ENCHANTING CHRISTMAS WITH AUDREY HEPBURN
The Christmas and New Year period is a great time to read or gift a few heartwarming stories to suit the holidays!
ENCHANTING THE SWAN ends at Christmas, a moving end which I will not give away here. You can read the novel at http://amzn.to/1LPFw5o and at http://bit.ly/1Kw8gys (Barnes & Noble). Consistent 5 star reviews so far: Dan Dwyer comments: If you like old fashioned romance stories, you will like Enchanting The Swan. Paul and Fiona meet at the College of William and Mary in Virginia where they fall in love after playing “The Swan” by Camille Saint-Saens. There’s more to this story than Dewey eye romance. John Schwartz has written a fine romantic thriller than doesn’t let go until the very end.
Neal Cary, professor and cellist at William & Mary, writes: Enchanting the Swan is a beautiful story — full of suspense, drama, and enduring love centered around music. John Schwartz has created a whole world, and a wonderful escape. The characters jump off the page with such personality and imagery that this book could make a great movie. Enchanting the Swan is a very enjoyable read, and I recommend it highly.
MJM Orlean writes: John writes beautifully – I found the book difficult to put down – an easy read, full of intrigue, love, passion, international travel and dubious banking business, and lots more – a must read.
You can still get it for a good read at the fire place: http://amzn.to/1LPFw5o
or at http://bit.ly/1Kw8gys. ENJOY!
SOME WOMEN I HAVE KNOWN is a memoir /coming-of-age story. Our unforgettable Audrey Hepburn was a central personality in our home and especially for me, as we met as children (she 13 and I 7 ) in Holland well before she became a beautiful and revered film star. Of course, our lives became very different and I only touched hers at her outer sphere, but she did remember me! It is one of the more striking stories in SOME WOMEN I HAVE KNOWN.
You can still get it at http://amzn.to/1QIL94B
Readers seem to like it: Sam writes: This is a heartwarming collection of short stories that portray the path of boy meets world with realism and sensitivity. Perhaps most surprising are the different relationships that each story portrays – some were romantic, while others were more familial or close friendships. Those qualities, combined with the historical backdrop and international perspective, distinguish this book from the more typical and predictable storylines, making it a five-star read!
Kendal writes about the Audrey story: I adore Audrey Hepburn and love to hear new stories about her. Can’t get enough. And this short story was a nice little peek into her life, especially pre-fame, as a young girl… loved it.
Micah Harris writes in similar terms: A pleasant account of an exceptional person. There’s always something poignant about beautiful people recovering from ghastly times. Thanks for the read.
Dan writes: I had read the author’s vignette on Audrey Hepburn a few months ago when I was looking for something short, different and personal because my daughter is a big Hepburn fan. Mr. Schwartz did not fail me then nor has he failed me now with his compilation of the women he has met in his life…One charming and not so charming adventure after another, however, ended the same way until he finally met the proverbial woman of his dreams. She luckily for both shared the same dream.
And how did we!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and pleasant holidays!
John and Joy
ROMANCING ENCHANTING THE SWAN
THREE THINGS INSPIRED ME WHEN WRITING ENCHANTING THE SWAN: ROMANCE, LOVE FOR MUSIC AND MUSIC IN LOVE. IN SHORT: FOREVER ROMANCE:
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Don’t take me wrong: it is not only love that makes the world go round: pigheaded ultraconservative family rules preventing a SHINING love blossoming from the heart and conceived in music, GREED versus compassion, JEALOUS PURSUIT to snatch away someone else’s love, ABUSE IN MARRIAGE, desperate escape and FINAL REDEMTPION in music: it’s all in ENCHANTING THE SWAN, a love story as no other.
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Paul Cramer, MBA graduate and Fiona Baroness de Maconville, cellist, play The Swan, a famous cello-piece by Camille St. Saëns, before their William & Mary Audience. That’s where their love bloomed: at the Department of Music in the Ewell Hall, located at the College of William & Mary, situated in rustic Williamsburg, Virginia.
Neal Cary, Professor and cellist teacher at the College of William & Mary, writes about Enchanting The Swan: “…a beautiful story — full of suspense, drama, and enduring love centered around music. John Schwartz has created a whole world, and a wonderful escape. The characters jump off the page with such personality and imagery that this book could make a great movie. Enchanting the Swan is a very enjoyable read, and I recommend it highly.”
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As you see from the back flap, the beginning of their love seems doomed in a bitter family feud of old stiff Belgian nobility with modern times. Fiona, an orphan raised by godparents after her parents died sailing into a storm at the Belgian coast, must break off because her noble godfather wants her to marry into their Belgian circle. At a heartbreaking lunch in a restaurant at the Grand Place in Brussels, The Roi d’Espagne (right on the photograph) she tells Paul she can’t marry him.
Paul joins a financial postgraduate course at the Free University of Brussels for a few weeks in the hope Fiona and her godparents change their mind, but eventually must capitulate, and when offered a promising internship at First Swiss Bank in Geneva he takes it. And off he goes, heartbroken, not knowing this step leads him into lots of trouble. Read the story in http://amzn.to/1LPFw5o
Paul skiing in Swiss Alps
The Writing Game
So now you have written a BOOK! That’s how all author consultants, advisers, promoters and websites start. A HUGE INDUSTRY! Some are deft predators out to get money from the thin pockets of innocent writers. It’s an industry full of CROOKS and a few genuine operators.
Many books of all literary genres for sale in a bookshop
I am among those 12 million. Who will find me? That’s the question. Going on the street carrying a board on your back displaying your book? Loading your trunk with copies and stand at a farmers market, yelling “Hey! Buy my book?” Have friends advertising for you?
Please buy my book!
One wonders why everybody wants to write and why some get so desperate.
Dreaming Romance Author and another with Writers Blog
But then, what about American Idol? Everybody wants to sing, too, and only a few get noticed. The law of the jungle.
A lot of bad quacking instead of good writing!
So-called Wise People in the industry say, it’s all perseverance, not just talent. Talent is only 10% of the game. Sounds much the same percentage of writing being 10% of “getting read.”
The friendly-looking Predator Promising You the Moon. Write a book in 30days! Only $237! I will promote you for just $14 K!
Go to a bookstore and arrange for a “book signing” hoping that visitors will buy your books with your autograph? I did so recently in Williamsburg in Virginia because my novel Enchanting The Swan starts at the College of William & Mary for the first ten chapters. They wrote an article about it in the Virginia Gazette, even mentioned it on the radio, and I put stickers on W&M boards and had someone announce it on their Law School internal website. I dropped bookmarkers at The Trellis restaurant at the touristic Merchant Square, right at the edge of the W&M campus, with a notice of the book signing the next day. The two main characters have lunch and dinner there from time to time. What more can you do?
The friendly Librarian displaying my dream books
I traveled to Williamsburg in my Jag XK8 (not earned from book writing!), cap down, on October 22, in splendid weather. Still summer, folks! I did a rest stop at a Panera near Fredericksburg to pick up some display boards from my charming publisher and designer, Melanie Stephens of Willow Manor Publishing, one of Some Women I have Known, one of Audrey Hepburn who features in it, and one showing the cover of Enchanting the Swan. I made a second “pit”stop at the Williamsburg Information Center, boasted about my books soon to be signed, and received a sticker “Virginia is for Lovers” in return, which I immediately glued to the back of my Jag. Drivers be better aware of my romantic intentions.
The lovely girl wanting to read Enchanting The Swan: “True, Are you Dutch? ” Oh my, if I had just been a little bit younger…I would have read it for her at her bedside.
It was W&M Home Coming weekend starting October 23 on a beautiful warm day. After a quiet but sleepless night at the Williamsburg Lodge, dreaming of throngs of people standing in line for my books, I settled down at a nicely arranged book signing table at the Barnes and Noble/William and Mary Bookstore. The events manager Beau Carr and his charming assistants Eric and Joanna had done a splendid job. I even got a free coffee!
So as of 10 AM I waited for the throngs of booklovers to come in. The first was John Lindberg, of the W&M Department of Music at Ewell Hall, the unsurpassed percussionist, so-called “retired” but still in full action, who is one of the memorable characters appearing in Enchanting The Swan. I had promised him a free copy but he insisted on buying it. Then a charming lady appeared who wanted to buy a book for a dear friend, who also appears in the novel, but whose name I can’t mention as I would betray her gift. And then nothing. As the hour went by, shoppers smiled at me but went for the William & Mary T-shirts, not my books! Finally some buyers showed up, chatted and purchased a few copies of Some Women and Swan, getting my handsome autograph wishing them a good read. The last visitor was Deb Boykin, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs (Campus Living) and Director of Residence Life, with whom I had a most productive interview during my research at W&M. That was a worthwhile close of my book signing! All in all, a little over 10 books sold (about 3 books an hour, which seems to be the going rate according to knowledgeable sources).
W&M Barnes & Noble Bookstore
After 4 hours I had to pack up to make room for another author. It was award-winning Wilford Kale!
A longtime Williamsburg resident and former Williamsburg bureau chief and senior writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, who wrote a magnificent photo book of the History of William & Mary, which I had purchased earlier for my daughter Samantha who studied there. I felt honored to get to know the famous writer. When later in the day I passed by his table, full with W&M and Williamsburg related books, to see how well he was doing, he also complained that everybody went for the W&M T-shirts. Well, if he as an author with much local notoriety did not sell much, I could not feel too sorry for myself.
I left with a last look at the Crim Dell Bridge at W&M. After all Virginia is for Lovers!
Beau Carr of the W&M Bookstore found that I had a respectable showing, despite the surge on W&M clothing! Some did better, others did not. Then I checked back with Judith Briles of the Author University website (http://authoru.org), my favorite, if book signings are a useful marketing tool and the answer was negative. Personally, I believe that seeking your audience through book clubs and speaking engagements increase your book sales more.
All in all, a new adventure. It surely keeps you on your toes!
Love Makes the World go Round
This is the new perspective of ENCHANTÉ. We will write about love and loving things, inspiring books, inspiring authors, inspiring people, period. With ENCHANTING THE SWAN out on the shelves and in the CLOUDS, we will leave the field of satire, annoying politics, and shameful and cruel behavior in the world. After all, I am an alien (“from Mars” not “Venus”), and have no vote. And I am a romantic, not a warrior.
The story of Paul and Fiona is harrowing enough. This is the weekend that Enchanting is launched. Many of us remember the loves we lost, either because we were stupid, or the loved one was, or we both were, and how hard it was to put humpty-dumpty back together again, if at all, or to find another person we felt excited about. There is something to say in favor of “arranged marriages.” A hard act to balance for the parents and loved ones concerned, but at least the youngster does not face the situation he or she won’t find a person they could like and stays single, still looking out for what is not there.
Well, for Paul and Fiona, breaking up is a hard decision, because it all looked so beautiful, so promising after they found each other in the enticing melodies of love at the College of William & Mary. Making music together seemed heaven and then boom! Her wicked godparents put a spoke in the merry wheel.
For Paul it is like being shoved onto the wild sea in a shaky dingy. Where other women are plenty but dangerous territory. And no sharing of music. For Fiona it is even worse. She engages in an arranged marriage, which proves hell. Only to abide by the wishes of her deceased parents to marry some Belgian nobleman. Here the arranged marriage definitely and miserably failed.
I have not seen many love stories where music plays such a major role. When I search in Publishers Weekly, or similar search engines, nothing comes up when I enter love and music. Enchanting the Swan must be rather unique then.
The story formed in my mind when I looked back on my life in which I failed myself to secure the wealth of music and love. Somehow it was not given to me. I lost out on it while meeting a lovely cellist at boarding school and later in Paris when I had my adventure with the adorable pianist (Some Women I Have Known http://amzn.to/1QIL94B ). Then music faded in my life, and I could never regain it. It slipped away.
Though written in the first person, Enchanting The Swan is not a memoir. It is pure fiction. First person in this story suited its structure, so it was a deliberate choice of writing style. My next stories will be in the third person, because it allows a deeper development of the principal character and greater freedom in point of view.
The girl to whom it is dedicated, Fioen, is a relic of my young youth when she gave me that little kiss in the vegetable yard of their lovely country house, because she loved me and I loved her. I think we were both six years old. I do remember it was a beautiful feeling and how utterly destroyed I was when I heard ten years later she died in a terrible accident while riding her horse driven wagon, and a car ran into them in front of their house. It threw me off for years. I still remember her. I still see her in my memory, standing close to me. I still feel the kiss. I still love her and miss her somehow, like a dream I can’t forget.
Some of the tragedies that Fiona and Paul experience in their young life will not be strange to many people. Both are real life, and so is the music that saved them.
If you like to read a harrowing but heartwarming love story, you can get it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble by clicking as below, in Kindle, Nook or paperback.
ORDER AT AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1LPFw5o
ORDER AT BARNES & NOBLE: http://bit.ly/1Kw8gys
Have a pleasant read,