Tuesday, January 16, 2018

My Year with Elizabeth Hoyt by @BonnieEdwards #Gemsinattic

In January 2017 I clicked a link for book on Amazon. This was a new-to-me author and the book was the first in the Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt. Here, I will thank blogger and reviewer Sissy Mae Hicks for sharing that link.
Elizabeth Hoyt
Elizabeth Hoyt's author page on Amazon

I was hooked! And now, a full year later, I've read each story in the series, plus her two other series, The Princes Trilogy and The Legend of the Four Soldiers FOUR times through. And, indeed, I've started the fifth go-round and learned something new today.

The first time through I was simply dazzled by the richness of the stories. The characters are unique, multi-layered and come with quirks, beliefs, and angst peculiar to them. Hoyt has a fondness for Beauty and the Beast but Beauty usually has her own secrets. I was fascinated!

The second time through, I studied story. Again, these are multi-layered, with action, drama, mystery and suspense. Hoyt has a unique style, filtering in small bits that resonate further along...or even several books later. (Yes, this - I realized this morning a character briefly mentioned wearing brilliant yellow and saying outrageous things is, in fact, a hero books and books later.)

Here I will stop and say that I have been writing for over 30 years. I've studied storytelling, pacing, character, setting, description. I've taught creative writing and workshops. And I am still boggled by what Elizabeth Hoyt has accomplished in all of her series.

On my third read through I studied how she sets up her series. Hoyt cleverly places scenes with enough about a character to lead into their story. There's a wonderfulness in ending a book as a reader, desperate to see what happens next in the world another writer has created.

On my fourth read through I studied her transitions and discovered she has a few favorites that I'm attempting in my own work. Then, I totally lost the need to study and simply read every book again for pure enjoyment.

In fact, Hoyt's books make me try harder with my own. I've honed my focus on characters, on setting, and on pacing, thanks to her work.

I don't know Elizabeth Hoyt. I've only recently started following her on Twitter and FB. I'm devastated that the Maiden Lane series has come to a close. (What about Nell? Huh? Steadfast, deserving Nell with the interesting past in the theater? Where's her hero? - yes, that's a whine)

As I write, I know Ms. Hoyt has announced a new trilogy will be coming. I can only implore her to write quickly. But, you know, it doesn't really matter because I'll likely spend 2018 re-reading Maiden Lane, The Princes, and the Four Soldiers again anyway.

I'm writing this on Dec 31, 2017, and it will be posted mid-January. I hope I'm not too late to wish everyone a creative, exciting and wonderful New Year.

You can follow Sissy Mae Hicks here: https://www.facebook.com/RomanceBookReview

Or follow me here: https://www.facebook.com/Bonnie.Edwards.Author/

Friday, January 12, 2018

Taking stock of writing goals by Jan Scarbrough

How many of you write down your New Year’s resolutions? I don’t, mainly because I don’t make them. I do, however, write down my goals as a writer for the year. Then at the end of the year, I go back and look to see where I’ve fallen short.

The year 2017 didn’t seem very productive to me for my writing. The day job took up too much mental time. But looking back at my goals, I see I’ve accomplished quite a few.

Jan’s 2017 Writing goals
Publish My Lord Raven
Write Nom de Plume
Write a Christmas novella for the Montana McKenna’s series
Attend Novelist, Inc. conference
 X Plan and write first book of next Montana series

My Lord Raven was almost ready to go as the year started. I self-published a book that had been published by a small press. It required a re-edit, new final chapter, and new book cover. I was pleased when I released it in February.

Nom de Plume and Home for the Holidays were shorts. I thought I wouldn’t finish Home for the Holidays because the ideas just wouldn’t come, not with everything else going on. Somehow, I pulled it off, and published the short story the first of December, offering a free copy of it to people subscribing to my newsletter.

Content is king in the publishing world, and I just didn’t have any consistency in 2017. Looking forward to 2018, with the day job behind me, I hope to write at least two longer books. I’ve been planning Raven’s Vow for years, and still find the story eluding me, which means I need to simply sit down and start writing it.

So, for the record, here are my writing goals for 2018. Wish me luck!

  • Revise Kentucky Flame, re-edit, and publish as a paperback
  • Plan and write the first book of Ghost Mountain Ranch, a Montana Ranchers series book
  • Plan and write Olwen’s Vow

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Joyful Jar  @kathleenlawless

Last Christmas I gave my best friend a fancy jar and a pad of post it notes, along with the challenge to write down something every week that gave her joy.  I did the same myself and I am still waiting to read them with her.  I know she is avoiding me because she ‘forgot’ for months at a time.  Other times she struggled, looking for something totally “WOW”. 

I don’t know about you, but really don’t have a lot of totally “WOW” moments.  What I wrote down were a lot of times and places and situations and experiences that gave me a nice, warm fuzzy feeling of being in the moment and loving it. 

I haven’t read through them all (still waiting on the BFF) but I did pull out a few for this blog.  Because I live near the beach a lot of those moments were about or on the beach, either here or on vacation.  

Many of those special moments involved making memories with my love; I am grateful every day to have him in my life.  

Picnics, beachwalks, sunshine, sand between my toes, you get the gist.  Things we can easily take for granted if we are not truly present in the moment. 

One of my joyful notations mentions a new journal.  That crisp smell of unused paper interspersed with sayings about, what else?  The Ocean.  Another involved a weekend with the girlfriends.  Family, friends, food and wine, they all found a mention in The Joyful Jar. 

I’m anticipating this newly launched year.  I don’t need the Joyful Jar to remind me of all the good things in my life.  But I am excited to see what 2018 brings. 

I am also very excited to have my novella, Intimate Strangers, part of a new box set next month.  Love Me Hard contains 15 great reads by award-winning authors to be released on February 13th just in time for Valentine’s Day. 

May it be one of many, many joyful moments.  And may you fill your own Joyful Jar, figuratively or literally, with joy.

Kathleen Lawless is the award-winning author of 25 romance novels and novellas, all with happy endings, because life is too short for angst.
Visit her website:  http://www.kathleenlawless.com  
Friend her on Facebook:  kathleenlawless author.
Sign up for her newsletter and receive a free erotic novella.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

In the Write Mood by @lcrandallwriter

My contribution, Two Days Until Midnight, to the anthology At Midnight puts the main characters in a life and death situation with an impending deadline. I love to write intrigue, suffering, and love’s triumph. But I’ve wondered lately if that kind of writing is true to myself or indicative of a generalized mood.

Two Days Until Midnight focuses on a reclusive billionaire hero and a bird-shifter whose mission is to protect her flock’s habitat from a project headed by the billionaire. As in almost every story I’ve written, the protagonists face dire situations, their own kind of hell.
Here’s an excerpt:
Tamier’s shoulders sagged. It would have been better if the spell caster had killed him too that day in the ruins. The hole in his chest where his love of life should have been had never closed. It dragged him down every day. It stole his life. On his twenty-eighth birthday, two years ago, the cheetah inside him took away everything he’d worked for and wanted.
He stood and turned to the window, staring into the woods and groves of trees surrounding his house. About a mile away, the forest and hills surrounding his home turned into prairie, with tall prairie grasses. When the cheetah inside him took him over, he was drawn to the prairie to run, wild and fast.
His home was equipped with many amenities that made living here inside the three stories of stone and glass less troubling. But it didn’t relieve the loneliness.
            A memory of the spell caster’s grinning face taunted him. Tamier slammed his fist into the stone wall of his office. “I hate you!”
The familiar warning aura scratched like sandpaper under his skin. Stripping off his clothes, he ran down the three flights of stairs to the main level in his house and tore open the back door, racing the cheetah. Panting, he fought the transformation with every iota of his will. Pain shot through his bones, every one of them, twisting them into the shape of the beast. His body throbbed with each cell’s change. Helpless to stop it, Tamier watched paws replace his hands and feet, spotted fur replace his skin, and a thirst for speed bunch his muscles.
            He burst into a full charge, dust churning up behind him as he sprinted through the tall prairie grasses. His ears picked up tiny sounds of rabbits fleeing, of wind streaming around his sleek body, and grass swooshing as he sliced through. None of it, not the speed and agility to run faster than the wind, or the strength and coordination of his muscles, exhilarated him. He wouldn’t, couldn’t take pleasure in any of it.
            All he could do was attempt to outrun his curse until exhaustion returned him to his human form and he took refuge in the solitude of his home.

I love going into a character’s crises. It feels very real and rich there to me. But an article that caught my eye suggested a writer in a depressed mood would be inclined to write dark stories. Maybe it’s true. There are many stories of troubled genius writers. I’m not a genius and I’m not depressed. But it’s an interesting consideration to contemplate if I’m drawn to writing a certain type of story because of my interior life. I am an introvert. A deep, thoughtful story that showcases the emotional turmoil of characters is my kind of story, whether writing or reading. Now, I could cringe to think I could be revealing my psyche in my characters. I’d rather believe I’m tapping into the existential prevailing mood of humanity.

Writers tap into what’s relevant to their writing. Inspiration and fuel for stories comes from personal experience, but probably also personality and curiosity play a role as well. Is there a Write Mood? What kind of stories do you write and read? Does your mood, happy, optimism, sorrow, or fear, play a role?

Friday, January 5, 2018

Toasting 2018 With Cough Syrup by @JoanReeves

Darling Hubby and I welcomed the New Year by toasting with cough syrup and hors d'oeuvres of Mucinex.

Yep. We limped into the New Year coughing and wheezing.

When I realized tonight that it was my turn to post tomorrow, I took the laptop to bed. Now I'm sitting here typing whatever pops into my feverish brain. Without sounding too yippy-dippy-hippy, here I go with a stream of consciousness post.

New Year Thoughts

(1) Let's talk about dreams and aspirations and the New Year.

We all have the desire to achieve something special. If you didn't make IT--your special dream--happen last year, you have a new chance this year. Isn't that great?

Of course, dreams are just dreams unless you make them reality. I like what Colin Powell said about that. "A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work."

(2) My IT for the New Year is very simple. Enjoy Life more. Worry less. Ah, simple things are never easy, are they? But I'm going to work on this. More effective effort, not more work. More fun in the real world, and less time in the digital world.

(3) Give away much of the "stuff" that clutters my life. (It can become my kids' problems. *g*)

(4) Make more time for gardening which I once greatly enjoyed.

(5) Read more.

(6) Write more for the sheer pleasure of writing.

(7) Spend more time with family.

(8) Oh, and every single day I want to do what Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."

Wishing you good health, peace, prosperity, love, and joy.

Book About New Year's Chances

By the way, if you'd like to read a New Year's story about a woman who takes a chance to turn her dream into reality, try Last Chance New Year.

Cheyenne Smith, better known as C. A. Smith to her co-workers, decides New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to give in to insanity and throw herself at Luke Harper, the man she loves, and hope that he catches her.

Will Luke be her safety net?

Last Chance New Year is a very sexy romance short story, part of A Moment In Time series, and it's only 99 cents.


Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of sassy, sexy Contemporary Romance. Visit her Amazon Author Page for a list of her books. She lives her Happily Ever After with her Hero, her husband, in a book-cluttered home in Texas.

Sign up for Joan's mailing list and receive a free ebook. You'll also be the first to know when new books are released or click  Follow her Amazon Author Page and get an email from Amazon when new books publish.

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