I wanted to share my lovely cover for my debut women's fiction book, He Belongs to Me with you guys first. It's coming out earlier than planned on June 1st.
It's available on B&N & AMZ for pre-order now.
So far pre-release reviewers have been kind and it's not been too nerve wracking getting reviews from strangers--I know; I'd better get used to it.
What do you think of the cover?
Amazon Barnes & Noble Kindle
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Thursday, May 16
5:00 p.m. (PT)
Free Webinar for RWA Members Only
Presented by Scriptscene RWA
(A live 60-minute Tele-conference session)
Learn how to write, publish, and promote a book on the Internet using blog technology. Blogging a book is the easiest and quickest way to write a book and promote it at the same time. If you can write, you can blog. That means you can blog your way to creating a successful book—one that attracts readers and publishers. You can produce a manuscript, and promote and publish your work one post at a time in cyberspace. This class will also touch on how to book a blog (repurpose existing blog content in to a book).
--Why all aspiring authors should blog
--What to blog about
--10 reasons to blog a book
--The pros and cons of blogging vs. blogging a book
--6 things you need to do before you blog a book;
--and much more!
May 2012) and the forthcoming The Author Training Manual (Writer's Digest Books, Spring 2014), Amir has 35 years of experience in the publishing field; she also is the founder of Write Nonfiction in November, a yearly writing challenge accompanied by a blog.
Amir holds a BA in magazine journalism from Syracuse University with a concentration in psychology. Amir has edited or written for more than 46 local, national and international publications on a full-time or freelance basis producing hundreds of articles. Her essays have been published in five anthologies, and she has self-published 10 short books, including the popular workbook How to Evaluate Your Book for Success.
Register at: http://www.Scriptscene.org/fasttrack-classes/
--Webinar Open to RWA Members Only--
There are only 96 spaces available, so sign up soon!
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
It's almost time!
We're jumping for joy--okay, so the picture has Writers House agent, Stephen Barr, St Martin's Press editor, Holly Blanck, and Del Rey editor Mike Braff --2011 guests, jumping for joy, but it could be you--when you were in your twenties, I'm sure you could jump that high.
Only one week left to get the Early Bird discount at the June 21-23 Crested Butte Writers Conference.
Don't miss out miss out on a chance to spend a fabulous weekend in this lovely mountain town,
hanging out with authors, being inspired, learning and networking with industry professionals.
Agent and Editors:
Christian Trimmer-Sr Editor S & S Books for Young Readers
Carlie Webber—Agent with CK Webber Associates
Jessica Williams-Asst. Editor William Morrow
Promotion and Industry Pros:
Mark Coker—Smashwords CEO
Kristen Lamb—Social Media Guru
Kim Killion and Jennifer Jakes of the Killion Group—Book cover artists and Marketing experts extraordinaire
NYT Bestselling regency romance author, Tessa Dare, Sandra Kerns, Annette Elton, Anne Eliot, Michelle Major & Lana Williams
Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
I can't tell you how excited I was when Donnell agreed to another interview by me.
Deadly Recall, a tense romantic suspense, is her second book from Bell Bridge Books, and which Donnell is pleased and shocked to announce that during Amazon’s April 5th Deal of the Day, DEADLY RECALL climbed to the Number 1 on the Paid Overall List and in the Suspense, Romantic Suspense and the Mystery genres.
It is my great pleasure to chat with her about Deadly Recall in our own home turf, Five Scribes.
LA: Wow. What a book. No spoilers, promise, but every time I thought I had it figured out who'd done it, I was wrong. Loved the way you put in those red herrings, Donnell. Good job. In fact, I've decided I'm jealous of the energy you have to make both Deadly Recall and the Past Came Hunting so darn good, true, and page turners.
This was a Golden Heart Finalist book in 2010, so it was written, but I'm sure you've rewritten it since then. Did you have the dreaded second book syndrome with this? Or because it was mostly done, it was easier to rewrite and meet deadline?
DAB: Hi, L.A. Thank goodness this is our home turf. At last I can kick my feet up and take a breath ;) Thanks so much for your lovely compliments. Energy, ha! If you’d seen me the last few weeks, you’d take that back. Yes, I had second book syndrome bad. DEADLY RECALL touches on and borders on some controversial issues, although I tried not to dwell on them or pass judgment. I got so freaked out that I asked my editor if maybe “Betrayed” working title for book three out in November, 2013, should come out first so people would give me a chance
LA: Yes, that works
LA: The layer of the Catholic Church made this book seem more real…it felt as if I were behind the scenes, yet not so technical it becomes a Dan Brown book. I'm assuming you are Catholic? And did you have to ask for any special dispensation to write about the church and the bishop with such detail?
DAB: L.A. Yes, I’m Catholic. No, I didn’t ask for dispensation because I imagine any objection I met would have frozen me colder than an Arctic glacier. I wanted to write a mystery about something I’m familiar with. I loved Catholic-themed movies like the “Trouble with Angels,” “Where Angels Fall, Trouble Follows,” or Plays like “Patent Leather Shoes Reflect Up.” Confession time: I’ve never read Dan Brown. His book was enormously popular the months before and while I was writing DEADLY RECALL. I also read his work was highly controversial. That wasn’t my style or purpose in writing DEADLY RECALL. I had no dark, deep-seated revenge motives and I had no intention of slamming the Catholic Church – there’s good and evil, past and present mistakes and corruption in every organization-- therefore I made the conscious decision not to read any of Brown’s work so as not to inadvertently take one of his ideas.
LA: It's set in Albuquerque! I have family in the area so that a most pleasing surprise. Loved the traffic jams on I-40 and near the shopping centers, so dang true! You grew up in the Four Corners region, Farmington NM. What or why is your Albuquerque connection?
DAB: I lived in Albuquerque a short while, I have friends who live there, and going to school in Las Cruces, NM, I had to travel through Albuquerque numerous times. Albuquerque, for my friends and I, when you grow up in Farmington, is the big city—we often took trips there. When my husband went on business, I accompanied him, went to the balloon festivals and more. New Mexico is a fairly small state. I claim the entire LAND OF ENCHANTMENT as my home.
LA: So who was your favorite character in the story? I know mine!
DAB: Oh, wow, you want me to choose? It has to be Eden. Although I love Kevin Dancer, Eden’s part of me. I also love Sister Beatrice, although we only meet her once and then posthumously. I also loved several of the characters because of their humanity and imperfections. Perhaps we should have said in what order ;)
LA: Who was your least? I have mine.
DAB: There is only one character I despised and I think you can guess who that is. As you can guess, I had my favorite nuns and I had a couple I didn’t care for. Sister Agnes is a hodgepodge of the latter. As I wrote this story, I found myself understanding her and forgiving her. I didn’t like her per se, but I did find that I loved her a little bit. Does that even make sense?
LA: Donnell, you picked two professions for your protagonists that leave, I think, little wiggle room to mess up the lingo and terms that are important to use correctly. Are you masochistic?
DAB: Ha, ha, ha. I’m entirely masochistic. I made mistakes and will continue to do so. I write fiction not perfectionism. The mistakes are entirely mine and not the terrific people who tried to help me. In one scene the psychiatrist asks Kevin how he felt when he had to draw his service revolver. After I read the published version, I cringed when I read that… Service weapons are not revolvers. But the good news is it was the psychiatrist who asked and not Kevin, so the doctor might not have known where as Kevin definitely would have.
LA: Okay, I'm married to a lawyer who hates to give me advice on my stories. The jargon for the police and legal side sounded just right. If I remember, you were a court reporter in a different life, right? Did that help?
DAB: An injury ended my court reporting career, but I find its curriculum aids me so much in my writing. Of course I call upon lawyers, and PIs and law enforcement professionals. I have them on speed dial and ask questions on Crimescenewriters.
LA: Your APD detective –Kevin Dancer- is also so real. How do you write male characters that sound so male? Strong, with a sense of who they are at the moment, even if that changes later. A sense of right and wrong, even if the lines have to be blurred later. AND they're not afraid to say what needs to be said, do what needs to be done.
DAB: What a beautiful compliment. I sure tried. When I create a character I get to know them as I write and where he is in his age group and in the stage of his life. Joe Crandall in The Past Came Hunting is a by-the-book, career police lieutenant. Kevin Dancer is still clawing his way up the ropes of law enforcement, and he hasn’t been hardened the way Joe has. He’s younger, still looking for the right woman, and events of his childhood still have huge influence over him. The events that happen in Deadly Recall will be part of his hard knocks education if I decide to write a spin- off book. I take these all into consideration when they evolve in the story.
As for dialogue and character, this might sound corny, but I create a lot of these characters surrounding my husband. There’s no one with a more ethical, larger sense of right and wrong than Les Bell. Les will say in one sentence what some people say in three paragraphs. After 30 years of marriage, I learned “men-speak” from him. ;)
LA: I shed a tear at the end for Sister Beatrice. (Promise, not a spoiler.) Do you get emotional when you write, I know I've cried over a scene. And when you're finished with the book what do you feel? Satisfaction? Fear? Sick of the dang thing?
DAB: I choked up numerous times in DEADLY RECALL, which means I’m either entirely sappy or too close to this story. I felt a great deal of satisfaction because this book evolved from my roots. I felt burgeoning satisfaction when I completed the story. I was also terribly afraid, but something compelled me to write it, even when editors and agents told me not to, whether I was the only person to read it or not – I had to tell this story. I’m not sick of it yet. Give it time ;) I’m still a relatively new author.
LA: Was Father Slater modeled on anyone one person. He was a fantastic character.
DAB: Loved Father Slater. When I was a little girl we had a priest who played the guitar. He sang a song called, “Little Boxes,” which challenged people trying always to fit in. He also sang in church, which I think some of the older parishioners took issue with as he was too hep back in the 1960s. I can’t say Father Slater was this priest, but somewhere in my subconscious, like the nuns, I created Father Slater to be Eden’s replacement for her mentor Sister Beatrice.
LA: You are one of the founding members of the Crimescenewriters and you belong to several mystery writers groups. Do you write the book and then use these experts to make sure it's right? Send them pages? Check for jargon? Use TV crime shows?
DAB: I’m not a founding member. That honor belongs to Wally Lind. I’m a moderator and co-owner these days. I can ask questions and form my answers from these professionals, but, no, I never send them pages. Kind of like asking for dispensation thing from the Catholic Church. I think having them read my work would freeze me. I do try to get it right to the best of my ability, which is why I take Citizens Academies, and workshops, every chance I get. The good news about Crimescenewriters is they don’t necessarily say that would never happen, they try to help writers create a way around their stories to make their scenarios plausible. Again, any mistakes are mine.
LA: In our last interview you mentioned forgiveness as one of your primary themes in writing and see this specifically this book. Forgiveness is often hard to grant, why do you think you chose this theme?
DAB: I think today’s society with reality shows an instant gratification sorely needs a mega-dose of forgiveness. Often, I see people ripped to shreds over misspeaking, or how they dress or look, or for having a differing opinion. I will continue to write about redemption and forgiveness. Like it or not, it’s part of me and who I am. I find it intolerable that people hate. I’m one of those who find it easy to love and to forgive.
You ask the most amazing questions, L.A. Thank you very much for making me think. Now my head hurts :)
LA: Sorry I gave you a headache :) But the book was so good, I had to ask the questions that came up.
Don't forget Donnell is posting an excerpt TODAY over on my other blog, An Indie Adventure www.anindieadventure.blogspot.com. AND she's giving away a copy of her book to one person who leaves a comment here and there!
Digital or paperback in North America, Digital for International readers. How wonderful is that!
And you can find her here at:
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Five Scribe readers, a comment I heard often in my early years as a writer is "your characters don't live in a vacuum." I took that comment to mean, "your work is one-dimensional drek, now fix it." Sure, we know that our characters have five senses. But how do we incorporate those senses seamlessly on the page without yanking your reader out of the story? Author Victoria Houseman visits today to introduce her workshop to help us do just that.
USE OF THE SENSES TO ANSWER, “WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?”
Making Your Writing Come Alive with the Five Senses ©
Victoria Bromley w/a Victoria Houseman
The story writer Flannery O’Connor said, “Fiction begins where human knowledge begins – with the senses.” We have only five ways of perceiving reality. We can SEE it, TASTE it, SMELL it, TOUCH it, HEAR it. Without the information we get through our five senses, we can’t function as human beings. Each sense is important individually, but each has its own limitations. Yet, one sense can be used to compensate for the lack of another sense. A blind man has a heightened sense of hearing and touch and taste and smell. This is how he learns to cope with the world around him living in a sightless world. The most effective way to perceive reality is to use all of our senses in harmony. In fiction, smell, touch and taste bring you closer to the story. Sight and sound can be close or from a distance.
Think of which sense(s) you use most. Are you overtly sensitive to smells that don’t seem to bother others? Can you eat really spicy, hot foods that would burn another person’s mouth? Do bright lights bother you? Do you like to make love with the lights on and see the expression on your lover’s face or do you prefer the dark – knowing what is happening only by touch and sound and scent?
Stories need to build on one basic tenet: to convince the reader the story is real – doesn’t matter if it’s science fiction or fantasy – the reader needs to believe the story is real, that it may have happened or could happen in the real world of their imagination. The trick for us as writers is to get the reader to smell the story’s reality, to taste it, to feel it, to see it, to hear it.
As authors, we enter the world of imagination when writing a story; our senses must be alert to details that exemplify the story thematically as well as physically. We need to be open to the sounds and sights and aromas that our characters have around them and we need to convey what is going on in any one given sense – internally and externally. Only then can we develop fully actualized three-dimensional characters. It’s vital to use the right sensory detail at the right moment. This is where your writer’s imagination kicks in and uses what sense(s) it needs for your story’s reality.
Use of the five senses not only tells our reader the experience of our characters at any given time, but can also infuse an ordinary story with deep layers. In art, it’s called “underpainting” – building layer upon layer upon layer. Subconsciously, we know the layers are there, but what we experience is the full-bodied result of those layers. Gestalt theory called it “the sum being greater than the total of the parts”.
By using the five senses, you can invoke what is going on in their outside world. Remember, it is your characters world – their point of view. How one character is affected by the world around them through their senses may not be the same as how another character is affected. This is part of the glory of using the five senses – they can be utilized to make your characters whole and multi-faceted and unique. Even secondary characters come to life. No matter how little time they are given in a story, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be fully developed.
The ripple effect of using the five senses is your story is fleshed out and developed. It bursts forth from your pages and your reader achieves that “fly on the wall” quality – they feel they are really there in the pages of your book. All effects come through the five senses or sensory memories of the reader as well as of the writer. By imbuing a reality in your story with the five senses, you bring about a magical quality. You join the abstract world with the physical world.
Sometimes a story develops directly from the sensory details that suggested it. The creative starting point often is simply some details of the senses, and recording that detail or those details starts an imaginative process from which a story is evoked. Many are locked in our subconscious and only need the key to set them free.
In his story, “A View of the World” (The Charlton Press, 1989), Thomas Kennedy uses memories of senses he had locked away from a time in high school when he worked in a shoemaker’s shop. He draws on his memory of the sensual smells of the shop – the aroma of raw leather straps, the glue, dye, tins of polish – the grumbling stitch of the heavy sewing machine, the whack of the nailer, the scrape of the sander, and the moan of the waxing wheels. From these stored memories, Kennedy has written a story of how a young apprentice and the shoemaker schooling him view the world. The shoe shop and all its sights and sounds and smells serve as the backdrop to their totally opposite views of life.
Think of the five senses as plotting devices.
While writers are always aware of the sensual aspects of a character, they can use this awareness to solve the problem of what happens next. A character’s senses can guide you, as writer, through difficult transitions into action. Use them to establish an alliance between character and reader by making the reader aware of what our hero/heroine notices. How? Whether or not the reader understands the cultural background, customs, religion, or politics of a character, she roots for the heroine, for example, because the reader can identify with what she sees, hears, tastes.
As our senses prompt us to action in life, so can they move our characters and story forward in sequence. Our senses create, and sometimes rule, our moods and actions. Let them do the same for you characters.
Through his/her imagination, your reader experiences the same sensory stimuli as the character, and thus, feels present in the scene. Providing a three-dimensional environment in which your character functions will enable your reader to step into the scene and experience the same sensory perceptions and anticipation as that character.
Ask yourself: What first catches the attention of your character? What sense? What does your hero/heroine sense first? Smell? Taste? Note that the mouth and tongue are the most sensitive. This first impression, via your character, will be your reader’s first impression of your hero/heroine and begin to set the stage of your story.
It won’t take pages or even paragraphs to convey these perceptions. A sentence or even a word or two will usually suffice. Revealing the senses is easy; remembering to show the reader how the character reacts to what he senses can be the “elusive elements” in a scene.
Sensory writing should create scenes that are alive with emotion and will reel through the mind of your reader as though on a movie screen. If you do your job properly by identifying with what your character experiences in every scene, your reader will savor every moment will live each transgression and every triumph.
Appeal to the five senses as a technique for developing your plot into connected scenes is the best way to place your characters in the story rather than simply pushing them through a plot.
Discovering what happens next in our story is the fascinating part of fiction, writing, and reading. Put yourself in the scene and examine what the character might sense as he encounters conflict. You will immediately know what comes next, because you will see, hear, smell, touch, even taste the elements present through your reader’s actions. More important, your reader will be able to do the same and will keep turning those pages.
In my workshop, I use the five senses to make characters three dimensional, to help with plotting, and setting. To add depth to a writer’s story.
Learn more about Victoria Bromley w/a Victoria Houseman’s two week on-line workshop using the five senses on her website: www.victoriahouseman.com.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Welcome to my new blog series highlighting the success of The Sandy Finalists.
Merrie Wycoff is a Sandy success story. I am not much of a history buff, yet Merrie’s story captivated me. Three things drew me in, Merrie lights up when she talks about her story and has such incredible passion for Egypt that it’s contagious. She has the absolutely perfect voice to tell this story—I can’t imagine anyone else telling it as well. I certainly couldn’t. And thirdly, she’s a wonderful storyteller!
What year did you final, with what book and what place did you end up with?
I finaled in 2010 and came in third.
Are you published with a traditional publisher or are you an indie author?
I am self-published through Rosa Mystica Publishing.
What’s your story about?
Jealousy, Lies, Betrayal, Murder…and Magic
A reign of terror has kept Egypt in shadow, even at the apex of her power and glory. The greedy and corrupt priests of the dark god Amun maintain a tight grip on the people through the use of fear, superstition, brutality, and, when necessary, diabolical sorcery.
Now, there is the promise of a new hope, a new light, but that promise is not welcomed by all. When the ambitious Queen Nefertiti and her consort, the gentle King Akhenaten, introduce a peaceful--and revolutionary--form of Sun worship in the hope of bringing about harmony and unification, Egypt is instead torn into warring factions on all levels of society.
Into this deadly conflict is born the first Royal Daughter, Merit-Aten, whose ability to see vivid auras and converse with animals comes with a price. Before her birth, she entered into a sacred contract to save her family and restore peace to her country. But, with danger threatening from every side--even from within her own family--will she be able to honor her contract without destroying everyone she loves?
You have a passion for Egypt and it shows in your writing. What do you love best about it?
I love the mystery, and the untold story of Egypt. I am an Egyptologist, which is a very left brain study of Egypt and the facts that we have discovered and uncovered so far. On my second trip to Egypt I studied with an Egyptian wisdom keeper who helped me understand the living African oral tradition passed from mother to child. This is experiencing Egypt through the right brain and has paranormal elements to it. My paranormal historical novel, Shadow of the Sun reveals the true Egypt.
As much as you love Egypt, would you have enjoyed living during that time? Be honest!
There was a great deal of political and religious corruption. The royal family had to be constantly on-guard for their lives. I would have loved to journey through the mystery schools. I adore what we imagine to be ancient Egyptian fashion and the jewelry was exquisite.
I believe that through the writing of a book, each story comes with its own lessons for the author. Does that hold true for you?
That was very true for me. I thought I was telling the story. It turned out that my main character, the princess Merit-Aten had ideas of her own. My antagonist took me on a journey I’ll never forget and one I didn’t foresee.
What are you most proud of in your writing journey?
I learned that the historical elements of a story, while important to the author because we do so much research must be used to color the picture and not clutter the story. Editing is essential to cut the fat. As much as I loved certain chapters and tangents, I had to cut them because they weren’t essential to Merit-Aten’s journey. I am also proud that I had the courage to self-publish. I can’t tell you how many pitches I gave to agents who loved my story but didn’t want to buy ancient Egyptian paranormal historical fiction.
Can you give us a sneak peak at the next book in the series?
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
I helped start this contest seven years ago for the Crested Butte Writers group and I'm proud to announce this year's The Sandy finalists. These writers work very hard at their craft and it shows. I see The Sandy is my chance to play matchmaker--to introduce these skilled authors to agents and editors who can help take them to the next level in their career. Here's to the finalists.
And to all who did not final, we'll be returning your scoresheets shortly and hopefully you got some valuable feedback to aid you on your journey. Keep writing!
And to all who did not final, we'll be returning your scoresheets shortly and hopefully you got some valuable feedback to aid you on your journey. Keep writing!
Congratulations to the
2013 Sandy Writing Contest Winners!
Mainstream Adult Fiction
Final Judge, Millicent Bennett, Sr Editor Free Press (Simon & Schuster)
Sandy Fails (CO) —Midnight Owl
Charis Himeda (MA) –- The Shape of a Kiss
Cindy Christian Rogers (MN) – Rogue Wave: A Redemption Story
Final judge, Katherine Pelz, Assistant Editor Berkley
Sandra Kerns (CO) – Rehabilitating the Lion
Steven Moores (CO) -- Cherub’s Play (tie)
Rebecca Waring (Australia) -- The Promise (tie)
Elysia Whisler (VA) -- A Rock That Burns
Fantasy/ Science Fiction
Final judge, Amanda Ng, Assistant Editor Berkley
Robyn Brammer (WA) – A Cloudy Return (tie)
Nicole Greene (CO)—Blood of the Taurus Ring (tie)
Stephen Merlino (WA) –The Jack of Souls
Joel Quevillon (CO) --- The Color of Gothic
Thriller/ Suspense / Mystery
Final Judge, Carlie Webber, Agent at CK Webber Associates
Denise Enos (FL) --- New Smyrna Swing
Annie Hogsett (OH)—Somebody’s Bound to Wind up Dead
Vanessa Lillie (RI)—The Lyneage
Children / Young Adult
Final judge, Christian Trimmer, Sr Editor at Simon & Schuster for Young Readers
Katrina Grigg-Saito (MA)—Otemba (tie)
Jedeane Macdonald (CO) –Nobody’s Home
Steven Moores (CO) – Matthew Cross & The Dragon’s Tear
Carrie Spencer (IA)—Captain Fanny Pack (tie)
Stephanie Tatalias (AK) – Unigoat (tie)