Monday, March 25, 2019

Happy National Puppy Day!



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NATIONAL PUPPY DAY!

I love puppies πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸΆπŸ©

 Observed each year on March 23rd is National Puppy Day. National Puppy Day will be celebrated on the Friday or Monday closest to March 23rd if that day falls on a weekend. This day was created to celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives.

Psst… In case you didn’t know, today is a very special day indeed. If you happen to be a dog owner, you should  be celebrating right about now. Why? Well, because today is actually the official National Puppy Day. That’s right. It’s the one day a year when you should pay extra attention to your pup and show them just how much they mean to you.

So, how should you celebrate this very special day?

TAKE YOUR PUPPY ON A WALK
If there’s one thing that dogs love more than anything else in the world, it’s walks. Exercise is essential for your pet, especially if you want them to be both happy and healthy. Today, why not take your pup on an extra long walk?  Or a ride in a puppy-stroller if he/she is a pint-size. Make sure that you plan out the route ahead of time. Nothing could be better than spending quality time with your dog.

GIVE YOUR PUPPY CUDDLES ON THE SOFA
Oh, and the doggy love does not have to stop there! While you’re unwinding with a book or watching your favorite Netflix series, make some room for your pet. Call your puppy up onto the sofa with you and give them all the love and attention they deserve. You honestly won’t regret it.


🐩🐩 They'll never break your heart, they'll never make you cry... πŸ•#NationalPuppyDay πŸ’–πŸ’–


BUY PUPPY TREATS
There are healthy treats available online and delivered to your door.  Or you can stop off at the store on the way home and grab them something tasty.

GET YOUR PUPPY A BRAND NEW TOY
If your pup has been extra good recently, you will want to show them how much you care. Getting them a new toy is fun for everyone!  If your puppy is still young, buy them a fun chew-toy so that you can help them with the teething process. Or, my puppy (Chanel) and I both play 'squeak-toy'  play-off.  I'll squeak 3-times on my and she will echo with her toy--they we switch :-).

BATH TIME
Is your pet looking a little dirty? Well, never fear! There’s just one thing that you need to do. Run a warm-ish bath for your puppy and give them a wash. They might not like it at first, but they will adore the feeling of being clean and cozy afterward.

TALK TO YOUR PUPPY
You may not realize it but dogs happen to love it when you chat to them. Many dog owners don’t bother to chit-chat with their pet, but you really should! Take the time to say encouraging, loving things to your dog. It will make them oh-so-happy. Puppies love the sound of you voice

PLAY IN THE YARD WITH THEM
If you don’t have time to take your dog for walk, you should still give them a little exercise. Play a game of catch in the yard with them. They will love the extra attention you give them and you will definitely have a whole load of fun too.

JUST LOVE THEM MORE THAN EVER!
Finally, this day is all about love and affection. Just show your dog some extra attention today! After all, that’s what really counts. Our puppies are the cutest and sweetest things in our lives. Let’s take today to celebrate how very much they mean to us.

puppy in kitchen


Wishing you had a puppy to call your own?

Adopting, Fostering, or looking for a puppy who is available for and older dog available via re-homing is always an option.

My late greyhound, Justine, was abandoned in the hills of Alta Loma, CA.  Rescued, and re-homed with me, she was the gentlest and sweetest couch-potato I'd ever known.  She lived to be 16 years old--and I still miss her. 

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Justine

Hugs, Snuggles, and Puppy Kisses,


Connie

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Self-Editing (minus the primeval scream) by Connie Vines

This month's Round Robin Topic:  How do I self-edit my books before submitting or publishing? 


Self-editing is painful.  Every writer I  know fights the urge to 'self-edit' while creating the first draft of his/her novel.  Remember the cartoons you watched as a child (or perhaps still watch.  I'm not judgmental) where the hero has a devil sitting on one shoulder and the angel on his other?  Both were whispering in his ear.  Your hero is overcome with confusion and self-doubt, uncertain of what to do next.

Well, that is a large part of the writing process--learning to ignore the self-editing instructions that are always at the back of your mind.

When a I type THE END, I breath a sigh of relief.
For a few minutes, perhaps even several hours, I'm thinking about my next project.

Then reality sets in (hence the mention of a primeval shout) how many times did I write the word 'that'?  I read a book once where every chapter started with a description of the weather.  I didn't tie-up that loose-end.

I believe I must self-edit before sending my novel to a beta reader.

If you’re ready to self-edit your book, consider these 10 tips:

1. Rest your manuscript

When you’ve finished typing the last word of your masterpiece, set it aside for a few days.  In On Writing, Stephen King relates that he places his finished drafts in a drawer for at least six weeks before looking at them again.

Why rest your manuscript?  When you do come back to self-edit, the book almost seems as if someone else wrote it.

2. Listen to your manuscript

Hearing your words spoken makes mistakes glaringly obvious.

If you’re a Mac user, click the Apple logo at the top left of your screen, select System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Speech. Choose a System Voice and Speaking Rate you can tolerate, then select “Speak selected text when the key is pressed.”

Once you’ve enabled your preferred shortcut key, simply highlight any text (within any program) that you want to hear read aloud. Then hit your shortcut keys and follow your words on-screen as your computer reads them aloud.

For PC users, make use of Narrator, part of the system’s Ease of Access Center. Press “Windows+U” and click “Start Narrator.” Since the program is intended for blind users, it will automatically begin to read any text your mouse encounters. To turn this off, hit “Control.” To have Narrator read a paragraph, place your cursor at its beginning and type “Caps Lock + I.” To have Narrator read an entire page, press “Caps Lock + U.”

Or make use of a recording app on your iPhone.  I think in chapters of three when writing.  So, I will read my novel three chapter at a time. Often, I catch the mistakes when reading.  Pause, make a note, and then go on reading.

3. Search for troubling words

I am a fan of Grammar Girl podcasts.
To help you consider what your troubling words might be, here’s a good starting list, excerpted from the first chapter of Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing:

a lot/alot
affect/effect
can/may
further/farther
good/well
i.e./e.g.
into/in to
it’s/its
lay/lie
less/fewer
that/who
their/they’re/there
then/than
who/whom
your/you’re

4. Remove or replace your crutch words

Outside of necessary articles and prepositions, you may be surprised at what words you tend to use over and over.

5. Remove all double spaces at the end of sentences

If tapping two spaces following your sentences is an age-old habit ingrained into you.

Conduct a find-and-replace search after you’re done writing. In Word, type two spaces in “find” and one space in “replace” and hit enter. Voila!

6. Run spell check or use an automated editing program

8. Purchase The Chicago Manual of Style.

 You can subscribe to the online version for $35 a year.  I prefer the the hardbound copy.

9. Set aside an hour or two to go through this list with your manuscript, but be careful about over-editing.

10.  Send it off to your beta reader/plotting partner.  Remember to reward your reader with a gift card.

Happy Reading and Writing,

Connie


Stop by and see what the other Round Robin members have to say about the "torments" of  self-editing:

Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com

See my website for this giveaway



My Motto


Monday, March 4, 2019

March Contest and Giveaways!

The winter chill is in the air but I have great way for you to fill those hours until the Spring thaw!

Win great prizes with #RomanceGems LUCK O' THE IRISH March #Giveaway. COMMENT & WIN has $5.00 AMZ Gift Card up for grabs every week. FRIENDS TELL FRIENDS, new giveaway, open now. Enter for chance to win a Romance Reader's T-shirt or Audiobook. Rafflecopter, awesome prizes, opens Mar. 4. Details here: https://romancegems.blogspot.com/2019/03/luck-o-irish-march-giveaway-by.html

Share the Love and follow these Participating RomanceGems Authors: Bonnie Edwards * Cheryl Bolen * Connie Vines * Author Elsa Kurt * Jan Scarbrough * Joan Reeves Writes * Karen Kelley * Kathleen Lawless * Lucinda Race * Nancy Fraser * Nora LeDuc * Peggy Jaeger, Author * Satin Russell







Congratulations to Debby from FLA who was one of the winners in our Grand Opening Contest.




I'm also a member of Charmed Writers!

We are having a Flash Fiction give-a-away.  (Remember to logon to our Charmed Connection for Readers and Writers on Facebook).


Free flash fiction by Charmed Writers.


bookfunnel link









Here is another one of my solutions for surviving the extended winter days and nights. . . you must remember I reside in the Quirky Suburbs of SoCal where winter seldom falls below 65 degrees.




Friday, February 1, 2019

Introducing Romance Gems by Connie Vines

On February 1, 2019, Friday, 23 popular authors including NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors, open the doors on ROMANCE GEMS, a wonderful new group blog where the focus is on Readers. Look for conversations about Life, Love, Books, Romance, Sex, Kids, and all the other really important things in your world. Some chuckles and some good times await you so drop by and check out ROMANCE GEMS at http://RomanceGems.blogspot.com.

Be sure and enter the Rafflecopter (A Chance to Win Books, Kindle Fire, and ebook Gift Bundles/) for a Kindle Fire and ebook Gift Bundles. Every week, there will be a "Comment & Win" Random Draw for an Amazon Gift Card. Read and comment with your email address written out on the daily posts. The more comments you make; the greater your chance of winning. Enter the Rafflecopter and the "Comment & Win" Random Draw as often as you wish. The more you enter, the greater your chances of winning.

If you've been looking for a Gem of an Author and/or a Gem of a Romance, look no further. You'll find both at ROMANCE GEMS.


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Character Development—Personalities and Break-Out Secondary Characters by Connie Vines #RR68


This month’s Round Robin Topic: How do you develop different personalities in your characters?  Break-out secondary characters—the making of a new story.

The ‘How’ of the writing is always interesting for me to analyze.

While I have detailed plot lines before I write a story or novel, I am instinctive when creating my characters. 

As I’ve blogged before, I begin with a sense of time and place.  When the story in bubbling in my subconscious, I heard snippets of conversations, a song playing in my head (you know that annoying song simply leave you alone), or a impulse to cook a certain regional food.

A few examples:  When writing ‘Lynx” Rodeo Romance book 1, “Amarillo by Morning” kept playing in my mind.  I located by paternal grandfather’s Tex-Mex chili recipe and made chili once a week.  And then a brassy woman speaking with a Texas-twang and popping her chewing-gum would pop into my head (ala 'Flo’ in an old TV sitcom).

We all know a novelist always falls in love with her ‘first hero’.  My first romantic hero was Lynx Maddox.  While his younger sister was only mentioned in the first book of my Rodeo Romance Series, she became by break-out character in the second book, “Brede”. Whereas Rachel Scott and Lynx Maddox were the stars of my contemporary romance; Brede Kristensen and Amberlylnn Maddox stars shine in my romantic suspense novel, “Brede” Rodeo Romance book 2.

My characters also ‘drive my story’—often in a different direct, thus destroying months of detail research. “Nooo! Not again.”  Yes, this is my first reaction.  And, of course, I rebel at the very thought of shoving my months of detailed research back into my file overflowing file cabinet.  I’ve learned I am not able to force my characters to act against his or her nature.  Painful though it may be, I listen and I shift my story-line.

When did this happen?

The first time I experienced this ‘traumatic’ writing experience, I was plotting, “Tanayia—Whisper upon the Water” my sweet historical romance. 

Tanayia was to be a member of the Paiute tribe of Native Americans.  She was being groomed for the ‘taking of the shawl” (becoming a medicine woman).  I was involved in Native American Education Programs, served on a PAC Committee (parent advisory council), and participated in powwows.  I interview tribal elders and traveled to historical sites, etc.  I’d plotted by novel down to a puppy’s freckle, so to speak.

While Tanayia allowed me to keep the historical event which formed the opening event of my 1st chapter, I learned she younger.  She was also a member of the “Nde” Apache tribe.  Tanayia was also strong-willed and determined.

My novel was not set in a different tribal area, difference climate, different customs, beliefs. . .well, you know what that meant.  Yes, more research.   I live within driving distance of Sherman Indian School in Riverside, CA.  In fact, I attended powwows where the Apache (Fire) dancers from the White Mountain Reservation danced each year. 

In the end, Tanayia was correct.  My story was her story.  It was her life, her experience—it was history, accurate, painful.  It was the personal growth of a young woman, torn between two-worlds.  I must, in the end, thank Tanayia for the awards this novel was awarded:  The Independent e-Book Award for YA Historical Fiction, The Dream Realm Award, and a National Book Award Nomination.

Are more break-out characters evolving in my novels?

Yes, there are a few nudging me now.

I also have a new hero, or two, with a foot hold in my plotting-world right now, too.

Watch for my flash fiction story in anthology available February, 12, 2019.  Cover reveal and more info will be posted soon on my blog (here) and at my website very soon.

Happy Reading and Writing,

Connie

Remember to visit the blog sites of these wonderful Round Robin authors:

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
> Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
> Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
> Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
> A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
> Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
>> Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
> Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1qI
> Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
> Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com 




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