Tuesday, November 20, 2018

3T Writing Tidbit

A conundrum for you:

Filter words. These are the words like "feeling" "seeing" "listening" which we're told distance the reader from being deep inside the point of view character's experience. They should be cut or rewritten. For example:

Filtered I heard the dog running through the dry grass and turned.
Good My ears pricked eagerly at the sound of the dog running through the dry grass, and I turned.
Better The joyous whisk of the dog's paws through the dry grass turned me.

Filtered I saw the monster coming.
Good My breath quickened at the sight of the approaching monster.
Better The monster! My heart leaped into my throat.

But here's the thing. When I describe what I'm doing, that's all physical. It's the exact words like feeling, seeing, and listening which take me inside my own head. Which to me seems contrary to the point of being paradoxical. Or maybe I'm not seeing it correctly.

Can anybody (hi, Helen :) ) help me out?

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, November 13, 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.

Fairy Pools - Isle of Skye
Magic Happens When You Open Your Door and Let the Adventure Begin -- Guest Leigh Morgan--originally posted June 25, 2015.

You don’t have to travel out your door for magic to enter your bones and change the way you see the world, but it’s easier to do if you’ve got a wandering soul. I love to travel and would do more if time and resources allowed. That’s not technically true—if resources allowed, I’d find the time.

Getting a new perspective, quite literally by changing what we see, is just one of the things that makes travel a creative endeavor. Minds open. Art happens. And, sometimes a lit bit of something wonderful touches us and stays in our hearts and our minds forever. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

Good storytelling grabs me and scuttles me away to a different time, place, world that is not mine, but one where I love vacationing for a while. Great storytelling is like travel. It opens the mind, the heart, and leaves me moved in some elemental way. In Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “It’s a dangerous business...going out your door. You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

This summer I’ll be swept off to Scotland and I can’t wait.

Part of this trip is research for a series of novels I’m writing that are set in Scotland. They will be connected by setting and by Clan affiliation. I’ll be on the Isle of Skye, paying special attention to Clan Donald and Clan Macleod. I love research, especially the hands-on kind, so this will be an adventure for me. My daughter will also be in Scotland for most of the summer on an archeological dig on the Ness of Brodgar on Orkney. Had she not traveled to Orkney with us in 2009, she may not have even known about the excavation, much less have the opportunity to be a part of it.

See, travel is magic.

When we stayed on Orkney in 2009, we noticed that one of the farms across the Ness from us had tape marking off sections of land, some of which had clearly been dug by archeological experts. Being an inquisitive type (feel free to read: busybody) I asked the farmer what was going on. Apparently the farmer, who was more than happy to talk to us, had hired someone new to plow his field that spring. The gentleman he hired brought out equipment that dug deeper than usual and struck what is now being excavated—a huge Neolithic Temple complex on the Ness.

Ness of Brodgar excavation
How cool is that? The farmer wasn’t so thrilled then, but I bet he is now when he rents his house to tourists at greatly increased prices. We all got caught up in the story and now, six years later, our daughter gets to be part of history. Pure, unadulterated magic. And I get to write about it. Here’s a link to a National Geographic article about the dig, if you’re interested.

image009image007image005

You don’t have to travel far for inspiration to crash into you and open your eyes to something wonderful. A song on the radio I couldn’t get out of my head was the igniting force behind my novel, Second Chances. A documentary on ancient Viking swords spurred the storyline in the third Warrior Chronicles book, Defending Destiny. Here’s a link to that documentary. Exceptionally cool stuff and the sword maker is from Wisconsin. Double dose of awesome there. A trip to our local Renaissance Faire with some costuming friends was the impetus for a scene in my Shute Pond novella, Midday Masquerade. And on my morning walk past a swampy marsh, I thought of a short murder mystery where I could off one of our town officials who is currently giving us grief—on paper folks, but it’ll still be satisfying. (Please feel free to imagine me grinning. I am.)

Going on adventures, large and small, near or far, sparks creativity, rekindles the spirit and lifts emotion like little else I’ve found. I’d love to hear about your adventures. Do they help get your creative juices flowing? Do you have a fantasy or dream adventure you’d like to take? If finances were no obstacle, where would you go, and what would you hope to experience?

image011 image013

We’re spoiled here in southeastern Wisconsin. We have numerous state and county parks. We have the world’s largest Celtic Festival and the world’s largest Music Festival at our lovely lakefront in Milwaukee. There’s music in the park most nights during the week and myriad ethnic festivals, block parties and street dances. Our Renaissance Faire is no more than ten minutes from my house. There is always an adventure waiting to happen in the summer, so finding one is easy.

I hope that whatever your dream adventure is, you’re able to experience it. I hope that the experience exceeds your expectations. I hope that you find a bit of magic in every story you read and every tale you tell. For me, that’s living the dream.

I’m giving away an e-book of your choice. Simply share an adventure you’ve taken or dream of taking. Mary will select the winner and I’ll forward your choice in the format you chose via e-mail. The covers are on the bottom, and if I’ve done my job correctly, there are links so you can read the blurbs.

I can’t wait to read your comments. Maybe I can even weave a few into a story.

Happy Summer...Let the Adventures Begin!

Leigh Morgan

image005image017image019image007image023image025image009image029

Thursday, November 1, 2018

4T Olio--How to write a character that will make your editor cheer

Direct from the awesome editor of New York Times and USA Today bestselling books. Stacy Dawn tackles the mystery of deep point of view in a reveal-all that's a must-read. Check it out here.

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