Tuesday, November 16, 2021

3T Writing Tidbit

 What makes a hero? 

This applies to both male and female heroes.

When we think hero, we (or at least I) most often think of Marvel or DC superheroes, the ones who wear cool costumes and land with such great panache. 

But for books, that gets kinda boring. How can the reader connect with someone so above the top fabulous? Parenthetically, this is why Sherlock Holmes only works with Watson. We need someone to connect with, who can then connect us to Holmes's brilliance.

So when you write your hero (male or female), try this. 

Make them persevere, not because they're a heroically inclined do-gooder, but because they have to make rent. Or their mom is pressuring them. Something we can connect with.

Make them great, not because they want to be, but because they need to live or they don't want to but there's no one else and they know it.

Vampire, human, wolf, or jinn, make your hero human, a being readers can connect with.

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.  

Monday, November 15, 2021

Elias is finally here.

 

Cave-deep voice. Fiendishly smart. Brutally strong. Controls himself with a will of titanium. Hella protective, especially of innocents. Blisteringly rich, highly enigmatic, and almost omniscient. Ten-thousand-year-old vampire. 

It's been a long time coming. Eleven years if you count the Biting Love stories. But today, Night's Bliss, Rey Kean and Kai Elias's story, can be in your hands.

I could never trust a vampire. Ever. It wasn’t enough that vampires killed my parents and left me for dead. Nope, they also left me with this searing fear of every one of their kind. But when someone I care about grows sick from poison, I have no choice but to infiltrate a Romanian castle filled with pissy, evil vampires in search of the antidote.

And my only saving grace is that for some reason, I can do things other humans can’t.

Unfortunately, I also seem to be the perfect bait for the Vampire King, Kai Elias. More than seven feet of dark, wicked charisma, ancient eyes, and a body that holds more power and raw, animal sexuality than I can resist. But there’s something about Elias that looks painfully, terrifyingly familiar.

Now I am in over my head and my heart. And my only choice is to trust this dark, charismatic creature…or die.

Don't miss this epic conclusion to the Ancients series and the Biting Love universe.

Elias is here


Cave-deep voice. Fiendishly smart. Brutally strong. Controls himself with a will of titanium. Hella protective, especially of innocents. Blisteringly rich, highly enigmatic, and almost omniscient. Ten-thousand-year-old vampire. 

We've been waiting for Elias's story for a long time. Eleven years, if you count the Biting Love stories. But finally, today, Rey Kean and Kai Elias's story can be in your hands.

I could never trust a vampire. Ever. It wasn’t enough that vampires killed my parents and left me for dead. Nope, they also left me with this searing fear of every one of their kind. But when someone I care about grows sick from poison, I have no choice but to infiltrate a Romanian castle filled with pissy, evil vampires in search of the antidote.

And my only saving grace is that for some reason, I can do things other humans can’t.

Unfortunately, I also seem to be the perfect bait for the Vampire King, Kai Elias. More than seven feet of dark, wicked charisma, ancient eyes, and a body that holds more power and raw, animal sexuality than I can resist. But there’s something about Elias that looks painfully, terrifyingly familiar.

Now I am in over my head and my heart. And my only choice is to trust this dark, charismatic creature…or die.

Don't miss this epic conclusion to the Ancients series and the Biting Love Universe.

 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

2T Repeat Performance - Plots Like Puzzles

I've done a number of blog tours over the years, posting on different sites. Now I'm bringing them to you!

Originally published February 17, 2011 for the Samhellion

 
Come with me on a dangerous trek, a journey through my writer’s brain.

Ever do those maze puzzles?  Your job is to get from point A to point B through a series of baffling twists. There are a zillion ways to go from point A, each turn multiplying the possibilities. They’re frustrating and fun and before I finish I inevitably want to scream at the guy who drew all those *&@!! twists.

That’s a writer’s job in a nutshell: to write those screaming twists.

Last month I talked about verbing. Today I’m contorting the average storyline into something more--interesting. I’m taking my example from Biting Me Softly, because it’s handy and I know how I changed it. Oh, and because it just released in paperback this month (wink-wink, nudge-nudge say no more). “I” in this case is Liese, a girl-next-door computer geek. Logan is six-three of golden graceful vampire. Liese has followed Logan into a dark sewer, lured by odd howling. She has tripped and fallen.

Here’s the original.

I breathed deep, put my hand out to push up and encountered boot leather. Was this what tripped me?

This goes from A to B to C. Breathe, hand out, boot leather. No surprises.

Here’s the updated version. Note the expectation set explicitly, A, expecting B, getting C:

I put my hand out to push myself up. Instead of cold concrete my palm hit leather. I froze. Was this what tripped me?

And from there:

I brushed tentative fingers along the leather, identified a work boot attached to something. Stiff fabric, like jeans. Moving farther I encountered what felt like a leatherette coat.

A man? If so, he wasn’t moving, like…a dead body. I panicked, scrambled on hands and knees to find the neck, to find the pulse.

Where there should have been a neck, there was nothing.

This is pretty good, especially the part where she searches for a pulse and not only doesn’t find one--she doesn’t even find a neck.

My secret for solving those *&@!! maze puzzles is to start at the end and work my way backwards. And that's the secret to writing those lovely twists too! Decide what you want to have happen, and set a different expectation first. Simple, but not easy. 😁 Easiest is to set the opposite expectation, like expecting concrete and getting a boot. Harder but sometimes more satisfying is veering slightly off, like a car chase where you're expecting a car to chase Our Hero and a monster truck screams onto the road instead. Or if you're going for humor, a unicycle.

What about you? If you write, how do you create twists? If you read, what are your favorite twists?


Monday, October 25, 2021

Spooky Savings on Steamy Stories!

Night's Caress is part of a whole treat-bag full of goodies on sale for Halloween! 

Links for Night's Caress at Books2Read (Amazon link is a paid link). 

The Entangled books are here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

3T Writing Tidbit

I have a bunch of index cards. Every time I come across a bit of writing wisdom, I write it on a card. I now have between fifty and a hundred cards, with one or more tidbits on each.

Here's one I came across, to give you an idea:

Clues to where it goes, goes there

  • -NO! Goes not there
  • or one step further
  • or sideways
  • or back

What are the consequences if she fails?

How does her decision affect the external world?

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 12, 2021

2T Repeat Performance - Selling Verbs

 I've done a number of blog tours over the years, posting on different sites. Now I'm bringing them to you!

Originally published January 20, 2011 for the Samhellion


Cars chasing, crashing, exploding. Fireworks shooting, color splashing in the sky. A fire licking in the fireplace on a cold winter night.

Motion attracts us. I learned this early in my marriage, when I had to compete with a flickering television for my tired husband’s attention after a long day’s work. To be fair, he had to also compete for mine. :)

We writers can’t make words physically dance across the page. Or at least, not yet  :) For now we have to evoke motion with strong clean verbs.

Last month I talked about immediacy. Today I’m pushing (shoving forcing selling driving thrusting) verbs. I’m taking my example from Biting Me Softly, because it’s handy and I know how I changed it—and okay, because it’s coming out in paperback February 1 (bats eyelashes appealingly). “I” in this case is Liese, a girl-next-door computer geek. Logan is six-three of golden graceful vampire. They’ve just met but the attraction is instant and explosive.

 I squeaked, trembling between cold hard steel and hot hard Steel. My lips parted on a gasp and in that instant Logan’s mouth claimed mine.

His kiss was hungry, deep and driving, like he wanted to eat me to my toes. I was instantly on fire. I wrapped my arms around his neck, tried to fuse with his scorching strength to burn more. My breasts rasped against his thrust of chest, my nipples cinching. Logan’s fingers found the hard nubs, tightened around them like vises. Lightning bolts of need streaked through me. My respiration shot into overdrive. I swallowed a cry and arched into his palms. Logan’s fingers clamped harder. I shrieked.

Dropped, eat, fuse, and rasped are good strong verbs. I personally like squeak because it conveys character too. But I “was” on fire? Logan’s fingers “found” the hard nubs?

What verbs would you use instead? How about swept, grabbed, seized?

Fire swept my body, melting bones and muscles. I wrapped my arms around his neck to save myself from liquefying into a puddle of 10W-Liese at his feet. My breasts rasped against the thrust of his chest, my nipples cinched at the scorching heat. He grabbed my breasts two-handed, long fingers seizing the hard nubs and pinching them like vises.

What verbs would you choose? What are your favorites, and why?