Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Book I've Enjoyed--A thank you to Helen for helping bring back my love of reading

I've loved reading ever since I first picked up Nancy Drew and Bambi. Which is a good thing--writers are supposed to read.

Problem was, after I was first published, I lost the pleasure of reading. Spent most of my reading mentally editing or critiquing or downright rewriting.

So when a friend of mine, fabulous author and writing educator Helen C. Johannes, started making book recommendations to me via Goodreads, I marked them as "Want to Read" -- but didn't manage the actual "reading" part, lol.

Until recently.

Life is getting more and more complex. Takes more time and energy. I'd simply had it--I needed downtime and I missed my reading. So I made a mental effort to stop critiquing, editing, rewriting.

Shockingly, it worked!

Freed, I went back to Helen's recommendations and reserved a bunch at my library, thinking I'd get a few dribbling in every week.

But noooo. Nine of them came in at once. (Insert reader fright/excitement here (!!)) So I tried one...and found myself gobbling up most of them in less than a week.
 There are many that stand out from my first reading frenzy. One is First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones.

Why did I enjoy it?
  • Charley is sarcastic
  • She has an enigmatic, sexy love interest
  • Mysteries!
  • Quirky secondary characters (including a dead guy who only stands facing the corner of her room!?!)
  • Awesome concept. "A smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper."

First Grave on the Right

Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an entity who has been following her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

Tons of buying choices on Darynda's site.

Thank you, Helen!!

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, October 18, 2016

3T Writing Tidbit

The last four months we've been bringing clarity to muddy scenes or plots with different approaches, before the beginning, starting from the end, paring the element into its essentials.

One last way to keep clarity but still have depth (without boring repetitions!) is the technique of introducing a conflict at a shallow, superficial level, then deepening it.

Why is this so hard? Well, as students we're taught to write essays and position papers. We are taught to put our topic sentence first, then expand, then reiterate. In other words: say what you're going to say; say it; say what you've said.

Not in fiction.

In fiction, we must start with the most surface of actions. Then we find an explanation or motivation for that action...which uncovers another, deeper action. Which leads us to a deeper explanation...which uncovers a deeper action yet. Et cetera, et cetera.

Overly Simplified Example--Schoolgirl Jane avoids cracks in the sidewalk. Jane, it turns out, has heard the children's rhyme "Step on a crack, break your mother's back." The class bully taunts Jane by stomping on a crack. Jane screams and punches the bully in the face. Jane is hauled before the school principal, who demands Jane apologize to the bully. Jane refuses. Jane's parents are called into the school, but only the father comes. When presented with Jane's behavior, the father sighs. Jane's mother is dead of ovarian cancer. It presented as back pain the same day Jane stepped on a sidewalk crack. Jane feels guilty, as young children do, over her mother's death, and blames herself.

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.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Guest Katriena Knights needs your vote!

Thanks to Katriena Knights for being here today! She's got a special request for you. Welcome, Katriena!

Before I start yammering on about myself, I’d like to thank Mary for hosting this post and letting me get the word out about my new book and my Kindle Scout campaign.

Call Me Zhenya is a romantic suspense with covert operations, genetically altered operatives, and a Russian assassin who can shapeshift into a wolf. Evgeni’s not your typical werewolf, though—he was physically and genetically altered to enable the transformation. Anna is also a reconfigured operative. Her brain has been altered to hold massive quantities of information, which she can trigger when necessary.

Unfortunately, something in Anna’s brain is worth killing her to keep it a secret. So for the last two years, she’s been in protective custody in a remote location in Alaska to protect her. In the meantime, though, the higher-ups who put her there have started to reconsider their decision to keep her alive.

Two years ago, Evgeni followed orders and assassinated what he was told was a rogue agent. The assignment didn’t settle well with him, though, and he started looking closer. What he found made him question everything about the covert organization he’s been working for.

Now he’s racing against time to get Anna out of “protective custody” and into the Alaskan wilds where she’ll be safe. As long as she doesn’t ask him too many questions, everything should be fine. But as they move deeper into the unknown, they become more and more dependent upon each other, and as feelings begin to develop between them, Anna must decide what’s more dangerous—the corrupt agents pursuing her, or the wolf that lurks beneath Evgeni’s skin.

As an entry on Kindle Scout, Call Me Zhenya needs your help! Just drop by the campaign page and nominate the book for publication. If the book is chosen, you’ll automatically get a free copy. If not, I’ll be putting it up for sale at a special introductory price, and I’ll also be giving away a few copies then, as well. To vote for Call Me Zhenya, visit Kindle Scout. For a free preview of the book as well as updates on giveaways and other important info, join my newsletter.

Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October 1T Status Update

Lots going on!