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What to Read Wednesday

Thank you for joining me for What to Read Wednesday. I’m excited to have ELLE BRIGHT visiting today. She’s sharing a very interesting post about applying reality to fiction. She’s also brought along her latest release FALL OF DARKNESS. You’ll be pulled in by her amazing cover and then hooked by her blurb.

So, without further chit-chat from me…take it away Elle!

Applying Reality to Fiction

 Shortly after I joined the Romance Writers of America, I attended my first Utah RWA chapter meeting. Author Tiffinie Helmer gave a presentation on using visual aids from the real world to create your fictional world. That idea has stuck with me over the years. I began by clipping magazine pictures, then progressed to Photoshop collages, and have since moved on to Pinterest. Regardless of the media, I’ve found reality to be an integral part of my writing.

Growing up, I found it interesting when books stated something to the effect of “all characters and events are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to real people or events is merely coincidental.” Really? Don’t get me wrong, my work is all my own, but there have definitely been people, places, and occurrences that have influenced my writing along the way.

The beginning of my book, Fall of Darkness, is set in Chicago. This is an area I have lived in, know fairly well, and absolutely love. My memories of the area, combined with online research, lend authenticity to my setting. For example, Kate’s apartment building is based on a real complex in a real area, with my own personal flair added to it. The ‘rape lot’ in my book was a real parking lot which acquired that nick-name at one of the hospitals I’ve worked for in the past.

Though my characters are unique creations of my imagination, some of their characteristics are drawn from real people and experiences. Kate can never find her keys, because I can never find my keys. Like Kate, my sister really was set up with a balding gravedigger. Kate’s mother exhibits quite a few characteristics of my own. Have you ever heard the saying, “Be careful or you’ll end up in my novel”? Well, there’s some truth to that.  You have been warned. ;)

So, how did I come up with the storyline for Fall of Darkness? Well, Twilight had spread like wildfire and the idea of a vampire love story intrigued me. I tried to imagine what I would do differently, if I were to write a paranormal romance. From there, I was hooked. I’m an avid reader, but books no longer held my interest. All I could think about was my story and getting it out on paper. My characters wouldn’t stop talking. They still won’t. It’s so amazing to hold Fall of Darkness in my hands and see my words in print.

What’s next? I am in the process of writing book two in The Darkness Chronicles series, Dark Redemption. Dark Redemption resumes the story where Fall of Darkness left off. There’s still so much of the story left to tell and I’m excited to share it with the rest of the world. I also have a handful of contemporary romantic comedies in progress.

COVER

 

About Fall of Darkness:

Fall of Darkness (Darkness Chronicles, Book 1)

One woman, the fate of the world in her unknowing hands. One man, sworn to destroy her. A love so strong it defies nature. In a world of obsession, deception and betrayal, the line between good and evil fades, but one truth remains absolute. Darkness must fall.

 

For centuries, werewolf, Dominic Ridolfi, has battled the demons of the night, upholding the sacred pact to protect man from vampires. Yet when sent to destroy the long lost Cacciatori heiress, the vampire prophesied to free her kind from the curse of darkness, he finds himself reluctant to complete his task. The innocent beauty awakens his humanity and Dominic finds himself not in the role of assassin, but savior.

 

Swept away in a whirlwind romance, Kate loses herself in Dominic’s mysterious world of opulence and seduction. But Dominic has a secret. He knows the truth about Kate’s past, and her future, truths with the power to destroy them both. Only in her dreams does Kate sense the growing darkness within. Dominic saved her once, but can she save herself from the darkness within?

Buy Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Fall-Darkness-The-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00DSGY8B0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374004376&sr=8-1&keywords=fall+of+darkness

http://www.amazon.com/Fall-Darkness-The-Chronicles-Volume/dp/1490329560/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374169831&sr=8-1&keywords=fall+of+darkness+elle+bright+book

https://www.createspace.com/4307595

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About Elle Bright

Elle is a practicing Registered Nurse, specializing in Pediatrics, Neonatal Intensive Care, and Emergency Medicine. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Grand Canyon University. Elle is a proud member of the Romance Writers of America. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, their three children, and their part-human border collie. When not writing or working, Elle enjoys reading, Zumba, running, travelling, shopping, and spending time with her family.

http://ellebright.webs.com/

http://ellebrightwrites.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elle-Bright-Author/399211590194895?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/Elle_Bright

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18139273-fall-of-darkness

 
 

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What to Read Wednesday and GIVEAWAY

Happy Wednesday and thank you for coming back for another round of What to Read Wednesday. Today I have author Krista Kedrick visiting. She’s written an interesting and informative post about why she went the self publishing route versus traditional.

Krista is also sharing a sample of her release THE DOVES OF PRIMROSE book 1 : Lacy.

And if that weren’t enough excitement she has a fabulous giveaway that you can enter…so check out the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post!

Tour Banner

Self-Publishing: Why I like it

As I’m counting down the days to my next class about the art of self-publishing – and I have to give a shout out to our library director Kendra you’re awesome! – I find myself wondering how I’m going to answer the questions that might come up. The hardest and perhaps easiest to answer is why did I decide to self-publish? And my answer is: It was the right thing for me.

I spent months researching all the traditional publishing companies, agents and author’s sites learning who, what and where. I wrote up the best query letter I possibly could, I polished my manuscript into a shiny, new penny, made a list and started submitting. After a few weeks I got back lots of no’s and a couple of send me mores. So I was excited – I’m sure you can imagine. After 3 years of writing, re-writing, editing, giving it to my critique partner, re-writing again, giving it to my friend, re-writing again and so on. This is it, I’m going to get this thing published!

And then… a contract arrived. I read it. It was both shocking and disappointing. They want what?! I wrote this thing, it’s mine and you want to pay me 15% royalties, that means they keep 85% for themselves and their marketing program of new authors is pretty lousy. The appeal of being published with a company was strong, very strong. But I as the creator didn’t have any rights after I signed my little name to the bottom. So I went with plan B.

Self-Publishing:

Lucky for me I had done my homework already in this department, because every time you search publishing companies, self-publishing everything pops-up. So I had read up and made notes- half a notebook full of notes. After a little more work I had a plan. Publish, Promote, The hard part was deciding which one to go with so I went with all of them! Hey – I figure the more places it’s available, the more opportunities for customers. I also made friends with Jan Fischer Wade http://www.shewrites.com/profile/JanFischerWade She has a wealth of information for authors on her blog. I urge you to follow her. I also have really enjoyed Lyn Horner’s site http://texasdruids.com/ as well. She also has a link to Writers in the Storm on her site that was equally helpful to me.

I have also spent years in the sales area and I liked it. There I said it – I Like Sales! I don’t have a problem talking to people, asking questions, striking up a conversation with anybody. It’s what I do – I’m genuinely interested in people. That’s why I write. But if you don’t like talking to people don’t rule out self-publishing. The internet makes it a viable avenue for authors of all kinds. Introverts and Extroverts. Between all the social networking sites and free sites for press releases it’s a gold mine for advertising. And most introverts have a community of sites, blogs, etc. that they actively participate in. If you don’t – Start. The more you’re name shows up the better.

Also your friends and family are wonderful promoters of your work. Have some cheap business cards printed up. www.vistaprint.com is a terrific site for all things promotion for a small investment. I got a 6 ft. banner printed up for $21. And 1000 business cards for $10. That’s pretty cheap marketing. Your friends won’t have any problem handing them out for you. Also get creative about it, leave them with your tip for your waitress, if you still mail bills put one in the envelope, in the bathroom of any store, your hair stylist bulletin boards. You get the idea.

Self-publishing for me was a way for me to indulge my impatient nature and to also tap into some of the other things that I enjoy. But I caution you about it. Awareness of you and your book may take longer, and there will be a period of trial and error but that’s true for everything -even publishing through a traditional publisher. One more place that was an eye-opener was http://www.vickydreiling.com/blog/ She has an amazing post on social media and sales. Read it. It was very informative. She spent years in Marketing and is very knowledgeable about it.

Self:Publishing – Go for it!! And Good luck!

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Lacy: The Doves of Primrose

By: Krista Kedrick

 

Blurb

Lacy Weston… or is it Campbell? Hell her husband took off so fast he may as well take his name with him. She is trying to run the historic family bed and breakfast out in the middle of the prairie while coping with her husband’s desertion, trying to keep up with her two best friends and oh yeah, the movie production that has landed in the middle of The Dove House and taken over, bringing former rodeo champion, famous actor and Lacy’s old flame with it.

The last thing Lacy needs…

Kyle McClintock is back in Primrose to shoot his latest western blockbuster and to see if the passion he and Lacy Weston had so many years ago could be reclaimed. Yes, he had ulterior motives when requesting his old hometown for the set, but he may get more than he bargained for. Strange happenings, hot tempers and Indian summer nights may prove too much for this cowboy.

Nobody ever said it was easy loving a Weston.

 

Trailer: http://youtu.be/D0F_JWgPHK4

 Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lacy-The-Doves-Primrose-ebook/dp/B00DCWJC7U/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1371345625&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=lacy%2C+the+doves+of+primrose

 

B&N:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lacy-krista-kedrick/1115620900?ean=2940016709284

 

 Krista

 

Author Info

Hi y’all! I’m Krista Kedrick and I’m a country loving writer. I write stories with the country way of life in mind. Yes, they have cowboys and cowgirls, ranches, tractors, dogs, children and your occasional bar room brawl, but in the end they are down home people who do the right thing and find a love more powerful and promising than your everyday story. Because that’s how we are. Everything is stronger, more passionate and long-lasting.

I write from my home state of Nebraska while living my dream life (well, almost). I have an amazing husband, two of the cutest daughters on the prairie and a Basset Hound who teaches me the meaning of the word “patience”.

Kick back and enjoy my books about the country life– but keep your boots off my coffee table.

 

Author Links

http://www.kristakedrick.com http://www.confessionsofacountrywriter.com (video/audio blog) 

https://www.facebook.com/KristaKedrickFans

https://twitter.com/KristaKedrick

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5106974.Krista_Kedrick

 

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway (2 Paperback/5 Digital)

Link to Rafflecopter Page, http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NTIxYWM0YzhjYmFkNDc1MDkxYzA3ZDNmMjhhM2RjOjgy/

 

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2013/05/now-booking-tasty-virtual-book-tour-for_21.html

 

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What to Read Wednesday

Welcome to What to Read Wednesday! Today we have multi-pubbed author Callie Hutton returning for another visit. She is talking about time travel which is the theme of her latest release A TUMBLE THROUGH TIME!

You’re going to enjoy her excerpt and drool over her cover :)

So, without further chit chat from me…take it away Callie…

Time travel has always fascinated me. I love the idea of being able to see how people looked, dressed, ate, and conducted their lives on a daily basis in another time.  I’d like to see what the world looked like before all the modern inventions and conveniences we have now. I often wondered what would I miss the most? Probably hot showers and a modern bathroom.

I’ve read a lot of time travel books, but my favorite remains Jack Finney’s Time And Again. I also loved Michael Crichton’s Timeline, but my all time favorite romance time travel is A Knight in Shining Armor. A lot of readers didn’t like the way that one ended, though.

It always intrigues me so see how the author gets their characters back in time, and whether they stay there, or return to the future. Before I wrote A Tumble Through Time, I did a short survey on Facebook as to how readers liked to see the book end. Past or future? The opinions were about evenly divided, but the overall consensus was, it really didn’t matter as long as there was a happy ending.

And have you ever noticed that most time travelers are women? Is it because they’re more adaptable? Or, since most time travels are romance, authors generally aim at a female audience? What I find amusing is the traveler in my favorite time travel book is a man. But that one is really not a romance, either.

In A Tumble Through Time, my character, Anna Devlin, is your usual twenty-first century woman. Not exactly a bad-ass, but definitely not ready for long dresses and ‘knowing her place.’ Wes Shannon is a marshal with demons that plague him. They help each other heal. Were they brought together for that purpose? You’ll have to read it to find out.

How about you? If you could travel in time, what time period would you pick, and if you could bring three things with you, what would they be?

tumblethroughtimefinal

Blurb:

Anna Devlin, a recently jilted bounty hunter is a modern woman from the twenty-first century. She is anxious for the hearing that will reinstate her law enforcement career, but an encounter with a strange Native American woman sends Anna back in time to the year 1870.

Federal Marshal Wesley Shannon of Denton, Kansas, has no idea where this woman with the strange clothing and way of speaking came from. Since he fights his own inner demons, the last thing he needs is an attraction to a woman who has given him no clear idea who she is.

But when danger arrives in the form of stagecoach hold ups where drivers and passengers are being killed, Anna torments Wes with plans to help him bring in the outlaws.

Will Wes be able to keep Anna out of harm’s way, or will his attraction to her distract him enough that they are both in danger?

Excerpt:

Anna was quiet on the walk to the café. Her eyes darted back and forth as she took in the sights around her, all the time fiddling with her ring, spinning the silver and black circle round and round. She continued to draw in deep breaths and chew on her lower lip, occasionally muttering ‘not possible’ under her breath, as if fighting an internal battle. Her natural color seemed to have paled, the light dusting of freckles more prominent.

Once they’d settled in their seats at the café and ordered dried apple pie and coffee, Wes rested his forearms on the table. “Tell me a little bit about this ‘Tulsa.’”

Anna cleared her throat. “It’s in Oklahoma.” She flinched when he shrugged, still not sure what she was talking about.

“Oklahoma. You know, the state south of Kansas?”

He narrowed his eyes. “The only thing south of us is Indian Territory, then Texas.”

“No,” she whispered, her eyes round as saucers.

Wes nodded at the waitress as she placed cups of coffee and two cuts of pie in front of them. She glanced at Anna, who stared straight ahead, taking in shallow breaths.

Once the waitress left, Anna nodded, as if she’d made a decision. “Wes, can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

She looked him in the eye, seeming to draw strength from within herself. “What year is this?”

His forkful of pie stopped halfway to his mouth. “What?”

Anna licked her lips and cleared her throat. “Just tell me, please. What year is this?”

He frowned and lowered the fork. “It’s eighteen hundred and seventy. Why?”

Then he leapt forward as Anna’s eyes rolled to the back of her head and her slack body slid to the floor.

Buy link: http://amzn.to/182RS7L

callie

Bio:

Callie has been making up stories since elementary school, and writing gave her a way to turn off the voices in her head. After having a number of articles and interviews published in newspapers and magazines, she took on what she’d always dreamed of. Writing that book. She currently has a number of both historical and contemporary romance books published. Visit her website for more information. http://www.calliehutton.com

She currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband and adult children who move in and out with alarming regularity. Add three rescue dogs and the household is complete—and full. She enjoys hearing from her readers, and would love to have you visit her on Facebook.

 

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10 – 4 Tuesday

Welcome to 10 – 4 Tuesday! This is a forum where we’ll feature an author and their latest release. I’ll ask our guest to share 10 things about their book and then 4 questions for fun :) So let’s get started.

Today I’m excited to have author Jenna Jaxon on the blog. I’ve gotten to know Jenna from few loops we each belong to as well as facebook. She’s a wonderful person and her latest book is in my tbr pile. She’ll be sharing her 10, followed by her 4, and then an excerpt from her book Betrothal, Book 1 of Time Enough to Love. :)

Hi Jenna, thanks for joining us for 10 – 4 Tuesday :) Betrothal with Logo-1

First the 10:

To start out, share your author bio with us…that wonderful grouping of words that is in every one of your books :)

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance.  Her historical romance, Only Scandal Will Do, the first in a series of five interconnecting novels, was released in July 2012. Her contemporary works include Hog Wild, Almost Perfect, and 7 Days of Seduction.  She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her medieval romance, Time Enough to Love, is being published this summer as a series of three novellas.  The first book, Betrothal, released on April 19th.

Jenna has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets.  When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director.  She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

What’s genre (s) do you write?

I write primarily historical romance, though I do dabble in erotic contemporary romance also.

Share the blurb from Betrothal!

Lady Alyse de Courcy has fallen in love with Lord Braeton, a nobleman in King Edward III’s court and a man to whom she has barely spoken. Fate, however, has decreed her betrothal to his best friend, Sir Geoffrey Longford—a handsome and imposing knight, yet hardly the man she wants to wed.

When Sir Geoffrey is bound in betrothal by his father, he could not have expected the beautiful stranger to win his heart the moment they meet. Nevertheless, the fascinating Lady Alyse has done exactly that, and his feelings for her only grow as he learns more of her gentle yet spirited nature. But Alyse’s infatuation with his friend casts doubt on whether she can ever return his regard and their wedding day is fast approaching…

Will he have time enough to win her love?

Love that blurb…especially the last line! Tell us the oddest, funniest, or strangest thing that has happened to you while wearing your author hat! 

Last year at my chapter’s retreat we were all sitting in the basement, around a table, writing busily.  When we broke for dinner, I started talking to one of my close friends and she said, “Did you see Mike? (her fiancé)”  I said, “He was here?  Where?”  She said, “He came right up to the door on his motorcycle.  I went over and talked to him.  You didn’t see him?”

And I said, “I didn’t even see you leave the table.”  I was so absorbed in my revision (it was actually Betrothal) I didn’t know a thing that had happened in about two hours.

Love it, you were in the zone! What are your top 5 writing tips?

1.  Finish the damn book! (Don’t stop until you write The End)

2.  Time yourself when on Twitter or Facebook (one hour each–use an egg timer)

3.  Write something every day.

4.  Don’t take reviews (either good or bad) too much to heart.

5.  Join an online critique group and find a good crit partner.

Great tips, especially the one involving facebook/twitter…therein lies my dilemma! lol When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Did you just always know, or was there a “moment”?

I’ve always loved to write (first short story was in 3rd grade), but the “moment” occurred when I’d just read Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’s Everlasting, and thought, “I can write a book like that.”

What was your favorite part about writing Betrothal

Falling in love with my characters.  They’ve become so real to me I think of them as people.  I also loved the research.

What makes your book different from other books written in the same genre?

I’ve chosen the medieval period that encompasses the advent of the Bubonic Plague, and the plague figures prominently in Book 3 of the series, which I think sets it apart.  I’ve also broken a few of the “unwritten rules” of romance–especially in Book 2.  Stay tuned for those. :)

Was there a scene in your book that gave you a lot of trouble and you just felt like you couldn’t get it right? If so, how did you work through it?

The ending of the book gave me some trouble because it’s not really the ending.  Betrothal is the first part of the book Time Enough to Love, so this part isn’t really the end.  But I needed to give the novella closure, so I kept trying different ways for it to end until I came up with something that satisfied both me and my editor.

What’s your current WIP?

I’m finishing up the 3rd revision of Betrayal, Book 2 of Time Enough to Love. But I’ve also just finished the second book in my House of Pleasure series, Only Marriage Will Do.  And this coming weekend I’m starting to expand my historical romance short story Heart of Deception into a novella.

Now the 4:

Congratulations, you were chosen by the royal family to name William and Kate’s first child. Tell us what name you’d choose for a boy and also a girl and then why you picked those names :)

For a boy, I’d choose Phillip after grandpapa (I really like that name too) and for a girl, Diana (yes, I would go there), especially because one day she would rule England. :)

I like Diana too…nice choices!

You were part of a horrific scientific experiment that went wrong. Your skin is now a flashing neon green, you can’t eat anything unless it’s through a straw and you can only speak five words. Which five words would you be able to speak?

Someone just kill me now!

LOL! I didn’t expect that :)

All the television stations pooled together and chose one person to pick a show to run 24/7 for 365 days…and you won. What television show would you pick to run over and over again?

Grey’s Anatomy–I’m a huge fan of their writing and I would watch it 24/7 if I could.

A magic genie offers you the chance to live the life of any fictional character in any book for one week. Which book and which character would you choose?

Jo Beverley’s Devilish and I would, of course, be Diana, Countess of Arradale.

Thanks for sharing your 10 and your 4 Jenna.  Please share an excerpt of your book BETHROTHAL.

Geoffrey knew he had displeased her once more and cursed inwardly. He was ruining this opportunity but could not fathom how to repair the damage. She walked beside him woodenly, her hand like a dry stick on his arm.

I have faced enemy troops with less trepidation than this.

As they wound their way toward the chapel, thoughts of battle strategies filled his head and he decided to seize the offensive tack. He doubted he could make things worse.

“You have been at court but a short while, Lady Alyse? I did not meet you here last Christmas.” Not only a ploy to get her to talk, but to learn about her as well. If she would take the bait.

“No, sir. We did not meet.” She looked up at him and some of the fear retreated from her face. “I arrived at Windsor but two months ago. Before that, I was in the household of Lord Penburthy, in service to his wife, Lady Elizabeth. I have lived in the north these past ten years.”

He had not heard her speak so much at one time. Her low-pitched voice had a melodious quality—a pleasure to listen to. “Were you excited, then, to come to court?” Geoffrey experienced a giddy rush when he saw a tentative smile play about her lips.

“Aye, my lord, I came here eagerly. ’Tis very grand, especially after Merwyck Castle, near the Scottish border. A place beautiful, but wild. The castle did not have as many comforts as I find here.”

“What comforts?” He was fascinated by the way she blossomed before his eyes.

“Oh, warmth for one. Being so far north, the castle stayed cold always, even in summer. There were four other girls who served Lady Elizabeth, and we slept all in one room. Very noisy at night. To share with only one person here is like heaven.”

Geoffrey held his breath, for as soon as the words were out she colored prettily and darted a fearful glance at him. He had valiantly bitten back his amusement, yet still she noticed.

A delicate black eyebrow lifted. “You have a comment, my lord?”

Geoffrey laughed. As they arrived at the chapel, he took her hand, feeling that almost familiar rush of fire through his. “I would say, my lady, you are indeed perceptive. To share a room, or bed, with one other person can be like heaven.” He lifted her fingers to his lips, tingles firing off like sparks, and handed her into the chapel.

He watched with a hunger in his belly as Alyse’s luscious blue-clad form sped down the aisle to her place with the princess. Before she pushed past Lady Anne, she paused to throw a look over her shoulder at him. He nodded his farewell, intensely aware that his hunger would go unappeased a while longer.

:) So excited you joined me for 10 – 4 Tuesday! Before we wave good-bye, let us know if there are any other links you’d like to share so that we can find you and your book online.

Buy Links for Betrothal:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Betrothal-Time-Enough-Love-ebook/dp/B00CF6UZFW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1367976378&sr=1-1&keywords=betrothal

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/307838

B & N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/betrothal-jenna-jaxon/1115182506?ean=2940044481251

My Links:

Blog:  http://jennajaxon.wordpress.com/

Twitter:  @Jenna_Jaxon

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenna-Jaxon/146857578723570

 
 

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What to Read Wednesday

Welcome to What to Read Wednesday! Please help me welcome author Sandy Appleyard! I’m turning over my blog to her today and she’s sharing a wonderful tip on how she overcomes writing a troublesome scene. Afterward please check out her romantic suspense release The Wife of a Lesser Man.

Also, if you follow this link you can enter Sandy’s $15 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway along with a copy of The Wife of a Lesser Man…click here. (please scroll all the way to the bottom to find the rafflecopter)

Take it away Sandy…

What do you do When You’re Stuck Writing a Scene?

Some writers get stuck coming up with a book idea, a title or any other major part of their masterpiece.  My major issue is getting stuck writing a scene.  Here’s a simple technique I use to stop writer’s block and keep the work flowing.

First and most importantly: don’t stop writing.

I use a free-for-all writing technique where I simply write up a problem scene, no matter how flat, silly or relevant it is.  I write and then make notes at the bottom as to what the purpose of the scene should be.

Then I take a break, get a snack or do something different for a half hour or so (use your discretion in the amount of time away-just don’t leave it for more than a day or you’re more likely to give up).  I don’t think about the scene at all.  When I come back, I read the chapter before the problem scene, then the problem scene and my notes.

Ninety percent of the time I’ll come up with a much better way to write the scene or edit it so it reads as it should.  It works for me and it’s much better than simply giving up and shelving your work.

Tip: break the scene up.  One of the best ways to get stuck in a scene is by putting too much importance and/or action in it.

In the last scene of my book The Wife of a Lesser Man, I wanted to give the reader an important message: that the main character had forgiven his wife and whatever happened in the course of the book; all that mattered was that she was okay and that they could move on.  I wanted to show the unconditional love he still had for her.

This placed way too much importance on the scene, making it too difficult to write.  Instead, I reflected the main character’s feelings throughout the last part of the book.  Meaningful dialogue was added to different scenes in the latter half of the story.  The message was delivered much better in the end and it made the scene almost like the last word; like the icing on the cake.

Writing a scene involves so many elements, but once you’ve written hundreds of them, you’ll realize that with practice, naturally you’ll get better.  Just keep writing those scenes; never give up and always believe that you’ll get it perfect with a little perseverance, faith and of course, patience.

What do you do when you’re stuck on a scene?  Do you have any special techniques or tips to share?

About The Wife of a Lesser Man

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They were deeply in love, their days and nights filled with scintillating romance and passionate love making—even after 20 years of marriage. Then fate delivered a hammer blow when a heart attack led to Mark’s impotency and Shelley’s unbearable frustration.Encouraged by a friend, Shelley becomes flirtatious and unfaithful, finding those moments of glorious intimacy for which she hungered with another man. Mark, a police chief, suspects nothing as he channels all his time and energy into tracking down a serial killer. But when the murderer leaves a terrifying final clue too close to home, only Shelley can solve the case. 



Excerpt

Present DayI stood and listened, waiting to hear anything that would tell me he was alive. I was standing in the vestibule between the waiting room and the emergency room. My ear was pressed up against the metal doors, which left only a small opening so that I could eavesdrop. My hands supported my weight; fingers spread out, knuckles white. My heart was racing, I felt like I would throw up at any second, and an incessant shiver coursed through my body. Yes, people were staring at me. But I was sure no one had just arrived with their husband showing no vital signs.

“Nurse! Get the paddles! We’re losing him again!”

“Clear!”

A bang and a strange noise, then silence.

“Again!” “Clear!” The same strange noise and more silence.

My tears began to flow. More people stared at me.

“Excuse me, Ma’am? Maybe you would be more comfortable waiting in the private room?” I heard her voice off in the distance, but I ignored it. I was waiting for the next words from the doctor.

“Ma’am? Mrs. Tame?” I looked at her but her words didn’t register.

She put her arm around my shoulder, like we were old high school chums. Her voice was comforting but firm, like when my mother used to know that I was sick and insisted I take my medicine. “Come with me, Mrs. Tame; you’ll be more comfortable in another room”. She took one step but I didn’t follow. My feet stayed firmly planted on the floor.

“Please Ma’am, you shouldn’t be here. You need to come with me.” Her voice was unrelenting. Her hand grasped my side but I broke free.

“No! You cannot take me away! I need to know!” I was yelling.

“We will update you as soon as we hear anything Ma’am, I promise.” Her words became comforting again.

“No! I’m staying right here! My husband is right in there! I’m not leaving this spot until I know!” I yelled, pointing at my feet. My tears and blubbering barely made my words understandable.

The nurse’s name tag read “Lilly”. She was plump and looked like she could restrain me if I made trouble. Lilly looked around the room, duly noting all the faces staring at me. Her point proven, she attempted once more to remove me from the door. I relented.

As we walked to the ‘private room’, Lilly picked up a tissue out of a nearby box and handed it to me. The one-ply tissue came apart the second I dabbed my eyes. Thank god I didn’t wipe my nose with it. I used the cuff of my jacket for that. The corridor that she led us down was a comforting reminder of the hospital where our kids were born. Jessica was born nineteen years ago, when I was just twenty years old. She was unexpected, or a ‘surprise’ as everyone called it. Mark and I were not engaged but we were living together and so in love.

Jennifer, our baby, was another ‘surprise’, born just a year later. The hospital where I gave birth had a unique weave pattern on the wall covering, just like this one. I ran my fingers down it as I walked, feeling the texture. It brought me back to a place where we were all healthy and celebrating new beginnings. I realized just then how much I missed my kids; they were off at college. I was alone. The thought of being alone the rest of my life was terrifying.

I willed myself not to think about it. Mark was still alive; he had to be. He was being pushed too hard down at the station; he was the police chief for his precinct over the last fifteen years and it was finally too much. The doctor had repeatedly warned him that his blood pressure and cholesterol were really high. The cardiologist put him on a strict diet and exercise program and insisted that he reduce his work hours. That was six months ago. But Mark has always been very devoted and loyal, and most of the time he spread himself too thin.

Lilly opened the door to the private room, switched on the light and gestured I should take a seat. There was a comfortable looking three seated couch on one wall, and several other waiting room style chairs along the other walls. Right in the middle of the room stood a large coffee table lined with various magazines ranging from tabloids to medical journals. There was also a phone at the end of the table. Lilly indicated that I was welcome to use that phone if I needed to do so.

I sat on the couch and immediately began chewing my nails.

“Can I get you anything Mrs. Tame?” she asked, taking a small pad and pen out of her pocket.

“Shelley,” I offered.

“Sure. Can I call anyone for you Shelley?” She asked, leaning over me, placing her hand on my shoulder.

I whispered “Um….no, I, I’m going to call my kids.”

She nodded and was about to leave when I quickly raised my head “Just please let me know the minute you have any news of my husband,” I begged, unable to stop the tears.

She nodded and closed the door behind her.

For a moment I wished Lilly would return, so I wouldn’t be alone. I slowly rubbed my face and ran my fingers through my hair. I found a box of two-ply tissues underneath the coffee table. They give the better tissues to the people who really needed it, I thought to myself. I wiped my face and blew my nose then picked up the phone. My memory failed me; I couldn’t remember Jessica’s dorm room number. She had just received a new one the other day and I hadn’t recorded it in my cell phone. I knew Jennifer couldn’t handle what was happening to her father; she had just broken up with her first boyfriend, so I thought it best to wait.

The one number I could recall was Sarah’s; my best friend since high school. She introduced Mark and me, and owned a small costume jewellery store downtown. Since it was only eight o’clock and I knew she would still be at the store, I tried her there.

“Good evening Sarah’s,” she greeted cheerfully.

“It’s me,” I said, trying to stifle a sniffle.

Sarah’s voice turned serious “Hey….is everything okay?”

“No, it’s Mark.” I began to cry again.

I could hear keys jiggling in the background “Where are you?”

“The hospital….in the private room.”

“Jesus Christ. Sit tight, I’m on my way.”

If only Mark had used our home library more in the past year, instead of cooping himself up in that office. Speaking from experience, I know that he could never get a moment’s peace in there. So many times I would call or even stop by on my way home from work, and he would be bombarded by handfuls of people constantly. It came to a point where I had to stop myself from visiting because it was unfair to him with all the pressure that he was under. He was considered a man of integrity and respect at the station, so nobody ever second guessed him and they always looked to him for direction. Mark was a strong leader at his precinct long before he made chief of police. The look on everyone’s faces told me that title was just a formality. He earned his loyalty after the shootout.

God, I’d almost forgotten about that. Mark is such a modest man that he never mentions it. It happened about ten years ago. His name was James Gruber, and he was a convicted rapist and murderer who had served his time and was free on parole. He escaped his parole officer’s watch one night and attacked an entire family. It was all over the news. Gruber was in the area of Mark’s precinct and so all hands were on deck to catch this monster. The 911 call came from a neighbour who heard screaming at 2am. Based on Gruber’s past, Mark knew he would go for the wife first. He was no pedophile, so rather than play Gruber’s game; Mark created a diversion and got the wife out first. As the rest of the team got in to free the remaining family, Mark took Gruber head on. Gruber was shot and Mark earned his rightful place shortly after as Chief of Police.

He always took his role very seriously. Sometimes I wonder how he did it. Up until a year ago, Mark had no trouble balancing family and work. Myself, well, my teaching job quickly became permanent part time after the girls were born. My balancing act was never much of a challenge. Our children have always been such a blessing; they never gave us any trouble. There was the expected teenage drama but nothing else. It was easy for me to work part time and still look after the house and the kids. Mark’s salary and mine combined led us into what most would call a charmed life.

Was this what my life would be now? Sitting alone in a room without my kids or my husband? My tears began to flow again when the door opened. It was Lilly, with Sarah in tow. Sarah came to me as Lily closed the door and left the room.

I tried to stand but it was more of a stumble since my knees had turned to jelly.

“Oh my god! What happened?” Sarah asked as she hugged me.

“I don’t know. I was just on my way home from yoga when he called me.” I said, wiping my nose with my hand.

“He sounded weird and said I better come home, that he wasn’t feeling well. And you know Mark, he never complains, so I knew it was bad.”

“So did you make it home before the ambulance came?”

“Well yeah. I mean I was already almost on our street. He hadn’t even called the ambulance yet. When I walked in he was on the floor”

Sarah embraced me tenderly.

“He wanted to call me first before the ambulance. I don’t know why. I guess he didn’t want me to worry if I got home and saw the scene without knowing. God! Why didn’t he just call the ambulance instead of waiting for me?” I stomped my foot in frustation as I let out a large sob.

“Oh sweetie, if he wasn’t well, then he probably wasn’t thinking clearly. Was he fine when you left for yoga?”

“Well, I didn’t see him before that. We spoke earlier and he said he had to work late again so I went straight to yoga after dinner. I didn’t wait to see him.” I said, thinking how selfish I was. I should have waited to see him before leaving. But how was I to know it might be the last time I would see him coherent?

“Oh honey, honey, don’t blame yourself.” Sarah rubbed my back and shook her head.

“You are not psychic. You had no idea this was going to happen. You said yourself; Mark never complains.”

I nodded.

“So what do the doctors say?”

“I’ve no idea, I’m still waiting. I…I….kn..know his heart stop-“My sobbing wouldn’t allow me to finish my sentence. Sarah took me in her arms once again.

“Do you need to call anyone?” Sarah asked.

I sniffled and dabbed my eyes “Oh God, how am I going to tell the kids?”

“You don’t have to do that. That’s why I’m here.”

“Oh, I can’t let you do that. They should hear it from me.”

“Well, let’s at least wait until we hear something. I mean, either way, you don’t want to spread panic.”

“You’re right. I need some time to compose myself.”

Suddenly, Lilly walked in with a blank expression on her face. My heart sank and I felt everything in my body let go. Sarah grabbed my arm before I hit the ground. The world went black.

About Sandy Appleyard

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This is Sandy’s fourth self-published book and her second novel. Her first romantic mystery, Blessed and Betrayed was received very well by readers and reviewers and was given an average of 4.25 stars on Goodreads and Amazon. Sandy wrote her first two books, which are memoirs, while her children were infants. The Message in Dad’s Bottle is about her father, who tragically passed at the age of 41 from alcoholism, and I’ll Never Wear a Backless Dress tells Sandy’s personal story about her life with Scoliosis. 

Sandy is a full time writer and when she isn’t writing she’s reading, exercising, playing with her children, her cat, or obsessively cleaning her house.


The Wife of a Lesser Man by Sandy Appleyard
Genre: Romantic Suspense

 

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