Month: August 2013

Writing on Trend

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Every few years, readers are inundated with new writers or old writers who blossomed at the right moment and are on trend. Just like clothing, food habits and exercise, writing has trends. A few years ago it was vampires who sparkled in the sun along with werewolves and the women who loved them. This is to not discount the holes in our everyday existence which allow the Fae and Faepeople to slip into our dimension, mate with our women, and create hybrids.

I have seen everything from werecats, to weregators and even alternative love 51ZcGaCQmbL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_among werepeople. I kid you not, it is currently ranked at number 16 among gay romance. But like all trends, you have to understand the genre in order to get ahead of the curve. The newest curve ball that is growing fast is steampunk.
What is this, you ask. I am going to give you the Urban dictionary definition, because to me, it is what is more closely related to this up and coming trend.
Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It could be described by the slogan “What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.” It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes.

There are different types of steampunk.

Medieval Steampunk: Speculative fiction set during the Middle Ages.

Victorian Steampunk: A modern Science Fiction work (post-1930s) that is set in the early parts of the industrial revolution.

Western Steampunk: Science fiction set in the American Old West.

Industrial/Modern Steampunk: Science fiction taking place in the late industrial age, early modern age; i.e. World War 1, World War 2

Examples of steampunk:
Wild Wild West
Final Fantasy 7
Van Helsing
The Time Machine
Hellboy
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

One of the drawbacks to writing on trend, is that when many see a pattern developing, they jump on board and try their hand. It doesn’t work for everyone, but here is how to make developing subgenres work in your favor.

First, start with a short story treatment of 12 to 15,000 words. Purchase or have someone make you a kick ass ebook cover that represents “EXACTLY” what the book is about. DO the research! Understand the clothing and overkill on your adjectives to ensure you are painting the write picture. Now, write a rocking story with a credible plot. Call your friends over, and hash out what if scenarios. Now get the finished product to a proofreader or an editor.

Publish. Wait two months and read the reviews.
If you are on point, your readers will let you know.

If you are not, then maybe, you can try the next up and coming trend, Cosplay.

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Understanding Your Genre

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Over the past month, I have learned a great deal about my craft. Some of the lessons have been easy to comprehend, while others, have taken a moment. Oneharlequin_color of those moments came last week.

I was on Twitter, pleased with myself, and tooting my own horn. I felt I deserved it and I was not being a braggart; it was a minute of regaling in my accomplishment. I felt so good about myself, that I sent a Tweet to several book publishers to say, look at me. In all honesty, I was hoping that someone would see my anthill as ask if I wanted to join their colony. I received a reply from Harlequin who suggested I see their guidelines for submission and submit.

Great!

I followed the link.
I see this.

Harlequin Digital First  (PDF version) Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin  (PDF version)

Harlequin American Romance  (PDF version)

Harlequin Blaze  (PDF version)

Harlequin Desire  (PDF version)

Harlequin Heartwarming  (PDF version)

Harlequin Historical (Mills & Boon Historical Romance)  (PDF version)

Harlequin Historical Undone  (PDF version)

Harlequin Intrigue  (PDF version)

Harlequin Medical Romance (Mills & Boon Medical Romance)  (PDF version)

Harlequin Presents (Mills & Boon Modern Romance)  (PDF version)

Harlequin Romance (Mills & Boon Cherish & Riva)  (PDF version)

Harlequin Romantic Suspense  (PDF version)

Harlequin Special Edition  (PDF version)

Harlequin Superromance  (PDF version)

Harlequin Teen  (PDF version) H

arlequin Nocturne  (PDF version)

Harlequin KISS  (PDF version)

Harlequin HQN  (PDF version)

Harlequin LUNA  (PDF version)

Harlequin MIRA  (PDF version)

Harlequin Kimani Press  (PDF version) Harlequin Kimani Arabesque Romance  (PDF version) Harlequin Kimani Romance  (PDF version) Harlequin Kimani TRU  (PDF version)

<!–Nocturne Bites  (PDF version)

–>Nocturne Cravings  (PDF version)

Nonfiction Editorial  (PDF version)

Spice <!–Spice Briefs  (PDF version)–>

Love Inspired  (PDF version) Love Inspired Historical  (PDF version) Love Inspired Suspense  (PDF version)

Harlequin Heartsong Presents  (PDF version)

Worldwide Mystery

I KNOW RIGHT? I turned into Sweet Brown, “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

It would take me the better part of the day just to read through the categories I THINK I might fit into. I know feel like the court jester.
I had no idea that there were this many categories of romance. I knew sweetheart, erotica and romantic suspense.

Being Mrs. BlakemoreMy genre is literary fiction.  Romance is my sub genre, that I write in the have fun. I guess I had better put on my thinking cap and learn something new about the genre I write in.

  In the meantime, I am having fun, as is evident with Being Mrs. Blakemore. I had fun this one as well as my readers.  If you have not had a      chance to check out my number one best-selling short story, then please by all means, take a read. (At this posting, it was #1 on Amazon).

 

Raves, Reviews and Recalibration

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starsWriting for a living is a wonderful thing. Each day, you grab your mug of favorite warm beverage, fire up the word processor and set out to create worlds that stimulate the imagination. Just like sex, when it is good, it is very good, but when it is bad, you just want it to be over. There are no overs when you publish. You put the work out there and you are subject to the scrutiny of every Tom, Dick and Jane. Each day, your reviews come pouring in. Some of these are raves about your work while others can be just plain mean. However, if you are to be a full-time writer, some of the reviews will uplift your spirit while others will force you to recalibrate your thinking.

Last week I celebrated have three of my works in the Amazon Top 20. I felt like I was on top of the world. The reviews were good and coming in steady, my rankings were climbing and it was translating into cha-ching. I was doing the happy dance.
This week, I received several one and two star reviews. In all honestly, not everyone is going to like what you write, some people are going to outright hate your work, but it is the wise man who attempts to understand. I consider myself a thinker. I attempted to understand.

review

Okay, as far as I got was the four hours. The positive is that she read the whole thing. The negative, it took her four hours. It is a short story.

If this had been my very first review, I would have unpublished the work, went back to the writing-table and recalibrated the work. I do not dismiss her review. If she was confused, then that is something I must address, but first let me look back through the other reviews and see if this was an issue with anyone else.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was great, July 30, 2013
By romance reader “j” – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: A Few More Nights (Slice of Life) (Kindle Edition)
This was a great read. The story was funny, and the story flow so smoothly I finish reading this in about 45 minutes. Can’t wait for her next story. Love the characters.

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!!!!!, August 2, 2013
By Dora James – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: A Few More Nights (Slice of Life) (Kindle Edition)
This book truly blew me away. It was loving, heartfelt and funny. I love the pace of your story, giving enough details to the right area and still painting picture of the secondary characters without going on too much. Funny yes the part that described the bishop wife had me laughing until I cried. The diversity in your stories are amazing.
Dora James

5.0 out of 5 stars Funny!!, August 4, 2013
By Membsie “Love to Read” (Massachusetts) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: A Few More Nights (Slice of Life) (Kindle Edition)
I must say I didn’t read the first book of this series but found out all I needed to make this work in the first chapter. I will go back and purchase the first later.

This book was good and very funny to me. I must say that I re-read the chapter where she went to Alaska 3 times and put it in my favorites to read again. If you read no other parts of the book you should read that part. I laughed so hard, couldn’t believe what I was reading, and read it again. Toooooo funny!

Looking for other books by this author.

Good job!

5.0 out of 5 stars This was great, July 30, 2013
By romance reader “j” – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: A Few More Nights (Slice of Life) (Kindle Edition)
This was a great read. The story was funny, and the story flow so smoothly I finish reading this in about 45 minutes. Can’t wait for her next story. Love the characters.

Nope, out of 20 odd reviews, she was the only one. I am writing this to tell you one thing: writers, stay true to yourself and your craft. I will add one final thought in closing.

This past July, Oprah went to Switzerland for Tina Turner’s wedding and entered a boutique. She was looking at a $38,000 purse. The sales clerk refused to show her the bag because she told Ms. Winfrey, “it’s too expensive for you.”

At the end of the day writers, it doesn’t matter how good you are, how many rave reviews you get or how much money you have. There will always be that one person to make you stop and say, “What?” We need those people just to remind us we are just one in the pile of faceless wordsmiths hoping to be recognized. Those people also keep up honest. My next story, I will ensure there is clarity and no one can be confused. Like Oprah, I want to be recognized for being the one that stands out, but I also must recalibrate my thinking.

Sometimes, some people are just clueless. The best thing you can sometimes say is nothing.

Challenging Your Writing Skills

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Each week on my Facebook Page, I put out weekly writing challenges.  Some of the challenges have a great deal of guidelines, but most are an opportunity to think outside of the box.  I would like to introduce you to Kennedy Taylor.  This writer has no box.

Here is the assignment: Let us write today. I would like to see your first paragraph about a man named Tim, whose car has broken down on a dark road. A good first paragraph is 5-12 sentences.

Here is his response.

Kennedy Taylor: “You’re late, Tim,” said the voice on the cell. “Where are you?” Tim sat behind the wheel of his ford Bronco II. The engine cut out and he coasted to a stop. He couldn’t see more than a few feet down the dark road, but he could now hear the ocean, the waves crashing along the beach. He could see a seagull trying to balance itself on a half-deflated volley ball
“I’m at the beach. My car just died. There’s a seagull.”
Why?
“I don’t know,” said Tim. “It’s just here flapping around.”
“Hey, asshole,” said the Voice. “I meant the car. What’s wrong with the car? I don’t care about some bird playing with a volleyball.” Tim began to sweat. They can see me? He looked around, but could only see darkness.
“Where are you?” said Tim.
“Now, Tim, we’ve been through this already. You don’t get to make demands. I have what you want, remember? Now, the car. Tell me about the car.”
“I don’t know. It just died. I was driving and it just died.” Tim pounded the steering wheel.
“You were driving and the engine died,” said the Voice. “Ok, that’s not bad. Might be the fuel injector. Look to your left” Tim complied. Now that his eyes were adjusted to the darkness he could make out the faint shape of someone wearing a coat and hat on the other side of the street. Tim let out a breath. This was it. It was about to happen, what the Voice told him HAD to happen. The coat-wearing figure began walking toward him. The figure didn’t have to look for traffic; there was none. Tim had a fleeting thought of abandoning the plan. “Ok, I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s too risky.”
“Too late,” said the Voice and ended the call. The figure stopped several feet from Tim’s car. “Get out.”
“We don’t have to do this,” said Tim, almost pleading.
“It wasn’t a request, Tim.” 
Tim got out of the car. He was wearing swim trucks and a tee-shirt. “Take that shirt off,” said the figure. Again, Tim complied. The figure walked toward him. Without thinking, Tim backed towards the car, bumping against the door. Before he could say another word, the figure reached for him and….embraced him. They passionately kissed as Tim removed the hat to reveal the face of his beautiful wife. “You’re such a scaredy-cat, Tim” she said, a twinkle in her eyes. She threw off her coat revealing a two-piece bikini underneath. “And you know I hate crowds. Come on. Let’s go” They ran towards the beach scaring away the seagull.
“Hey, Nia, take that top off, ” said Tim.
“Hey, asshole, I already told you. You don’t get to make demands, “said Nia. She kissed him again. “I love you.”
“And I love you, always,” said Tim.

 

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