Tuesday, May 24, 2016

4T Olio--A Book I've Enjoyed

Recently a local librarian mentioned a book that made her ignore her Thanksgiving turkey. I'm all about books that are so gripping they make me forget about daily life, so I asked her for the title. This was my introduction to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

I used to read more literary books when I was younger. It takes a certain amount of time and concentration I don't usually have these rushed days.

But there are a few books that transcend the literary to become ripping good reads. This is one.
 
Why did I enjoy it?
  • Lots of interwoven story lines.
  • Interesting food and drink.
  • Interesting, almost exotic characters. 
  • Magic!
  • Kittens!
  • A fantastic love story.

I wasn't sure at the beginning of the book if it was going to be too esoteric for the mood I was in--and I may have skipped the introduction--but within a few pages I was hooked. I did skim a couple pages in the middle, but again, that was life hounding me rather than the story lagging.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

The Night Circus is available for Kindle and Nook as well as many other formats at many other retailers. Erin Morgenstern's website is here.

Frankly, doing book reports as a child was grueling. I just wanted to read the story, to experience the adventure and the emotion. But I do want to share my favorites with you. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a book I've enjoyed!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Release Blast for Between Midnight and Dawn--Guest Cheryl Yeko


WisRWA friend and award-winning author Cheryl Yeko has a great new release today, and a book tour with a $20 Amazon eGift Card giveaway!

Enter to Win a $10.00 Amazon eGift Card


BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN
Cheryl Yeko
Releasing May 19th, 2016
Soul Mate Publishing


Kyle Wade has spent over half his life seeking justice for his mother’s brutal murder at the hands of the serial killer known as C.H.K. His efforts lead him to Nicole Chambers, a woman he quickly develops strong feelings for.

Now he’s torn between keeping Nicole safe, or using her as bait to capture the monster stalking her.

BUY NOW




My writing career began in 2011, after my wonderful husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas and changed my world. I started reading romance novels, and fell in love with them. I decided to write one myself, and disappeared into my room over a long Wisconsin winter and wrote my debut novel, PROTECTING ROSE. I submitted to a few publishing houses and was offered a contract with Soul Mate Publishing, which I quickly accepted.

PROTECTING ROSE went on to win the 2012 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in the romantic suspense category. Well, I was hooked.

Today, I'm a multi-published, award-winning author, and live in Wisconsin with my husband Patrick. I love to read, play piano, and spend time with family and friends. I enjoy novels with fast-paced action and steamy romance, protective alpha men and strong heroines. I belong to several writing groups, including Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Sisters in Crime.

Please sign up for Cheryl’s Newsletter, with her two BFF’s, Char Chaffin and Callie Hutton.

Char and Cheryl also write together under the pen name, CiCi Cordelia, Writing From The Heart. Find us on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cici-Cordelia/e/B01AJ5EM90


Cheryl is also an Acquisitions Editor for Soul Mate Publishing. As an Editor, she welcomes Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Contemporary, and Erotica. You can reach her at Cheryl@SoulMatePublishing.com



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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

3T Writing Tidbit

Recently I wrote the first draft of a scene that, when I re-read it, struck me as strangely passive-aggressive. In it, the heroine, Cinderella, is helping her stepsisters get ready for the Prince's ball. She has all sorts of snarky thoughts about the way her stepsisters' clothes and makeup choices don't really work for them (the thin sister belts her gauzy dress instead of letting it float about her bony body, the pink-faced blonde is trying to wear Cleopatra makeup), but Cinderella tries to help them look beautiful anyway.

I realized the problem was that Cinderella, though she acts in a compassionate manner, is having these snarky thoughts, funny, but essentially dissing the stepsisters behind their backs. Which can been seen as sneaky, not snarky.

So I brought the thoughts into the open. She still keeps the more acid comments to herself but in the rewrite, she presents the problems to the stepsisters out loud. Things like "Please try this nice pink blush," but her stepsister slaps her hand. Now it comes off as her truly trying to be helpful, much better for the character Cinderella, who's supposed to be sweet and kind.

This is a similar problem to the one I wrote about last month, where I asserted

ONLY STRUGGLING WITH IT MAKES IT REAL. (*For all values of IT.)

Now I add to that--CONFRONTING AN ISSUE IS BETTER THAN THINKING WHY NOT.**

**I'm not talking about struggling with an issue mentally. I'm talking about places where the heroine thinks about taking action BUT DECIDES NOT TO, passages like
Jane wanted to  confront the bastard and tell him off. But she knew he wouldn't listen. So she went and ate ice cream.
Sure, it works, and I've written stuff like this. But much better, at least to my mind now, is,
Jane went to confront the bastard. "You bastard," she screamed. He turned away from her with an upraised hand. Jerk. So she went and ate ice cream.
What about you? Any stories where you think confrontation would have been better?

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, May 3, 2016

May 1T Status Update

Another busy month!
  • Proposal package complete for Biting Love Book 10. This will also be the first of the last trilogy (or quartet) of Biting Love books, with the subtitle The Ancient Ones.
  • Be sure to get your copy of ARe BESTSELLER Biting Serendipity: April Fools For Love 2015 before the price goes up May 9! Amazon | Amazon UK | Nook | ARe
  • The April Fools For Love take over the All Romance Ebooks cafe for the first week of May. Fun with short stories--plus giveaways! Schedule below.
  • Edits for Mind Mates
  • Cover reveal for Mind Mates (blog readers--special reveal for you below!)
  • Finish applying edits for Hot Chips and Sand
  • Continue first draft of Biting Love Book 10 (The Ancient Ones, book 1) 
  • Our orchestra is performing the Brahms German Requiem with a huge choir. Really looking forward to this!
April Fools For Love on Short Stories (Note: Links will become good on the day listed.)
 Mind Mates secret cover reveal...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

4T Olio--a Book I've Enjoyed

photo credit: book dog groucho via photopin (license)
I picked this one up from the New Releases on my local library's shelves on a whim. I'd read the author some years back and enjoyed the series but didn't keep up on it.

But this one? Gladiators on a trampoline, it was awesome.

The book is Deadly Election by Lindsey Davis, third in the Flavia Albia mystery series, with continuing characters from the Marcus Didius Falco series.

Why is it so amazing?
  • Flavia Albia is seriously hilarious. Lots of really witty observations.
  • Well written.
  • She's a 1st century detective. How cool is that?
  • I like stories that I can painlessly learn something (through the action). These stories are well researched, yet her research was represented in vivid interaction with the time and place, not dry facts.
  • A love interest who does NOT get tossed to the side or murdered.
  • I like mysteries.
  • Good editing.
  • She's widow living on her own, and an adopted Briton with no known past, so she's a mystery and a bit of outsider even though she's totally accepted by her adopting family. 
  • Her family has money but she doesn't, except what she earns. 
  • She's capable and smart and kind, but also strong mentally. She's a woman so she notices stuff like jewelry and makeup and how a home is put together from the woman's point of view and women's roles in her society.

Deadly Election: A Flavia Albia Mystery

In the first century A.D., during Domitian's reign, Flavia Albia is ready for a short break from her family. So despite the oppressive July heat, she returns to Rome, leaving them at their place on the coast. Albia, daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, the famed private informer (now retired), has taken up her father's former profession, and it's time to get back to work. The first order of business, however, is the corpse that was found in a chest sent as part of a large lot to be sold by the Falco family auction house. As the senior family representative in Rome, it falls upon Albia to identify the corpse, find out why he was killed, who killed him, and, most important, how did it end up in the chest.
At the same time, her potential young man, Faustus, comes looking for help with his friend Sextus's political campaign. Between the auction business and Roman politics, it's not quite clear which one is the more underhanded and duplicitous. Both, however, are tied together by the mysterious body in the chest, and if Albia isn't able to solve that mystery, it won't be the only body to drop.

Deadly Election is available on Kindle and Nook as well as Kindle UK. It's also available in hardcover and paperback (and audio at Amazon.com).

Frankly, doing book reports as a child was grueling. I just wanted to read the story, to experience the adventure and the emotion. But I do want to share my favorites with you. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a book I've enjoyed!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

3T Writing Tidbit

Television for me is a quick way to see story techniques. So here's one I fell across recently.

Do you watch Bones? The hero, Seeley Booth, is an FBI agent and tough as nails, but he also understands people really well and connects emotionally.

Well, anyway, the point is your hero is supposed to have a "problem" and Seeley's is that he has a gambling addiction. But in the nine seasons I've been watching, Seeley is way too cool and manly to fall prey to it.

Except this last season, we saw him lose to that addiction. He fell, and he fell hard. I hated seeing Seeley brought to his knees by a stupid addiction. I mean really hated it, how he lied and how he treated his family, very unSeeley.

But here's the thing--that one thing made the addiction real.

For the first time in nine seasons,  I believed he had a gambling addiction. Which leads to the statement--

ONLY STRUGGLING WITH IT MAKES IT REAL.

For whatever IT is. So if your beta readers or crit partners are saying something's not real enough, that might mean your point-of-view character never struggles with it.

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.