September 2015

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Weekend Writing Warriors: Whew!

After what seems like forever, I’ve finally completed my final edit for UNLEASHED BY SHADOWS, the latest in my dark paranormal “By Moonlight” series (which is why I’ve been gone the last three weekends) and I’m starting to pull promo excerpts. You know, it is hard work finding 8-10 sentences that sum up character, plot, emotion, etc.! Here’s my first short. Let me know what you think!

A huge gold-footed black tub stood at an angle so all he could see above its curled lip was the top of a tousled blonde head. As he stared, too dazed to even breathe, one slender leg rose, trailing water and bubbles. 

His bag hit the floor. Boots kicked free, followed in quick succession by pants and shirt. 

Soft scents of vanilla and warm female enveloped Cale as he opened the glass door. He could see her profile, skin flushed from the heat, eyes gently closed, tendrils of damp hair sticking to neck and brow. Even knowing her taste, the intimate feel and fit of her in his arms, the reality of her belonging to him nearly dropped him to his knees. 

What had he ever done in his short, necessarily violent life to deserve just looking at her, let alone possessing her? He dragged in a ragged breath. 

“Room for one more?”

Now that the fun part – the writing – is done, it’s on to the less enjoyable task of promoting. Any secrets there you’d care to share? Sitting down to that promo calendar to start a different kind of plotting . . .

Happy writing!

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet of your writing on Sunday. Visit other participants on the list and read, critique, and comment on their 8sunday posts.

Spread the word, share the love, warriors - Hashtag #8sunday.

MIDNIGHT KISS, the first book in my "Touched by Midnight" vampire romance series is on sale today for just .99!! Sink your teeth in and enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Take Five . . . with author Victoria Craven!

I’m always especially excited when one of my critique group cadre has a new book out (This is me: SQUEEEE!). So I had to bring Victoria Craven back to “Take Five” with some questions and a look at her wonderful historical paranormal, POWERS OF THE HEART.

First, get a load of this cover! Wowza!

Kiera is a strong-willed woman with a warrior's heart. She is as good a fighter as any man. Fighting isn't her only skill. Her healing power keeps her and her companions on the run from her uncle, Murdock. With her power, he believes he can gain immortality, and he will do anything to get his hands on her power.

Her healing gift was a secret until she found a man fighting for his life. How could she let him die if she had the power to heal him?

Erik let few people into his personal life. He preferred to communicate with animals and could understand their thoughts and feelings as well as his own. The walls of his isolation were strong until he met the woman warrior who saved his life. But loving someone was dangerous and he feared she would eventually betray him. Betrayal was something he was familiar with, and he had no intention of letting her get too close.

Here’s my take on POWERS OF THE HEART:

“I LOVE Kiera, the kick @ss warrior in POWERS OF THE HEART! On the run from the dangerous secret her uncle wants to control, she equates emotion with weakness when it comes to would-be protector Erik, even if he’s the one man who understands what it’s like to be different. From medieval setting and unique paranormal elements to crisp fight scenes and tender romance, POWERS OF THE HEART is an awesome addition to Victoria Craven’s “Love Conquers All” series!” - Nancy Gideon

And now, a little Q&A with Victoria . . .

Q: Where did your interest in the paranormal come from?

A: Writing paranormal has always fascinated me. I love super heroes. I've always wanted to be one. Not the kind that has laser beams coming out of my eyes, although climbing a wall like Spiderman would be handy. You’d never have to wait for an elevator. I am empowered to give my heroes supernatural gifts that I believe add dimension to the story and in the end, it's those powers save the day.

Q: What do you find is the biggest obstacle to getting words on the page?

A: Making it believable. Even though my heroes have extraordinary talents, I have to remember not to bring it over the top.

Q: What’s your go-to for inspiration?

A: Reading other authors’ paranormal to see how their characters evolve. It helps me with developing insight into my characters. Then my imagination runs away with me like a freight train. Not always going in the right direction, but I can take that train back and get on the right track. ​

Q: What’s harder, first draft or revisions?

A: The first draft. Many times I have to ask myself "Where the hell is this story going?" Once I get that down, the revisions are easy. It's like adding paint and spackle to make a good product.

Q: What type of book would you like to write that you haven’t tried yet?

A: Writing a children's story. I want to get into my inner child, which isn't too difficult. It would be fun to get out of my comfort zone and write something completely different.

For more on Victoria, and her debut book IMMORTAL LOVE, click here! Happy Reading!!

About Victoria Craven

Victoria Craven discovered her love for story-telling in her sophomore year of high school. Those teenage adventures always had a romantic happy ending, and they still do today, whether she’s writing thrilling contemporary suspense or paranormal historical romance.

Having lived most of her life in Western Michigan, Victoria relocated to the suburbs of Chicago where she lives with her husband, who is the love of her life. She has three beautiful daughters, and two toddler grandsons who keep her busy.

Supported by her friends and family, she left a career as a media account executive to pursue a career doing what she’s passionate about, writing happy endings that she can share with others. Her first paranormal historical romance was recently purchased by Tell-Tale Publishing and will be released in 2012.

When Victoria isn’t writing or revising, she is playing with her grandsons or curled up with a good book and a vat of hot chocolate.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

IWSG: Things I Found Helpful While Editing . . .

The worst thing ever is to pick up a book you’ve published (or a proposal you’ve already sent out) only to find a mistake in the text. A spelling error, a typo, the wrong word usage, a grammar glitch. You think “Oh, if I only had the chance to go back and fix it before it was seen by another set of eyes.” Clicking heels of ruby slippers. Be careful what you wish for!

I was thrilled to “go back in time” with the reissues of my “Touched by Midnight” vampire romance series currently being re-repackaged and re-released by ImaJinn Books with a book each month through the end of the year. The original run of the first three books was back in the mid-‘90s and I don’t think the pages ever saw the touch of a copy editor. I jumped at the chance to repair the glaring errors and update the prose. Little did I know that would mean going through each book with three complete passes from initial scan to copy edit to final proof 
 a full read through due almost every week with the books overlapping – while trying to move forward on my WIP. AND working full time. Needless to say by the time the first book was ready for readers in July, the thrill was SO gone. And I still had the rest of the nine books to go . . .

Rather than bemoaning my good fortune, being ADD/OCD I made a list of positive things to keep me focused on my goal. Here are a few of those things that kept me sane (and no, alcohol and self-medication weren’t on the list!):

1. The end product. When the books are released, they’ll be clean and corrected. (Until I read one and immediately find an error),

2. Death to Passive Voice! I’ve never seen so many “was”s as in that first chapter of the first book. Now, the prose is more active and engaging,

3. Commas. As the opening graphic illustrates, proper placement makes all the difference!

4. Dangling Participles. (Don’t you hate it when that happens!) I didn’t know what those were back in the ‘90s . . . and apparently neither did my first copy editors.

5. Sleep. The first weeks, I dreamed about sentence structure and forced myself to stay up to hours only my characters would keep. Perhaps this explains the original poor edits. Clear mind=clear eyes. That 7 hours of quality snooze made all the difference.

6. Realistic goals. As much as I tried to stay ahead of the deadlines, when they pinched, I let my editor know and she found me the extra wiggle room. Brenda Chin, bless your heart!!

7. Exercise. Yikes, the E-word. But after being hunched over the keyboard from 9-to-5 five days a week then putting in another 25-40 in my home office made for very grumpy arthritic joints. Taking a break to stretch and move kept me from popping Motrin like TicTacs.

8. Keurig coffee. The elixir of gods.

9. Humor. Why so serious? Taking an hour to watch one of the funny episodes of “Supernatural” sometimes made the hours of eyestrain more palatable. And so did my new guide to copy edit symbols:

10. The End. That dangling carrot never tasted so sweet!

What keeps you going through those pesky edits? What errors drive you nuts when you find them in published works?

Enough ruminating. My WIP is out getting its final read through and Vamp Book 6 should be popping up in my e-mail any minute looking for that one last proof read. Fire up the coffee maker!

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG 

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the September 2nd posting will be Julie Flanders, Murees Dupé, Dolorah at Book Lover, Christine Rains, and 
Heather Gardner!