Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Can You Work Through an Information Dump?

I sometimes have to give up on a book without finishing it. Why? Because I can't read through a long information dump. It's just too boring. 


If you're on Goodreads you will know that your friends can recommend books they've enjoyed. I usually prefer to choose books on my own, but I weakened and downloaded a book that was recommended to me. I thought the blurb and the plot sounded like it would be the kind of book I enjoy. But no. I never found out if the story was any good or not.

What is an information dump?  It's when an author wants to tell you the back story of the characters. This can be done in a few different ways, but one way is for an 'omnipresent third person' (OP3) a.k.a. the author, to tell the story. Another way is to have the characters think back, and the third (and best way in my opinion) is through dialogue.


The problem with the first method is that, apart from the fact that it isn't the way books are supposed to be written these days, we as readers need to become invested in a character before we care about their back story.

I am not going to mention the title or author of this book because it's not my intention to discredit anyone, but the author took the reader through four decades of back story of the four women who have played bridge since they were in their twenties. That's a very large information dump. I hardly knew any of the characters, so it didn't mean anything to me.

As an author, I have probably been guilty of the same thing in the past, but I most definitely won't be in the future. In fact, I'm currently working on 'Fat Girls Rock' and because it is the 4th in a series, (Redneck P.I. Mystery Series) I have to keep giving information about what has happened in the past. I'm doing so by breaking it up and spreading it out as far as I can and using as much dialogue as possible. It's not easy, but I think I'm keeping it credible.

Something to think about.

Can You Work Through an Information Dump?

I sometimes have to give up on a book without finishing it. Why? Because I can't read through a long information dump. It's just too boring. 


If you're on Goodreads you will know that your friends can recommend books they've enjoyed. I usually prefer to choose books on my own, but I weakened and downloaded a book that was recommended to me. I thought the blurb and the plot sounded like it would be the kind of book I enjoy. But no. I never found out if the story was any good or not.

What is an information dump?  It's when an author wants to tell you the back story of the characters. This can be done in a few different ways, but one way is for an 'omnipresent third person' (OP3) a.k.a. the author, to tell the story. Another way is to have the characters think back, and the third (and best way in my opinion) is through dialogue.


The problem with the first method is that, apart from the fact that it isn't the way books are supposed to be written these days, we as readers need to become invested in a character before we care about their back story.

I am not going to mention the title or author of this book because it's not my intention to discredit anyone, but the author took the reader through four decades of back story of the four women who have played bridge since they were in their twenties. That's a very large information dump. I hardly knew any of the characters, so it didn't mean anything to me.

As an author, I have probably been guilty of the same thing in the past, but I most definitely won't be in the future. In fact, I'm currently working on 'Fat Girls Rock' and because it is the 4th in a series, (Redneck P.I. Mystery Series) I have to keep giving information about what has happened in the past. I'm doing so by breaking it up and spreading it out as far as I can and using as much dialogue as possible. It's not easy, but I think I'm keeping it credible.

Something to think about.

Can You Work Through an Information Dump?

I sometimes have to give up on a book without finishing it. Why? Because I can't read through a long information dump. It's just too boring. 


If you're on Goodreads you will know that your friends can recommend books they've enjoyed. I usually prefer to choose books on my own, but I weakened and downloaded a book that was recommended to me. I thought the blurb and the plot sounded like it would be the kind of book I enjoy. But no. I never found out if the story was any good or not.

What is an information dump?  It's when an author wants to tell you the back story of the characters. This can be done in a few different ways, but one way is for an 'omnipresent third person' (OP3) a.k.a. the author, to tell the story. Another way is to have the characters think back, and the third (and best way in my opinion) is through dialogue.


The problem with the first method is that, apart from the fact that it isn't the way books are supposed to be written these days, we as readers need to become invested in a character before we care about their back story.

I am not going to mention the title or author of this book because it's not my intention to discredit anyone, but the author took the reader through four decades of back story of the four women who have played bridge since they were in their twenties. That's a very large information dump. I hardly knew any of the characters, so it didn't mean anything to me.


As an author, I have probably been guilty of the same thing in the past, but I most definitely won't be in the future. In fact, I'm currently working on 'Fat Girls Rock' and because it is the 4th in a series, (Redneck P.I. Mystery Series) I have to keep giving information about what has happened in the past. I'm doing so by breaking it up and spreading it out as far as I can and using as much dialogue as possible. It's not easy, but I think I'm keeping it credible.

Something to think about.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Goodreads Giveaways

I'm giving away two print copies this week on Goodreads.

Capricorn Cravings:

Riley Shaughnessy has the perfect life. Her veterinary practice is thriving, and she loves living in the small town in the Colorado mountains, where no one knows the shocking secret of her past. She loves to gallop her palomino mare across the vast expanse of public land bordering the town, and after a long period of self-denial, she has even committed to a date with handsome horse wrangler, Randy Hansen. 

But now, she knows her assistant, Jamie, would never willingly abandon her child, so why has she disappeared? 

Something dark and sinister is taking place, and it all started on the day hunky Powell Stewart, with the piercing blue eyes, came into her life in a strange and unexpected way. 

Her inner voice tells her to stay as far away from him as she can, but his magnetism drags her toward him and she cannot find the power to resist. 



Click here to enter: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/190753-capricorn-cravings


Aquarius Addiction:

Why did hunky Andre Rossouw come into Arlette's life on the same day her doctor told her she was about to die? 

Attractive FBI Psychic Arlette Xylander displays all the character traits of her star sign, Aquarius, being feisty, eccentric, freedom-loving, flirtatious, rebellious and unpredictable. She may be only five feet tall, but she epitomizes the old adage that dynamite comes in small packages. 

Her emotions rage between denial, anger and tears when her doctor tells her she is suffering from a rare terminal disease. When hunky Andre Rossouw asks her to help find his sister who has been missing for four years, Arlette makes two decisions. To beat the disease and find a cure, and to have wild and passionate sex with him. 

Then she finds out he has a fiancée. 



Click here to enter: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/190752-aquarius-addiction

Good luck to all of you.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Scorpio's Sting -- an excerpt



I'm very happy that Soul Mate Publishing accepted my fourth novel in the Zodiac Series this week. I know it's good--my best work so far. I posted an excerpt on my website here, and below a different one:


CHAPTER 21
 Drew scrutinized his fellow cell mates. What a ragged group of sorry looking specimens of humanity. Friday night, that's why it's so full. Everyone was out drinking. The benches were all taken, and the late-comers had to sit on the concrete floor. He guardedly picked his way through them, careful not to bump into anyone, until he was in a small space of his own. A man puked to the left of him and he moved away. The stink of stale alcohol, vomit and unwashed bodies threatened to overpower him, and he found another space, and swallowed hard to keep the bile down. 

This is a gross injustice. He fingered the wound on his cheek and looked down at his shirt—blood-spattered and dirt-stained, and one sleeve was torn.

His grimace was mistaken for a smile. “Nothin’ to smile about in here.” A short, thickset man stood on his right, with gray, wispy hair and an unkempt salt and pepper beard. The steely blue eyes seemed out of place in the sun-beaten, weathered face. “You been fightin’, too.” the man shook his head disapprovingly. “Name’s Nate,” he held out a hand.

That's all I need. Some drunk dude wants to be my friend. Can't he see I'm not in a friendly mood? Reluctantly, he wiped his hand on his pants and took the man's hand, feeling the steel in his grip.

“Drew. How you doing?”

“Been here before?”

“No.”

“My third time. Cop recognized me from a previous conviction. Nothing big. They'll let me go tomorrow so long as I agree to be one of their snitches again. I know the drill.” He paused to allow Drew to speak, but Drew only grunted and turned his head away.

She doesn’t love me anymore. She hates me. Do I still love her? Don’t know the answer. I thought I still had a tiny bit of love for her left, but after what she's done, I don't know anymore. How does that happen? How can you love a person so much and then lose it all?

Drew eased himself onto the floor, trying to ignore the pain in his back, joints and muscles—not to mention his face. His head pounded and he wished he could take a couple of Advils. He leaned against the wall with his knees up in front of him. The cold concrete floor numbed his butt.

Nate followed him. He talked a lot. "I was in ‘Nam. EOD. Explosives Ordnance Disposal if you don't know what that is. Bomb and landmine detection and disposal is what my job description was, but I also learned how to blow things up.

“You don’t wanna know the things went on out there. I seen some real bad things, you know. Children, I seen kids killed by our own men, and women. I burned down the villages of innocents so they’d have nothing to go back to. It was real hard for me to come to terms with, so I used drugs to escape from the reality of it. Hell, the most of us did. Time I was there is all a daze now, but I can’t forget the killin’, can’t forget the wounded, screamin’ for help, their guts spillin’ out in the dirt, and the stink of death, all around. The flies. The fear gnawing at your belly every time you move, couldn’t even take a shit in the bushes without bein’ in fear for your life. Got wounded,” he patted his thigh, “and they brought me back here.

"Wife had found another man, asked for a divorce..." Drew tuned him out. He had to find out more about Escorpio.

The man finally seemed to run out of words. In a low voice, Drew asked him, "Have you ever heard of an underground organization made up of people who want to take the drug cartels down? Its name is something like Escorpio—Scorpio, like the star sign." He held out his wrist so Nate could see the tattoo. They had taken his watch away when he was booked.

Nate glanced around, and then stared at him with wide eyes. "Don't be messing with those drug dudes, man," he whispered quietly, and made the sign of the cross on his chest with his hand. "They're just as dangerous as the mob. Narcos are all bad. They will kill you in a heartbeat if they find you've even been thinking about that. Don't ask me again. You might have a death wish, but I don't, and they have ears everywhere." He held Drew's gaze until Drew dropped his eyes. 

The question seemed to have changed his attitude and he and curled up on the floor a little way off, and was soon snoring quietly.

Time passed minute by agonizing minute. Most of the others in the cell were either asleep or had passed out. A couple of them were snoring. Drew was almost dozing off, but he jerked awake when he picked up a word in the whispered conversation nearby. He held his breath, ignoring the pounding, throbbing headache.

One of the two Hispanic men was staring at his wrist. At the tattoo. He saw Drew had noticed, and glared at him.

Drew moved closer and leaned in. He whispered in Spanish, "El Escorpion es venenosa y muy peligrosa." (The scorpion is very dangerous.)

One of the men cursed him under his breath.

"Listen," Drew whispered in Spanish. "My son was murdered by the Vibora de Coral Cartel. Me igo. Muerte. I want to know more. You see the scorpion tattoo on my wrist, so you know you can confide in me."

The two men stared at him. One of them glanced around as if to make certain no-one else had heard. "Las paredes." (The walls.) He covered his face with his hood.

"Tienen oídos," Drew said under his breath. (Have ears.)

The man whispered through the fabric of his hood, "El doce de Octobre—October 12th."

Drew heard his name being called from outside the cell. He wished he could talk more with these guys. He dug into his pants pocket and found a crumpled piece of one of his business cards. It had his name and the business' name on it. He threw it at the feet of the two men, and then pushed his way to the front of the cell.

They loaded him and several others into a van, and placed them in a small holding cell at the court house, where his attorney found him.

"Brian, I'm sorry."

Brian screwed up his forehead and peered at Drew's face. "What's going on, Drew? What's with all the damage to your face? And the blood on your shirt and all over. You're a mess, man. What did you do to Wendy? I can't believe it."

Turmoil. The fortune teller—Neelie—said everything would get screwed up. What is she? Some kind of witch, and she's put a spell on me?

"Drew, are you listening?"
"Sorry, Brian. I didn't get any sleep last night."
(To be continued in the book)

Copyright (C) Trish Jackson, 2016 
Grab a free download of the prologue, Neelie's Story here:
 http://www.trishjackson.com/#!blank/akxix

Monday, May 16, 2016

FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME

I'm taking advantage of KDP Select's five day free option and offering a FREE download of my psychological thriller SHEER PANIC from May 15th through May 19th only. 


This is a novella and is only 112 pages. Please feel free to hop over to Amazon and you'll see it is priced at $0.00. (You'll need an Amazon account, which is free.) Click on 'Buy Now' and if you don't have a Kindle, Amazon will lead you through it. They have apps that will allow you to read Kindle files on your PC or tablet or phone.

It's kind of a mix between dark and sweet, which is what I like to do. Just when things seem to be all bad, something uplifting takes place. And of course, I like to feature animals.




What would you do if someone came into your house and moved your stuff while you were sleeping? Breanna Benton's denial morphs into terror when she finally has to accept the truth, but which one of the three men who harass her is the stalker? 

The maintenance man at college makes her edgy and uneasy when he accosts her with inappropriate comments; Dorky Dorian seems to be following her everywhere she goes, and it troubles her to think he may have tampered with her car; hunky Joaquim at the stables where she keeps her horse takes his flirting to a new level, awakening terrifying and exciting emotions all the way to her core, but did he copy her house keys? 

And then Lance, the boy she had a crush on at high school friends her on Facebook. He never noticed her before. She's ecstatic, but a little scared. 

She draws comfort from the only stabilizing factors in her life—her niece, Shari, and the elderly neighbor Mrs. Stanley and her dog, Panda. 


Here's the link:  Sheer Panic

  

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Suspense vs Mystery

Back in the day identifying a fiction book genre was simple. The choices were limited to romance, suspense, mystery, comedy, historical, western, etc. Most were identified with one word. Now, it is almost impossible to classify a book's genre using only one word, as so many sub-categories have been created, originally to facilitate search engine keywords.

A lot of people don't seem to know the difference between a suspense thriller and a mystery, so here it is:

In suspense, the reader knows what the bad guy (antagonist) is up to before the protagonist knows. The reader's inside knowledge that someone is lying in ambush waiting for the unsuspecting character creates suspense.  The actual ambush makes it a thriller.

In a mystery, the reader only knows what the primary characters know. If they're hunting for a clue, you don't know where they may find it, and if someone is going to ambush them, you won't know until it happens.

My Redneck P.I. Mystery Series are romantic mystery/comedies.



My Zodiac Series are romantic suspense/thrillers.


Animals always play an important part.

FREE downloads for Kindle or you computer -- http://www.trishjackson.com/#!free-stuff/cjci