Category Archives: Writing

New release for authors: 101 Questions to Improve Your Novel

It’s out in print and Kindle! And it’s in a new box set with Blockbuster Books, Broken Down–details below.

This book grew out of my experience editing and my own “final check list.”

101 Questions to Improve Your Novel: for Writing, Editing, Revising, and Polishing

From plot twists to dialogue, authors have a long list to think about when revising and polishing a novel. These 101 questions and explanations will help you improve and check your novel’s opening, plot and character development, conflict, pacing, dialogue, and of course the writing itself. After months or years of working on a story, it’s difficult to check the quality on every fiction element. 101 Questions looks at overarching issues, small details, and writing technique. You may learn about new techniques and tips, see a method differently, or realize that you forgot a trick. This handy list of 101 questions explores many possible ways to improve specific areas, add layers and depth, strengthen conflict, find plot holes, and identify writing issues.

Contents:  Workshop and Checklist,  All About STORY,  All About Editing,  The Beginning,  Sample Openings,  Plot & Structure,  Chapters & Pacing,  Scenes,  Characters,  Dialogue,  Setting,  The End,  Strong Writing,  & Final Checks
Sample Question – #40. Do all of your characters have strong feelings about each other?

Working on this element truly adds another layer to your story. In life, we meet people and classify them right away. It’s not often that we know a person but don’t have any opinions or feelings about them. But we see that in stories all the time.

Sometimes I read or edit a novel and have a hard time telling the characters apart. This arises when the characters aren’t distinct, but it’s also caused by a lack of feeling toward each other. If your hero really dislikes another character, that will color the hero’s description and interaction with that character.

Take a closer look at your work: make a list of all of your characters and then describe how your hero feels about them. If your hero doesn’t feel anything that shows in your story right now, do you need to make that character more colorful? And by colorful, I mean annoying, more pushy, more opinionated, more deceitful, more secretive, more talkative, more silent, more helpful, more sweet, more of a pushover, more something?

Look at the relationship between all of your main characters. It might help to make a chart. Then think about how they interact and secretly feel about each other. You can have a lot of fun in this area, and it really deepens your story.


101 Qs for your novel

And here’s the box set for anyone who doesn’t have Blockbuster Books already.

Both books are in Kindle Unlimited so you can borrow them,so people who aren’t signed up to use that program might want the box set.

And information on the second book:

Blockbuster BooksBlockbuster Books, Broken Down

Learn from mega bestselling novels to build your own breakout plot!

Why start from scratch and reinvent storytelling? Instead, use a 7 point plot outline developed from wildly successful novels.

“Blockbuster Books, Broken Down” is a workbook style guide that reveals the structure and elements in huge bestsellers of the last fifteen years, many of which became movies. By breaking down these books, we can see how successful authors are breaking out by satisfying readers’ needs.

This is a hands-on fiction workshop packed with insights and activities to quickly teach you breakout plotting and novel development.


101 Questions to Improve Your Novel

I have a new nonfiction book on pre-order called 101 Questions to Improve Your Novel: for Writing, Editing, Revising, and Polishing. This book grew out of my experience editing and my own “final check list” that I grow on a continuous basis. A while back, as I added a few items to the list, I decided to turn it into a book to share with other authors. 101 Questions is filled with questions on all the elements of a novel, along with an explanation and advice. I like having a list of things to look for to ensure my novel is the best it can be, and I think other authors will like having all this information in one place too. I LOVE thinking about story and writing, so writing this project has been a joyful experience!  More info below, and then I’ve included info on my other nonfiction books.

Pre-order, Coming May 26:    101 Questions to Improve Your Novel

for Writing, Editing, Revising, and Polishing

From plot twists to dialogue, authors have a long list to think about when revising and polishing a novel. These 101 questions and explanations will help you improve and check your novel’s opening, plot and character development, conflict, pacing, dialogue, and of course the writing itself. After months or years of working on a story, it’s difficult to check the quality on every fiction element. 101 Questions looks at overarching issues, small details, and writing technique. You may learn about new techniques and tips, see a method differently, or realize that you forgot a trick. This handy list of 101 questions explores many possible ways to improve specific areas, add layers and depth, strengthen conflict, find plot holes, and identify writing issues.

Contents:  Workshop and Checklist,  All About STORY,  All About Editing,  The Beginning,  Sample Openings,  Plot & Structure,  Chapters & Pacing,  Scenes,  Characters,  Dialogue,  Setting,  The End,  Strong Writing,  Final Checks,  &  Share Your Book!
Sample Question – #40. Do all of your characters have strong feelings about each other?

Working on this element truly adds another layer to your story. In life, we meet people and classify them right away. It’s not often that we know a person but don’t have any opinions or feelings about them. But we see that in stories all the time.

Sometimes I read or edit a novel and have a hard time telling the characters apart. This arises when the characters aren’t distinct, but it’s also caused by a lack of feeling toward each other. If your hero really dislikes another character, that will color the hero’s description and interaction with that character.

Take a closer look at your work: make a list of all of your characters and then describe how your hero feels about them. If your hero doesn’t feel anything that shows in your story right now, do you need to make that character more colorful? And by colorful, I mean annoying, more pushy, more opinionated, more deceitful, more secretive, more talkative, more silent, more helpful, more sweet, more of a pushover, more something?

Look at the relationship between all of your main characters. It might help to make a chart. Then think about how they interact and secretly feel about each other. You can have a lot of fun in this area, and it really deepens your story.


More books from Authorpreneur Press

Blockbuster BooksBlockbuster Books, Broken Down

Learn from mega bestselling novels to build your own breakout plot!

Why start from scratch and reinvent storytelling? Instead, use a 7 point plot outline developed from wildly successful novels.

“Blockbuster Books, Broken Down” is a workbook style guide that reveals the structure and elements in huge bestsellers of the last fifteen years, many of which became movies. By breaking down these books, we can see how successful authors are breaking out by satisfying readers’ needs.

This is a hands-on fiction workshop packed with insights and activities to quickly teach you breakout plotting and novel development.

 Amazon/ Kindle  *Buy the workbook, get the Kindle book free with Kindle Match Book.*


Authorpreneur by Kristen James - on AmazonAuthorpreneur: Making Steady Income from ebook Royalties

Second Edition with Bonus Material and Updates

Authorpreneur: a noun. A professional author/entrepreneur who strives to improve in all areas of the publishing business: writing, publishing and marketing.

What does it really take to make it as an author? What are realistic production and promotion costs? Do many people make money publishing ebooks, and how much? “Authorpreneur” takes a look at what’s involved in independent publishing and what you can expect at different career phases such as:

  • Starting Out with ebook publishing
  • Multi-published author
  • Earning $500 per month and growing
  • And even feeling stuck in writing and marketing

I discuss real numbers and what success means to different people—it’s not just about money. This book is for writers who value great storytelling and connecting with readers, and who want to develop their career, not just spike ebook sales for a month.
“Authorpreneur” is filled with tips you can do during set up, how to get sales moving again, and all the strategies I’ve used to sell more books, doubling my sales every year and tripling my income.


Book Promoting 101 by Kristen JamesBook Promoting 101

The publishing industry is rapidly changing into an entirely new game, offering more ways to get published and many new avenues to promote books. Do you understand the new POD method of publishing and printing books, and what it means for you?

Just as you develop an outline for writing your book, you should have a marketing plan to guide you in promoting it. Book Promoting 101 offers tips, guest articles, a sample book marketing plan and industry news. Tips discuss website design, good cover design, to how to write a sales sheet and how to promote your book online and in person.

Written by a publisher, Book Promoting 101 will show you how to get started early, even while you are writing your book, and walk you through ways to continually promote you and your writing.


Note: Authpreneur is about how to be a full time author while How To Be A Full Time Writer looks at earning an income through freelance editing, writing, technical writing, sales copy, copy writing, ghostwriting, proof reading–basically any work found on a freelance site.

How To Be A Full Time WriterHow To Be A Full Time Writer

How To Be A Full Time Writer and Editor – Through Ghostwriting, Freelance Writing, Editing, Co-Writing and Your Writing

Do you love your job? You should! If you don’t, I’d love to help you create a job you love.

I created my own job through a mix of publishing and editing, and then I began ghostwriting. This allowed me to set my own hours, choose my projects, and work from home while dropping the daily commute. I share the sites I used, provide resources, and give tips for finding work, bidding, winning projects, avoiding problem clients and projects, and earning more money. These tips include actual, winning bids and things to watch out for. You can use some or all of the methods that have worked for me to create a job perfectly suited to your interests and passions.


A story and a sentence walked into a bar together…

They both noticed a woman with long, dark hair and an inviting smile, so they sat at the bar, four stools away from her. She glanced over at their entrance before turning back to her conversation with her friends. Sentence told Story, “Watch this. I’m going to wiggle my perfect construction at her. She won’t be able to resist!”

Story watched as Sentence tried to catch the woman’s eye. The woman and her friends gave Sentence a few polite glances, but they weren’t interested.

When Story had enough, he announced, “My turn!” He walked around Sentence to sit closer to the woman and gave her a nod and a wink. The woman immediately moved down the bar three seats to talk to Story.

“Your characters are amazing! How did you come up with this idea, anyway?” She leaned closer and tilted her head back to tease him with a half smile. “And the twist at the end! I didn’t see that coming, but then it made perfect sense. Please tell me there’s a sequel. Does Jake ever win Kathryn over, and does his father ever forgive him? Is there another mystery to solve?”

Story motioned for another round of drinks and murmured, “I’ll tell you everything if you have a few hours…”

Sentence sulked in his seat. What had he done wrong?

“Sentence” missed the simple fact that readers don’t go into bookstores and online retailers to buy groups of sentences. There aren’t any reviews that read, “This book is full of perfect sentences! Check out the metaphor on page 82. The sentences were so wonderful that I forgot about the story and highlighted the commas and semicolons. This author knows how to vary sentence length! Wonderful!”

Readers often say a novel is well written, and they might mention the imagery or fresh use of language, but that alone won’t win readers. Personally, I don’t want to throw a reader out of the story with a impressive sentence. I want the plot and characters to pull the reader in so she’ll keep reading past her bedtime. Of course, I don’t want poor writing to distract the reader either, but I know the point of the novel is the story.

As an artist, do you want others to see the picture you’re painting or the brushstrokes?

Do you need to write well on a sentence level to write good stories? Yes, of course! But are the sentences more important than the story you’re telling? Not in my opinion. Aren’t authors selling stories, not sentences?

Writing well is very important. I don’t mean to argue that point, but it really bugs me when I hear someone put down a mega bestselling author for their writing. It’s usually on a sentence level: “Look at all the clichés, passive voice, and simple sentences! A fifth grader could write better.” It could be true–the given book might very well be full of sentences that could be written better. Maybe their modifiers don’t line up. Maybe they like using clichés as shortcuts in certain places. Maybe they choose choppy or run on sentences over proper grammar to show the character’s thoughts and emotions. But, if the writing really is that poor, then the author must be doing something else right. And that “something else” really sells copies. Millions of readers are buying those books. Despite what people say, you can’t sell a book month after month on marketing alone. If it’s not a good story, people complain. They won’t tell other people about the book.

Readers want an experience away from their life. They want to get sucked into a great story that makes them forget everything else for a few hours. They want to connect with the character and see the world differently. They want to experience a great story. They want to feel.

So, yes, please learn to write sentences well and play with language. Study English, spelling, and grammar. Create fresh images and strive to be original. Learn how to write well so readers can understand what you’re saying. And if you want to sell that writing, remember your job is to tell a damn good story.

…and Upcoming Novels

So, on the writing front, I edited several novels over the last few months for other authors. It’s been a hugely fun process, and I got to work in romance, fantasy, historical, and crime fiction. I’ve been editing for ten years, and the last few years I’ve seen a dramatic increase in quality in terms of writing and the stories I’m seeing. I think it’s due to the Indie movement and all the content so readily available. There’s books, articles, blogs and Facebook groups that help writers learn about writing and the publishing process. So, it’s lots of fun all around!

And yes, I’m working on my own novels too. I’m working to finish the 4th novella in the Stranger series. It’ll be the final one and complete the story, although it opens the door for a new series if I want to continue it. Here’s the cover for the 4th book:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-sexy-young-couple-love-image21300227 Meg finally learns the truth and has decisions to make…

(I don’t want to give the story away yet, especially if people didn’t read the first three.)

I’ll publish this one and then a full novel version with all four novellas.

And…

I also started another story inspired by a video on Facebook. You might have seen the clip of a girl at a cam when the kiss cam zooms in on her and her boyfriend. The guy ignore the kiss cam but a mascot runs over and carries her off. I love that video! And I wanted to start a story with that, so I did. It might be a novella – I’m not sure at this point. I’m just having fun with it and writing away. Here’s the cover. What do you think???

Marry the Mascot cover

This story is lighthearted and fun with a big dose of humor.

Working blurb:

The Trail Blazer’s mascot sweeps Abby off her feet, literally, but she doesn’t get his name. Luckily he happens to know she writes the “Honest Abby” column in a local paper. The mascot is a fun loving, hot guy, but he also has a sick father and a load of responsibilities that lead to a little complication.

Blockbuster Books, Broken Down – Plotting with the novel map

Blockbuster Books - workbook and Kindle ebookLearn from mega bestselling novels to build your own breakout plot!

Why start from scratch and reinvent storytelling? Instead, use a 7 point plot outline developed from wildly successful novels.

“Blockbuster Books, Broken Down” is a workbook style guide that reveals the structure and elements in huge bestsellers of the last fifteen years, many of which became movies. By breaking down these books, we can see how successful authors are breaking out by satisfying readers’ needs.

Part 1 deconstructs today’s bestsellers and offers insights and keys to blockbusters and the Blockbuster Novel Map.

Part 2 guides you in creating a breakout idea and developing that into a solid plot with a novel map. Build from the ground up with 7 points to ensure your plot will connect with readers.

Buy the workbook and you can get the Kindle book free through Kindle Matchbook.

Amazon – Kindle ebook and print workbook available

Covers these books and more:

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Twilight and The Host by Stephenie Myer

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Maze Runner by James Dashner

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Notebook and Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Includes:

Part 1: Deconstructing Bestsellers

Does Genre Matter?

Hook, High Concept, & HUGE Stakes

Bestselling Qualities

What’s Different About Today’s Blockbusters

The Blockbuster Novel Map

The 7 Point Outline with 3 Act Structure

The Key to Blockbusters

Part 2: Building Your Bestseller

First, Know Thyself

Your Big Idea

The Breakout Idea Checklist

From Idea to Plot

Which Came First: plot or character?

Writing Your Novel

Ways to Improve Your Writing

Make Any Story BIGGER

Writer’s Block: specific cases and how to fix them

Additional Resources

Your Novel Map

Novel Map Worksheet

From Novel Map to Outline

Your Setting/ World

Your Setting Notes

Character Sheets

*This is a hands-on fiction workshop packed with insights, exercises, and worksheets to quickly teach you breakout plotting and novel development.

Amazon – Kindle ebook and print workbook available

Writing & Publishing Roundup 2014

So, it was another crazy year in publishing.Trade book prices came down, overall book quality (Indie and trade) went up in my opinion due to increased competition, and the number of books on the market skyrocketed. Of course, that’s been a trend over the last few years. Kindle Unlimited rolled out in the US and then in countries all over the world, drastically cutting book sales for many authors. I think a few have profited, but I’ve seen a majority of authors saying their sales (including borrows) and income doing a nosedive.Yeah, publishing continues to change, and the playing field has leveled out once again, where Indies no longer have an advantage with lower prices and faster releases.

All of the above is good for readers. I’ll admit I’m happy I can get books from my favorite authors for lower prices. And, the truth is, being an author isn’t like other jobs. You don’t put in the time and schooling and then know you have a career path with steadily increasing pay. Being an artist of any kind has challenges. Authors are creatives and business people, and our books have to compete with Facebook, TV, free content, and all the other books out there. In essence, if you’re going to be an author, you have to do it because you love it.

What about me? I’ve been writing away as usual. I released three full novels in 2014:

Costa Rica,  In A Field of Oranges, and  It’s All In My Head 

Links to different retailers on my homepage. There’s also my Amazon book page.

And I recently released the first novella in a new romantic thriller series, Stranger in my Bed. This first novella doesn’t have so much of the romantic element in it–I’d even call it a psychological thriller.

2014 was a really great writing year for me. I pushed myself to offer something really different with each book. I took It’s All In My Head to a week long, intensive writing workshop, and it eventually became my longest work to date, and my first novel in 1st person. I just LOVE that story and the characters. Some books are harder to write, and that one had challenges, but I still smile when I think about the writing process, and remember it like a life-changing vacation.

I took the lessons learned while writing that novel and started my new series. There’s a lot of mystery in Stranger in my Bed. It’s great fun to write! I also wanted to try a different format, so I’m using a TV episode format, where I’m going to release novellas hopefully once every month. The entire story is much bigger than my usual novel length, too, so this format works well. I really like having smaller conflicts in each novella that will also build the overall problem. In the end, I’ll probably release a box set of the entire story.

I’m also finishing a noBlockbuster Books, Broken Down - so you can write your wonnfiction project–my first book about novel writing. I’ve held off on offering writing advice because there’s an abundance of that there. But I haven’t seen one that covered my content. I took my notes on bestsellers and looked at lists of books that were turned into movies, and something jumped out at me. It was one of those amazing moments when a light bulb turned on and I literally stood up in amazement. This happens when I see something about my writing or writing in general, but I’ve never felt my new insight was a really new insight for writers in general. This time I thought, wow, I need to share this! So I am.

The guide is actually about plotting, creating a blockbuster plot, and making any story bigger. I break down the plot of mega bestsellers to form a simple novel map that anyone can use to plan their novel with critical points that set stories apart.

Blockbuster Books, Broken Down is up for pre-order in Kindle and will release on January 30, 2015. There’s a workbook for the print version, and I hope to release that in January.

Well, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and New Year– I’m celebrating Christmas vacation with two weeks of sleeping in!

So, nanowrimo

Nanowrimo what? National Novel Writing Month, aka the frenzie in November every year in the writing world. Did you join in? I’ve never participated in Nanowrimo because the timing has never worked out. I haven’t been at the starting point for a novel before November, and I have a pretty set schedule (or rather habit) of writing a novel in three months. I tend to write three novels a year plus a novella or other project, and this year I added in translations. I’m working with translators, but I need to answer questions quite often. So I’ve never felt compelled to time a project with nanowrimo, but sometimes I’ve wished I could.

However, it hit me just the other day that I started and finished a novella this month, and was able to send it to three beta readers within the 30 day period. I have a completed and polished novella, blurb, cover and even the series planned out.

I’ve read a few articles about nanowrimo rebels that make up their own guidelines, so I guess I can say I’ve done that now! My project isn’t a 50,000 word rough draft, but I think I’m happier with having something competed and ready to upload to Kindle. I already published three full length novels, and I had a blast working with this shorter format. I’m picturing my new series much like a television show with episodes: each novella has its own story questions, conflict and arc, and there’s a bigger story at play as well.

Writing a novel is a long journey. Writing a novella is like a fun adventure, with quicker pay offs, but a challenge of telling a full story in one third of the length. I was able to send it out for feedback and get comments within a few days. It showed me the weak points. I revised, added content, and then went through the entire novella several times to work on different aspects. I can perfect every scene and each element of storytelling, all within a month’s time. I hope to publish a new novella about once a month, and I plan share more about this adventure along the way.

Congrats to all the Nanowrimo participants! Even if you didn’t end up with 50k words, it’s quite an undertaking, and you still have a great chunk of material to work with. (And I think that’s the point.) Hope it was fun as well. :)

A story behind a story

Do you like behind-the-scenes stories that show you how a movie or book came about? I love learning what inspired a great story. The other day I was skimming through my journal and noticed something new about how I got the idea for It’s All In My Head. On February 6th, my husband and I planned to drive to Eugene to watch Jerry Seinfeld. We were super excited, to put it mildly. Then… a giant snowstorm hit and buried Eugene in snow and ice. It was fifty degrees here, an hour and a half south of Eugene, so it was extra frustrating. The show wasn’t cancelled, either, so we emailed our tickets to someone who could use them. That night, we watched the start of the winter Olympics instead. I got hooked on watching the snowboarders and their tricks in the halfpipe, flying twenty feet up into the air to flip upside down. It’s amazing what they can do. The following Monday, I was driving on our country highway and looking the pretty green hills here when a book idea hit me. I wrote 10,000 words in a week.

So if I got to see Jerry Seinfeld, I might not have watched the Olympics and gotten that idea. Funny, huh?

The book flowed at an amazing rate–the idea took over my life the way Marcus took over Avery’s!

By the way, here’s the inspiration for Marcus, a real snowboarder who competed in the Olympics, Sage Kotsenbrug. He thought he was after a gold medal… and didn’t realize he was inspiring a book! If you’re not familiar with him,  Wikipedia says, “He won the first ever Olympic gold medal in men’s snowboard slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russa, and became the first gold medalist at these Olympics.”

Marcus  - Sage Kotsenburg

This is a photo I snagged from his FB to help me write my novel.

The character of Marcus is fictional, of course, with his own quirks and beliefs. I was mostly inspired by Sage Kotsenburg’s attitude, and then his determination. I was surprised when I listened to all of the snowboarders talk–they were competing in a highly competitive, international stage, but many were funny, supporting each other, and enjoying themselves. Like, really enjoying themselves and the love of what they could do on their board. That’s what I wanted to capture in my character, Marcus.

I’m not sure where the story idea really came from–it just hit me, what if some normal girl had the voice of one of those guy’s in her head all of a sudden?

If you’re wondering about Avery, I had a picture of her in my mind and happened to come across a picture in Glamour magazine that matched what I envisioned. So I clipped this and kept it in my inspiration folder.

M AveryI was after an off-beat, unique beauty. People are beautiful in their own way, and there’s so many different faces and traits.

The story developed into all kinds of layers. Avery had a crush who was starting to take notice. She also had some pain in her past, ambition and plans, and a weird situation with her friends: her bestie is with her ex, and they all hang out together.

I took the manuscript through a week-long workshop and found even more emotional depth and complications, so by the end of the writing process, I had my longest and most complicated book. It’s about two opposite people thrown together who learn to see the beauty in each other, all while Marcus is a voice. I called it an inside-out love story, because yes, it’s very romantic and (I hope) surprising.

Here’s the blurb for the story that resulted in all of this:

He’s taking over her life, but is he even real?

Avery Waldorf wakes up from a concussion to find a voice inside her head—an adventurous male voice belonging to Marcus, who doesn’t know where he came from, but has an opinion on everything about her life. She just wants to work on her screenplay, go to her writing classes and flirt with the guy of her dreams, Nash, who is finally noticing her.

Marcus wants to get up at dawn, run, snowboard, and basically take over her life, and even her body at times. He thinks she’s freaking hot and does not like Nash touching her. Marcus may be smart, talented at snowboarding, drawing and playing the guitar, but he’s not real! When she needs help, she has to call Nash.

She can’t tell anyone about Marcus without sounding like she’s crazy. Meanwhile Marcus doesn’t know where he’ll go if he leaves her mind. Maybe she is losing it…

* * *

It’s All In My Head is on special for 99 cents this month in Kindle, or you can get a gifted copy by signing up for my newsletter.

Why am I running a special and giving away copies? Because November is my birthday month :) and I want to share this awesome story with you.

New Release: It’s All In My Head

So… It’s All In My Head is out!!

It's All In My Head

Avery Waldorf wakes up from a concussion to find a voice inside her head—an adventurous male voice belonging to Marcus, who doesn’t know where he came from, but has an opinion on everything about her life. She just wants to work on her screenplay, go to her writing classes and flirt with the guy of her dreams, Nash, who is finally noticing her.

Marcus wants to get up at dawn, run, snowboard, and basically take over her life, and even her body at times. He thinks she’s freaking hot and does not like Nash touching her. Marcus may be smart, talented at snowboarding, drawing and playing the guitar, but he’s not real! When she needs help, she has to call Nash.

She can’t tell anyone about Marcus without sounding like she’s crazy. Meanwhile Marcus doesn’t know where he’ll go if he leaves her mind. Maybe she is losing it…

Amazon    Kobo   Smashwords   Nook      Teaser Below!

This is my longest book to date, my first time writing in first person, and my first college age romance. I’m excited! It was such a fun book to write, and Avery and Marcus came to life. You might remember my writing challenge: that I want to write books that different, unique, and beyond what I’ve written before. This story is fun, flirty and very emotional, and full of surprises.

***

It’s All In My Head TEASER:

Then, mid-class, I realized that instead of paying attention, I was looking down at my notepad, sketching instead of taking notes or even trying to listen. It took a few slow seconds for me to see that I was drawing myself. And I don’t draw.

I stared in horror like it was a dead rat. Holeeee hell. Really, I can’t draw at all, and this was pretty good. Really good. I mean, it looked like me, even with expression.

Marcus, is that you drawing?

Oh … sorry. Bored out of my mind.

You’re good.

Wow, is that a … what do you call that? Oh, a compliment.

I scanned the few people around me who could see my desk. No one was looking my way.

How do you know what I look like when you’re on the inside, looking out?

I’ve seen you in the mirror.

He got all this from a few glances in the mirror? Marcus had a fine memory.

You have very striking looks. Now can I please get back to my artwork?

Worried and yet fascinated, I watched my own hand move the pencil in confident strokes, filling in my lips. When had Marcus been able to study me that much? The only time he saw my face was when I looked in the mirror. Speaking of my face, it got hot—for several reasons. First, I was drawing myself. I’d die if anyone noticed. Second, it blew up some of my theories about Marcus, or what was causing all this. If I can’t draw, I can’t make up a person who can, right? And third, he was drawing me in a certain mood. I looked … suggestive.

Excuse me, Marcus, but when have you seen that look on my face?

I have an imagination. A very vivid one at times.
Read the first 10% on Amazon.

My new writing goal (challenge)

There’s more books coming out each day than ever before, in all of history, which can be daunting to an author who doesn’t want to get lost in the tsunami of reading material available. Every year I set goals to improve as a writer, and then I read novels, read books on writing, and write. This year I went to a week long writing workshop. For the last couple of years, my goals included writing longer, deeper, more meaningful books.

Then, while writing It’s All In My Head, something clicked for me: an obvious epiphany, I guess, but I realized each new book I write has to have something completely new and different about it, something unique to offer above an awesome story that moves readers. I’ve known on some level for a while that a book needs to have a twist on common themes and story lines to catch readers’ attention, but I really feel it and understand it now. I’ve tried to offer that in previous books, giving reader a new perspective and kind of story. My married romances are a bit different, and I like to stretch normal romance genre rules, too. I like to think I write love stories that readers outside of the romance genre can enjoy. This new goal is beyond even that.

Here’s what I’m thinking: If the story isn’t new and different, why write it?

Maybe you just thought, “Duh!” But it’s a scary thing to put out there as an author. Think about it – are most new books really that different from what’s been written?

I could be wrong. Readers might want the same thing over and over. You know, you go to a certain author due to their brand, and you know what to expect. On the other hand, I want each new book to be special, even while having my voice and signature characters. So I’m challenging myself to offer something new and special in each new book.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 11,902 other followers

%d bloggers like this: