Wednesday, August 3, 2022

IWSG & Audience Awareness

 The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.


IWSG badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

August 3 question - When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

I consider myself a baby author - I'm working on my 2nd series and I'm trying to incorporate more "audience awareness" into my planning.

I've read Zoe York's Romance Your Brand and loved it. In it, she talks about "planning" your series in advance to appeal to readers. This is (for me anyway) a broad strokes plan. I think of the setting, the MCs, and the tropes I want to include. Maybe a tagline or mini-blurb.

I'm NOT a plotter/outliner, but I do like thinking about several linked books at once. This is a great strategy for me because it just gives my bouncy brain more of a focus.

I did think of a lot of the series at once with Bloo Moose but I was very sketchy on details like tropes and how to connect each book/MC as I went along. My bouncy brain still makes tweaks/changes but the overall plan for Small Town Heroes is more focused - I hope!

I'd suggest Zoe's book to anyone who likes to write series in genre fiction (not just romance).

How about you? Are you including more or less audience awareness as you're progressing in your writing career/development? If you're a reader, do you prefer series or stand-alones? I love sinking into a series myself!


In order to try to fix the commenting issue, I've changed the comment style to pop up. It looks a mess with comments out of order, but I'm hoping it helps!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

IWSG & Bloo Moose

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.


IWSG badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

July 6 question - If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

So many options! 

If I weren't an author, I might be tempted to say PERN from Anne McCaffrey's series - such a fabulous world! Although I would choose my position (Dragonrider) and time in the world with great care.

Or maybe the Shire or Gondor after Frodo's journey. PEI with Anne of Green Gables. The Enterprise, Firefly...

Because I am an author, I'd love to choose one of the worlds I've created!

Bloo Moose is a quirky little town in Vermont (which is in a climate very similar to my own). I love the people of the world and the ways they take care of each other. It's an upbeat, fun place, with lots of things to do.


Bloo Moose relies on tourists coming to town (fishing, camping, winter sports, leaf-peeping...). I'd love to go to Fortini's for Antonia's lasagna, visit Noah's alpacas, take the tour at Bloo Moose Maple Syrup, have a tea at The Lucky, rent a kayak from LaChance Lodge, and play a tennis set at Kami's Kamp. I'd stay in Darby's B&B and pick up a few Bloo Moose themed t-shirts at Moose Prints. I might even get a chance to brainstorm writing with Max. The best time to visit would be a week before Christmas to join in the fun of Merry MooseMas Days!

My kind of vacation - my kind of life!

How about you? Would you go for the adventures or AFTER the adventures (like me!)? Would you like a medieval, contemporary, or future setting for your world? Which of your own worlds would you choose?

On another note, Reaching For Normal, Bloo Moose #1 is one of the choices for the IWSG Book Club this month! If you like romance and romantic suspense, you might enjoy this one - it's free at all retailers. 

I'm currently reading Ronel's book and it's a fun read too!



Wednesday, June 15, 2022

WEP & Schrodinger's Letter

Like Schrodinger’s cat, the envelope rested on Ty’s kitchen island. Propped against the pepper mill.

It had been the first thing he’d spotted after the worst shift in his time as store manager.


Five shoplifters today. One had stormed out with an entire cart of groceries. She’d shoved it out the doors like she was a race car circuit. But it had been a hard right turn into the parking lot and she’d dumped the entire cart in the roadway. Then she’d run off calling him names he’d never heard before.


Two more tried to walk away with chocolate bars. Grown adults risking a charge over a hunk of chocolate.


One had played the, “Oh, I forgot I didn’t pay. I didn’t realize I almost broke the turnstile by going out the in,” routine. But he’d paid, so they hadn’t charged him.


The fifth had been a woman who shoved a frozen turkey under her sweater and into the top of her pants, pretending to be pregnant.


A frozen turkey.


And she hadn’t been smart enough to not have the tag sticking out the front of her sweater.


Then the debit machines had shut down bringing out tears and the angry idiots of the world.


A pallet of soda had been tipped over. And, no, the store wasn't going to pay the dry cleaning bill for the dingbat who'd tried bodysurfing through the orange goo.


All in all, a hell of a shift.


And now a letter bearing his name in Sadie’s handwriting on his island.


He couldn’t move past it. Couldn’t go forward or back. He was stuck in limbo exactly like Schrodinger’s cat.


If he didn’t open the letter, it could be both good and bad news at the same time. Once he opened it, he’d know.


Who wrote letters anymore?


Sadie had never written him a letter before.


Things were going well. Really well. He’d been thinking about shopping for a ring.


What was in the letter?


He finally unglued his feet and picked up the envelope. Not a business envelope, not a Christmas-card-sized one either. Smaller.


Stomach churning, Ty turned the white envelope over but there were no clues on the other side.


Closing his eyes, he blew out a deep breath and imagined a box. He opened the flaps of the imaginary box and a healthy cat popped out to grin at him.


His big hands fumbled with the flap of the envelope, but he didn’t want to tear the paper. Once it was open, he peeked inside to see a folded piece of paper.


No writing on the outside. He was still in the box.


Ty slid out the paper and blew out another breath.


He unfolded the paper.


A cartoon filled it. On the left, Sadie had drawn Ty conked out on a recliner with ZZZZZ printed above his head.


On the right, she’d drawn herself carrying a pizza box and a six-pack.


Heard about the shift. Take a snooze. I’ll see you in an hour. Love Sadie.


Love Sadie.


Schrodinger’s cat was alive and well.


Carrying the letter, Ty headed to the recliner and pulled out his phone. The weariness of the shift was gone. Time to find the perfect ring.

***

Tagline: A letter propped on a pepper mill and an empty house. Good or bad?


The above is part of the WEP Challenge for June: Please Read The Letter.

This is another song I didn't know before the challenge. I listened to it a few times, but I just wasn't in the mood for a heartbreak story, so I focused on the title itself rather than the song.

Please check the links below to find more flash prompted by the song or the title!



Wednesday, June 1, 2022

IWSG & Crisis Scenes

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.


IWSG badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!    

June 1 question - When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end? If have not started the writing yet, why do you think that is and what do you think could help you find your groove and start?

I'm one of those people who knows the ending before I start. I write romance and I know my characters are going to work their butts off to get to that happy ever after. I know the emotions I want and how the characters have to fix themselves to get there.

My biggest struggles come when I have to write the big dark crisis moments. *sigh*

It can take me a few days to work up to writing scenes where my characters are scared and being hurt. When I was little, my parents banned my from watching Little House On The Prairie because it was often too traumatic for me.

Yup.

So, I'm basically a big ball of emotions tied together with enough grit to not fall apart in public.

To get through those difficult scenes, I let my subconscious play around with different variations until I'm ready. Then I write the scenes as quickly as I can. Once I've seen them save themselves and each other, I'm good and I can go back to revise and edit.

If I'm stuck (which doesn't happen often), I delete the last chapter and start again. I'm usually stuck because I haven't followed my gut and haven't listened to my characters.

How about you? Any other balls of emotion out there? Anyone else still devastated by the scene when Mary thought she was getting her sight back, but had been tricked by the clicks...? Anyone else need to let their characters take the lead?

Monday, May 16, 2022

Built Of Secrets

Release Day!

Built Of Secrets is the first book in my new Small Town Heroes series. I'm so excited about this series.


She’s got a secret… 

Okay, she’s got several… 

But only one could get her killed. 

Humiliated after being duped by her ex, Tansy chooses flight over fight. An inherited fishing lodge she can pull off the grid while working on her tech is the perfect hideout. Burned-out FBI agent, Sam is worried about his best friend’s little sister. After a devastating case, he heads to Vermont to check on her. And if he happens to get her to fall in love with him? Even better. When the ex refuses to stay in the past, Sam knows he’ll do anything to keep her safe. Will it be enough?


Early readers are enjoying the book - I hope you will too!

Loved it. It was great from start to finish. I highly recommend this book and I can't wait for the next one!!!! ~ gcgirl7

This is the first book in this series, and I cannot wait to read more from it and this author. ~ Niki T

The author has given us a heart pounding story that pulls us into the lives of Tansy and Sam and does not let go. ~ CJ

I loved them as a couple and was so happy that they found each other. I also enjoyed the strong family and friendship bonds and it was a delight meeting this tight knit group ~ Floral J

Build of Secrets is the first book in a new series, and was a fast moving romantic suspense. I could not put it down, Jemi Fraser can suck you in with her writing. ~ JOLeary

Grab your copy today!

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

IWSG & The Best of Times

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.


IWSG badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!    

May 4 question - It's the best of times; it's the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

So many good times!!

  • drafting - love the first draft!
  • "planning" out a new series and getting to create a whole new world
  • getting to know characters and their stories
  • connecting the new books to older characters and stories
  • writing those scenes that make me smile all the way through
  • epilogues - where there's no stress and all the warm fuzzies I want
  • 5 star reviews 😊
  • happy repeat readers & reviewers
  • emails from readers who love the books

And a few bad times to keep it real

  • writing those crisis scenes - it sometimes takes me days to work up to it. I don't like when things are scary and stressful for my characters
  • feeling like I should be doing more in the marketing department (to be clear, this is likely never going to happen)
  • um...I think that's it???

Overall, the scale tips hard toward the good side. Otherwise, I would be doing something else!

I love writing and creating. I love interacting with other writers. I love learning more about the craft. I even enjoy most of the business side of things (I do love my spreadsheets and learning new things!). I think my bouncy brain is an asset for this indie author business.

How about you? What do you love about writing?

May the Fourth be with you today and always!

Speaking of the best of times...

The release day for Built Of Secrets is sneaking up. May 16th!

This is the 1st book in a new series - Small Town Heroes. The books are small-town romantic suspense with all the feels!



She’s got a secret… Okay, she’s got several… But only one could get her killed. 

Humiliated after being duped by her ex, Tansy chooses flight over fight. An inherited fishing lodge she can pull off the grid while working on her tech is the perfect hideout. 

Burned-out FBI agent, Sam is worried about his best friend’s little sister. After a devastating case, he heads to Vermont to check on her. And if he happens to get her to fall in love with him? Even better. 

When the ex refuses to stay in the past, Sam knows he’ll do anything to keep her safe. Will it be enough?

Preorder your copy today!

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

WEP & Brat

 Rain fell and fell and fell.

Brat wondered if it had got into her skin and replaced her blood. She hoped it would keep falling.


When she’d snuck out of the hole she’d dug, he’d been heading for his bottle. She hoped he drank it all the way to the bottom. Even if he went looking for her, he wouldn’t be able to chase her. His thinking wouldn’t be clear enough to find her hole.


He would think demons were messing with him again and hiding her.


Then when he’d recovered enough, he wouldn’t remember.


If the rain kept falling, he wouldn’t be able to follow her. She knew he tracked animals for food. He always complained about how the rain messed up the tracks.


She tried to hide on those days, but her closet wasn’t big enough to hide.


He told her she was lucky. He fed her, gave her a home.


She didn’t feel lucky.


But how was she to know?


Maybe all the places were like this one. Maybe some of them were worse.


If it was worse, she didn’t know how it could be.


But he told her it was.


She knew trees because they were everywhere she looked when she got to look out the window. Was there anything else?


Brat slipped on the mud again but didn’t stay down. She had to keep moving.


And moving.


When she couldn’t walk anymore, she crawled.


And still the rain fell. Hiding her path. Hiding her.


Her hands bled so the rain hadn’t changed her blood yet.


She pushed to her feet again and kept walking, never looking back.


When the trees disappeared, she stopped. This was new. She didn’t know what it was. Didn’t have the words to tell.


The rain kept falling. Brat kept walking.


When she fell again, there was no mud for a soft landing. It was hard and more blood came from her knees and hands.


Brat swallowed hard and then pushed to her feet. Kept walking.


A noise broke the air and light broke the rain.


Brat couldn’t make her feet move. More noises she didn’t know.


Then a voice. “Are you okay? What are you doing out here? Are you hurt?”


It wasn’t him.


Was it worse than him?


Another voice. “You’re bleeding honey. Come on in the car. We’ll get you to the hospital and get you some help. Don’t worry.”


Brat didn’t know all the words, but the hands on her didn’t hurt.


Brat went with the voices while the rain continued to fall.

***

Tagline: A hard rain is just what she needs


The above is part of the #WEP April Challenge: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall.

I have to admit I'd never heard of this song before the challenge. It's an intense song with some pretty dark lyrics. I struggled for a bit. And listened to it several times. And still struggled.

The song reminds me of court jesters who were allowed to speak harsh truths disguised as entertainment. We all interpret songs/poetry differently, but this song broke my heart. There's such cruelty in the world.

All of this finally brought me to the story above. I'm a romance author, I'm a teacher, I'm a believer in the power of hope and love and kindness. There will always be a light at the end of my tunnels.

I hope you'll check out the link to find the other stories written for this prompt. And I hope you'll join in!