Fun Fact Friday – Denise’s New Release

casualFor those following my blog you have met Denise several times.  Now it’s time to greet her new release!! An Imposter in Town.

Continue to the end to see where to buy her latest book.  Also, I had a thought.  On days were this post is more promo then ‘fun fact’ I think you have the right to ask the author questions in the comments section.  Dig into their heads a little – then again sometimes you might not always want to know what actually is in their minds 🙂

bio

Denise wrote her first story when she was in high school—seventeen hand-written pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she read. She earned a degree in accounting, giving her some nice skills to earn a little money, but her passion has always been writing. She has written numerous short stories and more than a few full-length novels. Her favorite pastimes when she’s not writing are spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and scrapbooking. She lives in Louisiana with her husband, two children, and one very chubby dog.

An Imposter in Town

Peyton Chandler hides some dark secrets behind her false identity. She’s been using her dead sister’s identity for years, hiding from multiple threats from her past. When Sheriff Brian Parker receives a note claiming there’s an impostor in town, he doesn’t know where to start his investigation. What will he do when he discovers the woman he longs for isn’t who she claims to be?

Excerpt

Peyton Chandler entered her house through the carport door and dropped her purse on the kitchen counter. A pile of unwashed dishes awaited her in the sink. Tackling the housework would have to wait another day. Every muscle in her tired body groaned.

She glanced at the envelope in her hand postmarked New Orleans. Johanna’s letters arrived twice a year without fail. The return addresses were always a post office box—the zip codes from all over the country. She ripped the envelope open with a shaky hand. A picture of Jake nestled between the folds of a short note. I need four thousand dollars. J. She would have cut the woman off years ago if it weren’t for the boy.

Her eyes riveted on Jake’s likeness. He had slate gray eyes, sandy brown hair, and attractive Powell features like his biological father. Trim and tall. Handsome already. Nothing about Jake resembled her husband, but then Jake wasn’t her husband’s child. She was already pregnant when Mason Osborne married her.

Thoughts of Mason sent shivers down her spine. She wondered if he was still looking for them. His anger with her when he discovered her pregnancy by another man was only the beginning of his animosity toward her. Mason’s abuse only grew harder when he discovered Jake’s biological father was his nephew.

She left Mason before Jake was born, but he’d found her and dragged her back to the ranch with him. He had promised her he’d kill her if she left him again. Worse yet, he’d take her child away from her. She couldn’t let that happen, so she took the chance, got some help from Johanna, and ran anyway.

She counted the years. Jake would be eleven years old now. It’s been so long since I’ve seen him. He was so young when we left Albuquerque. She trudged down the hallway to her bedroom and laid the picture on her nightstand. The photo would go in the album with the others—an album she didn’t dare show anyone.

Guilt pressed down on her psyche. She needed a shower. Running the water as hot as she could stand, she scoured her skin until it was raw and allowed the cleansing liquid to sluice over her body and wash her remorse down the drain. But no matter how hard she scrubbed, there was still plenty of regret to stain her conscience.

She stumbled out of the stall and tripped on the surround. The heat dizzied her. She wrapped her robe around her and leaned against the bathroom counter, unwilling to face her reflection in the mirror.

The phone rang in the other room. She raced to catch it before the last ring, but picked up a second too late. Out of breath, she dropped onto the edge of the bed and clutched the comforter. Her skin throbbed from the abuse in the shower. She grabbed a bottle from the nightstand and smoothed on lotion to soothe the abuse. With a weary sigh, she gazed out the window. The nearby mountains rose in the distance, but the scene’s usual therapy provided no comfort. Jake’s picture beckoned her to take another look.

Thoughts of her baby snatched at her heart. She wiped a stray tear from the surface of the photo. Everything she did, she did for him—to hide him and protect him from the evil men that would destroy her by destroying him.

author

www.denisemoncrief.com

www.denisemoncrief.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/DeniseMoncriefAuthor

https://twitter.com/dmoncrief0131

http://www.amazon.com/Denise-Moncrief/e/B007Y6Z1CU

Where to Buy:

Still Moments Publishing eBook Store
Smashwords
CreateSpace for POD Print
Amazon kindle

The Editor and the Author – Round Two of Re-writes

What did you expect after the contract was sighed?  Did you think you would get line by line edits and be ready to go?  Because I have known a few authors I had a little more of a realistic idea of how things would go.  Although each editor has their own approach.edits

The first round of edits worked out a major plot issue that needed to be addressed to make the story satisfying for readers.  Now on to the second round of edits.

The second round of edits are still rewrites, but a lot less substantial then possibly having to change a major plot point.  My editor is great at giving leading advice.  She steers you in the direction that makes the most sense while still allowing for my own creative voice.  Once my story is published I will give specific examples, but for now I feel the need to be general in a specific sort of way.

Some example comments:

 “Here is another place to be very specific.”  What I learned from this statement, is that even though word count matters, don’t skimp.  People actually do care about specifics.  I always hate when authors go into random details that have no bearing on the story.  What I failed to realize is that a characters past love interests matter, even if just a one liner; generalization of “all his past girlfriends” may not cut it. My change now says ‘the girl who expected him to change everything, or the girl who refused to visit him in the hospital, and the list goes on and on.’ Or close to that. This actually falls under show vs tell.

“Here is sounds like they actually were dating because you use the word date.”  Although in my mind the word date doesn’t mean to actually date, it does give off the impression doesn’t it? Word choices are huge.  If you don’t want someone to get the wrong idea, stop and think.  What was it they were actually doing and describe the action.  In my case they weren’t on a coffee date, they were meeting up for hot cocoa– the closest they could ever get to a date.

“This is a huge moment and deserves more dialogue.”  Another show vs tell situation. That moment in your book that is a catalyst or the turning point, something huge, shouldn’t be all internal monologue.  Yes, we care about their feelings, but show this through dialogue or action vs. feeling.

“Great place for a new chapter.”  Obviously means start a new chapter – the why?  It gives more emphasis to the major milestone before it.

“Heroines don’t use the word retarded.” This was not meant in an non PC way.  I used this word instead of profanity.  I should have stuck with simple and said “jerk”.  When putting words in your characters mouths – yes they need to fit the character, but check who your audience is.

“Why didn’t you type out the email?”  I had an email in my story.  Why didn’t I type it out? Word count really.  That and now I have to actually figure out how to make it that the supporting character isn’t hated, but the heroine is still crushed.  Oh bugger!

And yes, the list goes on and on.  But the good news is, most of these can be fixed with a word change or an addition to a sentence or two.  There are only a few changes that suggest building the world a bit more –but also not a hard change here and there.

So again what did you expect when you signed the contract OR when you get a contract would you have thought that there could be multiple rewrites before detailed edits started?

The Editor and the Author-and What Your Beta Readers Didn’t Say

So you’ve had a story accepted for publication now what? The editing process could seem a little scary or exciting depending on who you are and how crazy you might be.  Well I am happy to be learning from this process, so for me, I go with exciting for now.Hit the Nail Head

Your first step towards officially being published is to meet your editor! What do you expect an editor to do?  Do expect them to look at your work day one and think you are a literary genius?  Well, that would be nice, but not realistic.  Why do I think that?  Well most likely the beta readers you had missed something.  Or what if you didn’t have beta readers?  You will defiantly missed something.  Being too close to your own work you will miss some crazy detail, but having beta readers isn’t always the 100% surefire answer either.

My first official request was to rewrite a few pieces of my manuscript and I have beta readers. None of them caught something the Editor did.  When I got her initial response , the first thought in my head was “where have you been my whole life.”  Of course I really mean for the writing part of my life of course. None of my readers told me that I had a character that actually made the story emotionally unsatisfying.  Let me clarify.  In a Romance almost always, all relationships are resolved in the end.  A romance by definition needs to have a happily ever after ending, but that doesn’t stop at Mr. Right.

Here is what she meant.  I had a supporting character that was crazy.  Not crazy like she had a millions cats, although I could see that happening, but she was the reason why my main character couldn’t allow herself to be with the man she dreamed of.  I had to step back for a moment and look at this supporting character. It dawned on me, I write romance and romance readers expect resolution for all parties in a positive manner – except in paranormal YA.  That’s another issue.  Anyway, in the end my main character has to move past her issues with the crazy supporting character and just ignore the problem.  Well, since the ‘crazy girl’ is supposed to be the main characters BFF it is emotionally unsettling to have this relationship left hanging.  I 100% agree.

So what do you do when looking for beta readers?

  • Find readers who know the genre you write.  If someone reads Romantic Suspense and you write Romantic Comedy the odds are you will only get half helpful feedback.
  • Find readers who know a little about the craft if possible.  Do they understand the basic parts of a book in your genre?
  • Is the reader a member of the target audience?

If you can say yes to one of the above you have a reliable source to start with. Your editor will still find holes and gaps, it’s what they are good at.  The difference is that you will start with a quality story that might have fewer issues than it might have had if you didn’t have a few outside pairs of eyes.

Be aware that Beta reading isn’t for the faint of heart and in the end you still need to trust your gut.  Also realize that family, although trustworthy, may not always be brutally honest.  The best gift a writer can get is some really harsh CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.  You aren’t perfect and therefore neither is your story.

What is your experience with beta reading or are you still working up the courage to branch out?  We’ve all been there!

Related Posts:

Rachel Gardner

 

Fun Fact Friday – Author Denise Moncrief and Her Alter-self

Denise MoncriefBehind every book is a mysterious author right?  Um, no.  Not really.  Although behind every book is an author who may or may not want to share her personal life with the public.  Having a stalker isn’t really that romantic no matter what a romance author can spin.  Author Denise Moncrief took precautions in her career as a writer and protected who her alter ego is.

I imagine that this is all somewhat being like a super hero.  Imagine Miss Linda X with a mask on as she writes under the guise of Denise Moncrief.  Okay really – why did Miss X go with a pen name?  Two very good reasons.  One was to keep her personal life private.  In her wordsMy main reason was that I wanted my private identity and my public persona to be separate. The idea is to make it harder for someone to stalk me, right? Besides, my legal last name? You either have to be born with that name or really love the guy to marry it! (I really love my guy!)  

Shoosh – don’t tell poor Mr. X about his last name.

The second reason was because believe it or not there were a lot of people out there that shared her REAL name.  By choosing a new name to write under she made herself highly searchable and easy to find.  I am a little jealous I didn’t think of this.  I love her quote for this. Let’s face it. Authors love to write, but we also want to sell what we write.”

 So for anyone thinking they might want to use a Pen name think about why and how.  I will be doing a post on the pro’s and con’s but I think Miss. X gave us two very valid reasons to choose a fun alter ego.

New Release

Available from 5 Prince Publishing Her latest release Crisis of Identity

Tess Copeland is an operator. Her motto? Necessity is the mother of a good a con. When Hurricane Irving slams into the Texas Gulf coast, Tess seizes the opportunity to escape her past by hijacking a dead woman’s life, but Shelby Coleman’s was the wrong identity to steal. And the cop that trails her? He’s a U.S. Marshall with the Fugitive Task Force for the northern district of Illinois. Tess left Chicago because the criminal justice system gave her no choice. Now she’s on the run from ghosts of misdeeds past—both hers and Shelby’s.

Enter Trevor Smith, a pseudo-cowboy from Houston, Texas, with good looks, a quick tongue, and testosterone poisoning. Will Tess succumb to his questionable charms and become his damsel in distress? She doesn’t have to faint at his feet—she’s capable of handling just about anything. But will she choose to let Trevor be the man? When Tess kidnaps her niece, her life changes. She must make some hard decisions. Does she trust the lawman that promises her redemption, or does she trust the cowboy that promises her nothing but himself?

Excerptfrom Crisis of Identity:

The room had already filled five times with sea-soaked bodies. The dead lay head-to-foot, column-by-column, row-by-row, ten by twenty. Victim 973 had scrawled her Social Security number down her left arm just as she’d been instructed. I noted the number on my log and moved on, trying hard not to think about the person, concentrating only on the morbid job some pushy cop forced on me.

Across the high school gymnasium, a man worked the other end of the column. As his stealthy glances trailed me around the gym, the acid in my overwrought stomach churned every time our eyes met.

“Want to take a break?” His sudden question reverberated throughout the cavernous space.

I curled one tendril of hair around my left ear. “Sure.”

I followed him into the locker room, grabbing a foam cup and filling it with tepid coffee. The man did the same from another urn. The burnt brew left traces of bitterness in my mouth. I rubbed my tongue over my teeth in a vain attempt to remove the acrid leftovers.

My mind turned off for a few precious moments as I ignored the makeshift morgue on the other side of the wall. The man’s strong, masculine bass invaded my mental hideaway. “They’re starting to smell ripe.” He gulped down another ounce of artificial stimulant, staring at me over the rim of his cup.

My insides flipped. “It’s been four days.”

He nodded. “Most of these don’t have numbers.”

“Makes it harder to identify them.”

He leaned against a locker. “This group must have thought they were invincible.”

“Doesn’t everyone?” I tossed my cup into the overflowing trash. “Think they’re invincible, I mean.”

“Certain death. How do you interpret that? I think it means, ‘I stay. I die.’ Must not have sunk in until it was too late.” His sarcastic attitude unsettled me, made me want to defend the dead.

“They’ve been warned before and nothing happened.” When the locals ordered an evacuation two years before, it proved to be a false alarm. The residents of the Texas Gulf coast weren’t so easy to convince this time. It seemed no one learned a lesson from Hurricane Katrina. “And…we’re not dead.” Our eyes locked.

Someone’s presence warmed my back. The site supervisor stood over my shoulder and repeated his prerecorded rant for the millionth time. “Mandatory is mandatory. The dead ignored the warning to their own peril. If they wanted to stay put, the least they could do is write their soc number on their arms…just like they were told to do. How many times did the news people make that announcement? Write your number on your arm if you plan to stay. How hard is that?”

I shifted away from him. I didn’t dare write my number on my arm.

“Suppose the two of you take a few. You look wasted, and these guys…” He waved his hand toward the gym. “Aren’t going anywhere.”

bio

Denise wrote her first story when she was in high school—seventeen hand-written pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she read. She earned a degree in accounting, giving her some nice skills to earn a little money, but her passion has always been writing. She has written numerous short stories and more than a few full-length novels. Her favorite pastimes when she’s not writing are spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and scrapbooking. She lives in Louisiana with her husband, two children, and one very chubby dog.

Visit her web page to see other titles available.  Miss. X is a multi-published author with multiple publishers including Still Moments Publishing.

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Fun Fact Friday – Author Kelly Hashway from Agent to Publication

Ever wonder how long it takes to get from agent to publisher to release?  Well… that’s incredibly dependent on your circumstance now isn’t it?

For one writer, Kelly Hashway, it took her from February 2011 to January 2013.  But that isn’t the full story.  For her new release Touch of Death she only really waited a year for publication.  Her agent had actually sighed her for another book in another genre entirely.  Because of the overwhelming want for Touch of Death, the book she was actually signed for was listed for a later release date in order to get out the new series.

It’s a fun fact to know that even though she was signed for one book, the book she pitched to her agent afterwards is her first release! Yes that’s right.  She actually pitched it to her agent who went out to publishing houses before it was even completed.  Once you have an agent miracles do happen 🙂

Let’s help Kelly make her Paranormal YA novel release a huge success.  Touch of Death from Spencer Hill Press is available now. Visit Amazon and Barnes and Nobel.

Touch of DeathTouch of Death

Jodi Marshall isn’t sure how she went from normal teenager to walking disaster. One minute she’s in her junior year of high school, spending time with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend. The next she’s being stalked by some guy no one seems to know.

After the stranger, Alex, reveals himself, Jodi learns he’s not a normal teenager and neither is she. With a kiss that kills and a touch that brings the dead back to life, Jodi discovers she’s part of a branch of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus. A branch of necromancers that are descendents of Medusa. A branch of necromancers with poisoned blood writhing in their veins.

Jodi’s deadly to the living and even more deadly to the deceased. She has to leave her old, normal life behind before she hurts the people she loves. As if that isn’t difficult enough, Jodi discovers she’s the chosen one who has to save the rest of her kind from perishing at the hands of Hades. If she can’t figure out how to control her power, history will repeat itself, and her race will become extinct.

 

Premature Excitement

UntitledHas anything good every happened to you? I really hope you said yes to that. Well when something really good happens to me I sometimes can’t quite believe it. I feel like if I share my excitement it just might stop being true. So instead of sharing my excitement I hold it in.  Well I think today I need to change that a little.  Becuase shareing a success is as sweet as a Christmas Sugar Cookie.

I think it is safe to say that I had a short story of mine accepted for publication. There is nothing like being able to say ‘see someone else appreciates my writing too.’ Now that I have said that I should get back to writing another short that was almost done and I decided it needed a re-write.

Fun Fact Friday – Jenny Bent says, “be Tenacious”

starsJenny Bent, from The Bent Agency, started from the bottom in her career.  It’s impressive that she had a drive and knew what she wanted to do when she grew up.  Becoming an agent isn’t so easy.  So next time we, as writers, think of agents as anything but human, think again.  They struggled to get to where they are and understand we are doing the same.  The best thing we can do to help our own careers and help out the agents who need writers, is to write quality work.  Jenny Bent delivers another fun piece of advice:

 10. Tenacity is more important than anything else.  It even trumps talent, I would say.   Believe in yourself and never give up, no matter what.  -Jenny Bent

Credit given: From the Bent Agency’s blog

Do you know of any agents who write encouraging words for aspiring authors?  Share then below.

Fun fact Friday – Romance Readers and Market Performance

Do you ever wonder who is reading what?  I do all the time.  I also would love to put to rest the fear that people aren’t reading as much.  You’ll be happy to know that romance novels ranked number one in sales in the consumer market.  Romance Writers of American (RWA) claims that 14.5% of the market share goes to romance books.  The sales actually grew too.  2012 didn’t look as good, but not to worry, sales are still doing pretty decent.

So who are the people reading these books?  Well apparently 91% are women while only 9% are men.  Not too surprising I think.  Although, RWA conducted research  a year ago and found that the common readers age was starting at the age of 30.  I wonder if they did not take into account the YA Romance market?  Then again, it has been said that the largest group of YA-Romance readers are woman past the intended age.  I myself love YA.

So why are books bought?  This is what I find the most useful of all the research.  Something to also keep in mind is that the romance genre is reporting is as the fourth fasting growing e-book sale genre out there according to the NY Times.  Use this valuable reader information to help you write your story.

stats

(2012 Romance Book Consumer survey)

  • The top overall decision factor in buying a romance is the story (50 percent), with the author following at 19 percent.
  • Twenty percent of romance book buyers surveyed purchase romance at least once a month. The remainder purchase every two or three months (22.8 percent) or less frequently.
  • Impulse purchases account for a significant portion of romance book purchases, with 27 percent of purchases being “pure impulse” — they had no prior intention of buying a book.
  • Romance buyers are buying e-books to a greater extent when compared with other major fiction subgenres. E-book sales of romance books have proportionally doubled in one year, from 22 percent in Q1 2011 to 44 percent in Q1 2012.

Top “offline” factors in influencing purchase decisions:

  • Enjoying the author’s previous books
  • Book is part of a series they’re reading
  • Description on the back cover or flaps
  • Recommendation of a friend or relative

Top “online” factors in influencing purchase decisions:

  • Online bookseller websites (Amazon.com, BN.com, etc.)
  • Reading about it/seeing it online
  • Seeing it on a best-seller list
  • Author website

Why do you buy a book?  I myself take recommendations and also stop to read the blurb on the back of an eye-catching cover.

 

 

Fun Fact Friday – Kristin Nelson and What She Wants to See …Maybe

The Nelson Literary Agency is probably one of the most informative agencies I have found.  Yes there are others, and feel free to enlighten me on them in comments too.

Kristin Nelson, the founder of Nelson Literary and an agent, can’t quite sum up what she wants in submissions.  The good news is, she can’t because she feels like genre categories are limiting. What that means for writers?  Well it means that not all agents feel like you are limited to exactly the definition of a category.  Do you write romance with a hint of horror?  She isn’t going to list horror on her web site, but she’d probably love to see it.  The key take away is that if your book can fit into one of the major categories an agent wants to see, try submitting.  I have no idea how she would market a cross genre book but that’s for her to know and you to find out.

Always follow submission guidelines and obviously play up the parts of your book that fit an agents request, but don’t be afraid to send something with a bit of a genre twist.

Do you know of other agents who blog helpful information?  Share their links here for other writers.  If the agent is geared towards one genre more then another list that.  Happy Friday.

Fun Fact Friday – Susan Mallery Didn’t Always Dream of Publication

Say what!? Not all authors dream of publication from their first word?Or so they claim.

Susan Mallery didn’t even fathom writing until a college course caught her eye.  She is now a New York Times Best Seller. I love her Foot’s Gold series.  Some way to start – bumble into something and go.  She even admits her first story was awful.  See -your not alone. First books aren’t usually good.

What made me start to truly write? Well, my last straw was one more bad book making it to the silver screen – yes Twilight.  I’d dabbled for years but never actually thought I could write outside of myself.  No, I am not writing of vampires, but if Stephanie Meyer could do it, I figured I could too.  (I do love Twilight though, so don’t judge.  I am just aware that it is not the best written story.)  My high school English teacher always thought I had talent, I just finally moved past my own doubt.

What made you decide to start writing or doing whatever it is you have a passion for?  There is always a spark from somewhere.