Thursday, May 31, 2012

Yay or Nay? Sarah's Passion, my WIP!

I'm excited about Sarah's Passion...a book I really hadn't planned on writing quite so soon, but to appease a few review commenters, I've working hard to continue the saga between Wolf and Sarah, a couple who got acquainted and bid farewell in the old west, but have now, at least from Sarah's POV, reacquainted in modern day Manhattan.  I can't wait to see if Sarah can recapture the love she cherished in the 1800s or if she's going to lose Wolf again, but this time because of entirely different circumstances.

Today, I'd like to share an excerpt from this WIP and get your take.  Remember, this is the first draft and you're the first to see it:

EXCERPT:

After wiping down the counter and table, [Sarah] she put away the candelabras, then sat on the sofa to pull on her socks. With one knee bent and an anklet half on, Sarah clearly envisioned the smiling and matronly face of Maggie Smith. In the night vision, the woman had been the only person in Independence to befriend Wolf and overlook his red blood. She’d also taken Sarah in, helped her find a teaching job, and stood by her when the rest of the town had a ‘hissy’ fit over a young Indian boy enrolled in class. Every memory rolled through Sarah’s mind as though it all had happened yesterday…a motion picture that replayed each detail vividly. Somehow she’d have to find a way to bring up Maggie’s name and see if it brought a reaction from Wolf. Looking in the phone book wouldn’t help. Smith was the most common last name ever, and who knew where she lived…or if she lived, ever.

Sarah put on her other sock, donned her tennis shoes, and then, in the kitchen, pulled the bulging garbage bag from the can. The smell of last night’s chicken mingled with the smell from the candles until she tied the plastic into a knot. Opening the door, she headed for the dumpster, only to run into another neighbor, Peg Scott, armed with own refuse and headed in the same direction.

Her streaked hair perfectly coiffed and her flawless make-up already on made Sarah feel inferior. Of course, Peg never went anywhere without looking like a runway model. In contrast to Sarah’s dowdy gray sweats, Peg’s running suit matched the bright blue strip in her jogging shoes. She flicked her long hair back over one shoulder with her free hand. “Have you had a chance to get a gander of our new neighbor? Hubba Hubba. What a hunk.”

A leaden knot formed in Sarah’s stomach.

“No,” she responded casually with a shrug, the lie rolling off her tongue with ease. “What’s so great about him?”

“Oh, girl. He’s yummm-me. Dark hair and complexion, broad shoulders, narrow hips, and arms that I’d do anything to have wrapped around me.” Peg’s eyes took on a dreamy haze.

Jealousy gnawed at Sarah. That proverbial green-eyed devil she’d always heard about turned red and perched on her shoulder, whispering in her ear that Wolf belonged to her. Fighting the urge to swing her trash bag around and bash Peg in her pretty made up face, she tamped down her feelings. Clearly Peg had no idea her target had already been a guest in Sarah’s apartment. She forced a smile. “Hmmm, have you met him yet?”

Peg gave another flip of her hair. “No, but I fully intend to find a way to introduce myself. He’s sexy with a capital "s"."

At the dumpster, Sarah loosened her fisted hands to stop her nails from biting into her palms and hefted her trash over the edge, her mind working a mile a minute. She had to get back to her apartment and find a way to distract Wolf for the day. If Peg got her clutches into him, Sarah might never get the chance to renew what they once felt…what she believed they felt. “I gotta rush, Peg. Nice seeing you, but I have some important errands to tend to. Catch you later.” Spinning on her heel, Sarah rushed back inside the building and down the hallway to her first floor apartment. She ignored the little voice in her mind that questioned her sanity.

* * *

Standing in the bathroom, Sarah stared into the mirror while she applied her make-up and styled her hair. Was the dream just that--a silly dream? If only she knew how to approach someone and ask the zillion questions whirling around in her brain. Why in the world would she conjure up a time when she was a pioneer woman on her way to California? Did she even have the courage to try and save another human being as she had Molly? Was all this a previous life? Experts claimed dreams meant something, but damned if this wasn’t the most confusing she’d ever had.

An image of Peg’s smiling face blurred Sarah’s own reflection, reminding her she had to hurry. A plan formed in her head as she shouldered her purse and closed her locked door behind her.

She stood at Molly and Wolf’s door, her palms sweating, and her breath halted. So far, no sign of Peg, but maybe she’d already been there. Sarah could only hope not. The woman was as annoying as a wart.

With a deep inhalation, she raised her hand and knocked, taking a final moment to straighten the tail of her silk blouse and run a pinch down the crease in her black dress slacks.

***

I can't wait to get back to it.   The great think about being a pantser is you never know where the story is headed until you get there.  I can't wait to see how Sarah handles Peg.  How about you?





Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Welcome Tracy Groot to Dishin' It Out


My guest today is Tracy Groot, author of Flame of Resistance, and the ARC is in my bulging TBR pile.   Since I've been sidelined from keeping up with reviews, I invited Tracy here today to share the inspiration behind her novel.  Now that I've read her post, I'm even more jazzed to savor her work.  In the meantime, I'm honored to present her and her latest release, which is published by Tyndale House Publishing.  They have some awesome authors signed there.  Ladies and Gents...I proudly present today's guest:

Tracy Groot
 Thanks for having me, Ginger!


            Flame of Resistance was inadvertently inspired through a favorite series, HBO’s Band of Brothers. The series made me want to read the book by Stephen Ambrose, and the style of Ambrose made me a fan. So, hooked on Ambrose, I picked up one of his lesser known works called Pegasus Bridge, a fascinating account of the spearhead action of D-Day, as fought by the British Sixth Airborne Division. This bridge in Benouville, Normandy, was crucial to the D-Day plan; if not taken and held, Rommel could have used it to send his 21st Panzer Division down to the Normandy beaches. The book is all about the Allied plan to take and hold the bridge. It also talks about the French side of the equation, through the eyes of many Benouville residents who worked with the French Resistance to get bridge intelligence to the Allies. Ambrose mentions, in passing, a French brothel set up in war-time Benouville for German officers…and that’s when the story came.

            What if one of those prostitutes was sympathetic to the cause? What if she were willing to risk her life to help the Allies take France? What if there’s a downed American pilot, and a French Resistance worker, and…

            With a story idea generally in place, and preliminary research for WWI and II laid down, my husband and I headed to Normandy, France, in the summer of 2010. We hung around the little village of Benouville until the locals got to know us quite well--at a local museum, one of the curators called a cafĂ©/bike place to reserve touring bikes for us; when he told them our names, the guy said, “Ah yes, the Americans. They come every morning for breakfast.” Apparently, not many Americans hang out in Benouville for days on end, asking questions and snapping photos!

            Jack and I visited every place in France and England that had relevance for the story, including the American Hospital in Paris, (where we got yelled at for asking questions and snapping photos…) and the Molesworth RAF base not far from London. When we got lost on a long walk in France, I worked it into the storyline; I thought I was following the signs for the cemetery we wanted to visit: we ended up at a cimenterie--a cement works! (So much for my high school French.) Determined to get mileage out of this half-day-long mistake, I worked the cimenterie into the plotline, and it became the family business of Monsieur Rousseau.

            While a strong sense of place was needed for the story, I also needed insider information. I interviewed a lot of elderly folk who had either flown P-47s over the beaches on D-Day, or lived through the German Occupation of France and the Netherlands. It made the story close to the bone for me, as I placed my characters into the real situations lived by so many. Many fascinating books were quite helpful to get the feeling of early 1940s France and Netherlands, including Things We Couldn’t Say, by Diet Eman, Outwitting the Gestapo, by Lucie Aubrac, and Americans in Paris; Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation, by Charles Glass.

            Stephen Ambrose got the ball rolling. That’s why I find history books so fascinating. You never know what little piece will break off and find a home. For me, all he had to do was mention a brothel. Could’ve been something a little more noble, like a church or a children’s hospital, but there ya go--inspiration sometimes comes calling in bright red lipstick.

Here's the book blurb:

Years of Nazi occupation have stolen much from Brigitte Durand. Family. Freedom. Hope for a future, especially for a woman with a past like hers. But that changes the day American fighter pilot Tom Jaeger is shot down over occupied France. Picked up by the Resistance, Tom becomes the linchpin in their plan to infiltrate a Germans-only brothel and get critical intel out through Brigitte, a prostitute rumored to be sympathetic to the Allied cause.

D-day looms and everyone knows that invasion is imminent. But so is treachery, and the life of one American pilot unexpectedly jeopardizes everything. He becomes more important than the mission to a man who cannot bear to lose another agent and to a woman who is more than just a prostitute, who finally realizes that her actions could change the course of history.

This book is slated for a June 2012 release, but If you'd like to read a free sample, you can find it on Amazon.

 Note from Ginger:  I'd like to thank Tracy for taking time to guest here today.  I urge all of you to read the sample of Tracy's work.  She writes with description and emotion that readers appreciate, and I'm pretty sure you'll feel just like I do...can't wait to finish the whole book.  (big grin.)

Monday, May 28, 2012

TIMELESS QUOTES ABOUT WRITING

Here are some interesting and worthwhile quotes about writing ~ written by authors many of us know and respect. Enjoy.
     “If you have a story that seems worth telling, and you think you can tell it worthily, then the thing for you to do is to tell it, regardless of whether it has to do with sex, sailors or mounted policemen.” —Dashiell Hammett, June 1924
     “The writing of a novel is taking life as it already exists, not to report it but to make an object, toward the end that the finished work might contain this life inside it and offer it to the reader. The essence will not be, of course, the same thing as the raw material; it is not even of the same family of things. The novel is something that never was before and will not be again.” —Eudora Welty, February 1970
     “You yearn to turn out a book-length, your typewriter is silently shrieking abuse, you are itching to go. First read! Read the work of top-notch writers in your field. They know how! Read first for entertainment, then reread for analysis. Soak yourself in their stuff—for atmosphere, color, technique.” —Fred East, June 1944
     “One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.” —Lawrence Block, June 1981
     “The trap into which all writers have, will, or should fall into, of writing The Great American Watchamacallit, is such an uncluttered and inviting one that from time to time I’m sure even the greatest have to pull themselves up short by the Shift key to remind themselves that it is story first that they should write.” —Harlan Ellison, January 1963
     “It’s like making a movie: All sorts of accidental things will happen after you’ve set up the cameras. So you get lucky. Something will happen at the edge of the set and perhaps you start to go with that; you get some footage of that. You come into it accidentally. You set the story in motion and as you’re watching this thing begin, all these opportunities will show up. So, in order to exploit one thing or another, you may have to do research. You may have to find out more about Chinese immigrants, or you may have to find out about Halley’s Comet, or whatever, where you didn’t realize that you were going to have Chinese or Halley’s Comet in the story. So you do research on that, and it implies more, and the deeper you get into the story, the more it implies, the more suggestions it makes on the plot. Toward the end, the ending becomes inevitable.” —Kurt Vonnegut, November 1985
     “Don’t expect the puppets of your mind to become the people of your story. If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood.” —Leslie Gordon Barnard, May 1923
     “If you tell the reader that Bull Beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snake’s blood in his veins, the reader’s reaction may be, ‘Oh, yeah!’ But if you show the reader Bull Beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes!” —Fred East, June 1944
     “We writers are apt to forget that, as the gunsmoke fogs and the hero rides wildly to the rescue, although the background of this furious action is fixed indelibly in our own minds, it is not fixed in the mind of the reader. He won’t see or feel it unless you make him—bearing always in mind that you can’t stop the gunfight or the racing horse to do the job.” —Gunnison Steele, March 1944
     “Plot, or evolution, is life responding to environment; and not only is this response always in terms of conflict, but the really great struggle, the epic struggle of creation, is the inner fight of the individual whereby the soul builds up character.” —William Wallace Cook, July 1923
     “Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s Plot.” —Leigh Brackett, July 1943
     “You can’t write a novel all at once, any more than you can swallow a whale in one gulp. You do have to break it up into smaller chunks. But those smaller chunks aren’t good old familiar short stories. Novels aren’t built out of short stories. They are built out of scenes.” —Orson Scott Card, September 1980
     “Don’t leave your hero alone very long. Have at least two characters on stage whenever possible and let the conflict spark between them. There can be conflict with nature and your hero can struggle against storm or flood, but use discretion. … You could write a gripping story about a struggle between a lone trapper and a huge, clever wolf. But the wolf is practically humanized in such a story and fills every role of villain. The wolf too wants something and does something about it. A storm doesn’t want anything and that’s why its conflict with man is generally unsatisfactory. It doesn’t produce the rivalry which is the basis of good conflict.” —Samuel Mines, March 1944
     “The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written.” —Joyce Carol Oates, April 1986
     “The writing of a mystery story is more of a sport than a fine art. It is a game between the writer and the reader. If, once in a while, a really fine book comes out of this contest, that is good; but the game’s the thing. If, on Page 4, the reader knows that the soda cracker is spread with butter mixed with arsenic, and later on this is proven to be true, then the reader has won the game. If, however, when the reader finishes the book, he says, ‘I didn’t get it—all the clues were there, plain as who killed Cock-Robin, but I didn’t get it,’ then the author has won the game. The author has to play fair, though. He has to arrange his clues in an orderly manner, so that the reader can see them if he looks hard enough.” —Polly Simpson Macmanus, January 1962
     “Authors of so-called ‘literary’ fiction insist that action, like plot, is vulgar and unworthy of a true artist. Don’t pay any attention to misguided advice of that sort. If you do, you will very likely starve trying to live on your writing income. Besides, the only writers who survive the ages are those who understand the need for action in a novel.” —Dean R. Koontz, August 1981
     “What the young writer is looking for is not a critic who will slap him on the back and say, ‘Greatest thing since O. Henry,’ but rather the one who will toss the manuscript down in disgust, with ‘You know better than that! It’s rotten! Do it all over again!’” —Henry Sydnor Harrison, March 1923

Saturday, May 26, 2012

No Six Sentence Sunday Today

I missed the 'linky' sign up, and figured this was a good time to take a break.  I haven't been getting many visits because I've not been too available to comment on the work of my peers, and fair is fair.  I still advise you to follow Six Sentence Sunday for some very entertaining reads, and I hope to get back there next Sunday.  But, not one to miss an opportunity to share something, here's my latest news.

Take a gander at the cover of my current sequel to Sarah's Heart.  I had planned to write this continuation after finishing Chugiak Moon, but the comments on Amazon about an ending that some truly didn't GET or like, prompted me to move Sarah's Passion up on my to do list, and I hope to have it finished very soon.  Seeing this cover has certainly urged me to get my butt in gear.  Books We Love knows how to inspire me.

 Honestly though folks, we don't all write the same neatly tied up stories that fit into the box that seems to be expected.  I like to push the boundaries a bit, and even though I write mostly historical fiction, I still try to find ways to arrive at the HEA everyone seems to crave despite the happenings and habits of the time period.  One reviewer summed up Sarah's dilemma so nicely:

No Cookie Cutters

Sarah's attempt to begin a new life in California ends when her wagon train is attacked. Almost everyone dies, except Sarah, who struggles off into the wilderness to find her way back to the nearest settlement. This too might have ended badly, but she is rescued by a handsome young man named Wolf, whose parents were a white man and an indian woman. On the trail back to town, they fall in love. Sadly, this is the mid-19th Century and "the only good indian is a dead indian" in the eyes of nearly every white person they meet. The characters are three-dimensional, and the writing and construction of the story is, in every sense of the word, professional. The author has done her homework on a myriad of old west subjects, so the scene and setting--dusty, hot and sometimes dangerous--sprang to life as I read. The final chapter, which has put a few readers into a quandry, was IMO an imaginative way to satisfy the romance reader's desire for an HEA. It was an abrupt switch, yes, but the author's skill at world building flew me easily over the gap. Perhaps the present will be kinder to these "star-crossed" lovers. 


I'm really excited to share more of Wolf and Sarah's story with you and, who knows, maybe I'll even need to write a third in the series.  :)


 
While I have your attention, I also wanted to comment on the posts where other readers take issue if one author reviews the work of another.  I don't get the problem.  I was a reader, long before I became an author, and since learning the craft even better, I certainly know a good book from a bad one.  I believe most authors have the professionalism to be truthful in their reviews because nothing is to be gained from one left out of friendship.  I follow my mother's advice...if I can't find something nice to say, then I shut up.

My goal is to continue to learn and grow, and I take all comments to heart.  What I don't GET is why people need to be so mean and spiteful.  Can you say C-O-N-S-T-R-U-C-T-I-V-E criticism.  I really get ticked when people give away the entire gist of the story.  You can simply say you would have liked something different, but to use *spoiler* and influence my livelihood is like a slap in my face.  Honestly, some people like my stories, and I spend a lot of time pouring words and emotion into those pages to help my characters come to life.



Thursday, May 24, 2012

RITA ASKS ~ WHAT ARE YOU READING

I'm very busy doing research . . . a rare time I'm not reading a novel.  For this reason I'm relying on sharing a book (this time a series) that has long been a favorite read of mine.  If you haven't read them . . . you won't regret it.
This exciting trilogy of original novels features the ancestors of the Holts. Brothers Clay and Jefferson Holt are forced into a blood feud with a murderous clan in the Ohio Valley. To end it, they strike out for a new start in an untamed territory of danger and breathtaking wonder--and to found the dynasty that will become a legend.

Once there was a wilderness so vast, no white man had ever crossed it.  Then Lewis and Clark became the pathfinders for a nation, opening up a land of limitless possibilities that called with a siren's song to brave men looking for a dream . . . the first Holts.  In the heart of this majestic land, Clay Holt and his Sioux Wife, Shining Moon, lead a perilous expedition up the Yellowstone River.  While Clay and his band confront fierce storms and the plots of adversaries, brother Jeff Holt heads back East on a treacherous quest; impetuous young cousin Ned takes to the high seas; and in the East, Melissa Merrivale Holt struggles against the unscrupulous businessman to means to have her.  With the bravery and fighting spirit, the intrepid Holts battle on . . . to shape the destiny of a nation and to build and American dynasty.

 This book is third in the Frontier Series of the Holts by Dana Fuller Ross. Westward being the first and Expedition the second. I would recommend reading these first before reading this one. It is staged in 1809 after the Lewis/Clark expediation of which Clay was a member and falls for the new frontier. Jeff Holt finally rids himself of his nasty father in law. The only thing is that the author is a little brutal with the Garwood clan. The actual author is James Reasoner using the Pen name from the famous Wagons West series.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spoilers? Love 'em or hate 'em?

I've already blogged about reviewers who take cheap shots at some of the books they review, simply because the book doesn't meet their expectations, but one thing I forgot to address is those who give away the entire ending of a book and think it's okay to do that as long as they put ***spoiler*** in the title or body of their review.

Honestly?  I would never reveal the ending of a book regardless of how I felt about the content.  If I'm disappointed, I generally look for the positives in the book to comment about, and I might even stress that the book wasn't my cup of tea, but I certainly wouldn't divulge the entire plot and lessen the chance that someone else might be tempted to purchase the book and form their own opinion.  I find I rarely agree with those who leave their "snarky" comments and show little or no regard for the hard work I know each author pours into a book.  Certainly, I never read a book with expectations that the author is going to write a story that fits into the neat little box I've created in my mind.  AND...The old saying, "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free," doesn't only apply to sex!

I read a joke yesterday that really applies to these severe critics.  Even though I've heard different versions, I laughed at the punchline because I could imagine saying this to someone who has never written a book, doesn't know the first thing about writing one, and doesn't take into consideration the time, effort, caring, and hard work that goes into pouring your heart into page after page. I've read lots of books I didn't especially enjoy, but their was a value to each and no reward to me for publicly berating the author.

A woman was seated next to a young girl on an airplane and she turned to her. "Do you want  to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your  fellow passenger."
 

 The girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the  total stranger, "What would you want to talk  about?"
 

 "Oh, I don't know," said the woman, her gaze resting on the novel. "How about why some authors think they can write and clearly can't, how they come up with their stupid plots and endings, or why some of the worst I've ever read make the best selling list?" She smiled smugly.
 

 "OK," the young girl said. "Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?"
 

 The woman, visibly confused by the girl's question, thinks about it and says, "Hmmm, I have no idea."
 

 The girl raises her brow and says,  "Do you really feel qualified to discuss authors and their work when you don't  know shit?"

And then she went back to reading her book.

I can't think of a better place to end.  *smile*




COMMENTS ABOUT ATTITUDE

Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.  Norman Vincent Peale
     When you pray for anyone you tend to modify your personal attitude toward him.  Norman Vincent Peale
     If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in his life. Billy Graham
     It is not the body's posture, but the heart's attitude that counts when we pray.  Billy Graham
      Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.  Brian Tracy
     You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.
Brian Tracy
     Like success, failure is many things to many people. With Positive Mental Attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.  W. Clement Stone
     There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.W. Clement Stone
     Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect.
W. Clement Stone
     Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
Viktor E. Frank
     The last of human freedoms - the ability to chose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances. Viktor E. Frank
        If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.  Colin Powell
     We submit to the majority because we have to. But we are not compelled to call our attitude of subjection a posture of respect.  Ambrose Bierce

Monday, May 21, 2012

Writing the Blurb by Vijaya Schartz ~

     •After reading the following article on 'writing the blurb' I knew I must ask Vijaya if I could share it on our blog.  She graciously said yes . . . I hope you enjoy and learn from it as much as I have ... Thanx Vijaya!
       Authors are good at writing the story in all its interesting details, but when it comes to writing a promotional piece to sell it, it takes a different state of mind. The book becomes a product you need to promote. Here are a few tips to make sure your blurb will attract the right kind of readers, those most likely to like your particular story.
     In a bookstore or on the web, readers only take eight seconds to make up their mind about whether or not they want to buy a book. The first hook is the cover. The second is the blurb, also called back cover blurb for print books. This is your only chance to convince them that they really want to read your book, and you only have about 100 words to do it. But for now just write the slightly longer version, you’ll cut it down later.
     Elements of a good blurb: - A hook - something intriguing to draw the reader into the story
- A powerful or atmospheric opening statement.
- Emotion to engage the reader
- A pay off or a promise that leaves the buyer wanting to know more.
     The question technique: To grab the reader, one technique is to play the WHAT IF? game and place the reader in the protagonist’s shoes. Example: What would you do if the US President was shot in front of your eyes and you knew the killer?
     Use present tense. It works better, more immediate, more active, even if the novel is written in past tense. Use active form and buzz words (death, betrayal, secrets, murder, intrigue, abduction, etc.) Strong words bring strong emotional responses.
     The first sentence should tell us the most important element of the story. It could be the shorter version of the blurb when only a few words are allowed. Example from my novel Alien Lockdown: “The year is 3033, in the Andromeda Galaxy, and in the bowels of the underground intergalactic prison, something has gone terribly wrong.” Immediately, the reader knows what kind of book this is, and will expect lots of action in a science fiction setting.
     The blurb should also reflect the tone, the author’s voice, and the atmosphere of the book. A Regency Romance will give us the flavor, if not the language of the time. An action thriller will use different buzz words than a humorous rump or a slapstick comedy, or a chick lit novel.
     The premise and theme technique works well with relationships and romance novels and other popular fiction genres, using these simple guidelines:
- He wants (state his goal)
- She wants (state her goal, and it should conflict with his)
- But (state his internal conflict, his fears, his weakness)
- And (state her internal conflict, her fears, her weakness)
- Then when (state the external conflict, what prevents them from realizing their goals and sets them on a collision course, or will complicate the story – often, a villain intervenes to thwart their plans)
     Tell the information in order of importance. Often the blurbs are cut or only the first part is shown on a website. If you have your main hook in the very first sentence, it will be shown. But if your main hook is towards the end of the blurb, the reader will never see it. For a longer blurb, make sure that if only the first paragraph is posted, it will still hook the reader.
     Other techniques include the list, which might work better for a suspense. Example:
The prize: His two kidnapped children
The rules: Trust no one, betray anyone, win, whatever the cost
The pawns: His lover and his best friend
The opponent: The most dangerous terrorist in history
The game: A game of betrayal
     After you have defined all these elements, you must cut your blurb down to about 100 words in most cases, and that’s the most difficult part. Shorter blurbs are more powerful than longer ones.
   Here is my blurb for the series: CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE:  From history shrouded in myths, emerges a family of immortal Celtic Ladies, who roam the medieval world in search of salvation from a curse. For centuries, imbued with hereditary gifts, they hide their deadly secret... but if the Church ever suspects what they really are, they will be hunted, tortured, and burned at the stake.
     Here is the blurb for PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE, Book One in that series, out in March 2012:
     806 AD - Alba (Ancient Scotland) - As the Vikings raid the coast of Alba, Pressine of Bretagne sets out to seduce King Elinas of Dumfries, chosen by the Goddess to unite the tribes against the foreign invader. Elinas, still mourning his departed queen, has no intention to remarry. Head-strong and independent, Pressine does not expect to fall for the very attractive, wise and noble ruler... Furthermore, her Pagan nature clashes with the religious fanaticism of the king’s Christian heir, who suspects her unholy ancestry, and will stop at nothing to get rid of her.
     NOAH’S ARK ~ When Trixie's starfreighter, Noah's Ark, drops out of jump space in an uncharted part of the universe, she believes the M class planet on her viewer represents hope and salvation for her motley crew, and the ragtag settlers aboard her ship.
     Kostas, ex Space Marine, the expert survivalist recruited for this expedition, doesn't believe in coincidences, and knows that when something looks too good to be true, it usually is.
     Everyone on this voyage to seed a new planet with life, is running from something, and harbors dangerous secrets... including Trixie, who vowed to never let a man control her life again. As for Kostas, he would get lynched on the spot if anyone suspected who he really is.
     But on this seemingly abandoned planet, others are watching, herding them for evil purposes... And when the truth emerges and secrets unravel, Trixie and Kostas will have to fight for survival, for freedom, and for the right to love...
     Born in France, award-winning author Vijaya Schartz never conformed to anything and could never refuse a challenge. She likes action and exotic settings, in life and on the page. She traveled the world and claims she comes from the future.Her books collected many five star reviews and literary awards. She makes you believe you actually lived these extraordinary adventures among her characters. Her stories have been compared to Indiana Jones with sizzling romance. So, go ahead, dare to experience the magic, and she will keep you entranced, turning the pages until the last line.  (*Edited by Teresa Crumpton*)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ginger's Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to Dishin' It Out.  I appologize for not making my usual rounds last week, but I got to spend a few unplanned days in the hospital.  I'm back this week with another six from my WIP, Chugiak Moon.  Remember, this is a first draft and I'm researching as I go until I get back to Alaska to learn more about the Tanaina tribe.

Set Up: Nasnana  is trying to fall asleep after working hard all day with those who have gathered along the caribou migration trail to repair the fence and surround in order to replenish their stores for the coming winter.  During the day, she came face-to-face with someone of another clan who stirs an unusual interest and she can't seem to get him off her mind:

She snuggled down and scrunched her eyelids together. Still thoughts tumbled through her mind, but she steeered them away from his hauntingly handsome face.  Each day, the weather turned colder. Winter white lingered in the gray clouds that masked the sky. Soon, snowshoes and heavy parkas would be necessary to combat the icy months ahead. She much preferred the long summer days, even though hours of continuous daylight called for the sacrifice of the beautiful northern lights.

Now head back to Six Sentence Sunday and follow more links.

Friday, May 18, 2012

An Anniversary of Sorts

Divorce doesn't have to be a mean and spiteful occurence.  Sometimes things change, and people grow apart because of them.  I know because that happened in my first marriage.  There isn't ever a time when you can consider you've passed that "safety line" that keeps divorce from your door. I learned that after thirty-two years, but I left with sorrow in my heart rather than bitterness.  My then husband developed a love for Jack Daniels that drove a wedge through our union.  He was sick, he didn't stop loving me.

I've been re-married for almost sixteen years, and not one of the previous years passed without a call on May 18th from my ex, reminding me that the day held a special meaning for us.  In May of 1963, he proposed to me, and he never forgot the date.  Many years, I did, but he never let it slip his mind, and he never failed to call to tell me I was always going to be the only women he loved.

Last year was the first year I didn't get that call, because he passed away on April 19th.  I was still grieving his loss and "our" special day passed by without recognition.  This year,  I'm really going to miss his phone call.  I realized that today is May 18th, and the phone isn't going to ring, and I'm not going to hear his voice say, Remember what today is?"  Well, Dale, wherever you are, I do remember, and despite being very much in love with my husband, Kelly, even he knows I will always love you.  I don't know if I ever told you in so many words, but it was an honor being your wife and the mother of your children.  You are missed, especially today when you always brought a smile to my face. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

RITA ASKS ~ WHAT ARE YOU READING?

     Nothing is more important than a positive attitude. For years I’ve studied the effects of ‘self-talk’ ~ what we say to ourselves ~ and let’s face it . . . we wouldn’t talk to our best friends the way we talk to ourselves.

     I firmly believe ‘attitude is a choice’ . . . and that is how I live each day. I wasn’t always so positive . . . but be sure I am now. I have used many aids to teach myself how to create a positive attitude in my thoughts and actions. I believe a smile can be heard over a phone . . . just try sounding angry while you’re smiling!
     So, if you wake up and feel a bit ‘cranky’ or ‘under the weather’ . . . choose to smile and change your day around. You’ll find it becomes habit. People will comment on how you’re always happy and refreshing to be around. That encourages you to be even happier . . . cheerier . . . your smile becomes a part of you ~ and everyone around you. Positive attitude is a win-win.
     Recently I’ve come across a fabulous tool to keep that positive attitude in my office . . . a daily habit that is exciting. What am I reading?
Publication Date: January 1, 2004
    In this concise yet information-packed book - which you can listen to on the enclosed CD or read at your leisure - bestselling author Louise L Hay shows you that 'you can do it' - that is, change and improve virtually every aspect of your life by understanding and using affirmations correctly. Well known for her positive affirmations, Louise explains that every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation. Many of your own thoughts are merely habitual and learned from childhood - they may work well for you but you will also have thoughts creating experiences you don't want. You can learn how to eliminate these and replace with affirmations to give you the confidence to attain the wonderful, joy-filled life you deserve.

Power Thought Cards (Beautiful Card Deck)
Louise Hay

    These are fabulous cards . . . and I can hardly wait to start each day with a random affirmation card.  Affirmations are the best tool you can use to teach yourself positive 'self-talk' and a possitive attitude.  Each day - place a card in an obvious place . . . where it will reaffirm you all day long. 
    A card a day sends a smile and positive feelings your way!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sarah's Heart ---Uh, Ginger's Heart Scare

Sarah's Heart is my new release, but I'm here to talk about my own heart today.  The following story is quite emotional, so you might want to have a hankie handy.  :)  Maybe it's not same caliber of heroics Sarah exhibited, and I certainly didn't have Jimmy Thomas to hold my hand, but it was quite an experience for me.  Growing old is definitely filled with challenges, and I, for one, could forgo most of them.  That doesn't mean I'm ready to throw in the towel, I'm not! I have a lot left to do, I'd just like to look and feel better while I'm here.  :)  On a side note, Rita's post yesterday about pennies struck close to home.  As I got out of my car at the hospital, I found a penny on the ground.  I never step over them...always pick them up.  I remember the saying, "Find a penny, pick it up, all day long, you'll have good luck."  The "Trust in God" association is taking place of the poem for me, because I definitely do.  Funny how that faith can bring peace when you most need it.

Mortality is a fragile thing.  The older we get, the more we think about it.  The old saying, "only two things in life are certain, death and taxes," suddenly rings very true.  Recently, I had a scare...as you can see from the not-so-lovely picture. I got to wear a beautiful hospital gown and be hooked to heart monitors.  I've come to the conclusion that hospitals are where modesty goes to die. :) You can't be ashamed to bare anything in front of anyone.  My who-who got more exposure than Fifty Shades of Gray.

I drove myself to the ER because the symptoms I was having had been going on for three weeks.  I'd already had a stress test, saw the Cardio doc a second time, and had been scheduled for an angiogram.  I made the decision because I felt unusually bad on Sunday and I didn't want to bother anyone.  I must admit, when you claim chest pains and shortness of breath, you get to move directly to the express lane.

 So after laying on an ER gurney for three hours, I was taken to a room with a much more comfortable bed, but one that adjusts itself constantly to prevent the occupant from getting bedsores or any type of rest. 

I didn't sleep one minute the entire almost two days I was there because evidently falling asleep is against house rules.  Even if I could sleep, some poor lady down the hall yelled "help me, help me," non stop.  I don't know where she got the energy because I was exhausted from listening to her.  I was informed she was confused and being tended to, but I can only take the nurses' word for that.

Just as you start to doze, someone comes in to draw blood, take your vitals, do an EKG, ask if you've peed or pooped, or to tidy up the room.  Add to the mix, an IV machine that buzzes for no apparent reason until someone comes to reset it.  I swear if they're as slow in responding to a real emergency as they are the non-stop buzzing that's going on, the death rate would definitely rise.  The buzzing starts out low and increases the longer it goes.  I'm not deaf in my left ear.

Don't get me wrong.  The nurses there are professional, polite, and very through.  Maybe being spread so thin didn't help at all.  I shouldn't complain about my treatment, but if I didn't what would I have to blog about?

As I said, the ultimate test for my symptoms was an angiogram, so after seeing the ER doc, my personal physician, then some doctor that wandered in who I'd never seen,  I consulted with a cardio doc who suggested we get the test done ASAP.  I barely had time to breathe before they came for me.  With each visit, a little cash register in my head went, "cha-ching."  A lot of cha-chings when they brought me the toothpaste, brush, shampoo, kleenex, comb, wash bin, mouthwash and a pair of footies that have noskid tops and bottoms.  I'm still trying to figure that out.  The top "tread" catches on the cover and pulls them off your feet.  Who thought that up?

Anyhow, I was wheeled into a room that felt like the north pole and assured that my "private parts" would not be exposed.  With a blanket across my top and my legs, I sure felt like something was exposed.  I was told to lay flat, not move...even to scratch my nose.  I was promised medicine to numb the artery area and some that would make me "not care."  I had to ask for more numbing medicine, and somewhere during the pain, I mentioned to the nurse, "I still care."  The amount of "tenting" used kept the little "cha-ching" sound going non-stop in my head, but I must admit, I might have froze without it.  I don't know how those people work in there without Parkas.

As luck would have it, the doctor said I had a small femoral artery.  Funny how anything small on me, other than my top lip, is hidden.  Well, actually, it isn't really all that funny.  I felt pretty sure the doctor was using a Craftsman rotating screwdriver, but I didn't dare lift my head and try to see. I had total faith in my  doctor, but that doesn't mean I had to enjoy the discomfort. 

Is it just me, or do other women have problems with male nurses?  It's not that I'm sexist, I just prefer not to have two men staring at my groin at the same time.  But then, I've never liked anyone staring at my groin.  :) Maybe I'm just jealous because I can't see it all.  How embarassing...I had to call my DIL today to help me replace the pressure bandage with a bandaid because I couldn't see where to put it.  Sad!

  The procedure didn't last long, thank goodness, but now I'm hobbling around like an old woman with a stick up my butt.  Well, I am a old woman, but sans the stick. I miss my husband.  There's no one here to wait on me.  :(

The good news, my heart is okay.  The bad news, I still don't know what's causing me to be short of breath and have heaviness in my chest.  I sort of have an idea and I'm going to experiment by wearing my bra twenty-four hours a day.  I got the idea when I kept apologizing to the technicians giving me the EKGs for their having to lift my boob to put on those little sticky tabs.  I think I said something like, "Twenty years ago, you wouldn't have had to do that...they were up where they belonged."  Yep, growing old is not for sissies...and gravity is a bitch!



PENNIES ARE PLENTIFUL

     You always hear the usual stories of pennies on the sidewalk being good luck, gifts from angels, etc. This is the first time I've ever heard this twist on the story. Gives you something to think about.....
     Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband's employer's home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house.
     The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband's employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely.
     As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment.
     Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts.
     Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny. He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure.
     How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?
     Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value.
     A smile crept across the man's face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see.
     She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?
            “Look at it,” he said. “Read what it says.”
            She read the words, “United States of 
            America.”
            “No, not that; read further.”
            “One cent?”
            “No, keep reading.”
            “In God we Trust?”
            “Yes!”
            “And... ?”

            He explained, “And if I trust in God, the  name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him. Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as my response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God's way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!”
     When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I add the words, “In God We Trust,” and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message. It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful! And, God is patient...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ginger's Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome back to Chugiak Moon, my historical romance WIP set in Alaska.  In the previous six, Nasnana hadccome face-to-face with a handsome stranger who offered her a drink.  Now, while tossing and turning in bed,  she's reflecting back and imagining a future, as most young girls do.

Today's six:




Her voice failing, she'd nodded and accepted the water then took a long draw. Had he noticed her among all the others and found her attractive? He wasn’t part of her matriarchal clan, so an eligible mate. Perhaps he had wealth enough to win her hand.

She shook her head to clear such foolish notions. Dreaming never hurt, but she didn't even know his name, and shyness had robbed her of words to ask.

***

Now that you've finished here, head back to Six Sentence Sunday and check out the other links.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Today on Amazon - Ta Da! Sarah's Heart

Guess what?  Today and tomorrow (5/11-5/12), Sarah's Heart is free on Amazon.  I recently had the good fortune to gain back my rights to this book, previously published as Sarah's Journey, and re-write it.  I like the new version released by Books We Love, Ltd., so much better, and I'm hoping Amazon will garner the attention I feel this book deserves...all positive of course (in my dreams.)

As far as good fortune goes...you'll notice I'm one of over 2600 authors featuring Jimmy Thomas on their cover.  I wasn't a big fan until I found the right picture and got to know him via email.  He is the nicest and funniest guy, and most helpful.  I volunteered to do a "cougar" cover with him, but for reasons my mirror tells me, I don't expect any phone calls to set up an appointment.  *lol*

I thought I might share one of my favorite scenes with you here and see if you like it. Oh...I guess I should share the blurb, too, so you'll know what the book is about:


Blurb:

Will the man of mixed blood save her life, or will she save his?

When Sarah Collins sets her sights on California for a new beginning, she never dreams a war party will attack the wagon train she travels on.  She and her new-found friend Molly are the sole survivors, but when Molly succumbs to her injuries, Sarah is left alone to find her way back to civilization. While trying to mount a stolen horse, she suffers a rattlesnake bite that threatens to accomplish what the Indians failed.  Is it her time to die or does Sarah have a purpose she's yet to discover?

Excerpt: 

  The orange sun had drifted closer to the horizon. Sarah scanned the trail from her lofty perch and grimaced. She saw nothing in the distance but endless prairie; no more trees or hills. At the thought of sleeping out in the open, being easy prey for scavengers and in plain sight of possible marauding Indians, she shivered. And she certainly didn’t want to catch up with the buffalo.
  She eyed the tree crotch where her belongings were nested and thought of the possibility of staying put until daylight. She’d never slept in a tree before, but given her choices, it seemed the best solution. The weather was mild enough that her jacket would keep her warm, and she could lean her head against her bedroll. She inched down, and while holding everything, she tried to get into a comfortable position. With her feet resting on one branch and her bottom supported by the trunk, she tucked her valise next to her body and held her gun in her lap. The hard wagon bed had been more comfortable than this.
The sun turned the sky into a pallet of pastels before the blazing orange orb disappeared below the horizon. She held her breath as the last thread of light faded and night encompassed her. The breeze that had earlier rustled the leaves fell still, and the silence of the empty prairie sent a shiver down her spine. Realizing isolation she’d never felt before, she sensed a lump forming in her throat. The loneliness when her ma and pa had passed had been horrid, but at least there were other humans around. Now, she felt like the only person in the world.
***
Hours had passed, and no matter how hard Sarah tried, she couldn’t sleep. Her legs had long ago turned numb, and her bottom ached from being in the same position for so long. She moved her upper body, trying to work out some of the kinks, wondering if the night would ever end. Her eyelids were leaden, but still sleep evaded her. Even nestled securely in the tree, her nerves were on edge. She heard noises below her—creatures of the night rutting for food, and she prayed none of them knew how to climb. After adjusting her bedroll beneath her head for the hundredth time, she quietly hummed a lullaby. It helped drown out the skittering sounds and brought back memories of her mother’s angelic voice.
Pain in her spine woke her; she was surprised that she had finally nodded off. She dangled her legs on either side of the branch and sat forward, arching her back. The half moon sat high enough in the sky to filter though the leaves and light the ebony night. The tree's shadow stretched out on the ground below, creating a monstrous profile, but somehow the night didn’t seem so menacing. Sarah still kept her pistol close and grumbled at her predicament. The illuminating slice above her showed it close to midnight; another half of the night remained. Frustration made her want to cry. She adjusted her position one more time and leaned back into the hammock of limbs.
Fatigue won the battle over discomfort, and Sarah slept. In her dreams, she walked with Molly, telling tales, sharing laughter, and…   Something summoned her back to awareness… a slow and steady ‘clopping’ slicing through their gaiety. She opened her eyes and tilted one ear upward to listen. The sound was real, not part of the dream, although it did resemble the steady hoof beats she recalled when Mr. Simms rode up and down the wagon train. Her mind whirled. Other animals had hooves. Maybe a buffalo strayed from the herd… a deer looking for water?  Perhaps an Indian?  Fear clutched her at her chest and stole her breath.
Sarah's bladder suddenly begged to be emptied. She constricted her stomach muscles and tried to ignore the uncomfortable feeling. Remaining frozen in place, she locked her hand around the butt of her gun, keeping one finger poised on the trigger. 

You can find Sarah's Heart on Amazon

Oh, and I have another blog post today on Inside Books We Love.  I'd love you to check it out.

RITA ASKS ~ WHAT ARE YOUR READING

Since I’m doing research for my Tango of Death series coming out later this year, I have been doing a lot of reading and research during the Holocaust. This series has been haunting me for about five years . . . fighting to be written. I just pray I’ll do the subject justice.



I just finished reading NIGHT, by Elie Wiesel. It’s haunting and provocative, a true testimonial to the Jewish soul . . . and the will to survive and serve as a human document to what truly happened. I highly recommend reading any book written by this author.


Night A terrifying account of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the death of his family...the death of his innocence...and the death of his God. Penetrating and powerful, as personal as The Diary Of Anne Frank, Night awakens the shocking memory of evil at its absolute and carries with it the unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again.

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