I had hoped to make this post one of inspiration, great words by leaders in the industry on how to get your butt in that chair and not to move it until you have achieved and exceeded your dreams of publishing fame.Read More
Welcome to Write Life Wednesday.
The hook is a tried and true technique in the opening of a story that snares the readers attention to a degree that he/she will keep reading even if the family dinner may be burning to a charcoal crisp on the stove, your husband/partner states they have something important to discuss, or your all-time favorite television show is about to begin. A good hook leaves the reader unable to resist turning the page. A good hook tugs at your emotions and gets under your skin compelling you, the reader, forward into the story to follow where the writer wants you to go.Read More
What would you most like your readers to know about you that they would not likely read in your official bio?
My birthday is on Christmas day, and since I’m the youngest in the family, my older sisters refer to that as “The year Tracy ruined Christmas.” I’m pretty sure they’re over it by now but I’m not placing any money on it.Read More
Bobbi and I are settling back into our normal routines after having a fantastic time at the New England Chapter Romance Writers of America Conference this past week. We had the time of our lives... seriously....Read More
This weekend, Bobbi and I are headed to the New England Chapter Romance Writers of America Conference Let Your Imagination Take Flight, where we will be presenting the workshop Prompt-Writing to Unlock Your Muse.
It's going to be a lot of fun, and if you are in the Boston area and haven't yet registered, you should do that! Go ahead, it's fine... I'll wait.Read More
I don’t like to write dialogue. I find it difficult and often slow going. I tend to torture myself over every word asking myself the same questions. Does this conversation sound stilted? Does anyone actually speak in the manner of my characters? Is this conversation boring? Most importantly, does it move the story forward or just act as filler?Read More
I consider myself a perfectionist—this is not a good thing. Things may be collapsing in chaos around me, but, darn it, I’m going to make whatever it is that I’m working on the absolute best it can be. For example, in preparing for this blog post on the writing process—and knowing what I consider my writing process—I spent several hours researching others’ definition, not to mention all the different ways every other writer in the world approaches her/his craft. (Full disclaimer: I gave up after two.)
Needless to say, that was not helpful.Read More
Plotter vs. pantser: it’s the great debate in genre writing circles. Plotters are orderly, mapping out their plots and character arcs, sometimes just by chapter or scene but frequently in more detail. You’ll frequently find them scribbling on wipe boards or rearranging Post-Its.Read More
A few fun facts about our author:
An award-winning and eclectic author, Cara Marsi is published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She loves a good love story, and believes that everyone deserves a second chance at love. Sexy, sweet, thrilling, or magical, Cara’s stories are first and foremost about the love. Treat yourself today, with a taste of romance.Read More
I’m delighted to welcome back multi-published author of the recently released holiday novella, Noelle’s Surprise, Amazon best-selling romantic suspense writer, Merry Holly.
A few facts about our author: Merry Holly aka Marian Lanouette was born in Brooklyn, New York and is the seventh out of ten children. She took to writing to explore new and adventurous places. While her friends traveled on planes for vacation Marian traveled in books. With an overactive imagination, it didn’t take long for her to start creating her own characters and stories. The Jake Carrington Mystery 1st bookIf I Fail was released in 2013, followed in January of 2014 with Burn in Hell. She is now working on the much-anticipated third book in the series Mated for Life.Read More
Today, in Part Two, I share a few key strategies I’ve found helpful in my quest for tight writing:
Dump most of the backstory, and by this I mean any of the information about the protagonist’s character history and background that can be weaved into the story through dialogue or action.Read More
I’m delighted to welcome back multi-published historical romance writer, Gerri Brousseau, and author of the recently just released holiday novella, Enticed by a Laird – Season of Surprises Holiday Anthology Box Set.
A Few fun facts about our author:
I was born and raised in Connecticut where I reside with my beloved pug, Mimi Sue, and our cats, Harry and Louise (a/k/a The Weasel). I am the author of A Pirate’s Ransom, According to Legend, To Kill a Monarch (Soul Mate Publishing), The Yuletide Bride (Season of Magic), Puppy Love (Season of Love), andEnticed by a Laird (Season of Surprises).Read More
Here at Scribbler's Ink, we've always believed in the power of writing prompts. Like all great athletes and musicians, writers should also spend time to perfect their craft. Our writing prompts are designed to unleash your creative voice and silence your inner editor.
Each of our workshops are tailored to allow writers of all levels and all genres to be able to sit down, silence their inner editor and let their own unique voice come through. Our next workshop will be held November 21st in Salem, MA. We hope you will join us for this transformative writing experience.
Our last workshop on October 24th was held at our new location in Salem, MA. Despite the cold and grey weather outside, our workshop attendees spent the day indoors sharing their writing, working on prompts and bonding over similar life experiences.
I’m delighted to welcome writer, Madison West, author of the just released, contemporary romance novella, Turkish Delight, part of an eight story holiday anthology, Season of Surprises.
First a few facts about our author:
Madison West is an avid reader and book reviewer for Contemporary-Books.com. When not busy with her many graphic design projects, she loves to plot a story for her next book or upcoming trip to another part of the world.
Critique partners, agents and editors are known to call for tighter sentences from writers, but often offer little direction on how to accomplish this.
I have a fantasy where I sit down, turn on my laptop, and words flow from my brain to my fingertips and onto the page in a perfect publication-ready state.
First a bit about our author:
I live in South East London, UK with my partner, Alan. My major life defining moments have been having my two sons, surviving the tsunami, walking 600 miles through Spain and being invited to tea at Buckingham Palace. HRH Prince Charles recognized my work with the Red X, and the cucumber sandwiches were excellent, but it bucketed down all afternoon causing my hat to fall apart. I am a teacher (FE). I am a writer.Read More
On August 29th we hosted a workshop in picturesque Nahant, MA. Our writers sat at a table under the shade of the trees, and with an ocean breeze lingering around us, we worked on several writing prompts through out the day. There was a brief break for a delicious catered lunch, and some informal chatter. Join us for our next workshop on September 26th! To learn more please click here.
About our author:
Stacy Hoff is a writer and attorney. She specializes in contracts by day, and writing romance novels by night. Stacy lives in New England with her husband and two boys.
What would you most like your readers to know about you that they would not read in your official bio?
I am an artist. Once a month I take art classes. I’d like to take more, but considering my full-time law career, full-time mommy job, part-time writing stint, and need to also spend quality time with my husband, it just isn’t feasible. I relish the time I do have in the art studio. For the past two years I’ve focused on sketching live nude figures in charcoal. I love the creative freedom—so different from the linear process of writing.
How did you become involved with the Season of Love Anthology?
I know several of the wonderful ladies that made this anthology, and they invited me. I was excited to be asked, and thrilled to be included.
Tell us Scribbler’s a bit about “Love Delights, and what inspired this story?
One word: Chocolate. There is simply no food more seductive in existence. Anyone who wants to fight me on this is going down. Seriously.
As for the heart of the story, I tried to make this sumptuous as well—two co-workers (and ex-lovers) at a NYC ad agency won’t admit they’re hungry for each other. Too bad they’re in competition for the same ad campaign, and job promotion.
Do you have a preference for the novella/short story venue vs. the longer novel?
Both long and short stories present writing challenges, as well as excellent opportunities. Before writing “Love Delights,” I had only written long. The Season of Love Anthology gave me the chance to experience writing short. The downside of creating a 12,000-word manuscript is having a whole lot less time to build in all the elements needed (character arc, plot, backstory, etc.). The upside is having no sagging middle to have to jump in and save.
What is the first thing you know for sure about a new story; Concept? Plot? Character? Something else?
It really varies each time I write. I am a definite “pantser” and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I’d say if I get anything concrete down before I start, it is the general concept of the book, although that’s not usually too fleshed out, either. Since my day job is as a lawyer, I like to let my creativity guide the way when I write fiction. If I couldn’t simply follow my Muse I probably wouldn’t write novels at all. What would be the fun?
Is the writing process different for you when writing the shorter novella vs. a full-length novel?
Not at all. Pants away!
Your characters are so well developed, do you create a deep backstory for your lead hero and heroine when you are writing a novella, or do the characters let you know what they want to do and where they want to go as you write?
Thanks for the compliment! I do develop a deep backstory for my characters, though not everything will make it into the story.
If given the opportunity to influence the storyline, would your hero, Trevor, make any changes? Would your heroine, Deirdre?
Yeah, if Trevor could change in the plot he’d get Deirdre into bed—and his life—ASAP!
As for Deirdre, she would have already made peace with what has happened in the past—both with Trevor and her family—and be with him.
Tell us about your heroine; give us one strength and weakness.
Deirdre is extremely creative, which is why the ad agency holds her in high regard. Her weakness, however, is that all of her insecurities hamper her creative process.
Do you see any members of the Valenti family getting their own story?
Good question, I never thought of it! I always start off writing stand-alone books, although I’m finding sequels can emerge. In fact, this November I do have a sequel (Desire in the Arctic) coming out for the first full length novel I wrote (Desire in the Everglades). Would I write a sequel for “Love Delights,” starring one of Deidre’s family members, the Valentis? Sure!
If you could cast anyone to play the roles of Deirdre and Trevor, who would you pick?
I’m so pathetic with my crush on Hollywood hottie, Daniel Craig. He’s always who I picture when I write my hero. Sigh… Anyway, for “Love Delights,” Daniel would need longer hair.
For Deirdre, I’d need an actress who could portray a sweet yet insecure creative type. Bonus points if the actress can show a simmering sexual heat she’s desperately trying to beat back down into submission. Any ideas from Scribbler’s Ink readers would be welcomed!
Can we have an excerpt from Love Delights?
Deirdre’s iPhone’s appointment-book feature finally went off, letting out a sharp beep. This was it—meeting time. Positive thoughts, Dee, only positive thoughts. A cold shiver ran through her as a thought popped into her head. They do value me here, right? After all she’d gone through, she just had to get this promotion. She would get this promotion. In fact, in a few minutes when it became official she’d go down to a bar, toast herself with a coconut daiquiri, then drunk-dial her oldest brother, Jake, and gloat. A slow smile spread across her face.
About to enter Mr. Fein’s office, her biggest rival for the job promotion—Trevor Reynolds—reached for the exact same door handle. “Oh!” she exclaimed. Her smile immediately dropped from her face. Confidence plummeted along with it. Stop worrying, Dee! This must be a scheduling screw-up.
“Hello, Deirdre,” Trevor said in that sexy, sultry voice of his.
Deirdre hated that voice. Specifically because it worked so well on her. Despite all her determination to be immune, immunity from Trevor’s charms was not an easy task to accomplish. His sensuous voice was only half as tantalizing as his mouth-watering good looks.
Even hearing him through the thin drywall that separated his office from Deirdre’s brought embarrassingly steamy memories racing to the forefront of her mind. Memories of their one night stand—no, one night mistake. Ever since then, she tried to keep her meetings with Trevor to a minimum. Since this was Valentine’s Day, she’d tried doubly hard to avoid him all day. She’d been successful until now. Awkward.
“Hello, Trevor.” She gave him a tight nod. “It’s nice to see you, but I have an appointment with Mr. Fein now.”
“What a coincidence,” he said, cavalierly. “So do I.”
Her brow furrowed. Having Trevor at this meeting would not be good. How could she concentrate on Mr. Fein’s words when Trevor was watching her? Her still-lingering attraction to him was hard to block out. Worse, having Trevor at the meeting would create a professional mess. How would Trevor react when Mr. Fein announced she’d be getting the promotion he’d wanted? Unfortunately, he was just as driven in his career goals as Deirdre. Would Trevor be gracious when Mr. Fein gave the job to her? After all, there was only one Creative Director spot.
With multiple stories and multiple authors, how do you decide upon a title for the anthology?
Simple voting by all the authors decides all this. It wasn’t too hard for all of us to agree. We wanted to keep the words, “Season of” in the title to be consistent with the first anthology, Season of Magic.
What’s your opinion on self-publishing vs. traditional?
I have a traditional publisher for most of my full-length novels, Soul Mate Publishing, Inc. I love working with them. I am, however, glad I agreed to do this self-published anthology. I found it to be very “hands on,” so I’ve learnt a whole lot about the publishing industry in general. Both traditional and self-publishing have been wonderful opportunities for me.
How do you balance the need for self-promotion with the need for writing time?
I can’t say, because I drive myself crazy doing both. Right now my tongue is lolled out of my mouth after having run around “the twin circles of terror.”
Is there a genre you’d like to attempt to write?
I’m really happy writing contemporary, although I do have an upcoming release, Art and Seduction, a darker romance involving a college student and an art professor. We’ll see how it goes. Normally I don’t veer away from my standard genre, so this will be new ground for me.
Do you have a favorite book?
Too many. I might as well work for Barnes & Noble and take my payment in product. I’ve always been a book junkie. In college I was an English Lit major. (No big surprise, huh?)
Is there a playlist you’d recommend for “Love Delights”?
“Chocolate” - Kylie Minogue
“Pour Some Sugar on Me” – Def Leppard
“Pressure” - Billy Joel (when Deirdre and Trevor are trying to come up with a winning ad campaign in an impossible deadline)
Do you have a favorite author?
Literature: the Bronte sisters
Contemporary: Kristan Higgins
Paranormal: Chloe Neill
Homer Simpson’s “D’Oh!”
Least favorite word?
“Notwithstanding.” Legalese kills my creativity.
If you were to give only one tip to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
Join a professional writing organization. I myself am a proud member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), and Connecticut Romance Writers of America (CTRWA). I would not have been published without guidance from these groups. Trust me.
What books or other projects do you have coming up in the future?
Here’s my upcoming publication schedule:
Mid-September “Art and Seduction” in the box set Hot Seduction—Six Sizzling Tales. (Dark romance, professor-student, love triangle)
Early November Desire in the Arctic (the stand-alone sequel to Desire in the Everglades. Action-adventure/contemporary romance)
Additionally, I have two more full-length contemporary romances I am finishing up now, hopefully to be published soon.
Things have been busy for me. In addition to all of these new releases, including Season of Love, Soul Mate Publishing, Inc. released Lawfully Yours, a full-length contemporary novel March, 2015. I should probably work on getting more than a few measly hours of sleep at night from here on out.
Thanks so much, Bobbi, for having me on Scribbler’s Ink!
LINKS FOR STACY HOFF
AMAZON BUY LINK FOR LAWFULLY YOURS: http://www.amazon.com/Lawfully-Yours-Stacy-Hoff-ebook/dp/B00U7U2WCC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1425508177&sr=8-2&keywords=book+-+lawfully+yours
AMAZON BUY LINK FOR DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADES: http://www.amazon.com/Desire-Everglades-Stacy-Hoff-ebook/dp/B00NFSMCYG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410289138&sr=8-1&keywords=desire+in+the+everglades.
A Few facts about our author:
Gerri was born in Connecticut where she currently lives with pugs, Mimi and her cats Louise (Weasley) and Harry. If you haven’t picked up on it, Gerri is a huge JK Rowling fan. In addition to writing, Gerri loves to cook, sketch and paint and spend as much time as possible with her granddaugher.
Tell us Scribblers a little about Puppy Love.
Puppy Love is the sequel to The Yuletide Bride, so you will meet some of familiar characters and be introduced to a few new ones. Here is a little blurb:
Sparks fly when a chance encounter entangles Lord Robert Nelson with the lovely Claudette Valentine and her dog, Madeline. The attraction is undeniable, but her father's plan to find her a wealthy husband holds a hidden agenda that Robert can't abide by. A story of attraction, longing, and if destiny can be changed, a loving marriage, instead of a loveless one.
Do you consider Puppy Love to be a sequel to Yuletide Bride or is Robert and Claudette’s tale a stand-alone story?
What one thing about your hero, Robert that drives his heroine Claudette crazy? And what one thing about Claudette that drives Robert demented?
At the stage of their relationship, they still have stars in their eyes and have yet to discover anything that drives the other crazy. Claudette is quite headstrong, as is Robert, which in the future might prove to be problematic. Guess you’ll just have to wait for the third book in the series to see.
How much influence do your characters have on which direction the story takes you?
They tell me their story, I’m merely the typist.
How much research do you do into the time period before you begin writing and how much do you do on the fly?
I get the idea for a story and then I do research to see where my idea can fit. I do write fiction, so my writing is historically based though I may tweak things here and there.
What is the most interesting activity you’ve participated in for research?
Nothing too crazy, because I do write historical romance. Although I am contemplating writing a contemporary romance so I can feature my former skydiving experience.
If you could cast anyone to play the roles of Robert and Claudette, whom would you pick?
Since the author generally has no say in things of that nature, I haven’t given it much thought. I suppose I could see Collin Firth as Robert. Not sure about Claudette. Guess I’ll have to give it some thought. Any suggestions?
Would you share an excerpt form Puppy Love?
I would love to.
The snow crunched beneath Robert’s boots. Tightening his scarf, he pulled his coat closed when a gust of wind blew a swirl of snow around him.
“Mickey, let’s make short work of this, eh?” A chill shook Robert’s body.
The dog pulled him along the sidewalk toward the park. Despite the fact that the sun shone brightly, Robert’s breath frothed in a cloud before him as he huffed and puffed to keep up with Mickey.
Rounding the corner, they came upon the wrought iron gate to the park. It was then that he caught sight of a dark-haired woman in a bright red cloak. She walked alone but for the large black dog by her side. Mickey lunged forward, and nearly pulling free of Robert’s grasp, the oversized pup dragged his master along. Robert slid and skittered trying to keep his footing upon the slippery snow-covered sidewalk. The commotion caused the dark-haired woman and her dog to take notice.
“Mickey! Mickey! Here boy. Settle down now,” Robert called in an attempt to gain a measure of control over the animal.
Too late. The large black dog appeared to have developed quite an interest in Mickey. The two dogs stood nose to nose for what seemed like an eternity, but in actuality was only a second. The brief moment vanished when they raced around chasing each other, winding their leashes around both Robert and the dark-haired woman, and in so doing, drawing the couple into an awkward face-to-face embrace.
“Madeline! Stop this instant!” the dark-haired woman shouted. The black curly haired dog, so intent on play with Mickey, did not listen.
“Mickey!” Robert shouted. “Mickey, settle down now.”
The two dogs, running out of leash, finally came to a halt and stood panting.
“I beg your pardon, Madam. This is the first I have had occasion to take Mickey here for a walk. I had no idea he—”
“It’s quite all right,” she replied. “Maddie and I have met this dog before, isn’t that right Maddie?”
“You have?” Robert reached around the woman in an attempt to untangle the leashes, but it only drew them closer in their embrace.
“Monsieur,” she stammered. Her lovely French accent rang in Robert’s ears like a familiar and favored song. A smile involuntarily curled the corner of his lips upon hearing it.
“Again, I beg your pardon, Milady, but perhaps if I—”
Upon hearing Robert’s voice, Mickey started to pull on his leash and only tightened the snare.
“Yes, we have had the occasion to meet. However, I must say that Monsieur Hastings seems to have a better grasp on the task of walking a dog.”
Robert’s cheeks burned. “Please forgive me,” he said. Gazing down into her smoldering brown eyes he couldn’t hold back a smile. His heart leapt when she returned it.
“If you would allow me to reach around you, I believe I should be able to get this sorted,” he said, drawing his thoughts back to the situation at hand.
“Oui, yes, of course.”
“Perhaps if you were to hand me the strap attached to . . . Maddie is it?”
“Madeline, her name is Madeline.”
At hearing her name, a soft whine escaped the dog. I wonder what her owner’s name is, Robert thought. The dark-haired woman did as she was asked, and reaching around her with both hands, Robert made short work of disentangling the leather snare.
“There we have it,” he said, handing Madeline’s leash back to the dark-haired beauty. His hand lingered overlong when their fingers touched. Despite the fact that she wore gloves, heat rushed up his arm and nestled in his chest.
“Merci, Monsieur. Thank you.”
“Robert. Robert Nelson.”
“Thank you, Monsieur Nelson.”
“Robert. Please call me Robert.”
She moved to take a step away from him and suddenly panic rose in him at the thought that she would walk out of his life never to be seen again. His heart hammered with the thought.
“Wait,” he said.
She paused and turned back to face him. Her red hat sat askew upon her head and loose tendrils of hair escaped her once neatly pinned coiffure.
Robert’s gaze traveled over her features. Her cheeks were pink, perhaps from the cold, her dark lashes rested against her creamy skin and her pink lips formed the perfect pout.
“You haven’t told me your name,” he said with a smile.
“Claudette. I am Claudette Valentine.”
“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Milady.”
Mickey and Madeline sat together with their tails thumping in the snow.
“It appears that our dogs have become fast friends,” he said.
“Oui, it would seem so.”
“I wonder if we might walk together, for the sake of the dogs and their new found friendship.”
She paused for the briefest of moments before answering, her gaze going from Robert to the dogs. “For the sake of the dogs you say? Oui?”
“Yes, for the dogs, of course.”
“I suppose if it were for their sake then yes, let us walk together.”
She turned to walk further into the park and slipped on the icy walkway. Robert stepped up and grabbed her around the waist preventing her fall. Helping her stand upright once again, he reached up and adjusted her hat. Again his gaze locked with hers and his heart throbbed in his ears.
“A dangerous business this dog walking,” he murmured. “Kindly allow me to escort you, Milady.” He presented his elbow.
Placing her hand upon his arm, she allowed him to escort her further into the park.
“Tell me, Lady Valentine, what brings you to London?”
If you could rewrite anything in your book what would it be?
There is one section I would like to tweak, but my characters wouldn’t hear of it.
If your hero or heroine could rewrite a scene in their story which would it be?
Since they told me the story, I would imagine it’s exactly how they want it. However, I’m sure Lady Claudette would much rather have had Lord Nelson move a bit faster in his pursuit.
What is the one piece of advice for other authors who are considering self-publishing?
I would say, get a good editor, and be prepared to do a ton of marketing. Self-publishing is a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it.
What in your opinion is the biggest pro and con between self-publishing vs traditional publishing?
Pro for self-publishing – you get a much larger share of the royalty. The con is that you have to spend a lot more to get the book up and running.
My books published through traditional publishing had no up-front cost. The publisher assigned me an editor, they paid for the copyright, cover art, and formatting. They took care of uploading the books to all the e-book sites, and published the print copies. Although the percentage of profit is less, the initial expenditure is as well.
What is a typical writing day like for you?
I sleep until the bed tosses me out. Then with a mug of coffee in hand, I head to my comfy recliner. After getting cozy in the chair with my lap top and, of course, my pug (Mimi Sue), and with music playing softly in the background, I place my fingers on the keyboard and begin. I turn off my “inner editor” and just let the characters tell me their story.
Is there a genre you’d like to attempt to write?
Yes! I’m one of those writers who always is working on a few different things at the same time. I’m working on a contemporary romance as well as a YA. One thing I would love to try is Steampunk, but on the one occasion I tried, I found myself staring at a blank computer screen.
If you could become one fictional character for a week, who would it be?
Elizabeth Bennett, simply because I’ve always been in love with Mr. Darcy.
What are you reading now?
Voyager, the third book in the Outlander Series. When the Starz Series began, I decided to read all the books. I’m only on the third book because my writing time takes precedence.
What writer has most influenced you as a writer?
Without doubt, J.K. Rowling.
What books or other projects do you have coming up in the future?
Gerri: Right now I’m preparing to begin the third story in the “Season of Series” which is entitled, “Enticed by a Laird.” I have several projects lined up, but I just have to find more time to write. That will happen over the summer when I will leave my “day job” and begin writing full time.
If you would like to read “Puppy Love” here are a few links.
If you would like to know more about Gerri, please visit her website at www.gerribrousseau.com.
And if you would like to read more of Gerri’s books, here are some of the links:
The Yuletide Bride (Season of Magic) http://www.amazon.com/Season-Magic-Holiday-Box-Set-ebook/dp/B00OZ136A6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433167171&sr=8-1&keywords=Season+of+Magic+box+set