Tag Archives: Fiction writer

Another #FacebookParty, another group of new #friends…

Friday night I participated in Tena Stetler’s facebook party promoting her new Christmas release, A Witches’s Holiday Wedding  A fun time was had by all, but that’s not the purpose of this little piece today.

I’ve participated in a few Facebook parties of late as a participating author. They are fast, frantic, just a tad manic and can be an excellent tool for finding new readers of your work, especially of you GIVE SOMETHING AWAY. Now, you might ask, why did she put those three words in such big letters?

Let me ‘splain.

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When I first started getting published, several writers told me to never give my work away. Make your family and friends pay for your stuff, and don’t participate in any kind of blog or networking giveaway, they said. Why should you take something  that you’ve slaved over for months on end, pouring all your heart and soul into it only, to give it away like yesterday’s stale bread? Well, their points seemed valid.

But…. ( and there’s always a but)

I’ve participated in about a half dozen blog hops and FB parties  over the past year and, yes, I’ve given away ecopies of my books as prizes. And yes, I’ve done a Goodreads  giveaway contests, and Netgalley, as well. And here’s what I’ve learned by going against that conventional wisdom.

As a new author, I am known to a finite number of people ( family and friends). All those people live with an hour of me.  I am not recognizable on the street where I live since more than half my neighbors don’t know me, or me them. Since I didn’t have “A NAME” when I was first published – and by that I mean no one in End-of-the-Line Kansas, or Where-the-heck-are-we Arkansas knew who the h, e, double hockey sticks I was. They weren’t going to shell out 15 bucks for a paperback or $5.99 for an ecopy of a book by a writer they had never heard of. Money is money and people can’t be wasting their hard earned dollars on what may prove – to them – to be a disappointment. I understood that as a writer  and understand it as a reader, myself.

So.

All the giveaways, contests, and hops I participated in where I gave away copies of my books, brought me to brand new readers all over the country – the world, really – and once they were introduced to my work, they became fans, actually plunking down hard earned cash for the other books I’ve got on my list. So I may have given away about $100.00 worth of product over the past year, but I made it back in so many more ways that just monetarily, and for that, I’m glad I didn’t listen to the “advice” of others who cautioned me against doing so.

This is me, sticking out my tongue and saying Na-Na-Na- Na-Na! ( real mature, I know. Don’t judge me. ((HEEHEE)

 

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When I’m acting my age you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

And if you didn’t get a free copy of my latest book A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS In any of the giveaways ( sorry!)<you can order your copy here in digital or paperback.

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Buy LInks: Amazon//  The Wild Rose Press     //    B&N

 

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Devices, Devices, Devices!

Today I’m channeling Jan Brady!

marcia

The reason? Because I need to whine a little and Jan’s iconic “Marcia, Marcia, Marica!” just resonates so well for that.

The other evening, as I was plugging in my iPod, cell Phone,  laptop and Kindle to charge, my husband was brushing his teeth with his electric toothbrush. When he was finished, he looked at me–struggling to get everything plugged in for the night in one little over loaded  outlet– and then down at his brush and said, “How many extraneous electrical devices do you think we own?”

“Define extraneous?” I said.

“Something we use that we could use something non-electric for. Like our toothbrushes.”

I thought about it for a moment, counting everything I used on a daily basis that needed to be charged or plugged in to work, and then said, “None. Everything we use we need.”

“Really? Do you actually need all that”–he pointed to the overloaded outlet–“all day, every day?”

“Yes.” No hesitation on my part at all.

And I’m being truthful.

“What about all the other things, like the microwave, your hair stuff, your lighted makeup mirror, the fans you keep blowing all day and night? Those aren’t superfluous?”

“No.” I should have known he wouldn’t leave it at that. Dog, meet bone. The definition of my husband.

“Why not?” he asked.

Ticking all the items off on my fingers, I gave my best argument ( debate club alum, remember?).

“When you work late and come home hungry but don’t want a full dinner, the microwave is the perfect thing for either reheating something, or making something small and quick for you. You’re hungry and you want to eat NOW not in 30 minutes after the oven has preheated. I need my blowdryer and all my straightening hair devices and tools because you know I look like I have a bird’s nest on my head if I don’t straighten my hair. There’s no other safe way to do it if I want to avoid the myriad of chemicals needed to attain non-pubic hair-looking status. Since I am in the throes of menopause and we don’t have robots or droids to fan me all day long to keep the heat at bay, I need those fans on or else I am in a perpetual state of sweat. Not attractive. And as for the lighted makeup mirror, I have two words to say on that subject: cataract surgery.”

A little disclaimer here so you get where I’m coming from: When I had cataract surgery it killed my near vision – I have perfect distance, but can’t see anything 5 feet or closer to me. I need, absolutely NEED that lighted, magnified makeup mirror or else I’d never feel confident in what I looked like to go out of the house and not scare children, the elderly, or small pets.

“And your computer, phone, kindle, iPod and Ipad? Those are necessary to your health and well being every single day?”

“Yes on all counts. I need the Ipod when I go to the gym ( 5-6 days a week) or else I’d be bored out of my gourd, and if I’m bored and not distracted enough, I won’t finish my workout, so that would be a waste of time. I need the iPad to watch my tv shows  when we travel. I need the Kindle to, you know, save trees. I read so many books every week. Just think of all those poor trees I’d be killing. It’s actually an act of Christian Kindness and Mercy to use the Kindle. Do I really have to explain the necessity of the phone? And as for my computer, well, my editor is not going to accept a handwritten manuscript.”

I took a breath. “And as for the toothbrushes, the dentist said our teeth are healthier since we started using them. Do you want gum disease? Excess plaque? Halitosis?”

He stood there, staring at me, while I prepared some other reasons why I needed every electrical device known to man to survive on a daily basis. I truly hoped he wouldn’t get me started on the necessity of dishwashers and vacuums. There’s a reason we life in modern times. If I’d been born in the dark ages ( aka the time before electricity when it was, truly, dark!) I wouldn’t have survived. In even older times? I would have been one of the ones eaten for the others to stay alive. And I would have been happy to make the ultimate sacrifice just to get away from the dark and cold and tedious.

There’s a reason I don’t camp, peeps ( aside from the going to the bathroom in the woods – never gonna happen!) All that wilderness living? Yeah, not for me. I’m like the character in Private Benjamin who said she joined the army for the condos and travel vouchers, not the marching and tents.

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After a few seconds of staring, my husband shook his head and got into bed without another word on the subject.

Score!

When I’m not using every electrical device know to man you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

 

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Summer reading – the beginning….

Someone who read a recent blog of mine blog asked me “why do you re-read your old writing texts and “how to” books over the summer? Didn’t you get enough out of them the first time? Did you miss important stuff? Instead of answering the question directly, I asked this instead: “Haven’t you ever read something – a book,or an article – that was just so good you read it again just for the pleasure of it?” The answer I got back was typical of most people: “No. Once I read something, that’s it. I’m done.”

A sad, but a very common occurrence among  people. Most people will see a movie more than once if they like it – this is evidenced based fact: look at how many movie DVD’s are sold each and every day, not rented. Or, they will listen to a song endlessly. But to re-read a favored book? Not happening.

I’ve read Gone with the Wind  13 times. Cover to cover. And I could read it again tomorrow if I had the time to devote to it.

I’ve read To Kill A Mockingbird 8 times. I can quote descriptions and dialogue when prompted.

Last year I re-read every “In Death” book by J.D.Robb again, starting with the first one in the series, Naked in Death and finishing with the most current one, straight out. I didn’t read anything else until I finished all of them. Re-reading the list in order, the way it was written, was very powerful for me.  I could see and watch how J.D.Robb grew her characters with each book, building on their personalities, using their individual backgrounds to advance the plot and the series characters themselves. It was  like taking a master class on how to develop character and plot arcs effectively. I gleamed so much valuable information and writing development wisdom from re-reading the series that has helped me enormously with my own writing.

To me, re-reading a favored book is more pleasurable than seeing a favored movie over and over again. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve seen The Birdcagat least two dozen times – and every time I laugh while I quote the dialogue! But to spend time to re-read a book, one that gave you such treasured hours of pleasure, one that, every time you read it, you learn something new, or find something new from, something you didn’t see before, is to me one of life’s most wonderful ways to spend a few hours.

Re-reading my writing craft books and texts brings me the same pleasure, because every time – EVERY TIME – I find something, some tidbit, some phrase of wisdom, I didn’t see when I read it the last time. And to me, that is time so valuably spent.

What’s your favorite book? When was the last time you read it? Why not get reacquainted and read it again? Believe me, you’ll be happy when you do.

here’s my current favorite book, and LOOK! – it’s mine! It was just recently voted THE BOOK OF THE WEEK over at AuthorShout

THE VOICES OF ANGELS

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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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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…

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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

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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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I am a list-o-holic and there is no support group for me!

I love lists. I love to make them, find them, re-work them, and add to them. Part of the reason I make so many lists is because I have so many things to remember, if I don’t list them I’ll forget more than half of them. That’s not a factor of my age or menopause, either. I’ve always been that way..forgetful, that is.

I make laundry lists, grocery lists, lists for what I need to pack for a trip, to-d0 lists, character trait lists. You name it, I’ve got a list for it.

A few years back Real Simple magazine published a piece on 9 lists you can never recall just right: like the names of the 7 dwarfs, the 7 deadly sins, the names of the 8 planets, the 5 oceans of the Earth, etc. It was a great list and I have a copy of it on my desk. Why, you ask? Well,because I love lists! It’s that simple. And the list is a great reference tool, plus a fun game to play with people who think they know everything and so often don’t. Yeah, I know that’s a little mean but….I don’t care!

I once wrote a character who was so obsessed with lists she had panic attacks when she couldn’t find them ( this was before I wrote romance.) A few of my so-call friends at that time said she was an autobiographical character. Notice I said, “at the time.”

Anyway, are you a list person? If so, what list can’t you live without? Or are you that person that I envy  the kind that can go tot he grocery store without a list and get everything you need without forgetting anything? If so, just know we will never be friends….

How good a memory so you have? Let’s see: Name the following and I’ll let you know if you got it right – and please don’t cheat by looking it up!!

What are the 7 deadly sins?

What are Santa’s 8 reindeer named?

What are the names of the 7 continents of the world today?

Ready?….GO!

 

 

 

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Blank, blocked, and bored….

Can you guess what today’s blog is about? Here’s a hint: it’s not Cookie Monster’s version of a dictionary filled with the letter B!

For the past three weeks, I have been in the throes of a  blockage the likes of which I have never experienced before in my adult – or even childhood- life. NOOOOOO – get your minds out of the gutter and the bathroom! I have a severe case of writer’s BLOCK and it is driving me batty.

writersblock

I would think this is funny – and by funny I mean hahaha funny, not “oh-shit-I’m-terrified-I’ll-never-wrte-again-funny”  if I had nothing going on for the next few months; if I had time on my hands to just wait for inspiration to flow through my fingers, piped directly from my brain again.

But NO.  I don’t have the luxury of time. What I do have are deadlines. 4 big ones,  in fact!!! And no ideas…no inspiration…no insights. Nothing. Nada. Niente.

writersblock2Even my dreams have been boring and uninspired of late. I have listened to many writers’ treatments to cure writer’s block. I’ve walked away from the laptop for a time; I’ve forced myself to sit down at it and write something, ANYTHING, just to keep my hands and fingers busy. I’ve taken a walk – too many, in fact. I’ve got shin splints. I’ve taken a nap; I’ve made enough soothing cups of tea until my teeth need to be whitened professionally, they are so stained.

I’ve read, watched tv, painted, cooked. I’ve had a manicure, pedicure, gotten my blonde hair dyed. I’ve gone grocery shopping, therapy shopping ( women will get this!) and cleaned my house until it glows like a binary nuclear assault has come. Oh, and I’ve procrastinated myself into a stupor and still – STILL – nothing.

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So here’s what I’m going to do…….

Sorry, I fell asleep because I’m boring myself…. For the sake of discussion,( because, really? What else do I have to do?) how do you get through writer’s blockage if you suffer from it? And if you don’t – I hate you. Just saying.

While I wait for inspiration, at least I have a new release coming out on 3/11/16 that I can talk and write about. Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ from THE VOICE OF ANGELS and the buy links if you are so inclined….please be inclined!THE VOICE OF ANGELS and the buy links if you are so inclined….please be inclined!

Blurb

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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.

Excerpt

“Now for a check on the weather. Carl?”
When the monitor light changed colors, Mike turned back to her. “Well done.”
“Thanks for being so patient. I almost lost it for a second there.”
Her beautiful mouth quirked at the corners, and his own went drought-desert dry. He swallowed and ran his suddenly sandpapered tongue across his lips.

“You know, I read parts of your book last night as prep,” he said as she stood, noticing how long and shapely her legs were under her short green skirt. “I was taken with the stories and the details in it.”

“Thanks.” She glanced down at her wristwatch and then offered her hand. The shockwave electrifying through his body at her touch staggered him. A bolt of lightning, hot, fast, and bright surged straight to his core.

What seemed like confusion clouded her eyes as she looked at him. “I-I have to go. I’ve got to be across town by nine. God only knows what the traffic’s like. Thanks again for plugging my book. Tell Sharon I’ll call her soon. Bye. And thanks, again.”

Mike watched her bolt through the studio doors and was only brought out of his musings by the director calling him back to the news desk.

For the rest of the broadcast he was distracted by thoughts of her, resulting in him flubbing some of his lines and intro’s, something he rarely-if ever-did. How compassionate and warm her face had been as she’d told her touching story; the subtle fragrance of roses surrounding her; the deep coppery sheen of her hair as the hot, bright studio lights intensified its color.

By the end of the program he vowed he’d find a way to see her again.

Buy Links  Amazon //  The WIld Rose Press  // Nook  // Kobo

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Reality check….

writingfebruary

Sometimes I get inspiration for  a writing blog from the universe and sometimes I go in search of a topic. I found today’s little meme when I was Googling Reality in your writing.  And it’s perfect.

As a fiction writer my brain is continually turned to the “on” position as far as making stuff up goes. Fiction writer, remember? But there are times when something has either happened in my life, or I’ve seen a report on the news, or someone tells me a story and I just think “Wow. I can use that in a book.” The pitfalls of knowing a writer, being their friend or spouse,  is that this may happen more times than you think.

Truth.

So, here’s why today’s cartoon is so perfect for what I wanted to say. In my new book releasing on March 11 from the Wild Rose Press, THE VOICES OF ANGELS, my heroine – a writer –  pens a book about the experiences people have had with what they say are Angels. Her addition to the book is the birth of her daughter. I’m including a little bit of it here so you can reference what I’m talking about: Just for a starting point, Carly is being interviewed on a morning chat show and has been telling the host ( my wonderful hero, Mike !) about a car accident she had that propelled her into labor with her daughter. The baby is in distress and Carly is given the option of two anesthesias because she needs an emergency C-section -a spinal injection where the baby will be  out in 30 minutes, or general, where they can take her from her body in less than five. She bases her decision on something she hears and tells Mike about it this way:

       The spinal, the doctor said, was the safer choice for the baby. I was beyond exhausted from the labor and the stress of the accident and I didn’t know which way to go. My husband left the room to speak in private with the doctor, when out of nowhere a small voice whispered in my ear to take the general. I turned my head, but I was alone. The doctor came back a second later and I told him I’d made a decision. After I woke from the surgery, he assured me I’d made the correct one.”

Mike uncrossed his legs and leaned in closer. Even though he’d read the excerpt from the book the night before in preparation for the interview, hearing her tell the story in her gentle, melodic voice had a hypnotic effect. He wanted to hear more. “What did he mean?”

Carly’s smile turned sad. “Well, my baby had been lying on her umbilical cord. The accident must have shifted her position. At birth, she had no pulse or reflexes. The doctor couldn’t get any kind of response from her. After five minutes of resuscitation efforts, though, she started to perk-up. If I’d opted for the spinal and waited for it to work, he wouldn’t have been able to save her, because too much time would have elapsed between the injection and the operation. With the general anesthesia, she was born in less than five minutes. So the little voice in my ear helped me make the right choice.”

Now, to tie this little excerpt together with today’s theme: that story is true. I know because it happened to me. I had an accident the day my daughter was born – my 120 pound dog knocked me down while I was out walking her and, because I had her leash wound around my hand, she dragged me on my belly for a good twenty feet before help arrived. My body instantly went into labor, the baby was in distress, and the choice of anesthesia was given to me. The story about the voice in my ear is true as well.  I did hear someone whisper into my ear to take the general when my husband slipped into the hallway for a second – and I was left alone.

I wrote about that experience in several magazine articles for years after my daughter was born. When I wrote Carly’s biography I knew I needed an inciting event for her new book, so…

I bet you can guess today’s question without even thinking, but I’ll ask it anyway: have you ever used a real life event  that happened to you, a loved one, or a that you heard on the news, etc, in one of your stories? Let’s discuss….

THE VOICES OF ANGELS, available 3/11/16, pre-order now at THE WILD ROSE PRESS or AMAZON

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Starting anew..

I’ve started a new series of books ( see my previous post about storyboarding) and this time I’ve invented an entire town in New Hampshire as the setting.

Scary stuff…but also a little exciting.

I wanted a town with a specific name ( no sharing details for you yet, peeps!!) because the name is integral to the stories and it needed to be made-up because I needed to have total control over the street names, store names, etc. Can I just tell you how HARD this was?!! To not only come up with the town’s name, but the street names to go along with the theme and then the stores, businesses, etc, to further it? My head hurt after an hour of planning. There’s a reason I didn’t go into municipal development, folks.

city

But, after a while, the names started flowing and I felt…okay, I’ll admit it:  omnipotent. Tycoon-ish.  I made a town, I named the streets, shops, roads and government office buildings. It was like playing Monopoly, but for real!

All the other stories I’ve written have taken place in actual settings; cities like New York; states like Connecticut. This time I wanted a New England feel, so, of course, I chose my home state of New Hampshire, the prettiest state in the east, and built the town somewhere between Concord and Peterborough. A large enough geographic divide that I could play around with it, but far enough distance between the two where I wouldn’t be stepping on another town’s toes. Does that make sense?

Anyway, this is kind of cool. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes out and together and what the reader response will be.

So, writing peeps… ever make up your own setting? How hard was it? Or, how easy? Let’s discuss…..

 

New release 3 WISHES (A Candy Hearts Romance)perf5.000x8.000.indd

Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her 30th birthday, she just might get her three wishes.

Get it here: Amazon //  The Wild Rose Press // Nook//  Kobo //

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Candy Hearts, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Do the clothes really make the man?

Mark Twain anyone? HeeHee

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Keeping in tune with the character mannerisms, quirks, tricks, etc. theme, clothing is a very important part of your character’s persona. Unless, of course, you’re writing about a nudist colony.

How you dress the people of your creativity is important for a number of reasons. Clothing  can and will:

1. express the socio-economic situation of the character. ( homeless vs billionaire)

2. show the character’ s taste level ( slutty vs Princess Di)

3. show the character’s profession ( rock star vs surgeon)

4. show the heroine’s feelings about herself ( a put together outfit vs a pair of old tattered sweat pants and wifebeater tee)

I’m sure you can think of several other reasons as well it is important to have your character wear the right clothes.

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It can also give you a great deal of insight into their minds and how they operate.

Take one of my favorite TV characters, Magnum P.I. ( Le sigh**)  Magnum always gave you the impression he was a little laid back, maybe not too savvy, and more flash than substance. He was dressed perpetually in a loud Hawaiian flowered shirt and his favorited Dodgers ballcap was always covering his badly in need of a trim curly hair. Bad guys were always fooled  by his laissez-faire demeanor. What they never got was his style of dress was meant to give that impression. If you’ve  watched the shows ( and my God, why haven’t you??!) you’ll know that lackadaisical attitude was a front for one helluva smart and astute Private Investigator…who just happened to look uber-hot when he drove that red Ferrari around the island. Magnum’s wardrobe spoke volumes.

 

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Another favorite sleuth of mine is the original Murder She Wrote character, Jessica Fletcher, portrayed by the remarkable and talented Angela Lansbury. Jessica Fletcher looked like exactly what she was: a retired English teacher, living in a cottage in Maine, penning murder novels on her old beat up manual typewriter. She looked and dressed like everyone’s favorite maiden aunt. Comfortable slacks, sneakers, a sweatshirt covering a white blouse. Boring and typical. Again, this was an illusion for the quick witted, smart brained, fascinating character she really was. Jessica was frequently the smartest person in any room she was in, and the most perceptive. Like Agatha Christie’s Jane Marble, Jessica ( in the early seasons of the show) rarely left her little village, but she had the uncanny knack of being about to rout out evil just by thinking like a murderer. Fascinating stuff.

I’ve mentioned before how Columbo would never have been Columbo without that tattered trench coat he always had on.

A final one, if you’ll let me. Gone with The Wind, my personal favorite war book and  movie has a fantastic scene in it affectionately called ‘The curtain scene.” Scarlett, left destitute from the ravages of the civil war needs to present herself as a woman who is not a downtrodden war survivor, but exactly what she has always been, a spoiled, petted Southern belle. She has Mammie make a magnificent gown from the tapestry drapes in Tara’s Parlor so she can perpetuate the image she wants.  Here’s one of the funniest parodies I’ve ever seen of this scene. Enjoy.

And just because I like this to be interactive…what are some outfits you’ve decked your characters in?….Let’s discuss.

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Literary characters, research, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Speak and they will listen..

Since I’ve been on the topic of mannerisms of late, how about we discuss how your characters speak and the idiosyncratic styles they each have? This is a fun topic for me any time of day or night.
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I’ve said before that I was born in Brooklyn, NY and lived in NYC for the first 27 years of my life. When I open my mouth and start to speak, you automatically can hear where I’m from. I have a tendency to drop the letter R at the ends of words ( which is why I refer to girls as sistahs), my “Th” sounds come out sounding like the letter “d”, so you’ll hear me say Dat for That. I speak as quickly as a lightning flash and use my hands expressively a great deal. All these verbal tags and mannerisms tell you I’m probably a New York kind of girl.

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Last year I was in San Antoni for the RWA conference. Most of the people who originate from that region and the ones I came in contact with at the hotel and in the city said “y’all” and “rightly so” a bunch of times in their adorable Texas twang.

Two weeks ago I was Las Vegas. Many of the employees in the hotel I was staying in were from the Philippines and addressed every person every time they came in contact with them as Ma’am or Sir. In their country this a severe sign of respect for the individual they are addressing.

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So, having shared this, some of the ways you can make your characters jump off the page to the reader and make them come alive, is to know how they speak.  Can you hear each character in your books speaking in their own style, or does every character sound the same to you? I read my dialogue out loud all the time just so I can be sure one person doesn’t sound exactly like another. Do your characters all use the same words and phrases when they speak? Again, this can get boring and confusing for the reader. For instance, doctors are highly educated people and use a certain vocabulary the average person doesn’t. You wouldn’t want your immigrant, unable-to-read-and-write character who is a patient be able to understand what a doctor is telling him. That just doesn’t ring true. Nor would a scientist and a four year be able to communicate on the same level. Unless of course the kid was a prodigy.talkingmeme

One of my favorite characters that I am currently writing is a ninety-two-year-old Irish immigrant grandmother who continually speaks in malapropisms. It gets her into some funny and outrageous situations, but it rings true when she speaks the words incorrectly, because she thinks they are correct.talkingmeme6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, if your character is smart, does she speak like she’s educated?  Did your hero come from the South, because if he did, he’d be polite in his conversations with people, saying “please”, Ma-am, and so forth. Got a Canadian in-law? Make sure you round those vowels.

All these special little touches will make your characters more attractive, honest, appealing, and most importantly to your readers, Real.

So…you know what’s coming. How do you make your characters sound all like individuals and not robots….Let’s discuss.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Literary characters, research, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor