Saturday, May 18, 2024


Using the Senses in Writing By Connie Vines #Round Robin Blog Hop, #Writing Tips, #Sensory Details


This Month's Topic: Using the Senses in Writing.

Thank you, Skye, for this month's topic

** My apologies, readers, for the giant photo in this post. (I've examined all the HTML info and cannot find the photo's stream.) Please scroll past it.

Sensory Details are what bring a story to life.

A gentle breeze blew my hair across my cheek (TOUCH) as I walked along the uneven trail (TOUCH). Leaves rustled (SOUND) above me, and a lone crow gave several loud caws (SOUND) overhead. I took a deep breath. The smell of decay and leaves (SMELL) made me wary, and the coppery taste of fear coated my throat. I scanned my surroundings to ensure I wasn't being followed (SIGHT).

The Five Senses also sets the story's mood/tone/genre.

My first example lets the reader know this isn't going to be a straight-forward romance. 

The reader will expect a murder mystery/suspense/or even a Gothic novel.

Never cheat your reader. Sensory details draw your reader into the story, trigger emotional responses, and, most importantly, make them feel a part of your story world. 

Since I'm an introvert and tactile, adding these details/emotional reactions is natural for me. In contrast, a more analytical person's writing might focus on the visual and take a more detective approach/reaction to the sensory clues. 

It is how your character processes his/her sensory details.

This is for fans of Star Trek (original series: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and Forest Kelly) and the movies that followed (Chris Pine, Zachery Quinto, Karl Uban). 

Mr. Spock was my favorite character. Though I observe, analyze, retain facts, and relate deals decades later, I am not, and will never be, "Mr. Spock."

Captain Kirk was a physical, in-your-face kind of guy. He yelled, punched, and bled. First and the scene or to make a scene, the man didn't seem to ever sleep. 

Then there is "Bones," Doctor Leonard McCoy. He grumbles and points out injustice, holds his ground for what is right. and saves his patient's life. He has empathy, compassion, and wit. 

So, the first key to successful sensory details in a story is to know your character. How does your character look at the world? What lens does your character use?

Excerpts from Gumbo Ya Ya (an anthology)

A Slice of Scandal

She ignored his question and continued with her narrative. "Instead, the scenes are shot according to where they are set. The cooking, naturally, will be here on the sound stage. But Harvey wants some location work, too."

Sebastian felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up. "Location work?" How would he investigate a murder and a smuggling ring if he wandered over some tourist site? He flipped through the script. "My contract doesn't say anything about location work."

Julia glanced over her script, making eye contact. "You're joking, right?"

Think fast, Beaux, just stall her. "I'm not ready."

"You're not ready?" she asked, her voice heavy with disbelief. You've lived in a swamp, caught and eaten alligators, frogs, snakes, and fish....and you don't want to appear at a local shopping mall?"

"I'm not ready; you told me that. I still get large crowds."

The look she shot in his direction clearly labeled him a liar, but she kept silent since Harvey was stationed nearby.

Love Potion No. 9

"Don't shake your finger at me, Simone Basso. I know what I'm doing." Persia Richmond said, holding a pipette to fill a crystal half-ounce atomizer with perfume. The top notes of peach blossoms, bergamot, and mid-notes of gardenia, honey, and tuberose tanalized. The tuberose, being the most carnal of the floral notes and high-ticket natural essence for her fragrance compound, merged with peony and orange blossom to temper the intoxication properties. The base notes lingered while a hint of something unnamed and mysterious beguiled and skimmed across the narrow processing room, saturating her senses.

The fragrance was New Orleans, culture at its most upscale moments, and Mardi Gras at its naughtiest.

The imported essence oils of the tuberose had nearly emptied her bank account, leaving Persia only one egret. Her Grandpapa hadn't lived to experience her mastery of perfumery.

Holding up the bottle, she allowed the light to shine through the tempered vial for a moment before she ensured the stopper was tight. 

Simone leaned over Persia's shoulder, "I done warned and warned you about messing with love potions."

The statement sent Persia's heart thundering in her chest. Snagging a steadying breath, she regained her composure. "You worry too much, Simone. This is a perfume. Nothing more, nothing less."

I hope you've enjoyed this month's post :)

Please visit the other talented authors' blog sites to learn more about the 5 Senses and story snippets!

Happy Reading!



Connie Vines

Saturday, April 20, 2024

What is My Favorite Point-of-View to Read and / or Write By Connie Vines #Round Robin Blog, Writing Tips, #Tips for Authors

 My Favorite and My Not-So-Favorite Point-of-View.

Thank you, Skye, for this month's Round Robin Topic.

Omniscient, 3rd person, or 1st Person, What are the advantages and disadvantages?


The omniscient POV allows you to enter the heads of multiple characters, but you will act more as an observer than a reporter.

As a child (and even today), I enjoyed reading the Greek myths and Homer (author of the Iliad and the Odyssey)

The Odyssey is uniquely arranged in that the narration is split between a third-person omniscient being and a first-person narrative by Odysseus himself. The omniscient point-of-view is present in excerpts at each chapter's beginning generally.

 In terms of gods, the Greek pantheon consists of 12 deities who were said to reside at Mount Olympus: Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Hermes, and Poseidon.


While I might consider this POV in a Nior-type crime story (short story or novella), I do not believe it would be widely accepted in a contemporary story.


First Person POV

In first-person narration, the narrator is a person in the story, telling it from their own point of view. The narration usually utilizes the pronoun I (or we if the narrator speaks as part of a group).


I write in the first person when writing Young Adult contemporary and Young Adult historical novels.

I remain in the main character's point of view. At the beginning of each chapter, I may insert information using a quote, historical fact, etc. I also include an Epilogue.


3rd Person POV

In the third-person point of view, the author narrates a story about the characters, referring to them by name or using the third-person pronouns "he," "she," and "they." The other points of view in writing are first person and second person.


3rd Person POV

My contemporary novels (excluding YA) are written in the third person. While I may change POV (heroine/hero), I strive not to head-hop. 

First and foremost, this mode of storytelling comes most naturally to me when writing a romance. The third-person narrative is as old as time.

Third-person subjective:

From this point of view, you can get into the characters' thoughts and perspectives. It goes beyond narrating the character's thoughts by telling the reader "she thought" or "he wondered." It lets you really be in their head the way first-person POV does.

My excerpts from "Gumbo Ya Ya," An anthology for women who like their romance Cajun Style!

(Opening Teasers from my anthology)

Marrying Off Murphy

Settling into his office chair, Professor Murphy Flynn glanced at the faxed copy of the OP News. "I Want to Get Married!" the headline shouted. He upended his coffee mug when he realized the grainy photograph was of him, sending the liquid perilously close to a six-inch stack of upgraded papers.

He snagged the papers with one hand, using the other to dab at the puddle with his tie. His gaze locked on the name of the submission's editor: Sylvie Dupree. The memories hit him hard and fast, leaving Murphy to feel like he'd taken a direct blow to his solar plexus.

Love Potion No. 9

"Don't shake your finger at me, Simone Basso. I know what I'm doing," Persia Richmond said, holding a pipette to fill a crystal half-ounce atomizer with perfume. The top notes of peach blossoms, bergamot, and mid-notes of gardenia, honey, and tuberose tanalized. Meanwhile, the tuberose, the most carnal of the floral notes and the high-ticket natural essence for her fragrance compound, merged with peony and orange blossom to temper the intoxication properties. The base notes linger, while a hint of something unnamed and mysterious beguiled and skimmed across the narrow processing room, saturating her senses.

A Slice of Scandal

"Hey, now, 'dis key lime pie's like de one I serve at my restaurant. Simple to make and good to eat! Key limes perk up de mouth and makes you happy."

Producer/Director Julia Kincade focused on her monitor and adjusted her headset's mic. "Camera One, tighten that headshot." She watched as the camera feathered over the chef to capture the best angle. The camera should have loved Franklin. His height was average, his black hair was short and curly, and his skin took on a polished bronze color under the harsh camera lights, but the camera didn't like Franklin.


The moon was full and huge in the sky, a brilliant iridescent orb that stared down at the earth. Enza allowed the energy to feather over her as she removed the silk cloth protecting her Tarot cards.

The tarot deck has seventy-eight cards, four suits of fourteen cards each, Swords, Cups, Wands, and Pentacles, and twenty-two cards called the major arcane—the big mysteries.

Enza's mother told her mother told her she would learn to associate cards with people. She knew this was true. Because through her travels she had met them all...

I hope you've enjoyed this month's post 😀. 

Please click on the links to each member's blog. 

(I'll be doing the same in a few minutes!)

Amazon and Barnes and Noble. also available at your favorite online vendor. 

Happy Reading, 



Bob Rich -

Connie Vines

Diane Bator

Helena Fairfax

Victoria Chatham

Skye Taylor

Friday, February 16, 2024

Goal, Motivation, and Conflict--How it Keeps the Reader Glued to your Story By Connie Vines #RR, WritingTips

Thank you, Skye, for this month's Round Robin Topic."

Goal, Motivation, and Conflict - The difference between inner and outer conflict and how it keeps the reader glued to your story.

As a member of Romance Writers of America and the Orange County Chapter, I found Debra Dixon's workshop on this topic incredibly helpful. Her book, Goal, Motivation & Conflict, is my go-to reference when plotting my novels.

Debra recommends using 3 x 5 cards and sticky notes to keep track of these elements and placing them on a paper sheet to move them around if needed. Personally, I tend to scribble on scraps of paper or dictate into my iPhone and send it to my email. 

I'll add it to one of my six Steno Pads if I'm at my desk. It may not be as tidy as Debra's way, but it keeps me from losing my ideas.

Remember, the goal is what your characters are all about. 

Recommended movies to watch: Wizard of Oz, The Fugitive (Harrison Ford), 

📌Active Goals/Sense of Urgency.

📌Motivation is the Why.

📌Conflict is often the character's emotional roadblock. The strength of your book is the conflict.

LadyHawk defines romance conflict/active goals for me.

While I could go into more detail on why I find this book a must-have for every writer, my best suggestion is to order a copy for your library.

Debra Dixon's book is also available as an ebook and listed at Barnes and Noble. 

Thank you for stopping by today.

Please visit the marvelous writers participating in this month's Blog Hop :)


Dr. Bob Rich 

Anne Stenhouse

Victoria Chatham

Connie Vines

Helena Fairfax

Diane Bator

Skye Taylor


Saturday, January 20, 2024

Book Promotion Ideas for Authors. What Works and What Doesn't? #Round Robin, #Author Tips, Author Promo ideas


Thank you Sky for this month's topic.

 Book marketing tips: What works for me and what doesn't.

I have found my marketing sucess depends on: the book's release date, the book's premise, great reviews, and "what's hot and what's not" 😄.

 Summer books sell well because it is vacation time. Everyone loves a great beach read.

Halloween is the perfect time to showcase a spooky or goth story.

Holiday stories are always a relaxing reading.

Since I write in multiple genres, I try to avoid competing with myself.

This year, I will have a RomCom book for a winter release.

*Often, a reader likes a particular TV show or movie and is looking for the same type of connection in a book. (Yellowstone = Cowboy Romance, NCIS = Action/Military heroes.)  I prefer to write what I wish to read or what catches my attention. After all, I will live with my fictional people for months and months.

What hasn't worked for me:

Free book giveaways.

Swag giveaways.

Facebook ads.

Merchandise (mugs, totes, etc.) is on my website.

Streaming a live video event (Connie doesn't like to read aloud to adults. Though story hour is fun with children).

What works for me:

Book Awards.

Discounting the first book in a series.

Promo on other blogs.

Utilizing my blog(s) connection with my readers/new readers.

Facebook author page.

Publisher's Author Insider Blog, FB page for readers.

Theme promotions with other authors.

Coffee Time Romance (which closed its doors last year).

Guest appearances on other blogs.

And, of course, nice reviews from readers :-)

Participation Events, which sadly are no more:

Young Author Events, Judging YA Writing Contests.

Guest Speaking at schools and libraries. 

Book Signing Events at local and family-owned bookstores.

Please stop by the other authors participating in this month's Blog Hop. I bet they are sharing their secrets, 😉too!



Dr. Bob Rich

Victoria Chatham

Connie Vines

Skye Taylor

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