Friday, June 28, 2013

Shaking Up The Writing World

I have a question to all those editor's out there...why is head-hopping okay in your view? Not to mention, telling, instead of showing? I question why this is acceptable? I don't mean to write a negative blog post, and that is not my intention, but this is a big problem. I would like to feel good about what books I read.

I haven't seen it too often from books with the big publishers, but from the smaller one's I see it all the time, and self-publishing more often than not. I know I have discussed these two subjects before, but I have recently read some books that this is the norm throughout the entire novel(s). 

I know that you can't always "show", but I would at least like to read a few scenes that aren't "telling". It takes away from the story, no matter how good it is. It also tells me the author needs to brush up on creative writing skills.

Now, I know nobody's perfect, but come on, I would think if they are publishing books they would know better. I know my editor, Susan, pointed out to us when we were "telling", do these other editor's just not care, or don't even realize it?

Yes, it can prove to be a pain because of all the rewriting they would need to do, but don't they want their book to be as close to the best as possible? I don't understand. 

And, the head-hopping! I lose track if their are too many characters as to who's POV I am reading now. Do they not have main characters anymore? It's supposed to be the main character's story. Not that you can't have other POV's, just separate them with scene breaks at least. 

It amazes me that some editor's think that anything goes. I think it ruins a potential good book. I know most readers don't know about these things, but I'm sure they can tell the difference between a well written book and one that sounds more like a laundry list. The story doesn't flow when you do these types of writing.

Okay, I had to vent, but I hate purchasing a book and find I can't even finish reading it. Or don't want to. There is so much potential for the story, and I want to write the author and tell them they need to fix their book(s). I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but it's bound to effect their sales eventually. 

If it's good, people are usually willing to pass it on, which creates more sales. Now that I've gotten that off my chest I feel better. I'm just curious, have any of you ran into this issue? Have you bought books and couldn't finish them because you found yourself skimming, instead of reading, and wanted to leave a bad review?

I understand your plight. I know all books won't be your cup of tea, as it were, but if you don't like a book because it's "telling", then you find yourself skimming, and that's not fun.

A book should be enjoyable. It should take you away to other worlds and you don't want to put it down. I'm sure there are plenty of my followers on here that aren't big Fantasy fiction fans, and that's okay, you don't have to read Fable, but you know that before you buy it. If you are a big fan of a certain genre and you purchase a book of that type, then you want to feel good about it, not wish that it was over.

Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on this. And Susan, if you read this, I would love to hear your's especially. You are an editor, and you do follow the creative writing "rules", why do you think some editors don't? And I want to clarify, I'm not saying ALL editors.

Well, I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend! I have my granddaughter over today and I'm looking forward to a fun day filled with swimming and going out to lunch!

Love, Lisa

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What's Up With You?

Ahh...the dilemma, what to blog about today. Book reviews? Talk about creative writing? My new work in progress, Fated? This is the life of a blogger/writer. 

When you are a writer who is at home full time, not many interesting things happen in your life. You have the day to day hum drum of sitting in front of your computer, either writing or promoting, or my personal favorite, what chores you need to catch up on.

There's always, cleaning, groceries, errands, and laundry, to keep your life in some semblance of order, or back to the computer. I can check to see if there's any new comments on the fanpage or blog, but really I can see those on my smart phone.

I read articles written by other bloggers, or in the news. I can read a book, which I often do. I can watch a movie if my eyes are now blurry from staring at the monitor or my phone for hours, or, of course, take a nap.

That is my exciting day. 

I do try to plan outings a few times a week with a friend or my grandchildren, but I have a car without air-conditioning and black interior so the day outside is short lived. There really isn't much going on to stimulate a new blog post.

I do love writing, it's the social media stuff that drives me crazy. I read about the do's and don't's of blogging, and to be quite honest it can be disheartening sometimes.

Don't promote your book!

Isn't that why I'm here? True, I want to get to know my followers and what's new in their lives, but they need to join in. So my friends, what's happening in your world? Tell me about the dog, or your kids. Tell me how your spouse is driving you nuts, or your car trouble. I'm here to listen and chime in when appropriate. I'm all ears.

I get ideas for writing by stimulation, and since I don't have much of an exciting life, help a friend out here and give me stories about your world. I know Facebook can be boring sometimes, and people aren't into blogs, so let's have a conversation. I'm here to be your shoulder, your confidant. 

Fill me in.

Love, Lisa

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Guest Post - Chris Hill

Please welcome Chris Hill as my guest today. He is the author of Song of the Sea God and I want to tell you, what an unusual, but fantastic book. Chris works in communications and has a background in newspaper journalism as a reporter, news editor and editor. He has won a number of short story prizes including the Bridport Prize. He lives across the pond in England and I’m glad we have become great cyber friends.
Thanks so much for agreeing to be a guest on my blog Chris, I look forward to getting to know you better.
First, tell me a little about yourself:
Thanks very much Lisa I’m very glad to be here having read and enjoyed your blog for quite a long time now. A fantastic aspect of social media for me has been that it allows me to get to know other writers and readers from around the world.
What can I tell you about me?
I’m married with two sons, I live in Gloucester in England. I was a newspaper journalist for a lot of years - a reporter first, then a news editor and an editor. Now I work in communications for a UK children’s charity called WellChild who, among other things, provide nurses for very sick children so they are able to live at home with their family rather than in hospital.
Alongside all this I’ve also always written fiction. I’ve written short stories for years and also three novels so far, Song of the Sea God is the first of those to find a publisher. It was published towards the end of last year by Skylight Press and I’m very proud of it. It’s brilliant to finally have a book in print after years of trying.
What was your inspiration for The Song of the Sea God?:
I suppose the idea for the novel kind of evolved over time. Song of the Sea God is a book about a man who comes to a small island off the coast of northern England and tries to convince the locals he is a god. In some ways I supposeits a book about the nature of religion - what it means to people, how it works.
I’m not particularly religious myself and I suppose I’d call myself an agnostic, but I just because I don’t claim to know the mysteries of the universe that doesn’t mean I think there are no mysteries and I think what inspired me to write the book was that I wanted to examine that ‘god-shaped hole’ people have in their lives.
Id like to think theres humour in the book, particularly in the narrative voice, but its quite a dark book as well, it delves into some quite murky places.
Im thrilled by the reaction its had so far from readers - people seem to think of it in different ways, its dark or comic or lyrical, and so on. Thats great because I was aiming to write something rich and layered and hard to pin down.
I loved your twist in the end and I loved the character you picked as your protagonist. I also enjoyed how your setting was more of a “A” typical rundown area and the people that live there. It brought back some memories for me living in Cleveland Ohio for a while. What made you pick this type of setting?:
Ah - the setting for the book is a real place. Walney Island where I grew up. It’s a tiny island off the coast of Cumbria in the North West of England and the geography of the island and, I suppose you could say, the general feel of the place comes from my memories of living there. What I would say though is that the story and the characters in the book are nothing to do with Walney - I set it there because it’s somewhere I know well and it made it easier to have somewhere solid to anchor the book. It’s good to have something ‘real’ as a rock to build on if your story involves flights of fancy, as mine does.
I do love a dark book, but what will your new book be about?:
The book I’m currently trying to find a publisher for is very different to Sea God. It’s called the Pick Up Artist and it’s about a young man’s inept attempts to find love. It’s lighter in tone, almost a romantic comedy I suppose. Time will tell whether I manage to find a home for it but I think it’s good to stretch yourself and try different things!
Your story probably would “hit home” for a lot of people. But what was your motivation for your main character and the mysterious stranger?:
From the start of writing the book, and even thinking about writing it, the central John Love character was always there - he’s the magician at the centre of the stage and it all revolves around him - his strange obsession. I wanted the book to have one foot in reality and one outside of it so by the end readers would ask - ‘Well, is he just a charlatan fooling people with smoke and mirrors, or is there something more going on?’ And, you know, it’s up to them to find their own answer.
It’s harder to say where Bes, the narrator, came from. Mute, dwarfish, an outcast. Yet intelligent, funny, very wrong sometimes but wise and warm and human. That’s what I wanted for Bes.
People have compared Song of the Sea God to all sorts of other books - I’m losing count! But one I like to compare it to is Shakespeare’s The Tempest. John Love is Prospero, controlling the island with hidden forces at his command. But Bes is Caliban - someone who is part of the island and has its best interests at heart.
What is the one thing you love to do, or the one place you love to go visit, or would love to go visit?:
Writing’s always been my big thing - I love music too though. I was in bands and so on when I was younger, playing guitar, singing a little, you know. I think as you get older though family becomes your main thing and, in many ways, it doesn't matter where I am so long as I’m with them. I tell you what was a little moment for me though - I still have friends and relatives in the North where I’m from and not long after the book was published I went up to see them and the local paper wanted to interview me about the book and photograph me on the beach at Walney Island holding a copy of the book. So there I was, on Walney, with the book in my hand. It was like taking it home! The cover, incidentally, is a photo of Walney beach taken by and old friend of mine who lives up that way - and in fact used to be in some of those bands with me back in the day.
Thanks for answering my questions Chris. I hope your book is successful in sales over on this side of the ocean. My sister wants to read it and I will be telling more people to try it out. You’re a great writer and thanks for sharing your work with us.
Thank you for having me Lisa - and I wish you and your sister all the best with your book too! ! If people want to link up with me they can find me here:
Twitter: @ChilledCH

And Song of the Sea God is available on Amazon in the USA here and you can read the first few pages to get a feel for it - see if it draws you in!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Feet Planted Now

Finally, I can get back to normal. Blog tour is pretty much over, launch party, although a great success, is in the past, and we hit the 100 book sales mark, I am pleased that everything went off pretty well! 

We had a great weekend together relaxing at the Cottonwood Inn. Lots of hot springs, good conversation, and plenty of good food! Now my feet can touch the ground again and I can focus more on Fated, the novella we are writing.

I hope you got the chance to read the excerpt I posted last Friday. I think those of you who enjoyed Fable, will love it! And if you liked Fable, don't forget to tell others. We would love to see this series gaining popularity. Although, I'm sure most writers would love to see their work popular, but so far, I have heard nothing but good comments.

We have 7 awesome reviews on Amazon and hope that as people read the book they leave one on there. We get points and promotion slots with Amazon the more our readers engage. So don't forget to leave your comments!

Now, moving on. The novella, Fated, is past the half-way mark. Toni and I will have it ready on time for the fall. We meet with Mikey this Sunday to work on the cover and I'm hoping he can meet our deadline, he's a busy boy these days.

Although Fated isn't a big novel, it will be filled with action and more about the world, Djenrye. I think you will enjoy it. The second novel, Lore, will be out next year, I am hoping by spring, we'll see. It is a longer story than Fable. We will try though! Thanks for the support from those of you who have put up with us this past year and for purchasing the book! 

Now to announce my next post on Friday. I am having Chris Hill as my guest. He has a great book out - Song of the Sea God - a fantastic read if you get the chance. I hope you give him a warm welcome and leave comments for him to answer back. He is quite the writer! 

So back to writing today. I look forward to Friday's post and hope to hear from my blog followers! Thanks for everything!

Love, Lisa

Friday, June 14, 2013

An Excerpt From Fated

Happy Friday all! Since we are on our way to Buena Vista today I thought a little celebration might be in order. I decided to post an excerpt from our novella, Fated - Chronicles from Djenrye. I hope you like it!

I'll give you a set up. This scene is Carlynn and Ghorgon, you remember them from the prologue in Fable, are running from the Rebels. They find some reprieve over night in the Colrok caves. Enjoy!

Carlynn could keep silent no longer. An agonized scream escaped her.
In one quick motion, Ghorgon was at her side. “What is it, My Lady?”
Teeth clenched, she was unsure if the words would come out. “The-baby—,” she managed.
Ghorgon re-lit the dead torch with embers from the fire. He grabbed the blanket she had thrust aside during a particularly painful spasm. “We need to leave for Tyré…now.”
She looked into his face, unsure she could rise. “Does the role of midwife so frighten you?”
Ghorgon hesitated. When he answered, he stumbled over his words, “It is the child, then?”
She wanted to slap him. Her belly felt tight, but the pain did not come in waves as the midwife said it would. Carlynn had no urge to push. The intensity would increase with movement, but without any regularity. There were spasms in her tailbone and her inner thighs ached. Perhaps this misery is due to riding…“Katchet!” she cursed. “I know not!”
Her protector froze—mouth agape and eyes wide. That got his attention.
In the span of a heartbeat, he seemed to come to his senses. He bent down and slipped his arms around her midsection. “Allow me the attempt to deliver you to a knowledgeable practitioner.”
Carlynn slapped him away. “Cease! I shall not mount that horse in this agony.”
“Please, My Lady. At least try…”
“Have you lost your hearing? I will not go.”
Ghorgon stood, brows knitted, arms crossed. “If the pain stops as it did before? Would you then agree?”
She looked hard at him. Still angry, she realized that his training involved removing souls from this world, not bringing one into it. “Yes,” she agreed as the pain eased. “If they stop, I will allow you to haul me up onto that beast…”
Ghorgon moved the water skin and rations next to Carlynn. She reached for them. The twisting resulted in a piercing sensation as though she had been stabbed in the back. It radiated all the way to her neck. “Katchet!” she screamed, again.
“Hot water,” Ghorgon mumbled. Then louder he said, “My Lady, I will fetch fresh water and wood for the fire. If the child comes, we shall need boiled linens…my tunic should suffice.”
“I thought you lacked midwifery skills.”
As he turned away from her to head into the dark, he said, “Yes, but I have foaled several horses.”
A rebuttal to the oblique insult danced on the tip of Carlynn’s tongue, but she remained silent. As the pains subsided, she leaned against the nearest boulder and took another sip of water. Counting on her fingers, she calculated the span between the blessed news of her pregnancy and this day. A sparse eight moon cycles have passed. The midwife said it would be at least nine, perhaps ten before the birth. Too soon…too soon.
By the time Ghorgon returned, the pain had lessened to a dull throb. He dropped his meager supply of wood by the fire. “This was all I could gather. I fear the closest water source is back the way we entered.”
“Worry not, Ghorgon. As was your hope, the pain is now tolerable. The lengthy ride may well have been the source of my suffering.”
Ghorgon dropped his bundle. Twigs tumbled across the stone. He rushed to her side. “Thank the Gods! Let me assist you.” He helped Carlynn to her feet. “The exit is not far. Can you walk?”
“I am with child, not an invalid,” she retorted.
Ghorgon handed Carlynn the torch, prudently remaining silent, and collected their belongings.
Abatos walked slowly through the dark, winding passageways for what seemed like eternity. Ghorgon led the animal, as Carlynn held onto the saddle’s side rings. The tunnels seemed to go on forever. She feared that they would never come to the exit. The panic that threatened to rise quickly subsided when she spied a glimmer of light at the edge of the next corner.
At the mouth of the cave Ghorgon halted Abatos. “Remain here,” he told Carlynn. “I need to scan the area to ensure it is safe.” He disappeared around a corner.
She petted Abatos’ neck and thought about her new baby. What would she call the child? Names floated in her head. ‘Raynok’, of course. But…what if the babe is a girl? Wishful thinking. There has not been a first born female in over ten generations.
Ghorgon’s voice reached her ahead of his form. “It appears the path is unwatched.” He walked Abatos to a fallen tree. Carlynn lumbered onto the log and steadied herself. Ghorgon helped her remount the horse, before he swung up behind her. Well positioned, they headed into the forest.
Cold nipped at Carlynn’s cheeks—winter was coming. The crispness filled her lungs and sharpened her fears. It meant the death of summer. The death of Raynok attested to the knowledge that all things die. The fallen pine cones and wilted fall flowers scented the air. The Gods tell us that death is a cycle. Carlynn cradled her belly and whispered to the child. “That means you are our new beginning.” The acceptance comforted her.
Movement in the foliage past Abatos’ left haunch caught her eye. A Rebel warrior rushed from cover. An arrow flew at them.

“Ghorgon—look out!”

I hope you liked it! Don't forget Toni and I are on Robin Calkin's Blog tomorrow. We will be checking in from Buena Vista. Have a wonderful weekend. Robin's Blog here

Love, Lisa

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Getting Back To Writing

Last night I was thinking how much I have missed just sitting down in front of the computer and writing. I want to burn away the day furiously pounding out pages and word counts. I want to see what's going to happen next in Djenrye and to Stevie. 

But I have to finish adding the few chapters to the novella, and then start at the beginning of book 2 and revise its chapters first. I am looking forward to writing the next novella after Lore - Book 2 of the Lorn Prophecy. And then, book 3. 

What an exciting time for us. I can't believe we are finally at the point that we can look ahead. I have so many ideas floating around in my head that it makes it hard to concentrate on anything else. I have decided that now is the time to start promoting the novella, Fated. I think you will love the story, that's if you loved Fable.

I haven't heard back from nearly as many people as I would have liked about Fable. Yes, we do have 5 reviews so far on Amazon, which I have to say, are wonderful! So drop me a line and let me know what you thought of it, I am dying to know! 

The blog tour, so far, has been awesome. A few of the blogs have had great responses and even a few sales. Thanks to everyone who has left comments and to those who have won copies, I hope you enjoy Fable and leave a review, or just let us know your thoughts. We have two more blogs this week and then the blog tour is finished.

Wednesday I will be on Cheryl Robinson's blog. I met her through LinkedIn, more specifically through my editor, Susan. She has willingly let me be a guest on her blog and I look forward to it.

Last, but not least, is my critique partner, and good friend, Robin Calkin's blog on Saturday. We will be in Buena Vista during this guest spot, but we will be looking in and answering any comments that pop up. 

Cheryl's blog Wednesday: Here
Robin's blog Saturday: Here

So far it's been a wonderful journey publishing Fable. I want to thank all of those people who have purchased a copy, whether paperback, or digital, it doesn't matter, you have been a great support. Combined with the sales on line and the copies we've sold from our order, we are almost at 100 sales! What a great feeling!

Now I'm looking forward to resting this weekend. No writing, but lots of reading, since I am a judge for the Aspen Gold writing competition. Still, I need the rest and relaxation of the hot springs water and a professional massage while I'm there. My body is so tight from stress, I probably squeak! 

Once I return, I will be writing again, no matter what! I will post a blog this Friday even though we are leaving town that day, and we will check in periodically for any comments left. Don't forget to stop by the guest blogs and enter your chance to win a copy of Fable and a 10.00 gift card for Starbucks!

Have a great week all! Lisa

Friday, June 7, 2013

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

Yes, I am famous for it, volunteering and then finding myself needing help from someone else. I have taken on two different contests through the group I belong to, Hearts of Denver Romance Writers. 

Why that group, you ask? Well, my friend and colleague  Lizzie T Leaf, has always been a big support for me and asked me to join her group of writers. They are an extension of the Romance Writers of America, a huge organization for all genres in writing. It's not all romance, mind you, there are all types of writers in our group. And, believe it or not, there are also men writers in our group as well. 

But getting back to the volunteering. Our group has two big contests each year, The Aspen Gold, for published authors, and the Molly, for new manuscripts. I am involved in both this time around.

Last year I was a judge for the Aspen Gold. All I had to do was read three books and score them according to their books individually, and then the one I liked the best between the three. Sounds easy, right?! It was.

Now this year, I am a judge again for the Aspen Gold, but this time I am also involved with the Molly. This one is the hard part. But after help from my husband, my sister, and putting in a call to the president of our group, Kathy, I managed to figure out what she needed me to do.

I had to upload a drop box, open the paranormal file, (the one I am responsible for) and attach a score file to each one. Then I had to make two different files of each entry, and wait for the list of judges to email them theirs. Sounds easy right?! Wrong!

I knew how to do most of it, but the way it was described to me was a harder way of doing this and the drop box is a pain because I didn't know how to attach into an email from it. I ended up, after getting everything set up, accidentally copying every file and then I couldn't delete them. On top of that, they were now all out of order.

Thanks to my sister, and her knowledge around a computer, I now have all the copies deleted, the files are all in one folder, and it is in my documents so I can attach to each judge and send them out.

Next, the list of judges. I received that last night, along with another book of instructions, (well, it sure seems like a book) and I am once again confused. This is the next issue I will tackle this morning and hopefully figure out so these judges get their entries in time to get their score cards back by the official date. Whew! I'm tired just thinking about it!

Okay, this too shall pass, but I will remember when this subject comes up again next year and tell myself to not bite off more than I can chew!

So onto the blog tour now! I am a guest on Lee's blog this morning! A fun and involved blog. I actually had 6 comments to answer first thing! If you get a moment, stop by and leave a comment! You will be eligible for the drawing of a free copy of Fable and the Starbucks gift card, so it's worth the time and trouble. 

I hope I see some of you there, and there is always this blog you can leave a comment on and I will answer you back as well.

Today is Lee's:here
Tomorrow is Chris': here
Sunday is Sunni's:here

Have a wonderful weekend! Love, Lisa

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Working Hard and Dreaming of Vacation

Another weekend's gone by, but things are moving along nicely. Our launch party was a complete success. We had over 50 people there. It was so nice to see all the people that support us and Fable. There were plenty of friends as well as family, and Toni and I, each did a reading from the book, and yes, I survived it.

There were even people I have not seen in years, surprise me by coming and they bought two books. And, a few older friends that I haven't seen in a while showed, too. It was a great feeling. 

But, now back to reality of social media, critiquing, and trying to find time for the day to day hum-drum of errands, and the like. I have managed to almost finish writing the extra chapters for the novella, Fated, so it should be finished by this fall.

Now we are planning our family trip to Buena Vista and that will be a major highlight of my summer. I can't wait! I have been having a lot of shoulder and neck pain, even to the point of vertigo. The hot waters of Cottonwood should help that tremendously. 

I had a doctor's appointment this morning and he recommended another round of physical therapy, and depending on the cost, I might take him up on it. Between having Graves disease and Fibromyalgia, my body tends to cause me issues sometimes.

I am grateful that those are the only issues I have to contend with since I know there are plenty of people out there that deal with much worse medical problems. It still doesn't change the fact that I am always in pain. It also will keep me from working too much on the computer because I will get nerve pain in my neck and shoulder. It's always something!

Anyway, I am grateful to all of you and your support. It's been wonderful to know there are those out there who care and want to see Fable become popular. Don't forget my blog tour this week. I'm on Shay West's blog tomorrow, and I have two more this week. Lee on Friday and Chris on Saturday. 

One more to add to the mix this week is Sunni Morris' blog on Sunday. Busy week! I will post her link on Friday in this blog. There is a drawing in each of the posts so come join in on the comments!

In the mean time, I hope everyone has a great week and I will see you back here on Friday, if not on one of the blog tours. Don't forget to leave me a comment. Tell me what kinds of medical issues you have to contend with everyday. Because, believe me, I completely understand!

Love, Lisa