Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing with Gail Roughton, Giveaway

Wishing you a happy and safe Halloween!

Speaking of Halloween, today we welcome our author-tipster Gail Roughton who penned an entire series about a witch and a warlock, perfect for this time of year. Witch Resurrected is the first in this fun, action-packed War-n-Wit Inc. romance/mystery. You could win that e-book or take your choice of any PDF format of e-books on Gail's Amazon page just by leaving a comment below.


Welcome, Gail! You've conjured up fantastic tips for us today. I've invited all these folks to pull up a chair to your kitchen table and enjoy a chat in your Southern home. It's fall now so I don't know if you're serving delicious Southern sweet tea or hot apple cider to our visitors. Let's start off with your "light bulb" moment in your writing experience.


I don’t know the exact moment when it clicked but my writing changed from amateur to professional when I learned how to show, not tell.  That’s what every publisher wants, what every editor tells you to do.  Unfortunately, they don’t tell you how to do it.  I don’t think they can tell you, because I think the “click” happens differently for everyone.  The closest I can come to an explanation is an example.  It’s really hot outside. How do you show that and not tell it?  Let’s see.  “It was very hot outside.”  Well, big whoop.  That’s a statement of fact, but it doesn't make the reader feel hot, now does it?  So okay.  “It was hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk.”  Better, but a standard cliché and clichés are to be avoided as much as possible.  So try again.  “Steam sizzled up from the sidewalk.”  Do you see those threads of steam streaming up from the concrete?  That’s show.  Not tell.  And it’s like riding a bicycle.  Once you hear that “click”—you can’t un-hear it.  You’ll never write the same way again.

Thanks, Gail, for that excellent advice on show and tell. 

Now, Readers, Gail didn't play any tricks on you. Her tips on dialogue, characters, settings, editing, marketing/promoting are solid treats for writers. Ya'all get comfortable and read on.

DIALOGUE
Dialogue is your best friend. It carries your book. It can turn any novel, however short or however long, into a quick, fast, fabulous read, provided it reads naturally.  People don’t speak in grammatically perfect, complete sentences, and neither should your characters. 
People have their own speech patterns, flow, idioms and idiosyncrasies based on birthplace and background.  So should your characters. Absolutely nothing jars a reader, at least me (me being the reader I know best) out of story faster than a character talking “out of character”.  A good ol’ southern boy is not going to suddenly proclaim, “Oh, my! That startled me out of my wits!” He’s going to say “That ‘bout scared the pants off me!” (Actually, that’s not really what a good ol’ southern boy’s going to say in such a situation but this is a G blog and you get the general idea.)  Also, watch those tags.  In a two-person conversation, it’s pretty obvious which character is talking.  Adding tags after every line of dialogue breaks the flow and thereby defeats the entire purpose of dialogue in the first place.  You want the reader to feel as though they’re listening to a conversation, not reading one. 

CHARACTERS
I know writers who develop their characters like a science project.  They make lists of physical attributes, traits, activities.  They even chart their horoscopes.  And it works for them, so more power to them.  I don’t know where my characters come from.  They just – appear.  Sometimes fully grown and raring to go, sometimes in a ghostly shadow that gradually acquires solid form and substance.  I start writing when they stand up independently and start walking and talking and telling me their story.  They tell the story, not me.  I just transcribe their words and actions onto a computer screen.  I can’t tell you how to develop a character because I don’t know how.  And once the story’s told and the book’s written, I look at both the characters and the book itself the same way I look at my children – with an intense feeling of disbelief that I created them, that I had anything to do with them.  They’ve become independent entities I really had very little to do with.



SETTINGS
Write what you know.  Write where you know.  Someplace you’ve at least visited, even if you haven’t lived there.  Now sometimes, of course, characters suddenly decide they’re taking a vacation to someplace you know nothing about.  There’s this wonderful thing called the internet , usually full of videos of that exact place, lists of attractions, restaurants, you name it.  But to write a book where a reader can live, stick as much as possible with what you know, where you were raised, someplace you love.  Or hate. Depends on the mood you want to convey, of course.  Also, remember it’s not necessary to fully describe every tree in the woods, every bush in a yard.  Description sets a mood and a scene. Every reader will envision the details in their own unique way, personalize the story so it resonates with them.  You’re telling a story.  You’re not writing a travel guide. 

1      EDITING
When you first finish a book, put it aside for a while. At least a week, preferably a month to six weeks.  Then re-read it.  You’re your own best first editor.  Then take a scalpel to it.  With the ruthlessness of a surgeon.  Nothing you wrote is so good it can’t be improved.  Nothing you ever write is so good it can’t be improved.  Read it like you’re reading it for the first time, like you just picked it up in a bookstore.  And be honest.  If you’d just bought this book, would you keep reading it?  If not, why not?  That’s for the story itself.  Insofar as the technical writing, how many unnecessary words can be cut?  I’m speaking specifically of the dreaded “that”, as in  “Mary knew that she was in trouble.  Sarah knew that she was in trouble, too.”  Oh, yeah, those “that’s” repeated over and over really slow a reader down.  “Mary knew she was in trouble. Sarah knew it, too.”  Then move on to the second editor.  Somebody that’s not you.  They’re going to see a lot of things you missed completely.  Typos, incongruities in the timeline, missing gaps of necessary information, information dumps that are completely unnecessary.  And sometimes—gasp—they’re actually going to suggest an alternate way of phrasing a passage or structuring the plot.  And here’s where a serious writer needs to lose that gasp of outraged indignation and lose it quick.  LISTEN TO THEM.  They might be wrong.  But they might be right.  Don’t get your feelings hurt.  Because one more time—nothing you wrote is so good it can’t be improved.  Nothing you ever write is so good it can’t be improved.

1    MARKETING/PROMOTING
Write a good book. All the marketing and promoting in the world won’t sell a book that’s boring, poorly edited, full of errors, and populated by cardboard characters. The best promo is the next book.  And that next book better be just as good as, if not better, than the first.
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ABOUT GAIL ROUGHTON
Gail Roughton is a native of small town Georgia whose Deep South heritage features prominently in much of her work. She’s worked in a law office for close to forty years, during which time she’s raised three children and quite a few attorneys. She’s kept herself more or less sane by writing novels and tossing the completed manuscripts into her closet.
Gail and Grandson
A cross-genre writer, she’s produced books ranging from humor to romance to thriller to horror and is never quite sure herself what to expect when she sits down at the keyboard. Now multi-published by Books We Love, Ltd., her credits include the War-N-Wit, Inc.  series,
War-N-Wit, Inc. - Witch Resurrected, War-N-With, Inc. - Mean Streets, The Color of Seven ,Vanished, and Country Justice. Currently, she’s working on Black Turkey Walk, the second in the Country Justice series, as well as the Sisters of Prophecy series, co-written with fellow Books We Love, Ltd. author Jude Pittman. Another War-N-Wit plot always seems to be brewing on the back burner, too, whether she’s actually trying to brew one or not, and usually boils quicker when she’s trying not to brew one at all.  Stop in and visit! You can reach Gail at:   http://gailroughton.blogspot.comhttp://flowersonthefence.blogspot.com or message her at www.facebook.com/GailRoughton

Do you have questions for Gail about writing? Please ask or just say hi to be eligible to win the drawing for you choice of e-book on the Amazon page. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Size of Blog Font Does Matter, This Week on Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing, Recording of Scary Sunshine Boulevard, Giveaway


BOO!
Image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Hello and welcome to this Monday's edition of the J.Q. Rose blog. I bet you're getting Halloween costumes ready for the weekend trick or treating or parties. Got your pumpkins carved?

I have a treat for you today. I recorded an excerpt from my scary novella, Sunshine Boulevard, just for this frightening time of year. You can listen to the audio file by clicking the arrow on the recording at the end of the page. 
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Size of Blog Font Matters by J.Q. Rose
Image courtesy of Mister GC
at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Before I share that recording, you can help me with an experiment. Last week I read an article about the size of font a writer uses on blogs/websites. The article stated the majority of people are now using mobile devices to access the Internet rather than laptops and desktops.
That means the fonts are decreased in size on the mobile devices, so if you use a small font, your blog may be unreadable on those phones and tablets. Readers won't hang around to discover all that is available on your blog or author website if they have to squint to see it
I am experimenting with different sized fonts to compare the ease of reading on the desktop and mobile devices such as phones and tablets. If you would be so kind, please leave a comment below and let me know which fonts are easiest to read. Thanks.

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This week:
Wednesday, October 29
I'm a guest on author Mary Waibel's blog, Waibel's Worldand she is a guest on the Girls Succeed blog talking about her YA fantasy/romance, Quest of the Hart. If you like fantasy with dragons and knights, you'll like this one. Stop by and say hi.

Thursday, October 30-- Southern multi-genre author, Gail Roughton, brings her own Southern flavor to the Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing series. So gather round her kitchen table to listen to her many tips on writing and enter to win the drawing for your choice of an e-book from her Amazon author page. Ya'll come now, ya' hear!
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Mysterious deaths upset
the Florida retirement community
interfering with their seasonal activities
and turning up more than dead bodies
Let me tell you, I am NOT a lover of horror movies or gory horror stories. No way. Not since I spent an entire movie hiding under the theater seat during a scary movie my older brothers took me to when I was about six years old.

You can imagine my surprise when my publisher, MuseItUp Publishing, categorized my first novella into the horror category. Say what? I knew it could be a paranormal story, but horror? I thought it was just another of one of my quirky, funny, oddball mysteries. Did you read this book? Did it scare you? I'd love to hear from you.
# # # #
SUNSHINE BOULEVARD
Back of the book:
Who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard?  Follow Jim and Gloria Hart, snowbirds who annually migrate to Florida for warm sunshine, fun, and games in snow-free winters. However this season, Jim Hart, a volunteer First Responder in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge, is drawn into the investigation of the mysterious deaths. 
Even in the midst of the unfortunate demise of the residents on Sunshine Boulevard, the Harts try to enjoy the winter with friends. They don't realize that their friends are getting together for their own kinds of affairs with each other. 
The neighbors are in a dither over the deaths, but perhaps more intrigued by the gossip about the affairs and why the naked lady was found lying in the geranium bed.

The e-book is available at
Amazon.com  
Bn.com 
Kobo.com

Click the arrow on the recording to listen to  an excerpt from Sunshine Boulevard read by moi. I hope it's a treat for you!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: Marva Dasef's Tips on Producing Audio Books, Giveaway


Hello and welcome to our series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. Our "tipster" author today is multi-genre writer Marva Dasef.  She's giving away the winner's choice of one of her audible books. Take a peek at the books she has available at Audible .com 

Please leave a comment to be eligible for the drawing on Sunday at 9 p.m. 

Listen to an audio sample of Missing, Assumed Dead at the end of the page.

Marva, you have entered the audible book market big time. Audible books add another dimension to a book bringing the story alive to the listener. Thanks so much for sharing great tips on the process of producing an audio book.


The winner of the drawing can choose one of Marva's audio books.
Thanks, J.Q. I decided to ignore all of your excellent questions on the writing process, marketing and publishing books so I can talk a little about the process of producing an audio book.
Audio Rights
First, make sure you have the audio rights to your book. This seems a no-brainer, but when’s the last time you read your contract? If you’re an independent author, then you’ve obviously got your audio rights even if you’ve published your book through Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. (if an ebook) and anywhere you might have used if you have a print book as well. I use CreateSpace myself and it’s been functioning well for me for several years.
Production Companies
I searched around for audio production companies and saw several vanity press types.  No way.
I’ve been spoiled by Kindle (plus those other guys) and CreateSpace. I never pay a penny upfront. I do a lot of the work, then the distributor takes their cut when a copy sells.
Pondering all this took me to ACX. Ta da! Wouldn’t you know it. Amazon also has an audio book production company. Why am I not surprised?
I checked it out and found it’s kind of like a dating site. You, the author, auditions narrators/producers. Pretty easy to do. Check the rather huge number of producers and start paring it down. What’s your genre? Do you want a male or female narrator? What age sound do you want your narrator? Accent? And other potential criteria.


You should also check what terms the producer will accept. I selected split royalties since that costs me nothing up front (my favorite mode of operation).
Distribution of Audio Books
To split royalties, you’ll also need to give up a bit of autonomy, that is, you need to assign exclusive distribution to ACX. But that’s not so bad a deal. Your audio book will appear on Amazon (click to buy directs you to Audible.com), on Audible, and on iTunes. That covers a huge bunch of the audio market.

After pondering the complexities of distribution contracts, you need to create a parking place for your audio book. ACX makes it easy by linking your audio book to your print or ebook Amazon page. Add a few other pieces of information, then upload (a Word file is fine) a couple of pages of your book for audition material. While you might have found the perfect voice, you really want to know how the narrator sounds doing your material.
Why is this? Well, once you’ve uploaded your book info, the people who want the job  are looking for good matches to what they offer.
My producer did just that. He courted me. Aw, gee, gosh. The dating game is afoot. I’m easy and my producer was good, so we paired up. The rest, as they say, is history. I now have five audio books released, plus one more on the way.
Here are the main points to consider:
  • What kind of contract can you live with? Pay a fixed rate per finished hour (that’s the other method) and you get to keep all the royalties OR split the royalties and both you and the producer take the risk and share the rewards.
  • Think hard about who your narrator is. I know you’ve got a voice in your mind when you write, even when writing in 3rd person, you’ll most likely have it close 3rd and want a voice to match your main character.
Now, read the rest of the articles on J.Q.’s featured posts on book marketing. That’s a topic I know nothing about.
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WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE A FREE AUDIO BOOK? Comment here to win your choice of any of Marva's audio books. Do you listen to audio books? Have you produced an audio book? Find all of her books at Audible .com


Find out more about Marva on the Marva Dasef blog and Marva's website.


Enjoy listening to a sample of Marva's romance/mystery e-book, Missing, Assumed Dead.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Bucket List Blog Hop, This Week, Giveaways

Looking forward to a great week. Kicking it off by joining in on the Bucket List Blog Hop.
Hop around cyberspace and have fun at the Bucket List Blog Hop, Today!!
What's a bucket list, you ask. It's a list of things that a person wants to see or do before they die or "kick the bucket". This Bucket List Blog Hop is co-hosted by Sherry Ellis at Mama Diaries and Susanne Drazic at Putting Words Down on Paper.  Thanks Sherry and Susanne for creating a fun hop!

Check out all the bloggers' bucket lists by clicking on their links below. 



This Thursday, October 23, multi-genre author Marva Dasef shares tips on producing audio books. Marva is my guest on the J.Q. Rose blog fall series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. Come back every Thursday this fall for more tips on the writing process, publishing, and marketing. Leave a comment for the drawing of giveaways every week!



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Thanks for hopping over. Here's my bucket list. Do you share any of the same plans or wishes on your list?
***The Bucket List of J.Q. Rose***
1.  Visit the White House-I have been to D.C several times, but we never made it for the tour.
2.  Travel to Nova Scotia to experience the land and the people.
3.  Make a delicious pie crust. Married over 40 years and cannot make a decent pie crust, but thank goodness for Mrs. Pillsbury!
4.  Direct the Philharmonic Orchestra
5.  Be a guest on Oprah featuring my latest novel. But wait a minute, I don't think there is an Oprah Show anymore. sigh, missed that one!
6.  Spend at least one night on Mackinac Island, Michigan, in a suite in the Grand Hotel.
Enjoy more bucket lists by clicking on the links below.
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Ghosts and goblins are coming. 
Read Sunshine Boulevard for a fun, 
scary story just in time for Halloween.

Mysterious deaths upset
the Florida retirement community
interfering with their seasonal activities
and turning up more than dead bodies
Who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard?  Follow Jim and Gloria Hart, snowbirds who annually migrate to Florida for warm sunshine, fun, and games in snow-free winters. However this season, Jim Hart, a volunteer First Responder in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge, is drawn into the investigation of the mysterious deaths. 
Even in the midst of the unfortunate demise of the residents on Sunshine Boulevard, the Harts try to enjoy the winter with friends. They don't realize that their friends are getting together for their own kinds of affairs with each other. 
The neighbors are in a dither over the deaths, but perhaps more intrigued by the gossip about the affairs and why the naked lady was found lying in the geranium bed.


The e-book is available at
Amazon.com  
Bn.com 







Thursday, October 16, 2014

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: Heather Fraser Brainerd Shares Her Light Bulb Moment, Giveaway




Hello and welcome to our series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. Our "tipster" author today is Heather Fraser Brainerd.  She's giving away the winner's choice of one of her e-books: Deception Al Dente, The Sound of Sirens, Dream Shade, or Shadows of New York.  Please leave a comment to be eligible for the drawing on Sunday at 9 p.m.

Hello Heather. Thanks for participating in this series.       
Can you  share a “light bulb moment” about your writing experience?

My brother Dave and I were each working on our own writing projects a few years back. While discussing our work, we came to the sudden realization that we should write something together. I told Dave about a character I’d created: Josie Cates, an irreverent, funny, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of private investigator. The next day, Dave emailed me the opening of Deception Al Dente. I let my imagination loose on Josie’s world, and Dave did the same. We received our first publishing contract less than a year later. The book grew into a series. Dave, Josie, and I are still going strong.

I never expected to have a writing partner, but it’s what works for us. Sometimes you have to come at your writing from a totally unexpected direction in order to get results.
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Paranormal mystery
Back of the book:
Having left the dull life of workers’ comp insurance behind to strike it out as a private detective, things aren’t going well for Josie P. Cates. Her new career isn't as exciting - or lucrative - as she thought it would be. As her bank account dwindles, her first major client finally walks in the door. Chef Marco, a successful local restaurateur, hires Josie to find out who's skimming money from his business. It doesn't take long for Josie to discover that things at Bistro Italiano aren’t what they seem. Secrets seem to cling to Chef Marco like splattered marinara sauce. With the help of friends both old and new, Josie unravels a case that takes her from the bistro to the world of deadly dark magic. At least it keeps things from being too boring.

Amazon Buy link: 
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About Heather:

Heather Fraser Brainerd is a multi-published author and a renaissance woman. After earning a degree in Anthropology, she embarked on an incongruous career as a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster. She rapidly climbed the claims-handling ladder before surprising
her colleagues by leaving the high-powered world of lumbar strains and carpal tunnel syndrome to run a child care center. Thousands of dirty diapers and gallons of strained peas later, she decided that maybe the insurance industry wasn’t quite as bad as she remembered. Unfortunately, it was. Fortunately, a few years later, she met the most wonderful man in the world. Now a stay-home mom to three amazing boys, she is able, at long last, to focus on her writing. She works in a variety of genres, including paranormal mystery, Young Adult paranormal romance, and Middle Grade fantasy. Heather lives in New York with her family and their crazy pug/terrier.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Flavor, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing Line-up, Heather Fraser Brainerd, Giveaway, This Week

Our mums are so beautiful this year and abundant.


Now this is the way to spend a crisp, fall evening--
a warm campfire for a wiener (hot dog) roast including bratwurst and grillers. Yum!
This fall I am hosting a bunch of talented romance and mystery authors who are sharing their tips on the writing process, publishing, and marketing. My guests and the dates they give up their tips are listed below. 

Join us every Thursday for the series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing.

SCHEDULE
OCTOBER
2 Roseanne Dowell
9 Miss Mae
16 Heather Fraser Brainerd
23 Marva Dasef
30 Gail Roughton
NOVEMBER
6 Joselyn Vaughn
13 Melissa Maygrove
20 Conda Doughlas 
27 THANKSGIVING NO GUEST
DECEMBER 
4 Marsha R West
11 J.Q. Rose
18 Helena Fairfax
25 CHRISTMAS NO GUEST


This Week

Thursday, October 16--Paranormal mystery author, Heather Fraser Brainerd, shares her "Light bulb" moment with us and gives away a copy of her book. The lucky commenter chooses which one she/he wants.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: Miss Mae, Dialogue, Settings, and Editing, Giveaways


Hello and welcome to our series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. Our "tipster" author today is Miss Mae.  She is giving away of three downloads/ gift coupons of her mystery, It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred. Enjoy an excerpt and please leave a comment to be eligible for the drawing on Sunday at 9 p.m.


DIALOGUE:


Make it believable. I still have a hard time with this one, though, especially if I’ve included a set of characters from different regions of the globe. I’m wondering, ‘am I writing this right? Is this what they’d say?’ However, for my Victorian books set in London, I’ve had a wonderful critique partner who lives in England. She’s set me right on the many different accents. So I advise finding someone who lives where your character does, if that’s possible. 

SETTINGS: 

I like to have my characters all in one area where I can control them. For instance, I mean, if I should place my story in France, then I’d need to describe the landscape, the sight, the smells of the area. To be realistic, I should have at least visited there so I could get everything correct. Well, I’ve not been there. So, to get beyond that hurdle, I’ll create something to where I don’t have to write that. I’ll set all my characters trapped in a snowstorm, a basement, a closet - anywhere! So that I’m able to “show” my readers the setting through my main character’s senses without actually having set my physical foot anywhere but outside my front door.

1.      EDITING: 

      Get another good pair of eyes. Eek, I still find errors even after three people have read the finished work. LOL


Miss Mae, what was your light bulb moment about your writing experience?  When I decided to self-publish. After having signed with three traditional publishers, then discovering that I was still expected to promote/market as hard as if I were self-published -- well, why not self-pub? I get a bigger pie piece of the royalties this way. 


Back of the book:
 Do bizarre and unusual mysteries only occur in imaginary tales? 
Amateur sleuth Winifred Merryweather, along with dashing newspaper hound Remington Hawthorne, find themselves in the throes of a real life mystery when they’re plunged in the bowels of a dark and ancient castle. Booby-traps abound with disappearing floors, hidden sliding panels, and spider-webbed shadowy corridors.
Danger threatens to steal Winifred’s very breath -- or is that the annoying allure of Remington’s flirtatious charms?

AMAZON BUY LINK: (print copy):  AMAZON

About Miss Mae
Miss Mae is all about romantic mysteries. Said the Spider to the Fly, When the Bough Breaks, Dove Island, It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred and See No Evil, My Pretty Lady 
are award winning best sellers. Her latest, Catch Me If You Can, and the novellas, Miss Penelope’s Letters and Through a Glass Darkly, have already received top rated five-star reviews. Tantalizing trailers and more information are readily available at Miss Mae's website


Miss Mae also enjoys writing humor and non-fiction articles. Some of her publications can be found in The Front Porch Magazine, Good Old Days, and WritersWeekly.
Her alter ego, M.M.,  has her first children’s/humor book, Ahoy Gum DropIn this slightly cracked tale, readers are introduced to I.B. Nosey, the ‘official unofficial’ reporter. To learn more about cyberspace’s only Pukelitzer Award winning interviewer, visit ‘Feeling Nosey?’