Category Archives: Writing

The next big thing

Today,
I’m bringing to you the Next Big Thing. I was tagged by the lovely Yelena Casale. (Check out her Next Big Thing post here). This is the 17th week of this blog hop, designed for writers to connect with readers and reveal a little bit about their current work in progress.

What is the working title of your book?

I know it will be ‘something’ storm, but I haven’t quite decided yet. I’m calling it Vamp 4 (Heart of a Vampire, book 4).

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When I get a book idea, my mind automatically wonders how it could be turned into a series. So, the HoaV series came with an idea for my first couple. In book 4, readers get to know Brandon Wulfgar, one of the Viking twins who guard the vampire king.

What genre does your book fall under?

Vampire paranormal romance

Which Actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Salma HayekThis is hilarious to answer, because I actually have pictures of my characters for my own reference. Brandon Wulfgar would be played by Chris Hemsworth (from Thor of course). Celeste Wilder would be Salma Hayek.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Hmm. I don’t actually have one yet. Okay, made up on the fly: An old-school Viking warrior must convince a mortal detective that the paranormal is real in order to save her family, and her soul.

What do you think? Yeah, needs work.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My plan is to self-publish this entire series.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m writing it right now. I started on October 9th, with the goal to be done before the end of the month… at least with this first draft, LOL.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Um, I have no idea. I generally don’t compare myself to other authors. Anyone who’s read the books in this series want to answer?

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The characters. They’re always the culprits. They get in my head, demanding their story be told and refuse to go away until I comply.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I know what I wonder about. How can an immortal vampire and a mortal homicide detective find their happily ever after.

Okay, this was fun. Thanks for listening to me 🙂

For next week (#18) check out who I tagged in The Next Big Thing:

Cathy Pegau

Cassandra Carr

Guest Author and Give@way~Cera duBois of the Hunter’s Dagger Series

The Rest of the Story…

Keeping the facts straight when writing a series.

Thank you, Amber, for having today as your guest!

 *Always, thanks so much for stopping by 🙂 *

Whether you are a reader or a writer of fiction, we often fall in love with the secondary characters or the “world” of a story. So much so, that readers often request authors to “finish” the story. This is what happened with the Star Wars universe. If you ask George Lucas, his story ended at the last scene in Episode 6, Return of the Jedi. Sure, he wrote and produced the Prequel which fans either loved or hated, but we (I’m a Star Wars fan) all wanted the rest of the story.

Do Han and Leia marry? Does Luke rebuild the Jedi Order? Does Leia become a Jedi?

Fortunately for us, Mr. Lucas made a business decision that has raked in millions for him, has kept the franchise alive and well and has, for the most part, satisfied us fans. Yes, Han and Leia not only get married, they have a set of twins, Jacen and Jaina and a son, Anakin, all of whom become favorite characters in the series about Luke’s new Jedi Order. And yes, Leia becomes a Jedi, she actually becomes a Master eventually. A lot happens in the Galaxy Far, Far Away beyond that final scene with the Force ghosts of Anakin, Obi-Wan and Yoda watching the Death Star exploding over the forest moon of Endor with the Ewoks playing primitive instruments and Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca and the droids rejoicing the end of the Evil Empire.
Yeah, did I mention I’m a fan? But having read this series of books, written by various writers, I’ve seen some of the problems with writing a big series. One of the biggest for me is inconsistencies… But this I can understand in a series as huge and diverse as the Star Wars books. These books aren’t written by George Lucas or even endorsed by him … Oh, he makes money from them and sanctions their plots as part of the Expanded Universe, but these authors are only using his “world” and characters. If he chooses to continue with his personal vision of the story—it will be nothing like what has been written. Something this fan hopes never happens. I love the books!

However, I think if a series is written by one author, within one “world” and with the same set of characters, he or she better get the facts straight. I hate inconsistencies and nothing will throw me out of a story faster than changing the facts late in the game.

So, how does an author prevent this from happening? Because it’s the little things that may and do bug the observant reader. Like the heroine’s sister’s green eyes (in book one) now are blue in book five—with no mention of colored contacts. Or the long lost friend whose name was John and now it’s James—without the benefit of the character changing his name.

We all have seen them, but hopefully we can prevent these with some basic record keeping. For both of my series, The Hunter’s Daggers Series and The Colton Gamblers, I use the Microsoft Office program One Note as a virtual notebook. There’s a lot of writing programs out there, and most of them have features that allow you to save notes, or information within the program. I use One Note simply because I like it and it’s easy to use, if you’re a Microsoft user.

For my series The Hunter’s Daggers, I created a virtual notebook and each book has a section. Within these sections, there are pages. I have a page in each book section for research, character profiles, calendar of events, and general notes. On the research page, I’ll copy/paste entire web pages. This makes life easy when I need to make sure my facts are straight, I simply go to my Notebook and find the article. I don’t have to do another web search. In the character profile page, I note anything I might need to know later—such as physical appearances, and any facts about that character I might need to know later. The calendar should be self-explanatory. On the general notes page, I list anything else I might need to know–like brainstorming sessions; I copy/paste the book info, like the blurb and synopsis; all the links to the files; and important dates, like when I started the book and when I finally finished it.

For example, here’s what the profile for Brad Morris/Austin Calhoun from A Hunter’s Angel and A Hunter’s Blade looks like. This was copied from my One Note page. The things in parentheses and italics I added to clarify things.

Bradley Andrew Morris AKA Austin Calhoun

*Born: August 23, 1979, age 32 at the start of A Hunter’s Angel

*Turned into a Vampire by Shane Chamberlain in January 2011.

*Eyes: Hazel/ After his turn, they glow amber when he drops his glamour.

*Hair: Golden Brown, he wears it sort of like Rob Pattinson in Twilight (LOL… I know, this is just so I can picture it so that I can describe it in the books.)

*Height: 6’2”

*Known for his one-night stands and never committing to a woman.

*His father is sentenced to life in prison when Brad is 3 yrs old after he kills a cop during a robbery of a convenience store. He hasn’t seen his father since.

*Grows up on his grandparents’ ranch in East Texas with his mother and sister Diane, who is a year and half younger than him.

*He marries Samantha Anderson when he is 18 after she gets pregnant with his first son, Brandon. She files for divorce in 2001. She remarried a rancher and lives in Texas with Brandon.

*He joins the Army after high school graduation and becomes an MP and eventually works his way into the CID (Criminal Investigation Division). He deploys to Afghanistan in 2002 and to Iraq in 2003. He ETS’s (this is a military acronym which means he leaves the Army) and joins the FBI in 2005.

*He marries his second wife, Jamie Becker, in 2005 after she becomes pregnant after a short series of one-night stands. They are married for 2 years until he cheats on her and she divorces him. She now lives in New Jersey with their son Matthew…

This goes on for every fact that makes up Brad/Austin’s character. 

So, hopefully I don’t mix up something that is vital to his character. And hopefully you fall as much in love with this ex-soldier-turned-FBI Special Agent-turned vampire vampire hunter as I did when I wrote him in A Hunter’s Angel, and I just had to tell the rest of his story.

A Hunter’s Angel, Book 1 The Hunter’s Dagger Series

The serial killer stalking Clayton, Pennsylvania, isn’t all that has Chief of Police Grace Wallace worried. For a year, she’s tried to forget Special Agent Ian McHenry and now he’s the expert the FBI sent to catch the killer. She can’t stay away from him, but something primal is telling her to run to save much more than just her heart. Despite the strict code of ethics Ian vowed to follow as a vampire hunter, he craves Grace’s blood above all others. If he chooses to stay, Ian risks losing his chance at divine forgiveness. But if he leaves Grace unprotected from the evil he’s hunted for over a century, he loses more than just his soul…

***Here’s a never  before seen excerpt featuring Brad, Ian and Grace***

She looked at him as if she wanted to say something, but Brad interrupted by moving in beside her. Ian hadn’t missed the two of them talking earlier while he waited with Sheryl and the children.

“We’re finishing up. I was thinking of heading back to Clayton for something to eat. I’m starved enough to eat a horse, shoes and all,” Brad said, looking at Grace.

She laughed. “Me, too. But I’ll pass on the shoes, I think.”

The sound shot right though Ian. When was the last time she laughed with me?

His answer came back to him like a double edged sword—the night you almost killed her while making love to her.

Grace brushed a lock of coppery hair from her lightly freckled cheek. Brad watched the action, and Ian sensed his lust. Ian’s jealousy was potent and instant. He fought his darker side and managed to prevent his fangs from descending.

Brad glanced at him, and Ian didn’t need to read his mind to know his intentions. Focused once more on Grace, Brad stepped closer and tilted his head toward her.

Brad was a good two inches taller than Ian. His light brown hair styled in one of the latest disheveled trends and the sun highlighted it with gold. The Texan had that cowboy charm most women easily fell for.

Ian didn’t pay much attention to their conversation. He was too busy fighting the urge to slip into Brad’s mind and make him dance around like a monkey. Maybe have him even scratch his crotch. Wasn’t that what all the Sunday paper cartoons made fun of?

He shook off the crazy notion. Ian didn’t like using his powers on his friends and rarely read Brad’s mind. But Ian couldn’t stop thinking Brad Morris was the last thing Grace needed.

The only thing that prevented him from sending Brad away was his connection with Grace. She wasn’t interested in Brad—now. But given time, would she fall under Brad’s spell as easily as if he had some sort of supernatural power? He had seen his friend charm the pants off more than one woman.

Ian clamped down so hard on his teeth it was amazing he didn’t break them off. The accent, Ian silently accused. He remembered all too well her fascination with his brogue when they’d met a year and a half ago. She’d quizzed him on it until he told her a satisfying story of picking up his Irish parents’ accents.

Brad’s chuckle quickly brought him back to the present. They talked as if Ian wasn’t even there, as if they’d known each other for years. Had they carried on like this last year? Ian couldn’t remember.

She asked, “Hey, you still hungry enough to eat the shoes off a horse?”

Brad smiled broadly. “Yep. What do you say we get out of here?

Available Everywhere E-books are sold:

The Wild Rose Press | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

A Hunter’s Blade, Book 2 of The Hunter’s Dagger Series

 Brigit Wolfe, a born werewolf, hasn’t killed a human in over a hundred years, although now, she wonders if the animal attacking people in Silver Creek, Colorado, isn’t her. But she might have bigger problems when her cowboy neighbor, Austin Calhoun, ambles into her bar. Austin hasn’t been a vampire for long, but he is determined to prove to himself that he’s worthy of his hunter’s dagger. Brigit’s rare beauty and blade-sharp tongue enchants him. She ignites a passion he thought was dead, but is she the killer his master sent him to destroy? During Austin’s investigation regarding Brigit’s involvement in the deaths, an old crime surfaces connected to her human best friend. These two immortal enemies have to join forces to solve the mystery before someone else dies. But can they survive the heat of their own desire?

***Excerpt***

“Why don’t you enlighten me?”

She glowered at him for several moments. Then she closed her eyes and spoke in a language he didn’t understand. Before he knew it, a fire sparked to life in the old stone hearth across the room. A second later, he flew out of his chair and shoved hard against the edge of the bar behind him.

He struggled against the invisible restrains, but she’d taken him completely off guard. He was powerless to break free.

Standing, she kicked the chair to the side and stalked toward him. She could kill him right here and now, but…holy hell, she was damned sexy.

She stopped in front of him and growled, “Let’s get something established about werewolves. There are two kinds. The lesser wolves who are made. And the Lykan who are born. I’m not one of the degenerates. I was born a Lykan in 1647. The first child of Valeriu and Elena. I’m an alpha and you are nothing more than a fledgling just hatched.”

He broke free of her power by drawing on his own. When he moved toward her, Austin held his hands to his side, ready to grab the special knife he had sheathed inside his jacket. His fangs had long ago descended ready for a fight. “I don’t really give a flying fuck whether you were made, born, or hatched.”

When the energy of her power touched him again, he pulled the knife, and the silver blade caught the dim light of the fire in the hearth when he opened the long switchblade. “I want to know if you’re the one preying on these people.”

Her eyes widened and she backed up a step as he approached. “I told you I didn’t attack those humans. I haven’t killed a mortal in over a hundred years. How many innocents have you snacked on tonight? How many of them did you want to kill?”

“I don’t hurt my prey,” he said through clenched teeth and held her icy gaze. He’d never let her know battling the beast within every feeding was the hardest thing he’d ever done.

After forcing himself to take a deep breath, he lowered the knife and released some of the tension zinging through his body. “If you didn’t kill those people then you have nothing to worry about. Best way to figure out who did is by working together.” He put the silver blade away, and his fangs retracted.

“What do you have planned?”

He didn’t miss the slight quiver in her voice. He should finish all this right here and now so he could get back to Ireland and whatever life he’d scraped together, but something needled him into doing a thorough investigation.

“We begin with you telling me everything you remember from those nights you became the big, bad wolf.”

Available now at Amazon and everywhere January 2, 2013.

 

Bio:

Cera duBois has a strong belief in never giving up on your dreams…

Although Cera was unable to read due to dyslexia and a learning disability until she was in the fourth grade, she always had a story to tell. She wrote her first novel in eleventh grade when she had to keep a journal for her academic English class. Since her life was far from exciting growing up as a farm girl in West Central Pennsylvania, she decided to rely on her imagination to give her something to write about. Over the course of the school year, she wrote a tangled romance set in the Deep South during the Civil War.  Becoming an author was her ultimate dream. Despite holding a BS in secondary social studies education from Penn State University, she currently works full-time as a medical secretary. A mother of a teenage son and pre-teen daughter, she lives near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with her husband of nearly 20 years. If she isn’t sitting in a quiet corner with her laptop, warm days will find her in the English garden surrounding her house. Cera loves to read and is interested in history, romance, science fiction and the paranormal. She also writes contemporary Westerns under her real name of Sara Walter Ellwood.

Website Links:

Website/Blog | Facebook | Twitter | To sign up for my newsletter

 I’m also having a giveaway!

 2 Lucky posters will be picked to receive a custom piece of jewelry designed by me. So make sure you LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS in your post!

Please welcome Cindy Carroll ~ and Giveaway

I’m honored to have Cindy Carroll with us today. Author and teacher, she has an upcoming class on how screenwriting can help fiction writers. Check it out : ) http://www.writersonlineclasses.com/?page_id=592

Also, comment here to win a lecture packet from Cindy.

And, action!

First I want to say thank you to Amber for allowing me to guest blog here to kick off my blog tour! I love writing novels and scripts. And I love talking about how screenwriting techniques can improve your novel.

Action. There’s a reason it’s not lights, camera, passive. How boring would that be? Action is what movies and television are all about. They’re moving pictures, so they have to move. Of course there are two kinds of action. But I’m not talking action movies here with explosions, car chases, gun fights. Though I do love all that stuff. I’m talking active writing. Whether you write novels or scripts you have to keep the writing active. Avoid passive voice as much as possible.

In scripts those sections of description describing the action are actually labelled action in screenwriting softwares. Too much describing what’s going on slows the pace and lessens the white space. Scripts should have lots of white space. Script readers actually skip over large chunks of action. Novel readers would never do that would they? Uh, yes, they would.

Novels need white space too. Just because novels aren’t moving pictures doesn’t mean they can be passive. Lots of narrative in passive voice, not enough dialogue, too much introspection make for a slow paced book.

What can you learn from reading scripts and watching movies that can help your novels? Here’s an example of action that sets the scene from one of my favourite action movies – True Lies.

EXT. CHATEAU – NIGHT

The driveway and motorcourt are filled with cars. A formal dress party is in progress… a private reception for a middle-eastern dignitary. Tuxedoed men escort their diamond-encrusted ladies through the huge front doors, where they doff their overcoats and are politely scanned with hand-held metal detectors by white gloved security staffers.

The walled perimeter of the house runs along the lake, forming a kind of rampart. There is an opening, to a kind of waterway or canal, which connects to the private docks inside the grounds. There is a steel grating across the opening. The bars disappear down into the thin ice of early winter.

With the house visible BG, we CRANE DOWN below the parapet wall along which a guard is a white exposure-suit is walking… down along the dark wall to the grating… TILTING DOWN to see a glow pulsing under the ice.

Note how the action isn’t overdone. There isn’t a whole lot of description to set the scene but can you picture it? Can you picture the scene if you haven’t seen the movie? If you have seen the movie do you remember this scene? In screenwriting the writer puts in just enough detail to paint a picture but the rest of the details – the colour of the walls, what’s on the table in the character’s living room, what kind of TV they have – are decided on by other departments. Painting too detailed a picture may let the reader picture exactly what you, the writer, envisioned but it doesn’t let the reader use her imagination at all.

I talk about action and a whole lot more in my Is That Hollywood Calling? – How Thinking Like a Screenwriter Can Improve Your Novel. Comment here to be entered to win a lecture packet. If you don’t win, don’t worry! There’s still time to register for the class at: http://www.writersonlineclasses.com/?page_id=592

***

Cindy
http://www.cindycarroll.com/blog
http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCindyCarroll

#AmWriting Back to the Basics – Dialogue 4

 ***Don’t forget to read the Caveats***

For information on Boring Dialogue, see Part 1 and for Dialogue Punctuation, see Part 2, and for “As you Know Bob” and Repetition, see Part 3

Dialogue Tags

Dialogue tags come in many forms:

He/she said

He/she said angrily

He/she whispered – shouted – screamed – mumbled

‘Said’ is one of those words that readers don’t even really see. A good rule of thumb is when in doubt, go with simple.

Some people also use the reverse, rather than ‘she said’, authors will write ‘said she’. This reverse is becoming less common and sounds, or ‘reads’ unusual to many readers.

Motion Tags

Rather than writing “I didn’t know,” she said, an author can use movements.

 “But,” she ran her hands through her hair, “what about Joe?”

 She ran her hands through her hair. “But what about Joe?”

 “But what about Joe?” She ran her hands through her hair.

 Movement tags not only act as attributes (letting the reader know who’s doing the speaking), but also convey character emotion and act as ‘Beats’.

 Which is more interesting to read: (Gets into Show Don’t Tell)

      “You wouldn’t dare,” she said angrily.

     “You wouldn’t dare.” She slammed her fist on the table, making the fine china and silverware rattle.

 Beats

Sometimes, you want the reader to stop at certain points emphasizing different words or to draw out suspense.

“There was just so much…” Sally took a deep, shaky breath. “So much blood.”

Breaking up dialogue can also control pace:

 “Will you marry me,” Tom asked, bending down on one knee.

Sally’s eyes burned as tears welled. “Tom,” she whispered. “I…”

“Well?”

Sally took a deep breath. “Yes. Yes, I will.”

~vs~

 “Then?” Tom asked.

“Well, then I…” Sally shook her head. “Then I decided I had to do it.”

“You did it?”

“Yes. I took his old shotgun and raced outside.”

“And the dog?”

“That mean ol’ mangy mutt never knew what hit him.”

Tom Swifties

Back in the 60’s, a comic book artist wrote about a boy named Tom Swift, and his many adventures. The author commonly used adverbs as dialogue tags.

“Yes, Joe,” Tom said happily.

“The sun’s too hot,” Tom complained hotly.

“Well, that makes me mad,” Tom said angrily.

Tom ran and ran. “I’m tired,” Tom said with exhaustion.

Now, adverbs and adjectives are not the enemy, but they can distract from the dialogue itself. They can also become a bit silly.

It’s always better to use ‘said’ than a string of -ly words.

#AmWriting Back to the Basics – Dialogue 3

 ***Don’t forget to read the Caveats***

For information on Boring Dialogue, see Part 1 and for Dialogue Punctuation, see Part 2

Dialogue Part 3

As You Know Bobs

One common problem with dialogue is the ‘As You Know Bob’ syndrome. Beginning (and sometimes not-so-beginning) writers have all this knowledge of the story in their head. And this information needs to be given to the reader so things make sense.

Unfortunately, sometimes this trap jumps right up and captures us.

     “Hey Bob, how’s it going?” Joe asked, sitting at the table.

     Bob nodded as he continued to endlessly stir his coffee.

     “So Bob, you know Jesse, your cousin who got married last year? She’s coming to town with her new husband who’s a tax accountant. They have their two kids, Billy and Sally. And they might even be bringing that dog you gave them, Old Blue.”

Now, if you knew Bob, would you ever sit down and start telling him details like this about people he already knows? Bob would be looking at you like you’re crazy. In fact, his response my go like this:

     Bob glanced up. “Joe, what’s wrong with you? I already know all that about my cousin and her family. Why are you telling me?”

Repetition

Another common problem with dialogue is repetition. If something is said in dialogue, it doesn’t then have to be shown in exposition (and visa-versa) 

     Tony nodded sharply. “We’ll go around the rocks, check for any traps.”

     Sally patted her horse’s neck. “And after the bridge?”

     “We’ll just have to see.”

     Tony and Sally spurred their horses into a gallop, racing down the trail. They reached the boulders and checked for any traps. There were none. The two riders continued down the trail to the river, and the bridge. Then they crossed.

     “Now what?” Sally asked.

     Tony scratched his chin thoughtfully. “Well, let’s head to the town. Dr. Evans might be in. Then we can take him back to the farm to look old Joe over.”

     Tony and Sally rode on, over the bridge and reached the town. They dismounted in front of Dr. Evan’s house, tied the reins to the post and went in to see if the doctor was available.

     Sally stopped inside the door. “Doctor? Are you here? We need some help back at the farm.”

Readers are smart. They can figure out what’s going on with just subtle hints. If they are reading a story, and the author keeps repeating the same information again and again, most readers are going to get bored and stop reading.

#AmWriting Back to the Basics – Dialogue 2

 ***Don’t forget to read the Caveats***

For information on Boring Dialogue, see Part 1

Not only does Dialogue need to serve multiple purposes, it has specific punctuation rules.

All spoken dialogue has double quotes around it.

“She never told me,” he whispered.
      Because we are using a dialogue tag (he said), a comma goes inside the quote and the tag is NOT capitalized.

“Why didn’t she tell me?” he asked.
      We’re still using a dialogue tag, even though it’s a question. The tag remains lower case.

“She never told me.” He waved towards the balcony doors.
      By using a movement tag, the exchange becomes two different sentences. The dialogue ends with a period inside the quotes, and the movement tag IS capitalized.

“But,” he said, “she never told me.”
      Using a beat to break up the dialogue is punctuated by a comma inside the first set of quotes, the beat is NOT capitalized and also ends with a comma, and then the continuation of dialogue is NOT capitalized.

“But she never told me.” John spun from the others, staring blankly out the open balcony door. “How could she not have told me?”
      By using a movement tag between sentences of dialogue, the same rules of any movement tag are followed. Each sentence is its own, and punctuated with periods and capitals.

A Quote within a Quote
“So, then Sally said, ‘Those Garrison’s are too tall.’ We all laughed at her surprise,” Billy said.
      When quoting inside dialogue, single quotation marks are used.

The last part of punctuation is paragraphing. When a new person speaks, they always do so in a new paragraph.

      “And then, the dam broke.” Jesse’s eyes grew wider. “The water, frothy white with trees and boulders tumbling down the ridge right along with it, seemed like it would never stop.”
      “Whoa. What did the town do?” Sally asked.
      “We ran. What else?” Joe said, his voice deep and booming.
      “How far did you run?” Sally spread her hands wide as if she could measure the distance of the town’s flight between her fingers.
      “Far,” Jesse stated. “As far as we could.”

#AmWriting Back to the Basics – Dialogue 1

 ***Don’t forget to read the Caveats***

Dialogue.

It’s important to any story — short, long, novel, you name it.

Why?

In fiction, the purpose of dialogue serves multiple purposes.

It should convey information to the reader.
It should reveal character.
It should move the story forward.

The key is to make dialogue sound natural, convey information subtly, and not be boring.

Boring Dialogue

Would you like to open a book, or read a short story, and see the following?

     “Hi, Mary,” Joe said.

     “Hi, Joe,” Mary replied.

     “How is your day?” Joe asked.

     “Oh, okay, I guess.”

     “Nice weather we’re having.” Joe glanced up at the crystalline blue sky.

     Mary nodded. “Yeah. But it might be nice if it rained.”

     Joe agreed.

     “So, Joe. How’s your mom?” Mary scuffled her toe in the dry dirt.

     “She’s feeling better,” Joe replied. “And your parents?”

I could go on, but my eyes are already glazed over. While the conversation above is something you might hear in real life, it doesn’t exactly make for good reading. ‘Real Life’ doesn’t always readily apply to fiction.

Remember, it’s okay to skip the boring parts. And remember, the purpose of dialogue is to move the story forward. If two characters are talking about mundane things, does it push the story, or does it make the reader’s eyes glaze over?

And as with any writing, the #1 way to find out if your writing flows naturally is to Read it Out Loud.

Come back for Dialogue Part 2 – Punctuation

#AmWriting: Back to the Basics Caveat!

I hate Caveats.

Most people have enough common sense to get it without being told. Unfortunately, there are those who don’t always get it, then bitch and moan after the fact for “Not understanding”.

So, here’s my Caveat for the Back to the Basics Series.

You DO NOT have to follow every single ‘rule’

I AM NOT telling you what you MUST do, I’m just trying to help with the Basics

If you disagree with something I say, feel free to let me know, as long as you tell me WHY you disagree. Make it a discussion, NOT a rant.

If you don’t like my blog, NO ONE says you MUST read it 🙂

Anything else I’m missing?

#AmWriting Back to the Basics

I keep hearing about ‘back to the basics’ with local schools. Two of my kids go to a charter school which has used this slogan since they opened. What exactly does it mean?

Well, my take is that rather than having kids sit and listen, memorizing rote facts they don’t understand, curriculum is changing to go back to the basics. If you want to do algebra, you need to know the basics: addition, subtraction, ect. Kids need to actually apply the knowledge by doing the work instead of being talked to.

I think as writers, sometimes it’s good to be in this frame of mind.

Now, I can share my knowledge about the basics of the craft of writing, but if all you do is listen, you won’t get as much out of it. Like any writing information, you’ll get more from it by trying it out and applying it to your own writing.

Some of what I’ll be talking about the next few weeks is probably going to be pretty basic. But that’s where, after a bit of thought, I decided to start with. Because if the basics are missing, the rest isn’t going to be much help.

Come join me.

The first thing I’m going to be talking about is dialogue.

See ya’ll Wednesday.

What to write next???

Sometimes, it’s hard figuring out what I want to work on next. The ideas are plentiful, so mostly it comes down to what’s calling to me the loudest (at least, when I’m not working on something already contracted :).

I don’t like being in between things. It makes me feel at a loss. Things get a bit blue as my muse falls silent and allows my internal editor to start squawking his not-very-nice crap. He can make it hard to find the motivation to start on something new.

The nice thing is, as I play with the ideas and one begins to call out, my muse wakes up and tells that editor to shut up. Then, I begin work and life itself seems to pick up its pace.

The rollercoaster of an artist, I guess.

So, my Q4U:

 Writers, how do you feel between projects? If it’s a down feeling, how do you overcome it?

So bad

Yes. I admit it. I’ve been bad.

I need a sexy, bare-chested guy in skin-tight leather pants to come spank me 🙂

The good news is, I’ve been keeping up with my 2 group blogs (see the right hand side). The bad thing is, between my schedule and the cold that is *STILL* lingering in my chest, I haven’t updated this poor little blog in a few weeks.

Shame on me.

Well. I have some good news.

Dragos 2 came out in January. Dragos 3 (for which I’m currently doing edits on) is scheduled for March 11th. Eek. That’s only a month away.

And Dragos 4 is slowly being written when I get a few moments of breathing & brain lucidity. Luckily, though the cold is still in my chest, I’ve actually been able to think a little the last few days.

YAY for me 🙂

Also, this week is Digicon, a free online workshop at www.SavvyAuthors.com Go check it out. Publishers, Editors, Authors are sharing their knowledge (and/or taking pitches) and it’s all free.

Plus, I’m giving a workshop this week on the E-Volution of Publishing and what it means to authors 🙂

See you Wed. Promise.

~ Amber

Release Day!!

Yay. Today, my paranormal erotic romance Dragos 2: Scorched is officially out.

http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1537

 Dragos 2: Scorched

by Amber Kallyn

A bounty hunter and a woman on the run. Even dragons can be Scorched by love.

A rare Argentinean dragon shifter, Cynthianna “Anna” Hernandez has never known trust, peace or safety, not even by fleeing to the deepest wilds of Canada. When bounty hunter Garreth Dragos shows up during a blizzard, things get complicated as their inner dragons decide they’re perfect for each other. Things get worse when the dark mage hunting Anna finds them, sending his creatures to return her to his evil clutches. He’s willing to sacrifice anything and anybody to further his quest for power. Together, Anna and Garreth must trust in each other or all will be lost to evil.

Happy weekend everyone 🙂

Beating the blues

I don’t know what it is lately. The weather here has been great – mid-70’s and sunny. My oldest is between activities, which has freed up time in the evenings to just hang out together.

But I’ve just been feeling down. I don’t know if there’s really a song or not, but the words, “I’ve got the blues” keeps singing in my head.

One thing I’ve been doing is revising my urban fantasy. I came close a few times last year to finding an agent. And while they “Love the premise”, the general consensus is I need to work on my world-building and characterization.

I’ve learned a lot about the craft since then, and so I’m trying to apply it to the UF. I don’t know if I’m feeling like it’s a mountainous gargantuan task, or if I just don’t know where to begin first. The last two days, I’ve been rewriting my opening, trying to make my character more likeable and sympathetic, while making it a ‘hook’. Part of this is re-reading some of my favorite books and studying their openings.

The good news: I’ve finally started reading again 🙂 It’s been a little while since I actually sat down and just read. Partly, I blame the TV.

**Note to self – less TV

But a small part of me, you know, the evil editor deep inside that for some reason I can’t seem to shut up lately, is constantly telling me that even though I’m published with my erotic romance, I’m never going to make it to NY with my urban fantasy.

I KNOW it’s a lie. That voice is full of shit. Because I’m going to work my ass off and never give up until I get there.

But it won’t shut up 🙂

So, I’ve decided to make a plan.

I’m going to write down the steps I need to take to rewriting/editing my urban fantasy.

Then I’m going to number them.  Once that’s done, I’ll have a plan.

I work well when I have a plan. I love goals.

And I know, once I get deep into working through it, I’ll finally be able to shut that stupid voice up.

Q4U:

How do you get rid of the blues?

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