Tag Archives: Laura S. Wharton

Different Audiences, Different Appeal

By Laura S. Wharton, author of The Pirate’s Bastard and other titles

The old television show with the two adopted boys living a new fancy life came to mind the other day. “Whatyoutalkingabout?” was the catch phrase of the show. I almost let that phrase slip between my lips in answer to a question about how I could write for adults as well as children.

Different strokes for different folks. In other words, considering an audience’s reading level is key before telling any kind of story. If you’re a parent and you’ve read countless children’s books to your kids at night as I have to my son—a bedtime ritual that creates life-long readers, by the way—and then read yourself to sleep with a book of your own choosing, you can easily see the what I mean. They are all stories. Different, yet the same in many respects.

First, the obvious differences: length, plot complication, pictures (or lack thereof), details, subject matter, and ease of reading all come to mind when I review my son’s bookshelf and the stack of books beside my bed. Yet there are similarities. There are a few central characters, there’s a plot, there’s an arc of action and resolution, and in many of the books we read in this house, there’s an element of humor.

If a story contains similar traits, what difference does it make if it’s for children or adults? It just makes sense that a good story is a good story, regardless of the audience.

Read any good children’s books lately? Here are a few what I would call “cross over” books—well written and able to hold the attention of adults as well as advanced children readers. Add to the list as you will. I’d love to hear your suggestions.
1. Ted Bell’s books, Nick of Time and Time Pirate
2. Anthony Horowitz’s masterful spy books, the Alex Rider series
3. Walter R. Brooks’ classics, the Freddy the Pig series
4. Jenny Nimmo’s Charlie Bone series

Learn more about Laura’s newest works at her website, http://www.laurawhartonbooks.com or her blog, http://laurawharton.blogspot.com.

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New Year’s Resolutions By Laura S. Wharton

New Year’s resolutions frequently end up in the waste can (along with the desire to shrink the waistline) not too long after they are made. The one about losing weight lasts as long as the energy to drag oneself to the gym daily typically is the first to go; but there are others.

My resolutions usually include a daily word count for whatever work-in-progress has my attention at a year’s beginning. When I wrote The Pirate’s Bastard, it seemed like it was more of yearly word count – that novel took six years to research and write in the age before Google. (A hearty thank you to all the reference librarians at the N.C. Archives who helped me to locate the information needed for that colonial-era story of the illegitimate son of pirate Stede Bonnet.

My current work-in-progress is a mystery for children. It involves an area I know well, and combines several subjects that I enjoy (sailing, cooking, and bird watching). I’ve been less stringent on the word count given the timing of the project’s start date (November) and pursuant holidays, and as a result, I’ve not gotten as far as I’d hoped I would. With the New Year right around the corner, it’s time to get back to it. I want to finish this one by the end of January. That means I have a lot of work to do – like writing a minimum of 2,000 words a day. That means getting back into my habit of rising early (4:00 typically works for me), and writing for several hours before the family has to wake. That quiet time is critical for me.

Have you made your resolutions for 2012? If you’re a writer, what are your plans for your projects? I’ll wish you luck on yours if you’ll do the same for me. Happy New Year!

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History Writer’s Dream?

This weekend, my family and I visited New Bern. This small coastal town is remarkable for many reasons, but my chief interest in it is the history. If you’ve read my first novel, The Pirate’s Bastard, you know I’m all about history. So is New Bern. The streets and buildings are steeped in it. New Bern’s history goes way beyond colonial, though.

For instance, the new education center was built on the site of Balbour Boatworks, a manufacturer of pleasure craft until it turned its incredible boat-making muscle toward building mine sweepers for World War II as part of the lend-lease deal. If you “don’t know much about history, ” New Bern’s educational center is a great place to start. Part of the war effort seen in New Bern’s modern – if you could call it that—landscape is still visible on Hancock Street. The train track that used to carry parts to Balbour Boatworks is still there. It also carried soldiers, Marines, and other military personnel to the town for nights at the USO, a soda at nearby shops, or a fun day before shipping out. I can easily imagine young girls leaning over porch rails to ogle handsome men in uniform of every description.

Pleasure-craft docks, as plentiful now as they are in the music-filled marina, were few in 1942 but they mingled amidst the huge ships being launched at Balbour. A couple sailing into New Bern for a day or a weekend was certainly welcome. I can imagine that the noisy shipyard sounds and noxious smells greeting them were far less pleasant than what we experienced over the weekend.

Visiting a place like New Bern is an incredible treat for a writer of historical fiction. You will be able to learn more about New Bern’s past in my forthcoming novel, Leaving Lukens, which is set in 1942. For more information, check out http://www.laurawhartonbooks.com.

Laura S. Wharton is the author of The Pirate’s Bastard and the forthcoming novel, Leaving Lukens. Read more of her blog entries at http://laurawharton.blogspot.com/

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Introducing the Authors of Second Wind Publishing

I thought a fun way to introduce the authors of Second Wind Publishing, LLC (or at least the ones who wanted to be introduced) would be to have them answer three simple questions so you can see how different authors perceive themselves and their writing. The questions:

1. What is writing like for you?
2. What is the most thrilling thing about getting published?
3. What is the most humbling thing about getting published?

Nancy A. Niles, author of Vendetta:

1. Writing is something that I can’t not do. It’s my best friend, sometimes a pain in the neck, but most times just something that I need to do for my own peace of mind.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the encouragement it has given me to keep writing and keep allowing myself to express more freely and deeper. I think all those rejection slips had an effect on me and now being published is having a strengthening and very positive effect on my writing.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is knowing that for a few hours the people who read my novel will be taken away from their problems and be in my world. It humbles me to know that for just a short time I can give them a little escape from their troubles. It is quite a blessing.

Laura S. Wharton, author of The Pirate’s Bastard:

1. Writing is like exercise. Sometimes, it’s really hard to get up at 4:00 in the morning to begin writing…the warm covers are oh so snuggly. Other times, the adrenalin rush about an aspect of the story-in-process surging through me has me up at 3:00, sitting still for three hours, and then reluctantly stopping so I can prepare myself and family for the work/school day ahead. Like exercise, it has to be done nearly every day to accomplish anything close to completion.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is reading reviews from unknown readers – and seeing that they really loved my story.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing typos after publication of what I thought was an error-free book.

Nichole R. Bennett, author of Ghost Mountain:

1. Writing is in my blood. I don’t mean that I come from a long line of authors, because I don’t. But I have to write. I have to get those words out of my body and onto paper. Some days those words flow and there is no stopping them. Other days I struggle over each and every letter. Either way, writing is something I have to do. Just like eating or breathing.

2. The most thrilling thing is knowing that I am living my dream. Yes, it can be hard, but this is what I want to do and I’m doing it. How many people can truly say they get to live their dream?
3. I’m not sure there’s a humbling moment for me. I knew going in that writing would take some thick skin and hard work. I knew not everyone would like my work or appreciate the time and energy that it took to get where I am. That’s okay. I’m just grateful for the opportunities I have had and that there are people who do like it!

J. Conrad Guest, author of Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings and One Hot January:

1. I haven’t found anything that provides the level of satisfaction writing provides me—the highs of crafting a perfect sentence, of self-discovery and exploring the universal themes of love and loss, dying and death, salvation, redemption, and keeping my parents alive and making them proud.

2. As writers, I think we all believe our work is the greatest since Hemingway, and seeing our work in print is affirmation, a thrill, that our work has merit—even if it isn’t really as good as Hemingway.

3. I find nothing humbling about getting published (I write with publication in mind), save for the process. By the time I receive my first proof copy, I’ve gone over my manuscript a dozen times or more and have probably a half-dozen drafts. An editor has gone over it, found several typos I’ve missed, and made suggestions for changes—some with which I agree, but most I discard. So I find it maddening and, yes, humbling, when I start reading my proof copy and find ways to improve the narrative, to rewrite a passage and, worst of all, I find a typo! I’m a perfectionist, so, yes, it’s humbling to learn I still can improve upon the process.

Eric Beetner, co-author of One Too Many Blows to the Head and Borrowed Trouble

1. Writing is lonely and tiring. Even writing as a part of a team like I do with Jennifer is still lonesome. We live on opposite coasts and only communicate through email. I never show anything to anyone for critique. Never let early drafts out to the public. So having her around is also an act of real trust. We show each other our naked first drafts and still expect that we’ll respect each other in the morning.

2. I find that it is too easy to only hear from a friendly audience of family and friends so the biggest thrill for me is when a total stranger says or writes something good about my writing. I know it is genuine. Being published lets that person have exposure to my work and find something in it that resonates or entertains. That’s why we’re here, right?

3. Oh, brother, what hasn’t been? I’ve had signings at book stores I respect (and where I shop) I’ve been in panel discussions alongside authors I admire. I’ve met writers as an equal – a fellow published author, not just a fan. All that has made me feel grateful beyond words.

DCP_0851-136x150Lazarus Barnhill, author of The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday:

1. A few years ago I came back to writing fiction after a self-imposed twelve-year period during which I did not write, and found about twenty ideas of books rattling around in my head. My first official act was to get a notebook and list the novels, outlining them to the degree they had “marinated” in my imagination. For me, writing is getting out of the way and allowing those stories that germinated so long ago to take root, flower and bear fruit.

2. The thrill comes from somebody you don’t personally know buying a book, or seeking you out intentionally at a book signing. It’s also thrilling when someone asks you a question about your story in such a way that you know they have read it with comprehension.

3. A couple things strike me right away. First is the praise I often get from my colleagues. When another writer whose work I admire compliments my work in a way that reveals I’ve accomplished precisely what I set out to do in the story—that is humble. The second thing is when people I know hunt me down and pester me until I get them a copy of one of my books. And sign it to them personally. I’m not accustomed to adulation.

lucy_balch-113x151Lucy Balch, author of Love Trumps Logic:

1. Writing is like I’m in a time machine. I can work for hours on a story and it always feels like much less time.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the knowledge that, finally, I’ll have something to show for the five years I’ve put into this obsession. Maybe I haven’t been selfishly squandering huge amounts of time?!

3.The most humbling thing about getting published is the realization that so many good writers have not yet been given the opportunity to publish. Is my book worthy of the privilege? As an unpublished author, I can always tell myself that my book will be well received when given the chance. The reality might be different. I hope not, but it’s a possibility, and once a book bombs there is no going back to the fantasy of it doing well.

jwcomputercatmail2-133x157Juliet Waldron, author of Hand-Me-Down Bride:

1. I write historicals, so writing for me is like entering a time portal—or, sometimes, like stepping out of Dr. Who’s callbox after accidentally pushing the wrong button. I have an idea of what may be there when I first look around, but I often find the world I’ve entered to be surprisingly different from my preconceptions.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting/being published is having someone you don’t know leave a message or write a review that totally “gets” the book. Shows I wasn’t as off-base as I sometimes—in those dark 3 a.m. moments—imagined.

3) The most humbling thing about getting/being published is that we have so much competition, and that there is a great deal of good writing out there. After publication there is the (IMO) far less agreeable marketing to do. The playful creation is now complete.

TracyB_3-134x150Claire Collins, author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny:

1. For me, writing is a journey. I don’t always know the final destination until I start traveling, but it’s always a rewarding trip.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is when people read what I’ve written and they like it. I write for myself because writing is almost a compulsion for me. Readers enjoying my writing is a bonus.

3. The most humbling thing? All of the work it takes to get the books out and maintain a normal life while still trying to write. I realized pretty quick that I wasn’t superwoman. I’m still trying, but someone keeps standing on my cape.

mickeypic_1_-124x149Mickey Hoffman, author of School of Lies:

1. For me, writing is like being in that space just after you woke up from a dream but you only remember half of the dream and you spend all your waking moments trying to flesh it out.

2. I had some stories to tell and now I feel like they’ll be heard. And it really is thrilling. I feel like I’m white water rafting and I don’t need a boat!

3. I’ll be awed that anyone would take the time to read what I’ve written when they could be doing something more valuable with their time.

Deborah_J_Ledford-114x160Deborah J Ledford, author of Staccato and Snare:

1. I am an entertainer. I don’t write for a cause or to pose my own thoughts or impressions on issues. My only function is to provide a suspense-filled, exciting ride the reader won’t want to stop until they reach the very last word.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is seeing the words I’ve worked so diligently to craft actually in print. If what I present happens to be worthy enough for readers to tell others about Staccato, that’s all I could ask for.

3. Everything about being published is humbling to me. That readers would seek out Staccato, then take the time to escape from their lives for a while, makes me more grateful than anyone could possibly know.

Sherrie_-_book_2-120x154Sherrie Hansen Decker, author of Night and Day, Stormy Weather, and Water Lily:

1. For me, writing is like a dream vacation – a chance to escape the realities of my everyday life and travel to some faraway world where I can see the sights and meet new people.

2. For years, I wrote and wrote, wondering if anyone would ever read my words. What a wonderful feeling to be writing for readers who are eagerly awaiting my next release!

3. Every time I think I have a perfect draft, I find more errors glaring out from the pages of my proof. Very humbling . . .

Norm2-140x151Norm Brown, author of The Carpet Ride:

1. As a retired computer programmer, I see a lot of similarities between writing a novel and creating a complex software program. Both processes require an enormous attention to detail. All the little parts have to tie together in a logical way and a good flow is critical. And it’s hard work to get all the “bugs” out of a book, too.

2. The most thrilling thing for me was pulling the first copy of my book out of the box and holding it in my hands. It was exciting to see something that I actually created.

3. The most humbling thing for me about being published was discovering how much I have to learn about promoting my book. I’m still learning.

biopicsmall-136x139Jerrica Knight-Catania, author of A Gentleman Never Tells:

1. Writing for me depends on the day. Some days it’s the most wonderful romp through my dream land and other days it’s like getting a root canal.

2. Knowing that someone else believes in your work enough to put it in print is just about the most thrilling feeling. It’s great to hear friends and family say how much they enjoyed my work, but to have it validated by professionals is a whole ‘nother ball game!

3. I’m not sure I’ve been humbled at all! Haha! But I’ve never really had unrealistic expectations of myself or my work. . . . I’m prepared to correct mistakes and make cuts/edits as needed. I’m just grateful every day for the opportunities I’ve been given.

Lindlae_Parish_photo-129x151Dellani Oakes, Author of Indian Summer and Lone Wolf:

1. Writing is like a discovery process. I start with a beginning line, an idea or even just a character’s name and watch as the characters lead me where they want me to go.

2. I loved the fact that I finally was validated. Someone did think I was worth publishing and I wasn’t just “Wasting time with all that writing.”

3. Humbling? Wow, I think the most humbling – perhaps humiliating – step in the publishing process is all the rejection you get until someone finally says “Yes, we want you!”

Margay_touch_up-129x150Margay Leah Justice, author of Nora’s Soul:

1. For me, writing is like creating a baby. There is the conception (what a wonderful idea!), the writing/rewriting period (gestation, anyone?) and the birth (I can’t believe it’s finally here!). And then you nurture it for the next couple of years as you slowly introduce it to the public – and hope they don’t think it’s an ugly baby.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the sense of accomplishment when you see it in print for the first time and you discover that people actually like it!

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing the book in print for the first time and realizing that all of those years of struggling, writing, rewriting, submitting – all boil down to this one little book that you can hold in the palm of your hand.

Chris2-132x150Christine Husom, author of Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, and An Altar by the River:

1. Writing is multi-faceted for me. It is a joy, but also pretty hard work at times. I do much of my writing in my mind and when I finally sit down to get it on paper, it often comes out differently. I spend more time mentally forming plots and picturing scenes than I do writing them. I love having a whole day here and there to sit at my computer and concentrate on writing. If I have problems with a scene, I skip ahead to the next one so I don’t get frustrated.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is getting my books out of my house and into readers’ hands–hoping people get some enjoyment reading them.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing mistakes and typos in what I thought was an error-free manuscript!

Amy_12_1-113x151Amy De Trempe, author of Loving Lydia and Pure is the Heart:

1. Writing for me is like unmapped journey, I never know what turns, obstacles or excitement is about to unfold.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is seeing my name on a book cover.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is finding out how supportive and happy my friends and family really are for me.

maggiemed-138x150Mairead Walpole, author of A Love Out of Time:

1. In some ways, writing is a form of therapy. Not from a “work out my issues” standpoint, but rather it allows me to escape from the day to day stresses of the world. I can let the creative, sometimes a little off-beat, imaginative part of my soul off the leash and let it run. Some of my very early writing did dip into the realm of “working out my issues” and those stories will never see the light of day!

2. Can I channel my inner Sallie Fields and run around saying, “They liked it, they really liked it…”? No? Darn. Seriously, I think it is the whole – I did this – aspect. Someone read the book and thought it was worth publishing. That is pretty cool no matter how you cut it.

3. Opening yourself up to criticism, being vulnerable. Sure, you know that not everyone is going to love your book, and intellectually you know that some people will hate it and think you are a hack, but when someone actually expresses that to you it is a whole new experience. It can be very humbling.

IMG_4132-use-115x154Suzette Vaughn, author of Badeaux Knights, Mortals, Gods, and a Muse, and Finding Madelyn:

1. I’m like a humming bird on too much caffine. I write in waves. When the wave hits I can put out several thousand words in an unbelievably small amount of time. Then when I’m not in humming bird mode I edit.

2. The most thrilling is probably the fact that there are people out there that I don’t know that have read my book and liked it. I had the pleasure a few times of meeting them and there is some twinkle in their eye that is amazing.

3. My son is always humbling. I recieved my proofs in the mail and my then seven year old son didn’t fully understand what it meant that I’d written a book. He flips through the pages looking for hand-writting. “I get in trouble when I write in books.”

jjdare-139x150JJ Dare, author of False Positive and False World:

1. Writing is like being in a triathlon for me. I power write for days or weeks at a time, then crash for awhile with the help of Tylenol and chocolate. Writing is a scary, exciting roller-coaster. It is exhilarating and draining, and Iwouldn’t do it any other way.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the very act of being published! Something I wrote is out there, available for anyone to read. Holding the hard copy of my book in my hands gives me the good shivers. The other thrill is the pride in my family’s voices when they introduce me as “The Writer.”

3. The most humbling thing is feeling responsible for the places I take my readers. During the time they’re walking with and living the lives of the characters in my book, my readers are taking the same roller-coaster ride I took to write the
book.

pat-135x150Pat Bertram, author of More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I:

1. For me, writing is like the world’s longest crossword puzzle, one that takes a year to complete. I like playing with words, finding their rhythm, and getting them to behave the way I want. I like being able to take those words and create ideas, characters, and emotions.

2. Someday perhaps, I will find the thrill of being published, but to be honest it was anti-climatic. I am more thrilled at the thought of what the future might bring now that my books have been published.

3. I had no intention of answering these questions. After all, I was the one who collated all these mini interviews, but a fellow author said, “This is your party, too. People will tune in because of you. They want to know more about YOU. Don’t cheat your fans and followers.” Now that’s humbling.

Click here to read the first chapters of all Second Wind novels: The Exciting Worlds of Second Wind Books

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The Pirate’s Bastard by Laura S. Wharton

The Pirate’s Bastard by Laura S. Wharton took six years to research and write. Laura deftly weaves fiction into fact, blurring the lines between the two for this story. It is a rollicking ride through colonial North Carolina and beyond with Edward Marshall, illegitimate son of infamous pirate Stede Bonnet, as he tries hard to separate his past from his future. He’s doing well with his plans, until his father’s former right hand shows up with secrets to tell and blackmail in mind. 

Excerpt:

The rest of the evening Jenkins and Edward got along well. Edward learned that Thaddeus Jenkins, his wife Isabel, and their daughter Sarah moved to Wilmington just a few years earlier from Annapolis, Maryland.  Jenkins was successful in Annapolis as a merchant.  He said that competition from other businesses in town was getting stiff as Annapolis’ popularity grew, so he decided he would do well by being one of the first merchants in Wilmington.  Isabel, he told Edward, was not keen on the idea of moving to “the backwoods,” knowing that Wilmington lacked culture and fashion and the grand parties for which Annapolis was famous.  But she soon grew to like the idea of being one of the grand dames of Wilmington’s burgeoning society, and within a few years, was as busy as ever with activities that helped make the town a more delightful place to live – and a more profitable town for her husband, Jenkins winked.   

Jenkins was not as forthcoming about his daughter as Edward would have hoped over supper, but he did not discourage Edward, either.  By the end of the evening, Edward was at least sure that Sarah was not betrothed to anyone.  He escorted Jenkins back to the wharf and to his schooner.  A dim light could be seen hanging on deck, and one down below glowed through a porthole.  Aboard were two men, one man in a pale shirt and tattered pants working on repairing the torn sail. The other lounged against an oak barrel.  His wide-brimmed hat was tilted on his bowed head, and his arms were crossed over his burley chest.  He offered no help to his companion, and despite his apparent advancing years, his physique was that of a strong man.

“Many thanks to you Edward, for the meal.  We shall set sail with the tide, which the man there tells me is at dawn,” Jenkins pointed to the man who rested against the barrel. “Surely you know the tides here better than I do, so I will expect you to join us early to guide us up the river.”

“I assume your man knows these waters well.  I will be here to offer any assistance I can,” Edward said, bowing slightly.  “King Moore’s plantation is off the main river and the passage is narrow.  It is an easy sail from here.  I will see you at dawn.”

Edward watched Jenkins totter up the wooden ramp to his schooner, and then board with a little help from the man in the wide hat.  Edward then headed back toward home.  From the looks of the man Jenkins suggested was the captain, Edward was more settled in his answer as to why Jenkins thought better to not bring Sarah along.

***

Laura S. Wharton has been a freelance writer since 1990. She has published over 500 magazine feature articles, CD-Roms for the travel industry featuring fictitious characters who help tell the stories of historic coastal cities such as Charleston, New Orleans, St. Augustine, and Savannah, and numerous articles and columns for newspapers. Her debut novel, The Pirate’s Bastard is published by Second Wind Publishing. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son. Visit her blog,  http://laurawharton.blogspot.com/, for more information. 

Click here to read the first chapter of: The Pirate’s Bastard

Click here to buy: The Pirate’s Bastard  

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The Pirate’s Bastard is Sailing into Port Soon

It’s nearly here! My debut novel, The Pirate’s Bastard, will be released September 29. This colonial romp of the fictitious illegitimate son of real-life pirate Stede Bonnet took six years to research and write, and I can say with all honesty I wondered if it would ever see the light of day. I’m thankful that the fine folks at Second Wind Publishing saw merit in sharing the tale, and to my family and friends who have shared in my excitement at the story’s progress toward becoming a real book.
A few events have been set up so far to introduce The Pirate’s Bastard, including the following:
Book signing
N.C. Historic Maritime Council Annual Meeting
September 30 – October 2
New Bern, NC

Book signing
Mid-October
Page’s Bookstore, Main Street, Mount Airy

Author presentation and Book signing
Late October
Northwestern Library, Rockford Street, Mount Airy
Second Wind Publishing is also having a launch party online September 29th and 30th for new releases by Sherrie Hansen, Jerrica Knight-Catania, Christine Husom, George Wright, and me. Join us for a chance to win an e-book and other prizes. There’s a wide offering of tales at the publisher’s website, http://www.secondwindpublishing.com, too.
If you leave a comment to this post before October 6th, I’ll add your name to a random drawing for a signed copy of The Pirate’s Bastard. Thank you in advance for joining in the fun, and for spreading the word about my book!
Beyond promoting this book, big plans are in the works for the rest of the year! I have two works in progress. One is for adults, and the second is for children, to be released by Second Wind under their newest imprint, Chickpea in early 2011. I hope I’ve not spoiled the publisher’s surprise, but I’m thrilled to see the new imprint come to life. Be sure to check out my other blog, http://www.laurawharton.blogspot.com, for progress updates on both projects.

Laura S. Wharton is the author of the soon-to-be-released book, The Pirate’s Bastard. Visit her website, http://www.LauraWhartonBooks.com or her blog, laurawharton.blogspot.com for updates to her upcoming events.

Here I am, holding the proof of my book.

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