Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Freebits with Ginger #frifreebits

Welcome back to my Friday feature.  I finished my teasers from my short-story collection, Discovery, last week, so now I'm going to be sharing tidbits from Destiny's Bride, which is on sale for 99 cents during the Books We Love September Select Sale.  Hope you enjoy my six paragraphs and want to get a copy of your own so you can read every exciting word.  Okay...so I'm biased, but this was my debut novel and I love it..

***

He'd never been in Silver City before, she would have remembered his rugged good looks.  Tight, dark denims clung to his masculine thighs and beneath a black leather vest, open shirt buttons revealed a well-muscled chest.  Her gaze slid boldly down his body, thoroughly enjoying the sight until the reflection of the sun off his silver belt buckle blinded her.  She swallowed and averted her eyes.  What had come over her?  Such brazen leering.  Goodness, she wasn't a harlot.

At almost the same moment that she walked past, he stepped onto the wooden walkway and made eye contact.  He touched his wide hat brim and smiled.  For a second, his blue eyes held her captive.

Suddenly, the weight of the tray she carried tripled and her breathing quickened..  Her cheeks warmed at the crooked smile that told her he knew she'd been staring at him.  In her haste to escape the embarrassment behind the bank's doors, just a few steps away, she caught her heel in a large knothole.  She tried to recover gracefully but fell flat on her bottom with a resounding plop.  Her dignity suffered as she realized how pitiful she looked with her father's lunch spilled all over her.  Luckily, most of the mashed potatoes and gravy landed on the ground, but the vegetables and ham slices filled her lap.

Before she could stand, he knelt at her side, plucking green beans from her dress.  "Are you all right ma"am?" His quivering lips failed at masking his desire to laugh.

She'd just made a fool of herself in front of the most handsome man she'd ever seen.  Of course she wasn't all right  What must he think?

Managing a weak smile and struggling for some semblance of composure, she accepted his proffered hand. While avoiding his gaze, she nervously smoothed wet wrinkles from her dress.  "Yes, I'm fine," she croaked. "Thank you for your help."  Her voice trembled in unison with her insides.


****
I've just taken a passage from the start of the novel, where Cecile Palmer meets her future husband...oh, but her fate takes an unusual turn which I'll get to during the course of the next few offerings.  In the meantime, if you want to take advantage of a great sale, you can find Destiny's Bride on my Amazon page.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

GIVE THE FACTS BY RITA KARNOPP


Let’s face it, we write about subjects that interest us.  I love mystery, gold panning and anything to do with Native American heritage.  What do I write?  Suspense, stories about Montana gold and of course as many books as I can that share the heritage and ways of the Native Americans on the plains in the 1800s.  I spend hours scouring through my books and the internet for exciting, new, quirky details to make my stories as ‘special’ as they can be.

But, don’t get too carried away.  Just because you love reading page after page on how a Native woman scrapes the hair or fir off a hide, doesn’t mean your readers will. 

In my book latest book, Whispering Wind, I described the process of getting married in the Blackfeet culture of 1864 . . . and allowed the reader to learn how it had changed from even earlier times.  I used dialog and added humor to make the information feel natural as well as informative.

I wanted the reader to feel the hardships of the gold rush days in Montana.

Montana Territory 1865 – Pregnant and alone, Tsopo, Wind, leaves her Blackfoot people to save her lifelong friend, Kom-zit-api, An Honest Man, from untrue accusations.
Kom-zit-api finds Wind and asks her to be his sits-beside-him wife.  Before she can give him an answer, he dies saving her from Crow warriors.  Trapper, Jake McKinney hears her cries and finds her down on a ledge, birthing a child that has arrived too soon.  Now Wind finds herself at a crossroads. 
Ashamed and confused, she accepts McKinney’s offer to go with him to the Big Belt Mountains, where his Confederate war buddies are prospecting for gold.
    They meet brothers, Tucker and Alexander Walsh on the trail.  McKinney, with his valuable bales of furs and buffalo robes, and the Walsh brothers, with their four wagons of supplies, strike a partnership.  They’ll start up a general store for miners on the east side of the Missouri River near Diamond City. 
     Wind reveals possession of a gold nugget the size of her thumb. Her father gave it to her, and she knows where in Confederate Gulch it was found.  The men make her an equal partner in their business they are now calling Whispering Wind.
Nothing like her peaceful village, Wind finds herself among ramshackle clusters of tents, lean-tos, and crude log cabins.  The main street is a knee-deep mud trail mixed with horse manure, lined with make-shift stores, hotels, rowdy saloons, and a single assayer’s office.  Wind aspires to find love and happiness where greed rules actions above common sense.  Dressed like a white woman, hiding her part Blackfeet blood, she faces being one of a few women in a wild, lawless mining territory.  Who can she trust? Can she survive where so many men have failed?

Last year my publisher asked if I’d be interested in writing a suspense around the real world of wrestling.  Boy, you never tell your publisher no.  Wrestling is a world I’ve never been a part of.  I watched wrestling matches, studied the environment and the people, and story ideas interrupting my thoughts.  I wasn’t as tempted to add tons of wrestling history, because it was fresh and new to me and I grasped only those basic concepts that made my story work. 

I work hard not to ‘talk down’ to my readers as well as I never want to give so much detail that it overtakes and distracts from the story. 

Another thing we need to be mindful of and that’s to never ‘show off’ all you know. You don’t impress anyone with paragraphs of detail and so many ‘big words’ it’s hard to figure out what your characters are talking about.  Again, it’s smart to remember less is more . . . in this case simplicity is better than complexity.

Don’t get me wrong, I love learning something new when I read a novel.  I just don’t want a history lesson.  I’ll bet you feel the same way.  That’s why we need to step-back when we write and tighten the facts just enough to give setting, mood, era, and flavor.

Your job as a writer is to entertain.  Don’t let your enthusiasm for the facts turn your novel into paragraphs of skimming for your readers.

The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is a volatile, exciting, and action-packed world and even more so behind the scenes.   Keme (Thunder), a Blackfeet fan favorite wrestler at the top of his game, is found hanging from the rafters of his training facility.  Is it murder . . . or suicide?

Thunder’s fiancé and undercover FBI agent, Chloe Evans has been posing as an employee selling memorabilia at WWE events - looking for evidence of blood diamonds.  And now Thunder is dead and his daughter is missing.  She has no choice but to work with his prejudiced and stubborn brother, Mingan, to save Nuttah and expose the truth about Thunder’s death. 

Mingan (Gray Wolf) is certain his twin brother wouldn’t commit suicide.  Entering the world of professional wrestling and fulfilling Thunder’s obligations, Mingan begins by scrutinizing everything around Thunder’s life, starting with the beautiful and haunting Chloe.  As hard as he tries to keep her at a distance, he is pulled to her like adrenaline on a choke hold.  If they find his niece, will they find his brother’s killer . . . or will they uncover something more sinister going on?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Page Straight From Lisabet Sarai - #apagestraightfrom

Exposure (An Erotic Mystery)
 by
 Lisabet Sarai
 We’re shy afterwards. We hardly talk on the way back to my house, but his kiss when we arrive is heated and fervent. “Do you want to come in for a while?” I ask, wondering how it will feel to have a man in my bed after such a long time.
He shakes his head. “I’m done in,” he says with a mischievous grin. “Somebody really put me through the blender.” He kisses me again, more gently. “And maybe now you’ll get a good night’s sleep. I’ll call tomorrow.”
“Thanks, Jimmy. For everything.”
“Anytime,” he laughs, then turns toward his car.
I’m careful to lock the door behind me, but I’m still high from the evening’s events. Only when I come out of the shower do I notice anything strange. I open my lingerie drawer to get out my silk kimono, and find that all my lovely things are jumbled together, without any order. I was nervous and fussy while dressing, I remember, but I can’t imagine that I would have left my underwear in this state.
I check the other drawers. They are equally muddled. Most of the sweaters and jerseys are folded, but clumsily, and my usual organization by color and season is totally upset. Whoever rummaged through my clothing tried, without success, to disguise that fact.
Someone was in my house, while I was out with Jimmy. An intruder into my personal space. My haven! I sink down on the bed, shaking with mingled anger and fear at this violation. After a moment, I regain control of myself.
Someone had been here. Someone might be here still. I fish around in my purse for my Mace. I retrieve my haircutting scissors from the bathroom. Donning my terry robe, I creep into the hallway, a weapon in each hand.
Across the upstairs hall is my den and office, formerly my father’s bedroom. I stop and listen outside the door. All is silent. Reaching inside, I flick on the light. The room is empty. There’s no closet, nowhere to hide. But there are signs of disturbance. My desk drawer is open. My checkbook is on the writing surface as if someone had been reviewing the register. And my yellow pad, with my attempts at analyzing the events around Tony’s murder—I know that I left it on the desk. Now it’s gone. I search the rest of the desk, the cubbies and the file drawer. It’s simply not here.
Somehow I’m not surprised. I feel cold, cold and clear as arctic ice. Someone was here, someone who knows something about Tony’s death. Someone who thinks I know something, or have something that will lead me to the truth.
Shivering, I inch my way downstairs and check the front parlor. All is quiet and empty, though the burglar left his mark here, too. Knickknacks misplaced on the mantel. My father’s humidor left half-open.
Finally, I make my way to the kitchen. Here, there’s the clearest evidence: a tumbler with remnants of scotch, and a cigarette butt snuffed out in a saucer. By this point, it seems, my unwelcome guest didn’t care if he left traces.
The back door, I discover, is unlocked. I’m one hundred percent certain I didn’t leave it that way.
Carefully, keeping my body behind the door, I scan the yard. The light filtering from the kitchen windows is bright enough for me to see that there is no one in my little square of turf. It also shows me crushed tomato plants and bean vines torn from their trellises, clearly marking the intruder’s escape route.
At that point, my rage finally overwhelms my fear. I pour myself a finger of scotch and sit at the kitchen table, simmering in helpless anger and vowing some kind of revenge.
Then a horrible thought crosses my mind. Jimmy knew I would be out tonight. He was the only one who knew. Was it possible that he was involved in all this, somehow? Is it possible that smiling Jimmy might have betrayed me?
The balance shifts again. Shudders shake my body. Sitting alone under the fluorescent lights, gripping my drink, I am paralyzed by the realization that I don’t know who I can trust. If anyone.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

WRITERS MUST READ BY RITA KARNOPP

The other day I was chatting on the phone with a fellow writer and she said, “Who has time to read – I barely have time to write.”  I can’t tell you how shocked I was.  Actually I ‘had no words’ and let me tell you – that’s a rare thing.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always reading a book.  I might not get it finished in record time, but I’m reading.  If I’m watching a movie instead, I’m still thinking plot, characterization, and foreshadowing.  Everything is about improving my skills as a writer. 

Think about it this way.  I’m positive dancers watch and study successful dancers.  Novice singers study successful stars and learn by watching them what they are doing right.  Well the same principle applies to writers.  We learn how to write better, or what not to do, by reading other author’s books.  If you’re not always trying to learn how to better your craft, you should stop right now and never write another book. Period!

Early on in my writing career I read the words, ‘Write what you know before creating that one-in a million Si-Fi best-seller.’  Why?  You must learn the rules of fiction writing before you beak them.  There’s a reason why beginner writers are told, ‘Start your book on chapter three, and I’ll bet that improves your story by 85%.’  As novice writers we somehow think we need to explain everything up front and later learn we can feed all this ‘great’ information into the story as it unfolds.

So, you might think – sheesh, Rita, you really got off the track here.  LOL Well not really.  How do we learn to tell stories that have value, distinction, suspense, sentiment, attitude, emotion, and at the same time be individualistic and fresh? By reading other author’s books.  It’s true.  While reading a book you might think to yourself, I would never have done that, or maybe you’ll think, that was tricky and I loved it.’

You should always have a book or eReader in your hand.  I read in the doctor’s office, grocery lines, waiting for my turn at the bank, etc.  Every lunch hour I read and guess what?  I manage to read book after book. There’s no such thing as not having time to read . . . or write.


Monday, September 15, 2014

IT’S A FACT BY RITA KARNOPP

Getting your facts straight is as important as great pacing and dialog.  All your reader needs to do is find is one fact they know is false – and they’ll put your book down faster than a hot handled-skillet.

Yes, editors catch some of these, but it’s not up to the editor to check for historical facts, gun specifics, or even when a ballpoint pen was invented. (The first patent for a ballpoint pen was issued on 30 October 1888, to John J. Loud, a leather tanner, who was attempting to make a writing instrument that would be able to write on his leather products, which then-common fountain pens could not.)

You should never consider referring to experts as ‘most’ or ‘the majority’ instead of presenting actual percentages or specifics.  It’s more effective for the attorney in your book to say, “Medical experts will agree that in ninety percent of all rape cases. . .” instead of saying, “Most will agree that in a high percentage of rape cases. . .”  Assumption is the root of all mistakes.  It’s truly laziness to write in generalities than specific facts.  Years ago it took a lot of time to find facts; it took book after book.  Today there’s no reason for the lack of facts – the internet is at your fingertips. 

Keep this in mind; if you make historic or general fact errors you can be pretty darn sure a reader won’t buy another one of your books.  Why would you do this to yourself?

If you’re the kind of writer that doesn’t want to stop the flow while writing, mark areas you want to go back and check facts later.  It’s as simple as that. 
You can expect an editor to catch many things while reading through your manuscript, but don’t rely on them to catch the simple things; spelling, lack of quotes, using wrong word, misspelled names, etc.  You, the author should submit the best-written book you possibly can.
Having said that, you also should never rely on your editor to make sure all your facts are correct.  That’s your responsibility.  If they catch a fact error, you’re one lucky author.
So let’s consider the comment, “It’s fiction and I really don’t have to worry about specific facts.  It’s all make-believe.”  With that attitude you should stop writing.  A reader knows a novel is fiction – they pretty much mean the same thing – but that doesn’t mean you can take liberties with historical facts.  Just the opposite is true.  If you want to create believable characters and plot the best way is to create believable scenes and facts surrounding your story.
Here are some guidelines you should follow every time you write a story. . .
·         whether you set the facts straight as the story unfolds or
·         after you’ve finished the book and are working on your first edit and are smoothing all those rough edges. 
1.   Spell check.
2.   Double check all historical facts with multiple sources.
3.   Be specific; what kind of tree, flower, horse, treaty, etc.
4.   Write tight – not every bit of interesting information you’ve found must be included in your story.
5.   A pet-peeve of mine - watch those long sentences.  I’ve read books where each paragraph has turned into a long sentence – with commas for pauses.  Say what?? 

6.   And finally, have your facts straight.

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