A BLOG ABOUT WRITING FROM CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE AUTHOR SARAH GRIMM
Join Sarah and her guests for conversations on everything from the art of writing to where we find our inspiration.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Writer Wednesday: Editing

I think it’d be safe to say that one of the banes of a writer’s life is editing. While I’ve learned to appreciate the editing process, I can probably speak for all of us out there when I say the process can be arduous and painful. The good thing is we hold the power to lessen our own pain in this process. Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve found to help keep the editing process from becoming a raging headache.

  1. Print out your manuscript – Yes, I know ink is expensive and it will take a lot of paper. But you’ll be thankful in the end. It’s the old adage of looking at something in a different light makes it look completely different. Reading your words on the printed page can sound/look very different than how they do on the computer screen.
  2. Read it out loud – this is especially useful for dialog. Reading your story out loud will help you with word flow. Think about it, if you stumble over reading a sentence out loud, you can bet you’ll have a number of readers that will get tripped up reading it too. I know some authors who like to read their stories into a recorder and listen to it as they are reading along with the written manuscript so they can focus more on the way it sounds. 
  3. Critique partners – Try to find people that will give you the feedback you need. You can do yourself a favor by explaining in detail or making a list of questions to help your partners understand exactly what you need from them. Finding partners that understand your genre can be a plus too.
  4. Read it backwards – This clearly wouldn’t work well for content necessarily, but this is a great way to help you proof read your manuscript for typos, grammar, and punctuation. It allows you to not focus on the story content and more on the technical aspects.
  5. Put it away for a week or more – Now I know time isn’t always on our side, but sometimes the best thing to do is put it away and pull it back out after some time has passed. If you can manage, put your manuscript away for a month. The more time that separates the last time you read it and your next round of edits gives your mind time to clear out and gives you the opportunity to read it with fresh eyes. 

What do you think? Anyone else have some editing tips that work well for them?



Lizzy Bergstrum thought she finally reached a point in her life when she could honestly say she had it all. A thriving writing career. A wonderful daughter. And a marriage to the love of her life. But looks can apparently be deceiving because her husband just walked out on her and their eight year old daughter hates her.

Gavin Bergstrum can’t handle the direction his life has taken. Not only did he get laid off from his job, but his wife seems to barely remember he exists. Convinced he’s tried his best to change things, he begins to wrestle with the possibility of divorce. But he can’t think straight in the same house as Lizzy. Hating to leave his daughter, but needing time to think and come to terms with what he feels he needs to do, Gavin decides to return to his small home town in Oregon and stay at his family ranch with his father and brothers.

 In shock, Lizzy gives Gavin his space. But as time passes and he doesn’t say a word about their marriage, Lizzy decides it’s past time she takes matters into her own hands. Without a word, she follows Gavin to Oregon.

Now facing a daughter who blames her for everything, an irritated husband, and a small town that feeds on the drama, Lizzy finds herself trying to figure out how to convince Gavin to give her another chance, teach her daughter it takes two to make a successful marriage, and overcome her own insecurities – all without compromising who she is.


AUTHOR BIO: 

In between her to-be-read pile and trying to bring the characters in her head alive, Kristen spends as much time as she can with family and friends. Much to her husband’s dismay, she enjoys collecting purses, shoes, and jewelry. During those rare times she’s not working at her day job, rushing her daughters somewhere, watching movies with her husband, and trying to meet a deadline, she can usually be found energetically cheering for one of her favorite New York sports teams.

As with just about every other writer on the planet, Kristen grew up an avid reader. She started with young adult before she technically hit the age range and moved on to sci-fi classics by Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. At fifteen, her best friend gave her a book she just had to read! The book was Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts. Always a sucker for a happy ending, she was a goner and fell in love with the romance genre. Having started writing novel length stories at the age of eleven, Kristen’s stories all took a romantic turn from that point on.

You can connect with Kristen here:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Courage

"Everyone is afraid of something." Isn't that what 'they' say? We say we are afraid of the dark, when in truth we are afraid of what's in the dark that we can't see. We say that we have a fear of heights, when it's the falling that we fear.

My husband is a deputy sheriff. He does things in any given day that send chills up my spine and goosebumps down my arms. He just shrugs it off and takes another bite of dinner.

How much courage does it take to put yourself out there, to submit your writing for other people to read and (gasp, swallow hard) reject? It takes a lot of more courage than some have. There are those of us who muster up this courage and send our work out to editors and agents, hoping to get back positive word.

Now what kind of courage does it take to self-publish?

Some may say none. After all, you don't have to deal with the rejection of the highers, but I disagree. Recently someone near and dear to me (*cough* Sarah) just released a previously published book with an updated cover and new sheen of polish. (Have you *seen* this cover?)

To me this is an amazing feat, a study of self-confidence and intestinal fortitude. I find it inspiring and...inspiring.

Am I announcing an intent? No, not yet. Just an idea, something to muse about this Monday morning.

How about you? How do you feel about self-publishing? Is it courageous or dangerous?

Arachnophobia means afraid of spiders. Does anyone know the word for "afraid to self-publish"?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Character Quickie: Jessie Hutchinson

20 quickie facts about Jessie Hutchinson: 

Birthday? August 3
Favorite color? Green. Definitely. Well, forest green. Like Lucian's eyes.
Nickname? Jessie is short for JessAnna, and everyone calls me Chatterbox. *blushes* And Lucian calls me his Temptress.
Birthmark or scars? None. I've lived a pretty boring life until my car broke down.
Siblings? My sister, Sally. She's always been such a… witch with a 'b', but now I know why, and it's okay. We get along now.
City of residence? Roseville, CA
If you were a jelly bean flavor, what flavor would you be? A few weeks ago, I would have said Very Vanilla. Definitely. But now? Sometimes I'd be Blushing Berry. Other times, Sinful Sangria.
Occupation? Nurse.
Hobbies? *clears throat* Lucian
Favorite song? There's way too many to list. I love classic rock, and Lucian introduced me to classical music.
Name one item in your refrigerator right now? Mustard? Maybe.
Your greatest fear? Making a fool of myself, and I do it regularly.
Most treasured possession? *holds up left arm to display beaded charm bracelet* This bracelet. Dorn gave us all one, to help us stay focused on the mission. The ones for the guys are gorgeous jeweled watchbands.
Special talent? That depends who you ask. Most people would say making a scene.
Cat or dog? Both.
Pet peeve? Women who bat their lashes and expect a man to fall at their feet.
Unforgettable moment? When I said Lucian was prettier than any woman I knew.
Spicy or not? Spicy.
Favorite guilty pleasure? It used to be chocolate, but now, it's watching Lucian. Though Lucian covered in chocolate… *sigh*
If you could ask your author one question, what would it be? Why did Lucian have to get injured so seriously? That was horrible!


Jessie is a co-heroine in "Dorn" Book 2 in Azure Boone's and Kenra Daniels' Archangels Creed series. She and the other members of her Quadumvirate have to fight Satan's genetically engineered Khareformen and create their Holy Warrior. 

To learn more about Azure and Kenra please visit their BLOG.



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Creative Marketing by Juliette Springs

As a new author or established author everyone is using these marketing essentials:

Website/Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Newsletters, LinkedIn and Good reads. When used effectively these items help authors establish their brand and platform and drive readers and potential readers to your books. Since a lot of writers are using these social media, it’s time to get creative and a personal touch to make your platform & brand stand out and gain new readership.

Gain new readers with a personal creative touch. Start by donating a book “gift-basket” to the following places: rest homes, hospitals, and senior citizen centers. Each of these facilities has patients/residents/staff who probably love to read. While you are personally promoting your books, you’re also brightening someone’s day.

How about donating a couple of your paperbacks to your local library for checkout as well as donating personalized bookmarks? Most libraries have free bookmarks on their counters for patrons to take at their leisure.

If you’re already published or (even if you’re not) chances are you have some expertise in the area of writing. Schedule a free (or low priced) writing workshop about some aspect of writing. It can be an all-day event or for just two hours. Not only will you gain aspiring or established writers for networking purposes you also will meet potential readers. Door prizes could include a free book, author swag, or a coupon for 15% off one of your ebook. Get the email addresses of each participant and add them to your email list. Your local library is a great place to hold this event. To make it bigger and better invite other writers you know to host a session and donate door prizes too.

The key to gaining readership and extending your platform is to give readers something they want. What genre are you writing? Based on the genre of your writing develop free, interesting tidbits of information your readership/potential readership would be interested in knowing. Here are some guidelines:

Paranormal genre: Articles/Info about haunted houses, astrological info, history of vampires/werewolves/witches in the US. If you’re writing about a witch living in a haunted house, who falls in love with the ghost- Write an article about haunted houses in your region or “design” a tour of haunted houses they should visit. Is your heroine an Aries that falls in love with a Scorpio? Write an article on your blog about the compatibility of a Fire/Water sign relationships.

Erotic: This genre lends itself to a multitude of possibilities. A series of articles on your blog could include:

“Spicing up your sex life”

“Sex toys for Dummies”

“BSDM 101”…just to name a few.

Historical: Tweet historical facts about the setting of your novel. Write an article on your blog about the life of women during that time period. Post pictures of actual homes, castles, etc. of the time period your novel takes place.

Things to also consider doing:

Offer online classes

Book signings

Lecture about historical aspect or interesting aspect featured in your novel.

Recipes featured in your book

Consider posting deleted scenes of your book on your website to keep reader interest until your next novel comes out. This will work especially well for a series.

I hope my tips have given your valuable tips or even sparked ideas for extending your reach.

Until the next time

Juliette 

Follow me on Twitter www.twitter.com/JulietteSprings

www.juliettesprings.com



The Karma Chronicles~Vanessa’s Story Blurb 

Devastated after an emotional break-up, Vanessa decides to finish her fall semester and leave Bear Creek University and the town of Bear Creek forever, certain starting over in a new place will soothe her wounded heart. Her plans are derailed when her ex-lover returns wanting another chance. Despite the chemistry between them and their sensual history, should she risk her heart again for a man who told her she wasn’t good enough for him or his tribe?

Bowing to tribal pressure, Sean Yonah was forced to hurt his best friend and lover, the one woman he couldn’t get enough of. Now the Spirits say she may be his “other.” Sean knows what he did was deplorable, but if he doesn’t convince Vanessa to forgive him, he’ll lose a lot more than the love of his life.

BUY IT TODAY



Juliette's Contact Information:

Website/Blog: www.juliettesprings.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/JulietteSprings

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Musings

It's my morning to share with you my musings, and frankly, I have no idea what to tell you. I've had the most God-Awful sinus headache all weekend, have been struggling to upload a book to Amazon - it keeps reverting back to draft - and, I downloaded a 'safe' program last night and got a whole bunch of extra garbage I'm in the process of removing. Not really exciting stuff, huh? :-)

I think this morning I'll just leave you with this. (and if anyone has one of these signs, can you send it to me? I'm in desperate need of one. lol)







Sarah Grimm
where dangerously sexy & happily-ever-after collide 
Blog / Website

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Character Quickie: Isabelle Carson

20 quickie facts about Isabelle Carson:


Birthday? January 2
Favorite color? Lilac
Nickname? The elf that waylays me prefers princess.
Birthmark or scars? I have a recent tattoo that I’d rather not talk about.
Siblings? 2
City of residence? Small town – Sherwood Hills
If you were a jelly bean flavor, what flavor would you be? Chili-mango – sweet with underlying heat.
Occupation? Antique store owner.
Hobbies? Home restoration.
Favorite song? I Don’t Want To Talk About It – rendition by Rod Stewart & Amy Belle – but I’m hoping this will change.
Name one item in your refrigerator right now? A Château De Gironville bordeaux. I like my red wine chilled.
Your greatest fear? That men will not see past my sex-kitten body to the person inside.
Most treasured possession? My Tudor Revival house.
Special talent? Finding treasures amongst the trash.
Cat or dog? Dog
Pet peeve? Men who can’t connect emotionally.
Unforgettable moment? When Serenity Resorts disappeared. I will never forget that moment.
Spicy or not? Spicy
Favorite guilty pleasure? Apple toffee cheesecake.
If you could ask your author one question, what would it be? Couldn’t you find a less dramatic way to bring Jonathan and I together besides giving us to that demented elf as playing pieces in his seductive game when you knew how committed I was to my relationship recovery program?




Find more about Isabelle in Sharon Clare's release, RHAPSODY, available now at Amazon.


Don't forget to visit Sharon's WEBSITE for more about her and her writing.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Writer Wednesday with Zrinka Jelic

Thank you for hosting me on your blog. It’s always exciting to connect with new readers.

There’s an old saying that goes “Write about what you know.” I’m from Croatia and I know about my country and its neighbouring countries that were once all part of former Yugoslavia. Therefore, you’ll find something about Croatia in each of my books.

At one time only well-travelled people like let’s say reporters, could write convincing stories about foreign to them cultures and landscapes, or cities and places. Now all the information is at our fingertips. With just a click of the mouse, we can be taken to the most remote places of this planet. Virtually of course, but it is still next best thing when we don’t have the luxury to travel there personally.

With the popularity of vampires and shape shifters, many new authors seem to want to try themselves in the paranormal genre. Perhaps it is the origin of the word vampire that is bringing their research to Slavic countries. Dictionary.com says this for the word’s origin:

1725–35; (< F) < German Vampir < Serbo-Croatian vàmpīr, alteration of earlier upir (by confusion with doublets such as vȁzdūh, ȕzdūh air (< Slavic vŭ- ), and with intrusive nasal, as in dùbrava, dumbrȁva grove); akin to Czech upír, Polish upiór, Old Russian upyrĭ, upirĭ, ( Russian upýrʾ ) < Slavic *u-pirĭ or *ǫ-pirĭ, probably a deverbal compound with *per- fly, rush (literal meaning variously interpreted) 

And as a result, I’m seeing more books out there on Serbian and/or Croatian vampires and werewolves. I read a few and it is apparent that the authors are not from either county, nor do they have any connection to them, and unfortunately neither did they do their research. As a result, the books have Slavic words in them that are used in a wrong context, the landscape is not described in any way other than “Serbian mountains”, which tells us nothing really, the names of the characters are incorrect, the historical facts such as epic battles and wars, are messed up, and many readers, especially those from these countries are not impressed.

A few things to consider when writing about other cultures: no matter what genre you write, do your research, and especially if writing paranormal. Find out if the population (in general) like this whole paranormal thing? Especially when mixed with love or erotic elements. Many countries like Croatia where 99% of people are devout Roman Catholics see erotica as porn. Every nation seems to have some sort of vampire legend and they have different names for them, but some would like to keep them in their folklore and not make a big deal out of it. So if you come across a legend and get hit with a story of your own that you want to base on that particular folk tale, research it. Friend someone from that country (on Facebook or other social media), dig out anything you can. Sprinkling foreign words throughout the manuscript will add the flavour but, don’t rely on Google translator. The worse thing that could happen is someone will check your facts or someone will know them, and bad reviews will follow. And if after all your efforts the best you can come up with is some vague facts, then do not reference it to that legend (don’t use names and locations from the legend), keep it vague as well and see if the readers will find the similarities.



Bio: Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two children. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction—which leans toward the paranormal—and adds a pinch of history. Her characters come from all walks of life, and although she prefers red, romance comes in many colors. Given Jelic’s love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that’s about the only break they get. “Alas,” Jelic says, with a grin. “Some rain must fall in everyone’s life.”

My blog; http://bondedbycrimson.blogspot.ca/



The last thing Captain Sirena expected to find on a desolate island was...him!

When Carmen Ventura takes up her post as commander of the Strega, she becomes the new Captain Sirena, the legendary pirate most people think is just a myth created to scare children. Her first quest is to search for the “treasured chest” hidden by her predecessor. But before she can even begin the hunt, she runs into Marko Lucin, captain of the Levant and Carmen’s most insane adventure yet.

How can the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen be a bloody pirate?

Never one to pass up an adventure, especially where pretty women are concerned, Marko finds his ultimate challenge in Carmen. Not only does he fall for her courage, spunk, and intelligence, but the lady pirate can also help him get what he wants—the famous treasure everyone whispers about. His only problem—how long can he play the charming captain before she discovers his true intentions?

TREASURED CHEST by Zrinka Jelic
Available now at:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Time for a Muse...?

Well, I've been MIA lately and a little AWOL, but I'm back. It feels good to be blogging again.Sorry, I've been away, but I had a lot on my plate. I had a book due to an editor, then a submission call for a proposal, and now perhaps a project that is in another genre entirely. That has me thinking about my muse.

If you've been to my personal site then you've met Shirley, my muse. Shirley comes in handy in *many* situations, but sometimes, whether by her choice or mine, she doesn't take part in my creative process.

Such is the case with my latest project. Working without a muse can be kinda frightening. But I'm managing.

Still I know she's lurking there in the shadows...or on the beach...waiting for me to need her once again.

Hang on, Shirley, and don't forget the sunscreen!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Character Quickie: Kris Langley

20 quickie facts about Kris Langley:

Birthday? September 2
Favorite color? Forest green, like the eyes of my boyfriend Eric
Nickname? Kris, short for Kristine. Only my overbearing mother calls me Kristine!
Birthmark or scars? My scar is internal - the heartache from losing my cousin Nicole to a serial killer when we were kids
Siblings? Older sister Holly is an emergency room physician
City of residence? Fremont, Massachusetts
If you were a jelly bean flavor, what flavor would you be? Chocolate, as I go looking for chocolate in stressful times
Hobbies? Writing, reading and baking
Favorite song? Waiting for a Girl Like You
Name one item in your refrigerator right now? Leftover Chinese food
Your greatest fear? Losing another loved one
Most treasured possession? A silver-framed picture of my cousin Nicole
Special talent? People tell me that I'm a good writer
Cat or dog? An adorable cat named Chipmunk
Pet peeve? When fellow journalists sensationalize their stories
Unforgettable moment? When I first read about the 25-year-old murder of Diana Ferguson on the microfilm and got drawn into her story
Spicy or not? Not
Favorite guilty pleasure? Chocolate chip cookies
If you could ask your author one question, what would it be? Why did you have to give me such a rough childhood?



Kris Langley is the heroine in Stacy Juba's TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY, available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


To learn more about Stacy Juba and her writing please visit her BLOG.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Writer Wednesday: Beginning Romance Writing Again

Beginning Romance Writing Again
By Beth Barany

After writing two novels (one a historical novel, and one a romance that was grand adventure, mostly), I decided I was really an adventure writer, so wrote Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, a YA epic fantasy novel, Book 1 in a series. I published it myself in 2011, and even won a Grand Prize for it in 2012 in a California Independent Author Fiction contest. Woohoo!

But I never lost my love of romance, and read it as avidly as I read fantasy. Now I'm trying my hand again at romance novella.

So I feel like I'm beginning again and have had to take stock of what I knew and what I needed support on. While you read my list, note for yourself what you already know and what you need support on. I'll also list some resources for each of these elements. Because I'm always learning I may have forgotten some elements of writing a romance, so please add them into the comments. Thanks!

World Building 
As a fantasy writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about my new and wonderful world. I keep a word document with all the facts, lore, and history. For my novella, I call it a Wiki, because I think that's cool. As questions come up for me, I also list them here. Since I've also taught on this topic, I have a cool handout on world building topics I can send you if you write me http://bethbarany.com/contact.html.

Since I'm writing a paranormal romance, where my modern day heroine travels to 13th century France, to a town that is building their cathedral, world building isn't that different than when I write fantasy, except now I can use the Internet instead of my imagination for many of the world building facts. Well, I'll still be using my imagination about the magic.

So a brief spiel on the Rules of Magic: You get to decide on the level of scarcity, magic's difficulty, and the price of it to the magic's users.

Btw, I'm now using Scrivener to write this story, and keep all my world building notes handy. I like Scrivener because I can load up pictures, maps, and web links. Best of all, everything is in one place.

Plot & Story Structure
This is where I'm the weakest, no matter what the genre. One tool I've recently tried and enjoyed is a synopsis tool in beta by award-winning author, Patricia Simpson. (She's also one of my awesome critique partners.) Her beta tool helped me think about the theme of my novella: Trust, and to wrap the inner and outer conflicts through this theme. Her tool, Synopsis Maker, is here: http://www.patriciasimpson.com/PlotSpinner/snapsynopsis.aspx.

Character Building
I love creating my stories from my characters. But I notice that when I'm about a quarter to half way into my story, I've lost sight of my characters a little. I've gotten carried away by the new plot points I've come up with, because, yep, I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer, mostly. So I go back to my character notes (Scrivener is great for this!) and revisit the useful character tools of Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. For a resource, so visit the book by Deb Dixon on this title, Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. It's cheapest to get it directly from the publisher, Gryphon Books for Writers: http://www.gryphonbooksforwriters.com/.
(Thank you Deb, for bringing this powerful tool to us!)

Romance, Intimacy, & Sex 
I'm leaving the hardest bit for me the last. As I dive back into writing romance, I'm reminded to revisit the 12 stages of intimacy. Here's a good summary post by author Terry Odell: http://terryodell.blogspot.com/2010/03/12-steps-to-intimacy.html. I'm brushing up on this topic because I know I love writing about intimacy, but not so interested about writing about sex. My big question as I finish this novella is how do I write in a deliciously sensual and yummy way that doesn't bore me or make me uncomfortable. Any tips and resources welcome!

So, while I've written fantasy and dabbled in historical fiction, and feel confident in many aspects of writing, writing romance is new again for me. I look forward to getting comfortable and making the genre my own.



Beth Barany is a novelist of the award-winning YA fantasy, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer. The second book in the series is due out Spring 2013. Sign up for Beth's newsletter at her author site: http://author.bethbarany.com and enter her current fun Giveaway. The romance novella as part of an anthology will be out later this year.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Character Quickie: Tyler

20 quickie facts about Tyler: 

Birthday? May 6
Favorite color? Aqua, the color of Pryl’s wings
Nickname? Vio or Tiga
Birthmark or scars? none
Siblings? none
City of residence? Korinth
If you were a jelly bean flavor, what flavor would you be? Roasted Marshmallow
Occupation? Father
Hobbies? Playing with my young
Favorite song? Try by Pink
Name one item in your refrigerator right now? Pomegranate Juice
Your greatest fear? Losing Pryl
Most treasured possession? The drawings of my family
Special talent? Keeping the young ones entertained
Cat or dog? Cat
Pet peeve? Intolerance
Unforgettable moment? Getting the twins Uzia and Koim
Spicy or not? Spicy most definitely
Favorite guilty pleasure? Spending one on one time with Pryl
If you could ask your author one question, what would it be? Will there be more books with my family?




Find more about Tyler in Angel Rothamel's new release, THE SOLSTICE, available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Don't forget to visit Angel's WEBSITE for more about her and her writing.