Monday, December 31, 2012


2012 brought a ton of change for me and I'm going into 2013 with uncertainty in many ways. The good news? I have two books coming out in 2013, my family is healthy, my oldest Chihuahua, Austin, has lived to see another year, and I have earned a black belt in Sudoku. I have much to be happy for, and much happiness to anticipate.

Wishing all my blogger friends a healthy and happy 2013. This is the year of great achievement.

~Write on friends ~ HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I got tagged on my friend, Jennifer Greyson's blog yesterday and now I'm part of this cool blog fest, The Next Big Thing, where I get to answer a few questions about my WIP.

What is your working title of your book?

  • My current WIP is Captured by the Pirate Laird.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

  • I wanted to write a romance about a Scottish pirate.
What genre does your book fall under?

  • Romance, sub genre, Historical
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

  • Ooo, that's a tough one. I think Keira Knightly and Henry Cavill (from The Tudors)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
  • Married by proxy to a baron old enough to be her grandfather, Anne's life cannot get worse--until her ship is plundered by pirates.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

  • Good question.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

  • Two months
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

  • The Saint, The Rarnger, Highland Warrior, The Maid of Lorne

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

  • My Scottish roots.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

  • The characters are real people...but the story is entirely fictional. 
My friend Pat Coffey is carrying the torch for the Next Big Thing. Visit her blog, Vigilant Silver Fox:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mesquite Book Festival-Writing Historical Fiction

I had the honor of giving a presentation on writing historical fiction at the Mesquite Book Festival on Saturday. I began describing the research I did before I started writing my Native American historical novel, Koicto. One thing I've learned with writing historicals is that you have to read a lot of non-fiction books to create a believable world that is as close to the reality of the time as you can make it.

In Koicto, some of the questions I tried to address were:

  • Who were the Fremont Indians?
  • How did they live?
  • What did they believe?
  • What was it like to live in 885 A.D.?
  • What did they eat, what were there rituals, why did they carve on rocks, etc...

I talked about the writing process that I outlined in my blog post on November 6th , and some of the tools that I use, but historical fiction starts with research:

  • Online
  • Library
  • Books
  • Interviewing
  • Reading, reading reading.
Since I wrote Koicto, I have written 4 historical romance manuscripts, and Virtue, which will be released in December 2013, has a lot of Mayan history intertwined. I gave one of my Scottish historical manuscripts to a Scottish woman to review for authenticity. Though she's not a historian, she grew up around the antiquity of her ancestors, and has given me a ton of input on how to make some of the things in my scenes more realistic. 

If you're going to write historical fiction, I believe it is important to get as much of the history right as you possibly can.

Write on friends!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Historical Fiction Presenation

I'm heading down to Mesquite tomorrow to give a presentation on writing historical fiction. I'm looking forward to it. I'll blog about the highlights on Monday. See you then.

~Write on Friends!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Starting a New Manuscript

Starting a new MS is always hard for me even though I spend weeks plotting. But still, I've got to write about 10,000 words before I get into my groove. I hit 5,000 today--sometimes I can write 5k+ in a day, but not at the beginning of a MS--it's more like 1k (honestly).

However, the last line I wrote got me excited. Know what it was?

How could she make eating look so--delicious?

Do you ever write something that gives you a kick-start? Would love for you to share.

Write on friends!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Help Me Make A List of Great Books 2012!

As a writer, I consider it part of my job to read. However, as a productive writer, my reading time is limited. At the moment I'm writing about four books per year, and that limits me to reading about a book a week. I firmly hold onto the adage, "know thy genre" which means I have to read much as possible and read widely. I always feel rotten if I start a book, and it's not what I expected, or not to my taste, or simply, it's bad. I used to struggle through and try to finish any book I started, but increasingly, if I'm not captivated in the first couple of chapters, I'll toss it aside and move on to the next one. But it's driving me crazy. It seems there are more bad books out there than ever...or I'm getting pickier...or I'm spending too much time in my own genre. Whatever the reason, I'm on a GOOD book quest.

I'd like to know what books you've read in the past year that you couldn't put down. It doesn't have to be a romance, but if you can suggest a romance, I'd especially like that. If I get enough comments, I'll publish a GOOD BOOK LIST with links to those books. So come on, help me ID the best books of 2012!!

Please tell your friends about this list/tweet about it, post of Facebook. I want the best darned book list for 2012! All they have to do is leave a comment on my blog with the name of a book by December 31st and I'll add it to the list. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm Going to the Romance Novel Convention

Golden Nugget Hotel, Las Vegas
I'm all signed up to go to the RNC convention at the Golden Nugget, Las Vegas in August. I know it seems a little early to be booking things for the summer, but this is going to be HUGE! The list of authors attending is already enormous, and it will be a lot like a writer's conference...though this one invites and encourages readers to attend as well. Oh, and I can't forget to mention that there will be a cover model "Mr. Casanova" cover shoot on Sunday. Holy moly! Check it out at

Monday, November 19, 2012

Notes From Literary Agent, Laura Bradford's Workshop

November: Literary Agent Laura Bradford  

I had the opportunity to attend the Las Vegas RWA (Romance Writers of America) workshop where Laura Bradford spoke candidly about what agents and editors are looking for. I was really impressed with Laura's easy-going style and  her willingness to answer all questions. Here are some of my notes:

Editors are looking for stuff that will sell (I'll get to what's hot and what's not later):

  • They want a fresh voice that leaps off the page--The same enough, but different enough...but not too different (this is a very fine line).
  • They want authors with long, robust careers.
  • Due to the economy, editors are presently risk averse.
  • Editors must comply with publisher mandates.
For a Pitch, she recommends:
  • Give the agent/editor what they want - work to BE what they're looking for.
  • Be aware of how you're pitching (what you sound like)...Though it is OK to be nervous.
  • Do some general research about the market, the editor and/or the agent. You can google their names and find their websites and interviews. Follow them on twitter. Sometimes editors will make a comment about something they'd like to see on Twitter.
  • Another good place to get information is writer blogs and Publisher's Marketplace (you can get the free Publisher's Lunch to avoid the $20 per month membership). Take note of deal postings--these will show you what agents are selling and what editors are buying.
Avoid themes/settings that "seem" like they would do well, but are too much of a risk in this economy. Note, editors may like something they can't buy:
  • Beta heroes
  • Italian set historical romances (she recommends sticking with the United Kingdom).
  • Romantic comedy
What's hot and what's not in Romance?
  • Contemporary romance is coming back.
  • Historical romance is doing well
  • Erotic romance is having a resurgence thanks to 50 Shades, and readers are finding skilled writing.
  • Romantic suspense is out
  • Women's fiction is saturated
  • Paranormal Romance is in glut
  • New Adult is coming back.
One thing that she noted with romance is that romance readers read a lot, and they are looking for books in the $5-$9.00 range. Romance readers are not going to buy a book for $15 to $18 because it eats up too much of their book budget.

What did Laura say about queries?
  • Firstly, she receives 800-1000 queries per month, so she needs you to get to the meat of the story as quickly as possible.
  • It needs to be about the material.
  • Be brief about yourself, and DO NOT talk about your husband and kids or family.
  • Brevity and pithiness & "sound bite quality" are important.
  • Red flags are "it took me 3 years to write this MS," or an outlying word count (either + or -)
  • She asks for the first chapter to accompany queries, and the most important part is your writing.
  • If you want to know what she represents, look at the AGENCY BOOKSHELF tab on her web site:
  • One good piece of advice she had: "Go with the idea that someone else has sent the agent a query for the same thing. You have to make yours stand out."
  • Always check out the submission guidelines on an agent's website because they change. Query Tracker or any other agent listing could be out of date.
There were a lot of questions about royalties. She said that romance is not the highest paying in royalties ($6-$8000 is good), but it's not unusual for a book to make $40,000 +.  She mentioned that Brenda Hiatt's web site has a section called SHOW ME THE MONEY where Brenda has collated statistics from anonymous authors: - An interesting fact for me is that New York publishers have migrated to a 25% of net for e-books. She said that's pretty standard.

All in all, I give an A+ to Laura Bradford for taking a Saturday and flying to Las Vegas to speak to a relatively small group. She just climbed up the ladder of awesomeness! 

Write on friends!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Writing the Dreaded Synopsis

You've finished your novel, and now it's time to write a synopsis. Have you ever asked exactly why is it necessary to take a full novel's worth of prose and summarize it into a few short pages, and keep the feel and voice of the book in tact? Impossible you say? Well, synopsis writing is not my favorite, but they are necessary for the fast-paced publishing industry. Here are some of my tricks:

  1. First, let's get the mechanics out of the way. A synopsis is written in present tense, third person, should include the setting, the time period, the word count and the author's CONTACT INFORMATION! Some people suggest single spaced. I might use single spacing for a 1-2 page synopsis, but otherwise I use double spacing (always 12 pt. Times New Roman).
  2. I start by summarizing each chapter in a few paragraphs, specifically pointing out the most important incidents in each scene. This always leaves me with a document far too long, but it forms the framework upon which to build the synopsis.
  3. I then mold this into an exciting summary, only leaving in the scenes that are this stage it is important to remember that a good synopsis makes the reader want to see the actual story.
  4. To be concise, surprisingly, a synopsis has more telling than showing.
  5. A synopsis tells the reader about the conflicts within your story.
  6. Never tease the reader and always reveal the ending.
  7. Once you've written the synopsis, let it sit and then read it aloud--Have others read it. Are they asking for the manuscript?
  8. I always end up with a document that's about five pages long. But, some agents/editors want an abbreviated version of that.
  • Start with an opening setting or concept that sets the stage for the story to come.
  • Introduce what the protagonist wants.
  • Describe the inciting incident.
  • What is the first turning point of the plot? What is the action that the main character takes that changes the direction of this book?
  • What are the conflicts, and character encounters. How does the antagonist interact with the MC?
  • What is the middle turning point?
  • What is the black moment?
  • What is the climax, the final blowout between good and evil (perhaps)?
  • What happens to tie up loose ends?
  • What is the final image that you want to leave the reader with?
Though synopsis writing is not easy, I think formulas can help us to narrow down what is truly important, and what will draw in your readers. Do you have any ideas to share?

Good luck, and Write On friends!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Building a Novel: My Writing Process

Yesterday I completed *drum roll* my eighth manuscript. I've had a lot of people ask me how to write a book and the picture above shows some of my tools. But this is a summary of how I do it:

  1. Start with a premise statement--what's the story about.
  2. Write a 2-3 page general outline of what I want to happen in the book and the sequence of major events.
  3. Research, research, research. Ask questions and research some more.
  4. Develop my characters. This is a long process. I developed a character profile table from the concepts in Marc McCutcheon's Building Believable Characters. My profile sheets are really quite extensive, but all major characters in your book need a backstory--where did they come from, what are their beliefs, what sort of social/economic situation did they come from, what were they teased about as children...the list goes on for pages. Then, I'll pull out Are You My Type, Am I Yours? by Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele and determine my main character's personality type--Is my protagonist a Perfectionist or a Peacemaker? There are nine personality types in this book, which also discusses how they interact with each other.
  5. At this point, I still haven't written a word of my novel. I open up my spreadsheet outlining template (in the center of my picture above--actually I keep a notebook for ever novel). This template lists every scene, and is a living document, in that it changes as my story unfolds. But the conflict and outcome of every scene is carefully planned before the scene is written.
  6. Now I roll up my sleeves and write the first couple of chapters, print them out and pick them apart. Is the setting vivid? Are the characters plausible? Is there too much backstory (a common mistake)? Are the characters acting the way they should according to their profiles? Does the first page grab the reader? What about subsequent pages? Is the story heading in the right direction? Is there enough conflict? How's the pacing...and a hundred other questions.
  7. Then I write the next 10,000 words and ask all the questions in #5. One thing to note here is that I really get to know my characters by 10K words. This gives me the opportunity to go back and polish their thoughts and actions in the beginning.
  8. I review again at about 150 pages, and again before writing the ending.
  9. After my final "draft" review, I plot the ending and then write it. 
  10. Have a glass of champagne. The first DRAFT is done. I stress draft, because that's what it is. In no way is it ready to go out.
  11. Next, I go though it about 8-10 times. Things to edit for: Setting, Characterization, Voice & Deep Point of View...edit out "she felt", "she thought", "it seemed", Syllabic, Story Completeness, Plot & Plausibility, Repeating Words, Chapter breaks, also for a romance I edit for sexual tension... FINALLY edit for Grammar/Spelling. 
  12. Get as many people to read it as possible and apply their feedback.
Then I have a completed manuscript that is ready to send out to the industry. TWO GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE! 

A couple other books that I rely on: The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi and Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson.

What are some of your tricks to building a novel?

Write on Friends!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

No time like Halloween to share a picture of the recent visitor to my front porch. She's been relocated so that she won't hurt any of the trick or treaters, but I had to admire her size and color. In Southern Utah, we get a number of arachnid visitors from tarantulas to wolf spiders, to lady widows like this one. Larger than most, she built an impressive web which was soon filled with less fortunate bugs.

Some people, like my daughter hate spiders. I don't mind them--after all, I could crush them with one step. My phobia? Snakes. I prefer not to see the slithery vipers on my hikes through the hills, and am ever so happy that they are reclusive animals.

Are there any critters that make your skin crawl? I think adding a phobia is fun when building a character--Have them fear something, and then have that thing plague them or watch them overcome their fear. I know this isn't anything new, but it does add a dynamic to your characters--and really, how many people do you know who fear something? A lot, I'd bet. I have a character in my current WIP who can't swim. Her inability to swim causes problems and the fear paralyses her at a critical moment. Will she fight or will she fail?

Write on friends!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest!

Hi bloggers! I'm so excited, because I'm going to share an AWESOME book with you. I remember reading Captive Spirit by Liz Fichera in the car on the way up to Salt Lake for a writer's conference. I was traveling with some friends and they kept talking to me, which was incredibly irritating. Couldn't they see that I was engrossed in a story? After all, these two women were writers (and therefore avid readers) too. But no--I got interruption after interruption!

Captive Spirit is about Aiyana, an ancient Hohkam Indian girl of the White Ant Clan. Free spirited, Aiyana dreams of traveling beyond the mountains, but when her village is attacked, she learns the world beyond the mountains is a frightening and ugly place. I loved the way Liz described life in pre-white man Arizona. She captured the essence of Native American life and transported me to that place. I lost a fair amount of sleep reading this book (as well as nearly losing two valued friends).

So, if you're looking for a good read, download Captive Spirit to your e-reader. Liz also has another book coming out in January--Hooked is about a modern day Native American girl who lives on the "rez". I can't wait to read it too!

PLEASE HELP ME SPREAD THE WORD! In the Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest, I cannot tell the author that I've recommended her book. She is supposed to find it through Twitter, Facebook, Blogger...all sorts of social media. Soooo, please tweet and share this review on FB.

I love comments too!

***Thanks to the  Ninja bloggers, Captain Alex and Ciara Knight, for organizing this blogfest. How cool to share books that deserve a shout out that some of us may not know about! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I'm A Chihuahua Momma

Maya (AKC Champion, Misty Morn Just Call Her Sam)
Are you a dog lover? I am. In fact I have four Chihuahuas. I earned championship titles on two of them and thought to breed them...but it wasn't meant to be. Actually, I guess I wouldn't have it any other way. They're just too special to worry about the health problems that can come with litters.

To the left is a picture of Maya. She does everything with me...especially sleep. She even helps me write. She never got any bigger than 3.5 pounds, so it was a good thing that I didn't breed her.

Next year, my novel, Chihuahua Momma, will be released by boutique publisher Turquoise Morning Press ( It's a fun romance between an ex football player and a widow who has two teenagers. Matt Johnson had no idea that his life would change forever when he rang Rebecca's doorbell. All he wanted to do was buy a Chihuahua, but he tumbled into the wild world of dog showing and was drawn in by a gorgeous redhead and the thrill of the ring.

If you enjoy dog shows and all the crazy things that can happen when you mix a fun loving single guy with a dysfunctional family, watch for Chihuahua Momma, to be released July 28, 2013.

What's your breed? I'd love to hear about your dogs!

Friday, October 5, 2012

THE SAINT by Monica McCarty Hits Home Run

The Saint 

I love good writing and Scottish historical romances. I've also found that there are a lot of poorly written Scottish tales out there, but Monica McCarty has proved she can write a gripping tale filled with tension that will keep you engrossed until the very last page.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Saint--so much, that I will definitely read more of McCarty's books. That says a lot, because as a writer, I read widely and consciously try not to spend too much time reading one author.

The Saint opens at the Highland Games where Magnus Makay is facing his nemesis, Donlad Munro (henchman for the Sutherlands) in a gladiator style fight against brawn. Watching in the distance is Lady Helen Sutherland. Her secret affair with Maguns is about to be exposed...and their love is forbidden. The Makay's and the Sutherland's have been arch enemies for centuries.

The tale follows the war that brings the couple back together and the tragedy that keeps them apart. A gripping tale, I recommend it for all lovers of Scottish romances!

McCarty has a number of Highland romances. The Saint is book five in the Highland Guard series, and book six, The Recruit will be released this month. Visit her website for more info

Friday, September 28, 2012


My good friend Ryan Hunter has just released novel, inDIVISIBLE, and has agreed to a spotlight interview. Yea!

Hi Ryan!

Could you tell us a bit about what inDIVISIBLE is about?

inDIVISIBLE follows Brynn Aberdie, a seventeen-year-old girl, as she realizes she’s lost everything worth living for. As she states early in the novel, “Of course I’d become withdrawn. Not only had I lost my father but I just realized I’d also lost my freedom. When had that happened?”

Instead of cowering, however, she decides to take her life back by evading the very government that’s filled her with lies, and allying with a group of Freemen who she’s never actually met.

Could you talk a little about your main characters and their conflicts?

I like Brynn. She’s a little headstrong and confused, really she just wants a regular life where she can dream her own dreams. Instead, she’s had to hide her true self. She lives in mediocrity when she’s highly intelligent, for fear of what the government might do; but she doesn’t realize how bad things are, until her father’s murdered, then everything comes crashing down.

She runs off with a friend of hers when he informs her that both their names are on kill lists, and while they’re running for their lives, she dreams of what it would be like of she and T were free to be regular teens, dating, falling in love, free to speak their own minds. And sometimes, when they’re alone, she’s able to pretend that nothing else matters …

She’s a dreamer, an artist, somebody passionate about life – and yet she knows that she will never be able to live for herself until the world around her changes – and she’s responsible to help make that change. So, she gives up everything once more to take on responsibilities she never imagined possible.

How did you come up with the story?

I don’t normally write dystopian, had never even considered it actually, until I had this dream that left the most unusual feeling deep in my heart. The story unfolded in my mind in the following days with so many details I knew I had to write it.
It was almost like the story was given to me and I was the conduit to see it to print. I don’t know how else to explain it. So, when I say I love the story, it’s because of that. I feel like I can look at it a little bit objectively because I don’t remember consciously creating it. It just came about.

Where can we find your book?

My book is available on Amazon in print and as an ebook. It’s also available in print on Barnes and Noble. There are a few independent book stores picking it up, but it’s still pretty new so I don’t have a very complete list yet.

Would you tell us about your AMAZING road to publication?

I published two novels via traditional publishing under my given name and then moved on to self-publishing with a fun experiment about a young girl who confesses to murder only to break out of jail to claim she didn’t do it. That novel is currently not for sale. I took a couple of years away from writing to pursue some other interests but I couldn’t stand missing so much of my soul – as writing seems to be a part of who I am. It took some time, but inDIVISIBLE flooded my mind and I knew it was next.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time doing marketing, promotions, proofing, etc. for other authors on their ebooks so I decided I could do it successfully with my own. Of course, I had to finish the novel first, so my husband took over the kids and the house and sent me away to write until I finished. I wrote every day all day until I pounded out the final words, then I ran ten miles to clear my head, fell asleep exhausted, satisfied, and even a little nervous … then I drove home the following morning to see my family again and begin proofing.

To say my brain was mush would not come close to how foggy I felt, but my heart felt light and yet full and just great all around. From there I had the book read, edited, critiqued and edited again. Satisfied, I played with the cover (I do some graphics design when I can) and threw it up online. I’ve gotten great reviews so far and I can’t wait to see what will happen next.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I think we all need a little comedic relief, so when I found Dan Wells’ I am Not a Serial Killer series, it immediately became one of my all-time favorites. I believe it’s the only series I’ve ever read straight through, laughing out loud and then cringing the next page.

But I have to claim my favorite author as David Farland. Dave’s been a mentor to me. He’s encouraged me, helped me, critiqued my work and given so much advice that I could never repay him for all his kindness and help. He’s got to be the most selfless people I’ve ever met.

Could you tell us something about your current projects? Will we see another book from you soon?

I’m starting book two in the One United Series, which I expect to be a trilogy when all is said and done. So much happens in the end of inDIVISIBLE though, that I hesitate to even tell you much about it before you read book one.

I’ll just say that I’m super excited to introduce some new characters who are nearly haunting me in my sleep now, just waiting for their chance to be included. There’s so much more to come in this series that I can’t wait to get moving on it.

Have you got any advice for aspiring authors?

Keep writing. That’s what Dave told me when I wrote my first novel. He said once you write your first, get started on the second right away.

Too many writers give up before starting on their next, perhaps dismayed that sales weren’t what they expected or that they didn’t get the reviews they hoped for. What you need to remember is that there is a refining process and sometimes those first few books are best not read very much. It gives you time to become better and learn more about the publishing industry so you can build up to something of greater value. Then, if you’re like me, you’ll just hide away some of  those earlier attempts and hope nobody remembers them.

Now for the fun stuff.  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I’m a borderline adrenaline junkie. It’s a lifestyle that’s hard to balance with sitting behind a computer for hours on end. So, when I get the chance, I play hard.

I love speed, so I drive too fast, but we’ll not tell the cops … the ones who don’t already know, that is. I enjoy hiking, but not just up a trail to see pretty things. I prefer those hikes where you’ve got to rapell down into narrow canyons or climb up steep walls to get to the next level – up and over waterfalls, through canyons filled with water where you’ve got to swim it …

I love the ocean, water, kayaking, seeing how fast my UTV will go and how tight I can make it turn. And I honestly love to run. Running gets my frustrations out, calms me and literally makes me a nicer person to live with. My husband will vouch for this – probably my kids too.

Oh yeah, and I bake. A lot.

Wow. It sounds like you’re never bored!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I just want to thank you for having me as a guest on your blog, and I’d like to give a shout out. If you’re looking for a captivating read, check out David Farland’s book Nightingale. It’s a pretty awesome read from a pretty awesome writer. J

Where can readers find you on the Web?

Twitter: @ryanhunter45

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview on my blog, and GOOD LUCK with inDIVISIBLE!  

Monday, September 24, 2012

DINYB Blogfest Announcement

Authors Ciara Knight and Alex J. Cavanaugh are hosting a blogfest celebrate great authors who may have not made it to the Bestseller's lists. Join in the fun on October 17th! -- Below are the rules from Ciara Knight's Blog:


The Ninjas and Knights are joining forces!
Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest, October 17, 2012
Post about a book you’ve noticed.
You can choose a book that you’ve read, something you saw on a blog or social media site, Goodreads, or a sales website. Anything that caught your eye because of a great cover, blurb or reviews, but DON’T tell the author that their book has been noticed. Instead, shout out on social media sites, and encourage others to do the same, until the author finds his/her book.
Leave a blog comment at Ninja Captain Alex or Ciara Knight’s blog when the author finds their book.
Only two rules:
1)You can’t post about your own book.
2)The book shouldn’t be on the New York Times or USA Today bestseller list.
This is your chance to shout out about a book that might not have been noticed by others.
Let’s blow up the blogosphere with great new reads!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

All Writers Need This Book

Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of ViewI just received my copy of Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point Of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson. The price of the paperback on Amazon was $5.99 for a 61 page, 8 chapter book that reads much like an online writing class. Nelson does a fantastic job of clearly defining the elements of Deep POV, giving many examples of "shallow" and "deep" writing. At the end of every chapter are worksheets to give you a chance to try your hand.

In reading this I did notice that her examples are for contemporary works. I write both historical and contemporary, and I initially thought it might be difficult to emulate Deep POV in historicals, but I think it can be done. Historical authors can work to remove things like, he thought, she felt, and it seemed.

I particularly liked Chapter Five: Ditch the Prepositional Tells where Nelson states that Deep POV is ruined when we narrate phrases with prepositions such as of, with, in, etc. I looked at a piece of my writing and came up with the following example:

Anne glanced at her still bare ring finger and shuddered with dread.

Anne glanced at her still bare ring finger and shuddered. He's how old?

Here I took out the "with dread" and added her thought. "Dread" is not necessary, and pulls the reader out of Anne's head. Nelson also argues that italics are not necessary for thoughts in Deep POV. I think that's a personal choice thing...I like to add them.

Anyway, if you want to take your writing to the next level, I suggest you buy this book. It's available on kindle as well. Nelson is teaching an online course Mastering Goals, Motivation and Conflict that starts September 24th:

Write on Friends!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Harper Voyager Accepting Unagented Submissions for Two Weeks Only

The Harper Collins fantasy/science fiction imprint is launching an international talent search to launch a new e-book venture:
The press release states:
The portal to submit will open at on October 1st, and remain open until October 14th. Adult and young adult titles will both be accepted, in any genre, although epic fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, dystopia and supernatural works will be particularly well received.
Manuscripts should be at least 70,000 words, up to around 120,000.
On its website, the publisher says that it are looking for enough projects to launch a new e-book each month. Each contract will cover world English language distribution, with Harper Voyager reserving the right to also publish the books in physical form.

If you write fantasy/science fiction, more details can be found on:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How Would You Feel?

I have a question that I'd like your feelings on:

You are a daughter of an Earl in 1559, you just boarded a ship to take you to your new husband, whom you have never met. You watched your mother's carriage disappear through the busy courtyard and then the ship's captain showed you to your quarters--a tiny bed surrounded by your trunks. He closes the door leaving you alone, staring at it.

How do you feel? What is the first thing you would do?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

Me Mountain Biking
Labor Day in my mind has always been the last hurrah of summer. I remember boating on the lake with friends and family when I was growing up in Washington. Today some friends from Wisconsin are visiting and we're going to grill brats to make them feel at home :-). I'm even going to bake an apple pie--and hey, I hate to cook.

But before the pie, Bob and I will go biking. He got me into a daily ride, and we're now biking up and down the hills near Snow Canyon--about ten miles every morning. When I first started at the beginning of the summer, I could make it about halfway, and I would get really winded going up the steep hills. But now I'm keeping up and using higher gears to go up those same hills with a few deep breaths.

It really surprised me that it didn't take all that long to build my strength, after all, I'm old. I do have more energy, and the body looks a bit more toned. The really nice part? We live in St. George, Utah and can do this all year round. Today is not the last hurrah of summer here. It is the end of the 107+ degree days. Hello 90 degrees, and cooler mornings :-)

Happy Labor Day friends! Write on.

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Contract for Virtue

Sandstone etching by Bob Jarecki

This morning I signed a contract to publish my romantic suspense, Virtue, with awesome publisher, Turquoise Morning Press. They will be releasing Chihuahua Momma in July, 2013, and it looks like Virtue will come out a few months later. I'll let everyone know when I get the release date.

I am super excited to be working with TMP on another project. I completed Virtue during the Donald Maass breakout workshop, and I think it is one of my better manuscripts. Below is the pitch that landed the contract:

Sheltered, raised in rural Utah, Zoe Marshall has never heard of the Mayan Prophecy of the Golden Goddess—but she’s about to.

At the moment she’s thrilled to have landed her dream job dancing on a cruise ship where she meets Belizean, Gabriel AhKin. The sizzling bartender stirs her passion.

When the ship docks in Belize, Gabriel learns his brother, Alistair, has joined the Brotherhood of Kukulkan, a Mayan cult led by reclusive fanatic, Cocozca. Alistair has spirited Zoe away from a ship’s excursion, taking her to Cocozca’s temple. When the madman he sees her, he divines that Zoe is the Golden Goddess. She is “the one” to fulfill the prophecy.
When Gabriel uncovers Cocozca’s plan to sacrifice Zoe, his flight to find Alistair turns into a battle to save the woman who’s captured his heart.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Need Some Help With a Title *Please*

Hi friends! I had a content editor review my MS, Forbidden Wall ~ Forbidden Love, and she recommended changing the title to something sexier. So that you understand a bit about the book, my pitch is below:

Highborn and privileged, Valeria has never known life outside her father’s Roman fortress. But when Hadrian’s Wall falls, Valeria’s world shatters.

Ripped from her bed, Valeria is captured by savage barbarians. Terrified, she prays her betrothed will mount a rescue. But it is the enemy—Taran—a Pict with Celtic tattoos and hair of fire who wields his sword and fights for her freedom.

Valeria seeks refuge in the Pict stronghold of Dunpelder. The Picts eye her with distrust and she must earn her keep as a commoner…But the longer she remains, the more agonizing it becomes to conceal her growing love for Taran, the redheaded king of the Picts.

Some of the ideas I have are:


Any suggestions you have would be much appreciated!!! 


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Birds and the Bees and the Flowers...

Hummingbird and Bee

I have a wonderful vine in my backyard that blooms brilliant yellow trumpet flowers. It is absolutely adored by a family of hummingbirds and I took the picture above wanting to capture this amazing little bird. When I looked at it, I realized that a bee was flying above its head, and I had all the facets that I needed for my next blog post.

Do you write love scenes? I know some people enjoy writing them and some are uncomfortable with them. Some publishers want them hot and some want a peck on the cheek. Honestly, I enjoy writing them, though I am adamant that I stay away from erotica since that is not what I write.

I do rationalize that sexuality is part of the human condition. I write romance and I want my characters to experience all that is wonderful about being in love, feeling that insatiable desire to be close to the object of his or her affection. I want my love scenes to be filled with passion and longing to the point where my characters lose control of their sanity, and all that exists is the bursting love that binds them together.After all, that is why most of us are here.

Below is a picture of my bird in flight...Oh how deep my love. One look from him sends me soaring through the air on fluttering wings. 

Hummingbird in Flight

Monday, July 30, 2012

Are You Left or Right Brained?

I visited Trish Jackson's blog: where she talked about plotters vs. pansters. Those of you who follow me know that I am a plotter and I use and Excel spreadsheet to plan my manuscript before I start writing. However, I do allow myself literary license in the creative process, and will change the outline several times to incorporate what "happens" when I dive into the story. I took the quiz below and discovered that though my left brain is dominant, I have a strong tendency to the right as well. Would love to hear your thoughts...are you predominantly left or right brained?

Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz
The higher of these two numbers below indicates which side of your brain has dominance in your life. Realising your right brain/left brain tendancy will help you interact with and to understand others.
Left Brain Dominance: 12(12)
Right Brain Dominance: 10(10)
Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz

Friday, July 27, 2012

Grin & Barret by Ruth Hartman - Five Stars on Amazon

Grin & Barrett

Remmie Grin is a self-sufficient dentist who has her life right where she wants it.

That is, until handsome, flirty Dr. Victor Barrett moves in next door. He constantly bugs her about selling her practice to him—but she’s not budging.

How can she convince him to leave her alone when all she really wants him to do is kiss her again?


Toni V. Sweeney 

A delightful book, even better than the others I've reviewed. In fact, I'd say this is Ruth's best so far! that committing myself enough? The dialogue between Victor and Remmie, from the first quip about her name to the last line is sharp and fast and full of wit. The scenes with Remmie's cats and felinophobe Victor are amusing, and the whole story moves at a pace which makes you want to keep reading without taking a breath between words

Tori L. Ridgewood 

My favourite scene was the impromptu date at the movies -- the hero's erstwhile attempts to gain the heroine's favour, and her feisty resistance, are nothing less than perfect. The back-and-forth banter reminds me of the courtship of Gilbert Blythe and Anne of Green Gables. Hartman has a direct line into my youthful daydreams about being an independent woman and falling in love

Sandra Cox 

In Grin and Barrett, when two dentists are after the same location sparks fly.This was a fun read filled with good old fashioned romance. 

Paranmormal Reader "Renee" 

Great Book, I loved it! If you like your loves stories with a lot of sass and humor. GET THIS BOOK!

Amazon link:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Join the Excitement!! Book Pushapalooza

Welcome to the FIRST EVER BookPushalooza!

July 26th ONLY

9 Books, only .99.

With each purchase you get the chance to WIN while Helping Authors reach new heights in Amazon’s ranks.

It’s so easy a CAVEMAN could do it!

Follow the Instructions on the Rafflecopter Widget and for each book you purchase (or Borrow through Amazon Prime for Free) you get an entry in to WIN ---

(1) Grand Prize- $100 Amazon Gift Card

(2) Runners up of $25 Amazon Gift Cards

That’s not all! Purchase all NINE (9) books and get an additional 5 entries!

Don’t delay, this offer is good for JULY 26th ONLY!

Overview of Dark Isle

When evil begets evil, a choice is forced on Quinn, the one person who can see the danger. Does she save the ones she loves, or does she save the world from Chaos?

As the realms of Fae and human collide, Quinn's future has never looked so grim, or so damn impossible.

Genre- Urban Fantasy
Overview of Enemy in Blue

 The streets aren't safe when your enemy wears a blue uniform and a gold badge.
What if the good guys weren't good?
What if a cop went rogue and killed an innocent man?
What if it was all caught on video and the cop would do anything to cover it up?
Chase this lawless cop through the streets and to a scintillating series of showdowns with Cruz Marquez, a young attorney trying to nail down his enemy in blue.
Will justice be served?
Genre- Thriller

Overview of Land of the Noonday Sun

When two strangers have nothing left but their dreams, they must forge a relationship in Nantahala, North Carolina, a small town known as Land of the Noonday Sun.

A man with a traumatic past is able to turn his life around and is happy with his chosen career as a whitewater guide. Everything changes though when fate hurls a woman into his path. His carefree life is in turmoil, and his former weaknesses threaten to overtake him. Will he be strong enough when tragedy strikes and is once again in danger of losing everything he loves?
Genre- Contemporary Romance

Overview of This Time Forever

Delaney Brannigan and Blake Morrisson met at the Cedar Cove annual costume dance, known only to each other as the leopard and the cowboy--but, as Delaney soon discovers, the cowboy she'd thought had ridden off into the sunset never to tempt her again, is none other than the man she came from New York to find and discredit. Against her will, Delaney is drawn deeper and deeper into an overwhelming attraction to Blake--an attraction she can't give in to if she wants to keep the one thing she values more than anything else.
Genre- Contemporary Romance

Overview of Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula

Fourteen-year-old Cassidy Jones wakes up the morning after a minor accident in the laboratory of a world-renowned geneticist to discover that her body has undergone some bizarre physical changes. Her senses, strength, and speed have been radically enhanced.

Lives are put at risk when they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous, action-packed adventure. Soon they are forced to confront a maniacal villain willing to do anything - including murder - to reach his own ambitious goals.

Genre- YA/MG Superhero

Overview of Gray Justice

Gray Justice is the fast-paced debut thriller from Alan McDermott. When a killer walks free from court, the victim's father sees just two options: accept the judge's decision; or take on the entire British justice system. Tom Gray chooses the latter and his crusade attracts instant worldwide media coverage. It was just what Tom was hoping for, but it brought him a lot more than he bargained for.

Gray Justice is much more than a simple tale of revenge: it's a rollercoaster ride with an ending you'll never forget!
Genre- Thriller

Overview of Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00

"Their lives are in the hands of two 18-year-olds..."
A Prominent P.I. is gunned down - killed by a sniper - and it’s broadcasted on live TV.
Now, her daughter, along with her childhood pal, are thrust into a complex and riveting thriller forced to take on a secret club whose members call themselves The Privileged Ones.
Murder. Teen abductions and illegal underground parties.
They’re chased by men in ski-masks, nearly gunned down by members of a cartel, and the only way to bring down this criminal enterprise; is to crash a Mardi Gras bash and stop their private cruise ship from sailing off into the sunset.


Overview of Allegiance

Who do YOU pledge allegiance to?

After exposing one of the most notorious rings of police corruption in history, lawyer Cruz Marquez planned on starting a new life south of the border. That plan unraveled when an extremist group of Minutemen captured and tortured him and his wife.

Will Cruz pledge allegiance to do right, or will he do anything to serve up revenge?

Genre- Thriller

Overview of Curbchek Reload

Curbchek-Reload is a dark account of the streets as they were worked by Zach Fortier, a dangerously deranged cop. Welcome back to the inner city and the twisted mentality of Zach Fortier. Patrolling the streets, broken and mentally damaged from years of urban violence, Zach fights a losing battle to maintain a hold on reality. Join him in the passenger seat of a police cruiser for more of the darker and meaner side of life: The inner city. In Curbchek-Reload you get a front row seat to an attempted murder of a cop, suicide attempts, rapes, and DARK cop humor. Curbchek-Reload - Fasten your bullet proof vest and buckle your seatbelt, it is gonna be a wild ride!

Genre- Police Procedural" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

All winners will be notified via email July 28th 2012. For a list of winners contact

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Check Out Liz Fichera's New Book Trailer for HOOKED!

Awesome author, Liz Fichera, has a new young adult title coming out in January. See the preview book trailer for HOOKED. You'll need to pre-order the book, published by Harlequin Teen!

Find out more about Liz on her blog: