Friday, September 30, 2011

Having My Cake, and Eating It Too

Today my nearly-eleven-month-old twins actually went down for their morning nap without any resistance. Today, after washing up the dishes and throwing in a load of laundry, I actually got to do some writing on my current WIP. And today I have been particularly thankful that I get to do more than one thing with my life.

I get to raise two--soon to be three--little boys, and I get to write novels. I get to discover scrumptious new dinner recipes (Jamie Oliver's bolognese sauce!), and I get to explore the world of publishing. I get to decorate my kitchen, sweep my floors, check my Facebook, and do my grocery shopping--and I get to do historical research. In many ways, it feels like I get to have my cake and eat it too.

And speaking of having cake...


So happy to have these two munchkins crawling underfoot and making it hard to get any writing done!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just One More Paragraph - Guest Post and Giveaway

On Monday, Just One More Paragraph gave a very favorable review of Road from the West, and today I have a guest post and giveaway at the same blog. Movies and history are the topic, and the title is "The Crusades and the Silver Screen." Head on over there to see my opinion of period pieces like Orlando Bloom's Kingdom of Heaven and Nicolas Cage's Season of the Witch.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Musings of a Book Junkie - Review

Today Road from the West is being reviewed over at The Musings of a Book Junkie. Here is an excerpt:
Rosanne Lortz captures the First Crusade with all its glory. From preparations to battles, no detail is left out. Battles are fierce, but not gory. The hardships endured by the Crusaders are harsh, but accurately detailed.... I didn't know a lot about the First Crusade before I read this book. The Crusades have a bad reputation of sorts, and I just lumped all the Crusades into one. However, this book shows the mechanization of the Crusades and it makes for an interesting story. I would recommend it to anyone seeking to learn about the First Crusade. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just One More Paragraph - Review

Today's stop on the virtual book tour is at Just One More Paragraph (which, by the way, is one of the cutest--or, should I say, most aesthetically appealing--blogs I have ever seen). Here is an excerpt of the review of Road from the West:
Rich with history, this tale is told with a prose that will keep the reader captivated throughout the story, transporting them back to the late 1090's.... Truly a brilliant novel, this book would appeal to both the historical fiction lover as well as the reader that just wants a good story about a flawed hero. With no sex and minimal gore, this book would be a great resource for home school high school students. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Forbidden Fruit Syndrome

It's been an interesting phenomenon how the genre of historical romance (or, dare I say the genre of historical erotica?) has been steadily encroaching on the field of historical fiction over the past several decades. It is rare to read through a new historical novel without running into explicit sex scenes, most of them involving premarital or extramarital sex. Many of the discussions in historical fiction book groups revolve around the questions of how much sex is appropriate. My informal assessment is that a few readers and authors prefer the scene to fade to black while most enjoy sex scenes as long as they are "helpful to developing the characters." It seems that for many book lovers of today's generation "historical" and "racy" are two adjectives that go particularly well together. Lately, I have been pondering why exactly this is the case.

Perhaps for those interested in a racier brand of literature, historical novels have something to offer that contemporary novels do not. That something is stricter social mores. In Regency romances, part of the "thrill" of a sexual encounter comes from the knowledge that the heroine will actually become compromised--whereas a heroine "hooking up" in today's world would be as normal as working nine to five. In Medieval novels, part of the appeal of fornication and adultery is the condemnation it will receive from the narrow-minded and monolithic Church--whereas such deeds in a contemporary novel would only provoke jealous high school friends or unsympathetic parents.

One of the key components of the courtly love paradigm developed in the twelfth century (a paradigm, incidentally, that endorsed adulterous behavior) is that in a true love story there must be some obstacle separating the man and the woman. The greater the obstacle, the greater the desirability and the attraction. A love that was forbidden (by parents, by religious authorities, by social standing, etc.) was the most exhilarating kind of love. In many ways, this paradigm lives on today. And although obstacles between lovers can be found in a contemporary setting (e.g. He owns a big bookstore that wants to put her little bookstore out of business, a la You've Got Mail), these contemporary hurdles seem fairly easy to jump when compared to obstacles like "utter ruin and disgrace in the eyes of society," or "excommunication and certain damnation."

For fans of racy reading, the openness, ease, and acceptability of modern affairs cause modern novels to lose a little luster, but the strict moral code of past eras makes infractions of it that much more enticing. The barriers society and religion placed before immorality translate into exciting obstacles to be overcome. The secrecy needed to conduct such behavior titillates readers and adds intricacy to a plot.  As one wise man put it, "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant." In an era where "everything is ok," it seems that novelists must return to a bygone age in order to find rules to break.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Bibliophilic Book Blog - Guest Post

Today I have a guest post over on The Bibliophilic Book Blog titled "The Easy Part of Writing Historical Fiction." Here's a piece of the opening paragraph:
As a writer, I am frequently on the receiving end of comments from non-writers who have varying perceptions of my craft. Some people dismiss it as an effortless occupation, much easier than holding down a "real" nine to five job. Others immediately attach herculean difficulty to it: "Writing? That sounds so hard! How do you possibly think of a story to write about, and one that's long enough to make into a novel?" Usually, I just smile and murmur something conventional, but today I'm going to let you in on the truth. Today I'm going to tell you that it is actually very easy to think of a story--if you write in the genre that I do....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Bookish Affair - Review and Giveaway

Today Road from the West finds itself at A Bookish Affair for a review and another giveaway! Head on over there and enter to win a copy and see the rest of this review:
One of the things that I liked about this book is that although it takes place during a war, there isn't a lot of time spent on the battles themselves. The book covers more of the behind the scenes of what's going on. It talks more about what people were thinking as they marched towards the unknown.... Bottom line: This was a great adventure story with an interesting perspective.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Bibliophilic Book Blog - Review

Road from the West was featured on The Bibliophilic Book Blog today as part of my virtual book tour. Here is an excerpt from the review:
Road from the West captures the beginning of Tancred's journey from sinner to Crusader. Wonderfully descriptive language brings to life the characters and settings of the Crusades. From power struggles, bloody battles, treachery, and even romance, Ms. Lortz easily transports readers back over 1000 years in the past. Fantastic fiction woven through the backdrop of history will capture your attention and leave you stunned and amazed.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Of Sequels and Such

One of the interesting (or do I mean frustrating?) things about writing a sequel, is that you have to catch the reader up on all of the relevant backstory from the previous book. How much time should you spend on reintroducing characters? How many of the subplots does the reader need to know? As I write the first chunk of chapters for Flower of the Desert, I have been dealing with these questions in a very concrete way. And sometimes, finding the right answers to them feels like pounding my forehead against a slab of concrete.

I remember reading various sequels whose opening chapters annoyed me to no end. If the author spends too much time on rehash, you think, "I already know all this from the last book--let's get on with the story!" If the author rushes through the recap too quickly and with too many narrative gaps, you feel a little bit of vertigo--"Was the plot of the last book really that confusing?" My least favorite sensation is when the sequel, in a botched attempt to summarize, tells a slightly different version of the story than the previous book. "That's not the way it happened...."

So, here's to hoping I don't make any of those mistakes with Flower of the Desert: Book II of the Chronicles of Tancred. Thanks for reading and enjoy the sneak peek at the cover for my WIP!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Broken Teepee - Guest Post and Giveaway

Broken Teepee, one blog that did a very nice review of Road from the West last week, is today featuring a Guest Post by yours truly and a giveaway. Head on over there to learn about "The Rise of the Knights Templar" or to enter for a free copy of Road from the West.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Author Interview and Giveaway - Unabridged Chick

Today as part of the blog tour for Road from the WestUnabridged Chick is featuring an author interview and a giveaway. Head on over for another chance to win a copy of my new release, or to hear the answers to exciting questions like, "What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?".

Monday, September 12, 2011

Broken Teepee - Review

Today's stop at Road from the West's virtual book tour was at Broken Teepee. Here is an excerpt from the review:
I found myself drawn into the world of Tancred and his family from the very first page. While a novel of war it's not a book that is overwrought with scenes of blood and gore. The story progresses at a fast clip with unexpected twists and turns along the way. I am hoping that Tancred matures in the next books in the trilogy. He is a young, brash, impulsive character and he is going to need to develop as time and fate come for him.
Ms. Lortz has a way with words and most definitely has a way with writing about this era in history. I am certainly looking forward to Tancred's future as it's written by this author.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Calico Critic - Review

Today as part of the Road from the West virtual book tour, Laura Hartness from The Calico Critic posted a review. Here are Ms. Hartness' closing comments:
When I reached the end of Road from the West, I not only felt like I learned a thing or two about the first Crusade, Tancred the marquis and the religious/political goings on of the era, but I also enjoyed a good story. Rosanne Lortz has two more titles to come in the Chronicles of Tancred trilogy, and if they're anything like this first segment, they'll definitely be worth my time. Book One is a great start to an informative, entertaining series.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

From the TBR Pile - Guest Post and Giveaway

Today on the Road from the West blog tour, I have a guest post and (another!) giveaway at From the TBR Pile. The guest post is titled "Falling in Love with Historical Fiction," and it talks about how I came to adore this genre. You can head on over there to read it and enter for another chance to win your own copy of Road from the West.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Maiden's Court - Guest Post and Giveaway

Today The Maiden's Court, one of the historical fiction blogs on my Road from the West book tour, is featuring a guest post by me titled "Why the First Crusade?" Click on over there if you're interested in knowing why I picked this subject to write on.

The Maiden's Court is also hosting a giveaway for one copy of Road from the West--visit her site and enter to win!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Party Like It's 1099!

Yesterday was the big day! My second historical novel, Road from the West: Book I of the Chronicles of Tancred, became available for sale and my Virtual Book Tour across the blogosphere began.

Last night Madison Street Publishing held a Book Release Party for Road from the West at Exodus Books, an independent bookstore in Milwaukie, Oregon.

Seventy-five to a hundred people attended, packing the bookstore to the gills.

The food was catered by Confection Perfection (Abigail Lortz).

David started off the formalities by introducing me and sharing a little bit about our new company, Madison Street Publishing.

I gave a short reading from the book and then signed copies throughout the evening.

And we handed out some fun door prizes including: my two novels, a gift certificate to Exodus Books, and a brand new Amazon Kindle.

It was a glorious evening. We had so much fun and feel truly blessed by everyone who came out to support us. Thanks to Exodus Books for hosting and thanks to Amy Hayes for taking these pictures.
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