Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Wealth and Privilege & Brains and Beauty by Jeanette Watts

"Author Watts writes a well-researched novel based on Pittsburg history around the late 1800s with complicated and relatable characters. While character driven, the plot engaged this reader into staying up too late at night. I would recommend Wealth and Privilege by Jeanette Watts to anyone who likes a complicated character driven story with a plot designed to keep the reader involved." - Goodreads, Roberta


Wealth & Privil
Boy meets girl, falls in love at first sight. Oops, she's already married. Bad planning. She becomes a friend and a muse, helps him find his voice. He knows that no one gets to capture their own muse, but he can dream, can't he...?

Money. Family. Love. Hate. Obsession. Duty. Politics. Religion - or the lack thereof. Sex -- or, once again, the lack thereof. Thomas Baldwin finds himself married to a woman he can't stand, while head-over heels in love with another woman he can't have. Talk about bad planning. He is something of a kite, buffeted by circumstances which blow him not only through personal crises, but also through some of the most significant events in Pittsburgh during the late 1800s, including the railroad riots of 1877, the creation of the Homestead Steel Works, the assassination of President Garfield, and the Johnstown Flood. Over time, and with the help of his muse, who dances maddeningly just beyond his reach, he takes control of his life, wresting it from the winds attempting to control him. A carefully-researched historical novel about life among the privileged class of Pittsburgh during the Industrial Revolution.

Brains & Beauty
Girl meets boy, falls in love at first sight. Kind of unfortunate for a married woman. He becomes her best friend, the only man in her life that she can really count on. She wishes there could be more to it. There can't be, but she can dream, can't she...?

The last thing a proper Victorian woman says - is what she's really thinking. Regina Waring seems to have it all: a loving husband, a successful business, and the most expensive wardrobe in town. But nothing is as it appears. Her husband is critical and demanding, the business teeters on ruin, even the opulent wardrobe is a clever illusion. Regina's life is a delicate high wire act; one misstep and she will plunge to her doom. Attempting to keep her equilibrium, she appeases the husband, dresses the part, and never, never says what she's really thinking. That would get in the way of getting things done. And if there's one thing Regina does really well, it is getting things done. Enter Thomas Baldwin: young and handsome and completely off limits. Regina is smitten at first sight. To her joy, and despite her caution, he becomes her safety net. Torn between her fascination with him and her desire not to ruin a marvelous friendship, she tries to enjoy each moment as it comes. If only that were enough. The eagerly demanded sequel to Wealth and Privilege is a carefully researched historical novel about life and love among the upper class of Pittsburgh.

Do's and Don'ts of Writing

1.) Do make writing a priority. It is so easy to let other distractions get the better of you. The phone. The laundry. The dishes. Email. Facebook. There is absolutely no end to the number of things which can take up our time. Problem is, the laundry gets done, but the writing doesn't. You can get your kids or husband to load the dishwasher or throw the laundry in the dryer. But only you can write your book.

2.) Don't forget your friends and family want to help you. I had been working on my novel for years and years (and years...) off and on. I loved my characters, I knew where I was going... but I could never seem to keep any momentum. A dear friend who is not a writer, didn't give any sage advice, or know any publishers ended up being the single most important factor in getting my book done. She faithfully called me every day, and asked me, "Have you worked on your book yet?" Having a "book conscience" made all the difference in the world. I think three days was my maximum tolerance of saying no...because then I had to answer her when she asked, "Why not?"

3.) Don't assume you can proofread and edit your own work. You can't. You've been living with this manuscript intimately for a long time. (Hopefully looking at it every day!) You simply aren't going to see every typo, every missed set of punctuation marks, every "teh" that was supposed to be "the." Get help. There are professional editors out there who will work freelance. If you don't have the money but you know other writers, offer to trade proofreading/editing services. I personally prefer to have at least six other pairs of eyes going over my manuscript. No one sees everything. Even the professionals! These days, I can't help but notice how many otherwise high-quality magazines will still have a typo sneak through. 

4.) Don't let your ego make bad decisions for you. I had a friend, we'll call him Tom, who heard that I'd published a book, and he asked me to proofread his novel for him. I started to... but every page was covered in missing punctuation, grammar mismatches, incomplete sentences. It was obviously a former screenplay he wanted to turn into a novel. "Cut to director and producer. Pan across audience" are not the words of a best selling author. But when I told him that his manuscript wasn't even ready to be proofread, much less ready for print, he got offended - and went to print with it. Good writing is about more than having a big ego.

5.) Don't lose patience. Writing is a craft. It is an art form. Beautiful things take time. Michelangelo's sculptures were not created in an afternoon. Neither were DaVinci's paintings. It took 182 years to build Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. You are going to put one word after another, then scribble them out, then write different words. Your characters are going to defy your wishes and expectations and outlines.

6.) Don't censor yourself. I got the most surprising advice from a college English professor. When someone in class told him I was having trouble saying what they wanted, he told us, "when your brain keeps stopping you, and you start second guessing yourself and you can't seem to get anywhere, that's your internal censor. Give him a shot and a beer and tell him to go to sleep for awhile." I couldn't believe our professor was telling his students to drink! Only in Wisconsin... But his real point was that, if you edit while you're writing, you'll never get anything written down. Spill all the words out onto the page, and then organize and delete and replace and supplement later. 

5.) Do keep calm and carry on. Expect a lot of rejection. Believe in yourself, and believe in your work, and the people who helped you craft your book into the best shape you could make it. In today's publishing environment, Dr. Seuss wouldn't be able to get a publisher, and would be striking out on his own.

6.) Don't expect everyone to love your book. You are going to get good reviews, you are going to get bad reviews, you are going to get middling reviews. Listen and learn from all of them. That is, unless you never plan on writing again.
About the author:
Jeanette Watts is a dance instructor and performer of many different kinds of dance, a costumer, a former television producer, and a big softie who can't learn to say no when people need help with their festivals. It makes it really difficult for her to get time to write.

Author's Giveaway


Richard Brandt said...

I'm intrigued by the vibrant historical setting.

Jan Lee said...

It reminds me of "olden" times back when my grandparents were teenagers.

Barb said...

I think what the Author wrote at the end of the exerpt intriques me most. I suppose the Cameo Necklace is pretty I couldn't find a picture of it.

Stephanie LaPlante said...

I'm intrigued by the 1800's setting.