The Artsy Shelf

Many many huge thanks to Kay from The Neverending Shelf, for her fantastic guest post!

When Heather asked for volunteers to animate her blog while she was away on vacation, I immediately thought that an Artsy Shelf feature on a summer theme would be fun. For the Artsy Shelf, I usually group six covers that have a similarity in theme or color, and at this time of the year, it sounds perfect to look at some amazing covers featuring the beach!

It’s often difficult to pick a favorite, especially when all of these covers so beautifully present the beach and the sea. But, I do have some that I like more than the others : Apologize, apologize is one of my favorite covers, and I’ve been meaning to read the book since I first saw it. I love the colors, and dogs always look like they have so much fun playing in the water!
My second favorite is The Summer of Skinny Dipping – which I haven’t read either. What does the trick in this one, for me, is the lighting. It just feels so summery!

Now I would love to hear your thoughts! Do beach book covers make you want to read a book? Which one would catch your attention at first sight?

Guest Post – Alisa Libby

Author Alisa Libby is on tour with Traveling to Teens – and I’ll be reviewing her new book tomorrow!  Today, I would like to thank her for guest blogging here.

My writing process is relatively slow and deliberate – but it’s worked for me so far. I’ll write down some notes as an idea comes to me, and then I’ll try to sketch out the opening scene and the opening plot points. I won’t get the entire book figured out in that first outline, but I’ll at least have a map to follow when I start to write. This allows me to focus on other things, like the details of the scene and the character’s voice. Later in the process, I find that it’s useful to have an outline of the entire book—like a snapshot of the plot—before I do a revision.

Writing can be a long process for me. I still write very lousy, ugly first drafts. Sometimes my second and third drafts aren’t so great, either. It helps a lot of I’m obsessed with a book, or a character.

For my last novel, The King’s Rose, I did a good deal of research about the historical character on which it’s based, Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII. I read and re-read Catherine’s story, in different forms and by different authors, and I can honestly say that I did not tire of it. I was obsessed with Tudor England, with the Tudor court and all of the nutso personalities living together, trussed up in tight corsets and drinking too much wine. It was a hotbed of drama, and the central characters—the aging, mad king and his vivacious, lusty little bride—certainly did not disappoint. That is the magic of writing for me, when you feel like your book has swallowed you whole.

Alisa M. Libby
Author of The King’s Rose and The Blood Confession

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Author Guest Post – Helen Hollick

I am so pleased to welcome author Helen Hollick to my blog today.  Ms. Hollick is a new, favorite author of mine, who has written what may be my most favorite series of novels EVER about King Arthur. Her series starts with The Kingmaking, continues with Pendragon’s Banner, and ends with Shadow of the King.  I’ll let her tell you (and me) a little more about it.

Hello Heather,

Pendragon's Banner

You will not find Lancelot, Merlin or any myth, magic or fantasy in my Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy about King Arthur. There is no Holy Grail, round table or knights in armour. My version is the story of Arthur as it might have really happened. My Arthur is a rough, tough, war lord who fights hard to gain his kingdom and has to fight even harder to keep it.

I wrote my Trilogy because I could not find the novel that I personally wanted to read. I had never been very interested in the more familiar Medieval tales of Arthur – they always seemed so false and unreal, then I discovered that if Arthur had existed he may have been a war lord in the post-Roman era of the Dark Age Britian – the 4th-5th Century.

I was working as a library assistant, so I had access to many books. You name it I read it! From books I started going to places connected to Arthur – Glastonbury Tor, for instance, and Cadbury in Somerset. If you are interested I have some pictures of these places on my blog site

When planning a new novel I read first, gathering information and facts, then I make a sketch of the plot, a synopsis of the story and a chapter by chapter plan of what happened, where and when.

When satisfied, I build around the bare-bones of the story, adding my characters and imagined scenes and situations. I’ll check the “facts” as I go – often referring to my character’s CV’s which I add to as I go along.

I spend quite a while getting the first few chapters as I want them, writing and re-writing until I’m happy, then I settle down to write the whole thing. When a chapter is finished I set it aside until the next day then re-read it through, usually finding it is a bit skimpy on detail, or there is too much dialogue, so I’ll alter and edit, although I don’t spend too long on chapters at this stage.

Most of my books are divided into one, two or three parts. With the books I am currently writing (the Sea Witch series – pirate-based adventure fantasy) I usually complete the first part then send it off to my UK Editor, Jo Field, for her opinion. We discuss errors, faults and scenes that are not working and while she is doing a preliminary edit I finish the second part.

Then the final re-write. If a scene does not work at this stage I press the delete button. I am also checking continuity, too many point of view changes, repeated words etc. When I am happy with it Jo does her full edit, re-checking everything I have mentioned above, plus incorrect grammar, punctuation, spelling etc.

I then re-read, re-write where necessary, and then send it off to my publisher. Where it is re-read and re-checked/edited. Once printed in proof form it will have a final check for errors.

And there will still be a few typos!

Helen Hollick

Main Website:
Monthly Journal: my own hints and tips for aspiring writers.

Thank you Ms. Hollick for that insightful post.  If you love historical fiction at it’s finest, I highly recommend Ms. Hollick’s work. It’s detailed, it’s engrossing, it’s fabulous!!

See these other stops on the Pendragon’s Banner tour.

The Tome Travellers Weblog (10/12)
A Reader’s Respite
Carla Nayland’s Historical Fiction
Enchanted by Josephine
Fumbling with Fiction
Found Not Lost
Nan Hawthorne’s Booking the Middle Ages
Jenny Loves to Read
The Review From Here
The Courtier’s Book
Chick Loves Lit
Love Romance Passion
He Followed Me Home… Can I Keep Him?
The Impasse Strikes Back
S. Krishna’s Books
Books Like Breathing
Passages to the Past
Virginie Says
Reading with Monie
Books & Needlepoint
Books are my Only Friends
A Sea of Books
Bloody Bad
Revenge of the Book Nerds!
Booksie’s Blog
Devourer of Books
Peeking Between the Pages
Starting Fresh
Historical Tapestry
Medieval Bookworm
Book Soulmates
Susan’s Art & Words
Steven Till
Café of Dreams