Monday, September 29, 2014

Writing What You Know

One piece of advice beginning writers are often given is to write what you know. This is great advice if you live an adventurous life, have traveled extensively, or are in a profession such as first responder, anything in the medical field, a pilot, work in finance etc. But what if you are a bit timid when it comes to doing adventurous things or work in a humdrum office job where the most exciting thing that happens is when the office gets a new copy machine?

I'm not saying this is true in my case. (Okay, it is. I admit I'm not at all adventurous. I'm always worried about something bad happening like breaking a leg or worse.) So how do I go about writing about things I know nothing about?

I take my research on the road to learn how to do some of the things my characters need to know. I've taken a gun safety course and gone to a shooting range where with the help of an instructor, I learned how to load and shoot various types of pistols from a .22 all the way up to Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum. I've gone to seminars given by medical examiners, police officers, and a crime scene technician. My nephew is a firefighter for the city we live in. His girlfriend is a paramedic. While I haven't done it yet, both have offered to arrange a ride along with them to observe a typical shift. My sister is a registered nurse so I often pick her brain when it comes to medical questions. Of course, there's always research books and the internet. One just has to be careful to verify any information taken from the internet.

You can write what you know even if you know nothing about the profession etc. when you first start your novel. Pick the brains of family, friends, or attend seminars/classes offered on the subject you need to know more about. It's amazing how helpful people are when you express an interest in what they do whether it be their profession or how they enjoy their leisure time.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

This I know for sure...

Worrying about something doesn't help the situation, but sometimes you can't stop yourself from doing it anyway.  Someone recently sent the following quote to me so whenever I find myself worrying, I try to remember to view the situation in a more positive light and hope things are happening so I'll be in a better place, whether it's physically or mentally though I hope it's both.

"Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Please Welcome My Guest

Please welcome my guest, Rachel Brimble. Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK.  After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. In 2012, she sold two books to Harlequin Superromance and a further three in 2013. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington--her debut was released in April 2013 and she has since signed for three more.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family and beloved black Lab, Max. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

Balancing Contemporary and Historical Romance - How I Divide My Writing Styles

I often get asked how I divide my time between contemporary and historical novel writing and in an ideal world, I like to alternate the two subgenres to keep my writing fresh and interesting. For the reader and me!

I began my career writing contemporary because I’d always been told to ‘write what you know’. I have devoured romantic suspense for as long as I can remember and so my first two novels with The Wild Rose Press were romantic suspense. I then wrote a romantic comedy. Throughout writing and promoting these books, my mind started to wonder whether I could attempt an historical….after all, I didn’t ‘know’ how to abduct or murder anyone as the characters did in my first two books :o)

Like most (if not all) writers I read voraciously and reading historical work, whether novels or biographies, is amongst my favorite choices. I love history! I am drawn to British Royal history especially, but also love the social and industrial changes of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. As I was, and still am, intimidated by including real people and events in my work, I decide my first attempt would be Victorian and focus entirely on fictional characters and their emotions.

Emotion is key in romance. Love, hate, revenge, loss, joy and tenacity would have been felt in the same way in the late 1800s as they would today. So with this thought at the forefront of my mind, I dove straight in and wrote The Arrival of Lily Curtis (The Wild Rose Press). It sold a lot more copies than my previous contemporary work so that gave me the confidence to continue.

Today, I am lucky enough to write contemporary romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin Superromance and Victorian romance for eKensington.  I love that my writing has fallen into a routine that I find so satisfying. I now aim to alternate my releases between contemporary and historical…although this year, it is a little more heavy on the contemporary!

The Temptation of Laura is the sequel to my debut with eKensington, The Seduction of Emily. Laura
started out as a secondary character in the first novel, but even as I was writing her smaller part I knew she deserved her own story. Laura is a prostitute struggling for a better life while harboring a lifelong love of the theater. When her path crosses with stage star, Adam Lacey, her entire life is bound for a stratosphere beyond her wildest dreams…

Here is the blurb & buy links – look out for book three, What A Woman Desires coming in January

The Temptation of Laura

Laura Robinson has always been dazzled by the glamour of the stage. But perhaps acting and selling one’s favors are not so different—for Laura must feign pleasure with the men she beds to survive. Now, with her only friend at death’s door and a ruthless pimp at her heels, escaping her occupation seems impossible. Hoping to attract a gentleman, she attends the theater. Yet the man Laura captivates is no customer, but a rising star and playwright…

Adam Lacey has been driven to distraction since the moment he saw Laura. She is his ideal leading lady come to irresistible life—and so much more. Certain they can make the perfect team on and off stage, he is determined to win her heart—and discover her story. But that is precisely what Laura fears. And she has no idea that Adam harbors shameful secrets of his own. Will the truth free them to love—or destroy all their dreams…?


Katherine here - Rachel likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. She would love to hear from you!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wearing A Tiara

 I'll be wearing a tiara and visiting with The Plotting Princesses tomorrow, Tuesday, 9/23. I hope you'll stop by and check out my answers to their fun interview questions. Link: The Plotting Princesses

Friday, September 19, 2014

This I know for sure...

Whenever life seems to going along well, something happens and knocks you off your feet.  This seems to be happening a lot lately. I feel like I no more than get back on my feet when life decides to knock me back down. It's been a rough two months since I suffered the sudden death of a family member at way too young of an age.

I've been trying to be positive and looking for the best in each day. Some days are easier than others, but lately, especially this week, things have been occurring that I have no idea how to find anything positive in them. I've been coping by trying to keep my head down and focusing on just getting through the day.

You know that old saying, "bad things happen in threes," well I'm up to about five now and am ready for change in whatever is responsible for this streak of terrible things occurring. I don't know if you call it luck, fate, or karma or something else all together.

I hate to think I've been so terrible to someone that karma is doing this to me as some sort of payback. I always try to treat people the way I want to be treated so I don't think I've intentionally done something so terrible that the universe feels I need some sort continual or ongoing punishment. But it sure seems that way.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress):  Managed 10 pages of new material last week. Not as much as I wanted, but I'm still moving forward. I hope to do better this week.

News from the publishing world: This article is geared more toward self-published authors, but I felt it had information anyone who is trying to promote their work could use. Link: Advanced Marking Tactics For Indie Authors

Quote of the week:  "If you don't make the time to work on creating the life you want, you're eventually going to be forced to spend a LOT of time dealing with a life you don't want." ~ Kevin Ngo. I'm not saying I don't like my life now, there's just some things I'd really like to change or have change.

Health news: According to research in Physiology & Behavior: Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience yawning helps your brain. When you yawn, you inhale deeper than normal exchanging warmer air with cooler air. This is good because the brain operates more efficiently when its cool.

Random things:  There's nothing like the soft purr of a cat cuddling up next to you after a hard day at work. 

Random photo of the week:

This a Halloween wreath my nephew's girlfriend made for us. I can't wait to hang it on the front door.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Planning Time Again

I'm a big believer in goal setting. It gives you something to work toward. I start out with the main goal then break it down into steps or smaller goals that make that main goal achievable. I set dates of when I want to reach the smaller goals so I keep moving forward. 

I realize it's only the middle of September but I've started doing the preliminary planning of my goals for 2015. I've sketched a few things out on paper. At this point there's nothing concrete or specific, just a few items I think I'd like to accomplish this coming year.

I'll let the list sit for a few weeks, adding ideas, subtracting ideas until I get the list down to two or three major goals that I want to achieve in 2015. After I have those goals, then I break each one down into 10 monthly goals. I do 10 monthly goals because it's nearly impossible for me to get anything of note done from the middle of November until the end of the year.

Depending on the monthly goal, I break it down into weekly goals. One weekly goal I nearly always set every month is to write 25 pages of new material each week. If I know I have something big going on a particular week then I set a smaller weekly page goal, but I try to write more the week before or after that busy week.

I think goal setting can help you achieve anything you want to whether it be writing a novel, losing weight, or breaking a habit. None of these things are easy to do, but goal setting puts you on the path to success.

Do you set goals when you have something you want to achieve?

Friday, September 12, 2014

This I know for sure...

I hate to wait. Or as I tell people, I'm not good at waiting. I don't mind waiting in line within reason or waiting at the doctor's office (also within reason).  Of course, being a writer, there's a lot of waiting involved but that's expected so I don't mind.

I think I'm more of a person who hates waiting for things to happen that I have no control over. I've been waiting for something I've been yearning for for the past 4 plus years to happen (and no, it still hasn't). On a more trivial note, I hate waiting for packages to come in the mail.

I've tried to develop patience for this over the years. One thing that I think helps is growing plants. There's nothing I can do to make something grow faster so it teaches me patience. I've been growing an African Violet plant for some time now. I've spent a lot of time trying to make it happy enough to blossom which it hasn't done in more than a year. Then finally, ta-da -- flowers.

It's said good things come to those who wait. My question is how long must one wait?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress):  As I mentioned on Monday, I've been dragging my feet when it comes to finishing the book. On the good side, I've reached day 83 in the 100 days writing challenge.

News from the publishing world: There are more books that I want to read than I could ever afford to purchase so I'm a big fan of my local library. I go at least every 3 weeks so I found this article interesting. Why The Public Library Beats Amazon For Now

Quote of the week:  "We each travel our own road. We will take detours meant for no one else, understanding that for some the detours are few and for others many. We will pick up stones in our shoes, and the stones may be small or large, at varying times. How we maneuver the detours and cope with the rub of the stones is what determines how and when we reach the finish line. This applies to life in general, as well as components of it such as career and personal goals." ~ Lisa Richard Claro. This quote reminds me that everyone has problems they're dealing with even when it looks like they're on top of the world.

Health news:  According to researchers at Louisiana State University one of the reasons dark chocolate is good for you is because the role cocoa powder may play in combating cardiac disease. Gut microbes (the good ones) help convert the cocoa compounds to molecules that help fight inflammation. Sounds like a good reason to indulge in chocolate to me.

Random things: I watch very little television as a rule but I'm really looking forward to the start of the fall TV season. I can't wait for Sleepy Hollow and Person of Interest to start. Are there any shows you can't wait to come back on?

Random photo of the week:

 I saw this on the internet. Considering how my writing has been going lately, it made me laugh and somehow seemed appropriate.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Reaching For The Finish

I've mentioned a few times before that I wanted to finish the first draft of my current work in progress by the end of August or by September 12th at the latest. Unfortunately that's not going to happen.

Between working 10 hours days the last week of August and doing only the bare minimum of writing last week (the 100 words per day required for the 100 day challenge) so I could enjoy the holiday and visits with family, I haven't meet my 25 page a week goal the last 2 weeks. I want to say this isn't an excuse, but if I'm honest with myself, it is. I had time to squeeze in more writing than just 100 or so words each day last week, but I didn't. 

I only have about 50 pages  give or take a few and the manuscript will be complete so one would think I'd be chomping at the bit to write those last pages and write "The End," but for some reason I'm not. I can't really say why I'm not rushing to finish. It's not like once I finish it, I'll be done with it. This is only the first draft so there will a lot of revisions/rewriting ahead of me. 

I don't know why I'm dragging my feet. Part of me wants to tie everything up and write The End, but part of me doesn't. It's not like I don't have an idea for the next book - I've been jotting down character sketches, scenes, and the like for the next book as they appear in my mind for the last month or more. 

Maybe it's because I really like these characters. Maybe it's because I know the first set of revisions are going to require a lot of work - someone I didn't expect turned out to be the villain, not the person I thought it was so I'm going to have to go back and lay the ground work for that so it doesn't come out of left field for the reader. Or maybe it's because I know I'm not going to even attempt shopping it around after the revisions are done until the first full week of January or so.

Do you ever find yourself dragging your feet about something that you once looked forward to?

Friday, September 5, 2014

This I know for sure...

I love to read. It's my favorite thing to do when I have free time. It's also usually the first thing I'll do when I have free time. I never go anywhere without a book or sometimes, my Kindle. There are times when I'd rather read than spend time with people. I don't know if it's because I'm an introvert or just that I enjoy reading that much.

One of my favorite memories of childhood is when my mom would take my brother and sisters and I to the library. We went about every three weeks. We didn't have a car so we walked there and back. Going, it seemed like the library was forever away. In reality it was probably only a 15 minute walk one way. Coming home seemed much shorter. It could be because I would always try to read and walk home at the same time. My mom would always tell me to close the book and to pay attention to where I was going, but as soon as I could, I'd crack the book open again. I wasn't the only one who tried to read on the way home. One time, my brother was reading on the way home and he walked right into a parking meter. Other than a black eye, he was okay. After that I decided maybe my mom was right and didn't read while walking any more.

What's your favorite thing to do when you have free time?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I didn't do as well as I'd hoped last week - only 11 pages of new material. I'm pretty sure I've written myself into a corner or at least am some place where my characters don't think they should be. I going to back track a bit and see if I can't pick up the momentum again.

News from the publishing world: Any author will tell you finding ways to promote their books that actually work is hit and miss. Here's an article that may help. 3 Ways Indie Authors Can Use Social Media to Attract Readers

Quote of the week: "Infuse your life with action. Don't wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope..." ~ Bradley Whitford  This reminded me of something a friend would always say when I would get a case of the "I wish..." this would happens. She would say, "Pray to God, but row for the shore."

Health news: According the the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, women who eat 2 large bananas a day lived longer than their counterparts who eat less of the fruit. Bananas are high in potassium and vitamin B6 which are essential to a healthy heart. Vitamin B6 also helps regulate sleep patterns. (I think I'm in trouble - I absolutely hate bananas. :(  )

Random things: I recently discovered the Tara Holloway series by Diane Kelly. Each book is titled Death, Taxes, and (then something). The first book in the series is Death, Taxes, and A French Manicure. The main character is an agent in the IRS' criminal investigations division. The books are upbeat and sometimes laugh out loud funny. And just what I needed. 

 Random photo of the week:

 This is a picture a friend sent to me. She found it on the internet. I love the picture, but can't imagine how painful it was as it runs up the person's spine. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day

                   No post today. I'm off celebrating the Labor Day holiday with my family. 
                      I hope you and your family are enjoying the long weekend as well.