Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Drum roll.....

Our Fantastic Give Away Winner is Eva Minaskanian from the great state of Virginia!

Thanks to everyone who played and congratulations to Eva.

There's no more to read. Sorry.

Monday, June 29, 2009

This is the day that I am offering the big, ol', amazing prize in the Summer Treasure Hunt! So, here's the important info...

  • The Prize: A signed copy of the Sarah M. Eden book of your choice! Wait. That's so exciting I'm going to say it again. A signed copy of the Sarah M. Eden book of your choice! (Take a look around under the "Jonquil Brothers" tab and the "Historical Romances" tab)
  • The Trivia Question: Name all seven Jonquil brothers. (Guess what??? I'm going to make this Super-Duper easy: Philip, Layton, Corbin, Jason, Stanley, Harold and Charlie.)
  • How to enter: Send an email with your answer to the Trivia Question (see above) to jdipastena[at]yahoo[dot]com - please include your name, mailing address (so I can send the book to you) and the title of the book you would like to receive. That's it!!
  • The winner will be announced on Joyce diPastena's blog as well as right here at www.sarahmeden.com tomorrow, so check back and keep your fingers crossed.

Have fun and good luck!!

again, ignore this. Someday I'll figure it out-->

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I had an absolutely amazing conversation last night with someone who doesn't actually exist. He is the hero of my Work In Progress and a pretty complicated guy. Despite the fact that I created him, there are a lot of things about him that I just don't understand. So I sat down with him last night and we had a long talk.

I asked him about his life, his history, childhood memories, his goals. We talked about where he sees himself in five years, what he feels are his strengths and weaknesses. I asked him a great many very personal questions and flat out refused to answer any of the questions he asked me - though the questions he asked told me more about him than he probably realized.

Finally, I asked him the thing I have wondered about most as I have been attempting to tell his story... What is it he is really afraid of? The answer, quite frankly, surprised me.

As I desperately declared in the title of this post... I'm not crazy, I swear. I'm an author. We do this sort of thing.

As I once told an eighth-grader who asked me how I decide what to write... "I just write what the voices in my head tell me to write." Yep. That poor student thinks I'm crazy too.

Ignore this -->

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Captain Stanley Jonquil is the hero of my current work in progress. Being something of a stickler for accuracy in historical context, I have spent a great deal of time studying the history of the Peninsular Wars, known also as the Napoleonic Wars. Captain Jonquil has fought at the front lines as an officer with the Light Dragoons. He has seen and experienced the horrors of war but nothing could have prepared him for June 18, 1815.

Today, June 18th, marks the 194th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, which brought to an end more than 2 decades1 of constant warfare on the European Continent. Over 200,000 troops gathered1, facing one another across rain-drenched fields, on the heals of smaller battles at nearby Ligny and Quatre Bras, in what would become the final confrontation of the Napoleonic Wars.

Both sides were commanded by men who could easily be described as military geniuses.

* Napoleon Bonaparte led the French Grande Armée, having escaped exile and returned to France in March of 1815 and rallied his supporters once more to his side. He had, before his previous surrender, gained control of nearly all the Continent in the name of France and fully intended to reclaim what he had lost. He was an expert at combat strategy and a man of tremendous determination.2

* The Duke of Wellington led the Allied army with regiments consisting of British, Austrian, Russian, and Dutch soldiers, among other nationalities, in cooperation with the Prussian army3. He had perfected the art of staging a battle to give his troops the advantage of position and was a true leader of his men, placing himself personally on the battlefield so that he might make immediate and effective decisions.1

Until that wet June day, these two Generals had never met on the field of battle. While Wellington had led the Iberian Peninsular Campaign of 1808-1814 to drive the French occupation troops from Portugal and Spain, Napoleon had been on the eastern front of his own campaign, taking command of the countries he conquered along the way and attempting to seize control of Russia.

Throughout the morning of June 18, 1815, both armies waited as the battle drew nearer. The artillery moved their guns – cannons of varying sizes and power – into position. Troops assumed their formations. Both sides no doubt knew, simply by the shear number of gathered troops, that battle to come would be both epic and deadly.

It was a time of warfare fought hand-to-hand,
man-to-man with the added destruction of the massive artillery. Formations of infantrymen marched at each other, muskets and bayonets at the ready. Mounted cavalry troops charged at full gallop, sabres raised. The air filled quickly with the smoke of cannons firing into the skirmish1,2,3. Again and again the attacks were repeated.

Though the exact time of the battle's beginning that morning is uncertain, the call of retreat among the French troops was sounded around 8 pm, signaling that the 10-12 hours of battle were destined to end in a French defeat.1 Napoleon's vision was not to be achieved and the long held belief in French military indestructibility that had sustained his armies through their entire European campaign was shattered.

Wellington would later refer to the battle as “the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.”1

Sergeant-Major Cotton described the aftermath thus: “The field of battle, after the victory, presented a frightful and most distressing spectacle. It appeared as if the whole military world had been collected together, and that something beyond human strength and ingenuity had been employed to cause its destruction.”1

Ensign Gronow wrote the following: “I am to this day astonished that any of us remained alive.”1

The morning following that epic battle, over 40,000 dead and wounded men remained scattered where they had fallen, on a portion of the battlefield only a mile square3. Andrew Roberts wrote, “Nearly 71,000 men were killed or wounded in the battle of Waterloo and its immediate aftermath, to which horrific toll must be added 2,600 casualties in frontier clashes on 15 June, the 32,500 at Ligny, 8,800 at Quatre Bras, 400 on the retreat from Quatre Bras and 5,000 at Wavre – making a total of 120,300.”1

120,000 casualties over the course of a mere 72-hours, 70,000 of those in a single day of horrific warfare.

The devastation of that day was apparent to the Duke of Wellington, who later remarked, "Next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle won."1

No man who survived Waterloo would emerge unscathed. Beyond losses of limbs and other debilitating injuries, the survivors were known to suffer recurrent and sometimes lifelong nightmares.3 Many were unwilling or unable to speak of their experiences.3

Today, 194 years later, the accounts of that battle remind us of the terrible cost of war and the importance of peace.

1Roberts, Andrew. Waterloo: June 18, 1815 The Battle for Modern Europe. 2005

2Fuller, JFC. A Military History of the Western World, Volume II. 1955

3Keegan, John. The Illustrated Face of Battle. 1988
I can't get this to work, so just pretend it isn't there.-->


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Yep. Swine Cold. Swine Cold. How do I know that's what I quite recently suffered from? I'll tell you.

  • I invented the Swine Cold, so I'm very familiar with the symptoms.
  • Swine Flu is like regular flu only far more dramatic, right? Swine Cold is the exact same thing only with the common cold. Trust me, this cold was very dramatic!
  • I found myself suffering a temporary aversion to pork. Weird.
  • I am a Mom. Moms don't take sick days or slack off simply because they are almost dying from the very same ailment that the rest of their family was permitted to sleep off for days at a time. Moms push through. Moms keep going. Well, not this time. I got beat up big time by this one. I missed a writers' group meeting, didn't get work done on my WIP (work in progress) for several days in a row, the kids were in charge of every meal - which may be as much to blame for my loss of appetite as the illness, itself.
It was a long week and a half or so. I'm getting back to normal, but WAY behind on a lot of things. I hereby welcome myself back to the land of the living and order myself to get back to work.

PS - Don't forget: June 29th is my day in the Summer Giveaway! If you haven't already, there is still time to enter. The big, exciting prize??? An autographed copy of the Sarah M. Eden book of your choice! The trivia question is: "Name all 7 Jonquil Brothers" (check under the "Jonquil Brothers Series" tab). Email your answer to jdipastena@yahoo.com with the words "June Treasure Hunt, Day 29" in the subject line. Don't forget to include your name so we know who you are. Good luck!! (And check out the other prizes listed at the Summer Giveaway link. There are some pretty great giveaways!)

Ignore the "read more." I got nothing else.


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