I’m happily engrossed in plotting out a new book, so when it came time to blog today, my creativity was channeled in a different direction.
Obviously now is the perfect time to let you in on a little The Swallow’s Nest fun that exists already, and offer an “extra” to some of you.
The Swallow’s Nest required a lot of research, although hopefully it doesn’t show. I live in Florida and the novel’s set in San Jose, California. At the time I conceived the story I had a son and daughter-in-law who lived near San Jose, and I spent time with them twice before they moved back to Virginia. So I’d been there and knew a bit. But guess what? Even though I’d once lived in the Bay Area, I didn’t know everything I needed to.
Especially the ins and outs of family law in California. Sigh.
I also created characters in professional fields I knew little about, among them Lilia, who is a home and lifestyle blogger. Then there were swallows. No, this is not a book about birding. I promise it’s not. But swallows play a part in the narrative, and the main character’s name is Lilia Swallow. (Most people with this last name come from a particular part of England. Ask me anything you need to know.)
For reasons I won’t go into, I wanted Lilia to have a different ethnic background than her husband, and because they lived in California, among other things, I decided to make her Hawaiian, with the interesting ethnic background of many people from our 50th state. So, of course I needed to know more about Hawaii than I already knew, something about Samoans in Hawaii as well as other groups who settled there.
Okay, I’m boring myself. Let’s just stop now and say I was on the internet and the phone for months. Luckily that time wasn’t wasted. I found so many fascinating things and used them.
How about recipes? Lilia learns to cook Hawaiian style from her mother. Here are recipes for some dishes that are mentioned in the book:
- Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken
- Coconut Rice
- South Shore Sangria (Lilia experiments with this in the very first scene.)
Lilia also shares lots of “how-tos” on her blog, not coincidentally named “The Swallow’s Nest.” Here are a few of her ideas and projects:
I had the fun of reading many home and lifestyle blogs. I worked my way through the following list of cottage blogs, finding favorites as I went:
Of course as I went, I pinned some of the most interesting and fun sites I came across. Here’s where to find them:
You may wonder why some of those pins are there? You’ll have to read the book when it arrives at bookstores mid-June and see if that helps answer your questions.
For fun, I have more “extras” to share. You’ll see from the illustration that I now have bookmarks for The Swallow’s Nest. (You’re looking at the front and the back.) I discovered that eight or nine fit in a regular size envelope, and the first twenty people who request a packet will receive them. Here’s the deal:
- You MUST have an address in the U.S. Even postage to Canada (not to mention customs documentation) is prohibitive for this giveaway.
- You MUST be willing to share your extra bookmarks with a book club, or a friendly library or bookstore who will enjoy giving them away.
I’ll have to trust your intentions, but I know you won’t let me down. To receive an envelope with bookmarks just email me here. The first twenty people who do will get bookmarks. But don’t despair if you’re not among the first group. I may do this again. And even again. Let’s just see.
Meantime, I hope you enjoyed this peek into The Swallow’s Nest. Be sure to check my book page (particularly inspiration) for more.