Category Archives: VBT
Welcome to Week Sixteen of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
Somehow, we made it. We survived a whole summer of guest blogs and drama, the terror of putting myself & my work out into the interwebs, and a fairly rigorous writing & posting schedule. There were times I wasn’t sure I could pull it all together, but I did, and with the exception of last week when my original guest had to drop-out and we didn’t get a replacement until the end of the week, it all went pretty darn smoothly.
So, to wrap this all up, I’ve put together my thoughts and conclusions about the experience. Read on!
Sixteen weeks ago, I was completely naive as to what a blog tour entailed. I was really just beginning this blogging adventure, for although I had had a personal blog back in the early aughts that did not require keeping to a regular schedule, building an audience, marketing, or trying to come up with interesting topics. I just ranted, raved, discussed my life and well… it was easy.
Blogging with a professional bent is hard.
Blogging as a writer just starting out on her publishing journey, knowing that whatever you write will end up on the pages of another writer’s website, I freely admit that I was intimidated. Several of the wonderful folk who hosted my humble words over the course of the TTC/MK Virtual Blog Tour are fairly successful in this new publishing world. I vascillated over topics, I bit my nails to the quick (after working so hard to stop biting them this year!), I wrote and re-wrote pieces. I honestly did not know what I had to say that would benefit anyone else. I’m no expert, you know?
Fortunately, the people involved with the tour were (mostly) helpful and understanding, encouraging and polite with criticisms. I ended up having a great deal of fun reading a bunch of blogs I might not have discovered, feeling awfully proud of myself for being hosted by other writers, and learned a lot about how to market/publicize my book and my blog (and how not to, also).
But the single most important thing I will take away from this blog tour — okay, other than some friendships and a deep respect for all the work Tasha Turner and her staff had to do to keep us all inline — is that professional blogging is hard work.
- You have to be dedicated so much so that even when you least feel like sitting down and composing something interesting, you actually do so.
- You have to have patience with marketing, because there’s a fine line between promoting it and spamming it.
- You have to participate in the blogosphere if you wish to garner more views/likes/comments. This can be time consuming, but its so necessary.
- You have to draft and maintain a schedule, of some sort, to be successful. Creating on the fly is fine, but sporadic posting can be death to a blog.
Joining up with the TTC/MK VBT was a huge step for me. Before the year of the Tangerine Tango began, I rarely allowed anyone to read my work. I had burned in the past by some very hurtful critiques (not constructive, not diplomatic, just spiteful and cruel) and had built up some high walls around myself. Even once I made the decision to start working toward publication for really reals, it wasn’t that scary to post here on PP.net because my readership was about 5 people a week.
But on some of these other blogs, the viewership was WAY higher. Thousands of people saw my words. My opnions. Excerpts from my novel. And that was terrifying, but I am proud to say that I survived. My book will be better for the feedback I’ve received, my blog will improve from the lessons gleaned during this tour, and next time I sign up for something like this I will go in with my eyes wide open and experience under my belt.
In the end, I can say that although it ain’t being bloggy (haha) it is all worth the effort. Knowing that a few extra people were touched by something I wrote puts a smile on my face. I am honored and humbled to have been a participant in the TTC/MK VBT 2012. And if Tasha Turner does continue to run these crazy events, I hope I can register again and have another go. If you’re a writer with a blog and you have the opportunity to join up with the next one – I say do it! You’ll come out a stronger writer, blogger and person.
Love & Rainbows,
Thanks to the amazing Penelope Price for returning to PP.net! *ahem* What? I am totally amazing. If you haven’t figured that out yet, well, keep reading. I’ll astound you one of these days, I promise!
Love & Rainbows,
[Editor’s Note: The give-away is still active (until Sept 15th, 2012 @ 11:59pm) over HERE!]
Betcha thought I wasn’t going to have a VBT post this week! Hah! You’re wrong, I scored an awesome spotlight – returning guest, Tara Chevrestt! So…
Welcome to Week Fifteen of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
This week is Author Spotlight week and I really am honored to be presenting a profile on one of my favorite MKers, Tara Chevrestt. She’s a strong, inspiring, talented lady and PP.net is all the brighter for her spotlight!
Lights! Camera! Action!
First up, if you like humor, short stories, and dogs, you may like “Dog Tails“, the nearest and dearest to my heart, as it’s based on my own pampered pooches. Meet Lola, Pudgy, and Jazzy, three canine cuties that will warm your heart and make you laugh.
“In Thank Dog It’s Friday”, Lola and her human mommy, Trisha trade bodies for a day! Can they cope with their new bodies and prevent Trisha’s husband from throwing her into a mental institution?
“Pugnacious” introduces Pudgy, a very pugnacious pug. She takes her job in a dog bakery very seriously and when the bakery is robbed, it’s up to her to save the day, the cash, and the canine cookies!
In “Tail of Terror”, Jazzy does the unthinkable and she runs away. If she can survive the mean streets, there may be a lesson in store for her and she may make a new friend.
Dog Tails is intended for dog lovers everywhere, but even cat lovers will smile and fall in love with Lola, Pudgy, and Jazzy.
Available at Amazon here.
If you like historical adventure and clean reads, “Ride for Rights” may be your cup of tea. It was my first ever written book and the result of a visit to Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. Nobody had wrote a novel about the Van Buren sisters, so I did!
In the summer of 1916 women do not have the right to vote, let alone be motorcycle dispatch riders. Two sisters, Angeline and Adelaide Hanson are determined to prove to the world that not only are women capable of riding motorbikes, but they can ride motorbikes across the United States. Alone.
From a dance hall in Chicago to a jail cell in Dodge City, love and trouble both follow Angeline and Adelaide on the dirt roads across the United States. The sisters shout their triumph from Pike’s Peak only to end up lost in the Salt Lake desert.
Will they make it to their goal of Los Angeles or will too many mishaps prevent them from reaching their destination and thus, hinder their desire to prove that women can do it?
Available at Amazon here.
In the mood for something Christmassy?
USAF fighter pilot Janet Kerrigan is not having a good Christmas. It’s bad enough she is stationed in Balad Air Base, Iraq and away from her three-year-old son, but to make matters worse, she has to spend her Christmas day on Combat Air Patrol.
A friend and fellow pilot tells her to make new Christmas memories, and much to Janet’s surprise, she does, though not the kind of memories she expects. While flying her F-16 Fighting Falcon in the Iraqi skies, Janet is faced with a difficult choice: follow orders and have the glory or ruin her Air Force career to save Christmas for boys and girls everywhere.
Available at Amazon here.
Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, writer, and an editor. She is most passionate about planes, motorcycles, dogs, and above all, reading. That led to her love of writing. Between her writing and her editing, which allows her to be home with her little canine kids, she believes she has the greatest job in the world. She is very happily married.
Tara also writes as Sonia Hightower. Sonia writes the racy stuff and argues that she was here first. She just wasn’t allowed to be unleashed until the last year.
While Tara and Sonia continue to fight over the laptop and debate who writes the next book, you can find buy links, blurbs, and other fun bits on their website or their Facebook page.
Thanks to Tara for returning to PP.net! Is it just me, or does “Dog Tails” sound delightfully crazy? I am definitely adding that to my “To Be Read” list, being that I am a total dog lover AND a literature fiend.
Love & Rainbows,
[Editor’s Note: In case you missed it, my guest post over at MasterKoda.com can be found HERE!]
No, guys, I wasn’t kicked off the VBT. In fact, you can see an Author Spotlight on little ol’ me over at MasterKoda.com. But since my scheduled guest is experiencing some personal turmoil and had to leave the tour (sending much love & good mojo!) I decided to revert to a Sunday Snippet. Yay!
So, today’s excerpt is a scene from “Incandescence”. Its another before-&-after-style post where I show off how important editing can be for me. Making a first draft really…sing! I use that phrase too much, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. So without first ado…
– – – – – – – – – – –
They assembled before her in borrowed clothing. Hannah had donned a pair of jeans that were both too long and too big around the waist; she had rolled the hem of the trousers up so that they brushed the top of the hiking boots she had stolen from the owners of the Cozy Coach and cinched the waist with a belt so long she had to tie the leather in a knot well past the last hole. She also wore a flannel shirt tied to reveal her midriff and her brother’s denim jacket over it. Michael was in a pair of clean Wranglers, dark and stiff with starch and a grey hoodie that featured a large, roaring brown bear. He had covered his floppy dark hair with a baseball cap and Hannah wore a black straw Stetson. Poor little Jeremy had drawn the short shrift, they had dressed him in a t-shirt that was probably Hannah’s size and made an improvised diaper out of a kitchen towel and some yarn. OLDLADYNAME was impressed by their resourcefulness; she had resorted to keeping one of Hannah’s old shirts wrapped around his little hiney all the previous day.
“Thank you for breakfast, dafuzina,” she began, speaking slowly, giving herself time to compose the proper words. “I think we should stay here.”
“Humor me, damorsi. Please. I need to recouperate here – not just for the day. No, no. Hush. Let me finish. Before we leave this place, we need information and supplies. It is better if we wait here awhile.”
The two exchanged a look that OLDLADYNAME could not define. Then Hannah nodded, crossing her arms before her thin chest.
“Alright, OLDLADYNAME. Are you going to be okay, this morning at least, if Mike and I go exploring the place? The power still works so someone must live here, and they may be back. Better we find out the type of people they are now than after the fact.”
Michael adjusted his cap. “And we have to see if there is a working radio or TV here, because the ones in the living room are just static. I’m still going to try to find some fuel too, in case we have to leave abruptly. Okay?”
She nodded, a wan smile upon her wrinkled lips. “Yes.”
Jeremy was trying to climb up onto the bed again and OLDLADYNAME looked up at Michael, imploring him silently to help the child up. Hannah removed the empty tray and came back into the room a few minutes later with a pitcher of iced tea and a pristine glass tumbler. Each of the kids kissed her forehead and murmured something about being careful, then they vanished in a whirl of denim and flannel.
“Skib-Mommy,” Jeremy giggled, crawling over her legs, his chubby little hands grabbing at one of the lovely embroidered roses. He made his way to her torso and used her chest to pull himself to his unsteady feet. The little boy placed his hands on either side of her face with surprising tenderness and looked up at her. His deep brown eyes were velvety as a doe’s and the expression within them was so much older and wiser than belonged in the eyes of a child so young.
“Skib-Mommy,” he repeated, patting her cheeks again. Then he wrapped his arms around her thin neck and buried his face in the crook of her shoulder. “Skib-Mommy.”
Her heart fluttering in her chest, OLDLADYNAME hugged him back; her tears wet upon his silken black locks.
– – – – – – – – – – –
They assembled before her in borrowed clothing. Hannah had donned a pair of jeans that were both too long and too big around the waist; she had rolled the hem of the trousers up so that they hung parallel with the top of her stolen hiking boots and cinched the pants with a belt so long she had to tie it in a knot. She also wore a flannel shirt tied just above her waist with Michael’s denim jacket over it. Michael was in a pair of clean Wranglers, dark and stiff with starch, and a grey hoodie bearing the image of a large, roaring brown bear. He had covered his floppy brown hair with a baseball cap. Hannah wore a black, straw Stetson.
Poor little Jeremy had drawn short shrift. They had dressed him in a t-shirt that was probably Hannah’s size and made an improvised diaper out of a kitchen towel and some twine. OLDLADYNAME was impressed by their resourcefulness.
“Thank you for breakfast, dafuzina,” she began, speaking slowly to give herself time to compose the proper words. “I have been thinking and I think we should stay here.”
“Humor me, damorsi. Please. I need to recuperate here, not just for a day. No, no. Hush. Let me finish. Before we leave this place, we will need information and supplies. I think it is best to wait here for awhile.”
The two exchanged a look that OLDLADYNAME could not decipher. After a moment, Hannah nodded and crossed her arms before her thin chest.
“All right, OLDLADYNAME. Are you going to be okay, for this morning at least, if Mike and I go exploring a bit? The power doesn’t work, but the place is clean and stocked up. Someone must live her and they may be coming back. Better we find out what we can now.”
Michael adjusted his cap. “And we have to find out if there is a working radio or TV here, because the ones in the living room are dead.”
A wan smile upon her wrinkled lips, she nodded. “Yes.”
Jeremy climbed back up onto the bed with a little boost from Michael and squealed with delight, his chubby little hands grabbing at one of the lovely embroidered roses.
“I’ll bring some iced tea and stuff, so you don’t have to get up,” Hannah said and dashed off. She returned a few minutes later with the promised pitcher and a heavy glass tumbler. Both of the kids kissed her forehead and mumbled something vague about being careful, then they vanished in a whirlwind of denim and flannel.
“Skib-mommy,” Jeremy crawled over her legs, giggling. He made his way to her torso and used her chest to pull himself to his unsteady feet. Placing both hands on either side of her face with surprising tenderness, Jeremy looked up at her. His deep brown eyes were velvety as a doe’s and the expression in them was much older and wiser than he was.
“Skib-mommy,” he repeated, patting her cheeks again. Then he wrapped his arms around her thin neck and buried his face in the crook of her shoulder. “Skib-mommy.”
Her heart fluttering in her chest, overcome with emotion, OLDLADYNAME hugged him back. Tears slipped down her cheeks.
– – – – – – – – – – –
And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Can you pick out the changes? Its probably not as dramatic a change as the previous Before & After post, but I think that little tweaks can really make the difference in how a passage flows. So, better or worse? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!
Love & Rainbows,
Welcome to Week Fourteen of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
This week, we’re all discussing Deleted Scenes in our novels and our guest is a returning superstar – Scott Seldon! He’s the sci-fi writer and the author of two books (available at his Smashwords page), “Well of Dreams”, a novel, and “Edge of Hyperspace”, a collection of short stories.
Check out his musings about the words he’s had to delete in the pursuit of his writing dreams and a sample of a whole novel which has been discarded, proving that even to the best of writers – Snips Happen!
Without further ado… Scott Seldon!
One of my favorite things about DVD’s has been the inclusion of deleted scenes. It has gotten to the point where I feel gipped if there aren’t any. But I haven’t come across many instances from our written media. I think it is time to share what I can of my deleted material.
First I should explain that I strive to emulate two of my favorite writers, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, in how I write. Not so much in style and voice as in process. As a result, I don’t have any deleted scenes from any of my books to share. I don’t plan the stories out in advance, but I do plot them out in my head before I ever commit the words to the page. As a result any potential deleted scenes were cut long before they were written.
That said, I do have a treat in store for you. Rather than deleted scenes, I have my first novel. It has certain structural issues and ended up dealing with a topic I think better left unpublished. It is not my first writing project by any means, but it was my first attempt at a story that exceeded 20,000 words. The important thing is not what the story was about, but that it gave birth to my Galactic Confederation universe and the Zaran family. This story laid out the architecture I’ve proceeded to build on.
I have often made reference to the scene that started it all and that seems to be the most appropriate part of my shelved novel to share. So, without further ado, here is the opening to Starlight Course, a scene that was deleted along with the rest of the novel.
The smooth vibration of the deck was disturbed by a sudden jolt as the engines surged. Mishka looked over at the auxiliary flight control display in his quarters. No change in settings. It must be that damned pressure valve. He’d have to get it replaced when he stopped off at Quetle Station. Mishka rolled back to a comfortable position and let the sounds of his ship lull him back to sleep.
He awoke later as his sleep period was about to end. He shut off the alarm and got out of his cot and went through his morning rituals. In space, though, morning was fluid. Mishka kept to his home planet’s 28 hour day, even though he didn’t remember living there, and stayed on the same time he was born to. Sometimes that made keeping appointments a bit of a pain, but he managed. It gave him a sense of home when his home was really an eighty-year-old trade ship that he dearly loved.
As he entered the cockpit, the lights came on and the controls activated. “Good morning, Darling,” he said.
“Good morning,” the ship’s computer responded in a pleasant female voice. “I’ve had to compensate for the primary fuel pressure valve eight times.”
“It woke me up every time. How long till we get to Quetle?”
“We have just passed their outer marker. Current ETA is 25 minutes.”
“That’s fine.” He sat at the controls and punched up a detailed report on the valve trouble. As he studied it, the ship closed in on Quetle Station. At first the station was just a point of light barely distinguishable from the stars through the view port. But as they approached it, it grew into a sprawling complex floating in space. It had been added to so many times that its original design was lost amid the clutter. It had atmospheric domes and docking bays for both recreation and work uses. A large liner was currently hogging most of the repair spaces.
“Excuse me, Mishka,” the computer started, “The port authority wishes to speak to you.”
“Put him on.”
“Captain Zaran?” a gravelly and obviously translated voice said.
“We need to verify the information your AI gave us.”
“Ship’s name, Nova Trango. Registry, Leywan 467232-J6. Captain, Mishka Zaran. Ship type, Leywanese class four light cargo.”
“Please state your business on our station.”
“I have a cargo of Daris fruit for Senator Kaimler and I need to make some minor repairs.”
“You are cleared to proceed to bay 6770. Make arrangements with the bay supervisor for any repairs you need. You are cleared for forty-eight hours. Enjoy your stay.”
The channel went dead and Mishka shook his head. “Typical PA lackey.”
“I have observed such behavior from most public officials. Perhaps it is because they don’t get paid enough and have so much to do?”
“My darling Nova,” Mishka said as he patted the console, “I think you have put it perfectly. That’s why I spend all my time with you.”
“Hm…,” the computer responded, “then perhaps I should cancel your date for tonight?”
“No, no, no. I think maybe I should keep it.”
Scott Seldon lives with his family in Colorado and works as an IT administrator. Visit his website for the latest updates and to find where his books are sold. Watch for his upcoming novel, Pirates of I’ab, at your favorite ebook retailer.
Thanks to the returning champion, Scott Seldon, for sharing his experience with deleted scenes (okay, a whole 20k word novella!) and that snippet. What do you think about deleting scenes? Do you, like me, keep deleted stuff in a separate file just in case or just slash ’em and forget ’em? Would you like to see a collection of ‘deleted scenes’ released at some point as some sort of bonus swag (like on a DVD)?
Love & Rainbows,
[Editor’s Note: My guest post over at the Natalie Star’s blog can be found HERE!]
Welcome to Week Thirteen of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
Please excuse the silly title – it just occurred to me when I was titling the post and well… I can’t help myself! Anyway… It is interview week and — lucky me! — I got to exchange interviews with the dynamic duo responsible for “What She Knew”, a what-if novel that follows an alternate history while answering the question: what if Marilyn Monroe had lived? TL Burns & KR Hughes are my very first interview EVER and I am so honored that they appear here on the pages of my humble blog!
PP: Alright ladies, first off, let me thank you deeply for gracing the pages of PP.net with your presence! I am tickled pink to be hosting you this week AND to be conducting my first author interview with you.
Yes, it’s my first time! Please be gentle.
So, to kick this off, give me a little bit of basic background. Where are you two from, individually, and how did you come to know each other?
Both: Thank you so much for having us here. You’ll do great we just know it.
KRH:I’m an English major from Amarillo, Texas and now reside near Atlanta, Georgia. I enjoy writing with my co-author T. We are currently working on the sequel to “What She Knew,” the fast paced novel that continues telling the story.
I enjoy working with budding writers and tutoring English. I have a passion for at-risk teens. I have two grown children, Justin and Kayti, and two four legged girls, May-Zee and Ruthie (they bark at me occasionally but don’t bite like the children did).
You can find my other works in the Historical Romance section, my pen name is Kymber Lee. “Treasured Love” is a fun romp written in Regency England in 1811. I wrote this novel for my grandmother as she is my biggest supporter.
TLB: As my co-author puts it “She is the foremost researcher and historical guru” for our novel “What She Knew.” The novel was just released March of 2012 and we are busily working on the sequel, “What She Knew Too, the saga continues.” You can learn more about them at our website www.WhatSheKnew.com.
I’m originally from California (desert region, with mountains), spent nearly 20 years in the Panhandle of Texas (again, desert region only without the mountains) and now reside near Atlanta, Georgia. In my own words “Trees and flowers everywhere!! Even the weeds are green and lush! I feel like I’m living in a postcard!! And, no wind! The desert regions are sooooo windy.”
My true passion is for at-risk families. I volunteer my time to help the needy, not with a hand-out but with a hand-up. I’m married and have two grown sons (best sons in the whole world) and one 4 legged son, Binford!
Kim and I have been best friends for years and are really more like sisters. Our friendship started with our boys becoming friends during middle school.
PP: That’s cool! I’m from a desert-y mountainous region too. Love it! I really admire your passion for helping at-risk families, Tamy. It takes a special kind of person to give that much.
Sorry – I diverged from the topic at hand. So tell me… What inspired you to write “What She Knew”? I mean, how did it go from a conversation about Marilyn to a whole book based on this what-if/alternative history timeline?
TLB: Kim has always loved writing and journalism. She has written five historical novels set in the Regency Era of 1811. One has been published and is currently available on Amazon (mentioned above.) I was drug into the business after Kim had taken a class with a well-known published author. The assignment was to write about something that has never been written about. So, after brainstorming ‘what if’ ideas, we came upon the premise of “What if Marilyn had lived and saved JFK from assassination?” She and I wrote the first chapter together with me researching (which I have always loved) and her doing the actual writing. The teacher loved it and persuaded us to write the full novel.
PP: Well, I for one am so glad that the instructor stepped in and coaxed you guys into writing the whole thing! This interview reminds me that I have a review to write and publish! Eek!
You know, I love that there is going to be a sequel. Tell me how it’s coming along – is there a release date yet? Some of us are simply salivating!
TLB: Thank you so much for your support. That is awesome.
Kim and I have finished what we thought was going to be the sequel of a two part series, but has turned into a trilogy. LOL! We are hoping to be done with the edits soon and that the book will be out this fall.
PP: Don’t you just love it when a well-planned story takes on a life of its own? My current WIP was a stand-alone that got out of hand. Its now got a sequel underway.
You know, Jack and I sometimes write together. It sort of comes naturally since we live together and, you know, sit side-by-side in our office.
How does that work for you two? What’s your process for writing? Does one of you write a section and send it to the other? Do you write in rounds or just sit down together and compose?
KRH: We simply sit down together. Tamy does the lion’s share of the research and we talk it over. We then plot out how things will progress for the next several chapters and I go to it! We are both flexible and have no problem with reworking any section to make sure we have a story that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. We like that element of writing – keep the reader turning the pages and guessing what is going to happen next.
PP: Team-work for the win! I dig that you guys have it down to an art! But do either of you write solo? If so, how difficult is it to switch between co-authoring and solo-authoring?
KRH: No, we primarily write together now. I do have the other books but has not written any more of those at present. So, “What She Knew” is taking up all of our time at the moment. Interesting side note, we’ve written the screenplay for this novel but Tamy did the writing for it. It’s hard for an author to go from third person to the here and now.
PP: Tell me about it, sheesh! I don’t even know how you manage it. Tell me then ladies, what’s next on the horizon? You mentioned a third Marilyn novel, but is there something fresh and new?
TLB: Yes, as we were approaching the finish of book two, we both realized that there was still too much ground to cover and there would have to be a third book. So, after we get book two out, we will get to it. There has also been some talk of writing book two (then book three) into a screenplay like we did for book one. Our manager wants to offer this as a packaged set and is shopping movie companies as we speak.
PP: Sweet. I am so in awe of this – I am interviewing published authors who are shopping movie treatments of their novel! Pardon me if I SQUEE a little bit.
Okay, back on track! “What She Knew” is a period piece, really, as it takes place in the past. Do you find it difficult to write ‘authentically’ to the period? Is it hard to omit the convenience that we deal with in our daily lives – no cell phones, no internet, no celebrity blogs – while putting fresh eyes on the past?
KRH: You would think so, but no, it’s not hard for us. We have immersed ourselves completely into Marilyn’s time (1960’s) that we find ourselves in everyday life referring to her as though she were an old friend. It’s very fun writing in a different time and easier life style, we love seeking out what was popular back then and what kind of conveniences they did have. One thing that we have had some grief over was the Peter Lawford ‘scar phone. This was actually true and the Kennedys’ had them as well. We research things thoroughly to make the story as true to life as possible.
PP: Its funny you mention that car phone. I didn’t blink an eye when I read about it – because I’ve read a bunch of other books that take place in the 60s and several of them have instances of phones in car. Including a Jackie Collins novel or two, I think. Ahem.
ANYway…. Let’s try a fun question. If you could hand-pick the cast of the movie version (which — bonus question, is it true that there are talks in progress?!) who would you place in the roles?
TLB: Oh, yes, there are movie talks. For Marilyn, we would love for Cameron Diaz or Drew Barrymore to play her. For John F. Kennedy it would be Greg Kinnear or Matt Damon or even Matthew Perry. Frank Sinatra we would love Harry Connick Jr. We have some other main characters that we have already made a wish list for as well.
PP: I am a fan of Drew and I can totally imagine that she could capture the hard-boiled innocence (er… that’s a heckuva oxymoron isn’t it?) of Marilyn, especially as she appears in “What She Knew”. You guys definitely have a good eye for talent with that list.
Here’s another fun question. What is your one weirdest writing quirk?
KRH: We have this awesome office but we can’t write in it. So we usually end up leaving to work at a restaurant with wi-fi. There are too many distractions at our home office. The dogs want our attention or the dishes need doing or the doorbell rings. We find that if we go out to a busy place the background noise helps us work and it sort of sets the rhythm. We can get our groove on…lol!
PP: Haha! I totally know that feeling. With the exception of when I had a dedicated “red room” office a few years ago, I have had zero luck writing in my actual writing area! I tend to end up on the porch, on the bed, at a table at Sheetz or the library… and so on!
Hmm. What else? Oh! I know. Are you reading anything right now? If so, what and by whom?
TLB: Other than research books for the series, we are both reading books from the Master Koda group. Kim has read “Bertha Size Your Life” by Jane Carroll and I’ve read “Armed and Outrageous” by Madison Johns. We are both going to get our reviews for these two ladies by the end of the week!!
PP: I picked up “Bertha Size Your Life” recently and I can’t wait to read it. I’m working on a review for “Cedar Woman” right now, too, by another MasterKoda member – Debra Shiveley Welch. Blogging is taking a backseat to other stuff right now though. Ugh!
I guess I should wrap this up, eh? How about sharing with us – what is the biggest piece of advice you have for other writers, especially those of us just starting out?
Both: Write, write, and oh yes, write some more! It doesn’t matter what you write just WRITE! Then blog, journal, write short stories, and WRITE. Yes, and read all you can too!
PP: Damn tootin’! Good answer!
I have a bonus question. Hope its okay to ask, but where did you commission those great bookmarks and other swag from for the “What She Knew” book tour and book launch party?
KRH: We ordered our book marks and business cards from Overnight Prints. They offer really great quality for a very low price. And, they are easy to work with. The custom book bags we made ourselves, and what fun we had. We bought the bags and either ironed on ‘What She Knew’ or put our business cards on the front. Then, we adorned them with all sorts of girlie ribbons, flowers, etc. We have such a fun time when we make them too! We also made the table cover we use for book signings and other fun black and pink items to really make our table or booth stand out. Many book store managers have commented that they wish all authors who come in to do a signing would take as much care with presentation as we do.
PP: Thanks for the info. I’ll definitely remember that advice for when I do some signings and what not. Thanks so much, ladies!
Both: Thank you so much for having us. We really loved being with you today!
K.R. Hughes: Hughes is an English majorfrom Amarillo, Texas. She now resides near Atlanta, Georgia. She enjoys writing with her co-author T.L. Burns. They are currently working on the sequel to”What She Knew,” the fast paced novel that finishes telling the story.
Hughes enjoys working withbudding writers and tutoring English. Her passion is for at-risk teens. She volunteers to help teens realize their potential and find their passion. Hugheshas two grown children, Justin and Kayti, and two four legged girls, MayZee andRuthie.
Find other works by thisauthor in the Historical Romance section, pen name is Kymber Lee,”Treasured Love” is a fun romp written in Regency England in 1811.Lee (Hughes) wrote this novel for her grandmother who is a huge supporter ofher work.
T.L. Burns: As Burns’ co-author puts it”She is the foremost researcher and historical guru for our novel”What She Knew.” The novel was just released March of 2012 and theyare busily working on the sequel, “What She Knew Too, The saga continues.” You can learn more about them at their website www.whatsheknew.com.
Burns is originally from California (desert region, with mountains), spent nearly 20 years in thepanhandle of Texas (again, desert region only without the mountains) and nowresides near Atlanta, Georgia. In her words “Trees and flowers everywhere!! Even the weeds are green and lush! I feel like I’m living in apostcard!! And, no wind! The desert regions are sooooo windy.”
Burns passion is for at-risk families. She volunteers her time to help the needy, not wih a hand-outbut with a hand-up. She is married andhas two grown sons (best sons in the whole world) and one 4 legged son, Binford!
You can find the ladies online at:
Another big THANK YOU to the WhatSheKnew crew for this amazing interview experience. I can’t wait to link you to my own interview on their blog. Do you have any questions for the ladies? Let ’em know in the comments below!
Love & Rainbows,
[Editor’s Note: My guest post will be over at the ladies’ blog this week. As soon as I have the link, you’ll find it here!]
Welcome to Week Twelve of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
Its excerpt week on the tour and this week I am so honored to be hosting the wise and witty author of “Once a Priest”, among others, Ed Griffin! This week, he’s discussing how being verbose versus succinct can really boost your writing! Take a look at his findings and then investigate your own style!
by Ed Griffin
About ten years ago, I wanted to compare my writing to some others. Microsoft Word allows you to do this easily and I assume other writing programs do as well. I typed out sections of Macleans, a Canadian news magazine, and a Woman’s Day short story. I selected sections of my writing, an article and a short story. Then I clicked on TOOLS and then on GRAMMAR AND SPELLING. The program checked the document or the section I’d selected. I clicked IGNORE all the things the program pointed out until I got to the end. What I received is below:
You will get this information for your writing plus more rating systems and their meanings.
|Readability Statistics||Ed Article||Ed Short Story||Macleans||Woman’s Day Short Story|
|Sentences per paragraph||4.7||2.9||4.7||2.2|
|Words per sentence||11.4||9.1||25.3||13.0|
|Characters per word.||4.2||4.1||5.3||4.2|
|Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level
Words per sentence are important. The average English sentence today is 13 words.
Passive sentences are also important. We want our writing to be active.
And then what grade of student can read our work? You have to have two years of college to read Macleans, while anyone with a third grade education can read my story.
Grammar checkers rate the readability of your writing in terms of grade level.
Aim down. Take the trouble to write simply.
Rate your own writing. What grade level are you writing for? Do you use a lot of passive constructions?” How many words per sentence?
Ed Griffin teaches creative writing in his community and in a federal prison in Canada. He’s written five books, three novels and two works of nonfiction. He’s an ex-everything, ex-politician, ex-businessman and ex-Catholic priest. He believes with Aristotle that “Art releases unconscious tensions and purges the soul.”
You can find Ed online at:
Facebook (Personal) / Facebook (Fan Page)
His Personal Blog
Writers Write Daily Blog
Prison Uncensored Blog
A big THANK YOU to Ed for sharing his findings with us this week. I can’t wait to go rate my writing and find out where “Incandescence” ranks on the scale. Why don’t you try it and leave a comment below with the result?
Love & Rainbows,
[Editor’s Note: You can also try an automated readability calculator here, if you don’t have access to MS Word or a similar application.
[Editor’s Note 2: My guest post will be over at Aurora Martinez’s blog this week. As soon as I have the link, you’ll find it here!]
Welcome to Week Eleven of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
Its excerpt week on the tour and this week I am so psyched to be hosting Natalie Star, author of “The Keeper” and generally an all-around awesome lady! She’s sharing a chunk of “The Keeper” with us this week. Its a YA/Paranormal Romance and the blurb sure sounds tasty!
The morning of her sixteenth birthday, Billie feels blessed despite the reoccurring nightmare that wakes her. Loving parents, a caring boyfriend, and great friends surround her until an heirloom necklace throws her into a world she never imagined.
“Gifted” with supernatural powers and an unexpected destiny as the Keeper, Billie and a mysterious boy from her past must work together to find answers. But, as they begin to discover feelings for one another, he disappears leaving her to fight evil alone. Her life spirals out of control. She breaks up with her boyfriend, Tony, and alienates her best friends Arianna and Jocelyn to protect them from the truth.
As dark forces pursue her, Billie longs to run away from it all, yet a need to do what’s right compels her to face the future as the keeper of more than her own fortune.
Right?! I’m excited to get my peepers on this one. Without any further preamble, let’s check out her snippets! What the what?! She’s provided not one, but two Two TWO excerpts from her novel for our viewing pleasure! Onto the goodies!
From “The Keeper”
by Natalie Star
“I have something special for you. Sit, I’ll go get it.” And before I knew it, she rushed down the hall.
“Hurry, Mom, I have to get to school!” I yelled after her. She was back in a flash. “Here, honey.” She handed me a long narrow velvet jewelry box, maroon in color, the coloring faded from age and use. I flipped back the lid and saw a gold chain with a charm hanging from it. Definitely nothing I would have handpicked, nice enough I guess, but it looked older than dirt itself. There was a yellowish gemstone, citrine I think, no larger than a nickel and it was set on top of a golden sunburst. She explained, “It’s been in our family for years. It’s been handed down from generation to generation on the sixteenth birthday.”
“Um, thank you. How old is it, and where did it come from?” I questioned because it even smelled old.
“No one in recent memory knows the answer to either question. We do know it is an honor to receive it, and you have to wear it for your whole birthday, no matter what,” Mom explained.
“Or what, I will have seven years bad luck?” I didn’t know what else to say.
“No, worse, a whole life of bad luck.” Mom said it so seriously.
“Well, if that isn’t convincing enough, put it on me!” I was not superstitious but why take chances?
I lifted my flat ironed hair out of the way, and Mom placed the chain around my neck. The second I heard it click into place, I felt funny, and I swear the jewelry’s temperature rose. I stood up in a state of a panic as it warmed and the heat spread from my neck throughout my body. Everything went white, and then pulled out.
“Billie!” Mom screamed.
From “The Keeper”
by Natalie Star
“Do I want to know?” he asked uneasy.
“Probably not, so if you want to call it quits and go on with your life I would totally understand because all of what I have to tell you is unsettling and will be life changing. If you want out, now’s the time.” I waited.
I didn’t know I held my breath until Ty stopped walking. He kept his stare on the ground. “If you don’t tell me now, I will always wonder and probably regret not knowing because it seems important.”
“You need to be absolutely sure you want to know before I tell you. So think about it for a few minutes.” I had an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach for him.
He nodded, and we followed the overgrown trail for a while through curves and switchbacks. The path led through all kinds of trees and wild growth. Never have I seen such beauty in autumn. I could see yellows, oranges, and reds all around us. It would have been silent if it weren’t for the fluttering leaves and nuts falling from the trees, and our feet crunching over the dead vegetation on the ground. I stomped my feet, and I liked the noise it made. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. I put my arms out and spun in a circle while crunching. I felt giddy. I almost forgot where I was and why. Ty regarded me as if I’d lost my mind, which I probably had.
“What?” I asked as I spun past him.
“Just watching you.” He continued to watch with smiling eyes.
“It’s fun. You should try it.” I grabbed his hands because he wouldn’t come willingly, and we spun and spun until we were dizzy. We fell to the ground and lay there for a minute to catch our breath and get our heads straight.
I watched him. He seemed genuinely happy, and I felt genuinely crappy. Could I really take away his happy life and innocence? That’s exactly what I was about to do by unleashing the truth. I sat up.
He too sat up and looked toward me. “You okay?” He twirled a strand of my hair. I knew which bit of hair, too; the one that always curled away on its own.
I shook my head. “Not really. I don’t want to tell you. I thought I did, but now I’m not sure.”
“I don’t want you to tell me…not yet. First let’s have a few more minutes of normal.” He reached for my chin and tilted it toward him and pressed his lips to mine. We lay back in the leaves holding and kissing one another. We were consumed in each other’s sweet perfect kisses.
I pushed away from him and lay my head on his chest. He stroked my hair as we listened to the sounds of Mother Nature. I could hear his heartbeat, and it was calm and soothing. It didn’t match mine.
I jumped to my feet in a split second. I was on total alert. My heart pounded so loud I felt it in my ears.
“What’s going on?” Ty asked. Still on the ground where I was a second ago, he swiveled his head around.
“We’re done with normal.” I reached for my gem. Yep, cold but I didn’t need to feel it, I actually sensed it beforehand. I dropped a hand to help him up. He stared at it. “Ty, come on we don’t have time for this. I am stronger than you, much stronger, so this is why you need to get out of here.”
He took my hand. I pulled him to his feet. He gasped. With a peck on his cheek, I told him, “Go. Run.” But he stood there not moving. I saw and heard nothing. I closed my eyes and went into my mind to see what might come in the near future, and it wasn’t pretty.
“I might need to take my own advice and run.” I took Ty’s arm and dragged him along with me. It was too little, too late. We were surrounded.
“What can I do?” His voice crackled in fear. His head whipped around looking from one monster to the next. The creatures completely surrounded us. There was no way out, and they were hungry, hungry with a desire to kill. I could hear them in my head: kill.
“Try to stay alive,” I said. I felt sick to my stomach because I knew he wouldn’t make it through this.
Three years ago, if you told me one day I would love to read and write, I would have told you you were crazy-out-of-your-mind. Since then I have read 150+ books and written 2 complete novels (one of them being The Keeper) and I have 3 more in the works.
When I’m not reading or writing, I can be found with my husband supporting my two children on the soccer fields. Or maybe running around with my camera taking photos while camping and/or hiking. Or lastly, and most probable – I’m watching movies on Netflix while simultaneously perusing Facebook.
Our family resides in the state of Virginia along with our old-unintelligent-diabetic cat named Lucky.
You can find me all over the web:
- Book Trailer on You Tube
- My Website
- My Blog
- Where to Buy
A big THANK YOU to Natalie for sharing her work with us this week. I can’t speak for you, but I can say that *I* am really excited to check out “The Keeper”! Why not comment below and let Natalie know what you thought?
Love & Rainbows,
[Editor’s Note: My guest post, featuring an excerpt from “Incandescence” is over at Ravaging Thoughts today! You can check it out HERE!]
Welcome back, peeps! Welcome to Week Nine of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
This week’s scheduled guest is the sweet & talented Aurora Martinez! Check out her post below about her posting habits and what you can expect to see in the future on her blog.
Today, Tomorrow & Beyond
by Aurora Martinez
I have always been a writer. When I first learned to write in Kindergarten, I wrote about pigs who “groo” wings and became “butterfys.” I knew way back then that I would have a love affair with writing. Over 20 years later, that love flows over into writing novels, blogs, reviews and poetry.
I am happy to be hosted by Penelope Price on her blog. A regular post on my own blog could be anywhere from a Spotlight on Authors to odd things and reviews of books, movies or shows.
Right now, I’m focusing on Spotlights and reviews, but I’m also making some time to write. My book, a fantasy story, called “Child of the Loch” can be found on Goodreads. I released it in for free in May but took it back off the shelves. There were great reviews (nothing below a 3 star review) and I was happy with what people had to stay. However, I got some really great advice from some trusted and published Authors. At this point I’m taking some time to rewrite, edit and prepare to re-lease a new version for pay. Until then I’m hoping to contribute to the success of other writers.
Thanks for hosting me, Penelope. Have a great week!
Aurora is a fellow MasterKoda/TTC member and the author of a fantasy novel called “Child of the Loch” which she is presently re-writing. She also curates a lovely blog and you can find her on Facebook, or at Goodreads.
Big thanks to Aurora for telling us about what you can find on her blog now and in the future! How do you decide what to blog about? Do you do reviews? Write about writing?
Love & Rainbows,
[Editor’s Note: My guest post at the lovely Dominique Goodalls’s blog is here.]
Welcome back, peeps! Welcome to Week Eight of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
This week’s scheduled guest is the illustrious Jennifer Don! *wild applause* She’s here to expound on this week’s theme and talk about how she names her books and her characters. Its a topic that confounds me regularly, but all the other writers on the VBT are sharing some excellent tips and ideas as well. So after you read Jennifer’s post (and comment!) click on the TTC button to the right and check out some other posts as well! Onto the interview!
Grey Wolves, the Ruling Factor of Contemplation
an Interview with Jennifer Don
How did you arrive at your chosen title for your current book?
This has to be one of the hardest questions I’ve had to answer and I’m sure I’m not alone on this one. The reason being for that is the way in which they (being titles) arise. Unlike my other current projects, “Timber Varden” was without a title for all of two days, which was during the short planning time before I began writing it. The others have so far been what I would call instant, they have always been there and why or where they come from isn’t a question I can answer easily. However, I will with “Timber Varden”.
For this book, I started doing some research into Grey Wolf. While doing this, their other breed name caught my attention. Not only are they known as Grey Wolves, but they are also known as Timber Wolves. This as you will have guessed is where the Timber part of my title came into being. But that wasn’t enough on its own. It needed something else, something different to run alongside it.
It was here that I began playing around with it and partnered it with other words, but nothing was pulling at me, nothing screamed YES! This is what I want. I wanted something different, something that would be unique, which I’m hoping I’ve managed to do just that. I then started thinking of where the main portion of the book would take place. It came to me that it was a place of solitude, of peace akin to those we often find in private or public gardens and a place where answers can be found without distraction. The whole thought on Gardens and what the presented had caught my attention, but Timber Garden’s would never have worked for what I wanted. I knew it wasn’t right but I also knew that I was moving in the right direction. Out of the blue, I had the instinctive urge to change the G to a V and from there on out, I’ve never looked back. I felt a deep connection, a knowing if you will that I now had the right title to work with.
It wasn’t until later that I realised the title was more fitting than I first thought. In a discussion, a question was asked on the Timber part, made in reference to sound. This whole question is more relevant when we look at this word a little further. Apart from the whole wood aspect it also represents Music; I’ll show you what I mean. Timber (music) the distinctive property of a complex sound (a voice or noise or musical sound). EG: The timbre of her soprano was rich and lovely. The muffled tune of the broken bell summoned them to meet.
I know it has gone from being Timber to Timbre here but there is relevance in the matter. It relates to the novel because Christian hears voices, whispers if you will, in the wind. Some of these come about when the Wolves of Timber Varden are howling, which in short is meant to represent what it is that they howl about.
Now that we’ve had a look at how the Title came to be, could you tell us about your characters?
My characters… hmm, what can I say? They were just there when the planning came into place. I already knew who would be the main Character of Timber Varden; there was no question on that matter. Nor could I change his name if I tried. It wouldn’t work any other way. For some writers, they go through what we would consider as being an audition period where we try out other characters and put them through their paces with certain scenes… I didn’t. Not with Timber Varden, nor did I encounter that with my other books that I am working on. Christian was the one for me, and there was nothing I could do that would alter that. He’s what you would call… a cantankerous fool. He is very set in his ways which makes him perfect for the role; perhaps not argumentative in general, he does obtain these attributes.
Sati on the other hand, he was always ever going to be there. Sati is representative of a white wolf that I see constantly in my mind’s eye and in meditation. I had his name long before I knew he would feature heavily in the story. Everything that Sati represents is the wolf I see constantly. Christian and Sati, have this unspoken bond where they know what is needed of the other in order to proceed. It’s this level of trust and understanding that is shared between me and that of the unknown. Alvar and Tranquilina however are a little more complex in that their names hold the meaning of their attributes and personalities. The only way to explain this is to show you the meaning of the names.
Alvar \a-lvar, al-var\ as a boy’s name (also used as girl’s name Alvar), is pronounced AL-vah. It is of Old English origin, and the meaning of Alvar is “elf or magical army, warrior”. From Aelfhere. Also possibly an anglicized form of Spanish Alvaro, meaning “all guard” in Old German. Architect Alvar Aalto. Alvar himself is more the guardian of Timber Varden, an elemental force of protection and support.
Tranquilina \t-ranquili-na, tr(a)-nqui-lina\ as a girl’s name is of Spanish and Latin origin, and the meaning of Tranquilina is “calm, peaceful”. I chose this name due to the calming effect she holds with those around her, no matter how disciplined a situation is, she is able to uphold the peace and keep everyone calm. As you can imagine, neither of these names are in common us and from that it felt more right to run with them. The other characters within the book arrived like Christian did. They just were.
While we’re on the topic of Characters currently, I feel I hold a different connection with them or rather the muse that forms the character when compared to other writers. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to another as we are all individuals, but when I see people showing how their character dictates the flow and changes aspects on their own, I am often left wondering why mine aren’t doing something similar. However, that is for me to understand and I should know by now that each writer will work differently.
What I want to ask is how to you arrive at your titles?
How do you choose your characters?
Do they arrive like mine, when they choose and when they please?
Jennifer spent many years without daring to lift a pen, without writing a word that wasn’t forced. But 2008 arrived and with it, her love of writing. She began with poetry which quenched her thirst to begin with but soon that wasn’t enough to satisfy her. 2011 arrived with a dream to write her first novel – Awakening, which is on-going. November saw her attempt her first NaNoWriMo, and so Timber Varden was born, with the bulk of it being written within that month. Now she finds herself aiming to re-write that draft and turn it into her first published novel.
You can find her on Facebook, her awesome blog, on Twitter, at Goodreads or via email.
Big thanks to Jennifer for sharing her inspiration and process. I echo her questions to you, reader – how do you name your characters & books? Tell us in the comments below!
Love & Rainbows,
[Editor’s Note: My guest post at the lovely Debra Jayne East’s blog here.]
Welcome back, peeps! Welcome to Week Seven of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!
This week’s scheduled guest is the self-proclaimed “wolf addict” – Dominique Goodall! Dominique is the author behind the forthcoming “Echoes of Winter” (have you seen her cover art, by the by? GORGEOUS!) which itself is a part of the “Seasons of the Wolf” series. She’s one heckuva writer and today she is sharing the inspiration behind her novel as well as a lovely poem. Without further ado, let’s give a big round of virtual applause to Dominique! *cheers*
Paw-Prints & Memories
By Dominique Goodall
The thing that kicked off Echoes of Winter and the sequels are not at all connected to the books. It was a TV show I only watched because I was fascinated by wolves. It was showing the way that pups develop in the womb of the female dog, and while they were showing it they also showed the most accepted theory behind how wolves became dogs.
When they were talking about how three female Eastern European wolves were believed to be the reason for humans and wolves to live side by side, I could almost picture a different story. Yes, wolves came in and became dogs…but what would happen AFTER the truce? What would happen after humans were no longer able to look after the creatures that had helped to keep them alive?
A poem was also spawned that day, which really said my emotions on the subject and in a way…is the opposite of Echoes of Winter.
I called this Paw-prints and Memories.
Leaving just a memory.
A paw print in the snow,
Something to be cherished.
He hunts, hunts for his pack,
His heart filled with longing.
He gives no voice to this.
He carries on his lonely search,
alone and weary by the day.
Leaving but paw-prints,
but memories on the mind.
Finally he finds them,
Bound to man’s will,
Sitting by his fire,
Unharmed and well.
Now he cries to them,
A sad voice in the dark.
His family answers with a growl,
They have turned from him.
Now alone, weary, and heart-sore,
He leaves them be,
Never to be heard again,
Only paw-prints and memories.
A single grey shadow.
As you can see, this is literally related to the TV program – but again, it didn’t have the premise in my mind that Echoes of Winter did, and even now completed, does. Pups will be featuring heavily, the wolves in the pack will be focusing heavily on pups in book two, after all.
What TV shows have impacted your life?
How did they affect you?
Dominique Goodall is the author of the soon to be released Echoes of Winter, book one in the “Seasons of the Wolf” series and a self-confessed wolf addict. She has currently been published in two anthologies by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing and is currently working on getting herself better known by sending in manuscripts for as many different anthologies as she possibly can.
As much as she loves to admit it, she never will be able to count her wolf stuff- there’s nothing left for her to be truly able to collect without her own home.
You can also like “Echoes of Winter” here.
Big thanks to Dominique for sharing her inspiration and – BONUS! – a lovely poem with us. I echo her questions to you, reader – what influences your writing? What sparks the ideas that you write about? TV? Books? Life? Tell us in the comments below!
Love & Rainbows,
[Editor’s Note: My Guest Post for the week will be linked here shortly.]