Friday, 26 June 2015

Sun-Kissed Blog Tour & Giveaway!


It has not been six months since Meryton Press announced it was conducting a short story contest, with four of the winning entries to be published in a summer anthology. I now have the pleasure of welcoming one of the winners and authors featured in Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer! 
Natalie Richards is a fellow Janeite & blogger and  I would like to congratulate her on her first published short story, "Midsummer Madness!  As part of the Sun-kissed blog tour kindly brought to you by Meryton Press & Jakki at Leatherbound Reviews Natalie is stopping by today to share how her story came to fruition!

"Midsummer Madness" by Natalie Richards is one of my favourites and just one of the many wonderful short stories that feature in this summer anthology. With so many talented authors, this is the perfect book for a Happily Ever After, when your short on time and need a little sunshine in your life. To be in with a chance of winning a paperback copy, please leave a comment below for Natalie and you will be entered into a giveaway for a paperback copy of  Sun-Kissed:Effusions of Summer!

 In Natalie Richards’ “Midsummer Madness,” an honest confession and a promise between strangers at a masque ball mend a misunderstanding.

Welcome Natalie!!

Hello!  I am thrilled to be visiting My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice today. Thank you so much for hosting me, Tamara!

How Midsummer Madness came to be.

Natalie Richards
Midsummer Madness was born out of an obsession with all things Jane Austen, a whimsical fascination with masquerades, story advice from a 9-year-old girl, and a mad 48-hour writing frenzy. It’s kind of a funny story, how it came about, and one that I hope you will find entertaining.

I first found out about the Meryton Press Summer Lovin’ Anthology Contest when someone posted about it on Facebook, saying that there were only two weeks left until the deadline. I knew immediately that I 
wanted to enter, I mean, it was Meryton Press! I loved their books and their authors; it would be a dream come true to be published by them. But how on earth was I to write something in such a short time?

I mulled it over for a few days before settling on the idea of Darcy and Elizabeth at a masque, and then wrote a few pages before getting stuck. Very stuck. My masked Darcy and Elizabeth were talking, but their conversation wasn’t going anywhere. My strategy for getting through such problems is to talk to anyone and everyone I know, bouncing ideas off them. So this is what I did. Nothing came of it, though, until I outlined my problem to one of the children I babysit. Let’s call her E. E’s too young to read Sun-Kissed, but she has a surprisingly good grasp of story structure for her age. She made a couple of astute suggestions regarding POV and drawing out suspense, but her very best contribution was the question ‘Why don’t they kiss?’ It was one of those epiphany moments, because it got me thinking of all the reasons why Darcy and Elizabeth couldn’t kiss at the ball. The rest of the masque practically wrote itself.

I wrote pretty steadily after that. There wasn’t much time left before the deadline, but my story wasn’t very long (it’s the shortest in the anthology) and I was past the hardest part. Surely it would be smooth sailing from there?
Nope.

Four days from the deadline, I was hit by a horrible stomach bug that pretty much knocked me out for two days. Suddenly, I was out of time. I spent those last two days writing like mad. I wrote while cooking, while walking…I can hardly read my handwriting from those days now, since it was partially written in a tiny notebook that I carried around everywhere. I got it typed up and edited to the best of my ability and sent it in mere hours before the deadline. Weeks later, when I found out my story was actually going to make it into the anthology…The phrase ‘walking on sunshine’ comes to mind. It only got better from there; working with Christina, seeing my story next to such amazing authors – it’s a sort of magic. So that is how Midsummer Madness came into being; with a lot of help, a lot of work, and a LOT of coffee during those last couple of days. I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you for sharing & persisting Natalie! I am so happy you decided to enter and persevere even despite the hurdles. I enjoyed your "behind the scenes", it was not what I expected, it was honest, funny and real. It makes me appreciate the story more and thank you little "E" for your wonderful contribution to the creative process! Thank you again Natalie for stopping by!

Thank you Leatherbound Reviews & Meryton Press, for another Austen related blog tour!


Giveaway Time!!

Comment below for a chance to win a paperback copy of Sun-Kissed:Effusions of Summer! The Giveaway is open internationally!! The Winner will be announced on 2nd July 2015.
The winner can contact me via the 'contact me' tab, located at the top of the blog.

 Good luck Everyone!!!!


Bio

Natalie Richards is a blogger, singer and writer. She started her book review blog, Songs & Stories, in late 2010 after falling in love with Jane Austen fanfiction. Her writing can also be found on Figment, the Darcy & Lizzy Forum and in TeenInk magazine. Midsummer Madness is her first published short story. She resides with her family in the Oregon countryside and currently works as a professional babysitter.

You can find Natalie at the following Masquerades!



Blog Tour Schedule: 
6/15: Guest Post at Austenprose 
6/16: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club 
6/17: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
6/18: Excerpt & Giveaway at So Little Time… 
6/19: Guest Post & Giveaway at The Little Munchkin Reader
6/20: Excerpt & Giveaway at The Calico Critic 
6/21: Review at Margie's Must Reads
6/21: Guest Post at My Love for Jane Austen 
6/22: Guest Post & Giveaway at Best Sellers & Best Stellars 
6/23: Excerpt & Giveaway at Songs and Stories 
6/24: Review at Wings of Paper
6/25: Excerpt at Writer Wonderland
6/26: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice 
6/27: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
6/28: Author Feature & Giveaway at The Delighted Reader 

Fancy writing a short story yourself? Meryton Press will be releasing a holiday-romance-themed anthology late this fall. The short story contest for that volume is now open for submissions. Click here for further details: Official Rules.

As always I delight in hearing your thoughts!

29 comments:

  1. Wow, Natalie! Thank you for persevering through such difficulties. The result of your diligence is a tremendously charming little tale.

    Midsummer Madness is a story I’ll savour again and again, whenever I crave something sweet. I look forward to your next delectable offering and wonder what you’re cooking up next for us. Will you give us a hint?

    Tamara, thanks for featuring Natalie today and participating in the Sun-Kissed blog tour.

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    1. Thank you so much, Joanne! I am glad you enjoyed it. :) As for what I am cooking up next...I have about a quarter of a story I plan to submit for the holiday anthology contest, and I have three quarters of a novel-length P&P variation that I've been posting in the Darcy and Lizzy Forum. It would need a lot of work before it would be ready for publication, but...Maybe next year. :)

      Natalie R.

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    2. I totally agree! I could read it again and again and I probably will. I liked all of the stories, it's great when every story is good, rather than having an anthology containing stories you wouldn't read again. Thanks for your contribution Joanne. Good luck in the next competition Natalie 😃

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  2. Congrats Natalie on getting through the whole process - hopefully the process for the next story will be easier

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    1. Thanks, Vesper! So far it is easier, so fingers crossed!

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  3. I love hearing how stories were born. Great interview, Natalie - and thanks, Tamara for hosting the blog hop stop today :)

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    1. So do I! Thanks for visiting, Karen. :)

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    2. Me too Karen what a great story and to write it so quickly 😄. What a great anthology to be a part of, thank you for your contribution.

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  4. It's interesting to hear something about your writing process. Congratulations on getting the story published! I'm really looking forward to reading all stories, it's lovely to read stories from so many different authors.

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    1. Thanks! That's what I love about anthologies, too; it's such a wonderful way to try out authors you haven't read before and visit ones you already know you love. :)

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    2. You will really enjoy this anthology Arjanne. Considering when I first got into JAFF I thought a short story couldn't be as satisfying as a long novel. However JAFF has certainly proved me wrong and I agree Natalie a great way to showcase new and old authors alike. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  5. I am especially fond of these anthologies of
    stories from different authors and their unique points of view on all my favorite Jane Austen characters. It was interesting, too, to
    read about the process of creation. Thank you for the interview and the giveaway!

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    1. Seeing each author's perceptions of Jane Austen's characters is what keeps me coming back to JAFF; they're all so different and wonderful in their own ways! Thanks for visiting! :)

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    2. Indeed Natalie's story was interesting, how the story came to be and the difficulties encountered when trying to move forward in a story. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  6. Congrats Natalie! Isn't it great when our dreams come true? Loved the guest post! And thanks for the giveaway! ;)

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    1. Yes, it is. :) Thank you, Maria!

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    2. Hello Maria, yes wasn't it a great post always nice to have something new and original. Goodluck in the giveaway!

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  7. THAT is a great story--I had no idea! Hope "E" has at least seen your name in print. Too cool. And congratulations on your short story--hope to see more!

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    1. Aww, thanks, Christina! I couldn't have done it without you; your edits made Midsummer Madness at least 10 times better than before. E has seen my kindle copy, and I have promised her a signed hard copy when she turns 18. :)

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  8. Writer's block, a nine year old muse, a yucky illness, and a deadline. Quite the story, Natalie! I love your sweet story with that surprising twist.

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    1. Thank you, Sophia! I love your story as well; Persuasion is tied with P&P in my affections and you modernized it beautifully. :)

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    2. Yes Sophia your story really touched me, great job I really enjoyed it! Congrats to you both 😄

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  9. Thanks for featuring the debut published writer in the tour. It's nice to hear of a new talent discovered. Natalie, your hard work has definitely paid off. I would love to read this and other stories in the anthology. An extra bonus as it's a Darcy & Elizabeth story.

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    1. Indeed! Sharing such a tale was a lovely and interesting insight of the behind the scenes. Goodluck in the giveaway!

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    1. Glad you liked it Sheila, definitely one to recommend😄

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  11. Anthologies seem to be in right now and this is one terrific line up of stories. Good luck to all of you. Jen Red

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  12. I like to know how novels were born, because it makes me more curious in their reading.

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  13. Yay for anthologies! How can you ever get enough of JAFF stories, especially when they are bundled!

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Thank you! Your comments are always welcome