Monday, October 28, 2013

Writing Fiction: Author Inspirations

 Is it all fiction?

 How deeply do authors delve into the depths of their personal journeys, their own emotional intrigue when writing? How much does our pain, grief, courage, fear, human anxiety, loneliness inspire our stories? Like the adding and mixing of myriad ingredients in a pot, our sadness, our blessings and joys, our human interactions blend inexplicably with our imaginations and bring our characters to life for our readers. Authors are compelled to write about human experiences and despite the time periods they choose, whether fantasy, paranormal or every day realism, our inspirations are born through all that we have become.

 Are our lives portrayed between the lines of our stories?

In a jumbled collage of clarity and confusion, author’s write. My main characters face harrowing, often painful pasts that affect their ability to trust and commit to another. Their struggles often include the need to make something right or overcome unfairness or loss before they can seek and find happiness or believe in true love. They don't give up. They press on through inner and outer conflicts and often make poor choices while growing into love in the process.

Without creating a confessional, I can honestly say that I have not been spared from painful, harrowing experiences or bad decisions, mine or others.  I did not live a blessed childhood filled with trust and fairness. On the other hand, I was blessed with the strength, fortitude and faith to push forward, despite obstacles. No doubt, most authors can say the same and more. It would be impossible not to instill each of my characters with a piece, a particle, or a huge chunk of feelings and emotions I can claim through personal experience. My heroes and heroines laugh, cry, rage, snicker and sneer.  They rebel, break rules, and scoff at conformity or attempt to conform while struggling with their strong, independent natures. Their deepest desires are often concealed behind walls of fear or mistrust and so they choose to stand alone and thwart helping hands. When Cupid pierces their hearts, they want to pull out the arrow and toss it aside if it frustrates the path they’ve chosen.

A piece, a particle, a chunk of an author’s being?

Yes, who we are, our experiences, conscious or unconscious are, no doubt, stirred up and hidden between the lines of our stories. Interactions with others, sane or insane, friends and foes contribute as well to the selfish and selfless souls planted in fiction.

 In Regal Reward, its hero, York Blackstone, was dealt a raw deal when he is tossed to the streets as a child when his father is falsely accused of treason. Too much had been taken from him, leaving him bitter, faithless, and tyrannical. Marielle Henley’s rebellion leads her into danger and desire for this complex man who must first seek revenge before allowing her to soften his rock hard heart.  

In my upcoming release, A Kiss of Promise, Martin Blackstone, York’s younger brother, who readers meet in Regal Reward deals with his family’s tragedy by running from commitment  and leaving London to seek adventure in America. He nearly succeeds until he discovers that Alaina, the woman he leaves behind, needs saving.  Alaina's self-less loyalty to family leads her to toss aside her reputation and become vulnerable to a ruthless villain.

 Surely, I have not experienced the treason, treachery and betrayal my characters are knee-deep into but the emotions my mind, heart,  and soul have experienced are threaded through their conundrums, lapses of good judgment, and desires for love.

In my most recent release, A Convenient Pretense, Emily Grace prefers to be lost in words rather than face the real reason why she chooses to pen love poems rather than open her heart to love.

A gravestone I came upon while walking in a cemetery created the inspiration for my newest manuscript, Journals of Narcissa Dunn. 

 I remember a time in my younger days, when I chose to read only non-fiction because I wanted to soak up facts. That is, until I realized that books of fiction carry as much reality and can teach as much about human experience.  How marvelous it is to be a writer.

Comments, please

Readers, when have you related personally to the emotions of a specific character? Authors, how has your life experiences affected what you have chosen to write?

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Closing Hooks that Urge the Reader On
     Authors, what are some of your favorite lines at the end of a chapter that you hope will keep the reader wanting to turn the page?  Readers, have you been ready to put a book down only to have the last sentence of the scene, cause you to read on?
     Christina Dodd, in her novel, Lost in Her Arms, ends chapter 4 with this line: "Then he opened his eyes and said, "All right, you can take me there. But first, tell me--who are you?"
     Stuart Woods in Orchid Beach, ends Chapter 16, "Daisy made a low noise in her throat. Holly drew her gun."
     An ending chapter line in my novel Regal Reward reads, "There was something else her mother wanted to tell her. Something more. But what?"
     In my present manuscript, the final line of the preface reads, "Her eyes sprang opened just before a large hand covered her mouth and blocked out her scream."
      It’s my hope that my readers will want to begin the next chapter to find out what happens next, rather than setting the book aside. Opening hooks are so important to engage the reader, but those closing lines can keep them hooked. I’d love to hear some of those final lines that authors have created to keep the attention of their readers.  Please comment and pass them on. I’d love to hear from you!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Let’s talk about Readers and Writers.

Famous and the less famous

                As a published author, I’m intrigued at what draws a reader to buy a book and what authors do to promote their books. Certainly when a book gets in the news, sales rise.  A famous person, an actor, a TV personality writes a book and even if he or she uses a ghost writer and many do, they make big bucks.  Tremendous credit goes to those wonderful authors who are on the best seller lists over and over again.  Talented small press or self published authors, however, often remain undiscovered, except in their small circle of admirers.  Wouldn’t we all love to write the next great American novel or be picked up by a major New York publishing house? We can’t stop trying!

Fame and quality does not always go together.

                Just recently, I purchased a book because the author received instant fame and wrote a number of books in a short amount of time.  I was drawn in to buying it, but I really couldn’t get into it. The book presented a great deal of character emotion; in fact, the ongoing pain presented over and over again was a bit over the top.  I wanted more action and less moaning. I lost count of the number of sex scenes. I like a good story, captivating characters, and an intriguing plot. Throw in some sex, that’s fine, but when half or more of the book takes place in bed, I’m turned off.

                I love when I find a book that I don’t want to put down and when I have to, I can’t wait to get back to it.  I put the book mentioned above down many times and only finished it because I thought I must be missing something. After all, the author is in the news and making all these guest appearances.  I was sorely disappointed.  In my opinion, books like these written quickly with repetitive sex scenes are not examples of quality writing. They’re written for other reasons that can be satisfied by renting one of those bad porno flicks. Sorry, I may have just offended a few authors or readers. Who am I to judge?  Everyone has different tastes and if it works for you….  The truth is, “Sex Sells.”  

                 I remember enjoying one popular author’s books until I realized that all her female characters are rich, beautiful, have green eyes, and wear espadrilles. They shop in the same upscale stores, fall in love with father figures and have overbearing mothers. After awhile, it became boring, but I’d love to have her bank account.  Romance, especially historicals, are still my favorite genre but I enjoy many genres now, thanks to so many wonderful authors.

What are your reading habits?

                What turns you on to an author or genre? What turns you off? Do you stick with one genre and a few favorite authors? Why do you choose to buy one book over another? Do you read reviews, the first few pages, or the back blurb?  Do you pay attention to the promotions online by authors on Twitter and Facebook?  I’d love to hear your comments.

And what about authors? 

                How do you publicize your books? Have you found the magic pill that authors can take and get an instant smile on their faces when book sales go up? Do you find that Facebook or Twitter or other sites help in sales? Do you wonder if you might be wasting your time with online promotion?  I have many friends on Facebook and I appreciate that they friended me, but my bet is that only a few have taken the time to read about my books or purchased them. Unfortunately, I can prove that.  Have I friended another author in the hopes they’ll buy my book without reading at least a blurb about what they write? I’m guilty. Not because I don’t care, but time is always the issue.  Authors need time to write!

                Do you buy the books of author friends who are close group members?  We all want to support our friends and thank God for those who support us. Even with loyal friends, our success is up to us. How much time are we spending promoting rather than writing?  Has you publisher helped or do you feel alone in a small boat in a big ocean?  If you’ve found success, why do you think that is?  Do you have thoughts that you might be a better writer or a better promoter than an undiscovered author?  Hard question.  Is self doubt you worst enemy to success?

  Author Dreams         

                I realize that I write in the distant shadow of great writers. I wish that I could be more prolific, more creative, have more of a gift of putting words and phrases together that cause a reader to be awed.  I’m happy to say my novels have received excellent reviews (4-5 stars) from readers –not just my loyal friends and that my first novel, Regal Reward, finaled in the NJRW’s contest. Warmth to my soul!

                Reviewers say that my books are engaging and capture them enough to want to keep reading, but I don’t kid myself, not everyone likes Regency romance. My books include sensuality without blatant sex scenes.  I like to leaves what’s not written, to the imagination of the reader.  Regal Reward, A Convenient Pretense, and my upcoming release, A Kiss of Promise  all have wicked villains as passionate in their evil deeds as my heroes and heroines are passionate in their desire for love. I like to say that I write historical romance with an edge and that a man might enjoy reading my books as much as my female readers.

Blatant Promotion

                Perhaps someone who is reading this blog and enjoys historical romance will take the time to review my website, read the blurbs of my books and read the reviews. If they like what they read, I hope they’ll click on a Buy Now button. I will be forever grateful, dance a happy dance, and pray for you, just send me your name. 

Helping others

                It is so important to all authors to pass on their names and their books to others if their books have moved you.  That’s the way authors, like me, paddling about in our little kayaks in a big ocean, will make a difference and that’s what we really want, to know our endless hours of writing may have touched hearts and given readers a few hours of pleasure.

.Along with my website, , I hope you’ll also visit me on Facebook.

 I look forward to your comments and questions!



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Free ebooks, are they harming the industry and devaluing authors?

 I have been amazed at how many books I can get for free. Consider a reader who says, "I only have so much time to read and why pay for a book when I can find free ones offered daily?"  This new marketing tool bothers me as an author.

I understand that some authors believe offering free books will grow their audience. After all, if customers read and enjoy their free books, they'll purchase other books from them and eventually the authors will profit. Other authors feel that when free ebooks are downloaded, it lifts their numbers and popularity, again with the hopes of greater success and profit. .

I have a hard time with this thinking. In the beginning, it seemed like an interesting idea, but with so many authors doing it now, the market  has become glutted with free ebooks. I believe it cheapens the art and hurts authors who believe their skill has monetary value and, perhaps, even a livelihood.

No doubt our first responsibility to ourselves and our readers is to study our crafting and write the best book we can. Authors spend hours and hours writing, editing, proofreading, and struggling toward publication. Why devalue all that effort?  Do artists give away their original paintings and prints in order to build their audience? Do songwriters give away their songs?
Perhaps, for some authors, writing is simply a much loved hobby and they want others to enjoy their creations. They have no desire make a profit on their work. Most published authors want to sell books. That's our business.  Why devalue the process of writing, regardless of the reason? Do you know of any other career field that would do this? 

I'd like to hear your views and if you have found that giving away free books has been a rewarding experience, please share.  Perhaps you can change my opinion.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Do we want to write as a hobby or to make money?

This question is so important. I believe if you want to write simply for the pleasure of writing, you are freer to express yourself in any way you please. If you desire to make it a career, then more pressure is placed upon you. You need to follow the market, see what is selling, market your stories, Tweet, Facebook, PinIt, or use what ever social networking tool you can come up with. The problem is, I just like to write, then I think of people who work in the industry as comedy writers or sitcom writers and I think, I want to make money at what I'm doing. After all, I'm spending hours every day creating or marketing yet I work mostly on my own dime. Others who work for companies to promote their product whether it's insurance, commodities, or medical supplies, someone is making money. Why can't writers be monetarily successful? Is it because we don't believe in ourselves or do we believe the market is glutted. or are there too many writers? Why does nonfiction seem to do better than fiction?  What do you think? Let's throw out some ideas on making money or not making money as a writer.

Kindle Spotlight: A Convenient Pretense | Author and Book Buzz

Kindle Spotlight: A Convenient Pretense | Author and Book Buzz

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Welcome to my blog!

     I am really new at this so please excuse my baby steps as I venture into the blog world. I'm still working on the design of my blog, but while that is progressing, I'm ready to chat! I'd like to talk about a writer's journey as well as other topics that encourage and deserve conversation.  In most author bios, you often hear, "I have been writing for as long as I can remember..."or, "I began writing stories as a child..." Well, my story is no different, I loved creating stories and when I was younger, especially as a teenager, they were usually at spontaneous moments, without even a thought to becoming a published author.
     Today, most of us must be multi-taskers. Finding time to write is often difficult, especially when writers need to work without interference. To borrow from Virginia Woolf, we need  "a room of one's own" where we can be alone-not lonely-a place where we can delve within to create, dream, or just be.
     Computers have made out lives much easier. How many remember using a typewriter, where we needed ribbons, worried about keys that stuck, and used eraser tape, where there was no such thing as saving a draft, or copy and paste? We've come along way. Who would have expected to see bookstores close or the advent of the ebook? With ebook popularity growing, self-publishing, and sites like Wattpad, everyone can become a published author. Despite all the changes that have made it easier to realize the dream of writing for publication, the most difficulty comes in finding the time and the quiet space to create.  
     Now that my children are grown, I have a room to work in, a pretty trusty computer, and some quiet time on my hands. Yet, I too often don't make the time to go to the solitude of my creative space. Or, I may feel "stuck" on a chapter and avoid facing it for a time. Sometimes, I just feel discouraged that all my hard work doesn't appear to "pay off" after my novels receive great reviews while only a tiny check shows up in the mail on occasion. Yes, writing feeds my spirit, but like many of us, a little more cash in my purse would be really helpful. Sometimes I wonder if it isn't better to just go and get another part time job. Wallmart are you hiring?
     What hampers your creative process and where is your creative space? How do you find the time, make the time, or squeeze out a space where even a few sentences can move our stories forward? What are your greatest frustrations as a writer?  I'd love to hear from you!