October 2019 Newsletter

What’s New?

If you’ve been following along on my Facebook  page, you know that I’m currently in the “cutting” part of writing Masque of Honor. When every word has been carefully vetted, it is a pretty painful process to decide which fruit of your labor will not make it into the bassinet. I know the reasons why it has to be so, but it still doesn’t make the process any easier from my parental and partisan point of view. Its nerve-wracking.

I have cut over 18,000 words from the manuscript so far. SO. FAR. I’d been warned about this, but in this regard it IS a little bit like giving birth. If you’ve done it once, you know how painful it can be. And yet, often you choose to do it again. Because your selective memory allows you to remember only the good, not when you wanted to cry from pain and frustration and sometimes even rage.

I have had the good fortune to have several opportunities to share snippets of Masque with others recently, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly favorable.  This has brought me relief as well as tremendous joy, much like you feel when you’ve brought a child into the world. So as many other parents have done, and many who have birthed works of art or music or poetry, we continue on, because we know that in the end, the reward is always worth the risk. 

Writing a book is in and of itself a solitary business, but once you lift your head up from the manuscript you realize you have the collaboration, sometimes purposeful, other times inadvertent of others who want your ‘baby” to be born happy and healthy too. My team meets again soon for another strategy session, and plans are taking shape. Excited for the birthday! 


My Heart is Full

I recently had the honor of attending a very special ceremony presided by His Majesty King Toffa IX of Porto Novo, Benin at Belmont Plantation Burial Grounds for the Enslaved (Additional pictures can be found on my Facebook page).  I wanted to share the words that spoke during the commemoration, though it is almost impossible to convey how much emotion blanketed that day. 


Holiday Sneak Peek Masque Reading at Selma

Have you entered our “Holiday Sneak Peek of Masque of Honor” contest at Selma? I would love to host you for the evening, read a bit of Masque of Honor, and show you Selma dressed up for Christmas on December 14. Enter today! We hope to see you at Selma this holiday season! 


Finding a Sense of Place

When I’m creating a scene in my novels, I find old photographs of the scene’s location extremely helpful in establishing a sense of life in that place during that time. The photos serve as an inspiration for how my characters interact within a scene. The photo here is of downtown Leesburg, Virginia around the turn of the century. It has been a major source of inspiration for the setting of my latest project (set in 1872). What sounds would my character have heard on a hot summer day as she strolled down the street in front of Dr. AR Mott’s pharmacy? How might it have smelled? What color were the leaves of trees overhead as the morning sun shone through? How did the morning make her feel? With each scene I craft, I ask myself these kinds of questions. I put myself there, walking down that street with her. It’s how I ground a scene and how I bring the past to life.

From my Easel

I’m a huge Van Gogh fan, his work has always been an inspiration. I painted the canvas below when I was homebound with pneumonia. Sadly, it was never quite finished because I got better!  

Thank you, My Modern Met and Van Gogh Museum for making his work available online to continue to inspire others. Check it out here.

October at Selma

The ladies of the Manor along with an on-theme pumpkin carved by yours truly…

Sharon Virts author - favorite books

Sharon’s Book Club

A fascinating tale by the author of A Handmaid’s Tale, this takes place not in the imagined future, but in 1843. Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Grace claims to have no memory of the murders. If you’re a fan of mystery, this intriguing novel is a great read, and incidentally, a great Netflix production, though I have to admit that I liked the ending in the book much better than in the series. Incidentally, this book relates to the current untitled project I’m working on, when I’m not dissecting Masque of Honor!

For more of my book club selections, check out my website.


Selma’s Corner

We’ve come a long way, Miss Selma….we’ve added more pictures of Selma’s Billiard Room, check out this EXCLUSIVE page you won’t find on the website unless you subscribe to this newsletter!

(Membership has its privileges!)


Don’t miss the latest action happening behind the scenes