Friday, May 27, 2016

U is for Universal

Margaret talks about universal truths.


“It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
  (The opening paragraph in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice)

 I know this was a tongue in cheek comment by Jane Austen. She wasn’t saying Darcy was actively looking for a wife, merely suggesting that any rich and single man must be in need of one to make his life complete. She also observed that their success makes them a target for unattached, single women.

Would you say this is true today?  That not a lot has changed? Would a wealthy man need a wife?   In most of my stories (which feel real to me when I write) my heroes are certainly well off, which in turn does make them a target. But equally their wealth has made them wary of the opposite sex.  How are they to know whether these women love them for themselves or the size of their bank balance? It's a very fine line but I'd like to think it’s personality that counts every time.

 

 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

U is for Uber Excited

Debra received another cover this week.

To say I was thrilled to get the cover for my Fourth of July story last week was an understatement. When I opened my e-mail and found the cover for my Halloween story just a few days later, I was over the moon! Apparently my cover designer was behind a bit on the Fourth one and ahead of schedule on the Halloween one.

To make it even more exciting...I mean, how often do you get two covers for two different stories within a week?...the cover is absolutely wonderful. It fits the story so perfectly I can hardly believe it. Not to mention, since it's Halloween, it has a fall theme, and fall is my favorite season. (Not that I'm in a hurry for it to arrive at this point and time. I plan on enjoying the summer ahead to the fullest!) The colors are so rich and vibrant. I can't stop looking at it. I keep sneaking peeks on my computer and phone throughout the day. It's definitely my favorite cover of the series.

So, without further ado...here is the cover for Halloween at The Corral.


And here's the tag line and blurb so hopefully you'll see why it's not only visually stunning, but fits the theme of the story to perfection...down to the jack-o-lantern in the corner, since there's a scene in which the hero and heroine carve one.

You don't need to wear a mask to hide who you really are.

Kelly Harper has no interest in egomaniacs like Dan Jenkins. She also has no patience for the entourage of groupies that follows him while he basks in their attention. Her experience with her ex-fiancé has taught her to steer clear of guys like Dan who see women as no more than a pretty face to parade around.

Dan Jenkins is something of a local celebrity. His charm and good looks ensure he never lacks for female company, but truth be told, he finds their attentions shallow and superficial. No one really bothers to get to know who he really is. Trouble is, Dan's not sure he really knows who he is.

Will Kelly be the one to figure out who Dan really is behind the good ol' boy facade? If so, she just might discover a man she never expected. A man worthy of giving her heart to.


Until next time (maybe I'll have stopped gushing by then...),

Happy Reading!

Debra
www.debrastjohnromance.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

U is for Unprofessional Behaviour

Paula looks at unprofessional behaviour.

As writers we have to take the bad reviews with the good. There seems to be an unwritten code of conduct that authors should not comment on or argue with any bad reviews. Maybe at times we would like to respond, especially to what we perceive as an unjust comment, but we have to accept the fact that not everyone will like our books.

Earlier this week, I came across an example of a well-known author taking to Facebook to complain about a one-star review for her recently published novella. She named the reviewer and, worse still, called her an idiot. I considered that very unprofessional.

It seems the author’s many fans then swung into action and (I assume, although I did not actually see this on Amazon) proceeded to criticise the reviewer or maybe they complained to Amazon, with the result that the review was deleted, either by the reviewer herself or by Amazon. The author then proceeded to thank her fans for their support in getting the review removed.

I read the actual review before it was removed because the author provided a screen shot on Facebook. It was actually more of a general criticism of novellas in general (which is fair enough, since some people like them, and some don’t). Her opinion was that they were too long to be called short stories, but tended to take a long time to ‘get going’ and then ended abruptly, and that this also applied to this novel. She also said she had read other books by this author and had enjoyed them, but called this a ‘half-assed job.’ While I admit she could have been more polite, I have seen far more critical reviews than this one.

It certainly didn’t warrant the rude reaction by the author, and I admit I was shocked that any author would publicly name a reviewer who gave a one-star review, let alone call her an idiot. As authors, I believe we should remain professional at all times, and perhaps even more so on any social media.

Interestingly, a couple of days later, both the author’s original post on FB about the review, and her later thanks to her fans for getting the review removed appear to have 'disappeared' from Facebook. I’m now wondering if someone (her agent, maybe, or her publisher?) took her to task for her posts?

Should authors maintain a professional silence, or should they bite back if they find a review they don't like? What do you think?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

U Is For Understanding

Jennifer takes a look at criticism...

I like to think of myself as a reasonable person. If someone gives me advice or tells me something is wrong, I visualize myself listening and taking to heart what they say.

I suspect, however, my visualizing my reaction and their witnessing of that same reaction is quite different.

As a writer, the same holds true. I have critique partners who offer suggestions about my writing. Sometimes I take it well, other times I don’t. I try to at least demonstrate that I’m accepting what they say, although internally, it’s a different story. Inside, I’m railing against their lack of understanding for what I’m trying to do.

And that’s the very crux of the matter. If I can’t convey what I’m trying to do, it doesn’t work. I may think my story is full of tension and conflict, but if someone reads it and says, “Hmm,” my job, no matter how hard it may be, is to go back and look at it from their perspective.

Sometimes they might be wrong—we’re all human, after all. More than likely, however, they are at least a little right and their suggestions should be taken for what they are—assistance to make my books the best they can be.

No matter how personal our writing is to us, to others it’s just a story, and that objectivity allows others to find flaws that we will never see.

So my goal going forward is to appreciate from where the criticism comes, to try to understand what it means, and to do better at expressing myself. Because that’s the only way I’ll ever improve.


Oh, and maybe a few less tantrums. J

Monday, May 23, 2016

U is for Unique

Ana muses about her unique feeling.

Last night at midnight, I whizzed through the writing of the Black Moment.
The last (first introduced) villain revealed his ultimate villain-ness and, though exposed, he appears to have defeated the hero and "won" in a dramatic "If I can't have her, you can't have her" way.

Now I'm working on the final chapter's HEA.

The "unique" feeling is this: I have gotten to The End twice before, but this time feels different to me.
I believe I have crafted a solid story, and I have the request for the full.

I'm digging this feeling.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

T is for Ta Da!

Debra reveals her latest cover.

It's finally here! The cover for the third installment in my Holidays at The Corral series was finalized today.


And here's the blurb:

When United States Marine Tyler Collins is injured in the line of duty and sent home, the first thing he does is go see the girl he left behind. He wants peace and to escape from the memories of violence and war. Instead, what he finds might change his life forever.

Their time together was supposed to be a fun summer fling, but in the three years since Tyler's been gone, he's never far from Pam Foster's thoughts or heart, even though the last thing she did before he left was lie to him. She has to right the wrong, but can a man with such integrity and honor forgive her? Especially when she hasn’t forgiven herself.

Is rekindled love enough, or will the secrets of the past ruin any hope of a future together?


Fourth of July at The Corral hits cyber shelves on June 3.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!

Debra
www.debrastjohnromance.com

P.S. Just for comparison, here are the covers for the other two books in the series. I'm just loving how they all really look like a set. Cover artists at TWRP rock!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

T =Tearing My Hair Out

Paula sometimes feels like tearing her hair out.

I’ve recently spent what seems like an inordinate amount of time on a short conversation in my ‘work in progress’. It’s less than 500 words, but I’ve written and re-written those words at least a dozen times until I felt like I was tearing my hair out. Each time, I thought I had got it right i.e. the balance between what the heroine actually said, and what she left out of her explanation. When I looked at it again, I decided there was either too much – or not enough.

Sometimes I can whip through 2 or 3 pages of dialogue with no problem. Other times, like with this conversation, I agonise, and go back and forth with it forever! There’s a ‘fine line’ somewhere, and I’m not sure I have found it yet.

I can recall having similar struggles with some of my other novels, usually with short but highly significant parts of the story. Often it can involve an explanation of something, where you don’t want to give everything away to the readers, but at the same time need to give enough to arouse their interest or curiosity.

Other times, I struggle with how to get my characters from Event A to Event B without saying, ‘Three weeks later…’ or ‘padding’ the story with unnecessary detail about what happened (if anything!) during those three weeks.

I’m sure most readers have no idea of how much we struggle at times to get things right, so that the story flows. It’s only we authors who know we have to paddle like mad through the white water to get to the smooth flowing waters!

What part of writing makes you feel like tearing your hair out?