Monday, September 1, 2014

HOW TO MURDER A WRITING CAREER

By Alina Adams

All writers are given the same advice. Write your story, edit your story, polish your story. Make sure that only your very, very best work ends up in front of agents, editors, reviewers and readers.

Well, I followed that advice. I wrote, edited and polished many, many manuscripts. And I sent them out. And I got rejected. So I wrote and edited and polished some more. And eventually, I sold. Regency romance novels, contemporary romance novels, figure skating mysteries, non-fiction, soap-opera tie-ins. I’ve published over a dozen books, including two NYT best-sellers.



But, here’s the thing: It was all trial and error.

When my books were being rejected, I didn’t get any feedback. I had to guess what was wrong. And I had to guess how to fix it. Afterwards, I’d get editorial notes. Some were specific and helpful. Some less so. (My personal favorite, from an editor who shall remain nameless, was: This scene doesn’t work. Make it work.)

When I was first starting out, I would have loved the chance to just shadow a professional writer and watch them go through the entire process, from first draft to publication, and hear their reasons for why this word instead of that one, why this scene that way and not another way, why begin here, why end there?

S

o I’ve created the resource I never had. http://alinaadamsmedia.com/live/ is me writing my latest book completely live. Readers can literally watch as each word is typed. And erased. And rewritten. And misspelled. And then deleted along with the rest of the lousy paragraph. Maybe even the whole chapter.

The problem is, I am doing the exact opposite of what every writer is told. I am not putting my best foot forward. I am putting out my worst one. I want readers to see what I go through. All the missteps, the dead ends, the clunky prose, the boring characters, the laughable sex scenes. And I want them to chime in with their thoughts so that I can make my book the very best that it can be – for them.

Am I risking someone clicking on a link, reading a few lines of my first-draft prose and deciding they never want to see anything with my byline again? It’s certainly possible.

Am I putting my entire career at risk? Sure seems like it.

Am I going to do it anyway? Yup.

Because, honestly, after 20 years of writing for a living, I was starting to get bored. And there is nothing that gets your blood pumping faster than working without a net.

Won’t you join me?

Bio

Alina Adams is the NYT best-selling author of soap-opera tie-ins, figure skating mysteries and contemporary and Regency romance novels, including “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “Annie’s Wild Ride,” “The Fictitious Marquis” and “Thieves at Heart.” Visit her at www.AlinaAdams.com, and stop by to watch her write her next book live in front of your eyes with real-time reader feedback at: http://alinaadamsmedia.com/live/

BLURB:

Annie’s Wild Ride by Alina Adams



When his ex-wife and daughter’s plane goes down in a snowstorm, Major Paul Gaasbeck is forced to break every US Air Force rule and betray his own honor code in his attempt to rescue them.

As both battle the elements in a desperate struggle for survival, Paul and Anne can’t help remembering all of the reasons why they couldn’t stay together – or apart.

From Colorado’s Air Force Academy to military bases all across America to the hostile skies above Libya and the battlefields of Iraq, romance lovers will be helplessly swept away – just like Paul – by ANNIE’S WILD RIDE.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MFVMZN2
BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/annies-wild-ride-a-adams/1002967486?ean=2940149627080
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/464977

Friday, August 29, 2014

Pandemic

Bio:

Before becoming a children’s writer, Yvonne Ventresca wrote computer programs and taught others how to use technology. Now she happily spends her days writing stories instead of code. Yvonne’s the author of the young adult novel Pandemic, available since May from Sky Pony Press. Yvonne’s other writing credits include two nonfiction books for kids: Avril Lavigne (a biography of the singer) and Publishing (about careers in the field). You can visit her website at www.YvonneVentresca.com.

Blurb:


In Pandemic, only a few people know what caused Lilianna Snyder's sudden change from a model student to a withdrawn pessimist who worries about all kinds of disasters. After her parents are called away on business, Lil’s town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread fatal illness. With her worst fears realized, Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.

Buy links:
Indiebound www.indiebound.org/book/9781628736090
Amazon www.amazon.com/Pandemic-Yvonne-Ventresca/dp/1628736097
Barnes and Noble www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pandemic-yvonne-ventresca/1116107728?ean=9781628736090
Powells www.powells.com/biblio/62-9781628736090-0
Books A Million www.booksamillion.com/p/Pandemic/Yvonne-Ventresca/9781628736090
Excerpt

I stood on the smoking corner behind school reveling in my aloneness. Not many smokers had the same schedule, which made the corner the perfect place for solitude. We always stayed a foot off the high school property, near the big oak tree, and since we were allowed to leave during last period study hall, we weren’t technically breaking any rules.

As if rules mattered.

“Hey, got a light?” Jay Martinez asked, interrupting the quiet. In the fall, he’d moved from Arizona to live with his aunt down the block from my house.

I handed him my half-smoked cigarette. Cupping the burning ember, he used it to light his own. He didn’t fit in with the other smokers, but then neither did I. My black clothes, basic ponytail, and minimal makeup placed me in my own category. Maybe Lazy Goth. But the nice thing about smokers was that they didn’t exclude anyone.

“Thanks.” Jay passed my cigarette back to me.

“Is New Jersey always this cold in April?”

Being the new guy at school made Jay the flavor of the month with the other sophomore girls. They craved him in a nauseating kind of way. He was dark, tall, and lanky, and tended to over-communicate. Totally not my type. Now he ruined my aloneness with weather chatter. I shrugged so he’d get the idea that I wasn’t in a talking mood.

“Ethan was hoping to run into you,” he said.

Another shrug. I’d managed to avoid my ex for months. No reason to change the pattern now.



“So . . . do you have Robertson for bio?” he asked.

I nodded. Jay definitely wasn’t taking the hint.

“What are you doing your report on?”

“Emerging diseases,” I said, finally giving up on staying silent.

“Cheerful stuff.”

The school projects I chose did favor the dark this semester. American history report? The decision to drop the bomb. English book talk? A collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories. Thematically, Ebola hemorrhagic fever fit right in.

“What are you writing about?” I flicked the accumulated ashes. “Lung cancer?”

He smiled. “The biology of taste. I write restaurant reviews on my blog and that was the closest topic I could think of. Do you like eating at restaurants?”

Leaning slightly forward, he held eye contact a little too long for me. Was he flirting? Nervous, I pulled my sweater tighter around me and crossed my arms. A flirtatious guy was the absolute last thing I needed in my life. No boyfriends, no coy conversations for me. Not anymore.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Time well spent?

Kathy L Wheeler

Ha! I don’t know the meaning of the word. TIME? What is that? Like sleep, I have no idea. Between a day job (technical writer), summer bootcamp coding class (javascript, express, node, mongo db), writing (four manuscripts underway), short story anthology online class (for next month), critique groups meetings (every other week), NBA Thunder basketball (season ticket holder, forty-three home games, not including playoffs), fantasy football (draft night coming up), OKC Broadway season tickets (starts Aug 29th—Phantom of the Opera!!!! CANNOT WAIT!), editing my stuff, critique partners stuff and various other chapter members requests, OK-Rwa), Burger night (every Wednesday), Martini club (every Friday). Well, I think you begin to see what I mean about time. House cleaning? Ha! I leave that to my husband these days. (I hope doesn’t read this.)



In fact, I’ve actually been cooking dinner since last November (I’m on a health kick). One day my husband stood in the doorway of our remodeled kitchen contemplating the fire beneath the skillet. After a few minutes, he said, “I know you’re not used to cooking with gas, but don’t you think that fire is a little high?” Perhaps he said that a while back. Now (almost every day) it’s “Is that fan on?” And he does regularly asks, “Is that fire too high?”

To my credit, I do not yell, and stomp out. No, I calmly reply, that he is right but if he isn’t careful I might quit cooking again in the near future anyway. Dinner usually goes smoothly after that. On occasion, I’ll just hand him the utensil and walk away.

So how do I manage all of these activities? I’m not quite sure, but somehow I do. I suppose each aspect: job, writing, burger night, martini club night, basketball, football, theater, karaoke (I forgot that one), writing, reading critiquing…get worked in because each activity I’m involved in are important to me. It helps, I suppose, that I don’t have small children about. All my family lives out of town, but I count myself very blessed with the many friends I have. And I do make time for them.

I suppose the point in this post is to give you a little insight to a full-time, tax-paying citizen who loves to read, write and sing. And perhaps leave you to contemplate how you manage all the tasks you consider essential to your life. I’m certain you realize that you will get done what you need to. That we all tend to make room for the things most important to us.

And that’s just fine!

Happy Reading!~~Kathy L Wheeler

Bio:

Kathy L Wheeler (aka Kae Elle Wheeler) writes both contemporary and historical romance. She is a computer programmer and software expert by day. She is a member of several RWA chapters including The Beau Monde, DARA and has served several positions in her home chapter of the Oklahoma Romance Writers. She is an avid sports fan, theater buff, and loves to travel and sing karaoke.



Blurb:
The Surprising Enchantress – book iii

Delusions of grandeur? Happily-ever-after? Lady Esmeralda is destined for life with a fluttering eye syndrome—a deterrent to any prospective intended. Alessandro de Lecce’s efforts to save Chalmers future heir are nil without Lady Esmeralda’s assistance. There is more to this fluttering-eye miss than meets the . . . eye!

Buy links:
Amazon ~~ Nook ~~ iTunes ~~ Kobo ~~ Smashwords
Contact information
Website ~~ Facebook ~~ Twitter
***BONUS***

For everyone who signs up for my NEWSLETTER you will receive an e-book copy of book i, The Wronged Princess ($1.99 value) for FREE!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Excerpt from 'The Nightclub'

by Lynette Sofras:

Petra's eyes rolled upwards to scan her pink ceiling; she then glanced at her watch and swung her long legs over the side of the bed. Laura feared this was a prelude to being shown the door, but instead, Petra reached for a pack of cigarettes and pulled one out, offering the pack to Laura. She shook her head.

"No thanks, I don't—"



"No such thing as don't. At Ferriby's you do, even when you don't. Take one, just to get used to holding it." Petra lit her own cigarette from a vintage gold lighter with an art deco diamond inlay that she casually picked up from the side table. She proffered this to Laura. "Genuine vintage Cartier, worth a couple of grand; a little gift from one of my punters. I didn't smoke either, though I do now. You don't have to inhale, just know how to look as if you're used to it. The ciggies are a little income-booster. When Jeannie comes round, the punters usually buy you ciggies, then you can sell them back to her, or pass them on to your friends. Or keep them, if you take up the habit."

Bibi stretched out her hand eagerly, but Petra laughed again. "Not you, little skylark. Think what it would do to that wonderful voice of yours." She watched as Laura pulled a cigarette out from the packet and rolled it between her fingers. "OK, Ferriby's. When I first started there, it was one of the best nightclubs in town. That was when Guy Ferriby ran the place. It was high end and very elegant, frequented by the wealthy and famous. But then Guy died." Petra choked on a cough and stubbed out her cigarette in a large rose-pink ashtray. After another sip of her drink, she continued. "Very sad. After that his brother, Melvin took over. He had completely different ideas about the club, but not all bad. He just catered to a different crowd—and that made a lot of work for a whole new army of girls."

"Strippers," Lily added, surprising everyone

.

Laura looked at her, hoping for more, but Lily simply swung her slender frame from the bed and reached for a hand mirror to examine her face, her expression again doll-like and blank.

"The girls don't complain," Petra assured them. "And don't worry about Mel, his bark is far worse than his bite. He's a puppy dog really. So what do you think, Laura? Are you game?"

Blurb:

Trying to make a living for her teenage sister and herself, naïve Laura Hamilton accepts a job offer as a hostess at an infamous nightclub. As she struggles to survive in a world of sex, drugs and corruption, she certainly doesn't expect to find her own knight in shining armour in the club's owner, Julian. But will he really save her from a future as a fallen woman? And is he involved in the criminal organisation that threatens not only her sister's life, but will change her own fate forever?



Bio:

A former teacher, Lynette gave up her career in education a few years ago in order to focus on her writing and thus fulfil her childhood dream. She writes contemporary women's fiction, often involving romance with suspense or a supernatural twist. She claims 'Killing Jenna Crane', a romantic thriller and 'Unworkers' a modern ghost story/women's fiction are her personal favourites to date. Her latest release 'The Nightclub' is a romance packed with suspense. You can find more details of her novels on her website: http://www.lynettesofras.com or Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Lynette-Sofras/e/B0084YQCD8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Buy Link:
http://amzn.com/B00KYW2Z8O

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Shenanigans of Time

About the book :

The Shenanigans of Time is an absorbing, vivid collection of interlocking stories. P. A. Chawla, reveals myriad emotions - the turmoil and transcendence of childhood, parenthood, sex and love – that shape immigrant lives.

Whether it is the motelier Deven Shah and his deep seated desire to be embraced as the quintessential local only to be regarded as a foreigner by his own child, or Saya Sharma who fades in and out of her suburban life like a migratory bird, or the visiting Feroz grasping for a chance at domesticity with the volatile Rita, The Shenanigans of Time is ultimately a hymn of praise for the resilience of the human spirit and the desire for a place to call home.



Bio:

Poonam Chawla migrated to United States from India in 1982. She has worked in the corporate arena for fifteen years (Communictions) before she began her career as a writer.

The Shenanigans of Time is her debut novel. Poonam lives in new Jersey wither husband of 32 years and two extraordinary children.



Excerpt from: Chai for his sister

Now came the hard part. He had to let go his cane, and carry the tray back to her room. It did not feel too heavy at first but the act of turning around with the tray, made the teacups slide a bit and he realized, his heart sinking, he had not added napkins to the tray. What if the tea spilled…the thought made him nauseous. After all his work, to bring her a cup of tea making dirty brown rings in the saucer, like a clumsy, irreverent peon. He gripped the tray hard and walked carefully his tongue sticking out between pursed lips. Halfway through, his right toe got caught in his pajamas. He had the urge to empty his bladder. He stood still, unfurling his toe waiting for it to come unstuck. He should have tightened his pajama string before he picked up the tray. By now his forehead was gleaming with sweat threatening to trickle down his eyes. A few more steps and he was at her door.

She seemed to sense his presence and stretched and sighed. His elbow nudged the corner table by the door. Ah! Perfect. He would place the tray on the table just for a moment. She was now awake and looking at him wide eyed. “Chai” he smiled shyly.

She sat up painfully, making a cursory attempt to push her wispy hair in place under the thinning braid. “Rosa?” She queried, perplexed.

“She will be in later.” He placed the tray beside her and sat at the edge of the bed. She held out his cup. Together they sipped their tea.

“Is it all right?” He asked after a while. She smiled at him, her eyes wet, her lips trembling. He put his head down. Why get used to that look in her eyes? She was only here a few days.

She ate a tea biscuit, then another. Wiped the crumbs from her lips and said, “Remember Ram Singh? I was so afraid of him…he looked like a monster to someone my age, with his moustache like a scrubbing brush, his deep voice …” Ram Singh was an old family servant, back when they were children.

Her brother nodded, listening as she prattled on, letting the words tease the air, play in his ears wash over him like water in the desert heat. Now and then he nodded, led the conversation down another alley, deliberately transposed dates, killed off living relatives, conflated events then acted surprised as she corrected him, the twinkle in her eyes and sharp curving lines around her lips making her otherwise featureless face come alive with pleasure. “No no don’t you remember…. you were in Quetta at the time, trying to persuade our father to let you join the film industry … ”

Like a child who sucks and sucks and sucks at a mint, willing himself not to allow its inevitable escape into the blood stream, the 87 year old brother let his sister, two years younger, talk about the things she liked to talk about, an endless number of times.

Available: the Shenanigans of Time is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ellora's Cave Changes

On Dear Author and Passive Voice.

On Monday, an anonymous person posted on Absolute Write the full email Patty Marks sent to the Ellora’s Cave authors. Before the post was taken down, we managed to copy and paste the letter, and Jane put together the following news item:

To All Ellora’s Cave authors:

>Read more.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Blonde Ops

Short Bio:

Until Hollywood calls, Charlotte lives in NJ with her husband, three children, two needy cats and sometimes a deranged squirrel. She is the co-author of Blonde Ops (St. Martin’s/Dunne) and the Sirenz series (Sirenz, Sirenz Back In Fashion, Flux).


She’s written for magazines and newspapers. Currently she’s working on solo sci fi, ghost, and time travel novels and loves to hear from fans on Twitter (charbennardo) or through her blog, http://charlotteebennardo.blogspot.com/

You can buy her books at your local bookstore or online at:


Amazon
Books A Million
Barnes and Noble
Indie Bound
Powell's
Walmart Ebooks.com

Excerpt:

Staying in the shadows, I walked around the warehouse, and spying the faded Fredo Transporto sign, I knew I was in the right place. Around the corner of the building, I passed cracked windows grimed over with soot and dirt and eventually found a door. After a quick glance to make sure no one was around, I ran up to it and stopped in dismay. It had an electronic keypad lock. Cracking this would cost me extra time that I didn’t have. Lucky for me, it was a cheap setup. I didn’t have the equipment for disabling a more sophisticated system. Carrying the necessary tool in my luggage, even if I had it, would have instantly gotten me yanked out of the security check into a room for a full body search and interrogation.

Sliding my backpack off, I pulled out my penlight. A swift look up assured me I was still alone. Using my hand to shield the light, I turned it on and searched the ground near the door.



Not too far from the walkway was a patch of dirt, bare of grass, dried and hard packed. I ground it with my foot, creating a powdery dust. I scooped up a small handful, went back to the door, and gently blew dirt onto the keypad. It was almost like dusting for fingerprints. The penlight showed it stuck to four numbers: 3, 5, 6, and 8, where residual skin oils remained from repeated pressing on the pad.

That meant only twenty-four possible combinations if it was a four-digit code string. It wasn’t a high-end lock, so it probably had a shorter sequence of numbers and wouldn’t freeze up with too many wrong combos, like a computer would after three incorrect passwords.

I began with 3, 5, 6, 8.

Then 3, 6, 5, 8.

Sweating, I rushed. Being caught picking a lock on a warehouse would be the most legitimately jail-worthy thing I’d done to date, taking me from hobbyist-hacker to criminal-cracker.

i>Focus! If Candace or the man shows up early…

5, 6, 3, 8.

Click!