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

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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?

Valentine’s Day

Happy Heart Day to all those that celebrate it anyway!  Any big plans?  I have none, but I did get my favorite chocolates from my daughter and husband.

heart 2

If I am lucky my daughter and I will watch a sappy love story – in her mind that is probably going to be Tangled.  Whatever, I can live with that.  What is your favorite Valentine’s day movie or book?  If i had my vote I would watch The Holiday.

Suggested holiday reading:

Valentines Delights

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 – Vonnie Davis and the Men in Her Life

And the winners are: Kiersi and Nona!! Congratulations.

Have you ever wondered where the men come from in stories?  I know I often wonder about the brain behind the hunk and today we have a huge treat! Vonnie Davis, a very entertaining woman, is talking about the men who have popped in and out of her life – on paper that is.  Kleenex might be necessary to keep drool off of your shirt or to wipe away tears as you laugh out loud at her experiences.  Stick around to the end of the post and comment.  Vonnie is giving away copies of her short story A Taste of Chocolate.

Get your comments in by Saturday the 9th at Midnight!!!!  You don’t want to miss out your chance to win A Taste of Chocolate.

Take it away Vonnie!

********************************

VonnieI’m thrilled to visit with you today on Michelle’s blog. Who on earth is Vonnie Davis, you’re probably asking? Well, I’m a retired technical writer and an extra-fluffy grandma who also writes sweet to steamy romances. And I’m here to tell you the men just won’t leave me alone!

My heroes come to me at night when I am in that fragile, fluttery state between wakefulness and sleep. With them, they bring their stories. Take the cowboy who strutted into our bedroom wearing nothing but a Stetson, cowboy boots and a go-to-hell sneer. My snoring husband never noticed, but I was certainly all eyes. This “sighting” became the beginning to my award winning, debut novel, Storm’s Interlude.

One night a man on a Harley roared into our bedroom. When he uncurled his frame from the bike, I somehow knew he was wearing a prosthesis to replace the leg he’d lost in Iraq. He removed his helmet, sat on the edge of our bed and introduced himself as Win. He’d met a woman, you see, and wanted their story told, and it was in Those Violet Eyes.

 Imagine my shock the night a tumbleweed blew into our bedroom followed by a huge man on horseback, a little boy settled on the saddle in front of him. His horse prancing and turning, the rider tipped his cowboy hat. “I need a mother for my son and a woman to warm my bed.” And Tumbleweed Letters was born.

I’d been tossing around the idea of writing a romantic suspense trilogy set in Paris, my favorite city. While I loosely plotted, I hoped my subconscious would once again be open to nocturnal male visits. One night when I was especially tired, our bedroom door slammed. I sat straight up in the bed. What was that? Thinking I was dreaming, I snuggled against hubs and was almost asleep when the door slammed again.

This time I saw the rascal—dark, wavy hair like a GQ model and mega doses of sex appeal. Niko told me he was second-in-command of the French counterterrorism unit and would do whatever he could to keep the women in his life safe—even me. Alrightie, then, one hero down…two to go. A couple months later, a man slowly coasted his motorcycle around and around our bed. He was dressed totally in black with alabaster angel wings flowing down his back. Jean-Luc flashed me a slow sexy-as-hell grin, and I was lost. Hero number three? Oh, he took longer to form. Until one night a man with a blond braid sat on the edge of our bed and plaid soulful notes of jazz on his saxophone, his eyes closed as he poured his soul into every note. Then Derrek opened his eyes—cobalt blue rimmed in black. “I’m here for you, Vonnie.” His voice was deep and gravelly as if he gargled with razor blades.

I’d read about an open anthology at Still Moments Publishing regarding a bit of magic and a matchmaker. Could I write something so “short” being the wordy soul I am? Declan came to me that night, holding purple roses. “They signify love at first sight,” he told me. “I’ll show you how to write my story in under twelve-thousand words.”

“Can’t be done.” I mean, it would take twelve-thousand words just to describe the magnetism of this ex-SEAL. Quite often my characters teach me valuable lessons. Declan taught me how to write short.

giveaway

I’m giving away two copies of this short story, A Taste of Chocolate, to two lucky commenters. Just tell me your favorite color of roses and leave your email address.

final_taste

BLURB: 

Hope Morningstar has the worst luck with men. One boyfriend wrote her a “Dear John” letter while serving overseas. Her latest romantic interest broke up with her in a text. When a traffic detour puts her in an unfamiliar neighborhood, she stops at Freya’s Coffee Shop where she gets more than directions. She gets another chance at finding love.

Declan Fleming, scarred by a cheating ex-wife, has given up searching for love. He’s taken the route of a few other men and engaged the services of Freya, the matchmaker. Still, he’s been waiting for a year and he’s just about given up hope. Then Freya sends him Hope.

When feelings of insecurity and trust issues come into play, can finding love stand a chance? Can the magical influence of this matchmaker create a happy ending? After all, finding that one special love often involves a bit of special magic, does it not?

“A man’s kiss should taste like chocolate, dark flavor melting, doing sensual things to you.” Freya, the Matchmaker

Excerpt

Her stomach cramped, and she couldn’t seem to take one deep, complete breath. She eyed the paper bag she kept in her purse. If she hyper-ventilated, she’d need it. Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God, I am freaking insane.

Once he came, if he came, she’d give him ten minutes, and then she was out of here. She didn’t care how good looking he was. Wait, she’d decided to go for content of character, not looks. This change in priorities would take time. Old habits were hard to break. Her gaze swept the area. With any luck he wouldn’t show.

“Don’t turn around.” A deep voice behind her sent chills up her spine. “I’m Declan, the man Freya sent. I know you’re scared, but don’t be. There’s no need.”

Why couldn’t she look at him? Was he butt-ugly? Short and fat? What? Remember, I’m not going to concentrate on his looks. I’m making wiser choices this time. I’m looking at the man on the inside, not the hunk on the outside. She exhaled a long, slow breath. “Okay.”

“Close your eyes for just a second.”

Oh, this was just too weird. Even so, she closed them. Something satiny soft rubbed over her cheek and she jerked. Roses. She smelled roses. Velvety softness caressed her chin.

“Rose petals are very soft, aren’t they?”

“Yes.” They were also very sensual when rubbed over her face. “I’m opening my eyes now.” Enough playing games. Every person in the food court had to be watching them.

“As you wish.” He held a small bouquet in front of her. “Purple roses are for love at first sight. Purple irises are the flower of hope.”

There were two purple roses and two irises snuggled in a bed of baby’s breath and tied with a pink ribbon. What a charming gesture. Don’t weaken. Be strong. Don’t let him suck you in.

“And the baby’s breath?” She’d yet to look at him, but took his sentimental offering from his calloused hand. “What does that flower mean?”

“Sincerity.” He stepped to her side, and her gaze lifted. “Hello, Hope. I’m Declan Fleming.” He extended his hand and she placed hers in his for a handshake. Something swift and searing zinged to her heart.

He had the most incredible blue eyes she’d ever seen. Not pale blue or sky blue, but cobalt.

Declan settled in the chair across from her. “Thank you for agreeing to meet me on such short notice.”

Something about his voice set her insides to trembling. She lifted the small bouquet to her nose and inhaled their heady fragrance, giving her nerves time to settle after that handshake—as if they could settle with those cobalt eyes taking her in. “Thank you for the flowers.”

“I thought if I showed a measure of gallantry, you wouldn’t be so scared of me.”

“Gallantry?” Who used that word anymore? She shook her head. “This is very kind of you, but I’m not scared.” One of his dark eyebrows arched. “Okay, yes I’m nervous. Scared spitless, actually.”

“Understandable.” He had black hair combed straight back and touching the collar of his blue shirt. A closely cropped mustache and beard lent a dangerous air to his narrow face. Oh, my.

“Freya was right. Blue does bring out the color of your eyes.” Gracious, but the man was muscular. Round, firm shoulders and large biceps. His knit shirt stretched over well-defined pecs. What would it feel like to be held against him? Oh, girl, don’t even go there.

Buy through AMAZON 

Visit me at my website

I’d love to see you at my blog: http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

 

I just want to say I realize now at 3:34pm on THURSDAY that it is not Friday.  I will blame my pregnancy brain, but more then likely it was wishful thinking.  Enjoy a day early.

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 Jennifer Eaton and Where She Writes

When you think of an author, do you think of a pristine writing space?  Space that is whimsical and orderly?  Ha, I don’t.  My space looks like something blew up.  Well I find it fascinating to know that I am not the only one.  I am sure when I told Jennifer she was my Fun Fact Friday victim she didn’t envision me doing a post a her desk.  But frankly that is a fun fact to me.

She likes Barbies and fish.  She has graphic design software.  This woman is someone I can relate to.  The Fun Fact is that you can write in whatever space is you.  Your writing doesn’t have to be an alter ego. In fact, you will write better if you let yourself come through.  Surround yourself in whatever makes you happy.  For me, I LOVE Post-it notes!

Original Source Kelly Said

Author Jennifer Eaton is an author of TWO new releases “Make Believe” and “For the Love of Christmas.”  Visit her blog for more information.  Her stories are getting AMAZING reviews so check out these two books.  (E-books can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and Smashwords.) Get into the Christmas Spirit!!

For the Love of ChristmasMake Believe

Related Links

Amazon – For the Love of Christmas

Still Moments Buy online