Awesome STARRED review for SCANDALOUS!

What a lovely surprise to get this review from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY!

SCANDALOUS by Minerva Spencer 

 “Complex characters make this historical romance a standout. The illustrious privateer Capt. Martín Bouchard has loved many women, but none has enticed or frustrated him more than the missionary Sarah Fisher, whom he saves, along with hundreds of others, from a slave ship. No matter how infuriating he gets, Sarah remains intrigued with the surly captain, and she quickly becomes admired by his crew for her strong and noble spirit. When they discover that the captain of the slave ship is Dutch royalty, they agree with port authorities to take him to England to meet his fate. Sarah and Martín keep winding up in compromising positions, unable to tame their desire for each other. Martín wants to keep Sarah at a distance to protect the secrets of his painful past and true identity, but that doesn’t stop the forgiving woman from getting under his skin and arousing emotions he’s never experienced. Blackmail makes its way into the ballroom, but Martín is a formidable adversary backed by powerful, loyal friends. Spencer’s brilliant and original tale of the high seas bursts with wonderfully real protagonists, plenty of action, and passionate romance.”

–  Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW

Spring cleaning with style!

 

I know it’s pretty hard to make housework fun, but I’m going to at least try to make it more stylish!

When my brain is functioning I remember to wear gloves and an apron to clean. Not only is it better for your hands and clothes, it is yet another excuse to have a wardrobe change.

So I thought, why not make those boring old rubber gloves something to get excited about wearing? (Okay, so that probably isn’t going to happen, either…)

And then after I made the gloves I just HAD to make an apron to go with it. Because that’s the way I am.

Anyhow, I’ve tried to keep track of the glove and apron making with photos, but I’m a writer, not a photographer, so it might get dicey at times.

Do I sound demented about pinning? Yes, I do–because I AM! I hate pinning, but it is necessary. Why? So you can BLEED for your project. Okay, I’m only kidding about that.

Now, how about that matching apron I promised?

IMG_0207

NO, you can’t have my knitting chickens apron! This is just to show you what I’ll use for a pattern. My mom made this lovely apron for me several years back. It is a bit worn, but I still love it best among all my aprons.

Okay, below I’ve added a picture of the Pink Panther apron. I live in the sticks, so imagine my surprise when I learned I had NO PINK BIAS TAPE!!! How can such a thing happen? Well, it did. But I am crafty, so I thought, “Hey–why not make your own?” I’ve done it before but for some reason the geometry of folding the fabric was eluding me.

Enter Mom!

Yes, I called my mother and she talked me through laying out and cutting bias tape. In case you hadn’t guessed by now, it needs to be cut on the bias.

Here is the cut strip and then I fold it in half, and in half again, and voila!! Bias tape!

I’ve pinned both apron and pocket and now I’m ready to sew.

apron with bias tape

Apron pinned and ready to sew!

But wait, you say! How will I attach the apron? So, below are some pics of the apron ties in progress…

 

Ready for the finished photo???

So, if you want to enter to win this set just comment in the comments section below or come visit me on Facebook!

JANUARY’S Contest Winners Are….

The winner of GIVEAWAY #1 a signed copy of Vanessa Kelly’s THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS is Tiffany T.

The winner of GIVEAWAY #2  a cloth SCANDALOUS tote bag is, Cyndi B.

The winner of a print copy of Shana Galen’s THE THIRD SON IS THE CHARM is Joanna C.

Thanks to everyone who entered! I’ll have more giveaways in my next newsletter.

Happy reading!

 

New Languages…New Covers…New Books!

These little lovelies- the Japanese version of DANGEROUS -just came in the mail the other day…..

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I have to admit this is the first time I’ve held a Japanese book in my hands. I keep turning it over to look at what we in the West think of as the front of the book. Of course it is the BACK of the book on a Japanese paperback.

Unfortunately I can’t read a thing except my name and the title. I’ve been considering what to do with some of the copies I received. Another writer at my RWA meeting suggested I drop off a copy at our local library or even a Japanese restaurant (sadly we have only 1 where I live!)

Any suggestions?

I also saw the Portuguese cover of DANGEROUS for the first time this week–January is a month full of excitement for me!

Here it is, and I LOVE it!

DANGEROUS Port

This will be available January 22nd 2019.

And the audio version will be available from Tantor Audio on January 30th!

dangerous book cover

BARBAROUS on sale!

Ooops! Forgot to mention in my earlier post that BARBAROUS

is on sale January 4th-8th

for

only $1.99!

Barbarous revised

He could be her ruin

Hugh Redvers is supposed to be dead. So the appearance of the sun-bronzed giant with the piratical black eye patch is deeply disturbing to Lady Daphne Davenport. And her instant attraction to the notorious privateer is not only wildly inappropriate for a proper widow but potentially disastrous. Because he is also the man Daphne has secretly cheated of title, lands, and fortune.
 

She could be his salvation

Daphne Redvers’ distant, untouchable beauty and eminently touchable body are hard enough to resist. But the prim, almost severe, way she looks at him suggests this might be the one woman who can make him forget all the others.  His only challenge? Unearthing the enemy who threatens her life . . . and uncovering the secrets in her cool blue eyes.

Praise for BARBAROUS:

“Deft writing and astute character development….Spencer shines in her sophomore effort, burnishing her reputation as an author to watch.” Kirkus

“A swashbuckling good time” Entertainment Weekly 


 

 

January Giveaway!

JANUARY’S NEWSLETTER PRIZE WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AND THE GIVEAWAYS ARE CLOSED AND THE WINNERS ARE:

The winner of GIVEAWAY #1 a signed copy of Vanessa Kelly’s THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS is Tiffany T.

The winner of GIVEAWAY #2  a cloth SCANDALOUS tote bag is, Cyndi B. 

The winner of a print copy of Shana Galen’s THE THIRD SON IS THE CHARM is Joanna C. 

Thanks to everyone who entered! I’ll have more giveaways in my next newsletter.

Happy reading!

 

GIVEAWAY #1

To enter to win a copy of the incomparable Vanessa Kelly’s

Three Weeks With A Princess

(along with some really cool swag–all SIGNED by the author!!)

just leave a comment below telling me the name of your favorite movie of ALL TIME. 

 

Giveaway #2
To celebrate the cover reveal for SCANDALOUS (now on pre-order)
I’m giving away a custom tote bag!
All you have to do is answer the same question as in Giveaway #1 and you’ll be entered to win.

Giveaway #3

Yes!! I have MORE historical romance!
I’ve got a print copy of Shana Galen’s THE THIRD SON’S THE CHARM just waiting to wing its way to one lucky reader’s home!

  

Again, one entry is good for all three GIVEAWAYS!

*I’ll pick a winner by January 30th 2019.

DANGEROUS is a Kindle Daily Deal on October 14, 2018 ONLY!

PICK UP A COPY FOR ONLY $1.99…

Amazon Kindle Daily Deal

What are people saying about DANGEROUS?

Wicked repartee, savvy wit, and energetic libidos.” Publishers Weekly

“Spencer is my new auto-buy!”  New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt

“A remarkably resourceful heroine who can more than hold her own against any character invented by bestselling Bertrice Small . . . deliciously fun retro flavor.”Booklist Starred Review

“Sexy and wildly entertaining.” Bookpage

 

Congratulations to Cheryl M.!!! Winner of the Great Big Bucket-O Prizes Giveaway!

Congratulations Cheryl M. !!! You’ve won the Great Big Bucket-O-Prizes Giveaway!!!

Thanks to everyone who entered! As long as you are on my mailing list you are entered for all subsequent contests.

Last Day to Enter Big-Bucket-O-Prizes Giveaway!

1 Day Left Before Big-Bucket-O-Prizes Giveaway

Hello all you wonderful historical romance readers! This is just a last reminder that I will be drawing a name tomorrow for the Big-Bucket-O-Prizes Giveaway.

I’ll notify the winner first and then post their FIRST name and state on the website once I’ve received their permission to do so.

There is no purchase necessary, all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter. One entry will qualify you for all subsequent giveaways, so you’ll never have to worry about being left-out if you don’t hear about a giveaway.

If you have concerns about your inbox being bombarded, I should probably confess I haven’t actually sent out a newsletter yet…. So, I probably won’t be pestering you often.

And I’ll make this promise right now: If/when I send out a newsletter, it will always include either a giveaway, a snippet, or some other no-purchase-necessary goody.

A full list of prizes, along with photos, is on the Giveaways! page

 

Good luck and happy reading!!

 

How to make a quill pen the REAL way. (And also the cheater’s way!)

I have always loved the look of quill pens and have often wondered what it was like to write with one. When you see the beautiful documents and letters people wrote with quills it is awe inspiring: 

Psst, I’m pretty sure a machine wrote this…

If you read historical romance (and why wouldn’t you?!) you may have noticed that people often faff around with quills. It seems to have been an excellent way to get up to a little flirting: the heroine mashes or splits the end of her quill and then requires some hunky hero to trim the quill with his pen knife.  Yeah, you know what I’m talking about…. 

People back then liked to paint other people with quills, too.

Elmira: Do it, Horatia! Do it! Break the nib already! Horatia: *I wish men still wore wigs–he’s DREAMY!*

 

 

Not again….

Hmmm, my wig itches…

Here are the parts of a feather, if you are interested in learning something new today. If you aren’t, just move along, move along! Nothing to see here….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyhow, I’ve always saved the large feathers my turkey Wiccus likes to molt almost every year. I’ve also collected a few goose feathers over the past few years, although they don’t seem to have an all-over molt like chickens and turkeys. 

Here is a picture of Wiccus in all his feathered glory:

Wiccus with a full set of feathers

Some of the feathers had become pretty dirty so I gave them a good scrubbing. Feathers are durable and get wet all the time. Birds usually preen them with natural oils to make them water-resistant so some of these feathers were remarkably clean. Those that had been left out in the sun and elements were harder to wash. You can give them a vigorous scrubbing with a brush in warm, soapy water if necessary.

Once they’ve dried they’ll be all nice and fluffy again!

After reading various “how-to” instructions (the website https://www.instructables.com/ is one great source) I decided to try my hand at cutting my own quill.

Now, before everyone at home rushes out to try this (as I know you all WILL) please be warned that cutting a quill is dangerous, tricky business. I’ve seen how durable a bird’s plumage is, so I don’t know why I was so surprised a feather would be so damned hard to cut–but they are!

But before I proceed I need to make a confession. Cutting and shaping feathers was not only dangerous, it was damned near impossible. So, I ended up cheating a little. You can read about that and see pictures below.

For those of you who are purists here is what you will need:

  • A feather. (Please don’t buy a feather from a hobby store as most of them have been taken from birds in inhumane conditions rather than voluntarily donated. Take a look on Craigslist as people often just save them and give them away. I have bags of feathers and I’m always glad to share!)
  • a cutting board (I used an old plastic board that I keep on hand for cutting non-food items)
  • a thin tipped marker
  • scissors
  • a VERY sharp Xacto knife (this is important! The feathers are hard enough to cut as it is)
  • safety glasses- you scoff, but an Xacto tip snapped off and I was glad I was wearing glasses. Glad.

And here is what you’ll need if you want to be a cheater, like ME!

  • metal nibs
  • glue
  • embroidery floss/thread

HINT: if you soak the end of the feather in water overnight it will be a little easier to cut, but still difficult.

Anyhow, first you want to cut the end of the feather: 

See how I’ve cut it straight. This is a tricky process as it is really easy to split the feather if you apply too much pressure. A split tip is a big deal if you are going to be a purist and hand carve your nib but not so important if you are a CHEATER. Like me…

Once you’ve cut the end off you can always clean the fluff from the center of the feather if you like.

Hold the quill the way you will want to hold it to write. Now, the truth is that actual quill pens were mostly stripped of their barbs (the fluffy part that makes the feather so pretty). Apparently they did this so the pen was easier to handle. I leave the barbs on my quills although I will trim them up if the feather has been damaged.

Anyhow, you want to make sure you hold the pen in the position you will use to write before you draw your marks.

There is no shortcut to carving. You basically draw the lines of the nib onto the feather: Start shaping with your Xacto knife. I recommend cutting less and then slowly whittling toward the line. Here is a picture of the shape you want to end up with:

Once you’ve shaped the nib you will use the Xacto to make a split in the writing tip. Here is a picture of the nib. You can’t see the split because I’m not skilled at taking pictures…. Anyhow, you just use the tip of the Xacto to make the cut. It’s probably the easiest of the cuts since you can do it by pressing the nib onto the cutting board.

Here are some cool little pots of different colored ink I ordered from Dick Blick’s :

Okay, no laughing–here is a sample of my writing with my nifty new quill pen:

I have to confess that took a while. If writing a book with a quill was the only way to get the job done I’m not sure I could do it…

Okay, if you’ve stuck around until this point I can now show you the cheater’s way.

You can order yourself some of these little guys:

Again, I ordered mine from Dick Blick, which definitely had the biggest selection and best price. The only reason I ordered 2 is because I’m making 50 of these little guys as giveaways and have feathers that really vary in diameter. You can’t tell from the picture, but the top nib is a lot narrower than the lower one.

So, you’re going to cut the tip off, just like you did above, but this time you will make a slit in the quill. Make it long enough to accommodate the base of the nib. You can use scissors on this because it doesn’t matter if the cut is really clean.

Clearly you’re going to have to do something to secure the nib in the feather. Here is a use for all that embroidery thread you have just lying around! Okay, so maybe you’ll have to to out and buy some. 

I recommend the sparkly kind, although it is a bit harder to use because it keeps fraying.

For demonstration purposes I’m going to use some regular, non-sparkly, blue.

See how I’ve laid the thread with the tail end away from the nib? This is a good idea because it will leave the area nearest the nib smooth. Start wrapping the thread around the nib end and work down the feather. Make sure to leave enough of the tail end to tie with the strand you are using to wrap. See below how I’ve tied the knot and cut the thread. I’ve done it beneath the quill so it won’t interfere with your fingers when you hold it. Take your glue of choice (I’m using Gorilla Glue here and coat all of the thread. Once you’ve covered it on all sides you need to leave it to dry (but you knew that, didn’t you?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it has completely dried you can trim the threads or tie them into a bow or whatever floats your boat. Sometimes I leave them, sometimes I cut them.

Here are a couple different feathers. I’ve stripped the barb from the one on the left, which is closer to what a real quill would have looked like. The one on the right is a feather in all its glory (well, except there is no turkey attached, which is the REAL glory!)

 

I’ve punched a hole in one of my business cards and attached the quill to a little pot of ink. These are some of the reader gifts I will be giving away at my debut signings. 

Fabulous quill, ink, and historically inaccurate timepiece!

 

*Want to win a quill and other cool stuff? Go to my Giveaways page and sign up for my newsletter