Friday, July 22, 2011

Hot Authors to Help You Stay Cool

Haven’t posted all week and I apologize for that. It’s just that I feel like I should post something charming, witty, brilliant, or perhaps an expose on how to write the next bestseller. And nada. I got nothing.

Working in the heat makes my brain empty. So, in lieu of my own banter, if you’re looking for a summer read to take your mind off of this infernal weather we’re having, check out some of my favorite authors. I highly recommend them because by turns they’re charming, witty, and brilliant.

She never imagined love could happen twice—until her husband returned from the dead.

Cassidy thinks she’s getting on with her life just fine after her husband’s fall to cancer. Life is quiet, which is just the way she likes it, half a continent away from her overbearing Irish family.

Niall doesn’t want to scare the fragile Irish rose, but her husband, supposedly two years in the grave, has been caught on security tapes at a secret government laboratory.

Together, they unearth evidence of industrial espionage and identity theft...and frightening connections to the Irish Mob that will put more than just their own lives at risk.

Sex, bullets, more sex, intimate body piercings and a few red roses. What more could a girl want?

Madison Lee thought she'd put her European vacation behind her, until the full moon turned her into a hairy beast. A year later she has come to grip with her new life, now her whole world is blown apart. The man who gave her a night of incredible passion and an uncontrollable urge to howl at the moon shows up in town with his sights on taking over her family's business.

Hot on his heels a stranger comes to town with more than the rustic scenery on his mind. He's a monster hunter out for Nicholi's blood and just maybe hers if he finds out her not so little secret. How is a Southern Deb supposed to deal with lovers, killers and the biggest Cotillion of the year all at the same time? Madison soon learns Where there's a Were, there's a way and it leads straight to love.

Has this frog finally found her prince?
From the moment Colleen confesses her deepest desire -- to experience the same passion she's read about in books -- she is swept away on the most daring escapade she’s ever experienced. Dressed in nothing but green paint, she attends a Halloween party searching for the man of her dreams. She finds him, but then fears she won’t be able to give him up.

Since the death of his wife five years ago, Dan's life has been on auto-pilot. But from the moment he meets Colleen, he starts to feel alive again. And he knows he can’t let this would-be princess stride out of his life…

Hope you'll check out these awesome reads. That's all for this week. Stay safe out there in the heat. Until next time...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Novel Work #1 – Start at the Beginning

Wow. That sounds simple, doesn’t it. But where exactly is the beginning?

This is a question I have to work through every time I start a new story. Over time I’ve learned that there are a few things I need to know before I can answer this question. Please remember, I’m a die-hard plotter. So if you’re a pantser, or just not as anal as I am, your mileage may vary.

The first thing I need to know is my characters. I need to know who they are. Their goals and their motivation for reaching said goals. I also need to know what the major conflicts are. I say conflicts because personally, I like an angst-y story so I want both internal and external conflict. And I’m talking skeletons at this point for plot because everything is subject to refinement, but it helps to have an idea where you’re headed so you can find your way.

During the process of critiquing and judging writing, I’ve noticed this is something new writers struggle with. They feel the need to get everything ‘set up’ before the story starts. That way the reader will understand completely when the action starts in chapter five.

Imagine meeting someone for the first time, and right after you’ve been introduced the person starts telling you their life story, from birth up until the moment you meet. Kudos to you if you can last through the whole thing. It’s an exaggeration to be sure, but you get the point. It’s boring! Isn’t it more fun to learn about people a bit at a time? The thrill of discovery makes things more exciting.

Not only that, but its way easier as a writer to just ‘set up’ everything. It takes work and creativity to delicately weave in the back story, setting details, and personality traits. But it also gives you, and most importantly the reader, a better reading experience.

The ideal place to start your story, IMO, is when the hero/heroine gets the call to action. In other words, at the point where their life changes forever. It can be good, or bad, and the character may recognize it immediately or not, but as a writer, you need to. You need to understand that after this particular moment, be it a choice made, a disaster unfolding, or circumvented, from here on out, they will be different. Change is the catalyst that drives the opening.

And the reader shouldn’t have to wait for it.

How you portray that change will be up to you. After all, it is your story.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bowing to the Inevitable

It’s something I’ve known for a while now. Although people deal with it every day and are just fine, I didn’t want to face it. Call me vain if it makes you feel better, but it’s not vanity. Finally, it was fear that made me do it.

My eyes have been doing strange things for the past couple years. Store bought ‘readers’ solved the problem up until recently. Once the blurred vision and headaches started, it became more difficult to put off going to the eye doctor. It’s not that I’m afraid of doctors, it’s just that visiting them takes up so much time. Time I’d really rather being doing something else with.
But the other day, I had a thought. Imagine! If I keep screwing with my eyes, there could be something wrong I don’t know about. And if it gets worse, someday I might not be able to read. That one thought stopped me cold. I actually thought about it.

A world where I wouldn’t be able to read the letters printed in ink on the pages of a book collection I’ve tended and grown lovingly over the years. Or worse yet, flip pages with the touch of a button on my ereader without changing the font to extra-large. Okay, insert vain here. I tried the extra-large font already. Needless to say, this wild imagining got me on the phone for an appointment, and then got my dumb ass to the vision clinic, pronto.
So, yeah, I’ve got to wear glasses now. They should arrive in about ten days. I’m thrilled. My eyes are healthy, just not as young as they used to be. I guess that means they match the rest of me.

How does that song go? ‘I ain’t as good as I once was…’