Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is For...



Actually I'm kind of at a loss. I'm sure there will be Zebra and Zzz's posts. Maybe something on Zippers, Zenith's, Zorro maybe...huh. Zorro might be interesting. There's zipper, zigzag, zucchini, zinnia, zeppelin, zero, zodiac, zither...


I'm really happy to be at the end of this challenge. And HAS been a challenge. A post every day for a whole month...surprised I survived it.

Happy end of challenge day!  Maybe I'll make myself a badge like they do for NaNoWriMo...one of those, "I'm a Completely Insane Blogger" ones for my side bar.

So, come May 1st, its back to the regular blog schedule. Beginning on the 2nd, I will be featuring posts on the writing craft, tips on the publishing industry, author features, reviews, and more.

I'ts been a pleasure. Now...Go Write!


Addendum: Elizabeth Mueller made this Fanta-bulous Badge!  Awesome...




Photograph by Prayitno.

Friday, April 29, 2011

You Guys Rock! - Y


I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has offered to host me on their blog or review my upcoming release. I am overwhelmed with the encouragement and well wishes. 


I was totally nervous about how I was going to put together a blog tour and you guys have been generous with your time and invites. Squeeee!


I'm constantly amazed at how supportive and giving the online writing community can be. Throughout this amazing journey to publication I've been blessed with your great advice, tips, and blogger love.


So thank you, Tweeps and Facebook Friends. Virtual hugs to you Blogger Buddies, Goodreads Gurus, and everyone else who makes writing so rewarding.


You guys are awesome!

Photograph by Pasukaru76.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Red X's Everywhere! - Funny Video

How I See Edits - Am I wrong?
Another author recently shared this funny video with a group of us writers. I can't tell you how humorous and accurate it depicts the emotional stages of a writer. With hyperbole and melodrama, author James Andrew Wilson takes you into the depths and heights of "Writing A Novel."


My favorite scene is the dreaded...EDITING!  Hope you enjoy it. You should check him out.








We're almost at the end of the A to Z Challenge and I gotta say...it feels like I've been climbing uphill the whole way. So glad I met so many great bloggers along the way.  Until next time...Go Write!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Which Would YOU Choose?



Which One Would YOU Choose?


I need your help! My next novel depends on it...


One of the things I do when I am constructing a character is to find a picture of a star or model that fits the "essence" of  the character. Rugged, debonair, blue collar, international playboy...a "look," if you will, to help me with my description. Its more helpful if they're in a movie or sitcom because I can observe gestures and what not to see if they'll fit with the kind of character I'm constructing.


The Heronie


I usually try to capture different pictures with various expressions to be true to face type...cleft chin, raised eyebrows, crooked smile. That sort of thing.  But I am TOTALLY STUCK!


You see, I'm writing a gothic romance. I have the "ethereal" look of the heroine picked out already.
<--------




It's the hero I'm having trouble with. I'm writing the kind of love story where the hero/antihero is sort of brooding. But I don't want him to be the typical, "dark and mysterious" type of look.  I decided that an almost angelic, blonde - pale type of look might be more interesting.


This is my problem. Unless I choose the tanned, beach-body blonde stars out there...which I do not want...then I can't really think of who to put on my cork board to stare at. For work purposes of course!


Some suggestions from friends are:


Paul Bettany
Pale, intelligent eyes, can do brooding.

Simon Baker
Performed excellent bad boy brooding in The Guardian and The Mentalist.


Jude Law


He is magnificent AND a total train wreck, bad decision-maker, all around great looking mess. That's just in his personal life.
I gotta say...I'm at a loss. The genre calls for "beautiful, but dangerous" which is kinda hard to pull off. 


Also a dark secret that tortures them at least until the heroine can "save" them from themselves.


I know...I KNOW! But its a genre that allows me to explore darker images and mysterious happenings and I'm really excited about it.  We all have a soft spot for the bad-boy.  I real life, you should run screaming. In the fantasy of a romance novel, only YOU can change them. They find redemption and happiness...with you.


So...I'm putting it to a vote. Help me choose who the brooding hero of my next novel will be. I have a poll button on my sidebar-------> 


Or...If you don't like any of them...leave me a suggestion in the comments. 


Can't wait to see what you all think!  Until next time...Go Write!
Photograph by Lucky Burrluck. Photograph by Bazylek.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Voice from the Rubble - Lifeline Echoes Giveaway!



Today I am featuring romantic suspense author, Kay Springsteen. 


Raquel - Your new novel, Lifeline Echoes is a romance that features an intriguing way your hero and heroine meet and fall in love. Tell us about it.


Kay - Voices form a powerful connection. The day the earth rocked LA, Sandy Wheaton became a voice lifeline over the radio for trapped firefighter, "Mick." Less than twenty four hours later, she had fallen in love with him. Shattered when she learned that rescue came too late, she sought solace Wyoming, the home state he had loved.


Now, seven years later, she's made a life there as the owner of a popular local bar. But her wounds are still fresh, and she longs to let go of the past and her lost love so she can begin living again. That opportunity presents itself when the local prodigal son returns home. The attraction between them is instant. It feels like she's known him far longer than just a few days.




Raquel - As a Californian, this story hit home. The struggle the characters went through during that devastating situation made me wonder what kind of message you want your readers to take away from the book.


Kay - Perseverance. Never give up!


Raquel - Speaking of not giving up. Writing takes a lot of perseverance. How long have you been at it?


Kay - I've been writing since I was in elementary school (and now I have grown kids). But I only made the decision to get serious about my work in the past year and a half or so. Everything influences what I write. I can be inspired by a song just as easily as by seeing an incident on the nightly news.


Raquel - You have an interesting bit of news concerning the recent tragedy in Japan. Can you tell us about it?


Kay - I'm participating with several other Astraea Press authors to write a wedding anthology, with 100% of the profits for the first six months of sales benefiting the relief effort in Japan.


Raquel - That is amazing news. I wish you the best of luck. I hear you have a copy of Lifeline Echoes to give away to a lucky commenter!

Kay - Yes! IF a reader would like to be entered into a drawing for a eBook copy of Lifeline Echoes, they should leave a comment with one trait they like to see in the hero and one in the heroine in the stories they read.

Raquel - This novel had me crying and cheering. It was a great ride. Thank you so much for joining us, Kay. I look forward to hearing what the readers have to say.



A Michigan native, who settled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western Virginia, Kay enjoys photography, hiking in the mountains, and gardening. You can visit her at her blog or on her Facebook page.

Monday, April 25, 2011

"U" - Unexpected Surprise


Today I have the privilege of featuring a book by a White Rose author! What an Unexpected surprise!


Marianne Evans is a lifelong resident of Michigan and an active member of Romance Writers of America. 


Welcome, Marianne, can you tell us a little about A Face in the Clouds?


Marianne - Reporter Paul Hutchins is all about finding facts and uncovering the truth. Verification, authenticity and quantification are the fuel of his spirit…Until he falls in love with producer Sandy Pierson.

Sandy sees Christ alive in every aspect of her life. No need for quantified facts. Faith is the fuel of her spirit . But her love for Paul puts her at odds with God's call toward faith and all of its mysteries.

Paul considers Christianity to be well-meaning myth—hyperbole. To Sandy, it’s everything—and she can accept nothing less from the man she loves.


Can a miracle happen? Can the touch of God Himself keep their relationship from shattering?


Raquel - Sounds like a dilemma rife with twists and turns. Let's take a sneak peek at this intriguing story...



A Face In The Clouds


“I know how deeply you feel things, Paul. You have a wonderful heart. That’s part of why I love you so much. I’m torn in two about my feelings for you.” Sandy’s declaration would have filled him were it not chipped and cracked by the impact of her doubts.

“Your reporter’s instinct toward authenticity and revealing the truth is a big part of what I admire about you. There’s nothing wrong with facing the world honestly, but you need to make room for a few other truths.”

“Like God.”

“Yes, and the fact that life holds as much mystery, and as many intangibles, as it does realistic things you can hold tight with both hands.”

She wanted him to change. Right down to the soul. Paul continued to study her. She was hurt enough that she had almost stepped away from attending tonight’s event—out of a frustrated sense of love.  Yet here they were—together—out of a frustrated sense of love.

And if he wasn’t mindful of her beliefs, she’d step away from him.

Paul navigated the rapidly-filling parking lot of Woodland Church. Once they stopped, he killed the car engine and used a restraining hand to keep Sandy in place. He closed the space between them and gave her a kiss that lingered and thoroughly tasted. He felt the gesture ease a bit of the tightness in her shoulders and back. “I’ll keep an open mind, OK?”

She touched his face, and there was yearning in her eyes. “Keep an open heart. That’s much more important.”





Woodland Series
Raquel - What moving and heartwarming story with a hopeful message. Thank you so much for stopping by to share it with us. 


A Face In The Clouds is a bonus Easter-themed short story to accompany the award winning Woodland Series.






Marianne loves to connect with readers. You can find her at: www.marianneevans.com 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hope...



Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right...
~Phillips Brooks

Joyous Resurrection Day

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tips for a Successful Book Signing - "T"



T is for Tips for a Successful Book Signing


I've talked to some authors who have books that came out earlier this year and asked them what were some things they learned on their book tours that can help us newbies.  They had some really great advice for making a book signing successful.   

  • Make it an event, not a book signing. I've hear this before, but it wasn't until someone suggested having a mystery book signing at a small theater a' la dinner theater that it really hit me. I'd much rather go to something that is interactive and fun, then stand awkwardly behind a book table. You'd be amazed how willing small venues are to hosting and even comping a books signing for a local author.
  • Schedule family and friends to come in hourly. The thought of sitting at the table hearing crickets as people try to avoid my pleading eyes is a recurring nightmare. Therefore, I've decided to ask my supporters 'family and friends' to come on the hour for a couple of hours. People happy to see you, walking toward your table, and smiling are all going to attract attention.
  • Call ahead and make friends. My crit partner, Erin "Hold Onto Your Bloomers" Spock told me that at one time she used to work at a bookstore and handled the Author Relations. She said she liked getting a post card and follow up visit from an author. The more you know the staff, the more they'll chat up that you're coming. Which brings me to my next point.
  • Let people know you're going to be there. It is your job to contact local papers, weekly free-readers, online city bulletin boards, and libraries to let them know that a local author is having an event. Be sure to mention any giveaways or prizes that you might have going.  Also keep in mind the lead time papers need to get you in. Don't call the day before.
  • Don't stay seated. My experienced friends always say that they get the best reaction and have the most fun when they walk around. I'm not talking about stalking people in the aisle of your genre, though I am not above that. I mean have bookmarks in your hand and just smile and chat people up. "Not a fan of my genre...here's a bookmark, you might know someone that is." 
  • Decorate your table. This may seem like a no brainer, but I really didn't get this until I saw it. I was at a bookstore and a woman was at a plain white table with a stack of her books and a pen in her hand. That is it.  I had no idea who she was or what kind of book she wrote.  Some advice from fellow authors is to have laptop of screen with your book trailer on mute. Its eye-catching, but not intrusive. Have banner or large sign made with your book cover and a blurb. Candy is always a good idea.
These are just some examples of how to take the terror out of book signings. With a little planning, some creativity, and a sense of humor, you'll get through.  

What are some ideas you've heard about or tried yourself. Share them with the rest of us. I'm dying to know what works. Until next time...Go Write!
Photograph by Enockson. Photograph by Silicon Prairie News. Photograph by Vastateparkstaff.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's Max Elliot Anderson's Book Giveaway! - S is for Sneak Peak!



Today I am so excited to welcome author, Max Anderson. He writes the most amazing adventure-mysteries for readers ages 8-13. As a special treat, he is giving away a copy of his latest book, Barney and the Runaway . Leave a comment for your chance to win. Ooh, an S - is for Sneak Peak!


RB: Thank you so much for joining us, Max. Your writing style is know for its stunning visuals. Can you tell us how you do that?


Max: I bring the same heart-pounding action and adventure to my books for readers 8 and up, based on my lifetime experience in the production of films, television commercials, and video productions.


RB: Wow, that's a lot of experience behind these books. Tell us about your recent release.


Max: Barney and the Runaway tells the story of Michael Ellis, who has recently told his parents to start calling him Mike from now on. He especially hated the way they were always telling him what to do. Mike decides to teach his parents a lesson by pretending to run away for a day with his dog Barney.

The plan of running away gets a bit more complicated than planned when Mike and Barney hide in a railroad box car, fall asleep, and end up in Georgia with a circus in the middle of the night. Luckily for the runaways, Big Bob the Clown takes Mike and Barney to safety in his wagon. Mike decides that living and performing with the circus might be a good idea until Big Bob opens Mike’s eyes to his tragic past.

Mike’s encounter with this grown up runaway, in the circus, helps him to understand that his parents truly love him. Then Mike and Barney save the circus. Through it all, Mike learns the importance of family.

RB: Running away to the circus, that must have been so fun to write. I know this is an amazing adventure, but is there an overriding theme you hope your reader takes away from your book?

Max: Yes. It's important to know that when parents discipline their children, it means they love them. And children don't always know how good something is until they lose it.

RB: Is there a character you've created that has special meaning for you?

Max: It would probably be Big Bob the Clown. He sees something of himself in Michael. When he shares his tragic past, it makes all the difference in Mike's life.

RB: Is there a lot of yourself in your characters?

Max: I’ve been blessed since childhood with an active imagination and a life of adventure. These elements tend to find their way into my main characters. While I’m writing, I enter each scene, in my mind, and see myself interacting with others in that scene. I think my dramatic film production life has a lot to do with that process.


RB: In your book, a character sharing his past has a profound effect. How much does your own background influence what you write?


Max: My writing began just after 9/11 in 2001. As I said, my life has been filled with imagination and adventure. There is no question that the writing I’m doing today has everything to do with that background. I shot my first film in Germany at the age of 16. I’ve travelled all across the country, and around the world, in film and video production. Some of the productions were in war zones. The places I’ve visited, people I’ve met, things I’ve seen, and experience I’ve had are vivid in my mind as I’m writing. And I think the many years in and around dramatic film production help me to understand plot, characters, conflict, dialog, humor, and other elements that are helpful to writing.


RB: With so many books under your belt, do you have any advice to struggling authors out there?


Max: Don’t ever give up, no matter what. If you have that spark inside of you, you know it, you feel it, and you can’t let anyone discourage you or keep you from realizing your dreams. At the same time, you have to be realistic. This is a business. At times, it’s a harsh business. There are plenty of opportunities to get discouraged. Getting your work published will likely take years to achieve.
Look to be unique. There isn’t much reason to copy the style of others and expect to sell your work in an already crowded market. Each year hundreds of thousands of new titles are released. You have to figure out why anyone would want to buy what you’ve written. Once you understand that, chances are you’ll be on your way.

RB: I'm so excited for what you're doing in children's fiction, Max. What's coming up next for you?

Max: Because I’ve completed 36 manuscripts, and several are published or will be soon, I’m spending a lot of time in promotion and marketing. Lost Island Smugglers will be released as an audio book soon. I have a book coming out this fall called When the Lights go Out. It’s an action-adventure for kids so we never forget what happened on 9/11. The book is to be released in time for the 10th anniversary this September. A motion picture company in Hollywood has requested a full read for Captain Jack’s Treasure. No telling what will happen with that, but the book will be out this summer. I have several bookstore events coming up and the ICRS convention in Atlanta in July. Other than those things, I keep working with my publisher on editing the next books to be released.

The next books to be released include Newspaper Caper, Terror at Wolf Lake, and North Wood Poachers.

RB: Wow, you have a ton going on. Congratulations on your books...I hope you hear back good news from the motion picture company! 

Max has generously offered a free copy of his book, Barney and the Runaway to one lucky commenter. Leave thought or question and I will use a random number picker to choose who wins. Be sure that you have an email associated with your comment profile so we can get your address to mail the book to you.







Max Elliot Anderson grew up as a struggling, reluctant reader. Using his extensive experience in the production of motion pictures, videos, and television commercials, he brings the same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to his adventure and mystery stories, written especially for boys. Both boys and girls have reported that reading one of his books is like being in an exciting movie. Author Web Site:  http://www.maxbooks.9k.com.  Books for Boys Blog: http://booksandboys.blogspot.com.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Robot Parts and Rhyme Wranglers - "R"



Rhyming and poetry have always eluded me as a writer. I lack the gift of brevity.  My brother is a poet. He used to do slam poetry in the city and his monologues were powerful, funny, and moving. 


My absolute favorite slam poet is Shane Hawley and he is amazing. His entry into the National Poetry Slam, Robot Parts, is actually about sorrow and loss...but you have to see this guy to believe it.





Some other poets I've come across on this blog challenge are:
I hope you hop over and visit these fellow bloggers and enjoy their poetry.

Until next time...Go Write!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quora - An Author Tool - "Q"


I love, LOVE Quora! What is it you ask?
Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.

It's somewhere between Wikipedia and Yahoo Answers...both also great places to get help.

The thing that I like about Quora is that each answer is tied back to a specific person. So if you have a follow up, you can ask the person via their mail.

For instance, a guy with diplomatic background answered a question that I posted. I needed more specifics, so I clicked on his blog link and viola! He had posted something about the topic I was researching.

There are a lot of writers on Quora, so it’s a great place to find similar genre experts. I also like that the answers are continually evolving and getting better. 

Most writers have a day job and they're usually experts at it. Ask a cop procedural question and a cop will usually answer...a cop that writes is even better because they'll understand the context. 

I urge you to try it next time you have a non-Google-able question.  What works for you?  Any resources out there that you find invaluable?  Until next time...Go Write!


Photograph by KOMUnews.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Publicity and the Reluctant Writer - Funny Video


P is for Publicity....yeah! Uh...no?  


Writers don't really like this very much do they?  Its intimidating and outside their skill set. I mean, when you're writing you slip into a whole other world of your choosing and making. You manipulate events and feelings.  You are the creator with capital "C" and you like it!


Publicity...not so much fun.  This funny video encapsulates the dilemma perfectly. He may be a marketing train-wreck, but we can learn a lot from this guy. Just, you know, opposite of what he does.



Some other sites to help you build up your publicity "Know-How" are:

What are some things I've missed? Have you come across some great tips to share with the A-Z Bloggers?  

Until next time...Go Write!

Photograph by Sasha W.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Over Yonder --> "O"


Today I am over at Anne K. Albert's blog. She's been gracious enough to feature me for an author interview. Yay!


I would love it if you all took a moment to spread some blogger love and comment on her site.  We're in the O's people...that's more than half-way through!  Keep it up!

Photograph by Horia Varlan.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Norse Gods, Big Hammers, and Golden Apples - "N"



One genre I discovered in last year's A-Z Blogging Challenge was the Viking/Norse God genre. In fact there are two bloggers I found that I continue to seek out in blogfest simply because their stories are so different from what I normally encounter.


Rebecca Wilson over at Valkyrian Sanctum and Amalia Dillin who's blog Good To Begin Well, Better to End Well, have both delighted us with their descriptive and riveting excerpts.


Norse mythology; Thor, Odin and the legends that follow are filled with the kind of journeys and monsters that keep you turning the pages late into the night.


Along the same lines as the epic travels of Odysseus, the Norse heroes had daunting challenges, fate and gods often intervened, and noble ideals of honor and sacrifice were prominent.


Besides...when they make these books into movies we get to look at super gorgeous guys like this:


 I'm sorry, I meant this...


What unexpected genres or writing styles have you come across so far? Share the blogger love and mention someone new you've become a fan of.


Until next time...Go Write!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mace - Not Just For Stalkers, "M"


Today we  explore the fascinating world of...
Medieval Weaponry - "M"!

For those of you who are not a Level 12 Paladin like myself, the weapons of yore may be a bit of a mystery. We shall remedy this forthright.

The Mace - Not the spray, the huge metal spiked ball. Used as a blunt force weapon in war, the head is radially symmetrical. This means that unlike the hammer, it can crack someone's noggin no matter what side you hit them with

In modern society, the mace is used by a band's drum major to signal marching changes...not so geeky now, are they?

The Scimitar - This apparently is not only popular with middle eastern warriors for its lightweight and ease of use against the enemy while riding horseback. Zombie Apocalypse experts agree its a must for fighting on crumbling staircases of abandoned buildings. Plus...I'd take any excuse to post pics of Jake Gyllenhaal.


The Misericorde Dagger (Mercy Giver) - Used to strike a mercy blow to a mortally wounded knight who might otherwise suffer a long and painful death. The thin blade fit between gaps between armour plates.

So now we have covered the cleaving weapons (mace), the swords (scimitar), and the knives. 

Stay tuned next week for spears, bows, and war animals!  This post has brought to you by the A-Z Blogging April Challenge. 

Now...Go Write! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Links For Writers - "L"



It's hard to keep up with the changing world of publishing if you're supposed to be banging out at least a thousand words a day as an author.


One think I like to do is find some people that report on things like Marketing or Promotion on a regular basis. That way, I can just follow their Tweets and see what headlines they're talking about. 


If you keep a few in your favorites or make a list with just those Twitter accounts, it's an efficient way to keep abreast of topics without letting social media become a total time suck.

  • Elizabeth Craig has a Twitter account @elizabethscraig where she often shares the most helpful links for writers. From great advice on structure and style to marketing news. 
  • Publishing Spy has the lowdown on publishing whispers and happenings from around the world. Follow them @publishingspy for updates.
  • @bubblecow a UK based website, Tweets news to help you with getting your book noticed or getting yourself published.
  • Joanna Penn @thecreativepenn has the most helpful Tweets. Things like how to link your book cover picture to your shopping cart. Practical, technical, savvy...check her out.
Did I miss anyone you find particularly helpful? Leave them in the comments, I'm always looking for help. 

BTW: If you print out the above photo, you can make your own pointless paper Twitter bird.

Until next time...Go Write!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kill Me Now! - "K"


K is for Kill me now... the feeling of wishing the ground would swallow you up.


The unattended book signing.This is a major fear for almost every writer.  I know it terrifies the dickens out of me. I've seen this happen and it looks painful.  


To ease the pain, mystery author, Parnell Hall has a funny video out about it:



Here are some tips to make your book signing a success:

With a lot of sales now coming from the digital market, do you think that book signings are still important?  Would you go and meet a favorite author if they had one near you?

Until next time...Go Write!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jaw Dropping Feats of Heroism - "J"


Our next stop on the genre train is Action. These are the stories with risk-taking protagonists. The James Bonds and John McClanes of the fiction world.  


Similar to Adventure, the Action genre usually has situations that become more and more dire that push the main character to ever-insane feats. There is often an important task or mission. And there is almost always some sort of conspiracy or diabolical plan in motion.



They aren't just the gun and car chase stories, however. Action incorporates any story that has heroic bloodshed and follows the protagonist along a dangerous journey few others could complete.



The "hero" is usually flawed, morally flexible, and battling some sort of issue that the journey resolves in some way. They get away with outrageous behavior otherwise seen as insane. Action heroes tend to be reluctant heroes.


I love, LOVE this genre.


From spy thrillers to ancient Greek lore, this genre has a lot to offer. A famous author of action novels is Clive Cussler whose book Sahara was made into a movie. 


Often combined with other genres, the action novel is commonly about military action, espionage, global catastrophe, with elements of history, even future consequences. Books with superheroes are often categorized within Action.


One of my favorite series was the Bourne series by Robert Ludlum. Before it was a techno-spy-thriller movie, it was a great action/spy story.  The dark protagonist searching for a truth that will inevitably be tragic while battling encroaching forces aligned against him.


I have written a series in this genre so I'm sort of biased in my zeal, but I encourage you to read some of the A-Z Challenge blogs whose authors write this type of story. Their tales will set your heart pumping.


Who is your favorite action genre hero? What is it about him that makes him/her stand out in your memory?


Until next time...Go Write!