Wedding, Must Haves, and an interview with Barbara Raffin
Many couples dream of getting married
in the month of June. There is something magical about a June wedding.
Why? Who knows exactly, but June is the "in" month if you
are planning a wedding. Where does a person even start to
begin to plan the fairy tale wedding they have always dreamed about
for years? I hope thaty, with my internet research I can help
get you started in the right direction to turn all your dreams into
This magazine lists every known topic and latest fashion and accessories
you will need for your special day.
Sheets and Last Minute To-Do List
You've got a lot to keep track of so, this link is a must-have to
your favorite bookmark list.
While you are planning you event, take some time out to click on
this fun wedding category.
Hairstyles, flowers, dresses, cakes and more all be found in the
extensive photo gallery.
From the makers of Wedding Bells Magazine of Canada, this gorgeous
site gives you hints, stories and ideas from the wedding professionals.
For the month of June, I had the privledge of sitting down with
Barbara Raffin and discussing her book The Indentured Heart.
I discovered Ms. Raffin's heartfelt writing in her book The
Indentured Heart. Her characters
had suffered so much, it was only fitting they deserved a happy
ending. Her Characters and plot were masterfully crafted.
Her writing style is polished to perfection, it will stand up flawlessly
to anyone in the romance industry.
I am sure any true romance reader would appeciate the depth of emotion
she exhibits in her writing style.
with A Style Fresh As A Spring Breeze
Interview with Barbara Raffin
Housley: Barbara, tell us about
yourself. What was your growing up years like?
Somehow, I don't think I'll ever be done. But my childhood
was spent in the country with very few neighbors and a large gap
in age between me and my brother and sister, which meant I had to
rely on my own imagination to occupy myself. I could do no wrong
in my father's eyes and I picked up my mother's love of reading.
My parents made me feel loved, secure, and capable of anything...even
though they didn't always know which tools to give me to attain
my goals. For instance, they once bought me a chemistry set for
Christmas because I was always asking "why" and they thought that
was a scientific question. It's not. It's a psychological question.
But they encouraged my reading by
making sure I always had a book shelf on which to stack my book
collection and by never censoring what I read. As a result, I read
a very broad range of topics and I developed a true love for books.
Suzie Housley: Please tell
us how you developed the idea for The Indentured
Heart and share a bit about how the story was created.
I'm a very practical person
and I had done volumes of research for another American historical.
SoThe Indentured Heart grew out of leftover research.
Though, my previous book had nothing to do with shipbuilding, as
IH does, and was set during the American Revolution instead of prior
to it...which meant more research, and it was set along coastal
Colonial Virginia instead of the furthest west of the British outposts...yet
more research. But the actual story first came to me in an
image of a woman's black sleeved arm raised, her hand pointing.
I had no idea where she was or what she was pointing at. So
I forgot about it...until it came back to me and I saw she was in
a black, hooded carriage. The next time the image appeared,
she was pointing toward a man on the "auction block," saying, "I'll
have him." That was my kind of woman. She turned out
to be Megan McCall, a lady shipbuilder who'd been crippled by a
carriage crash and needed a strong man to carry her about and that
man turned out to be Royce Devlin, convicted pirateer who'd been
sold into indentureship.
Suzie Housley: Was ebook
format your first selection when you were selecting a publisher
for The Indentured Heart ?
The funny thing is I kind of forgot to query the traditional
pubs first with IH, at least with the latest incarnation of the
book. A proposal from the first version did go to Pocket Books
several years ago. I can't blame them for rejecting the story.
Poor Megan suffered the Perils of Pauline in that version.
I don't recall sending the second incarnation of IH to anyone.
But the third, its improvements prompted by my discovery of the
power of dialogue, went to my agent in the mid nineties. But
she wasn't enthused about the book and we shelved it...until I wanted
to sell another book to Awe-Struck eBooks. Awe-Struck had
done a phenomenal job selling my first book, Wolfsong. So
I dusted off IH and sent it to them, certain my crippled, bitter,
whiskey drinking heroine would find a home with them. Editor/owner
Kathryn Struck emailed me before she'd even finished IH that she
wanted the book. I never even considered sending that final version
to any publisher other than Awe-Struck.
Suzie Housley: Do you find
that publishing firms tend to not have an open mind about a character
with a disability?
Since I explored so few publishers with IH and the one
I sold IH to happened to have started their publishing business
by specializing in books with disabled characters, I can't really
say I've encountered that problem.
Suzie Housley: Do you consider
ebooks will one day out sell print books? Or do you think they will
share an equal place in the book industry.
I'm hoping to see a day (soon) when ebooks share an equal
place in the book industry. I love books and would hate to lose
the "printed" page all together. But I personally love reading
on my Rocket Reader so much I wish all the novels I want to read
would come in electronic format. I can make the font size
comfortable for my eyes and the text is always perfectly backlit.
Industry wide, I see great potential
in the economy of ebooks. Think of how much paper could be
saved if text books alone were published in electronic format.
Old editions could be upgraded with a simple download. Misprinted
facts? Likewise repaired with a simple download. As a bonus, no
more heavy book bags or book filled backpacks weighing heavily on
young, developing backs.
One area in which epublishing shines
is its ability to publish riskier books, books that traditional
publishers are afraid to publish because they don't fit into a ready-made
niche, books they don't quite know how to market, books that push
the envelope such as The Indentured Heart with its roll reversals
between hero and heroine. Traditionally, it's the heroine who's
the servant and the hero who's wounded and drinks too much.
Epublishers can and do take risks primary print publishers don't,
the result being novels with characters who work in untraditional
jobs, have disabilities, and might be older/bigger/bolder/brassier/etc.
There's also greater freedom in the historical genre with time periods
and locations. When paranormals fell out of favor with the traditional
publishers, epubs were more than happy to pick up the slack.
Suzie Housley: How long
does it take you to research and write a book?
I'm actually lazy about research...which may account
for why I write mostly contemporaries. That said, research on my
first historical (an American Revolutionary set in what is presently
Michigan) started with a vacation stop at an archaeologically reconstructed
fort which "spoke" to me. Six weeks later, I returned to do serious
research which included revisiting the fort and entrenching myself
in the local library to read through volumes and volumes of published
papers by the territorial governor of that time period. Since I
knew nothing about the period beyond what I'd learned in school,
I spent months reading about the politics of the era, fashion, how
goods were transported to an isolated outpost, indigenous Indians
(every tribe is different), and old diaries. One of my favorites
was written by a trapper who actually documented some of the language
of various tribes. A year into the project, I returned to the old
fort and interviewed a park service historian. That from a lazy
But, once the research sucks me in,
I get excited about what I'm discovering. In the process of
researching that book, I learned about heroic women who actually
existed and impacted the American Revolution and all that somehow
led to Megan McCall, lady shipbuilder...even though she turned out
to be a pre-revolutionary woman. Of course, her being a shipbuilder
meant I had to then research the shipbuilding process, shipbuilding
locations, types of wood used in shipbuilding (of which there are
a lot more than one would imagine), and what kind of people she
would have to work with. Of course, being pre-revolutionary, I had
to research politics and laws of that era (which held some surprises
for me such as it being legal at that time and in that area for
slaves to be educated). Being that she was crippled, I had to research
how doctors would have dealt with her injuries and what, if anything,
anybody knew about rehabilitating her. Then there was my hero who'd
been convicted of pirateering and sold into indentureship. Remember
that early image I had of my hero on the auction block? That
was not commonly the way white indentureds were sold as they could
too easily blend in with a crowd and run off. So they were sold
off the ships unless slave drivers or the sort bought them up and
drove them inland for sale. All in all, I probably was able to cram
the additional research forThe Indentured Heart into about
a six month period.
All this talk about research is making
me nostalgic. I just may have to research another historical
just so I can discover more goodies about the past. At the
very least, I need to revamp that first historical and find a home
for a book I've been told is too historical to be a romance and
too romantic to be an historical. Bless epublishing for giving
such books an outlet.
Suzie Housley:Do you do
a lot of reading (for pleasure as opposed to research)?
I prefer pleasure reading, which I always seem short
on time to do. But I seem to be an obsessive collector of research
books...which for me means everything from antique furniture to
Zen Buddhism. I LOVE books about things, places, and what makes
human beings tick.
Suzie Housley: When did
you realize that you wanted to be a writer?
I listed wanting to be a writer as my secret ambition
on a freshman high school questionnaire, though I don't recall ever
having thought about it prior to that. However, I did write
my first book at age 12 because the adventure books I loved didn't
have female leads in them, so I wrote my own.
Suzie Housley: Do you write
full time, or part-time?
I'm fortunate that I can "afford" to write full time.
No, I'm not rich. I'm just frugal.
Suzie Housley: Describe
what a normal writing day consists for you?
My preference would be to get up and stumble from my
bed to my computer. There's nothing better than starting your writing
day while still in that half awake state. But I have a dog who is
still a puppy at age four and she insists on twenty minutes of outdoor
playtime every morning. That's EVERY morning, through rain, hail,
sleet, snow, or humidity thick enough to cut. After that, I get
to turn on my computer and write for the morning...providing I can
resist the ringing phone, the retired husband wandering through
my office, or the call of the email. Afternoons I generally use
for household chores, running errands, and socializing. Evenings
I use for the "business" of writing (answering emails, making promo
items, researching/surfing the net, etc)...unless it's Thursday.
Nobody gets between me and my TV while Survivor, CSI, and ER are
on. On Wednesdays, it's West Wing and Mondays, Everybody Loves
Suzie Housley: Do you find
certain themes cropping up in your writing?
I find most of my heroines identify with their fathers,
probably because I had a strong bond with mine. Also, most
of my heroines seem to need to loosen up. Maybe that comes from
my being a Capricorn. We are born old and grow younger as the years
pass. I expect some day I'll be found curled up in a fetal position
sucking my thumb. This practical Capricorn also likes to live vicariously
through her heroines' risk taking.
What do you hope your readers will come away with after reading
I love novels that take hold of my heart and put me through
a roller coaster ride of emotions, so I hope readers come away from
my books with an emotional high.
Suzie Housley: Of all of
your books you have published which one is your favorite? Why?
That's kind of like asking a mother which of her children
is her favorite. Each of my three published books are favorites
for their own reason. Wolfsong gave me my first experience
at being published and what a rush it was to discover strangers
were actually reading my work and becoming fans. It also taught
me readers just want a good story. Time Out of Mind is the
book I used to call my favorite because it was all emotion and feeling.
It was a book that came through me rather than from. I love its
gothicy mood. The Indentured Heart taught me to use dialogue.
In IH's earlier incarnations, my characters spent a lot of time
fighting inside their heads. Once I let them speak their thoughts,
Megan's and Royce's story soared. IH also introduced me to the best
villain I've ever written (the nasty overseer Jubal Toombs), my
two favorite secondary characters (the loyal lady's maid/slave Jaisy
and her husband, the angry, proud, Dunn), and a hero I love and
respect and a heroine whose strength made me want to weep for all
it cost her.
Suzie Housley: You certainly
do such a wonderful job in keeping the reading spellbinding, how
do you go about developing your characters and plots?
Thank you for the compliment. I'm a very character driven
writer who has always had a fascination with why people do what
they do. So I approach character development from a psychological
perspective. Why do they do what they do? What will
happen if this challenge is presented to them or that obstacle is
put in their path. Though my characters have a knack for putting
up their own obstacles, which I suspect is why their development
is satisfying. Their problems grow out of their own weaknesses and
are resolved by their own strengths. In romance, in character driven
stories, I believe this is key to satisfying plot development. For
the writers who are reading this interview: Let each of your characters
state his/her goal, make it clear why he/she wants what he/she wants,
and the story will grow out of all the conflicts to their achieving
or changing those goals. Give them a reason to grow and make them
suffer along the way.
Suzie Housley: Is there
any book in particular based on facts, which actually happened based
on instances in your own life?
None of my books are based on actual personal experiences.
Though the more I write, the more I use my experiences in my books.
One of my as yet unfinished books involves a little boy who's fixated
on the Wizard of Oz. His dialogue is based on phrases my grandnephew
used during his fixation with the Wizard of Oz. His mother, my niece,
has been over-heard warning other relatives to be careful what they
talk about as what they say may wind up in my next book.
Mostly, personal experience works
into my stories as an idea for the story, or a detail such as the
setting for Wolfsong. I spent many vacations as a kid with
my family at this wonderful two-story log cabin on Lake Gogebic
in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I loved that cabin so much,
I always knew it would be in one of my books and Wolfsong
was the perfect story for it. Also, when I wrote Wolfsong,
timber wolves were just beginning to migrate back into the area,
which prompted the idea for my story to be set against a wolf repopulation
project. I could describe wolf/canid behavior accurately because
I'd done animal behavior seminars as a hobbyist dog trainer (I've
trained three of my dogs through better than a dozen obedience and
The idea for Time Out of Mind
grew from a presentation given at a workshop by another writer.
Her comment simply spurred my imagination. Making TIME's hero Michael
Archer a chainsaw sculptor came from seeing a local wood carver
sculpt black bears from logs with a chainsaw. Thus, the "begging
bear" in my story.
Suzie Housley: What are
your future writing plans? We would love a preview of what is to
I just finished a contemporary romantic suspense with
a sci-fi twist involving a hero who's an alien clone. Think
"Starman" meets "The Terminator", but without the blood and gore.
But I'd also like to go back to that first historical I wrote set
during the American Revolution at the furthest west of the British
outposts and rework that one.
Suzie Housley: Is there
anything that we havenít covered that you would care to share with
You asked such good questions, I can't think of anything
else except thank you.
Suzie Housley: On behalf
of everyone at MyShelf.com, I wish you much success in your future
writing career. It has been a pleasure reading/reviewing your book
and conducting this interview.
eBooks - 2002
1587493284 - eBook
by Suzie Housley, MyShelf.Com
Madness is in the eye of the beholder
. . .
surrounds the Mistress of Hillhouse, Megan McCall, concerning the
death of her husband and her unborn child. The carriage accident
not only claimed the lives of her family, but also left her crippled
and unable to walk. It is rumored that she was responsible for the
horrific crash that sent the carriage plunging over the embankment
that left death and destruction in its fiery path. The new widow’s
sole survival rests heavily upon the shipbuilding business she inherited
from her father’s untimely death—believed to be from
the hands of ruthless pirates. She is determined to make a success
of the failing business and refuses to allow her inability to walk
to slow down her progress. She purchases the indentureship of Royce
Devlin. Royce’s primary duty will be to use his apparent strength
to carry her wherever she needs to venture. He will provide her
the means of portability to live her life as normally as possible.
How will she feel when she learns of the crime that earned him his
Looks can be deceiving . . .
Devlin had been condemned to serve in Newgate for the crime of pirating.
In exchange for his prison sentence, he agreed to serve fourteen
years as an indentured servant. He finds himself placed upon a ship
bound for America. Upon reaching his destination, he is surprised
to learn his papers were bought by a frail looking woman. Closer
inspection reveals Megan McCall is not the timid woman he first
envisioned her to be, in her eyes he sees a hard look of determination
and a spark of madness. Could he convince her to trust him enough
to allow him the opportunity to rescue her damaged heart? Or would
he be putting his own life in danger?
Raffin has written a superb historical romance. Her plot is loaded
with intriguing elements of mystery, suspense, and a double portion
of love and romance. I found her characters to be very well developed
and very easy to adapt to their many challenging conflicts. Ms.
Raffin is a writer with a fresh voice that sparkles like crystal
water. Her eye opening approach to writing is sure to set the romance
industry on fire!
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