Sunday, 9 July 2017

5 Things Every Writer Should Know


Writing is a solitary activity (thank god) and while we love those quiet moments when we're completely submersed with our characters, it also leaves us vulnerable to self-doubt.


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So here's a little pick me up for those of you feeling a bit like Eeyore, moody and glum, hunched over the keyboard.

#1. Every first draft is garbage, but keep that crap coming because you can't edit a blank page.

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#2. Stop comparing yourself to the writer who just got a movie deal. Television is where the big money can be made—aim for that instead.


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#3. If you don't write this story, no one else will. Imagine if other writers gave up.

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#4. What you're doing takes tremendous skill, concentration and heart, most will fail, but you will triumph.  


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#5. You can do this. You've got this. You've come this far, just a little further until you reach the finish.

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Congratulations! You made it to the end of this post.


Now go tackle that manuscript like the bad mother fuc*er you are!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Novel Spotlight: Home Field


HOME FIELD
by Laurie Winter

Can a second chance at love be just as sweet?




Warriors of the Heart Series

One year after her husband is killed in action, Julie Ellis is back in her hometown and focused on raising her young son. Then Reagan Harrison bursts into her life—a cocky, charming linebacker who leaves her off balance.

As a successful, professional athlete, Reagan believes he has it all. But after meeting Julie, he finds every excuse in the book to spend time with her. Despite his best efforts not to fall too hard, Reagan envisions a future with Julie, along with the little boy he’s come to love as his own.

While Reagan’s protective love begins to mend Julie’s spirit, she can’t suppress her continued deep devotion to her late husband’s memory. And when a letter arrives from beyond the grave, Reagan resolves to provide her with the answers she desperately needs to heal. Now Julie must choose either to keep her heart closed off or remove the lock and fight for a future with Reagan. Can a second chance at true love be just as sweet?

Amazon // Wild Rose Press // Kobo


EXCERPT

The time was a few minutes before four o’clock, and Reagan roamed past the staff entrance of Warriors Stadium. He’d paced back and forth for the past fifteen minutes. Every so often, he would look out the glass doors for Julie’s car. If not for seeing Julie, he would’ve been in a crappy mood. Today had been a rough practice, with the coaches running the team ragged. Their tough love was part of training camp, getting men in shape for the season—the pain came with being a professional athlete. But tell that to his body, which ached like he’d been run over by a herd of buffalo. And tomorrow he’d go through the process all over again.

At four o’clock on the dot, he spotted a Jeep drive into the staff parking lot, Julie’s distinct red hair unmistakable through the windshield. He opened the door to meet her.

She stepped out of the car as Reagan approached.

“Hi, Julie.” His voice cracked. Get it together, Harrison, you’re not sixteen. He cleared his throat.“Nice to see you again.”

“Hi.” She went to the back door to let her son out of his booster seat. “Thanks for arranging this. Aiden’s really excited, so I hope you’re ready. He may give you a run for your money.”

“I’m ready for anything.” His wide smile might seem too eager, so he dialed it back a notch. Spending time with her son would remind him of why he didn’t date single moms. Although he was incredibly attracted to her, he figured a widow with a young son was too much responsibility. At this point in his professional career, he was very careful of who he let into his life. He didn’t need any distractions. This tour with Aiden should shake loose any romantic notions he had toward the kid’s mother.

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a dark-haired boy sprung out of the back seat and landed directly before Reagan. The kid was struck speechless. His wide, round eyes mirrored his gaping mouth.

“Hi, Aiden.” He shot him a friendly smile. He bent down and held out his oversized hand to shake Aiden’s. “I’m Reagan Harrison. Your mom told me you’re a big Warriors fan. Would you like to come with me and take a look inside the stadium?”

Aiden gave a slow nod and looked over at Julie.

She took hold of Aiden’s hand and gave him a soft nudge with her elbow. “He’s usually not this quiet. Enjoy the silence while it lasts because once he finds his tongue, he’ll be talking non-stop.”

Laughing, Reagan motioned for them to follow him toward the building. They walked to a large, glass-fronted visitor’s entrance.

“The stadium is pretty quiet right now, but during home games the parking lots fill up with fans for their tailgate rituals. This place can seat seventy thousand people, and the stadium can get unbelievably loud.” He held open the door for Julie and her son.

As they entered, their footsteps clicked on the black granite floors. Historical Warriors photographs surrounded them. The team colors of red and silver were everywhere, from the paint on the walls to the modern lobby furniture.

“I’m taking you to the front offices first,” Reagan said.

Julie and Aiden followed along into a large central room, with a half dozen office suites attached to this main hub. Behind a glass-topped desk sat a petite, dark-haired woman whose fast clicks on the keyboard sounded like a snare drum. She raised her gaze as the door closed behind them, her pink reading glasses perched on the tip of her nose.

“Julie and Aiden, I’d like to introduce you to the person who makes this organization run, Rosalie Turner. Rosie, these are the friends I was telling you about earlier. I’m showing them around the stadium.”

Rosalie came from behind her desk, approached them with her short stride, and gave Reagan a hug.

She was just shy of five feet tall, and Reagan knew he looked like a giant in comparison.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Laurie Winter is a true warrior of the heart. Inspired by her dreams, she creates authentic characters who overcome the odds and find true love. She keeps her life balanced with regular yoga practice and running. When not pounding the pavement or the keyboard, she's enjoying time with her family, who are scattered between Wisconsin and Michigan. Laurie has three kids and one fantastic husband, all who inspire her to chase her dreams.

CONNECT WITH LAURIE!

Website
Twitter
Facebook


Sunday, 25 June 2017

3 Traits Your Villain and Hero Should Share








A great way to show this in your story is to showcase the following elements that both your hero and villain should share.

1. Personality

We all have unique personalities. Some days we're awesome and some days we're quick to temper and kind of miserable.

When writing your villain, you're actually using the personality of the hero, but spotlighting all the less desirable traits, thereby showing what your hero could become if he makes the wrong choices and vice versa.
  

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When writing your villain, you're actually using the personality of the hero, but spotlighting all the less desirable traits


In the Harry Potter series, Malfoy is basically the snobbish rich kid, but deep down he's insecure and wishes to be the best wizard. He tries to accomplish this by cheating and buying his way through school, but Harry has to rely on skill and hard work.


2. Values


Heroes and villains can have the same value systems, in fact stories are richer for it as opposed to having a soulless bad guy. The reader will have a greater connection with the villain if his motives feel rational. When both the villain and the hero fight for what they believe in the drama is two fold.



Consider, Anne of Green Gables, Anne perceives Gilbert her main competition in the classroom, however even though they both work hard for their grades, Gilbert takes a more cheeky approach to Anne's more serious attitude. This results in making her infuriated, creating perfect drama in their shared scenes.


3. Goals


This is probably the most dramatic trait you can create between your protagonist and antagonist. A shared goal is what creates conflict and provides a reason why these two characters keep crossing paths.



In the comedy, Pitch Perfect, our heroine's choir is up against two other groups (one cheating and the other is unworthy) for the illustrious grand prize.



Why is this important?

Because the easiest way to get to know your characters is to find out what they want and why. In order to create worthy opponents start making a list of the things they have in common. You'll discover this provides a framework for adding depth to your characters and the plot.


Who are some of your favourite hero and villain pairings?

Friday, 23 June 2017

Novel Spotlight: One Night with a Duke

ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE
by Sandra Masters




The Duke Series, Book Five

Reclusive, cold as ice, the politically powerful Raven, Duke of Ravensmere, denies love after the tragic deaths of his duchess and baby. He is bound by his vow never to allow love to enter his heart again. Samantha Winston permits him to seek refuge in her carriage in a time of need, and what started as a kiss in the name of safety, becomes something more pleasurable and not so safe after all. In spite of every caution, his interest escalates into unexpected desire.

Samantha, a young widow with a secret, irreverent and high-spirited, has constructed impenetrable walls against all men. When she and Raven meet again, strong wills clash. Political intrigues and a dreaded nemesis place his life at risk, and Samantha finds herself in a dire predicament. All the while, passion soars.

Can Samantha’s barriers fall with more kisses?  Can Raven be released from his deathbed vow?



Amazon // Wild Rose Press // Barnes and Noble //   Kobo // Apple iBooks



Excerpt

Samantha bestowed upon him a smile that rivaled the chandeliers in the ballroom. “I have warned Brandon he is not to bid for me. It would be a total embarrassment to have one’s brother do so. My widow status has its drawbacks, you know.” Her light and pleasurable conversation she hoped would make for a welcome change. “I do hope that none of the rakish kind will offer for my basket. Men do feel widows are fair game. I’m not sure how I would handle such rakes. I have insufficient experience, but I suppose I will have to learn.”

“My dear Samantha, do you expect me to believe that in these past three years, you haven’t encountered disreputable men?” He laughed. “I do believe you will have a sufficient amount of reputable young men who will bid on you and your picnic basket. After all, it’s for a good cause, isn’t it? But I do hope you will keep your conversation light, or you will suffer the young man to have indigestion or apoplexy.

Impishly, she said, “I deserved that. I like your sense of humor. It’s also good to hear you laugh. We do battle well.” Perhaps he could be a man of consequence?

“Indeed, but I warn you, I have not started my retaliation. When one acquires an enemy, I don’t believe in keeping him or her closer; however, I might make an exception for you.”

“Oh. No, I’m not your enemy, Your Grace. Please don’t consider me as one.”

“Perhaps if you try hard, you can change my mind.” A small grin curled his lips.

“What would I have to do?”

“I leave that to your resourcefulness…and mine…under a starlit night with nothing but our naked imaginations.”

“Sweet heaven,” she muttered.

Without further ado, he guided her around the ballroom floor with ease and confidence.

The music played on, and she wished it wouldn’t end. Samantha comported herself it seemed, and so far she managed not to step on his toes with pointed shoes or barbed words. What strategies could she employ to become his friend? Hmm, Aunt Min would tell her to use feminine wiles.

Aquarians, she thought, as they turned the dance floor again, were intellectual, fair, kind and sometimes progressive. Truth, honor, and valor were his trademarks by his admission. However, the other side, which could be considered the worst, was the ability to be remote, stubborn, arrogant and perhaps distrustful. What did she like best about him? After consideration, she thought him suave.

Oh, what a wonderful man.

The dance ended too soon. With exquisite manners, Raven directed her to a quiet corner where they sat on a settee, still in view, but a little more private. “Lady Samantha, we haven’t discussed truth, honor, and valor.” He relaxed his back against the tufted furniture.

She engaged his eyes. “Your Grace, I do apologize as I know that you are true to your sign and that truth and honor are paramount to your standards. It defines you in all you say and do, but pray tell which is more important?”

“They are both important. One does not exist without the other. Valor is thrown into the equation to make it more difficult. You, Samantha, are true to your sign. I believe they are your charm, wit, and a versatile inquisition which is in constant commotion.” He laughed. “I rather like that word commotion. It’s the essence of you.” He paused. “You are constant motion with your lips and mind.”

He spread one arm along the top edge of the settee and cocked his head. “I would also add outspoken
and, at times, impolite and irreverent, although I’m not sure it’s your sign. I think it’s just your nature. After your barrage this evening, allow me to enjoy this moment.”

About the Author



Sandra lives in Coarsegold, California with her husband, Ron, who is her plotster, and their two dogs, Silky Houdini and Sophie Chiquita. When she’s not writing, she’s busy cooking way too much rustic Italian food for friends and family. She loves bears of all kinds and prefers to collect them in paintings and wood carvings. Once in a while In the middle of ordinary life LOVE gives us a FAIRY TALE.

Connect with Sandra!
Website
Twitter






Thursday, 15 June 2017

Confessions of a Romance Writer: The First Time I Touched 'It'



The first time I touched a penis I was eighteen. There were three of us in the room, two standing and one lying down.

I remember shaking and thinking, "This is it. I'm going to see a real naked penis." I was terrified, but I felt I was on the cusp of a monumental shift in my life, as if I was passing over a tangible line in the sand.

An epiphany, indeed. Everything that had happened to me up to that moment would be forever knows as BP; before penis.

When I was a teenager, if you wanted a sneak peek at the mysteries of the opposite sex, you had to rely on
National Geographic or the Encyclopedia Britannica for a glimpse at nudity. I still remember the first volume—A for anatomy—had these cool transparent overlapping pages detailing the multiple layers of veins, organs, and then finally the skin.

Ew. Penises were ugly. And don't even get me started on the hair. The shock of that picture was enough to make me take down my
Duran Duran poster—after all, that would make five dangling, hairy penises staring at me from the bedroom wall.

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Fast forward a few years and I find myself only a fraction of a body width away from a real one. There was no turning back, I would have to touch it...I knew that much.

Some people enter the pool by diving in and some take the stairs, inching themselves into the water, trying to convince their bodies to keep going deeper. For me, touching the penis was going to have to be tackled with the jumping-in-before-I-chickened-out technique.

I wrapped my hand around the spongy protrusion and waited. And waited.

Is this it? I wondered. Is this rubbery thing what all the love songs are about? Is this what I'll be married to one day?!

"Hold it taut," she said. Her voice was soft, but commanding. "Now gently insert the catheter, taking care once you reach the hub of the bladder." There was a pause. The nursing instructor leaned closer to the head of the hospital bed. She raised her voice and asked, "Are you all right Mr. Kline?"

The grey haired man lying on the bed nodded that he was all right, despite the fact a shaking student nurse was sweating under her gloves and querying the meaning of life while performing his catheterization.

Poor Mr. Kline—that wasn't his real name—I doubt his seventy-five-year-old penis found the moment as definitive as I did.

Once his bladder had been accessed and drained (actual medical terminology on my skills check off list) and the task was completed, my shift came to an end. I marched back to residence in my white, soft soled shoes a little taller. I'd seen a penis, even touched one—heck mauled might be a better word.

And I survived.

I had solved one of the great mysteries that had hung over my head since those days of flipping through the encyclopedia. There was an immediate essence of wisdom within my conscious, but there was also an underlying cunning, like I was harbouring a fantastic secret.

The world seemed a little less scarier or maybe I was a bit more brave.

That night, I decided to do something that terrified me even more than touching a penis. I walked into the local pharmacy, picked up a box of tampons and got in the checkout line that had a male cashier. I even made eye contact with him when I handed over my money.

I was invincible. Hear me roar.

Rest in peace, Mr. Kline. I hope you had many happy years after our brief encounter. Thanks for the memories.

Congratulations! You made it to the end of this post. Please enjoy Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman"



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