Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ginger's Six Sentence Sunday Offering

It's not an April Fool's joke.  Hattie's Heroes is finished and has been submitted.  There's just one little catch...what started as an historical western with only one hero has turned into a time-travel with two heroes, hence the change in the title and the cover.  My friend, Ro, did the final reading for me, and she gave it a big thumbs up, but then we both think alike when it comes to leaving out a lot of boring stuff that for us makes the story drag.  I'm a firm believer in getting to the point and moving on.  I hope you approve of my final six from Hattie's Heroes.  Next week, I'll be switching gears a bit.

Cover by Dawne Dominique
 Set Up:  After passing signs of Indians earlier in the day, Billy is standing guard over Hattie as she washes clothes.  Hearing a noise in the tall grass along the river, he disappears from sight, and all she hears is "Swim for safety, Hat--":


Hattie’s heart pounded and she eyed the rapid current.  Terror cloaked her, but she dove into the river, surfacing with a gasp for air. Billy wouldn’t have urged her to save herself for no reason.  Churning water whisked her away like a dandelion fluff in the wind.  She tried calling for help, but water filled her mouth, gagging her and drowning out her words.  She craned her neck to keep her head above the white caps, flailing her arms and shivering from fear. 

Now that you've finished with my six, how about returning to Six Sentence Sunday and following some of the other links?  There's some great stuff out there.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Welcome, Jenna Storm to DIO

 The Evolution of an Idea
by Jenna Storm

I've been writing for several years, researching the industry, sending out submissions, receiving rejections *smile* it's part of the process and it wasn't until this past year that I experienced the joy of having my work accepted by a publisher. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of Muse It Up Publishing! Now I'm even luckier because my book released on March 23rd and I've had the pleasure of working with two wonderful editors at Muse, Nancy Bell and Valerie Haley who have helped me make The Burning Seal ready for readers and a very talented cover artist, Suzan Safi who created a perfectly eerie cover.'

Now onto what Im really here to talk about...the evolution of an idea. Specifically, my story. My idea. Years ago--yes, it took that long to get this story published--I had a question run through my brain, what would it be like if major events in our lives repeated and we were given a chance to correct a failure? Hmmm. For major events to repeat the characters involved must reassemble to play out their original role. Of course, reincarnation. Now, if the same soul reborn could remember the pain and suffering from each life and carry the scars with them for each rebirth well...that would be some heavy internal conflict my characters might suffer.

Voila! Souls were scarred and internal conflicts born. I didn’t stop there...I added the five elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit, Hierarchy demons, struggles for domination, magic, an ancient grimoire thought to be a myth and psychic abilities. I’m pleased to say the ideas continue to flow for the series and it’s exciting to see it expand. I wish all the writers who are enjoying this blog the best of luck for their future writing career. Remember, the smallest idea when questioned, poked and prodded can expand and take on deeper meaning.


The Burning Seal, the first book in the Element Series is available now.  https://museituppublishing.com


Jenna Storm
Her Last Kiss paranormal romance, now available at http://www.wickedinkpress.com
Website: http://www.jennastormauthor.com/
Blog: http://jennastorm.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenna-Storm/111299362263109
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JennaStormWritz 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How's Your Crystal Ball Working?

What has happened to communication between authors and publishers?  I love the feeling of a brand new house, when everyone feels like family and the exchange of information flows as freely as a mountain stream. Now, it seems we're expected to be mind readers or seers and know what goes on behind the scenes.  Guessing usually doesn't provide a good outcome, so it's best to hear right from the horse's mouth...or that person risks becoming known as the other end.   *grin*

Communication isn't just verbal as you can see by the handy-dandy chart I've borrowed.  In this industry, email becomes our main source of knowledge, so how it's delivered says a lot about personalities and how much you care about someone and their needs.  Tone is absent from our worded missives, so if you've left someone in the dark, let their impatience fester, and generally given them a "who gives a crap" impression, then you can bet, they aren't going to read your list of excuses for not responding with any sort of understanding and compassion.  A few little lines can help calm the stormy seas and maintain peace and tranquility.

Remember that new family feel I described above? Yeah, well advance a year or so, and the house has signed so many new authors, the pressure becomes unbearable, and the publisher sinks into the background, perhaps buried by stacks we authors can't see or fathom.  Communication lags, people complain on the loops, tempers flare and people grow more impatient by the moment.  The family you enjoyed earlier on now becomes dysfunctional.  What could have resolved this problem?  A simple attempt to communicate the issues the publisher faces.  I'd rather get an email that says something like this:

I hope you'll all understand if I haven't responded to your needs in the past few weeks, but I'm overwhelmed by _______(insert excuse here), and as soon as I unbury my desk, I'll get to my backlog of author requests.  Please know that you are very important to me and I'm not ignoring you, just trying to keep my head above water.

But instead, we are usually the recipients of a scathing email from a fed-up, burned out, pissed-off person who aims her anger at everyone on the loop.  Or in the case of one publisher...she took down the loop entirely because she didn't like the group discussing things amongst themselves.  Didn't she know we have access to email each other privately?  Again, a simple communication effort could have avoided the problem and speculation that comes with silence.  People aren't mind readers.  They don't know what's going on in your world unless you let them in.

So, I guess the goal of this post is to encourage people to try two things....patience and communication.  Where one is absent, the other will work for a time, but even the Good Lord expects results within a certain time-frame.  I'm a patient person if I know why I'm being patient, but more than anything, I hate having my requests go ignored and speculating 'why me.'  I think communication is key. How about you?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Diane Scott Lewis visits today at Dishin' It Out

I want to thank Ginger for always being a friend and mentor. Many years ago when I was new to the writing game I began an epic novel. This novel grew huge, but I had no idea that there were such trivial matters as word count restrictions. I soon learned that many agents and editors won’t touch a new writer with a large novel. Diana Gabaldon of course was able to transcend that restriction. We are all very jealous of her success.

 My novel, an historical adventure with romantic elements set in England during the French Revolution, grew to almost 200,000 words. I finally agreed that I had to cut back my story. But even with cuts, it was still unwieldy, so I broke it into two novels. The first and larger section, set in England, became The False Light, published two years ago by Eternal Press to excellent reviews. The Historical Novel Society called it “Simply brilliant.”

The second portion, which takes place in sultry New Orleans then in war-torn France, became Without Refuge, and was released in March of this year. The difficult task was to put enough info (backstory) into this second novel to make it understandable to readers who might not have read the first book, though I hope they go back and read The False Light.

Here’s a blurb for Without Refuge:

~In 1796, ruined countess Bettina Jonquiere leaves England after the reported drowning of her lover, Everett. In New Orleans she establishes a new life until a ruthless Frenchman demands the money stolen by her father at the beginning of the French Revolution. She is forced on a dangerous mission to France where she unravels dark family secrets, but will she find the man she lost as well?~

Please leave a comment to win a PDF of Without Refuge.

Visit my website: http://www.dianescottlewis.org

Note from Ginger:  I've read both of Diane's novels and they are well-written and captivating.  I never expected to find English and French history so entertaining, but this author's blend of descriptions, details, and characters who are real and believable drew me in and held me captive until the last pages.  Of course, then I wanted more despite her admirable ability to create a manuscript of over 200,000 words and make it into two novels that still needed paring down to meet publishing standards.  Go figure!  IMHO, Diana Gabaldon has nothing on Diane Scott Lewis.

 I urge you to put her on your TBR list.







Picky, Picky, Picky

Let's face it...most of us who write also read.  I know my Kindle is bulging at the seams with books I've downloaded and want to sit back and enjoy, but this darn editorial eye of mine keeps me from enjoying my favorite pastime like I used to.

I wish I could read my own stuff with an editorial eye, but because I'm the originator of the work, my brain reads what it supposes should be there.  Of course, that isn't the case with other people's writing.  If you equate reading with eating, I've met a few brussel spouts I didn't like.

Part of the rite of passage in being as author is working with editors to hone your work to their finest. I'm discovering more and more books out there, especially by self-published authors that are laden with the most amateur mistake--mistakes that could have been caught by a second set of eyes.  In my ten plus years of writing, I've learned so much for editors...in fact, more than I ever want to know. 

 I've discovered that applying rules is like using salt on your food.  Too much is bad for you, but moderation is the key. I've tried to remember the writing guidelines that make the most sense to me and adhere to them.  The problem: New rules crop up every day, and some of them even contradict what I thought I already knew.  I've decided I have to be true to my own voice and pick and choose what works for me.  We all have a unique style and we need to stick in our comfort zone...but within reason.

As far as my own nitpicks...I decided to share a few with you and see if you agree.  Feel free to add your own in the comments.  We all might learn something...that is if you have room in your already crammed brain for one more fact.  *lol*

I dislike:

Too many tags.  Often identifying the name of the speaker isn't even necessary because in most cases, there are only two people in the room.  John and Mary have met, and if you've introduced them to the reader, no need to keep spitting out their names every other sentence. 

Starting a book and having no idea what the time period or setting is.   Yikes.  What a waste of time to have to read backwards because you get deep into the chapter and have no idea if you're in the eighteenth or twentieth century.  I love a story that gives me a big clue so I put myself in the right setting and know exactly where I am.

Sentences that begin with "it."  This is a big nit pick for me.  Usually there is no hard noun that precedes this pronoun so I find myself in predicaments where I have no idea with "IT" is.  Which would you rather see at the beginning of a story?  I think most uses indicate someone too lazy to search for a word that is a better fit.

It was a cold and cloudy day.
Steel-colored clouds blanketed the sky, and icy fingers clung to the north wind.  Goosebumps peppered her pale skin...


Unnecessary phrases...- This is my newest quest to avoid.  I've recently learned that using phrases like "She heard, she watched, she saw, she knew, are in most cases unnecessary if I've set a solid POV for the reader.  Suppose you're reading from my heroine's perspective and I've locked you there.  As a reader, you will know who is doing the seeing, hearing, watching and feeling, so some find it an insult to their intelligence to keep reminding them.

Resisting the Urge to Explain or RUE.  We've already established that readers are pretty savvy and figure things out without the author pointing out the obvious.  This is a continuation of what I discussed above, but take it a step further and consider the last few words in each sentence.  If our hero is aiming a gun at the bad guy, and pulls the trigger...do we really need to say, "He took aim and shot at him"?  I think the reader will assume who is getting shot.  *lol*  Consider the scene, then re-evaluate the closing words in each sentence.  If you're using "at her, for him, etc.," you may not need to wear so much polish off your manicure.  Continually explaining things to your reader becomes redundant and boring.

Repetition.  As an author, I appreciate how difficult it is to recall what you've previously written.  This is a big reason why you need to be part of a critique group or have beta readers to provide feedback.  Nothing is more annoying than having the eye and hair color of the characters described in fifteen different chapters, or learning pertinent information again in chapter ten that you learned in great detail back in chapter three.  I'm reading a book right now that I'm ready to throw against the wall because every chapter is a reminder of how red the heroine's hair is.  I almost think I could cough up a furrball!

Okay...there are a ton more nit picks I have, but I'm going to stop before I become redundant and boring.  I'm not saying I'm not guilty of these writing faux pas as I've read some of my older work and see the very mistakes I despise.  The only thing I can promise is that future work will be better, because every day I learn something new from my critique partners and from reading work that has been well-edited and superbly written.  Just don't expect me to leave out all the 'ly' words because someone takes offense with them.  There are some cases that call for a description that fits no other way.  I'm working on minimizing...sort of like the new bra I just found.  :)






  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ginger's Six Sentence Sunday

Howdy.  I missed ya'll last week because I had house guests.  It's rude to wander off and play on the computer, so I missed posting and I also missed reading the great snippets I follow each week.  But, I'm back today with another six from my current WIP, Hattie's Hero.  When you finish reading my six, head back to Six Sentence Sunday for more links.  What a great way to spend an afternoon.  :)

The last time we visited Hattie, she had just met with Mr. Franklin who took her home to meet the Mrs.  He wasn't very tactful...and in answer to someone's comment...his attempt at whispering failed.  Sometimes the dratted seventh sentence holds a key.  :) This week, the women are sharing a cup of tea as part of the interview for Hattie to accompany the family on the wagon train trek to California, and she's just been asked if the compensation is fair. 

Here's this week's six:


“Oh, yes ma’am. My expectations are minimal, as are my belongings. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed if you select me.”
“I believe you, Miss Carson, and I like your gumption.”  Mrs. Franklin drained the last of her tea and placed the cup and saucer back on the silver tray. “The first order of business is to make sure you understand this won’t be an easy undertaking. I would hate for you to decide somewhere in the middle of nowhere that you weren’t cut out for the job.”

 Hope you enjoyed my six. The cover I've shared is the proposed cover, but the more I write, the more it isn't fitting as I hoped it would.  I've changed directions, and although the book starts off in the old west, Hattie time-travels to modern day.  I look forward to the comments, which are all usually very encouraging.  I hope you continue to follow Hattie's saga and are as excited as I am to get it finished.  I'm closing in on the ending.  :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Blog Schedule

As you probably know by now, Rita Karnopp has teamed with me as we endeavor to keep Dishin' It Out.  :)

Nothing is certain in life except death and taxes, but we've worked out a schedule we will try our best to follow. Life happens, so if we fail, don't shoot us.  :)

 Of course, we will still make time for guest posts, either on our free day or by sharing our own days with you. We do have to take vacations once in a while to preserve what little sanity we have left.

Here is what we came up with:


Mon-Tues. =  Rita
Wednesday= Ginger
Thursday   = Rita
Friday       = Ginger
Saturday   = Free Day (guests perhaps)
Sunday     = Ginger (Six Sentence Sunday)

If you are interested in being a guest, drop me an email.  Our new schedule starts on April 1.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I need a Xanax. How about you?

There aren't enough hours in the day anymore, and the ones that are there speed past like a rocket ship on its way to orbit.  I used to consider myself organized, but now the best I can say is that I manage to complete most of my tasks each day.  I'd like to blame the fact that my husband has retired and his mere presence is an interruption, but that would be lie.  I can't place fault on him when I start to do one thing and end up doing ten others, all in bits and pieces because I can't stay focused.  What I wouldn't give if I could eliminate some of the needless crappola we all face.  Email is a great place to start.

We had house guests this weekend, so we were off showing them the sights and trying to be entertaining.  Despite my previous attempt to cut back my workload by going "special notice" on 75% of my yahoo loops, I still came back to over one thousand emails. Do any of these messages look familiar?

Thanks!

lol

Happy Birthday, (Place name here)!

roflmao (place graphic here)

Me too.

Done!

You bet!

Then, add in those signatures lines that show every friggin' book written by the sender and every url where you can find them... arghhhhhhh!!!!!!  Does anyone even read those?

If I try and follow the subject lines to put together the mystery source of the laughter, what was done, the you bet, or the thanks, chances are I won't even come close. People....and yes, I'm including myself, we've all become lazy, and we're creating more work for ourselves by not avoiding the need to respond to every email we receive.

 Seriously, do we need to tell someone we're laughing our ass off?  Can't it be assumed we'll be amused if someone said something really funny? And if we need to wish a friend a Happy Birthday or thank them, can't we do it in a private email so we don't litter the loops with non-inclusive messages?

I'm honestly trying to mend my slovenly ways by avoiding those one, two or three word responses that I hope my friends will take for granted.  If you ask for help, assume I'll give it.  If you share a joke, know I'll at least crack a smile, and if it's your birthday, I'm going to try to remember to send you a personal/private email.  Togetherness is great in some cases, but email seems to take it to an extreme.

 Since we can't cut down on gas prices, let's cut back on our verbiage.  *lol*  Save a letter or two on your keyboard...preserve your manicure...and stop causing your friends to gnash their teeth when you send out the same stale stuff day after day.  It's said that when you point a finger at one person, three point back at you.  I haven't forgotten that in drafting this message.  My name is Ginger Simpson and I'm guilty, too.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Targeted World Building - Regan Black


Regan Black
As an author who writes primarily paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels, world building is important to me. As a reader who devours wonderful novels in the same genre, effective world building is vital to my enjoyment of the story.

From cozy mystery to romance to edgy urban fantasy, world building is something authors apply to help connect the reader to the adventure. The skills are necessary no matter what medium - movies, video games, or novels - and as creative people tell stories in new and fresh ways in known and emerging media, one thing becomes clear:

Know what your target audience wants.

This point was driven home for me when I recently walked into the family room where my son was playing a fantasy game on the PS3. When he finished the battle, I asked what kind of monster he’d just defeated. (I happen to be a fan of the mythology this game employs). His answer: Rage Demon.

Wow. Really? Because that thing looked nothing like Kresley Cole’s rage demons from her Immortals After Dark series. Of course I kept this opinion to myself as I was loathe to get into an analysis of the critical differences. And I'm well aware that logically, the game designer's idea of a rage demon doesn’t nullify Cole’s version of the same creature. But still...

My son wouldn’t appreciate what I find fascinating about Cole’s rage demons and their world as she built it. I can't imagine Cole’s fans would be very impressed with the nearly faceless, flame coated thing my son was battling.

Clearly, world building for paranormal romance novels and world building for gamers means meeting the expectations of two very different audiences and invovles two very different interpretations of the mythology.

My favorite young adult paranormal authors won’t focus on the same things as a paranormal romance author wanting to catch adult fans. A fantasy or sci-fi author might spend as much page time on the mythology and origins of the world itself as they devote to the characters' journey toward the goal.

I think that's absolutely fantastic for everyone from readers and gamers to authors and developers. Do you have a favorite author who's written a world you wish you could fall into?

You can explore the worlds I've built for readers at ReganBlack.com or join the community fun at my Facebook page.

And always...live the adventure!
Regan

Change to Dishin' It Out - Welcome Rita Karnopp

In my quest to find time to write, I'm taking advantage of a great friend and terrific author who was planning to start her own blog.  Rita Karnopp and I bonded several years ago when we both contracted with the same publisher.  Since then, our friendship has been distanced by time and life, but we've reconnected, and she's accepted my offer to become my partner here on Dishin' It Out.  I'm still honoring the few guests I've scheduled, and Rita will be posting her own author's page so you can get to know her.  We're working out a scheduling time and I'll post that when we've agreed on what it will be.  We're almost there.  I love Rita, and I know you will, too.


She just released her latest book with Books We Love, Ltd, and I urge you to check it out.  I can't wait to get my paws on Whispering Sun.  Rita is an awesome author, so make sure to stay tuned for more from her.

New Territory of Montana 1863. Sarah Bryson’s silent world is destroyed when her so-called fiancĂ© has her kidnapped to prevent his discovery as a gun-runner. After surviving a massacre, she is rescued by Blackfeet warrior, Two Shadows. But in order to reach the safety of his village, they must confront wild animals, ruthless mountain men, treacherous mountain storms, and Crow Indians bent on revenge.

Sarah seeks her true identity as a woman. Two Shadows’ struggles with loyalties divided between his love for a white woman and his devotion to his tribe. Whispering Sun captures a time when the Blackfeet are forced to see their way of life disappear. It’s a story where it’s possible for a white woman to decide she belongs with a loving people and a Blackfeet warrior. It’s a story that shows how a half-breed can choose an alliance and find his place in a colliding world.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Welcome Killarney Sheffield to DIO...

 Today, I welcome a friend and fellow Muse It Up author.  Killarney, one of many I've met from Canada, has added so much personality and charm to our author's loop, and even in the toughest times, has a great sense of humor.  I witnessed all the work she went through to secure just the right song for her first video trailer, and I'm so pleased to feature her and "Gowan's" talent here on Dishin' It Out. She's definitely someone who gets what she sets her sites on.  Without further ado, I introduce you to my friend:

 A Journey Worth Taking

    Hello, my name is Killarney Sheffield pronounced  key-lar-knee. Some pretty amazing things have happened to me since July 2010 that I would like to share with you today. In July 2010 I signed my first ever writing contract with Canadian publishing house Muse It Up Publishing, Ltd. No, I didn't struggle for years to make my dream happen, I just stumbled onto it.

As a former horse trainer, farrier, riding coach and breeder the dilemma of horse slaughter in Canada became a real threat to my livelihood. With the ban on horse slaughter in place in the USA this meant a huge influx of cheap horses flooding the Canadian market and making it tougher for my fellow breeders and I to afford to do what we love so I wrote an article to my local newspaper. That is what started all the wonderful events that have happened since then into motion.

 The editor loved the article and asked for more. He also asked if I had ever considered publishing a book someday. Well, I giggled long and hard over that one as I had a number of manuscripts in my computer just then. Armed with some courage I sent the first one off to historical romance mass paperback giant Avon and received a generic rejection letter. I joined a critique group and soon discovered that 'mother of five' was not what publishers were looking for under author bio, LOL! I was offered some very good advice from a fellow writer who suggested I should send to a smaller publishing house as those are more likely to be interested in a newbie author like myself. I did and the rest as they say is history.

Currently I have 6 historical romances, 1 steampunk/historical romance My adventure didn't end there though. After taking the Muse Online Writer's Conference I discovered book trailers. I love music and building trailers was right up my creative alley so to speak. I set about designing my first trailer for Guilty Kisses but could not find just the right piece of music until I was reminded of an 80's song by fellow Canadian singer/song writer and Juno winner Gowan.

 I set about to track him down and found he was still performing as the lead singer in a 70's band called STYX. I asked for the use of one of his songs and luckily for me he said yes. That little song launched me into another exciting adventure interviewing some long forgotten and up and coming stars for the local paper like Susan Powter and Jason Escape.

 This opened up doors for me talking to stars like Paul Brant and Heart. So much fun! What is next around the corner you ask? I have no idea but I am willing to bet it will be exciting! Someone asked me recently why I write historical romance and although the answer my mother claims in in the stars, (ie I am a Libra and they are romantic fools who think life should be fair), I think Gowan's song title sums it up better. Yes, I write romance because, 'Love Makes You Believe.' Thanks so much for joining me here today.


 Listen to Gowan's Song



Killarney's 2011 Releases

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Welcome Margay Leah Justice to DIO...


My guest today seems to have a fascination for wolves, and her post puts to rest any speculation why.  Join Margay and find out the inspiration behind Sloane Wolfe.  Welcome to Dishin' It Out...


Why Wolves?

Whenever I discuss my latest book, Sloane Wolf, people often ask me, why wolves?  And I have to say, why not?  Wolves are fantastic creatures that mate for life and are truly faithful to their mates (from what I've read), and we humans could learn a lot from them.



(Image courtesy of FotoSearch.com)
As it pertains to my book, however, it was rather serendipitous that I ended up writing about wolves. I didn't intentionally set out to do so, but a series of events conspired to make it happen. The first event came in the form of a book that was ultimately made into a movie that got me to thinking - and anybody who knows me can tell you that when I get to thinking, things begin to happen...in a writing sense that is! I can turn the smallest nugget of an idea into a story, if motivated enough to do so, and that is how this story started out, as just a nugget. So there I was, inspired by this other book/movie enough that certain scenes kept kicking up in my head (ahem, fight scene), but content just to imagine it in my head.
(Image courtesy of FotoSearch.com)



Until event number two happened. That would be a contest that an electronic publishing company was running with the theme of - you guessed it - wolves. And so I thought, why not? I had some interesting scenes kicking around in my head, the contest was for a novella length story, so I had enough to accomplish that. And with the help of event number three - discovering an article about gray wolves returning to Massachusetts after a100-plus year absence - a true story began to formulate with legends of wolves and why they "reappeared" in the state after such a long absence. Wow, I thought, this was really going to be something, if I could get it all together in time.

Trouble was, once I started writing, I just kept on writing and I over-shot the word count. One thing I forgot when I set out to enter this contest: I have never been able to write short. I keep trying, but I usually have so much to say, it doesn't conform well to short stories or novellas. Not wanting to cut anything to fit the guidelines, I simply finished the book for me. And by the time I was finished with it, I knew that I had to try to get it published anyway, I felt that strong about it. And after several fits and starts, I finally found the right publisher for it in Muse it Up Publishing.

So there you have it. The serendipitous events that led to the birth of Sloane Wolf.




Links:






Where to buy:


Hooray for the KDP Program

I'm so excited to be part of Books We Love and even more so that they were willing to "experiment" with the Kindle Direct Program.  I've realizing better sales on two books there than I've seen on all my books combined before.  It's nice to finally realize a profit, even though I've always told myself that I never got into this business for the money.  Until now, it was a viable justification since I never saw money enough to cover my promotional expenses.

I don't know what magic goes on behind the scenes that prompts so many to buy a book that is given away free in days preceding the "spotlight time," but I'm not questioning what works.  In case you didn't grab your own free copy of First Degree Innocence or Embezzled Love, I've happy to tell you that they'll be up for grabs again in the coming month.  In the meantime, today I'm blogging at Ravencraft's Romance Realm where you can leave a comment and perhaps win your own PDF. 

If reviews are your cup of tea, then Reagan Black is also featuring moi today as I bitc....er talk about the subjectivity of those oft-sought written opinions.  I'm not offering a prize, but you never know...I just might surprise someone who comments here and leaves on there, too.  :)  I'm full of it.  Surprises, that is!!!

Let me tell you....when you see an unsolicited email like this appear on the loop... "Hi--just started Embezzled Love and wanted to say anyone who isn't just grabbed in the first few pages must be a corpse.

I love the older heroine!"

That's better than any review I could ever hope for.  Picture me smiling. 


Monday, March 12, 2012

Welcome, John Bushore to Dio...

I recently had the good fortune to read and review John Bushore's novel, ...And Remember That I Am a Man, which you'll find as most most recent listing if you click the "I Dug It" tab from the main page.  This is the response I received from Mr. Bushore, and I asked his permission to share it as it adds to the review I've posted.  For the record, the YA story I mention, according to Mr. B, is simply the teenage years captured from his adult novel to help educate youngsters about slavery.  What a great idea.  Anyhow, welcome John Bushore, and here's his response:



Ginger,

I've now read your review and thank you so much for your kind words. You really got what the novel was all about. As I researched for a mid-grade novel , my eyes were opened. I'm originally a Yankee, with roots that go back to French Canada, so I'd never had much interest in the slavery issue. But neither was I prejudiced by childhood influences, so I think was a blank slate for the Moses Grandy story. The YA novel turned into a labor of love and I couldn't help but write his entire story. I originally wondered why Moses returned to the south when he should have remained in Rhode Island to establish his freedom and was surprised at the extent of racism and even racial inferiority attitudes of actual abolitionists in the north. I was again surprised how racism was present wherever in the world Moses sailed in later life. And now that my eyes have been opened, I see that we all must work for racial equality, no matter what the color of our skin.

Even though I've still not gotten even my own system to use my novels for teaching purposes (and I donated several copies to school libraries) due to apathy and inertia and the rigid structure of school curricula, I continue to explore America's race relations and occasionally attend seminars on the subject. Writing about Moses made me grow as a person and taught me that my writing talent could be used for something that might possibly outlive me. I want to leave this world thinking I made a difference and writing happens to be my talent.

If you would be so kind as to let me know what "writing issues that jumped out to my editorial eye," I'd appreciate it. I value critique, especially here, where I self-published the novel and didn't have the benefit of an extra set of editorial eyes. Since Print-on-demand is so flexible, I could easily correct any issues for future printings.

Anyway, you made my day with your review.
 ***

Note from Ginger:  The writing issues I mentioned were minimal and probably only noticeable because of the numerous editing issues I've undergone.  Nothing in this book seriously detracted me from the message conveyed.  The only correctable issue that comes to mind is one instance where "wave" appeared rather than "waved," but what book is error free these days.  I defy someone to show it to me.  *lol*

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ginger's Six Sentence Sunday

Time for another six from my current WIP, Hattie's Hero, a western historical time-travel.  The picture is from my western blog logo at Cowboy Kisses.  Isn't he dreamy?

When you've finished leaving a comment (hint, hint), please had back to Six Sentence Sunday for more links.

Set up reminder: Hattie has grown up in an orphanage, answered an ad she found at the mercantile, and has just finished interviewing with the mister of the household and is now meeting the wife.



Mr. Franklin yanked his watch from his pocket again and checked the time. “I’ll leave you two to discuss the matter of caring for the children. I have business to tend involving the sale of the house and furniture.” Stepping closer to his wife, he leaned toward her ear. “She comes from the orphanage with no recommendations. Don’t confuse particulars with pity.”  

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you'll come back next week.  I love sharing, and I'm definitely hooked on a few of the stories offered by others.



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Some Days You're the Bird...Others, The Windshield...

Years ago, a publisher I had signed with became the center of attention on a well-known blog, and the owner of the house was described as someone with a split personality and a problematic person to deal with.  Many author's fought for their books back at the time, but I remained committed to the contract I'd signed and stuck out my three years.  I promoted the book on various yahoo loops, created a video trailer, and entered my lovely cover in contests.  I did my part.

My three years is up. Imagine my surprise, when asking for my rights back, to be reminded of a small clause in the contract which, despite modern technology, requires a registered letter be sent to the publisher sixty days prior to the contract expiration date. Of course, I missed that in January.  If the publisher deems she will return my rights, it will take her sixty days to hopefully send me a letter notifying me of the reversion of rights. It's not a sure thing.  Does this seem fair?

   Now as someone who has many contracts and has re-released several books, I wrongly assumed that a simple email and friendly demeanor might be the answer.  Nope!  A novella that made absolutely no money during the time it's been featured, and one I can only assume lacked sales because of bad publicity surrounding the house, is being held hostage out of pettiness.  My assumption is based on the fact that everything else I've written is realizing sales.

As if the extra hoop through which I have to jump isn't enough, I've also been informed that should the rights revert to me, I own only the pre-edited copy of the work.  I'm not sure how one goes about determining which words are owned by the house and which are mine.  Basically, I had very few changes to make, most re-wording or omitting words such as "she, so I consider all the words to be my own.  How do I prove this?  My original copy became the working copy for the editor, and I have three copies that we exchanged to reach the final copy which came to me in PDF. 

These are the things of which nightmares are made.  Issues that make an author want to walk away and question whether not what we do is worth dealing with publishers who want to make us as miserable as they are.  I thought I had maintained a good relationship with this person despite her less than glowing reputation.  I gave her the benefit of the doubt, which clearly she hasn't earned.  I saw my contract through to the end, and now I have to play silly games and probably pursue the issue in small claims court.  A novella isn't the be all/end all of my career, but it comes down to letting someone walk on me, and I absolutely refuse to do that.  I did my part, my contract is up, so give me back my story.  Simple, and everyone stays friends.  If only.

Today has been a red letter day for being disappointed in people.  I discovered a review on Amazon written by someone who evidently based her opinion of my book on how she expected my characters to act, react, and even how the story should progress.  I suppose she hasn't ever met a naive person in her life, as she saw that as an unrealistic flaw in my heroine.  Gee...life must suck for people who have to drag everyone down in their miserable mire in order to be happy.  She even took issue with how many releases I announced in a year, suggesting that perhaps instead of cranking out so many books, I should spend more time fleshing out my stories and bringing them up to her standards.  Good luck with that since the majority of people who saw fit to comment liked what they read.  When you research all your facts, drop me a line.  Oh, and hey, Ms. Unhappy reader, I suggest you might want to write your own book, then you can make it exactly as you want.  Before you start, you might want to look up the word "fiction" while you're at it, and please don't read anything in the fantasy category because you'll be so disappointed to find out those stories feature werewolves, shapeshifters and fairies.  Gasp!  *whispering* They aren't real you know?

Okay...I feel better for venting a little.  Just wanted to share that being an author isn't a career without challenges.  Like my title says...some day you're the bird and other days you're the windshield.  Guess which I was today.  *lol*

Tomorrow is bound to be better.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Let's Communicate

Readers may think the hardest part of being an author is creating a novel, but although time-consuming, writing is the easiest part of the job.  The difficulty begins once you sign a contract.  Did you make a good decision?  Is the publisher savvy enough to stay in business and help promote your work? Are the lines of communication going to remain open so that you feel an integral part of the group?  So many things to consider, and many are risky decisions that must be made to get published.

I mention communication because it's such an important component of a contract. Number one for me!  All the written agreements in the world don't mean anything if there isn't a continuous exchange of information between author and publisher.  I've always done my best work for for someone who made me feel like I mattered, and the same applies for writing.  There's no worse feeling than being left in the dark, having decisions made without input, and wondering what's going on behind the scenes.  I actually signed with one publisher who took down the author's loop because she didn't want her "employees" sharing information with one another.  Isn't that how we all learn and grow as writers? If that house is still in business, color me shocked.  As a contracted author, I don't want to be treated like an employee, I want to be part of the team.  What happens with the house, happens to me, too.

I'm not intimating that as an author I have a right to know everything, but I am entitled by signing a contract to feel included in my future with a company.  A simple email from a publisher, alerting their authors to busy times, family distress, etc., can make a world of difference.  When posts go unanswered, imaginations run wild, and speculation begins.  It's no wonder that people jump ship when they fear a leak has sprung, and so much wasted time could be saved by just a few soothing words. 

I think problems begin when the houses have been around a while and take on more than they expected at the beginning.  There is nothing like the excitement and camaraderie of a new publisher.  The authors participate, share information, the publisher has time to join in, and everyone feels informed, jazzed and optimistic.  As time passes, more people sign on, the newness wears off and communications fail.  To me, this is the predictor of demise.  I've seen it happen too many times.

 If everyone helps by following instructions that are almost always ever present, taking time to read and stay informed, and most of all, taking off the lead boots that keep them from doing their own leg work to find answers to common questions, we can all help lighten the load on our publishers and make every day a more pleasant experience.  I cannot tell you how tight my jaw gets when I see the same people ask the same questions over and over because they're too lazy to use GOOGLE.  Why search when you can post an email, I suppose.  Me, I'd rather find the answer myself, if I can.  It's important for authors to realize that their aren't the only fish in the publishing pond.  As much as we'd like to maintain the "it's all about me" attitude, it really isn't.

In almost every job I've held in my adult life, communication is always key, and as an author, I find it to be even more crucial to stay informed and be included.  It might just be me, but I have a vested interest the moment I put my signature on that contract.  My expectations are no less important than those of the publisher, and I'm happy to say I'm signed with one house that truly treats their authors with the respect we all deserve and want. 

I gave a short presentation at the Muse On-Line Conference last year: The Pitfalls of Publishing.  Unfortunately, communication is the one area you can't gauge until you've been with the house for a while.  You can only sign on the dotted line and pray!  *lol*

Monday, March 5, 2012

Welcome Lisa Blackwood to DIO


A great thing about blogging is the ability to learn from others.  My guest today, Lisa Blackwood, a friend and fellow author from Muse It Up Publishing, provides us with something to ponder.   On with the show...
Write What You Know

As a writer, one thing I’ve heard several times is ‘write what you know’. In other words, write about a topic you are familiar with and incorporate that knowledge into your writing in some fashion. The idea is to make the story more believable, and it also has the added bonus of making the writer’s job a touch easier—less research and all that.(If only it was so easy. LOL.)
Which is all well and good, but when I first read that piece of sage knowledge I wondered how that applied to writing science fiction and fantasy, since both are not-of-this-world so to speak. Still, you can take things from the mundane world and add them to your made up world.
A beta reader once mentioned a great number of horse issues in my writing. I didn’t know a thing about horses at the time, and she suggested I go take some riding lessons to better understand them; as an added benefit, I’d stop annoying horse people with my inaccurate descriptions (you know, things like horses that can gallop all day, never spook, don’t have to spend hours grazing every day to live. You know, important stuff like that.) I took her advice, and started volunteering at a nearby horse rescue. After a year and a half, I now know enough to write realistic horses, I hope. I even went so far as to adopt one. I’m not saying authors have to go so far to get into their characters mindset, but even a few minutes of research is valuable.
Back to the topic of writing what you know. Another thing from my real life that was helpful in a fictional world was my knowledge of birds. Go figure.


Betrayal’s Price (Coming soon from MuseItUp Publishing) is epic fantasy with romantic elements and the hero Sorntar, a phoenix, is half avian. I knew from early on I wanted him to be more than just a human man with wings stuck on his back, I wanted him to be more, to be other. So I looked to nature—if he was half bird, then he needed a few bird traits. I’ve kept birds as pets since I was a child, so giving Sorntar a few bird traits wasn’t all the hard, humorous, but not hard.

The second novel I wrote, Stone’s Kiss, is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, and has a gargoyle hero. Gregory was a little more complex than Sorntar, but twice as much fun to write. Gregory just knew who and what he was from the get go, and had no problems with deviating from my carefully planned plot. ::mumbles under breath about unruly, headstrong characters::  Whereas Sorntar was clearly birdlike and I could draw on the mythological phoenix for some character traits and magical abilities, Gregory, as a gargoyle, didn’t have a corresponding animal or even much mythology to draw on. So I started to look at other animals until I found the correct mix of traits that ‘felt’ like they’d match my vision of how a gargoyle would think and act. In the end, while still having a fundamental human quality, Gregory also had some canine and big cat tendencies mixed in too. 
My question to you—what can you take from your everyday life and put into a fictional world. Go on. Give it a try. You might be surprised what you’ll come up with.
Lisa Blackwood, author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance and epic fantasy.
 

www.lisablackwood.com
http://blackwoodsforest.wordpress.com/
Stone's Kiss http://www.amazon.com/Stones-Kiss-The-Avatars-ebook/dp/B006EAMITG
Betrayal's Price (Feb. 2012 from Museitup Publishing http://museituppublishing.com/ 



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Welcome, Gabrielle Bissett to DIO


When I first began writing my current release, Blood Avenged, I knew I wanted the book to be the first in a series.  The idea of a group of vampires, the Sons of Navarus, sworn to protect the vampire world and the most ancient members of it appealed to me.  What also appealed to me was having the chance to write a variety of heroes. 

The first hero, Vasilije in Blood Avenged, is every ounce a hedonist.  He loves physical pleasure and seeks it out at every turn.  Over four hundred years as a vampire, he's a very sensual character who has seen so much of the world, so writing him was a delight.  Almost everything he says and does in the story is so thoroughly based in his desire for pleasure. 

Here's the blurb for Blood Avenged for a little taste of Vasilije:

I am everything you desire.  I am vampire.
Powerful and manipulative, Vasilije does as he pleases. A vampire beholden to no one, he takes what he desires, drinking deeply the pleasures this life has to offer.

When one of his own is staked, Vasilije must travel to New Orleans to exact his revenge. There he meets Sasa, a beautiful woman who arouses him like no other has for centuries. Vasilije’s need for vengeance is equaled only by his passion for her, but what he finds in his revenge is just the beginning...

Even the book's cover conveys his pure hedonism. 

And then there's the hero of the second book, Blood Betrayed.  Saint is a very different kind of character.  A far younger vampire, he was turned on the battlefield during the First World War.  Saint is a hero haunted by his past, so he's got some demons to deal with, especially concerning the heroine of the story, Solenne. Because of this, he's darker and more brooding than Vasilije ever could be.  He's also a criminal in the vampire world because he refuses to sleep with anyone but human women.

Here's the blurb for Blood Betrayed for a little sampling of Saint:

I am everything forbidden.  I am vampire.

Haunted by betrayal, Saint hides in the human world, giving his heart to no one and finding the only solace from his past in the arms of human women. Now as the Archons begin their takeover of the vampire world, this Son of Navarus has been marked for death. 

Summoned to defeat the Archons by the world that shunned him, Saint must face his past and Solenne, the woman he loved and lost a century ago, for only in accepting her will his body and soul finally find salvation.

And the cover of his book reflects his haunted nature.

Writing a series is great fun in many ways, but the ability to choose what kind of heroes will be showcased is one of the most enjoyable.  There are eight vampire heroes in the Sons of Navarus, so I'll have the chance to write six more after Vasilije and Saint.  I can't wait! 

Readers can find out more about Blood Avenged, Blood Betrayed, and the upcoming books in the Sons of Navarus series by visiting my blog at http://gbisset.blogspot.com/p/sons-of-navarus-series.html

In addition, readers can find me at these places too!

Website:  Gabrielle Bisset
Blog:  Gabrielle Bisset: A Writer's Blog

Facebook
Twitter
Amazon Author Page
Email:  gabriellebisset@gmail.com

Thanks Ginger for having me here at your blog today!  It was a pleasure.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ginger's Six Sentence Sunday


Hi, and welcome back to Dishin' It Out.  I was on a little hiatus last week, and I sure missed following my favorites on SSS.  Today, I'm continuing with my current WIP, Hattie's Hero, which will  be an historical time-travel if I ever get it finished.  It started with a YA heroine, but I fear she's going to be a senior citizen before long.  *lol* Just a quick reminder; Hattie is preparing to leave the orphanage, answering an ad she found posted at Cronin's mercantile.

Here's my offering, and I hope you enjoy it:

 
[Hattie's] Her palms turned moist the minute she spied a dapper gentleman standing outside the mercantile. He wore the black Coachman’s hat Mister Cronin had indicated he would.
Despite her churning innards, she closed the gap between them on leaden legs and managed a weak smile. His tailored charcoal frock coat, starched white shirt and perfectly pressed trousers indicated a man of means. A thick moustache, broad shoulders, and angular jaw made him quite attractive, but clearly impatient if his tapping foot was any indication. A glance down at her tacky apparel brought warmth to her cheeks. If her employment rested on her looks… 

Don't forget to head back to Six Sentence Sunday and check out the links to more sites.  This is a really fun weekly event, so I hope you come back for a visit.  Don't forget to leave a comment.  You never know when I'll pick a name for something from my backlist.  :)



Friday, March 2, 2012

I'm baaackkk!

Wow, that was a fun trip, although short in some ways and long in others.  For those who didn't know, hubby and I flew to So. Cal to visit my mom and also enjoy a mini-reunion of folks who grew up with me and attended my same high school.  As much as I hate to admit, next year will be the official 50th year passed since that memorable day of graduation, and I think the one thing we all shared in common at our luncheon was the fact that none of us can believe we're sixty-six-years old.

The long part of the trip came when I had a "panic" attack and decided I didn't want to fly home.  Instead, we kept our rental car and drove.  I could have been home in five hours, instead I elected a thirty-six hour trip because I'm a big ol' wuss.  :)  The plane trip to California was bumpy, uncomfortable, and seemed endless, and I think the worst thing for me is the confinement that makes my claustrophobia surface.  I'm so lucky I have an understanding and patient husband.  The good news is I now have a credit I can apply to another trip...perhaps Kelly can go visit his mom.  :)

It's always fun to compare wrinkles with my female classmates, so here's a few photos to attest to the fact that I have some to share:

The female classmates

All classmates who came, including two brave guys




Me signing books for my friends.  Looks like I was thirsty!
It's always nice to travel, but even nicer to come home.  I loved spending time with my friends, and now it's their turn to come to Tennessee.  I came away with an invite to Mexico and Alaska and I might get brave enough to take my hostesss' up on their offers.

We also had a wonderful visit with my mother, brother and his wife and a scrumptious dinner at Northwood's Inn. Also got to see my friend, Leta, grandmother to Ryan Sheckler.  I gave her a book, hoping he might hold one and take a picture.  A few years back, I featured a picture of him that she'd sent me, and to this day, that page continues to be the one that gets the most views.  Hey...everyone...I'm sort of Ryan's aunt.  *lol*  Stay tune for a Ryan feature again.
 
 I couldn't believe how much the price of food and gas are in California.  I might shed one of those chins you see in the picture above if I stayed there long enough.  *lol*


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