Saturday, March 18, 2023

How to Share a Backstory/History with Your Reader By Connie Vines #Backstory, #Round Robin, #Sharing with Readers, #Writing Tips

This month's topic:

The Importance of your character's backstory/history and how to share this with the reader without an info dump that stalls the action.

My preferred method is to utilize my blurb

Example: Lynx (Rodeo Romance, Book 1)

With a dangerous reputation for taking chances and tempting fate, rugged cowboy Lynx Maddox had one goal in life--to win the coveted Silver Buckle rodeo championship. But when he sets eyes on Lovely Rachel Scott, he becomes determined to capture her as well.

Rachel traveled the circuit with her famous father rodeo rider dad until his fatal accident in the arena. Now she wants nothing to do with that world--or the men who risk their lives for one brief moment of glory, But her attraction to Lynx becomes too powerful to deny..., and his unexpected gentleness is too seductive to resist.

However, this month's main topic is introducing backstory/history into the story.  

Internal dialogue is useful, but a conversation with a friend/confidant or having an event trigger a memory creates more substantial reader involvement in the scene.

Rachel stalled to no avail. Charlene planted herself on the arm of the couch, "Dan told me Lynx left for Lubbock without you. Why?"

Rachel squirmed.
"I couldn't do it. Lynx kept talking about his family. He kept telling me about the ranch and planning how we'd spend our days. The more he planned, the more frightened I became. When it came to the final day, I couldn't do it, Charlene. I pulled my suitcase from the closet and remembered all the times I'd picked up and moved...I just couldn't do it again."

Example 2: Brede (Rodeo Romance, Book 2)

In this story, I utilized a prologue. I seldom implement this device (except in my historical novels); however,  because this is romantic suspense, this moves the reader into an action sequence.

Example 3: Tanayia: Whisper upon the Water (Historical)



The Governor of New Mexico decreed that all Indian children over six to be educated in the ways of the white man.

Indian Commissioner, Thomas Morgan, said," It is cheaper to educate the Indians than to kill them."

1880, Apacheria, Season of Ripened Berries

Isolated bands of colored clay on white limestone remains where the sagebrush is stripped from Mother Earth by sudden storms and surface waters. Desolate. Bleak. Al and made of barren rocks and twisted paths that reach out into the silence.

A world of hunger and hardship. This is my world. I am Tanayia. I was born thirteen winters ago. We call ourselves N'dee. The People. The white man calls us Apache.

Everyone has great tips on sharing a character's backstory with the reader.

Please visit the participants:

Link to my publisher's website:

(eBook and print)

Happy Reading!  📖📚📱

Friday, February 24, 2023

How Can Contemporary Fiction Keep Up With A Changing World? #Round Robin #WriterTips

How Can Contemporary Fiction Keep Up With A Changing World?

Thank you, Dr. Bob, for this month's topic.

I write in multiple genres. For obvious reasons, history takes place in the past, and technology isn't an issue.  However, accurate historical knowledge (especially by YA) readers, perhaps should be discussed at another time.

Contemporary Stories

I find to keep up with tech, climate, and social focus (coffee pot vs coffee pods; someone should be a vegan; changes in fashion, etc.) I need to update my novels every 3 to 5 years unless I wish to market them as 'vintage'.

This isn't a real problem with my Western stories or my RomCom Paranormal stories.

My urban/big city stories often require revisions after the book is completed and ready for submission.

AI (artificial intelligence) do I need to mention its possible impact on selecting an employee for a position?

If I'm building a series, my choice will have a longer reach than if it's a stand-alone novel.

I try to avoid 'hot buttons' in contemporary novels because the focus is on "the romance', 'the humor', or 'life in a small town'.

Paranormal/ SiFi

I believe it's much easier to slide contemporary (hot-button) issues into this genre.
Not as a pro/con on the part of the author; observation and possible outcome of a misstep 

Thank you for stopping by today.  

I'm working on my laptop with limited WiFi here in SoCal.

Weather conditions in the burbs are unexpected this week:  rain, 60 - 85 mph wind gusts, hail storms, blizzard warnings in the nearby mountains/ passes, and a small tornado that ripped out a 50 ft pine tree. (all fodder for a future novel or two 😆 .)


Please visit our Round Robin blog participants: 

Friday, January 20, 2023

New Beginnings: How to Jump-Start Your Writing By Connie Vines #Round Robin Blog #Writing Tips

Round Robin Blog Fest, January 21, 2023 

While increased personal responsibilities have forced Rhobin Courtright to retire as the leader of our monthly round-robin, Skye Taylor has volunteered to oversee the Round Rhobin flock. 

This month's topic: 
New Beginnings - how do you motivate yourself to get back to writing when 
Life has interrupted your flow, and/or how do you begin a new writing challenge?

The holiday season and the winter weather prompt me to reassess my life and goals for the incoming year. 

I'm ready to start a new project upon January's arrival.

What works for me?

  • My local writing chapter offers monthly online workshops. I participated in several during the holidays. Penny Sansevieri taught one workshop. I also participated in a workshop led by Allie Pleuter. Both of these workshops were interactive, informative, and fun!

  • I read and study some of the novels I have stacked in my office. 1 non-fiction, 1 NY Times best-seller, a favorite classic, and a book my mother sent me: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (a pristine 1945 hardbound copy ) and genre fiction. 

  • I still keep my daily journal, but I enabled the mic feature to switch it up a bit this time. I will return to the pen-and-paper method as it feels like a diary. Speaking my thoughts verbally seems...less intimate.

  • I also spend time with family members (2 winter weddings, holiday celebrations, children's birthdays, etc.). Change of location, interaction, and ensuing chaos, always gives one a new idea/ slant on life.

  •  I also tried new recipes and ordered take-out/delivery meals with unfamiliar (to me cuisine). Why take-out? I was noting my sensory response from a character's POV. Tonight I chose from the Japanese menu: Okonomiyaki (an eggy pancake) and Shoyu (Raman Soup with veggies, protein, seaweed, bamboo shoots, and noodles). I expected the soup to taste salty, but it wasn't. The flavors were unfamiliar, and some of the textures were unexpected. 

  • And lastly, I varied my writing routine. I wrote 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours after dinner. I've been a night owl since birth. Therefore, this was a challenging change in my way (it required additional cups of coffee while a bit of snarkiness embedded itself into my easy-going temperament).

The other Round Robin Blog Hop members have tips and ideas to get you writing in 2023.



 Dr. Bob Rich   

Anne Graham     

Connie Vines    

Diane Bator     

A.J.  Maguire      

Victoria Chatham

Fiona McGuire    

Skye Taylor       

Friday, October 21, 2022

Villainous Characters and Redemption. Yes or No? By Connie Vines #RoundRobin 100, #Writing Tips, #Villians, #RR100

 Have any of your villainous characters reached redemption for their actions? How would you go about it if you were going to do this?

Since I also write YA and MG stories, I try not to make any character 'purely evil' and beyond redemption.

That's not to say that there are no evil or self-serving people without a conscious residing in our world. However, such a story would be too dark and depressing for me to write.

My YA and MG novels explain how/ why this person changed over time. I do not justify evil actions/mistakes. I provide an avenue for the reader to assess and make decisions appropriate for his/her age/ability level.

Romance/Romantic Suspense/Historical Novels

I usually have a villain or two in all of my storylines.

I've yet to send any of my villains on the road to redemption. 

I have little sympathy for my villains.

I don't like my villains.

I don't want my villains to be happy.

I really wish for my villains to suffer.

My points of reference:

  • The Wizard of Oz  - the evil witch tried to kill Toto and Dorothy! 👠 (yes, I know the house killed her sister, but still..)

  • Dracula (Bran Stoker's classic novel). This novel is a love story. Not your typical happily ever after, but a love story never-the-less. In this case, I could provide the original man (the count) redemption; however, the evil being he became would be beyond redemption here in the earthly realm. Profound sympathy on my part, perhaps.
As a reader, how do you feel about the 'bad guy' returning as a future novel hero?

Is a villain always a villain?

Or is a villain in the 'eye' of the reader?

Thank you for stopping by for our 100th Round Rhobin Blog Hop!

Please visit the talented authors of our group for their take on reforming the bad guys.

Happy Reading



Diane Bator

Skye Taylor

Judith Copek

Connie Vines

A.J. Maguire

Dr. Bob Rich

Robin Courtright

** All of my novels/novellas are on sale (50% off) at the

 Smashwords site through Halloween!

Friday, September 23, 2022

Characters, Reader's Intuition, and Deep-Dark Secrets By Connie Vines, #Round Robin99, #Writing Tips, RRBlog,

This Month's Round Robin Topic: What do you define in your writing about your characters and what do you leave to the reader’s intuition? Is there anything you never tell about a character?

This topic will require a bit of pondering...


 When writing YA/MG fiction,/non-fiction I define my characters, my plotting, and characters' histories and backgrounds down to a "gnat's eyelash" so to speak. In historical fiction, there are many events, though historically accurate, a young reader is not equipped to process.  I address this in the note from the author, and the Q and A at the end of the novel.


As for romantic fiction, I still research career backgrounds, (my setting are towns/states I'm familiar with (residing or numerous vacations in the area). In the past, I interviewed my characters and kept detailed notes about family histories, etc.  I no longer do this before writing my stories. Why because halfway through the book, my characters defined a different pathway--which led to revisions. I detest plot revisions three-quarters through a 60,000-word novel 😭.

So, now I've become what is defined as a Panster: W-plot outline, scribbled notes about my characters, a title, and away I go.


Secrets and mysterious background.

Don't you love secrets/hinted-at but not revealed mysterious background? I know I do.

Everyone has a chapter in his/her life they'd like to keep hidden. Or it may be a secret that would blow the socks off a person. Double O-7's life sounds romantic and exciting until you really think about what he does for a living.

A cowboy, rancher, or banker may see run-of-the-mill-boring until you discover a past event that defined him as a man of honor and courage; or an act of sacrifice and kindness that makes you weep.

Visit my Round Robin band of authors, they have great stories to share!

Happy Reading, everyone



 Skye Taylor

Diane Bator

Connie Vines

Dr. Bob:

A.J. Maguire

Robin Courtright

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