Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dear Readers

My romance novel, Hemphill Towers, started as a joke between me and two online friends. We projected ourselves as career women, described a love interest, and I was to write a short humor story around our ideas. Well, the words just kept flowing, plot twists came in my dreams, and what started as fun between friends became a full-fledged novel.

One of my friends has Multiple Sclerosis. When I voiced concern over her condition, I was invited (and later adopted) into her MS chat group. When she mentioned the book, they wanted to read it too.  So, I sent it in installments, one per week. When writer’s block reared its ugly head and I wanted to give up, I’d get an email saying, ‘We’re waiting on our installment’.  It took three months to finish the first, very rough draft.  I’m grateful to that small group for letting me bounce ideas off them, and giving me the push I needed.

It took much longer to clean up the manuscript, fix spelling and punctuation, and then have trusted critique partners to check it all out. To actually see my book published by Muse in late summer 2013 will be awesome, to say the least.

I gave my three heroines their own story line, but kept them intertwined.  Stella Mason, Riley Saunders and Birdie Orwell are best friends and co-workers for an advertising agency owned by JB Edwards. Birdie is whisked away to faraway Italy by JB’s friend, winemaker Federico Martinique.  Stella has eyes only for her handsome boss, while Riley is pursued by a scheming, obsessed stalker. Her work with an art museum is a labor of love, but leaves her vulnerable to his watchful eyes. The friends are all drawn into Riley’s nightmare, but that’s what good friends are for. The handsome museum curator also vows to keep Riley safe.

My story switched back and forth between Hemphill Towers and Italy. A wine forgery that started in Italy made its way to the states and bridged a gap between them.    

Since this was my first novel, I had no idea how much research would be involved. I mentioned an advertising agency, wine, Italy, and an art museum in the above paragraph, and each of these required research. It was unbelievable how many different types of grapes were used to produce wine, and how many were grown in one specific area in Italy. But, Federico was well worth the research. Rich, handsome, romantic – and definitely, not a joke.

Bio: A lifelong resident of Illinois, I have four children, twelve grandchildren, and two great-grandsons. After losing my husband of forty-four years to lung cancer, I turned to my computer to save my sanity. It was only then that I started to write. One friend recommended a free online writing course called F2K. (Fiction for 2000). I took this course three times and then became a Mentor with my own classroom. We get writing students from all over the world, both beginners and published authors.

Leona Pence can be contacted at:
Hemphill Towers coming in 2013 MuseItUp


Anonymous said...

Hi Leona, that sounds like such a great story! I can't wait for it to come out. I admire your spirit in carrying on with your writing, after losing your husband. I'm sorry for your loss. I hope you have found some comfort in writing. Best of luck with your book!

RevolutionaryVJ said...

I never get tired of hearing how this book came to be. I think you are amazing and I can't wait for the release of your book!

May this be the first of many more to come!

Congrats to you for all of your hard work!

rinman said...

Leona, It is always so great to have a group of friends that encourage you!! Sounds like an awesome and exciting book!! Can't wait to read it!!

Heather Greenis said...

I feel your pride with a book coming out. An exciting time. Congrats for seeing your own potential. Sounds like a great read. - Heather G

Von said...

I think this is the most special "how my book came to be" story I've ever read. It makes me appreciate the power of friendship every time I hear it. The internet is a lifeline--a gift I never take for granted.

Leona~Author said...

Thank you Helena, VJ, Rhonda, Heather, and Von for your comments.

Yes, Helena, writing did help a lot after my husband died. He'd be so proud that I wrote a novel.

It was fun to write and when it's published...*sigh*...what a wonderful day that will be. Trust me, there will be a party.

Marsha said...

Hey, Leona. First I'm sorry for your loss. How wonderful that you found writing to help you move through the pain.
Second, I love the story line and the story of how the book came to be. I agree with Von. It may be the best I've ever heard. I share your excitement,Leona, of the first book release. I think we're just a month apart. We'll definitely celebrate. I look forward to reading your book.

Beth Overmyer said...


Congrats on your upcoming release! May it be the first of many.

Your book sounds interesting :) Some think research is a four-letter word. I enjoy research...sometimes.

Wishing you much success,

tbritz13 said...

Leona, this is a special story on how the muse works, even through friends, to get the story out there. I am so happy for you.

Janet said...

Hi Leona,

I love the story behind the story. :)

A labour of love and encouragement from family and friends.

Next, we'll want a sequel!

Lots of love, Janet

Jane Richardson said...

That's a great story! You had some amazing motivation to carry on. I'll look forward to your book, I love the idea of the three girls' stories, and I also love Italy. (And Italian wine!)
all the very best,

Jane x

Leona~Author said...

Thank you, Marsha, Beth,Tom,Janet. and Jane. I'm thrilled that you stopped by to read my post.

Yes, the motivation from the group kept me going. And all their biased praise helped too. With each installment I sent, I sat back and enjoyed their comments.

Marsha, I look forward to reading your book also.

Kevin said...
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Kevin said...
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Leslie said...

This post moved me, Leo. The life you have, courage and creativity, maintaining sanity. In my own way I can relate to your personal story and so I read it on multiple levels. I agree with every comment here... and most directly with Von's and Tom's. I'm just plain thrilled for you. There's so much I want to say, but roll all of these comments up, and it's already been said. With love and candor. It's a great genesis of a tale. I'm glad those words and plot twists kept on coming, and you continued to catch them from the breeze.

Postscript: I love your interviewee writer's voice too!

Meradeth Houston said...

Sounds like a great story, and I love the different story lines! Looking forward to reading it!

Leona~Author said...
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Leona~Author said...

Thank you, Leslie and Meradeth, for stopping by.

Les, you've always been a great cheerleader for me. I'm proud to call you my friend.