Posts Tagged ‘writing fiction’

In which we explore the glamorous side of professional writing….


Trust me. I’m a professional.

Dear sobbing writers,

Yep, I know you’ve slaved over that manuscript and it was torture to pry it out of your hands and hand it over to your trusted first line readers. Uh huh, I get it that you love your hero and you have sweated over the sagging middle and written an ending that makes you tear up every time you read it. No one, but no one, will treat those lovely pages as tenderly as you have. Believe me, I understand, but it’s time, people. It’s time to face the music and listen to what your trusted peeps are going to tell you. I know it hurts, believe me, even after thirty-five books it still hurts, but it has to be done. You wouldn’t send up a plane without a test flight would you? Serve that new tofu recipe to your mother-in-law until you’ve tried it out first? So chin up, best pencil forward and let’s do this. Check out the video because I’m doing it to. We shall cry together! Onward!

P.S. If you know a fellow writer type, feel free to share this video. We’re in this together, peeps!


Writing Two Genres at Once?



Blogging over on Seekerville today about the craziness of writing in two worlds. Great stuff if you want to pop in! Seekerville hosts Dana Mentink

Top three annoying writer traits!

It’s sad, but true. Sometimes writers can be extremely irritating! Exploring this topic on the Suspense Sisters blog today and doing a little giveaway. Click the link below and take a look!


Top Three Annoying Writer Qualities


How to infuriate a romance reader…


mysterious eyes


Readers have a universal love the creative twist, the one of a kind character, the sparklingly original  plot. There are also some universally aggravating qualities that can crop up in romance novels sure to infuriate the reader. Here are my top three.

1. The “too stupid to live” heroine. I’m not sure why it is that this phenomenon usually applies to a female, but modern readers don’t tolerate stupidity in their heroines. No walking into the dark basement where the killer lurks without so much as a cell phone in her pocket. No way. Women are smart, and having them behave as if they aren’t is sure to insult readers.

2. The heroine that’s tougher than the hero. Yes, we want our heroines to be smart, strong, and resilient, but we don’t want them to overshadow the hero. They can be partners, help each other and take turns being the problem solver, but we don’t want a Rambo-esque heroine.

3.  The missing “HEA.” For those in the biz, HEA is short for “happily ever after.” It’s mandatory in a romance novel. If we’re going to sit through an entire novel, there better be a happy resolution by the end. It doesn’t have to end in a proposal (though those are nice) but we sure have to have the expectation that we’ve got that wonderful, love match. No happy ending? No happy readers!

What drives you crazy in a romance novel? Giving away a signed book, an Amazon gift card and a fall surprise!

How to write a good liar…

Lying is hard work. I recently perused an article in Discover Magazine declaring that brain imaging studies show that it takes greater mental effort to deceive than to tell the truth. I certainly find that to be true when I’m writing about that protagonist who isn’t quite truthful. Some helpful details to add when creating a lying protag? Science shows liars are slower to respond so that character might pause for a millisecond or two before answering, unless they’ve had a long time to rehearse their lie. There may also be a “micro expression” a tiny flash of emotion that doesn’t match the words begin spoken. Here’s another interesting tidbit according to a study on the FBI website. Greater use of minimizing and editing adverbs, and changes in nouns and verbs all were associated with lying. Ah ha! Another clue that our characters might be lying, and a handy thing to know when an author is trying to build that unreliable narrator.

What do you think is a reliable sign that someone is lying? Have you ever been lied to so convincingly that you were completely fooled by the liar? Giving away a Walmart card in November. letter writing

A writer’s most difficult dilemma…the line between unpredictable and unbelievable.

The truth is stranger than fiction. That means fiction authors have a precarious line to walk. Readers want to be surprised, taken on a ride they didn’t expect, thrilled and tantalized….up to a point. Once you cross that imaginary line from unpredictability to unbelievability, you’ve lost ‘em. I felt that way when I saw Angels and Demons. I was suspending my disbelief, wrapped in the roller coaster plot, right up until the moment when the hero and villain get into a helicopter and zoom up into the sky with the deadly antimatter. Both manage to escape this predicament through means which I won’t disclose in case you haven’t seen it. Antimatter? I could buy it. Nefarious villain with a crazy paternity? Okay, but that helicopter scene put me right over the believability threshold. You see the dilemma facing the storyteller? It’s our job to deliver the unexpected, to provide the unpredictable while stopping a wee bit short of crossing that line that sends the reader skidding into disbelief.

Have you ever read a book or seen a movie that pushed you over the edge a bit too far? Would love to hear your thoughts.
missing person mom

It’s not about the book on the shelf…it’s about the next one!

speedskaterWriting professionally is all about the “next” project, not the one you just finished. Yes, the book that just hit the shelves is exciting, but those who are in the biz have one eye on the newest release while their fingers are busy on the keyboard with something else entirely. I struggle with this concept because the newest release should be the sole focus of my marketing efforts. More hours should be spent promoting that precious new baby…more Facebook posts! More Twitter updates! More blog interviews and bookstore visits! Instead my enthusiasm is all directed at the “next” project. Case in point, Final Resort, the last in my three book Treasure Seeker Series just came out this month. Yes, I’m promoting and sure I’m tracking reviews, but what have I spent four hours on this morning? The book that is two slots down the road from that one. I’m knee deep in a natural disaster series so it’s hurricane season for me, no more time for the snowy Sierras.

Have I mentioned that I’m a writing fanatic? One project is not enough to keep my feeling up to snuff, so I’m also researching short track speed skating in preperation for an Olympic themed suspense that will release in time for Sochi, 2014. And because my natural bent is humorous mystery, I’m editing another little tome that takes place in Amish country, Ohio. Uh huh, I am slightly crazy most of the time. How can I justify this insane need to write like a fiend? I’ll borrow a slogan from my favorite short track speed champion Apolo Anton Ohno. His motto? “No regrets.” I’ll never come close in my life to what he has achieved, but I’m jolly well going to try to use up every tiny morsel of talent that God gave me while I have the chance. Quick! To the next chapter! The race is on!

Do you feel that passion, that undeniable drive in certain areas of your life? What keeps you pushing forward? Would love to hear your thoughts!