Tag Archives: arcane knowledge

#L&SR #wednesdayBloggingchallenge 2.20.19 Mi library e su library…

The prompt for this week’s blog experience is What to read to learn about X. A little vague but I’m gonna take it to mean something to do with how we, as writers, do research. ( Fingers crossed I’m correct about this!)

If you’re a follower of mine you know that I approach everything in life as if it was a study because I have such a strong scientific background. I love the scientific method. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this, here’s the textbook definition:

sci·en·tif·ic meth·od

(noun) a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.
“criticism is the backbone of the scientific method”

 

Let’s be honest: most of us took a basic English class decades ago. I would bet I’m not the only one who can’t remember the appropriate use of a semicolon, or when to use ellipses. For the basics in grammar, sentence structure, and just plain word use, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation is hands down the best one – and easiest one to understand – of all I’ve read.

 

Before I wrote romantic fiction I dabbled in short stories that were mostly about murders, murderers, and mysteries. Since I’m a nurse, there are a great deal of little tidbits I’ve picked up along my career about poisons, drug interactions, etc., and ways to cause someone’s death – all great info if you write about murder!  My favorite reference books for these are The MERCK MANUAL and the Nurse’s PDR ( Physician’s Drug Reference Guide). Both these little gems, when combined, can get those creative, murderous ( on the page only!) juices flowing.

           

 

One last series I think I should mention are the “Thesaurus” books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. These include the Emotional Thesaurus, The Negative and Positive trait Thesaures, and a few more about location, setting. All of these books are gold mines of knowledge for the writer. 

 

Those are my top five “research” books for now. I’ve got oodles more, but don’t want this blog piece to go on ad nauseum!

Since this is an author blog hop, hop on over to the other writers participating and read how they interpreted today’s prompt. L&SRWednesdayBloggingChallenge.

And, as always, if you’re looking for me, here I am:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

and here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and one more: here’s the link to my appearance recently on New Hampshire Public Radio, talking about all things romance.

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#MFRWauthor How I celebrate completing my manuscripts…

Is there an author alive who doesn’t love the words THE END? Who doesn’t get excited and thrilled and relieved and a swelled ego at finishing something as monumental as a fully-formed book? Well, yes, there is.

Me.

Let me ‘esplain it to you Lucy.

As everyone knows by the now, the title of my website is Writing is my Oxygen. This is because to me, if I don’t write everyday I feel like I die a little inside, just like if I didn’t have air to breathe, I’d die. So when I’m writing a new book I feel alive, energized, filled with positivity and purpose. I literally live and breathe my characters, their story, go through all their trials, tribulations, conflicts and dilemmas. When the story is complete, the resolution, well, resolved,  and the h/h have their HEA, I feel elated. For about an hour. Then I get sad and morose because these people who I’ve lived, breathed, and loved for months no longer need me.

Le sigh….

So, instead of celebrating with a bottle of wine or the purchase of a spa day, I tend to do what I do all the time when I am sad. I emotionally eat.

Gorge, really.

Like, really.

Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies by the truck load

Hershey’s kisses by the case.

Iced Cream Cheese pastries.

Anything and everything chocolate I can get my hands on.

It’s kinda sad and wicked gross.

When the sugar high wears off ( because eventually it does) and my pants are so tight again no amount of gym-trecking can really help, I step back ( okay, waddle back, if we’re being honest!) and evaluate the situation. In due time I realize I need to suck it up. Like my daughter no longer needs me for guidance, thoughts, or emotional counseling because she’s a grown ass woman, my characters no longer need me, either. When this epiphany happens I usually do double workouts at the gym ( pastries, you know?), drink buckets of water to flush the sugar from my system, and then………look for new characters and plot lines that need me.

Thus, the life of a writer.

Since this is a blog hop, some of the other authors in this series probably celebrate in much more constructive and fun ways than I do at the completion of a manuscript. Check them out.

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#MFRWauthor blog challenge: What I’ve learned from my worst review…

There’s an old saying: reviews are like_______; everybody has one.

Now, if you’re like me the word you wrote on that line was one I really can’t use in a public blog, heehee, but it rhymes with ashmoles. The word that I’m replacing it with is opinions. Think about it. Everyone has an opinion about something, and a book review is really just the person who’s writing the review’s opinion on the work. Like in every day life, some people agree with you, some people do not. It’s the same for reviews.

I’ve read glowing, absolutely the best book you will read all year reviews on books I truly thought were horrible.

I’ve also read soul sucking, pass this one by people reviews on books I lovedlovedloved.

It’s all a matter of opinion. Unfortunately, in the business I now find myself in of writing and publishing, those opinions can mean the difference between a month of good book sales and one of disaster. I have  strong ego. Truly. Ask anyone who knows me. It takes an awful lot to rip me down emotionally and lay me bare, so reviews never hurt me or my feelings. I know not every book is for everyone because I know not every book is for me. The reviews I take exception to are the ones that were written by mean spirited, jealous little trolls who you know didn’t even finish the book because their reviews were full of mistakes and incorrect plotline summations. Trogdelytes who’ve never written a word of fiction, painted a picture with a well formed sentence, or won an award for ANYTHING, much less writing. Pissants who can’t put a constructed thought on the page in a way that conveys meaning to anyone reading it. Morons who……

Okay, so rant over. Sorry about that. Back to  the topic.

What I learned from the worst review I ever received was to laugh it off. I wrote a Valentine’s day story a few years back called 3 WISHES. The story was about CHLOE and MATT. I put their names in caps so you’ll remember them when I tell you this quick synopsis story of the review.

In the book, CHLOE AND MATT are the hero and heroine. I had a subtle subplot revolving around Chloe’s parents ( Francesca and Joey) and an affair Joey had that forced him to leave his family. Did you read the word subplot in the last sentence? I used Joey’s defection from the family as a way to introduce who Matt really was in the story and how he connected to Chloe. A reviewer on Goodreads rated my story a 1 ( A 1!!!) and said I wrote the wrong book. The story of the parents was where the real emphasis should have gone.

Look up the word stunned in the dictionary and you will see a picture of my face when I read that review.


                                           (Not really my face!! heehee)

But, Really? I could understand if the chick didn’t like the story, but to tell me, THE AUTHOR, that I’d written the wrong one? Really? When I could speak again I wanted to write the hag– I mean the reader– a letter saying if she thought I’d written the wrong story then she should go ahead and write the one she wanted to read, because 3 WISHES was ALWAYS CHLOE and MATT’S story. Always.  And just FYI, the individual who wrote that I penned the wrong story is not a writer herself. I never wrote the letter. There was no need to. Once people who had read the book got a gander at that review, it kinda instigated a little reviewer backlash against the chick, primed with vile slings and arrows aimed straight at her.

God, I lovelovelove my readers!!!!! The ones who will defend me, lay down their literary swords for me, and take on the trolls. They are, simply, the best.

So, again, back to the main point here. What I learned from the worst review I ever got was to laugh off the negativity, leave the person in God’s hands, and delight in the fact that I’m getting paid to live my dream life while that bad reviewer….isn’t. ( those of you who know me know I could have gone bat-shit crazy with that last sentence, but I refrained from doing to. Proud of me? heehee)

Sine this is a blog hop made up of AUTHORS who have all probably had at least 1 bad review, hop on over to their sites and read their posts for today.

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#Research…a necessary evil or funfunfun to do?

I love trivia. The more arcane or weird an item of info is, the better for me. When TRIVIAL PURSUIT first burst onto the world stage in the 1980’s no one wanted to play against me. Le sigh…..

Because I like knowing weird trivia facts, I lovelovelove research. My characters are all over the map with regards to their careers and knowledge bases. I’ve had doctors, veterinarians, tv producers, writers, lawyers, and artists, just to name a few. And for every book and different career choice, I’ve had to do a little research to ensure I was staying true to not only the character, but how their career fit in with the plot line.

Some of my favorite pieces of info that I learned from researching my books are:

  1. a cow has 4 stomachs
  2. the gestation period for a horse is 11-12 months
  3. a Coroner doesn’t have to be a medical doctor.
  4. the first digital camera was invented and used in 1975
  5. milk chocolate tempers between 87 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit
  6. White chocolate is really a chocolate derivative made from cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids
  7. the basic cake recipe for almost every baker is simple to easy.

Writers need to get things right in their work. In the past, publishers had fact checkers to make sure when an author added a piece of info into their story it was correct. Not so much anymore. But now, with the information needed at our fingertips, anyone can and should be a fact checker simply by using Google.

There are two reasons I am so anal about research. One is from a writing viewpoint, the other as a reader. A few years ago I read a book by a very well known and well paid romance writer who said that the hero was wearing Bausch and Lomb Blue colored contact lenses. At the time, I was a contact lens technician and KNEW B&L made no such lens. As a reader I was disappointed in the writer and the publisher for not fact checking that. (FYI, B&L now does make a blue colored lens in their disposable brand of lenses. Back when this book was written, they did not and would not for several years.)

The personal reason I am such a devout researcher has to do with my first book. It was about an ice skater who’d won  2 Olympic gold medals. When I was describing her winning routine, I spelled the move she made as A-X-L-E. Now, I skated for decades myself, but never knew the word when used in this skating context was spelled A-X-E-L. An agent I’d sent the manuscript to also happened to be an ice skater on the side. When she saw how I’d misspelled the word, she wrote me back that she never read the rest of the book because that mistake questioned my credibility as a writer of the subject to her. Lesson learned. The hard way.

So, research. Fun or tiresome? You already know my answer.

Since this is a blog hop, lets see what the other authors have learned from their book research:

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