Month: November 2013

Writing Fiction: Historical vs. Contemporary Romance

Like many writers, I find my creativity fueled by reading the works of other novelists. I read every fiction genre, major or common, except horror (I’m not emotionally equipped for the utter darkness often presented in its pages), and I tend to be the type of consumer who purchases my stack of my weekly reading, one sub-genre at a time. Two weeks ago, for example, my stack was entirely paranormal romance. The week before that, it was Washington, D.C.-based thrillers. At the end of October, every book on my desk had the Civil War in common. This particular week, I’ve been devouring one historical romance after another. A side benefit of cluster-reading a specific sub-genre is that I am able to immerse myself more fully into the “universally accepted” elements that comprise said sub-genre. I...

The Power of Good Enough

  I’ve read amazing authors, from Ken Kesey and John Steinbeck to James Lee Burke and Harper Lee, whose perfect, seamless prose carried me away to those wonderful, far places where books transport us. I never imagined I could be one of them. They never inspired me to write. My inspiration came from a very forgettable culinary mystery I got from the library. So forgettable that I can’t recall the name of the book or the author. I only remember reading it and (after I figured out who dun it and why, say a chapter in) thinking, “This got printed, and the library bought it. I could do w-a-a-a-y better than this.” I thought about Tami Hoag, who started out writing mediocre romantic suspense and who now pens first-rate thrillers. I had a bit of a “Doh” moment. “Just because you start poorly...

I am my characters

People often comment on how “real” my characters are and they ask me how I create such believable heroines. I suppose it is because most of my work is grounded in reality. My characters are not me but some of their struggles, particularly with men, come from my own struggles—even if I don’t realize it until after the book is released. Take for instance, Stephanie Cohen in Just Friends with Benefits. Stephanie is an attractive, intelligent, funny and interesting woman but she often refuses to acknowledge what is right in front of her. Rather than take things at face value, she will analyze things Ad Nauseum. And often, she will draw the conclusion that favors her own desires. In a word, she is a bit delusional. I cannot begin to tell you how much time I have wasted wondering what a guy was ...

Author Interview: Vivien Jones

Author Vivien Jones Welcome, Vivien! Tell us about your background and how you came to be a writer.  I’m a middle child of three, born into a Naval family in 1948. I was an early and avid reader. By the time I was 10 years old I was an avid story writer too and this continued long into my teens when I wrote impassioned and probably quite dreadful poetry and short stories. Then was a gap for left wing politics, marriage and motherhood and years of working in a school whose educational philosophy was centred on teaching through the arts. When the school closed my two grown-up sons said it was time I went to university so, aged 50, that’s what I did, studying Creative and Cultural Studies at Glasgow University on the Dumfries Campus. There was a course in Creative Writing with Tom Pow, who en...

Bookworm and Author Kate LeDonne Interview

"I encourage writers to make it about the work, and doing your best work. Detach. It's not about you. It's about the work. Let go and see what happens. You can always change your mind and put things back in."

TLC, Twitter, and (Very) Smart Marketing

Back in October, on the season premiere night of Long Island Medium, TLC decided to try a new marketing strategy, one involving Twitter.  A few days before the big event, I happened to catch the promos, and they advertised two things: –          a live commentary from Theresa Caputo during the premiere’s commercial breaks (it’s her show) –          a chance to win free readings from Theresa through a live Twitter contest being held during the show’s premiere. Thanks to the magic of DVR, I zip through a lot of the television programs I’ve recorded while logging miles on my treadmill, usually in the mornings. But for a real-time Twitter contest happening on national television, I was about to make an exception. Twitter is my darling. I am always keen on learning about new ways to...

NaNoWriMo and the Evolution of a Writer

Writing a book as part of the annual NaNoWriMo contest is a bit like dating in college: a day feels like a week, a week feels like a month. And a month, well, that’s practically forever. On November 1st, I started NaNoWriMo filled with excitement and curiosity. How would the book idea I’d been mulling over in my brain take shape on the page? I wondered. Is it really possible to complete a novel in 30 days? To commit to the full experience of NaNoWriMo during this, my first time at bat, I wrote no notes, collected no photographs, fleshed out no character outlines, and did no formal research beyond having a wonderful dinner with an expert in the field I am writing about. Even then, I simply listened all evening long, writing nothing down. I didn’t even choose names for the characters! But th...

Spanx Me, NaNoWriMo!

Forget “March Madness.” Instead, make it “March Marketing Madness.” As part of all this basketball craziness, I recently filled out my bracket for the family pool. I’m not doing well; I think even my sister-in-law’s grandmother is ahead of me. Still, there is value in participating in creative activities outside of one’s normal comfort zone, and staring at all those match-ups got me thinking about business. In “March Marketing Madness,” the sports teams are replaced by companies. The purpose of the competition is to pair them up with other businesses or organizations to develop a brand new marketing initiative that combines each one’s products and/or services. The only requirement is that the new marketing initiative both involves and benefits self-published and indie-published writers.  I...

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