When Creativity Returns...

July 29, 2012

I have missed my writing days. I've missed researching for the story, missed forming the plot, the characters, and the setting. I've missed the creativity of it all. However, being a Mommy to 2 young children, I didn't think I'd return to those days any time soon. Guess I was wrong. And it all started with a dream...

A couple of weeks ago I woke up from a dream. Usually, I wouldn't think twice about a dream and just go on with my life. But this dream was different. It wouldn't let go. Before long, where the dream left off, my creative side picked up. That's how I knew there was something to this dream. Maybe I was supposed to turn it into something. So now I am.

Knowing that my time isn't completely free to pursue this project whenever I want, I have no clue what will become of this story. I have written down thorough notes and am keeping everything that has to do with this project. I'm hoping I'll be able to see this project through from start to finish.
While I don't have the whole story mapped out, I do have the important parts. I'll say this is: it's another historical fiction piece and this house plays a big role.

If you couldn't tell by the style of the house, my time period is early 1900s. The above house is the model for the house in my story, but it isn't the actual house. The house in the above picture is the Long-Waterman House located in San Diego, California. Isn't it gorgeous?! Here's a picture of it from my time period.

Right now I'm in heavy research mode. I'm gathering all the facts and historical dates I need. Forming the storyline, characters, and setting as I go. I'm loving every minute of it. I feel my creative self coming out the further I go. I'm so excited!

Jen Recommends: Series

July 26, 2012

A good series is a treasure meant to be shared. So, here I have made a list of some of my favorite series. There's pretty much a little bit of everything in these selections. I hope you find something you like and want to try.

Wine Lover's Mystery Series- Michele Scott

Murder Uncorked is the first book in a series that is set on a winery in Napa. Without meaning to, Derek Malveaux gets Nikki Sands fired from her restaurant job. However, after being impressed with her wine knowledge, he offers her the position of manager of his family's winery. Before she even decides whether she wants the job or not, a dead body is found on the grounds. Nikki becomes the amateur detective, in real life, that she once played on a short lived TV show.
#2-Murder By The Glass
#3- Silenced By Syrah
#4- A Vintage Murder
#5- Corked By Cabernet
#6- A Toast To Murder

Spoils of Time Trilogy- Peny Vincenzi

No Angel kicks of the best Family Saga I've ever read. Over the course of 3 books, you follow the Lytton Family from the ground up. You see how Cecilia met Oliver, their marriage, and their children. You also get a front row seat to all the highs and lows the family endures as they build a hugely successful publishing house. From war to affairs, to betrayal, to success. This series has everything. I should warn you that each book is long. However, there was never a wasted page and the story is constantly moving.
#2- Something Dangerous
#3- Into Temptation

The Luxe Series- Anna Godbersen

Luxe takes you to the early 1900s. Here you meet a group of young adults navigating their way through life. Some have a very clear idea of how they want their life to turn out, while others think they do. One of the characters makes a decision that rocks everything she knows to the core. Over the four books, you see them all deal with the twists and turns life takes them in. Anna does an amazing job of taking you out of present day life, and transporting you to time that seems long ago in many ways.
#2- Rumors
#3- Envy
#4- Splendor

Flapper series- Jillian Larkin

Vixen welcomes you to the Roaring 20s. Prohibition is in full swing, as are all the Speakeasies. Gloria Carmody wants to be a Flapper. However, her lifestyle requires a different approach. But, Gloria and her best friend, Lorraine, get into a Speakeasy and nothing stays the same after that. Gloria falls for the "wrong" guy and must choose him or her "perfect" life that's waiting for her. Singing, jazz music, gin, and gangsters take you on a journey you won't want to see end in this series.
#2- Ingenue
#3- Diva

There are numerous other series I could list here, and I'm sure they will appear on my blog in the near future. However, these 3 sounded perfect for now. I hope you give them a try and find all the magic in them that I did.

The hardest books I've read...

July 16, 2012

Usually, whenever I read a book I choose one that is uplifting. My whole thing is to escape from stress or sadness. So, I tend to enjoy and favor books that won't have me crying. I love a good book, one that takes you out of your world and immerses you in the story's world. I'm not blind to the fact that those worlds aren't always going to be happy. However, the books I read don't dwell on sadness or bad things.

Having said that, there have been  a couple of books I've read that I knew would be hard to read. Books I knew going in would have me emotional and I'd never forget what they contained. I thought I would share 2 of them with you. These are the 2 that have had the biggest impact on me and left me the most affected.

I will never forget Ryan White. For as long as I live, he will always been a person I wish I got to know. He will always be a person who I learned many things from. His story was equal parts heartbreaking, inspiring, and humbling.

Ryan White was a boy when he was given a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, within the blood transfusion was AIDS. At the time the world met Ryan we were just learning more about this dreaded killer. I would love to tell you he was embraced by everyone who met him, but that isn't true. Fear of others catching AIDS got him home schooled and ostracised. He was treated in a way no human being should ever be treated. When he tells his story, he holds very little back. He is open and honest about it all. More than once I had to put the book down because I was so angry at how the community he lived in treated him.

I was never able to understand why people would punish someone the way he was. He did nothing to make his fate happen. He was an innocent victim who paid the highest price. Ryan White died before the book was published. I cried when I learned of his death. I cried when his death was written about in the book. I have to be honest in saying, I was so emotional I was never able to finish the book. I forever will hope that those who treated him badly learned a big lesson in humanity and humiliation. They will always know how they treated someone who didn't deserve what happened.

I am currently reading this book now, but I can tell you it has been a hard book for me to read. When this book came out I knew this book was going to be a tough one for me. I was in no rush to read it because I knew I would have a hard time with it.

I have always felt the way African-Americans where treated was repulsive. Slavery was a disgusting topic to me- and don't even get me started on how they were treated. While The Help doesn't take place during the times of slavery, it wasn't a much better environment for anyone who wasn't white.

The level of hypocrisy I read about in this book is really hard to handle. The maids were not fit to share a bathroom with because whites may catch the diseases the maids had, but they were the ones bring up and taking care of the white babies. HELLO!!!!

The ways non-whites were treated, and referred to... I heave no worlds to describe how much this upsets me. I realize that was the way it was back then, but it doesn't make it any more OK in my book.

Both of these books are great books that I'm glad I read. However, they have both carried heavy themes that I will never be able to forget. Once you read these books, you can't unknow what you learn within their pages. In many ways, that's good. However, in others it's heartbreaking. I can't undo history. I can't go back in time and make some one's life easier. All I can do is learn from these books and carry them with me in the future. Also, I can teach my children what not to do.


July 10, 2012

By: Jillian Larkin
306 Pages

The 3rd book in Jillian Larkin's wonderful Flappers series doesn't disappoint. Nor does it lack in drama. The action moves from Chicago to New York as the group tries to put the past behind them and forge new lives for themselves. However, they all learn that leaving the past in the past is far easier said than done.

Jerome is in New York working as a piano player at the coolies club in New York, The Chaise Lounge. Well he was until protesters cause such a fuss. In one night, Jerome becomes unemployed and abandoned on a country road when Gloria's Father dumps him there.

Gloria sits in prison awaiting her trial. However, the FBI have a deal for her: find out where Forrest Hamilton is getting his money from and get her freedom. She befriends the man, who quickly knows what's she's up to. But this job is anything than what she expected. She becomes friends with Forrest and does learn where he gets the money from- in a shocking twist of events.

Clara is still in New York and is still brokenhearted from her break-up with Marcus. Still writing her now famous column, Gloria is rapidly growing tired of the constant partying. Especially when it fails to distract her Marcus's new engagement. Can she let her ex marry a con artist, or can she save him the heartache? Can these two lovebirds find their way back to each other, or is the damage beyond repair?

Lorraine is still the outcast of the group. But, when she discovers that Marcus's fiance is a fraud she enlists Clara's help to expose her. The two forge an unlikely friendship with a mission at hand.

Book #3 was a page turner I didn't want to put down. Jillian Larkin does a superb job of taking you back in time to the world of Speakeasies, Flappers, & the roaring 20s. You grow more attached to your familiar characters while meeting new ones you won't soon forget. The ending is nothing short of dramatic and delicious. 

Summer Recommendation- The Book Of Lost Fragrances

July 5, 2012

This book is one that will have you forgetting you're on the beach, lake, or by the pool. In fact, this book will have you forgetting where you are. The Book of Lost Fragrances takes you on such an incredible journey as you follow the fate of an ancient piece of pottery with the remarkable ability to make you remember your past lives. Numerous people want it, for various reasons, and they are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. Who has it? Who gets it in the end?

You go throughout history on this mission. You meet Cleopatra, the Dali Lama, and many other people who's life has been affected by the fragrance in the pottery. When you start reading this book you open the gates to a world that knows no bounds. You will embark on a journey that will leave you breathless and entranced. Enjoy!

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