Friday, December 1, 2017

BOOK COVER FRIDAY! BREAK MY HEART 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.



BREAK MY HEART
A Pine Grove Novel
by Jean C. Joachim



When fire ripped through his home, trapping his beautiful golden retriever, Breaker pushed firemen aside to rescue his beloved dog. While heading for the stairs with the canine in his arms, a falling beam crushed them, killing the animal and scarring Breaker’s face.

Life, as the famous Breaker Winslow, disappeared. With his career finished, Rick appealed to his friends –who turned their backs on him.  Broken, despondent, and alone, he takes refuge in a decrepit farm house in rural Pine Grove. Can the man who had success and love around every corner rebuild his life or is escape the only answer?


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Thursday, November 30, 2017

WRITING TIPS! TIPS & TRICKS FOR CRUSHING WORD COUNT GOALS BY ALEXIS DARIA



All this week RWA/NYC Members are sharing
their tips and tricks for writing more, better & faster.
Happy Writing!





For the first time ever, I’m on deadline, so I’m putting everything I’ve learned about writing fast and writing a lot to the test. In June 2017, I wrote 22 days out of the month and added 62,298 words to the Project Roommates manuscript before hitting “The End” on June 30th. Since a few people have commented on my word counts, rather than blaming it on “desperation” and discounting all the research and work I’ve put into learning how to increase my output, I made a list of tools, suggestions, and resources to share.

As with all writing advice, take what works for you and junk the rest.


Know your best writing time
For me, that’s early mornings. It’s quiet. No emails. Noisy kids upstairs aren’t up yet. By hitting my word count first thing in the morning, I approach it fresh and rested, and it’s out of the way so I’m not worried about it for the rest of the day. Know what works for you and stick to that time. If early mornings are your thing, check out #5amwritersclub on Twitter. Bonus tip: Make sure you’re getting enough sleep!

Find a buddy
Having a virtual writing buddy to check in with is a godsend. This time around, my buddy was Sarah Morgenthaler, fellow 2017 Golden Heart finalist. We messaged each other when we woke up, declared our writing goals, and got to work. We checked in periodically, and the other Rebelles joined in and cheered us on throughout the day. I can’t overstate the value of a supportive writing community.

Uninterrupted writing time
When I’m deep into the story and someone interrupts me, it takes extra time to get back into it. Knowing I can sit down for a length of time and not have anyone interrupt me is invaluable. I bought a membership at my local writing space so I could achieve this, and it has made a huge difference in my output. Carve out your writing time and protect it from interruptions.

An outline
I know this is a contentious subject, but this is what works for me. When I have a limited amount of time, knowing exactly what I have to write when I sit down helps the words fly. I’m currently using an outline devised from Story Geniushttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=alexisdaria-20&l=am2&o=1&a=1607748894 by Lisa Cron. There’s still a lot of flexibility in this outline, but having the emotional arc planned out made it easier to write the story quickly.

A deadline
Nothing like a deadline to light a fire under your ass. Some people find them stressful. For me, nothing motivates me more than knowing someone is expecting me to turn something in, or that I’ll lose an opportunity if I’m not finished in time. Sure, I’m stressed out, but it makes it easier to turn off everything else and focus solely on meeting the deadline. No room for procrastination or self-induced writing drama.

A diary
“Qualitative Data,” I call it, thanks to Monica Leonelle (Write Better, Fasterhttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=alexisdaria-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B00TUEN7IO). It’s a place where I can complain, brainstorm, celebrate, and write about how the writing is going. I was shocked by how much I like having this extra doc in my Scrivener file, and I update it at the beginning and end of each writing session.

Tea
I go off caffeine every so often, but for this book, I started each day with a cup of earl grey. Not for the caffeine, but because I like the flavor. I didn’t realize I was hooked until I had two horrible days where I lazed around feeling awful, and didn’t write a single word. Those happened to be days where I didn’t have any tea. I’ll go off caffeine again soon, but for now, I’m not going to mess with what works. Bonus tip: drink lots of water!

A fun way of recording my word count
Some people use stickers or spreadsheets. I used to keep a spreadsheet that logged my writing sprints, similar to the Pomodoro method. Now I log my daily word count in a simple spreadsheet, and on big word count days, I draw a progress bar to color in every 500 words. I also log my word count every half hour in the notebook, so I know how quickly I’m writing. Each little colored rectangle is like a fun reward.

Turn off social media
Very important. I don’t think I need to explain why. Airplane mode is your friend.

A playlist
I choose songs that match the tone of the story, or have lyrics that speak to the themes or the characters. Sometimes when I’m struggling to get started, I’ll realize I’m not listening to the right playlist. When I switch, it helps me get my head back into the story.

White noise
Since I’m using a communal writing space, I keep a white noise machine on the desk (provided by the venue) so I’m not worrying about every little noise I make, or any noises outside of my own headphones. I also listen to a white noise app called Relax Melodies when I’m really trying to focus.

Dragon
Dragon is a powerful speech-to-text software. Alas, I can’t use it at my writing space, but this is a good tool for improving writing speed and saving your hands. I especially like it for dictating stuff like blog posts, or transcribing handwritten notes.

NaNoWriMo
I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month since 2004, so I have years of practice writing 50,000 words (or more) in one month and logging the results. Thanks to NaNo, I know how fast I can write without sacrificing quality.

Time
This is probably the trickiest factor, but it played a big role in my June word count. Through a combination of luck and concerted effort, I’ve managed to set up my life so I have time to create, and the mental and physical energy to crank out the words at this rate. Not only that, but for the last two weeks of June, my freelance work was minimal, so I made the most of the free time and finished the first draft. You don’t find time to write, you make time, so do your best in this area (as much as your life allows) and then actually stick to it. 

Resources
These are some of the books that helped me increase my writing output.
  • Write Better, Faster: How To Triple Your Writing Speed and Write More Every Day (Growth Hacking For Storytellers 1)https://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=alexisdaria-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B00TUEN7IO by Monica Leonelle
  • Writing Faster FTWhttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=alexisdaria-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B011NLV1MA by L.A. Witt
  • 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Lovehttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=alexisdaria-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B009NKXAWS by Rachel Aaron

It does take practice to increase your writing speed and word count, but there are tools that will help, like the ones listed above. I’ve combined them into a situation that works for me, but I recommend putting some effort into figuring out what works best for you. Always be on the lookout for little tweaks you can make to your process, especially since it might change over time. Now, I write for a few hours in the morning, and focus on other book-related tasks or freelance jobs the rest of the day.

I still need to work on actually using airplane mode more often (why is it so hard for me to unplug?!) and fitting in trips to the gym, but each book I write is an opportunity to fine-tune my process.  What about you? What tips do you have for meeting word count goals? ♥


Alexis Daria is a contemporary romance author, artist, and native New Yorker. Her debut, TAKE THE LEAD, is a 2017 Golden Heart® finalist. DANCE WITH ME (Dance Off #2) will be out 12/12/17. She loves social media, and you can find her live-tweeting her favorite TV shows at @alexisdaria, or talking about writing and books on her blog at alexisdaria.com.



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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

WRITING TIPS! WRITING FAST DOESN'T PAY BY JOAN RAMIREZ




All this week RWA/NYC Members are sharing
their tips and tricks for writing more, better & faster.
Happy Writing!



I don't think it pays to write faster. As a freelance journalist, I have learned the nuances of getting just the facts. It's worked for twenty-five years.  However, it a whole different ball game with novels, especially romance. Here are some tips I've cultivated along the way. While I respect members' rights to disagree, do think about them:

1. Read out loud--This was told to me by a dear friend when I started writing children's books. It makes sense because it gives you an insight into the key areas:

a. Characters' voices
b. Plot
c. Tone
d. Pacing

2. I know we live in a technical world but creativity can't be rushed. If you have the ability to edit online, great. I have to sit with a red pen and mark up my paper copy. Again, whatever works for you.

3. The only way to write better is to get a handle on your plot. Outlining, to the depth that fits your plot and comfort level allows you to see the action. I'm visual. I need this to follow my characters in the story regarding goal and motivation.

4. Put the manuscript away. Most of us don't have the luxury of writing full-time so we have to take our writing moments as they come. The tendency is to get something down and for the sake of our sanity, especially if you're a weekend writer, get something out. If you're one hundred percent sure that what you're composing is polished like a diamond (and diamonds are a girl's best friend, though with me, it's my husband), then go for it. In speaking to many established authors, I've found this isn't the case. They put their work away for at least a month before giving it a second go round.

5. To write faster, you need to edit slower. Take the time to do as someone very successful once said to me, "be in error and correct by editing the heck out of your draft."

There you have it. The rest is up to you.♥

Joan Ramirez is an elementary school teacher, has published three nonfiction books, and is currently revising her first in what she hopes will be a historical romantic suspense series.



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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

WRITING TIPS! THE NEED FOR SPEED – ANOTHER POV BY ALICE ORR




All this week RWA/NYC Members are sharing
their tips and tricks for writing more, better & faster.
Happy Writing!




Being an indie author, I hear a lot about the need for speed. They say there are three major rules for success as an indie. Write in a popular genre. Write a series. Publish every 3 to 4 months. I’ve got the first two covered. Romantic Suspense is a popular sub-genre of a very popular genre. I’ve also already published five novels in the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series.

I was okay with the timing rule for a short while. A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 launched, and A Year of Summer Shadows – Book 2 came out four months later. But that was an uncomfortable stretch for me. To accomplish it, I did a stupid thing. I rushed both manuscripts straight from my editor’s hands into production and didn’t do the final crucial read-through myself.

I’ve been around longer than enough to know there are edits only the author’s eyes will see.  I rushed it anyway, because I didn’t want to commit the alleged deadly sin of letting too long pass between published books. I’m now having those first two books re-edited, and my eyes are definitely on the page this time.

I’ve also committed another sin that tolls the death knell to publication frequency. I’m guilty of wanting and having a personal life, complete with family and friends and even some fun.
In a previous incarnation, I set those things aside to be a literary agent, all business, all the time. Now I’m experiencing a case of Been There Done That. I’m just not feeling the need for speed in a race toward success.

I know this contradicts my having once told hundreds of writers in my workshops to be Warriors on Behalf of Their Careers. I still stand by the truth of that advice. All the same, I’ve decided not to renew my personal fast-lane pass. Maybe I’ve fulfilled my required quota of attempts, some successful, to set the world on fire. Maybe it’s time, at least for me, to seek another kind of success. The kind that possibly doesn’t involve being a career warrior, or a road warrior either.

Consequently, NaNoWriMo isn’t right for me, and perhaps not for some others among us as well. The rest, I wish the very best, including a super dose of Godspeed.♥


Alice Orr’s latest novel is A Time of Fear & Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 5. Connect with Alice at all these locations: www.aliceorrbooks.com; http://facebook.com/aliceorrwriter/; http://twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks/; http://goodreads.com/aliceorr/; http://pinterest.com/aliceorrwriter/.




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Monday, November 27, 2017

WRITING TIPS! USING SCRIVENER TO WRITE MORE, BETTER, FASTER BY ANNA DEPALO



All this week RWA/NYC Members are sharing
their tips and tricks for writing more, better & faster.
Happy Writing!




As far as writing faster, what’s worked for me recently is this: the Scrivener app installed on my cell phone and a Belkin Universal keyboard. I switched from Word to Scrivener software a few years ago. I love the way I can now color-code scenes for POV and move them around simply by dragging and dropping files. And when the Scrivener app came out recently, I was all over it for the portability.

No more having to open an email or Evernote file that I then had to import into the correct spot in my manuscript (though I sometimes still do this). The Belkin Universal keyboard has sometimes been temperamental interfacing with my iPhone software when it gets upgraded, but currently still functions well. I bought this particular keyboard because it works with multiple types of devices, and its open cover serves as a built-in stand. The keyboard is so light, thin and small, I can drop it into my purse and forget about it. I even bought a felt carrying case for it.

Now, when I’m stuck in the car, waiting for one kid or another to be done with soccer practice, I can easily add to my WIP.♥


Anna DePalo is the USA Today best-selling author of more than a dozen romance novels. Her most recent release is HOLLYWOOD BABY AFFAIR, the second in The Serenghetti Brothers series. You can find Anna online at www.annadepalo.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter, www.facebook.com/anna.depaloauthor, www.facebook.com/AnnaDePaloBooks and twitter.com/Anna_DePalo.



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Sunday, November 26, 2017

WRITING TIPS! KEEP SANE, WRITE WELL, AND MAKE YOUR MONTH COUNT! BY RUBY SCALERA

All this week RWA/NYC Members are sharing
their tips and tricks for writing more, better & faster.
Happy Writing!




First of all, congrats! Your interest in doing National Novel Writing Month, and your efforts so far, show an excitement for writing and storytelling and a willingness to rise to the challenge of writing a whole book in a month!
NaNo is definitely a challenge, but whether or not you meet your personal word count goal, the experience is a great teacher and the camaraderie and excitement that come along with a month dedicated to writing are inspirational enough to make you want to continue all year long! I’ve completed NaNo four years in high school and three years in college. My senior year I came in at 46,500 and I’m still kicking myself, but that’s okay. I’m currently working on two manuscripts, and decided not to take on the challenge this year, but I want to share some of my tips I learned the hard way!

PLAN YOUR STORY
I know it’s a bit late for this one, since we’re already a week into the NaNo challenge, but this piece of advice is relevant to anyone looking to binge write a story, or if you want to take a step back and try an outline now. While many authors consider themselves ‘pantsers’ – as in ‘fly by the seat of your pants’, it absolutely makes the challenge more difficult.

Without a general understand of your story, it’s definitely harder to achieve word count. More importantly, you’re less likely to end up with a project you actually like and feels complete. Even a simple knowledge of where your book is supposed to end up and how you’re going to get there is helpful in ensuring a good finished first draft and a more enjoyable NaNo experience.

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE WORD COUNT
Lies! I hear you shout, as you jump from the chair. Conspiracy, blasphemy, lies! Lies! Lies! Okay, part yes and part no. It’s up to you to decide if you’re doing NaNo as a way of completing a challenge (and totally gaining bragging rights!) or if you actually plan to send the book out after it’s done – with edits, of course! If it’s all about the WC, then that’s fine! Hit your 1667 a day and enjoy the ride, but if you’re trying to make a book – and eventually turn that into a book then it’s better to think of NaNo as a tool to reach that end, rather than the be all and end all. 

There’s a lot to be said for a rapid first draft – there’s far less room to get caught up in particulars, and we all know the editing process is really where the magic is done. But you should be taking this November to write the book you want to write and be held accountable for it. I have to confess, I’ve never done a damn thing with any of my NaNo stories. But! That doesn’t mean you can’t – determine what NaNo is about for you and then go from there.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS!
Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell your neighbors, your pets, the weird guy you went to chess club with. Tell everyone. The more people you tell, the more people you have watching you and cheering you on. In my opinion, the greatest and most special element of NaNo is that it holds writers accountable for their writing. It says, you have a story to tell and you better damn well tell it. Post your updates on Facebook or Twitter, start a NaNo blog, literally comment under this article when you reach your word goals. Whatever it takes to spread the word of your endeavors will help to keep you on track and give you an even greater audience to celebrate with! (Plus, you can prove all the haters wrong!)

AND MAKE NEW ONES!
I can’t tell you how jealous I am of the growing NaNo culture and all of the cool perks that come along with it – I so wish I had one of the Facebook filters. Even without all the merch and fun stuff, however, the site itself does a great job to help connect authors and participants locally and online. Joining other NaNo writers in their journey, either in person or in online forums and social media, is a great way to give and gain support for your challenge and to potentially make long-term writer friends. While the goal is ultimately to reach 50,000, remember that this month is all about the writer – you! And that includes joining communities that inspire and help you on your journey.

KEEP UP WITH WC
I know I just said that it’s not all about the word count, and I stand by it! But obviously word count is a part of the bigger picture – fine, the main focus of the bigger picture. Everyone has different ways of reaching their word count, but I will say from personal experience: Do not fall behind. Anyone who falls behind, gets left behind. Have I spent the last weekend of November holed up in my room furiously pounding out 20,000 words in three days? You bet your ass I have. It got so bad that towards the end of high school my parents would stop talking to me during the last week of November. I was a rabid monster – a shell of a writer who had lost her way.

Of course, there will be days when you can’t write – and days when you write more than you mean to! It’s not going to be the same for thirty straight days in a row, and that’s fine. But always remember to check what your daily word count is supposed to, and do your best to keep up with it. Otherwise you’re in for a really lonely Thanksgiving. Which brings me to my next point…

DON’T FORGET THANKSGIVING
I know that not succeeding in my final run at NaNo three years ago was my own fault. I do honestly think that the fun wore off and I was ready to be done before the project was. That being said, Thanksgiving had something to do with. That year the holiday fell right at the end of the month. I’m talking 28, 29, 30. These are the days you’re supposed to be cracking your knuckles and happily sprinting past the finish line, not sneaking peeks at the laptop from behind your plate of stuffing and feeling guilty about it. (Come on, there are way more things to feel guilty about on Thanksgiving…) 

Of course, it’s just one day, but most of the time it includes travel, family, preparation and school breaks. It’s so easy to lose track of time and find yourself ten or twelve thousand words behind just at the end of the month. Prepare for it. If you’re traveling home, write on the bus ride. If you’re cooking for the whole family, essentially write ten thousand words extra the week before, because you just won’t have the time. Thanksgiving has felled many a valiant NaNo-er. Don’t let it get you too.

THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN, DAMN IT 
Oh, baby. There is a point. You’re not there yet. Still fresh-faced and excited, to you NaNo still has the shine of a brand new challenge. But give it a week, maybe 10 days, and you’ll feel the strain. Your head hurts. Your inspiration has all dried up and everyone you’ve ever met has staunchly refused to speak to you about your book until the month is over. This is this 20 mile mark in your writing marathon. The finish is close, and you can hold the hell on. 

But in all truth, be nice to yourself. If you feel as though the walls of life are closing in around you, set a different goal. If you get sick or a big project comes in or you need to do major renovations on the house, give yourself a break. NaNo isn’t do or die. It’s a way to help you achieve better writing habits and reach for higher writing goals, but it doesn’t help at all if you burn out. You need to find the happy medium of determination and kindness to keep yourself on track but continue to enjoy the challenge. It is supposed to be fun, though it doesn’t always feel that way.

AFTER NANO
There are two things to keep in mind after you’ve completed your challenge, whether hitting your personally goals or setting yourself up for more success in the future.

EDITING IS SO HOT RIGHT NOW
Someone once told me about the incredible amount of submissions they get as an editor during December, and how they’re all awful. Well, obviously. You just wrote a goddamned book in the amount of time it takes most people to read one. The first draft is pretty much guaranteed to be shit, in fact, it’s kind of the point. But before sending out your beloved child into the cruel waters of rejection-landia, by God, you have to edit it.

Not only will seriously digging in and making major and minor changes help your chances in actually getting accepted by an over-exhausted submissions editor, but it will make you want to keep working on the book. For the most part, once we finish NaNo, we never want to look at the damn thing again, and that’s a shame. Start the editing process right away – if your ultimate goal is a book – and keep up with it. Your story – and you – should be celebrated!

NANOWRI-LIFE
Forgive me for that title. The point I want to make here is that National Novel Writing Month doesn’t require a fancy word counter and a Facebook banner and the support of a social media nation. You can do NaNo on your own time – literally whenever and however you want. If your goal is a short story and you want it written quickly, maybe make a Personal Short Story Writing Week. If you know December is a lot quieter than November, write your 50,000 story then, instead. NaNo inspires us to create and pushes us to our limits, but it certainly doesn’t ask us to stay within the lines. Find the best way to make NaNo work for you, so you can continue to love writing and hopefully find the kind of success you’re looking for.

If this is your first year doing NaNo or your tenth, whether you’ve already hit 50,000 or modified your word count to fit your daily schedule, I am so incredibly proud of you. National Novel Writing Month is a challenge. It is so much harder than you ever think it’s going to be, no matter how many times you’ve done it in the past. Committing and opening your mind to the wonderful world of other writers and supporters that make the NaNo community what it is is reason enough to be proud of yourself.

So chin high and computer charged. You’ve got three weeks to go and kick some story ass. I can’t wait to see where you end up.♥


Ruby Scalera is the author of several works of erotic and romantic fiction in both the contemporary and historical genres, and enjoys pushing the limits of freedom, feminism, and fun in her stories.  She has been an avid writer for many years, and recently moved back to her home state of New Jersey from Boston, after completing her education in journalism and creative writing.  In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent a semester abroad living in a 14th century castle in the Netherlands. When not exploring the world, she likes dreaming up stories, eating spicy food, driving fast cars, and talking to strangers.


READ ROMANCE! 





Friday, November 24, 2017

BOOK COVER FRIDAY! MR. KLEIN GOES TO ALBANY BY STACEY AGDERN


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



MR. KLEIN GOES TO ALBANY
by Stacey Agdern
ROGUE AFFAIR anthology


SUMMARY:  When the Canadian government—via hockey player-turned-diplomat Adam Klein—proposes a work around to the irrational president, legislative aide Tamara Schneider knows she needs to set them straight. She arranges a road trip to show Adam the state is bigger than just NYC, a tricky business given their history. Can she give the Canadian diplomat a second chance?


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