Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Five-Star Review of Leaving Lukens From "Readers Favorite"

I am honored once again with another five-star review. I love reading comments such as these--so gratifying to see my books touch readers in this way. Leaving Lukens  is a story I just had to share, and I'm so glad I did. Just wait to see what I have in store for you next, dear readers!
Book Review
Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite

Laura S. Wharton has created in "Leaving Lukens" a delightful romantic thriller of the World War II era. Set on the island of Lukens, which is near New Bern on the Carolina mainlands, "Leaving Lukens" is more than a story of the islanders leaving their homes for the mainland where school age children will be educated. It is about how close the horrors of World War II, Nazi submarines and Nazi naval warriors, came to our coastlines, threatening life in small seaside villages like New Bern, Oriental and the island of Lukens. The story's main character is 17 year old Ella Marie Hutchins, who is moving with her mother Louise to the mainland and the home of her mother's fiance. We read about Ella's romance with local Jarrett Migette fizzles, especially when Ella is rescued from invasive Nazis by mysterious stranger Griff who is posing as a local family's nephew. Actually, Griff is a Navy officer working undercover but he shares his love of diving to investigate old ship wrecks with Ella. Will Ella find a lasting future with Griff or will the winds of war separate them?

"Leaving Lukens" is a highly well-written and well-edited story of World War II that brings home to the post-war generations how our country's coastlines were touched by the awfulness of war. Characters such as Ella, Griff, Jessica and Jack, Ella's mother and grandmother are totally believable and in keeping with those long ago times. Ella and Griff's attraction to each other is beautifully portrayed and obeys the social mores of those years of the early 1940s. The plot flows to the ending which will more than satisfy the reader. Laura Wharton is an author to follow. Put "Leaving Lukens" on reading lists everywhere.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Story idea brewing...time to reef the main a bit

I love dilemmas. Well, good ones like the one I'm facing. I'm "behind" schedule on the writing of two children's books (The Mermaid's Tale, the second in the Mystery at the Lake House Series -- I've written the first chapter and outlined a good bit of the book, and know the ending; and Jock Avery's first book ... he's a downgraded version of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider, and features a bit of mystery, action, and a touch of history).

Blame it on summer approaching, wanderlust rearing its fantastic head, or a change of schedules with the end of school.

Or I could just be honest and say I had another fantastic idea for a novel after reading an article. And this idea just won't sit still until I start developing it. The characters are starting to talk to me, too. Do you have any idea what it's like to have characters beg to be developed? If you've ever had that weird buzzing in your ear when dehydrated, that's what it's like. Only much, much louder.

That's what happened with the idea for Leaving Lukens. It was the same for The Pirate's Bastard. Now I'm facing the dilemma of getting through the children's works, or diving in to the adult fiction that is wooing me from the sidelines like some heart-throb lacrosse player does to a cheerleader while she's on the field during halftime. (Just for the record, I was the lacrosse player. It was an all-girls school. And there were no male cheerleaders. The imagery is tantalizing, though.)

True, if I focused, I could finish the two children's stories in record time if I had a challenge. I do so much better with deadlines (self-inflicted or otherwise). So, since it's got to be imposed by me, I'm going to set my deadline for The Mermaid's Tale for the end of June. Of this year. Regardless of what comes up next. The Jock Avery story ... that could be done as early as August, right before school begins. Sure. That's doable. Right?

Before I scratch the deadlines in stone (or fill up the slots on my calendar as I usually do), I do feel compelled to at least jot down my "next" story idea in rough outline form. And it's going to be awesome. It's an adult story, and it's going to be a twisting turning ride just like Leaving Lukens is ... just you wait. I'll keep you posted on the progress, as soon as I know it. Time to batten down the hatches and reef the main sail. It's going to be a stormy summer.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Upcoming book festivals

I'm getting things ready for this weekend's Blue Ridge BookFest! It's going to be held in Hendersonville/Flat Rock area at the Blue Ridge Community College, and if you're in the area, I hope you'll stop by to visit my table at this free event. There are guest speakers on Friday night, and the vendors' part (that's where we set up our tables) will be on Saturday from 8ish to 3ish. 

For those of you in the Triad area of N.C., come on up to Mount Airy on June 16 for the town's first-ever book fair. Lots of regional authors will be there, too. Our booth fees go to support the Friends of the Library. It's for a good cause, and the library is a really cool space. Please tell your friends about these free events. With budget cuts to local libraries, it's truly important for all of us who enjoy reading to help in whatever ways we can. I love libraries -- they are great places for books, of course, but libraries also offer special programs like travel talks and summer camps and reading programs for children, and plays for all ages, and I could go on and on .... please support your local library!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Makeover Artist: The Pirate's Bastard's Amazing Cover Designer, Sonia Crouse

I'm getting excited! Remember I told you my first book was getting a much-needed makeover? Well, it's about ready.

The new cover of The Pirate's Bastard second edition is fabulous! It includes a few of the outstanding five-star reviews the book has received so far, plus a lovely bit of art telling potential readers that the book was nominated for a Sir Walter Raleigh Award for fiction, a pretty big deal for historical fiction writers.

The cover designer, Sonia Crouse, is a wiz when it comes to creating covers (she's done my last three book covers). Her background is mixed media, and she's an incredibly talented artist and crafter. She's also a photographer, and ... I could go on about Sonia. She's from Malta, and I'm so thankful to have met her here in North Carolina (though she's about to head home to her island in a few weeks for an extended vacation. I offered to carry her bags ....). Sonia is also the publisher of a romance-inspired magazine called, Creating Vintage Charm. If you've not heard of it yet, you will soon!

The interior was designed by Shiloh Schroeder of Fusion Creative Works and I can't tell you how much of a difference her skills made in the overall look and readability of the book! It looks fantastic, from cover to cover. (The book also received a serious editing, which it needed.) I can't wait to share the book!

The second edition of The Pirate's Bastard will be out very soon. I'll share the cover and the links then!