Loving the Research

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Viola Russell. Today, Viola shares her writing journey and novels.

Here’s Viola!

My journey as a writer began when I first read Little Women. I was a kid, and my mother gave the trilogy to me as a gift. No one fascinated me like Jo March. She was wonderfully tough and brash for a woman of her time, and she dreamed of being a writer. Then, I learned that Alcott had based Jo and her family on her own disparate siblings and parents. Louisa May Alcott did become a writer. Dreams came true–well, at least for her. I did not pursue my dream as diligently for many years, too easily discouraged and rejected.

A bizarre incident started me writing again. A young woman in a bookstore approached me and asked if I’d ever given up a child for adoption. She said I looked just like her friend who was searching for her birth mother. I hadn’t and wished her friend luck in her pursuit of her birth parents; however, the incident made me think, What if it had been true? Hence, my first novel (no longer in print) was born. When my mother died, writing became my therapy. As I made my way through her prized possessions, I found the letters and memorabilia my uncles (her brothers) had retained from WWII. Some were letters to parents; others were objects purchased during their various deployments. The letters left a permanent mark on my psyche, particularly the letters from my Uncle Russell to his parents and sisters (my grandparents as well as my mother and aunt). I then had the privilege of reading the letters he’d sent to his wife and those she’d sent to him. They sparkled with passion. Instinctively, I knew I had to tell the story of my mother’s generation. The family members in Love at War are my family but not quite my family. As a writer, I have embellished and changed things, but the events are historically accurate. My cousins loved the dinner scene–all arguing through email if I’d faithfully rendered Grandma’s recipe for meatballs and spaghetti!

I certainly didn’t set out to write historical fiction, but I soon found it suited me. I next channeled my Irish heritage, writing Buccaneer Beauty, the story of Grace O’Malley. I had to tell the story of a powerful, strong woman who prevailed in a man’s profession in a sexist time. Grace outwitted the British and dominated two Irish chieftain husbands.

Still, family called to me. My father was much older than my mother. His era was WWI, Storyville, and Prohibition, more so than WWII. I set about creating Jude Mooney, the character based loosely on my father, Samuel Weaver. Jude appears in From Ice Wagon to Club House. Like Jude, my father was a bootlegger. Like Jude, my father trained thoroughbred horses and professional boxers. He also had–let’s say–several wives. I wrote of my hometown, New Orleans (which also became a character, much as it had in Love at War) and then placed Jude in WWI as well as the Irish War for independence.

When I wrapped Ice Wagon, I thought the Mooney family was a finished chapter in my life, but the characters called my name and wouldn’t let me sleep. I picked up the story where I’d left the characters–with Jude’s sons back home in Ireland still fighting for the land their parents had loved. The Progeny follows Jude and his family as they face yet another war and more family turmoil. Again, WWII plays an important role in the novel, as does Ireland. As Jude seeks respectability, his children and extended family must find their places in a changing world.

It hasn’t ended there. I’ve begun research for the third, and hopefully, last installment of the Mooney saga. What has always surprised me about my historical fiction is how much I find myself loving the research. When I research WWI and WWII, I’m in familiar yet unfamiliar territory. I’ve heard the family lore, and my research takes me into the heat of the battle and the details of a bygone era.

Amazon Buy Links

Buccaneer Beauty | From Ice Wagon to Clubhouse | The Progeny | Love at War | The Doctor and the War Widow | A Fair Grounds Mystery

Where to find Viola…

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Spotlight on Druid’s Portal

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Cindy Tomamichel. Today, Cindy shares the the two books in the Druid’s Portal series.

Druid’s Portal: The First Journey

A portal closed for 2,000 years.

An ancient religion twisted by modern greed.

A love that crosses the centuries.

An ancient druid pendant shows archaeologist Janet visions of Roman soldier Trajan. The visions are of danger, death, and love—but are they a promise or a curse?

Her fiancé Daman abandons her before the wedding, her beloved museum is ransacked, and a robed man vanishes before her eyes. Haunted by visions of a time she knows long gone, Janet teeters on the edge of a breakdown.

In the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall and 2,000 years back in time, Janet’s past and present collide. Daman has vowed to drive the invaders from the shores of Britain and march his barbarian hordes to Rome. Trajan swears vengeance against the man who threatens both his loves—Janet and the Empire.

Time is running out—for everyone.

Druid’s Portal : The Second Journey

A love that can never be.

Ethan—latest guardian of the Arwen pendant—finds his heritage of time travel a burden he can scarcely endure. Rowena—last of the line of Daman—is a soldier in the Celtic army, forced to perform deeds that haunt her. Both tormented by visions of the other, separated by barriers of time.

A time that should not exist.

Rowena flees the catastrophic end of her time but is trapped by an ancient family pact with an evil goddess. Desperate to save her, Ethan crosses over into her timeline, where his parents never met, and Daman—their greatest enemy—rules.
The past is ruled by a man who knows the future.

Thirty days to stop a goddess taking over her body. Thirty days to save his timeline. Together they will fight their way through an altered history to the dark past of Stonehenge.

But time is running out—for everyone.

Goodreads | Amazon

Book Trailer

Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre writer. Escape the everyday with time travel action adventure novels, scifi and fantasy stories or tranquil scenes for relaxation.

Find a world where the heroines don’t wait to be rescued, and the heroes earn that title the hard way.

The Druid’s Portal series is a genre blend of action, adventure, romance, time travel and magical historical fantasy set in Roman Britain.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | BookBub | Amazon | Goodreads

Cindy Tomamichel is offering a $15 Amazon gift card and an ebook of 5 Minute Vacations in a Rafflecopter giveaway. Find out more HERE.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Three Feet From Gold

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Whenever I’m feeling discouraged or frustrated with a project, I reread the following excerpt from Napoleon Hill’s classic book, Think and Grow Rich.

One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Every person is guilty of this mistake at one time or another.

An uncle of R. U. Darby was caught by the gold fever in the gold-rush days, and went west to DIG AND GROW RICH. He had never heard that more gold has been mined from the brains of men than has ever been taken from the earth. He staked a claim and went to work with pick and shovel. The going was hard, but his lust for gold was definite.

After weeks of labor, he was rewarded by the discovery of the shining ore. He needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface. Quietly, he covered up the mine, retraced his footsteps to his home in Williamsburg, Maryland, told his relatives and a few neighbors of the “strike.” They got together money for the needed machinery, had it shipped. The uncle and Darby went back to work the mine.

The first car of ore was mined, and shipped to a smelter. The returns proved they had one of the richest mines in Colorado! A few more cars of that ore would clear the debts. Then would come the big killing in profits.

Down went the drills! Up went the hopes of Darby and Uncle! Then something happened! The vein of gold ore disappeared! They had come to the end of the rainbow, and the pot of gold was no longer there! They drilled on, desperately trying to pick up the vein again— all to no avail.

Finally, they decided to QUIT.

They sold the machinery to a “Junk” man for a few hundred dollars, and took the train back home. The “Junk” man called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a little calculating. The engineer advised that the project had failed, because the owners were not familiar with “fault lines.” His calculations showed that the vein would be found just three feet from where the Darbys had stopped drilling! That is exactly where it was found!

The “Junk” man took millions of dollars in ore from the mine, because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up.

Most of the money which went into the machinery was procured through the efforts of R. U. Darby, who was then a very young man. The money came from his relatives and neighbors, because of their faith in him. He paid back every dollar of it, although he was years in doing so.

Long afterward, Mr. Darby recouped his loss many times over when he made the discovery that desire can be transmuted into gold. The discovery came after he went into the business of selling life insurance.

Remembering that he lost a huge fortune, because he stopped three feet from gold, Darby profited by the experience in his chosen work, by the simple method of saying to himself, “I stopped three feet from gold, but I will never stop because men say ‘no’ when I ask them to buy insurance.”

Darby is one of a small group of fewer than fifty men who sell more than a million dollars in life insurance annually. He owes his stickability to the lesson he learned from his quitability in the gold mining business.

Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach.

On Planting Red Herrings

Red_HerringWhen I shared an early draft of A Season for Killing Blondes, a beta reader complimented me on my use of red herrings and suggested the title could also be considered a red herring.

Puzzled, I asked for clarification.

She explained, “A red herring is a literary device that leads readers toward a false conclusion. Glancing at the title, I expected to read a thriller about a serial killer who had designated a specific time period for the Rampage.” She winked. “That’s definitely not the case here.”

A bit worried, I wondered if I was misleading my readers. Would they expect a thriller and be disappointed when my novel turned out to be a cozy?

Continue reading on the Sisterhood of Suspense blog.