Thursday, June 23, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday With Jordan Rose

When Characters Take Over!

Has this ever happened to you? You’re sitting down, minding your own business, trying to relax, maybe eating lunch on a nice sunny day when -BAM- a “character” pops into your mind and you know she’s not leaving any time soon.

If you’re a writer, it’s happened. And it’s probably happened more than once. Today, I’d like to talk about my experiences with this sort of intrusion. I’m calling it an intrusion because at the moment it is.

When I wrote Perpetual Light, my debut novel, releasing in Winter 2012 from Crescent Moon Press, each of the characters came to life mostly as the story unfolded. There were a couple times when Lucia, my heroine, or Vittorio, her hero, slipped into my thoughts as I was learning about secondary characters or when I was trying to understand the flow of the story.

Of course, they both woke me from sound sleep on a number of occasions to work through plot issues or some conflict or to tell me about their love story. And I didn’t mind. I enjoyed getting their story onto the screen.

They were kind, in love, urgent at times, but typically respectful. They still are. As I begin to consider the plot for the next book in their series, they seem quite willing to work with me.

On the other hand, there’s Eva. Eva Prim. The heroine of my current Work in Progress. The antagonist of my life. She’s a vampire on the hunt for friends. And it’s quite clear to me why she doesn’t easily make or keep them.

She can’t control herself.

When Perpetual Light sold at the end of April, I was on cloud nine. Singing my news from rooftops, telling everyone who knew me about the wonderful happenings in my writing life.

Little did I know, she was brooding. Her hot little temper percolated with a jealousy the likes of which I wasn’t prepared for. She finally blew a few weeks back and she did it on Twitter. She has her own website and Twitter and Facebook accounts. She blogs and comments, and people actually listen! 

And she knows how to use social media. We got into a little argument on the social network. She put an ad on Twitter looking for a writer who’d focus on her story. Someone “who’ll care about me.”

And I took the bait, arguing with her over the fact that no one cares about her more than me. She was a bit insulting.

Needless to say, I’m completely unable to focus on anything else but her. Her story, her conflict, her needs. It has to get written or my life will never be the same.

Have you battled character intrusions? Had to deal with focus issues as every waking thought is hijacked by your hero or heroine or someone you thought was a secondary character? I’d love to hear your techniques for handling these situations.

PS- how could I ever get away without mentioning Eva’s contact info: website-; twitter-!/evaprim


After trying her hand at many, many things- from crafting and art classes to cooking and sewing classes to running her own handbag business, Jordan finally figured out how to channel her creativity. With an active imagination and a little encouragement from her husband she sat down and began to write, each night clicking away at the keys with her black Labrador, Dino curled up under the desk.

A few short years later she’s entered the publishing arena with no plans to ever turn back. Jordan’s first book, Perpetual Light, debuts from Crescent Moon Press in Winter 2012. Check her website for upcoming contests and giveaways.

Jordan’s a member of RWA National, and the New England (NEC), Connecticut, and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal (FFnP) Chapters.

Find Jordan on her website at 
Follow her tweets on!/jordankrose 
Friend her on Facebook at

Monday, June 20, 2011

Finding your voice with Rachel Firasek

First, tell us a little about yourself:
I’m a mother of three crazy kids. Each one is so different, it’s no wonder I can create all these characters in my head. They are definitely inspiring! I’ve been married for 15 years this October and it never gets old. I adore my hubs and lean on him more than any wife should… but when you’re working a full time day job, trying to play “mommie”, and starting a career as an author you have to have a rock—he’s definitely my rock.
We live in Central Texas on 26 acres with our dogs, duck (yes, just one) and 22 sheep. The rest of the animals are wild and not my responsibility, lol.
How do you find time to write? I know it sounds crazy, but I get up 2 hours before I need to put in a couple hours of writing time and I grab another 2-3 in the evenings. I don’t sleep.

How did you find “YOUR VOICE”
I really didn’t find it. Heather Howland (, my editor for Piper’s Fury pointed it out to me. She recognized my unique voice under the sloppy amateur writing and the problem words we all start out with. Once she taught me to clean it up, we uncovered something amazing. My voice! Viola. Nice and shiny and all my own. I really didn’t struggle with voice, this question is a hard one. For those that feel that they are struggling, it might not be a problem at all, it just might be buried under the clutter. J

If you could describe your writing in one word, what would it be?
What advice would you give a writer still searching for their “VOICE”?  
See comments above and I’ll elaborate. First of all, I feel like your voice is an extension of the way you talk. My first problem I had to deal with was I speak backwards. I have like… dyslexia of the mouth. My thoughts come out in an order that only really make sense to me. So, now, instead of just writing what I would say, I write what I should say. Somehow, it comes out right—when I think it through. Not all the time, but sometimes I get lucky. Lol.
My actual bit of advice is that if you don’t think you’ve found your voice, you haven’t written enough. How much is enough? Who knows. For me it was one book. For someone else, it may be ten before they settle into a style and voice that suits them. It’s a struggle and in today’s unpredictable publishing world, who’s to say that you don’t already have a great voice and you’re the only one thinking it’s bad. I don’t fret over voice. I just write the best story I can, clean up my work and submit.
I just told my husband this morning, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” And as big as voice is, if you’re always sweating it, you’ll never find it. Isn’t it always when you quit looking for something that it shows up?
Thanks for having me on the blog! These were great questions and I hope that I was able to help someone today, or at least entertain them for a minute. J
Strong Hard Love coming soon from Whiskey Creek Press
And for more about Rachel, vizit these special links :
           Twitter: raebob7
           Facebook: Rachel Firasek

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What I'm Writing Wednesday

I’m still working on book 3 in my Dragon Hunters series and it’s coming along.  Slowly, but it’s coming along. In between writing, I’m also helping my daughter plan her wedding, taking care of my grandchildren, and getting ready for my husband’s first ever family reunion. (I’m in charge of setting up the family tree/photo album) Not to mention posting in my blog and reading the other blogs that come my way.
And it’s another blog that brought me to this point. The author wrote about books to help you along in your writing. Inspirational books, books on the art of writing, and books that make you “Sit your butt down and write.” I have all of the above, but what inspires me the most are those little snippets that make me believe I “CAN”
Stephen King wrote:
“You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair—the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrows, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.”
There’s more to the quote, but you get the idea.  If you’re not completely serious about writing, then don’t sit in front of your computer, your notebook, your typewriter. Even if you’re writing comedy, you need to be serious about writing.
Another quote that inspires me
“Don’t just talk about what you can do; do it.”
If you’re a writer, write. Make it the best it can be.
So, what inspires you?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

Time Tested Tips for Promoting Your Book to the Media
Melissa Jarvis

A mild-mannered Public Relations executive by day, and action-packed writer by night, Melissa Jarvis lives in celebrity-friendly Southern California with her husband and son.  For over 14 years, she has worked in the public relations industry, doing press releases, bios, newsletters, media campaigns and more for clients ranging from the Playboy Jazz Festival to the Los Angeles Mission to JVS.  And she’s survived with most of her mind intact!  An active member of RWA, she writes both paranormal romance and urban fantasy, as well as spicy paranormal under the name Melissa L. Robert.  Her debut book, Past Her Time, a time travel historical, was just released from BookStrand Romance.  You can learn more about her, time travel and the agents of the Lineage at

Let’s travel back in time to 10 years ago, when Facebook, MySpace and YouTube were unheard of, Twitter was something that woke you up in the morning (darn birds) and blogs could still be counted in the hundreds.  How did writers promote themselves?  And do those methods still work?

There is no question that Social Media 2.0 has changed the way we reach readers.  I’ve been in Public Relations for over 14 years, and we are still trying to grasp the implications for our industry.  I can’t tell you how many seminars I’ve sat through with so-called “experts in the field.”  The fact is, the field is changing so fast that everyone is trying to catch up, and we’re still two steps behind.

Most of us have figured out how to blog (although this is my first one), utilize Facebook and other similar sites as a networking tool for connecting with other writers, book reviewers and readers.  We’ve all put up a website, and worked on our brand.  But the one thing I’ve noticed that’s fallen by the wayside is promotion the old-fashioned way, or rather, the tried and true methods that have worked since the era of Mad Men.

So, here are some methods to garner newsprint and maybe even a sound byte on the six o’clock news.

Despite the new social media, newsrooms are inundated with thousands of press releases every day.  As a writer, how do you stand out from the kids feeding the homeless, bear in the backyard or latest slow-moving freeway chase?

Well, even the most heart-tugging shots of children visiting the hospital can’t compete with the bear in the backyard story.  But there are ways to break through the clutter.  You may need to be a little sneaky.  You may need to be a little devious.  But, hey, we’re romance writers.  Sometimes our heroines have to bite the bullet and go undercover just to land the hero.

Calendar listings:  Every newspaper, from the Los Angeles Times to the New York Times, has calendar listings.  Generally, each paper also has an editor assigned to do nothing but sort through these.  These listings range from a few sentences to almost an entire paragraph, and should be written that way as well.  A calendar listing should include the very basics: who, what, where, and if you have enough room, why.  If you’re having an event such as a book signing, or participating in a panel discussion, send in a calendar listing.  But know WHO to send this to and what their lead-time is, i.e. how far in advance of the event they will accept a listing.  You can find out editors and lead times by calling the paper or checking out their website.  There are also directories available out there of all the media in the U.S.—radio, print and television, even blogs, with specific information on how to contact them (ie email or phone), when, what they cover and more.  PR firms use media list services available from companies like Cision, and the Public Relations Society of America.  Most dailies have a lead-time of 1-2 weeks, and most weeklies have a lead-time of 3-4 weeks.  Many radio station websites also offer a page where you can submit a listing for an upcoming event. 

Letters to the Editor/Op-Eds/Editorials: Got an opinion?  Don’t be afraid to share it.  If you’re a writer of e-books and ABC News does a story on e-books being the fastest growing segment of romance in America, send a letter on why you agree or disagree.   If the Daily News does a piece on the growing popularity of tearooms, and you’re a Historical writer, send in a letter.  Pay attention to the news.  If it relates to you or what you write in some way, WRITE!  Most papers have guidelines on how to send a letter to the editor or opinion piece in those sections.   However, a word of caution: make your letter interesting, either totally agreeing or totally disagreeing with the viewpoint presented in the story.  Your letter cannot be a blatant advertisement for your new book, although you can briefly mention it when talking about why you’re qualified to offer an opinion.  Another word of caution: be fast.  If you see a story you’d like to respond to, write and send in a letter or op-ed piece that same day.

Position Yourself as an Expert:  This one takes a little more time, and a little more patience, but the payoff can be far greater.  Reporters are constantly on the lookout for sources, someone to back up or disagree with their viewpoint.  If they’re doing a story about the addiction of romance fiction (which we’ve all seen the articles on recently), you want to be someone they quote.  How do you do this?  There are a couple of ways.  First, find out which reporters cover what beats, i.e. who covers books and publishing, current events, women’s issues, etc.   Send that person a Rolodex email stating your name, occupation, and what you’re qualified to talk about, or sign up to follow them on Twitter.  Watch the paper for stories by those writers, or listen to the radio talk shows.   If you see a story you think you could have commented on, or know someone they could have talked to, give them a call or drop them an email.  Mention you saw their story, thought it was great, but you know of someone who could really be useful to them.   This way, you are positioning yourself as a resource to them.  And, they don’t see you as self-promoting.  Be a fountain of information, not just on yourself.     

Human Interest Stories:  Do you think your life story would make great copy for People?  Are friends hanging on your every word at parties?  Then you may have a human-interest story.  This category is the most competitive and the hardest to sell.   You first need to think of who your readers are—what do they read?  Are they the type to go for People and Ladies Home Journal or Sci-Fi Quarterly?  Once you’ve figured out your target audience, pick the magazine that best reflects that.  Research it.  Who covers what?  You’ll then need to craft a 1-2 page pitch letter—similar to a query letter, only it’s about you.  What makes you interesting?  Why would your story appeal to their audience?  If your story centers around an upcoming event (such as you’re giving birth to your daughter’s kids), be aware that magazines have a 3-4 month lead-time.  To find out who to target and where, check out the magazines masthead page—the listing in the front of all the editors and offices.  Most magazines are based out of New York, with bureaus in Los Angeles.  

Radio:  This is a category unto itself.  Radio, more than other outlets, needs a constant stream of news.  They have more space to fill, especially with the satellite specific channels.  Who are the morning show hosts in your area?  Are they conservative or liberal?   What kind of guests do they feature?   Are there any nationally syndicated shows that you think would be a good fit?  If you’d like to be a guest on a radio talk show, put together a packet of information on yourself—bio, book covers, any press clippings you have and send it with a pitch letter on why you’d be a great guest.  Don’t contact the on-air personality directly though, contact their producer.   Find out how the radio station conducts their interviews—in-person, by phone, taped or live. 

Public relations is exactly that—it’s about relationship building.  You’ve already done it in the social media realm, and you can transfer that knowledge to radio, TV, and print.  Get to know your local media—who and what they cover.  Don’t call them about something you’ve never seen them do.  Be reliable.  It’s the same as with your editor.  Deliver what you promise.  And get used to rejection.

Past Her Time
Agent Alex Raines takes no prisoners—in her job or in her personal life. But all of that changes when the time travel organization The Lineage sends her to 1793 Revolutionary France. Used to a "get in, get out," modus operandi, she finds her heart and will tested by local English nobleman Lord Gabriel Huntington, whose reasons for being there are as deceptive as her own.

In the midst of revolution and betrayal, can these two learn to take off the disguises and trust each other? Or will the fate of the world and time travel rest on Alex's ability to betray the one man she has come to love?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday’s Reflection

As you know, I’m new to the world of blogging, and as I morph from one blog to another, reading what my fellow bloggers have to say, I realized that what I’m getting out of this is inspiration.  I stopped by Marie Andreas’ blog and her summer’s weekly Monday Motivation, (Plug for Marie’s blog ) and it was a picture, simple really, and as I gazed longingly at the stone walkway into the shimmering water, I thought “AHH HAA!” and immediately began writing.  I’d been stuck, you see, between deleting half of what I’d written and scrapping the entire book. “NO” this picture told me. “YOU DON’T NEED TO TOSS ANYTHING OUT, EXPAND ON WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE.”
It’s strange.  A picture is what started me on the path to writing this particular book, and it was a picture that saved what I’d already created in my mind.  I have pictures of my characters, their homes, their places of employment, even the cars they drive.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, I say it’s more like ten thousand, or even eighty-thousand.  Heck, I got twenty thousand out of this one, and I’m just getting started.
So, as I sit here, my muse yelling in my ear to get back to work, I can’t help but wonder, what inspires you, my fellow writers? Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Finding Your Voice: With Guest Blogger Morgan Fox

First, tell us a little about yourself:
·        I currently reside in Texas, and have been writing paranormal romance for as long as I can remember. As a teenager I wrote dozens of short stories about love, loss, danger, and of course the seductive, paranormal bad boy.  I graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas, and was raised in Florida, but navigated to Texas as quickly as I could.  Most days, you can find me on my computer, diving headlong into my fierce imagination where anything can happen. When not writing or thinking about writing, I enjoy cycling with my husband and reading all kinds of romance novels.

How did you find “YOUR VOICE”
·        I found my “voice” by writing almost each and every day.  I wrote short stories, novels, even snippets.  Overtime, I found a style that truly worked for me.  One thing I’ve learned over the years of trying to find an agent is that not everyone embraced “my voice”; however staying true to “my voice” allowed me the opportunity to eventually get a contract and begin publishing the work I believed in.  

If you could describe your writing in one word, what would it be?
·        Addictive

What advice would you give a writer still searching for their “VOICE”?  
·        The advice I could offer an aspiring writing still searching for their “Voice” would be to keep writing.  Like everything we do practice makes perfect and the more you practice your craft the better it will become.  I believe the uniqueness of an author’s “Voice” comes naturally and well worth the journey to discovery. 

Look for Morgan's next book, Tempted by the Moon, June 8th 2011

Newly engaged, Brie Ferguson and Jonah McCarthy submerge themselves in primal temptations, but the constant reminder of Sebastian McCarthy's absence is enough to ruin even the best orgasm.
Distracted by the mating heat, Brie feels a deep longing to be with both her mates, especially her Alpha. Discovering that Sebastian's been infected with the same debilitating virus that turned Mason Levi, a convicted murder and werepanther, into an ultimate killing machine is enough to bring her to her knees.
Brie is tormented with the knowledge that the man she loves could destroy her, but the mating heat is all consuming and leaves her with little choice. Instincts drive her to once again feel the sexual heat and connection she shares with Sebastian and Jonah.
But once she learns that Sebastian holds the answers to her past, can the truth be the missing link into freeing her soul and igniting a passion so tempting Sebastian and Jonah can't resist?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday's Set-up

First, I’d like to thank Abby Gaines for being my first guest-blogger, and I hope everyone who stopped by enjoyed her post as much as I did. It’s amazing how much more there is to learn about writing. As I personally struggled to find “My Voice” I’m dedicating the entire month of June to just that. Please tune in tomorrow for Morgan Fox and her own views on finding your voice in writing.
July is “How to feed your critique” aka “Delete, your new best friend.”
As I learn the in’s and out’s of blogging, these little post will no doubt get longer and more in-depth, so please be patient with me as I struggle through the learning process.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Finding Your Voice: With Guest Blogger Abby Gaines

First, tell us a little about yourself:
I was working as a freelance business journalist (great job for a stay-at-home mom) when I decided to try my hand at writing a romance novel. I was willing to invest time and money in learning about the genre, so I figured it wouldn’t take me long to sell my first book. Wrong! It took me nearly six years and six manuscripts to get to The Call. Maybe I’m just a slow learner...
            Luckily, there’s more to my life than writing. My husband and our three kids provide ample distraction from the woes of rejection! I love cooking (and eating), travel and skiing. Oh, and reading. It drives my husband nuts that the kids and I spend “all our money” (his words!) on books. 
            Lastly, I’m a warm weather person. Hey, it’s a fundamental thing: some people love cold weather, others love the heat. When I’m working I move my laptop around the house, following the sun.
How did you find “YOUR VOICE”
I found my voice by writing...and writing...and writing. And to be honest, that voice wasn’t fully formed and uniquely mine in my first manuscript. Most of us start out writing the way we’ve observed others writing – our early work is a hybrid of our own and the writers we’ve enjoyed recently. That’s not a bad thing, it’s part of the process of developing your own voice, figuring out how to write your story in a way that’s naturally yours.
I was lucky to have critique partners who could tell me what they liked about my writing – the light, quirky tone and the family subplots. That gave me something to focus on in developing my voice (AKA writing more stories) – though, having said that, it was mostly a subconscious process rather than a conscious one.
Once I was able to identify my voice better (but not perfectly, it’s still a challenge when I’m trying something different), I was able to see why parts of my manuscript felt flat or just didn’t fit. Sometimes I can fix that. A couple of times, I’ve concluded that a new project just doesn’t have my voice speaking out of it. While it’s probably true that you can write (or rewrite) any story in your voice, I haven’t had the expertise to transform that story, and I’ve had to let it go.
If you could describe your writing in one word, what would it be?
Warmhearted. And because one word is never enough for a writer, I’ll add that my books have a light tone and often a quirky setup, but there’s also lots of underlying emotion.
What advice would you give a writer still searching for their “VOICE”?  
1.      Ask people you trust, who are fans of your writing, what they like about your writing and your stories. If you’ve entered contests and had judges who loved your entry, use their comments for this, too. Don’t ask anyone who doesn’t love your work—they’re not qualified to answer!
2.      By all means read articles and do workshops on voice if that works for you. Barbara Samuel teaches a voice workshop and has a worksheet on her website that’s intended to help you figure out your voice. This kind of thing doesn’t work for me (just as character interviews don’t work for me), but I know other writers who’ve found this approach useful.
3.      Think of some books that you love, not the great classics of all time, but recent books that make you think “I wish I’d written that”. Then think about the qualities you love in that author’s writing and the kinds of stories she/he writes, and consider where your style and your stories are different. Once you can describe someone else’s voice, you’re in a better position to describe your own.
4.      Read your own work and highlight the scenes, paragraphs and sentences you love best, the ones that jump off the page and make you dance around the room singing, “I’m brilliant!” (I’ve never done that, I least, no one’s ever seen me do it). Think about what makes those scenes, paragraphs and sentences work.
The good news is, everyone has a voice. Like an opera singer, you need to train it and develop it before your work will shine, but you can be sure it’s in there. Good luck!

Bio: Abby Gaines has sold 21 books to Harlequin, across the NASCAR and Superromance series and, more recently Love Inspired Historical. Her new book, out this month, is Her Best Friend’s Wedding (Superromance). To read an excerpt visit

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts Thursday:
Starting next Thursday, this spot will be filled with the thoughts and advice from authors, editors, publishers, agents, and just about anyone who has a thought about the writing world.  For today, I’m going to use this time to say how excited I am with the response from guest bloggers.  I put the post out there and if you take a look at what’s coming up, you’ll see a number of awesome people who will be stopping by for a visit.
Now, I’m off to spend the weekend with my husband/best friend, my middle daughter and her family.
Stay tuned for more, and remember to let your heart take wing!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What I'm Writing

What I’m writing this week:
I’m working on book 3 in my Dragon Hunters series and I have to say that disturbing dreams do help with the creative process of my writing. Too often I get so frustrated with the directions my thoughts take me that I have to sit back and wonder, “Where am I going with this?” That’s where the dreams come in.  Maybe it’s my inner voice telling me where I need to go, or the main characters telling me where they want to be, but there’s nothing quite as exciting when you wake up in the middle of the night and say “Ah-ha!” This happened to me early—early Monday morning.  I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed, but I did have to be quiet so I wouldn’t wake my husband up (who had the day off)
Needless to say, I used my new best friend, the delete button, and I re-wrote chapter two and started a completely different chapter 3. It’s a work in progress, but the words are there.
What do your dreams say to you? Do they push you in a new direction? Do they let you know you’re on the right path? Inquiring minds want to know.