What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day—in a literary way—than to read an excellent romance? (Well, chocolate might go head-to-head with a romance novel. But it is February and, as usual, the momentum from holiday chocolate intake has resulted in somewhat of a chocolate addiction, so I’m doing a cleanse. Guess I should have waited a week to start it!)
One day about 15 years ago, I walked into Indigo bookstore and browsed the romance section. I’d become frustrated with constant disappointments in what were considered top quality romance, and before I quit reading that genre altogether, I decided to give it one last try. I asked the saleswoman if she could give me some suggestions, and she asked me who some of my favorite authors were. I listed several popular authors and classic authors, and she brought me to the “H” section where she introduced me to Georgette Heyer.
That first book was Cotillion, and it is still one of my favorites with its delightful characters, engaging plot and humor.
“Well aware that to bring the voice of sober reason to bear upon the exaggerations of agitated females was both fruitless and perilous, Freddy wisely let this pass…”
—Georgette Heyer, Cotillion
Miss Charing is animated, sweet, and driven to help others however she can. And Kitty, as she is called, will receive her guardian’s fortune if she marries one of his nephews.
Unfortunately, Kitty has her eyes set on the rake nephew, “rake” being short for “rakehell”, analogous in today’s language to a hell-raiser, who is in no mood to settle down. So Kitty persuades another nephew, Freddy Standen, to pretend to be engaged to her. Freddy is kind-hearted, says as little as possible, is hilariously understated with a dry, dry sense of humor, and never plans to marry.
Her plan is to make the rake jealous, and when he comes to his senses and proposes to her, she and her friend Freddy will break off their engagement. But of course things never go as planned. The action moves quickly and the dialogue keeps a smile on the reader’s face.
“You think I’ve got brains?’ he said, awed. ‘Not confusing me with Charlie?’
‘Charlie?’ uttered Miss Charing contemptuously. ‘I daresay he has book-learning, but you have—you have address, Freddy!’
‘Well, by Jove!’ said Mr Standen, dazzled by this new vision of himself.”
—Georgette Heyer, Cotillion
After I’d read a few of Georgette Heyer’s books, and was looking for more, I found out that she’d written around 57 books! Many of them are in the genre called Regency romances whose settings are during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, approximately the time of British Regency. Having written over twenty-four of these between 1921 and 1972, Georgette Heyer is actually credited with establishing the genre, known as the “novel of manners.”
I browsed around the web and compiled my own list of her most beloved books, which I am still working through. Here is my list of books that I haven’t read yet, and am still looking for in the used book stores. They are ranked as some of her best, compiled from the various fan websites :
The Grand Sophy
(Okay, I’ll admit it, I carry this in my wallet!)
Cotillion was originally published in 1953, and was republished, as are many of Heyer’s books, thank goodness. I find most of her Regency romances equally humorous, full of intelligent, warm, witty heroes, and naïve yet determined and spirited heroines. What a breath of fresh air!
I give this an A+ and highly recommend it and her other Regency romances, which can be found just about anywhere, including many brick-and-mortar book stores and libraries, and the Internet Archive.
Painting “On the Threshold” by Edmund Leighton (1853–1922), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Edmund_Blair_Leighton_-_On_the_Threshold.jpg
Cover and author images from www.librarything.com
(And the two valentines are straight from my elementary school scrapbook!)
If you have written a children’s book, you may want to consider submitting it to Guardian Angel for consideration next summer. I am impressed with this publisher, whose mandate is to change the world by investing in children, one child at a time. “We want the seeds of the influence from our books to live longer than we do, building a harvest of knowledge and vibrant faith that will help transform a time we may never see.”
I have made a copy of their guidelines, and did substantial re-formatting to make it easier to read, so I thought I’d make my copy available. Here are the Guardian Angel Submission Guidelines:
SUBMISSIONS ARE OPEN JUNE 1 to AUGUST 31 2015
Emailed manuscript attachments are ONLY accepted in this open submission time period;
no submissions are accepted after September 1st, until June 1st of the next year.
Guardian Angel publishes books that encourage principles of positive growth for children, sharing and caring, and healthy attitudes.
Guardian Angel Publishing is BOTH an eBook publisher and print publisher and will sell and distribute your book for sale with online worldwide English speaking countries, internet stores, and in some brick and mortar stores.
Guardian Angel does not accept paper submissions.
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We are looking for these types of Children’s Books only. We are unique in our genres of kids books.
Academic Wings books will include the broad subject matters of English, Health, Math, History, Science and Reading. These educational books may be presented as easy readers, storybooks, articles, chapter books and musical eBooks with numerous teaching aids, such as study guides, puzzles, crossword puzzles, seek and finds, word searches, picture seeks, definition match ups and more. Teachers are also invited to submit. Academic Wings
Angelic Harmony Musical E-Picture Books. Print books too! Check out our inventory for the type of books we are looking for. Can you write music? Got a musical eBook to submit but need pictures? If we don’t have one in our queue, your book might be right for us. We have added plays and musicals for schools and churches to celebrate seasons and Holy Days. See our titles Angelic Harmony
Angel to Angel we are excited about an imprint for kids writing and illustrating for kids. Kids 12 and under are encouraged to write a story and illustrate it for publication. Some of these young authors may be “discovered” from Young Author Contests at elementary schools across the country or author visits. If you are a teacher/administrator wishing to participate in such a contest, check out our page Angel to Angel
Guardian Angel Chapbooks for Tweens These chapter books are longer and are for our older readers but not quite teens! Chapbooks for Tweens should have 8-10 chapters for early chapter books and about 50,000 maximum word count for our older readers. NO Y/A, NO SEX, NO VIOLENCE and NO BAD VOCABULARY! Chapbooks for Tweens
Guardian Angel Health & Hygiene books teach our children about health and hygiene. Our books instruct and explore healthy attitudes for kids of all ages. It will deal with all sorts of health issues affecting our children today. Health & Hygiene
Guardian Angel Animals & Pets picture books and story books about our furry and feathered friends, and personal books for the pets in our lives. They may be fiction or nonfiction stories of heroic, faithful, heartwarming stories about our animal friends. Don’t forget we have great staff artists to create your angelic pet illustrations. Animals & Pets
Littlest Angels are also simple concept picture books and easy readers for learning, sharing and caring for the younger ones in our lives. Younger readers will enjoy and learn from picture books. Littlest Angels
Wings of Faith -faith-based storybooks and picture books for kids of all ages even twixt and tweens! They teach simple life lessons. Look at our Wings of Faith page for examples of upcoming series. Wings of Faith
Spanish Editions some of our books are translated into Spanish editions. Some of our books will be trilingual English, Spanish and French. Spanish Editions
All of our books are for children: aged toddler to primary middle grade readers (0-12 yrs). Please do not send:
- adult books or adult subject matter,
- Y/A or romance genre,
- board books
- submissions of 100 words or less.
- Submissions must be EMAILED in order for us to evaluate your work. (No paper submissions. They will not be reviewed.)
- Send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please put the title of your story in the Subject of the email.
- Send submission attachments with the Title of the story used as the name of the file
- Always send an email message in the body of your email along with your submission. (Any submissions received without this, will be deleted as a suspected virus.)
- All that is required in the body of your email is the usual common courtesies and a small paragraph stating that you are enclosing a submission for evaluation, and a manuscript is attached.
- We do not need to see a wordy query, it’s the story that is important.
- Please also include the genre, and approximate word/page count.
- Please keep us informed of a viable email address.
- To prevent having to wait in the queue twice, please send only one email: your complete manuscript as an email attachment, with a message in the body of the email.
- Please attach one single book file attachment to a query email.
- Do not send multiple mss submissions in one email.
- Multiple submissions of the same book to multiple publishers are not accepted.
- Send all email submissions to: email@example.com (please note: there is an understroke (not a space) between the words: editorial_staff)
- Note: Do not use a Yahoo email address; you will not get a response from us concerning your submissions. (Yahoo is broken and will not accept emails from us. We are not ignoring your work and are sending you emails but they are being blocked to you. If you send us a new email address (non-yahoo or yahoo administered) we will respond to your submission.)
- Do not send .docx or pdf files. We do accept .doc, .rtf, .wpd, and .pages attachments for submissions. Do not send encrypted files. We do not accept large rtf files including art. If we want to see art we will ask for it.
- Art: If you have cover art/or illustrations already available for your books please mention this in your submission as this will save time in the publication process if your book and art are accepted. Also, send a few SMALL scanned versions of your artwork after your email submissions but send artwork samples when asked for it, not before. (Note: you do not need art in order to submit–we have staff artists.) Do not send your only original artwork until you have been contracted with us and if and when we ask for it. We have Dropbox or a large email mailbox for art files, which you will be directed to send jpegs files to.
- Please format all manuscripts in single line spacing with a blank line between paragraphs.
- Include your name and email address on the first page of the story (otherwise you may get the story returned to you without us even reading it. The files are separated from the emails, so we have no way of knowing who sent it and what email address it came from!)
- Do not indent the first line of a paragraph.
- The manuscript must be in a recognized format .doc, .RTF, .txt, .wpd . No Word .docx. Do not send Word .docx files- we cannot open them.
- Make sure that your name and email address are on the first page of the attachment and your attachment is named the name of the story.
- Please include the your word count.
- Do not layout into picture book form (story boards) unless you have the artwork included to go with it. (We don’t need to see numerous pages with one line on them.)
- Please do not use flowery or specialty fonts. Simple Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, or Courier are fine.
- Please do not do hard returns at the end of a line like a typewriter unless your work is rhyming. Computers automatically make the break for you. Do not send files that have Track Changes embedded in the file- it will be returned to you.
- We do not like first person stories or present tense stories. We think they do not work for most of our readers. Some present tense rhyming works- most do not. For us first person stories and present tense stories only work in mysteries- chapbooks for tweens and older readers. All picture book stories should be told in second person.
- Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Mystery will be considered if age appropriate and encourages children’s imagination and problem solving.
- Due to the large number of manuscripts that we receive, a minimum acceptance time of 2 months is not uncommon.
- You will receive a notice that your file has been received. Usually you will receive an acceptance or rejection letter fairly quickly.
- We generally respond quickly if we like your work. (But don’t assume that we received your submission- email can be quirky at best. We’ve had one submission that sat in limbo and then showed up in our “in mailbox” 6 weeks later!)
- We try to email a short response back immediately that your submission was received. If you don’t hear from us after a few days then you may be correct in assuming that we did not receive it.
- If you wish to follow up on your submission, wait a month and then a polite email enquiry is acceptable. We don’t mind answering an email asking if we received it.
Exclusive Publication Process by Guardian Angel Publishing (“GAP”)
1. If Guardian Angel publishes your book, it will be edited by our professional editors, we provide cover art if required and we will format the book for you into all the formats sold on our website and others (if your books suits these formats. Not all books are suited for book Apps for iPad or iPod, iBooks with enhanced ePubs.) We will provide in-house artists to share in the royalties earned on book sales for picture books, story books and some early chapter books with interior art.
2. We promote the book for you in a limited fashion: by selling your book in distribution in a worldwide market; selling your book to schools and libraries through Follett Digital and Library Resources; keep up with the trends of evolving eBook markets and formatting. The Author is expected to send books out for review. Book reviews are an ongoing process and is not limited to the time that the book is first released. But you will be expected to send your story out for reviews and to promote your own work.
3. In return, the version that we edit is ONLY to be sold from our website and its affiliates. Any promotion the author makes should link to our website. (ie: your email signature, links from your website or any online articles that contain your bio, etc.)
4. Please note, there is NO charge for editing and cover art and layout of cover design and interior layout is provided by the publisher. (There is no payment by author to artist unless you take the book elsewhere before the artist’s fee has been paid out by royalties – see artist contract for further explanation.)
5. Picture Books, Story Books & Chapbooks- For eBooks, CDs, DVDs and print paperback or hardback books: the author royalties are 30% of net UNLESS the picture/story book author/artist is the same person (50% net). For all formats with staff artist PB & SB: the author gets 30% of net and staff artist 20% of net. Chapbooks pay 30% of the net to the author. If Chapbook has b&w art the artist will collect 20% of net for royalties.
6. Guardian Angel will maintain a group email loop where all the authors and artists can share in each others success and experience. GAP maintains a Facebook page, a blog and also has a website for a free online monthly magazine for kids where we feature our authors, artists and books and where kids can play online games, see videos and get free coloring pages and more.
7. We list GAP books at distribution sites for both print paperback and eBook online stores–giving more exposure to your work. We reserve the right to sell our books from Amazon.com , Barnes&Noble.com, Target.com, and Follet Digital Services, iTunes, iBooks and many other sites that may be beneficial to our sales efforts.
8. Any promotional activities we undertake are only extended to our published books.
9. Our published books are eligible to be made into any new formats that come along. Guardian Angel Publishing formats the books for the authors. At present our books are formatted in PDF, FLIP books, HTML, Mobipocket, Palm, .LIT, DVDs for TV, CDs for computers, mobile movies with sound for computer handheld devices but not limited to Palm Pilots, Blackberrys, and a new application Apps, for iPads, iPhones and iPods and similar devices with touch screen technology.
10. From time to time our authors may be consulted about the business of Guardian Angel Publishing. Authors may be asked to vote on how they would like certain issues handled (which then becomes company policy). We consider the “published” authors and artists part of the family and they have a voice in the business model as it evolves. The authors and artists consider themselves our “Angels”.
11. We ask that the author applies for his own copyright and to include the artist and whole finished product- “the book” for copyright. This one time fee to the US Copyright Office will protect “the published work” in its final form (the finished book-NOT the collection of words that is prior to publication) and protect the work from infringement past the life of the author. We ask that the author does this so that there is never any dispute that the form was filled out properly or with the correct names and addresses on the form. This requirement is spelled out clearly in the contract.
Print on Demand (POD):
- Print books are optional.
- Our children’s Illustrated books have the option of paperback, and those that qualify also may be in hardcover (there is a page limit imposed by the printer). This will be done through our international printer Lightning Source, Inc. and a one time setup fee to the author for this format is $100 US. All yearly fees and other fees are paid by Guardian Angel.
- These paperback books will be available online at GuardianAngelPublishing.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Target.com, Amazon.com and numerous online bookstores distributed to English speaking countries.
- Our printer has printing facilities in the US, UK , Germany, Paris, Australia, and Brazil allowing us the largest distribution network in the world.
- We are a publisher. We are not a print-on-demand printer. We are not a vanity press.
- If you wish for Guardian Angel Publishing to publish your book it must be accepted in the usual manner for exclusive publishing This means it must meet our high standards and pass our internal stringent acceptance and review before we contract for your work, and send our books to Lightning Source, Inc. for printing.
Exclusive Author Contract Samples:
(Note: These contracts are identical to those sent out to the authors unless specific arrangements have been made on an individual basis). sample-contract.htm
If you are an Author wishing to use Guardian Angel Publishing Staff Artists to do the book illustrations you will need to sign the following contract agreement as well:
I hope this is helpful! Their original guidelines can be found on their website, here. You’ve got plenty of time to polish that manuscript before June 2015! Good luck!
A couple of years ago I was having trouble finding the kind of Christmas cards that I wanted in the stores. I was looking for a Biblical scene and Bible verse, and wanted some extraordinary art. It was early in December, so I decided I’d try to make my own cards. For anyone interested in doing the same, it wasn’t really hard, and it was a pleasure looking through all the breathtaking classic art available for free on the internet.
Click HERE to download (pdf file) or just to see how all of them turned out. The first page shows the inside text used for all cards, followed by 7 different images and corresponding back covers (the first 2 are black and white images, the rest are color). If you like them, feel free to use them!
I hope this is useful for you and that it brings to mind the true beauty of this season, and of the gift that God gave us for the taking, the gift of abundant life, knowing him, walking humbly with him.
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Here are the steps I took:
First, as much as I wish otherwise, I could not draw a scene myself. So, I started looking for ideas for images to use on the cover of the card. Initially, I tried taking photos of two manger scenes that I have, and played around with special effects on the photo editing software. That was fun, of course, but in the end I didn’t have anything that I liked. If you are looking for an unusual Nativity scene, you are welcome to these, 10 images in a Word document. The ones at the bottom were my son’s favorites.
Next I looked on my clipart and Bible DVD’s for various images and photographs, and found 3 that had possibilities. Then I Googled “copyright free nativity images” and I hit the jackpot: THANK YOU, reusableart.com! I found exactly what I was looking for, and more. (They have over 3,000 beautiful public domain images from old books and magazines that go far beyond holidays to birds, animals, children, seascapes, buildings, trees, flowers, patterns–a feast for the eyes!)
Then I figured out what card size I needed. I’d bought a ton of red greeting card envelopes in the summer when the dollar store had them on sale (for 5 cents each!), so I had to make my cards so they fit in the envelopes. I decided on a card stock size of 6” x 9″, which would fold to 4.5” x 6” to fit in a 5” x 7” envelope.
MAKING THE CARD ON THE COMPUTER
I used Open Office Impress (free presentation software) and started with a blank slide. On the Format/Page menu, I selected a custom-sized page and set it to 6×9 inches landscape. Then I inserted the image on the right side, and a text box full of text on the left, which, after folding in the middle, would make the front and back. One more similar slide with text on the left and right sides made the inside of the card. (I am sure that that there are easy templates available online, and if you’re smart you’ll avoid the “custom” card size that I did–I won’t do it that way next time!)
Customize yours for exactly what is special and meaningful to you and your loved ones!
For the inside left side text, I chose the lyrics from the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah, a piece of music that I have loved ever since we sang it in choir in college. For the inside right side text, I just wrote a short sentiment from the heart.
In the back cover text, I listed the title of the painting and the artist information, as well as a blurb about Handel and his work.
I saved my final files as pdf’s that would print on 8-1/2 x 11” card stock or paper, with the intention of using a paper cutter to trim the side and bottom to 6 x 9”.
My plan was to print onto my own card stock at the self-serve copy/print department of the office supply store, but I wasn’t allowed to do card stock on self-serve. They had to do it themselves with their own very high quality expensive card stock, and it would be at least a week before they had time to do mine.
So I printed the black and white inside of the card at home on my laser printer, then printed the color sheets at the office supply store on regular white paper, and trimmed them using their paper cutter. I attached the color pages to the outside of the cards with double-sided tape.
I hope this gives you some great ideas and the joy of making your own personalized cards!
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This was originally posted December 18, 2012
Lately I’ve been reading parts of Louisa May Alcott’s journals and poems and, especially in her younger years, she writes with sweetness and light. After all that I’ve read of hers, I am still astounded at her talent for words and her inviting tone. Yet here is another one of her “blood and thunder tales”, swinging to the opposite end of the pendulum, yet never losing the wholesomeness and decency the author is known for.
Interesting things happened to me with this novel, which I will talk about later. Here I will give as thorough a summary of A Long Fatal Love Chase as possible without spoilers. If you are like me, and you don’t want any of the important parts revealed, you might want to skip the next two paragraphs and just trust me that this is a novel you must seek out and read.
This is a love story between an adventurous young woman, Rosamond, who marries an exciting, brooding, mysterious stranger, Tempest, and sails away with him, leaving behind a restricted life with her grandfather. However, she learns that her beloved has not been honest with her, and kept a very important fact from her. Rosamond runs away from him, and hides in a place she believes he will never look for her. She no longer believes he is an upright man, and knows she should be through with him completely; yet she still loves him. He finds her and she flees; he pursues her obsessively. He wears her down with his ability to track her no matter where she goes and to appear out of thin air.
Finally, she seems to have lost him. Her life settles into a routine. She is safe living with a woman who is an unexpected, most improbable friend, and enjoying the protection and affection of her devoted priest, Ignatius. But her feeling of security is short-lived. Tempest pursues her when she flees by ship, separating her from the people who had kept her safe, terrifying her. The nightmare she had dreaded and endured for so many years has come true. I won’t tell the ending, but be assured that it is fascinating, unpredictable, and gripping until the last word.
I always love “visiting” distant countries of the world that are the settings of characters’ lives. We visit England, France and Italy in this novel, originally titled A Modern Mephistopheles, and have the unique advantage of also experiencing life aboard a ship.
I started reading and thoroughly enjoying this book and then lost it. A year later, I found it in the zipper pocket of a suitcase. After a couple weeks I lost it again (honestly, this carelessness with books is not like me; it has never happened before or since), but found it soon after under my car seat (which gave me an image of sitting in my car while waiting for one of my sons to get changed after a hockey game.) At any rate, I’m glad it kept finding me!
An extraordinary thing happened with A Long Fatal Love Chase. A co-worker and I had been discussing our favorite books, and we realized that we had the same preference for high quality fiction and classic authors. After this talk, we both felt that we had some books the other would like, and agreed to bring one the next day. Even though I felt she might be disappointed that I brought something rather obscure, outdated and melodramatic (and even had a twinge of fear that she might even lose respect for my reading tastes!), I brought A Long Fatal Love Chase to work the next day for her to read. As we pulled our books out of our bags, I could see that she had brought a thick book with an interesting cover. She handed it to me and I laughed. Although a different cover, she had brought me the same book!
I give an A+ to this less well-known but high quality 1866 Gothic romance by Louisa May Alcott. You don’t have to cave in to books with vulgarities, brutal violence or overly sensual relationships if you or your adolescent daughter are looking for excitement, drama, danger and tension in your reading. The latter is the kind of book that I enjoy, and this book of Louisa May Alcott’s, as well as the others I’ve previously reviewed*, fit the bill perfectly.
Remember that a vast amount of Alcott’s writings are available online for free reading.
Book cover images from www.librarything.com
I just found out that author Vinita Hampden Wright is offering a free week-long online writing retreat starting tomorrow, September 29, 2014. My first reaction at hearing the news (from a fellow fan of Louisa May Alcott) was that a retreat sounded nice (images of a quiet wooded area and hours of free time to ponder and write). However, in reality, the retreat would have to be tacked on after an 8-hour day at work, and most of my evenings this coming week are not “free”. But I think so highly of this author that I decided to sign up for it and make it a priority. The retreat, part of the Deepening Friendships online community at the website of Loyola Press, also appears to touch on journaling which is of special interest to me right now.
I first “met” Vinita Wright when I read her excellent novel Velma Still Cooks in Leeway. Looking for another of her novels to read, I ran across her non-fiction book The Soul Tells a Story: Engaging Creativity with Spirituality in the Writing Life. As she described her writing life, I felt like she had read my mind. As a result, I was very much encouraged that my quirks and thoughts weren’t as unusual as I’d thought, and could lead to some valuable writing. And even if they were unusual, to have someone of Vinita Wright’s calibre with the same quirks made them seem completely acceptable! I wrote her an email to thank her, and she responded with a warm reply.
I trust her wisdom, and highly recommend checking out her online presence as well as her books. Hope to see you at the retreat!