Tag Archives: #SFWG

Cover Story: The Girl on the Golden Coin


Once again, I’m here to introduce you to one of my incredible crit group ladies. Today it’s Marci McGuire Jefferson, who has written an absolutely lovely book about one Frances Stuart, who served as the model for “Britannia” on years and years worth of British coins.

I’m not going to waste your time babbling; I’m just going to turn today’s blog over to Marci and let her tell you all about her book!


Marci Jefferson’s first novel is about Frances Stuart, who rejected three kings and graced England’s coins for generations as the model for Britannia. The book will release February 11, 2014 from Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Press. But pre-order this week and comment on Marci’s blog (link below) for a chance to win a pair of sterling-silver pearl-drop earrings like the ones Frances wears on this elegant cover (be prepared to present your receipt).



Impoverished and exiled to the French countryside after the overthrow of the English Crown, Frances Stuart survives merely by her blood-relation to the Stuart Royals. But in 1660, the Restoration of Stuart Monarchy in England returns her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and springs to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches King Louis XIV’s eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty, she has Stuart secrets to keep and people to protect. The king turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He banishes her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and stop a war.

Armed in pearls and silk, Frances maneuvers through the political turbulence of Whitehall Palace, but still can’t afford to stir a scandal. Her tactic to inspire King Charles to greatness captivates him. He believes her love can make him an honest man and even chooses Frances to pose as Britannia for England’s coins. Frances survives the Great Fire, the Great Plague, and the debauchery of the Restoration Court, yet loses her heart to the very king she must control. Until she is forced to choose between love or war.

On the eve of England’s Glorious Revolution, James II forces Frances to decide whether to remain loyal to her Stuart heritage or, like England, make her stand for Liberty. Her portrait as Britannia is minted on every copper coin. There she remains for generations, an enduring symbol of Britain’s independent spirit and her own struggle for freedom.


“In her wonderfully evocative debut, Girl on the Golden Coin, Marci Jefferson recreates the fascinating story of Frances Stuart, whose influence over England’s Charles II became the talk of a nation. As vibrant and delightful as the woman it’s based on, Girl on the Golden Coin is a jewel of a novel!”
—Michelle Moran, New York Times bestselling author of The Second Empress and Madame Tussaud

“Beauty is not always a blessing, as young Frances Stuart finds out when her lovely face pits her between the desires and politics of rival kings Louis XIV and Charles II. Frances makes an appealing heroine, by turns wary and passionate, sophisticated and innocent, as she matures from destitute young pawn to the majestic duchess whose figure would grace Britain’s coins for centuries. Her struggles to support her loved ones, uncover her family secrets, and somehow find a life of her own amid the snake-pit courts of the Sun King and the Merry Monarch make for lively, entertaining reading in this lush Restoration novel by debut author Marci Jefferson.”
—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of Mistress of Rome

“Girl on the Golden Coin is a fantastic novel. I couldn’t put it down. The plot is fast-paced and compelling, with intriguing characters, lush settings and captivating narrative voice. Jefferson’s debut paints an intriguing portrait of Frances Stuart, a novel worthy of the determined, golden spirit of the woman whose face became the model for Britannia herself.”
—Susan Spann, author of Claws of the Cat

“Girl on the Golden Coin is a sexy, exciting tale featuring vivid characters, rich historical detail, scintillating court intrigue, and a complexly rendered heroine in Frances Stuart, Maid of Honor to the Queen of England, who will capture the reader’s heart — as will the man she loves, that rascal King Charles II.”
— Sherry Jones, author, FOUR SISTERS, ALL QUEENS


Barnes & Noble






Something About School

This week’s prompt from my wonderful Super Fly Writing Group (or SFWG to the cognoscenti) is “write something about ‘school.'” Now, one might think that this would be easy to me, as (in the dreaded day job) I am in fact an employee of the local school board. Not only that, my DH is an educator at the college level, and I have two daughters, both of whom are in school. ]

But the sad fact is, that if one thinks that, one would be wrong. Dead wrong. Wrong in a major way. Please note above that I didn’t say I work for the “school district” or the “school system.” I am something of a rara avis in terra (Ooooh wee! Look at Romancemama slinging the foreign phrases here!) Unlike the teachers, the bus drivers, the cafeteria workers and the numerous other dedicated workers who make the schools run, I am actually, legally, an employee directly supervised by the five member School Board. I don’t work for the Superintendent of Schools. I report directly to, and work at the sole pleasure of, a five-member elected board.

Which means, boys and girls, that I don’t like to make public statements about the schools. Anything I say can — and often is — mistakenly laid at the feet of my bosses. As a general rule, I try to let somebody else give sound bites while I take care of business.

So it has been a struggle to come up with something I felt I could say about schools. But, as y’all know, I have been known to have an opinion or two, and I’d like to express one of them. One that I don’t think anyone associated with my day job will disagree with. (Yes, I know! “With which they will disagree.” Thank you, Strunk and White.)

There are a lot of people spouting off about “what’s wrong with our schools” these days. And yeah, there is stuff wrong. So if you — or any of the politicians du jour — think you know what to do to fix ’em, bring it. But one request of you, before you tell me all about your plans to overhaul the whole system.


We here in my local school district are begging for people to help us. We have kids who need mentors, who need tutors, who just need a friendly word from someone. God knows, our teachers are overworked just trying to keep up with the paperwork and teaching the standardized test prep. There are some kids who need a whole lot more individualized attention than any teacher can give.

So tell me all about your charter schools, your standards and policies and rules. I’m all ears. But –and I’m looking at y’all, candidates for public office — spend a few hours in a classroom and then tell me your plans.

We need people who care, not just more plans and policies.

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

​Surprises. I’ve been thinking a lot about surprises over the past couple of days.
Susan Spann, one of my comrades in the world’s most supportive group of authors (the fabulous Super Fly Writing Group or #SFWG) has set us all an assignment for blogging this week. The prompt? Surprises. Anything we want to say about surprises.

​Hmm. You know, when I was a kid, the very word “surprise” made me happy. I loved getting surprises. Of course, nosy little brat that I was, it was pretty rare that I actually got surprised at Christmas or birthdays – I snooped and pried, and generally outfoxed anyone who thought they could keep a secret from me. Still, the reason I wanted my surprises out in the open is that they were so pleasant. I loved getting presents – and still do.

​But as you get older, you stop caring so much about the surprise element. One of the sad facts of adult life is that surprises can be unpleasant just as much – or more often – than they are enjoyable. Whether it is the unexpected car repair bill or the jury summons, it seems like surprises aren’t that much fun any more.

​But maybe that just makes it sweeter when you do get the odd unexpected happiness. This week I was bemoaning the distance from one day job payday to the next, when completely out of the blue, the DH called me.

​“Hey,” he says. “Looks like you got something from your publisher.”

​Now, of course, being me, my mind went to all the bad things it could be. They were writing to tell me they’d made a mistake publishing my book and they were suing me for tortuous imitation of a writer. They were closing up shop and running away to Tahiti with the all rights to my book, and I’d never be able to even read it again. Something awful.

​But to allay my panic over what could possibly be wrong, I told DH to open it and read it to me.

​“Whoa, wow.”

​Now that is particularly unhelpful. ‘Whoa, wow,’ what, precisely? Whoa, wow, they are taking away my credentials as a literate practitioner of the English language? What, for God’s sake?!?!?

​Turns out it was a tidy little royalty check. Okay, no, neither La Nora nor the Divine J.K. will get confused and think it was meant for her – it ain’t anywhere near a living wage, particularly if you divide it out over all those hours I spent in the wee early hours, trying to get the Duke to apologize to Susan and not be an ass.

​BUT (and like mine, it’s a big but) someone actually paid to read my story. Not just someone. Lots of someones. I know it has to be strangers, because I don’t have that many friends! Someone is seeing my book and thinking it looks good and actually buying it.

​Now, like I said, most grown-up surprises do not inspire me to do a happy dance. But royalty checks – and the validation they represent – are a wonderful exception to that rule!

Posted using Tinydesk Writer iPhone app

Muse Monday — the LUCKY 7 meme

If you are going to try to make a go of this bizarre hobby/profession/pursuit/obsession calling writing fiction, ya gotta have friends. I don’t mean the “hi, how are you, we should do lunch, call me” kind of friends. I’m talking about people who you can tell about your latest writing funk, confident that they will simultaneously hand you a sympathetic chocolate cupcake and give you the proverbial swift kick in the gluteus that will jump start your muse.

I’m particularly blessed in this area, because I have two groups of friends who fit this description. In realtime, I have the greatest bunch of writers to hang with at the local Books A Million. So a great big shout-out to the Pensacola clique – you know too much about me for us to ever stop being friends!

And in the virtual realm, I am proud – and humbled – to be a part of an incredibly talented and supportive crit group known as the Super Fly Writing Group! (Aka #SFWG on twitter).

They encourage me, challenge me, and inspire me on a daily basis. And the very fact that they let me play in their sandbox gives me hope. I mean, seriously – if these brilliant ladies treat me as a colleague, I must have some tiny bit of talent there somewhere!

Last week, the awesome Candie Leigh, a fellow SFWG member and helluva YA author, sent out a blog challenge called The Lucky Seven. Now, at the time, I was in the midst of a trip to Orlando’s theme parks with my babies, and I didn’t get to play then. But the challenge reminded me that I had been inexcusably lax in my blogging, so now that I am back in the real world, I am picking up on Candie’s meme and running with it. You should all go right now to read her Lucky 7 post at http://adventuresofyawriting.blogspot.com/2012/06/ive-been-tagged.html. It gives you a fab little taste of her latest novel, SEEK.

As to playing Lucky 7, here are the rules:

Go to page 77 in your current manuscript
Go to line 7
Copy the next 7 lines/paragraphs and post them as they’re written (no cheating!)
Pass the meme on to at least 7 other writers.

I’m sending a shout out to my peeps, so hopefully there will be a whole bunch of you who play along by putting a link to your lucky seven in the comments below!

Now, here’s 7 paragraphs from my most recent finished book, HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO. Cassie Grace thinks all her historical-romance dreams have come true when a wealthy British businessman comes to her small Georgia town. But real life isn’t quite as tidy as a book, and it isn’t always easy to recognize a hero …

A little after two, James called to check on any messages. Right. In a word ruled by cell phones and e-mail, nobody leaves messages for anyone anymore. I told him there weren’t any, but Rosemary had asked about him when he didn’t show up this morning.
“Right. Listen, Cass, just as a favor to me, don’t tell her which towns I’m visiting. Of course Rosemary knows we’re looking at several other sites. That’s no secret, by any means. . . Do you mind?”
Ok, I was torn. I mean, I work for Rosemary, and I owe her a certain amount of loyalty. But on the other hand, James had given me the info on his plans under somewhat exceptional circumstances. And if I had any hopes of my relationship with him going anywhere (which of course I did, in a major way), I needed to help him out, right? So I did the kind of hairsplitting I’d seen Rosie and Mr. F. do. Lawyers can always find irrelevant distinctions that justify what they already wanted to do.
I decided I wouldn’t tell Rosemary anything else. And since he hadn’t asked me if had told her anything already, I figured I could cover both sides of my divided loyalties.
Yes, I know that kind of thinking never ends well. But given my stop to see Trina that morning, what was a little more moral relativism? I had decided to put aside the black/white, right/wrong mentality I was used to and look at things in shades of grey for a change.


Janice and Bobby invited me over to a get-together they had Friday night. The Georgia basketball team was involved in some sort of major game that all the guys in town just had to see, so Bobby set up his computer to project onto a screen in the backyard and threw a cookout. Neither basketball nor Bobby’s hamburgers were high on my must-have list, but it beat staying at home and trying to write while I wondered what a certain British Greek god was up to wherever he was.
I got my crispy black burger – e. coli stands no chance when Bobby Harvey is cooking – and settled down on a quilt Janice had spread to the side of the main game-watching area.

And yes, dammit — I used the phrase “shades of grey” in this MS months before any Twilight Fan Fiction using that phrase hit the mainstream!!! (grumble, grumble.)

O.M.G. It’s Real.


If you know anything at all about your old friend RomanceMama, you know that she is one incurable bibliophile. (You also know that she loves to refer to herself in the 3d person, but let’s focus, shall we?)

I grew up reading. Books, magazines, whatever came to hand. If my daddy made me put away my book at the table, I would read the ketchup bottle. All I need is words in a row, and I am set.

But books – ah, books! Simply my favoritest thing in the whole wide world. Ask me to choose between books and chocolate, books and Ruffles chips, books and boiled peanuts (caviar of the South) and I will, without a second thought, go with books.

So it was an exceptionally emotional moment this week when the UPS man stopped here at Malfunction Junction to deliver a box with my most precious possession in it – a real, hard copy bound volume of my first published book, PROOF OF LOVE !

I am still prone to getting all misty eyed, just thinking about it. I actually wrote down my story about the dear Duke and Duchess, got it published, and CAN HOLD MY BOOK IN MY OWN TWO PAWS!!!

Do you realize what that means to me? I’m getting all verklempt, just thinking about it.

So, if you have been thinking “Gee, I’d really love to read Romancemama’s book, but I don’t have an ereader, you are now officially out of excuses. You must head on over (do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars) to Amazon and buy my book.

You’ll love it!


Monday Muse: Party Down Wit’ Ya Bad Muse!

Had a great weekend! Got lots of stuff done – laundry, sorted out the TBR pile and gathered up books to give to friends, even made a lovely Indian meal of Shrimp Curry and Cucumber Salad for the DH last night. But the most important thing – (dah dah dah DAH!!!!) is that I am back in the writing saddle again! Did 1500 words Sunday, plus a whole heck of a lot of brainstorming about GMC in my WIP.

And to what, dear hearts and gentle people, can we attribute this flurry of productivity? Why, only one of the best muse-stimulants known to womankind: friends! Yes, when the old well is running dry and you are about to throw in the towel, take your muse out for a nice gabfest (real-time or virtual) with some like-minded, supportive friends and see what happens.

Y’all may have picked up on the fact that my poor muse, Bridget, had been running on empty for a few weeks. Awful as it is to say, Bridgie gets a bit (read massively, incredibly, and horrendously) jealous when it seems that everyone around us is getting good news. And then, right after that influx of achievements by our friends, acquaintances, and others, the yahoo went on the fritz. Poor Bridget was convinced that everyone had stopped talking to us because we were such failures, and she went into a bit of a (read mammoth, overwhelming, and devastating) decline. She decided that we would stop writing, give up the day job, and spent our twilight years collecting shed cat hair (of which our house has plenty), spinning it into yarn, and knitting clever little toilet paper covers. Such is Bridget’s reaction to a bit of social isolation.

But, at long last, the yahoo came back to life, just in time for the scheduled chat of my online crit group, officially known as the Historical Fiction Group, but more colloquially referred to as #SFWG – or Super Fly Writing Group. An hour with the talented ladies of the #SFWG got Bridgie feeling all perky again. She even threw out the cat hair, so those of you with allergies can again safely drop in at Malfunction Junction. It is amazing to find thirteen (I think that is the current enrollment) ladies who write a variety of genres, at various levels of achievement, and yet support, encourage, and give-a-kick-in-the-butt-when-necessary each other.

So to the #SFWG: If I haven’t mentioned it lately, I LOVE YOU CHICAS!!!!!

(BTW, the marvelous Susan Spann, another of the SFWG girls, discusses this same point over at
http://www.susanspann.com/?p=1506#comment-817. Y’all go read her thoughts, too!)

Then, Saturday, I headed over for a sandals and salsa party at the lovely home of my friend, YA author Micki Gibson. Micks and I scarfed down salsa, guac, chips and a delightful sweet corn cake – all of which was, I am sure, completely Weight Watchers point free. Remember, if you break a chip, brownie, or similar in two, all the calories/carbs/points leak out, and you can eat without guilt.

After the low-cal refreshments, Micki and I had a tete-a-tete about our writing. Now me, I’m a pantser, and I shoot from the hip when I write. Micki, on the other hand, is one of those wonderfully disciplined people who do charts and timelines and actually know what they are going to write when they sit at the computer. So Micki jumps in and starts asking me a bunch of Goal, Motivation, and Conflict questions – the stuff I can’t be bothered with cause I am too eager to put my grubby little mitts on the keyboard.

Well, when Micki started speaking her language, dear Bridget came out to play! Micki and Bridgie plotted the rest of my Southern-fried Chick-lit WIP right there Saturday afternoon. And when I got up Sunday, heathen that I am, I sent the DH and DD to church, sat at my laptop, and kicked out more words in two hours than I’d done in the previous week.

Moral of our story, dear ones? While we often think of our muse as a reclusive, shy hermit who must be coaxed out of her cave into the cold light of day, the fact is, a muse loves a party. Her idea of a good time is a long, unpressured chat with friends she trusts. Preferably with chips, guac, and margaritas alongside.

So whatcha waiting for? Call your writing buds – the ones your muse can trust with her deepest secrets, and mix up the margaritas!