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Kat Henry Doran: Paying It Forward
Friday, August 11th, 2017

A little over a year ago I had one of my short stories published with a series called Candy Hearts and released by the Wild Rose Press. Each story in the series revolved around Valentines Day, and each had to contain reference to the heart-shaped sugar candies with the goofy sayings on them like: Love U Forever; Be Mine; Take Me, I’m Yours. You get the picture. My story was titled For Keeps and it was a lot of fun to write.

When it came time to promote the story, the other Candy Hearts authors were willing to visit my blog but they only wanted to give me what they called a Media Kit. If I wanted to visit their blogs to promote For Keeps, I had to supply a Media Kit. Known among my friends and family as the Woman Who Needs to Get Out More, I had no clue what to do and was ready to hang it up.

So I asked and one of the authors very kindly showed me how to create a Media Kit. Step by step, cut and paste, be imaginative, she said. And whaddya know, it worked. Within one year I was teaching others how to create a Media Kit for each of their books. I call that Paying It Forward.

Now we come to Twitter, Tweeting and other similar social communication which do not involve dialing a phone. Up until six months ago I had no clue what Twitter or Tweeting meant, beyond a classroom of giggling eight year-olds who recently discovered Justin Timberlake or that man-child Bieber person. Okay, I’ll admit to hearing about tweeting when I tuned into Mike & Mike on ESPN every morning. These two guys tweet their . . . posteriors off several times a day. And it works—for them. Not me, I swore. I’d swallow my tongue before I did this “at hash tag whatever”. Like that’ll work.

Then I was invited to join a group of six authors to create stories for a box-set anthology set in a casino-resort near Niagara Falls in Western New York. One of the rules was each participating author was expected to tweet often, like daily. Okay okay, I grumbled. I’ll do this if I have to. If it kills me. I researched, I practiced, I learned. Now I’m helping others tweet. Wahoo. Let me tell you, I can re-tweet anyone’s butt off.

Facebook? Learned that one, sort of, after much trial and error. Then passed it on.

Pinterest? That, I learned, is soooo much fun, just like friends had been telling me for years. I now have Pinterest boards for each of my books, and I’m scheduled to present an on-line course in the value of creating Pinterest boards—not just for authors but for anyone interested.

By far, the best Paying It Forward concept I now employ is making seat belt cushions for patients who undergo chest surgery [mastectomies, pacemaker insertions, PICC line insertions for chemotherapy]. What began as a simple survival technique to stop the whining from the back seat, “this strap hurts my neck, Nana. Can’t I take it off?” evolved into helping others infinitely less fortunate than I.

Paying It Forward. It works for me.

Hey, you never know.

*~*~*~*

I love to hear from readers.

You can find me at:

KatHenryDoran@yahoo.com

my blogs:  www.WildWomenAuthorsx2.blogspot.com
www.ApronsWithAttitude2.blgspot.com
Pinterest:  www.Pinterest.com/KatHenryDoran
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/WildWomenAuthors

Thanks for inviting me to stop by, Delilah. I appreciate it very much!

Kat

Vivien Jackson: The Dreaded Blank Doc of Oh No You Can’t
Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Hey, I’m Viv. Thanks, Delilah, for letting me come in here and couch-surf in your pretty online space. I write sexy sci-fi romance and just recently started working on a new book and thought, hey, this nascent end of the book-writing process might be interesting to some people. Maybe? Hopefully. :)

 

The Dreaded Blank Doc of Oh No You Can’t

A Love Story

It’s just a straight line, blinking in a backlit sea of white. It doesn’t speak, doesn’t laugh, doesn’t even present a memeable visual. Yet it mocks me.

“Hello, cursor at the head of a brand new book,” I say brightly.

Blink.

“Hey, now, that wasn’t necessary. We’re pals. I mean, aren’t we? After last year, we ought to be.”

We wrote two full-length books* together in 2016, this computer and I, and we revised another.** I stroked these keys, teased magic from them, warmed them with the friction of creation and the ballsy lack of a cooling fan.

Aaaand…blink.

“What sort of answer is that? Can we at least talk this out? I kind of thought we had something, you know, special.”

White is not a pretty color. An artist pal insists that in an additive situation like a computer screen, white is the presence of all colors. When it disguises itself as a story, trust me, white is the absence of all hope.

“Okay, fine, yeah, I might’ve ghosted or mumble-mumble-didn’twriteformonths-mumble. My bad. But! I never stopped thinking about you. Swear. Check out this notebook full of research nibblets and theme notes and character descriptions and story beats. I effing dreamed about you.” Whew. Just managed to hold back the expletive there.

If you’d asked before today, I would have sworn a blinking cursor could not look patently disbelieving or just a little bit pissed.

And yet.

It gives the minutest of pauses before the next blink. Sarcastic little turd.

“Look, I’m okay with a reboot on this relationship. How about… I dunno, a hundred words today? They don’t even have to be good words. Just a start. What say?”

I don’t wait for an answer, just type***.

Nina struggled to give each a proper space in memory, but all the thousands of worlds blurred together. On one, a red-dust surface and giants who exhaled fire. On another, twelve-legged mothers beneath a canopy of blue leaves, stringing cradles for their newborns and slinging poison to the hunters who came for them in the longest night. A moon of blood-veined ice and people who sang to stars, hoping for rescue and receiving annihilation.

Blindly, apologetically, with a backbeat of I-missed-you and a promise of it-will-get-better. Just hang in there with me.

Failures. Every world she’d visited had been a failure, and she’d watched trillions suffer punishment for their sins.

Cradles, falling. Giants, weeping. Hunters in the dark.

The blinks come faster now, as if the document pants, strung taut and ready for the next word. I long to make it breathless, unable to stand even a moment disconnected from my hot little fingers, and suddenly I’m swimming in hope.

This is what it’s like to start a new book. This is how it feels. At least, for me.

And I love it so hard.

* One of those books is Perfect Gravity, available November 7, 2017 and pre-orderable now.
** Wanted and Wired, a sexy cyberpunk action story with lots of kissing (actually available).
*** Complete typing vomit, first-draft nonsense not even read by my critique partners. (Hi, you guys. This will be coming at you soon. Promise.)

Reminder: Rose’s Online Plotting Bootcamp: September 4 – 29, 2017
Monday, July 31st, 2017

Read the rest of this entry »

FOR AUTHORS: Rose’s Online Plotting Bootcamp: September 4 – 29, 2017
Monday, July 3rd, 2017


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 September, 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: September 4 – 29, 2017
Last date to register: September 4, 2017
Cost: $50.00—cheap, considering everything you get!
Your DI (Drill Instructor): Delilah Devlin
Offered through:
www.rosescoloredglasses.com

What you can expect:
LOGLINE (Lunges)
PREMISE (Pushups)
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 September!

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 September, I will be leading a month-long plotting bootcamp. It’s a great time to join—something you can do for yourself to get ready for NANOWRIMO in November! 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:
http://www.rosescoloredglasses.com/Online%20plotting%20boot%20camp.htm

And feel free to pass this along to anyone else you think might be interested with my thanks!

Delilah Devlin
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author & Freelance Editor
Get in bed with Delilah. Everyone else has!

Rose’s Online Plotting Bootcamp — June 5 – 30, 2017
Sunday, April 30th, 2017
 
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 June, 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: June 5 – 30, 2017
Last date to register: June 5, 2017
Cost: $50.00—cheap, considering everything you get!
Your DI (Drill Instructor): Delilah Devlin
Offered through: www.rosescoloredglasses.com

What you can expect:

LOGLINE (Lunges)
PREMISE (Pushups)
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 June!

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 June, 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 a fun summer of writing! 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: http://www.rosescoloredglasses.com/Online%20plotting%20boot%20camp.htm

And feel free to pass this along to anyone else you think might be interested with my thanks!

Delilah Devlin

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author & Freelance Editor
Get in bed with Delilah. Everyone else has!
Min Edwards: Fiction/Non-fiction Research Goals
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.

Precious Stone

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M6BFKIS
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:

www.MinEdwards.com
Twitter: @MEdwardsAuthor
twitter.com/MEdwardsAuthor
My Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AuthorMinEdwards
My Personal Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/athirstymind
And my Author Pinterest Page:
www.pinterest.com/minedwards

Jennifer Weaver: A Writer By Night…
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!

Jennifer Weaver
profjenweaver@gmail.com