Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Update on How's that Writing Journey Coming?

Update The cover is ready for Hair of the Were the first book in the Luna de la Mar Spa series from Eliza March.

Have you met your goals? What do you do when you succeed? Or fail? What about when you disappoint yourself? Beat yourself up for not being dependable? I have a confession... 

 It's October? OMG - How did I get here and how did I get side-tracked from my writing goals? One thing that interferes with getting my writing done is having more pressing issues that keep popping up, forcing me to re-prioritize.  My family's needs always take priority over everything else, and my uncle has decided to move into assisted living. With no children of his own, I'm trying to help him find a suitable place near his friends. It's giving me good practice for finding out what I will want when the time comes for me and my husband. But it's time consuming and distracting.

"Hair of the Were" is late. I'm beating myself up over not meeting the goal for a planned  September release. The first humorous paranormal book in my As the Chair Turns series should have been released by now, but Irma showed up and blew (pun intended) that and several trees in my yard all to hell.

My house is way too large for my husband and I to maintain. We were ready to downsize and reduce the stress in our lives. Half our belongings are in boxes. We installed new flooring, new roof, and updated the kitchen and the bathrooms. There's still more to do and, now after this hurricane season, there's more. I also planned to put "said" home on the market last month. Real retirement is beginning to feel like an illusive dream.

Needless to say, my plans have changed. But although we had no firm plans in place for moving on, we did have a few dreams; so now, frustration is setting in.

Since I'm not wealthy enough for my writing income to take precedence over my other sources for paying the mortgage and bills ... such as emergency hurricane preparedness and cleanup, I need an alternative vision. I edit part time, mentor/coach part time, work as a hairdresser part time, and then write. So writing comes last, and money that I'd like to spend for promotion and advertising is being gobbled up in daily living expenses.  I am not the only author suffering from this dilemma.

What I've decided to do is stop setting "firm" goals for my release dates and avoid the guilt. I have at least eight books in progress at this time, and because I value good story and character development above churning out crap, I am taking a step back.

One of the observations I'd like to make for writers is that you should set your own pace. Yes, the authors who are releasing quickly and often are having success, but don't sell your work short. Don't self criticize because you take more time to tell the story the way you want to. Do it your way in your own time.

The self-publishing market makes it difficult to rise above the algorithms, keywords, and massive numbers of releases daily. What I see are opportunists, sharks feeding on minnows, finding a way to make more money for themselves without a care to the quality of what they turn out or how they affect the market in general.

Are we dumbing-down literacy? Yes. And genre fiction. The Chicago Manual of Style reviews editing rules about once a year because colloquial language and needs within the US are changing with the speed of social networking. There are age-gapped and style changes taking place every day. English, in all its forms, has different rules around the world, but in addition to that, I believe, fiction in (American) English is being swamped by books published with little, no, or unprofessional editing.  The results are chilling.

Incorrect uses of tense, words, phrases in books and TV, social media, and radio infiltrates our daily experience. Which came first? Does it matter? The results are the same. Confusion and inconsistencies. Authors who discard the rules and, through advertising and promotion, convince readers it doesn't matter.

To each her/his own. I can't live with "incorrect" or inconsistencies in my books. And believe me they have them. But I strive to improve with each book I write, because, as in all art, fiction and novels are a personal matter of taste. Correct language, grammar, and punctuation is not. Dialogue can be true to form, narrative can not.  An author can maintain her or his voice without compromising quality editing.

Be careful when comparing your goals, needs, and successes with other peoples'. 

Be good to yourself. Enjoy the journey no matter where it takes you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I Blame Harlequin for this ...

As the Chair Turns (a paranormal, tongue-in-cheek romance series) by Eliza March begins with
Hair of the Wolf, Book One coming this Fall.

Anyone who's ever read my writing knows I have an underlying sense of snide... Is it humor? Or sarcasm? Or scattered brain cell patterns from working with too many chemicals and inhaling too much hair spray?But funny? I'm not so sure. Lately, maybe more so than ever.  Nevertheless, I was a reader (and, also apparently a drinker) before I was a writer.

I belonged to Harlequin's "books of the month club". Not sure what it's really called. But I got additional gifts when they arrived. Purple wine glasses I had to use while I read the books they sent. I had a book a day habit and the purple glass always looked full ... too bad it wasn't. My wine habit couldn't keep up with my reading or I'd pass out before I finished the book...and four books, Harlequin? That didn't keep me satisfied. I went to the used book store to supplement my reading addiction, ordered books online, and then discovered a few small ebook presses. Whala! I would never go without something to read again...and I could download at 2 AM! Book two in the series completed? Ah! Book three is available immediately! Yea.

Soon, the series didn't satisfy, the authors couldn't write fast enough, I'd imagined the story twist differently, the characters reactions differently, and I had an idea...write it myself. At least I couldn't drink and type at the same time.

When I first began writing, one of my stylists suggested As The Chair Turns for a title, and with her blessings I am going to use it. The series was originally intended to be reality based and a serious, non-fiction fiction. I just couldn't do it. Fifty years in this business, in one capacity or another, didn't allow for it.

What I didn't suspect at the time was that:
1. I'd ever write it.
2. It would be paranormal.
3. It would be funny.

Karsley, "like Parsley," thank you.  Now that I'm finally going to use it, I hope you find it up to your title suggestion. I doubt Karsley ever suspected it would be something like this. But she has a great sense of humor so I think it will be perfect.

I'd started out writing romantic suspense, then for a while, found my niche in erotic paranormal romance. And I was pretty darned good at it, too. The only thing funny about that is the idea of me writing erotic anything. My husband suggested I write what I know. I have had one husband, five children, the beauty industry, and reality for experience. That was more what he had in mind. But hey, Problem was I read lots of fiction. Don't forget that book a day habit. And I read sexy fiction. Paranormal fiction.

I guess he didn't expect me to stray off to my wild imaginary, sexy-shifter worlds. Uh-duh...that had become my escape reality. Who needed more of what I did every day? I refused to consider writing about the industry I'd been immersed in for...well...forever. (Fifty years is close enough to forever to qualify, I believe.)

 One morning I woke up with my hero and heroine in my head in a scene in a salon.  Deja vie. They were sexy. New addition. Nice. But they were funny. Too funny. I didn't write funny. I'm not funny ...or I wasn't, anyway.

i thought for a moment and suddenly realized in recent years,  I've started having comic-strip visions in my head when people speak or I read something. The intent changes and I see the hysterical side of life.  Everything has a humorous side, right? The visions I have usually include little clouds of dialogue pointing to the characters' (sometimes cartoon animals') heads. Often, I have to bite my tongue to stop the hee-haw response I feel swelling up inside me. You experience that too, don't you? No? I've wondered why my imagination for story-telling waited so long, but it was probably for the best while I was doing personal things to people's hair and bodies.

Here's an except from Hair of the Wolf from Book One of As the Chair Turns. To set up the scene, Dela is the only human working in Frankie de Wolf's world renowned salon and spa in Boca Raton, FL. They are going to a hair show in Vegas...Dela is the responsible one until the slot machines start singing...

All rights reserved Copyright 2017 Eliza March

...Our group filed past the flashing lights, then the digital billboards caught my attention. Suddenly, I had a change of heart. My gambling release switch flipped off and desire did a happy dance in my pants. Images of gyrating, shirtless men from “Down Under” put me in a different frame of mind.

Vegas. Sin City. I began thinking of all the potential sin and felt my lips curl. I was here to party. What happens here...yadda yadda yadda…right?

“Earth to Dela. Are you ready for a couple of those in your lap?” Selena, the female cat shifter, purred, pointing to the Chippendale poster.

Frankie didn’t look at me, waiting for my answer, but I noticed the way his ears perked up. They sort of twitched in my direction. I weighed my answer carefully, reconsidering my previous let-it-all-go moment, and just gave the shifter my non-commital smile.

I had enough on my plate with this raucous bunch of supernatural species, who, under normal circumstances, did their best to look human and contain themselves. Here, I’d already seen evidence of their loss of control. Eye shapes and colors were the first signs. Contacts were a good explanation since shimmering silver eyes weren’t a color humans were naturally blessed with, but that was just for starters. Some of their other traits weren’t as easy to explain. The younger vampires were already setting off smoke when direct sunlight hit them and one of the younger werewolf’s ears sprouted hair.

Never mind. You get the gist.

Controlling them at Luna de la Mar promised to be easier than keeping my staff’s identities secret in a town filled with them…. In Boca, being the only human in charge of every paranormal species unknown to the local inhabitants was harder than making them seem eccentric or weird instead of different. Here, I had a feeling my boss and the staff were going to be, not only uncooperative but, downright bad influences.  

By the time I rounded up transportation for everyone and gave directions to the hotel and instructions regarding where to pick up the hair show tickets, I’d lost half the group and all their attention.

Whatever! The staff were all adults of a sort. They could fend for themselves. After all, I wasn’t their caretaker this weekend. They were powerful, magical, and gifted. I, on the other hand, was merely human. “Screw it,” I mumbled to no one in particular. Only a handful of the staff were still nearby, close enough to hear me anyway.

“You need a drink and entertainment, sweetie.” Jen, the witch, slipped her arm around my neck and scrunched her magical nose at me. Before I could argue, one of my favorite witches prepared to glamour me right there in the taxi line, in front of fake Elvis, a poster of Neil Diamond, and God knows how many witnesses.

I gasped and held up my hand to ward off Jen’s magic, then realized she was right. “What the hell? Do your worst!” I opened my arms wide as she doused her magic over me.

Hell, the six-inch red stilettos didn’t even hurt my feet. Wow. I could get used to this. I liked the taller illusion. The view was pretty awesome. I just hoped I didn't topple over what with all my cleavage piled up in front like this.

Carrie, my other witch-bitch, just grinned up at the billboard. “We need three or more of them…” She pointed at a digital video of bare-chested Chippendales.

Chippendales and Thunder From Down Under? 

Be still my thundering heart. How would I ever get through the weekend? With a low moan, I clenched my jaw and turned away from the smorgasbord of flesh and muscle. Calculating the idea of  “more” ... my right brain did the math while my left side did the architectural planning...

There's more, so much more so if you liked this excerpt and want more, sign up for my Newsletter HERE  at http://eepurl.com/buCZLf  You'll be the first to get them and hear about the release date.





Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Insecure Writers' Support Group Question for Today

It’s another IWSG posting day when we share our insecurities and encourage each other. For today’s hop, Captain Alex’s trusty helpers are Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan. Be sure to stop by their blogs and see what keeps them going.
My answer to the optional question, for July: What is one valuable lesson I've learned since I started writing? It was one I may have suspected a few times. Writing is hard work. I remember reading so many long excellent books and thought wow! I wanted to take in and appreciate each word the author chose because it seemed important. I'm glad I did. Now I know what choosing a certain word means.

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/
 

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.