Thursday, June 20, 2013

Special Guest and Giveaway! Gina Conkle, author of The Norse Jewel, talks about Being a Writer

It’s Not Like You Have To Run Naked by Gina Conkle

Ummm, well…as a writer, you do.  Every time you put words on the page, you’re taking risks. You’re growing. And, you’re basically putting “it all out there” for people to see.  To like or dislike.

No wonder creative people can be neurotic: it’s not like accountants have to reveal much beyond numbers. So, maybe you’re thinking: Isn’t taking the plunge and writing a book enough? Yes.

But, what if I challenged you to dig a little deeper…in essence get nakeder?

Would you do it if I promised that you’d turn out a better writer? Try this for starters and fill in the blank.

I want to be a great writer, but don’t ask me to_______________________________________.

The real answer, the honest answer, is the first thing that came mind.  And in the interest of baring it all, I’ll share mine.
I dread “discipline.”  

Don’t ask me to get up extra early to write. Don’t try to hem me into a schedule. Don’t tell me I can’t eat what I want (that’s part and parcel of discipline to me).  I like things free-form…do what I want when I want.  Give me freedom.

But, I’ve come to learn the flip side of my idea of “freedom” is (ouch!) laziness.

And wouldn’t you know it, I married Mr. Discipline.  Here’s an idea of what I live with. When I was dating Brian, his idea of being to work on time was arriving half an hour early --- no easy task since he started at 6:00 AM.  Yes, you read that right. He arrived voluntarily at 5:30 AM!

Really, I think it’s God’s sense of humor that Brian and I fell in love. But that’s another blog.  

For this one, let’s face it: truth hurts. How many missed opportunities passed you by because you were too scared to face your issue?

*Maybe you’re set in your introverted ways (because staying out of sight is comfy)
*Maybe technology feels overwhelming (because it’s all about writing a good book)
*Maybe your book blurbs need help (because it’s painful to condense your book to 100 words)

Whatever you’re facing, you’re not alone. Lots of other writers faced down the same frightening giants.  Why not partner with someone by making one goal, a baby step if you will, to overcome that one thing that bedevils you?  And when you accomplish that one thing, be sure to reward yourself for a job well done.

As I close, I’ll share another “naked” item on my list: public speaking. Yikes!  I can do it, and sometimes even do it well. But, that doesn’t stop the I-wanna-pee-my-pants sensation.  But guess what I’m going to do in a few weeks?  Read the first chapter of Norse Jewel to a roomful of strangers, who I’m hoping and praying like Vikings.

What’s your naked item?  Will you share?

Thanks, Aubrie, for hosting me on “Flutey Words.” I appreciate your gracious hospitality.

 You're Welcome! 

And Now for Gina's new release:

A Norse Jewel excerpt:
He saw wetness on her lashes. She turned her face to the fields, and another piece of the riddle that made Helena fell into place. 

Hakan cupped her chin. His thumb stroked her scarred jaw. “Your pouch, the stone is the reason for this. Magnuson said as much.” 

She nodded, sniffling and swiping at tears that rolled down her cheeks.

His thumb brushed a tender stroke over her cheek’s curving pink scar. “The stone almost cost you your life. Why?”

Hakan, with great tenderness, stroked her face. The salve had done its work: smooth, touchable skin remained. But the salve only healed skin deep wounds. Some wounds lurked deeper than the Dane’s cut. What ached beneath the surface? More fat tears rolled down her cheeks. 

“I am a peasant maid.” Her voice quivered. “When Guerin wanted me, I felt…” Helena sniffed and chewed her lower lip. “I was suddenly important. A woman of value. Without it…”

Her vulnerable admission was a tender spot for her. Couldn’t she see her worth was higher than any stone?

His thumbs wiped away her tears. “Keep the pendant. It came at a great price. Wear it for all to see.”

Hakan took her hand in his and set the necklace in her palm. He curled her fingers over jewel and chain. 

“Aye, Helena, the stone could buy more thralls. But ‘tis metal and stone. They do nothing for me.”

Her lashes, spiked with wetness, fluttered at him. Bewilderment writ on her face, he soothed his voice as if calming a babe.

He shook his head. “I’ll not trade you for that.”

“I don’t understand.” Her eyebrows knit together.

How could he explain what he didn’t fully understand? He was on shaky ground. From the corner of his eye, part of a red sail caught a strong breeze and fluttered. Selig replaced the rocks that tamped down the sail before the whole cloth blew free. The vibrant red waved at him, a banner by which he could escape explaining why he would not let her go. Hakan waved his arm at the sails drying in the meadow.

“Look what you’ve accomplished in so short a time. You promised me great talent weaving fine linens…to expand my wealth.” Hakan’s arms folded across his chest. “Strong sails for my ships. This I understand.” Tilting his hand toward the jewelry in her own, the corners of his turned down. “Stones do nothing for me.”

A thousand glittering stones couldn’t equal her worth. He stared into the depths of her blue eyes and called himself a coward for not admitting this to her. 

Helena sniffed again and clutched the pendant, returning it to the leather pouch. “Is there no custom? No means to gain my freedom?” she asked, her voice hoarse with emotion.
Hakan sighed. “There are ways.”

“Mardred told me a thrall can earn her freedom after some years of service. Is this true?”

“Aye.” His arms stayed crossed, unmoving. He’d give no more.

“Then, may I strike such an agreement with you?”

“Such as?”

“I want to earn my freedom.” Her eyes pleaded with him.

Hakan shifted his stance, cagey about giving an inch. His neck and shoulders knotted.
True, many a valuable thrall gained freedom after years of service. Most stayed. 

“Serve me well for seven years, Helena, and you’ll be a freewoman.”


One commenter will win a PDF copy of NORSE JEWEL. In addition, Gina is giving away a huge prize to one lucky reader from the entire blog tour - a $100 Williams Sonoma gift card, a $25 Barnes and Noble or Amazon gift card, and three wooden spoons.

About Gina:

Gina’s a lover of history, books and romance, which makes the perfect recipe for historical romance writer.  Her passion for castles and old places (the older and moldier the better!) means interesting family vacations.  Good thing her husband and two sons share similar passions, except for romance…that’s where she gets the eye roll.  When not visiting fascinating places, she can be found in southern California delving into the latest adventures of organic gardening and serving as chief taxi driver.

Connect with Gina on:


Aubrie said...

Congrats, Gina! I'm reading the Norse Jewel and loving it so far!

Gina Conkle said...

Hi Aubrie,
Thanks! Glad you're enjoying the book. Thanks again for hosting me on your blog.

Rhianna said...

After meeting you yesterday at the FB party and now reading this... can I just say it... you are awesome Gina! ♥

Gina Conkle said...

Wow! Thanks Rhianna! You made my day. Yesterday was fun, and I'm glad you enjoyed this article.

Take care-

Debby said...

Great post I should writers would have to have a thick skin as well
debby236 at gmail dot com

Gina Conkle said...

Hi Debby,
Love it! Yes, think skin is essential (mine's developing well). Thanks for stopping by today-
Gina Conke

Unknown said...

I rebelled against getting up early to write for so long! But much as I hate doing it, it's the only way I seem to get any writing done.

Public speaking though, not a chance! Love the excerpt, sounds like a fascinating story.

Gina Conkle said...

Hi Rinelle,
Have you heard of Tracy Garvis Graves? She wrote On the Island? She was/is (??) a high school English teacher and got up around 5:00 to write an hour so every morning. It took her about 18 mos. but she did it. Anyway, I hear you on facing challenges!
Take care-