Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Adventure of Writing a Novel When You're a Mom

Since the title of my first novel is Confessions of a Wedding Musician Mom, you might not be too shocked to hear that I am a mom myself. (I also happen to be a wedding musician. But the book is a complete work of fiction. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

Writing a novel when you have kids -- in my case, three homeschooled kids -- is a bit of an interesting challenge. I started writing the rough draft during swim team season. During the kids' morning practices, I sat off to the side and wrote beginning character sketches and a scene-by-scene outline. During the evening meets, when I wasn't volunteering, I was sitting on the bleachers scribbling into composition notebooks (yes, I wrote the rough draft by hand) in between munching on my concession stand pizza.


When summer swim team season was over, I needed to figure out a new writing schedule. Fortunately, all three of my kids were in a musical that fall, and at evening rehearsals I would shoot over to Panera to re-write a scene.

Or not. During tech week, when there was a rehearsal every evening, one night I was lazy to go anywhere and I spent two hours in the theater parking lot. I alternated between reading Getting Over Jack Wagner and writing with my knees propped against the steering wheel and my notebook propped up against my legs.


One of the many deep and thought-provoking tomes that provided my writing inspiration But hey, there's to more to being a Mom/Novelist that just figuring out when and where to write. Not only did my kids think that what I was doing was pretty cool, but they were often eager to help.

Angela and Danny, the main character's two children in Confessions of a Wedding Musician Mom, were both named by my youngest child, Benjamin. At the time he had recently finished a year in a morning pre-school program. Miss Angela was the name of his favorite teacher, while Danny was his best friend that school year.


Benjamin also suggested many times that I name the book Blue Notes (which is agree is a great name, but I didn't think it fit this particular book). He also thought it should end with Heather, the main character, making a lot of money from playing the piano at weddings and her son Danny saying, "Yay, let's spend on the money on toys!" Which is also not a bad idea.

As the years went by (yes, sadly it took that long), I got closer to publication and needed more help. Around this time my daughters, Rachael and Rebecca, were in another musical, and while I was driving them and their friend Maggie to rehearsal, I told them I needed a made-up name for a kids' TV show. The three girls spent the car ride calling out different names and different types of animals until Maggie came up with the infamous Millie Mallard's Pond of Fun, which I absolutely love. (Rachael even started singing a theme song for it that she made up in the car.)

But wait -- we still weren't quite done. I needed a great cover idea, and Rebecca came up with the brilliant idea of having a piano with crayon scribblings on the keys and even created a mock-up using images she found through Google. My cover designer Ana Grigoriu worked her magic to turn Rebecca's crude (and probably highly illegal) mock-up into the fantastic final product it is today: 




So as you can see, writing a novel when you're a mom is an adventure that is offbeat, creative, and rather amusing.

Just like the book. 


About the Author:  
Jennifer McCoy Blaske has been writing since she was ten and published her first story when she was fourteen. Confessions of a Wedding Musician Mom is the first book in the Madison Musician series. 

To contact Jennifer please visit her website.  
















Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Gift that Keeps Giving!

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for a copy of Under a Maui Moon by Robin Jones Gunn.  I was given this copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Who likes vacations?  I know I do.  I would also say cancer sufferers love vacations even morel.  What would be your favorite destination?  I know that I have been wanting to travel out west again. This time I plan to visit Maui.  So I invite you to come with us to Maui!

Synopsis:

Carissa is an office manager for a busy medical practice in Portland Oregon.  One morning she walks into work to find that a meeting has occurred.  What did the doctors meet about?  It does not take long for her to find out.  Dr. Walters comes to see her and lets her know that she is let go from her job.  He hands her a key and says that he will fill her in on what the key is for tomorrow after she finishes packing up her office.  Once home she is also having conflict with her husband Richard.  His psychiatry practice is what upsets Carissa.   He tells her to discuss it with her boss again tomorrow because they need her pay check.  Then there is the other problem of his clients showing up after hours, at their house.  The next day Dr. Walters explains that the key is for cottage on the island of Maui.  The purpose is to give Carissa time to clear her head and decide what is next.  What will her trip have enstore for her?  Will she be able to heal the rift between herself and her husband?

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed Under a Maui Moon by Robin Jones Gunn.  It is set in a great location!  I loved how the author really took us the readers on a journey into Carissa’s life.  The readers will turn pages to find out how the story will resolve.   I also loved how she integrated the bible into the story.    I think the author hit on a key issue with many Christ followers.    Are we willing to seek and trust God in our life?  Can we forgive those who have wronged us or let God be the tunnel?

Rating:

4.5/5

Please visit Robin on her Facebook Page, Twitter, and her Website.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Can the Past Haunt Your Future?

The next novel in our Pink Escape series is When Light Breaks by Patti Callahan Henry.   This story asks the question can the past change the future?   Is it worth investigating?  Follow along this story set in South Carolina.
Synopsis: 
Kara Larson is a manager for the country club.  She works with Pros on the golf tour.  She met her fiancĂ© Peyton through her work with the PGA.  She feels that she has everything she ever wanted.  Then the benefit fundraiser comes along that will follow the tour stop of PGA.  Shelly needs a band for this event.  Then there is Mave's story of her first love.  Kara keeps up her visits to this lady to fulfill her Junior League committment.  One night her fiancĂ© suggests this band that is very popular.  The main members of the band are Jack and his brother.  Shelly and Jack grew up together in her old neighborhood.  Will this band solve all her problems?  Will this change her future?
My Thoughts: 
I enjoyed this novel.  Patti Callahan Henry has another gem of a novel in When Light Breaks.  The characters are likeable. The occupation of the main character working with the PGA is interesting. This occupation is not one that I familiar with.  It really added to the story.   Then there was Mave's  story of  her first love.  The reader will find her story interesting and how it relates to the plot.  The plot was not predictable.  I wondered who she would choose Jack or Peyton?  Or who would break off the engagement?  A good story keeps you guessing to the end! 
Another wonderful tale set in the lowcountry!
Rating: 
4/5
Please visit Patti Callahan Henry on herFacebook page, Twitter, and her Website.