Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ill-fated love? Time might say otherwise ...

The Lady and the Minstrel by Joyce DiPastena

Robert Marcel is no Earl. He is no Duke nor king’s son, but a simple minstrel. Though with the spirit of a roaring lion, he wonders about the lands with his most prized possession: the lute. As fate would have it, he happens across a particular place whereupon he rendezvous with a cherished childhood memory; the lady whom he could never forget.

Lady Marguerite of Winbourne is destined to marry the undesirable Earl of Saxton, but not once could she remove from her mind the thoughts of a particular young man who had fled for his life so long ago. She had saved him that one day, and as time would generously have it, threw them together once more. Ever since recognizing him down in the village outside the castle walls, her heart has only known love’s thrills once more.

The title alone lured me. It promises the adventure, the thrill, and the curse of ill-fated love. There has to be a way for them to end up together. Right? As I dug into the folds of the sumptuous court entertained with jesters, acrobats, and minstrels, I was easily flighted into the pages of history and intrigue. Joyce DiPastena has woven a rich world with a rich plot, with amazing prose and characterization. She has done an excellent job with each person starring within the stage of her book. She has done a swoon-worthy job!

Joyce DiPastena dreamed of green medieval forests while growing up in the dusty copper mining town of Kearny, Arizona. She filled her medieval hunger by reading the books of Thomas B. Costain (where she fell in love with King Henry II of England), and later by attending the University of Arizona where she graduated with a degree in history, specializing in the Middle Ages. The university was also where she completed her first full-length novel...set, of course, in medieval England. Later, her fascination with Henry II led her to expand her research horizons to the far reaches of his "Angevin Empire" in France, which became the setting of her first published novel, Loyalty's Web (a 2007 Whitney Award Finalist).

Joyce is a multi-published, multi-award winning author who specializes in sweet medieval romances heavily spiced with mystery and adventure. She lives with her two cats, Clio and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov, in Mesa, Arizona.

Joyce DiPastena's official website:

The Lady and the Minstrel releases January 29!

NOTE: The author provided a free copy of this book which has had no sway in my review

Friday, January 16, 2015

Words of Wisdom from a BIG 5 author #IWSG

For IWSG, I had posted an old email cry for help and feel that it is only fair that I post the response from my friend. She is published with one of the Big 5 and her reply surprised me since I wasn't sure what to expect as an indie author.

What I have learned since is that it doesn't matter which publisher you are with--big or small--you are always expected to push your own book. Unless your name can carry you as a big brand in itself, but that rarely happens!

I'd love to hear your methods of finding sanity in this busy world!

Here is her reply:

Hey there!

Okay, I can tell from your email that you're suffering. I see a lot of red flags here. There's an easy way to get your life back into balance (well, easy for someone on the outside). Stop everything you're doing in publishing and take a step back. Maybe two or three.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A 2012 Author Cry for Help #IWSG

What a wonderful way to share your support with fellow writers! Click on the badge above to START!

*I didn't know we were supposed to share a bit of ourselves! I am a stay-at-home mom of 5; ages ranging from 18 to 2! I love every one of my children and find my teenagers just as adorable as my toddler. I'm weird that way! I started writing since 9 and have written over 10 books, but only 1 is published! :P

Yesterday, I happened across this email to a good friend, and was flabbergasted about how stressed I was 3 years ago over my first book's release. I had forgotten so much!  I thought I'd share it because I know I am not the only one who's gone through this. 

Happy IWSG day! 

I don't know how to begin to share with you what I've been battling. I feel that you're one of the best people I can confide in and you'll see why in a second.

I'm grateful that the Lord has led me to my little publisher, it has taught me a lot about what being a writer is once published. My spirituality has been strong. I always put the Lord first, then my family, then myself. Always. There's never been a question on what should come first.

Since my book was accepted by this little publisher, my priorities have tremendously shifted! I've been working overtime to promote my book as much as I can so much to the point that it's mentally drained me. I find it overbearing to take in more than that--a simple thing such as visiting teaching seems to tip my entire balance to a screaming level of no-can-dos because of how mentally exhausted I am from working hard for my book.

You can imagine how this has upset my family balance as well as my spirituality. I've been making eternal choices that would've appalled myself a year back because my head isn't in the right place right now and I find it terrifying now!

I find it stressful to know that my book isn't where books are sold everywhere and wish it was, having to scurry about to see if other libraries or small bookstores--even a distributor--would carry my book. My current book has some grammar mistakes, which I know wouldn't be there if my publisher had done a better job at editing.

I'm losing myself in here! I wonder if it's because I'm resisting my 'fate' as an author to a small publisher, or if it's my spirit calling out for help, that this isn't for me anymore.

I'm bringing this to you to see how being a published author is like for a big publisher. Do you find yourself constantly worrying about promoting your book on an hourly basis? What's the most thing you have to worry about as an author--outside life excluded?

I wonder if I'm being foolish for thinking about withdrawing from my small publisher and plunging into the query world again for my current book. My spirituality is suffering because I'm spreading myself out way too thin. Oh, how I admire self-published authors because they have the guts to take on the entire war all by themselves. I'm finding out very fast that I'm not that kind of person, it isn't me--being in a small indie publishing company as I am in now.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, what you might recommend for me and how to go about doing what you feel I should do--I really need some insight. I've been praying and asking my husband for blessings over my circumstances. Or am I just being ungrateful?


Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year Hellos

First of all ...

!HaPpY nEw YeAr!

Wow, I can't believe how fast time has come, how fast time goes! Here it is already January of a new year. I really don't believe in waiting for a new year to fall in order to set new goals. I am always setting new goals, but I know it is a fun thing to look back upon the year and say, "I did that in 2015!"

It is my goal to become a better blogger all around. I want to improve myself as a mother, wife, and author. I can only hope I will be ready to meet my own expectations as well as those around me, because there are BIG changes over the horizon and I need to prepare my spirit for them. IE: my eldest child is graduating this year from high school and is looking into college; she will be 19 in December and plans to serve an LDS mission when that time comes. She also says if the Lord should point her to marriage even now, she will willingly follow His will. She is wise for her age. She spouts wondrous things from the scriptures and shares with me things that leave my heart full. I admire and adore her, she rocks! Don't get me started on my other kids, they are all just as wonderful as she! :P

What wondrous goals do you have for 2015?

Monday, December 15, 2014

When Everything Went Wrong

Oh, welcome brave new world! Where women think for themselves and children no longer are seen and not heard!

Baby boomers (along with previous generations) longingly reminisce the good old days where their "lessers" sat in mute silence and did what they were told without question. Those days are done. Gone. Dead! To wish otherwise is a death sentence to the uprising generation.

It was yesterday afternoon my family happily visited my in-laws. Don't touch! Don't fight. Talk in a low voice. Don't be obnoxious. Chase, chase, chase. Well, while visiting the grandparents is a nice once-in-a-while event for us, it can be stressful. Especially when you have kids like mine.

I am raising my kids to be thinkers. To fight for their beliefs. To be unafraid to speak their minds. To love and obey their Heavenly Father. To know and love delayed gratification. To succeed in life. To act honorably and honestly. Every one of them has a headstrong leader within wanting to shine! And this creates many a conflict in the Mueller household. While this happens, I teach them the importance of teamwork and charity.

So, back to the death sentence of the uprising generation. There's no doubt. Look around you. Things are fast paced. In every way. Sex. Communication. Drugs. Jobs. Home life. Everything. If we raised our kids to run and hide when company arrives, what kind of adults will they become?

Our nice evening led to an explosive argument between the generations at the grandparents. You see, we have a soon-to-be 2 year old active little boy, and I stress ACTIVE. Grandparents had a beautiful china Nativity Scene on a table in the middle of their living room. I had politely asked if we could please remove this set so that Babykins would not hurt it. Grandma hesitated. She consented. I felt her hesitance. Boy, did I. So, I hired myself some teenagers to help me take it to another room. Grandpa saw us and said in so many words, "What are you doing? No. You put it back and just teach your little boy to not touch."

Taken aback, I said to my kids as I grabbed up my portion for its return, "Okay, kids, you heard him, let's put it back because we're going to do our super best to keep Babykins to keep from touching it."

Grandma heard that. And that's when it all exploded. Grandpa says that in his days, children did NOT touch. They obeyed. He pointed fault in the way we're raising our children. Doesn't he know the pressures they're facing? I am not going to go down quietly into the night and let my kids flail and fail and sink and fall. They will know who they are. They will NOT sit to be looked at, to be shut away, to bow their heads and say meekly, "yes, sir" because those days of quiet subservience is over.

I remember as a child, being afraid of adults. It wasn't until high school that I realized that teachers were human. Silly as that sounds, it was true. My dad taught me through example to be scared of adults. To shut up when he entered. To hide when he was angry.

I've had to reinvent my parenting skills because the example I have is not a happy or good one. While I had a broken childhood, I do not raise my children lightly. I think about their emotional well-being, their happiness and comfort. Their self-confidence, their desires, their needs. Everything comes with a price and that is the honor system. To honor is to live wisely.They are the world to me. I love them and want to stay a part of their lives as they search out for their own for when the time comes. What parent wants their children to never come back? What parent wants to badger their children with tradition that hurt them as children themselves to begin with?

I call this the the Generational Miscommunication Gap Crisis.

There is a fine line to raising children and I can say with a clear conscious that I am not raising hoodlums.