Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Authors Energized by the Emergence of eBooks

Howard Sherman is my guest today. He describes himself as an implementor. I call him an interesting man of many talents.

Anyone even remotely connected to the book world can't help but notice that eBooks are changing everything! For some time now Amazon has been reporting that their eBook sales have overtaken the sales of published books. Stories of authors making impressive amounts of money selling the Kindle versions of their books were once anecdotal
but are now becoming common place.  Who's the big winner here? The reader.

That's because the reader has instant access to fresh fiction at lower prices backed by peer reviews, either encouraging ownership or warning away would-be buyers from making a mistake.  It's hard to go wrong with a $2.99 eBook even if there aren't any reviews one way or the other.  Thanks to the free chapter sample the reader can take all the time they like to peruse that chapter and then decide to own the book...or not.

Authors are in the winner's circle too, of course.  Writers get direct access to readers, cutting out the erstwhile middlemen collectively known as "the industry" or "the man" if you're somewhat jaded by "the industry" like I am and make more money in the bargain.  Yes, I one time dropped major coin on an all-out media campaign with Phenix & Phenix. Yes, I tried the traditional route to promote my library of interactive fiction eBooks.  And that campaign, while successful beyond my wildest dreams in ways I never imagined, fell short of the mark I established on other fronts.
Thanks to my own blog, Twitter and Facebook, I'm no longer constrained by industry standards because there are none anymore. The write-the-book, shop for agent who then shops the manuscript who then makes the sale and then takes his cut and then get published and then market your own book more-or-less on your own model is history.  Doomed to the fate of the dinosaurs.

Yes indeed, friends and neighbors.  That's energizing.

I can write from my passion, give my readers what I know they want and let them vote on the matter, casting their ballot by buying my titles.  As each vote is a sale I always know where I stand.  Unshackled from the antiquated publishing model, authors like me and thousands of others have a new sense of promise, of hope and enthusiasm.

That's the mindset I've molded over time and it gives me the gusto to give my all without trepidation.

That's exactly how I approached implementing my latest work of interactive crime fiction; Four Badges.

What an exciting time to be a writer.  Or a reader.  Or even a bystander.

Visit my book blog at http://www.howardsherman.net  
I invite you to browse my works of interactive fiction books at http://www.malinche.net

Friday, May 27, 2011

What's the difference between foretelling and foreshadowing?

Practical Magic, Stockard Channing
Foretelling is when the author jumps ahead of the story with a “had I but known” statement or scene, though maybe not in those exact words. It's generally the prerogative of witches, discouraged as a plot device. It's a kind nana-nana-nanha (my creative spelling there), an obvious tease.  Foretelling takes away the element of surprise and deprives the reader of experiencing the events with the character.
Had I but known what lurked under the eaves, I would not have gone to the attic. And then the story begins but avoids telling what was under the eaves. This is supposed to build suspense, but most of us find it annoying. It takes away the reader's pleasure in figuring out the plot and trying to outwit the character.
In a movie, it would be letting the viewer see the killer in the shadows as the victim walks innocently down the dark street. The audience may anticipate but would be deprived of the big gasp and adrenaline rush when the killer jumps out wielding the axe.
Sometimes the author tells the reader the outcome—if Bob had known he'd end up locked in a cell, he wouldn’t have gone out that day—so the reader doesn’t feel the tension build along with Bob. Instead he waits for Bob to catch up. He knows what’s going to happen, so there’s little suspense.
If the same scene were done with foreshadowing, the camera would make sure the viewer saw the deep shadows but stop there, letting the audience figure it out. The tension is much greater that way. Foreshadowing is done with small portents of evil or small incidents that hint to the reader that worse is coming. In foreshadowing, the sky darkens, the wind rises, and the swells deepen. Tension develops as circumstances worsen. The timbers creak, a sail rips in a gust, and a barrel washes overboard, but the reader experiences it through the character, sharing his or her feelings. When this is done well, the reader’s heart races, his breath comes faster, and he turns the pages faster and faster.
Another way to foreshadow is with a small incident that shows something about the character, say an excessive reaction to a spider. Though nothing more is told at this point, the reader knows Corey is terrified of spiders. But the seed has been planted. Now the reader will be watching for spiders, sure something bad is going to happen. Then let the reader forget, lull him into complaisance. Then, when things slow down, have the giant spider spring from the tree and grab the hero (gasp), or depending on the genre, drop silently onto the hero's shoulder (scream "look out").
Do you use either of these? Can you give an example?

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Author’s Voice

Beth Anderson, author of Raven Talks Back and other novels, is my guest today. She has some interesting insights into one of writers' great conundrums.
Voice. What do editors mean when they say something like, “This author has found her voice,” or “This author’s voice is strong”? It’s a hard thing to describe, but easy for an editor to spot.

Voice, to me, means writing with complete inner authority. The author who has found her voice writes as if she really knows what she’s talking about and doesn’t have any visible problems expressing herself. She’s talking straight to you and you understand her with no effort at all. You get what she’s saying and how she says it. You’re truly hearing her voice, even though you’re only reading what she wrote.
There are several things that contribute to the development of Voice. The first thing is a great command of grammar. I can’t tell you how many brand new writers I’ve tried to convince, some successfully, some not, that the first thing they should do is take a course in grammar, whether it be signing up for a night college course or buying, so they’ll have full-time access to it, a good book on grammar. Sometimes both. One of the first books on grammar I bought when I was just starting out was GETTING THE WORDS RIGHT by Gary Provost. He’s been gone a long time now, but his book still sells and I highly recommend it. It’s very basic. I still have my copy and I never lend it out. It’s pretty beat up, but it did its job. Provost definitely had voice. SOL STEIN ON WRITING is another good one, also still selling. I have that one too. Stein has voice. He talked to me and I understood him.
One of the first things the head editor (at the time) at Harlequin Superromance said to me when I met her at a Romance Writers of America conference and they were considering my submission (which they subsequently bought) was, “Your book is on my desk right now. I’m reading it and I’m loving it. You have very strong writing, great voice.” She didn’t know it took me eight years to find that voice, because even though I had just graduated from college when I first started to try and write a book, I knew nothing about fiction writing. But I took the time to learn all I could about good grammar. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself as a writer. Today I couldn’t recite a single grammar rule to you, but it all stuck somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind. I knew I had to learn what I was doing and then do it without having to think about it. I didn’t know this yet, but I was developing my voice.
I always tell students I’m teaching, or just people who ask how to get started writing fiction, that good grammar is your core weapon. You can’t do without it, because when push comes to shove, you are responsible for the way your book reads, and therefore, sounds. If you don’t have a good command of grammar, how are you going to spot it if you happen to get a bad editor? There are such things, you know. Good grammar is your job as much as it is the editor’s. It’s your book. Your name goes on it. It’s your voice the reader is going to hear when she reads your words. And if you think the editor is going to spend a lot of time editing you, think again. They don’t do that anymore; they don’t have time. A few booboos, maybe, but too many and you’ll get your book shot back to you faster than you could ever imagine, especially now that they often do it by email.
Think of it this way. Every time you submit a novel anywhere, you’re competing with authors who have found their voice and do have a great command of grammar. You’re competing with Janet Evanovich, Tom Clancy, John Grisham and all the other writers out there who have done their basic training. Without the basics, nothing else you do is going to make any difference in the end result, because today, editors are looking for writers who already know how to write. This is all very basic to developing your voice.
By voice, I’m talking about creating a story that can pull the reader in and not let go until the last page. The author has to be able to do that so the end result looks effortless. But how does she do that?
For one thing, the author who has developed her voice is almost always someone with a great vocabulary. She doesn’t have to stop at every other sentence to figure out how to say what she wants to get across. She just knows. It’s in her head and it flows from her fingers. Sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, she’s able to write what she means. If she hasn’t said what she means first time around, she recognizes that fact—nobody has to tell her—and keeps at that same sentence or paragraph until it does say what she wants. She’s able to do this with complete authority, page after page until she’s finished writing her book. She has developed her voice, and the reader can feel it without realizing what she’s feeling.
That reader is feeling the effects of reading something an author has, maybe over years, worked hard to perfect. Her voice. Generally, all readers know is that they love what they’re reading. They know they’re reading something that looks like it came straight out of the author’s head and fell down onto the page, like stardust. And it all looks so easy.
The author who can cause you to think that has found her voice.
Now, I’m not implying that a book just happens. Far from it. I’m talking about all the separate sentences that make up a book. How fast can you write a sentence, knowing it’s structurally sound and the grammar is correct so it’ll need only minor editing, if even that? Do you have to stop in the middle of a sentence to look in a book somewhere and try to figure out if the word “went” is what you want, or is it “gone”? Is it “she went” or is it “she has went” or is it “she has gone”? Well, which is it? What are you trying to say? Can you, with absolute authority, type “She has gone back to Kansas and she’s never coming back to Oz” and KNOW you have the right word, the one you really want? Or do you have to struggle, looking it up every time?
Commas. They have a LOT to do with voice, believe it or not, because it’s all part of the overall work an author does to create a really good book. Correct or incorrect placement of commas can make all the difference in the world in the way a sentence reads. Do you know where commas go? Commas cause a tiny hesitation in a sentence. Where do you want your reader to hesitate? That’s all up to you, because your job as an author is to make each sentence read smoothly. The reader’s eyes are going to go where you, the writer, tell them to go. If you put a comma where it doesn’t belong, you’ve caused a short blip in the reader’s mind, just for an instant, and you’ve disturbed what I call “the music of the words.”
Listen to the music of your sentences and then your paragraphs. Will the reader’s eyes travel where you want them to go, the way you want them to go there? Or do they have to stop every few seconds and recalibrate? If you listen to the music of your sentences, really listen, you’ll be able to pick out where you have misplaced or missing commas and fix them so the reader’s eyes can travel effortlessly through the pages. You can’t learn that by blasting through it at top speed, by the way. This requires careful thinking while you’re learning, and even after that, because you have to be able to hear the music of the words as they form sentences.
The author who listens and responds to the music of her words has found her voice. She writes with authority, and you love to read what she writes.
You can see even by just these few examples that the word “voice” isn’t just a buzzword that editors and agents toss around to describe some mysterious, ethereal thing that only they can see. In the context of “author’s voice,” what they’re looking for is an author who writes/speaks to her readers with complete authority, so that the words look as if they just flowed from her mind straight to the pages of the book, and you can hear every nuance as you read.
The author who can do that has “voice.”
Visit Beth's website at http://www.bethanderson-hotclue.com/
ISBN #: 9780982144398 Publisher: Krill Press.
Raven Talks Back: Raven Morressey is living the good life. Nice home, husband, three healthy children, and it's finally summertime, when life is again lovely in Valdez, Alaska. All this explodes one morning when builders, digging up her back yard, uncover a recently murdered headless, handless female body covered with scarification—hundreds of colored designs cut into the skin to resemble tattoos. As if this isn’t enough, where the corpse’s head should have been is a large rock with a face painted on that resembles an Alaska Native mask.
Raven's eight year old son, Timmy, is the first one to see the body and is suddenly unable to walk or respond in any way. On that same day, Raven hears the voice of her long dead Athabascan father coming from Timmy, who is unaware of the ancient hunting chants he sings in his sleep and the words he suddenly speaks in Raven’s native tongue—a language he does not know.
Jack O’Banion, Valdez’s Chief of Police for the past few years, faced with his first murder case in Valdez, begins his official investigation. Everywhere he goes he finds nothing but deception. The town seems to have closed into itself and nobody will tell him anything that might help him solve this case. Then one murder quickly morphs into two, then three, and the Alaska State Troopers are hot on his back to find the killer now.
Between Raven’s voices and the visions she develops, and Jack, whose career as well as his contented life in Valdez are on the line, they both feel they have to find the killer and restore some sanity to the town—not to mention their own lives, which are quickly unraveling out of control.
Written by Beth Anderson

Friday, May 20, 2011

Those Tricky Flashbacks

This is a very long post today, but flashbacks are tricky. They're also controversial. Many people dislike them. My vote is for moderation (in all things). Flashbacks should be used sparingly and limited to past events that have a direct impact on the main story. Nice little scenes that show some characteristic or pleasant interlude do not make compelling flashbacks.
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge
Once in a while the whole story is told in flashback (Isaak Dinesen’s Out of Africa, for example). Sometimes a murder mystery begins with the discovery of a body, and the story flashes back to reveal the history and events leading to the murder.
Transitions into and out of flashbacks require particular care. A flashback is when the story shifts to a scene in the past, a time before the time of the main storyline. It’s not told to the reader or remembered (that’s backstory) but shown as if it’s happening now. If your story is written in past tense, as most fiction is, then the flashback will be in past tense. Use the same tense as the main story, whatever it is. The reader should see the action in the flashback just as she does in the main storyline.
Here's an example. Sarah’s memory of the scene burned into her brain provides the transition into the flashback. Use had only enough to let the reader know the scene took place in the past. Had takes away the immediacy of the scene. Remember, flashbacks have action and dialogue. Show, don’t tell.
That June afternoon was burned into her memory--she envisioned it like a brand, a smoldering scar in the gray matter that was her brain. She had returned home from Massachusetts the day before, free of the Pendleton Academy and its straight-laced  headmistress forever. She wakened at dawn, brimming with joy, and tugged on some old pants and a tee shirt.  (She wakened is past tense, just like the main story line. Only one “had” is used to lead in to the flashback. After that, use the tense of the main storyline.)
Tugged was the word, all right; she must have put on more than a few pounds this last year. Taking care not to disturb her grandmother, Sarah signaled Trouble, the large hound dancing at her side, to silence. Together they slipped from the house and ran to the rickety barn to get Atticus. The horse whickered softly, bumping her with his nose as she lifted the bar that closed off his crude stall.  (For the reader, this is happening now. We experience it with Sarah, making it immediate.)
After a flashback, there must be a clear transition back to the present. This is essential. There should be no doubt. It must be clear that we’re back to now, the main storyline. Here’s the return transition from the same story. During the flashback, Sarah's arm is cut badly. To bring it back to the present, where she’s sitting in a car watching the snow fall (and has time to remember), I did this.
Sarah felt through her thick sweater for the scar on her right forearm. Harry Lucas had left shortly after that, and she never saw him again. (Note the single use of “had.” Harry Lucas had left shortly after that. That’s enough. The reader is reminded it happened in the past. Then you can go to past tense, or whatever tense your story is in.) From here, continue with the main storyline.
This was a long scene, one I felt was important, so I made it a separate chapter. The flashback occurred while Sarah is waiting for something, so she had time to remember without interrupting any action. It could have been a prologue, but I try to avoid them. I think it works better as a second chapter, with the first an action scene that raises questions and problems for the main character. 

So, what do you think about flashbacks? This is how I see them, but if you disagree, speak up!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Advice for Writers— and for Life

Today's guest is historical mystery author Donna Crowe. She has some excellent advice for writers. Check it out!

When doing an interview I’m almost always asked, often as a parting shot, to give one piece of advice to beginning writers.
One piece?  Look, I’ve been in this business thirty-some years and written as many books, which is often more years than my interviewer has had birthdays.  How can I limit it to one?  So I give two: Read, read, read. And follow your passion.
Well, okay, that does often work out to be one piece of advice because, hopefully, in choosing our reading we’re following our passions and our writing should flow from that.  But the important thing in choosing books, is to be sure to read the very best in any field.  I always tell beginning writers, “You may never write as well as you read, but you’ll never write better.”  Writers put an automatic limit on the quality of their writing by the quality of their reading. 
And you can let your writing flow from that reading.  Not in any imitative way, but in the choices you will make.  Bottom line here is that if you can’t read it, you can’t write it.  That was certainly true for me.  I started out writing category romance— a great way to learn the business.  Then one day I closed the book I was reading and never picked it up again.  And never wrote another category romance.  Although my murder mysteries, which was what I really loved reading, all have elements of romance in them.
So let your passion direct what you choose to read.  You’ll notice I said “choose to read” I didn’t say “choose your passion” because I do believe our passions choose us.  “Why England?” Is another question interviewers almost always ask me.  And rightly so.  I live in Boise, Idaho, 7000 miles away from England’s green and pleasant land.  Which may be part of the appeal, of course. Distance can add allure.  Difference can attract, too, and I live in a desert. But at the end of the day it isn’t anything that analytical. Love is love.
And so my reading and my passions intertwine to produce a lifetime of novels— both read and written:  Jane Austen, Dorothy L Sayers, P. D. James, Phil Rickman, Kate Charles. . .
Glastonbury, my Arthurian grail search epic; my clerical mysteries The Monastery Murders:  A Very Private Grave and A Darkly Hidden Truth (out this fall);  The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries: The Shadow of Reality and A Midsummer Eve’s Nightmare my romantic suspense series.. . Well, you can read about them on my website www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com.
And none of that touches on my love of history— British history, of course— and the corresponding research trips that requires— but research is a topic for another day.
So, as a parting shot, what is my one piece of advice?  Well, when you follow your passion you are bound to have a wonderful time doing what you’re doing, so that’s it, isn’t it?  Enjoy!

Donna and her husband have 4 adult children and 10 grandchildren.  She is an enthusiastic gardener.  To see the book video for A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE and pictures from Donna’s garden and research trips go to: http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/. 

You can follow her on Facebook at:  http://ning.it/eLjgYp
And buy her books at Amazon.
She has some beautiful photos on her website. Take a look!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Creating Transitions

Creative ways to manage the back story, reflections, and time changes
Courtesy of Photostock
Transitions are important in all kinds of writing, and they’re often overlooked. A transition, sometimes called a narrative bridge, is the information that moves the reader smoothly from one place/time/character (POV) to another.  Like bridges, the longer the span, the weaker they are.  Try to keep transitions short.  Limit details to what is important. And also like bridges, there are several different kinds. Some lead from one scene to another (another blog, another day), some merely take the reader from one action to the next—today’s thoughts.
There’s a balance between too much and not enough. The first rule is to avoid making the reader stop and look back to see if he/she missed something. This takes her right out of the story and breaks the mood. This consideration applies to any type of transition, whether it’s an action (example below), a scene change, or a lead-in to a flashback.
Kathryn wanted a new dress for the party. She pushed her plate away and stood.
Construction slowed her down. She turned into the parking lot . . .
This example jerked the reader into another place with no transition. It makes you stop and ask What construction? Where? A very brief transition could make all the difference. She pushed her plate away and stood. “Gotta run—the store closes in thirty minutes.”
Construction slowed her down. She turned into the parking lot . . .
I think that’s enough to make it clear that she’s on the road, but there are many ways to do it. Make the transition clear but don’t overexplain.

Action Transitions
If Darby is making coffee, we don’t need to see him walk across the floor to the counter and pick up the pot or dump in the grounds unless it’s significant in some way. Excessive details slow the story and cause the reader to lose interest. If Darby’s going to slip on the wet floor and break his wrist, then walking across the floor matters.
Beatrice, still in her night clothes, held the railing as she came down the steps to the den. “It’s cold. Why haven’t you turned the heat up? Is the coffee ready? Have you started the oatmeal?”
 Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono
“I’ll make you some.” Darby crossed the bare pine boards to the kitchen, opened the cupboard, and took out the canister of coffee. Measuring carefully, he spooned extra French Roast into the basket and then filled the pot with water. Smiling to himself, he added a few grains of rat poison, pressed the start button, and called, “Ready in a few minutes, dear.”
This example shows how he got there and how he made the coffee. The sentence about Darby crossing the floor doesn’t add to the story, it merely slows it down. There’s more to be cut.
Try this and see if you still understand what’s happening.
Courtesy of Healingdream
“I’ll make you some.” Darby spooned extra coffee into the basket and added a few grains of rat poison. Smiling, he pressed the start button. “Ready in a few minutes, dear.”
Readers will know he went to kitchen and did all the necessary stuff. Even the “smiling” line could be cut, but it shows his mood so it has some purpose. However, if there’s doubt about what’s happening, you may have to add something so the reader can follow the story.

Any examples you'd like to share? Ideas on how to make transitions better?

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Little Culture

My friend and guest is Kathleen Delaney, author of Murder Half-Baked, due out May 15 from Camel Press.  She's also the author of the delightful Murder for Dessert from Poisoned Pen Press and two other books soon to be available on Kindle.
I live in a small town in South Carolina. I didn’t move here because I thought the opportunity for concerts, art exhibits, or evenings at the ballet would be on the agenda. I came because they had a good college and a good library in a quiet, small town setting. The concerts and art exhibits were close enough, so was a major airport.
Imagine my surprise when I heard that Gaffney was getting a traveling exhibit put together by the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian? Here? In Gaffney? Yep. An exhibit dedicated to the history of American music. I rushed to see it, thinking I’d be one of the few, hoping I was wrong. I was. The place has been packed, as have been the concerts associated with it.
My grandkids stayed with me over spring break. One day, while we were driving somewhere, my granddaughter announced she had an idea for a book and I was to write it. Oh, no. It’s your idea, you write it, I said. How about if we write it together, was her answer. Sounded good to me, so I asked her the plot. Talk about gory! But, we’re going to write the story. We’ve already started.
Here we have two things not connected in any way. Right? Wrong. They are both about story. The history of our country is told in the songs represented in the Smithsonian exhibit, the folk songs, the ballads, the anthems, they’re our collective story, what has made us Americans told in song. That’s one of the reasons so many people have wandered through the exhibit, have listened to the concerts. It was story, the joy of making one up, of letting her imagination run wild, that made the telling of that gruesome little tale so much fun for my granddaughter, but there were other things in there. Ghosts and other scary things were dealt with, and conquered, children were in danger, but were rescued by parents, also by the dog, and in the end, the children rescued the parents. We worked through a lot more than just some exciting plot points in that half-hour, and we had a lot of fun doing it.
Since mankind drew pictures on the walls of caves, we’ve been telling stories, in song, in dance, in drawings, and in—stories. We’ve kept our history alive through stories. We’ve made sense out of scary things, like death and destruction, and chronicled our high points and our low, At first, we told them around a camp fire or listened to them in the town square. Now we write them down, print them into books or read them on our iphones. The means have changed, but our love, our need for stories hasn’t. They connect us. They  make us laugh, and cry. They take us places we’d never go, introduce us to people we’d otherwise never meet, make us think about things in ways we’ve never thought about before. All through stories.
Story telling--it’s in our DNA. 
Kathleen's website: http://www.kathleendelaney.net/.

A little about Murder Half-Baked. Ellen McKenzie’s newest real estate client, Grace House, is a home for women in transition, and she needs to find them a new location, quick. The old one has burned down and the residences have moved in with her. The arsonist is still on the loose and the dead body of Grace House’s doctor has been found in the cemetery. It appears as if the murderer is one of Ellen’s unexpected guests, only which one? Her wedding to Dan Dunham is in just four weeks, crowds of relatives are poised to arrive, she needs to find the murderer before that happens, and what on earth is she going to do with that new baby?

5 star review from Manic Readers Review Depot
Praise for Kathleen Delaney’s other books: And Murder For Dessert. Give
First Place
to Murder, Dying For A  Change
Kirkus: “Engaging characters make Delaney’s debut an enjoyable addition to the cozy scene.”
Publishers Weekly: “Delaney’s choice of setting, gossipy milieu and colorful…suspects help keep Ellen scrambling, and move the action right along.”


Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Plot Thickens

Bruce Willis, Cybill Shepherd
Plotting is tough, at least for me. I often discard something because I don't think I can develop it into a full novel. My process is a bit foggy, possibly part of the problem.
The characters come first. I know them before I start. Next I try to come up with real reasons that will keep them apart-the main conflict. Just as an example, an environmentalist and a developer and the reasons they care passionately about what they do. The stronger the motivation, the stronger the conflict.

  Then I think of the main problem they have to overcome. Say she wants to build a low-income housing development in the place where the last two dodo birds live, which he wants to protect. Since I write romantic suspense, the problem usually involves a crime. So enter the villain, a greedy energy magnate (a stereotype, but okay for this blog). He wants the land because of a natural gas pocket below ground. When you give all the characters strong reasons for what they want: she came out a tenement and her sister died because of the crime/poor conditions/whatever; he was lost in the woods as a child and a wolf saved him; the bad guy has to have a strong motive too, something more than just wanting money. You have to ask why he wants money so badly he'd use underhanded or shoddy methods to get it.
© Michael Thompson | Dreamstime.com
  Once you work out these things, ideas for things that could happen along the way should pop up. Of course, you have to figure out how to overcome the problems and get the characters, at least the H&H, to work out their differences and have their HEA (happily ever after, if you're new to this <g>).
I'm a mix of pantser and plotter, so I don't have any details worked out ahead, but I do have a general idea. Often the plot veers unexpectedly, but that's what makes it interesting.
How do you do it? How much do you plan, and does your story stay on track?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Share what you're reading

Alas, my guest blogger couldn't make it. So instead, why don't you tell us what you're reading and send in the last couple of lines you read.

Since I'm reading several things, depending on where I am and which book I have handy, I'll pick my first three. They're quite different: historical romantic suspense, mystery, and an erotic romantic suspense. They're all good. I'd love to disappear for a couple of days and read straight through them.

 I'll start with Raven Talks Back, by Beth Anderson. Since I just started, I'll use the opening lines.
The Fog The spirits of my ancestors live in the towering Chugach Mountains that surround my world in Valdez. I know they are there. This is beautiful writing. It has a mystical feel and draws me in immediately. I can't wait to get into it. This cover is larger because it's the only clear cover I could find. The other one had a Kindle on it.

Next, Never a Gentleman, by Eileen Dreyer.
But he remained the perfect, languidly polite gentleman, and she didn't know how to demand more. So she did what she did best. Love the characters. They're such mismatched perfection.

And then there's Sexual Persuasion, by Maryn Sinclair.
"Then that's what you should have." He got up and walked around the table to move aside her hair and plant a soft kiss on the top of her spine. Wow! Tender and sexy. Exciting and tense.

Let us know what you're reading and share a couple of lines and what you think. More than one? That's even better.