Thursday, May 3, 2018

Until Release Visits Anna Dye



I'm visiting over at Anna Dye's blog today talking about my upcoming story, Until Release, that is available NOW in the Dancing Lemur Press anthology Tick Tock: A Stitch In Crime.

Hope to see you there!


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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

IWSG & Spring!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

***
May 2 question - It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

I adore Spring! Here in Northern Ontario, we have to work really hard, and wait really long for our Spring!

For reference, these two pics were taken 3 days apart (April 17 & 20). After about 12 inches of snow that first day, the sun popped out and temps zipped above freezing. Cue the hope that the snow might eventually melt and the flowers might grow!

So, yes, Spring does inspire me to write - but with the new growth all around, it's also the time for Shiny New Ideas to show their faces and try to force their way into my writing schedule. With all the current projects already competing for my rather limited writing time, I'm doing my best to ignore the cute little SNIs, but it's hard!

How about you? Do Shiny New Ideas pop up in Spring where you live too?

***

PS: If you haven't heard, The Dancing Lemur Press anthology TICK TOCK: A STITCH IN CRIME released yesterday! If you're interested here are the buy links!

Also I'm visiting Lisa Haselton today talking more about my story UNTIL RELEASE! Hope to see you there!



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Until Release is HERE!

Tick Tock: A Stitch In Crime is out and about in the real world today!!!!!
(And, yes, I might be alternately happy dancing and biting my fingernails!)



I hope you'll pick up your copy (if you haven't preordered) and check out all of the stories. They are SO GOOD!

I love how the voices, styles, and topics in the anthology vary so greatly, yet all mesh together to make a fabulous whole. You're going to really enjoy the read!

Thanks again to Dancing Lemur Press & the IWSG judges for including UNTIL RELEASE in this fabulous anthology!



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Monday, April 16, 2018

Pippa Roscoe & How To Pitch

Please welcome Pippa Roscoe to the blog today!
***
So you’ve got that five minute slot with an editor – perhaps you know of them, even better, you know the publisher! You’re nervous, you’re terrified that you’re going to waste an opportunity, you’re worried that you’re not wearing the right clothes, you won’t get to express how much you want this, or how great your book is… 
Yup. It’s so overwhelming that it’s quite likely you’ll walk away thinking – what just happened? What did I say? (or in my case – did I actually say that?!) It’s brain short-circuiting, emotionally draining, terrifying stuff! 
But it doesn’t have to be. So here are some handy tips on how to get the most out of your one-to-one with an editor:
  1. 1. Know what the publishing company you're pitching to is looking for. This sounds like the most simple and obvious thing in the world, but it’s not. At a conference or book fair, there are a lot of publishers out there, all printing vastly different genres. It may be that you don’t necessarily have control over who you get to pitch to, but once you have their name, look them up. You don’t have to be BFFs with them, but you do have to know what they’re looking for. Because pitching a post apocalyptic sci-fi who dunnit romance to an indi digi only non-fiction publisher is going to be a little awkward. 
  2. Don’t panic if your one-to-one is with a publisher that doesn’t publish your genre. If you’ve got five minutes with them – they’re in the publishing industry and may be able to help answer any questions you might have about the industry rather than your specific genre. Can they offer advice on how best to write a covering letter? Do they know any editors looking for your genre? Do they have any do’s and don’ts about first submissions? They might not be able to help with your specific book, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help with the experience of writing and submitting. 
  3. Have a three – five sentence outline of your story ready. This is sometimes called an elevator pitch, a premise, a blurb… But you don’t want to waste the five minutes explaining the backstory of a secondary character who is vital to bringing your hero and heroine together on the last page of your book. 
  4. Know what your hero and heroine’s conflicts are in one sentence. This sounds deceptively easy, but it’s really hard and will require a bit of homework. There’s a whole host of information out there on the internet about conflicts, but this is the central tension of your romance… and one that the editor will want to know. It’s the beating heart of your story. And if they don’t ask? Then they’ll be even happier when you present it to them without them asking! 
  5. Know that this isn’t your one and only shot. It’s not the last chance saloon, this editor is not the last editor you’ll ever meet. It may feel like it, but it’s not. Writing is hard, and takes determination and takes many meetings with editors. So take a deep breath and think of it as an experience to be intrigued by, to be curious about, and see it as a huge achievement, because it is! 
  6. And lastly, editors are humans too. They may not feel like it, seem like it, or sometimes even sound like it, but they are. They understand that this is important to you, they also understand the nerves, so don’t worry and have fun with it.  

I hope this helps, and I wish you the very best of luck! 
***
Mills & Boon author Pippa Roscoe lives in Norfolk near her family and makes daily promises that this will be the
day she will leave the computer and take a long walk in the countryside. She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t dreaming of gorgeous alpha males and misunderstood heroines. Totally her mother’s fault of course—she gave Pippa her first romance to read at the age of seven! She is inconceivably happy that she gets to share those daydreams with her readers.
Pippa Roscoe on the web:
Website          Facebook        Twitter 
Conquering His Virgin Queen
Six months ago, their marriage ended…

He has twelve hours to claim her back!

Odir Farouk is about to become king—but to take his throne, he needs his errant wife by his side! Odir denied his hunger for Eloise, refusing to compromise power for passion. His rejection drove her away. Now Odir has until news of his succession breaks to win back his queen…and pleasure will be his most powerful weapon!

Read Reader Reviews

Buy on:

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Amazon UK                 Amazon Aust
Harlequin        B&N


Kobo               Book Depository            iBooks


***
Thanks Pippa!
Pitching in person sounds terrifying to me! But these tips are perfect for helping me out if I'm ever lucky enough to get to a conference!

How about you? Any tips to add? Have you ever had the chance to pitch your story? How did you conquer your nerves?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IWSG & Perseverance

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

April 4 question - When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

Great question!

Life is full of ups, downs, and more bumps in the road than springtime roads here in Canada where potholes proliferate more often than bunnies.

Because of this, there are times when my life is overwhelming and that is what bogs down my writing. But, writing is part of what gives me solace and hope, so I will always write.

To dig myself out of the dumpy days, I tend to switch projects. Because of my Tigger brain, I generally have a minimum of 3 projects on the go. One fiction first draft, one (or three) in various stages of revision, and one non-fiction project. Switching to a different project or even to a different part of the process always gives me that required boost.

How about you? How do you keep going?

Monday, April 2, 2018

Jane Godman & The Dreaded Synopsis

Please welcome Jane Godman to the blog today!
***

The story is finished. The characters have reached their happy ending. It’s time to put your feet up and reach for the champagne…

Except for one last thing. The dreaded synopsis. It’s the moment many authors, myself included, loathe. I’ve seen it described on Twitter as “synopsis phobia”.  Personally speaking, I would rather write a book than write a synopsis. 
No, seriously. When I’m writing a story, my imagination runs free, my characters speak for themselves, and the setting is a real place in my mind. Okay, so it doesn’t always flow as perfectly as I’ve just made it sound. The point is that I’m in control. 

When it comes to synopsis writing, the opposite is true. There are constraints that spring up like manacles. I can’t tell a synopsis the way I can tell a story. 

To put it simply, a story is something I do, while a synopsis feels like something that is being done to me. Having written the book, I now have to condense it into five pages for someone else.

What is even more limiting, and what took me a long time to understand, is that, in writing romance, you are not required to summarise the story. It’s the emotional journey of the hero and heroine that’s the key. 

There is reams of advice out there about how to tackle a synopsis. I’m fairly sure I’ve read it all.
I’ve created tables (I like the color-coded ones the best), spreadsheets, questionnaires… You name it, I will have a template for using it to write a synopsis. I’ve even used a few of them. Some more than once. 

Over time, I’ve narrowed my synopsis down to a series of bullet points: 
  • Who are my hero and heroine and why are they wrong for each other?
  • What changes do they undergo as the story progresses (plot)?
  • What internal (primary) and external (secondary) events are keeping them from being a couple?
  • The black moment and subsequent internal change that leads to commitment.
  • Resolution and reward.

I think my editor might look at that list and laugh, because I don’t always manage to stick to that neat, succinct plan. But I try, and, who knows? As time goes by, I may even start to enjoy writing a synopsis. 
***
JANE GODMAN writes paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne and SMP Romance and thrillers for Harlequin Romantic Suspense. She also self publishes her historical and gothic stories. She has been a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Nominee and The Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Award Winner.
Jane worked in a variety of shops, bars, and offices before settling into a career as a teacher. She was born in Scotland and has lived in Germany, Wales, Malta, South Africa, and England. Jane still gets the urge to travel, although these days she tends to head for a Spanish beach, or a European city that is steeped in history. 
When she isn’t reading or writing romance, Jane enjoys cooking and spending time with her family. She is married to a lovely man, has two grown up children and has recently discovered the joy of becoming a grandparent (to two gorgeous boys).
 Connect with Jane Godman on the web:
Website         Facebook          Twitter

Colton and the Single Mom (The Coltons of Red Ridge)

This Colton cop falls for a ready-made family
A Coltons of Red Ridge story

A serial killer is on the loose, and true-crime filmmaker Esmée da Costa is on the case. K-9 cop Brayden Colton, the prime suspect’s half brother, works hard to stop her prying, but sparks fly as he falls for Esmée and her son. When Esmée and Brayden’s little family comes under siege, can they save all they love?

Read Reader Reviews

Buy on:

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Harlequin                 B&N 

Kobo        Book Depository        iBooks


***
Thanks Jane!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Bonnie McCune & Why I Write

Please welcome Bonnie McCune to the blog today. Bonnie is one of my crit buddies and she's a terrific author as well!
***
After decades of scribbling away, first on paper, then on typewriter, finally on keyboard, I began to wonder why I put up with the tedium of writing and rewriting? Riches and fame both elude me, creative expression would be more easily and quickly achieved through community theatre or water colors.

I recently returned to my current manuscript, a novel set in a blizzard and involving illegal energy development, neither of which do I know much about, except as a victim. I hopped on the Internet, entered some terms, and was ushered into a colorful world crammed with words, photos, images, quotes, links to a multitude of additional sites. A tremor of excitement ran up my spine, and I flexed my fingers in anticipation.
Then the truth struck me. I write because I love learning. Writing gives me the excuse to spend hours researching.
Take my newest novel, Never Retreat. The flash flood that threatens the protagonists didn’t materialize from a void. I haunted the records of the Colorado History Center, enthralled by reading transcripts from survivors of the Big Thompson Flood and sobbing at the thought of the victims’ woes. YouTube enabled me to see details of actual floods, the power of waters to eat through banks and crush cars. An amalgam of information somehow organized itself into scenes in my book.

Even apparently unrelated material can become the impetus behind a spurt of research. Childhood memory of playing cowboys appears from a void, and I decide to inject it into the manuscript. This gives me an excuse for several days of exploration into how to create a lariat and rope an animal or, in the case of my book, a fence post. 

Since two of the book’s characters are Latinas, of course I have to include Spanish words and phrases. I learn their use in various geographic locations and among diverse groups of immigrants. I check and double-check spelling and grammar. I practice shouting the words out loud.
Never Retreat presented me with ample opportunities to cram loads of data into my brain:
a recipe for vegetarian burritos, the types of plants found in the Rocky Mountains, crowd-funding, even a nostalgic reminiscence about the one time I tried karaoke. As long as I’m presenting myself as a writer, there’s no limit to the time I can spend reading, talking to people, opening myself to experiences and travel, trying on ideas, debating and questioning others.

If I weren’t a writer, could I get away with the long hours I devote to research? No. I have to have the rationale of my work to justify my obsession. Otherwise my husband might wonder when I’m going to unpack the dozens of kids’ clothes I dragged with us on our last move, which my children outgrew eons ago. My friends could issue invitations to lunch or movies or worthwhile political demonstrations and expect responses. Perhaps I’d exercise more and lose those pesky 15 pounds that have weighed me down for years.

In my case, writing seems to have less to do with skills and creativity than with curiosity and snoopiness. Fine with me. It provides me with a veneer of respectability while enabling me to feed my cravings for miscellaneous knowledge of any and all sorts.
***

NEVER RETREAT FACT SHEET

BLURB: A feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. But when a massive flood imperils their love and survival, they learn the meaning of true partnership.
Years ago, Ramona (‘Raye”) Soto faced harsh reality when a roving con man knocked her up. Now at thirty-something she’s concentrating on her career in a major telecommunications firm and funding college for her teenaged son. Enter Desmond Emmett—a fast talker and smooth operator. New to the office, the ex-serviceman possesses every negative quality for a guy Raye should avoid. Thrown together at a corporate retreat in the wilderness, the reluctant duo struggles to complete management’s extreme mental and physical tests for a huge reward. But only one can win the prize, and Des needs the money to underwrite medical treatments for his adored younger sister.

See-sawing between attraction and antagonism, the mismatched couple, Raye and Des, face their biggest challenge: learning the meaning of true partnership. When a massive flash flood sweeps down the rocky canyon and threatens their love and survival, they must put aside their difference to rescue their colleagues—and their future as a couple.

WRITING: This is the new fiction for you: unafraid to debate contemporary concerns. . . pulls no punches. . .provides a fresh look at age-old issues. This is your kind of writing if you think. . .People are smarter than any phone. . .Feminism is just starting to come alive. . .You’ll always take a human over the most advanced app. . . .You can laugh at yourself. . . Women use four-letter words, including l-o-v-e.

AUTHOR BIO: Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem about rain rushing down the gutter to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver's beautification program. 

Simultaneously, she’s been a freelance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her civic involvement includes grass-roots organizations, political campaigns, writers' and arts' groups, and children's literacy. For years, she entered recipe contests and was a finalist once to the Pillsbury Bake Off. A special love is live theater. Had she been nine inches taller and thirty pounds lighter, she might have been an actress.

Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes one person can make a difference in this world. Visit her at www.BonnieMcCune.com, Bonnie@BonnieMcCune.com, twitter.com/bonniemccune, facebook.com/authorBonnieMcCune, www.linkedin.com/in/BonnieMcCune.

PUBLICATION INFO: PUBLISHING MARCH 15, 2018, 978-1-77223-350-6 Kindle ebook, 978-1-77223-351-3 Trade paperback, 240 pages. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079SY632Z, http://getBook.at/NeverRetreat or. Imajin Books, www.imajinbooks.com. Ebook and paperback. 


ADVANCE PRAISE: “A breathtaking page-turner that will leave you exhausted but wanting more!” —Corinne Joy Brown, award-winning author of Hidden Star; “Likable, relatable characters…a real treat!” —Cindi Myers, author of The View from Here; “Intriguing…engaging…A great vacation read for sure!” —Meg Benjamin, author of the Brewing Love Trilogy; “A compelling story about a hard-working single mom who faces adversity head-on, learns from her mistakes, and perseveres.” —Kim McMahill, author of Marked in Mexico; “Few novels operate on such different levels, moving their characters to challenge not just each other, but their own not just each other, but their own perceptions. . .McCune provides just the right blend of comic relief, interpersonal encounters, and outside environment changes to make her story a powerful blend.” --Midwest Book Review
***
Thanks, Bonnie!
I love doing research for my stories as well! I've learned so many fun things - from freeze-branding cattle to how to hide a tracker on a Harley to corporate espionage.

How about you? Do you like doing research? What's something fun you've learned?