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You don't have to 'know people' to become an author.

When I hear the phrase 'know people', I think about lawyers, people with high-standing in society, the insurance companies, or the police. You know, the whole mob lingo involving 'my people calling your people'. It may sound ridiculous, but I actually used to think in order to do anything so awesome as become a writer is that you have to know other writers. Or at least know an editor from a large publisher. The biggest lesson I learned in my writing solitude was that you don't need anybody in your field but yourself.

Like the cartoon states, your people ARE my people. We share in this journey together. As I've said before, no one should look at this as an opportunity to say we are better than anyone else. You are the only one who could make your dreams come true. Not the 1,000 best-selling author friends you have on Facebook. Success depends on your state of mind and your goals in life. Sometimes it depends on help from those around you. But never solely on WHO you know.

No one can write like you do. You are unique.

Of course, always take work for what it really is...if you are serious about your career, always seek knowledge to improve your craft and write every day. This will make you stand out among the rest.

"Be different, stand out, and work your butt off." 
~Reba McEntire

After all, without dedicated readers and support from friends/family, it's much harder to find success in what you love doing. These ARE your people. Cherish them.

Who do you have on your side? Who has helped you the most in your career? Family member, friend, fellow author? Tell us who makes you shine in a comment below! :)

Happy writing!
-Diva J.

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The Giveaway Hop Results Are In!!!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Giveaway Hop and who left a comment on my blog. I loved your ideas for drinks! 

Leslie R. Wright!!!!!!

Congratulations! You've just won a free e book (pdf) copy of To Love An Irishman.
If you left an email address, check your inbox soon! If not, then please comment with your email so you can receive your prize.

Happy writing!

-Diva J.

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Drinking and Winning Giveaway Hop!!!

drinking and winning giveaway hop

The Pre- Party Giveaway Hop is being hosted by Reading Romances as a preparation for their blogiversary party on March 29!

Me drinking a Guinness.
To Love An Irishman is the kind of book you'd read while sipping a nice cold (or warm) pint of lager or ale. Whether you prefer the warm taste of Guinness or the sweet taste of Yuengling. No matter what you choose, you'd be in a most relaxing state after at least two, three, or four!

Here is an excerpt of the book:
Aveline couldn’t tear her eyes away. The man was gorgeous—and most unfriendly...
One of the men stood out from the others. His clothing was obviously expensive, despite its poor condition. Aveline stood quietly and observed him through the crack of the door, wondering who he was.
He discarded his brown swallowtail coat and threw it over the stall wall, leaving only a green cotton waistcoat and a worn, white linen shirt covering his upper torso. The shirt hung open, exposing the man’s broad chest, dusted with dark hair. The waistcoat, also unbuttoned, trailed down toward brown corduroy trousers that fit snugly around his muscled thighs. His clothes were unmarked by patches, though stains from dirt surrounded both knees. He wore brown stockings with black leather brogues.
She wanted to stand in the doorway and watch him sing for the rest of the day. His voice was wonderful and its warm tone washed through her. But she knew the longer she remained the more likely it was she’d be seen. As an eavesdropper, she had seen and learned more information than her father would ever have allowed. That is why she loved doing it.
The time grew late and she decided to leave. She’d introduce herself when she wouldn’t be an interruption. Her success on the farm revolved around their good opinion of her. Easing away, she stumbled and grabbed a hold of the door, causing it to creak. Suddenly, the Irishman looked directly at her. The grin she’d seen on his face just moments before turned to a scowl.
She did not stick around to see what he did next, but ran in the direction of the farmhouse. He caught her arm in three quick strides, grabbed her wrist, and spoke to her in Gaelic as she turned around, gasping for breath. His language was beautiful. She just wished she understood what he was trying to say.
Please feel free to contact me on my website: www.divajefferson.com.

What you can win here: An e book copy of To Love An Irishman!
Number of winners: 1
Open to: Everyone!
How to enter: Just leave a comment below naming YOUR favorite drink and be sure to include your email address!
Hop and enter the other giveaways!

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And the winner is...

Saint Patrick's Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century, and has gradually become a celebration of Irish culture in general. The day is generally characterized by the attendance of church services, wearing of green attire, public parades and processions, and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on eating, and drinking alcoholwhich is often proscribed during the rest of the season
Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Today, St. Patrick's Day is probably the most widely celebrated saint's day in the world.

Originally, the color associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the color green and its association with Saint Patrick's day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. 

Okay, enough of this blathering! Here is the answer...

Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. Interestingly, however, the first parade held to honor St. Patrick's Day took place not in Ireland but in the United States. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army. 
(Information about St. Paddy's Day was collected from wikipedia.com and history.com.)

As you can tell, this is a trick question. Although, people have been 'observing' the feast day as a religious holiday for many years, they did not actually 'celebrate' it until the 18th century. :P

Paisley Kirkpatrick!!!! 

Please comment below with your email address, so I could send you your prize.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this event and to everyone who has supported me through buying To Love An Irishman. For another chance to win a free copy of my book, please check back this Saturday during the Giveaway Hop.

Happy Writing!
-Diva J. 

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"To Love An Irishman" Book Release Giveaway Party!!!

Blog Tour, Day #1: 
Happy St. Paddy's Day!!!

Irish Cabbage and Bacon Soup

Things You'll Need:

  • Large Skillet
  • Sauce Pot (optional)
  • 1 Head Green Cabbage
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 1/2 lb. Thick Cut Bacon/ Canadian Bacon
  • 2-3 White Potatoes
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock (your choice)
  • Sharp Knife
  • Cutting Board


  • Remove core from the green cabbage and coarsely chop the remaining cabbage leaves.

  • Finely dice the onion.

    • Chop potatoes into 1/2" cubes.

    • Use a separate cutting board to roughly cut the bacon into 1/2" pieces.

    Cooking Instructions:
    Step 1: Melt butter in the sauce pan set on medium heat. Add onion and bacon. Saute for 8-10 minutes until onions become translucent and bacon begins to crisp.

    Step 2: Add chopped cabbage and potatoes. Continue to saute for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Step 3: Pour in vegetable stock. If necessary, transfer ingredients to a larger stock pot if saute pan is not large enough. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are tender.

    Step 4: Season with salt and pepper as desired.

    Step 5: Serve.

    Of course, everyone's tastes vary. You might find adding chicken stock instead of vegetable stock tastes richer. I prefer Canadian bacon instead, due to the lower fat content. If you try the recipe out, please feel free to tell me all about it!

    Where was the first St. Patty's Day celebration held?
    Now it's GIVEAWAY time! Win a free e-book copy of To Love An Irishman when you comment below with your answer to the question. (Don't worry, all comments will qualify for the contest. The question is just for fun.) Winners will be posted on Wednesday, the 21st, along with the correct answer.

    Thank you so much for sharing in this special moment with me!!!
    Next stop today is Ravencraft's Romance Realm. See you there. :)

    Don't forget to join me tomorrow for Blog Tour, Day #2 on Happily Ever After Thoughts.

    Happy writing,
    Diva J. :)

    Purchase To Love An Irishman from Black Opal Books today!

    Also available at:
    Amazon - Kindle
    B&N - Paperback/Nook

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    The Lonesome Boatman

    Hello, readers! This will be my last Friday post for two weeks. In the mean time, be sure to check back during my book release party and my blog tour for more information about where I will be at next.

    For the past two weeks, I have barely been able to do anything but answer interview questions and write blog articles for my tour. I have two works in progress that hardly get a couple hundred words a day put into them.

    Sometimes I discover the greatest ideas while brainstorming what to write though. Sometimes I just can't believe where I am today. It all feels like a dream. A menagerie of what could really be happening. Once again, I am inspired by an Irish song. Like the lonesome boatman, endless possibilities surround me. Yes, I could dwell hopelessly on the sea, wondering what could be, but I choose to see the brighter side. Just because you are alone in the marketing/promotion of your books doesn't mean it's the end of the world.

    Today, publishers give you very limited options on book promotion, but it's up to you to market your work. This is why authors host their own blog tours, subscribe to similar blogs, actively contribute to social networking sites, create a Pinterest account, etc. It takes many hours to get the word out there, and it's not easy sometimes, but it's worth it. If you feel the same way I do, and wish to reach as many people as possible to share your hard work with the world (or your message), then the time you spend will not be in vain. I want you to have something to be proud of.

    What do you believe is your single most useful marketing tool?
    Mine is Facebook. Please share your answers in a comment below.

    Good luck in all your future writing and promotion endeavors! Thank you for reading.

    Happy writing,
    Diva J.

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    Exits and Entrances

    As I countdown to the release of To Love An Irishman on March 17th, I reflect on my past rejections. One in particular comes to mind from Harlequin. Believe it or not, that was the first place I queried my first novel. They helped me without realizing it.

    Well, like anyone who has achieved success despite their failures, I only aimed to the sky and fell among the stars. Believe me, it sounded better than it came out. When I sent the well-researched query letter, a synopsis, and a partial for The Phantom of Fonthill Abbey to the big name publisher, I felt confidence seeping through my being. I knew that if I didn't try as hard as I can the first time around, then if there was another time, it wouldn't be as rewarding.

    Needless to say, they rejected the story saying "Although the plot sounded promising from the synopsis, the story itself was rather slow to get going." I agreed that I am a very descriptive person, and I use detail like mist around my characters. After all, my new brand is 'Beautiful landscapes, passionate love, and regrets of the past.' I absolutely have to live up to it, right?

    They mentioned my heroine, Elizabeth, "was a little hard to engage with because she seemed so very young and naive." I loved a woman going into a situation without knowledge of how her actions could affect her world. Now my heroines are too smart for their own good. In which, I love completely!

    Then they included 4 tips "to bear in mind for your next submission":
    1) Ensure that your story and conflict are character-driven.
    2) Focus on the internal emotional conflict of your characters.
    3) Use secondary characters to add richness and depth to your central romance but don't let them take over!
    4) Read current books from the Historical Romance series as these provide the best guide to what our readers want.

    The final words. "As a whole, we don't suggest that you attempt to revise this story. We would advise that you start again on a new story, bearing in mind the points made above."

    To tell the truth, not all rejections are bad. Some offer great advice like mine and others will actually empower you to succeed even more. I didn't revise this story, instead I wrote another and another....

    Do you have any rejection stories to share? Feel free to tell us in a comment below.

    Happy writing!
    -Diva J.

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