Tag Archives: Fiction writing

Pew, Mind Blown, a #MondayBlogs

What happened to me blogging every Monday? Where’s the love? Where’s the romance?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Deadlines. Deadlines are what happened. It’s tough to publish a book every two months even if those books are more novella than a novel. What hasn’t been a book signing, a family reunion of some sort, or a ball game (I brake for the Toronto Blue Jays,) has been me with my butt in the chair and writing. It’s rather grueling to write historical romance and goes something like this:

Patrick gave his horse to the stable hand at Fort Leaven…..wait. What did they do with horses at Leavenworth in 1866? Google, horses at fort leavenworth1866. Nothing. Okay, assume there are stables… Fort Leavenworth. Grabbing his saddlebags…no, would he have saddlebags? Google, army officer saddlebags? Crap. Army officer saddlebags 1866. Eh, no. Again, we punt and assume there are saddlebags. Where was I? Oh, right, Grabbing his saddlebags, he went to the…..crap. They’re not BLQ (bachelor living quarters) or were they? Google, history of army blq. Okay, not an answer.

See? Okay, so this is the hard way. The easy way would be to read all the research first, then write. Maybe. I’ve been to Fort Leavenworth, Fort Larned, and Fort Dodge many times but there’s only so much that’s been carried forward from history. The land has been cultivated and modified into something the early trail riders wouldn’t recognize.

So yeah, when you add the historical accuracy to the spelling and grammar, writing well and engaging the reader, making an ongoing hook to keep the story flowing and interesting, and managing interruptions of all kinds that pull you out of the world you’re writing? It takes time.

I do have two other topics in this makeup post. Romance: My husband has been a darling this past week. We were out getting out the votes for the midterms when I tripped on a dodgy sidewalk. I’m an expert at stumbling and catching myself but when the second foot comes forward to hit the same thing my first foot caught? Boom. I literally landed on my face. My husband ran and brought our vehicle to me, brought every bandage from the drugstore along with ointments, aspirins, and wine when needed. I’m fine, and the injury looks far worse than it hurts. I suppose if I had to be housebound with a black eye, a deadline week was the best time to happen.

Second topic? A writing tip. Okay, when I hit submit to Santa Fe Woman on Friday, I was free at last. Free to play computer games, go shopping (my eye and face looked a lot better by then), and even better? Read! I had a new story in a genre I LOVE but don’t write in to read. Yay!

I already have an author who I worship in that particular genre and made grabby hands for the new author in the same genre. They are worship author equals author A, and new author equals author B. Okay, B was good. I read her first book in the series and loved the world, the couple, thought the sex happened a little too soon after traumatic events, but I’ve been married 24 almost 25 years. My perspective is different. Author A tends to wait longer for her naughty stuff even if the attraction is instant between the couple.

Still, I did love author B and will, of course, read more. But it got me thinking about something. Why will I read the grocery list of A as soon as she writes or types it and I don’t mind waiting when B does the same? Why the hero worship of one and not the other when most things about their work are the same with the same elements?

I was laying in bed thinking about this before going to sleep when it hit me. Emotional events and the point of view. Boom. I’m going to make up the events, so they’re fiction, but here goes. Let’s say, and I’m going to use situations NOT in these authors’ genres, that a train’s boiler explodes when our hero is nearby and hurt. The heroine comes up on the scene and begins to help him with his near-fatal wounds.

Author A would have the hero’s point of view during the explosion. We would feel his fear, surprise, and pain during the event. Then, when the heroine arrives, we’d switch to her point of view to feel her fear, surprise, and empathy for the hero’s injuries. All the feels.

Author B happened to do the opposite, and I bet I’ve done this in my books, too. She wrote the explosion in the heroine’s point of view when she arrived. Then, in a bit of a tell, not show, we got the hero’s point of view during the heroine is caring for him scene. So we missed out on the initial shock from him of the explosion, and we missed the fear for the hero’s life from the heroine. We do feel, but superficially.

I’ve always known point of view matters. The same story told by different characters ends up being vastly different. I use this in the last half of Undesirable and the first third of Uncivilized. Undesirable is through Sam and Marie’s point of view. Uncivilized is the exact same events, conversations, everything, but through Del and Ellen’s eyes. Words in the conversations are identical, but the feelings surrounding them are vastly different. Making sure the dialogue perfectly matched was tough but I had a blast with writing those books because of the point of view shift.

So there you have it! Part of what I did on my summer vacation! By the time you’re reading this, I’m getting ready to or on my way to Florida for a conference. I plan on learning more and meeting people I’m in awe of while there. The husband and I are crossing off Cape Canaveral from our bucket list. Should be fun!

Comment below with any concern, questions, or even random thoughts.

This started on a Monday… #MondayBlogs Interrupted

If you’ve been following along on my Monday Blogs, you’ve seen the helps and hints on romance and living a more love-filled life.

I have serious plans for future posts about love and romance…not advice per se, but certainly information and actionable items.

This week, however, I haven’t had a chance to plan my blog plan. In fact, you could say I didn’t plan to plan the plan very well. Ha ha!

It doesn’t take much to amuse me, obvs.

So this week, the blog post is going to be quick and not so much dirty. What am I doing that I couldn’t focus on the blog? Traveling! I’m going to the Vancouver Author Event on May 26th. We’re spending extra time on the Northwest coast for me to research at least one book coming out soon and two new series I have set for 2019.

I have a loose schedule and it’s fixed in place only by the hotels we’ve booked. I’ll get to see where Aaron was pushed down the cliff by his brother in my book Betrayal. Even better, I’ll be able to meet some of my favorite readers and Facebook friends. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see the photos in real time. I’ll write blog posts and create videos for my Youtube channel, too.

Laura Stapleton's Newsletter

This should probably link to my newsletter signups, but it’s nearly 2am.

I had a major interruption this evening, so this post needs to be short because sleep, shower, you know the drill. Follow me on any or all of my social media to see my trip events. (It’s late, and my brain is done.)

#MondayBlogs and Leaving My Comfort Zone

This is going to be one of those short and sweet posts because I have words to write. Lots and lots of them.

pexels-photo-235922.jpegWhich leads me chatting about comfort zones and why they need to be crashed through sometimes. I’d read in Canadian Runner about how embracing the discomfort makes a better runner. Speed goes up, the mental outlook improves, and crossing finish lines are easier when someone accepts and ignores the desire to stop.

Tamed by Laura StapletonWhen I sit down to write on my latest story in progress, the article came to mind because Tamed, a paranormal shifter romance, is way way outside of my comfort zone. Not that writing had become easy. I don’t know if telling stories and fretting about my Shatneresc use of commas ever will be. What I’m sure about is researching a new genre to make sure readers’ expectations are met is not my usual work.

The best part about this project is interacting with the other authors in the anthology. I’m an extrovert (ENTP if you’re curious) and love people most of the time. Another enjoyable aspect is “having” to read paranormal romances by the other authors. My job is the best.

So now, while I’m here trying to figure out where the guy’s clothes go when he changes from man to lion and back again, I have a challenge for you. What is a comfort zone for you and how can you break out of the rut? Or add to the activity and make it tougher than usual? Comment below and tell me about your comfort zone.

Merry Christmas and happy #MondayBlogs!

There’s going to be so much in this post! Grab something to drink and get comfy because this’ll be fun.

First off, happy holidays! No more Christmas music! Yay!

Whaddya mean you're glad it's over?

Whaddya mean you’re glad it’s over?

I know. I’m one of those people who dread the music every year. I do try to like it, but nope. I’ll let others enjoy the tunes. Even better than the lack of Jingle Bells sung a million different ways? Free trash pick up! That may be for only our city, but it’s wonderful and I love it. Trash men are magicians, no kidding.

My writing is my life, but my publishing is my business and I have goals for 2018. Readers will be happy to know I’m expanding a beloved series and adding more to a currently in progress series. If I stick to plan, I’ll have at least eight novels and three short stories drop in the next year. They’re all plotted and waiting for me to write them. Along with all the writing, I’ll be creating  another spin off series and maybe launching it late in 2018. Everything depends on God not laughing as I plan.

Meanwhile, 2018 will find me upping the romance in my life and hopefully in your life, too. I’ll be researching and posting practical action items we all can take to help add love and romance to our day. I don’t intend for my posts being all for married people. I want to help singles find their best match possible or how to enjoy being on their own.

I hope you either join or continue on this vastly fun journey with me in 2018. Click subscribe or follow me on the various social media outlets I play on right now.

 

#MondayBlogs and Spring Fever!

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Our weather in the Midwest US has been so lovely this week! I’ve struggled to stay inside and work but gave up on everything last Saturday. My husband and I spent the day running around town. I even took off a lot of Sunday. I’ve not taken off that much time in a row for weeks.

I needed the break. After going over The Very Best Man for its rerelease, Surplus, the fourth book in the Nova Scotia Murder Mysteries needed me. I’m almost done with chapter three and while that doesn’t sound like enough, there are only twelve chapters plotted. My only hang up is the murder is a stabbing, exactly what happened in Pleasures. Does it bother anyone else when a murder mystery series has too many of the same kind of deaths? Appearances is going to have a unique murder, Rage is a bit predictable but not a stabbing, and Honeymoon? I don’t know how I’m killing that random character.

Creepy, isn’t it? Such fun, though! Being a writer is the best job I’ve ever had. The boss, me, is a bit of a hard ass, however. Never letting me goof off outside or anywhere else, really.

#MondayBlogs and Introducing a New Series

Writer’s Block. Nope. Not around here. This post is all about what’s been going on around here. It’s been really fun. The photos below are scenes from the stories, too.

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I’ve spent the past month writing like a fiend. Actually, it’s been the past two months. The whole process has been super exciting for me and I hope the readers catch that when they begin reading. What’s all the fuss? Here are the first three stories in order and where to find them.

Imposter- A Vancouver, BC doctor learns someone is admitting patients using his credentials. It’s fraud and if someone dies? A homicide. The short story is a thriller and part of the Thrill of the Hunt anthology. You need this anthology and not just for my story but for the other six. They’re super exciting and each one is by different authors. I had a blast writing my part of it and the awesome Miranda Nading edited. See my prior post to read her wonderful writing.

Holidays-I backed off the death and dismemberment for Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The characters are in Halifax, Nova Scotia, now, and it’s where the rest of the series is set. This short story is out everywhere, and sets up everything for the reader. The romance, the family, and beginning to heal are all the focus of this story. I loved writing the holiday scenes between the Hays family. A little bit of my own family is in their dialogue. DSCN0253

Betrayal-The first novel in the Nova Scotia Murder Mysteries! Yes, Virginia, there is a death, and while it’s gruesome, I try to keep things on the cozy side. No insect details, or in this case, shrimp and other bottom feeder details. Our characters from Holidays and Imposter link up to figure out what really happened to their friend. This has been one of the most surprising books I’ve ever written. I plot these things out, bit by bit, but Betrayal took detours I didn’t see, but enriched the story. I’ve had so much fun writing this book that I didn’t stop and went on into….

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Impatience-The second novel in the series picked up in the same scene and time Betrayal left us in. When an elderly lady is wheeled into the ER and later dies, it’s easy for everyone to blame old age. Until, one of our characters finds out, this wasn’t due to natural causes. I’m around two hundred words into the story, less than this blog post, so anything could happen.

There you have it! Why my fingers have been keeping the keyboard on fire and why I’ve been MIA just about everywhere except Facebook.

Mutiny of the Genres, guest post by Miranda Nading. #mondayblogs #TheExtinctionSeries

Hey fellow #MondayBloggers! The ever wonderful Miranda Nading has given us a post for this week. In her Mutiny of the Genre, she ruminates on what happens when a writer goes genre hopping. Before you settle in to read, go grab her latest story, Genesis, the first of The Extinction Series. I’ve read and highly recommend it. Doesn’t matter what your favorite genre is,  you’ll love this story.

Are you back? Good, now read what Miranda writes about her experiment with genres.

Most writers embrace the genre they love to read, and why not? They have great taste. With their genre set, they step up to the bridge, grab the wheel, and begin the slow, painful process of crafting their stories and gaining like-minded readers to help them on their way.

Once their ship is crewed with a healthy reader base, anything that jeopardizes the readers faith in their Captain could lead to mutiny; being hung from the yardarm, walking the plank, and otherwise losing those readers until the writer has learned their lesson.

Everything that I am goes into every book I write. Echoes of Harmony held within its fiction the worst memories of my childhood, the surgery I endured before its writing, and my struggle to be a better person. Caliban delved into my fear of another cancer diagnosis and my need to understand the beast. Canyon Echoes touched on emotional isolation and the need for, and fear of, family. The influence of my life, and that of other writers, is not obvious to the casual reader who picks up a novel to escape from the daily grind of their lives, but it is there in every book.

So what happens when the journey changes the writer? When horror and serial killers have been purged from the system and the ship begins to find a new point on the compass? Will we find ourselves in the midst of a mutiny? Hung from that yardarm or walking the plank? Will new readers under a new genre see the books you’ve written in the past and for fear of disappoint, turn to a different Captain? Do you hold your course, or navigate by a new star?

For writers with that precious Constant Reader following we work so hard to achieve, it is, unfortunately, a very real possibility. Readers of Erotica are not likely to enjoy a book devoid of sex or strapping young men and women. Likewise, readers of Westerns are not going to receive an Erotic novel with joyous abandonment. If the essential core of what you write changes, the readers will change with it.

So what is a writer to do when they find their ship adrift with no wind in the sails, caught between one point on their trusted map and the next with the decks empty and awaiting a crew?

This was the biggest concern with the decision to write The Extinction Series. There are no serial killers, no voodoo rituals, no ghosts or beast borne of genetic engineering. There are only people trying desperately to survive. What’s going to get the readers on board? If you assume a nom de plume, you are faced with starting the journey from scratch, having to do all the groundwork of building a reader base all over again.

It’s always an option, but is it necessary? Why did you gain the readers you have? What is it that they love about your work? What do they zero in on when they leave that rare treasure, the review? For me, the answer is the suspense, not know what’s coming at them next. Most of all, it’s the characters.

Those essential elements are part of who I am as a writer. I thrive on adrenaline. I demand a great deal from characters and I insist they change in some fundamental way as they walk through the fires I light in their path. The course may have changed, I may be following a new star on the horizon, but my ship is steady and strong. Every writer’s path is different; the questions they need to ask themselves, before making the course change, are their own. If the core of your writing doesn’t change drastically, use it to bridge the gap. Ease your readers into this new course by using the strengths you’ve honed over the years.

Most of all, be true to the story waiting to be written. It’s crafted the same way you are, with the experiences and choices you make as a person as well as a writer.