Thursday, August 30, 2012

Interview with author Joyce DiPastena

Today's interview is with Joyce DiPastena, author of Dangerous Favor, her most recent published medieval novel. Please read the synopsis and my review on Dangerous Favor in the post that precedes  this.
Joyce, what started you writing about medieval times?
I fell in love with the Middle Ages during high school when I read a history book on the early Plantagenet kings of England called The Conquering Family, by Thomas B. Costain. I'd been dabbling with writing  stories in other time periods--I always seemed drawn to historical settings for my early writing attempts--but for some reason, this book especially intrigued me. When I went to college (the University of Arizona), I decided to major in history. I consequently took courses in many various time periods, but my heart always beat a little quicker in my medieval history classes, so I took every medieval history class I could find. At the same time, I began my first full length novel and also set it in the Middle Ages. And I've never really looked back. 
 What is it about the Medieval period that fascinates you and keeps you writing about it?
I don't really know why this particular period fascinates me so much. I'm fascinated by many time periods, ancient, medieval, Stuart, Regency, the American Revolution. But when it comes to writing, I just enjoy the medieval time period more than any other.

 What keeps me writing about it? There are still so many fascinating things to explore! My books so far have touched on subjects such as medieval illumination, medieval Arthurian poetry and medieval politics. I've just completed two short medieval stories that incorporate medieval carol dancing and medieval reliquaries (highly decorated boxes that held objects believed by the Catholic Church to be holy, such as fingernail clippings, locks of hair, even vials of tears from the original twelve apostles or the saints that followed them). 

I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of topics available to research and explore and share with readers in a story of one sort or another. I think it will be avery long time before I tire of writing about this time period!

 What are your most trusted resources on details of that period?
I have a very extensive personal library of medieval research books that focus on multiple specialized topics, but here are some of the ones I find myself referring to for almost every story I write are:

The Castle Explorer's Guide, by Frank Bottomley
Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks, by Constance B. Hieatt and Sharon Butler
900 Years of English Costume, by Nancy Bradfield (I think this may be available under a different title now, but the same author)
English Costume from the Early MIddle Ages Through the Sixteenth Century, by Iris Brooke
Medieval English Gardens, by Teresa McLean
A Baronial Household of the Thirteenth Century, by Margaret Wade Labarge

Thank you so much, Joyce, for your interview!

Visit Joyce's blog here.

Here are some of Joyce's other Medieval tales:

Readers: Please leave a comment telling what time period you enjoy reading/writing about and why.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dangerous Favor by Joyce DiPastena

Dangerous Favor begins with a jousting tournament, a hair ribbon, and a young woman who believes finding a rich husband who can help her prove her father's innocence will solve her problems.

Mathilde's father has been accused of stealing from the king, an allegation that has reduced her family to poverty. Lord Therri, heir to a rich barony, has the wealth and connections Mathilde needs to delve into the mysteries of her father's past. Furthermore, Therri embodies all her romantic dreams. 

But . . .

Etienne, the younger son of a disgraced family, has neither wealth nor connections and is smitten with Mathilde at a glance. She finds the knight intriguing, but believes he is only out to seduce her.While she seeks for a way to win Therri's attention, Etienne tricks her into granting him her favor, an embroidered white ribbon, for a tournament, setting in motion a dangerous chain reaction of events. Can Etienne save Mathilde from a nightmare from her past and prove himself the true hero of her dreams?

DiPastena is a master at the written word and gives great care to details in this sword wielding medieval tale of knights and ladies. Her research and knowledge of the age is impressive. The third in a series, Dangerous Favor is a stand alone in its own right. Complete with castles, heart-wrenching betrayal, and well developed characters, the author has you rooting for the hero and his lady with every page turn. Submerge yourself in medieval times in this carefully weaved tale. 

DiPastena, you've done it again!

Visit Joyce DiPastena at her blog.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Preserve our Freedoms

I would ask all men and women
elected and entrusted by the American people
to always be found
with the good of the citizens in mind
and your goal-
to preserve the Constitution
the American Dream
and our freedoms.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

2nd Annual Writing Contest on Mormon Mommy Writers Blog

Mormon Mommy Writers' Blog is hosting their second annual writing contest. Last year's contest resulted in the wonderful anthology, Totally Cliche

This year's contest promises to be even more exciting since there won't be three winners, but NINE winners since there are three categories in this year's contest. Your mission is to submit a short story, non-fiction essay, or a poem that falls under the theme of Mormon or Mommy or Writer. You do not have to be a Mormon or a mommy to enter this amazing contest. 

The top three stories in each category will be in MMW's next anthology book. In addition to being published, the authors of the top three winning stories in each category will recieve a free e-copy of the anthology and the following prizes:

First Place: $10 Barnes and Noble gift card
Second Place: $5 Barnes and Noble gift card
Third Place: Free Print copy of the anthology featuring their story

The deadline for the contest has been extended to August 31st. Don't delay! Go to this link for the rules and to find out more

Monday, August 6, 2012

Author Ranee S. Clark

Welcome to author Ranee S. Clark.     Recently, one of her short stories, Haven, was published in an anthology titled,                        It's a Love Thing
Ranee's has been writing since she was old enough to grasp a crayon--her grandma even has an early copy of a "book" she made her. She has a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When she's not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to her six-year-old at Uno, she's ... well, writing (or editing), of course! She's married to her best friend and has 2.5 rambunctious, but simply amazing, little boys. She blogs about writing and editing at

Hi, Raneé! Please tell us how you discovered you loved to write? 

I've been writing so long I can't really say! In fact, just this weekend my grandma gave me some "books" I wrote for her when I was seven or eight. I used to write these short, little stories that involved adventures for me and my friends. I had always said I wanted to be a writer someday, but I didn't get serious about seeking to publish my work until about four years ago, after I finished my first NaNo WriMo novel, BLOOM, which I'm starting to query again.

What publications have you had a part in?

Besides a history article in the University of Wyoming's online history journal, I have three short stories published at this time. One, a speculative fiction romance called HAVEN is featured in the IT'S A LOVE THING anthology. The second, FOR CHOICES, is published under a pseudonym in a book called VALUE STORIES FOR YOUNG WOMEN. The third, ANGEL, is available on Amazon.

Tell about It’s A Love Thing -

I first heard about it through Sherry Gammon, who I'd done some editing for. She contacted me about submitting for an anthology they were putting together. I didn't expect them to want HAVEN, since it's not exactly the light, summertime "love thing" they were looking for! :D To my surprise, they accepted it, yay. It's been a great experience learning about how publishing works.
IT'S A LOVE THING is a collection of short stories by various authors of varying genres that focus on one thing - summer love.

What are you working on now?

I am always so scattered with my projects. In between editing assignments, I'm working on a major rewrite for a novel called KISSING A SUPERHERO. In the meantime, I'm also going back to querying BLOOM (which I queried for a few months last year). And working on editing a regency novella. Among a million other little things. :)

Best wishes with the querying! What are your goals for the future?

I would like to be Kiersten White or Sarah Eden -- that's probably not realistic, is it? I want a published book eventually and be represented by an agent who is awesome to work with.

What is something most people don’t know about you that you could share?
I love to scrapbook digitally and also sew, both hobbies that don't get a lot of time when I'm focusing on writing! 

Thank you for the interview, Raneé!