Friday, 29 March 2013

The Importance of Books by Tracy Kauffman

Hello my darlings. Today we're going to take things in a slightly different direction. Still talking about writing but we're going to be talking about Children's Literature. Specifically, the Importance of Reading and teaching children to love books from a Children's Lit and YA author.

Tracy Kauffman is a fiction author from North AL. She has an associates degree in Applied Science of Nursing. She works part time as a registered nurse. She is married and has two children. Tracy wants to write stories that will edify, encourage and be decent for children and young adults. She works at a nursing home with some fantastic elderly folks who inspire her. She loves hearing their interesting stories and often jokes that she has several mothers and fathers there. She wants to bring joy to the world today by her books. She enjoys writing fiction fantasy books for young adults and children stories

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Origin Story of a Romance Writer Who Hates Romance

Everyone meet Aja Hannah, a librarian on the Big Island of Hawaii who moved there from Maryland after earning a B.A. with honors in creative writing and journalism on the mainland. Interesting enough, romance makes her uncomfortable-going as far as to cover her eyes during kissing scenes in movie theaters-and yet she is a serial monogamist.

Her novel Zarconia Island was released on March 25th (Monday) so I asked her to stop by and talk about where the inspiration for this story came from.

I wasn't expecting the amount of similarities between us when it comes to our writing origins but it's very comforting to know that I'm not alone.


My stomach knotted tighter, winding so hard it hurt.
Kate watched me, rubbing a piece of her hair between two fingers.
I bit my tongue, trying to work the words out.
"The boat …we're going under.”

Possessing powers that are feared and shunned, eighteen-year-old Alexandra “Attie” Hotep is no virgin to attacks. Her ancestors, the Zarconians-- mixed-blood inhabitants of Atlantis--were rumored to be the English fairies who kidnapped children, the Caribbean sirens that sunk ships, and the dream-like apparitions who broke into psyches. By the 1850s, they were hunted to near-extinction, leaving the existence of Atlantis and Zarconians little more than myth.

When a class trip turns deadly, Attie and her friends become stranded on an uncharted tropical island in the middle of the Pacific, and Attie finds herself targeted once more. With a jungle full of extinct and prowling animals, she struggles to find a compromise between keeping her friends safe and keeping her family's secret.

Enter Doug Hutchinson—the school’s soccer star, and a handsome boy with his own secrets. But Attie and Doug soon realize the animals aren't the only threat. There is a traitor amidst the group, one that plans to turn all Zarconians into permanent myths. And Attie is next on the list.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, 25 March 2013

Undercover Lovers #11: Jealous Girlfriend

This was written during a bout of productivity. I think my funk is starting to fade which is a really good thing so please pardon me for my bad attitude the past few weeks. The community production of Hairspray in which I am cast is fully underway (we go up in May), and University is almost over for the semester so things will get better. In the meantime here are some more stories of undercover lovers in ridiculous situations. Are you ready?

I'm ready.

~!~!~!~!~!~!~!~

Friday, 22 March 2013

In His Stead Interview with Judith Sanders

I have kidnapped the wonderful Judith Sanders to talk about her book "In His Stead". In my life time I've seen different sides of war and I thought it would be interesting to get her opinion on different aspects of war and the morality of taking a loved one's place. Check it out.

In His Stead” is an inspiring story of a retired Army Ranger, Thomas Lane, who finds himself in a battle with the US Army, it’s legal JAG corps, and a vengeful officer to prevent his last son from serving in Afghanistan by offering to take his son’s place. While at home another conflict ignites with the very son he’s trying to protect and his own wife who has the Solomon-like choice of either sending another son or her husband off to war.

~~~

The military and more precisely war has been the backdrop of Judith’s life. As a civilian nurse Judith had the honor to serve the military at Fort Detrick in Maryland. Her brother served in Japan after the Korean War. Judith’s husband, Frank, served with the U. S. Army for seven years as a physician and during the first Gulf War. The Vietnam War took high school friends and extended family & debilitated others (PTSD and injuries). Some of these brave men lost their lives, others lost their souls. Now she has two grand nephews, one in the Marines, the other the Army, who have just returned from their first tours in Afghanistan.
These proud, capable young men, like all of our military are always in her prayers.
As a mother, as a single mom, as the wife of someone in the military, as a caring nurse, and as a person who has felt the pain of separation from a loved one during a time of war, Judith has pulled out all of those emotions and experiences and released them into her writing.
Judith is blessed to have been allowed into the lives of the many soldiers, civilians serving for the military, patients, and family who were kind enough to share their stories. Judith is an avid reader and a natural storyteller. She feels the best stories are those based on real people living and struggling through this life one chapter at a time.
Judith now makes writing her full time career and divides her time between her homes in New Hampshire and North Carolina.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

PR Advice from Allison Meier

I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Allison Meier (on the couch of the internet via twitter, but still) to talk about how to sell yourself online. I mean that in the noblest of causes and that is, of course, selling yourself as a writer on the internet where hundreds or thousands of other people are trying to do the exact same thing.

Allison is a writer and COO of Dvinci (a tech start up company dealing in high end art). In other words, she knows how to sell what needs to be sold.

Take it away Allison...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


There are many avenues writers have in today’s publishing world. Writers want to continue to spill out their hearts and souls onto a page rather than figuring out what marketing tool they should use. The best advice is to use your gut. Companies like Writer.ly are a perfect fit for writers. All their needs are neatly condensed into one cohesive website. The writer can search for their specific needs. Writer’s attempt often times to doing most of their own social media work, sometimes this can be tricky and they spill information out that is private.  Keep in that internet is one gigantic marketing device. Readers can search for anything on Google or get alerts for that author and what they are currently working.  All of these platforms have their positive and negatives. Networking helps during the initial marketing phase of a text via social media. Twitter is a perfect example of both networking and marketing.  It is important to share one’s work in the form of snippets on a website or blog to gain readership. This then will help ensure the success of the writer’s novel or anthology.

PR and Website Design

Websites create a plethora of communication avenues between the writer and their audience.  A good public relations specialist ( or publicist) can critic the website during its initial set up phase. The more complex a website becomes, the busier a website may appear, and the reader may get lost in the shuffle. Websites and blogs must also be easy to navigate. Font size and color also play into how long a reader will stay on a given website.  Public Relations ( in this case a good publicist) isn’t just social media, they are there to help the writer through the process of reaching their readers, create press releases and book signings. It is easy at first to enlist friends and followers but once a writer’s book has then been published through e-book it is time to be more cautious than before.  Individuals in Public Relations are there to ensure the writers success not to detract them from controlling their audience.  Allow a public relations specialist (or publicist) to assist in reaching out to reader’s right from the onslaught of writing the first novel is pivotal. They walk a writer through the process. I have seen writer’s first hand at doing their own and sometimes a poor job has been done and this has landed them in hot water; readers will deter and drop to the side unless they are dedicated and willing to stay for the long haul.

Let’s take a look at what writer’s need to make sure they are doing:

Do’s
1)      Social Media Platforms ( Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr ( or wordpress) )

2)      Make sure the word author is in your title ( for instance SDauthor)

3)      Website is clutter free and easy to navigate, even if it links up to another website or page. Structure is always the best advice!

4)      Find a good free agent Publicist if you are going the e-book route, look at their credentials carefully and follow up and talk to some of the writers they have assisted.

5)      Work on website and social media at least 3 times a day, prior to book launch. Followers will begin to comment on story development and assist more when the book launches.
Don’t’s

1)      Anything private put it on a different twitter  handle or facebook page

2)      Do not sell your book on social media platforms. It degrades the writers work. (Do tell a little to get readers energized and wanting to read the text)

3)      Do not follow people on twitter more than one can handle ( watch for the mentions and respond accordingly)

4)      Do not do all the marketing yourself, this will deter the writer from continuing to find time to write the next book. Readers have book cravings; if the book is a success they will want more!

5)      Don’t get overwhelmed. Some publicists or specialist will offer their services for free for a short time. They are valuable and they are there to assure the success of the writer.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Undercover Lovers #10: Pickup Artist

I love that Monday posts are starting to become a documentation of the downward spiral of my sanity. My friend showed me this gif and there was just so much about it that was familar to my state of mind at this moment.

I'm also late with this story. It's still Monday I just feel really behind on everything. Or is that just me?
~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday, 15 March 2013

An Interview with Aryea Hunt

I have stolen Aryea Hunt, author of Mary's Tears - which is the book I've been constantly talking about - for a quick interview to talk about the inspiration for her novel and on contemporary Canadian fiction.

Mary has been running most of her life, from her past, from people, from emotional attachment. She has survived much and enjoyed little, now her biggest task is at hand. She must return home to Newfoundland, home to the place where her demons were born, and where her past still has the substance to haunt her.

Aryea previously published Mary's Tears in 2006 and republished in 2013 in ebook format only found here.

I am 41 years old woman, born and raised in Newfoundland, Canada but currently reside in Ontario. I have been writing stories since I was seven. I love reading and writing and truly believe that the power of words can change the world.

 


            1. Pitch Mary’s Tears
 
Mary's Tears is a story about second chances, past regrets and the possibility that everyone is capable and deserving of love. It centers around Mary, who suffered a tragedy at a young age and ran away from home. Twenty years later she has lost all of her family members and out of guilt and duty returns home to finish a project her father had started before he died, restoring the family home to it's former glory.

Being back in Newfoundland, especially in the place she grew up and was so unhappy causes Mary to suffer flashbacks and, in some instances, spiritual intervention. Whether from her own guilt at squandering her family or by some divine providence she manages to work her way through her demons, with the help of two very unlikely friends who offer something she had never had before, acceptance and love.

2. What inspired the story?
 
I'm not sure exactly, many thing really. Certainly part of it was that I had been living in Texas and was desperately homesick. My mother was suffering from Cancer and her only real comfort was talking about when we were kids and how things were back on 'The Rock’. I had started the story as a gift to her, to boost her spirits and give her a reminder of home, but then the Cancer took over and she passed away. I went almost two years without even looking at the story, partly because of her death and partly because of things I had happening with my personal life.

Then one night I started to have these very realistic dreams, they were of my mother, and she looked as she had before she became sick. We'd had a rocky relationship before she became ill, but I don't think these were dreams of memory or guilt, they felt like full on live conversations with my mother. She knew she had died, we talked about it at length, and she knew that it was a dream. It wasn't the first time I'd had such strange dreams, so I accepted them probably better than most would.

In the dreams we were always back in our house in Newfoundland, sitting at the kitchen table and drinking tea. She would ask me questions about what was going on, how my sisters were, how dad was coping, and then she would talk about the regrets she'd had. We'd talk about things that we hadn't had the chance to when she was alive and it was a very healing time for me. She kept telling me she didn't want me to have regrets, and then...in one of those conversations, she asked me why I hadn't finished my story.

The next day I started writing the story again, it took on a life of its own and became far more than I had ever intended. Then about four-five months later, it was finished.

3. Why Newfoundland?


There are millions of books out there that are set in the U.S., Britain, Ireland and so forth, so why NOT Canada? We've produced some amazing actors, directors, painters, musicians and authors, they are just less heard of because of the ALL POWER of the United States. Sure, they're our neighbor, but we are just as proud of our country as they are of theirs.

As to why I chose Newfoundland, as I said previously, it was originally to be a book of tales about home for my mother, but also I think I wanted to write about Newfoundland because growing up there I always felt a connection that I couldn't find anywhere else.

Many people talk about finding a little island paradise, but they're always looking for places like the Bahamas and Hawaii. We don't get the best weather in Newfoundland, but it's a kind of paradise. The place, the people, it really is all the things I describe in the book and I have never found anything else to compare it to. And, maybe, I want people to give it a chance. So many people, including Canadians claim they have traveled everywhere in Canada, but every time I ask if they have been to Newfoundland, they say no. I think it's sad that a little strip of ocean keeps so many away from a place that, at least in my mind, truly is magic.

4. What prompted your decision to republish?

 The first time I published I did it for almost the same reason as why I started to write it, as a gift, only this time it was to my family, my sisters and my father, for Christmas. I had never intended to do anything else with it. I wrote for myself and myself only, to get all the stories out of my head!

Then other people started to ask me about the book and so I sold a few more copies. I decided to republish in an E-book because it is what people read now and I thought I could get more exposure to possibly open up publication of more novels. Also, many of my friends and family were going on and on about what a fabulous writer I was and what a great book it was, so I took the leap and put it out there.

5. Follow up: What has changed for you (and the book) between the two publications?

 That's a tough question! To be honest I am my own worst critic. I rewrote Mary's Tears probably four times before I published it the first time, because I am never quite satisfied. I think mostly the characters have stayed the same between the two publications, I think I’ve gotten to know them better because I listened to both criticism and praise from people who have read the book, which is a fantastic tool and gave me further insight into who Tanya, Mary, and Matt really were. I suppose I learned to expose them more in the new edition and added additional background for them as well, to some extent.


You can follow Aryea on Facebook, Twitter and FanFiction (for more of her writing)

Thursday, 14 March 2013

In Which I Talk About This Blog Tour

So if you haven't been following along, we're in the midst of the Mary's Tears Blog Tour which ends on Saturday March 16th. I'm going to take this moment to give you the run down on what's been happening so far.

So Sunday, we launched the tour with the launch of our giveaway. (Thank you to all who have participated and entered so far by the way).

Monday, the lovely and talented Kai Kiriyama (whose novel comes out on March 19th) reviewed Mary's Tears.

Tuesday earned a shout out from Carolyn Brown (side note, if you missed it I talked to Carolyn not that long ago here).

Wednesday Samurai Scribes interviewed Aryea Hunt on her writing and the book.

Thursday you're hanging out here. Right now...talking to me.

And finally Friday will bring you right back here for an interview with Aryea Hunt, Canadian Writer to Canadian Writer.

Remember, everytime you tweet, facebook, blog, shout out, write on bathroom stalls, you are entered to win a copy of Mary's Tears AND a bonus prize which I am so excited to announce. The give away ends in a month so keep doing what you're doing.

Thank you to everyone helping me out with this, you have no idea how much I appreciate it.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

DelSheree Gladden talks Writing, Publishing, and Dental Hygiene

DelSheree the Grand (I'm eventually going to run out of cheesy descriptive words for people I talk to, I promise) sat down with me in the Writer's Chair of Awesome to answer a few questions.

I am a little bit of everything. I write, read like crazy, paint, sew, draw, cook, teach and practice yoga, gymnastics, Pilates, and an occasional senior weight training class. I love trying new things - including book genres. I am currently in school studying to become a licensed Dental Hygienist. Being in school, reading books that are not about teeth are an escape for me, where for a few moments I can visit another world and enjoy the fantasy of someone else's story.

As far as writing goes, I have four self-published novels: Escaping Fate, Twin Souls, Shaxoa's Gift, and Qaletaqa. My newest book, Inquest, is under contract with Briona Glen Publishing. As soon as the release date is pinned down I'll be sure to share.
 

Monday, 11 March 2013

Undercover Lovers #9: Nikki Heat

Ah Monday morning, who doesn't love a sex scene on a March Monday? Anyways, if you haven't seen Castle then the only thing you need to know is that the character Rick based off of Kate is named Nikki Heat (side note: Book Five is available for pre-order here).

I'm still working on this 'functioning in society and not failing' thing which seems to have been avoiding me lately. Regardless of my complaining, the world is turning without me and one awesome thing that's happening is that my friend Aryea Hunt's book "Mary's Tears" is touring this week and you have a chance to win some fun prizes so check that out here).

Let's see, what else can I spill my guts about? I miss Castle (it's on a three week hiatus), Once Upon a Time killed me last night with its epic twists and questionable conspiracies, NCIS is annoying me with its character inconsistencies (which is going to bring up a rant about character consistency is fiction eventually, just wait) and I am way behind on my book reading so maybe Castle being on hiatus is a good thing. I feel like I haven't been writing enough lately though I also think writing cannot be measured on a distinct scale, there is either writing or there is not writing (kind of like do or do not, there is no try) so maybe I just need to write.

I'm just going to stop and let you read and comment now. Okay...





Kate fell to her back, her limbs melting into the carpet enveloping her body. The warm air flittered over her skin, kissing the exposed flesh not protected by her black gear. Rick collapsed beside her in a similar manner in a similar outfit – though his skin had much more colour to it than him. “Wow,” she breathed “I really should have taken your advice and played laser tag a long time ago.” He laughed with her but their eyes never left the ceiling. “If I had known it would end like this, I would have started up sooner."

"Technically you haven't finished yet." They both looked down at his still full cock and she bit her lip.

"Patience." She instructed, catching het breath. Running around playing naked laser tag and then getting off on her boyfriend's victory lap took stamina - something he seemed well versed in.  "Maybe we should join a local group.”

He was laughing with his entire body and her skin vibrated with happiness. “I highly doubt ‘Family Fun Zone’ would condone our form of laser tag.”

She finally gained the momentum to roll on to her side to face her partner, her hand landing on his chest and burning through to his heart “but our way is so much more fun.”

“I agree.” His hand fell to her waist and he stared up at her. How the hell did he get so lucky? “But I don’t share.”

She straddled him and pointed her laser gun at his head. “That’s right; you don’t share. And neither do I, are we clear.” Yes, her deeper, authoritative voice was definitely turning him on. He put his hands up to his shoulders and nodded cheekily. “Good.” She leaned down to kiss him as a reward, tossing her gun off to the side. “So this is how it will be:” she placed both hands on his chest and began to release his laser tag vest while she ground in light, teasing circles “if you do as you’re told, you get a reward.”

“Yes, Detective Beckett.”

She stopped and the colour drained from his face. She seductively unhooked her gear – or, as seductively as one could handle a piece of plastic – and threw the vest behind her. “Not Beckett; Heat. Nikki Heat.”

His smile came slowly, in a predatory fashion that made her chest heave. “Call me Jamie.”

She began a rhythmic circle of her hips as reward for playing along. “Calling you anything other than Mr. Rook would be unprofessional. And as we are partners in crime solving, we should act accordingly.”

She gasped when he ran a finger up her spine and she arched against him involuntarily. “Yes, we are partners and as such, I think we should be attuned to each other’s needs; how we react. Don’t you agree?”

“Oh god yes.” His hand slipped down her front, falling down the valley of her breasts, by passing her core and pressing his thumb into the junction of her hip. Ever touch of his skin against hers was heavy and hot, making her ache for more contact. She scraped her nails down his chest, grinding out her need for him.

“So,” he wasn’t even trying to hide his smirk “how does Nikki Heat react to this?” He pressed his thumb deeper into her skin and she jumped, seeking more of him. His hand ghosting up her side was so contrasting that she barely felt it until he pinched her nipple, rolling it roughly, and her eyes clouded over.

He continued to cup and squeeze her breasts while she grinded into the pressure at her hip. He was just watching her, his chest flush with her fingernail marks and the heat radiating from their bodies. Still tender from their last round of love making, it took no time at all to push her to the very edge until she was clinging to her last thread of sanity. She needed to relieve the tension before it ended too quickly.

She pushed down his body leaving him reaching for her while she stared at his erection with hungry eyes. Licking her lips she took him in completely in her mouth. His hips flew up in surprise but she held her hand to his hips – much as he had just done and held him down – while she continued to bob up and down, devouring him with a skilled tongue and seductive eyes that never left his. She really was such a wonder to him. Creating Nikki had hardly been a challenge when he had her strength, intelligence and sex appeal as inspiration. The way she continued holding him down while she bobbed and sucked and licked and nibbled only cemented his belief that he was dating a goddess.

He was close to release much faster than he realized – but Nikki Heat never did anything by halves and she was determined to get him on par with her sexual frustration – she’d surpassed it, surely. He caressed her hair as a sign for her to let up but that turned into a hair pull when she looked up at him through her eyelashes and continued. He tugged her forward until they were nose-to-nose, their breaths heavy against their partner’s skin.

 “You are breaking the rules, Detective, by not listening to your partner.” No one else in the world would have heard him but she smiled.

 “Oh I am perfectly aware of my surroundings,” she pressed a quick kiss to his lips “I was just enjoying myself a little too much.”

 “You’ve got to stay focused on the task at hand, Detective He-” he choked on her name when she reach between them to squeeze his cock and positioned him at her entrance. He slid in effortlessly and they gasped at the contact. She took the lead, clawing at his chest as she rode him in fast and slow intervals, building the tension passed thought. Words fell into groans and half syllables as a film of sweat coated their bodies, painting the air with ecstasy.

She saw star. More than stars she saw supernovas and sunspots against her eyelids. Everything was hot and too bright with moments of clarity when she would look down at her partner and see him staring up at her with awe and love that made her grind faster to match her beating heart. Yes, it was clich├ęd but everything was better with love and it had taken her a long time to admit it but yes, she was head over heels in love with this writer who was both child and man and sometimes somewhere in between. That was perfectly fine because, as she'd quickly discovered being in a relationship with him, he brought fun and a new kind of adventure into her life. She still led a lot of the time but there were days like today where she would just trust him and they would end up locking the doors, turning their cellphones to silent - it took a lot of convincing before he reminded her that it was her day off - and donning nothing but their laser tag gear.

They'd chase each other around the loft until the writer somehow beat his detective girlfriend at their shooting game and they'd celebrate in a similar fashion to now. She was determined to get some satisfaction out of losing their game and that seemed to involve her breasts bouncing tantalizingly above her boyfriend's face and digging into his flesh until he would swear she was drawing blood - though he could honestly care less. Being with Kate - being inside Kate - was a feeling usually reserved for heaven but apparently someone had made an exception. God, he was even getting sappy during sex. The things this woman did to him. While her hands clawed at his chest like a cat, his hands wandered in ghosts and whispers over her burning flesh, dyed pink with blind lust. He needed to touch her, every inch of her body, and one touch was never enough to fulfill his anxious hands. The memories held in his fingertips - the stories his flesh told against hers - could fill a thousand books and still leave him wanting. And god help him, it was for his eyes only.

She would never tire of him. The thought struck her as she rolled her hips back and forth kneading his flesh to keep her grounded. Every touch, every look he gave her was somehow new and yet practiced and always bore new stories of them, together, like now. She would never tire of them; they would always find new and yet old ways to please and surprise - and love - each other. Like how she could spread her legs wider over his hips and leave nothing between them but a rush of air and a lustful look. She could do it a thousand times and the groan of surprise and the way his hands flew to her hips leaving the rest of her body cool and aching for him never ceased to give her a jolt of satisfaction. He was in the palm of her hand and yet she was the one completely captured. Enthralled with each other, never tiring.

They fell together, as they did in all things, crying out as wave after wave swept through their joined bodies. They came floating back to reality as she fell to his chest, placing gentle kissing to his cheeks and lips. Somewhere in the haze she whispered “Happy release day.” and he chuckled at the childish innuendo. She was lulled by his chest rising and falling in a rhythm that matched hers while his arms came around her waist, trapping their bodies together.

 “We should celebrate every new book release like this.” He decided.

She lifted her head enough to press her lips to his for a deep breath and a hidden smile. “I couldn’t agree more Mr. Rook.”


Sunday, 10 March 2013

Mary's Tears Blog Tour

The Mary's Tears Blog Tour Starts today!

Now, this isn't like normal tours where we hae different stops. This is going to rely on you, the reader. You see, there are a few stops this week (namely Kai Kiriyama and the Samurai Scribes) including an interview with the author RIGHT HERE on Friday March 15th which will mark the end of the tour.

This is where you as the readers come in. Below is the burb and buy link of Mary's Tears. And every time you tweet it, facebook it, put it up in sky writing, tell me and you'll be entered to win a copy of Mary's Tears and one special prize that I'll announce later. The contest runs for a month so tweet and facebook and book your slot with the sky writer. Drama, Romance and the Canadian Horizon are waiting for you!

~~__~~__~~__~~__~~__~~__~~__
 
Mary has been running most of her life, from her past, from people, from emotional attachment. She has survived much and enjoyed little, now her biggest task is at hand. She must return home to Newfoundland, home to the place where her demons were born, and where her past still has the substance to haunt her.
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/281479








a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 8 March 2013

Forensic Fridays Part 1: Body Decomposition

This is part one in a monthly series. Look for part two next month. If you have suggestions about topics you'd like me to discuss then let me know. Similarly, if I get something wrong, please tell me. I am not an expert in this subject.

As a crime fiction fan, I've always had a fascination with death and forensics though, honestly, I never looked into it very closely. Until now. I'm starting with one article per month because I know that adding more will just make me go crazy. Once a month I'll be doing a mini-lesson in forensics with the intention of informing writers on proper procedure.

As I said before, I am not an expert in this subject so use this as your starting point and please let me know if I do make any glaring errors.

We're starting with body decomposition because it's a fairly common subject in crime fiction (no kidding). This is not including other factors such as frozen, burnt, or drowned bodies - I might cover that one later - this is just a general outline.


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Lilly M Love Talk Dreams and Writing

The Dream Girl, Lilly M. Love answers a few questions of mine about writing, dreams and target audiences. Check it!
 
I have now been, for the past eleven years, on a writing trip in a serious way. I started with scripts and later on with mystery thrillers. I was published by an editorial, which I learned doesn´t mean you are in good hands. There was a big communication issue – today, I think it was the main fault of my agent – and after the second published book I canceled the contract and took the hard road, publishing the third on my own. I wrote a new urban-fantasy romance script and while working on that another idea popped in: the series I am writing at right now. The Demon of Dreams Saga

 
I never sat over a blank page. Writing flows out of my hand. I have so many ideas that I would need a bunch of ghostwriters to write everything down. I love to invent people, create their past and their destiny. Sure, sometimes I lean on reality. When I write, I have scenes, a kind of movie in front of me. The faces of my protagonists are actors I would cast.
I don´t drink or smoke: I am boring. But my imagination is not.
 

I believe in a spirit world and in an afterlife. I believe we all have a special task on earth we have to fulfill. Sometimes it´s difficult to figure out what it could be. It´s foggy, but I think I know.


Monday, 4 March 2013

Undercover Lovers #8: Annoying Ex-boyfriend

I first want to apolgoze for this story. The goal was more to make you giggle rather than to amaze you with my wit and charm. It's my way of counteracting last weeks rather dark subject. Either way, this particular story was born of a typo. I meant to write "Rick's Ex-girlfriend" when plotting this story but wrote "Rick's Ex-boyfriend" instead. You get the picture.

I have a bunch of annoucements for you and I can't seem to think of any of them at the moment.
 
It's really annoying. I'll let you know once I remember them. Until then, let me know what you think in the comments below.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Why Books Should Be More Like Movies

I anticipate people getting a little uptight about this but I promise it makes sense.

The last few novels I read have been rather annoying in that they had these pauses in the story to explain the entire background or why a particular character was doing something. It was distracting and often redundant. It also got me thinking about those teen movies with too much voice over so it felt like you were watching The Accessible Channel. There's so much explanation that you actually miss the plot. Books should be more like other movies - the movies that are big hits - there's a reason everyone watches them.

Yes, books and movies are a lot different and yes, usually the books are better; but there's something to be said for appealing to your audience's vision rathe than pure imagination. So much gets lost in translation when you assume that your reader knows what you're talking about.

Keeping in mind that these are just my opinion, these are a few things books can learn from movies.

· Concise. While you have 200+ pages to tell a story, they have 90 minutes to tell the story and keep the audience entertained. That means they need to shave off the tiny little tidbits in favor of telling the main plot. In general, your readers are looking for the same thing. The world has gotten a lot busier and your reader can never be bored. Give everything purpose - every scene, every sentence - and shave off all the extra fat.

· Show Don’t Tell. Ignoring the obvious, what I mean is: unless you’re in a drama class, lose the soliloquies. Don’t have these chunks of inner thought about why this is unusual for your character; show me that this is unusual for your character to be walking alone at night. Simply saying "I don't usually do this" over and over gets redundant and frankly, I stop believing you after awhile. Show that she's nervous but lifting her chin so she can neatly avoid eye contact and yet appear confident. Your readers are privy to the workings of human emotion.

· Pacing. You can complain about a movie’s pacing all you want but you cannot deny that it’s varied and that alone makes it interesting. Give weight to certain scenes – let them elongate – but not every scene or your audience will start skimming. Cut out scenes were you need to - because you never end up needing all of your scenes to get the point across - and play with others. Stretch them out and play with them so your reader gets lost in your words but never stop the plot. Basically, don't stop to smell the roses, pluck the rose and smell it while you're walking.

· Music. Every scene has background noise. In a movie it’s music or a score that sets the tone. There’s no music in books but there is a background noise - whether it's the clatter of dishes at a dinner or the scene that you're hearing violins when you're at a character's funeral. It’s your job as the writer to set the music in the reader’s head.

Because you all know my obsession with Castle, I’m using an example from the show to make my point. This is a scene from the Season 4 finale. Below is the same scene with and without music. You can feel the difference. Now it’s a matter of writing down that difference on a page.
Without Music --
With Music --

· Colour. A lot of times when watching a movie you can tell just by the colour of the scene – the light, the clothing, the buildings etc. – what is going to happen in a scene or whether or not you need a tissue. Ever colour has a mood association and can even have a metaphorical meaning. More than that, colours in real life can be tasted, smelt, and heard - no matter how improbable it may seem, you know you've smelt green before. Make these colours come alive.

· Ending. Whether it’s a standalone or it’s the second movie in a series of eight, every film has an ending; a sense of closure - we're ignoring a few select films that don't really follow that rule.. Never leave your reader asking anything but the questions you want them to ask. It's perfectly alright for your reader to finsh your story and go "oh my god, did that just happen" if that's what you want them to ask. Essentially, avoid plot holes on your journey through life.
 
Do you agree? How else should a book be like a movie?