Tag Archives: Magnolia Belle

A Most Frustrating Vendor Experience

I paid for a table at an Octoberfest in a nearby Texas town, to sell my novels, especially my newest release “Lady Gwendolyn”.  Saturday (Sep 28) was the date of the festival.  Not only did I pay for the booth, I was required to donate items for a silent auction, plus sign a statement that I would stay there until 8 pm before breaking down my table (penalty for not staying was losing a $20 deposit).

I didn’t mind doing those things — until I got there.  A music area was set up for a live band, for a karaoke contest, and later for an auction.  The sound was too loud all day, so much so that people could barely hear me greet them as they walked by.  They could barely even hear each other.  Subsequently, sales were dismal.

At 6:30 the auction began, and they cranked up the volume to the point that it became physically painful.  I could not subject myself to the pain, with no chance of making any sales, so I asked if I could leave.  I was told by that person that I could.  When I asked to get my $20 back, someone else showed up.  They had to talk to whoever was in charge, who sent me the money with the message that since I’d broken my contract with them, I would not be allowed in as a vendor for the next year.  No problem.  I won’t be back next year — or ever.  How can they expect vendors to stay for over an hour of that kind of physical torture?  No one was coming by the booths.  They either were at the auction, or had left to escape the noise.

While I didn’t stay until 8, didn’t they also break the contract by not supplying vendors with an environment conducive to sales until 8?

What a strange, frustrating day.

Review by Nancy Jardine for “Lady Gwendolyn”

I’d like to share my review of Magnolia Belle’s excellently written ‘Lady Gwendolyn’. This is a 5*, action packed, adventure set in the Middle Ages.

“Magnolia Belle plunges the reader immediately into a dangerous journey, one that is fraught with deception and treachery. Yet, this initial journey is only one of many – betrayal and a degree of confusion a continuing thread throughout the plot. Lady Gwendolyn and her maids, Madeleine and Ruth, find themselves perilously set upon and are embroiled in a trap that becomes filled with all the horror and bloodshed that can often be expected in novels set in the Middle Ages.

The detail throughout the novel is vivid and richly accurate, the locations straddling the border between Scotland and England.
At times, the current situation calls on characters, main and secondary, to act according to their conscience though they are torn about doing their duty to their liege lord. In Lord Richard’s case, he has some maturing to do very quickly to ensure the best for the people who are under his care…and for the lady he genuinely loves.
Magnolia Belle has created very believable characters, the developing relationships indicating just how constraining the era was in many ways regarding who might marry whom – according to their station and their contractual duties. I was very taken by the character of Beowyn, someone to rely on and wholeheartedly trust. Others were tainted, (no spoiler names here) and yet were redeemable. The little twists at the end bring the plot to a nice and tidy closure.
A very well written, and well edited novel, I can thoroughly recommend ‘Lady Gwendolyn’ to lovers of the medieval era.”

“The Beltane Choice” by Nancy Jardine

Here is my review for Nancy Jardine‘s book “The Beltane Choice”. (Short version – WOW!!)

Nara finds herself kicked out of her only world, a small tribe among the Celts. Lorcan finds his own tribe threatened by Roman domination. Not just his tribe, either, but the entire Celtic way of life. His talents as ambassador and his prowess as a warrior are put to the test, especially when he rescues the mysterious, nameless woman from a wild boar.

Distrust runs deep between Lorcan and Nara’s tribes, as deeply as it runs between them. But common enemies and an overwhelming attraction throw them together to try and find their footing in the current political quagmire.

Nancy Jardine has done an outstanding job seamlessly weaving their story into the history of that time. She captures the fear of having one’s home overtaken by foreigners, and the heat of falling into a love forbidden by all. Her use of language is exquisite and her writing style a joy to read.

If you like historical fiction, I can’t recommend this book enough. I haven’t been this taken with a story or an author in years.

When I Was A Child by T.L. Needham

It wasn’t until later in his life that author T.L. Needham began hearing stories about a lost aunt who had become a nun.  Intrigued by that, and wondering at the secrecy for all those years, Needham began digging into his family’s past, beginning in the 1920s and onward, in this nonfiction book.

The main character and Needham’s uncle, Louis Pfeiffer, finds himself as the last parachutist out of his plane on D-Day just before his plane is shot down, killing all on board.  The rest of his unit are captured by the Germans and interred in a POW camp.  The family’s story weaves in and out of that time as Louis recalls different events and different relatives.

Needham holds no punches in describing both the good and the bad in his family tree.  His grandfather was a bootleg bully.  His mother, “Jerry”, and Uncle Louis were sent to an orphanage for a time.  The family lost their farm during the 30s dustbowl and stock market crash.  Yet, through it all, Needham finds the silver lining, the soft touch, the kind heart that gives his family depth, character and grace.

This book is like a biography of an entire family, not just one person.  If you like human interest stories and accounts of how people survived almost impossible odds, I highly recommend this book.


“Loyalty Divided” by Francine Howarth

England is divided by civil war (1642 –1649), the Parliamentarians against the king.  The nobility living at Axebury Hall are also divided, Lord William Gantry against his son Morton.  Against this backdrop, Anna Maitcliffe, orphan of rank, and ward of Lord Gantry, in 1642, is all of 15 years old.  She is, at that age, typically spoiled, naive, self-centered and unable to know the truth when she hears it.  She would prefer to storm off in a pet of wounded pride than stay and work out problems.

Anna sets her eyes on Morton, but is convinced he loves another, Catherine Thornton.  When he joins the Parliamentarians after being banished from his home, Anna hears nothing from him in two years.  Lord William Gantry is determined to marry her to another man and, in her rejection of that person, throws herself at Lord Gantry, in spite of loving his son. Lord Gantry is more than happy to oblige her advances, since he has been widowed for two years, even though she is only 17 and he 41.

Through subterfuge, miscommunication, jealousy and war, these characters’ lives weave around each other, trying to find lasting love, both familial and romantic.

Francine Howarth is an intelligent author who writes with rich vocabulary and an appreciable understanding of that period in history.  I highly recommend this book if you like escaping to another place, another time for great adventure and steamy romance.

 Find the book at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0080H62A2/

Typos – Gah!!

I received an email from Amazon Kindle several days ago saying that a reader had reported “T’on Ma” for a typo.  Would I please correct it.

What?  I mean…what??

Being reported for spewing racial hatred, or depraved sexual content, or even for being lethally boring – sure.  But a typo?

What was the typo, one might wonder.  Guilelessly was spelled “guilessly”.   After several read-throughs by my editor and myself, we both missed it.

At a book fair years ago, I had one author tell me he spent an inordinate amount of time hunting those little buggers down.  He even read the sentences backwards so what he meant to say wouldn’t cloud what was actually typed.  Sure enough, when he got his first order of paperbacks in, what was the first thing his wife saw?  A *#*^@ typo.

I discussed this problem with my best friend shortly after the release of my western “Tascosa”.  She  commiserated with me and said, “I know what you mean.  In your book, the first thing I saw was that you had typed ‘road’ when you meant ‘rode’.”  I think I whimpered.

This leads me to a firm belief rooted in years of experience and observation.  Editors and proofreaders are like a powerful disinfectant.  They can kill 99.9% of typos and homonym hiccups, but there will be a stubborn remnant that WILL get through.

Now, to the readers who find these rare gems in our tomes, please understand the amount of work it takes to get a book to press.  The attention to detail is enormous and time-consuming.  When you discover a typo, it shouldn’t reduce our  work by two stars. It doesn’t make the book “horribly written,” (as I had one reviewer complain).

Please understand – typos happen.

Let me introduce myself

I thought perhaps I should introduce my ‘author’ self.  Here is something I sent to fellow blogger Chris Graham today.

The pen name “Magnolia Belle” came from a dream of one day owning a riverboat that offered dinner, sultry jazz and hot R&B while floating down the Mississippi. Realizing I didn’t have the millions it’d take to get that dream off the ground, I took the name to write under. I figured it’d be one hard to forget. Plus, it’s as southern as I am.

I grew up in a military family and have lived in several U.S. states as well as the Orient. I graduated in 1978 from Tarleton State University, where, as editor of the University paper, I won first place in the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association Editorial competition in 1977. I am also a member of “Who’s Who Among Colleges and Universities” in 1977-78. A singer/songwriter and guitarist, I played with a band in the 1980s that made three albums. I currently lives in Texas with my husband.

Since 2005, I have written and coauthored several books.

The coauthored books are “Miko and Lil Onda Bus” and “Miko and Lil Onda Bus Again”, inspired by the lives of the three brothers in the Grammy winning band, Los Lonely Boys.  On the first day of starting a new tour, the Garzas find they have a talking mouse, Miko, living on their tour bus.  Miko finds his girlfriend Lil, moves her onto the bus with him, and teaches her to speak human.  Mayhem and hilarity ensue when ‘mousenappers’ want those talking mice! It was with Henry, Jo Jo and Ringo Garzas’ permission that the books were published.  All sales go to a SIDs charity.

The first series I wrote, “Black Wolf” involves the story of four Lakota brothers living in Austin, TX.  They have a rock band and have just signed with a national label when the series beings.  Through the four novels, readers see how their world explodes and how they try to keep their equilibrium.  The novels are “Black Wolf: Lakota Man”, “Black Wolf at Rosebud,” “Black Wolf on Tour” and “Black Wolf: Loco Lobo”.

The second series, “T’on Ma”, is historical fiction set along the Texas/Oklahoma border in beginning in 1850.  The Cooper family homesteads land about an hour north of what is now Abilene, TX.  When a Kiowa warrior and an Army lieutenant both fall in love with Lana Cooper, a story unfolds that carries them through the Indian and Civil wars. The three novels are “T’on Ma”, “Kuy Syan Joshua” and “Little Wolf Ranch.”

The first stand alone novel, “Tascosa” is a western set in what is now a ghost town in the panhandle of Texas.  It describes the life and adventures of a young woman, Amanda Clark, who moves to the lawless town without knowing anyone.  She manages to carve a successful business for herself, but not without facing heartbreak.

The second stand alone  novel, “Lady Gwendolyn” has just been released.  It’s also historical fiction, but instead of Texas, it is placed in 12th century England and Scotland.  Bandits beset a caravan taking Lady Gwendolyn Hampton of England to marry Angus Dewar in Scotland.  In the confusion, she escapes, while the bandits think her maid, Madeleine, is her.  From one peril to another, Madeleine must keep the ruse in order to stay alive.

All books are available in paperback at major online stores such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  They are also available in all e-reader formats from Smashwords.com.  Autographed copies can be purchased through the author’s website, http://www.blackwolfbooks.com.

Here is the book trailer for “Lady Gwendolyn”…