Monday, July 25, 2016

A Visit with Dorothy Adamek

I'm delighted that Dorothy Adamek is here this week. Dotti and I met years ago through our blogs, and let me tell you, she's a treasure! She's a gifted writer, sweet friend, and a lovely Australian native who recently released her first novel, Carry Me Home. If you enjoy historical romance, I suggest you pick it up - it's a wonderful read. Dotti's giving away one copy, so check out the details below.

Welcome, Dotti! Thank you for coming to see us. Congratulations on your book, Carry Me Home! I enjoyed the story immensely. 

Thank you, for your kind invitation and warm welcome, Karen. I’ve held Write Now in high esteem for many years. It’s an honor to visit with you and your readers, and share some of my Aussie stories. 

Aww, you are so sweet, thank you! :) Your blog has always been a favorite of mine as well. One of the many things I enjoyed about your book was the setting. What made you choose Phillip Island, Australia? 

Phillip Island has been our family holiday destination for more than 40 years. Many of my childhood memories are of summers on the island and as soon as my own babies were able to sit up, they dipped straight into the Ventnor rock pools. 

This majestic volcanic outcrop, surrounded by picture perfect coastline, has charmed many over the centuries. Some years ago, a newspaper tribute captured some of the stories of the early island settlers. It included old photographs which only hinted at how life might have looked for those who chose to make Phillip Island their new home. I already had the love. And so began the wonder. 

I wondered what it would have been like to live on this remote island in its first decade of white settlement. How would people have arrived (without the bridge which now connects it to the mainland at San Remo)? What difficulties would they have faced in creating a new life? What comforts would they have enjoyed…or longed for? I wondered…who would choose to come here? And so I created one character, Australian Shadrach Jones, who chose for himself. And then I added English-born Finella Mayfield, for whom the choice had already been made by her father. I threw these two already troubled souls into each other’s midst, and watched how the wild weather, isolated location, and general mischief of life overturned their plans and dreams. 

And when I was done, I discovered it was not enough to stop with Shad and Finella. So much more of the island’s delicious history beckoned. So I find myself gladly marooned there, still…working on the next two books in the Blue Wren Shallows series. I am a happy castaway. Not just on this island, but trapped in a time I can only dream into existence. That’s where you’ll find me. Sifting through the remnants of lives once lived. Taking inspiration from those who pioneered a hard yet satisfying life, and fleshing out those who my imagination suggests might have walked among them. 

"A happy castaway" - I like that! This story captures all of the above and more. You paint lovely and realistic images for the reader. I also enjoyed getting to know your main characters, Finella Mayfield and Shadrach Jones. They are down to earth and easy to relate to. What traits do you admire most in them? Any that frustrated you while writing the story? 

I most admire Shadrach’s loyalty. He’s a man devoted to the care of his sister and will not walk away from the promises he’s made, no matter how hard they are to keep. I don’t mind his blue eyes, either! As far as Aussie heroes go, I think he’s a keeper! 

Newly arrived Finella is a young character, and while life has tested her before, her past tragedies have happened in the midst of family who loved and protected her. Readers are introduced to Finella when life has just taken most of what she thinks she needs to survive in her new Australian home. We meet her grappling with deep trauma. It takes her a little longer to sift through the layers of her identity, fashioned for her by her father, to fully understand who she is at heart and what she’s capable of. I most admire the way she takes Shadrach's sister, Molly, under her wing. The opportunity to teach Molly becomes the ground on which Finella experiences her deepest learning, and something I think a lot of us have discovered for ourselves - our best ‘learning' happens when we are in the thick of ‘teaching.’ 

I think you are right; learning through teaching is a great experience. How did the idea for Finella’s “Everlasting journal” come about? 

An Everlasting was more than a journal. It was a place for Victorian-Era women to record life with words, as well as botanical specimens they found along the way. Drying and pressing flowers promised they’d last forever. An ‘everlasting’ token. For Finella, her Everlasting was a book in which to collect new (to her) Australian flowers. Her Everlasting journal entries allowed me to write Finella’s story in first person and give my reader deeper insights to her struggles and discoveries. It became the place where she could dare voice her affection for Shadrach before she was ready to admit it out loud. 

I enjoyed its inclusion, and did find that it offered another interesting dimension. For those who aren’t familiar, Carry Me Home is Book 1 in the Blue Wren Shallows series. Can you give us a peek at Book 2? When do you expect it to be released? Looking forward to reading Book 2. :)

You are too kind! Thank you. Book Two in the Blue Wren Shallows series is Carry Me Away. In it, we see the continuation of Shadrach and Finella’s world, their newly built guesthouse, and we are introduced to new characters in their midst, Tom Darley and Ada Carmichael, the only survivors of the 1878 Black Swallow shipwreck. To be released in your Spring, (our Autumn) 2017. 

Sounds like another winner! You'll have to come back and see us when it releases. What advice would you give someone writing their first novel? 

Keep at it. Keep writing. Keep reading fiction in the genre you’ve chosen to write. And keep on reading writing craft books. Writing your first novel is a lot like writing every other one after that. It takes time and dedication. For fabulous editing techniques once your book is written, look to Margie Lawson for Deep Editing online workshops and lecture packets. You won’t regret the sharpening of your scenes when you employ Margie’s methods.

Thank you for joining us, Dotti! Wishing you abundant blessings on your journey. 

Thank you so much for allowing me to introduce Carry Me Home to your readers, Karen. I’m delighted to share my Australian stories with book lovers from all over the world.  If a trip to Australia is on your wish list, reading Carry Me Home may be your first step to visiting our beautiful shores. 

Dotti's daughter Sophie was the cover model
An Excerpt of Carry Me Home  

Finella Mayfield hates two things: liars and thieves. And she’s determined to marry a man who’s neither. Chasing her dead father’s dreams, the twenty–year-old English bride arrives in Australia in 1875 for an arranged marriage. Anticipating her future as village preacher’s wife, she records her thoughts in her Everlasting journal. But instead of her fiancĂ©, Finella is met by Shadrach Jones, a poor farmer sent to collect her from the busy Melbourne pier.This is not what her father planned. And it’s only the beginning of the unraveling of Finella Mayfield ~ the bride with no groom. 

All Shadrach Jones longs for is rows of mustard and chicory. He’s busy growing a farm near the Phillip Island fishing village of Cowes, and caring for Molly, his simple sister. Far from the brutal life they remember with their ex-convict father, Shadrach’s building something new. But he’s also made a promise to a dying friend. To collect and marry the English girl destined to never be a preacher’s wife. Can Shadrach convince Finella she has a future with a farmer? Can he convince himself, knowing his family secrets will haunt their future?  Carry Me Home ~ Book 1 in the Blue Wren Shallows series. An Australian historical romance set in the pioneering ra of the 1870s, on Victoria’s majestic Phillip Island. 

Dotti's Bio 

Australian author, Dorothy Adamek, writes Displacement Fiction ~ the stories of people upended by tragedy and trauma, and their struggle to belong in their new worlds. Couched in romance, her fiction is set in the late Victorian era.  Author of the Blue Wren Shallows trilogy, she lives at Crabapple House in Melbourne with her Beloved and their three children, twenty fruit trees and Gilbert the Library Cat. A graduate of La Trobe University, Dorothy studied Literature, History and Education. She taught secondary school English and English As A Second Language. She loves black and white floors, collects blue and white china, and makes apricot jam every summer. Her favorite holiday destination is Phillip Island, the real life setting of Carry Me Home, book one in the Blue Wren Shallows trilogy. 

Find Dotti 


My Review of Carry Me Home 

I was immersed into Carry Me Home's story immediately. Dorothy has a genuine knack for realistic, interesting characters and rich description. This, combined with an engaging plot, made it an absolute pleasure to read. If I'd not have known it was her debut novel I'd have guessed she'd written dozens of them already. This tale is a compelling combination of love, faith, and challenges - simply delightful! I look forward to Book 2. 

Giveaway Details 

Dotti is giving away an autographed copy of Carry Me Home to one of my followers. Kindly note the details:

1) Please comment below, leaving your email address so I can contact you. 
2) I'd appreciate you following Write Now by Google Friend Connect or Facebook (see sidebar). 
3) Giveaway ends Thursday, July 28, 2016 at midnight Eastern Time. Winner will be notified by email and have 36 hours to respond or another name will be chosen. 

Have you ever traveled to Australia? What's your dream vacation destination? What are you reading this week?

Happy reading and writing,

Monday, July 11, 2016

Meet the Blogger with...?

July holds many special events, such as Independence Day and several family birthdays, including mine, So I thought I'd take a turn at the Meet the Blogger feature. I hope you don't mind. :)

I'll keep it short since most of you know basic "Karen" details already.

Why did you start blogging? How long have you had your current blog? 

I started blogging in 2009 because I wanted to add blogging to my resume. Little did I know what wonderful friends and amazing things I'd gain from the experience. It's been a great ride.

What is your blog about? 

You know this answer – writing and publishing, books, and occasionally some other stuff. Prior to blogging, a handful of kind writers helped my journey tremendously. I wanted to give back, to help newer writers, and connect with other scribes. 

What benefits have you gained through blogging?

The number one benefit - the friends I've made. Kind, helpful, supportive, faithful, generous - you've all been a great blessing to me! I've also sharpened writing skills and gained experience and insight into the publishing world.

What projects are you working on right now? 

I'm working on a way to hire a stunt double to get some of my non writing projects done. You know - paperwork, laundry, cleaning. There's a better chance of this happening when my ship comes in.

My current projects include writing web content and blog posts for local businesses, as well as articles and guest posts for print/online publications. I'm also working on the continuation of my book series of teen writing lessons. This girl's mind is rarely idle. Can anyone relate?   

What might people be surprised to learn about you?

I really had to think about this one. You know the basics - I like dark chocolate, hockey, reading historical fiction, walking, and hanging out with family. But you might not know I had the lead female role in an 8th grade play. (I decided not to pursue acting. I think the world is a better place because of that decision.)  

If you already knew that exciting bit of info, how about this: I've lived in five states. (Yeah I know, I'm a wild woman.) I was born in Lancaster, PA. Not long after that happy occasion, the Air Force sent Dad to MIT in Boston for meteorology, so naturally Mom and I came along. We moved next to Dover, DE and after Dad's term was up we settled near family in southern NJ. Now I live in KY, which reminds me a lot of PA, and since I'd always wanted to live in PA as a kid, I'm a happy camper. Plus my husband, three kids, daughter in law, and grandsons are here too. :)

What advice would you share with a newbie blogger?

Four things: keep writing, connect with other writers, read, and continue learning.  Always. Your blog will reflect these efforts.

Coming Attractions

Australian author Dorothy Adamek joins us on July 25 for an interview and giveaway. In August, Ann Gabhart returns to celebrate her newest book with a giveaway too. Hope you can join us! 

Taking a short break, see you on July 25!
How's your summer going so far? What states or locations have you called home? 

Happy writing,

Monday, July 4, 2016

What Does Freedom Mean to You?

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. 
We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. 
It must be fought for, protected, 
and handed on for them to do the same."

 Ronald Reagan

"It is easy to take liberty for granted, 
when you have never had it taken from you."

Author Unknown 

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, 
must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."

 Thomas Paine

"Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth."

George Washington

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. Ronald Reagan
Read more at:
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. Ronald Reagan
Read more at:
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. Ronald Reagan
Read more at:
I thought these quotes interesting - they are a reminder that freedom isn't free
nor does it happen by accident

The older I get, the more I appreciate what we have here. 

Freedom to live, to speak, to worship.  

May we never take it for granted.

What does freedom mean to you? Happy Independence Day!

Have a great week,

Photo credit: Free Images