Tag Archives: #MondayBlogs

Christmas contest! #MondayBlogs

First, the normal news:

 

I’ve been so busy with everything but writing that the books are coming along so slowly! But that’s going to change this month. I have nothing to do but typing and helping the Christmas veterans until the end of the year. Okay, and maybe I’m hosting a little bit of a contest for everyone reading this post! Woo!

Need extra spending money for Christmas?

Click *here* to enter in a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway.

The giveaway ends December 20, 2016.

christmas_books

#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.

DSCN0232

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….

DSCN0288

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.

#MondayBlogs-A Writer’s Life for Me

Something I’ve been seeing a lot of lately is the lack of balance in indie authors’ lives. When you’re the one responsible for all creative content, giving direction to the marketing department*, and the chief financial officer, it’s easy to ignore everything else until later.

And that would be…? After the book is written? No. Edited? No. Published? No. Marketed? No….

Here’s the thing. If you’re like me, your work is written in ink, your personal life is in pencil. There’s nothing wrong with it until the personal has been completely erased. Your family wonders if you’ll ever be there for them. Your clothes don’t fit unless they stretch. You’ve not eaten anything resembling real food in who knows how long. Sleep? Sure, in between telemarketers’ calls.

So we all know putting everything but the writing aside is tough. I know for me, I think “Just one more page, one more marketing blog post to read, one more finding a new cover, one more post about the writing, and I’ll be done.

I never am done. Like the laundry, dishes, mowing, and dog walking is never done, so it is with the writing.

What’s the solution? Those who are born organized already know this answer, but for us others, the answer is simple. Ink in your personal tasks as if they were professional. Family deserves ink. Your health deserves a black Sharpie. Carve in stone your sleep times. Eat the veggies and fruits as a snack. Your health and personal life help feed and nurture your professional life. Take good care of one so the other can flourish.

*even if it’s a department of one person

Too ADD for #MondayBlogs! #RT15 bound!

Hi everyone! I’m going to be at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Dallas starting tomorrow. There are so so many Facebook friends who are amazing writer and superstars. It’s going to be tough to not be shy and all shucks when anywhere near them.

But, I’ve promised to be my usual outgoing self, so, ok!

What value added substance can I give you on a day where I’m too excited to think straight? Easy!

My daughter turned me on to sleep helping tunes and hypnosis. Sounds freaky and new agey, but it’s totally not. I love to go to Ipnos Soft for my fall asleep to tunes. While the binaural beats sound interesting, I’m not sure they’re effective. Hypnosis to fall asleep to or just listen to on a sleepy afternoon? Glenn Harrold and Amy Applebaum have wonderful and free apps. The additional sessions are super reasonable too. Sadly, you can’t learn by osmosis when asleep, but these do knock me out when I can’t take hours to fall asleep.

Why the Ipnos? Because you can mix and match sounds. Like in my case, when I want to daydream about wagon trains and the old west, they have an app for that. I can add in song birds and flowing rivers to wagon wheels and get the perfect background noise for my novels.

Why Glenn and or Amy? Because every writer has an insecurity about their work. You’re creating something from your imagination. How much more nebulous and personal can you get? Then to put it out there for people to hopefully love, but probably laugh at? Yeah, it’s hard! I love their confidence hypnosis. I don’t know how much it helps, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Then for the readers, there’s all sorts of sports performance, healthy body attitudes, stop procrastination, and a host of other affirming hypnosis scripts.

I’d want to warn anyone who tries these out to NOT and NEVER do so while driving or operating heavy machinery. I’m a person who has a really tough time falling asleep and yet these products knock me out cold. It really is a never do. So go, try them out while not driving anything and see what you think.

I don’t mention Mike Mandel, THE greatest hypnotist, because he’s more of a teacher and serious therapist. He’s who you see when needing serious mental help and a general script can’t help you. He and Chris Thompson have a Brain Software podcast that is serious, silly, and always entertaining. I also don’t mention Joseph Clough because while I love his podcasts, I personally can’t listen to his hypnosis. He whistles his s’s and x’s, and I can’t take it. But that’s me. You’re mileage may vary and probably does.

Not Going There On The Oregon Trail for #MondayBlogs

I’m currently elbows deep in the third and final novel of my Oregon Trail series. A lot of writers feel sad when a series ends, but not me. There’s three more series hanging out in my idea folder at the moment and I’m wanting to start all of them right this minute. What are they? A three book set on the American West, a three to six book set on historical romances from around the world, and a six book minimum murder mystery series. I really can’t wait, all of them are going to be fun.

But, let’s get back to the salacious.

Like television most times, none of my books go into the bathroom details of live along the Trail. And you know, I don’t even want to think about it. They didn’t pack toilet paper and finding water was a treat. There’s nothing romantic about chafing due to unclean.

Food. My books has a little of the bland diet, but really? They only had what they could find, carry, or trade for along the way. No refrigeration or even an ice chest. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE my fridge. Ours died a few years ago and it wasn’t pretty. Of course this happened in summer, winter would have been too convenient in the cold department.

Speaking of camping…what if every time you wanted a hot meal you had to build a fire from scratch. Even better? In a place like this:

wyoming-buffalo-sunset_17639_600x450

 

Just waiting for that buffalo to poop. Then it’s a wait until the poop dries. It might be a while. Hope you’re not starved. Speaking of buffalo, he’s looking mighty tasty….

 

 

 

 

Water that’s free of bugs, dirt, and amoebas. Cholera and typhoid free too, please. Add dysentery to the mix and it was an ugly death. Specifically death by diarrhea. I left that out, because, romance and all. Nothing kills the mood faster than, well, lots of poop.

Sleeping on the ground is in my books along with the getting the bedding out and putting it away every day. In the beginning, my husband asked about a romance (sex) in the wagon. I said no, too squeaky. Then he said, “Not on the ground!” as if aghast at the idea. I laughed at him, not knowing I’d married such a 5 star hotel kind of guy. But yeah, on the ground, against a tree, behind that bush, and hopefully quiet because who wants to get caught with their pants down or their skirt up?

It’s been somewhat nice for my characters that they’re in a very arid region. Wind and dust are huge problems, but rain isn’t. I’ve put in a skim-the-surface description of the cold at night. Which was fun because my southern editor called me on it. Water doesn’t freeze in August, right? Up in the high desert, it does! Maybe not solid, but it does get that cold. Especially in the 1850’s at the end of the Little Ice Age.

I’m positive there are other gritty details I’m leaving out that were also not included in my series. What do you find that writers tend to leave out of historical romances that would crack you up if they included?  Comment and tell me!

Science Fiction’s Answer to “Are you my daddy?” for #MondayBlogs

First the shameless promotion: This post is brought to you by the letter “U” for Unfortunate. Read about what happened to Daggart Bartlett after Undeniable over at Amazon.

On to the content. Let’s get comfy for a moment and talk science fiction and space aliens. I’m always thinking up new plots, always reading the science websites for the latest in knowledge. The recent discoveries of Earth-like planets always get a flurry of questions about humans someday living there and life on other planets.

Which got me to thinking. A lot of the current science fiction offerings have most of the  aliens encountered depicted as either a father figure or a buffoon. It seems our deepest desires are to find a solution to our problems via a superior being handing over their advanced technology to us, no questions asked. Failing that, we want comedic relief.  We also seem to have a need for superiority over them while at the same time wanting their protection. Even when an alien race is somewhat equal, like Star Trek’s Vulcans, they’re still set aside as not human with implied condescension.

So even in the fictional future and with fantastical technology, we want both someone to help us as needed while still making us feel superior. I know this is just one aspect of the human-space alien relationship popularized in fiction. What others are there that YOU see? Comment below because this would be a fun discussion to have.

I can already think of two exceptions, Skyline and Independence Day, where the aliens are scraping humans off the planet because they want Earth. No discussion, no attempt to communicate, just extermination. Even the Daleks in Doctor Who laid out their plans for us and our eradication. The exceptions listed above? They don’t tell us because they don’t care. Which is why those movies are such thrillers, I think. They kick us in the “Humans are Awesome” crotch and it hurts.

So again, tell me what you think about how other life forms are depicted in science fiction in general. I really want to know! Serious accepted, silly even more so!