Are you a Part-Time Writer Looking for Inspiration for 2014? You’ve Come to the ‘Write’ Place!

I’m starting of the year with a guest post from Nikolas Baron, from Grammarly.com. Have you heard of them? It’s a great site for writer’s who need help proofreading their work. From blog posts to essays, they’ve got the tools you need! But first, get inspired to start 2014 off the ‘write’ way!

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The Part-Time Writer

part_time_writerBeing a writer is, for many, a lifelong dream. Writing for payment is a thrilling accomplishment, but it’s usually soon followed by the realization that most writers do not make a living from writing alone. In fact, many writers pursue a separate, unrelated career while writing part-time, whether as a hobby or as a secondary source of income. For the part-time writer facing deadlines, a quality online spelling, grammar, and plagiarism checker can be a valuable tool. Saving time is just one aspect of creating success as a writer, however. Writing takes dedication, patience, and a willingness to learn the craft.

Being a writer is an admirable goal, but it’s not a realistic one. How does one become “a writer”? There is no pill, no bottled potion to be ingested, that will magically bring about the transformation. Becoming a writer begins with picking up a pen; but, having taken that first crucial step, the aspiring writer will discover that the journey has just begun. First, the writer must decide what type of writing he or she wants to do. Fiction or nonfiction? Short stories?

Articles? Novels? Each type of writing requires a unique skill set, and there is a distinct path to follow to the individual definition of success for every writer. It’s important to study the craft and read within and outside the genre to become a well-rounded reader and a better writer. Wanting to be a writer isn’t enough. It’s important to decide upon a genre and a style that best suits the writer’s individual dream. Becoming a writer is a dream. Transforming an abstract desire into a concrete success takes deeper thought.

Once the budding writer has decided upon writing mystery novels, for example, the next step is to set some goals. Novices may want to keep the goals reasonable, setting themselves to the task of writing for a set amount of time per day or obtaining a certain word count, depending on the time that can be found in between other obligations. Some professionals suggest that writing every day is critical to success, while others claim that a certain amount of time must be invested. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Time and discipline are important, but the definition of success is an individual one that only the writers themselves can create. Goals create personal milestones, giving the writer a measuring stick against which to check progress. Setting the goals is entirely up to the writers themselves.

Time can be a precious commodity in our fast-paced world. Between work, family obligations, hobbies, volunteer work, and other commitments, the idea of finding time to write might seem out of reach. However, it can be done. It may be necessary to write out a simple schedule, noting work, family obligations, and other time constraints, and then consider the blocks of time that are not already committed to other pursuits. Television viewing might have to be sacrificed. Getting up a little earlier in the morning, for a morning person, or staying up a little later in the evening, for a night owl, might be an option as well. Moreover, a shorter lunch break might provide some time to indulge the muse.

Time, however, is not always the only consideration. Many writers need to “warm up” to the page, to shift gears from their day jobs into the mental work of writing. It is necessary not only to find time to scribble a few words on a page but also to find long enough blocks of uninterrupted time suitable for writing. Indeed, protecting the quality of one’s writing time is as important as finding time to write in the first place. If writing is not a priority and if the commitment is not as firm as the Saturday-morning golf game or the monthly martini lunch with the girls, it will never get off the ground.Marjorie Facklam, author of numerous children’s books, began writing while raising her five children, with several still in diapers. If a harried mother of five can find time to research and write rhyming science picture books like Bugs for Lunch while chasing toddlers and maintaining a household, any writer can find time in their schedule. Often, the question isn’t one of time, but of commitment.

Connect with  Nikolas Baron on Google+      Plagiarism Checker

nick-Grammerly Guest posterAbout the Author:

Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown childrens’ novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading.

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter and follow this blog!

MJ

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#WriterWednesday- Interview with Erotic Kookie!

Welcomr back for this weeks author interview! Today I’d like to introduce you to Erotic Kookie. She is a poet and author I meet when she was doing a local book signing. Her stories are about romance with a mixture of erotica and a little bit more…

Picture of meKLT

Welcome, Erotic Kookie!

Wordsmiths Interview Questioner

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Don’t forget to send a photo, cover of your latest book, a brief book blurb, and where you can be reached in cyberspace!

What inspired you to write?

My Inspiration came from me being very quiet as a child. I began writing poetry when I was in grade school, you know the classic, rose are red violets are blue.  Poetry allowed self-expression through the power of word play. As I grew older, I noticed that adding just the right touch of spice awakened the senses; mind body soul and spirit. Writing poetry led to short stories and from there writing novels.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I write everything from inspirational poetry to erotic poetry and novels.  I will have to say that it chose me.  When I write something inspirational, it feels like it comes from a higher power and I am just a vessel delivering the message.  When it comes to erotica, my inner sensual Goddess emerges and she takes the wheel.  She loves to spread love and teach people how erotica can help spark great romance, intimacy and ignite passion and desire that has been trapped within.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

My schedule is always hectic, so trying to balance work, family, and writing can be a bit challenging at times, but I noticed when it came to carving out a  time to write, I did it better late at night when everything is  more quiet and serene.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Hmmm, let’s see, I will put on a hat if the character is wearing or even spray perfume to set the tone. Sometimes I repeat a song over and over while writing a scene.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I would have to say that I’m a bit of both. As a writer you may have a story in your head, but as it begins to unfold, depending on the story, it can lead to spicier thoughts (in my case) and add a little more zest to your characters.

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

Yes, my stories are definitely a mixture based on true life events, life experiences; things I’ve witnessed or may have been told and of course embellished to add just the right amount of spice. Being in a long term relationship taught me so many life experiences, like being caught up in the emotions of love and expecting a person to change for love and the betterment of the relationship, not realizing at the time that people have to be willing be accountable for their own action and then be willing to change. I became a victim to lies, deceit and betrayal, something many can identify with. I’ve also, lived through and seen verbal and physical abuse, which we all know can be a deadly combination. Through it all, I have become a stronger, wiser woman and have in turn helped others in the same or similar situations. This is why you will not only read Just a Little Bit More an Erotic Elixir, you will also experience it.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

My suggestions would be stay true to yourself and understand that you cannot please everyone, find your niche and your target audience will come. Also know that there is a lot of hard work and dedication that comes along with writing and publishing a book. Do it, because you love it and it’s your passion, not for money.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I am traditionally published through One Karma Publishing

What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on my new novel and also doing promotions and book signings for Just a Little Bit More an Erotic Elixir.

just a little bit more cover final

 Together five years, Kerisse and her fiancé Orlando lived the picture perfect life. After noticing a great change in Orlando and calling off the wedding two years prior, Kerisse was needing something more. With Orlando’s spontaneous trips back and forth to Florida, Kerisse suspects there is someone else. Separating herself from Orlando’s unwanted advances, Kerisse builds herself a secret oasis which allows her to tap into a fantasy world she never wants to escape. One night, Kerisse decides to bring her fantasy to life! After entering into a diner she sees him. Although she has the courage to make her fantasy a reality, the outcome turns out to be more than she could imagine. Will her fantasy remain a fantasy or will her one night stand become her true REALITY?

 Amazon     Barnes & Noble     One Karma Publishing     Authorgraph

About the Author:

I began writing poetry when I was a little girl, Poetry gave me a voice and allowed

self-expression through the power of word play. As I grew older, I began writing short stories and noticed that adding just the right touch of spice awakened the senses; mind body soul and spirit. Romance, Sexuality, Sensuality, Love, Fantasy, Imagination and Reality, infused and fertilized the seed that help birth my erotic altered-ego EroticKookie.

I soon branched off into writing novels and loved how I became the character. I would even find myself sipping wine and even wearing different hats or clothing to fit the scene. I would often challenge myself by finding more ways of turning things up a notch. I love to push the envelope.

The imagination allows you to escape into a world of fantasy and fulfill your inner most desires, before returning to reality. No judgment, no hold barred; just let it all go, giving you a little bit to touch taste feel and remember.

We must learn to Dream with our eyes open, for dreaming with your eyes closed will only allow it to disappear with the blink of an eye.

Don’t just live life, experience life! ~EK

Twitter     Facebook     Goodreads     Blog/Website     Email

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook     Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

 

Guest Post: Adrienne Thompson – How to Handle a Negative Review

Thanks, MJ, for the opportunity to be a guest on your fabulous blog!

Today, I want to talk about something that’s been on the mind of probably every writer who has ever presented his or her work to the public—negative reviews.

No one wants to receive a negative review. Many of us are very sensitive about our work. We put our heart and soul into every page, paragraph, sentence, and word. We work hard. Our pen bleeds straight from our soul. Our books and stories are like children to us. And no one wants someone criticizing their child.

Seriously, who among us has received a negative review that didn’t bother us at least a little? I remember when I received my first negative review—a 2-star assault on one of my dear babies. First I just sat there—shocked. It was unbelievable to me that someone didn’t like my work. My work? How could someone not like my work? How was that possible?

After I read the review over about ten times, I called a friend and told them about it. Being my friend, of course they thought the reviewer was crazy. She agreed with me—how could someone NOT like my work? Were they insane?

Days passed, more favorable reviews were posted, and the sting of the negative review began to fade away. I went on with my life of writing and had nearly forgotten about the negative review when…bam! Another one. Different book—different reviewer. What in the Sam Hill was going on?! Two people didn’t like my work? What was the world coming to?

I read this review and my heart ached and my head hurt and then as with the first one, time healed that wound as well and I went on with my life. I continued to write and market and publish and checking reviews became like a scene from a best-selling thriller. I would close my eyes and wish for a good review when I saw that another one had been posted.

Okay, don’t get me wrong. My good reviews far outweigh the bad ones. My books average from 4.5-4.8 star ratings. All of my books have been Amazon bestsellers. I get glowing emails and messages all of the time. I’ve been nominated for awards and invited to speaking engagements.  But like most things in life, no matter how much positive feedback you receive, the negative just seems to speak louder.

Then one day I had this huge epiphany. I was reading a book that had come highly recommended to me. It has an average 4.6 stars out of a ton of reviews on Amazon. Reviewers use words like excellent and marvelous when describing it. A friend of mine liked it so much that she bought a copy and gave it to me. That’s how good it is. Or how good it’s supposed to be. Well, guess what? I don’t like it. No, I don’t like it at all. Couldn’t even get through two whole chapters. And that’s when it hit me.

The fact that someone doesn’t like or didn’t enjoy a book takes nothing from the writer.

A bunch of people LOVED that book, but I just didn’t like it at all. I just didn’t.

Does that mean the author is not good? No. Does it mean that the book is not good? No. It just means that I didn’t like it—point blank, period. And the same goes for the people who didn’t like my book. Their dislike is not an indictment against me or my writing. They just didn’t like it—point blank, period. Nothing personal. Nothing malicious. Just subjective criticism.

I can’t tell you how freeing that revelation was for me. Lots of people like my work and some people love it. Some don’t. And what do I do with that knowledge? I write on. And so should you.

bsl2cvrwebsite

A woman, her husband, her ex-lover, and the ties that bind them together…

The drama continues in this eagerly awaited and highly demanded sequel to Been So Long. Married for three years, Mona-Lisa and Corey face normal, everyday marital issues. But with a past like theirs, normal can spiral out of control at any second. Will they be able to hold things together or will Mona revert to her old ways?

Purchase links:

Kindle and paperback      Kobo       Nook     Website

me websiteAbout the Author:

Married at sixteen, a mother twice by seventeen, and thrice a mother and divorced by twenty-four, Adrienne Thompson is no stranger to adversity. Not your typical teenage mother, she went on to complete her college degree and to earn her nursing license. She attributes God’s faithfulness as the catalyst for her success in life. Now, having raised two children as a divorced mother, with a third fast approaching adulthood, she is sharing a long hidden talent and passion with the world. Using the lessons that life has so expertly taught her as a guideline (betrayal, abusive relationships, self-esteem issues, witnessing the deteriorating effects of drug abuse), she has created stories that will both entertain and inspire the reader.

Adrienne currently resides in Arkansas with her daughter. Formerly an RN, she now writes and publishes her stories full time.

 Facebook     Twitter     Pinterest

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook     Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

Have you heard of AuthorsDB? If not, you have to check this out!

adb_badgeRecently, I was directed to a website that offers free author promotions. In the digital age of Indie authors, it’s up to us to find ways to promote our work in order for our creative voices to be heard by millions of readers. I’ve signed up for a variety of sites, but this one in particular stands out from the rest.

Have you heard of IMDb (Internet Movie Data Base)? They are the biggest source of information regarding television shows, movies, and actors. AuthorsDB is the same, except that its a  Data Base for finding authors on the web. This site  not only allows you to post your biography, books, blurbs, and sales links, it also gives you the freedom to share every available social networking sites your connected to, list your publisher information, and share specific details about your books. The site also offers services for authors, contests, and even shares your information across the web via Twitter, Facebook, and the other major sites where readers can be found! Did I mention this service is FREE?????

Interested? Stop by and visit my page. And while your there, I’d appreciate your support in a book cover contest that is being held. I’ve submitted both covers, you can see the samples on the right hand side of your screen. Take a minute and cast a vote. I’d love the support! Don’t forget to ‘Like’ and ‘Share” the page as well.

Vote for A Heart Not Easily Broken Cover           Vote for Jaded Cover

I hope you find this tip helpful. Good luck with your book promotions!

MJ

 

 

Guest Post: My Writing Experience by Debbie Brown

My time on Facebook has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of authors, each one unique in their own way, each with their own story as to why they write. Today, my good friend, Debbie Brown, shares her reasons for writing. 

MJ

 

Interview with Debbie Brown!

I have always had a great passion for writing and creating stories although as life happens, it had taken a backseat to my busy life raising a family and living through a series of events that redefined my life.  I had taken writing classes and later on signed up for a writing program offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature (ICL). During these classes, I had written a short story about a boy who loses his mother and ends up being raised by his estranged, alien father which ten years later this story transformed itself into my first published  novel, “Amethyst Eyes” .

A series of tragedies forced me to abandon my ICL course, and a decade later,yet another tragedy, the loss of my newborn girl, brought me back to it. I had been injured by the nurses, leaving me unfortunately to walk with the aid of a cane, that on the days I could get around, without great pain and discomfort.   At that point it felt as though everything in my life had been taken away from me.  Losing my daughter left me heartbroken and devastated. However, God had blessed me with Zoey, 21 months

at the time, which gave me a very good reason to face every day and regain some hope for the future.

I have been a martial artist, teaching for close to twenty years.  But with my limited mobility,  I had to hang up my black belts which meant sadly, no more karate, self-defence or even Tai-Chi classes or practice, for work or just for my pleasure.  And I could no longer fly a plane, or work on a military base; since I could not get around quickly or easily  enough from building to building… stairs proved to be another challenge I never even imagined possible.  Everything I had trained, studied and practiced for in life had become useless for my new sad reality… well, except for the knowledge.

After having lost Emma, I returned to the Institute of Children’s Literature and to complete my course.  My knowledge and recent experiences were helpful in creating unique settings and situations which prove to be beneficial, alongside the course, to develop “Amethyst Eyes”.

I wanted and needed to create a place where people actually cared about one another.

Once the novel edited, I began sending out submissions. I turned down the first offer I received following some research falling on the ‘Writer’s Beware’ site and scanning comments and complaints about potential publishers.  My second submission’s answer came from a more reputable business…but when they told me I wouldn’t see the book for 12-18 months (and then he added, “Though lately it’s more like 24…”), I once again refused thinking that I was getting the go-around, and decided after reflection to go ahead with assisted publishing.  I needed to hold this book in my hands as part of my healing.

After graduating from ICL, I received a letter stating that, “Upon recommendation from your instructor, and the study of my academic file by faculty members, you have been recommended for an advanced writing course that only offered to select graduates.”  I was surprised, and quite flattered. After giving it some thought, I accepted, and began working on a novel while undertaking the course. I had already started working on “Emma, to Begin Again”, the story of Tommy’s parents (MC from Amethyst Eyes) before signing up for the class, which was placed on hold while I wrote ”Rebirth”.

Half-way through the course, after having completed a first draft of “Rebirth”, my instructor suggested I write another story.  Rather than spend the next half of the course editing and revising “Rebirth”, stating that it was already very close to publication. Not what I had been expecting. My readers were waiting for the sequel to “Amethyst Eyes’; I had “Emma” in the works and “Rebirth” ready to be edited. I hadn’t felt right about writing the sequel to “Amethyst Eyes” in the course, but this time I decided to go ahead with it.

 
By the end of the course I had a publishing contract for “Rebirth”, ¾ of the sequel to “Amethyst Eyes”  written and Emma just about completed. While all this was going on, I still had my daughter Zoey to care for, (that’s aside from my other adult children), I had returned to work for the Canadian Forces, though primarily with training cadets, and I am now midterm of what is sure to be my last pregnancy.

My life is busy, filled with both the unknown, and the crazy, but it most definitely won’t stop me from writing.  I wish I could find some time for myself, to shut myself away from the world and write, but in the end I can’t complain, because crazy has worked for me. In my home, I have a great library upstairs, and the view of the woods outside my window is just perfect. It provides the solace and inspiration to help me write.  However, my leg injury has kept me from using my library, but after the baby is born I’ll look into settling into it again.

I have been blessed with a life that can provide me with endless situations and the most colorful characters around. I use all my past experiences in my stories, all the people I have met to create uplifting stories that will leave the reader feeling good.

I hope I never run out of things to write, because it’s what I’d like to do with the rest of my life.

 

About the Author:

Interview with Debbie Brown!

I am a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, and have completed an advanced writing course for select g

raduates as well.

I have been traipsing around the depths of my imagination for as long as I can remember and began writing stories back when I was twelve. I love to read just about anything, from technical manuals to self-help, sci-fi to romance. I do avoid anything overly violent or graphic and have never been a fan of horror. I have a good memory and vivid imagination so I avoid reading or watching things I don’t want stored in my mind.

Interview with Debbie Brown!Amethyst Eyes was my first published novel. It is about a 15-year-old boy who has to leave his life behind to go live with his father after losing his mother in a tragic accident. Although the setting becomes sci-fi (since his father is not from Earth and Tommy has to live on his father’s spaceship), the story is more about growth and human interaction. There is a lot of adventure and a few twists to keep the readers busy throughout the book.

Over the years I have worked as a nurse, a school teacher, a martial arts instructor, baseball, figure-skating and gymnastics coach as well as an artist, selling my paintings in an art gallery. I have been part of an orchestra, flown planes and gone on wilderness hikes. I am an officer in the Canadian Forces, and though I have taught on different military bases, I now work primarily with cadets. Writing full time is my next goal.

Never having been much of a city girl, I live with the youngest of my four children, my husband Jean-Pierre, and Wookie, our Cardigan Corgi, in the Laurentian Mountains of

Rebirth cover

Quebec. I could not imagine life without the beauty found in the mountains and lakes that surround me. I enjoy the change in seasons and my perfect cure for a long winter’s night is curling up in front of a fire with a good book while snowflakes drift slowly past my window.

For more information about her books, visit the links below.

MJ on Writing: Viewpoint Tips and Tricks

WritingOne of the first things I learned about writing was the correct way to write a scene. After years of reading I had become accustom to what is known as ‘head hopping’. For those who may not be aware of what that is, ‘head hopping’ is where two characters point of views are shared in the same scene. This is not to be confused with conversation. I am referring to the scene starting with the heroine’s POV and then in mid scene, it switches to the hero’s POV, and back again or to another character without a change in the scene or start of a new chapter. Sound confusing? Imagine how it feels to a reader!

That style of writing is no longer accepted in manuscripts today, unless of course your one of the old school authors who were allowed to do it years ago. Chances are they haven’t been forced to change. In fact, I know they haven’t. One of my favorite romance authors who have been around for years still does it in every new book. But for the new author, agents and publishers are looking for a more polished style of writing, starting with characters whose POV’s are the only one featured in a chapter. Even if you plan to self-publish, taking these extra steps to polish your writing will make your work stand apart from the rest!

So how do you make this happen? Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you stay in one viewpoint from the beginning to end or your scene! (I write in 1st Person POV, so I will write these examples in both 1st and 3rd POV when needed.)

Make sure your reader knows who is speaking.

The easiest way to have this done is by having them addressed by name by another character in the scene. Doing this in the first few lines of the chapter will let your reader know who’s speaking:

Example:

(1st Person)

“Hey, Sara, how are you doing today?” my brother asked.

“Things could be better.” I grimaced while holding my stomach.

Or

(3rd Person)

“Hey, Sara, how are you doing today?” John asked.

“Things could be better,” she said while holding her stomach.

As mentioned above, NO HEAD HOPPING!

Doing so destroys the tension your building by staying in one character head. You know the saying, ‘the right hand can’t know what the left is doing?’ When sticking in one POV, it’s the same way. If Phil has a secret that he is trying to hide from Bob, his actions and what he says should say that to the reader, but the reader can’t know that Bob already knows that Phil is guilty.

Example:

Correct:

Phil’s eyes darted from side to side in an effort to keep from looking Bob in the eye. There was no way he would admit to eating the last slice of grandma’s apple pie. He tried his best to ignore Bob when he asked another question, and continued to stare out the kitchen window.

Incorrect:

Phil’s eyes darted from side to side in an effort to keep from looking Bob in the eye. There was no way he would admit to eating the last slice of grandma’s apple pie.

Bob knew Phil was guilty, because he refused to look at him. It didn’t matter if he answered his question or not. He was going to tell grandma.

Phil knows he’s guilty, but tries his best to hide it. If we are only in his POV, he can’t know what Bob is thinking, only assume, or in this case ignore Bob all together. What he thinks Bob knows or doesn’t know is not important. You only want to share Bob’s thoughts if/when his POV is addressed in another chapter.

Describing your character from their POV.

Every now and then it’s necessary for a character to tell the reader what they look like, what they are wearing, or describe their expressions. You have to be careful their voice does not slip into the voice of another character that may be looking at them. Try some of these tricks:

  • Have your character stand in front of a mirror and talk about what they see, but don’t be technical (and it should be relevant to the scene!)
  • Use feelings and descriptions to guide your reader into visualizing what the character is trying to say about themselves.
  • Quote another character’s thoughts about their appearance.

Example: Here’s how my character, Ebony Campbell, describe herself in the opening chapter of A Heart Not Easily Broken: (1st Person)

I smirked (facial expression) before sipping my margarita. Yasmine’s light-skinned complexion, slender ballet dancer body, long legs, and B-cup breasts suited her personality. There were times I wished my body was more like hers, though. It would make shopping for clothes a lot easier. As it was, I had been blessed with the shapely figure my Nana called ‘bootylicious’. According to her, and her photo albums, I looked just like her when she was my age, with caramel-colored skin, perfectly proportioned hips, a butt that drew major attention, and D-cup breasts, making it hard for a man to look me straight in the eye. (Opinion of others)

And last but not least, select ONE character to focus on in a scene!

In other words, don’t split up your chapter into two different points of view. Extend the scene, or shorten it, with chapter breaks instead of scene breaks. Doing so will keep the reader from missing the POV switch at the break point, because sometimes inserting *** just doesn’t do it. Doing so generally means there is a change in the scene itself, not POV.

I hope this helps! For more tips on writing, check out my page with links to previous articles on writing. Until next time, Happy Writing!

MJ

#FeatureFriday- The Super Spies Series by Lisa Orchard

The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer 500x750

Young Adult, Teen, Mystery & Thriller, Mystery & Detectives

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman. One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death. Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own fact-finding mission.  The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the inquest. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. To make matters worse, the police don’t even believe them. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer, or die trying…

Amazon     Astaea Press     B&N

TheSuperSpiesandtheHighSchoolBomber 500x750

Young Adult, Teen, Mystery & Thriller, Mystery & Detectives

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?

Amazon     Astraea Press     B&N

Excerpt from The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer:

The house sat hunkered down as if it were tensed to spring like a cat stalking a mouse. Sarah shuddered at the thought of going up on the porch and she chewed on her thumbnail.

Looking behind her, Sarah studied the church facing the Cat Lady’s home. It was a strong structure built of huge stones. She could tell it was as old as the town itself and its presence made her feel safe. Motioning for Jackie and Lacey to follow her, she moved from the sidewalk to the huge oak tree growing on the church’s lawn. The girls hid behind it, peeking out at the witch’s home.

“Are you still going to do it?” Jackie teased.

“Yep.”

“Do you think she’s inside?” Lacey asked wide-eyed.

Sarah smirked at her. “Where else would she be? I hear she never leaves her house.”

“Be nice.” Jackie smacked Sarah’s arm.

“What are you waiting for? Are you afraid of the witch?” Lacey asked as she stared at the house.

“She’s not a witch. She’s just a freak, that’s all.”

“Well, if she’s not …then what are you waiting for?” Jackie snickered.

“I just want to make sure the coast is clear.”

“Hey, you guys, look at all the cats,” Lacey whispered. She pointed at the clusters of felines lolling about on the porch and walking in the yard. “There has to be at least twenty of them.”

“Yeah, that’s why she’s called the Cat Lady.” Sarah rolled her eyes and then felt the sting from Jackie’s slap.

“Do you think she put a spell on those cats?” Lacey asked with a wide-eyed expression, twirling her hair with her finger.

“Could be,” Sarah snickered. “Or maybe she just…you know…gives them food.”

“Knock it off, Sarah,” Lacey glared at her sister.

Sarah stuck her tongue out at her. “Okay, I’m going for it. I’ll meet you back here.”

“Cool beans,” Jackie said.

“Cool beans? Is this town still in the nineties?” Sarah teased.

“Shut up.” Jackie smacked her arm again.

“This is physical abuse.” Sarah rubbed her arm, trying to appear injured.

Jackie laughed. “Be thankful I like hanging out with you.”

“All I have to do is ring her doorbell, right?” Sarah poked her head out from behind the tree. She noticed the tomato pulp still clinging to the siding and peered up and down the street for the notorious Wykowski boys.

“That’s right,” Jackie chuckled.

Sarah took a deep breath and sprinted across the street. She stopped at the porch stairs. A group of cats were sunning themselves on the steps—they meowed at her as if they were hungry. Jumping when one of them rubbed against her legs, she bent down and stroked its back, never taking her eyes off of the house.

Sarah petted the cat, while she worked up the courage to climb the stairs. She heard the loud purr of the contented feline and it eased her anxiety. All of a sudden, she felt a hand squeeze her arm. Her heart leapt in her chest and she let out a yelp.

Turning, she spied Jackie. “I almost peed my pants!”

Jackie giggled.

“What are you doing here?” Sarah muttered and gave Jackie the evil eye.

“I couldn’t stay behind the tree and miss all the action.”

Sarah glanced around her and pointed to some overgrown bushes in front of the porch. “You can hide over there.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Sarah spied her sister running toward them and stifled a groan.

“I didn’t want to stand by myself,” Lacey whimpered, slightly out of breath. She tugged nervously on the hem of her T-shirt as she eyed the house.

Sarah groaned and her shoulders slumped as if she carried a heavy burden. She sighed and pointed at the bushes again. “You hide over there with Jackie and be quiet.”

Sarah waited until the other girls were out of sight, and then climbed the stairs. Stopping when she reached the porch, Sarah took some deep breaths before stepping onto the sagging stoop. Stepping gingerly, she hoped the porch would support her.  Her stomach clenched when it groaned. She took another step and then another, the porch complaining with every footfall. Halfway across the stoop, she heard the girls behind the bushes.

“She’s almost to the door.” Lacey said in a low voice.

Sarah bit her lip, stifling the disapproving remark dancing on the tip of her tongue. Instead, she turned and glared at the bushes, willing its occupants to shut up. She made eye contact with Jackie, who quickly ducked behind the shrubs, pulling Lacey with her.

What in the world is she doing?” Lacey asked.

“Shhh,” Jackie responded.

Sarah shook her head and continued her journey. She felt Jackie and Lacey watching her as she crept toward the door. Reaching the entryway, she was surprised to find the storm door wide open. The only barrier between the Cat Lady and the rest of the world was a flimsy screen door hanging askew on its hinges.

Alarm bells rang in Sarah’s head—this has got to be out of character for someone who never leaves their home. She turned back and whispered to the other girls. “Hey!”

Jackie poked her head out. “What?”

“The storm door’s open.”

“So?”

“So…what do I do?”

“Duh…Ring the door bell.”

Sarah shrugged and pushed the doorbell. It let out an irritating buzz and she had the feeling it had been broken long ago and never fixed. She dashed down the stairs.  The cats scattered, alarmed by the sudden activity. Reaching the shrubs, Sarah hid with her sister and Jackie.

Gasping for breath, Sarah waited for a reaction from the old woman. Her heart pummeled her ribs and she pressed her hand to her chest to calm it.

After a few minutes, Sarah started to pace. “Well…nothing’s happened.” She peeked out from behind the shrub and saw the screen door hanging ajar. “I bet she’s not even home. I’m going to try again.”

Jackie shrugged. “Be careful, remember she’s a witch.”

Sarah shook her head, and then peered out from behind the shrubs. Once again, she climbed the stairs. She was braver this time and it didn’t take her as long to make it to the door.

She looked inside, her heart lurching in her chest. She tiptoed to the picture window and peered through it. Gasping, she ran back to the entryway. Pulling it open, she lunged inside.

Sarah stared, unable to tear herself away.  Shock ran through her body like an electrical current as she eyed the scene before her. The crumpled form of the Cat Lady lay on the living room floor, just inside the door. No life flickered in the old woman’s staring eyes. Her mouth gaped open in a silent scream and her hands were up around her head as if she were warding off blows. Turning away, Sarah gagged as the coppery scent of blood assaulted her. There was blood splattered everywhere, on the wall, on the carpet and under the Cat Lady’s body.

Suddenly, Sarah’s throat constricted and she gasped for breath. Fearing she would faint, she stumbled back out the door and collided with Jackie and Lacey on the porch.

Jackie grabbed Sarah’s arm and shook her. “What are you doing? Are you crazy? I never said to go inside!”

Sarah didn’t speak—she just stared blankly at the porch.

Jackie shook her again. “Are you under the Cat Lady’s spell?”

Lacey whimpered. “Hey, Sarah….can you hear me? Sarah?”

“She’s under the Cat Lady’s spell,” Jackie said waving her hand in front of Sarah’s eyes.

“Oh my—,” Sarah moaned and clutched Jackie’s arm.

“What is it?” Jackie shook her again. “Speak…say something!”

“Th-th-the C-C-Cat Lady, sh-sh-she’s,” Sarah stuttered.

“She’s what?” Jackie demanded.

“Sh-she’s dead.”

####

About the Author20111210_ABS_1296[1]

Lisa Orchard grew up loving books. She was hooked on mysteries by the fifth grade and even wrote a few of her own. She knew she wanted to be a writer even then.  “The Super Spies and the High School Bomber” is the second book in the “Super Spies” series. Her first book was published in March of 2012 and it has received rave reviews.

After graduating from Central Michigan University with a Marketing Degree she spent many years in the insurance industry, pining to express her creative side.  The decision to stay home with her children gave her the opportunity to follow her dream and become a writer. She currently resides in Rockford Michigan with her husband, Steve, and two wonderful boys. Currently, she’s working on the third novel that stars the same quirky teens. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, running, hiking, and reading.

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Keep an eye out for my interview with Lisa Orchard on June 5th!

MJ

#WriterWednesday- Interview with Florence Osmund!

The one thing I love about writing is the opportunity to meet a wide variety of authors from various genres. I meet Florence when I joined the Women’s Fiction author group on Goodreads. Take a few moments to learn about this talented author!

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What inspired you to write?

Years before I started writing novels, I jotted down anything and everything that I thought I could use in a storyline. Then, when I was ready to write, I retrieved those hundreds of scraps of paper, sorted through them, put them in piles, and lo and behold, a story emerged. So when you ask what inspired me, I have to say it was family, friends, and strangers saying and doing a vast array of different things.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

So far I have written two historical fiction books and am currently working on a third. My first two novels take place in the 1940s, and the third one takes place in the 1950s. For reasons unknown to me, I am drawn to that time period.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I typically spend mornings participating in on-line discussion groups for authors (LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Facebook), marketing my books, and managing e-mail and Facebook messages. In the afternoons, I write.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I donʾt know if this qualifies as a quirk or not, but Iʾm not motivated to write unless I have at least two hours at a time to devote to it.  I would be interested in knowing if thatʾs the case for other writers. On the other side of that, I find myself having to take at least an hour break after writing for four hours.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

With regard to writing (and I assume thatʾs where youʾre going with this question), I fall somewhere in between a pantser and a plotter. I typically start out with a brief outline of the story—beginning, middle, and ending—and go from there. However, sometimes as Iʾm writing, the story takes on a life of its own and goes in another direction, in which case I go with it and revise my outline.

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

As I mentioned in an earlier response, when I hear or see something in real life that I think would make a good scene or storyline, I jot it down. For example, one day I was walking down a Chicago street on my way to a restaurant. A young couple was in front of me. All of a sudden, the man leapt into the street toward a moving car. The back door of the car opened, and he jumped in, but only after turning toward his companion and yelling, “Iʾll catch up with you!” She was left standing there with her mouth wide open, obviously dumbstruck. I used that scene in my first novel. It fit beautifully.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

I devote much of my website to offering new author advice—advice I wish I had received before I started writing my first book. The most elementary and important advice I have for them is to read, read, and then read some more. Read books in your genre, and keep notes on what made the books good or not-so-good, and then use that knowledge in your own writing. For example, did you feel connected to a certain character? If so, why? Were you unable to put the book down? If so, what kept you turning the pages? What did you consider to be the bookʾs value? Learn from other authorsʾ successes and failures.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I self-published through CreateSpace.

What are your current projects?

My current project is titled, “Mystic Coins.” The male protagonist in this novel, Lee Winekoop, comes from extremely wealthy parents who give him everything anyone would ever need to be successful in life. That seems to work for his two older brothers, but unfortunately, not for Lee. This is a story of how a young man deals with weaknesses, frustrations and feelings of inadequacy, but more importantly, this is the story of differing views on what defines success in life.

1Coach House Front Cover

1945 Chicago. Newlyweds Marie Marchetti and her husband, Richard, have the perfect life together. Or at least it seems until Marie discovers cryptic receipts hidden in their basement and a gun in Richard’s desk drawer. When she learns he secretly attends a mobster’s funeral, her suspicions are confirmed. And when she inadvertently interrupts a meeting between Richard and his so-called business associates in their home, he causes her to fall down the basement steps, compelling Marie to run for her life.

Ending up in Atchison, Kansas, Marie quickly sets up a new life for herself. She meets Karen Franklin, a woman who will become her lifelong best friend, and rents a coach house apartment behind a three-story Victorian home. Ironically, it is the discovery of the identity of her real father and his ethnicity that unexpectedly changes her life more than Richard ever could.

BUY your copy today! 

About the Author

Florence Osmund grew up in an old Victorian home in Illinois, complete with a coach house, the same house she used as inspiration for her first two novels. She earned her master’s degree from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and has obtained more than three decades of experience in corporate America. Her website is dedicated primarily to helping new authors—offering advice she wishes she had received before she starting writing. Osmund currently resides in Chicago where she is working on her next novel.

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#TeaserTuesday- Jaded (Book Two of The Butterfly Memoirs) Hot!!!!!

With the days dwindling down until the release of Jaded, I decided to give you guys one more HOT teaser to wet the book lovers pallet….enjoy!

Excerpt:

“Yasmine,” Zack said, his voice low, his hazel eyes darkened.

“Yes?” My body ached with anticipation as I licked my lips. His gaze instantly went to my mouth.

The feel of his lips and the way he’d held me came back to mind. I ran a finger across my mouth in anticipation.

“I could tell you how beautiful you are, but you already know that.”

I laughed lightly. “No girl gets tired of hearing it.”

He nodded, got off his seat, and took a small step towards me. I could feel the heat of his body as he stepped into my presence, even though we weren’t touching.

“I’ll say this instead, you are…,” his eyes traveled lazily over my body, “unbelievably sexy.”

I felt myself getting lost in his eyes as they ate me alive. “Thanks, I—”

Zack held up a finger. “You are sexy, but for reasons that have nothing to do with the physical.”

His words made me pause.

“Your true sexiness comes from here.” He ran a finger across my temple. “Your mind. Your smart, witty, take no bullshit temperament is what turns me on.” He took a final sip of his wine and set the glass on the counter beside me.

I froze in place. The last thing he said about my mind was hotter than anything else.

“The one thing men fail to appreciate is the beauty of a woman’s mind.” He took my glass and placed it next to his. “A woman’s strength comes from here,” he touched my temple again, “and translates to the physical…here.” His finger ran the length of my jaw lightly.

I tilted my head back and closed my eyes. Never had I been this turned on in my life. My heart raced, my breathing quickened, and my body vibrated with the need. He’d barely even touched me.

“You see,” his voice dropped lower as he inched closer, his mouth nearing my ear, his breath tickling the side of throat, “the physical can wither away with age and sickness. This,” he kissed my forehead and trailed slow, butterfly kisses across my temple, “can never be lost.”

He tilted my chin, and then his lips were on mine. My body melted into the counter. Zack’s free hand came around my waist, and pulled me against his body. I molded to him, allowing myself to give in the way I wanted the night we kissed. My hands held the back of his head as our lips glided over each other. His tongue slipped out, tempting mine to come out and play. The moment it did, I tasted sweet wine.

####

 

Wipe those screens off and make a note on your calendar to ONE-CLICK your copy of Jaded on March 22nd! And look of for the Jaded Blog Tour starting Monday, March 25 and ending April 4th. Look for trivia questions and get ready to win! Contest details will be posted on this blog on March 25.

MJ

 

Autumn landscape

A devastating breakup leaves Yasmine Phillips in shambles. Unable to trust another man with her heart, she focuses on the one thing she can control—starting her own business.

When her computer crashes, taking months of hard work with it, she must rely on computer genius Zachariah Givens to save her. A complete opposite of men from her past, she doesn’t expect the passion that ensues. But just as she finds happiness, she learns the truth about the other women in Zachariah’s life.

***Look for it March 22nd through 5 Prince Publishing!!***

New to The Butterfly Memoirs Series? Catch up with A Heart Not Easily Broken (Book One of The Butterfly Memoirs)

Reviews, Free Chapter Samples, All Sales Links

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#8Sunday- Jaded (Book Two of The Butterfly Memoirs) – Burn out

Sometimes, no matter how much we plan, “Captain Complication” finds a way to screw up everything…

Excerpt:

“Oh shit,” I groaned, and covered my face with my hands. Shit, shit, shit…”

I sat up and flipped the power switch on the computer tower. A spark of energy flashed and the smell of smoke permeated the air. Brandon and I jumped; he lunged for the power cord while I ran for the fire extinguisher in the hall. By the time I returned, the flames had died down.

Brandon whistled and fanned the smoke-filled room. “I hope you saved that information on a backup drive.”

####
Autumn landscape

A devastating breakup leaves Yasmine Phillips in shambles. Unable to trust another man with her heart, she focuses on the one thing she can control—starting her own business.

When her computer crashes, taking months of hard work with it, she must rely on computer genius Zachariah Givens to save her. A complete opposite of men from her past, she doesn’t expect the passion that ensues. But just as she finds happiness, she learns the truth about the other women in Zachariah’s life.

***Look for it March 22nd through 5 Prince Publishing!!***

New to The Butterfly Memoirs Series? Catch up with A Heart Not Easily Broken (Book One of The Butterfly Memoirs)

Reviews, Free Chapter Samples, All Sales Links