Sunday, February 08, 2015

Round Robin Fun

Yesterday, I went to my monthly local RWA writer's meeting. We discussed a lot of issues that go with being a writer - publishers, agents, setting goals, and more. But the best part of the day was the writing challenge we set ourselves. We did a round-robin story.

Basically, we started with a sentence, in this case, the old standby "It was a dark and stormy night". Then we each wrote one - and only one! - sentence and passed it on to the next person. There were about 23 of us and we passed the pages around. Some of them were serious, some dark, some downright hilarious. Each person added their own twist to the story. I've included mine below for you to look. Remember - each sentence is by a different person. Something you might want to try with a group of friends.

It was a dark and stormy night. I could barely see the road in front of my carriage.
The hooves of the horses pounded the mud as the driver urged them faster.
I glanced out the window once more, barely able to make out the lantern of the carriage following mine.
When I told Lord Hugh I never wanted to see him again, that included his horses and carriage.
Suddenly, there was a shout and my carriage lurched to the right, barely missing the cloaked figure standing in the middle of the road.
I pulled out a hat pin, ready to do damage.
"Stand down, Miss Winthrop. I mean no harm, only a warning."
"You can take your warning and shove it. Get away from me." I held out the pin.
He shrugged and smiled that infuriating, cocky, lopsided grin.
My palms began to sweat and my heart began to pound in my ears.
"My warning, dear lady, is to be careful of rabid dogs."
"Does that include you?"
"Most definitely, my dear. I am a most dangerous animal."
"Then I'll be happy to put you down with the rest of the dogs."
"You know what they say about sleeping dogs?"
I squeezed the pin in my hand; this Don Juan wannabe ought to get what he deserved.
He raised his eyebrows, held his hands where I could see them and said, "Really, can we at least be friends?"
I stabbed the pin in his upraised hand and commanded the coachman to make haste.
The carriage stood still as the cloaked figure slowly liked the warm blood from his hand.
I shivered at the new, more sinister threat.


Sunday, February 01, 2015

Top blogger and other news

I just found out from Kayelle Allen that I was a top blogger for the Romance Lives Forever site for January. Thanks to everyone who commented or looked at the blog. I really appreciate it. :)

If you don't know this blog, you should. It's a really nice one. And thanks to Kayelle and RLF for hosting me!

On other news, I signed a contract for my next book for Liquid Silver Books. Turn of the Card is a futuristic novella that I'm sure you'll enjoy. It will be available April 6, 2015 and I'll share the cover art as soon as I get it. :)

Also, I now have paperback copies of The Emerald Key and should have The Ruby Key soon. The cover art for both was done by Charity Parkerson - an author whose work I love. You can find her stuff by clicking Here.
You can find the ebook for The Emerald Key at Liquid Silver Books (as well as other vendors) and the paperback version here.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Contest - We Love Our Readers

A group of paranormal authors and I got together and, because we love our readers so much, we decided to have a contest. We're giving away a Kindle Fire loaded with a book from each of the following authors:

Here are the authors:
Charity Parkerson                                              Terri Reid
Dakota Cassidy                                                 Desiree Holt
Chrissy Peebles                                                 Nancy Corrigan
Calinda B                                                          Kym Grosso
Shannon Mayer                                                Vicky Burkholder
Michele Bardsley                                              W.J. May

Rafflecopter link: Link

Contest ends January 31st so don't delay! 

Check out the authors and good luck.

Note: No purchase is necessary and, unfortunately, this applies to US and Canada residents only.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

End of Year Recap and editorial pet peeves

This has been an interesting year for me. Three stories published (one novel, two novellas), loss of  a major job (editing), health issues, birth of a grandson, cross-country driving trip - like most years, a mixture of good and bad - but mostly on the good side. Yes, I lost a major source of income when the publisher I worked for decided to let all its contract editors go, but I picked up private business and it meant a whole lot less stress for me. So... not good in the loss of a job, but good in that it was better for me overall.

I do still edit for another publisher (whom I really like even if I don't publish with them) and private clients. I'm in the midst of an edit right now with a story I really do not like. (Yes, I have the option of turning down the job, but that doesn't pay the bills, so...). Actually, the story isn't bad but... it's written in first person/present tense and in multiple points of view, which I really really really hate. And even though this author changes chapters with each POV, I still have to stop and figure out whose head I'm in with each new chapter.

This point of view (1st person/present tense/multiples) seems to be a trend of late because this is the third one I've done in the last two months. Ugh. They're horrible to follow. Especially if the author doesn't let you in on who is the lead or changes things up in the middle of a chapter (for one author - in the middle of the paragraph!). I've never read one of these that I liked. Never. I've talked to several of my writing/editing friends and they don't like them either. So why are authors doing them?

First person is okay with a lot of writers and readers, but it's usually past tense (I sat in the overstuffed sofa.) as opposed to present tense (I sit in the overstuffed sofa.). And it is only one *I* involved - not multiple people. But overall, third person past tense (He sat in the overstuffed sofa) is still the preferred POV.

Still, if you're going to write first person/present tense, the very least you can do is keep the tense straight. One previous edit I worked on not only shifted people, but back and forth on the past/present. I had no clue who I was with or *when* I was. It was so confusing, I had to basically rewrite entire chapters just to keep things straight.

So, please, if you're going to do first person/present tense/multiple people - keep the tenses straight and give the reader an indication as to whom we are with. Try to stay with one POV per chapter and label each chapter with who that chapter belongs to. You'll not only make your editor much happier, but your readers as well.

May you all have a wonderful 2015 and here's to more great stories in the new year!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

What a Puzzle

I love word puzzles. Crosswords, word search, whatever the puzzle. I love them. Including the New York Times Sunday crosswords - the only word puzzle I do in pencil. All other puzzles, it's pen for me. :) 

I use them as a way to relax. Some people find that odd, but they really do relax me. Well, okay, not the NYT Sunday one - that one sometimes frustrates me - but I do them before I go to bed in order to unwind.

My dad first started me on crosswords when I was little. I was a "slow" reader. Then my dad, an amazing man who never had a lot of education, but who had a love of the written word. He would take me up on his lap and read to me or do puzzles with me. When we went out in the car, if we were stopped somewhere, he'd find a billboard for me to look at and ask me to make as many words as I could out of the letters on the billboard. He made learning into a game.

And it worked. I became a voracious reader, a writer, an editor... and to this day, I still love word puzzles.

Thank you, Dad. :)

A word challenge for you:
Choose one from #1 and 2 from #2 and use it to write a quick story:

1. "teller of secrets" or "celebrity stalker"
2. "backpack" or "guilt" or "letter to the editor" or "revenge" or "award ceremony"


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Guest author: KaLyn Cooper

That Sinking Feeling...Wahoo! A Submarine Ride

We just returned from the annual family vacation, celebrating Christmas early with Macho Marine’s side. They always choose a warm climate.  

Unlike the last several years, we did NOT go to Cancun. And in case you were wondering, those vacations were the impetus to write Christmas in Cancun which is now available most everywhere books are sold.

This year we cruised the Southern Caribbean. Look for Captivated in Cancun in 2015. Lilly’s story will take you into the world of human trafficking via cruise ships. Are you seeing a pattern here? 

If you’ve ever taken a cruise, you know there are excursions you can take in every port. I’ve always wanted to dive deep, but that becomes very complicated using SCUBA gear, so when I saw the opportunity to take a ride in a submarine, I jumped on it. Literally. 

For Macho Marine, it was no big deal. As a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he’d spent time in a “real” sub before deciding big gray boats weren’t for him. But for this woman, who at one time had dreamed of exploring the ocean’s bottom as a career, it was AWESOME! 

Through the large portals on both sides, you could see so much. Purple fan coral three-feet in diameter swayed in the current. Tubular, lime-green sponges shot straight up from the sandy floor. Whips of black coral six-feet long stretched to reach the surface far above. Yellow and red brain coral the size of an ottoman sat unaffected as the 48-passenger sub passed by. A school of juvenile, yellow tail fish, twelve to twenty inches, long circled us as we slowly we descended to 148 feet below the surface. The farther we went down, the more sparse the life. It became an undersea desert of white sand, and a shipwreck. The vessel had been scuttled several years ago as part of reef-building, but it was still cool. 

As an author, I want readers to feel like they are with Rafe and Harper (Explosive Combination) running through the dense, humid jungle in Colombia, and snorkeling on the colorful reef to see the underwater Virgin Mary with Jack and Jillian (Christmas in Cancun). Maybe someday I'll write a book about a submarine.

I want to hear from you - If for Christmas, someone gave you the trip of a lifetime, you could go anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go? What would you do? Tell me about your dream vacation and you’ll be entered to win the Christmas in Cancun promotion diamond earrings.

Author Links

Twitter: @KaLynCooperbooks
Amazon Author Page:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Jumping Into the Fire

I had an idea for a story two weeks ago. That's nothing new. I have notebooks full of ideas. I have binders full of manuscripts. New ideas hit me all the time.

But this one was different.

Why? Because it is for a straight-up contemporary sweet romance. Okay, I thought, I'll jot my notes down but this isn't what I normally write. Two weeks later, I have over a dozen pages. It's flowing like a story hasn't for me for a while. As I'm writing, I keep wondering when the spaceship or alien is going to appear? Or where are the witches and mages? After all, I write futuristics and paranormals, not sweet contemporaries.

And yet... it is flowing so well. So I'm going to keep writing this new story and see where it goes. Who knows? Maybe it will actually turn out to be something that works well for me.

And if it doesn't? I can always put them in outer space. :)