Category Archives: First Impressions

Lifetime Student

 

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Those of you who know me – either personally or through my writings in this blog – know that I lovelove love to learn new things and that I am a lifelong student of writing: techniques, story building, plotting, and grammar, just to name a few. I simply love to learn new things related to writing in all its aspects. My personal writing library has over 100 books on subjects of plotting and structure, dialogue,  character traits, etc. I refer to many of them whenever I am starting a new book or even when I a looking for guidance with a problem I incur during writing.

Writing technique books are it for me, but I also live to go to writing conferences. My goal is always to learn at least one new thing at a conference and so far, that number has grown exponentially with each new conference I attend.

The reason I mention this lifetime and lifelong love of learning is because my New England chapter of RWA is hosting such a writing worshop/conference this month. An Editorial Director at Carina Press, Angela James, is presenting her wonderful  BEFORE YOU HIT SEND class for writers of all genres. You can click on the SPECIAL EVENTS toggle at the NWRWA website for details and to register, here:  NHRWA

I have taken this class twice before: one at a New England RWA conference and once on-line. Both times I learned something I hadn’t learned the time before. Nowadays, with the publishing industry changing by the second, and editors pressed for time to find the next big author, if you are a writer, you MUST, absolutely MUST submit a manuscript that is professionally polished and worthy of a complete read-through. I have been to too many conference talks to count with editors and agents who persistently and consistently only read the first page of a submission and if there is any kind of mistake ( typo, wrong grammar use, poor tense) their reading stops at the end of that page. We all want to make the best first impression we can, and  unfortunately, your first impression is usually a query letter and/or a few pages of your manuscript. If there is anything that stands out and makes you look like an amateur, it is poor spelling, grammar, and sloppy writing.

Angela James’ class BEFORE YOUR HIT SEND tells you how to avoid and prevent all those pesky problems, how to correct them when they do occur, and how to get your  manuscript as ready and as polished as it can be for an editor or agent’s eyes. You only get one shot to make a favorable first impression (What a great title for a book, btw!). Do you want to take the chance a professional will simply disregard your writing because it is riddled with mistakes? Mistakes that could have been prevented and corrected before you hit that send button?

I hope you join my chapter for this wonderful conference. If you do one thing this year to make yourself a better writer, this will be it.

Self-Editing Workshop with Angela James

Saturday, May 21, 2016

9am – 4pm

The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nashua, New Hampshire

James_pixJoin Angela James, editorial director of Harlequin’s Carina Press and developmental editor of New York Times Bestselling authors Shannon Stacey, Lauren Dane and Jaci Burton, for a day-long workshop covering ideas, tips, tricks and lessons for polishing and self-editing your manuscript.

Topics include: point of view, passive vs. active voice, show don’t tell, formalizing your manuscript, and more!

Spend the night at a special rate and have use of our meeting room for quiet self-editing/writing Sunday morning to put all you learned into practice before you head back on the road.

Conference Schedule

Saturday, May 21, 2016

  • 7:30am – 9:00am:  Check-in/Registration
  • 9:00am – 4:00pm: Workshop & Buffet Lunch

Sunday, May 21, 2016

  • Morning:  (OPTIONAL) Meeting room will be open for attendees to use for quiet self-editing/writing time.

Registration Information

  • Regular Registration for NHRWA members (3.1.16 – 4.30.16) = $90
  • Regular Registration for non-NHRWA members (3.1.16 – 4.30.16) = $100
  • Late Registration for ALL (5.1.16 – 5.14.16) = $110

Registration includes the following:

  • Admission to the Before You Hit Send workshop.
  • Saturday lunch buffet & afternoon snack.

Ready to Register?

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Editors, First Impressions, Life challenges, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

Truth in Fiction…good or bad?

Yesterday I visited my lovely and talented Wild Rose Press sistah Angela Hayes with a blog piece about reality. Well, it was my reality, really. I wrote a piece about the birth of my daughter, the accident I’d had on the day she was due and how I used that little piece of reality to drive the plot of my new book The Voices of Angels.

This got me to thinking…how much personal information is too much when you’re using it as a springboard to your fiction?

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Case in point. Using one of my books again, First Impressions, I wrote a simply heartwrenching scene about the death of a much-loved family pet. It took me three days to write because every time I sat down to do it, I started bawling. My editor even wrote me after reading it to tell me she thought it might be too emotional for readers and might turn them off to reading the rest of the book.  She thought I might want to temper it a little. I had to give that some serious, serious pondering and consideration time. In the end, I left the scene written as I had originally for two reasons. 1.) I knew that any reader who had a pet could and would sympathize with the feelings the heroine was experiencing from the death, and 2.) my own 18-year-old cat had recently died, so I knew every emotion I wrote was real and raw. Just this week I had someone I know who’s read the book tell me they were bawling their eyes out on a beach on vacation when they read that part. I asked how did they really feel about the scene. Did it turn them off? Make them not want to read ahead? And was told “I kept imagining my own cat dying. The scene was so real! I felt every emotion Clarissa did. I finished the book that night!”

Manna from heaven to a writer.

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Now, I’d never use something grossly personal about myself or someone I know in my writing – too much potential embarrassment, not to mention lawsuits, could come of  doing that. But there have been things have had happened in my life that I will slip into a scene or a plot. I think in some way doing this lends more credibility to the work. Truth in fiction stories always seem to grab me by the throat and not let go until I finish the book.

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So, writer friends….how much is too much reality for your fiction? Truth in fiction…good, or bad? Let’s discuss….

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, First Impressions, Life challenges, Literary characters, MacQuire Women, research, Romance, Romance Books, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

My Sexy Saturday #119

mysexySatWelcome to the 119th week of My Sexy Saturday.  This week’s theme: Imagine Sexy   Click on this link to see the slew of sexy writing authors on this blog hop. Who knows…you might find your next favorite author.

This week’s theme is Imagine Sexy. As writers of sexy books, we have all imagined sexy. Whether he comes riding in on a horse or in a space ship, we know sexy. We know how it looks, we know how it tastes and feels and the sounds associated with sexy. We can imagine each and every one of them. And this week we want you to share what you’ve imagined as an author about sexy. Readers can’t wait to read more about your sexy imagination.

Sexy can be anything, such as romantic moments like walks on the beach, a home cooked meal or even in another galaxy. It could be two lovers here on Earth dreaming about the day where they go on a magical vacation to another planet. Or staying right here at one of those wonderful places we can find in our own world.

Readers want to see those characters, the ones who can’t get enough of each other as well as ones who are fighting their way back to being part of the world once again. These are the types of characters they can’t forget, the one they want to take home and keep forever. Readers love the kisses, the looks or touch of each and every one of our characters.

Sexy has nothing to do with looks or status or even wealth. It doesn’t demand perfection and it isn’t pretentious but it does make us want to read those books.

We know that everyone has their own idea of sexy and we all love sexy!

Here’s a little sumthin sumthin’ from my newest release FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 

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From the doorway, he went unnoticed as his eyes scanned the room. His mother was at the stove, his father next to her, his arms crossed over his chest, listening intently to something Alastair was saying. Dennis Cleary, Pat’s other brother, home for the weekend from college, sat at the table in conversation with Quentin Stapleton. His brand new wife, Moira, Pat’s twin sister, stood next to him. Each sported a deep tan and Moira had one hand on her husband’s shoulder, her hip snuggled against him, as she spoke with Clarissa Rogers.

The good doctor’s attention was focused on his sister, a small smile dancing across her utterly desirable and kissable mouth. A mouth he’d almost kissed yesterday in the hallway of her clinic.

Pat remembered in graphic detail how the thought to take those lips with his had blossomed in his mind while they’d been speaking about his father. Her perfect mouth was plump and naturally pink, and all he could think about was what it would taste and feel like against his own.

Clarissa had mistaken his momentary lust-filled lapse for something else, and worry for him had quickly risen in her eyes. He’d pleaded a quick retreat to save himself further embarrassment, when in truth, he’d wanted nothing more than to stand there, all afternoon, and be with her.

As she stood so casually in his parent’s kitchen, Pat was struck with the notion she looked like she belonged there, with his family, as one of them.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, First Impressions, love, MacQuire Women, My Sexy Saturday, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

My Sexy Saturday #117 While you were sexy…

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This week’s theme is a take on the movie, While You Were Sleeping, and can be fun, quirky or not. So many things can happen while you were sexy…things like falling in love with someone other than your boyfriend/girlfriend…or maybe taking a risk you wouldn’t normally take. That’s what the movie is all about…having a dream and risking for that dream…only to find it wasn’t what you really wanted or needed anyway. Our stories have lots of those type themes.

Love is a dream for some, a risk for others. Sometimes it’s fulfilled or sometimes it just isn’t what the characters imagined. Remember Scarlett O’Hara at the end of Gone With The Wind…she realized she never really loved Ashley to begin with…it was Rhett all along. We think you get the drift of what this week’s theme is. But we want more and we definitely want it hotter than ever before. So show us those sexy, hot characters in those sexy, hot stories.

Sexy can be anything, such as romantic moments like walks on the beach, a home cooked meal or even in another galaxy. It could be two lovers here on Earth dreaming about the day where they go on a magical vacation to another planet. Or staying right here at one of those wonderful places we can find in our own world.

Sexy has nothing to do with looks or status or even wealth. It doesn’t demand perfection and it isn’t pretentious but it does make us want to read those books.

click on this link to read the other authors in this weeks MSSBlogHop.

                           FIRST IMPRESSIONS 

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Here’s a little thought process from Pat Cleary. He’s beginning to realize Clarissa Rogers may just be what he’s needed in his hectic busy like.

He grabbed his cell phone from where it rested on his desk, and pressed the screen. He’d programmed one  of the pictures he’d taken of him and Clarissa in the apple orchard as his screen display. He’d stared at it so many times since that day. Just seeing how happy and relaxed they both looked made him feel better no matter how busy or tiring his day was. He wanted to see her smile like that every day.

And at him.

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Still NaNoWriMo-ing

Day 5 of NaNoWriMo and I’m way into my current WIP ( work in progress). Yes, I love a personal challenge. Yes, I adore a writing challenge. And yes yes yes I love to combine them both.

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But I do have a life away from the laptop.

Yesterday, I started writing a 3 am ( chronic insomnia, folks) and went strong until 9 when I realized I couldn’t feel my a**. So, I got washed up and went off to the gym for  a few hours to pump and cardio myself into a clear head ( and a smaller a**).

Back home I banged out another 1200 words before I stopped for lunch, then another couple hundred more before I called it a day.

A day for writing that is. When I closed my WP program, I did three loads of laundry, ironed it all and put it way, vacuumed the four floors in my house – yes folks – 4 FLOORS – dusted, put various stuff away and a took care of paying the monthly bills.

Then I started dinner.

After dinner I worked on two courses I am taking online, wrote this blog and stashed another one away for a future release.  I am reading two books on kinesthetics, so I delved into those for  a while.Tomorrow  the car has to go in for service, so I will bring my laptop with me and NaNo while I wait ( like the way I made the challenge a verb, there?)

For those lucky people who can sit all day long and create ( and not have their a**es grow and spread) power to you. I am jealous. I am envious. I am filled with angst.

But not really, because…I do have another life.

So, if you are NaNo-ing, are you an all day typer, or do you take breaks? Let’s discuss

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, First Impressions, Life challenges, NaNoWriMo, Romance, Strong Women

What a conference can REALLY teach you

I recently attended the New Jersey Romance Conference and took a master class with Margie Lawson. Who, you ask? Well, if you don’t now who she is, you really are missing out.  Margie Lawson is a woman who wears many metaphorical hats. She’s a psychotherapist, an editor, and  a very smart, savvy woman, just to mention three. The master class I took was all about Empowering Character Emotion and it was the best 3 hours and the wisest money I ever spent on a day course.

Seriously.

In fact, I learned so much in that short 3 hours, I knew there had to be more to learn, and boy was there! When I clicked on her site I found she has on line instruction classes and packets and I purchased two right at the conference. I’ve been editing away ever since in my current contracted novel. You can see the efforts in the picture I’ve included. Now, Margie’s stuff is proprietary so I’m not going to tell you what she suggests doing, but I highly recommend you go to her site and click around.

I can say with all honesty my writing and editing skills have improved significantly since I started following her suggestions. She helps you hone in on places where you can add punch to character emotions and scenes where you can dial up the conflict from easy to complex with just a rephrasing of a few words, or the addition of a power word or two. She helps you see where you may have too much of one thing – like exposition, which makes readers skim the page – and not enough of another – like conflict, and we all know romance writers need conflict between their characters.

If you are determined to get that first book published or if you are a multi-published author already, Margie can literally take your writing skills to the next level and maybe even 3 or 4 more beyond that.

Just saying.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, First Impressions, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, NaNoWriMo, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

Snarkology Halloween Hop – Pumpkins Everywhere!

Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop 2015

WELCOME to the 2015 Snarkology Halloween Hop. From now until October 31 ( Halloween, anyone?!) click here to Follow the hop for more fun, great books, and awesome prizes plus, visit almost 70 authors, all with a Halloween story to tell. And don’t forget to enter for a chance at a rafflecopter prize. Just click the highlighted rafflecopter word in the previous sentence to be entered.

FALL is my absolute favorite time of the year, bar none. I live in New England,  home of Leaf Peeping Season, re-enactments of the Salem Witch Trials, and apple picking – just to name a very few.

There’s nothing better to me than apple picking at a local farm once the fruit is ripe and ready, or carving a series of  Halloween pumpkins into gruesome and scary faces. I live in a town that has the distinction of being the Guinness World record holder for a number of  years for the most lit jack-o-lanterns at one time, an event we natives call “The Pumpkin Festival.

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My daughter was just 5 when we attended our very first Pumpkin Festival. We met tourists from all over the United States, who’d come in for the three-day weekend/event to help us crack the Guinness Record.  And we did. And then went on for several more years to hold- and increase-the record.

During one Presidential political campaign year, George Bush ( 43) came with a carved pumpkin and added it to our count. On the dozens of towers set about our downtown you could find any sort of carving from intricate, professionally artist-carved ones to kindergartener simplistic ones with happy triangular cut-outs.pumpkin6  At twilight, all the pumpkins were lit with votive candles, and then the official count was done by the Guinness representatives. As these pictures show, 30,000+ lit jack-o-lanterns is an amazing sight to behold.pumpkin 5

The Pumpkin festival was a source of unending pride for our little ‘burg because it united all of us from every political party, religious persuasion, age, ethnic background, and economic class in an event that not only increased our tourism rate by the thousandth-fold, but also served as a beacon for all our citizens, and a source of civic self-respect. My town truly became a unified community for those three days in October.

As I said, I love the fall and I love New England, so  for those reasons, I set my newest book FIRST IMPRESSIONS in the autumn season. There’s apple picking, pie making, and even a Red Sox game depicted in the novel. The cover art is simply the best illustration of this season for me: Two lovers, kissing, in an apple orchard in September. If that isn’t swoon-worthy, I don’t know what is!

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Autumn in the North East…does it get any better???

SNARKOLOGY HALLOWEEN HOP

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Our Sexy Love

Welcome to the 114th week of My Sexy Saturday.

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This week’s theme: Our Sexy Love

The theme this week can mean anything from a couple who have been together a long time, even forever or it could be about a couple whose love is new and hot and very sexy. It could be about couples pulled apart only to find each other again, maybe even in another lifetime. These stories are hot and sexy and everything our readers want and expect from us. They are sexy and can happen anywhere, anytime or in any universe.

If your story has one or more of these fabulous moments with some very sexy, hot characters in a love that’s destined to last forever, please share them with us…share all those sexy moments that you have between your characters …remember every relationship is important!

Sexy can be anything, such as romantic moments like walks on the beach, a home cooked meal or even in another galaxy. It could be two lovers here on Earth dreaming about the day where they go on a magical vacation to another planet. Or staying right here at one of those wonderful places we can find in our own world.

Readers want to see those characters, the ones who can’t get enough of each other as well as ones who are fighting their way back to being part of the world once again. These are the types of characters they can’t forget, the one they want to take home and keep forever. Readers love the kisses, the looks or touch of each and every one of our characters.

Sexy has nothing to do with looks or status or even wealth. It doesn’t demand perfection and it isn’t pretentious but it does make us want to read those books.

We know that everyone has their own idea of sexy and we all love sexy! Click on the link below to find your next favorite Sexy author. But first……

here’s a snippet of sexy love from my newest romance novel FIRST IMPRESSIONS. Serena and Seamus have been married for almost 30 years, but the passion has never burned out for them…

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“How are you feeling, Dad?”

Seamus held up his bandaged arm. “My arm’s a little sore, but my pride’s worse. Still can’t believe the dog got me.”

Serena sat next to her husband and reached over to take his hand in hers. “Admit it, Seamus,” she said, laughter pulling at the corners of her mouth, “you’re not as fast as you used to be.”

“I’ll show you who’s fast.” He moved so quickly, Pat blinked and his mother was pulled into his father’s lap, his arms securely around her. Capturing her lips with his own, he gave her a resounding kiss that had her laughter bubbling through to the surface.

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Food for Thought

Welcome to the MFRWBookHooksBlogHop.

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Click on the link below to find your next favorite author. But first….

here’s a little snippet from my newest release FIRST IMPRESSIONS. A simple dinner between friends is never as simple as it seems…

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In the next instant, Pat’s stomach rumbled loud enough to be heard above the kitten’s deafening purrs.

Clarissa tried to contain her giggle so she wouldn’t startle the animal, but when Pat’s neck heated with a ruddy flare and he thrust his hands into his pockets, she couldn’t hold it in.

He squinted at her, and, with a menacing glare, pushed nearer to her. “You’re always quietly laughing at me,” he said, stopping so close she could feel his hot, moist breath on her face. “I can’t figure out why I want to be around someone who always laughs at me.”

“I know why,” she said, kissing the kitten again.

When his left eyebrow shot up his forehead, she answered. “It’s easy. Whenever we’re together, we’re usually eating. You’re hungry, so you want me to cook for you.”

His face went blank, and she couldn’t for the life of her discern what he was thinking. She could hear him breathing now, not only feel it, the air pushing out of him a tad faster than it had moments before. The flushed heat on his neck spread up his jaw. She could have melted to the floor when his eyes turned hot too, the lids hooded, so much so, Clarissa finally understood the meaning of a smoldering look.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, First Impressions, Friends, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized

GoddessFish Book Tour, week 2

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Today I have a double whammy! Two great interviews on my Goddess Fish Virtual Book tour. COme check them and find out somethings you didn’t know about me….really – you didn’t!

Rogues Angels is up first. Come meet me and the lovely Angels – but there’s no Bosley.

It’s Raining Books is next and you all now I love the rain!

Stop by and enter for rafflecopter prizes. It’ll be fun.

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