Show Don’t Tell – Super Basics in Creative Writing

Writing Pen and JournalRecently I shared an example of “Show, Don’t Tell” with a fellow student in my writing class. This was such a hard concept for me to learn. The examples may not be stellar, but I think they get the point across.

When you want to “show, don’t tell,” describe the senses and employ the use of descriptions, not just for physical objects but actions, too.

This is telling:  “Mary was so upset because she couldn’t apply her make-up just right. She only had one hour to go before her blind date, Roger, picked her up. Her best friend from work, Sally, fixed her up. It would be Mary’s first date in a year since she broke up with Fred.”

LipstickThis is showing: “Her eyeliner was too thick, the concealer caked under her eyes, and she swiped on too much pink blush that made her look like a call girl. If only Mary’s hand would stop shaking so she could reapply her make-up before her blind date arrived.

Sally, Mary’s co-worker, brightened up when she spoke of her brother, Roger, and Mary imagined enjoying his down to earth, yet exciting personality. She needed someone like that since her break up with compulsive and pretentious Fred. Mary relaxed her clenched jaw and took a deep breath, then poured some make-up remover onto a cottonball.

Instead of telling that “The fire truck went rapidly down the street” show how “The massive red fire engine roared over potholes and left trash flying in its wake.”

singerUse original metaphors and similes to tell your story.

A metaphor or simile helps your reader to easily envision the thoughts you’re trying to convey. “He seemed as tall as the tree in my grandmother’s garden,” or “He fought like a man with no arms,” or “She sang as if chalkboard scratching was a new art form.”

What is one of your favorite “show, don’t tell” sentences, be it yours or from another author?

6 Steps to Help Overcome the Need to be “Taken Care Of”

Girl looking down

Adults with traumatic childhoods sometimes might expect people, like their spouses and parents, to provide an income, home, or some type of service so they don’t have to work or do things for themselves. Coming from an abuse background, I also felt entitled, feeling that my parents and siblings owed me for neglecting me or treating me poorly during an abusive childhood.

My main character, Mandy, in Eve’s Amulet~Book 1 had a hard time accepting responsibility. When she finally did something productive that served others as well as herself, the feeling was practically foreign to her, but she loved it and started making powerful and good decisions.

Happy face on sunWhen the book was published, everything changed. For once I was getting control of my life. Responsibility wasn’t a burden as it felt in the past, and a new feeling arose as I headed toward self-reliance.

I learned a few significant things along the journey:

    • Always trust your gut instinct. Our gut instinct is always right. It’s only wrong when we misinterpret that inner voice or allow people to talk us out of what we intuitively know is right. Knowing is not what we hope or wish for, but what we actually know even if it can’t be justified or reasoned away.
    • Say Yes or No to what does or doesn’t feel right. Don’t be afraid to make choices that serve you. You’ll be back in control and can chart a new direction for your life.
    • Stop procrastinating. Procrastination is generally the fear of failure or avoiding problems or confrontation by keeping busy with other less important things or things that don’t directly serve you. Get the worst task out of the way, and everything else is easy in comparison. Be proactive by trusting your gut instinct and acting on it.
    • Stop blaming. You may have suffered when others did you wrong during your childhood, or even now in the work place or home, but blame is like worry and guilt, serving no one, and they’re all a waste of time and energy. You’re an adult now. Stand up to bullies, ignore parental guilt, and don’t worry about things out of your control.
    • Being proactive is healthier than making excuses. Do at least one thing a day related to achieving personal goals in career or in other productive Square Horizonareas that you would normally put off. You’ll achieve more if you take even one tiny step each day towards completing a goal.
    • Embrace the opportunity to make good decisions that are in your best interest, as well as for the greater good. Wield your personal power in a positive light!

A mature person accepts responsibility for what they did that was good, as well as for what resulted based on incorrect action or wrong thinking. The true delineation that determines adulthood is when a person elects to hold themselves accountable for their own actions and is willing to make corrections when necessary.
Flourish

 

Vote on a New Cover for Eve’s Amulet!

Banner for WordPressI had a not too popular cover on my debut novel, Eve’s Amulet–Book 1, but I didn’t rush to change it. Now it’s time!

Eve’s Amulet is an exciting time-travel historical adventure series with a lot of interaction between the characters, including those of a romantic nature. I needed a cover to suggest that, as well as to keep the old west theme of Book 1, as Mandy is sent back in time to Texas, 1845. Which cover do you prefer? Please cast your vote below and answer this question:  If you could time travel, what time period would you want to get stuck in?

CURRENT COVER

NEW COVER

PROPOSED NEW COVER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cast your vote and let us know what era you’d like to time travel to and be eligible to win a copy of Eve’s Amulet–Book 1!

Thank you for your input!

S. B. Redstone & His Secret Behind A Sinister Obsession

Bob's PictureA Sinister Obsession may be S. B. Redstone’s debut novel published by Black Opal Books, but it is certainly not his only grand achievement. His life has been a rich example of what it means to be proactive and to create change, be it in his personal life or in helping others.

Steve, why should anyone bother to read this interview about you? (In other words, what makes you an interesting person or what can you offer to your readers?) Some people might find it interesting that a shrink likes to write murderous stories. As a therapist, my novels are rich in accurate psychology with realistic personalities. If you let your inner bully run your life, and it discourages you from attaining your dreams, then that is a great sadness. That’s been a battle I finally fought against successfully, a theme in all my stories. For me as a writer, it’s all about the creativity and bringing a great story to the public.

Did you ever have a desire to write when you were a child?
No I didn’t. Writing didn’t become an interest until I was in high school. In college I wroteWriter poetry. However, my desire to write had to take a back seat to my developing careers in school psychology and clinical social work, which could support my family. Fortunately, my imagination and desire to write never waned, they intensified. I think it is amusing, that the activity I had no interest in–writing–became my life’s accomplishment.

Why did you choose to work as a school psychologist and a clinical social worker?
When I was younger other kids with personal problems would come to me and share Psychologisttheir struggles and upsets. I would just listen because I didn’t know what to say to them. I didn’t give anyone advice and I kept a confidence. In college, I guess that was one motivation to choose psychology as a major. I was a caseworker for the New York City Department of Social Services, Protective Services, helping families and abused and neglected children. It was the first time I met professional social workers and I wanted to become one as well. Eventually, I made a career switch and loved school psychology as well. I had the best of both worlds.

What is your personal goal as a writer?Screenplay
I want millions to read my stories. Having readers enter an alternate reality and enjoy my stories makes me happy and that is my satisfaction. If I ever achieved fame, I would love to write screenplays and make the kind of movies I loved as a kid.

What are your tips for successfully completing a novel?
First, you have to have the time to write. When I switched from social work to school psychology, I had more time, including summers off to be at my typewriter, and later Readingcomputer. I wrote short stories, which could be completed more quickly. With a singular theme, I was better able to stay focused. When I attempted to write my first novel, it was not progressing. So, I added up all my free hours for a month, and was startled by how little free time I actually had. It was then that I made a conscious decision to cut back on my private practice. It was only then that I could write a novel with consistency.

If you could make one change in the world, no matter how great or small, what would it be?
I would design an educational world where children are inspired, cared about, imagination flourishes, and the learning and knowledge are age appropriate.Learning Administrators disregard human nature and what kids are really about. Most high school courses have absolutely no relevance to the majority of students. Failing kids often thrive at sports because they learn from the older kids without criticism. Kids thrive when not fearing criticism by an adult or parent.

How do you pick your names for your characters?
I have a good list of names in my head, knowing so many people in life, but I love to use Peoplethe Internet lists of first and last names. There are so many cool names under different nationalities to choose from. Like Dickens, I like to choose a name that fits the character’s personality.

Did any part of you go into Detective Joshua Diamond or even Detective Aubrey McKenzie?
All writers are bits and pieces of every character they create. I am Josh in many ways. He is sensitive, caring, empathic, who finally realized that there is more to life than capturing criminals. I am Aubrey who is impelled to help others, even at the expense of achieving a happier life for herself.

This may be the toughest question of all: If you could recommend only one book to read other than your own, which would it be?
I could name a hundred fiction books I’ve read and loved. One book I read was differentCosmos than all its predecessors. Cosmos by Carl Sagan connected our world with the universe. He offered a history of human development and our reach for the stars completely ignored by narrow-minded and arrogant educators in power. I was amazed by the knowledge in the book, the scientists I never heard about, and also by the television series. From his work, I fell in love with astronomy.

As an expert in the field of human psychology, Redstone has been able to develop realistic characters from the dark side of human nature where his villains don’t aspire for happiness through personal achievement, but rather from their demented narcissistic schemes. Many of his characters have been taken from his clinical work.  A Sinister Obsession Cover

Check out Steve’s thrilling new novel, A Sinister Obsession!

A psychopathic killer on a quest leaves behind a string of brutal murders, and to find the Who, the police must first discover the Why…

Detective Aubrey McKenzie has been assigned to investigate the murders. A lovely, fabulously wealthy, dark-haired Scot, whose iron will was forged in the inferno of human tragedy, Aubrey is stymied by the lack of solid clues. Now she must rely on her paranormal ability to apprehend the killer-an ability that has been invaluable in her police work but has made a disaster of her social life. Fate teams Aubrey with Detective Joshua Diamond, a handsome, talented, and compassionate man who is more than happy eating a greasy bacon-cheeseburger and wearing clothes that should have been thrown out with the trash. In a race against time, Aubrey and Joshua must overcome their vast differences-and their attraction for each other-and discover the identity of this elusive killer, and the quest this fiend is on, before more lives are destroyed.

S. B. Redstone has used his education and expertise as a school psychologist and Taming Bullies Book Coverlicensed clinical social worker to write his self-improvement book, Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies: Confronting Life’s Stressors and Winning, published by New Horizon Press Books. It’s a serious work on how to avoid being victimized by others and yourself.

Redstone currently has a novel seeking a publisher, Stardust Dreams, which is a love story that takes place on Earth, an alien planet thousands of light years away, and returns to Earth two hundred thousand years to a sad future of mankind.

Visit Steve’s website at http://sbredstoneauthor.com or click here to follow Steve on his facebook page at Steven Rosenstein, Author. Click on the title to order A Sinister Obsession at Amazon.com.

Flourish

Kathy L Wheeler Shares Her Secret to Enjoying Book Sales Success!

IMG_8486Are you an author wanting to increase your book sales? Find out more about Kathy L Wheeler in this interview and how she experienced successful sales. Let’s get right to it!

Kathy, you are very busy and talented–a BA in Management Information systems, vocally gifted, you love of football, basketball, and exercise. Where does your passion of writing fit on your scale of things to do?
I didn’t begin writing until late 2006. But it became quickly apparent to me (and my disgruntled husband) that this was something important. I completed approximately 5 manuscripts within two years. Not that I knew what I was doing at the time. However, time is your friend when you are learning. I now have nine books out and five open projects. Three of which I hope to complete in the next six months. Uh. . .I guess that does make me a teeny bit of an over-achiever. Of course, I have six months to go before I see if that comes to pass or not.

Wow! That’s quite an accomplishment. In addition to a great imagination, what do you think attributes the most to your love of writing (and reading) romance novels?
I’ve always loved reading. I spent my senior year of high school hiding out in my room reading. I never dreamed I’d be among the writers! Mostly, however, I demand a happy ending. So. . .I write my own.

What do your future long term goals include, whether related to writing or not?
Long-term goals include writing for a living. I already get to travel thanks to having a decent job and manageable bills. But to be able to earn my way through writing would be the ultimate!

I agree that being a full-time writer sounds like an appealing goal. What advice would you give to first time authors who have yet to become published?
My advice is to sit your ass in the chair and just do it. I can’t tell you how many people say “I’ve always thought of writing a book.” My response is “Then why don’t you?” Or they say, “I have a great story for you to write.” My response is “Why don’t you write it? I have plenty of my own.” Of course, I hope I sound nicer in person when I say it. You know. Laughing as I say it.

Now, for writers who feel ready to be published, what has been your most successful marketing/promotion tool(s)?
I just wrote a post on this very thing over at http://thewritersvineyard.com/2014/01/marketing-should-be-its-own-curse-word.htmlappropriately titled, I might add. In essence, Bookbub was by far the most successful. Though my ad came out in late October, I am still seeing the benefits. It was quite shocking, breathtaking and overall unbelievable. This is what happened:

wrongedprincessi Cover-334x499I have a Cinderella Series. The basic premise is that Cinderella’s glass slipper fits one of her evil stepsisters’ foot. This is book i, The Wronged Princess.

This book had been available on both Amazon and Smashwords for years. I did a “permanently free” through Smashwords in which Amazon price-matched. It did okay. The downloads were fairly steady over time.

I should add that there are two other books in the series. They were not on sale. The Unlikely Heroine – book ii and The Surprising Enchantress ­– book iii.

One Friday in late October I somehow got accepted at bookbub.com. (I will tell you—they are expensive.) Every morning I checked my downloads on Amazon. On that particular Friday (9:30a), there were approximately 1800. Not too bad. Sales on the other two books equaled around 30. Bad. However, right before lunch, the bookbub email hit. And for some reason, I happened to look the downloads again. 3574!

My stomach hit the floor. I thought something was wrong. I came back from lunch (1:20p) and the downloads had risen to 7500. Now I’m nauseous. I have a group of friends we call the Martini Club. We meet every Friday night, schedules permitting.
I got there at 4:30 and checked the downloads again from my Kindle Fire—15,000. Now I know I have actually died and gone to book download heaven. By the time I went to bed that night, because I can’t keep from checking, it’s up to 21,000 downloads. All through the next day, I can barely speak from the shock, it reach over 27,000! And for me, that’s saying something.

In any event, by the 31st (Halloween) there were over 35,000 downloads of The Wronged Princess – book i. The side effect was the sales of the other two books in the series. Sales jumped from around 30 to 270. That was October. In November, the first book was still free for a week or so. I eventually raised the price but the sales reached over 700 that month.

The kicker here is that BookBub decides if they will accept your book or not. I’ve submitted three others since then that have been rejected. So I’m unsure of the criteria involved. I would say BookBub has been by far the best of my marketing efforts.

Thank you, Kathy, for the excellent interview and great sales tip! Here are a few of Kathy’s wonderful books available for sale:

Quotable Cover-biggerQUOTABLE

Genna Lyndsey is not a people person, but a wild haired waif with sturdy nerdy glasses who lives through books. Obscure quotes spew forth when people get too close like Rick Johnson, Fraud Insurance Claims Investigator, assigned to look into an unusual number of claims filed by Genna. He suspects her of sabotaging her property for the money, but his investigation uncovers an adorable introvert determined to keep everyone at bay, while someone else resolves to put her out of business—no matter how great the risk.

maybe its you Cover-334x499
MAYBE IT’S YOU

How can a girl who’s been rejected by Once Upon A Time ever believe that happily-ever-after even exists? Abandonment issues surface when she finds herself falling in love, totally pissing her off.

Ashton Turner III was nobody’s Knight In Shining Armor. He’d jumped off that horse a long time ago.  And when Lorianne’s grandmother delivers Ash life-altering news, his past explodes into the present.

 

Lies that BindLIES THAT BIND

Would a modern day woman marry for convenience to protect the identity of her child?  Hell yes! Kelly Mancer doesn’t want a man.  Any man.  But danger has a way of changing a woman’s mind.

Alex Gentry needs Kelly, but convincing her to help in his pursuit of a dangerous enemy who’s enamored his younger sister would not be easy.  The tables turn and Kelly becomes the prey. Alex may save his sister, but at what cost?

About Kathy L Wheeler:

Kathy has a BA degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in Management Information Systems that includes over forty credit hours of vocal music. As a computer programmer the past fifteen years, she utilizes karaoke for her vocal music talents. Other passions include travel, fantasy football, NBA and musical theatre. She is a long time member of several RWA Chapters, including OKRWA, DARA, and The Beau Monde. As an avid reader of romance and patron of the theatre, her main sources of inspiration come mostly from an over-active imagination. She currently resides in Edmond, Oklahoma with her musically talented attorney husband, Al, and their bossy cat, Carly.

Contact Kathy L Wheeler:
kathy@klwheeler.com
http://facebook.com/kathylwheeler
http://twitter.com/kathylwheeler

Naughty & Nice Blog Hop – Have a No Guilt Christmas!

See how you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card at the end of this blog!

Blog Hop
candle

4 TIPS TO HAVING THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER:
1.) Have no expectations from anyone (The season is not about who gives who what or how much it costs.)
2.) Have no expectations from anything (Wherever you’re at, be an example of Love & the way to Peace.)     
3.) Be a Giver (Anything you receive will be a bonus.)

4.) Be a Do-er (Don’t focus on yourself. Organize Christmas carolers, or help the homeless. Hand out sandwiches, bottled water, and blankets. Find people living on the streets easily, just by opening your eyes and your heart. Don’t judge them, just help them!)

COVERCheck out my new short story, “Christmas After All” in the Black Opal Books Christmas anthology, A Touch of Winter.

CHRISTMAS AFTER ALL
With her parents on a second honeymoon and her best friend in Hawaii, Eydie is dreading spending the holidays alone. Her busybody neighbor invites her over for Christmas Eve, yet Eydie tries gracefully to refuse. She doesn’t want to be caught in the middle as her neighbor’s husband meets his long-lost daughter for the first time. But Eydie hits it off with her, and she comes with a big surprise— one that Eydie hadn’t counted on at all.

EVE’S AMULET, BOOK 1EA Cover-200x300
Mandy Ruhe receives a gift from a mysterious woman and is swept back in time to Texas, 1845, into the body of ranch owner, Carmena Luebber. Mandy must assume Carmena’s role until she can figure out how to return home. She finds herself caught in the lives, hopes, and struggles of her employees and is torn between two amazing men, but she can’t stay with them in the past without destroying the future.

Carole is also under contract for her young adult horror story, Death House, and her non-fiction work, The Long Term Effects of Sexual Abuse.

You can win a $10 Amazon gift card! To enter the drawing:
Subscribe to this blog, or if you are already subscribed, please leave a comment. Make sure I have your e-mail address!
The winner will be selected at random and contacted after Dec. 17th.

KEEP HOPPING!! FOLLOW THE LINK HERE.Holly

The Wonderful Works of Lilian Roberts

Angie's PhotoLilian is an engineer, a wife, a mother and an avid reader. She turned her love of reading into a passion for writing, and has completed the first four volumes in the Immortal Rapture Series. Arielle: Immortal Awakening (Volume I), was released in November 2012, Arielle: Immortal Seduction (Volume II), was released in January of this year, Arielle: Immortal Passion (Volume III), was released April this year, and Arielle: Immortal Quickening (Volume IV), was released July 8th of this year. She will be releasing Arielle: Immortal Journey (Volume V) in December of this year.

All four novels have appeared on Amazon’s top 100 list three times and held their place for 4 weeks.  Bookrooster has picked the four volumes as reviewer’s picks at different times during this year.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00005]Arielle Immortal Awakening is the first book in the series:

A mortal soul…
From the time college co-ed Arielle Lloyd had been young, she had been able to hear the thoughts and feel the pain of certain others, and those she comes to think of as her special group. One friend’s dabbling with spells and magic showed her the power of love that can endure beyond the grave. But another friend’s terrifying encounter with a warlock left Arielle wary of those who claim otherworldly powers. On holiday in the south of France, a chance encounter could change her mind. Or could cost her life.
An Immortal man…
Sebastian Gaulle is the wealthy, handsome owner of an international company. He is also an Immortal. For five centuries he has sought the one soul who can fulfill his dreams of everlasting love. Then he meets Arielle, whose heart calls out to him like no other.
A timeless love…
Sebastian has made his choice clear. But jealous Immortals from his past threaten retaliation. They have vowed to destroy any woman who becomes involved with him. In spite of the powerful protection amulet Sebastian gives Arielle, death stalks their newfound love. Their love may be eternal, but they may be running out of time.

Arielle Immortal Seduction is the second book in the series:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]A time of waiting…
Arielle Lloyd has found the love of her life, but his business as the owner of an international company calls him away. She longs for Sebastian, but stays busy with school, and finds comfort in spending time with her best friends, Gabby and Eva. It is during Sebastian’s absence that a stranger enters Arielle’s life at the university and threatens to shatter her joy with a vicious assault.
A time of renewal…
The return of Sebastian Gaulle, Arielle’s Immortal love, brings a return of joy. Her terrifying experience has her rethinking her vow of remaining chaste until marriage. Arielle already knows Sebastian is the one man she will love for eternity. Sebastian has longed for Arielle, like no other. He has carried a ring in his pocket for her almost from the first moment they met. He’s only waiting for the right moment to pledge his eternal love for her.
A time of danger…
But Sebastian’s past still threatens their future. A trio of jealous Immortal women has vowed Sebastian will belong to no other woman for centuries to come. Arielle, Sebastian, and their friends must join together to fight off the Immortals bent on utter destruction, if they are ever to find their eternal happiness.

Arielle Immortal Passion is the third book in the series:Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00008]

An interlude in paradise…
St. Jean De Luz, in the south of France, is the gorgeous setting of one of Sebastian Gaulle’s family estates. It is to this lush place that the Immortal takes his love, Arielle Brown, and her friends, to relax and spend their holiday exploring the surroundings and learning about his family’s history.
A snake in the garden…
There is no safety in this paradise, however, as Sebastian’s past continues to haunt him. The Immortal, Annabel, still lusts for vengeance on Sebastian and seeks to destroy his new love. While exploring, Arielle’s life is endangered when she discovers dangerous hidden strangers occupying the house.
Evil that will not die…
Trapped, threatened, and nearing her last breath, Arielle must call on the powerful magic of her friend, Eva, for help. Sebastian must rally his Immortal friends and family to protect his love and expel the evil before his paradise is forever lost.

Arielle Immortal Quickening is the fourth book in the series:Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]

A fatal night….
College co-ed Arielle Lloyd is on vacation with her immortal love, Sebastian Gaulle, when they receive word of a dreadful accident. Her dear friend Gabrielle hovers near death. But it’s much worse for her beloved friends, Eva and Ian. In spite of Eva’s magical abilities, their lives have been cut tragically short.
An immortal choice…
Troy Vasser’s only love is Gabrielle, but on the night of the accident, his deepest concern is for their dying friends. While the life force within Ian and Eva flickered dangerously low, Troy had to make a hard choice. He could either let them die or lose their humanity and live as immortals. So he did the only thing he could: he gave them immortality. Now it is up to Arielle to break the news to Eva before the transformation is complete.
A quest for vengeance…
Danger continues to stalk Arielle’s life. Unknown to her, her new professor is an immortal, and he is furious when he discovers that Arielle is wearing an amulet, that should be owned by immortals only. Sebastian’s nemesis, Annabel, has also not given on up on her quest to destroy Arielle. What Annabel doesn’t realize is that Arielle’s circle of friends has drastically changed. There are two newly minted immortals that adore her and have vowed to protect her.

Lilian Roberts is working on the fifth book in the series, “Arielle Immortal Journey.”
She has received a book contract with Booktrope, a publishing company in Seattle Washington, and is a member of the SJPublicity group.

Contact Information
Website: www.lilianroberts.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/lilian3roberts
Blog: http://lilianroberts.blogspot.com
E- mail: lilian3roberts@gmail.com

WIN A $10 AMAZON GIFT CARD!

Check out the following two interviews with first time novelist, Kristin Wallace, and seasoned author, Janet Lane Walters.

Amazon LogoReply and subscribe by 10/28/13 (leave e-mail with “dot” spelled out if you’re not on Carole Avila’s e-mail list) to qualify to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card! (Winners chosen at random by 3rd party.)

Current subscribers need only leave a reply to qualify.

Kristin Wallace’s Marry Me Release Date – Oct. 26!

GH_Photo_2Kristin Wallace’s first novel, Marry Me, will soon be released by Astraea Press. Growing up Kristin devoured books like bags of Dove Dark Chocolate.  She writes inspirational romance and women’s fiction filled with love, laughter and a leap of faith. Until Kristin is a full time author, she works as an advertising copywriter. She also enjoys singing in her church choir and worship team and playing flute in a community orchestra.

Kristin, when did you know you wanted to pursue the craft of writing professionally, and what were the circumstances surrounding that decision? 
That’s a pretty looonnggg story. I was about 25 when I had the great epiphany that I was supposed to be a writer.  Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was doing and I got nowhere.  After a couple years I put the writing aside and went back to school to study advertising copywriting. I figured I could still write, but actually get paid. Spent two years in school, followed by seven years of working in ad agencies and as a freelance writer. Somewhere in that time I had started writing down ideas for stories. Then one day I stopped. I realized ten years had gone by and I was still overcome with the urge to write books. So I decided to try again. I joined Astraea Press header_htmRomance Writers of America and the local chapter, Florida Romance Writers. I learned the craft of writing. I grew into a better writer. Wrote three books. I got an agent. And I still didn’t sell.  Not for another seven years when I saw a notice for online pitches through the Savvy Authors website. One of those accepting pitches was Astraea Press, a digital first publishing company specializing in inspirational and sweet fiction and romance. I pitched to them and sold within a few days. So when I say “never give up on your dream” I mean it. You never know when the right circumstances will come together. The characters in my book would all say it’s part of a bigger Plan.

BookstoreWhat are your goals associated with being a writer? Do you have one type of book that will be your crowning achievement?
I want to make a living as a full time author. That’s the first goal. I want to write books that are uplifting and have a positive message of healing, forgiveness, and a true eternal love. I also don’t ever want to hit somebody over the head with religion. I think anyone can read my books, even if they don’t follow a particular faith. I want to be a best selling author and I want to see one of my books on a bookshelf in a bookstore. This first book being released is a crowning achievement after 17 years of working for it. Hopefully, it will not be the ultimate crowning achievement, though.

If you could have one superhero power, what would it be, flywhy did you choose it, and what would you use it for?
Maybe the ability to fly. It just seems cool and definitely faster getting everywhere.

Do you type straight through a manuscript, be it editing or writing a fresh draft, or do you take little breaks in between (like playing a hand of solitaire between each chapter?)
If I’m really into the story and the words are flowing I’ll keep going. My writing time is so limited because of that pesky, full-time, paying job that I can’t afford to lose the pace. Although, I will take a break here or there when I get to a point where I’ve reached a little closure with a scene and maybe I’m not exactly sure how the next scene is going to start.

How did the idea for your book come about? How did you develop your characters? Are they based on anyone you know?
MARRY ME started with the idea of a cynical, single woman who hates weddings somehow being recruited to take over a wedding planning business. That’s all I knew Inspiration [3]about for a while. Then I spent a lot of time asking questions. “Who is this woman?” “Why does she hate weddings?” “What would compel her to take over a wedding planning business?”  It wasn’t until I stumbled upon Seth (my Hero) that the story really took shape. I asked myself who the love interest could be. Someone Julia would run into a lot as she’s planning the weddings. And then I thought of a minister. Once I had him, the rest of the story came together in a flash. Seth pushed the story in a totally different direction and that’s when I decided to make the book an inspirational romance. I’d never really considered writing inspirational before that.

I wouldn’t say the characters are based an actual person. My parents have been married to each other for over 45 years so I have no idea where I came up with a woman whose parents each had multiple divorces under their belts, lol

What would be the one piece of advice you would offer to an aspiring writer?Writer [2]
The first thing I would say is to “finish the book”. There are so many people who start out saying “I want to be a writer” and then they somehow get lost. They either never finish the book or they finish, but keep editing over and over while never doing anything with it. They can’t let it go. That might actually be some advice. Learn when to let go of a book and move on.  Your first book will probably be bad, and that’s ok. Finishing it is the first goal. Because then you know you can finish. Also, I’d say to never give up and never delete anything. You never know when that abandoned manuscript can be dusted off. MARRY ME started out its life as a 1st Person POV book. I ended up revising it to 3rd Person, and I honestly think it’s a better book. Also, you also never know what will happen with the publishing industry. In the last 7-8 years since I’ve been actively pursuing a publishing career again, the entire industry has changed. It’s a huge shift, with the small epubs and indie publishing. MARRY ME had been sitting in my computer for several years after not selling, but then I ended up getting two offers for it last year within days of pitching and sending the manuscript.

Inspiration [4]What kind of audience do you see Marry Me attracting?
MARRY ME is the perfect book for…

Anyone who wants to read a humorous, uplifting book with a positive faith message about healing and forgiveness.

Anyone who wants to read a sweet romance without graphic sexual content. (However, there is still great romantic chemistry between my couple, Julia and Seth.)

Anyone one who enjoys quirky, small town settings.

Kristin, thank you for taking the time to let future readers know more about you. I wish you all the success in your writing career!

MARRY ME by Kristin Wallace

Julia Richardson is no fan of weddings. A lifetime of watching her parents treat relationships like the flavor of the month has taught her that love is for fools. Then she learns her former stepsister is having a crisis with her pregnancy. The crisis has Julia weddingreturning to the small Southern town she’s been avoiding for years. Before she knows it, Julia’s been pressed into service running her stepsister’s wedding planning business. Julia doesn’t know a garter from a garden hose, but now she must navigate couples along the bumpy path down the aisle. In the midst of it all, Julia makes the most unexpected discovery of all…love, with widowed minister, Seth Graham. Julia’s been running from love and everything spiritual for most of her life. It’s not until she finds the courage to stop running and learns to believe in the power of love, faith and family that she finds her own “I Do” moment.

This excerpt from Marry Me describes Julia and Seth seeing other for the first time since they were teenagers:

“Come on, Seth is around here somewhere,” Eric said. “Let me introduce you. Oh, wait… I forgot. You two know each other, don’t you?”

Kristen Stokes Photography

Julia followed Eric, and in the distance she spotted a group of men helping to set up the field. She searched for a geeky-looking beanpole, but her eyes stopped on a beautifully built, dark-haired man. All she could see was the back of him. He was tall, with shoulders a mile wide, and long, powerful legs.

Who knew they grew such delicious specimens down here in Covington Falls?

“Hey, Seth!” Eric called out. “Look who I found.”

All the men turned, including the delicious one. Oh, yeah. Mr. Tall Guy was wonderful from the front, too. Nicely crafted masculine features. Julia couldn’t quite make out the eye color, but she had a feeling they were spectacular as well. Their eyes met, and she felt a little jolt. “This one,” a voice reflected in her head. His eyes widened, and Julia knew he felt it, too. If they were in a movie this would be the moment when violins swept into a chorus and drums started pounding.

Then he frowned, and his expression became shuttered. He broke away from the group and started over in her direction. That’s when it dawned on her exactly who she’d been drooling over.

Bell

The drums turned to clanging bells.

Oh… my…

The breath lodged in her throat. There was no way the geeky boy she’d known had grown into… him! But somehow he had. She stiffened even more when she recalled this gorgeous man was also a minister.

Can you get struck by lightning for thinking impure thoughts about a minister? Isn’t lust one of the seven deadly sins?

Oh, this was not good. Not good at all.

****hot woman

It’s not good for a woman to look so amazing in a pair of denim shorts, Seth Graham thought. Not good at all.

How was it possible? Fifteen years and she still made him feel like… well… like he was fifteen. He’d grown up, answered the call to the ministry, and married and buried a wife. Yet somehow prickly, bitter, keep-your-distance Julia Richardson still scared the life out of him. Because prickly, bitter, keep-your-distance Julia Richardson was also still the sexiest female he’d ever met. A sexy woman who was now his stepmother’s ex-stepdaughter, making her his… well… he didn’t quite know what it made her. He only knew it was bizarre and twisted.

Young Mel

(Editor’s Note: Okay, so it’s a young Mel Gibson, but Seth could look like that!)

Yeah, Julia, the putz you remember did grow into this.

Contact Kristin:
Website: http://KristinWallaceAuthor.com
Blog: http://kristinwallaceauthor.blogspot.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/KristinWallaceAuthor
Twitter: @KWallaceAuthor
Instagram: kristinwallace_author
Pinterest: /kwallaceauthor

Follow Kristin at her website or blog page and she’ll let you know as soon as she gets a release date for Marry Me!

Janet Lane Walters Interview, Established & Eclectic Author

janetlanewaltersI am please to host this interview with Janet Lane Walters, author of at least 40 published works, including a large number of novels, novellas, and short stories. Janet says she’s been writing since the dark ages, when typewriters and carbon paper were still in use. She is married to a psychiatrist who has no desire to cure her obsession with writing. She has a BA in English and a BS in Nursing. Medicine often plays a role in her writing. Janet has four children and seven grandchildren and has used some of them in her books.

Thank you, Janet for joining me in this interview. I wonder–did family/childhood play a role in determining your love of writing, and if so, how?
My love of writing began as a reader. My grandfather, mother and father, according to family legend began reading to me as soon as they brought me home. Actually, my grandfather taught me to read and I had my first library card at age four. By third grade, I’d passed from the children’s section to the adult librarysection, I read Anna Karenina for a book report. The teacher freaked out and called my parents in. My father said I could read any book they had on their shelves and if I could understand it that was good. That was my first attempt at fiction since I decided I did not like Anna throwing herself under a train. Childhood days were also spent with friends where we sat on the porches of the row houses where we lived and told stories, spooky ones at night, especially during World War 2 when there were no lights allowed. We also wrote and put on plays for the neighborhood. I continued writing stories until I went into training as a nurse, though I did help write the Christmas plays we did for the children in the neighborhood. I also gathered information and emotions during this time.

You have quite a history as a writer. What do you consider your crowning moments and achievements in your writing career?
Crowning moments and achievements mean little to me, though winning the EPIC Award with my writing friend, Jane Toombs for Becoming Your Own Critique Critique PartnerPartner in 2003 was an interesting moment. Our publisher Zumaya has changed the title to Words Perfect – Becoming etc. Each time I finish a book or novella I feel as if I have achieved a milestone. The first sale of a short story “A Small Smile” was an interesting moment. I called my stories as my “brain children.” Called my husband who was a resident in Psychiatry to tell him and got the secretary. Had to leave a message. “I sold my first child is what she heard. He called back to discover what the child had done and we laughed over the incident. That moment told me I was on the way. The second was when an editor who had bought other stories told me the short story I sent her sounded like an outline for a novel and I was off and running to learn how to write a novel. Sixteen re-writes later, I sold “New Nurse In Town.” Why so many re-writes? In those days editors wanted the entire manuscript and sent back often detailed critiques. The first editor bought the story on submission 17. During that time I learned much about the craft of writing.

Walters-DoubleOpposition200x300How realistic is it for a writer to hope to enjoy their profession full-time? What is the best way to pursue a long term career in writing?
As to writing full-time being realistic. This is a hard call to make. I have friends who have done well writing full time and that’s because they’ve hit the NY Times best-selling list and can afford to write. There are other writers like myself who are retired and can write every day as they wish. Unless you have a working spouse who supports you or money in the bank to pay bills writing will be a part-time job for most. The real thing comes down to persistence and how much the career is desired. I’ve been fortunate, though there was a span of about ten years when I didn’t write. Didn’t keep me from garnering ideas and notebooks filled with these ideas.

Is finding an agent a solution for authors who don’t enjoy, or aren’t familiar enough with, the marketing and promotion process? If you could only offer one suggestion to a writer to market (not promote) their work, what would that be?
I don’t have an agent. In the past I’ve had 3 who did nothing for my career. Today having an agent isn’t necessary. When you think about electronic publishing with small presses and self-publishing there are worlds of opportunities. If someone interested in becoming an author, there are ways to learn. There are groups on line to promote your work. There are organizations that can help you become published and can teach you the ropes needed to make a success at their chosen career. RWA LogoI belong to RWA and my local chapters. Good advice here. I also belong to EPIC but you must be published electronically to join but their website gives loads of advice about publishers and publishing. Advice is decide where you want to go and if you’re writing for money seek an agent. If you’re writing because you must, then submit to any and all who will take a look at your manuscript.

A great deal of emphasis is put on authors to network online, especially through blogging. Writers often lament the hours spent online instead of writing. Is online networking a viable promotional tool, even if at the expense of an author potentially losing writing time?
I spend time on line, promoting. I do blog every day but much of the work is done for me. Does it sell books. I know a few of the people who belong to the blog do buy the books but I also promote typingother authors on my blog as well. The posts I do seldom take me more than ten minutes. I belong to a number of promotional groups and I avail myself of Twitter and Facebook but never for long. I kind of swing by and on Twitter I have several groups that I check in to see what my friends and colleagues are saying and respond. Having a presence is important for a writer in these times. Name recognition is where it’s at and if you don’t promote and have people seeing your name it isn’t going to happen for you. Some publishers may promote you but that’s not a given. I have one who does and my sales are better with them than elsewhere.

Is there any chance your interest in astrology plays into your writing and/or love of classical music? (In other words, is there a spiritual connection for you between astrology and writing or astrology and classical music?) Does music inspire your writing topics?
As I’ve told people I develop my characters using Astrology. I use the Sun sign for their inner nature, the Moon for their emotional nature and the Rising Sign to show their face to the world. I could develop charts for each character but math is not my greatest subject. Using the three parts of a horoscope allows me to layer Cancer Crabeach character. At present I’m working on a series where all the heroines are born under the sign of Cancer and the heros are each from a different sigh. I listen to a lot of music but I find when I’m writing action scenes I use the 1812 Overture. For romance I find many of the lush waltzes from Tchaikovsky to put me in the mood. Listening to music with words distracts me so any vocal pieces are left for enjoyment. There are no connections between music, astrology and writing that are spiritual for me. They’re just what I like. Once earned enough casting charts with a friend to allow us to visit Ireland.

Walters-ShatteredDreams200x300You are talented in so many ways, Janet!

Shattered Dreams is Janet’s latest book. Torn apart by lies and threats, can Rafe and Manon rediscover the love they once shared? Take a look at these excerpts where Janet introduces her main characters and you’re sure to become a Walters fan:

Here’s where the reader meets Manon:

Manon Lockley parked in the driveway of the small yellow brick ranch house she’d converted into an office for her medical practice. She slid from the driver’s seat and paused to inhale the fragrance of the June roses.

At the moment she felt like the White Rabbit. She was very late for office hours. Mrs. Patton, director of nursing at Fern Lake General had been admitted to the hospital this morning with chest pain. As her primary physician, Manon had remained to monitor the older woman’s condition and to work with the cardiologist to stabilize the hospital’s most admired employee.

Manon glanced at her watch. Well past three. How long would she need to stay? Her stomach grumbled reminding her she hadn’t eating lunch. Exhaustion caused by the emergency made her shoulders slump under the weight of the event.

Now we meet Rafe:

“Manon!” Rafe Marshall leaped from the examining table in time to catch her before she hit the floor. He cradled her against his chest. “Didn’t mean to scare you,” he whispered. Why did she think he was dead? He knew news of his accident had been kept quiet because the police believed he’d been deliberately forced off the road. Who had told her? Had the informant been the driver of the dark car his rescuer had seen speeding from the scene?

The citrus aroma of her shampoo brought memories of years ago when he had buried his face in her sunlit hair before they made love. His body responded to her presence and the sensual recollections. Thank heavens the gown was cloth. The urgent rise of his cock would have punctured paper.

Carefully, he placed her on the table. He stroked her face with his fingers and brushed his lips over hers. Any anger remaining from the past vanished beneath the heat of desire.

I thank Janet, for her candid sharing and wisdom. Her gift of writing extends to her exceptional blogs where she offers a plethora of intriguing interviews, insightful writing tips for authors, and helpful book reviews. Check out her blogsites! Janet’s wonderful library of entertaining books can be found at Amazon.com.