Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Regency Christmas, guest post by Sherrill Bodine

                                               A REGENCY CHRISTMAS

In my novella, The Christmas Ball,  I combine my favorite holiday, Christmas, with my favorite historical period, the elegant Regency world of Jane Austen – plus I throw in a pinch of my favorite Fairytale, Cinderella.

During my many visits to England and through my research I have come to love the wit, grace and romance of this period, 1800 – 1820, and discovered how many Regency customs endure in the way in which I celebrate Christmas.

The Christmas season of Regency England was a time of much merrymaking.  Everybody invited their friends and family about them for festive celebrations.  On Christmas Eve there was often a delightful Ball which provided an excuse for ladies to wear their best clothes and jewelry.  Plus the Ball provided an opportunity for flirting among the unmarried couples and perhaps even the beginnings of serious courtships.

An unmarried young lady would wear a soft column-like dress, usually white trimmed with satin ribbon.  She would have pearl combs in her hair, with a matching necklace around her slender neck and earrings dangling from her delicate ears. To this she would add a jewel inlaid fan or one painted with birds, flowers or fruit.  She might practice the art of “fluttering” for months until she hardly needed to speak for the way she used her fan spoke volumes about her emotions.  Obviously, the Regency young men never stood a chance against such artistry.

On Christmas Eve there would always be the singing of Carols and sometimes amusing games were played such as “Hunt the Slipper” before the evening ended with sandwiches  and sweets.

On Christmas Day morning the children were given beautifully decorated boxes which contained money.  Then in mid-day, usually around four o’clock, the family would gather in the dining room for a sumptuous meal of Salmon Trout, Sweetbreads, Chicken Fricassee, Roast Turkey, Ham, Buttered Lobster, Muffin Pudding, Jellies, Potatoes, Peas, Whipped Syllabub and Baskets of Pastry.

Now, two hundred years later, my festive celebrations begin on December 23th with my “Almost Christmas Eve Party” for all my friends who are alone or without their families.  There is no Ball, but a DJ will be spinning tunes for dancing and yes, a few romances have started in my family room with the music blaring and young couples gazing into one another’s eyes.  Since this is a family party with friends from three years old to ninety –five, I encourage a sing-a-long of familiar Carols, even though I won’t be joining in as my voice is so terrible my guests would be justified in covering their ears and fleeing the party.

The party continues on Christmas Eve with dinner for my family of twenty –two.  Then we rise at dawn on Christmas morning to discover what Santa has left in all twenty-two stockings.  I will try to make our Christmas Brunch as sumptuous as a Regency feast but there will be fewer courses and , alas, no Buttered Lobster, even though my children would love such extravagance.

I love discovering how others celebrate the holidays and send my wish for the days ahead to be filled with joy for all! 
Xoxo  Sherrill Bodine   

 Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the Diversion Books team and all of our authors. We're wishing you and yours a festive and safe holiday season. See you in 2014!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New eBook releases 12/17: Advice for Football Fans, Cozy Western Romance, and Remembering the Luminaries of 2013

Welcome to the last set of new releases for 2013! It's been an amazing year, and we're excited to close out on a high note.

The Tao of Chip Kelly was previewed here last week with an excerpt highlighting how Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly has often used humor in his coaching (and dealing with the press). Get the full picture of this inspiring coach today for your favorite eReader, as Mark Saltveit has carefully curated and analyzed the lessons we can all take from Chip Kelly for use in our daily lives.

Be sure to follow Mark Saltveit on Twitter of the latest news and analysis of Chip Kelly in the last few weeks of the NFL season. It's coming down to the wire, but the Eagles under Kelly's leadership can still pull it off!

Just as last week four more Anita Mills titles were added to our catalog to complement our earlier backlist re-releases, this week we're bringing back four more historical romances from a beloved author. Jane Bonander, whose previous re-releases with Diversion includes the free eBook Wild Heart, has four Western romances available today. Secrets of a Midnight Moon, Heat of a Savage Moon, and Forbidden Moon are a trilogy exploring the intense passion between strong-willed Western women and the Native American men brave enough to cross their paths. Fires of Innocence follows a young woman whose act of compassion in saving a wounded man is returned with fire and scorn when he returns in fairer weather to evict her from her beloved land.

Treat yourself to one or all four today and keep warm through the long winter days (and nights!).

2013 marked the passing of many notable cultural icons. From people as globally renowned as Nelson Mandela and Chinua Achebe, as noteworthy in their fields as Esther Williams and Virginia Johnson, and as colorful as Gussie Moran and Josh Burdette, the world is a little darker today because of their passing, but brighter because of what they contributed. The Washington Post commemorates 21 of these passionate, notable, colorful figures in 21 Lives in 2013.

We close out our final 2013 new release post with exciting giveaway news, courtesy of Goodreads. Three paperback edition giveaways are now active, two for young adult fans and another for all of you writers out there looking for advice from one of the best in the field. Check them out and enter today.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Wrede on Writing by Patricia C. Wrede

Wrede on Writing

by Patricia C. Wrede

Giveaway ends January 06, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fae by C.J. Abedi


by C.J. Abedi

Giveaway ends January 16, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Moment Before by Suzy Vitello

The Moment Before

by Suzy Vitello

Giveaway ends January 14, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
Remember, you can always learn about the latest giveaways, news, and titles from Diversion Books by friending us on Goodreads.

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season, from the entire Diversion Books team.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

COVER REVEAL: The Dark King by C.J. Abedi, sequel to Fae

It's been killing us to sit on such a beautiful cover for a few weeks, but now is the time! Just after the announcements of the YA fantasy bestseller Fae has been optioned by Ridley Scott and is available in paperback, now you can feast your eyes upon the cover for the sequel The Dark King.

Darkness descends over Roanoke Island in the sequel to the young adult bestseller, Fae.

Devilyn Reilly has crossed over to the sinister world of The Dark Fae, reigning over the realm as its King. He is to fulfill a prophecy--to unite the Light and Dark Fae once and for all, but those who love him now fear that he will never be the same again, that he can no longer be trusted, that every trace of the Light he once had is gone forever.

Caroline Ellis, the final heir of the Light Fae, must learn to survive without the protection of her one true love. She must come to embrace her own strength to evade those in the Dark court who seek her destruction—for the power is within Caroline to use Light to change Fate itself...

Caroline and Devilyn’s chemistry is undeniable. Their destiny together inevitable if only they have the will to overcome The Darkness and The Fates.

The Dark King, the second installment of the stunning Fae trilogy propels readers into the mystical and magical world of the Light and Dark Fae, where star-crossed love ignites a battle between two powerful kingdoms, one that can consume everything that stands in its path.

This dark and mysterious sequel will be available May 6th, 2014. You can preorder it today from Amazon, the iBookstore, or Kobo.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Sometimes I can be sarcastic. I don't know if people realize that." - An excerpt from THE TAO OF CHIP KELLY

The Tao of Chip Kelly by Mark Saltveit
is now available for all eReaders
In 2007, some fans in Eugene, Oregon were in line to buy basketball tickets and killing time by tossing a football around. A husky stranger interrupted to give them some unsolicited advice:

“Let me show you how to throw a football. You gotta flick it like a booger.”

The stranger was Oregon’s new offensive coordinator (and former high school quarterback) Chip Kelly. He’s a very funny guy, a classic New England deadpan ball-buster.

He also doesn’t see the need to give anyone respect that they haven’t earned. And he is surrounded by very talented people who have been working their asses off for most of their lives, so his standards for earning respect are very high.

This has led to an often-contentious relationship with the press, whose members are not used to being challenged and rarely have the history of military service or major football accomplishment (either as a player or coach) that most impresses Chip.

When Kelly was at the University of Oregon, there was also a bit of a West Coast/East Coast culture clash, something that won’t be a problem in Philadelphia (where fans are known to throw batteries and boo Santa Claus). But Oregon is definitely laid back, if a bit more solid than California.

I experienced Chip’s culture clash in the opposite direction, as an Oregon kid who went to college in Boston. Out of the blue—in a Store 24, for example—total strangers kept giving me crap, and I thought “Oh my God, every single person is an asshole here!”

Of course, four years later when I returned to Portland, I was the asshole, busting chops on people I just met and offending baffled strangers. I had to become a stand-up comedian just to explain myself.

Still, it’s Chip Kelly’s jousting with the press that we hear about the most because even when reporters are the butt of the joke, they can’t ignore the fact that Kelly gives some of the best interviews in sports. For full effect, you need to know that he talks very fast and right off the top of his head. Here are some examples.

At the press conference after the 2013 NFL annual meeting, a reporter asked whether Kelly’s Eagles would use the read option play he relied on at Oregon.

“It depends on who your QB is. If you were my QB, (probably not). You have to adapt.”

Another asked him what had been the most difficult thing to deal with in Philadelphia. Kelly replied, “The Schuylkill [Expressway].”

At the press conference on the first day of organized team activities—a non-contact set of drills—he was asked to rate how well his team played.

“Our defense was going against barrels, and our offense was going against air. But our offense killed it against air, so if we could play air we’d be really good …”

Kelly makes it very clear that he does not give out information about the current injury status of his players. This has been his consistent policy for many years, as reporters know.

In one of Kelly’s first moves as coach, the Eagles signed free agent Kenny Phillips, a talented but wounded veteran coming back from microfracture surgery in his left knee in 2009 and an MCL problem in his right knee in 2012. After Phillips sat out one of the Eagles’ early practices, some reporter asked the coach, “Does (Kenny Phillips) have an injury?” Kelly’s answer:

“Yeah, he’s had an injury for a couple of years now.”

Many of Chip’s best quips have involved bringing reporters who get too clever in their thinking back down to earth. When one reporter asked what he had learned from studying USC’s epic run of seven straight PAC-10 championships (from 2002-2008), Kelly answered “Yeah. Get good players.” The Trojans were (and are) a recruiting giant of almost SEC proportions, clearly dominant in the PAC-12.

Some of these busts are so deadpan that people might even miss them. After a rare loss, one reporter asked how much he planned to change his strategy as a result.

“Thirteen percent. Exactly.”102

Kelly doesn’t like long-winded speeches or stuffiness in any form, either. Before the 2011 National Championship Game, after endless interviews and speculation, there was this exchange:

“MODERATOR: We will take an opening statement from Coach Kelly.

KELLY: From me? Wow. Haven’t heard enough? Game is tomorrow night. Let’s go play. Questions?”

On a similar note, after Oregon beat UCLA for the 2011 PAC-12 championship, the press conference moderator asked if there were any opening statements. Kelly quipped:

“Opening statements? Is this a debate? LaMichael: Thermonuclear war. Are you for it or against it?”

He also doesn’t like stupid questions. One reporter at spring training in Oregon noted that then-new recruit Colt Lyerla had started workouts at tight end. He asked, does that mean you want him to play tight end? Chip said:

“We were actually going to look at him at D-lineman, but we couldn’t get the right jersey on him. No, we are going to look at him at tight end. That is why we put him at tight end.”

It’s not just that Kelly thinks he’s smarter and funnier than everybody else (though I’m not saying that he doesn’t or that he isn’t). This is part of the New Hampshire culture he grew up in, and it’s a way for him to stay grounded, as his oldest friends will tell you. Kevin Mills, an assistant coach at Portsmouth High School and one of Kelly’s best friends, said this:

“Some people, you put a couple dollars in their pocket, and they sort of drift away, go Hollywood. He hasn’t done that at all. Whenever I go to a New Hampshire game, he’s texting me, asking me what’s going on.”

Sean Devine, the offensive line coach at Boston College, confirms this: “He likes to bust (chops). He’s quick-witted with a great sense of humor. (But) he’s a good guy. My first couple years, when I was a young coach and I was making peanuts, he took great care of me. Many times we’d hang out in Portsmouth, and he’d take care of things.”

Mills again: "Loves to laugh. He’s the king of trying to bust peoples’ chops.”

There’s a serious business behind the chop-busting. It’s a way to stay grounded, to keep your ego in check, to keep the focus on results and earned trust. Kelly has paid to fly half a dozen old friends from New Hampshire in for a few games every year, even when he was across the country in Oregon. The loyalty of someone you can trust to give you crap is valuable. Mike Zamarchi, a high school coach and old friend of Kelly’s, said: “I think he likes us coming out. It loosens him up a little bit. He can be who he is, who he’s always been. Most people just know him since he became the head coach at Oregon.”

A reporter once asked Kelly why he is so contentious with the media, while he famously bonds with his players: “I’m different with our players because I trust our players and I’m with them every day, and I understand what they’re all about. I’m like that with everybody. It ain’t going to be Kumbaya and hug you the first time I meet you. But if I see you every day and understand what you’re about every day and that you share the same vision that I have, then I’ll die for you.”

One of the many contentious issues that the press asked Kelly about was how long he would stay at Oregon and whether he planned to go to the NFL. Did it make it hard to recruit for the Ducks, one reporter asked, after he started talking to teams like Tampa Bay about coaching positions? Chip’s answer was classic:

“I’d have a hard time saying, ‘Hey, please come to my program cause we’re really mediocre and I’ll never get offered a job anywhere else.’”

Reporters kept grilling him, and Kelly threw it right back. Eugene, Oregon is a town of only 150,000 people, and the newspaper is pretty small. Reporter Adam Jude from the Eugene Register-Guard asked the coach if he was being honest with recruits that he might not be there for their entire playing career. Kelly said absolutely and came right back at the reporter:

“I don’t think anybody can say where they’re going to be four years from now. Can you tell me that you’re going to be at the Register-Guard for four years? I wanna get you on record, too. Are we locking you in?”

That reporter, Adam Jude, left his paper for the larger and better-paying Oregonian six months later, half a year before Kelly took the job in Philadelphia

The revised and updated The Tao of Chip Kelly by Mark Saltveit is available today in all eBook formats.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New eBook releases 12/10: Thrillers and Historical Romance

Prepare for thriller author Martin J. Smith's next book starring memory specialist Jim Christensen by catching up on the first three books, and delve deeper into Anita Mills' catalog with four backlist re-releases today from Diversion Books!

Jim Christensen is a Pittsburgh-based psychologist known for being a memory specialist - when a case is particularly tricky, due to witness memory being unreliable - Jim is called in to help. Jim probes the suppressed memories of the son of a suspected maniac plaguing the pharmacies of Pittsburgh in Time Release, studies a matriarch caught in the grip of Alzheimer's holding an explosive family secret in Shadow Image, and is compelled to assist a victim so traumatized she isn't sure she can identify her attacker any longer in Straw Men. Barbara Seranella, author of the Munch Mancini series, calls Jim Christensen "a wonderfully unique sleuth [who] tackles the most mysterious setting of all: the Bermuda Triangle of human memory."

Amazon and iBookstore readers are in for a special treat, with Time Release available for free for a limited time.

Keep following the Diversion Books blog for news on the fourth Jim Christensen title, The Disappeared Girl, coming this spring.

In May, Diversion Books released nine historical romance titles by Anita Mills. Readers who propelled her re-released titles up the bestseller charts will be excited to load four more Anita Mills re-releases into their eReaders. The pair of Comanche Moon and Comanche Rose are tales of hard living and loving on the American frontier, where bold Texas Rangers save the day. Falling Stars is a sequel to Autumn Rain, with plain Kate Winstead turning to the notorious rake Viscount Townsend when she is betrayed by her husband in a foreign country. In The Duke's Double, Joanna Sherwood marries the man of her dreams - only to have her dreams turn to nightmares when her new husband accuses her of infidelity.

In other Diversion Books news...

  • Executive Actions by Gary Grossman is the free Book of the Week on the iBookstore. After an assassin's bullet kills the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Teddy Lodge, he becomes the candidate to beat for incumbent President Morgan Taylor. When Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke is ordered to investigate the assassination, he unravels a deadly Soviet plot that has incubated for more than 30 years. Now controlled by a power hungry Middle Eastern heir to the throne, the Soviet sleeper agent is poised to change the course of American policy in the Middle East, and only Agent Roarke can stop him.
  • Acclaimed director Ridley Scott has purchased the film rights to C.J. Abedi's young adult bestseller Fae, published this summer by Diversion Books. Stay tuned for news about the upcoming sequel, The Dark King, coming this spring!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Useful and Unuseful Lists - an excerpt from WREDE ON WRITING by Patricia C. Wrede

This week noted science fiction and fantasy author Patricia C. Wrede released her first book on witing, Wrede on Writing. Keep reading for an excerpt from this indispensable guide, talking about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of online writing tips like "Seven Dialogue Mistakes."

The other day I was browsing writing websites and came across one that made me blink. Every post for months had a title like “Seven Dialogue Mistakes,” “Five Ways to a Great Scene,” “Ten Resolutions for Career Writers,” and “Twelve Dynamite Endings.”

I get that a lot of people really, in their heart of hearts, want a paint-by-numbers approach to writing a great book. I also realize that a lot of people don’t want to read more than one screen’s worth of blog post. Lists of tips and tricks and common mistakes seem like a perfectly reasonable way to get at both things at the same time.

The trouble is that, in my experience, a short list of tips or mistakes just doesn’t work very well when it comes to helping people improve their writing.

Writing a short story or a novel is complicated; every bit of it affects everything else. It’s easy to focus on one particular aspect of writing, like dialogue or endings, and dash off a list of do’s and don’ts. But in an actual story, it’s not so simple. That number three “Don’t” from the dialogue list, for instance, may be both thematically appropriate and more perfectly in character than any of the alternatives, not to mention being the ideal way of moving the plot along. Number ten, “Do make sure,” from the characterization list may be impossible to make work, given the constraints of the style and setting.

But there are several sorts of lists that I find extremely useful. They just don’t have anything much to do with writing technique.

The first set of lists is stuff I use during the first draft to save time. For instance, I have one possible-next-book that involves characters from several different imaginary countries/backgrounds. I want their names to sound as if they come from different places with different languages and naming conventions, and I don’t want any of them to be token representatives of their cultures. That means that eventually, when I’m making up secondary characters like the barman and the traveling salesman, I’m going to need more names that sound as if they came from the same places.

So I make a set of lists: six to ten male and female names that would come from each country, along with six to ten family/clan/house/tribe names for each country that mix and match well with the personal names I’ve picked. When I need the traveling salesman, all I have to do is decide which country he’s from and pick from the list.

Or I make a list of place names so that when they pass by that small town, I can grab a name on the fly. I’ll also make lists of things I’ve mentioned in passing, like local foods or animals I’ve invented, so that I can use them again if I need to (and so I can make sure that I didn’t name the fish stew “kishta” and the tiger with antlers “kitsa”—far too confusing, not to mention the potential for tragically horrible typos.)

The other kind of lists I find useful are checklists of things to do during the first round of revisions. There’s an ongoing, ever-changing list of all the phrases I tend to overuse, so I can do a search-and-destroy on them easily. There’s a list of things to check for consistency and continuity. (I have a really bad habit of changing the spelling of a character’s name by one letter somewhere in the middle of the story or calling someone “Anthony” for two chapters and then switching to “Andrew” because I couldn’t be bothered to look up which male-name-beginning-with-A I’d used, and I was sure it was Andrew.)

In other words, all the lists I find useful have to do with the content of the story: names, places, descriptive phrases. That’s what I need to keep track of when I’m writing, not the five dialogue mistakes that I may or may not be making in any given scene or the twelve dynamite endings that don’t fit the story I’m trying to tell.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New eBook Releases 12/3 - Writing Advice and Regency Romance

Happy December readers! With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday season is in full swing, and we're kicking the month off with a perfect gift and a free seasonal novella.

Patricia C. Wrede, author of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles among many, many other works of fantasy and science fiction, has brought together her years of professional experience into her first book on writing. Wrede on Writing is the book that anyone with a novel hidden away in a drawer. From how to develop ideas into full-grown stories and nurture nascent characters, to how to manage finances and other aspects of the business side of writing, Wrede on Writing is an indispensable tool for any writer. If you know someone who spent November doing the marathon writing spring of National Novel Writing Month, or who always makes a New Year's Resolution to finish that long-forgotten novel, Wrede on Writing would make the perfect holiday gift. Available today in all eBook formats, and soon in paperback.

 Sherrill Bodine has made a name for herself in the romance community - several names, actually! Having also written under the names Lynn Leslie and Leslie Lynn, Sherrill's a prolific writer who loves nothing more than to delve into the romantic world of the Regency period. Today, six of her stories previously published under the name Lynn Leslie have been re-branded and re-released. Whether Sherrill's writing is an old friend or a new acquaintance, start your reading with The Christmas Ball, a short novella FREE for Kindle and iOS readers. Several full-length novels follow, including The Rake's Redemption and Scandal's Child. Treat yourself to a story of romance and passion to keep you warm during the long winter nights!