Tuesday, October 16, 2018

3T Writing Tidbit

How to do an info dump without losing readers.

In your reading, have you ever come across what's supposed to be a lively dialogue but is really just an information dump? All authors have the problem at one time or another of how to get information to the reader. Here are some ways to do an information dump which I've ranked in my personal order of most boring to most interesting.
  • Flashback (unless revealing a telling point somewhere AFTER the reader is engaged)
  • Straight exposition
  • A follower giving a leader an update
  • A leader lecturing or exhorting a follower (you know today's battle will be fierce...)
  • An even information exchange (especially if there's some doubt as to whether it's really even)
  • An interesting activity buttressing the dialogue in the scene (bathing, eating, fighting, sex...?)
  • An interesting activity opposing the dialogue in the scene (I'm not going to tell him my secret...oh, that massage feels so nice...)
  • Banter/flirting
  • Opposing viewpoints/arguing
  • Actively discovering the information

What are your favorite ways to get information across to a reader?


Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

2T Repeat Performance

In December 2016, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. This is another of those posts.

When do you decide on dinner?--originally posted June 24, 2015.

This is a post for writers...and people who like to figure out how things work...and for anyone who likes vacations, eating out, or just eating.

We have a running joke in my house. Whenever we'd like to do something fun (visit London!) but can't afford it (time or money), we say "Research!" and pretend that, since digging up information for a story qualifies as work, we can justify spending the money. But of course we can't really afford whatever it is, so we don't do it.

photo credit: Veyron via photopin (license)
Then one day my husband got a groupon for driving a supercar, and a research dream of mine became an actual opportunity.

MOMENT OF TRUTH. Take it, or not?

I didn't take it.

Before I start to hear clucking, let me tell you why. I once based a story climax in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Before writing, I did my homework. I visited the museum and did a thorough walkthrough, taking a hand-cramping amount of notes, and pictures of everything I thought I'd need. Several hundred dollars of parking, admission, gasoline and food later, we came home.

Then I wrote the scene.

Words started flowing. Things were going great...until my muse/subconscious/contrary imp of wherever-ideas-come-from decided to take a right turn and complicate a simple scene about a vampire stalking a woman with electricity, big red buttons and ninjas. Not really the ninjas, but you get the picture about the imp that is my subconscious. Loves to fizzle me up, laughing all the way.

All the research I'd done? Useless. I needed to go back to the museum.

So yes, I could have spent a hundred bucks or whatever to research driving a supercar, and I could even have written it off as work, because I put my heroes in super and hypercars all the time.

But the fact is, whatever goodies I got, I'd need more.

For me, it's more effective for me to do free Internet research, write the scene as best I can, come up with questions, then fill in the gaps and hone the details with actual experience.

What about you? Do you map your meals in advance, or pull whatever's not fuzzy from the fridge? Do you decide on a restaurant before you leave the house, or once you're in the car? Do you write or research first?

Biting Love Nibbles Bundle_web-ready_medComing June 30 Biting Love Nibbles (Biting Love Short Bites collection)

Sparkling, sassy, sinfully sexy. Indulge your yen for action-packed vampire romance with these short bites.

Biting Holiday Honeymoons That special night with their master vampires is interrupted by Dracula and Santa Vamp. Biting Halloween—Elena and Bo's honeymoon in the Dells is derailed when they get run off the road by a vampire. They chase him, only to find out Dracula—the real Dracula—is on the loose. Introduces Glynn Rhys-Jenkins from Biting Oz. Biting Christmas—Nixie and Julian slide into a hot-tub honeymoon, but things turn nasty when Santa Vamp and Mrs. Claus show up. Warning: These titles contain vampires. Fighting, biting, loving vampires. And adult couples trying to have sexy times on their wedding nights. Explicit language. Slang guide included.

Oz Bites Vampires and sex and flamingos oh my! Punk musician Nixie Emerson is now married to her master vampire and life is grand. Until the mayor “voluntells” her to assemble a pit orchestra for Oz, Wonderful Oz, a new Broadway-caliber musical. Problem—she has no budget. Add in a vampire turf war and a pregnancy that makes finding the right sexual position a challenge and running from rogue vampires impossible, and she’s getting overwhelmed. As a rebel who thrives on creative solos, she’s getting zilch for solo time. Then someone blabs there’s no pay and her musicians back out. Worse, whoever’s stealing secrets isn’t just stealing Nixie’s. Warning: Contains wild sex, explicit violence, and a frazzled punk heroine. Or is that explicit sex, wild violence, and a frazzled lawyer vampire? What the heck. There’s sex, swearing, fighting and smiles.

Murder at Chipmunk Lake Nixie's lost her mojo! Nixie Emerson, punk rock musician and first-time mom-to-be, has a stalker. Her band Guns and Polkas has gone national after their big stage debut, but the price of fame is the stalker trying to scare her into leaving the band. Her husband, master vampire Julian, whisks Nixie away to the Wisconsin north woods—where they meet the stalker on the pier of their cabin and he again threatens Nixie. Julian punches him out and the couple walks away thinking the problem is over. But when the next evening the stalker is found dead, they find out the trouble is only starting. Warning: contains a cranky pregnant lady trying to control her swearing, a master vampire appeasing his wife with food and creative sex, murder, mayhem and several arguments over what to name the baby.

Biting Serendipity Best April Fools joke ever—falling in love. Serendipity “Sera” Braun hoists beer steins at her tavern job, where a Viking bouncer is bedsheets waiting to get sweaty. But Thor only scowls at her. Warning: A terribly lonely vampire, a conflicted schoolmarm with a caged wild side, nosy roommates and the female version of a bromance, not to mention scorching sex, swearing with the **** filled in, a whole town full of busybodies—and the best April Fools joke ever.

These stories contain material intended for mature audiences. Reader discretion advised.

Available now at these retailers and more.

Kindle | Nook | Smashwords | Kobo | iBooks | Google | Kindle UK

Thanks to author Sahara Kelly for suggesting Nibbles for the title. Thanks to P&N Graphics for the amazing cover.

Friday, October 5, 2018

1T Status Update

Night's Kiss first round of edits turned in last month! I'm working hard to get ahead on my classwork while I wait for round two. Fall concert next weekend for my orchestra. I started re-editing Heart Mates over the summer. Trying to get back to that so it's ready for Hunt Mates's ENT promotion end of next month.

ALERT! Amazon forgot to return the price on Passion Bites to its original, so you can still get the steep discount until they notice their mistake.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

3T Writing Tidbit

Three steps to kickstart your novel's success.

Blurbs. What if there was an easier way?

Aaand... I'm just going to leave this here.


Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

2T Repeat Performance

In December 2016, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. This is another of those posts.

photo credit: Writing = Breathing via photopin (license)
Come to the dark side...recognizing tropes--originally posted May 27, 2015.

My husband and I were watching an hour mystery on television the other day--I think it was Castle--and the detectives had just brought in the killer for questioning, when out of the blue my husband says, "That can't be the killer. It's too early. The show's only halfway in."

I sniffed back a tear of pleasure. "I have trained you well, grasshopper."

One of the secrets I've learned through being an author is how to craft a believable story: tools to not reveal the killer too quickly but still keep tensions high; ways to make the supernatural, like vampires, seem perfectly natural (humor works really well there. Like the pain the poor thing feels getting a fang root canal).

The problem is, knowing the craft behind the story, the bones if you will, now gets in the way of my completely enjoying television, movies and books.

I was reading one of my go-to authors when in an early chapter, the heroine was told not to worry about the murderer, because Constable Reliable (spoiler--not his real name! lol) was watching for baddies, on patrol outside her house.

I knew...I knew Constable Reliable was going to get knocked unconscious in the Chapter Crisis. The reason I was so certain is that the heroine must always face the villain in the climax. Better yet if she does so alone. So somehow, the heroine was going to lose her protector, poor Constable Reliable, so the villain and the heroine could have their face time.

Another tell is when Stuck-at-the-hips Buddies separate. Buddy and Buddy have been together throughout the whole movie and then suddenly for some "reason" they have to go in different directions. Well, sure as anything, one of them is gonna have some bad thing happen.

Apparently DH has listen to me
complainsearch for new ways to enjoy stories despite meme and tropes for long enough that he's also started seeing the hands inside the puppets and the man behind the curtain.

What about you? What tropes or factors make storytelling a little too predictable for you?

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

1T Status Update

Good news! Night's Kiss is in the hands of my brand-new editor, the incomparable Candace Havens!

More good news--BookBub SALE coming September 12. Grab your copy of Passion Bites while it's 99 cents.

I'm also excited to be heading back to school to brush up on my computer programming skills. First up--Java Script and SQL.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Author Interview VIDEO - Vivi Andrews on Workshops

Besides being an awesome writer, Vivi is one of the most incredibly talented bloggers I have ever read. I laugh, I think, I learn something in every post. So you're in for a real treat! (Two versions, two musical tracks, twice the fun!)

Original post: http://maryhughesbooks.blogspot.com/2009/10/welcome-guest-blogger-vivi-andrews.html