Friday, June 27, 2008

Drawing winner and other news…

I’m on my way out of the house to attend a musical production of “1856: The Musical”, but before I go, I have a winner to announce!

The grand prize winner of my Loyalty’s Web: The Adventure Continues drawing, for a framed print of Edmund Blair Leighton’s “The Accolade”, is…(I think this one requires a drumroll, please)…Crystal Gracia of California!!! Congratulations, Crystal. I hope you have a prime spot picked out to hang this beauty in! It, too, will be on its way to you as soon as I can pop it into the mail this week.

Two items of news before I dash off…

I have a new poll posted on my medieval research with joyce blog. Check it out on the right side of the page, and vote for your favorite medieval king!

Now, I know I ordinarily have a new drawing waiting in the wings as soon as I finish the last one, but I will be changing website servers this next week, and there may be a brief (I hope it’s brief!) black out period while I transfer my domain name over. As soon as I get the new site online, I’ll celebrate with a new drawing, and I’ll send you all a notice so none of you miss out.

Have a happy Saturday, everyone! (The date stamp says Friday, but it's really Saturday!)

Monday, June 23, 2008

June 23, 2008

Final reminder: This Friday (June 27th) is the deadline for entering my website “Loyalty’s Web: The Adventure Continues” drawing, for a print of the Pre-Raphaelite painting, The Accolade. The winner will be announced on Saturday, so if you haven’t entered yet, time is running out!

Rebekah Elrod of Colorado was last Saturday’s winner of my medieval research with joyce drawing. Rebekah won a chapbook on A History of Feasting in the Middle Ages, With 25 Authentic Recipes. Congratulations, Rebekah!

Today, I posted a new essay on the ANWA Founder & Friends blog, about one of my favorite childhood poems, by Louise Townsend Nicholl:

God and the Fairies, be true, be true!
I am the child who waits for you…

(Does anyone else remember the little book of poetry, Silver Pennies?)

One last bit of news: I now know the name of the artist who is working on my new cover art for Loyalty’s Web. Her name is Casey Nelson, and she works for Disney. She has a blogsite showcasing some of her artwork, if you’d like to take a look: Casey Nelson's Stuff.

Okay, that’s it for this news update. I’ll be back on Saturday with “winning news” for someone!

Friday, June 20, 2008

More on Joyce's Summer Book Trek 2008: Book Reviews Link

I'm not the only one Summer Book Trekking along for the summer. Click on this link to read reviews by other Summer Book Trekkers!

LDS Fiction: Summer Book Trek 2008: Book Reviews

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Review of The Arthurian Omen, by G.G. Vandagriff

My review of The Arthurian Omen for my Summer Book Trek 2008 Challenge:

From the back book cover of The Arthurian Omen:

Is the story of King Arthur history or myth? A Celtic scholar is brutally murdered wh she finds a clue to a priceless fifth-century manuscript that could prove the identity of King Arthur. Determined to find the ancient relic and avenge her sister's death, Maren Southcott begins a quest that immediately puts her own life in danger.

In the tradition of Mary Higgins Clark, The Arthurian Omen weaves a tale of mystery and suspense as pursuit of the manuscript winds through the medieval castles and monasteries of Wales. Stalked by a psychopath with delusions of a Welsh revolution, Maren is shaken to the core when a new crisis threatens to destroy the one person she loves most.

Can she find the manuscript before the murderer strikes again? Or is the manuscript--and the legend--better left buried in the past?

In spite of what I felt were a few glitches in plot, I found The Arthurian Omen curiously hard to put down. In fact, I was up till 1:30 AM riding the rollercoaster ending all the way to…well, the end.

As a medieval history buff who usually finds myself firmly on the side of the English, I enjoyed the mental stretch in exploring the “Welsh side” of events that took place during the 15th Century reign of King Henry V and his campaigns against Prince Owain Glyndwr in Wales. This proved the historical focus for the 21st Century characters, as much, if not more, than the actual saga of King Arthur. I thought the research was very well done, and the author is obviously very familiar with the history and terrain of Wales.

Plotwise, I only had a couple of quibbles. The chief inspector from Scotland Yard who is supposed to be protecting the heroine from a would-be murderer, inexplicably leaves her alone in the company of his two main suspects while he wanders off at one point to investigate another thread of the plot. Later, the heroine, who has previously had a very narrow escape from being strangled in her hotel room, decides to go for a midnight run all alone in the middle of Wales and…yes…has yet another frighteningly close brush with, this time, a gun toting thug. This incident in particular made it very hard for me to reconcile her with the highly intelligent professional attorney she supposedly was.

While I had some trouble with the heroine, I found the men of the story quite engaging, with the exception of the heroine’s slimy second husband, whom I was obviously expected to loathe, and did.

As a mystery, I had great fun trying to figure out who was guilty of which crimes as I wove my way through the book. Some of my guesses proved to be correct, though the red herrings were quite sufficient to make me grin with glee when my suspicions were confirmed. And to the author’s credit, when the identity of the modern “Owain Glyndwr” was revealed, my jaw dropped and I actually exclaimed out loud, “I never saw that coming!”

The suspense was so high at that point, that I literally could not put the book down until I’d read my way clear through the concluding epilogue.

However, in retrospect a day after finishing the book, one more quibble arose in my mind. The author accounted for all the possible suspects’ relationships to the heroine’s murdered sister, except for the man who was actually guilty of murdering her. Or did I merely miss it? If there are any other readers of The Arthurian Omen out there, please let me know…did the author slip up, or did my memory go faulty on me?

Would I recommend this book? Definitely! Despite the quibbles listed here, The Arthurian Omen is an engaging, fast moving mystery that will keep you reading into the wee hours of the night.

G.G. Vandagriff's website:

Sunday, June 8, 2008

What Is Joyce Up To This Summer?

What am I up to this summer?

I’m going on a Summer Book Trek! My goal is to read one or more books by an LDS author by August 31. Since I have a few more than that currently sitting on my TBR shelf, I’ve decided to avail myself of this challenge to read-read-read, so hopefully I can make room for some brand new books.

Simply put, the rules are:

Make a list of the books you want to read this summer and post them on your blog. (This is where I’m posting my list.)

After you finish a book, write a review on your blog and link it to the Summer Book Trek 2008 on the LDS Fiction blog.

So, in keeping with the rules, I do hereby proclaim myself committed to reading the following volumes by August 31:

The Arthurian Omen, by G.G. Vandagriff
Dante’s Daughter, by Kimberley Heuston
The Great and the Terrible: The Second Sun, by Chris Stewart

Okay, what can I say, I’m a slow reader. I’ll be doing good to crank out a book a month this summer. (After all, I have to leave time for writing, too!)

If you’re LDS (or even if you’re not) and would like to take part in this challenge, go to LDS Fiction to find out how to sign up. (Note: there are prizes involved for participating!)

If you’re not LDS (or even if you are) and are not interested in reading LDS books--though they only have to be written by LDS authors, they don't actually have to be LDS-themed--then I’d like to encourage you (if you need encouragement, which I already know many of you do not!) to find another summer reading challenge to join, or just make up a challenge of your own. The important thing is, let’s all make this a summer of reading, shall we?

LDS Fiction: Summer Book Trek 2008: Ready...Set...Read! (Sign Up Here)


If you're new to this site, be sure to check out my previous post for information about my latest website drawing!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

June 6, 2008


Okay, now that May is over with, it's time for a new website drawing! Since artists are currently working on designing a new cover for my book, and since I sent them tons of information about medieval clothing to help them in their task, I thought a fun prize would be a beautiful copy of the Pre-Raphaelite “medieval-esque” painting, “The Accolade” by Edmund Blair Leighton. This will be an 11 X 14 inch fully framed print.

If you’d like a chance to win this prize, you must go to my website and send me the name of my new publisher. Send the publishing company’s name, along with your mailing address, to, and type “Loyalty’s Web: the Adventure Continues!” in the subject line.

Deadline to enter: June 27th.


I’m also running a medieval research drawing on my blogsite, medieval research with joyce for a 17-page chapbook entitled, A History of Feasting in the Middle Ages, With 25 Authentic Recipes. If you’re interested in medieval research and would like a chance to win this booklet, check out my blog, “Let’s Have Another Drawing!

You can also check out my most recent post on ANWA’s Founder and Friends and read my blog about why I didn’t have time to blog on Memorial Day.