Sunday, February 27, 2011

Joining Six Sentence Sunday

I'm participating in Six Sentence Sunday.


From Almost An Outlaw: 

(Conversation snippet between the hero, Austin and Jesse James)



"The railroad men and the governor want us dead." He frowned. "I worry about my family as well."

Austin finished his coffee and leaned back in the chair. "I think you’re doing the right thing by leaving here."  He was glad that Jesse recognized the growing danger to his loved ones and his allies, but he doubted the outlaw would be content with an ordinary life. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Guest Blogger: Liz Arnold, Message To Love

Hi, Patricia, and thanks for hosting me today. Your blog is wonderful. I love visiting. I’m honored to be your guest.

How my novel happened:
MESSAGE TO LOVE is my first historical romance novel. I dream a lot and Message grew from a dream I had one night about a man on horseback racing through the darkness to deliver a message he had in a leather pouch tied around his chest. A woman had helped him be “free” to deliver his message but I didn’t know much more than that. The dream would not go away even during my waking hours and I told someone about it. She said it reminded her of “The Message To Garcia” a story she had read about in history class. I knew the story and did some research and ended up writing my novel around the events leading up to the Spanish-American War in 1898. Then President William McKinley sent a secret message via Lt. Andrew Rowan of the U.S. Army to General Calixto Garcia of the Cuban army pledging U.S. support to the Cuban insurgency fighting for freedom from Spain.

A little about my writing journey:
I started writing as a young child. I loved the newspaper and I was the editor-in-chief of the first newsletter for the subdivision I lived in when I was ten years old. I interviewed the neighbors about what was in their closets or on the menu for dinner. I wrote for school newspapers and eventually got a liberal arts degree with an emphasis in journalism. I published lots of freelance articles and poems. My mom read a lot and introduced me to English writer Catherine Cookson whose family sagas captured my attention. From there I started reading romances in college and found Connie Mason in the 1980’s. I still love her stories, settings, and heroes.

What’s next for me:
I’m working on another historical romance set in Marietta, Ohio in 1790 during the Indian wars and smallpox outbreak there after the colony was established. It’s about a young woman searching for her family and who wants to be a doctor but isn’t allowed to practice in Baltimore. She hires a guide in Pittsburgh to take her to Marietta to find her relatives and ends up saving many lives during the epidemic. But the Indians have taken ill as well. Her guide spent ten years as a Shawnee captive and doesn’t want to rescue her when she is taken captive because there is a price on his head, but his affections for her are too strong to leave her with the natives.

I would really love to hear from readers and other writers at my blog. If you want a free bookmark, send a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) to P.O. Box 1322, Parkersburg, WV 26102.

Liz Arnold is an author, freelance editor, and teacher living with her family in the mid-east.


Blurb from MESSAGE TO LOVE:

Audra Wakely’s father has been seized by Spanish authorities and imprisoned for sympathizing with Cuban rebels. Raising the money to bribe officials if necessary, she sets off for Cuba to rescue her father. She doesn’t bargain on the interference of any U.S. officials—that is until she meets Rollins McBride.

Lt. Rollins McBride of the newly designated U.S. Naval Intelligence service is assigned to track Audra on her journey. He’s to arrest Greg Wakely, a U.S. citizen, for treason and gun smuggling. His mission and his heart are taken by surprise by the feisty beauty who sets a stubborn path toward finding her father and proving he isn’t a traitor—no matter what or who gets in her way.

Sizzle, spice, and intrigue heats up the Spanish American War in MESSAGE TO LOVE.

Excerpt
“It was a dream, just a very bad dream.”
She stepped back out of his hold. Clammy spots of moist heat lingered on her arms where his hands had been.
“I’m all right now.” Audra reached for the door and noticed the sickly sweet odor of liquor on his breath. “You can leave now. I want to go back to bed.” She pulled open the door and gestured into the hall.
“Sorry, but this time you’re going, too.” Rollins strode over to the dresser and pulled out a drawer. “Better pack. We have just under two hours.”
“I’m not in the mood for comedy, Rollins,” she sighed. “I’m really very, very tired. I’ve got to get some rest. Now—”
“Let me make myself clear.” He sounded gruff. “I said we’re leaving, and unless you want to get on a ship bound for Santiago with your shirttails hanging out, better change and get ready.” He made to leave the room. “I hope you have a shawl or something. It’s gotten cooler out, and we have half an hour in a wagon to get to port.” Then he vanished into his own room next door, leaving Audra gape-mouthed in the hallway.
“Who does he think he is?” She growled as she stamped her foot against the cold hard floor. “Infuriating! He is absolutely infuriating!” Audra heaved the door shut with gusto. “These are not my shirttails, either!”

The Wild Rose Press buy link (print and digital)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tension in Dialogue

The key to tension in dialogue is to make the reader interested in what will be said next. Gary Provost says: "Tension is the heart of successful dialogue and all of your dialogue should have it".

How do you put tension into dialogue? We'll go over a couple of ways you can accomplish this. Basically, tension in dialogue will keep your reader curious about what is happening beneath the words. Now, if there is nothing going on, then you need to cut the dialogue and use a transitional phrase to move your characters into a situation where something, either emotionally or physically, is happening to them.

Here are a few sentences of static dialogue:

"Hello, Dr. Mason, found any mummies yet?"

"Not yet." Adrian Mason leaned against the wall of stone and turned up his water bottle.

Susan fanned herself, unaccustomed to the desert heat. "Certainly is hot out here."

"Yeah. Only the hearty can withstand the summer in Egypt. Don't you agree?"

"I suppose so." She smiled. "I've never considered myself hearty but I'm going to stick around, Dr. Mason, and make sure my father's money isn't wasted."

One way to add some tension is to put their emotions/thoughts into their mouths:

"Hello, Dr. Mason, found any mummies yet?"

"Susan. You're up already and it isn't noon yet. I'm impressed. What's the special occasion?" Adrian Mason leaned against the wall of stone and turned up his water bottle.

"I had truly hoped to find you in the dust, dead from a heat stroke." She fanned herself.

"Sorry to disappoint you but I'm used to working in the heat," he said. "Only the hearty can withstand the heat in Egypt, so I advise you to pack up and head back to England."

"Oh, you do?" She pushed up the brim of her straw hat. "That's probably good advice since I associate being hearty with being lower-class. However, I do have my principles and one of them to stick around and make certain you don't steal anymore of my father's money for this worthless search."

You can also add tension between the dialogue in POV. This tends to be less confrontational but there is still tension despite the opposition not being as direct.

"Hello, Dr. Mason, found any mummies yet?"

"Not yet." Adrian Mason leaned against the wall of stone and turned up his water bottle. He was impressed that his benefactor's uppity daughter had managed to get up before noon. Susan was one of those women who coveted the lazy lifestyle of the well-to-do as well as her father's money. She fanned herself, unaccustomed to the desert heat, and he took pleasure in her misery.

"Certainly is hot out here," she remarked, looking like a withering rose.

"Yeah," he agreed. Too hot for the pathetic rich girls. "Only the hearty can withstand the summer in Egypt." He hoped she'd pack up her things and head back to England on the noon bus. "Don't you agree?"

"I suppose so. You know, I've never considered myself hearty," she answered. The faint glimmer of hope he felt vanished as she gave him a clever smile. "But I'm going to stick around, Dr. Mason, and keep an eye on you."

One more tip from Provost about dialogue. If you are stuck, imagine dialogue as waves of feeling being exchanged between two people.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Supernatural Sunday: Season 2's Funniest Dean & Sam Moments

I am posting at Romancing The Past today about past medical remedies. Let's just say they were amusing at best.   On my blog, I'm having Supernatural Sunday and posting a really cute YT video with my favorite characters, Sam and Dean.  This may become my Sunday trend...Enjoy

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Guest Blogger: Wendy Soliman, An English Author of Regency Historicals


Hi, Pat, and thanks for inviting me to visit your blog.

I was fortunate enough to grow up on the Isle of Wight in southern England, which is full of historic buildings, Roman ruins, spooky castles and constant reminders of the Island's colourful, sometimes bloody, past. Perhaps that's how I gained my love of all things historical. It sort of seeped into me like osmosis, I suppose, without my being aware of it. Anyway, looking back, the only things I can recall being any good at when I was a kid are riding horses and writing stories. I still do both, lots of years on. The only difference is that my stories now get published!

I made my first attempt at a full length novel when I was just fifteen. Nowadays, any kid showing that sort of flair would be sent on courses and given all sorts of encouragement. If that had happened in my day, who knows...

Anyway, my next novel came about ten years later and languished in a back of a cupboard, until I was moving house and setting up home in Andorra some eight years ago. (In case you're wondering, that's a small principality high up in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain). I read that novel through and it set me off again...only now I had the time to devote to it properly. Little did I know what I'd set in motion.

I was lucky enough to be successful quite quickly and had five historical romances set in the colourful Regency period published by Robert Hale in England. With those under my belt I gathered up my courage and decided to have a crack at the American market. A Reason to Rebel, published by Samhain in print and e-book form is the result. And I'm pleased to say that I have two more historicals coming out this year with Carina Press. The first, Of Dukes and Deceptions, will be released as an e-book on March 14.

People often ask me where I get my inspiration. It's a difficult question to answer. I guess I simply have the gift of imagination, a bit like some people can draw, some can cook, others can make beautiful flower arrangements. I can't do any of those things!

I never plan my stories but simply ask myself that age old question, 'what if?' With Of Dukes and Deceptions I asked, 'what if I create a young, single, handsome and, naturally, rich duke who's been brought up to consider himself superior to ordinary mortals and behaves accordingly?' What does he need to have happen to make him see there's more to life than riding roughshod over everyone's feelings and thinking of no one but himself?

The love of a good woman is the obvious answer but he's swamped by those at every turn. So when he visits a stud farm he counters his boredom by striking a wager with his henchman that he'll bed the poor relation, Alicia Woodley, before the end of his sojourn at Ravenswing Manor. But this time he's miscalculated. Alicia is disgusted by his arrogance and wants as little as possible to do with him. But at the same time she feels herself gradually falling under his thrall and can't help being flattered by his attentions. Will she be able to hold out against his coercive charm?

Find out when Of Dukes and Deceptions is released by Carina Press on March 14 and visit my website http://www.wendysoliman.com/ where you can read the first chapter and enter a contest that offers you the chance to win a copy of the book.

Happy reading!



Friday, February 11, 2011

Guest Blogger: Kelli Wilkins Living Happily Ever After

Living Happily Ever-After…One Romance at a Time
By Kelli A. Wilkins – Amber Quill Press Author


Love is complex, and sometimes writing about two people falling in love can be a challenge. Each character acts differently in every story – some are open to the idea of love, and others…well, it’s the last thing they want – or so they think.

My romances are based on characters who find each other, fall deeply in love, and live happily ever-after – but not without going through some emotional ups and downs. Although my characters are in love, they have to face reality and learn a few lessons (about themselves, trust, and honesty) before they can live happily ever after.

For example, Princess Elara in A Most Unusual Princess has to open up and develop trust. In Dalton’s Temptation, Elara and Dalton learn important lessons about temptation and fidelity. Lord Adrik in The Dark Lord is moody and misunderstood, until an innocent girl teaches him how to love and trust again. All these trials and emotional hardships are realistic challenges that people face every day.
Sometimes love can be a surprise. In some of my stories, the characters aren’t looking for love – it’s the furthest thing from their minds – but there it is! Lauren in The Sexy Stranger quickly found herself falling for her ex-con “captor.” Claudette from The Pauper Prince had her Prince Charming literally stroll into her dress shop (and expose himself to her!). Sherrie and Curtis in Trust with Hearts have both been hurt so badly that the thought of falling in love is just too painful to consider. Although these relationships are uncommon, they’re about more than just meeting the right person and having a wild sex life — the characters focus on commitment and being there for the other person, no matter what.

Many of my characters only find true love when they are willing to open their hearts and risk sharing their deepest emotions, darkest secrets, and intimate desires — and then discover that the other person loves them even more for it. (Julian and Annabelle from A Midsummer Night’s Delights are excellent examples of this.)

People read romances for many different reasons: for great storylines, to live vicariously through the characters they care about, and to know that whatever obstacles these lovers face, they’ll overcome them together.

However, in real life, not every relationship turns out the way we’d hoped. Promises aren’t kept, hearts become broken, egos get crushed, and sometimes people end up alone and looking for love all over again. That’s why I enjoy bringing unique and interesting characters together in my novels. Sometimes I never know where the story will take me – but I’m always sure of one thing – that my characters will end up together, forever. And that’s the way it should be.

All of my books were a lot of fun to write. I enjoyed creating the characters and watching their stories unfold. I hope you’ll enjoy them, too. I’m always interested in hearing from readers. You can contact me via the “Contact the Author” form on the News page of my website, www.KelliWilkins.com


Happy Reading!

Kelli

*************
Author Bio: Kelli Wilkins has published several romances with Amber Quill Press. She writes in a variety of genres including contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal. Her romances range from tender and teasing to sizzling hot and spicy! To learn more about Kelli and her writings, visit her website at: www.KelliWilkins.com. You can also follow her blog at: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/


BOOK LINKS:
(I included these in case the links I embedded in the text don’t show up. They all link to the book purchase page on the Amber Quill site.)

 

A Most Unusual Princess - http://www.amberquill.com/AmberHeat/MostUnusualPrincess.html

The Dark Lord - http://www.amberquill.com/AmberHeat/DarkLord.html

Dalton’s Temptation - http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/DaltonsTemptation.html

The Pauper Prince - http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/PauperPrince.html

The Sexy Stranger - http://www.amberquill.com/AmberHeat/SexyStranger.html

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday's Recipe: Easy Peach Cobbler

All you need is five ingredients:
1 stick of butter
1 can of "Lite" Peaches
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of flour (self-rising) I've never used the other kind.
1 cup of milk
plus I add a half tsp of vanilla extract

Melt butter in baking dish. Mix flour, sugar, milk and vanilla together in mixing bowl. Pour into baking dish on top of melted butter. Open can of peaches. Note I use Lite because it adds less sugar and really tastes great. Not too sweet. Plus you don't have to feel bad about the ice cream topping! LOL! Dump the can of peaches with syrup on top of the mix. Sometimes I slice up the peaches so you have small bites. Then bake in oven at 350 until top is golden brown. Usually around 30 minutes. I half this recipe to make a cobbler for two and use a small baking dish. And just for me, I use a fourth cup of everything. It's easy and very good!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Guest Blogger: Anna Kathryn Lanier "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night"

The most important line in your entire novel is the opening line. It must grab the attention of the reader. If it does not, she will stop reading, put the book down and pick up one that does grab her attention.  Sharon Sorenson in HOW TO WRITE SHORT STORIES says the beginning of a story must accomplish four goals:

-          It must immediately catch the reader’s attention
-          It must draw the reader into your character’s world
-          It must establish the tone
-          It must begin with conflict

In THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR ROMANCE PUBLISHED, Julie Beard says you start your story with a Big Bang—“ a combination of hot elements (hero and heroine with great chemistry),  in a volatile environment (a sexually charged romantic setting) and start with an explosion (action).”   The opening should have something that hooks the reader with either action, a problem, a surprise or a change for the main character.

Beard says that opening lines should:

-          Catch the reader’s interest with humor, action or danger
-          Get right to the point
-           Raise a question: Why is this so? Or, what is happening? By raising a question, you increase the odds the reader will keep reading to find the answer

Christie Craig and Faye Hughes, in THE EVERYTHING GUIDE TO WRITING A ROMANCE NOVEL suggest elements on how to open a romance novel:

-          The hero introduces the conflict, through either the intriguing premise or precipitating event
-          The heroine introduces the conflict, through either the intriguing premise or precipitating event
-          The villain introduces the threat of danger or other major subplot that serves as the external conflict

An opening should “hook” your reader with “something that will grab your reader’s attention and make her want to read your book ahead of any other book presented to her.”  Ah, but how do you “hook” the romance reader?  Craig and Hughes offer two techniques: the intriguing premise or the precipitating event.

-          The Intriguing Premise “is the bare bones of the plot, the concept behind the novel that intrigues and sparks the reader’s curiosity.” You hook your reader into the plot by engaging in her emotions and making her care about your characters.
-          The Precipitating Event ‘is the initial moment of crisis or moment of change.”

Whichever technique you choose to start your story with, you must always start where “things begin to get interesting, when the conflict arises.”  Often, a writer will try to explain the situation or tell the reader how the hero got to point the story opens.  This is backstory and will only drag down the opening.  So STOP!  Start with the conflict, the problem, the challenge….don’t explain how the hero ended up in a life or death fight, just show it happening.  Don’t explain how the heroine ended up on the doorstep of the hero, just put her there.

It’s also important to remember, says Craig and Hughes, that the opening line matches the tone of your novel.  If your novel is dark, don’t open with a joke.  If your novel is a romantic comedy, opening with a grisly murder probably isn’t the best idea.  I know, these are extreme examples, but you get the idea.

In one of my stories, the open line is “Gavin Holloway was a leg man and the legs standing beside the information desk had more than his attention on alert.”  As I wrote THE PRICELESS GIFT, I realized I needed to make reference to this opening sentence at least once during the book.  I couldn’t hook the reader in with him being a leg man without talking about the legs later in the book. I’d given a promise and I needed to fulfill it.

Here’s a few more example of opening lines:

The worst part about murdering someone was planning exactly how to do it. – DIVORCED, DESPERATE AND DATING by Christie Craig

“Not again,” Leah Smith swore under her breath as she strode into the warm lobby of the Kemah Towers Condominiums. – A COWBOY’S DREAM, by Anna Kathryn Lanier

Nothing hounded a time guardian more than duty. – SPELL OF THE KILLING MOON by Skhye Moncrief

Charlotte set the wine goblet on the wooden stool she had snuck away from beside the central camp fire. – CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY by Jannine Corti-Petski

Sheriff Dave Slade snapped his watch closed and stuffed the timepiece back into his vest pocket. The stage, with the answer to his prayers, arrived in ten minutes. – SALVATION BRIDE, by Anna Kathryn Lanier (I know, that’s two sentences. I cheated, because I wanted to hook you more)

“You want me to do what?” – THE DOCTOR WEARS A STETSON by Anne Marie Novark

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. – PAUL CLIFFORD by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, First Baron of Lytton

What is one of your favorite opening lines by another author?  What is your own favorite line?  Leave a comment and you could win a copy of THE PRICELESS GIFT, which has my favorite opening line.

Anna Kathryn Lanier is a multipublished author with The Wild Rose Press.

Anna Kathryn Lanier


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Great Review on Reina's Blog & LaTessa is the Winner!


First off, tonight I put all the names of the gals who commented on my Outlaw Tidbit in the hat and drew. LaTessa is the winner.  I hope she downloads some great music! 

 Also, Reina posted a wonderful tribute to my little book on her blog, Find Your Miracle . It is moments like this that make the hard work worth while.  I am hoping to review Reina's books someday.  She has had a request for 2 full manuscripts from an editor.  If you have time, stop by her blog and cheer her on!!! 


Now, it is February and February is going to be Fun Month. I am going to be pretty busy with revisions on my current project so I won't be posting a lot and the posts will be fun stuff. I also have guest bloggers scheduled for Fridays.  Hope you'll stop by when you can!