Tag Archives: Editors

Homeward Bound; #RT17

It’s a full seven days since I first posted about waiting in an airline terminal, bound for Atlanta, Georgia. This time, I’m homeward bound. And tired. Soooooo tired.

My first RT convention is over and I must tell you I am happy to be on my way back home. Back to my own bed. Back to home cooked meals and not restaurant and/or fast food. Back to not living out of a suitcase. Back to watching my favorite television shows and finally, back to my writing schedule again, which was sorely neglected this week, despite all my blogging efforts.

A week is a long, long time to be away from home. I miss my husband; I miss my bed; I miss my naps. I miss wearing sweat pants and pajama tops. I even–and I can’t believe I’m saying this–miss my Planet Fitness. The hotel has a fairly nice gym, but it’s not my gym.

RT2017 was my first RT experience, and I can truthfully say I’m glad I did it, if for no other reason than to just check it off on my  something-I-need-to-do-for-my-writing-career list. Some parts of the experience were great, some, not so much, so I will really need to explore whether or not I want to invest the time and money to attend next year in Reno.

The good parts were the wonderful new fellow writers and readers I met. It was an absolute delight meeting my fellow Kensington/Lyrical authors, Susan Mann,

Mary Ann Marlow,

 

Sarah Hegger

 

and Tiffany Warren.

These are amazeballs women and fabulous writers you will want to read.

Some other old freinds I was able to visit with included Stephanie Kay 

and the fabulous Jessica James

Two of the highlights of my week were the Kensington book singing

and then the personal meeting I  had with my beloved Editor. I sold out of all my books at the signing event- and I hope I garner some new fans because of it! Afterward, I got a one-on-one few hours with my editor, talking about everything from family and friends to where I’d like to take my writing career next with Kensington. I could have talked to this delightful woman for the entire night!

While waiting in line for an event one evening, a young lady came up to me. She looked familiar, but then, I tend to think that about a lot of people!. She asked me if I remembered her, I admitted she looked familiar but menopause was messing with my memory, and she reminded me we had met at the Fall In Love With New England reader event in 2016. She purchased every one of my books there and loved the handpainted boxes I put them. The dawn burst through and I did remember her and her aunt stopping by my table and talking for a while. This chickita is from Connecticut and is a true lover or romance novels. I was so impressed by the fact she was attending this convention, as well as the 2017 FILWN conference I am going to, and I was reminded of something I’ve always told me daughter: the world truly is a small place, and you should be kind, pleasant, and nice to everyone you meet because you don’t know when they will come into your life again. If this encounter wasn’t proof of that than I don’t know what is.

And while most things at the conference were great, there were some decidedly down points as well. First and foremost the crowds. What goes hand in hand with the crowds on the negative scale were the long, time-consuming lines to get into any and every event and the wait at the elevators for getting back to hotel rooms. There were only five elevators in the main tower of the Hyatt, and most times one was down for service or being used exclusively to bring people up to the penthouse restaurant. For a conference of this size, a hotel with more elevators should be the number one concern of the event planners.

I didn’t attend any of the after conference major parties for a few reasons. One, most started at 830 or 9 pm and I was already exhausted after a full day of walking, waiting in line, and networking. Two, they were all themed parties, and not realizing that this conference was like a ComicCon for romance readers, I didn’t have anything costume-wise planned. Three- the lines to get in….

Having to wait in line for over an hour for each event was a pain the a**. I don’t go to Disney or any themed parks because of this and to have to do it at a conference was simply annoying. Many of the conference rooms where workshops were being conducted were too small to fit the capacity crowds as well.

The hotel had one main restaurant ( wickedly overpriced) and one bar ( ditto). Luckily, the hotel was attached to a food mall, but for those of use who can’t eat fast food due to allergies and stomach issues, the hotel options were lousy.

I realize these are piddly, petty things to complain about. Believe me, I realize it. But I think to be fair and balanced, the good and the bad of an event needs to be explored because it weighs heavily on how much I will decide to attend future conferences of this type.

When all is said and written, though, I did enjoy myself for the large part. Meeting new readers, finding new authors, getting my name “out there” in the romance reading world, were all– as Martha Stewart says — good things.

While I’m traveling home, you can see what I’ve been up, here:

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Editors, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Conference comedown #NECRWA2017 #romancewriter

This past weekend I attended the NECRWA 2017 conference in Burlington, MA. Historically, this is a fabulous conference for romance writers to network with professionals, learn about craft, catch up with old friends, and make new ones. This year was no exception. Ii fact, this was a banner year for the conference and for me.

Let me ‘esplain….

For the conference itself, the committee tried several new “things” conference-wise that just worked. A bigger and expanded book fair; an exceptional cocktail hour and meal service; a large and varied collection of conference topics, and two break-out sessions after the conference was completed. I don’t think I ‘ve ever heard so many participant comments in the past that were so glowing of all aspects of the conference, so Kudos to the conference committee. You should all pat yourselves several times on the back!

As for me, well, this was the first time I’ve ever given a professional writing speech. Okay, speech isn’t the correct word. It was a workshop on writing romance stories for people over the age of 40. I’d given this presentation to my local NHRWA chapter last month and it was warmly received. I even wrote a blog about my nerves concerning it.  But they’re all my friends. I didn’t think they’d be mean and they weren’t ( of course they weren’t!!!) This time, the presentation was for a room full of people I didn’t know. At all. Now, some of my chapter mates attended to support me ( gotta lovelovelove that, right!!) And I knew the moderator from previous conferences. But the majority of that room was alien to me and boy-oh-boy was I nervous.

Turns out, I didn’t have to be. They all laughed in the right places, asked en-pointe questions related to the topic and I never once saw people yawning, checking Apple watches, or fidgeting.

Nirvana for a speaker!!!!

The best part? A few hours later I met one of the attendees in another workshop and she stopped me and told me how much I had inspired her and that she’d had an immediate story plot jump into her head. When she told me about it I started to well-up because I could see – really SEE – how the talk had inspired her. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so emotionally invested in a stranger before! Sniff…sniff…

So, now I’m home, getting back to the editing and writing grind today. Although, it really isn’t a grind. It’s an absolute delight in every way, especially, now that I know my words and thoughts actually helped another writer.

Le sigh…..I’ve got a great life.

When I’m not attending conferences you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

Winner! Whiner?

Strange blog post title, right? Well, maybe not.

So, November is a memory, but not the November challenge of NaNoWrimo. You’ve – hopefully – gotten your winner banner, letting one and all know you managed to eek out that 50,000 word minimum for the month, and maybe even a little more ( like me!) and now you’re internally debating the next step.

Dive right into editing? Start to query agents, editors, and publishing houses?  Print out the book and give it to one and all of your supportive peeps to read and review and critique?

Well, I hate to give advice because I hate to receive it, but….

Let’s sit back for a second and think this through.

You’ve just spent 30 arduous days giving literary birth to your new baby. A quick pregnancy in potential plotting ( if you’re a plotter) and then 30 continuous days of delivering it into the world. 720 hours, 43,200 minutes, 2,592,000 seconds ( does this remind you of a Broadway show tune?) That’s a lot of time spent in doing one thing, any way you slice and categorize it. The goal of the challenge is to write your story. To get it onto paper or the laptop. Like most writers competing  in the challenge you did not edit along the way. I’m sure your manuscript – like mine – is rife with spelling, grammar, and tense mistakes, not to mention maybe a plot hole or two. Or three. Now is not the time to submit it or allow ANYONE to read and review it.

Now is the time to….sit back for a little bit. Let the manuscript safely stew in your file section. Don’t read it…don’t edit it…don’t start letting the publishing world know it’s available, because it’s not.

I know the excitement of getting the story down – and quickly – is high. Believe me, I know it. But you need to rest your creative brain for a tad and forget some of the words you wrote. Then, when sufficient time has passed – and that can be two days, two weeks, or even a month ( like AFTER the holidays!), you can open it from the file and start to read it with fresh eyes. Eyes that will see all those mistakes, plot holes, and character problems. Those setting mixups and description errors. You’ll be able to SEE you gave your heroine green eyes in chapter one and then realize the hero described them as brown in chapter four. You’ll be able to SEE the motivation you gave your killer to kill was the same internal struggle you gave your hero to. You’ll SEE the escape plan you concocted in chapter 6 is pretty much impossible if you’re penning a contemporary tale and not one filled with dragons and wizards.

Right now you are high on the fabulousness of what you’ve written. Let it stew a while and you’ll realize it’s still fabulous, but needs work. Namely, editing.

Editing with fresh eyes is the best way to find the problems and think of ways to correct them.

Now, as far as querying – don’t. Not now, and certainly not after the first read through. My last three NaNo written books have been published AFTER they went through extensive edits and rewrites BEFORE I even submitted them. The books I submitted to my publisher were the ones where I removed all the mistakes, fixed the grammar and tense, and idealized the plot and story line. My settings were all consistent, my characters fully formed and possessing the correct hair and eye color throughout the book! And even after they were bought they still needed more editing!!!

Do yourself a favor: have a glass ( or two or…) of wine, sit back and put your feet up on the ottoman. Watch a good romance chick flick or even an action adventure movie. Or both. Relax. Rest. Revive. Then you can review, revise, and rework those wonderful NaNoWriMo pages.

Trust me. You’ll be happy you did.

AND ( here comes a shameless plug and I’m not ashamed in the least) if you want to escape into something funny and read a holiday tale, try A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, available right now. It’ll take your mind off writing and put it back on reading someone else’s work for a bit.

When I’m not being shameless you can find me here:

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Life challenges, love, NaNoWriMo, research, Romance, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Writing Relationships…

During your writing career, just as in life, you will forge and develop many different writing relationships with people who will – hopefully- help you advance. Literary agents, Editors, Publishers, Book Promoters, Publicists, Marketing Analysts, and certainly not the least, Readers. All of these people are important to you, but in my opinion, one of the most important connections you will make is with your Editor.

My editor was instrumental in getting my first book published. She supported me, guided me, and encouraged me through the –at times – very daunting process of having a debut novel go to press. She was the voice of reason when I questioned “why” and the sounding board when I asked, “how come.” Together, she helped me give publishing birth to five works ( 4 books and 1 novella). During that time she wasn’t only my editor, but she became my friend. One I will treasure for the rest of my life.

It is a fact of the publishing world that editors come and go from publishing houses. Career advancement, the desire to take a different literary path, or even to have children and take care of  a family means a publisher – and a writer -will lose their favored editor.

This has recently happened to me. The void that is left behind in my heart is cavernous. This person was my very first professional editor. She was the person who saw something in my writing, who went to bat for me and basically helped make my dream of becoming a published author come true. With patience, professionalism, and kindness she guided me through that first thrilling but harrowing publishing experience, and she has been there championing me and directing my steps every inch of the way. She was the one I could turn to when a scene was not playing out the way I wanted it to. She was the one who showed me the light when the creative bulbs dimmed and I was stuck in POV nightmares. It was to her eyes I looked when something just didn’t sound as good on the page as it did in my head. In my professional writing career, I liken her to my fairy godmother. She, quite completely, made my wishes come true. I will miss my editor as I would miss a child who has left for college or a friend who moves far away.

The editor I am assigned to now is just as professional and kind. My relationship with my publisher is a wonderful, solid partnership and I look forward to many more professional collaborations between myself and my new editor.

But there is something about your first…..

My debut novel, SKATER’S WALTZ ,wouldn’t have come about if not for my editor. If you’re interested in seeing what a professional editing job she did, here’s the 411.

SKATER’S WALTZ

Figure skater Tiffany Lennox is busy with rehearsals for an upcoming ice show when the only man she’s ever loved comes home after a two-year overseas stint. She needs him to see her for the woman she’s become and not the child he knew to ensure he stays home. This time, for good. With her.

perf5.000x8.000.inddFor all his wanderlust and hunger for professional success, Cole Greer returns to New York wanting nothing more than to rest, relax, and recover. He is delighted in being Tiffany’s hero and has a special place in his heart reserved for her. But faced with the oh-so-desirable woman she’s become, he starts questioning his determination to keep their relationship platonic. When forced by the television network to go back on assignment, Cole—for the first time in his life—is torn between his career and his heart.

Available here:

Amazon //  Wild Rose Press //  B&N

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Family Saga, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Lessons I’ve learned about being a published author.

I found out my first book, SKATER’S WALTZ, had been contracted for publication while I was attending the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio, TX. Shocked, thrilled, and terrified, I thought the hard part – finding someone willing to publish my novel – was over.

Yeah, not so much.

Lesson one: it’s not over when you type THE END. It’s just the beginning…

the end

After I signed on the dotted line, the real work began. I’d been published for years in literary fiction anthologies and in non-fiction magazines and periodicals. The literary magazines accepted the work as is, the non-fiction articles were sometimes reworked and refined by editors to allow for spacing considerations. My point is that it was someone else’s job to get the piece publishing presentable.

Not anymore. Welcome to the world of book fiction.

Lesson two : the hard work starts after you contract for publication…

the end2

My first book went through 3 rounds of edits between my editor and myself before it was sent to galleys for actual publication. And even after it went out to the copy editor, there were still some changes that needed to be made. I was ready to rip my hair out at one point. All I kept thinking as more and more edit suggestions came my way was, “Why the heck did they want this if it needs so much work??”

Lesson three: Editors are the most underrated and undervalued people on the publishing food chain…

the end3

All editors are good at their job – they have to be. But the ones who are truly great make a good book even better. They find the little twists and turns of a phrase, or a word change, or a sentence deletion that is key to making the reader want to read more.

My editor is one of the great ones.

Lesson four: you should have taken marketing classes in college…

I will admit this freely – I was unbelievably naïve when I signed that first contract. I thought the publisher was going to do all the marketing necessary to promote my book, get it on a best-seller list, and generally skyrocket me to fame.

Yeah, AGAIN, not so much!

The minute your book is contracted and the editing begins, you need to start promoting it. Often and everywhere. FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, your website, blog tours, newspaper press releases, your Aunt Maimie’s bridge club. Anywhere, everywhere, and as often as you can, so that when you finally have a release date, the buzz about the book will have started, grown to fever pitch and resulted in so many pre-orders your head spins.

Lesson five: before the first book hits the shelves you’d better be working on, or done with, book #2…the end5

As a writer you can never – NEVER – rest on your laurels. It is a true axiom of publishing: you are only as good as your next book. So while you are doing all that dreaded marketing, take time each day and write…write…write. I had book two on my editor’s desk before book one was released. Same for book 3. Keep ‘em coming.

Lesson six: you need to take time to breathe and enjoy…

 Yes, I was overwhelmed, naïve, frustrated and generally anxious with the release of my first book. But I was also thrilled at having my dream – finally – come true. It was a long road for me to book publication. I was 54 years old when the first one came out, a time when most people are starting to look toward the end of their working life. Not me. Mine was just beginning and I wanted to savor every moment of how it felt to hold my first book in my hands; see my name in print on the cover of a book I’d penned; sign my first autograph on a copy someone had actually paid cash-money for! Don’t let anything ever take away or overwhelm you from that sense of wonderful, soul-soaring achievement you’ve accomplished.

the end 4

My fourth book, THE VOICES OF ANGELS was released on March 11. I didn’t feel as overwhelmed this time because I knew the basics. Promotion and marketing were all lined up and ready to go, I pre-ordered by print copies so I had them ready, and a book signing was waiting for me.

But the anticipation, the soul-empowering elation of having a book actually published was as spine tingling and heart-stopping as with that first one. And I think it will continue to be that way each and every time.

THE VOICES OF ANGELS

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Buy Links: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

 

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Family Saga, First Impressions, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Lifetime Student

 

beforeyouhitsend_300dpi

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

Why every one of us needs an Editor

Yesterday I was a guest blogger on writer Brenna Zinn’s blog. I talked about my love of figure skating and how I used this in my first romance novel Skater’s Waltz.  I mentioned Dorothy Hamill’s name several times and each time I spelled it incorrectly. So dumb! I know how to spell her name as well as my own and mine is much harder! Spell check doesn’t do names and I just glazed over it every time I read it in proofing. My Dartmouth grad English major daughter was the one who clued me into this mistake. Thank God for her.

This got me to thinking about why it is so imperative that we have editors.

Spell check was one of the best inventions ever and one of the worst. It has made us a writing nation of people who don’t bother to learn how to spell correctly and who don’t truly check our work, thinking our laptop programs will do it all and we will look like geniuses.

Na-ah. Doesn’t work that way.

I recently read a novel by a very famous and much published author who I happen to love. She mentioned colored contact lenses in the narrative of her story and even named the manufacturer. The only problem was that manufacturer doesn’t make colored contacts and never has. I know this because this is what I do for a paying job right now: I am a contact lens technician, so when I say I walk the walk and talk the talk of lenses, you can bank on it. Her editors and fact checkers paid her a huge disservice by not validating her statement and I think more people than just me noticed it.

So, back to editing. I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. When I write something I need to read it very very very slowly to make sure I have all the names correct, the i’s doted and the facts perfect. I don’t want to look like an idiot in print ( or in real life).

Lesson learned. Thank you, wise and learned daughter. And my sincere apologies to the fabulous Dorothy Hamill.

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I hear voices…

My new book is slated for release on March 4; I’m finishing up the final galley edits on book 2, and have just submitted book 3 to me editor ( and  boy, don’t I love saying that!). And I still have 5 books in current production – which means they are at varying stages on my laptop, anywhere from outlined to first three chapters, to almost done with first or final draft.

Yup, I write a lot.

A lot!

I’ve got voices yelling at me at all hours of the day and night inside my head, screaming to be let out. Sounds like a schizophrenic’s nightmare, but no, it’s just li’l ole me and my overactive, non-quiescent imagination.

There are just not enough hours in the day sometimes for me to try and quiet all these people down. And the only way to do that is to commit them to paper – or in my case – laptop. With my upcoming retirement in April, I pray I finally have enough time to devote to all these characters vying for my individual attention. As it is now,  I am just skimming the surface of my desire to write full time. Once my paying job goes the way of the dinosaur I won’t have to squeeze in writing while I wait for the laundry to be done, or after I’ve gotten the groceries bought and put away, or decided what to make for dinner and then make it!

The house will – hopefully – no longer endure the invasion of the tumble weeds that roll out daily from underneath the furniture; I won’t be able to write my  name in the dust settling on the furniture, and when I walk across the carpets, dust bunnies won’t fly up from under my steps.

I plan on being able to write to my heart’s desire during the typical workday. I am usually good mental-wise from 4 am until about 1-2ish. Sharp and focused, I can write the most coherent stuff during those times. After 2-3 I start to wane, so that’s when I plan on doing all the other stuff that needs my attention – like clean, cook, pay bills, etc. At least that’s my plan.

We’ll see how it goes. But until then, the voices are  yelling at me again, so off I go to quiet the crazies….

 

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Filed under Characters, Dialogue, Editors

No, it doesn’t take a village; it takes a …..library

 

There’s an old adage in surgery that goes “you see one, you do, you teach one.” Hey, why do you think they call it the “Practice of medicine?” Why am I telling you this medical saying when I usually blog about writing? I’m glad you asked.

No one can actually teach you how to write. You either have the innate, God-give talent, the desire to create pictures with words on the page, the all consuming need to tell your stories, intrinsically. It must be a part of your makeup, your creative DNA, so to speak. No, the talent of writing can’t be taught.

But you can learn the mechanics.

I’m a much better writer today than I was even yesterday ( and the years before) because of books and manuals I’ve studied which have helped and foster my ability to write.

I’ll admit I’m not the best speller in the world, sometimes my tenses get mixed up and I often tell you more than I show you in my stories.

But…

All those things can be taught, improved upon, and ultimately make you a better conveyor of the stories you need to tell.

I’ve listed some of my all time favorite manuals/books here; the ones that I’ve devoured and have helped me become a better writer, and which have helped me find the road to publication a little easier. If publication is your goal, you will not get past the very first reader/agent/editor, if your craft is shoddy and unpolished. Your work must be clean, mistake-free, and tell the reader/agent/editor that you are a writing force to be reckoned with.

Even the best and most prolific writers in the world need a refresher course every now and again.

Here’s my list. See if some of yours are on it. And let me now your favorites if you don’t them listed here.

G.G.C. Goal, Motivation and Conflict  by Debra Dixon

The Emotion Thesaurus, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

Writing the Synopsis by Pam McCutcheon

Show, Don’t Tell by William Noble

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Filed under Characters, Dialogue, Editors

Christmas is coming and you know what THAT means, don’tcha?

With the holiday season approaching in a ridiculously fast manner, there are a ton of new romance books out with Christmas themes. Books about Christmas brides, Christmas babies, Christmas engagements, even Christmas cowboys ( Yowza!) It got me thinking about why this time of year has such a plethora of romance-related reading material popping up.

Christmas is a time of rebirth, of joy, of giving thanks for the blessings in your life, and ultimately for celebrating Jesus’s birth – remember folks: Jesus is the reason for the season. It makes some kind of sense then that the Christmas baby book bonanza for romance novels is such a widely loved trope. An unexpected surprise is delivered on a doorstop one Christmas morning : a baby. A women who never thought she’d have a child suddenly finds she’s now the “mother” to a slew of nieces and nephews whose parents have been killed, or who have abandoned them. A Christmas miracle happens and a women becomes pregnant when up to this time she hasn’t been able.

Such are the themes of Christmas baby books.

The Christmas bride books are also a popular sell. I will admit this since most people know it already, but I got married the day after Christmas. A few distant relatives and some friends found this date horrific and chose not to attend my wedding due to obligations elsewhere. That was fine with me. I chose this date for a number of reasons which I won’t go into. But it turned out to be a great date for several reasons: 1. All of both our families were together celebrating the holidays; 2. I always pictured a winter wedding, complete with snow and Christmas finery; 3. The Church was already decked out for Christmas – so I didn’t have to pay extra for flowers and decorations ( I’m no dummy, folks, when it comes to saving money), and 4. I knew it was a date my husband wasn’t likely to ever forget was our anniversary.

Getting engaged on Christmas is the second date only to Valentine’s Day where the question is popped. Truly, is there a better present than an engagement ring, all new and sparkly and put on your finger by the guy you want to spend forever with?? I think not.

So, with the holiday rush beginning now that Halloween is but a memory, you will see a large number of new releases on the shelves ( both store and Kindle) with holiday themed covers and stories. I suggest you buy a few that hit your fancy because – trust me – they all have happily ever after endings ( something we all desire ) and they will all make you feel just a little happier during the holiday season.

A few of my favorite new Christmas themed releases this year:

Christmas in Cupid Falls, By Holly Jacobs

A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise, by Maggie McGinnes

The Twelve Brides of Christmas, from The Wild Rose Press

Merry Christmas Baby, by Jill Shalvis

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Family Saga, MacQuire Women, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women