Now that the launch of "Somewhere to Dream" is only four days away, I got organized and put together what I think is a pretty neat-o prize.
I put the Rafflecopter thingy at the bottom of this page so you can enter to win! All the generous bloggers (that I know of!) who are reviewing "Somewhere to Dream" will be sharing the Rafflecopter below. I'll post the dates when I'm visiting those blogs (if I don't know the dates yet I'll share them on my Facebook page and twitter as they come in). You can enter as often as you wish and Rafflecopter will pick the winner at the end (on Nov 20).
So that means you can enter to win right here today ... and you can ALSO enter by clicking on these bloggers' posts!
So ... what does the winner get?
I'm going with the "Somewhere to DREAM" theme, so I've included
And if you already own my books? Well, wouldn't that be a great Christmas present for a friend?
Here are the online blogger dates I know so far ... PLEASE NOTE, these links won't go live until the day they're being officially posted! If any others come up, I'll post them on my Facebook page. I want to thank these bloggers SO MUCH for all their support! A reeeeally great group of gals.
November 1st: Delighted Reader Book Reviews
November 1st: The Olde Barn
November 2nd: Stitch, Read, Cook
November 4th: Riverina Romantics
November 5th: Night Owl Reviews
November 6th: Book Obsessed Chicks
November 6th: Ramblings from a Chaotic Mind
November 7th: The Romance Dish
November 7th: Novel Thoughts
November 11th: Moonlight Gleam
November 12th: Into the Hall of Books
November 13th: Mission to Read
November 13th: Caffeinated Book Reviewer
November 15th: Good, Bad, and Unread
Good luck, everyone!
For those of you living nearby, I have a few LOCAL book signings coming up:
Sunday November 10 at Chapters, Bayers Lake (Halifax) 2:30-4:00
Saturday November 16 at Sobeys, 612 Nova Scotia Trunk 7 (Forest Hills Extension) 10-2
Wednesday November 27 at Lawtons, Musquodoboit Harbour 10-2
Saturday November 30 at Superstore, Porters Lake 10-2
Hope to see you there!
Barnes & Noble, the largest bookstore chain in the U.S., is closing a third of its stores over the next decade, they say.
In 2011, Borders Bookstores shut down all their stores.
Up here in Canada we haven't heard any mutterings—or not many, anyway—about closing our Chapters Bookstores, but can it be far off?
I find this whole scenario interesting. People are furious, sad, or even celebrating, but no one is without an opinion. I was sad at first. Nostalgic, really. Then I started to think about it a little deeper.
Yes, I think that when these huge box stores shut down, there will be fewer books sold. And as an author, that's obviously not good. I think the books bought in these stores are mostly impulse buys, not planned ones. That is neither here nor there, but here's the thing. When I go to Chapters—and I love to spend a couple of hours there, just wandering, perusing, latte in hand—I never leave with just one book. I grab the one I came for (if I came with one in mind), then … well, it's like popcorn. I can't stop. Everything's so pretty and exciting and colourful and inviting! How can I just walk away and leave all those books? What if I miss the ultimate adventure of a lifetime?
But let's look at another story.
… there was a little bookstore near my home. Actually, it wasn't all that near. It required that the whole family get into the car and drive, then look for a parking spot (because there weren't any big parking lots around there), feed the meter, etc. But all that effort was worthwhile, because we were out doing more than just buying a book or two. It was an event, almost.
Beside that store was a little hardware store and a Chinese grocery store (where they had a "pet" snapping turtle in their basement who was over 75 years old! They let me visit it when I was small), and an adorable little store that sold loads of special cheese and a bunch of little figurines that I collected. A couple of doors down from them was a children's clothing store. There was even a butcher on that little street. I loved when we went out to visit those places. We always knew the owners—sometimes even their families. They were always happy to see us, whether or not we bought anything. We usually did, though. We understood it was their business, their livelihood, and we were more than happy to be a part of their success—and in return we got both good products and personalized service.
Then one day a major sports store took over half a block. We'd never seen anything like it, so we popped in … and left with our arms full of bags, even though we really hadn't needed anything to do with sports. They were such good deals! There was so much choice! It was just so darn exciting to be in there, with the young, energized staff, the flashy promotional messages, the funky music blaring through the speakers. Just made you want to dance while you handed over your Visa card. Over time, they started selling ladies' clothing as well, so we stopped visiting the other store. They'd be fine without us. Or so we thought.
It wasn't long before a huge grocery store moved into the neighbourhood. Again—what choice! Everything laid out like presents at Christmas … and ooh! look at those things we've never eaten before! We need to buy some of those! One of the saddest memories I have as a child was finding out that our cheese/figurine shop had gone out of business about a year after that.
I hardly noticed the changeover when Chapters opened, and it was only in passing that I realized our little bookstore was gone. I was first in line, Visa in hand. And I haven't stopped shopping there since—except for when I actually take the time to go out and visit the rare independent bookstore or when I shhh! shop online. Even then, I always try to buy my books online from Chapters, not Amazon. Just on principal. But really, isn't Amazon just a bigger box store eating all the smaller box stores? And we used to celebrate these massive stores when they arrived.
Now times are a-changing. The E-book revolution has changed the world, yes, but more than that, it was the internet.
Before now, we had no idea of the millions of books out there. Actually, I doubt there really were millions of books out there until the internet, when it suddenly became possible for anyone at all to write and sell books. But back then, one of the more relaxing, enjoyable things for me was stopping in at the little bookstore, browsing, then buying just the right book. Not being handed promotional postcards, being shuffled towards the gift section, or having tables of $5 books slid in my path. Just finding something that would take me away.
So what will happen now? It's not as if books are going to go away. You'll always be able to find the #1 Bestselling Amazon Book! or the Free Book of the Day! online. You'll still be welcome at any library, and your friends will always lend you books. But oh, those hours of lost time, wandering the bookstore aisles, picking up books on impulse because of the pretty covers and managing to grab a candle or bowl for a friend's birthday at the same time … How will we survive?
I moved to a small town five years ago, so the internet has become a very easy way for me to pick up books. We have no small store here. I have to go half an hour before I can find a Chapters store. So yes, I'm starting to increase my online shopping. And I do love when a book arrives in the mail.
But what if--and, like I said, there's no talk of this at all, so don't go around saying "Genevieve said so! I'm just hypothesizing—Chapters closed down. What would I do? Yes, I could drive to the closest independent bookstore, once I found out where that was. Yes, I could continue to shop online.
But what if … the shutting down of box stores meant the rebirth of independent stores? What if my little town all of a sudden offered a tiny bookstore? What if Future Shop closed and little electronics stores opened instead, and we got to know the actual owner, not just a hired hand? What if big grocery chains had to downsize? Well, we all have to eat. Maybe if the giants aren't there to take all the money, those quaint little grocery stores with the handwritten price labels could come back. Maybe we could even attend farmers' markets and end up eating better, supporting local.
The #1 thing box stores and the internet give us, in my opinion, is convenience. We're spoiled. It'd take some time, some adjustments, but personally, I don't think I'd be all that sad if those massive stores were gone.
The world is shrinking, and we're all fitting quietly and easily into those narrowing borders. Despite all the talk we do about reading labels and avoiding GMOs, I believe I served a Mexican tomato in our salad last night because it's just too darn cold to grow them here in January, and we wanted a tomato! *stomp stomp stomp* But really, couldn't I have waited? Couldn't I have eaten something else? Couldn't I have stopped being spoiled and accepted what I was given without complaints?
As an author, I will sell fewer books if the big stores are gone. I know that. I'm sure a lot of people pick up a copy of one of my books completely on impulse, because of the pretty cover or the intriguing blurb on the cover. Not because the shop has propped it up as a "featured book" at the front counter. Because, in case you didn't know this, all the books you see featured at any of the big bookstores are being featured not because the bookstores choose to do it, but because the publishers have put big bucks into those displays. Can you really see everyone racing out to buy books like 50 Shades or Hunger Games if they hadn't been stacked to the ceiling everywhere you turned? Without some great marketing miracle, you'll never see a new or local author featured that way (except at a signing). We can't afford to pay for that.
Big Box bookstores closed a ton of small bookstores. The internet is closing a bunch of those Big Box bookstores. I don't think it means fewer people are reading—in fact, I think because of ebooks and the ease of internet shopping, the opposite is happening.
I'd miss the hours of wandering through bookstore aisles, reading samples. But I love the idea that these closings might be opportunities for new doors to open. Independent stores. They won't be nearly as hard to find if this happens, I'm betting. And I'm all for that.
Whether you are reading or writing, the world of books is filled with genres from which you can choose: childrens books, nonfiction, murder, suspense, romance, chicklit, and on and on. Yet when I sat down to tap away at my first book, I chose Historical Fiction. Why? I had never been a historian. In fact, I hadn’t ever been interested in history. But the books I’d been reading swept me up in adventures I needed to have, and I’d settle for nothing less.
It all began when my mother handed me a copy of “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon. The genius of Gabaldon is that she can incorporate her incredible knowledge of the past, her gift of research, her creative instincts, and work it all into the most human characters I’ve ever read. Jamie and Claire—as well as anyone they meet—are real. Any one of Gabaldon’s millions of fans will agree with that. Yes, they are fictional. And yet they are as real in my mind as many of my flesh and blood friends.
Is that strange? Maybe. Don’t get me wrong. I’m well aware I can’t call them up and meet for a coffee. But they really do feel as if they existed at one time.
When I write, I have often said I am just the typist, the medium between the story and the keyboard. I feel the story rather than plan it. To me, quite honestly, the inspiration comes from somewhere else.
But … from where? Okay. Here’s the thing. My stories are set in the mid-18th century, so no one alive today was alive then. (I’m not talking about reincarnation or anything like that.) But people did (obviously) live back then. And they died. Those who believe we can communicate with spirits know it’s entirely possible to channel messages from beyond. Well, what I’m saying is that if I’m hearing these stories, channeling or whatever, couldn’t they be coming from someone who has passed? How do I know someone isn’t actually telling me their story?
That’s the magic for me when it comes to good historical fiction. When it’s written well, it’s so believable it feels like it actually happened. And though I know what I write is fiction, well, in truth … who’s to say it didn’t really happen?
(originally a guest blog on Turning The Pages)
So ... I've been receiving loads of emails and comments lately that absolutely thrill me. Unless you've been in this position (or something similar), it's impossible to fully grasp what it means when an author learns that perfect strangers are being moved by their writing. An author shares stories that apparently come from nowhere, opening their souls to the world, daring themselves to be brave enough to chance criticism and rejection.
And everyone receives that. It's part of the business. You can't please 'em all.
But when the opposite happens, when readers express love for the writing, it is more than a dream come true. For me it is something of which I never dared to dream. I wrote "Under the Same Sky" for me, never thinking it might go any farther. I wrote "Sound of the Heart" for me, for my editor ... and for Dougal, who demanded his story be told. And in Fall 2013 you will read Adelaide's story in "Out of the Shadows". This passion of mine has grown and become a mountain I can't help but climb.
Recently I've received a number of requests for a certain storyline ... namely a reunion of the two MacDonnell brothers. This review by Carolyn Hughes on Goodreads was a wonderful example.
BUT I have to explain something.
Berkley Sensation (Penguin US) has been wonderful, believing in me, encouraging me to share the stories in my head. But what they asked me to write was a "companion novel", not a sequel. That means you should be able to pick up one book and read it completely independently of the other, so if you pick up "Sound of the Heart" first, you won't miss anything key. If I'd written a sequel, you'd have to read the books in order. With my companion novels, I have independent stories happening at the same time - different lives being led, all connected.
Andrew and Maggie came first. Dougal nearly drove me crazy with his insistence (thank goodness!), and even shy Adelaide woke me one morning with a need to share her story. Wee Janet MacLeod (the beautiful lassie who tried unsuccessfully to win Andrew over) even wants a book. (Under construction) These are all "companion novels".
But I'm with you. I can't see the series as being complete since the family members haven't yet reunited. And I get excited thinking about the offspring of Maggie and Adelaide. Can you imagine? It may be a while, but I will write that book. Just be patient! Andrew searched his whole life for Maggie, Dougal spent years looking for Glenna ... so hang in there. I love love love that you want to read that book. I can hardly wait to write it.
And thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
Yay! June's here!
Out here in Nova Scotia, the grass is green, the trees are in full bloom (though we're still waiting with anticipation for our three year old apple trees to show us a little colour), hummingbirds are dive bombing each other outside my kitchen window, and I have set up shop (as often as possible) in my outside office. That's an awesome place to be, in case you're wondering. We have a fairly consistent plague of black flies out here, and my incredible husband did a whole bunch of research to find a screen that would keep them out of "my office". He built a sturdy deck underneath and a big gazebo on top (where he likes to come out and nap while I type). I bustle back inside when it rains or gets too windy, but really, it's my favourite place to write.
May was quite a month for me, with the release of Sound of the Heart. I kept busy with my 50-stop book blog tour *whew!*, three book signings and a reading. A big thank you to everyone who popped in to see me in person or online, and a special thank you to all the dedicated book review bloggers who took the time to read and review my book. Those busy ladies are in big demand, but they are—without exception—some of the sweetest, friendliest people I've ever met. If you're looking for book recommendations, they're the place to go. And congratulations to Carla Carlson of Florida for winning the blog tour grand prize!
I've also been writing. Because I knew I'd need time to promote the books, I put my editing business to the side for a bit, and as a result I have been able to do quite a bit of writing. My agent is now reading Tides of Honour, my WW1 historical fiction based here in Nova Scotia. This is my idea for a cover, though if a publisher picks it up, they will no doubt choose their own. Anyway, isn't this gorgeous? It was taken by a local high school student, Katy Perry (no, not the pop star). I will keep everyone up to date on what goes on with Tides of Honour, the story of fisherman/soldier Danny Baker. I have a real soft spot in my heart for Danny and this book, so I hope you can all read it soon.
I started work on a new book (untitled so far) which will reach a little beyond what I've done before. Not only is it Time Travel romance, but it also includes a kind of conspiracy. I'm partial to writing characters, settings, dialogue, etc and have a little trouble with plot, so this book is a new challenge for me. Fortunately, my patient husband is a wonderful sounding board and has the BEST ideas for plots. We have a hot tub in our back yard, and we've now nicknamed it the Plot Tub, since we've gotten quite a bit of work done there.
For those of you wondering about the next instalment in the MacDonnell clan stories (and I'm so happy you are!), I hope to have an update soon. Out of the Shadows is on my editor's desk and I await her verdict. She hasn't actually had an opportunity to read it yet, and I'm hoping my latest hero, Jesse, will win her over. I really love that story. If you recall, Maggie's sister, Adelaide, was very emotionally damaged after the Under the Same Sky experience, so she has quite a way to go as far as trust and believing in herself. Jesse (kind of an early cowboy, with a scruffy, rebellious edge to him) can see the strength she hides so well and is determined to get past that stubborn wall of hers. But will she trust him enough to let him help her?
And yes, I started writing a book about Janet MacLeod (the Scottish lass from Under the Same Sky who had hopes of winning Andrew's heart—poor Janet! She never had a chance!), but it's on hold for the moment. I have visions of pirate ships when I think of her, but I'm not sure yet ...
We're headed to Alberta to do some family-visiting at the end of June, but I never stop "working" (what an amazing job I have!). I'm really looking forward to doing at least two signings at Chapters stores in Calgary, seeing some of my old friends while I'm there. If you're in Calgary on July 1, look me up. I'll be in the NW.
One last note - I send out an e-newsletter at the beginning of every month. I'd love for you to be on my mailing list if you're not already. Please fill in your email address in the right column of this page and you'll hear from me July 1 (Canada Day!).
Here are a couple of recent, terrific reviews for Sound of the Heart, in case I haven't bombarded you with enough already: Debbie's World of Books, Moonlight Gleam's Reviews, and Evie-Bookish. One of my favourite quotes from reviews this go-round was when Evie said, "No one does historical romance the way Genevieve Graham does. She weaves a fantastic tale packed with the sweetest kind of romance, breathtaking adventure, and just a tiny bit of magic, and she does it in the most superb, addictive way."
Originally written as guest blog for In The Next Room book reviews on May 4 2012
There are almost 90,000 words in “Sound of the Heart”. Isn’t that wild? This blog post is less than 500. And yet as I was writing, there were so many more. I had to edit it back. So it kind of begs the question: Where do all those words come from?
Ah. I’m so glad you asked. Because that’s something I’d like to know as well!
It’s probably easiest to start with the physical. When I write, I head into my quiet office (which my husband assembled for me) with a cup of tea. I light a couple of candles … then stare at my computer screen.
Tour from left:
Right. Now onto the writing part. Like I said, I stare at the computer screen, and I kind of wait. I think, in a way, I meditate, though there are no ohms or soothing imaginings going on in my world.
Actually, my dog, Murphy, occasionally does ohms. Kind of like a “Poor me, what a hard life I lead” kind of a comment.
Then the words start flowing, and it’s absolute magic. Sometimes the pictures are so clear in my head, I feel like I’m channelling the stories. Words literally fly out of my fingers. It’s kind of interesting, because a few people have suggested I carry around a tape recorder kind of thing so I can just speak into it and type out stories later, but I’ve found I can’t do that. The words get stuck in my brain. So I have to type. Back in 1990 I bought one of those “Typing Tutor” programmes, then taught myself to type when I was applying for a job as a marketing assistant at a top advertising agency in Toronto. Seriously. In two weeks I went from 0 to 85 wpm. I have no idea how quickly I type now, but my fingers move more quickly than my brain most of the time. I can’t carry on much of a conversation with my voice, but if I could type it I’d be just fine!
So the question remains: where do all those words come from?
And the answer is still: “I don’t know.”
My favourite part about writing Historical Fiction is that no one can tell me what I’m writing didn’t actually happen. After all, no one alive today was alive then (unless you’re talking about reincarnation or something). The stories come to me from somewhere I’ve never been, giving me words I rarely use in my day to day life. Where do they come from? What if I am actually channelling them? What if the words come straight from the stories themselves because … maybe, just maybe, they really happened.
I won! I won! (and I didn't even know I had entered!)
I won an award! How cool is that? And it's not even for writing! Well, it kind of is, but not novels — blogs! That kind of fascinates me because I'm a terrible blog writer. Then again, I've tried a few in my past and maybe my friend, Tom, is referring to how different each attempt has been.
I'm hoping to keep up with this blog. I really am. I plan to write what it's like, having my dream come true with "Under the Same Sky", navigating like Alice through the Wonderland of publishing. I"m just probably the most disorganized person around, so while I promise to try, I can't promise to succeed. Your comments are encouraging, though!
So, over here is my writing blog. And right now I'm in the midst of giving away novels by bestselling authors. I think that's pretty great. Not my book, not yet, but these books sitting here beside me look awfully interesting. Check my earlier blog to find the titles of all the books.
Over there is my editing blog. That's where I have to do all the hard work, but work that I consider kind of fun, and definitely meaningful. Over there I try to help writers put a bit of sparkle into their work, giving techniques that I hope will help. And I try to keep them user-friendly, with as little use of grammatical terms as I can mention. Pop on over there if you're looking for some how-to advice. I take requests!
I did have another blog, but it's kind of faded into the background, so I'll skip over that. It was more of a mish mash, which maybe I should do on here.
My next step is to write a Newsletter because lots of people have requested one. So if anyone knows how I can put the little thingies in my newsletter, the "Subscribe Here" doo-dad and the little picture windows that link to facebook and twitter, I'd be REALLY interested in hearing from you!
I guess that's why I won this Versatility Award. A bit of everything. And I guess that's when my disorganization comes in handy. So would you like to contribute? Send me a topic, I'll see what I can do.
Thank you, Tom Kepler!