Tag Archives: New Hampshire

I’m on #TOUR (heehee)

Enchanted Book Promotions is hosting me for the next 2 weeks on a whirlwind tour, featuring DEARLY BELOVED.

Here are the tour stops for each day:

November 14th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

November 16th: Book Excerpt @ Bookish Rantings

November 17th: Promo Post @ Indy Book Fairy

November 18th: Book Excerpt @ T’s Stuff

November 20th: Book Review @ Crazy KALM

November 21st: Book Excerpt @ Bookish Madness

November 22nd: Author Interview @ Bedazzled Reading

November 24th: Book Excerpt @ Books, Dreams, Life

November 26th: Promo Post @  Stormy Night Reviewing

November 27th: Book Review @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

November 27th: Guest Post @ I Heart Reading

November 28th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

Stop by on any day. There’s a rafflecopter for Amazon gift cards. Plus, you’ll get to read more about the book (and me!)

See you in cyberspace. Hee Hee

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Filed under Dearly Beloved, love, Romance, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Post Conference thoughts….

So you all know by now I was here over the weekend:

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The first ever FALL IN LOVE WITH NEW ENGLAND  conference was a huge hit by anyone’s standards! This was my first EVAH readers conference and I can’t tell you how tickled I was to meet so many lovers of romantic fiction – in all its genres. There were readers from every age group, background, and occupation. Some came from as far away as Oregon and as close as the next town over from the conference center.

I was privileged to sit on a contemporary workshop panel with three other contemporary authors, who I now consider my friends-not only in writing-but in life as well, Terri Osburn, Caridad Pineiro, and Claire Gem. Each of these writers brings something very unique and individual to their novels and each is a master of the contemporary genre. Our workshop room was packed with readers-and a few other authors-who were interested in hearing why we write in the genre we do, how we come up with ideas, what are no-nos for us as writers, and where do we push the envelope in sex, relationships, and  plot-lines. Many of the readers didn’t know what TROPES were, so we each gave our version of our favorites – and least favorites! I’m not too sure why my mouth is open like a fish in this photo…it may have been because I was talking ( which is what I do. Constantly!)

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I was so impressed and awed by the depth of  knowledge, passion, and love these readers have for romance novels ( and their authors!!) I feel like I’ve finally found my people after a long, exhausting search! And these readers are ravenous for new material, as evidenced by the tremendous amounts of books they purchased at the author signing. Who says print is dead? Not these loyal readers, that’s for sure.

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In addition to the workshops, authors and readers got to interact and have funfunfun at a costumed dinner on Friday night. Here are a few pictures from the laughter filled night, that included  costume prizes, a reader basket raffle, where the 5 readers at my table each won an impressive basket filled with books, and other reading sundries.

filne3     filne1  As you can see, I was a chef. I’m sitting next to the lovely Ana E Ross and the fabulous Marianne Rice is behind me as Harley-Quinn from Suicide Squad. There’s a cute little cat woman over on the right. That’s uber-talented author Karen Stivali. This was one power-packed table of authors. We all write in romance but we all write in different genres. The readers at our table were amazeballs as well!

A pizza party and a movie ended the weekend on Saturday night with plan to do this all again in 2017.

I sosososo plan on being there!

When I’m not cavorting at conference and such, you can usually find me here:

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

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Literary characters, love, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized

My Sexy Saturday # 107

Well, it’s Saturday once again and that means a listing on the My Sexy Saturday blog hop. Here’s a sexy scene from my two new peeps in FIRST IMPRESSIONS due out on 9/23 but available for preorder now. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it….FirstImpressions_w9816_2_85

 

“Pat?”

He didn’t answer, but continued to hold her prisoner, gaze, body and soul. She couldn’t take a full breath, didn’t dare to, afraid she’d break the spell he’d woven around them, afraid she’d lose the thin thread of control she clutched to prevent herself from jumping on him and eating him alive.

“Clarissa,” he whispered, his nose nuzzling along the outer edge of her jaw.

“Y-yes?”

His lips skimmed her throat, trailing lazily along the column of her blouse. He placed an open-mouthed, wet kiss along the skin beneath her ear, and she finally let out the breath she’d been holding, fearful she would faint dead away if she didn’t.

“I smell turkey,” he said softly, and took her ear lobe into his mouth.

As he gently sucked on it, Clarissa felt a punch of lust straight through her midsection. “Wh-what?”

She gasped when his tongue slid against her throat. “And biscuits.”

“Biscuits?” Confusion vied with a hunger that had nothing to do with food.

“Mmmm. Turkey and biscuits.” He licked her collarbone and then sucked at the skin covering it.

Oh, sweet Jesus.”

With a smile dancing on his lips, he pulled back and looked at her face.
 “Clarissa, I’m starving.”
  She blinked a few times.
“You wouldn’t, by any chance, want to share your dinner with me, would you? Friend.”
  The cloud of erotic sensations he’d spun around her finally started to disperse. His stomach growled again, and even the kitten heard it this time because she startled and dug her nails into Clarissa’s arm.

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, First Impressions, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

A visit with Angela Hayes…

Hi all.  Greetings on this lovely June day.

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Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Angela Hayes and I’m an author with The Wild Rose Press. My debut novel, Love’s Battle, a fantasy romance is available on Amazon at http://bit.ly/LovesBattle, Barnes and Noble at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/loves-battle-angela-hayes/1119985601?ean=2940149742493 , and on The Wild Rose Press website at http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=indexHYPERLINK “http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=1103″&HYPERLINK “http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=1103″manufacturers_id=1103 .

I’d like to invite you all over to my blog www.authorangelahayes.blogspot.com where Peggy has graciously agreed to be a guest.

We’re talking all about her new book, There’s No Place Like Home. You don’t want to miss out.

If you like what you see, be sure to follow me either by email or by Google to get the latest blog postings.

You can also follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/imahayes and Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/imahayes.

It was wonderful meeting you,
Happy Reading,

Angela Hayes

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Filed under Characters, Dialogue, New Hampshire

A new experience…

I’ve said many times on this blog how taking a risk or having a new experience is a worthwhile endeavor and yesterday I talked the talk, walked the walk. I participated in my very first Facebook release party. It was last minute thing. I was asked because one of the authors couldn’t make it so, my NHRWA sistah Susan A. Wall asked me to fill in and I was happy to.

Those 30 minutes went by faster than a speeding bullet (a head nod to Superman here!)

Apparently, a very large group of readers, fans, and fb followers attend these sort of things. Who knew? 

I had to ask a few questions, answer a few, and give something away, because we all know folks like freebies and giveaways. ( Shameless self promotion coming) I’m actually doing a giveaway right now of THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME on Goodreads. Here’s the link:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/138470-there-s-no-place-like-home

So, anyway. It felt good to connect with some new people and to experience this new fangled way of promoting my work. This just solidifies in my mind that Social Media has changed the world. And the future. I simply can’t imagine ever going back to the old fashioned ways of promoting things like sending out postoffice mailers, flyers, postcards. Having book premier cocktail parties ( expensive!!) seem to be a thing of the past as well.

One thing that will never go out of style is meeting the fans, the readers, the people you write for. Giving a talk at a local library, visiting a book group, volunteering to be a guest lecturer at a school, even doing a physical book signing at an actual book store are all things I want to keep doing to promote my work, and will.

That’s a promise from me to the people who read  and support what I like.

But this virtual stuff is pretty cool, no?

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Filed under Characters, Dialogue, New Hampshire

Is This When the Miracle Happens? by Cheri Allan

My guest  blogger today is author Cheri Allan.

web site cover All or Nothing

I met Cheri Allan at NHRWA a little over a year ago and I was immediately taken with her open, easy, friendly and FUNNY personality. When I was lucky enough to read her first book, Luck of The Draw right before it was officially released, I realized she writes exactly the same way she does everything else in her life: with fun, heart, warmth and joy.  Her newest book,  All or Nothing, book 3 in the Betting on Romance series, is dedicated to her beloved mother, whose birthday is today – Happy B’day!! Today, Cheri’s blog is titled Is This When the Miracle Happens? Read  along and find out….

There are two facts about me you should know: I have successfully crammed a loveseat into the back of a Chevette, and my final grade in high school geometry was 103%.

I share these two little factoids not to brag (okay, maybe a little. I even got the extra credit questions right!), but because it was with this inflated sense of mastery over spatial thinking and physics that I approached a particularly difficult application of ice and water shield several years ago. (Think rubbery sheets of contact cement.) Dearest Hubby and I were weatherproofing our newly framed dormer before the summer T-storms hit again. I was leaning through the narrow rafter cavity with a piece of ice and water shield (sticky side out) attempting to reach in a direction that would require: a.) one of my elbows to bend backwards, b.) my arms to stretch another 6-8 inches, and c.) me to develop x-ray vision that would allow me to see through a 2 x 12 rafter. I had struggled for probably ten minutes or so at this task when DH leaned close to my ear and whispered, “Is this when the miracle happens?”

I dissolved into convulsions of laughter and ended up sticking the ice and water shield to my forearm (which, BTW, I don’t recommend) because it was perfectly clear that as much as I stretched and pushed and struggled, the physics of the situation where not going to change.

In ALL OR NOTHING, self-made tech millionaire Ian McIntyre has just returned from filming a reality dating show. Unfortunately, he did not find a match. This is an ice and water shield moment for the show’s producer who spends the rest of the book trying to bend her elbows backwards getting Ian to fall in love and choose a fiancée so the show’s ratings don’t go down the toilet.

It turns out that the kind of woman Ian asked to be matched with isn’t the woman he needs (big surprise!) And it takes a loveable puppy, some persistent paparazzi and one spunky heroine to get him to see he needs to approach things differently. Cue the triumphant music and happy ending as the hero and heroine run through a sunny field toward one another…

You see, sometimes the miracle happens (don’t ask me how I got that loveseat in that car) and sometimes it doesn’t, but as writers we have a tendency to continue to shove and twist during those difficult times waiting for the fairy dust to sprinkle down from the heavens so our elbows will bend backwards and the scene will work. Chances are good, though, that we won’t suddenly realize we’re double-jointed, and it will take a whisper from outside ourselves to see that we need to take a new tack.

This is where I admit the third fact: If it weren’t for my lovely, talented and painfully honest editor, you would probably throw my book at the wall. In ALL OR NOTHING, I had a plot line that was not working. I knew this, and yet a part of me still hoped that, somehow, I’d pull it off. (Shh! Don’t say anything! I just need to stretch a little more!) Enter my editor who said (and I quote): “WHAT?!” If she’d had a red Sharpie, my manuscript would have been glowing. She hated this plot line and told me the two (Or twelve. Really, I lost count.) reasons why readers would go on to hate me and my heroine if I left it in.

She was right, of course. I was struggling so hard to make it fit, I wasn’t able to step back and see that it would never work. Once I pulled that plotline, all sorts of things fell neatly into place… like a loveseat into a Chevette.

This whole experience has reinforced for me the VITAL importance of having a critique partner, a plotting group, a good content editor or simply an honest friend to point out when persistence has morphed into stubbornness. Anyone that knows me knows I’m an optimist. I believe in happy endings and true love and that, somehow, the sticky pieces of life will magically fall into place. (Ta-da!) The reason I believe so strongly in these things, though, is because I surround myself with those who have the courage to whisper the truth in my ear when it needs to be said so I can reach my goals another way.

Now, I’m excited to share ALL OR NOTHING with the world, because I know it delivers the magic of a happy ending (with only fictional joint pain.) And I hope, if you do throw the book at the wall, you do so out of convulsions of laughter.

It does make me wonder, though… If I had left that ugly, unsympathetic plotline in, would you have thrown your book at the wall? How far does an author/character have to go to make you lose all respect for them to the point they become unredeemable? Depending on your answer, I may have to send my editor an extra large bouquet of flowers to thank her…

Join my mailing list at http://www.cheriallan.com and be entered to win an ‘All or Nothing Gift Basket’ full of goodies and books from New Hampshire. Drawing to be held April 30th! But don’t wait. Download your copy of ALL OR NOTHING today! Just $2.99 for a limited time.

 

 ALL OR NOTHING (A Betting on Romance Novel, Book 3)

web site cover All or NothingWhen finding Mrs. Right goes oh, so, wrong…

Self-made tech millionaire Ian McIntyre has suffered through a reality dating show only to return home to idyllic Sugar Falls, New Hampshire, empty-handed, swarmed by paparazzi, and hounded by a Hollywood producer determined to deliver a Happily Ever After. But then his home is invaded by a sexy, snarky local staging it for the season finale, and Ian finds himself more interested in the cute and scrappy hometown girl dusting off his action figures than the audience’s favorite southern belle.

Auto mechanic Bailey Adams grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and is struggling to patch together enough odd jobs to buy a garage of her own. When the Golden Boy of Sugar Falls entangles her in his disastrous season of Happily Ever After, they both discover that some long-held dreams are only as ‘real’ as ‘reality’ TV. Now, with the deal on her dream garage in jeopardy and her unlikely love affair with America’s favorite geeky hunk playing out on national TV, Bailey must decide if she’s willing to risk it all for love… or be left with nothing.

**Mild sexual content; Mild language; No violence**

 

EXCERPT 

“Then take off your coat and avoid hypothermia.”

Her bottom lip jutted out. “You first.”

He shrugged out of his parka and hung it on a hook by the door, raising one eyebrow as he did so.

She took another long drink then tugged her coat off and hung it next to his. Melting snow dripped onto the floorboards beneath it. Stubborn woman.

“Your lovely flannel shirt is also soaked,” he said.

“Yeah, like I’m falling for that.”

“Don’t flatter yourself. I’ve seen lumberjacks make flannel sexier than you do.”

He didn’t know why he was goading her, but he felt on edge… wet, chilled and restless.

“Like you could resist me if I were standing naked in front of you,” she said.

She paused, as if she weren’t sure how those words came to be floating in the air between them. But there they were, raining down over him like hot sparks. Heat flooded through him, and he could feel his blood pumping. He watched her, the air crackling with awareness. The fire in the stove popped and something tumbled inside. His heart thudded in his chest at the word ‘naked.’

“Try me,” he finally said.

 

AUTHOR BIO : CHERI ALLAN

Cheri Allan writes humorous, hopeful contemporary romances. She lives in a charming fixer-upper in rural New Hampshire with her husband, two children, two dogs, four cats and an excessive amount of optimism. She’s a firm believer in do-it-yourself, new beginnings and happily-ever-afters, so after years of wearing suits, she’s grateful to finally put her English degree to good use writing romance. When not writing, you might find her whizzing down the slopes of a nearby mountain or inadvertently killing perennials in her garden. Betting on romance… because every woman deserves to get lucky.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Betting-Romance-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B00VO56WMU/

Barnes & Noble/Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s?store=allproducts&keyword=cheri+allan

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/all-or-nothing-62

You can also find Cheri Allan on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and (when she can figure it out) Pinterest. All three Betting on Romance books are available at most major on-line retailers and http://www.cheriallan.com.

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Filed under Characters, Dialogue

I love a challenge…

I love a challenge. There’s just something about committing to it, planning for it, and then executing it.  The ultimate goal – completing the challenge – is a high like none other. I’ve done 2 half marathons and the only goal I had with the first was to finish it upright and not on an ambulance stretcher. The second marathon had the same primary goal – run across the finish line – but I’d vowed to shave some considerable time off of my finish. And I did.

And I love a writing challenge most of all.

My local RWA chapter has a writing challenge every summer. You pledge to write every day, no matter what, for a week at a time. Every day you enter your word count for that day and it is totaled at the end of the week. The prize: accomplishing your goal. No trophies, cash prizes, or fabulous trips abroad ( although, wouldn’t that be nice?!) No, just the internal knowledge that you set out to do something and you did.

I’m a huge lover of NANOWRIMO. I’ve done it for the past several years and to me this is the ultimate test of your writing commitment. In order to “win” you must complete 50,000 words of your WIP from 11/1 until 11/30. You track daily and at the end of the month you must have a minimum of 50,00 words committed. This is a wonderful way of getting that first draft on the page.

Currently, RWA is having a writing challenge. You promise to write 2000 words each month in your WIP and then enter the actual word count at the end of the month on the RWA site. This is another motivator to get those fingers flying across the keyboard and unleash your imagination. And I can do 2000 in one sitting, never mind an entire month so this will be not only a fun challenge for me, but a relatively facile one as well.

So, what motivates you? Do you like a challenge? Does the idea of throwing down the gauntlet and committing yourself to a worthy ambition appeal to you? Do you need that proverbial kick in the a** to get you started? If so, CHALLENGE yourself.

 

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Filed under Characters

An interview and an Anniversary with author Susan A. Wall

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Fellow NHRWA member, Susan A. Wall is visiting me today, talking about the one year anniversary of her third Puget Sound book, The Sound of Suspicion. Susan is a multi-published author, the number 1 Bon Jovi fan, and one of the greatest cheerleaders I know for fellow authors.  Stick around after you read the interview: Susan is doing a giveaway. It’s an honor and privilege to host her today.

 

Susan, it’s the 1 year anniversary of the publication of your third PUGET SOUND book The Sound of Suspicion. First of all, congratulations! Tell us why you are so drawn to this setting. What does Puget Sound – itself – mean to you as a woman and as an author?

For our third wedding anniversary, my husband took me to Seattle (he’s from eastern Washington). I instantly fell in love with the city, the water, the mountains, all the green (they call it the Emerald City for a reason), the casual nature of the people. I knew someday we would live there and we did for a year (2003-2004). We plan to move back after the kids are all grown up.

We met your Hero and Heroine for the first time in book 1, The Sound of Consequence. Why did you decide to continue telling their story in book 3?

When I wrote the first book, I knew then it would be a three book story for Owen and Stacie because each of their pasts are so complex and have had such a tremendous impact on the people they are. At that point, it was only going to be a three book series, but then I fell in love with Jenny, Bryan, and Morgan and knew the world needed to hear their stories as well. Right now the series is mapped out to include 9 stories because those secondary characters keep wanting to be the center of attention. So we will be seeing Owen and Stacie again in the fifth book, The Sound of Circumstance, out later this year – that story finally gives Stacie closure on her past.

The title of your book, The Sound of Suspicion, informs the reader right away issues of trust are coming their way. Owen and Stacie both seem to have this problem with trust in spades. How did you decide how each character would handle their issues? Did any personal past experiences guide you in how they dealt with their concerns?

How did I decide? Haha. You’re funny, Peggy. My stories are very character driven and the characters like to control the outcome from the get-go. I like to write strong women because that is the kind of woman I am and I have so many strong women in my life. But even the strongest woman faces challenges. Stacie is mature and responsible, but with the traumatic brain injury, she’s lost some of that and it makes her very interesting, but her strength still shines even in the worst situations. She is exactly the kind of woman Owen needs to help him get through his ex-wife’s manipulations.

You are an extremely prolific writer. Tell us a little about your process. Do you write every day? Do you have a certain word count that needs to be completed before you are satisfied and call it a day?

Thanks. I write in layers, so when I sit down to write a book, I write fast and furious and generally have word count goals each day. Drafting is my favorite part of the process, which is probably why I do it so quickly. Once the book is drafted, I go back to add details such as setting, physical details of the characters, the five senses, etc. This part of the process takes longer than drafting. Then I go into editing mode and polish (obsess) until I’m happy with the story. Once I’m happy, I ship it off to my editor and deal with the self-doubt that plagues every writer. Fortunately, my editor is as good at stroking my ego as she is at finding holes in my plots. I generally write every day, but sometimes I get into a slump and you can tell when that is because I’m antsy and irritable. Writing makes me happy and easier to live with.

You are a big NANOWRIMO fan and participant. Did the Sound of Suspicion start as a NANOWRIMO production?

I LOVE NANOWRIMO, the challenge of hitting word count goals every day, how quickly the story comes together. I’ve participated and won four years in a row, but The Sound of Suspicion was written before I started doing NANOWRIMO. Owen and Stacie’s next story, The Sound of Circumstance was my 2nd Nano book and I wrote it in 12 days (really, the book wrote itself). The sixth book in the series is my 3rd Nano novel. I plan to have that book out this year too! 

I know you are a big music fan, Hallahhh! Bon Jovi!! Did any music inspire you while writing The Sound of Suspicion? What do you usually listen to while writing?

With every book I write, I create a playlist. Certain lyrics grab me and just speak to the story and the characters. There are 30 songs on my “Suspicion” playlist. A few of them are: You Save Me by Kenny Chesney; You Had Me From Hello by Bon Jovi, Hard to Love by Lee Brice, Every Road Leads Home to You by Richie Sambora, Your Arms Feel Like Home by 3 Doors Down, Glitter In the Air by P!nk, Undo It by Carrie Underwood, Phantoms In the Night by Blabpipe.

Not only are you a prolific writer, you also do all your own graphics and designs on your books – which, BTW, are great! How much time do you devote to the covers and designs of your books, and how do you KNOW when you’ve got it just right?

Thanks. I’m fortunate that my background in instructional design has helped me develop graphic design skills. I spend a tremendous amount of time on covers because I tend to be a perfectionist and a bit obsessive. I send it out for people to give feedback and when I can just sit there and not find anything to nitpick, then I know it’s right. I love doing my own covers because it is such an intimate connection to the story and the characters.

What’s next writing/publication-wise for you? What are you working on?

I plan to publish books 5 and 6 in my Puget Sound ~ Alive With Love series this year (The Sound of Circumstance, which is Stacie and Owen’s final story and The Sound of Reluctance, Holly and Keith’s (Stacie’s brother) story). They are both drafted, so just need to go through the revision and editing process. I’m also polishing a women’s fiction story titled Too Many Daughters (my first Nanowrimo novel) and hope to pitch to an agent at the RWA National Conference in July. And, I’m writing Worth the Fight, the next story in my Fighting Back For Love series – those books will be on sale Feb 3- 5 to recognize World Cancer Day.

I love quick fire rounds, so here’s yours. One word answers ( if you can):

Favorite color: purple

Favorite band: Bon Jovi

Favorite character in literature – not your own!: Colleen O’Rourke (Kristan Higgins)

Best date night location: Pub

Boxers or briefs: boxers

Sweet or salty: Salty

Favorite word: Wicked

Least favorite word: die

Chocolate or vanilla: Chocolate

Patriots or Seahawks: Seahawks

Best song ever written: The Star Spangled Banner

Susan is doing a Goodreads giveaway. Here’s the link for those interested:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/124533-the-sound-of-suspicion

Following is a complete list of places you can find Susan’s work and visit with her. Stop by and send her some love!

The Sound of Suspicion (free at Amazon Jan 30 – Feb 3) http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Suspicion-Puget-Alive-Love-ebook/dp/B00I56PSLW

Website (and blog): www.susanannwall.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/susanannwall.author

Twitter: (@susanannwall) https://twitter.com/susanannwall

Tsu: www.tsu.co/authorsusanannwall

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/susanannwall/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/susanannwall

Relay for Love and A Flame Burns Inside will be $.99 Feb 3 – 5 to recognize World Cancer Day (Feb 4).

Here are the Amazon links (they are available at other ebook retailers too):

http://www.amazon.com/Relay-Love-Fighting-Back-Book-ebook/dp/B00ICVK7JS

http://www.amazon.com/Flame-Burns-Inside-Fighting-Back-ebook/dp/B00ID7XNC4

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Location, Location, Location. It’s not just about Real Estate

We’ve covered plot driven books, and character driven novels. But what, exactly, is a setting driven novel? It almost sounds wrong when you say it out loud, as if the words don’t make much sense put together. Setting driven novel. All novels have a setting don’t they? They don’t occur in a vacuum, but in a place. Or more than one. But a setting driven novel?

I’ll probably take some heat for this along the line, but I can think of several novels with their setting as the main imeptus of the story. Sure, there are characters in it, and a plot or two along the pages, but the book was set – or placed – in this particular area to tell the story from that location and that location alone.

James Michener, for one author, was a prolific writer who used the settings of his novels as major roadworks. Hawaii, Chesapeake, Alaska, Iberia, are just a few of the titles of his novels. Yes, these books were sweeping family sagas that told generational tales, but where they occurred was a huge factor in how the story was told.

James Lee Burke, Pat Conroy and Annie Proulx are authors who use their settings to weave out their story lines. You can’t really image the Prince of Tides taking place in any other setting than the South, can you? Or The Shipping News taking place anywhere else but the Newfoundland coast?

All these authors know the value of having the proper setting to tell their tales.

Now, the argument I can feel forming is this one: Yes, these are books with setting as a major factor in them, but they are really not about the South, or Hawaii, or any of those places. They are stories about the people in the books.

Well…yes. But… imagine if Tom Wingo in the Prince of Tides had come to New York to see his sister from, say, Seattle. Would he have been the same person? Would his background – his deep southern background, in which he was stepped in traditions and culture indicative of that place – have proven to be such a driving force in the book with regards to his actions, non-actions, and how he handled his sister’s most recent suicide attempt?

This is a topic that requires a lot of thinking on the writer’s part. I can imagine that all of the characters in these novels were shaped and formed BECAUSE of and DESPITE where they are from. I could easily write a story about apple pickers in the Northeast. But would The Cider House Rules have been such an effective book if it had taken place in California? ( I don’t even know if they can grow apples in California, but you get my drift!)

Where you place your novel, where you set the characters into place, is a huge part of the story you want to tell.

Choose wisely and well.

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Filed under Characters, New Hampshire

Exercise your writing muscles…

At the recent RWA 2014 conference, Nora Roberts made a statement that resonated with me as writer who currently has a different, full time,  paying job. When asked if she ever took a vacation or time off from writing, her response was, “Writing, to me, is like exercising your body. If you go a few days without doing it, your muscles start to get weak and break down and then you need to start building up again to where they were when you left off.”

Wow.

Read that statement again. It’s such a simple declaration, but it makes so much sense.

Because I can’t write all day everyday due to my work obligations, there are sometimes days that go by where I won’t write anything more than a few emails. On the days I can devote to my writing, I find I need to reread and edit what I’ve done before I can go forward. This is because I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing the story. Life intervened, work took over, and my time was not my own to devote to what I love.

Several years ago I broke my ankle and wasn’t able to go to the gym for 8 weeks. When I finally did get back there, all the progress I had made in my arm and stomach muscles before the accident, went the way of the dinosaur and I was a hot flabby mess again. I needed six weeks to get back to the point I was at before my ankle sidelined me.

Not being able to write in a timely fashion does the exact same thing. I loose the progress I’ve made and need to refresh my writing muscles – and my brain and creativity – in order to move forward.

I always knew Nora Roberts was my writing mentor – even though she doesn’t know it – and this point drove home just why she is such a special woman. Not to mention an AMAZEBALLS writer!

My goal for the next month is to write something everyday in my WIP no matter how much time I can devote to it. 30 minutes or 8 hours. Anything is better than letting my writing muscles go slack.

If this resonates with you, drop me a line and let me know. Visit my new page on Facebook : Peggy Jaeger, Author too.

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