Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Haunting Blogfest!

IT'S SCARY TIME! ! It's Halloween month! It's an exciting time! Its the Write, Edit, Publish Haunting Blogfest!

Today I'm participating in Denise Covey's scary sharing time. I've decided to post a scene from my speculative fiction WIP, The Tremblers.

If you get a chance...stop by the other participants in the blogfest for a frighteningly good time! :)

The Tremblers~

My heart stuttered, fear flooding me.
“Tell me what your father knew about the Tremblers.”
“My father? He was…they took him.”
“Colonel Blackburn of The Order knew and had information about what is happening. You are his only child. Now tell me what he discovered.” Riley slammed his hand on the counter. “Tell me what I need to do to stop this.”
“She doesn’t know,” Ashton said evenly.
“What is he talking about?” I looked from Riley to Ashton, confused.
“Oh, you haven’t told her?” Riley clicked his tongue. “You didn’t let her know that you’re in league with those violent killers?”
“Killers?” I searched Ashton’s face, but his impassive faced looked back at me.
“The rioters. They wreak havoc both here and below. You’ve heard of them, correct, Charlie?” Riley raised a brow. “They just caused a coal mine to explode. Hundreds were killed…murdered. He protects them.”
“What?” The image of Ashton standing close to Lizzie snapped to mind. She had the scarf of the rioters. She spewed their hatred. “Ashton?”
“We can’t be sure it was them.” Ashton’s gaze slid from mine and I fought the doubt churning. I shook it from my mind.
“No. He’s trying to find out what is making the monsters too.”
“Monsters?” Riley yelled, making me jump. “They are more than monsters.”
“Riley, we are both—” Ashton began.
“No! You protect Lizzie and her violent tactics. Their actions send the Security Forces searching for them to Outer City’s ports. They bring nothing but brutality to the people up here. To my people. How long before they throw bombs at our towers?” He pointed a finger in Ashton’s face. “You may have pried Lizzie from my jail, but you will not leave here with Blackburn’s daughter. I will have my answers. I will stop what is plaguing my city.”
“My father didn’t tell me anything, I promise you,” I cried. “Please, what is this about?”
“You want to know?” Riley rounded the corner reaching for me.
“Riley, don’t,” Ashton stepped in front of me, blocking him. In an instant, the lawman was there with the wand. The prod connected with Ashton’s chest delivering a jolt.
I screamed as his head whipped back, his body going rigid with the shock. “Stop, just stop!”
“I’ll show you what your new friend Lizzie and her minions are doing.” Riley took me by the elbow, propelling me across the floor.
Over my shoulder, I saw Ashton slump to his knees, his dark gaze finding mine as he looked up. Riley pulled me to a barred door, heaved up the lock, and flung it open. In the soft glow of an ambient lamp, the cage in the corner of the room shook violently. I screamed, stumbling back, but Riley held me in place. Horror engulfed me as I took in the quivering limbs of the half-naked man. He snarled and lunged at the bars with pale, blue tinged skin. The smell of rot and filth blasted from his mangled face as he gnashed his ruined teeth at me.
An anguished wail tore from him as every muscle in his body convulsed sending his jet black eyes rolling into his skull. The floor tilted underneath my feet, the buzz in my ears overwhelming as I felt myself lose grip on consciousness.
“Don’t faint,” Riley yelled shaking me by the arm. “You look at this. Look at him and tell me you still want to protect Lizzie and Ashton’s secrets. Those explosions, the chemicals they use, they’re making monsters of innocent men.”
“I – I don’t…” I couldn’t speak, my mouth working around words that wouldn’t come. “What…what is that?”
“A Trembler. There’s more every day and The Order…Lizzie…they all know why.”
“No, she…” I didn’t know her. I didn’t know anything about her. I only knew what I saw in front of me; a gnashing, writhing creature in pain. I looked back at Ashton, his anguished expressing stripping me to the bone. He knew something. More than what he had told me.
“Do not say another word, Charlie,” Ashton breathed.
“Ash?” The look on his face made my blood run cold. He did not hesitate to forfeit my father. What would stop him from sacrificing me at the altar of his Order as well? “But, my father…”
“I heard when they took him, he gave you something. Information,” Riley snapped. “What did he tell you? What do you know?”
“No, Charlotte.” Ashton held my gaze.
I wondered now, at Lizzies words. She’d asked me if I thought I was able to trust Ashton. As if she knew the cost might be too steep to weather.
“Well, Miss Blackburn?” Riley raised the gun to my head. He pulled back the hammer and the sickening click of the tumbler sent my stomach lurching. “He will never betray The Order. Will you?”

I hope you liked my creepy scene and I hope you hop on over to WEP for some more scary scenarios!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Cover Archive?

I did not know about this. Apparently there is a genuine Book Cover Archive that you can peruse for ideas or just to admire.  A friend suggested I take a look at it to get an idea the difference between science fiction covers and genre fiction covers like steampunk or fantasy.

I also realized that a lot has changed design-wise from when I was tearing through Wells, Lovecraft, and Verne as a kid. Gone are the black spines with white titles all lined up on a library shelf. Covers now look a whole lot better as thumbnails than before.  The colors, large images, and huge text speaks to a market with digital considerations.

In the past, I thought publishers just told you what your book cover would look like, but that is not the case. They are entire packets and meetings to get through with words like, vision and theme. These are questions you'll want to know how to answer.

For the savvy Indie Publisher, you'll have a whole lot more say and control over your cover. The great thing about the site is there are links to cover designer portfolios as well as to sites all about cover design if you want to do it yourself.

Pretty cool, huh?

Anyway, I thought I'd share it with you all in case you hadn't heart of it either. A big thank you to my writer buddy who pointed me in the right direction!  

Until next time...Go Write!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Stalker List

So I started my stalking list for Science Fiction Publishers or rather, editors.

I've spent the past few days writing furiously and needed a little break to scoop my brains up off the keyboard. I decided that since I am coming up to the completion of my speculative fiction novel I should really start exploring the places that publish books like mine.

My first step was to check out the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America guild for their list of acceptable publishers to use in their membership application process. The list was plenty helpful.

I had to go website by website to weed out the children's book and graphic novel only publishers. Then I had to figure out which ones accepted unsolicited or non-agent submissions and which ones did not.

I had to go through this whole process before with my romance books so it wasn't as overwhelming as before, but it was still very time consuming.

Anyway...I am now going to check out upcoming writers conferences with science fiction emphasis and see if there are any editors on my list attending.  Maybe I can get my book done and a one-sheet put together in time to register.

Until next time...Go Write!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Autumn Brings More Great Picks at COTT

Happy autumn from your friends at 
Clash of the Titles! 

So, which is your favorite genre? Contemporary or historical? 
YA or Women's Fiction? 

Please scroll, have a quick read, and vote on which you'd read first. We encourage you to share the contest on your social media sites. Spreading the word about an author's latest novel is the best way to encourage her!

(Voting closes Wednesday, October 02, at midnight.)

by Diana L. Sharples

Still reeling from the loss of his brother in Afghanistan, Calvin Greenlee pours himself into fixing his motorcycle and spending the rest of his time with his girlfriend, Stacey, who always has the right words to say. But when Stacey starts losing weight—a lot of weight—it’s clear she has problems of her own. Calvin is determined to cure her—but could that only push Stacey further into danger?
by Valerie Comer
Outspoken advocate for local food Josephine Shaw moves onto a rundown farm with two friends to prove to the world that she can live sustainably, but a mouse invasion and the cute reluctant farmer next door test her resolve. Zach Nemesek is itching to get back to his easy life in the city, but a Border collie puppy and the woman next door make him wonder if he's better off embracing God's plan for his life…or running from it!
by Liz Tolsma

After the German occupiers kill her husband, the last thing Cornelia de Vries wants is to be involved with the Dutch Resistance. Wounded underground worker Gerrit Laninga brings nothing but danger to her doorstep - and the chance at love she thought had gone forever.

by Karla Akins

 Pastor's wife, Kirstie Donovan, lives life in a fishbowl, so when she hops on the back of a bright pink motorcycle, tongues start to wag at the conservative, century-old First Independent Christian Community Church of Eels Falls. Certain church members have secrets to hide, and when God uses Kirstie's ministry to fill the pews with leather-clad, tattooed bikers, those secrets could be exposed, and some will stop at nothing to hide the truth.
by Jerusha Agen

No love, no pain—no God, no games.
A tragedy three years ago destroyed Nye's rise to the top of the dancing world as an upcoming tango star, making her shut out God and all emotional attachments that could lead to pain, but when a handsome lawyer and elderly landowner enter her new life to make her face the God she can’t forgive, will Nye learn to dance again?

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Cut and Then Cut Deeper

I am 45,000 words into my WIP and usually halfway through I check a list I have of story elements. Things like theme, character arc, scope of the plot, etc.  Things that every novel needs to tell a gripping story.

This is also the time that I tend to do major surgery on my chapters. I recently chopped out four, put them back in, sliced other ones out...and then rewrote them.

All this because at the mid-way mark I am familiar with the intricacies of my plot and internal workings of the characters.  This knowledge aids me in really looking at what I have so far.

Do I have character revealing scenes? How about ones that display their weaknesses or their unique
10 Blade!
strengths?  Do I have a moment that shows their true motivations?

Do I have conflict enough to avoid a sagging middle? How about tension and opposing sides that each have a valid point?

So I get out my figurative scalpel and start to debride my words from my ideas. What do I have underneath that needs to be revealed and how can I do it more clearly, more succinctly, and with more emotional impact?

I pull out my 9 Plot Steps worksheet that I've had since high school and make sure I have all of them either on the page or outlined to be written...

  1. Triggering Event
  2. Characterization
  3. First Major Turning Point
  4. Exposition
  5. Calm Before the Storm
  6. Negative Turning Point
  7. Apparent Win for Villain
  8. Revelation or Turning of the Tide
  9. Victory for Hero/Heroine
After all my poking and prodding, I think I am ready to go back and layer some things in my first chapters. Thanks to my illustrious critique partner, Erin at Spock Writes Romance, I've talked through some ideas and have a definite direction.

So I'm off to the operating room to do some serious cutting. Until next time...Go Write!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pinterest as Book Research?

I am a huge lover of Pinterest as a tool for writers. I have boards for different books, research ideas, even pictures for inspiration.  Because each photo ideally launches you to a website or blog, there is a wealth of information to be had beyond your idle clicking.

Currently I am working on a steampunk novel, so I was happy to find a huge amount of not only pictures of costumes and weapons, but all manner of images and concept art to help me spark my own ideas of what my developing world might look like.

It doesn't matter what you need to research either. Whether its muscle cars, architecture, amazing locations, and even cuisine. You can find it easily.

Pinterest connects you to photobucket, flickr, Etsy, anything and everything and you don't have to bother with individual website search engines. You don't have to wade through waves of misses before you find what you're looking for.

Photo by Kim Jew
I needed to wrap my mind around a calculating engine, a chemistry set up from the Victorian era, and the internal hatches of a cutter ship.  Guess what?  Pinterest.

Apparently there are even coast guard cutter cookie cutters, if you're interested.

Not to mention the connection to others with similar interests whose boards you can follow. I happened upon so me great forums. The members were very gracious and happy to answer questions...okay, argue about the answer to my question, but still. I learned a lot.

All this to ignore the accusation of Pinterest being a huge time-suck. Pretty much anything can be distracting if you let it. The trick is to use it as a tool and then get to writing!

What sort of online resources do you use to help you with research that falls outside the traditional angle? I'd love to know. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dark or Classic...

As a writer I fall deeply in love with my main characters. I care about them, fight with them, argue with them in elevators. We all do...right?  Right, guys? 

Okay, maybe its just me. But regardless of whether or not I may have issues. The fact remains that as authors, we need to be invested emotionally in our characters because if we aren't absolutely enthralled...why would our readers care?

In my experience, though, its hard to care about someone if you don't understand them.

So, every time I write a book I take time after I've already written a few chapters to really get a feel for what kind of person my hero is because even after planning and outlines and character sketches...you really can't see him until he's moving in front of your eyes as you write him.

First I have to decide if he's a hero or an anti-hero. This is the main hurdle because it will inform his decisions and even how he appears to some extent.

So, I ask myself a series of questions to better clarify if my main man is a Classic Hero or a Dark Hero...

Classic or Dark 

  • Is he an idealist who stands up to bad guys or is does he stand up to any authority figure no matter the reason?
  • Does he strive for peace and value hierarchy or is he rebellious?
  • Is he clear in his decision act or is he pushed into acting by circumstances?
  • Does he know his weaknesses and hopes to overcome them or does he believe they are justified?
  • Does he learn from his mistakes and changes fundamentally or does he remain a rogue or self interested?
  • Is he lawful or even a law authority or is he more of an 'end justifies the means' kind of guy?
  • Is he a knight in shining armor or more of a fallen angel sort of figure?
  • Is he steadfast in who he is or is he unpredictable?
  • Do his morals hold to conventional norms or does he have a fluid idea of right and wrong?
  • Finally, what is his motivation? Is he good from the get go or does he eventually come around, but not until the very end?
Whether Classic or Dark, heroes need to be complex. One of the hardest things to care about is someone who is unalienable, perfect, and predictable.

Think of your favorite super hero  and then decide what category they fall under. Then figure out why you are drawn to that type of character. You may find it surprising to see the same archetypes in your own work.

So think about it...Are you more Captain America or Iron Man...Stephan or Damon...

I'd love to hear what you come up with. Until next time...Go Write!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Every wrenching, staggering, soul stretching word.

So I've been having a bit of a problem. The thing is...I never really believed in writer's block until a few weeks ago. Never had any issues aside from needing MORE TIME.

A fellow author once told me over a decade ago that there is no such thing as writer's block, just wrong turns.  I believed that. Whenever I got stuck before I simply backtracked to where things started to get hard.

I've tried that. I went back chapter by chapter to see where plot points became difficult to maneuver...where dialogue turned tricky, where I went awry with the motivation...

You know what I discovered?

Nothing. Nada. Zinch. 

This novel has ALWAYS been difficult. I've constantly struggled to know and embrace and make my own this amazing alternate history genre.

Its a challenge for sure. I think I can actually feel my dendrites sparking as I will myself into this strange world.

So now I will stop looking for a starting over place. I will stop staring wistfully at my notes for easy answers. I will buckle down and just...write.  Every wrenching, staggering, soul stretching word.

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Back On Track...Finally!

Greetings from the mountains!

So today was our first day of school...YAY! I cannot rejoice enough to be on a schedule once again. Normally our summers are completely crazy with camping, family trips, visits and the like. What with my husband home (he's a school teacher) and putting our routine in a blender...I don't get a whole lot of writing done.

To top it off, my poor critique partner, Erin Spock over at Spock Writes Romance, managed to mangle herself at the gym to the point of needing surgery! She is totally in a bad way and if you have a moment pop on over to her blog and show her some love.

She keeps me on schedule. I know I have to deliver chapters to her every two weeks and I never want to disappoint. But...with my poor friend in a bad way...I have totally flaked.

Battling Distraction
But...school is ON!  Many of you know that I home school all 6 of my children.  
This year might be a little tough to balance. Although it is my 13th year and and I have tons of experience. I have a senior and two kindergartners...I KNOW...I'm insane.

All this has only served to tighten my routine. I will definitely be guarding my writing time with a vengeance! So hopefully I will be working more consistently from now on.

With writing comes blogging as I often feel more in the 'Writing Zone' after posting and touching base with other writer buddies. So here's to a new year and new direction!

Until Next time...Go Write!  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

And the Winner Is...

We had some amazing stories come out this past month. Each one poised to captivate your imagination, from overcoming great odds together, to chance meetings with a dashing earl, switchboard encounters of the handsome kind, a mysterious vanishing, and a prince's choice.

Thank you to Joselyn Vaughn author of Climbing Heartbreak Hill, Vanessa Riley author of Madeline's Protector, Lorna Seilstad author of When Love Calls, and Deborah Raney author of The Face of the Earth for participating in our clash.

And Now, Clash of the Titles presents the May New Release Winner...
Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck!

Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by bestselling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale.

Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess---just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.

The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon’s Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.

Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s a ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.

From the Clash of the Titles Commenters
Once Upon a Prince has all the ingredients needed to make for a wonderful summer read!

Loved loved loved Once Upon A Prince! gave it 5 stars on Goodreads!

Rachel, I couldn't stop reading this one! Wonderful love story! Love the cover!

What Reviewers Are Saying
Hauck spins a surprisingly believable royal-meets-commoner love story. This is modern and engaging tale with well-developed secondary characters that are entertaining and add a quirky touch. Hauck fans will find a gem of a tale.  – Starred Review Publisher’s Weekly

Readers Love It
Recently finished "Once Upon a Prince." Absolutely LOVED it! A perfect summer (or fall or winter or spring, for that matter) read. It was the best book I have read in a l-o-n-g time! You have set the bar high, Rachel!

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as RITA nominated The Wedding Dress and RITA nominated Love Starts with Elle, part of the Lowcountry series. She penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in uncomfortable chair to write full time in 2004.

Rachel serves on the Executive Board of American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference

Here next book, Princess Ever After, releases in February 2014.

Visit her web site at http://www.rachelhauck.com

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Love Unexpected -- May New Releases!

Summer is here, and we've got some great new releases to fill up those camping trips, car rides, and lazy days on the beach.  Our May suggestions are intriguing and ready to pull you into stories of faith, love, and adventure.

It will be hard to choose between these five wonderful romances.These books are sure to captivate your imagination, from overcoming great odds together, to chance meetings with a dashing earl, switchboard encounters of the handsome kind, a mysterious vanishing, and a prince's choice.

Vote for the one most likely to make your summer To Be Read pile by voting below. Don't forget to send some love and encouragement to our authors via the comments section.

Happy Voting!

Their lives are worlds apart; he's a royal prince and she's an ordinary girl, but everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel's coronation. It's the ultimate choice: His kingdom or her heart…God's will or their own?

When Mitchell's wife, Jill, kisses him goodbye, he has no idea that he may never see her again. When the police can't find her, Mitch asks his neighbor, Shelley, for help, but as weeks turn into months and Mitch and Shelley grow ever closer, he wonders how he can honor his vows to a woman who seems to have vanished off the face of the earth.

Switchboard operators, otherwise known as "hello girls," must conduct themselves according to strict--and often bewildering--rules, which include absolutely no consorting with gentlemen while in training. Hannah Gregory has never been good at following rules, but she doubts it will be difficult to keep that particular rule--until a handsome young lawyer starts getting under her skin.

A chance meeting and a bullet wound change everything, and Madeline St. James must trust that the Good Shepherd has led her to the altar to marry a dashing stranger, Lord Devonshire. Madeline's unwavering faith intrigues and exasperates the stubborn earl, but can the compromised couple forge a true bond before the next disaster strikes?

After their professional athletic careers are sidelined, Tara and Ryan must find purpose and fulfillment in their new lives. With the help of the Junkyard King and a mechanical bull, can Tara and Ryan find the courage to climb Heartbreak Hill together?
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Monday, June 3, 2013

Style, Star Trek, and Demons...

Neil Gaiman NOT Tim Burton

Every once in a while I like to go over the favorites on my Twitter account because often I've opted to star more than just Grumpy Cat pics and retweets of stuff Jimmy Falon says. 

Usually I have set aside links to wonderful advice from fellow writers, agents, even other industries...all with the intention of somehow using it to make me a better writer, marketer, editor...

So since I am going on four days straight of nonstop writing and am a bit fried at the moment...I thought I'd see what I've starred and pass on any blogs, articles, or videos I found particularly helpful.

We all know this is just procrastination on my part...but bear with me. There's some good stuff in here.

For one, the most recent, is a post by Agent Rachelle Gardner on How to Create a Style Sheet for Your Manuscript.  I've done this for the past few books and I cannot tell you how helpful it is!

Here is a Tweet from J. Leigh Bailey in which she extols the virtue of The Star Trek Way to Avoid Saggy Middles. The blog is Tara Lain, and is on a restricted setting, but the article itself is actually spot on. If you're having a problem with  floundering mid-story chapters then give this one a read.

Kristen Lamb, of course, always has great writing advice and her post about Driving the Demons to the Surface is amazing. Its all about torturing your characters and bringing about motivations and core personality via action not telling. This is a MUST READ...I'm serious. Go there now.

Rachel Thompson over at @badredheadmedia posted a link to Galley Cat's article on Free Sites to Promote Your eBook.  Its a great list of sites and strategies for all authors, from brick and mortar to
indy digital.  Take a look.

There are of course thousands of other posts out there to help you no matter what season of writing you are in. From concept to cover reveal, research to revisions...

Hope these links help. Now GO WRITE!

Friday, May 31, 2013

COTT's Clash of April Releases!

Beach trips, mountain jaunts and lazy days in the swing on the front porch. Tis the season to enjoy a great read outdoors. Clash of the Titles’s got five brand new April releases to recommend. It’ll be difficult to choose from these three romances, a mystery with suspense, and women’s fiction. The stories tell of a woman who falls in love with an Army veteran with PTSD; a kidnapped doctor accused of murder; a woman yearning for a family; a lady with a heart attack and spiritually broken heart; and three unwed mothers from three different eras. All will tug at your heart. But please select the one you most want to get lost in. Then vote for it below.

Cindy Waymire, a college senior in search for a topic for an upcoming sociology paper, finds more than a topic when she meets Army veteran and college freshman Danny Flynn outside the student union. An undeniable attraction to this troubled veteran leads her on a difficult and winding path that brings her to a crossroads—get into a relationship with a man who has serious mental health problems or turn her back on one of the best men she’s ever met.

Dr. Matt Newman escapes from kidnappers only to land in the ICU then awaken to find the police are convinced he’s a killer, and he’s still a target. Can attorney Sandra Murray and he find the truth before it’s too late?

Terri Hayes owns a thriving Day Care but hungers for a child of her own  while  writer Steve Evans has all the family he needs. Will harsh words and sneaky plans drive them further apart, or does God have another plan?

What would you do if the one man who can help is the one man you can’t trust? A heart attack has stopped workaholic Mara Keegan in her tracks, but Mara’s heart needs to be healed in more ways than one—will Joel Ryan help her or take all she has left?

Three women from three different eras face the aftermath of unwed pregnancies, desperate for hope. Can it be found in the memoirs of Anna, who ran a home for unwed Moms in the 1890’s, or is there no link to their cries for help and their source of hope?

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Where'd She Go?

Photo by Dan Edwards

So I'm writing in 3rd person for this new project. I've done it before. You see, although all the books in my past two series are 1st person, the hero's point of view (POV) is always in 3rd person. So I can do it...theoretically.

The problem I'm running into is that although I understand how to write in that POV, its never been the main POV of my novel.  Since he is the love interest and invariable described, scrutinized, and drooled over by my 1st person heroine, you already know what he acts like, looks like, feels like when he's holding her...or rather, you -- the first person heroine.

But!  I'm having a heck of a time introducing character description and even internal musings in 3rd as the main point of view.  I feel, as does my critique partner, that the main character is...dim?

Not dim-witted...but not as vivid as my 1st person characters.  Am I struggling with deep point of view? Do I not identify with her as much because of that?  Is it that its a historical-ish type of book and that makes me falter?

I DON"T KNOW!!!!   

I'm struggling here and this is very new to me. I usually really plot out my characters and fully understand them and their motivations and this time is no different. I've got her down pat. I just can't get her out of my head as fully realized as I want.

Maybe I need to rewrite my current 16,000 word manuscript as 1st person before I go any further.  I mean...its only chapter 10 out of 40 or so.  One quarter of the way isn't too much to re do, but...

It totally is.  I don't like the idea of rewriting that much. Truly horrifying prospect.

Anyway...I know a lot of you are 3rd person authors or readers and I would truly love some thoughts. 

Blessings ~ rb

Friday, April 5, 2013

Secrets at Crescent Point - Cover Reveal!

I am excited to share the cover for my upcoming release! Secrets at Crescent Point is book two in my Noble Island Mystery Series and I am so loving the art work!

I think it goes so well with the first book in tone and theme. Gothic romance with a twist of faith...

 I can't wait to share Raven and Siyah's suspenseful story with all of you!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Great Hooks!

I love to watch and read suspense. One of the reasons is that when you come across a good one, you can't put the darned book down even when its two in the morning and you're dead tired and you KNOW you're going to regret it, but...you turn the page.

Great writers understand the power of a hook. Not only at the beginning of a book; that initial pull into the story that cements you with the character's fate...

I'm talking about the ones at the end of each chapter. Those last lines that make you suck in your breath and blink a few times as you decidedly ignore the clock and keep reading.

Some of my favorite chapter endings are usually a beat before the stakes ratchet up...
  • The hero mid-leap across a precipice.
  • An ominous prediction before entering a new scene.
  • A secret revealed or a mystery set in motion.
  • It can even be the shift of allegiance in the mind of a character
Something that vaults us into the next scene, the next scenario...a peek or teaser that beckons us and leaves us wanting to know what happens next?

Writers Write had a helpful photo up the other day. It was a list of some great hooks to consider using in your own work. Posted by Amanda Patterson on her Tumbler...

I hope you find it helpful. What are some of your favorite hooks and cliff-hangers? Are there any that just irritate you? Until next time...Go Write!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

"The Q Manifesto" --A Christian Thriller You Don't Want to Miss!

Clash of the Titles presents...

 The Q Manifesto by Alan Schleimer.

A new Dead Sea Scroll stuns the world. Is it a forgery or the end of Christianity?

Not long ago, experts announced that an ancient papyrus referred to Jesus Christ as having a wife. It caused quite a stir before being quickly discredited. But what if an even more explosive papyrus was found that showed the gospels were faked and that document passed every modern test for legitimacy? That is the premise for The Q Manifesto. 

The story centers on Jay Hunt, who quit a lucrative Wall Street career to become a backcountry tour guide. Soon after, an ancient manuscript is uncovered that reveals the Gospels were an orchestrated fiction. Though its revelation stuns the world, Jay ignores it until his father, a retired Dead Sea Scrolls expert, gets in over his head investigating the scroll. Chased by assassins, Jay soon learns that the world’s only chance to survive Armageddon depends on him deciphering a cryptic trail of clues in his quest for the truth.

An Unlikely Prospect as an Author
Alan Schleimer wasn’t always a writer. In fact, he says that he was the least likely candidate to become a published author. About ten years ago, he was enjoying a career in the corporate world. The former energy trader and business development professional with a finance MBA claims he struggled writing a two-paragraph business letter. “I kept getting these cool ideas for a book. I thought some day, if I ever retired, I would write it. Well, I noticed that these ideas came more frequently while I was spending my quiet time meditating. Eventually, I became convinced it was a calling from God, and I began writing full-time. The story that started it all was a Christian fiction fantasy. It was a great learning process filled with numerous rookie mistakes. I took writing classes and attended writing conferences until deciding to write the kind of fiction I liked to read—mystery/suspense/thrillers.”

Police Academy
Besides studying writing, Alan is a graduate of Sugar Land’s Citizen Police Academy. He describes it as “A great program for anyone, but it was an ideal introduction for me to police procedures. You can read about police work, but the Academy brings to life the daily risks and snap judgments police officers must make to keep us safe.” Besides his Academy participation, he has studied martial arts, finance, and what he calls the divine source of all truth—the Bible.

Evidence that the Police Academy and other studies have enriched Alan’s writing is reflected in one reader’s review, which praised it as a “magnificent debut whose stunning depths, pivotal settings and tangible descriptions manifested themselves in imagery akin to an HDTV movie.” His storyline was cited as a “masterfully crafted, full-immersion thriller written with intelligence, heart and virtue, brilliantly plotted, and played out at machine gun pace.”  Pleased that his book is categorized as Christian fiction, Alan prefers to think of it as a family-friendly wild ride with a message of hope and a challenge to anyone’s faith.

The Q Manifesto was named the top inspirational/religious novel of 2012 by the national website Daily Cheap Reads. Previously the story garnered the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis award in the mystery/suspense/thriller genre. Schleimer’s debut novel is a suspense thriller and has been compared favorably to Dan Brown’s "Da Vinci Code" for its masterfully-executed twists and turns. 

Connect with Alan
The Q Manifesto is available as an eBook at Amazon and by month’s end at most online booksellers in a print edition. You can connect with Alan through his website www.alanschleimer.com and “Like” him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlanSchleimer.Author.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Olympia Finalists Announced

Today brings Clash of the Titles to the end of Round Two of our first annual Olympia Award.

The Olympia is a literary contest dedicated to Christian fiction and offered only to unpublished writers. In Round Two, the first 3,000 words of entrants’ manuscripts were read and scored by non-industry readers. 

A hearty THANK YOU to each of these women who set aside a portion of their time for this contest. Without them, the Olympia would not be.

Of all our submissions, only the top three scores move on to Round Three. 

Those scores go to manuscripts belonging to:

Bethany Kaczmarek
Laura McClellan
Elaine Manders

Our warmest congratulations to these three authors!

During Round Three, their manuscript excerpts will be read and scored by the following generous individuals:

DEBORAH RANEY--award-winning author
AMANDA LUEDEKE--literary Agent of Macgregor Literary
STEVE HUTSON--literary Agent of WordWise Media

The winner will be announced 
Friday, March 01, 2013.

Best wishes to our finalists!

The remainder of the contest's entrants can expect to receive their scores by Friday, January 25.

In the meantime, stop by COTT and vote for your favorite book this week: www.clashofthetitles.com

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Electric Cocktails

Me Skyping

Yesterday I was farting around on Twitter because I was supposed to be writing and I am the master of avoidance.  Anyway, I follow a lot of writers and I'm always amazed at the awesome advice I come across in those 140 character bursts.

For example, I read this post by Elizabeth Vail on Heroes and Heartbreakers site about painful pasts and tortured heroines.  It was really helpful and since I didn't follow the website, I would never have come across it if it wasn't linked by @elizabethscraig who I find to be one of the most informative Twitterers in the industry.  You should check out her Mystery Writing is Murder blog too.

I said all of this at a party I attended last night. Some of the people knew I was an author and asked me about getting started. Every time I said that it was important to connect with other writers via Twitter or Blogs I got the raised brow.

Isn't that a time waster? I was asked.  Well...sometimes. But mostly it is not. Mostly...its an incredible asset to a writer.

Why? Because I connect with other people serious about their work. I network and hear industry news tidbits I find helpful information like what press is looking for submissions at the moment.  I get funny anectdotes and hear whats going on with whom...Its a giant cocktail party/golf game with my peers.

Business people do it. Doctors do it. Politicians do it. Teachers, not so much, but they hang out in the lounge and eat junk food and gossip, which is the same. (My husband is a teacher so I have it on good authority.)

There are a lot of reasons to hang out virtually. I've learned so much from writers further in their journey than I. I've been reminded of why I write by people just starting out.  I've made friends, realized how cool Steampunk is, and arranged to hang out at conferences.  

None of that is a time waster. Its an investment in your career as an author.  So get out there and follow and post and Tweet.  You just might like it. :)

Until next time...Go Write!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Richter Zombies...

It started out innocently enough with a funny forward from a friend about the 'Zombie Apocalypse' blog she likes. The post was on 'Go Bags' or 'Bug Out Bags' intended to keep you safe, fed, hydrated, and protected for 72 hours until you could find shelter or hook up with a roving band of zombie killers.

I chuckled, totally thinking it was a pretty detailed set up...matches, batteries for the flashlight, glowsticks for in a pinch. The pack had 'hot hands' packs and some firestarter stuff, some water and purification things...

I gotta admit. I didn't know what half the stuff was. So since I'm supposed to be working on my next project and since I have not decided what that is I was just kind of surfing the zombie preparedness sights for fun.

In an effort to encourage citizens to prepare for real disasters, the CDC, law enforcement, and other sites have done tongue-in-cheek 'Zombie Education' programs.  They're actually pretty  helpful...

How Does She Blog
Turns out all of the things in this 'Zombie Go Bag' or whatever, is actually recommended for use in emergency preparedness kits in my own state of California.  

Earthquake safety. You'd think I'd be up on it, but short of diving underneath desks, not standing next to plate glass windows, and our 'meet at the street' drill...

I got nothing. Seriously.  Zilch is going on in the "what if our house crumbles scenario" that is an actual, real, and probable situation.  What!?

So now I'm totally into this survival stuff. I'm starting out with making the 'Go Bags' for each one of my family members.  That is no small feat, mind you. My husband and I have 6...yes, SIX children.  That's 8 packs I have to buy, stock, and store.

I've also decided, since I just realized that FEMA suggests not a 3 day supply of food and water for you family in the event of a 5.0 earthquake or higher, but a 10-14 day supply...I was totally launched into a panic.

I thought if we had a major quake, we'd have help at least by the third day on the OUTSIDE. Now it seems in the wake of hurricane and other disasters the three day rescue timeline is turning out to be way too conservative.

Being Vegan, my family and I eat primarily fresh fruit and vegetables along with grains, beans, etc.  Not really a lot of outdoor/survival recipes for that kind of diet. I've decided to try and modify our exisitng stew and hearty soup recipes to be made via a dutch oven.

Ready Meals
A mom blogs about this kind of stuff and suggests just bagging some familiar dinners and keeping them in a safe place...a tub in the garage, etc. One hardy meal a day and some water will get you through.

I've had to alter recipes before to make them Vegan friendly...camping recipes were a challenge. Why does everyone need to eat so much bacon when camping???  

Anyway, I can do this.  I have to do this. I hope I never have to use the supplies. EVER.

Anyway, I'm hoping this foray into investigation will totally help me as a writer.  I can research like nobody's business. I love learning about new things and it always sparks some sort of idea for a story.

I've released the Kraken -- my manic writer alter-ego...

I'll keep you posted. :)