Spring is one of my favorite seasons and one I enjoy it pretty much wherever I am—whether here in my hometown of Richmond, in Alexandria while I lived there or when visiting the that city on one of my “coincidentally scheduled for April” research trips to Old Town.
I invite you to celebrate the arrival of spring with me with a giveaway. The winner will receive a copy of my latest Alexandria novel, THE VIEW FROM PRINCE STREET. I hope you’ll enter and enjoy the book, which Kirkus Reviews calls a “complex tale . . . grounded in fascinating history and emotional turmoil that is intense yet subtle. An intelligent, heartwarming exploration of the powers of forgiveness, compassion, and new beginnings.”
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Did you miss Mary Ellen’s first Alexandria novel? Or do you have a friend who needs to catch up? Enter now and be welcomed to the city’s past and present, stroll around Old Town, meet the family behind the Shire Architectural Salvage Company and catch up with The Union Street Bakery‘s McCrae Family. This St. Valentine’s Day giveaway ends midnight on Monday, February 15th.
“Readers will be totally mesmerized by this beautifully written book, AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET by brilliant writer Mary Ellen Taylor.” Single Titles
a Rafflecopter giveaway
As promised, here’s the recipe for “Margaret’s Favorite Brownies with Raspberry Sauce” shared earlier this week on WTVT-TV’s Virginia this Morning. It was great fun talking with host Cheryl Miller about THE VIEW FROM PRINCE STREET but possibly even more fun mixing it up in the kitchen with her.
Anyway, here’s the segment. If you try the recipe, please let me know how it turns out and if you like it.
I’m excited to share the cover and news of my new Alexandria novel, THE VIEW FROM PRINCE STREET, on sale January 5th and available now for pre-orders. I hope you’re looking forward to returning to Old Town with me as I introduce Rae McDonald and Lisa Smythe, whose shared history—the loss of a beloved sister and friend—is not only much more complicated than they imagine, it hearkens back to the 1700s and the lives of AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET‘s Faith Shire and Patience McDonald.
Did you miss AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET? Or do you have a friend who needs to catch up? Either way, you’re invited to enter below for a chance to win a copy and to join earlier readers who have been welcomed to the city’s past and present, strolled around Old Town, been introduced to the family behind the Shire Architectural Salvage Company and gotten caught up on the latest news about THE UNION STREET BAKERY‘s McCrae family.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Had a great time today heading over to channel 6/WTVR-TV’s a.m. show, Virginia This Morning here in Richmond. Always a pleasure to visit and share my latest news with host Cheryl Miller (right) and the audience.
I talked about Alexandria’s Old Town, it’s colonial past, my new characters, my fictional Union Street Bakery and, of course. At the Corner of King Street. And guess what? Today I baked! Here’s the segment.
When I need a creative outlet away from the computer I often turn to baking. It is a great way for me to let my right brain percolate and to allow the plot twists to work themselves out. The downside to this approach is that I end up with too many cookies to tempt and a kitchen that is a wreck. So I decided this time instead of reaching for the pots and pans, I’d sign up for an art class. I know nothing about art so I selected a mixed media class ‘open to all levels.’
The instant I received the supply list from the instructor, I knew I was out of my element. It took three craft stores, several hours and lots of questions before I’d assembled the basic supplies. I didn’t like not knowing what I was doing. I missed my cooking classes where I felt at home with the equipment, terms and techniques. But I reminded myself that this was about creativity and sometimes being creative means trying the unfamiliar.
So what did I learn?
Sketch Book. I didn’t realize how much artists preplan what they are going to create. Many keep a sketchbook that they hold close at hand. That book is where they can experiment and try different ideas without worrying about review or criticism. Reminded me a lot of the notebook (or scraps of paper) I carry around when a story is brewing. I am forever making notes, crossing out ideas, and most often reworking the concepts for greater depth and meaning. And just as our art teacher would not share her sketchbook with us, I would never share my notes and scribblings even after the book is finished.
Exercises. We started off class with a few art exercises. Kind of like warm up for the primary piece we would work on in the afternoon. This was our time to not only get used to the paints and papers but to figure out what appealed to us. These exercises were all about discovery. What colors did I like? What shapes resonated? Did I prefer pastels to ink? Reminded me a lot of free writing…those pages I write in the morning before tackling the day’s work. Free writing is my chance to experiment, to discover. Instead of paints and charcoals I’m dabbling with point of view, setting, character motivations, or literary devices, but the concept is exactly the same.
Failing. When I started writing years ago, I expected the words to flow perfectly. Of course they did not. And it wasn’t surprising that my first attempts in art class were dismal. I didn’t have the right paper, broke two sponge brushes in the first five minutes, and got paint in my hair. But with a little borrowed paper, more brushes and a promise to wash my hair, I kept working. After a while I got more and more comfortable with the techniques and images. Now I didn’t produce world-class art but I did get better over the course of the class. I was reminded of something I often say to would-be writers all the time when our art teacher said, “Failings are lessons.” You can’t let failures stop you.
The day ended up being great fun. I not only came away with a few pieces of art and the desire to try again, but with a few more plot twists and turns for the latest book.