Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On Writing: Making a Point and Honest Reviews

All I Want And More from Cecile gave me the idea to write this blog today, that and on Sunday, our writing group met. Along with many other topics, one was about hitting the reader over the head with information. I've recently come to the conclusion that there's a fine line between information bashing and holding back critical points.

Several well known authors have the tendency to repeat a point ad nauseum, and I've become annoyed with their books as a result. Since then, I'm reluctant to bash my reader over the head with information because I was so, so guilty of doing just that when I first started writing. In an effort to avoid it, I think I forgot that to make a point, sometimes it takes repeating that point three times in three different ways to make it stick.

So authors, take that important information and make sure you mention it three times in your book so the reader doesn't miss it...

What does that have to do with honest reviews? Well, over the past two years, I use the reviews about my books to help me define my writing weaknesses and strengths. In my most recent review, Cecile Smutty Hussy was a big help to me with her honest review. I like the fact that she tells me exactly what she liked and what made her uncomfortable without turning into a critique partner. She gives the reader's point of view accurately. I also appreciated that she prefaced her concerns with qualifiers.

Sometimes these things are exactly what the author already knows and sometimes they aren't. A well thought out review not only helps readers determine if they'll enjoy a book, but it can also help an author discover whether or not they're getting their point across.

See Cecile's review here:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guest Blogger, Author Lorelei Confer

I talked to Lorelei Confer about her new book, DEADLY DECEPTION, a romantic suspense involving the abduction of a young woman being held for the human sex trade. She's working on her next human trafifcking novel now. Here's a little about the book . . .

Human trafficking. One of the most prolific and profitable businesses in the world and growing every day. But that's only in third world countries, right?

Isabella Donnelley finds out the answer the hard way--through personal experience--when she is drugged at a friend’s house and transported from Denver, Colorado, to Stoney Creek, Virginia, to be sold to a crime boss as a sex slave.

She puts her life in the hands of a man she finds intensely attractive but also distrusts. Now she must rely on him to keep her safe from her pursuing abductors--and maybe from him, too.

Wyatt Bowman, former-cop-turned-detective, is assigned to the Task Force of Human Trafficking. Sparks fly when a young and beautiful woman bursts into his house. But what neither one of them counted on was how much their lives would change.

A Siren Erotic Romance


Eliza asks Lorelei: Tell us a little about what to look for if we suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking and how can we help stop Human Trafficking?

Lorelei says: First you need to know how to identify a possible trafficked victim?

QUESTIONS to ask of a possible trafficking victim:

• What type of work do you do?

• Are you being paid?

• Can you leave your job if you want to?

• Can you come and go as you please?

• Have you or your family been threatened?

• What are your working and living conditions like?

• Where do you sleep and eat

• Do you have to ask permission to eat/sleep/go to the bathroom?

• Are there locks on your doors/windows so you can't get out?

• Has your identification been taken from you?

If you suspect human trafficking call the Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline at 1-888-3737-888

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Eliza On Writing - Identifying Your Author Voice

Who are you?

The question of voice seems to plague every writer at one time or other. If you have a strong one, readers either love you or hate you. If you don't have a strong enough one, every submission you send out comes back with some weak comment about it.

I've been thinking through this for some time. I critique manuscripts, and I judge quite a few contests, too. One thing that always strikes me when I'm absorbed in a good story or reading a well-written manuscript is how I can almost hear the author telling me the story. Now I want to clarify the "telling" part, because yes, I know the story should be "shown" not told, yet there's more to showing and telling a story than the narrative, action, or dialogue on the page.

I think you'll get what I mean when you pick up a Nora Roberts book and then go to a convention and hear her speak. She's in your head when you're reading one of her books. There's absolutely NO doubt who wrote the book. Her personality comes through on the pages.  I've read Harlan Coben and then watched a a few interviews with him. He writes the same way he speaks, and I feel like we've been best buds for years. It's strangely intimate to experience that with a virtual stranger, but you get that opportunity with an author, the chance to feel like you know him/her from the way they tell you a story. That is what we as readers want from our favorite authors--that personal touch, the comfort of knowing they won't disappoint us, the almost knowing what they'll say before they say it--the pace, the rhythm, the tone of the work.

You can depend on them, you can trust them, you can run away with them.

So, how do you develop a voice? To begin, get comfortable in your skin. Everyone says write WHAT you know; I say write WHO you are. Are you snarky, sweet, humorous, flighty, funny, serious, stuffy? Use your strong character traits and fit yourself into your story. Janet Evanovich is also a great example of an author with a strong voice. her characters are varied, but the tone of the books are the same. They are Janet. Your characters will have dialogue and narrative qualities of their own, but the way you tell a story will be purely YOU!

If you need help to find yourself and your voice, write a lot. Write journals, and poems and blogs. I don't necessarily recommend that you show this writing to anyone, but write it just the same. WARNING - Don't edit this writing. Stream of conscious writing is where you'll discover your voice. Yours will be unique to you. If I bump into you somewhere, I should recognize you the minute you open your mouth and say "Hi!" "Hello." "How are yah?"

I'm sure I've missed mentioning something. How about you giving me a hand here and comment? I'm sure you have some thoughts on this subject. Every writer out there has heard about the mysterious "voice". Now lets expose it for what it is..."You!"

Sunday, January 9, 2011

4.5 Cherries from Whipped Cream Reviews

Posted Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Moon, The Madness, and The Magic by Eliza March

Publisher: Siren Bookstrand

Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal

Length: Full Length (203 pgs)

Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play

Rating: 4.5 cherries

Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Fate sealed Rourke and Dane's destiny thirty years ago. Now Celeste, a fae shifter, understands why she's irresistibly drawn to both the Werewolf and the Demon Dragon Shifter. Surely with her succubus nature, she'll be capable of seducing the two alpha men, but will she be able to convince them that sharing her to fulfill the Prophecy would be better than the alternative: chaos, destruction, or death?

Why are the men's tastes--in everything from food to sex--changing? Maybe because one is the prince of the wolf pack, and the other is the leader of the Lore, a dreaded Demon Dragon shifter. They have one option--accept their destiny and complete the ménage bond or die.
The idea that a ménage a trios could save the world is an intriguing premise and the fact that one of the men needs to seduced into it was very hot indeed.

Imagine my surprise when my favorite unicorn, Celia, is back to set another stage for love. I think her character is pretty cool and I love the ways she has to show her love for her extended family. I am thinking they wished she didn’t love them quite so much, until they get the full impact of what was planned for them. Then they’re pretty grateful, to a certain extent.

In The Moon, The Madness, and The Magic, Celia sets up Celeste, her niece who has a very interesting bloodline, with Rourke, a very dominate and sexy growly man, and Dane, brother and best friend to Rourke and delicious in his own right. Of the three of them, Celeste is the only one in the know and the one with the responsibility to initiate the two men into her world and their place within it. That’s a great conflict right there. Add to that the fact that all three are going through some changes that will either destroy the world or save it depending on their choices and the plot accelerates even more.

For erotic romance readers, the story is spiced up with the knowledge that unless the three bond through sex all Celeste’s explanations will be for naught. The world will still fall into chaos. That is a pretty serious load to carry based upon whether or not the men have what it takes to satisfy Celeste and the ménage bond. It’s a great concept and I couldn’t wait to see what Ms. March would do. I was fascinated with the author’s decision to make Rourke the stubborn one and as far as I’m concerned, the one who was the neediest. Rourke was a very strong character and yet I found him to be vulnerable. He simply can’t be anything else than what he is and he has to be dominant or he’d fall apart. And yet, he needs. He needs Celeste, craves her even. That passion and possessive drive could be his undoing. That dynamic worked for me. I felt it gave greater emotional depth to the story.

Dane tugged at my heart strings. His torment comes from the choices he has to make. At one point I felt really sorry for him and was worried his heart would be so broken, he’d not recover and would turn bitter. I liked how the author circumvented that possibility with an inventive and sensual solution.

The only thing I wished the book would have had was more of an emotional edge to Rourke’s seduction. I would have loved to know more of his feelings…you know, those words that build shivery anticipation of how he’d react to the next touch by Dane. That perhaps Dane could have had a stronger role in seducing his reluctant bond mate and not relied so much on Celeste and her special touch. Instead it was pretty straightforward and I was left with a feeling of wanting. Of course this is my opinion and even though Rourke was a tough nut to crack, I continue to wish there’d have been a bit more to his capitulation. On the other hand, what there was for physical interaction between the three of them was pretty inventive and hot so I am pretty sure erotic romance readers are going to find enough of what they look for to be satisfied and happy with this story.

The Moon, The Madness, and The Magic is a well written, imaginative and entertaining read filled with spicy action and sultry seductions. The conflicts in this story are mostly internal but there’s an overt threat that looms over the three characters which adds to the tension and importance of their being successful. Of course writing a book where sex is the key to saving the world just had to be fun to write and it shows. There’s humor between the characters and lots of good buildup for a reader to enjoy which leads to a very satisfying happily ever after. I love how the men refused to “poof” and it summed up their personalities well. Rourke and Dane are not ‘poofy’ men; they are alphas all the way and oh, so yummy. I think readers will like them just as much as I did and will come away thinking Celeste is one lucky lady. Read it and see if you agree.