been a "what the heck?!" moment for me became a lesson learned. I had not researched the publication to which I was submitting my work. I did not read the Terms & Conditions. I had done absolutely nothing in the way of approaching the thing as a mature adult, and yet it ended up being a good experience. Why? Because of another person who did act like a mature person.

I learned that one must always take time to research, to learn the audience, and to be certain that one's work would be a good fit. But more importantly, I learned that there are ways to solve differences without compromising ground. The day I received the package with my copies of the issue of Fountain in which my article appeared (and my check), was a proud day for me. The layout was beautiful. My words were my own. And they had appeared, professionally laid-out and paid-for in an international magazine despite my lack of foresight. Hearken to this advice, chillens: do your research. But keep in mind that sometimes the mad-man wins in spite of his own idiocy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Hello, poor lost readers of mine! Well, I suppose you aren't the ones lost now, are you? I certainly did not mean to leave the country for two weeks without warning you, but The Fox Went Out was keeping you so happy, I felt I left you in good hands.

A hundred thanks to each of you who read this unusual story and liked it and furthermore left me a comment to tell me so. You make a writer's world go round. Especially when said writer has been in a bit of a bog writing-wise out of which the only thing to come so far has been a whack-a-do story such as The Fox Went Out. We hope that upon our return to America and the banishment of jetlag, we shall soon be up to our elbows in Scotch'd the Snakes and making real progress forward.

If I haven't worked on any of my novels, I have been writing. I believe I made it through ninety-seven pages in my travel journal in two weeks. I haven't the foggiest how many words that represents, but it felt good to write something definite every single day. During our ten-hour layover in Moscow I sat near a young man with red hair and freckles who was reading Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken. This immediately made me feel friendly toward him, even though he looked like the red-haired boy from Pleasure Island in Pinocchio who turns into a donkey. If I was not quite so "ick" from having been traveling for so long already with a ten-hour flight ahead of me, I would have tried to strike up conversation. As it was, we discussed the flavor of purple Skittles in Romania and that was that. Not exactly kindred spirits despite the book. His friend leaned over to him:
"You're a fast reader."
Redhead looks up. "Huh?"
"You read fast."
"Oh, yeah." He stirs as if he was personally jolted out of a Japanese prison camp and air-dropped in Hawaii. "Yeah, I started this book on the train from Prague."
"Mmm," the friend says.
I sit back and smirk. Well 'scuse me, Mr. Hoighty-Toighty. We've resorted to nation name-dropping, have we?

Anyway, I have so much to tell you. I have a lecture prepared on Doing Research Before Entering Things, I could share excerpts from my travel journal, we could discuss your reaction to The Fox Went Out and why it worked (or didn't) according to your current feeling. We could discuss the new Rooglewood Press contest with its GORGEOUS cover (Five Magic Spindles, anyone?), the fact that it is author Clara Diane Thompson's birthday ("Give her a drink! I...I mean a hand!"), or that I was entranced by a piece of flash fiction I read on the side of my Chipolte's cup which could have been jetlag or really good writing.

There are many things. I have missed you, dear creatures. So glad to be back, so glad to catch up. May the wordcount ever be in your favor and may I soon forge a way through the slough that is my current WIP.