Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"Oh I never thought of that" #1 Getting Book Reviews

So I've been thinking of how I would document this new chapter in my writing journey and this is is what I've come up with.

This series will be my "oh I never thought about that" as they arise. Hopefully it will help you in your own journey.

#1 Getting Book Reviews

Kinda important right? Well I've been to at least 30 sites today to submit requests for JINGLE MY WAY and almost all the poor overwork reviewers are closed due to their high volumes of requests.

So here's a two for one. First, if you have a novel coming out, secure your book reviews months in advance. Also, if you love reading, become a book reviewer :0)

My hunt continues for book reviewers who are available and interested in Holiday Romance. If you know of any, please email me :0)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jingle My Way Book Trailer

Jingle My Way Cover Reveal

My Bumpy Road to Publication

Hello world,

I know it’s been quite some time since I’ve blogged, but I have a very good excuse. I’ve been working on finishing a number of projects this year. JINGLE MY WAY was one of them. It took quite a bit of editing and rewrites since I wrote the draft in 25 days (A NaNoWriMo Challenge)
Since I’ve only written YA and NA I honestly didn’t think my Adult Holiday Romance would interest anyone. So figure how surprised I was when the two queries I sent out all came back asking for the full manuscript.
Of course nothings certain until a contract is signed so I keep moving along with my plans to self publish. I’d already commissioned a cover artist. Weeks past and my prospects dwindled to 1. When the final publisher responded with a pass, I thought “bummer, but I’ll still self pub.” I love Holiday Novel’s. It’s really the only time of year where I’m specifically looking for a quick read. 
So I hired a content editor and began my marketing plan. The first tweet I sent about the book got a reply from the lovely Wendy Sparrow who suggested I query her publisher (Cerridwyn Publishing). I didn’t think it would amount to much, but I queried anyway and got yet another reply asking for the full manuscript.
A few more weeks passed and I was up to my eyeballs in PR and marketing for my Self Pub debut. I naturally assumed when I didn’t hear back from Cerridwyn that they’d passed as I suspected they would, but once again when I tweeted a link to the books facebook page (Click Here) I got a reply from Cerridwyn explaining that they were still reviewing the book. (I guess I should never assume, right)
So the following morning I received the best email ever, an offer to publish my novel. (Yay!) It’s been an amazing process so far, going through the edits, and It's finally done. I’ll admit I was worried that contracting with a publisher would mean I no longer had a say in my own story, but it’s been the total opposite. Jenn, my editor is funny, honest, and sometimes brutal (her words, not mine), whose given me more confidence in my words than I ever had before.
So JINGLE MY WAY will be available in ebook November 5, 2013 (Yes, tomorrow). I’ve provided a little blurb below:
When Nina head to Colorado to spend Christmas with her family alone, no one knows she’s planning to end her loveless marriage. Still reeling from his botched marriage proposal, newly single Jack wonders if he’ll ever love a woman enough to pop the question. The holiday’s have a way of bringing lonely hearts together, especially those sleeping under one roof. Nina’s heart may be damaged beyond repair, but that doesn’t stop Jack from trying to steal it away.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Writing Action: The Good Stuff

Finding the perfect balance between what your character is doing, seeing, and feeling in an action scene is the toughest part of writing for me. I want to give the reader everything without overwhelming them. The death of an action scene is when the reader has to stop and go back to get it.

Action is so fast it requires me to use my mental rewind to catch everything that's going on, but in a novel you never want your reader to rewind. It pulls them out of the story and we never want that to happen.

So here's my magic recipe for Writing Action Scenes:

Note: You will write this scene three times. There is no way around it so just accept it.

The First Draft: Write what your character sees. Line by line you should be capturing anything and everything that comes into the characters view, but also be aware of what is important to your story. If there's a mail box on the corner we only need to know about it if it impacts the story. Like say if your character collides with it. If your character is racing to drop off a letter. If there's a bomb about go off inside that will kill hundreds of people. That's when a mailbox matters. If it's not important leave it out. You're going to need that space for the things to come.

The Second Draft: Add in reactions. What is your character doing? If they're being chased, do they look back to see how far their chaser is. Are they out of shape, clumsy, what kind of shoes are they wearing? We already know what happens in the scene and now we want to know what your character does about it. But again all reactions are not necessary. We don't need to know every swallow or bead of sweat. We don't need to know which leg they lead with. Give us meaningful reactions that will show their thought pattern. If your character runs into someones yard, why that yard? What are they hoping to gain out of this move? Also keep in mind that your character is not only running away from someone they are also running to something. Give us both.

The Third Draft: Add in the emotions. This is where it gets tricky. Every line of internal monologue will slow down the action. You don't want to just throw in what your characters feeling. What you want to do to keep the scene going is build their emotions off of what your character sees and does. Give emotional weight to their movements. Describe the visuals with words that have meaning to the character. If the chaser shoots at them it's not just a sound, it's not just what they feel at that moment, it's the way that sound makes them feel. If I were being chased and a gun fired my paranoid mind would actually think I was shot. There would be an explosion in my chest and phantom pains in my back. I'd even pat my chest looking for the blood.

Or you can go a different route:

Maybe the gun fire propels your character to run even faster. Where the fear is not just being caught, but that they could actually die.

It could catch them off guard and they stagger a little. They struggle to stay on their feet, knowing that they're attacker isn't far behind and falling is just a sure as giving in.

Or you can really go for the gold and let your character get shot. Lets face it, you have an inexperienced character being chased by someone dangerous enough to not only have a gun, but who can also shoot while running. These bad guys know what they're doing and your character is going to get shot. It might be in the arm or graze them, but the injury is more realistic than "I dodged all the bullets."

Dialogue in an action scene:

Do your characters go mute during an action scene? Do you not know where to add the dialogue? Keep in mind that just like monologue any dialogue will interrupt the action. So make sure it's worth it. Characters are thinking a lot doing action. The general consensus is "Oh Shit!" :o) Here is where your genre comes into play. Make sure whatever dialogue you add is authentic to the tone of your story and genre. Action Adventure usually have a lot of dialogue during their action scenes and I hate to say it but it's pretty cheesy. Dark edgy stories are more internal. Contemps are all "Why is this happening?" If you have comp novels see how they handle it and mimic. (It's not against the law)

Tempo in Action Scenes:

Think of it as a roller coaster. How you start the trek up the tracks slow and easy, then you're at the top and there's the big drop your stomach sinks, the pressure builds and then you hit the curves. You're jerked from side to side dazed and confused and next come the loops. Upside down, sideways, then down again. You lose all sense of time and direction and just before you start to lose your lunch it's over.

What's left is a surge of adrenalin. You can't have a near death experience without it. It might be accompanied with relief or horror, but the adrenalin is always there. Make sure not to forget that part.

The Aftermath of an Action Scene:

Make sure there's some reflection after an action scene. Now don't get crazy and start throwing in explanations. If your character doesn't know what the heck just happened then say that. Don't feel the need to over explain it, but do give the reader a moment catch they're breath.

So that's my way of writing action scenes. They're challenging, but I can't write a story without them. You know your scene is good when you're out of breath by the time you're finished reading it.

Oh, and one more tip. Don't forget the slow-mo and fast forward buttons in fiction.

Slow-mo: Long Sentences

Fast Forward: Short Sentences

If you have special tips to writing your actions scene's please comment below.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Update :o)

Welcome Summer, or as Arizonian's like to call it, hell :o)

It's been six long, torturous weeks since I resubmitted UNDISTURBED to the agents and guess what...Still no news. (I know Big Surprise there) Anywho, I've been keeping myself busy with my holiday romance, which is now out for Beta before the FINAL edit.

I'm really looking forward to it being complete. It's my first Adult project so that makes me kind of nervous, but a story is a story right?

Speaking of Stories, I just started a brand new novel June 1st. YA Speculative Fiction and I'm taking a page from Stephen King's: On Writing with this one. 2,000 words a day for the next 6 weeks. I'm updating my stats daily so if you care to follow you can always check my blog for an update.

I'm on day 4 and really enjoying it. I can already tell the difference in this project from Undisturbed.

1. I'm letting myself free write the scenes. Their all over written, but that's what you're supposed to do during the rough draft. It helps me get to know my characters. And it's been my experience that it's easier to cut than to have to add.

2. I have a story map as a guide, but I'm not afraid to veer off course.

3. I have a story bible, which tells me all the major plot points

4. I writing for myself, the way that I would want the story told.

My intentions for every project is to create something unique and entertaining, and informative. This project deals with some very complicated relationships. I'll tell you more after the draft is complete.

It fells great to be writing something new after nearly three years with UNDISTURBED, which I still haven't given up on.

Happy writing and reading to you. And don't forget your sun screen :o)

Monday, April 22, 2013

I Really Did it this time :o)


Well Dear Readers it's been a little over 10 months since I posted that I wouldn't be back until I finished my revision of Undisturbed and I kept my promise.

I just finalized the final doc and drafted the email that will go out to the Agents who have most likely long forgotten that they requested to read my revisions.

It's taken nearly two years to perfect this story, but I can honestly say it was worth the wait. My first version of Undisturbed was what the Agent's called it "A really good start to something special" and with that encouragement I let my imagination run further than I thought possible.

In short, I've created an original creature detailed, complex, and deeply rooted in history. It was a challenge, but it was also freeing to know that there is truly nothing else like my characters.

And even better, I managed to address the agents suggestions and still maintain the parts they raved about.

If you would have told me nearly 3 years ago when I happened upon this story by mistake that I would still be just as passionate about it today, I would've laughed in your face. I get it know when The Query Shark said that the a writers key to success rarely has to do with their writing ability.

I believe now that it's determination that leads to success. I used to tell my friends in college that if they tried their best, sent a query letter to a thousand film producers that at least one had to call them back. At the time I believed it was a game of numbers.

With Novels it's a little different, so I say to those who are struggling to get "the call" from an agent.

  • Write a story you can love
  • Edit, revise, edit, revise at least a dozen times
  • Find some very honest, even brutal beta readers to ripe your story to shreds
  • Edit and Revise a dozen more times
  • Write a Synopsis
  • Write a Query Letter
  • Do your research
  • Query the right agents
  • Query A LOT of agents
  • Get A LOT of rejections

If this doesn't lead to success, write another book and do it all over again.
Repeat until you succeed (That's what I plan to do)

So this week I resubmit. I'll be back in six weeks or so with an update. Until then keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer for me :o)