Coming 2015

Coming 2015

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Please Welcome -- Shana Galen

Well, HOPEFULLY the new season isn't too far off. Now we've put January and February behind us, I know I am more than ready for a positive change of weather, longer days, sunshine and some sprouting flowers! How about you?

Today, I'm thrilled to have the lovely Shana Galen here to bring us some of that sunshine with her merry smile, her stunning new cover and a jolly chat about the sometimes upside down, inside out world in which we writers live and write.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please help me welcome Shana, and don't forget to leave a comment for her below!

Where Am I?
by Shana Galen
 
Have you ever packed for a trip somewhere with weather quite different from yours, and despite checking the weather in your destination, you still packed for your current location? I do this all the time. I attend several writing conferences a year, and many of them are across the country from my home base in Houston, Texas.

I remember the year I attended a conference in Chicago in April. In Houston, April is warm, temperatures in the 80s. In Chicago, the weather was in the 50s. Despite knowing logically that the 50s is colder than the 80s, most of the clothes I packed were sundresses and sandals. I froze the first day I arrived and tried not to venture out of the hotel where I was staying. It’s hard to imagine 50-degrees when you’re living in 80-degrees.

The converse is also true. A few years ago my family and I went to Disneyworld in December. Orlando and Houston have similar weather, but that week Houston was in the 30s and Orlando was unseasonably hot with temps in the 80s and low 90s. I still packed jeans and coats and sweaters and then was too hot as I walked around Disney.

I run into this problem a lot when I’m writing. It’s very common for me to be scheduled to write a Christmas novella set in England in the middle of a sweltering Houston summer. How do I do it? I use my imagination. A lot.

Most authors who write historical fiction have to use their imaginations. We can read first-hand accounts of life in London or Paris, and even if we’ve been to the cities on vacation, the London of 2015 is not the London of 1820. At most, we hope for a glimmer of what was to spur our imagination.

Another element of setting I pay attention to is location. My most recent release, EARLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN, is set in London. It’s filled with descriptions of busy streets, street hawkers, jostling crowds, and of course, that ever-present London fog. But not all of London was the same. Part of the book is set in the wealthy area of Mayfair, while the rest of the book is set in the slums of Seven Dials. I really wanted to juxtapose the two settings, because even though they are geographically close, they are miles apart in setting. Mayfair had open spaces, clean (by the standards of the day) streets, posh houses, and was considerably quieter than other areas of London. I once read that the really rich had straw put on the streets in front of their houses so the sounds of carriages passing would be muted.
 
Seven Dials was dark and filthy with rubbish in the street and walks. Unkempt children ran free. Gin houses were prevalent, which meant drunk men and women were commonplace, as were prostitutes and thieves—not that there was much to steal in Seven Dials. I read an account from a physician who attended a sick person in one of the London rookeries, and he mentioned the room where the family lived was so dark, even in the middle of the day, he had to bring extra lamps with him to see.

Quite a contrast from those whitewashed mansions in Mayfair!

 My next book, WHILE YOU WERE SPYING, will be out in April, and while it takes place in England during the early 1800s, it’s set in the Hampshire and Yorkshire countryside. Not only was the country quite different from the city, Hampshire and Yorkshire have very different landscapes as well.

 It’s no wonder I sometimes look up from writing about a rainstorm in the chilly Hampshire countryside to be momentarily confused at the hot sun outside my window, with its view of the sprawling city.

 Readers what sorts of settings do you enjoy? London? New York? Small towns? Exotic locations? One person who comments will win a copy of EARLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN (open internationally).

 

Earls Just Want to Have Fun--on sale now!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Deverells

This year I am working on a new series that I'm very excited about. It's a Victorian family saga, full of scandal, lust and intrigue. It begins, in book one, with the family patriarch, whose name I won't tell you here, but you'll find out soon enough. Suffice to say, he names himself after the one and only creature that has ever shown him any tenderness.

I have had so much fun writing this one. I think I can quite safely say he is not like any other hero I've written or read. He might be too much for you, but he is impossible to rein in, so I'm not going to apologize for it!

Instead, let this stand as warning to you -- in the words of my heroine, Olivia Westcott Ollerenshaw Pemberton Monday:

A properly raised young woman of good family should avoid the company of such a gentleman. In fact, many people refused to call him a gentleman at all. No one seemed to know for sure where he came from, although there was a general consensus as to where he'd end up.

Hmm. Maybe she should take her own advice!

As for our dark hero, he can't take himself too seriously, even when he's trying to. He knows there is a certain legend built up around him, but he's afraid the reality must be a bit of a disappointment when compared to the fantasy.

In his opinion,

Women build things up in their minds and see only what they want to see. When they find his tastes a little too "uncivilized", and they have their eyes opened to reality, it is he who is at fault. It is he who has broken their hearts and abused them, destroyed their innocence. As if he has proven to them that the Beast never would change for Beauty. A hard truth they cannot bear to believe.
 
Well, maybe he's right. As a woman (last time I checked), and an avid reader of romance myself, I always hope for a happy ending and the frog to become a prince. (Unless he's a really cute frog - note to self - frequently in real life they are better looking than princes).
 
Lets face it, whatever our gender, life can be pretty grim without that Happily Ever After. But the hero of this book doesn't believe in them. After the start he had in life, its a miracle he's still alive and thriving. Maybe that's enough. Even though he's a gambling man, "Love" is surely against the odds.
 
Will Olivia, a woman with more than a few dark secrets of her own, feel the same way? Does she want a prince? Or a cute frog (Yay). She doesn't believe in fairytales - with her past she can't afford to. Nor does she gamble. Can't afford to do that either.
 
So how is she going to deal the cards against this player?
 
Wait and see...
 
 
 
 
 


Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Year, New Characters

Hey, I know I'm a little slow greeting the new year, but it has been a busy few weeks, topped off by a bout of crazy flu. I'm hoping to be more active with my blogging this year, although I also have a great deal of actual book writing in progress, so making room for everything will continue to be tough.
2014 was a wonderful year and 2015 promises to be even better! I have a couple of new series I'm writing now, as well as the third book in the Book Club Belles on its way to bookshelves. Sadly, Sourcebooks won't be releasing that third book until December 2015 - soooo a long wait for my readers and fans of the series. Sorry about that, but its out of my hands, folks!
In the meantime, I'll be introducing you to some new characters -- including a scandalous family saga with a patriarch I don't think you'll be able to forget in a hurry, and a group of rebellious young ladies who've created an unlikely hero of their own, entirely on paper. I can't tell you more than that right now, but stay tuned!
I'm excited as this new year picks up steam. Great things are coming.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Jayne

Monday, August 11, 2014

WHO AM I?

If you've just found this blog - Welcome! I'd like to take this moment to tell you a bit about myself.

My epitaph will probably include the words, "she should have known better." I shuffle around the house in worn-out woolly socks, don't own a solitary t-shirt that isn’t stained, talk to myself, sing Amy Winehouse in the shower, have a morbid fear of sewing machines and ironing boards, drink too much coffee, would work for coconut cake, and spend five hours a day writing to maintain a relative degree of sanity.
As a child, my desire to entertain manifested itself in weekly performances from a cupboard in my bedroom. The repertoire was extensive and varied, including a one-woman version of “Jaws”, complete with a musical interlude for ice-cream. Sadly my audience of stuffed animals, dolls and bored sisters was mostly unimpressed and only mildly attentive.
The entertainment I provide for my family is now sadly limited to books published and occasional webcam shenanigans, since we're all far apart. My sisters remain unimpressed by this thing called a writing career and only approve of my wicked stories when they can be assured the heroine is based upon them.
They wait patiently for a story in which everyone keeps their clothes on. Mostly they claim to have no clue where I gets these ideas.
But then I really don't know either.
I've been published now since 2011 and it's certainly been a learning experience. I've discovered that while I love the process of writing and editing, I'm pretty bad at promotion and marketing. I can get so absorbed in writing a scene that I will forget the time, but I never forget a prize promised to a reader/fan. I've also learned that not everyone will like what I write. But that's fine - we can't all like the same colours and pizza toppings or life would be very dull. I've met some fabulous, supportive fans and I've also made some wonderful friends within the writing community.
I hope to continue writing for the rest of my life, to keep the readers happy and myself in wooly socks!
I can be found on Twitter @jaynefresina, on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jayne-Fresina/137708499635497?sk=info and at almost any bookstore (online and on your street corner).

So that's me for you!

Welcome to my blog,

Calamity Jayne

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Release Day Party!

Finally the day is here - The Book Club Belles are formally "out" in society with ONCE UPON A KISS. Would you like to win a signed paperback of the new release? If so, please join my Facebook author page and send me a message there. I have a few copies left - not many!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jayne-Fresina/137708499635497?ref=hl

I'll be appearing in various web spots over the next week or so and posting links to the interviews and giveaways on my FB page as they come up, so keep an eye out!

Thanks and Happy Reading!


The couple in my newest novel ONCE UPON A KISS have a bit of a hard time communicating.


You expect life to mimic fiction and when it does not you are disappointed. You wait for a man like one of those you read about. One who spouts poetry and makes an ass of himself on bended knee.”



“Why not? You’re able to make an ass of yourself upright.”


Available Now!
Barnes and Noble - http://bit.ly/1f8g79J


















 
 
 

 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Character Showcase - Justina Penny

Well, it's finally Jussy's turn and she's been waiting impatiently to meet you all! As the first leading lady in my Book Club Belles Society series, Justina Penny is one of the youngest and most wayward of all my heroines.
For the year 1815 she is definitely ahead of her time in some ways. She knows (or thinks she knows) what she does and does not want in her life, and her hopes for the future do not include the usual expectations of a young lady in the Regency era. Fortunately for her, no one else in her family holds out much hope for Jussy in that regard either. As the sister with the fewest expectations placed upon her, she makes the most of her freedom.

But, of course, even though she thinks she has the world sewn up, she has some growing up to do. At nineteen she is an independent, plucky spirit and while that has its good points, it also has it's drawbacks.
Her bravery also makes her reckless and gets her into sticky situations.
Her quick mind can also be stubborn and cause her to be so sure she's right that everyone else must always be wrong.
That bright imagination can also blind her to reality.

I know that for me, part of Justina's charm is that she isn't perfect. Far from it, in fact. She's not a mature, wise, all-knowing, flawless young woman who never puts a foot wrong. She begins her story in the preview short BEFORE THE KISS, when, during a trip to Bath, she meets Mr. Darius Wainwright and immediately decides he's the most stuck-up gentleman she's ever known. From that beginning it's clear she has a journey of discovery yet to make.
By the end of ONCE UPON A KISS she has learned a lot more about Darius, and also about herself.

And Jussy is not just the naughty girl bent on rebellion. She also has many good points - including a kind heart, devotion to her family, loyalty to her friends and a desire to bring a smile to a certain grumpy fellow's lips.
Yes, she leaps first and asks questions later, but one day, perhaps, she'll be mature enough (or so her elder sister Cathy hopes) to consider the consequences for once, before her feet leave the ground. By the end of ONCE UPON A KISS there are signs that this might one day come to pass. After all, miracles can't happen overnight.

I'll leave you with an excerpt from Miss Justina Penny's diary -

August 29th, 1815 A.D.

Today I splashed Mrs. Dockley from head to toe, broke a china plate, and failed to heed Mama. Thrice. All these things, but for the last, were quite accidental. I was quarrelsome on four occasions and fibbed regarding the china plate, pieces of which will one day be found buried in the herb garden and not in the possession of a wild-eyed, knife-wielding gypsy with a wart and a wooden foot. Although I think my version of events is better.

Sometimes real life is very dull, or simply incon­venient, and things never turn out quite the way one expects or hopes. I have heard it said that challenges are sent to try us. I would like to know who is sending so many to me, for I believe they have been misad­dressed. I am quite tried enough, and I suspect that someone, somewhere, is completely light since I have all their calamities as well as my own. Speaking of which, today I thought of the Wrong Man again.

I know not why he continues to plague me, unless it is a developing, chronic case of Maiden’s Palsy. It has been over a year. All I can say is, the blasted town of Bath has a great deal to answer for and I would not go there again for ten thousand pounds and a life supply of hot chocolate.

I cursed inventively when I caught my skirt in the kitchen door and again when I found a splinter in my finger. At approximately ten o’clock, when I saw Lucy in her new scarlet cloak, I was wracked with envy. But it lasted only until a quarter past, at which time she shared a jam tart with me and lamented the fact that her hair will never hold a curl so well as mine. Ah, vanity—one is hounded by it relentlessly when one has so little to be vain about.

Yesterday we sat in the hayloft and watched Major Sherringham’s hired harvest hands at work. Briefly I lusted. That is when I thought of the Wrong Man again. But even I do not suffer the Maiden’s Palsy as often as Lucy, who will confess—when pressed—that she is seized by wicked desires at least twice daily, even with no militia encamped nearby. I suspect this may be due to the fact that she was once a sickly child. I shall advise her to eat nettle soup. And a quantity of it.

            JP

 
 
 
 
  
 
 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Character Showcase - Darius Wainwright

In my new series, The Book Club Belles, five young ladies have formed a book society in their small Buckinghamshire village. It is the year 1815 and they've just started reading  Pride and Prejudice. Imagine their surprise when a handsome, mysterious stranger arrives to take possession of the biggest house in the village. He's haughty, reserved, and just like "Mr. Darcy". The gossips are soon in a spin and the Book Club Belles can't help thinking he might have walked directly off the pages of the book they're reading. Whether that's a good, or a bad thing, only time will tell.

Darius Wainwright makes his first appearance in my free introductory story BEFORE THE KISS and you will get to know him more in ONCE UPON A KISS. He's a young man with many responsibilities in his life. He runs a successful shipping business - importing wonderful things like chocolate! - and he is also guardian of his fifteen-year old niece, Sarah. He takes both these things very seriously and it gives him a stiff and haughty appearance. The light relief in his life mostly comes from his best friend Miles Forester, who is always having some romantic misadventure from which he needs to be rescued. As for Sarah, (the niece Darius has raised since she was four and he only nineteen) he believes he's doing a pretty good job, and often thinks to himself...


At least she had the capacity to entertain herself and was not all noise and giggling like most females of her age.

            His stepmother, however, complained the girl was withdrawn and peevish. “You’re raising her to be as unsociable as yourself,” she snapped.

            “Sarah is fifteen. She is not ‘out’ and therefore not meant to be sociable.”

        “Whatever your future plans for the girl, she must learn how to hold a conversation and be gracious. She is too turned in on herself. Of course, she leads a solitary life in this house with no one her own age and no cous­ins, since you flatly refuse to marry and produce any.”

            But Darius saw nothing amiss in his raising of Sarah or in the way she turned out. He measured his success in the fact that he could sit quietly in her company for half an hour and feel neither the stressful need to fill an awk­ward silence nor the beginnings of a tense headache. She seldom made any sign of disagreeing with his opinions and, in fact, had said very recently, “I look at you, Uncle Darius, and know exactly what I want, and don’t want, in a husband.” He was pleased to think he had set her a fine example upon which to base future judgments.


But when he arrives in the village of Hawcombe Prior he soon finds a number of new and unexpected things requiring his attention. One is a very large, complacent, aristocratic pig called Sir Mortimer Grubbins, who by strange accident falls under his care. And another item, even more urgently requiring his attention in this wild, unruly countryside, is Miss Justina Penny - one of those troublesome young ladies of the local book society. He's been warned about those women already, but nothing could have prepared him for what he finds.

Of course, he hasn't read Pride and Prejudice so he has no idea who Mr. Darcy is. From the way Miss Justina Penny keeps mentioning that man with disdain, however, he can only guess Mr. Darcy is the most awful villain ever created. It's clear to Darius that he's off to a bad start since she keeps comparing him to this fictional gentleman. Maybe his housekeeper is right and young women should never be allowed to read romance novels. Surely nothing good can come of it!

Thank you for reading!