Are you enjoying the writing journey?

Have you met your goals? What do you do when you succeed? Or fail? What about when you disappoint yourself? Beat yourself up for not being dependable? I have a confession… rainbow_stage_spotlights_vector_background_529094-copy


 It’s October? OMG – How did I get here and how did I get side-tracked from my writing goals? One thing that interferes with getting my writing done is having more pressing issues that keep popping up, forcing me to re-prioritize.  My family’s needs always take priority over everything else, and my uncle has decided to move into assisted living. With no children of his own, I’m trying to help him find a suitable place near his friends. It’s giving me good practice for finding out what I will want when the time comes for me and my husband. But it’s time consuming and distracting.

“Hair of the Wolf” is late. I’m beating myself up over not meeting the goal for a planned  September release. The first humorous paranormal book in my As the Chair Turns series should have been released by now, but Irma showed up and blew (pun intended) that and several trees in my yard all to hell.

My house is way too large for my husband and I to maintain. We were ready to downsize and reduce the stress in our lives. Half our belongings are in boxes. We installed new flooring, new roof, and updated the kitchen and the bathrooms. There’s still more to do and, now after this hurricane season, there’s more. I also planned to put “said” home on the market last month. Real retirement is beginning to feel like an illusive dream.

Needless to say, my plans have changed. But although we had no firm plans in place for moving on, we did have a few dreams; so now, frustration is setting in.

Since I’m not wealthy enough for my writing income to take precedence over my other sources for paying the mortgage and bills … such as emergency hurricane preparedness and cleanup, I need an alternative vision. I edit part time, mentor/coach part time, work as a hairdresser part time, and then write. So writing comes last, and money that I’d like to spend for promotion and advertising is being gobbled up in daily living expenses.  I am not the only author suffering from this dilemma.

What I’ve decided to do is stop setting “firm” goals for my release dates and avoid the guilt. I have at least eight books in progress at this time, and because I value good story and character development above churning out crap, I am taking a step back.

One of the observations I’d like to make for writers is that you should set your own pace. Yes, the authors who are releasing quickly and often are having success, but don’t sell your work short. Don’t self criticize because you take more time to tell the story the way you want to. Do it your way in your own time.

The self-publishing market makes it difficult to rise above the algorithms, keywords, and massive numbers of releases daily. What I see are opportunists, sharks feeding on minnows, finding a way to make more money for themselves without a care to the quality of what they turn out or how they affect the market in general.

Are we dumbing-down literacy? Yes. And genre fiction. The Chicago Manual of Style reviews editing rules about once a year because colloquial language and needs within the US are changing with the speed of social networking. There are age-gapped and style changes taking place every day. English, in all its forms, has different rules around the world, but in addition to that, I believe, fiction in (American) English is being swamped by books published with little, no, or unprofessional editing.  The results are chilling.

Incorrect uses of tense, words, phrases in books and TV, social media, and radio infiltrates our daily experience. Which came first? Does it matter? The results are the same. Confusion and inconsistencies. Authors who discard the rules and, through advertising and promotion, convince readers it doesn’t matter.

To each her/his own. I can’t live with “incorrect” or inconsistencies in my books. And believe me they have them. But I strive to improve with each book I write, because, as in all art, fiction and novels are a personal matter of taste. Correct language, grammar, and punctuation is not. Dialogue can be true to form, narrative can not.  An author can maintain her or his voice without compromising quality editing.

Be careful when comparing your goals, needs, and successes with other peoples’. Be good to yourself. Enjoy the journey no matter where it takes you.

 

Author Tips for Writing Detail

Detail has a purpose. It should provide something to the story. It should do something to the reader. The picture I used for my page has that romantic couple in a sexy pose. But in describing it, can you as an writer describe the scene accurately to draw a reader response? It makes me think of a sandy beach (yet it’s a wooden floor, reminiscent of Dirty Dancing) perhaps because of the way the light strikes the two characters. I think heat.

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I remember the way the sun feels against my skin as it soaks in, the way it also heats me from the inside without the need for a kiss. Has he just finished kissing her or is he about to kiss her? The sensations before and after are different, and depending on expectation and circumstance, so are the emotions and response.  In describing this moment, an author will know which words to choose to evoke the exact reaction intended from the reader.

Can you imagine the moment leading up to this point? Can you begin to imagine what comes next? Everything depends on story. Characters react to story. Having a plot in mind puts the characters in the story, then knowing your characters well determines how they will react. They have options if they’re three dimensional characters, so they may surprise you, and also the reader, with their reaction. How will he touch her? Where? What does he want? What keeps him from taking what he wants? Maybe he will. maybe he won’t. Details like background noises may define the moment. Maybe an interruption sends them into hiding…everything depends on what’s in the author’s head…and where the story has been as well as where the plot is going.

Think about this when you add detail. What he’s wearing or not wearing can set a scene for what comes next. With both of them scantily clad, sexual tension can elevate quickly, especially if they are forced into close proximity. Does he hear her breathing heavily? Does she notice perspiration form on his forehead? “Showing” these details makes “telling” the reader the obvious unnecessary, but it does put the reader in the scene and  into the story.

Remember the books that frightened you? I had to take breaks while reading The Shining by Stephen King, I could “not” breathe. Normally, writers give the readers time to breathe between scary scenes. Not King.

Remember the books that turned you on? The one that comes to mind for me wasn’t an erotic book; it was a suspense…All the Queen’s Men by Linda Howard. I was on a plane and deep into the dangerous scene of the book, when the sensual tension began to build. OMG danger and suspense and sex! I was seated in an aisle seat in business class surrounded by men. Lost in the story, I must have been holding my breath because when I finally exhaled, the man across the aisle turned around, winked, and asked, “That good huh?” I flushed to the roots of my hair. But “yes” it was that good, and I immediately bought one of those paperback book covers to hide my choice of titles in the future. (Although that cover had had nothing on it but chess pieces, I wasn’t ready to get teased over something like Fabio’s chest. It’s nothing to laugh at!) Getting lost in the details is a reader’s pleasure and the author’s job. Authors must draw the picture, set the scene, create the mood, string the reader out until they want to scream in pleasure or fear, or cry or laugh, or clap and cheer. Emotion is key. If an author can make you feel something…the job is done. Details create sensations that develop the emotions. Make certain the details you choose move the story forward. Set the stage for the scene.

Happy writing makes happy reading!

I Blame Harlequin for this…

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As the Chair Turns (a paranormal, tongue-in-cheek romance series) by Eliza March begins with Hair of the Wolf, Book One coming this Fall.

Anyone who’s ever read my writing knows I have an underlying sense of snide… Is it humor? Or sarcasm? Or scattered brain cell patterns from working with too many chemicals and inhaling too much hair spray?But funny? I’m not so sure. Lately, maybe more so than ever.  Nevertheless, I was a reader (and, also apparently a drinker) before I was a writer.

I belonged to Harlequin’s “books of the month club”. Not sure what it’s really called. But I got additional gifts when they arrived. Purple wine glasses I had to use while I read the books they sent. I had a book a day habit and the purple glass always looked full … too bad it wasn’t. My wine habit couldn’t keep up with my reading or I’d pass out before I finished the book…and four books, Harlequin? That didn’t keep me satisfied. I went to the used book store to supplement my reading addiction, ordered books online, and then discovered a few small ebook presses. Whala! I would never go without something to read again…and I could download at 2 AM! Book two in the series completed? Ah! Book three is available immediately! Yea.

Soon, the series didn’t satisfy, the authors couldn’t write fast enough, I’d imagined the story twist differently, the characters reactions differently, and I had an idea…write it myself. At least I couldn’t drink and type at the same time.

When I first began writing, one of my stylists suggested As The Chair Turns for a title, and with her blessings I am going to use it. The series was originally intended to be reality based and a serious, non-fiction fiction. I just couldn’t do it. Fifty years in this business, in one capacity or another, didn’t allow for it.

What I didn’t suspect at the time was that:
1. I’d ever write it.
2. It would be paranormal.
3. It would be funny.

Karsley, “like Parsley,” thank you.  Now that I’m finally going to use it, I hope you find it up to your title suggestion. I doubt Karsley ever suspected it would be something like this. But she has a great sense of humor so I think it will be perfect.

I’d started out writing romantic suspense, then for a while, found my niche in erotic paranormal romance. And I was pretty darned good at it, too. The only thing funny about that is the idea of me writing erotic anything. My husband suggested I write what I know. I have had one husband, five children, the beauty industry, and reality for experience. That was more what he had in mind. But hey, Problem was I read lots of fiction. Don’t forget that book a day habit. And I read sexy fiction. Paranormal fiction.

I guess he didn’t expect me to stray off to my wild imaginary, sexy-shifter worlds. Uh-duh…that had become my escape reality. Who needed more of what I did every day? I refused to consider writing about the industry I’d been immersed in for…well…forever. (Fifty years is close enough to forever to qualify, I believe.)

One morning I woke up with my hero and heroine in my head in a scene in a salon.  Deja vie. They were sexy. New addition. Nice. But they were funny. Too funny. I didn’t write funny. I’m not funny …or I wasn’t, anyway.

i thought for a moment and suddenly realized in recent years,  I’ve started having comic-strip visions in my head when people speak or I read something. The intent changes and I see the hysterical side of life.  Everything has a humorous side, right? The visions I have usually include little clouds of dialogue pointing to the characters’ (sometimes cartoon animals’) heads. Often, I have to bite my tongue to stop the hee-haw response I feel swelling up inside me. You experience that too, don’t you? No? I’ve wondered why my imagination for story-telling waited so long, but it was probably for the best while I was doing personal things to people’s hair and bodies.

Here’s an except from Hair of the Wolf from Book One of As the Chair Turns. To set up the scene, Dela is the only human working in Frankie de Wolf’s world renowned salon and spa in Boca Raton, FL. They are going to a hair show in Vegas…Dela is the responsible one until the slot machines start singing…

All rights reserved Copyright 2017 Eliza March

…Our group filed past the flashing lights, then the digital billboards caught my attention. Suddenly, I had a change of heart. My gambling release switch flipped off and desire did a happy dance in my pants. Images of gyrating, shirtless men from “Down Under” put me in a different frame of mind.

Vegas. Sin City. I began thinking of all the potential sin and felt my lips curl. I was here to party. What happens here…yadda yadda yadda…right?

“Earth to Dela. Are you ready for a couple of those in your lap?” Selena, the female cat shifter, purred, pointing to the Chippendale poster.

Frankie didn’t look at me, waiting for my answer, but I noticed the way his ears perked up. They sort of twitched in my direction. I weighed my answer carefully, reconsidering my previous let-it-all-go moment, and just gave the shifter my non-commital smile.

I had enough on my plate with this raucous bunch of supernatural species, who, under normal circumstances, did their best to look human and contain themselves. Here, I’d already seen evidence of their loss of control. Eye shapes and colors were the first signs. Contacts were a good explanation since shimmering silver eyes weren’t a color humans were naturally blessed with, but that was just for starters. Some of their other traits weren’t as easy to explain. The younger vampires were already setting off smoke when direct sunlight hit them and one of the younger werewolf’s ears sprouted hair.

Never mind. You get the gist.

Controlling them at Luna de la Mar promised to be easier than keeping my staff’s identities secret in a town filled with them…. In Boca, being the only human in charge of every paranormal species unknown to the local inhabitants was harder than making them seem eccentric or weird instead of different. Here, I had a feeling my boss and the staff were going to be, not only uncooperative but, downright bad influences.

By the time I rounded up transportation for everyone and gave directions to the hotel and instructions regarding where to pick up the hair show tickets, I’d lost half the group and all their attention.

Whatever! The staff were all adults of a sort. They could fend for themselves. After all, I wasn’t their caretaker this weekend. They were powerful, magical, and gifted. I, on the other hand, was merely human. “Screw it,” I mumbled to no one in particular. Only a handful of the staff were still nearby, close enough to hear me anyway.

“You need a drink and entertainment, sweetie.” Jen, the witch, slipped her arm around my neck and scrunched her magical nose at me. Before I could argue, one of my favorite witches prepared to glamour me right there in the taxi line, in front of fake Elvis, a poster of Neil Diamond, and God knows how many witnesses.

I gasped and held up my hand to ward off Jen’s magic, then realized she was right. “What the hell? Do your worst!” I opened my arms wide as she doused her magic over me.

Hell, the six-inch red stilettos didn’t even hurt my feet. Wow. I could get used to this. I liked the taller illusion. The view was pretty awesome. I just hoped I didn’t topple over what with all my cleavage piled up in front like this.

Carrie, my other witch-bitch, just grinned up at the billboard. “We need three or more of them…” She pointed at a digital video of bare-chested Chippendales.

Chippendales and Thunder From Down Under?

Be still my thundering heart. How would I ever get through the weekend? With a low moan, I clenched my jaw and turned away from the smorgasbord of flesh and muscle. Calculating the idea of  “more” … my right brain did the math while my left side did the architectural planning…

There’s more, so much more so if you liked this excerpt and want more, sign up for my Newsletter HERE  at http://eepurl.com/buCZLf  You’ll be the first to get them and hear about the release date.

 

 

Trends in Romance – Mature at 30? Or 40?

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Sizzling Romance

The new trends in romance are moving toward romance about millennials and the issues they’re faced with every day. Is age a barrier to love? Women  seeking careers, for years, had to face the questions many women today face: now or later? May-December romances used to refer to older men younger women, now older women-younger men barriers have come crashing down. Although it wasn’t the norm years ago, it wasn’t unknown. Do women still feel the stigma? I have two aunts who married younger men. Both lied about their ages for years. My husband is a few months younger than I am. We’ve always joked about it. My sister, daughter, and cousin all married younger men. I never considered it an issue, and then the problems that come with aging have silenced ticking fertility clocks. There are ways for all of us to remain younger looking as our life expectancy increases; and ways to extend the years we have before parenting.  So we can love who we chose with less stigma.

Want to get into one woman’s head? Read my More Than a Stud, a short erotic study on two people who want it all.

More Than a Stud by Eliza March

With her biological clock ticking away, Carina Roth, CEO and owner of a corporate security company, wants a child. On the night of her forty-second birthday, her thirty-five-year-old corporate intel officer, Evan Douglas, surprises her by admitting he’s always wanted her. But when he offers to be her baby’s daddy, she’s not sure she wants to risk complicating their working relationship even though she’s spent years pushing him out of her sensual dreams.

Evan has waited too long for Carina to realize what they have between them is perfect. When he discovers she’s considering in vitro fertilization, he decides he can’t wait. Not only does he want to father Carina’s child, he sets out to prove he can fulfill her every need despite the difference in their ages. For Carina, he wants to be…more than a stud.

Stonehenge and me…

The original post was awhile back but it resonates today with man’s inability to connect with nature.

 JUNE 17, 2007
Although I don’t know why, the place wasn’t what I was expecting. When I first glimpsed it as we drove over the rise, I felt a moment’s disappointment. It stood starkly gray out in a farmer’s sunny field. I shouldn’t have been surprised at the way it didn’t impress. What was I looking for? Even I don’t know what I anticipated that day —

Druids pacing? Lightning flashing? Magick?

DECIDING it was a normal place, after all — nothing spectacular beyond its impressive size, I recognized it as just another tourist trap. Like the rest, there were mugs, books, miscellaneous souvenirs and food for sale. Digging in with all the others, I bought a mug and a sandwich. Then I picked up the electronic hand piece and listened to the taped program as I walked the circular path around Stonehenge. I took pictures with my digital camera, listened carefully to the narrative.

THEN something happened. I became engrossed with the ancient history. The information was interesting and informative, but something else happened–this place was far from ordinary. The monolithe was deceptive standing innocently out there in the unusual bright English day. The Stones stood proudly alone, warming in the sun, massive in an open field with tourists munching sandwiches and cameras all a-flutter. But there was something more.

IT was old, it was ancient, it was powerful. It spoke to me. It was more than the story on tape, more than large stones hiding their secret mystery of how they appeared in the stoneless region. Their mystical force engulfed me as I walked the circle, listening, looking, searching, learning. I was drawn back to a long-gone time when wizards were all-powerful and Mother Earth ruled. In that time, Man took care with Nature, respected and cajoled it. But when Man left the pagan temples to tumble and halted the blood sacrifices of old to sacrifice Mother Earth to our gluttonous needs, things changed. Now Man plunders Her and lays waste to Her bounty.

STANDING outside the aged stones, I felt the call to battle.

GLOBAL Warming is a unique and imminent possibility. Is it an eventual reality? Will the dark salty waves of the North Atlantic soon lap over the lowly terrain where Druids stood? Will the great Stonehenge be nothing more than a pile of rocks standing against the pounding waves of the North Sea?

WHEN I returned home I printed my photos and fixed tea in my souvenir mug. The images all had blue ghosts surrounding the stone where the sacrifices were believed to have taken place. I reached for the mug and it shifted toward my hand.

That wasn’t the first or

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 the last time the ghosts appear in appropriate places in my pictures. In Italy, they appeared on the pictures I took of the portraits of St. George (who looks surprising like like my youngest son).  So no matter what you believe a little meditation in ancient places can’t help but to ground you into good thoughts and good deeds. Have a wonderful weekend.

Self-Publishing or Small Press?

I’ve done both with a number of books, and though I thought I preferred the independence of self-publishing, and still do at times, I am leaning toward mixing it up again. I like the support of a small press and the comradery of having other authors in the stable who are willing to cross promote and bolst0dc60-the2bgemini2bprophecy2bfinal2bcopyer me up when I need advice. writing is a solitary undertaking, but promoting and dealing with the business of writing doesn’t have to be.

A publisher with a good track record, who is a good fit for you, can be your best asset. My needs were much different years ago when I started than they are now. Yet both publishers I began with each serves a different purpose for my writing needs now, and both are not only still in business, but successful and well thought of in the industry. That’s saying something in these times. I also recently published with a third small press and am excited to announce I’m thoroughly pleased with the team I worked with. Being part of another supportive group, specializing in the genre I write, has been a pleasure.

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A Hot Moon Rising Book

The trick is finding the right fit. I like a quick turn around on correspondence and edits. I like easy access to the team I work with. I like flexibility and custom service. If I need more than two rounds of edits…let’s do it! I want input on my cover and the marketing plan. I want to be able to participate. Some companies don’t work that way. Some authors don’t have any interest in working that way.  It’s all about finding what works for you and your career.

My self-publishing experience has afforded me the flexibility to adjust with the market. In an industry of change and shifting markets, we need to adjust quickly and research to be prepared for the next wave.  I like testing the market to see what works. In the process, I’ve found thinking ahead of the curve is a crap-shoot. As fast as we adjust things shift. So writing to please yourself is the best answer because…you can’t please everyone.

The downside to self-publishing is the number of hats I have to wear unless I want to hire someone to do them. Then there’s the cost. Once again, the loss of a certain amount of control. Waiting for someone else to do the work. Hoping they have the same vision…

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And finally, the time-consuming time away from writing.

I’m considering a co-op of stable writers who want to form a group. Not only can we write together, we can write apart and still be there for each other. It’s been done before and may be my answer.

When I can’t depend on SMASHWORDS’ meatgrinder to accept my old formats…I need another set of eyes and a ton of suggestions. Thank goodness for GOOGLE search.

My books at iBOOKS

My books at SMASHWORDS

My books at AMAZON

The POWER OF THE LIGHT – The 1st Journey in the Gemini Prophecy series

Before the Gemini Prophecy, the World of the Fae and Underworlds clashed. Here is one ins300px-Fortingall_Yewpiring photo of the ancient yew that I wrote about in the story. Many of the old stories are derived from folklore, but this tree has stood in this place throughout the times the tales were told. Fascinating.

235px-Dunedin_Andr_Mem_Chapel01This old church reminds me of the one I wrote about as far as shape and size, but the location and material was off. irish SO with further research here is the one in Ireland I imagined; white-washed walls, mold, and ancient cemetery included.

Now how did I come up with the cliffs, you ask? I envisioned the Cliffs of Mohr with trees and a stone circle. Caves and wooded forests filled the images I had of the outskirts

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Coming SOON

of Washington, DC. The location where the psychic was killed may have looked like the image at the bottom of this mock-up cover for the first book in the series; POWER OF THE LIGHT. Certainly, the Traighon is aptly portrayed here. Blue skin and all.

 

Have you read the prequel? The Fae Myth may be a good place to begin before the first book in the series is released. In the coming months look for Power of the Light, followed by Power of the Sea…then two more books in the series will be following in 2018. Each is a stand-alone story.

The Gemini Prophecy final copy

Where to BUY

AMAZON

 

Giving Away Books? How About a TIP?

19475622-Arrangement-of-five-dollar-signs-with-focus-on-center-one--Stock-PhotoNo. I mean a real tip. You know…money? I’m thinking about all the free books authors give away and call it advertising expense.  Sometimes I get a really good book and think, perhaps I should give the author a tip. I could buy the next book, but that isn’t really expressing the value of the book I just read. So I rate it five stars and write gushing reviews. Still I feel something is missing. five-starsI see SMASHWORDS has an option under pricing for the reader to choose their own price. Anyone tried that? Reader? Author? I’m curious. Given the choice, how many or which  books would you pay for? How about an option to TIP the author for an excellent read?

Instead of  T-I-P (TO INSURE PROMPTNESS) satisfied readers could give extra TO INSURE PLEASURE? or PERFECTION? Or we could just insert a DONATION button. I’ve seen them on blogs (idea).

What about the ones when we can’t get past the first chapter? I’m all forimages emojis but I always seem to feel an emotion they haven’t developed a face for. A middle finger could work well for so much, but some would be offended. Nope. Not a good idea. Rudeness is available everywhere lately. If you can’t say something nice…don’t SAY anything, don’t TIP. don’t DONATE or leave a REVIEW. “NO” review speaks volumes. “BAD” reviews make you sound like a TROLL. I’m voting for tipping. If it’s a FIVE +  STAR book, the only thing left is a TIP.  For me? I’m okay if you buy my other books — I won’t be offended.

1021368484-thumbs-up-star-free-vector-in-adobe-illustrator-ai-ai-jvovkf-clipartI started this thought, tongue in cheek, but it’s beginning to sound good. Where is that emoji for the face I’m making right now? Eh?

Oh and in case you haven’t signed up for my NEWSLETTER yet…now would be a good time. NO SPAMMING. In fact, unless set-of-hands-with-thumbs-up_1134-312I have something to offer you like a FREE book or a BIG DISCOUNT or a chance to WIN something … or tell you a SECRET no one knows about yet … I won’t bother you. I will give you my email address so you can contact me back with suggestions. Or just leave them here. I get them.

The link to sign up below will ask you what genres you prefer.

Sometimes it’s hard to decide. I think you can pick them all.

e0d213d05dedbc2ecaebbb0fd2e62c14   SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER

The Gemini Prophecy: A Fae Myth

High Concept question. You ask, “What’s the book about?” A Fae Myth? The Gemini: a species born 0dc60-the2bgemini2bprophecy2bfinal2bcopywhen twin fae royalty fell in love with twin druids.

Another answer: A mashup of Criminal Minds meets Supernatural somewhere in one of the lands in Lord of the Rings, then sprinkle a little True Blood and Underworld  into the cauldron of blood and see what you get. Are you ready for a modern day Indiana Jones meets an Irish Sookie Stackhouse?

There are light fae trying to keep the world from going dark, while daemons from the Underworld posing as ancient serial killers are set on murdering supernatural psychics posing as profilers who work for the government. Breathe… Oh yes, there are soul mates and destined love to deal with too. Unfortunately, soulmates meant to save the world can’t deny their gifts or be at odds with each other. Duh! Can’t we all just get along? Work together? save the world?

No!

Hello?

Conflict goes there or there wouldn’t be a story.

Goal: Everyone wants to control the elements of Earth.

Motivation: To prevent the world from being destroyed…or in the case of the antagonists: to destroy the world.

The Gemini are going to have to step up their game. Trouble is, they don’t know the rules or that they were involved. Playing catch up from behind is Hell. Try reading this so you’ll be ready for the series.

Prequel Blurb:

Morgan and Brianna, two sixteen year-old Irish girls, stumble upon a magical book hidden within the standing stones. Believing local mythology is just an interesting tale about immortal killers, vengeful gods, and age-old battles, they take the stories lightly…until the book mentions their ancestors and reveals the girls may be destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy.

Discovering a deadly rift once split the fae and mortal realms as the result of a forbidden love between the fae and druids, the girls dedicate themselves to the book. A covenant with the gods had been broken, and the responsibility of restoring the worlds fell to the Gemini, descendants of the illicit lovers. These chosen caretakers of the elemental stones were challenged to protect the elements from the dark mystics. With a vow to destroy all the chosen, evil forces used black magic to release the daemon from the Underworld, and the Gemini went into hiding while the battles to find them raged on through the ages.

Years later, psychics and profilers all over the world are being targeted for death. A historic pattern becomes obvious to a former FBI agent and an Irish profiler when they are assigned to join forces. As they uncover more and more details about who or, more precisely, what is targeting the victims and why, even more improbable evidence surfaces to expose their linked pasts.

Fae mythology isn’t in the FBI training manual, but when a killer disappears into a solid stone wall, it’s time for Graeme to re-evaluate reality. Recently, the pragmatic FBI instructor and history buff has a hard time dealing with the woman’s thoughts seeping into his mind. Psychic or not, none of this can be real. He’s convinced she’s the same girl who’s been in his dreams since childhood, but he doesn’t dare admit it.

Morgan only felt whole  when Graeme joined her in her dreams. There is no doubt he’s her old imaginary playmate. But what does it mean now that his thoughts are breaking through when she’s awake? Even if he refuses to accept their connection, his presence in her mind is a comfort…until their shared dreams turn into nightmares.

BUY at AMAZON

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WRITING IN CHAOS

Do you need quiet to write? Do you have a playlist you listen to while writing? Do you have a special place? Is it isolated or in the thick of things? Is the TV blasting distracting news or great dialogue? Action or love scenes? What works best for you? I bet you have multiple answers depending on the scene and what stage you’re at in the book.

Chaos. In the midst of a family of seven, I’ve figured out how to write a first draft. Concepts and ideas fill my creative cup while I’m talking to my kids or friends, making dinner or folding clothes. The story is in my head at all times ready for a new twist or the next conflict.

I can even edit the first draft in chaos. But when it comes to making certain the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, I need solitude. Complete and utter focus. Grammar and punctuation checks are not what I’m talking about. What I need uninterrupted time to final edit for are these things…the essentials I hope to one day master in my first draft:

  1. are my characters behaving in character?
  2. do they have a goal, motivation, and conflict?
  3. am I staying in point of view?
  4. is the opening grabbing the reader?
  5. is the pace working?
  6. am I including hooks to the next scene?
  7. is there motivation, conflict, and a goal in each scene?
  8. is each sentence structured clearly?
  9. am I overusing adjectives, adverbs, names, dialogue tags, phrases,
  10. am I using redundancies–repeating words, sentence structure, or ideas unnecessarily?

Each of us has our own way or working through the writing process. We also have writing issues we repeat in each book. I check for those problems first, noting there are fewer in the second draft than there used to be. The more you write, the more cognizant you’ll become of your style, your voice. The pace of the story and the style eventually will become embedded in your work. The more you write, the sooner it will happen. Sooner or later, you’ll find your place to write, with or without chaos, with or without a playlist, with or without silence. What you’ll find is a way to focus on what the story needs instead of what you need. Numbers one through ten will fall into place like a marching band, marching in formation while they make music and designs. You’ll have your unique voice, your work will have a unique style that defines it, you’ll have a process of creating your work in a way that works for you.

I’ve tried several approaches. Some work with non-fiction, some with fiction. Some work with short stories but not with longer books. Some work with individual novels but not with series or serialized books. Different strokes for different folks pertains to bodies of work as well as temperaments. My memory isn’t what it was. I make notes now. Thank goodness for my iPhone. I keep it with me always…well, not in the shower…but it’s in the room–TMI?).

I dictate and write myself notes or just write down a word or phrase to jar my memory later when I have a chance to mull it over. We each have our own  creative needs and style of getting from A to Z.  Figure out your method and don’t be discouraged if you have to make tweaks or adjustments as you grow. I’m going to bare my soul. The second few edited paragraph segments from my first book, Hot Highland Fling, looked like this.

* * *

“Ah, Scotland,” Ailsa sighed into her cell phone. “The untamed highlands, the rugged moors, the burly men, and their kilts!”  The cell phone coverage was good as she checked in with her senior editor. None of that, Can you hear me now? stuff, going on up here.

“Katie, why do you live in London with those conservative people when you could be here?”

“I know the only reason you took this assignment was to check out the native men. Besides, the magazine has a silly requirement that their senior editor reside near the publishing house, and if you must know, I prefer civilization to the wilds.”

* * *

I have to thank my first editor, Scarlet Senior Editor, Diana Carlile.at the Wild Rose Press for not only taking a chance on a newbie, but also for being an awesome editor. If I could I’d be rewording and editing it again. You have to know when enough is enough. (Most of us never learn that.)

The first red blob is cutting out a dialogue tag. Now there is narrative action instead of he said-she said.

The next change is a clarification of the first part of the sentence without going into too much unnecessary detail.

The next is a format situation. The editor clarified the idea with italics and punctuation.

Then I changed a word from one that I didn’t think fit as well.

The final edit in this section did a few things. This is the opening of the book. The heroine said several things that hint about the genre. The title of course is pretty suggestive. But Ailsa sighs. Then she sets the mood with her dialogue. “The untamed highlands, the rugged moors, the burly men, and their kilts!” A little excitement, a romantic lilt, sexy and fun. This sentence establishes a promise to the reader. You also get that sarcastic humor reinforced with her internal thought about the cell phone coverage. Can you hear me now? stuff…

We find out that Ailsa is questioning conservative reasoning. What’s she up to?

Ailsa’s editor confirms her motives. “I know the only reason you took this assignment was to check out the native men.” Ah! Ailsa has an ulterior motive. Do we want to read about it? Do we like her enough to be curious? We hardly know her at all. Is the subject something we’re interested in?

The book is short on plot–it’s very short anyway. But it does contain many sex scenes because this is a woman’s journey of sexual discovery, an awakening of sorts, and she has very little time to invest. Not everyone will be interested in a book of this length or genre, but no matter, there should be purpose to every words you choose to put on the page. I hope this helps you move from chaos to peace of mind.

Here is the blurb: Hot Highland Fling

Erotic Contemporary Romance
Erotic Romance

Free lance writer, Ailsa Jackson is finished dating executives. She’s looking for hot sexual fantasies with a man who fits her needs… “All muscle, stamina and no commitment.” The assignment in the UK sounds perfect when she’s assigned to interview an American CEO who recently inherited lands and a title in Scotland.

She tosses her inhibitions aside for the first Highlander she encounters–prepared to research all the myths about brawny Highlanders and answer the age old, burning question: What does a Scotsman wear beneath his kilt?

Colin Fitzgerald knows it’s wrong to deceive Ailsa, but he can’t risk her discovering his true identity before he seduces her. Unfortunately, he is everything Ailsa hates. Yet if he can become the lover she adores, perhaps he can convince her they’re perfect for each other.

He has one night to prove he’s no stuffed shirt and three weeks to become everything she desires in a lusty lover. His adventurous lass is imaginative and willing. But can lust turn to love so quickly? And will they be ready for more than a Hot Highland Fling when their time together draws to an end?

Recommended Reading

MAXIMUM IMPACT – Writing Short: Say More With Less: Condense the Essence & Leave ’em Satisfied Kindle Edition

Eliza March's Official Author Weblog

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