Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bye Bye 2015

I can't believe I haven't updated my blog for so long. My excuse is that I went to South Africa to celebrate my amazing mother-in-law's 96th birthday, and then when I got home the 'silly season' was in full swing. 


That's all in the past now and 2016 looms on the horizon. I'm hoping it'll be a great year for writers in general. My wish is that you all have something good to celebrate next year.

2015 was a good year for me as a writer. I had two books published and a short story. As always, they include delightful animal characters and romance, plus a message to educate people about the evils of our world.

Sheer Panic is a novella I published myself. It's my first attempt at a psychological thriller. 

Breanna Barton has no love life until the guy she had a crush on at high school shows up unexpectedly on Facebook and wants to get together. After several strange and terrifying incidents, she comes to the realization that someone is stalking her. But it can't be him. He lives in another state. 
Her eight-year-old niece, and Panda, the little black and white mutt who belongs to her elderly neighbor rescue Breanna in more ways than one.
Sheer Panic on Amazon


 Virgo's Vice, the third in my Zodiac Series, was released by Soul Mate Publishing late in the year.

Camera operator Lexie King has a good reason to work out of her comfort zone in Allan Dockery's new survival-style reality show in Africa. She is determined to overcome her PTSD and make something of herself, but she has no way of knowing he would be there. The monster who molested her repeatedly as a child.
Jake, the producer's chocolate lab, and sexy cowboy contestant Billy Murphy are her only hope, but can they do enough to save her?  

Virgo's Vice on Amazon


Lexie's Story is the prologue to Virgo's Vice. I self-published this on Smashwords and it can be downloaded totally free in any format.

   Lexie KIng's childhood sucked. When she wasn't lying in in her bed at night waiting for 'the monster', she was hiding from the bullies at school. It was like she had a sign on her forehead that said "Abuse Me."
   Lexie's parents died in a car crash when she was too young to remember, and Aunt Jess refuses to believe that her live-in lover, Phillip could be molesting Lexie. 
   An ugly mutt named Candy -- a cross between a boxer and a standard poodle -- is Lexie's only friend in the world.

FREE Download of Lexie's Story

See you all next year.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Virgo's Vice -- Available for Pre-Order!

I am thrilled to announce that the third novel in the Zodiac Series, Virgo's Vice, is available on Amazon for pre-order. The publishing process always seems to take forever!


I'll be guest blogging on Just Contemporary Romance on October 20/21 and I will be doing a giveaway there


Camera operator Lexie King has a good reason to work out of her comfort zone in Allan Dockery's new survival-style reality show in Africa. She is determined to overcome her PTSD and make something of herself, but she has no way of knowing he would be there. The monster who’d caused her distress. 

Now all she wants is to get away—as far away as possible. But how? They're stranded one stop past nowhere in Africa. 

When traumatic events start to happen, she draws comfort from Jake, the producer's chocolate lab, and cowboy contestant Billy Murphy, who makes her laugh at the darkest of times, and heats up more than her heart with his touch . . . 


Here's the book trailer:




Lexie's background story is told in 'Lexie's Story' which is available for free download on the home page of my website with no strings attached.

In the Zodiac Series each primary character belongs to a specific star sign and exhibits the character traits attributed thereto

Here's the Amazon link for pre-ordering Virgo's Vice

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review -- Please Release Me by Rhoda Baxter

Rhoda is a very talented author who usually writes sweet and entertaining romantic comedies. This book was written as a tribute to hospice and hospice workers all over the world.


Peter is the perfect husband, the husband we would all cherish. When his wife, Sally is in a coma as a result of a car crash on their wedding day, he visits her faithfully in the hospice, always hoping she might recover consciousness one day.  Perhaps some of his devotion comes from guilt. He was the one driving. But he is also just a really good person who loves his wife.

Sally can hear him, while she lies there in a coma, but she can’t move or communicate. Until he becomes friendly with Grace, who is also a regular visitor to the hospice.

I thought I had a good idea of where the story was going, and then it went in a totally different direction. The title is brilliant, because each one of the three main characters is stuck in some way, and all of them find their own form of release in the end.

This is a beautiful, poignant love story, and a very successful divergence from the author’s usual romantic comedies, and she did a great job of illustrating life in a hospice, as she set out to do.

A little dark; a little sad, but happiness triumphs in the end.

Here's the link to buy it on Amazon

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Interview with Author Susan Whitfield

I haven't featured any new authors for the longest time and I'm thrilled to be able to highlight multiple award-winning author Susan Whitfield. She writes in a variety of genres.


Q -- Welcome, Susan. It's so good to have you here on my blog. Please tell us about your writing – the genre/s, and why you chose it or them.

This is a loaded question, Trish! I started out to write a short story and it turned into a mystery novel, Genesis Beach. I liked the protag so much that I wrote a series about her, a tough North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agent.  Since I’ve live in this state all my life, I decided rather than have Logan Hunter stay in one place, I’d move her around the state to showcase not only our beaches but our mountains and all parts in between.  Just North of Luck is set in the mountains, Hell Swamp along Black River where I grew up, Sin Creek along the Cape Fear waterfront in Wilmington, and Sticking Point in Beaufort. I decided to end the series and try on a few more hats.

I wrote a women’s fiction, titled Slightly Cracked and hope to write another novel in this genre. I had a blast writing about these two lifelong friends and their antics.

My brand new Sprig of Broom is historical fiction. I am the lineal descendent of a Knight of the Bath and wanted to write about him since he married King Henry’s daughter Matilda and fathered the long line of Plantagenet kings. He often wore a sprig of broom in his hat, hence the title.

I love to read many genres and I suppose it just seemed natural to try to write multiple genres as well. I’m easily bored so this has added adventure and challenge to my life.

Q -- Wow! I love that. So glad you chose to feature the historic book.

Sprig of Broom is the new book. It can be labeled historical fiction or creative nonfiction. It is a stand-alone. Here’s a synopsis:

Sprig of Broom is a coming-of-age novel about Geoffrey Plantagenet, a count, who at the age of 15 marries King Henry’s daughter, Empress Matilda, and fathers the dynasty of Plantagenet kings. The story begins with the count on his journey to Rouen in Normandy to become a Knight of the Bath. From Rouen, he and the king’s entourage travel to LeMans where Geoffrey is wed to Matilda. And the loathing begins . . .
Sir Geoffrey Plantagenet has much to learn, and over the course of his life’s journey he develops a better understanding of himself, fathers a long line of kings, endures adversaries—especially his own wife—and boldly faces the world of chaos around him.


Q -- Fantastic. Please tell us more about the main character(s).

Back in the 12th century folks were married off to each other with no regard for love or likemindedness. Goeffrey Plantagenet had never seen Matilda until he traveled to Rouen to be knighted and then with the king’s entourage to LeMans Cathedrale for the wedding. Matilda at once loathed Geoffrey because even though he was handsome, he was a mere count and only fifteen years old. She was 26 and had been previously married to the Emperor of Germany. She made his life difficult, indeed.
  
 Q --   Are you a pantser--you write by the seat of your pants, or a    plotter?

I have on occasion been a pantser but for Sprig of Broom it was crucial to be a plotter because I wanted to be as accurate as possible with the time period, architecture, travel, battles, and historical facts about their marriage and life together. Large gaps in time gave me the space I needed to let my imagination take over but I still wanted the novel to be believable.

Q -- Understandable. Promotion is the hardest part of being a writer. What do you do to promote your stories?

I have a blog at www.susanwhitfield.blogspot.com and a web site at www.susanwhitfieldonline.com I’m also a member of many writers’ groups including www.booktown.ning.com, www.coldcoffeepress.com, www.booksinsyn.com, www.bookemnc.com.

Here's a short excerpt of Sprig of Bloom:

“I will see Henry, my son,” I said sternly. I backed away from her bed and walked into the nursery, where the baby still fretted in a nursemaid’s arms.
“Is he ill?”
“No, my lord. He is a babe being a babe. Lady Matilda has not the patience needed—” She stopped her words and her face reddened. “Oh, I beg your pardon sir!”
I smiled and nodded, understanding at her candor. “No pardon is needed, but I do wish to hold this fussy moppet.”
I gathered the bundle in my arms and the future king quieted and looked at me with bright blue eyes. I walked to the high window’s sun and looked him over. He smiled up at me and if he had not already held my heart, he stole it then.

~***~


Biography:

Award-winning multi-genre author Susan Whitfield is a native of North Carolina, where she sets all of her novels. She is the author of five published mysteries, Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck, Hell Swamp, Sin Creek and Sticking Point.

She also authored Killer Recipes, a unique cookbook that includes recipes from mystery writers around the country.  All proceeds from this book are donated to cancer research.

Slightly Cracked is her first women’s fiction, set in Wayne County where she lives with her husband. Their two sons live nearby with their families.

Sprig of Broom is her first historical fiction about a medieval ancestor.

Susan’s books are available in print and all ebook formats.

LINKS:



Friday, September 11, 2015

Readers Choice Awards Voting Info

I'm thrilled that my two novels, Backwoods Boogie and Aquarius Addiction qualified for the Readers Choice Awards at The Romance Reviews. 


The nomination phase is now open and I need 50 nominations each for them to move forward. 

You have to sign up or be a member of The Romance Reviews. This could benefit you if you're a reader and like romance, or if you're a writer and want to showcase your romance novels. All votes will be truly appreciated. 

Here are the links:




















Thank you SO much. I truly appreciate your help. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Stuck on Please Release me by Rhoda Baxter

It's all about being stuck... I'm stuck because I don't have enough time to write all the books stuck in my head just trying to come out. And if I could be stuck somewhere with someone who would it be??? That would depend upon where I was stuck.


Please Release Me

What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you?
Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab opportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up.
That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question.
In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to communicate.

But Sally was never going to let a little thing like a coma get in the way of her happily ever after …


Buy it here on Amazon

Rhoda's an incredibly talented romance author, and I'm happy to participate in her blog splash.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Virgo's Vice Cover Reveal

I just received my cover for the next story in my Zodiac Series, Virgo's Vice. As always, Soul Mate Publishing's artists did an amazing job and captured the essence of the story, which is a romantic suspense thriller set in Africa. 


Lexie King can't believe she did this to herself -- she signed up to work as a camera operator in Allan Dockery's new survival type reality show.


She wanted to prove she could break her reliance on anti-anxiety meds, and make something of herself. But she had no way of knowing he would be there. The monster.


Now all she wants is to get away--as far away as possible. But how? They're one stop past nowhere in Africa.


When shocking events start to happen, she draws comfort from Jake, the producer's chocolate lab, and cowboy contestant Billy Murphy, who makes her laugh at the darkest of times, and heats up more than her heart with his touch...





Scheduled for release in October 2015.


Why Dogs Rock

I was on Facebook the other day when I got one of those postings pointing out that ‘dog’ spelled backwards is 'god'. As always, I smiled and wondered where people come up with that kind of stuff, but it got me thinking. Most dog owners love their dogs, think of them as family members, and mourn them when they die. I did some research, found some interesting info, and decided to use it for my post on the Write Room Blog.

Dogs and Protection
A dog’s mantra is to protect and serve, and some dogs will risk death to save their owners from danger, even little pet dogs. This inherent desire has been put to good use for law enforcement purposes. German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Dobermann Pischers and other breeds that exhibit fearless and potentially aggressive natures are used as canine police officers, trained to attack and apprehend criminals and back up their handlers. Military dogs perform a wealth of different functions including scouting, detecting land mines, detecting explosives, and more, and dog handlers develop a very special bond with their charges. The US military has its own breeding program, and the Department of Defense Military Working Dog School asks regular civilians to foster puppies aged from 6 weeks to 7 months for five months to socialize them. Here’s a link to a program in Texas.  http://www.37trw.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-120611-022.pdf

Dogs and Rescue Operations
Dogs are far superior to humans when it comes to search and rescue, and it has been said that one dog can do the job of 30 humans in search and rescue operations. When we think tracking, Bloodhounds are the breed that automatically come to mind, because they are equipped to do the job more effectively.  Their long ears and the folds around their faces are designed to trap and hold onto scents. Specialized tracker dogs are not limited to Bloodhounds, though. All breeds of dogs, including mongrels or mutts have a superior sense of smell when compared with humans, and are often employed to sniff for people who may be trapped under rubble, snow or mud after natural disasters and terror attacks. Cadaver dogs are used to find dead bodies, thereby helping their loved ones to find closure.
Specialized breeds like Newfoundlands are often used for water rescues because of their strength and swimming skills, aided by webbed feet. We’ve probably all heard of St. Bernards and how they were used for centuries by monks in the Alps to find people lost in the snow. The work was hazardous and so many of these dogs died that the breed came close to extinction. Thankfully a breeding program saved them, but they are no longer used for rescues.

Dogs can be trained to sniff just about anything, and they may be used to detect drugs, bombs, stolen money, or murder weapons.
This post would not be complete if I didn't mention the wonderful canines who assisted in finding people after the 9/11 attack in New York. Said to be more than 900 in total numbers, and made up of different breeds, they came from all over the country and worked for anything from 12 to 16 hours at a time in chaotic, dusty, smoky and acrid conditions for around 10 days. Sadly, most of them have passed away now, but they will always be remembered as true heroes.

Dogs and Human Health
Humans with physical disabilities rely on dogs to help them with their everyday tasks. Guide dogs empower the blind and hearing-impaired, and dogs can be trained to check if their owners are going into a diabetic coma or an epileptic seizure, sometimes waking them up every hour through the night. If the dog detects a problem, it is trained to press a button that calls for help.
Therapy dogs have been called ‘professional comforters with fur.’ They are taken to hospitals to visit and interact with sick adults and children, who often show marked improvement in their health just from cuddling a dog and feeling their warm, wriggly bodies and their slobbery doggie ‘kisses.’
Autistic children and mentally challenged children and adults, and soldiers with PTSD gain comfort and healing from interacting with dogs. Dogs are used in prisons as therapy and rehabilitation for prisoners, who take care of them and train them, thus learning responsibility and self-esteem.
This is a link to a true story about an autistic boy and his shelter dog—a case of the rescued dog rescues the human, which happens more often than you might imagine. http://www.today.com/pets/shelter-dog-helps-boy-autism-hug-his-mom-first-time-t17686
Some exceptional dogs have displayed an ability to sniff out cancer. This is now being expounded upon, and dogs are being trained in the early detection of cancer using samples of peoples’ breath saved in a test tube, and displaying an unprecedented  98% success rate. This research has exciting and far reaching possibilities. Dogs are being used to aid in mammograms that are hard to read because of dense breast tissue, and to provide a simple (not to mention painless) screening method of cancer detection. (Ref: InSitu Foundation www.dogsdetectcancer.org )

Dogs and Herding
Collies and shepherd dogs of all kinds have an instinctual herding instinct and have been used by shepherds for hundreds of years. Herding dogs can also be quite fierce and protect the animals in their charge against predators. The Great Pyrenees are big, strong dogs that fit into that category. Corgis, Queen Elizabeth’s favorite breed, may look cute, but they were originally bred to herd cattle and other animals.

Dogs and Sport
Dogs have been used for man’s recreational purposes for thousands of years, from beagles, fox-terriers and foxhounds, bred to hunt foxes (tally-ho), to Rhodesian Ridgebacks (where I come from) that were bred to hunt lions, and Karelean Bear Dogs. Modern hunting dogs in the US, mainly hounds, wear tracking collars so their owners can easily follow or locate them in the dense eastern and northern forests.
Pointers find where the quarry is hiding and 'point' it out to their owner, Retrievers fetch birds their owners have shot, often having to swim to complete their mission. Sight hounds—Saluki, Whippets and others were bred for their superior speed and vision.
Apart from hunting, dogs show amazing agility when they compete in sports like Frisbee-catching events, canine agility competitions, dock-diving, herding contests, and more, and  Greyhound and lure racing, which has been taking place for literally hundreds of years.
The Iditarod is one of the most grueling races in the world. Teams of dogs compete to pull sleds some 1,100 miles through snow, ice, and sub-zero temperatures. Only northern breeds of dogs, primarily Siberian huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are permitted to be used because other breeds have proven to be unable to withstand the harsh weather conditions. The race can take anything between 9 – 15 days, and is one of the toughest of all competitions in the world. When the race starts, a red lantern is lit, and is awarded to the last team to cross the finish line in recognition that the race is not over until everyone is off the trail.

Dogs in History
It would be an impossible task to choose one most famous dog, but there are a few who deserve a special mention.

While dogs belonging to presidents and world leaders may have been given their share of airtime, Lassie, although fictional, must be one of the most recognizable dogs worldwide. Her part was first played in the movie 'Lassie Come Home' by a male Rough Collie named Pal in 1943. Pal was not the first choice because he was a male—he was originally hired to do the stunts. He performed so well in one particular scene that it was decided he would replace the original highly-pedigreed female star.
Rin-Tin-Tin, on the other hand, was a real dog (not fictional), and starred as himself in movies, and has been credited with bringing Warner Brothers out of bankruptcy in the 1920's.
Laika, the first dog in space, was one of three strays picked up on the streets of Moscow.  She had the misfortune to be chosen from the three to orbit the earth in Sputnik 2 in 1957. Technology at that time was limited, and it was not possible to bring the spacecraft back to earth in one piece. It was reported that Laika would eventually run out of oxygen and die an easy death after a few orbits, but sadly, it is speculated that she died soon after takeoff due to overheating. A statue of her stands as a reminder of her sad mission.

Sinbad, a dog of indeterminate breeding, signed his enlistment papers for the US Coast Guard with a paw print, and received his own identification number. He must be one of the most decorated dogs in history, having been awarded the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal.
Then there was Able Seaman Just Nuisance, a Great Dane who was the only dog to be enlisted in the British Royal Navy. He got into trouble for constantly boarding the trains to Cape Town from the naval base near the southern tip of Africa, without a ticket. Sailors were allowed to travel free, so he was enlisted to alleviate the problem. His name was given as 'Just', last name 'Nuisance', and his trade 'bone crusher', while his religious denomination was listed as 'Scrounger.' His statue can be seen in Simonstown, South Africa, and a movie about his life is currently in production.
On a final note, consider this. Simply stroking any pet can decrease levels of stress hormones, regulate breathing, and lower blood pressure, but dogs are the only ones that watch and wait every time we go out, and greet us with a happy dance and a wagging tail when we return. We are currently 'between dogs' in our household—not for long, I hope. It's the first time in my life I haven't had a dog, and I love our cats, but that special welcome is what I miss the most.

Originally posted on The Write Room Blog http://www.thewriteroomblog.com 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

FREE Download of Sheer Panic

I'm participating in a free download for review site at Story Cartel for Sheer Panic, my new psychological thriller.


This is a novelette, so it's about half the length of a normal novel. You can sign up for Story Cartel at absolutely no cost, and choose any number of free ebook downloads, as long as you agree to post a review on Amazon and anywhere else you may decide to place it. You are under no obligation to write a good review if you think the story was badly written, although obviously authors love good reviews.

Click on the link below for more info:

https://storycartel.com/books/sheer-panic

Here are the details:

Have you ever wondered who you are really friending on Facebook?

Breanna Barton's love life sucks. That's why she's staying home and taking care of her eight-year-old niece, Shari over spring break instead of heading over to Panama City for some surf, sun and sex.  

She's glad college is over for a couple of weeks so she can escape from Roderick, the maintenance man who always seems to seek her out and make twisted comments, and she doesn't think Dorky Dorian will follow her again after her septuagenarian neighbor's dog, Panda attacked him. 

The only bad thing about Joaquim, manager of the stable where she keeps her horse, is the fact that he's nine years older than her. He has the power to make her hot all over just by looking at her.

Out of the blue, she gets a friend request on Facebook from Lance, the boy she was obsessed with at high school. Strange and terrifying incidents start happening. Is she being stalked? And was someone in her bedroom at night while she was sleeping?


Remember, it's totally free, and I look forward to finding out what you think of it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Psych Thriller Sheer Panic is Now Available

I'm pleased to announce that my next story is available for download in just about every format you can think of. This is a 120-page novella, and my first psychological thriller.


It will appeal to lovers of suspense and romance.




Breanna Barton has no love life. That's why she's staying home and taking care of her eight-year-old niece over spring break.

After several strange and terrifying incidents, she comes to the realization that someone is stalking her. But who? She can think of three men who always seem to be around where ever she goes.

And was someone in her bedroom at night while she was sleeping?


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lexie's Story -- Free for a limited time.

I am excited  -- I published Lexie's Story today. This is the preview to Virgo's Vice, the third novel in my Zodiac Series.


It seems to Lexie King that she has a target on her back--or a sign on her forehead that says 'Abuse Me.'

Lexie's parents died in a car crash when she was too young to remember, and Aunt Jess refuses to believe that her live-in lover, Phillip could be molesting Lexie. 

An ugly mutt named Candy -- a cross between a boxer and a standard poodle -- is Lexie's only friend in the world.

She sometimes thinks about ending her life, but revenge would be so much sweeter.





This short story is totally free. Get yours now.



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sheer Panic Cover Help Please

I'm thrilled that my next story, Sheer Panic is finally done. This is my first attempt at a psychological thriller, and of course there are always romantic elements and pets included.

This is a novelette, and is only about one third the length of my normal novels.

Tori Barton is staying at home and taking care of her eight-year-old niece over spring break. After several strange and terrifying incidents, she comes to the realization that someone is stalking her. But who? She can think of three men who always seem to be around whereever she goes.

Please add your choice of cover, 1, 2, 3, or 4 in the comments section. Everyone who participates will get a free download as soon as it is published.


Cover 1
                                       Cover 2
Cover 3

















                                                                                                   Cover 4

FREE downloads of four short stories are still available on my website at http://www.trishjackson.com/#!free-stuff/cjci

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Importance of the First Line

Good writers understand the importance of the first line in their novels. Readers these days don't have a lot of time, and they don't spend more than a few minutes evaluating  a book. If the first line is boring, they may not continue reading.

I'm currently participating in an assignment to send two alternative first lines to James Patterson. He will choose the most popular -- the ones that get the most shares and re-tweets.

Here are mine, from my upcoming novel Virgo's Vice, which is the third in my Zodiac Series:

1.) I bend down to stroke Allan Dockery's dog, wondering if I actually hit the ground too hard and died, and none of this is really happening. ‪#‎JamesPattersonCritique‬
2.) I'm shaking so bad I can hardly breathe and I think I'm gonna throw up. I glance back at the others, not really expecting any help from them—they have to all be nuts. #JamesPattersonCritique

Anyone who cares to share this post will be my BFF for ever! I don't have an Instagram account, so if you do, and you feel like sharing, please go ahead. Thanks very much.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

More About What I learned from James Patterson

I'm thrilled to have just finished writing the first complete draft of my debut psychological thriller, and novella, "Sheer Panic." Although I had already started writing this story with no outline, and not knowing how it would progress, I decided to stop and get the outline down.

Here's the start of it.

1. Tori avoids Roderick, 'the Freak' as she enters the cafeteria at college. He has been harassing her for a while and she is afraid to report him, in case he retaliates. (Here's where I know I should make a new chapter -- each chapter should be one scene.) Later, Dorky Dorian tries to flirt with her when she is putting her stuff into her locker. Her friend Janet tells her she's weird because she has opted not to go to Panama City Beach at Spring Break. Instead, she has agreed to babysit her niece so her sister can go. She never discusses the real reason she is afraid to go with her friends.

2. One afternoon when Tori is taking her neighbor's dog, Panda, for a walk in the park, Dorky Dorian tries to force himself on her and the dog attacks him. Panda's owner, Mrs. Stanley tells Tori she should get a dog of her own for protection. Tori reflects on her love life. She knows it's a total disaster, and if she had a steady boyfriend the weird men would leave her alone.

3. Tori is friended on Facebook by Lance, the boy she chased at high school to no avail. Although it seems a little odd that he has suddenly had a change of heart, and decided to pursue a relationship with her, she is still totally smitten with him, and she goes along with it. She hopes it will turn into something serious, and take her mind off the stolen kiss with her sister's boyfriend, Dan that has been plaguing her. (This scene needs something to make it more exciting.)

4. Tori takes her niece, Shari horse riding and sexy Joaquim .... etc.

Once I had completed the outline, it was easy to write the story, although it's still in the first draft rough format. I found that I deviated a little from the outline when I came up with a better idea, and as I went along, I changed the outline at times. I love the finished draft.

Here are some other things James talked about in his videos:

  • First lines -- We all know it is essential to capture your audience right away, yet so many writers start with something mundane and boring. Mine is:                                                          "I just don't get why your love life is such a total mess," Janet said.  "It's just not right. It's not that hard. You must be the only nineteen-year-old in the whole school who isn’t getting laid."
  • Be yourself. Imagine you're sitting across the table from your best friend telling them the story of a movie you watched. If you wouldn't use pompous and puffed up language and fancy words when speaking to them, you shouldn't be using them in your writing.
  • Try writing a couple of different endings. Make them as outrageous as you can. I did this and absolutely loved the new one I came up with. It was far more exciting than the original ending.
  • Try writing the same piece in the POV of more than one character. You could fall in love with a version you never thought about before.
  • Don't be afraid to break the rules. Whatever works for you is okay. We're all different, and so are our readers.
  • Do your research. Don't just wing it. You must know what you are writing about to build credibility.
  • Don't be afraid to rewrite if it doesn't feel right to you.

More in my next post.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Outlines are Essential, Says James Patterson

When I found out that James Patterson, the most prolific and successful author of our time, was holding a writing class, I was all in. 

The outline is the most creative part of writing your novel, and sometimes, James says, he writes several different outlines for the same story before he decides how it will all work out. He can be working on an outline for months before he is happy with it.

Before you start the outline, you need the raw idea. This is a one-paragraph summary of your story, and if your story is to succeed, the idea has to be something more than a little disparate, create tension and conflict, and should grab readers' attention from the start.

Here's the idea for my upcoming novel, 'Virgo's Variant':

Cinematographer Lexie King is determined to break free from the drugs, and psychoses that haunt her as a result of the sexual abuse she suffered as a child. She signs up as one of the camera operators for a new reality show set in Africa, knowing that it will be totally out of her comfort zone. It is too late for her to quit the assignment when she discovers that one of the contestants is the man who abused her, The producer has dropped her and the other camera operator, with the twelve contestants, in a remote region somewhere in Africa with no means of communication. The producer dies, and the only person who knows where they are is the pilot who dropped them there, who is away on his honeymoon. Rumor has it that all the local inhabitants have abandoned their villages because a monster roams the region. Then the murders start, and the only person Lexie trusts is the cowboy, but could she be wrong? He is certainly physically strong enough to be the murderer.

So my next task is to write an outline. This is a summary of each chapter, with one or two paragraphs per chapter. Every chapter is a new scene, and should contain something that propels the story forward and adds a new twist.

Once the outline is all written up -- and typing it out in Word works for me -- you can go back over the scenes and experiment. Add new twists, reorganize the order of events, make notes for future reference, add something to create more suspense, and make a note of how the events affect the personal lives of each character.

Here you will edit, edit and edit again before you go any further.

The one thing I did notice about the outline is that, without dialogue or the internal conflict and thoughts of the characters, it's pretty blah, but that all comes later, and James goes over the do's and don'ts of dialogue and creating conflict in some detail.

Only when you are completely happy with your outline should you start the novel, which will flow easily now that you know how the story progresses. I used to be a pantser, but now I know better.My greatest problem with this particular novel was that I had already written it before the classes with James, and it was with my publisher, Soul Mate Publishing. I received the first edit from them soon after completing the course. I found that with the outline, I was able to do a lot of editing that I probably wouldn't have done before. I cut out a lot of unnecessary explanations and changed some of the events. (Show don't tell). I also ended up with double the number of chapters I originally started with, because short one-scene chapters make the story move at a faster pace, and if your story drags, your readers will lose interest.


If you are interested in taking the class, here is a link: James Patterson Teaches Writing





Sunday, May 3, 2015

Reading and Editing

Editing is an essential part of the publication process. Whether we like it or not, it is almost impossible for a person to see all of his or her errors. Everyone needs an editor--even the world's best selling authors, and I don't mean searching for typo's and grammatical errors--I mean content and development editing.

I belong to several online organizations, where writers share their work free, either in return for a guaranteed review, or just for added exposure. I usually select romantic suspense or suspense novels, and download them to my Kindle.

Every now and then I discover a new author whose work I love, and I give them a review and I buy their other books.

More often than not, though, I only read a few pages before giving up on a story and moving on to the next book. The problem I find to be the most common, is that authors have self-published without the aid of an editor, and their work just doesn't flow. I don't feel comfortable giving these writers a review, because negative reviews can cause terrible harm and discouragement. It's easier just to move on. The most common problem I see is head-hopping and author intrusion. A lot of writers don't know that in today's publishing world, fiction is written as if the characters are telling the story, and there is no narrator/author.

When I was ready to publish my first novel, the Internet didn't exist as we know it today, and I had to go the traditional route, and submit my manuscript to several publishers, knowing that rejections were part of the process. Since then, the Internet publishing business has taken off, creating exponential opportunities to those who want to write. I will always be thankful I had to submit my work to publishers, because even now I still prefer to go that route for a very good reason.

Reputable publishing houses, run by people who know the publishing industry, will always have at least one accredited editor on staff, who will work with each author to help hone their work, and make it best it can be before publication. (The downside is that not all publishing houses are genuine, and it is difficult if not impossible for a new author to recognize a scam.)

Jude Glad, my editor and a part owner of Uncial Press, has been a wonderful mentor, and has taught me more than I could have learned in a couple of years of college classes on creative writing. I will always be grateful to her. My Zodiac Series is published by Soul Mate Publishing, and owner/editor Debby Gilbert has added to my bank of knowledge in a very positive way, and I don't know where I would be without either of them.

I was so inspired by them, that I decided to pay forward and give back to other writers what I have learned, and I started my online editing business to assist self-published authors, and give them a better chance at achieving their dreams. I have made my pricing extremely competitive because I know most writers don't have a lot spare cash lying around. I wish I could do it for free, but editing is time-consuming, and it does take away some of my writing time.

I have done very little active promotion, but have always been busy since the inception of my editing business, thanks to word of mouth recommendations from some of my wonderful customers. I am only one person so I can only handle one manuscript at a time. I've had the privilege of reading and helping to optimize some wonderful stories, and fascinating non-fiction by some very talented authors.

My services include development and content editing, formatting for, and uploading to Amazon's CreateSpace and KDP Direct, and other online self-publishing platforms, plus cover creation, I've also recently been asked to write someone's memoirs, and I've added that. I also build websites or help create and format blogs.

Here is my address: Youselfpublish.com


Friday, March 27, 2015

Love and Marriage from Kid's Perspective

I got such a laugh out of this I just had to post it on my blog. These kids know all about love and marriage...


1. HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHOM TO MARRY?
You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
-- Alan, age 10

-No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with.
-- Kristen, age 10


2. WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?
Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then..
-- Camille, age 10

3.
 HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?
You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids. 
-- Derrick, age 8 

4.
 WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON? 
Both don't want any more kids. 
-- Lori, age 8 

5.
 WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?
-Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
 
-- Lynnette, age 8 (Isn't she a treasure?) 

-On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
 
-- Martin, age 10 


6.
 WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?
-When they're rich. 
-- Pam, age 7 (Love her)

-The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that.
-- Curt, age 7
 

-The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do.
-- Howard, age 8


7.
 IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?
It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.
-- Anita, age 9 (bless you child)

8.
 HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN'T GET MARRIED?
There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there?
-- Kelvin, age 8

And the #1 Favorite is....... 

9.
 HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?
Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck.
-- Joe, age 10


Review of Aquarius Addiction by Rosie Amber

A huge thank you to Rosie Amber for her great review of Aquarius Addiction.


Aquarius Addiction is a romantic suspense set in and around New Orleans. Arlette Xylander is a psychic who helps the FBI in cases they cannot solve. She's just been called into a new case on the very day she's had bad news about her own health. She meets Andre Rossouw, older brother of a young missing girl. There is an instant spark of romance between the pair but with Arlette's health news and Andre being a client any future for the pair is a no-go.

Arlette lives in an old house inherited from her Aunt. She's left Arlette the house and a mystery to solve. The house is haunted, but Arlette isn't frightened.

video

Susanna is the missing girl that Arlette must find, she goes to the family home and hopes for some visions to give her clues. She gets a couple of glimpses and does a sketch for a photo ID fit, plus she has a couple of names to work on.

The photos cause trouble for Arlette when she's the victim of a hit and run that leaves her in hospital. However she believes she's got a lead as things soon start hotting up in the search for Susanna.

In Arlette's personal life the appearance of a Voodoo priestess has it's own mysteries and her Aunt urges her to find the women again.

I enjoyed this mystery particularly the links to New Orleans and the Voodoo, plus the sizzling romance between Arlette and Andre which was fun.

Happy to give this 4*'s.

Buy it Here

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