Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bill paying day from hell and I blame it on work

This blog has absolutely nothing to do with writing unless you count writing a check as an art form.

I have worked so many hours the last two weeks that my brain is fried. I woke up this morning, thanks to my trusty alarm on my phone, and realized it was the last day of the month and OMG! I have to pay bills.

I skipped working out and that in and of itself is a bad omen. Instead, I decided to go get real food for breakfast and would write out my bills there. HA! The fates were not prepared for that. I sat down had the stuff ready, opened the checkbook and realized there were no checks in there. Pffft!

Now I had to go back home and get checks. I opened every desk drawer, kitchen drawer, and cubby hole. NADA! HA! Again the fates conspired against me. I have no checks in the house. Damn!

Fine, I will have to rush order checks. I go online to do just that and $@&! the system is currently unavailable. Do you really think it could get worse?

Never ask that question! I got online to try and pay it but of course there is no place to do that. As a last resort, I called customer service (last resort because you never really get help). Anyway, the woman was very nice, but no, she could not help. I'd have to set up the information online and it will take 2-3 days for it to work before I can use it. Well, duh, this is too long. So the woman suggests I could pay it over the phone. Again, not something I like to do, but holy cow! I am desperate!

The customer service woman connects me to the department where it rings incessantly before it disconnects me!!! WTF! So I call the number back and do as the woman suggested because she had been smart enough to tell me the numbers because the system disconnects ALL the time.

When I do place the call and punch in all the numbers to get to a live person, I get the recording that "you have reached us during closed hours." Are you flippin' kidding me? Did the customer service woman not know this? Did she just like jerking my chain? (Okay, so maybe that is a guy line, but ask me if I care.)

Then as I am driving into work I realize that I am supposed to ge do all the paperwork for my car tonight. . .if I get out of work at a decent hour. Well, how do I do that without a check??

I call my parents and tell them my whole story and of course they think it is hysterical. MEAN mom and dad. :-) Mom makes the helpful suggestion of going to the bank and asking them to create me some counter checks. Great suggestion! Except for one thing. . .

I'm at work until who knows when but by the time I do get out the banks will all be closed.

Thus ends my rant on the bill paying day from hell . . .all thanks to my job. It may give me the money to pay my bills, but it certainly does not give me the checks to make it happen. Not to mention the fact that the job has sucked every memory cell out of me for the last two weeks.

Denise

Monday, June 29, 2009

Reading Midnight Rainbow in Book-A-Week Challenge


Last week I posted a discussion topic about books that have influenced authors and Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard was mentioned by several. I decided we would include this book in our Book-A-Week Challenge.
As this is a holiday week, there will be no author interview posted on Sunday, but maybe we can get Linda Howard on another week about another book.
What we can do is share with each other what we think. Did the book influence you at all? If you had previously read the book and re-read it now, did it affect you the same?
Blurb: Taken captive in the middle of a conspiracy of international proportions, wealthy socialite Jane Hamilton Greer finds hope in government agent Grant Sullivan, who finds his mission complicated by his feelings for Jane.

Write your way to Monday morning motivation

Good morning!

Well, it would be good if we had a little motivation, right? This creative writing prompt should give you a boost to your Monday writing.

Promtpt: In a tattoo parlor. . .

Cannot wait to see what everyone comes up with. Don't forget to keep the reader hooked with whatever you write.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

This week's creative writing prompt responses

So. . .I am finally catching up on this week's writing prompts.



Monday's prompt was The candle. . .



My try at it, although short, hopefully is visual enough for you to intrigue you. Here it is:



The candle flickered as the wind forced the sheer curtain to float into the room. Amy shivered against the breeze and prayed for the candle, her only source of light, to remain lit. She paced the small room rubbing her hands up and down her arms. All she wanted was to get out of there, but where could she go?



Wednesday's prompt was Outside the cafe. . .



Outside the café fists flew. Rose stared wide-eyed as a giant of a man pounded his clenched knuckles into the face of . . . “Holy shit!” She banged down the coffee pot onto her customer’s table.

“Hey!”

Rose barreled her way through the onlookers standing in the aisle. “Move,” she yelled as she elbowed the idiots who watched the smaller guy get body-slammed into a parked car, his head crashing into the windshield. The front door banged against the railing when she threw it open and rushed down the steps.

“Get out of my way,” she said in her husky voice shoving her way through the crowd. The bloodthirsty mob parted and turned toward her flailing fists. “Stop the man before he kills the guy.” Rose whacked two longtime customers upside the backs of their heads before she grabbed the big man’s shirt and yanked.

The man swung a hand behind him and missed her face by an inch.

“Leave him alone you big galoot!” She swore at his backside as she tugged at his broad back.

Again, the tall guy swatted at her as if she were a fly.

“Help me get him off!”

Bill and Bob, the two regulars who she had whacked on the heads stepped into the fray. After several failed attempts and a few more people from the mob, the giant was finally pulled away. His colorful language burned her ears as she slid past him and halted in front of the limp, bloodied body of . . .

Her scream rent the air.

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with author Ashlyn Chase


Today's interview is with Ashlyn Chase, author of this week's Book-A-Week Challenge "Heaving Bosoms"

Categories: Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense
Book Length: 250 pages
Book Type: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Cerridwen Press
ISBN: 9781419956751
In Stock: YES
Price: $10.99
I'd like to thank Ashlyn for giving us an opportunity to read "Heaving Bosoms" as part of the Book-A-Week Challenge and for the interview you are about to read. Please leave a comment or question and let Ashlyn reply back. On withe the interview. . .


What motivated you to write this book?

This is my first paperback, but I had several e-published books before this. I suppose the question could be ‘What motivates me to write?’

I can’t not write. Pardon the double negative. Many writers have said the same thing more eloquently, but I write dialog the way I speak. Straight to the point, no mucking around—grammar be damned.

Are the experiences in the novel based on someone you know, or events in your life?

The kernel of the idea came from the mishap of a friend. She was enjoying a county fair, just walking along and chatting with the woman beside her when suddenly she stepped in a hole, lost her footing and twisted her ankle. Another friend of ours commented that if she wasn’t so top-heavy, she may have stayed upright. Along came a couple of hunky EMT’s who carted her off to the hospital much to her chagrin.

At about the same time, a funny lawyer friend of mine challenged me to write something about tattooed butts. Believe it or not, I found a way to combine these two elements and make a novel!


Do you have a specific writing style?

I used to write by the seat of my pants. Then I began that way and about 3 chapters in, I knew where I wanted to go but needed a road map to get there. Thus I became a “pantser-plotter”. Now I’m more comfortable having a rough idea about what might happen from the get go. I’d call that plotting, but my characters inevitably change and add things along the way. I have the best of intentions and plot using a story board so I can jot down a possible scene on a sticky note, move it to another section of the book, or throw it away depending on what my characters want to do and when.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

That’s a toughie. The writer who first captured my heart in the romance genre and opened up the whole wonderful field to me was Diana Gabeldon with her Outlander series.
Since then, I’ve read, met, studied with and critiqued with so many wonderful authors it would be hard to pick out one, so I’ll just go ahead and name a few of them. Sylvie Kurtz, Jessica Andersen, Annette Blair, Mary Janice Davidson, Delilah Devlin and many others.

What are your current projects?

I’m presently working on Book Two of a three book series called Strange Neighbors. It’s a light urban fantasy about an apartment building in Boston full of paranormal misfits. Book One is called Hot Prospect and will be released in the Spring of 2010. It features the landlord, a professional baseball player, who just bought the building and remodeled the penthouse for himself.

Little does he know what goes on beneath his topmost unit until he gets involved with the nurse who lives on the first floor. She may be the only ‘normal’ in the building, but all the other residents love her and trust her with their secrets one by one.

Thanks to the snarky ghost haunting the building, the readers know who’s who and what’s up from the very beginning.


What makes your stories unique?


My wacky ideas, quick pace, occasional snark, and a happy, but not sappy ending.


How do you come up with your story ideas and your characters?


I blame everything on Thalia, the ancient Greek muse of comedy.


When do you find you are the most creative or write the most?


In the morning when my brain is fresh and jazzed up on at least two cups of coffee.


How to you get inspired to write your romantic scenes?


This is a great question, because I don’t always “have it in me” when I come to a place crying out for a love scene. Sometimes I have to mark the place and go back to it later, meanwhile pushing on with the story. Some may not realize this, but a long, hot love scene is one of the hardest things to write. Well, that and comedy. I gave myself a double whammy! Sometimes, I’m not the brightest star in the sky.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Great End of Day Message for an Author

The other day I worked way too many hours at my day job. . .again. I got home about 10 PM and the only thing I did was hug and kiss my kitties, and check email before dropping off to la-la land for about 5 hours.

In my email, I received a very pleasant surprise that put a smile on my face. Here is what I received.

Hello,

I recently won your book “It Happens In Threes” on a contest site.
I just wanted to let you know that I received the book and absolutely
loved the story, characters and just the whole book. Thank you so much
for such a great read. I will be getting more of your books!!!!

Again, Thank you or the opportunity to read a new author (for me)!!!

Jo Ann

Thank you, Jo Ann, for a great end of day message! It means a lot when someone takes the time to share their feedback.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Beach Reading List

Didn't we hit summer yet? Isn't summer when a lot of people say they read? You know, while on vacation sitting on the beach, they pull out a great book and tune out the world.

Okay, well, I read all the time, but I have been told that people build a "To-Be-Read" pile just for their summer vacation.

So. . .let's help those vacation readers select great BEACH READS.

Share what you recommend. But here is the kicker. Let's make this TRULY summer beach reads. Share only those books that take place in the summer and at the beach. Maybe even have a beach scene on the cover. You know, where you see sand, ocean, a beach chair, a big floppy straw hat, maybe even an empty bikini on the sand.

I'll start the list. Okay, I do have to recommend my book It Happens in Threes because yes, it takes place all around Hawaii and Florida in the summer, and yes, it has a cover with a girl in a bikini holding swim fins on the beach . Truly my idea of a summer beach read.

Here's another with a great cover. Lynda Curnyn's book, Killer Summer, has a bikini lying in the surf on a sandy beach.
Quick blurb: Three Friends. One Dead Body. The summer they'll never forget…
Check it out: http://www.lyndacurnyn.com/?ob2=ob4&ob4=ob9&ob13=5

One of my favorite author, Linda Howard, has a new book titled Burn that will be a great summer read. The cover has a woman lying on the beach in a bikini. http://tinyurl.com/mwturq
Quick blurb: Money certainly changes Jenner Redwine’s life when she wins a lottery jackpot. But it also costs her plenty: Her father rips her off and disappears, her fortune-hunting boyfriend soon becomes her ex, and friends-turned-freeloaders give her the cold shoulder when she stops paying for everything.

Midweek Reading Challenge


Have you started reading this week's Book-A-Week Challenge "Heaving Bosoms" by Ashlyn Chase?
If not, it's not too late.

Categories: Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense
Book Length: 250 pages
Book Type: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Cerridwen Press
ISBN: 9781419956751
In Stock: YES
Price: $10.99

Heaving Bosoms blurb:
What do tattooed butts, the Mafia, and a medical student have in common? Tonia Fuller!
Tonia, a blonde bombshell with a bust to make a Barbie doll weep, is a klutz. Wearing four-inch spike heels, and already top heavy, her center of gravity is elusive. When hunky medical student Raphael Beauchamp comes to her rescue twice, he thinks he knows why Tonia’s falling. It’s those ridiculous designer stilettos.
Tonia takes a tumble down some stairs, resulting in a nasty concussion. Since she’s new in Boston she has no one to stay with her. Raphael opts to look after this headstrong beauty rather than risk second impact syndrome, which can be fatal. Raphael discovers that Tonia’s the ex-wife of a Las Vegas mafia don. She has half an offshore bank account number tattooed on her butt, and someone’s after her. A normal person would don a pair of running shoes and get the hell out of Boston. But it’s too late for Raphael. Tonia’s not the only one who’s been falling.
Remember: You have until Saturday to finish reading the book because on Sunday you'll want to stop back here and see the interview posted with Ashlyn Chase. Ask her questions or leave her comments about the book.
Learn more about Ashlyn and her other books visit her website: http://www.ashlynchase.com/books.html

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Writing Prompt Wednesday

Today's prompt should involve senses.
Ready?

Wednesday's creative writing prompt: Outside the cafe. . .

Tell us, the readers, what you see and hear, smell, maybe even taste? Get us inside the cafe and show us what is outside.

Good luck, have fun, and share what you create!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Killer Bunny Hill book cover


May I just say that my publishers are the greatest!


The listen to suggestions or whines and the end result is always something better than you imagined. Hugs and kisses out to Lisa and Linda of L&L Dreamspell http://www.lldreamspell.com/.


Drum roll, please!! Here is the book cover for my latest release, Killer Bunny Hill!
Give a shout out so they know you love!!


Books you remember and influenced you

Have you ever read a book you never forgot? Maybe it impacted you personally or maybe it just let you slip away from the world for a couple of hours at a time and at the end you were bummed the story was over?

Let's talk about some of our favorite books and why they are on your favorites list. How did a book impact your life?

I'm going to start with my friend and critique partner Nora LeDuc. Her latest novel, titled Murder Came Calling, was just released. Now, I have read all of Nora's books, minus the ones that are no longer in print. BUMMER. But, Murder Came Calling is my favorite of hers.

Why?

Because of the heroine, Annie. She's strong and vulnerable. Intelligent but unworldly. She cracks me up! Put her with the hero and Sam, and you just never know what will happen.

I am so glad this book made it into print! Congratulations, Nora! www.noraleduc.com

Linda Howard had the most impact on my reading and writing career.

How?

It was when I read All the Queen's Men by Linda Howard that I fell in love with romantic suspense and wanted to write my very own.

The idea of a heroine involved in undercover operations floored me, intrigued me, and made me want to be a super secret agent. Don't laugh! This happened when I was well out of my teen years, so this was not a young girl's fantasy of "I want to be a ballerina." :-)

Afetr I read All the Queen's Men, I started writing my first novel, It Happens in Threes which was published this year.

See what reading a good book can do!

Born in Fire by Nora Roberts was a smash hit for me.

Why?

The heroine, Maggie Concannon, was a glass artist who made works of art using a technique called glass blowing.

Yeah, so.

So. . . I had never heard of glass blowing. But Nora's description of how it was done and the visual images of the art she painted in her words made me research it. Then you know what I did?

What?

I took a glass blowing class. I found a place in Newburyport, MA and took my very first glass blowing class in the middle of winter. I made three glass paperweights. They may not necessarily be a work of art, but they are beautiful to me and every time I see them I'm reminded of how I got there. And for the record, I have taken several classes since. Last year, I made glass Christmas trees. Okay, so I'm not exactly talented, but I have fun and I can say I made that when I point to the tilting glass tree sitting on a bookshelf.

Who said genre fiction does not make you think?? Whoever did (and you know who you are) is so completely wrong and I am positive proof.

I could go on and on! I will stop for now and give you all a chance to share the books that have impacted your life or have been memorable for some reason. I'll share more later.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Motivation Monday - Writing Prompt

Did you think I forgot to write a prompt? No way!
Well, okay, I almost forgot, but I remembered after 11 hours at work so that should count for something, right?

I'm sitting her in my living room looking around and the next prompt caught my eye. Kinda like "I spy. . ."

Monday's creative writing prompt is: The candle. . .

Have fun! Curious to see what you come up with. Curious to see what I come up with. :-)

Last Week's Writing Prompt Responses

Hi everyone!

Sorry for falling behind last week on posting responses to my own creative writing prompts. Sometimes work just sucks you in and it did.

Anyway, here are my responses to Wednesday and Friday's prompts.

Wednesday's prompt:

She took the suitcase. . .

She took the suitcase out from under the bed and dropped it on top of the bedspread. Laura unzipped the lid with shaky fingers and flipped it back. She quick-stepped to the dresser, wrenched open the drawer, grabbed a handful of undies and tossed them into the bag.

“Hurry up, Laura,” she urged herself as she jerked open the next drawer down and pulled out a stack of T-shirts, and a pile of socks. She shoved them into the case.

From her closet, Laura tugged jeans and sweaters off hangers and threw them on top of everything else she had already packed. “What else?” She scanned the room then snapped her fingers. “Toiletries.”

She ran down the hall into the bathroom, and threw open the cabinet doors under the sink. Laura squatted, heart thrumming in her ears even louder, and extracted her travel toiletry kit. She slammed the doors shut, pressed her hands to her knees, and . . .

“Going somewhere?”

Laura froze, her eyelids closed. He wasn’t supposed to be here. He must have forgotten something. Swallowing back bile, she steeled herself against what was about to come, opened her eyes and turned to face him.

Friday's prompt:

Inside the book . . .

Inside the book, taped to the first page was a key.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge reading Heaving Bosoms by Ashlyn Chase


This week's Book-A-Week Challenge is reading Heaving Bosoms by Ashlyn Chase.


Categories: Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense
Book Length: 250 pages
Book Type: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Cerridwen Press
ISBN: 9781419956751
In Stock: YES
Price: $10.99


Where to purchase: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-3862-heaving-bosoms.aspx


Heaving Bosoms blurb:



What do tattooed butts, the Mafia, and a medical student have in common?
Tonia Fuller!

Tonia, a blonde bombshell with a bust to make a Barbie doll weep, is a klutz. Wearing four-inch spike heels, and already top heavy, her center of gravity is elusive. When hunky medical student Raphael Beauchamp comes to her rescue twice, he thinks he knows why Tonia’s falling. It’s those ridiculous designer stilettos.


Tonia takes a tumble down some stairs, resulting in a nasty concussion.
Since she’s new in Boston she has no one to stay with her. Raphael opts to look after this headstrong beauty rather than risk second impact syndrome, which can be fatal. Raphael discovers that Tonia’s the ex-wife of a Las Vegas mafia don. She has half an offshore bank account number tattooed on her butt, and someone’s after her. A normal person would don a pair of running shoes and get the hell out of Boston. But it’s too late for Raphael. Tonia’s not the only one who’s been falling.


Remember: You have until Saturday to finish reading the book because on Sunday you'll want to stop back here and see the interview posted with Ashlyn Chase. Ask her questions or leave her comments about the book.


Until then, Happy Reading!

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with author Lisa Jackson


Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with Lisa Jackson discussing her book, MALICE, and her writing.

Please welcome this week’s author for the Book-A-Week Challenge, Lisa Jackson.

What motivated you to write this book, MALICE? Where did the story idea come from?

I always wanted to write a book where someone was haunted by his/her past lover and I also wanted to get to know Jennifer Bentz, a woman I had written about for years but had never really met. I also wanted to explore Rick Bentz's marriage, see how strong it was, if it had any cracks. I loved the whole haunted aspect of the book. Is Rick Bentz crazy? Is Jennifer really alive? If so, who's buried in her coffin.

What makes your stories unique? The “Lisa” aspect.

My stories are definitely a fine line between romance and suspense. I try to write the books so that the suspense and romance feed off each other and heighten the other emotion. I also really try hard to get into all of my characters' heads, including the villian, so that they're believable and I feel what they're feeling . . . if that isn't too weird.

I saw you in a recent interview and you said that you liked the book trailers. Would you like to see any of your books made into movies? Which ones?

Are you kidding? I'd like to see ALL of my books in movies. MALICE, COLD BLOODED, SHIVER, FATAL BURN and LEFT TO DIE/CHOSEN TO DIE come to mind. They are all very visual books. Oh, well, ALMOST DEAD, IF SHE ONLY KNEW and ABSOLUTE FEAR would work, too, but then, I'm prejudiced!

You have been writing for more than twenty years, how do you keep coming up with compelling stories that capture your readers’ attention?

As for my stories, they always say truth is stranger than fiction and they (whoever "they" are) are right! I get the germ of my ideas from things I see or read in the news, mostly. Sometimes I get an idea just on my own, but usually something catches my attention in the news and I run with it, twisting my own story and characters to whatever news item it was that caught my attention. Usually my story turns out to have very little with the original news bite. It's just the catalyst.

What do you enjoy most about being an author?

I love the freedom that being an author gives me. Yes, I have deadlines and time management issues, but I get to run at my own pace most of the time and be my own boss. I am able to work my job around my family and I LOVE that.

Why do you write about serial killers?

I write about serial killers because of the public's fascination with them, though some of my books are about a murder and other people get in the way of the killer's objective. Other times the killer is really out to kill a lot of people.

When are you at your most creative?

I'm most creative before the sun comes up, when it's dark outside, but I'm energized from a night's sleep and dreams.

I absolutely love your ability to keep adding and ratcheting up the tension/suspense in your stories. What is your secret to writing that “edge-of-your-seat” suspense/thriller story?
Oh, thanks. I try to wring as much emotion out of the books as possible whatever that emotion might be. So if it scares me, then I know it'll scare my readers, so that's what I try to do. Sometimes I scare myself to the point that I just have to stop and take a break. THEN I know I've done my job!

When you are not working on your next story, what are you doing?

When I'm not working I'm usually with my family, friends and dogs. I love to do crossword puzzles, play cards, walk, go to the beach, read, watch great television (LOST!), and hang out. My sister is author Nancy Bush and we spend tons of time together, even write together (WICKED GAME) and I've been learning to drive a boat . . . a very slow boat.

Okay, last question. When you curl up with a book to read, what kind of book is it or which author do you rush to the bookstore to buy?

I usually read books that have been on the bestseller lists for a long while, I don't buy by author, BUT, I do love Harlan Coben, all of his books and one of my favorites by William Lasher is FATAL FLAW, I believe and SHUTTER ISLAND by Dennis Lehane.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Weekend Writing Outdoors with Mayhem


After working too many hours this week, it is time for some sunshine and writing.

My kitty Mayhem has decided to join me on the deck while I listen to Rascal Flatts, Sweet Home Alabama soundtrack, and LeAnn Rimes.

Thank goodness Mother Nature decided to cooperate so I can chill out on my deck chairs under the umbrella with a cold drink, my WIP, and the inspiration of the screaming roller coaster in the background.

Sometimes life is darn near perfect!
Hope you have an enjoyable day no matter what you are doing. Don't forget to write or read something, anything today.







Friday, June 19, 2009

Free Write Friday

Free Write Friday is the idea that I give you a prompt and you just free write whatever pops into your head in a post back.

Anybody and everybody is invited to do this. Just let the prompt do its thing and your creativity will flow. Have fun!

Are you ready? Here's your prompt: Inside the book. . .

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge Reading "Malice" by Lisa Jackson


How is this week's Book-A-Week Challenge reading of MALICE by Lisa Jackson going?
Hopefully you are enjoying this page-turner as much as me. Rick Bentz is one of my favorite characters and I hope he'll become one of yours.
Hurry and finish up so you can come back here on Sunday, June 21, to see an interview with Lisa Jackson. Stop by and leave a comment about the book or ask Lisa a question.
ISBN: 0758211848
Publisher: Zebra Books
Publish Date:April 2009
Genre: Romantic Suspense

#1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson delivers a gripping, edge-of-your-seat tale of deception and betrayal as New Orleans detective Rick Bentz is forced to confront the ghosts of his past—and a killer’s twisted vengeance…
The scent is unmistakable—gardenias, sweet and delicate, the same perfume that his beautiful first wife, Jennifer, always wore. Opening his eyes in the hospital room where he’s recovering from an accident, New Orleans detective Rick Bentz sees her standing in the doorway. Then Jennifer blows him a kiss and disappears. But it couldn’t have been Jennifer. She died twelve years ago…
Once out of the hospital, Bentz begins to see Jennifer everywhere, haunting and taunting him, then vanishing without a trace. Could she still be alive? But it was Bentz who identified Jennifer’s body after her horrible car wreck, and there had been no question in his mind that it was her crumpled form behind the wheel, her clothes, her wedding ring. He’s never doubted it—until now. He can’t tell his new wife, Olivia, about the sightings or his secret fear that he’s losing his mind, even though he knows she suspects something is wrong. But Olivia is also hiding a secret…
When a copy of Jennifer’s death certificate arrives in the mail, emblazoned with a red question mark, Bentz follows the postmark trail to Los Angeles, returning to the painful memories he’s tried so hard to forget, and straight into a killer’s web. Reconnecting with his former LAPD colleagues, Bentz begins to piece together Jennifer’s last days, but each new discovery only serves as a chilling reminder of how little he really knew about his first wife. Then the murders begin, each victim a part of Jennifer’s past, each grisly corpse pointing to Bentz as the prime suspect.
Someone’s been waiting patiently, silently. Someone who knows exactly what happened that night twelve years ago and has been anticipating Bentz’s every move. Soon it will be Bentz’s turn to suffer for his sins. But he won’t be the only one made to pay the ultimate price. For a diabolical killer has now made Olivia the prime target...
If you haven't already picked up the book, you still have time to get it and read it before the interview with Lisa Jackson is posted.
Where to buy the book?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Writing Prompt Wednesday

Mid-week writing motivation. Need a little boost in creativity? Try today's creative writing prompt:

She took the suitcase. . .

Have fun and hook us with the paragraph or page you share when you're done.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Friends make the most interesting characters

Let's talk about friends. Actually, Let's talk about really good friends and how they influence our writing. Moreso, how those friends make for some really great characters.


Do you have one of those friends that you have known for what seems like forever? You know, the kind that you met as a kid, who knows what you're going to say before you say it. The same person who can tell when you need a chocolate ice cream cone to make the bad day go away.


I have a friend like that. All the other friends I met in my younger more formative years have gone by the wayside, but Duane has somehow managed to remain a constant in my life. I might not hear from him for months or see him for years, but when we do hook up it's like time stood still. The conversation is fluid and comfortable as if we haven't moved across the country or world from each other.


Duane is my lifetime friend and the one guy who managed to work his way into my entire family's heart. He became a part of the family. I think my father secretly considers Duane (AKA Dewey) the son he never had. My father has four daughters. :-)


When my father turned sixty, we had a huge celebration with family and friends. Duane, who had been overseas, surprised my dad by showing up for the party. It was one of those memorable and rare moments where my father choked up with happiness.


Duane is one of those good friends who when I sent him an email message to tell him that I got divorced he called my parents' house to get my phone number (because, gee, he's only had it for how long, but somehow can't locate it) and blabs to my mother the situation before I get a chance to and then he proceeds to call me up and give me grief for not saying something sooner. Of course, I yell right back and tell him I can't believe he said anything. Gotta love friends like that!


Later that same year, I located the house I wanted to buy the same day he called me from returning from overseas. After a very short conversation, he was on a plane flying up to checkout what would become my new home. Duane was the first person to see it. I still have the photos of him posing in every empty room.


Why am I telling you all of this?

There are some people in our lives who affect us so profoundly that we can't let them go. Duane is that character in my life. I use the word character because he and his career have influenced my writing.


How?

When I wrote It Happens in Threes, all I knew is that I wanted to write suspense. I used what I imagined Duane's job would be like for my hero as a government spook. Not to mention some of his quaint, if not overused quips he likes to throw at me, in particular, one Russian phrase that appears to be his pet name for me. I can't share it in mixed company. Between Duane's chosen career choice and my technology background, I crafted my first techno-romantic thriller.

When Jeannie Ruesch made the book trailer for It Happens in Threes, I gave her a description of Duane and if you checkout the video, you'll know she came pretty close to capturing the hero. Trailer link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBTLTtJY9V0

In Killer Bunny Hill, I again leveraged some of what I had gleamed about Duane's career to create a hero who works for a secret government agency and has traveled abroad.

It was when I wrote Connect the Dots that I truly started to understand and appreciate what Duane does as this book moves into the realm of human intelligence gathering, only this time, it's the heroine who travels in that world. After I had the first few chapters written, I emailed them to Duane for his approval and inspection. (I never share my WIPs with anyone who is not my editor or critique partners.) Anyway, this was great! He reviewed it for accuracy in terms and descriptions, and every once and a while we would catch up and I would get to ask him questions and cross my fingers that he could answer them. Wait til you read it!

There are obviously other family and friends who have influenced my writing and become a big part of my book process. Most of you know my father is my first round editor and probably my biggest supporter.

Share with me and other readers.

I tell you about Duane because I want to know, would like you to share, who of your friends have made it into your books and why? Is it just their name? Their personality? Their looks? What about this longtime friend made you include him/her in your novel or short story?

Do they know it? What do they think about it?

Tell us about someone who has affected your writing.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rainy Day Monday Writing Prompt

Monday's creative juice booster writing prompt: The rain. . .


What did you come up with? Did it just flow like the rain or did you really have to think? Share your paragraph or your page.

Here's mine:

The rain mirrored her flowing tears. Sometimes it poured and other times dripped slow and steady. As she sat on the floor with her arms wrapped around her legs pulled up to her chest, her teeth chattering, Sara listened to the tinkling of rain against the tin roof. She was so cold and lonely. Would the feeling never go away?

Her fiancé, gone two years now, still invaded her mind, every minute of every day, but when it rained, it was worse. When it rained, she had to hide from the monsters Tommy used to keep at bay, hide from the monsters that came when she closed her eyes. She shivered and squeezed her legs tighter.

“Please, Tommy,” she begged, rocking back and forth, her cheek pressed against her knees.

“Please make the rain stop.”A crack of lightning lit the dark sky in answer. Tears streamed down her face as the rain glided down her bedroom window. If Tommy were here, he would pull her onto his lap, enfold her in his arms and whisper their dreams of a life together, a home, and a family in her ears. He would kiss her forehead, her eyelids, her cheeks, and her nose, and promise her, “No monster will ever touch you again, sweetheart.”

Monday Motivation

Monday's motivation starts with a writing prompt: The rain. . .


Let the creativity flow and write a hooky (if you can use that word) paragraph or page. Have fun and share what you write.



More motivation: This week's Book-A-Week Challenge is MALICE by Lisa Jackson.

Read this page-turner and next Sunday, June 21, return here to see an interview with Lisa Jackson. Stop by and leave a comment about the book or ask Lisa a question. Rick Bentz is one of my favorite characters and I hope he'll become one of yours. Enjoy!


ISBN: 0758211848
Publisher: Zebra Books
Publish Date:April 2009
Genre: Romantic Suspense



#1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson delivers a gripping, edge-of-your-seat tale of deception and betrayal as New Orleans detective Rick Bentz is forced to confront the ghosts of his past—and a killer’s twisted vengeance…



The scent is unmistakable—gardenias, sweet and delicate, the same perfume that his beautiful first wife, Jennifer, always wore. Opening his eyes in the hospital room where he’s recovering from an accident, New Orleans detective Rick Bentz sees her standing in the doorway. Then Jennifer blows him a kiss and disappears. But it couldn’t have been Jennifer. She died twelve years ago…



Once out of the hospital, Bentz begins to see Jennifer everywhere, haunting and taunting him, then vanishing without a trace. Could she still be alive? But it was Bentz who identified Jennifer’s body after her horrible car wreck, and there had been no question in his mind that it was her crumpled form behind the wheel, her clothes, her wedding ring. He’s never doubted it—until now. He can’t tell his new wife, Olivia, about the sightings or his secret fear that he’s losing his mind, even though he knows she suspects something is wrong. But Olivia is also hiding a secret…



When a copy of Jennifer’s death certificate arrives in the mail, emblazoned with a red question mark, Bentz follows the postmark trail to Los Angeles, returning to the painful memories he’s tried so hard to forget, and straight into a killer’s web. Reconnecting with his former LAPD colleagues, Bentz begins to piece together Jennifer’s last days, but each new discovery only serves as a chilling reminder of how little he really knew about his first wife. Then the murders begin, each victim a part of Jennifer’s past, each grisly corpse pointing to Bentz as the prime suspect.



Someone’s been waiting patiently, silently. Someone who knows exactly what happened that night twelve years ago and has been anticipating Bentz’s every move. Soon it will be Bentz’s turn to suffer for his sins. But he won’t be the only one made to pay the ultimate price. For a diabolical killer has now made Olivia the prime target...



Where to buy the book?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0758211848/taragreen-20
B&N: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Lisa-Jackson/e/0758211848/?itm=1

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Summarize

This week was a major coup for me. Why? Because I broke my writer's block and wrote in my WIP. Yea!!

"How?" you ask.

Simple. I took Friday off from work. Hot dang - how smart am I! Amazing what a day of not having to drive in traffic for 3 hours of your life and then deal with politics and deadlines will do for your creativity.

On Saturday, I skipped my NHRWA writer's group meeting, something I rarely do. In this case, I had to. Between the yard work I had skipped last weekend resulting in 6-inch grass, I had to continue to write. You all know what I mean. Never good to break that focus when you are on a roll.

Early this morning when I woke up I found an email from author and graphics designer extraordinaire Jeannie Ruesch (http://www.jeannieruesch.com). I know, you're thinking "Big deal." HA! It was. She sent me the preview of my book trailer for "Killer Bunny Hill" - my latest romantic-thriller. OMG! The woman is a genius. I have been playing the thing over and over again. I can't stop. It's like an addiction.

This morning was the first Coffee Lit Chat with author Marianne Arkins (http://www.mariannearkins.com). Well, no one showed up, not that I blame them. After all, who would be crazy enough to go out in the pouring rain just to talk with a couple of writers. Even if we are really cool chicks! But, it was still worth the drive for me because I had the opportunity to meet Marianne for the first time and her daughter.

As Marianne was leaving, my friend and author Nora Le Duc (http://www.noraleduc.com) walked in so we chatted and critiqued each other's latest WIP. And she brought me a copy of her latest release "Murder Came Calling" that she just received. WOOT! This is my favorite story by Nora LeDuc and the book cover is awesome. You have to read it and meet her heroine, Annie.

After meeting with Nora, I now had the ending for my WIP. I had this scene already in my mind that I wanted to happen, but my characters decided, "NO!" You know how characters can be. Well, big RASPBERRY to them because I will still get my scene only it will be the ending and it will be a killer. HA!

I returned home this afternoon, put in the edits Nora and my father suggested (my first round editor), and then finished a new chapter. I've started the next chapter, but I have an old Sharon Sala book "A Year of Loving Dangerously" calling to me to read before I start next week's Book-A-Week Challenge "Malice" by Lisa Jackson.

The good news is that I reached just shy of 62K this weekend. Now. . .can I keep this new found focus and writing going so I can finish my WIP?

Hm. Any suggestions?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Reminder for Sunday Coffee Lit Chat

REMINDER: Join authors Denise Robbins and Marianne Arkins for the very first Coffeetime Lit Chat!

When: Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 8AM to 11AM

Where: Panera Bread, South River Rd., Bedford, NH

Who: All Readers and Authors Welcome!

What: Coffee Lit Chat is an open forum in a relaxed atmosphere in an attempt to bring readers and authors together.

Why: When was the last time we had an opportunity to sit and talk with an author and find out what they really do, what inspired them to write, and could we do it too?

When was the last time an author had an opportunity to just sit and chat with readers over a cup of coffee and discuss what readers would like to see more of, less of, and listen to their stories for more inspiration? Now's the chance!

All readers and authors are invited to meet Marianne and Denise at Panera for the first Coffee Lit Chat. Other chats will follow, but the locations will change to give more readers and writers an opportunity to join in the fun.

If you can't make it, watch for future dates and places. Hope to see you there!

Next week's Book-A-Week Challenge

Next week's Book-A-Week Challenge is MALICE by Lisa Jackson

Read this page-turner and next Sunday, June 21, return here to see an interview with Lisa Jackson. Stop by and leave a comment about the book or ask Lisa a question. Rick Bentz is one of my favorite characters and I hope he'll become one of yours. Enjoy!

ISBN: 0758211848
Publisher: Zebra Books
Publish Date:April 2009
Genre: Romantic Suspense

#1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson delivers a gripping, edge-of-your-seat tale of deception and betrayal as New Orleans detective Rick Bentz is forced to confront the ghosts of his past—and a killer’s twisted vengeance…

The scent is unmistakable—gardenias, sweet and delicate, the same perfume that his beautiful first wife, Jennifer, always wore. Opening his eyes in the hospital room where he’s recovering from an accident, New Orleans detective Rick Bentz sees her standing in the doorway. Then Jennifer blows him a kiss and disappears. But it couldn’t have been Jennifer. She died twelve years ago…

Once out of the hospital, Bentz begins to see Jennifer everywhere, haunting and taunting him, then vanishing without a trace. Could she still be alive? But it was Bentz who identified Jennifer’s body after her horrible car wreck, and there had been no question in his mind that it was her crumpled form behind the wheel, her clothes, her wedding ring. He’s never doubted it—until now. He can’t tell his new wife, Olivia, about the sightings or his secret fear that he’s losing his mind, even though he knows she suspects something is wrong. But Olivia is also hiding a secret…

When a copy of Jennifer’s death certificate arrives in the mail, emblazoned with a red question mark, Bentz follows the postmark trail to Los Angeles, returning to the painful memories he’s tried so hard to forget, and straight into a killer’s web. Reconnecting with his former LAPD colleagues, Bentz begins to piece together Jennifer’s last days, but each new discovery only serves as a chilling reminder of how little he really knew about his first wife. Then the murders begin, each victim a part of Jennifer’s past, each grisly corpse pointing to Bentz as the prime suspect.

Someone’s been waiting patiently, silently. Someone who knows exactly what happened that night twelve years ago and has been anticipating Bentz’s every move. Soon it will be Bentz’s turn to suffer for his sins. But he won’t be the only one made to pay the ultimate price. For a diabolical killer has now made Olivia the prime target...

Where to buy the book?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0758211848/taragreen-20
B&N: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Lisa-Jackson/e/0758211848/?itm=1

Friday, June 12, 2009

Coffee Lit Chat - A gathering of readers and authors

Join authors Denise Robbins and Marianne Arkins for the very first Coffeetime Lit Chat!

When: Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 8AM to 11AM

Where: Panera Bread, South River Rd., Bedford, NH

Who: Readers and Authors

What: Coffee Lit Chat is an open forum in a relaxed atmosphere in an attempt to bring readers and authors together.

Why: When was the last time we had an opportunity to sit and talk with an author and find out what they really do, what inspired them to write, and could we do it too? When was the last time an author had an opportunity to just sit and chat with readers over a cup of coffee and discuss what readers would like to see more of, less of, and listen to their stories for more inspiration?

Now's the chance! All readers and authors are invited to meet Marianne and Denise at Panera for the first Coffee Lit Chat. Other chats will follow, but the locations will change to give more readers and writers an opportunity to join in the fun.

If you can't make it, watch for future dates and places. Hope to see you there!

Write and Win! Friday Writing Prompt

Write and Win! Last prompt for the week.

You have until Saturday to post a response to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday's prompts in order to have a chance to win a copy of It Happens in Threes and a You don't say no to girls. . .who do it and write about it T-shirt.

Friday's creative writing prompt: The night before. . .

Have fun writing! Post what you come up with so others can see and share.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Passive Voice - How to bore your reader or NOT last lesson answers

Passive Voice Final Exercise and Answers. I thought it only fair to share the answers to the exercise. Then I thought I would give you another set of passive voice sentences that you could change to passive voice on your own.

Passive Voice:

1. The poem was read aloud by Margaret.
2. The Yankees were beaten by the Tigers in the playoffs.
3. Her personal computer was given to Edith by her parents.
4. The turnoff for Route 287 was finally reached by Carla.
5. Many letters have been sent by me to your office.
6. The streets around the fire had been blocked off by the police.
7. The truth was suddenly realized by the contestants.
8. The computers were shipped by the Tucson branch on Monday.
9. Projects were judged by the teachers.
10. A brialliant performance was given by the choir.
11. Adam and JoAnne were married by the priest.
12. The test was taken by Amanda last week.
13. The truck was broken by little Tommy while he played.
14. The National Enquirer was sued by a famous actor for publishing a scandalous photo.
15. The movie was seen by the class before the exam.

Active Voice:

1. Margaret read the poem aloud.
2. The Tigers beat the Yankees in the playoffs.
3. Her parents gave Edith her personal computer.
4. Carla finally reached the turnoff for Route 287.
5. I have sent many letters to your office.
6. The police blocked off the streets around the fire.
7. The contestants suddenly realized the truth.
8. The Tucson branch shipped the computers on Monday.
9. The teachers judged projects .
10. The choir gave a brilliant performance.
11. The priest married Adam and JoAnne.
12. Amanda took the test last week.
13. Little Tommy broke the truck while he played.
14. A famous actor sued the National Enquirer for publishing a scandalous photo.
15. The class saw the movie before the exam.

Exercise to do on your own:

1. The statue is being visited by hundreds of tourists every year.
2. My books were stolen by someone yesterday.
3. These books had been left in the classroom by a careless student.
4. Coffee is raised in many parts of Hawaii by plantation workers.
5. Their home had been broken into by someone while they were on vacation .
6. A woman was being carried downstairs by a very strong firefighter.
7. The streets around the fire had been blocked off by the police.
8. Have you seen the new movie that was directed by Ron Howard?
9. My car is in the garage being fixed by a dubious mechanic.
10. A great deal of our oil will have been exported to other countries by our government.

Passive Voice - How to bore your reader or NOT last lesson

Today is the last lesson for passive voice. Ready?


Now that I drilled active versus passive voice into your head, there are times when it is appropriate to use passive voice or forms of “to be.”

“When is it okay to use passive voice?”

Passive voice is how we speak so using passive voice in dialog is appropriate. (The fact that we speak in passive voice explains why we make the mistake of writing our fiction the same way.)

Use forms of “to be” to create vivid descriptions of your subjects.

Example: Jane was a tall, leggy woman with long, blonde hair.

Use the forms of “to be” to express ongoing action.

Example: Dick was already running late when he locked his keys in his car.

Example: Jane is moving to Seattle to work for Starbucks.

Now that you know the difference between passive (bad) and active (good) voice, how do you fix your story?

Many grammar check programs have settings that you select to encourage you to eliminate the passive voice sentences. Find that setting, turn it on, and watch how many sentences it underlines in green. (Microsoft Word underlines the bad grammar with a green line.)

How do I know this?

“Uh hem.” Yup, that is me waving my hands again. I write romantic suspense and the last thing I want to do is throw my reader out of the story because I wrote a “telling,” non-active sentence.

Can you just picture it?

Bad: Charley was being chased through the forest by a knife-wielding lunatic.
Good: A knife-wielding lunatic chased Charley through the forest.

If you do not have a grammar checker then go through your written work and highlight all the "to be" verbs (am, is, are, was, were, be, being, and been), then try to eliminate between one half and two thirds of your passive voice.

Converting passive voice sentences to active voice sentences is fairly easy. When you find a passive voice sentence the object will be at the beginning of the sentence instead of the end. Find the subject (who or what is doing the action) and put that word first. Find the object (what the subject is doing) and put that at the end.

Example: Dick was bitten by the dog.
Example: The dog bit Dick.

Another good way to cut down on passive voice is to combine sentences, or revise them to convey your original thought in a new, more powerful, active way.

In conclusion, remember this: passive voice “tells” the story, while active voice “shows” the story to your reader. If you can commit this to memory, you are on your way to writing good fiction and future published author.

Worked for me!

Final Exercise:

1. The poem was read aloud by Margaret.
2. The Yankees were beaten by the Tigers in the playoffs.
3. Her personal computer was given to Edith by her parents.
4. The turnoff for Route 287 was finally reached by Carla.
5. Many letters have been sent by me to your office.
6. The streets around the fire had been blocked off by the police.
7. The truth was suddenly realized by the contestants.
8. The computers were shipped by the Tucson branch on Monday.
9. Projects were judged by the teachers.
10. A brialliant performance was given by the choir.
11. Adam and JoAnne were married by the priest.
12. The test was taken by Amanda last week.
13. The truck was broken by little Tommy while he played.
14. The National Enquirer was sued by a famous actor for publishing a scandalous photo.
15. The movie was seen by the class before the exam.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Passive Voice - How to bore your reader or NOT continued

Passive Voice lesson continued.

Yesterday we learned that passive voice lends itself to "telling." Telling is an absolute no-no when it comes to writing fiction. Why? Because it does not draw your readers into the story. Instead, it keeps them on the outside looking in.

How do we then take care of that nasty passive voice?

So glad you asked! The answer is Active Voice.

What is active voice?

Active voice defined: Active voice results from the use of action verbs like run, jump, hit, love, move, crash, remove, throw, etc. Active voice is lively and engages the reader.
A reader will be able to envision action verbs.

Let’s see some examples.

Active: The door hit Jane in the face.
Passive: Jane was hit in the face by the door.
Passive: Jane was hit in the face.

Do you see the difference? First, there are fewer words used in the active sentence. This is important when your editor tells you to cut 8000 words from your manuscript and you don't know where. Second, in the passive voice, Jane looks likes a dunce because she is sitting there waiting (passively) for the door to hit her. Third, in the active voice, the door (actively) goes and hits Jane. Slam!

In the second passive voice example, what is missing? Who or what hit Jane in the face? As a reader, I kind of want to know that, otherwise, I will think she ran into a stiff wind or dead air.

One other hint that indicates the use of passive voice is the word “by” in a sentence. See the next examples.

Some more examples:

Active: Jane blocked Dick’s view of the lock with her body.
Passive: Dick’s view of the lock was blocked.
Passive: Dick’s view of the lock was blocked by Jane’s body.

Active: Dick kissed the nape of her neck.
Passive: Dick was kissing the nape of her neck.
Passive: Her nape was being kissed by Dick.

Now, let's see if you can take those passive voice sentences you write yesterday and turn them into active voice sentences. Let's see if you can engage your reader instead of keeping them on the outside of the fish bowl looking in.

Your exercise: Take those 5 sentences you wrote and post them along with the active voice example of the same sentence.

I'll get you started.

Passive:
Kim was invited to a party by Raymond.
The Vikings were beaten by the Redskins in the playoffs.
My books were stolen by someone yesterday.
The pizza was eaten by the girls.
Allison was stunned by the actions of her classmates.

Active:
Raymond invited Kim to a party.
The Redskins beat the Vikings in the playoffs.
Someone stole my books yesterday.
The girls ate the pizza.
The actions of her classmates stunned Allison.

Look forward to your examples.

Write and Win! Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write and Win! continues this week. All you have to do is write a response to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday's writing prompt and you are automatically entered for a chance to win a copy of It Happens in Threes and a You don't say no to girls T-shirt.

If you haven't written a response to Monday's prompt and shared it, there's still time. You have until Saturday to write all three responses.

Wednesday's prompt: She knew she shouldn't, but she couldn't. . .

Have fun and share what you write by posting it back here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Book-A-Week Challenge reading Uneasy Alliance by Jayne Ann Krentz


This week's Book-A-Week Challenge is reading Jayne Ann Krentz's romance, Uneasy Alliance.

I don't have an author interview planned for this week, but we can still read the book and chat about it.
Blurb: Some men can be terrifying—jealous, possessive and, ultimately, destructive. Abby Lyndon knows this all too well. Yet even after swearing off alpha males, she finds herself watching Torr Latimer…and wanting him.
Torr is reserved, contained and every inch the kind of man Abby thought she didn't want. But when Abby receives threats of blackmail, he's the only one who offers his protection. Will their alliance prove that he's everything she expected…or so much more?
To buy the book go here: http://tinyurl.com/mc7sef
More information on the author: http://www.jayneannkrentz.com/

Monday, June 8, 2009

Passive Voice - How to Bore Your Readers or Not

Have you ever submitted a manuscript to an editor and one of the feedback lines, if you receive any, is that you need to remove most if not all passive voice sentences?

“Uh-hem.” Yes, that is me raising my hand, waving it in the air for all to take notice.

After doing some research, I found out that passive voice is the number one mistake new writers make.

“Well, gee, somebody should have told me that before I finished writing those 350 pages.”

Now you are sitting there on your sofa or in your desk chair wondering, “What is passive voice?”

Good question and here is the answer.



Passive voice defined: Passive voice, in writing, results from the overuse of the "to be" verbs: am, is, was, were, be, being and been. Passive voice lacks the SVO pattern of a sentence.

I know, I know. “What is the SVO pattern?”

SVO stands for Subject Verb Object pattern. A good, clear sentence follows this structure. The sentence begins with a Subject that performs an action, then a Verb, which is the action, and finally it has an Object that receives the action. (The object is not always there.)

Your head is still spinning so let me give you an example of a sentence with the correct use of SVO.


1. The car ran Jane over.
Subject = car, Verb = ran, Object = Jane

The following is bad SVO pattern, which results in passive voice.


2. Jane was run over by the car.
Subject = Jane, Verb = was, Object = Car



Close your eyes and visualize the word “was.” You can see nada, zero, and empty, completely blank. A reader will never be able to close his or her eyes and envision your passive verbs (for one cannot see "be" or a picture that goes with "is").



Here is your visual clue. Close your eyes and visualize the word “ran.” You can see someone lifting their legs, their feet hitting the pavement, and arms pumping.

Passive voice is “telling” and keeps your reader disengaged from your story. Often, it weakens a sentence by using more words than necessary. Just look at our examples above.





Your exercise:



Write and post 5 Passive Voice sentences. (Write them off the top of your head, pull some out of your own manuscript, or pull some out of a published novel.)



Let me get you started:



Kim was invited to a party by Raymond.

The Vikings were beaten by the Redskins in the playoffs.

My books were stolen by someone yesterday.

The pizza was eaten by the girls.

Allison was stunned by the actions of her classmates.

Write and Win! Monday Writing Prompt

Write and Win! continues this week.

All you have to do is write a response to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday's writing prompt and you are automatically entered for a chance to win a copy of It Happens in Threes and a You don't say no to girls T-shirt.

Last week, Ceri won!

Monday Writing Prompt: She opened her email. . .

Have fun and post what you come up with. You have until Saturday to do all three prompts this week.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lights, Camer, Cocktails Sunday

Be sure to join me, Denise Robbins, and Terry Kate and all other at the FIRST Cocktail Lit Chat TONIGHT!

After the video interview today with Terry Kate of http://www.romanceinthebackseat.com, us girls will need a little cocktail, don't you think? I do!

Because Terry asked, I decided to have my first Cocktail Lit Chat this evening at The Common Man in Windham (http://www.thecman.com/restaurants/common-man-windham/). Authors and readers. . .join the fun! Meet us upstairs in the bar area where they have loveseats and chairs that are perfect for a cozy cocktail chat at 6 PM.

Book-A-Week Challenge Interview with author Jim Colombo


This week's Book-A-Week Challenge was The Keys to the Vault - A Caroline Baker Adventure by Jim Colombo.

Learn more about Jim and his writing with the interview posted below. Leave him a comment, ask a question, tell him how much you enjoyed the book.
Interview:
What motivated you to write this book?

I love reading books. Slowly, the seed was planted in my mind that I could write a book also. It was an interesting challenge, and a wonderful outlet for my creative energies. Once I started, so many ideas flooded from my mind that I couldn’t quit. Besides I needed to see how the story would end. I had to finish. It is a little scary though having people literally read what’s on my mind.

Are the experiences in the novel based on someone you know, or events in your life?

Perhaps just a little bit. I have been fortunate to be able to have travelled a bit, so I can use that to my advantage. When setting a story in a particular place in the world, London for example is where part of Caroline’s adventure takes place, my experience of having visited London helps me describe a detailed scene.

Some of the characters are based on a mix of people I know. A little of this one, a little of that one. It helps my characters to act in a real way. Others are pure fiction. Caroline, my main character, however, is a stranger to me, who chose me to tell her story to.

Do you have a particular writing style?

I think my style is straight forward. I start with a general idea of where I want to go, and try to write myself there. I hope my stories are well thought out, exciting and keep a good pace. I am a minimalist, so I try not to add a lot of plot twists that do nothing to help the main story.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

My favorite author is Agatha Christie. Even though we are from different eras, I still can learn from her by reading her stories. She was a master at building a story, giving just the right piece of information at just the right time. Wonderful! I am in awe!

What are your current projects?

I have three or four ideas running around in my head at present. I am working on my second novel entitled The Madonna, The Mistress and The Thief. The main character, Valentina Vasari, is a brilliant art conservator known the world over. She is also an art thief. She is a little more complex than Caroline, almost an anti-hero. In spite of her success, Valentina has led a difficult life, always struggling to gain the respect of her father who did not approve of her becoming an artist. I am about half completed, and I’m eager for her to tell me how her story ends.

What makes your stories unique?

My main characters are women and I’m not. I think that gives them a unique perspective on what’s going on in their lives. I can’t think like a woman, so the way Caroline or Valentina may act or react in a situation may not be what the reader, especially my female readers, is expecting. This allows for some unique situations and unusual results that otherwise would not be possible.

How do you come up your story ideas and your characters?

Honestly, I have learned over the years to listen to that little voice in my head, talking to me… giving me ideas. It speaks at the most inconvenient times too! I usually carry some index cards with me to jot a note on. Then when it’s quiet, it’s easier for me to listen to that voice more carefully and see where that idea may lead to.

When do you find you are the most creative or write the most?

I find that I do my best work when I am in the mood to do it. It sounds silly I know, but that is the best time for me. There are days when my mind is on business, and writing or being creative is nowhere on my agenda. There is no sense staring at my reflection in the computer screen. It’s not going to happen. There are also days when writing is almost like taking dictation. Everything flows smoothly. Those are the days I look for and I really try to take advantage of. I can accomplish a lot on those days.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Caroline. I think we could be friends.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Anything that makes me happy. Reading. Chocolate chip cookies. Travelling. Visiting with family and friends. Just sitting and watching the world go by. Life is abundant. It should be enjoyed…everyday.

What is your favorite way to take a break from writing?

If I’m getting fatigued or confused about details, I find a brisk walk will help clear my mind. If I want to take a longer break, I just do what need to be done around the house. Mow the lawn. Tend the garden. It’s the everyday things, believe it or not that make me happy.
Last, but not least. . .
Thanks Jim for taking the time for this interview and giving us some insight into the author behind the book. More importantly, thank you for the great read.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lights, Camera, Cocktails!

Lights, Camera, Cocktails!

Like my catchy post title? Thanks to Terry Kate from http://www.romanceinthebackseat.com.

Fun for tomorrow, Sunday, June 7!

Lights: Highlighting this week's Book-A-Week Challenge author Jim Colombo, author of "Keys to the Vault - A Caroline Baker Adventure." Hope you've finished reading and enjoyed Jim's book. www.strategicbookpublishing.com/thekeystothevault.html. Find out more about Jim, come back tomorrow to see his interview and post a comment or question.

Camera: Terry Kate, executive producer of http://www.romanceinthebackseat.com is making her way to New Hampshire and will be here tomorrow, Sunday, June 7. Authors Marianne Arkins (http://www.mariannearkins.com) and Ashlyn Chase (http://www.ashlynchase.com) will be joining me and Terry in the backseat of the car for video interviews.

Cocktails: After all that talking, us girls will need a little cocktail, don't you think? I do! Because Terry asked, I decided to have my first Cocktail Lit Chat tomorrow evening at The Common Man in Windham (http://www.thecman.com/restaurants/common-man-windham/). Authors and readers. . .join the fun! Meet us upstairs in the bar area where they have loveseats and chairs that are perfect for a cozy cocktail chat at 6 PM.

Okay, I'm off to finish the pre-proof edits on Killer Bunny Hill. See you tomorrow!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Funny thing happened on the way to critique session

Funny thing happened on my way to a writer's critique session last night.

Actually, it happened after we all arrived. David Daniel (http://www.daviddanielbooks.com/), Steve Sack, and I left the local Lowell coffee house called Brewed Awakening and decided to go to Fortunato's. Why? Well, they have Stella Artois on tap. Except, theye didn't last night. So we had a quick drink and chat on the patio area then decided to go elsewhere.

Greek. We walked down to The Aethenian restaurant. We enjoyed great Greek food, terrific conversation that ranged anywhere from our writing, what we're reading, vacation plans, Lowell folk festival, and music. At the end of our meal, we had the wonderful opportunity to catch the entertainment at The Aethenian.

Can you guess what it was?? We got to see a belly dancing act. Terrific! I want to do that! And yeah, no, none of us got up and tried.

What happened to the critique session? Well, that was the funny thing that happened. We blew it off for an evening of friends, fun, and relaxtaion.

You never know what will happen when you put a group of writers together!

If you haven't joined a writing critique session, you really should. It's always fun and eventful.

Let's get exposed! - Calling all New England Authors

Let's get exposed!

Join in the fun of the Book-A-Week Challenge. Get your book posted and read. Then be interviewed and hear back from readers and writers.

Join me in the Lit Chats. Readers want to know about you, the author, the person behind the words. Authors want to know the readers, what they like. We all need inspiration! Let's get together in the form of casual, relaxing, Lit Chats.

Book clubs and libraries. If you're a member of a book club or a librarian, we have many great authors in New England who want to meet you and your readers. Let's hook up!

Let's expose these terrific New England authors to word hungry readers. Email me or post a comment back. Let's set up some author/reader events!

Author Blog Buzz

Author Blog Buzz is a blog post giving you some of the latest and greatest that is happening in the author's world of writing.

Saturday, June 6, I will be sending out 16 copies of It Happens in Threes to the winners of last week's book drawing. Everyone who sent an email won! Congratulations!!

Sunday afternoon, June 7, Marianne Arkins (http://www.mariannearkins.com/) and Ashlyn Chase (http://www.ashlynchase.com/) are joining me for a Romance in the Backseat interview with Terry Kate of http://www.romanceinthebackseat.com/. Keep a watch out for a black BMW with 4 ladies and a camera cruising around NH.

On that same day (evening), stay tuned as we might turn that interview into a local Lit Chat session between authors and readers afterwards in the bar area of The Common Man in Windham. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday morning, June 7, I'll be posting an interview with this week's Book-A-Week Challenge author Jim Colombo, author of "The Keys to the Vault - A Caroline Baker Adventure." Stop by and leave Jim a comment or question. Jim will pop in throughout the day and write back.

Any other authors want to be a part of the Book-A-Week Challenge? Email me or post a comment. We'll take any genre, not just romance. The whole idea is to encourage people to read more, one book a week (at least). It's a fun and laid back way of meeting new authors and readers. Come on and share!

Write and Win! Writing Prompt Friday

Last creative writing prompt for this week. If you haven't written and posted to Monday and Wednesday's prompt, it's not too late. You have until Saturday!

Write all three and get a chance to win a copy of It Happens in Threes a "You don't say no to girls. . .who do it and write about it" T-shirt.

Friday's prompt is: Her best friend. . .

Remember, write whatever flies into your head and share it. Grab your reader and make them want to know more. Look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Have fun!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Coffee Lit Chat

Coffee Lit Chat is a gathering of readers and writers.

Readers want to know about the person behind the stories and authors want to know who is reading their books. This is the opportunity to do just that!

This is something new that was suggested to me by a reader and I had several great responses to the idea when I asked for other feedback. I'm going to do this two different ways. . .online and in-person.

Today, we'll do it online. It doesn't matter who you are, whether reader or writer, but post a message as if you were sitting down having a cup of coffee with us and chat. Ask questions, tell funny anecdotes, just share what is going on with your reading or writing or both.

I'll start off by saying I am on pins and needles waiting for my book cover for Killer Bunny Hill. This Sunday, Marianne Arkins (http://www.mariannearkins.com) and I are going to do the video interview with Terry from http://www.romanceinthebackseat.com. It should be a blast driving around in the car while Terry asks questions.

Now, for the in-person part of the Coffee Lit Chat - Next Sunday, that will be June 14, you can come meet me for coffee and a chat at the Panera in Bedford, NH off South River Road starting at 8 AM (yes, I am a morning person). Whether you are reader or writer, it does not matter. Just come by, find me and my funny blondish red hair at the round booth (there is only one), and introduce yourself. We can chit-chat about everything. Maybe you just want to be inspired to write. Well, put a group of people together and you will get lots of inspiration.

I encourage other authors to join me! It'll be fun.

If you can't make it, then post a comment here and tell us what's going on, what your reading, what you'd like to see.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My hero needs a name - HELP

My hero for book number 5 needs a name.

This is the hero from the Pink Undies story I have written bits and pieces of through the writing prompts I have posted. We know the heroine's name is Jane, but we have no clue what the hero's name is. So I need your help.

Here's what we know. The hero is a detective, he has dark hair, steel-blue eyes, is well-built, and one night he got caught wearing ladies' lingerie. No he does not do this on a normal basis. BUT, because of that scene, the hero's name needs to be very strong and masculine sounding.

Last night while getting my haircut, my hairdresser and I discussed several options and came up with a shortlist. Tell me what you think.

  1. Dominic
  2. Garrett
  3. Sloan
  4. Blake
  5. Chase
  6. Remy
Post a comment and let me know your opinion. If you have another suggestion, feel free to share. But I am desperate to stop calling my hero, Detective Pink Panties!!

Write and Win! Wednesday's Writing Prompt

Today is day two of this week's creative writing prompt contest. Remember, you have to write a response to all three (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). You have until Saturday to write a response so join in the fun!

Wednesday's writing prompt: At the police station. . .

Have fun!


If you're not writing, hopefully you're reading this week's Book-A-Week Challenge "The Keys to the Vault - A Caroline Baker Adventure" by Jim Colombo.

Don't forget to return here to the blog on Sunday to see an interview with Jim about his book and his writing. Stop by, tell him how much you enjoyed the book, and even ask a question.

To order a copy of the book go here http://tinyurl.com/nhj4yk or click the Amazon link in the scrolling Book-A-Week ticker on the left of the blog.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The good things in a writer's life

The good things in a writer's life!

There are those people and events in life that just touch you and make your day. One of those people and events took place on Sunday for me and I had to share.

I received an email from a woman who won my book in a giveaway. Earlier in the week, Patsy sent me an email saying she was going to put down the book she had been reading to read It Happens in Threes.

On Sunday, Patsy sent me this message. (I modified a piece of it to not giveaway the story.)

Hi, Denise
I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed "It Happens in Threes". I finished reading it about an hour ago and I can't quit thinking about it. -
deleted sentence- I hope you keep writing, you are good!
Patsy

In case Patsy reads my blog.

Hi Patsy,

Thank you for sharing your feedback. You have no idea what hearing from a reader does to an author, but I can tell you I have had a smile on my face ever since.

And, yes, I keep writing. L&L Dreamspell has bought two more books and the next one, Killer Bunny Hill is due out in July. I'm actively working on nunber four now.

Thank you for your kind words and I am so very happy you enjoyed the story.

Denise

Monday, June 1, 2009

Only female in the room. . .writing prompt response

Last week's writing prompt catch up: The only female in the room. . .

The only female in the room, Jane felt like one of the boys, with the exception that she never over-thought or over-complicated anything. Over-analysis, in her opinion, was a guy thing. Seriously, things in technology were black or white, right or wrong, worked or not. Was it a lack of estrogen that made men think too much?

A chuckle escaped her lips and she attempted to cover it up with a cough. Sitting across from her, Chris lifted a wild, single hairy eyebrow. Did his wife pluck it for him? She wondered that because every so often, he would have two, but today he was back to a solitary caterpillar hovering above his eyes. Jane looked away before she started to laugh again.

She sat forward, rested her elbow on the table, her forehead in her hand and stared down at the fake wood. What the heck was wrong with her? She could not concentrate. Ever since her best friend dragged her to that bar and she had been nutty enough to leave with a guy she just met, she could not focus. Her only thoughts have been about the sexy guy who she had thought she was going to have sex with then ran out on.

What had she been thinking? She hadn’t been, she decided, and slapped her forehead. Ouch! Someone kicked her in the ankle. Jane glared over her shoulder at Ben who gave her a quizzical look. In return, she scrunched her nose up at him hoping he would leave her alone.

Even the other day her brain had been so scrambled by the events of the weekend that she had accidentally written a For Sex Loop in her code instead of a Fore Next Loop. Talk about embarrassing when of course, she hadn’t been the one to find the error, but instead her boss had when he did a review of her code. Her cheeks started to heat just thinking about that mistake.

And now, here she sat, in an all-hands meeting, the only female in the room, and little did the guys know that they were not the only ones thinking about doing the deed every sixty seconds. Hell, she had been thinking about it every fifteen seconds since leaving the motel room in a very unsatisfied state.

“Oh,” she groaned.

Damn! Had she said that aloud? Jane glanced up. All eyes were on her. Great! Just flippin’ fantastic! If she had stayed and gotten laid would she be in this mess? No! But, she blew a wayward strand of hair from her face and slumped back in her chair, crossing her arms over her chest, but, how could she even think about getting it on with a guy who wore lace panties? Panties that were sexier than any she owned.

Catching up on last week's writing prompts

Writing prompt: In her rearview mirror. . .

In her rearview mirror, Jane saw her reflection, yet she did not see herself. The hazel-eyed woman who stared back had sunken eyes ringed with dark shadows looking closer to a raccoon. Her usual full face appeared thin and, on-my-gosh! Were those wrinkles?

She leaned in, pressed the fingertips of one hand against her pale cheek and lifted. The laugh lines disappeared. As if playing a wind instrument, she puffed up her cheeks with air and glanced at her reflection. Wrinkles evaporated and pink color returned to her face.

“Better,” she muttered releasing the breath she held.

With a shake of her head, Jane turned the key in the ignition and started the rental car. “Of course you look like crap,” she chided herself. “Someone blew up Starbucks right after you drove through it, the cops think you’re involved, and not just any cop, the cop you left the bar with then ran out on.” Detective pink panties.

Her lips curled up at the thought of the hunky detective standing there for all the world, okay, for all of her to see in lady’s pink underwear. Laughter burst out of her chest. “What had he expected?” Of course she ran out of that hotel room as if her ass were on fire. Wouldn’t he have done the same if saw her in all her glory wearing a jock strap?

Jane backed out of her driveway. As she put the car into drive, she checked her mirror, and yes, in his ugly, police-issued sedan sat the detective hiding behind a newspaper. How cliché! “Could he be anymore obvious?”

Rolling down her window, ignoring the bite of winter air, she revved the engine just enough to get his attention. When she saw him flip the corner of his paper down, Jane slammed her foot on the gas pedal, stuck her arm out the window, and gave detective pink panties the one-finger salute. Then she squealed her way out of her neighborhood laughing all the way.

June Writing Prompt Contest

Monday's writing prompt for the first week of June is: Asking for. . .

There will be another prompt on Wednesday and Friday for you to write on and participate in the writing prompt contest.

Have fun and grab that reader's attention.

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