Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Gems found in a writer's journal by @BonnieEdwards #GemsinAttic

Ask any writer and they'll confess they love writing journals. Fresh, unmarked pages in spiral- or regular-bound notebooks inspire us. Oh, all those lovely pages to fill with ideas or notes or character development. We hoard notebooks and journals, squirrel them away in nooks and crannies, on shelves, in drawers...anywhere, really.

And then we forget them because someone has gifted us with a brand new one because what do writerly friends buy for each other? Blank journals, post-it notes, pens, and other writing paraphernalia from bygone eras.

Sometimes I open up these old journals to discover gems and this is what happened to me recently:

I found notes from a workshop given by Rita-award-winning and NYT bestselling author, Jo Beverley (1947-2016). Jo was a member of my local RWA group (since disaffiliated) and in January 2002 I went to a workshop with a brand new, never-before-written-in journal. I took these notes:

Flying Into the Mist Workshop
presented by Jo Beverley
January 2002

  1. GMC is discovered - write in the "now" - be there with the character (GMC means Goal, Motivation & Conflict from Deb Dixon's book)
  2. It's not more artistic and free (I think she meant not more artistic than plotting & planning)
  3. Decide what works for your characters - upset the status quo (fish out of water stories have this inherent strength)
  4. A trait that gets in the way of the characters' success
  5. Give characters secrets - don't have to be huge but really a problem for character (I still use this  brilliant piece of advice) i.e. claustrophobia
  6. Three characteristics - one flaw that opposes a trait (maybe the secret)
  7. Ask why for everything
  8. Sometimes a surprise needs the character and author to take time to consider ramifications.
  9. Hunting for surprises can be daunting
  10. Surprises should grow out of the events
  11. One secret can't carry a book!
  12. No book survives on the first three chapters. 
  13. Characters should fear something. 
  14. Goals have roots in the past.
  15. Look for a genuine dilemma for the characters
  16. Write until the story stops. 

Jo was a great teacher. Her workshops were clear and concise. She never wasted a word and these notes only give her lesson that day a glance. I'm a terrible note taker but these brief words make up storytelling in a nutshell.

If you can do all these things, you'll have a cracker of a story! 

Thanks again, Jo. 

In Loving Logan, Return to Welcome, my heroine Elle Foster has a really big secret that once revealed is a catalyst for the romance to take off. I'm willing to bet that Jo started me looking for what secrets my characters can have and how I use those secrets to find all the surprises she mentioned. 

Loving Logan, Return to Welcome Book 2

She lives by three rules:  Don’t date. Don’t sleep with the boss. Don’t believe in happily-ever-after.

Elle Foster left Welcome broke, pregnant, and with a bad-girl rep.

Now, she’s returned to Welcome, still broke, with four children, but has vowed to never get pregnant again.

Logan Hughes is younger and establishing a new business. Adopted, he wants nothing more than to have a family of his own. He needs an assistant and Elle needs the work…

A pirate raider lurks inside Logan and when he lets him loose, even a determined woman can fall under his spell. And that sexy pirate may make Elle Foster break all her rules.

Can Logan give up fatherhood for the one woman he wants more than life itself?

How can Elle look for her future when she's returned to her ugly past?

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Vacationing Writer

Sorry for the delay in getting this online but I just returned from a ten-day family vacation and have been playing a serious game of "catch-up". During my travels (by car) with family, I did realize a few things:
  1. You can't listen to romance novels on tape with a 4 yr old in the car.
  2. Not every stop along the way is going to offer research opportunities. Unless, of course, you're writing about a fast-food restaurant with bigger-than-life reptiles in their play area.
  3. You always see something worth writing down when you're the one driving.
  4. Social media must be delayed until the grandchildren are asleep. Unfortunately, by then, you're just too tired to care about promotion.
  5. Ideas for new plots will attack you from all sides and from the most impractical places. For both #3 above and this observation, keep a tape recorder handy.
  6. Finally, you definitely don't get to read as much as you'd planned!

Hopefully everyone will get to enjoy a vacation this summer. If so, remember the sunblock (even for the car), a few good books, the tape recorder or notepad for plot ideas, and lots of patience if you're traveling with small children!
~ ~ ~
Here's a suggestion for a good book where the characters will be as warm, or possibly warmer, than you:

Publicist Teri Hunter has her hands full promoting Professor Joshua Cain and his new non-fiction book, The Pharaoh’s Mummy. She’s not convinced it’s even possible to turn this absent-minded, modern-day, Indiana Jones into a best-selling author.

Dr. Cain’s PhDs in archaeology and art history have prepared him for almost anything on the lecture circuit and among ancient ruins. He’s just not sure about a book tour…or the sexy publicist sent to monitor his every professional move.

When an odd request falls in their laps while in New Orleans, Josh and Teri find themselves transported to 1920’s Egypt where they must resolve an ancient curse in order to be sent home. Will the dangers facing them hinder their success and threaten their very lives? Or will help from an ancient guardian keep them on-track and safe?
~ ~ ~
For those of you destined to stay home, turn on the air conditioning, pour yourself a tall glass of iced tea, put your feet up and read! It's still a great vacation for the mind!


Friday, July 13, 2018

Gems of wisdom from my books by Jan Scarbrough

When I write, I put my heart into each book, and with that, I add a bit of knowledge from my hard-won experiences. So, you might say, the characters reach their happily-ever-after ending by learning from their mistakes, just as I have done over the years.

The following are some “gems” of wisdom buried in the stories I create.

Loving in isolation was pointless. True love was mutual. Quid pro quo. Something for something. She wanted that something.

But hope was an undying thing. It might come and go, but it was always available. It existed with the birth of a foal. It existed with every chance taken.

“So many times, we lose sight of who we really are,” Ashleigh continued. “At least I did. I’ve been hiding behind a mask of makeup since I was twelve. We become comfortable showing only the face we believe society thinks is acceptable or says is beautiful, and we forget to be our own person.”

“As Hank tells me, sometimes we have to learn our lessons the hard way.”

She said this prayer often, requesting the strength she could not find within herself. Ms. Addie always said God worked in mysterious ways. A person had to seek help. “Ask, and it shall be given you.”

Maybe she was uptight, but somebody had to be. Life couldn’t be run on a whim or a lark. Not without consequences.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

SUMMERLICIOUS @kathleenlawless


I am a confessed summer-a-holic.  I live to wear flipflops.  I love toes in the sand, picnics, beach time with a great book and pool time with a great cocktail.  

Summer, besides bringing us the lovely long light evenings of solstice, lends itself to family and friends connecting over barbeques, outdoor concerts, picnics, and bocce on the beach.  Whether biking, hiking, or paddling, I’m not sure if life slows down or speeds up, but it sure feels good.  And let’s not forget farmer’s markets, garden-fresh produce, leisurely patio dinners and stunning flowers everywhere.

I can’t read my tablet in the sun so old-fashioned paper books rule, part of summer’s charm.  What’ your favorite thing about summer?   What’s your best memory? 

     Kathleen Lawless’ earliest memories are of wanting to be a writer.  To create stories that would touch the lives of others who love to read the way she does.
     “I’m working on my 24th novel and it’s amazing to see the changes in traditional publishing, including ebooks and the opportunities writers have to interact with their readers.”  She enjoys pushing the boundaries of traditional romance, erotic romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction and stories for young adults. 
      She also knows firsthand about happy endings.  “Can you believe I wrote A HARD MAN TO LOVE with a hero named Steele, years before I met my own hero named Steel?  His proposal to me on a remote island in the Caribbean was more romantic than anything I could have written about.” 

     Her books have garnered numerous awards including Romantic Times K.I.S.S., a Scarlett Letter, and a Golden Quill, along with rave reviews.

Don’t forget to sign up for Kathleen’s newsletter to receive a free download of THE PLEASURE CLUB.    www.kathleenlawless.com

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

July Summer Sale @lcrandallwriter

Get Cool!

Take yourself to a winter place of snow and cold, and chill out during one of the hottest summers on record with Captured by Christmas, an anthology by Lainee Cole and me. It's on sale right now.

Find low prices in July during Smashwords' Summer Sale. At Midnight, an anthology by Lainee Cole, me, and Rena Koontz, Captured by Christmas, and my children's book Invincible and Sparkly are half offMy short, Finding Finn, is a spin off of my Fierce Hearts series book and it's free.

It’s Christmas, and the season of holly, Christmas trees, and goodwill is drifting on air in merry holiday wishes. Romantic suspense and paranormal author Lynn Crandall and contemporary author Lainee Cole present in their own way two stories of love in Captured by Christmas.

In Snowbound, Lynn Crandall lets readers check in on favorite Fierce Hearts series were-lynx characters Kennedy Mitchell and Asher Monroe as they uncover the identity of the creature scaring the humans in Octavia, a small rural community in northern Michigan. Plans for an intimate getaway and family-style holiday are crumbling as the snow piles higher and Kennedy and Asher find themselves snowbound with a killer outside their door.

In The Mistletoe Effect, Christmas is second-grade teacher Tess McCall’s least favorite holiday, but she’s doing her best not to let it show.

Learning he’s a father to seven-year-old Holly makes Alex Randle anxious about the upcoming holidays. When Tess’s class starts reading to shelter dogs, Holly and the antics of shelter dog Mistletoe lead them all to rediscover the magic of Christmas.

I love everything about Christmas! Of course I had to pick a story with animals and Christmas to make it perfect. Quick read and charming stories. -Amazon

Midnight Casanova by Lainee Cole
Stranded at midnight by a broken-down car, dog trainer Maddie Lockhart finds refuge in a deserted farmhouse. When the owner of the house, Chance Marlow, tries to oust her, Maddie uses the stray mutt he calls Casanova to convince him she can help with his collection of homeless animals. While their paths seem incompatible, working side-by-side to rescue animals, they discover otherwise.

Two Days Until Midnight by Lynn Crandall
Time is running out for reclusive billionaire Tamier Rein to save himself from transforming into a cheetah, and bird-shifter Lark Ellis is his only hope for surviving past midnight.

Midnight Deadline for Love by Rena Koontz
T.B. Amanscott is Harrison City’s wealthiest man and his kidnappers want one million dollars ransom by midnight or they will kill him. Every possible resource is available to Sergeant Ariana Jeanne Lozione, who is heading up the rescue attempt. There’s only one problem. A.J. wants him dead.

At Midnight is a box set of three books by different authors. I haven't read any books by these authors so for me this was a great box set to find some new authors to look for. That is the great thing about box set is the chance to read from authors you might not have read before.
Loved this set! -Amazon

Asher Monroe’s younger brother Finn has never had any trouble accepting his human identity despite Asher’s extraordinary were-lynx abilities and rich life with the colony. In fact, Finn loves his life as a research scientist and living on his own terms. But when a disease that is targeting were-lynxes brings a group of violent were-lynxes to town to threaten his research partner, Nissa Bello, his life is changed forever.

Once again Crandall has created a vibrant and fast paced tale that easily held my attention throughout. I really enjoyed getting to know these characters and how they fit in with her shifter world. This unique look is a fantastic introduction to this world and will definitely leave you wanting to get to know them so much better. It is such a sweet tale that I simply fell in love. This was a fantastic companion tale to Crandall’s Fierce Hearts series. It was an absolute blast to read and really highlighted the other side of the story for me. -Amazon

What happens when two love-filled young girls turn to loyalty, hope, and belief in self when confronting danger, loss, and self-doubt? In Invincible and Sparkly, Kama and Ella follow their hearts to find out in this illustrated children's book.

Invincible and Sparkly by L.L. Crandall is a charming children's adventure story with an important message of hope and love. The colorful illustrations are bright and fun. I loved the story's message, which is noteworthy and succinct. - Amazon

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