Saturday, March 24, 2018

Where So My Stories Come From? by Connie Vines #Round Robin







Where do my ideas for stories come from? 



I first have a sense of time and place.  My family and I were attending a rodeo in North Platte, Nebraska when I had a hint of a story.  It was a few days later I began hearing dialog when were where having breakfast in a country cafe.

This is where the story, "Lynx" about a rodeo cowboy and small town waitress/college student began.

My current release, "Tanayia--Whisper upon the Water," book 1, began when I was a board member for the Title IX Indian Education Program.
I was helping one of the students as she prepared  to dance in a local powwow.  It was I fingered the bead-work on her jingle-dress, that I knew I was going to write a historical novel from a young girl's pov.  

Are these stories a apart of me?  To a degree.  
  
Native American culture teaches that a Story finds the Story Teller.  It is the Story Teller's duty to give the story life.

I believe this is true.

Because I am the filter, then many of my personal beliefs, emotions filter through.  However, the story I tell is the character's story--not mine alone.

I believe my stories find me because of my I have a strong sense of duty, honor, of kindness, and the humor and joy I find in life.

My stories seem to always have a core social issue and a happy ending.

Thank you for stopping by today.


















Please stop by all of the members of our Round Robin Blog participants to see what tales they each have to share.

Happy Reading,

Connie

-- 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Writing Process by Connie Vines

Flash Back

The Writing Process

1.      What am I working on right now?
I work on multiple projects at once.  Is this a good thing?  Probably not—but rebel that I am, I do it anyway.  I’m finishing up the Second Act in my novella, Bell, Book, and Gargoyle and I’m three quarters through my anthology: Gumbo Ya Ya (an anthology for woman who like romance Cajun). While all this is going on, Rand, Book 3 in my Rodeo Romance Series in bumping around in my head. And Book 4, Crystal Thunder, in my Rodeo Romance Series is being plotted in my Dramatica Pro a thought at a time.

2.     How does my work differ from others in the genre?
I write in multiple genres and each of genres have a different “tone and focus”—in other words, a different ‘voice’.  My YA novel, Whisper upon the Water (Dream Award Winner, Nat’l Book Award nominee), is told in the 1st person.  The novel is complex; not only a coming-of-age but also a transformation of society as a whole (Tay is Apache, Nde). My heroine begins as a girl on the verge of womanhood, a member of her band, speaking her native tongue.  Kidnapped, held hostage, and manages to escape. Taken to a Native American boarding school, Tay learns a new language, skills, and encounters prejudice but also experiences kindness.  Later, she must make a very difficult choice.  Her decision will influence her life, as well as the lives of others.  The novel is written for YA level and is reading selection for the G.A.T.E. program in numerous SoCal schools, and was selected as a “Teen Read” at libraries at the time of its release.  My novel is being read by 7th grade students at an IB school this trimester, and student feedback is great!

In my Rodeo Romance Series: Lynx, Book 1, is a contemporary western romance and set in Montana and Texas. This book is lively.  Rachel is spirited and Lynx is hot and sexy—but both have had hardships in life.  My secondary characters add elements of comedy and unexpected plot twists. (Winner of the Award of Excellence, Finalist: H.O.L.T. Medallion, Orange Rose and Rocky Mt. Gold contests).  Brede, Book 2, is a western romantic suspense, set in New Mexico.  Since the novel is romantic suspense, I do not wish create a spoiler in this blog post.  I will say everyone one loves old Caldwell, the ornery old cook, and his cohorts.  Brede is strong-willed and caring; Amberlynn is beautiful and in mortal danger.  Rand, Book 3, is told in the 1st person: ChickLit meets the Wild West and goes straight to Hollywood. Lights, Camera, and a boot-full of Action! I am having, fun, fun with this novel!
Crystal Thunder, Book 4, has a more serious tone and is set in the Dakotas.

My stories are diverse, because, like most of us my life experiences are unique.

My stories take place in places I have lived, or where I have vacationed. I know my subject matter.  My father rodeoed while in high school in Texas. I grew up in a career military family and my childhood was nomadic.  I have been involved in Native America culture and educational programs. My husband is a Louisiana country boy.  I now live in SoCal—where, of course, I have met Hollywood television stars and facilitated workshops.

3.     Why do I write what I do?
The story calls to me, it is that simple.  I have a feeling of time and place.  Then I begin hearing snatches of dialogue (like when you are sitting in a coffee shop and you over hear snippets of conversation).  The story invades my life (well it does, just ask my husband).  Today, I’m listening to Zydeco music and I have gumbo in my crockpot.  I am compelled to complete the story.  Native American culture says, “The story comes to the Storyteller.  The Storyteller must bring it to life.” 

4.     How does my writing process work?
For short stories, novellas and anthologies, I utilize the basic W-plot with extra twists and pivotal points.  When I am writing a novel, or a novel series, I plot in acts and work with three chapters at a time (1-3, 4-6, etc.).  With the exception of short stories, I compile detailed backgrounds, motivation, and personality traits. I also conduct interviews, research, and immerse myself in the ‘culture/environment’ I am creating.  It is then I begin the first draft of my novel.  This will change as my characters begin to take over the book.  Any writer will agree with me, under no circumstances can you force you characters to act against his/her will.  You can, however, place huge obstacles in the way and see what happens.

Is my first draft perfect? No.  Is my third draft publishable? It’s probably close.  At this point in the writing process, if I have any bumpy spots, I’ll have writer friend look over those pages. She will give her opinion and suggestions—that I may, or may not follow (though I always give the input careful consideration).  Writing, after all, is subjective—as is a reader’s preference for one novel over another. 

To read the first chapter teasers of my novels please follow this link:  http://www.amazon.com/Connie-Vines/e/B004C7W6PE  


My Book Trailer to Brede, Rodeo Romance Book 2




Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have stop by next week at Dishin’ It Out out to read my next blog post.


Happy Reading,

Connie Vines




Sunday, March 4, 2018

Flash Back to the Past!

I miss Justin Wilson's Cajun Cooking Show.

I watched him on weekends. My husband is from Louisiana and enjoyed the mini vacation to the south  Gotta love Justin Wilson's  funny stories.  And, no matter what was on the stove, everything needed more wine! he would tell an no matter what every needed more wine!



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eK4umRMJlrs








Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Author Branding—Don’t Muddy the Waters (Part 1) by Connie Vines

Since this is my wedding anniversary, I'm posting a previous Bog Post.

I have been researching this topic via workshops, online chats, and discussion with other authors for several years.

The workshop I attended recently wrapped up the final meeting with: author branding was totally unnecessary.  (Well, that was a total waste of my money!)

So, does Connie have a brand?

No.

Does Connie still think she needs a brand?

Yes.  And no.

I know I need a memorable brand for each series that I write.  However, since I write in multiple genres, I don’t know if an all-encompassing brand is possible.  Or even practical.

We all know how much Connie loves to do research, enroll in online workshops, and conduct impromptu interviews with total strangers (to quote my husband, while we are in line at Souplantation, “why were you asking that man about the cost of a sleeve of tattoos?  You are not going there for the sake of research).  I handed him a napkin and smiled.  Now was not, I decided, the time to remind him that I had my eyebrows and eyeliner enhanced with “wake-up with make-up” tasteful, but still permanent ink.

How to Design Your Author Brand

Okay, it’s scramble time.  Find a piece of paper and something to write with.  You can use the note app in your phone, but I think pen to paper works better in this case. (If you write under more than one pen name, just select one.)


Ready?



Write down what your author brand is.  You have 10 seconds. Go!
Time’s up.

Were you able to write down your band?  Did you use 6 words or less?

Good for you.  You probably have a good idea of what your brand is.
If you didn’t (you are with me) don’t worry.  We will go about fixing the problem.

Brands Need to Be Specific

If you failed, the above test the reasons are likely because:

1. You don’t really know what your brand is yet.
2. You are over-describing your brand and couldn’t write it all down fast/concisely enough.

Now is the time to sit and ponder.  Strip away the contradictions, muddiness, superfluous.
What does a brand do?  A brand is a signal to customers to know what to expect when they see it.
Once they have had experience with a brand, they (hopefully) know what to expect.  Ideally this is a favorable expectation that encourages them to purchase your product, talk to their friends, and take chances on your next release.

How about a brand like this?

“Daring, Thrilling, Romantic, Action Packed.”

What if we change it to…

“Daring, Thrilling, Sexy, Action Packed”

A big difference isn’t it?

I selected very genre-esque words.  This was my intention because genres play a big role in branding. Brands are also about trust.

Remember genres and sub-genres are their own brands.

This is really important.    We already have a mind-set/expectations when we select a genre to read.  If you select a “Historical” novel (unless it is a sub-genre) you do not expect or probably appreciate elements of Urban Fantasy in the story-line.  Riding in stage coach, you prim-and-so proper heroine isn’t going to mesh with a hidden magical world featuring Fae, Vampires, and Werewolves.    So, unless you plan on inventing your own sub-genre (SteamPunk/StoneagePunk) with a limited readership, consider what you are inheriting from your genre.

Following these guidelines, I will attempt to come up with a brand for my current Rodeo Romance Series (BLW, BooksWeLove, Publsihing.).

Genre:  Contemporary Romance (Lynx), Romantic Suspense (Brede), Contemporary Romance/Humor (Rand), Romantic Suspense (TBT).

I’ll go with Romance as a genre.

Now to the dictionary and thesaurus.

For part 2, stop by next week.

(Feel free to post idea :-))

Connie 

Monday, February 26, 2018

"Classic Ginger" I Hear Voices, Do You? #pantser

I wonder now at people condemned to asylums because they insisted they had "voices in their heads." Could they have been authors? Especially, 'pantsers' and don't do any plotting?

I never had voices in my head before I started writing...now I've had more than I can handle in this lifetime...all screaming their ideas at me and wanting me to tell their story. I'v found myself so confused at times, I don't know which one to listen to, so I just didn't work on any. I've tried revising my writing style to plotting, but I just can't do it. I need my characters to lead me, but when they're all shouting???

Here's a typical day in my life, from the perspective of me and my 'crew.' Mot of these books are finished and available on Amazon, but I do have one pending.  All have new titles and covers.

Odessa: It's been days since you've typed a word of my story. Here I am, all goosebumpy over the fellow who found me in the middle of the desert, I'm dying to kiss him, and you've just left me hanging. Get on with it, would you? Odessa should be a first priority.  NOW TITLED;  ARIZONA SKY

Carrie: Whoa, hold on Dessie. Wait your turn. Ginger started First Degree Innocence long before your silly tale. You just jumped in and interrupted her with the ploy about your pa being trapped under a wagon or some such nonsense. Your urgency is a "kiss"? Really. I'm stuck in prison for something I didn't do, some ballsy chick called Jet is after me to help her set up a friend by planting a shiv, and all you can worry about is when you're gonna get kissed. Give me a break.

Meagan: Shut up, both of you. I gave Ginger the idea for a story that just might qualify for the Harlequin Undone series, even though she's not so great with steamy love scenes. *whispering* Don't tell anyone, but I think she's a prude at times.*back to yelling* The story requirement is only 15,000 words, so if you'll just take a seat and hold your tongues, maybe she can get creative and finish the damn thing. Crap...this just in. She shared the story with some cronies of hers and they tell her it's not hot enough. Now she's got this crazy idea to just make it an historical novella, called Tender Return. Geez, and I gave up my virginity for this?  NOW TITLED:  TIME INVESTED

Clarence: God, is bickering all you women ever do? I have murder cases to solve and lives to save. Sort of makes your silly little plot lines look weak, don't you think? I think The Pendant should take precedence. Right now, I've only had two deaths and I'm working on the cases, but  Ginger just submitted this to Books We Love for re-release so I'm waiting to find out who gets the necklace next, or where the darned thing came from. So stop your yammering so she can listen to me! WAS TITLED THE LOCKET.  IS AVAILABLE NOW ON BWL AS THE PRIZE FOR THEIR VALENTINE'S CONTEST.

Faith: *sniffing* What about me? I'm still waiting for her to start In Search of Joshua. How am I ever going to find happiness if all you keep taking cuts. FAITH IS PART OF AGES OF LOVE AND I STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN TO IN SEARCH OF JOSHUA.

Clarence: Taking cuts, my ass. You already have a book published with you as the heroine. Give someone else a chance. Geez, talk about greedy.

Faith: Well, it's not just me that's anxious. The people who read the first book...at the least a couple of reviewers, didn't care much for the ending because I didn't connect with Joshua. I have to find him.

Carrie: Take a chill pill, Faith. Try living behind bars and worrying your cellmate is going to snuff you out during the night and then come talk to me. I wish I knew if I was going to survive this story or not. I'm not getting any younger, ya know.

Joy: Hey...don't forget me. I know she only typed a paragraph of my story, but I have a wonderful one to tell...and with a twist none of you have come up with. I think she's stalling on mine because she just can't get kinky. But, I intend to keep yelling in her ear until she finishes Joy's Revelation. JOY'S REVELATION IS NOW PART OF DISCOVERY...A SEVEN SHORT STORY RELEASE IN WHICH EVERYONE DISCOVERS SOMETHING.  :)

Odessa: Revelation, smevelation. It's late. We all have a gripe, but we'd better shut up so Miss EPPIE nominee can get some sleep or she'll never finish anything. At least we know she must have some talent. *laughing*. Good night guys. Talk to you tomorrow.

Clarence: Okay, Goodnight. But I get first crack at her in the morning. It's only fair because lives are involved.

Faith: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. Whoever screams the loudest... Goodnight everyone...you too John Boy!

Everyone giggles.


If you are interested in any of my books, you can find them all on Amazon.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Hollywood Glam and Sunday Coffee by Connie Vines

"Tell them I'm indisposed."

Happy Sunday!

Hollywood Glam with your coffee, anyone?


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I hope you enjoyed a splash of Hollywood with your coffee.

Happy Reading :-)

Connie



Saturday, February 24, 2018

Fictional Teachers By Connie Vines #Round Robin Feb.

Topic: Your characters come from your mind, from other people you've witnessed, but can you create their lives without them revealing
something about yourself? Have they ever taught you something?




So are my fictional characters my 'great reveal'? To a degree I believe this to be true.  Every story is filtered through an author's view of the world, emotions, and life experience--at least for my heroine.  

Another challenging topic from Robin for our group of Round Robin Blog authors.

However, there is also a curtain we all have firmly in place--revealing only what we wish to reveal to others.  The same is true of our characters.  My heroine will be more like 'me' in my rough draft than she will be by the time I've completed my novel.  

In my soon to be released "Gumbo Ya Ya an anthology who like romance Cajun".  One of my heroines, Celeste, jumps overboard into a raging sea!

Not a plan of action in my 'non-fictional' life.  Runaway horse?  Yep, I'd saddle up.  Yoga on a mountain top?  Sure, with a soft yoga mat.  Dine on escargot, Rocky Mountain oysters, frog legs? I have.  Hold a 6 ft. python--yes, though someone else had a firm hold of upper portion of snake's body (no accidental snake-licks for me).  Jump into the sea?  Never. . .ever.

Image result for raging sea

I seem to be be more removed--meaning more analytical in the development of my secondary characters.  This is especially true when I seeped myself in the secondary character's world, work, and point of view.  I become the secondary characters, like a method actor.  

Now, my villains must have a motivation with a trigger rooted in a past event/or recent trauma.  Providing me with way I can explain (not justify) the villain's twisted reasoning/action. 

Yes, some people are evil, truly evil.  However, I have yet write a novel requiring I delve into that degree darkness, and doubt I every will.

The second part of the topic:  Have my characters every taught me something?

My current release, "Tanayia" Whisper upon the Water, Book 1 Native American/First People Series, taught me to not only view life, but experience the hardships though the eyes of another person.


Opening Prologue 1868:  

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

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

1880, Apacheria, Season of Ripened Berries

Isolated bands of colored clay on white limestone remained where the sagebrush was stripped from Mother Earth by sudden storms and surface waters.  Desolate.  Bleak.  A land made of barren rocks and twisted paths that reached out into the silence.

A world of hunger and hardship.  This is my world.  I am Tanayia.  I was born thirteen winters ago.  My people and I call ourselves "Nde" this means "The People".  The white man calls us Apache.


Stop by and see what stories other member of our Round Robin Blog authors have to share.

See you next month,

Connie






-- 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Sunday Breakfast or Breakfast on the Go! by Connie Vines

Today I thought I 'dish out' a favorite breakfast recipe of mine.
Why it this a favorite of mine?

  1. It's transportable
  2. It's make-a-head and freezable.
  3. It is loaded with protein and yummy.


Breakfast Egg Cups Recipe


 Serves: 8

 Prep Time: 10 m
 Cook Time: 20 m
 Print this Recipe  Save to Prepear What is Prepear?
Ingredients
1 – cooking spray
6 large – egg
1/4 cup – milk
1/8 teaspoon – salt
1/8 teaspoon – black pepper, ground
1 medium – bell pepper, red
3/4 cup – spinach
1/4 cup – cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and  set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Whisk the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Dice the bell pepper into small pieces. Stack the spinach leaves, roll them up, and slice them thin. (This method is called chiffonade.)

Add the peppers, spinach, and shredded cheddar to the egg mixture.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes until centers are set and no longer runny.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Extras may be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to a month. Microwave thawed egg cups on high for 45-60 seconds or until hot.

Nutrition Facts

NUTRITION PER SERVING% DAILY VALUE
Calories: 78 4%
Fat: 5 g 8%
Carb: 1 g 0%
Fiber: 0 g 0%
Protein: 6 g 12%
Sugar: 1 g

You may add different veggies, meats, cheeses, to your personal preference.  You may also use a cupcake liner instead of oil or non-stick cooking spray..

Enjoy!

Connie

Friday, January 19, 2018

What is Your Preferred Way of Exposing Your Characters? By Connie Vines

Topic: Point of View

Since I write in multiple genres, my point of view seems to remain the same within a specific genre.
My YA/Teen/Tween stories and novels are told in the first person.

 For me this is the most personal for the reader--meaning a reader is intimately involved in the story and steps into the main character’s mind.  The reader experiences emotions intensely, because he/she becomes the character.  And since few YA/Teens/Tweens are familiar with a ‘none-tech’ world, this is the best way to expose them to history/a new setting, etc.

 The single POV helps the story unfold in a way to allow the reader to understands life from an 1890 character.  No reaching for a cell phone, or grabbing a pizza for dinner!

When I write in first person, I do not change point of view of view.  I rely on dialogue or the main character’s observations to keep the reader aware of changes in plot etc.

The opening from my current release, Tanayia: Whisper upon the Water, Native American Series, Book 1

1880, Apacheria, Season of Ripened Berries

Isolated bands of colored clay on white limestone remained where the sagebrush was stripped from Mother Earth by sudden storms and surface waters. Desolate. Bleak.  A land made of barren rocks and twisted paths that reached out into silence.

A world of hunger and hardship.  This is my world.  I am Tanayia.  I was born thirteen years ago.  My people and call ourselves “Nde” this means “The People”. The white man calls us Apache. 

Second person point of view is far more challenging for me. I find if an author uses second person in literature, he/she does so to engage the audience more and to make them part of the story and action or possibly make a thematic point about the characters. Second person is much more common in nonfiction, especially self-help books and business writing.

Examples

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go." (Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Random House, 1990).
Think back to when you were a kid and read Choose Your Own Adventure books. Weren’t those fun? You got to be the main character and decide where the story went. Well, those were all in 2nd person.

Third person point of view. Third person is most often used in novels. Many readers prefer third person because it is so popular. It can work from the omniscient viewpoint of the author telling the story even to informing the reader what the character or different characters are thinking.

I write my Contemporary/ Romantic Suspense/ Paranormal in third person in a character’s limited viewpoint. Here a character tells their story through their own viewpoint and senses. It tells what they say, see, hear, feel or taste, and even what they think. Different characters’ viewpoints can be used, but a clear demarcation is used to show when the narrative switches from one character to another. I like this method because it remains very intimate to the reader, but allows easy change between characters, too, unlike first or second voice.

Opening scene: Lynx, Rodeo Romance, Book 1

Charlene hadn’t told Rachel that she’d fixed her up with a cowboy, much less Lynx Maddox, the “Wild Cat” of the rodeo circuit.  Rachel signed.  She should have known.  After all, Charlene only dated men who wore booth and Stetsons.

Rachel Scott cringed at the very thought even as her gaze took in the breadth of Lynx Maddox’s chest, his broad shoulders, and dark green eyes that scanned her with blatant masculine approval.

A snippet from: Brede, Rodeo Romance, Book 2


Brede couldn’t seem to stop watching and worrying about Kate.  Even though she was trying to hide behind the menu, he sensed her tension.  He had to grip the edge of the table to keep from taking the menu out of her hands and looking into those wide green eyes again, just to catch a glimpse of whatever it was he saw when she looked at him.  But he wasn’t going to do anything rash.  Not now, not ever.  He wasn’t going to take her back to the ranch—not even if Caldwell retired and it meant eating peanut butter sandwiches from here to eternity.

He might gnaw his tongue off trying to keep silent, but he wasn’t going to ask her to stay.

For a change of pace: Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow, A Sassy & Fun Fantasy


Since her sister was contemplating the contents of a tin filled with Danish cookies, Meredith found herself cataloging the events that led up to her ‘accident’.

A charter member of the SoCal Arts Association, she’d been participating in the annual Zombie Walk Festival in Long Beach when it ‘happened’. . .

I hope you enjoyed my post and the snippets from my stories.

amazon.comamazon.com    barnes and noble          BWL Publishing

Please visit stop by and see what all of our Round Rhobin participants have to say on this month’s topic!

Happy Reading,

Connie

Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1ag
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Anne de Gruchy https://annedegruchy.co.uk/category/blog/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/ 
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/

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