Friday, November 21, 2014

BOOK COVER FRIDAYS: LIFTED TO THE LIGHT by Alice Orr

 
WELCOME TO BOOK COVER FRIDAYS!
Every week we bring you an exciting hot book cover from one of
New York's Leading Romance Authors. Enjoy!


LIFTED TO THE LIGHT
by Alice Orr


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

HARD AND FAST TIPS DRAFTING FOR FUN AND PROFIT…OR AT LEAST FOR NANOWRIMO

by Isabo Kelly

Thousands of writers are taking on the challenge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), writing 50,000 words of a single novel in the 30 days of November. This annual challenge has helped a lot of people jump start a new project or finish one that’s been languishing. To meet the challenge, authors have to force themselves to draft their story quickly.

Here are some tips to help with fast drafting:

* Have a place to start.
* Have a place to end.
* Have some general idea of how you might get from point 1 to 2.  
* Don’t fear deviations.
* Don’t worry if the ending changes
* Don’t fuss over the details.
* Do NOT edit.
* Don’t worry about craft.
* Focus on your characters.
* When you’re not writing, mull over the next scene.
* Just keep typing / writing.  
* Only re-read enough to get back into the story for fresh writing.  
* And finally, HAVE FUN!!  


Good luck to everyone who’s attempting the NaNoWriMo challenge! Happy writing. May your muse cooperate to make it an exciting and fun month of fast drafting. With a little effort, you’ll have a book—or most of a book—finished come December 1st.♥



Isabo Kelly is the award-winning author of science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romance stories. Her latest release, Warrior’s Dawn (Fire and Tears #3), benefited greatly from the progressive outline. For more on Isabo and her books, visit her at www.isabokelly.com, friend her on Facebook www.facebook.com/IsaboKelly , or follow her on Twitter @IsaboKelly.

Monday, November 17, 2014

RAINBOW ROMANCE: PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS

by Kate McMurray



This October, I was privileged to read from my book THE SILENCE OF THE STARS to a standing-room-only crowd at the legendary Stonewall Inn.

The bar itself is kind of a dive, to be honest, and always has been, but its significance in the history of the LGBT rights movement cannot be denied. This was the site, after all, of the famous riots that gave rise to the modern LGBT rights movement. So when I was offered the opportunity to read from my gay romance there, I jumped at it. But that’s kind of just a fun beside the point.

So readings. There seem to be some truths universally acknowledged about them. Pretty much everyone asked me if I was nervous or dreading it. I think that’s kind of expected now, huh? Writers are reclusive introverts, right? Now we’re asked to get on a stage in front of a room full of people? The horror!

Well, no. I will admit, the very first time I ever read, I was so nervous, my hands shook through most of it. But my fear was more of screwing up because I’m a perfectionist, not so much a fear of public speaking per se. Since then? It’s not so bad. It’s kind of fun, actually.

Here’s the thing, though: I’m no stranger to standing in front of people and talking. I was on debate teams in high school and college, and later taught debate classes. So I learned at a young age to improvise speeches in front of judges with score sheets. Reading published text is nothing in comparison. Also, as a violinist, I’ve had to play solos and do recitals, and I swear, nothing is more nerve-wracking. I’m the sort of musician who would rather be in an orchestra, to blend in.

So for this reading, in which I was reading from a book I’ve read from before, I wasn’t really nervous. I did have a brief moment of panic when I realized the lights in my face were so bright I couldn’t see the audience and I wondered if one of my friends had made it back from the bathroom in time, and also if a T. rex had been coming at me, I would not have noticed, and that made it a little tricky to breathe for a second. I tend to zone out when I’m reading, though. That’s an old debate trick, actually; if you read without thinking about what you’re reading, you’re less likely to stumble, so I kind of go into autopilot when I’ve got text in front of me to read aloud. (I circle words that I mean to emphasize in my hard copy—also an old debate trick—so my brain knows what to do there, too.)

Anyway. My point is that readings, while not exactly no sweat, are not too traumatic for me, so I like to do them, just like I like doing conferences because I like talking to people. It’s kind of a manner of framing. I find that so much advice to authors is “how to survive this…” as if attending a conference were walking into a war zone.

The thing with any kind of promotion be it in person or online, is that if you’re doing something you actively hate doing, it’s going to be clear to everyone. If reading in front of people is unbearable, it’s not the right promotional opportunity for you. Readings can be great. I’ve bought books at events like Lady Jane’s Salon by authors I was unfamiliar with before-hand because the reading knocked my socks off.

If reading in front of people is not one of your strengths, there are many other avenues for promotion. I’m not exactly saying, “Don’t do it!” There are ways to triumph over nerves at a reading. Practicing helps a lot. But if, for example, you’re the sort of author who is socially phobic enough to spend most of a conference in your hotel room, you’re probably not getting the most bang for your buck. No offense to those with social anxiety, which is a real issue a lot of people face, but if you have to put yourself through trauma for the sake of promoting a book? It might be time to find another promotional avenue.

I like doing promotion in person and am less good at the Internet. I update my blog and Twitter sporadically and rarely post to Facebook. (I actively hate Facebook, in fact.) Your mileage may vary. If you’re better at online promotion, that is certainly a most excellent way to meet readers, without even changing out of your pajamas. If getting near social media gives you hives, there are other avenues—maybe a long-form blog is something you’re better suited for. Maybe you want to reach readers with a newsletter. But online, too, the same advice applies: if social media is something you have to survive, it’s probably not the best medium for you.

I think of it this way. I don’t just want to survive. I want to thrive as an author and businesswoman. That means, in order to conquer the promotional mountain, I pick things I’m good at doing. I play to my strengths. I like Twitter and think it’s fun, so I put the bulk of my social media energy there; likewise, if you’re a Facebook addict, parlay that into book promotion. I’m not the best at posting to my blog regularly, but I am great at conferences and I love doing panels and readings. Pick something you like and are good at, and promotion will feel
like less of a slog.

Doing promotional work you like will also help you keep the message upbeat and positive. You want to celebrate your work, not give the impression you’re pushing your book on the unwilling masses. I think we, and women in particular, tend to feel like we should be quiet and not crowing about our achievements too much.

There’s also a tendency to go negative, especially online when you can’t see the faces of the people you’re talking to. But hey, you wrote a book! That’s awesome. And there are people out there who want to read it. So find effective ways to tell them about it.♥


Kate McMurray is an award-winning author of gay romance and an unabashed romance fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She’s currently serving as President of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter of Romance Writers of America. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. Visit her at www.katemcmurray.com.


Friday, November 14, 2014

BOOK COVER FRIDAY: LOVE, LOST & FOUND by Jean C. Joachim

  
WELCOME TO BOOK COVER FRIDAYS!
Every week we bring you an exciting hot book cover from one of
New York's Leading Romance Authors. Enjoy!


LOVE, LOST & FOUND
by Jean C. Joachim
  


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

THE GIDDY GRAMMARIAN: COMMAS

by Lisbeth Eng



“To comma, or not to comma, that is the question!”



You will, I pray, excuse the ghastly usage in the above subtitle. The word “comma” is, of course, not a verb and should never be used as one. It is merely my poor attempt at wit, in the hope of grabbing your attention. Now that I have it, let us get on to the subject at hand.

One of the most common confusions about the use of commas is in a series. Consider the following sentences:

• The bride’s attendants included her sister, sister-in-law, cousin, and best friend.
• The bride’s attendants included her sister, sister-in-law, cousin and best friend.

The difference is the comma after the word “cousin.” Which sentence is correct? The answer is they both are.

When the last comma comes after the penultimate item in a series, it is known as an Oxford comma. Generally, newspapers and magazines omit the Oxford comma, whereas fiction and non-fiction books do not. This is not a hard and fast rule, however, and writers may choose either style, as long as they are consistent.

There are some instances where the Oxford comma is desirable, regardless of one’s usual preference. It may be necessary to avoid confusion such as in the following example:

• The menu choices were salmon, lobster, fish and chips, and halibut.

Here, the final comma makes it clear that fish and chips is one dish, not two.

Another source of confusion is whether to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction that combines two independent clauses. Independent clauses are phrases that can stand alone as complete sentences. Coordinating conjunctions include “and,” “or,” “but,” and “so.”

Generally, longer sentences combining independent clauses include the comma, while shorter ones do not:

• Benedict raised his hand to answer the question, but the teacher chose to ignore him.
• Julian laughed but Anna wept.

Often, comma use is indicated when a pause would naturally occur in a sentence. Read it carefully, and see if you can detect a pause. If a reader would need to take a breath, then a comma may be appropriate. In certain types of sentences there is a definitive rule on comma use, but in the case of coordinating conjunctions you may use your own judgment. (I will discuss subordinating conjunctions in a future column, as space here does not permit it.)  Grammar is as much an art as a science, and grammarians sometimes vehemently disagree, much to the bewilderment of writers. Though most grammar rules are not open to opinion, we writers must navigate the murky waters between the ambiguous and the absolute.♥



Lisbeth Eng works as a Compliance Officer in the financial industry by day and writes historical romance by night. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English, and speaks a smattering of German, Italian and French. Please visit her at www.lisbetheng.com.


Monday, November 10, 2014

11 TIPS TO SURVIVE NANOWRIMO!

by Katana Collins



It’s that time of year!!! National Novel Writing Month, or more affectionately known as NaNoWriMo, is here!

Last year popped my NaNoWriMo cherry and this year? I am SO excited to get this book done. Also, I have a deadline looming and this is the perfect kick in the ass I’ll need. You see, November is a notoriously busy month for me. And I’ve been in a bit of a writer’s slump lately. Hopefully, this is just the kick in the pants I need. In preparation, I’ve been researching tips to make November as successful as possible. Here is what I’ve compiled:

1) Outline.
By creating an outline (however you find it easiest to do so) will help on those days you find it difficult to write. Thwarting writer’s block is tough, but the more prepared you are for what you will be working on each day, the more successful each day will be.

2) Don’t Edit.
The whole idea of NaNoWriMo is quantity not quality. For this month, don’t revise. Don’t edit. Just keep writing. If November is National Novel WRITING Month, then December should be considered National Novel EDITING Month.

3) Create a comfortable writing environment.
Have a specific area set up that is just for you and your laptop. Keep it tidy. Make it inspired–whatever that means for you. For me, I have an inspiration board I like to reference. For my husband, he likes a minimalist environment. Determine what you need to be the most successful.

4) Set your goals. 
Then overwrite. In order to make it to the 50k in the month of November, you need to write 1,666 words every day. Because I know I will need to take a couple of days off, I plan on setting myself a goal of 2,000 words a day at least 5 days a week. Then, the goal on top of the goal is to exceed the initial goal.

5) Set aside the time of day that best works for you. Then stick to your schedule.
For many, writing in the early morning is ideal for them. Waking up at 5am and writing until 7am when the kiddos need to wake for school is ideal. For me, I’m a night owl. My ideal writing time is either during the day (after lunch), or midnight – 2am.

6) Form or join a community of other writers participating.
Self explanatory, right? Writers are known for holing themselves up in their office with one dim light and a pot of coffee. But having a support group of sorts for this type of competition is key.

7) Set rewards for yourself.
Little rewards along the way are motivating. Offering yourself a hot chocolate for meeting your daily goal. Or buying that cute dress in the shop window you've passed each day when you meet the weekly goal. Keep yourself motivated. Keep yourself going.

8) Assemble your writer’s block first aid kit.
This could mean a lot. It could be a physical kit or a virtual kit. Your physical kit could (in theory) contain a dictionary, a thesaurus, story dice, cute pens and pencils, assorted paper, number dice, baby naming books (for character names), your outline, a couple of current magazines, creativity card deck, and a stress ball. Your virtual kit could contain: Pinterest, a timer, Scrivener, etc. This year, I’ve put together a jar of Popsicle sticks. Written on these sticks are random sentences for when I don’t know how to start. I grab a stick at random and begin to get the creativity flowing. It’s also a fun challenge!

9) Read.
Despite the crazy busy November month and your day job and holiday shopping–find time to read and be inspired by other people’s words.

10) Turn off your internet.
Trust me and just do it. Right now, I should be working on my novel….but here I am dicking around on Facebook.

11) Write your scenes out of order.
This is one of those tricks I always say that I’ll try and I never do. I’m a very sequentially motivated writer, so the idea of writing a scene that comes later in the book first gives me heart palpitations. But I understand the sentiment behind it and it’s worth a try on those slump days!


So, that’s it! I’ll see you on the flip side (otherwise known as December)!♥



Katana Collins is best known for writing steam-your-glasses romances. Between navigating life as a small business owner, a first-time homeowner, and a newlywed, Kat is in a constant state of “OHMYGODINEEDCOFFEENOW.” She is the author of the Soul Stripper trilogy, Wicked Exposure, and the graphic novel, Cafe Racer, co-written with Sean Murphy. She and her comic book artist husband commute back and forth as they please between Brooklyn, NY and Portland, ME with their ever-growing family of rescue animals. She can usually be found hunched over her laptop in a cafe, guzzling gallons of coffee, and wearing fabulous (albeit sometimes impractical) shoes.
  

Friday, November 7, 2014

BOOK COVER FRIDAY: PRIVATE INTERNSHIP by Kitsy Clare

   
WELCOME TO BOOK COVER FRIDAYS!
Every week we bring you an exciting hot book cover from one of
New York's Leading Romance Authors. Enjoy!


PRIVATE INTERNSHIP
by Kitsy Clare