Saturday, June 27, 2020

Charming and Likable Villains in my Novels by Connie Vines

Charming and Likable Villains in my novels/short stories.

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

I must confess, most of my villains are villains in the true sense of the word and beyond redemption.  However, in my YA novels, my villains are 'tarnished'.  

Due to the subject matter for YA readers the bad-guy/gal in the story are 'tarnished'. Usually at one-point-in-time, they were good people.  Often with a life-time of good-works but for some reason he/she lost their way/purpose; or events of the past turned them into someone who is acting out of character/mentally ill.

Such is the case with Sister Enid, in Tanayia--Whisper upon the Water.
Sister Enid, at the start of her career made great improvement is the boarding schools for Native American children.  However, over the years she lost her compassion and her mind (all of which lies in her past--on explained due to spoilers).  

In my romance, Gothic, and other genre novels and stories, my villains are either purely evil (as in a paranormal or suspense), or tarnished.

Who do I consider a 'tarnished' or 'charming' villain?

In television series:

Lex Luthor of Smallville fame.

He had to be friends with Clark Kent. While evolving as a 'master criminal' to bring down Superman.

Hook of Once Upon A Time

Gone is the long-hair and bright pirate clothing we expect form this character.
Instead, he is dressed in mostly black attire with shorter hair, making him extremely clever and with behind the scene plans and schemes we don't usually is in Captain Hook. Just when you think he's turned into 'a good guy' he jumps right back to being the villain again.

Jim Moriarty of Sherlock

He's a genius criminal consultant, superior to Sherlock in every way.  In the end you think Sherlock wins but you're not close into the big picture. Moriarty still got what he wanted!

In novels:

Classic Literature

I have found that to character deemed the 'villain/evil person' in classic literature need to be 'given a second chance'.

Frankenstein's Monster (for heaven sake, look at this guy's backstory).

Long John Silver of Treasure Island fame.

Bertha Rochester of Jane Eyre fame.

Count Dracula of Bram Stoker's novel and of the 1992, Francis Ford Coppola movie fame.  There was also an excellent film were Dracula starts out as a hero.  In an effort to save him people and family, he knowingly because a vampire and is a hero in the end. Dracula Undead, 2014.  The perfect example of a heroic villain.

Do I believe that a villain can be portrayed as charming and likable?  Yes.

Will I have a charming and likable villain in one of my future novels?

Perhaps.  I do have a soft spot for 'vampire love-stories'.

Please visit these wonderful authors and see what they have to say!

Pre-Orders in July

Sunday, June 21, 2020

There's a New Puppy in My House by Connie Vines

Frequently, well often, I post about my dog Chanel (a Toy Poodle/Cavalier King Charles Spaniel-mix. 

Who as the years go by (she's 4 now), looks more and more like
a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel than she does a poodle.

Over the past several years I've meet looking for a second dog.
Not to large, because Chanel only weight 9 pounds and it fragile in bone structure.

20 years ago I had a rescue/abandoned greyhound, name Justine. We always say we love our current  pet the most.  But, Chanel and Justine are tied.  Justine was 16 when she passed away.  And if you love your pets like I do, they always visit you in your dreams.

Anyway.. . .  A greyhound was too much dog for me right now (no children at home with exercise/ change the dog up the street duty).  I was looking for a smallish dog.  Probably a male to change up our routine. And keep the Feral cats from looking down from the block wall ambush the birds at our birdbath and feeder.

I visited the three local shelters, watched the Pet-Harbor alerts and kept up-to-date on the rescue groups postings (I'm a member of 2).  With the Covid-19 stay-home alerts, everyone was adopting pets (which is a wonderful thing), leaving small dogs in short supply.

Two weeks ago, I was lucky (after 3-prior visits and no match-up) a Westie Terrier-mix was brought in as a stray.  He weighed 14 lbs and was a scruffy little lad.  Think: a white/matted Toto in "The Wizard of Oz". (Though Toto was a Carin Terrier).

I made a phone appointment.  Completed a second round of paperwork and meet the little guy.  He was like a larger, clumsy, version on Chanel.  So, Chanel and I came in later that afternoon for a meet and greet.

We were deemed a 'fit family unit'. I paid this adoption fee.  I also arranged to have him groomed the day before his surgery and boarded for the two days after.  (Since the puppy is a year old I knew he would be difficult to keep no-active in a home kennel).  Three days after his surgery he came home and it's like a miracle--he was completely potty trained.


We are all still adjusting,  Gavin (who still doesn't realize he has a name) is pretty well behave.  He has the puppy lack of focus but always has a happy expression on his face.

Chanel doesn't understand why his has such uncouth behaviors.  He stole 2 of her favorite toys when he has a brand new blue Kong stuffed doggie.  He also ran up and down the hall wall.  Ignoring the 'No running in the house," from Mom.

Do you recall the Peanuts Comic strip?  Where Snoopy runs over Linus.

Chanel was standing in the hall way and then she was picking herself up.  She was fine, but
Mom was hyperventilating.

We have a new routine going,

It's just too bad everyone is shooting fireworks and upsetting him (and me, Chanel crawls up next to me and goes to sleep).

Gavin has a blue tartan collar and leash, as Westies are a Scottish breed.  He loves his dry kibble.
Even with his Elizabethan collar he stretches out in in his large kennel, in the master bed room, and sleeps through the night.

I'm writing a novella and completing and anthology right now.  My next novel will most likely have a dog, or perhaps two, in secondary roles.

Westie West Highland Terrier With Photograph by M Photo

August Release/July pre-sale

October Release

Friday, June 5, 2020

New Contests and June Book Trailer @RomanceGems by Connie Vines

The Red and White Osiria Rose Has Taken the Internet by StormIt's June!  The month of the roses and pearls.

It's also a new month at Romance Gems.  We have a new contest, more give-a-ways, and a new Book Trailer. Stop by and sign-up!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Blogging about Perfuming at Romance Gems by Connie Vines

As you know. . .my next release from BWL Publishing is an anthology.  My anthology has 5 stories with 5 different leads and stories.  However, the tie-in is Cajun romance.  In story number 2, my heroine, Persia Richmond, is a perfumer.

As a former fragrance consultant, I enjoyed a mini-time-travel back to that part of my past, and share a few 'carefully guarded" industry secrets!

To learn more visit:

What do I wear to bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course." -Marilyn ...

Phantom Of The Opera Perfume By Parlux Fragrances for Women ...

Yes, I wear this fragrance, too.  If you can still obtain a bottle--you will find the fragrance mystical and  haunting elusive..

June Romance Gems Rafflecopter link:

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Lucinda Race--Guest Blogger, "The Matchmaker and the Marine"!

As a life long fan of romantic fiction Lucinda spent hours reading novels and dreaming of one day becoming a writer. As life twists and turns, she started writing nonfiction articles but longed to turn to my true passion, romantic fiction. After developing the story line for The Loudon Series, it was time to start living my dream.  -- excerpt from GoodReads.

Let's welcome, Lucinda Race as our guest blogger this week!

Lucinda is introducing us to the hero of her lasted release, "The Matchmaker and The Marine"

Character interview The Matchmaker and The Marine. 

Adam Bell is in his late thirties – he had to retire from the Marines after a serious injury in Iraq and he’s a very old soul.

He had a wonderful childhood growing up in the country fishing and just having fun. After he returned from Iraq his girlfriend, Anita, broke up with him and he discovers she really wasn’t the woman for him. But it still leaves a scar on his heart.

He is intensely passionate about his friends and family and gladly lends a helping hand to all. He has a kind and generous heart. Adam’s biggest fear is letting someone, a woman, get close to him and be rejected again. The scars he carries are physical and emotional after returning from his final tour of duty. If you asked Adam what was his best and worst things that ever happened to him, he would say the day he took his oath to become a Marine and the day he had to retire from the Marines. Semper Fi.

Something I was surprised to learn is that Adam has a soft spot for kittens and there are a few tender scenes in the book that shows just what a big softie he really is.

If I had to describe Adam in one word it would be, steadfast.

Melinda Phillips is a widow in her late thirties. She moved to the small town of Chester several years after her husband passed away. She wanted the intimacy of a small town where she could remain on the perimeter of life. She’s had a difficult time moving forward as her husband was what she believed, her once in a lifetime love. Effectively, she has closed her to heart to letting anyone close so she won’t have to deal gut wrenching pain again. Melinda’s strong desire to help people find love is coupled with her training as a therapist and her finely honed intuition.

Melinda would tell her the best day in her life was falling in love with her late husband and the worst was the day he died. She has been stuck in limbo for a long time.

I was pleased to learn that underneath Melinda’s cool facade she is really longing to fill her life with love which is why she chose to surround herself with couples and weddings. At heart, Mel is a romantic. When I think of Melinda Phillips the one word that comes to mind is, authentic.

Thank you Lucinda Race for guest blogging today at "Dishin' It Out"!

I've ordered my copy of "The Matchmaker and the Marine" and look forward to reading your latest romance novel!  

Visit Lucinda's website

Lucinda Race Author

Monday, May 25, 2020

Classic Ginger: Sarah's Hope

Today, I'm doing a cover reveal for my upcoming novel, Sarah's Hope.  The manuscript is currently with editors, and I'm hoping they don't find much since I had my beta reader, Diane Scott Lewis go through it.  She made some wonderful suggestions and I believe I'm officially the queen of missing closed quotes.  *lol*

I'm currently working on another historical western, and I'm really excited about it.  Desperation's Bride is due to be finished sometime this year.

In the meantime, check out Sarah's Hope and Passion.  Although Sarah's Hope is a stand alone novel, it always helps to know backstory and there's a lot to read in the preceding book. are two beautiful covers.  I'm just sorry the girls don't look one and the same, because they least in my mind.

TA DA!!!!!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Why did I Begin to Write? By Connie Vines

Why did I begin to write? 

I, like most writers, am asked this constantly.

I don't mind, people are naturally curious.

Yes, like most novelists, I penned stories at a young age, had the ferreting instincts of a seasoned reporter, and possessed a quirky way of looking at life (my writer’s voice).  I know it annoyed my family, friends, and teachers.  However, when anyone needed unbiased information, or a detailed replay of an event which had taken place in the long-ago-past, I was, and I still am, the go-to person.

As I’ve written before, I grew up in a nomadic, career naval family.  Attending an average of three schools per year, made me an observer of people.  So, it was only natural for me to have the building blocks for future fictional characters stored away in my subconscious. Knowing the life of a reporter was not a career for me (calls at 3:00 AM to drive to who-knows-where and see who-knows-what), I decided to write for magazines and other publications instead.

When my children were young, I wrote for Jr. Medical Detective, Humpty Dumpty Magazine, religious publications, and I had a column featuring writing-tips.

I joined Romance Writers of America when a close friend of mine (Thank you, Shirlee), suggested I attend a meeting in Orange County where her sister was co-president of the Romance Writers of America's local Chapter.  This was during the ‘golden-age’ of romance writing. Fabio was the must have cover-model of the day, "Romancing the Stone" was the must-see at the movie theaters.   I attended talks, workshops and screen writing classes—wonderful training grounds for genre fiction. And was mentored by wonderfully talented and nurturing published romance novelists.

This is what brought me into the world of writing a 55.000 + word novel.

I still write short-stories and novellas, but the challenge of plotting a novel is something I enjoy.  The opening hook, character motivation, plot-twists are exciting, even though the mental energy often results in sleepless nights. Still, the characters continue to speak to me.  I am compelled to tell the story.

My first romance, under a pen-name, was published by Kensington Publishing under the Precious Gems imprint. We, Precious Gems, have kept in touch over the years.

We also have a blog titled, “Romance Gems” that we each contribute to (my blog is the 13th of each month).

Currently, I'm working on an anthology, set in New Orleans, tilted Gumbo Ya Ya, to be released by my publisher BWL Publishing, Inc. August, 2020.  The 2nd in my Sassy and Fun Fantasy novella, Bell, Book, and Gargoyle, will be released, October 2020.

Books 3 and 4 of my Rodeo Romance series will be available in early 2021.  After all, what woman doesn't love a cowboy?

Happy Reading!


Our summer mini-heat wave turned into several cold, windy, and surprisingly rainy days.

While I'm composing this blog post, I'm indulging in teapot of Early Grey English Tea.
One lump of sugar, no milk, please.

My ebooks are on sale!  It's a BIG, BIG SALE at Smashwords!

Also available at these find online vendors:

  Books 2 Read


Friday, May 22, 2020

Travel the World without Leaving Your Kitchen--Czech Potato Dumplings by Connie Vines

 Since we are all home-bound during the Pandemic, we are all seems going back to basics.

Served with sauerkraut or gravy
Yes,  we are all trying to save money and beef-up nutrition, while spending quality kitchen time with the children and family members

We all have family recipes passed down from generation-to-generation. Each week I've tried prepare one recipe from my childhood. I also send my grands family photos from 'the old country' and a bit of family-lore to share when they are adults and families of their own.

This week it was Czech Potato Dumplings.  
My maternal grandmother's family emigrated from Czechoslovakia in the late-1890s.  My great-grandmother was from Bohemia (the westernmost and largest historical region of the modern-day Czech Republic).  Bohemians, like all Czech are Slavic. Bohemia was recognized as the Dutch of Bohemia around 870 AD.  She, her husband and children boarded a ship to cross the Atlantic to Ellis Island, settling in the Czech area of Chicago, IL.

Potato Dumplings, peach dumplings, Koláče, and yeast breads, were the foods when my grandmother and aunt came for an extended visit.

The dumplings are potato based and boiled on the stove top.  I'd suggest making 1/2 the amount unless you are cooking for a crowd because these dumplings are 'heavy and filling',  Not the southern chicken-and-dumpling fare.

I will post the ingredients and a link to a YouTube link for a detailed demo by a Czech home-cook. Spoken in English.

Her recipe differs from mine a little (I don't use Wonder flour) but there is no difference in taste.

She has 5 or 6 potatoes for her dumplings.  ( I would 1/2 the recipe if you are cooking for 3 or 4 people)

3 T., unsalted butter
2 eggs
3 cups of Wonder flour
1/4 cup of milk

The potatoes are boiled in a pot of salted water, drained (unpeeled, uncut) and after cooling, kept covered in the refrigerator over night (or until cooled).

The video is 1:33 minutes in length.

after refrigeration over night ingredients are lightly kneed l

Then formed in to 2 large dumplings
Sliced and served on a large platter

Click here to listen to Anton Lada (my relative) and the "Louisiana 5"--the first band ever to go on tour. 

Image result for louisiana five jazz band

Click here to listen and watch traditional Czech music and dance

I hope you enjoyed today's mini-vaca from the warmth of your own kitchen.

As the Czechs say: Rodina je jedním z mistrovských děl přírody. - 

"The family is one of nature's masterpieces."

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Liz Flaherty, Author and Guest Blogger!!

Liz, welcome to Dishin' It Out!

 Liz Flaherty is a USA Today bestselling author. She's also a popular Harlequin author noted for her heartwarming and wholesome romance novels, and she is rapidly becoming a hybrid author with her indie published romances.

It’s funny how some things change as you get older. Not all things are funny, of course—memory, hearing, joints, anyone?—but things in writing. In stories.

In my early days of reading and writing romance, not only did I need a Happily Ever After (which I still do), I needed it to be in the four-bedroom, two-bath house with a picket fence and a cat on the porch. And kids. Because that was, for the most part, my life. And I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Then I got older. My heroines did, too, and I met up with Women’s Fiction and had to concede that there was a new love in my reading life. I couldn’t get enough of reading about women whose stories were told differently. They fell in love and lived happily ever after, but their journeys were about much more than that. Their heartaches were about more than unrequited love. They were taking care of elderly parents, trying to raise teenagers without going completely mad, hoping to have more money than month―at least sometimes.

Were they all this way? No. But a lot of them were, and suddenly there were heroines I could identify with. My friend Nan Reinhardt laughs at me because I’m exhausted and bored by reading about rich people, but the truth is—just like when I wanted that happy ending to have the house, fence, cat, and kids—I want to put myself in the heroine’s place.

Even when I write and read Women’s Fiction, though, it always crosses over to romance. They are, actually, the same thing to me.

Enter Carol, who is a beautician. She owns her own shop, the Clip Joint, in Peacock, Tennessee. She’s not rich, tiny, or beautiful. But she’s a wonderful friend. A loving daughter. A generous person. Her life isn’t what she intended or even hoped for, but it’s good.

And then one day in the cemetery, Steven Elliot rides in front of her old Pontiac on a bicycle, and that life is changed forever.

I hope you like The Healing Summer.


It’s a summer romance--what happens come September?

When Steven Elliott accidentally rides his bike into Carol Whitney’s car at the cemetery, the summer takes on new and exciting possibilities. Long friendship wends its way into something deeper when their hearts get involved. Feelings neither of them had expected to experience again enrich their days and nights.  But what happens when the long summer ends? When Carol wants a family and commitment and a future, Steven isn't so sure. He’s had his heart broken before—can he risk it again?


There had been other “hook-ups,” both during break-up times and since Promise’s death, but he had never given serious thought to waking up with anyone he slept with—at least, not on a consistent basis. No one ever asked or expected him to be faithful. No one called him her boyfriend. No one admitted they had to pee like a racehorse—it was as if the women he’d been with didn’t have bodily functions other than orgasm.

Not that exclusivity was a problem. It wasn’t at all. 

“I don’t need you to fall in love with me or promise me lifelong loyalty or any of that. I don’t even expect you to consider our relationship a…well, a relationship, but I’m not much into that kind of adventure, either.” She grinned sheepishly. “I know I sound like a prude, but so be it.”

He knew she was no prude. She was exciting and sexy and so much fun he sometimes he went days on end thinking he might actually be able to live without Promise. Not just exist, but live, with a large part of his heart intact.

“I want to be your boyfriend,” he said. “No class ring—I hocked it to buy beer when I was a freshman in college. But we’ll sit together at all the Little League games and the Cup and Cozy and I’ll even buy—if I have any money. When you’re taking care of Reese and pretending you’re not, I’ll pretend right along with you. What do you think?”

“I think you have your eye on my Mustang.”

“Nah, it’s too little—hurts my knees—though I probably look good in it. Not as good as I do on a motorcycle, but not bad. I’ll be an excellent boyfriend.” He lifted her hand, turning the chain he’d given her round and round. “Boyfriends give charm bracelets.”

“Well, since you did give me the bracelet and I love it, it’s okay with me if you’re my boyfriend. For the summer anyway.” She leaned in to kiss him, her hand on his shoulder, and he caught her wrist just to touch her. He loved her skin.

“You don’t think I’ll stay in Peacock, do you?” He held her gaze.

“No.” But she didn’t seem unhappy—not even a little bit sad. “You’re too—I don’t know—intense, maybe. You move too fast. No one does that here. You know that. Besides, you’ve been gone too long. Other than a few weeks some summers and the awful time while Promise was sick, you haven’t actually lived here since you left for Vanderbilt. And I don’t think you’ve wanted to, have you?”

She was right—until this summer, he hadn’t wanted to come back here. But that was before finding Miss Abigail’s. Before Jamie Scott died.

Before Carol.

“Dillon was away for years,” he said. “He didn’t even come and visit after his folks retired to Arizona, and look at him now. You couldn’t pry him off Lawyers Row with a crowbar.”

Carol shook her head. “Dillon came home and found Grace. Had she not been here, he wouldn’t be either.”

But you’re here. Steven didn’t say the words out loud. He was startled to have even thought them.

She checked the clock on the oven. “It’s time for me to go. I told Grace I’d pick them up at ten. When are you guys leaving?”

“As soon as everyone kisses his wife goodbye. I’ll follow you into town and kiss you at the same time so you won’t feel out of place or anything.”

She went to the sink, rinsing the coffee carafe and their cups and draping the dishcloth neatly over the sink divider. “That’s really big of you. You’re not going to throw your cell phone away or anything like they did in that movie, are you?”

He picked up her suitcase to follow her out the door. “Nope. Why? Are you going to worry about me?”

“Heavens, no.” She opened the Mustang’s trunk for him. “I’m not your mother.” She gave a little toss of her ponytail. “I’m your girlfriend.”


Retired from the post office and married to Duane for…a really long time, USA Today bestselling author Liz Flaherty has had a heart-shaped adult life, populated with kids and grands and wonderful friends. She admits she can be boring, but hopes her curiosity about everyone and everything around her keeps her from it. She likes traveling and quilting and reading. And she loves writing.

Find her at: and on Facebook: and Twitter:

Buy links: 


B & N:

Google Books:


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Admit it, You do it too! (fb avatar and Bored Panda) by Connie Vines #Facebook, #personal avatar, #Bored Panda

Admit it, you've created your personal avatar on Fb this week.

No one seems pleased with the selection choices; nor the results. Still, we hone our little avatars to defected-perfection so if someone squints, or plays-trombone with a cell phone, they can shout, "it does look like you!"

I must admit my personal fb avatar looks 'somewhat' like me.  Bitmoji (is this still around?) was much more accurate and fun to update ('cos the make-up and clothing selection changed with the seasons, too).


My main complaint with my personal avatar is the lack of correct facial features (yes I get it--it's a free thing on fb).  However, in real life, I have a small mouth and a small chin.  Therefore, when I smile you see maybe 8 upper teeth.  Well, my poor avatar has about 20-Chiclets-sized teeth crammed into the front of her mouth.

Is that realistic?

Opossums have 50 teeth. 50!  (I'm a fan of opossums BTW).  And even with those 50 teeth, only a couple of teeth show then a baby opossum smiles.


Meatball the Opossum – Raven Ridge Wildlife Center Blog

What gives with the fb teeth to mouth ratio?

"What else have 'we' been doing this week?" you ask.

Almost every morning, I brew a pot of coffee, let Chanel run-free in my enclosed L-shaped backyard while I grab my newspaper off the front porch.  About that time, Chanel as pushed the not-quite-shut-door open and comes bounding inside.

Channel 5 TV is on so we sit together on the Lazy-boy sofa in the living room. I'm crammed into one corner of the sofa because the 8 lb. dog needs a great deal of acreage (she says).  With my cup of coffee and cell phone on the end table, I open the paper, skim the local news and listen to the broadcast.  Then it's onto my second cup of coffee while I read my morning pop-ups on my cell phone.

Bored Panda.

Yep, the cereal box controversy.

Tabs, or no Tabs?

Real, fairy tale, or hoax?

Drum Roll. . . .I accepted the challenge.  FYI: my box of stale Cheerios had a torn box-top and tissue-paper-thin tab. . .

My result

Did you participate in the Cereal Box Challenge??

Stay tuned:

Tomorrow my guest blogger is Liz Flaherty, Award-Winning author of Healing Summer.
Author, Liz Flaherty
guest blogger on Dishin' It Out!
Please stop to read excerpts from her new release and a get a peek into her life!

Monday, May 18, 2020

"Classic Ginger" To Tweet or Not To Tweet

Twitter seems to be the biggest enigma of the promotion options.   If you read the tweets that are "trending"daily, unless you're a celebrity who is doing nothing worth noting, ask yourself why you bother.  Kim Kardashian shared a picture of her newborn hooking fingers with his older sister, North; Kate Mansi, An actress  on the soap, Days of Our Lives, is leaving the show, Anne Heathaway shared a picture of her in a bikini while pregnant with her first child.  Who cares?  I'd much rather read about me and my books selling.  *lol*

Then there are articles about sites like Triberr that make you question whether or not you time is being wisely spent by sharing posts of tribemates who don't bother to share your's  If they do share, and you aren't "trending," does anyone read the tweet?  Can we compete with Mark Zuckerberg's announcement for his personal challenges of 2016?

For the sake or educating those who have no idea what I'm talking about...Posts  at triberr are "blog feeds."  You set up your blogs to feed to Triberr daily with the hope that your fellow tribemates will mark them as shared so they will be tweeted widely.  For those who don't aren't familiar with Triberr, it's a tweeting site where you join 'tribes' that fit your needs.  For example, I belong to Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance, and a few others, but then I read that there are folks who decide whether or not your blog posts fit their "agenda."  Some don't want to be associated with Porn, and of course non-writers care nothing for author's blogs.  That's why you need to pick your tribes carefully.

 I recently discovered that if you hover your mouse across a poster's picture, stats appear, and you can see whether that person is sharing your posts or not.  Today, I decided, if you aren't sharing mine, I'm not sharing yours.  Sadly, I hid more than I shared.  Why do I feel guilty?

For author's, finding inexpensive promotional sites is really important.  Those reviews that used to be easy to come by have become elusive and hard to acquire.  One of the reasons...most reviewers volunteer their time in exchange for free reads, and there are far more authors out there than ever before.  Choices are staggering, and unless you write a blurb that reaches out and nabs attention, your book is going to sit forever.  While I'd like to think my blurbs are real grabbers...they obviously aren't.

Speaking of reviews:  Now authors have to contend with what most refer to as "trolls."  These are people who leave snarky reviews that are usually a dead giveaway that they haven't even read your book.  The only logical explanation is that there are some authors trying to sabotage their competition, but this seems a little extreme.  Amazon is trying to remedy the problem, but is disallowing authors to review others authors the solution?  I may write books, but I also read them.  So far, I haven't had my reviews removed, but I'm aware of fellow authors who have...and they aren't happy.

Bottom line...whether we tweet, blog, or review, are we doing enough or are we spinning our wheels.  I'm always open to new ideas, so if anyone wants to share them here, please do.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Poodle Talk -- Puzzles and Other Games 05/17/2020

What are you doing to keep your Poodle Occupied during Stay-Safe-at Home?

My little sweetie is becoming too much of a mind-reader, and her observation abilities, and growing vocabulary  are honed to an almost creepy level.

I rotate her toys so she doesn't become bored (or I grow tired of a particular squeak toy).  This week all pulled out all of her puzzle toys: pumpkin with the three little vampire bats (my favorite), the blue chicken coop with the used-to-be-white chickens (yes I've tried cleaning them with baking soda), the white cookie jar and the heart shaped cookies, the gingerbread house and assorted Christmas items, and several others I can't recall at the moment.

Excited.  Yes, Chanel is sooo excited.  

She is usually very good about occupying herself with her toys.  She runs, jumps, wacks me with her toys and tosses them at me.  

However, disaster always strikes when I'm occupied.  The toys need to be shoved back into the correct puzzle box.  The time I placed the bats in the gingerbread house--well, it got a little ugly!  Or something went under the Lazyboy couch--where no human or dog can reach.

Chanel is now panic barking and herding me to the umbrella stand in the foyer where I keep the plastic hockey stick. 

"Why do you have a plastic hockey-stick?" Everyone on who enters the house asks.  

I know what he/she is thinking, that is the worst protection devise I've every seen.

I explain it's the dog's and leave it at that.

So, back to Chanel.  Hockey-stick in hand, we (me trying to locate items under the furniture) while she supervises (with her head in the way).  Eventually, I am able to unearth the lost item and she bounds in delight.

ZippyPaws Halloween Zippy Burrow Pumpkin with Bats Hide and Seek ...
Hopefully, the temps will be a little cooler this week. Outside play with a bouncy ball her her little swimming pool are more relaxing -- for me.

Happy Poodle Sunday,


Ephesians 2:8 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

Saturday, May 16, 2020

We All Have Problems--What Irks Me About Editing by Connie Vines #RoundRobin RR#84

 All books go through multiple edits. What have you learned are your problems, and what irks you about editing?

While writing my first two novels (yes, I write 2 or 3 novels at the same time), I belonged to a critique group. Fortunately, the members caught the usual problems:  Leaving out key items after several revisions:  either the heroine has new contact lenses, or I forgot I changed her eye color. I removed too many details, leaving my scene too lean; I added some many details, and reader is going to say, "get the point, already!"  

What I discovered on my own (I should keep this to myself because everyone will watch for my personal 'quirk'.), is that I bless my characters will my habits, repeatedly.

I like coffee.   

My hero and heroine like coffee.I realized several chapter openings had my hero and heroine; heroine and her best friend; or shoot, two strangers (I'm exaggerating here) are drinking coffee.  

When I brought this up to another published author friend, she grinned and said, "Oh, I never..."

I grinned.  She gasped, "What? What did you notice?"

"I doubt anyone else has ever noticed--I'm hyper vigilant because of the 'coffee thing'.  
Ah, you like to open chapters with the a weather reports. Not, like a televised weather report, but you know--."

"Yeah. Weather reports."

So, we all have our personal little repeats.  The trick is to catch them before they make it into print.  

What irks me about editing?  I'll break this down into two categories: my personal editing, and a publisher's editing.

I don't mind the first or send go-round of edits.  I know when a scene is too long/too short.  I can have another author read a chapter and tell me 'why it doesn't work'.  I fact check, run a grammar-punctuation program, I highlight areas I believe need more detail, I blue-line what I think needs to be removed. I make my changes.

Then I read the entire novel, again, before sending it to the publisher.

I receive an edited draft from the publisher.  I will make revisions (If I agree) and leave as is, if I don't.  I will usually explain why I'm not changing the word/ sentence the comment area.

The book comes back as a ARC/PDF copy.  I read this and notate errors (spacing/typos, etc.).

So, when this goes back to the publisher, there are no errors (though I admit I'm not perfect).

Now, I've worked as a acquisitions editor. I know how difficult it is to copy-edit hour after hour; day-after-day.

However, (this hasn't occurred with every publisher, or with every book) but. . .the book goes to print and I receive my copies for a scheduled signing.  I thumb through a book, skim the pages, mostly looking for page breaks etc.  They I see it: a typo, or a missing word, or a missing paragraph.  

Heart palpitations increase and my ears ring like church bells, as I grope for the arm of a chair and sit down.

In one book it wasn't too bad.  Only two problems: a missing sentence, and the intro to the hero.  My heroine said: "Hell", instead of, "Hello."

Aunt Linda At Her Finest" Art Print by hadleybobadly | Redbubble

With a former (now defunct) publisher, I wanted to sit down and cry.  The final 1/3 of the novel was one problem after another-- typos, missing words, extra spaces. Missing paragraphs! 

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Once a book goes to print, or is uploaded to an e-book retailer, it's too late to correct a problem.

You can complain to the publisher, you can state you won't work with the editor again, you can demand to know what exactly happened.  However, you are still the one dealing with the problem. 

Readers blame the author.  Reviewers, if they are kind (or know this 'quirk' is the publisher's major fault), will make a reference to address the' typos', but will still give you 4 out of five star review..

Reader Reviews will state it was a wonderful story.  Too bad the book had so many typos, missing words (whatever) making the story difficult to follow.

The only consolation, if there is a consolation in this--every author I know has a similar story to tell.

Is there a solution?

Is The Viking Birka Warrior A Woman? Judith Jesch Examines The ...
Yes, you can prepare for battle.  It's not practical, nor am I leading the charge!

I'm going sit down to begin my next novel.

When my contract is up for renewal, I'll negotiation the corrections/changes. Or, if the gods have smiled upon me, the publisher will mention in passing, "Since you are submitting the 2nd, 5th, or 80th book in this series, we should go back and polish-up that first book to prepare for the expected uptick in sales."

After all, it's all about the story.  The HEA (Happily Every After). 

That's what the readers want and it's the hook into the next book in your series.  Still, everyone (reader and writer) would appreciate a HEA without any typos!

Happy Reading and Happy Writing,

My cohorts have editing 'Irks' they'd love to share with you, too.

Skye Taylor
Diane Bator
Beverley Bateman
Dr. Bob Rich
Anne Stenhouse
Margaret Fieland
A.J. Maguire
Victoria Chatham
Rhobin L Courtright  My Books are 60% off  a discount for Stay-at-Home Readers.  Purchase via this site all vendors!  Barnes and Noble

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