Monday, June 26, 2017

Authors, how well do you know your characters?


I read a book yesterday. It was an erotic romance by a man. I found it extremely active. Great action not much telling. I had two problems with the story: one was that the heroine was a virgin (My eyes are rolling. No, really!) ...not that it isn't possible. But! She was extremely innocent and inexperienced until she took one look at the bad boy hero...and then while fearing for her life...got hot. Then even her internal language changed, and her knowledgeable experience skyrocketed, but we never find out where she acquired the knowledge. She became more and more aware of her own needs and became very imaginative. (You go girl! High Five.) 


So my issues with reading books about virgins, in general, is it's important to establish whether the character is just physically a virgin or that he/she has lived a very innocent sheltered life. You can have both, but it's also important to manufacture a character who actually sticks to the characterization. More than anything this is a rant about characterization. The author almost had it right, just not quite.

You can't build a boat out of mesh and expect it to float. So although I enjoyed the way the writer expressed the story, I had a few problems with the plot, the characterization, and the way the exchanges between characters took place throughout the story. Too many plot holes and lack of information. Too little detail, that had it been added, could have clarified a lot.

Because it was also told in present tense, first person point of view, each character had their own chapter, and it was all well done. But in first-person point of view, the reader should have a lot of insight into the characters; what they think, what past experiences affected them, who they are...deep inside. We can get into that deep point of view. So it would be easier for us to get to know them in that point of view. The author missed a great opportunity.

Because what we get to know about them internally and how they portray themselves externally becomes inconsistent. Out of character behavior, dialogue, reactions.

Sometimes people do that. It's possible. But when actions define characters and those actions are inconsistent as well we need to know why. 

Now I'm going to say something which may not be politically correct. The female character was the culprit. She was the one who was defined by her virginity but didn't have much of a character outside of that. Whimpy woman syndrome. Is this the way men think of women who haven't had sex? Sex defines women and sets them free? A good man can solve all her maturing problems.

Men, if you're going to write about us...get to know us. Truly.


So I'm not knocking male writers who write romance. I think all authors need to get in the characters' points of view (male and female and other more deeply. (These are people, writers. Not cardboard cutouts with names and genitalia.)  And then stay physically, emotionally, and mentally consistent with that character as they change and grow. 


In other words, if the character is a virgin, she would think about why she was a virgin and whether or not she wants to stay a virgin when she gives it up to a stranger. He (the author) didn't get into that, or what past experiences she'd had either (reading about sex or listening to others). And what kind of friends she had. What was she really like? Why didn't she say things either in her head or verbally that indicated what knowledge she had about sex? TV and social media; books and magazines are possible information centers. Out of curiosity, it should be mentioned. Don't leave important characterization details out. I can imagine a character's hair color, but I want the author to clearly show me why a character is behaving in a certain way. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Self-Publishing or a Small Press?

Here's the blog I wrote for my web page
I’ve done both with a number of books, and though I thought I preferred the independence of self-publishing, and still do at times, I am leaning toward mixing it up again. I like the support of a small press and the comradery of having other authors in the stable who are willing to cross promote and bolst0dc60-the2bgemini2bprophecy2bfinal2bcopyer me up when I need advice. writing is a solitary undertaking, but promoting and dealing with the business of writing doesn’t have to be.
A publisher with a good track record, who is a good fit for you, can be your best asset. My needs were much different years ago when I started than they are now. Yet both publishers I began with each serves a different purpose for my writing needs now, and both are not only still in business, but successful and well thought of in the industry. That’s saying something in these times. I also recently published with a third small press and am excited to announce I’m thoroughly pleased with the team I worked with. Being part of another supportive group, specializing in the genre I write, has been a pleasure.
DireMoon_MED
A Hot Moon Rising Book
The trick is finding the right fit. I like a quick turn around on correspondence and edits. I like easy access to the team I work with. I like flexibility and custom service. If I need more than two rounds of edits…let’s do it! I want input on my cover and the marketing plan. I want to be able to participate. Some companies don’t work that way. Some authors don’t have any interest in working that way.  It’s all about finding what works for you and your career.
My self-publishing experience has afforded me the flexibility to adjust with the market. In an industry of change and shifting markets, we need to adjust quickly and research to be prepared for the next wave.  I like testing the market to see what works. In the process, I’ve found thinking ahead of the curve is a crap-shoot. As fast as we adjust things shift. So writing to please yourself is the best answer because…you can’t please everyone.
The downside to self-publishing is the number of hats I have to wear unless I want to hire someone to do them. Then there’s the cost. Once again, the loss of a certain amount of control. Waiting for someone else to do the work. Hoping they have the same vision…
rainbow_stage_spotlights_vector_background_529094-copy
And finally, the time-consuming time away from writing.
I’m considering a co-op of stable writers who want to form a group. Not only can we write together, we can write apart and still be there for each other. It’s been done before and may be my answer.
When I can’t depend on SMASHWORDS’ meatgrinder to accept my old formats…I need another set of eyes and a ton of suggestions. Thank goodness for GOOGLE search.
My books at iBOOKS
My books at SMASHWORDS
My books at AMAZON

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

#IWSG Yes It's That Time Again...Support Fellow Writers

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group,founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Our awesome co-hosts for today are: JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

Our Twitter is @TheIWSG and hashtag #IWSG

Optional June 7th Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?
No, I never said, "I quit". Have I wanted to quit the endless promotions? The manuscript that just won't format? The scattered plot? The uncooperative characters? YES. But I can't. The stories keep calling me. Writing is where I go to escape Facebook and Twitter. Where I go when the world we live in is beyond dealing with. I struggle to twist the one I can control to my whim. It's security and what I love. It's a place where I can be myself.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

DIRE MOON by Eliza March: An Endangered Shifter Species DIscovers New Hope















Read an Excerpt

DIRE MOON 

(HOT MOON RISING #9)

Her aura has never reacted to any man this way. 
After the female dire wolf under her protection goes missing, Laurel Finnegan’s new assignment, vetting the brother, proves even more challenging. He’s everything Laurel isn’t. And everything she wants. Before the full moon rises, she’ll have to test their mutual attraction, find his sister, and keep him away from the other females who will stop at nothing to be the dire wolf’s mate.

He refuses to accept the significance of their mingled auras.
Lucas MacDugal’s family is the last of the purebred dire wolves, and times have changed. So when his sister fought tradition and fled Scotland for Sarasota, he agreed. Now, he has to deal with her female security guard. Laurel has extraordinary elemental assets and is instrumental in deciphering evidence, but she’s also the first female to destroy his self-control. He has until the full moon rises to figure out why. After that, his unusual attraction to Laurel may prove deadly for her.

All the evidence indicates Grace set herself up.
Laurel’s worst fears prove true. Rogues from the south have infiltrated the outlying pack land. When she discovers Grace’s location and telecommunications fail, she decides to rely on the elemental connection she formed with Lucas.

He’s in denial…
But there’s no denying how much she hungers for him, and his lust rises with the waning moon. The innocent female haunts his thoughts night and day. He has to respond. Too many lives are at stake for him to ignore the appeal he can’t resist.

The full moon calls his wolf to action.
Lucas will give up everything to claim Laurel as his, but he won’t risk her life. The fear of losing her drives him to discover the mystery surrounding their irresistible connection.


Excerpt from DIRE MOON by ELIZA MARCH

    “Lucas is also their pack enforcer, so you will need protection,” Rand spoke up then turned to Derek. “What do you think?”
   “According to everything I’ve got on him, he’s a lone wolf, aggressive, the second son, yet with alpha tendencies. Above all, he’s honorable. He’s no pup. So I’m not concerned about him getting out of control.”
   Derek still appeared uncomfortable then looked at Laurel and shook his head. “If he’s as powerful and large as I’ve heard, we need to warn off our females. They should stay away from him at the time of the next full moon.”
   “But a few of the females are already looking outside the pack for new blood,” Laurel said.
    “If he sets his sights on one he likes, she probably wouldn’t survive a mating. His mother was purebred and barely lived through the births.” Rand kept his attention on Ty while he grew increasingly restless.
   “Well, it’s not always about breeding.” Laurel gave a nervous chuckle. “If you want to take his temperature, for some reason I’m still your best chance to vet him. So far, none of you boys have tickled my fancy. And precisely, as a reminder, like Grace, I ‘don’t need no stinkin’ brothers’ to protect me either.”
   The three men didn’t exactly growl, but Laurel was certain she heard the low rumbles begin.
   Ty shook his head then pointed a finger at her. “Everybody thinks they’re immune, that they’re in control, until it hits them. Then, suddenly, you’re walking around with stars in your eyes and can’t put two coherent sentences together, let alone fight the urges within you.”
   “Listen to Mr. Romance!” Laurel giggled.
   “Don’t laugh, missy.” Derek gestured to Ty. “Look at him. Neither of them, Grace or Ty, wanted to be involved, and he couldn’t stay away from her, even knowing what she is. Her disappearance has made him as crazy as if they’d been—”
   The room went dead quiet, the word mated hanging in the air. Derek turned in his chair, and his eyes flashed a warning.

   Laurel’s gaze swung to Ty. “You didn’t…did you?”

Monday, May 8, 2017

DIRE MOON


ABOUT THIS BOOK

Her aura has never reacted to any man this way. 
After the female dire wolf under her protection goes missing, Laurel Finnegan’s new assignment, vetting the brother, proves even more challenging. He’s everything Laurel isn’t. And everything she wants. Before the full moon rises, she’ll have to test their mutual attraction, find his sister, and keep him away from the other females who will stop at nothing to be the dire wolf’s mate.

He refuses to accept the significance of their mingled auras.
Lucas MacDugal’s family is the last of the purebred dire wolves, and times have changed. So when his sister fought tradition and fled Scotland for Sarasota, he agreed. Now, he has to deal with her female security guard. Laurel has extraordinary elemental assets and is instrumental in deciphering evidence, but she’s also the first female to destroy his self-control. He has until the full moon rises to figure out why. After that, his unusual attraction to Laurel may prove deadly for her.

All the evidence indicates Grace set herself up.
Laurel’s worst fears prove true. Rogues from the south have infiltrated the outlying pack land. When she discovers Grace’s location and telecommunications fail, she decides to rely on the elemental connection she formed with Lucas.

He’s in denial…
But there’s no denying how much she hungers for him, and his lust rises with the waning moon. The innocent female haunts his thoughts night and day. He has to respond. Too many lives are at stake for him to ignore the appeal he can’t resist.

The full moon calls his wolf to action.
Lucas will give up everything to claim Laurel as his, but he won’t risk her life. The fear of losing her drives him to discover the mystery surrounding their irresistible connection.

BARNES & NOBLE
BOOKSTRAND


 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

ReBlog: Kiss Your Editor Today

Of course it’s a love/hate relationship (truly more love than hate on my part). By the time I finish my
IMG_0197 edits I want to prostrate myself at my editor’s feet and beg for her forgiveness and mercy…and thank her for putting up with me. No, I’m not a Diva. I’m just an author, and I do all the things in my first few drafts that many writers do. I know the rules (and YES there are rules) and the rules are meant to be guidelines to improve the reader’s enjoyment of the author’s book. Do I balk at some suggestions? Yes. Should I? No.
No editor is looking to mark up your manuscript in red just for the hell of it. Any editor would rather pick up your manuscript, sit down with a glass of wine, and enjoy a good book…preferably yours…the one she should be editing…but discovers there’s nothing wrong with it the way it is. She’d rather stay up all night, unable to put it down, and at dawn, realize she’s just finished a best seller, a Pulitzer Prize winning novel…and it’s yours. Not a suggestion to make, not a comma to enter, no exclamation points to delete, not a word to change.
Perfect. But I seldom got a manuscript delivered in that condition. Some were better than others. And I’ve never read or written a manuscript that didn’t need a damn good editor.  If every editor only got perfect manuscripts, they’d be out of a job. And when editors write, they are authors and they need editors, too–probably as much or  sometimes more than anyone. I’ve had good editors and mediocre ones. If you find a good one–an editor who makes you stretch your limits, dig deeper for the talent hidden in you, forces you to go farther than you intended to go with your story, bow to her glory. She’s a priceless jewel. Acknowledge her. She’s like the hardest teacher you ever had in school, the one who wouldn’t let you skimp on anything because she believed in you. You can hate the work, but value the effort. It’s what will make you better than you ever imagined you could be. Blow her a kiss and kneel at her feet.
Thank you, my glorious editors!
This is for all my critique partners and editors along the way who have put up with my repetitious ways and passive voice and out of POV scenes, and more…so much more.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday Blog

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group,founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. The awesome co-hosts today are Christopher D. Votey, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey!  April 5 Question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?



No I haven't, but I'd like to. Sometimes writing the books gets in the way of promoting or planning how to market and network. I'm still struggling with learning and keeping up with the ever changing market. Help! I'm up for assistance from anyone who has a suggestion or two.

Thank you!