Romancing the Romany

First, my novella Sweet Melissa is free for five days here. Melissa’s is the story closest to “true” of all my novels. I did hitchhike across the country when I was about Melissa’s age, ran into some shady characters, was almost raped, and that ghost of my grandma saved me on a concrete set of church steps about a million miles from home.

Oh and just like Melissa I lost my virginity to the man I loved. Okay, maybe not just like her. I had to add that in because it seems to me people pretend teens don’t have sex anymore at least in the YA I read (I love YA except come on you know they are doing it!)

Some other things are true–like my Romany heritage,which I didn’t know much about beyond my great-grandmother got her family through the Depression by reading tea leaves. And there were, like, rumors. My own mom claims to be psychic. I read tarot cards but I am not particularly intuitive. The cards are symbols and you read them in patterns. That’s not magick to me. Interesting, but not strongly influenced by my Rom descendants.

I’ve always been interested in Gypsies, though, so I did my homework and that part of the ritual and lore of my people in this book is correct as I could make it with the help of many experts. That said, the time/space travel is not for real. Even though in his song “Sweet Melissa” Greg Almond does claim “the gypsy flies from coast to coast.”

I love Almond’s song and having a free book for you this week. Hey and it has zoomed up to #40 on the New Adult charts in just a day. Lucky Gypsy lady.

Blog Birthday Gift

AWD. 015My blog is 12 years old this month!

And to celebrate I’m giving away Gypsy  for the last five days of September on Amazon.

Here’s a very old picture with a shot of an earlier incarnation of the blog back in the day when I learned a little html so I could link and post photos. My son did the vast majority of coding, and it was only this year that I took over as “admin” as well as “owner” of http://www.cynthiaharrison.com.

So for wallpaper, I wanted blue with darker blue stars and he wrote a program for that. I wanted “A Writer’s Diary” to be spelled out in script and he wrote the code to do that, too.

Many changes through the years, in wallpaper, in blogging tools, and “rules” of blogging. This year, I finally stopped calling my blog “A Writer’s Diary” because I was ready to write about more than writing. But sometimes I still do. Now I’m just using my name. Those are two “rules” I thought made sense for my blog this year. (1. Don’t write about writing if you are a writer. Hahaha. I did that for a really long time, but at a time when hardly anybody else was doing it. 2. If you’re published, call your blog by your author name). Also pictures. I use them with every post now. This one took forever to find, but woth it.

Also, I’m blogging less. For at least five years, I blogged every single day. It’s been a great adventure. I started out with zero books published in 2002 and wrote all about my efforts to make writing a daily habit and become a published author. By 2007, I had my first book out. Coincidence I started blogging less? Nope! I began publishing novels soon after that first book. My first published novel, Sister Issues, an indie e-pub, came out the same time I landed a publisher for my contemporary novels. They’re mostly about relationships, and not just boy/girl, although there is that. I also like to tackle offbeat cultural and social issues. This year I indie published two paranormals on a whim. (Gypsy and its sequel Sweet Melissa) and revised that first book to reflect the changes social media and “The Kindle” has brought to publishing.

Biggest change since 2002? Way more wrinkles. Also “blogger” is a legit term. Wow, it really wasn’t in 2002. Readers, thank you. And don’t forget your free copy of Gypsy.

“Meet My Character” Book Tour

Gypsy200In my twenties, I discovered I was part Romany. This really blew my mind. I didn’t know much about the culture and didn’t feel any connection except that I loved Stevie Nicks and the song Gypsy. Shallow, yes? But then I started to think more about my hidden heritage and I found some threads that connected me to it. Or at least to the cliches our culture had taught me. I love to dance. I read Tarot. I’m into the mystic. Dress kinda boho.

As a young teen, I traveled (by thumb, not caravan) across much of the country. Nobody in my family thought anything of it. My grandfather rode the rails as a young man, staying in hobo camps, swapping stories and having adventures before completely reinventing himself into the very proper and mannered gentleman I always knew. So, wow, I was shocked. For a minute. 

Then I remembered his mother read tea leaves during the Great Depression to keep food on the table. When my grandfather reinvented himself, he changed his name, (first, middle, and last!) married up, moved to a new state, and worked his way into an executive position at Ford Motor Company. He didn’t have much to do with his family of origin anymore. 

“We embarrass him,” one of my great-aunts commented during a visit I made to the old neighborhood with my mother. Things kind of clicked into place. I didn’t know I had Rom blood because he didn’t want me to know. And that’s one of the things my character Laurel, from my own Gypsy (the title a homage to Ms. Nicks), has in common with me. Her mother has a reason she doesn’t want Laurel and her sisters to know they’re Rom. And it’s really bad.

But Laurel has secrets of her own. She visits a magical place called Paradise Fields with a little boy named Ryan, her guide to another dimension, but more, someone who leads her through space and time. Laurel’s mission is to travel the world to sit in compassion with dying children as they pass into other realms. It’s her life’s work, and nobody knows about it.

Then one day, Ryan takes Laurel to a young girl in Romania who doesn’t die. Next, Laurel aids another young girl, much closer to home. After Laurel’s promotion, things get scary. She has to stop murderers and rapists and doesn’t know much about how to work with her powers. It’s a learning on the job situation.

Laurel’s life takes another even more thrilling turn when swoony gyspy cop Nate Haywood enters the picture. Nate asks Laurel for promotional help (her day job) with the threatened Rom in their tiny, tight community. As their attraction grows, Laurel finds her secret life difficult to conceal from Nate.

There are mysteries solved, love stories consummated and sad passings in this paranormal novel I wrote (along with it’s follow up novella, Sweet Melissa) exclusively for Amazon KDP. You can check Gypsy out of their library for free or purchase it.  

I had so much fun researching the real Romany community as I wrote these stories. The culture my body only contains a strand of is more rich and intriguing than Stevie Nicks ever imagined. That’s one of the great things about writing stories. They connect you more deeply and fully to what you already want to know.

Special shout-out to Helen Christmas for the invitation to join the “Meet My Character” tour. Read about her own character here.  Helen sets her books where she lives, in England. ‘Beginnings’ introduces a character from her series that begins with ‘Same Face Different Place,’ a 1970s romantic thriller set London. The 2nd book of the series ‘Visions’ is set in rural England, in the era of the 1980s. Helen is busy at work on her 3rd book.

 

 

Gypsy!

Gypsy200My favorite book blogger, Bodicia, who is much more than a book blogger, she is also an awesome writer of humor and serious thought pieces, has surprised me this morning with a review of Gypsy!

This could not come at a better time as I am adding reviews to the book page. Not too many, just a few for each book. It’s been emotional for me reading the kind things strangers have to say about my books. You never know when you write these things, if they’re just for you or if someone else might enjoy.

May have mentioned how crap I am at marketing my books. I like to write, so that’s first. And then there’s the day job. Al is a job all by himself. (I told him that yesterday and he was highly insulted, but it is true.) So marketing, that’s like job #4. I do love Twitter, and I link to my blog posts, because I like blogging, but setting up little blurbs and things for the books, not so much.

Gypsy and Sweet Melissa are my paranormal indies, and I really stepped out of my box to write the paranormal elements, but it was fun. My thought was, well, it might be just fun for me and nobody else, but I’ve gotten good feedback so far, so yay. Al is reading Sweet Melissa (he is not a fiction reader and this is the first book of mine (#7 with #8 release any day now, so it’s kind of a big deal to me). He really likes it. Hey, a positive review from my husband! Haha. That’s like saying “My Mom really loved it.” Or more to the point “My Aunt Louise thinks it’s great.” My Aunt Louise thinks everything I do is great. Mom, not so much.

Gypsy and Sweet Melissa are Kindle exclusives and together they make up the Traveling Girls series (so far). So I thought, well, with Gypsy being reviewed, maybe I will offer a Kindle Countdown for Sweet Melissa. That’s a marketing plan! And it’s so easy. I just did it in between writing this post. Sweet Melissa will be discounted from July 9-16, so there you go Kindle readers:)

New Page “For Writers”

As you can see above, I’ve added a new page to the site. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and today I’m finally opening that page. Since I’ve started writing less about writing, I wanted to make sure writers seeking advice had somewhere to click.

♥ Writers, this is for you ♥

Having said that, I promise readers that I will post more fun extras on a regular basis for you. If you don’t write, and you don’t read my books, you’re probably a pal checking up on me to make sure I haven’t been buried under an avalanche of books. Not to worry! I’m alive and writing.

♥Readers, this is for you♥

A Gypsy tidbit I have not mentioned yet is why I chose that title. Talking with my BFF yesterday, I started telling her about a dream I had about Stevie Nicks. Don’t worry, I didn’t tell her the entire dream, as I know that dreams are only interesting to the person who has them. I get ticked off in novels if the author includes more than one dream. Okay, we know you want us to know something, but your character doesn’t know it yet, so she has a symbolic dream. Yawn. Anyway, I always loved Stevie, and even though the characters are Romany, I named the book Gypsy after her song.