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|Allie Standifer and Eve
Savage announce the sale of their first co-written book, Candy-Coated
Passion to Ellora's Cave. They are writing together under
the pseudonym Kat Alexis
|Betty Hanawa's book, Balanced Heart was
released on Oct. 10th. Less Than Perfect Family will
be available in print Oct. 31. She has a book signing schedule
Nov. 1st in Harlingen, TX, and another book signing in League
City, TX on Nov. 15th.
|Judith Rochelle writing as Desiree
Holt, is proud to announce two new releases with Elloras
Cave, Once Burned, and her first single author anthology,
Hot Wicked and Wild. Her latest release with Total-e-bound
is Summer Spice and it can spice up your Fall, too!
She has recently signed a contract for a full-length erotic romance,
Do You Trust Me, with The Wild Rose Press.
|Delilah Devlin is pleased
to announce Down in Texas
will be out in boobookstores in November!
|Delilah Devlin & Myla
Jackson ares pleased to announce Alluring
Tales: Hot Holiday Nights will be out in boobookstores
|Elle James is pleased
to announce the November release of her Harlequin Intrigue Nick
of Time is a Romantic Times Top Pic!
|Judith Rochelle's The
Scent of Danger, Book Three: The Phoenix
Agency, will be released November 4. Also in November
is the release of Wild Wayback Nights, from The
Wild Rose Press, which includes her novella, Shadow of the
|Myla Jackson is pleased
to announce the sale of a her novella Cat Scratch Fever
to Ellora's Cave Publishing
|Judith Rochelle's novella,
Shadow of the Hawk, part of The Wild Rose Press
Wayback, Texas series, will be released in print in November in
a four-story anthology
|Elle James is pleased
to announce the sale of For Better or For Worse (Dec
09) and a book in the 2010 Bodyguard continuity (Mar 2010) to
an Editor's Perspective...
addition to being a writer, I'm also a freelance editor and
spent two years editing for Ellora's Cave. Editors see lots
of submissions and are looking
for those few that stand out from the rest. Give your story
the best possible chance at grabbing an editor's attention by
following these five guidelines:
People your stories with
characters who are well developed with quirks and flaws, in
addition to their strengths. Start the story at a point of major
change for one of the characters and keep the plot pushing that
character to make decisions that are logical for his or her
upbringing, background and lifestyle. Because of the growth
experienced throughout the story, the character makes a choice
in the finale he or she would not have considered at the beginning.
Point Of View
Learn how to wring emotion
from your scenes by writing in deep POV. Don't tell an editor
a character is nervous; construct sentences using physical actions
that can only be interpreted as the character being in a nervous
state. Write so readers feel like they are inside the character's
body and sharing the experience-careening a vehicle across town
to thwart the delivery of a package containing his or her secret,
watching a beloved being kidnapped from only twenty feet away,
feeling the numbing grief as the first clump of dirt lands on
a child's casket.
Although fiction is different
than journalism, the same essential details are needed at the
beginning of every story. Where and when is the action happening
to which characters? Writers often introduce a setting, place
the characters there and then forget about it while the characters
devise their next plat for solving the story problem. Make the
setting work for your scene. In a conference room, two people
won't sit stock still in chairs and have a conversation that
takes up three manuscript pages. One will become agitated and
pound a fist on the heavy oak table or will stand and pace along
the narrow space behind the chairs. One might go to the white
board and draw sketches of the planned attack. Having the same
conversation in a classy restaurant would change the tone and
their actions. No fist pounding or pacing. You must choose other
tools for showing the tension-conversation through clenched
teeth, clattering of silverware, crumpling of the linen tablecloth.
Don't forget to add the noises and smells we all experience
while sitting in any restaurant.
need the crisp, precise language readers hear every day. Not
too many complex sentences with lots of commas, or descriptions
involving strings of adjectives. Choose strong verbs to depict
the desired action without the help of -ly adverbs. Look for
repeated words or phrases and find new words to express that
action. Check for variety in he beginning of your sentences
and paragraphs. Historical writers have a bit more freedom in
the tone and description, but still need to make the writing
appropriate for the story's era.
Good spelling and accurate
grammar cannot be emphasized enough. Take the time to spellcheck
your work. Turn on the grammar check in your word processing
program and address every one of the green squiggly lines (for
Word users). Learn what a dangling modifier is and if any of
your sentences contain that structure. Don't give the editor
this reason to reject your story. No editors have time to slog
through typos or sentences with non-matching verb and subject
tense to discover your wonderful, heartstring-tugging story.
All of these elements must be present in a quality submission
that will catch an editor's eye. As the author, you have the
ability to develop your writing craft to do just that.
as Plot Devices
As we approach Halloween and all things spooky, I am reminded
of the number of superstitions that abound and what great plot
twists they make.
What is a
Derived from a Latin word that literally means "standing
over" or "standing in
awe," the term means an
unreasonable or excessive belief in fear or magic, or on a notion
not based on reason or knowledge.
Some of the more common superstitions that would make great
hooks for a story are:
If a black cat crosses your path, you will have bad luck:
what a great start to a mystery or thriller, a black cat walking
in front of an unsuspecting person.
To break a mirror will bring you seven years bad luck: A
woman in anger smashes a mirror and is pursued by seven years
of bad luck, so seeks a cure for the curse.
worn inside out
Clothes worn inside out will bring good luck: Someone who
desperately needs to change their luck shows up in public dressed
this way. A good conversation starter as well as a scene for
a comedic romance.
An itchy palm means money will come your way: In a romantic
suspense, there could be a fight over the sale of land, and
the money comes to an unsuspecting person whose only clue is
an itchy palm.
on a table
It is bad luck to sleep on a table: But what a great way
to start a story-or change the direction of the plot.
To refuse a kiss under mistletoe causes bad luck: How many
romantic novels could you use this in!
When a dog howls, death is near: Great for a thriller
It is bad luck to chase someone with a broom: And oh my,
couldn't you just see this in a witch-type story!
A drowned woman floats face up, a drowned man floats face
down, a person cannot drown before going under three times:
Take your pick, one or all three for a convoluted mystery. And
maybe the dead bodies could bring two people together solving
the mystery and falling in love
The wedding veil protects the bride from the evil eye: Or
hides her identity.
Well, you get the idea. Superstitions provide much fodder for
plotting, for subplots, for character development. As Halloween
draws near, dig up a few of your favorite superstitions and
see what you can build around them.
Ever read a book that
captured your attention and held it from the first page? Did
you hate putting it down because you couldn't wait to find out
what happened next to that character? Did the story make you
sit on the edge of your seat and question everything you read
because you just knew it held the key to the final resolution?
Were the action, dialogue and characters so intense you couldn't
sleep until you reached the end of the story? Then you were
reading a well-written suspense! As a writer, how do you craft
such a success? Here are a few tips from my tool box.
A writer's temptation
is to explain everything that leads up to the story. That's
backstory. Psfft! Bluh! Yuk! Boooring! Ditch it and get to the
action! Start your book in the action. It grabs the reader and
they'll hold on by the fingernails to see what happens next.
Starting in the action establishes the expectation for the suspense
and continued action and sets the tone for the rest of the book.
You can explain later by layering in bits and pieces of backstory
through conversations, sleuthing, or revealing scenes with your
characters as you build the story.
Your characters need
goals to move the story along. If it's to save the world, that's
a goal. If it's to resolve a mystery, that's a goal. The character
has to want something and be willing to work hard to get it.
Motivations are the reasons why a character wants what he wants
bad enough to go after it. Character wants to find out who killed
his wife (goal). Why? Because he's being accused of her murder
and needs to clear his name or go to jail (motivation). Make
the goals interesting, captivating and worth your readers' time
to invest in the outcome. Then give your characters the motivations
that make your reader invest in that character and sink into
that character's world for the duration of the book. The character
has to have something personally at stake to make it more compelling.
Solving a mystery for the sake of solving a mystery isn't enough.
Solving a mystery because someone's life is at stake? Now that's
Suspense is all about
conflict! You now know what your character wants and why, but
without conflict, you have nothing. Definitely not a suspense!
You MUST HAVE CONFLICT!!! If you are basically a nice
person and want everything to turn out hunky-dory for your characters
you may struggle with conflict. But believe me, no conflict=no
story. Conflict is what gets in the way of your characters attaining
their goals. The tougher you make it for your character to reach
his goals, the more hopeless it looks, the more impossible the
odds he faces, the better your conflict. Start with smaller
conflicts and raise the stakes for each conflict as you go.
The consequences need to get worse and worse until the big black
moment of the book when the reader thinks all is lost and there's
no way the character can recover. Then you've GOT 'EM!
Plant clues early on
in your story, make them subtle, but plant them! A reader hates
being cheated by conveniently giving the character the method
to solve the mystery at the end unless it's been hinted at in
the beginning and middle. Along with the hints, toss in the
red herrings to throw your character off the trail and make
him work hard to wade through the haystack of non-meaningful
information to get to the real guts of the mystery. The more
he learns along the way on his own, the more your reader will
appreciate the intelligence of the character and his ability
to succeed in the end.
A great way to build
the tension and conflict is to use a ticking clock. The characters
are working against a tight timeline. Establish a timeline for
your character to solve the mystery or save the world or the
princess or whatever and then make it even shorter! Talk about
your words for the thrill
As the tension in the
story builds, the pacing of the story should tighten. Sentences
and dialogue should become shorter and to the point. Don't waste
words, it'll slow the pace. Pick crisp, short verbs, limit the
descriptions, fragment the sentences and go for the readers'
guts. Make readers sweat and worry by making your characters
show their sweat and worry. Don't tell, show!
Suspense is all about
building. Start with a good foundation of characters with real
and compelling goals and motivations. Slam them with conflict,
start in the action and make them suffer throughout. Build on
your clues, build on your conflicts, build the tension through
your writing, your dialogue, the action. When you've done all
that, you've got Suspense!
definitions are slippery and are subject to changes of whim.
To paraphrase Captain Barbosa, they're not exactly definitions,
they're more like guidelines.
Many of us are writing paranormal and fantasy these days.
Why not? We all have an urge to escape reality occasionally
and how better than to escape to a world with different rules
than exist in ours. It's fun to put a bizarre twist on the "What
If" question. Interest is there in both genres and sales
are strong in the market.
Dictionary.com defines paranormal as: of or pertaining to
the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific
explanation, as psychokinesis, extrasensory perception, or other
purportedly supernatural phenomena. Paranormal is a human world
with slight differences. Those characters who people paranormal
stories come from the human body and/or are humans who have
an extra trait, as in seeing dead people. In a paranormal, the
world building itself isn't much different from the world of
our reality. It's just peopled differently. Once upon a time,
ghosts, vampires, shifters were considered part of the fantasy
genre. Now stories with these beings are considered paranormal
worlds include dragons, elves, pixies, fairies, the creatures
of legends, they are fantasy worlds. Legendary beings, which
are not human, populate the world and interact with humans.
By that vague definition, the old gods are also considered fantasy
In fantasy, the world itself can be a variation of our perception
of reality or go by completely different rules. In either case,
the worlds must be different enough that readers know many (if
not all) of the characters aren't human and realistic enough
that readers can relate to them. J.R.R. Tolkien and Terry Pratchett's
books with their deep other world building are fantasies. So
too are the Harry Potter books and Jim Butcher's Dresden Files.
The latter two have legendary characters living in the "human"
Just to muddy the waters, the characters of paranormal can
and do frequent fantasy worlds also. The two genres march together
in the market bookshelves. Humans and their variations and additions
populate the paranormal world. Legendary beings are in the populations
of the fantasy worlds.
The joy is
in the writing and reading of both
by Allie Standifer
great leap or one tiny foot-shaking step. Any instance of branching
out or writing something different boils down to one thing--
Fear stops us
from trying out a new genre or writing that melt-your-keyboard
sex scene floating around in your head.
I speak from experience in letting
that red demon of 'fraidy cats rule my writing world. Up until
two years ago, I'd been determined to write suspense. My books
would keep you awake at night waiting for the slight scrape
of nails across your bedroom window or the hollow footsteps
in the hall. I managed to finish one romantic mystery and didn't
feel like I thought
I should. Finally I gave in to the urging of my own muse and
my writing group.
Write Humor? Huh?
They told me
to write humor. Humor?? What did I know of humor? Taking the
awful chance of attempting to write funny and watching it flop
kept me away from the keyboard for months until finally I couldn't
stay away. My frustration overcame my fear and I set out to
try this new venue.
To my everlasting shock, amazement
and bafflement, readers and reviews alike praised my books and
told me they laughed out loud while reading my work. There is
no higher praise in my world than making someone forget their
troubles and laugh at the antics of my characters.
So you have the two roads that lie
ahead: one brightly lit and easy to see. The other dark and
filled with things just out of sight that go bump in the night.
Pick the road
of your heart and face the fear
Pick your road--just
know you can always change direction mid-stride and wade through
the fear to where your true muse is calling.
Everyone's read the story where the hero and heroine are conveniently
trapped in a cabin by a snow storm. You've seen the situation
done a lot because frankly, it works. What better way to force
the central characters to be together for an extended period
of time with no one else around-and no way to escape should
the tension become unbearable. But have you ever considered
using other weather changes to enhance your writing?
? Setting ? Character ?
You've probably also heard that the setting of your story
is a secondary character. Along with your setting, whether you
are in a large city or a small town, you need to think about
the weather around your characters to deepen further the backdrop.
Weather for creating scenes
Don't use the weather simply as a means to
trap your couple in one place. Use it to create scenes. Picture
summer-blazing hot temperatures in the upper 90's. What a perfect
time for your heroine to show off that brand-new bikini or your
hero to dive into the pool in a perfect jackknife dive meant
to make your heroine's heart race. No pool? How about a lawn
sprinkler? What hero doesn't stand at attention at the sight
of the heroine in a wet t-shirt?
careful though. You really need to understand the weather of
the area you are writing. Don't write a story set in upstate
New York in March and expect the heroine can walk outside in
her flip-flops and cut offs. Similarly, Christmas in Orlando
won't mean a new pink parka and ski boots. Those are extreme
examples but if you're writing about an area you are only vaguely
familiar with, you need to research the weather to make sure
you don't commit a huge mistake. Readers would love to point
out your mistakes to you.
Snow and heat aren't the only seasonal changes you can use.
Laying Sensory Details
Absolutely nothing is better than Fall in certain areas
of the country. Use the backdrop of leaves falling, crisp fires
burning, and apple picking. This adds a level of sensory detail
to your story that pulls the reader right there. Spring is an
equally beautiful time of year in certain states, use it to
your advantage. Enhance your writing with the changes in temperature.
More is involved in writing with the seasons than just putting
on Christmas music and writing a holiday scene. Think outside
the usual and do something different. If all else fails, you
can always trap your hero and heroine with a good old-fashioned
What time is it, boys and girls? That's
right, it's NaNo time!
Once again enterprising writers-amateur
and professional-from all over the world are gearing up for
the annual National Novel Writing Month aka
A great way to kick your muse into
action, NaNoWriMo is a month long challenge to write a 50,000
word novel. The rules are simple. Starting November 1st, ban
your inner-editor and just write! If you write 1667 words per
day, by the end of November you'll have 50k and a pretty certificate
naming you as a Winner!
+ Competition = BANG!
Of course, we're all winners anytime
we finish a manuscript but the sense of camaraderie from NaNoWriMo
helps get the juices flowing. The challenge of tens of thousands
of other participants brings out a sense of competition and
helps you keep up.
So take some time in October to plan
your next novel and join us at the Roses thread on the NaNoWriMo
forums! We'll push each other into fast and furious mode!
The NaNoWriMo forums are at: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/forum.
The Sign Up link is in the top right corner. After you sign
up, the Roses thread is located at: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/node/3004771.
In addition, you can set up information
about you as a writer-great promo opportunity. Check out my
profile at http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/124886 and see
the different options available, like website, biography, pictures,
etc. Once NaNo starts, you can post excerpts of your book as
Pop over to the main forum and check
out the genre section and the tons of helpful information.
I'll be around on the Roses forum
to help with questions about setting up your profile and posting.
Plus I can be reached at email@example.com if you need
help off the forum.
join us for a fabulous November!
been writing for a few years and have always enjoyed working
my way through the love scenes. Lately, however, they've become
pretty stale. Start with kissing, go to oral, tab A into slot
B... repeat. How can I ramp up the love scenes in my stories?
a rut in Colorado Springs
Ahh, yes. The step-by-step love scene.
While it's true the fundamentals of lovemaking are pretty concrete,
the atmosphere, emotions, and occasional toy help to break the
monotony and make each scene different and special. Here are
some tips I use to shake things up.
Love scenes, for the most part, are
rarely in the male's POV. If they are, it's usually the foreplay.
Challenge yourself to write an entire love scene from the hero's
If the scene is in the female's POV, the reactions are often
about what he's doing to her. Try to make it about what she's
doing to him and how his reactions affect her.
Try an off-the-wall location OR have
one partner be completely nude while the other is mostly clothed.
The dichotomy will add to the emotions making the sex more open
for one and more closed off for the other. Conflict!
Write the love scene as though it
were one of your fantasies in first person, present tense. When
you're done, rewrite changing ONLY the tense and person. You'll
be surprised at how active and raw the scene will be.
Love scenes, like people, come in
all shapes and sizes. Remember not all love scenes have to end
in blazing orgasms, but they must be essential to the plot and
move the story and conflict forward.
Good luck and keep writing!