Archive for the 'On writing…' Category
Monday, March 20th, 2017
Thanks so much for having me here today, Delilah.
Hi, my name is Min Edwards. Actually, it’s Pam Headrick, but I write under a nom de plume for several reasons. The most important one though is that I want to separate my author persona from my business persona. As Pam Headrick I’m a book designer, A Thirsty Mind Publishing and Book Design, and have been for almost seven years. I’ve been a Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense author for almost three years now although I’ve crafted stories my whole life… I called them daydreams.
Today I want to talk for a bit about research goals and processes for fiction as opposed to non-fiction academic writing.
During my archaeology career, I wrote non-fiction or technical reports heavy with citations and footnotes. Now I’ve just completed my first historical novel and realized that the way I approach research for novels is not the same as picking out tidbits of knowledge and quotes for a non-fiction article. I thought you all might be interested in the differences.
First, non-fiction research for the most part is from primary sources; from the original publication where the quotes and facts initially were established. Occasionally I used secondary sources or second-hand references (think Wikipedia, but more academic). But when I wanted information about an archaeological site or materials recovered from it, the best possible data came from the initial site logs or subsequent research by the professionals who were actually on-site at the time of the excavation. Of course, if the excavation took place a century or more in the past quite often the information came from professionals decades or more later who re-examined the recovered artifacts or cited the original source material which either no longer existed or was in a language other than English. An example, although from a different discipline—paleontology, is the marvelous book, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History by Stephan Jay Gould. Dr. Gould re-examined fossils from the Burgess Shale site in northern Canada many decades after its discovery and using the newest technology uncovered a surprising interpretation of the ancient life those fossils represented.
Second, non-fiction writing and specifically academic writing, not only uses a bibliography to show the reader where more information can be found (although you have to almost be a scholar to track down some of it because it’s buried in dungeon-like university library stacks or was when I was actively researching), but also uses citations, numbered and carefully conforming to academic styles. I recall the stress of not so much writing my undergraduate and graduate papers and master’s thesis, but the layout of the pages to conform to these academic styles… and most of this before the age of computers. Think about this… adding all those in-line citation numbers referring to the list of citations at the end of the paper, but also the placement of footnotes! I used a lot of ‘white-out’… do any of you remember that stuff?
Third, the information in these citations and footnotes had to be exact in style as well as content, particularly with academic writings. You could use short quotes as well as the rephrasing of information, but you did it all according to the Chicago Manual of Style and in the case of archaeological articles and monographs, the SAA Style Guide (Society for American Archaeology). Being accused of plagiarizing was the kiss of death to an academic career, and woe to you if you spelled an archaeologist’s name wrong or used incorrect academic affiliations.
In the first novels I wrote, it was a relief not to be bound by these strict conventions. The research I used was minimal because those stories used places and situations that were familiar to me. Of course, I had to research weapons, local government make up, and in some novels, I referred to maps so that my locations were factual. But all in all, I had a free rein and it didn’t take long to complete each book.
But now I’ve delved into a new realm… the historical novel. And serious research. Of course, for the most part I use the internet for my sources because my tiny local library is just that… a local village library. There is a university library in our county seat but that’s more than 30 miles away and it’s now winter and I stay off narrow Rt. 1 that leads me there. Thank goodness, I don’t actually have to put citations in my novels because what I’m going after in my research now is trivia. Little tidbits of information to liven up my story. If an historical character was a smoker, in a novel he doesn’t have to be. My choice.
The Russian Phoenix is the title I’m working on now. The time, 1913 during the Romanov Jubilee year (500 years of Romanov rule… and there’s some trivia attached to that as well). It was a turbulent time in Russia and my story revolves around a girl who’s fallen on hard times but is rescued by the Tsarina, a distant cousin, who takes her and her mother into the Alexander Palace near St. Petersburg to live with her, Tsar Nicholas II and the royal children. I have maps of the time period in Russia bookmarked on the computer, biographies of the Romanovs, articles on guns and vehicles of the time period, little wars and conflicts in Russia at the time, the building strain between the upper class and the workers which of course lead to the Red Army vs the White Army and the murder of the royal family in 1918. All these little bits of information I’m inserting within the text while telling the story of Natasha, a young woman not yet used to nor completely understanding the excesses and politics of the time.
The research is color, building conflict, a view of a crumbling society and status in the first part of the story and as Natasha leaves Russia behind it sets the stage for World War I, the world-wide influenza pandemic and her eventual emigration to America. Trivialities while I build characters, insert evil intentions, find romance—then the death of romance, and the final rise from the ashes of a girl becoming a strong woman. A Phoenix.
I wish this novel was in its final stages and I could show you cover art but that won’t come until sometime in April. Today I want you to see the sequel to this story. Precious Stone available now at Amazon as well as iBooks, B&N, Kobo and other outlets. I know it looks like I have this sequence backwards, sequel before prequel, but trust me, it works. And I’ve had so much fun delving into research now that I don’t have to worry about strict adherence to the factual past and can pick and choose what I say about my historic characters and situations… tweaking the past into a story I want to tell, because, hey, it’s fiction after all.
Other venues: https://www.books2read.com/u/bP1Gk7
A gift of thanks to a young girl from the Tsar more than 100 years ago… and now the Russians want it back.
Collee McCullough, the owner of The Bakery in Stone Bay, Maine, has a perfect life until early one morning men in suits come calling. She has something someone dangerous wants. Something that her Russian great-grandmother, Natasha took when she fled Russia in 1913. Too bad Buka never told her son or anyone else what she had or where she left it.
Jake Elsmore, visiting Stone Bay to sell his mother’s house, walks into The Bakery for a cup of Earl Grey tea, but gets more. There she is. Collee McCullough, stepping out from behind the Chief of Police, a lovely, fiery-haired fairy toting a shotgun while two men lie insensate on the floor of her shop. Looks like that tea will have to wait.
About Min Edwards
I wear many hats… author, book designer, archaeologist, and citizen of the edge of America… Lubec, Maine, the most eastern town in the U.S. I’m a life-long reader, but I don’t chain myself to only one genre. I love, almost equally, romance, suspense, thrillers, sci-fi. And if a book takes me someplace I’ve never been with a story that makes my heart beat with excitement, then I consider that an excellent book. I strive for the same excellence in my own stories.
My first novel, STONE BAY, a Contemporary Romance, was published in March of 2014. It was followed by a new Romantic Suspense series, Hide Tide Suspense, bringing danger to the small village of Stone Bay, Maine. Out now in the series are STONE COLD, STONE HEART, STONE FALL and PRECIOUS STONE. Finally for the conclusion of the series, THE RUSSIAN PHOENIX, a women’s fiction historical and the prequel to PRECIOUS STONE is coming soon. These books can be found on my Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2bHJ1kb.
You may also find all of my published books at sites such as iBooks, B&N and Kobo through Books2Read.com.
Stone Bay: https://books2read.com/u/bw8gDG
Stone Cold: https://books2read.com/u/49x5y8
Stone Heart: https://books2read.com/u/b6QP9J
Stone Fall: https://books2read.com/u/mgK8V6
Precious Stone: https://www.books2read.com/u/bP1Gk7
And follow me on my website blog page for my writing thoughts:
My Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AuthorMinEdwards
My Personal Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/athirstymind
And my Author Pinterest Page:
Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
By day, and many times at night, I’m a freshman composition professor. That means that I spend my days trying to teach bored, hung over, homesick 18-year-olds about grammar, arguments, and research. Then I go home, read their papers, and realize that almost no one in class has listened to a word I said.
But in my dreams, at night, I’m a writer. It’s my secret passion – one I don’t discuss with my colleagues at the university. Why? Because I don’t want to write the next “great American novel,” I want to write a romance novel. And I don’t even really aspire to be the next Nora Roberts or Janet Dailey (or Delilah Devlin). I just want to write a book that people who don’t personally know me will enjoy.
Well, a few years ago, my (sometimes) sweet husband told me to “put up or shut up” about the book I had been working on for 10 years. He gave me a summer to finish it and told me that if I didn’t at least finish the first draft that summer, I could never complain about it again. It was the scariest summer of my life. But I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote some more. And by the time my first draft (and the summer) was finished, I had a romance novel that was over a hundred thousand words. I had done it. I had written a romance novel. Now, I hoped that he would leave me alone and I wouldn’t have to actually DO anything with it.
Yeah, not so much. Because my not-sweet-anymore husband won’t shut up about doing something with it. So I’ve been forced to draw upon my other life, my composition professor life, to figure out what to do next. And so starts my journey back to my 18-year-old college freshman self. I know the process that’s necessary to improve writing – I just didn’t realize that it would be so hard to practice what I teach.
The first thing I did was find a writing conference. There are great ones all around me, but I never knew it. I ended up in Madison, WI, where I learned that everything that I was doing was wrong. First, my novel is too long. When I arrived at the conference it hovered somewhere around 101,500 words, but it should be less than 85,000 words. Then, I should have been part of a critique group, but I was never a “group” kind of writer. And finally, I never should have booked pitches so soon, but I did. But since I was there, I figured I’d practice what I had just learned, and so I pitched to two different agents and they each expressed interest in reading my writing – if I knocked down the word count.
So, it’s back to my roots. Write, revise, edit, and peer review. Writing is a joy. Revising and editing, even though it sometimes causes me physical pain to delete my words, is something that I have trained for my whole life. But peer review, which my students hate and I emphasize constantly, is my Achilles heel. Every two weeks I hand another chapter of my novel off to three people I have never met and wait for their comments. Every two weeks I wait nervously by the computer to get the email that says “here’s your critique,” and then my heart races as I open the attachment. But every comment helps – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Even those people who consistently hate my writing are helpful because they are helping me prepare for editors and agents who are going to feel the same.
So what does all of this mean? It means that every day I get closer to having my dreams become my reality – even if I have to face rejection and criticism along the way. And even better – closer to having my husband stop nagging me!
Wednesday, January 25th, 2017
Best motto for writers:
It’s only a book. Your life doesn’t depend on it. I read this in a writing book ages ago. When you find yourself getting caught up in all the stress and insecurity that goes with writing, take a step back and know that, if nothing else, you can always write another one. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Perfection is not possible. It’s only a book. Tape that on your monitor.
Best overall advice for writers:
Write about something you love and something that you are passionate about. Write a story you would want to read. Your passion will come through in your work. Don’t be afraid to take chances. See motto above. It’s only a book. Start it and finish it.
Best Books about Writing:
I love On Writing by Stephen King simply because I related so much to his journey as a writer. You can’t go wrong with books by Gary Provost, Dwight Swain or Lawrence Block. They will help you master the craft.
Best ergonomic tools for writers:
Imak wrist pads. They are made from ergo beads and provide very comfortable support for the wrists. I bought mine at Staples. Never bend your wrists to type or use the mouse. Carpal tunnel syndrome is no fun.
Anti-Glare filters. They will help save your eyes. Need I say more?
Adjustable Foot Rest. Another must have.
Logitech Soft-Grip Mouse. Love the design. Fits the hand perfectly.
Best way to get to The End:
Develop a writing schedule that works for you and stick to it. 1 page a day, 7 days a week. 10 pages, 2 days a week. 2 hours every night. Doesn’t matter how much or how often. All that matters is you maintain it until you reached The End.
Everything His Heart Desires
The man most likely to drive her crazy…
Growing up in Lafayette Falls, senator’s daughter Natalie Layton hid her sorrows behind a bright smile that charmed everyone in high school—except Brett Harris. Hardworking and highly motivated, Brett dismissed Natalie as a slacker. Instead, she’s become an acclaimed photographer. And when Brett, now a successful cardiologist, needs her family’s help to secure a coveted position, Natalie’s more than happy to prescribe a little payback…
Hailing from the wrong side of the tracks, Brett believed he could never win the school’s popular princess. Now he’s intrigued by the complex and compassionate woman Natalie’s become. Gaining her grandmother’s goodwill is the key to becoming chief cardiologist—and Natalie has no intention of making it easy. But as mutual mistrust gives way to pure chemistry, there’s more at stake than either ever expected—and much more to learn about matters of the heart…
Natalie strolled into the parlor. She stopped across from him at the center table. The pier mirror behind her gave him an excellent view of her bare back and the red bow at her waist. He had this wild desire to run his hand over her shoulder blades and down her spine. Maybe fool with that red bow.
Despite having a modest front, the dress radiated sex appeal. “That’s a hot dress.”
She flushed slightly and smoothed the slim skirt. “Elvis thought so.”
“The Elvis. The King,” she answered. “Of course, he didn’t say it was a hot dress, but he liked it.”
Brett cocked his head, and she said, “Don’t look at me like I’m crazy. This dress is from the nineteen sixties. I found it in the attic. After my dad sold our house a few years ago, he brought a lot of stuff over here and stored it for me.
“The dress belonged to my mother’s mother. When she was in her twenties, she worked as a backup singer for some studios in Nashville and Memphis. According to the note I found with this dress, she wore it to party at Graceland, and Elvis was very impressed.”
“I bet he was.” I bet he got a hold of that red bow.
Buy Links: Amazon Nook Kobo Google Play iTunes
About the Author
Patricia Preston loves writing single-title women’s fiction with picturesque settings and a host of unforgettable characters whose lives entwine in feel-good stories about life, love and finding happiness. She also writes short stories and historicals. She won the William Faulkner Award for Short Fiction, the Lone Star Writing Competition for Historical Romance, and Harlequin’s World’s Best Romances Short Story Competition. She is repped by the Seymour Agency and working on a women’s fiction/mainstream romance series for Kensington’s Lyrical Shine imprint.
Besides writing, she’s also worked as a librarian, medical office manager, and in a cosmetic department where she played with makeup all day. Her favorite place to hang out is her writing cave where must-haves are iced tea and epic music. She also enjoys photography, movies, and research trips to New Orleans.
For info on new releases and contests, sign up for her newsletter
Check out her Blog Follow her on Twitter Facebook Amazon Author Page
Monday, December 26th, 2016
Rose’s Online Plotting Bootcamp
Permission granted to forward
This message is for any authors or aspiring authors who might be interested in some intensive help developing their next stories.
Don’t let that word “intensive” scare you away; I’ve led newbies, as well as multi-published authors, through our plotting process numerous times. Everyone comes away with new knowledge and insight, or at the very least, some terrific brainstorming support!
While lessons and exercises will be posted throughout the month of January, this is truly a self-paced class. We all have busy lives, and the workshop is designed to accommodate any schedule. Enjoy the pitch below!
Back by popular demand!
ROSE’S ONLINE PLOTTING BOOTCAMP
Dates: January 9 – February 3, 2017
Last date to register: January 9, 2017
Cost: $50.00—cheap, considering everything you get!
Your DI (Drill Instructor): Delilah Devlin
Offered through: www.rosescoloredglasses.com
What you can expect:
CHARACTER (Strengthening exercises)
CONFLICT! CONFLICT! CONFLICT!
Breaking through the STORY STRUCTURE stronghold
Battling the PLOT LINES
We do more in one month than some people do all year! Get tough! Get motivated! Get plotting!
Join your Drill Instructor, Delilah Devlin, to learn a methodical approach to harness your creativity in order to produce an in-depth plot for your next novel.
Sound scary? It is!!!! Especially when you’re staring at an empty page without a compass and a map to guide you through the novelistic jungle. Your DI will lead you through four weeks of tactics, exercises, and training that will help strengthen your abilities. Delilah will accomplish this with weekly lessons, bi-weekly chats, and daily online communication. Join her for bivouac in January!
Join this elite force now!
For those who don’t know, my sister and I co-founded the website for writers called Rose’s Colored Glasses in 2004. From that site, we run a critique group and provide workshops—some free and some for pay. In January, I will be leading a month-long plotting bootcamp. It’s a great time to join—something you can do for yourself to kick off the New Year with a bang! Join me if you can! ~DD
How’s our workshop different from every other one out there? I’ll provide feedback and brainstorming every step of the way!
Interested? Follow this link to sign up:
And feel free to pass this along to anyone else you think might be interested with my thanks!
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author & Freelance Editor
Get in bed with Delilah. Everyone else has!
Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
I don’t know if you know this, I have said it before, but before I became a full-time author, I was a professional project planner (PMP certified), first in the Army then in the IT field. So, planning isn’t just something I think about now and then. I breathe it. Love it. Revel in all the bright possibilities of a shiny future. To those of you who aren’t planners/listers, I know you think the rest of us are just a bit touched.
If, however, you’re like me, I’d love to hear how you get ready for those New Year’s resolutions.
For me, the process begins with something airy-fairy—a mind map. I love putting them together so much that I lead an annual workshop where everyone who participates has a chance to get their next year’s writing goals drawn up. Here’s my 2017 writing map. It’s just a starting point–the big picture goals I want to consider for the new year. I do one of these for my writing life and one for my “real” life. This gets placed beneath a clear mat on my desk to remind me throughout the year of what I dreamed I would tackle during the year.
This week, I’m leading a FREE online workshop, entitled Write 50 Books a Year, for writers who want to develop a more concrete plan for their 2017 work schedule. I teach it because it invigorates my own planning efforts—and it forces me to knuckle down and actually get the work done. Before January even rolls around, I’ll know exactly what I intend to accomplish.
If you’re interested in learning more about mind maps, check out my Mind Maps & Vision Boards Pinterest page.
For 2017, I’m hoping to get ahead of the work, although I think I haven’t evolved much from my Army days. I still work best under pressure. Deadlines are a huge incentive for me, but self-imposed deadlines aren’t all that exciting. But I really, really want to learn to work more methodically. I think I might live longer.
So, tell me something about how you approach the new year…
Saturday, August 27th, 2016
I am a very visual person. Often, I’ll begin a story based on picture. That picture will usually inspire a title, first. From there, the rest is magic. My brain takes off from that initial picture, whether it’s art I found on a stock photo website or an image I dreamed.
So, let’s play a game today. Consider the picture above, your “writer’s prompt”. Your stepping-off point into a story. I don’t expect you to write paragraphs. A single line will do. For instance, when I saw this picture, my first imagining was: “I dropped the bag of groceries on the counter then turned toward the open door, ready to go back for another bag, when a bright light shone—a moment before the house shuddered and the floor shifted beneath my feet.”
That’s all I have. You can have that “Close Encounters” moment. A flashlight beam. Whatever. And you don’t have to make it pretty! Play today for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card! Have fun!
Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
BLUE COLLAR: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY
Editor: Delilah Devlin
Deadline: September 30, 2016
BLUE COLLAR is open to all authors.
Editor/Author Delilah Devlin is looking for stories for a romantic erotica anthology tentatively entitled BLUE COLLAR: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY.
Following the successful releases of CONQUESTS and ROGUES, Delilah’s ready to get to work on her next delectable anthology—this one filled with stories about those sexy blue collar men. Delilah hopes you’re ready to set aside your sexy billionaires long enough to enjoy writing more accessible, realistic, everyday bad boys. They may have dirt under their fingernails and wear tool belts instead of Rolex watches, but they’re those earthy alpha males who aren’t afraid to get down and dirty when faced with helping out a woman in need—whether she needs rescue from a broken pipe or a new, built-in closet to hold all her toys…
BLUE COLLAR: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY will seek stories that satisfy the reader who craves the romantic idea of that sexy, capable man set in everyday settings, with a few exotic International settings thrown in for fun! The anthology will be sold at a low price—Delilah’s intent is exposure for you and your writing. The more readers we reach, the better! You will retain the rights to your story, so that at a later date you can republish your stories individually.
She’s seeking hot and inventive stories from authors with unique voices, and above all, she’s looking to be seduced by tales filled with vivid imagery and passion.
Published authors with an established world may use that setting for their original short story.
This is erotic romance, so don’t hold back on the heat. Stories can be vanilla or filled with kink, but don’t miss describing the romantic connection between two strong-willed individuals learning to trust and love one another. A deep sensuality should linger in every word.
Keep in mind there must be a romantic element with a happy-for-now or happy-ever-after ending. Strong plots, engaging characters, and unique twists are the ultimate goal. Please no reprints. Delilah is seeking original stories.
How to submit: Prepare your 2,500 to 5,000 words story in a double-spaced, Arial, 12 point, black font Word document (.doc, NOT.docx) OR rich text format (.rtf), with pages numbered. Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch and double space (regular double spacing, do not add extra lines between paragraphs or do any other irregular spacing). US grammar (double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) is required.
In your document at the top left of the first page, include your legal name (and pseudonym, if applicable), mailing address, email address, and 50 words or less bio, written in the third person, and send to email@example.com. If you are using a pseudonym, please provide your real name and pseudonym and make it clear which one you’d like to be credited as. Authors may submit up to 2 stories. Delilah will respond in November 2016 with decisions.
Payment will be $50.00 USD ninety days after publication.
Delilah Devlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance. She has published over a hundred sixty stories in multiple genres and lengths, and is published by Atria/Strebor, Avon, Berkley, Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ellora’s Cave, Grand Central, Harlequin Spice, HarperCollins: Mischief, Kensington, Kindle, Kindle Worlds, Montlake, Penthouse, Running Press, and Samhain Publishing.
Her short stories have appeared in multiple Cleis Press collections, including Lesbian Cowboys, Girl Crush, Fairy Tale Lust, Lesbian Lust, Passion, Lesbian Cops, Dream Lover, Carnal Machines, Best Erotic Romance (2012), Suite Encounters, Girl Fever, Girls Who Score, Duty and Desire and Best Lesbian Romance of 2013. For Cleis Press, she edited Girls Who Bite, She Shifters, Cowboy Lust, Smokin’ Hot Firemen, High Octane Heroes, Cowboy Heat, Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors and Sex Objects. She also edited Conquests: An Anthology of Smoldering Viking Romance and Rogues: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology.
Direct any questions you have regarding your story or the submission process to Delilah at firstname.lastname@example.org.