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New Beginnings Update

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It’s been a while since I’ve updated this site. Too long.

With spring approaching, I’ve renewed my commitment to writing, because it’s a commitment to ME.  It’s okay to step back and it can recharge you-even when all hope is lost.

It’s not always that way.

Sometimes life changes, work and family pull us in so many directions that we never realize. We put writing off for a day, a week and then the guilt. We tell ourselves that we don’t have time, we’re tired. It’s too much effort. We drop CPers, stop taking classes, let the writer association lapse.

Stop thinking of ourselves as a writer.

That’s okay, fine.

It’s when we listen to those insidious voices-I’ll never make it-the competition is stiff-I took this as far as I could-its just too HARD.

POW

That’s when the damage is done. The damage that we may never push through, the block.

And this is a block, make no mistake.

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It may not be a block of ideas, a true “Writer’s Block”, but it’s a block and one that is terrifying. Unexpected. Writing is solitary but this can make us feel isolated.

Sometimes it is the WIP. Sometimes. Just stayed too long. Usually, the rx is to put that aside and start something fresh.

Usually.

Because what I’m talking about, goes way beyond hating the WIP, characters etc. And it’s emotional, raw,  in the gut-like being in a marriage you want out of. You just can’t do it anymore.

Sound familiar? So you crawl out of the hole, it’s scary. It’s not pretty, but you climb.

During hiatus stay in touch with CPers. Keep one toe in.

Write on Sundays-sometimes if you felt like it.

One day, when the world comes crashing down turn to the oldest friend you know; writing.

You won’t even have to apologize. No excuses to make, let it take you in, like it has so many times. Renew old connections, take classes, jump into a contest or two and it will be like you never left.

I promise.

Writing is how I process the world, and my life. That’s just it.

Open up the WIP; write. And edit and believe.

And it’s HARD. Remember, yes the market is crowded, the slush is bursting but most people still don’t do this. Most people you know, won’t ever write a book, or finish a project. Yes, this is brass ring stuff. It’s HARD.

Even after the darkest winter, the cherry blossoms will always come out again, my writing will always welcome me back. Let it welcome you. I won’t stop being a writer. I’m old enough now to know I’ve been writing longer than not.

 

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‘Cave Canem,’ The Wild Dogs of Pompeii

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Timeless Italy Travels

Wild dog“A dog has the soul of a philosopher.”   Plato

In 2008, the Italian government declared a state of emergency for Pompeii, Italy. The situation hasn’t improved since then and more deterioration has occurred due to embezzlement of funds appointed for restoration projects. Among the disintegrating ruins are wild or abandoned dogs. Many are seen lying about in the shade of ancient walls and ditches.

During my time in Pompeii, my heart was captivated by these forgotten dogs that seemed to want human companionship but were so afraid to trust. So they stayed in the shadows, the only visible inhabitants among the ancient rubble. In today’s ancient ruins of Pompeii, the result of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD., most of these dogs are callously dumped off by people who no longer want them. Few of them have been spayed or neutered so puppies add to the homeless population.

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Keeping the Faith (In Spite of All Contrary Evidence)

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We need to believe not hang it up.

Vaughn Roycroft's Blog

Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing. ~E. L. Doctorow

Painting of Thomas Paine writing at his desk by candle light.Writers Write, Right? So I’ve been remiss. For almost three months. Oh, I’ve dabbled, written a few posts and letters, etcetera. But I hadn’t composed any new prose since November—until last week. That’s when it hit me. I’ve been driving myself bonkers by avoiding actually writing. I’m not sure how many times I need to learn this lesson, but this was not the first time. Apparently I’m a slow learner.

As to how I came to renew the realization, suffice to say I found myself rewriting a chapter in book two that had been made redundant by book one revisions. The two days I spent doing the new chapter were amazing. I felt so alive—exhilarated even. I hadn’t had these particular characters in…

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More C.W. Gortner!! My Guest Post on The Tudor Vendetta

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Elizabeth I: An Uncertain Beginning

In THE TUDOR VENDETTA, the third and final book in my Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy (Elizabeth’s Spymaster in the UK), I decided to focus on the first uncertain, tumultuous months leading up to Elizabeth I’s coronation. Although this novel is perhaps the most fictionalized of the three in the series, in that the mystery which Elizabeth’s private spy must uncover remains unsubstantiated by historical evidence, the setting I depict is not.
It’s almost impossible for us to believe now that Elizabeth Tudor faced an uncertain future upon her accession. Her forty-five year reign has been so cemented in our imagination as one of unmitigated triumph that we take it as a given. Her ability to steer past the shoals of religious discord and enmity of Catholic powers both abroad and in her realm, as well as her astonishing lack of compromise when it came to marriage, have made her an icon: the Virgin Queen, Gloriana, who once said she already had a husband, for she was “married to England.”
Nevertheless, the twenty-five year old princess who claimed the throne in November 1558 was, while superbly educated and politically savvy, still untried as a ruler. Indeed, she faced a myriad of issues that might have overwhelmed anyone but her. After her sister Mary I’s disastrous five-year reign—a portion of which is depicted in the second novel of the series, The Tudor Conspiracy— England teetered on the brink of ruin. Mary’s fervent persecution of Protestants had turned the country upside down, exiling or destroying many of the affluent merchants who upheld the Reformed Faith and formed the backbone of economic stability. Her ill-fated marriage to Philip of Spain had turned popular opinion against her, a tragic side-effect of her determination to see England restored to Rome, which annihilated the initial wave of support from her subjects that saw her to the throne. In addition, her economic policies had debased the coinage even further—an ongoing issue that had bedeviled her predecessors, and now fomented severe discontent, with the strife over the enclosure or sale of monastic lands begun under Henry VIII, a long-gnawed bone of contention between nobility and commoners.
Elizabeth thus inherited a legacy of intolerance, brutal reprisal, and financial chaos; she also was considered nearing her middle years, as surprising as this might seem to us, because of overall life expectancy in her era, and of her family, in particular. The need to marry and produce an heir was therefore paramount to her advisors, most particularly William Cecil, who had safeguarded her during the years before her accession. Marriage was deemed not only vital to shoring up her reign, but also to protecting her from foreign aggression, now personified by her cousin, Mary of Scots, the dauphine of France by virtue of her marriage to the French king’s heir. Catholics by and large believed Mary of Scots held the superior right to the English throne, based on the contention that Henry VIII’s marriage to Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, had been illegal. Many Catholics deemed Elizabeth a bastard usurper, including the pope himself.
Elizabeth’s famous motto of video et taceo (“I see, and say nothing”) may have arisen as she began to realize just how tenuous her reign could be. She is renowned for not wanting to “make mirrors into men’s souls”. Perhaps this, above all else, was her most defining characteristic. She did not believe that prying into private matters, religious or otherwise, would serve her in the long run—a rare stance for any ruler, much less an untried one, yet one which, as history would show, served her well.
In THE TUDOR VENDETTA, we meet Elizabeth in the first weeks of her much-vaunted reign—here, she is a woman who has survived more in her youth than many experience in a lifetime, having navigated the seesaw of favor and disfavor, the stigma of illegitimacy, the scandals that marred her adolescence, and even a terrifying imprisonment in the Tower. But she is not yet the Elizabeth who will eventually emerge from the forge of trial-and-error; she is not the white-faced, oversize-gowned sovereign of legend.
She is still a new queen, determined but unproven, treading on thin ice. She dreams of being the savior of her nation, but her path to glory will be arduous—and she may lose everything if she fails to protect one potentially fatal secret.
I hope you enjoy exploring this exciting time in one of history’s most dramatic eras. To learn more about THE TUDOR VENDETTA and my other books, please visit me at http://www.cwgortner.com

JMLedwellwrites Welcomes C.W. Gortner’s The Tudor Vendetta

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04_The Tudor Vendetta_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Please join C.W. Gortner as he tours the blogosphere for the release of the third book in his Spymaster Chronicles Series, The Tudor Vendetta, from October 20 – November 28, and enter to win a complete set of the trilogy!

The Tudor Vendetta

Publication Date: October 21, 2014

St. Martin’s Press

Formats: eBook, Paperback

Series: Spymaster Chronicles

Genre: Historical Mystery

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Winter, 1558: Elizabeth I has ascended the throne but the first days of her reign are already fraught with turmoil, the kingdom weakened by strife and her ability to rule uncertain.

Summoned from exile abroad at the new queen’s behest, Brendan Prescott arrives in London to face his shattered past. He soon finds himself pitted in deadly rivalry with his life-long foe, Robert Dudley, but when a poison attempt overshadows the queen’s coronation, Elizabeth privately dispatches Brendan on a far more dangerous assignation: to find her favored lady-in-waiting, Lady Parry, who has vanished in Yorkshire.

Upon his arrival at the crumbling sea-side manor that may hold the key to Lady Parry’s disappearance, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he becomes the quarry of an elusive stranger with a vendetta— one that could expose both his own buried identity and a long-hidden revelation that will bring about Elizabeth’s doom.

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the prisons of the Tower, Brendan must risk everything to unravel a vendetta that strikes at the very core of his world, including his loyalty to his queen.

The Tudor Vendetta is the third book in Gortner’s Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy.

Praise for The Tudor Vendetta

“Fast paced and exciting, with a most engaging hero . . . So vivid, you feel are there!” – Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the Outlander series

“C.W. Gortner has done it again! Full of breathtaking action, dark twists and unexpected revelations, this is an unputdownable read.” – Michelle Moran, bestselling author of Madame Tussaud

“Suspense, intrigue, betrayal and deadly rivalry: What more can you ask for? A swashbuckling, perilous adventure.” – M.J. Rose, bestselling author of The Reincarnationist

Buy the Book

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

About the Author03_CW Gortner

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin’s Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information please visit C.W. Gortner’s website and blog. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube.

The Tudor Vendetta Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 20

Review at The Maiden’s Court

Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, October 21

Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 22

Review at Back Porchervations

Review at Always With a Books

Thursday, October 23

Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Friday, October 24

Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Interview at Back Porchervations

Monday, October 27

Review at JulzReads

Review at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, October 28

Review at Beth’s Book Reviews

Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Wednesday, October 29

Review at Making My Mark

Review at Writing the Renaissance

Guest Post at Bookish

Thursday, October 30

Review & Guest Post at Drey’s Library

Review & Interview at The Copperfield Review & From Meredith Allard

Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Friday, October 31

Review at Book by Book

Monday, November 3

Review at Mari Reads

Review & Gues Post at JM Ledwell Writes

Tuesday, November 4

Review at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, November 5

Review at One Book at a Time

Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, November 6

Review at Booktalk & More

Friday, November 7

Review at Build a Bookshelf

Monday, November 10

Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, November 11

Review at A Book Geek

Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, November 12

Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, November 13

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, November 14

Review at Book Nerd

Spotlight at Paranormal Book Club

Monday, November 17

Review at Broken Teepee

Review at The Never-Ending Book

Tuesday, November 18

Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Guest Post at What is That Book About

Wednesday, November 19

Review at Kate Forsyth’s Blog

Thursday, November 20

Review & Interview at The Tudor Enthusiast

Friday, November 21

Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Monday, November 24

Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Review at The True Book Addict

Tuesday, November 25

Review at Historical Tapestry

Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, November 26

Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, November 28

Review at Books in the Burbs

Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Giveaway

To win a complete set of CW Gortner’s Spymaster Chronicles Trilogy (The Tudor Secret, The Tudor Conspiracy, and The Tudor Vendetta) please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on November 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on November 29th and notified via email.

Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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It is my pleasure to offer my review of The Tudor Vendetta.

C.W. Gortner is a master story teller. He weaves a tale that captures the imagination and delivers all the bells and whistles you’ve come to expect with his Tudor series. He takes the complex socio-political history of Elizabethan Britain, and distills it down to the juices, to render what is necessary, like a gardener, weeding out the “boring parts” to keep the story rocketing forward, in fact history comes so naturally to him that he whisks the reader off to this court of Elizabeth before they ever realize it. This skill is so worthy of praise, because historical fiction writers appreciate the difficulties in keeping history and story separate.

The book is a fast read that hints with each page turn that something bigger is coming, stakes way beyond the disappearance of Lady Parry. Brendan Prescott, ever the faithful spy has provided his queen with loyalty and service. Her reign is still young, there are dark enemies and all is not what it seems. He is called upon again to investigate the disappearance of a trusted retainer. When Prescott happens on a secret regarding Elizabeth, the question is what will he do with it? Will he step up or will the side of him that feels he can never be good enough, the side that knows he has inferior Tudor blood, win the day? If he makes the right decision there is no guarantee he can stop the secret from splitting Elizabeth’s reign asunder.

I loved the vivid characterization of Elizabeth I-her ambition, her devotion to country, her complicated relationship with Robert Dudley all provide mirror images of Prescott’s struggles. Here again Gortner excels at putting flesh and blood on the bones of his characters. We don’t get the archetypical Elizabeth, the “Gloriana” figure of history, we get the woman behind the crown. All the characters appear entirely real with failings and vulnerabilities, and that’s why we love them. I adore Tudor stories and this one doesn’t disappoint. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Getting Serious About Writing

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I was chatting the other day during my errands. Writing came up, and they grew wide-eyed and interested as they asked, almost conspiratorially, “You’re a writer? How do you get published?” I realized then, that the novice who dreams of writing, is all too interested in putting cart before horse. It was only after I was slugging bundles in the back seat that I wished I could have said more.

Vict CRit Part

I vaguely recall that place. Where the drive is nascent but not yet crystalized enough to carry them through the long days night. They really have no idea what they are doing. It’s dangerous, and kinda exciting too. Pull up a chair, or a bed because it’s not easy and it’s not over night. It’s not even next week, maybe not even next year.

1.) Forget publication. For now.

So often when we start thinking the world is ready for our stuff. If you’re just starting out, the world is not ready. You’re not ready. Develop your craft. Take classes through Writers Digest or local extension schools. Write and write some more. If you’ve written a novel or have a Nano project that was never EDITED TO DEATH, forget about subbing. You’re barely out of the gate.

2.) Get in the habit.

Write every day. If you want to write a novel, make an outline first. I started out years ago as a panzter. It made the editing process extra-long and while the book got better with every draft, I knew there was a better way. There are great books on craft out there. Story structure will save your life. You can’t hope to plot out a novel correctly without some form of road map.

3.) Get an obsession.

If you find a higher reason to write all the better. Figure out why you want to do this, not money. Not fame. And when you do, don’t talk about your work. Keep your novel close while you’re in writing phase, don’t show it to friends and family. Trust me, your enthusiasm will wane. It always works for me. This will help you through the endurance phase, when your writing buddies quit, but you have the chops to stick it out.

4.) Speaking of writing buddies.

If you can’t post your work because you can’t take it, you’re not ready. You need good critique partners to swap with. They are your only line of defense in a tough industry. Getting editorial help is a good if you can afford it, but it WILL NOT GUARANTEE success. Why? You pay editors. They have a pecuniary interest in your work. They also take too many projects, if they are in demand. You need unbiased truth here, the kind you will only get from friends who want you to succeed and who play a valuable role helping you along the journey. You help them, they help you. They are the best help you will get, and you will learn hugely by critiquing their work.

5.) Read often.

Writers read. It’s that simple. You can’t learn the craft if you don’t read what others do. Read wide, in your genre and read outside your genre. If you’re trying to get published, read as many debuts as you can to crack the code.

6.) Believe in yourself.

Not everybody can write, despite the old saw that everyone has a story inside. If you can’t write, you’ll find out sooner or later. But if you learn the craft and stick to it, you may be able to get better. It takes grit and a thick skin, those who would give up at the first rejection letter will give up. They won’t believe in themselves or their story. They’ll be swayed by one agent’s opinion and won’t realize that while they can always improve, writing is subjective. Not everyone will love their story. But someone will.

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Here’s a great link to K.M. Weiland’s site on Story Structure. I highly recommend the book.

http://www.kmweiland.com/book/structuring-your-novel/

If anyone is interested, e-mail me I have great Theme/Structure Chart you can use to help plot your novel. It’s copywrited by a well-known agent so I will not post. But it helped me immensely.

Happy writing!