Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A little help from Sarah Wynde

My cyber-friend, Sarah Wynde, recently wrote a blog post that helped me to feel better about my writing.

The quotes that follow and that I use to explore this are from that blog post entitled – Magical Florida. If you aren’t familiar with her work – and if you’re not, uh – why not? – her work is set in a mythical town in Florida called Tassamara. You can learn more about her work at her website or from my blogposts about her work here.

Meanwhile the first thing that struck me is this:

“…good storytelling is basically good lying.”

That’s a fact. While I try not to lie in real life because that shit catches up with you, when it comes to telling stories, I can lie with the best of them.

And isn’t that so simple? I’ve let myself get so bogged up in making writing complicated that I’ve lost sight of the simplicity and the fun and frankly – I miss it. Going back there soon.

Anyone wanting to explore this notion further should read the blogpost because she uses the FBI’s system of deciding whether or not someone is telling the truth, to help us out with our lying stories.

In another part of the blogpost, this is what really, really set me free:

“I tied that concept to Kurt Vonnegut’s line about every sentence in a story needs to move the action forward or reveal character, but I added a bit, making it “move the action forward or reveal character or relationships.” Those two ideas — about details and about sentence-level goals — might just add up to my ideas about how to write. Some people write books about the subject, but I think I might be two-thirds of the way to figuring out my own philosophy: Tell good lies in a way that Kurt Vonnegut would approve of. Funnily enough, I’m not actually a huge Vonnegut fan. He’s a great writer, of course, but I don’t want to live in his worlds. So maybe for me there’s another element about writing a world in which I want to live?”

This is it for me, J,J,J – I’m going broader than sentences – I’m going to say passages; passages need to move the action forward or reveal character OR RELATIONSHIPS and overall I need to create a world I want to live in, at least for a while.

For so long now I have been hearing that every sentence needs to move the story along.

It is so good to hear that sometimes what a sentence / passage needs to do is reveal character. Kurt Vonnegut said so. Like Sarah I’m not a big fan of the worlds he created, but I’ve read some of his books and he was a skilled writer whom I respect.

It is also good to hear that some sentences / passages need to reveal or build relationships. Sarah Wynde says so. And I love the worlds she creates. And she is a skilled writer whom I respect.

This is so freeing for me. You don’t know how discouraging it has become to sit before the computer and be paralyzed by the notion that everything I put on the page has to have the sole purpose of moving the story along.

I am a person who loves books with lovable but flawed characters. I am a person who loves books with arcing or even stable-good relationships.

Story is essential, yes, but to me it has to be driven by the purpose of creating or revealing characters and creating or revealing or building relationships.

Thank you, Sarah, for freeing me from my paralysis.

The books Sarah has written about the world she created, Tassamara are:

1 – A Gift of Ghosts

2 – A Gift of Thought

3 – The Spirits of Christmas (a novella that I loved and am very proud of since this is the dedication for it: “To Carol and Judy: thanks for being sparks of light on some gray days.”)

Sarah is working on her next book; A Gift of Time. She just got back from a trip to Belize and now there is this teaser on her website: Ghosts In Belize (new title needed). If you read the teaser you get a little taste of her magic.

Sarah, like Kristen Ashley, is a self-published ebook writer. I am beginning to think that might be the way for me to go when I finally finish several books that are currently at various stages.

Do you have a philosophy that drives your creative endeavors?
Share it. I think this subject is fascinating.



Friday, April 26, 2013

Romance Suspense Novel: Desert Heat by Author: Robena Grant

Hehehe I told you so...

Feb 15, 2013 I reviewed Robena Grant's first book, Unlock the Truth and I said:

"This book is the first in her Desert Heat series and I will definitely be going back for book 2, The Blue Dolphin, out now.  The third book, Desert Exposure, due out later this year, is sure to be a good read. It was a finalist for the RWA Golden Heart Award."

Feb 22, 2013 I interviewed Robena about her second book, The Blue Dolphin and I said:

"Unlock the Truth - good. The Blue Dolphin - even better. Imagine how good Desert Exposure is going to be. (Hint - it was nominated for the RWA Golden Heart award in 2012)."

Now her third book, Desert Exposure is out, I just finished reading it, and I get to say - I TOLD YOU SO!

Don't you hate obnoxious people like me? But I was right.

Unlock the Truth - good. The Blue Dolphin - better. Desert Exposure - excellent!

The story and the pacing are intense and compelling. I fell in love with Rachel (and Ralph). I fell in love with Michael.

I said this about UTT and it's true about Desert Exposure also:

"The secondary characters are done really well also. I loved the ones I was supposed to love, questioned the ones I was supposed to question, hated the ones I was supposed to hate and went back and forth with the complex ones who did not reveal themselves so easily."

Again in Desert Exposure -the mystery is solved, the bad guys go down and the HEA is deliciously sweet and believable.

The books are published by Wild Rose Press. Right now they are all 3 out in Kindle format only.

Unlock the Truth will be out in print and all other digital formats on May 10, 2013.
The Blue Dolphin will be out in print and all other digital formats on May 24, 2013.
Desert Exposure will be out in print and all other digital formats on August 2, 2013.

If you haven't read any or all of her books (and BTW they stand alone if one trips your trigger more than the others) and you have a Kindle or Kindle app - whatcha waiting for?

Specially since UTT and TBD are half price until 4/30/13.

And again - I TOLD YOU SO!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Romance Series Novel: Rock Chick by Author: Kristen Ashley

the worlds of kristen ashley

Y'all know that I'm a feminist if you've been reading my blogposts and paying attention. Because of that this post is hard to write.

See I love Kristen Ashley. And most women who like romance novels probably will (or do) too.

It's been talked about before how you can read a book and love it even though if a man every really treated you the way the hero in the book treated the heroine, he'd need to wear body armor if he thought to sleep around you.

Such are the men in Kristen Ashley's books. And yet, I love them. And by them I mean the fictional men and the books.

First let's talk the Rock Chick series. 7 books so far. 1 more coming out. I loved them so much I read all of them 2 or 3 times.

She creates characters you love. She creates worlds you want to live in. She curses a lot. A lot. There is jargon.There is gratuitous sex. A lot of sex, steamy and real.

There is bickering that sounds like a conversation a genuine couple would have. There are HEA's that you as a reader will demand, insist on, accept no less. Her stories are by turns sweet and brutal.

These things are true of all her series. She also creates a sisterhood in each series.

In the Rock Chick series, the women in the sisterhood like to go to listen to the fictional band; Stella and the Blue Moon Gypsies. (Stella eventually becomes part of the sisterhood.) When I was 20 years younger, I longed to be part of such a sisterhood.

Next up is the Dream Man series. 4 books. 4 different men from 4 different worlds that are connected by the common goal of taking care of Denver society even though they go about it in completely different ways. 4 women who get caught up in their worlds and claimed by these men. Beautiful, raw love stories.

After that, according to the reading order on her blog, you could go to the Burg series or the Colorado Mountain series. I chose the Burg series.

The Burg series is like the others except there is a ruthless villain after the heroine in each book.

This is as far I've gotten in Kristen Ashley land but it's for certain, I'll be going the distance.

I love the worlds she creates. I love her voice. I love her pacing and intensity. And I love, love, love the fact that once her heroes engage with her heroines, they spend very little time apart. I don't just mean they have a lot of sex, though they do, I mean she moves them into each others lives and leaves them there.

I can't get enough.

I also have a great deal of admiration for Kristen Ashley's career. Until recently, every book was a self-published ebook. She goes her own way and she is very successful in her endeavors.

What author makes you feel fiercely passionate about their work?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Time to party.

If I were in a relationship with my blog it would be mad at me.

I missed an anniversary.

I wrote my first blogpost on March 28th, 2011.

My sweet little blog is now 2 years old.

Let's have a party.

I'll mix us up some margaritas and avocado dip.

I'm a romance writer and reader so my decorations are going to center around shirtless men with six-packs.

And here's what will be on the cd player:

A great song to sing along with - Come Along by Vicci Martinez with Ceelo.

More sing along - this time sass - Mama's Broken Heart by Miranda Lambert.

And Ain't No Easy Way Out by the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club just because I love them.

What's fueling your parties these days?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Romance Comedy Novel: Hip Check by Author: Deirdre Martin

Deidre Martin wins the face-off against Boredom

On Friday I mentioned that I need to do a blogpost that does justice to the work of Deirdre Martin. Imma gonna try to do that.

She has a 3 book Wild Hart series that I really enjoyed about an Irish American family that has a bar in New York city called the Wild Hart. Those books were all fun-to-read romance novels.

Several hockey players from the fictitious New York Blades hung out in the Wild Hart leading us to the Blade series. I just finished the most recent, 12th book in the series, Hip Check. #12 was just as good as #1. You can wade skate in anywhere.

They are all light romance novels that include hockey player heroes; lovable heroines with substance and the type of real beauty that doesn't sell magazines; precocious kids; dogs; steamy love scenes; and noisy hockey games.

They all have HEA's. In fact Hip Check's HEA even includes Triple Chunk Caramel ice cream cake.

What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

Mine changes but right now it's B&J Cherry Garcia.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Going back for more

In my last blogpost I asked the question:

The question I have is - is there value in being an artist - in saying what you have to say - if no one is listening?

The commenters all agreed that it was valuable with various different reasons why.

I asked the question because lately I've considered not writing anymore because I've lost my motivation currently and I'm just not putting my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard. I know part of this is because my laptop died and I've yet to replace it. Writing in a chair on my desktop is not the same. But I wasn't always consistent even with a functioning laptop.

The problem is I have ideas and characters I can't seem to let go of.

Ah well - not an issue that will be resolved today.

On the other hand - I've read some good books this week.

Erin McCarthy's book Seeing Is Believing was an excellent book in the always enjoyable EM style. The main characters - Piper and Brady - are still with me. The book is a sequel to Heiress For Hire which she wrote some years ago - also a good book.

In the back of the book is a preview of a new series - the True series, first book out as an ebook on May 7th. I was already excited about it because I love her series. So excited I signed up to be on her street team so you can bet you'll hear more about it. The excerpt made me even more excited.

Also in the back of the book is a preview of Full Throttle which we have to wait until Dec for, unfortunately. I think it is the last in the Fast Track series which I blogged about here and here . Already I'm chomping at the bit to read the story of Rhett and Shawn!

If you read my blog very often you know - I'm not into the vampire thing. But if you are, Erin has written several books with vampire characters. I haven't read them and yet I trust her work enough to tell you - if you like that sort of book - they can't possibly be anything but good.

Deirdre Martin's book, Hip Check, the latest in her hockey player series was one of the best in a very good series, IMHO. When I went to find a link for a blogpost I had written about her, I only found a mention. I will try to put up a post about the book on Tuesday because she deserves better than just a mention.

And, oh, last, but certainly not least, dear readers - eat your heart out - I read Quick Fix - the sequel to In A Fix - by Linda Grimes. It doesn't come out until August but I won an ARC. Hehehe!!!!! Book 2 is every bit as funny as book 1. Lovable characters Ciel, Billy and Mark are back along with the rest of the cast of zany characters. When you finally get to read it (hehehe), you're going to LOVE it.

Sorry - that's not last because I forgot - I read Get Dumped part 1 by Tawna Fenske this week. I don't have to tell you it was funny if you read her blog or have read any of her books. It is one of those ebooks where at a certain point you can pick a direction for the book to go in. It was good. It ended with a cliffhanger because it is a short, sweet book leading to a second book which I intend to put on my kindle as soon as I finish this post. Fun, I tell ya!

Is there anybody whose work you are following with glee onto second, third, hundredth, books?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A question that is important to me

Probably some of you are familiar with Julia Cameron. She has written many books including The Artists Way.

Lately I've been making my way slowly through her book -The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size.

In the book she speaks of her belief that people often overeat when they are procrastinating in doing something creative.

I buy this to a certain extent.

I have also read that artists are artists because they have something to say. I don't mean necessarily in words, sometimes in paint stokes, musical notes, etc, etc, etc.

I also buy that to a certain extent.

Julia advises journaling and writing morning pages.

The question I have is - is there value in being an artist - in saying what you have to say - if no one is listening?

If I know that I can finish a book, write a journal page, write out my feelings in the morning, but no one witnesses these things - is there value in this?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Romance Mystery Novel: Jokers & Fools by Author: Esri Allbritten

The reluctant tarot reader

The places I find books…

I just finished reading Jokers & Fools by Esri Allbritten. She writes well. She engaged me in her story. She wrote characters I cared about who arced in positive, believable ways. She created a world I enjoyed even though through most of the book the main character, LeeLee, had a lot of obstacles to overcome.

This book will be enjoyable for everyone but especially for those who like the tarot. LeeLee never meant to be a tarot reader. Her mom, recently deceased, was a tarot reader who left LeeLee a ridiculous number of tarot decks.

And a dog. Who appears to hate LeeLee. And who loses her job for her when LeeLee starts taking him to work to try and make him happy.

Jobless, she begins to do tarot readings for money. I don’t want to give away the story which is touching and funny in parts.

Quote - “She was in a trance,” Debbie said, her tone confidential. “And I think an unfriendly spirit tried to come through, but she wouldn’t let it. You can see how hard it was on her.”
My stomach heaved, and I gulped, “It was that drink. That and the antihistamines.”
The reporter thrust the microphone in my face. “What would happen if you weren’t able to block an unfriendly spirit?”
I pushed feebly at his hand, but the mike didn’t budge. “Move. I mean it…”
And then I threw up. – End Quote Jokers & Fools by Esri Allbritten

The book is a romance with a happily-for-now which you can assume will be a HEA eventually - and is realistic.

So where did I find this book?

Colleen Gleason, who wrote The Cards of Life and Death and The Shop of Shades and Secrets, is one of several authors banded under The Indie Voice. TIV has many purposes one of which is to recommend books like Jokers & Fools by Esri Allbritten.

Allbritten has written several books including a series featuring Chihuahua’s called the Tripping Mystery series.

Do you have hidden sources for good books? Come on. Give ‘em up. We won’t tell.

I have another source or two I have yet to talk about. I’ll leave you with those to look forward to.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

More Sarah-Kate, a writing / not-writing update and a recipe

Continuing my fangirl adoration of all things Sarah-Kate Lynch, I finished her book Eating With the Angels recently. Too, too good. She can really tell a story and put together a book. Now I'm onto Finding Tom Conner. About halfway through the book there is something so funny it made me laugh, reread, laugh some more, reread, laugh...etc. I just love her sense of humor.

Her next book, The Wedding Bees, is out in other parts of the world but we can't get it here, yet.

I've done blogposts on two of her books, Dolci di Love and By Bread Alone. I highly recommend anything she has written.


My writing has been put on hold while I question my sanity and wonder along my neural pathways in search of why I want to write and yet, I don't actually do it.

Do you love cheese sticks? I love cheese sticks. So when I saw a recipe for them on pinterest, I decided to try it. The result was something that looks nothing like restaurant cheese sticks, but tastes delicious.

Cut string cheese into bite size pieces. Roll in milk. Roll in bread crumbs. Put on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Dip them in marinara and yum, yum, yum.


What are YOU reading? Writing? Cooking? Eating?