Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Five W's in Story: Historical Author Rosemary Morris

Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog and to the kick-off of a new guest author series, The Five W's in Story. 

One of the basics when learning to be a writer is to listen to a lecture on the Five W's and the H. The 5 W's are the essence of a story and since we are focused on story at this blog, we need to realize just how important working out the 5 W's can be to creating a great story for your readers.

You will find this series with my guests informative and entertaining and not a stuffy lecture in a dusty, old classroom with a professor palavering on and on and on. 

I asked author Kami Kinard if I could use part of her article about the Five W's originally published on the Nerdy Book Club site. She graciously allowed me to re-publish this explanation of the Five W's.

From Kami's article, Every Story a Mystery-- "Now, as an author, I often find myself sitting at my keyboard asking myself “The Five Ws and One H” questions. If my main character feels like she needs to prove herself, then there has to be a reason for it. There has to be a WHY. If she is upset about a friendship, I need to know WHAT happened to her to make her upset. If she is going to overcome an obstacle, I need to know HOW she is going to do it. Everything that happens in a book has to happen for a reason. And If we authors get it right, then these reasons add up to characters who are believable – characters our readers care about enough to keep turning pages because they want to know WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW."

Now you can see how important knowing the 5 W's in your story can be. I also find when I write them down, it is easier to develop a synopsis for the story. 

BWL Publishing 2017 Best Selling Author Rosemary Morris
Historical author Rosemary Morris is my first guest in the series. She is a multi-published author and today she shares an overview of WHO, WHAT WHERE WHEN AND WHY in her stories. I didn't ask the authors to include HOW because that may contain a spoiler to their story.

Rosemary, thank you for joining us all the way  from England today. I have set out a pot of Constant Comment tea and scones for us to enjoy while we visit.

Thank you, Janet. I'm glad to be here.

Rosemary brought along an e-book to giveaway. A lucky commenter will win a copy of Far Beyond Rubies.  Deadline to enter is Sunday, March 19 at 9 pm ET.

In a review for this book, I wrote--"When I read this historical romance, I felt I had stepped into the 18th century. Ms Morris has done her homework to bring us such a rich story with all the historic background and social graces of the era."
Far Beyond Rubies by Rosemary Morris

WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, AND WHY by Rosemary Morris


   Before I write the first line of a novel I name the main characters. I write romantic historical fact fiction, so I consult the Oxford Dictionary of English Christian names before I baptise my hero and heroine. Also, I make sure the names of secondary and minor character are appropriate for the era my tale of past times will be set in. (I couldn’t imagine a medieval knight whose Christian name was Wayne, I leafed through the romance and decided not to buy it.)
   After I have chosen the names, I fill in detailed profiles for the main characters and briefer ones for minor characters.
   I am not ready to write until I know the hero and heroine so well that they seem to be real people. I make notes of their ancestry, their family, their education, the music they enjoy, their eccentricities, their good and bad characteristics and much more.
   The characters occupy my head for a long time while I get to know them better.
   Do they have any mannerisms or idiosyncrasies? I ask questions about their social status, upbringing and environment, occupation, politics, relationships, religion and other matters.
   Finally, I want to know what motivates them. For example, to name a few possibilities, duty, greed, jealousy, revenge, self-sacrifice e.g. wife for a husband, husband for a wife, mother for a child, father for his children, patriot for his or her country.


    I don’t plan my novels in detail because I like my characters to surprise me. Once, I plotted each chapter of my novel before I began to write. This method didn’t work for me. I felt as though I and the protagonists were in a strait jacket.
   Before I write the first chapter I sympathise with the problems the characters must face and introduce the conflict immediately.
   What happens next is up to them, and I experience the thrill of finding out, so, I hope, do my readers.


There is a gigantic canvas for a historical novelist to choose from.
My novels are set in the reign of Charles II’s niece, Queen Anne Stuart, who reigned from 1702 to 1714, and the ever-popular Regency era. I have also written a mediaeval novel set in in the reign of Edward II.
I chose those periods because each of them affected the course of history. If the Duke of Marlborough had not won The War of Spanish Succession, and The Duke of Wellington was defeated by Napoleon at The Battle of Waterloo, the history of Britain and Europe would be different. Defeat would also have had far-reaching consequences for other countries. If Edward II had won the Battle of Bannockburn, it is feasible that he would have conquered Scotland and, perhaps, as it is claimed, he would not have been murdered.
   There are other eras that interest me in which I hope to set future novels.


   So far, with one exception, my novels are set in ancestral houses and estates and in fashionable parts of London where the nobility lived and the clubs, and functions they attended.
   My medieval novel, is set in castles, manor houses and peasants’ cottages.


   Cause and effect answer the question, why something takes place, whether it is a person’s action or a historical event which will direct subsequent events.
   My passion for history answers the question why I write romantic historical fact fiction which I spend hours researching to avoid characters dressed in costume, who behave as though they live in the 21st century. 

* * * *

Yvonne, Lady of Cassio by Rosemary Morris
Historical romance
Back of the Book:
When Yvonne and Elizabeth, daughters of ruthless Simon Lovage, Earl of Cassio, are born under the same star to different mothers, no one could have foretold their lives would be irrevocably entangled.
Against the background of Edward II’s turbulent reign in the fourteenth century, Yvonne, Lady of Cassio, contains imaginary and historical characters.
It is said the past is a foreign country in which things were done differently. Nevertheless, although that is true of attitudes, such as those towards women and children, our ancestors were also prompted by ambition, anger, greed, jealousy, humanity, duty, loyalty, unselfishness and love.
From early childhood, despite those who love her and want to protect her, Yvonne is forced to face difficult economic, personal and political circumstances, during a long, often bitter struggle.

Novels by Rosemary Morris
Early 18th Century. Tangled LoveFar Beyond RubiesThe Captain and The Countess
Regency. False Pretences, Sunday’s Child, Monday’s Child, Tuesday’s Child, Wednesday’s Child. Work in progress Thursday’s Child to be published in June, 2018.
Mediaeval. Yvonne Lady of Cassio. The Lovages of Cassio Book One

Click here to discover and purchase Rosemary's books. 

About Rosemary Morris

I was born in Kent. As a child, when I was not making up stories, my head was ‘always in a book.’
While working in a travel agency, I met my Hindu husband. He encouraged me to continue my education at Westminster College.  In 1961 I and my husband, by then a barrister who read law at Inner Temple, moved to his birthplace, Kenya. I lived there from 1961 until 1982. After an attempted coup d’├ętat, four of my children lived with me in an ashram in France.
Historical author, Rosemary Morris
Back in England, I wrote historical fiction, joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association, The Historical Novel Society, Watford Writers and on-line groups, and am now published by BooksWeLove Inc.
Apart from writing, I enjoy classical Indian literature, reading fiction and non-fiction, visiting places of historical interest, vegetarian cooking, growing organic fruit, herbs and vegetables and creative crafts. 
My bookshelves are so crammed with historical non-fiction, which I use to research my novels, that until that if I bought a new book I considered getting rid of one. However, I am converting the small spare bedroom into a study and have ordered a 6ft high 8ft wide bookcase to solve the problem.
Time spent with my children and their families, most of whom live nearby is precious.
However, much of my time is spent researching my romantic historical fact fiction. The more I read about past times, the more fascinated I become, and increasingly aware of the gulf between the past and present. Our ancestors shared the same emotions as we do, but their attitudes and way of life were, in many ways, very different to ours. One of the most striking examples was the social position of women and children.
 Research sparks my imagination. The seeds of my novels are sown, and from them sprout the characters and events which will shape their lives.
* * * *
Connect online with Rosemary:

Thank You--Huge thank you to Kami Kinard for sharing a bit of her article posted at the Nerdy Book Club. Click here if you would like to read the complete article, Every book is a Mystery by Kami Kinard.

Thursday, March 15 and 16 I will be a guest at multi-published author Victoria Chatham. Victoria asks some refreshing new questions that made me think. Click here to visit.

Coming Up on the Five W's of Story Event at the Focused on Story Blog--Right here!
Wednesday, March 21--Marsha R. West
Wednesday, March 28--Roseanne Dowell

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

IWSG Blog Hop: Achieving a Writing Goal, Author Platform

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog by J.Q. Rose
It's the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group(IWSG) blog hop 

Internet Writers Support Group Blog Hop
First Wednesday of every month.
What is IWSG? Founder of the  Insecure Writer’s Support Group and author Alex J Cavanaugh explains the group's purpose is "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!" You're invited to become a member of this supportive group.

The group blogs the first Wednesday of every month The list of bloggers is always available so you can hop around to the author blogs filled with humor, advice, and thought-provoking topics on writing and publishing. You can find the list of participants at Alex's IWSG page. I hope you'll take some time to visit the diverse list of bloggers.

IWSG Question for the Month
Question:  How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/ finish a story?
I'd like to say I celebrate with a big party with balloons and cake and music and dancing and... But I don't. I usually share the good news with my writing buddies and that's about it. I didn't even have a launch "party" for my first book. I think my hubby and I went out for dinner and I don't mean at McDonald's. A delightful dinner was probably the extent of it. Do you celebrate?

Insecure About My Author Platform by J.Q. Rose
Catnapping on a platform
Courtesy of pixabay.com
A writer's platform, according to Cliff Dagle, is "basically the group of activities you engage in that get your name and work noticed by the public. It's marketing, not of a specific work, but of you as the author. It's everything you do to build your brand."

I'm insecure about "building my brand." I have fiction and non-fiction books published, so I can't say I'm just a mystery author or I'm known as a non-fiction writer. It's confusing to a reader and very confusing to me as to how to let readers know who I am. 

I'm writing a memoir now and wondering if I can use my pen name, J.Q. Rose, or use my real name as the author because it is such a personal story. But, if I use Janet Glaser, I'll have to start building another platform for that name. Well-known authors write fiction as well as non-fiction like Stephen King's On Writing. However, I am definitely not in that tier of authors.

Do you write stories and/or articles in more than one genre? Can I describe myself, my platform, my brand, as multi-genre? What advice can you give me? I'd appreciate any suggestions you can offer.
* * *
The 5 W's of a Story
Promotion Opportunity--You're invited to participate in my new series with guest authors who write in diverse genres. The series, offered in March and throughout the spring and summer, discusses the Five W's of a Story. Who, what, where, when and why. (I left out How because that may be a spoiler.) Choose one of your books (it doesn't have to be a new release) to tell readers--

  • Who the characters are.
  • What the conflict is 
  • Where the story takes place
  • When the story takes place
  • Why you wrote this story or why the characters are in the situation, etc.
These are some examples to use, but you're free to figure out how you'd like to fill in the Five W's. We are writers. I know there will be a lot of creative answers.
If you are interested in getting the word out about your book, then leave a comment below or contact me at jqrose at gmail dot com.

I look forward to hosting you on this blog, Focused on Story!

Historical author Rosemary Morris kicks off the event, March 14. Come and join us!

Add your email address to the Follow by Email box
so you won't miss updates on the Focused on Story Blog!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Results of My Facebook Boosted Post Promoting Terror on Sunshine Boulevard

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog by J.Q. Rose.

Today I am dissecting my promo on Facebook. FB has been nagging me to boost posts I shared in my news feed. Some of their suggestions were crazy because the topic had expired or it was a writing quote or some graphic which had nothing to do with promoting my books. 
THEN, they suggested one of my favorite graphics that promoted my latest release, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard. I loved this photo of a dog that reminded me of Mr. Tweeble's dog Jingles. 

Not only did I treasure the image, but Facebook offered me $10. credit to boost the promo. What? FREE advertising? I couldn't turn it down. Besides I was curious about how  FB promotions worked. So I signed up for it.

They made it easy. Not as complicated as some FB ad gurus indicate. Of course, this was a  boost, not a full blown ad which is a bit more involved. (I tried it once, and could not begin to reduce the text on the ad, so they declined to put it up for me. And I was too frustrated to spend anymore time on it.)

I used their date suggestion of Sunday evening, Feb. 18-February 21 for the promotion. (Anybody know if the first of the week is better for sales than the end of the week or a weekend?) I just needed to declare the location of the ad (USA) and the gender and age of folks interested in reading. 

Here are the results from Facebook:
You targeted womenages 50 - 65+ who live in 1 location, and have 1 interest.
United States
50 - 65+
People Who Match:
Interests: Reading
This promotion ran for 3 days.
Your total budget for this promotion was $10.00 USD.

People Reached
Total Spend
If I had actually spent the cash, according to FB, I would have spent 8 cents on each click during the promotion time. That sounds like a good deal to me in order to get so much exposure with a targeted audience.

Now, would the ad pay for itself? I don't know since my publisher receives all the sales information for all the major booksellers, but I did sell something because the book's sales rank climbed on amazon. However, there was more going on during that time than just the boosted post.

The promotion ended on Thursday. I post on my blog every Wednesday. That Wednesday, February 20, I posted my book trailer for TOSB, and I always post the 20th of every month on my publisher's blog, Books We Love Insider Blog. Although that blog was about pickleball, I still promoted TOSB there too.

I admit I did have a bigger reach and more engagements during the FB promotion time. I think the image and information on the post is engaging. I thought it was a good choice to use. 

If you've tried a FB ad or boost, please take a minute to share your experience. 
Thank you.
* * *

 Terror on Sunshine Boulevard.Winter Warm-Up 2018 Blog Tour
On Wednesday, February 28, I wind up the Winter Warm-up Blog Tour. It has been a wonderful experience. I always enjoy working with authors behind the scenes and visiting with their readers. What a generous heart authors have for each other. I value their support and encouragement.

One author who has been a real cheerleader and mentor to me is Roseanne Dowell. I'm thrilled to share the last stop on the blog tour with her at her blog.

Please stop in and say hi to us. I share the reason why I write short stories, articles, and fiction and non-fiction books. With 5 million books available at amazon, one has to love writing to even consider throwing a book into the public eye and compete with all those titles for a reader's attention. Creating stories is not the only reason to write. Find out "Why I Write." I imagine you will understand and agree the reasons are the same as yours.

Click here to join us at Roseanne Dowell's blog.

Thank you to all my Hosts!
Picture courtesy of  Pixabay

HUGE THANK YOU to all the BLOGGERS who hosted me this winter! See the list below.

15 Sandra Cox
17 Nan Sanders Pokerwinski
25 Diane Burton
27 Ellen Jacobsen
9 and 10 Janet Lane Walters
10 Helena Fairfax
22 Susan Palmquist
28 Roseanne Dowell

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Book Marketing: Create Your Own Book Trailer and Share It

Hello and welcome!

Take ACTION to make your book trailer!
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Book Marketing: Create Your Own Book Trailer and Share It by J.Q. Rose

I love putting together a book trailer, but I have to remind myself to have patience. Looking for the just-right photo (FREE of course) to convey the mood of the story and the content of the book can be challenging and time-consuming.  But I'm an optimist, and I believe the book trailer will be a worthwhile tool in my book marketing bag. Studies show videos are popular with viewers and they will attract and retain viewers on your page.

  • I use Pixabay free photos and combine them with my own photographs for images. To add some fun and interest, I use Giphy to find gifs, video clips, to insert in the trailer. Be sure and have a clear head when clicking on Giphy because all those little squares of movement can drive you crazy if you watch it too long. Just plug in the topic you want in the search box e.g. ocean, and you will be presented with many, many, many choices.

via GIPHY Sunset Ocean GIF

  • Save all images to a file for quick and easy access when creating your video. I save mine in photos and usually name it with the book title like this, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard Book Trailer.
  • I'm lucky I still have my old laptop because it has Windows Live Movie Maker on it. If you have a newer than Windows 7 device, you probably don't have Movie Maker. Unfortunately, I discovered the download to the newer computers doesn't work. But, you can use PowerPoint to make the video.
  • To make a PowerPoint a video, click on the File Menu>Save as>Windows Media Video (* .wmv). This is the file type that can be uploaded to Youtube.com. You definitely want your video on Youtube. Search Engine Land shared this research on their site--"YouTube is arguably the second largest search engine on the Web. It is the third most visited site on the Web, according to Alexa and SimilarWeb."
  • You may want to use your own videos in your presentation too. Easy to do now with so many smartphones with video recorder and microphone right in your hands. 

Smartphone--Photo courtesy of Pixabay

  • Gone are the days of searching and searching for the just-right music to accompany the video and then adding it to your trailer. Youtube offers a large selection of music to fit the feel of your book trailer. When you upload the trailer to Youtube, a little message asks if you want to add music. Say yes, and a list of music appears. Choose a genre from the box and listen to ALL of them or just a few. Click the one you wish and it will automatically accompany your images in the trailer. Be sure to save it.

Add music to your book trailer.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
If you can't find the perfect music, Kevin McLeod at Incompetech has a wide selection of FREE music for you to explore. 

Whatever music or images you use for your trailer, be sure the music and images are "royalty-free." However, I learned royalty free doesn't mean you can use them free. Royalty free means you do not have to pay royalties to the artist for the use of their work.  If you have to pay nothing for the art, usually you need to add attribution in order to comply with the license.

After all this information, I must add that I am not a professional movie-maker, and I learn something with each trailer I make. I have added my latest effort using Windows Live Movie Maker. I may try and make the trailer using the same images with PowerPoint, but for now, one trailer for Terror on Sunshine Boulevard is enough. I would appreciate any feedback on the video so I can tweak it for the best presentation of my work. 

If you want to see more of my videos, please click here to visit my Youtube home. 

  • One last suggestion for book marketing--add your videos to your social media, website, amazon author page, Goodreads. Oh yeah, make it work for you to get reader's attention! We need everything we can use to break out from the crowd of ebooks and paperbacks available to readers. I think videos are the way to go.

So, are you ready to tackle your own trailers? Go for it! 
* * *

Youtube VIDEO: Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose

Terror on Sunshine Boulevard Book Trailer

Come along with me as I continue the Terror on Sunshine Boulevard Blog tour!

Terror on Sunshine Boulevard 
Winter Warm-Up 2018 Blog Tour
Thursday, February 22--Susan Palmquist is my host at This Writer's Life site. The topic is Cozy Mysteries. Click here to join us at the Writer's Life site.

Wednesday, February 28--I take a guest turn at my friend's blog, Roseanne Dowell's A Little of This, A Little of That. And another prize for a lucky commenter!! Click here to visit with talented author Roseanne Dowell and me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

6 Ingredients Readers Expect in a Romance Novel, Get in on Valentine's Day Sales

Focused on Story Blog by J.Q. Rose 
Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog by J. Q. Rose on this special day--Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day from J.Q. Rose
This day is not a gentle reminder to sweethearts to remember each other with chocolate, special dinners, jewelry, flowers, etc. Oh no. Commercials scream at you through the TV screen, pop-ups interrupt you as you browse, store displays smack you in the face when you enter the doors. The reminders are hard to miss. Last year 18 billion dollars was spent on Valentine gifts! Wow!!

I wonder how many sweethearts will receive a romance written by you as a gift? Yes, I believe books make a great gift. So why not get in on the Valentine cash sales and write a romance?

The greatest perk for penning a romance story is the setting can be in any location. If you like to write sci fi, historicals, contemporary, fantasy, mystery, you can include romance in your book. Two of my mysteries are categorized as "romantic suspense."

Almost every romance follows a certain outline/format that readers expect in a good romance. If you don't, you may receive a poor review from the reader. Below, I have listed the 6 Ingredients readers look for in a romance.

6 Ingredients Readers Expect in a Romance Novel by J.Q. Rose

1.  The meeting of the hero and heroine when he/she notices each other.
Example--She picks up her daughter after school and spots a handsome dad picking up his son.
2.  The attraction
Example--She talks to him at the PTA meeting and feels her heart flutter
3.  An innocent touch 
Example--Brushing his arm when he passes her in the crowded classroom makes her tingle
4.  Conflict-An obstacle in the way of them being together
Example--He was hurt when his wife ran off with her boss and wants nothing to do with another woman
5.  Solution to conflict
Example--They become so important to each other, they have to be together for the rest of their lives.
6.  Happy ending (HEA--Happy Ever After)
Example--They commit their lives to each other ( marriage or at least be together at the end of the story)

Do you agree with these 6 ingredients? Can you add any other elements readers expect in romance stories? I'm always delighted to add more information to my posts. Please leave a comment below.

Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW)
If you're writing a romance book or have one completed, published, or promoted, the Marketing for Romance Writers group founded by Kayelle Allen is an excellent place to learn about marketing romances and any genres. Click here to find out more about MFRW.

First prize in the BWL Publishing Valentine Contest
My publisher is having a huge Valentine Contest. First prize is a huge basket of chocolate!! Second and third prizes are books from BWL Publishing. Click here and scroll down the page to learn how to enter and the prizes you can win. Deadline is February 14, midnight  Pacific time.

Romantic suspense stories just right for Valentine's Day

No blog post about Valentine's Day would be complete without my shamelessly promoting the romantic suspense stories I have penned. Take a peek at Dangerous Sanctuary and Deadly Undertaking.

Click here to find out more and to purchase at your favorite digital booksellers.

Happy Valentine's Day from J.Q. Rose!!