Trying out new things

I’m trying out new authors…well, new to me. A friend recommended Karen Rose and another recommended Robyn Carr, so I thought I’ll check them out.

Now, I think I might have mentioned I’m a bit of a scary cat. Well, Karen Rose took that fear to a complete new level…and that was just by reading the cover. Since she’s a romance author and highly recommended, I’m going to grit my teeth and give her book 100%…though I might have to hug my doggies while I turn the pages. I’ll definitely let you know how that goes.

Robyn Carr is sweet, contemporary romance and I’m super excited to read her book. The premise of this story is one I just adore so I’ve been stealing moments here and there to read. I’ll let you know what I thought and rant on and on about the entire thing.

Someone else also recommended Catherine Anderson. She too writes contemporary romance. I just haven’t got my paws on one of her books. Obviously, an emergency trip to the used book store is in order.

All this means that, after reading these, I could find a new beloved author…and that’s just amazing. I can’t thank my friends enough for sending me to Karen Rose, Catherine Anderson and Robyn Carr. Even if they don’t tickle my fancy, a recommendation is a gift full of good wishes and that in itself is awesome. If I do find a new great author, I’ll be over the moon.

(credit: gentlemenofsport.com)

(credit: gentlemenofsport.com)

What about you? Do you have any favourite romance authors you’d like to share? 😀

Favourite authors

Good authors are hard to come by. Reliably good authors are like precious stones, priceless and very, very dear to my heart.

I have a few. I’ve rambled about them on this blog over and over so I won’t repeat myself. But I wonder about you. I’d love to hear about your favourite authors. Do you have one that guarantees a good read for you? Someone that you’d buy the book no matter what it was about. Would you share them with us? I’d love to find a new Favourite.

For authors: plotting tips

You might have a great idea and fantastic characters, but there has to be a plot in there or all you get is a series of events.

I’m a new author and, though I’d like to think that I can write semi-decently, I have trouble with my plots. I usually have an idea for a book, I know how to start and I know what the crisis will be. It’s the middle that tends to…well, sag. Between happy status quo and crisis, what happens?

Well, I found a great post to help me with my plotting issues. First, it explains what a plot should look like in very simple language (I like simple). It splits up the plot into 10 steps that every book should have and they’re very clear. I read it and a light just went off. If I had this as a skeleton for my ideas, I’d be so set! So, I thought I’d share it. Here’s the link:http://www.novel-writing-help.com/how-to-plot-a-novel.html

But my issue is the saggy middle…well, it so happens that’s what this new post on the same blog is about. And, apparently, it’s an issue for new writers (ahem). The author is Harvey Chapman and he explains (again really clearly) how to avoid that saggy, dull middle. Turns out, what you need are mini-plots that connect. He explains it much better, though. Here’s the link: http://www.novel-writing-help.com/plotting-the-novel.html.

But, if these didn’t do it for you, I found some others that might!

The one I liked the most is this one by Annie Neugebauer. She has a Novel Plotting Worksheet that has prompts and you just answer the questions and, voila!, you have a plot! http://annieneugebauer.com/the-organized-writer-2/novel-plotting-worksheets/

Simon Haynes has a great concept with his version (and he even has diagrams!). http://www.spacejock.com.au/PlottingANovel.html

Then I also found these two in less steps than my original 10.

http://thisblogisaploy.blogspot.ca/2011/09/how-i-plot-novel-in-5-steps.html By Rachel Aaron, how to plot in 5 steps.

http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/plot-outline.html. By Glen C. Strathy. He uses 8 easy steps to get the job done.

I’ll add these to the Resources page!

For writers: showing versus telling

New authors often get told: show, don’t tell. It’s a biggie for writers. I’ve read it, heard it and seen it more times than I can count in reputable helpful sites. I know I probably ‘tell’ and don’t show. My issue is not that I wasn’t willing to do as I was told, my issue is I have trouble telling the difference. What does ‘telling’ mean? What constitutes a ‘show’?

So, I found a couple of sites that really impressed me because they were so clear on this issue and I thought I’d pass them on.

Nina Kaytel has this amazing post with amazing examples that are not only clear but they’re small and easy to read. Her post helped me to actually see the difference. Here’s the link: http://ninakaytel.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/what-ive-learned-beta-reading/

Kelly Leiter wrote a wonderful post on the difference and she brings it down to three rules that are awesome because they’re easy! Better yet, she also adds a group of links to other sites where they also explain ‘show vs. tell’. (Let’s just admit it, Kelly Leiter’s site rocks).

Here’s the link: http://www.thebeginningwriter.com/2012/03/explaining-show-dont-tell.html

But those are not the only people who’ve written on ‘show vs. tell’.

Nathan Bransford, a former literary agent, has a great blog full of resources and here’s his post on this topic: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/09/showing-vs-telling.html

* K.M. Weiland, another powerful resource, wrote this great post on the topic here: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2013/02/the-secret-to-show-dont-tell.html

One more, I found that I thought was particularly good (and a great site):

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/show-dont-tell/

Personally, I’ve also rearranged and re-organized my Resources tab so, hopefully, things are easier to access to those checking it out.

I know, I know. Overwhelming. No more links. We’re done! 🙂

New tab

I have only been an author a very short time. During those months, I’ve managed to bungle things pretty royally. Thank the good karma in the universe that there are sites and blogs and communities online to help newbies like myself. Every time I found something new, I posted it on this blog. I figure, I need all the good karma I can get.

But this morning, with a fresh cup of coffee not making a dent on the horrid headache raging away in my head, I decided to clean house. I got all the posts that have hints or tips for authors and put them under a new tab at the top of the blog, for easy access.

Just click on Resources. Easy, peasy. Oh, and if you have any gems, pass them my way and I’ll post them there too (with your permission).

How to avoid dangerous pitfalls–for authors

I came across this very good post a few weeks ago. I wish I had seen it earlier…as in when-I-first-self-published earlier. I didn’t and I made some of the mistakes I read about on this blog. I accepted a review from someone I didn’t know in exchange for their book. Ugh. Ugly consequences ensued. Let’s just say I’ll never do that again.

There are guidelines on this post that I believe help authors keep their credibility and the integrity of their work. I intend to follow them (ahem…even if it’s a little late for that one review). More importantly, I thought I’d pass them on to other authors. Those pitfalls are dangerous, dark places. Beginning authors are fragile, little seedlings. We need all the help we can get…at least I do.

It’s also an amazing site…as you can tell from the awards listed on it.

Check it out: http://networkedblogs.com/PN0qg

Let me know what you think!

Some good links for writers

I thought I’d share some links that I’ve found very helpful. These sites have great resources and they’re very organized (which helped me find what I wanted right away).

http://nhwn.wordpress.com/about/

This one is done by a group of writers trying to help out other writers. Check out their categories… Good, right?

http://www.thebeginningwriter.com

Another site full of resources for writers. I again, particularly like their categories. If I’m stuck on my plot or have an issue with a character, I know where to go.

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com

This one is Kristen Lamb’s site. She’s a pro on self-advocacy for books. I not only found her site helpful, I also found her book helpful. Being a newbie, I needed a guiding hand getting started. She was exactly what I needed.

http://www.molly-greene.com/

Molly Greene won an award for her blog. It’s full of goodness and I found some articles really helpful (because I’d already done the mistakes she warned about…oops!).

If you have any others that you have found helpful, send me a comment and I’ll show it here! Let’s all help each other out!

How do you choose a book?

We all have favourite authors on auto-buy. I do as well. I trust them implicitly. They could write a book about in-grown toenails and I’d buy it. But what about those authors we don’t know? Do you buy that book or do you put it back? What do you do?

When I see an author I don’t know, I like to go in slowly. It’s a lot like tasting something new. Say I’m in Spain and someone offers me some paella. Well, I wouldn’t necessarily get a full plate of it. I like to try a bit. Like a mouthful. If I like it, I’ll try some more. And so on. (By the way, if you’re in Spain, don’t miss out. Definitely try the paella).

I like to do the same thing with books. I ‘taste’ books first. If I’m at a book store, I’ll read the cover, then I’ll try the first chapter. See what I think. Then, maybe, I’ll read a bit more.

My method works on line too. Most authors are incredibly accommodating. In their excerpts, they literally post a chapter or two. By the end of the first chapter I can tell you if I like the book or if it’s not a good fit.

This is how I found out about Kristen Ashley. She has a sample for each of her books. Usually not just one or two chapters but several. I can tell you, after a few chapters, I’m a goner. I need to know what happens. And, you know what? The purchase button is right there! So easy! Within minutes, I’m in my happy place.

That’s also what got me thinking about putting a few chapters of Olivia’s Choice online. I went to Wattpad (recommended by a friend) and posted the first two chapters under Olivia’s page, with another little excerpt.

So, if you’re like me and like to try things out, give those chapters a try! Let me know what you think! Oh, and I can’t recommend Kristen Ashley strongly enough. If you like romance and you haven’t read her yet, give her a shot. I dare you to try her chapters and not buy the book. I haven’t been able to resist. She’s that good.