Friday, June 27, 2014

The Best Partner For A Writer

Yesterday, for the first time in a couple of months, I got together with my critique partners at Starbucks. Yes, we still have been critiquing each other but it's been through email. We decided to get together through the summer while Toni is working on her garden. Why stay home on Thursdays when I can meet with my team and critique and catch up?!

It was great sitting around and talking about what's new with our writing and how we are progressing. But one subject came up and got me to thinking this would be a great one for my blog post today - The importance of a critique partner.

First of all, I don't know where our quality with our writing would be without my critique partners. They are my light in a dark room. I value their ideas and opinions highly and honor them as part of my team. It has been a great ride so far and they are so supportive of us. 

With that being said, I believe a good critique partner keeps you in check. If the two, or three, of you stay within the guidelines and timelines of critiquing you can get through your chapters in a timely fashion. The whole idea is to keep on goal and be consistent. It does take a willingness to commit to your writing and your partner's goals, too. 

I have talked with a few best selling author's who agree, that your critique partners are gold! They are priceless to achieving a finished product that is high quality. 

I have also read quite a few self-published authors, and a few traditionally published, that I can tell they didn't have good critique partners, or at least, someone who could help them with creative writing skills. In fact, I know a few authors who don't have critique partners at all

and feel that their writing is just wonderful and don't need them.

I beg to differ!

When they send me their chapters I find tons of mistakes and lack of skills to be publishing. When I bring the mistakes to their attention they get angry and don't want to face that their writing needs work, simply because they don't want to put in the effort, or their egos are to big. I guess they will figure it out when the second book comes out and the only people who buy it are close friends and family. 

Another way they will figure it out is through mediocre reviews, especially professional ones. For me, this would be embarrassing. I know that not everyone will love your book for different reasons, such as not their favorite genre, but at least give them a quality read, one that's tight and not filled with info dump and head hopping, or POV issues. These can be very frustrating when you are trying to enjoy a book.

It's okay to know that you're only human and make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them. The same applies to writing mistakes. Which brings me back to the importance of your critique partners. So those of you that think you don't need a critique partner, think again. Not only are their suggestions invaluable, but it can become a great friendship!

It doesn't mean you aren't writing your book alone, it means you value higher quality and care about your readers. So writers, get yourself a good critique partner. Someone who will commit to you and your books. But remember, you need to reciprocate!  

There is an old saying, one that applies here - You can't edit yourself.

Until next Friday, I wanted to let you know we are working on the website and hope to have it up soon. Take care and have a wonderful week!

Love, Lisa

Friday, June 20, 2014

An Introduction and New Art

Hi everyone! I hope this post finds all of you well and happy! I thought that I would take this opportunity to introduce our new artist for the books and website, Johnny Morrow. I also thought I would show off the two characters he designed for us, Stevie and Colton.

We found Johnny on an artist work for hire site and looked him up ourselves once we saw his art and that he lives right here in Denver. Johnny is a wonderful artist, especially with fantasy. Once we told him what we wanted he managed to, not only paint what we wanted, but get it to us within two weeks. What a relief to have someone you can count on when time is short.

It was great working with him, too. He was patient and a nice guy all around. you have to be patient when you're dealing with Toni and I. <grin>

You can find Johnny at this link: Johnny Morrow

So, Thanks Johnny for your wonderful pictures of Stevie and Colton and I look forward to working with you on the new map next. You are a refreshing addition to the Lorn Prophecy series team!

In other news, we are on chapter 15 in Lore. It has been a serious WIP but
it's getting better all the time. I actually just read through to chapter 12 and felt that the story is moving along great!

Toni is going on vacation though, so when she returns we will hit it hard. I hope to be at least close to finishing by the end of the year. It does make it tough to get books out when there are two of you. Either one gets sick, or has a vacation, or things pop up, like a wedding, but I promise we will work hard this Fall to get Lore finished and in your hands.

After all, that is the goal! I think you will all like it, though, and hopefully feel it was worth the wait. Please leave me a comment on what you think of the characters. I love hearing from you!

                               One of Johnny's pieces of art that I love!

Have a great weekend. We are off to the mountains for camping with the grandkids - which should prove interesting!

Love, Lisa

Friday, June 13, 2014

What's Up With Wood and Jack

Life's been sort of a fast-track lately. I've had more things going on and interruptions from writing than I care to deal with. But now that the wedding is in the past and soon having the kids during the honeymoon will be there also, I can get back to concentrating on doing what I love, writing. 

The last two months have been a struggle to get ahead with Lore. We should be several chapters further and will be playing catch up in the fall. I know summer is time for play, but we pay for it later. 

Toni and I are trying to get though chapters as much as we can though. We are still on 14 but are almost finished with it. Probably Saturday since tonight we have to go over critique marks for chapter 12. One more week and Toni goes on a two week vacation with her husband, Scotte, so we will be working hard after she gets back. 

I thought since there really isn't anything new to report today I would post another excerpt from Lore! This one will be on this side of the portal. I want to make sure to give Wood, Jack, and Alyssa fans the same amount of sneaks as those who want to know more about Djenrye. 

So here ya go! I hope you enjoy and you're more than welcome to leave feedback in the comment section. I love your thoughts!

Water rushed down the culverts into the drains—all that was left of the earlier storm. Jack’s tires were fairly new but it did not

stop him from hydroplaning a couple of times. It took an effort to slow down.
Alyssa didn’t seem to notice. She kept up a continuous flow of chatter. He’d only been gone for a few weeks, but the way she acted, you’d think he’d been away for a year. After all that had happened, the mundane prattle seemed inconsequential. Although he loved listening to the sound of her voice, the words had lost all meaning by the time they pulled into the hotel parking lot.
Before Jack could turn off the ignition, Wood emerged from his hotel room. Jack had become used to seeing him in jeans and tee or flannel shirts. Even when Jack had first met the detective, he wore pressed jeans and a sport coat—but a tie? Today, his blue suit looked odd. The outfit didn’t match the bags under his eyes and his drawn expression.
Wood leaned into Jack’s open window. “I thought we’d eat at the diner across the parking lot.”
“Sounds good. I’m starved.” Jack stepped out of the car and moved toward the passenger side to get Alyssa’s door. He shouldn’t have bothered. She was out of the car in a flash, nearly knocking the detective over when she jumped at him with a full-on bear hug.
“Wood,” she squealed. “I’ve missed you.”
“Good to see you, too, Alyssa,” he said, untangling himself from her embrace.
She slipped one hand through the crook of Jack’s arm and the other through Wood’s, and with her escorts, they walked into the restaurant.
Jack kept his curiosity in check until after they ordered. The moment the waitress was out of earshot, he blurted out. “So, give. What did Drake say to you last night?”
Wood glanced down at his coffee. “I don’t know how to tell you this.” His attention turned to Alyssa. “The Feds want to speak with you and Mrs. Barrett this afternoon.”
Alyssa’s face went white. “What?”
Jack reached under the table to grasp her hand. “Hear him out, Lissy.”
“But, the Feds? When did they get involved?”
Wood relayed his discussion with Drake. “This could be dangerous for us. Agent Carson seems to have an open mind to the unexplained. I’m worried he’ll be relentless if he even gets a whiff of something otherworldly.” The detective paused. Under his breath, but loud enough for Jack to hear, he said, “I know I would be.”
“Wood,” Jack said, “how about you go over what Lissy needs to say.”
“Of course.” The detective leaned in a bit. “Alyssa, they’re going to ask you a lot of questions and will try to trip you up. I’ve thought about this most of the night. They will likely focus on any knowledge you have of the attacks on Mrs. Barrett, if you know Stevie’s whereabouts, and if you have had any contact with her. They may even ask if you know anything about Mrs. Barrett’s assailants.”
Alyssa’s grip tightened painfully on Jack’s hand. “Why would they think I’d know anything? What am I supposed to say?”
“Tell them the basics,” Wood replied, his voice low. “You don’t know anything about the attack or the attackers and you have talked to Stevie on the phone.”
“What do I say about where she is?” Alyssa shivered and released Jack’s hand. She folded her flannel shirt around her like a blanket and melted back into the booth. She looked like a small child.
“Just tell them what you’ve been telling everyone else—that she’s in Canada with her aunt and uncle,” Jack said, resisting the urge to pull her into his arms and protect her.
Wood nodded. “Keep it simple. Stick to the facts you know. Don’t elaborate. And if they ask you for speculation, just say you don’t know.” He took a sip of his coffee. “One more thing. I’m only telling you this so you won’t be caught off guard. The Feds will likely ask you about Jan and Stevie’s relationship. They might even imply that Stevie had something to do with the attacks.”
Anger boiled to the surface. Jack slammed his fist on the table. “You’ve gotta be kidding me. After all we’ve been through?”
Wood’s lips hardly moved, but his voice took on a gruff quality. “Keep your voice down. Remember, the Feds don’t know what you’ve been through. That’s the point. They cannot know.”
“What about Jan?” Alyssa asked.
“Jack needs to contact her to give her a heads up. The more prepared we are, the easier it will be to mislead the Feds and keep Stevie’s secret safe.”
             Alyssa released the death-grip on her shirt. Her hands shook as she reached for the latte. Jack was afraid she might spill the coffee all over the table.
“And if they find out?” she asked quietly.

Wood shook his head. “I don’t know. Drake and I will work from the inside to lead the Feds toward de-bunking any ideas of supernatural involvement. You two, and Jan, will need to stand firm in your stories and not elaborate. That’s all we can do.” 

I hope you liked the sneak peek! Next week I will be showing off our new character paintings of Colton and Stevie. I hope you like those as well. They will be on our new website when it's published. Until then, have a marvelous weekend!

Love, Lisa

Friday, June 6, 2014

We Have a Wedding to Enjoy

With everything going on I am running late. My daughter's wedding is this weekend and guests came in from out of town today. We have to drive to the other side of town everyday for the next five days, so needless to say, I won't be around much.

Thanks for showing Mary support and leaving her comments. I know she really enjoyed your posts! She is a wonderful lady and writer and her book would be great for any kids you have in your life. 

Johnny Velazquez, you're the winner of Mary's drawing!! Congratulations! I'm sure you know a kid you can give the book to!

Now onto my post for this week. Things have been picking up for Toni and I, which is great! We are really close to finishing up our website and getting it published. We are very excited about that!

Our list is slowly growing of people signing up to our newsletter and blog and we had two professional reviews posted on Amazon the last week. I am hoping to get out a first edition for the newsletter in the next couple of weeks so be looking for it.

I want to thank those who downloaded Fable and are now buying Fated. It's nice to see a few sales and I look forward to any new reviews from readers. 

We will be doing an interview online the 21st of June, so I will keep you posted. Also, I plan to post another excerpt soon from Lore to get you excited about reading it. 

Things are going great! I hope wonderful things are happening for all of you. I can't believe that the wedding is already here. My daughter has been planning everything for almost two years now, so she is overly anxious and excited!

She's been busy constantly and I asked her last night what she was going to do with herself after the wedding's done and now she's finished with college too. She said, enjoy a lot of quiet time.

I am so happy for her and Jon and I hope and pray they have a wonderful life together. He is such a wonderful guy and is so good to her and the kids. But for now, we have a wedding to attend and lots of folks to entertain.

I am closing for now. With as busy as I am with the wedding I don't have a lot to report for the blog. Have an awesome weekend everyone and I will see you back here next Friday!