Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Revealing the "Dancing and Doughnuts" Cover

Without further ado, here it is!!!!!

Do you love it?  I love it.  It's from the same artist who did the cover for Cloaked and my short story "No Match for a Good Story" and I think it continues the look of my series so perfectly.

What's this book about?  Well, someone's been spiking the apple cider at a Kansas dance hall owned by a family with twelve daughters.  No one in the small town has been able to find the culprit.  A hungry Civil War veteran drifts into town and decides he's going to solve this mystery for them and earn the reward the family is offering.  It's my version of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," which is probably my favorite fairy tale.

I'll be releasing this in August, and I'll be calling for ARC readers a month or so before the release, so stay tuned for that if you like reading free books before the rest of the world gets their hands on them!  Meanwhile, Dancing and Doughnuts already has a Goodreads page, so click here to access that and add it to your to-read list!

Meanwhile, feel free to visit me elsewhere online to interact with me in other places and ways!  I've got an author website where you can sign up for my newsletter, a Goodreads author page, a Facebook page, an Instagram account, and an Amazon author page

Tell me what you think of the cover!  Doesn't it blend well with the previous two?

Sunday, May 27, 2018

My Kids' Take on the Greatest Showman Book Tag

My three kids, Sam (10), Jellybean (8), and Mad Dog (6), also love The Greatest Showman.  And they love books.  When they saw my tag post, they decided they wanted to fill it out too!  So here are their answers to the prompts :-)  (My husband Cowboy got in on the fun once in a while too.)

(They helped me choose all these gifs too.)

~’The Greatest Show’: Name a book that’s as entertaining as a circus

(Sam) The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
(Jellybean)  The Ghastly Battle by Winter Morgan
(Mad Dog)  Flora the Dress-Up Fairy by Daisy Meadows

~’A Million Dreams’: Name a book that’s set in a fantastical world

(Sam) Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede
(Jellybean)  Lost in the End by Winter Morgan
(Mad Dog)  Holly the Christmas Fairy by Daisy Meadows

~’Come Alive’: Name a book that makes you outrageously happy

(Sam) Big Truck, Little Truck by Jan Carr
(Jellybean)  Domino by Ellen Miles
(Mad Dog)  Trixie the Halloween Fairy by Daisy Meadows
(Cowboy) Lawrence by Janet Morgan Stoeke

~’The Other Side’: Name a book that changed your mind about something

(Sam) The abridged Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by A. Conan Doyle
(Jellybean) Otis by Ellen Miles
(Mad Dog) I refuse to answer on grounds that it may incriminate me.

~’Never Enough’: Name a book that you’ve re-read more than once

(Sam) Song of the Ean by Emily Nordberg
(Jellybean) The Littlest Snowman by Charles Tazewell
(Mad Dog) The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan & Jan Berenstain

~’This Is Me’: Name a book with a character that reminds you of yourself

(Sam) Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede
(Jellybean) The abridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
(Mad Dog) The Berenstain Bears: And Baby Makes Five by Stan & Jan Berenstain
(Cowboy) The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

~’Rewrite the Stars’: Name a book with a forbidden romance

(Sam) The Far West by Patricia C. Wrede
(Jellybean) Mia the Bridesmaid Fairy by Daisy Meadows
(Mad Dog) Flora the Dress-Up Fairy by Daisy Meadows

~’Tightrope’: Name a book with an adventurous main character

(Sam) Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
(Jellybean) Lost in the End by Winter Morgan
(Mad Dog) Robin Hood

~’From Now On’: Name a book with a wonderful family (related or otherwise)

(Sam) Return to Gone-Away by Elizabeth Enright
(Jellybean) Duchess by Ellen Miles
(Mad Dog) The Berenstain Bears' Easter Parade by Mike Berenstain

Friday, May 25, 2018

"The Greatest Showman" Book Tag

Eva over at Coffee, Classics, and Craziness tagged me with this tag that I believe she also created!  She knows how much I love The Greatest Showman (2017), so she knew I'd love doing this tag :-)  Thanks, Eva!

Rules are:
  • answer the questions
  • tag whoever you want 
  • using her graphic is optional, but recommended

~’The Greatest Show’: Name a book that’s as entertaining as a circus

Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Stories by Terry Pratchett is EXTREMELY fun.  There's a wonderful audiobook version too.  I heartily recommend both to people of all ages.  The audiobook is actually funnier than reading the book yourself because the reader, Julian Rhind-Tutt, has the most wonderful variety of accents and a dry, ultra-British way of delivering the lines.  

~’A Million Dreams’: Name a book that’s set in a fantastical world

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis has one of the most fantastical worlds I've ever encountered.  I was agog.

~’Come Alive’: Name a book that makes you outrageously happy

The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery is like eating a bowl of delicious ice cream.  Or maybe an entire carton.

~’The Other Side’: Name a book that changed your mind about something

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer made me believe that Sherlock Holmes pastiches were worth reading after all.  Some of them, anyway.

~’Never Enough’: Name a book that you’ve re-read more than once

How about The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien?  That's actually three books (technically six...) and I've read it half a dozen times.

~’This Is Me’: Name a book with a character that reminds you of yourself

I relate a lot to Anne Elliot in Persuasion by Jane Austen, which is part of why that's my favorite of Austen's novels.  I am overdue for a reread and hoping to sneak it in later this summer.

~’Rewrite the Stars’: Name a book with a forbidden romance

I keep overthinking this and trying to find a romance that's totally forbidden like in Romeo and Juliet.  But how about a romance that's just frowned upon by society?  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte totally has one of those.  Young, poor governess falls in love with approaching-middle-age, rich man.  Nobody approves.  They don't care.  Also, it's my favorite book EVER.

~’Tightrope’: Name a book with an adventurous main character

Constance Kopp, the titular heroine of Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart, is definitely adventurous!

~’From Now On’: Name a book with a wonderful family (related or otherwise)

I'm going to copy Eva on this one, because the found family withing The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton is pretty much as wonderful as they come.

Now... who should I tag?  I'm kind of crunched for time today, so I'm just going to tag Flowers of Quiet Happiness, Meanwhile in RivendellMovies Meet Their Match, Any Merry Little Thought, and Lavender Spring even though I haven't had time to look back through their posts and see if they've seen this movie or not.  But I know they all enjoy both books and movies :-)  If YOU loved this movie and want to do this tag, then you're hereby tagged too!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Want to be in on the Cover Reveal for My New Book?

The cover for my next book, Dancing and Doughnuts, is allllllllmost ready for the big reveal.  Like I did for Cloaked, I want to have some of you help me share it with the world by doing a cover reveal on Tuesday, May 29. 

In case you haven't heard me talking about this book already, Dancing and Doughnuts is my next Once Upon a Western story.  It's a retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" set in post-Civil War Kansas, and I'll be sharing more about it during the cover reveal :-)

If you would like to join me in showing off the cover on your blogs or in social media this coming Tuesday, May 29, please email me at rachelkovaciny at gmail dot com with "Dancing and Doughnuts cover reveal" in the subject line.  All participants will receive my gratitude, fake internet points, and an imaginary hug :-)  And get to see what the cover looks like before anyone else!

I will send participants the cover image no later than Friday, May 25, to give you a couple days to set up your posts.

If you want to know more about my books, please check out my website, rachelkovaciny.com -- you can even download a free story there, my winter western called "No Match for a Good Story" that blend elements of the Sheherezade story from The Arabian Nights with characters from my Sleeping Beauty retelling, "The Man on the Buckskin Horse."

Monday, May 7, 2018

"The Broken Gun" by Louis L'Amour

Friends are awesome.  Eva S. from Coffee, Classics, and Craziness has a brother who loves Louis L'Amour books.  He knows, from her, that I'm a fan of Alan Ladd (if you understand "fan" to mean "fanatic"), so he told Eva to tell me about this book.  Because L'Amour dedicated it to Alan Ladd and Ladd's best friend William Bendix.  It was published a couple years after they both died, and I really felt while reading that I could see and hear Alan Ladd as the main character.  (Bendix was a little harder to pinpoint, mostly because I haven't studied him like I have Ladd.  He actually would have worked well in multiple roles here.)

I know that when Alan Ladd starred in Guns of the Timberland (1960), which was based on one of L'Amour's books, the two of them became friends.  Ladd owned a ranch, so I assume they found some common ground based on that, if nothing else.  The official Louis L'Amour website has a very nice autographed picture that Ladd gave L'Amour, which you can see here.  On it, he wrote: "To Louis -- Write another one --I am with you -- Alan."  I think that, in a way, L'Amour honored that request by writing this book dedicated to Ladd.

All that made reading this book a very poignant experience, but it's such a thrilling book that I didn't have a lot of time for pensively staring into the middle distance every few pages the way I might have otherwise.  The Broken Gun is unlike any other L'Amour book I've ever read in one major way:  it's set in the middle of the 20th century.  In fact, it takes place in the late '60s, when it was written and published.  And it almost feels like a hardboiled mystery, the kind that inspired the noir movies Alan Ladd rose to fame with.

Famous author Dan Sheridan visits a little town in Arizona, researching a couple of ranchers who drove a herd there almost a hundred years earlier and then disappeared.  When a man is murdered right outside his hotel room, Sheridan begins suspecting that the long-lost disappearance may have modern repercussions.  He gets invited out to a big ranch nearby for what he thinks is a friendly visit, but he quickly discovers that only his wits and an old Army friend stand between him and terrible danger.

(From my bookstagramming adventures.)

Particularly Good Bits:

The past was fresh in my mind because I had worked with it so much, and had been living it through all my books, and all the painstaking research that went into their writing (p. 17).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG for mild swearing, suspense, and some violence.

This is my 9th book read and reviewed for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2018.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

"The Blue Castle" by L. M. Montgomery (again)

While working on the revisions for Dancing and Doughnuts, my creative well ran dry over the weekend.  Happens from time to time, when I'm using more creative juices than I'm taking in.  Usually it's a gradual slow-down, but sometimes I just stutter to a stop, like this weekend.  So on Monday, I thought, "I've been wanting to re-read The Blue Castle for a while.  I'll just start it today and then I can savor it over the course of the week while I'm visiting my parents."

HAHAHA.  I was done with it before supper on Tuesday.

The first time I read this, I also inhaled it over just a couple of days.  I can't read this book slowly, it seems!  It grabs hold of my imagination and drags me inside the book, and I have to get to the end as soon as possible.  Even when I know how it will end, like I did this time through.  It's simply wonderful, that's all there is to it!

And between reading this and watching two westerns in three days, my creative well feels nicely topped off again, and tonight I will dig into the last chapters of Dancing and Doughnuts.  I'm determined to have these major revisions done by the end of the weekend!

In case some of you have never read this book, I will briefly tell you what it's about.  Valancy Stirling wakes up on her 29th birthday and realizes that her life is dull, drab, colorless, and meaningless.  She will spend the rest of her life doing the same things she's always done: attending her waspish mother, laughing at her boorish uncles' jokes, and enduring the polite ridicule of her whole family and all her acquaintances.  And then she finds out she's going to die within the year, and she decides that she's going to spend her last days on earth really living.  She says what she thinks, she buys dresses she likes instead of the ones everyone expects her to wear, she gets a job, and she asks the town scoundrel, Barney Snaith, to marry her.

Nothing turns out the way she expects, but instead unfolds more beautifully than Valancy ever hoped.

Also, I laugh and laugh and laugh over this book.  Which you know I love :-D

(From my Instagram.  Out of respect for John Foster,
I did NOT pick wildflowers for this, I promise.)

Particularly Good Bits:

People who wanted to be alone, so Mrs. Frederick Stirling and Cousin Stickles believed, could only want to be alone for some sinister purpose (p. 4).

Valancy had long ago decided that she would rather offend God than Aunt Wellington, because God might forgive her but Aunt Wellington never would (p. 6).

Why had she been afraid of things? Because of life (p. 43).

"People who don't like cats," said Valancy, attacking her dessert with a relish, "always seem to think that there is some peculiar virtue in not liking them" (p. 71).

"Fun!"  Mrs. Frederick uttered the word as if Valancy had said she was going to have a little tuberculosis (p. 80).

"John Foster says," quoted Valancy, "'If you can sit in silence with a person for half an hour and yet be entirely comfortable, you and that person can be friends.  If you cannot, friends  you'll never be and you need not waste time in trying'" (p. 123).

November -- with uncanny witchery in its changed trees.  With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson behind the westering hills.  With dear days when the austere woods were beautiful and gracious in a dignified serenity of folded hands and closed eyes -- days full of a fine, pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless gold of the juniper-trees and glimmered among the gray beeches, lighting up evergreen banks of moss and washing the colonnades of the pines (p. 180).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG for a couple of old-fashioned curse words, alcohol use, and discussion of an unmarried girl becoming pregnant.