Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Another June Writer U Class

MASTER CLASS: "Editor-Proof That First Chapter"

by Don McNair

June 11-22, 2012

$55 at www.WriterUniv.com



Prerequisite: Must have written the first chapter of a finished manuscript on a Work In Progress.



Why did that editor reject your novel? The sad truth? Editors reject most manuscripts after only simply glancing at their first chapters. It's as if their problems were lit with neon. This course will help you spot your own manuscript's problems and-better-yet, help you fix them. Use that rejected "first chapter" as your practice field for identifying and resolving your craft mistakes, then apply your new knowledge to the total manuscript. It will become much more compelling, and hopefully-published! You'll learn how to:


*  Use strong "hooks" that draw attention

* Turn "info dumps" into sparkling, vital prose

* Strengthen verbs and correct passive voice

* Strip away author intrusions and eliminate foggy phrases

* Identify any crippling character filters

* Solve numerous other writing bugaboos



Don McNair spent his working life editing magazines, producing materials for an international PR firm, and heading his own marketing communications firm. Having won the Public Relations Society of America’s Emmy and Oscar equivalents as well as publishing hundreds of magazine articles, five novels and three non-fiction "how-to" books, he now concentrates on editing novels (see McNairEdits.com) and teaching online. See a recent student’s description of her experience in another of Don’s classes, at louisebehiel.com/tag/don-mcnair/.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Discover a New Love--Have you heard about the new romance ebook Book Club?

If you're an avid romance reader, you can save money, discover new authors, and connect with many of your favorites! Sourcebooks' new ebook club offers so much to readers! There's events and parties and many ways to connect with other readers and authors. What's especially exciting for me is that The Lord of Illusion is a featured book! I'm in fine company with Catherine Mann, Shana Galen, and Terry Spear! You can check us out here: http://www.discoveranewlove.com/featured-selections/featured-romance-ebooks.html

And the Discover a New Love's home page is here: http://www.discoveranewlove.com/

Friday, May 25, 2012

Kicking Eternity by Ann Lee Miller

Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.


The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ life. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.

Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.

Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths.

Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?

For anyone who’s ever wrestled with their dreams.

http://www.amazon.com/Kicking-Eternity-ebook/dp/B0082GF8CE

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Latest Writing Innovation, by Caris Roane



The last three years in publishing have been like being caught in high waves and trying to get to shore without getting smashed to bits.
In 2010, I wrote the first three books of my Guardians of Ascension series and savored the process because that’s all I was doing.  I launched a Caris Roane website and thought my job was nicely done.  Oh, and a Facebook page that I pretty much ignored.  My pub house would manage all the promotion, right?
January of 2011, when the first book of my series launched, Borders closed.  Borders, it turned out, was half my order.  My long sought-after path evaporated before my eyes.
As the reality set in that change really was here in the publishing industry, panic ensued.
So, in 2011, I tackled what was for me the confusing ranks of social networking:  blogging on blogs other than my website, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, gmail comments and requests from fans, and so forth.  And I wrote 3 more novels and a novella.
By December of 2011, with only 3 books out, my pub house cancelled my series because the sales weren’t strong enough for them to risk going past book #6.  But my editor then asked for a vampire trilogy.  Apparently, pub house sales forces love to sell brand new series.  So it was good news-bad news:  series cancelled but the pub house still wanted to continue to build ‘Caris Roane’.
In some ways, I felt I’d been sent back to square one and had to start over.  This isn’t entirely true, but in some respects it is.  The digital age has changed everything. 
I had to reassess my writing and publishing goals.  Though I’d already decided to self-publish paranormal novellas with the hopes of building a stronger digital readership, which apparently in turn boosts print sales (yes, I know, go figure), I knew the game had changed yet again for me. 
2012, therefore, has become all about writing as much as I can this year, about doing blogs less and building up Facebook more (blogs are time consuming, Facebook is just plain fun), and about getting organized to sustain a much heavier writing/publishing load.
One truth I’ve learned about myself as a writer, is that I need time as in weeks to properly develop a story before I begin writing.  I’ll put a story idea through many ringers before I’m satisfied.  I use the hero’s journey, Debra Dixon’s, Goal, Motivation, and Conflict, I’ll use notes that I took on Donald Maass’s work, and I’ll often review the concepts from Story Magic as well.  I spend time with my characters, getting to know what they want, what short-term and long-term goals they have, what they fear and how they’re wounded.  All of these things work better for me if they’re explored, again, over time.
But how is that possible with a heavier writing load?  Who has that kind of time?
So, sometime in March of 2012, after I’d turned in my sixth 145,000 word manuscript to my pub house, I decided to set up a file on each project I intend to write over the next 2 years.  The vampire trilogy, for instance, that I have submitted to my pub house, has three files: three couples, three separate stories, and one strong arc.  I also created a file for my second and third self-published novellas.  And since I’m launching my Valerie King backlist and hope to write companion novellas for each book I release, I set up a file for the first original novella as well.
What do I do with the files?  This has been one of the best innovations I’ve come up with in a long time for facilitating my writing process.  I spend my first hour with these files/projects.  And what I’m finding is that my brain, my creative spirit, and possibly my soul as well, has enough capacity to move from one project to the next in a very productive manner.  What does this give me?  Time with each project, each day, and I have been amazed at how much I can move each story forward with just 5-10 minutes a day per story idea. 
The left side of the file has a graph that I use to chart the plot-progression of the story.  The right side has a bunch of lined paper that I fill up with lots of random developmental ideas about the story and characters.  But the top sheet I call:  Summary of Ideas.  That sheet gets only those concepts that have given me goose-bumps, that one signature that tells me the idea will work for the story.
I use other forms as well that get stacked beneath the plot-graph on the left, things like:  Character Star which tracks development of each character, Fatal Flaw which is a form I created that helps me work through the steps of a character’s out-of-balance survival system, and a form I call Dynamic Tension, which reviews character goals and opposition.
This may sound super ‘organized’, but it’s meant only to give some structure to what for me is a writing process that involves a constant flow of tornados through my head. 
I hope this can be of use to you.  I heartily recommend you give it a try, especially if you’re like me and you enjoy working on a great diversity of projects at once.  Having done this for 2 months now, I can report that it has been a phenomenal addition to my writing/publishing arsenal.

Cheers,
Caris

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

June Writer U Classes

MASTER CLASS: "The Alpha Female, from Angelina to Zenobia"


by Laurie Schnebly Campbell

June 4-15, 2012

$55 at www.WriterUniv.com

Prerequisite: Must be writing or planning a heroine with some unique internal and/or external strength

While alpha males are easy to define -- they're the big strong leaders -- alpha females are trickier. What makes a woman strong? In the animal world her power comes from mating with the alpha male, but heroines throughout history have drawn power from more than just a top-dog mate. Still, even a real-life woman who rules her world, whether that's a large family or a small empire, can't have all the answers...if she did, she'd be starring in a biography rather than a novel. Discover what readers love about alpha females, with lessons and (always optional) homework on:

* Her hidden weaknesses...and hidden strengths

* Relationships with equals and with her underlings

* Where her power comes from: body, mind, soul

* When and how she should fight to win

* Which challenges we can't let her overcome

* What she'll need for a plausible happy ending

Every time Laurie Schnebly Campbell taught her class on "Alpha Males, from Abe to Zeus," the question came up: What about alpha females? She always regretted not knowing enough about that topic to teach it, but a lot of reading and watching alpha heroines in action has provided new insight into what makes those characters work. So here's the answer!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Giving Back


During the holidays we are reminded of our many blessings and how we can give back as a way of saying thank you. Yesterday, I spent the morning with work colleagues at a retirement breakfast and listened to a story one of my friends told. I was amazed by how much she does to help those in need every month of the year. She is amazing and, yes, she made me feel guilty. I reminded myself that I have worked at a school in a low income area for twenty years, I give at church, and give to charities, but it didn't seem like enough next to her efforts.

Later that day, my husband had an appointment to give blood. I decided to join him and discovered, thanks to their computer records, I hadn't given since 1992. I know there is a big need for blood donations, but I always seemed to busy to drive three miles down the road to their center. I felt worse when I watched my husband jump when he saw the needle. He hates needles and yet he gives on a regular basis. I, on the other hand, don't mind needles much and have a great vein. It also didn't take long to complete the donation. I decided then that I would donate next to my husband from now on. The woman who checked me in called it our date. It was probably the best date we've been on since we were helping others.

I encourage you to take time from your busy schedule to give blood, and better yet, make it a date with your significant other.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Duke's Perfect Wife by Jennifer Ashley

Lady Eleanor Ramsay is the only one who knows the truth about Hart Mackenzie. Once his fiancee, she is the sole woman to whom he could ever pour out his heart.


Hart has it all--a dukedom, wealth, power, influence, whatever he desires. Every woman wants him--his seductive skills are legendary. But Hart has sacrificed much to keep his brothers safe, first from their brutal father, and then from the world. He's also suffered loss--his wife, his infant son, and the woman he loved with all his heart though he realized it too late.

Now, Eleanor has reappeared on Hart's doorstep, with scandalous nude photographs of Hart taken long ago. Intrigued by the challenge in her blue eyes--and aroused by her charming, no-nonsense determination--Hart wonders if his young love has come to ruin him . . . or save him.


Book Four of the Highland Pleasures (Mackenzies) series.
 
http://www.amazon.com/Dukes-Perfect-Wife-Jennifer-Ashley/dp/0425247104/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1322504654&sr=8-9

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Advertising: Facebook or Google Anyone?


As a writer, I decided to try my hand on doing an ad on Facebook and Google for my book, Shrouded in Darkness. I thought I'd try something different. I wasn't expecting much. The book is self-published, so I can easily track certain advertising projects I do if I isolate them over a period of time.
What I like about both advertising venues is that you can either pay by per click or by how many impressions you get. Also, you can narrow your audience or widen it by using key search terms or as for Facebook by a person's likes.

I didn't get one sale from either. I did get a great deal of traffic through Google. Actually double from Facebook with the same amount spent on both. Granted, my budget was limited and I only paid $50 for each ad.
It seems I'm not the only one that didn't do well on Facebook. I just heard on Wednesday that General Motors, a company with big advertising bucks is pulling $10 million in ads from Facebook. I find the timing strange, days away from Facebook's anticipated IPO. GM isn't the only company pulling their campaign from the social media giant. Granted, the amount is small compared to GM's and Facebook advertising dollars. Maybe they hope for better negotiations once Facebook goes public? Who knows...






So have you had any luck with Facebook or Google Ads? Feel free to leave a comment, or better yet, take the polls on the side panel.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hope to see you there...

Arizona Dreamin' is just around the corner!  It's been in the planning stages forever, ever since we said goodye to the last reader last year.  What is it?  A fun, interactive way to meet authors and other readers. 

SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 2012

in CHANDLER, ARIZONA (Click for Hotel Page)

  • Meet 20 authors of various genres of romance.
  • Choose 6 you find the most interesting for “Book Clubs” – 10 readers with 1 author in 30-minute sessions to ask them questions and talk about their books.
  • Event Bookstore with discounted pricing.
  • Free Hospitality Suite with snacks and beverages.
  • Meet Jimmy Thomas, international book-cover model, and have your photo taken for a charitable donation.
  • All-you-can-eat Buffet Dinner.
  • Man of Our Dreams” cover model competition during dinner.
  • Huge raffle baskets.
  • FREE goody bags for everyone!
  • Meet with two publishers to see if there is a book in you.


It's not too late to join us for all of the fun.  Go to http://arizonadreamin.wordpress.com/ for more information.  I hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day



The authors at Much Cheaper Than Therapy want to wish all of the mothers out there a wonderful day!
We know your sacrifices, as well as your love, help mold the future of this world. Thank you.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pagan Queen by Vijay Schartz

Pagan Queen
CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE Book 2


810 AD - Alba (Ancient Scotland)
Queen at last, Pressine brings victory to her beloved Elinas and prosperity to their growing kingdom. But she has to contend with the intrigues of Charlemagne's bishops, spurred by her Christian stepson. While Elinas, on the battlefield, remains unaware of his son’s machinations, Pressine fends off repeated assaults against her life. She also fears the curse that could bring her downfall. For the love of Elinas, she will tempt fate and become with child. But when her indomitable passion challenges the wrath of the Goddess Herself... can she win that battle?

http://www.amazon.com/Vijaya-Schartz/e/B001JP7UJ4#/ref=lp_B001JP7UJ4_st?qid=1335893081&rh=n:283155,p_82:B001JP7UJ4&sort=daterank

Thursday, May 10, 2012

In A Jam

It's strawberry season! I love strawberries. I love to bit into the sweet red bodies and slurp up the juice. Even the name is fun. So when my local coop offered 8 lbs of strawberries for a very low price, I decided to order them. What was I to do with them? I initially thought about freezing them for smoothies later, but then I checked my Freezer and I already have pounds of them in plastic bags and bins. Apparently I don't love smoothies as much as I thought. So what to do. Well, I recently took up canning (apparently twelve is not enough hobbies or my freezer is full of strawberries). So I decided to make some strawberry preserves. Easier said than done. You see although my cookbook collection numbers in the high double digits so I thought that would be easy. Yeah, no. After the first twenty cookbooks, I finally stumbled across one published by Women of the Farm Board. Strawberry preserves are 4 cups mashed strawberries, 6 cups sugar and a teaspoon Alum (added after cooking). I could do it. Except no one warned me that the contents would foam up and ooze over my pot, so I ended up with a very sticky cooktop. But the preserves tasted delicious. And I have 8 pints of them to last me until next year. Now to hid them from the kids:-)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Brend Novak's Diabetes Auction is live.

Brenda Novak's auction for Diabetes research is live. There's lots of awesome things up for biding so make sure you stop by and take a look. Here's a sneak peek at the basket that I've put in. 

Bid here:  http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/Home.taf


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My author copies are in

Kim Watters here. I was so thrilled when my author copies arrived from
UPS last week. How sweet it is. 

And Father Makes Three will be available June 19,
and is also available for pre-order from Amazon. 

Even though this is my third book from Love Inspired,
there's nothing more real when you get that box, open it up and find
your name staring back at you four times. 



“Your Daughter Needs You.”

She’s saved countless lives, yet there’s one person emergency room doctor Elizabeth Randall can’t rescue—her adopted daughter, Jordan. Perhaps meeting her biological father, Blake Crawford, will be the lifeline Jordan needs. The handsome, guarded firefighter takes risks every day. But facing the daughter he never knew—along with lovely Elizabeth—has him thinking about family. With fatherhood thrust suddenly upon him, there’s no way he can turn his back on his sick child. Will working together to give Jordan a second chance at life also lead them to a second chance at love?

http://www.amazon.com/Father-Makes-Three-Love-Inspired/dp/0373877560/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1335020601&sr=1-1-catcorr

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Syn-En Solution By Linda Andrews

A woman from the past. A cyborg with no future.


They have every reason to mistrust each other but one: survival.



When Nell Stafford passed out it was 2012. When she wakes up naked aboard a

starship it's 2138, and she's surrounded by the Syn-En: synthetically-enhanced

soldiers with a grudge against humans like her. She doesn't know where she is or

what's happened, only that her world has been destroyed and everyone she's ever

known is dead.



Their leader Beijing York has just discovered his people's

creators--humans--have betrayed them. They were promised freedom and equality in exchange for settling

a newly discovered planet at the other side of a wormhole. But the Syn-En have

outlived their usefulness.

 The offer was a trick.

The wormhole has collapsed, and now both Nell and the Syn-En are trapped far,

far from Earth to face almost certain death.

Bei has lost his future, and Nell has lost her past.

But Nell gained something in her 120-year sleep; somehow, she knows everything

the Syn-En need to survive. Now she must convince Bei and his people to trust

her--as soon as she learns to trust the mysterious intelligence.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Syn-En-Solution-ebook/dp/B007Y2PMJQ/

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Back From the Conference

A few pictures taken at the Desert Dreams Conference.




Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Speed Dating with Associate Editor Emily Rodmell

Speed Dating with Associate Editor Emily Rodmell


**Due to Overwhelming Demand, we are capping the entries at the first 100 people to sign up** If we have more than 100 people sign up, there will be a waiting list in case someone drops out.


Tired of searching and searching for the right match...for your manuscript? Ready for your characters to get the love and attention of a good editor they've been waiting for?


Well, Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical are looking for new authors, and Associate Editor Emily Rodmell will be listening to your ideas in a new pitch opportunity we like to call: Speed Dating with an Editor.


This opportunity is open to anyone not published with the Love Inspired lines and only requires that you have a synopsis ready and a desire to write for the inspirational (Christian) romance market. You'll have the chance to pitch her your idea in one paragraph, and she'll respond by filling out a comment card like the one below that shares her first impression of the idea.


Check one:

__I'll cry if you don't send me your manuscript (requested full)

__I'd like to get to know your manuscript better (requested proposal)

__I'm not sure if there's a spark between your manuscript and me, but I'm willing to give it a chance to convince me (requested synopsis)

__There's just no connection between your manuscript and me (no request, but isn't it great to know the idea won't work before you spend time writing it?)



Comments:





Just like with speed dating, polish your pitches and put your best foot forward. Start those manuscripts now, so that if you get a request, you can send it in. While full manuscripts aren't required for the pitch, just like real dating, the more you have to offer, then more interested she'll be. Please make sure to mention in your pitch how much of the manuscript is written.

How this will work:

•Sign up in this thread stating your intent to speed date Emily by Friday, June 15th.

•On Tuesday, June 26th at Noon Eastern, we will gather in the chat room. Emily will go into a separate room, where she will hear individual speed dates.

•Pitchers will be called in the order they signed up to give Emily their pitch. Though we will try to make accommodations for people on break from work, we cannot guarantee a specific pitch time.

•Once Emily gives her feedback, the next pitcher will be called into the room.

•We will be quickly going through each pitch in order, so be prepared with your pitch.


You must register by Friday, June 15 in order to participate. The pitches will take place Tuesday, June 26th at noon Eastern time.


Emily Rodmell is the Associate Editor for Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical. She's looking for heartwarming romance stories, fast-paced romantic suspense stories and historical romances that sweep her away.

Turn ons:

* Well-developed characters with intriguing romantic conflicts

* Well thought out plots that keep the reader turning the pages

* Good faith elements that are intrinsic to the plot

* Strong sense of community


Turn offs:


* Episodic writing

* Books without enough conflict

* Stories that are preachy or didactic

* Unlikable or unrelatable heroes and heroines



Guidelines: Take time to read the Love Inspired guidelines to make sure your story fits in with what Love Inspired is all about.

Love Inspired

Love Inspired Historical

Love Inspired Suspense
 
http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/281-Speed-Dating-with-Associate-Editor-Emily-Rodmell

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Am I the Only One?


I hate Facebook. Every time I use it something has changed. Every time I find a Facebook feature I love, it disappears. For example:

Messages. For a while messages were identified with large letters. Click on MESSAGE and, as you might expect, you would find not only a link to send messages but a link to open the ones you’ve received.  Then the link was moved to the sidebar, and then to somewhere that keeps changing in the timeline.

Pictures and Albums. On my personal page I put up birthday photos and wanted them out right away. Well, Murphy’s Law in action, nothing I did made those photos available even to my close friends and family for over a week.

Friend Requests.  Did that function vanish with the entrance of the Timeline?  I’ve been looking for it for several weeks and just recently found a function in the right hand sidebar, but it only lets me invite, not receive requests.

Home Page Posts. Why do I seem to get more posts from acquaintances and friends of friends than from my closest friends and members of my family?  Not that I don’t appreciate the more distant drop-ins, I just want my closer visitors to show up more often.

Which brings me to Privacy Settings. Say, I want to limit access to family AND close friends. Sadly, I can only click one. And if I want to know WHO is included in each list — well, good luck.  I know it’s there because I’ve found it a few times accidentally, but getting back to that place whenever I choose is another thing altogether.

*It not only asks for, it Demands my birthday, including the year. On my author page it Displays my entire date.  Not only is it none of Facebook's business to do any more than require members to certify they meet minimum age requirement, there's every reason that they shouldn’t collect this information, the most relevant being that it’s a huge invitation to identity thieves.

Overall though, the biggest reason I hate Facebook is that it makes all the rules. Your choices as a user are to do it their way or do it their way.

This is the place where you might -- and rightly so -- be asking why I don’t just stop whining and drop out.

If social interchange was the only reason I went on Facebook  I would do just that . . . but it’s not.  Presently I have two pages —  a Community Page for Bootcamp for Novelists and an Author Page for Connie Flynn. Soon, I’ll be adding another Author Page for my mystery writing pseudonym.  The thing most people don’t know is that these Pages are powered by my personal page, and I can't keep them separate. 

The demand for professional people to have a Facebook presence is intense. Traditional publishers expect their authors to build Facebook pages for their brand identity and for their books. Independently and self-published authors depend on a Facebook presence because readers expect it. It’s quite possible that the Facebook presence doesn’t sell books or make anyone famous — it’s a big pool and it’s not easy to rise — but the reason I do it anyway is that I’m afraid not to.

So there you go . . . this rant ends in a pathetic crash confession and a pitiful please for company for my terror. So am I the only one out there who feels tyrannized by the social giant? Have you run into hassles on Facebook? Do you also hate it? Are you staying with it for fear of losing relevance or being forgotten?  Let me know, commiserate with me, share your own sad story.

Or maybe you love, love, love Facebook. If so, what do you love the most? Does anything annoy you? Or are you a total no-holds-barred adoring fan? Tell me, I'm interested.

In the meantime I’’m committed to understanding and getting along better with my new best friend (that would be Facebook [sob]).  Wish me well.

And have a great May.
Connie Flynn

.  . . werewolves are back, you'll find them in the shadows. SHADOW ON THE MOON & SHADOW OF THE WOLF.