Monday, April 28, 2014

On Trying New Things (with ARC Giveaway!)

My five-year-old daughter, Little Miss R, is one of the most outgoing kids I've ever run across. So when she found out she was chosen to be in her kindergarten spelling bee, I expected her to be delighted. A chance to stand on a stage! To get lots of attention!

And she was delighted--sort of. Actually, she told me, "I want to do it, but I want it to be over so I don’t have to do it."

Ah, I thought. Finally my shy-in-public genetic material makes an appearance. "I've felt that way before," I said. "Do you want me to come watch? Will that help?"

"Yes," she said. "Stay and watch the whole time."

So I did. And she was nervous beforehand--but once she got up on that stage, all her fears went away. And she did great.

Afterward, there was a lot of *bounce bounce* "I'm so glad I did it! It was fun! I want to do it again tomorrow!" Facing fears, it seems, can be addictive--and so can success.

Segue alert: you guessed it, I'm going to relate this to my next historical, To Charm a Naughty Countess, because trying new things is a key part of the story. The hero--Michael, Duke of Wyverne--will try new mechanical devices, or new tasks that rely only on himself. But any new experience involving another person? No, thank you. With social anxiety enough for two, he’s stayed in Lancashire with his Regency gadgets. He only wants to try something new if he knows he’ll be good at it right away.

Until his dukedom faces financial ruin, and he has to marry for money. Soon. Now. That means a trip to London, and a plunge into the whirl of society. 

After a verrrry rough start, he gets a bit of help from Caroline, Lady Stratton. Caro who feels she has nothing to offer except social confidence—and so she tries to use it to make herself indispensable in soicety. This isn’t exactly the life of purpose she dreamed of, but it’s something she knows she can do well. And so from the opposite perspective, she’s really not so different from Michael.

Since this is a romance, you know they’ll help each other become better and stronger than they were at first. And in real life, that’s what I hope for my family too. Though I admit, I'm able to try new things in books a lot more easily than in real life. (When’s the last time I had the chance to attend an elegant ball?)

What about you? Do you like trying new things like Little Miss R, or do you tend to hang back like me? Tell me something new you tried—or didn’t, and whether you’re glad or not about how it turned out. I have one last advance copy of To Charm a Naughty Countess, and I'll give it to one random commenter!

International entrants welcome. I'll choose the winner at noon ET on April 30. I might not be able to email you, so please check back to see if you won!

Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she is working on her next book. 
Twitter: @TheresaRomain


56 comments:

  1. I'm not one for trying new things. I find comfort in predictability. I wish I wasn't so anal about it but new things make me nervous and really throws me off. I wish I was more daring and willing to try new places, eat new things, etc but I've found over the years I'm happier with doing things the way I know will work for me.

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    1. Ada, I was nodding as I read your comment. I feel the same way! I encourage Little Miss R to try new things, but I think it won't be long before the tables are turned on us. That'll be…interesting.

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  2. Nothing like the adrenaline of "performing" on stage. I sang for years, and I stressed about being on stage but when I was up there, it was always fine. I do, however, hate trying new things. Why do things have to change (whines)?

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    1. Exactly! :)
      And I've heard you mention being a singer before--I'd love to hear you sing. Surely there is a karaoke night during RWA??

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  3. Wow, good for your daughter! I am very much NOT a center of attention person. I hate being in front of anyone. I love new things - but only if I initiate it and was able to prepare for it. But still don't put me in front of anyone. LOL
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

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    1. Susan, agreed! Even for my wedding, I was all, "Ugh, I don't want everyone to look at me. Oh, they will? Uh…I'll need comfortable shoes, then."

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  4. I have always been conservative, and for the most part, cautious. However, I am now in my mid-fifties, and I am having fun unwinding a bit and trying new things. Artisan chocolates and coffees and teas with uniques flavorings are delicious and decadent. Expanding my reading box and embracing new genres is exciting and enlightening, even if I do say "Oh, my!" out loud! Learning to go with other people's instincts--trusted friends--and trying their recommendations of things I would not have chosen myself can be a very rewarding experience. Lighten up, loosen up, live it up!!!

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    1. Virginia, I love your idea of using word-of-mouth recommendations to find new things to try. Your friends know your tastes, so there's a pretty good chance it'll be a hit. Great plan, and one I ought to try.

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  5. I love trying new things, though it can be nerve-wracking. I adore your cover Theresa! So beautiful! I am really looking forward to your book

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    1. Thanks so much, Christy--and best of luck with the next new thing that comes across your path!

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  6. I too tend to stress over trying new things or at least things that seem beyond my capabilities lol. I tend to try safe things such as trying a new craft lol.

    catslady5@aol.com

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    1. Catslady, if you could see the mess I can make of a cross-stitch, I hope you would give yourself more credit for mastering a new craft. :)

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  7. I'm more of a hang back person. Probably quite a bit like Michael in that I'd not mind trying things that only involve myself but would shy away if others were involved.

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    1. Linda, that makes sense. Trying something new when other people are involved is almost like having an audience. Ack, did I just make it sound even worse? (I guess you can tell my feelings are similar to yours!)

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  8. Normally I hang back, too. One thing I tried a couple of years back is participating in the Compuserve Book and Writers Forum Exercises. These exercises are for the writers and I´m not one myself, but I participate as a reader there.
    I learned so much about writing through them and now am a beta reader for some authors. And I made lots of friends too. I´m very glad I decided to jump in :)

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    1. Sarah, what a great example! Go you. That's wonderful that you jumped in and that it worked out so well for you. Congrats!

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    2. Thanks, Theresa. And totally forgot to say before, I´m looking very much forward to read TCANC :)

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  9. I am a little bit cautious and afraid to try new things but my sister is always excited for trying things and she takes me with her, so I try them with her and I am so glad. So throughout the years we've learned tango, hip hop and now we do yoga and I love it. she is the ying to my yang like your characters. elena-k84 (at) hotmail (dot) com

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    1. You two sound like a marvelous team, Elena! I'm more like you, and I suspect it won't be long before Little Miss R is pushing me to try new things with her.

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  10. As I have gotten older I am better about trying new things. I especially love to explore new places.

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    1. knye, I love learning about new places but am not much of a traveler. I really admire people who take that on without a blink. What's been a new place you really enjoyed exploring?

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  11. Theresa, I can't wait to read this! I already pre-ordered the book (because you had me at the toast girl). Congratulations on the upcoming release. Regarding trying things?? I'm generally a quiet, conservative person but then I;ll try and do some pretty surprising things. I still have a few wild hairs that sprout now and then.

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    1. Gina, thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed that dramatic toast graphic, and I hope you like TCANC.

      Sounds like you surprise yourself with a surprise now and then? Writers tend to be quiet folks--but with wiiiild imaginations. :)

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  12. It is a funny thing but my first tendency is to hang back regarding new things, but when I have participated I have done well. Last thing I tried was leading a review session for colleagues at work. Public speaking is always daunting to me but it went well.

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    1. That's great, Lil! Glad you've found that the new things go well for you. Does that make it easier for you to try the next one? I'm hoping that will eventually be the case for me.

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  13. The last time I tried something new, huh? I'm guessing foods don't count, 'cause I'm from South Louisiana, and everyone knows we'll eat anything!

    How about climbing a lighthouse? A couple of years ago, I visited Georgia's historic Tybee Island Lighthouse with my sister. We both dragged our arthritic knees up the 178 stairs of the lighthouse and saw a wonderful view. (And then trudged 178 stairs back down!) Check that off our lists--no more lighthouse climbing necessary.

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    1. Wow--that definitely counts as something new! And how fun to go on that visit with your sister.

      I'm from Louisiana too, so I know what you mean about food. :) I live in the Midwest now, which is where my husband is from, and he's tried a lot of new foods since meeting me. Can you believe he'd never even tried grits? Geez.

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  14. Fake til you make it... usually works for me!!

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    1. It's a good strategy! Though the "fake it" part can be really nerve-racking, at least for me.

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    2. girlygirlhoosier52, you were chosen as the winner--congrats! Please email me at theresa @ theresaromain .com (without spaces) to claim your prize.

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  15. read not as well known authors' books; usually ends up being a good book

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. A new book is one of my favorite new things to try. :)

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  16. I tend to hang back, not big on trying new things
    catlover0112 at yahoo dot com

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    1. What a great handle, regencygirl01. :) Yeah, I tend to hang back too. Or as I like to put it, "observe."

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  17. I am the hang back type of gal also. I will try new places to eat and places to go with the Grandkids, but I will not stand in front of an audience or crowd for anything. I am terrified of making a fool of myself, always have been. )-;

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    1. Your grandkids must love outings with you! Not only trying out new places, but generously leaving the spotlight for them. (Right? That's the way I like to think of it.)

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  18. I do not like to try new things, I like things to stay the same, I don't like change, but it happens around me all the time.

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    1. Tina, there are a lot of like-minded folks on this thread! I wonder if we readers tend to prefer less change? After all, change is a distraction from getting lost in a story.

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  19. I am not big on trying new things, I tend to shy away from big changes

    sheryll1974@netscape.net

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    1. I wouldn't say I'm big on trying new things either. Though the biggest changes in my life--getting married, buying a house, having a child--were new things that I welcomed. So maybe it depends whether change comes on our timeline or not!

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  20. No, I'm not big on trying new things! This book sounds really good, I'm putting it on the wish list.

    mlawson17 at Hotmail dot com

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    1. Thanks, Martha! Hope you enjoy it. I'm not big on trying new things either--except for books. :)

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  21. With the exception of bugs/critters, I'm always willing to try new foods and experiment with new dishes. There are so many different flavors in the world, I wish I could try a little bit of everything! But that's as courageous as I go. For all other things in life, I'm don't branch out much.

    thebigbluewall77 at gmail dot com

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    1. Anita, that's really fun. Do you enjoy cooking new foods too, or do you prefer to find a new dish at a restaurant?

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    2. I'd say a little bit of both. I don't have that much time to try new foods but if I find a really great looking recipe, I'll give it a whirl. Mostly it's when I go out and see something fun on the menu.

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    3. Nice! I bet it's fun to go out to dinner with you. :)

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  22. I wish I tried more new things! But, recently, I have started attending as many concerts as I can. I had forgotten how much I love this and I am so happy to embrace this part of myself again!!!

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    1. Marie, congratulations! Glad you've found something that brings you so much joy. What kind of concerts are your favorite to attend?

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  23. My most recent daunting trying something new was to make lollipop cookies for a granddaughter's birthday! Seriously - I found that intimidating! and just had to take a deep breath and get started.

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    1. That sounds like a blend of crafts and baking, which would intimidate me too. How did they turn out? I bet your granddaughter loved them!

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  24. I like trying some kinds of new things, like new recipes. I definitely don't like to do anything new that draws the attention of other people.
    jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu

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    1. Jmcgaugh, agreed. If a big party's going on, I'd rather hang out in the kitchen and check out that new recipe.

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  25. I have terrible stage fright when speaking in front of people. If I just go up and not think about what I am going to say, I do great, but let me over think things and my mind goes blank. raquel36m (at) gmail (dot) come.

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    1. So if you're caught by surprise, you can wing it and do just fine? That's wonderful! Maybe we're not always better off with more time to prepare (and get nervous).

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  26. Thanks, everyone, for your comments! I'm so glad I'm not alone in finding it difficult to try new things (unless we're talking about new books).

    The winner, as chosen by random.org, is girlygirlhoosier52. Congratulations! Please email me at theresa @ theresaromain .com (without spaces) to claim your ARC of To Charm a Naughty Countess.

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