Saturday, April 30, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: Z

Z is for Zephyr

When I began the A-Z blog challenge, I had in mind to explain some of the unique aspects of the characters in my book.  Things that are very normal to them and their world.  As I got into blogging though, it turned more into the writing side of my world.  But one thing I didn’t really want to let by without explaining is the Breath of Zephyr. 

In my book, Cornerstone Deep, Cole and his brothers are from a gifted dimension, Meridian.  They can manipulate the elements, disperse their bodies into smoke and fly, and they can emit the Breath of Zephyr. 

While all people from that dimension have a common scent, mostly noticeable when they’re around family and friends—men licorice and women almond—each has a personal scent they share with their chosen.  It’s in their breath and is an intimate part of them.   

The idea for this came from a piece I memorized in High School.  It was the prelude to the Canterbury Tales.  I've always loved this piece and the visual this particular passage paints. 


       When in April the sweet showers fall
       And pierce the drought of March to the root, and all
       The veins are bathed in liquor of such power
       As brings about the engendering of the flower,
5     When also Zephyrus with his sweet breath
       Exhales an air in every grove and heath
       Upon the tender shoots,
and the young sun
       His half-course in the sign of the Ram has run,
       And the small fowl are making melody
10   That sleep away the night with open eye
       

In Greek mythology, Zephyr was the god of the west wind.  A Zephyr is also known as a sweet breeze.  The full prelude can be found here.  I hope you enjoy it.


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Friday, April 29, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: Y

Y is for Yarn.  As in spinning one. ; )

We’ve all heard the saying, “spinning a yarn,” when talking about telling a tale.  But did you ever wonder what yarn has to do with storytelling?

To spin a fiber correctly and ensure it remains the right size, length and twist, the spinner has to continually stretch the material.  When the old-timers wanted to suggest that someone was stretching the truth, they likened it to “spinning a yarn.”

On a lighter note, back when women would spin yarn on spinning wheels, they often did it in groups.  To pass the time, they told stories.  The adage “spin a yarn” came to mean the telling of stories. 

While the second explanation is charming, I think the first falls mighty close to the actual writing of a book.  We, as authors, have to work the words (or fibers) to make sure they fit smoothly.  Adjust the sentences, scenes, dialogue, characters, plot…  It’s a careful procedure.  And a lot of times, we do stretch the truth or emphasis certain parts of our stories to add dramatic effect.  In the case of fantasy, we smooth go out there.  Lol. 

What are some of your favorite yarns you’ve read?  How well did the writer fit all the fibers together to share with you an enjoyable story?



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Thursday, April 28, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: X

X is for Xtras.  Yeah, I cheated on that one. ; )

Okay, you’ve written your book.  Your manuscript is 120K words.  You set yourself to revision mode, trimming it down and tightening it up.  That can be painful.  You spent so much time putting your heart into those scenes.  And what do you do with them once you do weed them out?  Just leave them setting in a .doc file somewhere in your archives?  That’s just a shame.  A waste.

Add a Free Xtras page to your website for those hungry readers who fell in love with your characters and story and want more.  If it hasn't been published yet, you could still set this up as free peeks and build interest for when it does hit the market.  I have a website in the works for my series Chronicles of Shilo Manor on which all my Xtras will be available.  Cornerstone Deep items will be the first to be added to the site.  People love free things.  Making them available to your fans is a great promotional tool.

Here are a few Xtras you could share:

Character sketches
Outlines
Catch phrases
World building notes (This can be added even if your story takes place in a well know place on Earth.  Not everyone has been to Los Angeles, London, or Paris).
Maps
Photos that inspired a setting or character (You might want to check copyrights before posting).
Comments
Letters to the readers from the characters
Deleted scenes
Quotes

Have fun putting it all together.  Your readers will have fun checking it out.

Have you had experience with offering Xtras on your website or blogs?  How did it work for you?  Any advice?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: W

Whether or Weather…whatever.

Yeah, I have the weather on my mind a lot lately with all the storms and tornado warnings we’ve been having here in Arkansas, but as I read over my daughter’s short story, the incorrect spelling of the word “whether” sparked an idea for my W post in the A-Z blog challenge.  Words that may sound the same but have different meanings.

They can be confusing, these little buggers.

Here are a few more common used homonyms that are easy to get mixed up.  Watch for them in your own writing.

Accept : (verb) - to receive willingly, to approve, to aggree.
Except : (preposition or verb) - exclusion or leave out.

Advice : (noun) - suggestion or recommendation.
Advise : (verb) - to suggest.

Affect : (verb) - to change.
Effect : (noun) - result.

Buy : (verb) - to purchase.
By : next to something, by way of something.
Bye : Used to express farewell. Short for [goodbye].

Decent: kind, tolerant, respectable, modest.
Descent: family origins or ancestry. Also the process of coming or going down.
Dissent: (verb or noun) disagreement with a prevailing or official view.

Here : in, at, or to this place.
Hear : to perceive (sound) by the ear.

Where : to, at or in what place.
Were : past tense of the verb [to be]
Wear : to have clothing, glasses, etc. on your body.



Can you find the errors in this next paragraph?  Post it in the comments below and we’ll see who comes away being the High Homonym Holder.    : )


There going two peak over the hole thing and than see about romping threw the sweet smelling planes of Champagne.  The only descent excuse for not whereing the whether proof jackets was that they were following the advise given by the piece maker.  They sited him word for word.  I had know choice butt too agree.

Good luck!


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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: V

Video Book Trailers

Making a book trailer is a fun way to promote a new novel.  Whether your novel is self-published, an e-book, or a New York Times bestseller, a video trailer is a great way to catch the attention of more readers. 
The best way to begin is to watch some that other authors have put together.  You can find a host of them on YouTube by doing a simple search or check out authors’ websites.  Notice what makes them stand out and make notes.

Write a short blurb about your book.  This should be easy…after all, you’ve already condensed your work into a few short sentences for that cursed query letter. Lol. 

Find pictures to represent the story.  This can be fun.  There are a lot of places to collect just the right image online.  Be sure the images aren’t copyrighted.  You can select “labeled for commercial reuse” if you’re using Google Images. 

Some book trailers incorporate video. If you’re tech savvy…have fun.  As for me, I had to stick with the slideshow style.  But these turn out beautifully too.  Many fantastic book trailers use only images and words, and are very effective.

To create a slideshow, use a movie editor such as Windows Movie (for PC) or iMovie (for Mac).  Another option is to use an online editor, such as Slide Roll.

Now select the music, or use a voice over.  This is a great way to set the mood.  Pop tunes for a light, contemporary novel, dark, classical music for a historical mystery… 

Book trailers can be as simple or complex as you want them to be.  But it’s advised to keep them to from 1.5-3 minutes in length.  Don’t let them drag on or give away too much information.  Remember, they are to catch the attention and reel in the reader to take a closer look.

Here are a few to spur your creative juices. 


Michelle Argyle self published Cinders and hired models for her promtional images.She's now with Rhemalda Publishing.




This is my own...simply done.




This book was written by a teen and publishded through KidPub.  Well done Julianne Gentry!






Have fun creating.  And let me know how it goes.  Do you have trailers for your books?  Or know of some that really caught your attention?  Share them with us!


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Monday, April 25, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: U

U is for Unique

Trying to find your unique voice can be awkward and a bit unsettling.  You may think you’d only be comfortable in a certain genre, but taking a chance and trying your hand at something new could surprise you and really pay off. 

As I looked around to find a few examples I could share, I ran across Ten Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice and found them helpful.

Below is an exercise to help draw out that style that is uniquely yours.  Be honest about your views, wants, dreams, and fears when you write them down.

Take a moment and jot some things down that these prompts bring to mind.  Then try using them in 10-30 min writing exercises without going back and correcting anything.  Just write.  Push yourself and don’t let fear or insecurity about the topic get in the way. 

Childhood memories.
Dreams and nightmares.
Ten gifts I'd give myself with magic.
If I could spend a million dollars, I'd buy...
What I want most in the world.
What I'd do anything to avoid.
Things that are creepy.
Things that are sexy.
Best foods.
Best times.

“At the heart of everything that you've ever read that moved you, touched you, changed your life, there was a writer's fear. And a writer's determination to say what he had to say in spite of that fear.

So be afraid... And then thank your fear for telling you that what you're doing, you're doing right.”  (Holly Lisle)



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Saturday, April 23, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: T

Oh, by the way...Thanks for the rejection.

T is for Thank you.

At the beginning of the year, I received a rejection letter.  I read it, and then read it through again.  I was confused.  Not that I got a rejection, like all authors, I’ve had my share.  But, I honestly didn’t remember submitting to this publisher.  Especially since Cornerstone Deep was published in November.  So, I looked back into my records and sure enough, I had sent them my manuscript for consideration…in January of last year. 

Since I didn’t remember submitting to them in the first place, I did a little research and checked them out again.  Once I saw their guidelines, I did vaguely remember it all.  Like many out there, they stated that they’d get back to me in about 4-6 weeks.  No doubt, after I didn’t hear from them, I headed off and subbed somewhere else…like to the publisher who accepted it and drove all the other submissions out of my mind. 

Anyway, regardless to say, I got a good chuckle from the whole thing.  Truly, these people were dedicated to notifying every submission they received with a 'yes' or 'no' answer.  And I couldn’t resist emailing them back with a 'thank you'.

Not long ago, I sat in on a class about querying etiquette and one thing that stuck in my mind was that it was good practice to reply to every submission response, whether good or bad, with a note of thanks.  I had always done this after being considered for a job, but hadn’t thought about it as an author.  The teacher of the class, being an acquisitions editor, said that the names of those who responded with a ‘thank you’ stood out when they resubmitted or submitted another work.  She couldn’t help but give them a little more consideration. 

Do you reply when you receive a, “not at this time?”  How about some memorable responses to your submissions?



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Friday, April 22, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: S

S is for Support Groups on the A-Z Blog Challenge and Fantastic Friday Writers.


I find writing support groups a great help.  If you aren’t a member of any, I recommend trying them out.  But how do you find the one that’s right for you? 

Before I found my critique partners, I joined a few online communities and took advantage of the groups they offered.  Some were very blunt to the point of being tactless and harsh in their responses and being new at everything writing, I found myself hesitant to put my work up for review.  I saw responses to others’ who posted that really rubbed me wrong.  Short reviews like, “Don’t you read your own writing?  Who would want to read that?” or “I stopped reading and scanned the rest.  Yup, boring.”  True responses there.  I finally headed to another community. 

A few others had so little activity that I didn’t stay with them either.  I finally settled with one that I found helpful and had users that showed the patience I needed as a newbie.  I met Jen and Ana in the Fantasy Keep Novel Writer’s Workshop on that site and would recommend Writing.Com for anyone just starting out.  (Or anyone who would like to help newbies get going).   

Some of the online writing communities out there?  Here are a few…

AbsoluteWrite (for the thick skinned *wink*)
Authonomy (owned by Harper Collins)
Savvy Authors (mega site with lots of info for the serious writer)
Writer’s CafĂ© (a quiet site that I didn't dive much into, but calm and easy on the beginner)
Writing.Com (huge, a bit difficult to learn if you're new to the internet but has groups to help the newbies. Lots of info for the beginning writer)

These offer free accounts and paid membership if you want added features.
Of course there are groups on a national level that are genre specific that we can join.  Some only accept published ,authors but others welcome rising stars as well.  These also have local chapters you can join and mingle with those who have the same goals in common.

Here are just a few at the national level...


I apologize to all our non-American friends out there, I didn’t list those available abroad.   There are many, so check them out by searching online.

If you use support groups, which have you found to be the most helpful?  Feel free to link us up.


Check out the other Fantastic Friday Writers' blogs for more information on support groups!



Thursday, April 21, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: R

R is for Repeat…again.

Sometimes it’s obvious when we repeat a word in a sentence, paragraph, page, or scene.  We, or our critique partners, can find them when we edit.  But there are times redundancies aren’t quite so obvious because they are phrases we use everyday without thinking.  If we want to tighten up our writing and make it shine, weeding these out will be a great help. 

Below is a list of several commonly used phrases that, when you take a closer look, you’ll see are completely repetitive.  When I first saw these, I had to laugh.  Some are just way too obvious.


Advance warning
And etc
Assemble together
Bald headed
Best ever
Brief moment
Closed fist
Combine together
Drop down
Disappear from sight
Each and every
Exact time
Final end
Follow after
Gather together
Head honcho
Hoist up
Incredible to believe
ISBN number
Join together
Kneel down
Lift up
Live witness
Mental telepathy
Mix together
Never before
None at all
Old adage
Over exaggerated
Pair of twins
Past memories
Plan ahead
Pouring down rain
Pursue after
Reflect back
Rise up
Safe haven
Sum total
Tall in stature
Temper tantrum
Tuna fish
(or )
Unexpected emergency
Visible to the eye
Warn in advance



You can find a larger list here.  I had fun looking over these.  It was a bit of an eye-opener to how often I use them without realizing it.

How many of these look like familiar phrases you’ve used in your writing?  Would you go back and change them?



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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: Q

Q is for…Quit?

“This is impossible.  I can’t do it.  I Quit!” 

Have you ever felt like the demands of writing are so great that you got overwhelmed, threw your hands in the air, and wanted to (or even did) walk away?

How long did that last?  Lol.

Writing is in my soul.  Though I’ve gotten frustrated and felt steamrolled by what it takes to do this job, I could never leave it behind.  My characters call too loud to me, my muse wakes me in the middle of the night, and the pull to my Microsoft Word is too strong.

I recently ran across Mike’s Writing Workshop and Newsletter.  He asked his blog readers the question:  “What’s your biggest frustration as a writer?”  The full list can be found here, but I wanted to share a few because I think all of us can relate to them.  (I hope it’s okay to that).

~ My biggest frustration is trying to remember all the rules, whether its POV, showing vs. telling, passive voice, too much back story or doesn’t move the story forward. Rules, rules rules.

~ What’s so frustrating? Not enough hours in the day or night (I never get enough sleep) - especially when “normal life duties” interfere with creativity.

~ I guess it would be not believing in myself and my writing abilities.

~ My biggest frustration as a writer is trying to get publishers to look at my manuscripts. I have read all of the advice and have followed them, but to no avail. It can't possibly be that hard, can it?

~ My biggest frustration is striking the right balance between writing and promoting. If I spend too much time writing, my work gets lost in the sea of other books. If I spend too much time getting noticed, nothing new gets written. If I had the money, I'd hire a publicist, but that's for somewhere off in the future. (I home).

~ OMG I have worked and dreamed so hard to be a writer and today I’m a WRITER! It’s the best job in the world!  So, no frustrations from this girl...just so grateful for my fortune.

Okay, so that last one wasn’t a frustrated writer.  Lol.  I just couldn’t resist adding it.  :-)

So, I'd like to pose you the same question.  What’s your biggest frustration as a writer?


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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: P

P is for Promotion

Okay, so you wrote a book, it was accepted by a publising house, and was released.  Congratulations!  That's a mile stone!  Now the real work begins.  Actually, you should have started this part of your writing career before the book ever came out...but hey, you're at it now. :)

Promotion is essential to get you and your book out there and known.  And even if you have a publisher that does a wonderful job in this area, your input is vital.

A few things to get you going would be linking to blogs, creating your own website, joining reader/writing groups, adding yourselves and following fan blogs, doing up your Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, befriending authors…these are all free resources an author can use to promote.

PROMOTING THAT COST MONEY

Radio spots
Newspapers/Magazines
Bookstores
Ad space on genre specific sites

Promoting your baby can be exciting and it's easy to be enticed into spending a lot of money on this, so keep in mind that you want to be sure you'll earn back what you invest. Be realistic.

LOW COST PROMOTIONALS

Create a website/blog: There are many “free” builder websites out there. Put your website/blog link in your email signature with a small picture of your cover and a one-liner from your novel.  Post excerpts of your writing on your site; discuss what’s in the future for you and what you’re currently working on, etc. Inform the public.

Business cards: Have your website/blog, Twitter, etc. link on there so people know where to find you. Hand them out to friends to pass along to their friends. Always keep a couple of them with you wherever you go. These are also great to hand out at book signings.

Join reader/author loops: Yahoo has hundreds. You can post excerpts and book covers to spark the attention of readers who are there for that reason.  You can connect with publishers, editors and other authors who write in your genre.

Arrange book signings: Depending on where you are published, this may be arranged in-house or you may have to do it yourself. Go to bookstores and inquire in person. Making the effort to attend in person creates a more personal impression than a telephone.

Create a book trailer: There are several programs out there that let you make your own if you'd like to take on the task.  Post the trailer on uTube and advertise it on your website.  Some review sites advertise these too.

Author pages at review sites: I write romance novels, so I really only know some some of the sites for that genre.  Deep In The Heart Romance, The Romance Studio, Coffee Time Romance, and Manic Readers are just a few.  They all offer “Author Pages” where you can set up your own page and showcase your work Search the net for genre specific review sites.

Run contests: Make announcements on your author loops that you’re hosting a contest and what they could win. Ask friends to announce it on their blogs, websites, and writing sites.Wherever you are a member, shout out your contest.


These are only a few ideas of you can do to promote that work that you poured so much time, love, and energy into.  If there's something that has or is working great for you, please share it with us!


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Monday, April 18, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: O

O is for objectivity.

This weekend I failed to post something for N in the A-Z challenge.  I would normally feel bad about it, but I have a wonderful excuse.  :D 

I spent Friday night and Saturday beta reading a fantastic novel for a dear friend before she submitted it to a publisher.  Saturday night and Sunday was spent reading another great novel for another dear friend for the same reason. 

 
One thing about being a beta reader for friends, I found I had to set my mind to be objective while reading their work.  It’s important to point out not only spelling and grammar errors, but also areas that don’t flow well, are jarring, could use more explanation or “beefing up” or even cutting down.  Though we word them kindly, we like our critiques very honest.  It’s how we know where to improve. 

Though we lean toward the fantasy genre, our styles of writing are quite different.  We have to read with an objective eye and not try to influence the others into changing their “voice”. 

If you’re interested in learning how to review another’s work, you can check out Guidelines to Great Reviewing on Writing.Com.  Being honest, encouraging, and respectful are at the top of the list of a good objective review. 

I find getting others’ opinions and having extra eyes look over my own work before submitting is a huge help and I value my beta readers’ input.  A lot!  I love you guys!

Are you involved with a critique group or do you prefer to work on your own?  If you do help with others' work, how do you go about it?


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Friday, April 15, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: M

Making the scene count.

No matter how small the scene, it needs to propel the plot forward in some way.  A scene for entertainment's sake becomes evident as the reader progresses through book and they're likely to get irritated as it will appear to be stuck in there.  Though stories can be character driven, the plot should be followed.  I recently read a story where the was a scene was entirely made up of how the weather and seasons had changed.  This could have been weaved into the next scene with the characters noticing this as they carried forth the plot with their actions and dialogue.  It felt to me like a major author intrusion and I felt irritated when I realized this.  Admitedly, it could be because I'm an author and look at things a bit differnt than the occasional  reader.

A kind aquaintance, after reading my book, gave me a trilogy written...well many, many years ago.  She let me know that this was how people wrote if I wanted to learn how.  I read.  So much of the first book had nothing to do with really anything that I didn't continue.  It was filled with a lot of frilly words and scenes that it seemed like the author was trying to show off their vocabulary and vast ability to weave purple prose.  I thanked her and returned the books.

Do you notice these types of scenes?  Or is it that I'm a writer and have been taught differenly that gets in the way?


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Thursday, April 14, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: L

L is for Limits.  Do you know yours?

As a writer, I tend to push myself until I overload.  I’ve had a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that creativity isn’t always convenient.  I set goals and then in my zeal to meet them, I hit a bump.  Then it’s like Ernest Hemingway put it...  It’s like drilling rock and you have to blast it out with charges.  So, I try.  Then try harder.  And that only seems to make things worse.  Things don’t work out as I planned.  The story doesn’t flow.  My head starts to throb and we won’t mention the blood pressure reading.  Stress hits.

I thought I’d pass along 8 Stress Management Tips for Writers just in case you’re like me and sometimes don’t live within their limits.

1. Set realistic expectations. Honestly, who can write 7,000 words a day, send 25 well-written, well-researched pitches to magazine editors, revise a 75,000 word manuscript in a weekend…well, you get the idea.  Stress less by setting writing goals that are lofty but attainable. 

2. Eat nutrients that increase energy. Stay away from those diet colas, iced Americanos, and energy drinks (quick highs, but you’ll crash soon). A healthier way to reduce stress is to eat foods that increase energy production, which will help your body cope with the deadlines and lofty goals. B Vitamins, magnesium and ribose are an important part of stress management for writers. For more info, read 10 Tips for Eating Healthy While Working From Home.

3. Move your body. To reduce stress as a writer, get oxygen bubbling through your veins and to your brain. Run, cycle, spin, belly dance, (had to see if you were paying attention. lol) walk… The more you exercise, the more freely ideas and words will flow.

4. Write in a different genre. An effective stress management tip for writers is to try writing poetry if you normally write textbooks or penning your memoirs if you normally write technical manuals. Ever try writing a comedy?

5. Visualize the finished manuscript, article, or book proposal. Imagine your accomplished goals. To reduce stress and stop the writer’s block that often comes with stress, sit back and visualize yourself as a successful writer. 

6. Free your mind. To get rid of writer’s block and create peace in your life, seek harmony.  To succeed as a writer, focus on health and wellness in all aspects of your life. 

7. Organize your desk, computer files, and house. Cleaning and organizing your environment can help foster feelings of control and efficiency – which can help you feel less stressed while you’re writing. As long as you don’t use cleaning as a procrastination tactic. *wink*

What do you do to keep from reaching your limit and overloading?


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: K

K is for Kinks.

Ironing out the Kinks can really be a job!  When revising, I try to read through my book soley to make sure the story flows and doesn’t have big boo-boos.  It would be bad to have a character showing up when they should be in another town or someone who broke their leg run down the street at full speed. 

When I was reading through my galley proof of Cornerstone Deep (the final read through before it goes to the printer) I came across a tiny word that totally didn’t fit.  Husband.  Elaina and her sister were talking.  In the dialogue, Linda stated that Elaina’s husband couldn’t be only twenty-four years old.  The problem?  They hadn’t gotten married yet.  That happens in the next book.  I don’t know how long ago I had made that change, but that sentence evaded me until the last possible read through.

A friend of mine who’d just finished reading my book turned to a page and told me to read a line she pointed out.  I quickly scanned it and read…

A cold chill ran down his back.

She closed the book and reopened it, pointing it out again.  “Okay, read it again.”

I looked closer.

A cold chill ran up is back.

She closed the book again and held it out to me.  “Read it again.”

I read it word for word.

A cold child ran up his back.

I busted out laughing as I envisioned Cole in a major tense show down with Lord Dressen and the pitter patter of little bare feet ran up his back.

Of course, all books have errors, whether punctuation, spelling or word.  We’re all human and are prone to mistakes.  As many times as I read Cornerstone Deep and as many editors the manuscript went through, we all missed several little things. 

Have you run across things in your own books that once they’ve been to print just make you shake your head and think, “How could I have missed that!”



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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Author Interview At Tuesday Talks

I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed by Susan Clairidge for Tuesday Talks where she spotlights authors and their works on her Feeling the Fiction blog.  I'd love for you to hop by and check it out.  Leave a note and say "hey" so I know you stopped by.  See you there! :)


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A-Z Blog Challenge: J

J is for Justification!

It’s natural.  After all, everybody needs a reason to do what they do, right?  Even the bad guy.  Unless he’s just plain evil.  And in that case, um…the devil made him do it?  :D 

In my book, Cornerstone Deep, Lord Dressen tried countless times to get Anna to fall for him.  Since none of them worked, he upped the strategy.  In his mind, it was his standing that kept her from considering a life with him so he removed the option of her considering altogether.  He justified his plan by believing that she loved him and that he was helping her get past the obstacle.  His unhealthy obsession with her to begin with is another story.  And justification plays a role in it too.

To me, knowing why the antagonist does his deeds usually makes me dislike him all-the-more.  Then when very different people lock horns and have their own views justifying their actions, things get exciting.  The tension builds and I root for hero to save the day.  (Or at least survive trying).

Would you rather have insight to why the villain does what he does?  Or do you like to just hate the bad guy for doing it?


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Monday, April 11, 2011

Interview and Contest at Deep In The Heart Romance

I was interviewed by Renee Vincent and it's posted today at Deep In The Heart Romance.  Some of those questions weren't so easy.  Lol.  But Renee is great to work with.  If you haven't checked out her site yet, it's full of great reads and information on the authors. 

I'm also offering an ebook copy of Cornerstone Deep to a lucky winner, so hop over and enter to win! 


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A-Z Blog Challenge: I

Of course, Inspiration can come from just about anything, in any place, about the oddest things.  But, has inspiration ever just hit and when you sat down to write, the words poured out so fast your pages were filled with those little red and green squiggly underlines that showed all your spelling and grammar mistakes?  You were so into your story that you didn’t care about making it all writerly right? 

After years of setting my writing aside and putting everything else like job, young children, and housework (yeah, it’s taken a bit of a dive lately) first, when I let my mind get back to the stories and characters I loved, it all came out in a rush.  It resulted in my first series, Aumelan. 

I didn’t really know the proper way (if that’s the right way to put it) to do things as far as writing a book went at that point.  I just wrote because I was so into the story and fell in love with my characters that I had to keep going.  And it really shows in that series.  Major revisions are needed to get it anywhere near publishable. 

As I learned more about what made a good book good, I began to get paranoid.  I found myself reading over a scene I’d just written, a paragraph, or even just a sentence and then reading it over again.  The results?  Frustration and partial works.  And I still struggle with this. 

I’ve made outlines, wrote scenes to follow those outlines, and then took the next step to revise...and this works.  But I still miss the freedom I felt when I sat down and just let the inspiration run wild. 

How do you handle your inspiration and writing?  Is it a free flow?  Or a structured development?


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Saturday, April 9, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: H

Head hopping.  Oh!  The pain!

Head-hopping is changing character viewpoints within a scene, maybe even after every couple of sentences or paragraph by paragraph.  It’s jarring and confusing.  Some writers say, “But, I write in Omniscient.”  And though Omniscient writers may choose to reveal the thoughts or feelings of several characters within a scene, it needs to be done skillfully.  In Stephen King's The Shining, the viewpoint changes from Wendy to Danny within the same scene with description between them. It flows very well and the casual reader doesn't notice.

I borrowed this example from an AbsoluteWrite forum:

Head-hopping: it's usually an ill-controlled POV by the author to try to follow multiple characters at the same time, but without any cohesion or a unique omniscient narrator. The POVs are of the characters', but the POV jumps from one character to another without control, usually within the same scene or even paragraph. It's usually a symptom in 3rd limited POV. For example, as the story is told for character A's POV, suddenly the readers are privy to character B's thoughts or feelings or observations (outside of character A's POV). It's jarring and uncontrolled.

Omniscient:There were six people on the island, and they were all thinking one thing: how to kill the others to survive. Little did they know, however, that a giant lizard was coming their way from the far end of the island.

Head-hopping:
Stuck on the island, Joe thought of his survival, and how he would kill the others. He looked over to Mary and wondered what she was thinking. Mary looked back at Joe and thought: I should kill Joe so I can survive. Joe knew that look on Mary's face. He realized she was thinking the same thing.


If you’re not sure of the different viewpoints of writing, here’s a little run down…

Point of view is where the camera sits at any point in time.

If the camera is sitting behind a character's eyes, it's 1st person.

If the camera is sitting behind the reader's eyes, it's 2nd person.

If the camera is sitting outside any character or reader, it's 3rd person.

If the camera is sitting on a single character's shoulder for a limited length of time (a scene, chapter, book), it's limited 3rd person.

If the camera sits like God On High and can extend its view, however momentarily, into any and anything's eyes, it's omniscient 3rd person.



I like to write in limited third person, but while I was learning to tighten up this style, I was constantly called on my “head hopping”.    

Please tell me I’m not the only one that has a hard time with this skill.


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Friday, April 8, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: G

Since I also participate in the Fantastic Friday Writers blog, I’ve decided to use the topic they chose to blog about for my G post in the A-Z blog challenge.  Isn’t it great they chose Genre, which fits perfectly into today’s slot?  :D  Luck me!

Most of my books fall under the Romance genre, though they could also be classified under Fantasy and Paranormal.  Sub-genres seem countless when you get down to listing them.  But below are a few of the main divisions for fiction books.




Mystery

Mysteries focus on a crime, usually murder. The action tends to center on a cunning detective-type to solve the crime. And the climax usually occurs near the end, where the mystery is solved. The solution, complete with surprises, is shared with the characters and reader.
















Romance

In romance novels, you have elements of fantasy, love, adventure, and a heroic lover overcoming odds to be with his true love.


















Science Fiction/Fantasy

Science fiction/Fantasy novels depict distant worlds and futuristic technologies that whirl readers far away from the here and now and yet provoke contemplation of contemporary issues.


















Suspense/Thrillers

In Suspense and Thrillers, a writer's objective is to deliver a story with sustained tension, surprise, and a constant sense of impending doom that propels the reader forward. 


















Westerns

Westerns are about life on America's post Civil War western frontier and usually involve conflicts between cowboys and outlaws, cowboys and Native Americans, or Easterners and Westerners.


















Young Adult

Young Adult includes any type of novel with a protagonist in the 12 to 16 age range that speaks to the concerns of teenagers. 















What is your favorite genre to read/write?  Any suggestions of great reads?  If you’ve written a book, feel free to mention it here and where we can find it.


Check out the other Fantastic Friday Writers' blogs!





Thursday, April 7, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge: F

F is for foreshadowing.


How many of you have read a book and when you came to the end were like, “Aha!”  Things that happened vaguely throughout and, though they fit in the scene at that moment, actually proved to serve a bigger purpose. 

Some readers might not realize what’s happening to them when you introduce tight, preplanned introductions to future events and they become wrapped up in the story and have to turn that next page. 

Recently, a dear friend read a book and mentioned how predictable it was.  In fact, several times, as she related the experience while reading it, she guessed ahead of time what would happen next.  And she was right without fail.  Foreshadowing should create anticipation, both on a conscious and subconscious level.  Admittedly, there are those avid readers out there that can zero in on the smallest of hints and guess correctly.  ; ) 

When I write, I go back several times while revising to add small (and sometimes lengthy) passages to help foreshadow coming events.  For instance, (and I’m giving away a big one here) in Cornerstone Deep, Anna’s first experience in her new home after being harvested for service provided more than just a look into how she’d been changed by the spell that was cast on her.  It provided a foundation for how she would react at an important turning point in the plot…a reaction Cole hadn’t been prepared for.

Have you found yourself disappointed when you came to the end of a book and found it was far too predictable?  Or worse, the conclusion was so far fetched and unrealistic that you wanted to (or did) chuck the thing into the recycle bin?


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