Thursday, September 17, 2015
I hope you have had a blast of this beautiful weather like we have had--Cooler temperatures with a light breeze in the air. It's made yard work so much easier and definitely more enjoyable.
I'm a few days late posting my September blog. Sorry about that.
I got word from a friend of mine today that she went to the library in North Carolina where her son lives (while she was visiting he and his family). She called to say my books are there! Yea!!! Two of the three that have been turned into hard backs. Crime in The Big Easy & Be Not Afraid are in a library in NC, as well as the collection of my books -- Bayou Secrets. That tells me I wasn't dreaming. My books are spreading across America...into bookstores and libraries all across the U.S. God is faithful!
While I'm waiting to hear back on two manuscripts from my publisher, I've been working on the devotional I've told you about before. Another month is being edited and will soon be added to my website. I'm working on the forth month now. I'd love to say I'll be finished with the whole book in a month or two, but I'm writing it a little different than I write my fiction novels. So it will be added month by month until completed. When all 12 months are available, I'll see about it being turned into a book. In the meantime, for free you can download any and all months for your reading pleasure. God is the inspiration of this devotional. It's from the heart and from His Word. So those of you who are interested, go to WEBSITE and click on Devotional page.
I've started gathering material for a young adult fiction novel I've wanted to write. Maybe by the end of this year or the first of 2016, I'll have the new novel ready for my publisher to review. It's to be the first of a YA series. My main character, Lincoln Parks, is a reporter for the High School paper. He has a nose for news while living the life of a teenage boy with all the drama that comes his way. Lately my middle grandson Koby, 13 years old, and I have been hanging out a good bit. He is such a character. The boy in my book is 14, almost 15. When the idea for this novel first came to me my oldest grandson, Scotty, was my inspiration. All grown up now, my attention has turned toward Koby in guidance of my main character's personality and the goings on at schools. Turns out he's applied to be on the school paper this year. How perfect is that? I told him if he makes it onto the school newspaper's team, maybe I'll get to come by sometime and sit in the back of his class. Observe and get the real feel for how things go down making a school newspaper. I reminded him it had been a very long time since Granny had been in school. He made a very 'high tech remark' letting me know exactly how long it had been. That's my boy! So smart! And cute too!
Normally I take time at the end of my blog to share writing tips for my readers who are working to become writers or those who are already writers but still growing their craft. As I've said many times before, I hope I never stop learning. This time, however, I'm going to discuss a topic that all writers may have to face one day. I know I did. I'd like to share that with all of you who are reading my blog.
The subject I plan to address in this blog for my writer readers is also something I hope you book readers will enjoy staying tuned-in for.
TOPIC -- Bad Reviews.
As a reader you should take time to review some of the books you've read if you've enjoyed them. A bad review, well that's up to you, but I do encourage the good reviews to be added. Your favorite author would appreciate it.
I normally get good feed back on my books from a lot of people. In my heart, I always hope they go put those words on a review at some site where my books can be found...all reviews would be awesome, but one is great. Every bookstore's website and on-line bookstores have places to add reviews on books you've purchased from them. Sometimes they help readers looking for a new author to read...pointing the finger in the direction of one of your favorite authors...if you take time to review them.
I received a bad review a few months ago. As far as I know it's the first one and I let it get me down for a little while. I may have more, but I don't go looking. When I read the review, I heard what she was saying. Her review was for After You're Gone. This is a romance about a young woman who had worked hard to make a name for her self in the world of art. And just when her big moment to shine was about to happen, an old friend called needing her help immediately. My heroine, Malila, was torn between staying home in San Francisco and taking care of business, or flying off to New York City to help a friend in a dire situation. It turned out her friend was dying. She has a baby and didn't trust her only living relatives to raise her child. Reasoning for the young mother's decision was explained in the book. Anyway, she felt it necessary to call on an old friend to come to her rescue before her death, trying to make everything right in her mind and heart. The bad review came due to this woman's decision. The one who was reading the book stopped reading it. She couldn't believe anyone would give away her child for any reason.
In real life we know for a fact this happens. My husband and his twin sister were given away by their birth mother. And it happens more today than it did back then. My husband's story is not the same story as mine in After You're Gone, but in real life it does happen. Mother's give up their children for adoption for many reasons.
So immediately, when I read this bad review I thought my book wasn't sending the right message. Because when God placed this idea in my heart, the message was about choices we make as believers. My heroine had to decide between herself and someone else. She chose helping her friend over her own desires. In the end, I'm not going to tell you in case you haven't read it yet, so many things happened to Malila that changed her life, that wouldn't have happened had she not done what God led her to do. He has plans for each of us, but it's the choices we make that keep us on His path or lead us down a road of our own choosing.
I'm sorry for the woman who didn't finish reading my story, but I feel it was her loss. And although she has a right to her opinion and I respect it, I still feel After You're Gone is a wonderful romance with a good message, You just have to give it a chance. Chapter one was supposed to pull the reader in, not push them away. I hope more of you have read it and found it to be a good read or even a great read. Your reviews would be most welcome, should you decide you want others to know what you think of my book.
In the end, I didn't let the one bad review dissuade me and stop me writing more. Like I said before, I have two completed manuscripts for my publisher to consider. So I'm still writing and have plans for more.
Bad reviews come to most authors from what I've been reading. In fact, here is one particular fact I learned about a book's bad review. Check it out:
"It was one of the most boring and shallow books that I have ever read."
That is a bad review. But guess what?! It didn't hurt the book one iota. Just because that person wrote the above review, it didn't stop the book from selling a lot of copies, and it didn't stop the book from being made into a movie. AND oh yeah, it was such a great book and movie that they remade the movie again. Both times I believe the movies were a great success with the audience. I know I loved the book and the movie. The Great Gatsby was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Robert Redford, playing Jay Gatsby in the first film and Leonardo DiCaprio, lead in the second one, had viewers enthralled. The costumes and the characters in the book were as vivid as they were in the movies. F. Scott went on to write more novels. I did a quick count off one site I pulled up. They had 42 novels listed by him. I didn't do a large search to get an exact number. I just wanted you to know that the bad review didn't stop Fitzgerald.
So don't let bad reviews stop you from writing the book that is inside you. Who knows? Maybe you too will have a movie made from your book as well. And you readers who stayed reading my blog to the end, think of some of your favorite books you've read lately and take a few minutes this week and go write a review for that author. He/she will appreciate you.
Have a great fall!
Again, check out my website.
On the Event page I have a few places I will be attending with my books available in case you are interested. Down south it's better to wait for the fall weather. Summers are just too hot!! I hope to see you soon! God bless you all!
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda,released in April, and its free prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn't writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin's Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian Fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com
Robin's Red Pen: https://robinsredpen.wordpress.com/
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finding-amanda-robin-patchen/1121693795?ean=2940151640039
I stepped out into the sunlight humming a Pat Green tune, slipped on my sunglasses, and stared out over the courthouse steps. After three days of incarceration, not much had changed. Brunswick, Georgia, was like that. Discarded bubblegum, flat as half-dollars, dotted the steps like splattered ink. Lazy, blimpish pigeons strutted the sidewalk begging for bread scraps or the sprinkles off somebody's double-shot mocha latte. In the alley across the street, and entire herd of stray cats crept toward the wharf just four blocks down. The sound of seagulls told them the shrimp boats had returned. And on the steps next to me, two officers lifted a tattooed man, whose feet and hands were shackled and cuffed, up the steps and, undoubtedly, into Judge Thaxton's courtroom. Based on the mixture of saliva and epithets coming our of his mouth, he wasn't too crazy about going. No worries. Given my experience with Her Honor, his stay in her courtroom wouldn't be too long.
The tension is subtle. It's our first glimpse of the protagonist, and he seems as happy as can be. He shares these wonderful images--blimpish pigeons and sprinkles from a latte. He's even humming. So why does the reader have that sense of tension? That one little phrase changed the whole thing: "After three days of incarceration..."
Wait, what? The guy's leaving the jailhouse in the middle of town--presumably his own town, since he knows the place pretty well--and happy? How can that be?
That unspoken question would probably be enough to get you to turn the page, but then Charles Martin adds another image--the shackled man. Yes, it stays lighthearted, but there's ominousness about seeing someone shackled and dragged into a courthouse. And then one more line makes the reader wonder: "Given my experience with Her Honor..." So the hero's been in front of the judge before, enough to predict what she's going to do. And he's cheerful.
This guy's emotions are not conflicted. He seems as content as can be. But it causes some conflicting emotions in the reader, doesn't it? Normally someone just released from jail in his or her hometown would feel more--ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, dishonored, indignant--Content...never. So why does he? It makes you want to keep reading. The contrast of the two--how he should feel, yet how he feels brings about tension.
Word Choice, how your protagonist filters what she sees, hears, and feels, can add tension to your description. Word choice should do double-duty. First it needs to help the reader picture the setting. Second it needs to reflect the character in some way. It's not about the thing being described, it's about how your reader feels about the thing--be in the landscape or a new dress. The tension comes from those feelings.
Tips to adding tension to description:
1. Put yourself in the eyes of the POV character. Spend some time there and figure out what he/she would notice. You can't tell the reader everything; so choose your details carefully.
2. Start with a broad brush, then narrow into key details, details you can use to reflect your character's feelings.
3. Choose words that reflect the picture you're trying to paint. Hard words, soft words, whimsical words, or concrete words...they all subtly lead the reader to one place or another.
4. Go beyond the obvious emotion if you can. Sometimes, the obvious emotion is the one you want to convey, but sometimes it isn't what the protagonist feels.
5. Add a few key phrases that'll make your reader ask some questions, encouraging them to turn the page.
6. If you're working on a segment at the start of your story, before the inciting incident, think of your character's innermost desire. What does your character want? That can be the driving force of that first segment of description. Let that desire be reflected.
Don't skip the description in your book fearing it might be boring. The reader wants to be in the setting. They can't if you don't take them there. Find a way to make your descriptions drip with emotion and tension.
Tension in Action:
If you really want your action scenes to drip with tension, you need to do more than just provide a lot of action.
What is action? It is the parts of your book where your characters are doing something.
Tips for adding tension to action scenes:
1. Be unpredictable. Sometimes, your hero and heroine have to lose. Sometimes bad things have to happen. When you're writing an action scene, brainstorm five things that can happen, then brainstorm five more. Maybe choose an option from the bottom of that last list.
2. Increase the stakes. How else can your scene matter to your story, to the community, and to the world?
3. Get your heroes personally involved. Show us why this matters to the hero, to his family, to his community.
4. Raise questions...and don't offer answers right away. Never answer one question before you raise another.
Tension in Dialogue:
Tips to adding tension to your dialog:
1. Eliminate every predictable word. Tension arises in the readers when they are kept off-guard. So what things are predictable? Nicknames, pet names; nonsense words like Uh, um; Filler words like well, so, anyway, greetings; direct answers.
2. Eliminate as many dialog tags (he said, she said) as possible without confusing the reader. Eliminate EVERY dialog tag that accompanies an action beat. (EX: "Almost there," he said as he turned left.-- instead write -- "Almost there." He turned left.)
3. Eliminate all adverbs within dialog tags. (EX: "I love you," he said softly. -- instead write -- "I love you," he whispered.
4. Eliminate fancy words used for said. (EX: "I love you," he declared.) If you have to tell reader who said it, stick with he said or asked. Readers tend to skim over those words. EXCEPT when you are using a more specific word to describe how something was said and it's very important to specify...like whispered, shouted, or screamed. Use them, but use them sparingly.
5. Eliminate telling in dialog. (If you can start the sentence with "As you know," delete it. Find another way to tell the reader...better to be in exposition than in dialog.
6. Eliminate straight answers. (EX: "How's it going?" "Fine, you?" - write - "How's it going" "Don't start with me.") (that was unexpected and not boring. Now you want to know why they responded that way.) Another example. ("How's it going?" "Do you know what you get when you cross a train wreck and a category 4 hurricane?" Silence filled the room. "That's how it's going."
7. When you've cut out all the unnecessary stuff, see what you have left and figure out how else you can say what you're trying to say without saying anything obvious.
8. Ensure your characters all have different agendas, and find subtle ways or overt, depending on the scene, to show those differing agendas.
If a piece of dialog comes easily, you've more than likely made it too predictable. Try finding a unique way to have your characters respond. Make sure it matches their personalities though.
The tips above came from Robin Patchen's on line class I took. I hope they help you as much as I believe they are helping me. God bless you all.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
As the title states, we have that interview I mentioned I was trying to get with Dani Pettrey. She is an awesome author. She wrote the Alaskan Courage series. They include extreme sports and activities...keeping you on the edge of your seat as you read. Her stories pulled me in quickly and kept me reading until the end of each. I had to have them all. If I remember correctly at the time 3 were available with the 4th book about to be released. Of course I got it immediately and then had to wait for number 5 to come out. I pre-ordered, so I got it as soon as it was available. If you are looking for a GREAT read this summer, pick one of hers up or download them in your E-reader. Her interview is here for my readers and fellow writers to enjoy.
Before I add it, I want to update you on what is going on in my life as I normally do in my blogs.
I also hope you are having a wonderful summer!
My summer has been filled with writing and sunning with more of both to come. As I mentioned to you before, I sent in a completed manuscript to my publisher at the end of May, Hidden Secrets. Still waiting to hear back. They must be busy, busy as they are growing by leaps and bounds. Since then I've worked on the 4th book of the Samantha Cain series - Against Her Will. It was scheduled to release in 2014, but those who have been connected with me through my blogging know I lost my dear sweet husband March 2nd of 2014. We had taken a trip to the Caribbean earlier, where I made notes of the surroundings and the people to include in this novel, since my characters would be traveling down there. I had started the novel earlier on, but could not work on it after his passing. The memories hurt too bad. Of course they were beautiful memories, just hard to relive knowing Scott wouldn't be with me any more. Anyway, I've been working on its completion ever since the first of June, and now thanks to my critique partners jumping on it quickly, I'm working on the rewrites and edits now. I'm hoping to have it to my publisher by the end of July. I hope you all are still looking forward to the read.
In the mean time, I learned Thorndike Press republished Crime in The Big Easy that released July 1st (I mentioned this in June's blog), and they have scheduled Be Not Afraid to release August 1st, with Testimony of Innocence not far behind...September 1st. The specialty of Thorndike Press is they publish in hardback with large print. This was exciting news to me.
God has blessed my writing career, using Oak Tara Publishing. They connected my work to Barbour Publishing having that collection of Deborah Lynne novels released May 1st, 2015 and now this with Thorndike Press. In the meantime, my job is to keep writing while He does the heavy lifting...spreading my work...touching the hearts of my readers.
He also lead me to start writing that non-fiction book, Guidance from The Light, I mentioned to you. It is a two month devotion so far. Until I've written all 12 months, I show it as days 1 - whatever number I'm on. This devotion is free for the download off of my website. I'll be adding the third month by the end of July for those of you who have already downloaded the first two months. When it's completed, I will make it available as a book and carry it with me to the arts and craft shows I attend. I hope His Word and how He blessed me through His Word, will also be a blessing to you. Take time to look at Guidance from The Light on my web site at your convenience. click here for website
My husband's birthday is coming up next week. Last year my kids (minus 1 who lives in California but is working to get transferred back this way -- so maybe 2016's trip she will be a part of), grandkids, and his twin sister took a trip together to the beach, to the same place we had gone with Scott the year before his death. It made it easier on all of us to be together, missing him together, loving him together, yet celebrating his victory in Heaven with The Lord together. It made our loss of him easier to bear together. It's that time again. This time I believe it will be filled with more smiles and joy than last time. We still miss Scott tremendously, but know in our hearts he is rejoicing and is better off...and that one day we will be with him rejoicing with The Lord. Life goes on. So to the beach we are going together. More summer relaxing. Again, I hope you've been enjoying your summer as well.
NOW WHAT YOU HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR:
The interview of Dani Pettrey. She is a jewel. Enjoy.
There you have it friends. Wasn't she great, taking time out to answer a few questions to share with other writers who are trying to write or sell their first book...to encourage them. Also I asked for this interview with her to help you who read my books find another author who I know you will love. Her stories inspire me. Go get you a copy and start reading. You won't regret it.