Writer Wednesday – A few of my favorite things

A lot of writers get asked what kind of tools they use when writing and editing.  Here are a few of mine:

Books

The Romance Writer’s Phrase book by Jean Kent and Candice Shelton – It’s a handy little phrase book, used for tag lines, body language, etc.

A more updated version would be The Emotional Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.   I use these books when I’m in the layer process of my book.   I used to use them during the rough draft, but found I got too bogged down with particulars rather than just writing the damn book.

The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer – I have an old copy of this, but found it useful for understanding aspects of the business like Sell-thrus and royalties.   I believe he has an updated version.

And of course I have a Thesaurus, Dictionary and Two Style Guides.

Online Tools

Pinterest – I use Pinterest to store a lot of my pictures for characters, setting, clothes, etc.   Of course you can totally get lost on there.

First Draught – I have to give a shout-out to these ladies, because they cover a range of topics and they talk about everything from craft to publishing.  I love their Vlog!

Jenna Moreci – Jenna is a YA Indie Writer and she has this Vlog where her topics are humorous and based on her writing experience.   I highly recommend this if you are exploring Self-publishing or are a YA writer.

Google Keep  – I sort of stumbled across this recently and use it in place of Scrivener.    I make up all these little notes on characters, settings and scenes I need to write and then I can have it on the side of my Google Doc.   I’m sort of envious of Scrivener, but the feature I was really wanting was to replace my post-it plotting system that I learned from Cherry Adair.

Last week I covered the importance of finding your tribe, and of course my tribes are some of my favorite things.

~Tina

 

 

 

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Writer Wednesday – Find your tribe

Writing-GroupOn my writing journey, I know I would not be where I am today without the tribe of writers around me.

Having a supportive partner and family is important too, and I’m fortunate to have that as well.

But when I write myself into a corner, cuz I’m a pantser and we do that, DH is of no help.   But I can call my friend Arden Richards, whose not yet published but is the best plotter I know.

I belong to a number of tribes –

The F-M Word Weavers – This is my local critique group.  Arden is a member as well.  Also in my group are published Authors Maddy Barone and Mary Jean Adams.  The wealth of knowledge in this group is wonderful, and my writing has greatly improved over the years thanks to these ladies.   I found this group on Meet-up and It helps that most of the group is made up of Romance Authors.

Romance Writers of America – I highly recommend this group if you are looking to establish a career in the Romance Writing Industry.   I’ve been a member since 2004 and belong to an online chapter.   I met my first critique partner Holli Winters through RWA.    If you want to learn more about this particular tribe I recommend, if you have Netflix, that you watch “Love Between the Covers”.  First time DH watched it with me he said, “Sounds like your writer friends.”  Yes, yes it does.

Of course there is also Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers or America.  As I do not write in these genres, I’m unfamiliar with their membership. 

Romance Divas – I’ve recently joined Divas, but I have friends who have been members for years and rave about the mentorship and learning there.   It seems too that Divas is on the leading edge of trends within the Romance Industry.    Also they are FREE, so that is helpful for those watching their budget.

Marketing for Romance Writers – Despite the name, more than Romance Writers belong to this community.   If you follow my AuThursday interviews, many of the writers are from this group.  This group is also FREE. 

Writer Zen Garden – I’ve been with Writer Zen Garden for about five years, brought in by my friend and founding member, A. Catherine Noon.   Writer Zen Garden has authors of different genres.   They are wonderful for writers just starting out and maybe not so Romance focused.   To me the focus is very creative and  wonderful  cheerleading group. And Guess what – also FREE.

I continue to join groups as I see what they have to offer and if it is a good fit for me.   I highly recommend that if you aren’t a member of a tribe that you join one.   There is something about the writing journey that shouldn’t be done in a bubble.   I mean you can, but there are so many options to connect with people and learn, why wouldn’t you. 

The groups above have helped me through Writer’s Block, Rejection, Plotting, Marketing, Networking, and supporting me through my writing journey.   I can’t imagine writing without my tribes. 

~Tina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AuThursday – Mary Lingerfelt

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’ve written all my life. I was that weird kid with the glasses who always had her nose in a book. Other kids looked at the playground and wondered whether they wanted to play on the monkey bars or the swings. I looked at it and wondered what happened there when we all went home.

So I was an English major in school, and worked as a small town newspaper reporter out of college — best job ever, BTW — everyone should have that pleasure — and then on the staff of several regional trade magazines and newspapers in Atlanta before starting my own copywriting business.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

It really depends. I think my default setting is introverted, because solitude recharges my batteries, but I can be very extroverted if I like what I’m doing at the time. A guy I once dated told me “You looked like you might be shy, but then you opened your mouth, and you didn’t sound shy at all.” Lol.

How do you relax?

I love going out into nature, especially if there’s water. I love river recreation like tubing and rafting and kayaking. I love sailing. I have a romance coming out that’s set in a small coastal town in Maine.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I start with a skeleton outline and a list of characters, and I do plan it out, because you have to make sure that your plot is at least possible, given the realities of that place and time. Then I start writing, and I usually find that the story suggests itself to me as long as I ask, “What would this character likely do or feel here? What makes sense here?” And if the character does something that doesn’t make sense at first glance — why?

I see you write in the Christian/Inspirational genre.  What draws you to this genre?

This is my life. I’m writing what I’ve experienced myself. All of my stories have God as one of the central characters, and my heroines’ actions are always at least partly motivated by their consciousness of his presence. Their relationship with God may be complicated, or even angry at times, but they always break through to a new level of closeness to him, in the end. I see that relationship as a kind of romance, and just as important, if not more important, than the romance between the heroine and her love interest.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“You can either work to fulfill your own dreams, or work to help someone else fulfill theirs.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I still am an aspiring writer, lol. But to new writers — my advice would be, learn marketing. That’s a drag, and none of us want to do it, but it’s so important. You can write like a genius, but if no one reads your book, you’re stuck.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

This is my website: http://www.marylingerfeltauthor.com/

This is my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/marylingerfeltpage/messages/?threadid=1067635493&timestamp=1503810882574

Join me Saturday when we read an excerpt from Mary’s story, A Lancaster Love.  ~Tina

AuThursday – Adam Mann

Adam 200Please welcome Adam Mann back to the Clog Blog. Welcome Adam,  Thank you, I’m delighted to be here. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’ve worked in what is called developing economies most of my working life, and usually in remote areas with limited facilities.  I’ve now retired and find myself working even harder – no days off – as a writer.

What are you working on at the minute? 

I’m just completing my first Box Set – 4 or 5 short stories.  I pitch most of my stories in places where I’ve worked, but that can be a problem for a lot of readers.

What draws you to write in the romance genre?

Quite frankly from my own personal experience.  I have been married four times – widowed, divorced, marriage annulled as she had forgotten to get divorced, and finally happily married to a widow for the last nineteen years

How much research do you do? 

Quite a lot; a recent story took me to an area of Pakistan where the landowners are largely Parsee, and I managed to collect a lot of data about the origin of the Zoroastrians.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you? 

I usually start with a specific plot, but often the story ‘wanders’ off-line and I have to review the MS.  Most of the time I get ideas for plots very early in the morning, and if I wait I’ll have forgotten the plot when I get up in the morning!  So I write myself a note, even if it’s midnight.

How long on average does it take you to write a book? 

Usually a week or ten days after I’ve thought about the plot, but then I spend the next three weeks editing and reviewing the MS, and it may be some time before in publish it.

Do you ever get writer’s Block? 

No, not really, I’ve a lot of stories to tell.  I find that I can always write about something.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Put your head down and write, and worry about grammar, editing, and proofreading later.  Book promotion is a much greater problem!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

Mainly through Twitter.  I’ve considered buying in readers, but it’s expensive and I haven’t done that yet.

My contacts are:

Website:  http://www.adammannauthor.com

Twitter:  @adammannauthor

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/adammannauthor.com

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/author/adammannauthor.com

AuThursday – Helen Henderson

henderson-headshot-portraitTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you, Tina, for letting me stop by. To my readers of fantasy and romance, I’m Helen Henderson. To those of my historical westerns, they know me by the name of my ancestress, Jessie Treon. My Gemini sign matches my heritage and shows in my writing in multiple genres which are perfect for a tour guide to the stars, the Old West, and worlds of imagination.

What are you working on at the minute?

A companion book to the Dragshi Chronicles is readying for flight. First Change consists of a collection of short stories and novellas from history and legend of the dragshi–humans with a twinned dragon soul. Another tale of the Archmage, Lord Dal, and the sea captain, Lady Ellspeth, is drifting just offshore, awaiting the scribe to capture it. Besides working on the novels, I’ve decided to try something new in 2017. I will be participating in my first writing challenge, a post a week on a specified topic in 52 weeks.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

Shorter works such as novellas are usually free written. I do like structure for full-length novels, but I don’t hold to the hard rule of outlining the entire work before starting to write. When I write, I storyboard or write the draft of a scene or chapter depending on how much the muse is visiting. A scene in the storyboard might have a line describing the setting, an annotation of whose point of view I expect it to be in, and maybe three to five bullet points. Or, if the muse is visiting that block in the storyboard will be completely fleshed out with dialog, transitional phrases and be a true first draft. As I get deeper and deeper into the story and the characters take over, there are less stubbed scenes and more completed ones. Usually by the time I get to the end of the storyboard I have a complete first draft ready for editing and peer review.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

That really is an unfair question. A number of items impact the time to complete a story. A book written in the early days of my career took longer than the most recent one. Generally, a full-length novel takes a year from initial draft to the publication-formatted manuscript. A novella can be completed in a month if the fates allow. As a caregiver sometimes emergencies and life gets in the way of writing which can impact the time to write. Although I have written while sitting in doctors offices, emergency rooms, and at 2 in the morning.

Do you ever get writer’s Block? Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

My response in the past to a question regarding writer’s block was that I usually don’t get it. I have too many projects going on. However, never say never. Two novels, both set in the world of Windmaster, refuse to cooperate. There was too great an age difference between the male and female lead characters. That problem was solved by changing the point-of-view to different characters. However, the storyline had one of the “now-secondary” characters go on a journeyman walk and after a battle stay in a foreign land. To keep the series integrity, the original intent that it would be the tale of the next generation, the girl going walkabout would be no older than seventeen. Again the age felt inappropriate for the storyline. That is being re-evaluated.

henderson-windmasterlegacy-200x300The second novel in the Windmaster series awaiting a scribe faced the problem of expanding a paragraph-long legend to a full-length novel. The first two chapters came easily, then life interfered and a break occurred.

As to how to overcome the writer’s block, for the one book, time will be set aside to re-read the first two novels in the series and re-immerse myself in that world. A visit with the original characters will, hopefully, get the next generation talking to me.

I see you’ve written a series called THE DRAGSHI CHRONICLES.  Can you tell us a bit more about your series, and what draws you to writing it?

The Dragshi Chronicles are action-filled, romance-laden fantasies about a group of men and women who are more than just what you see, but are two beings—one human, the other a dragon. The pair share one body in space and time and are able to change forms with the other at will. But be warned, a dragon form comes with more than just the freedom of the sky.

Each book is a stand-alone tale. The first book is Dragon Destiny. For hundreds of years, Dragshi Lord Branin and his dragon soul twin Llewlyn searched for their intended mates. Lady Broch of Ky’Port, the firebrand leader of a band of raiders, vowed to marry the dragon lord, with or without his willing cooperation. Everything changed the day a wistful thought touched Branin’s.

Hatchlings Curse continues the story of Lord Branin and the trader girl Anastasia. Branin means to break the hatchling’s curse and end the childlessness of the dragshi. To save his kind he has to win the mating flight. And the cost? All he treasures. Throwing the competition is not an option.

The series continues with Hatchling’s Mate. Talann’s dilemma. No dragons sang a welcome at his birth, so how is he to save all dragon shifters. Or, save himself from the mind control wielded by the leader called – the Parant.

Hatchling’s Vengeance completed the series. Lady Glynnes Janaleigh had found her mate, but finding him is only half the battle. Keeping him alive is the other when duty has other demands and Fate holds all the cards. On one card is written: “Vengeance has two paths—death or love. And a long memory.”

As to what drew me to the world of the dragshi? My heritage is the child of a coal miner’s daughter and an aviation flight engineer. My world was grounded in the rural life and the skies. I grew up on a farm watching hawks soar overhead. The hawks became dragons and my desire to fly became real.

henderson-windmaster-200x300You have so many lovely book covers, can you tell us if you have a favorite and why?

While I love all the covers (even the ones I created), my favorite cover is Windmaster by Michelle Lee. The alluring model and ship hints at fantasy, magic, pirates and romance. Oh, wait a minute. Windmaster is all those things.

 

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

At this point in my career, I am now what is called a hybrid author–someone with one foot in the indie world and the other in the more traditional publishing arena. When I first embarked on publishing my own works, I was fortunate enough to have the contacts to overcome a disadvantage many independent authors encounter–the building of your own stable of technical experts from cover designer to copy editor to proofreader. An even bigger disadvantage is the social isolation. When you’re with a publisher, the authors support each other. You benefit from their social media reach and they yours. Fortunately, if you look for them, groups of independent authors have formed that provide a similar function.

Publishers, especially small press, can be a security blanket, a launching pad, or the perfect place for an author to call home. They have extended reach, resources, and enable authors, who don’t want to run their own company, to learn, grow, and become “published authors.”

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

WEBSITE: helenhenderson-author.webs.com/

BLOG: helenhenderson-author.blogspot.com

AMAZON: http://amzn.com/e/B001HPM2XK

GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/777491.Helen_Henderson

FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/HelenHenderson.author

GOOGLE + –http://ow.ly/JEZug

Teaching at Writer Zen Garden

wzgI’m teaching my FEARS workshop this weekend at Writer Zen Garden if anyone is interested. Classes are free to members. Membership is free.

http://writerzengarden.com/forums/

Feel free to share with any writer friends.

AuThursday – Vicki Batman

03-26-15-vlmb-head-on-hand-in-pink-sweater-11Please welcome Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction, to the Clog Blog.  Vicki, tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am the oldest of four girls and was raised in the suburbs. I have always been an avid reader. I love kitties. I married Handsome and have two sons and a daughter.

What are you working on at the minute?

I’m working on Temporarily Out of Luck and it is driving me crazy! But I made a few changes and am adding some stuff; so it should come along after a while. And another holiday story. And a super secret project.

What genre are your books?

Romantic comedy and mystery

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Sorta. I’ve been in three-holiday anthologies, the third releases November, 1 and is entitled Season of Promises. I’ve had an essay in the Sisters Born, Sisters Found anthology which celebrates sisterhood of all kinds, and a story in Lavender Dreams, an anthology about how cancer touches lives.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I am a pantser. I DO have the hook, the black moment, and the end, but lots of stuff has to happen in the middle to make the book. Sigh, that’s the hard part.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

I call it writer stuck. Like I explained in Temporarily Out of Luck, something was not working. I went over and over and thought it was the time line. Moved something and bingo! Was able to add bits and get the story moving again. I won’t be satisfied for a long while.

I see you’ve started a TEMPORARILY Series with Wild Rose Press, what are your thoughts on writing a book series?

It can be difficult to keep all the characters straight. I don’t want the second book to rehash the first book. And when I wrote Temporarily Employed, bits for Temporarily Insane began revealing itself. It’s fun and I love my characters.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write! Wright Tight! And take the criticism. Keep what you need and toss the rest. Don’t let anyone define you and your work, but you. Don’t live in fear. As the heroine in “Strictly Ballroom” says, a life lived in fear is a life half-lived. Live your life adventure.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website:http://vickibatman.blogspot.com/p/more-about-me.html

Facebook: http://bit.ly/293iZIz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VickiBatman/

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/vickibatman/

Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/author/vickibatman/

Email: vlmbatman@hotmail.com/

Join me on Saturday when we read a Sexy Excerpt from Vicki’s book Temporarily Insane. ~Tina