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"



Sunday, 11 June 2017

Novel Spotlight: Bitter Legacy


BITTER LEGACY
by
C.B. Clark

She only ever wished for two things, a red dress
...and her father's death.



Sharla-Jean Bromley returns to her hometown after a seventeen-year absence with vengeance in her heart. From the very beginning, her plans go awry when she meets devastatingly handsome Josh Morgan, the man to whom her father left half of his multi-million dollar lumber mill.

Josh, suspicious of Sharla-Jean’s reasons for returning to town after such a long absence, vows to keep control of the company he feels is rightfully his. She is equally determined to prove she can run her father’s mill, even though it means working side-by-side with Josh, a man whose very presence evokes an attraction that is increasingly difficult for her to ignore.

In the process, they must overcome a villain who’s determined to destroy both the lumber mill and their lives. Will Sharla-Jean succeed and heal the anguish that has long filled her soul? Will she and Josh find the passion of a lifetime?

BUY LINKS

Amazon // The Wild Rose Press //  Nook //  Kobo //  iTunes


EXCERPT

What the hell?

A rock the size of a baseball was jammed in the opening, preventing the door from closing. The thud of her heart amped up until all she heard was its frantic pounding. She fumbled in her pocket for her cell phone, drew it out, but dropped it. The tiny phone clattered across the tile floor and slid under the reception desk. She scrambled after it, but spotted the storage room door and froze. The door was half open, the tiny room beyond a dark void.

The cleaning staff stored their supplies in the closet, and the office manager ensured the door was closed and locked. She studied the gaping door. The wooden frame was gouged. Small chunks of wood lay scattered on the floor below as if someone had pried open the lock. Why would anyone break into the storage room? Who’d steal paper towels and liquid soap?

She dropped to her knees and scrambled under the desk for her phone. Where was the damn thing?

A whisper of sound leaked from the storage room. A small pop, followed by crackling.

Heart hammering, she rose to her feet and backed toward the front doors, never taking her eyes off the dark storage room. A familiar odor stung her nostrils, and she halted.

Fire!

Even as the dreaded word reared like a monster inside her head, a thin trickle of smoke crept out of the room. Terrifying images of flame, smoke and searing heat threatened to overwhelm her. For a nightmare second, she was back in the midst of scorching heat and roaring flames.

Using all her strength of will, she tore free of the chilling memories. Instead of fleeing, she placed one wobbly step in front of the other and inched toward the storage room. Her nostrils flared at the acrid tang of gasoline and smoke. With a shaking hand, she gripped the door handle and opened the door wider.

A figure burst out of the darkness, crashing into her, knocking her back.

She yelped at the pain of the blow and the shock of falling. A jolt of agony and blinding light as her head hit something hard.

Heavy boots pounded across the tile floor.

Cold air washed over her. And then, darkness.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR











C.B. Clark has always loved reading, especially romances, but it wasn’t until she lost her voice for a year that she considered writing her own romantic suspense stories. She grew up in Canada’s Northwest Territories and Yukon. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Archaeology, she has worked as an archaeologist and an educator. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, and snowshoeing with her husband and dog near her home in the wilderness of central British Columbia.

CONNECT WITH C.B.!


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

How To Survive Querying


Querying is sending an enticing blurb to a prospective agent/publisher in hopes they'll request the rest of your manuscript.

It's also a lot like being at a high school dance wishing the cute guy on the other side of the gym would notice you.


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I have to confess, I love querying. Every time I hit that send button I get an endorphin release. Seriously. I'm so full of anticipation I actually write the query before I've finished the book.

BUT I NEVER QUERY BEFORE THE MANUSCRIPT IS SUPER FANTASTIC AND REALLY, REALLY AWESOME.

Ahem...

However, sending out a lot of queries also means a lot of waiting (boring) and a lot of rejections (boo). I've discovered it's more fun to dream while I wait.

Here are the top five things that help me survive querying

1. Instead of waiting for agent news or a book deal to celebrate, treat yourself each time you get a rejection. It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate, just enough to make you smile.

2. When you're reading the latest deals in Publishers Marketplace, remember all of those success stories were years in the making. Did you hear that? YEARS.

3. Keep writing. It helps distract you from the first book, and it may end up being your favourite story. Plus, when your new agent/publisher asks what you're working on now, you'll have an answer! 

4. Step away from the computer. Engage in the life around you. Family and friends are the best balm after a rejection and they're a reminder your happiness shouldn't only be determined by your writing successes.

5. Cupcakes. See number 1.

Bonus. DREAM BIG!

So hold the shampoo bottle while reciting your Oscar speech for 'Best Screen Play' in the shower. 

Create a Pinterest board with actors who will star in the movie adaptation of your book.

Smile secretly when the guy at Starbucks looks exactly like your MC's love interest.

And always, ALWAYS pick up the lucky penny you see on the sidewalk.

Consider New Radicals, "You Get What You Give", substitute 'music' with 'stories' you've got the perfect writer's anthem.




Psst...learn how to write an amazing query here!
What are some tips that help you survive querying?


Saturday, 27 May 2017

Novel Spotlight: The Ghost and Mrs. Miller


THE GHOST AND MRS. MILLER
by Sandra Tilley

Dating is hard for a widow, especially when your dead husband's ghost insists on playing chaperone.






Libby Miller is a good Southern girl, and good Southern girls know the rules. But fate has no rules. On her nineteenth wedding anniversary, fate whips up a tornado of turmoil when Libby finds her husband Neil in the arms of his assistant. But the storm’s not over. Neil flips his BMW, and Libby comes home to find his ghost in the dining room. How is Libby supposed to grieve and move on with Neil’s ever-present, meddling ethereal presence in her life?

With her twentieth high school reunion looming, Libby finds herself torn between two men from her past. One man promises passion and a new beginning, and the other wants to pick up where they left off. Neil stirs up a maelstrom of mischief, making it almost impossible for Libby to sort through the rubble. Libby anticipates a confrontation between her two suitors–not a shadowy stalker who chooses the reunion as his setting for a showdown.

In Libby’s quest for independence, she rejects the one man who can save her. Can she compromise the price of her freedom, or will it cost her a second chance at love and put her life in danger?


AMAZON // WILD ROSE PRESS // GOOGLE PLAY


EXCERPT

Jesse tapped my watch. “What’s your rush, Lib? I wanted to talk about Neil’s office building. My real estate guy said he’s been trying to get you to show him the property.”

Neil’s diaphanous form grew more solid, and he shook his fist in Jesse’s face. “It’s not for sale.”

“Why are you annoyed?” Oh, my God. I’d asked Neil a question—out loud.

Jesse answered. “I’m not annoyed. Now my real estate guy is a little pissed because you won’t return his calls.”

“He’s wasting his time calling. I haven’t made a decision on selling Neil’s building,” I said.

The air crackled and swelled. A cloud of Neil hung heavy over Jesse. “Why’s he so interested?”

Eli’s plastic cup crunched in his hand. “Not a cool time to talk business.”

“Still protecting her.” Jesse leaned back and then an ah-ha look sparked a grin. “Wait a minute. Are you two together?”

Before I could answer, Neil jumped in my face. “Well? Are you together?”

“Don’t be stupid,” I said to Neil.

Eli smashed his coffee cup flat and shot Jesse a deadly look. “You heard the lady.”

Jesse was being Jesse—making trouble. I answered Neil, but my response hit a nerve with Eli. They were too close and pressing in. I wanted to run away from the memories. From the three musketeers. From everything. The air felt thick and clogged my windpipe. I pulled my shirt from my neck and rested my hand at my throat. My pulse beat out an SOS. I pressed my fingers to stop the dots and dashes and warned my feet to stay put.

“Uh-oh.” Neil said.

If I thought things couldn’t get worse, I was wrong. A woman I hated worse than rattlesnakes walked by wearing a white blouse a size too small tucked into a black skirt a foot too short. Flanked by two little boys, her hands held fast. She walked past and long red curls bounced on her shoulders. Breathing ceased. Blackness pinched my vision to a pinpoint.

Neil swooped in front of me and hovered on his knees. “Please, please, please don’t say anything.”

I pressed my chest, forcing air up through my trachea and breathed in. I uncrossed my legs and wound them around the chair legs to hold me down. All of my anger and rage streamed at the woman who’d ruined my life, and if looks were lethal…But then the smaller of the two boys started crying and pulling away from the line to see Santa. She bent down, dried his cheeks, and hugged him.

“Maybe I should introduce her.” I said.

Eli and Jesse gave me confused looks. “Huh?”

I couldn’t look away from the Santa display. The other little boy helped his mom console his little brother. “See that redhead in line with the two little boys?”

“She’s hot,” Jesse inspected her from top to bottom. “You know her?”

I wanted to scream and throw my coffee cup at her, but she wasn’t a monster. She was a mom. A single mom. Like me.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR





Sandra Tilley grew up in a small town near Birmingham, Alabama, where friends always entered through the back door and where everyone spoke the same language—Southern. After a successful teaching career, she packed up her pearls and headed toward her inspiration: the sugar-white beaches of Orange Beach, Alabama, on the blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

CONNECT WITH SANDRA

Website
Twitter



Monday, 8 May 2017

The Best Writing Advice I Ever Received


Writing can be a solitary adventure— which is exactly the way we writers like it!
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By nature, most writers are introverts and enjoy the company of being alone with their characters. But every once in a while we need a little wisdom to help us along this winding path to the bookstore shelves.

I’ve been writing for ten years and have published seven novels. Over this time I’ve collected a few tidbits of advice. Some I’ve found through others and some are from my own experience. I hope one of these resonate with you.

1. Try to write every day even if it’s only one page. All those pages add up and it helps foster the habit of getting words on paper in a timely fashion.


2. Write the book of your heart and take as long as you need.


3. Ignore trends. Write what you love, what you want to read.


4. Don’t edit while you’re writing. This is the most free your writing will be, let it flow. Even misspelled words, leave them there. It’s all about moving forward.


5. You are writing for your characters. You are the only one who knows their story.


6. Be grateful for the gift of imagination.


7. Writing is hard. Respect it as such.


8. Even though it may appear differently, there is no such thing as an easy success, no matter how famous the writer. Remember that we’re all in the same industry and we want it to be thriving.


9. Don’t forget about the weather.

10. When in doubt, add a food scene.

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Do you have any writing advice to share?


Monday, 1 May 2017

Novel Spotlight: THE LAST RESORT

THE LAST RESORT
by Ember Leigh

Her bounty hunter heart never wanted more...until him.



Rose Delaney is a baby bounty hunter, rescuing children from fugitive ex-spouses. All she wants is to return a recovered child to its mother and get back to her regimented solitary life. But when a snow storm leaves her and baby Emmy stranded, Rose has no choice but to lean on the ruggedly handsome rescuer, who thinks the baby is hers. Holed up in their mountain resort-under-construction and unable to contact Emmy’s mother, Rose's priority is hitting the road—even if Garrett’s erotic touch entices her to ride out the storm.

Construction boss Garrett Galo loves his job, but he never imagined a perk like being snowbound during a whiteout with the sassy brunette he just rear-ended. He’s learned to stay away from women who want a family, especially when they come with a kid in tow. When passionate nighttime encounters flare between them, Garrett begins to question what he’d risk to keep Rose.


This isn’t the time or the place for romance—but will five days on a mountain make these loners reconsider giving in to love?


Wild Rose Press // Amazon // BarnesandNoble

Excerpt

Inching the door open further, she poked her head in. Garrett’s body silhouetted against the translucent shower door. The image of his chiseled, naked body seared through her mind. Her mouth went dry.

She crept inside and eased the door shut, body rigid as she watched his shadow move inside the shower. The fogged mirror hid her reflection as the soft mesh shorts slipped to ground, followed by her undies and T-shirt.

Garrett began humming, out of tune, something that sounded suspiciously like a children’s song.

Rose grinned, excitement roiling beneath her skin. This not only was going to happen, it needed to happen. Her heart thumped in her chest as she reached for the shower door.

The door opened a few inches before Garrett’s humming turned into a gasp. He whipped around and pulled aside the shower door, eyes wild.

“Rose.”

She grinned up at him, loving the swirls of shock and appreciation in his eyes as he took her in. “Can I join?”

His mouth hung open a moment, gaze sweeping over her naked body, lighting fires on her skin. He grabbed her around the waist and yanked her inside the shower, slamming the door shut behind her.

The water hit her body in a pleasingly warm rush. He pinned her to the shower wall with his hips. Her breath hitched.

“I don’t even want to ask why you’re naked in my bathroom,” he said, kissing her neck, “and I don’t even care. Fact is, you’re here, and you’re mine now.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR




Ember Leigh has been writing erotic romance novels since she was far too young. A native of northern Ohio, she currently resides near Lake Erie with her Argentinean husband, where they run an Argentinian-American food truck. In addition to romance novels, Ember also writes travel memoirs and occasionally updates a couple of blogs. In her free time, she practices Ashtanga yoga, hops around the world, and eats lots of vegetables.

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Most Common Characterization Mistake Writers Make and How To Fix It

The Most Common Characterization Mistake Writers Make and How To Fix It


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self-a·ware·ness
ˈˌself əˈwernəs/
noun
  1. conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives, and desires.

    "the process can be painful but it leads to greater self-awareness"

One of the most common characterization mistakes writers are guilty of is making their characters too self-aware. Inner monologue is a great tool, it lets the reader in on secrets, gives the character dimension, but it can also be the biggest stumbling block to the story.

There's nothing less satisfying than a character who analyses every decision, weighs the pros and cons, and keeps coming back to the same inner struggle over and over again. The reader gets it, there's a theme, but repetition kills the tension.

The good news is that this can be easily fixed!

Beware of using inner dialogue to provide an ongoing narration rather than what it really is, a response to immediate events. Keep it authentic!

And just like over analysing the decision, your character should be a little clueless about their faults, strengths, dreams/goals. These are qualities the character is supposed to discover through their struggle as the story progresses. By the end these traits will come to the surface and that's when the wonderful self-awareness happens in the hero's journey.

Okay, so how can you fix this?

Here are things your character should NOT do:

1. While in the middle of a crisis, they shouldn't be providing a narration as if they're an outside source watching with an emotional detachment.

2. They shouldn't label their emotions. Instead of your character thinking, "I'm so angry!" The anger should manifest itself in your character's actions and choices (without them realizing it).

3. The shouldn't analyse all the possible reasons behind all their emotions. "I'm angry because my boyfriend doesn't love me anymore." No, look at reason number 2. The analysing shouldn't come until they've made choices that lead to disaster. No one in real life figures it out that quickly so why should your character?

4. When your character is in a highly emotional scene, their self-awareness should be negligible. This is why when you're angry you shouldn't send that email right away. You wait until you're less emotional and thinking more clearly. Your character shouldn't use calm logic when they're being dumped by their lover. The place for this growth can begin during the following scene to provide a few subtle sparks of self-awareness (this hints at the coming revelation and is more enticing to the reader). 

Remember it's not just their flaws, their strengths should be waiting to be discovered as well.

Now go make your character clueless!


Monday, 24 April 2017

Novel Spotlight: Falling For Casanova



FALLING FOR CASANOVA
by
Debra Druzy

If she didn't know any better she'd swear he was seducing her...



Joy Barbieri has hit rock bottom—divorced, unemployed, sleeping on her parent’s couch until she finds an apartment suitable for two kids and a fur-baby—but she’s determined to start over. Eager for independence, she takes the first job she finds. A handsome stranger catches her eye, but with a name like Casanova, he’s got to be a world champion player—right?

Tristan Casanova’s only visiting this rustic town until he recuperates from his painfully quick divorce, not to make friends. However as he gets to know sweet and savvy Joy, he realizes their unexpected alliance comes with undeniable chemistry. She’s the perfect excuse to stay in Scenic View permanently, but when will she quit giving every excuse in the book why they shouldn’t be together?

Will pains of the past, excessive ex-spouse baggage, and interfering relatives keep these two from the happily-ever-after they deserve?

Buy now!




Excerpt

“Rex,” Joy shouted and Tristan’s heart sank.

Rex?

“Look, I didn’t know you were involved with someone.” He rubbed his face, wishing he never hooked up with her. So much for doing a good deed. Now he’d have to dodge a boyfriend. “I thought we were both on the same level.”

“Rex is my dog. He’s probably missing me right now. Knowing my mother, she has him tied to a tree all night.”

Tristan exhaled a world of relief. “Wanna call home?”

“And say what? I spent the night with some guy I just met? No, thanks. It’s bad enough I’m crawling home after sunup. I’d rather not ruin this moment by inviting my parents into the conversation.”
The aroma of fresh coffee drifted down the hallway, along with the clamor of clanking pans.

“Someone’s in the kitchen.” Joy’s eyes widened in horror. “You have a roommate?”

“Nope,” Tristan said, amused at the grown woman’s sudden state of panic.

“Maid?”

He shook his head. “My buddy Nick. He’s here to pick me up for work. And he cooks.” Fried bacon and eggs with a side of burnt toast was Nick’s usual wake-up call.

“I gotta get outta here.” Joy scrambled off the bed and into his over-sized gray sweat suit. “Thanks for everything, but I need to go home.” She slipped out of the bedroom and down the hallway.
Tristan yanked on his robe and followed behind, catching her before she reached the front door. “I didn’t put your clothes in the dryer yet.”

“Mail ’em to me.”

“You don’t have to rush out.”

“No. I do. I really, really do.”

“Your mother would actually tie your dog to a tree? All night? In the rain?” He pressed her back against the wall, getting close enough to kiss, hoping some memory of last night was enough to make her stay.

“Knowing her, she probably dropped him off at the pound. He already peed on her laundry basket and ate my father’s slippers. I can’t imagine what else he’s done while I’ve been gone. That’s why I need to find an apartment fast.”

Tristan almost invited her to stay here but decided against it once he glanced inside his daughter’s empty bedroom. Nicole would be here soon. How would he explain a new woman’s presence? A live-in nanny? That might would work to his benefit, but Joy might not like it.

“I know.” She snapped her fingers. “I’ll just tell her I found a place and that’s why I didn’t come home. I’ll say I was testing it out overnight.”

“You think she’ll buy that story?”

Joy rolled her eyes. “I was divorced for almost two years before I told her the truth.”

“How the hell’d ya get away with that?”

“She never visited us in Florida. And I only came to New York for Thanksgiving. I gave my ex everything he wanted in the divorce if he’d just play along.”

“Why?”

Joy sighed with her arms across her chest. “If you must know, in the beginning, when I was in college, my mother warned me about getting involved with Victor. But I didn’t listen. I guess I was afraid she’d rub it in about being right—as usual. I can’t imagine what she’s gonna say if she knows I spent the night with a stranger. God,” she growled between clenched teeth, “what’s wrong with me. Despite how this seems, I’ve never been a slut.”

“I don’t think you’re a slut.”


About the Author



Debra Druzy writes sweet n' spicy contemporary romance with happily ever afters.









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