Tuesday, May 19, 2020

3T Writing Tidbit

This one is from Bruce Campbell, in his autobiography Hail to the Chin, which is excellent reading (see below if you're interested in checking it out). He gives us the essence of story structure in brilliantly clear language.

A story can be separated into three pieces (the Three Act structure).

I Introduce the problem
II Confront the problem
III Solve the problem


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I earn from qualifying purchases.)

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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 12, 2020

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: Monaka & Laptop via photopin (license)
The Strange Places Ideas Come From--originally posted August 17, 2016.


My husband is in IT, running his own data center. He often brings work home, but he loves his job, and I'm happy he's happy—and besides, bringing work home is better than his having to groggily drive out in the middle of the night, which was true of one of his other jobs (I always sent a shot-gunner along to keep him awake in the form of myself or one of our kids, and an extra $20 for coffee, lol).

The thing is, for his current job, sometimes it's not just clients calling. Sometimes the computers call.

Strictly speaking, the servers on the computers that call. Problem is, he's got things set up to send an alert to his phone when a server is in trouble. Whatever time, day or night. Which leads to a story.

Now most times, his phone chirps with a minor problem. We wake up, but after a check, manage to go back to sleep.

Sometimes things get a little crazier.

The second weekend in March is Daylight Savings Time in the Midwest, where we set our clocks forward an hour, and two in the morning becomes three. One of the things the servers check for is power outages, based on--you guessed it--time. If the computer clock is missing so much as five seconds, it sends an alarm.

The phone alarm is a quick whallow-whoop, a small sound, but it can herald huge problems, like the data center crashing. Like a baby's whimper, it doesn't take long for that sound to auto-trigger a flood of stomach acid.

So at three-oh-one a.m. that Sunday, hubby's phone, laying on his nightstand, went crazy. Error-error-error-error...every few seconds it would throw another alarm. Whallow-whoop. Whallow-whoop. It was not a restful night, lol.

The time change is a really great example of how computers think differently than humans. People, faced with Daylight Savings Time, well, we might wake up an hour late and realize we're late for or missed a meeting or church or work. And we say, "Darn, I'm late," and let it go at that. Maybe we grumble a bit and there's fallout and we take care of it.

But computers...they're like dogs, in a way. They'll check the time and cry, "I'm late!" A second later they'll check the time and cry, "I'm still late!" And a second later, "Still late!" ad infinitum, that is FOREVER. Each with equal fervor, as if it's brand new.

Wouldn't that make an awesome story? A human and robot, either partners or in competition, and the human is rubbish at everything compared to the robot until they're in a situation like this?

Seeing the ordinary from a new angle is one place ideas come from.

What about you? Where do your ideas come from?

Less than one week to Mind Mates release and virtual tour! Much giveaway goodness and blog fun.

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Pretty little shifter, wizard prince—their taboo love could burn the barriers between worlds.

When a powerful wizard prince comes out of hiding to save his sister, he is forced to team with a pretty shifter—one with dangerous powers of her own. With vengeful enemies close behind, and forbidden attraction flaming between them, the two must race to find a mysterious key.

 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Monday, April 20, 2020

3T Writing Tidbit--It must be High Concept! But what does that mean...?

Everything must be High Concept!!

Okay, sounds good. But what does that mean? If you ask, you'll get answers like--
  • Life and death!!
  • Galaxies at stake!!
  • Two exclamation points!!
Given these restrictions, I can think of only three different stories to tell. Where's the place for cozy mysteries, gentle reflections, coming of age tales? If it can't sell without a death in it, where's the room for comedy and happily-ever-after endings?

Don't lose hope! I've since seen the show Lucifer and had a shocking idea.

Any concept can be high concept.

What if high concept doesn't just mean humanity teetering on the edge of destruction? What if there's a very simple way to still write those gentler genres--but still make them more?

This is my take on High Concept.

Start with your concept. It'll probably have a couple parts that are in conflict with each other. Raise one of those items (bump it up a level). Then raise the other. Check the new dramatic possibilities. Use them to bump again. Repeat until you can't wait to write it!

Let's take a simple, universal example--

Boy meets girl. They fall in love.

Now bump up the boy. He's the son of a rich Italian family. Hmm... this has possibilities.

Bump up the girl. She's a poor waif in contrast to the rich boy...or wait. Make her the daughter of another rich Italian family...one feuding with the boy's family. This has dramatic possibilities!

Bump up the love. They can't live without each other, so they form a suicide pact. Or wait, they pretend to suicide...or do they? What if one dies and the other kills themselves in grief? What if that tragic resolution reconciles the feuding families?

Yeah. In just three bumps, you've got the archetypal high concept Romeo and Juliet.

From Lucifer: Start with a demon who wants a vacation from hell. Bump it up to Lucifer himself. Bump that up to vacationing in Los Angeles. Bump that to him meeting a detective who doesn't immediately fall in lust with him.

See how, with each bump, the possibilities expand?

Now take your concept and raise it to such dizzying heights you just have to write 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.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

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: Guess who? :) via photopin (license))
Princess: Pleasure or Pain?--originally posted July 20, 2016.

As part of the Cin Wikkid: April Fools For Love book tour, I did a couple posts on the top 5 pleasures and the top 5 problems of being a princess. As you can see, it's not all fun and games--but the perks might just be worth it!

From last month--my TOP 5 PLEASURES OF BEING A PRINCESS
  1. Sparkly tiara.
  2. Handsome prince. Or an ogre prince, but the key point is, this is your soulmate.
  3. Adventure.
  4. No cooking or cleaning! My personal fave.
  5. Ponies. Matched. Drawing a fancy carriage. ‘Nuff said.
So there are the Perks of Princessdom. But there are two sides to everything (or more!) and that includes princesses.

photo credit: Camilla & Catherine via photopin (license)
TOP 5 PROBLEMS OF BEING A PRINCESS

Frankly, Kate makes being a princess look easy and fun. But while there are a lot of perks to being a princess, there are quite a few down sides as well.

Here are my top 6 (with a tie for #5).
  1. Surely the worst thing about being a princess is those back-breaking, oh-so-fragile glass high heels. Or skyscraper heels of any sort. Sure, they’re gorgeous (yes, I may be whimpering a little in yearning at the shoe pictured here), but what is the price of these beauties in chiropractic and podiatry bills?
  2. Enduring long affairs of state (worse if you’re wearing the back-twisters, above). Although I’ve heard there’s champagne at these gigs, always served on silver trays by waitstaff in crisp black and white uniforms. That probably makes these shindigs worthwhile, or at least more tolerable.
  3. photo credit: Wicked Stepmother. via photopin (license)
    Your very own nemesis. For some of the more adventurous princesses, this may qualify as a perk, lol. But from Wicked Stepmothers to Evil Viziers, you’re in the big leagues now, and that means big problems in the form of an Arch Villain.
  4. Being treated like an object. Unfortunately, there is a form of princess who isn’t star of her own story. Most often in this sad reality, “the girl” is fought over by the Hero and Villain like a juicy steak. She’s trotted out only three times—at the beginning as a rescue goal, in the middle to remind everyone what the stakes are, and at the end as a reward. On the plus side, this kind of princess gets to languish a lot and doesn’t have much work to do.
  5. Tying for number five are two of my personal deal-breakers for princess as a career choice. First, you can’t swear. Ever. Only words like sugarplums can drop from royal lips, or the paparazzi or worse, the Princess Censorship League, get hold of it and bam, it’s time to hang up the royal tiara. Second, a princess doesn’t get a choice of where to rule. Sure, some lucky princesses get Hawaii. But what if you are born or marry into the Kingdom of Northern Freezing Extremities? Good luck finding flattering goose-down gowns. And glass high heels on ice? Whole new meaning to the words "royal pain".
CinWikkid3x4.5What about you? Would you take up the tiara anyway? Any favorite Princessly problems I’ve missed? Let me know! Cin Wikkid: April Fools For Love
 Amazonauk
From award-winning bestselling author Mary Hughes comes a fairytale romance with a twist.


THE WRONGED DAUGHTER Cinderella hungers to escape from under Widow Wikkid's grinding thumb. But to snare a plum job at Prince Industries, Cin desperately needs her degree, and she can't wrap her mind around tax accounting.
Then scarred but sexy Rafe Montoya ignites her imagination with his brilliant tutoring—and, as they work together in his cozy apartment, he sets her body on fire. She thinks he's the one for her, until he starts pushing her to attend Gideon Prince's marriage-mart ball.
THE HANDSOME PRINCE Rafe is really Gideon Prince, head of Prince Industries. He must name his bride by his April first birthday or suffer the loss of his family fortune.
Rumors say he's still single because women love his money and looks, not him. Is he lonely or just another duplicitous tycoon?
THE GLASS SLIPPER TEST Hopefuls flock to Prince's birthday ball, but only the woman who is kind, wise, and generous will win his heart. Is it Cin, or will her stepmother, as she always does, snatch the prize for her own daughters?
And on the night of the ball, when Cin discovers Rafe’s true identity, can she even accept his final test?
Warning: Rags-to-riches fairytale meets the texting generation. Stepsisters who are a blush-brush shy of a full makeup set, and a ball gown built like a tank. Contains material intended for mature audiences. Reader discretion advised.
For anyone who has ever been persecuted or hidden their light under a bushel.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Don't miss the MASSIVE SALE going on now

I'm so grateful for my publisher, Liz Pelletier and Entangled. To help ease the burden of isolation at this difficult time, they're discounting their entire category imprints to 99¢ and putting the first book in all single title series for free. This means for a limited time...

Night's Caress is free. Brie Lark wants nothing to do with her hometown or vampires, but FBI Special Agent Seb Rikare needs her help on a case…in her hometown. And she’s pretty sure he’s a vampire. What’s the worst that can happen?

Bite My Fire is free. Cop Elena packs a gun and an attitude. Master vamp Bo’s the biggest suspect in her murder investigation.

Over a thousand books are sale priced. Find them at

Barnes and Noble All Free/99¢
Kobo 99¢ sale
Kobo free
Google Play free

Also at Amazon, but there's no ability to list by publisher.

*Ebooks are free/discounted at most retailers.

You can find my books at
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