Friday, November 18, 2011

Anti-Heroes 101: The Elusive Bad Boy


So far in my series on how to write bad boys, I've touched on, The Mysterious Bad Boy and the Bad Boy With Potential. Both posts were lots of fun to write and I encourage you to take a look.

The Dark Quality:
For a lot of men, its the chase...right? Well that is not always the case. For my third installment of this series we explore the draw of the one we just can't seem to catch; The Elusive Bad Boy.

Maybe he is outside our social strata, economic standing, or just plain not available because he doesn't realize we exist...for a lot of women, this bad boy is too hard to resist chasing.

The Appeal:
Ever hear from your friends that the guy she was dating was 'too nice' or maybe 'boring' and she just can't put her finger on why she liked him in the first place? She caught him...that's what the problem is.

You see, the Elusive Bad Boy is attractive because he is a challenge. A lot has been said about men and the hunt, but women in romance novels need a challenge too and the un-catchable man is a prize that ramps up the conflict.

The Set Up:
Famous Elusive Bad Boys are Romeo as in the star-crossed lover of Juliet. Also a man that is meant for another; this is often used in period romances where a second or third son of a noble is duty-bound to marry the woman whose family provides the best alliance despite who he 'truly loves' and desires.

So he appears unatainable, aloof, but there is something there and she knows it. And its those fleeting tastes of what could be that keep her hooked on this guy.

Take opportunities to show his inner turmoil over loyalty to his family/group and his desire for a future with the heroine.  Let her see this and understand where he's coming from and what is at stake. It must be abundantly clear why he is torn. She must have a reason to keep chasing...

The Reward
This Bad Boy is torn between all that he knows and the potential future with the heroine. She is both drawn to and frustrated by his loyalty and this drives the conflict and tension between them. 

A contemporary example would be Charlie Hunnam's character in Sons of Anarchy. Jax Teller, the heir apparent for SamCrow loves a woman that is both outside the club and a threat...this makes for awesome tension. Where do Jax's loyalties lie? How far is he willing to bend the rules to be with her? Will she be the destruction of everything he knows? Will she survive his world?

The Heart's Hope:
In the end, of course, it is through her perseverance, understanding, and equally noble behavior that finally wins him over. The reward here is that she knows what it cost to be with her and that to him, she is worth it. In the end, the chaser becomes the pursued and they finally revel in their hard-won love.

Remember that this type of romance is wrought with heartache, sacrifice, and uncertainty. This is not the type of character to go with if you're writing a romantic comedy or a sweet southern story.

The heroine must be strong-willed, self assured, and a worthy adversary for both the hero and the women within his group. Make sure that she has a special talent or ability that proves helpful because that is usually what wins him and those he loves over.

Is she a lawyer and gets them out of trouble? Is she psychic and helps them to find a lost loved one? Maybe she's a doctor and is able to attend to one of their members in secret.  She has to be valuable to both the group AND the hero in order to make choosing her a viable option.

***Crossover Potential***
The Elusive Bad Boy is often mashed up with The Mysterious Bad Boy because both have secrets that they must protect. Whether its the inner workings of the family organization, the political intrigue of the nobles, or the bloodlust of their elders...this bad boy is a rush to write!

Do you have a favorite elusive bad boy?  Any examples in media or books that really grabbed your attention?

Until next time...Go Write!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Anti-Heroes 101: Bad Boy with Potential



Last week we kicked off my series on writing anti-heroes with The Mysterious Bad Boy post. 


The Dark Quality:
Today we are touching on...the Bad Boy With Potential.  He's talented and insightful and if it wasn't for the aimless streak, a seriously successful dude. This is the amazing artist, the genius in the rough, or the untapped hero. 


For whatever reason. For instance; a guilty past  where he doesn't feel he deserves success. He is hiding or avoiding his true calling.


The Appeal:
So this is the reverse of the princess in the tower. This is a guy that needs to be rescued from himself. He must be written as a true talent  with an amazing personality that is both humble and noble or he'll just come off as a slacker. 


Whatever is holding him back should appear insurmountable at first. And there has to be a concrete reason why he is without direction. We see this a lot in romantic comedies where there are two potential suitors. One is highly successful, but flawed and the other is the nice guy that hasn't really hit his stride yet.


The Set Up:
Our Bad Boy with Potential is often set up as the hunky room mate or co-worker with the kick back attitude. He is often the confidant to the frazzled heroine as she pursues the wrong guy for her. One that this guy knows will break her heart. He can also be the childhood friend, think Sweet Home Alabama's Josh Lucas.


Overlooking this guy can lead to some great conflict for your heroine. Not understanding her attraction to someone so outside of what she thinks she needs.  He can also harbor an old flame for her and that can cause tension between them when its clear she wants another.  There are a lot a great opportunities for inner conflict with this couple.


Your heroine must have a maternal quality for this recipe to work. Whether its the fact that she's known him forever and therefore knows his heart is noble or her own experience with mothering siblings, she has to have the nurture quality to see the potential.


The Reward:
With every bad boy story line, you need to have that moment of redemption. That scene where all the things he's done or said finally make sense. Usually ten chapters in or so, the time you need to supply the first major disaster.


Show his hidden strength and nobility to the reader. Does he take the high road in a confrontation with his rival, and doesn't take credit for that? Does she see him treating someone who can do nothing for him with honor and respect?  Set up a scenario in which the successful man and he deal with a situation in opposing ways and make your Bad Boy with Potential come out the better man.


Make who he is and how he truly loves her the most pure and cherishing of the two suitors.  The reward is that he really knows her and loves her despite her flaws. That his is a better, more substantial man. Make his talent or potential somehow relate to her...


Remember in Sweet Home Alabama where she discovers the lightning glass is how he first became successful and that it was something they discovered together in their youth?  That has a deeper connection that will resonate with the heroine and, by extension, your reader.


The Heart's Hope:
There has to be a reason that a successful woman would see something in who at first appears to be a total loser. Sprinkle throughout the first chapters, hints of his success. Whether its seeing him in a mysterious meeting, having him hide something he's working on, or hearing of his success in passing from others...there needs to be evidence that she sees and the reader sees of his potential.


This is where her heart's hope comes into play... This type of woman wants to feel a part of something and her helping him provides a sense of being connected and needed.


Also, if he's an artist and she is his muse, then she is halfway to being hooked because inspiring greatness in someone is a huge ego boost and draw.


***Character Bonus***
Because the Bad Boy with Potential is often already in the heroine's life in the form of a room mate, co-worker, or other peripheral position, this character has the added bonus of knowing how much of a nutter the heroine is and loving her anyway. He's proved his staying power. He loves her despite her flaws. That is always a good thing.


What about you? Can you name your favorite Bad Boy with Potential from movies or books?  


Until next time...Go Write!Publish Post

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tournament of Champions - Week 1

It's Finally Here!
Today I am hosting a game for the Tournament of Champions over at Clash of the Titles!  From October 10th to November 4th, join us for games, prizes, and the ultimate literary showdown!


The game today is to answer the question posed on Clash of the Titles about my book, Purple Knot.


Question: What is the nickname that Summer and Jimmy use for Reyna?  The answer can be found at my author site here.


Don't forget to leave your answer over at C.O.T.T. for a chance to win a $10.00 Amazon gift card!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

But I Thought I WAS Normal...?

Me Skyping with my brother.
Okay, so here's the thing. I often do things that I believe are perfectly normal only to have people arch their brows at yet another "strange" thing that I've done. Case in point, this past month my husband and I having discussed the health benefits, humane arguments, and ecological issues, have decided to become vegan.  


Now, this wasn't an arbitrary or random decision. We've been moving towards that for some time...so why did I get all the tongue clicking, head-shaking, slow sighs?  No idea.


My daughter put it succinctly when she said, "The only odd thing left for you guys to do is to become nudists."


Really?  So my husband is Irish and I am Mexican...okay, so bi-racial marriage, but in southern California we are actually the majority. Its common with such a transient community to meet people from all around the world. Throw in the fact that I traveled a lot as a marine kid and it was inevitable that I meet someone from across the country. Not weird...at least to me.


We homeschool. Well...it seemed like the smart thing to do at the time. Eleven years later and we still love it. How can that be weird?


We've adopted four children. Well...we wanted a larger family and this is how we did it. Six kids total doesn't seem like a strange thing to me. Its not like we rate our own reality show. Yes its a little...chaotic. But we are happy and blessed...how can that be odd?


On the Scorpios - researching a book.
I'm an author. Which I didn't realize was considered an "out of the box" profession until I heard my daughter use it as an excuse. "Yes, I'm late for class but...my mom is a writer." The tutor actually nodded knowingly. Huh? Is it really that unusual?




This all brings me to writing. Doesn't it always? I struggled for a long time with 3rd person vs. 1st person. I even wrote a three book series (never published) in third person because that is what the conferences and books told me was the best way to write. It was normal.


After years of rejections and rewrites, I finally decided to write in the voice that came naturally to me. I wrote a romantic suspense in 1st person. Weird to write in that POV? Maybe. Unusual to have a romance in first person? No idea. What I DO know? It ended up being the first book my agent sold.


With so many opinions on how to break into the publishing industry, it can be confusing and downright disillusioning. And the question of voice and POV and genre...Oy Vey!  So many differing opinions. We have the tendency to lose our passion in the face of all those parameters. Whether they are real or not.


Barbara Nicolosi, one of my favorite writer/screen writers once said, "Though we are told to write what we know...we should actually write what our heart knows to be true."


Honor, sacrifice, true love, compassion, courage...these are the things of great stories. And THAT, my fellow lovers of the written word, is what people want.  Write a great story. Write something people can't put down.  That is, after all, how I pick a book. Does it grab me on the first page? Do I NEED to know what happens next?


Write what you'd love to read and you'll be fine. Its not weird...its your unique and valuable style.


Until next time...Go Write!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Anti-Heroes 101: The Mysterious Bad Boy



Everybody loves a bad boy, okay...not fathers, but most women who read romance do. There's something about that elusiveness that just grabs our attention. From rogues a la Han Solo to rebels like James Dean, there are anti-heroes to challenge your heroine no matter who she is or what the story.


The Dark Quality:
Today I'd like to touch on the first kind of bad boy...the Mysterious Bad Boy. This is the guy with a secret. A man with baggage so intense, he keeps the heroine at arm's length for her own good.


Whether its a dangerous association or a frightening aspect to his own being (blood lust) it is something that will certainly put the gal in peril.


The Appeal:
This is all about the chase. This kind of guy allows only a select few into his circle and that in and of itself is a major draw. Here is a man who doesn't offer himself to just anyone and being trusted by him is very flattering. The more elusive, the better because the one who finally captures the heart of such a guarded man is truly special, right?


There are usually some traits that help us understand why she is attracted to him. These can be in the the form of an incredible talent for something beautiful...music, art, photography...this is how he communicates how he feels. Its veiled and its aching, but it is definitely deep. She gets it and it hits her like a ton of bricks.


The Set Up:
A great way to utilize this type of character is hint at this destructive threat enticingly throughout the first few chapters. A strange happenstance here...a cryptic suggestion there, and your heroine will be unable to quell her curiosity.


The Mysterious Bad Boy is a great character because his secret is usually the main conflict of the story. It is the catalyst for the inner turmoil between them...his need to keep her safe and her not understanding his aloofness. And it is the drive for the outer conflict as well; the actual physical danger to them.


A great way to amp up the tension with this type of anti-hero is to put him in opposition with a heroine that is naturally a hunter of truth. Whether its a cop, an investigative reporter, or a someone who has a past that drives this specific curiosity (think sister gone missing years ago or abandoned by father) make sure your heroine is not afraid to demand full disclosure.


The Reward:
With every bad boy story line, you need to have that moment of redemption. That scene where all the things he's done or said finally make sense.  Usually ten chapters in or so, the time you need to supply the first major disaster. 


Show the real danger here, amp up the threat, and show how much of a sacrifice he's been making to keep those he (secretly) loves safe.


Having believed for so long that he was unlovable because of this "secret" her acceptance of him will bond them through out the remaining two disasters. Be sure to make the remaining two conflicts escalate in personal and public danger.


Later, show how far will he go to protect the heroine. Will he take it to his own destruction? Will he go against everything he believes to not lose her to this danger? 


The Heart's Hope:
There has to be a reason for a perfectly sane leading lady to choose to become entangled in this situation. What is the hope of her heart? What does she truly and deeply believe will happen if she just sticks it out?


In this type of story, it is usually that only she "truly" knows him. He is an elusive prize that all women want, but only she can attain. She is the "chosen one" that he allowed into his secretive world. 


She believes that if she just weathers the catastrophic events fueling your novel, that in the end their bond will be so powerful that nothing can separate them. (Think Bella and Edward)


This is the quintessential anti-hero in almost all paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, and comic book stories where there is a secret identity/secret power. 


Can you think of any that you really loved? How about some that you really didn't buy?


Until next time...Go Write!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Delia Takes the Prize! C.O.T.T.



Congratulations to Delia Latham for taking the crown in last week's Staff Clash. Two anonymous COTT staffers went into the ring and readers had another hard choice to make. Some said:
  • "This was a cruel choice!! LOL! They were both excellent."
  •  (About Delia's excerpt): "Beautiful words expressing emotion and making the reader want more."
  •  "Intense emotions on both excerpts! Great job!"
  •  "Terrific excerpts!"
  • (About Katie's excerpt): "I need to know Wulf better! I have a feeling he's dreamy."
  • "Awesome clash with two well-written, emotion-packed scenes! Great job, authors!"
Of course, nobody knew at the time that those authors were Delia Latham and Katie McCurdy.


Both are recent additions to the staff. Delia has come on board as a Blog Alliance Correspondent, and Katie is the official Talent Scout. (Looks like COTT scouted some talent when they found these two gems.)


This fun excursion was a great interjection into the usual good times shared at Clash of the Titles. This week sees another fierce challenge with nameless authors nominated by COTT staff. Be sure to head over there and vote now!


And in just 2 weeks, the party begins! Mark your calendars for October 10th and be ready to play for extra prizes all month long as COTT celebrates it's first anniversary. Your vote will determine which of the year's winning authors will receive the ultimate honor: the Laurel Award.
* by Assistant Editor of COTT, Michelle Massaro 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Going DARK...



With my recently finished Gothic romance, Whispers on Shadow Bay, off to the designated people and places I am free to dally in different projects while I...you guessed it...wait. The life of a writer, right? Sigh.


One great thing about waiting is that it opens up the creative possibilities. I'm not working on a book to fit into a series nor am I trying to write to a specific imprint's requirements. I'm just writing for the sheer pleasure of it and seeing where the character and the story goes.


This is actually what happened last time. I was done with the third book in my Shades of Hope series and was wondering if I should write a fourth, but not really feeling it.


I'd fumbled NaNoWriMo terribly....like train wreck. So I decided to explore a genre I'd been reading and toying with....and ended up writing a whole book.


This time around I seem to be treading the same waters. Not sure if I should go forward with the second book in the Gothic romance series because the first one is still out in proposals...so what to do?


Well...I've started a book called, Dark.  Its a romantic suspense, but with a lot of danger and thrills in the chase. My main character, a very reluctant addition to the Violent Criminal Apprehension Team, struggles with the whole process of crime scene investigation, bodies, and the danger involved with hunting a killer...and we take the harrowing journey with her.


I've had a great time constructing a twitchy, unique personality in a primarily alpha-male environment. Its been said that her mind works in a great and terrible way and the process of writing how she sees the world, the crime, and the unseen flow of it has been so fun!


Plus...I might get to go on a ride along with our men in blue if I'm lucky!


So, I'm off to do more research. The librarians think I'm crazy anyway since the last time I was there I asked for books on old cemeteries, hidden passageways, and daggers.


What do you do when you finish a project? Are there unfinished stories rattling around in your head that are just dying to be written? I'd love to know what lurks in the dark corners of your writer's mind.


Until next time...Go Write!
Photograph by Alan Cleaver_2000 Photograph by Christopher Craig

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Announcing the Tournament of Champions

Tourney Banner 2


Happy Anniversary, Clash of the Titles!

It's been almost a year since COTT opened its voting-booth doors and invited everyone in. Over the past twelve months, readers have chosen 25 Clash winners and received 48 free books. And along the way, a family formed. That family consists of the voters, authors, staff, and the 25+ blogs who have banded together in mutual support with COTT.


This is cause for major celebration! So COTT is doing it up to the nines.


Clash of the Titles' first annual Tournament of Champions begins next month! Over the course of four weeks, past winners from the previous year will compete in a series of clashes for the ultimate prize: the Laurel Award. The Laurel, COTT's most prestigious honor, is awarded by public vote to a single author among the year's champions.


Voters are expected to turn out in droves to support their favorites and participate in games just for readers. Each week, COTT sponsors—consisting of various authors and staff—will issue fun challenges to readers along with the chance to win gift cards, critique services, a business card design, and more


A dozen sponsors are lined up for the event so far. That's a lot of prizes!


Throughout the month, details and updates on the Tournament of Champions will be shared on the COTT website and featured within the Blog Alliance. To help spread the word, please grab the special Tournament Button (below) to display on your site. Then send a link to your page to: contactcott at gmail dot com to enter the special COTT Shout-About drawing. The drawing will take place during the first week of the Tournament and the winner will receive a Clash of the Titles mug.


Please also consider Tweeting or sharing this article on your Facebook wall.
(it only takes a second--just click the share button.)


Mark your calendars and spread the word. This BYOV (Bring Your Own Vote) party begins on October 10th!







* Michelle Massaro is the Assistant Editor of COTT and a writer of contemporary Christian fiction. Find her on Twitter @MLMassaro or Facebook.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Historical Romance Giveaway and Interview!


Raquel: Today my special guest is Historical romance author, Penny Zeller. Welcome to my Author Feature, Penny.


Penny: Hello Raquel. Thank you for having me as your guest!

Raquel: I'm so happy when I find fellow authors and can't wait to share them with other lovers of romance. Let's get started...In one sentence, sum up your style or voice as an author. 


Penny: That’s a great question! I think the sentence “impacting lives for Christ through the written word” sums up my voice and passion as an author.

Raquel: That is a powerful calling. Why don't you tell us about your book.


PennyHailee is the third book in my Montana Skies Historical Romance trilogy. Here's what it's about...

For years, orphan Hailee Annigan was just a ragamuffin in the Cincinnati streets, stealing food to keep her two younger brothers fed. Her thievery landed her in a home for delinquent youngsters, where her life was changed, thanks to her teachers. Now, nineteen-year-old Hailee excitedly heads to Montana to be a teacher, yet she's still plagued by her shameful past and the fear of never seeing her brothers again.

Based on his upbringing in high-society Boston, no one would have guessed that Nate Adams would attend seminary and become a church pastor in rugged Montana. Even now, Nate's parents refuse to put aside their own plans for his future and accept his calling.

When their paths converge, an immediate attraction draws Hailee and Nate together, even as the pressures and demands of others pull them apart. Can the unlikely pair come to terms with their pasts and face the future together?

Raquel: Ok, you've got me intrigued. Is there an overriding theme you hope your reader’s take away from your book?


Penny: The overriding themes are forgiveness and dependence on God, who never leaves us.


Readers can also expect to share in Hailee’s pain and sorrow, as well as the joy she experiences. They will watch as her faith wavers and her heart breaks at the losses she experiences in life. They will share with Nate as he struggles to release to the Lord burdens he was never meant to carry. My books are character-driven, and as such, throughout the book and with a variety of characters, readers will catch a glimpse of struggles with forgiveness, Salvation, rededication to Christ, and the hope of a new life





Raquel: Wow, sounds like an incredible journey for the reader. Does your background influence what you write?

Penny: I would definitely say that my background influences what I write. As a wife and a mom, I am better able to develop scenarios that pertain to being a wife and a mother. As a volunteer, Bible study leader, and as one who ministers to women and children, my passion is to bring my characters to life in ways that encourage others to grow in their faith through reading inspirational fiction.

In addition, I was able to interact with a wide variety of individuals during my former jobs as a legal assistant, a caseworker at the social services agency, and as a bank teller. This helped me to be able to better create characters with real feelings and real trials.

I would advise a new writer to give his/her writing to the Lord and to not give up! I speak from experience when I say that when He closes one door, He opens another (much better) one. 

I give more tips for writers, including sticking with writing and how to prepare for a writer’s conference here: http://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/sticking-with-writing/

Raquel: What’s coming up for you in terms of your career? 


Penny: Next on the agenda is my historical romance series set in the post-Civil War era. I recently completed the first draft of the first book and am hard at work on the second.


In addition, I am thrilled to be a part of two blog tours for Hailee. From the end of August through the middle of October, I will be hosted on a variety of blogs (many with giveaways!) and will be discussing numerous topics pertaining to my books, writing in general, and even some interviews with characters. Also, on September 14, I am part of the FIRST blog tour. I update all the information on my Facebook Page at  www.facebook.com/pennyzellerbooks

Where readers can find me on the web: I love to connect with readers at -
My website: www.pennyzeller.com
My humor blog “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author” www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com

Thank you so much, Raquel, for having me as your guest. It was an honor to be here!


Raquel: It was a pleasure to have you visit, Penny. And I'm thrilled to announce that Penny has offered to give away a copy of Hailee to one lucky commenter!

If the winner is a U.S. resident, she will receive a personalized paperback copy of Hailee. If the winner resides outside the U.S., she will receive a PDF ebook copy.


Penny Zeller is the author of several books and numerous magazine articles in national and regional publications. She is also the author of the humor blog "A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author" (www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com). She is an active volunteer in her community, serving as a women's Bible study small-group leader and co-organizing a women's prayer group. Penny devotes her time to assisting and nurturing women and children into a closer relationship with Christ. Her passion is to use the gift of the written word that God has given her to glorify Him and to benefit His kingdom. Hailee is the final book in the series, which began with McKenzie and Kaydie in Montana Skies, her first series with Whitaker House. When she's not writing, Penny enjoys spending time with her family and camping, hiking, canoeing, and playing volleyball. She and her husband reside in Wyoming with their two children. Penny loves to hear from her readers at her website, www.pennyzeller.com.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dialogue--Snappy Dialogue, That Is - Clash of the Titles


Coming Up at Clash of the Titles, October 10-November 4, 2011
The first annual, Tournament of Champions! 
Over a FOUR week period, SIXTEEN previous COTT champs will face-off in EIGHT different mini-Clashes.
Only ONE will take home The Laurel Award.
With Clashes, games, and prizes galore, you won't want to miss this month-long celebration!

********
*Guest post by Lisa Lickel

Dialogue lets your characters be heard. It’s their voice; their conversation amongst themselves. It’s how they tell their story. Dialogue is talk. Discussion. Arguments. Jokes. Questions and answers. Foibles. Mystery. Mesmerism. It’s the muscle on the skeleton of the story.

The writer’s ability to conquer natural dialogue comes out of how well we know our characters. The reader’s ability to hear natural-sounding dialogue comes from the depth from which he is drawn into the story.

      Using dialogue in a book helps readers see that characters spend time with each other for a reason, even if they’re stranded on desert islands. Tom Hanks had Wilson in the move Cast Away, after all. Dialogue is more than internal mutterings or their revelations to the reader. It needs to be heard, not just read. The words need to translate immediately to sound in the reader’s inner ear, and thus be natural, no matter the setting.

What can we deduce from these two small pieces of the excerpts in this Clash? Are you in time, in story, in the character’s emotions? Can you cheer for them? Figure out exactly what will happen next, or are you eager to turn the page for more?
“Would you mind if I walked with you?”
“As long as we’re not together.”
“All right.” He strode into the street and spread his arms as wide as his grin. “There. We’re not together.”
“Jack!” she cried…. “Get back up here.” Ruth motioned frantically.
“Don’t make me fix you up again.”

OR
    
“Perhaps you cannot wait for the wedding night?”
      Her brown eyes simmered. “Why you insufferable cad!” She raised her hand to slap him.
He caught it and lifted it to his lips for a kiss, eyeing her with delight.
She studied him then released a sigh. “You tease me, sir.” Snatching her hand from his, she stepped back. “But what would I expect from you?”


In a novel, talk must have a purpose. A conversation shouldn’t be talk for the sake of filling time or space. Readers have only until the last page to spend with people in a book, so writers must not waste time. Dialogue is meant to reveal something useful, important to the story line—passion, motive, or confession.


Why Snappy? Characters must speak true to their nature. While snappy it might not describe the personality, it implies action, tension, perhaps a slip of the tongue or a revelation that might even surprise the character, but certainly should surprise the reader.


Clash of the Titles hopes you are intrigued by these little snippets of story and want to find out more about the books and authors. Stop by and you’ll get that chance! Meet the authors and leave comments to enter the drawing for a free book.

*Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives with her husband in a hundred and fifty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. Surrounded by books and dragons, she has written dozens of feature newspaper stories, magazine articles, radio theater, and several inspirational novels to date. She is also the senior editor at Reflections in Hindsight.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Book Trailers: How To and Where To Post



Whether you've braved the trailer making journey on your own or paid someone to make one for you, the next step is where to post them.  


Outside of YouTube and your own website, where do these things go anyway? The truth is, there are tons of places to post your book trailer. From Web forums to LinkedIn account to sites exclusively for trailers, here are a few to get you started.
There are also specialty sites for specific genres or markets. For example, since I write inspirational fiction, I also have my trailer on Christian Book Videos.  There are sites for every genre...Wrote a horror book? Post your trailer on The Fear Zone. What about romance...Seriously Reviewed is your spot. 

Keep in mind that a lot of these sights do require a release date and ISBN. Some also require you to have a FLASH version of your video. However, a lot of the sites out there will just allow an embed code from YouTube which is super easy.


There was a site called Trailer Spy that was really fun but I got an error code at the time of this post. I'd check back though just in case.


If you're interested in making your own...something I encourage you to try at least once, Hub Pages has a great "How To Create Your Own Book Trailer" article with links to photo sites, music sites, and everything else you'd need to get started.


Something I found helpful a.k.a sanity saving, was the plethora of YouTube tutorials on how to make a book trailer. Everything from, "How to Fade the Music" to "How to Insert Sound Effects" all kept me from pulling my hair out.


The following is the first one I ever tried. It was for my debut novel, Purple Knot. My publisher ended up making one of their own for the entire 3-book series...but I'm still proud of my end results considering I didn't even realize my laptop had Movie Maker to begin with...totally not an expert.


video

So grab your laptop and give it a whirl...you might surprise yourself.

Photograph by M4D Group.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

COTT Champ Lisa T Bergren

*Guest post by Michelle Massaro


Congratulations, Lisa T. Bergren, author of Waterfall! Lisa's winning excerpt was discovered by COTT's new Talent Scout, Katie McCurdy. You can read Katie's review here. This YA title is being highly-praised by adults and is only the second YA title to win at Clash Of The Titles. Visit Lisa's site to learn more about her.
About the book:


Gabriella has never spent a summer in Italy like this one.
Remaining means giving up all she’s known and loved…
and leaving means forfeiting what she’s come to know…and love itself.
Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Bentarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives with their parents, famed Etruscan scholars, among the romantic hills. Stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds… until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.
And thus does she come to be rescued by the knight-prince Marcello Falassi, who takes her back to his father’s castle—a castle Gabi has seen in ruins in another life. Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting. But what do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?


Sounds amazing, doesn't it? No wonder it won! If you're ready to read it, head to Amazon now. You can read Lisa's COTT interview here or check out her excerpt here.


Lisa, welcome to the COTT Hall of Fame. We're very happy to have you join us!


Readers, do you hunger for a well-written convo--one dripping with sarcasm or perhaps laced with unspoken meaning? Maybe you like a quick wit or a character whose comments make you LOL. Wish you could influence the dialogue of the fictional characters you read? This week COTT is hosting a showdown for the Snappiest Dialogue. Hurry on over and let our authors know what you like, and what you long to see, in the spoken interaction between characters. See you there!


* Michelle Massaro is the Assistant Editor for COTT and has a passion for evangelizing through fiction. She writes contemporary inspirational novels with heart-rending themes intended to frame the message of God’s healing love. Michelle has written for Romantic Times, Circle Of Friends, and Pentalk Community, among others. Find her on twitter @MLMassaro, Facebook, or her blog, Adventures in Writing, and join the fun.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Controlled Chaos - 6 kids...Easy Squeazy!

Awesome Hubby and our six...yes, SIX kids.
As a homeschool mom of six, my day starts off pretty mellow. The kids wake up at their own times, eat and start on their work.  It’s not until the mid-morning hour when all of them are bustling around that the fun really begins.  I sit at my laptop in the classroom and try to do research for my book while simultaneously mixing icing ‘glue’ for our Great Wall of China replica made out of sugar cubes.

Once I have that going, I get the crock pot going with tonight’s meal. Usually some hearty chicken stew…it’s easy and yummy.  Meanwhile the babies have started to feed the water turtle their playdoh, so I fish that out with the pen I was using to jot down some personality quirk ideas for a character in my new work in progress.

I get the babies busy on some coloring, give my high schooler a lecture on Skyping while doing math, and settle down to check my email and Twitter...for two minutes. Because my Jr. Higher needs me to help him look up the average rainfall for Papua New Guinea for his report.  I print out his information, pop on over to my blog, read and answer comments, and start on a new post, but…

I answer a call from my mother who wonders why I never bring her grandkids over anymore (we were there last week) and I flip through the calendar and find a time between my critique group meeting and date night with hubby. I write myself a note on the paper with my character quirks and put it on the fridge as a reminder.
School time over, I put the babies to their nap and sit down to read the last chapter I wrote so I can get ‘in the groove’ of writing. 

Until my third grader reminds me that we are supposed to be planting the potato he’s been growing with toothpicks and a glass…my GOOD crystal? Oh well we get it into the ground and I wash off, pop the bread in the oven and sit down to type…something. Where was I again?

Hubby comes home, dinner and homework are tackled, we put the kids down and I have some coffee on the couch with my sweetheart.  He goes off to grade papers and I settle down at my laptop. Nine-thirty and ready to write.  Now if I could only find my notes on character quirks…

(Post originally appeared on Purple Knot blog tour.)