A Fun Way to Learn How to Write From the Male and Female POV and Perspective- Part 1

Before reading any further, take the next three minutes to watch this video. Get your laugh on, then watch it again and get your learn on. Not only will you be entertained, you’re going to learn something new because afterwards, I’m going to break it down!

DATE NIGHT! -THE VIDEO

(Video via Facebook share)

Hilarious, right? It’s the typical men see things differently than women story of a date through the eyes of two very different couples. The difference? The back story. Knowing what each character is going through before, during, and after a scene helps you, the author, know what experiences should be included in a scene and how to present them.

Remember those pesky and time consuming character outlines I’m always referring to? Well, here is how they work for the characters in this short video.

THE BREAK DOWN:

COUPLE A:

HER POV: The Date SUCKED!

Woman A was looking forward to a romantic interlude. She did her hair and make-up, took the time to prepare a meal, and set the table. She expected her date to arrive looking nice, probably bearing a vase of flowers, and taking the time to appreciate her appearance and the meal. Next would have come some small talk, flirting, and no doubt, some personal fun time.

What did she get?

A quick hug, no compliments on her appearance or the meal. Instead he made a beeline for the food, woofed it down without any conversation besides grunts that seemed to ruin her appetite. And when it came to fun time…well, let’s just say Mr. Happy was there and back again in less than 3 seconds, or as she said, before she could unhook the back her dress. And to top it all off, he finds his way to her bed and passes out from what has to be over eating and rapid blood loss to the brain.

His POV: IT was AMAZING!

Man A wanted exactly what he got: A good looking woman who cooked for him (free food), had nothing to say, and stood there long enough for him to get his rocks off. Oh yeah, let’s not forget the comfy bed. In his eyes, major score!! And he got to leave with his needs satisfied in time to watch the big game at home without interruption.

 

COUPLE B:

HER POV: Most ROMANTIC DATE EVER!

Everything about the evening was different than being with any other man. First, he paid for a cab. Dinner was an amazing experience. After, instead of hailing a cab, they took the scenic route, walking along, holding hands, and experiencing the night life from another point of view. At his place, the romance continued with lit candles to set the mood, a very intense love making session that lasted longer than anything she’d ever experienced. And the best part, he didn’t pass out when they were done. They lay there wrapped in each other’s arms and talked all night.

In a nutshell, everything was magical and perfect, just what a girl could ever want.

 His POV: EPIC FAIL!!!!

It’s been a long day full of one frustrating event after another. Failure to pay his light bill lead to to spend money taking her out instead of having her come over. After paying for a cab, dinner was so expensive he could no longer afford a taxi cab home. He plays off the whole broke thing by suggesting they ‘sight see’ and walk to his place, (is this chick gullible or what???). No electricity leaves him improvising again with candles. Frustrated by the series of mind numbing fails, he has too much pride to say let’s call it an evening and tires to play it off by ‘making love’ when what he’s really doing is stalling for time to work himself up for that magic moment. By the end of it all, he doesn’t feel like finishing the act, but he’s literally ‘in the game’ and has to figure out how to play it off, because hey, Ms. Gullible is having the time of her life. Again, frustrated, pissed off, and ready for it all to be over, he can’t sleep which means he has no choice but to be subjected to Ms. Chatty Cathy.

This date sucked so much he probably would refuse to see her ever again.

Pad of Paper & Pen

 

 

 

Now, how does all of this tie into writing?

First, let’s review the definitions of Point of View and Perspective:

 

 

 

 

 

POINT OF VIEW: The position of the narrator in relation to the story, as indicated by the narrator’s outlook from which the events are depicted and by the attitude toward the characters

PERSPECTIVE: the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship

(Definitions via dictionary.com)

DETERMINING USE OF POINT OF VIEW:

When telling a story, you must know which character’s voice you want the readers to experience. If the entire story is being written from one character’s POV, then it’s simple. Everything that happens comes from them. If your story is being told from more than one character’s POV, then you must decide how much of is being told and from who’s POV. This can be done in several ways:

  • An entire scene or chapter is told in one character’s POV
  • A scene or chapter is told in split POV’s
  • A section, or portion (meaning more than a few chapters in a row or Part 1, Part 2, etc. of the manuscript) are told from various characters’ POV

Knowing the story your telling (story line) and what your characters experience and how those experiences will affect their decision making (back story) determines who’s POV is shared at certain points. The character’s reactions to their environment and scenarios they face will be based on that back story.

Of the four characters portrayed in the video, the best example would be Man B from the second couple. An unfortunate event (failure to pay his light bill) led to changing his date night plans (paying for cab, expensive dinner, walking home, candle light sex, aggravation to the point of failure to perform for an extended point of time, and sleeplessness). Lack of electricity set off a catalyst of events that when told from his point of view, led to the date from hell. His POV was much more entertaining than Woman B who saw things from a fairytale perspective.

Now, how does perspective come into play?

Come back tomorrow where I’ll break down that portion of the video, as well as share a scene from my bestselling novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, where I demonstrate the use of perspective from three characters POV in one scene. Until then, Happy Writing!!!

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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 by following this blog!

MJ

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#WriterWednesday- Interview with Stacy-Deanne!

Welcome back to another #WriterWednesday! Today I’d like to introduce you to Stacy-Deanne as she drops by today on her blog tour to share her reasons for writing. Read the sneak peak at an excerpt from her novel, The Wild Life, and be sure to check out the contest listed below!

Stacy_Hot_Like_Fire_Blog_Tour

Welcome, Stacy!

What inspired you to write?

I write simply because I enjoy it. I’ve always had an active imagination so making up stories and characters comes natural to me. I also write because it’s therapeutic for me mentally. It keeps me sane and grounded. It helps me not to be so stressed. I have anxiety disorder so anything that can relax me is a wonderful thing. When I’m writing I forget about the world around me and all the problems in it so that in itself is inspiration to write.

 

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

My primary genre is mystery and suspense with romantic elements (primarily interracial). I guess we found each other. I’m a true mystery buff and I grew up loving mysteries. I am a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan and he inspired me to become a mystery writer. I write interracial stories because I’ve always been interested in interracial relationships.

 

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

I don’t put myself under pressure in terms of scheduling, etc. I just use my time wisely when it comes to writing. I write when the mood hits me. If that’s everyday then that’s every day, but if it’s not then it’s not. I take a more relaxing approach to my writing now. I’ve been in this business since 1997 and I used to write constantly and I had no room to do anything else. I realized through the years that I can get my work done without killing myself to do it. It’s not how often your write, but write what counts when you write. That’s what’s important. Writers should work at their own pace and at a “schedule” that works for them. We’re all different and that should be respected.

MJ: Great advice!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Well, I’ve always been one that kinda talked to myself. LOL! That’s only because I have a good imagination and I am an only child. When I was a kid I made up brothers and sisters and I talked to them. This translated into me even now talking to myself sometimes as if someone else is with me. Sometimes I imagine myself as one of my characters and I’ll talk to other characters in the book as if I’m right there in the scene. LOL!

MJ: Stacy-Deanne, you and I have that in common! Only child giving ‘life’ to others to keep entertained….lol!

 

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I like to jump into a story the minute I get my idea. I jot down ideas for scenes as I go, but I don’t outline an entire book or anything. No way. To me the fun part about writing is the surprising journey the story and characters take you. Plus I don’t think you can really plan everything in a mystery because the story relies on twists that come to you as things unfold. I also think you should not force a story to go a certain way. You might start out with an outline, but any writer knows that it’s the story and characters that dictates a story when it comes down to it. Eventually things will shift in a direction the author didn’t count on and to me that’s the fun part!

 

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?

Nope my stories are not based on me, my experiences, or anyone I know. I write fiction that comes straight out of my head. I think that’s another thing that makes writing fun. I like to learn about new people (characters) and have new adventures. I wanna be taken on new journeys through my work.

 

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

The biggest thing I see these days is that some new writers are very impatient. I also see that for some reason new writers think they are entitled to publication without putting in the work. I am seeing a lot of coattail riders and shortcut chasers. As my publisher Elissa Gabrielle says, “Publication is a privilege, not a right.” This is true because being published is not something we are owed, but something we are supposed to work hard for. It’s not supposed to be easy. I always tell new writers to research the business before jumping into it. They won’t get anywhere if they don’t know how things work. They also should be patient because too many people out here are rushing to publish and the outcome only hurts the author if the work is not up to par. Newbies need to take time to actually learn how to write. Anyone can write a first draft, but not anyone can write a novel of publishable quality. That takes skill, patience, discipline, and years of learning. Anyone who says it doesn’t take time to be able to write well is mistaken.

MJ: Well said, very true, and amen! 

 

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

I’m traded published. I was with Simon and Schuster and now I’m with Peace in the Storm Publishing, which is a traditional independent house.

 

What are your current projects?

I have a lot of things coming up. First off, I’ve started three new short story serials. The beginning installments of these serials will be released soon by my publisher, Peace in the Storm Publishing. I am very excited. I never wrote shorts before but now I got the hang of it and I really enjoy writing serials. I’m excited to embark on this new venture. I also have two novels coming up in 2014. One, The Ultimate Rush, is a standalone. The other, Harm a Fly, is the fourth installment of the Bree and Steven series. So you’ll be seeing a lot from me.

I’d like to thank you for having me and I want everyone to remember to answer the giveaway question below so they have a chance to win a copy of my current release, The Wild Life!

MJ: Your more than welcome! Thank you for stopping by! 

 

The Wild Life

When Albany Detective Brianna “Bree” Morris learns that Cuban crime lord Milan Varela wants her estranged father dead, she heads off to Miami to find out why. With Homicide Detective Jayce Matthews and her ex-lover Detective Steven Kemp she devises a plot to get close to the Varela organization.

Brianna finds herself attracted to the older Milan and falls deep into his web of seduction while fighting to keep her mind on her mission. Milan is equally drawn to Brianna and vows to win her trust and her heart.

Is Milan really the villain when it comes to Brianna’s father? Or is he the victim?

Is Brianna’s father really in danger or is there more to the story than anyone could ever imagine?

Brianna risks her life to save her father’s but will she end up losing her own?

The steamy, explosive, and super-hot new installment in the Bree and Steven Series!

Amazon     Barnes & Nobel   

Excerpt: 

“What do you expect me to say, Steve?” Brianna sat beside Jayce. “I don’t even know what’s going on.”

He bent over her. “Can’t anything go well for you, woman? Why do you keep getting yourself in these predicaments?”

“Oh excuse me for coming home and finding a man in my kitchen!”

Jersey tugged on her ears. “I have a huge headache and one of my officers has just been attacked. The last thing I need is for you two to argue.”

Steven and Brianna made faces at each other.

“We’re worried about you, Morris. Tell us what’s going on so we can help.”

“I don’t know if you can help.”

Davis slunk into the room and rested at Brianna’s feet. She scooped up the brown feline.

“The guy that tried to kill me…” She scratched Davis’ ear. “Well he worked for Milan Varela.”

Steven gaped. “What the f*** did you just say?”

Brianna shrugged.

“Are you f***** kidding me? A man who worked for the head of the Southern Cuban Mafia was here? Here?”

“I was telling Bree that a friend of mine in the FBI might be able to help her,” Jayce said. “It’s about her father. They’re looking for him.”

“George?” Jersey’s green eyes beamed from behind her glasses. “What the hell would the Cuban Mafia want with George?”

“No telling. You know the life my father lives. It’s full of risks and he makes no apologies for it.”

Jersey touched the back of her neck. “How the hell could he even get close to Milan Varela in the first place?”

“So this is the type of stuff your father’s always into?”

“Jayce my father has never been a father to me. He stays gone for decades at a time and pops up probably once every ten or fifteen years when he wants something. I wonder if he even remembers he has a

daughter half the time.” She kissed Davis’ head. “Right now what’s important is this mess he’s got going with Milan. Why would he want my dad dead?”

“I just can’t believe this. I mean your dad has been involved in some shady things during his life but nothing like this. What are you gonna do, Morris?”

“As much as I hate him, I can’t let anything happen to him. I gotta find out where he is.”

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****CONTEST****

Giveaway question:

What are THREE qualities the perfect main character must have?

Five people who provide the most interesting answer to this question will each win an ebook copy of The Wild Life.

Giveaway ends at 8 pm Central Time. Ebook copies will be emailed to participants by Stacy-Deanne. Commenters must leave email address with comment to be eligible.

 

About the Author: 

Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is an award-winning novelist of crime, mysteries, and interracial romantic suspense. She’s been writing professionally since 19-years-old, and her work includes Divas of the New Millennium, Everlasting, Melody, Giving up the Ghost, The Season of Sin, When the Mouse Chases the Cat, and The Wild Life. Stacy is profiled along with notable authors in the NAACP-nominated 2006 book, Literary Divas: The Top 100+ African-American Women in Writing. She is a 2011 and 2012 African-American Literary Award nominee. The Season of Sin and The Wild Life were both reviewed and highly recommended by USA Today. Stacy was born, raised, and resides in Houston, Texas.

 Website     Facebook    Twitter    Join the Mailing List

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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 by following this blog!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

Book Reviews: The Good, the Bad, and the WTH???

Attractive Woman with Her Books

Book reviews. Every author wants them. Every author fears them. They can be the shining star used to promote your work, or the one thing holding readers back from deciding to one-click and add to their growing collection. Over the last week, both of my books have received reviews: a 3, a 4 and a 5 Star review, and each has seen the dreaded 1 and 2 Star reviews. Each reviewer has had something different to say and it made me think…

What good can a review do for the author? How can you read through the lines? And when do you ignore them?

The first rule to any book review is: everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Easier said than done sometimes, right?

The fact of the matter is, no matter how well your book is written, no matter how clean you edits are, or how many people sing your books praises, somebody out there is going to hate it.

What’s that old saying, “You can’t please everybody?” No truer words have been spoken.

Above all things you must remember readers have different taste, like different types of storytelling, or crave a certain type of drama, fantasy, or escape from reality. If your book doesn’t hit the mark for them, chances are they will not like it. A good example of this is the romance genre. There are many ‘heat’ levels out there. Everything from Hard core BDSM, to the tame ‘bedroom door shuts in your face’, and where I fall, somewhere in between…not erotica, but definitely erotic. (I recently had a reader tell me my scenes made her blush, lol, and they are in no way close to what makes me blush!)

The flip side to this is if your book is intentionally written to draw on a readers emotions – depending on their personality type – they may dislike your characters because they cannot or do not sympathize with your characters decisions. They get so upset they are personally offended or pissed off and no longer read the full story.  They base their opinions on the characters actions and what they feel should have happened, thus the bad review.

As an author, what can you take from this?

For starters, learn to read between the lines. Once the emotional sting is gone and the tears have dried, or you stop using the ‘f’ word, whichever comes first, try to decipher what the reader is trying to say. Did they dislike the character, the plot, or the writing? Was the character unrealistic or did the decisions they make just piss them off? As the author, only you know what motivates your characters and what emotions you want to draw from the reader. So the questions you must ask yourself are:

  • Did I do too much or too little?
  • Was enough back ground information given?
  • Was the scene or reason behind the decisions made explained clearly?
  • Were questions/goals asked, defined, and reached?
  • Were there enough unanswered questions to keep the reader interested without boring them?
  • How well thought out was the plot?
  • Are there gaps in the story that leave the plot line open?
  • Was a resolution found and satisfying?
  • What about the pacing? Too fast, too slow, or just plain boring? (you’ll know the answer to this if a majority of your reviews say the same thing)
  • What can I take from this review to make my next project better?

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Some characters are meant to piss people off, but you want your main characters to pull the reader in, keep their attention and have them rooting for them to reach their goal. One of the most important things to remember, no matter what genre you write, pleasing the masses (lovers of your genre) is the key, not the people who don’t or won’t agree.  In other words, if you write Sci-Fi Erotica, don’t expect a Historical Romance lover to go crazy about your book. That’s not to say readers won’t cross over to different genres, but some are more comfortable with what they know.
  • If your book is getting an influx of negative reviews, pay attention to the market your promoting to. If book lovers of your genre continue to say the same thing, you may need to step back, re-evaluate your style of writing, learn more about storyline structure, and find honest beta readers or a writing group to help you find out what went wrong. Revamp, rewrite, try again!
  • Like TV shows and movies, there are various book genres that have a different style of pacing. Some readers want the satisfaction of a full ride that has them hanging on from the beginning to the end with no breaks. (Think roller coaster ride, 0-60 in 2 seconds). They want if fast, hard, and with a sudden stop. Other readers like the slow walk on the beach, long conversations, the romance, staring off at the sunset, and a satisfactory ending. And then there’s the in-between reader who likes the road trip. They want to leave the house doing the city speed limit, but when they hit the highway, they cruise with the traffic, enjoying the twists and turns and the fast pace. They like to visit the rest stop and stretch their legs before merging with the flow of traffic again. A well written story has the mixed pace of fast, slow, and cruise control to keep the ride interesting.

What does all of this mean?

As writers, we know what our comfort zone is when it comes to telling our stories. We know what our intentions are and what we want our character to see, think, and feel. We view our work as our babies and it’s often hard to put down the laptop and share it with the world. Will we ever be able to win over the masses? No, because there are too many genres which means readers what different things. If your book doesn’t deliver for them, chances are it’s not your story, but your style of writing or vice versa. Either way, don’t let a bad review get you down. See it as a learning tool. If you can find room for improvement, make it! If it’s more of a personal issue for the reviewer, ignore it and move on! In the end, YOU, the writer, know how much time, effort, and work you put in to make your ideas hit paper. Don’t let the negative stop you! As a good friend and fellow author says, ‘you have to put on your big girl panties and get over it!’ – Carmen DeSousa

Deciding what genre you write should not be this difficult!!!!

Finding the Correct Genre For Your ProseOkay, admit it, we’ve all been there. You get an idea; invest time, tears, aggravation, and determination to write it all down. Then you struggle with letting it go long enough for a friend or relative to read it. You gird yourself emotionally (or at least you try to) while you listen to their feedback, then cry when in private. Despite however many edits it takes to tell your tale, one of the first questions asked by your reader is, “What genre do you write?”

You would think it would be easy to say, (fill in the blank), but not these days. Genres no longer carry the simple tags of Romance, Mystery, Suspense, Drama, and Sci-Fi. There are sub-genres to these popular book categories that muddy the waters when it comes to deciding exactly where your manuscript fits in. Not to mention, new categories seem to pop up every day. Ever heard of Science Fiction/Alternative History? Me neither, but it is out there!

So, how do you find out if your manuscript fits into one, or more, of these sub-genres?

Well let’s start with defining what a fiction genre is. Visit this link, Exploring Different Types of Genre, which is found on the For Dummies website.

To summarize, here are the two main types of literal and commercial fiction:

Commercial fiction: Attracts a broad audience and may also fall into any sub-genre such as mystery, romance, legal thriller, western, science fiction, and more. (Example: The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. Popular authors in this genre include John Grisham, Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steele, and Jackie Collins.)

Literary fiction: Appeals to a smaller, more intellectual audience. Works in this genre can fall into the above listed genres. The difference is the qualities it contains: excellent writing, originality of thought and style. These qualities raise it above the level of ordinary written works. (Examples: Cold Mountain by Frazier. Popular authors in this genre include Toni Morrison, Barbara Kingsover, John LeCarre, and Saul Bellow. )

The article goes on to describe the main genres, as well as list the sub-genres and its most popular authors. Visiting this link provides valuable information to help you discover where you fit in, as well as where to best promote your work when it’s published.  The site also provides links to the Writers of America website for each genre for more detailed descriptions and the accepted rules.

For those of you on a time crunch who don’t have time to read the full article, but want to find our more information about your genre, here are the links:

Mystery Writers of America        Romance Writers of America

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America      Western Writers of America

So, where does my writing fit in? While I writer Romance, because I ‘break the rules’, the stories I tell fall into several categories.

The settings are modern day which puts me in Contemporary Romance.

Though I write from the female and male point of view, the stores are mostly about women’s issues and the ability to overcome, which places me in Women’s Fiction.

My characters are not all from one race. The heroines in the first three novels of The Butterfly Memoirs are an African-American, Caucasian-African-American, and Caucasian. The heroes are Caucasian, African-American, and Hispanic. This puts me in the Interracial Romance category. Unfortunately, this is a relatively new category that is just now being acknowledged by the publishing industry. (Here’s a great blog post written by a fellow author on this topic: Interracial Romance: The Most Popular Genre No One’s Heard About.)

And last but not least, because I am an African-American author, anything I write, regardless of the topics, writing style, or genre, I am automatically placed in the African-American genre before anything else is considered.

So, where does YOUR story fit? Good luck with figuring it out!

MJ

To Blog or Not to Blog?

blogThere was a time when I didn’t spend much time on the internet, much less read or follow a blog. Yet, in the last 3 years, I’ve become an avid blogger! Who knew? During this time my blog has undergone several revisions…from colors, to layouts, blogging platforms…and most importantly, what I blog about.

So, why did I start blogging? The answer is simple….to become a better writer.

Sounds crazy, right?

When I started blogging in 2009, I had no idea what I would write about. I mean really, at the time I was a stay at home mom who was attempting to write a book. What did I have to talk about? Hmm…kids, the community, my dogs. BORING!!! Who wanted to read that? LOL! In the beginning I had about 4 people who stopped by to read what I wrote. And that was only because I asked them to check it out. I had no idea how to format a blog post or how long it should be. Adding a picture was a hair pulling experience (did I mention I wasn’t THAT computer savvy?). Yep…suffice it to say I didn’t blog very often. Those blogs are still available if you’d like to read them:

 Four Miles and Counting….(my very first post!)

…Two Pit Bulls, One Paper Clip and a lap top to put it all in! (the next daring endevor!)

I know, I know, the big question is: did it actually help your writing?

The answer: YES!!!! (Seriously, take a look back then and now and you’ll see my writing technique has changed though my voice is pretty much the same.)

What are the benefits to writing a blog? As I stated above, writing a blog helped me find my writing voice, or rather, get comfortable with writing something, having people read it. Getting used to receiving comments and feedback about my blog post helped me get used to the idea of reading reviews as a published author. You can’t please everyone and of course everyone will not agree or like what you have to say. As writers, we have to get used to that idea. Why not do that with a blog?

And as they say about anything you strive to get better at: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE and you will improve. I strongly suggest that if you are an aspiring author looking to practice the craft of writing, start a blog! Find a topic or subject that is important to you (your writing platform or niche), and use it!

As time went on, I gave up on my blog for several months until I discovered my blog niche was writing about my experiences as an aspiring author. The more information I ran across, practiced, or new technique I found, I wrote about it. Sharing my story led me to other writers who were doing the same thing I was. Forming connections with other writers lead to networking, networking lead to learning new writing techniques from more experienced writers…and well, here I am today! It took a lot of work and continues to take a lot of work to keep this blog going, but I am proud to say that as of right now, I have over 900 blog followers.

I guess what I have to say and share means something! Thank you guys!!!

The question I am asked most by writers who would like to start a blog but fear they will never have a following is: “I have something to say, but who is going to read it? How do I promote my blog?” The answer is simple. If you’re tied into the major social networking sites: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Stumbleupon, etc., your potential readers are right there waiting. Choose a snazzy topic, a witty title, develop your layout, and use those free social networking tools. Before you know it, you’ll have a blog following, too!

Good luck and happy blogging!

MJ

Jaded – Book Two of The Butterfly Memoirs Blog Tour!

Welcome to the Jaded Blog Tour!!!

I don’t know who’s more excited…me, readers, or the characters!

Today marks the release of the second novel in The Butterfly Memoirs Series….YAY!!!! For those of you who have followed me for the past year, and have read A Heart Not Easily Broken, you have met Yasmine Phillips. Throughout the novel, she came across to many as confident, a bit loose, and stuck on herself. By the end of the novel, she was a devastated woman left to pick up the pieces from a relationship she thought was real. A lot of readers thought her reaction to learning about Ebony and Javan would be different based on the way she’s depicted.

But as they say, never judge a book by its cover.

And now it’s time to pull back the cover of Jaded

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.

 And of course with the new book comes a CONTEST!!!!

Follow this link to the Jaded Blog Tour Schedule and Contest Information! 

Good luck and thanks for your support!!!

MJ

#8Sunday- Jaded- Yasmine’s Philosophy on Love, Sex,and Relationships

A woman’s outlook on love and relationships is often influenced by what she sees around her, be it  from parents, family, or outside influences. Most importantly, the decisions a woman makes  comes from their own dating experiences.  Yasmine’s past has been tainted by a wide variety of factors. So much so, she has a philosophy she chooses to live by:

Excerpt:

My philosophy on love and relationships is simple: sex isn’t love, but it’s nice while you’re waiting.

Well, that’s what I used to think before the man that I fell in love with trampled all over my heart.

And raped my best friend.

Love will never happen for me. No man will ever understand me. The real me.

Not my parents, not my brother, not even my best friends.

My life, my experiences – both good and bad – are what define the real me.

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Get to know Yasmine Phillips in A Heart Not Easily Broken! BUY your copy of this Amazon Bestseller for $3.99 today! For REVIEWS, SAMPLE CHAPTERS, and LINKS of all formats…all with just ONE-CLICK! 

For more #8Sunday Samples, check out these other authors! Weekend Writing Warriors

#WritingTips- Use Your Microsoft Word Doc Tools to Make Writing Easier!

When my Muse wakes me up in the middle of the night, or I have an epiphany of a new scene to add more life to my manuscript, the first thing I do is search for any means of recording my thoughts. Paper and pen, notes on my iPhone, voice recordings if I’m driving, or sometimes I just grab my laptop, open up a blank word doc, and let my fingers fly over the keys. Then I file it away until I’m ready to work on it again.

I am a plotter with a hint of panster. I take my time when I write, letting my stories marinate as I decide what trials to put my characters through. I spend even more time discovering who they are. When my research is complete, my outlines written, and I’m ready to add dialogue, the last thing I want to do after spending hours bringing my story to life, is have to go back and reformat the entire manuscript before editing it.

Let’s face it, authors, the mere thought of the words edits, editing, or editor are daunting, especially if you are new to writing!

I remember those days! But, have no fear! Since then, I have learned when you put in the work, the editing process can run so smooth, it’s nearly as fun as watching your story come to life from the blank page!

Okay, okay, stop laughing!  Let’s keep it positive people! 🙂 I’m about to share a tip that will have you grinning from ear to ear! (If you had no idea about it, that is!)

Did you know there are tools built into Microsoft Word that can cut down the amount of editing you or your editor need to do if used while you write?

I learned this while working on my first manuscript, (A Heart Not Easily Broken), and my dear friend and fellow author enlightened me to these amazing settings. I can’t lie; I am NOT a tech savvy person. What I’ve learned to do with my laptop, be it building my webpage, (the one you’re visiting now), or surfing the web, all of this has been because of being pointed in the right direction by people who discovered these shortcuts and shared them with me, or by taking the time to keep hitting buttons and trying over and over again until I figured it out. In other words, HOURS of frustration mixed with patience, coffee, and chocolate!

Now it’s my turn to reciprocate!  If any of this is new to you, I hope you find this information useful, and that it makes writing easier!

***NOTE: The following directions and screen shots are based on Microsoft Word 2010. Similar functions can be found for 2007, though they will not be as detailed. For more advice, I suggest searching Google or YouTube for instructional videos on how to use your editing/proofing features.***

Unknown tricks to Word 2007 and 2010 to avoid unnecessary editing issues (AKA – Quick Access Tool Bar). Let’s face it, we all didn’t sit down to read the manual…

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Screen shot of the steps below. Daunting, but well worth the work!

Use of this function will allow you to set up Word to point out common editing issues as you type, allowing you to rethink your sentence before you continue, or make it easier to find some of the editing issues that make your writing passive. To customize this feature, follow these steps:

  • Open up a blank Word Document
  • Select the REVIEW tab at the top of your screen; Right Click and select CUSTOMIZE
  • Select PROOFING. (Here you can choose what kind of typing issues you want Word to ignore or point out to you).
  • Look lower in the box marked: WHEN CORRECTING SPELLING AND GRAMMAR IN WORD
  • Select WRITING STYLE, then click on the drop box, choose GRAMMAR & STYLE, then click SETTINGS. (From here you can have Word point out EVERYTHING!!! From punctuation issues, misused words, fragment and run-on sentences, to the use of cliches phrases, and so much more. Using this feature to help point out issues you need to correct before submitting your manuscript to an editor will make the editor quickly fall in love with you!)
  • Be sure to select OK before exiting to save your settings.

***By the way, once these settings are saved, they stay that way  for every document you create, until you go in and reset them.***

I touched on this a few posts ago when sharing tips for writing query letters, but again, putting this simple step into practice BEFORE you write one word will make the rest of  your writing experience pleasant.

The Universal Settings for your Manuscript (or Prepping you MS for Query Letters and you Editor)

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Your screen should look like this when selecting your font type and size.

Set your Font:

  • Open a blank document.
  • Select the HOME tab.
  • Choose TIMES NEW ROMAN Font with a 12 Point  size.
  • Save and exit

***Check these settings for each new document created! They do not always stay the same!***

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This is the easiest fix!

To Set Page Borders/Margins:

  • Select the PAGE LAYOUT tab.
  • Choose MARGINS.
  • Set to NORMAL. (1 inch border on both sides and top and bottom)

***This usually the normal setting, but it never hurts to make sure it’s set correctly. Technology is funny, and can revert back to the original settings  without warning!***

IMG_0439[1]

Set your page to automatic indent and line and paragraph spacing.

  • From the HOME tab, select PARAGRAPH.
  • In the INDENTION box, choose HANGING.
  • In the SPACING box, choose DOUBLE, and change the  AFTER PT to ZERO (O)
  • Check the box below to avoid  spaces between paragraphs
  • Select OK to save changes.

***Again, check this feature with the start of any new document. The default settings are not the same as what you need when writing. Any new document created will not have your new settings.***

 Other Advice:

Here are a few more things you can do to make your writing cleaner:

  • Make sure you have clean chapter breaks. In other words, when Chapter 1 ends halfway down the page, Chapter 2 should start on a fresh page. The final page of Chapter 1 should not have the first part of Chapter 2 .
  • Italicize words meant to stand out for emphasis, do not highlight or underline.
  •  When inserting a scene break in a chapter, use ### or *** to show the break in time, or the start of a new scene and/or location. Which ever one you use, stay consistent throughout the MS, do not flip-flop.
  • If you have already written you MS and have not used these settings, there’s no need to type it over again! Simply go to page one, hold down the CTRL + A buttons; it will highlight the entire manuscript, from page 1 to 1000+. Follow the steps to set PAGE MARGINS and FONT while highlighted, and it will fix all of your work. Be sure to scroll through in order to separate your chapter headings on fresh pages, or else, some of them may find their way into the previous chapter. Don’t forget to save and back it all up when you’re done!

I know, I know, if you are technically challenged, the whole idea of learning how to properly format your work is daunting. But believe me; editors appreciate working with authors who take the time to learn how to use their writing programs. It cuts down on the amount of tedious stuff they need to do to get your work up to par, and allows them more time to focus on the real work, the mind-numbing technical side. And who knows, less work may end up saving you money!

Happy Writing!

MJ

 

#8Sunday-A Heart Not Easily Broken- Healing

Sometimes you never know what you’ve been missing until it comes back to you…

Excerpt:

“God, Ebony… I love you.” He gripped me tighter and pushed up to give me everything he had.

When I came, there were tears in my eyes. He followed right behind me, his eyes focused on me.

This is what had been missing. My physical healing had been over long ago. Maybe now my emotional healing could begin.

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BUY your copy of this Amazon Bestseller for $3.99 today! For REVIEWS, SAMPLE CHAPTERS, and LINKS of all formats…all with just ONE-CLICK! 

For more Sunday Samples, check out these other authors! Weekend Writing Warriors

#8Sunday- A Heart Not Easily Broken- Changes

Events in Ebony Campbell’s life have lead to drastic changes in her daily activities. No matter how much she tries to hide it, those close to her know something is up. Sometimes a  secret isn’t as hidden as you think…

Excerpt: 

Brian was right, Ebony had changed. Her hard work and dedication to her job were nothing new. But once he left, she started working harder than usual.

She ate, slept, worked, and talked to him when she could. But when it came to Kaitlin and me…

I could understand why she avoided us. After all, we were spending time with our boyfriends while she waited by the phone. And the three months without sex thing…damn.

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BUY your copy of this Amazon Bestseller for $3.99 today! For REVIEWS, SAMPLE CHAPTERS, and LINKS of all formats…all with just ONE-CLICK! 

For more Sunday Samples, check out these other authors! Weekend Writing Warriors