Thursday, May 8, 2014

Altered Perceptions: Very cool, and a worthy cause!


So a friend of mine, Robison Wells, is a very gifted writer and all-around nice guy. He has a beautiful family and a very sweet dog. He suffers from multiple mental illnesses, and has debilitating issues that have stressed his family financially to the breaking point.

I'm pleased to announce that I get to be part of an anthology written by a collection of authors to raise funds for this little family. I'm sharing print space with some amazing people! The authors contributing to the anthology, Altered Perceptions, are:

Brodi Ashton
Annette Lyon
Sarah Eden
Luisa Perkins
J. Scott Savage
Ally Condie
Jennifer Moore
Nancy Campbell Allen
Josi Kilpack
Jessica Day George
Larry Correia
Kiersten White
Brandon Mull
Erin Bowman
Bree Despain
Shannon Hale
Sara Zarr
Aprilynne Pike
Claudia Gray
Lauren Oliver
SJ Kincaid
Seanan McGuire
Carrie Jones
Dan Wells
Rob Wells
Brandon Sanderson
Mary Robinette Kowal
Howard & Sandra Tayler

Awesome company, right? And the theme of the anthology is kind of like a "deleted scenes" thing. Or "bonus scenes." My contribution is a bonus scene from my gothic steampunk romance, Beauty and the Clockwork Beast. The scene was so much fun to write, and is in the point of view of a character who is actually a ghost in the novel itself. The bonus chapter details her last living moments and provides a lead-in to the story. Spooky and wonderful!

So this is the link to the Altered Perceptions: 

There are some awesome perks that come along with certain dollar donations, but even just $1 makes a difference! Please contribute if you can, or buy the book! You will love it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Finding Sheba, by H.B. Moore


Ok, so here's the thing. I have an enormous amount of respect for authors who can do a ton of research for a novel and then weave it in seamlessly without it sounding like one enormous info dump. I knew I was going to be wowed by H.B. Moore's Finding Sheba, and I was not disappointed.

This is the description from Amazon:
"An ancient legend is reborn . . . One that might prove the Bible false. 
For centuries, historians have theorized the Queen of Sheba as only a seductive legend, and scholars have debated over the legitimacy of King David or King Solomon. When undercover Israeli agent, Omar Zagouri, stumbles onto a tomb in Northern Jerusalem he unknowingly finds the final clue that threatens to overthrow government claim to the Holy Land, pits wealthy collectors against one another, and sends ruthless archaeologists scrambling to find the queen’s secret burial place. An assassination attempt on the Coptic Pope, His Holiness, Patriarch Stephanus II, is only the first in the chain of lethal crimes. Omar must find a way to prevent the greatest discovery of the century from becoming the most deadly."

The story has four subplots that run simultaneously. At the core of it all is the Queen of Sheba herself, Nicaula, and her story unfolds anciently as we then blend into our modern sub-plots, which include:

  • Jade, the grad student, whose professor has been murdered and she is working with handsome Frenchman, Luc, to uncover the secret behind the professor's murder--that he knew where the Queen of Sheba is buried. This information has the potential to wreak havoc all over the world because many countries lay claim to her.
  • Alem is an Ethopian native whose grandmother believes they are descendants of the Queen of Sheba and he goes to a dig in Oman to see if he can't prove for himself that it's true. While there, he crosses paths with--
  • Omar Zagouri, an undercover agent who is working with Mia, his former girlfriend, to keep all the governments looking into the Queen of Sheba's burial place on the up-and-up. 
Now. There are layers within layers in this complex but readable book, and I'm not going to give any spoilers. It is a satisfying read on so many levels, for those who appreciate intrigue and political suspense, romance and personal relationships, and a delicious premise that could have implications and ripples that would change religions, cultures, history itself.

I have long admired Heather Moore's ability to spin a good yarn while infusing fascinating historical facts and settings that are believable and rich. Her knowledge of the Middle East is clear, and if I didn't know she has visited many times, I would assume she has. There's something wonderful about being in the hands of a master storyteller, and a smart one, to boot. You can be a reader who knows next to nothing about the Middle East and all of its complex history, or you can be an expert on the subject, and either way, you will come away from this read satisfied. 

I give this book two thumbs up and tip my hat to the author. As a contemporary who has spent a fair amount of time conducting research of my own, I admire her abilities and talents with healthy envy. :-)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Timeless Romance Anthology--European Collection!


I have a historical novella coming out in November in the Timeless Romance Anthology and I'm so excited! My story is set in Venice and I've had so much fun writing it. Here's a link to the site:  http://timelessromanceanthologies.blogspot.com/
And I'm in good company--also featured in this collection are: Heather Moore, Sarah Eden, Annette Lyon, Michelle Paige, and G.G. Vandagriff.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A major award!


I've received word that Isabelle Webb: The Grecian Princess, has been nominated for a Whitney Award! The awards take place in May each year, and so far, all three Isabelle books have been nominated. I'm so glad that this one wasn't forgotten, because Isabelle has been with me for a long time. She made an appearance in my first Civil War book (A House Divided) and just about took over the entire series. She was one of many (many!) characters, and she came to life as soon as I did research on Pinkerton and realized he employed women spies. When that four-volume series ended, Isabelle was my breath of fresh air. I needed to write something light and fun, so I sent Isabelle and her young friend, Sally, to India, where they met a handsome American who was looking for his missing brother...

And then they went to Egypt in The Pharaoh's Daughter, where they made more friends and had more danger and much romance ensued.

And then, they went to Greece to finish off the mystery/Indiana Jones-esque running around. With still more romance ensuing.

By the time I was finally reaching the end of Grecian Princess, I was ready to be done with the series and decided to throw rocks at my characters. (Advice from Josi Kilpack, who not only throws rocks at her characters, she dips them in hot lava first. The characters and the rocks.) I started hucking really big rocks around--people got shot, stabbed, poisoned, beat up, feverishly sick and nearly drowned. I felt the power of the pen and it was delicious! I was ready to kill them all!

And then there were two parts that had me in tears. Without giving too much away, there's a point in that third book when Isabelle finally breaks. And it broke my heart. The girl is tough--she's been to hell and back--and seeing her suffer was hard, and it surprised me. (Don't worry--it's a romance. It all ends well.) And I cried again when I wrote the last line. I've known Isabelle Webb for 12 years, and as much as I thought I was sick of her and ready to kiss her goodbye with a big smack, I realized how much I've loved her and the adventures she got to experience. She has been so much fun, and I miss her.

So yay for Isabelle and her third nomination! It should be stated here that the other two times I lost, I lost to good friends and people I admire, so this really hasn't been a bitter thing for me. I'm just so glad that Isabelle gets one more chance to shine.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Update

Busy, busy, busy, but it's all with good things!

1. Shopping Beauty and the Clockwork Beast around to agents as we speak. It's generating interest, so I'm hopeful. It's a New Adult Steampunk Romance with a Jane Eyre/Gothic/fairy tale feel. Very fun.

2. Working right now on a Regency for my publisher, Covenant Communications. The project is tentatively titled Miss Carlisle Weds a Sailor. Loving it and can't wait to see it as a finished product!

3. Also working on another project that is, for now, a secret. :-) Secrets are fun.

4. Outlining the 2nd book in the Steampunk series--this one has a Rumpelstiltskin vibe. Plus ghosts and gadgets and gears and undead things thrown in for good measure. This project features two characters that are in Clockwork Beast, but it's a spin-off, not necessarily a sequel.

5. Beginning stages of a New Adult novella series that will be released on Kindle--I'll update with more news as that progresses, but they'll be fun, quick reads for teens and adults alike. (New Adult is a coming-of-age-into-adulthood, post high school kind of read and crosses all genres.)

I'm also still freelance editing--see my editing site for info about manuscript evals, etc. (www.campbellallen.blogspot.com)

I'm heading to a writers' retreat next weekend and I'm looking forward to the time to just sit and do nothing but write. There are two things I never saw coming as a teenager. 1) I never dreamed I'd one day make a living as a writer. Ok, maybe I dreamed it, but I didn't dare linger on it too much. Hardly practical, after all. And 2) I never dreamed I'd see the day when a Weekend Away would involve doing nothing but sitting in one spot, and not only that, but that I'd look forward to it like such a nerd! I also never dreamed there would come a day when I'd even consider leaving the house without makeup on, but that one came to fruition closely following the birth of my first child. My apologies to all who have, on more than one occasion, had to look at my plain face.

It's been a bit since I've updated any of my blogs so I do feel compelled to tell those who care for me that I am still a fan of the Diet Coke. There's just no getting around it. I try to leave it behind and it sucks me back in. (Cue Godfather theme...)

Busy, but happy. Loving my family and my life. :-)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Amazon soon to take over the world!

Holy CRAP. I don't know why this is hitting me in such a big way, but...HOLY CRAP.

"Amazon Buys Goodreads"

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Awesome deal!

There's nothing like a good deal--and this is a good one! Faith of our Fathers Volume 1: A House Divided, $2.99 on Kindle for a limited time. :-)