Tag Archives: Amazon

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – A Tree is not just a Tree – Writing with Specificity

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip:

 

booksh

 

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

 

In order to bring your story to life, it’s best to write with specificity. Rather than a tree, say ‘spruce,’ or rather than a dog say ‘Doberman,’ instead of gun say ‘Ruger,’ etc. It can be overdone, though, sort of like Joey on Friends when he wrote a letter to the adoption agency to help Monica and Chandler. He used a Thesaurus to sound more intelligent. He literally used the Thesaurus for every word, so this sentence:

They are warm, nice, people with big hearts.

Became:

They are humid prepossessing Homo Sapiens with full sized aortic pumps.

See, most of the time, less is more. :)

You can make this sort of mistake in your writing, too. In this example, specificity is definitely overdone:

She climbed into the red Toyota Corolla and slid onto the black vinyl seat. After placing her navy blue Prada handbag with the outside pockets lined in metal studs next to her, she slid the silver key into the ignition. She looked through the clear, glass windshield. A tall, brown-haired teenager on a black and red Flowboard skateboard wearing a hoodie and listening to an ipod glided along the cement sidewalk…

Well, I’m sure you get the idea. :)

Sometimes I do well with this, and sometimes, not so much. Here are a few examples from my own stories, the good and the bad:

Liberty Awakened, Isle of Fangs Book 1:

She pressed her face to the taxi window so she wouldn’t miss a thing. The water of the South Pacific was a crystal clear blue-green. She could actually make out movement of fish below the surface when the taxi slowed to take a sharp turn. Tall slender palm trees bordered the road, stretching like ballerinas toward the vivid blue of the sky. It was late afternoon, and the sun shimmered like molten gold.

She lifted the garland of pink-tipped petals to her nose, inhaling the fragrant scent of the plumeria lei a pretty Polynesian girl had placed around her neck when she stepped off the plane. She hadn’t been here an hour and was already receiving the entire island experience. She would feel as though she’d landed in paradise if her reasons for coming were a little less troubling.

Her mouth dropped open when they passed a row of huts suspended above the ocean on stilts. “What are those?” she blurted.

“They’re bungalows. The owners rent them out, mostly to tourists. Tourists eat that shit up.”

Not bad, right? But, maybe I could have said ‘thatched’ huts on ‘wooden’ stilts?

From Without Mercy:

Three black-clad, hooded figures, each with a machinegun slung over their shoulder, roamed among the terrified employees crouched on the floor.

China dropped into a squat behind the chair, eyes tightly closed, back pressed to the desk. Broken glass crunched beneath her feet as she shifted, trying to make herself invisible. A scream strangled her throat. She clamped a hand over her mouth to stop it, and wet stickiness clung to her palm.

Was that…?

She pulled her hand away and held it in front of her face.

Blood. She gagged, trying to swallow back a rush of bile. She looked down at her clothing, and a strangled sob escaped.

Oh, God. She was wearing Sophie’s blood.

She squeezed her eyes shut again, praying the shooter hadn’t heard her scream. I’m going to die…I’ll never see Emma again…

This is an extremely tense scene, so we wouldn’t want to add a lot of detail, such as ‘Black Leather Swivel Desk Chair’ or ‘Large Cherry Wood Desk’ but one thing I could have done is been more specific with ‘clothing.’ I think this would have worked better, don’t you?

She looked down at her red-spattered peach blouse, and a strangled sob escaped.

Most of us probably automatically write using specific, vivid words, but this is just a reminder to consider as you’re revising (not during the first draft, just get the story down, regardless of how poorly written) and perhaps find ways to paint a clearer picture for your readers.

How about you? Are you vague in your descriptions, or do you use vivid imagery?

Until next time…happy writing!

(NOTE: If you have sent pages to me and I have not responded, don’t worry. I’m a bit behind, but will catch up soon. If you haven’t heard from me a few weeks after you send me the pages, it would be a good idea to shoot me a follow-up email) *** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

 FREE on Kindle Unlimited!!!

 

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Tips from an Editor

Ramblings of a Lifelong Elvis Fan – Part 54 – Jungle Room, Jerry Lee

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Elvis’ infamous ‘Jungle Room,’ and I’ve actually seen it a few times. But, did you know…

The area was an addition Elvis had constructed in the mid 60s as a den. He furnished it in Polynesian decor, including a waterfall of cut field stone, supposedly because his favorite spot to vacation was Hawaii. Some say it was to rile his father, Vernon, who hated the furniture. I can’t imagine Elvis, or anyone for that matter, would purposely decorate a room just to piss of his dad. :) Most likely, it just so happened Vernon didn’t like the furniture. Inside the room, is one of the early ‘cell phones,’ one of those large, clunky models, which, at the time, was quite advanced technology. Taped to the front are hand-written instructions by Elvis.

Elvis simply referred to it as ‘the den’ but fans and the media dubbed it The Jungle Room after his death. (I’m thinking maybe Elvis actually invented the ‘man cave.’ :))

jungle_room_small

In 1976, it was used as a recording studio, and Elvis recorded his final two albums there, From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee and Moody Blue. In spite of many critics claiming he was ‘washed up’ and had lost his voice, some fabulous songs resulted from those sessions, proving that Elvis still had that powerful, amazing voice. Some of my favorites: “Hurt,” “Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall,” “Danny Boy,” “The Last Farewell,” and “Love Coming Down.” Take a listen and judge for yourself if Elvis had ‘lost it.’

 

 

Have you heard the story about Jerry Lee Lewis showing up at Graceland in the middle of the night, waving a gun, then getting arrested? Here is the account that came from Harold Lloyd, Elvis’ cousin who was on duty that night. 

Jerry Lee was armed, angry, and obviously inebriated — a dangerous combination for a man mere mortals call ‘Killer’, He was outta his mind, man’, recalls Loyd. ‘He was screamin’, hollerin’, and cussin’.

‘Get on the goddamn phone. I know you got an intercom system. Call up there and tell Elvis I wanna visit with him. Who the hell does he think he is? Tell him the Killer’s here to see him’.

Loyd panicked. ‘I just put my hands up in the air and said, ‘Okay, okay, Jerry, just take it easy’, Loyd retreated to the guard booth and picked up the house phone. One of ‘the boys’ answered and Loyd apprised him of the situation. Loyd was advised to call the cops, and wasted no time in doing so. He also called Elvis, who said if he came down there, he’d kill Jerry Lee, and to call the cops.

When the police arrived, Jerry Lee had the gun on his lap and his driver’s window was shattered. He refused to get out of the vehicle when ordered, and was arrested.

Below is Jerry Lee’s version. This might be closer to the truth. It seems those surrounding Elvis liked to keep him in seclusion and liked to manipulate his emotions in order to continue riding the gravy train of being employed by and/or friends with him.

What do you think? I’m afraid I will have to challenge Jerry Lee’s thinking that he could possibly compare to Elvis. I love his music, and he is definitely a legend, but he’s no Elvis Presley. But then, who is?

~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~*~*~*

EOLS Charity

Elvis was known for his giving heart and charitable work during his lifetime. Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises have continued that tradition with their involvement in various charities. In 1984, The Elvis Charitable Foundation was formed. The EPCF created a scholarship fund for students majoring in the arts. The charity also contributes to one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families. The EPCF also assists numerous other charities, especially focusing on arts, education and children’s programs.

Learn more here, including how to donate:

http://www.graceland.com/epcf/

END OF LONELY STREET – Now Only 99 Cents!

On Elvis’ birthday this year, I released a Vintage Romance short story set in 1957, and of course, my heroine is an Elvis fan. :) As a tribute to Elvis’ generosity, and in order to assist with this worthy cause, 10% of my proceeds for End of Lonely Street will go to the EPCF.

EndofLonelyStreet_w9180_FINAL

All Toby Lawson wants is to go to college to become a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and some painful memories. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away and helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.

Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, she can‘t get past the fact that her drunken mother once kissed him. He soon realizes the true problem lies in Toby’s belief she’s not good enough for him and in her fear she will be just like her mother.

What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?

Click Here for Kindle

Click Here for Nook

1 Comment

Filed under Elvis Presley, Entertainment

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – How to Write Faster Drafts

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip:

 

booksh

 

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

 

Many of you may not be familiar with a little hidden gem in your Windows program called ‘Speech Recognition.’ This can be a very handy tool in drafting scenes. I will admit, it’s a bit tricky to get used to, but once you do, you will be surprised at how much more productive you can become. You will need a microphone, either a headset (which are inexpensive. Here is a link to one on Amazon: Headset) or a desktop mic.

Here are the steps to get started:

Go to your Control Panel

Click ‘Ease of Access’

Click ‘Start Speech Recognition’

The program will take you to a tutorial. You will need to spend a little time going through the tutorial and teaching your computer to recognize your voice, but you will save a lot of time in the long run. It’s actually quite simple.

Once you have it set up, my advice would be to proceed something like this:

Decide which scene you’re going to work on. Close your eyes and really, vividly, picture the scene. Immerse yourself in the setting and characters and think about what you want to accomplish in the scene. Then, just start speaking, all of the actions and dialogue and emotions you want to come out. Toss in some descriptive words, senses, setting, etc. It will not be perfect, and some of the words you speak will not quite come across like you meant them to, but it will be a good, solid draft. 

In the beginning, you might find it a little slow and awkward, perhaps a bit daunting. But, power through and continue to practice until you’re comfortable. My friend and prolific, successful author, Mel Odom, uses this process and he churns out more stories than anyone I know.

This method can not only be productive, but it can be freeing to your creativity. If you relax, and picture the story like you’re watching a movie or television show, in no time, you will likely find yourself spewing out your novel more quickly than you could ever type it. It won’t be perfect, and it might be a bit ‘telling,’ but you know what? You now have something to work with. Because, remember…

AP_Blog_RobertsQuote

Do this for the next scene, then the next. Then, go in and revise and polish and tweak that baby until you have your bright, shiny new story.

Have you ever tried this? How did it work for you?

(To clarify, this actually types the words you speak into a document, such as Word, or whatever you have open. It works like Dragonspeak, but you do not need the software and it seems a little more user friendly. :))

Until next time…Happy Writing!

 

 

(NOTE: If you have sent pages to me and I have not responded, don’t worry. I’m a bit behind, but will catch up soon. If you haven’t heard from me a few weeks after you send me the pages, it would be a good idea to shoot me a follow-up email) *** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

 FREE on Kindle Unlimited!!!

 

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Tips from an Editor

Jennifer Lowery’s Birthday – A FREE Gift for YOU!

From today’s guest, Jennifer Lowery:

Hello and welcome! I’m so glad you’re all here! It’s my birthday weekend-oh, no, not sharing the number, lol—but, I will share my birthday gifts with you! For 3 days only, July 17-19, you can download Murphy’s Law for FREE from Amazon!!! Woot!

Happy Reading,

Jennifer

(Click on the cover to be taken to Amazon, where you can download the book for free!)

JenniferLowery_MurphysLaw200

Murphy’s Law

Romantic Suspense 

He lost his family. She gave them back to him.

Blurb:

Home is the last place Jon Murphy can go. After being held captive in Azbakastan, he returns to the States only to find he can’t face his mom and sisters with what he did while he was a prisoner, so he retreats to the mountains.

Widow Sara Sheldon has made a lifetime of mistakes and is now running scared from her husband’s powerful family, who are determined to take her daughter away from her. When her little girl goes missing in the Rockies, Sara enlists the only help she can find: a gruff recluse with tracking skills to admire and a body to covet.

A storm strands Sara and her daughter at Murphy’s cabin, leaving her no choice but to hope her in-laws don’t catch up while she plans where to run next. Murphy resents the invasion of his privacy, but can’t seem to keep his mind–or his hands–off Sara. How can she stand to look at him, with all his scars? He’s not nearly as honorable as she might think…only enough to make sure she’s safe, and then he’ll go back to being alone, the way he should be.

Content Warning: Sexual content    

**Murphy’s Law: Previously published by Lyrical Press in 2013**

***Murphy’s Law was a 2006 Golden Heart Finalist***

Murphy'sLawMemefromD'Ann

Excerpt:

Copyright © 2014, Jennifer Lowery 

Murphy sat at the kitchen table, half in the shadows created by the soft light glowing above the stove. A bottle of amber liquid sat on the table in front of him, an empty glass in his hand. His hair was tousled from sleep and to Sara’s dismay, he was naked to the waist. Her gaze landed on his muscled shoulders and trailed across his tanned chest. So much for getting him out of her mind. Now she had the real thing to dream about. Looking at the dark hairs that veed down his chest and disappeared behind the table, she decided he had been right. He was a dangerous man.

She tore her eyes away from temptation and looked at the granite lines of his face. Beneath the hardness of his expression, something haunting lingered. Drawn, she circled the table until she stood at the opposite end.

Murphy met her eyes with coldness that should have sent her running for the safety of her room, but she remained standing in place. He wanted to chase her away. This time she wasn’t running.

“Mind if I join you?” she asked on her way to the cupboard to grab a glass and return to stand over Murphy’s shoulder. She reached for the bottle. The muscles in his shoulders flexed when she leaned over him.

Murphy’s hand snaked out and wrapped around hers, preventing her from pouring a drink.

“I mind,” he growled.

“Well, get over it. I need a drink.”

Scowling, he let go of her hand and allowed her to pour a glass for herself. She refilled his glass next and set the bottle on the table. Then she moved to the chair beside him and sat before lifting her glass in a silent toast.

“Cheers.” She brought the glass to her lips. His eyes on her as she drained the glass made her fight the urge to cough as the fiery liquid burned its way down her throat. Seconds later she felt the familiar warming sensation as it numbed her insides. Her eyes filled with tears. She blinked them away as she reached for the bottle.

Murphy held it away from her. “What are you doing?”

“Having a drink. I’m not in the mood for warm milk tonight.”

His eyes darkened and narrowed. “You don’t strike me as the drinking type.”

She wasn’t, but tonight it sounded good. Maybe it would soothe away her problems and make her forget how screwed-up her life was. Talking about Kent earlier had brought back painful memories. She didn’t want to feel that misery anymore tonight.

“Maybe you don’t know my type,” she said.

Murphy studied her closely for a moment before rubbing a weary hand over his face. “Go back to bed, Sara. Sleep it off.”

“I don’t want to sleep it off. I’m tired of thinking about it.”

Maybe it was the whisky, or the sight of Murphy’s naked chest, or the part of her that had been dormant for six years coming back to life. More than anything she wanted to discover it with Murphy, her strong, scarred hero.

She rose to her feet. Murphy watched warily as she stepped in front of him and positioned herself between him and the table. He leaned back in his chair and sent her a thunderous look.

“You and I are alike in many ways, Murphy,” she said softly. “We both have lost pieces of ourselves we can’t ever get back and it has forced us into a life of loneliness and solitude. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being alone.”

Murphy pinned her with a hard glare. “I’m not what you want. Go back to your room before I do something we’ll both regret in the morning.”

His harshly spoken words sent little electrical shocks through her body.

“I’m tired of people telling me what I want,” she said.

JenniferLoweryAuthorpic

Author Bio:

NY Times & USA Today bestselling author, Jennifer Lowery grew up reading romance novels in the back of her math book and on the bus to school, and never wanted to be anything but a writer.  Her summers were spent sitting at the kitchen table with her sisters spinning tales of romance and intrigue and always with a tall glass of ice tea at their side.

Today, Jennifer is living that dream and she couldn’t be happier to share her passion with her readers.  She loves everything there is about romance.  Her stories feature alpha heroes who meet their match with strong, independent heroines.  She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance. As her characters find out when they face danger, overcome fears, and are forced to look deep within themselves to discover love.

Jennifer lives in Michigan with her husband and two children.  When she isn’t writing she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

This is what people are saying about Murphy’s Law:

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Cindy Gerard, Tara Janzen, or Cherry Adair series. Each of these writers have the same flavor with a secret ingredient in their stories as does Jennifer Lowery. Great story!
– hmhibbit, Open Book Society on Murphy’s Law

Connect with Jennifer:

Author Website   Facebook   Twitter   Romance Recipes

Jennifer’s Newsletter   Jennifer’s Street Team

Buy Murphy’s Law:

Amazon 

Other Books by Jennifer Lowery:

SEAL Team Alpha Series:

A SEAL’s Song

A SEAL for Christmas

A SEAL’s Duty

Wolff Securities Series:

Maximum Risk 

ATCOM Series:

The Maze 

Sawyer Sisters Trilogy

Hard To Handle

Onyx Group Series:

Hard Core

Other:

Murphy’s Law

Taking Chances (short story)

9 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, New Release

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Watch Those Sentences Beginning with ‘Ing’ Participles

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip:

 

booksh

 

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

 

It is best to avoid sentences where your characters are performing two simultaneous acts that are virtually impossible, or at the very least unlikely, for them to do at the same time. I confess, it’s something that I do often. However, I am working on eliminating this issue from my writing.

As many writing faux paus do, this usually occurs when authors attempt to change up sentence structure in order to prevent the ‘He did this’ ‘She did that’ repetition. That’s not a bad thing. You do not want your prose to read like a laundry list, but there are ways to accomplish this without having your characters perform impossible feats.

Examples:

Walking across the street, he entered the bank. 

Well….unless the bank is in the middle of the street, this scenario is pretty unlikely.

Glaring at him, she ran from the room.

Again, unlikely. She can try that, but she’d probably run into the door.

Writing a grocery list, she grabbed her keys and umbrella.

How many hands does she have?

Showering, he dressed in a suit. 

The suit is going to get soaked.

So…let’s make a pact. I’ll watch for these ‘not quite correct’ sentences, if you will do the same.

What about you? Is this something you’re aware of and avoid, or are your characters sometimes magicians and/or contortionists?

Until next time…happy writing!

(NOTE: If you have sent pages to me and I have not responded, don’t worry. I’m a bit behind, but will catch up soon. If you haven’t heard from me a few weeks after you send me the pages, it would be a good idea to shoot me a follow-up email) *** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

 FREE on Kindle Unlimited!!!

 

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Tips from an Editor

Ramblings of a Lifelong Elvis Fan – Part 52 – A Quickie & a Contest

Today’s post will be very short. It’s been a busy week and I’ve barely had time to think. So, I thought I would just share a few random things. And, I’m rolling out a contest and will ask an Elvis questions to get it started.

~ A DJ on Elvis radio was talking to fans who were visiting Graceland. One of the people he spoke with was a man who had lost his sight. His lifelong dream was to visit Graceland, and he and his wife hoped to do it together one day. He was finally visiting Graceland, but he lost his wife nine years earlier. His children and grandchildren brought him. How sad that, when he finally realized his dream to visit Elvis’ home, it was without his wife, or his sight. :( It’s also yet another example of what a huge impact Elvis has on his fan’s lives, and how emotionally tied to him we can be. 

~ I also wanted to share this song. I hadn’t heard it in a while, and Elvis Radio played it recently. His voice is haunting and beautiful, and the lyrics are sooo sad.

~ On a lighter note…

Beginning with this post, I am starting a contest through my blog where, each month, I will give away a $10 gift card from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, plus winner’s choice of any of my published stories. All you have to do to enter is comment. On or around the 10th of each month. I will draw one name from all the commenters.

Elvis question of the week:

Name 3 songs Elvis recorded with the word ‘rain’ in the title.

Have a wonderful weekend…thanks for stopping by!

~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~*~*~*

EOLS Charity

Elvis was known for his giving heart and charitable work during his lifetime. Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises have continued that tradition with their involvement in various charities. In 1984, The Elvis Charitable Foundation was formed. The EPCF created a scholarship fund for students majoring in the arts. The charity also contributes to one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families. The EPCF also assists numerous other charities, especially focusing on arts, education and children’s programs.

Learn more here, including how to donate:

http://www.graceland.com/epcf/

END OF LONELY STREET – Now Only 99 Cents!

On Elvis’ birthday this year, I released a Vintage Romance short story set in 1957, and of course, my heroine is an Elvis fan. :) As a tribute to Elvis’ generosity, and in order to assist with this worthy cause, 10% of my proceeds for End of Lonely Street will go to the EPCF.

EndofLonelyStreet_w9180_FINAL

All Toby Lawson wants is to go to college to become a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and some painful memories. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away and helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.

Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, she can‘t get past the fact that her drunken mother once kissed him. He soon realizes the true problem lies in Toby’s belief she’s not good enough for him and in her fear she will be just like her mother.

What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?

Click Here for Kindle

Click Here for Nook

8 Comments

Filed under Elvis Presley, Entertainment

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – A Sure Fire Way to Keep Your Readers Engaged

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip:

 

booksh

 

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

 

One of the best ways to keep readers invested in your story is to torture your characters. I know, sounds sadistic, but the truth is, Miserable Characters = Happy Readers. Think about the books you’ve enjoyed. Most likely, things are not going all that well for the main character. As a matter of fact, no matter how their life is going at the beginning of the book, I’m betting it goes downhill from there. Until, that is, the end where they get their Happily Ever After (Unless you’re reading Stephen King, then all bets are off).

As authors, we become attached to our characters and, like our children, we want to make life easy for them. But if you do that, your readers will be bored. You want to continue to make things worse for them as the story progresses. Since I write suspense, it’s not hard to figure out how to do that. I just kill somebody. :) But also, I make sure the killer gets closer to them, that the people who die or are endangered matter more to them, etc. In a romance, it’s probably a little more difficult. You want to move your hero and heroine forward in their relationship. But you also want to throw more obstacles at them. After all, if they want their HEA, they have to earn it, right?

A good way to escalate the tension as you’re planning your scenes is to add ‘but even worse…’ at the end of each scene/scene note.

Some of the ways I tortured my protagonist, China, in Without Mercy were…

The bank where she works was robbed, but even worse…

Her boss was shot and killed right in front of her, but even worse…

Once she thought everything was over and she was on her way to pick up her child, she learned that the robbers were actually mercenaries who had her daughter, and she had to do what they said in order to keep them from hurting her, but even worse…

Each time China made a mistake or didn’t do exactly as they said, they killed someone she knew, but even worse…

China finally figured out a way to get her daughter out of harm’s way and asked a friend for help. She was relieved for a short time (you also want to give your characters a glimmer of hope, make them think that everything is going to get better, but of course…it’s not!), then she learned that the friend had been found dead, but even worse…

She didn’t know what had happened to her daughter. Her attempt to save her had likely caused her death…

See what I mean? In a romance, maybe you start out with your heroine mistrusting men. She had her heart broken. She’s a single mom and she moved to a new town to get away from bad memories. Her sexy neighbor is a distraction, just the kind of man who will break her heart, so she avoids him.

Then, it turns out that he’s her child’s teacher, but even worse…

Her child his having difficulties in school, and sexy teacher man wants to schedule regular meetings with your heroine to stay on top of the child’s progress, but even worse…

He has a child as well, and she sees him as a father, and it’s starting to break down her defenses, but even worse…

His electricity goes out in the middle of the night and it’s the dead of winter, so he and his child come to her door, and she has to give them shelter…

Okay, I tried, but straight romance isn’t really my area of expertise, so I’m not sure this is sufficient torture. If I were really writing this story, I would have a psycho ex after her, and have her change her name, but her child is injured in some kind of high profile accident, so an article appears in the paper, and her ex finds her and the night the electricity goes out, the ex has cut all the power, thinking she’s sleeping with the neighbor, and wants them all in the house together so he can take his child and torch the place, leaving them to burn inside…

Ahem, anyway…

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to make your characters suffer. Most authors claim they torture their characters, but based on some of the submissions I receive, some authors’ ideas of suffering are much different from mine. :) Remember, if you aren’t going to torment your characters, then who will?

What are some of the ways you’ve made your characters’ lives miserable? Ways you’ve escalated the tension, danger, obstacles?

Until next time…happy writing!

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

 FREE on Kindle Unlimited!!!

 

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

 

 

12 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Tips from an Editor