Keep your eyes on the ball #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Hello one and all, it’s that time again – FRIDAY! We’re going to get right to things today, and here we go…

While we have many posts on NQ about the content of stories, and do’s and don’t’s, one thing that needs to be said to all authors, but especially newbs, is to focus on the guts of the story. Everything you write should have one singular point that is the main focus for you. All that happens around that point is icing on the cake so to speak.

I’m talking about your core theme. Not that it has a murder mystery element, or that it’s supernatural, or sci-fi. What I’m talking about is the whole reason you’re writing it. For us, romance authors that is, it’s the romance element. While there is no singular way to write romance, or a right way to do it, you need to decide how the romance in your romance story progresses. And you must be consistent.

This does take a little forethought, and even some planning for some folks, while others can have it naturally unfold in a natural manner. Whatever works for you, but do keep your eye on the ball, or the end goal, or whatever turn of phrase works best for you.

For example, some good guidelines for your romance might be:

  • Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, boy meets boy (or whatever your combo might be)
  • The next logical step (depending on the story) would be getting to know one another however best fits your central theme
  • Along the same lines they would also spend time together perhaps doing things; walking, eating, sky diving, killing off mutant aliens determined to take over the planet and turn us all into mindless drones!!
  • There should also be some sex (d’uh!), or a lot of sex, or tonnes of sex, even copious amounts of sexual activity in all sorts of interesting positions and/or places – whatever floats your boat and works withing your central theme
  • and so forth, but you get the idea where this is going I’m sure…
  • Also, more sex
  • Did I mention sex?

Some things to avoid on the fringes of your romance might be:

  • Random surprises like killing off some character for pure shock value but for no real purpose
  • Jumping to a point too far ahead because you don’t know what to do to “fill in” the extra “time” before getting there – epilogues do not count, these are their own beasts of burden and can take place anywhere/anytime, as long as it works with your story line
  • Erratic behavior, unless that is who your character is – don’t put it in just because you can, again this all has to make sense from the first word to the last
  • Jolts are another one, this is often an unconscious thing an author does and one their editor should be catching. But a jolt (not really a writing term) is a break in the story line (whether a chapter break or a new chapter) that literally “jolts” the reader from the story – it’s disconcerting, and frankly often will ruin their read. A story should be one continuous, flowing read from start to end
  • Not having sex in a book that should have sex (ie: romance, erotic romance, erotica, etc.). If you are a “romance” writer, whether it be soft and gentle or hard and dirty, don’t fucking skimp on the sex

Basically the point I’m trying to make is find your center, your core theme, your be-all end-all for the story, and keep it front and center in your brain. And yes, like I said above, everything else that occurs is icing on the cake to make it a richer, deeper, more entertaining read – but it all still has to make sense. And most of all, it all actually has to work together. Don’t be random. Don’t do shock for shock’s sake. You’re an author, not a screenplay writer for Hollywood. Remember your craft, remember the artistry you have been gifted with, and treat it and your readers with the respect it/they deserve. In the end it can, and will benefit you.

So focus. Keep your eye on what truly matters to your story, and let the rest come as it may and how it might. Every story deserves to be told in the voice you have, but they will only be however long they need to be. No more, no less. You’ll know what needs to be said, what needs to be done, and when to type the words all authors both love and hate…

The End

Raven asks…Confidence? What confidence?

Hi all and welcome to Raven’s rambling and Thursday thoughts on…

A crisis of confidence.

confidence

(that is a lot easier said than done)

I thought long and hard before I wrote this blog, but to be honest, I think it needs to be said.

A thoughtless word (or twenty) can cause a crisis of confidence.

I know this how?

Like this…

Are you sitting comfortably? this is where you nod Then I’ll begin.

Once upon a time, in a land not far away, a respected person in the publishing world told an author that the genre they wrote in didn’t sell. Which is of course their prerogative, and after all, you would think they should know.

Except they told the author this little fact the week before that author had a book out in that genre—with the publishing house that person was associated with.

Nice eh?

Imagine how that made the author feel? Like they were crap? Worthless? A failure?

Especially when it seems said publishing house didn’t tell that to other authors of that genre.

Probably all of those.

How horrible, and how would that author feel to have that in their mind when they went to promo that book?

Believe me, I know it can take a while to get over those sort of emotions, and pull up your big girl/boy boxers and get on with it.

After all if basically you were told that you weren’t going to sell a brand new story, how would that affect you?

We authors have fragile egos at times. Especially when a new release is concerned, so that almost throw away line could have done untold harm, and given said author that crisis of confidence I mentioned.

Whoever said sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me was oh so wrong.

Words can be incredibly harmful, be they meant or careless.

be kind

I’m not naming names because this isn’t a witch hunt. It’s a think before you open your mouth or press send on an email post.

And on that note…

happy whatever,

love Raven x

Pictures courtesy of pinterest

Series and that pesky muse #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here with my thoughts on series and how muses can frustrate not only us authors but also the readers.

I’ve touched on this subject before here, but it bears repeating, especially if you’re a panster like me.

I’m very, very aware that I have numerous series which still need completing, and yet, today sees the release of another new series, and I’ve had the acceptance on….. yep, you guessed it… anther new series.

*ducks the flying shoes*

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I can’t help it, readers, I really can’t. As it happens I’m writing book two of the new series now, and then I will make a concerted effort to get to all my other series and add to them. I’m well aware how frustrating it must be when you, the reader, are waiting for the next one in your favourite series and the author goes off on a tangent and writes something else.

I can only speak for myself, but we don’t do it on purpose. I promise, we don’t. Well, I certainly don’t. I would love to be able to write a series in order, but it’s just not the way my muse works.

If it did, it sure would make my life easier. What I can promise is that all of my outstanding series will, eventually, be added to.

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Now, I best get off here and carry on writing. Contrary muse permitting…

And big thanks to all my awesome readers.

Stay naughty, folks,

D xxx

 

The Universe and Lemonade by Jules Dixon #MessageMonday #amwriting @JulesofTripleR

Along with moving and putting a house on the market, I’m in the middle of writing a short story for an anthology that my critique group is putting out and I’m super pumped about all of those things because who wouldn’t be. Exciting times.

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But like these people, the Universe decided I needed some challenges to go along with the fun.

Well done, Universe. Well. Done. 

I am now the proud owner of this…

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I know, don’t be jealous. 😉 It’s all mine, ladies and gentlemen. No sharing.

Not as sexy as my red cowgirl boots, but when you have a ruptured Achilles tendon, fashion actually comes after comfort.

But although I’m not happy that this surprise event happened, I guess I’m trying to see the bright side.

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One, pain meds are a godsend for the…pain. Thank you to doctors and whoever created them.

 

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Two, I have time to write and I will use the time given, so maybe it was a gift from the Universe. I’ll find out what the final treatment plan is today and what I have to look foward to.

 

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Three, my friends and family are amaze-balls. Friggin’ off the charts amazing, fabulous, stupendous. My son was supposed to go back to school tomorrow, he’s postponed so he can help me. My hubby helped me 100 times this weekend, leaving quickly from work to come get me and take me to the hospital on Friday when it happened and then taking care of me all weekend long. My friend Nanette who let me scream into the phone so I’d stay conscious while the pain was at a 10/10. My friend, Cathy, who raced over from her house to stay with me while I writhed on the kitchen floor in pain and then locked up the house after we were gone to the hospital. The lawn guy who assisted me to get into the house. Yes, I know you touched my boob to help me. Yes, I know you apologized a dozen times. No, I don’t and didn’t care. I needed help and you helped me. The carpet guy who offered me ways of breathing to help the pain, but still did his job after we left like I needed him to. And I remember that I owe you $20 still, I’ll get it to you ASAP. My daughter who came to the hospital and rubbed my back while they made me lay on my stomach before the pain meds took effect. Not a fan of laying on my stomach anytime, but this made me feel twice as uncomfortable as my feet dangled and pain shot through my lower leg. And my nephew who didn’t blink an eye when I said I had to stay with him cause our bathroom is being remodeled and I can’t do stairs to the basement one. And dozens of others have offered to help in any way they can. Thank you to every one of you.

I was blessed that day, even if I’m on arm-pit numbing crutches and have the wonderful 10 lb boot. I know it’s not 10 lbs, but it’s definitely not a feather. 😉

So in the grand scheme of things, I’m still alive and that’s an important thing to remember. Plus, I’ve got a great story to add to a book some day. I’ve learned some lessons and I know who has my back when I need them.

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Overall, I’ve got a crapton of lemonade from the lemons the Universe sent to me. 

So back to writing that short story for me. I think you guys are going to like the idea we have going, and as long as my muse stays awake, I’ll be getting it done this week.

How was your weekend? Anyone have something exciting happen on their end of the keyboard? Any lemons that you can make lemonade from?

Hugs to all. ❤ Jules

MONDAY MESSAGES

Dear authors of the world #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all – we made it through another one! Before I get any further first I want to shout out to all the fathers (in whatever form they take), and wish you all a very Happy Fathers Day. This weekend I’ll be off visiting with the familial sorts, including my own father, and do god only knows what. I keep getting texts of updated itemized itineraries – and this, right here in a nutshell, is why I only go home a couple times a year. They be cray-cray! But enough about the genetic insanity that flows through my ancestral lineage, onto today’s post.

Dear Authors of the world, you’d better buckle up, this one’s likely to sting! (to paraphrase a social media celebrity I quite enjoy following).

For the love of all that is shiny and bright in the universe – USE SPELL CHECK. No, I’m not merely talking about your books (although you should), and I’m not merely talking about your emails (although you really should), and I am not merely talking about your newsletters (although you really, really should). No, what I AM talking about is on social media – whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, wherever. THIS SHIT LIVES FOREVER. You may delete it from your feed, but you all should know by now there are people out there, evil and petty people, who live to make other folks lives miserable and they’ve already done a screen shot. They stalk you, plot against you, and yet have never met you face to face. You are their own personal Goliath, and they have devious, insidious, and plain dumb ass plans to “take you down”. Stop giving them the fucking ammo! Use spell check, or if you do make a mistake, FIX IT!

I cannot tell you how many posts I’ve read, from otherwise elegantly eloquent authors, which have me wondering if their accounts have been hacked by some brain eating, disease ridden alien. Because trying to equate someone who writes books which suck you in, and won’t let you go to the crap being spouted on social media – now that there be one hell of a noggin’ scratcher.

In no way am I saying you need to be perfect, no one is, but do try your best. And, for the love of all that’s fluffy and delightfully soft in the universe, stop with the text speak. 1) I really hate having to look up some of these acronyms, and 2) you look like an fool. We’ve all heard the saying to “use your words”. Well, if you are trying to keep your brand untainted, and create the right image for who you want to be seen as, you need to be consistent in all things. Don’t fucking fly off the handle on some random ass rant when you’ve never done it before. And use the English language as it was intended, to be concise and precise in getting across your point.

Now go slap some ice on that sting, and open a damn dictionary once in a while would you.

Raven rambles with her Thursday thoughts and asks when is promo too much?

This week Raven’s rambling on how much promo is too much promo.

PrOmO

PROMO

p r o m o

P R O M O 

promo

promoPRomopromoPromOPrrrrrrrrrRoooooommmMMMMMMMMMooooooooprOmO

Why?

Because I was involved in a conversation about how, when someone sees the same person has promo-ed in several groups on FB they immediately roll their eyes and don’t even bother to read the post, whatever it is.

Ditto when the same person posts the same or similar posts often during a day

Someone even said they went as far as to block a person after that had happened several times.

The one thing people couldn’t decide was how many times was too much.

Strangely it seems twitter isn’t so much of an annoyance, because it is seen as a blink and you’ll miss it place. So if someone does post several times you might only see one or two of them.

What do you think? It’s very subjective I know, but in your eyes what stops you reading, a post, or a tweet? What stops you replying to a promo DM or to delete an email?

And what do you think is  enough when you do it?

Hmm, as I said very subjective.

Happy reading (I hope)

love Raven x

A Writer’s Responsibility #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell)

Wednesdays

Good morning everyone! Happy Hump Day. Sorry I have been MIA the last couple of weeks. Life for me has changed this past month and I’m learning my way through balancing everything. Thank you to the other Quillers for their patience and understanding. Balancing so much has reminded me how valuable writing time is. I’m not the only writer to work outside the home, and actually have three jobs – writer, mother, and a full time day job – and for the first time since I began writing, I think I value the moments of solitude even more. And time with my characters has become golden. In many ways, I took the hours I could be writing for granted a bit because I had so much time before. I’ve learned a lesson here, and I take advantage of every five minutes I can get words down.

But in all the chaos recently, I finished my latest book. It is now fully done and self-edits were brutal. I wasn’t completely happy with it when I was done it before. Thanks to critique partners, I forged my way through the figuring out what was wrong and thoroughly revised many aspects from the original. Which leads me to today’s topic – being a vicious editor. No one else can write your stories for you and we have all said how important edits are. There are still many writers out there cutting corners and releasing stories that are not up to snuff. To each their own, but it is our responsibility to produce stories that shine.

With my last few books, I have used “Pro Writing Aid” program. It’s a godsend for me. It checks over everything from repetition words/phrases to dictation, run-on sentences, grammar, checks transitions, dialogue tags, abstract words, and more. It heavily searches through a manuscript and notes everything that needs to go. There are few things that I don’t change. I don’t want to change the voice in my stories, but I make the decisions on what I change. Nothing is written in stone. But I’ve found it a very useful tool.

I’ve mentioned my “cheat sheet” of bad habits in the past, words I use often – then, it, damn – and it is so important to thoroughly edit out those terrible habits. Readers don’t want to be repeating words over in their heads either. We’d lose readers that way. I can’t stress enough how important going back through your MS is before sending it to a publisher or self-pubbing it yourself. Be your fiercest advocate. Even if it takes you a month to do edits, then let it. Don’t publish crap that isn’t worthy. It’s that simple. Why spend a month or two, or more, on a story that you end up doing an injustice to if it’s not edited properly.

Not all writers are editors. We aren’t. However, it’s a writer’s job to also know about how to edit a story. Common story structure, grammar, to see errors, etc., is part of our job. The edits begin with the writer before sending / hiring another editor if self-publishing, and other publishers demand clean manuscripts. It’s that simple. The writer has all the responsibilities outside of simply writing the story. Too many writers are not taking this part of their job seriously and it saddens me.

It is such a disservice to your characters and stories.

A quick checklist that I tend to use when editing, even without Pro Writing Aid, which I tend to look closely for…

  1. Omit unnecessary words – then, that, it, and, overuse of the characters’ names.
  2. Redundancies – avoiding the use of ‘shrugged his shoulders’ (there’s nothing else to shrug!). ‘She nodded her head’ (there’s nothing else on us that we nod!!)
  3. NO Head Hopping!! So important. Stay in one character POV for an entire scene. If you do switch to the 2nd POV (after a few pages of one character), then make the transition easy and smooth.
  4. Limit the number of ‘ly’ words.
  5. Don’t over explain. Example – ‘Doris was angry and pounded the counter.’ I would edit this sentence to – ‘Doris pounded the counter.’ Plain and simple. We read the anger in her actions.

These are a few items on my checklist that I am mindful of with every read through / edit. They’re simple but oh-so-crucial!!  The more stories a writer creates and the more editing they do – on their own and with a professional editor when the time comes – the more their voice will shine and the better writer they will be.

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing. Happy Editing!

Kacey xoxo

 


 

Ten Ways to tell…. #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Happy Tuesday, peeps, Doris here with what I hope will be a fun post. I may have mentioned before that I never set out to be an erotic author.

Oh no, not me. So, what happened? My characters knew better, that’s what.

Here are ten ways to spot an erotic author…

1.) Your characters never can keep their hands off each other.

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2.) You roll your eyes at purple prose.

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3.) You know every different way there is to say penis, without actually using that word.

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4.) Pussy, cunt, clit… etc. have long since lost the ability to make you blush.

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5.) You can’t help but check out hot bods you encounter… for research purposes of course.

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6.) Your google history is interesting.

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7.) Porn becomes research, even if it’s just what not to do… 😉

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8.) People make this face when they find out what you write.

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9.) You blush when your child’s teacher wants you to come in and talk about being an author.

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10.) You have very sexy dreams!

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Feel free to add your own observations to that list.

That’s all from me today.

Do stay naughty, folks.

D xxx

Book Signings: Making the Most of an Event by Jules Dixon of @JulesofTripleR

This weekend, along with two other authors from Nebraska, Wynter S.K. and Jacqueline Winters , I (on left) attended the Wild Deadwood Reads book signing in Deadwood, South Dakota. And I had a wonderful time all around.

Wild Deadwood Reads ((

Book signings are both a great way for readers to get to meet some of their favorite authors and for authors to meet new readers and maybe get a little time to recharge their “writing batteries”.

This past weekend’s event really had some wonderful opportunities for readers and author to mingle. Train rides into the Black Hills. Trips to see Mount Rushmore. A PBR Rodeo event with talented cowboys and a behind-the-chutes tour with entertaining clowns (ahem–entertainers as their now called) and information from a bull breeder. And ghost tours that landed some interesting pictures and contacts by possible spirits. And then there was the signing, a well-organized event that I enjoyed and appreciated how much work it is to actually organize a signing event. The organizers did a great job.

With that said, over the last two years, I’ve collected some tips and hints for authors and readers to help make the most of an event.

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Authors

  1. Don’t go to sell books. That is setting yourself up for failure. Go to meet other authors and to share your love of writing with people of like minds and readers who enjoy reading in your genre.
  2. Be flexible. Plans change, tables get moved, things don’t fit. You will forget something (me-my silver signing pen, so I went with bright colors). Be willing to adapt. Take the mistakes and issues in stride, it will make for a more enjoyable event.
  3. Introduce yourself to at least three new authors and get to know them a little better. I met a lot of lovely authors, Tina SusedikAmanda McIntyrePJ FialaLizbeth Selvig. And one of my favorites, Lorelei James. Authors know what other authors are going through. And when you forget something, they will come to the rescue for you. We are a family and care for each other.
  4. Take time to explore the city and eat the local fare. We had some wonderful ribeyes last night and took a lovely stroll around the downtown area. Take some time to people watch. Get some inspiration. I found inspiration at the rodeo, a new storyline was blaring me in the face and I’m ready to get started on it.
  5. Consider making your books easy to purchase at $10 each, and rewarded multiple purchases–buy three for $25. Yes, this might mean taking a loss, but it can lead to dedicated readers and future sales. And remember, a happy reader will tell other readers.

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Readers

  1. Take a chance on new-to-you authors. Yes, there are those favorites that you’ll want to get a signed book from, but please don’t dismiss the talent of authors who might be new to you.
  2. Ask questions. Authors love to answer questions about their writing, books, and characters. If you like a certain genre or storyline, let them know. Help them to help you. And I promise, if I don’t think my stories are great for you, I will suggest one of the other authors at the event. Not everyone loves LGBT romance, understandable, so if you like suspense, I’ll tell you who I like at the event.
  3. If you’ve read an author’s books prior to the event, tell them. You might get a discount on the paperback. If they’re new to you, tell them. You might find someone new to love.
  4. Bring an extra bag for books. Cash is good, but most authors will take cards. Think about gifts. Does your friend love reading? Books are great for birthdays, holidays, and just friendship.
  5. If you see an author in the town having a drink, pull up a chair and have a chat. We don’t talk about books all the time. We do have other interests, too. We’d love to get to know you, too.

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Okay, lastly, enjoy the event and if the organizers have other events scheduled, go to one or more. Mingle and just enjoy getting away for a day. 

Not every event will be successful from a earnings perspective, but as long as you keep a positive attitude and look for the silver linings it will be successful in other ways.

Happy Monday!

See you next week!

Hugs, Jules

MONDAY MESSAGES

This is important… #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone. It’s been one hell of a crazy week, again. The insanity that’s hit the UK … I don’t even have words. Which for an author is something, we’re usually pretty good with the science of combining letters into something comprehensive and even occasionally compelling. But, it did give me my topic for today, so without further ado…

BREATHE…

In a world that seems to have lost any form of a rudder this is particularly important. Quite a simple word, and yet it has many connotations. To draw air into ones lungs thus providing the brain with a vital component so it can continue to operation at optimal levels and ensure the body keeps doing it’s thing. But it is also a method used in many practices from yoga to martial arts to gain focus and realign ones self.

BREATHE…

We could all use a little more focus. Not only in the here and now, but about life in general. We each have an important role in the grand cosmic scheme. Sure, none of us know what that plan might be, but it doesn’t mean we’re not here for a reason. It only means that we haven’t yet been given all the pieces to the puzzle to determine what our part may be.

BREATHE…

Those of us who are blessed, gifted, or have educated and fought to become authors already hold a pretty significant place in the world, big or small. We have the tools – the imagination, the drive, the insanity – to create fantastic tales of fiction in all sorts of genres and sub-genres. The end result is a gift to the world. A moment, or three, where a reader can submerge themselves into the world we’ve created for respite – however brief it might be.

BREATHE…

We all should take the opportunity for a little respite. The world is a scary place on the best day, on the worst…well…yeah. So my advice for the weekend, and every chance you have, is to enjoy every single minute of every single day. Kiss your loved ones, hug your enemies (it’ll confuse them), smile at a stranger (it could brighten their day), and don’t let other folks shit taint whatever you have going on in your life. Enjoy the little things, smell the roses, walk in the sunshine, pet a dog, spin in a field until you throw up, eat ice cream for dinner, just enjoy all the time you’ve been given however you see fit. No one has the right to judge you for what makes you happiest and at peace. Lastly, authors, never ever stop writing but do remember, from time to time, to lean back in your seat and remember to

BREATHE.