Moving Forward!

by Carole Brown

Alrebook-freeady, almost a month has past in this new year 2017. Writers, have you advanced in your writing? Have you kept to resolves you made in your New Year’s plans for your writing journey? Have you…advanced?

Here were some of my writing plans for 2017 and how much I’ve progressed (accountability, you know. Smile):

  • Finish writing, editing and preparing for the delayed-from-last-year publication of the second book in my WWII series (A Flute in the Willows). With several obstacles that kept the publication from happening, I’m certainly looking forward to this. So far, I’ve increased the words, edited at least two times the already written words, and preparing to move ahead toward my goal. 
  • I’ve tentatively planned to finish three more books this year (not novellas). Although I’m not holding my breath on this one, if I can obtain at least the publication of a second one, I will be farther up the road than now. So…, as of today, I’ve plotted (lightly) the events in both of my newer series books (the third book in the Denton and Alex Davies series: Daffy’s Duck and the fourth book in my Appleton, WV series: Toby’s Troubles). 
  • Thirdly, I have a standalone book set in the mid-to-late 1800s, a light mystery filled with lots of romance, that I’d love to see published soon. The title is Caleb’s Destiny, and is already from a third-to half done. We’ll see about this as the months pass. 

RECAPPING:Working

  1.  Finish writing and editing A Flute in the Willows, WWII 
  2. Complete and edit either or both Daffy’s Duck and Toby’s Troubles
  3. If time permits, move on and complete Caleb’s Destiny

I’ve got my work cut out for me! 🙂

What’s your specific writing plans this year?

 

Reviews: Are They Really Gold?

by Carole Brown

hug-an-author

Reasons to HUG (Review) for authors:

*  If an author has 50 or more reviews, Amazon will list his/her book in its newsletters and other promotions. (Nice!)

* Reviews encourage an author to write more books and their publisher to publish more of this author’s books!

* Reviewing for an author takes little time. They don’t have to be elaborate or fancy. They can be short and to the point. 

* Reviews say it better than anything, “I love you and your book. Give us more!” 

Gold? Oh, yes. For authors. That’s a definite YES! Smiles.

Hog Insane

Looking for some new reads during these winter months? Check out:

The Adventures of the RV-traveling amateur mystery sleuths: Denton and Alex Davies. His dry humor and sarcastic thoughts and her adventurous and smart attitude will draw you into each Book Cover Centered-smallmystery they stumble (?) into!

 

 

  • Hog Insane (and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with pigs! Lol)
  • Bat Crazy (and, yes, they run into bats–of a sort! 🙂 )

Amazon

Have a wintry, but warm and cozy day!

Guest Author Michelle Levigne – History Can Be Fun – Especially When It Takes Over! (Book Giveaway Contest)

Today we are welcoming guest author Michelle Levigne. Michelle is giving away a copy of her novel, Odessa Fremont. Details for the contest are at the end of her post.

History can be fun — especially when it takes over!

by Michelle Levigne

Show of hands:  how many authors have experienced the headaches and fun of characters taking over? The fun: when characters are so real the book writes itself. The headache: when characters are so real they dig their heels in and refuse to cooperate with the plot.

“I would never do that! I would only do that if I were TOO STUPID TO LIVE!”

Ever have that happen?

Sometimes my characters become so real they demand I tell their stories that happened BEFORE the book I’m currently writing. *sigh*

This month’s release is The Blue Lotus Society, from Desert Breeze Publishing. It starts with my heroine, Odessa, a Pinkerton agent, perched in the rafters of a museum’s warehouse, guarding a shipment of Egyptian artifacts. Later in the book she remembers how she became a Pinkerton. Then she runs into people who know more about her history than she does — so I need to explain why Odessa has been living by her wits since she was fourteen, and why people who wanted to help her couldn’t find her. I ended up with a fully detailed backstory that demanded — loudly, painfully — to be told.

Characters’ histories explain why they act the way they do, how they got to the story’s opening, and give them baggage to deal with. Exploring that history helps us as writers make these characters three-dimensional. It can also lead to some problems with plot in the current work-in-progress. In writing Odessa’s back story, Odessa Fremont (today’s book giveaway) I set up events that contradicted things she was supposed to learn, or tell people in BLUE LOTUS. *sigh* Tip: Keep a detailed notebook. It saves time later when you need to look up something and make sure you don’t contradict yourself.

Moral of the story: when writing Book 1, and you realize it’s actually Book 2 because your characters have such interesting back stories, put it aside so you can write the new Book 1. Don’t touch the new Book 2 until Book 1 is polished, then revise Book 2. Look ahead to Book 3, so you don’t write yourself into a corner, as I did in writing the next book after BLUE LOTUS, called SANCTUARY, coming out in April 2017. Oy …

Giveaway Rules: Michelle is giving away one copy of Odessa Fremont to someone within the US. The winner will be notified next Thursday, and a comment will be left on this post. To enter, answer the giveaway question in a comment.

Giveaway question: Look at the covers for Odessa Fremont and Blue Lotus Society and tell me what genre you think this is. Hint: It’s a hot genre right now that keeps expanding, and can be considered both science fiction and fantasy.

odessafremontcoverart72dpithebluelotussocietycoverart72dpi

Desert Breeze Author Page

Amazon

michelle-levigne-hr-3Michelle Levigne has been a story addict for as long as she can remember, starting with The Cat in the Hat and Weekly Reader Book Club. She discovered Narnia and Star Trek in elementary school, and was a familiar face in the school library, especially when she became addicted to Greek mythology. She fell into fandom in college, and published many short stories and poems in various universes, all while sending out original stories to magazines and publishing houses, eventually receiving rejections that weren’t the standard photocopied photocopy of a form letter.

She has a BA in theater/English from Northwestern College and a MA in communication, focused on film and writing from Regent University. In 1990, her writing career finally broke into the public market when she won 1st place in the 4th quarter of the Writers of the Future contest, which included publication in that year’s winners anthology. Her first published novel Heir of Faxinor came out in 2000. Since then, Michelle has published 70+ books and novellas with multiple small presses, in SF and fantasy, YA, women’s fiction, and romance. She makes her living as a freelance editor and proofreader.

You can contact Michelle online:

Guest Author Michelle Griep – Everybody Wants Something – Your Characters Better Too

EVERYBODY WANTS SOMETHING ~ YOUR CHARACTERS BETTER TOO

by Michelle Griep

what is your story question in vintage wooden letterpress printing blocks, stained by color inks, isolated on white

See that chick over there? She wants a bacon double cheeseburger but she’s worried if she honks one down that she won’t be able to hike up her skinny jeans over her bloated thighs.

Or how about that dude on the corner? He wants to be a lion tamer but he’s allergic to cat dander.

What about you? What do you want? Currently I’d like a pumpkin spice latte because there’s a chill in the air and red and orange are everywhere. Even my dog wants something, preferably the leftover tuna hotdish sitting on the back bottom shelf of the frig with a slight green haze growing over the top.

Are you noticing a trend here?

Humans are needy little creatures, all wanty and feed-me feed-me. If you want your readers to feel a strong connection to your characters, here’s a sweet little tip: give your characters a desire for something, anything, and make that clear from the get-go. Sure, those wants can and should change by the end of the story, but don’t ever take their needy nature away or you’ll lose your reader.

In my latest release, The Captive Heart, my heroine wants nothing more than her freedom. Too bad she’s forced into a lifelong marriage commitment. The hero simply wants a wife to care for his young daughter—and he gets way more than he bargained for in the process.

It’s the wants and desires of your characters that creates conflict when they don’t get what they want. And if you want to make your story really memorable, have those desires change by the end of the story.

Now then, I think I want a slab of chocolate chip banana bread to go with my latte . . . which is a great snack for you as you’re reading The Captive Heart.

captive-heart-cover-jpeg-copyTHE CAPTIVE HEART

The wild American wilderness is no place for an elegant English governess.

On the run from a cruel British aristocratic employer, Eleanor Morgan escapes to America, the land of the free, for the opportunity to serve an upstanding Charles Town family. But freedom is hard to come by as an indentured servant, and downright impossible when she’s forced to agree to an even harsher contract—marriage to a man she’s never met.

Backwoodsman Samuel Heath doesn’t care what others think of him—but his young daughter’s upbringing matters very much. The life of a trapper in the Carolina backcountry is no life for a small girl, but neither is abandoning his child to another family. He decides it’s time to marry again, but that proves to be an impossible task. Who wants to wed a murderer?

Both Samuel and Eleanor are survivors, facing down the threat of war, betrayal, and divided loyalties that could cost them everything, but this time they must face their biggest challenge ever . . . Love.

View More: http://bethanyaleshire.pass.us/michellekellyMICHELLE GRIEP’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: THE CAPTIVE HEART, BRENTWOOD’S WARD, A HEART DECEIVED, UNDERCURRENT and GALLIMORE, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery OUT OF THE FRYING PAN. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

10 Tips for Researching Historical Fiction

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

HistoryReaders of Historicals are pickier than other genre readers. If they find a mistake in an historical fact, they will stop reading.

Be thorough.  Don’t do a halfway job when it comes to research. Dig deeper.

Think outside the box. Think of ways you can research your fiction in ways that aren’t traditional.

Don’t take shortcuts. If there is an area you haven’t researched, somebody will know the info you’re fudging on.

what is your story questionThe more accurate the historical details, the better the story becomes. The effect you want is for the reader to feel like she’s been transported in time. Inaccurate research will pull the reader out of your story time period.

Every decision you make will affect what you need to research and how the story will evolve: location, time period, season, social station, career. For instance, if you plan for your characters to ride a train in a certain year but the train didn’t come to town until a year later, you will have to have them get other transportation or change the timeline of your story.

Let the history and research drive the story, not the other way around.
We’ve all read historical stories where the events in history are almost another character. The story revolves around the historical events. We’ve also read stories where it could have happened any time in history. The stories that use the history as a main character are more compelling.

blank sheet in a typewriterWord Choice: Make sure you don’t sound too modern in your word choices. Merriman Webster Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition is a great resource. It has listed the year when every word came into normal usage.

Name Choice: Use names that go with the period you’re writing about. Ancestry.com is a great way to find names that go with your time period.

What to do when you can’t find the research: There are some facts in history that we simply don’t know. If you’ve done thorough research and the information is not available, make something up. But whatever you make up, make sure it seems believable based on the research you have found.

Five Back to School Tips for the Should-Be Ardent Writer

by Carole Brownschool-bus free

Okay, Okay. I KNOW some of us don’t have children in school anymore. BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the end of summer and soon-to-be Autumn season! So I compiled a few thoughts of how to breathe new enthusiasm into your writing work. Let me know what you think and if you have any other thoughts of how you renew your writing energy.

 

magnifying-glass focus free


1. Focus.

Make a general list of what you want to accomplish this season. 

 

 

2.  Go over–re-read–your unfinished manuscripts.

Some questiokeyboard-freens you need to think about before beginning your reading session: A) Do you have a deadline–either from your publisher or a
self-made one? If so, begin with that work as a priority. B) If A. isn’t a matter to be concerned with, then move on to: Is there one that will take more time for research? One that just doesn’t feel is the right time to work on it? Which one gives you a tug of interest?

brainstorm free

 

3.  Brainstorm.

Yes, I believe in having one or two special people that you can toss ideas at, OR that they can toss ideas back at you. It’s not so much that you’ll use their ideas. But they can help get the creative juices flowing again, and you can always adjust their ideas–if they are possibilities–to fit your story plot line. I’m almost always rejuvenated by brainstorming with my two best writing buddies. 🙂

 

4.  Take some nnotes2-freeotes.

Yeah, you’re pantster (maybe). I know. I am too (mostly). But it doesn’t EVER hurt to jot down some ideas of where you want to go (even if you change them later), some plot ideas of what could happen, how you want your protagonist to react or what good and bad quirks your antagonist has,  etc. You may use them, or not, you may change them, but they’re a start, and that’s what you need.

 

5.  Finalhappy2 freely, enjoy!

Set reasonable daily goals. Turn off your inner editor (as much as possible, and if you can’t, keep that editor under control! Lol). Realize that this is what you WANT to do, so proceed at YOUR own decision-making speed. Re-read a scene or chapter at the start of each writing session to get you going–then write. Don’t worry about whether it needs editing or that you might delete it later. Take a break when you need one or feel brain dead or discouraged. Remember, this is something you love, that you want to do, that you feel compelled to do, so don’t let anything discourage you. Do whatever you need to do to keep inspired. 

Hoping these thoughts encourage you to press on with a renewed writing vigor for the approaching Autumn season. More thoughts on this later . . .

What do you do to keep inspired?

 

 

Guest Author Michelle Levigne – The Green Writer: Recycle (Book Giveaway)

Today my guest author is Michelle Levigne, a prolific author who probably has written more books than most people have read. She’s giving away a copy of her novel, Wheels. See the bottom of this post to find out how to enter the drawing for Wheels.

The Green Writer: RECYCLE!

by Michelle Levigne

This recycling has nothing whatsoever to do with sorting out metal, glass, plastic, and newspapers. I’ve been recycling failed books, short stories, screenplays and TV scripts.

Why?

Efficient writers never throw out ANYTHING.

No matter how embarrassing the idea, execution, or rejection letter, hold onto that story, script, poem, whatever. Put it in your idea file. Let it mature. One of these days, you’ll get that “Eureka” moment some writers would sell their firstborn child to obtain. Or in the case of today’s giveaway book, you’ll find an imaginary town with an empty spot just waiting for that story to fit — with a little plastic surgery.

Wheels-MedCase in point: Wheels, a book in Year Two of the Tabor Heights, inspirational romance series published by Desert Breeze Publishing.

Many moons ago, it started out as … “Wheels,” a script written for “MacGyver.” The original series in the 80s starring Col. Jack O’Neill — umm — Richard Dean Anderson. This script was a major point in my writing career, because I impressed the writing team enough to tell me they couldn’t ask me to rewrite it, but if I did and resubmitted, they would be glad to look at it again. No sale, but they encouraged me to turn it into a full-length screenplay. They saw potential. So I did, and entered several screenwriting competitions, but no wins.

Fast-forward ten years. I was revising a number of unconnected romances to create the town of Tabor Heights, to give them a common geography, minor characters, and especially a church. I created The Mission (an important detail to remember later), an outreach of Tabor Christian Church — a daycare, senior citizen center, food cupboard and clothes cupboard. The administrator, Claire Donnelly (another important detail), is assisted by her brother, Tommy, a wheelchair-bound comedian. Claire and Tommy, under other names, were in the “MacGyver” script, centered around a handicap awareness drive. The “Wheels” script was Tommy’s story, and during the plastic surgery, I decided that Claire’s romance had to take place first, in Year One of Tabor Heights. Tommy’s story starts at the wedding of Claire and her hero, Paul.

In WHEELS, the heroine is Natalie, the little girl next door who adored Tommy when they were children. Natalie is a magazine reporter and comes back into Tommy’s life when she covers … taa daa! Handicap Awareness Day at The Mission.

Moral of the story: never throw out anything, no matter how badly written or how much of a failure it is. Someday, you’ll find the right place to use it, with a little plastic surgery.

Giveaway question: Go to my website, http://www.MLevigne.com, search the Tabor Heights books, and give me the title of the book where Tommy and his sister Claire are main characters.

Drawing will be held next Friday.

Michelle Levigne has been a story addict for as long as she can remember, starting with The Cat in the Hat and Weekly Reader Book Club. She discovered Narnia and Star Trek in elementary school, and was a familiar face in the school library, especially when she became addicted to Greek mythology. She fell into fandom in college, and published many short stories and poems in various universes, all while sending out original stories to magazines and publishing houses, eventually receiving rejections that weren’t the standard photocopied photocopy of a form letter.

She has a BA in theater/English from Northwestern College and a MA in communication, focused on film and writing from Regent University. In 1990, her writing career finally broke into the public market when she won 1st place in the 4th quarter of the Writers of the Future contest, which included publication in that year’s winners anthology. Her first published novel Heir of Faxinor came out in 2000. Since then, Michelle has published 70+ books and novellas with multiple small presses, in SF and fantasy, YA, women’s fiction, and romance. She makes her living as a freelance editor and proofreader.