Capturing a Countess’ Heart

Two more sleeps and my work is out in the world ~ what a lovely thought.

Pre-order on Amazon and Kobo.

Hope you love reading it as much as I loved writing it. Here’s a short “what’s it about?”

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Available April 8, 2020!

While I would want to spend more time marketing and on social media, Covid-19, in addition to my own health odyssey have inspired me to take action NOW.

I want my family and friends to feel happier during these unprecedented times. I want to give them some kind of sense of love and joy – and the best way I can think of doing that is by releasing my new book earlier.

Find it on Amazon and Kobo

So excited to share my work with everyone I love!

Illness: A Blessing in Disguise?

In November of 2019, my body gave me lots of signs that I needed to pay attention to my health.

I had two choices: succumb to fear and the very dark places your mind likes to go or realize…I have no information other than they’re running some tests and I need to go on with my life. I chose the latter. I lived in this weird state of “it’s probably nothing, it could be somethingbut my kids need a snack and help with homework right now so I need to be a mom and not freak out. Besides, there was a birthday and Christmas to plan.

My husband became unusually quiet and more helpful than he usually is – which was a bonus. Extra help? I’ll take it.

I will always remember that in between time as a loop of go to the doctor, get some more information and then wait for another test…go to the doctor for results, but they need more information so wait for another test…and so on. In the meantime, I focused on my mental health, my emotional health and my faith in order to truly complete each step of my physical health journey in a way which would ensure to bring my body back into balance and ease.

I am recovering from surgery and waiting for more results to see what happens from here. I have a general overview of things – but in this process I’ve learned specifics come when the time is right. Talk about a lesson in SURRENDERING!

So why am I sharing something so intimate about my health? Because I cannot believe what I have learned!!!

This time at home has offered me the opportunity to writeCapturing a Countess’ Heart is up on Amazon (.com and .ca) and Kobo for pre-order and will be live on April 28!!!

I have time to read and to meditate – to learn about my spirituality in ways I hadn’t been able to before. For once, I don’t feel like I’m stealing time in order to do the things that fill my cup. I am being cared for by all of the people I love and most of all I am learning compassion and self-love in a deeper way which I will take with me for the rest of my life and hopefully pass on to my children.

My physical yoga practice is so different. I have been on my mat every single day since my surgery. I have modified my practice and I have been in the asanas I struggled with the most – stillness in savasana? Camel that is merely looking up without the effort to reach my heels? And I have learned that ease, love, compassion, and breath will bring my body back into balance. (I am aware that I will probably keel over the first time I attempt a power yoga class when I am well…but that’s a problem for another day).

I have learned gratitude; to ask for help; to receive help; to receive the outpouring of love with a feeling of worthiness.

Each moment has become more sweet. Losing my father in my twenties taught me to always appreciate and enjoy life…perhaps, somewhere along the way of having kids, managing a career and a marriage some of that lesson was lost…Life has a way of making sure we stay true to the lessons learned…

This time at home has afforded me so much on my path to full health, and I can’t help but think, perhaps this forced journey to health was a blessing in disguise.

Finding Ease When Things Get Difficult

Yet, again, I find myself taking a lesson from my yoga mat and applying it to the real world.

In yoga, we refer to Sthira/Sukha. How strength and softness can exist simultaneously. You can feel both the hardness of a pose and you can melt into it’s difficulty with breath. With softness. With ease. And, voila. You’re not struggling any more. Difficult pose…muscles not happy…and you’re just fine.

Well, I’ve taken this concept and brought it to my writing life. As a soon-to-be indie author, there is so much I’m learning. And, so much, I know I don’t know, as I’ve mentioned on this blog in the past.

One of the things which I was doing a very good job avoiding was marketing. And, while I know nothing about marketing, I know enough to understand I need a platform through which I can communicate with lovers of historical romance. Enter Facebook and Instagram.

The trouble is…I really struggled with how to go about it. I normally use these two platforms as ways of keeping abreast with the lives of my family and friends. Not for building an audience or a business.

I’m not a business executive. I have no idea how to do this or where to go! I’m just a woman with a book who thinks other people will enjoy reading.

So, I whittled my immense fear of marketing down to this simple and basic concept: I just want to meet people who love to read, write and discuss historical romance, whom might hopefully enjoy reading my book too!

It is a good place to start. The other marketing stuff will come when it is time for it to come. So far, I’m happy to say, I’ve met some lovely people on-line whom I hope will one day enjoy my book. In the meantime, I’m enjoying communicating with them and trading stories about our reading and writing journeys.

Suddenly, it doesn’t feel so hard. After all, it’s just about people. People reading and writing great historical romances. And, now I am one of those people.

Find me on Instagram @carynemme

Find me on Facebook Caryn Emme

Find me on Twitter Caryn_Emme

Hope to connect with you there too!

Summer Reading List

My reading lists are not long because I have been forced to face reality: I am a working mother of two children who is also trying to publish her first book.

I’ve tried extensive summer reading lists and have failed miserably at them. My kiddos and hubby are home all summer long.

In the past, I have really struggled with sharing my summer reading and writing time with my family. Part of my personal growth has been to accept that this season with my children is short. It won’t be long before they’re out the door or their friends are over in search of entertainment outside of mommy and daddy.

So, I’ve learned to appreciate the slower pace of the summer. I’ve come to truly love my time at home with them because it is precious and fleeting. I’ve also discovered there is nothing more romantic than watching my husband care for our kids and our family. He steps up and takes care of us all summer long. I cherish our summers together. However, as our children are just a little bit older, I’ve noticed I get a little bit more time to sit…even if just for twenty minutes at a time!

During those moments of down-time…of lounging in the shade while the kids splash in the pool, instead of reaching for a dose of Insta…I’ll reach for one of these instead:

Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn are my all-time favourite historical romance writers and I’m reading Steven Neil in support of #IndieApril…yes, I realize it’s June…but see above for reasons my reading is slow.

There are some non-fiction reads I’ll throw on the list too since my journey into yoga and self-knowledge is now a part of me. But, these three will certainly satisfy my thirst for romance for the next couple of months.

What will you be reading this summer? Share below…I may just start an autumn TBR now 🙂

#Reading The Merest Loss by Steven Neil

Excited to sit with my next read courtesy of #IndieApril. I realize it’s May; however, I committed to reading and reviewing this book in April. I believe that still counts!

A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris. When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet? Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind? What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father? The central character is Harriet Howard and the action takes place between 1836 and 1873. The plot centres on Harriet’s relationships with Louis Napoleon and famous Grand National winning jockey, Jem Mason. The backdrop to the action includes significant characters from the age, including Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Grafton, as well as Emperor Napoleon III. The worlds of horse racing, hunting and government provide the scope for rural settings to contrast with the city scenes of London and Paris and for racing skulduggery to vie with political chicanery.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36514982-the-merest-loss

Looking forward to what sounds like a great read!

Suo Jure. Wait. What?

What does this mean?

in his/her own right  â€”used especially following the title of a noblewoman to specify that she holds the title independently of her husband

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I love the idea of women having some kind of opportunity to be themselves in a world so defined by patriarchy.

So, when I started toying with the idea of a protagonist who is a Countess and not a widow, I immediately began to research how this could be possible in an era such as the Regency.

Apparently, it was completely possible. Some women received the designation for life only. Which meant the title was for the duration of the Lady’s life and her children would not inherit said title or lands. A well-known peeress in her own right was Her Grace Lady Henrietta Godolphin Duchess of Marlborough, whom inherited her father’s title as a Duchess of the realm.

Once I realized that being a peeress in her own right wasn’t quite so outlandish, distinct yes, but not out of the realm of possibility, the character for my first novel would not let me go.

My protagonist is a Countess in her own right. And, interestingly enough, when I was plagued by doubt while writing her, I was also in the midst of marathon watching one of my all-time favourite shows, Downton Abbey and it was as if the universe had a special message for me.

If you know the show, you know the show! In a short scene near the end of the third season, Robert (Earl of Grantham) describes the family structure of his cousin and her husband, Shrimpy. Apparently, his grandmother was a Countess in her own right. He actually used those words! Well, then I knew I was absolutely on to something.

So, Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Ashbury, Countess of Bentwick in her own right took flight. And, does she ever soar.

How do you feel about a Lady in the Regency era having a title of her own, even if for life only?

Confident or Brat? #AmWriting

There is a fine line between a man who knows what he wants and will not stop until he gets it, and the man who makes a lot of noise expecting others to get him what he wants.

The first kind of man inspires confidence and admiration because those in his circle know he will achieve his goal with dignity and grace.

The second causes groans, tension, stress and the inevitable eye-roll.

How to make sure your hero is the first kind of man, not the second? Here’s a checklist for you:

  1. Your hero takes responsibility for his behaviour and words.
  2. Your hero never blames anyone else for the circumstances in which he finds himself.
  3. Your hero loves your heroine so fully he does not look to her to feel more of a man or to heal any residual pain from his past.
  4. Your hero leads gently but firmly and cares for those under his protection.
  5. Your hero knows his mind and understands the consequences of his decisions – especially how the heroine will be impacted.

How to spot a brat in your hero? Here’s another checklist:

  1. Your hero deflects the influence of his words or actions.
  2. Your hero looks for places/people who are responsible for his angst/plight.
  3. Your hero needs your heroine rather than loves her. (It’s ok for him to need her love after love has flourished, but if she is needed for psychological well-being rather than being pursued for who she is – there is a fundamental flaw in the hero)
  4. Your hero mistreats those who serve or help him.
  5. Your hero acts rashly refusing to weigh the consequences of his decisions on the heroine or those under his care.

What are your definitely/definitely-not traits when creating the hero for your novels? I hope you’re inspired to keep writing swoon-worthy men.

Caryn Emme Sign Off

Avoiding Head Hopping – #Writing #Editing

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I thrive on knowing my characters deeply so I can better shape their story. Except, I end up writing the thoughts and reactions of almost all of my characters – simultaneously.

This is a big NO, NO and is referred to as head hopping.

Head hopping is when the narrative doesn’t remain within one character’s POV – but the scene moves from the perspective of all of the characters involved. Sometimes, in the midst of editing hell, I throw my arms up and think, isn’t that what the benefits of an omniscient narrator are?

Part of me becomes quite perplexed because I’ve read more than my fair share of romances where we get information from both of the romantic leads within the same scene – and I think, why does every piece of advice to writers out there include a finger wag at head hopping, meanwhile these very successful romance writers do it consistently throughout their novels?!? Frustrating, right?

I guess the saying that you have to know the rules before you can break the rules holds fast on this one.

As I write instalment two of my series and as I edit (again!) instalment one, these are some of the rules I’ve developed for myself to prevent the proverbial head hop:

  1. At the beginning of each chapter I must decide who will be the focus: hero or heroine. If heroine, I stick to writing only her thoughts and feelings.
  2. I make sure to note the hero’s reactions/feelings through the heroine’s eyes (and vice versa when the hero is the focus of a chapter)
  3. Rule #1 has meant cutting out entire portions of a chapter and refitting it into a later chapter where the POV changes to the other protagonist – or, sometimes, saying goodbye altogether to favourite pieces of prose regardless of the pain in my heart.
  4. Any interaction with a minor character must be experienced through the protagonist
  5. The feelings, changes in tone or body language of the minor characters must be perceived by the protagonist and the opinions of the minor character must be explicitly stated in dialogue.
  6. An omniscient narrator means access to every character’s thoughts & feelings, and brings those to light at the right time, not all at the same time.

So far, keeping these rules in mind has helped me to remain focused and each chapter has improved tremendously. Each chapter is stronger, feels tighter and I feel that the narrative voice confidently takes the reader through the story.

It’s worth looking at the amount of head hopping in your own writing and asking yourself if it is serving the story.

What techniques do you use to keep your POV focused?

Caryn Emme Sign Off

 

 

 

 

The Art of Stillness #Writing

In a world full of distractions, each seductively pulling our attention away from the things that are important to us, it becomes tantamount to find the strength to keep focused on our goals and dreams. And, it is even more important to keep focused on the present moment.

In the most purest of ways, it is only the present moment which matters. When we train ourselves to still our mind, we open ourselves to the abundance of creativity and sheer vibrance of life which exists in the universe.

I have finished my first manuscript, Capturing a Countess’ Heart. And am hoping for publication in the traditional form. If it doesn’t happen, then I will self-publish because I truly believe it is a story which readers of romance will love.

In the lull, I have been toying with  beginning draft one of book two in the series. I have been down on myself for not continuing on with my blogs. I have allowed the busyness of life take over: children, career, marriage, friends, home etc.

I wasn’t happy. I am happiest when my hands are on the keyboard giving birth to the whirlwind of words encircling my mind. I just couldn’t find my focus.

Then I enrolled in Power Yoga Canada’s 40 Days to Personal Revolution. My yoga studio is a haven for me. I find peace the moment I enter, and when we begin a class in Supta or Child’s Pose, my entire being releases onto the mat and I breathe the busyness of my day out. And, for 60 minutes, I think of nothing. Nothing but syncing my movements to my breathe. Nothing but flowing.

What I learned through these 40 Days was the beauty of meditation. I didn’t meditate regularly, or for long periods of time. But, I have felt a tremendous change in my focus with the meditation I have accomplished. I will keep meditating and I will allow the abundance of the universe help me, guide me, still me.

I will also bring this into my writing. The stillness will bring the words forward – without worry, without fuss. It’s a beautiful thing.

I am ready to start draft one of book two (and very excited to do so). I am ready to begin the publishing process for book one too – with a publisher or on my own.

Stillness. It’s where your words are found.

How do you prepare for writing your next novel, short story, poem, blog post, journal entry? What inspires and prepares you to write from your true self?

Caryn Emme Sign Off

 

 

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